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  • McShay: The four most common draft mistakes

    The four most common draft mistakes
    By Todd McShay
    Scouts, Inc.
    Friday, February 12, 2010
    Updated: February 15, 2:11 PM ET

    An NFL scout recently told me, "Even after all these years, we don't have a Moneyball formula for success. But we are getting closer." Until then, the NFL draft will remain about as unscientific as any sports endeavor. As long as scouts and GMs have to scramble to evaluate roughly 1,000 college football players at four different levels, every now and then a Pierre GarÁon (Mount Union, sixth-round pick) is going to have more catches in one season than a Mike Williams (USC, first round) will have in a career.

    So what's that scout talking about? Well, just because there's no secret to guaranteeing a sweet draft doesn't mean there aren't some must-follow tendencies that can help avoid disasters. As we head to the scouting combine, which starts on Feb. 24, then on to draft day, here are some mistakes the know-it-all suits shouldn't make. (But most assuredly will.)


    1. They will ignore the big four. At the top of the draft, four crucial positions -- QB, offensive tackle, cornerback and pass- rusher -- should trump all others. It's a supply- and-demand thing. As the league's emphasis on passing puts those positions at an ever-greater premium, the elite talent pool at those spots remains basically the same. Notice wide receivers aren't included on this A-list. You can get them anytime. Two of this season's top five wideouts -- Miles Austin and Wes Welker -- weren't even drafted. On the other hand, all five of 2009's leaders in QB ratings were among the first 33 picks. Catchers depend on passers, not the other way around.

    Look at this season's Super Bowl teams. At the big-four positions, the Saints and Colts combined to produce five Pro Bowlers. The average draft position of those guys was 44; two were first-rounders, two others early second-rounders. The teams generated nine more Pro Bowlers from the other positions. Those guys were drafted, on average, with the 80th pick, not including Colts center Jeff Saturday, who was undrafted. The Chargers (five of their past six first-rounders played one of the big-four positions) get it. The Lions (four wideouts and a linebacker in the top 10 between 2003 and 2007) don't.

    So while All-America safety Eric Berry is tempting, the St. Louis Rams shouldn't think twice about snatching a defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy, at No. 1. A combo of Suh and, say, LSU safety Chad Jones (a likely second-round pick) will win more games than Berry and, say, second-round DT Dan Williams will.


    2. They will be seduced by looks. Scouts, GMs, even esteemed members of the media get too wrapped up in 40 times and 225-pound bench press reps. In many cases -- see: Smith, Akili; Jones, Matt; Gholston, Vernon -- superhuman physical gifts make usually rational minds race with possibilities. It's why you'll hear about Tim Tebow playing H-back soon. Too often, scouts think a freakish body automatically translates into freakish success. It doesn't.

    I've heard the buzz as it happens. Did you see that?! The furor overwhelms reasonable analysis. Mistakes and shortcomings that pop up on film or the police blotter fade into the background. Coaches are especially optimistic about being able to turn raw athletic ability into refined production. They think they can take special athletes and coach 'em to become special football players. Good luck with that. Meanwhile, guys like Clay Matthews and Austin Collie slide down the draft board, then make an immediate impact. The same arc will be followed this year by Texas WR Jordan Shipley and Penn State DT Jared Odrick. Neither will be a combine terror. They'll be happy to make their noise in the NFL.


    3. They will pay no mind to minds. As one scout told me recently, "You can't win with dumb players in the NFL anymore." This Jeff George-inspired rule isn't so much about human intelligence as football intelligence, not book-smart guys but playbook-smart guys.

    And yet book-smart evaluators still pay too much attention to academic All-America teams and the Wonderlic test. A 4.0 GPA or 40 on the Wonderlic doesn't necessarily mean a player will be able to read a screen or outfox a defender. Savvy GMs know the least-seen part of a player's combine performance, the personal interview, is the most important gauge. To be fair, more front office people are watching film with players and giving them pop quizzes to see what they've got between their earholes.

