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Tag:Tennessee Titans
Posted on: April 20, 2011 5:13 pm
 

Source -- Jags, Titans "very high" on Kaepernick

The buzz throughout the NFL right now is that as many as seven quarterbacks could be selected in the first two rounds.

As I've previously pointed out, the order with which those quarterbacks might go is pehaps the most interesting part of potential run on quarterbacks. There is a huge disparity among teams as to the order in which these quarterbacks will be selected.

Take Nevada's Colin Kaepernick , for example.

I've spoken with a variety of clubs who believe that Kaepernick is a second or third round talent, at best. They told me they have Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallett and Christian Ponder all rated ahead of Kaepernick.

However, other sources appear to be exceptionally high on the strong-armed Nevada passer, including, according to league sources, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

The Jaguars appear to be particularly good fit for Kaepernick, as they have a veteran passer already in place to give him a year or more to "redshirt." The Jaguars feature David Garrard as their starter and also have veteran Luke McCown in the fold. The Jaguars have not drafted a quarterback since using their first round pick on Byron Leftwich in 2003.

The Titans, on the other hand, could be in a more desperate situation. Vince Young is almost certainly gone. Veteran Kerry Collins is an unrestricted free agent who may retire. Chris Simms is also an unrestricted free agent, leaving last year's sixth round pick, Rusty Smith, as the only passer currently on the roster.

Sources tell me each club is "very high" on Kaepernick, suggesting that either one of the two teams could use their first or second round pick on the Nevada quarterback. I'd be stunned to see Kaepernick go to Tennessee at No. 8, but Jacksonville has surprised us before in the first round and either team could do worse than to take a gamble on the athletic, strong-armed passer in the second round. 

As it stands now, neither Chad Reuter nor I have Kaepernick in our current two-round mock drafts . That, however, might change.
Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Seahawks would like to trade down; won't go far

The Seattle Seahawks held a pre-draft press conference yesterday with general manager John Schneider fielding questions from the local media.

Among the topics he addressed was the report from Peter King of Sports Illustrated that "Seattle wants to trade down so bad from 25 that John Schneider can taste it."

Rather than dismiss it - as many general managers would do at this point in the cloak and dagger pre-draft season, Schneider expanded upon it, explaing that, "Personally, I’d like to move back. I have confidence in our ability in those middle rounds to do some good stuff.”

Presumably, the Seahawks would like to move down to recoup the third round pick they gave up last year for the rights to quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

And therein lies the irony of the situation.

It is the fact that Whitehurst is the only quarterback currently on the Seattle roster that makes it unlikely that Seattle will look to trade down too far on draft day, if they are able to land a deal in the first place. As I pointed out in a previous blog post, teams are expecting the contract rules to remain the same for this draft as they have been in the past. Now, this could change when a new CBA is signed, but teams generally go by the rules that have been in place, rather than projecting the new rules that could occur.

That means that the maximum number of years in a contract for a first round pick drafted between No. 16 and No. 32 is a five year deal. Players drafted No. 33 or later, however, can only receive a four-year contract.

Should Seattle be attempting to trade down with the hopes of landing a quarterback -- as some believe to be the case -- they won't want to trade out of the first round. The value of the extra year of the rookie deal is simply too valuable -- especially when dealing with a quarterback likely to spend at least the first year of the deal on the sideline.

It is the same reason why some of the teams in the top of the second round who may want to take a quarterback -- the Bills, Bengals, Cardinals, Titans, 49ers, Jaguars, etc. -- may ultimately have to trade up into the late first round to take the player who might have been available to them if they'd stayed put. In this wacky year, teams aren't just competing against each other for the rights to players, they want the longer, potentially cheaper contract for grooming their quarterbacks of the future.


Posted on: April 12, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 12:41 pm
 

Broncos, Titans, Redskins, Bears trading out?

The 2011 NFL Draft is still 16 days away, but NFL teams are already making phone calls about potentially draft-day trades.

According to multiple sources in the league, the Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears are all exploring their options.

The Broncos, owners of the No. 2 overall pick, are thought the unlikeliest to actually be able to trade out of their selection. The significant cost of signing a player drafted that high and this year's lack of an elite prospect hurts their chances.

The Titans, owners of the No. 8 overall pick, however, could be in a more enviable position. Sitting ahead of the Dallas Cowboys -- who many believe are targeting USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith -- the Titans could auction off the pick in the hopes that some team is willing to pay to steal him from Dallas.

Sources tell me the Titans would like to draft a quarterback at No. 8, but are worried that there won't be one worthy of the No. 8 pick. They may have to trade back into the first round, however, rather than waiting for whichever quarterback might slip to their second round pick, No. 39 overall. In trading down from No. 8, they could add the picks needed to move up from the second round and still keep enough selections to help re-tool their young roster.

The Redskins, owners of the 10th overall pick, also could be looking to trade down and acquire more picks. Washington does not have a third or fourth round pick in this year's draft and have several needs. Mike Shanahan is thought likely to pick up a quarterback in this year's draft and has to figure out a way to add talent to a 3-4 defense still largely built on players ideally suited to a four-man front.

