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Tag:Carolina Panthers
Posted on: February 25, 2012 3:37 pm
 

Combine setup leading QBs to put arms on ice?

The top four quarterbacks on NFLDraftScout.com's board are not throwing passes at the 2012 Scouting Combine. 

Stanford's Andrew Luck (own choice), Baylor's Robert Griffin III (own choice), Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill (foot) and Arizona State's Brock Osweiler (unknown) have each said they won't be throwing at the Combine. 

Highly regarded quarterbacks electing to hold off until their Pro Day is nothing new, of course. Often the reasons given by these quarterbacks as to why they'd rather wait until their Pro Day is the fact that they'll be throwing to their own receivers in the surroundings they've grown accustomed to. 

NFLDraftScout.com, however, was told of another reason why quarterbacks may want to wait until their on-campus workouts. The high-level source used Cam Newton's erratic performance during the Combine throwing session last year as an example.

"Last year [scouts] didn't sync the QB drop and the wide receiver pattern. For example, [Newton] was dropping five steps but the wide receivers were doing three step type patterns." 

The miscommunication caused Newton's accuracy to appear to be inconsistent. He took the hit publicly for a mediocre performance and to his credit never said a word publicly about what may have been the biggest reason for it.

The Carolina Panthers obviously looked past the performance -- and considering the terrific rookie season Newton had in 2011, they were certainly wise in doing so.
             
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:10 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 10:34 am
 

Dolphins, Chiefs win coin flips; first round set

The first round order of the 2012 NFL Draft was solidified with a pair of coin flips Friday morning. The Miami Dolphins will select eighth overall and the Carolina Panthers ninth, while the Kansas City Chiefs will have the 11th overall pick and the Seattle Seahawks will be 12th.
  
The coin flips at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis broke ties between teams that finished the 2011 regular season with identical records and strength of schedules.
  
The coins were specially minted with the logo of the respective teams on either side. 

With the first round draft order finalized, the Colts are now officially on the clock.  
Posted on: February 23, 2012 12:25 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 12:26 pm
 

NFL: Once order set, Colts free to sign No. 1

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello informed the media today at the 2012 Scouting Combine that once the final order is determined for the first round, the Indianapolis Colts are free to sign whomever they intend to draft No. 1 overall. 

The Colts are widely expected to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, but owner Jim Irsay also specifically mentioned Baylor's Robert Griffin III as another player his franchise is considering with the first pick. Irsay has said that his team plans to select a quarterback with the first pick. Dane Brugler, Pete Prisco and I each project the Colts to ultimately choose Luck in our current mock drafts.

The Colts aren't necessarily expected to actually sign anyone at this early stage of the process but the ability to negotiate with players could make their decision at No. 1 that much easier. 

The vast majority of the draft order has already been determined, but four teams -- the Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks -- won't know which pick they'll be using until coin-flips break ties. The winner of a coin flip tomorrow morning will determine whether it will be the Panthers or Dolphins selecting eighth. The loser will pick ninth. The Buffalo Bills own the 10th pick. The Chiefs and Seahawks' coin flip will determine which club gets the No. 11 and No. 12 overall picks. 

Regardless of which teams win the coin flip, the competing teams will alternate picks in Rounds 2-7.   
             

Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:49 pm
 

Panthers plan private visit with LSU DT Brockers

Typically NFL teams wait until after the Combine and Pro Day workouts to schedule private visits with potential draft picks.

The Carolina Panthers, however, have already invited LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers to visit their facility March 8, according to the redshirt sophomore's agent.

Albert Elias of Elias Sports Management announced the proposed meeting via his Twitter account.

Listed by LSU at 6-6, 306 pounds pounds, Brockers ranks among the elite talents in what has shaped up to be a strong defensive tackle class. Brockers is currently second among defensive tackles on NFLDraftScout.com's board (behind Penn State's Devon Still) and is our No. 13 overall rated prospect. He's among six defensive tackles NFLDraftScout.com currently projects as potential first round prospects -- the highest total from any position in the 2012 draft. I'm even higher on Brockers than my peers, ranking him 10th overall on my Big Board.

The Panthers finished 25th in the NFL last season by allowing an average of 130.8 rushing yards per game. Worse, they finished 30th in the league by allowing 18 touchdowns on the ground in 2011. Clearly, improving their run defense will be a priority for Carolina. Dane Brugler and I certainly think the fit in Carolina would be a good one. Each of us currently project the Panthers to select Brockers with their first round pick.   

Starting all 13 games in 2011, Brockers registered 54 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss. Though he only posted two sacks in 2011, some scouts believe LSU's speedy edge rushers simply got to the quarterback before Brockers could and that he'll ultimately prove an effective interior pass rusher in the NFL. Brockers also registered three passes broken up, an interception, a forced fumble and blocked a field goal attempt by Alabama in the BCS championship game.

