Tag:Joe Haden
Posted on: December 9, 2010 5:42 pm
 

Ivory, Lee stand out in impressive week for rooks

The 2010 NFL season has been a strong one overall for rookies. This isn't a surprise considering the amount of hype that the group enjoyed prior to the draft.

Two players who didn't gain a great deal of attention, however, were among the rookies who most stood out this past weekend.

Undrafted free agent Chris Ivory enjoyed another strong performance for the Saints, overtaking No. 2 overall pick Ndamukong Suh to be recognized for the third time this year. He rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Saints' 34-30 win at Cincinnati. The highlight of Ivory's afternoon was a career-long 55 yard run in the second quarter that was the first touchdown scored by either team.

Other offensive players whose play stood out this week included Seattle offensive tackle Russell Okung, Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Williams, and fellow Buc LaGarrette Blount (running back).

While the Cowboys' Sean Lee , as a second round pick, certainly entered the league with a much higher profile than Ivory, the success of the Cowboys' flashy first rounder Dez Bryant and Lee's long recovery from a 2008 ACL surgery made him one of the "quieter" high profile selections in Dallas history. The former Penn State star has flashed during his rookie season but remains a backup behind veterans Keith Brooking and Bradie James for the Cowboys.

Lee's play against the Colts spoke volumes, however. Lee victimized Peyton Manning for two of the All-Pro's four interceptions in this game, returning the first 31 yards to score his first NFL touchdown. Lee's second came in overtime, putting the Cowboys in position to kick the winning field goal. He also tied his previous career-high with five tackles on the day.

Among the other defenders whose play stood out this weekend was the Giants' pass rusher (and reigning Defensive Rookie of the Week) Jason Pierre-Paul, Cincinnati's Carlos Dunlap, New England inside linebacker Brandon Spikes and a trio of cornerbacks - Cleveland's Joe Haden, Kansas City's Javier Arenas, and the Patriots' Devin McCourty.


Posted on: August 30, 2010 11:25 am
 

2010 class looks worth the hype so far

We told you prior to the draft the 2010 crop of talent looked like one of the best in a long time . Once the underclassmen came on board, the class was being compared by some to the famous 1983 group that included Hall of Famers John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Bruce Mathews, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino and Darrell Green.

Comparing this class to the 1983 crew is, of course, vastly premature.
 
At least throughout the weeks of preseason, however, the class looks every bit as good as advertised.

Most years, by this time, we've already identified a half dozen or so highly drafted rookies who are struggling to acclimate to the pros. Sure, Colt McCoy isn't setting the world on fire, but we should have known to expect that a bit considering that he slipped into the 3rd round. Most of the players drafted in the first round are already establishing themselves as either immediate starters or quality backups... exactly what first-round picks are supposed to do.
Think of the top ten this year. Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams, Eric Berry, Russell Okung, Joe Haden, Rolando McClain, C.J. Spiller and even surprise top ten choice Tyson Alualu have shown flashes of brilliance for their respective teams, already.

The first round picks that have struggled have mostly been due to injuries. Tim Tebow, Demaryius Thomas, Derrick Morgan, etc. have reportedly looked good when practicing, but various injuries have, thus far, slowed their advancement.

Exciting middle, late round and even undrafted free agents have emerged already .

But don't just take my word for it. Check out the stats.

Rookie Anthony Dixon, San Francisco's 6th round pick and the No. 173 player taken overall leads the NFL with 220 rushing yards. 

Rookie Victor Cruz, an undrafted free agent for the Giants, leads the league with 251 receiving yards, as well as receiving touchdowns (4). The only player in the league with as many as three TDs? Another rookie. Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski, a second round pick taken No. 42 overall.

So, offensively the rookies are doing well. What about the defense, you ask?

Thanks for asking.

Rookie Pat Angerer, the Colts' second round pick and the No. 63 player taken overall leads the NFL with 24 tackles.

