Thursday, 5 February 2009

NFL Draft Scout mock drafts

Rob Rang and Chad Reuter from NFL Draft Scout have both published new mock drafts on CBS Sportsline. Rang has published three mock's so far and has changed Seattle's pick each time. Originally he had the Seahawks taking Jason Smith (OT, Baylor) then Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech) and now he's chosen Malcolm Jenkins (CB, Ohio State). This is Reuter's first go at a mock this year and he has Tim Ruskell taking Crabtree with the fourth pick.
For analysis on the predictions, click here.

Rang has a proven track record of correctly predicting Seattle's first round picks. There are a few notable surprises in this week's update however. Firstly, Michael Crabtree (listed as the top player on NFL Draft Scout's big board) drops to the 7th pick (Oakland). Rang says his lack of elite speed will hold him back - but Larry Fitzgerald ran a 4.6 at the combine and went third overall. Secondly, Knowshon Moreno drops as far as the 29th pick. Rang cites his 'size and speed' as a reason, but Moreno's physical statistics rank very similarly to LaDainian Tomlinson. It would be a surprise if he dropped that far in the first round. Thirdly, he has Buffalo selecting Mark Sanchez (QB, USC). With the team standing by Dick Jauron and his coaching staff it seems unlikely the Bills will abandon the Trent Edwards project.

Seattle's selection is sure to raise a few eyebrows. The team has invested money and picks into the corner back position (Trufant, Jennings, Wilson). By drafting Jenkins it would almost certainly mean that the team has given up on at least one of Kelly Jennings or Josh Wilson, two players drafted by Tim Ruskell. With the money involved, Jenkins would be expected to start almost immediately. It seems particularly harsh on Wilson who showed enough potential in 2008 to deserve a chance to start.

There are concerns about Jenkins transition into the NFL. He made his reputation with the Buckeye's as a tall, sure tackling corner regularly pushing up to the line of scrimmage to take on a running back or receiver. However, if you are drafting a corner back in the top five you are really looking for someone to lock down the position and be an elite player. Jenkins' recovery speed will seriously restrict him in the pro's. He isn't a ball hawk and I have my doubts as to whether he can play man to man because of the lack of speed. Where as a receiver can get away with only average pace, they always have the advantage of knowing what route they are running. The corner back usually has to react and recover putting a further emphasis on being able to keep up. Can Jenkins manage this against the faster receivers in the NFL? I have serious doubts.

Some have suggested he will likely change position to safety (in the mould of Antrel Rolle) and I suspect he will have more success there. However, do you spend a top five pick on a guy who might require a position change? This highlights video shows Jenkins' best plays from 2008. For me it emphasises Jenkins true value - pushing up in run support, reading the QB to stop a screen pass or make a play for the ball, blitzing the quarter back, stalking a running back or receiver and making an open field tackle for a short loss. He has the potential to be a very effective safety.
Reuter's mock has a couple of notable picks. The Bengals take Jeremy Maclin (WR, Missouri) with the 6th pick even though Eugene Monroe (OT, Virginia) and Michael Oher (OT, Ole Miss) are still on the board. Jason Smith (OT, Baylor) goes to Kansas City with the third pick even though the Chiefs invested a first rounder in Brendan Albert last year. Reuter says Smith would play right tackle.

Again, despite NFL Draft Scout ranking Michael Crabtree top of their big board he falls to the fourth pick were he is taken by Seattle.


Anonymous said...

I feel like CB and DT will be considered at #4 but I think those are the long shots of the bunch. Jenkins, although a good player, is not the shutdown guy you would want out of a top 5 pick. I find it hard justifying the switch to safety when 1 of the top 3 safeties on the board will most likely be available at #37. With that reasoning alone, I find it hard to see the Hawks picking Jenkins unless they are completely sold on him as an elite corner, not to mention the notion that they have given up on Jennings and Wilson (as you said).

Kurt said...

I will be VERY upset if we take a CB with our first round pick. You can't expect the team to get better as a whole when you keep wasting picks on one position.

I don't know if Moreno will slide all the way to the 29th pick but if he does, I don't think it will be because of his lack of size. With the success of guys like Darren Sproles, I think teams will be less inclined to pass on a guy because he lacks size (speed maybe, but not size).

Although, Knowshon Moreno sliding to the end of the first round could benefit Seattle. If he and Beanie Wells aren't picked up until the 20's range of the first round, that increases the likelihood that LeSean McCoy will be available with the Hawks 2nd round pick.

Rob Staton said...

Personally, I would be very suprised if Seattle selected Jenkins. I've listed most of the reasons why in the analysis section of the article, but as you say Kurt - eventually you have to trust the guys you've drafted. Jennings and Wilson are still both young and Wilson in particular deserves a chance to start. If Jenkins failed to become the lockdown option alongside Trufant, do you spend another pick at CB until you get it right?

With other areas of the team in need of an injection of talent, it would be suprising to see the Seahawks spend another pick on that position. It would be three 'first picks' in the draft for Seattle in four years.

