The Grand National Championships

April 24, 2009

THE GNC DAY 1 BREAKDOWN: CENTERS…

Filed under: Dollar Tree Superstars,Draft Nerd,El Centro,Fuhbawls — by Andrew @ 8:37 am

I have to say something. If you need an interior lineman. You may have to go into Round 2 to get one. I may not believe Eric Wood is a worthy Day 1 draft choice, but that being said? Eric Wood is a smart scrapper. Some team would not be indefensible to fall in love with him. I just don’t trust an offensive lineman that struggles with knee bend. But more on that later?

Alex Mack Pictures, Images and Photos

1. Alex Mack Cal
6’4″ 307 5.17

You want what’s potentially the safest pick between 25-40? Go forth to the secret world of Alex Mack. Why? Because this Larisa Oleynik is the prototypical run blocker as an interior lineman. Leverage? Hands? Drive blocking? Pulling? He has it all and he has it all in spades.

But he is not perfect. His pass protection needs some work. A big d-tackle can generate a bit of a bullrush. He loses the leverage and hands as he goes after linebackers. But he’s going from great to merely average.

In the future? You could look at Alex Mack and see another decade, decade and a half of a Kevin Mawae-esque run of dominance at center. Right now? He’s not going to be Kevin Mawae. But he has the work ethic and desire to take it to the next level and become truly great.

Max Unger Pictures, Images and Photos

2. Max Unger (Oregon)
6’5″ 309 5.26

Agility wise? Max Unger is the best center out there. He can be an emergency left tackle. He’s solid in pass protection. And he’s a good player in the traps and pulling game. All in all? Max Unger is a solid fathlete.

His only problem? He does have functional strength. But his football strength is lacking. He’s not a blow you off the ball center like Alex Mack or even an Edwin Williams. It’s not a suicidal flaw, a good strength program can handle that. But it’s the difference between Unger and Mack. Despite the fact he’s also weak in space.

But at present? Anybody dreaming of Kevin Mawae has been camped out at his doorstep. He does have some real upside to his game. You may be able to find a long-snapper, and a backup tackle and guard for the price of a starting center and a mid 2nd round pick.

Eric Wood, C, Jr. Louisville
3. Eric Wood Louisville
6’4″ 304 5.19

If you want an effort player? Eric Wood brings you all you want and more. But what else does he have? He has a solid skill set. He has the necessary football smarts to play center, good aggression, and surprisingly solid mobility. He has solid strength and he’s willing to finish?. Also? He’s shockingly good at hitting moving targets.

But I’ve said it before. I do not trust waist benders. It limits his power and his leverage. It also means a quick defender can engage his pads. It also means that a strong defensive lineman can bull him into the backfield.

But I am willing to consider the possibility that Wood is merely miscast as a center in the pros. I mean, don’t his strengths equal a good zone blocking scheme guard? They do. As a center? He could get eaten up though.

Yay! Good dranalysis!

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THE GNC DAY 1 BREAKDOWN: CENTERS…

Filed under: Dollar Tree Superstars,Draft Nerd,El Centro,Fuhbawls — by Andrew @ 8:37 am

I have to say something. If you need an interior lineman. You may have to go into Round 2 to get one. I may not believe Eric Wood is a worthy Day 1 draft choice, but that being said? Eric Wood is a smart scrapper. Some team would not be indefensible to fall in love with him. I just don’t trust an offensive lineman that struggles with knee bend. But more on that later?

1. Alex Mack Cal
6’4″ 307 5.17

You want what’s potentially the safest pick between 25-40? Go forth to the secret world of Alex Mack. Why? Because this Larisa Oleynik is the prototypical run blocker as an interior lineman. Leverage? Hands? Drive blocking? Pulling? He has it all and he has it all in spades.

But he is not perfect. His pass protection needs some work. A big d-tackle can generate a bit of a bullrush. He loses the leverage and hands as he goes after linebackers. But he’s going from great to merely average.

In the future? You could look at Alex Mack and see another decade, decade and a half of a Kevin Mawae-esque run of dominance at center. Right now? He’s not going to be Kevin Mawae. But he has the work ethic and desire to take it to the next level and become truly great.

2. Max Unger (Oregon)
6’5″ 309 5.26

Agility wise? Max Unger is the best center out there. He can be an emergency left tackle. He’s solid in pass protection. And he’s a good player in the traps and pulling game. All in all? Max Unger is a solid fathlete.

His only problem? He does have functional strength. But his football strength is lacking. He’s not a blow you off the ball center like Alex Mack or even an Edwin Williams. It’s not a suicidal flaw, a good strength program can handle that. But it’s the difference between Unger and Mack. Despite the fact he’s also weak in space.

But at present? Anybody dreaming of Kevin Mawae has been camped out at his doorstep. He does have some real upside to his game. You may be able to find a long-snapper, and a backup tackle and guard for the price of a starting center and a mid 2nd round pick.

Eric Wood, C, Jr. Louisville
3. Eric Wood Louisville
6’4″ 304 5.19

If you want an effort player? Eric Wood brings you all you want and more. But what else does he have? He has a solid skill set. He has the necessary football smarts to play center, good aggression, and surprisingly solid mobility. He has solid strength and he’s willing to finish?. Also? He’s shockingly good at hitting moving targets.

