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Tag:Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Posted on: March 10, 2012 12:54 pm
 

Rams get bounty, but dropping to No. 6 has risk

In the wake of the bold trade up by the Washington Redskins to secure the rights to one of the two elite quarterbacks of the 2012 draft class you can expect that there will be plenty of media speculation as to whether head coach Mike Shanahan and his staff overpayed. 

The St. Louis Rams, on the other hand, are universally being lauded for their ability to pry first round picks from the Redskins in the 2013 and 2014 drafts, as well as Washington's second round pick this year for only dropping four spots. 

And while I do believe that this trade could be one of the few in which both teams appear to be "winners," it isn't fair to characterize the Redskins as the only team taking a significant risk with the move. 

Recent conversations with various league sources indicate that six prospects have pulled away as the elite talents of the 2012 draft. Though the order differs slightly per team, the general consensus seems to be that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, Southern Cal offensive tackle Matt Kalil, Alabama running back Trent Richardson, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, and Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon have separated from the rest of the pack. In trading out of the second pick to the sixth, the Rams are still guaranteed to see one of these prospects still available to them. Whether it is one capable of making an immediate impact, however, is the bigger question. 

With obvious needs at wide receiver and cornerback, the Rams would presumably love to see either Claiborne or Blackmon still available. The Minnesota Vikings (owners of the third pick), Cleveland Browns (four) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (five) also have signficant needs at these spots, however. With free agency looming, much will change prior to the draft but Rams fans may not be as thrilled with their options at No. 6 as they may have been when hearing of the bounty of picks their team will receive in the move.

Based on the lowered value of running backs in today's pass-happy NFL, Richardson would appear to be the most logical candidate, at this point, to slip to six. And while the Rams are expected to add a running back during the off-season to ease the burden on star Steve Jackson, adding another elite talent at one of the few positions of strength on the roster is not the recipe for success most teams would follow. 
      
Of course, if the draft works out the way Dane Brugler and I anticipate in our updated mock drafts (which reflect the trade), St. Louis could be celebrating their mighty haul of draft picks and adding a certain playmaker for Sam Bradford to boot.                
Posted on: August 20, 2011 3:01 pm
 

Pryor dazzles 17 teams w/speed. Less so w/ arm?

Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor proved both dazzling and perhaps a bit disappointing Saturday in hastily organized "Pro Day" workout at a Hempfield (Pa) high school in front of a collection of scouts, front office executives, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin and even Indianapolis Colts' owner Jim Irsay.

Former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel was also on hand for the workout, showing his support for the player some blame for the program's recent troubles.

Measuring in at 6-5, 232 pounds Pryor wowed onlookers with his straight-line speed early in the workout, posting times between 4.38-4.41 seconds on a soft FieldTurf surface, according to Zac Jackson's Twitter feed. The soft turf generally slows a player down, at least in comparison to a hard turf or track surface. Therefore, these are lightning fast times for Pryor; ones certain to boost the intrigue of teams considering the playmaker.

As impressive as Pryor was running for the stopwatch, he did not run routes or catch passes as a receiver and was apparently less impressive when throwing the ball. While he threw a tight spiral on many of his throws, he also threw a "duck" after instructing one of his four receivers on hand which route to run and there were several incompletions, according to Jackson.

According to The NFL Network's Albert Breer, Pryor completed 27 of 39 passes. Of the 12 incompletions, Breer counted four drops.

Having not been at Pryor's workout, myself, I can't fairly grade his performance during the throwing session. I have been to multiple Pro Day workouts from quarterbacks, most notably Sam Bradford's, Mark Sanchez's and Jake Locker's. Passes rarely hit the ground during these orchestrated workouts with no defenders.

There were 17 teams present at the workout: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Miami, New England, New Orleans, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Washington.

While the fact that more than half of the league's teams were represented at the Pro Day shows that there is a great deal of interest in the former Buckeye, it also should be noted that there were only a few decision-makers on hand. Most of the scouts in attendance were lower-level area scouts, likely close by due to their normal scouting responsibilities at local colleges during the late summer months. The Steelers, not surprisingly given their close proximity, were well represented. Besides Tomlin, Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert was also reportedly at the workout. Irsay tweeted that his Colts are "not taking Pryor" though he also mentioned that his team is "evaluating the QB [situation]."

