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Old 03-21-2013   #1
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Default Greg Cosell 2013 draft thread

NFL Films' and The Shutdown Corner's Greg Cosell is a highly respected talent evaluator who is not afraid to not follow the usual draftnik crowd, so I thought a thread on his insights was needed.

Cosell's latest:

His top rated QB in this admittedly weak draft is ..... Ryan Nassib, Syracuse.
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Old 03-21-2013   #2
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2012 draft thread

Not feeling the Ryan Nassib love. Looks like a backup QB to me. Maybe I'm just down on QBs out of West Chester, PA right now.
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Old 03-22-2013   #3
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2012 draft thread

I think Cosell is "out of whack".
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Old 03-23-2013   #4
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2012 draft thread

The Shutdown Corner draft podcast with Greg Cosell: Evaluating the WR/TE class

On Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson: "Patterson will be drafted high solely because of his size, and his dynamic movement. I don't think he's anywhere close to being a quality receiver in terms of the subtleties of how to run routes. In fact, he's so much quicker and more dynamic with the ball in his hands, as opposed to running routes. Running routes, he's not that dynamic, because he doesn't know how to do it yet. He needs to go to a team with a very good receivers coach, and he needs to be taught how to become a receiver."

On West Virginia WR Tavon Austin: "He may be one of my favorite players in this draft, and I spent a lot of time talking about this on Twitter the other day. I would select this kid in the top 10 or 12 in the draft, and I think that this is where the league is going. I wrote about this in my last column on Shutdown Corner. The NFL has now become a passing space league in many ways, and the conventional concepts of how to use receivers -- that's a little old-school. I think Tavon Austin fits where this league is going."

On Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins: "To me, what stood out -- I think he has excellent hands. He has a great ability to snatch the ball away from his body, and great body control. He's a very competitive guy with the ball in the air. I think he's a little straight-line in his movement, but very strong hands, and deceptive speed. I wouldn't call him a burner, but he has deceptive speed. Guys like this -- he'll obviously play in the league, and he might be very good, but he's not what I would call a smooth, fluid guy."

On Cal WR Keenan Allen: "He's a smoother accelerator than Hopkins. He's got deceptive vertical speed. Again, not a burner, but a smoother, quicker guy. What I really liked when watching him is that he's very compact in his vertical stem -- every route looked the same. I remember talking with cornerbacks years ago, when they played against Jimmy Smith, the old Jaguars receiver, who was really good. They would say that about him, and how he was so tough to defend because of that."
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Old 03-23-2013   #5
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2012 draft thread

On these receivers, I do see it the same way Cosell does.

It doesn't mean that I would take Austin over Patterson.
If I run a spread offense, I might take Austin over Keenan, though that's not a sure thing either.
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Old 04-08-2013   #6
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Default Cosell’s Take: The safety switch, Part 1

Prelude piece to draft evaluations of 2013 Safeties...

Cosell’s Take: The safety switch, Part 1

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...
This is all prelude to a discussion of the safety position, its changing nature in the NFL and the resulting impact on the value of the position in the draft. Remember the 2010 and 2011 Giants, and the “Big Nickel”? They primarily played with 3 safeties as their base and sub-package defense, with Antrel Rolle aligned over the slot versus three-wide receiver personnel. It was not something I had remembered seeing on film as a foundation defense. It was fascinating to see it develop over that two-year period.

I have always thought watching the progression of NFL offense over the last decade, both with multiple wide receiver spread concepts and two tight end personnel, that safety was an increasingly important position. It’s hard to say whether NFL teams agree or not. There have been seven safeties selected in the top 15 since 2000: Roy Williams, Sean Taylor, Donte Whitner, Laron Landry, Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, and Mark Barron. (Rolle was the eighth pick in the 2005 draft but he came out of Miami as a corner). Speculation is both fun and futile, but it’s certainly interesting to ponder whether any of those players would be chosen that high in the 2013 draft.

The larger question is, what traits are now needed to play safety at a high level in the evolving NFL...
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Old 04-09-2013   #7
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2013 draft thread

Cosell’s Take: The safety switch, Part 2

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...
In this context, the first safety I watched was Kenny Vaccaro of Texas. What initially stood out was how much he was utilized as a slot defender. He played significant snaps of man-to-man on wide receivers, including West Virginia’s Tavon Austin. Vaccaro was not the least bit overmatched versus Austin. There were many snaps in which he locked on, and stuck. He even ran down the seam with him. Vaccaro played man over the slot in every game I evaluated. Overall, he was very good at it.


Keep in mind that Vaccaro is 6’0”, 215 pounds. That’s very good size for the position. He was a smooth athlete with excellent movement skills. Not only did he display the ability to play man-to-man versus wide receivers, he also was utilized as a deep safety, both in single high coverage and 2 deep shells. In those situations, he was both fluid and active in coverage, and aggressive playing downhill in the run game. He always pressed to the ball, and demonstrated sideline-to-sideline range with outstanding play speed and a reckless attitude. He showed explosion as a tackler with natural pop. Overall, I saw Vaccaro as a multi-dimensional safety with an expansive skill set and no physical shortcomings that would limit defensive coordinators.

