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Prospects I Like: An Evolving Thread

Discussion in 'NFL Draft' started by The LBC, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. The LBC
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    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    (Updated 4/19/2011)

    Wow what a difference 4 months make! There are going to be some shakeups on this list and in a few instances I find myself asking myself what the heck I was thinking. But then, pobody's nerfect and sometimes even NFL scouts are going to see a red flag present itself during a player's workout that makes you go back and analyze the tape with more scrutiny. Having done this (with the admitted resources I have for tape, but I did it all the same) I found myself having to reconsider on several players. For the purposes of this update, I'm only going to address players whom I believe the team has a realistic chance of touching in the draft, thus the likes of Marcel Dareus, AJ Green, and Patrick Peterson are sadly discarded for sake of saving time.

    WR:
    Like:
    Torrey Smith (Maryland) - Is he a project that perhaps has to polish his hands a bit more? Yes. But he's also got a higher ceiling than most of the other WR's in this draft class not named Jones or Green. His combination of initial burst, straight line speed, and quality upper-body strength make him a dangerous player to try and press in coverage. His route-running needs work mostly because Maryland's offense was so blasted simplistic that they never tried to develop him but simply to capitalize on his physical gifts - namely his vertical and lateral speed. The tools are there though, as this is a player I feel has Reggie Wayne type potential and adds value while he's learning the ropes as an elite-caliber returner.

    Austin Pettis (Boise State) - I really don't expect us to be going WR early unless AJ truly has developed a man-crush on Jon Baldwin (and God I hope that's not the case!). So I've primarily looked at guys I expect to be available around round 5 with the possibility that they slide to the 6th. Pettis isn't flashy, but he's extremely, extremely efficient. His hands are fantastic (and I'm a big proponent of receivers with quality hands) and while his route-running isn't polished (let's be honest... 95% of WR prospects need 'some' work on their route-running) he does a lot of things well during those routes to lead me to believe that honing his route-tree won't be that difficult. He's excellent going over the middle with excellent body control - he shields off his defender from the ball better than a lot of players in this draft class. And he tracks the ball in air and mid-stride exceedingly well. A lot of the route-running issues are just discipline (i.e. not drifting/cheating, and not getting sloppy with his footwork) which I'm confident Joiner can remedy. He'll struggle initially getting off press-coverage, but he's got a frame that can take another 15 pounds of muscle easily which will help him in that respect.

    Niles Paul (Nebraska) - As with any player that you're going to find in the 5th and 6th rounds there are going to be knocks and things you need to try and fix or compensate for. With Paul it's his hands - they're inconsistent. The thing is, this late into the draft he does everything else well enough - tracks the ball well over both shoulders, has good burst and long-speed, has violent hands to get off press, can run the full route-tree and play the X, Y, and Z receiver spots, returns kicks - that if you've got a high caliber positional coach (which we do) he's worth the gamble.

    Greg Little (UNC) - This offense loves versatility and the key to really busting up other teams in today's NFL is YAC for receivers. Unfortunately the Al Davis philosophy for YAC (Speed, speed, and more speed) isn't always the answer. Little converted to WR from RB and his a big, thick WR similar to Naanee. He doesn't have Naanee's speed, but that's not to say he can't move either, it is what will cause him to fall to mid-round status though (assuming that isn't achieved alone just based off of his season-long suspension from the NCAA; I'm projecting him right now to go about the same place Mike Williams from Syracuse went to Tampa this year - 3rd-4th round). His hands are extremely underrated, his route-running really improved from 2008 to 2009, and he is the kind of guy that will go over the middle, absorb a hit in the act of making the catch, and get you another 2 or 3 on upper-leg strength alone. Doubles as a returner too.

    Tori Gurley (S. Carolina) - Another guy who's question is his long speed. But maybe it's just me, he appears to play faster on tape than his timed speed indicates. At worst this guy is a better developed Denario Alexander without the injury concerns. His hands are great (zero drops in 2010), his route-running is pretty well developed, and he's BIG (6'4", 220ish). Aside from the speed, the biggest knock on him are questions about his maturity - which could be a case of needing a mentor or could be a case that he's just got a blasted attitude. Was originally recruited by UNC as both a football and basketball player.

    Others: Tandon Doss (Indiana), Greg Salas (Hawaii), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Stephen Burton (West Texas A&M)

    Dislike:
    Jonathan Baldwin - To some folks, "big possession receiver" gets them drooling. To me, it scares me. Baldwin has been consistent against mediocre competition, but there are a number of small flaws to his game that I really don't like (e.g. he does not "come to" the ball and his route-running as a whole has been a little more freelance - rounding off his cuts, no committing to his plants and selling fakes - than I'd prefer. He gets locked up in press-coverage by much smaller corners than should have any business doing so to him which is an indication of either extremely poor technique (which I'm less inclined to believe) or lack of effort... or both. I question his football IQ because he just makes a lot of questionable decisions - jumping when he doesn't need to, waiting for balls to come down to chest level as opposed to high-pointing them in the air. Has maturity question marks too, including an incident (albeit where he was "acquitted") where he was arrested and charged with harassment after he slapped a female student on the butt on a campus shuttle bus.

    Terrence Tolliver - My biggest knock on him is that he disappears when you need him most. IN big games against top competition, the guy is getting locked out and it's not due to lack of the QB giving him a look. Where this concerns me is that if the guy no longer possesses the potential to be a #1 WR his stock gets downgraded - this is in large part due to the fact that most teams at the pro level don't "do the Revis" and have their best CB tail the opposition's best WR. CB's play sides and thus in the event that Tolliver draws a team's #1 CB he stands a good chance to get taken out of games (which can be a real pain if your team doesn't have a guy who can't beat doubles on the opposite side). Physically, he's everything you ask for... and he has nice stats, but I look for him in big games and I'm just not seeing him make an impact.

    Leonard Hankerson - This is me equivocating. I just don't believe that Leonard Hankerson is worth to this team what I feel it would cost to acquire him (which is a mid-to-high 2nd round pick). I have issues with the fact that he doesn't catch balls away from his body and that he lacks the kind of foot quickness to really sink his hips and create explosion out of his breaks, but really I just feel like he's far more valuable (at almost a half a round premium) to a West Coast Offense - which he fits to a "T" - than he is to a Coryell offense. If folks recall I was a big Hankerson supporter earlier, but that was also when I felt that we were likely going to be in a position where we could potentially be without 2 of the 3 top WR's on our depth chart in 2011.

