Tag:Sam Bradford
Posted on: October 28, 2010 10:24 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 11:57 pm
 

Biggest game of weekend (for draft) in Seattle

With all six of the FBS undefeated teams on the road and two games pitting Top 20 teams against each other, there is certainly plenty of intrigue in college football for the upcoming Halloween weekend.

In terms of the NFL draft, however, the place to be is Seattle, Washington where the two top quarterback prospects in the country will face off.

According to sources within the league, the expectation is that there will be "at least" 15 NFL scouts attending this game. That total would almost surely double the number of scouts that have attended any college football game in Seattle in quite some time.

Stanford redshirt sophomore Andrew Luck has emerged this season as the clear top passer in the country. Some will argue that Washington's Jake Locker has fallen out of the first round. ESPN's John Clayton has reported that he's spoken to scouts who have dropped him into the second or third round.

That might be true -- but I believe that for however low Locker has dropped early this year, he'll earn back a great deal of that lost stock if he is invited (and accepts) a Senior Bowl invitation, as expected. In that environment, Locker's rare physical tools will stand out.

This isn't a life-long Seattle area resident talking... It is from the experience of covering Senior Bowl practices since 2000.

Having scouted this long, I've learned that many NFL talent evaluators believe (as I do) that one can gauge the talents of most prospects based on film - but not necessarily quarterbacks.

Most scouts believe that to truly gauge a quarterback, one has to see them throw in person. They have to see how the ball comes out of the passer's hand; get a feel for just how much zip is on his fastball; if the quarterback recognizes when to throw with touch; how he interracts with his teammates when the cameras aren't on him.

It is why I saved my final analysis of Sam Bradford (Pro Day) , Tim Tebow (Senior Bowl) , Mark Sanchez (Pro Day) and many others over the years until after I'd seen them in person.

It is also why I won't be scouting the myriad of games I normally do this Saturday, but instead will be evaluating Stanford-UW in person this weekend.

Because to truly judge a quarterback, there is nothing like being there in person.

Posted on: October 5, 2010 1:29 pm
 

QB Bradford, S Mays earn Rookie of the Week

I was among the biggest critics of the St. Louis Rams' decision to draft quarterback Sam Bradford over the player I believed was the best and surest thing in the 2010 draft -- defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

My argument was simple. Suh was the better player and didn't have Bradford's durability questions. The counter to my argument, of course, was that Bradford played the game's most important position -- and when healthy -- he showed the accuracy of an All-Pro. I didn't disagree with this argument, only that I questioned if Bradford was and could remain healthy.

The question of Bradford's durability will remain, but there is no denying his talent -- which he put on display Sunday in the Rams' second consecutive win. With the win over division rival Seattle, the Bradford-led Rams are now tied atop the NFC West division at 2-2.

Bradford's numbers against the Seahawks (23 of 41 for 289 yards, two touchdowns and one interception) were impressive. However, they don't do him justice. Competing against a former Pro Bowl quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck who guided te Seahawks to the Super Bowl in 2005, Bradford was the more poised and accurate passer. He faced pressure, but calmly stepped up in the pocket and consistently placed the ball where only his receivers could catch it. Bradford exhibited the type of accuracy and ability to step up his play in a critical situation that so impressed me when I scouted his Pro Day workout in person.

There were several impressive performances by rookies on the offensive side of the ball last week, but none came close to that of Bradford, in my opinion.

The decision was a little tougher on the defensive side of the ball -- though one sparkling special teams' play tipped the balance in favor of San Francisco safety Taylor Mays .

Tennessee rookie cornerback Alterraun Verner enjoyed a solid game (11 tackles, three PBUs) against the Broncos and Philadelphia free safety Nate Allen recorded his fourth interception of the year in the Eagles' close loss to Donovan McNabb and the Redskins. 

Like Verner, Mays recorded 11 tackles Sunday. His performance was even more impressive considering that Sunday's game against the Falcons was his first career start. Mays gave the 49ers a different degree of physicality in the backhalf of their defense, pairing with another big hitter (Dashon Goldson) to limit the explosive Falcons offense to only 16 points at home. The Falcons had scored 41 points in their last home game against the Cardinals.

