Tag:Trent Williams
Posted on: September 14, 2010 1:17 pm
 

KC's McCluster, Browns' Ward Rookies of the Week

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, the skill position players like St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford, Detroit running back Jahvid Best, and a host of receivers -- Cincinnati's Jordan Shipley, Dallas' Dez Bryant and Tampa Bay' Mike Williams certainly deserved consideration. So too did some of the lesser acknowledged players -- such as Kansas City tight end Tony Moeaki and Washington offensive tackle Trent Williams. 

In the end, however, my choice for Offensive Rookie of the Week was Moeaki's teammate, running back/receiver/returner Dexter McCluster.

McCluster was limited to only two receptions (for nine yards) and one rushing attempt (no gain), but his dazzling 94-yard punt return in the second quarter of the Chiefs upset victory over the Chargers was among the biggest plays of the opening weekend. His touchdown provided the Chiefs with the momentum (and, ultimately the deciding points) that helped them hold on to beat the AFC West favorites. 

On the defensive side of the ball, there were again several worthy candidates. Philadelphia safety Nate Allen had five tackles and an important interception of Aaron Rodgers. Pass rushers Koa Misi (Dolphins), Greg Hardy (Panthers), and Tyson Alualu (Jaguars) all made big plays for their teams.

The consistency of Cleveland safety T.J. Ward, in my opinion, was the most impressive of the week, however. Ward led all rookies with 11 tackles Sunday in the Browns 14-17 loss to Tampa Bay. He also forced a fumble and essentially an interception with a strong blitz that forced Bucs' quarterback Josh Freeman to throw earlier than he wanted, resulting in a pick by Browns' teammate Mike Adams.
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: August 18, 2010 3:36 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2010 3:47 pm
 

Pats give OG Simmons a chance, despite clubfoot

With Pro Bowler Logan Mankins holding out and the Nick Kaczur's back a potential season-long issue, the Patriots were in the market for an offensive guard.

The man they picked up, former Oklahoma standout Brian Simmons, is as surprising a choice as there could be.

You see Simmons, a 6-4, 315 pound former defensive tackle who played in 42 games for the Sooners at left and right guard, has a clubfoot. He wasn't invited to the Combine and despite plenty of hype surrounding him, wasn't drafted. As his mother explained in an sad email used by David Ubben on ESPN's Big 12 blog , her son's clubfoot had landed him on the NFL reject list.

A clubfoot, according to WebMD , is a deformity that occurs in the tendons of the foot prior to birth. The tendons force the foot to turn downward and inward towards the other foot. It may result in the foot, especially after the heel, being smaller than the other foot. To correct the issue, the foot is often broken and placed in a cast to re-shape it.

According to Brandon George's article in the Dallas Morning News, Simmons wears a size 17.5 shoe on his left foot and a size 16 on his right.

George's article, written in August of 2007, notes that Simmons has had his right foot broken and re-set a staggering 16 times during surgeries.

With thousands of prospects to grade, NFL teams rely on sharing medical information. It is one of the primary reasons for the development of the Scouting Combine as we now know it. By being placed on the reject list, Simmons had virtually no shot at getting as much as a workout from an NFL team despite the fact that other professional athletes, including Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, have beaten clubfoot to enjoy productive careers.

Simmons was an often-used backup for much of his career, but a knee injury robbed him of five games during his senior campaign -- the only year in which he started at Oklahoma. Playing next to Trent Williams for much of the time, Simmons' athleticism and balance stands out on film. He proved at his Pro Day (the official Oklahoma Pro Day March 9, not Sam Bradford's throwing session March 29) that he was a legitimate draftable athlete at guard -- especially considering the relatively weak crop of talent that was available this year. Simmons measured in at 6-4 1/4, 315 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash between 5.19-5.26. He was timed at 4.75 in the short shuttle, 7.61 in the 3-cone and posted a 28" vertical jump and a 8-10" broad jump. I was disappointed, if not surprised, when Simmons wasn't drafted or immediately signed as a high priority free agent.

Fortunately for Simmons (and potentially the Patriots), New England elected to roll the dice Sunday and gave the former Sooner a shot.

I, for one, will be rooting for him.

Posted on: April 22, 2010 8:31 pm
 

Seattle fortunate Okung slipped to them

I watched the Seattle Seahawks' pre-draft mini-camp and was stunned to see veteran right tackle Ray Willis lining up as Seattle's first-team left tackle. Willis, whose specialty had always been as a drive blocker in the running game, was considered only an average pass blocker and certainly lacked the quick feet and balance to play on the left side.

As such, the Seattle war room likely erupted when the Kansas City Chiefs selected safety Eric Berry with the fifth overall selection, allowing the 47-game starter Russell Okung to slip into Seattle's lap at No. 6.