    The importance of mental agility is starting to sink in. Rey Maualuga had first-round athleticism but slid to the second because teams saw the blunders he made in diagnosing plays and how he relied too much on raw ability to compensate. Maualuga had a solid rookie season for the Bengals (63 tackles), but it is now clear why he was the third USC LB drafted in 2009.

    Here's a good test for this season's GMs. Watch where South Florida DE Jason Pierre-Paul goes in comparison to Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan. Pierre-Paul is a physical freak, and a team may get flak for passing him by to get to Morgan. But what that team will know is that Morgan is far more versatile and game aware than his counterpart, who hasn't shown much more than pure pass-rushing ability.

    "You can't win with dumb players in the NFL anymore."


    4. They will choose need over value. Everyone who has a say in a team's draft starts with the idea that the biggest holes need to be filled first. It's a fair philosophy in a football utopia. But in the real world, hole-filling can't be the only -- or primary -- factor in determining which guy to take.

    Look at what the Vikings did in the 2007 draft. After scoring only 17.6 ppg, they needed help on the offensive line, a replacement for QB Brad Johnson and a serious upgrade over No. 1 receiver Travis Taylor. The only solid spot in the offense, in fact, was running back, where 27-year-old Chester Taylor had gained 1,504 yards from scrimmage. But necessity didn't force Minnesota to reach for Brady Quinn or Ted Ginn Jr. at No. 7. Instead, they went with the best value on the board, some kid named Peterson. Think they wish they'd gone a different way?

    The Colts are the NFL's best at balancing value and need. In the past four drafts (despite picking after the big-four positions have been poached), they've gone 4-for-4 with top choices: RB Joseph Addai, WR Anthony Gonzalez, OG Mike Pollak and RB Donald Brown. None was a sexy choice. All offered bang for the buck at the spot they were chosen. If team president Bill Polian also filled team needs, well, that was a nifty bonus. More to his point, a perennial contender restocked its shelf with starting-caliber players.

    The Bills sit on the opposite side of this balancing act. They've consistently targeted need over value and failed miserably. From 2006 to 2008, the Bills reached for DT John McCargo, RB Marshawn Lynch and CB Leodis McKelvin. Not one of them was a starter by the end of this past season. That's a drafting disaster. Buffalo fans had best hope their team has learned its lesson as it debates whether to reach for QB Jimmy Clausen at No. 9. It's a position of need, for sure, but, personally, I see him as the No. 28 prospect in the draft. Buffalo would be better off taking a top offensive tackle, Oklahoma's Trent Williams or Rutgers' Anthony Davis. A QB like Colt McCoy or Tony Pike will be waiting for them later.

    And if all else fails, they can try to trade with the Raiders.

  • #2
    Re: McShay: The four most common draft mistakes

    I'd love to see his rational for having Clausen ranked 28th. Is it the 28 tds? or the 4 ints? Maybe its the near 70% Completion. IMO Clausen should be our #1 pick.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: McShay: The four most common draft mistakes

      Originally posted by CanadianRamsFan View Post
      I'd love to see his rational for having Clausen ranked 28th. Is it the 28 tds? or the 4 ints? Maybe its the near 70% Completion. IMO Clausen should be our #1 pick.
      Summarizing from various videos and audio interviews I've heard recently from McShay, it's a combination of questionable maturity/attitude, good but not great or elite physical tools, and limited upside. McShay figures that Clausen will likely be a Top 15 pick but personally has him graded closer to the second round.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: McShay: The four most common draft mistakes

        Originally posted by Nick View Post
        Summarizing from various videos and audio interviews I've heard recently from McShay, it's a combination of questionable maturity/attitude, good but not great or elite physical tools, and limited upside. McShay figures that Clausen will likely be a Top 15 pick but personally has him graded closer to the second round.
        And I tend to agree. The thing with Clausen, which I swear has been mentioned before on these board, is his inability to get it done in the clutch. He had an abundance of weapons around him and put up fantastic numbers for the Irish this past season, but his team finished a mediocre 6-6. A great Quarterback doesn't let his team lose games.

