Monday, 1 February 2010

POTD: Everson Griffen, DE, USC

By Kip Earlywine

Height: 6'3"
Weight: 278 lbs (some sites list him at 280, others 265)
Unofficial 40: 4.68


-Versatile, can play both LDE and RDE and could probably transition to 3-4 DE.
-Smart player who usually makes the right decisions
-Good in coverage
-Solid vs. run
-Physical specimen who was highly sought out of high school
-Decent edge rush
-Rarely misses tackles, and sometimes his tackles have a nice "pop" to them.
-Good agility
-Stays healthy (missed 1 game I think from turf toe, that's it)
-No character concerns
-High effort, doesn't quit plays.
-Took a solid step forward in 2009 and still has more untapped potential


-Not a big repertoire of pass rush moves
-Doesn't have good hand use, has some trouble disengaging from OL
-Decent but not amazing production (7 sacks and 8.5 TFLs in '09, only 17 sacks and 20 TFL total in 36 career games)
-Looks slow sometimes, maybe turf toe?
-Never really blew me away... looks like a Ruskell 1st round pick.

Sound Bites:

"Griffen seems like a boom-or-bust prospect at the next level, and I'm not leaning towards "boom."
-Matt McGuire (Walterfootball)

“I think he can be solid. But to be honest, I think he’s a little overrated. I don’t see that explosion off the edge. … He should be a starter, but I’m not sure he’ll ever be a double-digit sack guy at the next level.”
-Todd McShay

My thoughts:

Griffen reminds me a lot of Lawrence Jackson. He's a well rounded, smart player, but his weakness is the area that matters most to a 4-3 DE, his pass rushing ability. Its not that Griffen sucks as a pass rusher, but he's very under-developed and if a player usually hasn't developed pass rush moves by the time they leave college, they probably never will. Griffen was not a major pass rush threat in college and I don't think he'll be one in the pros either. Griffen isn't a bad player, but the Seahawks shouldn't bother drafting a DE unless its a player who is a clear upgrade over Jackson or Tapp. For that reason, I hope the team avoids Griffen, especially in the 1st round.


HawkCity said...

That is the worst pre draft mock I have ever seen. picking Griffen would be like taking Lojack all over agian an avg. joe player. Griffen is not even a first round draft pick. To not even have Berry or Okung in the top 10 picks, shows you do not watch a lot of football. Some of your picks are way to much of a reach or not even first round grade talent Picks 1,2,4,5 are the only ones I agree with and picks 3,6,7,8,9,10 I don't see happening at all.

Jayce said...

His mock drafts are meant to show the different outcomes that can happen.

I do agree with you that Berry and Okung will be in top 10 because the other organization see and don't see the things Rob does. Teams will probably feed on the hype and draft those two.

But this is his opinion on how the draft will turn out. He gives his evidence on why he think it is so too.

Steve in Spain said...

HawkCity, I've seen worse, but yeah, this one does look pretty "off" to me too. Still, I think Rob is trying to (1) trust his own evaluations of the players, (2) break the groupthink of mindlessly repeating what everybody else is mocking, and (3) be a little prescient - every year players end up falling and others surging between January and April, and perhaps Rob is foreseeing those possibilities before they happen.

But yeah, it's hard to see Berry, Okung and Clausen all falling out of the top ten. You have to give some credit to the "wisdom of the masses."

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Anonymous said...

He's Lo-Jack, with a slightly quicker first step. Both have good size and athleticism, but aren't any better than average pass rushers. Both have the strength to anchor against tackles, both are disciplined, and both persue very well. Pass.

Rob Staton said...

Hawk City - In fairness, I've watched literally hours of tape from 2009. A lot of it I've watched twice. I've done my homework - it doesn't mean I will necessarily be right on draft day - but I like to think I've put in the time to at least offer a valid opinion.

Having watched a lot of Okung and Berry in particular, I feel confident enough to back up where I have them in my mock draft. Berry only drops to #12 - it's not a substantial fall. There are clear reservations about his tackling. He won't transform a defense like some seem to suggest, he'll be a complete luxury to teams at the top of the board. It would surprise me greatly if a team like Tampa Bay or Kansas City took him and I think he's much more likely to go in the 10-15 range where there's a few teams that could justify the selection.

Okung is hugely over rated for me. Kyle (whose opinion I value over any other) wrote his report on Okung last week and it's a great assesment. I'd recommend checking it out:

Ben said...


You've got no idea how the draft will turn out. February mock drafts look different from January mock drafts and March mock drafts. Rob does a great job of informing us about possible draft picks, but he's never going to be able to predict the exact draft order 3 months out.

You're responding to the wrong post and you come off as naive.

CLanterman said...

Hawk City, you're just saying it's the worst because it's different than a lot of others, most of which just copy WalterFootball, Mel Kiper, and Todd McShay with a few variations.

