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2013 NFL Draft: Day 2 targets include Quinton Patton, Kyle Long

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  • 2013 NFL Draft: Day 2 targets include Quinton Patton, Kyle Long

    2013 NFL Draft: Day 2 targets include Quinton Patton, Kyle Long
    By Bucky Brooks
    Analyst, and NFL Network
    Published: April 19, 2013 at 12:48 p.m.
    Updated: April 19, 2013 at 05:57 p.m.

    The 2013 NFL Draft has been lauded for the depth and talent in the second/third-round range. Executives have openly discussed the minimal differences between the 10th-ranked player and those ranked in the 40s. This assessment has not only led many general managers to consider trading back to pick up extra picks on Day 2, but it has prompted teams to target several prospects in that range to see if they can discover the next Colin Kaepernick (the San Francisco *****' second-round pick in 2011) or Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens' second-round pick in 2008) to add to their rosters.

    With that premise in mind, here are five Day 2 prospects I believe will become difference-makers for their future teams as rookies:

    Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech: Polished route runners with outstanding hands and ball skills never go out of style in the NFL. Patton is not only exceptional in both areas, but also is a big-game player with a knack for raising his level of play against elite competition. In key games against Texas A&M, Utah State and San Jose State, Patton totaled 42 receptions for 539 yards with six touchdowns. Now, Patton struggled a bit against Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden's aggressive press tactics, but Pattton's game remains ideally suited for the NFL. If he lands with a team that features a quick-rhythm passing game designed to get the ball to playmakers on the move, Patton could shine as a pro early in his career.

    Kyle Long, OL, Oregon: If not for a series of off-field incidents, he would garner serious consideration at the bottom of the first round. Long is a standout athlete with the size and frame to play guard or tackle as a pro. Most teams will attempt to place Long at tackle, likely on the right side, but I believe he could develop into an elite interior blocker. Checking in at 6-foot-6 and 313 pounds, Long is strong enough to move defenders off the ball, while displaying the athleticism to block on the move on pulls, traps or zone assignments. Of course, he still needs some footwork and skill refinement, but all of the physical attributes suggest Long should be a long-term starter in the NFL.

    Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati: The 2013 tight end class is loaded with playmakers, but it is hard to find a more explosive or productive player at the position than Kelce. He snagged 45 balls for 722 yards during his final season at Cincinnati, displaying a versatile game that is suited for offenses intent on featuring the tight end between the hashes. Kelce is a superb route runner with strong hands and sneaky running skills. Additionally, he flashes enough speed and quickness to stretch the field on vertical routes down the middle. Concerns about his durability (Kelce missed the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine with a sports hernia) and immaturity (he was suspended for the entire 2010 season for undisclosed reasons) will knock Kelce down the charts, but his game is spectacular and worthy of a high grade on most boards.

    Sio Moore, OLB, Connecticut: The ultra-productive linebacker has become a favorite of scouts and coaches around the league. Moore is a high-motor edge player with exceptional instincts, quickness and rush skills. Additionally, he was one of the best snap-count anticipators in college football, which resulted in several "blow by" sacks off the corner. With 16 career sacks, including eight takedowns in 2012, Moore is the versatile three-down linebacker that defensive coordinators love to build packages around. Most importantly, Moore is the kind of player who can outplay his draft status to become a Pro Bowl-caliber stud in the league.

    Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State: The depth of the safety class in this year's draft is unprecedented, with Pro Bowl-caliber playmakers available at every turn. Thomas could emerge as the crown jewel with his superb physical traits, football IQ and ball skills. He generated 20 takeaways (13 interceptions, six forced fumbles and one fumble recovery) during his career, while displaying a knack for getting around the ball in key moments. That was evident this year when he snagged eight interceptions, including three pick-sixes that helped the Bulldogs' defense emerge as a credible unit. Scouts voiced concerns about his speed (4.59 at Fresno State's Pro Day) and injury history (Thomas missed 2011 with a broken leg), but guys with an innate knack for getting their hands on the ball typically continue to make plays in the pros, which is why I'm high on Thomas as a potential difference maker.

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  • Nick
    2013 NFL Draft's top prospect: Luke Joeckel vs. Chance Warmack
    by Nick
    2013 NFL Draft's top prospect: Luke Joeckel vs. Chance Warmack
    Published: Feb. 11, 2013 at 11:20 a.m.
    Updated: Feb. 11, 2013 at 02:04 p.m.

    One of the fascinating things about the draft process is how two scouts can look at the same class of prospects and come to completely different conclusions. There is much room for interpretation.

    That fact is especially relevant in years like this one, when there is no clear-cut top talent. Absent relatively automatic draft picks like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the skill of a team's personnel department takes on an extra level of importance.

    With that in mind, former NFL scouts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks -- two veterans of the draft-preparation trenches -- attempt to identify the best overall prospect in the 2013 draft class, providing a taste of the debates that will rage across the league as April's event draws closer.

