Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Rodgers’

#21 South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore

Coming off a knee injury last fall, Lattimore showed little ill effects displaying great agility, athleticism and instincts to find and hit the hole with great consistency. Lattimore has all the makings of a true number one running back.

Lattimore got off to a rough start Thursday evening when his first carry led to a turnover, after fumbling on his first attempt following knee surgery last year. However, Lattimore quickly redeemed himself by finding the endzone twice and conjuring up his 9th career 100 yard game in route to South Carolina’s 17-13 win over the Commodores. Lattimore’s fumble likely had more to do with rust and inexperience with contact than actual ball security issues, however it is still something to watch moving forward. While it is apparent that Lattimore may have  lost some burst and explosion as a runner since his knee injury last fall, Lattimore was extremely impressive in all assets of his game. Marcus was decisive and displayed excellent footwork and vision to feel and hit the hole, getting up to the 2nd level very seamlessly. I also appreciated how well Lattimore converted from runner to receiver or blocker as he made a few key blocks to open things up for Connor Shaw and also found clean releases to become a check down option out of the backfield. His ability to stay on the field on all downs is what makes Lattimore a true work horse back. Perhaps what was most impressive was how agile and athletic Marcus Lattimore is for not only a big back (6-0 218) but especially for one coming off a major knee injury. His ability to change directions and elude/side-step would be tacklers without losing much momentum or speed is extremely rare and something NFL Scouts will certainly notice and covet come draft time. Add on to this the fact that Lattimore runs with very good pad level upon contact and through arm tackles regularly and you have all the makings of a true number one running back who can stay on the field for all three downs. With Lattimore you get a solid and dependable back who refuses to leave yards on the field and consistently picks out and finds the correct hole or cut-back lane. He most certainly showed a lot following his injury to scouts and assuming he can stay healthy for the entire season, we could be talking about the first running back taken next April, should he choose to declare a year early.

#98 South Carolina DE Devin Taylor

Blessed with incredible length, size and athleticism (6-8 265 lbs), Taylor is an ultra tall and linear defensive lineman with great upside as a pass rusher. With that said I didn’t always see a player who has put it all together and lived up to his immense upside and potential quite to this point. With Taylor you get flashes but not much consistency as he displays good burst and explosion off the line but the dis-interest to be physical and play with urgency that is incredibly frustrating to watch. Too many times Taylor is the one absorbing the contact rather than delivering the blow and he must improve his technique and strength at the point of attack to effectively disengage and slip blocks with greater frequency . Taylor’s high cut frame also makes it difficult for him to dip and run the arc to the quarterback as his pad level and flexibility to turn the corner is just not quite there to this point. Taylor also lost contain on more than one occasion by choosing the wrong gap and giving up outside positioning. On the bright side, Taylor is a player with a good get-off for his size as he shows the burst and acceleration to challenge upfield, showcasing great movement and change of direction skills for a man of his stature. I also appreciated the hustle and effort I saw from Taylor as he could be seen chasing and pursuing the play from sideline to sideline and as far as 20+ yards down the field to get involved. Overall, I get the feeling that Taylor is seemingly not getting the most out of his frame and ability as he seems to lack much physicality and aggressiveness, playing softer than a player with his size and ability should.  Predicted by many to have a break out year opposite star rusher Jadevon Clowner, Taylor must play more like his counterpart and teammate if he is to reach the lofty goals and expectations that have been placed upon him this season.

#7  South Carolina DE Jadevon Clowney

Clowney’s talent was on full force, although he was typically fazed out by the play calling by Vanderbility. He displayed outstanding recognition and change of direction skills to get after the quarterback with reckless abandon. Although not yet draft eligible, Clowney has all the makings of a future first round pick.

