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Draftwatch 2012

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Draftwatch 2012

Pro Days are underway and I have to admit I got caught napping on a couple. Normally USC is just about the last Pro Day to happen, normally early in April.

So I was a little surprised to learn it was happening this week. I'm not sure why the change happened but scheduling Pro Days is one portion of the Draft process I don't know much about and am not actively trying to figure out.

USC has two potential first round picks in OT Matt Kalil and DE/OLB Nick Perry. Both stood on a lot of their Combine numbers, Kalil also skipping many of the drills. Perry had an OK day, though said it wasn't as good as he feels he could have performed.

I still have him going to Green Bay in my latest mock, although it was finished prior to the Pro Day.

I don't think that would have changed it much to be honest. I like Perry to the Packers. I'm not saying it won't change—it depends on a lot of factors, including who drops to them.

It's not changing this week.

A look at who some other people have going to the Packers:

CBSSPortsline/NFLDraftscout have two different people going to Green Bay. Rob Rang has DT Kendall Reyes from UCONN wearing the green and gold while Dane Brugler has DT Devon Still from Penn State.

Reyes is a bit of a reach in my opinion, but if Still drops, he could be a good fit. Perry is on the board for Rang's pick, but long gone in Brugler's mock.

Here is Rang's take on Reyes:

General manager Ted Thompson loves to use high picks to fortify his offensive and defensive lines. Reyes hasn't generated the same attention as some of the other top defensive linemen in the 2012 draft but is highly regarded due to his size (6-4, 300), burst and power. He played defensive tackle for the Huskies but has the length and strength to hold up nicely in Green Bay's three-man defensive line.

Over at DraftCountdown, Scott Wright agrees with me, having Perry go to Green Bay.

Scott's take?

Green Bay already has one of the most dynamic outside linebackers in the league in Clay Matthews but an upgrade is clearly needed on the other side. After striking gold with Matthews, why not try the Trojan program one more time? USC’s Nick Perry played defensive end in college and racked up 29.5 tackles for a loss and 21.5 sacks in three seasons but he could also transition to outside linebacker in an odd front at the next level. However, regardless of where Perry lines up there is no denying that he is one of the most explosive edge pass rushers in this draft.

Over at ESPN, Todd McShay has Clemson DE Andre Branch as the pick. I like Branch, though he is a bit raw.

McShay's thoughts:

Branch is a good fit in Green Bay, with the athleticism to move to outside linebacker in the Packers' 3-4 scheme, as well as the motor and pass-rush ability to get after the quarterback and draw some attention away from Clay Matthews on the other side.

His cohort, the grandfather of Draft over-analysis but also the reason I have a paying writing job in some ways, Mel Kiper went the same direction Wright and I did, with Nick Perry.

Mel's take:

The Packers need help in the secondary, but a lot of that starts with the pass rush. It's not an exaggeration to say the Packers' pass rush fell off a cliff towards the end of last season. In Perry, you get a guy who played with his hand on the ground at USC, but should be able to stand up for the Packers and provide the complement they need. And hey, the last time the Packers looked for pass-rush help out of USC it worked out just fine.

Chris Streuber doesn't have any explanation of his picks on the mock itself, but he has Alabama SS Mark Barron as the Packer pick.

I can totally see that pick. While Barron is missing a lot of time recovering from double hernia surgery, it won't affect him long term and even though it's a weak safety class, Barron is still an outstanding player.

The Packers do need some pieces in the secondary as Woodson ages. Could you go cornerback instead? In that mock, it's a bit thin so in this case no. However, corner is certainly an option if the right prospect falls.

I'll periodically do this and keep you up to date with who is sending who to Green Bay so you can avoid Mockpocalypse or Mockburnout.

DEAR ORSON CHARLES—YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG

Of course right after my latest mock went live, reports surfaced that Georgia TE Orson Charles got himself arrested for DUI.

To me, this is an awful sign and not just for the obvious reasons.

I'm not going to get on a high horse and rant about the evils of DUI, you already know them.

I am going to get on that high horse and rant about how stupid you have to be to get arrested for DUI, or drug possession or test positive for drugs or get arrested for shoplifting lollipops—while you are in the Draft process.

When something like this happens, it's a huge red flag for me.

Where's your brain at man? It's only the job interview of your life, only something you've probably been working towards for a maybe a decade.

If you can't stay clean and out of trouble for the months between the end of the college football season and the NFL Draft, can I trust you to stay out of trouble during the season?

It's the height of idiocy. You know you can get a taxi. You know how damaging getting yourself into trouble is, and God forbid you get into an accident and cost someone their life. If you can't control your drinking don't go out until April.

