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Tag:Jacksonville Jaguars
Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:29 pm
 

Add New Mexico St RB Turner to "early entry" list

On Thursday the NFL announced that a record 65 underclassmen had officially been declared eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft. 

New Mexico State junior running back Kenny Turner's name was not on the list but due to the fact that he is five years removed from his high school graduating class, it didn't need to be. This is the same reason why Utah State's Robert Turbin's name was not on the list. 

Turner has had an circuitous route to the announcement, which was made via the official New Mexico State Athletics website. As NFLDraftScout.com's No. 32 rated running back of the class of 2013, the decision may at first appear surprising. 

Turner, 26, was viewed as one of the best athletes in the state of Florida when he allowed a momentary act of youthful self-preservation change his life. 

Turner and a group of friends, including current Jacksonville Jaguar wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker got into a heated verbal altercation with another group of young men outside of a Orlando, Florida gas station in July of 2002. The argument escalated into violence when a member of the other group fired a gun. Thomas, then 16, took a gun from the car in which his group was riding in and fired back, injuring two from the rival group. Despite his young age, the seriousness of the crime led to Turner being tried as an adult and for two counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors were willing to drop the two attempted murder charges if Turner agreed to plead guilty to one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. 

Turner was sentenced to and served five years in prison. 

Upon his release and with the urging of his friends, Sims-Walker and Tennessee Titans star Chris Johnson, Turner enrolled at Fullerton College. Before the first game of their season, however, Turner tore the ACL in his right ACL. After a year of rehabbing the injury, Turner now 22, was back at it. On a kick return in his second season with the Hornets, Turner again tore the ACL. Later that season he also tore the LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which required another surgery. 

Turner returned for a third season with the Hornets and enjoyed an All-American season, rushing for 1,513 yards and 18 touchdowns and helping lead Fullerton to a 10-2 record. His statistics caught the attention of FCS teams. So too did the fact that at 5-10, 192 pounds he ran a 4.37.

Turner signed with New Mexico State and took the first carry of his FCS career 18 yards for a touchdown. His statistics in 2010 were solid (461 rushing yards and two touchdowns and 25 receptions for 203 yards) but pale in comparison to Turner's breakout campaign this past season in which he led the Aggies with 1,074 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also finished second on the team with 46 catches for 514 yards and three scores. 

"First of all I would like to thank Coach Walker, Dr. Boston and the NM State administration for giving me the opportunity to play Division I football at New Mexico State," Turner said. "Coming out of junior college I had a few other offers to play Division I football, but after I visited New Mexico State I felt that it was home and I felt that it was the right decision for me. This was a very difficult decision I had to make but when it came down to it I was going to be 27 years old, and in the NFL and at the running back position, age is a factor. So I need to make the jump from college to the NFL. Again, I appreciate all the support and I enjoyed my time as an Aggie."

Considering Turner's age and past, he's going to have a difficult time finding a team willing to invest a draft pick in him, especially considering the running back position may just be the strength of the 2012 draft class. That said, look at the burst and agility he shows as a runner in scoring this touchdown as well as the ability to track the ball over his shoulder on this score. At minimum he'll get a tryout and should Turner get a real opporutnity (like the Scouting Combine) who knows what could happen.

One of the most tried and true strategies I use when evaluating prospects is to listen to other players. Who knows better than they which athletes really are a step ahead of the others? 

Sims-Walker certainly is going to be loyal to his friend but his strong words predicting Turner's future success in the pros doesn't just sound like loyalty. It sounds like an NFL athlete who knows the goods when he sees it.

"I keep telling everybody it's just a waiting game," Sims-Walker told Geoff Grammer of The New Mexican in August of 2010. When he (Sims-Walker), Turner and [Chris] Johnson work out together, he said, it is Turner who sets the pace. "New Mexico State got a steal, and I promise you he'll be (in the NFL). I'll put my house on it. Kenny Turner will be in the league."

Posted on: January 1, 2012 3:51 pm
 

It's official. Colts lose, own No. 1 pick

The fascinating drama some guy predicted back in September might occur, will indeed.

The Indianapolis Colts, in losing 19-14 Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars, have secured the rights to the No. 1 pick of the 2012 draft.

If the Colts aren't absolutely convinced that Peyton Manning will return to All-Pro form next year, they'll be hard pressed to pass up the opportunity to draft the franchise quarterback to lead them into a new era.

