Posted on: April 2, 2010 4:54 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2010 4:59 pm

Trojan pass-rushers: NFL projects

David Nestoff, DraftSite.com

Troy University injected two of the most prolific pass-rushers in to the NFL in the last half of the decade. A public mid-major in southeastern Alabama, the Trojans saw the likes of DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora leave on a train for the NFL and enjoy immense success.

With the Dallas Cowboys, Ware’s impact was immediate. He left Troy as one of the most effective pass rushers in school history. At the pro level, he recorded eight sacks in his rookie season, and has had double-digit sacks each of the four years since. In the last five years, Ware leads the NFL in sacks with 64.5.

At 47.5 sacks over the last five years, Ware’s former teammate and now New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora doesn’t fall far behind. Umenyiora is sixth in sacks over his last five seasons (he missed all of 2008 with an injury). Not to mention, his time with the Giants has rewarded the Troy alum with a Super Bowl ring.

Though, neither were locks for stardom entering their college careers. In fact, both were projects coming out of high school, which is what helped them end up at Troy.

“When defensive linemen come along, if they are pretty close to the finished product, if they can play, they are scooped up pretty fast by the SEC and the ACC,” Troy’s defensive line coach Randy Butler said.

Brandon Lang and Cameron Sheffield came in much the same way as their predecessors. Not finished enough products for the Division I powerhouses. They came to Troy in need of some developing.

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Posted on: March 28, 2010 2:53 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2010 2:55 pm

UConn : Running back-U?

By Tim Rohan, DraftSite.com

The University of Connecticut may be developing into a legitimate place for NFL teams to look for talent. And the Huskies just might be the next running back-U if they keep their recent trends up.

Running back Andre Dixon is the most recent product of the run-hungry offense under coach Randy Esdall.

During Dixon’s redshirt-sophomore season, he split carries with Donald Brown, and started eight games on his way to an 828-yard campaign, which led the team. Dixon also averaged five yards per carry that season and caught 24 passes for 280 yards. Yet he was only able to tally four touchdowns.

In Brown’s senior season, Dixon only carried the ball nine times on the season, which was more than 150 carries less than the previous year. Donald Brown rushed for over 2,000 yards that season. When Brown graduated however, Dixon got his carries back, yet he had to split them once again.

In Connecticut’s run dominated offense, Dixon showed that when he got the ball, he could be an effective runner. Dixon had 239 rushes for 1,093 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground this season. He wasn’t the only Huskie to top the 1,000 yard mark though. Sophomore running back Jordan Todman got nearly the same amount of carries as Dixon — and Todman led the team in yards and matched Dixon’s 14 rushing scores.

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Posted on: March 22, 2010 12:27 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2010 12:30 pm

Armanti Edwards: Flash of Brilliance

On September 1, 2007, life changed for Armanti Edwards.

He admits today that the game probably opened some people’s eyes to what he can do on the football field. His performance in Appalachian State’s upset win over then-No. 5 Michigan in the Big House launched Edwards onto the national spotlight.

Three seasons later, Edwards graduated with two Division I FCS national championships in his freshman and sophomore seasons.

The diminutive quarterback was a dual threat under center and carved the Wolverines up for 227 yards passing, 62 yards rushing and four total touchdowns.

Edwards put the Mountaineers on the map, and finished his career with more than 10,000 passing yards, more than 4,000 rushing yards, 74 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.

He came back down to earth his junior and senior years though. He didn't top the 1,000 yard mark for rushing yards but his passing was more on display.

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Posted on: March 16, 2010 1:26 pm

Second-chance signal callers

By David Nestoff, DraftSite.com

Sometimes, a college career goes exactly as planned. All fanfare and expectations are met, and the results speak for themselves. But as often as that happens there are those recruits who fall short. Sometimes it’s a bad situation, filled with disagreements and laced with trouble. Sometimes the location is the issue, being a big city filled with too many opportunities to go the wrong way.

