NFL Draft Center


2012 NFL DRAFT FIRST ROUND RESULTS AND ANALYSIS

Written By: Mark Scott

The NFL Draft officially got started last night and what a night it was as it has to go down as one of the more entertaining, if not the most entertaining NFL Draft that there has ever been. There were trades galore as teams moved up and down and all over the place all night long. Ten trades total happened in the first round more than doubling the four that went down last year including picks no.2-7 all changing hands. There was six widely considered elite prospects in this draft in Luck, Griffin III, Richardson, Kalil, Blackmon and Claiborne and all of them came off the board in the top six selections with the top five picks all being offensive players. The frenzied action continued throughout the first round laying the ground work for an amazing draft. It really was an incredible night of draft-picking action.

The Top Ten

  1. IND – QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
  2. STL WSH – QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
  3. MIN CLE – RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
  4. CLE MIN – OT Matt Kalil, USC
  5. TB JAX – WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
  6. WSH STL DAL – CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
  7. JAX TB – SS Mark Barron, Alabama
  8. MIA – QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
  9. CAR – ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  10. BUF – CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina

Analysis

It didn’t take long for the night to get going as the Cleveland Browns tried to steal some thunder from top picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III by trading up a spot about an hour before the draft started to no.3 to put themselves in a position to land Trent Richardson. As expected Luck and Griffin III went in the top two spots of the draft and then the action really began as picks no.3 through 7 (pick no.2 was traded to Washington in March) had all changed hands. Along with Luck and Griffin III, the other four players; Richardson, Kalil, Blackmon and Claiborne, rated as the six elite prospects available, all went in the first six selections. It’s not like Jerry Jones to go unnoticed on draft night and he certainly didn’t last night after he traded up from the middle of the round to no.6 to land cornerback Morris Claiborne helping to turn the Cowboys’ weak secondary into one of the strongest, to go along with their free agent addition of Brandon Carr. Mark Barron, Luke Kuechly and Stephon Gilmore were all able to rise up a few spots and crack the top ten, while Miami was finally able to land a quarterback after reaching for Ryan Tannehill making him the third quarterback to go in the top ten.

The Middle Ten (Picks 11-20)

  1. KC – NT Dontari Poe, Memphis
  2. SEA PHI – DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
  3. ARZ – WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
  4. DAL STL – DT Michael Brockers, LSU
  5. PHI SEA – DE/OLB Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
  6. NYJ – DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
  7. OAK CIN – CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
  8. SD – OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
  9. CHI – DE Shea McClellin, Boise State
  10. TEN – WR Kendall Wright, Baylor

Analysis

The middle section of the first round was all about beefing up the defensive line and pass rush. This part of the round certainly did not go without a couple of questionable selections. Of the ten picks, seven were either a defensive lineman or pass rusher. The Chiefs started the run by selecting the mammoth Poe to take over the middle of their defense at Nose Tackle. It was an interesting pick by GM Scott Pioli, who has built a bit of reputation for taking solid, safe players in the draft, but clearly went away from that by taking one of the biggest gambles and potential payoffs in the Memphis product. Then the Philadelphia Eagles stepped up to the plate and moved up to the no.12 spot trading with Seattle to take the top rated defensive lineman in the draft in Fletcher Cox. Great move, great pick and outstanding value as Cox was widely believed to be the next best prospect following the elite six at the top. Maybe control over Arizona’s draft picks was a part of that massive contract they gave Larry Fitzgerald because the Cardinals continued to reward their star player by drafting the guy he wanted so badly and campaigned for in Notre Dame wide out Michael Floyd, instead of filling a bigger need on the offensive line. The Rams appeared to be very pleased with landing Michael Brockers, who should give Jeff Fisher the Albert Haynesworth-type player he had such great success with in Tennessee to build his new line around in St. Louis, while continuing to add more draft picks. Though the selection of Brockers wasn’t that questionable as defensive tackle help was needed, it was the fact that a wide receiver they so desperately needed came off the board directly in front of them both times they were set to make their selection. Blackmon at 5 and Floyd at 13, when the Rams were lined up to pick at 6 then ultimately at 14. The biggest SHOCK of the entire first round and maybe the draft came when the Seattle Seahawks chose Bruce Irvin out of nowhere, especially with the entire class of pass rushers still available to be had. Irvin has a ton of run-ins with the law and off the field issues galore and wasn’t expected to be drafted until at least the mid to late second round and maybe further into round three, but Seattle believes that he is the best pass rusher in the draft. He better be because all he brings to the table is a small, one-trick pony. If they wanted Irvin, they certainly could’ve moved a bit further down the draft and stockpiled more picks. Then the Jets passed up on Ingram, who they needed and apparently loved for Quinton Coples. He has a lot of talent, but major concerns about his effort and character exist. He should fit right in with the Jets already questionable locker room. The Bengals landed the corner they needed in Dre Kirkpatrick, while San Diego gleefully scooped up Ingram to fix their pass rushing issues with one of the best values of the draft. The Bears also fixed their pass rush by bringing in the rising Shea McClellin, who already looks like a Chicago Bear. Then in a bit of surprise the Titans selected wide receiver Kendall Wright, instead of fixing their interior offensive line or pass rush woes. I thought it was a no-brainer for the Titans to take David DeCastro after he was still on the board for them.

The Playoff Twelve (Picks 21-32)

  1. CIN NE – DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse
  2. CLE – QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
  3. DET – OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
  4. PIT – OG David DeCastro, Stanford
  5. DEN NE – ILB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
  6. HOU – OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
  7. NE CIN – OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
  8. GB – DE/OLB Nick Perry, USC
  9. BAL MIN – SS Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
  10. SF – WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
  11. NE DEN TB – RB Doug Martin, Boise State
  12. NYG – RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech

Analysis

The good teams just keeping getting better as the playoff teams that held onto their spots in the late first round all made sound choices with their draft picks for the most part. The New England Patriots took over this part of the draft moving up instead of their usual down to land two players they really wanted in Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower. I hope the AFC is ready because the Patriots aren’t going to have one of the worst defenses again especially with these two selections. Just awesome work from Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Then there was Detroit and especially Pittsburgh, who couldn’t believe their eyes when Riley Reiff and David DeCastro fell into their laps. The DeCastro selection is easily the best pick of the first round. One of the very top players in this draft, the Stanford guard fell because of the lack of value placed on interior offensive linemen. Don’t be surprised if he ends up going to more Pro Bowls than anyone else in this draft. Pouncey and DeCastro have got to be one of the best center-guard combos in the league now. Houston and Green Bay were both able to make their dangerous pass rush even more so by adding Whitney Mercilus and Nick Perry respectively. And who said that running backs were out because three went in the first round as the Bucs and Giants closed out the night by taking Doug Martin and then David Wilson to help their running attacks.

Biggest Risers and Fallers

Bruce Irvin was clearly the biggest winner and riser of the draft from a player perspective as he rose from a projected late second/third round spot to the middle of the first round and the first pass rusher taken. While it was widely believed that Ryan Tannehill would be picked by the Dolphins in the top ten, he was still thought by most to be a late first or second round talent. All the talk about Stephon Gilmore rising up draft boards did come to fruition as he rose to the tenth pick with Buffalo. Mark Barron entered the draft as one of the most highly coveted players and that certainly came into an affect as Tampa Bay took him at no.7 higher than his expected spot in the middle of the first round. Shea McClellin was also a guy that was getting a lot of buzz in the last few weeks leading up to the draft about rising into the late first round and he rose even higher than that going to Chicago at pick no.19. The value of the quarterback came into play again as the Cleveland Browns reached to take 28-year old Brandon Weeden, who was a projected as a second or third round pick, mainly due to his age, but the Browns didn’t seem to care about that. Other risers included Kevin Zeitler, A.J. Jenkins and David Wilson. Jenkins was the biggest riser of the three as he leapfrogged higher rated wide outs like Stephen Hill, Reuben Randle and Alshon Jeffrey.

Melvin Ingram, Quinton Coples, Riley Reiff and David DeCastro all fell much lower than expected, but still found homes in the first round. Although it should be noted that there were reports that Ingram, Coples and Reiff were falling down draft boards this past week. The biggest fallers were Courtney Upshaw and three offensive linemen; Cordy Glenn, Jonathon Martin and Mike Adams, who are all still available heading into Day 2 of the draft. Upshaw’s fall had to do with the fact that despite being an excellent football player, a number of teams are still unsure of where exactly to play him on the field. For Adams, the off the field issues continued to catch up with him as he tested positive for pot at the Combine after a collegiate career filled with a laundry list of incidents, including being a major part of the famous Tattoo-gate at Ohio State. The off the field concerns are also why Janoris Jenkins is still available despite having widely-regarded top ten talent. The lack of highly talented corners should help him from falling too far. Potential late first round prospects like Jerel Worthy, Devon Still, Coby Fleener and Stephen Hill are all still available as well, but probably won’t last very long when the second round begins tonight.

Best Still Available

  1. OLB/DE Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
  2. OG/OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia
  3. OT Jonathon Martin, Stanford
  4. DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
  5. DT Devon Still, Penn State
  6. TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
  7. CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
  8. OLB Lavonte David, Nebraska
  9. OT Bobby Massie, Mississippi
  10. OT Mike Adams, Ohio State
  11. RB Lamar Miller, Miami-Florida
  12. C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
  13. WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
  14. DT Kendall Reyes, Connecticut
  15. QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State


Mark Scott’s Official 2012 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

The 2012 NFL Draft is officially upon us as the first round gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Stanford’s Andrew Luck is set to be taken with the first overall pick by the Colts beginning a new era in Indianapolis, while Robert Griffin III will be drafted right behind him by the Washington Redskins, who traded three first round picks and second round pick to move up to take the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner. The Draft takes off from there as recent reports have the Vikings possibly looking elsewhere after being locked into USC left tackle Matt Kalil for months. Then the Cleveland Browns at no.4 are debating between three offensive players in Trent Richardson, Ryan Tannehill and Justin Blackmon. Tannehill will be a central figure to watch throughout the first round as the Texas A&M quarterback awaits to see where he will be taken. It could be Cleveland or Miami or perhaps another team will make a move to trade up to get him. Regardless of where he is taken it is widely believed that he will be vastly over drafted. Watch out for names like Fletcher Cox, Mark Barron, David DeCastro, Michael Floyd, Stephon Gilmore and Chandler Jones as they appear to be highly coveted prospects heading into the draft. This really feels like the year where there will be twists and turns all over the first round as teams trade up or down and prospects rise or fall and expect that to continue throughout the draft. Let the mocking begin.

1.       INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (2-14) – QB ANDREW LUCK, STANFORD

It’s basically official after the Colts notified Andrew Luck and the sports world this past week that he would indeed be their selection with the first overall pick ending months of waiting and finally beginning the Luck era in Indy and closing the book on Peyton Manning as a Colt. The Stanford product is the best prospect since John Elway in 1983 and has been ready to take this step for a long time. He possesses all the tools physically and mentally and is a once in a lifetime type talent.

2.       *WASHINGTON REDSKINS (5-11) – QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III, BAYLOR

The Redskins were desperate to fix their quarterback situation after disastrous seasons with Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman and John Beck as their signal-callers and will do so after making a blockbuster trade with the Rams to move up to the no.2 spot to take Robert Griffin III. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has rare abilities for a quarterback and is a truly special talent. He appears to be a perfect fit for Mike Shanahan’s offense, who can finally attempt to take the next step forward with this franchise after taking over in 2010.

*pick acquired from St. Louis.

3.       MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3-13) – LT MATT KALIL, USC

Despite all the reports coming out that the Vikings and GM Rick Spielman are leaning towards a different direction than Kalil, it is very likely that when it comes down to it, the USC offensive lineman will be putting on the purple and gold. Spielman is likely trying to drum up some late trade interest for other coveted players like Claiborne, Richardson, Blackmon and Tannehill in an attempt to move down a couple spots and still land Kalil. They do really like Claiborne and Blackmon, who both could fill a major need at either the cornerback or receiver position and it wouldn’t be that big a surprise if one of them is selected. Kalil is the only legitimate franchise left tackle available this year and would fill the Vikings’ major hole protecting Christian Ponder’s blindside.

4.       CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-12) – RB TRENT RICHARDSON, ALABAMA

The Browns desperately need to fix their offense and with three picks in the top 40 selections they should be able to add some talented pieces. The debate for their front office will be which direction they should go first. Colt McCoy is not the answer as a starting quarterback, but is Ryan Tannehill really that much better, especially considering his inexperience at the college level and the fact he probably won’t be ready for a couple seasons and will still have to deal with the lack of offensive weapons in Cleveland. Then there is the absence of a true no.1 wide receiver to throw too. They have Little, Robiskie and Massaquoi as their current wide outs, but all of them are just nice complimentary pieces. They also have a major need at running back after Peyton Hillis was let go and took his sideshow to Kansas City this offseason and Montario Hardesty’s inability to stay healthy. Trent Richardson is one of the top six elite talents in the draft and the only feature, 3-down running back available. He has the ability to pound the ball inside or break it out wide for big gains and is a flawless receiver out of the backfield. He is the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson. Plus there will be a number of wide receivers available later in the first when they select again at pick no.22.

5.       TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-12) – CB MORRIS CLAIBORNE, LSU

Ronde Barber is likely playing his final season before retiring. Free Agent signing Eric Wright isn’t very good at all and no.1 corner Aqib Talib is probably going to be suspended and may even be headed to jail if his trial doesn’t go his way. He’s in the last year of his contract anyways and it wouldn’t a surprise to see the Bucs cut him any day now. Morris Claiborne is not only the top cornerback in the draft, he’s the top defensive player too. He’s an elite cover corner with terrific instincts and ball skills. He has big play ability and can contribute on special teams as well. It should be noted that Tampa has hired acclaimed LSU Defensive Backs Coach Ron Cooper to its new coaching staff in the same role. Cooper guided and transformed Claiborne into an elite cornerback after he came to LSU as a high school wide receiver.

6.       *ST. LOUIS RAMS (2-14) – WR JUSTIN BLACKMON, OKLAHOMA STATE

The Rams have one of the worst wide receiver corps in the league and it has had a major affect on quarterback Sam Bradford’s development. St. Louis partly made the trade with Washington in hopes that Blackmon would still be available a few picks later allowing them to select the feature wide receiver they so badly need, while adding a major haul of draft picks from the Redskins. Blackmon is an absolute monster that can dominate defenders and has the ability to take over games by himself (see his legendary performance vs. Stanford in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl).

*pick acquired from Washington.

7.       JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (5-11) – DE MELVIN INGRAM, SOUTH CAROLINA

The Jaguars are reportedly very interested in cornerback Stephon Gilmore, but with a pass rush that has finished near the bottom of the league in sacks the past three seasons, they need to add some new talent at defensive end. Ingram has emerged throughout the draft process as the top pass rusher available and while he is a bit of a tweener in size, he has the skills and versatility to play a multitude of positions and defensive end in a 4-man front like the Jags employ is one of them. He has good explosion off the snap and is able to gain leverage on opposing offensive linemen and his endless motor allows him to be an every down player.

8.       MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-10) – QB RYAN TANNEHILL, TEXAS A&M

It’s know secret that the Dolphins have been looking to add a new quarterback to their team after missing out on Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn and Alex Smith in free agency. They also missed out on trading up for Robert Griffin III. So what’s left for Miami, well it is the rising, but perhaps slightly overrated Ryan Tannehill out of Texas A&M, who is actually pretty good fit for their offense especially after they named his former college head coach Mike Sherman as their new offensive coordinator. Tannehill has fantastic potential, but lacks experience at the position after playing two-plus years as a receiver for the Aggies before switching back to quarterback and taking over for Jarrod Johnson in 2010. He has a live arm and possesses great mobility, but his accuracy and decision-making are major question marks. He is still a year or two from being ready to play in the NFL and needs some work.