The workout, while exciting, isn't likely to change the opinions of teams heading towards Monday's supplemental draft. I've argued for a long time that Pryor is quite an intriguing prospect at wide receiver. He, however, has indicated a strong preference for remaining at quarterback, though he did tell teams and the assembled media at the workout today that he'd play any position asked.

As a quarterback, Pryor's average accuracy and decision-making means that he's at minimum a two-year project for playing the traditional quarterback role. He could, however, make a significant and exciting contribution early in his career as a glorified Wildcat option for a club.

His athleticism and size are such a unique combination that Pryor most likely will earn a middle to late round pick. Most expect that it will come in the 4th to 5th round.
Posted on: August 16, 2011 8:24 pm
 

NFL's Supplemental Draft postponed indefinitely

The NFL informed its 32 teams in an email this evening that the supplemental draft has been postponed, according to a source within the league.

The draft, which had been set to take place Wednesday, has not yet been been rescheduled. The email circulated simply didn't provide a date, according to the source.

The postponement was presumably made to give the league more time to determine whether or not Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor should be found eligible and to allow he and other players time to conduct a Pro Day workout of sorts for scouts. 

Some players have already held workouts, including Georgia running back Caleb King. King worked out Monday in front of representatives from seven teams, including scouts from the Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, according to a story today from Roger Clarkson of OnlineAthens.com.

At this point there are five players confirmed as eligible: Western Carolina cornerback Torez Jones, King, Lindenwood University/Allen Wranglers (IFL) defensive end Keenan Mace, North Carolina defensive end Michael McAdoo and Northern Illinois safety Tracy Wilson. Pryor may be added to the list. Should he be, he'll almost certainly be the first of the prospects selected. Sources throughout the league have placed the over/under on where he'd be drafted (if allowed in) at anywhere between the 3rd and 5th round. King and McAdoo are also receiving draftable grades from some clubs.

While no new date has yet been made for the supplemental draft, the NFL isn't likely to wait long. Teams are busy evaluating the players already on their roster and won't be thrilled to have to wait even longer to determine if they'll add any one else via this special-case draft.
Posted on: August 6, 2011 12:44 pm
 

Syracuse WR Sales, a legitmate prospect, arrested

Last year former Syracuse wide receiver Mike Williams turned in the finest rookie season we've seen in the NFL since Randy Moss exploded onto the scene in 1998. Scouts knew Williams could play. He had been graded as a potential first round pick by some scouts prior to his senior season with the Orange and thus, his rookie statistics (65 catches for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns) were not the huge surprise in the scouting community than you might expect considering Williams fell to the fourth round of the 2010 draft.

He fell to that point because of a myriad of off-field problems.

A former teammate of Williams -- current Syracuse senior receiver Marcus Sales -- can only hope he'll be as fortunate after an arrest July 29 for felony drug possession, among other things.

Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone announced during the media day yesterday that he'd suspended his starting receiver for the arrest, though he stopped short of providing many specifics.
"When there's further information, I will definitely let you know. I've always done that. That's my policy," coach Doug Marrone said at Friday's media day. "We have a legal process that everything has to go through. We also have a judicial process that everything has to go through."
Sales' numbers last season weren't nearly as impressive as the ones that Williams had produced. In fact, prior to the last year's Pinstripe Bowl victory over Kansas State, Sales had only caught 21 passes for 242 yards and a single touchdown. It was Sales breakout performance against the Wildcats that no doubt caught the attention of scouts, however. Sales was virtually unstoppable in the bowl game, catching five passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns in earning easy MVP honors.

News of Sales' arrest and subsequent suspension have the 'Cuse receiver tumbling down NFLDraftScout.com's wide receiver rankings. He's currently our No. 94 rated receiver potentially available for the 2012 draft, despite the fact that he was viewed by some scouts as a potential late-round pick entering the season. NFLDraftScout.com's ranking include underclassmen.