    Edmund Gates - Folks love his speed; I hear it all the time. But Gates is, in my estimation, living somewhat off of Johnny Knox's having come out of Abilene-Christian. Thing is, as a prospect, Gates is much, much more raw than Knox was. He literally has two routes he runs and for a guy with the deep speed he does possess, he doesn't track the ball particularly well while it's in the air so for the time being that kind of defeats the point of throwing him out on fly and post routes. He lacks the upper body strength and the technique to fight press-coverage, and he has a tendency to hear footsteps when going across the middle and being in a position to be the recipient of the big hit.

    Other: Titus Young (1st round talent, UDFA attitude and character), Ronald Johnson, DeAndre Brown, Chris Matthews, Derrell Johnson-Koulainis (Character concerns out the yin-yang!)

    OL:
    Like:
    Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin) - I was down on Carimi until he hit the offseason and started really putting in the time to develop and fix his flaws. He has the potential to be at worst above-average as a pro RT. He may be one of the best pure road-graders in this draft. That said, there are some finer points to his footwork that still need refining and to have consistency developed. He's a guy who got by in college on elite athleticism and strength and, like Brian Bulaga, is very likely to have some rookie struggles when he gets up against pro-level stronger, fast, more technically-sound pass-rushers. I'd love to have him on the team, but I don't think, given AJ's past track record with OL, that we have much of a chance of seeing him in bolts.

    Orlando Franklin (Miami) - I love, love, LOVE this prospect! Some have questioned his football IQ, but from looking at the tape, so long as he isn't asked to operate in an extremely complicated scheme he'll be just fine. Long arms, big hands, TOUGH SOB. He doesn't have top-shelf athleticism, but he projects extremely well as a RT. Plays with a mean streak and nastiness that, let's face it, only Dielman has among our current linemen. Plays best against better competition - some of his best tape is against the likes of former 1st-round prospects Chris Long and Jason Pierre-Paul.

    Clint Boling (Georgia) - As 3rd round prospects go, you could do a lot worse. The first praise I have to sing of Boling is that he's extremely smart, and not just book smart - the guy thinks extremely well on the fly, analyzes and dissects. He's also extremely versatile - experience playing LG, RG, and RT for the Dawgs - and rather underrated in the strength department. Finally, the guy is just well-coached which is something you can say of most trench guys that come out of Georgia's program.

    Zach Williams (Wash St) - As developmental centers go, I'd take this guy over a lot of other more highly-touted prospects (like Brandon Fusco or Jake Kirkpatrick). He just plays mean and nasty - like old school centers did and were expected to. Great, great motor, good anchor, and mostly needs work on his awareness and recognition. Really nice late round pickup that could play all three interior OL positions.

    John Moffitt - Probably my own personal favorite OL prospect in this draft. He's a great teammate and a ferocious competitor who shows up the biggest against the biggest competition. This is the guy who was single-handedly manhandling Cameron Heyward in the run-game in Wisconsin's big win over #1 Ohio State. He's likely to be valued higher because of his ability to play center as well as either guard spot and potentially RT in the right scheme too. I honestly think it's as a center that he'll be drafted. Wisconsin, and Bret Bielma, also have an incredible pedigree for putting out well-coached and better polished OL (which is probably why I'm so frustrated with Gabe Carimi, but that's another story). I'd drop a 3rd round pick on this guy in a heartbeat!

    Others: James Carpenter (Alabama), Jah Reid (Central Florida), Colin Baxter (Arizona), David Arkin (Missouri St.), Ben Ijalana (Villanova), DJ Young (Mich St)

    Dislike:
    Nate Solder (Colorado) - Don't get me wrong, guys like Solder have huge ceilings... that said what this team (the Chargers) need are guys with more polish and less "unhoned potential". Solder is, in my opinion, at least 2-3 seasons out from being a starting caliber tackle. I could be wrong, but I haven't been thus far on the other prospects of whom I have said this in the past (a number of which 2 years later still haven't hit the field except when forced by injuries to guys ahead of them). He doesn't have a natural knee bend which is going to kill him at his height. Honestly, I'm looking forward to the combine just to see this guy lumbering around like an elephant. His run-blocking is as rawer than one would want - particularly from an RT. And his tape - at least to me - just shows a taller Robert Gallery... and that scares the crap out of me!

    Marcus Cannon (TCU) - I remember when I was really high on him, but now I'm seeing a lot more of why I'm hearing scouts are down on him. In spite of his stellar athleticism and agility for his size, he struggles with his quick twitch and initial reaction. He's slow getting into his stance off the snap - and 'cheated' at that a bit quite a lot in college by starting out in a two-point versus three-point stance. He also has issues with landing (and landing it quick enough) his initial punch which is why he's struggled against speedier rushers. The more and more I watch the tape, the more I think his best position is at guard - where mind you he could be ELITE - because it masks some of his deficiencies on the barrier.

    Lee Ziemba (Auburn) - He's struggled with speed rushers, but not in the typical sense. This guy just draws way too many penalties - particularly pre-snap - and it's a habit that when it rains, it POURS. Quick rushers just seem to get in his head and he overthinks things so badly that you can literally see him in his stance listening to the cadence as if he were the pass-rusher himself trying to time the count. And sadly it rarely works. Add to that that his pass-blocking technique really isn't much to write home about and there are just other guys who I'd sooner take, particularly ones that don't have his history of knee injuries.

    Rodney Hudson (Florida St.) - I need to see arm length measurables just to be sure whether this guy even has a future as an NFL lineman. Which is a true shame because he's a great collegiate OL, but size-wise he's really scheme limited. That said, unless we switch to zone-blocking he doesn't fit our scheme. That said... yeah that's a lot... he's got the potential to be a really special ZBS guard (or possibly even tackle depending on arm-length) if the right coach gets a hold of him. In other words, pray Denver or the Pats don't draft him.

