Tag:Da'Quan Bowers
Posted on: February 18, 2011 2:08 pm
 

CARO's Franchise tag has huge draft implications

Carolina Panthers' head coach Ron Rivera confirmed for Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com yesterday that his team will use their Franchise Tag but did not specify which player they'll designate.

The Panthers are expected to pick between three players -- running back DeAngelo Williams, center Ryan Kalil and defensive end Charles Johnson.

With former first round pick Jonathan Stewart waiting in the wings, the Panthers appear best suited to lose Williams. Mike Goodson was impressive when given the opportunity, as well.

Kalil is one of the best young centers in the game and would be a significant loss for a team built to control the line of scrimmage.

The team boasts a talented young duo of pass rushers in Everett Brown and Greg Hardy behind Johnson, but neither has yet demonstrated the consistency to allow Carolina to feel good about the position should they risk losing him. Johnson finally got the chance to be a full-time starter in 2010 and responded with a team-high 11.5 sacks -- the 2nd highest total among NFC defensive ends (Atlanta's John Abraham had 13 sacks). 

Should the Panthers elect to franchise Kalil, Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers could shoot to the top of Carolina's draft board. The 6-4, 275 pound defender led the country with 15.5 sacks and his size and physicality make him an better run supporter than a pass rusher.

On the other hand, if the Panthers elect to franchise Johnson, they almost certainly would not take Bowers or any other defensive end. Even a defensive tackle like Auburn's Nick Fairley or Alabama's Marcell Dareus might be viewed as financially irresponsible if the Panthers invest a huge contract into Johnson.

This is shaping up to be a solid class of interior linemen, though none of the top center prospects are nearly as polished as Kalil was coming out of USC in 2007.

 As always for the very best in NFL Draft coverage, be sure to keep NFLDraftScout.com refreshed.

Posted on: February 15, 2011 3:34 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 3:38 pm
 

Bowers, Smith not kneeding sympathy

NFLDraftScout.com has spoken with sources close to two top prospects, defensive end Da'Quan Bowers (Clemson) and offensive tackle Tyron Smith (USC), who had surgeries on torn meniscuses after the 2010 season.

Bowers rehabbed his injury immediately following the surgery six weeks ago, but now feels no effects. His injury is not preventing him from performing any drills at the Athletes Performance Institute's Los Angeles facility. The results of tests run recently make him confident he can prove his athleticism is elite, allowing them to keep their top five grade on him.

Smith is also well on the way to recovery after playing through his injured meniscus, on which he had surgery following the team's final game against UCLA. He is performing all of the Combine drills without any lingering issues with the knee. After playing most of the year at around 280 pounds, Smith is also weighing over 300, which will only help the cause of a young player who just turned 20 in mid-December.

Scouts are, frankly, more likely to be impressed by their toughness suiting up while in pain than any reprecussion from the operations.

It is still unclear, however, which tests either player will perform at the Combine, because they will make their decisions after going through workouts the rest of this week. But whether they run the forty yard dash in Indianapolis or at their respective pro days, expect both to look healthy -- and excel.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter
Posted on: February 5, 2011 12:24 pm
 

Prospects boycotting Combine, Draft senseless

Reportedly among the latest threats by agents and the NFLPA is that incoming 2011 draft propsects may elect not to show up at this month's Scouting Combine or the 2011 draft, itself. 
Quite frankly, I see very little chance of this happening.

Certainly, if prospects elected not to show up at the Combine, it would cause problems for NFL teams -- which is, of course, the point.

While the vast majority of the Combine coverage revolves around who runs the fastest or puts up the most repetitions of 225 pounds, for NFL teams the two most critical elements of the annual Indianapolis trip are the extensive medical testing and the face to face interviews with prospects.

If prospects did not attend the Combine, there is no doubt that it would disrupt teams' preparation. In doing so, it would make the million dollar gambles that each team was making with their owners' money even riskier. I get it.

But who has more to lose in this situation?

The prospects who elected not to come to Indianapolis would be perceived by teams as selfish, mindless drones following the orders of agents and current NFL players -- not the eager-to-please (and get paid to play) prospects that they actually are.

