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Tag:NFL Draft
Posted on: April 29, 2011 1:45 pm
 

SEC dominates first round of NFL draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The SEC has been dominating the college football landscape for quite a while now, as the conference has been the home of the last five national champions. So it's not exactly surprising that during the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, more players who called the SEC home during their college career were taken than any other conference.

In fact, nearly a third of the players taken on Thursday night were SEC players. There were 32 picks, and 10 of them were from the SEC, including five of the first six picks. The only non-SEC player taken in the top six was Texas A&M's Von Miller, who went to the Denver Broncos with the second pick. Other than that there was a distinct SEC flavor, with the state of Alabama being able to lay claim as the best college football state in the country. Auburn saw Cam Newton go to Carolina with the first pick, while Nick Fairley went 13th to the Detroit Lions.  Then there was the Crimson Tide, who basically had their own table in the green room, and everyone who sat at it -- and even one player who didn't -- heard their name called on Thursday night.

Marcell Dareus (#3 Buffalo), Julio Jones (#6 Atlanta), James Carpenter (#25 Seattle) and Mark Ingram (#28 New Orleans) all gave Nick Saban some valuable face time on television last night. Elsewhere in the conference, Georgia's A.J. Green (#4 Cincinnati), LSU's Patrick Peterson (#5 Arizona), Florida's Mike Pouncey (#15 Miami) and Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod (#32 Green Bay) were drafted as well.

Here's a look at selections by conference in last night's first round (both Nebraska and Colorado still counted for the Big 12).

  1. SEC - 10
  2. Big 12 - 8
  3. Big 10 - 6
  4. Pac-12 - 3
  5. ACC - 3
  6. Big East - 1
  7. MAC - 1

That's it. While it was a great year for the Big 12, what's somewhat surprising about the eight players drafted from the conference is that Missouri had two, Colorado had two and Baylor had another two. Not exactly your classic Big 12 powers. In fact, Oklahoma and Texas combined for none of the picks last night. Which can be looked at two ways. You might say that it's because neither school produced any top talent last season. I prefer to think of it as neither school lost any of its top talent this year.

There's a reason a lot of people think Oklahoma will start the year at #1 after all.

Then there was the Big 10, who had six picks, but it should be noted that all six players drafted from the Big Ten last night were lineman, whether offensive or defensive. Surprise! The Big Ten didn't have any top talent at the "skill" positions. Still, if you're a skilled defensive lineman in high school right now, there are worse places for you to play than the Big Ten, as Wisconsin, Purdue, Ohio State, Illinois, and Iowa all sent members of the defensive line to the NFL last night.

Then, in other not-so-surprising news, we see that the Big East had only one player taken in the first round last night. The same amount as the MAC, which was the only non-BCS conference to be noticed last night, as Temple's Muhammad Wilkerson went to the Jets with the 30th selection. The one Big East player to be taken was Pitt wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin to Kansas City at 26, which came as a bit of a surprise as most grades on Baldwin saw him as being an early to mid-second round pick.

Of course, this isn't the end of the NFL Draft by any means. There are still three days and six rounds left to get through, and who knows what the numbers will look like by Sunday night? More importantly, the true measuring stick of the conferences success on the pro level won't be known for years. It's not the amount of players you funnel into the league, it's the players who last on the next level and succeed that really tell the story.

Though that's not going to stop the "S-E-C!" chants.

Posted on: April 22, 2011 4:31 pm
 

Rodriguez talks draft, college football, and more

Posted by Eye on College Football and Eye on Football

The CBS Sports Network is in the middle of their Inside College Football: Draft Special, a series running on the CBS Sports Network in the evening leading up to the NFL Draft. The show is hosted by Adam Zucker, and includes guest analyst Rich Rodriguez. Our television counterparts arranged for Rodriguez to spend some time talking to the Eye on College Football and Eye on Football bloggers. Here were some highlights from the call.