The Chicago Bears are perhaps the biggest surprise of the bunch. Despite playing in the NFC Championship game, the Bears have concerns along both lines and could use help at receiver and in the secondary. Considering the talent likely to be available at each of these positions, the Bears could have plenty of options staring at them at No. 29. As such, they could be one of the teams at the end of the first round willing to trade back to allow a club desperate to snatch up a quarterback before the expected run on the position begins in the second round.

Fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and I aren't allowed to project trades in our mock drafts. Here they are anyway...



Posted on: April 11, 2011 5:48 pm
 

Hawaii RB Alex Green rising as draft approaches

One of the more interesting things about the final few weeks before the draft is watching players move up (or down) draft boards. Often this is the result of surprising workout results or off-field concerns.

Every now and then players start to move up the board simply because teams are dedicating more time to watching the film.

Hawaii running back Alex Green could be the latest prospect to get this late, preferential treatment.

Much of Hawaii's offensive success in recent years has, of course, been through the passing game. The 6-0, 225 pound Green, however, gave the Warriors' their first 1,000 yard rusher since 1992 and surprised scouts with his natural running skills at the East-West Shrine Game and speed (4.45) at the Combine.

Teams are starting to look at Green as a legitimate middle round possibility, ahead of some very big names at the running back position.

The St. Louis Rams have recently been tied to Green as they are looking for a big back to get meaningful snaps behind star Steven Jackson. I've been able to confirm that the Rams are bringing in Green for a visit, but St. Louis is far from the only stop on his schedule.

In fact, the Eagles, Titans, Lions and Falcons have all either already flown Green in or will be doing so over the next few days.

Green is currently rated as a 5th round prospect and the No. 14 rated running back by NFLDraftScout.com -- though it appears that perhaps we are rating him far too low...


Posted on: February 26, 2011 10:15 am
 

Confirmed -- Mallett to answer questions today

According to an NFL spokesperson, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett will take questions from the media at the Combine today. 

It might seem obvious that Mallett would be made available. Nearly every one of the 330 players invited to the Combine take questions from the media throughout the week and considering the Second Team All-SEC quarterback's production, talent and potential high draft ranking, he certainly is one of the more high-profile players in this year's draft class.

With a few flurries of character questions growing into a full-on blizzard of red flags, including allegations of drug use, there were some in the media room openly questioning whether the NFL might "protect" Mallett and not make him available to reporters.

As it stands, Mallett will get his opportunity to answer questions, perhaps shedding some light on the controversy that could push an obvious first round talent considerably further down the board.

Mallett, projected at one time as high as No. 8 in my first round projection to the Tennessee Titans is no longer in my first round.
Posted on: February 15, 2011 1:08 pm
 

Taiwan Jones out of boot but won't run at Combine

Eastern Washington junior running back Taiwan Jones is out of the boot he'd be wearing to protect a broken left foot and is preparing to run for scouts at Hawaii's Pro Day March 31, according to a source close to him.

Jones would be allowed to work out at Hawaii's Pro Day because that workout will take place in California -- Jones' home state.

Jones had been wearing the boot since undergoing surgery. He has been working out at Athletes Performance in Los Angeles to prepare for the Combine and subsequent Pro Days.

It is unfortunate that Jones, the only FCS player to be granted early eligibility into the 2011 draft, will be unable to run and jump for scouts at the Combine later this month. The 6-0, 200 pounder is an electric open field runner who rushed for 1,742 yards this season, scoring 14 touchdowns on the ground. The former cornerback averaged a stunning 7.9 yards per carry over his 24 game collegiate career. Jones has been compared to Tennessee's Chris Johnson and Kansas City's Jamaal Charles for his almost video game-like combination of speed and elusiveness.

His production was a vital component of Eastern's rise to the FCS Championship. Despite the success of the program, as an FCS player, Jones is a relative unknown. Had he been able to work out in Indianapolis, he could have generated a great deal of interest with in less than four and a half seconds with an impressive workout. One regional scout who visited Eastern's campus in tiny Cheney, Washington characterized Jones as a "legiitmate 4.3 guy with explosive hops."

Jones, according to the source, can do just about anything on the foot -- walk, lift, jump -- except run.


Posted on: October 12, 2010 6:06 pm
 

Pair of 4th rounders earn Rookies of the Week

The first step in earning Rookie of the Week honors is, of course, to see the field. Because of their perceived greater talent and their signficantly greater salary, high round picks almost always get the better opportunities to start.

Being fourth round picks, however, certainly hasn't slowed down the progress of Tampa Bay Buccaneers' wideout Mike Williams or Tennessee Titans' cornerback Alterraun Verner .

I've highlighted Williams on numerous occasions, including back in training camp (August 1) when he was already turning heads .

I've long been a fan of Verner, one of the feistier defenders in the draft. I listed him among five players heading up the board as the draft approached (April 7) and was surprised, frankly, that he lasted until the early fourth round.

