Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Mardy Gilyard
Posted on: September 16, 2010 5:59 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2010 9:12 pm
 

NC State ILB Nate Irving one to watch tonight

There are several noteworthy senior prospects who will be on the field tonight when Cincinnati travels to North Carolina State.

Senior Bearcats' pass catchers Armon Binns and Ben Guidugli will certainly get a great deal of the attention, but it will be a player on the other side of the line of scrimmage that I -- and many NFL scouts -- will be keying in on.

North Carolina State inside linebacker Nate Irving appeared to be on the fast track to stardom in 2008. Despite missing a handful of games due to a nagging leg injury, Irving earned Honorable Mention All-ACC honors with 84 tackles and a school-record (for linebackers) four interceptions. 

A horrific car accident, however, robbed Irving of his 2009 season and he's struggled so far this year in his quest to regain his all-star status. 

Through the first two games, in fact, Irving has only three tackles. Those stops came last week against Central Florida, as Irving was surprisingly held without a tackle in the season opener against Western Carolina. 

When healthy, Irving, 6-1, 235 pounds, has demonstrated a legitimate NFL combination of speed, explosive hitting ability and range in coverage. 

The defending Big East champion Bearcats are not the explosive offense this year they were last -- considering the loss of quarterback Tony Pike and wideout Mardy Gilyard -- but they still spread the field well, as evidenced by the 40 points they put up last week against Indiana State. 

It will be interesting to see how Irving does in this contest. Scouts and those close to the NC State program are certainly pulling for him. The injuries he suffered in the accident (collapsed lung, compound fracture in his leg, broken rib, separated shoulder) were enough to end the career for most players. Irving not only has come back, he's doing it while explaining his progress in a weekly journal for NC State's Technician Online.

If he is to re-emerge as a legitimate pro prospect, however, Irving will need strong performances in high profile games just like the one tonight.  

Count me among those rooting for him...

The game begins at 7:30 pm EST and will be televised by ESPN.


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: February 28, 2010 11:47 am
 

Impressions from first QB-WR session -- WR Report

I was among the fortunate handful of media members allowed to venture inside Lucas Oil Stadium to watch this morning's quarterback and wide receivers workouts. Because I have to head back out to cover the second session in just a few moments, I don't have enough to time to really break down the 20+ players I watched.

However, here were my impressions of a few noteworthy receivers.

The highest rated receiver of this bunch is Illinois' Arrelious Benn, but today was not an impressive one for him. Benn struggled with his footwork today, slipping on multiple occasions on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf. He also struggled catching the ball, dropping a few passes during the gauntlet drill and while running routes. He looked particularly bad by having a hot, but accurate pass go right through his hands on during the gauntlet and subsequently dropping another one by turning his hands the wrong way when attempting to catch a poorly thrown post-corner route. Benn did not look overly explosive, though his strong frame is sure to intrigue scouts.

The most consistently impressive catcher on this day was another junior, Kansas' Dezmon Briscoe. Briscoe's long arms and good body control was often on display, as he was able to adjust to several poorly thrown passes and make sparking receptions. He doesn't appear to be the quickest receiver out of his breaks, but his long strides help him generate good speed down the sidelines.

Cal's Ryan Boateng was a surprise early star during the session, looking fluid during drills and catching everything in sight. He caught the ball with his hands and adjusted smoothly to poorly thrown balls -- an impressive feat considering his 6-1, 204 pound frame. Boateng struggled a bit later, failing to adjust adequately to deep balls, which will be a concern. Otherwise, he was one of the session's more impressive performers.

Florida's Riley Cooper was a bit inconsistent with his routes and hands on this day. He is more explosive than some give him credit for, but certainly doesn't have elite burst out of his breaks. He caught most passes with his hands, but didn't show great flexibility or determination to adjust to poorly thrown balls, too often just putting one hand up to attempt to make the sparkling reception. On one occasion he made a nice grab by doing so; on another he dropped it.

LSU return specialist Trindon Holliday was a surprise addition to the receiver workouts. His speed is certainly intriguing, but he dropped a few passes, including a bad on a deep ball that floated right into -- and through -- his hands.

Wide receivers who worked out this morning were: Fresno State's Seyi Ajirotutu, West Virginia's Alec Arnett, Kansas State's Brandon Banks, Norfolk State's Chris Bell, Illinois' Arrelious Benn, Cal's Ryan Boateng, Kansas' Dezmon Briscoe, Central Michigan Antonio Brown, Cal-Davis' Chris Carter, Florida's Riley Cooper, Connecticut's Marcus Easley, Clemson's Jacoby Ford, Wake Forest's David Gettis, Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard, Mississippi's Shay Hodge, Florida's Brandon James, Youngstown State's Donald Jones, San Jose State's Kevin Jurovich.

