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Old 12-24-2008   #1
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Default Interesting stuff

I found these while browsing around and thought they had some interesting stuff in them so thought i would share them with you.

The first one was on another MB and had no link no metion of the author so take it into consideration. Seems real so
quote:
Here's a look at how the 2009 draft is shaping up based on interviews with four personnel directors:
RECEIVERS

Oklahoma State's Brandon Pettigrew (6 feet 5 1/2 inches, 260 pounds) is the most complete player and only sure-fire No. 1 pick. However, seniors Cornelius Ingram of Florida (6-3 1/2, 230), Travis Beckum (6-3, 235) of Wisconsin, Chase Coffman (6-6, 250) of Missouri and Southern Mississippi's Shawn Nelson (6-4 1/2, 235), plus juniors Jermaine Gresham (6-5 1/2, 260) of Oklahoma and Jed Cook (6-5, 245) of South Carolina, all have enticing receiving skills.

"Beckum is very similar to Dustin Keller last year," one scout said. "He's 235 and can run and be a mismatch vs. a safety. He's what the league is looking at now."

Coffman, the son of former Packers TE Paul Coffman, is a productive three-year starter who plays in the slot all the time.

"I thought he could run but they say he will run a 4.85, 4.9," another scout said. "If that's the case, then he's coming way down because all he wants to do is catch."

At wide receiver, not one senior is projected for the first round. Two third-year sophomores (meaning they redshirted as freshmen), Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree (6-2 1/2, 215) and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin (6-0 1/2, 200), figure to declare and could be high picks.

"If you're looking for an Anquan Boldin type, there you go," one scout said, referring to Crabtree. "Won't run great but a big, physical guy and very polished."

Juniors Darrius Heyward-Bey (6-2, 205) of Maryland, Kenny Britt (6-3 1/2, 215) of Rutgers and dynamic Percy Harvin (5-11, 200) of Florida also could figure early.
OFFENSIVE LINE

In no particular order, the leading left tackles are Alabama's Andre Smith (6-3 1/2, 340), Virginia's Eugene Monroe (6-5, 310) and Mississippi's Michael Oher (6-5, 330). Smith is a junior.

"Those three go in the top 15," one scout said. "I think the tackle group will be better this year than last year."

Smith was compared by scouts to the Eagles' Shawn Andrews. Monroe is bigger and stronger than his former UVA teammate, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, but doesn't have his impeccable character.

"Athletically, Oher is as talented as there is," another scout said. "He's also spoiled as (expletive). He needed to work on his finish and sustain this year, and he did. But I don't know if he understands what it takes to be a professional."

A third scout said seven other tackles had first-round ability. He included seniors Jason Smith (6-4 1/2, 300) of Baylor, Jamon Meredith (6-5, 305) of South Carolina, Phil Loadholt (6-7 1/2, 340) of Oklahoma and Alex Boone (6-7, 315) of Ohio State, plus juniors Russell Okung (6-4 1/2, 300) of Oklahoma State, Trent Williams (6-5, 310) of Oklahoma and Eben Britton (6-6, 320) of Arizona.

Other scouts mentioned Louisiana State junior Ciron Black (6-4 1/2, 330) and Connecticut's William Beatty (6-6, 300) as top players.

"I think the depth is there," a third scout said. "But I just don't think overall you will come out and say, 'This is a great group.' "

Oregon's Max Unger (6-4 1/2, 310) and California's Alex Mack (6-4, 310) are centers with second-round grades. The best power-type guard might be Oklahoma's Duke Robinson (6-5 1/2, 335). The best move-type guard might be Oregon State's Andy Levitre (6-2, 320).
QUARTERBACKS

None of the seniors figure to go in the first two rounds, maybe not even three rounds.

"Everybody except (Rhett) Bomar and (Graham) Harrell took a step backward," one scout said. "I've never seen a year where all the seniors moved back."

As a result, juniors Matthew Stafford (6-2, 235) of Georgia and Josh Freeman (6-6, 240) of Kansas State are expected to declare.

Scouts love Stafford's arm and overall talent but question his readiness.

"He throws interceptions like (Brett) Favre did when he came into the league," one scout said. "Big arm, good kid, tough. But Freeman has more genetic traits. He looks like Warren Moon."

Another scout compared Freeman to JaMarcus Russell and said he needed at least another year of developmental work.

Two juniors weighing a move are Southern California's Mark Sanchez (6-1 1/2, 225) and Ball State's Nate Davis (6-1 1/2, 215). So are Oklahoma's Sam Bradford (6-4, 215) and Mississippi's Jevan Snead (6-3, 220), two third-year sophomores.

"Bradford would be in the top 15 this year but next year he is maybe No. 1," another scout said. "That kid is so accurate but his body isn't ready. Snead is a Jay Cutler type. Gunslinger. Very similar to Stafford. He could be a top-10 pick next year if he goes back."

