Tag:2011 Draft
Posted on: May 2, 2011 11:09 am
Edited on: May 2, 2011 11:57 am
 

Vikings hoping Ponder can start Week 1

Posted by Will Brinson

The Minnesota Vikings shocked the world when they grabbed Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder

"Ideally, I'd like for him to be ready to go when we play San Diego (on Sept. 11)," Frazier said, per Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

But the building up of high expectations doesn't end there! Oh no: Frazier made some pretty hefty comparisons when it comes to young quarterbacks who stepped in and won right away.

"That would be the ideal situation -- we've got our Matt Ryan, we've got our (Joe) Flacco, we've got our (Mark) Sanchez right here. But because of the uncertainty of the offseason, it's just hard to determine exactly how you want to approach it. So, we need a little more clarity on what this offseason's going to be like."

This is pretty fascinating, because it was kind of always expected that the Vikings would just end up with Donovan McNabb. That's just because, um, well, I don't know -- they both had interest in one another and it seemed like a fit.
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Ponder getting drafted could still mean McNabb comes along, especially if the lockout lasts for a while and the coaching staff is unable to work with Ponder extensively before the seasons starts.

However, if they do get a chance to work with Ponder, and he gets enough reps before the season starts, it seems that Minnesota could be going all-in on their rookie, while also concerning themselves with getting the most out of a roster that doesn't have much time left on a window to make a run at the Super Bowl.

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Posted on: April 30, 2011 8:10 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2011 10:28 pm
 

2011 NFL Draft: Winners and losers

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- The grind of the NFL Draft -- and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, three days of straight picks is definitely a grind -- is finally over. Which means we should probably take our time to sit back and reflect on who did well and do not do well. Or, alternately, we can just start calling people names right ... now!



WINNERS
Atlanta Falcons: Been flopping on these guys all weekend long it feels like -- I like Julio Jones a lot, but I didn’t like all the picks the Falcons needed to get him. I do, however, freaking LOVE Jacquizz Rodgers. They got a steal when they landed a lot more offensive explosiveness in the seventh round. Couple that with a few more solid adds in Andrew Jackson, Akeem Dent and K/P Matt Bosher and it was a good haul for Thomas Dimitroff. Good enough to have me thinking about picking them to win it all. Again.

Peyton Manning: Not only is the best quarterback in the NFL going to get real paid as soon as we get a new CBA, but he’s going to have two new guys -- Anthony Castonzo and Benjamin Ijalana -- in town to help keep him healthy.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills started off their draft with a good blueprint: DEFENSE. And they stuck to that blueprint throughout the rest of the draft too, only diverting twice to pick up Chris Hairston from Clemson to beef up the offensive line and Johnny White for backfield depth and special teams. Da’Norris Searcy out of Chapel Hill could be a steal for them in the fourth.

Wade Phillips: Not that you expected the Texans to actually go out and get anyone that’s an an offensive player early in the draft, but did a great job with their first five picks, particularly in trading back up to grab Brandon Harris. Given all the limitations on that defense and the switch they have to make, it’s good for him to at least get a head start out of the draft.

Cleveland Browns: Giving up a top-10 selection when you’ve got a young quarterback that needs weapons is no easy move ... unless you’re getting five picks in return and turn those into serviceable offensive products and some defensive standouts. Buster Skrine’s value fell post-Combine but he could be a good find, Jason Pinkston out of Pittsburgh will help and already-physical offensive line. Phil Taylor/Jabaal Sheard immediately improve the defensive line and Greg Little and Jordan Cameron give Colt McCoy some guys with good hands and upside.

Ryan Mallett: My man Freeman thinks Bill Belichick might have taken too big a gamble, and there’s a good chance he might be right. But if Mallett goes anywhere else, you would have heard everyone saying that about the GM that grabbed him. (Can you imagine the reaction if Carolina took him or, dare I say, the Bengals?) The pressure of falling in the draft because of character issues and having to play/perform well at an early time is lifted with his move.

Green Bay Packers: Not that it’s hard to “win” if you’re Green Bay, coming off a Super Bowl-winning season and sitting on a young, stacked roster. But “In Ted We Trust” applies here, because Thompson beefed up the Packers’ offensive line depth, got a superb second-rounder in Randall Cobb to potentially replace and just generally marked everything he needed off his checklist. Standard Packers draft, really.

