Month: June 2011 (Page 1 of 3)

Michael Floyd update, more Bruce Irvin tape

ESPN reports that Notre Dame wide out Michael Floyd pleaded guilty on Wednesday to drink driving and has been given a suspended sentence. It’s not the first incident involving Floyd and he was suspended by coach Brian Kelly following the news he’d been arrested at 3:18am with a blood-alcohol level more than double the legal limit in Indiana. He hasn’t been reinstated with the team and although that will be a formality down the line, this could well be a final chance for Floyd to let his play do the talking.

My personal view is that although the physical talent is clearly there, he’s never used it to max out his potential. He runs sluggish routes, he body catches far too much and considering some of the competition he’s come up against, he’s rarely dominated. Then he’ll make a big play or have a huge game and you realise what all the fuss is about. I have him graded in the middle rounds due to the off-field incidents and inconsistency, but he can get back into early round contention very easily with a great 2011.

However, I keep coming back to this – Floyd didn’t declare this year for one reason… he didn’t hear a glowing report from the draft committee. He’s stated it was his intention to return and that’s fine, but if that was the case why did it take so long to decide? Faced with another year at Notre Dame to really propel his stock and knuckle down, instead he’s drink driving and getting arrested at 3am. When so much is on the line, is that how you are going to approach this great chance to impress the NFL?

On a different note altogether, one player I’m particularly high on and expect to explode as an every down pass rusher this year is West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin. Here’s more tape courtesy of JMPasq, enjoy:

A link and a plug

First… the plug. Chris Sullivan (formerly of Seahawk Addicts) is fronting a new project called Thirty Acre Fortress. I seriously recommend you check it out and if you aren’t one of his many Twitter followers already, you can add him to your feed list by clicking here. It sounds like a pretty innovative idea – a true social media project. Let’s support Chris in helping to get the wheels rolling.

Now for the link. Dan Kadar at Mocking the Draft passes on information that Rutgers playmaker Mohamed Sanu is intending to declare for the 2012 draft. I’m a big fan of Sanu’s, he’s equally effective as a runner or receiver with great size and strength not to mention a penchant for open-field blocking. He suffered badly last year from a quarterback soap opera and I’m not exactly optimistic it’s a situation that will be resolved in 2011. He’ll end up being more physical potential than proven production, but for the right team I’d roll the dice.

Congratulations! You are a Seahawks lockout reporter!

Let me be the first to shake your hand and welcome to our world. All it took was the ability to remember stuff and incorporate your brain in order to function it all together. With such a startling combination, we cannot be stopped.

Together we can live safe in the knowledge that Pete Carroll will be signing Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and every other USC Trojan set to become available when the lockout ends some time between the 27th June and the apocalypse.

Clearly with the Seahawks bringing in Tom Cable, he’s going to want to re-sign his entire offensive line from Oakland. Step forward… Robert Gallery and Samson Satele.

Did you know that Darrell Bevell was once asked to coach Tavaris Jackson? Of course you did! You’re a Seahawks lockout reporter now! He will be the team’s point guard next season (or is it designated hitter?).

John Schneider was once part of another front office. That front office signed football players. It surely makes sense that John will want to re-sign all of those players again now that the Packers are champions of the universe, so we can officially guarantee every Green Bay free agent will be moving to the Pacific North West.

And with so many new players arriving in Seattle, they’ll have no trouble achieving the minimum spending limit in the new salary cap. Cigars out.

Let us go forth and tweet what we have learnt, for we are the Seahawks lockout reporters.

Kirk Cousins is the next.. *insert lazy comparison here*

If Kirk Cousins went 12th overall, this may be his reaction

It has to be said that my interest has piqued the more I’ve looked into the possible 2012 quarterback class. There’s some intrigue and some potential depth among the tier two prospects, but more on that later.   