I like how Rob constantly updates his mock drafts and constantly adds surprises and new wrinkles to who might be drafted where. It leaves me feeling like I am prepared for anything come draft day.

Kip, great review, the similarities between LoJack are eerily similar, and I also hope we don't take him. I suppose if he adds 10 lbs to his frame, he'd be a great fit for a 3-4 end, but DEs are meant to create pass rush, and you're right, if he hasn't developed the moves by now, and doesn't have the athleticism of Mario Williams or Dwight Freeney (both of whom have moves), then he'll never be a double digit sack guy.

Taylor Mays and Everson Griffen both scare me, and I hope that Carroll ignores his USC roots and let's some other team take them.

CLanterman said...

"Never really blew me away... looks like a Ruskell 1st round pick"

I forgot to add, this made me laugh out loud. It's the 'safe' typical first rounder on defense that seems like Ruskell's bread and butter. Funny though, since Ruskell's first rounders aren't actually that safe.

Nick said...

It's surprising to me how many first round DEs struggle in the NFL, at least for their first few years. Any thoughts why this might be?

Anonymous said...

Rob, I love checking the site daily for the latest player eval, keep it up. Agree with most of the comments. Griffen would be decent value at #40 for a 4-3 team, but we have other needs we should be filling at that point. I think the rush on D-line will be early and often, unlike any draft in the last 10 years, and think it's very plausible that Berry and Haden go in the 8-15 range, along with the top 3 OT's. I'd personally love for McCoy or Morgan to fall to us at 6, but I think Bradford would be a decent consolation prize if they don't. At #14 I hope for a playmaker like Spiller or Bryant, or trade down to 20 something and take Charles Brown. We could use the added pick(s).

Anonymous said...

This blog is really coming along nicely especially with the new additions.
Been a great read all year.
Personally I wouldn't cringe if they took Spiller at 6 to make sure he doesn't go before 14 and then used 14 for the best of the rest. I'm less keen on the backs after Spiller in the top bracket but it woul be fun to watch Gerhart pound it out.
I'd be happy to see Bradford or Clausen still available at 14.
Btw Rob where are you getting all these college games in the UK? Are you a subscriber to ESPN 360?

Scotia Seahawk

Kip Earlywine said...

I think DEs adjust slowly to the NFL for the same reason that high school DEs tend to adjust slowly to the college game. The linemen are bigger, stronger, quicker, more experienced, and more skilled. The QBs are more experienced and more skilled. They aren't as likely to panic at pressure or hold the ball all day.

A double digit sack DE is a rare thing in the NFL, even a very good pass rusher in college could slam into a wall at the pro level. It seems like the pro-bowlers were either blessed with truly elite skills or they found a way to elevate their game even more.

HawkCity said...


I wasn't saying that I thought it was the worst because he wasn't matching Kiper or McShay. Becuase I think these guys are not that great, specialy Kiper. To be honest I think Rob has done a better job then the so called Guru Kiper. I know this will just be one of the many mocks Rob might do for this draft, but I didn't agree with him, Hey this is america right, I just can not see the top ten falling this way. Especially if Berry is their at 6 I really don't see them passing on him enless Okung is there.

HawkCity said...

I guess on my part I might have been a little to hasty, first off I just want to say that I do respect your opinions and views most of the time. But I do love a good debate. So let me start by saying St. Louis 1st pick will dictate the top ten picks in the draft.I would say it is a 50/50 split between Clausen or Suh. If Suh goes one then the top two goes as followed. The 3rd pick I have a problem with, because as much talnt Dez has the Buccaneers need D help more then Offense.Freeman and the offense showed signs of improvement over the last month. But their D has looked worse each year, The D will be a focal point for Tampa. Now this will be determined by the 1st pick. If the first 2 go as viewed , then I see Berry going here. If Clausen goes 1 then bump Suh and McCoy down as 2 and 3. I see Bradford at 4 only if Clausen is off the board. Clausen is the one QB that is NFL ready to play and the Bradford injury has to be in serious as where he will be picked. Your 6th pick to the Hawks is a late 1st to early 2 round pick at best. Now if Berry is still here then I can't see the Hawks passing on him, due to how horrible the pass coverage is that they have. Now if Berry is gone then I can see Okung going here if KC don't bite first. He is the best OT in the draft and the Hawks could use his help. Now if both are gone then the pick would have to be Morgan not Jason at DE. You have Spiller at 7th and I know he is explosive, but they have a good nucleus of young RB as they found out late in the year. Spiller will start to see action around 13,14,18, or 20th pick and you know the Texans couldn't pas on him with their RB woes. But believe he will be a 49er or a Seahawk. 8 and 9 I'm not sold on but could see it happening, especially the Buffalo pick since they traded Peters to the Eagles and could really use the help.

Rob Staton said...

Hawkcity - I love a good debate and you make some valid points in your analysis.