Sometimes, it’s as good an idea to leave a school as it is to stay, regardless of the opportunities that were once there, or the size of the school.

Change can be the best thing, which is just the way it panned out for three formerly high-profile Division I quarterback prospects turned NFL-hopefuls for the 2010 Draft. There might have been less fanfare and no limelight, but for Jacksonville State’s Ryan Perrilloux, Ole Miss’s Jevan Snead and Arkansas Tech’s Nick Graziano, change was the best thing, especially to boost their stock as NFL prospects.

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Posted on: March 12, 2010 1:45 am
Edited on: March 12, 2010 1:48 am

Mock Drafts: Packers, Bucs, Steelers

continues their series of team-by-team mock drafts, projecting the best-case, most realistic and worst-case scenarios for each team.  As we move forward we'll combine these mocks in to three-team packages for easier consumption.

Take a look!

Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL going into the 2010 season. And going into the draft they will look to add to an already explosive offense by giving quarterback Aaron Rodgers a few more weapons to play with.

Their defense is strong since there has been a focus on drafting on that side of the ball for the past few seasons. The only pressing needs are in the secondary.

The following is the best-case, worst-case, and most likely scenario for the first four rounds of the draft, plus a shot-in-the-dark guess at the Packers fifth-round selection.

Full Mock

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the second year of their rebuilding process, and are sitting pretty at the top of the first round of the 2010 draft. But, if they don't choose wisely they could get burnt and take a step backwards.

In 2009, the Bucs found their franchise quarterback in Josh Freeman, but there are still plenty of roster holes that need to be filled come April.

Full Mock

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have done a great job filling in some needs so far this offseason. Bringing back Ryan Clark was a huge decision, and he has proven himself to be a very good safety paired with Troy Polamalu.

The Steelers then went out and signed safety Will Allen and receivers Antwaan Randle El and Arnaz Battle. These moves filled in some holes in the reserve positions, and will surely help the Steelers come April. They can now pick the best players available, and continue to build for the future.

Full Mock

Posted on: March 4, 2010 2:10 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2010 2:11 pm

Mock Drafts: Bengals, Jets, Pats

continues their series of team-by-team mock drafts, projecting the best-case, most realistic and worst-case scenarios for each team.  As we move forward we'll combine these mocks in to three-team packages for easier consumption.

Take a look!

Cincinnati Bengals

The AFC North might not be the best division in the NFL but it’s certainly one of the toughest. Playing Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice a year is enough to make any team battle-hardened.

Marvin Lewis did an amazing job leading his team to a division title following a 10-6 season marred by tragedy with the deaths of receiver Chris Henry and Vikki Zimmer, wife of Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer. For his efforts, Lewis was named 2009 NFL AP Coach of the Year.

With a few upgrades at key positions, Cincinnati is primed to make a run at the AFC Championship in 2010.

Full Mock Draft

New York Jets

With a trio of rookies in key positions last year, the Jets exceeded most expectations. Unpredictable and charismatic, Rex Ryan was impressive in his coaching debut.

Mike Tannenbaum will need to make his early picks in the 2010 draft count because they traded their third, fourth, and fifth-round picks. However, they are set to receive one of the Philadelphia Eagles' two fifth-round picks from the “conditional picks” part of the Lito Sheppard deal.

As one of the final playoff teams to make a divisional round appearance, Tannenbaum will be somewhat handcuffed in the free agency market. 

Full Mock Draft


New England Patriots

I don't envy the Patriots' scouting crew's job — not at all.

If I learned just one thing writing this mock draft, it's that evaluating talent for the NFL draft is as tough a job as I've ever been faced with.

Even though it's been inappropriately labeled by many as a crapshoot, every team looks forward to the NFL draft.

Teams don't look forward to having the most amount of time to evaluate talent for the draft, though—every team wants to be the last to get started. The Patriots have had a bit more time than they'd like, but they have a lot of draft picks to look forward to in 2010, including three in the second round.

