Archive for November, 2010

Updated mock draft: 30th November

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

This week’s updated mock draft is now available by clicking here or selecting ‘Mock Draft’ in the title bar.

Sunday’s 42-24 defeat at home to Kansas City dropped Seattle to 5-6 and second place in the NFC West. If the season ended today, the Seahawks would pick 11th overall – a far cry from lofty expectations of a pick in the 20′s.

What it does do is open up a number of unexplored possibilities with regard to the draft.

If the Seahawks had a shot at the two wide receivers A.J. Green or Julio Jones – could they afford to pass up that opportunity?

It’s something we haven’t discussed much.

In this projection Green and Jones go at #8 and #10 – agonizingly close to the Seahawks pick. Not many people constitute receiver as a need. I think it is – just not as big as some other positions. Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu are both pending free agents.

Green and Jones are both rare talents with the potential to become top drawer NFL receivers.

If I had either dropping to #11, it might have been a serious consideration. Neither made it that far.

Instead I looked at the possibility of filling another need at a position of depth in next April’s draft – cornerback. Last week I had the team selecting Jimmy Smith 21st overall. Ten picks earlier and the team has a chance to possibly draft Prince Amukamara.

It’s a difficult year to judge Amukamara. He’s been thoroughly avoided all year except against Oklahoma State – when he struggled a bit against Justin Blackmon. On the other hand, Janoris Jenkins has performed exceptionally well against Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Alshon Jeffery.

Each of the three top wide outs had their worst game statistically this year against Jenkins. Teams will watch the tape, be impressed and grade Jenkins sufficiently.

That could drop Amukamara a little bit. Despite the value teams place on cornerbacks, you don’t often see a cluster of top-ten picks spent on the position.

The Nebraska wide out has the size and physical qualities Seattle wants at the position. I made the projection based on what I constitute a team need, best player available and scheme fit.

There’s no return into the first round for Jake Locker this week – again due to serious issues with his accuracy. Playing behind a poor offensive line has not helped Locker – but I’ve seen too many throws this year not under pressure that have been of serious concern. Even so – he has a chance to improve his stock in team meetings and work outs. His character is faultless. He does have an X-factor.

He could still be a top ten pick. I had to consider him for Minnesota, Arizona and yes – Seattle – in the top 11 picks. Jacksonville and Tennessee were possibilities too. This week he stays in round two.

The big mover is Nick Fairley – up ten spots to the 5th overall pick (Denver). I’m not yet convinced he has a great ceiling or that he’s worthy of this selection. You also can’t argue with the way he’s dominated offensive lineman this year and registered an incredible 11 sacks. He’s being graded in this range, so I have to represent that in a mock.

He’s not a perfect match with Denver – a 3-4 defensive scheme outfit – however, the Broncos need some beef up front and a guy who can get into the backfield whilst offering solid run support. They’d have to get creative, but I wouldn’t rule Fairley away from 3-4 teams all together.

Seattle’s draft needs: Status check

Monday, November 29th, 2010

In the aftermath of yesterday’s crushing 42-24 defeat at home to Kansas City, you’re forgiven if you’re struggling to define Seattle’s greatest draft need.

Pick a card, any card.

When I update my mock draft on Tuesday, I won’t be projecting the Seahawks to win the NFC West. Right now I believe they would own the 11th overall pick in next April’s draft. That’s a ten-spot swing by the margin of possibly one game and a division title.

I’m going to run through the different positions and review need and likelihood the position will be drafted early next April. Of course, this is subject to change with plenty of football yet to be played. (more…)

South Carolina vs Clemson & good day for defense

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Despite an early start I was able to catch Clemson’s one-sided defeat to South Carolina this weekend. I wanted to focus on Da’Quan Bowers (DE, Clemson) after a stunning season with 16 sacks and an interception which has firmly put him in the top-five bracket.

However, this was a difficult game to judge anyone on Clemson’s defense.

For starters, they spent nearly the entire game on the field. With the offense such a non-factor, it looked like a draining experience out there trying to stop USC’s star studded offense. Quarterback Stephen Garcia didn’t have too much trouble getting the ball to Alshon Jeffery who made 141 yards and a score from just five catches. If anything this performance made me further appreciate Janoris Jenkins’ (CB, Florida) excellent job v.s. Jeffery earlier this season.

The Gamecocks did a good job putting double or triple teams on Bowers, forcing him to pick through a maze to find the backfield. His great power and size was best exhibited when he moved inside and faced less traffic. Despite the almost constant attention to Clemson’s standout, he was able to get round the edge and create pressure on occassions. Bowers would’ve had a 17th sack of the season but for a blatant jersey grab which led to a holding call.

