Golden Tate

Early NFL Rookie of the Year Predictions

It may only be May, but it’s never too early to look ahead. By glancing through some projected depth charts we’ve come up with an early rookie of the year prediction. We’ll track each player’s progress and update our rankings on a weekly basis throughout the season.

OFFENSE
1. Ryan Mathews, Chargers

Offensive Rookie of the Year typically goes to a running back, and often to a player on a good team. Mathews may not be the most talented of this year’s rookies, but he is in the best position to succeed. He’s the feature back in San Diego and should cruise to 1,200 yards and 10+ touchdowns.

2. Ben Tate, Texans
Tate will have to beat out Steve Slaton for the starting job, but he certainly will enter training camp with an excellent shot to be the Texans’ feature back. Unlike Slaton, Tate has the size to carry the load and put up impressive numbers throughout the year.

3. Golden Tate, Seahawks
Tate will likely be used as an all-purpose receiver in Seattle much like Percy Harvin was used in Minnesota last year. He isn’t their No. 1 target, but they’ll find ways to get him the ball.

4. C.J. Spiller, Bills
While Spiller was the top-rated running back on most draft boards, he didn’t land in a great situation in terms of finding immediate playing time. Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson still deserve to get their fair share of the carries (assuming they’re still around) which will limit Spillers ability to put up ROY-type numbers.

5. Jimmy Clausen, Panthers
If Clausen beats out Matt Moore he’ll be in an excellent position to succeed as a rookie. Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams will carry the load on offense, limiting the amount of work Clausen needs to do.

DEFENSE
1. Eric Berry, Chiefs
The Chiefs defense won’t be very good, meaning plenty of chances for Berry to show off his skills. He’ll clearly stand out as the best player in their secondary from day one, and should be the DROY favorite.

2. Derrick Morgan, Titans
Morgan will start from day one on an already respectable defense in Tennessee. He’s surrounded with enough talent that should allow him to rack up 7+ sacks this year.

3. Earl Thomas, Seahawks
Thomas will start immediately for the Seahawks and should be an instant-impact player. He’s a ball hawk, which means he should have no problem putting up the gaudy interception numbers that will catch the eye of ROY voters.

4. Brandon Graham, Eagles
Graham likely won’t start in Philadelphia, but he’ll be used as a situational pass rusher. He’s one dimensional, but he’ll put up the numbers necessary to get noticed as a rookie.

5. Sean Weatherspoon, Falcons
Weatherspoon is one of the few defensive rookies who has been handed a starting job. He likely won’t put up the numbers to in the award, but he’ll be in the discussion simply based on having the most opportunities to show off his talents.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bills, Chargers, Chiefs, Eagles, Falcons, Panthers, Seahawks, Texans, Titans 2 Comments

2010 Draft Grades: Seahawks

The Seahawks made off like bandits in the 1st round and completely revamped their roster throughout the draft. They’re definitely in the discussion as one of the biggest winners in this year’s draft.

Russell Okung just plopped into their lap in the 1st round and they wasted no time making the selection. He was the best available player and just happened to fill their biggest need. They’ll be thanking the Redskins for the next decade for passing him up in favor of Trent Williams.

The next most important position for the Seahawks to address was free safety, and sure enough, Earl Thomas fell to them at No. 14. It was simply a brilliant 1st round by Pete Carroll and company. They got two players to build around and who can make an immediate impact.

I was very surprised that Golden Tate fell to the late 2nd round. The Seahawks still need a true No. 1 receiver, but at that point in the draft Tate was easily the best available. He’s a perfect slot receiver who can make an impact from day one. If the Seahawks use him correctly, he could put up impressive numbers as a rookie.

Walter Thurmond is an electric return man and should fill that role immediately in Seattle. He’s also very underrated as a cornerback. He’s coming off an injury, however, which caused him to fall to the 4th round. He could end up being yet another steal for the Seahawks if he can stay healthy. He could win the job as their nickel corner.

