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Old 01-30-2014, 01:15 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Three really good mid-rounders, and three I hate.

Just because. Midrounders are anything from low-3rds to 5th round.

I LIKE:

OT/G Joel Bitonio, Nevada -- At this point, he's looking more like a guard, since he played there all of the Senior Bowl. However, Bitonio played extremely well at the Senior Bowl, ending up one of my Top 10 players from that week. Bitonio (6'4", 307 lbs) is a very, very athletic tackle who could crawl into the 2nd round if that athleticism translates to a sub-5.0 40 time, which I honestly think it will. He looks like a great zone blocker at guard, but I honestly think he can play tackle -- he played Anthony Barr to a standstill. Blocked for the NCAA's 2nd most rush yards, and held excellent protection at left tackle for the Wolf Pack.

DE/DT Dominique Easley, Florida -- I absolutely adore Easley. Extremely high effort, high-athleticism guy who absolutely never quits. He can push back against bigger OLs, and penetrate, penetrate, penetrate. The big question is -- where do you put him. He played everywhere in Florida's 4-3, but 280 lbs is pretty light for defensive tackle in the NFL, even at undertackle. He's a little on the short side (6'2") but powerful enough for DE in the 4-3, but he played primarily at DT for the Gators, so he's a project there. As for the 3-4... I hate him on the edge in a two-point stance. His first step is far too valuable to take him out of the three-point. So he'd have to play DE in our system, making him purely a passrush specialist. I don't know if that'd be worth the 3rd we'd have to spend to get him, but I really want him on our roster. He's 1st round talent, coming off a terrible ACL tear.

TE Xavier Grimble, USC -- I think Grimble is going to pleasantly surprise everybody. His numbers in college were hampered by the great talent he played with and the injuries he suffered, but here's what we do know: Grimble is a fast, athletic, big (6'5", 255) tight end with good hands. His performance at the Combine could endear him to a lot of people, if he holds his own in blocking drills and looks sharp getting in and out of the cuts in his routes.

I DON'T LIKE:

S Ahmad Dixon, Baylor -- Bernard Pollard 2.0. If you want big hits, he's an option. But even with those big hits, Dixon (6'0", 205) isn't that great in the run game, and he's disasterous in the passing game. He doesn't break down for tackles at all, and will throw his shoulder instead of wrapping up. His coverage will be passable on backs out of the flat, but he will struggle keeping up with NFL caliber TEs and god help him against WRs. More of a strong safety. No discipline. Had an assault charge on him over the offseason.

ILB/OLB Lamin Borrow, LSU -- Can somebody tell me why anybody thinks anything of this guy? He's consistently rated as a mid-rounder but aside from his rangey speed, I don't see why. He's not good in coverage. He can't shed blocks. He doesn't make plays behind the line of scrimmage. He's fast but not especially so. He's not especially big (6'2", 232). He's just a guy. He's not a difference maker, wasn't in college, and won't be in the NFL. Blah.

