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Tag:JJ Watt
Posted on: April 24, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Minnesota Vikings Draft Preview

Minnesota Vikings 2010 record: 6-10, fourth place NFC West

2011 draft rundown - Nine total picks (round): 12 (1); 43 (2); 106 (4); 139 (5); 150 (5); 172 (6); 200 (6); 215 (7) 236 (7)

Top needs:   

Quarterback: Favre had a miserable 2010 season after a spectacular 2009 and has called it quits for a third time. That's fine with the Vikings, who feel it's time for them to move on. Frazier's preference would be to draft a quarterback and have that player develop under new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.

Defensive line: Starting left end Ray Edwards is expected to be a free agent when a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached and that means the Vikings will be in search of a starter. Brian Robison signed an extension just before the lockout, but he might be best suited as a situational pass rusher. Everson Griffen, a fourth-round pick last year, has talent but has had off-the-field issues this offseason and is considered less than reliable.

Offensive line: Pro Bowl left guard Steve Hutchinson is 34 years old, center John Sullivan has yet to establish himself and right guard Anthony Herrera is coming off a knee injury. This unit needs to get younger and add depth. And that's not even getting into the fact that Bryant McKinnie is considered a chronic underachiever, despite the fact many teams probably would like to have the massive left tackle.


First-round focus   12th overall -- The Vikings had to be impressed by the level of play of rookie Joe Webb last year as the former wide receiver shocked the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football* (*actually played on Tuesday) with a solid all-around performance. Even with Webb's impressive performance, the Vikings are expected to look for another young quarterback to groom now that Brett Favre has retired (and will presumably remain so). The Vikings have been linked to Washington's Jake Locker, as his mobility, upside and intangibles are thought to be very highly valued by the Vikings. Minnesota is also thought to be high on the upside of Nevada's Colin Kaepernick and view Florida State's Christian Ponder and TCU's Andy Dalton as ideal fits in their offense, as well, but may not have a first round grade on these three passers. Should the Vikings elect to push off their needs at quarterback, addressing their concern at defensive end is also a strong possibility. Veteran Ray Edwards is scheduled for free agency and could be one of the more sought-after talents whenever the league and union make amends. The Vikings could look to take advantage of this year's rare talent and depth along the defensive line with the No. 12 pick, overall. The team is thought to have Cal's Cameron Jordan, Wisconsin's JJ Watt and Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan closely rated and as such might be willing to trade down a few spots should all three be on the board. Jordan would be a particularly intriguing fit considering that his father, Steve Jordan, was a Pro Bowl tight end for the Vikings from 1982-1994.  The Vikings are thought likely to consider an interior offensive lineman at some point in the draft. Florida's Mike Pouncey would be a bit of a reach at No. 12, but would solidify the unit due to his size, strength and versatility.

Five names on Vikings' board:   
QB Jake Locker, Washington
DE Cameron Jordan, California
DE JJ Watt, Wisconsin
DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
OL Mike Pouncey, Florida
Posted on: April 1, 2011 12:46 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2011 1:29 pm
 

Disappointing workout for Clemson DE Bowers

Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, listed by some as a potential candidate to go No. 1 overall, may see his stock slip after a rather disappointing performance during his much-anticipated pro day workout Friday.

Bowers, according to sources on the scene, measured in at 6034 (6-3 1/2) and 276 pounds and was clocked at 4.91 seconds in the 40-yard dash. That time, coming off a hand-held stopwatch from a league scout, would have placed Bowers 21st among the 24 defensive ends tested this year in the event at the scouting combine. Only Oklahoma's Jeremy Beal (5.16), TCU's Wayne Daniels (5.03) and Boise State's Ryan Winterswyk (4.96) were slower when tested in Indianapolis.

To be fair, the 40-yard dash is hardly the end-all, be-all measurement for football players, especially defensive linemen, who will rarely (if ever) be asked to run 40 yards in a straight line on a football field. It is also important to note that Bowers is recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. The surgery kept Bowers sidelined for the combine agility tests and Clemson's initial pro day on March 10.