Brockers only emerged as a full-time starter for the Tigers this past season but teams are enamored with his upside. He shows surprising flexibility for a man of his size, proving able to push interior linemen back with good power and pad level. Brockers, who signed with LSU as a very highly regarded defensive prospect, is a good athlete capable of chasing down ball-carriers. He is also blessed with long arms which help him break free from blocks quickly and present obstacles that quarterbacks and kickers have to avoid with the football. Scouts believe Brockers is just scratching the surface of his potential as he became increasingly effective as the season went on and was arguably the best player on the field in the national championship game.

Posted on: February 10, 2012 3:26 pm
 

Stanford, Baylor each schedule March 22 Pro Days

Unless Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III defy the trend of top-rated quarterbacks choosing not to throw at the Scouting Combine, talent evaluators are going to have a tough time seeing both throw prior to the 2012 draft.

That's because Stanford and Baylor have each scheduled their on-campus "Pro Day" workouts on March 22, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The conflicting schedule could force teams to split up their decision-makers to take in the workouts. This happened last year when the Carolina Panthers sent head coach Ron Rivera to watch Cam Newton's Pro Day workout at Auburn while general manager Marty Hurney reportedly attended Ryan Mallett's workout at Arkansas.

Another possibility, of course, is that Luck and/or Griffin could schedule their own individual workouts so that scouts could attend both.

If scouts are, indeed, forced to choose one or the other, the smart money is on Griffin generating more interest despite the fact that Luck is regarded as the top prospect in the draft. While both quarterbacks are viewed as exceptional talents worthy of top five consideration, Griffin has many more questions to answer prior to the draft than Luck.

Having established himself as the elite talent in the country two years running, Luck's game has already been dissected by most decision-makers. Griffin's ascension has been more sudden. Furthermore, scouts will want to see how Griffin drops back from center after having taken the majority of his snaps out of the shotgun while at Baylor.

While there remains some debate as to which direction the Indianapolis Colts may go with the No. 1 overall pick, they are thought to be leaning towards Luck. Should they take Griffin or any other player with the first pick, the line of suitors to trade up into the St. Louis Rams' No. 2 pick would be a long one. Should Griffin not be drafted No. 1, however, it remains to be seen if he generates the same trade interest or if he "falls" past No. 2 overall. Among the teams expected to be interested in adding Griffin would be the Cleveland Browns (owners of the No. 4 overall pick), the Washington Redskins (No. 6), Miami Dolphins (No. 9*), and Seattle Seahawks (No. 12*).  *Miami and Seattle's first round pick won't be decided until a coin-flip at the Combine. They may move up one spot each in the draft order after finishing tied with the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively.

As it stands now, I am projecting Griffin to slip to No. 4 overall, where the Browns could nab him. Dane Brugler has the Heisman winner landing with Cleveland, as well.

Scouts are quick to point out that Pro Day workouts in which quarterbacks are throwing "against air" rather than defenses do not ultimately play a significant role in determining his final grade. That hasn't stopped the "Pro Day season" from becoming a huge part of the pre-draft process. Teams dedicate plenty of money and time crossing the country to attend the workouts.

I, myself, have attended several Pro Day workouts of highly regarded quarterbacks, including last year's for Jake Locker, Sam Bradford's in 2010 and Mark Sanchez in 2009.

Posted on: December 28, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Three of top five 2011 picks voted to Pro Bowl

If there was any questions about the talent and immediate impact ability of the 2011 draft class they may have been answered yesterday when it was announced that three rookies were voted Pro Bowl starters.

The rookies, who incidentally were selected with the second, fourth and fifth picks overall were Denver pass rusher Von Miller, Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green and Arizona cornerback/returner Patrick Peterson.

Miller, NFLDraftScout.com's highest rated senior prospect last year, currently has 64 tackles and 11.5 sacks for the Broncos. While Tim Tebow and the Broncos' dominant run game has garnered most of the hype this year, it has been Miller and the Denver defense that has been just as critical in turning the Broncos from one of the league's worst teams into the possible AFC West champions. Miller's success comes as no surprise as his speed off the edge, when coupled with that of Elvis Dumervil's, gave me reason to predict in August that the former Texas A&M Aggie would win this year's Defensive Rookie of the Year.

As impressive as Miller was making plays on the defensive side of the ball, it isn't difficult to understand why NFLDraftScout.com rated A.J. Green as the best offensive pro prospect in the draft. Green leads the Bengals with 63 catches, 1,031 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Though Calvin Johnson might beg to differ, statistically speaking Green has been the best big play wideout in the NFL this season, havihttp://rob-rang.blogs.cbssports
.com/mcc/blogs/edit-entry/13682485n
g caught 11 passes for 35  yards or more, thus far.

Peterson, who I ranked as the top overall prospect in the 2011 draft, proved to be every bit the playmaker on special teams that his fellow rookies were on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Peterson tied an NFL record with four punt returns for touchdowns this season. He's struggled at times in coverage for the Cardinals, but has gotten better as the season has gone on, recording 60 tackles, 13 passes defensed and two interceptions. Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic asked star wideout Larry Fitzgerald about Peterson and his selection to the Pro Bowl. Fitzgerald's response is sure to make Cardinals' fans excited about Peterson's future.

