Posted on: April 4, 2010 11:16 am

Bradford to Redskins? Not realistic

The Washington Redskins have become a popular candidate to present the Rams with a trade package to move up to the No. 1 pick and select quarterback Sam Bradford if the conjecture of talk radio and the internet is to be believed.

And while the theory stands up in some ways (owner Daniel Snyder is prone to splashy moves and Jason Campbell being signed for only one more year chief among them), the most basic element of any deal is lacking.

The Redskins simply lack the ammunition to make this trade happen.

Washington owns only five picks in the 2010 draft, tied with Baltimore and Chicago with the least picks of any team. They have two very high picks -- the 4th and 37th overall -- but otherwise only have their 4th, 5th and 7th round picks.

According to an NFL Draft trade chart given to me years ago by an NFL executive, the first pick is worth 3000 points. In a year such as this one, where there is clear cut top quarterback likely to be the first pick, some executives feel the pick is worth even more. Washington's 4th overall pick is worth 1800 points. The 37th overall is worth 530. Washington's 4th (103rd overall) is worth 88 points. Their 5th (135th overall) is worth 38.5. Their 7th (211th overall) is worth only 8 points. The collective value of the Redskins' five picks this year is only 2,464.5.

Barring the club packaging all of their picks in a Mike Ditka-loves-Rick Williams type scenario, the Redskins would have to trade future picks as part of the deal, at least their 2011 second round pick.

Considering the varied needs of this team, giving up a hoard of picks in 2010 or in the future simply doesn't make sense -- which is why it won't happen.

Posted on: March 30, 2010 1:29 pm

Realistic expectations for Dez Bryant's Pro Day

While at Sam Bradford's Pro Day yesterday, I spoke with many scouts, coaches and league executives about Dez Bryant's workout today. Every team I spoke to yesterday (about a dozen) planned to simply continue their trip from Norman to Lufkin, Texas for Bryant's workout and on to Austin Wednesday for Texas' Pro Day.

Scouts had varied expectations for Bryant today.

One scout, who loves Bryant's athleticism and has compared his leaping and YAC ability to Randy Moss on several occasions in the past, felt that Bryant is nonetheless going to put forth a less than eye-popping time in the 40-yard dash.

Said the scout, "I've heard talk that he's going to run in the low 4.4s or even faster. If he does, that'll help surprise me. He's not that fast on film. He's more of a 4.55 guy, but he's like [Anquan] Boldin in that way; his straight-line speed is misleading." 

The scout did expect Bryant to look "very good" running routes and catching the ball.

Posted on: March 30, 2010 12:25 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2010 12:40 pm

Former USF coach Jim Leavitt with Oklahoma?

Besides the dozens of NFL executives, head coaches and scouts on hand to watch Sam Bradford's Pro Day yesterday, there were several other surprising onlookers.

Former teammate Gerald McCoy (and his father) were on hand. So too was former OU star and current Baltimore Raven Mark Clayton. Each were there to lend support to Bradford and Oklahoma for obvious reasons.

Former South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt, however, was also in attendance and does not have a natural allegiance I was aware of.

Upon noticing him, casually dressed and chatting amicably with league personnel, I made a mental note to talk to him. Once Bradford began throwing, however, I lost track of Leavitt.

Until that is about an hour later when I saw him dressed in full Oklahoma regalia, jogging on campus. Oklahoma crimson t-shirt, shorts, the whole deal.

I only happened to see Leavitt running because I skipped out early from the press conference held by Bradford and Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. Those media members who had been there only for Bradford's workout were long gone. Those that stayed for the press conference were inside Memorial Stadium listening to Bradford and Stoops.

If it has been announced that Leavitt has signed with Oklahoma in some capacity, I don't know of it. A simple internet search turned up nothing of a connection between Leavitt and the Sooners except for conjecture that Leavitt might be a coach of interest for the Sooners considering that he coached with Stoops and defensive coordinator Brett Venables at Kansas State. Leavitt is not currently listed among the Sooners' 13 football coaches according to SoonerSports.com. I contacted a handful of NFL personnel on hand for yesterday's workout to confirm that they, too, had seen Leavitt there. They had, but knew nothing of his connection with the Sooners.

