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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Posted on: February 8, 2010 3:20 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2010 3:25 pm

Texas vs. the Nation: Star power

By Chad Reuter , The Sports Xchange/NFLDraftScout.com

College football all-star games are known as much for sloppy play as big plays. The goal for players in Saturday's Texas vs. the Nation Challenge was to take advantage of a golden opportunity to make a positive impression on scouts.

Overall, quarterback play was average at best. Rusty Smith (Florida Atlantic) made some nice throws on the day but had a mental meltdown when he ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety. Tennessee's Jonathan Crompton threw the most consistently but was only 9 for 20 for the game.
  Former LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux (Jacksonville State) made the best throw of the day, loading up and throwing for 67 yards to Newberry's Kelton Tindal, who can run like no one else -- he's expected to run his 40-yard dash in the 4.2s at his pro day. Although Tindal didn't score, he made a nice adjustment to the ball in the air after using his elite separation speed, overcoming an up-and-down week of practices in terms of catching the ball. If he runs the blazing time most expect, look for Raiders' owner Al Davis to grab Tindal late in the draft.

Crompton's favorite target was Southern's Juamorris Stewart. Stewart failed to get his head around on a route for Crompton's throws early in the game, as he did in last week's practices. He came back strong, making multiple catches, including an outstanding catch on the sideline when coming back to help Crompton. The former Volunteer found Stewart again late in the third quarter -- behind Fresno State corner A.J. Jefferson -- to score from 36 yards out.

On the Texas side, the game was mostly about LSU speedster Trindon Holliday. He showed great balance, quickness and elusiveness with the ball in his hands playing running back, receiver and returner. He connected with Perriloux on another 67-yard play for a touchdown, going up to trap the ball against his chest near the sideline and getting downfield quickly for the score.

He consistently flipped field position on punts and kicks with quick decisions and pure speed. The return success might be viewed as a mirage by scouts, who know most of players covering kicks in this game are inexperienced on special teams, and Virginia Tech's Brent Bowden was very inconsistent putting air under the ball.


Posted on: January 18, 2010 10:38 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2010 6:06 pm

East-West Shrine Game: Opportunity knocks

By Chad Reuter , NFLDraftScout.com

If Arizona State's Dexter Davis and Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield want to hear their names called in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft in April, they face a critical week at the East-West Shrine Game. As the undersized collegiate defensive ends, they'll be attempting to prove that they can transition to outside linebacker in the NFL.

They'll see plenty of BYU tight end Dennis Pitta, who caught 62 passes for BYU last season. Pitta must prove to scouts representing all 32 NFL teams in Orlando that he has enough speed to stretch the field and can hold his own as an in-line blocker.
Max Hall, BYU.
The Shrine Game (Saturday 3 p.m. EST) has emerged as an important kickoff week to the postseason all-star circuit. With the demise of the Hula Bowl and Blue-Gray All-Star Classic in recent years, the Shrine Game is the place for mid-round prospects to cement their status and for lower-tier players to catch the eyes of scouts.

Successful teams typically have hit the nail on the head in the first round with many of their marquee players, but sustained success and overcoming injuries comes from deep rosters bolstered by solid selections in the third, fourth and fifth rounds.

Recent Shrine Game participants include Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield (fourth round, 2006), Dolphins defensive end Kendall Langford (third, 2008), Cowboys All-Pro nose tackle Jay Ratliff (seventh, 2005) and Falcons running back Jason Snelling (seventh, 2007).

Check out the Full Column for this year's players to watch.

Posted on: April 22, 2009 3:48 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2009 12:30 pm

Chad Reuter: Trading up

Setting stage for draft swap meet


NEW YORK -- The flurry of activity on the first day of the NFL Draft last year included 11 trades involving first- or second-round picks, and there could be at least that many this Saturday.

Last year's figure didn't even include the trades of top 64 picks for veteran players. We've already had two such deals this year, with Chicago including its first-round pick in the deal with Denver for quarterback Jay Cutler and the Eagles shipping several picks, including No. 28 overall, to Buffalo for left tackle Jason Peters.