What he would be doing right now if he was in coaching

Rich Rodriguez: This is a time right after spring practice ends where you have all your exit interviews with your players. It's the final meeting before the end of the semester where you talk about everything. Talk about academics, what their plans are and all that. Usually as a head coach you meet with every single guy, and there's 100-some guys on a team, those meetings could take a whole week. That's one thing I missed because I really enjoyed those meetings. For me that was a get to know you even better deal, even for the guys who have been in the program 3 or 4 years. Then normally in May, for a head coach it's either a fundraising month or doing a lot of tape evaluating of future prospects in the offseason.

On differences in evaluating players coming into college and coming into the NFL

RR: There are certainly a lot of parallels between evaluating a high school guy on film and a college guy, I think the difference is you can get a lot more information and a lot more film on a college guy. A lot of times you've seen them play 2, 3, or 4 years. You've seen the results of workouts, you can work them out yourself, you can get a more thorough evaluation of the players. Obviously you need to because you are going to pay the guys.

On making the jump from the spread college offense to the NFL

RR: I think it's so overstated from a standpoint of this guy played in a spread in college so he's going to have a bigger adjustment. If you look at the success of guys in the last several years, I think it's irrelevant whether they came from spread system or pro-style. I mean Sam Bradford was the first pick in the draft, he played in a spread system and he did pretty well;. Colt McCoy played, Tim Tebow also played as a rookie, and they all came from spread systems. I think it's more rather how coachable a guy is, how quickly he can learn. Even if you come from a pro-style in college, you still are going to have to learn when you get to the NFL. You have to learn the terminology, the speed of the game; in my opinion if you are in the right kind of spread and get coached up it can actually help make the transition easier because you have to make quick, active decisions. The best quarterback in the NFL makes quick, accurate decisions. It's not so much whether he can take a three-step or a five-step drop under center.

On Blaine Gabbert

RR: I have not interviewed Blaine, but everything we hear from the coaching staff, from the guys who have talked to him in the interviews - he's very sharp guy. In that system he was in they ran a lot of no-back, and you have to make a lot of quick decisions, scan the field, use your eyes the right way. Everything I've seen of him on film and what I've heard from people who've talked to him he's a sharp guy in that regard. He probably is the maybe the most ready right now, even though he comes from a spread offense. He's still got a process a learn, but I don't think there is any question in my mind that he's going to be able to make it. You just hope that an organization doesn't throw him in there for the first day. Especially with everything right now; there is no rookie minicamp, no OTA's, so guys will have to learn even quicker without a lot of information. Makes it even more important that you have guys that are sharp and can learn pretty quick.

Adjustments for quarterbacks from college to NFL

RR: The speed of the game is going to be the biggest adjustment, and the windows that you can throw in. When you go from high school to college that window becomes smaller and quicker, when you go from college to pros the windows you can throw become tighter and you have to make a quicker decision. I think learning the terminology is the first thing, the second thing is understanding how fast, how timely you have to be with your throws. Whether you are coming from a pro-style or a spread style there's still that understanding.

Conversations with NFL personnel regarding players coming out

RR: There's a lot of guys you get to know in the 25 years - 18 of being a head coach - you get a certain comfort level with scouts and NFL coaches and I've always enjoyed that part of the process. I know some college coaches don't want the guys around practice, think they can be a distraction. I've always welcomed it because I think its obviously in like with the kids' goals. You get a scout watching practice, even during the season, I always thought it would add a little pep in their step. I've enjoyed in 25 years of talking to those guys getting a feel for what they want. At Michigan you always get a couple of them. Probably had the least amount of guys in the last three years than in the history of the school just because of the transition and having a lot of young players. Whether it was at Michigan, or West Virginia, or as an assistant at Clemson or Tulane, or even back in my days of Glenville State I've always had guys come over. They can watch the talent part on film, they can watch the talent part when they practice. Usually what they want to know is "is this guy coachable? Is this a good guy? Is this a guy that will be a positive to the organization?" I love talking about it because I've always had the guys that I thought were positive people that would be an attribute or asset to an organization.