    Jason Pinkston (Pittsburgh) - The knee injuries took a toll on him, most notably with his kick-slide and his foot movement in pass-protection. He's a superb run-blocker, but I fear if he's asked to play tackle that he'll be a liability in terms of pass-blocking.

    Others: Demarcus Love (Arkansas), Joseph Barksdale (LSU), Alex Linnenkohl (Oregon State), Kris O'Dowd (Southern Cal)

    DL:
    Like:

    Cameron Jordan (Cal) - As an Oregon fan, Jeff Tedford's ability to continually bring in high motor big DL has always frustrated me. He's everything I loved about Tyson Alualu, if slightly less strong though he compensates for that with better technique. Some of the best handwork of any defensive line prospect in this draft... including the 4-3 ends. Fantastic agility and change of direction. Great flexibility. Better anchor than expected and has the lower-body strength to back it up. He's got the versatility to slide out to LDE without sacrificing pass-rush ability in 4 downed-linemen sets as well which allows us to run a much larger line in nickel and dime formations.

    JJ Watt (Wisconsin) - He's a blue-collar guy, but then again so are some of the best 5-Tech (see Aaron Smith). He's well-coached, his technique is well-polished, his motor is sound, and the guy has a fantastic work ethic. He's the kind of guy you want on your team and who everyone's going to be pulling for to succeed and make something of himself. He reminds me a lot of Adam Carriker in that I'm not sure he's going to have the immediate impact that people expect him to if he's asked to play the 5-Tech. He needs to bolster his lower-body strength to improve his anchor and stand up better against the run. He's more of a penetrator than a ground-holder, but could develop into an extremely well-rounded lineman once he has the opportunity to add a bit more bulk.

    Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple) - Other than Dareus he's the best 2-gap 3-4 DE in this draft class... yes, better than Jordan. Strong hands and upper body, needs to add similar bulk and strength to his lower-body which will improve his anchor and allow him to get more push out of his bull-rush and as a pass-rusher. He'll be a great guy to eat up blockers and keep linebacker free until he develops the strength to be more of a factor as a pass-rusher and pocket collapser himself.

    Cameron Heyward (Ohio St.) - I was down on him, but the last 1/3 of the season and how he responded to adversity really did something for me. Also, Heyward FINALLY showed up in a big game! His best fit is as a 5-Technique as a pro, and his anchor is really only second to Dareus' among those prospect. Yes, I think it's presently better than Wilkerson's is. So long as a coach can glean consistency out of Heyward's potential, I kid you not this guy has a ceiling that ventures into Richard Seymour territory.

    Others: Nick Fairley (Auburn; though I like him better as a 3-Tech than a 5-Tech), Corey Liuget (Illinois; better fit in a 4-3), Marvin Austin (UNC), Terrell McClain (South Florida), David Carter (UCLA)

    Dislike:
    Lawrence Guy (Arizona St.) - Most of my disliking is because he's too much of a project for us to depend upon as the starter we need at the position. He needs to get stronger, his anchor is non-existent, and his pass-rush repertoire is extremely limited. Great physical specimen and could bloom into a very good 5-Tech in a couple year, but I wouldn't touch him with any of our first 5 picks.

    Jarvis Jenkins (Clemson) - He looks the part and he worked out well at his pro day, but he has a lot of bad tape where he's mostly hot and cold. Consistency and Clemson defensive linemen typically isn't something that goes together anyway. He's more of a natural 2-gapper than a 1-gap penetrator, but he's not someone I'd feel very comfortable being our starter and expecting to do much more than maybe eat blocks.

    Jared Crick (Nebraska) - Frustrates the heck out of me because he doesn't use his great length like he should. Another good block-eater, but when double-teamed he doesn't shed well enough to be a pass-rushing presence at 5-Tech in my opinion. Great run-defender, but he doesn't have the depth to his game I'd like from a guy that will likely take a 2nd rounder to acquire.

    Christian Ballard (Iowa) - How does the expression go, Mayock? Looks like Tarzan, play's like Jane? This guy is a marshmallow in terms of how he plays and owes Adrian Clayborn half of whatever signing bonus he gets an NFL team to give him. This is the second coming of Kentwaan Balmer - i.e. a senior interior lineman who will benefit more than he should from an elite underclassman lineman beasting while lining up next to him. At least Balmer didn't shy away from contact the way I've seen Ballard do on multiple occasions. I mean, c'mon buddy, you're 6'5", 285 and you're afraid of getting hit?

    Others: Jurrell Casey (USC), Jerrell Powe (Ole Miss), Drake Nevis (LSU), Sealver Siliva (Utah).

    LB:
    Like:
    Justin Houston - If there's any OLB in this draft class with the potential to be another Merriman - talent wise - it's Houston. Core numbers wise he has everything you're looking for just slightly dulled. His burst isn't elite, but it's really really close. His hips are fluid. He shows promise in coverage, though needs more seasoning obviously. And he has pass-rush and pursuit potential from all over the field.

    Brooks Reed - The Clay Matthews comparisons are a bit much, but the potential to be very good in an Anthony Spencer kind of mold is there. Motor is great, burst is phenomenal, and his hips have some decent fluidity - I still wouldn't want him dropping into coverage all that much. Smart and fiery with fantastic intangibles. He needs more of a pass-rushing move repertoire but his bull-rush is flat out imposing.

    Sam Acho - The guy's more of a project than some want to give him credit for being, but I'd still use our second 2nd rounder on him without reservation. Workout numbers wise everything says he should translate to the OLB positions seamlessly. On tape is where his knocks come. He's an intelligent and instinctual player but he has very few pass-rush moves and his handwork is subpar. I see him far more as another Manny Lawson (very good coverage and run-preventing OLB, but never great pass-rusher) than another Shaun Phillips or Brian Orakpo.

    Jeremy Beal - Yes, his stock has taken a huge hit ever since the Senior Bowl. But if he's available in the 6th round that's an investment worth making. At absolute worst case you move him inside and he's a quality ILB, but I see a guy with the potential to be another Applewhite (which isn't a bad thing if you can get that out of a late round prospect).

