Weeb Ewbank, who was a fine gentleman and the answer to a trivia question of who was the only coach to win championships in both the NFL and AFL (having won NFL championships with the Baltimore Colts in 1958 and 1959 and then with the New York Jets Super Bowl win in 1969 over those same Baltimore Colts), had a pet saying, "It's a bunch of stuff".
And that will be the theme of this article.
At this point in time Jadeveon Clowney is the presumed No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 NFL draft and has already indicated that he will be an early entrant into the draft. He was the No. 1 rated defensive lineman coming out of high school and was listed at 6-6 245 as a freshman; 6-6 256 as a sophomore to the present 6-6 272 while running 4.56 and 4.76 forties. But some issues have now surfaced in that he sustained a neck/back injury during Spring practice and with his defensive coordinator stating that they are working on improving his being an every down player. Uh-oh! Could this be a chink in his armor ?
At this time last year some of the big names were Matt Barkley, Jarvis Jones, Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery and Star Lotulelei being mentioned for the No. 1 overall pick. Eric Fisher was listed at No. 50, Lane Johnson at No. 58 and Brennan Williams at No. 59 and that was just on a list of Tackles much less the overall list. So will Clowney really end up being the No. 1 overall pick in 2014?
Stephon Tuitt came out of high school as the No. 6 rated DLineman who enrolled at Notre Dame as a 6-5 270 freshman to 6-6 295 as a sophomore to a now 6-6 322 junior who hasn't yet given any indication as to whether he will declare for the draft. But if he did he would be quite a pick as a DE in a 3-4 defense and I believe would be the heaviest DE in NFL history. Ed "Too Tall" Jones with Dallas was listed at 6-9 271; Doug Atkins of the Bears was also taller at 6-8 275 and Mario Williams was listed at 6-7 and 292 when he played DE before being moved to OLB. Tuitt's teammate, NT Louis Nix, III entered Notre Dame as a listed 6-3 340 pounder to 6-3 326 to now 6-3 347 as a Redshirt Junior and if these two players continue to improve on last year's performances and show dominance while at these weights they will be pushing for top five consideration. A throwback comparison for Nix was Les Bingamin who was a star NT for the Detroit Lions in the 1950's and was listed at 6-3 300+ while many said the + really meant 350. He played with Bobby Layne and Doak Walker, both Lions and NFL legends.
Imagine what kind of DL Notre Dame would have had if Aaron Lynch, 6-6 245 DE had remained at ND but after his freshman year he transferred to the Univ. of South Florida which is closer to his home. He was a top 30 player coming out of H.S., had 5.5 sacks as a freshman at ND and was considered their best defensive player when he left, then sat out 2012 and would now be eligible for the draft is he so desired.
In my article on the Top Ten QB's for the 2014 draft I didn't include Brett Hundley of UCLA as I assumed that he would also return for another college season just as I guessed that Kevin Hogan and Johnny Manziel would. But now Manziel could be another matter as his fame at Texas A&M has caused him to take on-line courses to avoid the well wishers and autograph seekers on campus and this could cause him to flee for the NFL. If he does come out an NFL team would have to adjust its offense to his talents, which reminds me of a quicker version of Fran Tarkenton.
Taylor Martinez, QB of Nebraska is not considered to be a top QB prospect at this time but with his size, speed and running ability would be considered for another position but where? Denard Robinson was supposed to change to WR but the Jacksonville wants him to be a RB. B.J. Daniels, who played QB at South Florida, was drafted by the 49ers in the seventh round and people were trying to figure out what they had in store for him with some sages thinking the 49ers may just want him as a practice squad player to be used to prepare for Russell Wilson.
And speaking of Jacksonville which is still in a rebuilding mode with no chance of making the playoffs this year, why don't they trade Maurice Jones-Drew while he still has value. They would be doing him a favor by giving him a chance to play for a playoff contender and help themselves by obtaining future draft choices to continue the rebuilding effort. It should have been done already but the best bet now is to wait until pre-season and see if a RB goes down with a playoff contender and attempt to trade him to that team.
I really liked what the Titans did in signing Guard Andy Levitre and then drafting Guard Chance Warmack and Center Brian Schwenke to solidify the interior of their offensive line but I have to question whether Jake Locker is the answer at QB.
A.J. McCarron, QB of Alabama was listed at 6-4 last year but it turns out he is 6-2 which somewhat diminishes his overall draft rating but on the other hand he played the last six games of the 2012 season including the national championship game with 3 broken ribs which popped in and out of place and this severely limited his practice time to the point that he couldn't throw until days before the ND game.
