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Tag:Florida
Posted on: September 8, 2010 1:06 pm
 

New issue of Draft Slant ready

Subscribers of NFLDraftScout.com's weekly PDF file on the latest happenings in the world of college football and the NFL draft will be receiving their first premium issue of Draft Slant today.

Because the material is premium content, I'm not at liberty to give you all of the details. I can point out that we continue to offer last week's initial issue for free.

If you liked the content in the free issue, you'll love the greater detail in this week's (and future) articles.

Draft Slant was originally my idea. The basic premise behind it is that many of you are watching the same games as my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and I. We thought, why not write up reviews of some of the top players in the games we're all watching as a way for you to compare notes with us? We offer much, much more in Draft Slant than these reviews, but they were the centerpiece of my original idea. If these reviews aren't the most timely and accurate weekly updates you've seen, I want to know about it.  

In this week's premium issue, we detailed the following six senior prospects and how they faired in their first game of the year: 

Florida OC Mike Pouncey
Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward
Kansas State RB Daniel Thomas
East Carolina OT Willie Smith
Virginia Tech CB Rashad Carmichael
Pittsburgh OT Jason Pinkston


Interested in buying this issue? You can purchase this one for 4.99 by clicking here. Back issues are also available for the same price.

Interested in buying the entire year's worth (16 issues). That is available for 39.99 and can be purchased here.

Posted on: September 4, 2010 11:15 am
 

Five seniors I'll be scouting closely today

With three DVD burners running around the clock, I'll be recording nearly every televised college football game throughout the year. There is only so much time in the day, so I have to put some careful thought into picking the games (and more specifically, the prospects) each Saturday in which to scout live.

The game I was most excited about initially -- North Carolina at LSU -- won't feature nearly the individual talent that we originally thought due to the NCAA suspending 13 Tar Heels for this game. Of course, I'll still check out this showdown, but due to the odd circumstances surrounding the game, I'll wait to do most my scouting of Tar Heel and Tiger players until later games.

Each Friday night/Saturday morning throughout the rest of the season I'll put up a similar post as this one. Should you like to scout "alongside" me, follow me on Twitter @ RobRang

These are the five I'll be watching closely:

OL Mike Pouncey, Florida: There was talk that Pouncey might be switched outside to tackle due to injury concerns, but Urban Meyer put an end to that thinking with the announcement that his senior would remain inside, taking over for his twin brother. Miami of Ohio is hardly the greatest test Pouncey will get this year, but I'm curious to see how he makes the transition, himself, as well as protects new QB John Brantley.

DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue: Kerrigan is one of the better defensive linemen in all of college football. Despite posting 13 sacks last year, however, the 6-4, 263 pass rusher doesn't have elite speed off the edge. He'll get plenty of opportunities to rush the passer against Brian Kelly's wide open offense at Notre Dame, but if the Irish offense is operating efficiently, he won't have much time to get home. It will be interesting to see how often Kerrigan is able to make plays in a game in which the tempo is specifically designed to eliminate (at least some of) the pass rush.

S Duke Ihenacho, San Jose State: The Spartans are understandably a 38 point underdog to Alabama, but I want to see how the playmaking Ihenacho reacts to the speed and physicality of the national champs. Ihenacho, a rare 3-time All-WAC performer already, has feasted on his conference opponents. Unless he's invited to the Senior Bowl, he may never get another opportunity against better competition at the collegiate level than today. 

WR James Rodgers, Oregon State: This is another example of a talented player who has starred against his conference foes, but I'm curious to see how he does against a physical and fast TCU group that finished No. 1 overall last year in total defense. James' "little" brother, running back Jacquizz, gets most of the national acclaim, but it was James who broke OSU's single-season all-purpose record last year with 2,328 yards. In what has become, in my opinion, the biggest game of the day (considering the suspensions marring the UNC-LSU game), I'm very curious to see how Rodgers performs in what will be a bit of a homecoming for he and his brother. The Rodgers were recruited out of Texas.

