Tag:UCLA
Posted on: February 4, 2012 1:50 pm
 

Diamonds in the rough emerging in film study

Over the past few weeks, my fellow NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler and I have been working around the clock to finish up the 300+ player profiles we'll be offering here and for Lindy's NFL Draft Magazine. 

While that time has left me unable to keep up the blog with the frequency I would have liked it has opened my eyes to a few lower rated prospects that haven't been receiving the attention their play warrants.

Here are the names of five prospects whose play forced me to re-evaluate where we've been ranking them... 

QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State: I was disappointed to see Osweiler leave after his junior season as he remains a raw prospect. However, he possesses a strong, accurate arm and much better athleticism than most would reasonably expect given his huge frame (6-7, 240). There has been so much talk about which quarterback is likely to follow up Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin. For my money, that player has been (and remains) Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. But in the race to follow Tannehill, Osweiler has the physical skill-set to lead ahead of next group, including Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Michigan State's Kirk Cousins, the two most impressive quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl. 

CB Ryan Steed, Furman: With a very strong week in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, Steed has been receiving a great deal of positive attention lately. I went back to his junior (as well as senior) film to make sure that the consistency I saw there matched up to his play against lesser competition. Steed is athletic, instinctive and possesses very good ball skills. If he runs in the 4.4s as I expect, he's not just a top 75 guy he might push the Alfonzo Dennard, Leonard Johnson and Stephon Gilmores of the world for a run as a late first round candidate. 

DL/LB Brett Roy, Nevada: Roy played out of position for the Wolfpack, lining up at defensive tackle despite weighing in the 260-270 pound area throughout his career. He has a toned, well-distributed build that isn't going to be able to handle adding the 30+ pounds of "good" weight most teams require at defensive tackle in the NFL. He does, however, show the instincts, lateral agility, vision and open field tackling skills to potentially make the conversion to linebacker for 3-4 clubs. Roy plays to the whistle. I watched him pursue Boise State RB Doug Martin 50+ yards downfield, demonstrating the never-say-die mentality that could help him a roster spot and time to develop.

TE Cory Harkey, UCLA: The traditional tight end is quickly being replaced by hybrid receivers but there are still spots available for blocking specialists. That is precisely what Harkey provides. Harkey caught just one pass as a senior, despite starting all 14 games for the Bruins. He shows the size (6-4, 262), strength, tenacity and technique teams are looking for as an in-line blocker, however, and was invited to the Combine despite his less than impressive catch total...

TE Andrew Szczerba, Penn State: The previous four players I mentioned were all among the players who made the initial invitation list to the Combine. Szczerba did not make this list, though after scouting him in person at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, I believe he has the size, soft hands and blocking skills to warrant a closer look. Szczerba lacks straight-line speed and after missing the entire 2010 season after undergoing back surgery, is a huge medical question mark. In my opinion, these questions, coupled with the 6-5, 265 pound Szczerba starting all 13 games for the Nittany Lions in 2011, simply provide all the more reason why teams should get a chance to look him over in Indianapolis.  
         

Posted on: November 27, 2011 10:43 am
 

Nightmare end to injury-filled Sr season for Dye?

UCLA safety Tony Dye said prior to Saturday night's showdown with cross-town rival USC that the thought of leaving his Bruins without having ever beaten the Trojans would be "personally damaging to me."

Unfortunately, the humbling 50-0 score isn't all that may prove personally damaging to Dye. The UCLA senior also suffered an injury to his right leg that cause trainers to help the safety off the field and led to Dye being carted off the sidelines to take x-rays.

Root Sports sideline reporter Petros Papadakis said the injury "doesn't look good" as Dye left the field in the second quarter. Results of any medical tests are expected to be released Sunday.