        Understandably, the argument will be made that he didn't 'lose' Notre Dame any games, but there's a decent margin between winning games for your team and not being at fault for a loss. He has good physical tools and he did great when surrounded by talent. There aren't a great deal of scenarios wherein I can see Clausen becoming a walk-on success in the NFL. There are too many teams with too little talent for him to have an impact all on his own. He's good, undoubtedly, and his play certainly warrants his selection somewhere in the first or second round. But I don't see a high ceiling. With Clausen, in my opinion, what you see is what you get. And what you get is a Quarterback who had great numbers throwing the ball to great receivers, but couldn't manufacture more than six wins for his alum.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: McShay: The four most common draft mistakes

          Dam thats a good article by Mcshay...Spags and Devaney have this draft need vs. value balance down IMO. I think they won't reach for certain players as is evidence by what they say and talk about in all their interviews...

          As for Clausen I think McShay is right this is a weak QB class in a normal QB draft class Clasuen would be like a 4-6 ranked QB so thats why McShay ranked him like he has done. I think maybe he could turn out like a immature Tony Banks possibly.. The lack of talent of QB has altered views of him. I personally wouldnt object if we picked him up in the top of the second but NEVER first overall!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: McShay: The four most common draft mistakes

            Can someone give me some examples of Clausen's "Immaturity", remember the guy is in College...don't expect him to fold his napkins when he eats, lets be realistic.

            The whole "upside" argument is one i never liked. A person's potential is not measured in film. A person's capacity to learn is almost unlimited. A guy like Clausen (whom im sure we can agree hasn't maxed out his body) can get faster, stronger and smarter. Its called learning..And he has done that over 3 years at ND and showed marked improvement in each one. Anyone saying that Clausen is or isn't a winner have just got a bad argument. A QB isnt the sole player on the team. ND offense scored a lot of points and averaged 30.8 points/game. Clausen can't run out onto the field and play defense. Ken Dorsey won a crazy amount of games for a top program. How did he do in the NFL? Bad argument..

            I believe Locker didn't win too many games with the Huskies either btw..Nor did Cutler with Vanderbilt.

            Clausen is tough, has a good arm, great accuracy, good decision making, good pocket presence, intelligent, and wants to win...

            What more do you need?

            Every argument against Clausen just seems weak to me for some reason...

            oh and btw isn't Manning a great Quarterback? Yet he lost his team the Superbowl (according to your logic). Marino never won a superbowl.. is he not great? Ill gove both ways and give you guys who DID win superbowls. Elway was a great QB but didnt win one until just about his last year in the league and had a good defense. Joe montana's ***** had a great defense.

            Takes two to tango and a team to win football games..nuff said
            Last edited by Bralidore(RAMMODE); -02-18-2010, 01:22 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: McShay: The four most common draft mistakes

              Originally posted by Bralidore(RAMMODE) View Post
              Can someone give me some examples of Clausen's "Immaturity", remember the guy is in College...don't expect him to fold his napkins when he eats, lets be realistic.

              The whole "upside" argument is one i never liked. A person's potential is not measured in film. A person's capacity to learn is almost unlimited. A guy like Clausen (whom im sure we can agree hasn't maxed out his body) can get faster, stronger and smarter. Its called learning..And he has done that over 3 years at ND and showed marked improvement in each one. Anyone saying that Clausen is or isn't a winner have just got a bad argument. A QB isnt the sole player on the team. ND offense scored a lot of points and averaged 30.8 points/game. Clausen can't run out onto the field and play defense. Ken Dorsey won a crazy amount of games for a top program. How did he do in the NFL? Bad argument..

              I believe Locker didn't win too many games with the Huskies either btw..Nor did Cutler with Vanderbilt.

              Clausen is tough, has a good arm, great accuracy, good decision making, good pocket presence, intelligent, and wants to win...

