Read it at all, read it in chunks, read the topics that interest you or just scan it over and assume everything I wrote is 100% accurate. Just a random assortment of 2012 draft thoughts I figured I may as well put out there for the world of draftcountdown to see.
**beware: this will most likely be littered with grammatical errors so good luck!**
The more and more I delve into this draft class, I seem to like the talent in the first round less and less. I don’t want to call it a weak draft but I can’t help but think that the value gap between the fringe top 10 picks and the fringe first rounders really isn’t all that significant. I think after you get past the top 10-11 players in the draft, you could make a case that everyone else could be a fringe first round talent and could possibly go in the early 2nd. It just feels like there’s a lot fewer ‘slam dunks’ throughout the first round of this draft. But that's just me.
On that note, I’m having one major issue with my ‘Big Board’. I see Luck
are far and away top 2 talents in this draft. Richardson is arguably the more gifted football player but Luck has the positional trump. You can’t go wrong with either of these guys a top your board. Now I know it’s just semantics but there’s not a player I feel comfortable ranking as a top 3 player in a draft class - I don’t see a third guy I’d feel comfortable labeling a potentially ‘special’ or dominant player. If you guys scroll down a bit you’ll see him not the highest on Kalil. Claiborne
is a very good but not great athlete with pretty good size and although I think he can be a guy who goes to multiple Pro-Bowls, I’m still not sure he has quite the ability to be a dominant shut down guy on the next level. I still have reservations about RG3
and think he’s a lot closer to Tannehill
as a prospect than he is to Luck. Kuechly
is great for what he is but 3rd best player in the draft a non pass rushing 43 LB? I’m having a hard time with that. It’s no secret that I’m a big Poe
fan and one could quite easily argue that he has the most baseline ability of anyone left but that obviously feels too high. Like I said, it’s just semantics but it’s weird having nobody
I’d feel comfortable pegging that high.
This WR Class...
This appears to be a very deep WR class, There could be 5-6 WR’s taken in the first round, there will be some teams who get excellent value in the middle rounds and there will be some guys who could have gone in the 3rd fall all the way to the 6th. WR’s are always so tough to project because of how much their situation affects how productive they are. However, I don’t see any ‘elites’. There isn’t a single WR in this draft I would view as a value in the top 10 (if I *had* to there’s one I’d consider but I’ll get to that in a bit). All of the top 6 WR’s (Blackmon
) all have their fatal flaws with the exception of Randle though he doesn’t quite have a standout trait in one area like the others do - Blackmon’s physical mediocrity and limited vertical ability, Floyd’s stiffness and character, Jeffery’s lack of burst, Hill’s rawness, Wright’s size/less speed than we thought. I’d give all six a “top 32 grade” but there’s only really one guy I’d put in the top 15 overall. I’m having a hell of a hard time really separating these guys.
Coming up with my #1 WR was a b*tch for a while. It switched almost daily and I just couldn’t get a good handle that one guy was decidedly better than other. Then I started thinking about it less so about the individuals and more so how they affected defenses. Who is the WR who presents a mismatch vs any CB he lines up against? Who is the WR who has the ability to influence and impact the safeties the most? Who is the most dangerous WR for defenses to defend and gameplan for? My answer to those three questions became clear - Stephen Hill
. He is the only receiver I see in this class who has the tools to develop into a really dominant player and the only one I'd even consider taking in the top 10 (thought that wouldn't be ideal). His size, speed combination is just so special and I just can’t ignore that. The way I see it is there have been three guys in the past 15 or so years with comparable physical ability - one is the greatest deep threat of all time, one is the most dominant WR in the league, and the other was a coked out college QB who still had decent production despite playing in a run heavy offense. Yes he’s raw. Yes he’s hardly run a route tree. But I get a really good sense from Hill the person that he has a good head on his shoulders as well as the work ethic and self-awareness to improve. His hands are inconsistent but he is a ‘natural plucker’. At very least I think he can be a taller Torrey Smith with better hands. I know some may disagree but really, which WR has better tools and can influence opposing defenses more than Hill can?