    Jeremiah: Joeckel's got it all
    The two most recent NFL drafts were loaded with big-name stars with the tools to turn around entire franchises. While this year's class doesn't quite have the same cachet at the very top of the board, the 2013 NFL Draft is incredibly deep with potential starters and several likely Pro Bowlers.

    In my opinion, the best football player available in this year's draft is Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel. After studying A&M game tape and attending the Cotton Bowl, I came away very impressed by the Aggies' talented left tackle.

    Great players have a way of making the game look easy, and in the games I studied, that's exactly what Joeckel did. In the running game, he showed quick feet and excellent balance, as well as the strong hands necessary for controlling the defender. He was very agile when working up to the second level, showcasing the ability to adjust in space.

    In the passing game, Joeckel played with excellent knee-bend and had quick feet. He showed the range to cut off speed rushers, the agility to adjust to inside counter moves and the power base to anchor versus the bull rush. He also displayed the intelligence to handle twists and stunts.

    Drafting Joeckel would pose very little risk. He doesn't have weight issues, he is incredibly bright and his work ethic is outstanding. He has both a high ceiling and a high floor.

    There aren't any elite quarterbacks, pass rushers or cornerbacks available in this draft. There are, however, a handful of offensive tackles with Pro Bowl potential, and Joeckel is at the top of that list. In my opinion, he is the most valuable asset in this draft class, and that is why he resides at the very top of my draft board.

    Brooks: Warmack is the man
    The emphasis on the passing game in the NFL has led scouts to value quarterbacks, left tackles, defensive end/pass rushers and cornerbacks at a premium, but the best prospect available in...
    -02-11-2013, 02:13 PM
  • Nick
    The Official 2013 Senior Bowl Thread
    by Nick
    Please keep all Senior Bowl related news contained in this one thread!

    Weigh ins and measurements taking place right now! Let's get some numbers, people!

    Senior Bowl Top-20 Preview
    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    With a record 73 underclassmen declaring for the draft, the number of top college players using all four years of eligibility is dwindling. Despite a few big-name dropouts (QB Geno Smith, QB Matt Barkley, G Chance Warmack, WR Tavon Austin, DT Star Lotulelei, ILB Manti Te’o, OLB Dion Jordan, CB Johnthan Banks, S Kenny Vaccaro) the 2013 Senior Bowl remains loaded with early-round talent.

    The Senior Bowl squads will be coached by two current NFL staffs (Lions and Raiders), adding an extra dimension to their evaluations. Be sure to keep in mind which prospects get called up due to injuries, as A.J. Jenkins and Alfred Morris were two examples last year.

    Just like my Shrine Week coverage, I will be constantly tweeting (@JoshNorris) and producing frequent articles. For now, here is a position-by-position preview along with my top 20 prospects (excluding QBs) entering the week.

    All heights and weights are projected until weigh-ins take place early Monday.

    1. DE Ezekiel Ansah (6’5/270), BYU - The sky is the limit for this inexperienced, not raw, prospect. I’d expect to see Ansah practice from an end position, inside, and as a pass rusher in a two point stance. “Ziggy” flashes technical aspects to his game, including strong hands and length, but the Cougar is at his best when displaying the draft’s top closing burst to make an impact in the backfield. Fatigue issues may be Ansah’s biggest hurdle.

    2. T Eric Fisher (6’7/305), Central Michigan - Plenty of attention surrounds texas A&M Luke Joeckel, and deservedly so, but I expect Fisher to make a statement this week as a potential top-10 pick. While the rest of the Central Michigan offensive line crumbled, Fisher stood tall and consistently limited the opposition’s top pass rusher with length and balance.

    3. LB Arthur Brown (6’1/231), Kansas State - This draft’s top inside linebacker, Brown will likely see practice reps in the middle of the formation and on the weakside. The former Hurricane transfer is quick to close and nasty when needing to make contact against blockers. He can do it all and should be a first-round selection.

    4. T Lane Johnson (6’6/303), Oklahoma - The Sooner finally found a home at left tackle in 2011, and consistently displayed excellent footwork with strong hands to punch and length to control. He reminds me of a longer Riley Reiff and could cement a top-25 grade with a strong week against the likes of Ansah and LaVar Edwards.

    5. WR Quinton Patton (6’2/195), Louisiana Tech - The smooth receiver is one of the class’ best, contorting his body to adjust to poorly thrown passes and creating separation with excellent routes....
    -01-21-2013, 07:41 AM
  • Nick
    2013 NFL Draft tiers: Elite prospects, blue chips and red chips
    by Nick
    2013 NFL Draft tiers: Elite prospects, blue chips and red chips
    By Bucky Brooks
    Analyst, and NFL Network
    Published: April 16, 2013 at 01:22 p.m.
    Updated: April 16, 2013 at 05:15 p.m.

