Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:40 pm
According to at least one doctor within the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Committee, Stanford wide receiver Chris Owusu is "perfectly normal" and able to "play football now."
Prior to every NFL team's doctors checking out Owusu, the assertion that the former Cardinal receiver is fine has to be taken with a grain of salt. For one, Owusu has had three concussions over the past two seasons, the last of which of which ended his 2011 season on November 5. The concussion (suffered against Oregon State) kept Owusu out of several big games, including Stanford's January 2 Fiesta Bowl matchup against Oklahoma State.
Second, Evan Silva of ProFootballTalk.com cites communication with Owusu's agent (Steve Caric of Caric Sports Management) as the source of the story. What else might an agent say about his client other than that he is healthy and likely to boost his stock at the upcoming Combine?
I have also been in contact with Caric regarding Owusu's recovery from the concussions. Not surprisingly, Caric is confident that his client is going to turn heads in Indianapolis.
Via email, Caric explained that: "There is a lot of false information and perception out there on [Owusu's] health. We have already begun correcting that, and it will be reinforced when every team examines him at the Combine and he proves to be 100% healthy up close."
Caric is right. Ultimately, each team's doctors are going to make their own interpretation of Owusu (and every other prospect) based on the medical testing done at the Combine.
Whether the Stanford product is healthy enough to warrant draft consideration remains to be seen. He's currently graded by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 48 receiver of the 2012 draft class, though no one doubts that based purely on talent he deserves to be ranked among the top 20 at the position.
Owusu was graded by some scouts as a middle round talent entering his senior campaign. This grade, however, was based largely on Owusu's upside as he's struggled to remain on the field throughout his career. Due to multiple injuries, he was never able to start a full season at Stanford, earning the starting nod in 9/13 games in 2009, 7/13 in 2010 and 7/13 again this past season. He left Stanford having caught 102 passes for 1,534 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The 6-0, 200 pound Owusu is a terrific athlete who should test well in Combine drills. Ultimately, it is the "other" drills that will be more important in determining his final draft stock, as this story serves as a reminder that for as much attention as the results in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and bench press will get, the medical testing is far and away the most important element of the Combine.
The Combine will take place in Indianapolis February 22-28.
Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:15 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 3:59 pm
Georgia tight end Orson Charles plans to enter the 2012 NFL Draft according to an ESPN report.
Charles, an All-SEC tight end as a junior, led Georgia in receiving with 572 yards on 44 catches with five touchdowns.
He's NFLDraftScout.com's third-ranked tight end, behind Dwayne Allen of Clemson and Stanford's Coby Fleener. All three have first-round potential, though at this point NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang and Dane Brugler only feature one tight end in their respective mock drafts.
Charles, listed by Georgia at 6-3 and 242 pounds, lacks the bulk most teams prefer at the position. He is very agile for his size, however, and is a much more physical blocker than his size would indicate. In fact, scouts give Charles a higher grade as a blocker than they do the 6-6, 245 pound Fleener.
Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:13 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 12:28 pm
Wisconsin junior center Peter Konz will enter the 2012 NFL Draft as expected, the school announced Tuesday.
Konz is NFLDraftScout.com's top-ranked center in a class that could produce several interior offensive linemen within the first 50 picks. The Wisconsin junior, in fact, is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 24 ranked player, overall.
Konz learned last week that he had been "highly rated" by the NFL draft advisory board despite missing three games with a dislocated left ankle.
He returned and played well in the Rose Bowl loss to Oregon.
Konz and Stanford junior offensive guard David DeCastro are projected as likely first round picks by NFLDraftScout.com's analysts Rob Rang and Dane Brugler.
Konz started 31 games at Wisconsin and is one of three offensive linemen moving on, including coveted offensive guard prospect Kevin Zeitler.
The Badgers' offense could be hard hit by defections. Offensive coordinator Paul Chryst was named head coach at Pittsburgh, quarterback Russell Wilson's eligibility expired and wide receiver Nick Toon, another player with a grade warranting a top-50 selection, is also gone.
Wisconsin also lost run-game coordinator Joe Rudolph, and assistant coach targeted by head coach Bret Bielema as Chryst's successor.
Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:37 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 12:24 pm
Robert Griffin III met with seven sports agencies and then again with Baylor coach Art Briles as he weighs the decision of whether to return to the Bears for his senior season or enter the 2012 NFL Draft.
The deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft is Sunday.
"He's really contemplating what he feels like is the thing that's going to give him peace," Briles said.
The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner and NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2-ranked quarterback prospect, Griffin met with prospective agents with Baylor compliance officers present to ensure he wasn't sacrificing his eligibility should he opt to return to college football. He first had his parents, both Army sargeants, interview agents and provide him feedback.
Griffin, 6-2, 220, earned his bachelor's degree a year ago after graduating high school a semester early to enroll in January 2008. He's on pace to earn his masters in communication in May and is engaged to be married.
There are no character-related questions with Griffin, who said he arrived at Baylor with the NFL as a Plan B.
"Plan B can overtake Plan A if they come knocking at your door," he said. "Who are you to turn down the NFL."
Indeed, a lot changed for Griffin in the span of one season. At this time last year, he said he received feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board that he was likely to be a second- or third-round pick. In a loaded quarterback class that included five quarterbacks in the top 35 selections, Griffin might have been overlooked.
If he decides to turn pro, that's unlikely this time around.
Stanford's Andrew Luck, the top-rated prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, and Griffin are expected to be the only sure first-round picks. As such, each is projected by NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang and Dane Brugler's as top five picks in their latest mock drafts. Some might include Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M, but his raw skills after just two years at the position make him more of a risk.
Risk should be a consideration for Griffin, who missed most of the 2009 season with a knee injury.
After throwing for more than 4,000 yards with 37 touchdowns and only six interceptions, Griffin has opened many eyes. He also had 699 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Former Colts head coach Tony Dungy is on the record that he might even draft Griffin, not Luck, with the first overall pick. He won't be the only one with that opinion, regardless of how flawless the Stanford redshirt junior has been and scouting reports will be in April.
Griffin isn't without some concerns with evaluators, who want to verify his height and weight before projecting him as a franchise quarterback. On appearances alone, there are scouts who are concerned Griffin doesn't have the sturdy build to withstand the rigors of taking pounding in and outside of the pocket in the NFL.
But like Newton in 2011, about whom there were concerns he could throw accurately in an NFL-style offense, it's also worth considering whether Griffin has a reasonable facsimile in the NFL.
Griffin said he patterns his game after Steve Young -- a mobile quarterback who thrives on efficiency -- but can't help but see the comparison many have drawn between 2011 No. 1 overall pick Newton and Griffin.
Griffin owns 46 Baylor records, and in 41 games completed 67 percent of his passes (800 of 1,192) for 10,366 yards with 78 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He had 33 rushing touchdowns and 2,254 yards.
Posted on: January 2, 2012 8:24 am
Due to New Year's Day falling on a Sunday this year all of the traditional bowl games played on this day were moved to Monday. For football enthusiasts it just means an extension of an already dramatic college football season.
Whether you are a hardcore fan preparing yourself to watch every second you can of the six games on tap today or just want to have a handy Who-To-Watch guide for the few minutes you get to sneak away from your job to check the game, I've got you covered with one head to head matchup NFL scouts will be watching.
Here they are:
Penn State DT Devon Still vs. Houston C Chris Thompson: The 6-4, 310 pound Still currently ranks No. 8 on NFLDraftScout.com's 2012 board for all prospects. Opposing him is Houston's Thompson, a 6-2, 285 pound technician who we rank as a likely free agent (rated No. 38 amongst centers). Don't think that the Cougars won't have a plan for Still and the rest of a talented Penn State defensive line. The beauty of Houston's spread offense is that it gets the ball out of Case Keenum's hands so quickly that often bigger, more athletic pass rushers are limited in what role they can have. Couple that with the fact that Thompson is a wily veteran who earned his second consecutive All-Conference USA honors this season (last year he won it playing guard) and we have an interesting matchup to start off the day.