According to one scout, Florida junior Tim Tebow (6-2 1/2, 240) "doesn't have that good an arm and isn't accurate. I don't know what you do with him."
RUNNING BACKS

With no seniors of merit, it's understandable why most underclassmen will declare. "Given the shelf life of running backs, it's get in and get out," one scout said.

Five players are contending to be the first taken. The list includes juniors Chris "Beanie" Wells of Ohio State (6-1, 235), Shonn Greene (5-10 1/2, 235) of Iowa and C.J. Spiller (5-11, 195) of Clemson, plus third-year sophomores LeSean McCoy (5-10, 210) of Pittsburgh and Knowshon Moreno (5-10 1/2, 210) of Pittsburgh.

McCoy and Moreno have almost no flaws.

Of McCoy, one scout said: "Very unique. Great burst. Real good vision and cutting ability. He's fun to watch."

Of Moreno, another scout said: "Great run feel and great run balance." A third scout compared him to Tampa Bay's Cadillac Williams.

Wells' ratio of size to speed invited comparisons to Kansas City's Larry Johnson and St. Louis' Steven Jackson.

"Disappointing to me," one scout said. "I don't know if this guy has been hurt too much already but I just don't see any explosiveness out of him. Straight line. Doesn't have great feet. Not much lateral movement."

Greene, 24, gained 1,728 yards (6.2-yard average) in his only season for the Hawkeyes.

"He turned around that team single-handedly," one scout said. "Big back with good, not great speed."

Spiller is smaller than and perhaps not as explosive as Dallas' Felix Jones. He was called a thicker Chris Johnson by one personnel man.

"He can flat-out run," one scout said. "He can change a game for you."
DEFENSIVE LINE

The seniors are OK. Once again, it depends on the underclassmen.

At end, the top seniors are LSU's Tyson Jackson (6-4, 295), Texas' Brian Orakpo (6-3 1/2, 255) and Georgia Tech's Michael Johnson (6-7, 260).

"Jackson is strong as can be at the point but doesn't make a lot of plays," one scout said. "Orakpo's not really a great space player for being an undersized guy. All he does is run straight lines. And Johnson is totally overrated. He's soft and doesn't have good instincts."

Third-year sophomore Aaron Maybin (6-4, 240) of Penn State and at least six juniors all have pass-rush ability but are undersized. The top juniors are Florida State's Everette Brown (6-3, 250), Mississippi's Greg Hardy (6-4, 255), South Florida's George Selvie (6-4, 245), Florida's Jermaine Cunningham (6-3, 250), Clemson's Ricky Sapp (6-3 1/2, 240) and Penn State's Maurice Evans (6-2, 264).

At tackle, seniors Peria Jerry (6-3, 310) of Mississippi, B.J. Raji (6-1, 335) of Boston College and Evander "Ziggy" Hood (6-3, 295) of Missouri probably fit more in the second round.

"D-tackle is not a great group," one scout said. "Lot of guys are 6-0, 6-1. Even the juniors. There's no big-time stud in either group."

Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy (6-4, 295), a third-year sophomore, might go to the head of the class if he declares. Some juniors with ability to penetrate are Sen'Derrick Marks (6-0 1/2, 295) of Auburn, Ndamakong Suh (6-4, 305) of Nebraska and Ricky Jean-Francois (6-3, 290) of LSU.

The best junior nose tackle is Alabama's Terrence Cody (6-5, 365). Two scouts said he was a taller Gilbert Brown.

"It's the first time since he was in high school that he's been under 400," one scout said. "He can take up space but that (weight) is going to scare a lot of people."
LINEBACKERS

"It's better than it has been in years," one scout said. "There's been a void of linebackers the last five years. You're going to see guys go a lot higher than they have."

USC's Rey Maualuga (6-2, 260) is an old-fashioned middle linebacker with good speed. He is undisciplined.

Several scouts said James Laurinaitis (6-2, 240), who replaced A.J. Hawk at Ohio State, definitely didn't play as well as Hawk did.

"He needs to be unblocked to make plays and that doesn't happen in the NFL very much," another scout said. "He will be a nice pro but he's not a playmaker-type guy."

A junior from Florida, Brandon Spikes (6-2 1/2, 245), won't run or test well but might have even better instincts than Maualuga.

Two others USC seniors, Brian Cushing (6-2 1/2, 255) and Clay Matthews Jr. (6-3, 250), also have chances for the first round. But the highest-rated senior probably will be Wake Forest's Aaron Curry (6-1 1/2, 250).

"You rarely see guys like this (Curry) anymore," one scout said. "At the line he actually can take guys on and dominate. Rushes the passer good, too."