Expectations of Pat White when he was entering the NFL

RR: He may not be an every down quarterback, but I thought Pat could be really good in the role of a specialized quarterback doing some what people call "Wildcat." I also thought he could play some receiver and do some returning, and I still think he could have. But you know he took a big hit, and that kind of probably made him re-evaluate things and think about baseball. But he was a phenomenal college player. Sometimes we can get misguided into thinking that players in college, their goal is prepping for the NFL. I think the goal in college is to be as good a college player as you can be. If you do that, I think that prepares you for the NFL. Pat was a phenomenal college player, as good as any I've seen or been around. I think he could have had a role in the NFL, but you know it's very very competitive. If you get dinged up or banged up a little bit, you kind of re-evaluate what you want to do.

Any regrets in hindsight jumping from West Virginia to Michigan

RR: You know that's a fair question, and I've been asked that before. I think it's easy to go back now and say, "Gee, made a mistake." And you can say that now because of hindsight. But at the time, some of the things I was looking to do and the opportunity that was there you kind of make the move. The frustrating part for us was that we thought we battled through the tougher times to get it to this point where we had a lot of the team coming back and we thought we were getting ready to take off, but you know hindsight is always easier to look back and say, "it was a mistake." Because we did have a good thing going at West Virginia, and we really enjoyed it. As you look back at it, wasn't the best move. Easy to say now.

Getting back into coaching

RR: We played the Gator Bowl, then when we were let go in January there wasn't a lot of coaching jobs that were available. I still love coaching, I'm open to another opportunity, but we'll see. Here, that window looks like it's closed, but if something comes open after this season, and it seems like it may be a good opportunity for me and someone is interested I'm sure I'll look into it.

If the spread has "peaked"

RR: Everything is cyclical, but I think the spread is not easily defined. I'm sure you've heard coaches say this before, there isn't one kind, just like there is not one pro-style. Even though a west coast offense is pretty much a west coast offense. When you see the spread now, you know us and other teams that were using it -- Oklahoma State, other - we're still using tight ends and fullbacks they were just in the shotgun a lot, using a lot of no-huddle. I think the spread has taken so many different forms on that it's kind of here to stay. You know you see a spread team use tight ends and maybe a fullback in the shotgun, you saw it with Green Bay in the Super Bowl. I think it's constantly evolving, I think even though they still call it a spread it's not like a "run n' shoot" type of spread. It's taken on so many forms and it's evolved in so many ways I think it's probably here to stay. In the NFL there is so much talk about pro-style but there's as many or more teams in the NFL that get in a shotgun. It's not easily defined, and that's probably why it's going to stay around a while.

Running the ball in the spread

RR: There's a difference between the spread at Oregon, Auburn, some of the ones we did, and then a so-called spread in the NFL. There's a lot more running involved, and I think that's two-fold: In the NFL your guys are so much faster on the front 7, they can chase things down. I think in college you can have a little more variety, guys can be a little more creative and run a different type of run scheme than you would in the NFL. I think at some point in the NFL I wouldn't be surprised if someone starts taking a third quarterback and making him be a quarterback that can run and throw a little bit, use him in all different ways.

On coaching in the NFL

RR: I haven't thought about it much until recently. Seems like college coaches are going to the NFL, and NFL coaches are coming back to college, so those lines have been blurred a little bit as far as working. It's still working with young men and helping them achieve their goals and being around football. I had never really thought about it much until recently, and now I've always been about "What are we going to do to win a national championship." But these last couple months have given me time to evaluate and it may be kind of fun with the right organization and the right people it probably would be pretty enjoyable to coach. But I really haven't researched it much or looked into it too much but I may have some time to do that now.

On his relationship with scouting services

RR: All these individual scouting services that were popping up- you know one DVD, three or four guys, we never got involved with that. There were a few scouting services that covered a whole state, or covered a whole region, and you paid a couple thousand dollars to get information and DVDs - we used to use them. But they weren't really big in our process. We relied more on high school coaches, film, and our assistant coaches to do the evaluating. You know a guy that's shopping one or two people around and asking for six to ten grand to get one DVD on him, there's something shaky anytime that comes up. We used to use scouting services that have a lot of tapes and a lot of information on occasion. Nowadays you don't even have to do that because you can get a lot of film off the internet. Whether it's on YouTube or one of the recruiting sites on the internet, you really don't need that to evaluate your prospects.

