Monthly Archives: March 2013

UPDATED RANKINGS NOW UP!

Where does West Virginia QB Geno Smith fall in our overall and positional rankings?

Where does West Virginia QB Geno Smith fall in our overall and positional rankings?

After a long week of film evaluation, we’ve updated our TDR Top 50 and Top 5 By Position!  There’s been a bit of moving and shaking, so check them out and give us your take!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @NFLDraftReport!  Give us your thoughts and ask your draft questions!

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OVER/UNDER: Offensive Line

“Over/Under” is a glance at a pair of players at each position; one who TDR believes in overrated, and one who we believe is underrated. 

Oregon G Kyle Long

Oregon G Kyle Long

OVER: Kyle Long, G, Oregon

The first thing that stands out about Long is his massive height for the guard position.  Long stands at a shade over 6-6, making him look much more like a tackle than an interior lineman.  This is actually one of the things that detracts from his value as a guard.  He height works against him as a run blocker, as he struggles to get his pad level low enough to get proper drive on defensive tackles.

One would think that Long would at least excel in pass protection, but the tape tells a different story.  Especially against bull rushes, Long consistently gets pushed into the backfield, showing that his impressive wingspan can be outdone by his lack of overall lower body strength when compared to the bigger bodies that rush the passer from the inside.

His bloodlines are obviously undeniable, as the son of NFL Hall-of-Famer Howie Long, and the brother of St. Louis Rams DE Chris Long, and it’s always possible that may be part of what’s inflating his stock at this point.  Long is an extremely athletic player for his size, but he seems like a bit of a ‘tweener who is too tall to play guard, but lacks the consistent pass blocking skills to move out to tackle.  His stock has reportedly been on the rise of late, but I’m not convinced that Long deserves to go before the third round.

UNDER: Barrett Jones, C, Alabama

Alabama C Barrett Jones

Alabama C Barrett Jones

It’s hard to imagine anyone from Alabama’s offensive line being underrated, but Jones finds himself in that category, mostly due to his position.  Not many premium picks are spent on centers these days, but it’s important to remember that Jones played tackle and guard for entire seasons, as well, and did it at the same high level.  Jones actually started each of his three BCS National Championship games at a different spot.

Clearly he’s a versatile player, which makes him extremely valuable when it comes to injuries and personnel flexibility.  But even at his current position, Jones could be one of the most valuable players taken in this draft.  His combination of dominant run-blocking skills and consistent success in pass protection is rare at the position (and likely due to his experience playing all three OL positions at a high level in the SEC).  Jones was indeed surrounded by elite talent, as well, but when you isolate him on film, he holds his own one-on-one with the best interior defenders the SEC had to offer.  Jones did have surgery to repair a lis franc injury following the conclusion of the 2012 season, and the recovery will prevent him from working out at full strength before the draft, which could negatively affect his stock.

Jones is as impressive off the field, graduating summa cum laude with his Bachelor’s in Accounting, as well as finishing off his Master’s by the time he was done playing at Alabama, all the while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.  That intelligence clearly carries over to the field, as he is a tireless technician when calling out assignments.  Jones is also a fiery leader who will be an immediate and long-lasting presence in the locker room.

He likely won’t hear his name called until the late 2nd round at the earliest, but he will make an instant impact and will likely be a mainstay in the league for the next 12-15 years.

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TDR GM Mock Draft: Now Taking Entries!

Can you lead the War Room for your favorite NFL team?

Do you have what it takes to lead the War Room for your favorite NFL team?

Think you know best who your NFL team should take in the first round?  Now’s your chance!

We’re now taking entries for the TDR GM Mock Draft, where you get the chance to mock draft with other NFL fans across the world!  We will choose one entrant to represent each of the 32 NFL teams, and when all slots are filled, the draft will begin!  GMs can trade current/future picks and players, and will be graded by TDR at the conclusion of the mock draft to see who we think did the best job of improving their team!

If you’d like the chance to make your team’s pick, send your “Why I Should Make My Team’s Pick” to NFLDraftReport@gmail.com!

Questions?  His us up on Twitter @NFLDraftReport!

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OVER/UNDER: Tight End

“Over/Under” is a glance at a pair of players at each position; one who TDR believes in overrated, and one who we believe is underrated. 

SDSU TE Gavin Escobar

SDSU TE Gavin Escobar

OVER: Gavin Escobar, San Diego State

Escobar is a frustrating case because of his inconsistency.  One minute, he’s out-leaping a defender in the end zone for a jump-ball touchdown, and the next he’s dropping multiple routine throws, sometimes in crucial situations.  There is plenty of potential for Escobar to develop into a solid, every-down player, but I just don’t see enough on tape to warrant his recent stock spike.

The biggest flaw in Escobar’s game is his propensity to drop very catchable throws.  For a tight end who is now widely considered the third-best in this class, his level of inconsistency in catching the ball is simply simply unacceptable.  He’ll also need to add some bulk to be a reliable blocker at the next level, and scouts will always worry that added bulk may equal a loss of athleticism, which Escobar can’t afford.

