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AirForceChief
04-08-2005, 01:14 PM
Pete Prisco:

It's funny now to think about all this talk last season about how the cornerback position would be de-emphasized because of the emphasis on calling contact in the secondary. First, the cornerbacks cleaned up in free agency. Now comes word that as many as six corners could go off the board in the first round. Miami's Antrel Rolle, West Virginia's Adam "Pac-Man" Jones and Auburn's Carlos Rogers will be gone by the 15th pick in the first round. Fabian Washington of Nebraska, Justin Miller of Clemson and McFadden of Florida State could also go in the first round. So much for the thinking the corner position would be devalued.


Dead on.

the Talking Can
04-08-2005, 01:17 PM
the new rules actually make talented CBs more important...the "CBs don't matter now" line is Oprah quality insight.....

AirForceChief
04-08-2005, 01:22 PM
Actually, this article covers a lot of the players recently discussed here on The Planet...a little long, but worth the read:

Where can two inches mean a $5 million difference? Get your mind out of the gutter.

We're talking the NFL here. Mike Patterson is about to live this lesson the hard way -- in his bank account.


Mike Patterson has been a dominator on college football's best team. (Getty Images)
Patterson is a talented, aggressive, penetrating defensive tackle who showed up on tape for the Southern Cal Trojans last year as much as any player on a talented defense that helped the team win a national title. I challenge you to watch any USC game where No. 99 isn't dominant.

But come draft day, later this month, Patterson will be one of those players sitting and waiting to hear his name called. It could come late in the first round -- a smart team would be wise to do so -- or it could come in the second round.

This much is certain: At 6-feet tall, his name won't be called early in the first round. And that's based on his height, which is why he won't be getting the contract he should.

"I hear about it all the time," Patterson said. "When I was at the Senior Bowl, I heard it. When I was at the combine, I heard it there, too. People always talk about how short I am for a defensive lineman. It doesn't bother me, though. There's nothing I can do about it."

In the computer-formulated world of NFL scouting, Patterson doesn't fit the bill. The NFL likes its defensive tackles to be 6-3 or taller, weigh 310 pounds or more and yet have the quickness to be a pass rusher and the strength to hold up at the point of attack.

Patterson has it all, except for the height. He weighs 295 pounds, he has amazing in-line quickness and he's powerful against the run.

He hasn't earned the nickname "Baby Sapp" for nothing. Being compared to Warren Sapp is a heck of an honor -- at least on the field.

"I feel thankful to be compared to a player like that," Patterson said. "I have a level of play now to live up to."

Patterson will do that, which is why he is the headliner of our annual Better-Than list of players in this year's draft. Each year we take a look at the draft and how the scouts are rating the players, and then come up with a list of players we feel will be better players than people and some scouts are expecting.

Patterson is a favorite, based mainly on the way he played for the Trojans. It was USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, now the head coach at Mississippi, who gave Patterson the nickname of "Baby Sapp." Orgeron should know. He coached Sapp at Miami.

"I love watching Warren play," Patterson said. "He's so quick off the ball, but powerful. I hope I can play that well."

Patterson has a wrestling background, which helps his ability to stay lower than the guys trying to block him. That makes him a tough guy to move and keep out of the pocket.

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He would seem to be a perfect fit for those teams looking for a penetrating one-gap tackle, which Sapp was when he excelled for the Bucs. Some teams who have expressed interest in Patterson are the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts, both who have coaches with ties to those Tampa Bay teams.

Colts coach Tony Dungy was the head coach of the Bucs when they came to power as a defensive team, while Jets coach Herman Edwards was the assistant head coach of those teams.

With both teams picking at the back end of the first round, Patterson could be going to one of those teams.

"I truly believe I have first-round skills," Patterson said. "I feel like I am a first-round player."

The feeling here is the same. That's why he's the captain of the 2005 Better-Than Team.

Now here's the rest of the squad:

Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma
He's a little receiver at 5-11, but he knows how to run routes. Clayton is quick in and out of his breaks and he has the speed to get deep. He will be a first-round pick, and many teams have that grade on him, but the reason he's in this list is because the feeling here is that he's better than Mike Williams, and should be the third receiver taken behind Braylon Edwards and Troy Williamson.

Taylor Stubblefield, WR, Purdue
He's the all-time receptions leader in the Big Ten, which says something about his ability to get open. He will be an ideal slot receiver in the NFL. He doesn't run that great and he isn't big, but he understands the passing game. Think a slower Brandon Stokley.

