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Tag:NFL Draft
Posted on: April 7, 2010 5:30 pm
Edited on: April 7, 2010 5:36 pm
 

20 Players Worth Reaching On

By Joe Brown, BleacherReport.com

20. Brandon Graham—Michigan (DE/6-2/268) Round: Mid-1st

Graham was a terror in the Big Ten and gave a sneak peek to other conferences after his MVP-showing at the Senior Bowl. He would instantly upgrade a teams’ ability, or lack thereof, to generate a consistent pass-rush.

Graham might be a bit undersized by NFL standards, but he’s the epitome of explosiveness. With his gym-rat, high-motor characteristics, any NFL defensive coordinator will be thrilled to add a player of Graham’s caliber.


19. Ryan Matthews — Fresno State (RB/6-0/220) Round: 1st

After leading the nation in rushing last year, it was hard to imagine there was much more Matthews could do to improve his stock.

He did just that at the combine by showing off an incredible combination of strength and speed.

Perhaps the one knock was questions about his receiving skills but he proved at the combine his hands are not a reason to be concerned.

Matthews can run effectively between the tackles or bouncing it outside if need be. His toughness and work ethic can’t be taught and in my opinion, he’s the best pure running back in this draft—including C.J. Spiller.


18. Jahvid Best — California (RB/5-10/200) Round: Late 1st – Early 2nd

If it wasn’t for a scary injury last season, Best would be projected much higher than the late-second, early-third projections most mock drafts have him at.

Injury concerns prevent Best from being a surefire first-rounder but his explosiveness and receiving ability should be enough to overcome that.


17. Vladimir Ducasse —  Massachusetts (OT/6-5/335) Round: 2nd

Besides having one of the more intriguing side stories in this crop of prospects, the Haiti native might be one of the most versatile, too.

Size and strength of his magnitude are rare and the fact Ducasse didn’t begin playing football until his junior year of high school makes him an interesting risk-reward selection in late April.

Ducasse can play multiple positions on the line immediately and he could provide depth at tackle, or start at guard while he gains another year of coaching.


16. Terrence Cody — Alabama (DT/6-4/350) Round: 2nd

The former Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College transfer anchored Alabama’s defensive line and prevented any opposing running back from gaining 100 yards in a game.

Cody’s impact rarely shows up in the box score but he allows his teammates considerable room to roam the field and make plays. He’s a perfect fit to plug the middle of the line for a 3-4 defense and his size alone is enough to demand at least two blockers on every play.

The biggest concern about him is conditioning, but his losing weight before the combine was an encouraging sign to his suitors.


15. Jonathan Dwyer — Georgia Tech (RB/5-11/230) Round: 1st

Posting a 4.64 at the combine meant Dwyer could have potentially fallen out of the second, let alone first-round.

However, he rebounded by running a 4.51 at Georgia Tech’s pro day. The 2008 ACC Player of the Year proved durability and consistency characteristics by rushing for 1,395 yards the last two seasons.

Dwyer is an extremely tough, in-between the tackles type of runner who simply shuns would-be arm tacklers and is a reliable blocker. He plays through injuries and has soft-enough hands to be an every-down running back.

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Posted on: April 2, 2010 4:54 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2010 4:59 pm
 

Trojan pass-rushers: NFL projects

David Nestoff, DraftSite.com

Troy University injected two of the most prolific pass-rushers in to the NFL in the last half of the decade. A public mid-major in southeastern Alabama, the Trojans saw the likes of DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora leave on a train for the NFL and enjoy immense success.

With the Dallas Cowboys, Ware’s impact was immediate. He left Troy as one of the most effective pass rushers in school history. At the pro level, he recorded eight sacks in his rookie season, and has had double-digit sacks each of the four years since. In the last five years, Ware leads the NFL in sacks with 64.5.

At 47.5 sacks over the last five years, Ware’s former teammate and now New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora doesn’t fall far behind. Umenyiora is sixth in sacks over his last five seasons (he missed all of 2008 with an injury). Not to mention, his time with the Giants has rewarded the Troy alum with a Super Bowl ring.

Though, neither were locks for stardom entering their college careers. In fact, both were projects coming out of high school, which is what helped them end up at Troy.