QB Jake Locker, Washington: Admittedly, I can put Locker on this list every week -- and I certainly will two weeks from now when Nebraska rolls into Seattle. But for all of the hype surrounding Locker and the Washington program, as a whole, a poor performance in the opener against a proud (and I believe underrated) Cougar team could put a quick end to the Heisman and bowl game chatter. Washington has greater skill position talent than BYU, but I don't know that they are as physical up front. Vegas thinks this one will be close (BYU a 1.5 point favorite) and I agree. If the Huskies are going to win, it might come down to a Locker making a big play late in the 4th quarter.
Posted on: August 11, 2010 12:04 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2010 12:23 pm
 

Blocking scouts from practice isn't the solution

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is, according to this report from Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, blocking pro scouts from Tide football practices in an attempt to cut down on the distractions to his players caused by player agents. The reigning BCS Champion coach is hoping that by doing so it will help keep his players out of hot water with the NCAA.

The strategy, which conflicting reports by Chase Goodbread of the Tuscaloosa News and Florio claim may or may not be implemented by the University of Florida, as well, has an obvious fault.

Limiting access to pro scouts, really, has nothing to do with the sleazy player agents and runners who are attempting to circumvent the rules.

Perhaps rather than limit scouts who are simply trying to do their job of identifying the rare collegiate athletes potentially capable of playing at the game's highest level, the universities should be continuing to fine-tune the education of their players on the dangers of dealing with agents prematurely.

And the NFLPA, the organization that is supposed to have some control over agents, needs to strongly consider bolstering the penalties to agents found guilty of bribing prospects with inappropriate gifts and travel.

In a very real way, locking scouts out hurts everyone except the agents.

  • The NFL loses on their ability to accurately gauge prospective players on and off the field.
  • The players lose because scouts can't scout them accurately.
  • The university eventually could lose out, as well. Prep players sign with college teams to win, but every bit as important to many players is the school's ability to market their players to the NFL. Making players less accessible to the pros is only going to make the schools less attractive to top prospects.
The argument some will make is that by locking out everyone, including NFL personnel, universities can make sure players aren't being hounded by the undesireable element. Does anyone believe that the runners and agents performing the illegal practices are slipping thousands of dollars in cash (or plane tickets, the keys to cars/homes) to players as they walk off the field from practice?

For scouts, the value in going on the road to scout players in person lies in the ability to scout practices (do players take practice seriously, etc?) and in the interviews with players and the coaching staff. Scouts I know typically try to speak to at least three staff members for each prospect -- the position coach, strength and conditioning coach, and trainer.

If locked out of practice, scouts will still be able to watch most of the film they need to see if the player has the size, speed, strength, etc. to play in the NFL.

What will be more difficult to gauge if locked out is if the players have the intangibles to deal with the money, fame and pressure of the NFL. That, could potentially lead to more highly drafted busts.




Posted on: April 22, 2010 10:15 pm
 

Intangibles worth proven with Tebow over Clausen

The question I answered more often than any other in the weeks preceeding this year's draft was about Tim Tebow and his intangibles.

The second most asked question might have been about Jimmy Clausen and his perceived lack of these same intangibles.

With Tebow leaping Clausen to be the second quarterback selected, we've seen proof of the value of leadership, as there may not be a quarterback coach in the country that would argue Tebow is a more gifted passer -- at least at this point -- than Clausen.



Posted on: April 21, 2010 10:36 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2010 10:37 pm
 

First Round Stunners, Part Two

My fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter and I wrote up five bold predictions each in articles here and here .

Like Chad, I elected to push the boundary with the definition of "bold," predicting a trade with the first pick among other things. I fully recognize that the Rams aren't likely to make this trade. I've spoken to enough people in the league, however, that caused me to feel there was a reasonable enough chance of it occurring that I listed it.

Last year , I went out on a limb and predicted that Tyson Jackson, not Aaron Curry, would be the first defensive player selected and that Andre Smith would be a top ten pick. Chad had the even better bold (and true) prediction, picking the Raiders to take Darrius Heyward-Bey at No. 7.

