Patrick Peterson

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

10 Bold Predictions for the NFL Draft

10. Al Davis will shake things up
Normally this wouldn’t be a bold prediction, but without a 1st-round pick Davis will have to get creative.  Perhaps he’ll trade into the 1st round in an effort to land Jason Campbell’s eventual replacement. Ryan Mallet certainly fits the mold of an Al Davis quarterback…

9. Two or fewer trades occur in 1st round
After this weekend, no one knows when the next time will be that teams will have opportunity to fill holes. This could be their only chance to address some needs before the free agency period – which may not be as active as we’re used to. Draft picks are more valuable than ever this year and most teams will be reluctant to part with them.

8. Patrick Peterson comes off the board within the first six picks
Most mock drafts have Peterson falling to the 49ers, but he won’t last that long (sorry Niners fans). Denver supposedly likes him. Buffalo is unpredictable, so who knows what they’ll do. Arizona could settle for him. Dallas could trade up. And if all else fails, the Browns will snatch him up at No. 6.

7.  Mark Herzlich has a looooong wait in Radio City Music Hall
Herzlich is one of the 25 players attending the draft, and while the cancer survivor will get a great ovation when he is finally selected, he’s going to be waiting awhile. He clearly lost a step after returning to the field this past year, and he is unlikely to come off the board with in the first three rounds. 

6. Three receivers go in the 1st round
A.J. Green and Julio Jones will go in the top 10, but someone else will join them later in the 1st round.  The Rams could trade back and select some such as Titus Young or Jon Baldwin. The Falcons and Jets are two others possibly interested in a receiver in the late 1st.

5. Mark Ingram falls to the late 1st… and possibly further
Running backs have such a short lifespan in the NFL and are so readily available in the middle rounds of the draft that teams are becoming increasingly less interested in spending high picks on them. Ingram is the consensus top available player at the position, but there are very few teams desperate to fill a hole at that position. If the Dolphins don’t take him at No. 15, he’ll fall into the 20s and possibly into the 2nd round.

4. The Jaguars shock us with their 1st round pick
It will be tough to top the Tyson Alualu selection, but GM Gene Smith will surprise us once again.  Maybe they decide to go for a quarterback? Mallett? Locker? Ponder? Or maybe they reach for a receiver? Titus Young? Torrey Smith?

3. Rumors of Da’Quan Bowers’ fall prove to be greatly overstated
Those screaming the loudest that Bowers knee is probably are probably the ones hoping he falls to them. I wouldn’t be shocked if he lands in Cleveland at No. 6 and I have a hard time seeing him fall further than No. 12 to the Vikings. Sorry Bucs fans, he’s not going be there at No. 20.

2. Jake Locker falls further than expected
Rumors have swirled that the Redskins may want him at No. 10. If I had to bet I’d say they do like him, but would prefer to wait until the 41st selection. Nothing he did on the field this year resembled a 1st-round pick, let alone a top-10 pick. Most teams love his talent – and it only takes one to make him a 1st-round pick – but he still has a 2nd or 3rd round grade on most draft boards. 

1. Only three quarterbacks will go in the 1st round
Despite rumors that as many as five signal callers could go in the top 32 picks, only three will actually come off the board – Newton, Gabbert and third (possibly to the Dolphins). Everyone else will wisely wait until the 2nd and 3rd round where less money will be on the line.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

NFL Comparisons for Draft Prospects

There really isn’t a perfect comparison for Patrick Peterson because the NFL has never seen a player with his size and athleticism. But in his era, Rod Woodson was the equivalent - a man with cornerback skills and safety size. Woodson went on to a Hall of Fame career, as both a cornerback and safety, and Peterson could follow a similar career path in the pros. Read more
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

The Redskins Draft Strategy

Over the offseason, I’ve been attempting to figure out my best guess for what Mike Shanahan and company will do in their first real offseason. Shanahan and Allen have had their staff for a full year now, and are now familiar with all the players. Shanahan knew the players only by film last offseason, but now knows what he truly has. It will take a couple seasons before Shanahan is fully comfortable, but he is on his way. In all of the mock drafts, most people have the Redskins selecting from a pool of players consisting of Julio Jones, AJ Green, or Jake Locker- often stating WR and QB as the biggest needs. But, this is my take on the Redskins approach, come April 28th. Read more

Posted on by Matt Peterson in 2011 NFL Draft, Redskins 1 Comment

5 early bold predictions for the NFL Draft

5. A trade occurs within the first five picks
The Panthers would love to trade down. The Broncos probably feel the same way. With two quarterbacks possibly coming off the board within the first five picks, someone is going to trade up to ensure they get their guy. My money’s on the Cardinals moving up for Gabbert, possibly to No. 1.

