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TACKLE
03-18-2011, 06:30 PM
Just a compilation of thoughts I have on the draft and things that are on my mind lately. I plan on doing one or two more of these as before the draft as I become so inclined.



I’m trying to refrain from QB talk as much as I can because truth be told, it’s getting a little tiring. But I will say this in regards to Cam Newton, I think analysts and people in general are being a little short-sited in their evaluations. We should be projecting all the players for where they'll be down the road and not so much where they are right now. Like him or not, I don’t see why people are getting caught up on mechanical refinement and reads. Those are things every QB coming in to the league needs a lot of work on. Sure Cam needs a bit more work than some other, but do Newton detractors really believe that his mechanics and inability to learn how to make NFL reads will lead to his downfall? I just don't see that. He’ll take more time to develop than other top QB’s, no denying that. But fortunately, his biggest issues as a passer are fixable with two things he’ll get plenty of: reps and coaching.


Give These Guys Some Love


Jabaal Sheard is the first guy. He’s a guy who seems to be picking up some steam lately. Easily one of the most natural pass rushers in this class. He has very good athleticism that translates to the field. He has enough explosive to be a threat attacking the edge with his speed but also has a variery pass rush moves and does a nice job of setting up OT’s. He ran one of the best 10-yard splits of any DE in this draft. Definitely appears to have the fluidity to be able to play 3-4 OLB. If I had to pick the “Tyson Alualu” of this draft, Sheard would be the guy. Don’t be surprised to see his name called in the first 32 picks.


The other guy would be Greg Little. Based off pure football ability, I really believe he is a first round talent. The guy is somewhat of a physical freak. 6’2.5” 231, low 4.5 forty and a 40.5” vert. He’s a fluid athlete with natural hands who has the ability to elevate and go up and attack the ball. Little is a former running back who is a beast with the ball in his hands. Might be the most physical WR in this class and really plays with an edge on the field which I love. Some off the field questions but in interviews he comes off as impressive, articulate, driven individual in interviews. He’s only been playing WR for a year and a half so he’s got a very big upside. Everyone is trying to figure out who the #3 WR in this draft and Little might be that guy. He’s really the complete package.


I Just Don't See It


I really do not like this OT class at all and the thought of Anthony Castonzo as a #1 OT only cements that. People are naturally going to expect him to be a high floor guy given the history with BC O-Lineman and understandably so. But he isn’t nearly the talent that some make him out to be. He’s not very natural in his movements, his feet are average at best, he struggles to hold his ground and anchor and is not a guy I’d trust against either a strong speed or power rusher. For the most part he looked unimpressive at Senior Bowl. For the record, I was saying this long before Baldinger did but I do not see Castonzo as a first round talent. In another draft I think he'd be more of a mid 2nd type guy. I acknowledge he can be a good player but I really don’t see him having the ability to be anything more.


Aldon Smith scares me. I acknowledge he has a legitimate shot at being a Top 15, possibly even Top 10 pick, but I just don’t see it. I’m always weary of the “athletic freaks” who don’t test like one. He’s a very raw player but that doesn’t concern me nearly as much as does his awkward change of direction and the fact that he plays very high. He did not look fluid or natural at all in his movements at the combine which just kind of confirmed what I saw from him at Missouri. For a guy who’s billed as a freak of nature, he really doesn’t move like one. If he turns out to be a successful player, I really doubt that comes in a 3-4 defense.



Fairely vs. Dareus


It seems like everyone has moved Marcell Dareus ahead of Nick Fairley…..almost all of them did so after the college football season. I’m still having a hard time separating these two but I give the Fairley the slightest edge right now. I have little doubt that Dareus is a stronger run defender and I expect him be one of the better DT’s against the run in the league. However, being able to make an impact in the passing game and on 3rd down trumps all. Fairley seems to have the edge as a pass rusher. Dareus has shown flashes of great pass rush ability for sure but his 3-cone concerns me a bit. I put a fair bit of emphasis on the 3-cone and shuttle when it comes to pass rush ability. Dareus ran a very poor 7.83 3-cone which was 2nd worst among DT’s where as Fairley a DT best 7.14. Not that it is everything, it’s not, but the difference in their ability to dip and lean in noticeable on film. I have little doubt that Dareus will be a stronger run defender and I love the power and leverage he plays with. But Fairley’s ability to make an impact in the passing game gives him the slight edge in my eyes as of right now.




Look for a lot of trade action to occur in the early teens. The best value in the first round comes among those first 10-15 players. Some highly talented players may fall through the cracks there are some teams like the Cowboys, Redskins, Vikings, Lions, Rams and Dolphins have needs that don’t necessarily match up with the value.


Although it seems his stock is currently on the downswing, don’t rush to judgment on Da’Quan Bowers until we see him workout. For a guy whose athleticism carries a lot of weight in his draft stock, we need a chance for him to put it on display. If he tests like some think he can, his stock should move back up to where it was at the end of the season. But until that happens, let’s hold off on changing our projections on him for now.


AJ Green and Julio Jones are clearly the class of this year’s WR crop. I see the WR’s ranked 3-10 are very tightly packed. Those WR’s in my eyes would be Greg Little, Randall Cobb, Torrey Smith, Edmund Gates, Leonard Hankerson, Jon Baldwin, Titus Young and Jerrell Jernigan are the guys I’m referring to. A lot of variety so separating them has a lot to do with which flavor you prefer.


Don't Let Theses Guys Fly Off Your Radar


Two names you don’t want to overlook…UCF’s Jah Reid and SMU’s Aldrick Robinson. Jah Reid might be the most underrated OT in this draft. He’s a tough, nasty RT who is very strong in the run game. He’s a massive man at 6’7 328lbs but is able to come off the ball and play very low which is something that really stand out in his game. Still a little raw in pass pro but is a natural athlete and really did a great job against an explosive rusher in Justin Houston. Viewed as a 5th-late rounder right could go a lot earlier. Aldrick Robinson comes out of the same system that produced Emmanuel Sanders. He’s an explosive player who can stretch the field vertically, has great quickness, runs great routes and is a very natural hands catcher. He had 20.0 ypc which is exceptional playing in a run and shoot. He might be one of the best slot weapons in this draft.



