For your viewing pleasure, TFYDraft makes its first attempt to mock the draft system. Scout Brent Sobleski takes a peak at the first one hundred selections and what might be as the NFL season is now a fourth over.
|Analysis: St. Louis accumulated a mere 82 total passing yards this past weekend. Bulger is done. Boller will never be “the” guy. Clausen has performed at a higher level than another other quarterback in the nation this season and can clearly make the necessary NFL throws even while struggling through a case of turf toe.|
|Analysis: The Browns have finished 27th or worse in total defense every year since 2006. They have been the worst team statistically on this side of the ball all throughout last season and into this season. This unit desperately needs playmakers on that side of the ball, and McCoy is an elite disruptive force. He is arguably the best overall player in this entire draft class.|
|Analysis: When investing in a franchise quarterback, as the Buccaneers did recently drafting Josh Freeman, a team needs to add talented pieces around said player in order to succeed. Dez Bryant is a monster target and a major threat to opposing defenses.|
|Analysis: General Manager Scott Pioli will likely be a position he was never in while working for the New England Patriots…drafting top five two years in a row. While the Chiefs already have two solid young safeties in place, a football player the caliber of Berry is too enticing to pass. Berry can potentially have the same type of impact on a defense as a Troy Polamalu or Ed Reed.|
|Analysis: A lot could change within this franchise if current trends do not turn around quickly. This team needs a playmaker under center after the Vince Young debacle and Kerry Collins’ play dropping off precipitously. Locker has the best pure physical tools among the potential quarterback prospects.|
San Francisco (from Carolina)
|Analysis: The Niners will enjoy their shrewd 2009 draft day trade by acquiring a legitimate 5 technique to bulk up an already improving defensive squad. Coach Singletary will also enjoy a player of Suh’s talent coupled with this prospect’s hustle and intelligence.|
|Analysis: Veteran left tackle Jeff Backus has played slightly better than expected under a new coaching regime, but he can obviously be upgraded. The trenches were the one area this team failed to address effectively entering this season and will quickly do so with the most talented left tackle available.|
|Analysis: Many are wondering when owner Al Davis will give up on their quarterback. While he decides, the team can add more speed and athleticism off the edge with Kindle to accentuate good play by Richard Seymour and its young linebacking corps.|
|Analysis: Although very young along their offensive line already, Buffalo would be hard pressed to pass on a potential franchise blindside protector in Okung. Especially when considering they cut their would be starter at left tackle just prior to the beginning of the regular season and are currently very thin at the position in general.|
|Analysis: Team leader and stalwart quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is still a solid player, but has now been injury plagued for two seasons. With two picks in the first round, this team has the opportunity to land a top quarterback prospect to groom for a year or two behind a hopefully healthy Hasselbeck while addressing other needs later.|
New York Jets
Denver (from Chicago)
New York Giants
Seattle (from Denver)
New England (from Tennessee)
New England (from Jacksonville)
New York Jets
New York Giants
C/North Carolina State
Philadelphia (from Seattle)
(supplemental draft selection)
Oakland (from New England)
Walter Thurmond III
Cleveland (from New York Jets)
New York Giants
DE/North Carolina State
* – Denotes Underclassmen (excluded past the opening round)
– Draft order is based off current standings with point differential separating like records
Once again the yearly battle between LSU and Florida will impact both the winner and loser in a major way. The victor will go down the stretch of the ’09 campaign a step ahead in the chase for the national title besides being the favorite to win the conference championship. The loser will likely have to avenge their loss in the SEC Championship game for an opportunity at a BCS bowl berth. One year ago Florida hammered LSU 51-21, then went on to be crowned National Champions. NFL scouts and league decision makers will be scouring this game as there are almost a dozen draft eligible players with top 60 potential. There are several great match-ups in this contest and Tony Pauline of TFYDRaft.com breaks it down for you.
Match-up: LSU’s defensive tackles vs the Pouncey twins
Charles Alexander turned down a chance to enter last April’s NFL draft after he was given another year of eligibility by the NCAA. In fact prior to his decision Alexander had received an invitation to the combine. Al Woods is a fourth year senior that’s been a consistent performer on the college level. Both are nice prospects with size and growth potential.
They have their work cut out for them as they face-off against the best brother-brother team in college football.
Center Maurkice Pouncey is turning into a dominant blocker on the pivot. In fact we’d go as far as saying the junior is the number one center prospect in the nation at this point. Maurkice is big, powerful yet also athletic and displays good movement skills. He can turn defenders off the line and create large running lanes in the middle of the field, or get out to the second level and annihilate linebackers. He has all the makings of a first round pick when he enters the draft.
Brother Michael Pouncey plays next to Maurkice at guard and is also a dominant blocker with a bright future at the next level.
This is an opportunity for Alexander and/or Woods to really impress scouts and elevate their draft stock. Productive performances against the impressive pair of blockers on the Gators line will leave a lasting impression.
