2012 NFL Draft

So where will RGIII land?

While it comes as no surprise, Robert Griffin III has reportedly informed Baylor that he will be entering the draft.

And so begins silly season, which will feature a never ending supply of RGII rumors involving the Rams, Browns, Redskins, Seahawks, Dolphins and possibly a few others.

So let’s break down a few of the rumors before they even start…

Griffin is a top-six lock, but where will he land?

Scenario 1: Rams trade No. 2 pick to [insert QB desperate team here] - The Rams have to be ecstatic today with the news that Griffin is turning pro, which means the value of their No. 2 pick skyrockets. Ideally, the Rams create a bidding war between the Browns and another team (most likely the Redskins) and are able to pry both of Cleveland’s 1st-round picks from GM Tom Heckert. But while the Browns have the edge over anyone interested in trading up, never underestimate Daniel Snyder’s complete disregard for the value of draft picks. If Snyder gets desperate, he just may put together a package the Rams can’t refuse.

Scenario 2: Browns select Griffin at No. 4 – While this is the least dramatic scenario, it’s probably the most likely one. The Redskins have the ability to trade up, but the Rams also have incentive to stay put. The Vikings have similar needs to the Rams and if the St. Louis gets its heart set on Justin Blackmon or Matt Kalil, there’s no guarantee the Vikings won’t swoop in a take him at No. 3. That would allow Griffin to fall to No. 4, where the Browns would probably take him.

Scenario 3: Bucs trade No. 5 pick t0 [insert QB desperate team here] - If the Browns don’t want Griffin, the Redskins would lose their incentive to trade up to No. 2. And, while the Seahawks and Dolphins would be crazy to not have an interest in Griffin, the asking price will likely be too steep for them to trade up that high. However, if Cleveland passes on him at No. 4, the Bucs could initiate a bidding war between those teams interested in jumping ahead of Washington.

Scenario 4: The Redskins select Griffin at No. 6 – If all else fails, the Redskins will end Griffin’s mini fall at No. 6.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns, Rams, Redskins Comments Off

Ryan Tannehill reportedly out for Senior Bowl

According to a report from DraftInsider.net’s Tony Pauline, Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill has suffered a “significant” foot injury and will miss the Senior Bowl.

This is devestating news for Tannehill, who has an outside shot at sneaking into the 1st round of the draft. With Matt Barkley returning to school, we’re guaranteed to have more teams in the market for a 1st-round quarterback than we’ll have obvious 1st-round talent at the position. Tannehill could potentially be an option for the Browns or Seahawks late on the first day of the draft.

The only good news for Tannehill is that the only two quarterbacks ahead of him on every draft board (Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin) are underclassmen, and therefor will not be on display at the Senior Bowl either. However, others such as Kirk Cousins, Ryan Lindley and Nick Foles could benefit from Tannehill’s absence in Mobile.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns, Seahawks Comments Off

Evaluating the top receivers in 2012 draft class

I’ve spent some time over the past couple days going over the top receivers in this year’s draft class. There are five guys who clearly stand out above the rest and, barring any dramatic events in the upcoming months (arrests, injuries, etc), I’ve setting on my rankings for each.

1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Blackmon is the obvious top choice. He’s a physical freak who has the size and speed to dominate from Day One. The only thing that can keep Blackmon from developing into a Pro Bowl receiver is himself. He was arrested on a DUI charge in 2010, and his effort on the field hasn’t always been 100%. But he appeared to step up his game in 2011, staying out of trouble and staying more focused on the field.

Wright is a legitimate top-20 talent

2. Kendall Wright, Baylor
Michael Floyd and Alshon Jeffery have been No. 2 on most boards throughout the season, but after watching Wright dominate in some of his toughest matchups this season (vs Oklahoma, Texas), I’m bumping him up into this slot. Five years ago it would have been tough to rank Wright this high. But the NFL passing game has been changing in recent years and we’re seeing more undersized receivers emerge as a legitimate No. 1 targets (Mike Wallace, DeSean Jackson, etc). Wright has all the tools necessary to join that group and be a game-changer at the next level.  Read more

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Alabama OT D.J. Fluker returning to school

Alabama Crimson Tide right tackle D.J. Fluker has stated he will return to Tuscaloosa for his junior year. This isn’t a huge shock since Fluker is a only a redshirt sophomore, however, it does come as a mild surprise. This is a fairly weak class for offensive tackles, and Fluker would have been in the mix in the late 1st round.

Given his size and lack of athleticism, it’s unlikely that Fluker will ever elevate his stock significantly above a late 1st-round grade. He isn’t going to play left tackle in the pros, so there is little he can do to boost his stock.