Many would argue the 2011 group lacked quality and regulars will know I’m not one of those people. I do believe there’s at least a possibility Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick will go on to have long and prosperous career. Andy Dalton will get the chance to start early (and throw to AJ Green) while Christian Ponder appears set to start in Minnesota after being a surprise choice with the 12th overall pick.   

Indeed, it’s that decision by the Vikings that’s giving me a headache trying to get a read on Kirk Cousins.   

For the most part Cousins’ has been solid, but not spectacular. In his junior season (and second as a starter) he threw 20 touchdowns compared to 10 picks, had 2825 passing yards with 67% completions. Ponder missed four games with injury in his junior year (also his second as a starter) and threw 14 touchdowns to go with seven interceptions. He had 2717 yards and 69% completions.   

Certainly, those numbers are comparable.   

Ponder entered his senior campaign with momentum despite his injuries, with some touting him as a possible early draft pick. Cousins received similar attention towards the end of the 2010 college season, although that has been tempered somewhat as the football world focuses its attention on a much desired conclusion to the lockout.   

The similarities don’t end there. Let’s look at the tape:   



Ponder was a thicker set quarterback, although on tape they look more comparable than the listed 30lbs difference suggests. You be the judge – Ponder, Cousins. Height is similar, with Cousins listed at 6-3 compared to Ponder’s 6-2. Neither has a great deep ball (Cousins still has a distinct edge, Ponder’s could be a gimme at the next level) yet both operate much better in short-to-intermediate levels.   

Cousins is a much better reader of a defense, he recognises threat and will progress to a secondary option. Look at the Michigan game at 1:04 where he’s in play action, looks off two outside reads before going back into the middle for his tight end. That’s not an easy pass to complete with three defenders lurking, but he fits it in there nonetheless. Too often last year Ponder telegraphed plays and risked turnovers. Too many times a badly judged wide receiver screen would be thrown teasing the defense with a pick-six (see: Boston College 2010). Cousins isn’t faultless as you see with his two picks against Wisconsin above, but I don’t get the jaw dropping frustration that would often accompany a Florida State turnover last year.   

Ponder was always capable of a big game (see two performances against UNC between 2009-10), yet equally capable of a meltdown (Oklahoma and the aforementioned Boston College). Likewise Cousins turned it on against Michigan and Northwestern, but struggled badly in defeats to Iowa and Alabama. Still, he won’t be the last quarterback to perform poorly against those two particular teams and neither was on home soil. Ponder had an edge athletically, but this isn’t likely to be utilised fully at the next level because Minnesota surely cannot risk further injuries to his throwing arm. Cousins isn’t immobile and certainly has the ability to avoid pressure and roll out of the pocket, but he’s neither someone who will open up a playbook because of his running ability.   

Many people talked up Ponder’s intelligence as a major positive, yet I personally felt field-IQ never truly matched his obvious academic smarts. Cousins should also score highly in this category with no highlighted character problems and a positive reputation at MSU.  

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not talking about a carbon copy. There are some comparisons as stated, but the question I continue to ask is whether the greatest match between the two will come via their draft position. I struggle to accurately grade Cousins – because of Ponder. I never believed, despite some very favorable coverage, that Ponder would go as early as he did. I was wrong, although it remains to be seen if the Minnesota Vikings’ judgement will be equally flawed. 

So what about Cousins? Can he go equally early to a team not necessarily looking for the athletic freak or the guy who dominates? He’ll play on a strong Spartans teams that should do well this year – Ohio State are in turmoil, Wisconsin and Iowa have both lost several key components including experienced quarterbacks, Michigan are in rebuild and the wheels fell off for new-boys Nebraska in the new year. 

In 12 months time we could be talking about an adequate mid-round talent who kept things ticking over without truly bursting out. On the other hand, there’s nothing a big dose of hype can’t solve. Just ask Mr. Ponder.   

