Von Miller

Denver Broncos set to select Von Miller

It’s taken some time, but the top five of the mock draft is finally taking shape just hours before the draft starts.

Now that the Panthers have settled on Cam Newton, the Denver Broncos have leaked that they’re prepared to take Von Miller with the second overall selection.

While this may appear to be a late development, the only thing late about it is the media catching on. According to a source, Miller has been No. 1 on the Broncos draft board since Monday (and was likely No.1 long before that).

This news essentially puts the Bills on the clock with Marcell Dareus and Blaine Gabbert as their two options.

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

Final Thoughts: Von Miller

In the last few weeks leading up to the draft I’ll be posting a series of “final thoughts” on some of the top prospects in this year’s class. Up first: Von Miller

I’ll start off by saying I really like Miller. He’s a solid 1st-round pick and has a ton of potential as a pass rusher. However, I don’t think he is quite worthy of a top-five pick, which is where he is all but certain to go in the draft.

Miller has drawn comparisons to Green Bay’s Clay Matthews, and since this is a copy-cat league everyone wants to get the next great pass rushing 3-4 linebacker.

While Miller and Matthews have some similarities, I’m not buying the comparison. Read more

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment

Von Miller visiting Bills, Broncos, Browns

Von Miller‘s stock has been on the rise throughout the offseason and it appears as though he’s headed towards a spot in the top five or six picks.

Miller has reportedly already scheduled workouts with the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns – who own three of the first six picks in April’s draft.

The fact that Miller could go in the top five isn’t a surprise, but it is interesting that he’s drawing interest from nearly everyone at the top of the draft.

A fourth team in the top six, the Arizona Cardinals, may actually be the team most likely to draft Miller. They’re desperate for youth at linebacker and Miller would be a perfect fit in their 3-4 scheme. In my latest mock draft I have Miller going 5th overall to Arizona.

Update: Miller worked out for the Cardinals on March 15

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bills, Broncos, Browns, Cardinals Comments Off

Von Miller scouting report

Von Miller OLB Texas A&M
Ht: 6’3″

Wt: 237

Strengths:
An elite pass rusher used in multiple roles at Texas A&M. Has experience lining up at defensive end and linebacker. Impressive athlete. Excellent quickness off the snap. Has the speed to make plays in pursuit. Reliable wrap-up tackler who can also deliver a big hit. Well-liked by teammates. Good work ethic. Showed a steady improvement throughout his career.
Weaknesses:
A ‘tweener that doesn’t have a true position. Too small for defensive end and possibly too small for 3-4 linebacker as well. Very limited experience in coverage; basically just asked to pin his ears back and get after the quarterback. Lacks the strength to consistently shed blocks; once he’s locked up, he’s usually done. Plays full-speed-ahead at all times; makes it easy for offensive linemen to knock him off his path, taking him out of the play. Needs to become more patient and better at anticipating the play.
Comments:
Miller played the “joker” position at A&M, which is basically a hybrid end/linebacker who is asked to go after the quarterback on nearly every play. As a result, he doesn’t really have any experience at full-time position in the NFL. His skill set is best suited for a 3-4 outside linebacker, but there are legitimate concerns about his size and strength. In the long term he may actually be a better fit in a 4-3 system, but he’ll need some time to develop the skills necessary to excel in that role. He has the raw talent of a 1st-round pick, but he’s more of a developmental prospect than your typical 1st-rounder. – Final Thoughts -
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2011 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

Most intriguing battles at the Senior Bowl

Von Miller vs Ryan Kerrigan
There aren’t many elite 3-4 pass rushers in this year’s draft class, which is typically one of the most sought-after positions early in the draft. Both Miller and Kerrigan are capable of playing outside in the 3-4 scheme and a number of teams could be in the market for them in the 1st round. Both players grade out very close and this could be an opportunity for one to get the upper hand.

Jake Locker vs Ricky Stanzi
Talent-wise, there’s no comparing Locker and Stanzi (Locker wins easily). Production-wise there’s also no comparing them (Stanzi wins easily). If Locker plays up to his full potential, this should be his opportunity to reclaim his consensus 1st-round grade. However, if he is out-played by Stanzi – who plays with a similar style and has a comparable skill set – Locker is almost certain to fall out of the 1st round.

