"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Ryan Steed"

Could Ryan Steed break into the first round? Rob Rang of CBS Sports thinks its a possibility

We are one week out from the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.  Lucas Oil Stadium will be packed with NFL talent evaluators looking to sink their meat hooks into the next rare find.  You see, NFL scouts are type A personalities.  Finding the value in Andrew Luck is just not good enough for these guys.  Luck is the surest of sure things.  Most of these guys will be watching for the next Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.  That guy from a lesser known school that turns heads with his outlandish physical gifts.

Cromartie went from relative unknown to first-round pick in a matter of a couple months.  Most will attribute his rise to fame with his incredible performances in the pre-draft process.  The reality is that the Arizona Cardinals didn’t make their decision to select Cromartie with the 16th pick in 2008 based on those performances but rather some grainy tape from Tennessee State.  Read the rest of this entry » «Could 2012 be the year of the small-school corner?»

**This version will not include any trades.  The trades took the focus off the actual picks and at this point it’s tough to accurately predict anything without free agency.  I have enacted a no trade clause until after the free agency period.  With the Combine a little more than a week away, things are beginning to take shape.  As always, leave your insightful feedback in the comments section.

Indianapolis Colts : Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Scouting Report

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  After a 2-14 season, the Colts have needs all over the field.  The first pick is a virtual lock, so I won’t bother addressing the QB position.  Their top needs look to be in the defensive backfield at CB and the SS position.  With Jerraud Powers and Antoine Bethea the only core players amongst the DB’s it will be imperative that the Colts find some help in this area.  With Jeff Saturday exploring retirement the center position could become a major need area especially if they have a rookie QB under center (even if it is Andrew Luck).  The Colts will have to "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Andrew Luck"monitor free agency very carefully as they have a ton of expiring contracts.  With both Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon as potential free agents, they could be looking for WR help somewhere along the way.  Look for the Colts to address the guard spot at some point and it may be early if someone falls to them.  The Indy coaching staff is taking shape with former Baltimore DC Chuck Pagano assuming HC duties and Bruce Arians taking over as OC.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The Colts appear ready to move on from the Peyton Manning era in Indy.  As reluctant as some will be, it will be made easier with Andrew Luck waiting at the doorstep.

St. Louis Rams:  Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Scouting Report

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Rams were a flat out mess this season.  They couldn’t do much of anything right and towards the end of the season looked like the worst team in the NFL.  Their offensive line was  a major disappointment this season and in particular former first round pick Jason Smith at LT.  The Rams could be investing the No. 2 pick in "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Matt Kalil"another LT just three seasons removed from Smith’s selection.  He was that bad.  If Brandon Lloyd leaves town via free agency, the cupboard is bare again at WR.  They invested some mid-round picks into average receivers in 2011 but need a true No. 1.  Aside from that they will look to improve a horrific defense.  Jeff Fisher will inherit a team that can’t stop the run and needs help at DT, OLB, FS, and CB…to name a few.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  St. Louis’ offensive line was atrocious in 2011 and Jeff Fisher made it clear that they will protect their franchise QB this season.  With the addition of Kalil, the Rams can move Roger Saffold to RT and Jason Smith inside or to the bench.  The Rams No. 2 spot will be a hotbed for trade action.

Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Mock Draft: Kicking Off Mock Season Edition»

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Rounds 2 & 3

Posted by Brad On February - 15 - 201219 COMMENTS

33.  St. Louis Rams:  Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson.

St. Louis can’t stop the run but Brandon Thompson can.

34.  Indianapolis Colts:  Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

The CB depth in Indy is atrocious.  Dennard struggled at the Senior Bowl but the fact remains that he’s pretty solid and a good fit in Pagano’s defense.

35.  Minnesota Vikings:  Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

With no tackles worth taking at this point they go with a weapon for Ponder.

36.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma

TB failed to get corner help in round one so they wait for Fleming in round 2.  Fleming was impressive at the Senior Bowl and should test fairly well at the Combine.  He’s a name to watch for a late rise.

37.  Cleveland Browns:  Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

Immediate upgrade over Jayme Mitchell and beginnings of a dominant defensive line in Cleveland.

38.  Jacksonville Jaguars:  Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

Jacksonville is going to have to find a receiver in free agency.  Branch is a solid pass rusher that could fill in immediately if they lose their starting DE’s in free agency.

39.  Washington Redskins:  Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

RB is not a major need area for the Redskins after drafting two last season but the opportunity to pair Blackmon and Miller with whoever their QB winds up is too good to pass on. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Mock Draft: Rounds 2 & 3»

"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Mark Barron"

Barron will miss next week's Scouting Combine following surgery

A flood of emails came through last week regarding the health and draft stock of Alabama safety Mark Barron following double-hernia surgery.

