Posted by: ewadd986 | 01/17/2011

Declaration Day

The college football season has officially ended which can only mean one thing: the NFL draft is right around the corner.  Saturday marked the last day for eligible underclassman to declare for the NFL draft and there were some surprise names who decided to stay in school.

Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: The consensus number one prospect on everyone’s board.  Decided to go back to Stanford to finish his education and possibly win a national championship and or Heisman.  A lot of people were really questioning this decision because of the potential lockout and new labor agreements.  If the NFLPA agrees to a rookie pay scale he stands to lose out on a lot of guaranteed money but the fact that he decided to stay even after losing his head coach Jim Harbaugh to San Francisco reaffirms that he was sincere in his reasoning.  The uncertainty in Carolina probably didn’t help either.  Even barring injury, (see St. Louis Rams QB, Sam Bradford) he should again be the consensus number 1 pick in 2012 should he decided to declare.

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: Easily could have been a top 15 pick and a first round lock.  Was the third rated wide receiver on my board after having a Heisman campaign season.  He finished the season with 111 receptions for 1,782 yards and 20 touchdowns.  Talk about production!  Lost his offensive coordinator Dana Holgerson to WVU but his star QB Brandon Weeden, will also return.  Weeden will be 28 in next year’s draft in a situation similar to former FSU QB, Chris Weinke, and looks to be a potential late round developmental pick.

Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida: Would have been a possible first round selection but tore his labrum and had to have surgery which probably factored in his decision to stay in school.  A playmaker with good ball skills, he will have a chance to increase his draft stock and be one of the top players taken at his position next year.  This year’s draft was also pretty deep at CB which may have factored into his decision also.  Next year he will compete with Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama, and Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina to be the top corner selected in 2012.

Other notable players who decided to forgo the NFL draft: Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma.  Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame.  Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska.

Now to take a look at some players who have actually declared for the draft with a quick mock draft of the top 10:

1.       Carolina Panthers – Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn.  The panthers are the big losers in the whole Andrew Luck situation.  Fairley has some character concerns and has been accused of being a dirty player but he will likely be the top player on most teams’ boards.  Really showcased his talents in the national title game and can anchor a defensive line for a team that could use help almost everywhere.  Not as good as Ndamukong Suh last year but will likely be a disruptive force at the under tackle position in the pros.  Reminds me of former All- Pro, Warren Sapp.

2.       Denver Broncos- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU.  With Champ Bailey not getting any younger and possibly leaving this off-season, the Broncos could really stand to infuse some youth into their secondary.  A rare physical specimen at the position at 6’1, 222 lbs. and a fluid athlete.  Definition of a playmaker and could return punts and even play some safety where some think he might be best suited.

3.       Buffalo Bills- Cam Newton, QB, Auburn.  Heisman trophy winner and national champion.  Has a rare physical skill set at the QB position.   Skill set reminds some of Tim Tebow with his ability to run, don’t overlook this kids arm.  Can make a lot of NFL throws but the thing that scares me the most is the system he comes from.  Played mostly out of the shotgun and wasn’t asked to make a lot of progressions and NFL reads.  Definition of a boom or bust, will Buffalo take the risk?

4.       Cincinnati Bengals- A.J. Green, WR, Georgia.  Freakish athlete that simply catches everything thrown his way.  Has elite hands and route running ability that reminds me of Randy Moss.  Easily the best WR prospect since Calvin Johnson and could make a case to be the number one pick when all is said and done.  The knock on him is durability but he should be able to make an immediate impact on an aging WR corps that could lose both T.O. and Ocho Cinco in the off-season.

5.Arizona Cardinals- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska. The cardinals could go a couple of directions with this pick but in the end I believe Prince will be the pick.  With the way the NFL is shifting to heavily pass oriented offenses it would be smart to take the best lock down corner in the draft.  I know some people have him and Peterson 1a 1b and I’m not so sure myself who will be the better pro player.  Has a great physical skill set and seems to glide around the field to go with impressive ball skills.

6.       Cleveland Browns- Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson.  One of the highest rated high school prospects as a senior in high school finally saw his talent blossom this season with a career high 16 sacks.  Definition of a pass rusher that best fits a 4-3 scheme.  Browns are likely to shift to the 4-3 after firing Mangini as Holmgren prefers it and Bowers would be a perfect fit.

7.       San Francisco 49’ers- Jake Locker, QB, Washington.  What a turn of events it has been for Locker.  Thought to be a contender to be the number one pick in last year’s draft, Locker has seen his stock take a huge hit after an awful, injury plagued season where he had numerous poor outings.  However, the talent is still there and the 49er’s and Harbaugh will be looking for a signal caller of the future to mold.  Locker has all the physical qualities to succeed at the next level but will need to have a strong combine and senior week to reaffirm that status to NFL scouts.

8.       Tennessee Titans- Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas.  Bud Adams decided to choose Jeff Fisher over Vince Young this off-season so the Titans will likely be looking for a QB.  With a weak QB class, the Titans won’t be able to wait to replace Young in the later rounds.  Blaine Gabbert is also an option but Mallet’s arm will be too much for them to pass up.  Has a cannon for an arm and can make all the necessary NFL throws.  Must work on footwork to be an effective player at the next level which he seems to struggle with due to his abnormal height standing at 6’6.  Could also stand to beef up their line with a defensive player like Marcell Darues.

9.       Dallas Cowboys- Marcell Dareus, DE, Alabama.  The cowboys could use some help along their defensive line and wind up with an absolute animal in Dareus.  Has played in the 3-4 scheme and played multiple positions, very versatile player.  Has a nonstop motor and a knack for shedding blocks and has the ideal size and speed that the Cowboys will be looking for.  Likely would play DE in the 3-4 but could also anchor the line at the NT position.

10.   Washington Redskins- Julio Jones, WR, Alabama.  This is a tough pick to make.  As a Redskins fan I could tell you that I have no clue where they will go with this pick.  A trade down would be ideal especially if Shannahan is interested in Locker as rumored and he is already off the board.  As the oldest team in the league it would be ideal to stock pile draft picks lost in the trade for McNabb.  If they stay, Julio Jones has to be the pick.  With no talent or depth to speak of at the WR position, the Redskins look to take the best receiver on the board.  Jones is a huge specimen at 6’4 220.  Has the ability to go up and get the ball and projects to be a true #1 wide receiver and red zone target.  A beast with the ball in his hands due to his tremendous strength and has nice speed to compliment.  Also is a more than willing blocking receiver that Shannahan will love for his system.



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Responses

  1. I’m not as high on the quarterbacks, and hope the Redskins address their WR need in FA, but I think you nailed these write ups. Very accurate on their strengths and weaknesses.


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