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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Which Undrafted Player signed played at Nebraska, same team as Ndamukong Suh?


First, new contract news; The Lions today signed 5th round pick DT Caraun Reid to a 4 year rookie contract with an estimated signing bonus of $188,880 and a first year salary of $420,000. He is the first Lions draft pick in 2014 to sign his contract. You may recall I really wanted the Lions to draft this particular player and I provided some information on him the night after he was drafted. I fully expect he will flash enough during the pre-season that the Lions will keep him on the 53 man roster.

So far I have gone over a few of the undrafted free agents the Lions have signed and what the signing bonuses were for all of them noting OT Lucas received the largest signing bonus followed by FB Abram and SS Couplin. The fourth highest paid undrafted player plays Cornerback but could play Free Safety and/or Special Teams, he graduated from Nebraska with a degree in Family Sciences. Mohammed (Mo) Seisay is between 6' 1" and 6' 2" tall (different sites have different numbers) and weighs in at 202 pounds. He ran a 4.52 40 at his pro-day but has been timed faster. His vertical is 39" and he managed 13 on the bench. He had transferred to the Huskers from a small school but in the 2 years after arriving there was unable to break into the starting lineup. From CBS Sports "Senior Mo Seisay completed his two-year Nebraska career in 2013. Seisay was a key contributor the past two seasons as a versatile reserve in the Nebraska secondary and one of the Huskers' top special teams performers. Seisay saw action in 2013 in Nebraska's nickel and dime packages. He finished the season with nine tackles, including eight solo stops and one tackle for loss. Seisay was one of 19 Husker seniors to play in the bowl game as a graduate after earning his degree in family sciences in August. "

Despite limited playing time in his two years at Nebraska, cornerback Mohammed (Mo) Seisay signed a free agent deal with the Detroit Lions for 3 years with a $5,000 signing bonus, he’ll join up with former Husker and All-Pro Ndamukong Suh.

I'm not entirely sure now how many possible or projected nickel and dime defensive backs are on the Lions roster, and I don't know how many the team will keep when they cut down to the final 53, but Mo Seisay is yet another one to keep an eye on. It's also possible that even if he doesn't make the final 53 he could easily find himself on the practice squad. As I see all the talent on the Lions roster that may not make the final 53 I find myself hoping that the NFL increases the size of the practice squad from the current 8 players to at least 11, if not more, to like say, 22? :-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Signing Bonuses for the Undrafted Players and estimates for the Drafted Players


Word is the amount of salary cap that can be spent on the 2014 draft picks will be exactly the same as it was in 2013. That means that each draft pick this year should receive nearly the identical signing bonus (less the increase in the minimum wage) of a player who was selected in the same spot in the draft as last year. That also means we should be able to compute the rookie pool for the Detroit Lions. If my math is right, it will add up to $6,068,559. The Lions currently have about $1.009 million in available cap space, so obviously either Ndamukong Suh will need to agree to a new contract, one or more players will need to work out a cap saving contract adjustment, or some players will be cut before any draft picks can be signed. How much will the draft picks get upon signing their contracts? Let me put up some estimates here:

TE Eric Ebron estimated Signing Bonus $7,228,472
OLB43 Kyle Van Noy estimated Signing Bonus $2,030,620
OC Travis Swanson estimated Signing Bonus $619,472
CB Nevin Lawson estimated Signing Bonus $300,584
DE43 Larry Webster estimated Signing Bonus $300,584
DT43 Caraun Reid estimated Signing Bonus $188,880
WR T.J. Jones estimated Signing Bonus $106,200
K Nate Freese estimated Signing Bonus $59,424

Eleven of the undrafted free agents already have received their signing bonuses (or will on payday), as they have already signed their contracts. Each will have signed a contract for $420,000 in 2014 salary (if they make the team) and a signing bonus payable now of:

FB Chad Abram $7,500
G Alex Bullard $500
S Jerome Couplin $6,000
QB James Franklin $2,000
LB Justin Jackson $2,500
T Cornelius Lucas $20,000
S Gabe Lynn $2,500
TE Jacob Maxwell $3,000
G D.J. Morrell $2,500
WR Andrew Peac0ck $2,500
CB Mohammed Seisay $5,000
The amounts are negotiated by the Lions and the players agent and typically if more then a nominal amount it means another team was (or multiple teams were) also trying to talk the player into signing with them. Each team has a set amount of total signing bonus money they can spend, so a team who signs a lot of players will have less per player to bid with then a team with fewer players. A player may not go with the highest bidder though, if he thinks he has a better chance of making the roster with another team who is unable or unwilling to pay more he may still sign with that team.