But I’ve said it before. I do not trust waist benders. It limits his power and his leverage. It also means a quick defender can engage his pads. It also means that a strong defensive lineman can bull him into the backfield.

But I am willing to consider the possibility that Wood is merely miscast as a center in the pros. I mean, don’t his strengths equal a good zone blocking scheme guard? They do. As a center? He could get eaten up though.

Yay! Good dranalysis!

Day 1 Prospect Breakdown: Running Backs

The running back class this season is no great, but it is better than some of the past classes in history. Of course, in this modern NFL world, you have to be sure in a running back, because like Ryan Grant or Priest Holmes? You can get good value late. So why be early? Take a look at the prospects.

Chris Wells

1. Chris Wells (Ohio State)
6’1″ 237 4.52

The good thing about Beanie? His run talent. In that proverbial defensive box? Wells is a killer. He runs hard between the tackles, and runs through defenders. Let alone the sweet, sweet stiff-arm. He has an excellent size-speed ratio. And while he may gather to cut, if he breaks through the first level? He can take it to the barn.

The problem? The intangibles. He runs hot and cold. His injuries have been many and minor. He needs to have someone keep on him to work. I know, he’s young and intangibles can improve. But I can’t write a paragraph on fumbling problems alone.

Now, there are some who want to compare him to Adrian Peterson. If he had the intangibles? Yeah. Adrian Peterson can win games by himself. Chris Wells may soon? But it may take a while. And the football fans know what I mean when I talk about a talented power runner with poor intangibles.

Photobucket

2. Knowshon Moreno Georgia
5’11” 217 4.61

There is a lot to like about Knowshon. He is a hard, determined runner with excellent leg drive. He has excellent mobility and vision. He is not someone who can stay got. You can use him as a weapon on screens and angle routes. And it may be both a plus and a minus, but he did not have to be the bellcow.

And while he is a hard, determined runner. He does not have power to his game. He can run upright. And he does not have the bulk to make that style work for 25-30 carries. He can be tracked down, because he does not have the blazing speed.

He reminds me a lot of a more-versatile Clinton Portis. He runs hard between the tackles with an undersized frame. He has excellent mobility, and while Portis timed faster, Moreno plays to his timed speed. You give him 25 touches a game? He’ll be great for six years.

LeSean McCoy

3. LeSean McCoy Pittsburgh
5’11” 204 4.48

LeSean McCoy has quick feet and that vision thing. He gas a great ability to find his way into the cutback lane. He’s got an excellent ability to make the first defender miss. He has good hands and an excellent nose for the end zone. His intangibles are decent. He’ll never be a captain, but he comes to play and brings his lunch.

He’s does have that Clinton Portis thing of being unable to play to his timed speed. More agile than explosive. He does have a dancing problem. He runs east-west entirely too much. And in traffic, a loose hand can make the ball go bye-bye.

But you know what? He’s got upside. He can either go one of two ways. He can be a Clinton Portis styled slasher. Or he can be solid for 12 years like Warrick Dunn. There’s good value in this late 1st round pick.

Donald Brown

4. Donald Brown UConn
5’10” 208 4.42

There’s a lot to like here as well. Brown is not powerful, but he has nice strength for his size and he does run hard. As last season showed? He has durability. He is spectacular at getting to the corner. He is great at being a one-cut runner. And despite having a -5 passing game on a scale of 1 to 10? Brown has great hands.

However? That timed number is not his football speed. His acceleration is not spectacular either. And he does need more work on his receiving skills. But like McCoy and Moreno? There’s a lot more good then bad.

Now, there’s not much sex-appeal to Donald Brown. His comparisons are to guys like Willie Parker and the Platinum Pierre Thomas. But you know what? Some team is going to get him in the second round. And they are going to like him. He has a Tiki Barberish upside.

Andre Brown
5. Andre Brown North Carolina State
6’0″ 224 4.37

Andre Brown has gone from a middle of Day 2 pick to someone who’s now firmly in Round 2. Why? He runs with great power and vision. He has the leg-drive and the stiff arm to generate the extra yards, and he is quite angry between the tackles. And in the extras? He has good pass protection and he can be a threat in the passing game.

But never mind the 40-time, he doesn’t have that in football terms. He does not finish runs off with any speed either. He has marginal agility and he does need consist carries to get himself rolling. But you know why that’s a moot point? He has major durability issues.

Now that doesn’t mean a team can’t get something from Andre Brown. He reminds me a lot of Duce Staley. But the fact is, he needs starters reps to get rolling and he gets dinged up when he gets starters reps. Not to say he can’t be the head of a RBBC, but who’s going to be willing to give that to him?

The third round is going to be rich with running backs. I could see four running backs going in this round. Shonn Greene is a powerbacks who could still sneak into the second round. Rashad Jennings is a small school powerback stud. Javon Ringer is going to be a productive waste of a pick. Mike Goodson is the speedy dude who may be nothing more than a tease. And James Davis is the Thunder of Tommy Bowden’s nightmares.

