The FSU vs. Clemson matchup features some top 2012 NFL Draft prospects

FSU needs to rebound after a hard fought loss to the number one team in the country last Saturday.  Whoever thought of this schedule sure didn’t look for a rebound game by scheduling Clemson. 

FSU’s defense was great in the loss to Oklahoma but their offense left a bit to be desired last Saturday.  E.J. Manuel suffered an injury to his non-throwing arm against OU and his status is still up in the air for their ACC opener against Clemson.  There will be plenty of prospects to check out in this matchup.

Guys to keep an eye on:

Brandon Jenkins, DE, FSU #49 (Junior)

Jenkins has been a non-factor, for the most part, in 2011.  He came up with 5 tackles against Oklahoma but was shut down in his attempts to get to Landry Jones.  Jenkins needs to find his way to the QB in this contest to keep himself a hot commodity in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Greg Reid, CB, FSU #5 (Junior)

Greg Reid has been quiet in the stats department so far in 2011 but hasn’t been thrown at with any regularity.  Reid shut down Ryan Broyles in the few matchups before Broyles left with an injury last Saturday.  He was picked on when he was on the bigger Kenny Stills.  The matchup to watch in this one is when Reid is on freshman stud WR Sammy Watkins.  Watkins has a nice blend of size and speed and will be a good test for Reid. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Draft Prospects Preview: Florida St. vs. Clemson»

NFL Power Rankings – Week Two

Posted by Brad On September - 21 - 20111 COMMENT

NFL’s Future first release of the NFL Power Rankings is sure to draw some criticisms from some fans but I decided to throw out the records and go based on play of the team, future schedule, and injuries (the great equalizer).  Without further adieu, here’s our first edition of the NFL Power Rankings:

1.  Green Bay Packers

The Pack put it to the Saints in week one and handed Cam and Co. their second loss.  In order to maintain the top spot they will need to improve a pass defense that surrendered a boatload of yards to Drew Brees (excusable) and Cam Newton (not excusable).

2.  New England Patriots

Tom Brady is on pace to throw for more yards Donovan McNabb, Kerry Collins, and Tavaris Jackson combined in 2011.  The Pats defense has been a little suspect but they don’t really need them to be stellar.  The week three matchup vs. Buffalo could be another step in the right direction for Tom Terrific. 

3.  New Orleans Saints

Their record is not indicative of their overall play in 2011.  They matched up well against the Pack and exposed a good Bears team.  Their offense is hitting on all cylinders and the defense played well against the Bears.  They look to be the class of the NFC South with Atlanta hot on their heels.

4.  New York Jets

The Jets defense is really good…that should come as a shocker.  Their offense needs to pick it up…another shocker.  If the Jets want a shot at the Ultimate Prize they will have to get better play from Mark Sanchez.  The Sanchize is going to need to play much more efficient for the Jets to make it past the Pats and the class of the AFC.  A major component to the success of Mark Sanchez is an adequate running game which they have not been able to get going.  Sanchez excels in play action but no one fears the Jets running game at this point.  Read the rest of this entry » «NFL Power Rankings – Week Two»

Can Tyler Wilson vault himself into the national spotlight with an upset against Alabama on Saturday?

Alabama’s defense has been lights out so far in 2011 but hasn’t faced an offensive test (Penn St. doesn’t count).  Arkansas can light up the scoreboard with the passing attack of Tyler Wilson.  Factor in an up and comer at running back in Ronnie Wingo Jr. and you could see a fairly competitive game with a ton of NFL talent on each side.

Alabama runs out top NFL prospects on both sides of the ball and Arkansas has a couple of juniors that could make some waves.  We won’t be previewing Ronnie Wingo Jr. but a strong performance in this matchup could put him on scouts’ radars.