Many, including NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler and myself, have predicted that the Colts will ultimately select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Those who think the Colts might do something other than take Luck, generally argue Polian could take another passer, Baylor's Heisman-Tropy winner Robert Griffin III.

All of which sets up for a fascinating decision for the Colts. With no clear top defensive prospects to realistically consider over Luck and Griffin, they'll either have to take a quarterback, trade the pick or trade Manning.

The 2011 NFL regular season boasted plenty of drama.

The 2012 pre-draft season is starting off just as intriguing.

Posted on: May 16, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: May 19, 2011 5:12 pm
 

Finding the Fits -- Safety

Over the last two weeks I have been highlighting a different position each day in an attempt to Find the Fit -- identifying 2011 prospects who are a particularly good schematic fits for the club that selected him. I'll also highlight one player per position who I believe could struggle in his new NFL role. Too often in the past rookies who have struggled in the NFL have done so because they were simply drafted into schemes that didn't fit their individual strengths.

Here are the links for the other positions:
The 2011 safety class was as poor as I've seen it in 12 years of professional scouting. Much of this has to do with the fact that the 2010 safety crop was as good as I've ever seen it -- and was highly fortified by underclassmen, leaving the cupboard very bare this year. As expected, UCLA's Rahim Moore was the first safety selected, but even he wasn't drafted until No. 45 overall -- and some view him as a possible cornerback in the NFL.

Just like there were at every position, however, there was talent to be found in 2011.
Players are listed in alphabetical order.

Quality Fits:

Chris Conte, Chicago Bears: Conte played cornerback for the first three years of his career at Cal, so when he made the switch to free safety as a senior, he flew a bit under the radar for most. However, while Moore earned most of the attention in the Pac-10, Conte was the more reliable tackler and coverage defender despite his limited experience. The Bears have experimented with undersized safeties for years under Lovie Smith, but in the 6-2, 197 pound Conte, they get a rangy centerfielder with a legitimate combination of size and speed. The learning curve will be steep considering his lack of experience at the position, but Conte will prove a starting caliber free safety early in his NFL career.

Shiloh Keo, Houston Texans: I have my reservations about how well Keo will be able to cover NFL speed, but the primary issue in the Houston secondary the past few seasons hasn't been speed -- it has been a lack of instincts and reliable open-field tackling. In these areas, Keo ranks among the elite safeties in the entire 2011 draft. Keo's initial impact will almost certainly be felt on special teams - where he could prove to be a demon. A playmaking punt returner in college, watch for Keo to make the adjustment to special teams coverage, rather than returning. One might argue that in the fifth round, the Texans should have been looking for a future starter (which I don't know that Keo will ever become), but at pick No. 144, there were few players more guaranteed to make a more immediate impact on special teams, so I see the pick as having good value.

Mark LeGree, Seattle Seahawks: LeGree, a free safety at Appalachian State, could be asked to play a hybrid safety in Pete Carroll's scheme as the Seahawks used the No. 14 overall pick last year on another free safety -- Earl Thomas -- and loved his playmaking skills as a rookie. LeGree, who intercepted 22 passes and was a three-time All-American at Appalachian State, has similar ball skills as Thomas and good speed. He could play the deep middle and free up Thomas to attack the line of scrimmage as the Steelers do with Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu. Like Keo, LeGree simply offered too much value in the fifth round (No. 156 overall) to fall further.

Questionable Fit:

Chris Prosinski, Jacksonville Jaguars: It is perhaps a little unfair to characterize Prosinski as a questionable fit considering how badly the Jaguars needed help at safety and the former Wyoming standout's unique athleticism. A three-year starter for the Cowboys, it was a bit of a surprise when Prosinski wasn't invited to the Combine considering his high level of play and the relative weakness of the position. He answered all questions about his athleticism at his Pro Day when he registered a 4.39 40, 39 1/2-inch vertical, 4.28 short shuttle, and 11-foot-2-inch broad jump. That said, I do have some concerns about his ability to transition to the NFL. Jaguars' general manager Gene Smith might be the NFL's most aggressive draft-day talent evaluator. This pick might turn out well like some of his past selections, but in my conversations with other teams' scouts, this was viewed as a legitimate reach.





Posted on: April 27, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Trade scenarios for bottom of 1st round

There has been a great deal of speculation that there will be a handful of quarterbacks selected in the first round. After the Jacksonville Jaguars (who own the No. 16 pick), however, there is only one team -- the Seattle Seahawks (No. 25) with an obvious need for a young passer.

