…and so we go from one guest entry to another. I’m happy to say that Twitter Legend TXCleaver is making his blogging debut right here at Houston Diehards. Hopefully he’ll get it in his head to do some more guest entries along the way.
You may know TXC from such films as “the guy who created the KubiakBelievesInYou hashtag on Twitter”, and “unfollow him during LSU games unless he’s heavily drinking.” It was through TXCleaver that I learned of Les Miles’ penchant for eating grass. For that, I can never repay him enough.
File this under regrets – it turns out that when I lived in Austin, I was literally a mile away from TXC, and never knew it. We could have totally had that moment where we figure out we don’t like each other in person, but always have a good time online. Dammit!
With that, I turn it over to TXC, who has something to say about tomorrow’s NFL Draft.
I started to just tweet this list, since that’s the extent of my Interweb broadcasting presence. However, luckily for my twitches and HoustonDiehards.com dear readers, Chris stepped in and mentioned posting this on his blog. So here goes..
Quick background: I’ve been a draft dork for about 17 years now. I don’t profess to be an expert, and am horribly incompetent at evaluating some players – quarterbacks in particular. Here’s who I generally get right – LSU players (for better or worse), most Bama players, and a pretty broad range of the higher end SEC talent. I undervalue Pac 10 talent, and almost subconsciously disregard the Big 10.
This list is NOT a mock draft. I quit doing mock drafts a few years ago, as I found I spent too much time on them. More importantly, I finally realized that the teams drafting that high are generally per se dumb. No sense predicting the picks of a few horribly run teams. The list also only goes 12 deep because, really, who cares beyond that?
Here we go:
12. Jake Locker – great skill set that can develop. Too much idiot juice (Tebow) in him, but has elite potential. Has a bit of dongslinger to him and I like that. He also terrified me when LSU played them. Curious to see him play with more structure, better receivers, and a modicum of protection
11. Mark Ingram – no need to overthink this. Emmitt Smiff potential. Great production against best teams. Built for NFL. If he checks out medically, he’s a perennial all-pro.
10. Cam Newton – I told you I can’t evaluate QBs. Brilliantly gifted athlete that strikes me as genuinely dumb – but savvy. He was also the best player on the field every game except v. LSU. Can he read? Probably not. Can he use a whiteboard? Clearly he cannot. Can he throw? Hell, I really don’t know. But the guy leads, wins, and makes plays. Tebow got overdrafted on a similar basis, but I’m pretty sure Cam physically can make the throws. If I knew he’d know where to throw them, he’d be #1 on this list.
9. Tyron Smith – No clue who this guy is really, but I figure there has to be an OT in my top 12. If you’re being completely honest with yourself, you have the same thoughts. The experts seem to like him, and he doesn’t reek of a non-athlete like Solder.
8. Cameron Jordan – I don’t know a lot about this guy since I mainly watch real college football (get it? Pac 10 is sissy ball – that’s what I’m implying.) However, he seems to be versatile across the d-line, which implies a rare level of athleticism. He’s also of NFL lineage, which for now is a good thing (Cromarties in 20 years, maybe not so much.) He should be ready for the external issues of playing in the NFL, and give a good coach quite a few options.
7. AJ Green – Elite WR skill set. I fully expect him to be a total package within two years. Consider him like Larry Fitzgerald…great routes, speed, and spectacular catch-making. Just like Larry Fitzgerald, there is only one better WR and the guy that compares to him is….
6. Julio Jones – Massive, fast, athletic playmaking WR that has had a succession of frat boys throwing to him. He can block and should develop into an elite WR in the mold of Andre Johnson. I SAID IN THE MOLD OF, not that he’ll be as good. He could be though…Yes he disappeared in some games. He also played for a run-oriented team and terrified the coaches and fans of opposing teams.
