NFL's Future

2014 NFL Mock Draft

"Todd Kelly"

Todd Kelly going to make Vols fans very happy in the near future

Dublin, Ohio - Our summer high school camp tour has culminated with a stop down the road to the Top Gun Academy.

Football University put on a spectacle featuring a bevy of talented high school recruits with over 750 prospects from all over the world. The event kicked off with a high-energy opening ceremony with speeches from Jonathan Franklin and Denard Robinson.

More impressive than the list of athletes was the coaching talent offered up to Top Gun participants. It was a who’s who of former NFL coaches and athletes highlighted by Buddy Geis, Peter Vaas, Billie “White Shoes” Johnson, Ted Cottrell, Ray Buchanan, and Rod Woodson – to name a few. After touring several ‘national’ camps – I can say the level of instructional quality that FBU accumulated was unprecedented.

The talent on the field was exceptional – to say the least. It was a near impossible task for one man to check in on all the talent spread over the many fields of Dublin Jerome High School. I focused on the main field – hosting the top skill players in the event.

As expected the ‘big names’ showed up almost instantly. It’s impossible not to notice guys like Dylan Moses, who recently donned the cover of ESPN the Magazine. Moses was as well-developed as any player in the event – despite being an incoming freshman. It was evident why teams are rolling out the red carpet for his services. Read the rest of this entry » «Football University Top Gun – Impressive on and off the field»

"Teddy Bridgewater"

Robert Mayer – USA Today Sports

Shawn Burns is the latest addition to the NFL’s Future team. Shawn comes to us via Mario Cristobal’s staff at Florida International, where he served as Director of Football Relations. Shawn kicks off his NFL’s Future career with a view across the field from one of the top collegiate players – Teddy Bridgewater. 

My first memory of Teddy Bridgewater was seeing him dominate high school football in Miami- Dade County. He was the quarterback of the powerhouse Miami Northwestern Bulls, better known as “The West” in Miami. It looked like he was going to stay home and play at the University of Miami, but everything changed when Randy Shannon was let go as head coach after the 2010 season. Bridgewater chose to play at Louisville under Charlie Strong. Read the rest of this entry » «Teddy Bridgewater – A view from the opposing sideline»

"Justin Hardy"

Jeff Blake – USA Today Sports

Our 2014 NFL Draft Primed series will run through the start of the college football season. We will spotlight players that are flying under the national radar but could become household names in the near future.

You have to dig deep into the depths of the super sleepers to unearth this diamond in the rough. It’s easy to overlook the 5-foot-11, 185 “Y” receiver as he’s flanked by 6-foot-8 receiver Justin Jones and a young, promising signal caller in Shane Carden.

Hardy is becoming accustomed to being overlooked. Coming out of West Craven (NC) high school he wasn’t offered a division I scholarship and only offer came via Fayetteville State. Hardy would opt to walk-on at ECU and earn his way to a scholarship.

Earn his way he would do. Read the rest of this entry » «2014 NFL Draft Primed: East Carolina WR Justin Hardy»

"2014 NFL Draft"

The annual “My Guys” watchlist is here. It has become a favorite of readers as it has featured some breakout stars (Robert Griffin, Russell Wilson). This isn’t a ranking of any sort – just a list of players at each position that I like for one reason or another.

Without further ado, here’s our 2014 NFL Draft offensive “My Guys” watchlist. Read the rest of this entry » «2014 NFL Draft: Preseason Offensive “My Guys” Watchlist»

Johnny Football or Johnny Drama?

Posted by John Middlekauff On July - 16 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

"Johnny Manziel"

A quarterback is not only the most popular, but the most scrutinized position in all of sports. When you are good the NFL pays you like a Fortune 500 CEO, and puts you on a pedestal that few can match. You are entrusted to lead not just a team, but that organization and its city. The quarterback position is held to the highest of standards in sports, because of the bar that has been set by those who play the position.  To excel at this position entails much more than ability, but high level maturity and leadership. Your intangibles are heavily weighted, and decision making is as important outside the lines as it is between them. Read the rest of this entry » «Johnny Football or Johnny Drama?»

Scouting the ‘Small’ Guy

Posted by John Middlekauff On July - 15 - 20132 COMMENTS
"Jalen Saunders, De'Anthony Thomas"

The ‘small guy’ en vogue in today’s NFL

Is the small dynamic player becoming a luxury or a must have in the NFL game? Having been around DeSean Jackson for years in Philadelphia, I could make the argument they are a must have. Jackson has really set the stage for smaller players with special skill sets and raised their draft stock come April. Tavon Austin, while different from Jackson, directly benefited from his success in the NFL.  These two players should help open the door for two phenomenal talents currently in college: Oklahoma’s Jalen Saunders and Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas.

