Tag:Dan Williams
Posted on: December 26, 2010 12:45 pm
 

Cardinals' rookies stand out on Christmas Day

There is no denying that the losses of Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Karlos Dansby hurt the Cardinals this season. The defending NFC West Champs stand at a disappointing 5-10. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff, however, are practicing a theory I've always believed in -- if you're going to struggle, you might as well play your young players to determine if there are any building blocks for the future.
Arizona rookie quarterback John Skelton will get much of the glory following the Cardinals' last-second victory over the Dallas Cowboys, but in reality he was only one of various first-year players who stood out during the rare Christmas day NFL game.

Skelton, a fifth round pick out of Skelton, posted marginal numbers (11 of 25 for 183 yards and a TD), but made plays when he needed to, including finding Larry Fitzgerald on 4th down to extend the game-winning drive and hitting fellow rookie Andre Roberts for a 74-yard touchdown to give Arizona a 21-3 lead in the second quarter. Skelton has a rocket for a right arm and a showed some poise in the pocket, stepping up when he needed to and keeping his eyes downfield. Again, he was far from spectacular, but did not throw an interception and slipped away from several sacks.

Roberts, a third round pick out of The Citadel, was arguably the most impressive rookie on the night. He led the Cardinals in targets (nine), receptions (five) and receiving yards (110) and caught Skelton's only touchdown throw of the evening. His most impressive reception was not the touchdown (in which the Dallas defender fell down), but a 21 yard catch (amid very tight coverage) on 3rd and 7 that extended Arizona's lead in the fourth quarter to four points with 3:45 left to play.  Roberts also showed some burst and vision as a returner, registering a combined 134 on nine returns (five on kickoffs, four on punts).

Roberts was "arguably" the Cardinals' most impressive rookie because the Cardinals' second round pick, linebacker Daryl Washington tied with veteran teammate Paris Lemon to lead the game with eight tackles (all solos). Washington's athleticism stood out at TCU, but there were concerns about his physicality and instincts. Those concerns were largely put to rest last night as Washington took on blocks and located the football quickly throughout the game.

The Cardinals' rookie production continued. Fourth round pick O'Brien Schofield (Wisconsin), who tore his ACL approximately 11 months ago at the Senior Bowl, notched his first career sack against the Cowboys. First round pick Dan Williams , who was in Whisenhunt's dog house early in the year due to coming in overweight, flashed the power inside that led the Cardinals to making him the 26th pick of the draft. The former Tennessee Volunteer also showed impressive hustle, chasing ball-carriers downfield and to the sideline.

The Cardinals may be wrapping up a disappointing season, but with each of their top five picks from the 2010 draft contributing to their Christmas Day victory, they (and their fans) should feel good about their future. 

Posted on: November 4, 2010 1:59 pm
 

Weekend Review -- Tennessee WR Denarius Moore

My typical Saturday is spent glued to the three television screens in my home doing as much scouting of collegiate football prospects as possible.

This past Saturday, however, I decided to scout the Stanford-Washington game in person. Thus, it has taken me a few days to review all of this past weekend's big games.

Two senior prospects who didn't make the cut in this week's issue of Draft Slant deserve recognition for their strong performances in close conference losses.

The first is Tennessee wideout Denarius Moore . The other, who deserves his own blog post, is Miami inside linebacker Colin McCarthy.

Breakout senior seasons made former Tennessee Volunteers Dan Williams (defensive tackle) and Montario Hardesty (running back) first and second round picks in the 2010 NFL draft. This year it is senior wideout Moore whose spectacular play has his stock skyrocketing.

Moore entered Saturday's contest against South Carolina with relatively pedestrian numbers through the first seven games of the season.

He'd caught 18 passes for 257 yards and run for another 76 yards on five rushing attempts. Despite the limited opportunities, savvy scouts recognized that the 6-1, 195 pounder was making them count - scoring six touchdowns on those 23 touches.
Scouts, however, wanted to see more consistency from Moore. Against South Carolina and their talented secondary, they got it.

Moore almost matched his previous season totals against the Gamecocks with 228 receiving yards on six catches. Per his big play reputation, Moore caught one touchdown, a 30-yarder in the 3rd quarter that put the 2-6 Volunteers within striking distance of South Carolina (6-2) at 24-17. His next reception went for 62 yards and put the Volunteers on the two-yard line. They scored on the next play, tying the game early in the 4th quarter.

