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Old 01-30-2014, 12:15 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 02-02-2014, 10:45 PM   #2
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QB Jimmy Garopollo, Eastern Illinois -- Here's a riddle with a rather obvious answer. Q: How do you know there's zero QB talent in a draft year? A: When people decide to give two shits about a guy from Eastern Illinois who lacks great size, a great arm, or any impressive tape whatsoever. I'm sure Garopollo is a nice guy, and his tape is alright, but there's really only a couple things to really like in this guy. He's reportedly very sharp, and he has a fantastic throwing motion. But that's about it. The dart on his passes are alright, but he wasn't even a world beater against FCS competition. The only halfway decent talent he ever played was Northern Illinois, and he looked very iffy in that performance. Pass.
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:49 PM   #3
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OLB/ILB/SS? Christian Kirksey, Iowa -- Here's a really interesting prospect for most teams. Kirksey has a lot that you love to see in a linebacker: he's very fast, he diagnoses plays very quickly and tackles great. What's especially exciting about him is his work in coverage. This is one of the best linebackers in coverage I've seen, to the point where QBs largely chose not to challenge him. That speaks to his great athleticism, and one of the reasons why it's possible a team could try converting him to safety (he's 6'1", 232 lbs). The problem, however, is that as comfortable Kirksey is at backpedaling into coverage, he's far less impressive charging upfield. He doesn't quite show much ability to shed blocks, and he doesn't really have much of anything in terms of passrush moves to beat offensive lineman. I think he's a great candidate to play OLB in a 4-3, or an ILB in a 3-4 scheme that doesn't blitz a lot.
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:52 PM   #4
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:37 PM   #5
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ILB Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA -- Zumwalt is easily one of the best ILBs to come out in this year's draft. Zumwalt's lanky body (6'4", 235) doesn't quite match his hard-hitting, line-of-scrimmage crashing style of play, but it's hard to argue with the results. He's very strong crashing the line of scrimmage, with a penchant for shedding blocks like water and getting into the backfield. He's less comfortable dropping back into coverage, and that's only going to get worse in the NFL. His best fit is as a 2-down ILB in the 3-4, although I'm sure he can be a situational linebacker in some 4-3's.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:37 PM   #6
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:03 AM   #7
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FS Tre Boston, North Carolina -- The more tape I've watched of Boston, the more I end up liking him. I saw North Carolina play three times this past season, and every time I saw them, North Carolina got lit up through the air. Boston rarely registered as a playmaker in any sense of the word. But I watch him closer on tape now, and I think he can still make a name for himself at the next level. He's probably going to time around 4.5 at the Combine, which will make him one of the faster FS in the league. He's a good tackler, and his coverage is actually pretty sharp. He's not the explosive playmaker some draft sites have made him out to be, but he's almost always playing centerfield for the Tarheels. My grade on this particular player is incomplete...
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:33 AM   #8
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WR Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest -- I really don't want to like Campanaro. He's a shrimp (5'9", 190 lbs) without deep speed, and he even has this labored running form that involves him flapping his arms as he runs. He's also a punt returner but I don't see much case for excitement there. However, he just gets open. He just gets open. Campanaro is the spitting image of Danny Amendola. He makes sharp cuts in his routes and sits down in soft spots in zones. He's really good in a bubble screen and he's an enthusiastic blocker for his teammates. I think Campanaro would be a really interesting late rounder for a team really looking for a slot receiver.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:48 PM   #9
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DT Anthony Johnson, LSU -- I think there's a place in the NFL for Johnson, but it's a very specific place. Johnson was the world's #1 All World recruit for LSU back in 2011, largely due to his good size (6'3", 300 lbs) and reportedly amazing athleticism. But until this past season, he just couldn't break through to start due to all the awesome talent the Tigers have. However, he looked great in short bursts. However, he looked far better suited for that than he did as an every-down player this past year. Any time he faced NFL level competition, he looked surprisingly soft. He gets pushed too much in the run game, and his push is minimal against the pass. There's really only one thing he does reliably well: shoot gaps. He won't do much once he does, but if you just need a guy to burst through a gap, he can do it pretty darn well, in the hopes of creating opportunities for his teammates. He's simply not physical enough to thrive as a DE in the 3-4, but a hyper-aggressive 4-3 that asks its tackles to just shoot upfield could probably use him, so long as they're okay with him giving up tons of ground against the run.
