The Combine is over and teams everywhere are flocking to their draft boards to plot out exactly who they will take and where. Some prospects showed up and solidified their status as elite talent while others unfortunately only created questions of whether they can be successful at the next level.
Players such as Ndamukung Suh, Taylor Mays and Gerald McCoy showcased freakish athletic ability and Suh clearly distinguished himself as the best prospect in this years draft. Mays probably helped himself more than anyone having one of the most successful combines posting an unofficial 4.24 forty yard dash time, tying Titans running back Chris Johnson for the fastest recorded.
On the flip side were players like receiver Brandon Lafell, quarterback Colt McCoy and corner back Joe Haden who all had disappointing workouts. Haden has widely been considered the top corner in this years draft but his prowess on the football field did not translate as he posted a slow forty time at 4.57 seconds and appeared to be confused displaying poor technique in drills. Haden might not fall entirely out of the first round but the performance has certainly hurt his draft stock.
Lafell was a high prospect coming out of LSU but displayed average speed and explosiveness in the combine. His performance there coupled with the issues he had his senior season have certainly edged him out of the first round altogether.
Similar scenario with McCoy, a top QB prospect coming out of Texas, who displayed average athletic ability along with average height at 6″1. NFL clubs really want a physical specimen from a height stand point and McCoy just doesn’t stack up. He also opted no to throw at the combine only cementing the doubts scouts have about his arm strength and ability to make all the throws. He never had much of a chance to be taken in the first round anyways but it now appears his grading will place him somewhere in the third round.
Personally I don’t think this years crop of quarterback prospects houses a player worthy of a first round pick. In fact this is a darft that will be dominated by defensive players and offensive linemen where as many as four plus offensive tackles will get taken in the first round. In usual fashion though some team will reach and take a QB late in the first round, most likey Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford or Notre Dame stand out Jimmy Clausen.
Now that it’s over it is a little easier to gauge where certain players will be taken, although I am sure many things will change barring great Pro Days from some of these players and the inevitable draft shuffle that will happen amongst NFL teams in the first round.
As far as the Saints are concerned picking 32nd makes their choice pretty easy as they will take the best player available on their draft board regardless of need. Head coach Sean Payton has gone on record to confirm exactly this so the possibilities are wide open.
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Even with Marc Bulgers time over in St.Louis there just is not a QB worthy of the first selection. History tell us that most QB’s taken in the first round rarely find success at the pro level and the Rams will not be willing to take the risk. They take the safe pick and go with the best player in the draft Ndamukong Suh, free agency or a later round pick is where they will get their next QB.
With Suh off the board, and having a QB of the future in Matt Stafford, the Lions will select the best 1-A prospect in the draft Gerald McCoy. McCoy will be a dominant interior lineman for years to come. This all assuming the Lions don’t trade away the pick that they are currently relentlessly shopping to other franchises.
Defensive EndSouth FloridaTampa could go either way with this pick and with safeties Mays and Berry both still here it presents a unique opportunity for Raheem Morris to upgrade his secondary with a young playmaker. In the end however since they face the Saints and Drew Brees twice a year Morris will opt to upgrade his pass rush by taking the most athletic pass rusher in the draft Jason Pierre-Paul4.Russel Okung
Offensive TackleOklahoma StateWith the Redskins hoping to return to prominence after hiring head coach Mike Shanahan the team will look to develop their quarterback of now Jason Campbell and opt not to draft one here. Instead with a rather dominant defense and secondary currently in plave the Skins will draft the best offensive tackle in the draft amidst a very deep group, Russel Okung, to help protect a developing Campbell.