Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Draft Breakdown: Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins had a real good season last year. They surprised a lot of people with the wildcat offense and got all the way to the playoffs. Chad Pennington had a great year after coming over from New York, Ronnie Brown also played very well. Taking a quick look at their depth chart I notice some weaknesses, one of those is at Corner Back. They have Will Allen, and then, well, not a lot of impact players. So with their first selection they took Vontae Davis CB out of Illinois. At the 25th overall pick Davis brings great value. I watched the combine and he really impressed me. For starters he has a 4.49 second 40 yard dash. To back it up he put up 225 pounds 25 times to lead all CB's, strong and fast is never a bad thing. His vertical leap was 36", which is good(this is really, really, good). He comes from an athletic family, his brother Vernon had a combine like no one had ever seen before. Because of the lack of depth at CB Davis can get time right away. If he does not start right away I would expect him to be in both the nickel and dime packages.

With their second pick (44th overall) the Dolphins landed Pat White out of WVU. We all know who Pat White is, he had a storied and prolific college career, and some consider him to be the best WVU player ever. But because he is so unique we did not know who wanted him, or what he would do in the NFL. Some people think QB, others WR (why not DB too). Another fascinating fact, White played baseball in high school and was a 4th round draft pick of the Anaheim Angels. The Dolphins are the only team in the NFL that uses the wildcat formation as much as they do. What does this mean? It means he can basically play two positions at once, this will allow him to fully deploy his talents. The Dolphins are the perfect team for him, they had a solid season and they could use him right away in their offense. They have Ted Ginn JR, so they won't need him on special teams, this will let him focus solely on the wildcat. I am excited to see how this works, I think they could turn out to be a great match for each other. In case you were wondering he ran a 4.55 40 yard dash.

Another weakness was at wide-out, they followed their 3rd pick Sean Smith a CB from Utah, with two straight Wide Receivers, Patrick Turner from USC, and Brain Hartline out of Ohio State. The Dolphins took care of a lot of issues with the draft, I think they had one of the best overall drafts of 2009.

Overall Draft Grade: A-

(Shouts to Draft Party for the video)

Draft Breakdown: New York Jets

Brett Favre is done playing football for the Jets, we all thought maybe he is actually done now, but then this happened. Nevertheless the Jets have moved on, welcome in Mark Sanchez, the Jet's needed a QB and they traded up to get him with the 5th pick. New York is the hardest city to play in, so Sanchez will be under fire as soon as he takes his first snap. Recently he preformed well in his first test in NYC(excuse the already angry New York fan, told you it was a tough city). At least he avoided doing this, which would of been a disaster. Stafford and Sanchez were the two top QB's, Stafford went at number 1, leaving Sanchez on the board for the Jet's. When you need a QB and you go out and get one early, you have to be happy. USC breeds QB's through a wide open offense that dominants college football, sometimes these quarterbacks can make the transition(Carson Palmer), some have potential(Matt Cassel), others have work to do (Matt Leinart), and some are famous for being epic failures (Todd Marinovich). I think Sanchez is worth the risk and we will just have to wait and watch this unfold.

In the 3rd round with the 65th overall pick the Jet's took RB Shonn Greene out of Iowa. I really like this pick, that looks like 19 reps in the bench press strength to me. Greene comes to work everyday, he was 2nd in the nation in rushing, and rushed for at least 100 yards in all 13 games for the Hawkeyes, and ran for 121 yards and 3 touchdowns in his season finale, the Outback Bowl. He won the Doak Walker Award as the top RB in the nation. Greene ran a 4.65 40 yard dash so strength is definitely his better attribute. Greene is surprisingly shifty, and uses his strength when speed is not enough. He won't get a lot of carries right away because he is behind Thomas Jones, but he is a tough player so I think that he can help on some short third downs, or even blocking on third and long.

Overall Draft Grade: B

Greg Paulus

This story has been going on for a while now, so it's time I give it a post. Duke guard Greg Paulus was an outstanding athlete in high school. Outstanding not meaning how good that kid on your intramural dodgeball team says he was. Paulus was a two sport all American, he of course played basketball, and was also QB for his football team. Out of high school he had offers from D-1 schools for both sports. Paulus went to Duke and played basketball. Paulus decided he now wants to play football, he was good enough to play out of high school so it will definitely be interesting to see how this all turns out.

War of Words

Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach was not happy with the NFL draft. As I have explained in the 49ers post below, Crabtree slipped to the number 10 pick. His counterpart at Texas Tech Graham Harrell went undrafted. Both of these were surprises, and the already excitable Leach got pretty fired up about this whole ordeal. He even went as far as taking some shots at, among others, rival school Texas A&M. Today A&M head coach Mike Sherman fired back. They play on October 24th, this should add a bit of fuel to the fire.