    NFL executives and scouts have characterized the 2013 NFL Draft class as one that lacks superstar talent at the top of the board but is littered with quality prospects down the line.

    John Elway, Denver Broncos' executive vice president of football operations, echoed that sentiment in a recent interview with The Denver Post.

    "The draft is not top-heavy," Elway told the Post's Mike Klis. "So we feel we can get as good a player at No. 28 as we could at 10. It's not like last year, with (Andrew) Luck and RG3 (Robert Griffin III). The year before, with Von (Miller), (Marcell) Dareus, A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson -- (a) loaded top end. This is probably a deeper draft, but not nearly as many top-impact guys."

    To be fair, the classes from 2011 and 2012 might rank as two of the best in NFL history, based on the immediate contributions of their members. From the record-breaking performances of Cam Newton and Aldon Smith to the emergence of unheralded stars like Russell Wilson and Alfred Morris, the recent success of first-year players has been remarkable. This year, however, evaluators are struggling to assess the elite, blue- and red-chip prospects.

    Now, the lack of sizzle surrounding this year's class is partially attributable to the fact that the top prospects play on the offensive line. Most observers are conditioned to expect a quarterback or pass rusher to dominate the headlines leading up to the draft, but the 2013 class lacks a clear-cut franchise player at those respective positions. As a result, teams looking for certainty have turned their attention to exceptional prospects at non-premier positions.

    With that premise as a backdrop, I've identified the elite, blue- and red-chip prospects in the 2013 class, based on film study and several conversations with scouts and coaches around the league.

    Elite prospects
    These players should earn Pro Bowl recognition early in their careers and rank among the top five players at their respective positions within two or three years.

    1) Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
    2) Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
    3) Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
    4) Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
    5) Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

    Blue chips
    These prospects are regarded as difference-makers based solely on their talent. They should start as rookies and make immediate contributions to their respective teams.

    1) Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
    2) Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
    3) Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
    4) Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
    5) Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
    6) Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, DE, BYU
    7) Lane...
    -04-16-2013, 05:50 PM
  • Nick
    Russ Lande's February 6th - Draft Rumblings
    by Nick
    February 6th - Draft Rumblings
    Russ Lande shares tidbits he is hearing about five NFL Draft prospects.
    Russ Lande
    February 06, 2013

    With the 2013 NFL Combine right around the corner and the All Star Game circuit behind us, I have had the chance to talk to many scouts to find out what teams are thinking. Below is what I have heard from scouts over the last few weeks.

    1. Barkevious “Kiki” Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU, Junior (6040 E, 231 E and 4.55 E): While there is no debate as to Mingo’s athleticism, there definitely is a split as to where he should be drafted and how successful he can be in the NFL. An explosive athlete with rare first step quickness, Mingo can get to the turn point in a flash and has the athleticism to beat OT inside and out. However, more than a few scouts I spoke to wondered why he did not make an impact in every game he played and wasn’t LSU’s most productive pass rusher. Not only are NFL people split on Mingo’s production, but some wonder if his lack of consistent production comes from a lack of aggressiveness and size. His tendency to get upright and lose the leverage battle hinders his ability to shed and get off blocks once they engage him. I have no doubt that Mingo’s athleticism will jump out at the Combine and his Pro Day, which will lead to him being a first round pick, but to say that NFL people are split on how good of a player he will become is an understatement.

    2. Jonathan Cyprien, SAF, Florida International (6002, 209 and 4.55 E): Coming to the Senior Bowl, Cyprien was viewed as an intriguing second tier safety, but after an excellent week in Mobile a number of scouts told me they feel he needs to be in the discussion in the second round and could be drafted before one of the more well-known safeties like Matt Elam. Muscular and well built, Cyprien definitely looks the part “on the hoof” and once he hit the practice field in Mobile he proved he has the athleticism necessary to be productive in pass coverage in the NFL. After showing good range and coverage skills on film, scouts were happy to see him display the same traits throughout the week. Scouts were also impressed with his ability to come up the field and make last second adjustments to square up on his target.

    3. Vance McDonald, TE, Rice, Senior (6041, 262 and 4.70 E): With nearly all the tight end talk centering around Zach Ertz and Tyler Eifert, McDonald was flying under the radar until he stood out in Mobile. Speaking with NFL personnel after the week in Mobile, there was clearly an excitement about McDonald’s ability to be a good match-up play-maker who could align in various spots to make plays catching the ball. Although he lacks top end speed, he displayed enough of everything else to have scouts tell me that he reminds them of Rob Gronkowski. A smooth athlete who ran good routes, McDonald displayed a sense/feel for knowing how to get open and the hands to reach out and pluck the ball....
    -02-06-2013, 04:09 PM
  • Nick
    The Official 2014 Senior Bowl Thread
    by Nick
    Please keep all Senior Bowl related information contained in this thread, thanks! :ram:
    -01-20-2014, 07:21 AM