Posted on: October 21, 2010 9:04 am
Considering that the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts are the reigning NFL and AFC champions, it might come as a surprise that they had enough holes for rookies to make big splashes already this season.
That said, anyone who watched their victories this past Sunday over the Tampa Bucs and Washington Redskins, respectively know the impacts that running back Chris Ivory and middle linebacker Pat Angerer had on their games.
As a way of keeping up with the collegiate prospects I scouted last year, I recognize an offensive and defensive NFL rookie of the week after each weekend's games. There was significant competition this week, but Ivory and Angerer's performances were just too productive to really look anywhere else.
Ivory, an undrafted free agent out of Tiffin University, exploded for 158 rushing yards against the Bucs. He did his damage on only 15 carries, meaning he averaged 10.5 yards per attempt. He was even more effective as a receiver, catching one pass for 17 yards. Ivory led all NFL running backs in rushing yardage in Week Six.
Angerer, a second round pick out of Iowa, continued the Colts' trend of drafting undersized, instinctive linebackers and simply plugging them in. Leading the Colts with 11 tackles against Washington, Angerer also posted a sack and broke up two passes.
Among the offensive rookies I also considered were Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy (who showed surprising poise in a loss to the Steelers), Seattle offensive tackle Russell Okung (who limited Julius Peppers to only one tackle in the Seahawks' surprising win over the Bears) and a couple of wideouts -- St. Louis' Danario Alexander and Dallas' Dez Bryant -- who each caught their first NFL touchdowns this week.
On the defensive side of the ball, Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was a strong candidate, considering his three tackles and 1.5 sacks against the Giants. Suh leads all rookies in sacks with 4.5, as well as all interior defensive linemen in the NFL. The Patriots' Jermaine Cunningham was also a consideration, as his six tackles, one sack and one forced fumble helped the Patriots come back to beat the Ravens in one of the week's best games.
Posted on: July 14, 2010 6:57 pm
With less than 24 hours before the NFL's annual Supplemental draft I polled various league sources to find all of the latest buzz surrounding its four applicants and the NFL teams likely to get involved.
Though BYU running back Harvey Unga has generated most of the pre-draft hype, I'm told it could be Illinois defensive tackle Joshua Price-Brent who is drafted first.
There are a few clubs thought to be quite high on the former Illinois standout. There is talk that Price-Brent is earning 4th round grades from some scouts -- though I'd be surprised, quite frankly, if any player was picked this high. Detroit, New Orleans, San Francisco, St. Louis and Green Bay are all thought to be interested. The value of the defensive tackle position, Price-Brent's size (6-2, 321) and his 20 career starts under respected coach Ron Zook were all given as reasons why the big run-stuffer is generating some late buzz.
Unga's stock, on the other hand, was characterized as "settling" by one league source.
Unga's production and strong running speak for themselves, but his 4.63-4.73 second times in the 40-yard dash at his July 8 Pro Day and lingering right ankle sprain only added to the perception that he was too slow and injury-prone to ever be a full-time back in the NFL. Few teams are willing to invest anything more than a very late pick in a running back specialist this close to training camp -- and a specialist is exactly how some scouts are characterizing the three-time Mountain West Conference honoree.
I'm hearing 6th-7th round for Unga with Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Miami having all expressed some interest. There is some talk Unga could slip out of the draft, entirely. If he did so, I was assured he'd have several teams offering him a free agent contract.
The forecast doesn't appear to be as warm for the two other players eligible to be selected in Thursday's draft.
There doesn't seem to be a great deal of interest brewing for running backs Vanness Emokpae (Truman State) and Quentin Castille.
Posted on: March 12, 2009 10:44 pm
An estimated 15-20 teams attended Kansas State's Pro Day Thursday, mostly to see junior quarterback Josh Freeman. Detroit, St. Louis, Kansas City, Seattle, Oakland, Jacksonville, San Francisco, New York (Jets), Tampa Bay, and Minnesota were among the clubs there. Quarterback coaches for the Lions, Seahawks, Bucs, and Vikings were all present.
Scouts who viewed Freeman's Pro Day workout today described it in much the same words as I described Freeman's Combine workout.
First, the two scouts' take on today's workout:
AFC Scout "He certainly can throw the ball. He's a little wild, but you knew that going in on film. He's got tools, though. Someone's gonna take him in the first and may end up with the best one of the bunch in a few years."
NFC Scout "Ok, not great workout. Big arm, but erratic. Great tools, but needs some refining."
My comments after scouting Freeman at the Combine:
Freeman has good arm strength, but his accuracy was inconsistent. On many of his shorter and intermediate routes, he often was a bit high or wide with his throws. All in all, it was a solid performance, but not the jaw-dropping one some had projected.