Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:19 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:48 pm
Fans of the Stanford Cardinal will not only have to endure life without Andrew Luck next season, they'll also be losing junior right guard David DeCastro, considered by many to be the elite interior lineman in the country.
NFLDraftScout.com has learned that DeCastro will leave Stanford after this season and head to the NFL.
All of the Stanford players have been asked to put off dealing with agents until after Stanford meets Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl January 2, but a source tells me that DeCastro "is definitely coming out. It isn't a matter of if, but when."
DeCastro redshirted in 2008 and has since started three consecutive seasons at right guard for the Cardinal, earning honorable mention all-conference accolades in 2009 and first-team honors both years since. The 6-5, 312 pound DeCastro was the only Stanford player to make the AP's First Team All-American team. Andrew Luck was relegated to the second team. It was behind his crushing blocks at both the first and second level that helped Stanford average 207.9 yards per game on the ground this year.
NFL teams hate to spend first round picks on interior linemen but that is precisely the grade I am giving DeCastro. He's higher on ny Big Board rankings than I've ever had a guard at this point in the year. He's also sitting firmly in the middle of my first round mock draft and is rated the No. 10 rated prospect on NFLDraftScout.com's overall player rankings.
DeCastro is joing a rare fraternity of interior linemen leaving early to the NFL. There were no early entrants among interior linemen in the draft last year. There have only been three underclassmen offensive linemen to have been drafted since 2008. Pittsburgh took Maurkice Pouncey out of Florida in 2010. The Chiefs and 49ers tooks Branden Albert and Chilo Richal, respectively, in 2008.
DeCastro and Luck may ultimately be joined by another Cardinal defection as junior left tackle Jonathan Martin is also thought to be likely to leave school early. Martin, along with Southern California's Matt Kalil and Iowa's Reilly Reiff, is considered one of a three-headed monster of junior offensive tackles who each could wind up as top 20 picks come April.
DeCastro and the rest of the No. 4 rated Stanford Cardinal will take on No. 3 Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl January 2.
Posted on: January 2, 2011 10:06 pm
Taking the extra 24 hours to review all six of the New Years' Day bowl games, I've come up with a list of the five draft-eligible players who I felt enjoyed the strongest performances.
In New Years' fashion, I'm putting them in reverse order, starting with the No. 5 performance and finishing with the player I thought was No. 1 on the day of ones (1-1-11).
5. OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State : Those that followed me on Twitter yesterday (I had 55 posts) they know that I'm quite high on the Bulldogs' left tackle. Sherrod doesn't have elite quickness off the edge, but rarely allowed pressure from Michigan pass rushers during the Gator Bowl. Sherrod's ability to pop the defensive end and switch off to blitzing linebackers (essentially blocking two men) gave quarterback Chris Relf plenty of time to attack the Wolverines' vulnerable secondary. For Relf, who completed only 55.5% of his passes and threw only 10 touchdowns during his 12 regular season starts, it was his most impressive performance of the year (completed 78.3% of his passes for 281 yards, 3 TDs and an INT). In fact, Relf's 18 of 23 passing was the most efficient of any New Years' Day quarterback, helping him earn MVP honors. The credit should go just as much to Sherrod as Relf.
4. RB Jordan Todman, Connecticut: The Oklahoma Sooners knew heading into the Fiesta Bowl that if they could contain Todman, the No. 2 rusher in the FBS (behind Oregon's LaMichael James), they'd almost surely be victorious. The Sooners won easily, but like nearly every other opponent this season, they couldn't stop Todman from rushing for over 100 yards. It was Todman's agility, burst and determined running, in fact, that served as the Huskies' only offensive spark in the 48-20 loss. I remain concerned about the 5-09, 195 pound Todman's ability to hold up long term in the NFL, but the Huskies apparenty aren't. Todman rushed 32 times for his 121 times against the Sooners -- the fifth time in final six games of his Connecticut career in which he had at least 30 attempts.
3. C Mike Pouncey, Florida: It hasn't always been easy this year for Pouncey, who, of course, took over at center for his twin brother, Maurkice - Pittsburgh's first round pick last April. Mike more than held his own yesterday against Penn State, however, clearing the way for interior running lanes, providing stellar pass protection up the middle and -- perhaps most impressively -- showcasing the nimble feet to pull and hit moving defenders downfield. Pouncey's size and agility make him a better fit at guard in the pros, but in a showdown of two of the best senior interior lineman in college football yesterday, Pouncey was more consistently impressive than Penn State's Stefen Wisniewski.
2. QB Andy Dalton, TCU: It wasn't that Dalton put up staggering numbers against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl (15/23 for 219 yards and a TD), but the poise he demonstrated in helping the Horned Frogs to their biggest win ever will not only help secure his place in TCU history, it will unquestionably boost his stock with NFL scouts. With their defense and special teams, TCU knew they could win the game as long as Dalton didn't attempt to win the game on his own. He didn't, playing within himself by making key reads, using his legs to buy time and pick up yardage and taking the occasional shot downfield. In doing so he atoned for the mistakes (three INTs) he made in TCU's loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl last year and reassured scouts that he has the mettle to handle the big stage.