The NFL is copycat league, and don’t think for a second teams aren’t noticing what is happening. With the rise of the hurry up offense – these type players are becoming a MAJOR part of football, because they are borderline uncoverable. As a scout you look for these players to stand out in several area’s – below I have touched on what to look for within each. Read the rest of this entry » «Scouting the ‘Small’ Guy»

"Johnny Manziel"

Rough offseason for Johnny Football
Steve Dykes – USA Today Sports

The Manning Passing Academy is an annual rite of passage for some of the top collegiate quarterbacks as they turn into camp counselors for high school passers. This year’s event marks the 18th year of the skills camp and the first one where one of the camp counselors was asked to leave.

It was reported by Rumors & Rants that Archie Manning asked Manziel to leave after missing Saturday’s ‘Air it Out’ competition. According to the report it was not the first event Manziel missed or was late for since the Thursday opening of the event. The anonymous source states Manziel was out late Friday, into Saturday afternoon, before returning to Nicholls State University camp. Read the rest of this entry » «Manning’s give Johnny Manziel the boot from Manning Passing Academy»

"Ego Ferguson"

Derick E. Hingle – USA Today Sports

Our 2014 NFL Draft Primed series will run through the start of the college football season. We will spotlight players that are flying under the national radar but could become household names in the near future.

Ego Ferguson’s path to Louisiana State University was a little ‘off’ from your normal, everyday top 100 prepster. Ferguson opted to leave his home school (St. John’s Catholic in Frederick, MD) for the prep school ranks. Typically a player goes the prep school route to get their academics in order. Not Ferguson – he wanted to face the top competition that Hargrave Military Academy (not the vaunted JUCO program) offered.

Ferguson was already on the map of the national recruiting scene when he left for Hargrave but he felt facing stiffer competition would help him make the leap to the collegiate ranks. Ferguson was a well- developed strong-side defensive end in high school that ranked in the top fifty of most recruiting service rankings. Read the rest of this entry » «2014 NFL Draft Primed: LSU Defensive Tackle Ego Ferguson»

NFL position coaches to keep an eye on

Posted by John Middlekauff On July - 11 - 20135 COMMENTS
"Kevin Greene"

Jeff Hanisch – USA Today Sports

Scouting departments are only as strong as the team’s position coaches. They can make us look good or can put us on the street quickly. Front offices love words like: “upside” and “high ceiling” but with poor coaching those words might as well be “bust” and “unemployed”. Below are some coaches that either have a proven track record or young up and coming guys who have finally been given their shot to run a position. The NFL is loaded with coaching talent and here are just a few names to keep on your radar:

Jeremiah Washburn, OL Coach, Detroit Lions

Washburn has a very unique background. He has done every job in football.  Starting as a graduate assistant in college to working for the Ravens as an area scout. He transitioned from the scouting department to the coaching world and finally got his shot to run the OL in 2013. He also comes from good stock, his father Jim is the Lions DL coach, and is regarded as one of the better coaches in the NFL.  Having worked with Jim in Philadelphia, his desire and willingness to be involved in the scouting of his position truly benefited him as a coach – and he has obviously passed this to his son.  Jeremiah Washburn has an enormous advantage over most coaches because he can view players from both a scouting and coaching perspective. His knowledge of scouting players, should only benefit him as a coach – in terms of understanding their strengths/weaknesses – then utilizing them on Sundays. If the Lions want to get back to the playoffs, look for their new OL coach to play a key role during this journey. Read the rest of this entry » «NFL position coaches to keep an eye on»

Earlier I provided analysis on why I feel the Tampa Bay Bucs have set themselves up for a prominent role in the playoff chase for years to come. I detailed how the additions in the defensive backfield will mesh with the superior scheme that saw the Bucs earn the #1 ranking in run defense. Now I will move my efforts towards the offensive side of the ball where an equal amount of talent resides.

"Josh Freeman"

Coach Greg Schiano watches QB Josh Freeman warmup in a game vs the Cowboys. (

One of the off-seasons storylines that really baffles me is the perception of quarterback Josh Freeman. The overtone in “Bucs Country” and throughout the football landscape, has Josh Freeman painted as a QB on the verge of losing his job. In fact, many have speculated that the selection of third round pick Mike Glennon, has signified the beginning of the end for the 25-year old Freeman. If so, this might be the biggest mistake in franchise history (sans that Steve Young trade of course). Freeman is coming off a season where he virtually set career highs across the board (27 TD’s, 17 Int’s – 4,065 yards). Take in account these numbers were achieved in his first year under coordinator Mike Sullivan – whose vertical passing attack is quite the departure from the horizontal pass game that Freeman operated from in his first three seasons in the NFL, and that would make his 27 TD’s (tied for 7th most in the league), and his 7.19 average per attempt (12th) all the more impressive. Read the rest of this entry » «Roster Report: Tampa Bay Bucs – New Kings of The South»

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