The surgery will keep Barron from participating in next week’s NFL Scouting Combine and his status for a March 7th Pro Day is unknown.  The question remains how this will affect Barron’s draft stock if any at all.  I speculated to some of you that this would not affect his draft stock as I felt this wasn’t going to be a lingering issue and the quality/depth at safety is lacking, to say the least.

It appears we have some confirmation on my speculation.  NFLDraftScout.com cites a high-ranking team that doesn’t believe Barron’s surgery will have any impact on his draft stock.

“No. I can’t see it having any real impact on his stock,” the source said on the condition of anonymity.  “I mean, he’s got to get it healthy but he’s a damn good football player with lots of tape.  No one is going to drop him if his isn’t able to run in Indy [Combine] or at their Pro Day.”

The recovery time for double-hernia surgery is expected to take between two and four weeks.  With the Combine already ruled out, Barron’s focus will be on March 7th for Alabama’s Pro Day.  That would put him at approximately four weeks out from his surgery.  It may be a stretch to say that he will be ready to run and take part in drills at that point.  More likely he will take a pass on the Pro Day and rest on four years of solid tape from Alabama.

Barron fought through what was speculated as torn rib cartilage in the latter stages of the 2011 season, including the National Championship game.  Given what we know now, Barron may be a little tougher than you and I.

At 6’2”, 220 pounds Barron is widely considered the top safety prospect in the 2012 class.  In most books, Barron is head and shoulders above his safety competition and should be a top 32 pick in April’s draft.  After a so, so junior season Barron came on strong in 2011 to lead the Alabama defense to historic season that culminated in a National Title.

Barron finished 2011 with 66 tackles, two interceptions, a sack, and five passes broken up.  With more than a few teams looking for safety help, Barron shouldn’t make it out of day one without hearing his name called by the Commissioner.

Detroit Lions Offseason Plans

Posted by Jeff Risdon On February - 14 - 20126 COMMENTS

Jeff Risdon is a new addition to the NFL’s Future team.  Jeff boasts an impressive resume which includes covering the NFL Draft for RealGM.com

"Detroit Lions management team"

Martin Mayhew has his work cut out for him in 2012

I’ve been a Lions fan long enough that my Honolulu blue #20 jersey says “Sims” on the back and it’s not a throwback. And not since another #20 retired at the end of the last century have I been so excited and positive entering an offseason. However, the newfound glory brings about a new set of challenges for GM Martin Mayhew and his team.

For most of the past 15 years, the offseason plan has been to accumulate better talent across the board. This year is about managing the talent already here, with tough decisions about whom to keep and whom to let go. I have donned my Chris Speilman jersey and my Lions hat, and while drinking Hawaiian grog coffee from my Detroit Lions mug I shall offer my plan for keeping the team moving forward towards the goal of winning multiple playoff games in the same season. As you might know, that is a feat that has not been accomplished even once in team history.

First comes free agency. Here’s a listing by position of the Lions free agents:

QB: Shaun Hill, Drew Stanton

RB: Jerome Harrison, Maurice Morris, Kevin Smith

WR: Rashied Davis, Maurice Stovall

OL: Jeff Backus, Leonard Davis, Corey Hilliard

DL: Cliff Avril, Andre Fluellen, Sammie Lee Hill

LB: Cody Brown, Bobby Carpenter, Isaiah Ekejiuba, Ashlee Palmer, Stephen Tulloch

CB: Brandon McDonald, Eric Wright

S: Erik Coleman, Chris Harris

ST: punter Ben Graham, long snapper Don Muhlbach Read the rest of this entry » «Detroit Lions Offseason Plans»

Quinton Coples Scouting Report

Posted by Brad On February - 13 - 2012ADD COMMENTS
"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Quinton Coples"Quinton Coples

North Carolina

Ht. 6-6 Wt. 281

Pass Rush:  Quinton Coples possesses a ton of versatility as a pass rusher.  He can line up at a variety of positions and is scheme diverse.  For his size he can bend off the corner as well as most smaller ends.  He’s a powerful bull rusher that is tough to stop once he gets moving.  To loves to set up his inside moves with his speed off the edge.  He has a bevy of pass rush moves including a strong inside rip and swim move.  He doesn’t have the elite speed off the edge that teams look for in high first rounders.  He’s comparable to Da’Quan Bowers in terms of edge speed and first step. Read the rest of this entry » «Quinton Coples Scouting Report»

Ben Jones Scouting Report

Posted by Brad On February - 12 - 2012ADD COMMENTS
"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Ben Jones"Ben Jones

Georgia

Ht. 6-3 Wt. 314

Pass Blocking:  Ben Jones has a solid anchor in pass protection and can hold up against power or speed.  He mirrors well with decent short area quickness.  He was much quicker off the snap in 2011 although I would like to see him work his hands a little more efficiently.  He has a tendency to catch defenders rather than deliver the first blow.  He will have to work on extending his arms through contact to be an effective pass protector in the NFL. Read the rest of this entry » «Ben Jones Scouting Report»

Michael Brewster Scouting Report

Posted by Brad On February - 12 - 20121 COMMENT
"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Michael Brewster"Michael Brewster

Ohio State

Ht. 6-5 Wt. 305

Pass Blocking:  Michael Brewster is a four-year starter for the Buckeyes.  He has heavy hands and mirrors defenders really well.  Despite being tall for a center he gets pretty good leverage and plays with a low base.  His technique is solid with good hand placement and is sticky through contact.  He will be susceptible to the bull rush in the NFL as he doesn’t possess a real strong base.  He will get overextended and lunge into contact too often.  I counted 13 bad snaps out of the shotgun in 2011.