9.       CAROLINA PANTHERS (6-10) – DT FLETCHER COX, MISSISSIPPI STATE

The Panthers run defense was abysmal and repeatedly gashed week after week this past season. They drafted a pair of defensive tackles in Sione Fua and Terrell McClain in the third round last year, but neither player showed very much promise during the season. Fletcher Cox was the best defensive lineman in the extremely talent-laden SEC and has emerged as just that in this draft as well. He is great at stopping the run, but it is his pass rush skills from the interior that have him in such high demand and he’s still getting better at an incredible rate. He also provides great versatility should Ron Rivera ever decide to switch his defense to his preferred 3-4 scheme. He’s an instant upgrade over everyone on their roster at the position.

10.   BUFFALO BILLS (6-10) – ILB LUKE KUECHLY, BOSTON COLLEGE

The Bills have had a major need for a new franchise left tackle for a few years now and Riley Reiff is available, but there are questions about his ability to play left tackle at the next level and he’s starting to slide. If Buffalo can trade down a few spots he could definitely be in play. GM Buddy Nix likes to often go with the best player available and Kuechly fits that description. Linebacker isn’t the biggest need for the Bills, but they can use a third guy next to Nick Barnett and Kelvin Sheppard. He is an outstanding athlete that is a tackling machine and a complete linebacker that continues to turn this Bills defense into one of the strongest in the NFL.

11.   KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (7-9) – OG DAVID DECASTRO, STANFORD

Center Casey Wiegmann will likely retire before the start of the season allowing the Chiefs to move Rodney Hudson over from guard to replace him. Doing so will still leave a hole that needs to be filled and DeCastro seems like the smart, safe Scott Pioli type of pick he’s become known for. Guards normally don’t go this high in the draft, but DeCastro is the best guard prospect in the last decade and is ready to step in immediately and play at a perennial Pro Bowl level. He is one the best prospects in the entire draft and is worthy of this high of a selection.

12.   SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (7-9) – DE QUINTON COPLES, NORTH CAROLINA

Chris Clemons was the only defensive end on Seattle’s roster to provide a pass rush and he will be a 31-year old free agent following the season. Their other starting defensive end was Raheem Brock who is currently a 34-year old free agent in decline. Coples has tremendous upside and is an elite talent, but commitment and effort concerns are why he is still available at this point. After feeling a little bit of heat as he waits to hear his name called later than he thought it should, Coples will come into the league with a chip on his shoulder and Pete Carroll should be able to get the most out of him.

13.   ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-8) – OT RILEY REIFF, IOWA

Arizona’s offensive line is atrocious and with Reiff still on the board, they have to overlook the temptation of adding receiver Michael Floyd and select the tenacious offensive tackle. RT Brandon Keith is a free agent and won’t be resigned, while LT Levi Brown was cut and then immediately brought back at a much cheaper price, but both guys weren’t very good and needed to be upgraded. Reiff isn’t ready to be an NFL left tackle just yet, but he can be plugged in and played right away on the right side of the line. As he matures and gains experience he should be able to be moved over to the blind side eventually.

14.   DALLAS COWBOYS (8-8) – SS MARK BARRON, ALABAMA

The Cowboys secondary has been one of their biggest weaknesses the past two years, including last season when it was just embarrassing at times. They added free agent corner Brandon Carr from the Chiefs to form a tandem with Mike Jenkins, who’s on the hot seat and then released former starter Terence Newman. Brodney Pool helps at free safety, but the rest of the Dallas safety corps is bad. Mark Barron is a hot commodity as the draft nears and Dallas will be lucky if he is still available for them at pick no.14. He would instantly give credibility to their secondary and provide them with the leader they sorely need. Barron is the complete safety prospect that can contribute in all facets of the game and is one of the top players in the draft.

15.   PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-8) – CB STEPHON GILMORE, SOUTH CAROLINA

The Eagles would like to add a big, physical defensive tackle, but the recent trade of Asante Samuel leaves them short a corner. Gilmore is soaring up draft boards and rumors have him coming off the board in the top ten, but in this scenario he is still available for the Eagles and too good to pass up. Adding Gilmore will allow them to eventually replace Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who is in the last year of his deal and needed to be upgraded anyways. Gilmore has good size, speed and all-around skills with the potential to become a no.1 corner down the line.

16.   NEW YORK JETS (8-8) – OLB CHANDLER JONES, SYRACUSE

The Jets defense struggled at times last season due to a lack of pass rush. Aaron Maybin was a nice find, but is still just a situational player. Courtney Upshaw is great football player with personality that is a perfect fit for Rex Ryan and could easily go here, but with Jones skyrocketing up draft boards the past few weeks and his brother being UFC Light heavyweight Jon Jones, combined that with Ryan’s affinity for MMA and Jones could be the surprise pick. He has freakish athletic ability with excellent length. There’s a ton of upside with him and he should be ready to contribute right away, while continuing to get better.

17.   *CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-7) – CB DRE KIRKPATRICK, ALABAMA

The Bengals need for a cornerback is well-documented. Jonathon Joseph signed with Houston last offseason and was never really replaced, Leon Hall is recovering from a torn Achilles and may never be the same, while Nate Clements and the recently signed Terence Newman are aging, declining players. Kirkpatrick is a big, well-coached corner with a National Championship pedigree. He is solid in coverage and a quality tackler that contributes against the run.

*pick acquired from Oakland

18.   SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (8-8) – OLB COURTNEY UPSHAW, ALABAMA

The Chargers defense is in desperate need of playmaker, specifically at the rush linebacker position. They had just one player record more than four sacks last year. Larry English has battled injuries and looks like a bust, while the recent signing of Jarrett Johnson is a pretty good one, although he isn’t really a pass rusher and is more effective versus the run. Upshaw is falling down draft boards as a majority of teams are unsure of where to play him. At the Combine he appeared too big and slow to play outside linebacker, but too short and not strong enough to play defensive end, however his game film says otherwise as he was a dynamic playmaker and pass rusher for Nick Saban at Alabama. He is a pure football player.

19.   CHICAGO BEARS (8-8) – DE WHITNEY MERCILUS, ILLINOIS

The Bears appear to be leaning towards adding a defensive lineman in this spot instead of taking a Jonathon Martin, Cordy Glenn or Mike Adams to improve their woeful offensive line or giving Jay Cutler another weapon like Kendall Wright or Stephen Hill to work with. Mercilus put up huge numbers this past season and showed great potential as a big-time pass rusher, but he could also be a one-year wonder. Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije are a good pass rushing tandem, but were badly overworked last year and could feel some after affects of that this year. Adding a young player to spell them throughout the game should help avoid that.

20.   TENNESSEE TITANS (9-7) – DE NICK PERRY, USC

Defensive ends Jason Jones and William Hayes are gone, but the Titans could’ve used an upgrade over them anyways after they provided just 4.5 sacks combined last year. They signed pass rusher Kamerion Wimbley, but former first round pick Derrick Morgan still remains an unknown commodity as injuries have hampered his development since being drafted. Wimbley and Perry should create a formidable pass rushing duo as Morgan continues to try and find his legs. There is concern that Perry is a one-year wonder, but he possesses a great first step off the snap with good footwork and body control while using his relentless motor and ability to gain leverage to get to the quarterback.

21.   CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-7) – OG/OT CORDY GLENN, GEORGIA

The Bengals lost both starting guards Nate Livings and Bobbie Williams to free agency and Cordy Glenn is the type of mammoth SEC offensive lineman that Cincinnati loves to draft. Glenn has unreal athleticism and size with the ability to play left guard and both tackle positions. He can be plugged into the starting lineup right away at guard and provide insurance at tackle.

22.   *CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-12) – WR KENDALL WRIGHT, BAYLOR

The Browns continue to add weapons on offense and drastically improve their wide receiver corps, which is one of the worst in the league, by adding the dynamic Wright. The Baylor product can stretch the field or make plays in the slot and has big play ability. By adding Richardson and Wright, the Cleveland offense just got a whole lot better now and for when they find their eventual franchise quarterback.

*pick acquired from Atlanta

23.   DETROIT LIONS (10-6) – OT JONATHON MARTIN, STANFORD

Detroit has avoided fixing their left tackle position for years and while they re-signed the steady Jeff Backus, who has been manning the spot for a while now, he is just about finished. Right tackle isn’t much better with Gosder Cherilus badly needing to be upgraded. Martin solves both problems as he can take over for Cherilus in the short term, while Backus’ career comes to an end and he gets adjusted to playing the NFL before sliding over to left tackle to replace him. Martin is an excellent pass protector that has been watching Andrew Luck’s blind side the past three years at Stanford and did a heck of a job in doing so.

24.   PITTSBURGH STEELERS (12-4) – ILB DONT’A HIGHTOWER, ALABAMA

The Steelers have major needs at three positions; inside linebacker, nose tackle and offensive line and there are prospects still on the board that could fill any of those needs with Hightower, Dontari Poe and Mike Adams. Poe is very tempting, but his production was lacking and his football skills are questionable, which will turn off the Steelers, who instead go for the sure thing with Hightower and fill a major hole left by the release of James Farrior. Hightower is big, nasty and physical with the leadership abilities to quarterback a defense and fits in perfectly as a Pittsburgh Steeler.

 25.   DENVER BRONCOS (8-8) – DT MICHAEL BROCKERS, LSU

The interior of their defensive line is pretty bare and got even more so after their best defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley signed with the Saints during free agency and they will need to land a couple of defensive tackles in the draft to make up for it. While guys who can play immediately appear to be on the top of Denver’s radar, they did not expect to see Michael Brockers still available and can’t pass on his immense talent. He’s very raw and young as just a redshirt sophomore, but his upside and potential are through the roof. Trying to find a more experienced, pro-ready defensive tackle later in the draft will be a priority, but will probably have to come in the second round if they want a guy that can start and contribute now.

26.   HOUSTON TEXANS (10-6) – NT DONTARI POE, MEMPHIS

The Texans are in a great position as they don’t have any glaring holes and can afford to take the best player available or a luxury pick. Wide receiver is a definite possibility as they have sorely needed someone across from Andre Johnson for a few years now, but with Poe still available and an upgrade at nose tackle needed he’s the pick. Poe is an incredible athlete with an extremely high ceiling, but is still very raw and needs a lot of work. Houston’s current nose tackles can hold down the fort while Wade Phillips develops Poe into a star.

27.   *NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (13-3) – DE/OLB SHEA MCCLELLIN, BOISE STATE

Defense, defense and more defense is what the Patriots need after finishing at the bottom of the league in defense in 2011. Pass rushers are their most dire need to attend to after losing sack leaders Mark Anderson and Andre Carter to free agency after very productive one year stops with the team. Shea McClellin is a hot commodity right now, but because of the depth at pass rusher in this draft he remains just a late first round pick. He has great versatility and can play multiple positions in various schemes. He plays tough and physical with a mean streak and should help add some attitude to this soft Patriots defense. He is the type of player that will do whatever is asked from him and do it at a high level. Bill Belichick will love him.

*pick acquired from New Orleans

28.   GREEN BAY PACKERS (15-1) – SS HARRISON SMITH, NOTRE DAME

The Packers just had to make the tough decision to release safety Nick Collins after they deemed his health too much of a concern, while his career was likely over anyways. He was a core player for them for a number of years and GM Ted Thompson will need to find a replacement soon. Luckily for them Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith is still available. Smith is a very good safety prospect that has a number of teams after him and will have even more once Mark Barron comes off the board. The safety class is very weak this year, but Smith has a ton of talent. He has good size, intelligence and productivity. He is a little rough around the edges, but has the potential to be a very good safety for a long time.

29.   BALTIMORE RAVENS (12-4) – LG KEVIN ZEITLER, WISCONSIN

The Ravens lost starting left guard Ben Grubbs to free agency and then missed out on Evan Mathis after he decided to re-sign in Philadelphia instead of heading to Baltimore. Kevin Zeitler is a big, nasty mauler that has the ability to destroy oncoming defenders. He is an anchor in pass protection and a wrecking ball in the run game. He will start immediately for the Ravens, who won’t notice Grubbs is even gone after Zeitler gets on the field.

30.   SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (13-3) – DT/DE KENDALL REYES, CONNECTICUT

The 49ers are in a great position as they don’t have too many holes to fix and can focus on adding the best player for them. Wide receiver is a need area and will be tempting, but the combination of Crabtree, Manningham and Moss isn’t all that bad and maintaining their top notch defense is a must after winning a number of tight games last year. Justin Smith and Ray McDonald are an outstanding pair of defensive ends, but there isn’t a whole lot behind them should one of them get injured. Jerel Worthy and Devon Still could be options, but Kendall Reyes’ pass rush skills along with his run stopping ability get him the nod over the pair of Big Ten tackles.

31.   NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (13-3) – CB JANORIS JENKINS, NORTH ALABAMA

It’s no secret that New England had the worst pass defense in the league last season and at numerous times had to rely on wide receivers like Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater along with guys they signed off the street to play and start at cornerback in crucial games. Devon McCourty regressed and might be moved to safety where he spent some time last year, while Ras-I Dowling is a major health risk. On talent alone, Janoris Jenkins would be a top ten pick and could be the best cornerback in the draft, but a laundry list of off the field issues have him plummeting down draft boards. He is the top cover corner with the experience of shutting down the likes of A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Alshon Jeffrey when he played for Florida before being dismissed from the team and ending up at North Alabama last year. Belichick’s close relationship with former Florida head coach Urban Meyer will help in the selection of this pick. What a steal for the Patriots.

32.   NEW YORK GIANTS (9-7) – OT MIKE ADAMS, OHIO STATE

Protecting and keeping Eli Manning healthy should be priority number one when New York’s projected starting offensive tackles are William Beatty and James Brewer. Beatty has battled injuries and missed 18 games over the past two seasons, while Brewer has yet to play a snap on offense. Kareem McKenzie is gone as well. They would’ve preferred Jonathon Martin over Mike Adams and his off the field issues, but adding an offensive tackle that can play and start right away is necessary. Adams has rare size and ability for an offensive tackle and has the skills and potential to be a special talent, but he needs to grow up, cut out all the off the field crap and become a professional or he won’t be around for very long.



2012 NFL Draft Cheat Sheet: Offense

Written By: Mark Scott

The offensive draft class this year is headlined by the best prospect in 30 years in Quarterback Andrew Luck, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Quarterback Robert Griffin III, BCS National Championship Running Back Trent Richardson, Two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Wide Receiver Justin Blackmon and USC Left Tackle Matt Kalil. All five are among the top six prospects in the draft. Then comes Ryan Tannehill and Michael Floyd, who are both surging up draft boards to possible spots in the top 13 picks. Rounding out the first round are couple of offensive tackles in Riley Reiff, Jonathon Martin and possibly Mike Adams, a pair of guards in David DeCastro and Cordy Glenn, wide receivers Kendall Wright and Stephen Hill and even possible spots for players like Peter Konz, Doug Martin, Kevin Zeitler and Coby Fleener. Overall the offense could provide the first round with around 18 players. The interior offensive linemen crop is exceptional and the wide receivers and running backs each have a couple potential stars along with great depth, while tight end is severely lacking and offensive tackle isn’t as good as it normally is. There is no doubt a significant amount of elite, impact talent available on the offensive side of the ball in the draft with a number of names that fans will be hearing for a long time.

