Friday, February 29, 2008

Vikings sign FS Madieu Williams

The Minnesota Vikings signed FS Madieu Williams to a 6-year deal worth up to $34 million. I really like this signing. Madieu Williams is a budding star at safety, at only 26. His only concern has been injuries, he played in only 13 games last season, totaling 74 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 INTs. At 6'1, and 205 lbs, Williams is known more for his coverage skills, but he has also greatly improved as a run defender over the years and I will look forward to see him in a Vikings uniform. Williams should really help the Vikings pass defense that has ranked at the bottom of the NFL for years, by providing the lacking over-the-top coverage needed in a cover-2.

T-Wolves Waive Ratliff

The Wolves have bought out center Theo Ratliff's contract for the remainder of season. This will make Theo a Free Agent following a 48 hour period where he must clear waivers, after which he is expected to sign with his former team the Detroit Pistons.


Detroit Drafted Theo with the 18th pick in the 1995 Draft. He went on to have two productive seasons in Detroit by leading the team in blocks in both his rookie and sophomore seasons. Until being traded to the Sixers for Jerry Stackhouse in the middle of his third season.


With Theo no longer being on the Wolves roster it will no doubtingly open up minutes for the Wolves to look at their rookie center Chris Richard. Richard a 2nd round pick by the Timberwolves, is fresh off a recent stint in the D-League where he was averaging a double-double. So now that he has gotten himself back in playing shape (after sitting on the wolves bench for most of the first half of the season) I hope that he can provide defensive toughness near the paint as well as helping out on the offensive boards. He is also very good at finding open space under the basket that creates passing lanes for players who are driving to the hoop. When Chris gets one of those passes from a driving teammate you can be sure that he will follow it up by slamming home one of his Shaq like two handed rim shaking power dunks.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

NFL Combine: Defensive Backs

The Scouting Combine is winding down today with the defensive backs. What I'm looking for mainly is overall speed, long speed, burst, hands, agility, and fluidity of hips and backpedal.

CB

The corners looked very good overall. We will probably see at least 5 CBs taken in the first round with McKelvin, Talib, Cason, Rodgers-Cromartie, and Jenkins having a good shot at the first round.
- Brandon Flowers: Ran a 40 time of 4.58. His long speed was always a concern and his 40 time sure didn't help alleviate those concerns
- Leodis McKelvin: Ran a good 4.40. He may be the first CB taken off the board
- Antoine Cason ran a 4.49, and completed the 20-yd shuttle in 4.08 s.
- Aquib Talib ran a 4.47 and performed the cone drill in 6.82 s. His footwork seems a little off
- Mike Jenkins ran a 4.38, and had 18 bench presses.
- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie ran a 4.33 and jumped a 38.5 inches vertical. He also looked good in the cone drill (6.74) and 60 yds shuttle as well as all DB drills. He made himself worthy of consideration in the first round
- Tracy Porter ran a 4.37, performed the 20 yds shuttle in 4.07 s. Looked very smooth durin g drills
- Wheatley Terrence performed well, ran a 4.37, performed the cone drill in 6.74

S

In the other hand, the safeties did not look very good overall. None of the top prospect helped their stocks, and we could easily see only one or even no safety taken in the first round.
- Kenny Phillips ran a 4.54. Smooth backpedal, tight hips, has trouble turning hips out of backpedal
- DaJuan Morgan ran a 4.52. Looked good in drills. Morgan only started 12 games and is an extremely raw free safety.
- Thomas DeCoud ran a 4.48
- Josh Barrett ran a blistering 4.32 at 223 lbs. He is a small school prospect and definitely helped himself, by showing up on NFL scouts radar.
- Dominique Barber ran a 4.70
- Tyrell Johnson: The Arkansas State product ran a 4.43
- Tom Zbikowski ran a 4.52 and performed 24 bench presses. Pretty smooth in drills. Very cerebral, same game face the entire day.
- Marcus Griffin ran a 4.76
- Quintin Demps ran a 4.38

Troy Williamson traded to the Jacksonville Jaguard

Minnesota Vikings bust Troy Williamson was traded to the Jaguars for a sixth round pick. Hope a change of scenery will do him good. Else he will still be able to showcase his jaw dropping speed and superb pass dropping skills.

Monday, February 25, 2008

NFL Combine: DL/LB

At last, the interesting stuff! I enjoy scouting defensive players much more than offensive players. Tuesday will be a treat, with DBs, which I usually see as the best athletes on the football field. Anyways, today are the Defensive linemen and Linebackers. What I look for, aside from measurables, are overall fluidity of movement, lateral quickness, footwork and change of direction for this group.