As with any player projected as high as he is, there are plenty of positives to Escobar’s game: tall frame, catches the ball away from his body, willing to mix it up with the big uglies in the run game.  But especially when considering the sub-par competition that he faced on a regular basis on the Mountain West Conference, I simply don’t see the best tight end in this class after Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz.

UNDER: Joseph Fauria, UCLA

UCLA TE Joseph Fauria

UCLA TE Joseph Fauria

In today’s NFL, teams are looking for a very different tight end than in years past.  The players in the league who are having the biggest impact aren’t the balanced, half-decent blocker/half-decent receiver types, but rather the tall, lean-framed receiving threats who can create mismatches and strike fear into defenses in the red zone.  Fauria fits the latter bill perfectly.

Fauria’s size is obviously the first thing that jumps out.  At 6-7, 260, the nephew of former NFL tight end Christian Fauria has the frame and wingspan that teams covet at the position.  While not a burner when it comes to straight-line speed, Fauria has great overall athleticism, which with combined with his size advantage, creates serious matchup problems for defenses, especially in the red zone.  He’s at his best down the seams, where he challenges linebackers to hang with him down the field, using great hand/arm technique to separate, and catching the ball consistently away from his body and at the highest point, frustrating safeties who come down or over to try to make a play on the ball.  He reminds me of Jimmy Graham in just about every good way, and while his thinner frame works against him as an in-the-box blocker in the run game, the effort and willingness is there, and he uses his long arms to his advantage as a downfield blocker.

Fauria was an end-zone magnet in the Pac-12 last year, hauling in 12 touchdown passes.  While he’s not the most balanced tight end in this class, his play-making ability in the passing game will make him a dynamic threat in the right system, and will allow him to greatly outplay his draft position.

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OVER/UNDER: Wide Receiver

“Over/Under” is a glance at a pair of players at each position; one who TDR believes in overrated, and one who we believe is underrated. 

OVER: Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson

When you look at Patterson, there’s plenty to like.  He has a fantastic size/speed combination, is dangerous after the catch, and consistently uses his big frame to shield defenders away from throws.  But when it comes to a receiver that’s being talked about in the top-1o conversation, Patterson leaves a few things to be desired.

The most glaring thing that stands out to me when I watch tape on Patterson is that he’s almost exclusively a body-catcher.  Very rarely will you see him use his ideal arm length to extend out away from his body and make the catch with his hands.  This increases the likelihood that a defender will be able to disrupt the pass before Patterson can secure it, and can also lead to multiple passes popping up off the pads and either being incomplete, or falling into enemy hands.  When you look at recent top-10 receivers like A.J. Green and Julio Jones, they both excel at catching the ball away from the body and making it nearly impossible for the defender to make a play on the ball.

Patterson is also not a very refined route runner.  He seems extremely stiff in his upper body, which impacts his fluidity coming in and out of his cuts.  As I mentioned before, he does do a great job of using his body to keep defenders away from the ball, but perhaps relies on this too much and doesn’t treat every step of every route with the precision necessary to consistently beat good defensive backs.

Both of these are issues that will only be magnified once Patterson is lining up against NFL corners, especially since he’s being viewed as a receiver who can come in and immediately challenge to be the #1 target.  For me, he’s just not at that level and I would be wary of spending a top-1o pick on him.

UNDER: Kenny Stills, Oklahoma

Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills

Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills

I’m not really sure what’s not to like with this guy.  He doesn’t have the prototypical size of a #1 receiver, but for a prospect who is pegged for the middle rounds right now, Stills brings a complete repertoire to the table as a receiver.

He’s definitely not tiny (6-1, 195), and ran a 4.38 40 at the Combine.  More importantly, he does well the things that I mention above that Patterson doesn’t.  Stills is precise in his routes and has success all over the route tree, being successfully targeted in the screen game, the intermediate range, and also stretches the field and can take the top off the defense with consistency.  He also loves to get his hands on the ball away from his body, whether it’s a jump ball in the end zone, a slant or dig over the middle in traffic, or outside the hashes.

Stills caught 24 touchdowns passes in his three years at Oklahoma, including 11 last season.  Watching him snag seven passes for 125 yards and a score against Xavier Rhodes and #5 Florida State tells of his ability to perform against the top competition.

The only drawback I see with Stills is a DUI arrest his freshman year, which I’m sure was discussed at length in his Combine interviews.  He has NFL bloodlines, with both his father and uncle having spent time in the league.  This is a guy who could come in and make an instant impact in all facets of the passing game because he does both the big things and the little things well and consistently, and could end up being an absolute steal in the third round.

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NEW 2-ROUND MOCK DRAFT NOW UP!

How far will Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones fall after his disappointing Pro Day?

How far will Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones fall after his disappointing Pro Day?

Our latest mock draft is now up!  This time, we project the first two rounds, and there are plenty of surprises.  Check it out under the “MOCK DRAFT” tab and give us your thoughts in the comment section!  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @NFLDraftReport!

