Tag:Auburn
Posted on: February 19, 2011 1:01 pm
 

Fox makes it official, Denver switching to 4-3

Once the Denver Broncos hired John Fox to be their head coach many of us presumed he'd be bringing along his 4-3 defensive front to the AFC West.

On Friday, he made it official, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post.

"We're going to be a multiple-front defense, but I think we'll make the commitment to the 4-3. The transition from the 3-4 to 4-3 is much easier than going from the 4-3 to 3-4, I will say that. So we feel pretty confident about that switch."

The Broncos had long run the 4-3 alignment under Mike Shanahan, but switched to the 3-4 under Josh McDaniels. Under the tutelage of then-defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, the Broncos appeared to make early strides in the odd man front in 2009, but the team dropped from the No. 7 ranked overall defense two years ago to dead last this past season.

Fox is fortunate in his timing. Not only are the Broncos in prime position to add a defensive star with the No. 2 overall pick of the draft, they'll also be getting former NFL sacks champion Elvis Dumervil back this season. He missed all of last year with a torn pectoral muscle.

I currently project the Broncos to select defensive tackle Nick Fairley in the first round. My fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter also has them taking the Auburn star.

Fairley, Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers each possess the size and strength to provide immediate help in Denver. The possibility also exists that the Broncos may have to consider LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson should they allow Champ Bailey to leave via free agency.

As always for the very best in NFL draft coverage, be sure to keep the page refreshed at NFLDraftScout.com


Posted on: February 14, 2011 1:50 pm
 

Under Armour signs Newton in record-breaking deal

I was among those who spoke out against Cam Newton's media-day workout last week. I didn't see the point in Newton working out for the media when we don't own a draft pick.

Now the rationale for the workout may be emerging.

The hype generated from Newton's throwing session last Thursday no doubt contributed to Under Armour signing the Heisman Trophy winner to the biggest endorsement deal ever given to an incoming NFL prospect, according to a report from Darren Rovell of CNBC Sports Business .

Rovell's report does not include specific numbers, but he cites sources who claim the agreement "surpass[es] the $1 million a year deal adidas gave to Reggie Bush in 2006 both in terms of annual guarantee and overall dollars."

Under Armour plans to take advantage of Newton's NCAA appeal, selling Auburn jerseys with his name on them, as well as Newton-specific training apparel.

Newton will not be able to wear an Under Armour jersey in the NFL. Reebok owns the rights to these. He will, however, wear Under Armour shoes.

For the best in NFL Draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com.
Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: February 13, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Interviews most underrated component of Combine

The workouts get all of the attention and savvy NFL draft followers know that the medical grades are actually the most important part of the Combine.

One critical piece of the Combine pie that gets very little exposure is the player interview process.

In the past, the interviews teams get with players have only earned attention when something bizarre occurs -- like last year when the Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland asked then-Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant about his mother's ... uhhh... profession.

In reality, however, this is an integral part of the Combine.

Teams are attempting to learn through a 15 minute interview if the young man sitting opposite them is one of the rare individuals who will actually work harder after signing a multi-million dollar contract.

When I visited Athletes Performance for an article two years ago on the process high-ranking athletes go through in Combine preparation, everyone there was willing to talk about the revolutionary techniques in exercise, nutrition and rehabilitation. Few, however, talk about the significant coaching that players go through to prepare for interviews.

Based on polling various scouts throughout the league, here are 15 high profile players who have as much riding on their interviews with teams as they do the other more hyped components of the Combine.

Players are listed alphabetically.
  • Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
  • Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
  • Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton
  • Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
  • A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
  • Greg Little, WR, North Carolina
  • Jake Locker, QB, Washington
  • Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
  • Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
  • Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
  • Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh
  • Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
  • Tyron Smith, OT, USC
  • Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
  • Titus Young, WR, Boise State


Posted on: February 13, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Interviews most underrated component of Combine

The workouts get all of the attention and savvy NFL draft followers know that the medical grades are actually the most important part of the Combine.

One critical piece of the Combine pie that gets very little exposure is the player interview process.

In the past, the interviews teams get with players have only earned attention when something bizarre occurs -- like last year when the Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland asked then-Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant about his mother's ... uhhh... profession.

In reality, however, this is an integral part of the Combine.