I think Robert Quinn’s best spot is undoubtedly at OLB in a 34. He’s a one dimensional pass rusher who relies solely on his speed rush and ability to turn the corner but is not physical at the point of attack. I think he’d be a lot less effective as a 4-3 DE as he would have a lot more responsibilities versus the run which he doesn’t need. Edge rushing is basically all he does and in some ways, he almost reminds me of a big version of Von Miller.


Speaking of Von Miller, I'm really warming up to him as a 3-4 OLB lately. I still think his best spot may be in a 4-3 and am concerned with the fact that he basically has no pass rush moves. But it's hard to bet against a guy who is a very athletic, very explosive, very instinct playmaker. I just think an athlete and player like him will find a way to succeed.


With the lockout possibly denying NFL teams from signing undrafted free agents, Mr.Irrelevant now becomes more relevant than ever.

gpngc
03-18-2011, 06:36 PM
Little is apparently such a character risk that many believe he could go undrafted.

yourfavestoner
03-18-2011, 06:43 PM
In regards to Newton, I don't think anyone is saying that he can't succeed simply because of mechanical faults or things that he hasn't even had a chance to learn yet. It's not even just the NCAA investigation. Or leaving Florida under questionable circumstances.

It's just that when you add everything up, you're looking at a mountain of questions that simply can't be answered - and that's where the risk runs.

TACKLE
03-18-2011, 08:33 PM
In regards to Newton, I don't think anyone is saying that he can't succeed simply because of mechanical faults or things that he hasn't even had a chance to learn yet. It's not even just the NCAA investigation. Or leaving Florida under questionable circumstances.

It's just that when you add everything up, you're looking at a mountain of questions that simply can't be answered - and that's where the risk runs.

Oh I totally understand what you're saying. My comments are more so directed towards a lot of the talk that has grown post combine/pro day. Since those two events, it seems as if the focus has seemed to switch from concerns about character to concerns of lack of "pro-readiness". I'm not sure it even sure "pro-readiness" exists in college quarterbacks. Pro-readiness isn't about how college system or style of play coincides with the what will be asked from them in the NFL. Even the most sophisticated college offenses peril in comparison to more simple NFL offenses given that one is given the restriction on hours at the college level. If anything, the only things to really judge "pro readiness" off are things like mental aptitude, physical ability, arm strength to make all the throws, anticipation, work ethic, etc. Teams don't draft players based on who they think the best rookie will be. They draft players based on who they believe will develop into the best player down the road. Cam Newton, like every quarterback in this draft, is a project. He may be a bigger project than others and may take more time to grow. But that doesn't mean he's any less capable of developing than any other QB in this class. So when I say it seems as though some (njx would kill me for be vague but the folks on NFLN, ESPN for example) are being short-sited in their evaluations, I'm referring to those who are seemingly too caught up on where he is now opposed to projecting where they think he'll be as a player 3,4,5,6,7 years down road.

TACKLE
03-18-2011, 08:36 PM
Little is apparently such a character risk that many believe he could go undrafted.

First of all, there's no way he goes undrafted and is a likely 3rd round pick who has a legitimate chance at going in the 2nd.

Secondly, watch this interview. Yes he made a mistake this year and that's something that needs to be looked into. He also plays with an edge that may rub some, yourself included seemingly, the wrong way. But myself, I value confident players who play with an edge.

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Brothgar
03-18-2011, 08:47 PM
Quinn could be a 4-3 DE esp in a Tampa 2 style D.

PossibleCabbage
03-18-2011, 08:57 PM
The thing about Newton is that, sure, he could be a very good player in 2-3 years... but how often do we talk about drafting a guy #1 overall because he would be a quality contributor in a couple of years?

I'm personally of the mind that if you draft someone in the top 10, he should immediately be at least an average starter at his position. So I just can't endorse Newton going as high as everybody else seems to have him going.

Will he fail? I can't say, I don't see the future. Would I take him in the top 10 if I was a GM? Absolutely not.

Brent
03-18-2011, 09:26 PM
TACKLE, I like what you said about forming an opinion on Cam Newton, but I am not a fan of the "mechanics" can be fixed argument. While I hate to use the example, David Carr's big flaw was his delivery style (at least as a prospect). Every coach tried to change it in Houston. The problem was that when he got into the game, he reverted back to the way he had been throwing the 15 years of his life prior to being drafted. On the other end of the spectrum, people had an issue with Philip Rivers' delivery style and it's not changed a bit. Some felt that Leftwich could tighten his wind-up delivery, and he didn't. Sure, Aaron Rodgers held the ball too high when he came out because Tedford instructed him to do so, and he's changed that; I am willing to bet he didn't hold it that high at Butte. The way a prospect throws is likely not going to change. I said this all last year with Tebow, too.

As for the defense-reading aspect of your comment, one thing that stood out to me was that he said he was doubting himself as a QB after talking with NFL coaches in combine interviews because they were berating him with questions about playcalling and defenses. Sure, that can be learned, but when you've been taught "First read not open? RUN RUN RUN" since you were 14-15 years old, that's going to take a while to unlearn. Obviously, I have no idea how intelligent or ignorant the guy is, and I certainly won't accuse him of either since I don't know him, The issue I have is, if you are going to be taking this guy in the top 5 or 10, you would expect him to at least compete for playing time from the start.

Of course, there are a million variables that come in to play with this labor dispute, so all this could be bupkis.

