Tag:Cam Thomas
Posted on: August 17, 2010 12:45 pm
 

Ten Surprising Rookies So Far (3rd Rd-UFA)

During a handful of radio spots over the past few days I've been asked to list rookies that have stood out to me in film review so far in the preseason.

Of course, I start out with some of the obvious choices. Many of the first and second round picks are already proving that the 2010 draft class was every bit as strong as we said it was .  

Rather than re-state the obvious -- that Ndamukong Suh guy is pretty good -- I thought I'd highlight ten players selected in the third round or later that I and, more importantly, league sources feel have been impressive thus far in the preseason.

This isn't meant to be an exhaustive list. There are certainly other players who have stood out, as well. Feel free to leave comments with others that have impressed you and I'll keep my eye on them.

Players are listed in the order they were selected, not necessarily by who has impressed the most.

  1. S Morgan Burnett, Packers (3rd round, 71st overall): Burnett struggled a bit in Green Bay's preseason opener against Cleveland, but otherwise has been one of the rookies generating the most buzz.  Green Bay loves his range, but wants to see him be more consistent in his gap responsibilities. 
  2. WR Jordan Shipley, Bengals (3rd round, 84th overall): Anyone who focused on Shipley while at Texas won't be at all surprised that he's impressed so far with the Bengals. Shipley's toughness, reliable route-running and soft hands have made him the unsung star of a receiving corps dominated by the personalities of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens.
  3. TE Tony Moeaki, Chiefs (3rd round, 93rd overall): Moeaki has been one of the real stars of training camp for the Chiefs, displaying the athleticism and soft hands that helped him be a standout at Iowa. If he can remain on the field (durability was an issue in college), he could give the Chiefs the best option down the middle they've had since allowing Tony Gonzalez to leave for Atlanta. 
  4. WR Mike Williams, Buccaneers (4th round, 101st overall): I've already highlighted Williams in a previous blog post as having a terrific camp. He showed off his athleticism in the preseason opener, making bigger plays against Miami than Brandon Marshall was able to do against the Bucs. If Williams can keep his focus, he could end up as one of the biggest steals of the 2010 draft.
  5. CB Walter Thurmond, Seahawks (4th round, 111th overall): Thurmond entered his senior year as a potential Top 50 prospect, but a horrific knee injury sidelined him early. It was surprising to see a team take him as early as Seattle did simply because the belief was that Thurmond was at least a year away from contributing. Instead, he saw extensive time in Seattle's opening game against the Titans at cornerback and punt returner. Watch out for Thurmond. He was among the more consistent of Oregon'd DBs in recent years -- quite a statement considering that the other three starters (Patrick Chung, T.J. Ward, Jarius Byrd) were all second round picks.
  6. DT Geno Atkins, Bengals (4th round, 120th overall): I've touted Atkins' explosive burst off the snap before and it is showing up for the Bengals. Atkins is known for flashing and then disappearing for long stretches. If he can play with consistency, he could emerge as Cincinnati's starting three-technique. In two games he has 3.5 sacks.
  7. FB John Conner, Jets (5th round, 139th overall): Due to his Terminator nickname, the fact that Rex Ryan used "his" draft pick on him and the exposure of Hard Knocks and Monday Night Football, Conner is finally getting the hype his game deserves. It's been awhile since we've seen a fullback this explosive a blocker and capable as a runner/receiver come into the NFL.
  8. NG Cam Thomas, Chargers (5th round, 146th overall): The Chargers made a calculated gamble releasing veteran Jamal Williams, but in Thomas they appear to have the big body necessarily in filling their former Pro Bowler's large shoes. Thomas has impressed head coach Norv Turner and appears well on his way towards seeing extensive playing time as a rookie this season.
  9. DE Greg Hardy, Panthers (6th round, 175th overall): Like the Bucs' Williams, I've already highlighted Hardy's play because, quite frankly, he's been among the most impressive rookies I've seen so far this preseason. With Julius Peppers gone, few are expecting Carolina to have any success rushing the passer this year. I think the combination of Hardy and 2009 second round pick Everette Brown could surprise.
  10. WR Victor Cruz, Giants (undrafted free agent): I considered several undrafted free agents to list here, including Philadelpia offensive tackle Austin Howard, Detroit safety Randy Phillips and Houston DT Malcolm Sheppard, among others), but Cruz's dominating performance against the Jets on Monday Night was too much to ignore. I blogged about his 6 catch, 145 yard, 3 TD performance last night, but all indications are that his efforts have been just as good throughout OTAs and training camp. 