Then I put in the tape of Florida's Matt Elam. What a difference in body type! Unlike the long Vaccaro, Elam is short and very compact, less than 5-foot-10 and 208 pounds. But again, what immediately was apparent was he also aligned over the slot in Florida’s sub-packages, playing man-to-man just like Vaccaro. In the base defense, he played both single high and 2-deep. It was not hard to like Elam. He was active, aggressive and competitive. He covered, and he hit, with striking ability and force. He flashed explosive traits as an athletic and physical defender with multiple and interchangeable attributes to play effectively both in the box, and deep. The one concern, and it returns to what I discussed earlier, is man coverage versus tight ends. That’s where his lack of height comes into play. Elam is one of several players whose draft position I am anxious to see. Will teams see him as a Bob Sanders type player whose overall impact outweighs his potential coverage limitation? My guess is, yes.

With that in mind, my two favorite safeties to watch on film were Jonathan Cyprien of Florida International, and South Carolina’s DJ Swearinger. They likely won’t be the first two safeties drafted (although you never know), but that’s not my point. And by the way, they both will be NFL starters and quality players, maybe even as rookies.

Let’s start with Cyprien. The first thing I noticed when I plugged in the tape was his size and muscle definition. His dimensions are very similar to Vaccaro’s, but Cyprien just looks bigger and more defined. I said to myself, He’s a big dude. What really stood out was he played the game fast, with velocity, passion and tenacity. There’s no question there were times he was over-aggressive and reckless, although overall he played with an efficient mix of ferocity and control. Given his height – over six-foot – and his physique, he exhibited surprising (to me, anyway, since I had not seen him on television and knew little about his game before my tape study) athleticism, with excellent change of direction and closing speed.

Even as a deep defender, Cyprien showed a very smooth back pedal, with the ability to plant and drive with burst and speed. I must admit I did not expect that. And his range as a single high safety, with his size and stride length, was outstanding. He made an interception against Louisville that was as good as any I have seen this off-season breaking down college tape. He back pedaled as the single deep safety, at the same time reading quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater kept his head in the middle of the field, just as he was taught. Then he turned and delivered to the right sideline, about 20 yards down the field. Cyprien showed tremendous anticipation, range and speed to get to the boundary and make the interception. It was an extraordinary play.

I could see Cyprien becoming the best safety in this draft class three or four years down the road. If not, how about Swearinger? Forget about the 40 time. Those who focus on his timed speed miss the overall package. This kid played fast and decisively. There was a snap to his movement. He trusted his eyes, and he attacked aggressively. He showed excellent balance and body control breaking down to tackle in space. He competed with an edge. I loved his playing personality. He was clearly the tempo-setter for the South Carolina defense.

Here’s why I believe Swearinger transitions very well to the NFL. He played every position in the Gamecocks’ secondary. He has significant experience at safety, both deep and in the box, slot corner and outside corner. He played man-to-man against Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter both outside and in the slot, and he ran with Hunter. You know what really stood out when he played man, especially over the slot; he understood how to play to his safety help over the top. He undercut routes, taking away the throwing lane for the quarterback. That’s great awareness. I do not often see that with college defensive backs.

Swearinger’s position versatility fits the NFL game. You don’t have to project. It’s all there on tape. With the myriad responsibilities that safeties now must perform, and that coordinators need them to execute to game plan a fully dimensional defense, the adaptability of a player like Swearinger is critical in the constantly changing world of NFL offense.
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Old 04-09-2013   #8
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2013 draft thread

Nothing new here.
Quin has been playing that position for us.

In the regular line-up and in the nickel package, he mostly play SS, and often comes down in the box as the Rover.

When we go with the dime package, another LB is taken out (replaced by a third safety - Demps/Keo). Quin mostly align in the position of the LB being replaced.
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Old 04-12-2013   #9
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2013 draft thread

The ‘Cosell Doctorine’, Part 1: Wild-card receivers set the tone more than ever

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There are two players in this year’s NFL draft that I find compelling in so many ways. Both are wide receivers: Cordarrelle Patterson and Tavon Austin. Each is fascinating as an individual prospect, with explosive athleticism and multi-dimensional skills that mesmerize and captivate. Even for an old tape hound like me who rarely gets excited with the remote in my hand, evaluating Patterson and Austin was a lot of fun. There were many times I found myself audibly saying ”Wow”; believe me, that does not happen too often when I’m watching tape.

In certain respects, Patterson and Austin were similar; in other ways, they were different. The most visible distinction was size: Patterson is almost 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds; Austin is just over 5-foot-8 and weighs in at 173 pounds. The similarities were a function of utilization and talent; both aligned all over the formation, including in the backfield, and each possesses an extraordinary combination of flash quickness, lateral explosion, stop and start acceleration and top end speed. Both are live wires with the ball in their hands: shifty, elusive and unpredictable, with the ability to turn routine plays into impact, game changing masterpieces. Was there a better singular performance this past college season than...
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Old 04-16-2013   #10
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2013 draft thread