Quarterbacks

The Quarterback draft class of 2012 is incredible at the top with two truly special franchise talents, one very good and intriguing athlete along with a couple of solid, intelligent signal-callers before it quickly drops off and becomes a group of long-term projects. Andrew Luck isn’t a once in decade talent, he’s much more than that as the best prospect since John Elway in 1983, a period that spans 30 years and across four different decades of incredibly talented players. He possesses every possible tool physically and mentally and appears to know almost everything there is to know about how to be a quarterback. He already has the ability to break down defenses and call plays at the line. He has a mix of a cannon and sniper rifle for an arm with every throw in the book and displayed at the Combine that he has pretty much the same pure athletic ability as Cam Newton. He might be a once in a lifetime talent. While he’s not Andrew Luck, the Heisman Trophy winning Robert Griffin III is just as special a talent. He possesses rare athletic abilities for a quarterback, namely his world-class speed. He has a fantastic arm with great touch and accuracy and the fearlessness to make any throw (just checkout his game-winning touchdown throw in the final seconds versus Oklahoma this past year). He’s extremely mobile and has the ability to make oncoming tacklers miss and will take off when he needs too, but he is a pass-first quarterback. He has the type of abilities to make people think that he can revolutionize the quarterback position much like Michael Vick almost did early in his career. Opinions on Ryan Tannehill are all over the map, though for the most part he is believed to be a first round talent that has moved up boards due to the need and value of a possible franchise quarterback. He’s a terrific athlete as evidenced by his experience playing wide receiver at a high level and displayed the ability to transition back to quarterback without missing a beat and improve at an extremely fast pace.  Still, he lacks experience as a signal-caller and made a number of mistakes especially in clutch situations in college. He’s still early in his development and is a couple of years away. He could be a huge risk that will set a team back years if they rush him and he doesn’t work out. Following those top three quarterbacks is another group of three with Brock Osweiler, Brandon Weeden and Kirk Cousins all having the potential to be solid pros and possible starters, but likely backups down the line. Osweiler is a giant quarterback at almost 6’7”, 242lbs., but it is his size that has teams most concerned about his ability to move around. He’s still raw and needs a lot of work, particularly on his mechanics, but he has very good upside. For Weeden, it is really a matter of age is just a number or at least that’s what he will be telling teams as he tries to make it as an almost 28-year old rookie. He has a fantastic arm with excellent accuracy and touch, but does not have great mobility and will take some big shots. He is mature, professional and probably ready to play right away for a team in need. Cousins is as solid a prospect as there is going to be. He has incredible leadership skills as one of the best leaders in the entire draft, his intangibles are through the roof and he possesses that clutch gene to come through in the biggest of situations. His arm is ready to go, though it isn’t the strongest or most powerful, but he has more of a finesse style relying on accuracy and anticipation. The knock against him is he is about as good as he is going to get and doesn’t have a very high ceiling. Think Chad Pennington. He may be looking at a long career as a very good backup. This is where the talent level and potential really starts to drop off with only Russell Wilson possibly able to break into the late stages of Day 2 of the draft. He has the arm, athletic ability and leadership skills to make it, but as the shortest quarterback in the draft at barely 5’11”, he is facing an uphill battle as a starting quarterback. B.J.Coleman, Nick Foles and Patrick Witt could be interesting long-term projects.

  1. Andrew Luck, Stanford, First Overall
  2. Robert Griffin III, Baylor, Second Overall
  3. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M, First Round/Top 12
  4. Brock Osweiler, Arizona State, Second Round
  5. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State, Second Round
  6. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State, Second/Third Round
  7. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin, Late Third/Fourth Round
  8. Ryan Lindley, San Diego State, Fourth/Fifth Round
  9. Nick Foles, Arizona, Fifth Round
  10. B.J. Coleman, Chattanooga, Sixth Round

Worth Mentioning: Austin Davis/Southern Mississippi, Kellen Moore/Boise State, G.J. Kinne/Tulsa, Patrick Witt/Yale, Chandler Harnish/Northern Illinois, Aaron Corp/Richmond, Case Keenum/Houston

Wide Receivers

The wide receiver crop is deep with plenty of players to fill any role, but has just two definite first round talents in Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd. Blackmon isn’t the biggest or the fastest receiver, but he is an absolute beast with the ability take over games by himself and just run over and dominate opposing defenders (see his performance vs. Stanford in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl, one of the best I’ve ever seen). As the two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the top receiver in college his production is off the charts. He plays hard and physical and his style is reminiscent of Anquan Boldin, but with more speed, explosion and downfield ability. Michael Floyd is a perfect example of the new generation of talented wide receivers that are tall, big and fast with the ability to blow past corners and out-jump everyone. He can play in the slot, but his strength is stretching the field deep and making big plays. He has risen up draft boards over the last two months, especially in the last couple of weeks where he now looks to be a likely top-15 selection. There are some maturity concerns after some off the field issues with alcohol, but those appear to have been taken care of over the last year. Kendall Wright is the next standout following Blackmon and Floyd and will probably come off the board late in round one, despite a disastrous Combine that dropped his stock. He’s shifty and moves smoothly in and out of routes and can cut on a dime to get open. He makes plays all over the field and has the hands to make some unbelievable catches. He’s similar to Philadelphia’s Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, but plays a bit more physical than they do, but he won’t be getting any bigger. Stephen Hill put on a show at the Combine, but like his former teammate and Bronco’s first round pick Demaryius Thomas, he has a lot of work to do as a receiver after running very few routes and being used mostly as a blocker or decoy in Georgia Tech’s run-option offense. South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffrey has terrific upside and the potential to be the best receiver in this class, but major concerns about his fluctuating weight, effort and work ethic are why he is no longer a first round possibility. After the top four or five are gone, it really becomes much like running back and cornerback, where personal preference among teams and what they like in their wide outs that will determine who goes where and when.

  1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State, First Round/Top Ten
  2. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame, First Round/Top 20
  3. Kendall Wright, Baylor, First Round
  4. Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech, Late First/Early Second Round
  5. Alshon Jeffrey, South Carolina, Second Round
  6. Reuben Randle, LSU, Second Round
  7. Mohammed Sanu, Rutgers, Second Round
  8. A.J. Jenkins, Illinois, Second/Third Round
  9. Chris Givens, Wake Forest, Second/Third Round
  10. Nick Toon, Wisconsin, Third Round

Worth Mentioning: Juron Criner/Arizona, Brian Quick/Appalachian State, Ryan Broyles/Oklahoma, Dwight Jones/North Carolina, Marvin Jones/California, Marvin McNutt/Iowa, T.Y. Hilton/Florida International, Greg Childs/Arkansas, Jeff Fuller/Texas A&M, Devon Wylie/Fresno State, DeVier Posey/Ohio State

Running Backs

The running back position this year is good with talented prospects to be had throughout the draft. Alabama’s Trent Richardson is one of the draft’s special talents this year. He is a bit of throwback as a complete, three-down franchise back with the ability to power his way up the middle, hit the home run on the outside and catch the ball as well as any receiver out of the backfield. He can do it all. While he has a ton of experience and the skills to be a workhorse back, he wasn’t over used or worn down in Tuscaloosa as he backed up and split time with Mark Ingram for two seasons before taking on the main role last year with Eddie Lacy providing relief to keep him fresh and healthy. He is the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson and is a can’t miss. This is where it becomes a bit of a crap-shoot regarding running backs, though the second round backs are very good and could produce a couple stars. There are multiple tiers of backs for each round with a variety of different types of players. Doug Martin, David Wilson, Lamar Miller and LaMichael James make up that first group of backs behind Richardson and will likely all be selected in the second round. Martin is the extremely physical power back of the group, while the other three rely more on their outstanding speed and elusiveness. All four have the ability to run inside and outside and catch the ball out of the backfield. Wilson and Miller are getting Chris Johnson type comparisons, while James is being hyped up as the next Darren Sproles. They all have their pros and cons, but all look to have the ability to be very productive players and possible starters at the next level. From the third round on it all becomes a matter of team preference and what they want in their running back. There is just about every type of running back to be had whether teams are looking for power, speed or pass-catching ability.

  1. Trent Richardson, Alabama, First Round/Top Ten
  2. Doug Martin, Boise State, Late First/Early Second Round
  3. David Wilson, Virginia Tech, Second Round
  4. Lamar Miller, Miami-Florida, Second Round
  5. LaMichael James, Oregon, Second/Third Round
  6. Chris Polk, Washington, Second/Third Round
  7. Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati, Third Round
  8. Bernard Pierce, Temple, Third Round
  9. Robert Turbin, Utah State, Third/Fourth Round
  10. Chris Rainey, Florida, Fourth Round

Worth Mentioning: Cyrus Gray/Texas A&M, Ronnie Hillman/San Diego State, Vick Ballard/Mississippi State, Edwin Baker, Michigan State, Tauren Poole/Tennessee

Offensive Tackles

The offensive tackle class this year is slightly below average and not as good as it usually is, especially with the top four prospects all reportedly dropping down the first round. Even Matt Kalil, who has been pegged to go to Minnesota at no.3 overall for months, may now drop as far Buffalo at the ten spot if the Vikings pass on him. The USC product is the one sure fire potential franchise left tackle in the draft. He has good size, great athleticism and all the tools and fundamentals to be the next upper echelon tackle in the NFL. He’s a flawless pass protector, a great run blocker with the ability to get to the second level and continue blocking and he’s a great fit for any system. Following Kalil are three first round worthy tackles in Riley Reiff, Jonathon Martin and Mike Adams, however all three have some minor concerns around them. They all have played left tackle in college, but for one reason or another they are being talked about more as right tackles at the next level. Reiff is well-coached by offensive linemen guru and Iowa HC Kirk Ferentz and plays with the proper technique. He has good athleticism and footwork to go with a solid frame that can handle adding more strength and bulk to it. His background as a tight end and a wrestler make him a unique talent, although he is still more of a prospect than a proven guy and could take a couple years to develop into a top tackle on either side of the line. Martin has spent the past three seasons successfully blocking top pick Andrew Luck’s blindside and playing in a pro system at Stanford.  He appears to have the talent and size to be an impact lineman, but scouts are questioning how good he really is, whether he has the strength to block stronger defenders or the quickness and athleticism to take out speed rushers. He is being talked about as a potential bust, but as he falls down the board the risk continues to diminish and the reward of landing a possible franchise tackle down the road increases. Ohio State’s Mike Adams has rare size and athleticism for a left tackle and has all the potential in the world to become something special, but numerous off the field issues (as recent as testing positive for pot at the Combine), a lack of commitment and drive as well as major maturity concerns have him possibly dropping out of the first round altogether. Even his mammoth size is working against in some circles as it’s believed that he won’t be able to get low enough to gain leverage against oncoming defenders in both the run game and in pass protection. He could end up being moved inside to left guard. For all the talk of the top four dropping, Mississippi’s Bobby Massie is actually rising up draft boards into the early potion of round two and might even sneak into the late first round. He’s the prototype NFL Right Tackle with long arms and big hands and has the strength and power to toss defenders around. He’s a terrific athlete that can handle speed and power rushers and his ceiling is about as high as any offensive tackle in the draft. Following the first five tackles off the board, there is a drop-off in talent and aside from Jeff Allen of Illinois it looks like it’s predominantly all right tackles the rest of the way.

  1. Matt Kalil (LT), USC, First Round/Top Five
  2. Riley Reiff (LT/RT), Iowa, First Round
  3. Jonathon Martin(LT/RT), Stanford, First Round
  4. Mike Adams (LT/RT), Ohio State, Late First Round
  5. Bobby Massie (RT), Mississippi, Early Second Round
  6. Jeff Allen (LT/RT/LG), Illinois, Second/Third Round
  7. Mitchell Schwartz (RT), California, Third Round
  8. Zebrie Sanders (RT), Florida State, Third Round
  9. Donald Stephenson (RT/LG), Oklahoma, Third/Fourth Round
  10. Brandon Mosley (RT), Auburn, Fourth Round

Worth Mentioning: Matt McCants/UAB, Tony Bergstrom/Utah, Tom Compton/South Dakota, Nate Potter/Boise State, Matt Reynolds/BYU

Offensive Guards/Centers

Guard and Center are rarely ever going to get the fans excited, but this year’s crop of interior linemen is phenomenal and is probably the deepest position on offense in this draft. The Guards are amazing and the Centers are very good. It all starts with Stanford’s David DeCastro, who is a truly special talent that might be the best Guard prospect in over a decade and is one of the top ten players available at any position. He is ready to be plugged in immediately and it won’t take long before he is performing at a perennial Pro Bowl level. If Guard was as valued as other positions he would be considered a franchise talent. Right behind him is Georgia’s Cordy Glenn, who put on an incredible display of athleticism at the Combine, especially for a man of his mammoth size. He brings a ton of experience and the versatility to line up at both tackle positions and Left Guard. Then comes a pair of Wisconsin powerhouses in center Peter Konz and left guard Kevin Zeitler. They are both maulers in the run game and anchors on passing downs. They are big, nasty and well-coached with a ton of experience. A contingent of Left Guard/Right Tackle type prospects will make up the second and third rounds of the draft with a group of centers following them on Day 3. Kelechi Osemele, Amini Silatolu and the severely underrated and massive Brandon Brooks all have the upside and potential to be stars in the NFL. All three are big, athletic and like Konz and Zeitler ahead of them, they bring a mauling style to their blocking. It is really is amazing how Brooks wasn’t even invited to the Combine, but may be one of the net linemen in the draft. Centers Ben Jones, Mike Brewster and David Molk will start coming off the board around the fourth round and while they aren’t going to blow anyone off the screen, they are smart, experienced blue collar type athletes that will always give everything they have. The three of them are ready to play right now. The talent inside continues on throughout the draft with solid talents like Senio Kelemete, James Brown and Brandon Washington still available in the mid to late rounds.

  1. David DeCastro (RG, LG), Stanford, First Round/Top 15
  2. Cordy Glenn (LG, LT, RT), Georgia, First Round
  3. Peter Konz (C), Wisconsin, Late First/Second Round
  4. Kevin Zeitler (LG), Wisconsin, Late First/Second Round
  5. Kelechi Osemele (LG/RT), Iowa State, Second Round
  6. Amini Silatolu (LG/RT), Midwestern State, Second Round
  7. Brandon Brooks (LG), Miami-Ohio, Second Round
  8. James Brown (LG/RT), Troy, Third/Fourth Round
  9. Brandon Washington (LG/RT), Miami-Florida, Third/Fourth Round
  10.  Ben Jones (C), Georgia, Third/Fourth Round

Worth Mentioning: C Mike Brewster/Ohio State, OG Senio Kelemete/Wahsington, OG Lucas Nix/Pittsburgh, OG Josh Libereus/SMU, C David Molk/Michigan

Tight Ends

This year’s tight end draft class is not very good at all and consists mostly of pass catchers. There are just three noteworthy prospects in Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and Orson Charles. Each player fits in a specific spot in the draft as Coby Fleener is the standout of the class and will certainly be selected in the late first or very early second round, while Allen is a definite second rounder and Orson Charles will be taken in the third round. Fleener really has a chance to be something special and his size and skill will have teams eager to land the next potential Gronkowski, Graham or Hernandez. That’s not to say he will be any one of those players, but he is an excellent route runner whether on the inside or deep downfield with the experience of playing from multiple receivers spots as Stanford loves to use up to three tight ends at a time in their passing attack. He knows how to use size and strength to dominate defensive backs and has the speed and athleticism to get away from linebackers. He has terrific hands catching the ball, but won’t be blocking too many people. The reigning John Mackey Award winner as the best tight end in the country, Clemson’s Dwayne Allen is a solid prospect with the all-around skills to contribute as a pass catcher and a blocker, but doesn’t have the blow you away athleticism or upside. He is a productive player with good hands and footwork and should excel as a red zone target. Orson Charles has the potential to be a very good offensive weapon at the next level. He is a natural receiver with very good hands and route running ability playing at the tight end position. He is at his best when moved around the offense to get him into the open field whether he is lined up as a traditional tight end, out wide or in motion as a receiver or as an H-back. He is very similar to New England’s Aaron Hernandez, but with a bit more strength and bulk. An arrest for DUI in early March has dropped Charles to a likely third, even fourth round pick, which is a shame because he had displayed excellent character up to that point throughout his career as a team captain and award-winning leader as well as a Honor Roll student.  After the top three prospects come off the board the rest of the tight end class will be jockeying for position on Day 3 of the draft as its unlikely that any of them will be able to crack the first three rounds. Ladarius Green and Michael Egnew are clearly a notch above the rest of the available tight ends as they are both excellent athletes with a ton of experience and production catching the ball. SMU’s Taylor Thompson is a very intriguing prospect after he played defensive end throughout his career with the Mustangs, but has been working out for and impressing teams as a tight end, which has sent his stock soaring. After them there really isn’t a whole lot left to choose from over other positions with better prospects.