If Cousins carries Michigan State into an unbeaten season while increasing his numbers, he could find himself near the top of the second tier of quarterbacks that follow Andrew Luck (Stanford) and Matt Barkley (USC). That’s a group that will include Landry Jones (Oklahoma), but could also potentially contain Ryan Lindley (San Diego State), Austin Davis (Southern Miss), Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech) and John Brantley (Florida). Although I don’t grade Nick Foles (Arizona) higher than a mid-late round grade, after seeing Andy Dalton goes as early as he did this year there’s every chance Foles could join the party.   

The level of intrigue I mentioned at the start of the piece comes with the unknown element. If both Luck and Barkley declare, you’ll have instant star quality and possibly the first two picks in next year’s draft. Last year Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton appeared on the scene despite little or no fanfare during pre-season. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility we see 3-4 quarterbacks in round one again and it’s equally possible that most of the depth could be consigned to the middle rounds. Davis, Brantley and Cousins certainly don’t possess the kind of athletic qualities that made Gabbert, Locker and Newton hot commodities. Jones has the arm, but not the mobility.   

Could Cousins be next year’s answer to Christian Ponder? In a world where we constantly search for comparisons, it’s a possibility.

Raheem Brock explains arrest, entertains

Raheem Brock, entertainer

With owners and several GM’s (including Seattle’s John Schneider) meeting in Chicago today, hope continues to grow that a deal can be struck to end the NFL’s lockout. It’s been a long two months since the draft, with hardly any legitimate ‘news’ to report or discuss apart from litigation battles and endless speculation on whether a new CBA is close/miles away/pending/impossible.

Raheem Brock, who is due to be a free agent whenever the lockout does end, has tried to make life a little bit more interesting over the last week or so.

First came news of an incident involving an unpaid $27 bar bill which led to Brock being arrested by police. TMZ, who broke the news, have today published the defensive end’s side of the story:

The drama began after Raheem, his cousin and a female friend went to the Copacabana restaurant to order some food Thursday night. Brock says after the group placed the order, Brock’s female friend decided she would rather get a cheesesteak from a place across the street … so she and Brock walked over while Raheem’s cousin waited at Copacabana. But when they returned to the Cope … the waitress wouldn’t let them bring the cheesesteak inside.

Brock says his group canceled their food order and left … thinking everything was cool — until the cops arrived to the scene and told Brock he’d been accused of running out on the bill. Brock says he offered to pay $40 for the $27 bill … but the manager refused to accept payment. Raheem was then arrested on suspicion of theft of services and resisting arrest.

Brock tells TMZ, “While I was in ‘cuffs, I explained to the manager that I own restaurants … and if there’s a policy about paying for food that hasn’t come out … then it should have been explained to us before we left.”

I’m glad we cleared that up. Meanwhile the 33-year-old, who had a career-year for the Seahawks in 2010 with nine regular season sacks, has also tried his hand at reporting. He had this juicy piece of gossip for followers of his Twitter account:

Plaxico and Randy moss might end up in Seattle….! U heard it here first!

And to cap a busy week he also had time to dispute a report made by ESPN’s Joh Clayton. Having previously stated he expected to return to Seattle next season, he was more than a little miffed to hear Clayton’s contrasting opinion based on the player’s age.

Tweet #1

John Clayton said what about me???

Idk…maybe he knows somethin I don’t

Of course the outspoken sack-artist made headlines towards the end of last season, tweeting that Jay Cutler was a ‘sissy’ during Chicago’s disappointing exit from the playoffs against rivals Green Bay.

If nothing else Raheem Brock is making life interesting during a particularly quiet period for NFL news. On a serious note, the Seahawks shouldn’t sniff at a player who was effective at times. Defensive line is also an area of the team which is looking increasingly thin. Clayton’s report suggests ‘age’ will the mitigating factor if Brock isn’t re-signed. In that case, should we presume Lawyer Milloy and Matt Hasselbeck won’t return either and that Robert Gallery won’t be a target during free agency? I’d wager Brock will return, where he’ll go back to doing his talking on the field and not on Twitter.

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