A Cleveland quarterback (Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn) and various pass-catchers such as Anquan Boldin, Braylon Edwards, Tony Gonzalez and/or Chad Ocho Cinco could all be moved on or before Saturday for one or two first-day picks, as well as a second-day pick or possibly a player.

Buffalo, Denver and Detroit figure to be the biggest players in the first round because each team has two selections. The Patriots own six of the top 97 picks, so they could also make a move or two on Saturday.

Teams are leaking to the media that they want out of the top 10 because of the multi-million guaranteed bonuses awarded to those players. The price for those initial selections could decline, however, based on teams' desire to move a bit down the board (but not too far down, as to miss out on the top prospects).

Despite the bellyaching, there is enough interest in Southern California quarterback Mark Sanchez that a trade into the top 10 could very well happen. At least one trade within the top 10 is also likely, with Sanchez, wide receiver Michael Crabtree, linebacker Aaron Curry, offensive tackle Eugene Monroe or defensive tackle B.J. Raji the focus of any potential deal.

Here are 25 pick swaps to watch for on the draft's first day. An NFL team's trade value chart was used to make sure appropriate picks were involved in each scenario.



(Chad Reuter is a senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.)

Posted on: April 21, 2009 1:14 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2009 12:32 pm

Chad Reuter: Mathematical Mock

Numerical order: Mock drafting by the numbers


Even the best mock drafts miss on six or seven players in the first round. An author who accurately projects eight players to the correct team in the first round deserves praise for his work.

That makes studying trends and using history a good way to take some of the "over-thinking" out of the mock draft equation.

The mock draft below is based on how the past 15 drafts unfolded. To place players in each slot, the first, second (also known as the median) or third quartile slot values for each position-rank combination (quarterback being No. 1, tight end No. 3, etc.) were used, with the average value used as a tiebreaker. The strength of the 2009 class at each position determined the quartile values used.

Using statistics to determine a mock will lead to some very unlikely scenarios, especially when a certain position group is considered strong or weak. This year, the offensive tackle class is strong (although eight won't go in the first round like last year) so the math puts players like Andre Smith and Michael Oher too far down the board. The 2009 safety class is a bit weak at the top (unless you rate Malcolm Jenkins as a free safety) so it's unlikely one will be picked in the late first round, as is typical.

By the same token, using math will point to some players who might not go as high (or as low) as people expect. Some mock drafts had tackles Ryan Clady, Chris Williams and/or Brendan Albert going in the top 10, but none made it. A similar situation could happen this year. Not everyone had Darren McFadden going to Oakland at No. 4 in 2008, but historically it made sense. The same appears to apply to Chris "Beanie" Wells, as he could sneak into the top 10 despite being picked by most mock draft authors to go in the 14-16 area.

Check out the mock...


(Chad Reuter is a senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.)


Posted on: April 17, 2009 12:50 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2009 5:46 pm

Frank Cooney's Film Room: Top QB Prospects



QB/Specialist prospects: Just three shine in thin pass class

Depth is severely lacking among the quarterbacks eligible for this year's NFL Draft, but there is a trio of prospects that has done an excellent job of splitting the opinion of scouts. For every strength, there appears to be a potentially money-wasting weakness.

Georgia junior Matthew

Stafford is the top-rated quarterback, according to rankings by NFLDraftScout.com, and is a strong bet to be the No. 1 overall pick by Detroit. He is rocket-armed and a fierce competitor, but Stafford's game lacks finesse and there are serious questions as to whether he will be more than a strong arm that impresses fans with deep bombs while frustrating coaches with forced passes.
Fellow underclassman Mark Sanchez has all the tools to be an elite quarterback in the right system. But with only 16 career starts at Southern California, the meat of his resume is frighteningly thin for a team considering spending top 10 money on a franchise quarterback.

