On or off the field - Still no.1With the arrival of the weekend, the NFL swings into full force!

The Uncanny Mock returns with a vengeance to predict the 2011 NFL Draft seven months prior to the actual occurrence.

Two full rounds of madness!

Head Scout Brent Sobleski steers this ship into its inevitable oblivion.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy as TFY’s last preseason prognostication enters the long and winding road of regular season talent evaluation.

Before the journey begins, a few questions shall surely be raised and now answered…

- Slotting is based off last year’s standing, until proven otherwise.

- An asterisk denotes an underclassman.

- Underclassmen are not included past the initial round.

So with that…

Round 1

# Team Selection Position/College
1 St. Louis Robert Quinn* DE/North Carolina
Analysis: Offensively, the Rams established an identity drafting Sam Bradford in 2010.  Now they will look to do the same defensively establishing a potentially dominant line with the addition of this pass rusher extraordinaire.
2 Detroit Patrick Peterson* CB/LSU
Analysis: Some questions can be raised as to which cornerback prospect could and should be slotted this highly.   Peterson has the size, physical nature, and even return ability to add to an already vastly improved Detroit defense.
3 Tampa Bay A.J. Green* WR/Georgia
Analysis: Already entering this season relying heavily on rookie presence at receiver, neither Mike Williams nor Rejus Benn has the type of physical ability or potential dominant traits of an A.J. Green.  The unit will be very young, but quarterback Josh Freeman will certainly enjoy these options.
4 Washington Marcell Dareus* DE/Alabama
Analysis: Eventually the massive headache known as Albert Haynesworth will be treated.   Marcell Dareus has to the potential to add a similar type of dominant player along their front line.  Oh…and the Crimson Tide product has no issues playing and excelling in a 34 defensive front.
5 Kansas City Andrew Luck* QB/Stanford
Analysis: Early indicators rank Luck as the one true franchise quarterback prospect with draft eligibility.  Under new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, KC will discover if Matt Cassell is the top quarterback they paid for or a waste of money.   He has not shown enough to date to warrant passing on a prospect of Luck’s caliber.
6 Seattle Aldon Smith* DE/Missouri
Analysis: Coach Carroll needs, and became accustomed to, the horses up front for his defense to be successful.  Smith has off the charts physical ability and could slide seamlessly into the Leo role desperately needed to provide a consistent edge presence.
7 Cleveland Michael Floyd* WR/Notre Dame
Analysis: The Browns lack playmakers both offensively and defensively.  If they are going to make the jump from simply being well coached and competitive into a winning football team, then game breakers are required…starting at the wide receiver position.
8 New England (from Oakland) Prince Amukamara CB/Nebraska
Analysis: Three straight drafts and a third opportunity for the Patriots to add a top talent to their already young secondary.  Amukamara has the type of physical ability which would separate him from the likes of Devin McCourty and Darius Butler to become the team’s top cover man.
9 Buffalo Jake Locker QB/Washington
Analysis: Buffalo could only smile if one of the top quarterback prospects still landed in their laps.  Locker has the type of athletic ability behind center which Chan Gailey has previously flourished.  Whatever the case, eventually, the Bills have to address the position.
10 Jacksonville Ryan Mallett* QB/Arkansas
Analysis: Ryan Mallett is overrated at this juncture, and this slotting is falling along those same lines.  His lack of touch makes him a potential coach killer.  But the biggest issue in Jacksonville is having the talent to excite their fans, including the ability to bring some explosiveness to their offense. Mallett would accommodate both qualities.
11 Chicago Cameron Heyward DE/Ohio State
Analysis: If the Bears are selecting this high once again, then one thing is certain.  The entirety of the team’s football operations will be fired.  Whoever would be entering as the team’s new head coach and general manager will have to look toward helping Julius Peppers and keeping their talented Bear linebacker’s clean.
12 Miami Mark Ingram* RB/Alabama
Analysis: The Dolphins’ identity is built around running the football. Ronnie Brown is coming off his second major knee surgery.  Ricky Williams’ future is uncertain.  Time to infuse some youth and fresh talent into the mix.
13 San Francisco Von Miller LB/Texas A&M
Analysis: Maybe it is the glasses which make Miller remind one of Coach Singletary.  Or maybe the 49ers have lacked a legit pass rushing presence at outside linebacker for years.  Manny Lawson and Parys Haralson are solid 34 backers, but do not present the type of natural ability off the edge that Miller does.
14 Denver Jerrell Powe NT/Mississippi
Analysis: No substitute can be found for a legit, powerful, run stuffing nose tackle.  Currently, the Broncos defensive line is old.  Jamaal Williams’ best days are behind him.  If this unit is to take the next step, a talent such as Powe needs to be added up front.
15 NY Giants Bruce Carter LB/North Carolina
Analysis: Along the three lines of defense the Giants have excelled over the years, linebacker has been the weakest as of late.   The defensive line carried them to a Super Bowl.  Antrel Rolle was added to the secondary.  Now it’s time to acquire some true playmaking ability among the linebackers.
16 Tennessee Julio Jones* WR/Alabama
