Tag:New York Jets
Posted on: March 8, 2012 7:57 pm
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TE Allen doesn't run at ProDay after slow Combine

Top-ranked tight end Dwayne Allen didn't attract attention for what he did at Clemson's Pro Day on Thursday, but rather for what he didn't do.

   Allen, who clocked an unimpressive 4.89 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month, didn't even run the 40 this time.
   "I'm not a track guy - I'm a football player," Allen said. "Just watch me on film. If you watch me on film, I play way faster, and that's all that matters."
   Many of the 44 NFL personnel on hand for Allen's workout might agree, including New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, who met with Allen at the NFL Combine and was present again at Clemson.
   Allen, the reigning Mackey Award winner who is forgoing his senior season to enter the draft, still projects as one of if not the top tight end available.
   He had 50 catches, including eight for touchdowns, last season, and although he may not be the fastest straight-line runner, some consider him to be the best combination of size, speed, hands and blocking ability.

   --DE Andre Branch (6-4, 259) is another potential first-round pick, currently ranked as the No. 4 defensive end by NFLDraftScout.com.
   He was inconsistent at times last season, showing a tendency to disappear from game to game. One week before 11 tackles, including six for loss and four sacks, in a win over Virginia Tech, he had just one tackle against Florida State.
   But Branch still wound up leading the ACC with 10.5 sacks and making 85 tackles. Scouts love his size, length and explosive burst as well as his versatility - he could be effective in either a 4-3 or 3-4 set. He's coveted for his pass-rush ability.
   Branch, who like Allen is a potential first-round pick, also chose not to run the 40, instead standing on his impressive 4.70 clocking at the NFL Combine.
   "I just wanted to show my versatility today," said Branch, who said he's had contact with about 20 NFL teams. "It's pretty stressful because you want to be great, but at the same time this is what you live for."

   --DT Brandon Thompson (6-2, 316) may have done more than anyone else to impress scouts at Clemson's Pro Day, including clocking a 4.9 time in the 40 that prompted cheers from many on hand.
   "I think I helped myself," Thompson said.
   Not that he needed much help - scouts have been high on Thompson since he emerged as a standout run-stopper up the middle two seasons ago and continued to enhance his stock last season, when he had 77 tackles and a team-high 18 quarterback pressures.
   At 6-2, he's considered "stumpy" and not as versatile as some other top-notch defensive linemen by some scouts, but most are impressed by his "elite burst" off the snap as well as his aggressiveness and consistency.
   "He goes hard all the time," one scout said.

   --FB Chad Diehl (6-2, 260) took a hard blow to the head during Senior Bowl practice and missed that all-star game, then got a double dose of disappointment when he didn't receive an invitation to the NFL Combine.
   So Clemson's Pro Day was a chance for him to shine, and the burly back came through with a 31-inch vertical jump, a 4.9 40 and 28 reps of 225 pounds -- numbers good enough to reaffirm his status as one of the top five fullbacks available in the draft.
   He may be hurt by the fact that few NFL teams use traditional fullbacks, particularly those with limited pass-catching skills, but his ability to overpower defenders at the point of attack is unquestioned.
   Diehl may be a late-round pick or may have to go the free-agent route, but is bound to end up sticking on a roster somewhere after proving his worth as a special teams player.

Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:51 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 2:55 pm
 

Thompson turning heads at Clemson Pro Day

Brandon Thompson arrived at Clemson with potential. But not much strength.

As a true freshman, Thompson was asked to perform a strength test -- pushing up 225 pounds on the bench press. He completed 13, with some degree of strain to get there.

"His development strength-wise is incredible," said coach Dabo Swinney.

Thompson, a standout defensive tackle in the ACC, is considered a fringe first-round pick as he leaves Clemson four years later. In his most recent strength test at the Scouting Combine, he did 35 reps. He also had a 9-feet, 7-inch broad jump at 6-2, 315 pounds on Thursday before he posted an unofficial time of 5.0 and 5.12 in the 40-yard dash.

