Category:NFL
Posted on: March 25, 2009 3:42 pm
 

Kubiak slams door on Houston going offense in 1st

Considering the Texans' search for a bigger back to pair with second year runner Steve Slaton netted nothing in free agency, some (including me) have suggested that the club might consider adding a Chris "Beanie" Wells should he be available at pick #15.

Though head coach Gary Kubiak agreed that "...obviously, finding a complement to Steve (Slaton) is important," he also essentially shut the door on that complement coming via the first round in a conversation with media at the Owners' Meetings in Dana Point, California this week.

“Our first-round pick has to have a big impact on our team. The more the first-round pick
continues to be an impact player, the better we’re going to get. We could still use an
impact player at linebacker and on the backend (but), we’d be hard-pressed to take a
receiver or a running back in the first round.”

The Texans are thought to be interested in several linebackers likely to be available with the 15th pick, including USC's duo of Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews Jr.
Posted on: March 24, 2009 5:10 pm
 

Hakeem Nicks Gained 14 pounds in a month

 

 Hakeem Nicks measured in at a shade under 6-1, 212 pounds at the Combine, but weighed 14 pounds more last week at North Carolina's Pro Day.

As a guy who is known to pack on a pound or two, myself, adding an average of a pound every two days generally requires putting in some serious time at the buffet line.

Players in the past have spoken about how traveling through several private workouts in the two months between the Combine and the draft, itself, can wreak havoc on their bodies. Many of the players have found it difficult to find time to workout and eat with an eye towards nutrition when skipping across the country. With Nicks, however, that hasn't been the problem. The hamstring injury that kept him out of the many of the drills at the Combine, left him unable to workout as much as he'd like...

Considering the number of talented receivers fighting to make the first round, the rapid weight gain by Nicks will not go unnoticed by NFL scouts and could lead to a drop out of the top 32...

 

 

Category: NFL
Posted on: March 24, 2009 3:48 pm
 

Mangini alluding to Orakpo at Owners' Meetings?

 

 New Cleveland head coach Eric Mangini spoke to the media at the Owners' Meetings this week and was asked questions about how to project a 4-3 defensive end to the 3-4 rush linebacker position. Many are projecting that the Browns, who finished last season tied for 31st in the NFL with only 17 sacks, will take Texas pass rusher Brian Orakpo.

Though Mangini is careful not to mention any player by name, his description of what he looks for reads like Orakpo's list of strengths.

"You'd like to be able to see on tape some ability to drop, whether it was in zone blitzes, whether it was peeling in coverage.
Like sometimes they'll have the end peel if the guy runs a wide route. You'd like to see some element of that. You' like to see how
stout they are at the point of attack and Athen try to project that to being in a two-point as opposed to a three-point stance. Big part
of that, too, is talking to the player and understanding what or being able to project that they can take that information …
Can they go from a stagnant position where they're getting calls to a position where the call can change two or three
times before the ball is even snapped. Fluidness in their hips, so you can see whether they can drop. I think all those things are key
elements."

Orakpo lined up at outside linebacker at times over the past two seasons when the Longhorns used a 3-4 scheme. In the second of
the four-part series I'm writing about Orakpo's Road to the NFL, he told me that the Browns, and coach Mangini, specifically, asked him
about the different responsibilities of the linebacker positions...

The quote is a far cry from acknowleding that the team is going to take Orakpo with the 5th pick, but considering the specifics of
Mangini's answer and the specific traits which separate Orakpo from some of the other top-rated pass rushers of this draft like Everette
Brown and Aaron Maybin, it may be further evidence of which direction the Browns are currently leaning...
Posted on: March 23, 2009 7:42 pm
 

Britt Impressive at Rutgers Pro Day

 

 Forty one representatives from 27 NFL teams were on hand at the Rutgers Pro Day Monday. As many as five different Scarlet Knights could be drafted one month from now, as head coach Greg Schiano and his staff have done a terrific job of building this program.

Like LSU and other top flight programs, Rutgers has taken the step of inviting media into workouts and releasing the results of the workouts online. You too can see the actual results in a PDF format by following the link provided below.

Junior wide receiver Kenny Britt was the headliner of the bunch, though all told, 11 members of last year's Rutgers' program worked out for scouts.

The 6-3, 210 pound Britt was clocked as fast a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash, though league representatives on hand reported that they clocked him at 4.46 seconds. Senior receiver Tiquan Underwood was even faster, timing between 4.36-4.41 according to the watches of scouts. Both receivers ran well in drills and caught the ball cleanly.

Two sleepers to keep an eye on for the second day of the draft (or perhaps even free agency) that helped their stock were linebacker Kevin Malast, who ran in the 4.6s at 236 pounds and quarterback Mike Teel. Teel didn't wow with his athleticism, but threw the ball well enough to encourage teams who were intrigued by his stellar play over the second half of the 2008 season. Neither Malast nor Teel were invited to the Combine, so their performances Monday were critical in earning consideration for the next level.

This is the link to the full results from the Rutgers Pro Day:  http://scarletknights.com/football/
news/release.asp?prID=7607

 

 

Posted on: March 23, 2009 7:20 pm
 

Wake Forest Pro Day

 

 All 32 teams were represented at Monday's Pro Day, though the two Demon Deacon headliners -- LB Aaron Curry and CB Alphonso Smith -- chose to stand on their Combine performances and only did positional drills.

Curry electing not to workout wasn't a surprise, as he was arguably the most impressive athlete in Indianapolis. According to those in attendance, Curry was impressive, as expected, in linebacker drills.