Analysis: The Titans should be thrilled to have an elite wide receiver simply slide right into their collective grasp.  Jones would add to Kenny Britt, Justin Gage, Bo Scaife etc. while taking pressure of the running game and MVP candidate Chris Johnson.
17 Carolina Jonathan Baldwin* WR/Pittsburgh
Analysis: Steve Smith has been looking for a running mate for as long as many can remember.  Dwayne Jarrett appears destined to never pan out fully.  While Baldwin can add the same type of physical presence but even more overall talent to the position.
18 Pittsburgh Allen Bailey DE/Miami
Analysis: Troy Polamalu’s injury hampered the Steeler defense a year ago, but it was Aaron Smith’s loss which was debilitating. Bailey would infuse youth and athleticism into Pittsburgh’s defensive line.  A unit which is on the precipice of a much needed overhaul.
19 Atlanta Adrian Clayborn DE/Iowa
Analysis: John Abraham will be 33 next season.  Former top pick Jamaal Anderson never panned out and could move inside.  Kory Biermann has been a pleasant surprise.  But the Falcons still need to add more pass rushing ability to their defense.  A combination of Clayborn and the aforementioned Beirmann would be absolutely relentless off the edge.
20 Houston Stephen Paea DT/Oregon State
Analysis: With all the high draft picks spent on the Texans’ defense, it has never lived up to expectations.  Mario Williams is a stud, but Amobi Okoye has yet to fully develop.   Paea is a bull in the middle and could take pressure off both by collapsing the interior of the pocket consistently.
21 Cincinnati Ryan Williams* RB/Virginia Tech
Analysis: Simply adding more potential to an already scary offense. Despite having household names at both wide receiver and quarterback, the Bengals’ bread is buttered with their physical running attack.  Cedric Benson is a stud but nearing that infamous 30 years old plateau.  Williams could only add an elite dimension to a unit which will already be one of the best in the NFL.
22 New England Gabe Carimi OT/Wisconsin
Analysis: Sebastian Vollmer was a nice find by the Patriots and can play both left and right tackle when needed.  But Carimi is arguably the best tackle prospect in a weak class, and clearly its best pass protector. So New England can stand pat and add a potential top prospect to eventually replace a 32 years old Matt Light.
23 Green Bay Akeem Ayers* LB/UCLA
Analysis: Brad Jones developed quickly into a solid football player after being a late round addition.  But he, nor any other Pack linebacker, present the rush ability to bookend Clay Matthews III.  Ayers is an exceptional athlete off the edge to perform that very function.
24 Philadelphia Chykie Brown CB/Texas
Analysis: This particular cornerback class as a whole is intriguing, because there are multiple talents which could find their way into the first round.  Settling with Brown, the Eagles are only looking to add to an already young and improving team at a premium position.
25 Baltimore Ras-I Dowling CB/Virginia
Analysis: The Achilles heel for the Ravens this season may be their bruised and battered secondary. The great Ed Reed’s future has already been in question.  Two starting corners are suffering through injury.  Dowling has the potential to play and/or start at both cornerback and safety.
26 Arizona Kyle Rudolph* TE/Notre Dame
Analysis: A quarterback’s friend can be their tight end.  With Kurt Warner’s retirement, and the debacle of Matt Leinart now in the rear view mirror; Derek Anderson takes his turn.  A once and future starter who does not possess passable accuracy.  By adding a large target in Rudolph, it can only help their quarterbacks in the long run.
27 Dallas Jarvis Jenkins DT/Clemson
Analysis: Marcus Spears has been somewhat of a disappointment since he stepped foot in Dallas under Bill Parcells.  He has never lived up to his potential and could eventually find himself off the roster.  Jenkins, could replace, and certainly provide talented depth along a defensive front crucial to their scheme.
28 San Diego Jared Crick* DT/Nebraska
Analysis: Unbelievably, Antonio Garay finds himself in the starting nose tackle position for the Chargers. The same Garay who was out of football a few years and only played in two games a year ago. While Crick would not be his immediate replacement, it is an indictment of the talent (or lack thereof) along this particular unit.
29 NY Jets Jeremy Beal DE/Oklahoma
Analysis: The project that was Vernon Gholston at outside linebacker has finally been dashed.  Leaving Bryan Thomas, Calvin Pace, and Jason Taylor to man the position.  None of the aforementioned names shall be under the age of 30 by the end of this season.  Beal presents a package of athleticism and ability to develop into a 34 outside linebacker down the road.
30 Minnesota Christian Ponder QB/Florida State
Analysis: Brett Favre.  Brett Favre.  Brett Favre.  If you say his name three times, does he go away? It is too much to think this could *actually* be his final year?  And the team’s actions have spoken volumes regarding his back-up Tavares Jackson.  Ponder has all the makings of becoming the type of quarterback Coach Childress could love in his system.
31 Indianapolis Anthony Castonzo OT/Boston College
Analysis: Tony Ugoh has been waived.  Charles Johnson is solid but can definitely be upgraded.   Castonzo is the type of technician that would slide seamlessly into the team’s starting left tackle role.
32 New Orleans Greg Romeus DE/Pittsburgh
Analysis: A talented team with the ability to take best available.  Will Smith finally lived up to all of his potential a year ago becoming a monster off the edge.  But he has never had a true bookend to compliment the pass rush.   Romeus is chalk full of potential, if he can become consistent on a down-by-down basis.