Wrathman
03-18-2011, 09:42 PM
What I've read about Little is that his character and lack of passion on the field are hurting him in spite of great physical tools. I would not touch him until late in the 3rd at the highest, but I'd prefer him later than that.

Watching Edmund Gates, he has a lot of development ahead of him as a receiver....but he's fast, so he'll be on many sleeper lists.

TACKLE
03-18-2011, 10:26 PM
TACKLE, I like what you said about forming an opinion on Cam Newton, but I am not a fan of the "mechanics" can be fixed argument. While I hate to use the example, David Carr's big flaw was his delivery style (at least as a prospect). Every coach tried to change it in Houston. The problem was that when he got into the game, he reverted back to the way he had been throwing the 15 years of his life prior to being drafted. On the other end of the spectrum, people had an issue with Philip Rivers' delivery style and it's not changed a bit. Some felt that Leftwich could tighten his wind-up delivery, and he didn't. Sure, Aaron Rodgers held the ball too high when he came out because Tedford instructed him to do so, and he's changed that; I am willing to bet he didn't hold it that high at Butte. The way a prospect throws is likely not going to change. I said this all last year with Tebow, too.

I'm not disagreeing with you on the mechanics in many cases. But its not like Cam has a mechanical hitch that's unique or unorthodox like the examples you brought up. He just needs to be a little more refined and have a bit better balance in his 5 and 7 step drops from under center but he throws the ball very naturally. He played out of a shotgun in highschool, at Florida, at Blinn and of course at Auburn. t's only natural that there's still going to be a bit of a learning curve and he's not going to have overly refined footwork after only a month or two of working on it. There's no major issues there though. When is accuracy its off, it has to do with two things, his balance in his drops and his control of his arm strength. It appears as if from time to time, he doesn't know quite how strong his arm is if that makes any sense. Reps wise, he's just thrown a lot less passes over his career than most other QB's we see. Like I said above in the OP and I've been saying this for a while now, as long as he's committed to improving in these areas, his biggest flaws as a quarterback are fixable with more reps and NFL coaching.

As for the defense-reading aspect of your comment, one thing that stood out to me was that he said he was doubting himself as a QB after talking with NFL coaches in combine interviews because they were berating him with questions about playcalling and defenses.

I don't know where you heard he was doubting himself as a QB. I'm pretty sure I've seen most interviews he's done on either NFLN or ESPN and I never heard him say anything of that nature. Maybe it was an inference you made into something he said, but personally, I never recall him saying that or felt that's he was eluding to. If anything I'm not concerned about, its lack of confidence.

Sure, that can be learned, but when you've been taught "First read not open? RUN RUN RUN" since you were 14-15 years old, that's going to take a while to unlearn.

The mentality thing might be the biggest concern I have. Mainly because its so hard to project. Is he willing to discipline himself into being a pocket passer? It's hard to say whether he's capable of taking that step or not, because like you mentioned, he's been encouraged to run as soon as his first two options aren't open. He's shown flashes of being able to work through progressions while staying in the pocket but its not something we've seen a whole lot of. Like I said, its a very tough thing to project when there's not really tangible evidence on film to base it on. Truth be told, seeing Vick's evolution into a pocket passer this season makes me more comfortable in him changing his mentality to pass first than Gabbert changing his scared, frantic mentality in the pocket. Honestly as rookie, I'd rather see Cam throw a couple extra INT's and run less as long as he's trying to make throws down the field and trying to isn't afraid to try to put balls in tight windows.

Obviously, I have no idea how intelligent or ignorant the guy is, and I certainly won't accuse him of either since I don't know him, The issue I have is, if you are going to be taking this guy in the top 5 or 10, you would expect him to at least compete for playing time from the start.

Of course, there are a million variables that come in to play with this labor dispute, so all this could be bupkis.

I don't expect him to light the world on fire as a rookie and expect that he'll go throw some growing pains as a passer. With that being said, I really believe that he is going to make the Carolina Panthers or the Buffalo Bills or the Palmer-less Bengals or whoever drafts him, a better team and a better offense when he's on the field. He has playmaking ability that is rivaled by few prospects we've seen, regardless of position.

TACKLE
03-18-2011, 10:31 PM
What I've read about Little is that his character and lack of passion on the field are hurting him in spite of great physical tools. I would not touch him until late in the 3rd at the highest, but I'd prefer him later than that.

Watching Edmund Gates, he has a lot of development ahead of him as a receiver....but he's fast, so he'll be on many sleeper lists.

Where did you read that? I haven't heard anything of that nature. If anything based off what I saw from him in '09, he could possibly be viewed as a bit of a hothead who is too emotional and too intense - not the other way around.

Also, Gates has been a personal favorite of mine for a while now. Exceptional speed, can make plays after the catch, runs buttery smooth routes and is a very natural hands catcher who can go up and get the ball. Wouldn't surprise me to see him develop into a Mike Wallace type player.

Wrathman
03-18-2011, 10:45 PM
Where did you read that? I haven't heard anything of that nature. If anything based off what I saw from him in '09, he could possibly be viewed as a bit of a hothead who is too emotional and too intense - not the other way around.

Also, Gates has been a personal favorite of mine for a while now. Exceptional speed, can make plays after the catch, runs buttery smooth routes and is a very natural hands catcher who can go up and get the ball. Wouldn't surprise me to see him develop into a Mike Wallace type player.

By lack of passion for Little, I don't mean emotional displays on the field. I was referring to effort given or not given on plays throughout the game. I apologize for leaving that vague. I've read it on a couple of different sites now and it certainly could be a minority opinion.

