Posted on: April 29, 2011 3:51 am
Each year plenty of draft picks are panned by us in the draft analysis business and wind up proving (surprise, surprise) that NFL teams know more about their prospects than we do.
Perhaps that will be the case with Kansas City's selection of former Pitt Panther wideout Jon Baldwin with the No. 26 overall selection.
But I believe Baldwin was the most surprising selection of the first round.
It isn't just that I'm lower on Baldwin that most. I certainly acknowledge his unique combination of size, speed, leaping ability and body control. He proved to be a big play threat while with the Panthers and is entering an ideal situation with the Chiefs due to the fact that they already have a legitimate No. 1 target in Dwayne Bowe to take the pressure off of the rookie.
However, despite the fact that the 6-4 (3/8), 228 pound Baldwin has the size to intimidate, he isn't a particularly physical receiver. In fact, when defenders pressed him at the line of scrimmage, he struggled.
It is also important to note that this is the same Baldwin who questioned former Pitt head coach Dave Wannestadt and his offensive staff when he told NFLDraftScout.com's Chris Steuber of his intention to leave the Panthers early for the NFL. (Baldwin later recanted, before re-announcing the decision.)
Given the rarity that Scott Pioli invested a first round pick in a wide receiver previously and these questions about Baldwin's physicality and maturity, I was stunned by the selection -- especially considering the number of highly touted offensive and defensive linemen still available. These positions, of course, were thought to be Kansas City's focus heading up to the draft.
Pioli's track record speaks for itself and Baldwin is a terrifically gifted player. Had you asked me prior to the draft to pinpoint one of the least likely pairings in the first round, however, I just might have picked this combination.
Posted on: April 22, 2010 6:48 pm
The hours before the NFL Draft is always full of hot rumors. With the draft moved to prime time, teams have had all day, rather than just the early hours Saturday morning to explore all of the options.
Some of the hottest rumors making their way around the league over the past few hours just don't make a great deal of sense.
I'm not buying inside linebacker Rolando McClain to the Chiefs at No. 5, for example.
Inside linebacker is clearly a significant need for Kansas City, but Scott Pioli believes as much in value as anyone. An inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense is rarely a value in the top ten and almost never in the top five -- especially in a draft as talented as this one.
I'm also not buying that the Cleveland Browns will take Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson with the seventh overall pick. Again, on the surface, the selection makes some sense. The team could move the recently acquired Sheldon Brown to safety, alleviating that concern and pair Wilson and Eric Wright together to form a very athletic cover corner duo. Wilson simply isn't such a dominant player as to warrant this pick, however. Furthermore, one of the better attributes he'll bring to a team is his return ability. The Browns don't need that with Josh Cribbs already starring in this role.
The smoke is getting thick...
Posted on: April 21, 2010 9:06 am
Edited on: April 21, 2010 9:07 am
As I mentioned in my last blog posting, St. Louis' trading of veteran defensive tackle Adam Carriker to the Washington Redskins opens the door for the Rams to take either of the top-rated defensive tackles, Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy, over quarterback Sam Bradford with the top pick.
Though I still believe the most likely scenario has St. Louis taking Bradford, here is what could happen if the Rams did so. For the sake of argument, I'm focusing on Suh, because, quite frankly, based on conversations I've had with members of the Rams organization and others throughout the league, I believe him to the higher rated player on their board. I will say this on Gerald McCoy's behalf, however. Suh is not the consensus choice as the top DT in their organization.
Assuming that the Rams took Suh, however, the Detroit Lions would then be in terrific position. While they would have lost out on NFLDraftScout.com's No. 1 rated player, they still would have the option of another penetrating defensive tackle in McCoy, taking an offensive tackle in Russell Okung or Trent Williams to protect their investment in Matt Stafford or looking to trade out to a team wanting Bradford.
In this scenario, I believe the team might switch things up and go with Okung, based on conversations I've had with league sources.
Tampa has similar needs at DT, OT and could also trade the pick. McCoy is such a perfect fit for their defense, however, that I still see them as taking him... if they stayed at 3.
The Bucs would almost surely get some interesting trade proposals, however, as most believe the Washington Redskins, despite the addition of Donovan McNabb, would surely take the suddenly slipping Bradford with the fourth overall pick.
Kansas City's need along the offensive line and Scott Pioli's focus on "safe" players likely would result in his still taking a tackle. Trent Wiliams, though not quite the established pass blocker that Russell Okung is, would make sense, though Iowa's Bryan Bulaga would remain a possibility.