Getting arrested at this point tells me all I need to know about where your priorities are.

MANNING

So a brief word about the Manning sweepstakes. I know most of you aren't paying too much attention to the idiocy going on but it's entertaining.

To paraphrase Mr. Nagler, I was unaware Manning made tackles or blocks.

If he's healthy, Manning is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. That said, if you aren't a Peyton Manning away from a Super Bowl, are you wasting your time?

It's odd to me that Kansas City and Miami are the front-runners. Neither of them is a quarterback away from a Super Bowl, though looking at Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles and the defense, Kansas City has a fighting chance to make the playoffs at least.

Miami has question marks all across the defense and issues with the offensive line. They have a solid running game and Brandon Marshall, with an OK group of receivers behind him.

They have Florida sunshine, which counts for something when the quarterback in question has played in dome his whole career.

Suffice to say, that's one of many reasons the Jets won't get him. I think it's an awful fit beyond the weather. Like the previous two teams, I also don't know the Jets are one player away from the Super Bowl.

They aren't far, but they need a pass rusher and offensive line depth to start. There's the question of Sanchez as well. If you bring Manning on, Sanchez is done in NYC barring a lot of patience on his part and Manning going down, leaving Sanchez to be the hero.

If the Jets are done with Sanchez, fine, but they'd better be sure. Starting over in another year or two when Manning is done is a risky proposition.

As an organization, the Jets are magpies sometimes—they get obsessed with new and shiny. I don't believe in that, and franchises don't build consistent winners very often that way. If it were just once, maybe, but it's happened a few times now.

The ONE team mentioned which makes sense but probably won't happen? San Francisco. There's a team with only a few flaws and one of those is definitely quarterback.

Miami seems to be the front-runner and I'd hate to have Manning in the AFC East but as a whole, I don't think the Dolphins scare anyone all that much.

Even with Manning, I don't see them winning the East, much less the Super Bowl.

I'm sure we'll talk Manning again though maybe not in this space. I;m already tired of it. Manning is the new Favre.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (32) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jeremy's picture

"Clay Matthews is a successful OLB from USC. Since Nick Perry is also an OLB prospect from USC he will be successful."

Answering true to this statement on one of those skills assessment tests employers love to hand out would move you toward a failing grade. Yet, people like Mel Kiper repeatedly employ this kind of BS logic when guesstimating the Draft. Something tells me if Mel Kiper ran a football team he would be more Matt Millen than Ted Thompson.

BTW this is not a cut at you AG, great article!

andrewgarda's picture

Thanks - I didn't take it as a cut at all. Kiper's argument is pretty flawed. Matthew=USC=Perry=Good isn't really much analysis.

Bearmeate's picture

IMO Kiper is an idiot. Remember how ape he went when Clausen fell to the 3rd round 2 years ago? How did that work out??

McShay is who I listen to more than anyone else. He is a solid writer, breaks down the strengths and weaknesses of players well, and more often than not, seems to predict who will do well in the NFL.

More than can be said for most 'analysts'.

PackersRS's picture

Both are full of sh*t IMHO.

None of them have any contact with organizations whatsoever, and both feed up on wrong "info" that agents and teams try to pass out.

Vikings' bias or not, Mayock is the man to go to. He gets it wrong sometimes, but he is connected and has access to the all22 tape (or whatever it is called in college), something neither Kiper nor McShay do.

Kiper and McShay basically work with the same resources independent guys like Garda do (legality aside). The difference is that the independent guys don't have to follow an agenda.

Bearmeat's picture

I don't know why I said McShay. Maybe cause I was thinking about BSPN...

I meant Mayock at NFLN.

Totally agree RS. My bad on the typo

Ebongreen's picture

I like Perry - but not as a 3-4 OLB. He's been quoted as saying he'd rather be a 4-3 DE, and I'm not confident he can drop and cover at all. In the late first, I'd be much more comfortable with Branch opposite CM3.

That said, I'm more of Rang's opinion that the Packers will look towards linemen in the late first if there's one to be had. Kendall Reyes has measurables comparable to or better than Mike Neal when he left Purdue, so he would seem like a natural fit as a Packers DE. Fletcher Cox has even better numbers and fit, but I doubt he'll drop to 28. My hunch is that with the relatively deep class of conversion projects (McClellin, Irvin, etc) expected to be available through Round 2, Thompson will look to the larger athetes early if one is available.

Of course, who the Packers lose (and possibly gain) through FA may make a lot of difference too. :-,

andrewgarda's picture

yeah I enjoy mocking but at this point, until FA is kicked off, it's all killing time because who grabs who and signs where will radically change things.

Of course, I don't expect the Pack to be very active BUT what other teams do might affect who is available at 28.

