Posted on: March 10, 2012 12:54 pm
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: March 9, 2012 10:56 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2012 12:23 am
St. Louis Rams vice president and chief operating officer Kevin Demoff confirmed to the Sports Xchange on Friday night the agreement on a deal that should be historic for two franchises, as the Rams agreed to trade the second overall pick in this year's NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins, who are expected to use it to select Baylor's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Robert Griffin III.
Posted on: February 10, 2012 3:26 pm
Unless Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III defy the trend of top-rated quarterbacks choosing not to throw at the Scouting Combine, talent evaluators are going to have a tough time seeing both throw prior to the 2012 draft.
That's because Stanford and Baylor have each scheduled their on-campus "Pro Day" workouts on March 22, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The conflicting schedule could force teams to split up their decision-makers to take in the workouts. This happened last year when the Carolina Panthers sent head coach Ron Rivera to watch Cam Newton's Pro Day workout at Auburn while general manager Marty Hurney reportedly attended Ryan Mallett's workout at Arkansas.
Another possibility, of course, is that Luck and/or Griffin could schedule their own individual workouts so that scouts could attend both.
If scouts are, indeed, forced to choose one or the other, the smart money is on Griffin generating more interest despite the fact that Luck is regarded as the top prospect in the draft. While both quarterbacks are viewed as exceptional talents worthy of top five consideration, Griffin has many more questions to answer prior to the draft than Luck.
Having established himself as the elite talent in the country two years running, Luck's game has already been dissected by most decision-makers. Griffin's ascension has been more sudden. Furthermore, scouts will want to see how Griffin drops back from center after having taken the majority of his snaps out of the shotgun while at Baylor.
While there remains some debate as to which direction the Indianapolis Colts may go with the No. 1 overall pick, they are thought to be leaning towards Luck. Should they take Griffin or any other player with the first pick, the line of suitors to trade up into the St. Louis Rams' No. 2 pick would be a long one. Should Griffin not be drafted No. 1, however, it remains to be seen if he generates the same trade interest or if he "falls" past No. 2 overall. Among the teams expected to be interested in adding Griffin would be the Cleveland Browns (owners of the No. 4 overall pick), the Washington Redskins (No. 6), Miami Dolphins (No. 9*), and Seattle Seahawks (No. 12*). *Miami and Seattle's first round pick won't be decided until a coin-flip at the Combine. They may move up one spot each in the draft order after finishing tied with the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively.
As it stands now, I am projecting Griffin to slip to No. 4 overall, where the Browns could nab him. Dane Brugler has the Heisman winner landing with Cleveland, as well.
Scouts are quick to point out that Pro Day workouts in which quarterbacks are throwing "against air" rather than defenses do not ultimately play a significant role in determining his final grade. That hasn't stopped the "Pro Day season" from becoming a huge part of the pre-draft process. Teams dedicate plenty of money and time crossing the country to attend the workouts.
I, myself, have attended several Pro Day workouts of highly regarded quarterbacks, including last year's for Jake Locker, Sam Bradford's in 2010 and Mark Sanchez in 2009.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Andrew Luck, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Jake Locker, Kansas City Chiefs, Mark Sanchez, Marty Hurney, Miami Dolphins, Pro Day, Robert Griffin III, Ron Rivera, Ryan Mallett, Sam Bradford, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Stanford, Washington Redskins
Posted on: January 7, 2012 6:44 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 7:19 pm
The staffs of the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins will coach for the Senior Bowl teams in Mobile, Ala.
Leslie Frazier's Vikings staff will coach the North squad, while Mike Shanahan's Redskins staff will coach the South.
Coaching the Senior Bowl gives both staffs increased exposure to dozens of the top prospects from around the country in one of the most important pre-draft events.
"The Senior Bowl provides us a great opportunity to get to know some of the young players who will be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft," Shanahan said in a statement from the Senior Bowl.
The Vikings own the No. 3 pick in the draft and made Senior Bowl MVP Christian Ponder the No. 12 pick of the draft last year. The Redskins hold the No. 6 overall pick and selected six players who participated in the Senior Bowl last year.