The ‘Cosell Doctorine,’ Pt. 2: Ranking the receivers is an impossible task

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...let’s look at Keenan Allen from California. Allen has excellent size at 6’2” and 206 pounds. He fits the “Joker” profile I described. He has extensive experience both outside and in the slot, and is more than capable of being an effective weapon out of the backfield, given his punt return background and his strong run-after-catch ability. More often than not he looked like a big running back with the ball in his hands. One thing I really liked about Allen was that he had a very compact vertical stem, making every route initially look the same. Corners will always tell you that that presents problems because there is no tell, no indication of what the route might be.
Allen is a fluid route runner with excellent quickness in-and-out of breaks. As I mentioned, he was very efficient with free access off the line of scrimmage, but he also showed the quick feet to defeat press man coverage, with the kind of short space burst and explosiveness that’s needed. He had a wide catching radius, consistently displaying the ability to snatch the ball with his hands, and away from his body. Many might see him more as a short to intermediate receiver, but I evaluated him as a smooth accelerator with deceptive speed, if not timed speed, and the ability to get on top of corners. Watching Allen reminded me of a pretty darn good NFL receiver when he came out of college in 2001 as the 30th overall pick in that draft: Reggie Wayne.

There are three receivers in this draft that have somewhat similar traits, and I liked each one of them on tape: DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson, Kansas State’s Chris Harper and Tennessee Tech’s Da’rick Rogers, who led the SEC in receptions at the University of Tennessee in 2011. All three are big bodies: Harper is the shortest at 6’1¾”, and Hopkins weighs the least at 214 pounds. They each attacked the ball, and they consistently made contested catches with excellent timing, body flexibility and strong hands. They were very competitive with the ball in the air. In that sense, they were reminiscent of Anquan Boldin. By the way, Boldin ran a 4.7 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine in 2003. That has not seemed to negatively impact his NFL career.

Rogers was the most surprising to me. Not only did I look at his Tennessee Tech tape, but I went back and evaluated his SEC tape the year before, including a fascinating slot matchup with LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu. It was a matchup Rogers dominated with his utilitarian combination of size, strength, aggression, short area quickness, and run-after-catch. The more I studied Rogers, the more I liked him. He played with an edge, demonstrating physicality, toughness and competitiveness. What I kept seeing was deceptive acceleration as a route runner. He did not have top end, or long speed, but he understood how to use his vertical stem to break down, or close the yardage cushion that existed at the snap of the ball between his alignment and the corner. That allowed him to get on top of corners and beat them deep. It’s a subtlety of route running that I saw from Rogers on a consistent basis.

Rogers, Harper and Hopkins raise fascinating questions about the value of wide receivers that would not, based purely on attributes, project as number one receivers, like a Calvin Johnson or an A.J. Green. Again, value is a word that’s freely tossed around this time of year, as if it’s more important when a player is drafted as opposed to what seems to me to be the whole point of the draft, which is to acquire good players who will improve your roster and your team. I would not have a problem with any of the three being chosen in the second round, or even late in the first, for a team that needs a receiver, such as the Houston Texans or the Baltimore Ravens. Again, the academic discussion of “value” has no meaning when it’s week six of the regular season and you’re lacking quality receivers, which handicaps your quarterback in a passing league, and thus limits your ability to win.

Two more receivers that intrigued me were Aaron Dobson of Marshall, and Aaron Mellette from Elon University. Again, both are big, which clearly seems to be an increasing trend as the game evolves. The 6’2½”, 217 pound Mellette carries the small school label, immediately diminishing his value in the eyes of many. His three year domination at a Division I-AA school is routinely dismissed due to the dreaded “level of competition” moniker, the ultimate cross to bear. I went back to 2011, when Elon played Vanderbilt. You may recall that Casey Hayward was on that Commodore team. Lo and behold, he had a difficult time with Mellette’s impressive mix of size, hands, and plus athleticism. Overall, Mellette gives you a lot to work with, with his size/movement combination.

Dobson, at 6’3” and 210 pounds, was a strong blend of size and fluid movement. He was quicker than fast, regardless of his outstanding 4.42 40 time at his recent pro day. Yet, like many tall wide receivers, his height and stride length generated deceptive speed on vertical routes. What continually stood out the more I evaluated Dobson were his vice grip hands, and his body control and flexibility to adjust to the ball in the air, resulting in both contested and difficult catches. He’s not quite Larry Fitzgerald (few are, plus Fitzgerald’s play speed is a lot faster than people think; just talk to NFL corners), but I saw some similar traits in Dobson. A year ago, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright and A.J. Jenkins were all selected in the first round. Are they significantly better NFL prospects than Dobson, Rogers, Hopkins and Harper? I would argue they are not.

I will end with Justin Hunter from Tennessee, the most physically talented wide receiver prospect in this draft class. He is, without question, the most explosive as a route runner with his long body (6’4”), route fluidity, vertical speed and playmaking ability at the catch point. Like every receiver entering the NFL, he is not a finished product. (Sometimes we forget that). He displayed inconsistent hands, with too many easy drops. And the lingering effects of his 2011 ACL injury, likely more mental than physical, cannot be dismissed in any evaluation. But he has legitimate acceleration and vertical explosion that clearly projects to the NFL, and it will impact games.

Hunter is the most intriguing receiver on the board. The tape shows you how he moves: he’s smooth, supple and explosive. He looks like AJ Green with his body type and his fluid strides. He’s not the receiver at this point that Green was coming out of Georgia two years ago, but if Hunter develops and grows as a professional, always a question with all but a few prospects, he has a chance to be a Pro Bowl player. I’ve talked to some who see Randy Moss comparisons. Regardless, there are not many with his height, length and movement. I’d be surprised if his name wasn’t called on the first night.

