Mar 3

NFL Draft 2010: Two Fans' Views

Posted By:Russ James (firth, NE) and Josh Morse (Kearney, NE)  Tags:

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With the NFL draft quickly approaching (April 22nd - 24th), two of our most knowledgable fans on offer their opinions on the matter. Ndamukong Suh is obviously a hot topic, and in the second portion, you will get a breakdown of why. The first part is a breakdown of who will likely go 1-5. And, as always, please feel free to join us on the message boards to discuss the NFL draft and many other topics...


By: Russ James

Now's the time to start a little conversation about this year's NFL draft.  As always,

there are some big names and some big question marks, so how do you see this year's draft

playing out?  I only did the first five because owners, GMs, and coaches have a tendency

to baffle even the most thorough of analysts, of which I certainly am not one.  Anything

past five is a coin toss for me.


1. St. Louis Rams.  I think it's going to be very difficult for the Rams not to pick

Ndamukong Suh first, but I think they have to.  The Rams have won exactly 3 games over the

past two years.  Pretty clear that Marc Bulger, Kyle Boller, Keith Null and whoever else

may have gotten a start over the last couple of years aren't getting it done.  This is the

year they have to start turning things around with a franchise signal caller, and I think

it's Sam Bradford, Oklahoma.  I don't look for miracles next season, just improvement.  There will

be a growing period as Bradfor - or Clausen if they go that route - but they've suffered

through the last couple of years with no possible chance of growth at QB.  I think a

little patience as they develop a top prospect pays dividends in the long run.


2. Detroit Lions.  Unlike the Rams, the Lions drafted a franchise type QB last year with

Matt Stafford and it was at times a stuggle for the first year QB.  With the money the

have invested in Stafford I think the most important thing the Lions should be looking at

is protecting that investment; enter Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State.  Stafford didn't

exactly set the league on fire last year, but hey, he's a rookie.  Also, in his defense he

was playing behind an O line that was pathetic, giving up a total of 43 sacks, 24 of those

were Stafford.  Tough for a rookie to make an impact when he's running for his life every

play.  Okung has NFL size and is easily the best OT in the draft.  He's a pick that could

have an immidiate impact on the Lion's line.  Like the Rams it's going to be tough to

ignore Suh and McCoy, but if I were looking for an immidiate improvement this is where I'd



3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If the two monster DTs are still available, and I think they will

be, the Bucs will land their dream DT, Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska.  Easily the best lineman in the

draft and probably the best over-all player in the draft, Suh will be a welcome addition

to a Buc team that was ranked 27th in team defense last year.  Suh was the most dominant

defensive player in college last year and honestly one of the most dominant ever in

college, so does that success transfer to the next level?  Obviously there are no

guarantees, but for my money he's about the surest bet out there next to Okung who I think

is going to be a stand-out Offensive lineman.  Suh has the potential to be Tampa Bay's

next Warren Sapp.  I doubt there's a fan out there who isn't dying to see how big Suh does

at the next level.


4.  Washington Redskins.  I don't think there is any question the direction the Redskins

go with their first pick, QB.  So it comes down to who is left and I think that's going to

be Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame.  Clausen has alot going for him, good size, great arm

strength, intelligence and he's played in Weis' pro-style offense for the last three

years.  I don't think new head coach Mike Shannahan believes Campbell is the long term man

for the Skins, I doubt anyone does.  Clausen however could be that guy they rebuild

around.  The Redskins obviously need help else where, namely on the O line, but a marquee

quarterback I think is the first piece of Shannahan's puzzle.  If Clausen gets any

negative press it has to do with the space between his ears, he does tend to rub some

folks the wrong way.  But don't think a little tempermentalism is going to frighten off

the guy who drafted Jay Cutler.


5. Kansas City Chiefs.  Let's face it, the Chiefs have glaring needs everywhere. 

Everywhere.  But if things play out according to my scenario Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

will still be available and the Chiefs would be insane to let him slip to number 6.  Like

Suh, McCoy passed on last years draft - where he likely would have been a top five pick -

for another year of seasoning in college.  And, like with Suh, it paid huge dividends

growth wise.  McCoy was as big of a difference maker last year on the D line as anyone,

and I mean anyone.  Again though, with as many holes to fill as KC has other possibilities

might include Eric Berry, S, Tennessee or going in a completely different direction Dez

Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State.  But really, if McCoy is still there at number five, this in

my opinion would be as close to a no-brainer as it gets.


By: Josh Morse

NFL Combine 2010: Suh Vs. McCoy: A No Brainer
Often his own toughest critic, Ndamukong Suh was seen muttering to himself after one 40-yard sprint Monday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Just goes to show: Even on a day when "the experts" were bobbing their heads like puppets in the midst of praising him, Suh still pictured a higher ceiling for himself.

Of course, as we saw during Suh's combine drills in Indianapolis, there literally aren't many ceilings the former Husker defensive tackle can't reach. Not with that vertical of his.
Suh surely impressed the NFL coaches, scouts, general managers and all the draft junkies watching  on TV and online when he posted a vertical jump of 35 1/2 inches.

No defensive tackle has shown a hop like that at the combine since 2000, when Troy's Al Lucas jumped 36 inches.

Wearing a No. 52 workout jersey, Suh certainly didn't hurt his cause Monday and even seemed to claim a small victory over his closest draft competitor: Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

Along with the eye-popping vertical leap, Suh measured  6-foot-4, 307 pounds, posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.98 seconds and bench pressed 225 pounds 32 times in a row.