What made Moore's game all the more impressive was the variety of routes he ran and the talent against which he was successful.

Throughout much of the game Moore was the responsibility of 2010 First-Team All-SEC defender Chris Culliver, himself a potential top 75 selection in the 2011 draft.

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 16, 2010 12:45 pm
 

Details on possible Cleveland-STL swap for No. 1

I reported here that the Browns were internally discussing making a significant offer to the Rams for the rights to the No. 1 overall pick -- two days prior to Cleveland general manager Tom Heckert announcing that the Browns had spoken with St. Louis about a potential deal.

As I mentioned in the initial report, Cleveland adores Sam Bradford. St. Louis, on the other hand, likes him, but, according to sources, isn't so enamored with him that they won't consider making a trade. 

The specific details of the trade are still being hashed out, but there is fire behind all of this smoke, according to my sources. Both clubs are legitimately interested in trading out of their current spots.

The belief by many is that the Rams must have a similar grade for Jimmy Clausen, which is why they'd consider the trade down. With the 7th overall pick, they'd likely be able to nab the former Irish star there.

However, I'm told the club likes Texas' Colt McCoy better and feel they are in perfect position to nab him with the first pick of the second round, the 33rd overall.

Should the Rams make the deal, they'd likely be focusing on either WR Dez Bryant or even DT Dan Williams with the 7th overall selection.


Posted on: March 7, 2010 7:39 pm
 

NG Ferguson suspended, Dan Williams for Fins?


Veteran nose guard Jason Ferguson, a free agent, has been suspended for eight games, making it quite likely that his former team -- the Miami Dolphins -- will be in the market for a new nose guard.
Howard Balzer of The Sports XChange and St. Louis Press-Democrat broke the story here , noting that not only Ferguson, but veteran offensive tackle Ryan Tucker had been suspended. According to Balzer's story, the belief was that each player was being suspended due to a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. Ferguson had previously been busted for marijuana when entering the draft in 1997 and was suspended for four games in 1999 for steroids.

Though Ferguson, 35, was a free agent, there had been some talk that the Dolphins would attempt to re-sign him. Ferguson has long been a Bill Parcells' favorite, playing for him with the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys and Miami.

The Dolphins plugged veterans Tony McDaniel and Paul Solai in at the nose guard position last year when Ferguson went down with a torn triceps, but it is thought that the team would like to upgrade -- and that was with Ferguson being an option.

With Ferguson not an option for at least half of the season, the club could look to trade for Shaun Rogers, who the Browns reportedly have placed on the market, or look to the draft.

If they look to the draft, former Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams might be the perfect solution. Selecting a nose guard with the 12th overall pick might seem too rich, but considering how many clubs are switching to the 3-4 scheme and the number of nose guards this year who have been franchised, the position is clearly gaining in value. 

Williams, 6-2, 329 pounds, was the most dominant lineman in the SEC this past season, despite being miscast as a defensive tackle in the 4-3. He is precisely the type of squatty, powerful two-gap fire hydrant teams are looking for in a nose guard...

Considering Miami's gaping hole at the position, Williams could be the perfect fit.
Posted on: January 30, 2010 8:36 pm
 

Senior Bowl a microcosm of draft -- DL dominates

All year long we've talked about the dominance of this year's defensive line crop and in the 2010 Senior Bowl that dominance came through. While offensive lines are often at a significant disadvantage in all-star games due to the lack of cohesion they've been able to establish, the fact that so different defensive linemen were able to make big plays in this game speaks to the relative talent on that side of the ball.

Consider that:
  • Michigan DE Brandon Graham won MVP honors with 5 tackles, 2 sacks, a TFL and a forced fumble.
  • Murray State DE Austen Lane scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery
  • Purdue DT Mike Neal, Troy DE Cameron Sheffield, Georgia DT Geno Atkins, Tennessee DT Dan Williams, Alabama DT Terrence Cody, and California DE Tyson Alualu all either posted a sack, a tackle for loss or both.
  • The DL likely to be drafted highest from the game, Penn State's Jared Odrick, and the DL that had likely improved his stock the most this week, Arkansas State DE Alex Carrington, did not record a sack or TFL, though each played well. 
We all know the talking heads are going to focus on the "skill positions" during draft coverage over the next few months.

The savvy draft fans out there know that the real talent in this draft, however, lies along the defensive line.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com