National Football Authority

Get ready NFL fans, the lockout has been lifted for less than 24 hours and trade rumors are already starting to swirl.

A league source close to the situation confirmed to National Football Authority that the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings have had ongoing discussions regarding Minnesota’s No. 12 pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

According to this source, the Browns have expressed high interest in obtaining two certain players in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. If the Browns can draft the first player they are interested in with the No. 6 pick and the other player is still available at the No. 12 pick, the two teams plan to make the deal.

While the complete terms of the deal were not discussed; the current talks are centered around the Vikings sending their No. 12 pick in the first round to Cleveland for the Browns’ 2012 first round pick and their No. 37 overall pick in the second round of the 2011 Draft.

Targeted prospect names have not been revealed and only actual draft picks have been discussed thus far.

I believe these discussions could potentially mean the Browns are targeting cornerback Patrick Peterson from LSU with the No. 6 pick and could be angling to acquire the No. 12 pick to draft wide receiver Julio Jones from Alabama, if he is still available. Or the Browns could be targeting any number of other prospects too.

If these are indeed the targeted players, it would allow the Browns to insert two opening day starters at areas of need from the first round right away.

This potential deal also could mean that Minnesota is not sold on a quarterback or defensive lineman with the No. 12 pick, and could be looking to draft those positions (and save money in the process) at the top of the second round.

Perhaps the Vikings are looking at picking up Jake Locker at the top of the second, since he has been trending to fall out of the first round altogether, but that could change if there is a run on quarterbacks at the bottom of the first round too.

A risky play by the Vikings, but they could be thinking they would get a Top 10 pick from the Browns in the first round of the 2012 Draft too. On the flip side, the Browns might think having two first round picks this year can make a huge impact for the team in 2011.

Either way you look at it, both teams are in talks and these talks are real right now

April 26th, 2011

Posted In: NFL

The Boise State football team continues its dominating ways with placing no less than four players on this list of the top 15 non-AQ players to watch in 2011.

The upcoming college football season is still many months away until the first kickoff, but that doesn’t mean it is too early to start talking about who some of the difference-makers will be and which future pro stars will dazzle us in 2011.

The non-Automatic Qualifier teams are so numerous that this endeavor has taken a lot of time to put together. Our six previous lists of the AQ conferences only listed 10 per story, but seeing as how there are five non-AQ leagues I added in an extra five slots – six if you count the honorable mention.

I have no doubt I will leave some very deserving players out that you think are no-brainers, and I will also likely include some names that will leave you scratching your head. But my list takes into account past play-makers and includes my estimation of who will step up in the upcoming season. With that having been said, let the surprises begin.

15. RB Matt Brown – Temple
For all intents and purposes Brown is the human embodiment of the storied Little Engine that Could. The small running back (listed at 5′-5″) had a breakout game against Army last season finding his way into the end zone four times. His career average per carry is over five yards. Something tells me this kid is the next version of Oregon State’s Jacquizz Rodgers, and I guarantee he’ll be fun to watch in 2011.

14. RB Ed Wesley – TCU
Wesley is an important reason why the Horned Frogs tasted the success of the BCS bowl 2010 season. He notched together a 1,000-plus yard season and accounted for 11 touchdowns.

It is truly amazing just how overlooked he is by so many. Make no mistake about it, TCU needs Wesley and they will clearing the road for his many trips to the promised land next season.

13. DT Roosevelt Nix – Kent State
Nix did what most would think an amazing accomplishment. As a true freshman, Nix was an All-MAC first teamer, defensive player of the year and, big surprise, was voted the freshman of the year.

The kid is all upside as far as I can tell. He has a very promising future ahead of him after notching 44 total tackles and 10 sacks last season, with four coming in the game against Akron alone… Wow!

12. QB Dominique Davis – East Carolina
Davis wowed the ECU fans in his first year with the Pirates after transferring in to take over the job as the team’s main signal-caller. He amassed nearly 4,000 passing yards and 37 touchdowns in his first season. There is no question in my mind he will be ready to thrill the ECU faithful again next season.

11. QB Jeff Godfrey – Central Florida
The Central Florida quarterback caught a lot of attention last season in his first campaign in Orlando. Godfrey was voted Conference-USA freshman of the year honors in 2010.

