Tag Archives: Matthew Stafford

The Most Coveted Prospect

An Article By: Curtis Rukavina

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With the draft a few days away, names such as Matthew Stafford, Michael Crabtree, Mark Sanchez and Aaron Curry are all considered the elite prospects in this draft. Yet there is an under-the-radar prospect who may be more sought after than any of those listed above. His name is Tyson Jackson and he is the most versatile player on the defensive line in this year’s draft. Jackson has the ability to play defensive end in the 3-4 alignment, as well as defensive end and nose tackle in the 4-3 alignment.

There have been many teams recently who have abandoned the 4-3 defense and introduced the 3-4 hybrid defense. This requires substantial change, as far as personnel is concerned. 4-3 defensive ends project toward the linebacker position in the 3-4, and defensive tackles in a 4-3 may not have a home at all in the 3-4 defense. Tyson Jackson benefits from being the top-rated defensive end prospect, bringing adaptability to both schemes.  It also helps that there are five teams in the top 10 picks that are in need of his services.

Kansas City recently overhauled their entire coaching staff and front office and made the switch from the 4-3 to 3-4. They simply don’t have all the personnel that is necessary to run the 3-4 defense and will look to address this through the draft. Scott Pioli played a large role in deciding who the Patriots would select in years past– and rarely failed. The Chiefs have been linked to Tyson Jackson and that is the highest I see him going.

Cleveland, Green Bay and San Francisco are all very likely destinations for Jackson if Kansas City chooses not to select him. Each of those teams have huge holes at the 3-4 defensive end position and would immediately benefit with Jackson on their roster . Jacksonville is a possibility based on their history of selecting big lineman whether to play defensive tackle or end in their 4-3.

I do not think he slips past the Broncos at the 12th pick, as they would have a steal if he fell to them. Tyson Jackson has all the intangibles and triangle numbers that make him a top prospect. It will show with his draft position on Saturday.

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Filed under Defensive Line, Player Analysis

A New Number One

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It’s official, we’ve released version two of our 2009 NFL Mock Draft, and there is a new face a-top the draft board– Matthew Stafford, the quarterback from the University of Georgia.

The Lions have an undeniable need on the o-line, but that need can be satisfied at both pick #20, and pick #33. Our Mock has the Lions going offensive tackle Eben Britton at 20, and the Lions would be wise to go offensive guard at 33. This draft strategy allows them to take a risk on Stafford, knowing that he will not suffer the same fate as Joey Harrington.

Stafford has looked absolutely lights out in all post-season workouts, and seems to be handling himself like a true professional. His footwork is top-notch, he ran a tremendous 40, and he possesses this draft’s biggest arm. He is a bonafied leader, clean off the field, and embodies the rebirth that the Lions are going through.

Even if he turns out to be nothing but a serviveable QB, he will still be an improvement from the Lions current QB situation, which cannot be left in its current state for the start of training camp. Yes, Stafford will bring a massive price-tag, and his failure would be a major set-back, but the Lions cannot be haunted by mistakes of the past. Stafford has all the makings of a top signal-caller, and given the necessary support around him, he should flourish in Detroit.

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Filed under Mock Draft, Player Analysis, Quarterbacks

Thirty-two For Thirty-two

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The time has come for NFL Draft Headquarters to release our first Mock Draft of the year. We’ve given hints over the past two months as to who we think will go where, but now we’ve set it in stone.  To access the Mock Draft, simply click on the tab above, labeled “HQ Mock Draft”.

We encourage you to contest each and every pick to the fullest of your ability; however, be warned that we will launch a full-out rebuttal that hasn’t been seen since the televised Obama-McCain debates.

We’ve thought out the selections thoroughly, but hey, if your football ingenuity sees a pick that makes more sense, post it as a comment with your reasoning. If we like your selection, you will be given credit in our revised version of the Mock Draft, set to drop in about two weeks.

Quite frankly, we believe we’re going 32 for 32 come draft day (A.k.a. batting a thousand).