Now, I don’t deny his impressive initial burst for his size and that body control and ball skills are top notch. There aren’t a whole lot of opinions I read that I really value and two in particular that I really value both think Michael Floyd
is the real deal. Still, am I the only one who sees an incredibly stiff WR whose game lacks any kind of agility? I see a guy who is purely a straight-line athlete. Am I not seeing something everyone else is seeing. I can hardly think of any instances where he actually separates with his route. Though maybe that’s not a fair claim because his routes consisted of almost all 5-10 yard curl/comebacks, quick slants and 9’s. On the odd occasion we’ll see a rounded off deep post sprinkled in and a bubble screen doesn’t count as a route. He may still be able to be an effective player because of his size, strength, speed, body control and hands. However, I do not see him as guy who will ever develop into an effective route runner. The main component of route running is to be able to make sudden changes of direction in order to gain space and leverage. I do not see a guy who will be successful getting in and out of his breaks who is tight hipped and really struggles to change directions. That lack of ‘wiggle’ shows up whenever you watch him and it showed up at his pro day when he ran the single worst shuttle of any WR who was at the combine even with 1.5 months extra to prepare. It’s not like we ever see him make guys miss with elusiveness after the catch either. His hips looks so stiff to me
on sharp breaking routes that I just wonder how he’s going to separate with his routes. Even with all that I still think he’s a first round talent but not the prospect he has now been hyped to be.
I guess my two questions in regard to Floyd are this:
1. Can a WR struggle to run routes and get open and still be a big time receiver because he is able to compensate with other parts of his game?
2. Am I ‘mis-seeing’ or overblowing his hips tightness and lack of quickness and change of direction?
Regarding Another Michael
I’ll say this, when Mike Adams
is at his best, he is better than any OT in this draft at their best. Ever since I started going through and watching some of the OT’s before the college season last year, I’ve been a huge Mike Adams fan. Coming into the season I asked numerous Buckeye fans about him and none of them had anything good to say about him, which I found odd. What always impressed me so much about him is for a guy as tall and as long as he had not only really good feet, he also had a big, powerful lower half and could sit down and bend with ease. Your typical 6’7+ guys are usually built like the a Nate Solder or Matt Kalil who kind of struggle to sit down and anchor vs good power rushers. His biggest issue in his junior year was he was a little off balance at times.
When he came back vs. Nebraska week one, you could tell he was on a mission this year. I always thought he was a fairly high effort player before but you could tell throughout this whole season he was playing with a chip on his shoulder. He was finishing blocks, being nasty and just generally being an asshole which is what you want out of your Lineman. It honestly baffles me when I see people say how he’s not competitive or doesn’t play hard. I have specifically ‘scouted’ him on every single snap for at least four entire games this year and I just don’t see it. Maybe it’s the same thing that every year there is a big, athletic DT he automatically gets slapped with ‘inconsistent motor’ even if it doesn’t really apply. I just don’t understand how Matt Kalil is described as “Tough, competitive, aggressive and is a true finisher” and Adams “lacks intensity and doesn't play with mean streak and is not overly competitive and may not love the game”. I’ve watched those two as extensively as any players in this draft and that just seems wrong to me.
Anyway, with Mike Adams I see a guy who is a very gifted offensive tackle who has the ability to become one of the top players at his position in the league and I don’t doubt his effort or competitiveness. He is a guy who we’d like to see more consistency out of in everything he does. It feels as if he is taking two steps forward and one step back at times. He finishes off his junior season strong and then gets suspended for 5 games the next season. Throughout his career, he is one of the most battle tested OT’s in this draft. We’ll see him totally shut down NFL caliber pass rushers all game and then one play the guy will slip by him or he won’t identify a stunt or blitz properly and his guy will get through. He had an excellent senior Bowl against that South D-Line and then he puts up bad numbers at the combine (though I was very impressed with his drill work). Scores a 37 on the Wonderlic than tests positive for weed at the combine. It’s hard to know how much to make of the failed test but I don’t think this is a bad guy at all. Overall, I see a guy who the almost ideal body type for a prototypical LT. He has long arms, plays with a great base, is natural bender at 6’7+, is fluid and patient in his pass sets, very good feet for his size and he can consistently get movement on both DT’s, DE’s and LB’s in the run game and plays with a lot of physicality. If he can tighten a little bit of everything, his technique, his body, his off field stuff, he has immense talent and can be one of the top players in this draft. As I started off saying, when he’s at his best, he is better than any OT in this draft at their best. I believe in his ability and really wanna I believe in the person Mike Adams because I’m confident he can develop into a high caliber offensive tackle in the NFL.