Due to injury, Missouri's Danario Alexander, Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant and Minnesota's Eric Decker did not work out this morning.
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.
Posted on: January 29, 2010 9:30 pm
 

Gilyard admits to previous marijunana arrest

Mardy Gilyard is freely admitting to NFL scouts this week at the Senior Bowl the fact that he was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute while attending Flagler Palm Coast High School in Palm Coast, Florida, according to reports from NFL.com.

"Character’s a big issue, so I tell them straight-up," Gilyard was quoted as saying. “Everybody goes through mistakes, everybody has their downfalls, pretty much everyone has something that they’re not proud of.” Gilyard said. “And that’s one of the things I’m not proud of. So it’s pretty good (moving forward)."

Moving forward is something Gilyard has had to do before. He signed with Cincinnati as a highly touted athlete, but was dropped from the program due to academics. Without his scholarship, Gilyard was forced to pay back the school over $9,000. He was forced to sleep in his car and work odd jobs to earn the money to pay off the school, before being accepted back into the program by then-new head coach Brian Kelly.

While teams are certainly not going to like Gilyard's prior arrest, his proactive admission, rather than reactive acknowledgement of the past will help him prove to teams that he's learned from his mistakes.
Posted on: January 27, 2010 1:00 am
 

Review from Tuesday's North practice

With pending deadlines for various NFL draft projects looming, my editors are struggling to review my rambling, half-coherent notes from today's Senior Bowl practices onto the website quickly enough to satisfy some readers.

Rather than wait longer for them to catch up, here are my unedited notes from today's North practice. This was my first look at the North squad after spending yesterday scouting the South team. As such, I focused my attention on the North's quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive backs.

With any further adieu...

NFL scouts came to Mobile hoping to see one of the quarterbacks emerge from the pack.

After two days of practice, they're still hoping.

Cincinnati's Tony Pike is the most gifted thrower of the class, demonstrating the arm-strength, accuracy to all levels of the field and mobility rare for a player of his 6-5 frame. The North's starter in each passing drill, Pike zipped passes through tight windows, consistently placed his deep outs low and wide so that only his man could get them and seemed increasingly comfortable dropping back from center.  Unfortunately, for each series of impressive throws, Pike would leave scouts scratching their heads with inaccurate passes, especially in the intermediate zones. Some of this is due to his not yet developing a rapport with his new teammates, as well as gusty conditions Tuesday. Some, however, is due to inconsistent footwork. Pike also has a tendency to rely upon his fastball, not showing enough touch on this day to fit the ball between the linebacker and safety.

Touch, however, is the one thing that Oregon State's Sean Canfield has been able to show. It is arm-strength, or rather lack thereof, that have scouts concerned. Canfield rode a breakout senior campaign into an invitation to the Senior Bowl, but has done little here to prove he has the arm necessary to be successful in the NFL. Canfield has to fully windup to get the ball to the sideline. Though the throws do get there, they arc and are slow in arriving, which will result in interceptions in the NFL. While the zip isn't there for the intermediate routes, Canfield was the North's most accurate deep ball passer due to impressive touch and good trajectory.

Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour lacks Pike's big arm, but was able to drive the ball with more authority than Canfield. He was the most erratic thrower on the day, however, struggling to hit his receivers in full stride. He's been limited thus far in practice, as he's been asked to remain strictly in the pocket. Without the threat of scrambling, LeFevour's less than ideal accuracy is being exposed a bit against the North's quality defensive backs.

Some of the North's quarterback issues are a result of inconsistent play from its receivers.

Small school wideout Andre Roberts (The Citadel) was the surprise standout among the South receiving corps Monday and Ohio's Taylor Price may be continuing the theme. The 6-0, 200 pound Price is quick off the snap and catches the ball cleanly.

The same could not be said for the North's two most highly touted receivers entering this week's practice; Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard and Missouri's Danario Alexander. Gilyard dropped numerous passes today. These sudden struggles have only added to the questions about how his spindly frame and lack of upper body strength will hold up when pressed. The 6-5, 221 pound Alexander, on the other hand, has plenty of size. He'll need a system in the NFL that allows him to catch passes while on the move as he did when starring for the Tigers, as he has the straight-line speed to run away from cornerbacks, but is a long-strider than struggles to change directions and gain separation. Perhaps most disappointing is how often he's allowed passes into his chest-plate, resulting in some ugly drops. According to scouts in attendance at yesterday's North practice, Gilyard and Alexander were just as disappointing Monday. They'll need strong bounce-back Wednesday practices if they are to save their falling stock before most scouts leave.

Clemson's Jacoby Ford is proving among the more secure handed receivers at the Senior Bowl this week - a bit of a surprise to some who had labeled as only a big play threat. Though short, the 5-09, 181 pound Ford has good strength to gain his release off press and has the speed to eat up the cushion. He has impressed scouts so far this week with his ability to adjust to poorly thrown passes and haul in tough catches.
Pittsburgh's Dorin Dickerson was listed by the Senior Bowl at tight end, but played exclusively at wide receiver on Tuesday. He lacks the speed to challenge corners deep and, as such struggled generating consistent separation.

