Draft - Football Wiretap
Matt Barkley Will Remain At USC
QB Matt Barkley will remain with USC for his senior season, bypassing a potential top-10 selection in April's NFL draft to chase a national championship with the Trojans. With USC coach Lane Kiffin and his family in attendance, Barkley announced Thursday that while he feels prepared for the NFL, he has more to accomplish with the Trojans.
USC's Barkley To Announce Plans
USC quarterback Matt Barkley will hold a news conference Thursday afternoon to announce whether he will stay for his senior year or leave school early for the NFL draft, according to an ESPN.com report.
Luck Plans Week Off After Bowl Before Draft Prep
Andrew Luck plans to relax for a week after Stanford's Fiesta Bowl game against Oklahoma State on Jan. 2 before he moves fully into draft preparations. The projected No. 1 pick said he will cherish his last two weeks with the Cardinal then return home to West Virginia and take a much-needed break before switching gears. "I'm going to go home and take a week or a week and a half off and figure it all out, because I don't want to sit here during practice preparing for a game thinking about agents, where you're going to train or yadda, yadda, yadda," Luck said. "I'll go home and take a little breather and then get into the whole process."
Pre-Bowl Big Board For The 2012 NFL Draft
The Bowl season is just kicking off, and so has the early declaration season. Underclassmen have until January 15th, but a couple of prominent players (Matt Kalil and Lamar Miller) have already announced they are leaving school. Expect a mad rush after the bowls are over. These ratings are based on fairly extensive breakdowns of games, along with advice and tips from scouts in the field that I respect and trust. They will not change until after Senior Bowl week, the week before the Super Bowl. I will do an updated Top 103 and another mock draft before that time, stay tuned! Note that this does not indicate the order in which I think they will be drafted. Quarterback 1. Andrew Luck, Stanford. Iím not convinced he will be an instant star, but his bust factor is incredibly low for a first-round QB. 2. Robert Griffin III, Baylor. Dynamic playmaker is somewhere between Michael Vick and Aaron Rodgers when they were draft prospects. 3. Matt Barkley, USC. Iím warming to him as he played consistently better down the stretch, anticipating throws better. 4. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M. The least ready prospect here, but has very high potential for a patient team with good coaching. 5. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State. Over-aged but has very few deficiencies to his polished game. Running Back 1. Trent Richardson, Alabama. Reminds me of Eddie George both in build and running style, might be a little faster. 2. Lamar Miller, Miami FL. Injuries are a big concern, but heís an explosive, violent runner with good vision when healthy. 3. Montee Ball, Wisconsin. The TD king shows great vision and leg drive; his 10-yard split is critical to his stock. 4. Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M. Well-built back with good versatility and used to sharing the load, but not a blazer or a pounder. 5. Doug Martin, Boise State. Short, somewhat slippery runner with good power, great in the passing game. Wide Receiver 1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State. A slightly faster version of Anquan Boldin, an absolute bull after the catch. 2. Kendall Wright, Baylor. Skinny burner with great burst and confidence, similar to Mike Wallace coming out. 3. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame. Great size and power, improved his litheness and concentration in 2011. 4. Alshon Jeffrey, South Carolina. Great catcher of the football, but his lack of speed and suddenness are limiting. 5. Jermaine Kearse, Washington. Solid intermediate-range receiver has high coachable potential. Tight End 1. Dwayne Allen, Clemson. The next of the supersized wideouts-as-tight ends that seldom play in-line. 2. Colby Fleener, Stanford. Smooth receiver that plays faster than he looks, very polished. 3. Orson Charles, Georgia. See comment on Allen, except not as supersized though a little faster. 4. Ladarius Green, Louisiana Tech. Lanky wideout-as-tight end is raw but has some Fred Davis to his game. 5. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame. More of a puristís idea of a tight end, but heís no athletic slouch. Offensive Tackle 1. Matt Kalil, USC. Very athletic but on the light side, though he doesnít lack snarl. Low bust factor augments his value. 2. Jonathan Martin, Stanford. Best pass protector in the group, experienced playing in front of a pocket passer. 3. Mike Adams, Ohio State. Goliath could be an excellent right tackle, potentially a bigger Eric Winston if he wants it bad enough. 4. Riley Reiff, Iowa. The latest Hawkeye that will be a good-not-great NFL lineman. 5. Tom Compton, South Dakota. Donít let the small school fool you, this guy can play. Offensive Guard 1. David DeCastro, Stanford. Complete package at guard, should be a starter for a decade. 2. Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State. Heavy footed but incredibly powerful, a la Carl Nicks. 3. Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State. Physically dominated everyone at his level, has the traits to make the jump. 4. Ryan Miller, Colorado. Might be too tall for some teams, but pad level is not an issue for this powerful blocker. 5. Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin. Snowplow of a run blocker is great at second level. Center 1. Peter Konz, Wisconsin. Taller and heavier than most recent top prospects but still quite agile for his size. 2. Philip Blake, Baylor. Another overaged Canuck from Baylor, nobody sustains blocks better. 3. David Molk, Michigan. Lots of experience finding targets in space and playing with a running QB. 4. Ben Jones, Georgia. Four-year starter has an underrated nasty streak. 5. Michael Brewster, Ohio State. Inconsistent but too skilled to ignore. Defensive Tackle 1. Brandon Thompson, Clemson. Lightning-quick gap shooter improved his ability to finish plays as a senior. 