"He's a great football player, a great individual," Swinney said. "As a player -- you can't move him. He loves to practice. He does it the right way. He's going to have a great NFL career."

Clemson has had 25 players make NFL rosters since Swinney arrived. Defensive end Andre Branch and Thompson could be first-round picks in 2012.

Swinney said several teams have asked him about Branch's ability to play the traditional defensive end spot and if he could cover as an outside linebacker in 3-4 and 4-3 defenses.

Of the teams represented at Clemson's Thursday Pro Day, the New York Jets sent head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

At least 29 NFL teams were accounted for, according to Clemson.

Marc Ross, the New York Giants' director of college scouting, was also in attendance.

We'll be posting more on Clemson's Pro Day as we get updates. Keep the blog refreshed as today is a busy one for Pro Day workouts with Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska and Washington among the universities with prominent NFL prospects expected to work out today. Keeping track of all of this year's Pro Days? Check out this link.     

Posted on: December 29, 2011 2:28 pm
 

Wright vs Trufant worthy Alamo Bowl undercard

A suspect University of Washington defense will attempt to slow down Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III tonight in the Alamo Bowl.

One of the best defenses the Huskies have to limit Griffin is to keep him on the sideline. As such, expect UW to attempt to control the clock by handing the ball off again and again to their own superstar junior, First Team All Pac-12 running back Chris Polk.

With these two stars earning much of the pregame hype, an intriguing one on one matchup hasn't gained the attention it deserves.

Throughout much of the night you can expect to see Baylor senior wide receiver Kendall Wright being covered by Washington junior cornerback Desmond Trufant. It is a matchup that I believe is quietly among the ten best one on one battles of the bowl season.

In catching 101 passes for 1,572 yards and 13 touchdowns this season, Wright emerged from his quarterback's shadow as a bona fide first round prospect, himself. I've had scouts compare the 5-10, 190 pound Wright to Carolina Pro Bowl receiver Steve Smith due to their similar straight-line speed and playmaking skills.

Trufant, the younger brother of the Seattle Seahawks' Marcus and New York Jets' Isaiah, has the athleticism to join his brothers playing cornerback in the NFL. He's earned Honorable Mention honors after two of his three starting seasons with the Huskies and appeared poised to gain even better accolades this year when he helped secure victories over Eastern Washington and Hawaii in Washington's first two games. Listed at 6-0, 184 pounds, Trufant finished the regular season with 61 tackles and tied for second in the Pac-12 with 15 passes defended. He's currently graded by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 8 junior cornerback in the country.

Trufant, in fact, played well enough early in the year to do some preliminary exploring of his draft stock, I've been told. Those close to the situation believe he's planning to return for his senior season, however.

In a game pitting Griffin vs. Polk as two "heavyweight" prospects, don't forget to keep an eye on the undercard matchup on the outside. It not only will give a good barometer of each player's ability to handle legitimate NFL competition, the winner of the battle could play a critical role in determing which team emerges tonight from San Antonio victorious.

Posted on: December 26, 2011 11:13 am
 

QB Moore among 4 from Boise St invited to Sr Bowl

Quarterback Kellen Moore finished his career at Boise State with a 50-3 record. He'll get an opportunity to play in one more game with the familiar blue and orange Broncos helmet, as he and three other Boise State standouts have been invited to play in the 2012 Senior Bowl.

Running back Doug Martin, defensive lineman Billy Winn and safety George Iloka will join Moore in Mobile, Alabama for the nation's premier college football all-star game, according to a report from Chad Cripe of the Idaho Statesman.

While everyday college football fans might be surprised to see so many Broncos represented in this game, those paying attention are not. This senior class of Broncos enjoyed a spectacular run of 50 wins over the past four years, including a sparkling 6-0 record against automatic qualifying BCS teams like Oregon (twice), Oregon State, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Arizona State. Boise State finished ranked in the top 11 after each of these players' four seasons.

