Posted on: March 1, 2009 12:48 pm

Patriots preferred 2nd over 1st for Cassel?


Much is being made of the fact that the Patriots accepted only a second round pick, albeit the 34th overall, for quarterback Matt Cassel and versatile, veteran linebacker Mike Vrabel. Many are justifiably wondering why the Patriots were unable to wrestle away a first round pick for Cassel, especially considering Vrabel's added value. Some league insiders suggested that perhaps the Patriots valued the Chiefs' second round pick (34th overall) to their first (3rd overall).

While this initially sounds crazy -- How could they not WANT the higher pick? -- it fits with the philosophy in which the Patriots have built their dynasty. Re-stocking through "lower" picks, rather than investing tens of millions of dollars into unproven rookies.

Certainly there was talent likely to be available at #3 that would have helped New England... Aaron Curry could have stepped in at linebacker, Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe could have solidified the offensive line...

Considering the draft value (and more importantly, the cap value) of the players likely to be available at #34, however, the Patriots are in position to address their greatest areas of concern -- outside linebacker and cornerback -- at a point of supreme value, as the most teams' boards are already shaping up, there will be a run on outside linebackers and cornerbacks to end the first round and begin the second...

The tens of millions of dollars difference it will take in signing a Clint Sintim, Paul Kruger, or D.J. Moore at the top of the second rather than Curry, Smith, or Monroe at the top is one of the many reasons the Patriots continue to operate as trend-setters in the NFL.

(It is also further evidence of just how ridiculous and prohibitive the cost of high first round picks have become...)

Posted on: February 27, 2009 11:18 pm

Haynesworth contract good news for DT prospects

Strong performances at the Senior Bowl and Combine already had the stocks of defensive tackles B.J. Raji, Peria Jerry and Ziggy Hood on the rise, but the monstrous contract given to Albert Haynesworth by the Washington Redskins just provides another example of the value of the position.

Raji could stand to make the most out of the deal. Scouts across the league had consistently been ranking him as a top 15 player due to his bulk and strength, but he was considered too slow-footed to make a real impact as a 4-3 under tackle, the premium tackle position in the defensive scheme preferred by most NFL teams. However, after scouts clocked him in the 5.05-5.15 range at 6-2, 334 pounds at the Combine, scouts no are wondering if he does, indeed, have the agility to handle this position. The ability to play inside in both the 3-4 and 4-3 could lead to Raji's stock to soar. I have him at #7 in my current mock draft and there are some who believe he'll end up in the top five by draft day.

Hood has enjoyed a similar jump up the board in recent weeks. While not as dominant as Raji, Hood is among the more consistent defensive linemen in the draft. He is earning late first round marks from several teams.


Posted on: February 24, 2009 2:13 pm

Slow 40s shouldn't hurt Moreno, Jenkins -but will

Scouts would be wise to go back to the film after disappointing workouts from Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno and Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins. Neither was impressive on the Indianapolis track, but each has proven himself to be a verifiable star against quality competition.

Often it was Moreno who made the biggest plays in critical situations -- not quarterback Matt Stafford -- for the Bulldogs over the past two seasons. Similarly, Jenkins in early season showdown against USC, was arguably the best player on the field.

Each could slip to the point where they're steals...

Posted on: February 22, 2009 4:56 pm

Everette Brown 6-1 7/8, 256 pounds's top ranked defensive end may have to change to linebacker considering that he measured in at 6-17/8 and 256 pounds. Listed at 6-4, 251 pounds at Florida State, Brown's lack of preferred height is certain to raise questions among scouts who are looking for pass rushing help. Brown told the media today that he plans on doing both defensive line and linebacker drills this week at the Combine.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 22, 2009 12:43 pm

Brandstater, Brown most impressive QBs

The NFL generally does not allow media in to view the workouts. For the third year in a row, however, they have allowed a select few media members in to view the quarterbacks and wide receivers workout. I was among those allowed in to view this mornings workout.

Among the impressions with the QBs:

Fresno State's Tom Brandstater was the most impressive thrower of the bunch. His passes were thrown accurately and with impressive velocity. Central Arkansas's Nathan Brown also helped himself. Enough zip for the out and and good touch over the top on the deep ball and post-corner. 

Brandstater and Brown helped themselves, but the scouts most wanted to see juniors Josh Freeman (Kansas State) and Nate Davis (Ball State) this morning. Freeman has good arm strength, but his accuracy was inconsistent. On many of his shorter and intermediate routes, he often was a bit high or wide with his throws. All in all, it was a solid performance, but not the jaw-dropping one some had projected. Davis was a little erratic early, but improved as the practice went on. He has the best deep ball (in terms of accuracy, velocity, trajectory, etc.) of any of the QBs here. He did not wear gloves.

Texas Tech's Graham Harrell struggled, at times.

USC's Mark Sanchez will throw later today. Georgia's Matt Stafford will run, but not throw.



Posted on: February 21, 2009 4:29 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2009 5:40 pm

New Stadium = New Results = New Perspective

The 40-yard dash has become the most widely discussed aspect of the NFL Combine, but scouts will have to keep a historical perspective with this year's results. The track at the new Lucas Oil Stadium is different than the one used at the RCA Dome, where the Combine took place from 1987 until last year. To compare apples to apples - obviously important when comparing the statistics of players against each other - it would be fairest and most accurate to compare the results of this year's Combine only to others taken this year or in future years at Lucas Oil Stadium.

A player timed at 4.50, like is crediting South Carolina tight end Jared Cook with today, could have actually been faster or slower on the trackat the RCA Dome.

Posted on: February 21, 2009 3:31 pm

Jarron Gilbert Combine Star?

Despite ranking among the nation's leaders in sacks and tackles for loss, San Jose State defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert is rarely mentioned as a one of the best defensive line prospects.

Considering the explosive leaping ability he shows in the youtube video I've linked to below, he could "jump" up draft boards with an eye-popping performance...

If you haven't seen the video, it is worth viewing. Gilbert said every conversation he'd had with scouts involved at least one question regarding it...

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 21, 2009 12:47 pm

Michael Crabtree stress fracture in his foot

Consensus top wide receiver prospect Michael Crabtree was diagnosed with a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. The injury, not serious enough to have hampered him while at Texas Tech, was discovered via a bone scan taken by doctors at the Combine.

Crabtree will undergo surgery on his foot. The surgery generally has a 6-10 week recovery period. The NFL Draft is 9 weeks from today. 


Category: NFL
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