“When defensive linemen come along, if they are pretty close to the finished product, if they can play, they are scooped up pretty fast by the SEC and the ACC,” Troy’s defensive line coach Randy Butler said.

Brandon Lang and Cameron Sheffield came in much the same way as their predecessors. Not finished enough products for the Division I powerhouses. They came to Troy in need of some developing.

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Posted on: March 28, 2010 2:53 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2010 2:55 pm
 

UConn : Running back-U?

By Tim Rohan, DraftSite.com

The University of Connecticut may be developing into a legitimate place for NFL teams to look for talent. And the Huskies just might be the next running back-U if they keep their recent trends up.

Running back Andre Dixon is the most recent product of the run-hungry offense under coach Randy Esdall.

During Dixon’s redshirt-sophomore season, he split carries with Donald Brown, and started eight games on his way to an 828-yard campaign, which led the team. Dixon also averaged five yards per carry that season and caught 24 passes for 280 yards. Yet he was only able to tally four touchdowns.

In Brown’s senior season, Dixon only carried the ball nine times on the season, which was more than 150 carries less than the previous year. Donald Brown rushed for over 2,000 yards that season. When Brown graduated however, Dixon got his carries back, yet he had to split them once again.

In Connecticut’s run dominated offense, Dixon showed that when he got the ball, he could be an effective runner. Dixon had 239 rushes for 1,093 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground this season. He wasn’t the only Huskie to top the 1,000 yard mark though. Sophomore running back Jordan Todman got nearly the same amount of carries as Dixon — and Todman led the team in yards and matched Dixon’s 14 rushing scores.

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Posted on: March 22, 2010 12:27 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2010 12:30 pm
 

Armanti Edwards: Flash of Brilliance

On September 1, 2007, life changed for Armanti Edwards.

He admits today that the game probably opened some people’s eyes to what he can do on the football field. His performance in Appalachian State’s upset win over then-No. 5 Michigan in the Big House launched Edwards onto the national spotlight.

Three seasons later, Edwards graduated with two Division I FCS national championships in his freshman and sophomore seasons.

The diminutive quarterback was a dual threat under center and carved the Wolverines up for 227 yards passing, 62 yards rushing and four total touchdowns.

Edwards put the Mountaineers on the map, and finished his career with more than 10,000 passing yards, more than 4,000 rushing yards, 74 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.

He came back down to earth his junior and senior years though. He didn't top the 1,000 yard mark for rushing yards but his passing was more on display.

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Posted on: March 16, 2010 1:26 pm
 

Second-chance signal callers

By David Nestoff, DraftSite.com

Sometimes, a college career goes exactly as planned. All fanfare and expectations are met, and the results speak for themselves. But as often as that happens there are those recruits who fall short. Sometimes it’s a bad situation, filled with disagreements and laced with trouble. Sometimes the location is the issue, being a big city filled with too many opportunities to go the wrong way.

Sometimes, it’s as good an idea to leave a school as it is to stay, regardless of the opportunities that were once there, or the size of the school.

Change can be the best thing, which is just the way it panned out for three formerly high-profile Division I quarterback prospects turned NFL-hopefuls for the 2010 Draft. There might have been less fanfare and no limelight, but for Jacksonville State’s Ryan Perrilloux, Ole Miss’s Jevan Snead and Arkansas Tech’s Nick Graziano, change was the best thing, especially to boost their stock as NFL prospects.

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Posted on: March 12, 2010 1:45 am
Edited on: March 12, 2010 1:48 am
 

Mock Drafts: Packers, Bucs, Steelers


BleacherReport.com
continues their series of team-by-team mock drafts, projecting the best-case, most realistic and worst-case scenarios for each team.  As we move forward we'll combine these mocks in to three-team packages for easier consumption.

Take a look!


Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL going into the 2010 season. And going into the draft they will look to add to an already explosive offense by giving quarterback Aaron Rodgers a few more weapons to play with.

Their defense is strong since there has been a focus on drafting on that side of the ball for the past few seasons. The only pressing needs are in the secondary.

The following is the best-case, worst-case, and most likely scenario for the first four rounds of the draft, plus a shot-in-the-dark guess at the Packers fifth-round selection.

Full Mock


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the second year of their rebuilding process, and are sitting pretty at the top of the first round of the 2010 draft. But, if they don't choose wisely they could get burnt and take a step backwards.

