Tag:San Francisco 49ers
Posted on: September 21, 2010 1:43 pm
 

Impressive rookie Lions: Best, Suh tops this 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, Denver wideout Demaryius Thomas had a strong first game to his NFL career against the Seahawks with 98 receiving yards and a touchdown. Dallas' Dez Bryant, who I recognized last week in this space as a "honorable mention" Rookie of the Week, enjoyed a strong second game as well, with 52 receiving yards and a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. I try to look beyond just the "skill" position players for these awards and I was mightily impressed with the drive blocking of San Francisco left guard Mike Iupati last night against the Saints, as well as that of Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey in the Steelers' win over the Titans.

In the end, however, this week's Offensive Rookie of the Week was a no-brainer.  

Though his Detroit Lions lost to the Eagles Sunday, Jahvid Best was absolutely electric. He had 232 total yards from scrimmage (17 attempts for 78 rushing yards and nine receptions for 154 yards) and scored three more touchdowns. His five touchdowns over the first two weeks of the season lead the NFL. Some anticipated that an athletic and aggressive Philadelphia defense would tee off on Best considering the marginal downfield passing of Detroit backup quarterback Shaun Hill. With the Eagles crowding the line of scrimmage against the run, Hill simply found Best as an outlet receiver. Once in the open field, Best's agility and straight-line speed make him a matchup nightmare. Best is the first rookie to score five touchdowns in his first two NFL games since another Lion, Billy Simms, accomplished the feat 30 years ago.

On the defensive side of the ball, there were again several worthy candidates, though in my opinion this week's award was just as much a no-brainer. Sean Weatherspoon (Falcons), Koa Misi (Dolphins) and last week's honoree T.J. Ward (Browns) were impressive again. I was also impressed with the coverage supplied by Denver cornerback Perrish Cox. His coverage helped shut down the Seahawks reclamation project, Mike Williams, and his interception of Matt Hasselbeck ended any chance of a Seahawk comeback.

However, Ndamukong Suh proved to be every bit the dominant player against the Eagles we projected he'd be in the NFL. Suh posted eight tackles -- second most in the league by an interior defensive lineman -- and recorded his second sack in as many games. The Lions featured Suh and Best on the same play twice Sunday, with Suh lining up as Best's fullback.

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: August 23, 2010 10:41 am
 

QB Nate Davis continues to flash for 49ers

NBC commentator Cris Collinsworth characterized it here better than I ever have.

While working the 49ers-Vikings game last night as part of Sunday Night Football, he gushed about the physical skills of San Francisco's third-string quarterback.

"I don't know what else you have to see out of Nate Davis," Collinsworth said. "This young man... his feet are quick, his release is quick, he's seeing the field, he's not hesitating and he's got a rocket."

Davis completed 7 of 16 passes in the second half against the Vikings. His throws included a 60 yard bomb to Ted Ginn, Jr. (which traveled a full 65 yards in the air and drew a John Elway-comparison from Collinsworth), as well as intermediate routes (slant, drag).  

Davis, a star at Ball State who completed 60.4% of his passes for 9,233 yards for 74 touchdowns against only 22 interceptions, was, in my opinion, one of the 2009 draft's most underrated passers and a personal favorite . As Al Michaels noted during last night's telecast, Davis elected to leave Ball State after his junior season and had only one team show up at his Pro Day. That team was the Indianapolis Colts , the team whose headquarters was physically closer to the Ball State campus than any of the other 31 NFL teams.

Davis starred at Ball State while wearing a glove on his throwing (right) hand. Wearing gloves didn't seem to hurt Kurt Warner's success, but nonetheless Davis was questioned by many for wearing it. He elected to get rid of the glove during his throwing session at the 2009 NFL Combine. I, along with a handful of other media, was allowed in to watch Davis and the rest of the quarterbacks throw.

I focused on Davis and noted then , that after starting erratically, he again demonstrated his strong arm and beautiful deep passing touch. 

As ESPN's Mike Sando notes , 49ers head coach Mike Singletary acknowledged the "flashes" Davis shows on the field, but he's been less than impressed so far with Davis' work ethic.

