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Past Forecasts - NFL Draft - Pro Football Draft Network
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Written by Denis Krusos   


Bill Parcells once stated that he is in the “talent acquisition business”.  That is so true.  The NFL is a young man’s game and the draft is the best way for teams to acquire young, talented players at a reasonable price.  PFDN’s Top Values and Biggest Risks lists identify the bargains and the mistakes in the draft. 

The teams that win big always seem to find terrific players beyond the 1st round.  Likewise, teams that blow high draft picks (especially at quarterback) on unproductive players will be drafting high again year after year.  We have had our fair share of misevaluations (Leon McFadden, Everette Brown and others), but also some hits.

 

The following are excerpts of some of PFDN's player evaluations from our Top Values and Biggest Risks lists:

QB Jake Locker, 1st Round (#8) 2011, Tennessee Titans, 2nd quarterback selected. 

Forecast: Locker was high on our Biggest Risks list and valued in the 2nd round. "Can Jake Locker substantially improve his accuracy?  That is the question a number of NFL teams are asking themselves.  The former Washington quarterback does not look comfortable throwing from the pocket.  We suspect that Locker's accuracy will always be an issue.  The four-year starter can adjust his stride length, but accuracy to a certain extent is a gift that some quarterbacks just have.  

Locker is a risky 1st round pick because accuracy and decision-making are critical for a quarterback.  He could be a top 15 selection because there are a number of teams that really need a quarterback.  Jake Locker will be a starter in the NFL, but his accuracy issues will prevent him from being a franchise quarterback."

QB Blaine Gabbert, 1st Round (#10) 2011, Jacksonville Jaguars, 3rd quarterback selected. 

Forecast: Gabbert was high on our Biggest Risks list and valued late in the 1st round.  "Blaine Gabbert has seen his draft stock rise this off-season.  He threw the ball impressively at his pro-day and looks the part.  His Wonderlic score (42) was very high.  He has the quick feet to smoothly handle 3,5 and 7-step drops.  However, we do not rate him as a top 10 prospect.  His response to a strong pass rush is not that of an elite quarterback.

 

An aggressive defense can rattle his cage.  Sometimes you never know about a quarterback until they get hit repeatedly in the mouth.  That is when Wonderlic scores and throwing pretty passes in shorts against air goes right out the window.  The former Tigers' quarterback has the tools to be an effective starter, but it is a stretch to label him a franchise quarterback.  He will be picked much earlier than where PFDN has him rated."

QB Christian Ponder, 1st Round (#12) 2011, Minnesota Vikings, 4th quarterback selected.

Forecast: Ponder was evaluated to be worth a 3rd round pick.  "Ponder is likely rising on many teams' draft boards as the 2011 NFL Draft draws near.  Many teams need help at quarterback and his arm problems are supposedly in the past.  Ponder was the MVP at the Senior Bowl (then again, so were Charlie Frye and Pat White) and threw the ball well at the Scouting Combine.  PFDN rates Christian Ponder as a quality backup, but a marginal starter in the NFL.  He likely will be slightly over-drafted and be a 2nd round pick."

OLB Jamie Collins, 2nd Round (#52) 2013, New England Patriots, 5th outside linebacker selected. 

Forecast: Collins was identified as one of the draft's top values.  "Jamie Collins is a really good player who unfortunately played on a really bad college team.  Collins played a variety of positions well and can tackle, defend the pass and rush the quarterback.  He will drop in the draft due to Southern Miss is not a powerhouse and his team lost so many games.  Collins has a steep adjustment to the NFL from Conference USA, but with good coaching can develop into a quality outside linebacker." 

QB Geno Smith, 2nd round (#39) 2013, New York Jets,  2nd quarterback selected.

Forecast: Smith was PFDN's top biggest risk.  "Geno Smith's production is inflated by West Virginia's offense.  He makes many simple one-read throws to Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey who gain plenty of yards after the catch. The West Virginia quarterback struggled against his toughest opponents and also was bothered by wind and cold weather games.  Smith has a fine arm and likely will be over-drafted because of the position he plays."