Sales and his older brother, Michael Sales, Jr. were arrested after the car Marcus was driving was pulled over for running a red light. Inside the car, police reported finding an open container of alcohol, as well as several bags of marijuana, a bag of 180 Lortab tablets and several digital scales, according to this very detailed report from Jim O'Hara of The Post-Standard and Syracuse.com. The brothers have been charged with fifth- and seventh- degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second- degree criminally using drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana. Marcus, as the driver, was also charged with running the red light, consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle and having an open container inside a vehicle. 

Sales clearly has bigger concerns at this point than worrying about his potential NFL stock. Should he, however, be able to resume his football career, pro scouts will just as obviously want to investigate the matter further before considering adding him to their roster.
Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Finding the Fits -- Outside Linebacker

Over the last week and a half 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.

Like at inside linebacker, the traditional 4-3 outside linebacker class of the 2011 draft left a lot to be desired. Many of the collegiate defensive ends asked to make the transition to 3-4 rush linebackers I covered in the defensive end group.

Here are the links for the other positions:
Players are listed alphabetically.

Quality Fits:

Chris Carter, Pittsburgh Steelers:  Considering his burst off the edge, closing speed and production, I was surprised to see Carter slip to No. 162nd pick of the draft. The Steelers, of course, do as good of a job of finding edge rushers as any team in the league. Unlike some of the other DE turned OLBs drafted earlier in 2011, Carter shows enough flexibility to dip around the offensive tackle and close on the quarterback -- the critical trait needed to star as a 3-4 rush linebacker. He led the WAC with 11 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss, earning conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. With stars ahead of him, Carter may struggle to find early playing time. When he gets his opportunity, however, he'll do well.

Mason Foster, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It remains to be seen where Foster - who played inside and outside for the Huskies -- will be used by the Bucs, which have key free agents in starting middle linebacker Barrett Ruud and outside linebacker Quincy Black. Foster, who finished second to only Boston College superstar Luke Kuechly in tackles last year (163 stops), has the production and experience to step in at either spot. While he's not as athletic as Black, nor the physical thumper inside that Ruud is, Foster has excellent instincts, uses his hands to slip blocks as well as any linebacker in this draft and is a very reliable open field tackler.

Brian Rolle, Philadelphia Eagles:  As I mentioned  yesterday in my writeup for inside linebackers, the Eagles have shown a preference for undersized, athletic linebackers throughout Andy Reid's tenure. In Rolle, they found one of the smallest (5-10, 229) and most athletic in this year's draft. Rolle's instincts, surprising physicality and pure speed (4.53) made him a star at Ohio State on defense and special teams. He'll likely earn his paycheck initially as a special teams demon for the Eagles, but could surprise if given the opportunity for playing time as a weakside coverage linebacker. 

Questionable Fit:

Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs: Because Houston demonstrated the ability to rack up production as an outside linebacker in Georgia's 3-4 scheme, he has been characterized by some as one of the better OLB prospects in this draft. I'm considerably lower on him than many others, however, and have been long before reports of his failed drug test at the Combine. Quite frankly, Houston is more explosive off the edge when he has his hand in the dirt as a traditional 4-3 defensive end. When rushing from the stand-up position, he's shown only moderate burst and flexibility to turn the corner. Furthermore, I question whether he has the work ethic to hone his craft. On paper, Houston was a "steal" in the third round considering his All-SEC pedigree and eye-popping statistics. In reality, Houston could struggle making the adjustment to NFL talent.

Posted on: April 23, 2011 12:18 pm
 

Vets' character ?s could (should) impact rookies

The end of the Collective Bargaining Agreement has put the 2011 (and future) NFL seasons in doubt. It has eliminated free agency and veteran trades (to this point) and put a damper on the enthusiasm that many fans have about next weekend's draft.

Perhaps the most unfortunate consequence of NFL teams not being able to communicate directly with their veteran players, however, has been the sudden rise in off-field problems for too many of the league's players.