    Quan Sturdivant - Originally, I didn't like the investment necessary to land him for what is gained. Sturdivant is another guy who would normally cost more for us to acquire than I'd want to spend, however with the amount of teams needing quarterbacks and the amount of DL and OT's with 1st round and high 2nd round grades, I think he might actually be pushed down in the order to the late 2nd and possibly even early 3rd. He's a great defensive general and leader who really has a good grasp on the game and on playing chess with opposing QB's. A former HS quarterback and safety, he's solid in coverage and has the potential (he's not there yet) to be an explosive hitter - which is something Manusky is capable of teaching.

    Mario Harvey - My biggest concern is with his speed, but as a thumper you really can't ask for much more; honestly he kind of reminds me of a stronger version of Siler. He sheds blocks like they were made of paper and he's a brick wall against the run. The greatest praise I have to sing of him though is his tackling technique - maybe it's something in the water at Marshall because I've like the technical quality of their defensive prospects the last couple years - which is surgical, lock tight, and punishing all at the same time. How effective he can be on special teams is going to significantly affect this guy's draft stock (I'd say by almost a round or more).

    Akeem Ayers - I don't like him as much as I did back in December; and his tape from 2010 didn't really help him. I can look past the poor 40-yard dash time because his lateral agility is still solid and his 3-cone wasn't that bad at his Pro Day. Still, I don't see him as being a prolific pass-rusher and probably more of a garbage collector who will pick up what sacks he does get as a result of coverage sacks or the QB getting flushed from the pocket towards his direction.

    Others: Quentin Davie (Northwestern), Chris Carter (Fresno State), Jonathan Freeney (Rutgers; yes, Dwight's younger brother), Gabe Miller (Oregon St.), KJ Wright (Miss. St), B.J. Williams (SDSU FTW!), Orie Lemon (Okla. St.), Nick Bellore (Central Michigan)

    Don't Like:
    Greg Jones (Mich. St) - Simply put, Greg Jones has the potential to be a near-elite 4-3 WILL LB, but his technique at shedding blockers that has worked on TE's and slower OT's in the Big 10 is not going to work on larger, stronger NFL interior linemen. He'll get swallowed up and washed out of plays if not just eaten alive (literally!). As is, he needs to add 10-15 pounds to his frame to stand up to the rigors of a pro season and the kind of size he'll be facing in pro quarterbacks and halfbacks, and his frame's going to struggle to take that much.

    Aldon Smith (Missouri) - Could he turn into a good 3-4 OLB? Maybe. The workout numbers suggest it's possible - though his lateral agility isn't going to help him. Thing is, his ceiling as a 4-3 RDE is, IMO, a full 10-12 picks higher premium at minimum than is his ceiling/value as a 3-4 OLB. I would compare him to Jarvis Moss who actually had potential to be a very good 4-3 DE if Shanahan and his staff were actually capable of developing defensive players and hadn't gotten rid of Larry Coyer. Thing is, Denver tried Moss as a 3-4 OLB last season when Dumerville was injured and he failed miserably.

    Greg Romeus (Pittsburgh) - His injuries scare me. The back injury was one thing, the torn ACL is another... particularly when he was a guy notorious for not playing to the whistle anyway.

    Dontay Moch (Nevada) - To my surprise, Von Miller put on the necessary weight to play 3-4 OLB and didn't lose his athleticism. Moch, however, doesn't have the frame to get up to the 250-260 range and as such he's really more of a 4-3 OLB than a 3-4 OLB.

    Others: Jabaal Sheard (Pitt), Mark Herzlich (Boston College), , Akeem Dent (Georgia), Brad Jefferson (Ga. Tech)

    Cornerbacks: (After much thought I decided to break this down versus lumping CB's and S's together in one group)
    Like:

    Brandon Harris (Miami) - I'm not going to try and make a case for Harris over the likes of Peterson and Amukamara. Those two are a clear-cut best two corners in this draft with Peterson being perhaps the best pure prospect since Terrence Newman and Amukamara have very sneaky Darrelle Revis potential with proper development. That said, I really love me some Brandon Harris and he has very sneaky Jonathan Joseph type potential (very obviously the third-best prospect at his position, but with the potential in the right system to be as good in his pro career as the two other higher-rated prospects). He's a do everything type corner whose tackling is really underrated and may be his biggest selling-point to this team, along with his leadership abilities. While we'd have to spend a 1st in order to land him (corners go at a premium typically of 10-12 picks depending on how early the top prospect gets taken), he's the "safest" CB prospect for the Chargers defense as it currently sits - with Rivera calling soft-zone coverages with press-man corners who aren't all that well suited to it.

    Aaron Williams (Texas) - Obviously more of a safety, but I still like him for a number of reasons. He is extremely valuable as a safety because he's got the coverage ability to drop down and cover slot receivers and TE's as well. I love the Texas DB program pedigree and Will Muschamp and his staff's development of their players. I pretty much expect him to be a Michael Griffin clone, just taken nearly a full round later. Like Harris, Williams' tackling is his best asset and he takes pride in it and in defending the run. This guy's technique is just spot-on though, very similar to how Thomas' was this past year, and how Griffin's was the year he came out.

    Davon House (New Mexico St.) - He needs some polish but he could very easily develop into a very good boundary corner. Great size, good burst, good recovery speed. Needs to get stronger in his upper body but that will come with time. Excellent in man coverage, who really just needs to work on wrapping more when he tackles and needs a little tinkering with his transition from his back-pedal to flipping his hips and running with the receiver (he takes some unnecessary steps).

    Ras-I Dowling (Virginia) - He still needs work on his tackling technique, but there's no denying his athletic ability. And given the fact that his injury-riddled 2010 campaign will likely push him into the 2nd round, he's worth consideration. Everything he needs to fix is fixable and he has all the raw tools to succeed and to potentially be an elite DB. Whether that is as a boundary CB or as a FS that can come down into the slot and play receivers or TE's is yet to be seen. But if he falls he could be worth the gamble.

    Others: Johnny Patrick (Louisville), Curtis Brown (Texas; he won't be an overpowering CB, but he'll blanket guys like a snuggie), Brandon Burton (Utah), Ryan Jones (NW Missouri State), Mark LeGree (App. St.), Joe Lefeged (Rutgers), Shiloh Keo (Idaho)

    Dislike:
    Brandon Hogan - I actually think that the guy is extremely talented, but when I see smoke I assume fire and I just stay away. West Virginia has not had the greatest pedigree for producing well-disciplined prospects, and quite frankly this team (Chargers) does not need to go anywhere near a guy with a DUI already on his record.