Brent
03-18-2011, 10:45 PM
I don't know where you heard he was doubting himself as a QB. I'm pretty sure I've seen most interviews he's done on either NFLN or ESPN and I never heard him say anything of that nature. Maybe it was an inference you made into something he said, but personally, I never recall him saying that or felt that's he was eluding to. If anything I'm not concerned about, its lack of confidence.
http://49ers.pressdemocrat.com/2011/03/inside-the-49ers/greg-mcelroy-alabamas-einstein-aces-wonderlic/

Said Newton, It was something that you had to question yourself as an overall athlete. Im pretty sure everybody in the combine was going through that process asking themselves the question, like Is this really what I want to do? Because right after each meeting the horn blows to give you somewhat of a notice that you have two minutes left. And the coaches are asking questions like left and right, left and right, left and right. And as soon as that meeting is done, you shake your hands and you get right out and you go to the next place. And as soon as you walk into to that next place, you do the same thing over.
Personally, that's not the kind of things I want to hear from a top QB, but maybe I am making a lot out of a little.

J-Mike88
03-18-2011, 11:03 PM
Little seems like a pretty smart guy, very articulate actually.

He's used the words like "alleviate", "pivotal", "articulate", "unorthodox", "redemption", and a few other college-level words, which is pretty rare to hear from wide receivers.

It's actually the first I've heard of Little speak in interviews, and I was surprisingly impressed.

What are his off-field issues other than gettin paid?

gpngc
03-18-2011, 11:05 PM
Where did you read that? I haven't heard anything of that nature. If anything based off what I saw from him in '09, he could possibly be viewed as a bit of a hothead who is too emotional and too intense - not the other way around.

Also, Gates has been a personal favorite of mine for a while now. Exceptional speed, can make plays after the catch, runs buttery smooth routes and is a very natural hands catcher who can go up and get the ball. Wouldn't surprise me to see him develop into a Mike Wallace type player.

- Last evening sources told DraftInsider.net that numerous teams are down on former North Carolina receiver Greg Little before he has even taken the field. Teams have found Little to be less than honest during the interview process, and thats putting it nicely. Little, as you may remember, was suspended for the 2010 season after violating school and NCAA rules.

http://www.draftinsider.net/blog/?p=4857

According to SI.com draft analyst Tony Pauline, North Carolina WR Greg Little "won't be selected before the fourth round."
Little's offseason workout numbers have been fine, but he was reportedly "less than honest" in team interviews at the Combine after missing his entire senior season due to NCAA suspension. Other draft analysts have noted Little's seemingly lackadaisical on-field play and poor football character.
Source: TFY Draft Insider

I like him as a player also but with these types of concerns I highly doubt he goes in the 2nd.

TACKLE
03-18-2011, 11:28 PM
http://49ers.pressdemocrat.com/2011/03/inside-the-49ers/greg-mcelroy-alabamas-einstein-aces-wonderlic/


Personally, that's not the kind of things I want to hear from a top QB, but maybe I am making a lot out of a little.

Thanks for the link.

Yeah that is somewhat troublesome. Cam sometimes isn't very good with words and conveying what is really trying to say. It isn't the type of thing you want to hear but its hard to say how much to actually put into it.

I've said all along, Team Newton influence scares me the most. Just the whole "crew" mentality can lead to entitlement which can lead to complacency. In no way am I saying I expect that to happen but its something I am aware of. I get the feeling that leading up to the the combine interviews on the wave of the NC and Heisman, those around him were feeding him his own hype and he was sheltered from blunt honesty. In the interview he did on NFLN at the combine, it sounded like the interviews in Indy were somewhat of a humbling reality check for him. Obviously the teams were probably grilling him super hard and ripping his life apart. Hopefully that perspective is just what he needed.

Clearly, its an important factor, but I try not to get to wrapped up in the "character" projection side of things. I just think it's just unfair to make decisive character judgments off interview snippets and hearsay (i'm not accusing you on doing that at all btw). I try to look at it this way - when it all boils down, will a player's "character" negatively effect how well that player performs on the field.

San Diego Chicken
03-19-2011, 04:20 AM
If I made one tomorrow I'd have Cam anywhere from 10-20 on my big board. Unbelievable athlete, and you sense he has the "it" factor and knack for winning games when you watch him play. My main football concerns are how deceiving the tape is or isn't. When you watch a player absolutely dominate, you have to wonder why and be a bit skeptical. Couple of possible reasons why:

#1, college teams have a fear of his running ability that won't be there in the NFL. He had roughly a 50/50 split in passing/rushing attempts last year, pretty much the definition of a dual threat or running QB. Vick, Young and Tebow, who are the most recent examples of dual threats considered first round prospects, usually had splits above 60 percent through their careers. Young for example had 325 passing attempts and 155 rushes in 2005, about 67%.

#2 - system. The last few quarterbacks under Malzahn, have all put up big numbers. Chris Todd had set the single season Auburn record for TD passes before Newton broke it. David Johnson and Paul Smith each had 4,000 yards, 40+TD seasons at Tulsa under Malzahn. Newton is undoubtedly the best player and pro prospect of that group of QB's, but Malzahn is a brilliant offensive mind. He's coached 4 QB's in 4 years after he left Arkansas - they all seemed to have little/no learning curve and produced at a high level passing the ball.

I agree with you Tackle, mechanics and technique aren't a concern, especially if you have time to sit the bench and work on those exclusively in practice rather than game-planning for that week. Rivers and Rodgers were guys with mechanical concerns that overhauled their technique and look at them now. I think those issues are a little overblown with Cam anyway. His throwing motion is good and he is usually balanced with his feet, he just needs a lot more urgency with his dropback.

BTW your point about Mr. Irrelevant and the undrafted FA thing is a really interesting one that I hadn't really thought of. Probably extends to all later round picks, too.

Grizzlegom
03-19-2011, 07:01 AM
FWIW, I've heard that despite being great with the media, Little BOMBED in team interviews, failing to take full responsibility for his suspension and straight up lying in many cases. I've also heard the 'poor football character' and 'lackadaisical play' from scouts but I haven't seen that personally.

