DraftAce Blog

Year round coverage of the NFL Draft.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

DraftAce Top 25: Week 6

Not too many changes this week, but the one big mover was Miami. After last week's loss to Virginia Tech I thought Miami was a fluke. Their win over Florida State no longer looks impressive and the Georgia Tech victory doesn't mean all that much. Defeated Oklahoma was impressive however. Clearly this isn't the same Sooners team that we were expecting to see in the preseason, but they still have a dominant defense and a balanced offense and are still a legitimate top 20 team. With an easy remaining schedule, the Hurricanes could potentially run the table (but realistically they'll probably lose to Virginia and derail all the talk that The U is back).

Oregon also climbs back into the top 10 this week. At this point in the season you have to start forgiving early season losses, especially road losses. A road loss to a ranked opponent on opening weekend doesn't mean that much at this point and Oregon is cruising along right now.

I've also finally moved LSU into the top 25. I'm still not sold on the Tigers as a national title contender, but their defense was dominant against Georgia. We'll find out next week against Florida just how good the Tigers really are.

I couldn't believe last week that Auburn wasn't ranked in the polls. No, they aren't a threat to win the SEC, but their offense is much improved and their defense is at least adequate. Oh, and they're undefeated. How can you rank similar teams such as Ole Miss ahead of Auburn despite bad losses?

Sneaking into the top 25 this week is Wisconsin. Now, I don't really like the Badgers, but you have to give credit where credit is due. They haven't beaten anyone of note, but they are undefeated and John Clay has emerged as one of the most powerful running backs in the nation. If they pull off an upset over Ohio State next weekend they'll shoot up the rankings.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Early Quarterback Rankings

1. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
Despite the shoulder injury, this is a no-brainer. Bradford was simply unstoppable in 2008, having arguably the greatest statistical season for a quarterback in college football history. Stats don't mean everything, but Bradford is the real deal. He has prototypical size and a great arm but more importantly, he has the accuracy. Size and arm strength is all you need to be a 1st-round pick (see: Russell, JaMarcus) but when you combine that will elite accuracy you get a future star. There's still plenty of time for things to change, but Bradford could be the most highly touted quarterback prospect since the two can't-miss prospects of '98 (Manning and Leaf).
NFL Comparison: Tom Brady

2. Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
No player has increased his stock more this season than Clausen. He's easily having the best season of any quarterback in the country and has made major strides since his sophomore campaign. Last year Clausen showed he had an arm, but he looked like a guy who was just chucking it down field and letting his receivers make plays. This year he's more disciplined. He's competing 65 percent of his passes (up from 60 pct in '08) and has thrown just one interception (17 in '08). If both he and Bradford leave school early there will definitely be a split opinion as to who should be the first quarterback off the board.
NFL Comparison: Phillip Rivers

3. Colt McCoy, Texas
There is a huge dropoff from Clausen and Bradford to McCoy. He's a solid prospect, but I do not view him as a 1st-round lock. He doesn't have great size, he doesn't have a great arm and he doesn't have the football smarts to make up for it. Despite being a 4th-year starter, McCoy has really struggled to be patient at times this year. He's made far too many bad mistakes and he simply hasn't shown the improved that you'd expect from a 4th-year starter with as much experience as McCoy. So far, his stock is falling but there are certainly enough big games left on the schedule for McCoy to make up for some early season mistakes and close his career on a high note.
NFL Comparison: Trent Edwards

4. Jevan Snead, Ole Miss
Entering this year some expected Snead to challenge Bradford for the top spot but he's done the exact opposite. Snead looked great last year behind a dominant offensive line anchored by Michael Oher. This year, behind a shaky line, he's struggled to regain that form. He's looked like a deer in headlights at times and has suffered from happy feet in the pocket. Its early though, and I'm going to give him time to get comfortable behind his new line before dropping him too far in the rankings.
NFL Comparison: Jake Delhomme (not the 2009 version)

5. Tony Pike, Cincinnati
Pike, a virtual unknown entering the 2008 season, has become a popular late-1st-round pick projection. He has the prototypical size to play in the NFL, and decent athleticism to go with it. I'd actually like to see Pike use his athleticism less and stay in the pocket more. He can make plays out of the pocket at the college level, but that won't be the case in the NFL. He needs to work on his patience and his ability to stand in there as the pocket collapses around him.
NFL Comparison: Derek Anderson

Best of the rest:
6. Tim Tebow, Florida - a work in progress, but has the size and athleticism to develop into a starter
7. Tim Hiller, W. Michigan - Great size, but prone to making bad decisions
8. Dan LeFevour, C. Michigan - A great athlete, but too careless with the football
9. Jarrett Brown, West Virginia - Having a breakout senior year
10. Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State - Has some skill, but doesn't play in an pro-style offense

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

DraftAce Top 25 - Week 5

And I thought last weeks rankings were hard to figure out...