I have already talked some about Jerome Couplin III and Cornelius Lucas in previous posts. Tonight I researched FB Chad Abram, FSU. A one year hard hitting starter who played Safety in High School. Bulked up to 236 pounds by his pro-day. Ran a 4.58 40. As a blocker he ran only a few plays with the rock, and had some catches as well (had only seven carries for 29 yards (4.1 ypc), but was a threat as a receiver out of the backfield...had nine receptions for 73 yards and had three touchdowns...caught an 11-yard touchdown in the BCS National Championship game). Played special teams all 4 years in college. More info on his pro-day is here: www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=104701&draftyear=2014&genpos=FB To make the final roster he needs to beat out Jed Collins and/or Montell Owens, or both (if they only keep 1 FB/TE). I highlighted Chad Abram as he was paid the 2nd highest signing bonus out of the 11 undrafted free agents I noted above. That doesn't mean he automatically will make the team, but it does mean the interest in seeing what he can do was high.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The roster changeover on Monday May 12th, cuts and undrafted free agents signed.


The Detroit Lions had a busy weekend FOLLOWING the draft. In the roughly 40 hours immediately following the draft they cut 8 players and signed 12 undrafted free agents. The 8 guys who were cut (to make room on the 90 man roster) were: WR Cody Wilson, LB Jon Morgan, CB Nate Ness, TE Matt Veldman, K John Potter, WR Carlin Isles, C Sherman Carter and S Akwasi Owusu Ansah. All 8 were guys on my estimated depth chart I had down as "fighting for a roster spot". As I said, they also signed 12 undrafted free agents including: QB James Franklin, T Cornelius Lucas, WR Andrew Peacock, CB Mohammed Seisay, S Gabe Lynn, FB Chad Abram, G Alex Bullard, G DJ Morrell, LB Justin Jackson, TE Jacob Maxwell, S Isaiah Newsome and S Jerome Couplin (who I discussed in last night's post). These moves bring the Lions roster to the full 90 members allowed at this point in they year.

Here is some information about each of the undrafted free agents (sans C Isaiah Newsome): http://www.detroitlions.com/news/lions-insider/article-1/TWENTYMAN-Lions-sign-11-undrafted-rookie-free-agents-/a2b45448-9398-422d-ae60-572548e3df66 Now reading the little bit on each player and they all sound great, but each has some issue or other that prevented them from being drafted.

For example LT Cornelius Lucas sounds like a great player for the roster, he was even graded as a possible 5th rounder with a 5.27 40, 36 3/4" arms, and 10" hands. But further research gives us a foot fracture in February of 2014 so he did not do any of the other tests his contemporaries did. He has a very High Pad Level due to his extreme height. His size also creates a problem with offensive tackles known as slow feet. He's deemed a project that may or may not ever learn to get his pad level correct, get his feet moving quickly and correctly, and all the rest that goes with the job. I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere yet, but perhaps he would be able to play left guard in the NFL. I'm sure the Lions coaches will put him through his paces (assuming the foot is healed) and see what he might be able to contribute. More info on Lucas (and there isn't much) may be found at http://www.nfl.com/draft/2014/profiles/luke-lucas?id=2543595

I was going to do an in depth paragraph on each of the undrafted and then go into more details on the drafted players for the Lions, but after many hours of work I still find myself regurgitating the same ole info for the most part. In the interest of not duplicating work and in providing more information then I have so far, here is a page that has a link to a page apiece of each draft pick full of links to articles on each player. Tons of reading material. Plus CaptainBlue of my forum would appreciate her hard work being used I'm sure. The link is http://captainbluelionslinks.blogspot.com/2014/05/detroit-lions-2014-draft-picks-articles.html Once there click on the link for each of the 8 draft picks and you will find a ton of articles on each player.

I have updated my cap chart, and my estimated depth chart, and now my blog. Time for some sleep. Before I go I will leave you with this bit of info, the 2nd fastest DE in the draft? (Clowney was #1) The answer is Larry Webster, one of the Lions two fourth round picks. 4.58 vs 4.53 speed. In fact Webster is faster then Van Noy by a lot (4.71 vs 4.58). The problem is Larry needs to add muscle (lots of it) and he needs to learn the game, he was a basketball player for 4 years then a football player for only 2. He is as raw as you can get and still get drafted. Luckily the Lions don't have to rely on him to start (knock on wood) and they can take the time to teach him his craft, if he can pick it up and execute it.

I'm still compiling info and will keep working on trying to find the obscure info my readers like as I research the changes in the roster.