I updated this because I love you.

April 8, 2009

Day 1 Draft Breakdown…Cornerbacks

Filed under: Analysis,Draft Nerd,Fuhbawls,I say Ball you say Hawk — by Andrew @ 3:34 pm

In the defensive backfield. There’s Malcolm Jenkins and everybody else at corner. The second corner off the board could be Sean Smith. It could be Darius Butler. There’s depth. And a lot of it? The question is, just how quality is this depth?

1. Malcolm Jenkins – Ohio St.
(6’1″ 201 4.51)

He’s a physical, attacking corner. He jams well on the line and he attacks like a safety on the blitz or in run support. And yes, his 40-time is not great. But look at the film. He stays with the burners, and he has the agility not to get lost on a double move. And if he gets an opportunity? He gets the ball.

The problem? If he’s drafted as a safety? His game does not have nearly enough polish. He can get blocked by a receiver in the running game. His tackling is inconsistent. And he hasn’t been the guy who gets challenged. He does seem to have a good head on his shoulders, but can his swagger be dented?

But most of this is based on needing a paragraph of weaknesses. He brings a lot to the table and I do think he can overcome the challenges of being on an island. He’s not nearly as much of a safe choice as an Aaron Curry. But he’s 85% likely to be good.

2. Vontae Davis – Illinois
(6’0″ 205 4.40)

If the light turns on? Vontae has a shot at closing down one-half of the field. He has the timed speed. He has the necessary loose hips to turn and run. He has the aggression and frame to seperate the ball from the ballcarrier. At his best? He makes big, spectacular plays as a returner and cornerback.

But he is the brother of Vernon. And as such? Vontae has some real problems. One, he gets caught looking into the backfield. This means he can get torched. He will also drop a sure pick or two along the way. And he does have some certain character issues (e.g., last seasons benching by the Zooker)

But you know what? He’s got a chance to be good in a primarily zone system. If you get him in a system where he can read the action. He’ll be fine. He can use his athleticism to be great. I’m just saying. He would be lucky if he finds himself in a Cover 2 system.

Darius Butler

3. Darius Butler – Connecticut
(5’9″ 192 4.41)

Darius Butler has a nice set of skills for the team that drafts him. He has the athleticism that will allow him to shut down plenty of receivers. He will kill you if you run slants his way. He can also be a good zone corner, as he has the agility and straight line speed to close.

The weakness? Obviously, size is one of them. A physical receiver is going to have a strong chance to have a good day against Darius. Also, he’s willing to get his head in, but he’s more of a duck and swipe tackler. He also has an odd problem with giving up yards after the catch.

Darius has an excellent chance to make UConn history. He has good instincts and the heart of a lion. He may not be the one you want versus a big and physical receiver straight away, but he will give his hearts and guts to the game. There’s a lot to like here.

4. Sean Smith – Utah
(6’3″ 210 4.50)

The triangle is what makes him so intriguing. By far, he is the tallest prospect with wheels that actually make him a viable second cornerback off the board on upside alone. But this is a man with skills. He can keep himself around the ball and close on a route in zone. He can press like a beast as well.

The problem? He’s a tweener. He played mostly safety in college. He does have corner skills, it goes without saying. But he is a lot more upside than polish at this point. Another year may have brought him more money.

But that’s not to say he can’t be Bobby Taylor for the better part of a decade. He’s got the size and agression to destroy smaller receivers on the jam and the awareness and hands to play ballhawk. He has all the tools to be great. Even if somebody likes him enough to be a first round pick? They’ll get good value.

5. Alphonso Smith – Wake Forest
(5’9″ 190 4.47)

He’s a tailor-made cornerback. He has balance coming in and out of the breaks. He has an excellent backpedal and smooth hips for him to turn and run with. He trusts his instincts and can stay with receivers anywhere down the field. This allows him to make plays.

That being said? He does not have the tailor made body. He can be posted up as he tries to go up against a big receiver. You will not get a jam out of him by any stretch of the imagination. And never mind the bollocks of run support.

Cut .05 off his 40-time and give him two inches? And he would be the top cornerback. He does have a future as a second corner slash Aaron Glenn type. But he will not be your shut down half the field corner.

D.J. Moore

6. D.J. Moore – Vanderbilt
(5’10” 185 4.56)

His athleticism is something spectacular. He can atay with many receivers despite the timed speed. His cover techniques are tight and his ability to close is good as well. And he did develop himself in the single greatest football conference in America or the World! Okay, seriously, he has that Leodis McKelvin sort of special teams gift to him.

The problem? Whereas corners like Darius Butler and Alphonso Smith are willing to stick their head in there and make the play? Moore is stricktly a finesse cornerback. He has the frame to get stronger, but the other aspects of defense beyond coverage and ballhawking are foreign.

That’s not to say he may not have a long career as a cover corner on the smaller opponent. He has a certain old school Terrell Buckley vibe. A team that expects him to cover the Cardinals may find him lacking. But he has a pro future and he should be able to come correct and come quickly.

