Kiper: Denard Robinson a Second-Rounder

By: Chris Dommermuth

One of the most intriguing draft prospects this year will be Michigan QB/WR/RB/CB/?? Denard Robinson. There are so many different opinions out there for what position he’ll be best suited at the NFL level.

Mel Kiper recently surprised many recently when he projected Robinson as a second round pick. A second round pick for a player that has no set position.

“Some people think he can play cornerback. I think he’s going to be an offensive entity. He could help out in the return game possibly. I think after he runs, after he tests, after he works out, I think Denard Robinson is no later than a second-round draft choice,” -Mel Kiper.

Robinson had a great collegiate career as a 4-yr. starter at Michigan. He did a nice job transitioning from QB to RB last season rushing for over 7 yards a carry. But a 2nd round pick?

Denard will have a chance to prove he can play on the offensive side during the Senior Bowl. He’ll have to show he can run precise routes, and catch the football.

If a team were to draft Robinson in the second round, that would mean they see him as a potential Percy Harvin type player.

“Denard Robinson, just a great football player. Everybody loves his passion for the game, his toughness, obviously he has great speed, great athleticism, great versatility. He can catch the ball, he can run with the ball,” -Kiper.

He has just 3 catches over his college career, and has never returned a punt. It’s tough to say he’ll be able to master both of those skills well enough to warrant a second round pick. With about three months away, the next three months will be crucial for Robinson.

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisDommermuth

Posted in NFL Draft | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Logan Thomas Staying at Tech

By: Chris Dommermuth

Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas has wisely decided to stay for his Senior season and not enter his name into the NFL Draft. Like his team Thomas had a disappointing season.

“I will be staying at Virginia Tech, returning for my senior year. I think I have a lot to work on. I think we can get better. Leaving a program 7-6, especially a program like Virginia Tech — we have a legacy of winning a lot of games — kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. I want to come back and have a better season this year.” -Logan Thomas on ESPN’s College Football Live Tuesday.

While quarterbacking the Hokies to a 7-6 season (their worst in 20 years), Thomas threw for just 18 TD’s and 16 INT’s while rushing for 524 yards. The TD/INT ratio was down from his Sophomore year when he put 19/10 up. The rushing yards were a career high, but it came on just 3 yards per carry.

Thomas not only entered his Junior season as a consensus potential first round pick, but was the top QB on Mel Kiper’s Big Boards. He would have still had some interest based on his raw skills and size (6’6”, 260 pounds).

Hokies head coach Frank Beamer attributed Thomas’ struggles last season to having to rebuild an offense that lost running back David Wilson and 4 starters on the offensive line.

If Thomas bounces back during his Senior year, he should thrust his name back into the first round range. His latest comments show me he has the maturity to make it in the NFL, we’ll see if he can show the production.

“I’m deciding to come back to Tech to better myself and this team for the future. I’m looking forward to what this upcoming season holds. The NFL has always been a goal of mine, but the NFL will always be there while college is only a five-year experience that you can’t get back.” -Thomas in a university-issues statement.

Posted in NFL Draft | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nassib Will Attend Senior Bowl

By: Chris Dommermuth

Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib will attend the Senior Bowl according to Brian Ayrault. Nassib will fill one of the spots left vacated by Geno Smith and Matt Barkley. Smith has nothing to gain from being in the game and Barkley is still recovering from an AC sprain in his right shoulder.

Nassib will likely be drafted over some of the other QB’s in the Senior Bowl, but now he can show off his skills on a “level playing field.” He has a strong arm and can make all the throws an NFL QB is expected to make, but his accuracy has at times been questioned.

I believe the accuracy questions are because his WR’s were usually under matched.  The only top talent receiver Nassib ever had was Mike Williams of the Bucs. Williams was with the team when Nassib was a redshirt-Sophomore.

Nassib tends to be “jittery” in the pocket when defenders are in his face, but has improved his ability to read defenses every season at Syracus. As a Bills fan, I would love if Nassib and first-yr. head coach Doug Marrone were reunited in Buffalo with the Bills 2nd round pick (40th overall).