Run Blocking:  Brewster is an above-average athlete with solid short area quickness.  He shows solid footwork and has solid range.  He can break down in open areas and hold his own in the open field.  I can’t see him anchoring against bigger DT’s in the NFL.  Much better as a move blocker that isn’t hat on hat.  He doesn’t generate enough lower body power to push defenders in reverse.

Bottom Line:  Michael Brewster is a good athlete that lacks the lower body strength to hold up against powerful defenders in the NFL.  He really struggled his senior season as some thought of him as a first-round center prospect.  He is an experienced leader that should warrant early attention base on leadership.  He could be a starter in the NFL in short time but may never be “elite”.

Draft Projection:  3

David Molk Scouting Report

Posted by Brad On February - 12 - 20128 COMMENTS
"2012 NFL Draft prospect, David Molk"David Molk

Michigan

Ht. 6-2 Wt. 288

Pass Blocking:  David Molk has good range from his center spot.  He can mirror defenders with excellent short area quickness.  Despite his size, he is a gritty center that will fight for leverage and position.  His biggest flaw in pass protection is playing upright.  He doesn’t have the girth or base to match power and his inability to sink his hips kills him against power.  He’s a short armed center that struggles to control larger DT’s through contact.

Run Blocking:  Molk is quick off the snap with a lightning quick first step.  He gets his hands in good position quickly after the snap.  He is a good move blocker that works angles and would be an ideal fit in a zone blocking scheme.  Shows solid awareness and excels as the leader of the line making all the line calls.  He lacks the power to win in-line against NFL DT’s.  He will only appeal to teams using the ZBS because of his lack of in-line power.  He’s a much better run blocker than pass protector and excels on the move.  Read the rest of this entry » «David Molk Scouting Report»

2012 Offseason Primer: Top 50 NFL Free Agents

Posted by Brad On February - 11 - 20122 COMMENTS
"2012 NFL Free Agent, Mario Williams"

A $22 million franchise tag price, could mean Super Mario hits the open market

The 2011 offseason was marred by the NFL lockout which stripped football fans of a proper NFL free agency period. The 2012 offseason offers a ray of hope with the class of free agents stocked with big name talent.

A lot of these guys will never see the light of free agency day but its good conversation piece. In our first edition of the Offseason Primer series we released 2012 cap projections. This edition should give the fan a pretty good idea of who they want their team to spend that money on. For over half the teams in the NFL this list is irrelevant with the money or philosophy to spend big in free agency. We aren’t likely to see another Eagles-esque spending spree but there are some names that could make dollars fly out of wallets.

Here’s a look at our top 50 NFL free agents:

1. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: Keep dreaming. Brees is a lock to be re-signed or franchised by the Saints. New Orleans will look to make him a Saint for life.

2. Mario Williams, DE, Houston Texans: It’s going to cost the Texans $22 million to franchise Williams. Probably not going to happen, so he’s the prize of free agency. Williams is 27 and one of the premier pass rushers when healthy. He’s coming off a season ending knee injury but will have his choice of suitors.

3. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears: Forte was playing the best football of his young career before a season ending injury. One could make an argument that Forte is the most complete back in the NFL. I can’t see the Bears letting Forte walk, but stranger things have happened.

4. Carl Nicks, G, New Orleans Saints: Nicks is arguably the best guard in the NFL and he will be 27 next season. A big payday will be coming for Nicks and the Saints may not be able to afford him with Brees and Colston looming.

5. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens: The 25-year old will most likely be franchised by Baltimore but there’s a slim possibility that they let him walk. Real slim, like not happening slim.

6. Calais Campbell, DE, Arizona Cardinals: A see about a .0001% chance of the Cards letting Campbell test the market. He’s young with a ton of upside. No chance.

7. Cliff Avril, DE, Detroit Lions: Coming off an 11 sack 2011 season, Avril will receive a big payday in Detroit or elsewhere. Detroit is tight on the cap and will have to work at restructuring some contracts to fit Avril in.

8. Brandon Carr, CB, Kansas City Chiefs: 26-year old corner that is bordering on top corner status, will get top corner pay. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 Offseason Primer: Top 50 NFL Free Agents»