We were ridiculed at the time for our picks and some ended up not happening. A few, however, ended up being true. I don't anticipate either of us getting all five of our predictions correct this time either, but would be disappointed if we don't pull off at least a few of them.

Because these predictions are such conversation-starters, I thought I'd include a few more that I considered using in the original article.


  • In the "do as I say, not as I've done" department, watch out for Georgia Tech wideout Demaryius Thomas to jump way up in this draft. Some teams, in fact, have him rated higher than Dez Bryant -- and that isn't just due to Bryant's so-called character concerns. I mention the "do as I say" aspect as I don't have Bryant listed on my 4/19 mock draft. After conversations with a few more team sources over these past few days, however, I've been lectured enough to change my thinking on this kid and will certainly be moving him up for the final mock I'm finishing tonight (available Thursday morning). I've acknowledged his dazzling physical upside in the past, but what I hadn't realized is how impressive "Bay-Bay" has done in interviews. The perception might be that Thomas isn't pro-ready due to his time in such a run-heavy offense, but he has dazzled teams in interviews with his on and off-field intelligence. Considering he scored a 34 on the Wonderlic -- second best among all WRs (Eric Decker had a 43) -- perhaps this shouldn't have surprised me (34 on the Wonderlic; second best among WRs), but I admit, it did. I'd still be a bit surprised if he jumped ahead of Bryant, but I'd certainly no longer be stunned.  
  • With all due respect to Mr. Mel Kiper, Jr., Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen absolutely remains in play for the Seattle Seahawks. I don't feel strongly enough to have included it among my original bold predictions, but I would not be the least bit surprised if Pete Carroll took Clausen. He knows him well; much better than he knew Charlie Whitehurst before making the trade for him. He couldn't have. Whitehurst hasn't played. If Seattle was willing to gamble picks on a quarterback they couldn't possibly have known as well as Carroll knows Clausen just to solidify the position, they could do it again. Consider that if Seattle hadn't traded for Whitehurst and given him millions, many would be assuming at this point that Seattle would be strongly considering the former USC recruit. Because of that deal, most aren't. I'm not sure that is a safe assumption.
  • I believe center Maurkice Pouncey is being heavily considered by the Denver Broncos. They own the 11th pick and I can't imagine them taking him there, but they can't afford to trade down too far if they want to get him, as there are several teams in the mid to late teens who love Pouncey. There is a bigger dropoff between Pouncey and the No. 2 rated center (either Baylor's J.D. Walton or Boston College's Matt Tennant, depending on the team) than between the top-rated and second-best prospect at any other position in this draft. To put it into perspective how rare taking a true center in the top half of the draft is, note that the last time it happened was 1993 when the Cleveland Browns selected Steve Everitt from Michigan with the 14th overall pick.



Posted on: April 7, 2010 7:00 pm
 

5 players moving up as draft approaches

Building momentum up to draft day is one of the key ingredients savvy agents and talented players often use to earn high selections. Though NFL teams have been tirelessly working on their draft boards over the past month, several players each year often get "bumped" at the last minute due to impressive workouts, interviews or just creating a general "buzz."

As we tightened our rankings in preparation for the profiles and rankings update available in our new PDF Draft Guide (available for download here ), I noticed that five players kept being mentioned by league sources as players moving up the board.

These five players I've listed below:

Quarterback Tim Tebow, Florida: You've heard or read the talk everywhere about his rising up draft boards and my sources are confirming the same thing. Tebow is dazzling coaches in interviews, leading some scouts -- who try to show coaches Tebow's flawed film -- frustrated with how quickly and high the former Heisman winner is being moved up the board. According to sources, Tebow is a virtual lock to be off the board by the mid second round and is gaining momentum as a late first round pick.

Defensive Tackle Linval Joseph, East Carolina: Overshadowed a bit at ECU by DE CJ Wilson and DT Jay Ross, Joseph is the one that has the most interesting blend of NFL size (6-5, 328) and athleticism. Scouts would like to see him put it all together and be a more consistent player, but his tools have some clubs talking about him as a potential 2nd round prospect.

