Authored by Jeff Risdon - 25th April, 2012 - 1:15 pm
I have spoken with, exchanged texts and emails, and tweeted back and forth with a few NFL scouts, coaches and front office personnel over the past few days trying to glean every possible morsel of draft information. Here are some notes:
|Current Featured Columns|
|2012 Breakthroughs And Bounce-Backs|
Philip Rivers and Chris Johnson are candidates to have bounce-back seasons, while J.J. Watt, Greg Little, Brooks Reed and Kyle Rudolph are poised to breakthrough.
Thoughts From The Road
While driving up and down America's heartland, Jeff Risdon weighs in on LaDainian Tomlinson, BCS provisions, Percy Harvin, Colt McCoy and Jerry Sandusky.
Opening Day Quarterback Starters
The NFL is living in a golden age of quarterbacks where the one common denominator of winning teams is a strong passing game.
Eagles Swoop In, Sign Asomugha
The Eagles seemingly came out of nowhere to sign Nnamdi Asomugha as they eye a trip to the Super Bowl.
-- One AFC West front office staffer told me his team believes the generally accepted top-five order of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Matt Kalil, Trent Richardson and Morris Claiborne "is destined to play out that way." He did add his own team has inquired about moving up to one of those spots but the asking price was "prohibitive" and "ridiculous". He would not elaborate, but added the team is "comfortable with what we'll get" at their current slot and thinks the 2nd round will feature more trades than the first.
-- A scout from that same team told me they wound up without having a tight end rated in the first two rounds. He was indignant about Colby Fleener going in the first, "We'd be thrilled if that happens. Better player drops to us...Fleener is nothing more than a #2 tight end in a good offense." I should point out this scout is not a western area scout.
-- A position coach from an AFC team was somewhat critical of the offensive tackle crop. I offered to him that I felt Kalil was somewhat overhyped and he agreed but added "if you need a left tackle right now, he's the only guy in this draft. He can start this year and play for a long time". His abridged opinions on other tackles:
-- Mike Adams: "Not worth the headaches. Sometimes he's great. But I don't trust him."
-- Riley Reiff: "Good player. Love him when he gets those big paws engaged. Most of what I don't like about him, I can fix it. But he is going to be so much better on the right side."
-- Bobby Massie: "I see why some people like him but man does he need a lot of work. I'm not sure they knew what they had or what do with him (at Ole Miss). I've never seen a guy with that quick of feet and that slow of hands...When we talked to him in Indy (at the Combine) it came across like he didn't know what he doesn't know. There is a lot to like there but man, it's going to take some work to get all that to come together."
-- Cordy Glenn: "He's a real thick guy with some ability but he's got an issue. He pass protects like a guard and he run blocks like a tackle. I want it the other way around. I like him better inside. I wouldn't mind coaching him."
-- But my personal favorite assessment was regarding Jonathan Martin: "Bad body...comes across as complacent and soft on tape. I have no idea what to do with him. He can't anchor, but he can't really move either...I try not to speak up in draft meetings to ding a guy, but when we were doing our second day run through, I did about (Martin). I said I don't want any part of him with that kind of expectation (intimated by draft slot)".
-- A NFC scout surprised me when I asked him about Chandler Jones. I've been openly critical of Jones and genuinely do not understand the talk about him going in the top 40, but this scout advised me his team "has real interest" in Jones in the first round. When I pressed him for a deeper explanation he didn't offer much other than talking about his length and athletic potential. I guess I need to accept the inevitable; Jones is going in the top 40, probably the top 25.
-- Look for a big and deep run on wide receivers and cornerbacks on Friday. As many as 24 of the 63 picks in round 2-3 could come from those positions. Add in at least four RBs (David Wilson, Lamar Miller, Isaiah Pead, LaMichael James) and three QBs (Brock Osweiler, Kirk Cousins, maybe Brandon Weeden) and that doesn't leave a lot of room for linemen.
-- I asked a couple of different people about guys who are perceived fallers, Dontari Poe and Quentin Coples. Both sources confirmed they believe it. I asked for landing spots and the opinions were pretty similar; Poe could stick in the teens but probably slides into the 20s, while Coples is either going #9 to Carolina (as I suggested in the penultimate mock) or he's going to be sitting a long time, perhaps overnight. I'll believe that when I see it but I do think it could.
-- It sounds like there is less trade chatter going on, particularly in the middle of the first round. As one front office staffer (the same as mentioned earlier) told me, the lack of big gaps in talent level aren't forcing teams' hands. That doesn't mean there won't be moves, but the moves involved will come with specific positions targeted, and those positions will be ones where there is a big dropoff from one tier to the next, safety and cornerback. Mark Barron is the only first round safety, while there appears to be a bigger chasm than most believe between the first tier corners (Morris Claiborne, Stephon Gilmore, Dre Kirkpatrick) and the second tier. If there are moves in the 7-20 range, expect it to be for those guys.
-- I got two answers for my requests for guesses at Mr. Irrelevant. One scout picked Ouachita Baptist TE Philip Supernaw, while a front office staffer gave me Purdue OL Nick Mondek. I confess to knowing nothing about Supernaw other than I've heard his name somewhere once. I'm sticking with my choice of Old Dominion DT Ronnie Cameron.