The leg injury continues an awful season for Dye, who entered the year as UCLA's most highly touted NFL prospect. Dye entered the year having already started three seasons at strong safety. He was recognized as the Bruins Co-MVP last year (along with now Tennessee Titans linebacker Akeem Ayers) after leading the team with 96 tackles. He was moved to free safety this year to put him in position to make more plays on the ball and to take over for Rahim Moore, a second round pick by the Denver Broncos.

It didn't take long for Dye's senior season to get sidetracked, however. Dye suffered through neck stingers September 10 against San Jose State and though he attempted to play through bouts of pain, numbness and tingling against Texas a week later, he was ultimately pulled and hadn't played until November 19 against Colorado. He considered taking a medical redshirt on the year but elected to return to the field, posting two tackles against the Buffaloes. Dye was held without a tackle prior to getting hurt against USC.

Should the leg injury be as serious as fear, the decision unfortunately, could turn out disastrous for Dye's NFL hopes.

Dye currently has 23 tackles in 2011.
Posted on: November 4, 2011 4:13 pm
 

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:  I've stubbornly kept Tannehill among my Top 32 prospects because he possesses all of the physical characteristics I look for in a developmental quarterback -- namely size, arm strength, accuracy, mobility and toughness. Though few of the Aggies' second-half collapses this season can be directly attributed to poor play from Tannehill, the fact that he is the quarterback -- and presumably the leader -- of a team that has gone through such rough stretches is concerning. Last year Tannehill enjoyed a bit of a breakout performance against the Sooners. The Aggies certainly won't catch the Sooners napping this time around. If Tannehill can demonstrate the mental toughness to go into Norman and beat the Sooners, he'll exorcise plenty of the demons haunting his game this season. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by ABC. 

CB Quenton Washington, South Florida:
 I typically highlight Top 100 prospects in this Prospects to Watch post, but I've seen enough of Washington to view him as a sleeper who could surprise at the next level. Washington has been hampered by a knee injury this season, but has demonstrated the speed and burst to the ball that every team is looking for. He'll have his toughest challenge of the season this week against Rutgers' junior Mohammed Sanu, one of the elite wideouts in the country. This is the type of contest that Washington will have to perform well in if he is to have any chance at improving his stock during the regular season. This game begins at 7 pm ET and will be broadcast by ESPN3.

WR Joe Adams, Arkansas: NFLDraftScout.com currently ranks Adams as a 5th-6th round pick, but this is largely based off of preseason tape in which Greg Childs appeared to be the Razorbacks' elite wideout. With Childs nursing a sore knee throughout much of this season, Adams has emerged as the team's playmaker. At 5-11, 190 pounds, some have compared Adams to former Florida Gator standout Percy Harvin due to each player's extraordinary agility and 4.3 speed. Adams will have a tough test Saturday against a talented South Carolina secondary. Should his strong senior campaign continue, he could be looking at a Top 100 pick -- or perhaps even significantly higher than that... This game begins at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN. 

TE Joseph Fauria, UCLA: NFL teams are looking at the second consecutive weak senior crop of tight ends, which could convince a few underclassmen to consider leaving early. One of them who might is Bruins' junior Fauria, the nephew of former NFL tight end Christian Fauria. Like his uncle, Joseph is an athletic pass-catcher. He also possesses rare size (6-8, 252). I expect most of the television hype to focus on ASU's talented underclassmen, but don't forget about Fauria. The last time the Bruins featured a tight end with this combination of size and receiving skills, the Jaguars made Marcedes Lewis a first round pick.  This game begins at 7:30 pm ET and will be televised by Versus. 

CB 'Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama: Simply put, this is the biggest regular season game in recent memory. As such, there has been more analysis of this game than some BCS Championship showdowns of the past. While there are plenty of prospects to focus on in this contest, I believe the ultimate winner of the this game will come down to which star performs better in one key matchup -- Alabama cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick againt LSU wideout Rueben Randle. The Tigers will likely struggle to run the ball on Alabama, considering their size and experience up front and the hostile environment. The one area in which LSU might be able to hurt the Crimson Tide is with a big play in the passing game. Kirkpatrick has a great deal of talent, but can get caught peeking in the backfield. If he has the game I think he can, Alabama rolls. This game begins at 8:00 ET and will be televised by CBS.

Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:41 am
 

Mano-a-Mano, Week Nine

In addition to the prospects Senior Analyst Rob Rang wrote about in his "five players to watch" blog post, take a look at these memorable ten one-on-one match-ups (plus a slew of honorable mention selections) while perusing this weekend's slate of college football games.

Because players move around based on different formations and what coaches see as favorable match-ups, these prospects won't go against each other on every snap. Scouts will pay attention when they do, however, because they rely on a player's film against top competition to determine their readiness for the NFL.

All times Eastern.

"*" Denotes an underclassman.

1. Stanford QB *Andrew Luck (#12/6-4/235/4.73) at Southern Cal QB *Matt Barkley (#7/6-2/220/4.74)
8:00 pm, ABC

Usually in this space I discuss players likely to literally butt heads, but the battle of two of the nation's top signal callers is too intriguing to ignore. Luck will receive higher marks than Barkley in every category on a scout's report, especially in the athleticism areas. But Barkley could actually get more of a bump from this game than Luck, from whom near-perfection is expected in every outing. League general managers will take note if the former top high school recruit does not shrink under the pressure of both facing Stanford defenders and from taking on the consensus number one pick.

Barkley's impressive performance against Notre Dame last week already showed NFL teams he is capable of making some tough throws (and avoid bad plays) in hostile venues. But as Rob Rang mentioned in his blog post yesterday, a strong outing at his home stadium where he displays the poise and movement within the pocket to avoid pressure (and outside of it to gain first downs with his feet), as well as an ability to put the ball in tight spaces when necessary, will help him shed the "game manager" moniker and lock up a top five draft slot.

2. Stanford LT *Jonathan Martin (#55/6-6/305/5.29) at Southern Cal DE *Nick Perry (#8/6-3/250/4.59)
8:00 pm, ABC

Martin isn't related to a current NFL player like USC left tackle Matt Kalil (brother, Ryan, is the highly-regarded center for Carolina), but his strength and ferociousness both in pass protection and in the run game make some scouts believe he's the top blind side player in the draft (should he decide to join Luck in entering the draft early). He does tend to play with too wide a base at times, making it difficult for him to adjust to spin and inside moves from quick rushers like Perry -- who not only needs to show explosiveness off the snap to beat Martin to the corner, but also counter rushes and consistent hustle chasing Luck and running backs inside to have scouts consider him a top 40 project as a 3-4 'backer or a 4-3 end for teams looking for more speed than size on the edge.

*Matt Kalil (#75/6-6/295/5.05) will have his own challenge holding back Stanford's DE/OLB *Chase Thomas (#44/6-4/240/4.76), who ranks in the top 20 in the FBS in tackles for loss (11.5) and sacks (5.5). Though Thomas isn't as quick or agile as Perry, he will challenge the anchor of Kalil, whose relatively svelte build belies his ability to widen his stance when necessary and stand his ground against strong bull rushes. On many plays, however, he fails to bend and move his feet quickly enough to protect the inside rush lane or mirror defenders pushing him upfield before cutting upfield.

3. Michigan State WR B.J. Cunningham (#3/6-2/216/4.59) at Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard (#15/5-10/205/4.49)
12:00 pm, ESPN

Cunningham ranks in the top 20 nationally in receptions and receiving yards per game, and had a nice game in the Spartans' win over previously undefeated Wisconsin (6-102, TD). Scouts like the feistiness (if not the size) of Dennard, however, who should match up regularly against QB Kirk Cousin's best downfield option. Cunningham does not have elite speed, but he has the size, quick feet, and a burst to create separation from Dennard. Plays can be had if Cousins does not stare down Cunningham so the heady Dennard can close on passes, and if Cunningham's hands are once again solid (and not inconsistent, as they were vs. Michigan). Dennard may also end up shadowing MSU's quicker receiver, Keshawn Martin (#82/5-10/190/4.44), to prevent him from making the type of back-breaking plays after the catch that he made against the Badgers.