Draft King
03-19-2011, 08:45 AM
No Leonard Hankerson in the top 10 receivers?

bored of education
03-19-2011, 08:48 AM
No Leonard Hankerson in the top 10 receivers?

The thing is you can put about 14 guys in that 3-10 rankings, it all depends on type of receiver your team needs, how they fit in your offense, and their character.

bored of education
03-19-2011, 08:49 AM
Love to the love you are giving our home boy Aldrick yo!

A Perfect Score
03-19-2011, 09:14 AM
Good readup as per usual. Obviously there is some stuff I disagree with, and in fact I think you and I have probably talked about it all before, but nice to see some Sheard love. He's a guy I've really been warming up to lately the more I actually see of him. I went back to watch some Pitt games to look at Baldwin and Sheard really jumps off the defensive tape at you.

Nice to see Im not the only one hugely skeptical of Aldon Smith as well. Ever since the Combine I've been trying to go back and get a read of him on tape, and he is far too inconsistent and isn't quite the advertised athlete for me to be jumping on the Top 10 talk. Quinn, Miller, Watt, Jordan and Bowers all deserve to go ahead of him as pass rushers IMO.

TACKLE
03-19-2011, 10:22 AM
No Leonard Hankerson in the top 10 receivers?

I don't know how Hank slipped my mind. I only actually listed 9 receivers there. Thanks for pointing that out.

wonderbredd24
03-19-2011, 10:48 AM
Im trying to refrain from QB talk as much as I can because truth be told, its getting a little tiring. But I will say this in regards to Cam Newton, I think analysts and people in general are being a little short-sited in their evaluations. We should be projecting all the players for where they'll be down the road and not so much where they are right now. Like him or not, I dont see why people are getting caught up on mechanical refinement and reads. Those are things every QB coming in to the league needs a lot of work on. Sure Cam needs a bit more work than some other, but do Newton detractors really believe that his mechanics and inability to learn how to make NFL reads will lead to his downfall? I just don't see that. Hell take more time to develop than other top QBs, no denying that. But fortunately, his biggest issues as a passer are fixable with two things hell get plenty of: reps and coaching.
So to summarize... Cam Newton is a fantastic prospect, provided you are willing to look past his flaws.

TACKLE
03-19-2011, 02:19 PM
So to summarize... Cam Newton is a fantastic prospect, provided you are willing to look past his flaws.

Every single prospect has flaws without exception. The question is, are these flaws correctable and/or does this prospect have enough talent to overcome these flaws. For example, Patrick Peterson is widely considered a "fantastic" cornerback prospect. But he is still isn't refined technically, has struggled at times in off coverage, could be more fluid, freelances too much and gives his guy an inside release more than you'd like to see. If one calls him a fantastic prospect, is it because they are simply only looking at the good and are looking past his flaws? Or is it because they think he's highly talented, has positives that outweigh the negatives and should be able to improve on his weaknesses as he develops over time with NFL coaching?

Without a doubt, some flaws are easier to overcome than others and the prospects that have those flaws tend to be the more highly coveted ones. I'm just more convinced that Cam Newton's raw mechanics and timing from under center are easier to fix than Gabbert's poor pocket presence, Locker's poor ball placement and Mallett's inconsistent decision making with the football. I'm not overlooking that those flaws are there and certainly acknowledge that these issues can and will have some effect on how well Cam performs on the field. But do I think over the next couple years he's capable of improving and making large strides on something that is almost brand new to him? Yes I do - with reps and NFL coaching.

TACKLE
03-19-2011, 05:39 PM
I like him as a player also but with these types of concerns I highly doubt he goes in the 2nd.

You might be right. Maybe we see a Mike Williams situation there where I guy with first round ability takes a tumble down the boards. He's going to be a huge steal for whoever gets him that late.

DeathbyStat
03-19-2011, 06:41 PM
Does anyone see Devin Thomas in Greg Little?

FUNBUNCHER
03-19-2011, 09:11 PM
Does anyone see Devin Thomas in Greg Little?
Yeah, I was thinking the exact same thing. Almost twins as physical specimens.

DT I think has a borderline learning disability which makes it harder for him to absorb a playbook, ( at least that's how he seemed with the SKins!!), but if Little gets his head on straight and learns to be a 'professional', I easily could see him developing into a true #1 in the pros.

DeathbyStat
03-21-2011, 07:52 AM
I think its the body type both look like running backs.

bitonti
03-21-2011, 08:15 AM
this is a great post TACKLE i really enjoyed it

agree about Newton, people are underestimating how important it is for a modern NFL QB to have some mobility. They can't keep the QB clean, to have a guy like Newton (or Locker, or Gabbert, or Tebow) who can scramble around a bit when the pressure comes, is a huge boost to their stock. They can't protect statues like Mallett or Drew Bledsoe.

The idea of "perfect mechanics" is a false hood because the pocket is rarely ever clean enough for a player to use perfect mechanics. There will be times when Cam Newton will have to throw off his back foot or with a defender hanging around his waist, that's what the NFL is about, not having a guy with perfect footwork.

side note I like Greg Little but I think Hankerson is that #3 WR.

yourfavestoner
03-21-2011, 10:43 AM
this is a great post TACKLE i really enjoyed it

agree about Newton, people are underestimating how important it is for a modern NFL QB to have some mobility. They can't keep the QB clean, to have a guy like Newton (or Locker, or Gabbert, or Tebow) who can scramble around a bit when the pressure comes, is a huge boost to their stock. They can't protect statues like Mallett or Drew Bledsoe.

The idea of "perfect mechanics" is a false hood because the pocket is rarely ever clean enough for a player to use perfect mechanics. There will be times when Cam Newton will have to throw off his back foot or with a defender hanging around his waist, that's what the NFL is about, not having a guy with perfect footwork.

side note I like Greg Little but I think Hankerson is that #3 WR.