7. Coye Francies – San Jose State
(6’0″ 185 4.63)

I know after his last pro day, Francies may slip into Day 2. But the fact of the matter is that there is a lot to like about Francies. First off? Never mind the 40-time. He has the agility to stay with most receivers and the awareness and quickness to find himself rarely out of position. Second off? He’s a ballhawk. He has long arms and knows how to high point the ball. Third off? He can deliver run support.

He does have a bit of inexperience as a pro, with only a little over a season’s worth of starts. He is a little bit skinny in the lower body. That could lead to a problem down the road. And while you have to like his willingness to press, he does have the potential to develop a problem with it in the pros.

Coye reminds me of a player that gets my homer juices flowing. A bad thing? Not by a longshot. He has the physical frame and game that reminds me of Al Harris. Sure, his prime was truncated because he was behind Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor. But Francies can start quickly. And he has a shot to be great.

8. Jairus Byrd – Oregon
(6’0″ 205 4.67)

What he has? He has fearlessness, and a certain physicality. He can stick his head in there and make the play. In zone? He’s rangy and can make ballhawking plays. He has the instincts and technique to stay at corner.

I know, if you’ve been reading up on me, I’ve been one who said that you don’t need to worry about the 40-time. Here? Film and shuttle drills show that his speed is a real problem. If you run a man scheme? He may stuggle. If you ask him to play Steve Smith? He will struggle.

But there are some teams that would love him if they draft him. He is a bit of a tweener, and a move to safety is not something of a guarantee. But any team that would look for a Cover 2 corner? He may be a taller Nathan Vasher. But that 40-time is scary looking.

9. Asher Allen – Georgia
(5’10” 194 4.48)

He has a purity of cover corner spirit. He has great technique. His 40-time isn’t the only piece of his athleticism pie. He will make good breaks on the ball? And if you’re looking for a rookie to burn? Asher Allen will not be toast.

But that being said? For someone who isn’t physical, you want someone who’s just a little bit bigger. He does have a lot of technique skill, but he still has a bit of inexperience and could use more reps. He’s also not a spectacular ballhawk. You won’t see very many big plays here.

But that being said? He’s not a man who you should look crossly upon if he gets drafted to your team. He’s ready to cover from the get go. You won’t get the sizzle with Asher Allen, but you sure as heck will get the steak.

And if you want five good Day 2 values?

1. Macho Harris (Jairus Byrd type with a worse 40-time, but better quickness.)
2. Christopher Owens (Plays big and plays aggressive.)
3. Mike Mickens (An experienced ballhawk who closes like he’s an ace.)
4. Cary Harris (A solid veteran with power in his instincts and his cover skills.)
5. Joe Burnett (Quickness, return skills, ball skills, and sharp instincts. Never mind his 40-time. The team in the fifth round will get a starter here/)

Day 1 Draft Breakdown…Cornerbacks

Filed under: Analysis,Draft Nerd,Fuhbawls,I say Ball you say Hawk — by Andrew @ 3:34 pm

In the defensive backfield. There’s Malcolm Jenkins and everybody else at corner. The second corner off the board could be Sean Smith. It could be Darius Butler. There’s depth. And a lot of it? The question is, just how quality is this depth?

malcolm jenkins Pictures, Images and Photos

1. Malcolm Jenkins – Ohio St.
(6’1″ 201 4.51)

He’s a physical, attacking corner. He jams well on the line and he attacks like a safety on the blitz or in run support. And yes, his 40-time is not great. But look at the film. He stays with the burners, and he has the agility not to get lost on a double move. And if he gets an opportunity? He gets the ball.

The problem? If he’s drafted as a safety? His game does not have nearly enough polish. He can get blocked by a receiver in the running game. His tackling is inconsistent. And he hasn’t been the guy who gets challenged. He does seem to have a good head on his shoulders, but can his swagger be dented?

But most of this is based on needing a paragraph of weaknesses. He brings a lot to the table and I do think he can overcome the challenges of being on an island. He’s not nearly as much of a safe choice as an Aaron Curry. But he’s 85% likely to be good.

Vontae Davis Pictures, Images and Photos

2. Vontae Davis – Illinois
(6’0″ 205 4.40)

If the light turns on? Vontae has a shot at closing down one-half of the field. He has the timed speed. He has the necessary loose hips to turn and run. He has the aggression and frame to seperate the ball from the ballcarrier. At his best? He makes big, spectacular plays as a returner and cornerback.

But he is the brother of Vernon. And as such? Vontae has some real problems. One, he gets caught looking into the backfield. This means he can get torched. He will also drop a sure pick or two along the way. And he does have some certain character issues (e.g., last seasons benching by the Zooker)

But you know what? He’s got a chance to be good in a primarily zone system. If you get him in a system where he can read the action. He’ll be fine. He can use his athleticism to be great. I’m just saying. He would be lucky if he finds himself in a Cover 2 system.

Darius Butler

3. Darius Butler – Connecticut
(5’9″ 192 4.41)

Darius Butler has a nice set of skills for the team that drafts him. He has the athleticism that will allow him to shut down plenty of receivers. He will kill you if you run slants his way. He can also be a good zone corner, as he has the agility and straight line speed to close.