Guys to keep an eye on:

D.J. Fluker, T, Alabama #76 (RsSoph)

Fluker is a powerful run blocker that has worked his way into a solid pass protector in 2011.  Fluker is a long shot to declare for the 2012 NFL Draft but if he shows well in this game he could make some major waves for the rare RsSophomore declaration.  Fluker is likely to draw the assignment on Jake Bequette most of the night which will test footwork and ability to protect the edge of the line.

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama #21 (Junior)

Kirkpatrick hasn’t quite lived up to the billing thus far in 2011.  He will be tested by Tyler Wilson in this matchup.  Arkansas runs out a bevy of wide receivers that can stretch the field and make plays.  Kirkpatrick needs to have a solid performance if he wants to declare for the 2012 NFL Draft.  Thus far in 2011, he doesn’t appear to open his hips well and run with quicker receivers.  He should have plenty of opportunities against the high power passing attack of Arkansas.

Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama #3 (Junior)

Trent Richardson has already posted 8 rushing TD’s through three games.  Arkansas will be prepared for a healthy dose of Richardson so he’ll likely have to make the most of each touch in this contest.  With Lamar Miller hot on his heels with another breakout performance against OSU, Richardson will need a solid game against Arkansas to hold down the fort as the top RB in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Robert Lester, S, Alabama #37 (Junior)

Lester has yet to make an impact in 2011 and is looking less likely to declare early for the 2012 NFL Draft.  After an 8 INT 2010 season, he has yet to pick off a pass and only has 4 tackles on the young season.  Lester will have to remain active in this game with the Arkansas passing attack and needs a strong performance to put himself back on the radar.

Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama #30 (Junior)

Hightower looks to have regained some of the athleticism he lost following knee surgery.  However, he still looks to be a two-down linebacker in 3-4 at the NFL level.  He doesn’t drop in coverage and has below-average instincts in the passing game.  Against Arkansas he will need to show his coverage skills which provides him the opportunity to test his limitations in coverage. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Draft Prospects Preview: Alabama vs. Arkansas»

2012 NFL Draft Team Needs: AFC East

Posted by Brad On September - 21 - 20112 COMMENTS

Micheal Profetta

Buffalo Bills

Could Riley Reiff be the answer at LT for the Bills?

1. Offensive tackle   Scrappy Ryan Fitzpatrick has become a cult hero in Buffalo with his heady, efficient orchestration of Chan Gailey’s offense, so I expect the Bills to give the 28-year old Harvard grad a healthy contract extension before he has a chance to hit the open market in 2012. If Buffalo is going to roll with Fitzpatrick, they could go into the 2012 NFL Draft looking to protect their investment by snagging an OT in the first round. LT Demetrius Bell, who almost lost his job to G Andy Levitre in the preseason, is in a contract year. Erik Pears is just a warm body on the right side. The Bills are currently 2-0 and I have a hunch that they’re the team that could get all the bounces and calls on the way to surprise contention this season, so they could end up drafting too low for a chance at USC’s Matt Kalil, Alabama’s D.J. Fluker or Stanford’s Jonathan Martin next April. However, Iowa’s Riley Reiff could be a good mid-first round value as a blue-collar, Bryan Bulaga/Jeff Backus-level starter. Florida State’s Andrew Datko, Ohio State’s Mike Adams and BYU’s Matt Reynolds could be second-round options if the Bills decide to dip into what should be a strong group of 3-4 pass rushers in the first round.  

2. Outside linebacker   LOLB Chris Kelsay is 32 years old, relatively unathletic and hasn’t done much to justify the 5-year, $28.2 million contract the Bills inexplicably gifted him last year. Amazingly, ROLB Shawne Merriman is still only 27 (it seems like he’s been around forever), but his shoulder injury in Week One was a subtle reminder that he’s a terminal injury risk. Both guys have been invisible through two games (no sacks), which is disturbing considering that the Chiefs and Raiders are both weak at OT. The Bills could be very tempted to snag a projected 3-4 OLB like FSU’s Brandon Jenkins, Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw, USC’s Nick Perry or Marshall’s Vinny Curry in the first round if Kelsay and Merriman continue to dissapoint.