He’s a mobile quarterback who can burn the opposing defenses with his feet, but he also put together a QB rating of 154.31. So the kid can use his arm fairly well. He should be fun to watch on an improving UCF team.

10. WR Rishard Matthews – Nevada
Matthews is a receiver that showed his abilities to Wolfpack fans last season, and the rest of the nation found out about him in the victory over Boise State in 2010. He is a quick receiver who has shown a lot of skill in making defenders miss him on the run.

He is a true bright spot in the Nevada receiving corps, and this season will present him another opportunity to distinguish himself. Last season he recorded 56 receptions for 879 yards, and I am betting he finds pay dirt more often than the five touchdowns he scored in 2010.

9. WR/KR Eric Page – Toledo
The Rockets’ leaned on Page a lot in 2010 and he was a guiding force in the team’s success. He recorded over a 100 yards receiving in half of the regular season games, providing a steady and dependable target throughout the season.

Page is a slippery fellow, and if you don’t believe me just ask one of the nation’s best defenses about it. The receiver put up 120 yards on Boise State last season, and he will be a major reason why Toledo will have more chances to shine in 2011.

8. WR/KR Damaris Johnson – Tulsa
Johnson is a guy you will get used to seeing. I know NFL scouts are already eying him with great joy. He is another receiver with great kick returning skills and he made a great impact with the Tulsa program last season.

Johnson’s return skills earned him special teams player of the year honors in Conference-USA last season and he’s been clocked in the low 4.3-range in the 40-yard-dash. This next season will no doubt showcase his speed and abilities.

7. DE Shea McClellin -Boise State
The kid who grew up on ‘Chicken Dinner Road’ (no joke) in a small Idaho town is absolutely representative of what the Boise State program is all about. He is a machine out of A Nightmare on Elm Street movie for opposing offenses.

He is an All-WAC first teamer, and just one of the many cogs in the highly effective Broncos defensive machine. Despite recording only 30 tackles, he led the team with 10 sacks.

He can seem relatively quiet in his play, until – Wham! He is involved in some of the biggest defensive plays.

6. QB G.J. Kinne – Tulsa
Ever since Kinne transferred from Texas to the Golden Hurricane, he has been making solid use of his time in Tulsa. He accounted for 3,650 passing yards and 31 touchdowns through the air. But he is fleet of foot as well, with seven rushing touchdowns and ripped the Houston defense for 190 yards on the ground last season. This is a signal-caller with chops, and the Tulsa fans can’t wait to see what he can do in 2011.

5. RB Doug Martin – Boise State
Broncos fans have affectionately named the stout 5′-9″ 201-pound running back the ‘Muscle Hamster’ due to his stature and musculature. Now, I have a feeling he may not care for the nickname, but the small-ish back bowls through opposing defenses time and time again. The guy runs hard, gaining tons of yards after contact, and he just doesn’t know how to stop moving the ball.

He is a threat to run the ball, or catch it as well. Martin established himself in 2010 with 1,260 rushing yards, averaging more than six yards a carry and he scored a dozen rushing touchdowns. It should be an interesting year in 2011 to watch how the competition plays out between Martin and our next playmaker, as the two will be in the same conference starting next season.

4. RB Ronnie Hillman – San Diego State
What’s not to like about Hillman? I can’t think of much, other than seeing him work on his receiving skills of which we have seen very little of.

Hillman tore up the Mountain West Conference in his freshman campaign with a total of 17 touchdowns (plus one receiving) and more than 1,500 yards on the ground for the Aztecs. The kid didn’t fumble once and recorded multiple 228-yard rushing performances against Missouri and the other coming in the the SDSU Poinsettia Bowl victory over Navy… Watch out!

3. QB Case Keenum – Houston
Keenum suffered an ACL injury in the third game of the 2010 season, but the NCAA has seen fit to grant the talented passer a sixth year of eligibility. He has recorded 13,586 passing yards and 107 touchdowns through the air.

He is one of the game’s great passers. With his rehab on track to be ready to start in 2011, you can expect him to challenge another great passer to be seen later in this list.

2. LB Tank Carder – TCU
Carder is a beast, and it’s hard to sum up what he brings to the field in so few words. He was responsible for 61 tackles and four sacks for the Horned Frogs in 2010.

The reigning Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year is the heart and soul of the tough and dominating TCU defense and he will play on Sundays. In 2011, the AP second team All-American will anchor one of the most fearsome defensive attacks in the entire country.