BubbaOne's picture

AG, I agree w/ Ebongreen, everything I read including his own words say Perry's a 4-3 DE, why do you think he can make the shift?

Which of DE's Chandler Jones, Jake Bequette, Vinny Curry, Cam Johnson, and Brett Roy can make the transition to play OLB in Capers scheme?

MarkinMadison's picture

I'm also concerned about the reluctance to play 3-4 OLB. Shades of Aaron Kampmann there. I'd go with Kendall Reyes for that reason if those were the only two viable choices for the Packers at 28. Better yet, trade back to the top of the 2nd and get another pick.

andrewgarda's picture

That is a concern and one which bothers me too. I think if another option I like better comes by, it will change. I can't imagine him turning up his nose at GB OLB or not, but the reluctance could make them pass.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Yes. When the guy flat out says he'd rather have his hand on the ground... Red flags!

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

" Thompson will look to the larger athetes early". He always does... You know the good lord just doesn't make that many big men that can move like that! TT.

PackersRS's picture

I've seen these 3 patterns from the Packers that, until proven contrary, should guide any mock drafter when picking for them:

1) They don't draft players shorter than 5'11". Cobb was the exception, and McCarthy has said so himself. It was thought that it only applied to CBs, but it's for the whole roster.
2) They don't draft tall (6'4"+) Dlinemen. The only DL taller than 6'3" are Lawrence Guy and Johnny Jones, both on PS, and both 6'4". I take it has something to do with leverage in Capers' scheme, but I'm not sure.
3) They don't draft tweeners, DEs that figure to convert in the Pros. Given, they've only drafted 2 OLBs, but both had played standing up and had dropped in coverage suficient times in college. TT IIRC said something about wanting players that had proven could play the position. Not only that, but with Capers' fire-zone scheme, all LBs have to be able to drop into coverage, but most importantly rush standing up. When Kampman was with us, he didn't put his hands on the ground till midseason, despite rushing from the 3 point stance all his career. Confusion is Capers' motto.

That leads me to the conclusion that the Packers won't draft Perry, or Branch, or Still. Reyes lies in the borderline.

Unless they change their defensive philosophy regarding player mold, but I doubt it.

andrewgarda's picture

I really appreciate the input and never would have noticed the first two points.

That's why I love you guys-I learn something new every day!

:D

ebongreen's picture

I'd suggest that small sample size may be skewing these results somewhat. :-)

(1) Yes, I think it's true that they prefer taller players at offense skill positions. That said, Aaron Rodgers is only 6'2", hardly the prototypical QB height. Likewise Jennings is only 5'11". Brandon Jackson is 5'10"; so is DeShawn Wynn. All Thompson-era picks.

(2) Mike Montgomery (6'5"), Justin Harrell (6'4"), Jeremy Thompson (6'4") were all acquired by Thompson before the switch to the 3-4. Since then, there have been only five players drafted on the DL, many of whom have been shorter. But we're only talking FIVE GUYS, and three guys before that providing evidence to the contrary.

(3) They've drafted three 3-4 OLBs, actually - Ricky Elmore just happens to not be on the team anymore. He was a conversion project, albeit one that failed.

I believe the Packers, like every other team, has their preferences on what they want in players. That said, I think they'll do what Thompson says they'll do - pick the one they think is the Best Available Player that fits the team.

PackersRS's picture

Yeah, I understand that the sample size is somewhat small, but, relatively, it's not. It's 3 years picking in this philosophy, and 7 years overall. It doesn't get much bigger than that, only a handful GMs are able to pick for the same team over a decade, and that's not taking into account said team sustaining the same defensive and offensive philosophies throughout the tenure.

Regarding stature, I didn't say prototypical stature, I only said players shorter than 5'11". Jackson and Wynn nonwithstanding, it's still a clear pattern. If it's taken as guideline or as pre-requisite, I don't know. But it is a pattern.

Had completely forgotten about Elmore.

DLs picked before the conversion aren't relevant to the discussion, are they?

And, yes, like you said, it's probably more preference than pre-requisite, but, again, for the sake of mock drafting, it's a pattern that should be observed.

It doesn't mean Perry won't be picked but if there're players with the same value that fit better into the "mold", it's much less probable he will be picked.

In fact, I'd wager that the criterias I listed before are taken into account before making the pick, when evaluating and grading each player. So those in the mold would naturally be ahead of those not in it.

SoTxPhil's picture

I think Bruce Irvin is the guy GB needs opposite CM. I believe it was the E/W game he played in and dominated the LOS with his speed. He was unstoppable. Most mocks have him going later (in the 2nd), but after his fastest LB speed at the Combine who knows where he'll go.