The Seahawks needed a defensive end, but I’m not sure E.J. Wilson is the player I would have targeted in the 4th round. What they really need is a pass rusher, and with Ricky Sapp on the board I would have rather gone that direction. Wilson is more of a big body who excels against the run. He was a slight reach where they took him.

Kam Chancellor was a nice 5th-round pick. He’ll backup Jordan Babineaux at strong safety and potentially earn the starting job there in a year or two. He can also contribute on special teams immediately.

Anthony McCoy fell because of concerns about a failed drug test, but his college coach should know how to straighten him out. He’s nothing special as a receiver, but is a fairly complete tight end in terms of being able to catch the ball and block. He’s a great fit as a second option behind John Carlson.

The Seahawks finally grabbed a pass rusher in the 7th round with Dexter Davis. He’ll have chance to make the squad as a situational pass rusher, but I wouldn’t expect much from him. He’s slightly undersized I think he’ll struggle to make the roster.

Jameson Konz was a great pickup in the late 7th round. He doesn’t have a true position, but he’s an impressive natural athlete who’s workout numbers were off the charts. He could play fullback, tight end or receiver. Even though he doesn’t have a defined position, he’s well worth the risk in the 7th round. He may turn out to be just a workout warrior, but his upside in the 7th round was far too great to pass up.

This was simply a brilliant draft for the Seahawks. Okung and Thomas will start from day one. Tate, Thurmond, Chancellor and McCoy should also have fairly significant roles as rookies. This draft has transformed the Seahawks and they now have every reason to believe they can compete for the NFC West title in 2010.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Seahawks 1 Comment

How the Donovan McNabb trade could impact the draft

We’ve heard all sorts of crazy rumors about Donovan McNabb over the past two weeks. Based on the number of trade rumors out there, it would certainly seem as though he’s headed out of Philly sooner rather than later. But rather than break down where he may end up, lets take a look at how the draft will change based on where he could land…

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys - Wild Card Round

McNabb doesn't want to leave, but if he does it will shake up the 1st round

If McNabb lands in St. Louis…
The most obvious repercussion of this scenario is that Sam Bradford is no longer projected as the top pick. Ndamukong Suh would likely go No. 1 overall and Gerald McCoy No. 2. Suddenly the Bucs would be on the clock with no need for a quarterback, but with a highly sought after prospect on the board. The Redskins would be holding their breath hoping no one trades up, while the Browns, Bills and possibly others would be on the phone with Tampa trying move up for Bradford. Assuming he fell to Washington, Jimmy Clausen would then fall to the Bills at No. 9. The real winner could be Eric Berry who suddenly becomes an option at No. 3 for Bucs.

If McNabb lands in Oakland…
Not much should change in this scenario, but you just never know with Al Davis. In an effort to keep McNabb happy, and around for longer than one season, Davis may decide to draft Dez Bryant. It sounds ridiculous at first thought, but it may not be such a bad idea. Heyward-Bey was a terrible selection last year, and he showed no signs of being a meaningful contributor anytime soon. Bryant has the potential to be an immediate impact receiver. Or, since Davis tends to shy away from receivers who run in the 4.5 or 4.6 range, maybe he goes way off the board for someone else. Jermaine Gresham? Golden Tate? Crazier things have happened.

If McNabb lands in Buffalo…
This may be the best scenario for McNabb, but its the worst scenario for Clausen. Assuming Bradford goes No. 1 and the Redskins take Russell Okung, Clausen could fall far. The Browns and Seahawks don’t appear to have an interest. The 49ers may be an option, but wouldn’t be a guarantee. If he slides past them at No. 17, there isn’t an obvious landing spot until the Vikings at No. 30. Its likely that someone would need to trade back into the 1st round to stop Clausen’s free fall.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, 49ers, Bills, Browns, Eagles, Raiders, Redskins, Vikings Comments Off

Winners from the Scouting Combine

2010 NFL Combine - Day Two

Golden Tate runs the 40-yard dash

Golden Tate – WR – Notre Dame
Tate’s place in the draft was pretty much set in the late 1st/early 2nd round prior to the combine. No one (including Tate, himself) was expecting anything special in the 40-yard dash. But Tate wowed scouts with an official time of 4.42, – 4th best among receivers. Some scouts even timed him under the 4.4 mark. Tate’s game isn’t really about straight-line speed, but the impressive time should solidify his place somewhere in the top 40 picks.