1. QB Kellen Moore – Boise State
You had to know the 2010 Heisman Finalist was going to make the top of this list. The “Prosser Passer” leads the prolific Boise State offense. He loses two key receivers in Titus Young and Austin Pettis, but there are plenty of younger receivers ready to step up in their place.

Moore led the nation in passing efficiency in 2010 and the expectations for his competing for another Heisman showing is a foregone conclusion. The AP third team All-America quarterback enters his final season on the Blue with a career QB rating of 182.63, several records, 99 passing touchdowns and almost 11,000 yards through the air.

In short, Kellen is… Hmmm, what’s the word? Oh, that’s right – good!

*Honorable Mention DT Billy Winn – Boise State

I know this list is heavy with Broncos players, but there is a very good reason why they have been one of the premier non-AQ programs over the last decade. They are stocked with impressive playmakers. (Bring on the homer comments.)

I had to include Winn, because I kept going back and forth on who I would include in the list between McClellin or Winn. The defensive tackle has proven himself an incredible force to be reckoned with causing destruction and mayhem when attacking opposing offensive lines. Winn will be a destroyer again in 2011.

He makes the list as a testament to the entire defensive front. Last season defensive end Ryan Winterswyk was double-teamed constantly, freeing up opportunities for other members on the line to wreak havoc while he tangled with two sets of bodies.

****

I hope you enjoyed this list. I tore out my hair over the course of several days researching and compiling it. Again, this is my opinion of who will provide us with the most fun to watch in 2011, based on their previous performances, and how I estimate the players will do in the upcoming season.

Are there other players who were overlooked that could also easily be included? Yes, but this is my list and I encourage you to make your own and leave it in the comment section.

Make your case for why they belong, I want to hear it!

This completes our seven lists of all the conferences. Links to the previous “Top Players to Watch in 2011” series are provided below. And my thanks to our hard-working writers for pouring their souls into this fun project.

April 22nd, 2011

Posted In: CFB

The Sport of football is all about action, not excuses.

It didn’t take Long for things to get Rocky between the SDSU Aztecs and the Boise State Broncos, who are new conference-mates in the Mountain West starting this coming season. On Tuesday new San Diego State head coach Rocky Long fired off the first shot knocking the “unfair” advantage of the the blue turf in Boise.

“I think they ought to get rid of that blue turf,” said Long “I think it’s unfair.”

At first it appeared some of the reporters on the Mountain West conference call weren’t sure if Long was just kidding about his comment. But when he was asked a follow up, he made it clear he was serious.

“It takes the visiting team a quarter or two to get used to that different field,” said Long.

The Aztecs head coach is hardly the first to complain about the oddity of the iconic blue turf. Others have as well. Some coaches have gone to great lengths to prepare their teams for the different feel in Bronco Stadium.

After all, who could forget this comical video after Oregon State head coach Mike Riley had his practice field painted Blue to simulate the color of the field at Boise State. In the end, it’s doubtful the painted field made much of a difference, as the Broncos still came out victorious against the Beavers winning 37-24 in the 2010 contest.

The complaints about the blue turf, and whatever advantage it provides the Broncos, usually pave the way for a few laughs as was the case after Boise State head coach Chris Petersen poked fun at the Beavers’ new paint job.

“Perfect, we’ve got them right where we want them if they’re going and painting their field,” Petersen laughed and jokingly said.

The Blue, as most Boise locals call it, has been around for some time (since 1986) and it has added some notoriety to a program that just keeps winning. In fact when the differently-colored turf was first installed, it was jokingly referred to as “Lake Bleymaier” in reference to Boise State athletics director Gene Bleymaier – who is still there in the same position today. And no, ducks don’t crash land into it and die – that’s just an urban myth.

The Broncos typically wear mostly blue uniforms at home, but it’s not as if the players become invisible…
Photobucket

…Or do they? This photo was tweeted by a Boise State fan, mocking Long’s overtures of an unfair favor for the home team due to the color scheme of the gridiron.

Coach Long, are you sensing the sarcasm? As the comedian David Spade once said in the classic comedy Tommy Boy, “I hope so, because I’m laying it on pretty thick.”