Fluker has stated that he wants to get his degree, which he is on track to receive next year, so it is probably safe to assume he will be an early entry to the 2013 draft.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Miami RB Lamar Miller enters draft

Miami Hurricanes running back Lamar Miller has decided to enter the NFL Draft, forgoing his junior and senior years. The redshirt-sophomore will be in the mix to be the second running back off the board following Trent Richardson (assuming he also turns pro) and could sneak into the late 1st-round.

Miller is an interesting prospect, who has been compared to Eagles running back LeSean McCoy by some. He’s an impressive athlete, who has shown an ability to contribute in the passing game, making him one of the more well-rounded running back prospects in this draft class.

Given the lack of quality quarterback play at Miami, and all-around mediocre play by those around him, it’s reasonable to assume Miller’s best days are still ahead of him. He would make a lot of sense for team like the Cincinnati Bengals in the late 1st round, or possible a team like the Cleveland Browns in the early 2nd.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Manti Te’o returning to Notre Dame

Despite being a certain 1st-round pick, Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te’o has elected to return to school for his senior year.

It’s a curious decision for Te’o, who has very little left to prove at the college level. He is one of the elite athletes at his position and has been tremendously productive throughout his three years in South Bend.

I had Te’o as my second-ranked linebacker (9th overall) and fully expected him to turn pro.

One possible motivation behind Te’o's decision was a fear of falling due to what is expected to be an unusually deep class at inside linebacker. Luke Kuechly, Vontaze Burfict, and Dont’a Hightower are also viewed as potential 1st-round prospects.

Te’o will now likely be considered one of the top two or three senior prospects in the 2013 draft class.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Virginia Tech CB Jayron Hosley likely turning pro

According to the Washington Post, Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Jayron Hosley is likely headed to the NFL.

Hosley is waiting to hear back from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee, but stated “right now my mind is I’m moving on after this season.”

Depending on who else turns pro at his position, Hosley may be considered 1st-round pick by some teams, but could come off the board anywhere between the late 1st and early 3rd round.

Hosley has been a playmaker throughout his career, recording 12 interceptions over the past two seasons. However, he is listed at just 5’10″, 179 pounds, which is significantly smaller than your average starting cornerback. Some teams may view him strictly as a nickel back, which would drop him on their board.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

NFL adds eight regional combines

The NFL has announced the addition of eight “regional combines” which will take place between Jan. 28 and March 17.

Anyone with college playing experience is eligible to register for these mini combines, as well as former professionals who have been out of the game for a period of time. Those who participate in regional combines will then be eligible for an invitation to a second national scouting combine in Detroit at the end of March.

So how does this effect that draft process?

My guess is that teams will pay very little attention to the regional combines. Aside from those who work for the team hosting the combine, I’d be mildly surprised to see any significant front office execs in attendance.

The combine in Detroit, however, will be a legitimate opportunity to scout some of the prospects who slipped through the cracks and were discovered in the regional combines. Additionally, I assume players who were not healthy enough to participate in the Indianapolis combine will be able to attend the event in Detroit.

Here are the sites of the regional combines, including the event in Detroit:

Jan. 28 — Orange Coast College-Lebard Stadium

Feb. 4 – Houston Texans Training Center

Feb. 11 – Baltimore Ravens Training Facility

Feb. 18 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Facility

Feb. 25 – New York Jets Training Facility

March 3 – Chicago Bears Training Facility

March 10-11 – Atlanta Falcons Training Facility

March 17 – Cleveland Browns Training Facility

March 30-31 – Ford Field – Detroit (National Combine)

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

USF RB Darrell Scott considers early entry

According to the St. Petersburg Times, USF running back Darrell Scott is considering jumping to the pros and, reading between the lines on head coach Skip Holtz’s comments, it sounds as though his departure is likely.

Scott was the 6th-overall prospect on Rivals in 2008, and one of the biggest recruits Colorado had landed in quite some time. But after receiving limited playing time with the Buffaloes, Scott announced his intentions to transfer in the midst of the 2009 season.

In his only season the Bulls, Scott was a mixed bag. He averaged over five yards per carry, and was effective as a receiver out of the backfield, but failed to show the elite talent he flashed in high school.

Scott has all the physical tools to succeed at the next level, which makes him an interesting prospect. However, there are a lot of unanswered questions about his lack of success at Colorado and his eventual transfer. No serious character red flags have ever been raised publicly, but teams will definitely do some digging before adding him to their draft board.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Orson Charles reportedly entering draft

Georgia Bulldogs tight end Orson Charles is reportedly entering the draft, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net. Charles is currently my 4th-ranked tight end, and looks like late 2nd or 3rd-round prospect.

If does go pro, it’s a curious decision. Georgia is playing well, led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray, and will likely be a top-10 team entering 2012 and a darkhorse National Championship contender. With a strong senior year Charles would have the potential to climb into the 1st round.

If he enters this year’s class, I think Charles blends in with a number solid but unspectacular tight ends. You could make a convincing argument for five or six different players being the top draft-eligible player at the position.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off