Posted on: April 22, 2009 11:27 am
Edited on: April 22, 2009 12:41 pm
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Clark Judge is Right, Seattle Dictates the Draft

 

 My colleague Clark Judge penned an intriguing article, whose link is provided below, which theorizes that the Seahawks essentially will control the top half of the draft based on who they select with the fourth overall pick. 

He believes the three options the Seahawks will consider are OT Eugene Monroe (or Jason Smith, if Monroe is the tackle the Rams take at #2), WR Michael Crabtree and QB Mark Sanchez.

I've agree, but feel he's wrong on the three candidates Seattle is considering.

I believe Aaron Curry will be available and very much in consideration for the Seahawks, along with Sanchez and Crabtree. I believe that OT is less of a need for the Seahawks than has been reported.

If Tim Ruskell sticks with his own history of selecting high character, four year starters from BCS conferences, Curry is the pick. Certainly Curry is a need, considering the trade of Julian Peterson. Curry's strengths make him a perfect fit for the OLB position in the 4-3 scheme. If Curry is not selected by Seattle, he could slip surprisingly far down the board due to the number of 3-4 teams in the top ten. Curry is viewed by many as a poor fit at the rush linebacker position in the 3-4 defense.

There is also the possibility that Ruskell looks to the future and drafts Sanchez. Matt Hasselbeck, soon to be 34 and having made all 16 regular season starts only three times in his seven years in Seattle, remains a great player and the face of the franchise, but Sanchez is viewed by many throughout the league as a franchise caliber quarterback. He is likely to be graded higher than any quarterback Seattle will be in position to select next year. Most feel the Seahawks were extraordinarily ravaged by injuries last season. Their return to health could result in a more competitive season, which could put the Seahawks squarely in the middle or later portions of the first round next year.

The player making a late run back up the board with the Seahawks appears to be Crabtree. Disregard that the Seahawks signed TJ Houshmandzadeh via free agency. At 32 years old, he is not being viewed as a longterm solution to Seattle's needs. The dynamic Crabtree, who many scouts believe will be the best player from this draft three years from now, is absolutely in play.

I'm among the few, apparently, who does not believe Tim Ruskell is strongly considering an offensive tackle with the fourth pick. Certainly the team needs to have a plan in place for life without future Hall of Famer Walter Jones. However, the team feels they already have that tackle in current starting right tackle Sean Locklear. By re-signing Ray Willis, who the Seahawks feel is a starting caliber right tackle, the Seahawks feel they're much stronger at tackle than most perceive.

Here is Clark's article. It is a terrific read, even if ultimately I disagree on a third of the players he mentions for Seattle's pick.

 

Posted on: April 22, 2009 1:18 am
Edited on: April 22, 2009 11:07 am
 

Belichick Laying Foundation for Trade Up?

With few sure-fire prospects in this draft, many of the teams drafting within the top ten have privately -- and in some cases, publicly -- stated their interest in trading down. Few teams have publicly stated their interest in moving up, but the rarely candid Bill Belichick offered some interesting thoughts on the situation in his annual pre-draft press conference.

I don't think I have ever been in a draft where we've had the potential flexibility that we have this year. Last year, we went in with the 7th pick and 62nd pick and I felt, at that time, it would be hard to move very far from those two spots, and in fact, we didn't. I think this year, if you go by the generic trade charts-the charts everyone uses or has access to-if you just do the numbers we could probably trade a combination of our picks in the first round and get up as high as 10. We already have three picks in the second round, so we could pick anywhere from the beginning of the round until the end of the round and then a couple more picks in the third, so I think it's really important for us to know the value of the board all the way through those first 100 players and be able to know where the opportunities are or aren't, and how we can make the most of them. Again, we don't always have flexibility to trade because you need a partner on that, but I'm sure there will be some discussions there and there already have been with teams that see our multiple picks and have interest in acquiring two for one. 

 

Belichick, of course, is not known for his particularly gabby, often light-hearted and carefree, terrifically insightful comments with media. 

With six of the top 97 picks, including three second rounders (34, 47, 58) Belichick's Patriots are in position to do whatever they'd like in this draft, and the reality is, with teams so eager to move out, the Patriots could move even further up than in a typical year.

With a lot of the talk out of New England focusing on cornerback Darius Butler from Connecticut, don't be surprised if the Patriots package some picks and instead move up for Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins size, physicality, instincts and versatility could make him a perfect fit in New England.

Regardless of who they target, don't be surprised at all if New England makes some interesting, aggressive moves this weekend. For all of the talk that Scott Pioli and Josh McDaniels want to make a splash in the draft to begin their new legacies, Belichick is in better position to extend his own.

 

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.

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