If only I could convert this math problem into a valid numerical equation I could get rich. What a player was (college career and stats) x what a player is (40 time, Vertical, 3 cone, Hand Size, Arm Length, etc) x what a player projects to be in the NFL (scouting reports and player profiles) = how good of an NFL career a player should have. OF course 32 teams do this already and if they get half of it right they are lucky. Oh well, back to digging and reading and hopefully, writing.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Detroit Lions 2014 Draft, recap.


I have updated my 2014 Detroit Lions estimated depth chart to include the 8 draft picks. The link to that spreadsheet is http://www.thenetrat.com/depthchart.html Six of the draft spots pre-draft (see the pre-draft tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet) were filled in this draft, leaving only guard and safety blank (but gaining defensive end and cornerback). I understand the Lions signed an undrafted player named Jerome Couplin III, what little I was able to read on him intrigues me greatly... after Waddle and Fauria last year I didn't really expect to see lightning hit twice, but it's just possible the Lions did just that. I am awaiting a full ACCURATE list of undrafted players signed before I research the guards and the other players supposedly signed.

If you do bring up the depth chart spreadsheet you may edit and save it to do "what-ifs" yourself, print it, or just stare at it but please do not copy it and pretend it is your own, thank you. Anyway, back to the depth chart, the 3rd tab from the right is Post-Draft, you will see I included all 8 picks as making the team, for now that is likely, by the middle of August it may not be so, but this is the way I've handled this chart since it's inception and it works for me. Assuming Ebron can overtake Pettigrew as the starting TE (not that it matters that much, as both will be on the field at the same time quite a bit), and then assuming that Kyle Van Noy overtakes Palmer at SSOLB, that leaves kicker Nate Freese to win the starting kicker job to get Mayhew the 3 starters he wants from this and any draft. It's possible, even probable that C Travis Swanson makes the team as Raiola's backup. Both CB Nevin Lawson and DE Larry Webster have to hold off some competition to make the roster, but I think it's entirely possible at this point for them to do so. DT Caraun Reid has to overtake Jimmy Saddler-McQueen and Andre Fluellen, so he will need to flash in training camp, and I suspect he will. WR TJ Jones has to hold off Ogletree, Wilson, and a slew of other WRs, but it's a new coaching staff and a new offense so everyone has to learn it at the same time (this goes for defense as well, everyone, rookies and vets, have to learn the new systems from the beginning). Assuming the entire draft slate makes the final roster we're looking at 3 starters, 3 2nd stringers - 2 of which will rotate in more and more as the year goes on, and 2 3rd stringers - both of whom will also rotate in and get snaps. Perhaps my next post will include some undrafted guys who may can put up a fight for a spot or two on the final roster, after all, at this point I'm looking at Couplin needing to only overcome Isa Abdul-Quddus or DeJon Gomes to make the roster, if he's as good as the tiny bit of info I have on him that is entirely possible.

I had intended to give more details on the slate of draft picks in this post but I find that most of the information I am finding is pretty much the same as I have already given. I am going to compile notes on each player and see if I can't locate some tidbits that perhaps few have seen to this point on each of them. Sorry for the wait, but I don't want to just repeat everything I and others have already posted. I'm looking for some new(er) material.

For now, some info on Safety Jerome Couplin III.

6'1" 213
4.56 40 with a timed low of 4.47
Tedd in my forum had posted this information:

SENIOR YEAR (2013)
Team captain … Established himself as one of the nation’s top defensive players and was a finalist for the Buchanan Award … Garnered first-team All-America honors from the Associated Press, The Sports Network and the Walter Camp Football Foundation … All-CAA first-team selection … ECAC All-Star and VaSID All-State first-team honoree … Ranked third in the conference with 9.1 tackles per game, a figure that ranked first among defensive backs … Ranked 11th nationally in solo tackles per game (5.8) … Led the team with 113 tackles while also totaling 2.5 tackles for a loss, six PBU’s, two forced fumble and one fumble recovery, which was returned 51 yards for a touchdown

Recorded double-digit tackle totals in six games … Honored as the CAA Defensive Player of the Week following the win at No. 15/21 Delaware in which he returned a fumble 51 yards for a touchdown … Posted 14-tackle efforts in the season opener at West Virginia (10 solo) and at No. 14/17 Maine … Also recorded a tackle for a loss versus WVU and a forced fumble at UM … Registered 13 stops against No. 10/7 Towson … Tallied 12 tackles and two PBU’s in the season finale at Richmond … Registered 10-tackles efforts in the wins against Rhode Island and Penn … Forced a fumble in the win at Lafayette … Totaled eight stops and a TFL in the triumph against Hampton … W&M Quarterback Club Defensive Player of the Year … Preseason All-CAA first-team selection by Phil Steele … Earned a share of the John A. Stewart Winter Warrior Award … Honored as the W&M QB Club Defensive Player of the Year

Couplin majored in kinesiology and health science with a health science concentration.

