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Author Topic: Finny's 2012 Thumbnail Guide to the Draft  (Read 6849 times)
Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #40 on: Apr 19, 2012 at 18:11 »

Quarterbacks

With Ben getting killed year in and year out, the need for a backup who can, you know, actually run the offense and survive more than one start is becoming more and more pressing.  Byron Leftwich is a UFA who may be re-signed, although Colts OC Bruce Arians has stated he’d like to bring him into that organization.  Charlie Batch signed a one-year deal.  Dennis Dixon was unhappy with his role here and is trying to catch on elsewhere.  

In short, there ain’t much there.  True, former Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson and ex-Raven/49er and Heisman-winner Troy Smith are now on the roster, but Johnson looks like a practice squadder at best, and Smith has seen limited action as a backup and should be a QB3 only.  What we need is a QB2.

Once more, from Finny’s 2011 QB Draft Guide (maliciously deleted by that fucker Penso-Cromartie-Douchenozzle-Rothschild-Moutonnee):

Quote
Look at the best QB class of the past decade: 2004. That year, I had the top three QBs ranked very closely (Roethlisberger, Manning, Rivers), and felt the Giants were a lock to take Roethlisberger.  (Or, you know, the Browns, or the Texans…)  Eli got drafted (by the Chargers!) at 1.1, Rivers (by the Giants!) at 1.4, and I remember being in disbelief as Ben fell to 1.11.  I was not impressed Tulane’s JP Losman (Bills, 1.22), and wasn’t sure about Virginia’s Matt Schaub (Falcons, 3.90), and there were other QBs of little note in the draft (Luke McCown, Browns, 4.106; Craig Krenzel, Bears, 5.148; Andy Hall, Eagles, 6.185; Josh Harris, Ravens, 6.187; Jeff Smoker, Rams, 6.201; John Navarre, Cards, 7.202; Cody Pickett, 49ers, 7.217; Casey Bramlett, Bengals, 7.218; Matt Mauck, Broncos, 7.225; BJ Symons, Texans, 7.248; Brad Van Pelt, Broncos, 7.250) as well as your basic role player/ backup (Jim Sorgi, Colts, 6.193).

A few notes on the class of 2004.  I remember that group very well, especially having looked at Eli, Ben, and Phil Rivers so closely and hoping we might get one of them.  My pre-draft ranking of them was Ben, Eli, and then Rivers; even if Eli has a ring, I’d still rank him behind Rivers as a player, with the point being that the worst of the big three is probably going to turn out better than any of the top 5 in this year’s class.  Maybe I’m wrong, maybe one or more of those guys comes up and surprises me.  Wouldn’t be the first time I’m wrong.  But the point is that even with three top QBs, and Matt Schaub, who’s a pretty solid pro, there were a lot of guys who got talked up in draft circles as having potential, and developmental qualities, and it all sounds good in those little draft guides.  You think one of those R4-7 guys may just get some coaching and experience and wind up being pretty good.  

Nope.

After the four quality QBs in the 2004 class, there wasn’t jack shit there.  These guys made rosters, stayed a while, and got pushed out without fanfare by the next group of lackluster QB backups.  The amount of real QB quality in a good year is very small, and in most years it’s less than that.  So if fans are thinking there is some late-round gem, some Tom Brady, slumbering away like some forgotten princess, forget about, odds are against you.  For every Brady or Kurt Warner, there’s a dozen or more Craig Krenzels and Dave Navarres.  

I decided to do a little more analysis of QBs, and while the recent trend of over-drafting QBs early (Ponder, Gabbert, Locker, Tebow) may eventually skew the numbers, strong trends emerge.  But just to reiterate, there has been absolute madness in terms of FOs pushing R2 QB talent into R1 just to make sure they “get a franchise QB.”  

But if you look at all the QBs drafted from 2002-11, of those still active fully half (50.7%) were R1 picks.  That’s an astounding percentage, considering that active QBs would comprise both starters and backups.  Of those no longer active, 74.1% were taken R5-7.  That would reinforce the notion that if you want a quality QB, draft early or not at all.

Now, there are guys who have spent most of their careers as starters, some who have been primarily backups (your Luke McCown type), and there are a few “gray area” players.  First, there are a handful of players (Leftwich, Orton) whose career has been about half as starter and half as backup.  No clear trends emerge as to when these players were taken (Leftwich was R1, Orton R4).  And then there are 14 guys I have tagged as backups with an asterisk (Ryan Mallett, Nathan Enderly), because they are still in the earliest stages of their careers and they could emerge as either long-term backups, or they could as easily become never-weres.  Of these presumptive backups, 78.6 were taken in R4-6.  So what is their likely fate?  Probability says they will have a greater chance of being discarded and replaced by the next set of scrubs:  among the QBs I label “never-weres,” fully 86.1% were taken in R5-7.  Remember Cody Pickett, Jeff Smoker, Colt Brennan, and our own Omar Jacobs?

