Posted on: April 22, 2009 12:50 am
 

Mayhew on Rookie Contacts: "System is Broken"

During his draft preview press conference with media Tuesday, Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew was candid with his opinion on the huge, often guaranteed salaries given to rookies.

“I think the system is broken. I think that’s been addressed and talked about. The way it’s setup, the idea I believe was to have teams who hadn’t been as successful have an opportunity to get better by picking first. Now, if you miss at that pick, or you miss early, which we have, it really sets you back even more – so it’s even harder to get out of that cycle. But I think that hopefully that will get resolved sometime in the near future.”

He's right.

The system is broken. The huge money contracts given to the first picks of the draft has become more of a detriment than an advantage. A high pick obviously gives teams the an improved chance for a great player, but the financial risk is so great, a team can fall even further out of contention should that player be a bust.

 

 

 

Posted on: April 20, 2009 4:10 pm
 

LSU WR Demetrius Byrd Injured in Car Accident

 

 LSU wide receiver Demetrius Byrd was admitted to the emergency room at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami Sunday night. His mother, Sharon Byrd, contacted the LSU coaching staff of the accident and her son's condition this morning, according to a report from shreveporttimes.com.

Though sources within the LSU staff tell me that Byrd has stabilized, he remains in the intensive care unit with various injuries to his upper body.

He is viewed as an unpolished, but ascending talent due to the fact that he only played two seasons of D-I football at LSU after signing with Pearl River Community College out of high school (where he only played one season).

The accident comes at a terrible time for Byrd, who was viewed as a mid to late round pick prior to the injury. Even if the injuries are only topical, they could be enough to push Byrd out of the draft entirely. The reality is, Byrd has little time to heal before mini-camps and his agent has less time to send updated medical files to teams.

Regardless of where he is ultimately drafted -- or signed as a free agent -- Byrd is a legitimate NFL talent.

I'm higher on Byrd than most. He, not Early Doucet, was the most consistent and clutch receiver for the Tigers two years ago in the Tigers' run to the national championship and finished with an eye-popping 7 touchdowns to lead the Tigers despite only catching 35 passes for 621 yards. His penchant for the big play in tough situations, such as the winning reception against Auburn with one second left, made him one of the receivers to watch entering his senior campaign. With LSU struggling with consistency in the passing game, however, Byrd's numbers dropped to 37 catches for 513 yards and 4 TDs.

 

 

 

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.

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