In 2009, the Bucs found their franchise quarterback in Josh Freeman, but there are still plenty of roster holes that need to be filled come April.

Full Mock




Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have done a great job filling in some needs so far this offseason. Bringing back Ryan Clark was a huge decision, and he has proven himself to be a very good safety paired with Troy Polamalu.

The Steelers then went out and signed safety Will Allen and receivers Antwaan Randle El and Arnaz Battle. These moves filled in some holes in the reserve positions, and will surely help the Steelers come April. They can now pick the best players available, and continue to build for the future.

Full Mock

Posted on: March 4, 2010 2:10 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2010 2:11 pm
 

Mock Drafts: Bengals, Jets, Pats


BleacherReport.com
continues their series of team-by-team mock drafts, projecting the best-case, most realistic and worst-case scenarios for each team.  As we move forward we'll combine these mocks in to three-team packages for easier consumption.

Take a look!


Cincinnati Bengals

The AFC North might not be the best division in the NFL but it’s certainly one of the toughest. Playing Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice a year is enough to make any team battle-hardened.

Marvin Lewis did an amazing job leading his team to a division title following a 10-6 season marred by tragedy with the deaths of receiver Chris Henry and Vikki Zimmer, wife of Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer. For his efforts, Lewis was named 2009 NFL AP Coach of the Year.

With a few upgrades at key positions, Cincinnati is primed to make a run at the AFC Championship in 2010.

Full Mock Draft


New York Jets

With a trio of rookies in key positions last year, the Jets exceeded most expectations. Unpredictable and charismatic, Rex Ryan was impressive in his coaching debut.

Mike Tannenbaum will need to make his early picks in the 2010 draft count because they traded their third, fourth, and fifth-round picks. However, they are set to receive one of the Philadelphia Eagles' two fifth-round picks from the “conditional picks” part of the Lito Sheppard deal.

As one of the final playoff teams to make a divisional round appearance, Tannenbaum will be somewhat handcuffed in the free agency market. 

Full Mock Draft

 


New England Patriots

I don't envy the Patriots' scouting crew's job — not at all.

If I learned just one thing writing this mock draft, it's that evaluating talent for the NFL draft is as tough a job as I've ever been faced with.

Even though it's been inappropriately labeled by many as a crapshoot, every team looks forward to the NFL draft.

Teams don't look forward to having the most amount of time to evaluate talent for the draft, though—every team wants to be the last to get started. The Patriots have had a bit more time than they'd like, but they have a lot of draft picks to look forward to in 2010, including three in the second round.

Likewise, they have a lot of holes to fill.

Full Mock Draft

 

Top: Taylor Mays. (US Presswire) -- Middle: Everson Griffen. (Getty Images) -- Bottom: Sergio Kindle. (US Presswire)

Posted on: February 28, 2010 4:13 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2010 4:26 pm
 

Suh or McCoy?

By Chad Reuter , NFLDraftScout.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's rare that a pair of defensive tackles get as much attention at the combine as the elite quarterbacks. Then again, Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy are rare talents.
 
  Suh and McCoy are likely rated higher on many teams'  boards than quarterbacks    Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) and Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame), a rarity in today's  of fense-happy NFL. 
 
  The St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions have the top two picks, and could use McCoy and Suh on their porous defenses. But two questions remain: Who is better? And  is either worth taking in the top two selections?

Neither question is easily answered. Suh said on Saturday that he would be happy for his "good friend" McCoy if he went No. 1. But he added that he'd "definitely be disappointed with myself not getting it. I'm a competitor. I want to be No. 1. So that's what I'm going to strive for."

That attitude is just one of the reason teams like his game. But despite Suh finishing fourth in the Heisman voting (85 tackles, 24 for loss, 12 sacks) while riding the wave of a dominant performance against Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game, McCoy will be ranked higher on some boards because of his ability to explode into the backfield as a three-technique.

Because he redshirted, McCoy could have entered the draft after the 2008 season and been a first-round pick. But there was little doubt after an All-American junior year (15.5 tackles for loss, six sacks) that he would take his game to the NFL. After McCoy made his decision to leave school early, Sooners head coach Bob Stoops said: "I've never been associated with a young man who was any more impressive than Gerald."

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