The real value comes in that he’ll fit any scheme. 4-3 teams can use him as a power end, capable of bursting off the edge and also moving inside on passing downs. Teams that use a 3-4 scheme will like his fit at five technique, he’s got the size (280lbs) for the role and this might actually be his best position at the next level. Seattle would use him in the Red Bryant position – a place he would thrive.

Derrick Morgan and Jason Pierre-Paul saw their stock limited a little last year due to their lack of scheme flexibility. Aside from Bowers’ physical brilliance and huge production this year, his ability to fit on any team will guarantee a high pick.

It was also a good weekend for other defensive prospects:

-Stephen Paea (DT, Oregon State) recorded his 6th sack of the year against Stanford. It’s only the 5th sack conceded by the Cardinal in 2010.

- Justin Houston (OLB, Georgia) added an interception against Georgia Tech to his 11 sacks for the year. He needs to prove coverage skills to teams looking for 3-4 OLB’s.

- Cameron Jordan (DE, California) returned a fumble 21-yards for a touchdown. He’ll be a 5-tech at the next level and will be a top-20 pick.

- Nick Fairley (DT, Auburn) had two more sacks against Alabama. Getting eleven sacks for the year is incredible for a defensive tackle.

- Von Miller (OLB, Texas A&M) also had two sacks against Texas and also an interception. He’s been lights out after a tough injury-hit start to 2010.

- J.J. Watt (DE, Wisconsin) followed up an interception last week with his 7th sack of the season against Northwestern. Another 5-tech prospect.

- Pernell McPhee (DE, Miss. State) got his second sack in as many weeks after a solid outing against Arkansas solidified a grade in the R2/3 range.

Weekend notes

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

A bit of good news for me today – I managed to find a schedule list for ESPN India and it shows South Carolina vs Clemson live at 5:30am. An early start – but worth it to watch Da’Quan Bowers and the Clemson defense against Lattimore, Jeffery and Garcia. I’ll have a few thoughts on the blog immediately after. Some other things to look for today:

LSU vs Arkansas - The Razorbacks are at home and this is the kind of high profile game Ryan Mallett can really boost his stock. He’ll have to dissect a secondary that includes stand-out Patrick Peterson. I’m also interested to see how Drake Nevis performs. He’s had highlight games this year and started very well. However – he’s also been inconsistent. He needs to get at Mallett and pressure early throws.

- Oregon State vs Stanford – Andrew Luck should get another win here and put up the usual numbers. However – can Stephen Paea (DT, Oregon State) impress against the Cardinal offensive line? It’s one of the best in CFB. Paea is one of the best interior defensive lineman against the run but he’s also occasionally flashed ability to get into the backfield (five sacks). He’s never dominated in one single game, but a performance today will register in scouts minds.

- Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State – This is a tale of two wideouts. Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma) and Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State) have both put up huge numbers in ultra productive offensive schemes. For me, I’m not convinced either warrant first round grades. Broyles lacks size or breakaway speed. He’s a potential handy slot receiver but that will only carry so much value. Blackmon looks like Michael Crabtree lite – he hasn’t got flawless hands or the same YAC quality – but he’s a playmaker.

- Florida vs Florida State - 2010 hasn’t been a good year for the Gators. They have a Tim Tebow sized hangover from last year. Christian Ponder has been one of the biggest disappointments for me this year and I would only give him a late round grade. However, this is a chance to impress against a less than stellar Florida outfit that may be missing top corner Janoris Jenkins. Even so, it’s probably too little too late for Ponder.

Newton wins again – further boosts stock

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

When Alabama took a 24-0 lead in the second quarter – at home – many thought Auburn’s BCS title hopes were in serious danger.

Then Cam Newton did what he’s been doing all year.

A four-score performance led the Tigers to a 28-27 victory which puts Auburn in place to make the title game and win Newton the Heisman trophy.

As expected, streaming games in India is impossible. ESPN3 doesn’t allow purchases from this part of the world – so whilst I’ll be watching Seattle vs KC on NFL gamepass, I cannot do the same for CFB. I will watch the tape when it’s published on the SEC website in a few days.

My review of a game littered with potential draft picks will have to wait – but I’d welcome any thoughts you have on the game in the comments section.

However – wins like this will only continue to pump Newton’s stock higher up the board. He’s leading a pretty average team to a remarkable season on his own. The teams who are struggling in the NFL right now will look at the tape and the way he’s handled adversity this year and consider the impact he can have for them.

I had Newton going third overall in my last mock draft. That’s a distinct possibility.

Newton & Kaepernick out to impress

Friday, November 26th, 2010

It’s a big night for two athletic quarterbacks. One is a high profile, sure fire first round pick next April. The other has posted very similar stats, leads his team equally well but hasn’t received the same level of hype.