Love the love they're getting but they still need more!
- It’s really exciting to see Shea finally
start grabbing people’s attending and getting the first round hype he long deserved. I’ve been on his jock since he flashed in that Georgia game and OurFaveStoner really turned me onto him early in the season. He’s incredibly versatile and everytime you watch him all you see is 92 making plays everywhere on the field. Since the season has ended, he’s passed every test with flying carpets. He came to Senior Bowl as a DE but was moved to LB fulltime where he drew rave reviews from his position coach, Mike Singletary. People thought he was a good but not great athlete but he dispelled that in Indy when he ran in the low 4.6’s at 6’3 260lbs and moved around very well in drills. He can literally play every non-interior D-Line position in both the 34 and 43. I’m curious if a 43 team drafted him if they’d have him move up to 265ish and play DE or have him drop a little and play SAM. Regardless, in a 34 I have no problem calling him the best rush backer in the draft and believe he is one of the best all around defenders in the draft.
- I remember watching that infamous Nate Solder vs. Cal video last year and remembered that little explosive #30 embarassing Solder off the edge on numerous occasions. At 5’11 he was playing out of place as a 34 OLB but he was still a force attacking the ball. I’d be lying if I said he didn’t put himself back on my radar when he ran that low 4.4 at the combine. The more I watch of this guy the more I like him. Obviously he’s has unreal athleticism, explosiveness and closing speed. He’s a very aggressive, loves to come downhill and has a knack for making plays in the backfield. Despite being an ‘undersized LB’ who is very athletic, I don’t doubt his toughness or physicality *cough*Zach Brown*cough*. Highly explosive athletes with great instincts and aggressiveness tend to be stud defensive players. I love him as a run chase WLB in a 4-3 but also think he could thrive as a MIKE in either a 4-3 or even a 3-4 (preferably next to a ‘thumper’ type). I would have no problems taking this guy in the back half of the first round.
- Another guy I can only assume Greg Cosell hacked my google docs and read my notes on. :D He kinda flew under the radar early on in the process being an underclassmen on a team like Wake Forest. But he was super productive this year in a ‘pro style’ offense and has the skillset to back it up. He clocked in the high 4.3’s at the combine and he showed he could stretch defenses vertically at Wake. He’s also an exceptional route runner, who can pluck the ball away from his body and can create after the catch on underneath routes. Of course I’m not saying I expect him to reach that level but I see a lot of similarities between him and Victor Cruz. He is easily my top receiver after the “Big 6” and think he could surprise some by being drafted in the mid-early 2nd.
- You guys already know Curry is a stud. It’s not always prettiest but he is simply a disruptive force who is gifted in the pass rushing department. He’s not a super quick twitch guy off the ball but he really isn’t limited at all with how he can pass rush. He can dip low and turn the corner as well as any DE in this draft, he can bullrush with his upper body strength, he can disengage, he can set a guy up outside and then bring an inside counter. His lack of limitations as a pass rusher is really what makes him so effective. He ran a phenomenal
time in the 3 cone with a 6.90 which was a stark contrast to his combine 40. He ran a 4.64 at his pro day for those of you that didn’t know. Even if you average the two times you get a mid 4.7 which seems about right.
Toot my own horn if you don’t mind....and frak you if you do!