4. Wisconsin DE Louis Nzegwu (#93/6-4/255/4.76) at Ohio State LT Mike Adams (#75/6-6/320/5.28)
8:00 pm, ESPN

The Badgers must get over that supremely disappointing defeat to Sparty State quicky, or the Buckeyes will turn one loss into two in a hurry. OSU RB Dan Herron (#1/5-10/208/4.52) will get the headlines going into the game because of the boost he gave the team against Illinois (23-114, TD), but getting Adams back from suspension was just as important. In an offensive tackle class lacking depth, his wide frame, arm length, and fluid movement will be coveted by scouts looking for pass protectors. He's been inconsistent with his effort and technique in the past, however, so Nzegwyu (who has 2.5 sacks in his last two games) will look to take advantage of any momentary lapses to stop Herron in the run game or attack QB Braxton Miller if the young passer looks unaware of backside pressure.

5. Arizona WR Juron Criner (#82/6-4/215/4.62) vs. Washington CB *Desmond Trufant (#6/6-0/185/4.49)
10:30 pm, FSN

The Wildcats have not played since their emotional win over UCLA last Thursday that marked the beginning of the post-Mike Stoops era. In that game, Criner connected with fellow senior QB Nick Foles (6-5/240/4.96) for three scores, using his size and hands to go over the top of Bruins defenders (who also helped him scores by falling down or letting him run by on two of his three TDs). He faces a good junior corner in Trufant (the brother of NFL CB Marcus) that is making big plays regularity this year (interceptions in the first two weeks of the year, nine other passes broken up, two forced fumbles this year) but is prone to giving up big plays, as well. And Criner isn't the only receiver prospect Trufant will face, as David Douglas (#85/6-1/205/4.64) and junior Texas transfer Dan Buckner (#15/6-3/220/4.57) are also on scouts' radars as potential later-round picks.

6. California WR Marvin Jones (#1/6-2/202/4.53) at UCLA CB *Aaron Hester (#21/6-1/206/4.49)
7:00 pm, Fox Sports Prime Ticket

It is unfortunate this game won't be seen outside of the West, as Jones and Hester should have some good battles. Hester was one of the corners beaten by Criner last week, as he gave up a score by allowing the Arizona receiver to eat up cushion and could not recover in time to prevent a fade into the end zone. Jones isn't quite as big as Criner, but he can be physical and is a superior route-runner. Hester, therefore, will have to prove to scouts his footwork is sound if he is to handle Jones -- and project as an above-average starter at the next level.

7. Purdue DT *Kawann Short (#93/6-3/310/5.22) at Michigan C David Molk (#50/6-2/288/5.18)
12:00 pm, ESPN

Short was the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his work against Illinois (3.5 TFL, 2 sacks), and carries an extra 30 pounds over Molk -- even if a lot in his midsection. Molk may not be the biggest pivot man in the draft, but his ability to block on the move and to anchor against NFL-sized tackles has gained him respect from scouts. Though Short can be a pain for most college interior linemen to handle one-on-one, teams will be interested to see if he can beat a technician like Molk with strong hands on initial contact -- and if he has the, flexibility, change of direction ability, and relentless nature to chase down junior QB Denard Robinson when the speedy runner is not directly in his path. General managers considering him in the second round of the 2012 draft will also like to see how Short looks in the fourth quarter after spending the afternoon pursuing "Shoelace."