You've probably seen the special teams play that turned into the deciding factor in Mays' earning Defensive Rookie of the Week honors. The 49ers' Delanie Walker and Dominique Zeigler broke through the Atlanta line to block a Michael Koenen punt. Mays, showing better ball skills than he's generally been credited with, leapt high into the air, tracked the ball over his shoulder, caught it securely and pointed his toes to get both feet in bounds for the dazzling touchdown "catch."
 


Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:07 pm
 

Bills' Spiller, Hawks' Thomas 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 Three. On offense, it was tough to look past Sam Bradford's first career win (over the Redskins), the continued stellar play of Kansas City tight end Tony Moeaki (who I've listed as a finalist each of the first three weeks!) and Indianapolis receiver Blair White an undrafted free agent who was signed from the practice squad due to injuries and responded with three catches for 27 yards and his first NFL touchdown.

In the end, however, the versatility and explosiveness of Buffalo rookie C.J. Spiller won out.

Spiller, playing behind veterans Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, didn't get many carries. In fact, he only rushed four times (for 29 yards) against the Patriots. The versatility he showed while starring at Clemson, however, was very much on display against New England, however, as he caught three passes for 10 yards and a touchdown and returned a kick 95 yards for another score. Spiller's ability to make impact plays were one of the reasons that the Bills were able to remain surprisingly competitive against New England, which won 38-30.

It wasn't a particularly strong week for rookies on the defensive side of the ball. Two defensive backs I had high hopes for entering the week -- Bucs' safety Cody Grimm and Broncos' cornerback Perrish Cox -- were torched for touchdowns. Sean Weatherspoon led the Falcons with seven tackles, but other highly touted 2010 linebackers Brandon Spikes (one tackle) and Rolando McClain (four tackles) weren't as statistically relevant nor able to make any big plays in close games.

Big plays, however, was exactly what Seattle free safety Earl Thomas made for the Seahawks, Sunday afternoon in a 27-20 win over the favored San Diego Chargers.

Thomas recorded six tackles, but it was his two interceptions over Pro Bowler Phillip Rivers that helped prove the difference in this game. Thomas' second interception came with only seconds left on the clock and the Chargers in position to tie the score. Thomas read the eyes of Rivers, cut in front of receiver Legedu Naanee and swiped the ball, putting a disappointing end (for San Diego, at least) to Rivers' career-high 455 yard passing day.

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: May 7, 2010 12:19 pm
 

Draft Rewind -- Podcast predictions come true

I've always found it unfortunate that the only two tangible aspects of draft analysis that I and other draft pundits are measured on is the acccuracy of our mock drafts and player rankings (especially the top 100).

In my opinion, what is very nearly as important as these projections are the information draft analysts spread in the weeks and months previous to the draft.

The final weeks before the draft I am asked to participate in a variety of interviews. Some are podcasts. Most are radio, print or television spots.

Podcasts often result in some of my favorite interviews as we have no set time limit and they are so easy to find and hear (or hear again).

I enjoy listening to some of the pre-draft interviews I've done. For one, I'm always looking to improve my delivery of information. I also find it interesting to see just how accurate my predictions and comments were.

I recently was reminded of a podcast I did with Yahoo.com's Doug Farrar on April 8 -- approximately two weeks prior to the draft. Doug is a long-time friend and a growing force in the sports journalism world. Doug and I (admittedly) are each a bit long-winded, but if you have 45 minutes to devote to some good pre-2010 draft conversation, this is a quality listen...

Among the topics include:

Sam Bradford -- Pros and Cons
Tim Tebow -- my thoughts on where he'll go
Debate over Suh-McCoy and Berry-Thomas as top at their positions
Rising prospects at DT, WR, RB
Small school prospects to keep an eye on
And plenty more...
Posted on: April 22, 2010 7:39 pm
 

Some talk Rams could trade Bradford post-pick

I've been told that the St. Louis Rams have been on the phone discussing trades for much of the day.

I'm being told that despite taking Sam Bradford, as expected, with the first overall pick, the Rams will continue to hold negotiations with teams following the pick.

This was last done in 2004 when the San Diego Chargers made Eli Manning the first overall pick but traded him moments later to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers.

The Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins, according to sources, remain interested.

Watch closely to see who these clubs take with the fourth and seventh overall selections, respectively. Should they do something odd, a trade for Bradford might still be in the works.
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.

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