1. DL Marcell Dareus, Alabama: There were any number of Crimson Tide players that deserved acknowledgement for their 49-7 thrashing of Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl - not the least of which was RB Mark Ingram or WR Julio Jones - but the most dominant 'Bama player on New Years' Day was Dareus. He dominated the Spartans offensive line, easily handling one on one blocks and splitting double-teams, as well on his way to the backfield. Those that didn't watch the game may point out that Dareus had only three tackles (two TFL including a sack) and thus couldn't possibly warrant the top spot. As is often the case with dominant defensive linemen, however, Dareus' penetration and three QB hurries often gave his teammates easy opportunities to pad their own statistics.
Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: September 21, 2010 1:43 pm
Each Tuesday I'll list two first year players -- one on offense, one from the defense -- as my official NFLDraftScout.com's Rookies of the Week.
Various rookies enjoyed strong performances in Week One. On offense, Denver wideout Demaryius Thomas had a strong first game to his NFL career against the Seahawks with 98 receiving yards and a touchdown. Dallas' Dez Bryant, who I recognized last week in this space as a "honorable mention" Rookie of the Week, enjoyed a strong second game as well, with 52 receiving yards and a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. I try to look beyond just the "skill" position players for these awards and I was mightily impressed with the drive blocking of San Francisco left guard Mike Iupati last night against the Saints, as well as that of Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey in the Steelers' win over the Titans.
In the end, however, this week's Offensive Rookie of the Week was a no-brainer.
Though his Detroit Lions lost to the Eagles Sunday, Jahvid Best was absolutely electric. He had 232 total yards from scrimmage (17 attempts for 78 rushing yards and nine receptions for 154 yards) and scored three more touchdowns. His five touchdowns over the first two weeks of the season lead the NFL. Some anticipated that an athletic and aggressive Philadelphia defense would tee off on Best considering the marginal downfield passing of Detroit backup quarterback Shaun Hill. With the Eagles crowding the line of scrimmage against the run, Hill simply found Best as an outlet receiver. Once in the open field, Best's agility and straight-line speed make him a matchup nightmare. Best is the first rookie to score five touchdowns in his first two NFL games since another Lion, Billy Simms, accomplished the feat 30 years ago.
On the defensive side of the ball, there were again several worthy candidates, though in my opinion this week's award was just as much a no-brainer. Sean Weatherspoon (Falcons), Koa Misi (Dolphins) and last week's honoree T.J. Ward (Browns) were impressive again. I was also impressed with the coverage supplied by Denver cornerback Perrish Cox. His coverage helped shut down the Seahawks reclamation project, Mike Williams, and his interception of Matt Hasselbeck ended any chance of a Seahawk comeback.
However, Ndamukong Suh proved to be every bit the dominant player against the Eagles we projected he'd be in the NFL. Suh posted eight tackles -- second most in the league by an interior defensive lineman -- and recorded his second sack in as many games. The Lions featured Suh and Best on the same play twice Sunday, with Suh lining up as Best's fullback.
Tags: Atlanta Falcons, Billy Sims, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Dez Bryant, Jahvid Best, Koa Misi, Matt Hasselbeck, Maurkice Pouncey, Miami Dolphins, Mike Iupati, Mike Williams, Ndamukong Suh, NFL, Perrish Cox, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rookie of the Week, San Francisco 49ers, Sean Weatherspoon, T.J. Ward
Posted on: September 4, 2010 2:08 pm
I listed Mike Pouncey as one of the five seniors I was going to focus on today. I'm glad I did, as he's been one of the biggest stories of the early games.
Pouncey, taking over for his twin brother Maurkice (Steelers' first round pick in '10) as the Gators' starting center, looks every bit the part of a player who has switched positions.
He's started the last 28 games of his career -- earning Second Team All-American honors last year -- at right guard, but he's struggled mightily with shotgun snaps in the opener against Miami of Ohio. His poor snap led to fumbles in the first and third quarters and several other poorly-timed plays.
Pouncey has been consistently low and wide with his snaps, forcing new quarterback John Brantley to divert much more of his attention to securing the snap, rather than eyeing the defense.
Pouncey is far from the only Gator player to blame for the team's ugly first half performance on offense. The high-flying Gators were held to only 13 total yards of offense -- and remember, this is against Miami of Ohio. The RedHawks finished 70th in the country in Total Defense last year.
However, nothing on offense is going to work if the snap isn't completed successfully.
Pouncey is currently listed as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated senior center prospect for the 2011 draft.
Unless he shows remarkable improvement, he won't be for long.
Posted on: July 21, 2010 2:41 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 2:44 pm
Alabama junior defensive Marcel Dareus, already viewed by scouts as a potential first round prospect, is the latest high profile player to be under NCAA investigation for his possibly inappropriate relationship with a sports agent, according to an ESPN report by Ivan Maisel and Mark Schlabach.