Cam Newton (QB, Auburn) and Colin Kaepernick (Nevada) are both big time playmakers who feature heavily as runners as well as passers. Tonight Newton faces rival Alabama hoping to maintain Auburn’s unbeaten season and go into the SEC Championship game knowing victory will certainly secure a BCS title game.

Kaepernick is hoping to knock Boise State off their perch with a big upset win. I haven’t had the opportunity to watch Nevada this year, but this is the type of high profile encounter he has to perform in to boost his draft stock.

I’m still in Asia and won’t be back until 6th December. I’m hoping to catch the ‘Bama vs Auburn game via a live stream. The internet in the hotel is patchy at best so this might be slightly optimistic. However, I have both games set to record so when I get home I’ll be able to review both quarterbacks performances.

Video highlights: Jimmy Smith (CB, Colorado)

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

This week I had the Seahawks taking Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith in my updated first round mock draft. Courtesy of Aaron Aloysius, here’s Smith in action against Missouri and Blaine Gabbert:

Updated first round mock draft: 23rd Novemer

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

I’ve updated the mock draft today as planned. You can find the latest projection by clicking here or selecting ‘Mock Draft’ in the title bar.

As I’m on Honeymoon I’ll keep the analysis brief. Jake Locker isn’t included amongst the first round this week after another disappointing performance against UCLA. He has games and the Senior Bowl/Combine to repair his stock, but he’s just not accurate enough or progressing enough to warrant a high grade.

I like to look at different scenarios every week rather than churn out the same 32 picks jumbled around a bit. People will ask why I have the Seahawks passing on Locker at #21 when I’ve talked so much about the need to draft a QB. Earlier this year GM John Schneider listed the things he believes are key when drafting a quarterback. Locker fits the criteria for leadership, pocket mobility and hand size. It cannot be said however, that his accuracy outplays the physical qualities. It’s the exact opposite.

No doubt Locker will be back in first round contention before April – but I think it’s important to look at alternatives for Seattle and the draft in general.

I have the Seahawks selecting Jimmy Smith (CB, Colordao) this week. He has the size and physical skills the team want at cornerback. He’s flown under the radar a bit due to a lack of national spotlight at Colorado. He’s very good in press coverage but he’s got the closing burst to succeed in zone. He’s aggressive on the field but a quiet, thoughtful character who doesn’t come with any character problems.

You can never have enough good corner’s. Kelly Jennings is a free agent and Smith could project as a long term feature at CB. Stephen Paea (DT, Oregon State) was also a strong consideration and would be more likely if Brandon Mebane wasn’t re-signed – although I suspect that’s a near certainty.

Travel days

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Unfortunately the Arkansas vs Mississippi State game will have to wait until I return from Honeymoon. Apologies for the lack of details on Mallett, Sherrod and co – I’ll take a look when I get back. I’ll be travelling for the next two days so the next update on the blog will be the updated mock draft on Tuesday/Wednesday.

Weekend notes – the fortnight ahead

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Let me start with a heads up for the next couple of weeks. I’m off on honeymoon tomorrow and will be in Asia for just over two weeks. I’ll continue to update the blog when possible, hopefully by a pool side. Obviously this will limit my opportunity to watch as much CFB although I will be recording games to watch when I get back. I will be continuing the mock drafts as usual.

It does mean over the next few days there won’t be many updates as I’ll be doing a lot of travelling, things should settle down by the end of the week.

This weekend I will be watching Arkansas vs Mississippi State. I’ll try and get some reaction on the blog tomorrow before I set off.

Here’s some key notes from the weekend:

-Da’Quan Bowers (DE, Clemson) may be behind Andrew Luck by position importance only. Two more sacks today against Wake Forest have taken him to 16 for the year in just eleven games. I cannot envisage a scenario where gets out of the top five picks and is very much a contender to go first overall depending on who owns the choice.

-Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford) had a comfortable day -  going 16/21 for 235 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He added 78 yards on the ground including a 58-yard dash in one specific play.

-Ryan Williams (RB, Virginia Tech) has endured a frustrating year dogged by injuries. He still seems set to declare for the 2011 draft – and showed why he might provide someone with a bargain. His 14 carry, 142 yard performance against Miami was very impressive – it included two touchdowns.

-Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma State) doesn’t know how to have a bad game statistically. He added another 130 yards today and a touchdown in a comfortable win over Kentucky. He’s not as explosive as Dez Bryant or as sure-handed as Michael Crabtree, but he’ll interest teams with his playmaking qualities and production. If he declares for the 2011 draft, I’d give him a round two grade at this point.