In thread that Tedd started was a quote which reads "Much like the “Osprey,” Couplin has an 81 inch wingspan, which means that he can practically touch his knees when standing straight up. Coupled with his jumping ability, Couplin’s physical attributes are a defensive coordinator’s dream. To put it into perspective, Couplin can catch a football 13 feet in the air (the top of a basketball backboard)"

What no one in my forum can figure out, is why was this dude not drafted?

More on Couplin, the 8 draft picks, and other undrafted free agents coming soon!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Detroit Lions 2014 Draft Day 3


On the final day of the draft the Detroit Lions did a little more trading (moving down in the 5th and obtaining a 7th back, only 2 spots away from their original spot) and still got the guy I wanted in the 5th (well, I would've drafted him in the 4th, but that's okay, I forgive them). I'm getting ahead of myself, here are the day 3 picks and a small commentary on each. I will go into more details on the entire slate of draft picks tomorrow.

4th Round Pick, 133 Overall, CB Nevin Lawson, Utah State, 5'9" 190

The Lions started right off with a total head scratcher. A CB that is pretty much too short to play CB in the NFL and with a 5th round ranking (or close to it). Since I wanted them to take QB Murray or DT Reid here, I wasn't impressed. Immediately after the draft I still wasn't impressed. I have since read that Lawson plays special teams and is able to blitz fairly well. He's quite fast as well. After thinking about it some, I realized the Lions wouldn't likely draft someone who "doesn't fit the suit" unless there was a very solid plan and some pretty solid film on the player proving he can overcome his "shortcomings". I am still confused, but I am now also curious. Just what is the plan for Mr Lawson? I will await the answers which should be coming in about 3 months time.

4th Round Pick 136 Overall, DE Larry Webster, Bloomsburg. 6'6" 240

Three picks later the Lions drafted one of the players on my wish list from yesterday. Selecting this player also took much of the sting out of not drafting Attaochu yesterday. In fact, even though it will take him the better part of two years to really learn the position as it's played in the NFL, I have high expectations for this pick, who will be slowly rotated in to get his on-the-job-training he will sorely need. That said, once he's on an NFL diet and works in an NFL weight room I could see a player with all the good of Cliff Avril and none of the bad.

5th Round Pick 158 Overall, DT Caraun Reid , Princeton. 6'2" 302

I first read about Mr Reid a couple weeks ago while studying small school prospects. At the time I posted in my forum about an alternative to Aaron Donald who is a bit taller and a bit heavier along with a bit stronger yet with most of the potential (if not more) then Donald. The more poor man's Aaron Donald first round pick if you will. I was looking for the Lions to draft Mr Reid in the 4th round, when they went midget CB and small school DE instead, I was getting upset... until Mr Reid kept sliding. It was the Lions pick in the 5th, he was still available, then the Lions traded down with Dallas to gain a 7th round pick back. In the end it all worked out, as not only was Mr Reid still available when the Lions finally drafted, but they actually selected him! Be still my heart (nearly did). It will take longer for Reid to be NFL ready, but the Lions have one more year of Fairley and Suh so he can rotate in as he learns. If you wanted Aaron Donald you won't be upset for too much longer, in my opinion.

6th Round Pick 189 Overall, WR T.J. Jones, Notre Dame. 6'0" 188

Next up was the Wide Receiver we all knew the Lions were going to take sooner or later. At 6' he's a little taller then some slot receivers, which may actually help matters. Consider the sure handed Mr Jones the backup or insurance for Mr Broyles, depending on his health issues resolve themselves.

7th Round Pick 229 Overall, K Nate Freese, BC. 5'11" 192

Not sure how much tackling we will want Mr Freese to do until he gets his full share of an NFL diet and weight room work, but he can also be a decent backup at punter, so he automatically becomes the favorite to become the Lions new Kicker for the next decade or two... and unlike Jason Hanson (and I'm not complaining) it didn't take a 2nd round draft pick to get him. This name too was on my wish list yesterday, so obviously I wasn't surprised, just happy, with this selection.

