In the end, the game comes down to one thing: man against man. May the best man win.
~ Sam Huff
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# 1 -- they should trade down, preferably twice if they can make it work and try to recover both the 3rd and 4th round picks that they surrendered as part of the Donovan McNabb & Jammal Brown deals.
# 2 -- Terrell Owens used to say "I love me -- some -- me." Well, I don't really fall in too that death trap, but from a quarterback and true value/stud potential angle -- I do love Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.
Quite simply, he did it all. He's the only college quarterback to ever throw for over 10,000 yards and run for over 4,000. If you are not impressed at that point, maybe consider the 6-5, 230 ish pound frame - so you know he's not just running all over the place -- recklessly -- like say Michael Vick does. He was the top scorer of the 2011 crop of throwers when it came to the "Wonderlic" test. What does that mean? Colin has a good answer down below.
He has a rocket for an arm, along with the great speed AND most importantly, he is clean injury wise and clean reputation wise, which you can't say about every quarterback or player in this draft.
A top scouting official in the NFL said the other day to ESPN 980 via text about Kaepernick, "A lot of people are in love with the guy."
Yet to show you wild this process is, Wes Bunting and the National Football Post have Kaepernick rated # 8 with Florida State's Christian Ponder as the top choice. I have respect for anybody that does this for a living, but Ponder is injury prone and overall, has to be considered a disappointment in his career at Florida State.
In case you missed the entire interview, you can listen here http://redskins.ESPN980.com/ under "Redskins Audio" or if you prefer the right in-front of you method -- here are exact quotes from Kaepernick with my questions slightly edited for brevity.
CR: At this time of the year, you hear a some positives and a lot of negatives about players. What has that been like for you?
CK:"Every person in this draft, is going to be picked apart looking for their flaws. No one really wants to talk so much about what you do well, but what you do bad. goes through the positives. Going through this process, it's something you can't worry about, you just have to be yourself and be the player you know you are, and hope an NFL team likes what you are doing."
CR: Have you ever had anyone say you throw the ball too hard? (Kaepernick was clocked at 59 MPH at the scouting combine, fastest of draft class)
CK: "I've had a few receivers complain. I had a couple of broken fingers where I was training at. They get used too it over time. There's a time and a place to cut it loose, and a time and a place to put some touch on it."
CR: How would you describe the "pistol offense" that Kaepernick played in at Nevada, under Chris Ault?
CK: "I would say it's a spread offense with the downhill running game of a pro-style offense. It's very unique to be able to run both sides of the field, out of the shotgun formation. There's a lot of different things you can do to try to confuse a defense in that formation."
CR: Did you do a lot of movement out-of-the-pocket throws, that Mike and Kyle Shanahan specifically like to use?
CK: "Yeah we did a lot of bootlegs, a lot of sprint outs. I would say we probably did that about 60% of the time, and drop back the other 40%."
CR: How long did it take you to feel comfortable in the system, where you could just play and not think as much?
CK:"I would say it took about a year. It's something where, when you get in that formation, the hardest part is the running game, because the running back is on you so quickly. That's the biggest adjustment you have to get used too is doing everything you have too, controlled, but fast enough where it doesn't mess with the running back's steps or spacing . The passing game is where it's easy, you can catch the ball, take a nice easy drop and start going through your progressions. So the biggest difference is the run game."
CR: How about some of the mechanical concerns that analysts and teams have about you?
CK: "That's something, I've tried to quicken it up as much as I can, but it's something I don't worry too much about. All of the workouts I've had, the coaches have said my release it's fine, it's so quick. the biggest thing is it looks different then most quarterbacks, so most people assume it's bad. Going forward, you just have to be yourself and when you get to an NFL team, you let them do what they want with you."
CR: How important was your Senior Bowl experience in Mobile?
CK: "For me, it was huge just to get that first introduction to a pro-style offense. Some of the terminology, some of the progressions they go through, which surprisingly enough -- a lot of the progressions aren't too much different then what we did. It's just called something different, and you have to get used to going under center -- which wasn't a big deal with me. I think the biggest thing is, you learn how quickly you have to pick up on things, when you are at the Senior Bowl. They're not going to walk you through everything they're going to tell you something once and you better know if from there on out."
CR: What does scoring such a high grade on the Wonderlic say about Colin Kaepernick? Does it mean anything?
CK: "I think for me, a lot of people thought I was just a running quarterback and didn't go through progressions and didn't check protections or audible or anything like that. I think it lets everybody know, I am not just an athlete out there, I'm a quarterback. I'm very intelligent. I'm capable of going through progressions, checking, audibling, making sure the offense is in the best position to be successful."
CR: Is there any QB in the NFL now, that you model your game after?
CK: "I wouldn't say there is one player I model my game after. I try to steal my favorite bits and pieces of every NFL quarterbacks games, and try to put it in to my own unique style."
CR: I've seen you at ESPN, on Sport Science, NFL Network and for a photo shoot at the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC. Has this been a fun time for you?
"It's been an amazing process for me. I think with opening up a few peoples eyes at the Senior Bowl and the combine, some of those things have come along. My agency, X-A-M Sports, has done a great job for me, marketing me -- and just really making sure I'm in the best position to be successful going through this process. So there's a lot of hard work from a lot of different people going in too this."
CR: The other day you were tweeting about going to "Red Robin" to eat with Nevada TE Virgil Green, did you put them out of business?
CK: "No we definitely had a good time, we ate quite a bit. I ended up eating my food, and a few extra baskets of fries. He ended up ordering two entrees and eating both of them. We're definitely big eaters."
