NFL's Future

2014 NFL Mock Draft

“The U’s” Next Great RB, Lamar Miller?

Posted by Brad On September - 7 - 20111 COMMENT

Is "The U" becoming Running Back U?

Lamar Miller is only a RS sophomore.

Scary to think the guy expected to carry the torch for a school with a rich history as a pipeline of RB’s into the NFL could play for two more seasons. Unfortunately for Miami fans, the harsh realization of the Nevin Shapiro saga may mean an early entrance for many talented prospects including Lamar Miller.

At 5’11″ and 212 pounds, Miller has the size to match his unreal speed which will keep NFL scouts drooling until next April.  Miller started the 2011 season off with a bang as he torched the Maryland defense for 119 yards and a TD on 18 carries in a loss.  Miami was missing starting QB Jacory Harris and others in a game they should have won but Miller stoodout as the best player on the field all night. 

Miami’s rich running back tradition has been missing a torchbearer since Willis McGahee left South Beach following the 2002 National Championship Game.  Miller appears poised to carry the tradition right into the ranks of the NFL.  Miller displayed his combination of power and explosion in the Maryland game lending many to speculate he could be the second best RB in the 2012 NFL Draft, if he declares. 

In most cases, I would put up the one game caution but I have seen enough of Miller to say that he could at worst a second round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.  Miller runs with power and showed impressive restraint in setting up his blocks and then exploding through the hole.  With NFL teams seeing the impact of Chris Johnson on the NFL game, Miller’s stock could rise as the draft nears.  Miller has similar speed to Johnson but more power.  Johnson was a more refined back coming out of college but Miller will have all season to work on the details of the position.

Miami lacks dynamic threats on offense and Miller will see plenty of work in 2011 so look for him as a name that rises and may push Trent Richardson for the number one back spot in the 2012 NFL Draft. 

Arizona vs. Oklahoma St. will feature two top 2012 WR prospects in Justin Blackmon and Juron Criner

Week two of the college football season will feature a Pac 12 vs. future Pac 16 matchup in the Thursday night game.

This game will be loaded with NFL prospects that will be early selections in the 2012 NFL Draft.  Arizona will feature the passing combination of Nick Foles and Juron Criner.  Oklahoma St. will give us a firsthand look at Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon.  On the defensive side of the ball, OSU safety Markelle Martin will be one to watch throughout 2011.

Guys to keep an eye on:

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.

Blackmon is as productive as they come in college football.  I have openly questioned his ability to translate that production into the same production at the NFL level.  There is no doubting his physical talents but he doesn’t create enough separation to be considered a top 10 prospect in the 2012 NFL Draft.  Blackmon is currently ranked 14th on our 2012 rankings but will fall if he can’t separate this season and doesn’t run crisper routes in 2011.

Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma St.

Martin has glimpses of a first round prospect but doesn’t excel on a consistent level.  Martin posted 55 tackles and 3 INT’s in 2010 after a solid 2009 season.  He has a tendency to play at his best during the biggest games which is great but doesn’t bring the same intensity to games against lesser opponents.  Martin is a fourth round prospect at this point but is certainly capable of making it into the second round with a solid 2011 season.

Juron Criner, WR, Arizona

Criner possesses elite size at 6’4 and 205 pounds but doesn’t make plays in the middle of the field.  He seems to be less than interested in contact which could drop him to the late second round and possibly the third if he doesn’t improve in this area.  The major knock on Criner is a lack of speed but that doesn’t play out on tape.  He appears to play fast and has some separation against better corners.  Criner makes a lot of plays down the field and will need to show more willingness to run short and intermediate routes to be a complete receiver in the NFL.  UPDATE:  Juron Criner has been ruled out of this game after he underwent an appendectomy on Monday.  He could miss three weeks while recovering.

Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

Foles lit up the lowly Northern Arizona Lumberjacks for over 400 yards and 5 TD’s.  This week will provide a better test for Foles.  Foles is my 97th ranked prospect on my latest rankings but is considered by many as a 1st or 2nd round prospect.  I have him as 3-4th rounder due to his lack of consistency, accuracy and mental lapses.  Foles possesses NFL size (6’5” 240) but doesn’t have an elite arm and struggles with accuracy especially down the field.  Foles will make for a nice developmental prospect for an NFL team but not a first or second round prospect.