  1. Coby Fleener, Stanford, Late First/Early Second Round
  2. Dwayne Allen, Clemson, Late Second Round
  3. Orson Charles, Georgia, Third Round
  4. Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette, Late Third/Fourth Round
  5. Michael Egnew, Missouri, Fourth Round
  6. Taylor Thompson, SMU, Fourth/Fifth Round
  7. DeAngelo Peterson, LSU, Fifth Round
  8. Rhett Ellison, USC, Fifth/Sixth Round
  9. Chase Ford, Miami-Florida, Fifth/Sixth Round
  10. George Bryan, North Carolina State, Sixth Round

Worth Mentioning: James Hanna/Oklahoma, Brian Linthicum/Michigan State, David Paulson/Oregon



2012 NFL Draft Cheat Sheet: Defense

Written By: Mark Scott

The crop of defensive talent in the 2012 NFL Draft is a pretty good one with the defensive tackle and pass-rusher classes leading the way despite only LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne being rated among the top five or six players in the draft, although defensive players will likely make up the majority of the first round. The defensive tackles are incredibly versatile from top to bottom with a majority of the top fifteen or so players having the ability to play multiple positions along the defensive front in various different schemes, whether as 4-3 tackles, 3-4 five-technique ends or as nose tackles. As for the pass-rushers, there might be as many as eight or nine taken in the first round. From Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples to Courtney Upshaw, Chandler Jones and Vinny Curry there is a great selection to choose from over the first two rounds of the draft. The cornerbacks are solid, but aside from Claiborne, there are questions about every one of them including likely first round talents Stephon Gilmore, Dre Kirkpatrick and Janoris Jenkins. While the linebackers and safeties have a few notable elite prospects like Luke Kuechly, Dont’a Hightower and Mark Barron, there isn’t a whole lot behind them. As a whole, the defensive class is very good with a number of potential early and long-time starters available and more than a few possible future Pro Bowlers.

Cornerbacks

The cornerback class of this year’s draft is solid but lacking in elite talent at the top. Morris Claiborne is an elite prospect and one of the top five players in the entire draft. He is the top cover-corner available and possesses terrific instincts and ball skills with big play ability. Despite a poor Wonderlic score, he has a high football I.Q., great fundamentals and the skills to play and excel in any system. He has zero issues, which is a major factor among this group of corners. He is far and away the top cornerback in the draft. It is zero issues which has propelled Stephon Gilmore up draft boards and past troubled, but highly talented players like Dre Kirkpatrick and Janoris Jenkins. That’s not to overlook his talents as he is one of the better all-around corners with the abilities to contribute in all areas whether in coverage or against the run. He has great size, speed and strength with the upside to develop into an excellent player, but in terms of overall talent and potential he is still probably behind Kirkpatrick and Jenkins. Those two though come with major off the field concerns. Kirkpatrick was busted for marijuana possession in January and even though he got off, the fact that he was hanging out with that type of crowd and putting himself into a position where something like that could happen has raised more than a few eyebrows. And during the start of draft season no less. He is still a first-round talent. He’s big, physical and well-coached by Nick Saban and comes with a National Championship pedigree from Alabama. Janoris Jenkins will be one of the more discussed prospects in the draft as he possesses supreme talent, especially as an elite cover corner and is worthy of a place in the top 15 on talent alone, but numerous run-ins with the law throughout his collegiate career, most of which had to do with smoking marijuana and excessive partying led to his dismissal from Florida before his Senior year. Fathering four children with three different women hasn’t helped his case either. Questions have also arisen throughout the draft process that his excessive partying continued at North Alabama and his stock continues to fall as the draft nears. After the top four have been selected, it really becomes a matter of what type of corner and skill set each team prefers as the rest of the class is made up of players with very clear pros and cons. Josh Robinson is an outstanding athlete that blew up the Combine, but his game film might say mid-round pick. Jayron Hosley is extremely well-coached and does all the little things that most corners don’t do or even know how to do, but he is small and very thin and might not have the strength or build to hold up against NFL receivers. Dwight Bentley has good all-around ability, but lacks experience versus high level competition and could have the skills to be better suited to play safety. Another possible convert to safety, Trumaine Johnson is a fantastic athlete that plays very physical, but may be too big and heavy to play corner at the pro level.  There is also the free-falling Alfonzo Dennard, who has seen his draft stock plummet over the past year from a solid spot in the first around among the top corners to as far as Day 3 of the draft after being arrested last week for allegedly assaulting a police officer. Injuries and inconsistent play, along with his recent arrest have killed his stock. Nonetheless he does have a lot of talent and plays a very tough, physical game. He’s able to match and mix it up against big receivers and uses his great leaping ability to make up for his lack of height. Some even consider him to be more talented than his former teammate and 2011 first-round pick Prince Amukamara of the Giants. It is a talented, but flawed group of corners with Morris Claiborne the lone exception as a truly elite talent.

  1. Morris Claiborne, LSU, First Round/Top Five
  2. Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina, First Round
  3. Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama, First Round
  4. Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama, Late First/Second Round
  5. Josh Robinson, Central Florida, Second Round
  6. Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech, Second Round
  7. Dwight Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette, Second/Third Round
  8. Trumaine Johnson, Montana, Second/Early Third Round
  9. Brandon Boykin, Georgia, Third Round
  10. Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska, Third/Fourth Round/Stock Falling Hard

Worth Mentioning: Chase Minnifield/Virginia, Leonard Johnson/Iowa State, Casey Hayward/Vanderbilt, Ron Brooks/LSU, Josh Norman/Coastal Carolina, Omar Bolden/Arizona State

Defensive Tackles/Nose Tackles/3-4 Defensive Ends

The deepest position in the 2012 NFL Draft, the defensive tackle crop runs deep with very talented, versatile players available throughout the first three rounds, while as many as seven could come off the board in the first round alone and fifteen or more could be selected among the top 100 picks. The class has everything; pass-rushers like Fletcher Cox and Kendall Reyes, run-stoppers like Jerel Worthy and Devon Still, and freaks of nature with a ton of upside like Michael Brockers and Dontari Poe. There are Nose Tackles to be had in each round in Brockers and Poe, along with Alameda Ta’amu, Josh Chapman and Hebron Fangupo. Versatility is what really elevates this group as the number of athletes that can play multiple positions along the defensive front in various schemes is truly amazing. Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox has emerged throughout the pre-draft process as the top player and the must have guy at the position. He was dominant this past season emerging as the best defensive tackle in the supremely talented SEC. He is excellent at stopping the run, but it is his pass rushing skills that set him apart from the majority of the defensive tackles. He possesses a great burst off the snap, terrific speed and the ability to move laterally which allows him to bypass offensive linemen and put pressure on and attack opposing quarterbacks. He will likely be selected in the top ten. The next two tackles on the board are two of the more intriguing prospects at any position in draft in LSU’s Brockers and Memphis’ Poe. Both guys are mammoth athletes with almost limitless potential, but both players are very raw. Brockers has displayed more skill and production than Poe and at a much higher level with the best possible coaching, but he is very young as just a redshirt sophomore and probably could’ve benefitted from another season at LSU. Poe put on an unbelievable performance for the ages at the Combine and displayed unreal speed and athleticism for a man 6’4”, 346lbs and had scouts envisioning the next Haloti Ngata. While he proved he has the athletic abilities in workouts to be a stud in the NFL, his production and game tape at Memphis playing against a number of inferior opponents in Conference-USA say otherwise and have caused scouts to question his actual football skills and whether or not he is just another workout warrior. After the top three guys, there is a group of four potential late first round picks in Jerel Worthy (MCST), Devon Still (PSU), Kendall Reyes (CONN) and Brandon Thompson (CLEM) that are all extremely solid selections and look to be long-time starters at the next level. Worthy and Still are both elite run-stoppers that are both ready to plug in and play immediately. The talented players continue to come off the board throughout the second round with Nebaska’s Jared Crick, who battled injuries this season, but has first round talent and Washington’s Alameda Ta’amu, who had his struggles at times this year, but like Crick, he has displayed first round ability and may be the best pure Nose Tackle in the draft. The defensive tackle class is truly phenomenal this year and it runs extremely deep throughout the entire draft with teams being able to add quality players in every round.

  1. Fletcher Cox (DT, 3-4 DE), Mississippi State, First Round/Top Ten
  2. Michael Brockers (DT, NT, 3-4 DE), LSU, First Round
  3. Dontari Poe (DT, NT), Memphis, First Round
  4. Jerel Worthy (DT, NT), Michigan State, Late First/Early Second Round
  5. Devon Still (DT, 3-4 DE), Penn State, Late First/Early Second Round
  6. Kendall Reyes (DT, 3-4 DE), Connecticut, Late First/Early Second Round
  7. Brandon Thompson (DT, NT, 3-4 DE), Clemson, Second Round
  8. Jared Crick (DT, 3-4 DE), Nebraska, Second Round
  9. Alameda Ta’amu (DT, NT), Washington, Second/Early Third Round
  10. Billy Winn (DT, 3-4 DE), Boise State, Late Second/Early Third Round

Worth Mentioning: Mike Martin/Michigan, Josh Chapman/Alabama, Marcus Forston/Miami-Florida, Hebron Fangupo/BYU, Kheeston Randall/Texas, Jaye Howard/Florida, Derek Wolfe/Cincinnati, DaJohn Harris/USC, Akiem Hicks/Regina (CA)

Pass Rushers: 4-3 Defensive Ends/3-4 Outside Linebackers

This year’s group of pass-rushers available in the draft is good, but not great, although as many as eight or nine players could be selected in the first round despite a lack of elite talent and questions surrounding every prospect. Melvin Ingram emerged as the top pass-rusher throughout the draft process and has displayed the versatility to play outside and inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme and anywhere from defensive end to outside linebacker to even as a middle linebacker in the 4-3. While his versatility is a plus, it has also slightly hurt his stock as teams are unsure of where exactly to play him. Regardless he is an excellent football player that has the ability to put up gaudy stats on the right team. Effort and dedication are the major questions surrounding North Carolina’s Quinton Coples. His upside and potential are through the roof and without the concerns regarding his every down effort and dedication to playing and working hard, he would be a sure-fire top five pick, but those concerns do exist after a very disappointing Senior season. BCS National Championship MVP, Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw, like Melvin Ingram, is just a pure football player when you really get down to it. He had his struggles at the Combine where scouts began to question whether he was too big and not fast enough to play outside linebacker in the 3-4, but too short and not strong enough to be a 4-3 defensive end. He is the ultimate tweener and it is causing him to drop down the first round. Despite all that, he is a fantastic football player that is going to excel at the next level, especially if he lands on the right team and is used in the right ways. He can be used in a variety of different spots and will put up good numbers. Then there is the next tier of players that consist of potential one-year wonders in Whitney Mercilus and Nick Perry that put up very impressive numbers, but only did it during this past season. Then there is the rising Chandler Jones and Shea McClellin, who are the two hottest names at the moment in the lead up to the draft and are moving up the first round. Those four however, all appear to be in the bottom third of the first round discussions as the majority of pass-rusher needy teams make up that part of the draft order. Talented, but flawed pass-rushers like Vinny Curry, Andre Branch, Ronnell Lewis and Bruce Irvin among others are still to be had through the second and third rounds. There is a ton good depth in this group.

  1. Melvin Ingram, South Carolina, First Round/Top 15
  2. Quinton Coples, North Carolina, First Round
  3. Courtney Upshaw, Alabama, First Round
  4. Whitney Mercilus, Illinois, First Round
  5. Nick Perry, USC, First Round
  6. Chandler Jones, Syracuse, First Round
  7. Shea McClellin, Boise State, Late First Round
  8. Andre Branch, Clemson, Late First/Second Round
  9. Vinny Curry, Marshall, Second Round
  10. Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma, Second Round

Worth Mentioning: Cam Johnson/Virginia, Bruce Irvin/West Virginia, Tyrone Crawford/Boise State, Malik Jackson/Tennessee, Trevor Guyton/California, Jonathon Massaquoi/Troy

4-3 Outside Linebackers

The crop of 4-3 outside linebackers in this year’s draft is just okay and comes with a lot of question marks. Nebraska’s LaVonte David is the best of the bunch and is rising up draft boards and could even sneak into the first round, but is likely to be selected early in the second. He is a hardworking playmaker that is always around the ball and has the ability to sniff out plays before they happen. His size is a concern as he might not be big enough to play linebacker and could eventually be moved to safety. However, whether he is at outside linebacker or safety, he has the potential to be an every down starter with the ability to be a triple-digit tackler on the right team. Zach Brown of North Carolina is an incredible athlete that may be the best in the entire draft. He has unreal speed for a linebacker with the ability to run the 40 in the 4.4s. While his athleticism is through the roof, he is still very raw and needs more seasoning and coaching, but his upside and potential is something very special.  The next set of outside linebackers are solid mid-round prospects and will find spots in lineups throughout the league, but they all have major questions. Is Sean Spence to small? Is Travis Lewis injury-prone? Does Nigel Bradham take too many penalties? Is Kyle Wilbur overrated? All of the questions and concerns exist among this group of outside linebackers.

  1. LaVonte David, Nebraska, Late First/Early Second Round
  2. Zach Brown, North Carolina, Second Round
  3. Sean Spence, Miami-Florida, Third Round
  4. Nigel Bradham, Florida State, Third/Fourth Round
  5. Travis Lewis, Oklahoma, Late Third/Fourth Round
  6. Demario Davis, Arkansas State, Fourth Round
  7. Kyle Wilbur, Wake Forest, Fourth Round
  8. Josh Kaddu, Oregon, Fourth Round
  9. Terrell Manning, North Carolina State, Fifth Round
  10. Miles Burris, San Diego State, Fifth Round

Worth Mentioning: Emmanuel Acho/Texas, Brandon Lindsay/Pittsburgh, Danny Trevathan/Kentucky, Alex Hoffman-Ellis/Washington State

Inside Linebackers

It looks to be a pretty average year for the 2012 inside linebacker draft class. It consists of two top 20 studs in Luke Kuechly of Boston College and Alabama’s Dont’a Hightower, along with a solid group of potential rotational players that could produce a couple of nice finds that might turn out to be something more. The great thing about the top of this class is that Kuechly is the ideal 4-3 middle linebacker, while Hightower is a perfect fit on the inside of a 3-4 defense. To put it plain and simple, Luke Kuechly is a tackling machine. He’s everything that a team would want in a franchise middle linebacker to build a defense around. A leader and extremely hard-worker, he possesses great fundamentals, incredible instincts and is always in the right position to make a play on the ball-carrier and always completes the tackle. He is just as good dropping into coverage as he is when playing against the run, which really sets him apart from others. Dont’a Hightower is a big, physical athlete that plays with a mean streak and was the leader of Alabama’s BCS National Championship Defense. He’s a ferocious hitter with the burst and ability to rush the passer from the inside and on the outside, where he may eventually end up. After Kuechly and Hightower come off the board in the first round there are a couple of very interesting prospects to watch for like California’s Mychal Kendricks, who’s athletic abilities blew scouts away at the Combine, but may ultimately end up as a safety due to his lack of size for a linebacker. Utah State’s Bobby Wagner is another terrific athlete that is an excellent tackler with some solid leadership ability and James-Michael Johnson of Nevada possesses incredible upside and potential. This year’s crop of inside linebackers actually could have been something pretty special had Kuechly and Hightower been joined by Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o, who was being rated among the top ten prospects and ahead of both Kuechly and Hightower before he decided to return to school for his senior season, along with Kevin Reddick, who chose to return to North Carolina for another year to improve his draft stock after a slightly disappointing season, but was still being looked at as a potential late first rounder. Of course, there was also the epic fall from grace of Arizona State’s Vontaze Burfict from elite superstar prospect to an overrated, undisciplined head case that is now a likely Day 3 selection possibly as late as the sixth or seventh round.