Posted on: July 8, 2010 12:48 pm
 

Putting DT Brent-Price's workout in perspective

Former Illinois defensive tackle Joshua Brent-Price worked out for 18 teams yesterday in the hopes of getting picked in the NFL's Supplemental draft July 15. According to NFL.com's Gil Brandt , Brent-Price measured in at 6-1 3/4 and 321 pounds. Though his numbers throughout the workout were, as I show below, relatively average in comparison to the defensive tackles tested at last February's Combine, Brent-Price's workout was characterized by Brandt's unnamed sources as being "very good."

There were five defensive tackles tested at the Combine who weighed as much or more than Brent-Price. Those five -- Aleric Mullins (321), Dan Williams (327), Linval Joseph (328), Cam Thomas (330), and, of course, Terrance Cody (354).

Brent-Price was clocked in the 40-yard dash at 5.38 seconds, according to Brandt. Of the five, only Cody (5.72) ran slower. Cody's 5.72 was the slowest recorded time of any prospect at the 2010 Combine.

Perhaps a greater concern to scouts than Brent-Price's marginal speed was his disappointing strength. With only 22 reps of 225 pounds, the former Illini defender paled in comparison to the afore-mentioned DTs at the 2010 Combine. In fact, there wasn't a single defensive tackle invited to last year's Combine who weighed more than 295 pounds that failed to lift more than Brent-Price.

To Brent-Price's credit, he was more impressive in the leaping drills (8'10 standing broad, 29" vertical) than many of the similarly built DTs of last April's draft. Then again, scouts know Brent-Price is athletic; what they want to see is the dedication to remaining in shape, gaining strength and focusing on his responsibilities -- areas in which his weight, relative lack of foot speed and upper body strength and tendency to get in trouble off the field have drawn concerns.

Brent-Price recorded 29 tackles, seven tackles for loss and forced three fumbles last year. He served 30 days in jail a year ago for a DUI and was suspended for the team for academics this year, leading to his application for admission into the supplemental draft.

Clearly, Brent-Price has enough athleticism and size for NFL teams to consider him. The fact that he plays such an important position, played under a respected head coach with NFL experience in Ron Zook and signed with an agent (Peter Schaeffer) well respected in NFL circles gives him a chance to get drafted in the final two rounds July 15.
Posted on: April 24, 2010 11:51 am
 

Significant talent still at QB, WR, DT

Every position still has a few players to keep an eye on, but a quick look at the best players available shows that the talent at quarterback, wide receiver and defensive tackle is especially intriguing.

The quarterback group lacks a clear-cut front runner. Some teams have Dan LeFevour as the best available. Others have Tony Pike, Levi Brown or Jonathan Crompton. Expect a mini-run on the position in the late 4th and 5th round.

I'm a big Carlton Mitchell fan amomg the receiver group. He's very raw, but has considerable tools worthy of development. Former UAB quarterback Joe Webb is a similarly gifted, long-limbed athlete. Michigan State's Blair White surprised scouts with his straight-line speed and agility in workouts, though this athleticism didn't always show itself on film. What does impress about White on tape, however, is his reliable route-running and sticky hands. He could prove quite the steal as the draft goes on.

The talent at defensive tackle is thinned out with the selection of Al Woods by New Orleans, but North Carolina's Cam Thomas, Virginia's Cam Thomas, Alabama's Brandon Deaderick and especially Syracuse's Arthur Jones are players who could come off the board soon.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com