Dorin Dickerson – TE – Pittsburgh
There was no question as to who was the most athletic tight end working out this weekend as Dickerson posted the fastest 40 time, the highest vertical leap and the longest broad jump at his position. And he further helped his stock by putting up the bench press 24 times – 4th most among tight ends. While he’s clearly an elite athlete, the fact that he only weight in at 6’1″, 226 pounds may necessitate a most to fullback. Regardless, he should come off the board in the top 100 picks.

Bruce Campbell – OT – Maryland
As expected, Campbell proved to be the most impressive physical specimen of the offensive linemen. One scout even went so far as to say he has the most impressive body he had ever seen. The downside to Campbell’s performance is that he’s now been slapped with the “workout warrior” label, which carries more negative connotations than positive ones. His collegiate production doesn’t warrant 1st-round consideration, but his workouts will likely land him a spot among the top 32 picks.

Trent Williams – OT – Oklahoma
While Campbell was the most impressive physical specimen among the offensive linemen, Williams may have been the most pleasantly surprising prospect. He was just .03 seconds behind Campbell in the 40, and actually out-performed Campbell in the vertical leap and the 20-yard shuttle. Entering the combine some had speculated that he may not have the athleticism to play left tackle. His performance should ease those concerns.

Jason Pierre-Paul – DE – South Florida
Due to his one year of experience at the D-I level, Pierre-Paul’s combine performance carried a little more weight than it does for most prospects. Since there’s little tape out there on JPP, scouts were looking forward to seeing how he stacked up amongst the more experienced linemen. He lived up to the hype, and appeared to have the most impressive blend of size and speed out of the defensive ends.

Tony Washington – OT – Abilene Christian
Washington was measured at 6’6″ with an arm length of 35.5 inches. Arm length is an underrated physical attribute that plays a key role in a lineman’s ability to keep defenders from getting into his chest, and Washington was among a handful that measure in at longer than 35 inches. Physically, he looks the part of an NFL left tackle. He further helped his stock with solid performances on the bench press and in the three-come drill. He comes with some character concerns, but physically he appears to have what it takes to succeed at the next level.

Tim Tebow – QB – Florida
I discussed Tebow’s performance at length yesterday, but its worth mentioning again. Most scouts expected Tebow to perform well and he lived up to expectations. If he plays quarterback, his workout numbers won’t matter much. But his performance definitely showed that he has the athleticism to play another position should he chose to go that route sometime in the future.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft Comments Off

Dolphins meet with Golden Tate

According to the Miami Herald the Dolphins met with Golden Tate on Friday evening. Its highly unlikely that Bill Parcells would consider selecting Tate, or any receiver, with the 12th pick. But even if he fell to the 2nd round I’m not sure he’s a great fit for the Dolphins.

CFB: Notre Dame vs Pitt NOV 1What the Dolphins need is a true No. 1 receiver – a Larry Fitzgerald/Andre Johnson type. Even if Tate reaches his full potentially he’ll never be that type of player. He’s too small to be an elite red zone threat and not fast enough to stretch the field with consistensy.

Tate is essentially a slower version of Percy Harvin – a guy that can line up anywhere on the field and has a sense for finding ways to get open. Unlike most true No. 1 receivers, he does his damage after the ball is already in his hands, at which point he becomes a running back.

What the Dolphins need is someone who can get open on his own. They already have a guy to stretch the field (Ted Ginn), a possession receiver (Davone Bess) and a slot receiver (Brian Hartline). Now they need someone who can win the one-on-one matchups, especially in the red zone.

Tate can be a valuable asset for someone, but Miami just isn’t the right fit.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Dolphins Comments Off