Cornerback Alterran Verner, UCLA: Verner can thank gutty, undersized corners like Christopher Owens (3rd round pick by Atlanta in 2009) for his rise up the board. Like Owens, Verner isn't a blazer, but he's highly competitive and has been a consistent standout throughout his career. Scouts are characterizing him as one of the safer cornerbacks in the class and feel that he could earn a similar selection as Owens, who started six games for the Falcons as a rookie.

Cornerback Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt: Following his solid Pro Day performance March 20, I touted Lewis as one of the more underrated defensive backs in the 2010 draft and scouts are telling me that we're still ranking him too low. Lewis starred at cornerback for the Commodores and some teams believe he has the agility to remain at this position in the NFL despite measuring in at 6-2, 203 pounds. We currently have Lewis rated as a free safety and a 4th-5th round pick, but I've spoken to clubs that feel he'll be off the board in the 3rd.

FS Robert Johnson, Utah: Despite not getting invited to the Combine, Johnson is one of the fastest rising names in the draft. He measured in heavier than scouts expected at his Pro Day (6-2, 203 pounds) and turned in blazing times in the short shuttle and 3-cone drills. In fact, his 4.06 second short shuttle and 6.56 second 3-cone times were faster than those recorded by any safety in Indianapolis. A natural ballhawk with 13 interceptions over the past three seasons, Johnson has visited or been privately worked out by a half-dozen teams.
Posted on: March 20, 2010 4:04 pm
 

One not enough? Gators schedule 2nd Pro Day 4/7

For all of the attention that Florida's first Pro Day received, it is hard to believe the team could possibly schedule another.

And yet that is precisely what Florida is doing. Pro Day, part two is scheduled for April 7, 11 am. Like last week's workout, it will take place on the University of Florida campus.

Pass rusher Jermaine Cunningham, who was unable to work out at the Combine or Florida's first Pro Day, March 17 due to a shoulder injury, will be featured. the 6-4, 266 pound Cunningham has 19.5 career sacks. Scouts would like to see him work out to better decide if his best chance at duplicating his collegiate success into the pros will be in remaining at defensive end in the 4-3 or switching to outside linebacker in the 3-4 alignment.

Others likely to take advantage of the workout are running back Brandon James and linebacker Ryan Stamper.

Though quarterback Tim Tebow, cornerback Joe Haden, defensive end Carlos Dunlap and tight end Aaron Hernandez aren't likely to workout -- and may elect to not even attend the event -- one highly touted prospect that should consider working out is inside linebacker Brandon Spikes, considering his disappointing workout at the March 17 Pro Day.

Spikes' is slow on film, but isn't 5.05 slow.

Considering the rebound performance Joe Haden saw in his second workout, perhaps Spikes could generate some late buzz with a better time.



 
Posted on: March 17, 2010 12:00 pm
 

Haden steadies stock, Spikes' dropping at Pro Day

Florida cornerback needed to run in the 4.4s to steady his stock after a pair of disappointing times in the 40-yard dash at the Combine. As I reported earlier, according to scouts in attendance, Haden was successful, timing in the mid 4.4s for both of his attempts Wednesday.

The times are likely to cement Haden's status as the top cornerback in the draft and a certain first round pick.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is inside linebacker Brandon Spikes, who was clocked at 4.99 and 5.03. This time would have placed him ahead of only Kentucky inside linebacker Micah Johnson as the slowest LB tested at the Combine.

Though I like Spikes' ability as a run stuffer in the middle, I've questioned his sideline to sideline speed for quite some time.

Spikes didn't run at the Combine, but did compete in the vertical and broad jumps. Perhaps he shouldn't have. Spikes finished tied with Johnson for last in the vertical (29") and with the third worst total in the broad jump (9'3") among linebackers tested in Indianapolis. 

Spikes' slow, unathletic workouts could have a devastating effect on his draft stock. Currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a second round prospect, Spikes could in fact slip out of the second day of the draft.


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