Stunner of the Day: Jaguars Release David Garrard

Posted by Brad On September - 6 - 20111 COMMENT

Has the Blaine Gabbert era begun in Jacksonville?

In less than a week, the Jacksonville Jaguars will open the season against the Tennessee Titans.  But it will be without starting quarterback David Garrard.

Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com has reported the Jacksonville Jaguars have cut ties with (former) starting quarterback David Garrard.  Luke McCown will start the season opener for the Jags with rookie QB Blaine Gabbert taking over as the backup.  This move potentially excelerates the development of Blaine Gabbert as no team drafts a QB at number 10 to sit him behind the likes of Luke McCown.   

Garrard was due around $8 million this season so logically this move was made to impact the finances of the struggling Jaguar organization.  Garrard’s play hasn’t matched his pay since signing his 7-year, $60 million extension in 2008.  Not to mention that he is 34 years old with significant back problems.

The timing of this move makes no sense as the Jaguar brass has been aware of the $8 million check to be written to David Garrard so why not cut Garrard earlier and allow McCown or Gabbert more time to take starting reps? 

For Jaguar fans, they can only look for hope in 2011 first round pick, Blaine Gabbert.  Gabbert struggled through much of preseason but showed glimpses of potential.  While McCown has been named the Week One starter it is only a matter of time before Gabbert takes the reigns of the Jags.

Is Landry Jones Overrated?

Posted by Brad On September - 6 - 20113 COMMENTS

Landry Jones a 4th round prospect? We don't think so.

The 2012 NFL Draft is expected to be loaded with talented quarterbacks.  In all likelihood, Andrew Luck will be the first selection in the draft barring some horrendous injury or a surprise decision to stay at Stanford for his senior season. 

Luck is not the only franchise quarterback eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft.  Matt Barkley and Landry Jones are considered by many to be the next tier of quarterbacks expected to be selected in the first ten picks.  Landry Jones has drawn the attention of many in the NFL Draft stratosphere both positively and negatively.  Jones has been lauded by many as the “next Sam Bradford,” probably unfairly.  He has also been called a fourth round prospect that lacks great physical skills by Tony Pauline of SI.com, also unfair.

Landry Jones is not Sam Bradford nor is he a fourth round prospect.  As always the truth lies somewhere in the middle in this debate.  Landry Jones has a tendency to run hot and cold.  When he’s hot he looks like a can’t miss prospect and when he’s cold he looks like Jake Locker.  Not literally Jake Locker but in the sense that Locker was taken 8th in the 2011 NFL Draft and Jones is a more complete quarterback prospect than Locker on a bad day.  Jones doesn’t have the elite accuracy of Sam Bradford but possesses better arm strength and is surprisingly athletic for a 6’4” 225 pound quarterback. 

On DraftInsider.com, Tony Pauline gives Jones a 4th round grade and downgrades him due to a “lack of great physical skills and a pocket passer that does not possess classic size or arm strength.”

Pauline and I are watching two different prospects.  Jones is the epitome of an NFL quarterback in terms of size and has above-average arm strength.  In addition to that he commands the Oklahoma offense with precision, has a quick release, and throws receivers into open areas.  What Pauline is describing is actually Matt Barkley in terms of size and arm strength.  In my assessment of Barkley and Jones, Jones is the clear cut number two quarterback in the 2012 class. 

Landry Jones will be a top 10 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and most likely will be the second quarterback off the board.

Week one of the college football season started off with a bang.  A lot of top 2012 NFL Draft prospects had solid starts to the 2011 season.  We will take a look at some of the top 2012 NFL prospects who helped their stock and a few who didn’t in week one.

RISING

2012 NFL Draft prospect, David Wilson is nobody's sleeper after Saturday's performance

David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

I listed David Wilson as a sleeper pick in July and it appears he will no longer be a sleeper.  Wilson is a Percy Harvin-like prospect that can do it all. On Saturday he showed his running abilities on his way to 162 yards and 3 TD’s on 16 carries.  Wilson is one of the most electrifying athletes in all of the country and we could see this junior dynamo in next April’s 2012 NFL Draft.

Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Once ND figured out which QB to play, Floyd began to hit on all cylinders.  Floyd looked to be in great physical shape on his way to 154 yards and 2 TD’s on 12 catches.  Floyd looked to be a bit faster than in previous years and still has dynamic leaping abilities that allow him to win most jump balls.  With ND’s QB situation, Floyd will have to find ways to set himself apart in order to find his way into the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Griffin lit up the TCU defense for 359 yards and 5 TD’s in a 21 of 27 performance.  Griffin may be too short for most people’s liking but he has a super sized game to make up for it.  Griffin showed that he wasn’t just all athlete as he pinpointed passes to receivers all night long as TCU had no answer for Griffin.  He showed solid poise in the pocket and made his way to 3 or 4 reads when needed without taking off.  Griffin may have done more to improve his draft stock than anyone in the country. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Draft Prospects: Rising and Falling Week One»

Micheal Profetta

Just Win Baby...could Andrew Luck revive Al Davis' organization?

Lane Kiffin is obnoxious and disloyal, but I’ll give him this: He was spot-on with his recent assessment of the current situation in Oakland. The presence of Al Davis really does make it “almost impossible” to win.

Last year, Tom Cable (amazingly) steered a team that hadn’t won more than five games in a season since 2002 to an 8-8 record, including a 6-0 record within the division. Cable captured the locker room, built the NFL’s second-ranked rushing attack despite a rag-tag O-line and had this young squad headed in the right direction. Logically, Davis gave him the axe. Why? Was Cable’s zone-blocking scheme too modern? Not enough ill-timed fifty-yard bombs to Cliff Branch Darrius Heyward-Bey, maybe? Defensive coordinator John Marshall was also given the boot. His crime? Inheriting the NFL’s 27th ranked defense in 2008 and, working with Nnamdi Asomugha and a motley crew of veteran cast-offs and youngsters, turning it into the NFL’s 11th ranked defense in 2010. Cable and Marshall were making real progress in Oakland. When you live in the past, as Davis obviously does, progress of any sort is the enemy. Read the rest of this entry » «Al Davis Won’t Let Andrew Luck Leave California»

2012 NFL Mock Draft: September 3

Posted by Brad On September - 3 - 20112 COMMENTS

1.  Buffalo Bills – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

The Bills lost rather than gained this offseason which will hurt a roster that is already depleted of talent.  Andrew Luck is a once in a lifetime prospect that Buffalo will not pass on even though QB is the least of their worries.  They need a LT, help in the defensive backfield, and still need front seven impact players.  Sorry, Buffalo fans but I’m predicting a miserable finish in 2011 and the first pick in my 2012 NFL mock draft.  But the good news is that you are the proud winners of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

2.  San Francisco 49ers – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

The marriage of Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck almost came true but Buffalo’s 2-win season ruined it for 49er fans.  I think the 49ers stay away from QB with second round pick Colin Kaepernick showing promise unless Luck is there for the taking.  The 49ers have some stop gaps at the CB position but not a true shutdown CB.  Kirkpatrick has the size, speed, and skills to make his way to the second pick in the 2012 NFL mock draft.

3.  Washington Redskins – Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

Could Landry Jones fit Mike Shanahan's system?

I know, the Redskin brass all would have taken John Beck with the whatever pick in whatever draft.  A 3-4 win season should remind them why they didn’t (or anyone) take Beck that high.  The Redskins did a nice job of picking up talent in free agency (albeit overpaid for some but it’s Dan Snyder) but that won’t equal anymore wins for the ‘Skins.  Jones has all the physical tools of being a big time QB in the NFL and will tempt the 49ers in the 2 hole but falls to Washington.  If Washington passes on QB help in the 2012 NFL Draft it will go down as an epic failure on Mike Shanahan’s “vaunted” resume.

4.  Cincinnati Bengals – Matt Kalil, T, USC

Cincinnati has one of the most underrated tackles in the NFL with Andrew Whitworth but their line is in need of an overhaul.  They will give this season for Andre Smith to get it together and remain healthy.  After another season of mediocrity he will be moved to guard.  They can move Whitworth to RT or play Kalil at RT to begin with but Kalil has elite skills and will be an immediate upgrade to the Bengals OL.