If some were viewing Monday's results as a head-to-head showdown between Suh and McCoy, it'd be hard to argue that Suh didn't win this round.

The 6-4, 295-pound McCoy held a slight advantage in the 40 (he ran his first 40 in :4.96), but his vertical leap was five inches less than Suh's and he had 23 bench press reps, which was met with some criticism.

"If you're going to start comparing numbers, which is what this combine is all about, in the weight room (Sunday) Suh did 32 and McCoy did 23," analyst Mike Mayock said during the NFL Network's broadcast. "I was stunned that McCoy only did 23 reps. That tells me he hasn't been in the weight room the way he should have been over the last three years."

Mayock has been ranking McCoy as 1A and Suh as 1B on his draft board, saying before the combine that McCoy was "more disruptive in the pass game."

Charley Casserly, who was the Houston general manager when the Texans took defensive end Mario Williams as the top pick over Reggie Bush in the 2006 draft, told reporters this week he also had McCoy slightly ahead of Suh.

"I ask two questions: Who's the better athlete and who's the better pass rusher?" said Casserly, now an analyst for NFL Network and CBS. "McCoy comes up more often than not as the yes guy there."

Husker fans would no doubt take umbrage with that statement, Suh's 4 1/2 sacks in the Big 12 title game still very fresh in their minds.

Despite producing better  numbers in college than McCoy, some have wondered how Suh will adjust from Nebraska's "read-and-react" scheme to what he'll be asked to do in the NFL.

"Those are the biggest questions that have been brought up to me. Can I adjust and pretty much play the run on the way (as a) pass rusher?" Suh told reporters at the combine. "And I think I can do that. I just 'had the opportunity just yet to do that because of the scheme that we were in."
Suh had the same steely demeanor during his combine workout that Nebraska fans were so used to seeing on Saturdays.

McCoy took more of a big-grin approach to the proceedings. When the two players were done, they left the field together, set for a major payday wherever their destination.

- Suh Vs. McCoy
The experts, can intellectualize the draft argument between Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy by analyzing their pad level or their hand-punch or their friggin' base.
Smarter football people than you and I have decided that McCoy is the way to go for the St. Louis Rams or -- if the Rams screw up and pick brittle quarterback Sam Bradford first overall -- for the Detroit Lions at No. 2
Smart guys, that foursome, and they're not just smart. They're informed. If they're leaning toward McCoy over Suh, it's because the people they talk to - NFL coaches and scouts - are leaning toward McCoy over Suh. It's a vortex of football smart, and that vortex is starting to slurp Gerald McCoy toward the No. 1 overall pick.
Me, I'm stupid enough to remember the 2009 college football season, when 6-foot-4, 302-pound Ndamukong Suh was the most dominating player in the country. He didn't win the Heisman Trophy because defensive tackles simply don't do that, but he gave it a run. He finished fourth in Heisman voting, and he won every award a defensive tackle can win: the Bednarik and Nagurski, the Lombardi and Outland.
At 6-4 and 298 pounds, Gerald McCoy is basically the same size as Suh - and McCoy won some honors, too. He was a first-team All-American in 2008 and '09. He was obviously a great college player, Gerald McCoy was a great college defensive tackle, and I'm guessing he'll be great in the NFL as well.
But he's not Ndamukong Suh. Maybe this is where I get a little bit mean to McCoy, but here goes: McCoy isn't close to Ndamukong Suh.  Pay attention, because I'm about to win this argument in 30 words or less.
In three years at Oklahoma, when McCoy started 38 games, he had 83 tackles and 14½ sacks.
Suh? He had 82 tackles and 12 sacks.
In 2009.
Now, there is an explanation floating around for the discrepancy in production between McCoy and Suh, whose senior season more than doubled McCoy's 2009 output of 34 tackles and six sacks. The explanation goes like this: McCoy had better defensive talent around him, so there were fewer tackles and sacks for him to achieve. That's an interesting explanation given that it could just as easily work the opposite way: If Suh had so little talent around him, shouldn't teams have been able to devote more blockers to him than they could to McCoy?
Keep in mind the obvious fact that Suh and McCoy played in the same conference, so they put up their numbers against many of the same teams. Against Texas, for example, McCoy had three tackles and one sack. That's a nice game. In his game against Texas, Suh had 12 tackles and 4½ sacks. He tossed around Texas quarterback Colt McCoy like a discus.
Against Kansas State, Suh had nine tackles and one sack. How did McCoy do against Kansas State? One tackle. No sacks.
McCoy didn't match Suh's production because he's not as good.
Still, McCoy is gaining traction as the best available defensive tackle. What's happening here is what typically happens before the NFL Draft. With so much downtime between the bowls and the draft, analysts scrutinize every little thing about the best prospects. The better the prospect, the more scrutiny.
It happened most insultingly in 1998, when Peyton Manning was finishing up his fourth season at Tennessee with the production and pedigree of the best quarterback prospect in years. Manning was, literally, a no-brainer - but with all that downtime, the experts got to thinking about it, and they overthought the position to the point where lots of people went into the draft wondering if maybe Manning wasn't as good as some strong-armed dude out of Washington State named Ryan Leaf. The Colts didn't fall for it, drafting Manning.
Not to say that McCoy is another Ryan Leaf. The bust factor for a defensive tackle is high, I'm just saying this: When Ndamukong Suh was finished at Nebraska, he was universally hailed as the best defensive tackle in college football in years, maybe decades. Maybe ever.
Now, all of a sudden, he's not even the best defensive tackle in his class? That's stupid.

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