Category:NFL
Posted on: April 19, 2009 4:58 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2009 12:28 pm
 

Did I leave off 3 safe guys from article?

 

 A personnel director kind enough to occasionally read my articles and provide some constructive criticism recently told me that I'm missing three relatively safe players from my most recent article posted on NFLDraftScout.com.

The article, which you can read, by copying and pasting the URL address below, identified Wake Forest OLB Aaron Curry, LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson, Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis, Cal center Alex Mack, Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno, Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew and Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie as the safest picks of the draft.

The personnel director pointed out three other players that he thought I should have listed, Connecticut running back Donald Brown, Oklahoma offensive tackle Phil Loadholt and Missouri defensive tackle Evander "Ziggy" Hood. Each, he feels, willl be taken in the first round.

Brown, as he explained, "is the last of the top backs. He's pro-ready, a hard worker and has some juice to him." The longtime scout felt that there was a "significant" dropoff from the top three backs -- Moreno, Ohio State's Beanie Wells, and Brown -- to the next tier of backs.

I was the most surprised by his claim that Sooner tackle Loadholt is among the safer prospects of the draft, as I, personally, don't feel he's athletic enough for the left tackle position and may even struggle on the right side. I also question if he's too tall to be moved inside to guard. The personnel director, however, feels Loadholt is an easy fit at right tackle and could surprise at the blind side. "Rare size. Physical. A competitor. The top tackles everyone is in love with are better overall athletes, but I'm looking for football players."

Missouri's Ziggy Hood is a player I've been high on for quite awhile, and was the least surprised by his inclusion in the scout's list. "He's not a world-beater, but he plays his ass off and worked out a lot better than we thought he would. If you need a [defensive] tackle, you'd better go get him in this draft."

 

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/
story/11642682

 

Posted on: April 19, 2009 4:39 pm
 

Gil Brandt Tips Chiefs' Hand?

 

 There has been much speculation as to what the Chiefs will be doing with the 3rd pick of the draft. Most have projected Kansas City to take Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. Some, myself included, have projected them to take Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe.

A new contender has arisen, however, in LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson.

Though many view Jackson as a significant reach for a top five pick, Gil Brandt didn't seem to think so, telling the listening audience of his Sirius radio program that Jackson is a "top five pick. Put that in the bank."

The comment, in itself, is interesting but not specific to any team -- other than those within the top five, of course.

But considering that Jackson fits best as a defensive end in the 3-4 and that there are only two teams using the 3-4 in the top five (Kansas City and Cleveland), the options for where Brandt believes Jackson is going are limited.

New Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli is facing the tough task of molding a team built around a 4-3 scheme into the 3-4 alignment he helped build in New England. Pioli has a track record of using first round picks on the defensive line, utilizing first rounders to build standout trio of Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren. Jackson has been described to me by veteran scouts as a virtual clone of the Patriots' Ty Warren.

Considering the widespread belief that the Browns are focusing on either USC quarterback Mark Sanchez or Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree with the fifth pick, Brandt would appear to be referring to the Chiefs with his comment -- not that it really matters. The Lions and Rams aren't likely to consider Jackson with the first two picks of the draft and no team is going to offer up the collection of picks necessary to trade into the top two picks to get ahead of the Chiefs to nab Jackson.

 

 

Posted on: April 17, 2009 2:42 pm
 

Lions Negotiating With 3 Players for #1 Pick

 

According to two independent sources, I've learned that the Detroit Lions are actively negotiating with the representatives for quarterback Matthew Stafford, Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith and outside linebacker Aaron Curry for the right to be the first player selected in the 2009 NFL draft.

It had been suggested by some that Matt Stafford was essentially already signed, but today's news proves that this is clearly not the case.

Stafford, however, remains the favorite to be the final selection, though there is increasing speculation that the Lions, like many other teams at the top of this year's draft, are beginning to favor the safer prospects of the draft, rather than riskier boom or bust propositions like quarterbacks Stafford, USC's Mark Sanchez, and Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree. 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: April 16, 2009 12:09 am
 

Smith's late agent changes should scare teams

The news that Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith changed agents with less than two weeks to go until the draft will likely earn a collective yawn from most draft fans -- and potentially NFL teams -- but it shouldn't.

For a player battling the perception that he lacks intelligence, discipline, focus or all three, the decision to change agents may only reinforce the concern. This, of course, comes after Smith's suspension for the Sugar Bowl, his leaving the Combine early, and the decision to run the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day shirtless. 

It is entirely possible that Alvin Keels, his now former agent, deserved to be fired. It is also entirely possible that Smith's reported new agent -- Ian Greengross -- may do a better job of helping Smith make better decisions. It is also entirely possible that neither is true.

That Andre Smith is a top ten caliber prospect is largely agreed upon by NFL scouts. Most scouts I've talked to believe he'll be drafted somewhere between picks 6-10, with the Cincinnati Bengals (#6), Green Bay Packers (#9) and San Francisco 49ers (#10) each appearing to be possible landing spots.

Considering the rash of erratic decisions Smith has made over the past four months, this latest one shouldn't come as a surprise.

And the fact that erratic decisions are quickly becoming the norm for a young man about to receive tens of millions of dollars should cause teams concern.

Posted on: April 12, 2009 8:14 pm
 

Easter Bunny Brings LB Thomas, QB Leftwich

 

 The first round of the draft might be getting a little clearer with the news of two interesting free agent signings Sunday.

The Kansas City Chiefs signed veteran inside linebacker Zach Thomas to a one year deal Sunday. While it is only a one year deal, the move signals to me that it is all the more unlikely the Chiefs will be drafting Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry -- at least not if they plan to play him on the inside.

Of course, I've been arguing for weeks that Curry's best fit remains outside in the 4-3 anyway...

On the other front, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed veteran quarterback Byron Leftwich Sunday. Leftwich, who reportedly signed a two year deal, gives the Bucs four quarterbacks: Luke McCown, Brian Griese, Josh Johnson and Leftwich.

Again, the addition of an aging Leftwich will not necessarily keep the Bucs from drafting a quarterback in the first round, if, say, Kansas State's Josh Freeman, were to be available.

However, if the draft unfolds like I anticipate; with both Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez being long gone by the end of the top ten, don't be surprised if Freeman isn't taken soon afterward. Tampa head coach Raheem Morris, who was on the Kansas State staff and knows Freeman as well as any coach in the NFL, may have wanted to reunite with the young star, but in signing Leftwich, he likely is waiving the proverbial white flag in acknowledgement that there is no way Freeman will remain on the board when the Bucs pick at 19.

Posted on: April 12, 2009 8:00 pm
 

Curry Among Green Room List

 

 Just got a text back from Wake Forest outside linebacker Aaron Curry. We've been conversing over the latest several days in preparation for the third part in a series of four articles detailing his "Road to the NFL."

In an earlier posting on the blog I mentioned that Curry had not, as of last Thursday, received an invitation to the NFL draft. He received it this weekend and plans to attend the event.

His excitement about the honor of being among those invited to Radio City Music Hall was obvious in his text:

"It's amazing to be at the place I've always dreamed to be... Every year I watch the draft and I was so happy and excited for the guys that were in New York and now I'll be there too." 

His story, which details what exactly transpires in a private workout and the 6 teams in which he's either worked out privately or traveled to recently, should be available this week.

Posted on: April 12, 2009 7:50 pm
 

Veteran Trade Talk "Heating Up"

The upcoming draft has already been hugely impacted by the recent trades of veterans Jay Cutler and Julian Peterson.

Sources within the league tell me that several more veteran trades could be on the horizon with talk between clubs "heating up" over the past few days.

Among the names being tossed about are Cleveland wide receiver Braylon Edwards and quarterback Brady Quinn, Buffalo offensive tackle Jason Peters, Kansas City running back Larry Johnson and Houston cornerback Dunta Robinson.

The Giants, according to the source, are strongly considering making an offer for Edwards as a replacement for Plaxico Burress. Speculation has it that the Browns expect a first and third round pick for the former #3 overall pick.The Giants own 10 picks in the 2009 draft, including two picks in the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th rounds.

Speculation has been rampant that the Denver Broncos would be a possible destination for Brady Quinn, should the Browns elect to trade him, but I'm told that the New York Jets are another possible destination for Quinn. The Browns are thought to be enamored with USC junior quarterback Mark Sanchez and could be in position to nab him with the 5th pick of the draft.

With Terrell Owens already creating a distraction in Buffalo, the rumor in scouting circles is that the Bills are getting increasingly fed up with the antics of disgruntled offensive tackle Jason Peters and may be on the verge of shipping the young star elsewhere should they receive a suitable offer. Among those potentially interested are the Rams, Jaguars, Bengals and Eagles. The Eagles, owners of the 21st and 28th picks of this year's draft, are reportedly working the phones already in an effort to move up for one of the top young tackles, but may find the trade for the veteran more palatable.

The talk around Larry Johnson has been quieter than others, but call this one a hunch... Scott Pioli will not end the first day of the draft with only one player. The Chiefs currently own only one pick on the first day -- the 3rd overall -- due to the trade for quarterback Matt Cassel.

Finally, don't rule out a trade of franchised cornerback Dunta Robinson out of Houston, either. The discussions between Robinson and the team have been increasingly frosty, I'm told, and the Texans are in prime position, with the 15th pick of the draft, to take their pick of the top cornerbacks. Many, including I, have projected Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins with this pick, but there is increasing talk that Connecticut's Darius Butler is also a consideration should Houston elect to take a cornerback to either pair with or replace Robinson.

 

Posted on: April 10, 2009 8:21 pm
 

NFL expanding "Green Room" To 10 Players

 

 According to a report by ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the NFL is going to invite at least 10 players this year to Radio City Music Hall for draft day. The number is nearly double that which the league has invited in recent years and is likely an attempt on the league's part to give the increasingly made-for-television-event a reality-TV appeal. The decision to invite more players was made to highlight especially intriguing players, including some who aren't necessarily expected to be within the top ten picks.

Among the players (listed alphabetically) expected to attend are:

WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech

OLB Aaron Curry, Wake Forest

OLB Brian Cushing, USC

QB Josh Freeman, Kansas State

OT Eugene Monroe, Virginia

OT Michael Oher, Mississippi

DE/OLB Brian Orakpo, Texas

OT Jason Smith, Baylor

QB Matthew Stafford, Georgia

Some notable names are missing on this list, not the least of which is USC quarterback Mark Sanchez (who, according to Mortensen's report is currently planning on spending the draft with friends and family), Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith and Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.

Interestingly enough, I spoke with Aaron Curry yesterday in preparation for Part 3 of the four-part "Road to the Draft" we're doing and he had not yet been invited...

The most players I recall the NFL ever inviting to New York for the draft was 11, back in 1996. The 1996 draft was memorable for many reasons -- Keyshawn Johnson was the last wide receiver selected with the top pick and no linebacker has been selected as high since the Jaguars made former Illinois standout Kevin Hardy the second overall pick. The 1996 draft was also memorable in that it featured the only player invited to NYC by the league that slipped entirely out of the first round.  The Cardinals made running back Leeland McElroy the second pick of the second round (32nd overall).

 
 
 
 
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