Overall, a really good day 3 draft in my opinion. And, if I can only figure out Nevin Lawson's roster fit, and depending on how he does in it, this could be a grand slam type of draft for Martin Mayhew. Each player selected is mature, dependable, a hard worker, and in many cases, versatile. A second blue collar draft in a row keeps my hopes up for the season... even if tempered by day 2 somewhat and a player that I just can't get over how short he is.

I've seen about a dozen names now for the Lions in the undrafted ranks, but unless the Lions make some cuts they only have 5 roster spots, so more then half of the names are actually try outs, I'm trying to find out whether each name is a try out or a real signing before I comment on them, so I will save that part of this post for tomorrow too.

Overall the draft didn't go the way I would have done it, or the way I would have preferred it, but having selected 3 players that I really wanted on day 3 out of the 5 they selected hasn't hurt my ability to sleep. I'm now off to research some of the lesser known picks from today and again attempt to settle my nerves over day 2 with even more reading. Needless to say, I'm in a much better mood tonight then I was last night, that should help with the research.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Detroit Lions 2014 Draft Day 2


The 2nd round pick started with a trade. The Lions traded up 5 spots, giving up their 4th and 7th round pick, but then receiving a 5th round pick.

The Lions then selected LB Kyle Van Noy in round 2, overall pick #40 (ranked 38 on my big board).

Height: 6 feet, 3 and 1/4 inches
Weight: 244 pounds
Hand Measurement: 9 and 1/2 inches
Arm Length: 32 inches

From one of my draft guides (same one as the Ebron post yesterday)...

While Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr are in a tier of their own, the edge linebacker class on the whole is the strongest position in this year’s draft, thanks to players like Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy could legitimately play any linebacker spot you ask him to, he’s quick to the football thanks to outstanding instincts. He doesn’t have the explosive capabilities as the two Top 10 edge players, but he probably has a better pass rushing arsenal than either one of them. He uses his hands extremely well to keep himself clean and work into the backfield coming off the edge. Van Noy’s one glaring weakness is also a strength, he plays so fast that there are times when he will overrun himself out of position to make a tackle, he needs to reel himself in on his tackling angles and keep himself in position to make the play instead of overrunning it. But if the biggest issue with a prospect if that he’s too fast in his pursuit angles, that should speak volumes. Van Noy isn’t a power player but he stacks and disengages would be blockers very well, he keeps himself clean to the football. He showcased his pass rushing skills in 2012 and his off the ball ability in 2013. either way, Kyle Van Noy should comfortably be a first round selection thanks to just how well rounded he is, despite only above average athletic measures.

His profile on a pay site that I don't wish to be banned from by copying content and pasting it here is less then impressive. Lot of talk about his arm tackling, whiffing on tackles, and other concerns. Perhaps it's because he saw the film on the overruns mentioned above, perhaps coaching can get him to take better angles, perhaps he won't be a liability in close games as was suggested. I'm just not sure. For every glowing player profile on Van Noy there is an equally concerning one. Obviously the Lions targeted him, didn't wait for the best player to select when it was their turn, and to date, that has never turned out good for the Lions, but there's always a first time, right? Right? Yeah okay, so I'm not solidly behind this pick. No, not at all. It does sound as though he can blitz though, so even if he only takes half of Palmers snaps and blitz from every direction imaginable that could improve the Lions defense quite a bit, and that I would take.




Now, in the 3rd round, 76th pick overall, the Lions selected Center Travis Swanson (ranked 100th on my big board).

Height: 6 feet, 5 inches
Weight: 310 pounds
Hand Measurement: 10 inches
Arm Length: 32 and 7/8 inches

This is from the same draft guide as above (and the Ebron paragraphs yesterday):

Travis Swanson strikes me as more of a zone blocking Center in the fact that he’s not very powerful or explosive, but he’s very sudden out of his stance. Swanson plays with some more finesse than some of his contemporaries, pairing his quickness with a fluidity about his movements. Fairly flexible, he plays with nice leverage, he just simply doesn’t generate the lower body power to consistently move defensive linemen with the ease of others in the class. Swanson has good football instincts, he stays active and finds places to assist if he’s free himself and uncovered. Swanson doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses in his game, as a prospect he’s adequate in all areas. Because he lacks the kind of dominating potential on the inside, he does score a bit lower than some of the more physical Centers in the class but a team could do much worse than to try to sure up the interior with a player of Swanson’s caliber. Because of the lack of demand for the position early in drafts and no elite prospects at the position, Swanson may slide into early Day 3 and if he does, he’s an outstanding steal.

His profile on a pay site talks about his potential as a guard or center, his excellent athletic skills and talents, but goes on to say he is very sloppy and inconsistent with his techniques. Gave him a 2nd round grade.

