THUNDERING BLURB » All Access Football http://thunderingblurb.com ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:30:31 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.1 en hourly 1 2009 NFL Draft: Defensive Position Class Grades http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/04/2009-nfl-draft-defensive-position-class-grades/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/04/2009-nfl-draft-defensive-position-class-grades/#comments Sat, 25 Apr 2009 00:22:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=429 Each season a new crop of college athletes take part in the NFL Draft Process, and every year what the overall strengths and depths of the class are will change as often as the needs of the teams doing the drafting.

This year is no exception.

Last time we looked over the offensive talent in the 2009 NFL Draft but we all know defense can make or break a championship team.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the overall talent in the NFL Defensive Draft class of 2009.

PositionDefensive End
High SideBrian Orakpo, Everette Brown, Tyson Jackson
Low SidePierre Walters, Orion Martin
Overall GradeA
Explanation – The Defensive line class – both Tackle and End – is very deep this year. I think the defensive end class is deeper than the tackles and I think you could see between eight and ten going on Day 1 – possibly more than any other position and that includes the ever coveted offensive tackle position. And to my mind, even the low side is chock full of talented guys who have a shot to make an impact. That said, keep two things in mind here. First, even the top guys can be converted to linebacker or tackle depending upon the defensive scheme. That versatility is a good thing but also makes it hard to count on the DE being taken as an actual DE. I love Orakpo like many others, and have been a big believer in Jackson for quite some time, calling him out as a distinct possibility as the Jets’ pick at 17. Now he’s even being talked up as a top 10 pick in many circles I respect. If those two go quickly, guys like Brown, Larry English (Florida State) and Lawrence Sidbury (Richmond) may move up. This is a deep, deep class too. Pierre Walters from Eastern Illinois is all over the team interest lists I did at Draftguys.com and he’s a very productive, smart and versatile guy who could go late and still contribute early. Rulon Davis from Cal is another guy who, with his hard work ethic, high motor and good tackling skills could hang around and contribute as he develops. There are plenty of players who have the talent to get on the field and stay there in this class.

PositionDefensive Tackle
High SideB.J. Raji, Peria Jerry
Low SideRa’Shon Harris, Sammie Lee Hill
Overall GradeB+
Explanation – An excellent overall class, with talent fitting for every round from first to seventh. Excellent ability front to back, plenty of depth. This class could have a tremendous impact for some time to come with the top end able to make plays from Day 1. Raji has been getting a lot of the press but don’t forget his Boston College compatriot, Ron Brace. While Raji is more of the complete package, Brace is quick off the snap, can shoot the gaps and penetrate to collapse the pocket and is outstanding versus the run. Peria Jerry is a name you have been hearing more the last few weeks but has been on my radar for some time, and he’s a good bet to go in round one behind Raji. Another guy I absolutely love and am pretty sure he will go around the turn at ½ is San Jose State’s Jarron Gilbert. He absolutely blew up his Pro Day and several teams are very interested, including the Jets, whose coach Rex Ryan was in attendance. While it’s a good class, it lags behind the Ends in part because it just isn’t quite as deep.

Position - Outside Linebacker
High Side - Aaron Curry, Clay Matthews, Brian Cushing
Low Side - Anthony Felder, Stephen Hodge
Overall Grade - A-
Explanation – Another incredibly deep class on the defensive side of the ball, Aaron Curry leads a strong group of OLBs which once again contains a large contingent of USC Trojans. The group had a good showing at the NFL Combine and shined brightly during their Pro Days and really has become one of the best positions in the Draft. Curry, likely a top three player, is an exceptional player who is the type of guy who can consistently deliver hits while not getting knicked up or missing games. The two USC guys are opposite sides of the same coin – Cushing, a hard working blue collar guy from Jersey, is the safe, consistent pick with lots of experience and probably is closer to a finished project. Matthews, the walk-on with the fantastic bloodlines who worked his way up through the special teams ranks is all upside and raw skill. But both could produce very good numbers in the right offense. Another USC linebacker not getting enough publicity is Kaluka Maiava. Maiava can play sideline to sideline, can play very physical but also drop into coverage effectively and like Matthews, has Special Teams experience. Even players in the back of the pack like Anthony Felder has the potential to contribute early and often. Most people are more familiar with Cal’s other linebacker, Zach Follett, so for many Felder resides in the shadows like Maiava did at USC. But while Felder is a bit smaller than they’d like he’s a very reliable tackler, great range and what’s more, is a very smart player who can learn the things he can’t do. If he can stay healthy, Felder is an example of a late round or street free agent guy who might still be very productive.