3. Wide receiver   Chan Gailey’s scheme ensures decent passing and receiving numbers, but in all reality, Fitzpatrick is working with a group of journeyman targets. Former seventh-rounder Stevie Johnson has blossomed in Buffalo, but Marcus Easley can’t stay on the field. Donald Jones and David Nelson would be special teamers on most teams. Fitzpatrick averaged only 6.8 yards per pass attempt in 2010, so a guy like UNC’s Dwight Jones could be a second round possibility. Jones has the size (6-4/220) Gailey likes in his wideouts and the wheels to be an effective deep threat. 

4. Defensive end   The D-line looks much improved with the addition of stout rookie LDE Marcell Dareus and RDE Dwan Edwards’ return to health, but considering how miserable the run defense has been over the last few seasons, the Bills would be wise to keep the coffers full of talented, young options. 2010 draftees Alex Carrington and Torrell Troup aren’t progressing as Buffalo hoped. Edwards will be in his ninth season and key backup Spencer Johnson his eighth in 2012. A 3-4 plugger like Texas A & M’s Tony Jerod-Eddie or Cal’s Trevor Guyton could be a solid depth pick in the mid-rounds.      Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Draft Team Needs: AFC East»

What We Learned from Week Two of the NFL Season

Posted by Brad On September - 20 - 20111 COMMENT

Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the Bills in a 2-0 start

Ryan Fitzpatrick is for real.  The Bills defeated a much improved Raider team to go to 2-0 on the young season.  For a team that many considered to be one of the worst in football this is a giant step forward.  We won’t anoint the Bills as a Playoff team in that division but they are certainly taking steps forward.  More importantly, they have found a quarterback.  Ryan Fitzpatrick was viewed as a liability despite a solid season in 2010.  Fitzpatrick led the Bills to what ended up being the game winning drive against the Raiders. 

Fitzpatrick has accounted for 473 yards, 7 TD’s and 1 INT through two games and appears to have mastered Chan Gailey’s offense.  He is making the most out of an unproven, young receiving corps that consists of Steve Johnson and a bunch of guy’s you’ve never heard of…at least yet.

Kansas City is really bad.  Matt Cassel has been horrific and it won’t get any better with Jamaal Charles’ injury.   After a 48-3 loss to the Lions, the Chiefs found out they would be without their best offensive player for the remainder of the 2011 season in Jamaal Charles.  Not to mention they will be without safety Eric Berry for 2011 also.

The Chiefs have lost their first two games by a combined total of 89-10.  Yeah, it’s that bad in KC.  The only bright spot for Chiefs fans is that the worst team in the league gets Andrew Luck come next April.  Congratulations on that win KC fans. Read the rest of this entry » «What We Learned from Week Two of the NFL Season»

Stock Up

Chris Polk's 130 yard performance against a game opponent in Nebraska may have boosted him into first round consideration

Chris Polk, RB, Washington

Chris Polk is quietly one of the best RB’s in the country.  He has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the first three games of the 2011 season.  This week’s matchup against Nebraska figured to be the first true test of the 2011 season for Polk.  Well, he passed with flying colors.  Polk ran for 130 yards and a TD on 22 carries in the loss to the Cornhuskers.  Nebraska’s defensive line features a bevy of future top defensive lineman to go along with LB Lavonte David and one of the best secondaries in the country.  If Polk declares early for the 2012 NFL Draft he could find his way into the backend of the first round with performances like this.

Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

It was the Lamar Miller show in South Beach as the Hurricanes put it on the Buckeyes.  OSU is known for its tough run defense but they were gashed by the speedy Miller.  Miller posted 184 yards on 26 carries but didn’t find pay dirt.  Miller’s speed and power were on full display as the Buckeye defenders spent much of the night chasing him down.  Miller is a rSophomore but with the uncertainties at Miami he may bolt early for the NFL.  Miller has solidified his 1st round draft status and may challenge Trent Richardson for the top RB spot when it’s all said and done.

Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Claiborne didn’t get thrown at often and wisely so but when he did he was making plays on the ball which included one INT.  Mississippi St. wanted nothing to do with Claiborne but LSU features another top corner on the other side in Tyrann Mathieu.  Claiborne is an aggressive corner that isn’t afraid to stick his nose in the fray or go for the big play.  Claiborne began the season as a top 50 player but is playing his way into the top 25 2012 NFL Draft prospects.

Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Everyone knows I’m not a huge fan of Barkley’s but he looked very solid against Syracuse on Saturday.  He ended the game 26-39 for 324 yards and 5 TD’s.  Aside from the great stats, he controlled the offense and appeared to know where he was going with the football before the play began.  Landry Jones mediocre performance against FSU may have allowed Barkley the edge in the competition for the QB spot behind Andrew Luck. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Draft: Stock Up, Stock Down Week Three Edition»

Suck for Luck in Indy?

1. Indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck QB Stanford   After the Week One ass-kicking from the Texans (which wasn’t even as close as the 34-7 score would indicate), Jim Caldwell announced that his teams’ problems are “correctable”. They’re not. I really believe that what you saw from the Colts in that game is pretty much what you’ll continue to see. There are enough prideful veterans on this team for me to predict a bounce-back victory at home against the sorry Browns this Sunday, but I can also see a 1-13 finish from there.

Because of Manning’s 227-game streak, the idea of the Colts without Peyton Manning was always comparable to the idea of a giant meteor hitting Earth…you knew it would be completely devastating, but never really paid it much thought because of the seemingly infintesimal odds of it actually happening. Now that the scenario has come to pass, we’ll see the offensive line (featuring the likes of Jeff Linkenbach and Joe Reitz) exposed without Manning’s savvy and hair-trigger release keeping the sack totals down and making the unit appear better than it actually is. No longer will the defensive unit’s two best players, Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, be afforded the luxury of simply pinning their ears back and doing their thing after the inevitable, Manning-led, 14-0 first quarter lead. Instead, we’ll see two aging and very undersized defensive ends playing on their heels and exposed as liabilities against the run. More than any player in recent memory, Manning is the foundation of his team, so the only way that these problems, along with the Colts’ laundry list of other problems (impotent running game, awful rushing defense, lack of talent and depth at linebacker and in the secondary), can be “corrected” is the return of Manning…or a QB of similar quality. Amazingly, there’s actually a QB of similar quality available at the top of the 2012 NFL Draft in Andrew Luck.

The Colts could avoid paying Manning the $28 million bonus he’s due in 2012 by simply releasing him by late February, making him a free agent. While it’s nearly impossible to picture Manning without the horseshoe hat, it could be the Colts’ best option from a business standpoint. Sentimentality aside, a soon-to-be 36-year old with serious neck and back issues is a poor investment, especially if the Colts have a shot to secure the best QB prospect since Manning and begin a fresh, decade-long run of AFC South dominance.

2. Seattle Seahawks- Matt Barkley QB USC   Tarvaris Jackson’s Week One performance in the loss to the 49ers (78.3 passer rating, 3 turnovers) was about what everyone expected. The worst 7-win team in history in 2010, the Seahawks lost team leaders Matt Hasselbeck and Lofa Tatupu during the offseason and are now pinning their hopes on the second-worst starting QB in the NFL (congrats, Donovan McNabb), who’s operating behind an unsettled O-line and has no running game to lean on. Disaster looms. We’ll probably see Charlie Whitehurst and maybe even rookie free agent Josh Portis under center before the season is up, and that should be more than enough motivation for Seattle to be hellbent on finding a new QB in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Opinions vary on USC’s Matt Barkley and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones. Both are highly-skilled Juniors and potential franchise QBs who should be top ten prospects should they declare, but which one emerges as the second signal-caller off the board may ultimately come down to their Combine performances and a team’s schematic or personal preference. If given the choice, I think that the Seahawks will opt for Barkley. Not necessarily because of the Pete Carroll/Barkley connection, but because offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell prefers a mobile QB. Jones is no stiff, but Barkley has vastly improved his mobility and pocket awareness over the last few seasons and has an advantage over the more mechanical Jones in those departments. Barkley’s fiery leadership, ability to move around the pocket and even his tendency to force the ball into tight spots is reminiscent of a young Brett Favre, which could intrigue Bevell, who had success with Favre in Green Bay and Minnesota.

