02-21-2014, 02:31 AM
Mike Mayock: Playing draft matchmaker for 19 NFL teams
By Andy Fenelon NFL.com
Published: Feb. 20, 2014
Bengals: Cornerback, but which one?
"I think (Darqueze) Dennard and (Justin) Gilbert will be gone before Cincinnati is on the clock. You hear me talk about flavors all the time, and with corners, that's very true. What type of flavor are you looking for?
"There are a lot of (cornerbacks) with potential first-round talent out there -- the (Loucheiz) Purifoy kid from Florida, but he's had some off-the-field issues; (Marcus) Roberson from Florida had some injuries; Bradley Roby from Ohio State, some real good tape, some not-so-good tape.
"I am a Kyle Fuller guy. I think he makes a ton of sense (for the Bengals) but we need to see what he runs (at the combine). I have him ranked higher than most of the corners out there."
Browns: Which QB at No. 4?
"I'm not sure the Browns know yet who the best one of those three (top quarterbacks) is. On one hand, you talk about being in that division, you have to be able to throw the ball in the wind and the cold. You have to have big hands.
"There's a lot of stuff about quarterback in those conditions. I think all of those top three quarterbacks could play for the Browns. Blake Bortles is kind of a bigger, stronger guy, and people think he's got the biggest arm. I'm not sure if he does or not. I want to see him live.
"But I also think he's the least developed of the three. I think (Teddy) Bridgewater is the most ready to play NFL-style quarterback in this draft. He was in the shotgun (at Louisville), they threw the ball short, intermediate and deep. He understands three-step, five-step and he reads more than just half a field. You can put the tape in and watch him do things and say, 'Yeah, that translates to the next level.' He's not as much a wild card as (Johnny) Manziel, and I think he's more developed in his reads and throws than Bortles.
"Manziel has got that 'it' factor where I don't think it matters if it's Cleveland, Seattle, Dallas, warm weather, cold weather, whatever. I think he's just going to be who he is.
"(Sammy) Watkins would be awesome there. I think they can get a running back in a bunch of different places, given the number of picks the Browns have. I'm all in on that kid, he can really play.
"(Derek) Carr would be an interesting guy at 26. I didn't love his USC tape in the bowl game at all, but I do believe he's got the arm strength and athletic ability to be a starter in the NFL. I don't think he's a Pro Bowl-type starter but he's a competent starter. You've got to ask yourself, at 26, are you getting significant improvement over what you think Brian Hoyer is, because if you're not, then you need to move on and get another positional player."
Ravens: Receiver makes sense
"I really believe when the Ravens get on the clock, that probably at least one, if not two of those three (top receivers), will be available, and they bring different things to the table. (Marqise) Lee can play inside or outside. He's a dangerous kickoff-return guy. (Mike) Evans and (Kelvin) Benjamin are kind of today's flavor in the NFL, those 6-foot-5, 230-pound wide receivers.
"If there's a wide receiver there, I think it makes a ton of sense. Secondly, if all three of those top (tackles) are gone -- (Jake) Matthews, (Greg) Robinson and (Taylor) Lewan -- then I go back to Zack Martin. The reason I like Martin is because he can play all those positions and Baltimore has got a player that's playing guard for them now, an all-pro guard that was projected to tackle; they have done pretty darn well with him.
"I would be really surprised if (Eric) Ebron was still there, but if he was, I would jump all over that. (Austin) Seferian Jenkins would make sense to me, also.
"At 16 in this year's draft, I really believe somebody -- it could be the third tackle, it could be the second wide receiver or the third wide receiver -- there's going to be somebody that gets to them where you go, 'Wow, that's a great football player.'"
Steelers: Nose tackle top need
"If you're going to live at 3-4 (defensive scheme, which they do, the nose tackle position is pretty important. They like (Steve) McClendon. He's a pretty interesting guy. The only guy that's even worth looking at that early would be Louis Nix, and you have to buy into the fact you're going to (need) a significant number of snaps from him, and I'm not sure you can.
"Kyle Fuller makes a lot of sense for what they do and how they do it. He plays a lot like the kid they lost to New Orleans (Keenan Lewis) as a free agent. You would have to buy into (Louis) Nix at 15 if you were going to go there, but Fuller I like. Jason Verrett is a second-round corner and a nickel, I like him, also."
02-21-2014, 05:14 AM
Nose Tackle Might Not Be The Answer
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
INDIANAPOLIS — The Steelers once were the NFL’s best run defense, impenetrable to the point that many teams simply chose not to try the ground game. Perennially ranked among the top 10 teams against the run, the Steelers were first in the league in rush defense four times from 2001-12 and finished among the top five teams 10 times in that 12-year span.
The constant for the Steelers during that time was nose tackle Casey Hampton. In the first season without Hampton, the Steelers in 2013 became vulnerable to the run and plummeted to 21st in the league.
That has to led to speculation that the Steelers could be in the market for a nose tackle with the No. 15 overall pick in the May draft — specifically, Louis Nix III of Notre Dame, projected as the top nose tackle prospect.
The Steelers last chose a nose tackle with their first pick in 2001 when they selected Hampton with the 19th overall pick. But in the past 13 years much has changed in the NFL that makes selecting a nose tackle in the first round risky.
“It has changed,” said Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, who is evaluating college prospects at the NFL combine this week in Indianapolis. “It has become more passing, more sub-package defense. Our numbers were close to 60 percent sub-package defense this year. It has increased because of the change offensively, but it doesn’t change the way we evaluate.