Unfortunately for Bowers, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 5-rated player overall, the lack of explosiveness demonstrated in his slow times in the 40-yard dash were also evident in his broad jump and vertical jump. In these events, Bowers tested at 9'2" and 34.5", respectively. These results were better in comparison to other defensive ends tested at the combine, but were characterized by the scout as "average for the position."

Another scout characterized Bowers' workout as a whole as "sluggish."

I've argued in the past that Bowers' eye-popping totals in 2010 (including a nation-leading 15.5 sacks) had been more of a function of an aggressive Clemson defense rather than the speed typically associated with highly productive pass rushers. Bowers, while powerful and possessing good lateral quickness, simply is not a quick-twitch athlete with a high degree of explosiveness. It is a primary reason why league sources characterized Bowers as an "overrated" defensive end in the 2011 draft.

Not surprisingly, considering his game-tape, Bowers was at his best during the shuttle drills. He was particularly fast in the 3-cone drill (6.95), demonstrating his ability to change directions fluidly and the acceleration he used so effectively in closing on quarterbacks last season. Only three defensive ends tested in Indianapolis tested faster in the 3-cone drill this year -- Texas' Sam Acho (6.69 seconds), Fresno State's Chris Carter (6.88) and Wisconsin's J.J. Watt (6.88). Of the three, only Watt (6-6, 290 pounds) is heavier than Bowers.

The fast times in this event, which requires heavy pivoting of the knee and acceleration, provide some evidence that Bowers' knee has healed.

That's good news for Bowers. However, it also limits his ability to pawn off his less-than-explosive measureables as a result of the knee not yet being fully healed. 

Bowers' disappointing workout won't take the place of his dominant junior season in the eyes of scouts. It could, however, lead to a tumble on draft day, especially considering how closely rated Bowers has been in comparison to fellow pass rushers Robert Quinn, Cameron Jordan, Watt and others. 


Posted on: February 24, 2011 2:30 pm
 

Gabe Carimi points to tape as proof he's top OT

Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi does not lack for confidence.

Besides the fact that he won the Outland Trophy as the nation's top lineman, Carimi also offered his experience and consistency as being key reasons why he should be the first offensive tackle selected in the 2011 draft.

"I'm a physical player who has gone against four potential first round picks this year," Carimi explained when asked why he thought he should go off the board first.

In terms of competition, it is hard to argue with Carimi. After all, he faced Adrian Clayborn (Iowa), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) and JJ Watt (Wisconsin), who Carimi obviously faced in practice.

Carimi identified Clayborn as the toughest defensive end he faced this season based largely on the Hawkeye defensive end's initial quickness.

Scouts no doubt will like Carimi's confidence. They'll also like the fact that Carimi started four years at Wisconsin, all at left tackle.

Despite his production, hardware and confidence, CBS' crew of mock draft writers of Pete Prisco, Chad Reuter and I have others currently projected to be the first offensive tackle selected. Pete has Carimi going to the Philadelphia Eagles with the 23rd overall pick. Chad has Carimi going to the Chiefs with the No. 21 pick. And I have the former Badger star going 29th overall to the Chicago Bears.

This year's class of tackles is an unusual one. Scouts love the depth at the position, but the groups lacks a headlining prospect guaranteed of a top ten pick. Every year since 2005 there has been at least one tackle drafted this high.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 10:02 pm
 

My Favorite Draft Stories of 2010

The 2010 season has been overrun with stories of scandal, sanctions and distractions from the competition and passion that makes college football great.

So, with so much of the year focused on negative stories that occurred off the field, I thought it appropriate to highlight some of the positive off-field stories, as well.
The following are links to my 10 favorite draft stories of 2010.
 
Did I miss some? I hope so. Feel free to chime in with some of yours too.


These last four stories are obviously not as heart-wrenching or important as the first six. They do, however, serve as reminders as to what is right about college football in a year when so many devoted so much time to what is wrong with it.