I think the Lions are trying to strike gold twice in the 3rd round after having drafting Warford last year in this round. My grade was end of 3rd or start of 4th, so even I didn't have him overdrafted, just like Van Noy. And, just like Van Noy, I'm okay with the pick but not excited, intrigued, or overjoyed. Now in the 4th this pick is a steal, in the 3rd, it's just... a pick.




Most likely my feelings on the two players are being tempered by the fact that I wanted DE/OLB Jeremiah Attaochu in the 2nd (who was available until pick 50) and Safety Terrance Brooks in the 3rd (who was available until pick 79). Lions could have drafted both with no trades and in my opinion, been better off for it. Time for them to prove me wrong.

Some names to keep an eye on for day 3 of the draft are:

WR Martavis Bryant
CB Keith McGill
CB Marcus Roberson
CB Jaylen Watkins
DT Caraun Reid
QB Aaron Murray
WR Mike Davis
S Ahmad Dixon
CB Chris Davis
WR Jalen Saunders
CB Aaron Colvin
WR Cody Hoffman
QB Logan Thomas
DE Larry Webster
WR Jeff Janis
C Bryan Stork (if they plan to move Swanson to guard)
T/G Jeremiah Sirles
K Nate Freese
K Cody Parker

I almost hate to pick a few favorites out of this bunch, but I can't help myself, so I'll keep a keen eye out for Reid, Murray, Dixon, Stork and/or Sirles and Freese (cause you can't call a timeout and try to freeze Freese, can you?).

There are a few potential undrafted prospects I'm also keeping my eye on, think I'll not advertise their names though. Perhaps I'll list them following the end of day 3. Here's to the coaching staff making the picks to date and tomorrow into first round worthy players, all of them.

Detroit Lions 2014 Draft Day 1



Unlike many Detroit Lion fans, I really have no problem with the Ebron pick. I would've preferred a trade down and to select Dennard but that does not mean I can't see the advantages to this pick. He can play slot WR, he can play TE, he can produce in the same manner as the top TEs in the league (or at least, is expected to). He's tall, he's not overweight or underweight, has 10" hands, runs a 4.58 (which is fast for a TE) and most scouts like what they see in him. This is what one of my draft guides says about him:

UNC's Eric Ebron is a match up nightmare on the next level, he has the speed to get in between the linebackers and the safeties and the size to absolutely bully secondary players who may be assigned to coverage in between the numbers. While Ebron is a dynamic weapon in the passing game, he doesn't quite get the credit he deserves as a blocker. Ebron is willing and active in the run game and while he doesn't consistently get movement on his draft blocks, he does attack defenders with a solid hand punch and his effort is normally enough to wall off lanes should the back be running off his hip. He doesn't have the softest hands but he will make "wow" catches on a regular basis, a testament to his length and concentration. He closes defender cushion very quickly off the line thanks to high good straight line speed and is a very natural runner in open space. He creates separation not just with his size but with good breaks and cuts. He has the potential to be a true game breaker attacking between the hashes where his size/speed combination should overwhelm teams who don't possess a hybrid defender of similar gifts to match up. An every down receiving threat, the only potential barrier between Ebron and playing early is any issues he may have picking up a play book or if he goes to a team with a well established starter.

And this is from a Packers article I posted in my forum a couple weeks ago, with many comments from current NFL scouts.

1. ERIC EBRON, North Carolina (6-4½, 252, 4.58, 1) — Third-year junior often compared to the 49ers' Vernon Davis. "Vernon is more sudden and compact," said one scout. "Twitchy. Eric's fluid. Where Eric makes his mark is being deceptive, running in gears and transitioning well in and out of breaks. I think he has special hands. You see him making one-handed palm of the ball in traffic. He has a chance to be an exceptional player, especially the way the game's played now." Two-year starter with 112 catches for 1,805 yards (16.1) and eight TDs. "He's a top-10 talent," another scout said. "He's as talented a tight end as has come out in the last five years." Played most of his career flanked wide or in the slot. "He's not a great big bulky guy but he'll block," another scout said. "Watch him against (Jadeveon) Clowney. He didn't win but he wasn't afraid. He's (Rob) Gronkowski-like but he's a lot smoother." From Greensboro, N.C. "In this new-fangled tight end position he can stretch the field and be a matchup issue," a third scout said. "He's better than (Jermichael) Finley and (Tyler) Eifert." Wonderlic of 16.

Finally, there is this video I posted about a month ago... if you can get over the let down of not having "your guy" being the pick and watch this with an open mind I think you can see some of the reasons why he was deemed the right pick by the Lions front office.