5. Robert Quinn – This guy explodes off the limited (VERY limited) film I’ve seen. With pass rushing at such a premium, he’s worth the risk. He was also good enough for an agent to start fronting him stuff, which demonstrates more elite talent (I only say that half-jokingly.) He seems to have the pure athleticism (speed plus bend) needed to play arguably the most athletic spot – OLB in 3-4. Rare stuff. Worth the risk. I’m only barely concerned that he has a tumor. I’m more impressed that he has overcome that thus far.
4. Von Miller – I watched a LOT of A&M games, and he normally jumped off the screen. I’m not sure he jumped off the screen like a Top 4 pick, but he’s special. See above re: OLB in 3-4. Miller seems like a safe pick, character-wise, as well.
3. Marcell Dareus – Big space-eating guy that hurt Colt McCoy. The guy is explosive and big. Great production at Alabama, though he was occasionally neutralized. Reports are that he has a low “fat guy gets paid and gets fatter” factor, which is great. Dareus collapses running lanes and extends himself into plays. He also can collapse pockets with his power/size. I actually think Dareus is a safe pick, which is a rarity amongst DT prospects. Rarity like 320 lb.+ player on the Texans rare.
2. Nick Fairley – One year wonder. OK, for whatever that’s worth. Maybe DT-lazy. Maybe. He also singlehandedly dominated games last year. He plays with the speed of a 275 lb DT, and shows power of a guy much larger. I’m also convinced that he can add 10-15 pounds of muscle weight and not lose that burst. Keep in mind he was a JUCO player that moved to Auburn. He hasn’t had the full career in a legit weight program. Related to that, his jump in production was purportedly due to him putting in work in the off-season. I almost HOPE his technique is lacking, as that just raises his
ceiling (assuming he’s coachable.) Fairley was a force of nature in the SEC and in the BCS championship game. He was constantly penetrating, plays with a mean, violent streak (who likes cerebral DTs?), and still has untapped potential. Fairley’s “drop” in the draft reminds me of Warren Sapp’s slide due to a failed marijuana test. It was stupid then, and I think this slide is stupid now. My only hope is that he goes anywhere but Tennessee.
1. Patrick Peterson – Best player on the field in every game. Elite speed, press coverage, and ball skills. He was an electric kick and punt returner, with vision and yes, more speed. His biggest issue is that he takes too many chances for interceptions, which will almost assuredly get coached out of him. I wish I had coach’s film on Peterson, because I remember a LOT of plays where he comes from out of nowhere to get in on plays. He plays every bit as fast as his 40 time. I keep hearing that his size is a bad thing, because, well, because, umm…there’s never been a CB that big before! OK. There also weren’t many WRs that were the size of Terrell Owens, Anquan Boldin and Andre Johnson. The game evolves. I’m also not entirely sure why an eventual move to safety somehow devalues him. Where exactly would Rod Woodson be drafted knowing what we know now? How about Ed Reed? On a field full of athletes, he was the best every game for two years.
LSU scouting report for you:
Drake Nevis – will be a contributor on a 4-3. Great penetration ability but can get swept out of plays. Surprisingly unblockable at times. Seems like a late 2nd round pick to me.
Stevan Ridley – I’ll be honest – I wasn’t happy when LSU recruited him. I was big-time wrong. This guy runs patiently but suddenly. He’s a violent runner – almost angry, like he KNEW I didn’t like him originally. He’s a tad bit slower than Arian Foster, but very similar in overall style. He’s also a solid blocker. Ridley will be a 1,000 yard rusher in a zone scheme if given a chance. Watch. 3rd round
Kelvin Sheppard – Love this guy, but I have my doubts about his ability to play in the NFL. Classic over-pursuer. He’s always in on plays, but is kind of stiff, and not really fast. I suspect he’ll make it in the NFL due to his effort and nose for the ball. He should also contribute on special teams. 5th round. Oh, he also shared a number with Ryan Perrilloux for a couple of years.
Huge thanks to TXCleaver for the insights. SUPERB debut. I hope you have a few more in you in the future.