Javier Arenas

2010 Draft Grades: Chiefs

I was fairly surprised that Scott Pioli selected Eric Berry in the 1st round. He strongly believes that football games are won in the trenches and that safeties aren’t nearly as valuable as the big boys. Yet he went against his beliefs and took the guy many believed to be the best available player.

As much as I like Berry, I question his decision to pass on Russell Okung. The Chiefs defense is so bad right now, that I don’t see how Berry can make an immediate impact. Defensive backs are at the mercy of the pass rush. If you can’t pressure the quarterback, then the best defensive backs in the world will eventually get beat. An offensive tackle, however, can make an instant impact. Okung and Branden Albert would have been an excellent duo.

I really like Dexter McCluster, but it was a reach to take him 36th overall. He’s a nice complementary piece to have, but he’s too small to be a starter at either receiver or running back. The Chiefs have too many other holes to fill to be getting cute and taking players like McCluster in the early 2nd round.

I feel the same way about Javier Arenas. He can make an immediate impact on special teams, but I don’t view him as a starting cornerback. He’s too small and too slow. He’ll play immediately as a nickel cornerback, but he may be stuck at that position for his career.

Jon Asamoah was a great 3rd-round selection. He’ll likely play a backup role in 2010, but could eventually replace 33-year-old Brian Waters in the starting lineup.

I have mixed feeling about the selection of Tony Moeaki. He has the talent to be a future star, but he simply can’t stay healthy. He’s arguably the most injury-prone player in this year’s draft and there’s just no reason to believe he’ll have a long, healthy NFL career. If he does, he’ll be a steal, but a team like the Chiefs shouldn’t be taking risks like that in the 3rd round.

Even with a 5th-round pick I dislike the selection of Kendrick Lewis. There were other positions on the roster that needed depth more than safety (linebacker, receiver) and he may have even been a reach. He’ll have to fight to make the roster and won’t be more than a special teams contributor.

The finally added a linebacker with their last selection, Cameron Sheffield. Unfortunately, he’s a bit of a project and probably won’t make an immediate impact. They really could have used someone early in the draft to take some of the workload off the aging Mike Vrable.

Overall, I think the Chiefs simply took too many chances and didn’t do enough to fix a miserable defense. Eric Berry is one heck of a safety, but it was their run defense that was the real problem in 2009. With five picks in the top 100, the Chiefs had the opportunity to make a real splash this year. They took a number of players with upside, but just not enough guys who can help immediately. I don’t see how this draft helped them get any better in the immediate future.

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

Rolando McClain has Crohn’s Disease, pulled hamstring

Rarely does significant new information come out regarding a prospect at this time of year. The folks at the combine generally do a good job poking and prodding until every stone has been overturned. But Rolando McClain revealed some surprising information at Alabama’s pro day.

McClain announced that he has been suffering from Crohn’s Disease since he was a freshman in high school, a disease that causes inflation of the intestines and can result in a variety of symptoms. The disease is treatable and it shouldn’t hurt his draft stock, but its a key piece of information for teams to be made aware of before handing him millions of dollars.

McClain also revealed that he suffered a torn hamstring during Alabama’s game on October 24 against Tennessee. He apparently kept the injury from his teammates and played through the pain.

Hamstring injuries usually hurt player’s draft stock, but this may be a rare situation where it actually helps. Some scouts had questioned McClain’s efforts down the stretch last season, sighting plays on which he was clearly not running at full speed after the ball carrier. The hamstring injury gives McClain a logical excuse, so long as it can be verified by Alabama’s medical staff.

Along with giving him a reasonable excuse for what was perceived as a lack of effort, it demonstrates his willingness and ability to play through pain at a high level.

Other notes from Alabama’s pro day:
- DT Terrence Cody weighed in at 349 pounds. That’s down from 370 at the Senior Bowl and 354 at the combine. While teams would love to see him lose even more weight, they have to be encouraged by the effort he’s put in so far. His stock is certainly on the rise as a result and he could sneak into the late 1st round.

- CB Javier Arenas was unable to work out due to the pulled hamstring he suffered at the combine.

- OG Mike Johnson took some snaps at center and reportedly looked good. The ability to play multiple positions is key for linemen who aren’t viewed as locks to earn starting roles in the NFL.

- All 32 teams were represented. Glad to see the Raiders decided to show up after they inexplicably decided to skip Oklahoma’s pro day earlier this week.

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

Senior Bowl Practice Notes: Thursday

Senior Bowl Practice Notes

Things were starting to wind down at the Senior Bowl today, so not a ton of action. Players were just in shorts and there’s only so much you can learn from a practice without pads. So here’s a few notes on the day:

- Ohio WR Taylor Price is plummeting down by draft board. He dropped two easy passes today and a third one that was more difficult but catchable.

- Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon has been auditioning for the role of the next Ray Lewis. He’s easily the most vocal player on the field. Coaches love vocal leaders, but I’m not sure the Senior Bowl is really the place for trash talking. Teams would much rather see a quite player taking in all the coaching. I’m not sure it will have any impact on his stock, but its worth taking note of for any teams interesting in bringing him aboard in the late 1st or early 2nd round.

- Pittsburgh TE/FB/WR Dorin Dickerson lined up at receiver today and looked surprisingly good. As I mentioned in my notes yesterday I have him listed as a fullback (really more of an H-back), but it seems like teams are more interested in spreading him out wide and using him as a receiver. The only drawback to that is he really doesn’t have the height to be red zone target as most tight ends are used these days. I could see him being used in a way similar to how the Colts use Dallas Clark.