The common thread with all the wide receivers I’ve touched on: size. It’s a fascinating dichotomy that is now crystallizing in the NFL. Smaller receivers have increased value due to the expansion of the multi-dimensional “Joker”, the player who can align anywhere in the formation. On the other hand, bigger wideouts provide matchup problems for smaller corners on the outside. The NFL has always been cyclical. Is offense a step of the defense right now? Defensive coaches think so.
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Old 04-23-2013   #11
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2013 draft thread

Cosell hates mock drafts, as he only rates players versus guessing picks. But they make him do one, and here it is. Makes for a good first round draft guide by someone who bases his opinions only on film study:

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1. Kansas City Chiefs: My pick here is Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher. He and Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel have very similar skill sets, but I like Fisher a little more. The Alex Smith trade was the impetus for this selection. Andy Reid acquired Smith to solidify the quarterback position. Smith is an efficient, system player who does not turn the ball over. The objective was not to lose games because of your quarterback. That’s the Smith factor. It makes little sense to make that trade, structure your offense that way, and then not address your OL, especially when you have Jamal Charles in the backfield.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: The next best player on the board is Luke Joeckel. And it just so happens to be at a position of serious need for the Jaguars. As of this writing, they do not have a RT. Right now, their quarterbacks are Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. Neither can function without a high quality OL. Just like Fisher, the strength of Joeckel’s game is repetitive execution more than elite athleticism and movement. What always stood out watching Joeckel (and Fisher) on tape was he never seemed to be off balance. He was comfortable, composed and economical on every play. If I were to make a comparison, I would say Joeckel is a smoother mover than Jake Long when he came out of Michigan as the number one overall pick, but not as naturally fluid as Ryan Clady, who was the 12th pick in the same 2008 draft.

3. Oakland Raiders: This selection is easy. It’s defensive tackle Shariff Floyd of Florida, one of my favorite players to evaluate on tape. Forget about the fact the Raiders do not have a starting quality DT on their present roster. Floyd is worthy under any circumstances. You talk to outstanding defensive tackles like Warren Sapp, and they talk about hips. Floyd has very loose hips. He’s lively and limber, with great balance and body control. He played both through and around blocks. He’s what I call a tackle-for-loss DT, disruptive with an explosive closing burst. He transitions best as a classic 3-technique in a four-man line, but he would be equally effective as a DE in 1-gap 3-4 front.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: This is where the defensive player that intrigues me the most comes off the board. That’s Oregon DE/OLB Dion Jordan. I was fortunate to be on the field at the Scouting Combine, and to watch this 6-foot-6, 250-pounder move was a revelation. He looked like a wide receiver. On film, he was naturally athletic, very smooth and fluid, and surprisingly explosive given his length. At Oregon this past season, he primarily played in space, which he did exceptionally well. I had to study a lot of games to get a feel for his pass rush skills. They were impressive, and I believe he will become a very good edge rusher in the NFL. He showed the ability to get low and bend the edge with the needed flexibility to succeed against quality NFL offensive tackles. There’s much to like about Jordan, and he’s just scratching the surface. Want a comparison? How about Jason Taylor.

5. Detroit Lions: Let’s start with two questions - What is a greater position of need for the Lions, OT or CB? Which of those two positions has the higher rated player? For me, it’s OT. My pick is Oklahoma LT Lane Johnson. Johnson is still a work in progress due to his lack of experience at the position, but he improved steadily as the 2012 season progressed. He has all the traits you look for in an NFL LT: he’s light on his feet, he’s agile, he’s a natural knee bender, he has long arms, and he’s competitive. He plays LT, Riley Reiff is your RT, and you are set at the position for years. Your franchise quarterback, Matthew Stafford, will be well protected.

6. Cleveland Browns: I’m selecting Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert. Conventional wisdom says TE is not a position you take in the top ten. Two tight ends have been taken in the top ten in this decade, both at number six: Kellen Winslow in 2004, and Vernon Davis in 2006. I have written extensively about the increased value of the “Joker” TE in today’s NFL, and have talked to many defensive coordinators who have told me that matching up to “12” personnel (one back, two tight ends, and two wide receivers) is a real problem. Eifert is the most athletic TE in this draft class. I saw him split outside the numbers many times, and beat corners on vertical routes. Two things to keep in mind: Rob Chudzinski was the OC in Cleveland in 2007 when Winslow had 82 catches for 1,106 yards (the Browns won the AFC North that season), and new OC Norv Turner is a master at utilizing the TE, most recently Antonio Gates, but you can go all the way back to Jay Novacek with the Cowboys in the early 1990s.