    Chimdi Chekwa (Ohio State) - He gets a lot of fan hype coming off the program that he's from but when you watch the tape he gets beaten deep a lot and I just don't see anything more than a perennial nickel CB. He doesn't have the tools to play the boundary and as such shouldn't have the stock of one. Rail thin arms and legs. Projects better as a zone corner than a man cover guy. Shows poor discipline.


    Shareece Wright - I'm sorry, but I've made so much money betting against USC to not cover the spread this past season for one main reason, their secondary is just not up to snuff. Wright's floor and his ceiling appear relatively even to me - he'll be solid if unimpressive - the kind of nickel or dime back that can fill in on the outside in an injury pinch but who you'll still need to shade safety coverage towards as opposing offenses will likely key on him and find relative success getting easy completions with limited YAC.

    DeAndre McDaniel - Physically, DeAndre is everything you'd want from a pro safety. I still wouldn't touch him with anything short of a late 2nd to early 3rd and that's really only based on ceiling alone. He's the Antonio Cromartie (aside from the fact that he actually isn't averse to making physical tackles) of safeties - in that he's the ideal physical specimen but just doesn't seem to have it going on upstairs - and no I'm not talking instincts, I'm talking just general smarts. I really don't see how this guy is going to explain away all the red flags for character concerns that he's got, but he's not someone I'd feel comfortable giving any chunk of guaranteed money to. He just has not demonstrated that he's got the maturity and good decision-making abilities that I would value having on this team.

    Ahmad Black - Undersized... they bill him as 5'10" and there's no chance he's that tall, and just not physical enough. He might be a decent option as a 3rd two-deep zone safety, but he's Weddle with slightly better hands, worse size, and considerably lesser instincts. Also, from what I've seen his vertical leaves a lot to be desired, so he's not someone you can depend on - short of trying to deliver a well-timed, jarring hit - to defend any kind of jump ball downfield or in the end-zone.

    Others: Will Hill (I might buy his jersey just to burn it, he's such a d-bag!), Charles Brown, Jalil Brown, Brandyn Thompson
  2. The LBC
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    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    Added LB's. DB's to come.
  3. gettough
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    gettough BoltTalker

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    This may sound too harsh, but I think Nate Solder is awful. I wouldn't use a seventh-round pick on him, and I'm serious. From what I've seen of him, I don't think he can block anyone.
  4. gettough
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    gettough BoltTalker

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    I know you haven't written about the defensive backs yet, but I'd like to know what you think of Texas A&M cornerback Terrence Frederick. Not too many people talk about him, but I think he's the best defensive player the Aggies have.
  5. Bergo23
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    Bergo23 BoltTalker

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    CB's

    Yeah, this thread seems like legit knowledge...thanks. I look forward to your Corner anallysis, cuz the class seems fairly deep and I could see AJ dropping a 1 or a 2 on a corner to groom behind Jammer, who I hope will become a Pro Bowl SS for us next to Weddle.
  6. HollywoodLeo
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    HollywoodLeo Trevor Phillips Enterprises

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    Childs is staying next year from what I understand.
  7. gettough
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    gettough BoltTalker

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    I think A.J. should franchise Vincent Jackson and trade him for at least a second and fifth round pick. Then, next April, A.J. could make a deal to get another first round pick. Ideally, I'd like to get a defensive end (Allen Bailey or J.J. Watt) and a cornerback (Brandon Harris). If Terrence Frederick comes out, I think he'd be a great pick in the second round, if he lasts that long.

    How high do you think DeAndre McDaniel will go? From what some are saying, he could drop to the second or third round. I don't get that, as I think he's the best safety prospect heading into next year's draft. But I'd love to read some info as to why he might drop that far.
  8. matilack
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    matilack #therealagent47

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    I've said it before.....I think VJ wants to stay, and I think AJ will offer him a long term contract in the offseason.

    Not necessarily for the rediculous price tag VJ wanted, but for a revised number based on a guy who missed most of the season and is facing a lockout in 2011. Rivers can make any WR look good, but you can't deny the extreme matchup advantage VJ is, and I don't think Floyd can be a true #1.
  9. HollywoodLeo
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    HollywoodLeo Trevor Phillips Enterprises

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    If VJ wanted to stay he wouldn't be playing the games he's playing this year.

    Now, you can place however much of the blame you like on VJ and AJ for it being to that point but I think it's pretty obvious Vincent doesn't want to be here.
  10. matilack
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    matilack #therealagent47

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    We'll see. ;) I think he didn't want to risk serious injury for 3 million dollars, when he stands to make much more.

    I also think it depends a lot on VJ's late season/playoff performance. A lot of players get overpaid in FA after huge playoff games.
  11. The LBC
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    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    DB's up and a few additions here and there.

    I'll field questions on any individual prospects as much as possible - and if I haven't seen enough tape to get a good gauge of them I'll let you know, but I will make an attempt to track it down if I can.
  12. gettough
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    gettough BoltTalker

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    Thanks for your outstanding efforts, The LBC. It's much appreciated.

    Yeah, I'd love to read your thoughts on Frederick. He's a junior, so he may stay at Texas A&M for another season, but I think he's outstanding, one of the best cornerbacks in college football right now. In the games I've watched him, he blitzes and tackles real well. The only thing is, he doesn't have a lot of interceptions.

    I'm not anywhere close to an expert, though.
  13. The LBC
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    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    I played DB (primarily safety, but we did have some sets where I moved into a sort of hybrid nickel LB/slot Corner) in high school and collegiately (not D1 by any stretch), so I feel most adept at breaking down DB's and WR's just because that's what I learned and who I studied the most. But there was a time in college where I toyed with the idea of going into scouting... and instead opted to get an English degree and teach. And now I coach, just not football... well not American football.