The Broncos busted out all-orange uniforms for the November 19th showdown with Fresno State in the 2010 season. Following the 51-0 beatdown of the Bulldogs, I asked several members of the team about the so-called advantage of the blue uniforms and if that played any role in the choice to wear all orange at home on the Blue.

“Maybe now they’ll complain that we’re hiding in the end zones (which are painted Orange) I guess, since we’re wearing orange,” said former defensive end Ryan Winterswyk. “But other than that, I think you can see us pretty good out there.”

It’s also worth mentioning several coaches who have faced off against the Broncos over the years have never given that claim much credence either. The only advantage it may provide is making life more difficult for opposing coaches breaking down game film. From an above angle you might have to watch more closely.

When on the field the opposing players better not be looking down. They should keep their eyes forward looking across the plane, as the walls are not blue. I have watched the last four seasons-worth of games at field level, and I never had any problem keeping track of the Broncos players… And neither will the Aztec players.

You certinaly do not hear that much about coaches whining about teams that are wear green uniforms on green turf. So maybe it is best to just accept the color and get over it.

As I said in the beginning, the game is about action – it is not about complaints. Besides, SDSU doesn’t even play at Bronco Stadium until 2012.

There is plenty of time to prepare, coach.

April 20th, 2011

Posted In: CFB

Former Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Ryan Mallett reportedly admitted to experimenting with drugs during his team interviews at the 2011 NFL Combine.

Mallett has been dogging the rumors for some time and was a bit unsettled when the issue was pressed by members of the media that same weekend.

Ths news comes by way of Pro Football Weekly. Nolan Nawrocki wrote the following about Mallett in a story published Monday afternoon.

“One GM said Mallett was the first quarterback ever to admit his drug usage to him in interviews, and his willingness to be honest about his past and acknowledge issues is viewed as a positive.

Concerns about his history of use could impact his draft position, though. Although Mallett did not produce an official positive test at Arkansas, he has been arrested for public intoxication and carries a reputation as a “big party guy,” per sources who have interviewed him.

How much teams believe he has matured will weigh into his draft status. “I would not take him at any point,” one executive not in need of a quarterback said. He still figures to be drafted in the second round.”

This new information could prove pretty damaging in the eyes of the public and could be costly for his draft prospects. Teams may shy away from a possible PR problem. But his candor and honesty could also be a plus.

The biggest problem that will follow the talented signal-caller is his alleged partying ways. With all that attention and money, temptations will lurk at just about every turn he makes.

If a team is set on drafting him, they will do so with their eyes wide open. He brings an incredible arm and ability to move the ball down the field. He has some growing up to do in some evaluators eyes.

Ultimately though, it is reasonable to believe there is some negative impact with the release of the recent information. Just recently his former coach at Arkansas, Bobby Petrino came to his aid stating Mallett never tested positive for drugs while playing for the Razorbacks.

“I don’t know where all of [it] came from,” Petrino told ESPN. “All I can judge is how he did for us. He did a great job for us. He was a guy you love having in your program, not only as a great player, but he represented our program great.

Several stories have recently come out supporting Mallett’s good nature. It seems as though his personality is not so much in question as is the future choices he could make.

The kid has a hell of an arm, there is no question. But there are still questions to be answered.

April 18th, 2011

Posted In: CFB

“All the things Cam Newton does, Colin Kaepernick does better.” This bold statement is straight from the mouth of Competitive Edge Sports (CES) founder Chip Smith, the man who’s had the distinct privilege of training both players.

Smith’s declaration piqued my interest. I wanted to know more about Colin Kaepernick. Born in Wisconsin and raised in California, football became a passion at a young age. Like most quarterbacks his father was his childhood coach. Over the years he’s blossomed into a remarkable player. He’s the only Division 1 quarterback to have passed for over 10,000 yards and rushed for over 4,00 yards in a collegiate career. Plus he’s the only quarterback to have passed for over 2,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

His stats are impressive, but this player is more than numbers. Smith says he’s a driven, focused competitor. Throughout training he was the first one in and the last one out. His last rep was as good as his first and he wanted to do everything all the other guys did. He’s analytical, extremely smart, a man of character and a leader. Recently I had the privilege of speaking with Kaepernick and truly believe this quarterback is a diamond in the rough.

CS– In regards to football who were your influences growing up?

Kaepernick– Besides my father, my high school coach Brandon Harris, I think he had a big influence on me. He was very smart in how he game planned for teams. We didn’t have the most talented players but we’d have a good scheme, which taught me the mental side of the game is as important, if not more important than the physical side.