Position - Inside Linebacker
High SideRey Maualuga, James Laurinaitis
Low SideWorrell Williams, Antonio Appleby
Overall Grade - C+/B-
Explanation – If there is a weak spot on the defensive side of the draft, it’s the inside linebackers. The top end is very good, but overall the position is thin and riddled with injuries including top prospect Maualuga. Still, Maualuga and Laurinaitis should both go on day one, with El Rey going in all likelihood no later that 16 to the Chargers and Laurinaitis probably hanging around the turn. Watch for rising prospect Frantz Joseph, who has heat after his spectacular performance at his Pro Day. He plays with a nasty streak and is a very football smart guy, though like so many Inside backers, he can be too aggressive. He still has upside to spare. Gerald McGrath is another guy who could go late and be very productive. McGrath, from Southern Miss, is incredibly athletic and while he lacks the bulk, his frame will allow him to add to it and make that up. Still, they are projects and this is a class that is riddled with them, a little too much for my taste.

Position - Cornerback
High Side - Malcolm Jenkins, Vontae Davis, Alphonso Smith
Low SideRyan Mouton, Cary Harris
Overall Grade - B-
Explanation – Another pretty good class for the defensive side of the ball, this group will consistently throughout the weekend. More than one team may focus on other needs first though, so it could be just Jenkins and perhaps Davis who go by the end of round one. There is a firm middle of the road, guys who could go second through fifth that I think will hold some very good value. A great example of the spectrum are guys like the pair from San Jose State, Coye Francies and Christopher Owens who have quite a bit of upside and have attracted attention from many teams. Both are a bit raw but have tremendous upside. Francies is a very physical, can change directions well and has very good instincts. Owens isn’t big and strong, but is very instinctive and really aggressive despite his lack of size. And there are tons of guys with potential like this across the position.

PositionSafety
High Side - Louis Delmas, William Moore
Low Side - Lendy Holmes, Troy Nolan
Overall Grade - B-
Explanation – There are plenty of safeties (both strong and free) to go throughout the weekend. The top end is good but not great while the lower end isn’t bad but isn’t great either. Plenty will go and plenty will play for many years but I don’t think you’ll see this as a great class for years to come, but that’s not a knock as many of the guys will be productive. Louis Delmas (Western Michigan) is a great example of a safety – tough, physical with great instincts who will play hard against both the pass and the run. Moore, from Missouri, is also a big, tough hitter not afraid of getting messy against the run game as well as pass. As you move to the middle of the pack, you get guys like Chris Clemons from Clemson (not tough or a big hitter but good closing speed and in coverage) or LSU’s Curtis Taylor (great athleticism, good instincts, special teams player but not great against the run and too aggressive). Players like these have the upside to survive in the NFL but have large gaps in their game in my opinion. A team can take them and work with them on Special Teams or rotating in as time goes on and the risk is not as expensive as an earlier pick but neither is the ceiling or floor.

PositionPunter
High Side - Jacob Richardson
Low Side - Justin Brantley
Overall Grade - C
Explanation – While a good punter can make or break a team in the battle for field position, they are not usually in high demand during a draft. This class is fine, as far as any group goes, but they are more likely to find themselves signed after the fact than drafted.