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OVER/UNDER: RUNNING BACK

“Over/Under” is a glance at a pair of players at each position; one who TDR believes in overrated, and one who we believe is underrated. 

OVER: Montee’ Ball, Wisconsin

Wisconsin RB Montee' Ball

Wisconsin RB Montee’ Ball

Ball is as decorated a runner as there is in this class, leaving Camp Randall as the NCAA all-time leader in rushing touchdowns.  And while he has a solid skill set that is void of any gaping weaknesses, there are two main reasons I believe Ball to be one of the more overrated backs in this class.

The first is the same that any Wisconsin running back will probably ever deal with, which is the fact that Ball ran behind one of the best offensive lines in the country.  The mauling Badgers in front of him were consistently opening huge running lanes for Ball, leaving me to wonder if he would be as successful behind a weaker set of blockers.

This leads me into the second concern I have, which is that when I put on the tape, I don’t see a back who will make things happen on his own.  Ball doesn’t jump out on film as a player who will make something out of nothing, and who can beat the defense with superior athletic ability.  He’s not built as thickly as his height/weight would suggest, and doesn’t seem to run behind his pads as often as you’d like from an every-down back.

Great vision and patience?  Absolutely.  Solid as a receiver and pass protector?  Definitely.  But I’m not sure I see a featured back when I look at Montee’ Ball, and I’m not willing to use a premium pick on a runner who doesn’t move that needle.

Arkansas RB Knile Davis

Arkansas RB Knile Davis

UNDER: Knile Davis, Arkansas

Davis represents the opposite of what I addressed above with regards to Ball.  With Davis, I see a back who has the combination of size and explosiveness that could allow him to be a huge steal in this draft.  He gets in and out of cuts quickly, shows great balance and vision, and isn’t afraid to deliver an effective blow at the end of a run.

Davis is a dangerous receiver out of the backfield, and is adequate enough as a pass protector to stay on the field on all three downs.  He’s definitely not without his own concerns; he’s had trouble with ball security, and runs too tight at times, not showing great fluidity in the hips.  Davis followed up an impressive sophomore season (1322 rushing yards, 13 TD, 6.5 YPC) with a disappointing junior campaign, but turned in an impressive performance at the Combine  (4.37 40, 31 reps of 225).

But especially for a prospect who is slotted in the mid-round range right now, I see Davis as the kind of player who could have an Alfred Morris-type impact if he gets drafted into the right situation and can stay healthy.

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OVER/UNDER: Quarterback

“Over/Under” is a glance at a pair of players at each position; one who TDR believes in overrated, and one who we believe is underrated. 

N.C. State QB Mike Glennon

N.C. State QB Mike Glennon

OVER: Mike Glennon, North Carolina State

It’s easy to look at Glennon and salivate over his size (6-7, 232), much like Brock Osweiler last year.  But that’s about where my favor ends for a QB who is being billed as a top-tier prospect projected to go somewhere in the 2nd round.

It’s not that there’s not more to like about Glennon, but there are just too many question marks and inconsistencies when you put on the tape for an NFL team to use a premium pick on him and hope that he would start anytime soon.  Glennon’s experience in a pro-style offense is definitely a plus, but his accuracy is spotty at best, and much like with Osweiler, some worry that he could actually be too tall, impacting his athleticism and ability to negotiate the pocket.

It’s not that I don’t think he could develop into an NFL starter, but I think he can only do that if he ends up in a situation similar to that of Osweiler, as a matter of fact: spending a couple of years backing up an entrenched star who can give him the time to develop into a more consistent signal-caller.

 

Miami (OH) QB Zac Dysert

Miami (OH) QB Zac Dysert

UNDER: Zac Dysert, Miami (OH)

Dysert carries some of the typical knocks of mid-to-late-round quarterbacks: smaller school/inferior competition and playing in a spread offense rather than a more pro-style attack.  But a close look at the tape, especially against teams like Ohio State last year, reveals a prospect who has all the tools to succeed as a field general at the next level.

Dysert has a clean, compact release and more than enough arm strength to make all the necessary throws.  He has great pocket presence, including great strength and balance to shake off pass rushers and keep plays alive.  He shows fluid movement and great accuracy when throwing on the run, and doesn’t make many bad decisions as a result of not being able to process what the defense is giving him.

Especially when considering his projected draft spot, Dysert is a guy who could come in with very little pressure and expectation, and could comfortably settle into an attractive starting opportunity with a team whose system fits his skill set.

 

 

 

 

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Post-Combine Rankings Now Up

Now that the Combine has wrapped up, we’ve updated the TDR Top 50 and Top 5 By Position.  Check them out and give us your thoughts!

FSU CB Xavier Rhodes is one of many who improved his stock with a strong showing at the Combine.  See where he falls in our updated rankings!

FSU CB Xavier Rhodes is one of many who improved his stock with a strong showing at the Combine. See where he falls in our updated rankings!