Tag:Tennessee Titans
Posted on: August 19, 2010 11:28 pm
 

With Jackson/Lynch hurt, Spiller stealing the job

Every year there are a few rookies whose immediate impacts in the NFL are utterly predictable.

This year, one of those players is Buffalo's C.J. Spiller.

I've taken a lot of heat for my pre-draft comparisons of Spiller to Titans star Chris Johnson. While I certainly won't compare Buffalo's offensive line to the one that Johnson ran behind last year for his 2,006 yards and 14 touchdowns, the similarities between the 5-11, 191 pound Johnson and the 5'11, 196 pound Spiller are just too damn striking for me to back down on them now.

Like Johnson, Spiller's game lies in his vision, lateral agility and pure, unadulterated speed. At less than 200 pounds, neither back possesses the power to consistently taken and discard NFL tacklers, but both players have such agility (and underrated leg drive) that they're often able to change the tackle dynamic at the last possible second. Rather than take on tacklers head on, they're able to give one final juke or acceleration to turn direct hits into arm tackles. And like Johnson, Spiller is plenty strong enough to run through arm tackles.

The undersized Johnson used this style to make it through last season unscathed despite a staggering 408 touches. I believe Spiller can do the same for Buffalo. He certainly showed off his underrated strength and determination in tonight's game against the defending AFC champion Colts.

Spiller's best play was his 31-yard touchdown scamper on just his second touch of the game. On the play, Spiller made three very solid NFL starters -- defensive end Robert Mathis, cornerback Jacob Lacey and free safety Antoine Bethea -- look silly in trying to tackle him. Spiller ran through an arm tackle by Mathis and appeared to be going straight up the middle for another few yards. His vision and balance took over, as he cut back outside, slipping by a lunging Lacey to streak down the sideline. Bethea is one of the better tackling free safeties in the league, but in attempting to cut off Spiller, he committed to the sideline, allowing Spiller to cut back inside this time for the touchdown.

For a team as weak in so many other positions as the Bills are, they are very talented and deep at running back. Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch have each proven themselves to be legitimate starting backs.

With each sidelined, however, don't be surprised when Spiller's big plays force the Bills to keep him on the field.

Prior to the 2008 draft, I had one veteran NFL scout characterize Johnson's running ability as "video game-like."

Check out Spiller's touchdown run against the Colts here . Now you tell me -- doesn't that look like a video game?

Posted on: August 10, 2010 8:36 pm
 

NFL Breakout Sophomores -- my picks

Chris Steuber is a new addition to the NFLDraftScout.com family and has already done a fantastic job of helping Chad Reuter and I keep new content on the site even though the season hasn't yet even begun.

His most recent article, "Second Year Players From The 2009 Draft Who Could Take Off" is an interesting read. Chris highlights a player from each of the 2009 draft's seven rounds that he feels could enjoy significantly better "sophomore" seasons than their rookie campaigns.

It is an interesting enough idea that I thought I'd jump in on the conversation. I mean no disrespect to Chris. Quite the opposite, actually. As they say, imitation is the best form of flattery.

I just have some different opinions as to some second year players who may "breakout" in 2010 and thought the group would make for an interesting blog post.

Feel free, as always, to comment...

First Round: Chris Wells, RB, Arizona -- I strongly considered several others for this role. I anticipate big second seasons from several players who, quite frankly, were disappointments their rookie seasons. Chris picked OLB Aaron Maybin for the Bills. The same logic he uses for Maybin I believe could be used to argue for fellow OLBs Aaron Curry (Seattle), Robert Ayers (Denver) and Larry English (San Diego). I'm going instead with Beanie Wells, however. I don't even necessarily expect that the former Buckeye star will start early in the season as I'm among those who feel Tim Hightower rarely gets his due. That said, there is no denying the impact Wells made as the Cardinals finished their season. With Arizona moving to a more run-heavy offense this year, I expect Wells to emerge as one of the NFC's better young backs.

Second Round: Patrick Chung, S, New England -- There were few players I raved about more frequently than Chung prior to the 2009 draft. The former Oregon star hardly took the NFL by storm as a rookie, but let's be honest, adjusting to Bill Belichick's defense can take even the savviest of players a year to get comfortable. Just wait. I'm not wrong on this kid.

Third Round: Deon Butler, WR, Seattle -- Butler emerged as one of the few bright spots on an otherwise slow and unathletic Seattle receiving corps as a rookie. He's been a star in OTAs and training camp so far this summer. Rookie Golden Tate is getting all of the attention, but don't be surprised if this is the undersized speedster who emerges as the Seahawks' most consistent big play threat in 2010.