LB:
- Shawn Crable ran a solid 4.64.
- Woodyard Wesley helped his stock tremendously by running a 4.51, and looking fluid on the 20 and 60-yd shuttles
- Maryland LB Erin Henderson, brother of Vikings MLB EJ Henderson (6'3, 244 lbs), ran a 4.73, and 23 bench press
- Ali Highsmith hurt himself by running a 4.96. A big problem when you are already seen as undersized to play LB in the NFL. He completed the 20-yd shuttle in 4.29s
- Xavier Adibi from Virginia Tech: Ran a 4.69, looked fluid and showed some agility

DL
- Chris Long is showing strong measurables: 40 time: 4.75, 34 bench presses, 10'4 broad jump which is ridiculous given his size, and a 34 inch vertical. He also showed up for the 20-yd shuttle with a DL best 4.21 s
- Vernon Gholston bench pressed a monstrous 37 times!!!!, had a 35.5 inches vertical, a 10'5 broad jump, and ran a 4.67. Did not as great on the shuttles but he is a virtual lock to be a top 5 pick, given his production in college.
- Quentin Groves ran a solid 4.57, best for all defensive linemen
- Derrick Harvey bench pressed 31 times, ran a 4.80.
- Sedrick Ellis bench pressed 34 times, ran a 5.24, showed a good burst. He cemented his value at the very top of the board.
- Glenn Dorsey did not workout
- Frank Okam, 6'4, 347 lbs, bench pressed 32 times, ran a 5.32.
- Marcus Howard is flashing up the board, running a 4.47, jumping a 34.5 inches vertical
- Cliff Avril: The Boilermaker helped his stock with a 4.51 40-time, and by looking good on the agility drills.
- Calais Campbell has a disappointing 5.03 on the 40-yd dash. Not as athletic as I expected, seem to stay too high when running, affecting his balance.

DB workouts:
- Golden Gopher Dominique Barber bench pressed 225-lbs 23 times
- Kenny Phillips had only 19 reps
- DaJuan Morgan, the second best safety in the draft, had 21 reps.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cowboys - Dolphins Trade Talk

I just heard that the Cowboys are in discussion with the Dolphins to trade the #1 pick for the Cowboys 2 first round picks AND Pro Bowl RB Marion Barber. Everyone is aware that Jerry Jones is enamored with Arkansas Darren McFadden but this seems a little overdone here. Giving up two first round picks to move up is one thing, but having to give up a Pro Bowl running back to get another RB who hasn't even stepped on an NFL football field yet, is ridiculous.

NFL Combine: QB/RB/WR

Busy morning
Quarterbacks:
- Matt Ryan ran a 4.88
- Brian Brohm ran a 4.75
- Chad Henne ran a 4.90
- Joe Flacco ran a 4.78
- Tashard Choice ran a 4.54

Wide Receivers:
- Mario Manningham: Bench pressed 16 times which is solid for a receiver his size, 32 inches vertical, ran pretty poor 40-yds dashes at 4.56 and 4.62. Not good for a player seen as a speed receiver
- Malcolm Kelly: Did not ran, did not bench press. What is he doing at the combine? Just taking up a spot someone else could have used I guess.
- DeSean Jackson: Ran a 4.31 40-yds dash.
- Dexter Jackson ran is the fastest WR at the combine at 4.27
- Early Doucet did not ran
- Andre Caldwell ran a 4.31
- Limas Sweed solidified his spot as the #1 receiver in the draft. At 6'3 and 215 lbs, he ran a 4.46. He compares well to fellow Longhorn Roy Williams. Somewhat bigger but just as fast.

Running backs:
- Rashard Mendenhall: Bench pressed 26 times, and ran an amazing 4.43 which is jaw dropping given his size. Again that guy is a beast.
- The other beast, Jonathan Stewart put up an impressive 40-time as well with a 4.44 while bench pressing 28 times. Not a surprise given his huge guns.
- Mike Hart ran a 4.67, bench pressed 23 times. Not great but as expected, he is a pure football player, not a guy with great measurables. He will be a great pickup at the end of the first day or on the second day of the draft.
- Darren McFadden showed his explosiveness with a 10'8 broad jump which is one inch more than Adrian Peterson did last year. He also ran a jaw dropping 4.27 and had a 33 inch vertical
- Fellow Arkansas product Felix Jones ran a 4.44
- Longhorn Jaamaal Charles ran a 4.36

Saturday, February 23, 2008

NFL Combine: OL/TE/K

WR/KR DeSean Jackson came in at 5'9 3/4, and 167 lbs. All I can say is wow
K/OL/TE today. The more exciting stuff tomorrow with QB/WR/RB.
Tight Ends:
- Fred Davis (USC) did not ran the 40-yds dash, bench pressed 225 lbs 24 times, he participated in the pass catching drills, dropping a couple pass, one of them on an over-the-shoulder catch he should have made.
- Dustin Keller's (Purdue) is shooting up the draft board. He put up a 38 inches vertical, 4.53 s 40-yds dash, has shown good strength, as well as catching abilities. His blocking skills remain questionable and I think he could end up in the 2nd round.
- John Carlson (Notre Dame) had a pretty disappointing morning, did not ran as well as expected, in the range of 4.8 - 4.9 s

Offensive Line:
- Jake Long (Michigan) bench pressed 225-lbs 37 times. Impressive given his long arms. Also ran the 40-yds dash in 5.17
- Jeff Otah (Pitt) ran the 40-yds dash in 5.55

More later today and especially tomorrow when I actually have something to talk about.