NFL's Future

2014 NFL Mock Draft

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.»

Keep an eye on the Marcus Forston vs. Michael Brewster matchup on Saturday

It’s unfortunate for NFL draft fans that both teams aren’t at full strength due to off-the-field transgressions.

This game would have featured 10 top 100 2012 NFL Draft prospects.  Not playing due to suspension are S Ray Ray Armstrong, T Mike Adams, WR DeVier Posey, and RB Boom Herron.  On the field this weekend we will see some of the top 2012 talent in C Michael Brewster and TE Jake Stoneburner for OSU.  For Miami we will see RB Lamar Miller, DT Marcus Forston, and OLB Sean Spence. 

Guys to keep an eye on:

Michael Brewster, C, Ohio St. #50

Brewster is probably the best center in the country and may be selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.  He’s a four-year starter at OSU that displays great technique and leadership.  He has struggled with the shotgun snap throughout his career and has already botched two this season.  Brewster will have to improve that area if he wants to keep his first round grade.  He has a great matchup this week with Marcus Forston which could vault one of them into the middle of the first round. 

Jake Stoneburner, TE, Ohio St. #11 (Junior)

Stoneburner has burst onto the national stage with 4 TD catches through two games.  Everyone knew of Stoneburner’s WR-like hands but more impressive is his growth as a blocker.  In previous seasons Stoneburner would come off the field on running downs but he’s been an adequate blocker this season.  OSU will rely a lot on Stoneburner this weeked with Posey and Philly Brown out. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Draft Prospects Preview: Ohio St. vs. Miami»

Chris Polk will be tested against a tough Nebraska defense

The UW vs. Nebraska games features six players on our latest top 100 2012 NFL Draft prospects board.

Each team boasts three players in the top 100 and we will be paying close attention to the Washington offense vs. Nebraska defense this week.  Nebraska’s defense features CB Alfonzo Dennard, DT Jared Crick, and LB Lavonte David.  They will matchup with RB Chris Polk and WR Jermaine Kearse.  The Washington defense has a mammoth DT in Alameda Ta’amu that is rising up draft boards as a possible 3-4 run stuffer.

Guys to keep an eye on:

Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska #15

There are many that believe Dennard is a superior prospect to former teammate Prince Amukamara.  Amukamara was a first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.  Dennard excels in man coverage and particularly when he can get his hands on the receiver early and often.  He’s a physical corner that isn’t afraid to stick his nose into the action.  This weekend’s matchup with Jermaine Kearse will be intriguing in that both players seek out contact at the line of scrimmage. 

Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska #94

Crick is a tough grade because he appears to excel more in a complementary role.  He broke out when paired Nmdamukong Suh but hasn’t flashed the same explosive power since that time.  He’s not going to be a playmaker at the DT spot and may be a better fit as a five-technique in the NFL.  His feistyness and ability to pursue the play will intrigue NFL teams which will probably land him in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.   The Washington offensive line has struggled against lesser competition so Crick should have a field day in the UW backfield. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Draft Prospects Preview: Nebraska vs. Washington»

Taureen Poole is someone to watch for the 2012 NFL Draft

This game is probably a preview of the 2013 NFL Draft more than the 2012 NFL Draft.  Both teams have some solid 2013 talent but lack for big name talent for the 2012 NFL Draft. 

We will preview the 2012 prospects along with those to keep an eye out for 2013.  Tennessee features RB Taureen Poole and an intriguing DE prospect in Malik Jackson.  On the Florida side, they have an interesting junior prospect in T Xavier Nixon that we will highlight.

The Tennessee 2013 prospects are QB Tyler Bray, WR Da’Rick Rogers, and WR Justin Hunter.  Florida boasts DT Sharrif Floyd and OLB Jelani Jenkins for the 2013 NFL Draft.

Guys to keep an eye on:

Taureen Poole, RB, Tennessee #28

Poole earned All-SEC honorable mention last season after 1,034 yards and 11 TD’s.  He can catch the ball out of the backfield and blocks fairly well for a RB.  He has great size and enough agility to make defenders miss.  I would expect Poole to be a fourth round prospect in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Malik Jackson, DE, Tennessee #97

Jackson has prototype size for the DE position at 6’5” and 270 pounds.  He finished last season with 11 TFL and 5 sacks.  Jackson has good speed off the edge but won’t blow anyone away with his burst.  He is probably a later round prospect with a fairly high ceiling. 

Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee  #8 (2013)

Tyler Bray may be the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.  He is off to a great season and has all the measurables of an elite QB.  Size, arm strength, and accuracy.  Bray came in as a true freshman and led the Volunteers to a bowl game. 

Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee  #11 (2013)

Hunter is a big receiver (6’4” 200) that has enough speed to stretch the defense.  He has excellent leaping abilities that allow him to make plays that others can’t.  Hunter is off to a nice start to 2011 (16 catches, 302 yards and 2 TD’s) so look for his name atop the 2013 NFL Draft. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Draft Prospects Preview: Florida vs. Tennessee»

2012 NFL Mock Draft – September 14 Update

Posted by Brad On September - 14 - 20111 COMMENT

1.  Cleveland Browns – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Colt McCoy is the least of the Browns worries at this point but you don’t pass on the best QB prospect since Peyton Manning after a dismal season.  After their week one loss to the Bengals the Browns went from possible surprise team to potential winner of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.  As for Colt McCoy, he is probably given a shot elsewhere because he has shown signs of promise.