On any changes he would implement NCAA-wide for the game of football

RR: They need to have more coaches involved in helping them with the organization. It almost seems to me there's compliance officers of the NCAA, and then there's the coaches over here. It's almost like there's a mistrust amongst coaches and we need to communicate better. I think coaches need to get in the middle of it and say, "This is what's going on, let's help clean the game up." There are some issues that need to get cleaned up, but it's better than it was 20 years ago. It's more transparent. I think that's why the issues are coming up. There's frustration with some of the things that coaches are getting in trouble for, and that's different than paying a player or getting a competitive advantage. I think that's where the coaches can say "This is what's happening out here, and this is truly giving a competitive advantage." Whether it's in recruiting or what have you. Until that happens, I think there's always going to be some frustrations out there.

For more from Rodriguez and the Inside College Football: Draft Special gang, check out the schedule below. All times eastern, contact your local cable provider for information on the CBS Sports Network.

  • Monday, April 25 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET) – Where college football’s brightest stars such as Cam Newton (Auburn), Nick Fairley (Auburn), Patrick Peterson (LSU) and AJ Green (Georgia) will be selected in the Draft, their NFL potential and how the teams they left behind replace them.

  • Tuesday, April 26 (10:30-11:30 PM, ET) – Provides a look at some lower-round projected prospects who could make an immediate impact in the League.

  • Wednesday, April 27 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET) – Examines how the Draft will impact college football’s projected Top 10 teams for 2011, as well as which teams and conferences best supply NFL talent.

Posted on: April 12, 2011 12:43 pm
 

NCAA warns players about draft parties

Posted by Tom Fornelli

You know, at times the NCAA seems like an overbearing parent that just doesn't want their kids to have any fun. I mean, imagine for a moment that a good friend of yours, and a former teammate is attending the NFL Draft this month and his entire life is about to change. He's going to be drafted, and he's going to get a contract and earn more money than he ever thought possible. Wouldn't you want to be there with him to celebrate this occasion?

Of course you would, but the NCAA would like to remind you that you'd be better off sitting at home and watching on television. The NCAA sent a letter to the NFL which the league then forwarded to the players invited to this year's draft. The letter was a reminder to the players that any of their undergrad friends who plan on attending the draft or any draft parties with them have to pay their own way for everything. Travel, lodging, food, bar tabs and anything else that may come up.

In the letter from the NCAA's Dena Garner, she warns the players "not to jeopardize the NCAA eligibility of your friends or former teammates."

Now, let's be honest here. How many college football players are out there who can afford to fly to New York, pay for a hotel room for a weekend along with meals and everything else? I doubt there are many, so really what the NCAA is telling the undergrads is "stay home."

Bunch of party poopers.

Posted on: April 11, 2011 2:16 pm
 

Don't put much faith in Pryor/NFL Draft rumors

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's a tough time to be an Ohio State Buckeyes fan right now. Not only do you have to deal with the latest fiasco involving head coach Jim Tressel and the Buckeye Five, but there's also the fact that once the season starts, neither Tressel or the Buckeye Five will be available for the first five games of the season. That means no Terrelle Pryor, no Dan Herron, no DeVier Posey and no head coach. Of course, while all this is going on, there's also the age-old tradition of kicking someone while they're down, and that seems to be the case with Ohio State these days.

The latest incident comes from the National Football Post's Dave Miller, who is reporting that, according to a source, Terrelle Pryor is considering leaving Ohio State to enter the NFL's supplemental draft rather than serve his suspension.

The dual-threat signal caller has not dismissed the idea of going the NFL Supplemental Draft route. According to a source, the odds of Pryor staying for his senior season are about 60-40, but Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd coming out and declaring for the supplemental draft would have a direct effect on his decision. Of course, Floyd dodged suspension by the school’s Residence Life committee after being arrested for DUI. However, head coach Brian Kelly suspended his star receiver for the foreseeable future.

Ah, yes, "a source" who says there's a "60-40" chance he could leave. Which leads to a whole lot of room for error should Pryor not leave Ohio State. After all, there's a 40% chance he won't! So if I were an Ohio State fan, I wouldn't get too worried about this story, especially in light of this tweet from Adam Jardy of the Buckeye Sports Bulletin.