  1. Luke Kuechly, Boston College, First Round/Top 20
  2. Dont’a Hightower, Alabama, First Round
  3. Bobby Wagner, Utah State, Second Round
  4. Mychal Kendricks, California, Late Second/Third Round
  5. James-Michael Johnson, Nevada, Late Third/Fourth Round
  6. Keenan Robinson, Texas, Fourth Round
  7. Tank Carder, TCU, Fifth Round
  8. Audie Cole, North Carolina State, Fifth/Sixth Round
  9. Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State, Fifth/Sixth Round
  10. Jerry Franklin, Arkansas, Seventh Round

Worth Mentioning: Najee Good/West Virginia, Chris Galippo/USC, Shawn Loiseau/Merrimack

Free/Strong Safeties

The safety class this year is downright awful. There is one star in Alabama’s Mark Barron, one good prospect in Harrison Smith of Notre Dame and not a whole lot else. Barron is a complete prospect at an elite level. He hits like a truck, is solid in coverage, contributes at a high level versus both the run and the pass and is an outstanding leader that has the ability to quarterback a defense. Much like Barron, Smith is a pretty complete prospect in all aspects, he’s just not as talented and doesn’t have as high a ceiling as the Alabama product. He’s smart, productive and always seems to be in the right place. He possesses excellent leadership and should be a solid starter for someone for a number of years. Both players are immediate starters. After Barron and Smith, there is a steep drop-off but there still are a couple of intriguing mid-round prospects like the underappreciated Brandon Taylor, who comes from the vaunted LSU program where talented, well-coached defensive backs are churned out every year along with the two top rated free safeties; Oklahoma State’s Markelle Martin and the massive George Iloka of Boise State. This safety class won’t provide much, but Barron and Smith will be two names that fans will often hear over the next 10 to 15 years with Barron a possible potential Pro Bowler every year.

  1. Mark Barron (SS), Alabama, First Round/Top 15
  2. Harrison Smith (SS), Notre Dame, Late First/Early Second Round
  3. Brandon Taylor (SS), LSU, Third Round
  4. Markelle Martin (FS), Oklahoma State, Third/Fourth Round
  5. George Iloka (FS), Boise State, Late Third/Fourth Round
  6. Antonio Allen (SS), South Carolina, Late Third/Fourth Round
  7. Trenton Robinson (FS), Michigan State, Fourth Round
  8. Brandon Hardin (FS), Oregon State, Fourth/Fifth Round
  9. Aaron Henry (FS), Wisconsin, Fifth Round
  10. Christian Thompson (FS), South Carolina State, Fifth/Sixth Round

Worth Mentioning: Duke Ihenacho/San Jose State, Justin Bethel/Presbyterian, Eddie Pleasant/Oregon, Sean Richardson/Vanderbilt, D.J. Campbell/California, Janzen Jackson/McNeese State



26 PROSPECTS INVITED TO 2012 NFL DRAFT

Written By: Mark Scott

The NFL released its list of invitees to the 2012 NFL Draft on Thursday with a record 26 prospects getting the call to attend the event. For the 26 future draft picks it should be a good sign as the NFL only invites prospects with first round grades and a high likelihood of being taken on Day 1. The SEC lead the way with 12 prospects including a record five players from reigning BCS National Champion Alabama; running back Trent Richardson, safety Mark Barron, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and linebacker/defensive end Courtney Upshaw. LSU has the next highest representation with three players in cornerback Morris Claiborne, defensive tackle Michael Brockers and wide receiver Reuben Randle, who is one of the more surprising names that was invited. South Carolina’s defensive end/linebacker Melvin Ingram and fast rising cornerback Stephon Gilmore will represent the Gamecocks, while Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox and Georgia’s Cordy Glenn will also be in attendance from the SEC.

Three other teams will send two players each as well as Stanford’s quarterback Andrew Luck and tight end Coby Fleener, Baylor’s quarterback Robert Griffin III and wide receiver Kendall Wright, and USC’s offensive tackle Matt Kalil and defensive end Nick Perry will be at the draft in April. Eight others from various schools got the call to attend including three wide receivers; Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd and Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech. A pair of defensive tackles in Memphis’ Dontari Poe and Penn State’s Devon Still, along with North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples and another surprising invite, linebacker Shea McClellin of Boise State. Texas A&M’s quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is rising faster and higher than anyone over the last month rounds out the list.

There were a few surprising invites among the list especially considering the NFL doesn’t like guys sitting around and sweating out the night in the green room, but Reuben Randle, Stephen Hill, Devon Still, Shea McClellin and Coby Fleener could be sitting there a while and at least a couple of them could very likely be still available on Day 2. All five could be possible late first round selections, though it would be pretty surprising if any of them are selected among the top 20 picks. A fantastic performance at the Scouting Combine has raised Hill into first round discussions, while Fleener boosted his stock at Stanford’s pro day and also benefited from poor pre-draft workouts from other top ranked tight ends, Dwayne Allen of Clemson and Georgia’s Orson Charles. McClellin has started to hear his name talked about more and more over the last couple weeks and is starting to make a late push into the first round similar to that of Brooks Reed last year, although he wasn’t selected until the tenth pick of the second round, but still received considerable late first round buzz leading up to the draft.

Some notable snubs from the event include Luck and Fleener’s Stanford teammates; offensive guard David DeCastro and offensive tackle Jonathon Martin, who have both consistently been rated as first round picks for most of the year. DeCastro is widely considered to be selected in the top 15 and rated among the ten best prospects in the draft. Another pair of likely top 15 picks; Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly and Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff will also be absent from draft day. Pass rushers Whitney Mercilus of Illinois, Syracuse’s Chandler Jones and Andre Branch of Clemson have received first round grades as well, along with Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams, Wisconsin center Peter Konz, Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy and cornerback Janoris Jenkins of North Alabama. Of course all of these prospects won’t be selected in the first round as only 32 players can be, but there were certainly some interesting choices and snubs among the group.



Mark Scott’s Official 2012 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

The new league year kicked off on Tuesday at 4 pm EST with the free agent frenzy quickly getting under way. The 2012 NFL Draft gets closer with each passing day and teams that don’t fill the holes on their roster through free agency will be eyeing the draft and all of its vast possibilities. As free agents either stay with their current teams or sign with new ones, the needs and wants of every team will change and so will the results of this mock draft. This is the first in a series of mock drafts between now and the Draft in late April that you can find on my site.

  1. IND (2-14) – QB Andrew Luck, STAN – The Peyton Manning era is officially over. Let the Andrew Luck era in Indy begin. The Colts had a tough decision to make regarding Manning, but it was the right one by releasing the 4-time MVP and starting over with Luck. The Stanford product is the best prospect since John Elway and considered a can’t miss player. He has all the physical and mental tools to succeed and live up to his high billing. He is one of those once in a generation talents that is just destined to be great and takes away a bit of the sting from seeing Manning leave town.
  2. STL WASH (5-11) – QB Robert Griffin III, BAY – The price was high, but the Redskins will get their franchise Quarterback and can finally begin the Mike Shanahan era the right way. Griffin III is an exceptional athlete the likes of Michael Vick, but with better quarterback skills that continue to improve at a rapid rate. His excellent mobility in and out off the pocket and his ability to throw on the run make him a perfect fit for Shanahan’s offense. They’ve already added Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan on the opening day of free agency and have a pair of intriguing second-year running backs, so Griffin III should have a solid cast to begin his career with.
  3. MIN (3-13) – OT Matt Kalil, USC – The Vikings Offensive line is undergoing a major rebuild and selecting Matt Kalil is a big step in the right direction to providing a line that can protect Christian Ponder. Charlie Johnson again proved last year with Minnesota why the Colts gave up on him as their franchise Left Tackle. With a year left on his deal he will likely be moved to Guard after the Vikings released starters Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera. Kalil is a complete prospect and is as pro-ready as a prospect can be. He looked like a professional running through drills at the Combine and has all of the skills and potential to become a franchise Left Tackle for many years in the NFL.
  4. CLE (4-12) – RB Trent Richardson, ALA – The Browns don’t appear like they’re going to fix their Quarterback situation this year as they missed out on Peyton Manning and Robert Griffin III and don’t seem all that interested in Matt Flynn. Even if they did get a different QB other than current starter Colt McCoy, Cleveland still doesn’t have any weapons on offense to give the ball too. Adding some weapons this year might be the better route to go and would give McCoy an actual chance to succeed or any future Quarterback the team might add. Cleveland free agent Running Back Peyton Hillis was a disaster in 2011. He was a major headache for the Browns with heated contract disputes and demands, questionable injuries and below average play on the field. He’s likely gone and with Montario Hardesty’s inability to stay healthy, the team has a major need at the running back spot. Luckily for them, Trent Richardson, the best prospect at the position since Adrian Peterson, is sitting on the board waiting for them. Richardson is a complete running back and would instantly give the Browns an elite weapon on offense. Their wide receiver corps is one of the worst in the league, so Justin Blackmon could easily be taken here.
  5. TB (4-12) – CB Morris Claiborne, LSU – Ronde Barber is pondering retirement and Aqib Talib may be headed to prison, while he continues to pile up other off the field issues as he awaits trial. Morris Claiborne is far and away the top corner in the draft possessing elite cover ability, great instincts and fantastic ball skills. He can also contribute in the return game. He has no.1 corner potential and is ready to start immediately.
  6. WASH STL (2-14) – WR Justin Blackmon, OKST – The Rams chose to stand by Sam Bradford over Robert Griffin III and were rewarded for that decision with a multitude of draft picks. They drop to the six spot in the draft due to the trade with Washington and anxiously await hoping Justin Blackmon somehow falls to them. In this scenario he does fall to the Rams giving them the no.1 wide out they so desperately need to build their receiver corps around. The two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top wide receiver is an absolute beast that can take over games on his own. He has incredible hands, body control and is an excellent route runner. He also proved at his pro-day that he has the speed to be an elite wide receiver.
  7. JAX (5-11) – DE Melvin Ingram, SCAR – Jacksonville’s pass rush is atrocious and has been near the bottom of the league in sacks in each of the past three seasons. Jeremy Mincey had a good year this past season, but is a free agent and so is Matt Roth, while Aaron Kampmann can’t stay healthy and really hasn’t contributed anything since he signed with the team. Throughout the draft process Melvin Ingram has been dominant in establishing himself as the top pass-rusher in the draft regardless of scheme. He looked great at the Senior Bowl and then again at the Combine. Those performances to go with a couple of seasons of excellent game tape from South Carolina are why Ingram has NFL scouts buzzing. So too is his versatility as Ingram has shown that he can line-up at a multitude of positions in the front seven.
  8. MIA (6-10) – DE Quinton Coples, UNC – The Dolphins are transitioning to a 4-3 defense under new Head Coach Joe Philbin and need a pass-rusher to play opposite Cameron Wake. Coples is an explosive athlete that may be the best pure 4-3 End in the draft, but can also play on the interior of the line as well. Coples and Wake should give Miami a pretty solid 1-2 punch rushing the passer.
  9. CAR (6-10) – DT Dontari Poe, MEM – The Panthers run defense was awful this past season and the interior of their defensive line is in need of a talent upgrade. They spent two third round picks on Sione Fua and Terrell McClain, but neither showed much as Fua was okay and McClain was awful. Dontari Poe had an incredible performance at the Combine that moved him from just on the first round radar to a for sure top 15 selection. He has great size and is a terrific athlete that brings scheme versatility and will give Carolina a couple of options should they make a rumored switch to a 3-4 or decide to stick with the 4-3 defense they’re currently using. Poe has huge upside.
  10. BUF (6-10) – DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw, ALA – The Bills biggest problem on defense is that they’re sorely lacking a pass-rush and any elite talent at the position. Buffalo likes to run multiple schemes and needs someone that has the versatility to rush the passer standing up or with his hand on the ground. Courtney Upshaw can do that. The Alabama product had a tough outing at the Combine that had many scouts listing him as just a 4-3 defensive end only, but his game tape from college proves that he can line-up as a 3-4 outside linebacker and be just as effective. HC Chan Gailey loves his SEC players and Upshaw should fit in nicely with this group.
  11. KC (7-9) – OT Riley Reiff, IOW – The Chiefs need upgrades across their offensive line, specifically at the Right Tackle position where Barry Richardson was terrible, Braden Albert will soon be a free agent and in a stupid move Jared Gaither was released by the former coaching staff last year. The Kansas City front office has close ties to Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz, who continues to produce NFL quality Offensive linemen every year and Riley Reiff just so happens to be available. Reiff is a tenacious blocker against the pass and run and is a great fit for the Chiefs. They will probably have better knowledge of him than any other team.
  12. SEA (7-9) – QB Ryan Tannehill, TXAM – In an attempt to fix their quarterback situation and avoid missing out on the Quarterback Derby of 2012, the Seahawks reach for Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill. He lacks experience, but with Tavaris Jackson still in the fold for at least another year, Tannehill can learn from the sidelines to start his career. Midway through the 2010 season he made a pretty incredible transition back to quarterback after a couple of seasons at receiver. He has shown tremendous upside and the ability to learn at a fast pace in just a short amount of time.
  13. ARZ (8-8) – OT Jonathon Martin, STAN – The Cards cut Levi Brown and his huge contract, but he wasn’t really very good anyways and an upgrade was needed. That upgrade comes in the form of Andrew Luck’s former protector, Jonathon Martin. The Stanford product is an excellent pass protector with good strength and great footwork. He will provide whoever the quarterback is for the Cardinals with the time and space to stay upright and make plays.
  14. DAL (8-8) – CB Janoris Jenkins, NALA – The Dallas secondary was just terrible last year and is in need of significant upgrades. Terrence Newman and his contract were cut as a result. There’s a very good chance they add Brandon Carr in free agency, but they could still use a third corner to shore up the secondary. Janoris Jenkins has had his off the field troubles in the past, but seems to have gotten his life back on the right track and might be the most talented corner in this draft. He has fantastic cover skills and has shown the ability to play against and shutdown elite receivers like A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Alshon Jeffrey.  Alabama Safety Mark Barron could also be an option if they still want to fix their secondary, but not by adding a corner.
  15. PHI (8-8) – ILB Luke Kuechly, BC – Philadelphia struggled mightily on defense last year and the biggest reason why was their poor group of linebackers that might have been the worst in the league. An over drafted fourth-round pick in Casey Mathews began the season as their starting middle linebacker before quickly having to be replaced. Luke Kuechly was an unreal tackling machine in college and then showed to everyone at the Combine that he has the athleticism to translate his skills to the NFL and become one of the league’s top linebackers.
  16. NYJ (8-8) – OG David DeCastro, STAN – The Jets are recommitting to their ground and pound running attack this year and there is no better prospect to improve it with then Stanford’s rugged Guard David DeCastro. He is a ferocious run blocker with great mobility and is just as good in pass protection. Like Matt Kalil, DeCastro is as pro-ready as any prospect in this draft and that includes his former teammate and no.1 pick Andrew Luck. The addition of DeCastro will be a major step forward in solidifying the interior of the line that completely fell apart last year when Nick Mangold was out of the lineup. This move remedies their failed attempt with Vlad Ducasse, who has been a major bust for the Jets since they drafted him.
  17. OAK CIN (9-7) – CB Dre Kirkpatrick, ALA – They lost Jonathon Joseph to free agency last year. Leon Hall tore his Achilles and might not be ready to start the season or ever the same player he was. Joseph’s replacement Nate Clements is on the wrong side of 30 and has significantly slowed over the past few years. Adam Jones is also a free agent and probably won’t be back. The need for a cornerback is pretty obvious and Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick would be a great fit if he manages to fall to the Bengals here. Cincinnati loves their SEC players and won’t be deterred by the Kirkpatrick’s recent off the field issues.
  18. SD (8-8) – OLB Whitney Mercilus, Ill – San Diego’s pass rush struggled mightily this past year as only Antwan Barnes had more than four sacks and was their only legitimate threat.  He had a very impressive 11.5 sacks, but outside of him there was nothing. Three years in Larry English has proven to be a bust as he played just 5 games with 2 sacks last year and has just 7 career sacks to his name. Whitney Mercilus really came on last season at Illinois leading the nation with 16 sacks and 9 forced fumbles. He is a risky prospect as he could be a one year wonder after seeing very little playing time as a redshirt freshman and sophomore. He has good explosion of the snap, solid speed and plays with all out effort on every play. He also brings some versatility and can be moved around the front seven.
  19. CHI (8-8) – OT Mike Adams, OSU – The Bears added Miami’s Brandon Marshall in a trade on Tuesday significantly upgrading their wide receiver corps and reuniting him with former Denver teammate Jay Cutler. The addition of Marshall allows Chicago to continue rebuilding their woeful offensive line at the draft. They added Gabe Carimi in last year’s first round and this year they add Ohio State’s Mike Adams to play across from him. Adams has his issues, but he has a ton of talent and is a significant upgrade over JaMarcus Webb at Left Tackle. In the few games the Bears’ Offensive line played well in showed that if given a little bit more time and space Jay Cutler can be one of the best Quarterbacks in the league. It’s too bad the O-line rarely gets Cutler that time and space. The addition of Adams and a healthy Carimi should change that.
  20. TEN (9-7) – DE Nick Perry, USC – Three of the Titans four defensive ends are free agents and not all of them will be brought back. The pass rush was lacking anyways as rookie Defensive Tackle Karl Klug led the team in sacks with seven. Nick Perry shined at USC in 2011 and then again at the Combine. He is a ferocious pass rusher that fits best as a 4-3 End with his hand on the ground which fits perfectly with the Tennessee defense.
  21. CIN (9-7) – OG/T Cordy Glenn, GEO – This could easily be a running back, but with both of their starting guards, Bobbie Williams and Nate Livings, free agents the Bengals need to look at adding a guard. Williams should be brought back, but Livings was awful and needed to be replaced anyway. Cordy Glenn was one of the big stories at the Combine where he put on an incredible show for a man of his mammoth size. He has the potential to be special at guard, but can also play both Tackle positions. The Bengals are another team that loves to draft players from the SEC and Glenn is a perfect fit for them. He’s another blue chip prospect to go with an already very impressive collection of young players on the Cincinnati offense.
  22. ATL CLE (4-12) – WR Michael Floyd, ND – The Browns continue to add weapons on offense by gleefully selecting Michael Floyd, who will be the steal of the draft if he drops this far. Floyd is a big, athletic wide receiver that can make huge plays down the field, but is also tough enough to go over the middle. The building blocks are now in place for the success of any current or future Browns Quarterback by drafting Floyd and Trent Richardson.
  23. DET (10-6) – CB Stephon Gilmore, SCAR – Detroit’s secondary was clearly their biggest problem in 2011 as they got torched by opposing Quarterbacks game after game all season long constantly putting added pressure on the offense. Stephon Gilmore has been rising quickly up draft boards the past month and some even have him ranked as the second best cornerback in the draft ahead of Jenkins and Kirkpatrick. Gilmore is a solid cover corner with good instincts and ball skills.
  24. PITT (12-4) – ILB Don’t’a Hightower, ALA – The Steelers defense is getting old with the majority of last year’s starters over the age of 30 and is in need of some young blood. Inside Linebacker James Farrior was a cap casualty leaving a hole in the middle of the defense that Alabama’s Dont’a Hightower should be able to fill. Hightower is a massive inside linebacker with a ton of experience leading a 3-4 defense and his attacking mentality seems made for the Steelers defense. He can also contribute on the outside as a pass-rusher.
  25. DEN (8-8) – DT Fletcher Cox, MSST – The Broncos defense was pretty bad last year and is in need of upgrades at every level. The defensive tackle group was decent against the run, but offered very little in terms of putting pressure on the quarterback. Their overall play could be much better too. Their best player at the position Brodrick Bunkley is a free agent and Ryan McBean is set to face a 6-game suspension to start the season. Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox was the best defensive linemen in the SEC last year and has the ability to stop the run and get to opposing quarterbacks.
  26. HOU (10-6) – WR Kendall Wright, BAY – The Texans don’t have any glaring holes, so adding a luxury in the first round is a definite possibility. Andre Johnson has battled some injuries the past couple of seasons and missed a number of games last year. Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones have been disappointing when called upon. Kendall Wright is an explosive playmaker that would instantly take the Houston offense to another level. Too often Andre Johnson has been their only threat in the receiving game. Johnson and Wright would be a pretty outstanding combination.
  27. NO NE (13-3) – SS Mark Barron, ALA – New England’s pass defense ranked at the bottom of the league last year and at times they had to have wide receivers and guys they signed off the street starting crucial games for them in their secondary. It’s a surprise that Mark Barron is still available this late in the first round and the Patriots can’t help but take him here. Barron is the complete package of size, speed and skill. He is as effective versus the run as the pass and possesses great leadership with a ton of experience in big games.
  28. GB (15-1) – OLB Andre Branch, CLEM – One of the main reasons the Green Bay defense struggled so much in 2011 was a lack of pass rush across from Clay Mathews. It put added pressure on the secondary that it wasn’t able to sustain. Andre Branch has decent size, good length and a fantastic burst off the line. He has outstanding pass rush abilities and should have great success with focus of the blockers on Clay Mathews.
  29. BAL (12-4) – C Peter Konz, WISC – The Ravens have a couple of glaring needs with an interior offensive lineman and couple of linebackers among them. The majority of the top linebackers are gone in this scenario leaving Baltimore looking at improving their Offensive line with this selection. Center Matt Birk is strongly considering retirement, but appears set to play one more season and Guard Ben Grubbs is a free agent that looks like he will cash in elsewhere. Wisconsin’s Peter Konz solves tow problems for the Ravens as he can fill the hole left by Grubbs in the short term and then eventually take over for Birk when he finally decides to hang them up, likely following this season.
  30. SF (13-3) – TE Coby Fleener, STAN – Outside of Vernon Davis, the 49ers passing game was severely limited last season, especially in the red zone. They seem to be trying to fix their receiver corps through free agency, but adding another athletic pass-catching tight end across from Davis could really take this offense to the next level. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh often used multiple tight ends in his offense at Stanford, sometimes lining up as many as three on the field at once. Harbaugh even used OT Joe Staley and DT Isaac Sopoga at the tight end position on certain plays last year. Fleener is the top tight end in the draft and a former player of Harbaugh at Stanford. He would seem to be the perfect guy to take here and join Harbaugh’s 49ers offense.
  31. NE (13-3) – DT Michael Brockers, LSU – The Pats went out on a limb and took a chance on Albert Haynesworth last year, but he turned out to be a major failure. Gerrard Warren and Shaun Ellis are old free agents and most likely won’t be back. They will be in the market for at least one or two new defensive tackles. As just a redshirt sophomore Michael Brockers probably would’ve benefitted from another year at LSU, but he still has a boatload of talent and brings a ton of upside that Bill Belichick can mold exactly how he wants.
  32. NYG (9-7) – RB Lamar Miller, MIA – The Giants released veteran Brandon Jacobs after seven years with the team and will need some fresh legs to pair with Ahmad Bradshaw. Lamar Miller has top end speed and reminds scouts of Chris Johnson a bit. He has big play ability and solid hands out of the backfield, but can also pound it up the middle between the tackles. The Giants almost always go with the best player available, but Miller is nearly that and fits one of their top needs at the same time.