              What more do you need?

              Every argument against Clausen just seems weak to me for some reason...

              oh and btw isn't Manning a great Quarterback? Yet he lost his team the Superbowl (according to your logic). Marino never won a superbowl.. is he not great? Ill gove both ways and give you guys who DID win superbowls. Elway was a great QB but didnt win one until just about his last year in the league and had a good defense. Joe montana's ***** had a great defense.

              Takes two to tango and a team to win football games..nuff said
              Well said, I agree 100%!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: McShay: The four most common draft mistakes

                If you read the reports on him this year, they almost always make a note of how he matured in the past year. There is a reason they say that. He had a few off the field problems when he first arrived at college and maturity was a major issue.

                I don't buy a lot of the arguments against Clausen. I like Bradford 10x more but I don't agree at all that he's 2nd round talent. And if you say he didn't have a lot of come backs, you didn't watch the Fighting Irish. He had a horrible team around him and he did a great job.

                Edit: I'm not a McShay fan. He seems more interested in making dramatic statement and getting attention from them than actually providing insight. Like when he declared Tebow wouldn't even be a good backup in the NFL and then had him rated as first round talent. Kiper called him out on it last fall and McShay just smiled.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: McShay: The four most common draft mistakes

                  Originally posted by Bralidore(RAMMODE) View Post
                  Can someone give me some examples of Clausen's "Immaturity", remember the guy is in College...don't expect him to fold his napkins when he eats, lets be realistic.
                  Clausen's maturity issues are pretty widely accepted as accurate even by his supporters, who defend his cocky attitude by claiming all NFL quarterbacks have to be cocky to some degree.

                  But if you're looking for specific examples, I think he began turning some people off when he rented a white stretch Hummer limo that took him and his entourage to the College Football Hall of Fame where he made his commitment to Notre Dame at a press conference. For more recent examples, there was an altercation between Clausen and Boston College player Rich Gunnell after the two teams played just this last season where, after exchanging some words, Clausen shoved Gunnell and then waved him off as he was walking away. Here's the ESPN report of the incident...

                  Gunnell has choice words for Clausen
                  BC receiver still angry after career day
                  By Nick Friedell
                  ESPNChicago.com
                  Updated: October 25, 2009, 12:49 AM ET

                  SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The trash talking at Notre Dame Stadium reached a fever pitch as soon as the Fighting Irish wrapped up their 20-16 victory over Boston College. Players were getting into each other's faces. Curses were being flung everywhere. The emotion that had been brewing throughout the hard-fought game finally boiled over.

                  This was most evident near the Eagles' sideline. BC wide receiver Rich Gunnell, who had a career day by racking up 179 yards and a touchdown, was about to be interviewed on the field. That's when Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen came over, apparently to congratulate him.

                  Gunnell wasn't having any of it. The fifth-year senior started jawing back and forth with Clausen. For a second, it seemed a brawl might erupt right there.

                  So, what happened? Here's Gunnell's version:

                  "In the beginning of the game, we were warming up, running on the field and [Clausen's] out there chirping and talking all this trash and he pushed, I think, Justin Jarvis. He just pushed him for no reason, and I just looked at him like, 'What are you doing? Who do you think you are?'

                  "He's just sitting there still talking and then afterward, he was trying to be all friendly. I was like, 'I don't want to hear it now.'

                  "It just rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't like what he did. It just seemed like he was a little fake toward the end of the game because they won. I know if it was the other end of the stick, he'd probably be saying the same thing to me."

                  Clausen told the media after the game that he was just trying to tell Gunnell that he was a heck of a receiver. "I was just trying to say 'good game' to him," Clausen said.

                  Gunnell agreed with that part of the story, but wasn't buying what Clausen was selling. "After the game he just tried to say, 'good game,' this and that," the receiver said. "And I thought it was phony."
                  In a podcast from a week ago, Todd McShay talked about Clausen pointing and staring at opposing coaches after he scored touchdowns, and specifically brought up Clausen's behavior when Notre Dame played Pittsburgh this year. I'm planning to rewatch the game tonight to see if I can pick anything out, but it was a pretty specific claim for it not to have any truth in it.