Jadevon Clowney is a bad man. Clowney was extremely physical and agressive, while displaying a nice get-off. Couple this with his very good change of direction and overall movement skills and you have a defensive end that is extremely disruptive and difficult to contain. This is why Vanderbilt generally ran and executed plays to the opposite side of Clowney, while also using a running back ore extra tight end to chip or help out with the extremely talented defensive end for the Gamecocks. Clowney is a balanced athlete who displays excellent closing speed and range to make plays all over the field and in space. The biggest difference between Clowney and his teammate Devin Taylor is the functional strength and leverage he plays with as compared to his counterpart. Clowney gets good pop and contact and is extremely strong and physical at the point of attack, blowing up blocks to free up others and knocking his opponent on their heels with a very good jolt. I would like to see Clowney use his hands a bit more often as he has a tendency to lean and throw his shoulder into his opponent, rather than use his hands to stack and shed a block. However, Clowney was still extremely effective thanks to his pad level and the fact that opponents must respect both his speed/quickness and also his power. Overall, I was very impressed and pleased with Clowney and believe he is a sure-fire future first round pick, especially in a league where pass rushers have become and extremely valuable commodity  in today’s pass happy NFL.

#2 Vanderbilt RB Zac Stacy

Coming off a career year in which he rushed for nearly 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns, Stacy was generally held in check for most of the night, as he accounted for only 48 yards on 13 carries. With that said, Stacy seemed to be battling either cramps or some sort of lower leg injury throughout much of the game. Stacy did have a couple nice runs where he displayed quick feet and a good burst to find the hole and get up into the 2nd level of the defense. Being that Stacy is a smaller back (5-9 210) he isn’t one to break tackles and move a pile with his strength but his ability to make you miss and change directions in space is what can make him so effective. I am excited to watch more of Stacy this coming year and although this wasn’t his best game I know from watching him last year that he has plenty to offer in the running game for the Commodore offense and should build on his excellent Junior campaign from last season.

#11 Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers

The younger brother of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Jordan certainly has the ability to become a nice quarterback prospect of his own with a strong Senior season.

The younger brother of Superbowl winning quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Jordan has a tough mark to live up to but showed well in last nights game against a very talented Gamecock defense. Rodgers was confident and made quick decisions and although I believe the ball could come out quicker at times, I thought Rodgers was efficient with both his ball placement and accuracy, especially between the hashes. His ability to extend and make plays outside the pocket with his feet makes him a tough quarterback to contain. This mobility and dual threat ability is what makes Rodgers an intriguing prospect. If he can become a more efficient passer this season, Rodgers has the type of ability that can be intriguing to NFL teams, especially those operating a west coast type of offense. Although he seemed more poised in the pocket from this season to last, I still need to see him keep his eyes downfield and let the play develop before looking to escape. His internal clock is good but needs some fine tuning to learn and trust his arm just as much as he trusts his legs. Rodgers looked much more confident and comfortable in the pocket and seemed to be in good command of the offense and I generally liked his footwork and balance within the pocket as well as his throwing mechanics and anticipation to make the correct throw. Rodgers seems to have upside as a passer and it should be fun to watch him operate this under-rated Vanderbilt team in what is most likely the most talented conference in all of college football.

#87 Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews

Matthews has excellent size at 6-2 205 lbs and his frame allows him to snare catches away from his body with relative ease. His stat line of 8 receptions for 147 yards and a long touchdown was impressive and Matthews is certainly a smooth athlete but I get the feeling that he is more of a one speed, one gear athlete that lacks much burst and acceleration to consistently gain separation. I still need to see more of Matthews, however nothing about his game really stood out to me that would make me think he can be a special receiver at the next level.

Initial 2012 NFL Mock Draft

Posted: December 8, 2011 in 2012 NFL Mock Draft
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*Team Rankings are as of Week 14 NFL Standings*

1- Indianapolis Colts: QB Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck is the best quarterback to come out since Peyton Manning. The Colts would be foolish not to draft Luck and move from one franchise quarterback to the next without having to deal with the ups and downs many franchises endure. Just look what it did for the Green Bay Packers who moved on from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers and went on to win the Superbowl last year. Point is you don’t pass up on a player like Luck who comes around once in a decade, unless you receive a ransom of picks in exchange.

2- Minnesota Vikings: OT Matt Kalil

The Vikings desperately need to invest in a tackle to protect their future franchise quarterback Christian Ponder who already has somewhat of  a slight build. This is especially apparent when you play in the same division as players like Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews who can wreak havoc on your quarterback and send him to the IR at a moments notice.