4. The Patriots actually use both 1st-round picks
No one loves trading picks more than Bill Belichick, but this year the Patriots actually need their picks. There is enough talent at positions of need (defensive line, offensive line) that the Patriots will stay put and fill some holes. In the 2nd round is where we’ll see the Pats start making moves. 

The best player in the draft isn't falling as far as you may think

3. Patrick Peterson is off the board within the first six picks
Nearly every mock draft has Peterson falling to the 49ers.  Sorry to ruin your fun 49ers fans, but the best player in the draft isn’t getting past six different teams. If he falls to No. 6 the Browns will gladly end his fall, even if he doesn’t fill a glaring hole.

2. A.J. Green falls to the Washington Redskins
There are multiple scenarios in which this could happen, and I truly believe one of them will come true. In my most recent mock draft I have the Bengals selecting Julio Jones, which allows Green to fall to No. 10.

1. At least three quarterbacks will go in the 1st round
Newton and Gabbert are 1st-round locks. After that, it’s anyone’s guess as to who many come off the board next. However, I am confident that someone will reach for another quarterback in the 1st round. Maybe the Dolphins reach for Mallett or Locker. Maybe the Seahawks do the same. Maybe someone falls in love with Dalton or Ponder. Whatever happens, one of those guys is going in the 1st round, and possibly more.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, 49ers, Browns, Dolphins, Patriots, Redskins, Seahawks Comments Off

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

Patrick Peterson scouting report

Patrick Peterson CB LSU
Ht: 6’1″

Wt: 212

Strengths:
Elite size, speed and overall athleticism for a cornerback. Has the potential to be a true shutdown corner. Excels in man coverage. A physical cornerback that won’t back down from mixing it up with bigger receivers at the line of scrimmage. Shows good ball skills. Does a nice job turning and reacting to the ball in the air. An elite corner in zone coverage; does a great job reading the quarterback and reacting quickly. Far exceeds expectations for a cornerback in run support. Very reliable tackler, occasionally delivering a big hit. Above average return specialist; can probably return kicks/punts early in his career in NFL.
Weaknesses:
Overaggressive at times. Seems to get cocky on the field at times and takes too many risks.
Comments:
Peterson is the best cornerback prospect to enter the draft in a very long time, and possibly the best ever. There are a very select few players at the position that possess his blend of size and speed. He excels in every aspect of the game and his success on special teams is an added bonus. He could very easily come off the board higher than any defensive back in NFL Draft history.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2011 1 Comment

Broncos draft plans hinge on Champ Bailey’s decision?

Conventional wisdom says the Broncos will address their defense with the 2nd-overall selection in April’s draft. This likely means deciding between Nick Fairley, Da’Quan Bowers and Patrick Peterson.

At the moment, defensive line looks like their most pressing need. However, that could all change if Champ Bailey decides to leave once free agency opens (if it ever does).

Is Champ Bailey done in Denver?

If we ever get to the point where teams are allowed to negotiate with free agents, Bailey would certainly have good reasons to leave Denver. He’ll be 33 in June and has won just one playoff game in his seven years with the Broncos. If he wants to chase a championship, Denver probably isn’t the place to do that.

Bailey’s departure would leave the Broncos with journeyman Andre Goodman and troubled rookie Parrish Cox as their starting cornerbacks. Cox, however, may not even be available for all or part of the 2011 season and beyond, depending on the outcome of his arrest for sexual assault.

Given these potential departures from the Broncos secondary, Patrick Peterson may start to look like the most attractive option in the draft. He compares favorably to Bailey, and is one of the most talented corners to enter the draft in a number of years.

The Broncos may also be swayed toward Peterson due to the depth in this year’s defensive line class. The difference in talent between Peterson and potential early 2nd-round options (Brandon Harris, Aaron Williams) is far greater than the difference between Fairley/Bowers and a player such as Cameron Heyward, who may still be available with the 36th pick.