CS– It should be noted that Kaepernick excelled in football, basketball and baseball in high school. He received several scholarship offers to play Division 1 baseball but turned them all down in favor of taking his only Division 1 football scholarship offer from the University of Nevada.

CS– What is it about football that made you turn down all other scholarships and take the one football scholarship offer?

Kaepernick– For me football’s always been my passion, it’s been my love. Growing up I watched Brett Favre every weekend and he played the game like he was a kid out there, playing with so much excitement and passion for the game. Plus spending time with teammates you build a camaraderie and going toe to toe with another team, there’s nothing like it.CS- What did it mean to you to be the quarterback of a Division 1 school (The University of Nevada)?

Kaepernick– The first thing that comes to mind for me is responsibility. There’s a lot of responsibility of being the quarterback of a team as well as being the leader of the team. Especially in Reno where there’s no professional team, we are the show in town. You have to carry yourself a certain way so everyone respects the program, respects what you’re doing and they don’t look down upon you.CS- What was your relationship like with Coach Ault while at Nevada?


Kaepernick- I had a growing relationship with our coach. My first few years he was really tough on me because he was trying to make me better and make sure I was ready for every game. As I progressed during my junior and senior season we had more of a partnership type relationship where he would run things past me and it got to the point where he basically said, “You’re the coach on the field, you’re comfortable with what you’re doing just go out there and play football.”CS– Sometimes coaches are hardest on the players they see the most potential in.

Kaepernick– Definitely and I think the reason he pushed me so hard was to get the best out of me.

CS– I can’t talk to you without mentioning Boise St. This past season, on senior night, they rolled into Reno amidst BCS National Championship hype. You said your team felt overlooked, disrespected. At the half you’re down 17. As the leader what did you tell your team in the locker room?

Kaepernick– I told them we can come back from this, we’re moving the ball we just need to cut out the little mistakes. I told the offensive line to keep grinding, our skill players were gonna make plays for us. In the second half our offensive line started responding like they’ve never responded before and started blowing Boise off the ball. They were the real reason we were able to get back in that game.

CS– What was going through your mind when they lined up to kick a field goal at the end of regulation?

Kaepernick– A lot of us on the sideline were just praying for another shot because we knew if we went into overtime there was no way we were going to lose that game.

CS– What did it mean to you to walk off the field that night with the win?

Kaepernick– It’s something I can’t even describe. There were so many emotions, all the blood, sweat and tears to get to that point, not only for me but for my whole team and to see all our hard work pay off, it was a real special moment.

CS– What has life been like for you post college?

Kaepernick– It’s definitely different. It’s all football all day. While I trained at CES we worked out from 9-5 everyday. From there I went to the Senior Bowl, the combine and back to Reno to get ready for Pro Day. After Pro Day private workouts began for teams and now I’m into visits, flying around the country meeting personnel from different teams. It’s a surreal experience, you’re meeting people you’ve watched on Sunday. It’s something you dream about growing up but you never really know if you’ll be able to make it to that point, but now that I’m to that point it almost seems like this can’t be happening.

CS– There are many guys who dream of playing in the NFL, but only a select few make it, it must be an amazing feeling knowing your name will be called in a couple of weeks.

Kaepernick– It’s a special moment to see all your hard work pay off and get you where you need to be. It’s something I won’t be able to describe when my name is called but I’m excited for it.

CS– Among the quarterbacks at the combine you ran the second fastest 40, had the strongest arm (throwing the football 59 mph) and scored a 37 (third highest) on the Wonderlic . You’re draft stock is definitely rising. Do you think you’re peaking at the right time?

Kaepernick– I think I’m peaking at the right time and have been able to open the eyes of NFL teams to show them what I’m capable of.

CS– When asked which teams he’s worked out for, he said he wasn’t allowed to disclose that information. Although he did say he’s worked out for 13 teams and has more visits set up.

CS– At CES you trained along side Tyrod Taylor of Virginia Tech. How did that level of competition elevate your game?

Kaepernick– Training with Tyrod was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me. He’s a very explosive player but I didn’t want him to be more explosive than me so I wanted to keep training. We had a very competitive time doing all the drills together and I think it’s turning out well for both of us.

