Tag:Anthony Dixon
Posted on: August 30, 2010 11:25 am
 

2010 class looks worth the hype so far

We told you prior to the draft the 2010 crop of talent looked like one of the best in a long time . Once the underclassmen came on board, the class was being compared by some to the famous 1983 group that included Hall of Famers John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Bruce Mathews, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino and Darrell Green.

Comparing this class to the 1983 crew is, of course, vastly premature.
 
At least throughout the weeks of preseason, however, the class looks every bit as good as advertised.

Most years, by this time, we've already identified a half dozen or so highly drafted rookies who are struggling to acclimate to the pros. Sure, Colt McCoy isn't setting the world on fire, but we should have known to expect that a bit considering that he slipped into the 3rd round. Most of the players drafted in the first round are already establishing themselves as either immediate starters or quality backups... exactly what first-round picks are supposed to do.
Think of the top ten this year. Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams, Eric Berry, Russell Okung, Joe Haden, Rolando McClain, C.J. Spiller and even surprise top ten choice Tyson Alualu have shown flashes of brilliance for their respective teams, already.

The first round picks that have struggled have mostly been due to injuries. Tim Tebow, Demaryius Thomas, Derrick Morgan, etc. have reportedly looked good when practicing, but various injuries have, thus far, slowed their advancement.

Exciting middle, late round and even undrafted free agents have emerged already .

But don't just take my word for it. Check out the stats.

Rookie Anthony Dixon, San Francisco's 6th round pick and the No. 173 player taken overall leads the NFL with 220 rushing yards. 

Rookie Victor Cruz, an undrafted free agent for the Giants, leads the league with 251 receiving yards, as well as receiving touchdowns (4). The only player in the league with as many as three TDs? Another rookie. Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski, a second round pick taken No. 42 overall.

So, offensively the rookies are doing well. What about the defense, you ask?

Thanks for asking.

Rookie Pat Angerer, the Colts' second round pick and the No. 63 player taken overall leads the NFL with 24 tackles.

Defensive tackle Geno Atkins, a fourth round pick taken at No. 120, leads the league with 4.5 sacks.

I can hear the dispute already. Yeah, rookies see a lot of playing time, and therefore more opportunities to post numbers in the preseason.

True. But the facts remain the same.

This 2010 class of rookies has a chance to be special.

Posted on: March 1, 2010 12:54 pm
 

Ben Tate deserves a closer look

Ben Tate has a legitimate gripe about not getting more national attention.

With all of the attention heaped upon Mark Ingram, Dexter McCluster and Anthony Dixon, few around the country realize how effective he was for the Tigers this season. His 1,362 yards in 2009 were the fourth highest single-season-total in Auburn history.

And remember... Auburn has quite the history of running backs (Bo Jackson, Cadillac Williams, James Brooks, Stephen Davis, Ronnie Brown, etc.)

Tate is once again likely to be overlooked, as the talking heads will be talking more about CJ Spiller and Jahvid Best's speed than anything else in the days following the running back workouts. However, look at what he accomplished in Indianapolis:

Bench Press: #1 of all RB's; 26 Reps of 225 lbs
Broad Jump: #1 of all RB's; 10'4"
Vertical Jump: #2 of all RB's; 40'5"
40 Yard Dash: #3 of all RB's; 4.43 seconds

Tate seemed to predict his success in an interview with the Opelika Auburn News a few days before his strong workout at the Combine.

 “There’s nothing more important than what you do on the field,” Tate said. “But if there’s someone close to you who has similar numbers and you all are being seen as equal-type players, these numbers you put up at the combine can make a big difference. “They can leapfrog you over a couple guys that are almost the same type of running back.”

Considering his production at the Combine, as well as the more important numbers he put up when in a system that fit his downhill rushing style with the Tigers, Tate should be rising up draft boards.

Posted on: January 30, 2010 12:42 pm
 

Players to watch in Senior Bowl

You've read (or heard) us say how much more important the week of practice at the Senior Bowl is than the game, itself.

And while it is true that 90% of the scouts, coaches and front office excecutives that were in Mobile this week have now left, don't think that many of them will miss tuning in to the game (4 pm EST, NFL Network).

All players have an opportunity to help themselves with a strong performance today, but quarterbacks, running backs, and linebackers have historically gained the most.

Tim Tebow , of course, will get most of the attention, but be sure to check out the other South passers. West Virginia's Jarrett Brown could put a emphatic end to the week with a strong performance today and Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson has certainly flashed.

Because I promised myself I wouldn't write two consecutive sentences about #15, here's my final one -- don't pay so much attention to his elongated release (which remains the same it has always been), but instead to his ability to take the snap from center and accuracy downfield, as these were the two elements in which Tebow made consistent strides over the week.

It will be interesting, as well, to see if any sort of consistency comes from the North passers. Due to his mobility, Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour might be able to shake free some of the rust that hindered him this week. Cincinnati's Tony Pike has the arm to dazzle, but hasn't been able to string together more than a few completions in a row. Oregon State's Sean Canfield has struggled to get passes on a line outside the hashes due to a marginal arm strength, but throws a pretty ball down the seam and deep. If he can connect on a big one, he could leave Mobile with a positive.

The most dynamic running back this week of practice has clearly been Ole Miss' Mr. Everything Dexter McCluster . I haven't written about him, however, as the week of practice -- in which defenders were clearly instructed not to wrap up -- is perfectly suited to the elusive speedster's game. Now, don't get me wrong, McCluster showed remarkable strength and balance throughout his monster season in the SEC and may have a strong game today, but it will be tougher for him to break free for the 70 yarders that he was routinely zipping through in practice.