Leavitt is currently in a legal battle with USF regarding his pay and whether his termination was "with" or "without" cause. Leavitt is suing USF and the USF Foundation for exoneration of inappropriate contact with a former player and the remainder of his 7 million dollar contract. Leavitt was accused of grabbing former walk-on Joel Miller by the throat and slapping him in the face. The school investigated and decided to fire Leavitt in January.

Posted on: March 29, 2010 10:07 am

Live from Bradford Pro Day -- link to coverage

I apologize for the absence of blog updates yesterday, but I spent virtually most of the day shuffling through airports and cramped airlines.

This morning, however, I've woken up to sun, calm skies and the promise of Sam Bradford's Pro Day workout in just a few hours.

I've spoken to a couple of league personnel in town already and asked them what they'll be looking for in today's workout.

  • Arm strength -- is there more/less/same zip on the intermediate crossing routes, deep out and fly-route as prior to the surgery
  • Ball placement -- this has been Bradford's calling card in the past -- has the surgery or weight gain affected his accuracy?
  • Footwork -- Bradford downplayed the transition from the heavy shotgun spread he played in at OU. Now he has to prove he can dropback.
  • Weight -- Bradford impressed scouts at the Combine by weighing in at 236 pounds -- but knew he wasn't going to work out there. Has he maintained the weight now that he's going to have to workout?
  • Poise -- Whether "at home" or at the Combine, throwing for every team in the league with mult-millions on the line is a nerve-wracking experience. How does he handle the pressure?
  • Leadership -- While this is certainly viewed as the Sam Bradford Pro Day, other Oklahoma prospects are likely to work out. Does he actively and obviously root for his teamates or just focus on himself?
The official Oklahoma Sooners website is offering a live webcast of today's workout. You can view it yourself by clicking this link.
The broadcast begins at 10:45 CT.
Posted on: March 25, 2010 1:38 pm

Lions thinking Trent Williams at 2?

Two days ago I wrote that the Detroit Lions might have another offensive tackle in mind than Russell Okung with the second overall pick.

Today, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew confirmed as much, according to an article penned by Nicholas J. Cotsonika of The Detroit Free Press. Cotsonika asked Mayhew a question about Okung and whether he was the top tackle in the class.

Mayhew's comment back was: “I think big picture, overall, taking everything into account, there are probably two guys that are the best two out there.”

The comment, taken out of context, does not mention Okung nor any other player by name. However, since the question asked was about Okung, it seems reasonable to assume that Okung is among the two OTs Mayhew is referring to.

Cotsonika asked the logical follow-up question as to who the second offensive tackle was. Mayhew, not surprisingly, declined to identify him. (Or for that matter, verify that Okung was among the top two.)

In the previous blog post I wrote (linked above), I'd reported that three different offensive tackles were nominated by scouts as the top at the position -- Okung (who received 2 of the 4 votes), Oklahoma's Trent Williams and Iowa's Bryan Bulaga.

What is interesting about my little straw poll was the feedback I've received from scouts since I wrote about it.

I've spoken to several scouts and frotn office executives throughout the league who adamantly proclaimed that Bulaga, due to his short arms (32.5") and only marginal upside "did not deserve to be in the conversation" as the top OT. One source noted that there were zero offensive line coaches present at Iowa's Pro Day, whereas there were "several" at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma's.

In these conversations Okung was repeatedly characterized as the "safest" of this year's class, but that it was Williams whom scouts felt had the most upside.

Last year, the tackle many scouts felt was safest -- Virginia's Eugene Monroe -- "fell" to Jacksonville and 8th pick. The tackle scouts felt had the most upside -- Baylor's Jason Smith -- went to the Rams with the second overall pick.

Could Trent Williams be poised to accomplish the same feat?

Personally, I'd still be surprised to see anyone other than Ndamukong Suh be the second pick of this draft, but if the Lions elect to protect their investment in quarterback Matt Stafford with a blindside protector, Trent Williams, not Russell Okung, could be the pick.
Posted on: March 24, 2010 6:00 pm

If Rams get McNabb, Bradford still an option

Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid created some buzz at the owner's meetings today with the announcement that the Eagles are, in fact, listening to trader offers for their quarterbacks, including incumbent starter Donovan McNabb.

Soon after, Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported via an anonymous league source that the St. Louis Rams have offered the Eagles their second round pick, No. 33 overall, and free safety OJ Atogwe in exchange for the Pro Bowl quarterback.