                  Scouts and personnel people will probably also ask Clausen about the altercation in November outside of C.J.'s Pub at about 2 a.m. when he was punched in the face by a person described as an irate fan. I don't think a definitive explanation of what happened ever came out, but most accounts report the incident as Clausen being sucker punched. Notre Dame's AD Jack Swarbrick said of Clausen, "He was not engaged in a fight. He didn't throw any punches. He didn't directly engage the individual." I'm not sure what he means when he says Clausen didn't directly engage the guy, but regardless of how the story was reported, he'll probably be asked about it.

                  Now, you can look at these incidents any number of ways. They may not matter at all to some people. But the guy definitely has the reputation of having some maturity or attitude concerns, and while RebelYell is right that many report he has made strides this season, the shoving incident has to make you wonder. There's nothing wrong with being a fiery leader or being confident in your abilities, but it's clear Clausen's behavior has struck some people the wrong way. Interviews with front office people at the combine and at his pro day will be exceptionally important for Jimmy, I think.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: McShay: The four most common draft mistakes

                    Originally posted by Bralidore(RAMMODE) View Post
                    Can someone give me some examples of Clausen's "Immaturity", remember the guy is in College...don't expect him to fold his napkins when he eats, lets be realistic.
                    Some are: Him pointing at the opposing head coach after he throws a touchdown strike, Being caught up with immaturity on being the starting QB at ND the years before his senior year with some minor incidents, Clausen looked as good as he can in ND's offense possibly and has a great striking potential to be a JP Losman type of QB. I just know if he can get his work ethic down intime and with alot of the money going to be thrown out at him gives some Tony Banks potentials

                    I'm not by any means saying Clausen is going to be utter trash and not amount to anything, he has great potential but, there are alot of red flags that go up with him especially when some are suggesting he be used as our number one pick or trade up in the 1st round and pick him, which would go against what our franchise is trying to accomplish and gamble our future with finances and/or picks. However, If he was there in the top of the second round I'd be open to taking him...

                    ps.s well looks like Nick beat me to the punch.. but ya he elaborated way more than what I described...
                    Last edited by TheRammer; -02-18-2010, 03:54 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: McShay: The four most common draft mistakes

                      Good article by McShay. Completely agree with the last point. You look at really, the only good 1st round draft picks by the Rams in the last decade in Torry Holt and Steven Jackson. Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce were on the team when they made those picks but they chose those 2 anyways and they worked out great for the team.

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                      • Ramblin` Ram
                        FootballsFuture Mock 1st round draft.
                        by Ramblin` Ram
                        2010 NFL Mock Draft
                        By: Robert Davis | Updated: 10/20

                        1.St. Louis - Jake Locker, QB, Washington
                        Locker has had a meteoric rise up the draft boards this year, and he should continue to rise with more experience in a pro style attack. He has the best blend of natural talent of any of the QBís this year, along with the toughness and leadership skills. This may be a bit high as of October, but expect Locker to continue to rise and really impress in the post season should he declare.

                        2.Tampa Bay - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
                        McCoy is a playmaker on the interior line and players like that will always be in high demand. He could draw a lot of attention at the top overall spot, but the Bucs would love to bring in a player that can impact a game from the DT spot like Warren Sapp once did in Tampa.

                        3.Kansas City - Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee
                        Berry is arguably the best player in this draft, and a player with his versatility would fit in well with any team. He could play any spot in the secondary and be a pro bowl caliber performer. The Chiefs could use some playmaking ability on the offensive side of the ball or a pass rusher on defense, but Berry is too good to pass up at this spot.