    Interceptions aren't everything, but I'll be honest soft, natural hands in today's NFL are definitely a need if you want to climb past being much more than a nickel or maybe a #2 CB. This is more a case of, you don't need to come down with the pick but you have to make sure that the receiver DOES NOT get it. I had mediocre hands as a DB, but I recognized that early. I made efforts to improve my catching, but ultimately I learned that if it was a contested throw in any capacity, given the inconsistency of my hands, my best option was to deny the catch first, ensure the incomplete pass secondly, and make a stab at producing the turnover only if the primary and secondary objectives weren't put in jeopardy. I think this is something Quentin Jammer has grasped onto, same with Bryan McFadden. They don't have great hands, they accept it, but they can still make plays and be quality CB's.

    What you don't want, and one thing to watch out for in a guy's technique and decision-making as a DB, is whether he's so fixated on garnering the pick that his mediocre hands don't cause him to produce situations more often than not that a crafty or quick-handed receiver couldn't still make a snagging second-effort and still achieve his catch, possession, and gain. If he doesn't make INT's, does he still have a high number of quality deflections or are his deflections more a case of blown INT's that just bounce off where no one can get them? That's what you've got to look at. Also, tackling technique is sorely underrated by a lot of fan draftniks when it comes to DB's... but it's proven time and time again to be a primary factor in where guys get drafted when it comes to the actual show.

    As far as Frederick goes, I like a fair amount of what I'm seeing though he is undersized, which in today's NFL hurts his stock. With that in mind, I really don't think he declares this year. The top 4-5 CB's are just flat out set in this draft and even among them there's an order which is goign to be really difficult to delineate from unless particular scheme or interview/personal preference really force a hand one way or another. At absolute best the guy's looking at probably mid 3rd-round stock and that's typically not been good enough for any Junior to declare, particular when his floor could literally be the 6th or 7th round or worse depending on how teams grade him - and other prospects. Another year certainly isn't going to hurt him... even if the Aggies' pass rush depletes a tad with Miller moving on to the pro's.

    * On an added note, due to recent revelations (the guy has MONDO character issues as he's literally been running a drug house in Iowa and when arrested was under the influence of multiple drugs) I'm removing my "liking" of Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, which is real shame because I thought that the guy had some serious sleeper potential as a pro prospect.
  14. The LBC
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    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    My honest opinion... Weddle is a natural SS in a FS's body (similar in stature-to-nature ratio to Jim Leonhard of the Jets, formerly of the Ravens... and who when on the Ravens actually was at his best when playing SS in place of an injured Dawan Landry). He's a tweener, which isn't so much of a terrible thing considering that during both Rivera's and Wade's tenures (essentially since Rodney left) we've used our safeties interchangeably, both need to be able to do all aspects of the safety game adequately.

    Me personally, I'd like to see a more natural centerfielder capable of playing over the top and being a threat to make opposing QB's hesitant to go deep on us because of who w have back there being a threat to flat out rob his receivers in mid-air... yes, that's sort of an Ed Reed type, but I'm more referring to a Nick Collins type (as Ed Reed is more of a roaming FS than what really fits the schemes we've run of late). Let Weddle be able to keep the play in front of him, but play closer to the action. He's a crafty tackler, not unlike Polamalu, but unlike Troy he doesn't have the size to light a guy with momentum up without the space (and angle) to gain momentum himself.

    We don't so much seem to have a Free and Strong safety so much as Weak-side and Strong-side safeties. Weddle is more adept at playing the strong-side, as we tend to run a LB with TE's anyway, and when we blitz safeties it come from the strong-side, typically with a bit of a delay utilizing the OLB as a decoy to draw the OT away. Weddle's closing burst is great, sad thing is we haven't been able to utilize him as a blitzer nearly as much because we don't have anyone truly capable of playing centerfield if he goes on a blitz.

    If we do decide we want an enforcer type (which Rivera never really has utilized in any of his defenses - Mike Brown in Chicago was the closest, but even he was more of a run with the TE, smack a guy over the middle type enforcer), I'm not sure we're better pressed looking at true SS versus the more aggressive FS's or corner converts.
  15. RipTheJacker
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    Dont forget hes also one of the most physical WRs to come out in a while and a great run blocker.
    Personally i love this guy as a player would love for AJ to draft him in the 3rd after getting some beef in the first 2 rounds, but lets be serious, AJ wont draft him. Not only was he suspended all year, but hes also been known to have character problem, definitely not an AJ guy
  16. The LBC
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    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    Ultimately, any "character concerns" with AJ come down to how well he interviews and whether AJ and Co. feel he's learned the error of his ways and, for the most part, displays the kind of maturity that he won't be repeating further incidents.

    AJ has gambled on mid-round guys with red flags for character in the past, I think the maturity and contrition are going to be the two major factors he'd be looking for in light of the whole Vincent Jackson fiasco (where VJ pretty much displayed a whole lot of neither).
  17. Buck Melanoma
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    What's your take on NC State ILB Nate Irving?

    I love the kid - tough, good tackler, instinctive, fought back from a horrific car accident. Cooper, I hope, is gone & Burnett is a FA next year. Siler seems to have regressed a bit lately - maybe still fighting injury. Butler is, of course, a wild card yet.
  18. coachmarkos
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    coachmarkos BoltTalker

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    I like Niles Paul from Nebraska.

    What's your take on Pettis from Boise State? I haven't seen Boise play much this year, but he looks like the kind of WR Norv likes.
  19. The LBC
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    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    I like him, but I really wouldn't touch the guy until the 4th round, at earliest (and it's not like we've go too many late round picks right now). He's no guy that's going to come in a Day One starter, I'm fairly certain of that; the Wolfpack's scheme doesn't force him to knife through and shed blocks, but rather to find where the gap has been created and penetrate - they most typically, from what I've seen, is to force the pocket to unnaturally stretch out more laterally than most OC's would prefer

    In a way, he kind of reminds me of Siler in that aspect. Gritty, blue collar, definitely coachable, but he looks like he may well have maxed out his frame already (plus or minus 5-10 pounds at most). He'd definitely be a contributor - the guy was a special teams demon IIRC in his first couple years for NC State) - I'm just not convinced he'll be much more than a solid rotational guy who would be good depth, but not a likely week-to-week starter.