Capital One Bowl
Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard vs. South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery: Scouts circled this one in red ink, and Jeffery should do the same. He's against the clock to prove he's not overhyped in an offense that caters to his natural skills. Jeffery, a junior, has a 6-inch and nearly 25-pound advantage on the Nebraska senior cornerback. Dennard's late-season push to work back into first-round conversation would get an exclamation point if he muzzles the gifted but undisciplined Jeffery.
Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy vs. Georgia C Ben Jones: There may not be a defensive tackle in the country blessed with a more impressive combination of burst off the snap and strength than Michigan State's junior defensive tackle. Playing in the SEC, however, has prepared Jones for just this type of matchup. While the All-SEC center may lack Worthy's power and athleticism, the senior is tough-minded, technically sound and a legitimate top 75 pro prospect, in his own right. If nothing makes you happier during the holidays than a good old fashioned battle in the trenches, this is the showdown to watch.
Florida DT Jaye Howard vs. Ohio State C Mike Brewster: Just like in the Outback Bowl, I expect the television analysts to focus on matchups between the skill position players in the Gator Bowl but winner of the Gator Bowl will likely be the team that gets more from their senior in the middle. Howard is quietly among the better, all-around senior defensive tackles and is being viewed by some 3-4 clubs as a possible conversion to defensive end. Brewster isn't flashy but is a tough guy who always competes and is starting his 49th consecutive game. Each is listed by NFLDraftScout.com as potential mid round picks.
Wisconsin FS Aaron Henry vs. Oregon RB LaMichael James: The key to stopping the "Quack Attack" is the same as it is with most offenses: take away the running game. Without a dominant front line, the Badgers will have to demonstrate extraordinary discipline in the back half of their defense. Fortunately, they boast a terrific all-around defender in Henry, a former cornerback who has earned all-conference honors after each of his two seasons at free safety. Scouts, of course are even more familiar with James as he's led the country in rushing yards the past two years. If James is to leave Oregon after this season as those close to the program expect, notching yet another 20-plus carry game (he has seven this year) against a traditionally stout defense could help convince scouts the 5-9, 195-pound back has the toughness to be successful in the NFL.
Oklahoma State FS Markelle Martin vs. Stanford TE Coby Fleener: If there is a safety in the country with as many responsibilities looming as Wisconsin's Henry, it is Martin. At 6-1, 198 pounds Martin doesn't have the bulk scouts generally prefer, but his coverage skills and penchant for the big play have made him NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior at the position. It will be those coverage skills that are put to the test against Andrew Luck and his favorite target, the 6-6, 245-pound Fleener. With little speed on the flanks, Stanford's passing game attacks the field down the middle. As such, the winner of this one on one battle could very well determine the Fiesta Bowl champion.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Aaron Henry, Alfonzo Dennard, Alshon Jeffery, Ben Jones, Chris Thompson, Coby Fleener, Devon Still, Fiesta Bowl, Florida, Georgia, Jaye Howard, Jerel Worthy, LaMichael James, Markelle Martin, Michigan State, Mike Brewster, Nebraska Houston, NFLDraftScout.com, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Penn State, South Carolina, Stanford, Wisconsin
Posted on: January 1, 2012 3:51 pm
The fascinating drama some guy predicted back in September might occur, will indeed.
The Indianapolis Colts, in losing 19-14 Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars, have secured the rights to the No. 1 pick of the 2012 draft.
If the Colts aren't absolutely convinced that Peyton Manning will return to All-Pro form next year, they'll be hard pressed to pass up the opportunity to draft the franchise quarterback to lead them into a new era.
Many, including NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler and myself, have predicted that the Colts will ultimately select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Those who think the Colts might do something other than take Luck, generally argue Polian could take another passer, Baylor's Heisman-Tropy winner Robert Griffin III.
All of which sets up for a fascinating decision for the Colts. With no clear top defensive prospects to realistically consider over Luck and Griffin, they'll either have to take a quarterback, trade the pick or trade Manning.
The 2011 NFL regular season boasted plenty of drama.
The 2012 pre-draft season is starting off just as intriguing.
Posted on: December 31, 2011 1:11 pm
Much has been made of the fact that the Insight Bowl Friday night may have been the last collegiate games for Oklahoma junior quarterback Landry Jones and Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff, also a junior. Each is listed as potential first round draft pick by NFLDraftScout.com.