On behalf of everyone at NFLDraftScout.com, have a happy and safe New Year!
Posted on: December 27, 2010 4:30 pm
 

All-star games improving selection process

Having attended senior all-star games such as the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and Hula Bowl since 2001, I'm typically very impressed with the scouting departments in charge of locating the talent for these contests. There was a time not too long ago when I'd attend a senior all-star game and see prospects whose production was very obviously a result of their scheme or their invitations just as obviously due to playing on a high profile team.

As technology improves, however, their talent scouts have become even better at recognizing gaudy statistics as an indicator of talent, but not necessarily as the end-all, be-all way to find diamond in the rough prospects.

Take Hawaii wideout Greg Salas as an example. Salas caught 106 passes for 1,590 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior, earning All-WAC recognition and even some Biletnikof Award hype. Like many Warrior receivers before him, his production is enhanced by Hawaii's dynamic offense.

Still, whenever I speak to scouts about underrated prospects, Salas' name comes up. He once again was statistically dominant in 2010. In fact, Salas led the FBS with 1,675 receiving yards this season and has an eye-popping 4,345 yards over his career. More important that stats, however, is Salas' size (6-2, 210) and underrated combination of speed and elusiveness. I've spoken to teams who rate Salas among the top three senior wideouts in the draft -- as I'm sure has the Senior Bowl -- who invited Salas to their game back in October.

Arizona pass rusher Brooks Reed is another example. At 6-3, 262 pounds he doesn't have the bulk to remain at defensive end -- which in the past may have, in itself, been enough to keep him from earning a post-season invite to an all-star game. With half of the NFL playing the 3-4 scheme, there will be no shortage of teams looking at Reed as a rush linebacker. I'm not sure I agree with the comparisons some insiders had made between Reed and Packers' star Clay Matthews, Jr. but I do believe Reed's burst, hands and tenacity are enough to make him effective off the edge in the NFL. The senior all-star game -- in this case the Senior Bowl -- is doing its job of providing prospects an opportunity to demonstrate what they can do. 

Each year, however, there are a few prospects who slide under the radar that I believe should get the attention of the all-star game's talent evaluators. It is entirely possible that any and all of these (and other) all-star games are considering these prospects. However, with the bowl games increasingly turning towards technology (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to release their rosters, the invitation process is much more transparent than in the past.

Here are three prospects that I have not yet seen be recognized with an invitation to the primary senior all-star games venues. I believe if they are, they'll impress there.

TCU OT Marcus Cannon : I listed Cannon a few days ago as one of the combatants in the five individual matchups I'm most looking forward to scouting during the bowl games. It remains to be seen how often Wisconsin elects to line up their star defensive lineman JJ Watt against Cannon. If they're wise, they'll pick their spots carefully. At 6-5, 350 pounds Cannon's athleticism is jaw-dropping. Andy Dalton gets most of the attention for TCU, but in terms of pro prospects, Cannon is the Horned Frogs' top talent... and folks, it ain't even close.

California FS Chris Conte : In a weak year for senior safeties, Conte's size (6-3, 212) and athleticism stand out. We all know that NFL teams love to move collegiate offensive tackles inside to guard. I feel that just as natural a transition can be made in moving big collegiate corners (who can tackle in space) to the safety position. Conte has already done it, earning First Team Pac-10 honors in his first full year at free safety this season after backing up at corner throughout his career.

New Mexico OT Byron Bell : NFL and all-star game scouts alike may be a little late in noticing Bell due to the fact that he entered this season characterized by New Mexico as a redshirt junior. The NCAA, however, ruled against his request that his 2007 season be ruled a medical hardship, meaning that Bell's career with the Lobos is over. At 6-5, 325 pounds Bell has surprising lateral agility and flexibility and will soon be flying up boards. Remember how shocked we all were when the Minnesota Vikings took former Lobo Ryan Cook in the second round in 2006? With an invitation to an all-star game, I believe Bell could make a similar leap.

For the best in NFL draft coverage, be sure to check back frequently at NFLDraftScout.com or by simply clicking here.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com