If the Rams were to acquire McNabb it would seemingly open them up to take one of the two defensive tackles, Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, the top two rated players in the draft in the eyes of many.

This, however, wouldn't necessarily be the case. While the salary ramifications of trading for McNabb (and agreeing to a new contract with him) and then taking Sam Bradford with the first pick would be historic, it would also give the Rams a great deal of talent at the game's most important position. With no salary cap, the once inconceivable notion of paying two quarterbacks top dollar would, at least theoretically, be possible. The combination of McNabb and running back Steven Jackson would give Steve Spagnuolo's Rams the offensive talent to compete in the wide-open NFC West immediately. It would also give Sam Bradford time to acclimate to the speed of the NFL.

If nothing else, the Rams likely would keep the appearance of considering Bradford with the first pick so as to potentially force a team like the Redskins, Seahawks or Browns to make a trade.

Posted on: March 23, 2010 5:02 pm

Okung not the consensus top OT

Lately there has been growing speculation that if the St. Louis Rams take Sam Bradford with the first pick of the 2010 draft, as expected, the Detroit Lions might pick left tackle Russell Okung next.

The rationale behind taking an offensive tackle is simple. The Lions just invested nearly 42 million guaranteed dollars into quarterback Matt Stafford. They need him protected. The Lions have also added defensive linemen Corey Williams and Kyle Vanden Bosch during the off-season, lessening the need for Ndamukong suh or Gerald McCoy, the defensive tackles most rate as the two best players in the draft.

According to sources throughout the league, however, if the Lions do indeed take an offensive tackle second overall, it won't necessarily be Okung.

I spoke to representatives of four teams in the past few days. Though none of the representatives were willing to tell me who their team, collectively, had as their top-rated offensive tackle, I was able to get their personal opinions on who should be the first blocker drafted April 22nd.

Two of the four polled had Okung as the top rated tackle. Iowa's Bryan Bulaga and Oklahoma's Trent Williams, however, each received a vote, as well.

Okung, a four year starter, has the experience and consistency scouts like. The two scouts who picked Bulaga and Williams, however, nitpicked about his lack of elite athleticism and conversion from a spread attack.

The conversion from a spread attack applies to Trent Williams, as well. Williams, who demonstrated eye-popping athleticism at the Combine, has only one season at left tackle, however. There are some who believe he has the most upside of this talented OT class.

Bulaga is actually viewed as the safest of the trio by many scouts, including three of the four I polled. Already technically refined, however, he may lack Okung and Williams' upside, which is why he only earned the one vote as the best tackle of the class. 

Regardless of the order they are selected, there is a growing consensus that all three tackles will be drafted among the top ten.

Some believe, in fact, that the three will join with Bradford, Suh and McCoy in some order as the top six picks of the draft.

Posted on: March 16, 2010 3:03 pm

Bryant's Pro Day switches wearing thin

Oklahoma State wide receiver is changing his Pro Day date. Again.

Bryant had originally planned to workout for scouts at the Combine. A hamstring injury prevented that.

Scouts had hoped he'd be able to workout at Oklahoma State's Pro Day March 9. Bryant was still recovering from the injury.

Bryant re-scheduled the Pro Day for March 25, the same day as Oklahoma's Sam Bradford's personal workout. Now that Bradford has changed his Pro Day date to lessen the conflict with the NFL Owners' Meetings, Bryant is switching his workout again.

Except this time, Oklahoma State isn't willing to help out. And that could be big trouble for Bryant's stock with NFL teams.

According to Adam Schefter's report here, Bryant and his representatives attempted to schedule a Pro Day on the Oklahoma State campus for March 30 - the day after Sam Bradford's workout and the day before the dozens of NFL scouts are expected to travel south to Austin, Texas for Colt McCoy and the rest of the Longhorns' Pro Day.

The Oklahoma State athletic department, however, refused to allow Bryant to schedule another Pro Day on campus. Remember, this is a football program, whose head coach, Mike Gundy, had previously been unabashedly supportive of his players.

That Gundy and the OSU athletic program are not willing to help their former All-American receiver will be interpreted by some as proof Bryant, while incredibly talented, isn't worth the trouble.

That perception could lead a player with top ten talent to tumble down the draft board come April.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com