The interesting thing about career backups is that they are distributed throughout the entire draft.  One in 6 were taken R1 (think Kyle Boller), 1 in 6 in R2 (Kellen Clemens), and 1 in 6 in R5 (Dennis Dixon, Troy Smith).  22.2% come from R3 (Trent Edwards), and 13.9% from R6 (Brad Gradkowski), with 5.6% in R4 and 8.3% from R7.  

Clearly, the most successful QBs are taken early, and the ones taken late are taken late for a reason.  The statistics may mislead you to think that you can find a quality backup as easily in later rounds as in, say, R2 or R3, based on that distribution of what rounds they came from.  But another way to look at it is this.  Of the 101 QBs taken R4-7, only 27.7% are still active, and most of those active are in their rookie contracts.  38.6% of them turned out to be flops.  None are now starters in the league.

It seems likely that 3 QBs will be selected R1 this year, and that all 3 will be taken in the top 15, or even top 10.  I’m not ruining any surprises by projecting Stanford’s Andrew Luck[/u] and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III[/u] to be the first two picks in the draft.  Both players had outstanding collegiate careers, and I am hard pressed to find any glaring holes in their game.  Both are excellent athletes, and both exceeded expectations at the combine.  I would rate them as having a high chance of succeeding in the NFL.  Since everyone wants to compare Andrew Luck to Peyton Manning, I’ve devised a quick rating system using two active QBs to give an idea of how to view the prospect.  Luck’s vision and precision may be Manning-like, but I don’t think he’s necessarily the best QB prospect of the past 15 years (as some draftniks are saying) and I don’t think he’ll be as good as Peyton.  While he shares some of Peyton’s skills, I think there is also an element of simply being a very competent technician like a Matt Ryan.  So, in Luck I see:  Peyton Manning x Matt Ryan.  

In RGIII, you have someone with amazing foot speed, and that immediately brings Michael Vick to mind (RGIII ran a blazing 4.41, but Vick actually went in 4.33).  Even though he’s coming out of a spread system and will need to adjust to NFL schemes, he’s got the smarts to do it and has a great football intelligence.  His strong arm and funky ¾ release remind me a bit of Phillip Rivers, so RGIII:  Mike Vick x Phillip Rivers.  

The Steelers signed former Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson to a one-year futures contract, but it’s his successor at A&M, Ryan Tannehill[/u], who has moved up draft boards faster than anyone aside of Dontari Poe this year.  Johnson set all sorts of records (passing yards, completions, TD passes), but was replaced midway through his senior season by his former WR Tannehill.  Tannehill has all of 19 starts and is very raw, but teams will be looking at his potential as a starter in a couple of years, so he’ll likely go to a team like the Dolphins, where he can sit behind a guy like Matt Moore for a season.  Tannehill, like Cam Newton a year ago, has major questions about how his lack of collegiate starts will affect his pro game, and like Newton the former wideout can get the job done with his legs.  There are some questions about whether he’s an on-field leader and A&M did lose a bunch of games they were winning by double digits, but he’s got a strong arm and with time to develop and learn, he could be compared to a guy like Matt Schaub, who spent time behind Michael Vick in Atlanta before taking the reins in Houston.  Tannehill (Cam Newton x Matt Schaub) should be off the board well before the Steelers pick.  He’s overrated as a 1(a), and I doubt the Steelers would take him and start a QB controversy, so as a player who will need some time to develop I give him a R2 grade, but I will note that Tannehill does appear to have plus potential.

Again, most teams would likely rate him a 1(c)-2(a) talent, but in terms of Steelers fit I would rate him lower.

After the top 3 are 3 more in some order, according to most draft boards:  Weeden, Cousins, and Osweiler.  Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden[/u] has the arm to make every NFL throw, so I’ll use Jay Cutler as one of my reference points for Weeden.  And that’s not the only reason:  like Cutler, Weeden was born in 1983 (a month before Aaron Rodgers), and he’s only a year younger than Ben Roethlisberger.  Weeden also reminds me of Joe Flacco at times, with messy footwork and the inability to sense backside pressure.  Weeden (Jay Cutler x Joe Flacco) will be compared to Chris Weinke due to his age, but Weinke had poor arm strength.  QBs can play a long time in the league, so a team that drafts Weeden could easily expect him to play late into his 30s.  He’s ranked 54th by NFLDS (4/19/12), putting him near our R2 selection of 2.56.  If Weeden were 23, he would probably be the third QB in the draft and getting top-10 consideration.  Given his age, he probably fits better someplace where the starter’s older and the depth isn’t great, like the Eagles or Raiders.  Overall, a R2 grade is probably fair, but for the Steelers fit Weeden grades as a R3 prospect.

