2011 NFL Draft

Top Undrafted Free Agents

Every year great players go undrafted. Just to throw out an example – last year one of my top undrafted players was Blair White, a wide receiver out of Michigan State. I gave White a 3rd-round grade, but he slipped past everyone in the draft. The Colts eventually signed him and he played a key role for them down the stretch, catching 36 passes for 355 yards.

So who is this year’s Blair White? Here are the 72 players whom I gave draftable grades that did not hear their names called this weekend: Read more

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

Steal of the Draft: Marcus Cannon

With the 138th pick in the draft the New England Patriots selected Marcus Cannon, a guard/tackle ‘tweener out of TCU.

A week ago the thought of Cannon slipping to the 5th rounded sounded absurd. He was the 31st-rated player on my board and a consensus 2nd round pick.

Cannon won't play in 2011, but could be a steal once he returns to full strength

However, in the week leading up to the draft it was revealed that Cannon had been diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer in the lymph nodes. Cannon will undergo chemotherapy in the upcoming weeks and likely will not play in the NFL in 2011.

While the outlook for Cannon’s immediate future in the league is bleak, there is no reason he cannot beat cancer and return in 2012.

The struggle for Cannon will be gaining back the weight he’ll lose and turning himself back into the behemoth lineman he is today. It won’t be easy, but it’s possible. And in the 5th round he is well worth the risk.

I wish Cannon nothing but the best, and hope to see him back on the football field soon.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Patriots Comments Off

Even Nick Saban knows James Carpenter was a 1st round reach

College coaches will lie all offseason about how great their players are going to be in the NFL. They hype up their players because it’s good for recruiting, and their future NFL draft prospects want to know they’ll be supported.

But they also know the true value of a player’s draft stock and Nick Saban, forgetting the cameras were on him, shared those thoughts about James Carpenter when the Seattle Seahawks selected him in the 1st round:

I gave the Seahawks an F for their selection of Carpenter, and it sounds like Saban concurs.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Seahawks Comments Off

Thoughts on Ryan Mallett to the New England Patriots

Ryan Mallet (scouting report) was a boom-or-bust prospect no matter where he landed, but that may be even more true now that he’s a New England Patriot.

Mallett will be a doing a lot of standing around in New England over the next 3 years

Barring an injury to Tom Brady, we won’t see Mallett on the field for an extended period of time for at least three years. Meaning he’ll be given every opportunity to sit, watch and learn.

And that goes for more than just the on-field side of things. New England’s cast of veterans, Brady included, will teach Mallett how to be a professional – assuming he’s willing to learn.

As an outside it’s easy to say that Mallett will be better off watching and learning (because it’s true), but it’s much harder to be in that position. Imagine being Mallett today. You’re arguably the most NFL ready quarterback in this year’s draft class and have obvious 1st-round talent. The draft is filled with teams in desperate need of a quarterback. And you end up falling until the 3rd round to a team with no use for you until three or four years down the road. That’s gotta hurt.

How Mallett responds will determine his future success. If he takes advantage of the opportunity Belichick has given him, I have absolutely no doubt that he will be successful. But if he doesn’t and becomes a distraction in the locker room, Belichick will have no problem cutting him lose before he ever sees the field.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Patriots 1 Comment

Top 25 Prospects for Day 3

Here are the top 25 players on my board entering the third day of the draft. Conveniently they’re the final 25 players with 2nd or 3rd round grades – so plenty of quality players available entering the 4th round.

The top player on the board, Marcus Cannon, will probably be there for awhile. He was recently diagnosed with lymphoma and will undergo chemo in the coming months. Without knowing how that will impact his future in the sport, it will be tough to justify taking him until very late in the process. But when healthy, he has the potential to be an elite interior offensive lineman.

Round Grade Player Pos School
Early 2nd Marcus Cannon OG TCU
Mid 2nd Christian Ballard DE Iowa
Mid 2nd Davon House CB New Mexico State
Late 2nd Sam Acho DE Texas
Early 3rd Jason Pinkston OT Pittsburgh
Early 3rd Chimdi Chekwa CB Ohio State
Early 3rd Kendall Hunter RB Oklahoma State
Early 3rd Colin McCarthy LB Miami FL
Early 3rd Quinton Carter S Oklahoma
Mid 3rd Casey Matthews LB Oregon
Mid 3rd Derrick Locke RB Kentucky
Mid 3rd DeAndre McDaniel S Clemson
Mid 3rd Jerrell Powe NT Ole Miss
Mid 3rd Tyler Sash S Iowa
Late 3rd Mark Herzlich LB Boston College
Late 3rd Quan Sturdivant LB North Carolina
Late 3rd Delone Carter RB Syracuse
Late 3rd Tandon Doss WR Indiana
Late 3rd Dane Sanzenbacher WR Ohio State
Late 3rd Ricky Elmore DE Arizona
Late 3rd Mario Harvey LB Marshall
Late 3rd Brandon Burton CB Utah
Late 3rd Deunta Williams S North Carolina
Late 3rd Jordan Todman RB UConn
Late 3rd Kristofer O’Dowd C USC
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