And let's be clear about which of the prospects have the most to lose. It clearly would be the underclassmen. It is especially important for the juniors and redshirt sophomores to attend the Combine as in many cases this is the first time NFL decision-makers have had an opportunity to meet these players. Considering that there are a record 57 underclassmen this year -- with many of them rating as 1st and 2nd round talent -- they typically have the most to gain (or lose) that week. Can you imagine trying to convince a Da'Quan Bowers or Patrick Peterson -- each with a legitimate chance at being the first pick of the draft -- to skip the Combine, entirely? Or what about players like fighting so-called "intangibles" red-flags like Nick Fairley, Ryan Mallett or Robert Quinn? Do you think they'd be eager to waste their greatest opportunity to convince teams that all of the reports of their laziness, poor leadership or reasons for their year-long suspension, respectively, are hogwash?

Sure, teams send their power contingents to invidual player and collegiate Pro Days when prospects don't work out at the Combine, but  if a collective group of prospects boycotted the Combine, rather than a few scouts, coaches or front office executives flying in to watch a prospect test athletically, time+money+travel would have to be set aside for medical testing, Wonderlic testing, interviews, etc.

It would be a logistical nightmare for all with flawed results.

Put bluntly, if the players don't show up at the Combine, they (or their agents) are idiots.

Now, the draft itself, is a different story. NFL teams aren't likely to change their draft board based on whether or not a player is shown on television in the green room as opposed to their parents' living room, after all.

Any leverage the prospects could gain for the NFLPA would likely be in the lost television ratings the networks, league and thus, team owners would receive from the draft's coverage.

But, let's be honest? Do you watch the draft because of the riveting interviews conducted before and after a player is drafted?

Or is it because you want to see who your favorite team picked? They would be making a pick, after all, regardless of which players (if any) were actually attending the draft.

I'm very much on the side of the NFLPA on many of the key issues, but on this particular front, I see very, very little to gain and much to lose. Expect to see the players (all of them) at the Combine. Don't be surprised at all if they show up to Radio City Music Hall, as well.
Posted on: January 12, 2011 12:01 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2011 12:03 pm
 

Rivera provides clues in introductory presser

I'm a firm believer that watching the video (or attending live) the introductory press conferences for new NFL coaches can give us a sense of where a team might be going with their roster.

This isn't always the case and I believe it is lessened when the head coach is taking over his second or third team. Rookie head coaches, however, perhaps because of their inexperience or enthusiasm, do sometimes let things slip in meeting and answering the local media's questions for the first time.

After viewing new Carolina head coach Ron Rivera's press conference (available on the Panthers' official website ), I came away with several thoughts on the direction he'll lead this team.

While most of the impressions I gleaned from the press conference deal with scheme and Rivera's early evaluation of the team's current talent, perhaps the most important one came from Rivera's personality. As stated, I've watched many introductory press conferences during my ten years in this business. Rivera's passion, drive and leadership stood out. I believe the Carolina Panthers are going from one very good head coach in John Fox to another very good one in Rivera. Considering how different the two coaches' personalities are, that's a rare feat.

 In a previous blog post I cited Rivera's experience in the 3-4 scheme as a reason why Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley -- who I believe to be best suited to the 4-3 -- would not be the first overall pick. While Rivera was hired away from San Diego, which ran the 3-4 scheme, he is actually more experienced in the 4-3 having played (and coached) this style with the Chicago Bears and coached with the Philadelphia Eagles, as well.

Rivera took little time in addressing which style of defense Carolina would be running.

"As far as the scheme is concerned, we are a 4-3 defense," Rivera said. "That's what this team is, I think the personnel is set up for that. I think that the personnel is set up that if we can make a couple of additions to it we can be a solid unit and have success early."

Could one of those "additions" be Fairley, Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus or LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson? Perhaps. All four are being graded as top five picks from a number of teams I've spoken to. Most cite Peterson as the best player in the draft.