"I really like the kid, there is a lot to like about him, but there is a work ethic that’s involved in terms of being a quarterback in the NFL and he’s got to get it, it’s as simple as that," Singletary said. "I'm pulling for him, I’m hoping, but so far it’s inconsistent."

Davis' work ethic I don't know enough to intelligently comment on. However, as I noted on this blog following Davis' Pro Day in which only the Colts showed. 

The film doesn't lie. Davis can play.

Posted on: August 16, 2010 11:23 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 11:42 pm
 

Giants' WR Cruz steals rookie spotlight on MNF

For all of the talk about high profile rookies leading up the Gotham showdown between the New York Jets and New York Giants for tonight's Monday Night Football game, it was an undrafted wide receiver that stole the show.

Victor Cruz, an undrafted receiver from the University of Massachusetts, caught six passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns against Rex Ryan's Jets that, along with Eli Manning's gash , made the opening of the New Meadowlands Stadium memorable.

It wasn't just that Cruz was productive. It was the spectacular fashion with which he did so that will be catching the attention of every NFL team.

Cruz's first touchdown -- an eye-popping one-handed grab over tight coverage supplied by Jets' cornerback Dwight Lowery -- went for 64 yards. Only moments later, he caught his second score from Giants' backup Jim Sorgi. This one went for 34 yards. Not finished yet, Cruz caught his third touchdown in less than nine minutes of game-time with a 5-yard toss from Rhett Bomar.

Cruz, who was not invited to the Combine despite earning First-Team All-CAA honors in 2009,  has been impressive throughout training camp. He quickly moved up the UMass receiving records list, catching all but one of his 131 passes for 1,958 yards and 11 touchdowns in his final two seasons. Ironically enough, Cruz entered the game not even the most hyped of the UMass rookies. The Jets, of course, spent their second round pick on Massachusetts' offensive lineman Vladimir DuCassse. DuCasse is expected to win the starting left guard position for the Jets.

As ESPN analyst Mike Tirico noted during the telecast, Cruz's big game was historic -- it was the first time a receiver caught three touchdowns in a game since some guy named Terrell Owens accomplished the feat for the 49ers in 1998.

As for the so-called star rookies...

Jets' first round pick Kyle Wilson was largely invisible, finishing with only one tackle. The Giants' first round pick, Jason Pierre Paul, flashed his burst and good flexibility in recording his first NFL sack, but also showed the poor football instincts and relative weakness at the point of attack that had led some scouts to rank him as the most overrated prospect heading into last April's draft.






Posted on: July 15, 2010 11:27 am
Edited on: July 15, 2010 12:28 pm
 

Supplemental "mock" draft -- my final predictions

Predicting the April draft is difficult enough, but I thought it would be fun to try an educated guess as to which NFL teams will take which of the four eligible players in today's Supplemental draft.

Today's draft, which begins at 1 pm EST, is expected to take 60-75 minutes, as each round is supposed to take 10 minutes. Unlike the April draft which features all of the hype, hoopla and grandiose parading on stage, this draft is done strictly via email between the league, itself, and each of the 32 teams.

The inherent risk in projecting which club will take which player is that I (or others) may be completely right in predicting Team X will take Player Y, but if another team with a higher selection takes the player, we'll never know. The NFL has never released the actual "results" of the supplemental draft in years past. Of course, they announce the "winners," but we'll never know, for example, if there were other teams that also wanted former Kentucky DE Jeremy Jarmon last year in the 3rd-7th rounds. Washington offered the highest pick -- a third rounder -- last July and, as such, was awarded Jarmon.

Here is what I've learned over the past 24 hours...

Two of the teams I'd previously heard were interested in BYU RB Harvey Unga are clearly not -- the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks did not bring in Unga for a physical, I'm told, and let's face it, with Unga's history of injuries, no team is going to draft him that hasn't had their doctors check him over.

There does appear to be legitimate interest by the Eagles, Bucs, Steelers, Dolphins and Chiefs for Unga.

Detroit, New Orleans and Green Bay appear to be the most interested in defensive tackle Joshua Price-Brent.

My final predictions?

Both players go in the 6th round. Unga is taken by the Bucs or Chiefs; Price-Brent is taken by the Lions.

Care to try and beat me? I'd be interested to read your takes. You have two hours (or so) to weigh-in.





