Posted on: March 15, 2011 6:29 pm
All 32 NFL teams were on hand to see Mike Pouncey and the rest of the Florida Gators go through their Pro Day today in Gainesville.
Pouncey was the unquestioned center attraction at the event, as numerous offensive line coaches attended the event, as well as general managers (Jacksonville's Gene Smith) and head coaches (New England's Bill Belichick). The Jaguars' Andy Heck, Bears' Mike Tice, and Steelers' Sean Kugler were among the offensive line coaches in attendance.
Pouncey did not do any of the timed drills after a strong performance at the Scouting Combine, but did do 24 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press.
He also performed very well in positional drills, according to a scout on hand for the workout. The scout characterized Pouncey as "a star" and said, "He is everything you're looking for in an interior lineman. He's a carbon copy of his brother."
Mike's brother, of course, is the Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey, who earned a spot on the Pro Bowl team with a standout rookie season at center for the AFC Champions.
Pouncey, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated interior lineman , is currently projected to be the No. 22 pick in the 2011 draft by the Indianapolis Colts in my recent mock draft. My fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter has him going 25th overall to the Seattle Seahawks .
This is a relatively down year of prospects for the Gators, with only two other Florida prospects being viewed as potential middle round prospects.
Another lineman, Marcus Gilbert, could make the third round. The 6-6, 330 pounder helped his cause, according to the scout with a solid performance today. A left tackle for the Gators, he projects best on the right side in the NFL.
Perhaps the player with the most on the line in today's workout was safety Ahmad Black. The diminutive Black (5-09, 184) needed a strong workout today to erase the concerns that were raised at the Combine due to disappointing times in the 40-yard dash. Black registered between 4.70-4.82 at Indianapolis and wasn't much faster in Gainesville today, unfortunately.
Scouts love his instincts and penchant for the game-changing play, but in posting another pair of 4.7s in the forty (my source had him at 4.74, 4.76), he could slip to the last two rounds of the draft.
"The kid plays fast, there's no question. But at that size and speed, it is going to be tough to convince a DB coach to get on board during [draft] meetings," the source said about Black.
Posted on: August 20, 2010 1:53 pm
When Brandon Spikes was clocked at 5.05 seconds in the all-important 40-yard dash during his Florida Pro Day, some immediately questioned whether he could be effective in the NFL.
After all, few linebackers have ever run that slow and still been high draft picks. The only middle linebacker from the 2010 draft to have anything close to the two-time All-American Spikes' production in college and his slow time in the 40-yard dash was former Kentucky star Micah Johnson, who went undrafted, was signed by the New York Giants as a free agent and is now a member of the Miami Dolphins.
The slow time did force me to re-evaluate whether he could be effective as a true middle linebacker in the 4-3 scheme, but if protected in a 3-4 alignment, I thought he could continue the spectacular play in the NFL that he'd enjoyed throughout his career with the Gators. His sideline to sideline speed had concerned me even prior to Spikes' senior season.
If his first two preseason games in the NFL are any indication, the Patriots may have a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate with Spikes, the 62nd overall pick of the draft.
Spikes "only" contributed three solo tackles in the win over Atlanta last night, but his physicality in the hole and timing as a pass rusher makes him an ideal fit for this scheme, especially when you consider that the Patriots already feature one of the game's better young inside linebacker in Jerod Mayo -- who captured 49 of a possible 50 votes to win the 2008 award.
In the first preseason game, Spikes was much more statistically impressive, leading the team with eight tackles against the Super Bowl champion Saints.
Spikes' impressive performance has drawn relatively "rave" reviews from Bill Belichick, who, of course, is rarely complimentary.
"Now that he’s in our defense, some things he does are a little bit different than the way we would teach it, but he still does them well,’’ Belichick was quoted by Robert Mays of the Boston Globe.
Wow. Acknowledgement from Belichick? For a rookie?
That's about as rare as a linebacker running a 5.05 second 40-yard dash and still making the second round...
Posted on: April 18, 2010 12:46 pm
The weeks preceeding the NFL draft is full of hyperbole and deceit. What NFL coaches, front office executives and scouts say on the record is often less than honest.
Rather than boldface lie to the media members they typically are paid to be honest with, most league members simply choose to not to comment about specific players.
Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli are a few of the more famous examples of NFL personnel who subscribe to this theory.
Denver head coach Josh McDaniels, formerly the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Belichick in New England, apparently operates under a different philosophy, going out of his way to defend Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant.
During his pre-draft press conference with Denver media, McDaniels was uncharacteristically candid when asked about Bryant and the apparently erroneous report that he had been taken off Denver's list of possible draft selections. McDaniels said as much, noting that Bryant "is on our board."“I think you have to be careful with confusing character issues with some people that made some mistakes,” McDaniels said. ”This guy has never been arrested, he’s never had a drinking issue, he’s never done anything that’s put him in that position. He’s made a few mistakes that he wishes he hadn’t made. But I think there’s a difference. We enjoyed our visit with him. He did everything we asked him to do and had a smile on his face. We enjoyed the entire visit, and he did well.”
McDaniels' admission is interesting. If he hadn't said anything about Bryant, many likely would have assumed that the reports that the Oklahoma State star was off their board were true. End of story.
By publicly defending him and claim that Bryant remains on their board, however, McDaniels could be attempting to create interest in the pick or preparing Denver Broncos fans for the possibility that Bryant will be their pick.
On the one hand it might seem odd that Denver would take Bryant considering that they just got rid of a similarly gifted receiver in Brandon Marshall and his laundry list of character concerns.
It is worth noting, however, that Josh McDaniels' success in the NFL have been tied to two offenses blessed with spectacular receiver play -- the Broncos with Marshall and the Patriots with Randy Moss.
As talented a coach as McDaniels may be, entering the 2010 NFL season without a headlining talent at receiver might be more risk than drafting Bryant would be...
Posted on: February 25, 2010 12:19 pm
Those hoping that new Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey might offer up some insight as to where the team would be looking on draft day were disappointed with his non-specific answers.
"Every team in the league that doesn't have an All-Pro quarterback or somebody that got votes for All-Pro is looking to improve their position. I think if you look at every position on the field, you are always trying to upgrade your football team. We'll evaluate these guys, we'll continue to evaluate them. We'll evaluate what's available and if we can improve our situation, we'll try to do it. Everyone is trying to do that -- not just at quarterback -- but at every position."
When asked if he'd consider adding a veteran presence at quarterback, Gailey was at it again.
"I'm going to sidestep that, again, but again, we're always trying to improve our football team. If that will improve us, then we'll do it."
Gailey was similarly enlightening when later asked about offensive linemen, nose guards and pass rushers.
In a division featuring similarly media friendly personalities Bill Belichick and Tony Sparano, Gailey is going to fit right in...
Posted on: April 22, 2009 1:18 am
Edited on: April 22, 2009 11:07 am
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.