Position - Kicker
High Side - David Buehler
Low Side - Sam Swank
Overall Grade - C+
Explanation – Every once in a great while a kicker comes along who goes early but this group likely does not have a fellow like that. The most intriguing prospect this year seems to be Buehler as teams love his strength and accuracy but are unsure how he will hold up in pressure – something he didn’t feel much at USC. Like the punters, a decent group but not outstanding.

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Interview Transcript – Fresno State QB Tom Brandstater http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/interview-transcript-fresno-state-qb-tom-brandstater/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/interview-transcript-fresno-state-qb-tom-brandstater/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2009 18:28:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=422 As time goes on, I’ll be rolling more and more of these out. You can always find the audio on NFLDraftbible.com or in the archives for All-Access Football and usually (although not in this case) The Thundering Blurb Football Show – both on Blogtalkradio.com.

I did this interview just prior to Fresno State’s Pro Day and actually broke the news in it that Brandstater would not be working out at his Pro Day, which then appeared on Rotoworld. Right place, right time.

So without further ado, here is the interview I ran on All Access football a couple of weeks ago with NFL Draft Prospect and former Fresno State QB Tom Brandstater.


Garda: Welcome to another edition of All Access Football Radio brought to you by NFLDraftbible.com, as well as the fabulous Fantasy Sports Channel and BlogTalkRadio.com. I am Andrew Garda, your host for the next 15 or so minutes, as we will get our interview on with another in a long line of top prospects. A guy who, coming into the Combine people were thinking ‘Intriguing prospect, maybe someone who could make some noise.’ Coming out of the Combine, everyone was saying ‘What the heck did we just see?’ Of course I am talking about Fresno State Bulldog quarterback Tom Brandstater. Tom, how are you doing tonight?

Tom Brandstater: I’m doing great. How are you guys doing?

Garda: Doing absolutely fantastic. Big night for you, getting ready for your Pro Day. So I want to thank you for coming on tonight because I know you probably have some butterflies going on to tomorrow. Absolutely going to be a huge day. Between the Combine and now, have you been hearing a lot from teams? Are there any workouts yet, any dialogue or do you think that’s going to come later on?

Tom Brandstater: Yeah, at this point it’s starting to become, teams are calling and getting ahold of my agent and trying to figure out different meets and stuff like that. So it’s going to be – I’ll be a busy guy for the next month or so before {the Draft} just trying to hit every appointment and trying to talk to all the people who are interested so, I’ll be busy. And it’s kind of fun, part of the process to get out to different places and see different people and ultimately going for the goal of being on an NFL team.

Garda: So moving backwards a little bit before we move too far forwards, you played both quarterback and defensive back in high school and you were a good enough defensive back to where named to the first team All-District by the Modesto Bee, at the position. In college however, it was all about the quarterback slot. Which is not to say that you were so good as a D-back that nobody was talking about your quarterback ability because you were directing what was primarily a rushing offense, but you still threw for 1,000 yards as a senior high school QB. So, clearly you had the talent to do both. What was the thing that made you say ‘hey, I’m focusing on quarterback from here on out’ when you were clearly successful at either position at all. What really did you see that said ‘that’s why I want to do quarterback?’ And what advantage do you have, having played that position, a position that usually gives quarterbacks some headaches.

Tom Brandstater: Right. I was more of a safety in high school. I don’t think I’m physically gifted enough at to play defense in college. So it wasn’t a question at all as I got to college. I did well in high school because I was able to know what was happening before it was going to start. So it wasn’t because I had sheer athletic ability, the ability to cover and stuff. So I was kinda in the right place at the right time playing defense. And then I was a natural quarterback with the ideal – with the prototypical body at least to play quarterback.

Garda: You like, flipped the script there, because most of the time quarterbacks were like ‘yeah I played a little D-back and now I know what’s in the safety or corner’s head because I was there for a little bit.’ And it sounds as if you were all like, in high school, ‘yeah I played a little D-back, and I knew what the quarterback was doing and that’s what made me effective.’ So that’s a pretty good use of the tools. You reversed it on them.