Another senior, Virginia's Clint Sintim (6-2 1/2, 250), and juniors Mark Herzlich (6-4, 240) of Boston College, Sean Weatherspoon (6-0 1/2, 235) of Missouri, Gerald McRath (6-2 1/2, 220) of Southern Miss and Sergio Kindle (6-4, 240) of Texas all have first-round possibilities.
SECONDARY

"The best pure corner is tough," one scout said. "I don't know if there really is one. There are some corners that might end up going to safety. I don't see any top-two round safeties right now, either."

Ohio State CB Malcolm Jenkins (6-0, 195) could move to safety. "He doesn't have that top-level quickness, speed and change of direction to be a front-line corner," another scout said. "For a Cover 2 team, maybe."

Probably the most talented cornerback is Illinois junior Vontae Davis (5-11 1/2, 205), the brother of San Francisco TE Vernon Davis. He's hard to coach.

"Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane," one scout said. "Just like his brother, he will test out of the gym. But he gets beat a lot."

Another good junior cornerback is Oregon's Jarius Byrd (6-0, 205), the son of former Packers executive Gill Byrd. The better seniors are Troy's Sherrod Martin (6-0 1/2, 190), Wake Forest's Alphonso Smith (5-8 1/2, 190) and Cincinnati's DeAngelo Smith (5-11, 190).

Probably the safest pick among the safeties would be Alabama's Rashad Johnson (5-11 1/2, 185).

"He's really small but he's got great instinct and feel," one scout said. "Throws his body around. He's just little."

There's substantial difference of opinion on Missouri's William Moore (6-0 1/2, 230). Some love his size and speed but one scout said, "He looks like you want them to look but he misses a million tackles."

Two top juniors, USC's Taylor Mays (6-3, 230) and Florida State's Myron Rolle (6-2, 220), might not come out. Last month, Rolle won one of 32 Rhodes Scholarships and probably will postpone his NFL career for a year to study at Oxford.

"Mays is a better (safety) than what they've had come out of there in a long time," one scout said. "A lot of their guys get over-hyped, but he has the ability to be the real deal."
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Old 12-24-2008   #2
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Default Re: Interesting stuff

This one has some Texans related material and some interesting draft info.

LINK

John Niyo / The Detroit News
ALLEN PARK -- Be warned, Lions fans: The life vest the NFL is about to toss you comes with hidden weights.

At 0-15 after Sunday's 42-7 loss to the Saints, the Lions clinched the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft. And while that could be the silver lining amid the dark clouds of this season's record-setting futility, there's also a catch.

"Some years, there isn't a first pick in the draft," said Charlie Casserly, a former NFL general manager with the Redskins and Texans. "So sometimes you can be unlucky as to the year and the talent."

Advertisement
In 2005, for instance, the 49ers cast their lot with Utah quarterback Alex Smith with the No. 1 pick, signing him to a six-year, $49.5 million contract with nearly half of that money guaranteed. Three injury-plagued seasons later, Smith has thrown just 19 touchdown passes with 31 interceptions, and he hasn't played a down since November 2007.

It's a cautionary tale, but it's hardly the only one in today's NFL, where top-end rookie salaries have skyrocketed over the last decade. Michigan's Jake Long signed a five-year, $57.75 million contract -- with $30 million guaranteed -- as last year's No. 1 pick. That trend hasn't gone unnoticed, either, as league owners and the NFL Players Association brace for a labor fight in 2010-11. Responding to Long's contract, among others, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told the Associated Press in June, "There's something wrong about the system."

Likewise, if you think the easy solution is to simply trade the No. 1 pick for a stockpile of lower draft choices, think again.

"You can't trade the pick," said Casserly, now an analyst for CBS Sports. "There was a time you could. You can't trade it. Nobody wants it. Now, that's a generalization, I know. But it's holding true, because of the money involved."
In 2006, Casserly had a quandary holding the No. 1 pick with the Texans. The fans were clamoring for Texas quarterback Vince Young or USC's Reggie Bush, while his scouting department was telling him North Carolina defensive end Mario Williams was the pick. Trading down wasn't an option.

"We did not have one offer," Casserly said. "In fact, one team jokingly wanted us to give them something to take the first pick."

Casserly used what little leverage he had left and began negotiating with representatives for both Williams and Bush, eventually signing Williams to a six-year, $54 million deal -- half of it guaranteed money -- the day before the draft. He took plenty of heat for that choice, but Williams, in his third season, was named a Pro Bowl starter earlier this month.
No easy choices
The Lions likely will face a similar choice in April, when there could be as many as 20 underclassmen drafted in the first round -- or as many as there were in the first two rounds a year ago. Juniors are expected to enter this year's draft class in record numbers to get into the league under the current collective-bargaining agreement.

