Tag:Damian Williams
Posted on: April 23, 2010 4:16 pm
 

Five bold predictions for the second/third round

As anticipated, I hit a few and missed a few in my initial Bold Predictions for the 2010 draft. I tried to limit my predictions to the first round for that article.

Here are five bold predictions for Friday's second and third rounds.

Colt McCoy will be drafted ahead of Jimmy Clausen too.
I've spoken to a variety of league sources on Clausen and the consensus on his fall is that his personality had something to do with it, but more than anything else was the belief that he's been groomed for so long that he offers very little upside. Essentially, he's as good right now as he's ever going to be. The same can not be said for Tim Tebow and, some believe for Colt McCoy. McCoy's intangibles are so good, in fact, that some believe the Bills and Browns will enter a bidding war for the services of the former Longhorn quarterback. Rather than wait for him with their respective second round picks, one of these two clubs might trade with St. Louis for 33rd overall.

Lots of trades.
If you thought there were a lot of trades yesterday (seven), I'm told there could be considerably more today. I woke up this morning planning on writing a second round mock draft, but in contacting sources to prepare, was told to "not bother" with the working out the team-player fits because there could be "lots of action." Instead, I've been told to just stick with the best players available, as they "should go quick." There are several clubs with various picks eager to take advantage of this year's unique depth. From watching how animated Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were yesterday in their press conference, I'd be surprised if they don't make more than just the one pick they currently have (60th overall).

Expect quite a run on wide receivers.
As most projected, there were two wide receivers drafted in the first round. However, in speaking with different teams, I've come up with 11 wideouts that have been given second round grades by at least one team. Names to keep in mind are: Golden Tate, Eric Decker, Damian Williams, Arrelious Benn, Mardy Gilyard, Carlton Mitchell, Brandon LaFell, Jordan Shipley, Taylor Price, Dexter McCluster and Marcus Easley.

Big name SEC player surprises.
A year ago Greg Hardy, Brandon Spikes, Terrence Cody and Carlos Dunlap were considered by some to be a lock for the first round. Now, there are some who believe all four will drop to Saturday's rounds 4-7. I don't see that happening. Too much good tape and/or athletic potential for these guys to slip that far. Expect to see at least two of them come off the board in the second round, and all four by the end of the night.

Rob Gronkowski ends up either in Baltimore or New England
There are some teams that rated Rob Gronkowski as the top tight end in this class. I've been told the Ravens, who have a need for the position based on the durability struggles of Todd Heap, are among them. The Patriots also have a very high grade on the former Wildcat. Gronkowski lacks Jermaine Gresham's game-speed, but is a better all-around player and a significantly better blocker.




Posted on: April 23, 2010 4:15 pm
 

Five bold predictions for the second/third round

As anticipated, I hit a few and missed a few in my initial Bold Predictions for the 2010 draft. I tried to limit my predictions to the first round for that article.

Here are five bold predictions for Friday's second and third rounds.

Colt McCoy will be drafted ahead of Jimmy Clausen too.
I've spoken to a variety of league sources on Clausen and the consensus on his fall is that his personality had something to do with it, but more than anything else was the belief that he's been groomed for so long that he offers very little upside. Essentially, he's as good right now as he's ever going to be. The same can not be said for Tim Tebow and, some believe for Colt McCoy. McCoy's intangibles are so good, in fact, that some believe the Bills and Browns will enter a bidding war for the services of the former Longhorn quarterback. Rather than wait for him with their respective second round picks, one of these two clubs might trade with St. Louis for 33rd overall.

Lots of trades.
If you thought there were a lot of trades yesterday (seven), I'm told there could be considerably more today. I woke up this morning planning on writing a second round mock draft, but in contacting sources to prepare, was told to "not bother" with the working out the team-player fits because there could be "lots of action." Instead, I've been told to just stick with the best players available, as they "should go quick." There are several clubs with various picks eager to take advantage of this year's unique depth. From watching how animated Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were yesterday in their press conference, I'd be surprised if they don't make more than just the one pick they currently have (60th overall).

