Posted on: January 14, 2010 10:32 pm

TE Gronkowski expected to leave early

Arizona junior tight end Rob Gronkowski, who missed the entire 2009 season after undergoing surgery on a herniated disk and nerve damage in his lower back in September, has scheduled a press conference for Friday morning and is expected to announce that he's entering his name in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Though he doesn't have Jermaine Gresham's big name, the 6-6, 265 pound Gronkowski could compete with the former Oklahoma star at the top of tight end rankings if he can prove he's healthy. According to sources, Gronkowski flew on January 6th to Marina del Rey, California to meet with the doctor who performed the surgery on and has since been running and working out in preparation for next season.

Whether next season is with the Wildcats or the NFL, of course, only Gronkowski knows, at this time.

Considering that his older brother, senior H-back Chris Gronkowski will be leaving after this season and the relatively weak class of tight ends, scouts expect the 2008 first-team all-Pac-10 choice to leave early -- assuming he feels secure in the health of his back.

Voted a third-team All-American in 2008 after he caught 47 passes for 672 yards and 10 touchdowns despite missing the first three games due to illness (mono), Gronkowski entered the 2009 season on the John Mackey Award watchlist. With only two seasons under his belt, he's Arizona's all-time leading tight end in various categories, including the single game, single season, and career leader in receptions (75), receiving yards (1,197) and touchdowns (16).

Blessed with great size, good athleticism and soft hands, he's a true threat on short and intermediate routes and a better blocker than most give him credit for.

Completely healthy, he'd likely earn a first round grade from teams. Considering that seriousness of his back injury and resulting surgery, however, teams could be hesitant to use a first round pick on him. That said, in a class with only one other true headliner at tight end -- and, of course, Gresham is coming off his own surgery -- and a series of specialists (receiver specialists Aaron Hernandez, Ed Dickson and blocking specialist Anthony McCoy), a spot among the Top 50 certainly seems possible.

Posted on: November 10, 2009 12:45 pm

Arthur Jones' lack of durability a concern

In terms of NFL caliber talent, the Syracuse Orangemen had two senior prospects worthy of early round consideration: defensive tackle Arthur Jones and wide receiver Mike Williams.

Williams stunned the school and scouts, alike, with his decision to quit the team two weeks ago. Now, the Orange will have to do without Jones, as well, as the university announced Monday night that Jones had torn the lateral meniscus in his left knee in the loss to Pittsburgh, Saturday, ending his collegiate career.

The meniscus tear, on its own isn't necessarily a huge concern for scouts. Depending on the location and severity of the tear, Jones may not even need to undergo surgery. If the injury does require surgery, it will be arthroscopic in nature and isn't expected to keep Jones from participating in rookie mini camps, or perhaps even the Combine.

Jones has been prone to injuries throughout his career, however, which will certainly give teams reason to pause on draft day. Of most concern is the fact that Jones' injuries have become more serious and occurred more frequently as his career has gone on. Jones tore his pectoral muscle during a February workout and missed time earlier this season with a "upper leg injury."

Jones is a versatile, talented defender that ordinarily would receive strong first round consideration. Considering the injuries and the relative depth along the defensive line, however, his status is much cloudier.

Jones leaves Syracuse with 38.5 career tackles for loss -- the most by a defensive tackle in Orange history. He was Syracuse's lone First-Team Big-East selection in 2008.

Posted on: November 9, 2009 2:39 pm

LSU: RB Charles Scott done for the year

LSU has announced via their website that senior running back Charles Scott, ranked as high as second this season at the position by NFLDraftScout.com, will miss the rest of the year due to the broken clavicle (collarbone) he suffered in the second half of Saturday's showdown with Alabama.

Ironically enough, the injury occurred on Scott's most impressive play of the game, a 34-yard run in the third quarter.

The loss of Scott is a significant blow to the LSU offense and further weakens an already shaky senior running back class. Buffalo's James Starks, viewed as a potential mid round pick prior to the season, underwent surgery to correct a labrum tear back in August.

A broken clavicle rarely requires surgery. Typically, the rehabilitation begins with a simple sling and pain medication, so that the broken bone has the time to heal itself. Typical recovery time is 6-12 weeks, though if muscles around the bone were torn, the rehabiliation can take much longer. Scott's injury will be an obvious focal point for the team doctors and x-ray technicians at the Combine.

Scott led the Tigers with 83 yards against the Tide and was leading the team in rushing for the season (542 yards and 4 TDs). He finishes his LSU career sixth on the school's all-time rushing list with 2,372 rushing yards. Scott rushed for 1,174 and a conference-leading 18 rushing touchdowns in 2008, earning first all-SEC accolades by the coaches.
Posted on: October 25, 2009 6:23 pm

Oklahoma: Bradford entering 2010 draft

The official website of the Oklahoma Sooners announced the news that NFL scouts had been expecting: Sam Bradford will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery and, assuming his rehabilitation goes as expected, will be entering the 2010 NFL Draft.

The injury -- a sprained AC joint of his right (throwing) shoulder -- initially occurred in Oklahoma's opening season loss to BYU, Bradford came back for a tune-up against Baylor, but only made it to the second offensive series for the Sooners before going down against the Texas pass rush.

The noted surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, will be performing the surgery on Wednesday. The expected rehabilitation is 4-6 months. With the draft approximately 7 months away, Bradford is hopeful to have enough time to work out for scouts prior to draft, whether at the Combine or in a personal Pro Day workout later.

Bradford had flirted with leaving after his record-breaking, Heisman Trophy winning redshirt sophomore season. With 4/5s of his offensive line moving on, as well as his top three receiving targets gone, Bradford had his work cut out for him, but showed the same impressive arm strength and lazer accuracy that had many scouts privately ranking Bradford as the elite passing prospect last year, over Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez.