 

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Redskins Acquire Rams’ 2012 Second Overall Draft Pick

Written By: Mark Scott

The Rams and Redskins have made their move. In the most anticipated trade of the past few months, St. Louis chose Washington over Cleveland to deal the no.2 overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft too as first reported by FoxSports.com. The Rams sent the second overall pick to the Redskins in exchange for  Washington’s sixth overall selection of the 2012 NFL Draft, as well as their 2013 and 2014 first round picks along with their 2012 second round choice, 39th overall. Baylor’s QB Robert Griffin III is expected to be the player chosen by Washington with that selection.

Who the Rams would trade the second overall choice too and what they could receive in compensation has been the talk around the NFL for months, especially the past few weeks when St. Louis let it be known at the NFL Scouting Combine that they intended to trade the pick to the highest bidder. The bounty was expected to be high for the pick in order to select Griffin III, especially after the Baylor Quarterback blew scouts away with his workout in just a few select drills at the Combine. He was also excellent in team interviews and media sessions. The Rams have a number of holes to fill after a 2-14 season and a new regime coming in, but Quarterback wasn’t one of them as St. Louis chose to stand behind current signal-caller Sam Bradford, who was taken with the first overall pick in the 2010 Draft. They can now fill more of those holes beginning this year and over the next couple of years giving their new regime led by Head Coach Jeff Fisher the building blocks to build around Bradford and turn the franchise around.

Washington was desperate to fix their Quarterback position after a disastrous season with Rex Grossman and John Beck throwing passes for them. They were expected to pursue recently released Peyton Manning and still are despite Friday’s trade, but news that Manning isn’t interested in playing in the NFC, specifically the NFC East, where his brother Eli plays with the Giants seems to have eliminated them from discussions. This news about Manning probably only increased the Redskins interest in the Rams’ draft pick to select Griffin III. Barring a change in Manning’s mind, the Redskins will go forward with Robert Griffin III as their new franchise Quarterback, believed to be a perfect fit for Head Coach Mike Shanahan’s offensive scheme.

Unhappy with their own Quarterback situation, the Cleveland Browns were believed to be the favorites to land St. Louis’ No.2 pick and made a late push Friday by reportedly offering three first round picks including their 2012 fourth overall pick and possibly a second round choice, but it was too late, the Rams had already settled on a deal with Washington. Cleveland will now have to look elsewhere to find a Quarterback or stick with current starter Colt McCoy. The deal between St. Louis and Washington will become official when the new league year starts on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 4 pm, EST.

It is a great move for both teams. For St. Louis, they will now have five first round and four second round draft picks over the next three years. They can now build around Sam Bradford and finally give him some weapons to utilize, while possibly finding some help and an eventual replacement for aging running back Steven Jackson and also improve a bad defense. For Washington, they can select Griffin III and finally add the right Quarterback to build the franchise around in the Mike Shanahan era, although it comes at a steep price.



2012 NFL SCOUTING COMBINE NEWS & NOTES – DAY 7 RECAP

Written By: Mark Scott

The final day of the Combine showcased the Defensive Backs for coaches, executives and scouts. Projected first round talent was on display as Morris Claiborne, Dre Kirkpatrick and Janoris Jenkins took center stage. Central Florida’s Josh Robinson dominated the workouts and really got his name out there, while Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith took advantage of Mark Barron’s absence due to injury showing that he was the top safety competing at the Combine. This wraps up the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.

  • Workout Results – Cornerbacks
    • 40 Yard Dash – 1.Josh Robinson, UCF, 4.33 / 2.Ron Brooks, LSU, 4.37 / 3.Stephon Gilmore, Scar, 4.40 / 4.Coty Sensabaugh, Clem, 4.42 / 5.Dwight Bentley, LaLaf, 4.43 / 6.Janoris Jenkins, NAla, 4.46 / 7.Jayron Hosley, Vtch, 4.47 / 8.Coryell Judie, TxAM, 4.48 / 9.Asa Jackson, CalP, 4.49 / 10.Morris Claiborne, LSU, 4.50 / 11.Dre Kirkpatrick, Ala, 4.51
    • Vertical Jump – 1.Justin Bethel, Pres, 39.5” / 2.Josh Robinson, 38.5” / 3.Ron Brooks, LSU, 38” / 4.Alfonzo Dennard, Neb, 37” / 4.Coryell Judie, TxAM, 37” / 4.Coty Sensabaugh, Clem, 37” / 7.Antwuan Reed, Pitt, 36.5”
    • Broad Jump – 1.Josh Robinson, UCF, 11’1” / 2.Justin Bethel, Pres, 10’11” / 3.Coryell Judie, TxAM, 10’6” / 4.Jamell Fleming, Okla, 10’5” / 5.Josh Norman, CCar, 10’4” / 5.Antwuan Reed, Pitt, 10’4” / 7.Stephon Gilmore, Scar, 10’3” / 8.Trumaine Johnson, Mont, 10’2” / 8.Coty Sensabaugh, Clem, 10’2”
    • 3 Cone Drill – 1.Josh Robinson, UCF, 6.55s / 2.Terrence Frederick, TxAM, 6.59s / 3.Coty Sensabaugh, Clem, 6.60s / 4.Stephon Gilmore, Scar, 6.61s / 5.Robert Blanton, ND, 6.71s / 5.Jamell Fleming, Okla, 6.71s / 7.Casey Hayward, Vand, 6.76s / 8.Justin Bethel, Pres, 6.79s / 8.Cliff Harris, Oreg, 6.79s/ 10.Antonio Fenelus, Wisc, 6.80s
    • 20 Yard Shuttle – 1.Casey Hayward, Vand, 3.90s / 2.Stephon Gilmore, Scar, 3.94s / 3.Robert Blanton,ND,3.97s / 3.Jamell Fleming, Okla, 3.97s / 3.Josh Robinson, UCF, 3.97s / 6.Trevin Wade, Arz, 4.00s / 7.Terrence Frederick, TxAM, 4.03s / 7.Asa Jakson, CalP, 4.03s / 9.Charles Brown, UNC, 4.06s / 9.Coty Sensabaugh, Clem, 4.06s
    • 60 Yard TD Shuttle – 1.Jamell Fleming, Okla, 10.75s / 2.Casey Hayward, Vand, 11.10s / 3.Terrence Frederick, TxAM, 11.13s / 4.Stephon Gilmore, Scar, 11.15s / 5.Janoris Jenkins, NAla, 11.23s / 6.Trevin Wade, Arz, 11.25s / 7.Robert Blanton, ND, 11.28s / 7.Mike Harris, FSU, 11.28s / 9.Leonard Johnson, IWSt, 11.40s / 10.Morris Claiborne, LSU, 11.44s
    • *Jamell Fleming – New Combine Record – 60 Yard TD Shuttle
  • Top rated corner Morris Claiborne didn’t blow scouts away with his results in the measureables, although they were decent numbers, but it was his outstanding work in the field drills that solidified him as the clear cut top cornerback in the draft and a top ten pick. Scouts also love his length, especially his long arms, the longest among cornerbacks.  Janoris Jenkins continued to impress scouts with his ability as he put together very good results in the measurables and then looked absolutely fantastic in the football drills. He was easily the best of the group in the field drills as he looked fast, agile and smooth while moving backwards, changing directions and in his anticipation. Jenkins is without a doubt a top half of the first round talent, but will have to show that all of his off-the field concerns are behind him. Dre Kirkpatrick also had a very good Combine displaying good speed and footwork to go with his excellent height and length. While the top three corners had great days, it was Central Florida’s Josh Robinson who was the star of the workouts as he finished among the top results in the majority of drills, including top finishes in the 3 cone drill, broad jump and the fastest time of everyone at the Combine with a 4.33 in the 40. He definitely caught the eye of multiple scouts and may have moved himself into a possible Day 2 selection. Dwight Bentley continued to surge up draft boards since the draft season started as he put in another great workout for scouts. He came out of the college football regular season as a late round pick, but after a great Senior Bowl and Combine, Bentley has moved himself all the way into possible second round discussions. Stephon Gilmore, Casey Hayward, Jayron Hosely and Jamell Fleming also had good performances in the workouts. The massive Trumaine Johnson put up some good results in drills, but also looked a bit stiff when changing directions and is probably a better fit as a safety with his size and strength.  There wasn’t really any awful performances, but Iowa State’s Leonard Johnson did not perform all that well in any of the drills and probably saw his stock drop a bit with all of the great workouts by others at the Combine. He does have very good game tape though, which should keep him in the third round.
  • Workout Results – Safety
    • 40 Yard Dash – 1.Christian Thompson, SCSt, 4.50 / 2.Sean Richardson, Vand, 4.52 / 2.Trent Robinson, MCSt, 4.52 / 4.Kelcie McCray, AKSt, 4.54 / 5.Corey White, Sam, 4.55 / 6.Jeron McMillian, Mai, 4.56 / 7.Harrison Smith, ND, 4.57 / 8.Brandon Taylor, LSU, 4.58
    • Vertical Jump – 1.Sean Richardson, Vand, 38.5” / 2.Corey White, Sam, 37.5” / 3.Charles Mitchell, MSSt, 37” / 4.Janzen Jackson, McNSt, 36.5” / 4.Jeron McMillian, 36.5” / 6.Johnny Thomas, OKSt, 35.5” / 7.Duke Ihenacho, SJSt, 35”/ 7.Trent Richardson, MCSt, 35” / 9.George Iloka, BSSt, 34.5”
    • Broad Jump – 1.Sean Richardson, Vand, 10’8” / 2.Charles Mitchell, MSSt, 10’7”/3.Corey White, Sam, 10’6” / 4.Janzen Jackson, McNSt, 10’5” / 4.Trent Richardson, MCSt, 10’5” / 6.George Iloka, BSSt, 10’4” / 7.Johnny Thomas, OKSt, 10’3”
    • 3 Cone Drill – 1.Harrison Smith, ND, 6.63s / 2.Jeron McMillian, Mai, 6.69s / 3.Corey White, Sam, 6.72 / 4.Duke Ihenacho, SJSt, 6.78s / 5.Janzen Jackson, McNSt, 6.90s / 6.Charles Mitchell, MSSt, 6.93s / 7.Delano Howell, Stan, 6.97s
    • 20 Yard Shuttle – 1.George Iloka, BSSt, 4.03s / 2.Harrison Smith, ND, 4.12s / 3.Christian Thompson, SCSt, 4.13s / 4.Sean Cattouse, Cal, 4.15s / 4.Delano Howell, Stan, 4.15s / 4.Janzen Jackson, McNSt, 4.15s / 4.Trent Robinson, MCSt, 4.15s
    • 60 Yard TD Shuttle – 1.Kelcie McCray, AKSt, 11.56s / 2.Antonio Allen, Scar, 11.59s / 3.Christian Thompson, SCSt, 11.72s / 4.George Iloka, BSSt, 11.75s / 5.Charles Mitchell, MSSt, 11.78s
  • It was Harrison Smith who stepped up among the safety class with the top rated Mark Barron out of the workouts recovering from recent surgery. Smith put on a fantastic performance in the measureables finishing among the top results in every drill including a first place finish in the 3 cone drill and then performed even better on the field in the football drills. He was smooth and showed great movement and good balls skills. He is easily the No.2 rated Safety after the Combine and could enter first round discussions. LSU Safety Brandon Taylor stated his case that he was an integral part to the Tigers’ secondary and not just a benefactor of his more famous teammates Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu with an excellent performance at the Combine and should see his stock improve. George Iloka proved to be a bit of a workout warrior as he did well during the measureable drills, but struggled and looked very stiff in the on the field drills. He could be moved to linebacker if he can add another 20lbs to his frame.
  • Media Mentions
    • Reports have the Cowboys very interested in signing Kansas City unrestricted free agent CB Brandon Carr to help improve their secondary. Signing Carr will allow Dallas to focus on another position like Outside Linebacker or Guard at the draft.
    • There are reports that New York Jets are looking to trade OLB Bart Scott and have given him permission to seek one. There is sure to be teams that are interested in the veteran linebacker, though they will all likely wait for the Jets to cut him loose largely due to Scott’s declining production and $4.2 million salary. It is most likely that his days with the Jets are over. New York was already looking at 3-4 outside linebackers in the draft as a possibility, but now with Scott’s probable departure, it is a position that goes straight to the top of the needs list. Expect them to take an outside linebacker in the first round.
    • The San Diego Chargers are reportedly interested in Colts free agent Reggie Wayne should they miss out on resigning their own free agent Vincent Jackson.  They are also looking at another Colts free agent in Robert Mathis to help improve their pass rush.
    • Speculation has the Denver Broncos interested in signing Bengals free agent DT Jonathon Fanene to improve their defensive line, particularly on the interior.
    • John Clayton has reported that the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins appear to be the favorites to work out a deal with the Rams for the No.2 pick to land QB Robert Griffin III. The Dolphins and Seahawks have an outside shot.
    • The Seattle Seahawks are could be the favorites to land Houston free agent DE Mario Williams.
    • San Francisco resigned OLB Ahmad Brooks to a new 6-year $44.5 million contract. The 49ers probably won’t look at taking an outside linebacker till later in the draft, if at all.
    • The Chargers will likely be in the market for some new offensive linemen as Kris Dielman looks to be headed for retirement and LT Marcus McNeill could be cut. They already released DE Luis Castillo.
    • In an attempt to get under the salary cap and bring back restricted free agent WR Mike Wallace, the Steelers could release DE Aaron Smith, NT Casey Hampton and ILB James Farrior among others. They have already restructured a number of contracts including Ben Roethlisberger and Lamar Woodley.