Fourth Round: Mike Thomas, WR, Jacksonville -- Thomas only started four games for the Jaguars as a rookie, but still shattered the team's record for rookie receptions (48) and receiving yards (453). Sure, his size (5-8, 198) isn't intimidating, but Thomas has the agility and toughness to play well despite a less than ideal frame. He's also been lighting up practices thus far in training camp. Perhaps most importantly, he's already earned David Garrard's trust.

Fifth Round: Javon Ringer, RB, Tennessee -- Ok, for this one Chris and I agree. The Titans decision to trade away LenDale White and yet not aggressively pursue another big back in the draft or free agency gives me the impression that Jeff Fisher and his staff realized the same thing I did when reviewing Ringer: while he may lack size, he certainly doesn't lack for toughness. Ringer isn't going to take away too many of Chris Johnson's touches, but I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him emerge as the club's primary backup to their superstar.

Sixth Round: Brice McCain, CB, Houston -- I fully recognize that the Texans weren't so overcome with McCain's talent that they ignored cornerback early in the draft. Their first round pick, Kareem Jackson, is a terrific talent who I believe will quickly help erase the negative feelings left behind by now-Atlanta Falcon Dunta Robinson. However, I'm a sucker for quick feet and McCain certainly has those. He may never emerge as a standout starter, but I think he has the agility to be a heckuva nickel corner for a long time.

Seventh Round: Lance Louis, OG, Chicago -- Disrespect Mike Tice's ability as a head coach all you want. For my money, there aren't three better offensive line coaches in the NFL than the former starting NFL tight end. Louis was graded by some as a tight end or H-back coming out of San Diego State, but the Bears took a chance on him last year. Now, Tice believes Louis has a real chance at earning the starting right guard position. With his athleticism and the Bears' focus on the passing game under Mike Martz, Louis could surprise.
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 23, 2010 2:13 pm
 

AFC South First Round Comments

Following the conclusion of the draft, I'll be providing grades for all 32 teams. I've begun the process of writing these grades up based on what transpired in the first round yesterday. I'll be posting comments for each team, by their division, in the blog over the next few hours.

Here is how I saw the action from the AFC South perspective:


Houston Texas:
Many forecasted that the Texans would take a cornerback in the first round to replace free agent defection Dunta Robinson, but the team surprised by adding Alabama’s Kareem Jackson over other highly touted prospects. Jackson is a good fit for Houston’s scheme, however, possessing similar physicality in coverage and against the run that Robinson had shown.


Indianapolis Colts:
For all of the talk that the Colts might change their defensive style under Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis made a very Tony Dungy-like pick with the undersized pass rusher Jerry Hughes with the second to last pick of the first round. Hughes has an explosive first step as a pass rusher, but at only 6-2 is considered a bit of a ‘tweener. Funny, that ‘tweener label hasn’t seemed to hurt Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis’ production.


Jacksonville Jaguars:
The Jaguars will be blasted by some for making the biggest reach of the draft and in terms of value, perhaps Tyson Alualu was a reach. He likely would have been available at least 10-15 picks later. However, considering the number of busts seen each year from first round athletes, spending a high pick on a versatile, blue collar player that fits your scheme well shouldn’t be questioned. I don’t believe Alualu will ever go to the Pro Bowl, but he’ll earn a starting role immediately and won’t give it up for a decade.


Tennessee Titans:
The Titans had to be pleased to see defensive end Derrick Morgan, rated by many as the best at his class, still on the board at No. 16 after three other pass rushers had already been selected. Considering that Tennessee needed help in the pass rush immediately after the loss of Kyle Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth in successive years, the pro-ready Morgan is an ideal fit. 

Posted on: April 22, 2010 9:22 pm
 

Derrick Morgan's slip among the early surprises

With roughly half of the draft finished and three collegiate defensive ends off the board, the most surprising development might be that Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan, characterized to me by various teams to be the "safest" of this year's class, slipped to the Tennessee Titans at No. 16.

The ACC Defensive Player of the Year registered 12.5 sacks for the Yellow Jackets, improving significantly each of his three seasons at Georgia Tech after signing as a highly touted prep prospect.

Morgan, however, was shut down in a highly anticipated matchup against Iowa's Bryan Bulaga in the bowl game, which could have left a bad taste in the mouth of scouts considering it was his last his performance.