Kellen Moore gets all of the fanfare and rightfully so considering his gaudy statistics. He leaves Boise ranked first in wins (50) and interception percentage in college football history. Just 1.69% of Moore's 1,628 career passes were intercepted, compared to 142 passing touchdowns -- the second most in NCAA history.

At 6-0, 195 pounds, however, and possessing an adequate arm (at best), Moore is generally regarded as a late round or free agent NFL prospect. NFLDraftScout.com rates him as the 15th best quarterback likely to be available in the 2012 draft, in fact. My personal evaluation of Moore can be read here.

While Moore gets the hype, it will be Martin and Winn competing to be the first Bronco selected in the 2012 draft.

NFLDraftScout.com has ranked the 5-09, 210 pound Martin among the elite senior running back prospects in the country the entire season. I've given him a second round grade, but with the lower value most teams are now placing on running backs, NFLDraftScout.com is projecting him to go in the third. Martin, a hard-running back with arguably the most lethal spin move in college football, racked up an eye-popping 3,431 yards and 43 touchdowns over his Boise State career. Seeking a spark against Arizona State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas last Thursday the coaches put him back to receive kickoffs, something he'd done only 26 times previously in his career. Martin promptly returned the opening kickoff 100 for a score against the Sun Devils.

Winn lined up at defensive end and defensive tackle for the Broncos and scouts are projecting the 6-3, 300 pounder to provide similar versatility in the NFL. Winn only posted one sack this season among his 30 tackles (including six tackles for loss) so it isn't fair to expect him to attack the edge, but his size and power make him a natural run defender capable of lining up outside in the 3-4 and inside in the 4-3. Scouts would have liked to see more consistency out of Winn throughout his career, but he did have a tendency to enjoy some of his best games against top competition. Considering the relative lack of top-flight defensive linemen in the 2012 senior class, some believe he has a chance to parlay his Senior Bowl opportunity into a top 40 grade. Winn is currently graded by NFLDraftScout.com as the 53rd overall prospect and sixth among defensive ends.

Of the four prospects Iloka has received the least amount of fanfare, but Boise State has consistently churned out NFL-caliber defensive backs over the past several seasons, highlighted by the New York Jets making Kyle Wilson (another Senior Bowl standout) a first round pick two years ago. Bigger and potentially faster than some of the so-called "elite" safety prospects in the country, the 6-3, 213 pound Iloka has long been a standout at free safety for the Broncos and even slid to cornerback for a few games this season as Boise State was hit hard by injuries at the position. He was held without an interception in 2011 but finished second on the team with 57 tackles and has the fluidity and size combination to project as either a strong or free safety in the NFL. Iloka is currently ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 4 overall free safety prospect and third among seniors.

These four prospects could be joined by several other Boise State players to hear their name called out on draft weekend four months now. Pass rusher Shea McClellin and offensive tackle Nate Potter, in particular, are considered likely candidates to get drafted and could wind up with all-star invitations of their own shortly.

Posted on: October 20, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 8:12 pm
 

MSU suspends emerging star Gholston for punch

One of the more intriguing matchups of the weekend just lost a bit of its luster, as Michigan State defensive end William Gholston has been suspended for Saturday's tilt against Wisconsin.

Gholston, a 6-7, 280 pound sophomore who leads the Spartans with seven tackles for loss (including 1.5 sacks), was flagged last week after throwing a punch against Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan. The personal foul penalty was obviously deemed not serious enough for his actions, which have become a bit of a YouTube sensation. The video, courtesy of DetroitUofM7, can be seen here.

The loss is a signficant one for the Spartans, the nation's top-ranked defensive unit, as they prepare to face a Wisconsin team that has been steamrolling opponents on their way to a sparkling 6-0 record and No. 6 ranking in the latest AP Poll.