Mike Tomlin reportedly took Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins[/u] out to dinner, and was very impressed with the Spartan signal-caller.  Cousins, ranked 66th overall, was like Weeden a highly productive passer, setting MSU records for passing yards, completions, and TDs.  Unlike Weeden, he’s not able to rely on physicality and doesn’t whiz the ball, so his arm strength might compare to, say, Kyle Orton.  He apparently has plus leadership skills and a great understanding of the game, able to wow coaches at the whiteboard, so in that respect I see a bit of 2011 rookie Andy Dalton.  I don’t see Cousins as having great starter potential but see him as a very effective backup who could be trade material with some grooming.  Cousins (Kyle Orton x Andy Dalton) looks to be a R3 value that the FO is seriously considering at R2.

Arizona State’s Brock Osweiler[/u] has gotten some buzz from Gil Brandt as someone who could go in R1.  I hate to say it won’t happen, because of all the crazy shit that goes on with the draft and how much teams are overdrafting QBs lately, but I can’t see that happening.  Osweiler, 6’6”, 242#, is the same size Derek Anderson was (6’6”, 242#) coming out of Oregon St. in 2006.  Anderson was drafted 6.213 by the Ravens and has essentially been a backup his whole career, with some ugly stints as starter.  Like Anderson, Osweiler is best throwing down the field and can struggle with short to intermediate passing.  Unlike Anderson, Osweiler can move around surprisingly well.  Osweiler is another guy who left college early, with only 15 starts, and like Mark Sanchez (16 starts) I see a player who IMO will never be a complete starter.  Not to say that (like Sanchez) he couldn’t become a starter, but I don’t think he’s got the complete skill set, and he appears to be getting overdrafted on upside.  Too much Derek Anderson in the mix for me, so R5 is the grade on Osweiler (Derek Anderson x Mark Sanchez).

Next, let’s look at a couple of guys who are too short to make it in the NFL, or so we’re told.

Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson,[/u] 5’10”, 204#, is ranked 116th, but at that height I think he’d have a difficult time being taken before R4, and maybe even dropping to R5 or later.  Wilson’s height and rocket arm again draw the comparison to Michael Vick, and like Vick he is good on the move, perhaps better at reading where he should run than just relying on jet speed.  At NC State, Wilson was third in school history in passing yards, and at Wisconsin he held school records for completion percentage and passer rating, which puts me in mind of another diminutive QB, Drew Brees.  Wilson will have a difficult time in the pros, seeing over the hedgerow of linemen, but there’s a lot to like about his game.  Has all the skills you want in a backup, and Wilson (Mike Vick x Drew Brees) could easily be used in some trick plays a la Antwan Randle El; hindered by height, but R4.

Boise State’s Kellen Moore[/u], 6’0” (well, 5116), 197#, ranked 223rd, is being valued as a R7 pick.  Again, the comparison to Drew Brees comes with Moore’s plus production at Boise, his lack of a cannon arm, and his height.  Some may argue that he’s the product of the Boise offensive system, but he went 50-3 as a starter, threw for over 14,000 yards and had a career completion percentage of almost 70%.  It’s hard to see Moore being as productive in the NFL as Brees, so let’s compare him to another smallish, highly productive college QB who had some immediate success his rookie season, but who has not shown decisively he’s a franchise QB as yet:  Colt McCoy.  Moore (Drew Brees x Colt McCoy), like Wilson, has all the skill to be a backup, and could develop into more in the right system like the Saints; for the Steelers, he rates as a R6 who is being undersold as a R7/FA type player.

If you could cross a Kellen Moore with a Brandon Weeden or Russell Wilson with Brock Osweiler, then you’d have something.  

Arizona’s Nick Foles[/u] has NFL size at 6’5”, 243#, and is ranked 185th overall, but he does not have a huge arm and is a mixed bag overall.  His senior year the Wildcats started two rookie offensive tackles, and Foles was sacked 12 times in the first 4 games.  You could see his footwork suffer, never really getting into his throws, but he had excellent completion percentage and productivity, with a 2:1 TD to INT ratio his last two seasons.  He’s the second tallest draft prospect behind Osweiler, so again the Derek Anderson comparison comes to mind, not just due to height but because of inconsistency.  Foles was a streaky passer, and relied on throwing up jump balls to WR Juron Criner.  He also has a funky windup in his deliver and takes a while to process the field, so in that regard he’s similar to former Steelers backup Byron Leftwich (currently a FA), and while Foles could certainly be groomed into a starter, the odds discussed at the top of this article suggest otherwise.  Foles (Derek Anderson x Byron Leftwich) doesn’t have much upside in my book, but could be a solid backup; not as system-reliant as Moore, more seasoned than Osweiler, I give him a R5 rating.