                        4.Oakland - Everson Griffen, DE/OLB, USC
                        Al Davis has shown to take a liking to players from USC and players who have extraordinary speed for their position. Enter Everson Griffen. His speed for a 270+ lber is amazing. He tops the 270lb mark, but has tremendous speed and athleticism and should have no problem standing up and playing in space. Donít rule out another Trojan, Taylor Mays, for the same reasons even if they drafted a safety in the second round last year and Michael Huff appears to be coming on.

                        5.Cleveland - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
                        Just over a year ago, Cleveland had two highly regarded QBís. Now, theyíre looking for a long term answer as both Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn have not been able to take hold of the starting position. There are a lot of needs throughout the roster, but you wonít get anywhere without a QB. Bradford has had shoulder problems, but itís not considered a long term issue.

                        6.Tennessee - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
                        Suh may not be quite as physically imposing as Albert Haynesworth but he is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line. Suh is very active and can clog running lanes and get into the backfield and disrupt the action.

                        7.Detroit - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma St.
                        There is hope in Detroit. A solid draft last year has at least given the Lions hope for the future. Giving last years top overall pick Matthew Stafford blindside protection is a big concern, as Jeff Backus is up there in age and average at best anyway.

                        8.Buffalo - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
                        The Bills did a decent job upgrading the talent on the interior offensive line in the...
                        -10-22-2009, 09:19 AM
                      • Nick
                        Wagoner: Draft and Combine Chatter
                        by Nick
                        Draft and Combine Chatter
                        Posted >Wed, February 17, 2010 03:40
                        by Nick Wagoner

                        - Sat in on a conference call with ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. this morning and took away some notes of interest. First, thanks to Kiper for doing it. He sat patiently for two hours taking a ton of questions and gave everyone a good, well thought out answer.

                        - Anyway, some news and notes from that conversation as well as just some general thoughts as we head toward next week. A little more than a week from today, the combine festivities begin in Indianapolis.

                        - News broke today that Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen will not be participating in combine drills because of lingering issues from the toe surgery he has in early January. Clausen will be in attendance and he will do the medical stuff and the team interviews (generally the most important part of the weekend anyway). He will throw at his pro day, scheduled for late March.

                        - Speaking of Clausen, he is gaining steam in the eyes of Kiper. Kiper has Clausen going fourth overall to Washington in his latest mock draft and when he talked about Clausen, he passionately defended him on today's conference call. Kiper's colleague Todd McShay doesn't even have a first round grade on Clausen, perhaps one of the sources of Kiper's ire. Nonetheless, Kiper says he has talked to everyone surrounding Clausen and they all speak highly of his skills and especially his leadership ability.

                        - Kiper still has the Rams taking Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh first overall though he says Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy is "right there." And Kiper says Suh, McCoy and Tennessee S Eric Berry are the clear cut top three players and that is "etched in stone" on his board.

                        - Because there has been much speculation about the quarterbacks and the Rams, I asked Kiper how big the drop off was between the two defensive tackles and the top two quarterbacks (Clausen and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford). Kiper said there isn't much of a drop off but apparently it's enough for him to remain convinced the Rams should take Suh.

                        - Remember, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said Tuesday that he still believes in building a team from the "inside out." In other words, you start with the lines and work your way back.

                        - Some other tidbits from Kiper:

                        - Kiper believes Clemson's C.J. Spiller is clearly the class of the group at running backs and the only surefire first-round pick at the position.

                        - Of the offensive tackle prospects, Kiper said he believes Rutgers Anthony Davis has the most potential and that he was disappointed in how Oklahoma State's Russell Okung started the season.

                        - Florida CB Joe Haden has clearly made strides in the eyes of Kiper. At one point, he described Haden as a potential top five cornerback in the NFL. He believes Cleveland could be a match with...
                        -02-18-2010, 07:18 AM
                      • r8rh8rmike
                        The Watercooler: Who Are The Rams' Top Draft Options At QB?
                        by r8rh8rmike
                        10.22.2009 12:27 pm
                        Who are Ramsí top draft options at QB?
                        By Roger Hensley

                        THE WATERCOOLER

                        QUESTION: If the St. Louis Rams were to take a quarterback in the first round of next yearís draft, which current college quarterback would you suggest they select?