Tom Brandstater: Exactly! That was how I utilized my somewhat athletic body. I kinda knew what was going to happen. In high school it’s such a – it’s not so precise. If you have any idea what’s going on, you can usually be pretty good and I was lucky just to – the quarterbacks would just kind of throw it up and would find a way to come down with the ball. I think I had like eight interceptions my last year. So that’s why I did so well, had so many interceptions on defense.

Garda: So let’s get back to the Combine, We touched on it a couple of minutes ago. You had, I’ll just put it simply, a very good day. You showed more accuracy and straight-line speed than people really expected, you had a great 20 yard shuttle. You were the fifth best among QBs in that. You showed off your agility. Accurate passes, good velocity. After a day like that, how do you go back to the grindstone and in many respects act as if nothing really happened? Because you can’t afford to lose that momentum. I mean, because you came out red hot after the Combine.

Tom Brandstater: Yeah I did. I had a good day and you know I think – I wasn’t totally surprised. Other people were more surprised than I was. I think that’s how I usually threw the ball and I felt good about that. So, it was a solid day for me. I was real happy with the way I did everything and I think – it doesn’t prove anything. It’s definitely going to help me to get looked at. I have to do it on a more consistent basis every time and so it was just one more piece of the puzzle that had to be put together in order for me to turn some heads.

Garda: Absolutely. Tom, really when it comes down to it, as time has gone on, the NFL has taken a lot more notice of small school players. A few years ago, people were saying – could Fresno State, could be Appalachian State – ‘sure they put up good numbers but they haven’t played USC, they haven’t the SEC’. That’s certainly changed over the last few years. And now in some respects it’s almost an advantage for some guys to come through a small school program. What are the advantages you’ve felt you had going to Fresno State over one of the huge universities which frankly, some people get lost in the programs a little bit. What do you feel is the best thing about going to Fresno State, and strengthened you the most? And at the same point, what do you feel some of the challenges have been coming out of a small school?

Tom Brandstater: Well I think that the good thing about Fresno State is we’ve had good coaches, we’ve had really good people involved with the program who have taught me a lot of things I need to know for the next level. So that’s definitely been a positive just having that knowledge part of it. A negative might just the fact that people are going to doubt the strength of schedule and… but that doesn’t really mean anything. We don’t have a team of 100 all-stars, you know, we have a couple of good players and enough players to field a starting defense and a starting offense. Our depth isn’t what the other teams are but that could be the only knock on our team. That and our schedule. So I don’t see it as a huge negative and I don’t think at the end of the day people don’t care where you came from, this is all about what you can do and what you can do to help a team win.

Garda: Absolutely and just to point out, I mean, in 2007 you had four very good passing games against the likes of , at the time #23 Texas A&M, at the time # 4 Oregon, at the time # 21 Boise State, and a Kansas State that I don’t think was ranked at the time but was still pretty stiff competition and you had a career high 300 yard passing game so I guess when it comes down to it, it’s all in the perception and as long as guys are looking at your tape, it doesn’t lie.

Tom Brandstater: Yeah, I mean that’s what I’m hoping for. It’s all about a couple guys up there in key positions in the NFL have to like you and not every guy is going to like you or think that you can fit with their system but when a couple of guys like you and a couple of guys are willing to go after you, that’s all it really takes. It really takes one but once you get a couple in there, it’s going to guarantee your odds and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m just trying to do my thing and hoping my thing is what some of the people are looking for.

Garda: You yourself mentioned that you pretty much have the prototypical size, the build the guys are looking for in the NFL for a quarterback. But at the same point, you’re still mobile. You can move the bootleg, you can move in and out of the pocket, you don’t lose anything for being that size. What do you do to keep up that agility, to work on the speed that you need to kind of keep things going long enough for a wide receiver or even a running back – one of your other options, if the primary is covered, to get open?