Dareus, according to the report , is being investigated after attending an agent's party in South Beach, Florida earlier this summer.
Whereas the Universities of North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida have all been relatively tight-lipped about the investigations into their student-athletes, Alabama head coach Nick Saban unleashed some wrath on the two elements he believes are at the root of the epidemic -- sports agents and the NFL.
"What the NFL Players Association and the NFL need to do is if any agent breaks a rule and causes ineligibility for a player, they should suspend his [agent's] license for a year or two," Saban is quoted in the article. "I'm about ready for college football to say, 'Let's just throw the NFL out. Don't let them evaluate players. Don't let them talk to players. Let them do it at the combine.' If they are not going to help us, why should we help them?"
"Right now, agents are screwing it up," Saban said. "They are taking the eligibility of players. It's not right that those players do the wrong thing. We have a great education process here. We have a full-time worker who meets with players and their families and does everything else."
Saban, who, of course, coached the Miami Dolphins for a brief time, probably understands the issue greater than most coaches. He's seen the recruiting of players by agents from the perspective of being a college coach, as well as from the NFL side.
While his potential solution to the problem seems rash, it also could work.
With the NCAA apparently taking the illegal player-recruiting by agents more seriously, get ready to see a steady stream of these stories. Unfortunately, Marvin Austin, Weslye Saunders, Maurkice Pouncey and Marcel Dareus may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Posted on: April 21, 2010 10:36 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2010 10:37 pm
My fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter and I wrote up five bold predictions each in articles here and here .
Like Chad, I elected to push the boundary with the definition of "bold," predicting a trade with the first pick among other things. I fully recognize that the Rams aren't likely to make this trade. I've spoken to enough people in the league, however, that caused me to feel there was a reasonable enough chance of it occurring that I listed it.
Last year , I went out on a limb and predicted that Tyson Jackson, not Aaron Curry, would be the first defensive player selected and that Andre Smith would be a top ten pick. Chad had the even better bold (and true) prediction, picking the Raiders to take Darrius Heyward-Bey at No. 7.
We were ridiculed at the time for our picks and some ended up not happening. A few, however, ended up being true. I don't anticipate either of us getting all five of our predictions correct this time either, but would be disappointed if we don't pull off at least a few of them.
Because these predictions are such conversation-starters, I thought I'd include a few more that I considered using in the original article.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Boston College, Chad Reuter, Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson, Cleveland Browns, Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos, Dez Bryant, Eric Decker, Florida, Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech, J.D. Walton, Jimmy Clausen, Josh McDaniels, Matt Tennant, Maurkice Pouncey, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Pete Carroll, Steve Everitt, Wonderlic
Posted on: April 17, 2010 10:38 am
Edited on: April 17, 2010 10:40 am
Many have speculated that the alteration in the the NFL draft schedule is going to lead to more trades than before.
According to sources throughout the league, the St. Louis Rams (owners of the first pick), Seattle Seahawks (6, 14) Cleveland Browns (7), Denver Broncos (11), Miami Dolphins (12), New England Patriots (22), Philadelphia Eagles (24) and Dallas Cowboys (27) are all actively exploring trade opportunities.
The Cleveland Browns have been one of the more aggressive teams, speaking with the Rams about moving up to get Sam Bradford with the first overall pick, but also exploring dropping down, as well.
The Seahawks would like to add a pick between their second first (14) and their only second rounder (60th overall). Their recent mini camp proved they have significant holes to fill on both sides of the ball.
Denver has wide receiver Dez Bryant and center Maurkice Pouncey high on their board. They will consider Bryant at 11, but if he's off the board, they'd like to drop down a few spots and still get Pouncey.
Miami would like to recoup the second round pick they lost in the trade for Brandon Marshall and feel that the player they're likely to get at No. 12 won't be significantly better than one they might get in the lower teens or twenties. With their need for a playmaking wide receiver filled, look for the Dolphins to add a front seven defender.
The Patriots already own three second round picks, but Bill Belichick believes the second round is where the values lies in this draft.
It has been reported (originally by Sports Illustrated's Peter King) that the Eagles were aggressively looking to move up. I have been able to confirm this, but counter to King's story, which has Philadelphia looking to move up for either Eric Berry or Earl Thomas at safety, I'm told a different player is the Eagles' real target. Middle linebacker Rolando McClain, given the team's need for a thumper inside and the significant drop-off at the position after McClain, would seem a likely candidate.
Dallas is also exploring aggressive trade-up options. Owner Jerry Jones loves Dez Bryant and will consider moving into the late teens should the Oklahoma State receiver fall to that point.
The first round of the 2010 draft is shaping up to be every bit the drama-filled event the NFL had hoped in moving it to primetime Thursday night.
Posted on: March 12, 2010 8:33 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2010 8:34 pm
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.