Teams are attempting to learn through a 15 minute interview if the young man sitting opposite them is one of the rare individuals who will actually work harder after signing a multi-million dollar contract.

When I visited Athletes Performance for an article two years ago on the process high-ranking athletes go through in Combine preparation, everyone there was willing to talk about the revolutionary techniques in exercise, nutrition and rehabilitation. Few, however, talk about the significant coaching that players go through to prepare for interviews.

Based on polling various scouts throughout the league, here are 15 high profile players who have as much riding on their interviews with teams as they do the other more hyped components of the Combine.

Players are listed alphabetically.
  • Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
  • Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
  • Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton
  • Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
  • A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
  • Greg Little, WR, North Carolina
  • Jake Locker, QB, Washington
  • Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
  • Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
  • Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
  • Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh
  • Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
  • Tyron Smith, OT, USC
  • Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
  • Titus Young, WR, Boise State


Posted on: February 10, 2011 8:04 pm
 

Cam Newton Media Workout Video

Marty Caswell of XX1090 AM radio in San Diego shot nearly 15 minutes of video of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton's Media Day workout Thursday. The link to the video is below.

The video has been cut up. The first seven minutes of the video are actually some of Newton's post workout question-and-answer session with the media. For those only interested in Newton's throwing, it begins at approximately the 7:03 mark.

I'd recommend listening to the interview, however. Though none of the hard questions were posed to Newton -- about the pay-for-play scandal that hung over his head while with the Tigers, etc. -- we are allowed some insight as to how he handles questions from interviewers. As we've seen in prior interviews, Newton is poised and funny, at times. He also resorts to cliches, on occasion. Is this nerves or is Newton going to struggle with the significant expansion in terminology of an NFL offense? This, much more than how well he throws in shorts, is a concern he'll need to address for teams during interviews at the Combine.

In the workout itself, Newton demonstrates good timing and efficiency in his drops. He has a smooth, over the top release and generally good accuracy. He does throw some balls a bit high, at times, especially during the early crossing routes. He shows the ability to stick some of the sideline throws, as well as demonstrate his great touch on the deep balls.

Among the more impressive things Newton does is adjust when Trent Dilfer requests some different throws. The willingness to do this -- and do it well -- no doubt contributed to Dilfer's and Warren Moon's rave reviews of the workout.

Newton does look good in on this video. The reality, is however, is that he should. Having personally been on hand for two stellar workouts that moved Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford into the top five of their respective drafts, I can tell you that I cannot see enough on this video to put Newton on par with either of those workouts.

I hope the positive press Newton is receiving from this workout encourages him to throw at the Combine. I hope to watch him in person there -- as I'm sure do the talent evaluators for 32 NFL teams. 

Video Link 
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Posted on: February 10, 2011 12:52 pm
 

All eyes on Cam today (just like Dad planned it)

For the first time since the BCS Championship game, Cam Newton will be throwing passes in front of a live audience.

Unfortunately, the audience will be a group of selected media, rather than NFL decision-makers at today's private workout outside of San Diego, California.

Only select media were allowed at the event. Among them is a representative of The Sports XChange, who will be contributing a report for NFLDraftScout.com.

Newton's workout will show off his live arm and rare athletic ability. What the media should be focusing on, however, is not Newton's rare physical tools, but instead on his footwork dropping back from center and if he consistently hits his receivers in stride.

I've been critical of Newton's workout in the past and remain so. The reality is, Newton can be dazzling today and it may do very little good for him. In fact, some scouts feel that Newton and his father (who reportedly pushed for this media-only event) are actually doing more harm than good to the Heisman winner's stock.


Posted on: February 3, 2011 8:04 am
 

Wise to exercise caution on "Signing Day" grades

I can't help but chuckle at how big signing day has become in the college football world.

There is no denying that recruiting and signing the best players are the lifeblood of college athletics. Those fortunate to have boast the best talent often win -- in college football, sports and in most situations in life.

Last year offered as great of proof of this as any. Auburn received as a dominant a performance as we've ever seen from a first-year signee with JUCO addition Cam Newton. South Carolina, which met Auburn in the SEC Championship game, did so largely due to the play of their true freshman running back Marcus Lattimore.

