6) Two top players that have surprisingly little buzz around them ten days out from the draft are Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson and Florida State DE Bjoern Werner. Not long ago both players were talked about as potential top 5 selections and now you can go days without hearing a word about either player. Both Richardson and Werner have some red flags surrounding them. Richardson has questions surrounding his character, attitude and academic issues. While Werner has a clean resume off the field, his upside and ceiling on the field isn’t that of other top pass rushers. While I have no inside knowledge on either player, I won’t be surprised if these are two players that end up sliding a bit on draft day.
7) Speaking of Florida State pass rushers one of the most interesting story lines to watch as the first round unfolds on Thursday is where DE Tank Carradine is selected. If Carradine didn’t tear his ACL in November against Florida there is no doubt in my mind that he would be selected in the top ten of this draft. On talent and pass rush potential alone he is undoubtedly one of the most skilled players. It’s never easy for a team to select a player early in the draft, knowing that the player is likely to miss most of the upcoming season like Carradine will. A contending team at the end of the first round could get a huge steal if they decide they can wait for their first round pick to make an impact.
8) News came out this morning that Kansas State LB Arthur Brown visited the Patriots on Monday. I discussed adding a player like Brown during my last podcast. In short, it’s something I think this team is desperately lacking. The Patriots have a very talented, young linebacker corp. But, all three of their backers are larger, more physical backers and none of them run exceptionally well. Adding a player like Brown to the front seven is important. The Patriots need that speed, range and coverage ability on 3rd downs. Too many times last year, the linebackers gave up big gains on 3rd down, because their LB couldn’t cover the back coming out of the backfield or couldn’t make a play on an edge run. Brown is an instinctive, fast and rangy backer. He makes plays all over the field and would elevate the speed of the Patriots defense. Last year, the Patriots had legitimate interest in both Lavonte David and Demario Davis, before they selected Dont’a Hightower.
9) The way this draft is set up I think it would be smart for teams that need cornerback help to wait until the mid-late rounds where the value is expected to be much greater. It can be argued that there is only one corner that is a consensus first round pick. Xavier Rhodes is a good player, but he is a scheme fit and Desmond Trufant is a borderline first round talent. By filling another need in the first round and waiting until later in the draft to get a CB, teams will be able to maximize the value of their picks. Teams will be able to find impact corners deep into the 5th and 6th round this year, with players like Cal’s Steve Williams, South Florida’s Kayvon Webster, Miami(FL) Brandon McGee and Purdue’s Josh Johnson all late round guys that can step in and make an impact next year.
10) Keenan Allen has had a rough couple of days. Last week he ran in the high 4.6s-low 4.7s at his pro day and now there is speculation that he may have failed a drug test at the combine. Speed isn’t his game and no one really expected him to run fast at his pro day. But, when you combine the slow 40 with injury issues and now a possible failed drug test, teams will have to think twice before selecting him in round one. In terms of Keenan Allen and the New England Patriots, I still have a hard time envisioning Bill Belichick using a first round pick on a wide receiver that runs as slow as Allen does. I have been wrong in the past, but it’s just something I can’t see happening this year.