Brandon Thomas tears ACL
According to Adam Caplan, Clemson offensive tackle Brandon Thomas tore his ACL last week. A lot of people have been projecting him as a guard — but he showed enough on tape during 2013 to at least warrant consideration as a NFL tackle.
It’s big news considering he could’ve been a late first or early second round pick. Teams like New Orleans, Carolina and Seattle — who were all potentially in the market for OL help — are unlikely to consider him that early following today’s news. He’ll need a redshirt year at least — and then you’re looking at a 317lbs man with knee history.
It doesn’t just impact Thomas’ stock. It could provide a significant boost for the likes of Joel Bitonio and Morgan Moses.
It’s a further body blow for the tackle class. Cyrus Kouandjio’s injury mystery and a lousy combine hammered his stock. Cedric Ogbuehi, Cameron Erving and La’el Collins opted not to declare for the 2014 draft. What could’ve been a legendary class is taking a hit. There’s still enough talent though to see 6-7 linemen go in round one.
It’s also sad news for Thomas — who enjoyed a productive Senior Bowl before testing well at the combine. He had 35 reps on the bench press despite having nearly 35 inch arms and also ran a 5.09 forty.
He could drop significantly depending on how serious the tear is.
Latimer to visit the Seahawks next week
Aaron Wilson is reporting a date of April 15th for Cody Latimer’s trip to Seattle. He’ll also visit with Buffalo, Philadelphia, Detroit, Oakland, San Diego and Carolina.
I kind of feel like the media — and those of us who discuss the draft — are late to the party on Latimer. He didn’t get a lot of attention during the season. Injury kept him out of the combine and he’s only really gathered momentum after Indiana’s pro day.
He stands out on tape. He’s productive within an average passing offense and he’s one of the more intriguing players in the draft.
It’s no surprise a high number of teams want to get a closer look — he hasn’t done a proper work out yet due to a foot injury. Don’t be surprised if he finds a home in the late first round.
Wilson says he ran in the 4.39-4.43 range with a 39 inch vertical — and that’s with the foot issue. You’re talking about a big-time athlete in perfect physical shape.
There’s also this:
I wrote a more detailed piece about Latimer a week ago. He’s not just an athlete playing receiver — he has strong hands, he competes for the ball in the air and he’s the best run blocking wide out in the draft.
Former NFL Scout Louis Riddick says he’s been training with Brandon Marshall throughout the off-season in Florida. His main focus, apparently, is to work on separation ability. It’s definitely the main area he can improve, but as Riddick notes:
Young players that identify weaknesses in their game and attack them stick out to me. Great sign going forward.
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) April 7, 2014
I asked him for some further thoughts on Latimer, who’s beginning to get more and more attention as people watch the 2013 tape. Riddick listed the following positives to me:
“Size, strength at the line, strength at the break point, contested catch skills, strong RAC, special teams value.”
Needless to say, these are all characteristics the Seahawks love.
He could be the 5th or 6th best receiver in the class after Odell Beckham Jr, Marqise Lee and Kelvin Benjamin (with Watkins & Evans at the very top). I think you can make that argument. And it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s off the board before the #32 pick.
This is a very interesting receiver group and I still maintain we’ll see as many as 7-8 leaving the board in round one. If not more.
Unless you’ve handcuffed yourself to certain needs (eg Dallas and defensive linemen), you’d be silly to avoid this years offensive linemen and receivers if there’s a space on your roster.
Don’t sleep on guys like Latimer and even Jarvis Landry — who might’ve had a disappointing combine, but is a heck of a football player.
Let’s hope this doesn’t happen
Speaking of competitive, talented football players…
Business trip. In Arizona
— Ryan Shazier (@RyanShazier) April 7, 2014
Ryan Shazier on the Cardinals defense would be terrifying.
I spent a bit of time this weekend looking at a few Ohio State games. Some from the Draft Breakdown database, some that I’d saved on my own system from 2012.
He’s the complete package.
Hard hitting, instinctive, great blitzer, terrific range. He’s possibly the best athlete in the 2014 draft (including Jadeveon Clowney). He’s ripped, but also managed a crazy 42 inch vertical at the combine and ran a 4.3 at his pro day.
There’s only part of his game you need to improve — avoiding getting caught in traffic and shedding blocks. He needs to be protected by the scheme — keep him rangy. Keep him away from the LOS. Too often he gets sucked into the middle and ends up getting blocked. If he can stay in space, react and play sideline-to-sideline, he could quickly develop into one of the best linebackers in the NFL.
He also has all the intangibles you want to see — he speaks well, he’s a great team mate and a leader.
I don’t consider linebacker a big need for the Seahawks — not to the extent they have to spend a first round pick in 2014. Yes, Malcolm Smith and K.J. Wright are free agents next year. But they’re also 7th and 4th round picks. If you can’t re-sign them, do you really need to bring in a first round replacement?
But I’d make an exception for Shazier.
And I hope for the NFC West’s sake he doesn’t leave the board at #20.
Don’t be shocked if he’s taken at #13 by St. Louis either.
What are we waiting for?
I’ve always felt the draft process is too drawn out. And I know that’s easy for me to say, as an impatient fan not working in a front office.
It’s just the length of time from the combine to draft day feels like an eternity.
The draft has been moved back by around two weeks this year in order to lessen the burden on teams and front office staff. So I found this Tweet interesting today:
The draft is still over a month away. Process is too drawn out. Know of at least 1 team giving scouts a week off in fear of over analysis.
— Kevin Weidl (@KevinW_ESPN) April 7, 2014
The draft is crucial for NFL teams and with so much money invested — they can’t afford to miss on those first round picks.
And yet I don’t understand why condensing the process and giving staff more time after the event isn’t a much more sensible idea? Work harder to an earlier deadline, but get more time off upon the conclusion of, let’s say, a mid-April draft?
We’re 31 days away from the 2014 event. I wonder how many teams would say they still need that much time to prepare?