Okung is not an elite match for Alex Gibbs' scheme that Trent Williams might have been, but he was recognized as the Big 12's Offensive Lineman of the Year over Williams and is generally viewed as the safer pick.

As happy as the Seahawks' front office might have been with the selection, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck likely was even happier.
Posted on: April 21, 2010 9:06 am
Edited on: April 21, 2010 9:07 am
 

Impact on top five if Rams took Suh

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: April 11, 2010 12:27 pm
 

First "surprise" of draft? Williams leaps Okung

With only ten days to go until draft day is here, the top of the first round is beginning to take shape.

Barring colossal trade offers, the Rams will take Sam Bradford, the Lions will take Ndamukong Suh and the Bucs will take Gerald McCoy.

Since trading for quarterback Donovan McNabb, it has been obvious the Redskins would be looking to fill their biggest need -- offensive tackle -- with the 4th pick of the draft. With Oklahoma State's Russell Okung the top-rated tackle by many, including NFLDraftScout.com, he seemed the natural candidate to replace former Pro Bowler Chris Samuels as the Redskins' starting left tackle.

Except that Okung isn't the top-rated tackle by the Redskins. Oklahoma's Trent Williams is.

I reported nearly three weeks ago that Okung is far from the consensus top-rated tackle. While most teams had Okung rated as the best, a sizable number had Williams as the better prospect. One team had Iowa's Bryan Bulaga as the best of the 2010 class.

Okung is the safe pick. Williams, due to his greater athleticism, has the higher upside.

Most importantly (at least in terms of the Washington Redskins), he's the better fit in Mike Shanahan's zone-blocking offense.

There are sure to be plenty of surprises on draft day. Some will characterize the first one as the Redskins' decision to draft Trent Williams over Russell Okung.

Considering that I've felt for weeks that Williams would likely be the first tackle taken , I won't be among those surprised... and neither should you. 
Posted on: April 5, 2010 1:54 pm
 

Trade for OG Sims means Lions locking in on DT?

The news that the Detroit Lions traded away their 5th round pick (133rd overall) to the Seattle Seahawks for offensive guard Rob Sims could have serious draft day implications.

Many have suggested that the Lions might want to take an offensive tackle like Oklahoma State's Russell Okung or Oklahoma's Trent Williams with their second overall pick. In doing so, the Lions, it was believed, would be moving former franchised left tackle Jeff Backus inside to left guard.

Sims started 46 games for the Seahawks, including 14 games last year at left guard. He'll likely be asked to remain at left guard for the Lions, keeping Backus as Matt Stafford's blindside protector.

With their offensive line more settled, Detroit won't be pushed into taking a lower rated player at a greater area of need. Allowed to take the best available player (and fit in their scheme), the Lions will almost surely draft either Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

Unless, of course, they make another trade...
Posted on: March 25, 2010 1:38 pm
 

Lions thinking Trent Williams at 2?

Two days ago I wrote that the Detroit Lions might have another offensive tackle in mind than Russell Okung with the second overall pick.

Today, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew confirmed as much, according to an article penned by Nicholas J. Cotsonika of The Detroit Free Press. Cotsonika asked Mayhew a question about Okung and whether he was the top tackle in the class.

Mayhew's comment back was: “I think big picture, overall, taking everything into account, there are probably two guys that are the best two out there.”

The comment, taken out of context, does not mention Okung nor any other player by name. However, since the question asked was about Okung, it seems reasonable to assume that Okung is among the two OTs Mayhew is referring to.

Cotsonika asked the logical follow-up question as to who the second offensive tackle was. Mayhew, not surprisingly, declined to identify him. (Or for that matter, verify that Okung was among the top two.)

In the previous blog post I wrote (linked above), I'd reported that three different offensive tackles were nominated by scouts as the top at the position -- Okung (who received 2 of the 4 votes), Oklahoma's Trent Williams and Iowa's Bryan Bulaga.

What is interesting about my little straw poll was the feedback I've received from scouts since I wrote about it.

I've spoken to several scouts and frotn office executives throughout the league who adamantly proclaimed that Bulaga, due to his short arms (32.5") and only marginal upside "did not deserve to be in the conversation" as the top OT. One source noted that there were zero offensive line coaches present at Iowa's Pro Day, whereas there were "several" at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma's.

In these conversations Okung was repeatedly characterized as the "safest" of this year's class, but that it was Williams whom scouts felt had the most upside.

Last year, the tackle many scouts felt was safest -- Virginia's Eugene Monroe -- "fell" to Jacksonville and 8th pick. The tackle scouts felt had the most upside -- Baylor's Jason Smith -- went to the Rams with the second overall pick.

Could Trent Williams be poised to accomplish the same feat?

Personally, I'd still be surprised to see anyone other than Ndamukong Suh be the second pick of this draft, but if the Lions elect to protect their investment in quarterback Matt Stafford with a blindside protector, Trent Williams, not Russell Okung, could be the pick.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com