Rivera left the door open for the No. 1 pick to be a quarterback, as well, but I don't believe he'll be

"I think we you look at it, that the one position we have to find answers for [is quarterback] - and I think he has some athletic ability and comes from a pretty solid foundation and that is Jimmy Clausen - to see if Jimmy or if there is a quarterback on this roster who can become that franchise guy you need," Rivera said. "Because if there is one thing I've been fortunate to be around my last four years is a franchise quarterback in Philip Rivers, who is very solid. That's one of the things that we need to take a look at on the offensive side and that is going to be a big influence and impact when we sit down with the offensive coordinator candidates and the quarterback coach is to find out exactly what their approach is going to be with the guys on this roster , okay, and the potential candidates that are out there in the draft or free agency."

I put "on this roster" in italics because Rivera stressed it. This is what I am referring to in actually viewing the press conference. Rivera's words, by transcription only, may lead you to believe that the Panthers will consider drafting a quarterback with the first pick - and, of course, they will. But, the fact that Rivera wants to know "exactly" what prospective offensive coordinators and quarterback coaches thought of Clausen and the Panthers "other" quarterbacks -- Matt Moore, Brian St. Pierre and Tony Pike -- could be an indication that he'd rather use the pick elsewhere.

An unexpected nugget came from Rivera when discussing the tight end position. While complimentary about virtually every other position, the new head coach sounded like a man expecting significant improvement from this position. Rivera, of course, is coming from a San Diego team that boasts All-Pro Antonio Gates - and players like that don't exactly grow on trees - but the fact that he highlighted the position is interesting.

This is pure speculation, but it leads me to wonder if Rivera thought that perhaps better play from the tight end position would have significantly aided Clausen's development as a rookie.

"Tight end is by committee," Rivera said. "There is [sic] three guys there that I like and that I think each have a quality of their own, but if there is a guy out there - whether it be through the draft or free agency or on our roster that does it all the time, we have to find him. I think that will help us as an offense."

The Panthers featured Jeff King, Dante Rosario and Gary Barnidge. The trio combined for 51 catches for 385 yards and two touchdowns.

Posted on: January 6, 2011 9:19 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 9:20 pm
 

With Luck returning, Carolina's option turn to D

While fans and media may have been stunned with Andrew Luck's announcement that he'll be returning to Stanford for at least the 2011 season, league insiders and scouts had quietly been acknowledging this possibility for weeks.

It is, some scouts have told me, the primary reason many in the NFL believe that Carolina Panthers' owner Jerry Richardson announced that if Luck would be his team's first pick had he entered the draft. Richardson was hoping, scouts suggest, that by publicly touting Luck he might convince the Cardinal redshirt sophomore quarterback into declaring early.

Now that the consensus No. 1 pick has announced his decision, however, the Panthers won't waste time worrying about their bad Luck (sorry, couldn't resist). They'll focus on the next best available players - of which there are plenty of qualified options.

The option that I (and scouts) do not expect the Panthers to strongly consider are the other quarterbacks. Missouri's Blaine Gabbert is the only junior who has announced his plans to enter the draft early, but there is a league-wide belief that Arkansas' Ryan Mallett and Auburn's Cam Newton will be joining him. These three, along with Washington's Jake Locker, comprise the four QBs scouts believe will be taken in the first round. None, however, rate nearly as highly as Luck and therefore wouldn't be a big enough improvement to consider adding to a Carolina team that spent last year's 2nd round pick on former Notre Dame standout Jimmy Clausen.

Carolina's recent draft picks serves as at least one strong reason why the team may look past Georgia wideout A.J. Green, widely considered to be the elite offensive prospect potentially available, now that Luck is returning.

The Panthers have invested heavily at wide receiver in recent years, including drafting three last year -- Brandon LaFell and Armanti Edwards with Top 100 picks (78 and 89, respectively) and David Gettis -- who led the team with three touchdowns receptions -- in the sixth round.

Carolina does have significant concerns at defensive line -- expected to be the strongest positions in this year's draft once all of the underclassmen make their intentions known.

Three defensive linemen - Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers, Alabama's Marcell Dareus and Auburn's Nick Fairley -- each possess the size, experience and upside to warrant consideration.

LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, another junior who has yet to declare his intentions, also should be in the mix. Carolina is as strong at cornerback as any position on their entire roster, but could lose veteran Richard Marshall, who is scheduled to be a free agent after this season.