@ebron85 --> espn.go.com/video/clip?id=10824158 CC: @sport_Science @nfl Draft @nflplayersinc

His head is on straight, his heart is in the game, he's not too short or too weak or afraid or in it for the money. You're not going to find very many negatives on him, his drop number appears high until you go with percentage of passes then it's actually low (as I recall). Plus, he fills the TE we wanted Pettigrew to be and also fills the slot WR role... meanwhile, Pettigrew and Fauria will be playing with him on 2 and even 3 TE sets. The plays that can be designed with him on the roster are numerous and the way to defend those plays are very limited. I still wanted a trade down, but that didn't happen, so I'm over it.

Here's another blog on him, this dude is kind of new to me, we just started following each other on twitter recently, but the article is worth a read and has a bit in there I didn't know about (contact wise).

www.detroitlionsdraft.com/2014/05/eric-ebron-how-the-no-10-pick-fits-in-detroit/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Near the end there is mention of another article, in case you missed the link here it is, very much worth a read (with videos in it to show TE stuff by our new offensive coordinator). www.detroitlionsdraft.com/2014/03/eric-ebron-why-hes-still-an-option-for-the-10th-overall-pick/

If you're still with me you can probably see for yourself by now why I'm good with the pick. Now for rounds 2 and 3.

The following are players available for day 2 of the draft. I am going to limit the list to those on the contact list, and then put them in order of my big board...

WR Marqise Lee
WR Allen Robinson
LB Kyle Van Noy
LB Jeremiah Attaochu
WR Jordan Matthews
WR Paul Richardson
WR Martavis Bryant
OC Marcus Martin
CB Keith McGill
DE Kareem Martin
DT Will Sutton
WR Donte Moncrief
OC Weston Richburg
FS Terrence Brooks
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste
WR Cody Latimer
CB Marcus Roberson
CB Jaylen Watkins

Very good odds the next two picks are on this list. Give me DE/OLB Attaochu and then either CB Jean-Baptiste or S Terrence Brooks

Attaochu

Honors
* 2013 Third Team All-American (AP)
* 2013 Third Team All-American (CBS)
* 2013 Fourth Team All-American (Phil Steele)
* 2013 Honorable Mention All-American (SI.com)
* 2013 First Team All-ACC (Coaches)
* 2013 First Team All-ACC (TSN)
* 2013 Second Team All-ACC (ACSMA)
* 2013 Second Team All-ACC (Phil Steele)
* 2013 Reese's Senior Bowl Inivitee
* 2013 College All-Star Bowl Invitee
* 2013 Athlon ACC Defensive Player of the Week (11.30)
* 2013 ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week (11.30)
* 2013 Bronco Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List
* 2013 Lombardi Award Preseason Watch List
* 2013 Butkus Award Preseason Watch List
* 2013 Chuck Bednarik Award Preseason Watch List
* 2013 Preseason First Team All-ACC (Phil Steele)
* 2013 Preseason Second Team All-ACC (Athlon)
* 2012 Honorable Mention All-ACC (media)
* 2012 Honorable Mention All-ACC (coaches)
* 2012 Third Team All-ACC (Phil Steele)
* 2012 ACC Linebacker of the Week (11/5/12)
* 2012 Rotary Lombardi Preseason Watch List
* 2012 Preseason First Team All-ACC (Blue Ribbon)
* 2012 Preseason Second Team All-ACC (Athlon)
* 2012 Preseason Second Team All-ACC (Phil Steele)
* 2012 Preseason Third Team All-ACC (Lindy's)
* 2011 Honorable Mention All-ACC
* 2011 Third Team All-ACC (Phil Steele)
* 2011 Bronko Nagurski Watch List
* 2011 ESPN Gameday Helmet Sticker (9/24)
* 2011 ACC Linebacker of the Week (9/26)
* 2011 FWAA National Player of the Week (9/27)

In The Tech Record Books
* 1st career sacks (31.5) * 1st career sack yards (226) * t-4th season sacks (12.5, 2013) * 6th career tackles for loss (43.5) * t-8th season sacks (10.0, 2012) * 11th career tackles by a lineman (196)

In The ACC Record Books
* 5th career sacks (31.5)

One of Georgia Tech's all-time greats on the defensive side of the ball... recorded more career sacks (31.5) than any player in Yellow Jacket history... won multiple individual awards including All-American in 2013... played defensive end as a senior after playing outside linebacker in the 3-4 in 2011 and 2012... played for three different defensive coordinators... one of the top pass-rushers in ACC history... a classic edge-type defender... is tall, long and rangy with good speed.... voted by teammates as one of the "most likely to be an NFL star."