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

Cowboys targeting a cornerback in the draft?

Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net passed along an interesting rumor in his blog the other day.

According to his sources two of the Cowboys early targets in the draft are cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Brandon Harris.

In order to get Peterson they would need to move up – probably into the top three – which the source acknowledges. Their interest in Harris, however, is somewhat unclear.

For the sake of Cowboys fans, I really hope the source meant they would target him in the 2nd round and not with the 9th overall pick in the draft. Harris is talented, but far too inconsistent. I also question his ability to match up against bigger, more physical receivers. In Miami’s bowl game, Harris looked helpless when matched up against Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd.

That said, I would fully endorse the Cowboys trading up for Peterson or taking Harris in the 2nd round. They need to upgrade the secondary and taking a corner in one of the first two rounds is probably the best way to do so.

2008 1st-round pick Mike Jenkins looks like a bust and Terrence Newman is clearly regressing.

You could even make a case that no cornerback was less reliable than Jenkins this past season. According to ProFootballFocus.com Jenkins ranked dead last in the NFL with an average of 11.2 yards allowed per target. Newman wasn’t far behind, allowing 9.3 yards per target – 8th worst in the league.

As we get closer to the draft I suspect rumors surrounding the Cowboys interest in Peterson to heat up. He is a potentially elite cornerback and Jerry Jones is one of the few draft decision makers out there that doesn’t hesitate to take a defensive back early. In his career in Dallas he’s already taken two DBs in the top 10 (Newman and Roy Williams) and two others in the 1st round (Jenkins and Kevin Smith).

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

Money could determine who Panthers take No. 1

Typically by the time the college season wraps up we have a pretty good idea of who the No. 1 pick will be. If not, it’s usually at least narrowed down to two names. This year I believe there are four legitimate options for the Panthers, and I don’t expect them to make a decision until just days before the draft.

I expect the consensus to be that the Panthers should take Da’Quan Bowers. The current poll on our site has Bowers favored with 43 percent of the vote [as of 11am on Jan. 12].

Bowers makes a lot of sense. Charles Johnson stepped up as an effective pass rusher in the absence of Julius Peppers, but Johnson is one dimensional. Bowers is a much more complete lineman, who can be effective on all three downs.

Even if the Panthers want Bowers, however, that doesn’t mean he’ll be the pick.

The Panthers have turned into a cheap organization. They limited their coaching search this offseason to first-timers for that very reason. They’re loyal to their players – perhaps to a fault – but they rarely reach into their pockets to sign big-name free agents.

As a result, the Panthers may be inclined to essentially create a bidding war for the No. 1 pick.

Here’s how it could work. The Panthers may indicate that they’re favoring Bowers, but reach out to Nick Fairley, A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson as well. There’s no guarantee that any of them will come off the board within the top five, so they may be willing to bring down their asking price in order to guarantee themselves a significant contract.

Look at it from Peterson’s perspective: a cornerback has never been chosen higher than 3rd overall – he may be driven to take less money simply to hold that distinction. On top of that, he could easily fall into the second half of the top-10 if he doesn’t go No. 1 overall. He is an elite prospect, but cornerbacks are rarely high on the wish list of teams selecting in the top five. As a result, he may be willing to take money closer to that of the No. 2 or No. 3 pick, simply to guarantee himself a big pay day.

The same can be said for A.J. Green. If the Panthers pass on him he won’t be selected until No. 3 at the earliest (the Broncos don’t need another receiver at No. 2) and could fall to No. 6 to the Browns. By accepting less money than a typical No. 1 pick, he could still guarantee himself more money than if he had fallen to Cleveland.

What makes all of this even more likely is the labor situation. If the NFL is in the midst of a lockout (yes, the draft will still occur in the even of a lockout) the Panthers may be even more motivated to favor a smaller contract over the guy who is truly No. 1 on their draft board. Likewise, the players may be more eager to guarantee themselves as much money as possible knowing that they may not be collecting a paycheck until 2012.

This strategy will take some time to develop, and likely won’t begin to take shape until about 10 days before the draft. It could create for a very interesting week leading up to the draft and could make some Panthers fans very unhappy. Settling for a player simply because he will sign for less won’t be a popular decision, but it may be the right one considering the current state of the NFL.

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