Tag:NFL Draft
Posted on: January 12, 2012 10:34 am
Edited on: January 12, 2012 12:02 pm

Wilson aims for NFL, to bypass MLB for now

Russell Wilson's gamble paid off last season, telling Major League Baseball and the Colorado Rockies they could wait while he completed his eligibility as a transfer, and instant starter, at Wisconsin.

Wilson is rolling the dice again, telling the New York Times he's committing to a professional football career. Wilson informed the Rockies, who drafted Wilson while he was a two-sport star at North Carolina State in 2010, and general manager Dan O'Dowd of his decision Tuesday.

"I want to put all my focus in football and see where it takes me," Wilson told the Times on Wednesday. "I know that I have the talent, aptitude and leadership to succeed on the next level."

Wilson will begin training at the IMG Academy with Chris Weinke, who tutored No. 1 overall draft pick Cam Newton last spring, next week. First, he'll be married this weekend.

Evaluators told NFLDraftScout.com's Len Pasquarelli that Wilson would be one of the most intriguing passers available in the draft. He'll have a lot to prove -- and potentially much to earn -- by participating in the Senior Bowl.

Entering the Rose Bowl, NFLDraftScout.com rated Wilson 185th overall and 10th among quarterbacks, primarily because of his partial commitment to baseball. There are also concerns about his height, but Wilson had a school-record efficiency rating of 191.6 with 31 touchdowns and three interceptions in 13 games with the Badgers. He also had 31 touchdown passes as a sophomore at N.C. State.

Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M is the top-ranked senior on the NFLDraftScout.com board, followed by Nick Foles (Arizona), who is ranked 48th overall and Kirk Cousins (Michigan State), who is ranked 62nd overall.

Wilson said he was told he'd be a middle-round pick by the NFL Draft Advisory Board. Gil Brandt of NFL.com graded Wilson as a fourth-rounder.


Posted on: January 11, 2012 5:02 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 5:13 pm

RG3 officially declares for 2012 draft

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III officially announced he will forgo his final year of eligibility at Baylor and enter the 2012 NFL Draft.
Griffin, the No. 3 overall prospect eligible for April's draft by NFLDraftScout.com, met with seven sports agencies and then again with Baylor coach Art Briles as he weighed the decision of whether to return to the Bears for his senior season or enter the draft.
"It was a tough decision, I love the people at this university, love my coach for giving me a chance to be a quarterback," Griffin said.
Ranked second among quarterbacks in the draft class, behind only Stanford redshirt junior Andrew Luck, Griffin is likely to be a top-10 pick. Some project he could be drafted even earlier with multiple quarterback-needy teams, including Cleveland (fourth overall) and Washington (sixth) likely to look for upgrades at the position.