Monday, May 5, 2014

Detroit Lions 2014 pre-NFL Draft Blog Part II



With less then a week to go before the 2014 NFL draft, and a week since my last blog entry, I've realized that many of the players that the Lions would like to draft in the first round may be gone before the 10th pick is announced. I do not advocate trading up in the draft, that almost never works out, but trading down is always an option if you can find a team that still wants to move up. One such team that is as likely as any other to want to trade up is the Dallas Cowboys. The Lions even have a sort of history trading with the Cowboys, so when I put my first (and final) 2014 mock draft together I predicted the Lions trading down with the cowboys and gaining a 3rd round pick in the process, this year, (and assumed it would include a 3rd or 4th from next year as well). Doing so would provide the Lions with 9 picks in the 2014 draft. With an additional week to think about it, I've decided to add cornerback to my list of possible positions the Lions might address in the draft, not because I think the current roster hasn't at least some talent on it, but because I think the Lions will want to continue to put pressure on those already on the roster to improve with said draft pick. My 1 round mock draft can be found at http://www.theNetRat.com/draft.html and it is one I have entered (for the first time) into the Huddle Reports mock draft "contest" http://www.thehuddlereport.com/scoring/mockdrafts.shtml... wish me luck.

On that same webpage after scrolling down past the final pick in the first round is my Top 100 Big Board for 2014 (and below that is the 2013 one, which tied for 38th place nation-wide, beating Mel Kiper Jr by 2 points) http://www.thehuddlereport.com/scoring/top100.shtml Anyway, the top 100 big board has some names in bold, those are the players that have been noted as having contact with the Lions Front Office (over and above the standard scouting of all players). In the past, many, and in some years most, of the Lions draft picks were players who were on this list (that LionHawk and this year, CaptainBlue, compile, both from my forum).

Last week I explained how the Lions won't necessarily draft a player for their most immediate need in any particular round, but rather are looking to get the best talent they possibly can with each pick, but that the pick must be able to be a fit on the roster in some manner. If there is no [potential] roster spot for the pick then there is no point in wasting the pick on that player. I also explained the Lions tend to take players from a small handful of similarly ranked players with each pick... or in other words, one of the Best Players Available (BPA). Note, not thee best player available, but one of the best ones available. Anyway, my assumption is the Lions will be looking to fill the Starting Strong Side Linebacker spot (who can also play some left Defensive End in rotation), a Kicker, a Safety (possibly a starting one), depending on Houston's health - either a starting or future starting Cornerback, a backup Center (and heir apparent to Raiola), a Wide Receiver, possibly a Tight End, a Defensive Tackle to rotate in and eventually replacing Fairley, and perhaps a future Left Guard or Backup QB.

The Lions have a couple of picks in the 4th round that can not be traded (Comp picks). My first round mock shows I believe they may try to trade down to pick up an additional 3rd rounder this year. My Big Board shows the Players the Lions have had extra contact with and history shows this many times means the player is of particular interest to the team. Finally, my estimated depth chart shows what positions I think the Lions will try to address if the draft falls any way reasonably close to the way they hope it will. This gives me various 2014 Lions draft pictures, some of which follow... in other words, the Lions draft might look like one of these:

Possibility #1:
1. CB Darqueze Dennard
2. DE/OLB Jeremiah Attaochu
3. S Deone Bucannon
3b. DT Caraun Reid
4. C Bryan Stork
4b. QB Aaron Murray
4c. TE C.J. Fiedorowicz
6. WR Cody Hoffman
7. K Chris Boswell

Possibility #2:
1. DE/OLB Anthony Barr
2. WR Jordan Mathews
3. C Weston Richburg
3b. CB Jaylen Watkins
4. S Ahmad Dixon
4b. DT Will Sutton
4c. TE C.J. Fiedorowicz
6. G/T Jeremiah Sirles
7. K Nate Freese

Possibility #3:
1. DT Aaron Donald
2. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
3. WR Cody Latimer
3b. CB Marcus Roberson
4. C Russell Bodine
4b. DE/OLB Larry Webster
4c. QB Logan Thomas
6. K Cody Parker
7. S Jerome Couplin III

I think I could come up with another 2 to 4 possible scenarios, and this just from the contact list... never straying from my estimated depth chart... and my ranking sheets... before I have to start duplicating players making for even more combinations of options. One thing for sure, the Lions have the potential to add a LOT of talent to the roster, assuming the front office can vet the draft list as well or better then last year, and with some luck (preferably the good kind).