Arizona Cardinals: They had a good first two days nabbing Patrick Peterson and Ryan Williams and then fared quite well in the later rounds, particularly with their selection of Quan Sturdivant, a pretty stupendous value in the sixth round. Some would argue they didn’t address their QB need and that’s fair, but they’ll be the leaders in the clubhouse for a veteran or a Kevin Kolb trade.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The rich get richer, per usual. Cameron Heyward is the future at defensive end, Marcus Gilbert -- a reliable offensive lineman -- is exactly what the Steelers need, and the Steelers stepped up and addressed their cornerback issues early on Day 3 of the draft by grabbing Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen.

America: For awesomeness’ sake, I’m going to hold out eternal hope that the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, Ricky Stanzi ends up shirtless in a downtown BBQ joint with an American flag as a cape, holding a huge turkey leg while belting out the “Star Spangled Banner” in celebration and this scene makes its way onto YouTube. America needs that.



LOSERS
Carolina Panthers: The Panthers were a classic example of how trading early-round picks and finding yourself extremely weak at certain positions can kill you: in a draft with ridiculous defensive line depth, they still couldn’t add to a weak position until the third round when they picked up a pair of undersized defensive tackles in Terrell McClain and Sione Fua. Kealoha Pilares was a good grab at the top of the fifth, though. And, of course, they were essentially forced to take Cam Newton at the top spot. If he busts, this draft is a total nightmare. It might even be a situation of Carolina just taking their medicine in the best-case anyway.

Carson Palmer: Marvin Lewis says the Bengals have “moved on” for Palmer too; you gotta think they’ll try and trade him just to get something in return, but it’s shame because the best scenario for him might actually be returning to the ‘Nati and helping to bring A.J. Green and Stanford product Ryan Whalen into the fold of Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley. Those are nicer weapons than he’ll find in retirement.

Jacksonville Jaguars: I think Blaine Gabbert will end up being pretty good. If he’s great, this ranking could change, but if Jack Del Rio’s job is on the line, how does he not convince Gene Smith to go out and get him some freaking secondary help before fourth round? (Caveat: Smith has killed drafts since he got to J-Vegas, so if he thinks Gabbert’s “the guy” going forward, more power to him.)

Ronnie Brown: There was some talk Brown might stick with the Dolphins even after they took Daniel Thomas out of K-State in the second round. Nabbing Charles Clay -- even if he’s a fullback -- probably means Brown is done with the ‘Fins. (And it might also mean they’re not as set on paying DeAngelo Williams whatever he wants too.)

Washington Redskins: All weekend long, the Redskins looked like winners as they kept avoiding making huge mistakes by trading down and piling up picks. But did they really end up getting anything of substantial value for it? Leonard Hankerson could be a nice pull in the third round, certainly, but for all the Redskins’ surprising patience, they didn’t once address their (very serious) quarterback issue or linebacker issue.

Reggie Bush: Sean Payton’s saying that he’s open to Bush coming back. That might be true. And it might not be true. But what he’s not doing is making a dumb, knee-jerk reaction on Twitter simply because his team drafted Mark Ingram. Which is what Bush did and it’s not going to help him in the short or long term.

Denver Broncos: The Broncos accumulated a lot of picks, and added a linebacker trio that could be dominant in a few years (Von Miller as the pass rusher, Nate Irving as the tackler and Virgil Green as the cover guy). But two tight ends and not a single defensive lineman? Did someone show John Elway the wrong depth chart before this thing kicked off on Thursday?

Oakland Raiders: Al Davis didn’t have a first-rounder, so it’s okay to temper expectations a little bit, but Al really isn’t going to stop over-drafting athleticism until the day he dies. And considering how hot it was in Radio City Music Hall when they played “California Girls” for the second time on Saturday, I can’t imagine hell’s freezing over any time soon.

David Akers: With the Eagles’ decision to reach up into the fourth round and grab Alex Henery out of Nebraska, as well as the fact that Akers wasn’t happy about his transition tag, it’s pretty obvious that the incumbent kicker’s days as a Philly legend are numbered. (You could also add Henery as a loser here, too: having to come in and kick in front of Eagles’ fans sounds worse than listening to drunk Jets’ fans boo everything for eight-straight hours.)

Seattle Seahawks: Maybe Pete Carroll’s drafts are just too “zany” for me to understand, but the James Carpenter pick strikes me as possibly the biggest reach of the first round, maybe even ahead of Jake Locker and Christian Ponder. Unless bring Matt Hasselbeck back or land another veteran QB in the offseason, it’s almost impossible to imagine them sniffing the playoffs again.

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Posted on: April 30, 2011 12:26 am
 

Top five intriguing storylines from Friday

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

NEW YORK – Three rounds are done. We have four to go. Here are the most intriguing storylines for the second day of the NFL draft extravaganza.