3. Cleveland Browns- Quinton Coples DE North Carolina   After a promising preseason that had some hailing the Browns as a potential darkhorse Wild Card contender, they promptly stunk up the joint in the Week One “Battle for Ohio”. It looks like there will be some harsh growing pains in 2011 as this young team adjusts to new schemes and philosophies on both sides of the ball.

The pass rush produced only 29 sacks in 2010. In new defensive coordinator Dick Jauron’s 4-3 scheme, athletic ends who can shave the edge are crucial. Rookie RE Jabaal Sheard shows promise, but LE Jayme Mitchell, while athletic and imposing (6-6/285), has stuck around the NFL for six seasons because of his upside, not his production. He seems to be a terminal “project”. Coples offers the same size as Mitchell and is an infinitely better pass rusher. With Coples and Sheard attacking the QB and the gargantuan Phil Taylor/Ahtyba Rubin combo clogging up stuff in the middle, Cleveland would have (potentially) the best, young D-line in the AFC. Coples is arguably the best defensive prospect in the 2012 NFL Draft, would fill a need and represents great value at #3. Read the rest of this entry » «Profetta’s 2012 NFL Mock Draft – September 18 Update»

2012 NFL Draft Prospect Focus: Kellen Moore

Posted by Brad On September - 17 - 201118 COMMENTS

Kellen Moore is a great college quarterback but doesn't have a bright NFL future

When my updated top 100 NFL Draft prospects board rolled out this week, I was flooded with emails on 100 reasons why Kellen Moore should be on that list.

The Drew Brees comparisons came rolling in and talk of a smaller Joe Montana began working its way into my email inbox.  I found myself relentlessly defending the reasons why not only was he not on my top 100 but he wouldn’t make it on my top 200.  Instead of responding to each individual email, I present to you the reasons why Kellen Moore will not be a productive, starting NFL quarterback.

Arm Strength

>> The most obvious knock on Moore’s game is his arm strength or lack thereof.  When breaking down college quarterbacks for the transition to the NFL the most noticeable attribute is how strong their arm is or how much velocity their ball has.  It’s not necessary to have a Ryan Mallett-like hose but there are key throws that NFL quarterbacks need to be able to make.  The deep out from the far hash is the ultimate test of arm strength and a necessity of any NFL quarterback.  Kellen Moore cannot make this throw in the NFL.  Moore relies on his mastery of the Boise St. offense and his anticipation of open windows to make tight throws in college.  In the NFL, those windows are usually not there and the defensive schemes became that much more complex.

Size

>> Like it or not, Kellen Moore lacks ideal size.  This point falls on deaf ears as most only look at his height as a factor but his weight is more concerning.  At 195 pounds soaking wet, he will have a tough time withstanding the beating of NFL defensive ends.  At 5’11” he will struggle to find open passing lanes which he relies on at Boise to read out the play and anticipate throwing lanes.

Mechanics

>> On the surface Moore’s mechanics looked fairly solid.  His footwork is excellent which allows for perfect balance and weight distribution.  But if you look at where the ball comes from, this is where the concern lies.  In the NFL, every half second counts and can be difference between a TD and an INT.  Moore’s delivery of the football comes from mid-waist as opposed to helmet high.  This makes for a very long, extended release which is an absolute no-no for any NFL quarterback let alone one with a below-average arm.  Most major overhauls in a quarterback’s mechanics have not been successful and this would be considered a major overhaul.

