Posted on: April 22, 2010 8:54 pm
The Jacksonville Jaguars pulled the first stunner of the 2010 draft with the selection of California's Tyson Alualu with the tenth pick of the draft.
The Cal defender had been earning some late buzz in the weeks preceding the draft and I listed him as a player who could be a surprise first rounder. I'd even spoken to his agent, who, not surprisingly, expected Alualu to make the first round, though I don't know he anticipated that it would come this early.
Unlike many of Jacksonville's other high round gambles on defensive linemen, Alualu isn't particularly blessed with elite athleticism or upside. He might be the safest defensive lineman in this draft not named Ndamukong Suh. He played outside at defensive end in Cal's 3-4 scheme, but will likely be asked to move inside at defensive tackle for the Jaguars.
Despite the perception that he's a reach, he'll prove to be an immediate starter and I have no doubt enjoy a long and productive career.
Posted on: April 4, 2010 10:49 pm
Over the past few weeks there has been increasing talk in the scouting community that the Washington Redskins were going to do something at the quarterback position. With the draft less than a month away, I (and the league personnel I'd spoken with) generally presumed that the Redskins would focus their quarterback search there. With Sam Bradford essentially unattainable , the belief was that Washington would select Jimmy Clausen with the 4th overall pick.
Obviously, Washington went in another direction with their quarterback search, landing Donovan McNabb for their 37th overall selection in the 2010 draft and a conditional 3rd-4th round pick in 2011.
And because the Redskins filled their need at quarterback, Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen could see a significant drop on draft day.
Considering the big contract signed by Matt Cassell last year, the Chiefs aren't likely to reunite Charlie Weis and Clausen with the fifth pick. Similarly, the Seahawks gave up too much in trade and contract money for they to be likely to use the sixth overall pick on the Irish passer. Cleveland president Mike Holmgren has publicly admitted that he's not a huge Clausen fan. The Raiders won't take him with JaMarcus Russell still drawing checks.
The only obvious contenders in the top ten are the final two teams within it -- the Buffalo Bills at No. 9 and the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 10. With neither of these clubs guaranteed to take the hotly debated Clausen, his "slip" on draft day could prove even steeper.
The slip from the potential 4th overall choice to No. 9 doesn't sound that significant until you look at the contracts.
Assume for a moment that Clausen would have been the 4th overall choice. He likely would have signed a deal slightly better than the one received by last year's 4th overall pick, Aaron Curry. Curry signed a six year deal for 60 million, including 34 million guaranteed.
The ninth overall pick last year, nose guard BJ Raji, signed a five year deal with Green Bay for 28.5 million, including 18 million guaranteed.
Posted on: March 10, 2010 5:50 pm
Alabama inside linebacker Rolando McClain had appeared to solidify his stock as a likely first round pick with a pair of solid times in the 40-yard dash early during his Pro Day, but labored through the rest of his drills before getting sick. He later told scouts and media assembled at the Alabama Pro Day that he was suffering from Chron's Disease -- and has suffered from it since he was a freshman in high school.
Chron's Disease, according to WebMD.com is "a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines. It primarily causes ulcerations (breaks in the lining) of the small and large intestines..."
Common symptoms of Crohn's include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fever, and weight loss, among others. The disease affects an estimated two million Americans. Those inflicted have varying levels of severity, ranging from mild to quite severe.
The news of McClain's admission spread like wildfire over the internet creating panic. Would this drop McClain out of the first round? Is he still even a draftable prospect?
According to two veteran scouts I texted, the admission is much ado about nothing.
"Non-factor" one scout replied after I asked him how much McClain's Crohn's disease would impact his team's grading of the Butkus Award-winner.
The other scout was more specific.
"Jax QB has it. He's not had problems."
The Jax QB the second source was referring to is Jacksonville Jaguars starter David Garrard, whose testimony about his life with the disease isn't nearly as rosy as the one scouts laid out. Garrard, in fact, after trying various different prescriptions and losing 35 pounds, was ultimately forced to undergo surgery that removed "about a foot" of his intestines.
It would appear that wise teams will make sure to speak with their team doctors before making any final judgement on how Crohn's could impact McClain in the long run.
Posted on: February 26, 2010 9:20 am
Three coin flips took place this morning to determine the official order of the 2010 NFL draft.
The Jaguars won the first coin toss over the Chicago Bears. The Bears had previously sent their 2010 first round pick to the Denver Broncos as part of the Jay Cutler trade. Therefore, the Jaguars will be picking 10th overall. The Broncos will have the Bears' pick, 11th overall.