Match-up: Brandon LaFell vs the UF secondary
Brandon LaFell is universally considered the top senior receiver available in next April’s draft. He gave serious consideration to entering the ’09 draft and there were reports of family members pressuring him to leave for the NFL. He’s a big, smooth pass catcher with a gliding style and very natural in all aspects of the position. LaFell constantly extends to make the reception away from his frame and displays both strong and soft hands. He offers potential as a number one at the next level and how early LaFell is selected in the first round will depend on how fast he runs prior to April and which underclassmen from the position enter the draft.
He goes up against a very tough Gator secondary on Saturday night.
Joe Haden is one of the brightest cornerback prospects from the junior class. There’s been much speculation as to whether or not he’ll enter April’s draft. Haden is physical and shows a lot of skill facing the action. Junior Ahmad Black is one of the most physical safeties in the nation. Black presently leads the Gators in tackles and is very effective up the field but does struggle with his ball skills. Safety Major Wright, another junior, is an underrated player who struggles to get playing time due to the depth of the Gators secondary. Wright is an adequately sized prospect with a complete game. He’s tough against the run and also displays solid skill in coverage.
LaFell’s courage will be tested as will his pass catching skills against the Gators dynamic secondary.
Match-up: LSU’s offensive tackles vs. Florida’s defensive ends
The breakdown of this match-up can be summed up by stating it features two of the most overrated players in the nation and a pair of underrated prospects.
When LSU tackle Ciron Black was a sophomore many anointed him as a first round pick. We never agreed with that opinion. Black is a well sized blocker and a better than average athlete. He also lacks balance, footwork and the strength to finish blocks. Now a senior, we presently grade Black as a late round pick and feel it may be necessary to move him inside to guard.
One the other hand his junior line-mate Joseph Barksdale is a legit mid-to-early round prospect. Barksdale is a big strong lineman with the ability to drive defenders off the ball run blocking. He plays with solid fundamentals and just needs to brush off the details of his game. He has a bright NFL future.
Florida has a pair of defensive ends, one who gets lots of hype and the other that gets the most from his ability.
Junior Carlos Dunlop passes the eyeball test and is an intimidating presence on the field. He flashes the ability to over-power opponents, bull rushing them off the line and creating a lot of pressure up the field. Dunlop is also a good athlete with the ability to string plays laterally out to the flanks. The problem for Dunlop is he does not make enough plays and his game is plagued with inconsistency. At his best Dunlop has top ten possibilities and can be used as a base end that lines up opposite right tackle or as a two-gap end. Right now he looks and plays like a boom or bust prospect.
Jermaine Cunningham does not have the size or the natural skills of his teammate yet gets a lot from his ability. Cunningham plays faster than his estimated 4.7 forty speed and bigger than his 248 pounds. He’s likely to be used as a 3-4 rush linebacker at the next level but may also get looks as a one-gap end.
The match-ups between these four players will be exceptional to watch and may go a long way in determining the outcome of this game.
Match-up: Brandon Spikes vs. Richard Dickson and Charles Scott
Brandon Spikes is the most dominant middle linebacker in the nation. He forces the action up the field, is stout defending the run and can be a nightmare on the blitz. Spikes plays with aggression, violence and his motor is always going full throttle.
He’s effective in the box and can chase down ball carriers to the sidelines. That said the middle linebacker struggles making plays in reverse and is not efficient in coverage.
The LSU offense will offer the power running of Charles Scott and tight end Richard Dickson, an efficient, overachieving tight end that produces as a pass catcher and blocker.
Scott has been slightly disappointing this season and NFL scouts are concerned he has not elevated his game. He showed signs of life last week against Georgia and a solid performance against the stout UF defense, and a tough run defender like Spikes, will get him back in the good graces of NFL scouts.
Dickson is a reliable pass catcher that comes through in the clutch. He’s by no means a true downfield threat but gets the job done when called upon. The few times Spikes is required to cover Dickson will be telling for the linebacker.
Oklahoma and Miami both enjoyed early season rankings yet each team has already lost a game during the first month of the ’09 campaign. They still remain in the hunt for a BCS birth at least until this weekend. Oklahoma offers as many as five first round players but will be missing their two highest rated NFL prospects as quarterback Sam Bradford will join tight end Jermaine Gresham on the sideline. Lost in the preparation for this weeks game was the news that Gresham, who was injured before the season began, will not seek another year of eligibility and will definitely enter next April’s draft. Miami offers several solid prospects from the senior class and many more emerging underclassmen. This is the type of game that could help re-establish Miami as a dominant program and would be the type of victory they have not enjoyed in many seasons. Brent Foshee of TFY Draft Preview looks at the top match-ups for Saturday’s feature game.
Key Match Up: Miami tackle Jason Fox vs. Oklahoma defensive end Auston English
Auston English is an athletic and hard working defensive end that uses his speed and effort to make plays up field or in pursuit. English is more adept at rushing the passer than defending the run and tends to find most of his success with outside rushing techniques where he can use his superior speed. English is also effective pursuing from the backside and always hustles until the whistle blows. He fits only certain schemes yet is expected to be a first day selection in April.
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