7. Arizona Cardinals: West Virginia WR Tavon Austin. Most know at this point how I feel about Austin. Here’s how I described him in a previous column:
He aligned all over the formation, including in the backfield, and possesses an extraordinary combination of flash quickness, lateral explosion, stop and start acceleration and top end speed. He’s a live wire with the ball in his hands: shifty, elusive and unpredictable, with the ability to turn routine plays into impact, game changing masterpieces.
Now think about new head coach Bruce Arians. Last year in Indianapolis, he had rookie T.Y. Hilton, at 5-foot-9 and 183 pounds. Hilton played 61 percent of the Colts' snaps, had 861 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. In addition, he averaged almost 12 yards per punt return, with another touchdown. Prior to that with the Steelers, Arians featured 5-foot-10, 186-pound Antonio Brown. In 2011, Arians last year in Pittsburgh, Brown had 69 catches for 1108 yards. Austin is more versatile, and more explosive than both Brown and Hilton.

8. Buffalo Bills: LSU DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo makes perfect sense for the Bills. They do not have a pass rusher at the linebacker position, and new DC Mike Pettine, formerly of the Jets, feature scheme multiplicity with athletic players who can align in different spots. Mingo flashed explosive traits, and the kind of closing speed you cannot teach. He’s a work in progress, not yet close to a finished product. He did not show elite body flexibility, with the ability to bend the edge. He needs an NFL weight room. But you put on the Clemson tape, and you see the kind of burst and speed that can impact games.

9. New York Jets: The pick here is my number one guard in the draft, North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper. As I mentioned with Floyd, Cooper was also one of my favorite players to evaluate. He was as purely athletic as any guard I can remember studying. He had remarkably light feet for a 310-pound man, with such ease of movement. As a puller in the run game, he had extraordinary balance and body control. You know what I liked the most: he was a tenacious competitor, with a nasty streak. He looked to initiate contact whenever possible. He was fun to watch, the kind of player that will be a tempo setter for an offensive line. Everybody is focusing on defense with the Jets, but their offense is worse than poor, and in my mock, Cooper is the best player available.

10. Tennessee Titans: The next best offensive guard on the board is Alabama's Chance Warmack. The Titans are trying to manage and manipulate an erratic Jake Locker with a consistent and sustaining running game. That’s why they signed Shonn Greene to complement Chris Johnson, and underrated OG Andy Levitre. Warmack is an outstanding prospect, with excellent core strength and a powerful lower body. Overall, he showed a very desirable combination of size, strength and athleticism. What really stood out for a man with his squatty build was his movement in space, his ability to strike a moving target with balance and body control. In addition, he had unyielding anchor strength in pass protection. Warmack and Cooper: two of the best OG prospects we have seen in recent years.

11. San Diego Chargers: The best combination of size, speed and athleticism at linebacker in this draft is Georgia's Alec Ogletree. He has no athletic limitations -- he’s field-fast with sideline-to-sideline range and speed. He consistently showed explosive traits both as a run defender and in pass coverage. The concern is play recognition, or what most refer to as instincts. He needs to become quicker and more decisive with his reactions, especially in the run game. There were times he was too hesitant, or too passive. But the bottom line is Ogletree is long and athletic with outstanding movement, a classic run-and-chase linebacker in a game increasingly defined by the passing game.

12. Miami Dolphins: Here’s where my top corner comes of the board. That would be D.J. Hayden of Houston. He’s the most physically gifted corner in this draft class. As I wrote in a recent column, “Cornering the Market”, Hayden has the most complete and impressive combination of sudden movement, change of direction, the ability to effectively play both press man and off coverage zone, a challenging and competitive playing temperament, and as an added dimension, his willingness to support in the run game with aggression. No corner has a more fluid and compact backpedal, with balance, body control and the quickest feet of any prospect in the draft.

13. New York Jets: My pick is Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones. I believe that Jones is the most ready of all the potential 3-4 outside linebackers in this draft. Ignore the 40 yard dash time. Put on the tape. Jones is a fluid athlete with sudden movement and quick change of direction. He showed body flexibility as a pass rusher, with excellent closing speed. I also liked his ability to transition from speed to power as a pass rusher. He got underneath the pads of bigger OL, and drove them back into the quarterback. You know who he reminded me of at times: Terrell Suggs, another player who ran a supposedly slow 40 when he came out of Arizona State. Remember Rex Ryan was in Baltimore with for the first six years of Suggs’ career.

14. Carolina Panthers: Again, you have a team with a glaring need at a specific position, and a terrific prospect who can fill the void. Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, along with Sharrif Floyd, is one of the two most athletic interior defensive linemen in this draft. What I saw when I watched his tape was initial quickness, active and light feet, strong and at times violent hands, and outstanding overall athleticism. There was a sudden and explosive element to his game; he was quick in everything he did. And I loved his effort and competitiveness. He made many plays in pursuit, showing the kind of range you don’t normally see from defensive tackles. Like Floyd, he transitions best to the NFL as a one gap “3 technique” with dominant traits, and the potential to be a disruptive penetrator and double digit sacker.

15. New Orleans Saints: My pick here is Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. Lotulelei, based on overall skill set, could have easily been selected higher in my mock. He has a very impressive combination of size, strength, athleticism and competitiveness. He had light feet, ease of movement, strong hands. There were times I conjured up the word nimble to describe Star’s movement. I would not call him explosive in the same manner I would Shariff Floyd or Sheldon Richardson, but Lotulelei was stronger with the ability to shoot his hands with power. He’s not a true inside pass rusher, but he has the attributes to develop into an effective rusher due to his athleticism and strength. In an ideal Rob Ryan defense, which places a premium on both position and scheme versatility, Lotulelei is a perfect fit.