MSU boasts one of the nation's better defensive lines, though most focus on junior defensive tackle Jerel Worthy. Worthy, who like Gholston has started the first six games of the season, has significantly less tackles (12) and tackles for loss (4.5) than Gholston.

Gholston, in case you were wondering, is indeed related to former Ohio State standout (and New York Jets' bust) Vernon Gholston. The two are cousins.

Posted on: October 1, 2011 9:20 am
 

Five prospects I'll be scouting closely Saturday

Each Friday I list my "Five prospects" that I'll be focusing on for the upcoming weekend. In reality, I'm focusing on dozens of prospects each week, but the players listed below are playing in high profile games and against the caliber of competition that I believe provides us with an opportunity to truly assess how a collegiate player might fare when asked to make the huge jump to the NFL.

Typically I focus on senior prospects in this space. However, with it becoming more and more obvious as to which underclassmen are considering the jump to the pros, I'll be incorporating a few more juniors and redshirt sophomores in the coming weeks.

Sometimes it also leads to the player being featured in Draft Slant , NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com's weekly NFL Draft preview. In each PDF issue of Draft Slant Senior Analyst Chad Reuter breaks down six more players in Filmroom Notes, updates our Top 64 prospects overall and offers extensive previews of the next week's action. Here is the link to this week's issue of Draft Slant. Or for the entire season click this link . Looking for a specific week? Download past issues from the past three years here.

Without any further adieu, here are the five prospects, as well as the cable provider and time you can expect to see them.

QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M: This is the second consecutive week that I listed Tannehill as part of this series. Last week, it was a tale of two halves for the senior quarterback and his Aggies. In the first half against Oklahoma State, Tannehill looked every bit like the first round quarterback (and A&M the top ten team) I expected. Everything fell apart in the second half, however, as Tannehill threw three interceptions at home and the Cowboys came back for the big conference win. I am not ready to give up on Tannehill quite yet, especially when two of his three interceptions appeared to be the result of poorly executed route-running. With one loss already on their record, Texas A&M must win the rest to have a chance at the type of season they were hoping for. Arkansas, like Oklahoma State, relies more on their own offense rather than a stifling defense to win games. They are athletic, however, and playing at home. They're also smarting after their own conference loss (to Alabama). The mental toughness or weakness that Tannehill demonstrates in this game will go a long way in determining whether scouts believe he has the leadership skills necessary to be the face of an NFL franchise.  This game begins at noon ET and will be televised by ESPN.

CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech: 
After leading the entire country last year with nine interceptions, junior cornerback Jayron Hosley has picked up right where he left off, snaring two picks already this season. This week he'll be asked to help shut down a Clemson offense that has been equally impressive. Clemson's sophomore quarterback Tahj Boyd and freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins earned All-ACC quarterback and receiver honors for their play after each of the past two games. Boyd leads the ACC in total yards, passing yards and passing touchdowns. Watkins has caught 14 passes for 296 yards and four touchdowns... in just the past two games. Hosley possesses the quick feet, balance and speed to put an end to the Tigers' offense fireworks but will need to play with greater consistency than he has throughout much of his young career. A strong performance in this game could push Hosley onto my Top 32 Big(ger) Board.  This game begins at 6:00 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN2.

ILB Donta Hightower, Alabama: Not surprisingly, there are a host of future NFL players that I and pro scouts will be focusing on in this key SEC showdown between Alabama and Florida. One could make the argument that Hightower, while one of the best, also is facing the toughest task this week as he'll be asked to slow down the Gators' speedy due of Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps, each of whom rank in the top ten in the SEC in rushing. Demps has been particularly explosive, averaging a stunning 9.4 yards per carry. Hightower is beginning to play with the same speed and explosiveness that was evident early in his career before a major knee injury suffered two years ago robbed him of some of his playmaking abilities. Big enough that some teams envision him as a future defensive end, the 6-4, 260 pound Hightower certainly has the bulk teams want, but his agility and open-field tackling skills will be put to the test in this one. With so much NFL talent on the field, this is the game I am most looking forward to scouting, Saturday.  This game begins at 8:00 ET and will be televised by CBS.