With defenders able to actually tackle backs, it will be interesting to see how the power backs Anthony Dixon (Mississippi State) and LaGarrette Blount (Oregon) fare. Be sure to watch for Wayne State's Joique Bell , who quietly helped himself this week and I wrote about as a one of the "honorable mention " risers from the week of practices.

Attempting to make the tackle on this blend of size, speed and power and shiftiness is a solid, but unspectacular class of linebackers. I'm particularly interested to see how effectively Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon , TCU's Daryl Washington , Florida State's Dekoda Watson and Washington's Donald Butler are able to fight through blocks and make open field stops close to the line of scrimmage, rather than downfield.

One final to note -- watch out for USC safety Taylor Mays to make an impact as a hitter in this game. As the opposite of McCluster, Mays' game is in the ferocity of his hitting, not the mobility he shows in coverage. Considering that he wasn't allowed to hit much over the week of practice, it isn't the least bit surprising that some feel he's struggled. The reality, is that Mays has been the same player this week as he's always been - the preeminent intimidator over the middle of at least the past ten years.
Posted on: January 25, 2010 2:59 pm
 

Some surprises at the Senior Bowl weigh-in

College football teams are notorious for exaggerating the heights/weights and speeds of their athletes. The official weigh-in and measurements at all-star games and the Scouting Combine provide a truer picture of each player's actual size.

Some players come in smaller or lighter than expected and could see a slip down draft boards as a result. Others pleasantly surprised by measuring in taller or clearly spending some time in the gym or weight room since the end of the season.

A few players who disappointed during the weigh-ins were:

With all of the buzz around Tim Tebow, fellow South quarterbacks Tony Pike (Cincinnati) and Zac Robinson (Oklahoma State) did themselves no favors by each measuring in smaller than expected. Pike, at nearly 6-6, weighed on 212 pounds. His skinny build won't do much to convince scouts that he'll be more durable in the NFL than he's proven while with the Bearcats. Similarly, Robinson, who was listed by Oklahoma State at 6-3, 218 pounds, instead came in just over 6'2 and 210 pounds...

Pike's teammate, Mardy Gilyard , also came in very light. While certainly elusive, scouts wonder if he'll be able to get off press coverage in the slot at only 179 pounds.

Tight end/Fullback 'tweeners Dorin Dickerson and Garrett Graham also came in smaller than expected. Dickerson, originally listed at 6-2, 230 pounds, was instead 6-1, 222 and Graham (6-3, 250), only weight 234 pounds.

A few players who helped themselves during the weigh-ins were:


Florida State outside linebacker Dekoda Watson , boasting arguably the most impressive physique of either roster, surprised by measuring in at 6-2, 232 pounds. He had been listed by the Seminoles at 226 pounds and some scouts had estimated that he'd actually weigh in under 220.

NFL teams looking for bullish backs will be certain to keep an eye on Mississippi State's Anthony Dixon and Oregon LaGarrette Blount , each of whom measured in at an eye-popping 245 pounds. Their weight certainly wasn't due to extra slices of pizza following their seasons. Trim waistlines and thick lower bodies should aid in their transition to the NFL.

Utah pass rusher Koa Misi , who played defensive end for the Utes, seems to be taking his likely conversion to outside linebacker seriously. Expected to weigh in at 6-2, 263, but instead came in nearly an inch taller and at a relatively svelt 243 pounds.

Guards Jon Asamoa (Illinois) and John Jerry (Mississippi) each weighed in lighter than expected. Asamoa had been listed by Illinois at 6-5, 315 pounds, but actually came in at 6-4 and 300 pounds. Jerry was listed by Ole Miss at 6-6, 335, but had reportedly seen his weight balloon to over 350, at times, came in at 6-5 (and a 1/2) and and 332 pounds. We'll see if the drop in weight makes him even more athletic, without sacrificing his power.

Notes --

The smallest player measured was Ole Miss all-purpose star Dexter McCluster, who measured in at a shade over 5'08 and at 165 pounds. Not surprisingly, Alabama nose guard Terrance Cody was the heaviest player, tipping the scales at 370 pounds. Cody's sloppy build will move him down some teams' boards. Notre Dame offensive tackle Sam Young, the last man measured, was the tallest player. He came in at 6'07 (and 3/4) and 305 pounds.


Posted on: September 30, 2009 1:34 pm
 

Week 5 Draft Slant lineup

I turned in my film review of the 10 players I'll be highlighting in the Week Five issue of Draft Slant to my editors last night.

As I'll try to do each week, here is the list of the players I focused on:

Player of the Week: WR Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati: (Great open field player, but one concern obvious after Fresno State game)
Diamond in the Rough: RS LeRoy Vann, Florida A&M : (Dynamic return specialist with back to back 2 TD return games already in '09)

Eight Others Deserving Mention Based on Film Review:

RB Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State (bruising back should have had an opportunity to beat LSU)
TE Ed Dickson, Oregon (Did the Ducks intentionally "forget" about Dickson early in the season to exploit the Cal 3-4 scheme?)
OG Mitch Petrus, Arkansas (Former FB has great feet, aggression in getting to the 2nd level)
OT Ciron Black, LSU (think Flozell Adams)
OLB Eric Norwood, South Carolina (He may not have the prototypical size and speed, but neither did Tedy Bruschi)
DT Tyson Alualu, California (At least one Golden Bear showed up to play against Oregon)
RB/WR Dexter McCluster, Mississippi (Is he a RB? Is he a WR? Is he a legitimate NFL prospect?)
SS Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech (Lacks the size and straight-line speed, but his instincts and quickness are enough to get drafted)

I hope you'll consider checking out an issue of Draft Slant . I check every outlet for draft information you can imagine -- through NFL teams, on the Web, over the air-waves, etc. If the information inside our weekly PDF isn't better than anything else you've seen in a weekly Draft perspective, I'd be stunned.
 
 
 
 
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