Rob Rang and Dane Brugler both have Griffin going to Cleveland in their current Mock Drafts, and Browns coach Pat Shurmur declined last week to say Colt McCoy will be the team's starting quarterback in 2012.
The deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft is Sunday and, until he signs with an agent, Griffin is permitted to return to Baylor if he withdraws by the Jan. 15 deadline.
Griffin met with prospective agents with Baylor compliance officers present to ensure he wasn't sacrificing his eligibility should he opt to return to college football. He first had his parents, both Army sergeants, interview agents and provide him feedback. But in the end, the choice was clear.
Griffin, 6-2, 220, earned his bachelor's degree a year ago after graduating high school a semester early to enroll in January 2008. He's on pace to earn his masters in communication in May and is engaged to be married.
There are no character-related questions with Griffin, who said he arrived at Baylor with the NFL as a Plan B.
"Plan B can overtake Plan A if they come knocking at your door," he said recently. "Who are you to turn down the NFL."
Indeed, a lot changed for Griffin in the span of one season. At this time last year, he said he received feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board that he was likely to be a second- or third-round pick. In a loaded quarterback class that included five quarterbacks in the top 35 selections, Griffin might have been overlooked.
That won't happen in 2012.
Luck, the top-rated overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, and Griffin are expected to be the only sure first-round picks among quarterbacks. Some might include Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M, but his raw skills after just two years at the position make him more of a risk.
The injury risk had to be a consideration for Griffin, who missed most of the 2009 season with a knee injury.
After throwing for more than 4,000 yards with 37 touchdowns and only six interceptions, Griffin has opened many eyes. He also had 699 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Former Colts head coach Tony Dungy is on the record that he might even draft Griffin, not Luck, with the first overall pick. He won't be the only one with that opinion, regardless of how flawless the Stanford redshirt junior has been and scouting reports will be in April.
Griffin isn't without some concerns with evaluators, who want to verify his height and weight before projecting him as a franchise quarterback. On appearances alone, there are scouts who are concerned Griffin doesn't have the sturdy build to withstand the rigors of taking pounding in and outside of the pocket in the NFL.
But like Cam Newton in 2011, about whom there were concerns he could throw accurately in an NFL-style offense, it's also worth considering whether Griffin has a reasonable facsimile in the NFL.
Hugh Millen, who played quarterback for 10 seasons in the NFL, was on the field for pregame activities at the Alamo Bowl, and told NFLDraftScout.com's Len Pasquarelli that those with doubts about the size of "RG3" needn't worry.
"I stood next to him and the guy is all of 6-2," said Millen, who is 6-feet-5. "I watched him in warmups without pads, and he's better built than people give him credit for. From a size standpoint, I really didn't feel there were any concerns."
The Heisman Trophy winner is listed by Baylor at 6-feet-2, but there had been a few questions about how Griffin would measure up at the combine.
Griffin said he patterns his game after Steve Young -- a mobile quarterback who thrives on efficiency -- but can't help but see the comparison many have drawn between 2011 No. 1 overall pick Newton and Griffin.
Griffin owns 46 Baylor records, and in 41 games completed 67 percent of his passes (800 of 1,192) for 10,366 yards with 78 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He had 33 rushing touchdowns and 2,254 yards.
Posted on: January 8, 2012 5:57 pm

UCF confirms CB Robinson leaving for NFL

Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson will forgo his senior season and enter the 2012 NFL Draft.
Robinson, 5-feet-10 and 192 pounds, is the 14th-best cornerback prospect and No. 107 overall prospect eligible for this April's draft, according to ratings by NFLDraftScout.com.
"I've been in discussions with the Robinson family over the holidays, and after I met with them Saturday regarding the pros and cons of entering the draft as well as staying in school, the family decided that he wanted to declare for the draft," Knights coach George O'Leary said in release by the school. "I wish him well in his future endeavors in the NFL and I hope everything works out for Josh and his family."
Robinson had indicated earlier in the week through Facebook and Twitter that he intended to leave school, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Robinson was named First Team All-Conference USA for the second consecutive season in 2011 after intercepting two passes and breaking up 15, tied for second-most in school history. He leaves the Knights with 36 career pass breakups, two shy of the school record set by current Philadelphia Eagle Asante Samuel.
Robinson moved to the boundary corner position in early November following a season-ending knee injury by A.J. Bouye. Robinson also has some return skills, but lost the punt return job for UCF in September following three fumbles early in the season.
Robinson was named to the 2011 Jim Thorpe and Bronko Nagurski preseason watch lists after typically being assigned the opponents' top receiver as a sophomore. He had six interceptions as a freshman and two in each of the past two seasons.
Posted on: January 8, 2012 1:45 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2012 1:45 pm

