Tag:2011 Draft
Posted on: April 5, 2011 5:41 pm

Is Fairley a younger version of Haynesworth?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Remember when we talked about how Auburn DT Nick Fairley had a pretty decent shot of going to Carolina with the No. 1 pick in this month’s draft? Hell, a Panthers beat writer and I spent some time during Super Bowl week discussing the pros and cons of the Panthers making such a move with Fairley.

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Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who believes Fairley is a No. 1 pick. And, if you read this New York Post report, you can imagine why Fairley could drop even further than, say, the top-five. Because when your name is compared to that of Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth, as some of the Post’s sources have done, it’s not always such a good thing.

“You’ve got to tread lightly with him because, as good as he looks on film, he could be a one-year wonder,” an AFC general manager told The Post this week. “It’s not like [Ndamukong] Suh, who dominated for a couple of years and you had no doubts whatsoever about.”

Instead, Fairley has impressed for only one season in a Tigers uniform (and he WAS extremely impressive, recording 12 sacks during Auburn’s national championship campaign), and he was accused of dirty play on more than one occasion. His off-the-field character, much like Haynesworth, also has been questioned.

And remember, he made only 28 tackles and one sack as a sophomore after spending a season in JUCO. So, aside from his monster 2010, there’s not much history of consistent top-notch play there.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion,” Fairley said at the NFL combine. "Some people think I play the game the way it should be played.”

Hopefully for Fairley, some of those people include NFL team executives.

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Posted on: April 2, 2011 3:37 pm

Bill GM Nix: Gabbert 'similar athlete' to Newton

Posted by Will Brinson

The Buffalo Bills, because of Chan Gailey's innovative offensive mind, are widely considered a potential landing spot for former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.

But Blaine Gabbert could land there as well -- depending on what the Panthers and Broncos do, of course; worth noting is that our own Clark Judge has him there ahead of Newton. And, if you need proof, how about the strong praise the former Mizzou signal caller drew from Bills' GM Buddy Nix for his athleticism recently?

"People don't realize, they talk about what a good athlete Cam is, which he is, but [Gabbert] is a very similar athlete." Nix said to WEDG Radio, per Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News.

Well, now, that's nice and everything, but -- and no offense to Gabbert -- that might be a stretch, Buddy.

"He's 6-4, and he's 234 pounds and he ran 4.61 (40-yard dash)," Nix told WEDG Radio. "He can jump. He's 10 feet, 3 inches long jump. Athletically he's really a big, fast athlete. He's a smart guy. He's a little like Cam in that he hasn't played a lot. — He played three games his senior year in high school. He didn't play any as a freshman except in a mop-up role and then started two years."

Look, Gabbert's a good athlete. No question about it. But no amount of height or weight or speed is going to make him a "similar" athlete to Newton. That's because Newton is the freaky-deakiest of the freaks when it comes to raw athletes that we've seen in sports, in a pretty long time. If he was more polished as a quarterback and/or there weren't some concerns about his off-field behavior/personal life, there wouldn't be a discussion about who was getting drafted at No. 1 overall.

It would be a slam dunk for Newton and no one would think twice. But there are questions and that's how Gabbert's getting involved in the discussion. So, yeah, it's great for him, but let's not carried away when we start discussing the phrase "athleticism."

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Posted on: March 31, 2011 5:14 pm

Von Miller will attend the NFL Draft

Posted by Andy Benoit

There is now no excuse for any invited rookie not to attend the 2011 NFL Draft. After all, Von Miller, the only rookie plaintiff in the players’ lawsuit against the owners, will be at Radio City Music Hall.

"I'm honored to get an invitation and I plan on being there," Miller said via ESPN.com. "It's always been a dream of mine, having my name called and being able to walk across the stage and shake the hand of the commissioner."

That’s the same commissioner that Miller’s soon-to-be union/trade association has been publicly censuring the past few weeks. Miller will be in St. Paul next Thursday to attend the NFL hearing before Judge Susan Nelson in U.S. District Court.

The one DeMaurice Smith called “a brave young Aggie” did not express any concern about whether his presence at April’s draft will ruffle the feathers of his future peers.

"It doesn't change my stance with current NFL players," Miller said. "This is just separating the personal from the business. Personally, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fulfill a dream that my mom and dad, myself and my family can enjoy a very emotional day. But I still plan on being there for the players in trying to get this lockout lifted."

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Posted on: March 31, 2011 10:53 am
Edited on: March 31, 2011 4:25 pm

Bengals not interested in Mallett with No. 4 pick

Posted by Clark Judge

The Cincinnati Bengals are one of those teams that could use a quarterback, and one is coming to their neighborhood soon. That would be Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, who is scheduled to meet with members of the Bengals' staff Thursday evening and Friday.

Cincinnati has the fourth pick of the draft, and Mallett will not be that choice. But there's a chance the club could be interested if he's still there at the top of the second round, which he could be, which means the Bengals better do their homework on him -- provided, of course, they're interested.

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They could be. Mallett has an abundance of talent, and the Bengals have a need at the position. But there are concerns about the guy -- beginning with a "punk persona" that can alienate people -- that could push him down draft boards. Given the Bengals' history of assuming players who are character risks, I assume their board won't be affected by Mallett's behavior.

Which means it comes down to the talent, and he has it. Plus, as I mentioned, there could be -- no, should be -- an opening. The Bengals have a starting quarterback in Carson Palmer, but he notified the team he won't play for it again. That would leave Carson's brother, Jordan, or Dan LeFevour as the team's starter if Palmer stands by his promise and the club doesn't draft another quarterback.

But it will draft another quarterback. Too many people within the organization believe Palmer isn't bluffing. The club may not deal him, but it must start preparing for the day he's not there -- and that sure looks as if it's sooner, rather than later.