WR Randall Cobb, 2nd round (#64) 2011, Green Bay Packers, 7th wide receiver selected. 

Forecast: Cobb was one of our top values and part of the top 32 list.  "PFDN considers Randall Cobb to be flying a bit under the radar in the 2011 NFL draft.  He is our 3rd rated wide receiver and his quickness and creativity really stand out.  Cobb reminds us of Wes Welker and he has the tools to be a very productive slot receiver at the next level.  His versatility will provide the team that drafts him with a variety of ways to get him the football.  Cobb is a likely 2nd round pick, but we think his future production merits late 1st round consideration."

WR Antonio Brown, 6th round (#195) 2010, Pittsburgh Steelers, 23rd wide receiver selected.

Forecast: Brown was evaluated to be worth a 3rd round pick by PFDN and considered one of the top values in the 2010 NFL Draft.  "Brown is an instinctive receiver who is in tune with his quarterback.  The three-year starter at Central Michigan will adjust his route when his quarterback is in trouble and turn some broken plays into big gains.  His quickness enables him to gain valuable yards after making the reception.  The 5 foot 10 and 186-pound wideout is undersized for an NFL receiver.  However, he is fearless running over the middle and runs slant patterns very well.  Antonio Brown has the potential to be a productive 3rd receiver.  His small frame and the fact that he is more quick than blazing fast will hurt his draft stock.  He will have to fine-tune his route-running and it could take him a year or two to adjust to the pro game.  Brown reminds PFDN of former Packers' wide receiver, Robert Brooks." 

QB Cam Newton, 1st round (#1) 2011, Carolina Panthers 

Forecast: Newton was PFDN's clear-cut #1 rated quarterback in the 2011 NFL Draft.  "Cam Newton has more upside than any quarterback in the 2011 NFL Draft.  The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner could be a big headache for NFL defensive coordinators if he polishes his raw passing skills.  He is an intelligent young man who should be able to digest an NFL offense.  He also must learn to pass first and run selectively.  Newton does not appear to be a bad kid (no drugs, alcohol abuse or violence is present in his background) or a lazy one.  It would certainly help his chances if Newton goes to a team with stability in the coaching staff.  Cam Newton is worth the risk of being a high 1st round pick."

DE Aaron Maybin, 1st Round (#11) 2009, Buffalo Bills, 2nd defensive end selected.

Forecast: Maybin was evaluated to be a 3rd round pick by PFDN and considered one of the biggest risks in the 2009 NFL Draft. "Maybin has only one season of good production, but many of his plays came against sub-par competition.  He is a one-trick pony as a pass rusher who has to run around slow-footed offensive tackles to penetrate.  Maybin has much to prove as a run defender and lacks natural size and power for an NFL defensive end.  The former Penn State defensive end's best position in the NFL may be as a 3-4 outside linebacker.  His instincts for diagnosing plays was average in college and he may struggle learning a new position.  He gained about 20-pounds of solid weight prior to the combine and we consider this highly suspect.  His ability to maintain this weight has to be considered a question mark.  Aaron Maybin has raw speed and quickness to potentially rush the quarterback in the NFL.  However, the numerous red flags with this young man make him a very risky 1st round pick." 

S Jairus Byrd, 2nd Round (#42) 2009, Buffalo Bills, 7th defensive back selected.
 

Forecast: Byrd was #1 on PFDN's top values list and in our top 32 prospects.  "Byrd's ball skills are as good as any cornerback in the 2009 NFL Draft.  He has excellent hands and can go up high and pluck the ball away from receivers.  His closing burst is underrated as you do not break up and intercept as many passes as he did without a good burst to the ball.  He changes direction explosively which is more important than straight-ahead speed.  Byrd also anticipates routes so well that he does play fast.  He provides versatility as a punt returner and tackles well enough to be a fine free safety.  We would want Jairus Byrd in our secondary either at cornerback or safety because he is a playmaker who causes turnovers."

QB Sam Bradford,1st Round (#1) 2010, St. Louis Rams, 1st quarterback selected.