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Filed under Mock Draft

Recession Proof

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With the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select Jason Smith, Offensive Tackle, from Baylor University. Two months ago, most people would have been left scratching their heads at this proclamation by Roger Goodell. “Jason Smith? Don’t you mean Andre Smith from Alabama?” It’s incredible what the post-collegiate draft season can bring, but here’s a look at why Jason Smith, the 6’5″, 310 pounder from Baylor makes the most sense.

Let us be clear that this kid is a phenomenal talent. He’s sculpted as a physical duplicate of last year’s offensive rookie of the year, 3rd runner-up, Ryan Clady. Both have the unbelievable athleticism, nimble feet, and tremendous agility needed to protect the QB’s blind-side. Given the recent success of highly touted left tackles (including Ryan Clady, Jake Long, Brandon Albert, and Joe Thomas), Jason Smith will likely benefit from their precedent.

More obviously, we are in one of the most severe economic downturns since the Great Depression, and all indications point to a situation similar to that which unfolded with last year’s first overall pick, Jake Long. Long was the consensus choice for the Dolphins for the fact that he was willing to accept significantly less money, when compared to the other top prospects. This will almost undoubtedly be the case with Smith, who will certainly come with a cheaper price tag than quarterback Matt Stafford from Georgia.

After the trade that acquired Julian Peterson from the Seahawks, the likelihood that the Lions select Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry decreased significantly. This left quarterback and left tackle as the Lion’s two top priorities. People will point to the golden rule, “Don’t pass on a franchise QB unless you have one”, but let’s be honest here, the Lions cannot afford to miss on another top pick. With questions still hovering over Stafford, it’s a monumental risk that this franchise simply cannot endure.

Thus in these troublesome times for our economy, and for Lions fans, Jason Smith is the pick.  The affordable and undeniably secure option who will be a fixture on their 0-line for the next 10 years.

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Filed under Offensive Tackle, Player Analysis

The Surprise Candidate

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USC Trojan junior quarterback Mark Sanchez has abruptly ended his career in So-Cal, and has opted to enter this April’s NFL draft. The decision appropriately shocked those in football circles, but as a matter of simple arithmetic, it all added up for Sanchez:

1. An impressive junior campaign, where Sanchez and the Trojans lost only one game. Bearing in mind that USC plays in the cake-walk PAC-10, the Trojans silenced their critics with the highly publicized decimation of the Ohio State Buckeyes in front of a nationally televised audience. Furthermore, Sanchez’s personal stats included 34 passing touchdowns, versus only 10 interceptions over the entire season.

2. A stellar bowl performance in the 2009 Rose Bowl, which saw Sanchez throw for 4 touchdowns and add one on the ground as the Trojans trounced the then No. 6 Penn State Nittany Lions. Sanchez looked flawless, throwing for a career-high 413 yards, evading pressure, showcasing his arm strength, and emulating the composure of a great leader.

3. The decisions of both Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford to return to both Florida and Oklahoma, respectively. Both would have been near, if not at the top, of most scout’s quarterback rankings, and their abrupt omission from draft boards seemingly opened the door for Sanchez. He now only faces competition from Georgia’s gun-slinger Matthew Stafford for the title of number-one rated quarterback.

So what does this equate to?

Sanchez, all-of-a-sudden, becomes a realistic option for the Detroit Lions with the number one overall pick in the 2009 Draft. With their franchise amidst one of the biggest identity crises in sports history, the Lions may look to duplicate the success of the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens, in drafting a first-round “franchise” quarterback.

It must be said that both Matt Ryan (Atlanta) and Joe Flacco (Baltimore) are anomalies. Rookie quarterbacks are supposed to be lack-lustre and it would be unfair to hold Sanchez to this expectation. Given the publicized failure of recent underclassmen quarterbacks declaring for the draft, in addition to Sanchez’s blatant lack of starting experience, he undoubtedly has a lot of proving to do, before and after draft day.

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Filed under Player Analysis, Quarterbacks