2. Devon Still, Penn State. Built off his amazing Outback Bowl, where he dominated Maurkice Pouncey, by showing better run awareness. 3. Jerel Worthy, Michigan State. Has some Nick Fairley to him, for better and worse. Highest ceiling of any tackle. 4. Dontari Poe, Memphis. Best nose tackle prospect, and at 350+ pounds still has good quickness. 5. Kendall Reyes, UConn. Growing into a disruptive player, might be best as a 5-technique DE in the NFL. Defensive End 1. Melvin Ingram, South Carolina. Reminds me a lot of Cliff Avril, keeps improving. Underrated by most. 2. Vinny Curry, Marshall. Needs some polish but his effort and athleticism are tantalizing. Wants it badly. 3. Whitney Mercilus, Illinois. Hendricks Award winner has amazing first step. Some worry heís a one-year wonder. 4. Quinton Coples, North Carolina. Has the most potential but the bust factor is significant. 5. Nick Perry, USC. Light but not lacking strength, ideal Tampa-2 end. Outside Linebacker 1. Courtney Upshaw, Alabama. Only drawback is his lack of top-end speed. 2. Zach Brown, North Carolina. Undersized but a big-time hitter with great instincts. 3. Brandon Jenkins, Florida State. Pass rushing specialist has great closing burst. 4. Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma. Grew on me the more I watched him play in space. 5. Keenan Robinson, Texas. Hustle and flow backer has some Chad Greenway to his game. Inside Linebacker 1. Dontía Hightower, Alabama. Playmaker has the size 3-4 scheme teams covet inside. 2. Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State. Flags are close to red for his immaturity, but he is a Ray Lewis-like intimidating physical force. 3. Luke Kuechly, Boston College. Tackling machine is fantastic between the tackles, lacks great range outside. 4. James-Michael Johnson, Nevada. Built like a bulldog and hits like one too. 5. Audie Cole, North Carolina State. Former boxer has great feet in coverage but also a sturdy tackler. Cornerback 1. Morris Claiborne, LSU. As natural in coverage as any draftee since Revis, has shutdown corner potential 2. Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska. Thickly-built bulldog can start right away for press man teams. 3. Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama. Could be the best corner in this draft if he is truly grown up. 4. Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama. Great height and length, and heís very good in run support. 5. Chase Minnifield, Virginia. Football IQ is off the charts, needs to get stronger. Safety 1. Mark Barron, Alabama. Big, physical playmaker but he lacks elite range. 2. Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State. Coverage specialist plays best in key moments; could transition to slot/nickel back. 3. George Iloka, Boise State. Plays safety like a linebacker but has good feet and range. 4. Jerrell Young, South Florida. Ideal Tampa-2 safety is a good mid-round sleeper, wonít be drafted as high as rated here. 5. Winston Guy, Kentucky. Converted corner has lots of underdeveloped potential, can immediately impact special teams.
USC DE Perry To Enter NFL Draft
USC junior defensive end Nick Perry intends to apply for entry to the 2012 NFL Draft, the school announced Saturday. Perry is a two-year starter for the Trojans and had 9.5 sacks last year. Coach Lane Kiffin said he supported Perry's decision. "His career progression at USC continued climbing to a point where he was ready to make the jump to the NFL," Kiffin said in a statement. "He was an awesome pass rushing for us and he created havoc throughout the Pac-12 this year in a league that featured many of the nation's most dangerous passing offenses. He will be a valued addition to any NFL team and should be an attractive choice in the upcoming draft."
Stanford OG DeCastro Heading To NFL
The Stanford Cardinal will not have junior right guard David DeCastro next season as he plans to enter the NFL Draft. DeCastro redshirted in 2008 and has since started three consecutive seasons at right guard for the Cardinal, earning honorable mention all-conference accolades in 2009 and first-team honors both years since. The 6-5, 312 pound DeCastro was the only Stanford player to make the AP's First Team All-American team.
Sources: Griffin's Parents Interviewing Agents
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III is having his parents interview agents with the strong likelihood he will declare himself eligible for the NFL draft, according to two different sources. He won the Heisman Trophy last weekend. A junior, Griffin, has not indicated whether he will come out for the draft. The work by his parents is a way of protecting his interests in case he decides to return to Baylor.
Sources: USC's Matt Kalil To Enter NFL Draft
USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil has decided to forego his senior season and seek entry into the 2012 NFL draft, sources have told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen. Kalil, a projected top-five pick, informed Trojans coach Lane Kiffin, other staff members and teammates of his decision to turn pro.
Report: LaMichael James To Enter NFL Draft
Oregon junior LaMichael James will declare for the NFL draft, a school source told The Oregonian on Wednesday. A school spokesman told the paper that he spoke to James, who said he had not made a final decision yet. James has rushed for 1,646 yards and 17 touchdowns despite missing two games with a dislocated elbow.
Luck: Learning From Veteran 'Would Be A Positive'
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has put to bed the notion that he's unwilling to coexist with an established veteran passer. "I'm sure it would be a positive," Luck told The Baltimore Sun. "I'm sure it would all work out, whatever the situation is." Luck was in Baltimore to collect the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to college's top senior or fourth-year junior passer. The Colts will likely have the first overall pick and will have a tough decision to make with veteran Peyton Manning under contract.