I was able to catch up with Kyle Rota from College Talent Scout again this week. I managed to ask him a few questions related to the topics we've discussed on the blog recently.
To see the interview, click here.
Q/ Would Andre Smith make a dominant right tackle in the NFL?
A/ Andre Smith could be a very good right tackle in the right situation in the NFL. His only real problem is that he will struggle against good pass rushers in the NFL. While it is true that typically slower athletes play LDE, they also tend to be bigger and have longer arms. For a relatively short (6'4) Andre Smith, that could cause him to struggle a bit, though I think he has the potential to succeed despite that. However, the LDE isn't always slow - Mario Williams played there for a year, and Julius Peppers has spent most of his career on the defensive left. A big, fast player like that would give Smith fits in pass protection (and might be able to use their arms to beat him when he run-blocks as well), which doesn't fit my definition of a dominant tackle.
Would he be much better on the right side? Undoubtedly. But I don't think he would be dominant. Of course, in some schemes the TE pass-blocks much more than Holmgren, and that would help minimize those weaknesses Smith has.
Q/ Knowshon Moreno has been compared to LaDainian Tomlinson this week. Why is Moreno only being projected in the mid-to-lower first round?
A/ I think the comparison is flawed, as Moreno is both lighter and slower than LT. Don't get me wrong, I love Moreno more than most anyone. But to compare Moreno to LT is to compare Crabtree to Calvin Johnson. Moreno and Crabtree are top notch prospects in this draft. LT and Johnson are more once-in-a-generation type prospects, in the sense that both could be considered the prototypes for their position. Now, that doesn't truly explain why Moreno has fallen. I mean, Moreno compares favorably, in many ways, to Cadillac Williams of the 2005 draft (selected by Tampa Bay 5th overall).
However, in recent years more teams have adopted the RB-by-committee approach, which lessens the impact any one RB can have on a team. Teams are hesitant to shell out a high draft pick (not to mention 8-10 million a year) for a guy who is more likely to get 200 carries a year than 300. Lastly, don't be surprised if Moreno climbs the boards. Most every player has a flaw that makes them a risky choice. Moreno is a safe (but exciting) pick. He could rise for that reason.
Q/ What do you make of Malcolm Jenkins (CB, Ohio State)? Are the concerns surrounding his recovery speed legitimate?
A/ While I think he is a first round talent, I would not take him with a top-10 pick. For me, when you select a cornerback in the top-10, you are expecting to get a player who is a shutdown corner. I really don't think you will ever get that from Jenkins. His deep speed is a legitimate concern, and for a cornerback you just can't be outrun deep. But even in college he had trouble sticking with Big Ten receivers (not exactly a conference known for speed) on deep routes, and in the NFL most teams have at least one high 4.3/low 4.4 guy that is simply too fast for Jenkins.
Q/ Can you name one prospect who could dramatically improve his stock during the NFL combine?
A/ Oh, there could be several. I have a hunch that Michael Oher will run a 40-yard dash time that will make a lot of people gasp, though I don't think he'll wow people with the bench press. As insane as it sounds, Joe Thomas saw his stock rise a little after an amazing 40 time. The easiest answer here is Darius Heyward-Bey, who could run a 4.3 flat in Indianapolis a 6'3 200+lbs, but we all expect him to run an insanely fast time like that. For the running backs, this year's "Jonathan Stewart" could be Beanie Wells: a healthy Beanie Wells could weigh 240lbs and run a 4.4 flat while dominating the bench press.
Q/ We saw Larry Fitzgerald put in another excellent performance in the Super Bowl. This week, Mel Kiper compared Crabtree to Fitzgerald. Is that a fair comparison and can Crabtree have a similar impact in the NFL?
A/ I've been comparing Crabtree to Fitzgerald for a while now, and while the comparison isn't perfect, it's a pretty good one. It's probably unrealistic to expect any player to have the success Fitzgerald has had in the league, but in terms of their skill sets they are far more similar than different. Both are about 6'2 1/2. Fitzgerald is listed at 226lbs, Crabtree could end up right around there by the combine, though I suspect he will be closer to his listed weight of 216 (Crabtree looks to have the frame to bulk up, however).
Both have excellent hands. Both are great at using their bodies to block the cornerback from making a play. Both are good route-runners, though Crabtree has an annoying little skip in his initial get-off at the LOS that will need to be fixed. Crabtree has a little more explosion, which is a plus, and Crabtree has better YAC. Fitzgerald might have a better vertical, and does have better body control (though Crabtree is no slouch in either category). I really believe Crabtree could be a top-5 NFL WR after a few years, especially if I am right and his frame does have more room to grow.
So while the comparison is not perfect (no comparison ever is), it is as good of one as exists between Crabtree and a current NFL player. The only thing I expect that could keep Crabtree from being an impact NFL WR is that ankle injury, which needs careful examination by the Seahawks medical staff.