Likewise, they have a lot of holes to fill.

Full Mock Draft


Top: Taylor Mays. (US Presswire) -- Middle: Everson Griffen. (Getty Images) -- Bottom: Sergio Kindle. (US Presswire)

Posted on: February 28, 2010 4:13 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2010 4:26 pm

Suh or McCoy?

By Chad Reuter , NFLDraftScout.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's rare that a pair of defensive tackles get as much attention at the combine as the elite quarterbacks. Then again, Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy are rare talents.
  Suh and McCoy are likely rated higher on many teams'  boards than quarterbacks    Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) and Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame), a rarity in today's  of fense-happy NFL. 
  The St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions have the top two picks, and could use McCoy and Suh on their porous defenses. But two questions remain: Who is better? And  is either worth taking in the top two selections?

Neither question is easily answered. Suh said on Saturday that he would be happy for his "good friend" McCoy if he went No. 1. But he added that he'd "definitely be disappointed with myself not getting it. I'm a competitor. I want to be No. 1. So that's what I'm going to strive for."

That attitude is just one of the reason teams like his game. But despite Suh finishing fourth in the Heisman voting (85 tackles, 24 for loss, 12 sacks) while riding the wave of a dominant performance against Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game, McCoy will be ranked higher on some boards because of his ability to explode into the backfield as a three-technique.

Because he redshirted, McCoy could have entered the draft after the 2008 season and been a first-round pick. But there was little doubt after an All-American junior year (15.5 tackles for loss, six sacks) that he would take his game to the NFL. After McCoy made his decision to leave school early, Sooners head coach Bob Stoops said: "I've never been associated with a young man who was any more impressive than Gerald."

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Posted on: February 23, 2010 1:35 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2010 1:36 pm

Team Mocks: Seahawks, Falcons, Saints

 BleacherReport.com continues their series of team-by-team mock drafts, projecting the best-case, most realistic and worst-case scenarios for each team.  As we move forward we'll combine these mocks in to three-team packages for easier consumption.

Take a look!

Seattle Seahawks

Coming off a hollow 5-11 season, and with a total of only nine wins in the last two seasons, the rebuilding starts now for the Seattle Seahawks.

The new regime in Seattle, GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll, have an infinite list of draft needs that must be filled with the team's seven picks. And the new management will have to start drafting wisely if the franchise wants to turn the corner and regain contender-status in the NFC West. That means starting on the offensive line and extending to almost every position imaginable.

An elite offensive lineman was a priority before last year's draft, but the team decided to take linebacker Aaron Curry with the fourth overall selection.

In 2010, Seattle holds the cards with two first-round picks… the No. 6 overall from its dogged 2009 campaign… and the 14th draft position from the Broncos.

Full Mock

Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons finished the 2009 season ranked 21st overall in total defense… giving up an average of 20.3 points per game.

Now, that doesn’t seem too far over the league average, which was right around 20 points per game, but the Falcons were only able to muster up 22.7 points per contest. And quick match suggests that they could be 16-0 with that comparison, but as we all know, the average does not always tell the full story.

Though they gave up the same amount of points as they did last year, 325, they only scored 363 points, a drop of 28 from last season.

To the naked eye, 28 points, or less than two points per game, would not be that big of a difference. Yet it seemed to be enough to take the Falcons record from 11-5 to 9-7, a drop of two wins.

Full Mock

New Orleans Saints

The Super Bowl champs usually don’t have many needs, and don’t look to the draft and free agency as crucial pieces to return to the playoffs.

But, with an aging defense and some lackluster performance by a variety of positions, the Saints need to take this draft class very seriously if they hope to continue their success for seasons to come.

We’ll take a look at the best case selections (guys who they’d be lucky to get), the worst case selections (guys who they’d have to deal with because of lack of value), and the most likely pick (guys that they are probably targeting, and should get from their current position.)

Full Mock

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