After the Lane Kiffin saga at Tennessee, QB B.J. Coleman [/u]transferred to Tennessee-Chatanooga.  A highly regarded prep recruit, Coleman is raw and has faced a low LOC, where he got no help from teammates, no real advancement of his skills through coaching, and where he didn’t put up gaudy stats or dominate.  So, basically, he’s going to need a lot of development, but FOs apparently think he’s worth a shot.  Per NFLDS:  Among the 18 scouts and coaches present were representatives from the Broncos, Titans, Falcons, Giants, Patriots, Steelers and Saints. The Steelers, Falcons, Bears, Seahawks, Dolphins and Vikings all had quarterback coaches present. Coleman, 6’3”, 232#, is ranked 157th, and if given some coaching he could be a nice surprise, but nothing in his completion percentages (including pro day) or other stats screams value.  Like backup Lion/Texan/Colt and now Buc Dan Orlovsky (college school: Connecticut), Coleman will struggle to be anything more than a QB3.  His ceiling would be somewhere along the lines of T.J Yates, the unheralded QB3 for the Texans whose competence saved their season and playoff hopes.  I want to like Coleman (Dan Orlovsky x T.J. Yates) more than I do, and have downgraded him from a R5 prospect to a priority FA.

San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley[/u], also 6’3”, 229#, is ranked 128th overall, but he shares some traits with Coleman:  bad footwork, unimpressive stats (never had completion percentage over 60%, the competency threshold).  Crumples under pressure.  Not sure why he’s getting a R4 eval on draft boards, to be honest.  Good arm, but that’s not enough.  Lindley (Chad Henne x Rusty Smith) is a pass, thanks anyway.

Southern Mississippi’s Austin Davis[/u], 6’1”, 219#, ranked 200th, is a rhythm passer who IMO does not deserve to be rated higher than Kellen Moore.  Davis (Graham Harrell x Kevin Kolb) is the living definition of just a guy (JAG); pass.

Richmond’s Aaron Corp[/u] was, at one time, a USC quarterback, and at one time, had beaten out Matt Barkley for the starting job.  Injuries forced Corp to transfer after Barkley held onto the starter position, and Corp’s great potential has never been realized, and he’s basically fallen off a cliff.  I don’t see the return on investment as being worthwhile here, with Corp (Ryan Perrilloux x Josh McCown) being DND.  NFLDS ranks him 278th, just outside of draftable.

Quick-fire round.

G.J. Kinne from Tulsa is a QB3 for some team not named the Steelers, a guy who might fit with the Patriots or Saints.  Houston’s Case Keenum is a soft-armed but productive collegiate passer who should follow the career path of your B.J. Symons and suchlike.  Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish is a scrappy guy who won’t get drafted.  Yale QB Patrick Witt should be smart enough to know he’s going to have a difficult time following the career track of Ryan Fitzpatrick, and probably will just be a camp body.  

You can dig deeper for diamonds in the rough, but scrapple is scrapple.

The brutal truth:


R2 – Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
R3 – Kirk Cousins, Michigan St.
R4 – Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
R5 – Nick Foles, Arizona; Brock Osweiler, Arizona St.
R6 – Kellen Moore, Boise St.
« Last Edit: Apr 19, 2012 at 18:19 by Finnegans Wake » Logged

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« Reply #41 on: Apr 20, 2012 at 14:45 »

OTs are a-comin'. 
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« Reply #42 on: Apr 23, 2012 at 11:17 »

Seriously Finny.
How do you keep all this in your brain? I'm constantly amazed.
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« Reply #43 on: Apr 23, 2012 at 12:12 »

Seriously Finny.
How do you keep all this in your brain? I'm constantly amazed.
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The hardest part is keeping penso out of his head.
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« Reply #44 on: Apr 23, 2012 at 14:48 »

Seriously Finny.
How do you keep all this in your brain? I'm constantly amazed.
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The hardest part is keeping penso out of his head.