    Burnett is going to be an interesting FA scenario. At this point he may well have played himself ahead of Weddle in terms of free agent priority - particularly with Gates and MM locked up. Thing is, we can't franchise tag him, if and when there is a franchise tag again, because the tag (unless something is changed under a new CBA, and I don't see any reason why the NFLPA would sign off on such) doesn't differentiate between OLB and ILB or 3-4 LB and 4-3 LB. Thus to tag Burnett would mean to pay him a yearly salary commensurate to the likes of Patrick Willis, Ray Lewis, and Demarcus Ware... and at least from a straight fiscal standpoint, Burnett isn't worth that. Great player, but not worth Top 5 money.
  20. Buck Melanoma
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    Good take. I could see us taking him in the 3rd as we have 3 as it stands right now. I like him as a replacement for what I felt Dobbins brought to the squad. Solid thumper & very solid on ST.

    Right now, if I had to make a call on a defensive guy with our 1st, I'd lean pretty heavily towards Akeem Ayers. If we went offense, I'd like to see an OL pick - possibly the kid from Boston college - Costanzo, I think is his name? Another blue-collar, gritty type of guy with good fundamentals.
  21. gettough
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    gettough BoltTalker

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    Thanks, man. Just out of curiosity, since I'm not sure, what is the ideal height and weight for a cornerback prospect? I looked up Frederick's player profile on the Texas A&M site, and it has him listed at 5-10, 184.

    Also, what do think Akeem Ayers should be at the next level? I don't watch many UCLA games, but I believe he plays SAM in a 4-3. Yet, there are many who view him as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
  22. The LBC
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    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    I like Ayers. I think I covered that above, but let me reiterate now, I don't think he's getting nearly the hype he deserves. Give him the combine and he's going to push his stock to arguable Top 10 (even in this draft class) caliber. I don't think he'll go Top 10, but he would be Top 10 in another year.

    That said, and I continue to stress this point, AJ's not going to give up on English after two years. For Christ's sake he gave Buster 4 years to bust and technically he still hasn't given him the axe!

    If I'm pressed I'm still sticking with DE, if for no other reason than I think this is going to become a draft for us that works out similar to the 2007 draft (Yes, the BUSTer draft) where we go in with a very distinct need and watch as a run on guys at that position start coming off the board at a rather alarming rate just prior to our slot in the order. That's where I'm really worried that AJ's going to panic and pull the trigger on a trade (I still think that Buster scenario was one of the main reasons he's been affected as a "rush to get 'my guy'" drafter since). The fact remains though that with the increased incidence of 3-4 defenses across the league (I expect if SF does get a new HC that they will likely abandon the scheme as their personnel isn't the greatest fit for it, but we may yet see another new HC try and implement the defense with a team that's currently running a 4-3 right now) the key 3-4 players are going at a higher and higher premium. Then throw in that certain positions, specifically the 5-Technique, tend to also be pillaged by 4-3 teams seeking UT's and LDE's. The value, as I said, falls flat on its face somewhere between the early and late teens picks in the 2nd round (and that's for the bottom pickings of the higher tiered talent - there really is no "middle tier" of 5-Tech's in this draft aside from Jared Crick).

    As for Costonzo... even setting aside AJ not typically drafting OL in the 1st round (or other than MM, in the 1st 2 rounds), he also doesn't typically draft OL who weigh under 300 pounds. Costonzo projects significantly better to a zone-blocking scheme than our power-blocking scheme and considerably better to LT than RT, especially in power-blocking. I'm not denying that he's great perimeter defender, but the reason he is is due to superior length, athleticism, and intelligence; he's not terribly strong and he substitutes technique for raw power and mean streak. In short, it's like comparing Ryan Clady to Jake Long or Joe Thomas - I'm not saying that Costonzo is on the level with those 3 guys, even as prospects, just using them as an example.

    If there was a truly dominant RT in this year's draft class would I be surprised if AJ drafted him... about 50/50, I just don't believe he values the position as highly because he's of the believe that unless you're getting that elite guy at the top of the draft, the rest can be coached into intelligent prospects with the proper physical tools (problem is, we haven't had an OL coach capable of developing those type of prospects since we lost Hudson Houck).
  23. gettough
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    gettough BoltTalker

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    There's no mention of Oregon State defensive lineman Stephen Paea. Is that because you just didn't think he was worth writing about, or do you not know about him?

    Again, I'm no expert, but I've watched him play, and he's been very good to outstanding, although I think he can improve on his tackling technique. On the Oregon State site it says he's 6-1, 311, so I don't know if he's a good fit for a 3-4 defense.

    If you've seen him play I'd love to read your thoughts. I'm all about improving the defensive line before next season!
  24. matilack
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    matilack #therealagent47

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    He's going to be a top 5 pick.....but damnitt I want Patrick Peterson. Dude is the next Darrelle Revis. Love the solid build to go with the Cromartie-esc physical talent.

    Other 5 favorites (more realistic)
    1. Von Miller: Teams are going to regret passing on him because of his size.
    2. Nick Fairley: Best DT in college football, I'm usually against taking D-line in round 1, but he's an instant upgrade.
    3. Gabe Carimi: A fierce RT prospect. A mean SOB with a power build and a low center. Seems like an AJ guy.
    4. Prince Amukamara: Reminds me of Champ Bailey, may end up in the top 10.
    5. JJ Watt: A completely unblockable force. If you've watched 2 minutes of Wisconsin defense you've seen this guy make a play. (Late 1st)
  25. The LBC
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    I know plenty about him. I'm an avid Oregon fan, I've seen plenty of tape on Paea. And his only fit in a 3-4 defense is, at best, as a 0-technique.. i.e. NT. He doesn't have the length to play the 5-Technique. Honestly, he's one of those prospects that - like Greg Jones and Travis Lewis - are just far more more valuable to 4-3 teams than they are to 3-4 teams - by nearly a full round worth of premium. Paea is a natural penetrator. Honestly, his best fit is as a NT in a Tampa-2/Cover-2 defense; so we best pray to God that the Colts don't get him, even though they don't run a completely zone-coverage based defense any longer.