Tom Brandstater: First I’m gifted that a lot of it comes natural. Some guys just can’t run to save their life and luckily I’ve been blessed to be able to run. And then it comes down to working hard in the weight room and doing different things, different agility drills that allow you to be able to move around. I think that that’s a big part of my game. I’m not a Michael Vick by any means, but I think when things break down I have some ability at least to make the play happen and try to extend the play and at least get the ball out of my hands so I don’t get sacked let one of the playmakers make a play.

Garda: You know, we were just talking about how the perception of small schools at one point was sort of a negative. And it has turned to where it’s a positive or at least on the level of any other school. It seems to like now to me, virtually everyone I talk to be it scout, quarterback, analyst or Joe on the street, seems like to me the new ‘small school’ label is now the spread offense. Let’s flip the script on that – what do you think are the strengths coming out of something that uses the spread offense and what’s your reaction to people who do bring it up as a negative going into the NFL?

Tom Brandstater: Well the positive of it is, you know, the stats are pretty mind-boggling. You can put up some pretty good numbers in the spread offense. But the negative is the fact that you’re not going to run that offense in the Pros and there’s a lot guys that are going to look down upon that so that’s really, to me, that doesn’t affect me. Some guys will talk about it, even though I wasn’t in that offense, it’s going to help some guys as my peers or hurt guys. That’s not really my decision, but I think it is what it is. And I believe I wasn’t in an offense like that but if I was it’d be a lot of fun, you put a lot of points on the board and try to make the most of the situation.

Garda: Well, despite not being in a spread offense, 2,600 plus yards for two seasons in a row and 15 plus touchdowns for two seasons in a row is not too shabby really when it comes down to it. That’s some pretty good production.

Tom Brandstater: Yeah, you know, we definitely did some good things on offense. There were games where we’d like to have done more, you know like any position isn’t going to be satisfied with what they did. But, yeah we did some good things and that was good. We had a lot of good players here at Fresno State and I enjoyed my time here and it’s been awesome and the next step in my dream is getting closer and it’s exciting to live it out a little bit.

Garda: So as we’re getting close to the end here, a couple more questions for you here Tom. First of all, tomorrow is your Pro Day. What is your biggest goal going into tomorrow’s workout? What is the one thing that you think more than anything else you need to go out there and just hit a home run on?

Tom Brandstater: Well, actually, my Pro Day is tomorrow but I’m not going to be able to do anything. Two weeks before [the Combine] I tore my lat muscle in my side…..underneath my arm. So I re-aggravated it at the Combine. I haven’t been able to do anything for the last … since the Combine. I’m not even going to be able to throw tomorrow at [Pro Day]. So my situation is a little bit different, and basically it’s going to turn into a meet and greet for me to talk to the scouts and then before the actual draft. But my Pro Day is not – I won’t be doing anything at the Pro Day.

Garda: My bad. Sorry about that.

Tom Brandstater: Yeah that’s relatively new information yeah, so I mean, I got the doctor after the Combine and we found out I tore my lat while I was at the Combine. In a way it’s good, because I threw so well at the Combine, but I did it all with a torn lat, so hopefully there’s more to come and even better things for me out there.

Garda: All right, so when you are able to work out, where have you been working out and what were you focusing the most on when you’re able to throw the ball?

Tom Brandstater: Well I’ve been training in Southern California with my agent and a whole bunch of – we got about five quarterbacks. We got Curtis Painter, Pat White, Mark Sanchez and Nate Brown. We’ve been out there doing everything. I think the little things are what makes good quarterbacks great, so I’m trying to work on little things and making sure that I’m a complete quarterback. Whether it’s moving the pocket, accurate throws and just doing all the things that you have to do. I think footwork is my biggest emphasis, because I want to make sure that – anyone who knows anything about quarterbacks know that footwork is the most important thing and your arm and the ball will follow what good feet do. So that’s been my emphasis since I’ve been training.

——————————-

My take on Brandstater: This wasn’t the sort of thing that would hurt him, though it’s more about the depth (or lack thereof) in the class than the injury, missed Pro Day or anything else. Most of these quarterbacks are projects. Any team could very well go any direction and – if they are willing to be patient – could very well end up with the next Matt Cassel three or four years from now.