2012 NFL SCOUTING COMBINE NEWS & NOTES – DAY 6 RECAP

Written By: Mark Scott

The Defensive Linemen and Linebackers went to work on Monday and displayed their freakish athletic ability in drills across the board. Scouts were left drooling by the likes of Dontari Poe, Nick Perry, Melvin Ingram and a number of others, while some other highly rated prospects like Michael Brockers, Devon Still and Vontaze Burfict did not impress with their performances.

  • Workout Results – Defensive Line
    • 40 Yard Dash – 1.Bruce Irvin, WVU, 4.50 / 2.Shea McClellin, BSSt, 4.63 / 3.Nick Perry, USC, 4.64 / 4.Whitney Mercilus, Ill, 4.68 / 5.Andre Branch, Clem, 4.70 / 6.Quinton Coples, UNC, 4.78 / 7.Fletcher Cox, MSSt, 4.79 / 7.Melvin Ingram, Scar, 4.79
    • Vertical Jump – 1.Nick Perry, USC, 38.5” / 2.J.R. Sweezy, NCSt, 36” / 3.Derrick Shelby, Uta, 35.5” / 4.Cam Johnson, Virg, 35” / 4.Chandler Jones, Syr, 35” / 4.Scott Solomon, Rice, 35”/ 7.Melvin Ingram, Scar, 34.5” / 7.Markus Kuhn, NCSt 34.5” / 7.Kendall Reyes, Conn, 34.5” / 7.Olivier Vernon, Mia, 34.5”
    •   Broad Jump – 1.Scott Solomon, Rice, 10’4” / 2.Bruce Irvin, WVU, 10’3” / 4.Olivier Vernon, Mia, 10’2” / 5.Andre Branch, Clem, 10’0” / 5.Chandler Jones, Syr, 10’0” / 5.Jonathon Massaquoi, Try, 10’0”
    • 3 Cone Drill – 1.Bruce Irvin, WVU, 6.70s / 2.Melvin Ingram, Scar, 6.83s / 3.Jake Bequette, Ark, 6.90 / 3.Vinny Curry, Mrsh, 6.90s / 5.Justin Francis, Rut, 7.05s / 6.Fletcher Cox, MSSt, 7.07s / 6.Chandler Jones, Syr, 7.07s / 6.Shea McClellin, BSSt, 7.07s
    • 20 Yard Shuttle – 1.Bruce Irvin, WVU, 4.03s / 2.Jake Bequette, Ark, 4.07s / 3.Melvin Ingram, Scar, 4.18s / 4.Jamie Blatnick, OKSt, 4.20s / 5.Vaughn Meatoga, Haw, 4.21s / 6.Andre Branch, Clem, 4.25s / 6.Jack Crawford, PSU, 4.25s / 6.Mike Martin, Mich, 4.25s / 6.Scott Solomon, Rice, 4.25s
    • *Bruce Irvin – New Combine Record – 20 Yard Shuttle
  • The Defensive Linemen group put in impressive workouts for the most part though there were some big names that disappointed. Dontari Poe blew away scouts with an unbelievable workout. The gigantic Nose Tackle out of Memphis displayed unreal speed and athleticism while running a 4.98 in the 40 with a 10-yard split of 1.68 seconds, a Combine leading 44 reps in the Bench Press and excelled during the football drills. His stock is skyrocketing after his performance and risen him into early first round discussions. He may have helped himself more than any other prospect at the Combine. After starring at the Senior Bowl, Melvin Ingram has continued his ascent up draft boards to being considered the top pass-rusher available in the draft with another awesome performance at the Combine. He finished among the top in the majority of the drills. He showed fantastic athleticism, great footwork and excellent movement in the football drills, while looking particularly good performing linebacker drills. He looks like the ideal 3-4 outside linebacker, though has the versatility to play defensive end, defensive tackle and even inside linebacker in various different schemes. Quinton Coples lived up to the hype putting together a terrific workout and showed that he is a special athlete to scouts confirming his top of the first round rating. He ran a 4.78 in the 40 and performed well during football drills. Nick Perry and Fletcher Cox put in two of the more impressive workouts of all the defensive linemen. Both put up very good numbers in all drills and looked incredibly fast and agile for men of their size at 271lbs and 298lbs respectively. Like Coples, Perry looks to be a 4-3 defensive end only, though a very good one at that. Cox looks to be one of the more versatile linemen in the draft that can play different positions along the line in multiple schemes and looks like he can still add another 20lbs or so to his frame, while still maintaining his elite athleticism.  As one of the smaller pass rushers, Bruce Irvin needed to be fast and he was in running a 4.5 in the 40. He is still undersized, but could sell himself as a Von Miller type as a pass-rushing 4-3 OLB. Other notable performances were had by Kendall Reyes, Whitney Mercilus, Shea McClellin and Ronnell Lewis. Andre Branch also changed some minds with a solid workout after he came in smaller than expected at the weigh-ins. Michael Brockers who came to the Combine as one of the top rated linemen was a big disappointment as he didn’t finish among the leaders in any of the drills including an eyebrow raising 19 reps in the bench that was the worst of the entire group. The redshirt sophomore probably could have used another year in school, though he will still is worthy of a first round pick, maybe just not as high as some thought he would go before the Combine. After proclaiming to everyone that he was hands down the best DT in the draft during the media sessions, Devon Still did not quite live up to that claim with just an average workout and will have to hope his impressive game tape from this past season is good enough to keep him in first round discussions. Another highly rated defensive tackle, Brandon Thompson also disappointed with an average workout and struggles in the bag drills and probably fits more as a second rounder than a first. Pass-rushers Vinny Curry and Chandler Jones also struggled to impress scouts.
  • Workout Results – Linebackers
    • 40 Yard Dash – 1.Mychal Kendricks, Cal, 4.47 / 2.Zach Brown, UNC, 4.50 / 3.Luke Kuechly, BC, 4.58 / 4.Demario Davis, AKSt, 4.61 / 5.Nigel Bradham, FSU, 4.64 / 5.Najee Goode, WVU,4.64 / 7.Lavonte David, Neb, 4.65
    • Vertical Jump – 1.Mychal Kendricks, Cal, 39.5” / 2.Demario Davis, AKSt, 38.5” / 3.Luke Kuechly, BC, 38” / 4.Miles Burris, SDSt, 37.5” / 5.Nigel Bradham, FSU, 37” / 5.James-Michael Johnson, Nev, 37” / 5.Tahir Whitehead, Temp, 37”
    • Broad Jump – 1.Mychal Kendricks, Cal, 10’7” / 2.Demario Davis, AKSt, 10’4” / 2.James-Michael Johnson, Nev, 10’4” / 2.Tahir Whitehead, Temp, 10’4” / 5.Luke Kuechly, BC, 10’3” / 6.Travis Lewis, Okla, 10’2”
    • 3 Cone Drill – 1.Nathan Stupar, PSU, 6.84s / 2.Tank Carder, TCU, 6.89s / 3.Chris Galippo, USC, 6.90s / 4.Luke Kuechly, BC, 6.92s / Audie Cole, NCSt, 6.96s / 6.Darius Fleming, ND, 7.03s
    •  20 Yard Shuttle – 1.Brandon Marshall, Nev, 4.09s / 2.Chris Galippo, USC, 4.10s / 3.Luke Kuechly, BC, 4.12s / 4.Tank Carder, TCU, 4.18s / 5.Mychal Kendricks, Cal, 4.19s / 6.Lavonte David, Neb, 4.22s
    • 60 Yard TD Shuttle – 1.Luke Kuechly, BC, 11.43s / 1.Tyler Nielsen, Iow, 11.43s / 3.Tank Carder, TCU, 11.53s / 4.Nathan Stupar, PSU, 11.64s / 5.Demario Davis, AKSt, 11.65s / 6.Chris Galippo, USC, 11.78s
  • Luke Kuechly came to the Combine as the top rated linebacker and did nothing to dispel that as he had a fantastic workout that only raised his already very high stock. He exceeded expectations in all drills with a 4.58 in the 40, 27 reps on the bench press, a 10’3” broad jump and a 38” vertical. Some thought he was just a great football player, but he showed everyone that he is also an elite athlete as well. He showed more speed, agility, strength and power than anyone thought. Zach Brown didn’t disappoint either showing off incredible athleticism including running a 4.50 in the 40, though some had hyped him up into the 4.3s heading in and he showed also very well in the football drills. California’s Mychal Kendricks was the top performer of the group and improved his stock more than any other linebacker. Undersized at 5’11”, 239lbs, many scouts were considering him to be more of a Safety than a linebacker, but he blew everyone away with just an incredible Combine performance that saw him lead the way in the 40, broad jump and vertical jump with scores of a 4.47 40, a 10’7” broad and 39” vertical. He also looked great and showed terrific movement in all of the football drills. His Combine performance to go with Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year game tape should have him flying up draft boards. Dont’a Hightower was impressive throughout the Combine, but he did show some struggles to drop into pass coverage and move in space during the field drill, although he is excellent moving forward and attacking the line of scrimmage and backfield. LaVonte David, Tank Carder and especially Demario Davis also put together great workouts raising their stock among scouts. As for the disappointments, look no further than Vontaze Burfict, who continued his plummet down draft boards after being considered a Top Ten pick heading into the 2011 college football season. His struggles during this past season especially with ridiculous major penalties have been well documented and now with a very poor performance at the Combine to go with blaming the Arizona State coaching staff for his awful season during the media sessions have Burfict looking to just hold on to a spot on Day 2 of the draft. Reports also have him being very unimpressive during private team interviews. As a linebacker Courtney Upshaw disappointed, but as a defensive lineman he looked pretty good. Due to his mammoth size, he struggled to be fluid in the field drills and showed that he won’t be very effective dropping into pass coverage, but he still has the makings of an elite 4-3 defensive end focused on rushing the passer on every down. He really didn’t hurt or help his stock in any way at the Combine, although he did raise some questions among scouts with just 22 reps in the bench press and by not running a 40. Audie Cole struggled in his workouts and looked slow. He might be forced to add some weight and turn himself into more an in-the-box thumper.
  • Bench Press Results – Defensive Backs
    • Safety – 1.Eddie Pleasant, Oreg, 22 reps / 1.Sean Richardson, Vand, 22 reps / 3.Delano Howell, Stan, 21 reps / 4.Duke Ihenacho, SJSt, 20 reps / 4.George Iloka, BSSt, 20 reps / 4.Johnny Thomas, OKSt, 20 reps
    • Cornerback – 1.Omar Bolden, AZSt, 25 reps / 2.Jamell Fleming, Okla, 23 reps / 3.Antonio Fenelus, Wisc, 20 reps / 4.Justin Bethel, Pres, 19 reps / 4.Casey Hayward, Vand, 19 reps / 4.Asa Jackson, CalP, 19 reps / 4.Trumaine Johnson, Mont, 19 reps
  • The St. Louis Rams have let it be known that they have decided to trade the No.2 pick of the draft. According to multiple sources, they have already had trade discussions with Cleveland, Washington and Miami. All three teams own a pick among the top eight selections, while the Browns also own the rights to the No.22 pick, acquired at last year’s draft from Atlanta in the Julio Jones trade that saw Cleveland land multiple picks. Speculation has the Rams looking for a deal similar to the Eli Manning trade at the 2004 Draft, where New York acquired the first overall pick Manning from the Chargers in exchange for two first round picks (No.4 overall, 2004/No.12 overall, 2005), a third round choice and a fifth round pick. The two first round pick turned into Philip Rivers and Shawne Merriman.
  • Add a five-technique Defensive End to San Diego’s needs list as sources have reported that the Chargers will cut DE Luis Castillo, who has been with the team since they drafted him in 2005.


2012 NFL SCOUTING COMBINE NEWS & NOTES – DAY 5 RECAP

Written By: Mark Scott

The Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III show got going on Day 5 of the NFL Scouting Combine as the Quarterbacks, as well as the Running Backs and Wide Receivers took to the field for their chance to compete in drills. Meanwhile the Defensive Linemen and Linebackers battled it out on the Bench Press and the Defensive Backs had their day with the media.