Also, if that's not enough to squash any fears you may be having about Pryor's Ohio State career, there's more. While the National Football Post is an NFL website that has a good handle on NFL matters, it's track record with college stories isn't as strong. As Matt Hinton of Dr. Saturday points out, the last time the site ran a story about a college player entering the draft, it was this story about Oklahoma's Sam Bradford.

According to that report, Bradford was going to declare himself eligible for the NFL Draft following Oklahoma's bout with Florida in the 2009 BCS Championship. A week later Bradford announced he was returning to Oklahoma.

So don't lose any sleep, Buckeye fans.

Posted on: March 24, 2011 12:48 pm
 

Kiffin expecting Barkley to turn pro after '11

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Pete Carroll drew some criticism as USC's head coach in 2009, when he publicly chastised Trojan quarterback Mark Sanchez for deciding to forgo his senior season in Los Angeles and turn pro a year early.

Though Lane Kiffin has maintained many, many aspects of Carroll's program after taking over the Trojans, it seems those kinds of opinions on his quarterbacks' futures aren't going to be one of them. Bryan Fischer of our sister blog Eye on Recruiting (and our USC spring practice primer ) was on hand for Kiffin's post-practice comments yesterday, which included this on the future of junior quarterback Matt Barkley (emphasis added):
“Matt’s going into his third year here. Obviously, if he has a good year, I’m sure he’ll look to go to the NFL. Most guys do after their junior year.

“He needs to take the next step, to go from being a really good quarterback to a great quarterback. Obviously he’s not competing against the guys on this field, because he’s above that level. But he’s competing against the best guys in the country every single day.”

The very lack of competition for the Trojan QB job that Kiffin describes would be reason to think he'd all but beg Barkley to return. But Kiffin has always made his and his program's ability to put players into the NFL a cornerstone of his recruiting pitch; clearly he's not going to send the message to potential future quarterbacks that he won't make every effort he can to get them into the pros as quickly as possible.

But is Barkley really on track to make that kind of leap? Assuming he makes the same kind of progress in 2011 he made in 2010, he likely is; he improved his touchdown-to-interception ratio from 15-to-14 to 26-to-12, taking his QB rating from approximately 131 to 141 in the process. Another 10-to-15-point increase would put Barkley amongst the national top 20 in QB rating and one of a very few quarterbacks in that range playing in a pass-centric, pro-style system like Kiffin's. If an occasionally-erratic, spread-trained quarterback like Blaine Gabbert could go as high as No. 1 in this year's draft, it seems likely that a prospect like Barkley could find his way into the first round after a solid junior season ... if not all the way into the top 10.

So Kiffin's not exaggerating. But to see a head coach expect -- and almost hope , it seems -- that his best player will skip town a year early is just one more sign that Kiffin is marching to an entirely unique drummer amongst college coaches.

Posted on: February 25, 2011 2:45 pm
 

Friday Four Links (and a cloud of dust), Feb. 25

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.


FOUR LINKS ...

1. Future scheduling is very much in the news today, with discussions about moving the new Big 12's biggest in-state rivalry games to Dec. 3 and the Big East finally releasing its 2011 slate. But maybe nowhere is it more in the news than at Nevada, which is desperately trying to work its way out of a brutal road stretch (at Oregon, at Texas Tech, at Boise State, all back-to-back-to-back) ... but still found the time to tentatively schedule a home-and-home series with Oregon State for 2017 and 2018. (Is there a way to schedule them for that far ahead that wouldn't be tentative?)

2. Yes, Virginia, when you would have already been the clearcut No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, you need some kind of insurance policy when you decide to go back to school. Andrew Luck's is worth $5 million already and could wind up being worth even more , depending on the new NFL collective bargaining agreement.

3. Your weekly Friday Four Links position coaching update: former Minnesota assistant John Butler is South Carolina's new special teams coordinator ; Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt will not be accepting Auburn's offer of the same position following Tracy Rocker's departure; which means former Butler colleague with the Gophers Tim Cross is, by process of elimination , the likely front-runner on the Plains; and well-traveled assistant Danny Barrett is the new running backs coach at UCF.