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Old 02-04-2014, 04:45 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
FS Tre Boston, North Carolina -- The more tape I've watched of Boston, the more I end up liking him. I saw North Carolina play three times this past season, and every time I saw them, North Carolina got lit up through the air. Boston rarely registered as a playmaker in any sense of the word. But I watch him closer on tape now, and I think he can still make a name for himself at the next level. He's probably going to time around 4.5 at the Combine, which will make him one of the faster FS in the league. He's a good tackler, and his coverage is actually pretty sharp. He's not the explosive playmaker some draft sites have made him out to be, but he's almost always playing centerfield for the Tarheels. My grade on this particular player is incomplete...
You need to watch more tape then--great athlete/shitty cover guy, and on occasion does the Deon thing. He's been a HUGE disappointment. UNC hasn't had a decent secondary guy since Dre Bly. Ebron, hell yes---anyone from UNC's defensive backfield....send em to the Broncs or Raiders.
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Old 02-04-2014, 05:29 AM   #11
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That's exactly what I thought, since the Tarheels got torched in the air all year. When I was casually watching Boston and the secondary in real time, he honestly looked like Kendrick Lewis 2.0 to me.

My conviction on that has wavered a bit, however, after very closely watching him. The Tarheels kept him in single-deep a lot, and he seems to have done his job relatively effectively.

Like I said, my grade on him's incomplete at this time. I'll be giving him more attention.
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Old 02-04-2014, 05:38 AM   #12
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DE/OLB Kareem Martin, North Carolina -- Speaking of Tarheels, I've spent some time closely re-watching Martin as well ever since our season ended. I love watching Martin, even though his tape is underwhelming, because he has so many tools that just haven't developed yet, and he just pops on the field. He's nowhere near the player now that he can be in a few years with really good coaching. He's huge, first of all: 6'6", 272 lbs. He played with his hand in the ground, and he looks like an ideal fit as a 4-3 DE. I'd like to see his athleticism at the Combine -- he looks like he has about 4.7 speed, and should he test well, a team like the Chiefs could experiment with him as a Hali-esque convert to the 3-4. His Combine/pro day are going to be huge, however, to see how viable that conversion would be.
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Old 02-04-2014, 06:21 AM   #13
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DE/OLB? Will Clarke, West Virginia -- As sexy a sleeper as there is in this draft, Clarke isn't showing up on a lot of big boards just yet, but he should be. And he should be showing up as a potential second-day pick. Clarke is a big (6'6", 271 lbs), very physical passrusher who has a great combination of aggressive bullrushes and corner-bending edge rushing. Clarke pops on screen -- his first step is outstanding, and in a couple of years, if a team gives him enough in-game snaps for him to learn how to set-up offensive lineman, I think he could be a mid-round steal. Seeing how he has zero experience standing up, I have no idea how well he could translate to the 3-4. But I'd like to find out.
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Old 02-04-2014, 06:43 AM   #14
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RB Terrance West, Towson -- Every year, a couple smaller school RB rocket up the board because of their insane production and/or their fantastic measurables. There's a couple RBs this year that fit that description that I really like (I love Storm Johnson), but I'm less of a fan of West. There's no doubting his production -- 2,500+ yards on the ground this year, which is ungodly. He's strong, doesn't shy from contact, and has fantastic balance. He just doesn't seem to do any one thing great. I think he's going to go on the second day of the draft, but he honestly is late-round talent in my eyes, at best.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:24 AM   #15
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Clarke is my sleeper pick for the 5-tech DE position.
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