The weakness? Obviously, size is one of them. A physical receiver is going to have a strong chance to have a good day against Darius. Also, he’s willing to get his head in, but he’s more of a duck and swipe tackler. He also has an odd problem with giving up yards after the catch.

Darius has an excellent chance to make UConn history. He has good instincts and the heart of a lion. He may not be the one you want versus a big and physical receiver straight away, but he will give his hearts and guts to the game. There’s a lot to like here.

Sean Smith Pictures, Images and Photos

4. Sean Smith – Utah
(6’3″ 210 4.50)

The triangle is what makes him so intriguing. By far, he is the tallest prospect with wheels that actually make him a viable second cornerback off the board on upside alone. But this is a man with skills. He can keep himself around the ball and close on a route in zone. He can press like a beast as well.

The problem? He’s a tweener. He played mostly safety in college. He does have corner skills, it goes without saying. But he is a lot more upside than polish at this point. Another year may have brought him more money.

But that’s not to say he can’t be Bobby Taylor for the better part of a decade. He’s got the size and agression to destroy smaller receivers on the jam and the awareness and hands to play ballhawk. He has all the tools to be great. Even if somebody likes him enough to be a first round pick? They’ll get good value.

Alphonso Smith Pictures, Images and Photos

5. Alphonso Smith – Wake Forest
(5’9″ 190 4.47)

He’s a tailor-made cornerback. He has balance coming in and out of the breaks. He has an excellent backpedal and smooth hips for him to turn and run with. He trusts his instincts and can stay with receivers anywhere down the field. This allows him to make plays.

That being said? He does not have the tailor made body. He can be posted up as he tries to go up against a big receiver. You will not get a jam out of him by any stretch of the imagination. And never mind the bollocks of run support.

Cut .05 off his 40-time and give him two inches? And he would be the top cornerback. He does have a future as a second corner slash Aaron Glenn type. But he will not be your shut down half the field corner.

D.J. Moore

6. D.J. Moore – Vanderbilt
(5’10” 185 4.56)

His athleticism is something spectacular. He can atay with many receivers despite the timed speed. His cover techniques are tight and his ability to close is good as well. And he did develop himself in the single greatest football conference in America or the World! Okay, seriously, he has that Leodis McKelvin sort of special teams gift to him.

The problem? Whereas corners like Darius Butler and Alphonso Smith are willing to stick their head in there and make the play? Moore is stricktly a finesse cornerback. He has the frame to get stronger, but the other aspects of defense beyond coverage and ballhawking are foreign.

That’s not to say he may not have a long career as a cover corner on the smaller opponent. He has a certain old school Terrell Buckley vibe. A team that expects him to cover the Cardinals may find him lacking. But he has a pro future and he should be able to come correct and come quickly.

Quan Crosby & Coye Francies Pictures, Images and Photos

7. Coye Francies – San Jose State
(6’0″ 185 4.63)

I know after his last pro day, Francies may slip into Day 2. But the fact of the matter is that there is a lot to like about Francies. First off? Never mind the 40-time. He has the agility to stay with most receivers and the awareness and quickness to find himself rarely out of position. Second off? He’s a ballhawk. He has long arms and knows how to high point the ball. Third off? He can deliver run support.

He does have a bit of inexperience as a pro, with only a little over a season’s worth of starts. He is a little bit skinny in the lower body. That could lead to a problem down the road. And while you have to like his willingness to press, he does have the potential to develop a problem with it in the pros.

Coye reminds me of a player that gets my homer juices flowing. A bad thing? Not by a longshot. He has the physical frame and game that reminds me of Al Harris. Sure, his prime was truncated because he was behind Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor. But Francies can start quickly. And he has a shot to be great.

Jairus Byrd Pictures, Images and Photos

8. Jairus Byrd – Oregon
(6’0″ 205 4.67)

What he has? He has fearlessness, and a certain physicality. He can stick his head in there and make the play. In zone? He’s rangy and can make ballhawking plays. He has the instincts and technique to stay at corner.

I know, if you’ve been reading up on me, I’ve been one who said that you don’t need to worry about the 40-time. Here? Film and shuttle drills show that his speed is a real problem. If you run a man scheme? He may stuggle. If you ask him to play Steve Smith? He will struggle.

But there are some teams that would love him if they draft him. He is a bit of a tweener, and a move to safety is not something of a guarantee. But any team that would look for a Cover 2 corner? He may be a taller Nathan Vasher. But that 40-time is scary looking.

asher allen Pictures, Images and Photos

9. Asher Allen – Georgia
(5’10” 194 4.48)

He has a purity of cover corner spirit. He has great technique. His 40-time isn’t the only piece of his athleticism pie. He will make good breaks on the ball? And if you’re looking for a rookie to burn? Asher Allen will not be toast.

But that being said? For someone who isn’t physical, you want someone who’s just a little bit bigger. He does have a lot of technique skill, but he still has a bit of inexperience and could use more reps. He’s also not a spectacular ballhawk. You won’t see very many big plays here.

But that being said? He’s not a man who you should look crossly upon if he gets drafted to your team. He’s ready to cover from the get go. You won’t get the sizzle with Asher Allen, but you sure as heck will get the steak.

And if you want five good Day 2 values?