So, unless we see several teams reach for quarterbacks in the first half of a draft loaded with talented offensive and defensive linemen, there is going to be a fair amount of trading into the second half by QB-needy teams if these predictions are to come true. One of the fascinating elements of this year's QB class is how widely disputed the ranking of the players is among NFL teams. I've spoken to clubs that see Washington's Jake Locker as the No. 3 quarterback of the class and TCU's Andy Dalton as seventh best option. Others have the two flipped, with every combination of Florida State's Christian Ponder, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick ranking 3rd-7th, as well. Auburn's Cam Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, of course, are each expected to be top ten picks.

Here is a look at the teams currently slated in the bottom half of the first round whose picks could be for sale.

Philadelphia (No. 23) -- Many throughout the league believe that the Eagles will be very tempted by Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith. While Smith is certainly a first round talent, his myriad of off-field concerns could push him out of the first. The Eagles could feel that they could land him five or ten spots lower and might be willing to trade as teams needing a QB jump ahead of Seattle.

Seattle (No. 25) -- Because Seattle has a clear need for a young quarterback, there is a belief among some that they'll reach for a quarterback at No. 25 if they have to. General manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have noted on numerous occasions, however, their intent to beef up the offensive and defensive lines. It certainly could be smoke-screening on the part of the Seahawks, but with no third round (due to last year's trade for Charlie Whitehurst), the Seahawks will almost surely be entertaining offers to move down.

New England (No. 17, No. 28, No. 33) -- I list all three of the Patriots' picks within the top 33 selections because history tells us it is unlikely that Bill Belichick is going to keep all of them. Whether he packages some combination of the picks to move up for a pass rusher or moves down in an effort to be in the same position of power for next year remains to be seen. As I've mentioned before, one of the reasons that teams may look to trade into the late portion of the first round this year would be the longer contracts potentially available to players drafted in the first round. That will appeal to QB-needy teams like the Titans and Bengals, among others.

Posted on: April 20, 2011 5:13 pm
 

Source -- Jags, Titans "very high" on Kaepernick

The buzz throughout the NFL right now is that as many as seven quarterbacks could be selected in the first two rounds.

As I've previously pointed out, the order with which those quarterbacks might go is pehaps the most interesting part of potential run on quarterbacks. There is a huge disparity among teams as to the order in which these quarterbacks will be selected.

Take Nevada's Colin Kaepernick , for example.

I've spoken with a variety of clubs who believe that Kaepernick is a second or third round talent, at best. They told me they have Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallett and Christian Ponder all rated ahead of Kaepernick.

However, other sources appear to be exceptionally high on the strong-armed Nevada passer, including, according to league sources, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

The Jaguars appear to be particularly good fit for Kaepernick, as they have a veteran passer already in place to give him a year or more to "redshirt." The Jaguars feature David Garrard as their starter and also have veteran Luke McCown in the fold. The Jaguars have not drafted a quarterback since using their first round pick on Byron Leftwich in 2003.

The Titans, on the other hand, could be in a more desperate situation. Vince Young is almost certainly gone. Veteran Kerry Collins is an unrestricted free agent who may retire. Chris Simms is also an unrestricted free agent, leaving last year's sixth round pick, Rusty Smith, as the only passer currently on the roster.

Sources tell me each club is "very high" on Kaepernick, suggesting that either one of the two teams could use their first or second round pick on the Nevada quarterback. I'd be stunned to see Kaepernick go to Tennessee at No. 8, but Jacksonville has surprised us before in the first round and either team could do worse than to take a gamble on the athletic, strong-armed passer in the second round. 

As it stands now, neither Chad Reuter nor I have Kaepernick in our current two-round mock drafts . That, however, might change.
Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Seahawks would like to trade down; won't go far

The Seattle Seahawks held a pre-draft press conference yesterday with general manager John Schneider fielding questions from the local media.

Among the topics he addressed was the report from Peter King of Sports Illustrated that "Seattle wants to trade down so bad from 25 that John Schneider can taste it."

Rather than dismiss it - as many general managers would do at this point in the cloak and dagger pre-draft season, Schneider expanded upon it, explaing that, "Personally, I’d like to move back. I have confidence in our ability in those middle rounds to do some good stuff.”

