A Scouts Take: 15 Thoughts on the NFL Draft

11. This is the season for misinformation to be given out by NFL teams. Each time I go online I see another tweet or another post claiming that a team has decided to pick so and so, such as “the Bengals are going to pick Peter Konz in the first round”.

I’d tread very carefully before I believe anything information given out by teams or team sources right now. Teams will often feed agents news and false information, knowing that it will get out to the league and sometimes the public. In most cases the smokescreens do very little to actually effect the draft. Most teams know what each team is looking for and what each team needs. However, there are times where a smokescreen can force a team to trade up or reach for a player because they are afraid a rival team will get the player.

The most prominent example of this I can think of is the Jets selecting Vernon Gholston at #6 in the 2008 NFL draft and proclaiming they stole him from the Patriots who supposedly coveted the Ohio State pass rusher. This was never the case and Eric Mangini ended up selecting a player who turned out being a tremendous bust, just because Bill Belichick sent out some false information. Tread lightly until April 26.

12. One sleeper prospect to keep an eye on during the draft and throughout his NFL career is BYU DT Loni Fangupo. Fangupo is one of the few true nose tackle prospects in this draft. I was really impressed by the way Fangupo went through drills at the NFL combine. He looked like he was having a great time, smiling ear to ear and giving it 110%. His positive attitude was evident and appeared to rub off on some of the other DTs in his group.

On the field, Fangupo is your traditional Samoan player: strong as an ox and powerful at the point of attack. He has a shorter but stout frame, can take on blockers at the line of scrimmage and bull rush. He isn’t going to be an everydown player and might not even make it in the league. That said, I thought the way he carried himself and went through the drills was really impressive. I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed.

13. Dre Kirkpatrick in my opinion is the 2nd best cornerback in this year’s draft. I love the physical presence he brings to the perimeter of a defense and his ability to play press coverage and step up against the run is the best in the draft. His size combined with his speed could make him one of the toughest corners to go up against in the league.

It’s perplexing to me and confusing why people think he should be moved to free safety. It seems like every CB prospect that comes around who is taller than 6’0 should be moved to free safety. It’s not as easy a transition as some would make it seem to be and for a player who has been a CB his whole career it doesn’t make sense. I can see moving a player who can run like a CB, or may have severe limitations in coverage, but that’s not the case with Kirkpatrick.

His stock has slid a little bit since the end of the season and South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore’s stock has risen to the point where some project Gilmore to go before Kirkpatrick. While both are good prospects and both have their strengths I believe Kirkpatrick is currently a much more complete CB and it would be a mistake to pass on him for Gilmore and even worse to move him to safety.

14. In previous weeks, I’ve talked about how the Jets need to have a good draft to add depth and youth their roster. Another AFC team that I believe is in the same boat as the Jets is the Baltimore Ravens. It’s going to be important for the Ravens to hit on their picks, especially early to add some youth to their roster. The Ravens are going to be in tough shape cap wise going forward.

This off-season we have seen them lose Ben Grubbs and Jarret Johnson, both of whom were key components to their playoff team last year. They have franchised Ray Rice and will need to work out a long term deal with him and QB Joe Flacco within the year. This week they spent nearly 10 million dollars a year to resign LaDarrius Webb, which is a great move, but a costly one.

When you combine their limited cap space with their aging defensive core, you have a team that could be headed in the wrong direction unless they have an infusion of cheap, young talent. The only way to do that is through the draft.

15. Two players that some casual draft fans may be familiar with, who I think are going to fall like a rock come draft day are North Carolina WR Dwight Jones and Texas A&M WR Jeff Fuller. Both players, at some point in their career, were projected to be first round selections, Jones more recently than Fuller.

In Fuller’s case, he had a really poor season, he dropped a number of catchable balls and battled through injuries. He’s not nearly as fast as some think and I question his intensity on the field. Fuller won’t go anywhere near the first round. I think he drops to around the 6th round, because there are just too many question marks and a lot of poor film.

In Dwight Jones’ case he has had possibly the worst draft season of any prospect. He had a sub-par showing at the Senior Bowl, looking slow, unimpactful and disinterested at times. He then went to the combine and looked terrible running routes and had a tough time following the directions of the coaches. Jones also gave up on a number of balls and didn’t go full speed on every pass. These performances have really crushed Jones’ stock. For someone who around mid-season was considered a 1st round pick, he has fallen off the map.

I’d expect Jones to go before Fuller, but not much before, he’s looking at a late 4th-5th round grade.