  • Workout Results – Quarterbacks
    • 40 Yard Dash – 1.Robert Griffin III, Bay, 4.41 / 2.Russell Wilson, Wisc, 4.55 / 3.Jordan Jefferson, LSU, 4.65 / 4.Andrew Luck, Stan, 4.67 / 5.Aaron Corp, Rich, 4.72 / 5.Jacory Harris, Mia, 4.72
    • Vertical Jump – 1.Robert Griffin III, Bay, 39” / 2.Jacory Harris, Mia, 37” / 3. Jordan Jefferson, LSU, 36.5” / 4.Andrew Luck, Stan, 36” / 4.Darron Thomas, Oreg, 36”
    • Broad Jump – 1.Andrew Luck, Stan, 10’4” / 2.Darron Thomas, Oreg, 10’1” / 3.Robert Griffin III, Bay, 10’0” / 4.Russell Wilson, Wisc, 9’10” / 5.Jordan Jefferson, LSU, 9’8”
    • 3 Cone Drill – 1.Austin Davis, SMSP, 6.73s / 2.Chandler Harnish, NIll, 4.78s / 3.Andrew Luck, Stan, 6.80s / 4.Jordan Jefferson, LSU, 6.81s / 5.Russell Wilson, Wisc, 6.97s
    • 20 Yard Shuttle – 1.Jordan Jefferson, LSU, 4.06s / 2.Russell Wilson, Wisc, 4.09s / 3.Austin Davis, SMSP, 4.11s / 4.Chandler Harnish, NIll, 4.15s / 5.Andrew Luck, Stan, 4.28s / 5.Darron Thomas, Oreg, 4.28s
  • While Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III elected not to throw at the Combine, but instead wait till their pro days, they still stole the show as the two top Quarterbacks were highly impressive performing in various other drills. Luck posted numbers among the top five in every category, including a 10’4” Broad Jump that led all Quarterbacks. Griffin III was outstanding in the three drills he chose to do as he posted a 4.41 in the 40 to lead all QBs, as well as the top score in the vertical jump with 39”. Despite not throwing, Luck and Griffin III only solidified themselves as not only the top two Quarterbacks in the draft, but as the two best players in the draft.  Meanwhile the consensus No.3 and 4 rated Quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler did not compete in any drills because of foot injuries, although some have questioned the validity of Osweiler’s injury. Possible late round picks, Jordan Jefferson, Darron Thomas and Russell Wilson all put up very good numbers during the measureable drills, but Jefferson and Thomas did not perform well throwing the ball, while Wilson did show that he has a good arm and one of the top pure athletes at the position, it will be his short stature that hurts his stock.  Kirk Cousins might have made a move up the draft boards in the absence of Tannehill and Osweiler, as the Michigan State product put up okay numbers in the measurable drills, but looked fantastic throwing the football displaying excellent accuracy and decent arm strength to all levels, while showing off good footwork and a great delivery. He also has a ton of experience, leadership and that crucial clutch gene. Off the radar players Aaron Corp and Austin Davis performed well during the football drills too. Nick Foles was the biggest disappointment of the group as he put together a poor workout in most drills and was very erratic when throwing the football. His stock definitely took the biggest hit of any of the Quarterbacks. Case Keenum also had a bad day.
  • Workout Results – Running Backs
    • 40 Yard Dash – 1.Lamar Miller, Mia, 4.40 / 2.Ronnie Hillman, SDSt, 4.45 / 2.LaMichael James, Oreg, 4.45 / 2.Chris Rainey, Fla, 4.45 / 5.Cyrus Gray , TxAM, 4.47 / 5.Isaiah Pead, Cin, 4.47
    • Vertical Jump – 1.David Wilson, Vtch, 41” / 2.Brandon Bolden, Miss, 38” / 3.Terrance Ganaway, Bay, 37.5” / 4.Ronnie Hillman, SDSt, 37” / 5.Bradie Ewing, Wisc, 36.5” / 5.Bernard Pierce, Temp, 36.5” / 5.Chris Rainey, Fla, 36.5”
    • Broad Jump – 1.David Wilson, Vtch, 11’0” / 2.LaMichael James, Oreg, 10’3” / 2.Bernard Pierce, Temp, 10’3” / 4.Robert Turbin, UTSt, 10’2” / 5.Bradie Ewing, Wisc, 10’0” / 5.Doug Martin, BSSt, 10’0” / 5.Chris Rainey, Fla, 10’0”
    • 3 Cone Drill – 1.Chris Rainey, Fla, 6.50s / 2.Doug Martin, BSSt, 6.79s / 3.LaMichael James, Oreg, 6.88s / 4.Isaiah Pead, Cin, 6.95s / 5.Brandon Bolden, Miss, 6.96s
    • 20 Yard Shuttle – 1.Chris Rainey, Fla, 3.93s / 2.Dan Herron, OSU, 4.04s / 3. LaMichael James, Oreg, 4.12s / 3.David Wilson, Vtch, 4.12s / 5.Bradie Ewing, Wisc, 4.16s / 5.Doug Martin, BSSt, 4.16s
    • 60 Yard TD Shuttle – 1.Chris Rainey, Fla, 11.06s / 2.Doug Martin, BSSt, 11.29s / 3.Davin Meggett, Myld, 11.53s / 4.David Wilson, Vtch, 11.59s / 5.Dan Herron, OSU, 11.60s
    • *Chris Rainey, New Combine Records – 3 Cone Drill, 20 Yard Shuttle, 60 Yard TD Shuttle
  • Despite top rated Trent Richardson sitting out the Combine following knee surgery, the Running Backs put on a number of excellent workouts and only a few disappointing ones. Chris Rainey was the star of the group as he finished among the top five in every category and set new Combine records in the 3 Cone drill, 20 Yard Shuttle and 60 Yard TD Shuttle. He also looked fantastic in the football drills, especially as a receiver. Lamar Miller and LaMichael James, as well as Rainey topped the list in the 40 with Miller posting an official 4.40 as the fastest 40 at the position. Doug Martin had a fantastic day, on top of his 28 reps in the Bench Press Saturday to lead the group and had scouts talking about him more than any other back. He performed well in all of the football drills and is now being labeled as a three-down back. He could now be the second Running Back off the board behind Richardson. David Wilson put on a great performance too as showed serious speed with an official 4.49 in the 40 and excellent athleticism with a 41” vertical and 11’0” broad jump to lead both categories by big margins, while showing terrific receiving skills. Robert Turbin and Ronnie Hillman need to be mentioned as they both looked great, especially the thickly built Turbin who showed great speed to go with all of his strength and power. Chris Polk made up some ground after a horrible Senior Bowl week, but is was Rainey, Martin and Wilson who stood out and had the best performances off all the Running Backs. As for the disappointing workouts, Terrance Ganaway was okay, but may ultimately find himself playing as more of a fullback at the next level and USC’s Marc Tyler was awful with a day to forget. Dan Herron struggled too and was a big disappointment as well.
  • Workout Results – Wide Receivers
    • 40 Yard Dash – 1.Travis Benjamin, Mia, 4.36 / 1.Stephen Hill, Gtch, 4.36 / 1.Chris Owusu, Stan, 4.36 / 4.A.J. Jenkins, Ill, 4.39 / 4.Devon Wylie, FRSt, 4.39
    • Vertical Jump – 1.Kashif Moore, Conn, 43.5” / 2.Jerrell Jackson, Mizz, 41” / 3.Chris Owusu, Stan, 40.5” / 4.Stephen Hill, Gtch, 39.5” / 4.Keshawn Martin, MCSt, 39.5”
    • Broad Jump – 1.Stephen Hill, Gtch, 11’1” / 2.Chris Owusu, Stan, 10’9” / 3.Jerrell Jackson, Mizz, 10’7” / 4.Kashif Moore, Conn, 10’6” / 4.Mohamed Sanu, Rut, 10’6”
    • 3 Cone Drill – 1.Junior Hemingway, Mich, 6.59s / 2.Danny Coale, Vtch, 6.69s / 3.TJ Graham, NCSt, 6.77s / 4.Marvin Jones, Cal,6.81s / 5.Jerrel Jackson, Mizz, 6.82s / 5.Kashif Moore, Conn, 6.82s
    • 20 Yard Shuttle – 1.Junior Hemingway, Mich, 3.98s / 1.Eric Page, Tol, 3.98s / 3.Jarius Wright, Ark, 4.03s / 4.Kashif Moore, Conn, 4.05s / 5.Marvin McNutt, Iow, 4.07s
    • 60 Yard TD Shuttle – 1.Jerrell Jackson, Mizz, 11.08s / 2.Junior Hemingway, Mich, 11.16s / 2.Keshawn Martin, MCSt, 11.16s / 4.Jarrett Boykin, Vtch, 11.22s / 4.Danny Coale, Vtch, 11.22s / 4.Chris Owusu, Stan, 11.22s
    • *Kashif Moore, New Combine Record – Vertical Jump
  • Michael Floyd and Stephen Hill were the two most impressive wide outs of the days as both put together excellent workouts. At 6’3”, 220lbs, Floyd showed fantastic speed with an official 4.47 in the 40 and displayed his terrific receiving ability and route running. He is now firmly the No.2 Wide Receiver available in the draft after Kendall Wright disappointed. Looking to follow in the footsteps of former Georgia Tech WR and first round pick Demaryius Thomas, Hill blew scouts away with a 4.36 in the 40 to tie for the fastest time, while leading the way with an 11’1” broad jump and an impressive 39.5” vertical to finish among the top five in the drill. He also looked good in all of the receiver drills and probably made the biggest move up draft boards of all the wide outs. Marvin Jones, Danny Coale, A.J.Jenkins and Chris Givens put in good performances. Jones looked great at the Senior Bowl and has had one of the best off-seasons on any prospect. Mohamed Sanu did well in the receiving drills, but ran a very slow 4.67 in the 40. Tommy Streeter ran very well, but showed that he is still very raw as a receiver. Top rated Wide Receiver Justin Blackmon was unable to compete in any of the measurable drills due to a hamstring injury, but gave it go in receiving drills and looked solid. He didn’t help or hurt his stock, though there will be a lot of eyes on him and added pressure when he performs at Oklahoma State’s pro day. There were a number of disappointing performances from the Wide Receiver group starting with Kendall Wright. He ran a surprisingly slow 40 at just 4.61, which shocked many after he was thought to be able to challenge for one of the fastest times of anyone at the Combine. He didn’t stand out either during any other drill. He will have to hope for a better performance at his pro day and that his terrific game tape holds up to maintain his first round status. Alshon Jeffrey began his Combine well by coming in at 216lbs instead of a reported 250lbs that he was believed to be following the season, but then chose not to compete in drills which raised more than a few eyebrows, especially those who had hoped he would run the 40 and answer major questions about his speed and agility. Reuben Randle and Dwight Jones were very disappointing, while Juron Criner and Greg Childs also struggled.
  • Bench Press – Defensive Linemen, Linebackers
    • DL – 1.Dontari Poe, Mem, 44 reps / 2.Loni Fangupo, BYU, 36 reps / 2.Mike Martin, Mich, 36 reps / 2.Kendall Reyes, Conn, 36 reps / 5.Marcus Forston, Mia, 35 reps / 5.Nick Perry, USC, 35 reps / 5.Alameda Ta’amu, Was, 35 reps / 5.Brandon Thompson, Clem, 35 reps
    • LB – 1.Ronnell Lewis, Okla, 36 reps/ 2.Demario Davis, AKSt, 32 reps/ 3.Miles Burris, SDSt, 31 reps / 4.Ryan Baker, LSU, 30 reps / 5.Brandon Marshall, Nev, 28 reps
    • *Ronnell Lewis – New Combine Record – Bench Press
  • Weigh-In Results/Measurements – Cornerbacks, Safeties
    • Tallest: S George Iloka, BSSt, 6’4” / CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Ala, 6’2”
    • Shortest: S Trent Robinson, MCSt, 5’10” / CB Antonio Fenelus, Wisc, 5’8”
    • Heaviest: S George Iloka, BSSt, 225lbs / CB Robert Blanton, ND 208lbs
    • Lightest: S Janzen Jackson, McNSt, 188lb / CB Cliff Harris, Oreg, 175lbs
    • Longest Arms: S Mark Barron, Ala, 33 5/8” / CB Morris Claiborne, LSU, 33 ¼”
    • Shortest Arms: CB Charles Brown, UNC, 28 7/8”
  • Notable Players
    • Mark Barron, Ala, 6’1:, 213lbs, 33 5/8” long arms
    • Antonio Allen, Scar, 6’1”, 210lbs, 32 ½” long arms
    • Dwight Bentley, LALAF, 5’10”, 182lbs, 30 ¼” long arms
    • Brandon Boykin, Geo, 5’9”, 182lbs, 31 ½” long arm
    • Morris Claiborne, LSU, 5’11”, 188lbs, 33 ¼” long arms
    • Alfonzo Dennard, Neb, 5’10”, 204lbs, 30” long arms
    • Stephon Gilmore, Scar, 6’0”, 190lbs, 31” long arms
    • Jayron Hosley, Vtch, 5’10”, 178lbs, 30 7/8” long arms
    • George Iloka, BSSt, 6’4”, 225lbs, 34 ½” long arms
    • Janzen Jackson, McNSt, 5’11”, 188lbs, 31” long arms
    • Janoris Jenkins, NAla, 5’10”, 193lbs, 32” long arms
    • Trumaine Johnson, Mont, 6’2”, 204lbs, 33 ¼” long arms
    • Dre Kirkpatrick, Ala, 6’2”, 186lbs, 30 5/8” long arms
    • Markelle Martin, OKSt, 6’1”, 207lbs, 32” long arms
    • Chase Minnifield, Virg, 5’10”, 183lbs, 31 ½” long arms
    • Harrison Smith, ND, 6’2”, 213lbs, 32 5/8” long arms
  • Weigh-In Analysis
    • Top rated Cornerback Morris Claiborne measured in about where scouts expected at 5’11, 188lbs while showing off the longest arms among the corners at 33 ¼”, along with Trumaine Johson. Dre Kirkpatrick had impressive height at 6’2”, though he weighed just 186lbs and has relatively short arms at just 30 5/8”. Adding weight may not be a good thing either as he already has slight struggles with turning and running downfield after receivers. The much maligned Janoris Jenkins looked great for a smaller corner at 5’10”, 193lbs and was bigger and thicker than most expected. If he can satisfy off the field concerns in interviews with teams, he could be moving ahead of Kirkpatrick as the consensus No.2 Cornerback behind Claiborne. Stephon Gilmore also looked great with excellent size and with a good performance could find himself contending for a spot late in the first round. Day 2 possibilities Chase Minnifield and Jayron Hosley were smaller than expected and will need to fill out a bit to hang with the more physical NFL receivers. Cliff Harris was also very skinny at just 175lbs, but does have good height at 5’11”. He will need to add more weight to his frame. As for the Safety prospects, Boise’s George Iloka was the biggest man of the group at 6’4”, 225lbs with the longest arms of any defensive back with 34 ½”. He performed well at the Senior Bowl and is hoping to continue to see his stock rise with a good Combine. Top rated Safety Mark Barron measured in slightly smaller than his listed measurements, though is still a specimen at 6’1”, 210lbs and may have lost a little of his size as he just had double sports hernia surgery not too long ago. He won’t compete in drills at the Combine and may not be ready for Alabama’s pro day either. He should still be selected in the first round as he has excellent game tape.
  • Media mentions: North Alabama’s Janoris Jenkins was the focus of the media session as he faced numerous questions about his many off the field concerns, specifically with marijuana that caused him to be kicked off the Florida Gators as well as other incidents with the law. Jenkins spoke very clearly and honestly about his past problems stating that he is done with marijuana and focused on being a good father and example to his four young children, three of which are boys, and on becoming the player he should be. Jenkins was a beast while at Florida, including shutting down the likes of A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Alshon Jeffrey in past years.