Unless you're living under a rock somewhere you likely already know that Williams has developed an early rapport with Bucs' young quarterback Josh Freeman. The 3-1 Bucs have featured Williams throughout the season and he entered the matchup against a tough Bengals' secondary leading the team in receptions (12), receiving yardage (139) and receiving touchdowns (2) over the team's first three games. An obvious focus of the Bengals defense, Williams was slowed early in the contest, but stepped up big late, leaping over veteran Johnathan Joseph to catch the tying touchdown with only 56 seconds left. Williams finished with seven grabs for 99 yards and the score.

Like Williams, Verner's solid play contributed to an upset victory. Matched up against a variety of talented receivers and facing Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo didn't seem to faze Verner, as he registered eight tackles and stepped in front of a pass intended for tight end Martellus Bennett and tipped at the line of scrimmage by Dave Ball to make the first interception of his NFL career. Verner returned the ball to the one-yard line, where superstar Chris Johnson quickly gave the Titans a touchdown. Playing opposite an established talent like Cortland Finnegan, Verner's tenacious play has earned raves from coaches and scouts throughout the league.

It is interesting to note how closely Williams and Verner went in the fourth round. Williams was the third pick of the round and 101st pick, overall. Verner was selected only three picks later.

** One final note... I considered listing Arizona quarterback Max Hall as my Offensive Rookie of the Week. He certainly made some gutsy plays in the win over the defending Super Bowl champs, but had the Cardinals defense not saved the day by scoring nearly as many points (14) as they allowed to the Saints (20), the interception and two fumbles lost by Hall would be getting more attention than they currently are. Hall was good enough to win -- and that, in itself, is verrry impressive, but all of the comparison between he and Kurt Warner is hyperbole, in my opinion. 
Posted on: October 11, 2010 1:07 pm
 

Ineligible Little worse off than suspended Austin

The University of North Carolina Tar Heel football program received a huge blow Monday morning with the news that All-ACC defensive tackle Marvin Austin had been kicked off the team and that defensive end Robert Quinn and wide receiver Greg Little were each "permanently suspended."

Considering that the trio had missed all five games to start the season, the news wasn't completely unexpected. However, those close to the NCAA program had held out hope that each would get onto the field at some point this season. Now it appears unlikely that any of them will ever play another snap of college football.

Their unavailability has led to a disappointing 3-2 start to the season in Chapel Hill after being pronounced a darkhorse NCAA title contender by some over the summer.

And to be sure, it wasn't just the distraction of the investigation into these and other UNC players that led to the Tar Heels' poor start. Austin, Quinn and Little were the Tar Heels three best players. Each was considered a potential first round pick, with Austin and Quinn earning potential top ten grades.

At first glance, Austin's being kicked off the team entirely would seem likelier to adversely affect his potential NFL draft stock than the suspensions penalties handed down for Quinn and Little.

That isn't necessarily the case, however, at least according to a few high-ranking NFL sources.

Unlike Austin and Little, who are each seniors, Quinn is a junior and thus is potentially eligible to return to the collegiate field next year. Though Quinn, like Little, was "permanently suspended" by the NCAA, with an extra year he has the time to appeal the ruling should he be so inclined.

Whether Quinn attempts to play college football again is another question. He certainly looked like a future high first round pick as a sophomore, finishing second to Georgia Tech first round (Tennessee) defensive end Derrick Morgan in the voting for the ACC Defensive Player of the Year after notching 52 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. His tape is so good, in fact, Quinn would "surely" make the first round in this upcoming draft, I'm told, assuming he clears NFL questions at the Combine.

Being kicked off the team entirely, Austin finds himself in a similar situation to former Oklahoma State wideout Dez Bryant last year. Bryant played well in three games last year prior to being suspended for the rest of the 2010 season and was an All-American in 2009. Austin, of course, hasn't played this year, but earned Second-Team All-ACC honors as a junior. Bryant received less than stellar reviews from Oklahoma State coaches following his suspension. Austin is likely to get similar reviews from the UNC coaching staff when interviewed by NFL scouts. 

Nonetheless, Bryant's film, pre-draft workouts and his answers to NFL decision-makers questions were sincere enough, apparently, that the Cowboys drafted him in the first round. While Austin no doubt would rather be playing alongside his former UNC teammates, with months to prepare for the Combine workouts and interviews, strong tape and the value of quality defensive linemen as high as ever, the former Second Team All-ACC pick still has a good shot at making the first round.

Much of the fallout regarding this morning's news will center upon North Carolina's defensive linemen, but the greater impact -- at least in terms of draft day -- may be felt by Little. A former running back, Little flashed spectacular body control and hands in his first full season at wide receiver last year, leading the team with 62 receptions for 724 yards and five touchdowns. The strong play of former UNC receivers Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate in the NFL this season only seem to heighten Little's intrigue to scouts.

That said, Little appeared last year to be far from a finished product. Scouts can hope that he made strides over the off-season, but with no tape on him this year to prove it, teams will have a hard time believing he could make an immediate impact in the NFL. That likely means he drops out of the top two rounds and with the expected influx of junior receivers A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Jon Baldwin and several others, Little -- despite real talent and an ideal NFL frame (6-2, 214) could struggle to recoup his falling stock.  


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