Brandstater is a guy who is a decent quarterback and has the basic tools to suceed, though in my opinion I’m not sure he is starter material. But since he’s a project, with the right system and coach, he has as much of a shot as most of this class of quarterbacks.

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Cal Pro Day Wrap Up http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/cal-pro-day-wrap-up/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/cal-pro-day-wrap-up/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2009 04:32:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=420 Today I had the pleasure to be a media rep covering the NFL Pro Day at the University of California – Berkley. It was a beautiful day at California Memorial Stadium. Great weather, sunny, not windy and cool.

I arrived as the athletes were working in the weight room, and happened to be there when top Center Alex Mack was getting ready to lift. For what it’s worth, he did not lift the 225 bar 40 times. It was 20. That was already corrected in the article that Rotoworld.com quoted, as well as on Rotoworld. But as good a day as Mack had – and it was very good – he didn’t become Superman.

Back to the broad picture though. All 32 teams were represented by 50 scouts, coaches and various personnel. Largely, they were there to see Mack and Zach Follett. Follett was nursing a bad hamstring though and only lifted, pulling a 21 rep bench press.

Follett told me he was disappointed, as he wanted to take another shot at his Combine numbers. However, he already has talked to some teams and will be scheduling some workouts. While I was there, I saw him chatting with representatives from several teams, among them the Colts, Chiefs and Browns.

How interested those teams are is anyone’s guess – they could have just been chatting. Or they could be hoping he’ll tumble enough to be there when thy come back around. He also mentioned the Raiders were sniffing around as well. Any of those teams could use him and I’m sure there are more who will take a look at him prior to late April.

Back to Mack. He ran a nice 5.17 40, looked good in his other workout drills and great in his positional drills. He held the rapt attention of nearly everyone who was there and when he was done, I’d say 75% of the people there took off.

That’s not to say there was no interest in anyone else. But Mack was the biggest target for attention there and clearly someone who won’t drop too far in April’s draft. I get the sense that he could go anywhere from the middle of the first to the end, but I don’t think he gets out of it unclaimed.

Mack ended his day in a film room working some chalk and going over tape with representatives from three teams. He was easily in there for two hours, maybe more. It was great to talk to him afterwards and he was definitely pleased with his day and ready to stop training for Pro Days and Combines and start training for actual football again.

After Mack was finished, the remaining scouts were treated to a pretty sharp workout by quarterback Nate Longshore. Longshore ran around a 4.7/5.1 40 yard dash (I timed it by hand, but was unable to verify afterwards) earlier in the day.

Warming up he seemed a bit off but once the drills started, Longshore was sharp throwing the ball with good arm strength, accuracy and touch. I was impressed the way he worked and not only made himself look good, but his receivers as well.

This draft is filled with project quarterbacks and in my opinion once you get past Stafford and Sanchez, there are a ton of question marks. As Sigmund Bloom, one half of the pair from Draftguys.com who were on my show Wednesday night said, guys like Pat White and Josh Freeman are riding a bit of a wave from the fact that this class is weak.

So when you get past the first few solid quarterbacks, and you’re looking for a project it’s really just about whom you fall for. Longshore is far from a sure thing. But as a project?

Why not?

A few other notes from the day.

Linebacker Anthony Felder pulled a hamstring during his first 40 yard dash. It was a shame, he definitely had high hopes for the day. Before the end of the day, he had already set up a session with one team and was looking forward to getting back on track prior to the Draft.

I liked what I saw from tight end Cameron Morrah, who ran a 4.5/4.6 in the 40 and looked solid in receiving drills. He too has some interest already from teams and has scheduled multiple workouts.

Finally, Burl Toler stopped by for a workout and looked good in receiving drills. Toler is a free agent journeyman who has bumped around various NFL and AFL teams since he was signed as a street free agent with the Oakland Raiders back in 2006. He most recently played on the practice squad for the Washington Redskins in 2007-2008 and the San Jose SabreCats from 2008 until the AFL dissolved.