"I remember in the draft everybody was talking about Von Miller this, Von Miller that -- and he's a fantastic player, a Pro Bowler as well -- but what Patrick has done us for this year, I think, has been the best in the league of anybody, except for maybe Cam Newton."

Fitzgerald was asked if he thought Peterson would make the Pro Bowl as a cornerback one day:

"I think he's right there. He's tremendously talented. I don't he even knows how talented he is. Talking to (Bengals receiver) A.J. Green after the game a little bit, and he's telling me Patrick was by far the best cornerback he's gone against. I feel the same way. When I compete against him, there are not many guys around the league that I play on Sundays who can match up with his physical tools. And then you talk about his ball skills, the way he's able to go attack the football at its highest point, tackle. I mean, the only thing he needs is experience, and I think playing every single game this year gave him that. His confidence you see is just continuing to rise week in and week out."


It should be noted that as good as these three were, one could make the argument that several other top ten picks from the 2011 draft could have been honored with a trip to Hawaii. Quarterback Cam Newton, who of course was drafted No. 1 overall by Carolina, defensive lineman Marcell Dareus (Buffalo, No. 3 overall), wide receiver Julio Jones (Atlanta, No. 6 overall) and pass rusher Aldon Smith (San Francisco, No. 7 overall) each made huge impacts for their respective clubs as rookies.


Posted on: December 23, 2011 7:15 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:45 pm
 

Memphis DT Poe announces that he's heading to NFL

In the history of Memphis Tigers football there have been only two first round picks. The Carolina Panthers selected running back DeAngelo Williams 27th overall in 2006. The Kansas City Chiefs a decade earlier used the 28th overall pick on safety Jerome Woods.

Junior defensive tackle Dontari Poe is hoping to join these former Tigers as soon as possible, announcing via Twitter Friday that he is foregoing his senior season to enter the 2012 NFL draft.

Wrote Poe, under the handle @bigpoe74, "Big decision know I chose right.... NFL here I come."

The news, initially reported by John Taylor of CollegeFootballTalk.com, does not come as a surprise. Listed at 6-5, 350 pounds, Poe had emerged as one of the elite defensive line prospects in the entire country this season and was prominently featured in both my own first round projection, as well as that of NFLDraftScout.com's new analyst, Dane Brugler. Each of us, in fact, are projecting the Houston Texans to make Poe the 26th overall pick.

Despite being constantly double-teamed whether he played inside or out, Poe registered 33 tackles, including eight tackles for loss this season for the Tigers. He was voted the team's defensive MVP following the season and was known in scouting circles to be strongly considering taking advantage of the relative lack of top senior defensive tackles available this year.

With his incredible size, Poe is an obvious candidate for 3-4 teams looking for nose guards, thus Dane and I's projection with the Houston Texans. Poe, however, is remarkably light on his feet for a man of his huge size and therefore will also be strongly scouted by teams using the more traditional four man front, as well.

Poe is currently listed No. 19 on my Big Board rankings. The Second Team All-Conference USA pick is currently ranked fourth among defensive tackles graded by NFLDraftScout.com and the No. 32 player, overall.


Posted on: December 8, 2011 9:14 am
 

Source: OT Matt Kalil "set to return" to USC

Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil is "set to return" for his senior season according to a source close to the situation.

Kalil, 6-6 and 295 pounds, just finished his second season as the Trojans' starting left tackle. He earned First Team All Pac-12 honors and is currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 3 overall prospect in the country. Though his older brother, Ryan, returned for his senior campaign at USC prior to the center being drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft by the Carolina Panthers, most expected Matt to leave early.

A high-ranking NFL scout confirmed that he'd also heard Kalil was "definitely leaning towards returning" and that the decision surprised he and his scouting peers, as well.

"If he does indeed return, it would be a bit surprising. He's the top offensive tackle in the country. The senior class [at offensive tackle] is a weak group. At worst, he'd be looking at a top ten pick. That fact alone would send most guys into the draft."

Kalil's remarkable combination of size and athleticism had kept the Dallas Cowboys' 2011 first round pick Tyron Smith playing on the right side during his career with the Trojans. That didn't keep Jerry Jones and his staff from selecting Smith with the No. 9 overall pick. Smith, incidentally, has performed well this season as the Cowboys' starting right tackle.

Kalil has long been projected to enter the 2012 draft. Chad Reuter and I have each projected him as a potential top five pick in our current first round mock drafts.

Should Kalil return, it could set off of chain reaction pushing other talented USC underclassmen -- including quarterback Matt Barkley -- to shun the NFL and return for their senior seasons. The Trojans' bowl ban ends this year. Considering the talent this team has potentially coming back, a return to national title contention would appear possible.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com