2011 NFL Draft

Ravens show interest in Casey Matthews

The Ravens have reportedly met with Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews at the scouting combine, following up on a meeting they had at the Senior Bowl.

Inside linebacker isn’t necessarily a top priority for the Ravens but it is a need and Matthews could fill that hole in the 2nd or 3rd round. Jameel McClain and Tavares Gooden are both free agents. If they leave the need increases.

Another reason why drafting Matthews makes sense, would be to give him an opportunity to learn behind Ray Lewis. Having Lewis’ eventual replacement learn behind the future Hall of Famer could ease the transition which is inevitably coming in the next year or two.

The Ravens are also scheduled to meet with Brandon Harris, who could be a 1st-round target.

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

Rams interested in trading down

Rams GM Billy Daveney has stated that he and his staff are already discussing the possibility of trading down on draft day.

It makes perfect sense and is probably their dream scenario unless Julio Jones is on the board.

The Rams only glaring need is a wide receiver, but only Jones and A.J. Green are likely to get top 15 grades from many teams. However, there could be two or three receivers – Torrey Smith, Jon Baldwin and Titus Young – worthy of a late 1st-round selection.

In addition to receiver, two other primary areas of need in St. Louis – outside linebacker and cornerback – are lacking mid-1st-round talent, making the move even more likely. In a situation where Jones, Akeem Ayers, Prince Amukamara and Jimmy Smith are all off the board, the Rams may be forced to trade down or settle for someone at a position that doesn’t fill a hole.

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

Browns are going to draft a quarterback

Mike Holmgren has faith in Colt McCoy. He’s made that very clear.

However, he also plans to draft a quarterback.

That admission shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that both Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace are free agents. However, Holmgren also stated that he plans to meet with all of the top quarterbacks, which he indicated probably includes Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton.

It will be interesting to see what Holmgren means when he says he will meet with all of the top quarterbacks. He said he will “bring them in, do our work and see what happens.”

Does that mean he plans to use some of his private workouts on guys like Gabbert and Newton?

If so, it’s a questionable decision and has to make you wonder how committed he is to McCoy. If they’re set to move forward with McCoy, it makes no sense to draft a quarterback in the 1st or 2nd round. So why waste a draft visit on quarterbacks that will be long gone by the time its worth considering a signal caller.

One would think it would be wise to focus on more realistic 1st-round options, and perhaps some mid-round quarterbacks such as Pat DevlinAndy Dalton and Ricky Stanzi.

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

Patriots interested in Gabe Carimi

Gabe Carimi isn’t allowed to say if the Patriots talked to him. Which of course, confirms that the Patriots did talk to him.

Here’s the direct quote from Carimi, passed along by Mike Rodak of ESPNBoston – “I can’t comment on the Patriots,” he said with a smile. “Ask the Patriots.”

I currently have Carimi going to the Giants in the 1st round, with Tyron Smith going to New England two picks earlier.

I strongly suspect that the Patriots are targeting a tackle in the 1st round, and both Carimi and Smith would be great fits.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Patriots 3 Comments

Pro Days/Workouts

Here’s a list of all the Pro Days and personal workouts that we’re aware of. If we’re missing someone, send me an email ryan[at]draftace.com or on twitter @draftace Read more

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

Cowboys targeting Cam Newton?

Jerry Jones has always been conservative when it comes to quarterbacks.

He hasn’t taken a quarterback in the 1st round since Aikman. He hasn’t overpaid for free agents, typically settling for relatively cheap veterans such as Drew Bledsoe and Vinny Testaverde. And he allowed Bill Parcells’ staff to develop Tony Romo.

But all that might change.

Jones admitted that the Cowboys will speak to Cam Newton at the combine.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise. As one of the most talented players in the draft, and one with lots of question marks, he’s going to speak to number of teams – many of which may never speak to him again.

Newton, however, seems to think the Cowboys may have a more serious interest. When asked about the Cowboys interest in him he responded: “Jerry Jones, man he knows how to get hold of me, let’s just say that.”

I’m hesitant to read into anything anyone says this time of year, because most of its nothing but B.S., but this comment has me intrigued. Has Jerry Jones really spoken with Newton on multiple occasions as that quote seems to suggest? If so, it would seem to indicate a very serious interest on the part of the Cowboys.

Taking a quarterback in the 1st-round would be a curious move, considering the Cowboys are not far from being a playoff caliber football team again. However, they are the Cowboys and Jerry Jones marches to the beat of his own drum. I’ve been saying all offseason that Newton will only be a 1st-round pick if an owner falls in love with him and Jones is certainly on the short list of guys who may make that decision for his franchise.

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

NFL Combine prop bets?

For the past few years Bodog.com has sent me a list of NFL Draft prop bets. I always just hit the delete button because I have better things to do in late April than waste my time trying to figure out if the Big East or ACC will have more top-50 picks or whatever other nonsense they come up with.

But this year they’re stepping up their game, and I’m intrigued.

I recently received an email with NFL Combine prop bets. This is possibly the most ridiculous thing you could bet on, because we’re talking about a difference of hundredths of a second, or quarters of an inch on some of these, but hey, it’s not like anything else interesting is going on in the sports world in late February.