Who are you and where have you been? Because I think I love you.

SRogers92
03-21-2011, 10:52 AM
Aldon scares me about as little as any player in this draft - if he goes to a 43 team. Any team that takes Smith to play in a 34 is dumb, just like when people rumored Brandon Graham to be a 34 guy last year, it's not the case.

Smith is a Simeon Rice, Mathias Kiwanuka or JPP clone, except I like his ceiling higher than Kiwi or JPP. His pass rushing moves were pretty damn refined and his use of hands are very good for a RS Soph. Sure, he plays high from time to time, but -- so does 90% of the rookie DEs, you can work on that. He can also Pass Rush from the interior.

He plays the run very well, too. He has awesome pursuit and can slide down the LOS to make plays very well. He'll struggle when the ball is ran right at him, but -- so do the vast majority of 'pass rushers' in the NFL already.

FUNBUNCHER
03-21-2011, 12:46 PM
Aldon scares me about as little as any player in this draft - if he goes to a 43 team. Any team that takes Smith to play in a 34 is dumb, just like when people rumored Brandon Graham to be a 34 guy last year, it's not the case.

Smith is a Simeon Rice, Mathias Kiwanuka or JPP clone, except I like his ceiling higher than Kiwi or JPP. His pass rushing moves were pretty damn refined and his use of hands are very good for a RS Soph. Sure, he plays high from time to time, but -- so does 90% of the rookie DEs, you can work on that. He can also Pass Rush from the interior.

He plays the run very well, too. He has awesome pursuit and can slide down the LOS to make plays very well. He'll struggle when the ball is ran right at him, but -- so do the vast majority of 'pass rushers' in the NFL already.


Draft is destiny, meaning where and by whom a prospect is drafted really cements in many ways what kind of player they're allowed to become.

Aldon Smith I agree is in the JPP/Kiwanuka/Simeon RIce mold, but IMO he's not the pure athlete that JPP and Simeon Rice were.

People forget what a beast Simeon Rice was coming out of Illinois and if he hadn't spent the bulk of his career on awful Cardinals teams, he'd be getting more HOF talk.

Brandon Graham I still think would be at his best playing outside in a 34. IMO he's at least as talented as Woodley, with better quickness and speed.

'Jacking done.

the natural
03-21-2011, 11:54 PM
Top pick of the draft was Newton's to lose coming off his college season, and he may have done that. The "path to the draft" is quite different from a propect's college credentials as well as their ultimate performance as a pro. It is a separate competition in and of itself. Cam was outshone by Gabbert and a few others in that process. He made some crucial mistakes in choosing representation, he waited too long and was unwilling to commit to one source. That set him back in preparation time and set him up with overblown flake George Whitfield. The careless remarks, poor decisions, and lack of preparation (of which we see only a small part) could cost him a lot of money and prestige. Gabbert may look angelic, but he is a killer competitor, and he tracked Newton down pretty relentlessly over the past couple of months.

TACKLE
03-22-2011, 01:17 AM
Top pick of the draft was Newton's to lose coming off his college season, and he may have done that. The "path to the draft" is quite different from a propect's college credentials as well as their ultimate performance as a pro. It is a separate competition in and of itself. Cam was outshone by Gabbert and a few others in that process. He made some crucial mistakes in choosing representation, he waited too long and was unwilling to commit to one source. That set him back in preparation time and set him up with overblown flake George Whitfield. The careless remarks, poor decisions, and lack of preparation (of which we see only a small part) could cost him a lot of money and prestige.Gabbert may look angelic, but he is a killer competitor, and he tracked Newton down pretty relentlessly over the past couple of months.

You're being modest. Gabbert looks angelic because he is an angel sent down as God's gift to the quarterback position. (lol i never thought i'd hear a prospect described as angelic)


in all seriousness nat, a couple things:

a. don't know how you're comment is at all relevant to what's being discussed in here but i'll address it anyway.

b. by saying the #1 pick was newton's too lose, are you suggesting that cam newton is more worthy of the pick based on his performance on the field?

c. and this is what i really want to get to. i have talked at length with a very established poster on here who is a strong gabbert supporter. one thing that has really frustrated me and him throughout this process, is how hard gabbert is trying to be a tom condon robot. i do not think i've heard a single pre-draft interview he's done where he hasn't mentioned matt ryan, matthew stafford or sam bradford's name. it seems as if he's almost trying to piggyback of their successes by drawing parallels between him and those other guys. correlation ≠ causation. it just seems very odd that he's making such a concerted effort to draw a connection to the media between he and those other guys. i'd have a lot more respect for him if he was intent on selling people on blaine gabbert and what he had to offer; opposed to selling people on ryan and bradford in hopes of making them believe he'll have the same success because he took the same steps leading up to the draft.

FUNBUNCHER
03-22-2011, 02:51 AM
Whether Newton is the top or not is irrelevant to me.

I still don't believe Gabbert is worthy of being selected 1/1 and in no way is he a better pro prospect than Newton.

An NFL career doesn't begin and end with the draft. Gabbert has yet to prove to me that he's a PLAYER when it's all on him to manufacture a clutch win.

As for Cam, that was basically his one year career at Auburn, finding a way to pull a rabbit out of a hat every single Saturday.

And that's exactly what he did.

You worry about Gabbert winning the NFL draft(woo hoo!!) Natch.

I'll wait and see which guy is the first to sniff a SB.

Sportsfan486
03-22-2011, 04:24 AM
Definitely was surprised by that Greg Little interview. Seemed very articulate and intelligent and conveyed that he made mistakes and was learning from them (without going out of his way to highlight the mistakes and crucify himself) quite well. Then again, he's had plenty of time to be coached for interviews so it could be an act.