According to MaxPreps.com, the recruiting website featured by CBSSports.com, Notre Dame, Florida State and Alabama currently rank 1-3 as the top rated recruiting classes this year. Other recruiting organizations - such as ESPN's Scouts Inc. (FSU, Alabama, Auburn) and Rivals.com (Alabama, FSU, Texas) had slightly different rankings. It is easy to see why these teams are expected to either maintain their perch among the elite programs in the country or, as in the case of Notre Dame and Texas, re-emerge as such.

The numbers of high school All-Americans signed to a class, however, certainly doesn't translate into immediate success. Many of these players will, of course, never pan out.

As a point of comparison, I took a peek in the rearview mirror at the 2007 recruiting winners.

Most had USC as a big winner, based largely on the signings of RB Joe McKnight, DE Everson Griffen, LB Chris Galippo and QB Aaron Corp. McKnight and Griffen wound up in the NFL and Galippo and Corp may do the same, but none of them became the dominant players expected considering their hype.

This is hardly just an issue at USC.

Others tabbed Florida as the big winner. They certainly found a star in Joe Haden, but what became of WR Deonta Thompson and RB Bo Williams -- the two higher rated prospects the Gators signed?

Now, perhaps this is simply an example of the pot calling the kettle black - after all, I'm a guy who is asked to assign grades to NFL teams on draft day before any of their new players get a chance to prove themselves - but let's remember than these are teenagers. Their bodies, minds and levels of commitment are going to be tested in a way they can't imagine. Let's do them all a service by tempering our expectations.

Perhaps there is never a better day than this one to remind us all of the message the NCAA has used in the past: "There are 380,000 NCAA student-athletes, and just about all of them will be going pro in something other than sports."

My advice to the thousands of recruits signing yesterday? Focus on your academics. Virtually all of you dominated in high school. A tiny percentage of you will do the same at the collegiate level, winning an opportunity to play professional football. You may win that NFL lottery someday, but yesterday you won a free education. Don't lose out on that guarantee simply because someone tabbed you an elite recruit destined for the NFL.
Posted on: January 29, 2011 11:00 pm
 

Newton taking unnecessary risk with media workout

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton might be able to impress the media during a one-hour workout he's scheduled for February 10 at Cathedral High in Del Mar, California, but will it do any good?

Despite winning the Heisman Trophy and BCS Championship, there are plenty of questions about the Auburn junior's ability to translate his success into the NFL. The spread-option offense he ran under Gus Malzahn's direction won't cut in the NFL. He'll need to be able to read defenses quicker, be more accurate with a greater variety of passes and do both while dropping back from center -- something he was rarely asked to do with the Tigers.

Helping him improve in these areas is George Whitfield, the San Diego-based quarterback guru who helped keep Ben Roethlisberger fine-tuned while the Pittsburgh star served his four-game suspension this season.

I don't doubt Newton's talent as a quarterback, nor Whitfield's talent as a coach. I do question Cam Newton, Sr.'s decision to have this media-only workout in the first place.

And let's be clear, this is a media-only event. NFL scouts are forbidden to attend a prospect's workout of this nature in any other setting than the Combine, the player's hometown or his university.

The purpose of the workout, Whitfield told Jim Corbett of USA Today is to "differentiate [Newton] from Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell " and to determine if Newton should workout at the Combine or wait for Auburn's Pro Day in March.

The obvious question I'd ask is what could Newton possibly gain from this workout in front of the relatively untrained of national media?

Taking an optimistic approach, let's assume Newton blows us all away with his workout for a moment.

Doesn't he run the risk that NFL teams will be turned off by what appears to be an attempt to upstage the NFL and its Combine?

And to do what? Create some buzz? There isn't a more famous (rapidly becoming infamous) collegiate player in the country.

And, what if Newton struggles - or is even inaccurately portrayed by some as having struggled -- in his workout? Will he elect not to workout for scouts at the Combine, thereby opening himself up to questions about his competitive fire?

I asked a handful of scouts about this workout. All were mystified as to what gains could be made with what one front officie executive termed a "publicity stunt."

One high level scout put it this way:

"The Newtons would be best to realize they aren't in college anymore. Regardless of how good he looks for [the media], there isn't going to be a bidding war for him. We're not recruiting him. They could wind up turning more people against them than for them with this [workout]."

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