3- St. Louis Rams: WR Justin Blackmon

Bringing in Brandon Lloyd was a great move by the Rams organization and they would be wise to make it a priority to resign him this off-season. With that said, Lloyd makes a much better #2 WR and the Rams and especially Bradford could use a big play threat with the ability to become a star. Enter Justin Blackmon who would be the best wide receiver to suit up in Rams uniform since the days of Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

4- Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Morris Clairborne

Jacksonville could really use some offensive firepower to help out their young quarterback Blaine Gabbert. However, with no solid wide receiver options available this high in the draft, a cornerback like Morris Clairborne would be a wise investment and a wise move in taking the best player available.

5- Washington Redskins: QB Matt Barkley

The Redskins need to find a franchise quarterback after doing essentially nothing in last year’s draft to fix the broken position. Both John Beck and Rex Grossman have proved to be good fill-in starters from time to time, but nothing special. Barkley would give them a player to build around and possibly take them to the next level as an offense and as a team.

6- Philadelphia Eagles: LB Luke Kuechley

The Philadelphia Eagles may have some elite names on their defense, but so far those elite names have done little defensively to make an impact on the struggling Eagles team. Linebacker is a position that has plagued this franchise the entire season and is in definite need of an upgrade. Kuechley would come in and immediately start and contribute for a team struggling to find its defensive identity.

7- Carolina Panthers: WR Michael Floyd

The Panthers would be wise to invest in another receiving threat for their top rookie gun Cam Newton. Michael Floyd has had some off the field concerns, however he seems to have moved past them and grown into a much more mature human being. There is no doubting Floyd’s ability, although some have questioned his route running ability and lack of true speed. Another receiver to pair with the electric Steve Smith would give them both a speedy exciting playmaker receiver and true red-zone threat in Michael Floyd.

8- Miami Dolphins: QB Robert Griffin III

Chad Henne just hasn’t turned into the quarterback prospect the Dolphins were hoping they were getting when they drafted him. Now would be a good time to invest in another quarterback in Miami and hope for the better as Robert Griffin possesses a unique skill-set that could make him a true game-breaker at the next level. Griffin has some work to do and should not start immediately, however his talent and upside as a passer is undeniable.

9- Cleveland Browns: RB Trent Richardson

The Browns would be getting great value in nabbing Trent Richardson at this point in the draft. Although running back importance has declined some in the NFL there is something to be said for a player of Richardson’s ability to become an every down back in the NFL. The Browns played exceptionally well when they had a true running back last year in Peyton Hillis and have struggled since he has been banged up. Montario Hardesty also cannot stay healthy and has looked lack luster when given his opportunities up this point. The Browns need to surround their young QB Colt McCoy with solid options, and one of the best ways to help him is by giving him a legitimate running game, which they would be getting with Richardson.

10- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Dre Kirkpatrick

Let’s face it, CB Ronde Barber isn’t getting any younger and their other starting CB Aquib Talib may not be on the team much longer due to some off field incidents/arrests. The Bucaneers have done a solid job addressing their defensive line, however they must now look for a potential replacement for their aging and longtime CB Ronde Barber. Dre Kirkpatrick has plenty of skill, talent, and size to match up with some very good receiver’s who call the NFC South home.

11- Arizona Cardinals: OT Jonathon Martin

Current RT Brandon Keith has had his fair share of struggles this season and has proved to be nothing, if even an average NFL tackle. Jonathon Martin possesses very good skills as both a pass protector and run blocker as he excels at getting to the 2nd level and opening up holes in the running game. I belive Martin is much better suited for the right side in the NFL and would do an exceptional job as a rookie as he continues to get better.

12- Seattle Seahawks: DE Quinton Coples

The Seahawks would love to grab their QB of the future with their pick here, however not many options other than Landry Jones are available to them. Quinton Coples would give them a solid defensive end with the ability to get after the QB and make plays in the backfield. Coples has great upside and could become yet another good defensive lineman to come out of North Carolina and contribute to an NFL team.

13- Buffalo Bills: OG David DeCastro

The Buffalo Bills already have one of the leagues most potent rushing attacks and adding a player like David DeCastro would only do more wonders for them as a running team. DeCastro excels in the run game and is one of the best guard prospects to come out in quite some time. Not only does DeCastro fill a need for the Bills, but he also presents a very good skill-set to open up even more holes for the both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.