This post was cross-posted from Clark Judge's Punt, pass and Judge blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: March 29, 2011 11:04 pm

Scout was unfair to Newton

C. Newton didn't get a very good evaluation from at least one scout (Getty). Posted by Mike Freeman

The nastiest, most unfair and borderline silliest thing ever written about a draft prospect appeared recently in Pro Football Weekly. When I say ever written, I mean, ever written.

PFW's Nolan Nawrocki wrote this about quarterback Cam Newton: "Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup.  Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them.  Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and will always struggle to win a locker room . . . Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example.  Immature and has had issues with authority.  Not dependable.”

So that's how we're evaluating prospects now? On how they smile ?

On how if they know where the cameras are? What does that even mean?

I've never seen anything like this written in the media about a draft prospect. Never. And I've been covering the NFL for 20 years.

It's disgraceful. Really, it is.

Now, in the draft, we have the smile meter.

We measuring pouts next?

This post was cross-posted from Mike Freeman's Freestyle blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS.
Posted on: March 27, 2011 5:26 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 10:51 pm

Rivera: 'Why can't you take a corner first?'

Posted by Will Brinson

People don't draft a cornerback with the first pick in the NFL Draft. It -- literally -- doesn't happen.

But it could change this year, if you're willing to listen to Ron Rivera, the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, who, via Dan Pompei of the National Football Post, seems to think LSU's Patrick Peterson is a viable option at No. 1.

"Why can’t you take a corner first?" Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. "A shutdown corner, or a very, very good corner who can harass the receivers, throw off their timing is important as it is because it's turning into a passing league. How is he going to impact your defense? Can it also help the offense? There are a few really good ones out there. Does he help our pass rush? Does he help get the ball back and get our offense back on the field?"

Of course, the reason no one takes a cornerback No. 1 overall is that it's tough to justify the use of salary on someone who's not guaranteed to shut off half the field.

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But there's a good chance that this year's No. 1 selection will be subject to a rookie wage scale. And if that's the case, then it doesn't matter nearly as much if the Panthers make history and draft Peterson with the first selection.

Or, alternately, this could just be further subterfuge by Carolina regarding what they plan to do with the top pick. Really, that may be the safest bet of all.

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Posted on: March 18, 2011 9:22 am
Edited on: March 18, 2011 12:26 pm

Warner: Palmer could be 'tremendous' in Arizona

Posted by Will Brinson

Everywhere Kurt Warner goes, there's always one particular question that people ask him. "Who's going to play quarterback for the Cardinals?"

That's because Warner, after retiring after 2009, left a pretty big void on Arizona's roster; filling it has become the top priority for 2011. And Warner had some pretty interesting thoughts about how would work for Ken Wisenhunt's crew in the upcoming season, including a certain quite disgruntled Bengals quarterback.

"I think a guy like Carson Palmer would be tremendous in that kind of system," Warner told Chuck and Vince on the Fan AM 1060 Thursday.

Warner also shared some advice on a guy he's played with plenty of times in his career, Marc Bulger.

"The thing I always look at putting guys in certain systems is, how does it fit what they have done in their career and how does it fit their skill set?" Warner said. "If the Cardinals want to do what we did when I was there, I think Marc fits the bill extremely well. He is a very accurate passer down the field, he can read defenses, he understands the system they plasy there and can do those things very well."

Of course, going with Bulger doesn't preclude the Cards from drafting a quarterback, either. And there's a decent chance that Arizona will have a look at No.2-ranked quarterback on the CBSSports.com big board: Cam Newton.

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"He doesn't have quite as much speed as I do, but unfortunately that's not one of those things you can teach," Warner joked. "He's an extremely talented young man, but I'm one of those guys -- as talented as he was, as good as he was in college -- I'm always leery of taking someone high to the NFL that hasn't based their career on reading defenses in the pocket and throwing the football. Because at this level it's very rare to go far in the playoffs with a guy who runs -- as opposed to passes -- first, that looks to create with his feet -- as opposed to his arm -- and I can't remember the last one -- if there's ever been one -- who's won a championship."

For what it's worth, Warner praised Newton for being a "great kid" and "talented" and he's not really taking shots at the Auburn product. In fact, he's just making the same point that everyone else has made: Cam Newton is a gamble.

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Posted on: March 15, 2011 7:18 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2011 11:52 pm

Goodell doesn't sound worried about draft boycott

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL offseason rumor du jour is that the NFLPA might boycott the NFL draft. One can only imagine that would go over wonderfully with the people who run the league and the television partners in charge of broadcasting the draft.

And it probably won't, but Roger Goodell insinuated, in an interview with ESPN's Adam Schefter, the draft will go on regardless of whether or not players are there to accept fancy little caps and give out generic answers in interviews.

"The draft in the past we didn't have players there," Goodell said. "It's just part of our effort to make it a fan event, to make it more appealing. We had 45 million people as you know watching the draft last year. I think it's an element that people love to see the reaction of the players when they're selected. And I think that's part of the excitement of this event, not only the team that gets them but also the players' reaction."

Goodell emphasized "family" and "once-in-a-lifetime" experience throughout the interview. He also (seemed to) point out that he wouldn't be issuing any "personal pleas" to players in an attempt to get them to New York for the draft.

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"We always invite the players and we want them and their families to come and enjoy the event," Goodell said. "We think it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come to New York be a part of the start of their NFL career. Every player's who come has said it's one of the greatest things they've ever done and I hope they'll all continue to do that."

In other words, the show will go on. Whether there are players in New York or not, the NFL will have its draft. That fits with what's been understood as the NFL's position ever since this idea got floated -- while the awkward moments of not having players present for the first time in a while is a problem, it's not necessarily "leverage" for the players at this point. Only a show of solidarity.

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