Round 2

# Team Selection Position/College
33 St. Louis DeMarco Murray RB/Oklahoma
34 Detroit Derrek Sherrod OT/Mississippi State
35 Tampa Bay Pernell McPhee DE/Mississippi State
36 Kansas City Cliff Matthews DE/South Carolina
37 Washington Stefen Wisniewski C/Penn State
38 Cleveland Christian Ballard DT/Iowa
39 Oakland Marcus Gilbert OT/Florida
40 Seattle Greg Little WR/North Carolina
41 Buffalo Ryan Kerrigan DE/Purdue
42 Chicago Jason Pinkston OT/Pittsburgh
43 Denver (from Miami) Aaron Williams CB/Texas
44 Jacksonville Michael Pouncey OG/Florida
45 Denver Kelvin Sheppard LB/LSU
46 NY Giants Marvin Austin DT/North Carolina
47 Tennessee Cameron Jordan DE/California
48 New England (from Carolina) Mark Herzlich OLB/Boston College
49 San Francisco Jerrod Johnson QB/Texas A&M
50 Atlanta Ronald Johnson WR/USC
51 Houston Jimmy Smith CB/Colorado
52 Pittsburgh Chimdi Chekwa CB/Ohio State
53 New England Niles Paul WR/Nebraska
54 Cincinnati Greg Jones LB/Michigan State
55 Philadelphia Justin Boren OG/Ohio State
56 Green Bay Davon House CB/New Mexico State
57 Baltimore Mario Fannin RB/Auburn
58 Arizona Jabaal Sheard DE/Pittsburgh
59 Dallas DeMarcus Love OT/Arkansas
60 San Diego Leonard Hankerson WR/Miami
61 NY Jets Orlando Franklin OT/Miami
62 Minnesota Kendric Burney CB/North Carolina
63 Indianapolis Rodney Hudson OG/Florida State
64 New Orleans K.J. Wright LB/Mississippi State
9/14/10 Edition

9/14/10 Edition

Welcome back as the Weekend Watcher regales of talented competition.