Inconsistent passing and catching has helped a strong roster of cornerbacks gain even more confidence.

My fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter characterized Boise State's Kyle Wilson as being the star at the position yesterday and the former Bronco only helped himself further with another strong performance. Blessed with great foot quickness, balance and the acceleration to catch up when beaten on a double-move, Wilson is gaining momentum here to be considered the best cover corner of this senior class and a potential first round pick. If he is to achieve this lofty grade, however, he'll need to prove more willing to come up in run support than he has been throughout much of his career in the WAC.

Rutgers' Devin McCourty and California's Syd'Quan Thompson have also helped their cause this week. McCourty has the agility and straight-line speed for man coverage. He breaks on the ball quickly and has the active hands to rip away passes at the last moment. Thomson (5-09, 182) lacks the size and straight-line speed teams want as a press corner, but his instincts and physicality make him arguably the draft's top zone coverage cornerback. Unlike Kyle Wilson, McCourty and Thompson are standout run defenders, who haven't been able to show off their physicality and aggression in practice due to the no-tackle rules being enforced.

A pair of lanky ACC corners, Virginia's Chris Cook and Wake Forest's Brandon Ghee, have struggled locating the ball and making the plays necessary to earn a high round pick. At 6-1 and 6-0, respectively, each has the height scouts like and have shown enough agility in their backpedal, but have been far too complacent in coverage, allowing easy receptions.

Posted on: January 25, 2010 2:59 pm
 

Some surprises at the Senior Bowl weigh-in

College football teams are notorious for exaggerating the heights/weights and speeds of their athletes. The official weigh-in and measurements at all-star games and the Scouting Combine provide a truer picture of each player's actual size.

Some players come in smaller or lighter than expected and could see a slip down draft boards as a result. Others pleasantly surprised by measuring in taller or clearly spending some time in the gym or weight room since the end of the season.

A few players who disappointed during the weigh-ins were:

With all of the buzz around Tim Tebow, fellow South quarterbacks Tony Pike (Cincinnati) and Zac Robinson (Oklahoma State) did themselves no favors by each measuring in smaller than expected. Pike, at nearly 6-6, weighed on 212 pounds. His skinny build won't do much to convince scouts that he'll be more durable in the NFL than he's proven while with the Bearcats. Similarly, Robinson, who was listed by Oklahoma State at 6-3, 218 pounds, instead came in just over 6'2 and 210 pounds...

Pike's teammate, Mardy Gilyard , also came in very light. While certainly elusive, scouts wonder if he'll be able to get off press coverage in the slot at only 179 pounds.

Tight end/Fullback 'tweeners Dorin Dickerson and Garrett Graham also came in smaller than expected. Dickerson, originally listed at 6-2, 230 pounds, was instead 6-1, 222 and Graham (6-3, 250), only weight 234 pounds.

A few players who helped themselves during the weigh-ins were:


Florida State outside linebacker Dekoda Watson , boasting arguably the most impressive physique of either roster, surprised by measuring in at 6-2, 232 pounds. He had been listed by the Seminoles at 226 pounds and some scouts had estimated that he'd actually weigh in under 220.

NFL teams looking for bullish backs will be certain to keep an eye on Mississippi State's Anthony Dixon and Oregon LaGarrette Blount , each of whom measured in at an eye-popping 245 pounds. Their weight certainly wasn't due to extra slices of pizza following their seasons. Trim waistlines and thick lower bodies should aid in their transition to the NFL.

Utah pass rusher Koa Misi , who played defensive end for the Utes, seems to be taking his likely conversion to outside linebacker seriously. Expected to weigh in at 6-2, 263, but instead came in nearly an inch taller and at a relatively svelt 243 pounds.

Guards Jon Asamoa (Illinois) and John Jerry (Mississippi) each weighed in lighter than expected. Asamoa had been listed by Illinois at 6-5, 315 pounds, but actually came in at 6-4 and 300 pounds. Jerry was listed by Ole Miss at 6-6, 335, but had reportedly seen his weight balloon to over 350, at times, came in at 6-5 (and a 1/2) and and 332 pounds. We'll see if the drop in weight makes him even more athletic, without sacrificing his power.

Notes --

The smallest player measured was Ole Miss all-purpose star Dexter McCluster, who measured in at a shade over 5'08 and at 165 pounds. Not surprisingly, Alabama nose guard Terrance Cody was the heaviest player, tipping the scales at 370 pounds. Cody's sloppy build will move him down some teams' boards. Notre Dame offensive tackle Sam Young, the last man measured, was the tallest player. He came in at 6'07 (and 3/4) and 305 pounds.


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