Lest I plant the notion of "treeness".
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« Reply #45 on: Apr 24, 2012 at 15:27 »

Finny’s 2012 Thumbnail Guide to the Draft:  Offensive Tackles

In the Guide to the Draft section on IOL, I wrote:

Quote
Second, and I’ll try to be brief, is the fucking mess that has been the OT situation.  I’ll address that in the OT guide, but Marcus Gilbert should upgrade Colon at RT, Colon should upgrade Foster at RG, and Foster should be a backup like Legursky.  Gilbert’s ceiling at RT is about that of Max Starks.  Depth at the position is nonexistent.  And none of this will change the fact that we’re going to see Gilbert and Colon man the edges.  We could fix two starting positions with one switch, but it would require drafting a LT, and the ripple effect is that both OG spots need a talent injection.  The fortuitous part is, OG traditionally offers better draft value, so we could literally find one upgrade early and another later, especially in a year that looks pretty deep at OG.  Won’t fix the issues at OT, but hells.


Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news.  The good news is that the Steelers have had visits with three OTs currently projected to be drafted in R1-2.  The bad news is that one is a head case (Mike Adams), one does not appear to be a good fit whatsoever (Jonathan Martin), and the third could be a reach at 1.24 but could easily be gone by 2.56 (Bobby Massie).  But drafting Massie could allow some of the above scenario to unfold, with Massie taking RT duties in 2012 and then switching sides in 2013 – he’s got faster feet than Gilbert, but Gilbert is stronger.

Getting a premium tackle and bolstering the IOL later in the draft would do wonders for the offense.

Once more, from Finny’s 2011 OT Draft Guide (maliciously deleted by that fucker Penso-Cromartie-Douchenozzle-Rothschild-Moutonnee-Von Trapp):

Quote
Generally, OTs need to be 6’5” or taller, with shorter OTs plugged in at OG.  Marvel Smith was a shade under 6’5”, for a point of comparison.  I’ve seen collegiate tackles listed at 6’3” on the NFLDS OT lists, and I’ve moved them to my OG lists.  For LT, you cannot be slow and be effective both.  Period.  That means the much-despised Indy combine 40 time actually makes a difference in how quickly a big guy on the edge can kick out.  My arbitrary numbers are 5.20 as potentially competent LT, and under 5.10 for possible elite LT.  The player must obviously have skills – the ability to use his hands properly, to bend and use leverage, to understand blocking schemes – but players who can’t trot the 40 in under 5.20 seconds start to suggest RT only. 

Let’s compare the 40 times of Steelers starting tackles to the 2010 Pro Bowl tackles.  Max Starks: 5.56.  Willie Colon: 5.36.  (No 40 time for Flozell Adams was available.)  Jonathan Scott: 5.32.  The Pro-Bowlers?  Joe Thomas: 4.92.  D’Brickashaw Ferguson: 5.08.  Jordan Gross: 5.05.  Tyson Clabo: 5.30.  Clabo doesn’t strike me as an elite tackle anyway, but by and large the 40 times speak for themselves.

Another criterion is strength, and again, the Indy combine actually holds value.  One argument about benching 225# is that OTs generally have longer arms, making high numbers of reps difficult due to leverage.  Still, if a player can’t clear 20 reps he may be too weak to man the spot.  20-25 is worth noting as being on the low end:  will the player need extra time in strength and conditioning, as converted TEs often do?  25 reps or more is optimal. 

Again, our OTs versus the Pro Bowlers.  Starks: 21 reps.  Colon: N/A. Adams: N/A.  Scott: N/A.  Well, that’s not too helpful.  But the Pro Bowl OTs do conform to my arbitrary cutoffs.  Thomas: 28.  Ferguson: N/A.  Gross: 28.  Clabo: 24.


And away we go.

USC’s Matt Kalil[/u], 6’7”, 306#, ranked 3rd overall, won’t make it out of the top 10 players drafted.  The consensus second-best tackle is Iowa’s Riley Reiff[/u], 6’6”, 313#, 5.23, 26 reps, and is ranked 13th overall.  Still, it’s not inconceivable that Reiff could slide in the draft: in 2011, both BC’s Anthony Castonzo and Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi fell into the 20s (Castonzo was rated 16th but taken 22nd, and Carimi was rated 21st but went 29th overall).  Reiff has all the movement skills and strength to man either LT or RT, but he is considered a bit of a T-Rex with short arms, which could drop him some.  Still, he’s unlikely to last to 1.24 and the Steelers would be unlikely to trade up for him.  If Reiff fell to 1.24 he’d be a great value.