Expect quite a run on wide receivers.
As most projected, there were two wide receivers drafted in the first round. However, in speaking with different teams, I've come up with 11 wideouts that have been given second round grades by at least one team. Names to keep in mind are: Golden Tate, Eric Decker, Damian Williams, Arrelious Benn, Mardy Gilyard, Carlton Mitchell, Brandon LaFell, Jordan Shipley, Taylor Price, Dexter McCluster and Marcus Easley.

Big name SEC player surprises.
A year ago Greg Hardy, Brandon Spikes, Terrence Cody and Carlos Dunlap were considered by some to be a lock for the first round. Now, there are some who believe all four will drop to Saturday's rounds 4-7. I don't see that happening. Too much good tape and/or athletic potential for these guys to slip that far. Expect to see at least two of them come off the board in the second round, and all four by the end of the night.

Rob Gronkowski ends up either in Baltimore or New England
There are some teams that rated Rob Gronkowski as the top tight end in this class. I've been told the Ravens, who have a need for the position based on the durability struggles of Todd Heap, are among them. The Patriots also have a very high grade on the former Wildcat. Gronkowski lacks Jermaine Gresham's game-speed, but is a better all-around player and a significantly better blocker.



Posted on: March 31, 2010 7:15 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2010 7:21 pm
 

USC Pro Day results filtering in

Unlike in years past where the Trojans have featured several elite prospects, the USC Pro Day today has generated surprising little buzz among scouts I've spoken with.

Some of this is the fact that the most highly touted player from USC -- safety Taylor Mays -- lit up the Combine with his blazing times in the 40-yard dash and wasn't expected to do the full workout in LA today. As expected, he did not run. He did go through defensive back drills, however, and, according to scouts in attendance, struggled a bit in his transition. This is no surprise to anyone who has watched him in person. We mentioned as much about Mays on several occasions, including at the Senior Bowl.

It didn't help that today's workout was in drizzly, cold conditions. There were, however, several noteworthy performances.

One athlete that did help himself with another strong performance I'm told is pass rusher Everson Griffen. Not only did Griffen get timed at 4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash, he demonstrated an explosive burst off the snap in defensive line drills and good fluidity in linebacker drills.

Cornerback Kevin Thomas continues to move up draft rankings with another strong performance. He was timed in the early to mid 4.4s and looked very good in positional drills. Thomas won't have much time to rest before working out again, as he's scheduled a personal workout with Cleveland scouts for Thursday.

Versatile offensive lineman Alex Parsons helped his cause by shaving nearly three-tenths of a second off his Combine time in the 40-yard dash. Parsons had been clocked at 5.16 seconds in the event in Indianapolis, but scouts had him in the early 4.9s Wednesday.

Wide receiver Damian Williams did not run the 40-yard dash in LA, which was a bit of a surprise as scouts thought he'd might want to try to better the 4.55 time he recorded in Indianapolis. He did show off his quick feet and balance as a route-runner. I've said it before... I see Damian Williams as a poor man's Greg Jennings and feel that his sure route-running and hands make him one of the more pro-ready receivers of the 2010 draft.

Considering that left tackle Charles Brown was one of the few Trojans who did not do the full workout at the Combine, his Pro Day performance was more important. Unfortunately for Brown, he suffered a pulled hamstring running the 40-yard dash and was unable to participate in the position drills. He also wasn't able to match the 21 repetitions of 225 pounds he posted at the Combine, lifting the bar 20 times today.

Like Brown, running back Joe McKnight was unable to fully compete Wednesday due to injury. McKnight told scouts that he's battling a toe injury. He had been timed at 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Combine.

Posted on: February 28, 2010 3:23 pm
 

Mitchell, Price, Williams (2), Tate star

For all of the attention that the quarterbacks will receive for the throwing session of today's Combine, the real stars were the players catching the ball.

Former Syracuse star Mike Williams might have enjoyed the best all-around day. Scouts will certainly have to do their homework on him, but on there is no denying Williams' talent. Unofficially clocking in at 4.49, according to The NFL Network, the 6-1 1/2, 221 pound Williams routinely made eye-popping receptions look easy, extending outside of his frame to pluck passes from the air and showing good fluidity as a route-runner.