Winners from Rounds 1-3: New York Giants

Jerry Reese continues to use patience to land great players for the New York Giants. They didn’t fill any glaring holes, but they got three great players who had fallen for various reasons.

Amukamara should step right into a starting role for the Giants

In the 1st round the Giants ended Prince Amukamara‘s free fall at No. 19. The certainly didn’t need a cornerback, but they lacked a true shutdown corner and Amukamara has a chance to be that guy. I had him at No. 6 on my board and I believe he will be a star in New York.

Marvin Austin fell due to concerns about his character, but entering the 2010 season he was viewed as a potential top 10 pick. He’s going to head to New York with a huge chip on his shoulder. That, coupled with the discipline Tom Coughlin will instill in him is going to turn Austin into a great player.

And in round three it was more of the same as they grabbed Jerrel Jernigan, whom many expected to come off the board in the 2nd round. I’m not sure how Jernigan will fit in with the Giants, but you can’t argue with the value and you can never have too much depth at receiver.

Overall, it has just been a very smart, methodical draft by Reese. He trusts his draft board and sticks with it regardless of his needs. It’s a great approach and it’s why he is quickly gaining respect as one of the best GMs at managing the draft.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Giants Comments Off

Winners from Rounds 1-3: Cleveland Browns

If the season started on Thursday morning the Cleveland Browns wouldn’t have had a defensive line. Two days later the have added two quality starters and may have done more to upgrade their defense than any team in the league.

Phil Taylor will be the anchor of the Browns defensive line

Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard may not be sexy picks, but they’re exactly what the Browns needed. Both will start from day one, and they compliment each other well. Taylor is a space eater, much like Shaun Rogers. Sheard is a pure pass rusher, who will team with Marcus Benard to give the Browns a nice pass rush duo.

And of course the best move of the draft was the pick they didn’t use.

The Browns got a king’s ransom from the Falcons in exchange for the 6th overall selection. One of those picks was used on North Carolina receiver Greg Little, who will be given an opportunity to start and could eventually develop into a true No. 1 receiver. And most importantly, they added a 2012 1st rounder.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Browns Comments Off

Cincinnati Bengals trading up for Andy Dalton?

The Cincinnati Bengals have been linked to Andy Dalton for the past week or so, stemming from a report that new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden covets him.

With Dalton still on the the board, and plenty of time to discuss a trade today, it would make sense for the Bengals to move up to ensure he’s available.

According to Chris Mortensen the Bengals discussed a trade with the Packers last night, with Dalton likely being their target. Now the Patriots – clearly a willing trade partner – sitting on the clock at No. 33, we could see the 2nd round kicked off with a trade.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Bengals Comments Off

Live Draft Chat

Welcome to DraftAce’s live draft chat. We’ll kick things off at 7:45 pm ET on Thursday night.

Ryan McCrystal will be moderating and answering your questions. Mike Band will be tweeting live from NYC. And we’ll post polls after each pick to let you grade the selection.

Looking forward to a great time. Be sure to join us!

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

Cleveland Browns prepared to trade down?

Cleveland Browns GM Tom Heckert has stated that he has two players targeted with the No. 6 pick, and if both are gone he will attempt to trade down.

While most mock drafts (including my own) have the Browns taking Julio Jones, I believe that is simply Heckert’s Plan C and will only happen if both of his top choices are gone and no one is willing to trade up.

I strong believe that the top two players on the Browns draft board are Marcell Dareus and Patrick Peterson. While it remains possible that one could fall, it appears unlikely if Blaine Gabbert is not selected in the top five.

With that in mind, don’t be shocked if the first trade of the night comes at No. 6. Once Dareus and Peterson are off the board the Browns may begin aggressively shopping the pick, potentially opening to door for a team like the Patriots to move into the top 10.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Browns Comments Off