8. Arkansas Wide Receivers at Vanderbilt CB Casey Hayward (#19/5-11/188/4.53)
12:21 pm, SEC Network/ESPN3.com

No matter where the savvy Hayward lines up, he's going to be facing a potential NFL receiver because of the depth the Razorbacks have at the position. Arkansas' fastball-throwing QB *Tyler Wilson (#8/6-3/220/4.77) can challenge Hayward's ability to handle the size of Greg Childs (#85/6-3/217/4.56) and *Cobi Hamilton (#11/6-3/209/4.57) down the field -- and his ability to bring them down after the catch. The speed of the fourth-ranked interceptor in the FBS (with five picks this season after grabbing six in 2010) will also be tested if he's covering speedy Jarius Wright (#4/5-10/180/4.34) or Joe Adams (#3/5-11/190/4.38). In the end, Hayward may be battling Wilson most of all, as he is a capable zone defender willing to come off one man to attack passes in his general vicinity if the junior passer is locked onto one of his formidable targets.

9. Illinois LT Jeff Allen (#71/6-4/315/5.26) at Penn State DE Jack Crawford (#81/6-5/273/4.79)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN2

Allen is an underrated prospect who has a nice chance to show off his balance and fluid movement in pass protection for scouts against another potential mid-round pick in Crawford Saturday afternoon. PSU's tall, long rush end is not an elite prospect by any means, but did assist on two sacks for the Nittany Lions last week in the win over Northwestern and can be a thorn in the side of Illini junior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase if left unchecked.

10. Missouri WRs *T.J. Moe (#28/5-11/195/4.49)/Wes Kemp (#8/6-4/220/4.47)  Texas A&M at CB Coryell Judie (#5/5-11/190/4.48)/Terrence Frederick (#7/5-10/187/4.52)
12:00 pm, FX

Another both teams' coaches will be preaching defense before the game, this one will likely end up just another Big 12 passing shoot-out. Judie and Frederick are two Aggies corners with NFL aspirations, but soph QB James Franklin is capable of finding his multiple targets if given sufficient protection up front. Kemp has a similar size/speed combination to current St. Louis Rams receiver Danario Alexander, though his production hasn't always reflected it since Chase Daniel left Columbia. Moe doesn't look like a big-time playmaker on the hoof, but his crisp routes, underrated quicknessm, awareness in zones, and strong hands making defenses pay for coverage breakdowns. Both Judie and Frederick will fight the larger Kemp on sideline throws and jump balls despite his height advantage, but they must he disciplined in their footwork against Moe or the junior find a seam or leave them behind on a strong cut.

Honorable Mention

Bowling Green WR Kamar Jorden (#19/6-1/203/4.68) at Kent State CB Josh Pleasant (#2/5-10/190/4.41)
1:00 pm, MAC-Sports.com Live Streaming

West Virginia CB Keith Tandy (#8/5-10/199/4.54) at Rutgers WR *Mohamed Sanu (#6/6-2/215/4.57)
3:30 pm, ABC

Oklahoma DE Frank Alexander (#84/6-3/255/4.82) at Kansas State LT Zach Hanson (#70/6-8/303)
3:30 pm, ESPN

Iowa CBs Shaun Prater (#28/5-10/185/4.49)/*Micah Hyde (#18/6-1/185/4.53) at Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight (#6/6-1/212/4.54)
3:30 pm, Big Ten Network

West Virginia DE Julian Miller (#97/6-3/268/4.76) at Rutgers LG Desmond Wynn (#70/6-5/295/5.14)
West Virginia LT Don Barclay (#64/6-4/310/5.27) at Rutgers DE Manny Abreu (#51/6-2/260/4.76)
3:30 pm, ABC 

Virginia Tech CB *Jayron Hosley (#20/5-10/172/4.52) at Duke WRs *Conner Vernon (#2/6-1/195/4.53)/Donovan Varner (#26/5-08/175/4.53)
12:30 pm, ACC Network/ESPN3.com 

Wake Forest CB *Kenny Okoro (#6/6-0/190/4.49) at North Carolina WR Dwight Jones (#83/6-4/225/4.53)
3:30 pm, ESPNU