My biggest concern about Newton is he doesn't seem like he has the passion to be a great QB. He carries himself like a guy who is already a great athlete so why worry about the rest? His interviews, his workouts, he just looks like he's nonchalantly rolling through them. Where's the passion to go out and prove he can be a great QB and is worthy of the #1 pick? The combine and his pro day throwing the ball he's just lackadaisically tossing the ball, giggling with his trainers and smirking. That's not what I want to see. I want him to come out, fire off a pass, and then get back up for another. I want him to grimace if he misfires. I want him to show me something that says "hey, I've got great physical gifts but I want to learn and combine the two. I should never miss a pass. My WR shouldn't have to make a difficult catch. I'm THE guy."

I just don't see that from him. I see a guy that tried to get money for playing in college and relied on his physical gifts to get him through that. I see a guy that ran fast and threw poorly at the combine. I see a guy that gets his paycheck and then he brings you his physical gifts but "hey, I got paid" and doesn't put in that insane amount of film and coach work.

Every prospect has flaws and it comes down to whether or not they're willing to put in the effort to fix them. Cam gives me the feeling he just isn't.

FUNBUNCHER
03-22-2011, 09:24 AM
Stop pretending you saw the expression on Cam's face after EVERY pass he threw at the combine and his pro day.

How many times did the NFL Network have to show Newton roll his eyes or frown when his passes didn't connect in drills??

It's funny to me that some people still believed Cam shucked and jived his way to the incredible undefeated season he produced for Auburn last year, or that all he did was run and tuck the ball on every other play.

You want to see passion for the game??

That's called leaving your dream school, UF, before you were about to be suspended or kicked off the team, starting over again at a junior college and rebuilding your cred as a viable college QB and leading Blinn College to a JC NC, then signing with Auburn, winning the starting job and carrying that team on your back, ( with a little help from Fairley!!), stoning the SEC, going undefeated, etc.

IMO it helps to say upfront there's something about a prospect you just don't like on a personal level, that makes more sense than some of these off the wall characterizations and psychological/emotional critiques of Newton.

Black Bolt
03-22-2011, 10:03 AM
insensity, or a lack thereof. It's the single thing that bothers me about Cam. It's like he still doesn't take this entire thing as seriously as he needs to. Almost like he is too aware of the cameras.


Definitely was surprised by that Greg Little interview. Seemed very articulate and intelligent and conveyed that he made mistakes and was learning from them (without going out of his way to highlight the mistakes and crucify himself) quite well. Then again, he's had plenty of time to be coached for interviews so it could be an act.

My biggest concern about Newton is he doesn't seem like he has the passion to be a great QB. He carries himself like a guy who is already a great athlete so why worry about the rest? His interviews, his workouts, he just looks like he's nonchalantly rolling through them. Where's the passion to go out and prove he can be a great QB and is worthy of the #1 pick? The combine and his pro day throwing the ball he's just lackadaisically tossing the ball, giggling with his trainers and smirking. That's not what I want to see. I want him to come out, fire off a pass, and then get back up for another. I want him to grimace if he misfires. I want him to show me something that says "hey, I've got great physical gifts but I want to learn and combine the two. I should never miss a pass. My WR shouldn't have to make a difficult catch. I'm THE guy."

I just don't see that from him. I see a guy that tried to get money for playing in college and relied on his physical gifts to get him through that. I see a guy that ran fast and threw poorly at the combine. I see a guy that gets his paycheck and then he brings you his physical gifts but "hey, I got paid" and doesn't put in that insane amount of film and coach work.

Every prospect has flaws and it comes down to whether or not they're willing to put in the effort to fix them. Cam gives me the feeling he just isn't.

Black Bolt
03-22-2011, 10:07 AM
I am SO glad you talked about Fairley Darius. I still have Fairly slightly ahead as well. I find it amazing that one one questions Darius's weight gain in the least. Fairley comes in lighter than expected, but looked trim (although not cut) and looks like a linebacker in certain drills and it's somehow a BAD thing?? I don't get it.


Just a compilation of thoughts I have on the draft and things that are on my mind lately. I plan on doing one or two more of these as before the draft as I become so inclined.





Im trying to refrain from QB talk as much as I can because truth be told, its getting a little tiring. But I will say this in regards to Cam Newton, I think analysts and people in general are being a little short-sited in their evaluations. We should be projecting all the players for where they'll be down the road and not so much where they are right now. Like him or not, I dont see why people are getting caught up on mechanical refinement and reads. Those are things every QB coming in to the league needs a lot of work on. Sure Cam needs a bit more work than some other, but do Newton detractors really believe that his mechanics and inability to learn how to make NFL reads will lead to his downfall? I just don't see that. Hell take more time to develop than other top QBs, no denying that. But fortunately, his biggest issues as a passer are fixable with two things hell get plenty of: reps and coaching.


Give These Guys Some Love


Jabaal Sheard is the first guy. Hes a guy who seems to be picking up some steam lately. Easily one of the most natural pass rushers in this class. He has very good athleticism that translates to the field. He has enough explosive to be a threat attacking the edge with his speed but also has a variery pass rush moves and does a nice job of setting up OTs. He ran one of the best 10-yard splits of any DE in this draft. Definitely appears to have the fluidity to be able to play 3-4 OLB. If I had to pick the Tyson Alualu of this draft, Sheard would be the guy. Dont be surprised to see his name called in the first 32 picks.


The other guy would be Greg Little. Based off pure football ability, I really believe he is a first round talent. The guy is somewhat of a physical freak. 62.5 231, low 4.5 forty and a 40.5 vert. Hes a fluid athlete with natural hands who has the ability to elevate and go up and attack the ball. Little is a former running back who is a beast with the ball in his hands. Might be the most physical WR in this class and really plays with an edge on the field which I love. Some off the field questions but in interviews he comes off as impressive, articulate, driven individual in interviews. Hes only been playing WR for a year and a half so hes got a very big upside. Everyone is trying to figure out who the #3 WR in this draft and Little might be that guy. Hes really the complete package.