1. Ryan Mallett fell how far … and who picked him?:
I wonder how fast Mallett’s mood changed when the Patriots took him midway through the third round. He must have gone from hurt and humiliated to not caring about what anybody else thinks. He knows he’s going to a winning program where he’ll have no pressure on him to produce immediately and where he can learn from one of the best QBs of all time. All of a sudden, life is good again for Mallett.

2. Da’Quan Bowers: third-best pro prospect out of Clemson: Before the NFL combine, what kind of odds could you have gotten if you wagered that former Clemson DE Jarvis Jenkins and former Tigers DB Marcus Gilchrist would be drafted BEFORE Bowers? You could have made millions, I tell you. Millions. Except Jenkins and Gilchrist don’t have a bad knee that might need microfracture surgery. Bowers does.

3. 49ers have a bridge to sell you … if you’ll get them a quarterback: Word on the street was that San Francisco was looking to draft Andy Dalton or Colin Kaepernick, and when the Bengals took Dalton at No. 35, the 49ers – who were picking 10 spots later – had to see which teams in front of them might also need a QB. Arizona for one, and Washington for another. So, they traded up to Denver’s No. 36 spot and gave up a third-, fourth- and fifth-rounder in exchange. It was actually a pretty deft maneuver to get the guy they wanted.

4. Washington has a TON of draft picks Saturday:
At one point, it seemed that the Redskins would never make a pick, because they kept trading down in the draft. They managed to select a player in the first, second and third rounds, and Saturday, they’ll select one fourth-rounder, four fifth-rounders, one sixth-rounder and four seventh-rounders. Unless, of course, the Redskins start trading for 2012 picks.

5. Lockout returns: There was no mention made of this during the draft – and really, why would there be? – but the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the NFL a temporary reprieve and reestablished the lockout midway through the second round tonight. Which means that the new draft picks won’t get to start learning their new teams’ schemes, and they join the ranks of the rest of the NFL players who are locked out and not getting paid. Welcome to the league, boys!

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 8:11 pm
 

Tampa stops Da'Quan Bowers' freefall at 51

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- Da'Quan Bowers very nearly got drafted by the Carolina Panthers ... in the second round. Okay, that's just speculation, but for a guy who was considered a possibility for the top-overall pick just a few months ago, for him to fall all the way to Tampa Bay with the 51st pick on the second round was a shock.

Or not, if you've heard all the reports about Bowers' knee, which may or may not be made of scrambled eggs.

The secret, though, is that Tampa and GM Mark Dominik took a gamble here and it's one that's not hard to like. Bowers is an elite talent with medical problems, but those type of players abound in the NFL. And the Buccaneers just paired him with a trio of early-round picks in Gerald McCoy, Brian Price and Adrian Clayborn.

If Tampa being heavily invested in their defensive line sounds familiar, well, it should: when they won the Super Bowl, they had a couple of guys (Warren Sapp, you may have heard of) who could wreck shop in the front seven.

If the Bowers gamble pays off, they'll find themselves in a similar position again soon, which won't make Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Drew Brees too happy.

And if it doesn't pay off, well, it's not like Tampa burned a bunch of guaranteed money with an early-round selection; the upside with Bowers at this point is absolutely worth it.

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 3:25 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Amukamara happy, but stunned to play for NYG

P. Amukamara was surprised to see New York take him in the draft (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

NEW YORK – Prince Amukamara, the Giants newest CB, stood at a podium on the fifth floor of the W Hotel at Times Square on Friday morning, and he looked dazed. Like he was in the middle of a dream and hadn’t quite woken up yet. Like his eyes hadn’t stopped REM’ing quite yet.

Then, as if on cue, his phone began to buzz, and as he reached into his pocket to silence the noise, he pointed out, “That was my alarm.”

He didn’t need it this morning, because, in reality, he didn’t get much sleep last night.

“The adrenalin still hasn’t slowed down,” he said. “It’s just too hard to fathom right now.”

Hard to fathom because he had no idea the Giants were interested in taking him, and the Giants – who had the 19th pick – had no idea Amukamara would have fallen that far. But he was there, and the Giants thought he was the best player on the board they could take. In fact, Giants scouting director Marc Ross said he was shocked Amukamara was still there. Shocked, I tell you!

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“I heard the (fans) chanting, “We want Prince. We want Prince,’” Amukamara said. “I still didn’t think I was going to go here, because I hadn’t talked to anybody with the Giants. But that’s how the draft game works. It’s pretty tricky like that.