4. Despite saying the scandal that erupted around Cam Newton "kind of stained almost everybody" involved with it -- including himself, we presume -- Dan Mullen also said he had "no regrets" about his Mississippi State program's recruitment of Newton or its handling of the situation. No regrets aside from the part where Newton chose Auburn and went on to win the Heisman and a national championship, it's safe to assume.

AND A CLOUD ...

Tennessee junior cornerback Art Evans spoke publicly for the first time since being reinstated following a three-month suspension; Evans missed the last six games of 2010 after falling behind on his car payments ... In addition to his infamous call to the Paul Finebaum radio show, accused Toomer's Corner oak poisoner Harvey Updyke may have also bragged about committing the crime on an Alabama fan site ... More buzz is buzzing about Oklahoma countering Texas's "Longhorn Network" with one of their own ... Remember former Florida and Ole Miss defensive back Jamar Hornsby? If you do, it won't surpise you to learn he's currently in jail ... Without Nebraska, does the Big 12 have enough quality games for its television obligations?

Posted on: February 16, 2011 10:54 am
 

Report: Newton investigation still open

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

For Cam Newton, it's nothing but good news these days. His San Diego workout for the media drew a consensus of raves; he's projected to go to the Washington Redskins with the 10th overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft  by many , if not to a different team much higher ; and he just signed what might be the richest athletic endorsement deal for a rookie in NFL history.

For the Auburn team he left behind, the news these days regarding Newton is ... mostly good. But the shadow of the NCAA investigation into his arrival on the Plains hasn't lifted just yet, according to a new column from Birmingham News writer Kevin Scarbinsky :
According to people with reason to know, the NCAA is still conducting an active investigation into Auburn's recruitment of Newton. There is an enforcement staff official assigned to the case, and that person is turning over every rock to make sure the NCAA doesn't get blindsided down the road.

Auburn fans won't like that information. Some of them won't believe it. They'll be joined in their displeasure or disbelief by fans of other schools who read this nugget: The bomb is not about to drop.

According to those same well-informed sources, the NCAA has yet to discover or uncover new information that would wipe out Auburn's national championship season.

This echoes similar statements made recently by SEC commissioner Mike Slive, who said "nobody had written him a letter" saying the case had been closed or that any new information had come to light. 

Which means that for the time being, the Newton scandal remains in the same limbo in which it's been mired since Newton was ruled eligible to play in November: no evidence that Newton or his family accepted any improper benefits to come to Auburn, but still enough legwork left for the NCAA to do that anyone who says definitively that no such evidence exists is jumping the gun.

As Scarbinsky points out, the last Heisman winner to walk away with the kind of deal Newton just inked with Under Armour was Reggie Bush. If there's anything we can say with certainty about the Newton case, it's that the NCAA isn't going to let the investigative media make its compliance staff look hopelessly behind (as in the Bush case) if they can help it. If the good news for Auburn is that there's no "bomb" poised to drop, the bad news is that they likely shouldn't expect an "investigation closed" resolution to drop anytime soon.

Posted on: January 30, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Greg McElroy breaks bone in throwing hand

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy is on his way to the NFL, but his journey there may have just gotten a bit more complicated. McElroy played for the South team in Saturday's Senior Bowl and did not leave the game unscathed, breaking a bone in his throwing hand. On the first play of the fourth quarter, McElroy completed a pass to South Alabama's Courtney Smith but hit his hand on a helmet during his follow through.

"I had no feeling the rest of the series," said McElroy. "The ball was kind of sporadic. I couldn't get a grip on the ball. I still can't get a grip on the ball. I think it will be OK."

According to McElroy's father, x-rays showed that a bone near his thumb was cracked. The injury will keep McElroy from being able to throw a ball for about two weeks, but the good news for him is that the NFL combine doesn't start until February 23. The bone should be good enough to allow McElroy to throw by then, but still, this isn't exactly the kind of thing you want happening when preparing yourself for the NFL draft.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com