Defensive tackle Geno Atkins, a fourth round pick taken at No. 120, leads the league with 4.5 sacks.

I can hear the dispute already. Yeah, rookies see a lot of playing time, and therefore more opportunities to post numbers in the preseason.

True. But the facts remain the same.

This 2010 class of rookies has a chance to be special.

Posted on: April 23, 2010 6:47 pm
 

Rams, Bucs, Browns confused by team needs?

Some teams subscribe to the "best player available" theory, with the Rams, Bucs and Browns clearly being among them.

Consider that the Rams, who invested the No. 2 overall pick in Jason Smith last year and only a few years back invested a first round pick in another offensive tackle, Alex Barron, made Rodger Saffold, a career tackle, the first pick of the second round. Saffold will most likely be moved inside to guard.

As talented as Saffold is, he doesn't fill the need for a defensive tackle the Rams now have considering they traded away former starter Adam Carriker.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Tampa Bay Bucs, who had a need at offensive tackle, instead elected to again fortify their defensive line, taking Brian Price from UCLA. His burst inside made him a natural candidate as a 3-technique, the same position the Bucs had filled previously with first round pick, Gerald McCoy.

The Browns made a similar move, electing to look past concerns at pass rusher and quarterback to take another defensive back -- the 10th among the first 38 selections. Pairing the big-hitting TJ Ward with first round pick Joe Haden and recently acquired DB Sheldon Brown gives the Browns an impressive new secondary to compete with the underrated passing attacks of the AFC North.  


Posted on: March 17, 2010 12:00 pm
 

Haden steadies stock, Spikes' dropping at Pro Day

Florida cornerback needed to run in the 4.4s to steady his stock after a pair of disappointing times in the 40-yard dash at the Combine. As I reported earlier, according to scouts in attendance, Haden was successful, timing in the mid 4.4s for both of his attempts Wednesday.

The times are likely to cement Haden's status as the top cornerback in the draft and a certain first round pick.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is inside linebacker Brandon Spikes, who was clocked at 4.99 and 5.03. This time would have placed him ahead of only Kentucky inside linebacker Micah Johnson as the slowest LB tested at the Combine.

Though I like Spikes' ability as a run stuffer in the middle, I've questioned his sideline to sideline speed for quite some time.

Spikes didn't run at the Combine, but did compete in the vertical and broad jumps. Perhaps he shouldn't have. Spikes finished tied with Johnson for last in the vertical (29") and with the third worst total in the broad jump (9'3") among linebackers tested in Indianapolis. 

Spikes' slow, unathletic workouts could have a devastating effect on his draft stock. Currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a second round prospect, Spikes could in fact slip out of the second day of the draft.


Posted on: March 17, 2010 11:02 am
 

Gator Pro Day, 40 times for Spikes, Haden

I'm receiving texts from some of the scouts on hand for the Florida Pro Day and thought I'd pass along the results as I get them.

The workouts began about 45 minutes late due to rain. The rain is still coming down and has dampened the enthusiasm of some of the crowd.

The 40-yard dash is one of the first events being run. Here are some early, very important results.

Joe Haden -- 4.48 seconds in the 40 yard dash
Brandon Spikes -- 4.99
Aaron Hernandez -- 4.58

It is important to note that these are not official times. This is from one scout. After the workouts end, the scouts will collaborate and come up with "official" times following the workout.


Posted on: March 12, 2010 8:33 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2010 8:34 pm
 

Tebow circus even bigger; fans welcome at Pro Day

Those wanting to dissect Tim Tebow's new throwing motion won't have to hope for television coverage of Florida's Pro Day March 17.

That's because the University of Florida is opening up the event for fans to attend.

Obviously expecting large numbers, the doors will open to spectators at 8:30 am (local time) at Ben Hill Griffen Stadium in Gainesville. The on-field workout, itself, however, won't begin until 10 am.