The Tennessee Titans will pick 16th overall after winning their coin toss with the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers had previously traded their 2010 first round pick to the San Francisco 49ers, so the 49ers' second pick of the opening frame will come at No. 17. San Francisco also has the 13th pick of the draft.
Finally, the Atlanta Falcons won the rights to the 19th overall pick by winning a coin flip with the Houston Texans, who will pick 20th.
The coin flip to determine order was put in place by the league to separate teams that finish the season with identical records and opponent winning percentages.
Regardless of the winner of the coin flip, teams that finished tied, will alternate each round. For example, the Falcons, by winning the coin toss, will draft 19th in the first round, to be followed by the Texans at #20. Houston, however, will get the 19th pick in the second round, with the Falcons next.
Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:43 am
With a couple dozen head coaches and front office executives set to take questions from local and national media this week at the Combine, you can expect the early trade speculation to be a constant source of "news."
While trading up or trading down in the NFL draft is popular on talk radio, rumor sites and around the office watercooler, the reality is that no NFL is going to invest the time or energy to exchange picks without first getting a better idea of how things are going to shake out. NFL teams don't trade up or down just to do so. They target a specific player, identify his farthest he might drop on draft day and attempt to make a deal with the club one pick ahead of that spot.
So all of the talk of the Rams trading down, Bucs trading up, Jaguars trading down, etc. is all purely hypothetical, at this early time. Even when coaches and GMs speak of it during interviews, they're just broadcasting through the media what every team already knows.
That every pick, from every team, is for sale at the right price.
Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:20 am
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Posted on: September 17, 2009 7:31 pm
In some circles the comments from Jacksonville Jaguar owner Wayne Weaver about the possibility of drafting Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is being taken as an indication that the club has already established the former Heisman winner and current National Champion as a first round pick.
In reality, there remains considerable debate as to Tebow's upside as a pro-style quarterback. I've spoken to scouts who feel he'll never make it as a quarterback and have Tebow rated as a middle round prospect at tight end or fullback. Others, of course, feel he'll acclimate to a pro offense once given time to practice it on a daily basis.
Weaver's most telling quote in the AP story was:
"The game is such an important part of this community, and Tebow is such an iconic figure that people would legitimately think, 'Wouldn't it be great if he was a Jaguar..." I'd be silly to sit here and think that's not going to be a huge thing. Clearly there's going to be a groundswell for Tebow, and we'll have to make that evaluation if we have a draft pick that's going to be anywhere near him." Weaver is no dummy. He owns a franchise that is struggling to sell out games. They have lost a reported 17,000 season ticket holders from last season and may struggle to sell out any game this year. Pumping up local hero Tebow is a way to indicate to his fans that he's disappointed, as well, and eagerly looking forward to bringing in new, exciting talent.
However, in the words of one Jacksonville scout about pegging Tebow as the future of the franchise "Man, we're a long, long way from that..."
Posted on: August 23, 2009 1:48 pm
Prior to Mark Sanchez's stunning Pro-Day performance, Kansas State junior Josh Freeman was viewed by many scouts as a better, safer prospect. Blessed with rare size and a strong arm, Freeman had earned comparisons throughout his career to other big-bodied, big-armed quarterbacks like Daunte Culpepper, Byron Leftwich and JaMarcus Russell. Freeman showed off that big arm and flashed some athleticism when visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday night.
Freeman was the team's starting quarterback out of half-time, playing the majority of the 3rd quarter against the Jaguars second and third team defense. He finished 3 of 5 for 47 yards and led Tampa to a touchdown in his initial drive. The touchdown, which came with Tampa leading 17-14, came via Freeman's legs. Taking the snap and making his progressions, Freeman sensed backside pressure. He stepped up and slid left out of pocket and recognized that the Jaguars' defense had flooded right, opening up an avenue. Freeman only showed average speed and balance when rumbling for the 28 yard score, but read the defense and his blocks accurately on the play.
Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay #5
Developing footwork from under center. Gains good depth, but still appears a bit unsure of his steps. Threw at least one pass without his feet set. Struggled, at times, with high throws downfield and to the flat as a result. Best passes came on timing routes. Hit undrafted free agent Mario Urrutia on his two most impressive passes of the night -- a deep out and a quick slant -- placing the ball accurately and swiftly on each. Good zip for the intermediate areas. Seemed meek in the huddle, but flashed good poise in the pocket, consistently stepping up as he felt it collapsing. Developing comfort and coaches' trust to audible. Went to check down options and seemed relatively comfortable reading the defense for his experience.