CS– Running the Pistol offense at Nevada how comfortable are you under center?

Kaepernick– Being under center is something I’m very comfortable with. I was under center my whole career until I got to Nevada and even while I was at Nevada we took snaps under center every day at practice. It wasn’t something new to me or that I wasn’t used to.

When I got to the Senior Bowl everyone was surprised I could take a snap under center, which wasn’t a big deal. For me it was almost easier to take a snap under center and drop back because you don’t have to worry about looking to catch the ball before you read the defense. You can keep your eyes on the defense the whole time, so I see that (being under center) as easier.

I’ve always said either you can play or you can’t, it doesn’t matter what offense you’re in. You’re going to perform game day or you’re not.

CS- If I’m an owner, general manager, coach why should I draft you? What are your strengths and how will you be an asset to my team?

Kaepernick– You’ll get a player who’s not going to be unprepared for anything. My preparation is what makes me successful on the field.

Another thing that separates me is my leadership and hard work, especially at the next level you have to show everybody that you’re there to work hard, you want to win games and you’re not there to just be on the team. You’re playing side by side with all pro’s and veterans, you have to show them you’re there to be successful, you’re not there to play games or to mess up one of their years.

You’re also going to draft a player who’s not going to have any off the field issues. I’m not going to put the organization or team in a bad position.

CS– Where will you be on draft day?
Kaepernick– I’ll be back home in Turlock, CA with my family. It’s an exciting time for me and my family.

CS– Speaking of the draft, this year’s draft is unique due to the lockout. Obviously you don’t have anything to compare it to, but with all the uncertainty surrounding the NFL what’s it like being a part of this particular draft?

Kaepernick– I wouldn’t say the process is any different. It’s just gonna be different once you get drafted because you’re not going to be able to get with your team or get a playbook to start working. It depends when this is all resolved but it does change how much preparation you get going into your first season.

CS– With all the hype who or what keeps you grounded?

Kaepernick– My faith, which is my foundation and my family. When I go back home I’m not anyone special I’m just another member of the family.

CS– What drives you?

Kaepernick– Going through this process, I think the biggest thing is everyone that doubted me and told me I wasn’t capable of things. I told my dad I wasn’t going to let someone tell me what I’m capable of. If I think I’m able to do something and I put my mind to it, then I’m able to do it and prove all those people wrong.

CS– Well, I think you’re doing just that!

On April 28 the 2011 NFL draft begins. There are many questions surrounding this draft, but this I know, whoever drafts Colin Kaepernick is getting an exciting quarterback and a class act. Smith believes he could be the face of a franchise, not bad for a guy who was offered only one football scholarship.

April 12th, 2011

Posted In: CFB

Every year there are a number of hidden gems that may not be the most polished college stars, or highlighted at the top of draft boards entering the NFL Draft. Having played alongside first-round talent Jimmy Smith, it’s no secret that Colorado cornerback Jalil Brown was often stuck in the shadows. However, he still managed to not only make a name for himself, but also led the team in interceptions in 2010.

Similar to Smith, the 6-0, 202-pound corner possesses the prototypical build that a coach will relish at the next level. Brown is a beast in man coverage and plays with great strength, toughness, aggression, competitiveness and confidence. He recorded 21 pass deflections, 167 tackles and 6 interceptions in his collegiate career.

Like all middle-round prospects however, there are some downsides that have prevented his stock from soaring to a first-round grade.

He gets buried at times when engaging in the backfield instead of staying in zone coverage. He has trouble maintaining a strong motor for extended periods and can become a little stiff in the hips. Brown will need to learn to thoroughly wrap up ball carriers, instead of ducking his head of leaving his feet in the NFL. By fine-tuning these and a few additional techniques, he can become a more powerful and explosive hitter at the next level.

The extremely physical three-year starter has what it takes to succeed in the NFL.

Brown flourishes in jamming receivers off their routes from the line of scrimmage, which of course is no picnic for the quarterback trying to find an open man down the field. He performs outstandingly when able to watch the eyes of the quarterback; his strength in man-coverage illustrates his blazing speed in all-important game situations.

Nonetheless, he may not have had the best luck at the Combine, as he was overshadowed by acrobatic Texas cornerback Curtis Brown, who participated in the position drills just before him. Moreover, his numbers weren’t very strong, and the analysts seemed to forget he was even in attendance. Fortunately, team scouts and coaches liked what they witnessed and he did partake in all measurements and required position drills. He also exemplified great character in his interview. Brown knew he needed to elevate himself to improve his stock and secure a Top 100 spot in this year’s draft.