Irsay denies Colts have decided on Luck

Colts owner Jim Irsay denied a report that the team has discussed moving a $28 million option bonus owed quarterback Peyton Manning on March 8. The bonus would trigger the final four years of Manning's contract and prevent him from becoming a free agent.
Irsay also denied an ESPN report that the Colts have definitively decided to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in April. Other potential top prospects include Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.
"There has been no discussion of a deadline push,n just like '98 with Manning/Leaf..u have 2 go thru a long,disciplined process of evaluation," Irsay tweeted Sunday, referring to the 1998 draft in which the Colts selected Manning over Ryan Leaf.
With the health of Manning in question after he missed the season recovering from neck surgery, the Colts are prepared to secure a franchise quarterback who will eventually take the baton from Manning.
Irsay is focused on hiring a new general manager after firing Bill Polian last week. Irsay tweeted Saturday that the Colts are interviewing seven candidates.
If they take Luck, the Colts will do so nearly 20 years since Irsay's father, Bob, selected another Stanford quarterback, John Elway, with the No. 1 pick in 1983, but ultimately traded the future Hall of Famer.
The sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen the younger Irsay welcomes the opportunity to complete the circle.
Of course, the Colts already rectified the missed opportunity with Elway by taking Manning as the top pick in 1998 and watching him develop into a future Hall of Famer, who led them to two Super Bowls, including a Super Bowl XLI win over the Chicago Bears.
Irsay said last week that he has no idea if Manning will play football again.
Manning has had three surgeries on his neck, including spinal fusion, and didn't practice or participate in team on-field activities in 2011. He will continue rehabbing at the team facility, a luxury he didn't have during the four-month lockout last year, and is hopeful of resuming his career in 2012.
But Manning will be 36 in March and his continued health isn't certain given the nature of the surgery and the physical demands of the NFL. If Manning is healthy, Irsay had vowed he will return.

Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:07 pm

Hokies RB Wilson declares for 2012 draft

Virginia Tech's David Wilson became the fifth running back to announce he's forgoing his remaining eligibility and entering the 2012 NFL Draft.

Wilson said he made the decision this week after receiving a second-round grade from the NFL advisory committee. Wilson is the No. 3 running back and No. 41 prospect overall eligible for the 2012 draft, according to ratings by NFLDraftScout.com. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Wilson set a single-season school record with 1,709 rushing yards in 2011.

The decision didn't come as a surprise, especially with Virginia Tech set to lose four senior starters off the offensive line.

"It was very tough," Wilson said at a press conference Friday attended by coach Frank Beamer. "Even yesterday writing the statement, I almost teared up just thinking about the Sugar Bowl is my last game at Virginia Tech."

Wilson is known for his excellent athleticism, as he also finished sixth in the nation in the triple jump at the NCAA championships last spring, and has earned All-American honors in football and track and field.

Wilson joins Miami's Lamar Miller, Washington's Chris Polk, Temple's Bernard Pierce and San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman in announcing they will forgo their remaining eligibility - Miller and Hillman are redshirt sophomore. Still yet to make their announcements are Alabama's Trent Richardson and Oregon's LaMichael James.

Wilson is the second Hokie in as many days to declare for the draft, following cornerback Jayron Hosley. Tony Gregory, who is recovering from his second ACL surgery, freshman Michael Holmes and incoming recruit J.C. Coleman figure to vie for snaps in the Hokies' backfield next season.

"I can come back and accomplish some great things, some very great things that haven't been done at Virginia Tech before," Wilson said. "At the same time, you're risking a lot of negatives that could happen. The positive is I had a great season this year and I feel like I built a legacy here."


Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:34 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:32 pm

Temple's Pierce joins crowded 2012 RB class

Temple's Bernard Pierce joined a lengthy list of junior running backs making the jump to the 2012 NFL Draft.

A three-time First-Team All-MAC selection, Pierce rushed for 1,481 yards and a school-record 27 touchdowns in 2011. He is the No. 7 running back and No. 90 prospect overall, according to ratings by NFLDraftScout.com.

He joins Miami's Lamar Miller, Washington's Chris Polk and San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman in announcing they will forgo their remaining eligibility - Miller and Hillman are redshirt sophomore. Still yet to make their announcements are Alabama's Trent Richardson, Virginia Tech's David Wilson and Oregon's LaMichael James.

Pierce closed out his career with 157 yards and three touchdowns against Army in the New Mexico Bwol, showing what he can do when healthy. But Pierce has been slowed by injuries in all three of his seasons, including hamstring tightness and a concussion in 2011.

Pierce was "Bernie" in the backfield dubbed the "Bernie and the Bug" show along with 170-pound junior Matt Brown.

"It has been a hard decision to make, and took a lot of soul-searching, but I believe that it is the right decision for me and my career," Pierce said in a statement. "I would like to take this time to thank Coach Steve Addazio, Coach Tyree Foreman, and all the staff here at Temple, for helping to shape and mold my football talent. I would like to thank Temple University for all the educational and athletic opportunities it has provided me."