His namesake Damian Williams from USC also had a strong session. Williams also was credited with a 4.4 second 40-yard dash and showcased the quick feet and good balance scouts are looking for as a route-runner. He consistently caught the ball with is hands, showing good body control to adjust to poorly thrown passes.

South Florida receiver Carlton Mitchell has been generating talk in scouting circles recently and his performance today will certainly continue his momentum. Mitchell is a good looking athlete at nearly 6-3, 215 pounds, running as fluidly as some wideouts significantly smaller than him. NFL.com listed him as having a 4.49 second 40-yard dash and, unlike some receivers, his speed clearly transfers onto the field.

Following up on a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl, Ohio's Taylor Price continued to impress today. He is credited with the second fastest time in the 40-yard dash by NFL.com (4.41 seconds) on the day and didn't drop a single pass. In a draft with lots of big names at receiver, Price could be the "small" school kid that sneaks into the second round.

Notre Dame's Golden Tate was the early star of the show, turning in a pair of lightning fast times in the 40-yard dash that The NFL Network unoffially listed at 4.36 and 4.37 seconds. He initially struggled in the catching session, dropping his first three passes in the gauntlet drill, but regained his form, snatching almost every catchable pass the rest of the session.

On the other end of the spectrum, LSU's Brandon LaFell and Texas' Jordan Shipley, while solid during pass-catching drills, were slower than hoped. LaFell was timed by scouts in attendance in the 4.6s. Shipley was only slighter better, being timed in the mid to late 4.5s.


Posted on: February 6, 2010 11:12 am
 

Skills Competition winners/losers

I (and certainly NFL scouts) do not necessarily put a great deal of stock into the results of the so-called Skills Competition held the Friday before the Super Bowl, but this year there were some scouting nuggets to be found.

The quarterbacks competing included:
Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson
Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour
Oregon State's Sean Canfield
Mississippi's Jevan Snead

The wide receivers competing included:
Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant
USC's Damian Williams
Texas' Jordan Shipley
Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard 

Many of the quarterback competitions only reinforced what scouts knew about the passers. Canfield beat the competition in the "accuracy" contest, edging out Robinson in a one on one showdown after they tied during the initial session. Canfield's accuracy wasn't surprising, as the majority of his passes for the Beavers were in the short to intermediate range in which he racked up points. His below average arm-strength showed up when he consistently hit the target low. LeFevour proved the most athletic, winning the "mobility" contest. Snead struggled. Though the ball zipped out of his hands on intermediate passes during all of the drills, he was surprisngly short on the arm-strength competition and sprayed the ball with the inaccuracy scouts had seen throughout his entire junior campaign.

The most consistently impressive quarterback was the Cowboys' Zac Robinson, who faired well in the accuracy and mobility competitions and surprisingly won the arm-strength contest with a toss of 64 yards. Robinson was the only quarterback to drop the football into the target 25 yards away to start the mobility competition and relied on his accuracy on the short and intermediate throws to get into the showdown with Canfield. Considering his strong showing in the Senior Bowl, Robinson has enjoyed a strong off-season so far. If he's able to continue it at the Combine, he could be moving into Top 75 consideration.

Each of the receivers had their moments. Bryant, despite missing almost all of 2009 with the NCAA-imposed suspension, showcased the skills likely to make him the first receiver selected in the 2010 draft. His impressive physique, good speed and agility and unique body control were reminscient of Denver's Brandon Marshall on this day. USC's Damian Williams had a strong performance, as well, and seemed to be the most competitive of the bunch -- something scouts will take note of. Gilyard showed better than expected hand strength during the gauntlet drill in which receivers have to turn and catch passes from four JUGS machines.

The star of the show amonst receivers, however, was Shipley. His strong hands, quick feet and underrated straight-line speed were all impressive. Shipley, already a favorite among scouts due to his intelligence and toughness, helped himself. As a second round pick, he'll out-perform some of the receivers drafted ahead of him as a rookie and over his long-term career, as well.

Michigan State's Brett Swenson won the kicker competition over USC's Jordan Congdon, Mississippi's Joshua Shene and Texas' Hunter Lawrence. Swenson started the competition poorly, missing his first three kicks, but recovered to hit his final 4, including the deep kick of 50-yards to win it.
 
 
 
 
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