Marrone is widely credited for developing Nassib into an NFL-caliber QB. If Nassib drops past the 40th pick, we’ll know his own head coach didn’t think he was a 2nd round worthy pick. Remember, players like Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton, and Russell Wilson have all taken their teams to the playoffs this season despite not being 1st-rnd picks.

Nassib’s performance in the Senior Bowl will dictate a lot of where he’ll be selected. I believe Nassib will be the fourth QB taken off the board behind Smith, Barkley, and  Tyler Wilson. I’m not as high on Mike Glennon as others as his band-wagon seems to get bigger every week.

Posted in NFL Draft | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zach Eifert Enters Draft

By: Chris Dommermuth

Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert announced shortly after Monday night’s BCS Championship game that he would forgo his senior season and enter April’s NFL Draft.

The Mackey Award winner, given to the Nations best TE, is projected to be taken in the first round and is the most complete TE prospect in the draft. Coming into this season, his stats dipped, but he showed improved blocking which has improved his draft stock.

His receiving skills were never in questions. Eifert has been compared as a Greg Olsen type pro-prospect. I think given the right situation, Eifert could post much better statistics than Olsen.

Eifert would be a perfect fit with the Broncos in the first round. They obviously have a great QB in Peyton Manning, who could use Eifert similarly to how he used to use Dallas Clark with the Colts.

Posted in NFL Draft | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Barrett Jones Played Through Lisfranc Injury

By: Chris Dommermuth

Alabama senior Center Barrett Jones announced  he played the BCS National Championship Game with a Lisfraanc injury during a post game press conference after the game.

He’ll have surgery over the next couple of days, ruling him out for the upcoming Senior Bowl. It’s a surprise that Jones played through the injury considering how often it has ended players in the NFL’s season.

Barrett Jones is looked as a low first to high second round pick. I don’t believe the injury will effect his draft stock. The season is far enough away that he should be ready for the beginning of next season.

His leadership is and ability to play multiple positions on the line would make him a huge asset for any team that drafts him. Look for him to go to either the Packers late in the first or if he slips to the 36th pick, Lions to select in in the 2nd round.

Posted in NFL Draft | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Aaron Murray Undecided After Day Two Grade

By: Chris Dommermuth

Georgia QB Aaron Murray is still undecided about entering the draft after receiving a 2nd day grade by the NFL Draft Advisory Board. These projections are usually conservative so a 2nd round grade is somewhat surprising.

Murray is on the short side (6’1”) but has a good arm and moves around in the pocket well. He has good accuracy down the field but seems to get rattled a bit when facing consistent pressure. He tends to make bad decisions with defenders in his face.

Murray improved his completion percentage and had success in the SEC which is known for having some of the best defenses in the country. His footwork is lazy at times when throwing some of the shorter passes like screen and slants, but with proper coaching, that shouldn’t be a problem.

I don’t believe returning for college will hurt Andy Murray’s draft stock barring any injuries or arrests. Murray’s stock is pretty much locked in at a 2nd to 3rd round pick. I don’t believe he’ll be able to raise his stock to first round status if he stays in school so it might be beneficial to come out. But you never know these guys situations. Everyone has a different set of circumstances.

Update: Aaron Murray has decided to return to Georgia for his senior season.

Posted in NFL Draft | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sources: Jake Matthews Staying at A&M

By: Chris Dommermuth

According to “multiple sources” Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews will return for his Senior with the Aggies. One report, according to a close family friend, says they would be “shocked” if he didn’t stay his Senior year.

People close to the situation believe Matthews is returning because he’d like to get a full year of tape at LT under his belt before making the jump to the NFL. Matthews played RT this season with Luke Joeckel at LT protecting Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

Staying for an extra year has its gambles, but could pay dividends in the financial long-run. Matthews is rated as the second best OT should he enter this season (behind teammate Joeckel). That means he’s most likely looking at being drafted somewhere around the 10-15 picks. If he stays another year, he could find himself as the top OT flirting with the possibility of being a top-5 pick.

Jake’s father Bruce was a Hall of Fame NFL player. He’s also cousins with current NFL players Clay and Casey Matthews. This financial advantage doesn’t make for a rush to make the NFL type money that other less fortunate may be forced to make.