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During all the "March Madness" that has engulfed the country over the last several weeks, you may not be aware of all of the uncertainty and 'madness' that is building for an event that is not even taking place until late April.
Of course, right about now -- the NFL Draft -- is basically the only event football fans can wrap their arms around and know that it won't be so ruthlessly taken from them by the owners and the players.
At least until some whack job trying to make a name for themselves, attempts to take away, what has become the marquee rite of spring.
That's right, Masters -- no thanks; NBA Playoffs -- OK whatever; Stanley Cup Playoffs -- now that's TRUE madness, 1st month of the MLB season -- Uh huh, it's a super long grind.
When you talk NFL Draft - there is one man above all of the new age draft experts, that has become synonymous with the event, the hype and perhaps is as recognized as any individual figure in all of sports broadcasting.
Mel Kiper Jr. -- most of us love him, some loathe him. Some think he's off his rocker, and some (the smarter ones) realize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this is FAR from an exact science or a case study in accuracy and predictability.
With all of that being said, Kiper, still vigorously defends his love for Carolina's Jimmy Clausen (a QB that I thought was inconsistent at Notre Dame) who may be on the back burner if the Panthers take a QB with the # 1 overall pick.
Honestly, it's a fascination I don't get -- but again -- that's partially why the NFL Draft has become the phenomenon it has, because nothing spurs debate like 32 teams taking players that may or may not turn out to be good professionals, and filling or coming up empty on their perceived target areas of need.
At this time of the year, with pro days wrapping up and private workouts along with facility visits being conducted -- opinion is the thing that changes for the most part.
Sorry but no workout in shorts tells you what bonafide playing tape shows you. The only problem with that tape, you still have to project how the player you saw in college translates those skills and that effort against the very best in the world.
Kiper, certainly is in that group, and he admitted to Andy Pollin and I on ESPN-980 that the evaluation process is mostly complete, at least for his 'Big Board.'
"Very little (movement), if any in the Top 25. Only thing I did, was move up (Temple DL) Muhammad Wilkerson just a bit," said Kiper when talking about his ranking system now less then a month from the first round.
Wilkerson, so far does not have a scheduled visit with the Redskins but did work out earlier this week for the Baltimore Ravens, and as ESPN 980 first reported -- is scheduled to work out for the Minnesota Vikings and the Tennessee Titans shortly.
"Wilkerson's a hot guy right now. A lot of defensive line coaches are very enamored with this kid, says Kiper. He gives you a lot of scheme versatility which is important at this time of the year."
In talking to a scout, Wilkerson probably would be at his best as a 4-3 'three-technique' defensive tackle, but projects to be a very good 3-4 defensive end as well, who can be disruptive against both the run and pass.
What might effect Wilkerson's status more -- is the great crop of versatile defensive lineman that are projected first rounders, like Marcell Dareus, Robert Quinn, Aldon Smith, Nick Fairley, Cameron Jordan, J.J. Watt, DaQuan Bowers and Ryan Kerrigan.
The other player according to Kiper to make a slight move in the right direction for Kiper Jr. was USC Offensive Tackle, "Tyron Smith took a little bit of a jump. He's beginning to separate a little bit from the other tackles. Anthony Costonzo is right on his heels from his Boston College."
Smith is scheduled to visit Redskins Park on April 18th, as ESPN -980 reported first last week. The question now becomes is the career right-tackle on the collegiate level, ready to go to the money side? Is that his best position?
I asked Kiper for his evaluation. "He's 307 (at the combine). I think left tackle is going to be his best position, with his athleticism and his feet and the way he performs even at right tackle with some pretty good defensive ends, that he pretty much toyed with. If your drafting Tyron Smith in the top 10 to 12 -- (He has to play) as a left tackle with the skill level he has, (but) he's not a finished product like Costonzo."
However, Kiper made it clear that the USC product has the most upside, "Smith has that future pro bowl ability. Costonzo is a safe pick."
I think NFL Network analyst and good pal, Brian Baldinger would shred the argument that Costonzo is a 'safe pick.' Baldy has regularly hammered Costonzo for his lack of strength, and that is what was pretty obvious -- to my semi-trained eye at the Senior Bowl.
So what do the Redskins do at # 10? Don't forget they also have pick # 41 in the 2nd round. I still argue that a trade down is the right way to go, but obviously value has to be there in order for that to happen, which is a very dicey proposition at best.
For now, Kiper Jr. has the Redskins addressing speed and big play ability on offense as the plan, with Washington selecting Alabama's talented but somewhat brittle wide receiver Julio Jones.
A selection that makes me cringe, but what do I know? (Don't answer that)
"I can see that. I had to put Julio Jones someplace. St. Louis is just hoping he would be there at 14, says Kiper.
"If you think about J.J. Watt out of Wisconsin, If you think about Muhammad Wilkerson, whose red hot -- I like him in a 4-3 as a '3-technique' (Mel likes Nick Fairley in that scheme/position as well)," says Kiper.
"Cameron Jordan (Cal DE), some people, they say he played in a 3-4 but he's not best suited for that, I disagree with that. As a service (and as a cheap plug), Jordan will join me on ESPN 980 AM, 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM at 7:04 PM ET on Wednesday night.
But alas, Kiper says if the Redskins feel so inclined to help out Jim Haslett, "I think J.J. Watt would be the 'best fit' for what the Redskins are doing, if you are going to go that route."
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