You make a very good point regarding Moreno, Kurt. Rather than his size or speed leading to a fall, it could be the fact teams are confident these days of finding servicable backs in the later rounds. Personally, I think the genuine talent of Moreno will mean he gets taken earlier than most think. Depending on how the draft falls, he could even be a wildcard contender for Seattle's first round selection.

Chris (Seattle) said...

Hey Rob. So I'm sure I've made it obvious by now that I prefer the hawks take crabtree over anyone else, if available. So I won't even get into Rang saying we'll take Malcolm Jenkins with the 4th overall pick over Crabtree and a host of higher rated players (especially when Jenkins isn't even considered a corner at the next level). My question to you is, Rang was given all this credit for seemingly always getting the hawks pick correct, yet this is now his third different guess at who we will take, and won't be the last given we still have the combine and free agency to go through, why does anyone get credit for their mock draft predictions when everyone seems to get roughly 5 or more guesses a team?

Rob Staton said...

Hi Chris, good question.

With regards to Rob Rang he's already stated he's finding it harder to pin down the direction Seattle will go this year - largely because they are picking so high and coming off a 4-12 season. Last year he seemed to settle quite early that we would go defensive end and went with Calais Campbell, Phil Merling and then a couple of weeks before the drafted settled on Lawrence Jackson. It remains to be seen whether Rang will 'settle' on one prospect as we go passed the combine and eventually into April. It still amazes me that we're still nearly three months away from the draft.

So essentially, all mock drafts published now are really for entertainment purposes. It's very early, and most are used either as sources of information for journalists, blogs and fans - or simply a means for one person to get their opinion accross. I'm already on my fifth or sixth mock. I make most of my picks based on pure guess work - so I'm as guilty as anyone really.

What I did find strange about Rang's mock was that NFL Draft Scout (whom Rang represents) has Michael Crabtree top of their big board. Given that fact, a drop to 7th in his mock seemed a little inconsistent. Would the best overall player in the class really drop to the 7th pick? There were a few other issues as I pointed out in the article. I can't imagine Crabtree's speed will be much of a deal. He's got Fitzgerald size and hands but Boldin YAC. Fitzgerald only ran a 4.64 (I think) and it didn't affect his stock.

Everette Brown going third overall was another suprise. I like Brown a lot but he hasn't got the height or size to really play 4-3 DE. Florida State use him to spread out wide from the LOS to get him space to rush the passer. He is the proto-type 3-4 DE/LB hybrid. Kansas City have spent a lot of picks drafting for a 4-3 so Brown doesn't really fit into that defense.

Mark Sanchez going to Buffalo - I can't see that one. They've invested money and time into Trent Edwards and keepind Dick Jauron and his staff suggests they will stick with Edwards.

And then we have the Jenkins pick. If you watch the highlights video I posted in the article - even though it's selective clips, I think his real effectiveness will come at safety.

I'll follow Rang's mocks closely because he has been very accurate with Seattle in the past. But bare in mind his first mock had Andre Smith going first overall, Seattle taking Jason Smith and a few other left field picks that dramatically changed after he consulted scouts at the Senior Bowl - there is still time for more dramatic changes and it's early days yet.

Rotak said...

Just to help, I've followed Rang for a while. He certainly knows his draft. But one thing he told me, after I complained about a nutters mock he did in 2006, was that his first mocks are merely to show "about" where a guy will be taken and to show possibilities for a team. His mocks don't actually involve inside information til March/April.

Rob Staton said...

Thanks for that information Kyle, it's very useful.

Misfit said...

I read this the other day. It is a very positive impression of Jenkins:


Rob Staton said...

Thanks for posting that link Misfit. It's a pretty good site for draft news. I think the review is correct in saying he plays a lot of cover, in fact he's almost exclusively played that at Ohio State. But I don't agree about him being fast enough to keep up with receivers and play man to man. I just haven't seen any evidence of that.

My case in point, check out the highlights video I've posted in the article (I've put a link to it below). 2 minutes and 21 seconds in shows a clip against Michigan where the ball is thrown deep and Jenkins is visibly behind the receiver. The ball is woefully under thrown with the receiver slowing down to wait for it and then actually having to jump to get it. As he goes for the catch having slowed right down almost to a stand still, Jenkins manages to barely catch up. He watches the receiver cupping his hands to catch and simply bats his hands down like he's swatting a fly on the receivers glove. He isn't watching the ball.

In the NFL - that ball gets thrown so the receiver doesn't have to virtually grind to a halt to get to it and Jenkins is beaten deep for six. It's only one example, but it just shows the point I'm trying to make.

Misfit said...

Thanks for the link, Rob. I checked it out. Not many highlights that show his cover skills. Most playes he has help and jumps routes. He looks to be a fine tackler, and diagnoses plays well. I agree with the questions about his speed and 'closing speed'. I'm curious how he'll run at the combine or his pro day. He might still answer those questions. That, or he's the next Antrell Rolle. If he's moving to Safety, I'd pass on him in round one. The #4 pick needs to be elite. His position pretty much requires elite speed.