It’s always interesting to me to see a guy like this work out. He’s clearly willing and definitely looked good and while teams tend to try and think about getting the freshest talent in the Draft, there’s always guys like Toler who are still young and able, but carry experiance that most rookies take a long time to gather and some never get.

Could Toler find a home again within the NFL? It will be interesting to see.

Overall, it was a great day for most of the athletes present and with the extra attention guys like Mack and Follett brought to the day, some of the more fringe projects might have gotten a tad more exposure than they might have otherwise.

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Monday NFL Draft News and Notes http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/monday-nfl-draft-news-and-notes/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/monday-nfl-draft-news-and-notes/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2009 22:27:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=415 Week three of the Pro Day Meat Market has commenced and there are a ton of schools over the next six days who will be hosting NFL Scouts and Staff to their home campus to give their guys a look and maybe a shot at being grabbed by a team in April.

I mentioned many schools to look for in this week’s Pro Day Rewind as well as my impromtu Pro Day episode of All Access Football show, but honestly there is no way to cover every school and even the players who aren’t having their expos are news in some cases.

Here are some of the big pieces today and my thoughts on them:

DE Michael Johnson ran an official 40 time of 4.59 at the Georgia Tech Pro Day on Monday, although the Lions had him at 4.49. Which is odd and totally opposite my personal experiences at USC and UCLA’s Pro Days last year. Sometimes a school will put an athlete’s time much faster than the Scouts do but I don’t think I’ve seen a discrepancy flipped like this. And .10 of a second in a 40 time is an eternity. How does that happen? My thoughts on Johnson really are simple. He measures up really well, but gets pushed around and lacks consistent effort from play to play. However, Johnson is looking to be a late second, early third pick right now and could still move up depending upon what times other teams got today.

Beat writers and mockers have the Jets grabbing the best available wide receiver at #17. All sorts of guys – Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jeremy Maclin most often – get mentioned so far and the only thing that really might not be accounted for could be that Rex Ryan is a defense guy. So given how good I think the defensive class is (article forthcoming), it wouldn’t shock me, even with the cash they’ve spent over two years, if Ryan went with a great defensive player.

Georgia QB Matt Stafford (sorry, Matthew) apparently kicked some serious tail in personal interviews at the Scouting Combine. While it comes as a shock to nobody that he’s still in the conversation to be Detroit’s pick, it’s something interesting to hear. This is not a fantastic quarterback class. Stafford testing well may bump up it’s overall grade. Now we’ll see what we hear of Sanchez as well. He’s a guy I am very interested to see when I head to USC’s Pro Day on April 1st.

Mike Mayock was on the NFL Network and is talking up University of Connecticut running back Donald Brown pretty hard. He was already looking at him as his second best back in the draft, an opinion I didn’t particularly share. I’ve been watching tape I can get ahold of and have been gradually getting on board. I haven’t gotten to the point where I have him as high as Mayock but he’s starting to get there.

I was supposed to interview Utah QB Brian Johnson, but he had to postpone (hence the impromptu Pro Day show on all Access) and so was paying close attention to Utah’s Pro Day this afternoon. Johnson was very productive in an offense that led a team on an undefeated run last season – so you kind of need to look and see what’s there. Some injury issues and an offense which worked largely out of the spread are question marks. He moved all right in the 40 (4.88/4.89) and the three-cone in 4.41. Johnson is a long shot, but is just intriguing enough to maybe catch on as a Rookie Street Free agent.

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All Access Appearence pushed http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/02/all-access-appearence-pushed/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/02/all-access-appearence-pushed/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2009 19:04:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=399 Hey folks – in case you were planning to tune it, with the jam packed show they have planned, it looks like I will get pushed on the All Access Football show. However I am still doing both Saturday and Sunday shows as well as (right now) the appearance on Monday.

Even without my lovely voice tonight, make sure you tune in anyway and Dan and Rick will get you set for the Combine. I know I’ll be listening.

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