Gabe Carimi vs Anthony Castonzo vs DeMarcus Love
Do we have a left tackle in this group? All three are fringe 1st-round prospects and what holds them back is the question about their position. None of the three have the elite athleticism you look for in a left tackle, but all three had productive careers on the left side in college. Seeing all three on the same field will help clear up the picture as to who has a legitimate case to be a 1st-round pick.

Mike Pouncey vs Ben Ijalana vs Rodney Hudson
Who is the top interior lineman in Mobile? Entering this week I give a slight edge to Ijalana, but we have yet to see him face elite competition. With a solid week Ijalana could become a potential 1st-round prospect, much like Mike Iupati used the Senior Bowl as a spring board last year. However, Pouncey and Hudson will have that same opportunity. All three have different body builds and are very different players, making this an interesting competition to watch. [updated: Mike Pouncey has elected not to participate].

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment

Never too early to look ahead: 2011 NFL Draft Board

Its never too early to look ahead to next year. So with that in mind, lets unveil DraftAce’s first 2011 draft board. We’ve ranked the top 32 draft-eligible players (seniors, juniors and redshirt sophomores) and have compared them to a current NFL player. Obviously they won’t all live up to these expectations, but think of it as a “best case scenario” comparison.

1. Ryan Mallett – JR – QB – Arkansas
Mallett certainly looks the part (6’6″) and has a rocket arm. He was inconsistent at times in 2009, but it was his first year leading the Razorbacks’ offense after transferring from Michigan. Expect big things from him in 2010. NFL Comparison: Joe Flacco

2. Cameron Heyward – SR – DE – Ohio State
The son of Craig “Ironhead” Heyward was a 1st-round lock, potentially as the top defensive end selected, had he entered this year’s draft. He returned to Ohio State, however, where he’ll continue to dominate as a defensive end/tackle ‘tweener. He has the size to play in a 3-4 scheme, but also has the athleticism to be a compete pass rusher/run stuffer in a 4-3. NFL Comparison: Mario Williams

3. Robert Quinn – JR – DE North Carolina
Quinn could be the premier pass rusher in next year’s draft. He terrorized ACC quarterbacks as a sophomore in 2009 and with defensive line mate Marvin Austin back for the 2010 season he should continue to improve. NFL Comparison: Tamba Hali

4. A.J. Green – JR – WR – Georgia
Green burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2008 and continued to dominate the SEC in ’09. At 6’4″, 208 pounds he has the size to be a true No. 4 receiver. NFL Comparison: Randy Moss

5. Gabe Carimi – SR – OT – Wisconsin
Carimi took over for Joe Thomas as a freshman in 2007 and lived up to expectations from day one. The similarities to Thomas eerie. They have a similar build and a remarkably similar skill set. Both have the athleticism to excel as pass blockers but also play with a mean streak that allows them to dominate in the running game. NFL Comparison: Joe Thomas

6. Patrick Peterson – JR – CB – LSU
Peterson has the size of a free safety (6’1″, 211 pounds) but the athleticism to a shutdown corner. If he fulfills expectations as a junior, he could be one of the highest-rated corners to enter the draft in a number of years. NFL Comparison: Charles Woodson

7. Blaine Gabbert – JR – QB – Missouri
With just one year under his belt as a starter, we still have a lot to learn about Gabbert. As a sophomore, he looked like a future star. He has an NFL body with a strong arm and more than adequately filled the shoes of Missouri legend Chase Daniel. NFL Comparison: Phillip Rivers

8. Marvin Austin – SR – DT – North Carolina
Austin turned down a guaranteed stop in the 2010 1st-round because he wanted to return to school to have an Ndamukong Suh-like senior year. Its a lofty goal, you have to admire his dedication. If he comes close to fulfilling his own expectations he’ll find himself in the early half of the 1st round.
NFL Comparison: Kyle Williams