He fills a clear need with the Tennessee Titans, who missed having an impact defensive lineman following Albert Haynesworth's free agency defection.

Posted on: April 13, 2010 10:51 pm
 

WR Mike Williams impressive in Seattle debut

Former USC star and first round bust Mike Williams looked fit and comfortable at wide receiver in the Pete Carroll's debut practice as the new head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

Williams was one of 17 tryout players that Carroll and general manager John Schneider brought in for the three-day mini-camp. Other notables included another famous washout receiver, Reggie Williams (no relation), formerly of the Washington Huskies and Jacksonville Jaguars, wide receiver/return specialist Kevin Robinson and veteran guard Terrance Metcalf.

Though pre-draft mini-camps rarely provide much new information helpful in draft prognostication, I have to admit I was impressed in watching Williams' strong performance today.

While it wouldn't be accurate to describe his speed off the line as explosive, the 6-4, 235 pound Williams was faster off the line than expected and showcased the strong, reliable hands that had characterized his brilliant collegiate career. Williams caught every pass I saw thrown to him (25-30 passes total), routinely snatching passes out of the air. He showed good body control in reaching low, behind and high to snag poor throws.  He also showed some vision and acceleration after the catch, weaving through the defense. Furthermore, he paid attention to his footwork as a route-runner, taking advice from veteran T.J. Houshmandzadeh, at times.

Williams was the No. 10 overall pick of the 2005 draft by the Detroit Lions. He struggled mightily acclimating to the NFL while in Detroit and fizzled quickly in Oakland and  Tennessee, as well. He saw the most time as a rookie for the Lions, catching 29 passes for 350 yards and one TD in 2005. Since, for three teams, he's only caught a combined 15 passes for 189 yards and 1 TD.

Williams is a long, long way from making the team. He'll need to be impressive this week just to be invited to training camp. It was, however, an impressive start to what could result in at least some redemption.

Posted on: March 22, 2010 5:45 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2010 7:23 pm
 

19 teams awarded compensatory picks

According to release by the league, 19 NFL teams will get a total of 32 compensatory picks for free agent losses last year. These picks will be in conjunction with the selections teams already owned for next month's draft.

Eight teams were awarded multiple extra picks, with the New England Patriots leading the way with four picks. The Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers each getting three compensatory picks.

The Cincinnati Bengals might have gained the most, however. While they "only" received two picks, they were awarded a 3rd and 4th, whereas the Titans, Steelers and Patriots were mostly given picks from the last two rounds.

According to the release:

Under terms of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks .

 

The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four.  The 32 compensatory choices announced today will supplement the 223 choices in the seven rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft (April 22-24).  This year, the compensatory picks will be positioned within the third through seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.

 

Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors.  The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council.  Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula. 

 

Three clubs this year (Oakland, Miami and Tampa Bay) will each receive a compensatory pick even though they did not suffer a net loss of compensatory free agents last year.  Under the formula, the compensatory free agents lost by these clubs were ranked higher than the ones they signed (by a specified point differential based upon salary and performance).

 

Thirty compensatory picks were awarded to clubs based upon the compensatory pick formula.  By rule, two additional choices were awarded at the end of the seventh round to bring the total number of compensatory selections to 32, equaling the number of NFL clubs.  The two additional picks were awarded to St. Louis and Detroit based upon the 2010 draft selection order.  


This is the breakdown of the compensatory picks by round and team.

Round 3

  • Cincinnati -- 96th overall
  • Tennessee -- 97
  • Atlanta -- 98

Round 4

  • Cincinnati -- 131

Round 5

  • Pittsburgh -- 164
  • Atlanta -- 165
  • Pittsburgh -- 166
  • Minnesota -- 167
  • San Diego -- 168
  • Green Bay -- 169


Round 6

  • Carolina -- 202
  • Jacksonville -- 203
  • Carolina -- 204
  • New England -- 205
  • San Francisco -- 206
  • Tennessee -- 207

Round 7 

  • Indianapolis -- 240
  • Tennessee -- 241 
  • Pittsburgh -- 242
  • Philadelphia -- 243
  • Philadelphia -- 244
  • Seattle -- 245
  • Indianapolis -- 246
  • New England -- 247 
  • New England -- 248 
  • Carolina -- 249 
  • New England -- 250 
  • Oakland -- 251
  • Miami -- 252 
  • Tampa Bay -- 253
  • St. Louis -- 254
  • Detroit -- 255









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