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Draft Buzz: Two QBs In The Top Five?

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  • Draft Buzz: Two QBs In The Top Five?

    Draft Buzz: Two QBs In The Top Five?
    Posted 5 hours ago
    Tony Pauline
    DraftInsider.net

    With both the Senior Bowl and Shrine Game now complete, NFL prospects are preparing for the next phase of the scouting process, the Combine, which begins in just over three weeks. So what’s the word around the league as teams and players depart Mobile, Alabama? Here’s the latest draft buzz circulating among insiders.

    1. Showered with praise after three very good days of practice and a solid showing in the Senior Bowl game, quarterback Carson Wentz was even more impressive in closed-door meetings with coaches and general managers. I’m told he knocked it out of the park during interviews as personnel people around the league who interviewed Wentz were awed by his knowledge of X’s and O’s. The belief is the North Dakota State product, who was a 4.0 student in college, should have no problem running a multiple formation offense on Sundays and coaches love his upside.

    2. Though he didn’t attend the Senior Bowl, Christian Hackenberg is another signal-caller whose upside potential excites NFL decision-makers. Some eyebrows were raised when Hackenberg left for the NFL Draft after two dismal seasons, but the situation at Penn State was untenable for him. He offers the physical skills to start on Sunday and teams truly believe with proper coaching he’ll reach his potential in the NFL, something Hackenberg would’ve never achieved on the college level. No one I’ve spoken with in the past two months believes Hackenberg will drop out of the draft’s top 75 picks.

    3. Is it possible two quarterbacks will be top five selections in April? The answer from league insiders is “yes” with Carson Wentz and Jared Goff filling the slots. Wentz is watching his draft stock move north after the Senior Bowl and many believe the Combine is the perfect setting for Goff to show off his talents. Assuming he participates in Combine workouts, one insider told me they expect Goff to, “throw the hell out of the ball and be on the mark with all his passes.”

    4. Contrary to Wentz and Goff there’s little excitement for Connor Cook. I took flak from Michigan State fans last week after posting teammates were “less than effusive in their praise” of the quarterback, but scouts and insiders I spoke with in Mobile said the situation surrounding Cook’s personality poses a problem for them. The fact he chose not to attend the Senior Bowl further complicates the situation and it’s something Cook will be grilled about during the Combine.

    5. The Big Ten acquitted itself well at the Senior Bowl and Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett was one of the week’s big winners. Already graded as the top senior at the position, there’s a belief Vannett could end up as the first tight end selected in the draft. Hunter Henry of Arkansas will battle for the top spot, but his blocking pales in comparison to Vannett in that regard. Teams feel Vannett is the most complete player at the position and will be off the board before the second round is completed.

    6. Safety Darian Thompson is another prospect who leaves Senior Bowl week as a winner. Thompson met with 15 general managers in Mobile and had a one-on-one sit-down with a head coach. One team that is not in the market for a safety graded Thompson as a late first-round pick. The one criticism the safety heard during the week centered on the occasional missed tackle last season. One person familiar with the Boise State program said it was more a symptom of Thompson trying to do too much to make up for the lack of playmakers on the Broncos' defense.

    Tony Pauline has been a draft analyst for more than 25 years, and is president and editor of DraftInsider.net, a site dedicated year round coverage of the NFL Draft. You can follow on Twitter @TonyPauline

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  • r8rh8rmike
    North Dakota State's Carson Wentz has all the tools, great upside for the Rams
    by r8rh8rmike
    North Dakota State's Carson Wentz has all the tools, great upside for the Rams

    April 16, 2016
    Updated April 17, 2016 10:40 a.m.


    North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz has a great arm, ideal physical skills and a locker-room presence, experts say.BRUCE CRUMMY, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


    By RYAN KARTJE / STAFF WRITER

    As any conversation about this 6-foot-5, 235-pound North Dakotan with a howitzer arm, barrel frame and the undeniable look of a franchise quarterback seems to begin these days, let us first address the Bison in the room.

    Carson Wentz spent the past five years playing college football in Fargo, N.D. After starting just one season at Bismarck Century High, a late growth spurt left his recruiting profile so low that the popular online scouting services didn’t bother to make a page for him. At North Dakota State, an FCS powerhouse, Wentz didn’t start until his redshirt junior season, and he threw just 612 passes over his entire career – only 28 of which came against FBS opponent. All of these things are true.

    Of course, there’s the 28-3 record and the two FCS championships in two seasons and the glowing off-the-field profile there for your consideration. But there’s no avoiding the reality of the situation. Not since 1974 has an NFL team used the top pick on a player below college football’s highest level.