1. Macho Harris (Jairus Byrd type with a worse 40-time, but better quickness.)
2. Christopher Owens (Plays big and plays aggressive.)
3. Mike Mickens (An experienced ballhawk who closes like he’s an ace.)
4. Cary Harris (A solid veteran with power in his instincts and his cover skills.)
5. Joe Burnett (Quickness, return skills, ball skills, and sharp instincts. Never mind his 40-time. The team in the fifth round will get a starter here/)

April 5, 2009

Draft Day 1: Outside Linebackers

There’s a decent crop of Outside Linebackers here. I’m including those listed as converting to 3-4 rush outside linebackers as defensive ends. That post will be a Homeric Epic in it’s own right. But if you need an Outside Linebacker? You have good options here.

aaron curry

1. Aaron Curry Wake Forest
6’1 7/8″ 248 4.56

This is the safest pick in the draft. He brings a little bit of everything to the table. But as a run-stopper? He’s simply sublime. He is aggressive and can run chase and tackle better than anybody in this class. He can get off blocks versus many players. And he can hold himself at the point of attack.

He does have weaknesses, but for such a high character player? They are more imperfections than anything. He can be faked out by a good misdirection or play-fake. And on pass defense? He’s not all the way there on the blitz or at the coverage.

But that doesn’t mean he’s not a three-down linebacker. He has worked himself from a walk-on to a potential Top 3 pick. He can refine what he needs to do to get himself into franchise player levels. I can see him having a ten year run of awesome.

2. Brian Cushing USC
6’3″ 243 4.74

Don’t question Brian Cushing’s heart. He is instinctive. He is fearless. He will take down and shed any blocker that would face him. And he does have great body control in coverage and as a former defensive end, Cushing does have real pass-rushing skills.

But as for Cushing, there’s aggressive, and there’s over aggressive. He’s been dinged up all throughout his college career. Not saying there’s cause and effect, but it is a worry. He’s also not a downhill linebacker, and when he’s going for a tackle, he can forget to bring his feet. And while he did move inside when Maualuga went down last year, there were struggles.

But while he may not be a ready-made Mike, he does have a versatile skill set. He brings it on every down. He’s going to be a good one if injuries don’t bring him down. Some team between 15-20 will love him.

3. Clay Matthews USC
6’3″ 246 4.67

For a one year starter? Matthews has shot up the draft boards. And there’s justification to this, and it’s not just because of the bloodlines. He has a great motor and solid pass rushing skills. He is a speed rusher on the edge for a 3-4. He’s a strong tackler as well. And his instincts? Strong despite being inexperienced.

But if you’re asking him to cover? His shit is raw. He also doesn’t have great skills to take on blocks. And if he’s blocked on a pass rush? He doesn’t have a move to disengage.

Not for nothing though, Matthews is kind of like Aaron Curry. He’s got the desire to work to keep getting better. He’s worked for everything he’s earned, and those weaknesses aren’t such that they cannot be improved upon. Atlanta is praying for him to be there.

4. Clint Sintim Virginia
6’2 1/8″ 249 4.78

The third paragraph about Sintim is going to be something interesting. Tease!

Sintim’s strength is in his pass rush. He has long arms that will allow for him not to get engaged bodily by offensive blockers. He has great speed rushing and he is developing a good array of moves. He has strong physicality and good instincts against the run.

But he does not take on lead blockers. He runs around people. And if he has to drop into coverage? Bad things happen. He’s stiff in coverage, and his instincts in coverage are very weak.

But you know what? If you’re in the middle of the second round? You can get Aaron Maybin skills right here. Great pass-rusher, a good motor, bad in coverage? Just like Maybin. But if you get pick #48, you can have Clint Sintim.

FROM OSU

5. Marcus Freeman Ohio State
6’1″ 239 4.74

He’s captain intangibles. You’ll hear the term scrappy and gutty thrown around about him. He has the heart to play special teams. But he’s also well built with explosive athleticism. He good savvy and his sideline to sideline skills are very good.

He does have problems. He’s not strong at the point of attack. You can move him in the run. He also lets the game to come to him. Which as a linebacker isn’t such a good thing. He can cover, but he’s not a big playmaker.

He’s not a sexy player. He will be a solid starter for a few years. He’s built to be a Will. But he may never be a pro bowler. But you likely won’t be disappointed.

There are two third round picks that are of value. Jonathan Casillias is a sideline to sideline speedster as a Will. And Frantz Joesph is an ex-Boston College player who shone in the Shrine Game. Either one would make you happy.

Draft Day 1: Outside Linebackers

There’s a decent crop of Outside Linebackers here. I’m including those listed as converting to 3-4 rush outside linebackers as defensive ends. That post will be a Homeric Epic in it’s own right. But if you need an Outside Linebacker? You have good options here.

aaron curry

1. Aaron Curry Wake Forest
6’1 7/8″ 248 4.56

This is the safest pick in the draft. He brings a little bit of everything to the table. But as a run-stopper? He’s simply sublime. He is aggressive and can run chase and tackle better than anybody in this class. He can get off blocks versus many players. And he can hold himself at the point of attack.