Where to play David Yankey, 6-5 311 OL of Stanford who is moving back to his"natural position" of Guard which is confusing because in 2012 he won the offensive version of the Morris Trophy awarded to the best offensive lineman in the PAC-12 which is selected by the opposing defensive players. Stanford used him at LOT to pass protect the blind side of the QB and also played him some at OG where the coaches consider him to be the best pulling guard in the country. OT-OG? OG-OT? Inspector Clouseau is going to have to help me with this one.
And speaking of Stanford the pro scouts might as well just camp at the school this fall as the Cardinal will have more prospects than any other school, except Alabama. They even have some backups who have a chance of being drafted. SHAYNE SKOV, 6-3 244 ILB whose play in 2012 was very good but not enough to have him projected as a first rounder may in fact reach that level. He led the Cardinal in tackles in 2010 and then had that super bowl game before being injured in 2011 and missing most of the year to returning in 2012 to again lead the team in tackles but didn't show that explosiveness that made him really stand out. Word has filtered out of the 2013 Spring practices that the explosiveness has returned and if that is the case he could be the top ILB/MLB in the draft. His instincts, play diagnosis, block avoidance and closing speed are top notch but he will also have to show that he can drop in pass coverage.
The Cowboys offensive line was thought to have four positions to be upgraded as they were next to last in the NFL in rushing and were also known for providing Tony Romo with little in the way of pass protection so they take Travis Fredericks with their first round pick at (31) that few, if any, had rated in the first round and they took no other offensive lineman. And Fredericks is known for being better at run blocking than pass blocking so good luck to Tony Romo.
The trade between Dallas and SF had Dallas trading its No. 1 (18) which is worth 900 points to SF for No. 1 (31) which is worth 600 points for a 300 points difference so SF adds in its 3 (74) which has 220 points which means that Dallas left 80 value points on the draft floor. According to the Value Chart Dallas should have also received SF's 4 (128), 5 (157) and 7 (237) for a total of 73.6 points and SF had the extra picks so they could have afforded to give up extra picks. If a team is willing to lose on the Value Chart points it is usually the team that wants the trade the most that loses and at first glance it would seem that SF wanted to trade up to get Eric Reid a need choice for them so one is left to wonder why Dallas didn't negotiate for more. The 80 point loss on the value chart points was the biggest point differential of all the trades during the 2013 draft with the exception of Oakland trading 1 (3) back to Miami at 1 (12) with Oakland also getting Miami's 2 (42) which was a loss of 520 points but understandable as Oakland didn't have a Second Round Choice and desperately wanted one and Oakland didn't want to pay the player that they wanted at the pay scale rate that the third player would get. Another thing to factor in here is that the Value Chart on the very top choices needs to be re-worked as it hasn't been followed for the top choices for some prior years either. The only other notable differential was SF trading with GB in exchanging 2's and SF throwing in a 6th rounder and coming out 35.8 points ahead and I should note that every time that SF traded they screwed, er, out-negotiated the other team and came out ahead on the value points.
Dallas did have two models that they could have followed and that was New England trading their 1 (29) to the Vikings for their 2 (53), 3 (83), 4 (102) and 7 (229) which left a difference of 8.2 points; BUT you want to excuse them because that trade occurred after their trade; BUT, Buffalo at 1 (6) traded back to St. Louis at 1 (16) and also received the Rams 2 (46), 3 (78) and 7 (222) leaving a difference of 7.6 points and that is the trade that they should have based their negotiations upon. If Dallas would have obtained SF's other picks at 128, 157 and 237 that would have been a difference of 6.4 points which have been in the acceptable range of the New England and Buffalo trades of 8.2 and 7.6 points.
Outside Linebackers are also going to be an outstanding group this year and my first listing had C.J. Mosley of Alabama at the top of the heap but after reviewing the defensive statistics of the top players and remembering the explosive pass rush exhibited by Anthony Barr it has made me pause in my deliberations. Since I consider Mosley to be the best all around OLB in that he plays the run very well and can rush the passer and can also drop into pass coverage and while Anthony Barr can play the run and excels at rushing the passer I was conflicted when Inspector Clouseau reappeared and advised that since the NFL has become a passing league the defense should be more interested in players who excel in stopping the pass and he also reminded that Dion Jordan went third in 2013 with a similar skill-set. I responded ,"O.K., O.K., I get it" and placed Anthony Barr in the top slot, at least for the time being. Kyle Van Noy of BYU is a close third. Adrian Hubbard, who has gone from 237 to 255 will be factored in during the season.
In evaluating cornerbacks and players at some other positions the scouts determine how well the player can "flip his hips" while back in the day scouts used the phrase "turn and go" for that evaluation of CB's. This old timer thinks that the term "flip his hips" might be more appropriate for the judges in determining winners on Dancing with the Stars.