    As the Rams wonder whether Wentz or Cal’s Jared Goff would be best to carry a rebranded franchise on their shoulders, this lack of experience against top competition is the specter that hangs over the draft’s most intriguing quarterback prospect.

    “I know a lot of people have that question,” Wentz said at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. “I know what I’m capable of.”

    Before deciding for yourself, consider one of those 28 throws against an FBS defense. It’s 2014, Wentz’s first start, and the Bison have just crossed midfield on the road against Iowa State. Wentz drops back from under center, fakes a handoff and steps up into a clean pocket. There are some questions about his pocket presence, but at this moment, he is cool in the face of chaos. On a late read, he launches a bomb 40 yards in the air to wideout Zach Vraa, tucking it cleanly between a charging help safety and a cornerback in man coverage.

    The throw is a dazzling reminder of why Wentz has risen this far, from small-school nobody to lofty Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger comparisons. “He’s got some seriously great arm talent,” said Randy Hedberg, North Dakota State’s quarterbacks coach.

    No scout will dispute that. Wentz has a cannon. Next year, his arm might immediately rank among the league’s dozen best.

    His tools, from the mammoth frame to his 10-inch hands to the 4.77 40 time, suggest that a potential great quarterback can be molded...
    -04-18-2016, 11:55 AM
  • Nick
    Official 2016 NFL Senior Bowl Thread
    by Nick
    Keeping all news from Mobile here! :ram:
    -01-24-2016, 04:07 PM
  • Nick
    MSU LB Darien Harris defends QB Connor Cook
    by Nick
    MSU LB Darien Harris defends QB Connor Cook
    By Chase Goodbread
    College Football 24/7 writer
    Published: Jan. 21, 2016 at 01:12 p.m. Updated: Jan. 21, 2016 at 01:49 p.m. 8 Likes |

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook's evaluation as a draft prospect will include a close look not only at his physical skills but also into whether he's capable of being a locker room leader and a face-of-franchise player. An assortment of factors -- from MSU players choosing not to elect him captain, to questions about his love for the game, to his awkward television moment with Archie Griffin -- have put Cook in a challenging position entering the NFL Scouting Combine next month.

    By the time Spartans linebacker Darien Harris was finished with the subject, however, Cook wasn't without a loud voice of support. While acknowledging the bias that comes with being a teammate, Harris went well beyond obligatory support in defending Cook's character.

    "I don't buy any of that, one bit. I feel like, as he is my brother and he is family to me, it's kind of my obligation to try to kill some of that noise," Harris said. "Hopefully I can do that by getting people to understand from the inside of that locker room that we loved him and that he was the best quarterback in the country, no doubt about it.

    "It's been a mystery to us, and it's really unfortunate. He's a great guy who comes from a great family. It's hurtful to me as well because he's part of our 2011 class that's been able to do so many special things at Michigan State. I know him, I know his parents well, his sister, I know everything about him. We talk all the time. For how close and tight-knit the team was, to me it's been kind of blasphemous, the amount of things that have been said about him."

    There are perfunctory endorsements, and there are impassioned ones. This was the latter, and Harris didn't stop there. He also defended Cook specifically regarding a TV clip of Cook appearing brusque with Griffin, the two-time Heisman Trophy winner, in accepting the Big Ten Championship Game MVP trophy.

    "He was caught in the moment. He whole-heartedly apologized. He understood how bad it looked. We didn't understand at first, then we saw the video and understood as well how bad it looked -- it looked pretty bad -- but he called him up personally, he apologized, and he didn't mean anything by it," Harris said. "I've known Connor for the last five years. He's humble. Not arrogant or cocky, he's extremely humble and blessed.

    "I can't wait for him to get that (combine) opportunity. We know what the first questions are going to be, and he knows that. Once they see him face-to-face, once they hear his side of things, I think they will really change the opinion on him, and understand he is a franchise quarterback."

    Harris, to be sure, won't...
    -01-21-2016, 03:21 PM
  • MauiRam
    Finding the Fits: Rams are hoping rookie TE provides instant impact
    by MauiRam
    Tyler Higbee -- if he's available -- looks primed to be a favorite target of Jared Goff

    by Rob Rang The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

    (This is part of a series -- Finding the Fits -- in which NFLDraftScout.com will review the more intriguing picks made during the 2016 NFL Draft. The goal is to identify one relatively unheralded player per team who appears to be a good schematic fit and, therefore, more likely to be a surprise contributor early in his pro career.)