WR Nick Toon, Wisconsin: As impressive as the talent level is in the Alabama-Florida game, there certainly isn't much of a dropoff in this first squaring off of Wisconsin and Nebraska as members of the Big Ten. Some believe this game will be replayed in a few months as each team looks poised to make a run to the Big Ten championship game. If that is to be the case, I cannot wait for the individual battle that is going to take place between Toon and Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, my top-rated senior cornerback in the country. Nick, the son of former New York Jets' great Al Toon, is blessed with a similar combination of size, speed and playmaking ability as his father but has been racked with inconsistency throughout his career. Dennard is finally healthy after missing the first three games with a muscle strain. In terms of one on one battles, it doesn't get any better than this... This game begins at 8:00 pm EST and will be televised by ABC. 

SS Tony Dye, UCLA: Like many a UCLA Bruin before him, Dye entered his senior season rated by many scouts among the better safety prospects in the country. However, with Rahim Moore leaving early for the NFL (second round pick by Denver), Dye hasn't yet been able to step up his level of play. The lights likely won't get much better this season for Dye than they will Saturday night against Andrew Luck. With a strong performance in this one, Dye can help his own slipping stock and perhaps give the Bruins a chance against the most well-rounded offense in the country. This game begins at 10:30 pm ET and will be televised by FOX Sports.

p.s. At the request of some diehard draft fans, I'm also including the QBs to watch this weekend. They are:

Matt Barkley, USC hosting Nick Foles, Arizona. 3:30 pm ET on Fox Sports.*
Kyle Cousins, Michigan State visiting Ohio State. 3:30 pm ET on ABC/ESPN

*As well as Tannehill, mentioned above.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:14 am
 

McAdoo, King, Wilson, Mace sign deals

The NFL's supplemental draft came and went Monday with Terrelle Pryor being the only one of the six eligible players to get drafted.

Since, three others have signed NFL free agent contracts. Another has signed with the IFL. Only former Western Carolina cornerback Torez Jones remains without a deal to play for a professional team.

Michael McAdoo signed with the Baltimore Ravens a day after the draft. He had been pursued by a few teams, but surprised clubs by showing up to pre-draft team visits in the neighborhood of 230 pounds. McAdoo had been listed by North Carolina at 6-7, 245 pounds. The former defensive end will be asked to play outside linebacker for Baltimore.

Caleb King signed with the Minnesota Vikings yesterday (Wednesday). Like McAdoo, King surprised teams with his build -- and not necessarily in a good way. He appeared to be "out of shape" according to Tom Pellisero and dropped two passes in his practice debut with the club. King had been viewed by some as a potential draft pick, until being clocked at only 4.71 seconds in the 40-yard dash in a pre-draft workout.

Perhaps the most interesting signing is Wilson, who was signed yesterday by the New York Jets. Wilson, 6-2, 203 pounds, didn't receive much in terms of pre-draft buzz due to a "pro-day" workout that some teams characterized as "not NFL caliber." The Jets clearly didn't agree and it is difficult to argue with Wilson's success at Northern Illinois. He posted 171 tackles over the past three years for the Huskies, recovering four fumbles and intercepting a pass during that time, as well.

There was a lot of buzz, on the other hand, about Mace. While Mace did generate some interest from clubs prior to and following the draft, it was discovered that he could not sign with an NFL team due to a pre-existing contract with the UFL. Mace has signed with the Omaha Nighthawks, as first reported via Twitter by the team's general manager Rick Mueller. Mueller had worked previously in the NFL, serving as a scout and college scouting director with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1994-2000) before moving on to be the Director and later Vice President of Player Personnel with the New Orleans Saints (2000-2008). 
Posted on: June 12, 2011 2:17 pm
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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com