14- San Diego Chargers: DE/LB Courtney Upshaw

The Chargers seem to have struck out with former first round pick and pass rushing specialist Larry English. Upshaw can fill this void and fits in very good with the what the Chargers look to get out of their linebackers. Courtney Upshaw is an exceptional talent who flashes the ability to use both his speed and strength effectively to set the edge.

15- Kansas City Chiefs: OT Riley Reiff

Kansas City is another team who could look to fix their QB problem as current starter Matt Cassell does not seem to be the franchise QB everyone was beginning to think he could be. However, Riley Reiff presents very good value for the Chiefs in this position and fills a definite need. The Chiefs have done a nice job assembling their line and replacing Barry Richardson with a player like Riley Reiff would be another move in the right direction for this franchise.

16- New York Giants: LB Vontaze Burfict

Injuries and inexperience at the linebacker position have costed the Giants against both the run and pass this season. Adding a player like Vontaze Burfict who is a notoriously hard hitter and relentless defender could be the spark this team needs to put their defense over the edge. The Giants also have a very veteran heavy locker room that could groom and nurture Burfict to play both with passion, but also within himself and rules of the game. To me the New York Giants would be an excellent spot to land for a player like Burfict whose mental-makeup has been highly questioned by scouts and the like.

17- Dallas Cowboys: S Mark Barron

The Cowboys could really use an upgrade in their secondary, especially at the position of safety where Mark Barron could become an integral member of this unit. Barron is a heavy-hitter who can come up in the box and help out against the run as well as lay the big hit from time to time. Barron is still developing in coverage but seems to have all the necessary tools to become a good starter at the next level, replacing Gerald Sensabaugh.

18- Tennessee Titans: DT Brandon Thompson

The Tennessee Titans found some great role players with the potential to become starters down the road in DT’s Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug. However, another player like Thompson to add to the rotation would do wonders for this team as they would be able to keep players fresh and rotating in and out consistently throughout the game. Brandon Thompson gets up field quickly and can penetrate the opponent’s backfield in a hurry, making him a desirable commodity in today’s NFL and for a team still looking to replace the hole left by Albert Haynesworth. They may also consider adding a weapon at receiver or a cornerback to replace soon to be free agents Cortland Finnegan and Michael Griffin.

19- Cleveland Browns: WR Kendall Wright

The Browns continue to look for playmakers to help out QB Colt McCoy. After grabbing Trent Richardson with their first pick they now turn their attention to a wide receiver with the ability to stretch the field and get vertical. Wright possesses great straight line speed and his quickness makes him a nightmare to defend one on one.

20- New York Jets: DE/LB Melvin Ingram

Rex Ryan loves athletic players, especially ones he can mold and play around with in to get the most out of their ability much like he has done with recently acquired and former first round pick Aaron Maybin formerly off the Buffalo Bills. Ingram is still developing but his athleticism makes him one of the most intriguing players in this draft due to his upside. Ingram should test well at the combine and catch the attention of a defensive guru like Rex Ryan who can get the most out of his potential.

21- Cincinatti Bengals: CB Alfonzo Dennard

The “Fonz” is an extremely good cornerback with the type of skills to become a very good starter at the next level. Although Dennard doesn’t necessarily stand out in one particular area his overall skills and feel for the game are highly attractive. The fact that the Bengals may lose CB Leon Hall this upcoming free agency also makes the cornerback position a serious area of need for this team.

22- Chicago Bears: C Peter Konz

Last draft the Chicago Bears wisely invested their first pick on an offensive tackle from Wisconsin named Gabe Carimi. Carimi was off to a very good start before an injury to his right knee landed him on the IR as many prominent Bears have suffered injuries this season. Carimi has a very positive future with this team and it would be of no surprise for them to add another player like Konz whose ability as a center is rare and second to none in this draft. Konz and Carimi were team-mates at Wisconsin and would prove to be very good additions to a line in charge of protecting QB Jay Cutler and opening up holes for stud RB Matt Forte. Not to mention the ability for Konz to fill the void left by former stand out Center Olin Kreutz.