Tebow, is, of course, the main attraction, but cornerback Joe Haden may have just as much on the line. He'll be hoping to turn in a much faster time in the 40-yard dash after running a disappointingly slow 4.58 at the Combine.

The pressure will also be on inside linebacker Brandon Spikes, who surprised some scouts with his decision to only do some portions of the workout in Indianapolis. Plagued by questions about his pure speed, Spikes' time in the 40-yard dash and fluidity in coverage drills could determine whether he makes the second round or falls to the mid third or lower. 

Tight end Aaron Hernandez didn't participate in any of the drills at the Combine, so he, too, has a lot riding on his performance March 17.

Other highly touted Gator players, including defensive end Carlos Dunlap, center Maurkice Pouncey, wide receiver Riley Cooper and safety Major Wright will likely participate in some drills, but did many of the timed drills in Indianapolis. 

Florida's decision to open the event up to fans will make the Pro Day a circus-like atmosphere for scouts.

That said, while many college teams elect to make their Pro Days a private affair for just scouts, players and select media, the move is hardly unprecedented.

Spectators were allowed to watch from the stands at the USC Pro Days I've attended each of the past two years.

Posted on: March 2, 2010 12:52 pm
 

Top rated CB Haden -- unofficially 4.57, 4.60

Top rated cornerback Joe Haden, a junior given a first round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee was unofficially timed by The NFL Network with two of the slower times in the 40-yard dash of any cornerback tested. He ran a 4.57 on his first attempt and followed that up with a 4.60.

Haden's slow times are sure to give scouts some hesitation when assigning him the top grade at cornerback. He has impressive game tape, but the Gators' aggressive pass rush rarely allowed opposing quarterbacks time to challenge him deep, something that had concerned me earlier .

As a historical comparison, no cornerback who ran as slow as Haden is currently being credited with running at the Combine was drafted earlier than the fifth round in last year's draft. Cornerback Joe Burnett was drafted by Pittsburgh with the 31st pick of the fifth round last year -- 168th overall -- with a 4.58.

It is important to note that The NFL Network's times have often been different than the "offiial" times provided later by NFL.com. This isn't likely to help Haden's cause, however, as typically the times recorded by the network have been faster than the ones put up by the website. CJ Spiller, for example, was initially credited with a 4.28 second time in the 40-yard dash on television, but his fastest time according to NFL.com was a 4.37.


Posted on: December 26, 2009 7:49 pm
 

Meyer's decision will lead to underclass exodus

If the preliminary reports are true and Urban Meyer is indeed stepping down as head coach of the University of Florida due to a heart condition, you can expect a mass exodus of underclassmen from the program to look into their own hearts and elect to leave school early.

It has been generally assumed among league insiders that defensive end Carlos Dunlap and cornerback Joe Haden would leave early. Both rank among the truly elite at their positions in the country and will likely earn a top 20 selection in the 2010 draft.

The Pouncey twins, Maurkice and Mike, have earned increasing attention from scouts. Maurkice, the recipient of the Rimington Trophy this year as the nation's top center, has been earning the higher praise from scouts than his brother, the Gators' starting right guard. Both are generating Top 100 talk, with Maurkice earning some hype among scouts as a potential first round pick as the top pure center prospect in the country.

Tight end Aaron Hernandez, at 6-2, 250 pounds, lacks the size teams prefer, but his athleticism and reliable hands make him a matchup nightmare down the seam. Some scouts feel Hernandez could leap up draft boards with a strong workout ala former Purdue receiving specialist Dustin Keller, who, of course, was drafted in the first round by the New York Jets.

The Gators could see even more turnover among their skill position should redshirt sophomore running back Chris Rainey and redshirt junior Emmanuel Moody, a USC transfer, elect to leave early, as well. Both could elect to take advantage of a relatively weak senior class of running backs.


Several other juniors have already turned in requests to the NFL Advisory Committee for grades. Among them are safeties Major Wright and Ahmad Black, offensive linemen Carl Johnson and Marcus Gilbert and defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh.


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