5.  Miami Dolphins – Matt Barkley, QB, USC

I will be the first to admit that I’m not high on Barkley right now.  This pick is assuming he takes a leap forward in 2011 to elite collegiate status.  Big if.  This organization is in flux and needs a new face to give it life.  Fans are chanting for Kyle Orton…you know it’s bad.  Barkley is athletic, has adequate arm strength but needs to work on accuracy down the field.

6.  Tennessee Titans – Quentin Coples, DE, North Carolina

Tennessee lost Jason Babin in free agency and are left with unproven Derrick Morgan and Jason Jones as starters.  Coples brings the physicality and athleticism to the position to make an immediate impact on a front seven that is deplete of talent.  The Titans failure to address the offensive line in the 2011 NFL draft and free agency will have to be taken care of early in the 2012 NFL Draft also.

Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Mock Draft: September 3»

Is Geno Smith a legitimate 2012 NFL Draft prospect or just good college QB?

This game wouldn’t have made the list but I figured this would be my only chance to preview one of my favorite prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft, Vinny Curry.

West Virginia isn’t going to sneak up on anyone this season because people are already calling Geno Smith a surprise Heisman candidate.  He along with DE Bruce Irvin make the WVU team go and both will be previewed for this game.  On the Marshall side of the ball, they have one legitimate 2012 NFL prospect but I think he’s real good.  Vinny Curry has emerged as a first round pick for me as I’ve watched him take over games.  He will make the transition to rush linebacker in the NFL which shouldn’t be a problem because he spends much of his time at Marshall standing up.

Guys to keep an eye on:

Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia #11

Bruce Irvin plays DE at WVU but like Curry spends a lot of time standing up.  His transition should be seemless as well and I have him as my 62nd ranked prospect for the 2012 NFL Draft.

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia #12

Smith burst onto the Big East scene as a sophomore in 2010.  He finished the season with 2763 yards passing, 24 TD’s, and 7 INT’s.  He’s an above-average athlete but prefers to stay in the pocket and pick apart teams.  He will have to show NFL scouts that he can work out of a pro-style offense but he’s only a junior.  He’s probably a long shot to declare for the draft but another solid season at WVU may push him into the 2012 NFL Draft and Heisman contention.

Vinny Curry, OLB, Marshall #99

Curry is my 38th ranked prospect and for good reason.  He’s a disruptive force in the pass and run games in all games that I watched for 2010.  Curry is an undersized end that could transition to rush linebacker in the NFL or add weight and stay at DE.  I prefer him as the latter but won’t have any problems standing up.  He needs to attack oncoming blockers with the ferocity he does opposing QB’s to solidify his status as a first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.  Keep your eye on Curry in 2011.

Is Cordy Glenn a first round talent?

If not for the Oregon-LSU matchup this game may be getting more hype.  Georgia is expected to be better this season and has some talent on both sides of the ball.  Boise features Kellen Moore at QB and some solid senior talent.

Georgia’s offensive line is stacked with NFL talent including Cordy Glenn and Ben Jones along with talented TE prospect Orson Charles.  Boise features familiar names but it may be the ones that are not so familiar that impact the 2012 NFL Draft.  Kellen Moore won’t be featured below because he’s a late round prospect at best.  Moore is a great college QB but that’s where we’ll leave it.  We will feature three guys that cracked our top 100 2012 NFL Draft prospect rankings in Doug Martin, Billy Winn, and Nate Potter.

Guys to keep an eye on:

Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia #71

Glenn will be moved to LT this season but will make his living at guard in the NFL.  He’s a massive human being at 6’5” and 345 pounds.  He has surprising feet for a guy that size that will be better suited on the inside in the NFL.  He’s day two prospect for me that could find his way to day one with a solid senior season.

Ben Jones, C, Georgia #60

Ben Jones is one of the top center prospects in a loaded center class for 2012.  Jones has prototypical size for an NFL center at 6’3” 318 pounds.  He’s a solid technician that is likely a day one starter in the NFL.  He could be had in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft but is capable of finding himself a spot on day one.