16. St. Louis Rams: Who will run the ball for the Rams? How about Alabama running back Eddie Lacy? St. Louis can't play effective offense without a consistent running game. I don’t do discussions of “value”. Those philosophical conversations don’t have any meaning for coaches in the middle of the season when they are trying to win games. There are arguably three backs in this draft that are foundation / feature backs: Eddie Lacy, Le’veon Bell and possibly Montee Ball. Lacy is easily the best of the three, and without question, one of the 20 best players in this draft. He’s my pick for the Rams. He’s a decisive and powerful downhill runner with deceptively quick feet and short area burst. He’s a move the chains sustainer who was very effective in confined space. The only question with Lacy, and it’s a legitimate one, is, does he have the mindset and mentality to be a foundation back. He did not truly fill that role for Alabama. There’s no question, however, he has the physical attributes. By the way, I’d rather have Lacy and DJ Swearinger than Kenny Vaccaro and Bell.
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Old 04-23-2013   #12
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2013 draft thread

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17. Pittsburgh Steelers: The pick is Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, my number two rated corner. Milliner is a very comfortable press man corner with smooth balance and body control. In Alabama’s defense, he often aligned to the boundary, or the short side of the field. He was very aggressive as a run defender, and he was an aggressive blitzer. In those two areas, he reminded me of Stephon Gilmore coming out of South Carolina a year ago. In an era in which wide receivers are trending bigger, the 6-foot-0, 201 pound Milliner provides the size that’s increasingly demanded. Remember, the Steelers play Cincinnati, Baltimore and Cleveland each twice. They must match up to bigger receivers with AJ Green, Torrey Smith, and Josh Gordon. Milliner can do that. He’s both short area quick with excellent change of direction and transition, and fast enough to run vertically with the needed top end speed. And in Nick Saban and Kirby Smart’s Crimson Tide defense, he has experience with multiple coverage concepts.

18. Dallas Cowboys: Do the Cowboys have a healthy starting caliber safety on their roster? Here’s where extreme need intersects with talent, and an outstanding prospect: Safety Kenny Vaccaro of Texas. Vaccaro is 6-foot-0, 215 pounds. That’s very good size for the position. He’s a smooth athlete with excellent movement skills. Not only did he display the ability to play man-to-man versus wide receivers, he also was utilized as a deep safety, both in single high coverage and two deep shells. In those situations, he was both fluid and active in coverage, and aggressive playing downhill in the run game. He always pressed to the ball, and demonstrated sideline-to-sideline range with outstanding play speed and a reckless attitude. He showed explosion as a tackler with natural pop. Overall, I saw Vaccaro as a multi-dimensional safety with an expansive skill set and no physical shortcomings that would limit new DC Monte Kiffin.

19. New York Giants: Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah of BYU. I know for many he’s a top-five player in this draft. They see the natural athleticism, the size/speed combination and the rare arm length, and intuitively project "big-time player." That may happen. By means of comparison, Ansah did not show the kind of pass rush skills that Jason Pierre-Paul displayed at South Florida, and Pierre-Paul was seen as exceedingly raw. Ansah is not close to being a finished product, but he competed on every play, and he showed the ability to maneuver his body in almost any position necessary. His size, body type and movement profile best at DE, but I can easily see him aligned inside at DT in sub-package situations. Ansah is a fascinating prospect who needs to be taught much as a pass rusher, so there’s a significant leap of faith, but the movement and motor are there.

20: Chicago Bears: I’m selecting D.J. Fluker, the mammoth right tackle from Alabama. Fluker impressed more and more every time I evaluated him. I looked at a lot of Alabama games, and I must admit I initially thought Fluker was best suited to move inside to OG. And by the way, I believe strongly he would be an All-Pro OG, right from the start. The more I watched, the more I felt he could develop into a very good NFL RT. I saw a powerful and imposing player whose run blocking was outstanding. I loved the way he kept his feet moving on contact, sustaining blocks. Fluker is a work in progress in pass protection. At times he can be a little slow out of his stance, and choppy in his pass set. Those are concerns that need to be addressed with hard coaching. They will be with Marc Trestman and his staff. And keep in mind that Trestman’s passing game features shorter drops, with the ball coming out quicker. The bottom line, however, is Fluker’s overall size/movement package is hard to find.

21: Cincinnati Bengals: Here’s where one of my favorite players in the draft comes off the board. It’s safety Jonathan Cyprien of Florida International. I loved this kid on film. The first thing I noticed when I plugged in the tape was his size and muscle definition. His dimensions are very similar to Vaccaro’s, but Cyprien just looks bigger and more defined. What really stood out was he played the game fast, with velocity, passion and tenacity. There’s no question there were times he was over-aggressive and reckless, although overall he played with an efficient mix of ferocity and control. Given his height – over 6-foot-0 – and his physique, he exhibited surprising athleticism, with excellent change of direction and closing speed. As a deep defender, Cyprien showed a very smooth back pedal, with the ability to plant and drive with burst and speed. His range as a single high safety, with his size and stride length, was outstanding. He made an interception against Louisville that was as good as any I have seen this off-season breaking down college tape.