Stanford’s Jonathan Martin[/u], 6’5”, 312#, 5.27, 20 reps, is ranked 24th by NFLDS (4/20/12), but his eval swings wildly depending on where you look.  I’ve seen him mocked close to the top 10, and I’ve seen some sources say he’s a R2 talent at best.  He did a fine job of protecting Andrew Luck’s blind side against PAC-10 pass-rushers, but that’s damning with faint praise.  Smart kid whose parents are both Harvard grads and who himself considered Harvard, Martin has borderline height and strength, and may have looked better than he was playing next to this year’s top OG David DeCastro.  In his pro day drills, DeCastro looked every bit the part of a top draft pick; Martin did not.  Could develop into a solid player as either LT or RT, but for the immediate future does not look like he could displace Marcus Gilbert at LT or Willie Colon at RT, meaning he’d be an expensive backup.  It’s true that Steelers top draft picks often have to wait a year or two for meaningful starting time, to learn the game and get into NFL playing shape, but Martin looks to me to be a bit of a finesse guy with a longer learning curve in our system; that bumps him down to R2, although with the right team he could rate as a higher value.

Ohio State’s Mike Adams[/u] is inconsistent, no stronger than Martin, and a fucking dumbass, getting himself snared in both the Buckeyes scandal that was coach Jim Tressel’s undoing as well as being flagged for marijuana at the combine.  I mean, you really have to be an idiot.  He’s been caught with paraphernalia before, and I see a spotty NFL career with plenty of suspensions and other dumbassery.  For the love of God, no.  Tomlin and Co. are reportedly infatuated with Adams; here’s hoping nothing comes of it. 

Mississippi’s Bobby Massie[/u], 6’6”, 316#, 5.23, 22 reps, is ranked 43rd, putting him in that 2(b) no man’s land.  Massie’s got the feet to play either side and has the proto frame for the job, but does need a little refinement and could stand to get stronger (was walked back in some film; 22 reps).  Has long arms (35”) and recorded 102 knockdowns last year, tops in the SEC.  Faced top opponents every week.  I like him better than Martin, and could foresee him playing either OT spot on our line.  Looks like a kid with a high floor and a very high ceiling.  I put his value at 2(a), so to trade out of R1 and get Massie would be the best draft value, because I doubt he falls to 2(c).

It’s also worth noting the NFLDS blurb on Massie:

Quote
There's an early common thread to what the Steelers may be thinking their greatest needs are this spring - offensive tackle. They've had just one unrestricted free agent visit them, offensive tackle Demetress Bell. He signed with Philadelphia this week to a reported five-year contract that could be a deal in which the Steelers would not have been competitive. Two of the half-dozen or so college prospects to visit them have been offensive linemen - Bobby Massie of Mississippi State and Mike Adams of Ohio State. It's no secret the Steelers desperately need tackles. Their two starters are Marcus Gilbert, who started as a rookie at right tackle last season but will move to the left side in 2012, and Willie Colon, who has played less than one game in the past two seasons because of separate injuries to his Achilles and triceps. Behind them? Veteran Jonathan Scott, who failed miserably when given a chance to start last season, and Chris Scott, a fifth-round draft choice in 2010 who has played two games in two years. That's it, unless you include first-year pro Trevis Turner, who signed a futures contract… Right tackles tend to be a bit devalued in the first round, and Massie (6-feet-6 1/8, 316 pounds at the combine) doesn't seem to have the feet to play the left side, but some teams have taken to him, and he merits a strong look now. Word is that Pittsburgh, which has been linked to Adams in a lot of rumors, likes Massie just as much, if not more.


Glenn, Cordy[/u] – See Finny’s 2012 Thumbnail Guide to the Draft:  Interior Offensive Linemen.  Glenn is OG only, and would be no better as a RT swing man than, say, Ramon Foster.

From said IOL guide:
Quote
Another guy with plus size and measurables is Iowa State’s Keleche Osemele, [/u]6’6”, 333#, 5.36, 32 reps, ranked 66st overall.  That puts him close to our R2 pick, but I’ve seen a few mocks that put Osemele in R1, presumably because his size would allow him to play some RT as well.  NFLDS compares him to Michael Oher, but an NFL scout quoted at Pro Football Weekly has a different take: 

Quote
"(Iowa State OLT) Kelechi Osemele has everything you want physically. He's got 35-plus-inch arms and looks just how you'd draw (the prototype) up. I wish he did not play so lazy. He flashes, but he has never been consistent. I don't know if he is wired the right way. He has some Tony Ugoh in him. I'm sure he'll get looks early — just look at where Phil Loadholt went — but someone is going to have to swallow hard before they pluck his name off the board. There are just too many MAs (missed assignments) every game."


Like Cordy Glenn, Osemele has the physical ability to dominate inside, and possibly the speed to play outside at RT.  Osemele has a higher ceiling than Brooks, but also a lower floor.  He’s got nearly an identical frame and measurables (uncannily so) to Marcus Gilbert, and like Zeitler he’s more bruising as a run blocker than a pass blocker.  He’s third in a tight cluster including Brooks and Zeitler, but just a bit behind them at present.  A solid R2 value with upside. 