If Matthews does indeed decide to stay in school, it will shake peoples Mock Drafts up quite a bit. I was seeing him being taken most often at number 9 by the New York Jets.

Posted in NFL Draft | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Manti Te’o Being Considered Top Pick

By: Chris Dommermuth

Notre Dame MLB Mani Te’o is gaining more and more momentum as the first overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Former NFL Scout Russ Lande and ESPN’s Mel Kiper have both chosen Te’o as possible number 1′s in their latest Mock Drafts.

Lande had this to say about the possibility of the Chiefs selecting Te’o first: ”No quarterback warrants being the first overall pick and after Jovan Belcher’s suicide the Chiefs have a strong need for another impact linebacker and Te’o can be that player.”

Once again I disagree with Lande. I understand there aren’t any QB’s like Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck in this year’s draft class, but I still believe the Chiefs will select WVU QB Gino Smith.

It will all depend on who the Chiefs bring in as their head coach. Teams will fall in love with Te’o's leadership, but the Chiefs already have Derrick Johnson on their roster so drafting a LB first overall isn’t a huge team need.

In order to keep Pro Bowl WR Dwayne Bowe, the the Chiefs need to sure up their QB situation. Another option would be to sign a veteran QB like Alex Smith or Michael Vick while developing a QB taken in the later rounds.

The draft is still about 4 months away so expect every possible scenario to be released to the media as rumors. The Chiefs will consider the option of trading down in order to acquire more picks. They’ll look for a package similar to what the Browns got from the Falcons for Julio Jones and Rams got from the Redskins for RG3.

Posted in NFL Draft | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Xavier Rhodes to NFL

By: Chris Dommermuth

Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes announced he would forgo his Senior season and enter the NFL Draft shortly after the Seminoles 31-10 victory over Northern Illinois Tuesday in the Orange Bowl. Rhodes forced and recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter to seal the victory over the Huskies.

“I’m excited about it,” Rhodes told the media Tuesday night. “But it depends on me and how I perform in the combine if I’m going to be a first-rounder.”

Rhodes is currently being projected as a late 1st-early 2nd round pick. His skill set is said to be similar to how the Seahawks use their corners. Rhodes is big a physical and loves to hit down-field. His aggressiveness gets him in trouble with personal fouls at times, but his discipline has steadily improved as he gets more experience.

The 6’2” converted WR was the 4th rated CB by the Don of Draft Analysis Mel Kiper. Rhodes started 38 games and had eight career interceptions.

Posted in NFL Draft | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Robert Woods To Make Decision Monday

By: Chris Dommermuth

According to the Orange County Register USC WR Robert Woods will wait to make his decision to declare for the NFL until Monday after the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech.

Woods was quoted saying he’s waiting because, ”It’s better than having that talk every single day leading up to the game.” Woods obviously doesn’t want the distraction of his decision helping his or his team’s play on the field.

Most pundits believe Woods is leaning towards leaping to the NFL this season. I don’t believe he can help his draft stock, especially with a young starting QB Max Wittek slated to start next season.

However, Woods was quoted last week when talking about young Max. ”I just finally got a chance to get the ball in my hands. Other than that, it was just that Max was looking at me a little more, and squeezing in some of those throws.”

Woods caught a team record 111 balls last season as a Sophomore (surpassed this season with Marqise Lee’s 112 catches). That total dropped to just 73 this season because of the emergence of Lee and the struggles of QB Matt Barkly, who hurt his own draft stock by returning for his Senior season.

Woods averaged just over 67 yards per game this season while Lee averaged over 140. For whatever reason Barkley was finding Woods as often as he had in the past.  I don’t see those yards per game numbers changing drastically enough to warrant a return.

At the beginning of last season I was hearing about Woods as a possible top-20 pick. With his stock on the decline, he’ll likely be taken somewhere in the second round. If it were my guess, I think he would go early in the second, but the results of the Combine will play an integral role on his value. Look for him to go anywhere from the 2nd-early 3rd round.

Posted in NFL Draft | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment