2014 NFL Draft Prospect Debate: Who’s the Better Value?

February 16th, 2014

 

Kelvin Benjamin is just as or more physically dominant than Mike Evans, but is his value really 20 picks lower because he struggles with drops? (Photo: US Presswire)

By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer

We are about to head into a turbulent time in the NFL Draft landscape where we judge prospects on rumors, film and measureables (if that’s even a word). It can be tough to gauge whether a prospect is actually worth the selection they are projected to be picked at. Sometimes the perceived value of two similarly talented prospects diverges to the point where they are slotted to go a full three rounds apart.

Whether its a blazing 40 time or a bad week in interviews we can overreact easily. That’s not to say its all for not and it certainly makes for interesting debates. Kind of like now. The following is a list of pairs where two prospects with similar skill sets, but differences in reputation and therefore value, are compared. I actually prefer all the prospects with a lower grade in this exercise, but the subject is fully open to debate.

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Mike Loyko’s Pre-Combine 2014 NFL Mock Draft

February 12th, 2014

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

It’s been a full week since the football season ended and the focus of the football universe is entirely on the NFL Draft. Even though it’s early, there is nothing fans love more than a mock draft. Fans love to dream of possibilities and envision which player their favorite team could end up with or find out where their favorite player might end up.

Free Agency hasn’t started yet and the combine is just over a week away,  which means this mock will be irrelevant in a matter of weeks. But, without further ado, here is my pre-combine mock draft.

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2014 NFL Draft: Addressing Value, Depth, and the Patriots’ Needs

February 11th, 2014

After trading back twice in Round 1 of the 2010 NFL draft – at the cost of Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant – Bill Belichick found value in Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Enigmatic. Stubborn. Unpredictable.

Those three words are often linked to the draft approach of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. But those three words aren’t Belichick’s intentions.

Finding value is.

Value is a loaded term. It’s not necessarily based on positional interest or the best-player-available adage; it’s what a team is willing to wage to acquire a player, relative to where a player could be selected.

Time has shown that it’s entirely interpretive. Yet time has also shown that it’s something Belichick invests tremendous stock in, as former Cleveland Browns general manager and NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi explained two years ago.

“Bill is very analytical. Bill is all about not falling in love with a player. Bill is looking at value,” said Lombardi, who served as Browns director of player personnel under Belichick from 1992 to 1995. “He wants the correct definition of the player and the correct value of the player. When he determines that, then he understands where he can move around in the draft.”

Belichick’s determinations have led the Patriots to Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty, Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder, Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones and Southern Mississippi linebacker Jamie Collins. His determinations have also led to surprises like Virginia corner Ras-I Dowling, Illinois safety Tavon Wilson, Ohio State special-teamer Nate Ebner and Rutgers safety Duron Harmon.

To Belichick, all of whom were in the right place at the right time. It remains to be seen who will be in the right place at the right time this May.

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2014 NFL Draft Close-Up: UCLA Offensive Guard Xavier Su’a-Filo

February 10th, 2014

Xavier Su’a-Filo’s journey has ventured beyond football. But on the field, the UCLA Bruin has become one of the top offensive linemen in the country. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

In the coming weeks and months leading up to the 2014 NFL draft, NEPatriotsDraft.com will profile college prospects that potentially fit the needs and draft seating of the New England Patriots. In this third installment, we will take a closer look at the film behind UCLA offensive guard Xavier Su’a-Filo.

Xavier Su’a-Filo is carved from a different mold.

That mold turned the 6’3”, 285-pound offensive lineman into a three-year starter at Timpview High School in Provo, Utah, where the Thunderbirds won a state-record 36 consecutive games behind Su’a-Filo’s road-paving blocks.

Recognition followed.

He was ranked the No. 1 prospect in the state by Rivals.com. He was branded a top-35 prospect by ESPNU. He was named a first-team All-American by EA Sports. He was selected to play in the Under Armour All-America game.

Su’a-Filo was a four-star recruit, but he was also an Eagle Scout and a member of the LDS Church. And after enrolling at UCLA and starting a school-record 13 games as a freshman left tackle in 2009, after being named a Phil Steele second-team Freshman All-American and a Pac-12 All-Freshman selection, he decided that football could wait.

So he left to serve a two-year Mormon mission. It was a mission that would lead him across the country to Florida and Alabama. It wasn’t until winter of 2012 that the 6’3”, 305-pounder returned to school in Los Angeles.

No. 56 picked up where he left off. Read the rest of this entry »


Greg Robinson Scouting Report

February 7th, 2014

Prospect: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 320
Grade: 7.95 (Grading Scale)

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Legion of Boom: 2014 Prospects Who Fit the Super Bowl Champs Prototype

February 6th, 2014

Calvin Pryor isn’t as big as Kam Chancellor but brings the same intensity and hard hitting ability as the Seahawks safety (Photo: US Presswire)

By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer

While Super Sunday was anything but in terms of being an entertaining and competitive game, it might have answered an age old question. Which is better, a dominant defense or potent offense? If you take the Seahwaks victory as a barometer it seems the prior. That’s certainly what most of the media would have you believe in the immediate aftermath of the game, a time where overreaction trumps reality. That being said it’s clear that the Pete Carroll led defense in the Pacific Northwest utilized a particular blueprint to counteract the rise of the passing game. Like any successful scheme it relies on the personnel available, but what gets Carroll and GM John Schneider league wide respect is the process they followed to build a team around a philosophy.

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Sammy Watkins Scouting Report

February 5th, 2014

Prospect: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 205
Grade:  7.8 (Grading Scale)

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