Draft Breakdown: San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers have to be happy with their draft. Nobody thought that Michael Crabtree would be available with the 10th pick. Heyward-Bey was taken by the Raiders with pick number seven opening the door for the 49ers to take Crabtree 10th. Crabtree had some nagging injuries going into the draft, and did not participate in the combine. Some say this is why Heyward-Bey was taken before Crabtree, I still think it was a bad idea. The 49ers desperately need someone for Shaun Hill to throw to and Crabtree will be able to help right away. The Texas Tech Red Raiders were on TV a lot last year so we all know who Crabtree is, and what he is capable of. Crabtree is a big game receiver, and is a threat whenever he is on the field. Michael has a great opportunity be an elite NFL receiver, he will get his chance to shine right away in San Fransico.

With their 2nd pick the 49ers took RB Glen Coffee out of Alabama. I really like this pick for San Fransico. Coffee is a polished back that can spell Gore at times and work in on third downs. He had a good combine with a sub 4.5 second forty time and good bench press. I know that Frank Gore is a beast(24 seconds), and that he will take most of the carries for the 49ers, but their is nothing wrong with a solid second or third string back, injuries happen.

Shaun Hill is a good quarterback and last year after the 49ers switched coaches he proved that he can handle the load of being an NFL quarterback. I totally agree with the 49ers moving foward with Hill and I think he can be successful. That being said their is no penalty for playing it safe and taking a QB with your third pick. That QB is Nate Davis out of Ball State, and he is pretty good. He was overshadowed by Stafford and Sanchez this year, but is certainly a legit pick. Davis has tons of upside, he is very athletic for a QB and could be successful if put in the right scenario. As I stated the 49ers have a QB so Davis can sit and learn for a season or two and then maybe we will be able to see what he is capable of somewhere down the road.

Overall Draft Grade: B-

Monday, April 27, 2009

Draft Breakdown: Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles went in to the draft with needs, they addressed them. The Eagles have needed a big time wide out since T.O. departed. They got a lot of help from DeSean Jackson last year, but one receiver is not enough in the NFL. In my opinion Maclin was the second best receiver available behind Crabtree. The Eagles got lucky that the Raiders reached for Heyward-Bey so early (typical draft day antics from Al Davis). Don't get me wrong I really like Heyward-Bey but not that high. Maclin fell right into the Eagles lap, and he will definitely be able to help them out right away. Maclin can play on special teams as he has a quick 4.48 second 40 yard dash, and obviously play wide out. The Eagles took Maclin with their first pick, and then made two more solid picks after Jeremy.

With their second pick they took LeSean McCoy from Pittsburgh. McCoy is a solid runner, with great college statistics to back it up. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry his senior year and reached the end zone 21 times. He needs to add some bulk to his frame as he weighed 198lbs at the combine. I would like to see him add at least 10 pounds, but their is no doubt he can be a solid third down back for the eagles this season. With Westbrook aging McCoy will have a year long tryout for major time in years to come.

The Eagles 5th round pick was Victor "Macho" Harris out of Virginia Tech. Harris ran a 4.68 second 40 yard dash, slower then I expected and that definitely hurt his draft stock a bit. Even with the slow 40 yard dash time I am still looking for Harris to do some things on special teams. I like Harris because he sometimes played both ways at Virginia Tech and that is always fun to see. I also like Harris because he can do this. Philadelphia also picked up a solid tight end in Cornelius Ingram from Florida.

Overall Draft Grade: B

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ohio State Spring Game

From the ridiculous department check out this story about OSU's spring game. Terrelle Pryor is certainly leaving his mark early in Columbus.

Percy Harvin WR, Florida

If I had to use one word to describe Harvin I would use explosive. Harvin's speed and athleticism make him a threat to score every time he touches the ball. At the combine he really impressed, we all knew he was fast, and he ran a 4.41 second 40 yard dash just to remind us. I was surprised with his strength when he put up 225 pounds 19 times on the bench press. Harvin's upside is obvious, he brings so many things to the table at a skill position and has proven that he can do it in the biggest of games. His downside is little less obvious but has been talked about a lot. Percy has trouble with self-motivation and does not always want to work as hard as he should. It has been written that Percy would be a perfect pick if it was not for these flaws. An example of his lackluster preparation is the fact that he failed his drug test a couple months ago. You can't be smoking marijuana two months before the NFL draft. This being said he still remains one of the drafts most talented, and the Vikings took him with the 22nd pick. The vikings need help at wide out so this could turn out to be a great move for them.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

NFL Draft 2009

All of my players to watch have gone early in the 2009 NFL draft and here is where and when they were taken.

4.)Seahawks- Aaron Curry LB, Wake (First LB taken)
7.)Raiders- Darrius Heyward-Bey WR, Maryland (First WR taken)
12.)Broncos- Knowshon Moreno RB, Georgia (First RB Taken)
13.)Redskins Brian Orakpo DE, Texas
22.)Vikings- Percy Harvin WR, Florida
29.)Giants- Hakeem Nicks WR, UNC

Friday, April 24, 2009

Percy Harvin and Knowshon Moreno HS.....