With questions about the consistency and schematic fit for the defensive linemen, Peterson may be the safest - and perhaps, therefore, best - fit for Carolina with the first pick. It would be the first time in league history in which a cornerback was drafted higher than 3rd overall (as Shawn Springs was for the Seahawks in 1997), but if ever there was a corner worthy of this high of a pick it is Peterson -- who won the Thorpe and Bednarik Awards, as well as the SEC Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Year.

Posted on: January 6, 2011 6:49 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 7:07 pm
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Posted on: November 30, 2010 12:28 am
 

AFCA All-American Team Announced

As an NFL draft analyst, I'm not always a big fan of All-American teams. All too often, members of the media voting on these awards concentrate solely on statistics or players from national title contending teams.

For this reason, the All-American team I've traditionally found to be the fairest is the one annually produced by the AFCA -- the American Football Coaches' Association.

As the article from the official AFCA website notes , coaches have been compiling this list since 1945.

2010 AFCA Coaches’ All-America Team
Offense
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
WR Justin Blackmon 6-1 205 So. Oklahoma St. Mike Gundy Ardmore, Okla. (Plainview)
WR Alshon Jeffery 6-4 233 So. South Carolina Steve Spurrier St. Matthews, S.C. (Calhoun County)
TE Lance Kendricks 6-4 241 Sr. Wisconsin Bret Bielema Milwaukee, Wis. (Rufus King)
OL Lee Ziemba 6-8 319 Sr. Auburn Gene Chizik Rogers, Ark. (Rogers)
OL Rodney Hudson 6-2 282 Sr. Florida St. Jimbo Fisher Mobile, Ala. (B.C. Rain)
C Chase Beeler 6-3 285 Sr. Stanford Jim Harbaugh Jenks, Okla. (Jenks)
OL Stefen Wisniewski 6-3 306 Sr. Penn St. Joe Paterno Bridgeville, Pa. (Pittsburgh Central Catholic)
OL Gabe Carimi 6-7 327 Sr. Wisconsin Bret Bielema Cottage Grove, Wis. (Monona Grove)
QB Cam Newton 6-6 250 Jr. Auburn Gene Chizik College Park, Ga. (Banneker)
RB Kendall Hunter 5-8 200 Sr. Oklahoma St. Mike Gundy Tyler, Texas (John Tyler)
RB LaMichael James 5-9 185 So. Oregon Chip Kelly Texarkana, Texas (Liberty-Eylau)

Defense
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
DL Da’Quan Bowers 6-4 275 Jr. Clemson Dabo Swinney Bamberg, S.C. (Ehrhardt)
DL Adrian Clayborn 6-4 285 Sr. Iowa Kirk Ferentz St. Louis, Mo. (Webster Groves)
DL Jabaal Sheard 6-4 260 Sr. Pittsburgh Dave Wannstedt Hollywood Hills, Fla. (Hollywood Hills)
DL Ryan Kerrigan 6-4 263 Sr. Purdue Danny Hope Muncie, Ind. (Central)
LB Luke Kuechly 6-3 235 So. Boston College Frank Spaziani Cincinnati, Ohio (St. Xavier)
LB Greg Jones* 6-1 240 Sr. Michigan St. Mark Dantonio Cincinnati, Ohio (Archbishop Moeller)
LB Tank Carder 6-3 237 Jr. TCU Gary Patterson Sweeny, Texas (Sweeny)
DB Reggie Rembert 5-8 185 Sr. Air Force Troy Calhoun Flower Mound, Texas (Flower Mound)
DB Patrick Peterson 6-1 222 Jr. LSU Les Miles Pompano Beach, Fla. (Ely)
DB Prince Amukamara 6-1 205 Sr. Nebraska Bo Pelini Glendale, Ariz. (Apollo)
DB Quinton Carter 6-1 200 Sr. Oklahoma Bob Stoops Las Vegas, Nev. (Cheyenne)

Specialists
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
P Kyle Martens 6-6 200 Jr. Rice David Bailiff Spearfish, S.D. (Spearfish)
PK Will Snyderwine 5-11 190 Jr. Duke David Cutcliffe Potomac, Md. (Landon School)
AP Owen Marecic 6-1 244 Sr. Stanford Jim Harbaugh Tigard, Ore. (Jesuit)


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