23- Cincinatti Bengals: RB Lamar Miller

Lamar Miller is one of the few RB’s in this draft who has the ability to become a first round pick. Although not elite Miller displays very good vision, speed, and footwork to become an effect back at the next level. Teaming with the aging Cedric Benson would give the Bengals a good 1-2 punch from the RB position and take some pressure off QB Andy Dalton.

24- Denver Broncos: RB David Wilson

The Broncos choose to jump at the opportunity to add another dimension to their running game with the addition of David Wilson. Seeing that the Broncos seem to be committing to the “All I do is Win” approach set forth by Tim Tebow by adding in what looks to be a spread option type offense makes Wilson a reasonable play in this situation. His speed and ability to get out on edge of the defense would add another element to what is already an extremly rare and exciting offense to watch.

25- Detroit Lions: OG/OT Cordy Glenn

The Lions have ignored their offensive line for far too long and are need of a serious upgrade at many spots if they are going to take the next step. Glenn offers great size and inside run blocking ability, as well as the potential to fill in at RT if need be. His versatility and ability to create holes in the run game make him a sound choice to become the Lions first round pick this year.

26- Houston Texans: DT Dontari Poe

The Houston Texans have already proven to be one of the better overall defenses in the entire NFL. Poe is a small school player from Memphis with a tremendous amount of upside, but also comes with some risk due to his level of competition. If Poe can become an effective NT in the Texans scheme this defense will add yet another playmaker in what is already a very sound defense.

27- New England Patriots: WR Alshon Jeffrey

One thing you have to respect about Bill Bellichick is his propensity to take calculated risks on a yearly basis. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not, but he and owner Robert Kraft always seem to put their team in a situation to succeed. Alshon Jeffrey is the type of player who has all the ability in the world to become a special WR and playing in an offense with future hall of famer Tom Brady slinging you the ball could become one of the more exciting QB-WR combinations to watch in the NFL. Not to mention that New England could really use a big red zone threat at WR, although they already have a reasonable threat in TE Rob Gronkowski who is an absolute beast.

28- New England Patriots: DE/DT Jared Crick

Jared Crick is a highly active player who always hustles to the football and gets by more on his sheer will power and strength than his actual skill. Crick would make for a perfect fit in the Patriots defense and give them a player to groom after losing All-Pro player Richard Seymour a couple seasons ago.

29- Baltimore Ravens LB/DE Ronnell Lewis

Ronnell Lewis possesses more than just the same initials to fill the vacancy that will soon be left by future hall of famer Ray Lewis. Drafting Lewis now would give Ray the ability to groom and mold Ronnell into the type of player that can become a leader, role model, and team spokesman for the Ravens both on and off the football field. Ronnell flashes impressive closing speed and overall instincts and surely has the ability to become one of the better prospects to come out of this draft.

30- Pittsburgh Steelers OT Mike Adams

Protecting the QB and not giving up sacks has proven to be very difficult for the Steelers since they brought in Ben Roethlesberger to play the position. Roethlesberger has been sacked 34 times already this season and is well on pace to be the most sacked QB in NFL history. The Steelers would be wise to invest in some offensive lineman who can give Ben some time back there, even though he has a tendency to escape the pocket prematurely and account for sacks that lie mostly on his shoulders. Adams is one of the better right tackles prospects in this draft and is a player who works hard to sustain his blocks, making him a good fit along the Steelers offensive line.

31- San Francisco 49er’s- CB Chase Minnifield

The 49er’s defense is already among the leagues most elite, however adding a CB opposite Carlos Rogers would make this team even more stout against both the run and pass. Surely the offense could use some more playmakers, but Minnifield presents what could be very good value in a player that has been under-rated and overshadowed by some of the bigger names in this draft at the CB position.

32- Green Bay Packers- DE/OLB Andre Branch

The Green Bay Packers are set on offense and their defense isn’t far behind, allowing them to take some risks with a pick this low in the first round. Branch is a player that has come on as of late and is starting to climb his way up NFL Draft Boards. His ability to play upright or with his hand in the dirt makes him a valuable pass rusher and somebody the Packers can mold into being an effective player in Don Capers aggressive 3-4 scheme.