Though highly regarded, neither enjoyed the type of dominating game last night to make their decision an easy one.
Jones completed 16 of 25 passes for 161 yards for one touchdown and one interception. He showed some toughness in taking a wicked hit from Iowa and demonstrated the live arm that scouts can't help but admire. However, the same discomfort once the pocket collapses around him that has caused me to rank Jones outside of my Top 32 prospects, was again apparent in this game. Jones had to endure more pressure in this game than he's used to. He was sacked twice (both by Iowa DT Mike Daniels) and pressured often, which contributed to numerous high and wide throws. Two sacks doesn't sound like a lot. But the spread offense Oklahoma runs helps keep Jones upright. Oklahoma had allowed just nine sacks all season long.
On the interception, Jones extended the ball out in play-action before attempting to lob a pass (into double coverage) to Kenny Stills into the back of the endzone. Defensive lineman Broderick Binns deflected the pass and caught it at his own six yard line to extend Jones' string of troubling play since losing All-American receiver Ryan Broyles to a torn ACL. Prior to throwing a three-yard touchdown to senior tight end Trent Ratterree on the next drive, Jones had thrown for zero touchdowns and six interceptions since Broyles' injury November 5.
Like Jones, Reiff has the physical characteristics scouts are looking for. At 6-6, 300 pounds he is very light on his feet, handled numerous exotic blitzes from the Sooners and is technically refined. Also like Jones, however, Reiff showed that another season of college play could go a long way in helping his game. Reiff has a relatively slight upper body and the lack of power was evident against Oklahoma's Frank Alexander (and more troubling) other OU defenders, as well. He has been my second-rated offensive tackle in the country behind Southern Cal's Matt Kalil (ahead of Stanford's Jonathan Martin) all year long and I stand behind that grade. However, after this performance I'd place more distance between Kalil, who I see as a top five pick, and either Reiff or Martin, both of whom I feel are better values outside of the top 10 (or perhaps even top 15) picks.
Though Jones and Reiff entered the game with much of the hype, quite frankly Alexander, OU cornerback Jamell Fleming and Iowa's Daniels were the best three players on the field Friday night -- at least among legitimate NFL prospects.
Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:45 am
In a five paragraph statement made to the press shortly following Indianapolis' first win of the season, Colts' vice chairman Bill Polian announced that four-time league MVP Peyton Manning has begun throwing passes to teammates but that there is "no chance" that he will play this season.
"It was determined by the doctors that there was no chance he (Manning) would play this year," Polian said, alluding to a meeting that took place on Thursday. "His rehabilitation has not come far enough to make it prudent for him to step on the field in game action. He may practice in some very scripted and circumscribed circumstances if he wishes. That's entirely up to him."
Perhaps it is just me, but the last sentence in the quote above I found to be particularly interesting.
"That's entirely up to him" is the kind of thing one parent might say to another about a child about to make a foolhardy decision. It reeks of washing one's hands of a decision so that if something bad were to happen fault couldn't be spread.
It sounds like the words of a man who has already made up his mind with what he's doing with the first pick of the draft.
Having spoken with scouts specifically about the Colts and their 35-year old quarterback, the writing has been on the way for months. The Colts recognize the unique talent expected to be available and do not appear likely to be willing to mortgage their future at the game's most important position just to acknowledge what Manning has done for them in the past.
The real question could turn out to be which quarterback the Colts would prefer.
The overwhelming consensus, of course, is that the Colts would take Andrew Luck. As I noted here, however, there is growing sentiment that the higher upside of Robert Griffin III could convince some teams that he's the player who should be taken first.
If running a team needing a quarterback to step in and play immediately, it would seem Luck would be the slam dunk choice. Southern Cal's Matt Barkley, should he also decide to leave school early, is also especially ready for the leap to the NFL due to his experience in a pro-style offense.
If the Colts see enough in Manning's post practice workouts to convince them that he is on schedule to return to his MVP-caliber play, Griffin might sneak up on Luck. He, after all, is expected to need some time to acclimate to the NFL after having earned his Heisman trophy in a spread offense.
But, of course, Polian isn't tipping his hand on which college quarterback he likes best.
That won't come until a press conference scheduled four months from now.