So I’ll take the time to weigh in on a few…

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Christian Ponder (QB FSU)                                 -120
Jake Locker (QB Washington)                           -120

This is a gimme. Locker should be faster than Ponder by a full 10th of a second (and that fact that .10 is considered a large margin is exactly why you’re a fool if you bet on any of these).

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Mark Ingram (RB Alabama)                                 -120
Ryan Williams (RB Virginia Tech)                     -120

Supposedly Ingram is going to run in the 4.4s, but I’ll believe it when I see it. My money’s on Williams.

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Julio Jones (WR Alabama)                                  Even
Jon Baldwin (WR Pittsburgh)                               -130

Baldwin’s camp has been hyping him up and he reportedly has been clocked in the 4.3 range. Not sure I believe that, but it won’t be difficult for him to post a better time than Jones. I’ll be mildly surprised if Jones cracks 4.5.

Who will the most bench press repetitions?
Nate Solder (OT Colorado)                                  -130
Gabe Carimi (OT Wisconsin)                               Even

Carimi is the easy choice here. Not only does he just appear more muscular than Solder, but Solder is 6’8″ – the taller you are, the harder it is to get large number of reps on the bench.

Who will have the highest vertical leap?
A.J. Green (WR Georgia)                                    -130
Patrick Peterson (CB LSU)                                 Even

This could be a close call, but my money’s on Peterson. It’s very rare for someone with Green’s height to compete with a guy like Peterson in the vertical.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment

All-Overrated Team (pre-combine edition)

QB – Jake Locker, Washington
Locker is all hype and no substance. He lacks the accuracy to play quarterback in the NFL and he’s going to fall out of the 1st round.
RB – Mark Ingram, Alabama
Ingram wasn’t even the best running back on his own team this past season. Comparisons to Emmitt Smith are being tossed around, but he reminds me more of Ron Dayne.
WR – Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh
A gifted athlete with elite size and strength, but just doesn’t play up to his potential.
TE – D.J. Williams, Arkansas
Athletic, but doesn’t really have a position. Too short to be a star at tight end.
OT – Nate Solder, Colorado
Suffering (or benefiting, I guess) from the media’s Bruce Campbell syndrome. He’s athletic, but far from a finished product.
OG – Mike Pouncey, Florida
He’s not his brother. He’s good, but his stock in the media has risen because of his last name.
DE – Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
After a stellar 2009 he took a step backwards as a senior. There are some concerns about his effort on the field.
DT – Marcell Dareus, Alabama
He’s never performed at an elite level as a full-time starter – not exactly the résumé of a top-10 pick.
OLB – Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
Is he strong enough to play defensive end? Is he athletic enough to play linebacker?
ILB – Greg Jones, Michigan State
A gifted athlete who consistently falls short of expectations. He benefits from a very weak class for the position.
CB – Brandon Harris, Miami FL
Fast enough to stick with anyone, but he’s undersized and consistently gets beat by more physical receivers.
S – Robert Sands, West Virginia
Its easy to be intrigued by his size, but very few have ever played the position effectively at his size.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment

NFL Draft Q & A

Earlier this afternoon I took some time to answer a few of your questions on twitter. A lot of them really deserve more than just four or five word response, so I thought I’d take an few minutes to elaborate…

[quotetweet tweetid=38712523591131136]

It’s definitely possible that one or both could wind up in the top five, but I think they’ll ultimately fall a little further.

The Panthers aren’t taking a quarterback, despite some mock drafts linking them with Cam Newton. The Cardinals may consider it, but I think they’ll pass as well. Ken Whisenhunt really wants to bring in a veteran, and I think they will to appease Larry Fitzgerald as well.

That leaves the Bills. And after addressing their strongest position in the 1st round last year by taking C.J. Spiller, it’s anyone’s guess what they may do this time around. Newton and Gabbert are possibilities, but I think they’ll lean toward the best available player – A.J. Green or Patrick Peterson.

Read more

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Q & A Comments Off

Bob Sanders’ impact on the draft

Bob Sanders is a former defensive players of the year who turns 30 on February 24. Normally, he would be one of the most coveted free agents on the market.

Sanders can still help a team, even if its only a part-time role

Unfortunately, Sanders has played more than six games just twice in his seven-year career, and the only real mark he’s made in the NFL is as one of the league’s all-time most injury prone players.

That said, a number of of teams will give him a call this offseason and his price tag is made more valuable by the lack of talent in this year’s draft. Anyone looking for an upgrade at safety is better off calling Sanders – even with the injury risks – than turning to the draft for help.

Rahim Moore is my highest-rated safety, with an early 2nd-round grade. After him there are four players with 3rd-round grades, but none of them are guaranteed answers for a team looking for a starting safety.

The best option for a team looking to upgrade the position would be to sign Sanders and then draft someone as insurance. A team like the Seahawks, Jaguars or Jets, which is hoping to compete in 2011, could role the dice on Sanders and then try to land someone such as Tyler Sash or Deunta Williams in the 3rd or 4th round. That way, even if Sanders gets hurt (which he will), he will at least be around to assist in the development of his replacement.

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