Alphonso Smith, on the other, hand surprised some scouts who thought he'd try to prove faster than the pair of electronically timed 4.57s he ran at the Combine. Smith is an established ballhawk, who leaves Wake Forest as the ACC's career leader with 21 interceptions, but the combination of question speed and Smith's height (5-9 exactly) is likely to be enough to push him right out of the first round.

I'm still waiting from some of the scouts who attended the workout to fill me in the details of the other players that worked out Monday. While Curry and Smith are unquestionably the two highest rated players representing Wake Forest, there are several other sleeper candidates to keep an eye on, including inside linebacker Stanley Arnoux, safety Chip Vaughn and receiver DJ Boldin, whose older brother is Arizona standout, Anquan Boldin.

Though I hope to provide more details from the workout earlier, the most intimate details from the Pro Day will come in the next installment of the four-part series I'm writing detailing Aaron Curry's Road to the Draft. I will be interviewing Curry this week on his Pro Day experience and what he is looking forward to the most with his several upcoming private workouts.

 

You can read Part One and Two by copying and pasting the following URLs into your browser.

Part One (Curry's training and preparation for the Combine) here: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/
story/11399393

Part Two (Curry's post-combine thoughts and prep for the Pro Day) here: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/
story/11487766

Posted on: March 23, 2009 11:27 am
 

Lions negotiating with potential #1 picks?

 

 As is often the case this time of the year, there are rumors flowing through scouting circles that the Lions have begun negotiations with several different players in the hopes of finalizing a contract well before the opening pick is made on April 25th.

KFFL is reporting that the Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith will be the first pick.

At the same time, there are other rumors via league sources that Virginia left tackle Eugene Monroe, Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford and USC quarterback Mark Sanchez's representatives have been contacted. Jason Smith and Matt Stafford are represented by the power firm CAA. Eugene Monroe is represented by a virtual unknown in the business, Sanat "Sunny" Shah. Mark Sanchez is represented by his brother, Nick Sanchez.

Detroit Lions' president told Tom Kowalski of MLive.com that:

“We have to have robust dialogue with the agents of the players we’re interested in. We’ve started that process and we’ve made it very clear to all of them that we have to have that as this month draws to a close.”

 

 

 

 

Posted on: March 21, 2009 4:12 pm
 

Barden impressive, but Jarron Gilbert more so...

 

 Cal Poly wideout Ramses Barden is getting most of the media attention due to another solid peformance, but the word among scouts is that Spartans' defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert was the most impressive player at the San Jose State-Cal Poly-etc. Pro Day that occurred Friday.

Twenty seven teams were represented at the workout, including head coaches Rex Ryan of the New York Jets and John Fox of the Carolina Panthers.

Gilbert was the most impressive of the bunch, turning in a 4.76 40-yard dash at 6-5, 284 pounds. He also improved upon his already impressive Combine performances in the broad jump (10'7"), vertical (37"), short shuttle (4.40) and 3-cone (7.59).

Typically, the collegiate coaches or scouts will put the players through the workouts. This workout was different, however, as Ryan took over the DL drills and worked Gilbert especially hard. Gilbert would seem to be a perfect fit in the Jets' 3-4 scheme at defensive end. The Jets will have plenty of competition in landing Gilbert's services, however, as he's lined up several private workouts already, including: Detroit, Dallas, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Atlanta. 

Cal Poly wideout Ramses Barden was impressive, generating interest from several teams later in the workout. Fox seemed quite interested. The 6-6, 227 pound receiver looked fluid in drills and was timed in the 4.50-4.56 range in the 40-yard dash.

Watch out for San Jose State cornerbacks Coye Francies and Christopher Owens, two players I've mentioned repeatedly in Rang's Gang and Diamond in the Rough articles. Francies again was disappointing in the 40-yard dash, running in the 4.59-4.65 range, though it was obvious to those in attendance that he was gutting it out with a sprained ankle or other lower leg injury. He has good agility, however, and not only showed on film that he can play, but was among the more impressive corners at the Senior Bowl.

Christopher Owens, on the other hand, looked great in drills. Fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter pointed out that Owens looked good in a previous writeup from the Texas vs. Nation game and he also helped himself at the Combine, but Friday, Owens (5-10, 177) was even better, clocking in at a 4.40 and showcasing better explosiveness out of his broad jump (10') and vertical (35").

Posted on: March 21, 2009 3:53 pm
 

Colts only team at Nate Davis' Pro Day

I've been pretty vocal in my opinion about Ball State junior quarterback Nate Davis. I believe he is among the best deep-ball passers of this draft and a legitimate starter candidate if he is given time to sit on the bench and develop in a more pro-style offense.

Apparently, however, NFL scouts are starting to question Davis' ability, as only one team -- the Indianapolis Colts -- were represented at Davis' Pro Day Friday.Perhaps teams were comfortable enough with the fact that Davis threw -- and, in my opinion at least, threw well -- at the Combine already.

Davis, for what it is worth, again threw the ball well, completing 61 of the 70 passes he threw in a workout orchestrated by former NFL quarterback, turned QB guru Steve DeBerg. Not surprisingly, Davis was at his best throwing deep passes. Of the 9 incompletions, 5 were drops by his receivers.

There are certainly concerns with Davis. His lack of height and well-publicized learning disability are chief among them. I generally believe the Wonderlic is an overrated component of grading prospects, but at quarterback, it is important. Should Davis have scored poorly on the test (as is rumored), I can understand why he might be dropping. I was not particularly impressed by Davis during the interview process at the Combine and do not anticipate that teams were either.

However, considering the lack of talent among this year's quarterback class and the lengthy careers of past quarterbacks whose greatest asset was the long ball (Jeff Blake, anyone?) Davis remains a quality mid-round prospect with significant upside.

The film doesn't lie. Davis can play.

 

 

 

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