"What Detroit obviously has to hope that the quality of the junior class is such that there's a player there that is deserving of a No. 1 pick and fits one of the needs they would like to fill," Casserly said. "When I say that, what you want is a big-money position -- a quarterback, a defensive end, a running back. What you don't want is for the best player in the draft to be a center or a guard or a defensive tackle or a safety, or something like that."

At the moment, two quarterbacks -- Georgia's Matthew Stafford and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, the Heisman Trophy winner -- are at the top of most draft projections. Both are underclassmen -- Bradford is a third-year sophomore -- but each is expected to declare for the draft this winter.

And while ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said he isn't ready to choose sides in the Bradford-Stafford debate yet -- "It is a tough decision," he said -- he does have some unsolicited advice for Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, or whomever will be making the selections in April.

"I think, if you're the Detroit Lions with the No. 1 pick, you've got to take a quarterback," Kiper said.

Alabama's Andre Smith, an offensive tackle, is another top draft prospect. And the draft should be loaded with talent at linebacker, with the likes of Aaron Curry (Wake Forest), Rey Maualuga (USC) and James Laurinaitis (Ohio State) impressing scouts.

But the Lions, whose last Pro Bowl signal-caller was Greg Landry in 1971, are still searching for that elusive franchise quarterback. The team has four quarterbacks signed for next season in Jon Kitna, Daunte Culpepper, Drew Stanton and Drew Henson, while current starter Dan Orlovsky is scheduled to be a free agent.

"Look, this league is quarterback-driven," said Kiper. "There's a lot of second-round quarterbacks that everybody says are the next Drew Brees that can't see the light of day in the NFL. So this notion that you can take, say, Andre Smith, and then maybe get a Josh Freeman from Kansas State or a Nate Davis from Ball State with the first pick in the second round -- that's all fine if they're the next Drew Brees. But if they're not?

"I mean, hey, Drew Stanton was a second-round pick. Has he done anything? Miami passed on Brady Quinn (in 2007) and took John Beck, and John Beck hasn't done anything -- he's not even the second-string quarterback."

In a season seemingly devoid of answers in Detroit, it seems the questions have only just begun.

QB qualities
ESPN's draft expert Mel Kiper on Matt Stafford and Sam Bradford:

Stafford: "Stafford has the great arm: He makes throws that nobody else can make in college football, and that has great value. He has gotten better with his touchdown-interception ratio and completion percentage every year at Georgia, and he didn't have a great offensive line in front of him like Bradford did. He has dealt with adversity in the pocket, dealt with pass pressure, and that's something Bradford hasn't.

Bradford: "But if you look at Bradford, he's one of the smartest quarterbacks you'll ever see. He's 6-foot-4 -- ideal height -- and his accuracy is off the charts. That's a key to being successful in the NFL. He's mobile enough -- when he has to move, he can move -- but he's not pressured, so we don't see him do it. So that's something you won't see until he gets to the NFL, because he has a great offensive line at Oklahoma -- three of those lineman are going to be NFL players."

Prized players
A look at the top prospects for the NFL draft:

x-QB Matt Stafford, Georgia: Junior has All-Pro arm and has improved each season in tough SEC.

x-QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma: Accuracy, efficiency off the charts, but how much of it is the system?

x-OT Andre Smith, Alabama: Monster left tackle (6-4, 330) won Outland Trophy

x-OT Michael Oher, Mississippi: Physical specimen can dominate, but inconsistency raises questions.

LB Aaron Curry, Wake Forest: Butkus Award winner rising quickly on draft boards

x-WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech: Redshirt sophomore was nation's No. 1 receiver - again.

DE Brian Orakpo, Texas: Pass-rushing ace won Nagurski Award but could play LB in NFL.

CB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State: Four-year starter excels in coverage but can tackle, too.

LB Rey Maualuga, USC: Packs punch with size and speed but slowed by injuries in '08.

x-RB Chris Wells, Ohio State: Big, powerful back has his detractors but hard to overlook.

x-Draft-eligible underclassman who has yet to declare.

Lions' No. 1 overall picks


Year Player  4  0


Last 10 No. 1 picks

Year Player Team Years played Pro bowls
2008 OT Jake Long (Michigan) Miami  1  0
2007 QB JaMarcus Russell (LSU) Oakland  2  0
2006 DE Mario Williams (N.C. State) Houston  3  1
2005 QB Alex Smith (Utah) San Fran.  4  0
2004 x-QB Eli Manning (Mississippi) x-San Diego  5  1
2003 QB Carson Palmer (USC) Cincinnati  6  2
2002 QB David Carr (Fresno State) Houston  7  0
2001 y-QB Michael Vick (Virginia Tech) Atlanta  6  3
2000 y-DE Courtney Brown (Penn State) Cleveland  6  0
1999 y-QB Tim Couch (Kentucky) Cleveland  5  0


x-Traded to N.Y. Giants; y-no longer in NFL.
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