Purdue LT Dennis Kelly (#68/6-8/306/5.32) at Michigan DE *Craig Roh (#88/6-4/269/4.76)
3:30 pm, Big Ten Network

Florida LG Dan Wenger (#56/6-3/295/5.28) at Georgia DT DeAngelo Tyson (#94/6-2/306/5.02)
3:30 pm, CBS

Baylor DT Nicolas Jean-Baptiste (#90/6-2/335/5.06) at Oklahoma State C Grant Garner (#74/6-2/292/5.36)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN2

Illinois WR A.J. Jenkins (#8/6-0/190/4.49) at Penn State CBs Chaz Powell (#2/6-1/206/4.48)/D'Anton Lynn (#8/6-0/208/4.53)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN2

Kansas RT *Tanner Hawkinson (#72/6-5/295/5.04) at Texas DE *Alex Okafor (#80/6-4/260/4.62)
7:00 pm, Longhorn Network

Ole Miss DE Kentrell Lockett (#40/6-5/248/4.79) at Auburn LT A.J. Greene (#77/6-5/298/5.18)
7:00 pm, ESPNU 

California DE Trevor Guyton (#92/6-3/280/4.86) at UCLA RT Mike Harris (#65/6-5/326/5.32)
7:00 pm, Fox Sports Prime Ticket 

Mississippi State RB Vick Ballard (#28/5-11/220/4.58) at Kentucky OLB Danny Trevathan (#22/6-0/232/4.68)
Mississippi State DT *Fletcher Cox (#94/6-4/295/4.96) at Kentucky RG *Larry Warford (#67/6-3/336/5.34)
7:00 PM, Fox Sports South

Wisconsin DT Patrick Butrym (#95/6-3/285/5.14) at Ohio State C Michael Brewster (#50/6-4/305/5.17)
Wisconsin OLB *Mike Taylor (#53/6-2/230/4.64) at Ohio State FB *Zach Boren (#44/6-0/252/4.68)
8:00 pm, ESPN

Arizona CB Trevin Wade (#24/5-11/192/4.56) at Washington WR Jermaine Kearse (#15/6-1/208/4.50)
10:30 pm, FSN 

--Contributed by Senior Analyst Chad Reuter  Follow him on Twitter at @ChadReuter

Posted on: April 25, 2011 1:45 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 7:41 pm
 

NFL's PR play will create awkward draft viewing

The public relations digs from both sides in the labor dispute have hit full tilt since the lockout began, with neither side wanting to miss an opportunity to win additional public sentiment.

You can almost feel the NFL and the players looking at the invisible pendulumn swinging and just waiting for an opportunity to push gravity in their favor.

The NFLPA immediately retreated amid strong backlash when word leaked out that the union would encourage prospects invited to the draft to skip the event at Radio City Music Hall and instead attend union-sponsored events in NYC.

Sensing the momentum, the NFL is going to squeeze every ounce of PR juice out of the door opened by the NFLPA's slip up. The league announced that a record 25 prospects have accepted invitations to attend Thursday night's first round festivities in primetime.

That's not including several who were invited but have chosen to stay home to watch the first round with their families, including quarterbacks Jake Locker and Colin Kaepernick. But it does include a host of players considered fringe first-round prospects by NFLDraftScout.com.

It could make for an uncomfortable scene late in the stanza as 5-6 prospects will likely be sitting in the "green room" as commentators discuss what a great value they'll make 24 hours later. Among those could be Kentucky WR Randall Cobb, UCLA S Rahim Moore, Baylor NT Phil Taylor, Baylor OL Danny Watkins and Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams. And a few others could slide into the category as the night wears on.

Boston College LB Mark Herzlich will also be in attendance, but the cancer survivor has an inspirational story and isn't expected to be selected until at least the middle rounds (he's projected as a sixth-round value by NFLDraftScout.com.

