Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NFL Draft Analysis Part 4: The Best Draft of 2011

It was a tough call between the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals, both of whom had outstanding drafts. But when it came to meeting their needs with talented prospects in sensible rounds, the clear winner had to be...

Round 1
Pick 4 (4): AJ Green, WR, Georgia
The Bengals got their guy with Green. With the future of the "TOcho show" in question, Cinci needed to make certain that they had another viable receiving option. AJ is a stud. Every picture of him, you see him skying for a ball. He may not have the raw athletic ability of Julio Jones, but AJ is more complete in his skill set. He is a pretty good route runner, but has great hands and is physical and fearless when going up for the ball. He also has great YAC potential. You can't say enough good things about his ability and potential. AJ gives the Bengals a deep threat that they haven't had in a while.

Round 2
Pick 3 (35): Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
Carson Palmer should be gone soon, and there are so many things to like about this pick. First of all, they didn't reach to get Andy, like so many teams reached for QBs in the first round. This way they could still snag AJ Green. Andy was made to run the West Coast and with Jay Gruden coaching him, the sky is the limit. Andy could improve his arms strength, but you can't say enough about his intangibles and desire to work hard and win. He is just the guy that the Bengals need to lead their team if they want to get back to a Super Bowl. Great fit.

Round 3
Pick 2 (66): Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada
Apparently there are some naysayers of this pick, but I love it! With Dontay Moch, you get an outstanding athlete with great speed (he runs a 4.4 in the 40). He's also proved at Nevada that he has a great motor and never quits while on the field. He'll be making a transition to LB and has already made a great deal of progress in some all-star games. He has a lot of potential to strengthen a LB core which I still consider to be sub-par. If Marvin Lewis is smart, he will move Rey Maualuga inside so Dontay can start right away. If he does start, Cinci will be expecting him to give them some much needed run support.

Round 4
Pick 4 (101): Clint Boling, Guard, Georgia
Another Bulldog and another solid pick by the Bengals. Boling has anchored UGA's o-line for sometime now with great success. he's got great feet and strength and boy does he look good as a lead blocker. Get used to seeing Clint as the pulling guard on power plays and lighting some guys up. He should start from day 1 and help a Bengals o-line that hasn't been up to snuff in a long time.  

Round 5
Pick 3 (134): Robert Sands, S, West Virginia
Sands has to be in the right zone coverage scheme to be able to make plays, as he isn't all that fabulous at it on his own. But the Bengals will take all the help they can get at DB. To his credit, he's not afraid to step up and stop the run. Not bad at all for a 5th round pick.

Round 6
Pick 2 (167): Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford
Stereotypical white WR, great hands, but underwhelming speed that likely won't be enough to succeed at the next level. But hey, Cinci can always use WR depth,  and many of their key draft needs have already been met, so why not role the dice if they like the kid. He's a Stanford grad, so at least you know he's smart and knows how to work hard.

Round 7
Pick 4 (207): Korey Lindsey, CB, Southern Illinois
I could be stepping out on a limb, but as I said before Cinci has been hurting for DBs for years, and this could be a better value pick than Sands considering the point at which he was drafted. Lindsey is by no means at the top of the Corners class and he might struggle at first making the NFL transition (especially without the help of coaches due to the lockout). However, having watched some film, I believe he does present considerable upside if he's willing to put in the work. Give him 2 or 3 years and you might see him working into the rotation.

Pick 43 (246): Jay Finley, RB, Baylor
Sorry Baylor fans, but you won't see Finley challenging Benson for the starting RB job, but he does have a realistic shot at being the steady backup. He's got pretty good feet and agility, but definitely needs to work on his blocking. Nice pick for 246th overall.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

NFL Draft Analysis Part 3: Newest Frogs in the Pros

Congratulations to the 5 newest Horned Frogs in the NFL! They will all represent the program well and should succeed at their respective teams! 5 draftees says a lot about he direction that this program is heading in! So let's get down to business!

Round 2
Cincinnati Bengals, Pick 3 (35): Andy Dalton, QB

The pride of the 2011 TCU draft class found about as good of a home as possible with the Cincinnati Bengals. Andy is a great fit for that West Coast offense and already has the hair to match the uniforms. Andy's intangibles and leadership abilities are far and away the best among all of the 2011 rookie QBs. Assuming Carson Palmer does catch the first train out of Cinci, Andy will be in a position to take control of this team and, thanks to a fantastic draft, he will be surrounded by some great talent that he can really go places with. And how about that receiving core? Not half bad for a rookie to start out with. The future looks bright for Andy and Cinci! Who Dey?

Round 5
New England Patriots, Pick 7 (138): Marcus Cannon, OT

Leave it to the Patriots to make steals at every point of the draft, and in the 5th Round, Marcus is a STEAL! Teams were clearly scared off by his unfortunate recent diagnosis of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. However, it is very treatable, and there is no reason why he shouldn't make a full recovery. He is a 2nd round talent. He can play anywhere on the o-line he is needed, but he is best at that tackle spot, where he has manhandled countless stud opponents in college, (case-in-point: JJ Watt). He is a great pick for the Pats and can anchor their new look o-line for years to come.