“In the 34 defense you’re still going to start with the nose tackle because you still have to get to third down. You have to get to second-and-long. If you’re not going to get that player to help you get to those extended downs then you’re going to have problems, so nose tackle will always be important to our defense.”
But Steelers nose tackles have played much less in recent years. Over the final five years of his career, Hampton averaged 474 snaps per season, or roughly half that of most defensive starters. Steve McLendon, who started at nose tackle for the Steelers last season, played even less, 355 snaps.
If the Steelers take a nose tackle with the No. 15 pick they would project him as playing much more than that. A few nose tackles, but not many, stay on the field for the majority of their team’s snaps. Kansas City nose tackle Dontari Poe, the No. 11 overall selection in 2012, played 1,063 snaps this season, about 90 percent of the defensive snaps for the Chiefs. New England’s Vince Wilfork played about 80 percent of the snaps in his last full season in 2012.
“If you live in the 3-4 the nose tackle is really important,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “I think they like McLendon. The only [nose tackle] they could take at No. 15 is Louis Nix, and you would have to get a certain number of snaps out of him.”
NFL offenses are dictating to defenses and making general managers and coaching staffs adjust. In 2001, Tom Brady burst onto the scene for New England after Drew Bledsoe was injured and led the Patriots to their first Super Bowl title. But in 2001, Brady and the Patriots were not a pass-happy team just yet. They averaged only 30 pass attempts per game.
Over the years, the Patriots have swung the pendulum to the pass more than the run. In 2013, Brady attempted 39 passes per game. He attempted more than 40 per game in 2012.
Brady and the Patriots are not the only team to morph into a high-powered passing attack in the past decade. The Denver Broncos, with Peyton Manning at quarterback, averaged more than 42 pass attempts per game last season. Matthew Stafford of the Lions set the NFL record in 2012 with 727 pass attempts in a single season, or more than 45 passes per game.
This has marginalized the nose tackle to some degree and increased the importance of other positions, most notably edge rushers and defensive backs.
McLendon was a solid player in his first year as a starter, but he plays the position in a different manner than Hampton. At 6 feet 4, McLendon is three inches taller than Hampton and was listed at 285 pounds, or 45 pounds lighter than Hampton, whose nickname Big Snack aptly described his appetite and body type.
Not all of the run defense problems can be blamed on McLendon, of course. There was the matter of rookie sixth-round pick Vince Williams having to start at inside linebacker because Larry Foote had a season-ending injury in the opener. And there were plenty of missed assignments and poor tackling by all 11 starters.
McLendon signed a three-year contract before last season, but he has the skill set to slide out to defensive end should the Steelers feel a rotund run-stopper in the middle is the cure for what ails their rush defense.
And if the Steelers choose to address other needs with their first pick there are a few 3-4 nose tackles projected as second-day selections, including DaQuan Jones of Penn State, Ryan Carrethers of Arkansas State and Daniel McCullers of Tennessee.
Last edited by Oviedo; 02-21-2014 at 05:16 AM.
02-21-2014, 09:41 AM
Fuller and Verrett are both great fits. I do not like Nix at 15, i think hes awesome but I think Kerr in the seoncd or third does the same exact thing
Mccelendon is far from perfect, but after further review he wasnt all that bad, not as bad as Hood. I think a big time DE like Hageman would be way more beneficial than a NT like Nix. Hageman and Heyward would treat people badly
02-21-2014, 09:45 AM
If we played in the AFCEast or the AFC West this article would make sense...
Originally Posted by Oviedo
02-21-2014, 10:05 AM
The division we play in is important, but not as important as being able to play with the best passing teams in the NFL... Or they get to the playoffs and get bombed... Been there and done that... I think we can have it both ways if Colbert and Co play it smart... Improve the NT play and build a great secondary... I don't know how much of a drop off there is in this years draft after Nix... Maybe a FA NT, or a find in the 2nd or 3rd? IMO McClendon isn't a pure NT and they must address this as well as build the secondary. The Seahawks showed the blueprint of how to play high powered passing teams... I'd like to see us take that route. With the right moves the Steelers D can become dominant against both the run and the pass...
Originally Posted by feltdizz
02-23-2014, 10:06 PM
James C Wexell @jimwexell:
One note on Nix, he's lost 23 pounds since January. "I enjoy my weight. People wanted it down so I got it down." Said knee is fine.
NT Louis Nix met w Mike Tomlin ("He was a cool guy") last night.
02-24-2014, 10:55 AM
Nix says he feels sexier without those 23 pounds...
Tuitt is out with a foot fracture...wonder if that pushes him down in the draft.
03-07-2014, 02:59 PM
2014 NFL Draft: Matt Miller's Scouting Notebook
By Matt Miller , NFL Draft Lead Writer Mar 6, 2014
DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame
Nix could move up my board if only because of his Twitter account (more on that later), but his play is something I wanted to recheck after talking to scouts at the combine.
Nix looked slow, stiff and not as explosive in 2013 when I first went through his snaps. "Look again and remember teams are scheming for him and that he's hurt" is what I was told by one team official. So I did. And he's right.
Nix was asked too often to be a two-gapping anchor, when he's capable of more. It's always tough to differentiate between what a player does in college vs. what a player can potentially do in the NFL, but Nix's athleticism wasn't fully utilized this season. He may never be Dontari Poe, but he can be a very good one-gapping (or two-gapping) defensive tackle in the NFL.
Current ranking: No. 27
03-07-2014, 03:03 PM
Damn nix carries his weight well
03-20-2014, 07:56 PM
Irish Chocolate weighed in at a svelte 331 at Notre Dame's Pro Day:
Originally Posted by K Train