OLB Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State -- A great athlete with a good motor, but undersized. He has some experience standing up, but he really struggled against the scant NFL talent he went up against. The best player he played all year was Bitonio, and he avoided him most of the game. The few meetings these players had was soundly won by Bitonio. He's just too undersized to play in a three-point stance in a 4-3, so he'd have to occupy some Von Miller role as an OLB in that setup, but he has almost no experience in coverage. I think Lawrence will be a valuable special teamer, nothing more.
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Old 03-18-2014, 11:12 AM   #226
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ILB/OLB? Jonathan Brown, Illinois -- There are few better tacklers in all of college football than Jonathan Brown. Brown plays the angles extremely well in a thankless role for the Fighting Illini, often blowing up holes in the OL to allow other players to swoop in and shut down the run. Brown himself is an excellent tackler that never misses when he makes a go at a ballcarrier. However, Brown's biggest foible is that he is ridiculously slow -- he ran a 5.0 at the Combine, and with a non-elite physique (6'0", 238), that's going to drop him out of the Draft altogether, and may even compromise some team taking in UDFA. There are certain slower-than-molasses linebackers who have had success at the next level, Brandon Spikes being one of them. And Brown's instincts are great, but unlike Spikes, who at least has some degree of quickness in space, Brown just looks like he's running in sand all game compared to the better college programs he faced, and definitely will look like that at the NFL. It's a shame, because Brown is so sharp between the ears -- maybe a DC who loves him in training camp can figure out a way to make that work. Until then, he may only be a pure 3-4 ILB in the NFL, if he even makes a roster.
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Old 03-18-2014, 12:04 PM   #227
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DT Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina -- I have liked Quarles all season because of the stats I've casually seen him accumulate and because of how much time he spends in opponents backfields when you watch the Gamecocks play. But after watching Quarles on tape closely, I am of the belief that Quarles is going to bust hard in the NFL. Quarles is a one-dimensional player that probably won't even be able to succeed in that one dimension at the next level: Quarles' claim to fame is his ability to rack up tons of TFLs and sacks. The problem with that is that this is all he's done at an NFL rate at his position. He definitely doesn't play the run well, and even with his long arms he gets blown off the ball a lot against higher-caliber opponents. Like, a lot a lot. His bread and butter, then, will have to be shooting gaps as a good-sized three-tech (6'4", 297), but his get-off at the Combine was measured in the 1.8s, which is just atrocious. I think Quarles is not a starter caliber DL like most people do, and I think he's going to drop farther in the draft than most people anticipate.
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:32 AM   #228
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CB?/S Jamea Thomas, Georgia Tech-- Jamea Thomas is a smaller, less faster version of Eric Berry. It's pretty fascinating to watch. There wasn't a single role Thomas wasn't asked to play for the Yellow Jackets, and his play is exactly like how the Chiefs have treated Berry's swiss army knife skillset. Thomas has played single-high, he's played in the box, he's played on receivers out wide, he's played the slot, he's blitzed, he's played press man, he's played off man, he's played zone. There's almost nothing new Thomas will have to learn at the NFL. But he's going to have to learn how to play one of these things very well. So where does he best fit, since he does all of these things well? Well, he's a short-but-strong 5'9", 190 lbs, with 4.5 speed and slightly-less-than-average get-off. He is an excellent tackler, strong (but not great) in man coverage, and strong (but not great) playing the deep zone. My guess is that even though his college tape looks like a poor man's Berry, he projects to be a poor man's Flowers. He'd be an intriguing zone corner, particularly in the Cover 2. At the very least, teams will love his versatility, and will definitely give him a chance to prove his worth as a FS. He'll most likely end up a solid NCB in the NFL.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:07 PM   #229
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WR Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss -- Moncrief is a sneaky-great prospect and is one of the reasons why the WR is so stacked this year at the top. You're talking about a guy who is 6'2", 220 lbs, and runs at a 4.40 clip with outstanding get off. That alone is intriguing -- now try adding in his ability to find soft spots in zones, his ability to get in and out of breaks very quickly, and his enthusiasm for blocking in the run game. He looks great on the outside, he looks good in space making people miss, and he uses his body extremely well shielding off DBs from an incoming ball. Nearly every game this year he had chunks of yardage where he ripped off 25+ yardage, and with a great QB who can hit him in stride, the sky really is his limit. He reminds me a lot of Eric Decker but with better speed. I think he's a great fit for Kansas City, and I'd take him as soon as the 2nd round.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:29 PM   #230