22. St. Louis Rams: I’m selecting defensive tackle Sylvester Williams from North Carolina, another player whose game impressed the more I watched. This is a draft with some very athletic defensive tackles, and Williams fits that profile. What I really liked was he improved significantly as the season progressed. Early in the fall, he did not always play to his athleticism. He absolutely did later in the season. Williams showed excellent initial quickness with the balance, body control and closing burst to finish. He showed quick and active hands to both strike and swim. He played multiple positions along the Tar Heels defensive front, so he brings both position and scheme versatility. I see him best as a one gap penetrator, but he can be equally as effective as a two gap DT.

23. Minnesota Vikings: This is where the offensive player that intrigues me the most comes off the board. That’s Justin Hunter, the Tennessee receiver. Hunter has a very similar body type to AJ Green: long, lithe and sinewy. Relax, I am not saying he’s Green at this point. But Hunter is the most explosive outside receiver in this draft class with his size/speed combination. He’s 6-foot-4, and there are not many with his height, length and movement. He showed the kind of vertical acceleration that impacts games. With free access, he ate up ground in a heartbeat, lifting the top off the coverage. The concern as he transitions is his inconsistent hands. He must catch the ball more consistently. But no WR has Hunter’s mix of size, fluidity, speed and explosion.

24. Indianapolis Colts: My pick is Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes played boundary corner in Florida State’s defense. He was predominantly a press man corner; he was competitive and challenging. He had some balance and footwork issues that can be coached and cleaned up. There were times I felt he was a little tight hipped and stiff in his transition when he turned and ran versus vertical routes. Yet, as with Milliner, in an era in which bigger wide receivers are more widespread, Rhodes, at 6-foot-1 1/2 and 210 pounds, brings the size and physicality that’s needed. There’s no question Rhodes needs work in zone coverage awareness and discipline, not having played a lot of it in college. But overall, he has a very intriguing blend of size, length and physicality. He would give the Colts and Chuck Pagano two very good press man corners, teaming with Vontae Davis.

25. Minnesota Vikings: My favorite overall linebacker in this draft is Arthur Brown from Kansas State. He’s not as athletically gifted as Alec Ogletree but at this point he’s a more consistent player. Brown is an active, athletic, movement LB with some quick twitch to his game. He showed excellent agility and change of direction. As a tackler, he was sudden and explosive, with short area burst and striking ability. What I really liked was his ability to fight through blocks, work through traffic and take the most direct path to the ball. He trusted what he saw, showed excellent play recognition and was decisive with his reactions.

26. Green Bay Packers: My pick is defensive lineman Datone Jones of UCLA. In some ways, Jones reminded me of Richard Seymour when Seymour came out of Georgia in 2001. Seymour was a bigger man at 315 pounds, which of course enhanced his value significantly; it was one of the reasons he was the sixth pick in the draft. Jones is 280 pounds but his overall skill set is somewhat similar. I would describe Jones as a chameleon. By that I mean he played both bigger and smaller than his 280 pounds. He showed outstanding short area quickness with both explosion and power. He was very effective as a gap penetrator. He was active and disruptive, and strong and powerful. He has great position and scheme versatility, with the attributes to play 3-4 DE, 4-3 DE and 4-3 DT. My sense is he’d be most effective in a one-gap scheme. One final point: I believe he will develop into a better pass rusher in the NFL than he was in college.

27. Houston Texans: Again, this is a clear example of need and talent intersecting. I select receiver Keenan Allen from California. Many see Allen as purely a short to intermediate receiver due to his size (6-foot-2, 206 pounds) and lack of explosive speed. I saw much more than that. He’s a smooth accelerator with deceptive vertical burst. He’s very fluid, quick in-and-out of breaks. He had a wide catching radius, consistently snatching the ball with his hands. He handled press coverage very well, with both quickness and strength. You do not see that very often with college receivers. Something else you don’t see frequently in college, and it’s so critical in the NFL, is the ability to make every route look the same off the line of scrimmage. Allen did that with his compact vertical stem. NFL corners will tell you it’s very difficult to read routes when that’s the case. How about this for a comparison: Reggie Wayne, who was the 30th player chosen in the 2001 draft. By the way Wayne was the sixth WR selected that year. Remember the top 5: David Terrell, Koren Robinson, Rod Gardner, Santana Moss and Freddie Mitchell.

28. Denver Broncos: I’m going with defensive end Cornellius "Tank" Carradine from Florida State. I know he’s coming off an ACL injury, but I really liked Carradine on film, more so than his teammate Bjorn Werner. He was a more fluid, flexible athlete than Werner, with a broader skill set and better overall attributes. Carradine possesses size, length, flexibility and excellent movement. He was not a classic bend the edge, get low pass rusher; there are not many of those. If he was, I’d be talking about him as a top ten pick. But he showed the ability to transition from speed to power, and he had the kind of closing burst you look for. What stood out on film was his playing personality; he always pressed to the ball. He’s the most active DE in this draft class. He ran down Florida QB Jeff Driskel after a 31-yard run that was as impressive as any play you’ll see by a DE. There’s no question he has to get stronger, but it’s much easier to do that than make a player more athletic or more competitive.