As of 4/20/12, NFLDS has Osemele rated 63rd.  I stand by my eval of Osemele, but I would add that I think he could possibly start at guard and eventually move to RT.  Might not have the footspeed for LT, but like Massie has long arms (35”+), and I could see coach Kugler having a field day with Gilbert and Osemele as bookends.  A solid end of R2 value.

Yet again, an OT/OG prospect previewed in the IOL Guide: 
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Illinois’s Jeff Allen[/u], 6’4”, 307#, 5.28, 26 reps, is ranked 122nd, and is often listed as an OT and is getting some buzz as a sleeper LT.  Like the other ZBS-type OGs listed above, I have a difficult time fitting Allen here at OG.  He’s a fundamentally solid player, and has the skill set to work as an undersized LT (Marvel Smith?), but I can’t see him winning a spot anywhere on our line, in our system.  Pass. 


Again, I can’t see Allen figuring into our system at all.  He’s got sort of a Rodger Saffold quality, of being a smallish tackle who competently can man LT, but I think he fits into a finesse system more than ours and would get eaten alive by Terrell Suggs.

Schwartz, Mitchell [/u] – See Finny’s 2012 Thumbnail Guide to the Draft:  Interior Offensive Linemen.   I recently upgraded Schwartz to a R4 ranking, and while he could act as a RT swing man, I see his value as primarily being a steady, unspectacular OG.

Oklahoma’s Donald Stephenson[/u], 6’5”, 312#, 4.94, 19 reps, is ranked 94th, but despite his fast 40 time, NFLDS describes him as “heavy-footed,” and his frame and strength don’t wow me.  Protected Landry Jones’s blind side and allowed only 1 sack while notching 103 knockdowns, Stephenson looks like he’d be better suited inside, if he were stronger.  Looks like more of a project than his NFLDS ranking suggests, and I’m struggling to see how he’d fit here.  Plus if recent history is any indication, the Sooners NFL OL prospects have underperformed expectations.  Pass.

Florida State’s Zebrie Sanders[/u], 6’5”, 320#, 5.41, 28 reps, is ranked 104th overall and draws mixed reviews.  Filling in at LT when Andrew Datko was injured, he showed the ability to move well but his 40 time looks too slow for an NFL  LT.  One NFL evaluator quoted on Pro Football Weekly states that he wouldn’t be surprised to see Sanders sneak into R1; I would be.  If he ever put it all together, he could be a solid RT, but he was abused by top talent at the Senior Bowl and plays soft too often. 
Plus, there’s this.
  I mean, seriously?  WTF!  Too many questions about Sanders to take him as a mid-rounder, but would draft him R6 to see what shakes out.  Also would need to make sure Sanders is drinking the caffeinated K-cups.

Auburn’s Brandon Mosley[/u], 6’5”, 314#, 5.21, 30 reps, is ranked 123rd overall.  Mosley was a JUCO TE who the Auburn staff switched to OL and started working to get him to add weight.  Probably a RT guy who could find some work on the inside as well, looks like a bigger, trimmer Willie Colon type: scrappy, plays nasty, wants to get inside opponents’ heads.  Decent agilities and 40 suggest he could man LT, but it’ll take some work to even get him to RT.  Still, like his attitude and upside, and would use a R4 pick to see what we could get out of him.

Bergstrom, Tony [/u] – See Finny’s 2012 Thumbnail Guide to the Draft:  Interior Offensive Linemen.  Bergstrom has some strength, but is a slightly older prospect with short arms.  I foresee him working in a ZBS scheme. 

Compton, Tom [/u] – See Finny’s 2012 Thumbnail Guide to the Draft:  Interior Offensive Linemen.  A poor man’s Cordy Glenn?  I see Compton as more of an OG prospect, but he could provide value as a swing man if he gets some NFL conditioning.  Big jump up in LOC.

BYU’s Matt Reynolds[/u], 6’4”, 302#, 5.37, 25 reps, is ranked 166th, but like Tony Bergstrom he’s an older prospect at 26, and his frame is a bit scant.  Pass.

Boise State’s Nate Potter,[/u] 6’5”, 303#, 5.36, 22 reps, is ranked 177th, is a bit slender for an NFL OT, but like last year’s Nate Solder, Potter will hope to gear up to the rigors of NFL life with strength and conditioning.  Looks like he will be overpowered at the next level, does not have the speed to man LT, and may need to move to OG.  Has knee and shoulder injuries.  Doesn’t have the sand in the pants; pass.