Though questions about his recovery and long-term durability are sure to be concerns for scouts, Bradford's size, arm strength and accuracy make him a better NFL prospect than seniors Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow, Tony Pike and the rest of the 2010 class.

Bradford's final numbers at Oklahoma are impressive. He led the country in passing efficiency in his two starting seasons and leaves OU with 15 passing records, including career marks for yards (8,403) and touchdowns (88).

The link to the original story is here.

Posted on: September 4, 2009 12:35 pm

Blount's behavior inexcusable, undraftable

By now, most college football fans have already seen Oregon running back LaGarrette Blount's tirade after the Ducks' loss to Boise State last night. For those that haven't, I've pasted the URL for the YouTube video below.


Once the initial shock of Blount's inexcusable behavior wears off, NFL scouts will still need to determine if his skills translate to the NFL. Blount, roughly 6-1, 250 pounds, is a questionable fit in Oregon's spread offense and struggled to find holes yesterday against the Broncos, but in an I-back formation, the power back with surprising speed could be effective and many NFL teams will consider him.

His character grade, however, took a massive hit (sorry, couldn't resist) with the cheapshot, however. So much so that when placing this latest infraction with the multitude of others that have come in the past (suspended for grades over the summer, showed up overweight, etc.), Blount may have fallen from a potential Top 50 selection all the way out of the draft with his behavior.

How he answers questions about his lack of control to scouts and the media at the Combine (asssuming he's invited) will ultimately go a long way in determining whether he's given an opportunity in the NFL. More so, in fact, than any yardage and touchdown production he might put forth this season.
Posted on: August 25, 2009 12:41 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2009 12:43 pm

Buffalo RB James Starks' Collegiate Career Over

An already weak senior crop of running backs took a hit Tuesday with the news that 6-2, 211 pound James Starks will miss the 2009 season after tests revealed a labral tear in his shoulder that will require surgery and 4-6 months of rehabilitation, according to head coach Turner Gill.

Starks, who redshirted as a freshman, does not have any eligibility remaining. He'll have the option of petitioning the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility or begin the process of rehabilitating with an eye toward impressing scouts at the 2010 Combine.

Starks, Buffalo's career rushing leader (3,140 yards, 34 TDs), exploded onto the scene last year, rushing for 1,333 yards and 16 touchdowns in helping lead the Bulls to their first MAC title and a berth in the International Bowl, the first bowl game in school history. The total, the most in a single-season in Buffalo history, came despite Starks missing nearly three full games due to injury.

A lanky runner with good burst to get upfield and surprising strength, Starks had been pegged by scouts as a middle-round pick capable of moving up the board with good workouts.

Posted on: August 16, 2009 6:36 pm

Rookie Impressions -- Nick Reed

Seattle Seahawk defensive end Nick Reed is a classic example of a highly productive collegiate prospect falling on draft day because of a lack of ideal size and speed. Few, if any, defensive ends across the country can match Reed's career numbers. The owner of the University of Oregon's career sacks (29.5) and tackles for loss (51.5) -- which each rank fourth in Pac-10 history -- Reed earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior and senior. The epitome of consistency, Reed recorded at least one sack in 23 of his 26 career starts. The Ducks listed Reed at 6-3, 245 pounds, but scouts knew better and despite his eye-popping production, wasn't even invited to the Combine. Measuring in at a shade over 6-0, and 247 pounds, Reed fell all the way to 247th pick overall, where Seattle, the team closest in proximity to seeing him on a regular basis, decided to take a chance. Reed, playing exclusively at right defensive end (though he dropped into zone blitz coverage, on occasion) registered 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, and an interception. His primary competition was San Diego reserve left tackle L.J. Shelton, an 11 year veteran with 127 career starts.

Nick Reed, Seattle Seahawks, DE, #98: Good initial quickness off the snap to push the tackle's shoulder. Fast enough off the edge to turn the tackle and scoot past him with either a good second burst, or quick re-direct back inside. Active, accurate hands to slap away the tackle's attempts to grab hold of him. Lacks the strength to break free if captured, though he doesn't stop working to gain his release. Rare effort in pursuit laterally and downfield. Used a speed rush outside against  Shelton to record his sack. Most impressive play may have been his interception. Initially attempted a speed rush, but when countered effectively by Shelton, Reed focused his attention on Charger reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and read screen pass. Reed released from Shelton, slipped laterally toward the running back and was in perfect position to snatch Whitehurst's toss. Though instinctive and quick enough laterally to maintain his containment responsibilities in the running game, Reed's current size and strength is just too much of a liability to see consistent playing time in the base scheme. As a weapon during obvious passing downs, however, Reed proved that his consistent ability to make plays behind the line scrimmage did not end in college.  
Posted on: April 22, 2009 11:47 am

Marvez reporting Harvin, Tate fail drug test


 Foxsports.com's Alex Marvez is reporting that Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin and North Carolina wide receiver/return specialist Brandon Tate both tested positive for marijuana at the Combine. He cites two sources and attempted to reach agent Joel Segal, who represents both Harvin and Tate for comment, but did not have his calls returned.

Harvin has top ten athleticism, but the positive test, when combined with the previous character red-flags on Harvin's resume could lead to a significant drop on draft day. A handful of teams I've spoken with in the past few days feel that the character concerns are significant enough to knock him out of the first round entirely. Some even suggested Harvin could be knocked out of the first day.

Tate, who flashed first day talent as a receiver and returner throughout his career before tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee in his senior season, could be knocked out of the draft entirely due to the positive test.

Just as newsworthy is that, according to Marvez's source, "Harvin and Tate were the only high-profile players to flunk their combine drug tests."


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