He does have weaknesses, but for such a high character player? They are more imperfections than anything. He can be faked out by a good misdirection or play-fake. And on pass defense? He’s not all the way there on the blitz or at the coverage.

But that doesn’t mean he’s not a three-down linebacker. He has worked himself from a walk-on to a potential Top 3 pick. He can refine what he needs to do to get himself into franchise player levels. I can see him having a ten year run of awesome.

Brian Cushing Pictures, Images and Photos

2. Brian Cushing USC
6’3″ 243 4.74

Don’t question Brian Cushing’s heart. He is instinctive. He is fearless. He will take down and shed any blocker that would face him. And he does have great body control in coverage and as a former defensive end, Cushing does have real pass-rushing skills.

But as for Cushing, there’s aggressive, and there’s over aggressive. He’s been dinged up all throughout his college career. Not saying there’s cause and effect, but it is a worry. He’s also not a downhill linebacker, and when he’s going for a tackle, he can forget to bring his feet. And while he did move inside when Maualuga went down last year, there were struggles.

But while he may not be a ready-made Mike, he does have a versatile skill set. He brings it on every down. He’s going to be a good one if injuries don’t bring him down. Some team between 15-20 will love him.

Clay Matthews Pictures, Images and Photos

3. Clay Matthews USC
6’3″ 246 4.67

For a one year starter? Matthews has shot up the draft boards. And there’s justification to this, and it’s not just because of the bloodlines. He has a great motor and solid pass rushing skills. He is a speed rusher on the edge for a 3-4. He’s a strong tackler as well. And his instincts? Strong despite being inexperienced.

But if you’re asking him to cover? His shit is raw. He also doesn’t have great skills to take on blocks. And if he’s blocked on a pass rush? He doesn’t have a move to disengage.

Not for nothing though, Matthews is kind of like Aaron Curry. He’s got the desire to work to keep getting better. He’s worked for everything he’s earned, and those weaknesses aren’t such that they cannot be improved upon. Atlanta is praying for him to be there.

Clint Sintim Pictures, Images and Photos

4. Clint Sintim Virginia
6’2 1/8″ 249 4.78

The third paragraph about Sintim is going to be something interesting. Tease!

Sintim’s strength is in his pass rush. He has long arms that will allow for him not to get engaged bodily by offensive blockers. He has great speed rushing and he is developing a good array of moves. He has strong physicality and good instincts against the run.

But he does not take on lead blockers. He runs around people. And if he has to drop into coverage? Bad things happen. He’s stiff in coverage, and his instincts in coverage are very weak.

But you know what? If you’re in the middle of the second round? You can get Aaron Maybin skills right here. Great pass-rusher, a good motor, bad in coverage? Just like Maybin. But if you get pick #48, you can have Clint Sintim.

FROM OSU

5. Marcus Freeman Ohio State
6’1″ 239 4.74

He’s captain intangibles. You’ll hear the term scrappy and gutty thrown around about him. He has the heart to play special teams. But he’s also well built with explosive athleticism. He good savvy and his sideline to sideline skills are very good.

He does have problems. He’s not strong at the point of attack. You can move him in the run. He also lets the game to come to him. Which as a linebacker isn’t such a good thing. He can cover, but he’s not a big playmaker.

He’s not a sexy player. He will be a solid starter for a few years. He’s built to be a Will. But he may never be a pro bowler. But you likely won’t be disappointed.

There are two third round picks that are of value. Jonathan Casillias is a sideline to sideline speedster as a Will. And Frantz Joesph is an ex-Boston College player who shone in the Shrine Game. Either one would make you happy.

April 4, 2009

Day 1 Prospect Breakdown: Running Backs

The running back class this season is no great, but it is better than some of the past classes in history. Of course, in this modern NFL world, you have to be sure in a running back, because like Ryan Grant or Priest Holmes? You can get good value late. So why be early? Take a look at the prospects.

Chris Wells

1. Chris Wells (Ohio State)
6’1″ 237 4.52

The good thing about Beanie? His run talent. In that proverbial defensive box? Wells is a killer. He runs hard between the tackles, and runs through defenders. Let alone the sweet, sweet stiff-arm. He has an excellent size-speed ratio. And while he may gather to cut, if he breaks through the first level? He can take it to the barn.

The problem? The intangibles. He runs hot and cold. His injuries have been many and minor. He needs to have someone keep on him to work. I know, he’s young and intangibles can improve. But I can’t write a paragraph on fumbling problems alone.

Now, there are some who want to compare him to Adrian Peterson. If he had the intangibles? Yeah. Adrian Peterson can win games by himself. Chris Wells may soon? But it may take a while. And the football fans know what I mean when I talk about a talented power runner with poor intangibles.

Photobucket

2. Knowshon Moreno Georgia
5’11” 217 4.61

There is a lot to like about Knowshon. He is a hard, determined runner with excellent leg drive. He has excellent mobility and vision. He is not someone who can stay got. You can use him as a weapon on screens and angle routes. And it may be both a plus and a minus, but he did not have to be the bellcow.

And while he is a hard, determined runner. He does not have power to his game. He can run upright. And he does not have the bulk to make that style work for 25-30 carries. He can be tracked down, because he does not have the blazing speed.

