Cody Latimer is going to be an early pick in this draft.
I don’t say that with any authority of course. It’s just my opinion. But he looks better than most of the receivers in this already loaded class. Some team is going to get a terrific football player. The Seahawks will be lucky if he lasts until pick #32.
Today he held another pro-day of sorts — running routes and catching balls for 16 minutes in front of 25 teams. Chip Kelly was present from the Eagles — while according to Tony Pauline the 49ers spent “extensive time” with Latimer. Those words were tough to write after seeing the Indiana receiver proudly sporting a Seahawks cap ten days ago.
We may not see a more Seahawky receiver for a while — his combination of strong hands, run blocking and ability to compete for the ball in the air (not to mention speed and leaping ability) make him a very appealing option. And yet here’s the reality…
These receivers are going to go early.
Latimer, Odell Beckham Jr, Brandin Cooks. They’re probably going to be long gone. And that’s after the likes of Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and Marqise Lee get snapped up.
Maybe Seattle pre-empted this with the Sidney Rice re-signing? Despite the depth in quality, perhaps they just won’t be able to get one of top wide outs? And maybe the value will be pushed into another position of need like right tackle or the defensive line?
If I had to name three players who just look like great fits for this team it’d be Latimer, Joel Bitonio and Ryan Shazier — with their combination of competitive spirit, athleticism and scheme fit. They’re not the only appealing prospects — but they’ll do for me.
Let’s hope they aren’t all off the board by #32.
49ers trading up?
Via ESPN's Chris Mortensen: "The #49ers are a team people are starting to talk about as someone who could be very aggressive in this draft."
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) April 25, 2014
ESPN's Chris Mortensen suggested Mike Evans as a trade-up target for #49ers. Mort hearing Niners "could be very aggressive in this draft."
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) April 25, 2014
It’s kind of a funny thing to say — but the 49ers almost have too many picks in this draft.
They have 11 in total — a solitary first rounder, two second rounders and three third rounders.
They have holes to fill, but are 11 rookies going to make the roster? Are they going to find six starters by the end of day two?
They also have the ammunition to be aggressive and target a top player to boost their squad. Mike Evans — if that’s who they want — could be scary on that offense.
I will add though — he’s a fiery character and he does allow opponents into his head. We saw that in the Duke Bowl game at the end of last season. While Johnny Manziel was doing a magic show, Evans was mostly anonymous. He let the guy covering him get to him. He couldn’t control his emotions. Manziel at one point got into his face — barking at him to get in the game.
In Seattle I think Evans would be fine. He’d be part of the aggressor — the team with the swagger and confidence. But coming up against Richard Sherman and co would be a challenge if he can’t keep things in check.
San Francisco moving up should be a formality — jut as they did last year to get Eric Reid. They can afford to do it. The only question is — how high do they jump?
Bradley Roby makes his case
It’s the kind of news that destroys a players draft stock. He’d have almost no time to recover from a story like this — just as people were starting to project him back inside the top-20.
Roby took to Twitter today to deny he’d been drinking. And to be fair, he makes a solid case:
I was not drunk pic.twitter.com/CviiPuydkp
— Bradley Roby (@BradRoby_1) April 25, 2014
We’ll see what impact this has on May 8th. For me, he’s still the best corner in the draft.
More Ja’Wuan James tape study
After Mark Dominik suggested Ja’Wuan James was a first round “lock” — I felt obliged to spend more time watching his tape last night.
The South Carolina game seemed like a good place to start. You can watch it for yourself in the video above.
I’m starting to see why Dominik would make that projection. James is just a really solid tackle. He doesn’t make too many errors, he has heavy hands and the footwork to excel quickly at the next level. He has long arms and an ideal frame. He might not be a special player — but he’s a plug-in-and-play tackle who can start as a rookie.
James always looked in control against the Gamecocks — flashing great footwork and body control. He consistently connected with blocks and while he doesn’t drive people off the ball — when he locks on he’s tough to negotiate. He very rarely over-extends or gets into an awkward position. He’s just a really consistent, solid offensive tackle.
Despite Gil Brandt’s suggestion James played well against Jadeveon Clowney — South Carolina didn’t pit Clowney against him once in the entire game. Which is telling. I would’ve thought they’d mix him around, but they kept him going 1v1 against Antonio Richardson (who struggled badly).
Richardson’s a man mountain but he lacks a lot of the technique and composure of James. He’s much more of a project and could require a year of top-level coaching before he’s ready to start. James on the other hand is ready to go.
This game shows how good Clowney is — he dominates throughout and is constantly around the ball. Tennessee true freshman Marquez North is also one to watch for the future (6-4, 215lbs).
But I can see why James could go in round one based on this tape. There’s nothing flashy about his play, but he gets the job done. Which, essentially, is what you want. I think he could play left or right tackle at the next level. He won’t be a brilliant, athletic future Hall of Famer — but over the 4-5 years of that first contract you’re going to get a really solid tackle.
I also watched some more Morgan Moses last night (vs Vic Beasley of Clemson) to compare him against James. Putting two players together like that really highlights the differences. Moses looked lethargic and clumsy. He didn’t give up any major plays against Beasley — but he just made everything look so difficult. I felt tired watching the tape as he laboured around the field.
This game was the week after he shut down Jeremiah Attaochu — and it bothered me. How can he look so dominant one week, and so shattered the next? I just get the sense you’ll get the same level of performance from Ja’Wuan James on a weekly basis. With Moses, he’s going to be up and down a lot. And you’ll have to permanently monitor his conditioning I fear.
If the idea is to get a nice, solid tackle who can start quickly and play at a certain level — for me James and Bitonio deserve higher grades than Moses. But I suspect all three will go in round one.