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Draft Tip Sheet: RG3 dissed Colts for 'Skins? Maybe not

by | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

The Tuesday morning report that Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III has declined the opportunity to audition individually for Indianapolis officials prompted immediate speculation that the Baylor star prefers to play in Washington, which traded up for the second overall choice, rather than succeed Peyton Manning in a Colts' uniform.

But officials from both the Colts and the Redskins told The Sports Xchange on Tuesday morning that they haven't gotten that impression from Griffin or his camp.

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Rather, they feel, Griffin and agent Ben Dogra have assumed, possibly in a very educated guess, that the Colts will take Andrew Luck with the first choice, and they view a private workout for Indianapolis as academic.

They're probably right.

Although Indianapolis officials continue to insist they've made no decision between Luck and Griffin, most personnel officials from other clubs will be stunned if the Colts don't take the Stanford star No. 1.

Draft notebook

 Speaking of the Colts, while they have a ton of needs, perhaps further exacerbated by the style that first-year coach Chuck Pagano will prefer, no one will be surprised if they look at a tailback very seriously with their second-round choice, the No. 34 pick overall.

Pagano has said he wants to pound the ball, and be a physical team, certainly a departure from the way Indianapolis has played offense the past 14 years. Problem is, the Colts don't have a back on their current roster with 150 rushes in a season. Perhaps the most physical back on the team is second-year veteran Delone Carter, a fourth-rounder in 2011, who logged 101 carries as a rookie. Word is that the staff has seen some good things on tape from former first-rounder Donald Brown -- remember, first-year coaches only started working hands-on with players this week -- but that it wants an alternative.

The former UConn star had a career-best 134 carries in 2011, and rang up a nice 4.8-yard average, but hasn't yet demonstrated that he can be the workhorse of a retooled attack.

 Hard to gauge some of the reports about Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe of late, some of which have panned his college production, and suggested that he is more a workout warrior than an immediate impact player. But the teams with legitimate interest in Poe, both 4-3 and 3-4 clubs, don't see him slipping out of the top 10-12 picks. Those teams agree Poe has some maturing to do, and may need a fire lit under him, but they'd grab him in a heartbeat.

 The score of "4" that LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne reportedly registered on the Wonderlic test hasn't scared off many teams. "We're not all that worried about it," said the defensive coordinator of a team with a top 10 choice. "He's got great (cornerback) instincts, better than (2011 first-rounder Patrick) Peterson, even, and it's not going to be a huge problem." But it did cause enough concern with one club intrigued by the idea of perhaps trading up to get Claiborne that the franchise has made some quick phone calls to LSU assistants to gauge whether the star corner has any problems with understanding defenses.

 One of the more overlooked aspects of Melvin Ingram's game is that the South Carolina defensive end/linebacker has logged some time, albeit briefly, at tackle during his career with the Gamecocks. That isn't likely to get Ingram, regarded by most scouts as the premier "edge" rusher in the draft pool, selected any higher.

But it might be of some interest to teams who move outside rushers inside on third downs, attempting to create mismatches against slower guards.

"It might not be a huge factor, but it's one more thing in his favor," said an NFC personnel chief.

Of course, the projection is that Ingram will be chosen by a 3-4 team as a rush 'backer, and not many of those defenses align "edge" players inside in nickel situations.

But if Ingram inexplicably slides in the first round, some 4-3 team might remember the three or four sacks he collected in his career while playing tackle. Again, most of the defenses that align outside players over guards, as with the New York Giants' so-called "NASCAR" look, rely on 4-3 fronts. There are a few 3-4 teams that might consider moving Ingram off the "edge" on third down, and blitzing him inside.

Quick kicks

With the compensatory choices released last week, there are now seven franchises with seven or more scheduled selections in the draft. Cleveland, with 13 slots, leads the way, followed by Green Bay, with 12. There are also seven clubs with fewer than seven choices (one per-round average). New Orleans and Oakland, with five picks each, have the fewest ... Just a hunch, but expect the Steelers to take a hard look at Iowa defensive end/linebacker Broderick Binns in the late-middle or late rounds. Binns doesn't have the perfect length for some 3-4 teams, but does possess the twitch and thickness the Pittsburgh scouts like. And the club has been performing some background work on a 2010 DUI charge against Binns ... Cincinnati officials stopped just short of confirming that the team, even with the addition of free agent BenJarvus Green Ellis, will draft a running back somewhere in the first two days of the lottery. The Sports Xchange noted last week that the Bengals want to add a tailback ... The people who suggest that a team likes guys from certain colleges probably read too much into coincidental preferences. That said, no one should overlook the visit that Montana cornerback Trumaine Johnson made to Atlanta recently. The Falcons have had some success with Montana players in recent years but, far more important, like Johnson and his size ... As has been reported by several outlets, Vanderbilt linebacker Tim Fugger, who only a few weeks ago worked himself into the late rounds with a solid workout, continues to rise up boards with 3-4 teams ... The jury remains out on another projected 3-4 prospect, Brandon Lindsey of Pitt. On film, Lindsey seems to have some solid rush-and-cornering skills. But in workouts, his times have been mostly average and he looks a bit stiff ... A quick survey this week of personnel directors and scouts indicated that Michigan State's Kirk Cousins is the likely No. 4 quarterback prospect after Luck, Griffin, and Ryan Tannehill.

 The last word: "I think, in the NFL, they put even more emphasis on getting to the quarterback. Hey, it's important, no matter the level you're at. But I maybe didn't realize just how important it is to them until I started talking to teams. Man, they're all about it." -- Ingram, arguably the top-rated pass rusher in the draft, and a guy who notched 19 sacks the past two seasons.


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