“It’s very odd, but coach (Tom) Coughlin, when he called me, seemed like a great guy and a great coach. I heard he’s pretty stern and doesn’t like to joke around a lot. I can get used to it, but I think my personality will probably loosen him up a little bit.”

And if Amukamara actually believes that last part, he really is still dreaming.

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 12:33 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Rumors of Pats trading up might be significant

Posted by Andy Benoit

There are multiple reports that the New England Patriots have talked with the Cleveland Browns about possibly trading up to the No. 6 overall pick. Given that these reports are coming out on Draft Day, it’s entirely possible that either the Patriots or Browns themselves are spreading the rumors (more likely the Browns, as they have a lot more to gain from the whispers).

Reporting rumors like these on Draft Day is almost fruitless given the plethora of false information out there and the fact that – HELLO – all this hoopla will be settled by the end of the night.

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But in the Patriots’ case, it’s interesting because of Robert Kraft’s role in the labor negotiations. The Patriots historically have avoided picks in the early part of the first round because they disdain the financial burden that comes with signing those players. But a rookie wage scale figures to be part of the next CBA, which would make early first-rounders more affordable.

Kraft is as dialed in as anyone on the labor situation. If his team is trading up the first round, that would be a strong indication that he truly believes a new CBA can be hammered out sometime this year. If the Patriots continue to avoid early first-round picks, perhaps that’s an indication that Kraft believes a CBA isn’t on the way until next year.

Given the drama that’s unfolded this week, it seems unimaginable that a new CBA will be reached anytime in 2011. But that’s just the momentum of the drama speaking. At some point, the owners will catch their breath and realize that in order to preserve their league, they’ll have to bargain with the NFLPA.

UPDATE 4:17 p.m. EST: ESPN's Chris Mortensen says the Patriots are looking to trade up to the Cowboys' spot at No. 9 and draft Cal's Cam Jordan.

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 7:42 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:45 am
 

'A couple RBs in 1st round' says one top prospect

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- There's not a whole lot that anyone knows about the 2011 NFL Draft, thanks to the labor situation keeping the Panthers from negotiating with one prospect. But there is one truth that we think we know: there might be a single running back taken in the first round.

One. That's it ... if someone bites on Mark Ingram with their top pick. However, Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams -- the third-ranked RB on CBSSports.com's prospect board -- thinks something different might unfold. In fact, he thinks we'll see "a couple running backs" go early on Thursday.

"The draft is full of surprises," Ryan Williams told CBSSports.com at NIKETOWN on Wednesday. "They say they don't want running backs in the first round -- how can you not take running backs in the first round when a lot of teams are taking running backs.

"I think we're going to get a couple running backs in the first round."

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A bold prediction to be sure, and one that's certainly a bit convenient, as a result of Williams hoping that he goes early.

But at the stage that he said this (less than 24 hours from the first round), there's not a whole lot for him to gain from saying this. He knows who's interested in his services.

And he also knows how many teams might be desperate for a second and/or first explosive running back capable of stepping in and making a difference right away.

"You look at the Dolphins, they're losing Ricky [Williams], Ronnie [Brown]," Williams said. "You look at the Bengals, they're losing [Cedric] Benson. Redskins lost [Clinton] Portis.

"Knowshon [Moreno] with the injury problems. Baltimore Ravens with Willis McGahee … so the list goes on."

Williams also added about the Panthers' DeAngelo Williams, "he's already gone."

And he's right. These guys are either out the door or likely gone. Miami's made their intentions clear (it's why nearly everyone has Ingram pegged to the Dolphins), DeAngelo seems like a lock to leave the Carolinas because of his status and Jonathan Stewart, Benson is an unrestricted free agent, etc., etc.

That's the weird thing about this draft -- there's a lot of teams who need running backs but a ton of teams who aren't acting all that interested in taking a running back early. After all, there's a ton of depth and, as always in this day and age, a ton of teams that actually need healthy, talented running backs.

For the Dolphins, Williams already has a solution: draft and pair him with Darren Evans, our 31st-ranked running back prospect , who also happens to have played at Virginia Tech.

"You know what would be great? If the Dolphins picked up me and Darren [Evans of Virginia Tech]," Williams half-joked. "I feel like me and Darren pair well with each other. They're losing Ricky and Ronnie -- pick up Ryan and Darren."

No one's going to bank on the Dolphins listening to Williams' advice, much less a pile of teams jumping all over a running back in the first round, but just remember if they do -- after giving credit for where you heard it first -- tell someone to hire Williams as a draft analyst ASAP.

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Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Hot Routes 4.27.11 so are we locked out or not?

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

 
 
 
 
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