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OLB Ronald Powell, Florida -- Powell is pretty much a pure OLB at the next level. His best fit is probably as a 3-4 OLB, though he's a little slight for that position at 6'3", 237 lbs -- he does seem to have room on his frame, however. Powell could potentially thrive as a 4-3 OLB, however, in the Von Miller role, due to his great motor and impressive speed (low 4.6 speed). Powell has so many of the traits you love in a rushbacker: he's relentless with a nasty streak, he is very fast off the edge, he tackles well, he has tremendous closing speed and lots of experience in the three-point stance should you ever wish to employ that. Powell needs to get dramatically stronger, however, as he disappears nearly any time an OL can square him up. His best plays against the best OLs he faced were only when he could sneak in past the OL. But when the OLs locked him in, he can't shake himself free. Another thing he'll need to work on is his pass coverage, something he rarely did but seems equipped for. He's a backup OLB on day one with starter upside, and could provide some "boom" potential if he gets stronger and lands in the right system.
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:01 PM   #231
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OLB Derrell Johnson, Eastern Carolina -- Man I absolutely love this guy. I love watching him play and attack, attack, attack. It'll be easier to determine where he falls in the draft projections after the ECU Pro Day at the end of the month, particularly his 40-time and his arm length. But here's what the tape says: Johnson is a pure 3-4 OLB, currently listed at 6'1" and in the 250s. He's very fast, and uses that speed to enthusiastically play the run sideline-to-sideline, though he definitely struggles in space in coverage. His forte is rushing the LOS, and he is very powerful and explosive doing so. He seems to have NFL strength now, and when that power is uncoiled, even OL from big programs seemed overwhelmed by him. The Chiefs should definitely consider going for Johnson in the midrounds, as I think he has starter potential. His weaknesses (coverage, tackling, breaking down in space) are coachable, and I just think he's a hidden treasure in this draft.
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:39 PM   #232
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WR Kevin Norwood, Alabama -- I like a lot of what Norwood has to offer as a 3rd option at the next level, potentially as a 2nd option if his route-running picks up. I'll air my biggest complaint about him first since I really only have one: Norwood isn't particularly quick. He will struggle in the NFL against most corners because he doesn't really get in and out of breaks terribly well. If that can somehow get cleaned up -- and I think that's more of a physical gift than it is a skill you learn -- then he could be starter material. As of now, I think he's more of a reserve who gets about 10 snaps a game, blocks against the run, and makes some plays against linebackers and safeties when there's a mismatch. He has really good speed when he gets a moment to build up steam, even though he's not particularly dynamic. He's a strong, physical 6'2" with good hands and a great ability to track the ball mid-air. He does have a nose for getting open against zones, but physical man coverage from a faster corner does tend to remove him from the game. I think Norwood plays with a lot of heart, but he's going to have to dramatically change his route-running to elongate his career in the NFL.
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:48 AM   #233
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CB Phillip Gaines, Rice -- Gaines would be the absolutely perfect player for the Chiefs to take in the midrounds of this draft. As he showed at the Combine, Gaines is very fast -- one of the few players this year who ran a 4.3. He's also pretty tall -- 6'0" and 190 lbs, but it's a pretty short 6'0". He doesn't look or play as long as he is. Maybe that can be coached up... but he's got 31" arms, so. What's far more impressive about Gaines is his man coverage. The guy is a hip-pocket corner, gluing to his guy with elite recovery speed. His game is weak, however, everywhere else. So the team that takes him will need to bring him along exactly how we brought along Marcus Cooper last year. I continue my assertion that both Flowers and Smith will be cut in 2015. And while Gaines may not be a starting outside CB in the future (though I do think he projects to that eventually), he can redshirt behind three veterans (plus Parker) for a year before taking on more significant role like NCB in 2015.
Boom.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:19 AM   #234
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Boom.
I like your write up of Donte Moncrief better.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:29 AM   #235
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Boom.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:52 AM   #236
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I like your write up of Donte Moncrief better.
I do too.

There's probably about 50 players I would have taken over Gaines.

Gaines has a couple excellent tools to work with, but he is going to need a TON of work in the other aspects of his game, which are barren.

I think he can be a quality starter in 2 seasons. But with the Chiefs' Brandon Flowers situation, he could be asked to start in 1...
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