Florida and Alabama hang on to the top two rankings, with Texas right behind them at number three. I don't forsee any changes in this order until one of them loses a game.

I placed Virginia Tech at No. 4 because they are clearly the cream of the crop in the ACC and have only lost to Alabama on a neutral field. This may be the best Hokies team in a number of years and they just might be able to run the table in the ACC.

I moved Oklahoma back into the top five this week. Sam Bradford could return for this weekend's game against Miami, and will almost certainly be ready to face Texas. If the Sooners keep winning, that loss to BYU will easily be chalked up to a fluke due to Bradford's injury.

Cincinnati has climbed up to No. 6 this week and I don't see them falling out of the top 10 for the rest of the season. The Bearcats should be favored in every game from here on out, and its hard to imagine them losing more than one game (if that). Unfortunately, even with an undefeated season they won't have enough quality wins to challenge for the national title.

A number of teams (USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Georgia, etc) benefited from all the losses in the top 10 this week. They didnt' really do anything to move up, but took care of business against weaker opponents.

Houston did improve its resume, however, with a comeback victory against Texas Tech. With two wins against the Big 12, Houston has a legitimate case to crash the BCS party if they win out. And after beating Texas Tech and Oklahoma State its hard to imagine that teams like UTEP and Tulane will give them any trouble. Their toughest remaining game will be against Southern Miss.

The rest of the top 25 is a jumbled mess. Iowa, unranked a week ago, climbs up to No. 13. Its a shocking rise, but they're 4-0 and have a win at Penn State. They have to be the favorite to finished 2nd to Ohio State in the Big Ten after this weekend.

I have Boise State at No. 15, despite their No. 5 ranking in the AP Poll. Anyone who thinks Boise State is a top-five team is certifiably insane. This team simply isn't that good. Their defense is atrocious and the offense isn't what it has been in year's past. They're living off reputation and one decent win against Oregon. They'll probably go undefeated and get slaughtered by a team like Virginia Tech or Oklahoma in a BCS bowl. I'm all for non-BCS teams getting some love, but Boise State is, at best, the third best team from a non-BCS conference (behind TCU and Houston).


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Test You Draft Knowledge

Thanks to the folks at Sporcle.com you can now create your own quizzes, so naturally I am taking full advantage of the new feature and creating some NFL Draft quizzes. Up first, two quizzes on the top two college programs of the decade.

Can you name every USC quarterback selected in the draft since 1967?

How about naming every player drafted since Jim Tressel took over at Ohio State?

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Week 4 Key Matchups

Jonathan Dwyer RB Georgia Tech - vs North Carolina
Dwyer has been huge disappointment this season, rushing for just 169 yards through three games. Heck, he's just the the third leading rusher on his own team! North Carolina has a much improved defense led by Marvin Austin, which could pose a problem for Georgia Tech's offense. Dwyer entered the season as the top running back on my board, but he's falling fast and Jahvid Best is quickly gaining on him. This is a statement game for Dwyer, and his stock could shift significantly one way or the other depending on his performance.

Marvin Austin DT and Bruce Carter LB North Carolina - vs Georgia Tech
The Tar Heels two star juniors will be tested against Georgia Tech's rushing attack. Both are potential first-round picks when the enter the draft and could boost their stock with a solid performance against Georgia Tech. Paul Johnson's unique offensive approach will test these defenders more so than in any other game this season. Austin's lateral mobility will be tested in this game, as Georgia Tech rarely runs up the middle. His performance could be key in showing teams that he could make the transition to defensive end in a 3-4 system, which requires more athleticism than playing tackle in the 4-3. Carter's athleticism will also be tested, as will his ability to shed blockers and keep moving forward to make a play.

George Selvie DE South Florida - vs Florida State
South Florida doesn't have many opportunities to play in the national spotlight this season, but this is one of them. Christian Ponder is one of the more mobile quarterbacks on USF's schedule, which will test Selvie's ability to get into the pocket and make plays. FSU doesn't have the strongest offense line, which could allow for him to make some plays if he can catch Ponder.