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13 Responses to “A Scouts Take: 15 Thoughts on the NFL Draft”

  1. Bob Shannon says:

    Trading Both 27 & 31 to get more picks is where my interests lie….Would St Louis make a trade for their 33 & 39 picks,or a 3rd & 5th with the 33rd???? Six picks is not accomplishing what I want out of the draft if I’m BB….

  2. qwerty says:

    >The Patriots linebackers were awful in coverage last year. They were routinely picked on in coverage and struggled to cover receivers, ends and backs.

    Sure they were awful with so many starting LB’s on injury list. Guyton played a major role in the awfulness.

    Once Mayo and Spikes for healthy, patriots coverage defense over middle really tightened up. I saw nothing much to complain about after that.

    >The need for a coverge linebacker is perhaps the most pressing need remaining on the team.

    it is definitely not a pressing need and certainly not anything major

    What the patriots need at LB is replacement for guyton and that is all

    Patriots need to grab a CB and WR since the draft seems to be more loaded at those positions. The draft next year will be loaded with Safety’s so that is time to draft. With added depth at CB, they can move McCourty to safety if push comes to shove.

    • qwerty says:

      Also Fletcher went down also.

    • Mark says:

      Where does Ryan Mallet valuate against this crop of QBs?

      • Ken W says:

        I would say if Mallett was in this draft, ranking them on talent and ability then he would be in the 3rd spot behind Luck and RG3. What caused him to drop last year was off the field issues and people questioned his maturity.

        • qwerty says:

          In this draft, 3rd spot would be an easy lock for mallet and maybe even vie for number 2.

          I suspect that Mallet may go down in history as one of the best QB bargains like Brady did with so many teams bypassing him.

  3. George R says:

    When i see McClellin, I see Vrabel….Size, speed a little taller than Mike. He’s a rare athlete that can do a loy of things. I think he projects better than Mercilus, IMO is an edge rusher. McClellin is a 3 down player. Ergo a 1st rounder. BB could finally replace Vrabel. Ninkovich is playing better, still not as good as Vrabel. I think this kid could rotate in day 1 and by the end of the Season should be a full time starter. The goal of taking a guy in the 1st.
    Barron seems unlikely, unless BB is all in and get’s in front of the Jets @ 16. Can BB find a trade partner in the early to mid-teens?

    • Jim R says:

      I think if they are going to get McClellin he will not last until 48. He could be thier first round pick. I would be very suprised if they selected at 27 and 31.

  4. BILL says:

    I think bengals just cut one of their safeties, so there’s another in the market, at 17 or 21. Barron will surely be gone by 27.

    I completely agree that Pats need a coverage LB, and their appears to be a few very fast guys aavailable 2nd round. Bobby Wagner is one, but Mychal Kendricks, demario Davis, and Nigel Bradham are all fast and pretty fluid guys that are in the 6′-6’2 area. I’d love to see one of these guys at #62. I’d like to get Childs or Quick at 62 also.

    With all the value in that 40-70 area of the draft, It wouldn’t surprise me to see 27 or 31 moving down 10-15 spots to get an extra 3-4th rd pick. Somebody gonna want to get The TE Fleener before the Giants pick him or to grab QB before the 2nd day

    • Jim R says:

      Bill, I agree with your views. Recent history has shown us that BB has a field day moving around in rounds 2-5. This year will be no different. It would not shock me if he picks a fatty (OL) in round 1. If he does I think that means both Light and waters will retire.

  5. Dan says:

    Sorry to day that I agree that Barron will never make it to them; that’s been my opinion the last month, and was only confirmed with his work out.
    The only hope is these other teams with interest (and need) will see a bigger need elsewhere…a more sexy pick for the fans, for their jobs being on the line, to sell tickets, or just to fill a bigger need. Philly was said to have interest and need at safety, but they lost Peters at LT and now that could push them to draft there…for example (even though they signed the dude from Buffalo).
    Let’s hope the Jets take Upshaw and he slips down to 19 or 20, or so, then maybe we’ll move up to grab him.

    • Dan says:

      My hunch is he won’t, or can’t (we’ll never know) move up, and he will reach for Harrison Smith, but only at 31. We need that player at safety and I think Smith has the measurables and the smarts to build on. I’m not in love with his game like some (mayock), but he does look like he could be an upgrade…and a fill for major hole.
      I feel Gregory was just insurance and wishful thinking…he could be a special teamer only, back up, and then cut next year. But, he’ll get a shot and they gave him some money to see…I like the move…the admission of the need.

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