29. New England Patriots: This is where Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson comes off my board. He’s a multi-dimensional weapon that can align anywhere in the formation, including the backfield, which he did at Tennessee. He is dynamic with the ball in his hands: shifty, elusive and explosive. He has open field movement ability that you cannot teach. And remember, he’s 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds. My guess is Bill Belichick will figure out a way to utilize him effectively. But don’t lose sight of the fact that Patterson has much work to do as receiver. At this point, he is not as quick and explosive as a route runner as he is with the ball in his hands. He’s more measured and methodical. He has little sense of the pace and tempo of route running, and how to set up and beat corners. But he has the athletic traits you look for; in addition, he showed good hands, and a willingness to make tough catches in the middle of the field.

30. Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons select my fourth-rated corner: Jamar Taylor of Boise State. Taylor was one of the smoothest corners I evaluated, an easy mover with very fluid change of direction and transition skills. He was predominantly the boundary corner at Boise State, and he played significant snaps of both press man, and off coverage man and zone. He showed the ability to mirror in press position, and then flip his hips and turn and run. He was a deceptive accelerator running with vertical routes. What really stood out was his fluidity in off coverage. He may have been the best I watched planting and driving with closing burst and speed. Taylor has a complete skill set to be a very good outside corner, but he also can move inside and play over the slot. As the boundary corner in college, he blitzed on occasion, and he was very good at it, showing the necessary closing speed.

31: San Francisco 49ers: Here’s where another player I very much liked on film comes off my board: defensive tackle Jesse Williams of Alabama. I’ll just start by saying I did not see a large difference between Williams and Star Lotulelei the more I watched each player. Williams aligned at multiple DL positions for the Crimson Tide, including “3 technique”, a position normally associated with athleticism and explosiveness. He played with excellent leverage and strength; he had a powerful lower body. What really jumped off the screen was his movement; again, I will use the word nimble. Williams had incredibly light and athletic feet for a man almost 6-foot-4 and 320-plus pounds. He dominated the LSU offensive line with his outstanding combination of core strength and short-area quickness. There was a lot to like about Williams, and he is nowhere close to being a finished product given his lack of football experience.

32. Baltimore Ravens: The final pick in the first round is Kevin Minter, the LSU linebacker. Minter is the kind of player you like the more you watch him. He’s not a top athlete for the position so he doesn’t immediately stand out with his movement. But he’s very active, very competitive. His play recognition was consistently good, his reactions were decisive, and he always pressed to the ball. Like Arthur Brown, Minter showed the ability to work through the bodies in front of him, and efficiently find the ball. A smooth inside mover with the ability to scrape and flow and make tackles in the run game. And he was deceptive with his overall movement; as I said, he was not an explosive athlete, but he is field fast and showed sideline-to-sideline range. He was also very good in pass coverage. He can run the middle hole in zone, and he can lock up man-to-man, even at times against wide receivers. I saw him run the seam with Arkansas WR Cobi Hamilton, and he was stride-for-stride.
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Old 04-23-2013   #13
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2013 draft thread

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27. Houston Texans: Again, this is a clear example of need and talent intersecting. I select receiver Keenan Allen from California. Many see Allen as purely a short to intermediate receiver due to his size (6-foot-2, 206 pounds) and lack of explosive speed. I saw much more than that. He’s a smooth accelerator with deceptive vertical burst. He’s very fluid, quick in-and-out of breaks. He had a wide catching radius, consistently snatching the ball with his hands. He handled press coverage very well, with both quickness and strength. You do not see that very often with college receivers. Something else you don’t see frequently in college, and it’s so critical in the NFL, is the ability to make every route look the same off the line of scrimmage. Allen did that with his compact vertical stem. NFL corners will tell you it’s very difficult to read routes when that’s the case. How about this for a comparison: Reggie Wayne, who was the 30th player chosen in the 2001 draft. By the way Wayne was the sixth WR selected that year. Remember the top 5: David Terrell, Koren Robinson, Rod Gardner, Santana Moss and Freddie Mitchell.
That kinda makes my ears red! The more I read and YouTube this guy he's slowly making my DeAndre Hopkins want go away. If he can stay healthy, why not?

I know a lot of folks were high on him from the git-go. It's taken me a while to come around.

Does everyone who liked him early-on still like him as much? (did that make sense?)
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Old 04-23-2013   #14
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2013 draft thread

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Originally Posted by drs23 View Post
That kinda makes my ears red! The more I read and YouTube this guy he's slowly making my DeAndre Hopkins want go away. If he can stay healthy, why not?

I know a lot of folks were high on him from the git-go. It's taken me a while to come around.

Does everyone who liked him early-on still like him as much? (did that make sense?)
I still do. While I dont think his upside is as high as some of the other receivers, I think his floor is much higher. Very safe pick (with the caveat being "if he stays healthy).

Just counting the guys in first round consideration (Hunter, Patterson, Austin, Allen, Woods, Hopkins)-

Ranked by Potential:
Patterson
Hunter
Austin
Hopkins
Allen
Woods

Ranked by Floor:
Allen
Woods
Hopkins
Austin
Hunter
Patterson

Obviously, JMO
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Old 04-23-2013   #15
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Default Re: Greg Cosell 2013 draft thread

Iffy for me now; I'm not as high on him as before.
For a guy who hardly ran a deep route, I needed to see how he runs, but there's no information out there.
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