2.  Seattle Seahawks – Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Pete Carroll has shown an ability to stay away from former players in the draft (Taylor Mays).  For his sake, I hope he does again but this one makes too much sense.  Barkley is not my favorite QB prospect in the 2012 NFL Draft and number 2 is way too high for him but Seattle needs a franchise signal caller.  Carroll’s familiarity with Barkley lead him to make a bad decision in the 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

3.  Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil, T, USC

Minnesota badly needs protection for Chrisitian Ponder and Adrian Peterson.  Cutting ties with Bryant McKinnie appears after one game to be a huge mistake after watching him manhandle Pittsburgh defenders.  Kalil is a franchise LT and he fits a huge need for the Vikings in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

D.J. Fluker is looking primed to breakout in 2011

4.  Indianapolis Colts – D.J. Fluker, T, Alabama

Indy is going to struggle without Manning and they will look for insurance for Peyton at some point in the 2012 NFL Draft.  In the meantime, they would be wise to beef their protection for Manning and Co.  Sure they took Castonzo and Ijalana in 2011 but they need more help and Fluker’s a beast.  Fluker can man the LT spot and move Castonzo to RT where he is a better fit.  Fluker is only a rSophomore but has all the abilities to be a franchise LT.

5.  Denver Broncos – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

I was very tempted to go with Landry Jones and turn the page on Orton, Tebow, and Quinn but I think they go defensive value at 5 in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.  Coples would pair with Dumervil and Von Miller to form a young core of defensive talent.

6.  Tennessee Titans – Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Tennessee has nothing opposite Kenny Britt and they will look to surround Jake Locker with talented pieces to work with.  Jeffery has gotten off to a bit of a slow start but has the physical abilities that teams look for in number one receivers.  Jeffery could team with Britt to give Tennessee the best young receiving corps in the NFL and give Locker a bright future. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Mock Draft – September 14 Update»

RANKNAME POSITIONSCHOOL CLASSPosition Rank
1Andrew LuckQB Stanford Junior1 
2Quinton CoplesDE North CarolinaSenior1 
3Matt Kalil T USC Junior1 
4Alshon JeffreyWR South CarolinaJunior1 
5Vontaze BurfictLB Arizona St.Junior1 
6Trent RichardsonRB Alabama Junior1 
7Jonathan MartinT Stanford Junior2 
8D.J. FlukerT Alabama rSo3 
9Landry JonesQB OklahomaJunior2 
10Justin BlackmonWR Oklahoma St.Junior2 
11Brandon JenkinsDE FSU Junior2 
12Dre KirkpatrickCB Alabama Junior1 
13Donte Paige-MossDE North CarolinaJunior3 
14Stephon GilmoreCB South CarolinaJunior2 
15Matt BarkleyQB USC Junior3 
16Michael FloydWR Notre DameSenior3 
17Jayron HosleyCB Virginia TechJunior3 
18Manti Te’oLB Notre DameJunior2 
19Jared CrickDT Nebraska Senior1 
20Alfonzo DennardCB Nebraska Senior4 
21Brandon ThompsonDT Clemson Senior2 
22Morris ClaiborneCB LSU Junior5 
23Robert LesterS Alabama Junior1 
24Luke KuechlyLB Boston CollegeJunior3 
25Janoris JenkinsCB North AlabamaSenior6 
26Lamar MillerRB Miami rSo2 
27Jeff FullerWR Texas A&MSenior4 
28David DeCastro G Stanford Junior1 
29T.J. McDonaldFS USC Junior2 
30Devin TaylorDE South CarolinaJunior4 
31Ryan LindleyQB San Diego St.Senior4 
32Vinny Curry DE Marshall Senior5 

Chase Minnifield holds strong at 44 in our latest 2012 NFL Draft prospect rankings

Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings – Updated September 13»

What We Learned (So Far) from Week One

Posted by Brad On September - 12 - 20115 COMMENTS

Cam Newton dazzled in his debut against Arizona...in a loss

1.  Cam Newton is special

Cam put on a display in his rookie debut and looked impressive doing it.  There will be two sides to this debate:  Those that say it was against a bad defense and only one game and those that claim that he’s the second coming.  I will say, rookie quarterbacks shouldn’t throw for 400 yards in debut games even against the worst of defenses.  Cam had pinpoint accuracy for much of the day and displayed excellent control of the offense.  Clearly, Cam took the criticism personal and is working on becoming a special player.  I was critical of Cam coming out of college but he’s one of those guys that is just a football player and playmaker and that was on display on Sunday afternoon.

2.  Green Bay is who we thought they were

Repeating in the NFL is a tough thing to do but Green Bay appears poised to do so after their week one performance against the NFC powerhouse New Orleans Saints.  Aaron Rodgers was spectacular and the defense actually played well despite getting run up by the Saints.  The Saints boast the second best offense in the NFL…next to the Packers. 

3.  The Detroit Lions are for real

Matthew Stafford was spectacular against a very good Tampa Bay defense and their defense held Josh Freeman and Co. in check all day.  If Stafford stays healthy this statline (305 yards and 3 TD’s) could become the norm on the way into Playoffs. Read the rest of this entry » «What We Learned (So Far) from Week One»