Originally Posted by TACKLE
Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis - 6'5 355 - Junior
I already hyped him up a bit in another thread but I'm sticking with my big man. A freakish, freakish athlete and is incredibly nimble for a man his size. for a man that size. 6'5 355lb 20 year olds aren't supposed to be able to move like he can. Obviously he's a two gap nose but shows impressive flashes of being able to get up field and pass rush. He's still raw and certainly has room for improvement but the sky is the limit for Poe.He's only a junior so he may stay at Memphis for two more seasons especially because he won't get a ton of exposure. It's still very early, but I'll go out on a limb a bit here and say that he can be a first round pick down the road. I've only seen a very limited amount of him but I really will make a point of catching as many Memphis games as I can just to watch this guy closely.
I’ve made a lot of Poests (what I did there, did you see it?) about how I think Dontari projects so well to the next level. From a pure projectable skillset perspective, he is probably the most impressive player in this draft outside of Trent Richardson and Andrew Luck. However, I do understand the apprehension about him especially with the lack of production and high bust rate of DT’s and the predictable backlash vs the “workout warrior”. There are reasons his stats weren’t what they should have been - played way too many snaps, never was able to settle in at one spot, horrible surrounding talent, he’s a 350lb two gapper, etc. etc, but that’s not all that relevant because it gives credence to the stat argument. I made an effort to watch as many Memphis games as I could this season and there are some extension youtube clips too which are nice, but I still feel that his stats are not all that indicative of how well he was actually performing.
From an article I read on Poe during the season.
''He's put himself into position to make some really big plays for us,'' DuBose said. ''Sometimes the ball has come out extremely quick on him and maybe he didn't get the sack, but he got good pressure on the quarterback.
''Dontari is a powerful, powerful young man who has the potential (if he returns) to be the best defensive lineman I've ever coached. But he has to play powerful. He and I have had this conversation several times.''
DuBose said that during the course of a game, Poe has the tendency ''to overthink things'' a little bit, which neutralizes his explosive power.
''It happens especially when he's matched up on an offensive lineman he should be able to overpower,'' DuBose said. ''I have worked hard with him to be a complete player and work the edges.
''Like I said, potentially, I've never coached anyone as big, as strong, as powerful and explosive as Dontari.''
Poe, DuBose said, is a ''conscientious young man,'' a defender who wants to make the key stop on every snap.
''Part of the problem is he has to understand he's not going to do that,'' DuBose said. ''And he can't get frustrated when he can't.
''Dontari just has to worry about making a play, a powerful play, that could make the difference in winning a football game, like when the offense is putting together a drive.''
Much like the play Trotter made in last week's heartbreaking, 23-22 home loss to Marshall. He snatched a mid-air fumble and ran 18 yards for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 22-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Trotter is confident that whatever decision Poe makes about his future will be right.
''He is one of the best I've every played next to, at any level,'' Trotter said. ''He is extremely strong and very quick. He has a lot of talent. He is just a gift from God. You can't create that. You've got to be born with it.''
When you read that and then watch him play, it kind of brings some clarity to him as a player. I think his coaches criticisms are dead on. He doesn’t play as powerfully as he should for two major reasons as I see. One is what his coach said, he overthinks it, tries to do too much, needs to just let loose and I very much agree (though I don’t think having him play 7 different D-Line positions in a given game helped with the overthinking issue). After watching him closely and really trying to figure out why he wasn’t playing more powerfully, the truth lies in the hips
which we know don’t lie. He plays very in control, but on contact, his upper body and lower body appear to be working separately from each other. We’ve all seen the plays where he comes in low with good leverage on a guy he should be able to overpower and his push is disappointing. I really believe that has to do with the fact that he’s not exploding and engaging his hips on contact. Hips are what connect the upper and lower body and that’s where explosive power comes from. The times when he gets underneath a guy and engages his hips, he can look like a special, special talent. Now it’s hard to say whether that is something that is fixable or not. I would think it is though it will be a progression.
I have no doubts about his ability to be a gap control player on the next level. He is surprisingly advanced when it comes to playing gap control vs the run. If he can get in the right spot and really just learn to let loose and be a more attacking player, I truly believe he can be a special player in the NFL. If there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s not to bet against freakish defensive lineman who are driven and Poe is no ordinary freak. Any DC/D-Line coach worth a damn should be able to turn this guy into a stud. He is the ultimate moldable piece of clay.