PackersRS's picture

I like him an awful lot, I believe he's the most athletic 3-4 OLB prospect in the draft, has good instincts (not great though) and a great motor.

The problem is, he is beyond raw. He has 2 pass rush moves. Straight ahead speed, beating the OT in the corner (he has AMAZING agility, can really bend past the corner), and straight ahead speed, setting the OT and then moving inside.

That won't cut in the NFL, speed or not. He's a project, maybe he can be a pass rush specialist year 1 if he can learn how to spin move, but don't count on him providing much impact year 1.

If his head is in the right place, though, in 2 or 3 years he can be an absolute terror. He is IMHO the prospect with most upside in this year's draft. His combine numbers are on par, if not better, than Matthews' and Miller's.

ebongreen's picture

Irvin's combine numbers are virtually identical to Von Miller's, according to at least one source. Go to http://nflcombineresults.com/nflcombinedata.php and sort by OLB and 3-Cone. When I saw that, I confess I got a little excited. :-)

He's absolutely raw, but he's got talents you can't teach - but that you can develop. On tape he's got the speed rush bend around the corner like whoa and moves in space like the former safety he is. Hand-fighting and pass rush refinements are something CM3 learned to do better, and who better to develop Bruce than Kevin Greene?

PackersRS's picture

This is the site I use for combine numbers: http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=108840&draft...

And it's not just the absurd numbers. Like you said, he plays really fast, but it's not just speed, what sold me is that he got nice push when he tried to bullrush. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9s85CjEexg

I don't think he'll be someone like Ernie Sims that only has speed and nothing else.

Honestly, I see the same potential as I do in Sam Shields, and it's similar situations, as both are extremely raw, and only played a couple of years in their respective positions in college.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

" They don’t draft tweeners". That's why I think Shea McClellin may be the guy this year. Go get Ted's big bodied d lineman in the first, and Shea could very easily be there in the second.

#maybe

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Well, by the letter, Shea is actually a tweener I guess. But he stood up quite a bit at Boise.

PackersRS's picture

Yeah, it's not that TT don't draft tweeners (and this aspect I've admitted that with 3 selections it's small sample size), but more about getting a player, or favoring a player that has proven can play standing up. McClellin has done that.

I'm with you on this one Fitz.

pkrNboro's picture

WAS and STL swap 1st round picks and WAS gives up two future 1st round picks (and more).

That is crazy -- even if it was combo of Luck with RGiii speed, which it's not.

Pickin' over whatever is left at 28 has never looked better...

---------------

Things seem nutty in south beach, too -- wouldn't be surprised if they lose out on Manning and Flynn. What has Philbin gotten himself into ???

PackersRS's picture

It's not crazy. It's EXACTLY what one would expect from the Redskins in their current administration.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

GREAT deal for the Rams, exciting time to be ram fan. Good for them.

redlights's picture

Interesting take on stature; can see it both ways.

On average, the least quantity of players will be the largest and fastest (Dline/CB's). That's where I see the Pack going, but defineately lean towards 5 technique DE. That said, I just can't get the sick feeling out of my stomach about collins, so Barron could be the man, too.

lmills's picture

If i were a betting man, I'd put my money on 3 players. Konz, Barron, or Branch. I'd be happy with any of those in the first round. I wouldn't even be upset if TT decides to trade back into the early 2nd and get an extra 2nd along the way. I think there's a lot of talent that can help us in the early to mid 2nd round. my .02

Thanks for the ariticle Andrew. Fun stuff to read.

PackersRS's picture

I don't remember which poster first brought up that idea of trading back, but it was a great catch, and I fully agree with his/her argument.

MarkinMadison's picture

For this thread, I brought it up first, but I have definitely seen that sentiment expressed on this site in other threads, so I claim no originality. The bottom line here is that unless someone "does a Rodgers" the Packers are not likely to find anyone at the bottom of the first who looks like a "can't-miss" prospect. Better to hedge your bets with a couple of 2nd, if you can get them. That said, if they are really going to let Wells walk, Konz looks hard to pass up.

pkrNboro's picture

I'd bet that Ted gets Wells for reasonably cheap money, or goes with EDS. I thought EDS was a light-weight at guard, but he's actually heavier than Wells and might work out there temporarily. I think Genus gets a long look -- although an inch shorter, he's got 20 pounds on Wells and has played C since PeeWee.

I'm not sold on Konz, particularly as a 1st round pick with so many needs on the defense.

Would like several medical opinions on Barron.

Could get comfortable with Reyes and then doing whatever to get McClellin...

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Andrew, keep this shit coming, this is what we covet. Great stuff!

GBP 4 LIFE

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