UAB’s Matt McCants,[/u] 6’6”, 308#, 5.52, 17 reps, and is ranked 182nd.  A 5.52 40 and 17 reps is about what you’d expect from someone who came to football later and was previously a tuba player.  Is very, very raw and has shown flashes of talent, even as a LT, but looks too slow for that in the pros, and nowhere near strong enough for RT or OG.  Pass.

Columbia’s Jeff Adams[/u], 6’6”, 306#, 5.13 (pro day), 19 reps, is ranked 201st.  Similar frame to McCants, Adams has long arms, and showed well at the East West Shrine game.  Also like McCants, Adams would need to spend serious time in a pro conditioning program before he could even get reps as a backup.  Very light on his feet, though, and the 40 time shows it.  On upside at LT, could be worth a R7, but is very much a long-term project.

Zebrie’s FSU teammate Andrew Datko[/u], 6’6”, 315#, 5.32, did not lift, is ranked 224th.  Datko’s had a history of elbow and shoulder injuries, and sat out most of 2011.  If healthy, could be worth a late flyer, but too risky IMO; DND.

The 5-year average of OTs drafted is 20; number 20 in this guide is Southern Miss’s Lamar Holmes,[/u] 6’5”, 323#, 5.41, 22 reps.  Doesn’t appear to be anything we don’t already have with Ramon Foster or, for that matter, Chris Scott.  Pass.

A few more. 

McClain, Antoine [/u] – See Finny’s 2012 Thumbnail Guide to the Draft:  Interior Offensive Linemen. 

Portland State’s Dustin Waldron[/u], 6’5”, 302#, 5.34, 29 reps, ranked 247th, seems to have the want-to and the smarts to man LT, but he’s undersized and has the look of a practice squadder only.  Might be able to add some weight and move inside.  Pass.  Purdue’s Dennis Kelly[/u], 6’8”, 321#, 5.33, 30 reps, is ranked 259th, might be hindered by being too tall, but has fine measurables and might have some LT potential in the NFL.  But he plays very upright and needs to get more on his frame to hold up to pro rushers.  Worth a R7 flyer; similar frame to 2011 practice squadder Trevis Turner, who is still on our roster, so it would be a question of lining up the taxi squad.

Oklahoma State’s Adcock Levy, [/u]6’5”, 320#, 5.21, 26 reps, ranked 271st, is a RT/OG of the type we’re familiar with, best description I found for him was “country strong.”  Not sure how he’s better than what we have, might be worth a UDFA priority to push the rhinos. 

Which brings us to:

R1 – Riley Reiff, Iowa
R2 – Bobby Massie, Ole Miss; Keleche Osemele, Iowa St.; Jonathan Martin, Stanford;
R4 – Brandon Mosley, Auburn
R6 – Zebrie Sanders, Florida St.
R7 – Jeff Adams, Columbia; Dennis Kelly, Purdue

Osemele was also in the OG rankings; the rest of the OG/OT guys haven’t been replicated here, but I wanted to show Osemele’s value relative to Massie and Martin.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #46 on: Apr 24, 2012 at 15:29 »

Remaining:  a thin S class, should be able to knock it out before the draft; DE/OLB, not sure if I'll get to it; WR/TE, also not sure about.  Some really interesting WR all through this draft, should be able to bring in some value. 
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« Reply #47 on: Apr 24, 2012 at 22:17 »

Remaining:  a thin S class, should be able to knock it out before the draft; DE/OLB, not sure if I'll get to it; WR/TE, also not sure about. 


Where's the LS write up??  AND UM...HELLOH WASS ABOOT PUNTERZ?Huh?  ROBOPINTER IZ GAWN!...DUHH!!  I SPOOZE U WANT GARDOCKEY BACK,, FUKFACE??!!!!!

Seriously, tho.



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« Reply #48 on: Apr 25, 2012 at 11:27 »

Guy from Football Outsiders reviews some OL.  Just saw this today, and he confirms most of my thoughts on the top OT/OG.  Really, I think we agree completely.
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« Reply #49 on: Apr 25, 2012 at 17:11 »

Interesting perspective brought to my attention by the Smizik blog:

http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/24/n-f-l-evolution-the-eminence-of-the-left-tackle-and-other-myths/?ref=sports

Maybe I should be less upset if we draft Hightower at 1.24?
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"Dreith said I hit Sipe too hard. I hit him as hard as I could. Brian has a chance to go out of bounds and he decides not to. He knows I'm going to hit him. And I do. History."
- - - Jack Lambert, after referee Ben Dreith ejected him from a game for knocking out Browns QB Brian Sipe.
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