While I finish the player profiles I thought I would leave you with this...

(The first play is ridiculous)

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia

The 2009 NFL draft does not feature a lot of big name running backs, if you believe that means their is not a lot of talent you would be incorrect. This years Running Backs if put into the right situation can certainly make a lot of noise. I'll start with a running back I think has potential to really help a team this year, Knowshon Moreno. Georgia was pre-season number 1 in the polls, and for good reason, they had Stafford at QB and Moreno at RB. They did not finish the season on top but wire to wire champs are rare these days. Knowshon's greatest skill is his versatility, he can catch the ball out of the backfield and is a proven tough runner. With 25 reps in the bench press he has the strength to be a third and short back already. The Broncos took Moreno in the first round, I think that this is a very good spot for Knowshon. The Broncos are notorious for making running backs better, and with Cutler gone their will be a lot of running in Denver this year. Overall this is a great opportunity for Moreno and I think he will be able to capitalize.

Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas

Orakpo is strong, 31 reps in the bench press strong. Just to be clear 31 reps is not how many reps someone who runs a 4.70 flat 40 yard dash normally gets. Orakpo was the 2008 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner, enough said. But Orakpo brings a lot more then awards to the table, his weight room ethic has already been documented in an ESPN short. He is a monster in the weight room, being committed to working hard is a major plus in the draft. Scouts like to see this because it means they are serious about their career, he is busy in the weight room while others are getting busted for marijuana. Orakpo will go top 15 in the draft and might go as high as 3rd or 4th depending on where Shanchez goes, more likely he will be around 9th. He can make an immediate impact off the field in the weight room and on the field as a speed rushing end who might see time at LB.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland

Speed, if you had to chose one word to describe Heyward-Bey speed would undoubtedly be the word. He went 4.30 seconds flat in the 40 yard dash at the combine. Not only was this the fastest WR time it was the combines fastest time. Speed kills in the NFL and he has it. The only noteworthy name that out benched him was Florida's Percy Harvin. So with strength, speed, and did I mention a 38.5" vertical leap he is certainly in the category of specimen. Heyward-Bey is the type of player who will get drafted early because coaches want to see what they can do with him. He comes from Maryland as with Curry at Wake Forest, Maryland is not yet a football school so we did not get to see a lot of him this year. Remember last year when out of nowhere (Conference USA) Chris Johnson ran a 4.26 second 40 yard dash and just like that went in the first round, and then went on to have a great rookie season. Teams are hoping that Heyward-Bey can do some of the same for them. He certainly has the tools it will be interesting to see if he can put them to good use.

(Check 6:10 to see what athletic means)

(Great angle by the DB...but talk about speed)
I will continue my top six list tomorrow. The four players I will be looking at are Brain Orakpo from Texas, Darrius Heyward-Bey from Maryland, Knowshawn Moreno from Georgia, and Percy Harvin from Florida. I leave you with a clip you can not see enough (I had to get him in here someway).

Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake

Aaron Curry is a top 5 lock. Right now it is looking like he is going 3-5 depending on the whole Mark Sanchez thing. Usually top 5 picks are recognizable to the casual fan this year we have an exception. Curry did not come out of nowhere but Wake Forest is not a football school yet, and they do not get many national games. However since his ridiculous showing at the combine we have heard a lot more about him. At 6'2 250 his size is NFL ready, with 25 reps on the bench his strength is too. The most surprising thing he brought to the combine was speed. Scouts knew he was fast but 4.56 I think everyone was caught a little off guard by that. To compare Rey Maualuga from USC another highly sought after prospect went 4.91. Whomever lands Curry will look to plug him in on the outside asap as he is NFL ready today, with his speed he will be able to cover tight ends and even bump on wide outs.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hakeem Nicks, WR, UNC

At 6'1 220 Nicks has and NFL ready body as we speak. He is a proven play maker and has a knack for the big play. His 4.63 40 time is a notch below where it needs to be, he did come through with a solid 36 inch vertical. Scouts like to say players have certain things you can not teach aka intangibles. Nicks has these and the stats to prove it, he was an All American with 1,222 receiving yards and 12 TD's. Hakeem is projected to go in the second round as the third or fourth receiver taken, we all know Crabtree will be the first to go and I would assume Maclin is second but after that I think Nicks along with Heyward-Bey are two players with major potential. Teams like the Giants with a need at the position and a later draft pick have already been talking about this guy.

NFL Draft 2009 Players to Watch

Here is my top six list of players to watch from this years draft. These players are all very capable of making a splash in the league. Some players are thrown right into a great system and have a chance to shine right away, some of them get thrown to the wolves (Stafford). However all of these players will be exciting to watch wherever they go.