Pierce leaves as the school's career leader with 53 rushing touchdowns and 54 overall.

"We want to thank Bernard for all that he has given to Temple football during his tenure," Owls coach Steve Addazio said. "We wish him great success at the next level, and we appreciate all that he has contributed to Temple University and the football program."


Posted on: January 5, 2012 5:27 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:33 pm

Sooners QB Jones returning for senior season

Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones is returning for his senior season, with the announcement expected after a somewhat disappointing junior season.

"I want to accomplish the goals that I set before I got here, and there is still a lot more to do," Jones said.  "I want to make sure I've exhausted every effort in that area.  And I want to be a senior.  I enjoy being at OU and with my teammates and look forward to graduating with the guys that were in my class when I got here."

Jones was the No. 3-rated quarterback prospect eligible for the 2012 draft, according to ratings by NFLDraftScout.com. However, he was considered a fringe first-round prospect, and few playoff teams drafting in the lower half of the first half are in need of a franchise quarterback.

Stanford's Andrew Luck and Baylor's Robert Griffin III are the two highest-rated quarterbacks, and could potentially be the first two overall picks in April. With Landry and Southern California's Matt Barkley returning to school, Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill appears to be the only other quarterback with the potential to land in the first round.

Landry entered his junior season with high expectations after passing for 4,718 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2010. But he failed to build on that campaign, with his 4,463 yards, 29 touchdown passes and 63.2 completion percentage all down from the previous season, while his 15 interceptions were his most in three seasons with the Sooners.

Landry failed to throw a touchdown pass in the Sooners' losses at Baylor and Oklahoma State while being intercepted a combined three times in those games.

"We know the positive influence Landry has on and off the field with our team," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said.  "We're excited that he's coming back to build on what has already been an outstanding career.  We expect another great year from him, and like the fact that he's determined to be even better."

With a rebound senior season, Jones has the strong measurables NFL scouts covet and could vault himself back into contention to be a Top 10 pick. He is 30-8 as a starter, including 3-0 in bowl games, and is already the school's career leader with 93 touchdown passes. He owns 21 school records in all.

Jones possesses a strong arm that has the potential to become truly elite, and has excellent size for an NFL quarterback prospect at 6-feet-4 and 230 pounds. What he can really improve on is his accuracy under pressure and proving his ability to make sound pre-snap reads despite getting his playcalls from the sideline.

"We hope to have another opportunity to make a title run," Jones said.  "Most of the offensive line returns and we have several receivers and backs return too.  We've also got a lot of guys back on defense, so we're confident that we can be a strong team."


Posted on: January 5, 2012 4:56 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:33 pm

Ball confirms he's returning to Wisconsin

Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist, confirmed he is returning to the Badgers after the NFL advisory committee said he's a likely third-round pick if he entered the 2012 draft.

"I believe that I am mentally ready (for the NFL), but I think I need to become stronger and faster and I believe another year in the program will most definitely get me to that level," Ball said. "I do believe that I need to come back for my degree because education is most important and that will give me another year to become a better football player. I believe it's a win-win situation."

Ball's 39 touchdowns in 2011 tied Barry Sanders' single-season FBS record, and he rushed for 1,923 yards. However, the 2012 draft is filling up quickly with intriguing running back prospects, with Ball rated as the sixth-best running back and No. 80-ranked prospect overall by NFLDraftScout.com.

Miami's Lamar Miller, Washington's Chris Polk and San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman have already declared they are leaving early for the 2012 draft. Juniors Trent Richardson from Alabama and Virginia Tech's David Wilson could soon follow suit, as could Oregon's LaMichael James, all Top 100 prospects by NFLDraftScout.com along with seniors Doug Martin from Boise State and Isaiah Pead from Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, Peter Konz, the No. 1 center and No. 25 overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, is leaning toward entering the draft, according to a report by the Wisconsin State Journal. Ball will be returning for his senior season, but he could find improving his draft stock difficult minus Konz on the offensive line and quarterback Russell Wilson.



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