Presumably, the Seahawks would like to move down to recoup the third round pick they gave up last year for the rights to quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

And therein lies the irony of the situation.

It is the fact that Whitehurst is the only quarterback currently on the Seattle roster that makes it unlikely that Seattle will look to trade down too far on draft day, if they are able to land a deal in the first place. As I pointed out in a previous blog post, teams are expecting the contract rules to remain the same for this draft as they have been in the past. Now, this could change when a new CBA is signed, but teams generally go by the rules that have been in place, rather than projecting the new rules that could occur.

That means that the maximum number of years in a contract for a first round pick drafted between No. 16 and No. 32 is a five year deal. Players drafted No. 33 or later, however, can only receive a four-year contract.

Should Seattle be attempting to trade down with the hopes of landing a quarterback -- as some believe to be the case -- they won't want to trade out of the first round. The value of the extra year of the rookie deal is simply too valuable -- especially when dealing with a quarterback likely to spend at least the first year of the deal on the sideline.

It is the same reason why some of the teams in the top of the second round who may want to take a quarterback -- the Bills, Bengals, Cardinals, Titans, 49ers, Jaguars, etc. -- may ultimately have to trade up into the late first round to take the player who might have been available to them if they'd stayed put. In this wacky year, teams aren't just competing against each other for the rights to players, they want the longer, potentially cheaper contract for grooming their quarterbacks of the future.


Posted on: April 8, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Locker "excellent" at SEA, MINN private workouts

Washington quarterback Jake Locker is one of the more polarizing players of the 2011 draft.

As such, he has a busy travel schedule over the next few weeks as teams try to determine if they are willing to use a first round pick on the embattled Husky passer.

If Locker's recent private workouts for the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks are any indication, his stock could be moving up at precisely the right time.

According to representatives of both teams, Locker has performed very well, building off of the momentum he'd gained from a surprisingly impressive performance at the Combine and even better workout at his March 30 Pro Day.

A source with the Vikings characterized Locker's workout as "very impressive" and claimed that the UW passer "might be in the mix" for the Vikings in the first round. Minnesota owns the No. 12 pick of the draft.

Should Locker get past Minnesota, Miami and Jacksonville -- two other teams some in the league feel may be considering him strongly -- Locker's best bet to get drafted in the first round might be with his "hometown" Seahawks.

Locker worked out for Seattle yesterday and a source from that franchise characterized his workout as "excellent" noting that Locker performed in a high manner in both the whiteboard and actual throwing session of the workout.

The source also characterized Locker as a "great kid who has a huge upside because on the intangibles."

As it stands now, I don't have Locker being available to either the Vikings or Seahawks. In fact, I currently project him to be picked by the Washington Redskins , currently the owners of the No. 10 overall pick.

There is no denying Locker needs time to play in the NFL. However, served as a professional NFL Draft analyst for 12 years, I cannot think of a quarteback with Locker's degree of upside and intangibles that was not among the Top 32 players selected. 


Posted on: March 10, 2011 1:06 pm
 

Virtual Who's Who of NFL expected at Miami ProDay

Though the top Hurricane prospects invited to the Combine -- cornerback Brandon Harris, defensive lineman Allen Bailey, wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, linebacker Colin McCarthy, offensive lineman Orlando Franklin, running back Graig Cooper and cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, among them -- aren't expected to perform the measurables at today's Pro Day, a virtual Who's Who of NFL personnel is expected to be hand to see them perform their positional drills.

Head coaches Bill Belichick, Jack Del Rio, Tony Sparano, Mike Tomlin and Raheem Morris and high ranking front office personnel Gene Smith (Jaguars), Jeff Ireland (Dolphins), Kevin Colbert (Steelers) and Mark Dominik (Bucs), among many others are expected to attend this morning's workouts, according to Miami's official athletic website . According to Hurricanes' staff, 29 of the 32 NFL teams will be represented, with only the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans not on the list. The Patriots have the largest contingent in Miami, with no less than seven representatives having checked in.

Interestingly enough, the Ravens and Jets have their wide receiver coaches on hand (Jim Hostler, Henry Ellard, respectively). Each club is thought to be high on Hankerson and may be considering the Miami receiver with their first round pick.

There are also a host of former Miami stars on hand to watch the workout, including Warren Sapp, Bernie Kosar, Willis McGahee, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen and DJ Williams.

Keep NFLDraftScout.com refreshed for updates as we get them.

 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com