Posted on: April 25, 2009 5:38 pm
As it turns out, Brian Orakpo's final team visit was the one that mattered most, as he ends up with the Redskins. A good move for a club looking to add a pass rusher next to free agent signee Albert Haynesworth.
The Denver pick was the bigger surprise. Funny, months ago I was told that the Broncos liked Moreno, but really thought that they'd address their running back needs later in the draft. That said, I love Moreno and thought that he was among the more underrated prospects in this draft. Forget the 40 time on Moreno. He's a star and if he had a decent QB behind him, I'd already proclaim him to be the favorite to be the offensive rookie of the year. I'm that sold on him...
The New Orleans Saints are on the clock.
They could use help on the defensive side of the ball and will also consider a RB in Beanie Wells.
I see the possibilities as:
A. Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
B. Malcolm Jenkins, CB/FS, Ohio State
C. Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
D. Beanie Wells, RB, Ohio State
I've consistently projected Brian Cushing here because I thinkthe Saints are higher on him, but if it was me making the pick, I'd take Malcolm Jenkins.
Posted on: April 25, 2009 5:32 pm
The 49ers got the player I've had countless scouts tell me may be the best player in the draft 3 years from now at the #10 spot, so the value of the pick is spectacular. Crabtree's size, hands and physicality is a perfect compliment to the power running they have with Frank Gore.
The Bills are now on the clock and took Penn State DE/OLB Aaron Maybin. I had hoped to mention Maybin, as well as Michael Oher and Brian Orakpo for this pick but the Bills jumped up to make their pick surprisingly fast.
The Broncos are now on the clock.
They could be looking at Orakpo, the QB Josh Freeman, OLB Brian Cushing or some have even suggested one of the running backs - Beanie Wells or Knowshon Moreno.
Ultimately, I think the pick will be one of the pass rushers (Orakpo or Cushing) or a trade down. Orakpo is a bit stiff for my taste as a 3-4 rush linebacker and I have concerns about Cushing's durability.
Still, ultimately, I'd take Cushing, considering the Broncos' needs on defense.
Posted on: April 25, 2009 5:11 pm
The Jaguars stand pat at #8 and get a talent in Eugene Monroe that deserved consideration much eariler. The free agent adidtion of Tra Thomas made this more of a value selection for the Jaguars, than addressing a huge need, but the Jags are better now.
The Green Bay Packers are now on the clock and are presented with an interesting dilemma.
Michael Crabtree is a terrific talent, but there may not be a stronger position for the Packers than wide receiver. They'd love to get their nose guard here with BJ Raji. The team also wants an offensive tackle and Michael Oher is as talented as any of the other 3 OTs that were selected ahead of him.
A. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
B. BJ Raji, NG, Boston College
C. Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
D. Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
Ultimately, to win with the 3-4 defense, the Packers need to acquire a nose guard. Expect Raji to be the pick.
Posted on: April 25, 2009 4:42 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2009 4:46 pm
As expected, the Seahawks took linebacker Aaron Curry with the 4th pick. The Browns were on the clock -- but traded to the Jets.
Looks like the pick, instead, will be the New York Jets taking Mark Sanchez... An aggressive move by the Jets, but one that was necessary considering their lack of talent at the QB position.
The Bengals are now on the clock.
The Bengals have multiple needs. They'll have to consider Michael Crabtree, especially with the loss of TJ Houshmandzadeh and the antics of Chad Ochocinco. Other areas of concern are BJ Raji and OT Eugene Monroe. There is even talk they make take a pass rusher like Brian Orakpo or RB Beanie Wells.
Ultimately, however, I believe the team has locked in on Alabama OT Andre Smith with this pick.
Posted on: April 24, 2009 9:00 pm
One of the more enjoyable aspects of this gig is talking to some of the high profile players on their "Road to the Draft." I've been fortunate to follow Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry and Texas defensive end/outside linebacker Brian Orakpo throughout the Combine, Pro Day, NFL Draft experience and tried to highlight some of the highpoints in a series of articles on their journey.
The third of the four-part series with Brian Orakpo was posted today, but with so much going on, the article is a little difficult to find.
For those interested, here is a link to copy and paste for Brian's take on the numerous private workouts and team visits he's had over the past month. He's flown all over the country (Denver, Washington, Houston, Kansas City, and Cleveland) over that time and has gave me some interesting details on differences with how some teams chose to work him out.
The phone call he received from Gil Brandt is an interesting one, as well...
Check it out: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/
Posted on: April 10, 2009 8:21 pm
According to a report by ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the NFL is going to invite at least 10 players this year to Radio City Music Hall for draft day. The number is nearly double that which the league has invited in recent years and is likely an attempt on the league's part to give the increasingly made-for-television-event a reality-TV appeal. The decision to invite more players was made to highlight especially intriguing players, including some who aren't necessarily expected to be within the top ten picks.