9. Greg Romeus – SR – DE – Pittsburgh
Romeus is yet another player who had a chance to come off the board in the 1st round in 2009, but elected to return to school. Romeus isn’t strong as Heyward or as quick as Quinn, but he’s a complete play who can excel against the run and the pass.
NFL Comparison: Justin Tuck

10. Jared Crick – JR – DT – Nebraska
Ndamukong Suh wasn’t the only force to be reckoned with on the Cornhuskers defensive line in 2009. Crick obviously has a ways to go before he can be compared to Suh, but he has a similar skill set and may actually be better against the run than his former teammate.
NFL Comparison: Darnell Dockett

11. Andrew Luck – SO – QB – Stanford
With Toby Gerhart out of the picture in Stanford, the Cardinal offense will no focus on Luck. He had flashes of greatness as a redshirt-freshman in 2009 and should take major strides this season now that the offense will be built around his arm.
NFL Comparison: Aaron Rodgers

12. Allen Bailey – SR – DT – Miami FL
After a surprising two-year drought, Miami could return to the 1st round in 2011. Bailey is an athletic three-technique tackle who excels at busting up plays in the backfield. He led the Hurricanes with 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2009.
NFL Comparison: Kevin Williams

13. Michael Floyd – JR – WR – Notre Dame
Golden Tate received much of the attention this past season, but Floyd is the better pro prospect. He has elite size and strength for a receiver and enough speed to stretch the field. He’ll make his presence felt immediately as a red zone target.
NFL Comparison: Andre Johnson

14. Ryan Williams – SO – RB – Virginia Tech
As a redshirt freshman in 2009 Williams was arguably the nation’s best running back, yet flew under the radar due to Virginia Tech’s somewhat disappointing season. He posted five 150-yard games and dominated and finished 5th in the nation in rushing. If he builds upon that success he’ll find himself in the Heisman race and in the mix to be the top available running back in the 2011 draft.
NFL Comparison: DeAngelo Williams

15. Von Miller – SR – LB – Texas A&M
Miller burst onto the scene in 2009 playing a hybrid DE/OLB position for the Aggies, essentially acting as a pass-rush specialist. He led the nation with 16.5 sacks and ranked among the leaders in tackles for loss as well.
NFL Comparison: Shaun Phillips

16. Rahim Moore – JR – S – UCLA
Had Moore been eligible to enter the 2010 draft it would be him, not Earl Thomas, pushing Eric Berry for spot atop the draft boards at safety. Like Thomas, Moore is a ball-hawking free safety but has the size to help out against the run as well.
NFL Comparison: Kerry Rhodes

17. Bruce Carter – SR – LB – North Carolina
Carter will be a tough prospect to judge next season because he’s undersized. At only 225 pounds certain teams will scratch him off their list from the start. However, you can’t deny the fact that he’s a playmaker. He’ll fit nicely into someone’s 4-3 scheme at weakside linebacker.
NFL Comparison: Thomas Davis

18. Julio Jones – JR – WR – Alabama
Jones has the size and athleticism needed to excel at the next level. However, after a dominant freshman season he regressed in 2009. He caught just four touchdown passes in 2009 and had just one 100-yard game. He’ll need to bounce back in a big way in order to hang on to this slot in the top 32.
NFL Comparison: Randy Moss

19. Greg Jones – SR – LB – Michigan State
Jones is another player that cracks the top 32 based on potential rather than production. He’s already an effective against the run, but as an inside linebacker he needs to develop his skills in coverage. He has the athleticism of a top-10 pick, but he needs to become more disciplined to live up to his full potential.
NFL Comparison: DeMeco Ryans

20. Jake Locker – SR – QB – Washington
Numerous draftniks have Locker as the top-rated quarterback, but I’m not sold just yet. He’s a potential 1st-round pick based on potential, but he’s been just an average collegiate quarterback to this point in his career. His athleticism is unmatched by anyone else in this draft class, but that’s a small piece of the puzzle. He’s reckless with the football (11 interceptions) and has completed just 53 percent of his career pass attempts.
NFL Comparison: Donovan McNabb

21. Deunta Williams – SR – S – North Carolina
Williams is a ball-hawking free safety but also has the size to play strong safety in the pros. That versatility will help his draft stock next season and makes him the top senior prospect at safety.
NFL Comparison: Darren Sharper