Derek Anderson, QB, Oregon State
At 6-6 with a cannon for an arm, Anderson fits the prototype mold. He was a 4,000-yard passer as a junior at Oregon State, and while his yardage numbers went down last year, his touchdown-interception ratio improved. He has a tendency to lock on to a receiver at times and force the football. But that can be coached out of him.

Ryan Grant, RB, Notre Dame
Grant split time with Julius Jones a few years back, and we all know what Jones did as a rookie last year with the Cowboys when he was healthy. Grant has good size at 6-1, 215, and he runs well. He runs a little upright, but that's what they said about Tennessee Titans running back Chris Brown when he came into the league. Grant is worth a fourth-round pick.

Frank Gore, RB, Miami
He has had major surgery on both his knees, but they both checked out with most NFL teams. Gore has decent speed, but he's one of those guys who knows how to find the cracks in the defense. He's a chain mover. And remember, this is a player who started ahead of Willis McGahee at Miami before he tore up his second knee.

Ray Willis, T, Florida State
With FSU left tackle Alex Barron a sure first-round pick, Willis isn't getting the same kind of hype. That's because he's not nearly the athlete that Barron is, but Willis is a tough guy. He is a mauler who won't back down. At 6-5, 327, he will make a good right tackle for somebody. If Barron had his toughness, that would be a heck of a player.

Santonio Thomas, DT, Miami
Injuries slowed him last year -- he hurt a knee -- but Thomas is a 6-3, 300-pound player who has some in-line quickness. He should be able to add a little weight and become a solid run player in the NFL. We've seen these types of players blossom when they get wide and big on the next level.

Bill Swancutt, DE, Oregon State
He isn't a great athlete, which is why he's being pushed down on some boards, but Swancutt makes plays. He's an effort player who plays hard all the time. At 6-4, 270 pounds, he needs to get bigger to hold up against the run. But you can bet this guy will produce for the team that drafts him in the later rounds.

Kirk Morrison, LB, San Diego State
Morrison was a four-year starter for the Aztecs, and a productive one at that. He doesn't run that well, but he has great instincts to get to the ball. Morrison didn't look good at the Senior Bowl practices, but he played well in the game. That's him. He's a guy who will show up on Sundays.

Odell Thurman, LB, Georgia
This kid has first-round ability, but some off-field problems will push him down the board. The coach who is secure enough in his coaching skills to take him will be getting a heck of a player. Thurman can run and he hits. If he keeps clear of problems, he will be a quality starter.

Kevin Burnett, OLB Tennessee
Burnett has size at 6-2, 240 pounds and he runs well. A lot of teams have him in the second round, but he's worth a look in the first. Despite major knee surgery in 2002, he can still run.

Brandon Browner, CB, Oregon State
He is 6-4, which is tall for a corner, so some people think he needs to move inside to safety. No way. He hasn't run that well in his workouts, but he plays faster than he has timed. He's also physical, which will help in press coverage. He isn't in the same class as Miami's Antrel Rolle, but he's still going to be a solid starter in the league early in his career.

Bryant McFadden, CB, Florida State
This is another corner who doesn't have blazing speed, but he played really well last season for the Seminoles. One other thing that will help McFadden is the history of corners from FSU. Many of the recent ones coming out of that school have played better in the NFL than they did in college. One of those is Samari Rolle.

Thomas Davis, S, Georgia
Davis makes plays. That's all you notice when you watch Georgia from the past couple of years. Some say he's too slow to play safety in the NFL, but his recent 4.48 in the 40 should dispel that notion. This kid does not need to move to linebacker. He will be better than Roy Williams is in Dallas playing the safety spot. He will be a top 20 pick, but those teams that pass on him might end up regretting it.

Junior Rosegreen, S, Auburn
Here's another safety who shows up a bunch on tape. In an Auburn game, he seemed to be all over the field. Rosegreen gets overshadowed by Carlos Rogers, but Rosegreen can play. He is worth a second-day pick.

Lzen
04-08-2005, 01:37 PM
Good read, AirForceChief.

siberian khatru
04-08-2005, 01:40 PM
the new rules actually make talented CBs more important...the "CBs don't matter now" line is Oprah quality insight.....

Gaz is gonna bust a cap in yo ass.