Head Scout Brent Sobleski once again scours the nation, watching as many games as possible, while reporting back with those which piqued his interest.

Time for another weekly round-up.

Let us all travel back in time for a moment and remember the wonderful Labor Day holiday weekend just experienced. Barbecues were smoking. Everyone was wearing white for the last time. And there were a couple quality football games of which to partake, particularly the Naval Academy versus Maryland.

Navy is always one of the most interesting teams to watch year in and year out. Not from a talent evaluation perspective, but for those who prefer scheme and discipline in their football games.

Early in 2009 many were trying to see exactly what the buzz was about surrounding Wake Forest’s Aaron Curry (a future top five selection). The Demon Deacons played Navy in their bowl game that season. Many rumblings came out of that game that Curry was not a playmaker, and he did not deserve his lofty status.

Upon closer review, not enough draftniks understand the nuances of playing against the triple option. Many did not see Curry continually blasting his assignment out of the play, or shedding cut blocks, or never being out of position. His stat line was not impressive, but his performance was.

Navy forces opposing teams on their heels causing them to play assignment football. It is not natural for most defenders as they think their way through the defense instead of relying on instincts.

Lo and behold the Terrapins currently have three of their own talented linebacker prospects; Adrian Moten, Alex Wujciak, and Demetrius Hartsfield. Each completed this contest with at least 12 tackles. Inside backer, Wujciak, led the way with 18 in total. But none were as disciplined in their play as the aforementioned Curry.

First, it was interesting to see the approach facing the triple option by Head Coach Ralph Friedgen and his coaching staff.

Traditionally, the triple option is attacked as such…

- Defensive tackles and inside linebackers have dive responsibility.
- Defensive ends have the quarterback.
- Outside linebackers have the pitch man.
- The safeties play the alleys.

Maryland tweaked this process by using a three man front where the ends pinched into the inside running attack. The outside linebackers had the quarterback. And the safeties were up in the box five to eight yards deep playing the pitch, with the corners helping on the edge.

This is an instance where Maryland felt the athleticism they have, particularly at outside linebacker, could overcome Navy’s pitch phase. But Navy was in position, and should have, won the game.

Moten displayed his athletic ability with one of the top plays anyone will see all season.

The Midshipmen had driven the ball near the goal line. Moten leapt over the guard corralling Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs, before the signal caller could even release completely from the center/quarterback exchange. It caused a fumble at the 1-yard-line and helped secure the victory. It was not quite Roy Williams versus Texas of years gone by…but it was close.

Moten spent the rest of his day trailing as the weakside linebacker scraping down the line to make tackles.

His bookend, Hartsfield, may even been a superior athlete. But his long arms and lean frame had troubles holding up at the point of attack allowing too many Naval offensive linemen into his legs.

Meanwhile, Wujciak have had the most impressive stat line. He also was exposed as not having the speed to prowl sideline to sideline.

Safety Antwine Perez jumped off film early when he exploded through a tackle making his presence felt. The 6-feet-2-inches tall and 210 pound USC transfer is a big hitter but far too often lost his footing and angles instead of squaring into potential tackles.

Maryland snuck away with a victory this past holiday weekend only after surrendering 421 rushing yards to Navy.

Thursday night the MAC’s two best players/prospects butted heads.

Central Michigan’s Jake Olson and Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson each had exemplary performances and displayed why each could eventually develop into elite prospects.

The Chippewa’s left tackle was particularly impressive. Olson is arguably the most athletic tackle prospect to come down the pipeline since Virginia’s D’Brickashaw Ferguson graced collegiate fields.

Olson’s footwork is exceptional, and he has the ability to mirror any edge rusher in the nation with his pass set. His lower body is very flexible with a deep kick step. He is very long and lean at 6-feet-8-inches. Olson simply moves about effortlessly.

The offensive lineman’s greatest strength may also be his greatest weakness.