The most intriguing first-round prospect among quarterbacks is Kansas State junior Josh Freeman. At 6-6 and nearly 250 pounds, he is taller than Stafford and Sanchez while also possessing excellent arm strength. But his mechanics need a lot of work, which led to plenty of inconsistency in college.

It's an extraordinarily weak crop of senior quarterbacks. West Virginia's Pat White is the top-rated one by NFLDraftScout.com, but is considered a better wide receiver prospect by many scouts.

Here is a closer look at the top quarterbacks, kickers and punters in this year's draft (heights and weights are listed; *denotes underclassmen):


1. Stafford, Georgia, 6-2, 225

Stafford is a classic, drop-back passer and take-charge leader. He enters the draft as an underclassman despite the Bulldogs' disappointing 2008 season, but Stafford still played well enough to complete 235 of 383 passes for 3,459 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, his most productive season. Although he is not a true running threat, he moves well enough in the pocket to buy time. He has the elite arm strength it takes to throw any pass and is especially impressive with trajectory and location of deep passes that give receivers time and a tangent to get to the ball. But with that ability goes the occasional overconfidence that will lead to trouble until he gauges the speed of defenders in the NFL. That will be especially true on medium and crossing patterns, passes that he hasn't perfected and throws wobblers too often while trying to muscle the ball to a target.


Frank Cooney is a senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.

Posted on: April 16, 2009 7:01 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2009 7:04 pm

Chad Reuter: The right man for the job

Forget stats, teams are just looking for perfect fit

Writing weekly mock drafts for three months forces one to consider every possibility. But in some cases, a player is such a natural fit with one team that others don't warrant consideration.

In 2008, Matt Ryan seemed the obvious pick to fill the leadership void created by the Michael Vick saga in Atlanta. Most figured Arkansas alum Jerry Jones would love speedy Razorbacks RB Felix Jones and look for a cornerback like Mike Jenkins with the Cowboys' two late first-round picks.

Teams could choose to move up to get their man. For example, the Cowboys wanted Jenkins badly enough last April that they traded up three spots -- ahead of corner-hungry San Diego -- to get him.

Not all of these natural fits will click as the puzzle pieces fall into place on draft day, but they add to the intrigue of a drama-filled event.

Connor Barwin, DE-LB-TE, Patriots: The Mike Vrabel clone just seems like a great fit for the Patriots at the top of the second round -- if they don't pick a linebacker in the first round.


Chad Reuter is a senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.

(Connor Barwin)



Posted on: April 15, 2009 4:52 pm

Chad Reuter: Risky Propositions

Risk can be great with these players, reward even greater

References typically reserved for financial markets will be bandied about freely during the NFL Draft on April 25-26. The most common, of course, is the perceived rising and falling of players' "stocks."

Even the crawler at the bottom of the television screen scrolling through recent selections is just a high-tech descendant of the long-abandoned stock-market ticker tape.

As investors have discovered in recent months, those comparisons are apt because the result of any speculation is unpredictable. Even at the top of the draft, there are many players with significant risk factors that might cause them to fall down draft boards -- or fail to make an impact in the NFL -- despite their college production and/or physical attributes. In any draft class, upwards of half of the top 50 selections will fail to meet lofty expectations.

The 19 potential first- and early second-round picks listed here all have the tools to excel in the NFL but also have character red flags or concerns about their fit in the pro game that teams must consider.

Ten of the players listed chose to leave college early to pursue an NFL career. Underclassmen (denoted with an asterisk) are more likely to be considered risky prospects because they don't have a full body of work and/or they might have personal issues causing them to leave school. However, they are also among the most talented players in any draft.

That's what makes the NFL Draft more of an art than a science.

Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee (could go 9-13, best value is 25-32): Ayers really came on as a senior after earning All-SEC honors and holding his own against OT Michael Oher at the Senior Bowl. The fact he was only marginally productive before 2008 reminds scouts of former Vikings first-round pick Erasmus James (minus the injury history).


Chad Reuter is a senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.


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