                        BERNIE MIKLASZ
                        Very tough call, and of course I reserve the right to change my mind later, after these kids play more games and also go through the NFL Scouting Combine. Because a lot can change between now and the draft. But if we are talking right now, Iíd go with Washingtonís Jake Locker. Big (6-3), strong and athletic, Locker has a plus arm, and a quick release. Heís been thriving in the pro-style offense installed by first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian. Also, Locker is being tutored by one of the best, QBs coach Steve Clarkson, who in the past has worked with Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Leinart and others. Clarkson cleaned up Lockerís mechanics and the improvement was immediate. And keep in mind that Locker is getting it done at Washington, and heís not surrounded by elite talent. That makes his performance even more impressive.

                        Notre Dameís Jimmy Clausen has moved up as an NFL prospect. Clausen has always had the natural talent, but heís grown at Notre Dame, and is more physically imposing now. Looks like a tough kid, too. He is certainly used to pressure and it doesnít get to him. The best is yet to come for Clausen. The red flags are out on Oklahomaís Sam Bradford; itís not only the shoulder injuries, but the questions of whether he can throw while under pressure, because he doesnít encounter much of a pass rush at OU. Cincinnatiís Tony Pike could be the steal of the draft; heís likely to be downgraded and drop down the board because of multiple injuries to his left wrist. But heís a player. Not sure if Colt McCoy (Texas) has the frame, but he seems like a good fit for a West Coast offense. Jevan Snead (Ole Miss) has been touted by scouts and draftniks, but I havenít seen enough (yet) to get excited by his NFL future. Again, that could change. All of this could.

                        VAHE GREGORIAN
                        With his bum shoulder this season, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford may be losing stock for the 2010 draft or may even be considering waiting another year to come out. But if heís available, the Rams would be wise to snap him up. Although he could stand to be more mobile, especially considering the Rams line, last yearís Heisman Trophy winner has all the tools to build a team around: accuracy (67.9 percent of his passes last season), height (6-4) and a leadership presence that makes players want to play better just for him, OU coach Bob Stoops says. Maybe some will see the shoulder injury and apparent aggravation of it last week against Texas as something chronic or signs he is brittle, but sometimes quarterbacks just get hit and hurt. Thereís no reason to think itís anything more with Bradford.

                        JEFF...
                        -10-22-2009, 05:20 PM
                      • AvengerRam_old
                        What I'm looking for in a franchise QB
                        by AvengerRam_old
                        Taking a franchise QB prospect in the top 10 picks of the draft is a daunting task. Will you end up with the next Matt Ryan/Joe Flacco, or the next Alex Smith/Jamarcus Russell?

                        There will never be a pefect formula for this, and if there were, I doubt I'd be the one to discover it, but for what its worth, here are the things I'm looking for:

                        1. MPTs (Minimum Physical Traits)
                        Top QBs don't all come in the same shape and size, but I do think there are a few minimum traits that, if lacked, will doom a QB to no better than mediocrity. They are: arm strength, physical bulk, and "pocket footwork."

                        Arm strength refers to the ability to get the ball out and to a receiver quickly. It is a function of two factors: (1) release speed and (2) velocity. One factor can compensate for another, but the best QBs have both.

                        Physical bulk, I believe, is more important than height. I'd rather have a well-built 6'1 QB, than a 6'6 string-bean. Otherwise, an injury-filled career is too big a risk.

                        Finally, "pocket footwork" is, in my opinion, far more important than running ability. Give me a guy who knows how to step-up, side-step and roll out over a guy who can take off and run for first downs.

                        2. Contagious Confidence
                        People often mistakenly mistake brashness or vocal presence for leadership. To me, its more a question of a guy who displays confidence in his demeanor, what he says, and how he plays when the chips are down. Give me a guy who can throw 3 interceptions in the first half, shrug it off, and throw for 3 TDs in the second half.