Underrated in the Game like Mark Ruffalo
- a 4th/5th round pick? I would have no problem taking this guy in the 2nd. Exceptional athlete, explosive, great size, violent hands, plays with power at the point, can work along the line laterally and offers scheme versatility. His stats are deceiving because he was playing primarily 34 DE and even a little nose so he was taking on a lot more double teams than he would have at 3-tech.
underrated athlete. 6.90 cone and 4.07 shuttle at 6’4.5 270+, are you kidding me. Strong and explosive attacking the edge, has nice flexibility so he can turn the corner, can bullrush, functionally string, knows how to use his hands to disengage and has one of the best motors of any player in this draft. Two years of impressive production in the SEC yet he continues to get overlooked.
Dwight ‘Bill’ Bentley
- I really like his speed (4.3), athleticism, feet, smooth hips, ball skills and his ability to plant and drive on the ball. He was easily one of the most impressive DB’s at the Senior Bowl and topped it off with a great combine performance. He’s tough and aggressive but he will need to get stronger to develop into a better press CB. Give him some time to tighten somethings up and let him get a little bigger and stronger and I see a bright future for this guy. He might be my favorite CB prospect who will be taken outside the 1st.
I BELIEVE IN EL.....Tannehill
Not to say he'll reach this level, I actually see a lot of Eli in Tannehill as far as their size, arm, issues and especially their movement. Both are in that 6'4 220ish with a deceptively powerful arm. When you watch both guys their arm doesn't necessarily 'pop' with the way the ball comes off their hands because neither have a really deliberate 'snap' in their motion. Still, with both guys we routinely see them making big time throws on time to the 1 and the 5 (areas outside the hashes) from the far hash, bucket throws vs 2 deep, stick throws on deep in-breaking routes, etc. Both players biggest issue is with their inconsistent decision making and judgement lapses as far as trying to force balls into coverage. At the same time, both are poised and seem to have 'amnesia' when it comes to bad plays. Some could view this as a negative I guess because the negatives plays can snowball (another thing shared by Eli and Tannehill) but it's more important that the QB isn't scared to make a challenging play on what he feels is the right decision even if the play is immediately following a turnover or poor decision with the football. The biggest factor that connects the two in my mind is their poise and movement within the pocket. Both are exceptional in this area. Their ability to sense and feel pressure and make subtle moves to avoid it while staying balanced the best trait shared by both. They don't get frantic or flustered by the blitz and stay patient and in control. In fact, Tannehill was blitzed 140 times this season on 3rd down and was sacked twice (according to Gil Brandt).
You know he will probably have to go through some lumps early on with Tannehill much like the Giants did with Eli. But knowing his issue's are fixable, I can't help to be excited about a prospect who is as natural, as physically talented and as skilled in the pocket as Ryan Tannehill is.
A 43 team should not spend on a 1st round pick on Coples because...
Chandler Jones is the 4-3 DE Coples is supposed to be.
Originally Posted by TACKLE
The reason Coples was a less effective player on the field wasn't because of program instability as he would have you believe. It's simply because he's a better interior defensive lineman than he is on the outside. He drew a lot of positive reviews at Senior Bowl but it wasn't because of his edge rushing prowess. Where he really stood out was vs. the run when he could use his strength and length at the point of attack. As a pass rusher, both in the drills and game, we saw him use a tighter alignment and he was significantly more successful on power and inside moves.
He's never been much of an 'edge rusher' and we got a glimpse of why at the combine. Coples quietly had a really poor performance in Indy. On the surface he had a good weigh in, bench and a solid 40. But in the 3-cone and short shuttle, arguably the two most important drills for pass rushers, he finished dead last out of all of the DE's in both with a 7.57 and 4.78. Both of these reflect in his game with his lack of flexibility, bend of change of direction off the edge. I really believe that any 4-3 drafting him as a DE in the first round expecting him to be a strong pass rusher is making a mistake. On the other hand, I really think he stands a better chance at succeeding in a 3-4. He has an ideal body type and has the frame to carry a little more weight if need be, proven strength and physicality at the point and the ability to be a more effective pass rusher (relatively) with his length and athleticism vs. guards much like he was in 2010.