Among the players (listed alphabetically) expected to attend are:
WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
OLB Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
OLB Brian Cushing, USC
QB Josh Freeman, Kansas State
OT Eugene Monroe, Virginia
OT Michael Oher, Mississippi
DE/OLB Brian Orakpo, Texas
OT Jason Smith, Baylor
QB Matthew Stafford, Georgia
Some notable names are missing on this list, not the least of which is USC quarterback Mark Sanchez (who, according to Mortensen's report is currently planning on spending the draft with friends and family), Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith and Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
Interestingly enough, I spoke with Aaron Curry yesterday in preparation for Part 3 of the four-part "Road to the Draft" we're doing and he had not yet been invited...
The most players I recall the NFL ever inviting to New York for the draft was 11, back in 1996. The 1996 draft was memorable for many reasons -- Keyshawn Johnson was the last wide receiver selected with the top pick and no linebacker has been selected as high since the Jaguars made former Illinois standout Kevin Hardy the second overall pick. The 1996 draft was also memorable in that it featured the only player invited to NYC by the league that slipped entirely out of the first round. The Cardinals made running back Leeland McElroy the second pick of the second round (32nd overall).
Tags: Aaron Curry, Andre Smith, Arizona Cardinals, Brian Cushing, Brian Orakpo, Eugene Monroe, green room, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jason Smith, Jeremy Maclin, Josh Freeman, Kevin Hardy, Keyshawn Johnson, Leeland McElroy, Mark Sanchez, Matthew Stafford, Michael Crabtree, Michael Oher, New York Jets, NFL Draft
Posted on: April 8, 2009 3:34 pm
With only 2 1/2 weeks until the draft, two of this classes' biggest names are going in opposite directions -- and their stock fluctuation could prove to be one of the real stories of the draft.
Anyone who has watched Beanie Wells throughout his career with the Buckeyes knows of his talent. Physically-speaking, he is clearly the best RB in this class, though questions about his consistency and toughness have caused many (including me) to rank Georgia's Knowshon Moreno as this year's best back.Wells, frankly, was disappointing even before the mysterious leg injury that robbed him of his effectiveness last season.
Scouts diligently reviewing Well's 2007 film, however, see a different back. A Larry Johnson, perhaps even Adrian Peterson-like combination of size and power. I've taken some angry comments from Packers' fans due to my projecting Wells to Green Bay in my latest mock draft. Certainly the team has other, greater needs, but there are many teams within the top ten considering Wells. His physical tools are just so great that some team, scouts tell me, is likely to pull the trigger earlier than most are anticipating.
On the flipside, Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo seems to be slipping down boards. I've spoken to scouts who operate for teams using the 4-3 and 3-4 alignments and each club is souring on the Longhorn pass-rusher. The more film teams do on Orakpo, the more they are left wondering if he is explosive and persistent enough to consistently generate a pass rush against NFL left tackles or, for that matter, agile enough to drop back into coverage. Orakpo's imposing build is impressive to look at, but belies his career-long struggles with durability, as well; another element that scouts are mentioning as a reason he could slip out of the top ten -- and perhaps considerably farther than that.
Posted on: March 25, 2009 6:05 pm
Texas' Brian Orakpo had to be characterized as a defensive end until today. Though many have projected him as an outside linebacker and he played the position a bit while with the Longhorns, he had been unable to workout as a linebacker in drills due to a pulled hamstring at the Combine.
At Wednesday's Pro Day, however, he ended all speculation about his explosiveness and ability to change directions, impressing Green Bay Packers' GM Ted Thompson and an estimated 50 other league representatives at the University of Texas.
Due to the fact that he ran many of the drills at the Combine, Orakpo elected only to do the ones scouts hadn't seen -- and perform in linebacker drills. Orakpo's 10'10" broad jump showed spectacular explosiveness. His effort would have eclipsed the numbers put forth by any defensive line or linebacker prospect in Indianapolis, including outside linebacker Aaron Curry and defensive tackle BJ Raji, the other front seven defenders expected to complete for top ten honors. Orakpo also put forth respectable times of 4.43 seconds in the 20 yard shuttle and 7.25 in the 3-cone. His times in these drills rank among the best put forth by the defensive ends and linebackers at the Combine. According to scouts attending the workout, Orakpo was even better in the actual linebacker drills, showing better agility in space than expected.
Orakpo was far and away the biggest name at the Texas Pro Day, as the 2009 class is a relatively weak one for the Longhorns. Still, one late round diamond in the rough prospect also helped his cause with his work today.
Wide receiver Quan Cosby may be shorter (5085) and older (26) than scouts would like, but his flair for the dramatic (ask Ohio State), explosiveness (34.5" vertical) and strength (28 reps today) are certain to impress scouts. I love his size, toughness, intelligence and sticky hands as a late round slot receiver.
Thompson was one of the few "big name" general managers or coaches at the event due to the fact that many of the top league personnel are at the owners' meetings in California. Orakpo would certainly fit in nicely as a pass rushing OLB in the 3-4 defense that the Packers are implementing this year, but with his workout Wednesday, Orakpo is becoming increasingly unlikely to be available at #9. Many are projecting him to the Cleveland Browns with the 5th pick and it is becoming clear that the lowest he'll go on draft day is to the Packers at #9 or 49ers at #10.
I'll be catching up with Brian and his impressions of the Pro Day experience soon as we continue NFLDraftScout.com's 4-part journey with him in the Road to the Draft series. You can read Parts One and Two below.
Part One: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/
Part Two: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/