Moore's delivery is too long which is costing him precious time to throw into tight windows

Kellen Moore is a great college quarterback but that’s where we are going to leave it.  There have been plenty of great college quarterbacks that haven’t seen the light of day in the NFL (Eric Crouch, Jason White, and Colt Brennan, to name a few).  There are no doubts that Moore has a ton of great tools that would make him successful, unfortunately he won’t be able to get past those that haunt him.

Andrew Luck looks to get a leg up in the Heisman race with his first real test of 2011

This game may be a one-sided affair with Andrew Luck shredding the Arizona defense.  The game does feature some of top 2012 NFL prospects, mostly from the Stanford side of the field.

Stanford runs out three and possibly four 1st round picks in Andrew Luck, Jonathan Martin, David DeCastro, and possibly Shayne Skov.  They also feature receiving threats in WR Chris Owusu and TE Coby Fleener and a top 150 safety in Delano Howell.

For Arizona, look for QB Nick Foles attempt to keep them close by putting the ball in the air for much of this game.  He will be without top wideout Juron Criner again this week, so he’ll have to be on his game if they want to stay in this one 

Guys to keep an eye on:

Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford #12 (Junior)

Andrew Luck is Andrew Luck.  He’s the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and will light up the sky against Arizona in what could be a night filled with passing. 

Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford #55 (Junior)

Martin is a top 10 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and has been absolutely dominant in the first two games of the 2011 season.  He’s a powerful run blocker and has great feet and hand in pass protection.  Martin, Matt Kalil, and D.J. Fluker are the elite tackles in this draft and could all be gone before pick 10, if they declare.  Martin shouldn’t be challenged much in this game but will face some speed on the edge.

David DeCastro, G, Stanford #52 (Junior)

DeCastro is the number one guard in the 2012 class if he decides to forgo his senior season.  He’s powerful in the run game and holds up well in pass protection.  Arizona’s defensive line features DT’s around 280 but they are quick and stunt a lot.  DeCastro’s feet will be tested in this matchup but he should fare well against them.

Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford #11 (Junior)

Shayne Skov is an interesting prospect and a tough grade.  He looks like a good fit on the inside in the 3-4 but could also excel in the 4-3.  He’s explosive, covers well, and is a forceful tackler.  He has also shown a knack for getting to the QB, as evidenced by his 1.5 sacks against a bad Duke team.  He doesn’t make a ton of tackles but is always around the ball.  He will need to work on shedding blocks as he is sometimes engulfed and pushed out of the play.  He’s a long shot to declare for the 2012 NFL Draft and could use another season of collegiate work. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Draft Prospects Preview: Stanford vs. Arizona»

Is Greg Reid the best corner you've never heard of and may he be the best corner in the 2012 NFL Draft?

In the game of the week with National Championship ramifications we get to see some of the top talent in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Both teams feature rosters loaded with talent.  Oklahoma will run out one of the best passing catching duos in the country in Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles.  We will not see stud OLB Travis Lewis in the game due to an injury but he’s a top 50 draft pick.  Florida St. has some intriguing talent and one of my favorite prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft (or possibly) in CB Greg Reid.  We will also preview DE Brandon Jenkins, T Andrew Datko, and LB Nigel Bradham. 

Guys to keep an eye on:

Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma #12 (Junior)

Landry Jones has all the physical abilities of a top flight NFL QB but will have to get past the knock of the “system quarterback.”  Jones will be tested by a very talented defense and in particular secondary of FSU.  This could be the game that makes or breaks Jones as a top 10 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.  The FSU secondary may be the best in the country from top to bottom and Jones will have to be accurate at all levels of the field to avoid turnovers against the corner duo of Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes. 

Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma #85

Ryan Broyles probably doesn’t get enough credit for his spectacular hands.  His size is an issue and may relegate him to the slot in the NFL but he has great burst and excellent hands to make up for the lack of size.  Broyles will face his toughest competition all year against FSU and a break out game could mean a spot in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Draft Prospects Preview: Oklahoma vs. Florida St.»