Long, strong, athletic and can actually bend and change direction. Initially when I watched Chandler Jones
I kinda wrote him off as a lanky guy who plays high and looked lost. I came back to him in this last month or so and the more I saw, the more he grew on me. He was a lot stronger and a lot more coordinated than I had initially thought. He’s smooth, he has great hand use and physicality at the point. I’m not going to lie, I really value triangle numbers and shuttle/cone times for D-Lineman. Chandler running a 7.07 3 cone at just under 6’5 was very impressive to me. Despite playing high at times, that 7.07 is translatable to his game when I watched because he did flash that ability to bend and attack edge impressively well for a guy with his length. I’m not expecting him to be JPP or Aldon but in this weak class for pass rushers. I don’t expect Jones or anybody in this class to become a dominant pass rusher. He will need time to develop and continue to grow into his frame. I am just most confident that his tools and his game translate better than any of the other 43 Ends.
Tyron Smith is a better a more productive prospect than Matt Kalil
Although that toupee wearing fool they call Charlie Casserly (along with Greg Cosell and Senor Gato as of today when I’m writing this) appear to be stealing my thunder on this, I’ve felt for a while that Tyron Smith
was a superior prospect to Matt Kalil
and will be a better NFL player. This nonsense about Kalil beating out Tyron Smith for that left tackle spot simply isn’t true. In Tyron’s sophomore year and Kalil’s RS Freshman year, they had an opening at the RT spot (Charles Brown was the established starter at LT) and Tyron won out. He started there that season while Kalil sat on the bench. The next year when Brown graduated, Kalil simply stepped into that LT spot he had been backing up and they kept Tyron at RT. That's how the story goes as far as I understand it though this isn’t all that relevant to my initial argument but it just needed to be said.
Basically I think Tyron is clearly the superior physical specimen and also plays with a much more aggressive and physical demeanor than Kalil does. Kalil is a bit taller than Tyron but Tyron has longer arms and a great frame. His frame is why I never really had my doubts about him keeping the weight on. Really wide shoulders, wider through the hips, freakish 36” arms, etc. Tyron’s lower body strength and power always impressed me and a lot of that was because of was a result of his flexibility. His ability to sit down and bend is as good as any OT I’ve seen. It’s an area we’ve seen Kalil struggle with because he’s just not as naturally flexible or powerful in his lower half. Both Kalil and Tyron had their own issues with bull rushers but Tyron’s issues had more to do with him playing at 280. Athletically, they are comparable and movement is certainly a strength for Kalil but I’d still give a bit of an edge to Tyron in this department even at 305-310lbs. I will say that Kalil is more advanced technically than Tyron was though those SC tackles are coached up to be very robotic in their movements. I don’t want to twist into into a knock on Kalil becuase his more consistent technique allowed him to be a superior pass protector to Tyron at SC but you have to wonder how much more room he has to grow.
As far as run blocking, neither were great in this area. However, with Tyron you never doubted his aggressiveness, tenacity and desire to finish. He was/is very aggressive in the run game and has lower body power to back it up. Kalil is not a “high motor” O-Lineman (if we’re allowed to use that term on offense) and his power in his lower half is questionable. He is a great run blocker pulling out in space but when he’s gotta get that upfield drive on the backside 3 or move that playside end, I don’t want to say he struggles but I sure wouldn’t call it a strength of his.
To summarize, I think Tyron is a superior athlete, with better flexibility, better strength, better physicality and a higher ceiling. I look at Kalil and I see a guy with great length, great athleticism in space with a sound technical base. I don’t see a guy who has particularly good power in his lower half in either the pass or run game and he isn’t consistently aggressive enough in the run game to compensate for his lack power at the point. I see very good in a couple areas, pretty good in some area and just okay in some but I'm not sure I really see special anywhere. He’s a very good player who I'm fine seeing go in the top 10 but he's not Joe Thomas, he’s not Jake Long and he’s not Tyron Smith either.
**I may just add on a few more thoughts if I am so inclined.**