    Los Angeles' best fit: TE Tyler Higbee, Western Kentucky, No. 110 overall
    By boldly trading up to the No. 1 overall pick to secure the services of California quarterback Jared Goff, the Rams made perhaps the splashiest move of the 2016 NFL Draft. While some quibbled with the price general manager Les Snead paid to make the move, the club was eager to attract the notoriously fickle fans in the "new" Los Angeles market, which would have been difficult after finishing dead last in the NFL in passing (175.3 yards per game) in 2015.

    While the addition of Goff has largely been celebrated, the "other" talent general manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher brought to LA has generated significantly less interest. Of course, given that the Rams waited 109 picks and approximately 36 hours before making their next pick after Goff could have something to do with it.

    That next pick -- Higbee -- could play a significant role on the Rams' offense as a rookie, as well. That is, of course, if Higbee is cleared to play at all. He pleaded not guilty on May 5 in his initial arraignment following a pre-draft arrest outside of a Bowling Green (Ky.) bar on charges of second degree assault, evading arrest and public intoxication.

    Higbee's availability is somewhat in question. His talent is not.
    In a weak year for tight ends, the 6-foot-6, 249-pound Higbee had generated a great deal of interest from scouts. Some viewed him as the second-best prospect in the class behind only Hunter Henry, the reigning Mackey Award winner who was selected 35th overall by San Diego.

    Higbee began his career with the Hilltoppers at wide receiver and didn't emerge as a standout tight end until his senior season. Despite missing five games (as well as the Senior Bowl and combine) due to a knee injury, Higbee hauled in eight touchdowns on a career-high 38 receptions for 563 yards last year. When healthy, he showed off the agility, acceleration and soft hands to project as a featured target down the seam, where the Rams were looking to replace departed free agent Jared Cook.

    Higbee possesses the natural receiving skills to make an immediate impact in the Rams' passing game but he is also surprisingly tough as a blocker. That kind of grit is expected on any team led by Fisher, who rightly will prioritize super-sophomore running back Todd Gurley as the main component of the Rams' offense.
    ...
    -06-21-2016, 11:25 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Farmer: North Dakota State's Carson Wentz Is A 'No-Brainer' Choice For The Rams
    by r8rh8rmike
    North Dakota State's Carson Wentz is a 'no-brainer' choice for the L.A. Rams






    Sam Farmer - Contact Reporter

    Football is a game of disguise and misdirection, so fittingly the Rams aren't disclosing which quarterback they'll select with the No. 1 pick in this month's draft, Cal's Jared Goff or North Dakota State's Carson Wentz.

    This much is known: They'll take a quarterback, not surprising considering the hefty price tag required to make the unprecedented move from No. 15 to No. 1.

    The Rams had private workouts with both players and it's highly improbable the team hasn't zeroed in on one. As General Manager Les Snead said Thursday in a news conference formally announcing the trade with the Tennessee Titans, "the hay is in the barn" in terms of scouting the quarterbacks. An interesting wrinkle is that both players are represented by agent Bruce Tollner, son of former USC football coach Ted Tollner.

    While the Rams have praised both players and caution against assuming that either is out of the running, some outside experts see the choice as clear: It's Wentz who should wind up in L.A.



    Nineteen years ago, the newly minted St. Louis Rams made a stunning move, trading up five spots -- and leapfrogging the Oakland Raiders -- to grab the No. 1 pick in the draft and select tackle Orlando Pace, a future Hall of Famer.

    The Los Angeles Rams can only hope things go as well this time.

    Nineteen years ago, the newly minted St. Louis Rams made a stunning move, trading up five spots -- and leapfrogging the Oakland Raiders -- to grab the No. 1 pick in the draft and select tackle Orlando Pace, a future Hall of Famer.

    The Los Angeles Rams can only hope things go as well this time.

    "I really like Jared Goff, but he doesn't have the upside that this kid [Wentz] has," said Mike Mayock, NFL Network draft analyst. "So in my mind, it has to be Wentz — it's not even a question — and I think it's the intangibles that sold [Rams Coach] Jeff Fisher and Les Snead, on top of the physical stuff."



    Mayock said he was impressed when studying video of Goff after the season and initially thought he was the best quarterback prospect in the class. He changed his mind, though, after watching tape of Wentz.
    "At that point, I had never heard of Carson Wentz," Mayock said. "He was just a name on a quarterback list. I put in his tape against Northern Iowa and when I got done with it I was like, 'Wow, I hope the next one is just as good, because this was kind of special.' And the next one was just as good if not better, as was the next one."

    But there wasn't a large body of work from Wentz's 2015 season because he sat out eight games because of a broken wrist. He shined at the Senior Bowl,...
    -04-15-2016, 10:32 AM
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