Orson Charles, TE, Georgia #7

Orson Charles is the ultimate upside guy.  He cannot block but is a flat out elite athlete at 6’3” and 240 pounds.  In 2010, as a sophomore, Charles posted 26 catches for 422 yards and 2 TD’s after a strong freshman season in 2009.  If Charles declares he has the potential to be the first TE off the board in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Doug Martin, RB, Boise St. #22

Doug Martin came on my radar screen in the bowl game against Utah.  I came into the game not knowing Boise St. had a RB and he flashed throughout the game, making me go back and watch my VT and Nevada film.  Sure enough he was solid in both those games.  I will be watching Martin closely this season to see if he’s the real deal.  In the three games I watched he impressed me enough to rank him as my 86th best prospect.

Nate Potter, G, Boise St. #73

Some in the media have Potter as a first round grade.  I do not.  He’s a guard in the NFL because of his lack of NFL technique and sometimes poor footwork.  I currently have him as my 88th prospect but he has fallen with each Boise game I watch.  He has a tendency to get overextended which leads poor balance.  He gets away with it against weak competition but that won’t fly in the NFL.

Billy Winn, DT, Boise St. #90

Winn is a DT/DE prospect that would make an excellent transition to the five-technique in the NFL.  He’s a high motor guy that plays to the whistle on every snap.  Not a guy that will flash often with big plays but is solid for four quarters.  He’s my 89th prospect and has 13 sacks in his three seasons in Boise.

Will LaMichael James suffer the same fate as Jacquizz Rodgers did in the 2011 NFL Draft?

Week one of the college season will feature this game of the week.  Not that preseason rankings mean anything but this is a matchup of #3 vs. #4 in week one and will feature a ton of NFL prospects to boot.

Unfortunately for NFL Draft fans we won’t be seeing Cliff Harris in this game due to his off-the-field issues but there will still be plenty of talent in this game.  Oregon runs out a RB duo in LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner that is as good as any in the nation.  They also have a dynamic TE in David Paulson that will catch your eye.  For LSU, they have some junior talent in Morris Claiborne and Rueben Randle but not the normal crop of four or five top 100 prospects.  Junior WR Russell Shepard was expected to break out this season but will be suspended in this game.

Guys to keep an eye on:

LaMichael James, RB, Oregon #21

James is a talented speed back that won’t bowl over scouts with his size but does have power for his thin frame.  James is currently our 57th rated prospect and 3rd best RB prospect for the 2012 class.  James will have to prove that he can take the punishment of a long season in order to maintain that position and also that he can run out of a pro-style offense.  James has played in the Oregon spread offense which could hamper his draft status.  Jacquizz Rodgers was a similar prospect and he fell to the 5th round of the 2011 NFL Draft.  The numbers for James are astronomical:  2010 1731 yards, 5.9 YPC, and 21 rushing TD’s.  2009 1546 yards, 6.7 YPC, and 14 rushing TD’s.  Not to bad and he’s only a junior.

Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon #24

Barner is hampered by his partner in backfield but has as much talent as James.  Barner is electrifying with the ball in his hands as seen by 6 TD’s in 91 rushing attempts and 3 TD’s in 13 catches for 2010.  Barner probably doesn’t declare for the draft unless true freshman De’Anthony Thomas pushes him for carries.

David Paulson, TE, Oregon #42

Paulson is used as a flex TE in college and will need to work on his inline blocking to be considered a top TE prospect but his hands are intriguing.  Paulson racked up 24 catches for 418 yards and 4 TD’s last season.

Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU #17

Claiborne played second fiddle to Patrick Peterson last season but will be put to the test on this unproven defense.  Morris will have to prove that his 5 INT season in 2010 was not just a matter of being thrown at a ton because of the Patrick Peterson factor.  My hunch is that Claiborne is just that good and could find his way into the top 20 prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Rueben Randle, WR, LSU #2

Randle is as physically gifted as any receiver in the draft.  The junior is learning the WR position as he was recruited as a QB but has become a solid receiver.  He posted 33 catches for 544 yards and 3 TD’s in 2010 and is ripe for a breakout season.

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