Olson’s tall frame currently supports 290 pounds. This certainly can contribute to the nimbleness of his footwork. Since entering Central Michigan near 240 pounds, the blindside protector has had his issues gaining and maintaining weight. Because the tall blocker does not present the traditional girth at the position, he has to play on his toes when pass blocking. Olson does not rely on the strength of his post leg and base, but rather bows up and really leans his weight forward into his blocks. As such, he is often seen playing over his toes instead of flat footed. His punch also suffers to a degree, really needing to wind up to effectively stun a defender upon contact.

As a redshirt sophomore, Olson still has the time to develop his body more fully for the next level. While he adds another 10-20 pounds on said frame, Jake Olson has the potential of developing into an elite pass protector entering the National Football League. Much like one of his predecessors at the position, Joe Staley, had many of the same issues.

On the opposite side of the football, Temple defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson is a tailor-made five technique for 34 based teams. At 6-feet-5-inches tall and 305 pounds, the junior was completely overwhelming Chippewa offensive lineman on a down by down basis. Wilkerson led the team with two quarterback sacks and three tackles for loss. He would gain leverage, make his initial run read, and then easily discard blockers to the side.

The top quarterback prospect in the NCAA, Andrew Luck, did not have his best effort to date against UCLA.

His final stat line read: 11 completions, 24 passes, 45.8 completion percentage, and 151 passing yards.

Early in the game an issue presented itself as to why Luck may have struggled. The talented redshirt sophomore was not properly distributing his weight from his plant foot, through the football, thus driving it down field. At first it seemed as if this were a result of adrenaline early in the game. Instead, his progress got worse as the game continued.

Luck was simply getting sloppy with his mechanics, particularly his footwork.

But there were still things to like about his play which set him apart for him contemporaries. The Stanford Cardinal quarterback is decisive in his throws. He is delivers the ball with a tight compact delivery. He can and will look off the safety. And his athleticism showed through on a night which required Luck to rush for 63 yards.

Not a shining example by any means, but it is his prevalent skill set which is so intriguing.

A teammate of Luck’s which NFL coaches will fall in love with during the evaluation process is fullback/linebacker Owen Marecic. Marecic is currently the only two way player in college football.

As the team’s fullback, Marecic can be a devastating downhill blocker. He paved the way for Toby Gerhart’s tremendous Heisman run a year ago. And he will now freight train paths through defenses for a plethora of backs this season. There is no hesitation in his blocks, and he is more than adequate as a pass protector. Highly touted linebacker Akeem Ayers was held in check throughout this contest, primarily due to Marecic’s blocking.

As the team’s starting linebacker, Marecic does not appear entirely comfortable. Stanford has once again resorted to a 34 defensive front. The hard nosed defender currently resides at the Mack linebacker position to take advantage of his tremendous down hill ability. But he is limited in his role, struggled to engage, and then defeat blockers.

The inside linebackers as a unit are facing issues due to weak nose tackle play by Sione Fua, who does not require double teams from the offensive interior.

Overall, Owen Marecic is a throw back and arguably the best pure football player in the country.

Quick Hits

- Lee Smith is a large tight end with legitimate blocking and pass catching ability. The Marshall product (formerly of Tennessee) played a major role as the Thundering Herd should have beaten West Virginia. He will find a place on an NFL roster and be in the league a long time.
- Clint Bolen may not be the flashiest blocker, and he certainly is not left tackle material, yet he shut down South Carolina’s highly touted defensive end Cliff Matthews simply by using his hand positioning and initial punch properly and effectively.
- Garrett Chisolm helped dominate a porous Georgia defensive line. The Gamecock prospect is a powerful straight line blocker that is built like an offensive tackle, but does not have the lateral movement to be anything other than a guard.
- Chris Culliver, it is clear the cornerback can run with anyone. Now will this particular South Carolina defender learn to tackle anyone?
- Cameron Heyward and Allen Bailey, dominate performances from both top defensive line prospects. Though the Ohio State star *almost* looked like a linebacker dropping back in coverage and snagging an interception.
- Tyrelle Pryor, now THERE is the quarterback prospect so many have grown to loath. Back to the end of the Heisman line for you. Try to give someone the benefit of the doubt, and this is what happens.