He reminds me a lot of a more-versatile Clinton Portis. He runs hard between the tackles with an undersized frame. He has excellent mobility, and while Portis timed faster, Moreno plays to his timed speed. You give him 25 touches a game? He’ll be great for six years.

LeSean McCoy

3. LeSean McCoy Pittsburgh
5’11” 204 4.48

LeSean McCoy has quick feet and that vision thing. He gas a great ability to find his way into the cutback lane. He’s got an excellent ability to make the first defender miss. He has good hands and an excellent nose for the end zone. His intangibles are decent. He’ll never be a captain, but he comes to play and brings his lunch.

He’s does have that Clinton Portis thing of being unable to play to his timed speed. More agile than explosive. He does have a dancing problem. He runs east-west entirely too much. And in traffic, a loose hand can make the ball go bye-bye.

But you know what? He’s got upside. He can either go one of two ways. He can be a Clinton Portis styled slasher. Or he can be solid for 12 years like Warrick Dunn. There’s good value in this late 1st round pick.

Donald Brown

4. Donald Brown UConn
5’10” 208 4.42

There’s a lot to like here as well. Brown is not powerful, but he has nice strength for his size and he does run hard. As last season showed? He has durability. He is spectacular at getting to the corner. He is great at being a one-cut runner. And despite having a -5 passing game on a scale of 1 to 10? Brown has great hands.

However? That timed number is not his football speed. His acceleration is not spectacular either. And he does need more work on his receiving skills. But like McCoy and Moreno? There’s a lot more good then bad.

Now, there’s not much sex-appeal to Donald Brown. His comparisons are to guys like Willie Parker and the Platinum Pierre Thomas. But you know what? Some team is going to get him in the second round. And they are going to like him. He has a Tiki Barberish upside.

The third round is going to be rich with running backs. I could see five running backs going in this round. Shonn Greene and Andre Brown are both powerbacks who could yet sneak into the second round. Rashad Jennings is a small school powerback stud. Javon Ringer is going to be a productive waste of a pick. Mike Goodson is the speedy dude who may be nothing more than a tease. And James Davis is the Thunder of Tommy Bowden’s nightmares.

Outside linebackers are next.

April 3, 2009

The Cutler trade in brief…

Filed under: Draft Nerd,Fuhbawls,Trader Drew's Trading Post — by Andrew @ 6:06 pm

The Broncos have pulled victory out of their ass on this one.

Kyle Orton showed himself to be a competent quarterback last season with nothing more than Brandon Lloyd, smoke, and mirrors last season. At least that’s how it went before he got hurt. Jay Cutler had a supporting cast that was Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Daniel Graham and the occasional Tony Scheffler.

And did the Bears really need a quarterback that badly? I can think of three positions the Bears could use more than a quarterback upgrade. Look at the previous paragraph for one. Sure, they signed Orland Pace, but he comes extra clean after the injuries washed the talent away. And if pass-rush won’t get them? The lack of a good safety will.

And of course? It could have helped if they decided to keep their picks. But hey…

March 30, 2009

THE GNC DAY 1 BREAKDOWN: CENTERS…

Filed under: Dollar Tree Superstars,Draft Nerd,El Centro,Fuhbawls — by Andrew @ 8:37 pm

I have to say something. If you need an interior lineman. You may have to go into Round 2 to get one. I may not believe Eric Wood is a worthy Day 1 draft choice, but that being said? Eric Wood is a smart scrapper. Some team would not be indefensible to fall in love with him. I just don’t trust an offensive lineman that struggles with knee bend. So that leaves two.

1. Alex Mack Cal
6’4″ 307 5.17

You want what’s potentially the safest pick between 25-40? Go forth to the secret world of Alex Mack. Why? Because this Larisa Oleynik is the prototypical run blocker as an interior lineman. Leverage? Hands? Drive blocking? Pulling? He has it all and he has it all in spades.

But he is not perfect. His pass protection needs some work. A big d-tackle can generate a bit of a bullrush. He loses the leverage and hands as he goes after linebackers. But he’s going from great to merely average.

In the future? You could look at Alex Mack and see another decade, decade and a half of a Kevin Mawae-esque run of dominance at center. Right now? He’s not going to be Kevin Mawae. But he has the work ethic and desire to take it to the next level and become truly great.

2. Max Unger (Oregon)
6’5″ 309 5.26

Agility wise? Max Unger is the best center out there. He can be an emergency left tackle. He’s solid in pass protection. And he’s a good player in the traps and pulling game. All in all? Max Unger is a solid fathlete.

His only problem? He does have functional strength. But his football strength is lacking. He’s not a blow you off the ball center like Alex Mack or even an Edwin Williams. It’s not a suicidal flaw, a good strength program can handle that. But it’s the difference between Unger and Mack. Despite the fact he’s also weak in space.

But at present? Anybody dreaming of Kevin Mawae has been camped out at his doorstep. He does have some real upside to his game. You may be able to find a long-snapper, and a backup tackle and guard for the price of a starting center and a mid 2nd round pick.

Yay! Good dranalysis!

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