The game is held Jan. 28, with the coaching staffs conducting daily practices the week leading up to the game.
Posted on: August 20, 2011 3:01 pm
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.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Jake Locker, Jim Tressel, Kansas City Chiefs, Kevin Colbert, Mark Sanchez, Miami Dolphins, Mike Tomlin, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Ohio State, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Sam Bradford, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Terrelle Pryor, Washington Redskins
Posted on: August 16, 2011 8:24 pm
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.
Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: June 20, 2011 1:38 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 6:17 pm
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Posted on: May 11, 2011 5:48 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 3:07 pm
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.
The quality and depth of the 2011 defensive tackle class was one of the real strengths of this draft. Rather than focus on top 15 picks like Marcell Dareus and Nick Fairley for this post, however, I wanted to continue to highlight other, lower-drafted prospects who I feel could surprise because of their combination of talent and schematic fit. For all of the hype that Detroit has gained for adding Fairley, it is worth noting that both he and Ndamukong Suh are both best suited to the three-technique position in Detroit's 4-3 scheme. One of them -- or perhaps veteran Corey Williams -- is going to be taking on an awful lot of double-team blocks on the nose to free up the other. The combination of Fairley and Suh inside could be special, but it isn't as clean of a schematic fit as some have suggested.
Here are the links for the other positions:
Jarvis Jenkins, Washington Redskins: One of the real upsets of the draft occurred when Jenkins was selected earlier (No. 41) than his much more celebrated linemate at Clemson, defensive end Da'Quan Bowers (No. 51). Though Jenkins wasn't as highly decorated as Bowers, he did play a significant role in taking on blocks and freeing up a stunting Bowers to rack up easy sacks. Jenkins played defensive tackle in a four-man front at Clemson, but his long arms, good strength and surprising lateral agility make him an intriguing switch to the five-technique defensive end position in the 3-4.
Drake Nevis, Indianapolis Colts: Before and after Tony Dungy famously brought the "Tampa 2" defense to Indianapolis, the Colts had long valued undersized, penetrating defensive tackles. Nevis, 6-1 and 294 pounds, lacks the bulk and strength most teams are looking for inside, but his ability to collapse the pocket makes him an ideal fit for the Colts -- and at No. 87 overall, he presented very good value considering the early runs on defensive linemen in this draft and the Colts' need for help on the defensive interior.
Jerrell Powe, Kansas City Chiefs: Though I have reservations about some of the Chiefs' other picks of the 2011 draft, Powe was potential steal, especially considering that the All-SEC selection fell all the way to the No. 199th overall pick. At 6-2 and 335 pounds Powe possesses the ideal measurements of a 3-4 nose guard, an area of concern for the Chiefs. Had Powe come out after the 2010 season, he might have been a second or third round selection. A terribly disappointing 2011 season, however, pushed him down the board. There is no denying Powe's talent nor his fit in this scheme. The payoff on this late 6th round gamble could be significant should the Chiefs be able to light a fire under Powe.
Stephen Paea, Chicago Bears: Like the three teams listed above, the Chicago Bears entered the 2011 draft with considerable needs along their defensive front, especially inside at defensive tackle. The Bears elected to release former first round pick Tommie Harris and may need to fill a hole at nose guard should scheduled free agent Anthony Adams play elsewhere next season. Like Adams, Paea is shorter than most teams want at defensive tackle and relies on a combination of explosive strength and leverage to control his opponent. Should the Bears plug Paea in at nose as a replacement for Adams, I don't know that the former Beaver will prove as successful as Adams has been in Chicago. Simply put, Paea is not a particularly instinctive defender. He'll blow up his share of plays due to his incredible strength (Combine record 49 reps of 225 pounds), but he won't make many plays outside of the guard-center-guard box. Even worse, Paea is not ideally suited to take over for Harris. Besides the lack of instincts, Paea isn't particularly quick, making him a tough projection as a three-technique who is expected to penetrate and create havoc in the backfield. I like Paea's upside, his value in the mid second round and the fact that he'll be reasonably protected by Julius Peppers on the outside. However, Paea is not the dominant force his reputation has led some to believe.