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Tag:Ryan Mallett
Posted on: March 6, 2011 5:24 pm
 

Fairley's draft status is dropping

N. Fairley's draft status has begun to drop (Getty). Posted by Rob Rang

Much of the attention following the Combine has been centered on the team interviews with quarterbacks Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett and others, but according to three sources from different clubs, it is another high profile player who set off the most alarms at the Combine.

Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley was described as a "JUCO kid to the core" by one longtime personnel man, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

By "JUCO" the source is, of course, referring to the fact that Fairley played junior college football (Copiah-Lincoln Community College) prior to starring at Auburn. Asked to elaborate why being a "JUCO kid" is a bad thing, the source explained.

"Just because a player went to a junior college doesn't mean, he's a bad guy or won't be successful at this level, obviously. There are lots of junior college players who have gone on to great NFL careers."

The stereotype is that JUCO players aren't as smart, hard-working, and well coached. They are also viewed by many clubs as players most likely to have had off-field troubles in the past and potentially more in the future. The source refused to go into specifics, but said, "Everyone is coming down hard on the quarterback, but [Fairley] is the one to worry about."

Despite measuring in at a shade under 6-4 and lighter than expected (291 pounds), Fairley "looked soft," according to the source. This first impression of Fairley's conditioning was only reinforced by his "limited" understanding of defensive schemes during team interviews. The source also referred to the fact that Fairley doesn't use his hands well and has been able to be successful largely due to his natural talent.

"Oh, I'm not saying he's not talented. Hell, he might be the most talented player in the whole damn thing. But, he's no slam dunk at this level. Not the slam dunk people who watched him tear up the SEC or in the big game [BCS National Championship] might think."

The other sources weren't as forthcoming with details, but didn't sound surprised when I told them I heard that Fairley was slipping down boards and that, as such, I had pushed him from No. 2 in the mock draft I'd written prior to the Combine to No. 8 in my current one.

This post was cross-posted from Rob Rang's NFL Draft blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: March 2, 2011 12:13 am
 

2011 NFL combine winners/losers

Posted by Will Brinson

This isn't every single winner and loser from the 2011 NFL combine, but it's five of each (and mostly bigger names) that really stood out to me. Take it with a small grain of salt, if only because the inclusion of someone like Cam Newton doesn't mean he won't be a top-five pick. It just means that his appearance at the combine didn't exactly solidify him as someone that's a can't-miss prospect. The combine almost never provides full-on proof of someone's status, but it can either answer some questions or really highlight some issues with various draft prospects.

Winners 

Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska -- People were knocking Amukamara for his speed before the combine. Uh, whoops: he ripped off a 4.43 (4.37 was his first unofficial time, by the by) and proved everyone wrong. Suddenly there's a decent chance both he and Peterson are gone by the end of the top-10 picks.

Julio Jones, WR, Alabama -- So it turns out that Jones did all the combine drills with a fractured foot. That's pretty impressive. It's way more impressive when you see that he somehow managed to close the gap between he and the consensus top wideout A.J. Green.

Marvin Austin, DT, UNC -- He and Robert Quinn were two UNC guys who helped themselves (most of the other ones didn't) at the combine. Austin, the guy who helped take the Tar Heels down via Twitter, has a pile of red flags, but the athletic upside in Indy is going to make someone take a chance on him much earlier than they would have a year ago.

Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State -- To paraphrase Neil Diamond, "I'm only gonna do one thing, but I'm gonna do it good." Paea could only lift at the combine but MAN did he lift, setting the record for 225-pound bench presses with 49.

Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State -- Ponder all of a sudden finds himself generating "first-round buzz" after a strong combine (on top of a very strong Senior Bowl). Two months ago, that would have been laughable.

Losers

Cam Newton, QB, Auburn -- Newton won't fall out of the top 10 in any mock draft between now and the time the NFL Draft happens because he's an absolute mutant of an athlete. But there are clearly red flags going up everywhere from his "entertainer" comment to the possibility that he underwhelmed teams in interviews to the poor showing he had when throwing the ball.

Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas -- Even if he did perform well on the field, his press conference performance and unwillingness to address drug rumors sunk his stock to the point that there are plenty of Ryan Leaf comps floating around.

Kendric Burney, CB, UNC -- Burney ripped up the Senior Bowl but that in-game action (some folks have said ) didn't translate to measurables, and a 4.75 40 isn't exactly the speed a tiny corner wants to show people looking to invest.

Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson -- If you're going to claim that you're "100 percent" at the combine -- even after surgery -- it's probably a good idea to participate in some of the drills, you know?

Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn -- Fairley's still got a very good chance of being the top overall pick in the draft, and the dude had some pretty darn good measurables at the draft. But the gap between he and Marcell Dareus is MUCH shorter than it was a week ago.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 28, 2011 9:55 pm
 

Could five QBs wind up in the first round?

Posted by Rob Rang

We all know the value of quarterbacks raises as the draft gets closer. We also all know that significantly altering a player's grade based on Combine performance is a quick way to get a scouting staff fired.

That said, there is an increasing belief among NFL teams that as many as five quarterbacks could wind up in the first round, following strong performances from Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder at the Combine.

[Related: CBSSports.com's 2011 QB Prospect Rankings]

Mallett unquestionably has first round skills. While his struggles at the podium in front of the media has been well documented, league sources tell our own Len Pasquarelli of The Sports XChange that teams who interviewed him in Indianapolis "came away impressed with him."

Locker, too, has unquestionable talent. His career-long struggles with inaccuracy remain a concern for many, but there was no denying he enjoyed a strong throwing session at the combine, throwing some of his most accurate passes on the deep outs, fly routes and post-corners that are generally considered the toughest throws scouts ask quarterbacks to make at the Combine. Some teams will take this as evidence that he's made strides under former pro quarterback Ken O'Brien -- and is likely to continue to do so under NFL coaching.

Perhaps the most surprising quarterback generating recent first round buzz is Ponder. His multiple arm surgeries make his medical grade the most important result from the Combine (and teams won't have these complete results for awhile), but there is no question that the former Seminole is building momentum following a Senior Bowl MVP performance and a strong showing during passing drills. Considering his intelligence, mobility and accuracy to the short to intermediate levels of the field, Ponder is viewed by some as the top true West Coast Offense quarterback in the draft.



In last week's mock draft I had only two quarterbacks (Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Auburn's Cam Newton) projected in the first round. With virtually every one of the front office executives and head coaches acknowleding during their combine interviews the supreme value of the quarterback position and another two months for the hype around these three to build, we could end up seeing that number more than double by April 28.

This entry was cross-posted from Rob Rang's NFL Draft Blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 27, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2011 6:32 pm
 

Mallett, Locker impress in 1st throwing session

Posted by Rob Rang

As bad as Ryan Mallett's press conference may have been yesterday, his performance in Sunday's throwing session at the Combine should quiet some of his critics.

Mallett effortless passing made him the unquestioned star of the first session, outshining the likes of Jake Locker, Andy Dalton and several others. Cam Newton, Christian Ponder and Ricky Stanzi are some of the big names that make up the second group.

Mallett's rocket arm and good accuracy was especially evident on the tougher throws such as the deep out, fly and post-corner routes. Perhaps just as importantly -- considering the character questions that continue to dog him -- was his big smile and obvious camaraderie with the other quarterbacks and receivers throughout the workout. Of all the players throwing and catching, Mallett looked like he was having the most fun.



Washington's Jake Locker also enjoyed a strong performance. As I've said on numerous occasions in the past, Locker is as frustrating to scout as any quarterback I've ever known. He struggled early on with his accuracy some of the simpler throws -- including the throws over the middle to receivers during the gauntlet drill and the curl routes early in his throwing session.

As the session continued, however, Locker got hot, nailing the deep ball and the post-corner -- generally considered the most difficult throw quarterbacks are asked to make here. These two routes require a combination of arm strength, touch and, of course, accuracy.

Unfortunately, not every quarterback enjoyed a strong performance Sunday. TCU's Andy Dalton's average arm strength led to many of his passes fluttering, affecting his accuracy. Dalton's stock shouldn't slip much from his mediocre performance. He is a quarterback who relies on timing, and, of course, he had none with a group of receivers who he was largely meeting for the first time today.

Fresno State's Ryan Colbun and Texas A&M's Jerrod Johnson struggled mightily. Each were consistently inaccurate on the variety of throws the coaches put them through.

This entry was cross-posted from Rob Rang's NFL Draft Blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 26, 2011 11:46 pm
 

Combine scene: Saturday

Posted by Andy Benoit

INDIANAPOLIS -- The show was stolen Saturday by Cam Newton (stolen is probably the wrong word – the media was more than happy to give it to him). The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback was extremely well coached and well prepared – and he benefitted greatly from following Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett at Podium C (Mallett’s press conference was essentially a train wreck).

Newton’s stock will likely rise after this weekend, though talking to people in the know, there are concerns about his accuracy. He has a rifle of an arm, at least. But the belief is that Newton’s running game will not translate to the NFL the way many expect. Thus, his precision passing becomes all the more important.