As you say, The picks with Suh and McCoy are obvious depending on how the Rams choose at #1. Personally - whilst I do accept Clausen has pro-offense experience - I think Bradford has a much greater upside. I can see why the Rams or Washington would go Clausen over Bradford - the durability issue is a legitimate concern. However, if Bradford throws at the combine/pro-day and can prove his health to scouts, he's a candidate to go first overall.

Tampa Bay is a difficult one to project. Defensive line is the big need area. They'd love Suh or McCoy. However, if both are gone they could go in a multitude of directions. Yes, Berry is a possibility. The Monte Kiffin links are obvious. However, The Buccs have a decent secondary. I like Aqib Talib. They struggle because the DL doesn't create any pressure. I think Berry would absolutely be a luxury on that defense. I'm not convinced with his tackling and whether his ability with ball in hand clouds some of his negatives. I didn't see an other worldly safety who can transform a defense when scouting Tennessee this year. Derrick Morgan is a possibility - so may JPP. Both very good edge rushers that I rate highly. TB might be scared off drafting DE that high after Gaines Adams' (RIP) struggles before eventual trade to Chicago.

Then you have to look at the offense. TB know they have to make life easier for Freeman. Do they think LT? Could do, but their line improved a lot as the year went on. Do they look for a target like Dez Bryant - very possible.

I think all those guys would be a slight reach. You're picking your poison, which is the most important to invest $60m? I'm not sure safety is and I'm not sure Berry is as advertised. They may see much greater value elsewhere for their investment. Bryant has to be a possibility if he works out well at the combine. They've often voiced that the priority this year is to surround Freeman with better weapons.

The reason I had JPP going to Seattle and not Morgan is because I think Pete Carroll is likely to be the kind of coach who thrives on a challenge. JPP might have bigger upside than anyone else in the 2010 draft. Morgan isn't as raw, he's more rounded against the run. JPP is raw, but he has extreme athletic qualities. As an edge rusher, there's no equal in this class. Carroll has talked about getting guys in and maxing out what they can do now. You put JPP on passing downs and you tell him to get to the QB. He can play the elephant. He can be a first down tone setter. Sure, he's raw. He needs the right coach. Carroll could be the right coach to tap into that elite potential.

Seattle could consider Berry, but again - you'd have over $150m dollars tied up at safety and linebacker alone. It may be nearer to $200m. All the while, there's massive question marks at DL, OL, QB, RB, WR. Berry is good, but again - without a pass rush he isn't going to thrive. He could get buried on a bad defense. I think he's ultimately likely to be passed on by the teams like TB, Seattle and Cleveland - and more likely to land with Miami, Denver or San Francisco. I could be wrong, but that's my gut feeling.

Spiller is a wildcard pick but when I did my last mock I just thought it could happen. Most certainly it could. I know Jerome Harrison collected yards running 30-40 times a game at the end of the year. Can he do that 16 weeks a year? Of course not. Cleveland have a real lack of playmakers outisde of Josh Cribbs. They have a good offensive line. Drafting Spiller and pairing him with Harrison takes away some of the pressure from whoever starts at QB. I have to believe Mike Holmgren will appreciate a talent like Spiller too. It'd be a huge upgrade for their offense.

HawkCity said...

Here is why I don't see the Browns taking Spiller at 7, Harrison like I said before and James Davis these two could do well in Cleveland. Now Davis is no Spiller but he is a fast elusive runner, and could spell Harrison so he would not have to run 30 to 40 times a game. The Browns are in desperate need of help on the offense, so does that mean they go RB they could but I don't see it for the reasons posted above. Now this is a tricky pick becuase the Browns like to trade their top picks to get more. a lot of this will determined by weather Holmgren will stick with Quin and get him some WR help so he could spread the field more, or does he get OL help to give Quin more time to throw. The big wild card in this is does Holmgren decide that he wants his own QB for their Franchise. It's just I don't really see them with a big RB need in the first, they could get one in round 2 on down.

HawkCity said...

when you are drafting in the top ten you don't draft Projects like JPP that early in the draft. You go for someone that is going to play right away and make an impact.
Now quoting you ( Carroll thrives on a challenge. JPP might have bigger upside than anyone else in the 2010 draft. but is raw.)
See I have a problem with the raw part here becuase of the value at the 6th pick. Now JPP could turn out to be a stud and be great for us,but the Hawks really can't wait to see if he would pan out. This is why Morgan will go over him if they choose to go DE at 6. I'm not saying he can't be good but it s to much of a risk when your picking that high to say only if I went another way. As much as I would love to see Berry at 6 because I have watched a lot of his games and I believe he really does have the potential to be an ED Reed, Brian Dawkins type player. But if he is gone I wouldn't mind trading down to garner more picks becuase the Hawks really have a lot of holes that need to be fixed on both sides of the ball. said...

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