While the players drafted in the top five might remain the same regardless of who the Rams took at No. 1, the order in which they came off the board would change dramatically.
As a recap, here is how things could go if the Rams took Suh first:
St. Louis -- Ndamukong Suh
Detroit -- Russell Okung
Tampa Bay -- Gerald McCoy
Washington -- Sam Bradford
Kansas City -- Trent Williams
And as I see it most likely happening tomorrow night:
St. Louis -- Sam Bradford
Detroit -- Ndamukong Suh
Tampa Bay -- Gerald McCoy
Washington -- Trent Williams
Kansas City -- Russell Okung
And that, my friends, is why predicting the topsy-turvy first round is such a inexact science -- even the top five.
Posted on: February 25, 2010 10:45 am
As mentioned in a previous post, San Francisco GM Scot McCloughan and head coach Mike Singletary led off today's interviews.
They will be followed by:
Posted on: April 22, 2009 1:18 am
Edited on: April 22, 2009 11:07 am
With few sure-fire prospects in this draft, many of the teams drafting within the top ten have privately -- and in some cases, publicly -- stated their interest in trading down. Few teams have publicly stated their interest in moving up, but the rarely candid Bill Belichick offered some interesting thoughts on the situation in his annual pre-draft press conference.
I don't think I have ever been in a draft where we've had the potential flexibility that we have this year. Last year, we went in with the 7th pick and 62nd pick and I felt, at that time, it would be hard to move very far from those two spots, and in fact, we didn't. I think this year, if you go by the generic trade charts-the charts everyone uses or has access to-if you just do the numbers we could probably trade a combination of our picks in the first round and get up as high as 10. We already have three picks in the second round, so we could pick anywhere from the beginning of the round until the end of the round and then a couple more picks in the third, so I think it's really important for us to know the value of the board all the way through those first 100 players and be able to know where the opportunities are or aren't, and how we can make the most of them. Again, we don't always have flexibility to trade because you need a partner on that, but I'm sure there will be some discussions there and there already have been with teams that see our multiple picks and have interest in acquiring two for one.
Belichick, of course, is not known for his particularly gabby, often light-hearted and carefree, terrifically insightful comments with media.
With six of the top 97 picks, including three second rounders (34, 47, 58) Belichick's Patriots are in position to do whatever they'd like in this draft, and the reality is, with teams so eager to move out, the Patriots could move even further up than in a typical year.
With a lot of the talk out of New England focusing on cornerback Darius Butler from Connecticut, don't be surprised if the Patriots package some picks and instead move up for Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins size, physicality, instincts and versatility could make him a perfect fit in New England.
Regardless of who they target, don't be surprised at all if New England makes some interesting, aggressive moves this weekend. For all of the talk that Scott Pioli and Josh McDaniels want to make a splash in the draft to begin their new legacies, Belichick is in better position to extend his own.
Posted on: April 19, 2009 4:39 pm
There has been much speculation as to what the Chiefs will be doing with the 3rd pick of the draft. Most have projected Kansas City to take Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. Some, myself included, have projected them to take Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe.
A new contender has arisen, however, in LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson.
Though many view Jackson as a significant reach for a top five pick, Gil Brandt didn't seem to think so, telling the listening audience of his Sirius radio program that Jackson is a "top five pick. Put that in the bank."
The comment, in itself, is interesting but not specific to any team -- other than those within the top five, of course.
But considering that Jackson fits best as a defensive end in the 3-4 and that there are only two teams using the 3-4 in the top five (Kansas City and Cleveland), the options for where Brandt believes Jackson is going are limited.
New Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli is facing the tough task of molding a team built around a 4-3 scheme into the 3-4 alignment he helped build in New England. Pioli has a track record of using first round picks on the defensive line, utilizing first rounders to build standout trio of Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren. Jackson has been described to me by veteran scouts as a virtual clone of the Patriots' Ty Warren.
Considering the widespread belief that the Browns are focusing on either USC quarterback Mark Sanchez or Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree with the fifth pick, Brandt would appear to be referring to the Chiefs with his comment -- not that it really matters. The Lions and Rams aren't likely to consider Jackson with the first two picks of the draft and no team is going to offer up the collection of picks necessary to trade into the top two picks to get ahead of the Chiefs to nab Jackson.