The NFL world is buzzing this morning about the apparent stabbing of Miami wide receiver Brandon Marshall . This, of course, comes on the heels of Tampa Bay Bucs' cornerback Aqib Talib being charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and for Dallas' wide receiver Dez Bryant's silly controversy regarding he or his friend's inability to wear their pants at a level deemed appropriate by police working inside a shopping mall.

The troubles from these veteran NFL players are as wide-ranging as they are predictable.

As many draft fans know, each of these players was plagued by character questions when entering the NFL.

The actions of these (and other) players since the end of the CBA should serve as a reminder to NFL teams that for some players -- even if they don't like trouble, trouble seems to like them.

Others in the media have highlighted specific instances of criminal activity or character concerns with prospects. I, too, have reservations about many prospects in this draft, which is why I've consistently referred to intangibles as one of the primary factors when ranking players on my Big Board.

I (and more importantly, NFL teams) know of prospects being given first round grades from some with multiple arrests, multiple failed drugs tests (including some who failed at the Combine and/or team administered tests since the Combine), and even multiple abortions.

Wake up NFL teams considering these players. These guys aren't holding up red-flags -- they've planted brilliant scarlet banners on their front lawns.

Does anyone believe that players with these mistakes in their past are likely to improve when given a million (or multi) dollar contract?

Some NFL veterans are proving the opposite to be true -- which could (and perhaps should) be all the more reason to proceed cautiously with any and all prospects with legitimate character concerns -- regardless of their athletic talent.

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.

 
Posted on: October 12, 2010 6:06 pm
 

Pair of 4th rounders earn Rookies of the Week

The first step in earning Rookie of the Week honors is, of course, to see the field. Because of their perceived greater talent and their signficantly greater salary, high round picks almost always get the better opportunities to start.

Being fourth round picks, however, certainly hasn't slowed down the progress of Tampa Bay Buccaneers' wideout Mike Williams or Tennessee Titans' cornerback Alterraun Verner .

I've highlighted Williams on numerous occasions, including back in training camp (August 1) when he was already turning heads .

I've long been a fan of Verner, one of the feistier defenders in the draft. I listed him among five players heading up the board as the draft approached (April 7) and was surprised, frankly, that he lasted until the early fourth round.

Unless you're living under a rock somewhere you likely already know that Williams has developed an early rapport with Bucs' young quarterback Josh Freeman. The 3-1 Bucs have featured Williams throughout the season and he entered the matchup against a tough Bengals' secondary leading the team in receptions (12), receiving yardage (139) and receiving touchdowns (2) over the team's first three games. An obvious focus of the Bengals defense, Williams was slowed early in the contest, but stepped up big late, leaping over veteran Johnathan Joseph to catch the tying touchdown with only 56 seconds left. Williams finished with seven grabs for 99 yards and the score.

Like Williams, Verner's solid play contributed to an upset victory. Matched up against a variety of talented receivers and facing Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo didn't seem to faze Verner, as he registered eight tackles and stepped in front of a pass intended for tight end Martellus Bennett and tipped at the line of scrimmage by Dave Ball to make the first interception of his NFL career. Verner returned the ball to the one-yard line, where superstar Chris Johnson quickly gave the Titans a touchdown. Playing opposite an established talent like Cortland Finnegan, Verner's tenacious play has earned raves from coaches and scouts throughout the league.

It is interesting to note how closely Williams and Verner went in the fourth round. Williams was the third pick of the round and 101st pick, overall. Verner was selected only three picks later.

** One final note... I considered listing Arizona quarterback Max Hall as my Offensive Rookie of the Week. He certainly made some gutsy plays in the win over the defending Super Bowl champs, but had the Cardinals defense not saved the day by scoring nearly as many points (14) as they allowed to the Saints (20), the interception and two fumbles lost by Hall would be getting more attention than they currently are. Hall was good enough to win -- and that, in itself, is verrry impressive, but all of the comparison between he and Kurt Warner is hyperbole, in my opinion. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com