Remember…the eye in the sky does not lie, and the Watcher sees all.

Week two of the college football season kicked off on Thursday and offers a tremendous number of top NFL prospects that will be pitted against one another today.  Brent Sobleski and Tony Pauline will highlight these matches throughout the afternoon and evening.  We’ve included links to our pre-season team reports so viewers can break down all the pro-prospects on every team.

Georgia vs. South Carolina

Some of the luster has been taken out of this contest after two of its top prospects were suspended for the game in Georgia’s A.J. Green and South Carolina’s Weslye Saunders.

There is still plenty of talent left, particular among the Bulldogs’ offensive and defensive lines.  South Carolina possesses one of the most underrated and athletic edge rushers in the nation. A match-up in the trenches which could dictate the outcome of the game.

Georgia: Clint Boling, OT, Cordy Glenn, OG, Josh Davis, OT, Ben Jones, C, Chris Davis, OG

South Carolina: Cliff Matthews, DE, Ladi Ajiboye, DT

Michigan vs. Notre Dame

Could both rosters finally be on the upswing after off seasons filled with turmoil?  Coach Rodriguez finally looks to have the talent in his spread system to run and gun with any team in the nation.  While Notre Dame’s defense came out fast and physical last weekend dictating the pace of the game against Purdue.  The Irish hope to rein in the speed of true sophomore sensation Denard Robinson, currently behind center for the Wolverines.  These two phases of the game and their subsequent play will directly result in who claims victory.

Michigan: Denard Robinson, QB (sophomore), Vincent Smith, RB (sophomore), Steve Schilling, OG, Kevin Koger, TE, Darryl Stonum, WR, Michael Shaw, RB

Notre Dame: Darius Fleming, OLB, Brian Smith, ILB, Ian Williams, NT, Ethan Johnson, DE, Darrin Walls, CB, Gary Gray, CB
Harrison Smith, S

Oregon vs. Tennessee

After a last week’s 72-0 shallacking, the Ducks handed out to New Mexico a week ago; Oregon may find travelling the high road to ole Rocky Top may be slightly tougher.  Chip Kelly’s team loves to spread the football and explode with their zone read attack.  The Volunteers have had numerous issues throughout the year but are certainly more talented on paper than Oregon’s previous opponent. A high octane offense will now face a defense in transition. Fans of Tennessee better be prepared for the upcoming onslaught, as the Ducks present the best stable of running backs in the nation.

Oregon: Darron Thomas, QB, LaMichael James, RB, Kenjon Barner, RB, Remene Alston Jr., RB, Nate Costa, QB, Jeff Maehl, WR

Tennessee: LaMarcus Thompson, LB, Ben Martin, DE, Chris Walker, LB, Gerald Williams, DE

Michigan St vs Florida Atlantic

Rob Hausler of FAU was surprisingly graded as one of the top tight ends in the nation from numerous scouting agencies, despite not playing ball in 2009.   He’ll have his work cut out for him against Greg Jones of Michigan State.

3:30 Games

Allen Bailey is the favorite defensive lineman for many in the nation and with good reason.  Yet when Miami faces off against Ohio State this afternoon it will be a terrific test for the Hurricane senior, who’ll battle several top Buckeye blockers.

Speaking of offensive line/defensive line battles, we are really anticipating the interstate battle between Iowa and Iowa State.  Everyone knows of Hawkeye defensive end Adrian Clayborn, one of the highest rated senior prospects in the nation.  People will soon get acquainted with Kelechi Osemele, the Hawkeyes tackle we are incredibly high on.  This will be a great battle as Osemele is a great run blocker and run defense is not a strength for Clayborn.  While Clayborn is a tremendous pass rusher and could exploit Osemele’s poor footwork.

They may not meet head-to-head all that often but it will be fun to watch offensive lineman Rodney Hudson square off against Jeremy Beal when Florida State meets Oklahoma.

During our podcast on Wednesday we spoke glowingly about Michigan linebacker James Mouton.  He’ll have to display a bit more skill today, and could further elevate his draft stock, when the Wolverines face the much more diverse offense of Notre Dame.

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