Forecast: PFDN viewed Bradford as a special quarterback who does not come along very often.  "Sam Bradford is the clear-cut top quarterback in the 2010 NFL Draft.  He is cool under pressure and keeps scanning the field for open receivers.  Bradford is a perfectionist who studies a lot of film and is always looking to improve.  A cannon for an arm and a big body are not the most important traits to being a productive quarterback in the NFL.  A quick mind and release are far more important.  Accuracy is also critical.  Bradford has these essential qualities to be successful in the NFL.  His durability concerns are a bit overblown.  Bradford's shoulder surgery was not as severe as Drew Brees' operation to repair a torn labrum.  Brees came back from the shoulder surgery better than ever and it is likely that Bradford will do the same.  Sam Bradford has the skill-set and instincts for the quarterback position to be a franchise quarterback." 


QB Aaron Rodgers, 1st Round (#24) 2005, Green Bay Packers, 2nd quarterback selected

Forecast: "Cal's Aaron Rodgers is the most accurate college quarterback we have seen since Troy Aikman.  He consistently puts the ball in just the right spot for his receivers to make the catch.  He is an outstanding decision-maker that rarely forces throws.  Rodgers has excellent poise and when flushed from the pocket he does not panic, but instead calmly keeps looking downfield for open receivers.  His compact throwing motion and quick release impresses us.  Rodgers has both a feathery touch and an arm that can zip out patterns and rifle the ball between defenders.  Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in this year's draft and is worthy of being the 1st pick overall.  He has the mind and the physical talent to be a Pro Bowl player.  The 49ers would be wise to select him and begin the rebuilding process."

WR Greg Jennings, 2nd Round 2006, Green Bay Packers, 4th wide receiver selected

Forecast:  “We see Greg Jennings as a fine slot receiver in the NFL who will also set up his team with field position on punt returns. Jennings adapted to Western Michigan’s pro style offense as fast as any player. His sure hands, quickness and ability to gain ground after the catch will make him a tough assignment on pressure 3rd down plays.  Greg Jennings is one of this draft’s top hidden gems.”

DE Justin Tuck, 3rd Round 2005, New York Giants, 7th defensive end selected

Forecast:  “We think DE Justin Tuck has as much upside pass rushing potential as any player in this year’s draft. Tuck is cat-quick with a great first step and change of direction.  He has the speed to pursue and chase down ball carriers from the backside.  Justin can turn the corner on an outside rush.  The way he makes his pass rush moves look easy, along with his build, reminds us of Charles Haley.  He is a player with terrific pass rush tools and would be a 3rd round draft choice with a lot of potential.  We see him starting his career as a situational pass rusher and, with the right circumstances, developing into an every down player.”

DE Elvis Dumervil, 4th Round 2006, Denver Broncos, 7th defensive end selected

Forecast:  “Dumervil is living proof that great pass rushers are born, not made.  A top running back doesn’t think about cutting, he cuts.  Elvis has the same kind of pure intuition when he’s got an offensive tackle off balance.  His instincts let him make his inside break at precisely the right moment.  The Cardinals’ team captain has skilled hands and is sly at turning his shoulders to keep his man from punching his chest.  He is just too much the natural to overlook.  A smart defensive coordinator will feature him as a situational pass rusher.  He’ll be an intriguing 3rd round choice.”

RB Maurice Jones-Drew, 2nd Round 2006, Jacksonville Jaguars, 6th running back selected

Forecast:  “Tailback Maurice Drew must get tired of people thinking he’s too small to be more than a kick return specialist in the NFL. He has exceptional quickness, balance and shifty moves.  He could play, in the right offense, a role similar to the Eagles’ Brian Westbrook or former Giant, Dave Meggett. The most underrated part of Drew’s game is carrying the pigskin.  Though he’s just 5 foot 7, Maurice packs a solid 208 pounds on his frame.  He is team-oriented, intelligent and respectful.  An offensive coordinator won’t be earning his keep if he doesn’t figure out how to get the ball into his hands 12-15 times a game.  Maurice Drew will prove the doubters wrong again.  Someone’s going to get a real bargain in the 3rd round.





 

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