Update: The NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reported that Herzlich will be announced with the others and take part in a group photo, but then will be allowed to stay as long as he likes or leave to be with friends and family. That's a sensible approach for a compelling prospect who likely won't hear his name called until Saturday - if at all.

--Derek Harper, NFLDraftScout.com Executive Editor
Posted on: April 25, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Podcast - Yahoo.com's Farrar and I talk NFL Draft

I'm a visual learner and learn more when I read it, but for those of you who like to listen to information, Yahoo.com's Doug Farrar and I recently had a conversation about this week's upcoming NFL Draft.

We touched upon many subjects, including which quarterbacks each of us prefer (not named Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert), as well as breaking down some of the year's top offensive linemen, a safety who might fit bit dropping down to cornerback and much, much more.

I'm flattered to be part of Doug's "Draftmaster" series, which also features my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and Charles Davis of the NFL Network.

You can listen to my episode here.
Posted on: March 29, 2011 6:41 pm
 

UCLA Pro Day Notes

Linebacker Akeem Ayers needed a big workout Tuesday to make up for a mediocre Combine, he his fastest 40 time of 4.69 met that goal. Though most prospects are expected to better their Combine times at their pro day, the significant drop means teams looking at him as a 3-4 rush linebacker now see his track speed meeting his game speed.

Combine snub DT David Carter clocked in at 4.98, continuing the ascension up boards that began with a strong East-West Shrine Game week.  Carter measured in at 6-4 3/8, 293 lbs. and performed the rest of the drills in a manner commensurate with the mid-to-late round prospects at the Combine: 28.5 vert, 9'3" broad, 1.73 (10-yd split), 25 reps, 4.6 shuttle.

Safety Rahim Moore chose not to run, and looked only average according to reports. He had trouble locating the ball and his hands were just okay during drills, which is somewhat surprising given his reputation as a centerfielder.

Every team was represented at the UCLA workout. The Bears, Vikings, Chiefs, Packers, Ravens, Jets and Raiders had multiple people here including coaches, coordinators and scouting directors.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analysts Rob Rang and Chad Reuter
Posted on: March 28, 2011 5:59 pm
 

Source: Don't expect Ayers to light up Pro Day

UCLA outside linebacker Akeem Ayers can point to his tape as proof that he's a good athlete and an even better football player.

Considering that Ayers racked up 123 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, six interceptions (two returned for TDs), and four forced fumbles (one returned for a TD) over his two full starting seasons with the Bruins, he's got a point.

Despite the flashy big plays that scream otherwise, Ayers was proven to be a remarkably pedestrian athlete at the 2011 Combine.

The 6-2 (1/2), 254 pounder was electronically timed at 4.88 in the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. Only two outside linebackers tested at the Combine were slower -- Boston College's Mark Herzlich (5.02) and Michigan's Jonas Mouton (4.94). Even worse, Ayers was the slowest of all linebackers tested this year in the 3-cone drill, a test designed to identify flexibility, change of direction and explosiveness -- three elements typically critical to strong linebacker play. Ayers was timed at 7.49 seconds. Herzlich, by comparison, was timed at 7.33 seconds.

According to a source with knowledge of Ayers' workouts prior to the Combine and any improvements he's made since, NFL scouts and the media could be in for a disappointment if they think the First-Team All Pac-10 (and Third Team All-American) performer is going to test significantly better during his Pro Day workout for scouts Tuesday, March 29.

According to the source, "[Ayers] is what he is -- a damn good football player. But, I can tell you right now, when he started working out, he wasn't very fast. He's improved and I expect him to be better at the Pro Day than he was at the Combine, but he's not going to blow anyone away with his workout."

Ayers is expected to have a lot of NFL talent-evaluators on hand to see just how much his numbers can improve. Ayers and Rahim Moore, despite each disappointing in their Combine workouts, remain among NFLDraftScout.com's top 64 prospects and are certain to spark lots of interest. Teams will also be traveling to the West Coast this week in preparation for USC and Washington's Pro Days on Wednesday.

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