New York Jets, Pick 22 (153): Jeremy Kerley, WR

As I said in my last post, the Jets found a diamond in the rough with Kerley. His size is a non-issue when coupled with his blazing speed and quickness and route-running abilities. He'll be playing behind some solid WR talent, but he'll provide great playmaking ability coming off the bench. The spot where he can make an immediate impact is in the return game, and we all know that's his expertise. Look for him to start as a returner coming out of the pre-season.

Round 6
San Francisco 49ers, Pick 25 (190): Colin Jones, S

Rooting for the 49ers is a tall order for me as a lifelong Cowboys fan, but I'm so happy for Colin and won't have any trouble wishing him the best in San Fran. Coach P made Colin into the player that he is today. He plays instinctive and has great speed both rushing and in coverage. There is a possibility he could crack the starting lineup, but it will be an uphill climb. He will for sure be a heavy contributor on special teams, though.

Round 7
New England Patriots, Pick 16 (219): Malcolm Williams, DB

Although I'm very happy for Malcolm, I'd be lying if I didn't say this pick perplexed me a little bit. Bill Belichick clearly sees a lot of potential with Malcolm and wants to take him on as a project. The great thing about Malcolm is that he's versatile, as he has played both safety and corner while at TCU. The biggest impact he will make right away is in special teams. He'll provide some great depth in the defensive backfield in New England throughout his career.

Again, Congratulation to all the Frogs that were drafted this year, and all those who will sign free agent contracts once the lockout ends! I wish the best to all of you! GO FROGS!

Coming up next: I'll announce who I believe had the best draft out of all 32 teams!

Draft Analysis Part 2: New York Jets

Boy am I happy about this Jets draft! New York solidified its position as my second favorite team by now being the home of THREE former TCU players (LT, Drew Coleman, and Jeremy Kerley). The sky is the limit for the Jets this year if they can get everyone back. They didn't have any glaring positional needs, but they needed some depth in their defensive front seven, which they added, and in the receiving core for insurance. The Jets are in a position talent-wise and experience-wise to make that run at the Super Bowl that Rex has been talking about these past few years.

Round 1
Pick 30 (30): Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
Wilkerson was who the Jets were hoping for from the start. Not only does he have nice speed and containment ability, but he has great size (6'4", 315) and could grow some more. This is the kind of Defensive End prospect that every NFL team, except maybe the Colts, salivates over. His strength is his pass rushing ability, and that was were the Jets needed the most help. Shaun Ellis is great, but getting old, and Muhammad will give him some much needed help outside. Consider Wilkerson to be a solid replacement for Vernon Gholston, who has turned out to be a bust in recent years.

Round 3
Pick 30 (94): Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton
It was clear by their first two picks where Rex Ryan felt his defense needed the most help. He could have a stout franchise player in Ellis for years to come. The way I see it, Kenrick could be a boom or bust prospect. On the positive side, this guy has outstanding speed and quickness to complement his great size. This makes him a legitimate pass rushing threat from the Nose Tackle position, which is fairly rare. However, I've heard that at times he can lack motivation, take plays off, and is notorious for eating more than he can burn off in workouts. If he keeps his head on straight and works hard, he will provide much needed depth at NT that Kris Jenkins' injury showed did not exist in NY. 

Round 4
Pick 29 (126): Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville
Personally, I think that there were better RBs on the board that this pick could have been spent on, but regardless, it could be a while before Powell sees the field, so he'll have time to develop. I'm sure that he was drafted to supplement the Jets' two-headed rushing monster once LT retires, since Joe McKinght has been less than impressive. The most impressive thing I've seen with Powell when I've watched him is that he has nice vision. He waits for the hole, sees it, and hits it without hesitation. He's also good in pass protection, which is always a great asset, and if you ask me, Sanchez can always use any help he can get. My concern with Powell is his agility. He has good speed in the open field, but I don't know if he's quick enough to evade blocks and succeed in the NFL.

Round 5
Pick 22 (153): Jeremy Kerley, WR, TCU
Do I need to say that I loved this pick? Kerley is a fantastic athlete and will provide great depth to an already strong receiving core and be a spark-plug on special teams. The issue that most scouts had with him was that he is fairly short for an NFL receiver, but there have been plenty players his height and shorter who have succeeded at the position and he has the skills to do the same. His strongest point is his route running skills, which are crisp and fast. Kerley has all of the skills to make a great impact right away in New York.

Round 7
Pick 5 (208): Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama
The Jets are clearly in love with Mark Sanchez, so Greg has been drafted to be a competent backup, a role which he will fill with ease. Greg is a quality QB with great character, football IQ, and leadership skills. Don't tell Rex Ryan, but I think he might actually prove more talented than Sanchez, shh. 

Pick 24 (227): Scotty McKnight, WR, Colorado
I can't say that I saw this guy play very much, but from what I've heard, and considering he's a white guy from Colorado,  he is a good possession receiver without fantastic speed. Go figure. Don't expect him to crack the starting lineup, but he'll provide good depth. 

Coming up Next: A breakdown of all the former Frogs in their new homes!