- Utah OL Zane Beadles has taken snaps at tackle, guard and center. He hasn’t blown me away but the fact that he’s being moved around will increase his stock. Versatility is key for any lineman who isn’t viewed as a potential franchise left tackle.

- A lot of scouts have been impressed with Boise State CB Kyle Wilson this week. I’m not quite as excited though. I certainly don’t think he’s done anything to hurt his stock, but I just don’t think he’s physical enough to earn a spot in the 1st round as some have suggested. He did a nice job covering Mardy Gilyard on a number of plays today, but that’s a favorable matchup. I want to see him matched up with someone like Riley Cooper in the game on Saturday and see how he does.

- I continue to be unimpressed with UMass OL Vladimir Ducasse. His size is intriguing but he has a ton of work to do. He plays too upright, and I can’t help but think he looks disinterested. I just haven’t seen a mean streak in him which is necessary to excel in the NFL.

- In one 7-on-7 drill Michigan DE Brandon Graham blew past Ducasse. It was clear that Ducasse simply didn’t have the quick first step out of his stance necessary to slow down an elite speed rusher like Graham. As for Graham, he is starting to look like a 1st-round lock. I love his potential as an elite pass rusher. He could have a Brian Orakpo-like rookie year if he lands in the right defensive scheme.

- Oklahoma CB Perrish Cox continues to have a huge week. He picked of a couple passes yesterday and nearly had another today in 11-on-11 drills off of former teammate Zac Robinson. He has the speed to stick with receivers and the quickness and awareness to make plays on the ball.

- On the flip side, Alabama CB Javier Arenas continues to be unimpressive. I don’t see him as anything more than a nickel corner in the NFL. He’s really struggled when lined up on the outside against bigger receivers, namely Riley Cooper.

- Zac Robinson further improved his stock today. He looked very crisp in 11-on-11 drills. He looks very comfortable standing in the pocket and going through his reads. I was initially surprised he got invited, but he’s exceed expectations this week.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft Comments Off

Senior Bowl Practice Notes: Wednesday

Not surprisingly the third day of practice wasn’t all that eventful. As usual, we’ve got a pretty good idea as to what everyone is capable of at this point in time.

Perhaps the biggest winner of the day, in my mind, was Mike Iupati. Yesterday he split time between tackle and guard and he really disappointed at tackle. Today, playing mostly guard, he was dominant once again. At this point in time I’m willing to give him a solid 1st-round grade as a guard. Its disappointing that it doesn’t look like he can play tackle, but he should be an elite guard at the next level.

Another winner was Oregon State QB Sean Canfield. He’s a tough quarterback to judge, but I came away impressed overall. In drills, he looks very mediocre. His arm strength is average at best and he doesn’t always throw the prettiest ball. Once thrown into game situations, however, he steps it up another level. In 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills he looked very good, consistently hitting receivers in stride. He also looked very god throwing the ball on the run. He ran a number of bootlegs and hit Clemson WR Jacoby Ford a couple times.

Sticking with the quarterbacks, Dan LeFevour has made a strong case to be considered the top quarterback at the Senior Bowl. He’s exceeded my expectations and I’ll be adjusting my quarterback rankings soon as a result. At Central Michigan he rarely threw the ball downfield, which made me skeptical about his ability to play at the next level. You’d never know he played in a gimmick offense based on his performance this week though. He has a strong arm and made a number of great deep passes today including a beautiful pass which he dropped over the shoulder of Jacoby Ford.

Speaking of Ford, he had a terrific day. I really expected him to step up as an elite speed receiver this week but he’s been much more than that. In fact, his lack of speed has been a bit disappointing but he looks like the complete package. He runs great routes and I love the way he adjust to the ball while its in the air. He could end up coming off the board as high as the 2nd round.

Another player I was impressed with today was Pittsburgh TE Dorin Dickerson. I have him listed as a FB right now because I didn’t think he had the size to play tight end, but he’s proved me wrong this week. He is undersized, and it shows in his blocking, but he’s looked very good as a receiver. He even stretched the field a few times, hauling in a deep pass from Tony Pike at one point.

One of the players I was most excited to see this week was Miami TE Jimmy Graham. He went to Miami to play basketball but joined the football team this past season. He has elite size (6’8″) but is very, very raw. He’s looked good at times and definitely deserves a shot at the next level. At one point he tossed Florida State LB Dakota Watson to the ground and later hauled in a deep pass from Tim Tebow that was down near his knees.

A few other quick notes:
- Ohio WR Taylor Price looked shaky today, dropping a very easy pass from LeFevour at one point. I expected him to be one of the lesser-known prospects that stepped up but it hasn’t happened.

- Penn State DT Jared Odrick has been consistently getting into the backfield all week. Today he blew through the line of scrimmage and stuff a draw play in the backfield in 11-on-11 drills. He’s slightly undersized but incredibly athletic for an interior lineman. He would be a great fit for the Colts.

- Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson has been better than expected. He throws a very nice deep ball.

- South Carolina LB Eric Norwood has excelled as a pass rusher. He used a nice swim move to get into the backfield today.

- Kentucky CB Trevard Lindley had a rough day. Mississippi WR Shay Hodge blew past his press coverage in 1-on-1s and Lindley fell down trying to catch up. He’s got a lot of work to do to recover the rest of the week.

- I’m really starting to like Florida WR Riley Cooper. He never really got a chance to star in Florida’s offense because they value speed over size, but he’s looked great this week. He’s got great hands and he knows how to use his body to his advantage.

- Alabama CB Javier Arenas has been shaky. The worst part of his day came when Riley Cooper easily used his size to brush past Arenas and shield him from making a play on the ball. I really think Arenas’ lack of size will limit his ability to make an impact in the NFL.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft Comments Off