22. Nate Solder – SR – OT – Colorado
Solder came to Boulder as tight end but switched to tackle as a sophomore in 2008. He’s still developing as a left tackle, but his upside is unlimited. At 6’9″ he has the size and athleticism to dominate the position for years to come. With an impressive senior year he could easily climb into the top five.
NFL Comparison: D’Brickashaw Ferguson

23. Chris Galippo – JR – LB – USC
Galippo may be the next great linebacker to come from Southern Cal. Like the rest of his teammates, he didn’t quite live up to expectations in 2009, but the bulk of the Trojans’ defense return for 2010 and big things are expected from the unit which is led by Galippo. He’s an instinctive linebacker who will only continue to get better with experience.
NFL Comparison: James Laurinaitis

24. Jamie Harper -JR – RB – Clemson
Harper is a bit of wildcard at this point, having only played in a backup role to this point in his career. He was brilliant as C.J. Spiller’s backup in 2009 and will become the focal point of the Tigers’ offense this season. He’s a powerful downhill runner (5’11″, 230 pounds) who has the strength to carry the load at the next level.
NFL Comparison: Michael Turner

25. Nate Potter – JR – OT – Boise State
Like Ryan Clady in 2008, it will be tough to judge Potter until the offseason workouts. He has dominated Boise State’s WAC opponents, but its a weak conference and he simply isn’t facing the talent which he will see in the NFL. He certainly appears to have the athleticism to take his game to the next level though, and his stock could skyrocket over of the course of the next year.
NFL Comparison: Michael Oher

26. Kyle Rudolph – JR – TE – Notre Dame
Notre Dame hasn’t exactly churned out elite skill position players in recent years, but that could change in 2011 as both Michael Floyd and Rudolph could come off the board in the 1st round. Rudolph has the size and athleticism to develop into a well-rounded tight end who can dominate as both a blocker and receiver in the NFL.
NFL Comparison: Jason Witten

27. DeAndre McDaniel – SR – S – Clemson
2011 figures to bring us another deep class of safeties. McDaniels toyed with the idea of entering this year’s draft class, but wisely stayed in school and could find himself in the 1st round in 2011. He has the size to play strong safety, but has the ball skills of a free safety – a combination which will help his value immensely.
NFL Comparison: Brandon Meriweather

28. Marcell Dareus – JR – DE – Alabama
Dareus is a stout lineman who excels in run defense, but also contributes as a pass rusher. He led the Crimson Tide in sacks in 2009 and they’re expecting big things from him this upcoming season. He’s a versatile prospect who could play end in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme and may also be able to transition to tackle in the 4-3.
NFL Comparison: Ty Warren

29. DaQuan Bowers – JR – DE – Clemson
Bowers has as much potential as anyone eligible to enter the 2011 draft class. He’s started from day one since coming to Clemson as a highly touted recruit in 2008. Bowers has just 4 sacks through his first two seasons, but we’re expecting big things from him in 2009. NFL Comparison: Trent Cole

30. Jerrell Powe – DT – Mississippi
As more and more teams switch to the 3-4 defense, the value of nose tackles is starting to skyrocket. Players such as Powe figure to see their stock rise far higher than similar players in years past. He’s a physical presence on the interior line, capable of taking on multiple blockers and anchoring a defensive line.
NFL Comparison: Vince Wilfork

31. Austin Pettis – SR – WR – Boise State
Pettis could become the first skill-position player selected in the 1st round from Boise State. He has the size and speed to take his game to the next level, but like anyone from Boise, he’ll need to prove he can compete at the highest level. As a team, the Broncos have earned the respect of the nation, but there’s still a lack of talent in the WAC which doesn’t fully prepare players for the NFL the way a BCS conference does.
NFL Comparison: Sidney Rice

32. Casey Matthews – SR – LB – Oregon
One thing I learned from scouting Clay Matthews in 2009: never bet against the Matthews family. Like his other brother, Casey doesn’t have elite physical talents but he has become the leader of the Ducks defense and has the instincts to excel at the next level.
NFL Comparison: Paul Posluszny

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 3 Comments