    The issue of length is more related to height, not Paea actually does a rather good job of getting quick leverage, but more so arm-length (which comes with general body-length typically) in that he'd struggle to stack and shed which is a necessity for 5-Technique DE's in our particular variety of 3-4.
  26. The LBC
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    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    I needed to break this down. Peterson's game is far, far more similar to that of Terrence Newman than Revis. His technique is good... not great. Revis and Asomugha both were guys who, Aso more than Revis, achieved early success and were able to build upon it because they came out of the collegiate level with the kind of technique it takes most pro DB's at least their first 2-3 years to polish. They were guys that just "got it". Both Amukamara and Brandon Harris are far more in the vein of Aso and Revis than Peterson is. That said, there's nothing wrong with being a "Terrence Newman". Newman was just straight up THAT (as in BO JACKSON) athletic and had good technique, so he was able to flourish right out of the gate as a pro and not look back. Now that his athleticism is starting to fade, Newman's becoming a tad more exposed (injuries have contributed to that too).

    1. It's not just Miller's size that scares me, it's that he's really not that stout against the run except in pursuit. He's always "chasing" backs, he just can never seem to transition quick enough to stop the guy for a short loss unless he just flat out blew out the tackle (or TE) off the snap and was already in the backfield to begin with. Miller can't play SOLB in a 3-4, he's strictly a WOLB and that hurts his stock in my estimation. He's also not nearly as adept in coverage as guys like Akeem Ayers, Jeremy Beal, Justin Houston, or even Ryan Kerrigan are (and I'm not so sure I really like Kerrigan as a 3-4 OLB at all).

    2. Like him, but I suspect all 1-year wonders. We won't sniff him either. Unless he pulls a McGahee and tears a knee in his bowl game, he'll test well at the combine (assuming he even runs the majority of the drills at the combine, something tells me he'll go personal workouts for drills and just measure and maybe run the 40 at the combine), he's going to go in the Top 10 (I could see him jumping Dareus to be honest). And he's arguably the best 4-3 UT available in the upcoming draft (definitely better than Dareus in that respect).

    3. Carimi is a solid year away from being a starting caliber tackle, and that's even if you move him to RT. His mean-streak is, pardon the pun, streaky. His footwork is total shite, and what's sad is he's actually really athletic, his feet are just really poorly trained. He's, at this point, the extremely BROKE man's Brian Bulaga; and I have him as #5a (with Marcus Cannon as 5b as a RT) on my list of tackles.

    4. I like him better than Peterson, even in spite of the fact that he isn't as athletic, but then I'll always take the more technically sound DB over the more athletic.

    5. I like Watt because he's blue collar. Like I said, he reminds me a lot of Aaron Smith - or of what I thought Adam Carriker would have been if the right coaching staff would have gotten hold of him (he was completely out of place playing 4-3 NT and even as the type of UT they used him as on the Rams). I don't overvalue him the same way some people do - I see some folks pushing him above the likes of Cameron Jordan and into the 1st round. Big 10 OL's as a whole have been pretty sub-par for that conference this year... or rather a lot of them have underachieved. Watt's amazing value in the middle of the 2nd, an absolute steal at the bottom of the 2nd, but he's a very distinct reach at the middle or bottom of the 1st unless he absolutely fits your scheme to a "T".
  27. matilack
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    matilack #therealagent47

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    Just so you know I wasn't really talking about all these guys as our 1st round pick, they are just some guys I really like. I'll explain some of my thinking...


    Peterson - I make the comparison too Revis because he's got a solid build for a CB, and looks like he's almost jogging when he's running lateral with recievers. Either way I love this guy, maybe he won't be Revis but there is no way he is bust.

    Miller - He's Elvis Dumerville. Speed, agility, and a plethora of well developed pass rush moves.....and yes he's going to fall for the same reasons Doom did, and once again 31 GMs are going to be saying..."whoops."

    Fairley - Agreed.

    Carimi - I like Darius Morris more, but I think he's going to skyrocket as the offseason goes on and we won't get a shot. With Carimi I see a raw Jeff Otah. Like him as a late 1st/early 2nd round pick, and with a year of NFL coaching I can see him being a lynchpin at RT for the next few years.

    Amukamara - Right you are, again its hard to get a tab on where players will fall, I'm a little worried that he's a better "Tampa 2" soft cover corner than the Quentin Jammer physical type. Other than that I think he's better than all 4 first round corners from last year (Haden, Jackson, McCourty, Wilson)

    Watt - 2nd round steal that I would have no problem trading up to get. Dude is country strong, and shockingly quick off the line for his size.



    BTW this is the best CB class I've ever seen. I also love Brandon Harris from Miami. He's like Troy Polamalu playing CB, I would almost love to move him to FS but he's a tad undersized.
  28. The LBC
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    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    Harris is 5'11", 195 according the Miami's media guide and Miami has been one of the few schools in the state of Florida that doesn't habitually "puff up" the size of their players above what their actual measurements are (i.e. counting their measured height while wearing spikes as opposed to bare foot, or counting their weight in full pads versus in skivies).

    I do agree that I have trouble seeing Peterson busting. I'm not quite so sold that he's going to automatically become the Top 5 corner that I see a lot of people christening him as already, but his floor is where essentially where the middle 1/3 of CB1's level is already... it's up to him and whatever coaching staff he goes to to expound upon that.

    Yes, as a prospect Von Miller is very similar to Elvis Dumerville as a prospect. However, Doom produced a rather miraculous ability to develop coverage abilities nearly overnight (or at least over the course of a single season... and that was with a premier 3-4 DC in his corner). The potential is there for Miller, but until I see him actually try and flips his hips and move in space more, I'm really not going to know how smoothly that transition might come for him. He could be far more like Jerry Hughes, who did struggle with that aspect, and as a result showed he had more value to an attacking-style 4-3 than to a 3-4 team. Personally, if Gregg Williams remains in New Orleans, I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see them take a shot at Miller if they can't lay hands on say Travis Lewis or Greg Jones. Miller could switch-hit between WLB and WDE for them, and would allow them to shed some hefty contract weight along their DL by result.
  29. Bergo23
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    Bergo23 BoltTalker

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    Its very encouraging to me that most of the OT prospects are projected in the last half of the first round, which means AJ may finally be able to pull the trigger after he skipped over Oher a couple of years ago. There are also tons of CB's, DLine and ILB which are last half of the first round possibilities...we are gonna get a stud at a position of need for the first time in a while (last was really Merriman).
  30. Shumway
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    Shumway BoltTalker

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    Hey LBC, any chance of an update on this leading into the draft?

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