Posted on: April 27, 2010 1:01 pm
 

My all undrafted lineup -- defense

Each year there are players who slip through the cracks into undrafted free agency that, quite frankly, I'm stunned aren't drafted.

Here is my list of players who were undrafted but I feel could find a roster spot in the NFL.

Today I'm highlighting the defensive players (as well as their NFL franchise). Yesterday I listed the offensive players.

DE: Brandon Lang, Troy (signed by San Diego)
DT: Nate Collins, Virginia (signed by New York Giants)
DT: Jay Ross, East Carolina (signed by New Orleans)
DE: Mitch Unrein, Wyoming (signed by Tennessee)
OLB: Reggie Carter, UCLA (signed by Seattle)
ILB: Micah Johnson, Kentucky (signed by New York Giants)
OLB: Simoni Lawrence, Minnesota (signed by St. Louis)
CB: Patrick Stoudamire, Jr, Western Illinois (signed by San Francisco)
SS: Barry Church, Toledo (signed by Dallas)
FS: Jon Amaya, Nevada (signed by Miami)
CB: Devin Ros, Arizona (signed by Philadelphia)
Posted on: April 26, 2010 11:50 pm
 

My all undrafted lineup -- offense

Each year there are players who slip through the cracks into undrafted free agency that, quite frankly, I'm stunned aren't drafted.

Here is my list of players who were undrafted but I feel could find a roster spot in the NFL.

Today I'm highlighting the offensive players (as well as their NFL franchise). Tomorrow I'll list the defensive players.

QB: Jarrett Brown, West Virginia (signed with San Francisco)
RB: Keiland Williams, LSU (signed with Washington)
FB: Rashawn Jackson, Virginia (signed with Carolina)
TE: Colin Peek, Alabama (signed with Atlanta)
WR: Blair White, Michigan State (signed with Indianapolis)
WR: Seyi Ajirotutu, Fresno State (signed with San Diego)
OT: Casey Knips, South Dakota State (signed with Arizona)
OG: Ciron Black, LSU (signed with Pittsburgh)
C: Kenny Alfred, Washington State (signed with Tennessee)
OG: Jeff Byers, USC (signed with Seattle)
OT: Levi Horn, Montana (signed with Chicago)
Posted on: April 24, 2010 8:26 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2010 11:26 pm
 

SEA, SF, DET, OAK among draft "winners"

I've been working on grading the drafts of all 32 teams for the past few hours. Here are the clubs that immediately stood out to me:

Seattle: Tough to argue that they had a spectacular draft. The Seahawks filled their two biggest needs (OT, S) in the first round with Okung and Thomas and proceeded to get one of the better big play receiver/returners in the draft in Golden Tate, address concerns at RB with trades for veterans Leon Washington and LenDale White and might have found two Day Three steals in Walter Thurmond and Anthony McCoy. If there is something to find fault in Seattle's draft it would be that the two defensive ends they selected -- E.J. Wilson and Dexter Davis -- aren't likely going to be enough to replace Patrick Kerney.

San Francisco: I've always been a believer in building through the offensive line so I might be higher on the 49ers' draft than others would be. I believe the 49ers panicked a little bit in trading up for Anthony Davis, but in taking he and guard Mike Iupati, the team is building one of the more talented offensive lines in all of football. Considering the talent they have on defense and their skill position players, Alex Smith doesn't have to win games, he just has to manage them. That strategy won the Baltimore Ravens a Super Bowl not too long ago.

Detroit: Suh was a no-brainer with the second pick, but I like the rest of their draft, as well. Jahvid Best has to stay healthy for this draft to really be a standout one, of course, but I like the no-nonsense manner of this draft. Suh, Best, Spievey and Fox could all be in the starting lineup by midseason.

Oakland: I know, I know. What were the odds that I'd be listing the Raiders as one of the "winners" of the draft, but I have to admit it, I love what they did. The combination of Rolando McClain and LaMarr Houston makes this team instantly better against the run. I like the upside in tackles Veldheer and Campbell and like that there was still some Al Davis element to the draft, as well, in the selection of track star (and underrated football player) Jacoby Ford too. Trading for Jason Campbell was just the icing on the cake. He certainly never proved to be a superstar for the Redskins, but compared to JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski, he might as well be.



 
 
 
 
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