                        3. Unaided College Productivity
                        Combines and workouts serve a purpose, nothing compares to productivity in game conditions. There's a caveat, though... beware of "aided" productivity. A college QB who racks up great stats in a non-pro style offense, against outmatched competition, or through "all-purpose" yardage will rarely be able to duplicate their productivity when they reach the NFL. You also have to throw out won/loss percentage, to a large extent. There are simply too many great college teams that merely carry their QB along for the ride. I'd rather have a smaller-school guy who plays in a pro-style offense and puts up great stats against teams with similar talent on the roster.

                        So... how do I evaluate the top current prospects for the 2010 draft?

                        Well, in terms of MPTs, I look at Locker and Clausen as the top prospects. McCoy and Bradford have some "bulk" issues that concern me, though in Bradford's case, his fragility may be overstated. In terms of footwork, I'd give McCoy the highest grade (though I'm not sure I've seen any college QB with better footwork than FSU's Christian Ponder).

                        In terms of "contagious confidence," my subjective viewpoint is that McCoy and Clausen receive high marks....
                        -10-27-2009, 03:30 PM
                      • eldfan
                        NFL Mock Draft With Analysis, Picks 1-24
                        by eldfan
                        by Benjamin Klein Benjamin KleinContributor


                        Contributor Written on January 13, 2010

                        Just like fantasy football and Madden videogames NFL mock drafts have almost no impact on actual NFL decision-making and as such are mostly pointless. But like fantasy football and Madden videogames mock drafts are fun, stupid addictive fun.

                        So with that I give you my mock draft 1.0. It will only include picks 1-24, no hypothetical trades and I settled all tie breakers just like the NFL, a multi-billion dollar business does, a coin flip.

                        1. St-Louis Rams- Ndamukong Suh, Senior, Nebraska

                        Many scouts claim Suh is the best defensive tackle prospect of all time. What makes Suh so impressive is his combination of pure herculean strength, incredible lateral agility, lightening fast foot quickness, unstoppable motor and the hip smoothness and explosion of a running back. Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo is probably already salivating.

                        2. Detroit Lions- Eric Berry, Junior, Tennessee

                        Berry has the open field ball-hawking awareness of Ed Reed, the run stuffing tenacity and fearlessness of Bob Sanders, Ronnie Lottís ability to lock down the slot and Ray Lewisís leadership and attitude. Berry will become the immediate heart, soul and star of a Lions defense in desperate need of a change of attitude. Berry and last years second round pick Louis Delmas will form the best young safety duo in the league bar none.

                        3. Tampa Bay Bucs- Gerald McCoy, Junior, Oklahoma

                        McCoy has the fastest first step of any defensive tackle to enter the draft since Chicago Bears star Tommie Harris was drafted in 2004. The Bucs have one of one of the weakest defensive lines in the league and McCoy fits Head Coach Raheem Morrisís defensive scheme perfectly, so in essence this makes too much sense not to happen.

                        4. Washington Redskins- Sam Bradford, Junior, Oklahoma

                        Bradford, a member of the Cherokee nation may be a tad offended playing for a team known as the Redskins but he and Mike Shanahan were made for each other. Bradfordís laser sharp accuracy, ability to bootleg, decision making, underrated arm strength, intelligence, size and moxie are too perfect for Shannyís west coast offense to pass up despite injury concerns.

                        5. Kansas City Chiefs- Rolando McClain, Junior, Alabama

                        A reach to be sure, but the kind of reach Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli is known for. The Chiefs lack a single viable inside linebacker, McClain would fix that and make the run defense at least respectable. McClain has elite size and instincts for the 3-4 inside linebacker position and while lacking elite speed he can go sideline to sideline. McClain would be the starter from day one and control the defense like Peyton Manning does the Colts offense.

                        6. Seattle Seahawks- Jimmy Clausen, Junior, Notre Dame
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                        -01-14-2010, 02:42 PM
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