Two weeks ago it was go-time for Brown to step up a notch and make his presence felt in the audience at the Colorado Pro Day. His numbers improved greatly and was mostly seen in his 40-time, which changed from a low 4.5 to a low 4.4, and the position drills, where, analogous to Smith, looked as sharp as a two-edged sword.

In the Big 12, the two teammates were a lethal combo and formed one the best cornerback duos in the nation. Brown had more pressure and more action on his side of the field as Smith was one who injected more fear.

Last week he began working out for teams throughout the league and has more on the docket this week as well. In the NFL, look for him to find success just as he did in college as a highly-respected team captain. With his quick feet, long arms and great awareness, Brown will be able to stay with the opposing receiver on the outside and down the sideline, break up passes like Godzilla and put his offense back on the field with game-changing interceptions.

Brown looks to be an honest straight-shooter, tell-them-like-it-is player. During a combine interview he said, “I’ve been working hard since the season was over. I just want everybody to know I’m a guy they might be sleeping on.”

His likely destination lies between the third and fourth round, but could crack the bottom of round two in a cornerback class that lacks depth. Fortunately, there are many teams with needs to address in the secondary, and someone may be waiting to pull the trigger on a player with great character.

With the right coaching and physical tools in place, there’s no question Jalil Brown can shine in the NFL.

April 11th, 2011

Posted In: NFL

The Minnesota Vikings have made no secret about the fact that they need a franchise quarterback, badly. Rumors of who will succeed Brett Favre in the Vikings huddle have been widespread lately.

If Leslie Frazier and Co. choose to fill the void via the NFL draft, the name that has been most associated with the Vikings is Washington’s Jake Locker. Lately though, that rumor has died down and another has taken its place.

Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weekly is reporting that the Vikings are seriously interested in trading for the Washington Redskins’ Donovan McNabb. The thought is that the Vikings will look to acquire someone for pennies on the dollar, and Edholm believes a conditional (based on McNabb’s performance) 2012 draft pick could do the trick for McNabb.

If McNabb did indeed get traded to the Vikings, it wouldn’t be the first time Frazier and McNabb have been on the same team. Frazier was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles to be their defensive backs coach in 1999, the same year McNabb was drafted. Considering how poorly McNabb has been treated over the past few years, I look for the potential reunion to be a determining factor in where he lands, if he has any say at all.

Now, let’s keep in mind McNabb will turn 35 this year; that leaves him with maybe one or two more productive seasons in the league. So, the Vikings would really need to fill the long term hole in this year’s draft. And seeing as it’s likely that both Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will be off the board when they select at No. 12 overall, finding someone like Locker, or TCU’s Andy Dalton, or Florida St.’s Christian Ponder in the second round would be a must.

For me, McNabb would be a great fit in Minnesota. But he’s only a stopgap until someone younger or better comes along.

April 10th, 2011

Posted In: NFL

While Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers seems to be stealing all the headlines for defensive players in the 2011 NFL Draft class, North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn has gone under the radar. Until now.

On Wednesday April 6 national conference call, Pro Football Weekly draft expert Nolan Nawrocki talked about many topics, to reporters on the call, including Quinn.

Nawrocki said that NFL teams are being very cautious of Quinn since he has “red flags” just like Bowers does. Quinn’s concerns deal more with his medical history, the fact he missed the entire 2010 college season due to taking illegal benefits and his Pro Day performance was nothing to shout out about.

Also, Nawrocki said Quinn has “learning concerns,” though no further details were said about this.

As of right now, Quinn is trending to be the top defensive end picked on draft day and his draft stock benefiting all the bad press surrounding Bowers.

He has seen to be moving up in first round mocks across the ‘Net, especially in lieu of Bowers’ recent surgery news, but it remains to be seen if he is yet a Top 10 pick due to all of his concerns Nawrocki listed on the conference call.

Despite not playing this past season, Quinn has 11 sacks as a sophomore in 2009 and could be a great fit for a team in need of added pass rush talent. Quinn is said to be a fit in either a 4-3 defensive scheme as a defensive end or in a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker.

April 7th, 2011

Posted In: CFB