Earlier in the afternoon, I had an opportunity to meet with a highly respected front office exec. One of the most interesting things that came out of the conversation was his assertion that the tight end position is facing extinction. He named another big-time exec who believes tight ends will soon go the way of the fullback. This isn’t necessarily shocking; many can look at the game and figure that the No. 3 receiver will soon become a cog in every starting lineup. But don’t be surprised if this change occurs quicker than expected.

Friday night I joined the Football Outsiders crew at Scotty’s Brewhouse near Conseco Fieldhouse. Peter King (one of the greatest people in the industry, by the way) was holding court with a room packed full of hardcore football fans. George Atallah, NFLPA spokesman and Domonique Foxworth, the Ravens’ player rep, were both there. The media has been saying for months that fans don’t care about the details and legalese of the labor strife– they just want to know when football will be played. But if last night is any indication, this is simply not true. Fans care very much about the labor strife. The evening at Scotty’s lasted two and a half hours. The first hour of the Q and A was solely about the labor situation. And all of the Q’s were coming from fans.

Albert Breer of NFL Network was on hand. Interestingly enough, just about everything he told the room seemed to be favorable to the players. Foxworth was openly surprised (and appreciative) by Breer’s candor. It put a mild damper on the whole evening hearing about how a lockout is inevitable (this was prior to the union decertification rumblings , of course). But that’s fitting, given that labor talk has dominated the discussion all week here.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: February 26, 2011 3:33 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2011 10:34 pm
 

Ryan Mallett's press conference...ouch

Posted by Andy Benoit
R. Mallett (US Presswire)
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Ryan Mallett press conference was one of those scenarios where everyone in the room is eventually looking at each other with wide eyes that seem to say, “Ehhhhhh…..there’s something not right about this guy”. Obviously, it’s pure speculation.
 
The former Arkansas quarterback was immediately asked about the drug abuse allegations (“Wow, first question, huh?” he said.) He wouldn’t discuss it but did acknowledge that the timing of these reports was not a coincidence.

Mallett said he could throw the ball 80 yards and touted his collegiate numbers when asked one of those “prove it” questions. With proper body language, it would have been confidence speaking. But from Mallett, it unfortunately seemed more like arrogance.

All in all, the buzz around the media center is that Mallett’s content wasn’t great and his delivery was even worse. Mallett has one of those clichéd chips on his shoulder, but not the kind of chip that could one day inspire him. More like the kind of chip that makes a group of reporters decide there’s just something they don’t like about you.

Mallett is the fifth rated quarterback on NFL Draft Scout, but his stock will almost certainly drop barring an amazing workout Saturday.

And here is Pete Prisco's blog post on the matter -- in which Prisco compares Mallett to Marshall Mathers.

Also, here's the link to the video of Mallett's appearance.

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Posted on: February 22, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 1:04 pm
 

Ryan Mallett will have tough Q's to answer

Posted by Andy Benoit
R. Mallett (US Presswire)
Tony Softli, a 15-year NFL front office executive and current radio personality for 101 ESPN in St. Louis, has offered up some interesting analysis on Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett (CBSSports.com's No. 5 rated quarterback and 80th rated overall prospect):

“Character and drug use issues are starting to rear their ugly head. Heavy rumors of drug use and possible addiction kept him from coming out for the 2010 draft.  A lot of people are comparing Mallett to Ryan Leaf. I think Ryan was a better football player, with a cannon for an arm but the immaturity was just too much to overcome. A hair facial test might tell all 32 teams who this person really is.”

Speculation about Mallet and drug use has been growing as of late. Many analysts have merely hinted at the topic through veiled generalities about character concerns and maturity. Softli is one of the first to address it head on.

Mallett's people will undoubtedly do all they can to shake the Ryan Leaf comparisons. Leaf, of course, was a No. 2 overall draft pick. Mallett is projected to be a second-rounder (he's an honorable mention in Rob Rang's Top 32 draft board). But just because a team may not intend to immediately build the rest of its roster around Mallett does not necessarily mean that team will be more inclined to gamble on his perceived character flaws. It could be the opposite, in fact. If the guy is merely a fringe first-rounder, why bother risking on him?

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 10, 2011 11:49 am
 

Hot Routes 2.10.11: Panthers the new Chargers?

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports is whipping through a Top-40 list of NFL Draft prospects. Ryan Mallett (who checks in at No. 37) is at one point called a "statue with a cannon attached," if that makes you feel good about your team maybe drafting him. It shouldn't.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com