I Just Don't See It


I really do not like this OT class at all and the thought of Anthony Castonzo as a #1 OT only cements that. People are naturally going to expect him to be a high floor guy given the history with BC O-Lineman and understandably so. But he isnt nearly the talent that some make him out to be. Hes not very natural in his movements, his feet are average at best, he struggles to hold his ground and anchor and is not a guy Id trust against either a strong speed or power rusher. For the most part he looked unimpressive at Senior Bowl. For the record, I was saying this long before Baldinger did but I do not see Castonzo as a first round talent. In another draft I think he'd be more of a mid 2nd type guy. I acknowledge he can be a good player but I really dont see him having the ability to be anything more.


Aldon Smith scares me. I acknowledge he has a legitimate shot at being a Top 15, possibly even Top 10 pick, but I just dont see it. Im always weary of the athletic freaks who dont test like one. Hes a very raw player but that doesnt concern me nearly as much as does his awkward change of direction and the fact that he plays very high. He did not look fluid or natural at all in his movements at the combine which just kind of confirmed what I saw from him at Missouri. For a guy whos billed as a freak of nature, he really doesnt move like one. If he turns out to be a successful player, I really doubt that comes in a 3-4 defense.



Fairely vs. Dareus


It seems like everyone has moved Marcell Dareus ahead of Nick Fairley..almost all of them did so after the college football season. Im still having a hard time separating these two but I give the Fairley the slightest edge right now. I have little doubt that Dareus is a stronger run defender and I expect him be one of the better DTs against the run in the league. However, being able to make an impact in the passing game and on 3rd down trumps all. Fairley seems to have the edge as a pass rusher. Dareus has shown flashes of great pass rush ability for sure but his 3-cone concerns me a bit. I put a fair bit of emphasis on the 3-cone and shuttle when it comes to pass rush ability. Dareus ran a very poor 7.83 3-cone which was 2nd worst among DTs where as Fairley a DT best 7.14. Not that it is everything, its not, but the difference in their ability to dip and lean in noticeable on film. I have little doubt that Dareus will be a stronger run defender and I love the power and leverage he plays with. But Fairleys ability to make an impact in the passing game gives him the slight edge in my eyes as of right now.




Look for a lot of trade action to occur in the early teens. The best value in the first round comes among those first 10-15 players. Some highly talented players may fall through the cracks there are some teams like the Cowboys, Redskins, Vikings, Lions, Rams and Dolphins have needs that dont necessarily match up with the value.


Although it seems his stock is currently on the downswing, dont rush to judgment on DaQuan Bowers until we see him workout. For a guy whose athleticism carries a lot of weight in his draft stock, we need a chance for him to put it on display. If he tests like some think he can, his stock should move back up to where it was at the end of the season. But until that happens, lets hold off on changing our projections on him for now.


AJ Green and Julio Jones are clearly the class of this years WR crop. I see the WRs ranked 3-10 are very tightly packed. Those WRs in my eyes would be Greg Little, Randall Cobb, Torrey Smith, Edmund Gates, Leonard Hankerson, Jon Baldwin, Titus Young and Jerrell Jernigan are the guys Im referring to. A lot of variety so separating them has a lot to do with which flavor you prefer.


Don't Let Theses Guys Fly Off Your Radar


Two names you dont want to overlookUCFs Jah Reid and SMUs Aldrick Robinson. Jah Reid might be the most underrated OT in this draft. Hes a tough, nasty RT who is very strong in the run game. Hes a massive man at 67 328lbs but is able to come off the ball and play very low which is something that really stand out in his game. Still a little raw in pass pro but is a natural athlete and really did a great job against an explosive rusher in Justin Houston. Viewed as a 5th-late rounder right could go a lot earlier. Aldrick Robinson comes out of the same system that produced Emmanuel Sanders. Hes an explosive player who can stretch the field vertically, has great quickness, runs great routes and is a very natural hands catcher. He had 20.0 ypc which is exceptional playing in a run and shoot. He might be one of the best slot weapons in this draft.



I think Robert Quinns best spot is undoubtedly at OLB in a 34. Hes a one dimensional pass rusher who relies solely on his speed rush and ability to turn the corner but is not physical at the point of attack. I think hed be a lot less effective as a 4-3 DE as he would have a lot more responsibilities versus the run which he doesnt need. Edge rushing is basically all he does and in some ways, he almost reminds me of a big version of Von Miller.


Speaking of Von Miller, I'm really warming up to him as a 3-4 OLB lately. I still think his best spot may be in a 4-3 and am concerned with the fact that he basically has no pass rush moves. But it's hard to bet against a guy who is a very athletic, very explosive, very instinct playmaker. I just think an athlete and player like him will find a way to succeed.


With the lockout possibly denying NFL teams from signing undrafted free agents, Mr.Irrelevant now becomes more relevant than ever.

Cunningham
03-24-2011, 12:26 AM
what are your thoughts on this year's safety class? which ones do you see as being, at the very least, above-average starters at the next level?

prock
03-24-2011, 12:34 AM
Do you think Jah Reid is solely a right tackle prospect or does he have potential to kick inside to guard? I am wondering if he could be on the board for the Vikings in the 4th round as a guard.

TACKLE
03-24-2011, 01:13 AM
Do you think Jah Reid is solely a right tackle prospect or does he have potential to kick inside to guard? I am wondering if he could be on the board for the Vikings in the 4th round as a guard.

I think he could do both. He's 6'7 328 so naturally you're going to think OT but he actually plays with a very low pad level and is one of the strongest run blockers in this class. I think he could make a success transition to guard. He would be a nice fit for the Vikes imo. Big, physical, nasty, surprising athlete and could potentially fill a few spots.