C.J. Spiller RB Clemson - vs TCU
TCU could be the toughest defense Spiller faces this season, and likely the most physical. Spiller isn't exactly a north and south runner, which is the type of runner that can wear down TCU's defense. If TCU is able to contain Spiller, it could be a long day for Clemson. However, if Spiller puts on an impressive performance he'll open some eyes and improve his stock.

Juice Williams QB Illinois - vs Ohio State
Williams has had some of his best games Ohio State, including an upset of the No. 1 Buckeyes in 2007. He hasn't gotten off to a great start, but could get his season back on track with a win over Ohio State. The Buckeyes have one of the top defensive lines in the game which will consistently put pressure on Williams. His ability to make plays while under pressure will decide the game, and have an impact on his draft stock.

Trevard Lindley CB Kentucky - vs Florida
Arguably the best cornerback in the SEC faces his toughest test of the season against the Gators. Lindley has been an impact player this year, but Kentucky hasn't faced an offense like Florida's. While he's been successful in big games in the past, this year could be different. Kentucky's defense isn't what it was the past few years with the loss of guys like Jeremy Jarmon. Lindley will be left on an island more than he's used to. It will give him a chance to prove he can be an elite cover corner at the next level.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

DraftAce Top 25 - Week 4

The only things I've learned from the first three weeks of college football is that we don't know anything yet. So far this season nothing has gone as expected, and it has completely shaken up the polls. As a result, I tried to toss aside all my preseason expectations (well, most of them at least) and rank the teams based on what they have done this season.

Florida maintains the number one slot, but Alabama is knocking on the door. There was no reason for the Gators to struggle against Tennessee this weekend and their weak offensive performance makes me think that the Gators likely won't run the table this year.

Alabama moves up to number two, followed by Penn State, mainly because Texas has been less than impressive this year. The Longhorns have some issues to work out on offense. Colt McCoy has not looked like a Heisman contender and unless he steps up his game, Texas will continue to fall.

Shooting all the way to No. 5 is Miami. I'm not entirely on the Hurricanes bandwagon, but they do have the most impressive pair of wins this season against Florida State and Georgia Tech. We'll find out in the next two weeks if Miami is for real as they face Virginia Tech and Oklahoma.

Cincinnati also climbs into the top 10 this week. No team has exceeded expectations like the Bearcats this year. With a win at Oregon State under their belts, an undefeated season is certainly a realistic goal in Cincy. The Bearcats have a very favorable schedule; their toughest remaining game is likely at Pittsburgh in the season finale. They should run away with the Big East and return to the BCS, this time as a legitimate top 10 team.

Oklahoma's position at No. 9 may be controversial considering how BYU was slaughtered by Florida State on Saturday. However, I have to overlook the loss to BYU to an extent due to Bradfords injury. If Bradford returns at full health, that loss can be forgiven. If he doesn't, then the loss will need to be taken more seriously.

TCU now takes over the top spot among teams from non-BCS conferences. I am not at all impressed by Boise State, and think they are overrated in the polls. The Broncos have absolutely no defense, which certainly isn't the case with TCU. I am going to treat Boise State as I did Hawaii in 2007. If the run the table, they should be considered for a BCS bid, but I am probably going to keep them in the 12-18 range as long as they keep winning. Should they lose, however, they'll fall out of the rankings for good. TCU on the other hand is a more legitimate threat to make the BCS. They have a solid defense, and balanced offense and play a tougher schedule than the Broncos. TCU will get a moderate test this weekend against Clemson.

I moved Houston up to No. 16 this weekend despite their bye week. Basically I'm admitting my error last week in leaving them at No. 24 after a win over Oklahoma State. Like Boise State, however, even if Houston keeps winning they'll struggle to climb much higher than they already are.

LSU remains one of the teams that I feel much differently about than most of the voters in the polls. I have been unimpressed by their offense in wins over Washington, Vanderbilt and LA-Lafayette. We won't know if LSU is for real until Oct. 3 at Georgia.

Auburn joins the top 25 this week after its win over West Virginia. The Tigers may have one of the top rushing attacks in the game and their defense is much improved. Gene Chizik could complete a remarkable turnaround for the Tigers in his first year with the program.