I didn't give'm a Top 10 Ranking, though, and as highly as I think'f the kid, I don't consider it fully warranted.
And the fact that they gave up #46 to move up from #16 to draft'm makes this a mistake, in my opinion.
Still...the kid should become a Force.
Release ~ Excellent. Despite his Size, his Fluidity and phenomenal Lateral Agility usually enables'm to get loose.
Routing ~ Good, but needs to keep improving.
Separation ~ Ridiculous. He commands the most dynamic Fusion of Fluidity & explosive Ricochet of this Class.
Catching ~ Good. Great Hands. Good Jumper. Needs to get a better Grip, though.
Navigation ~ Magnificent. Flat out magical in the Open Field.
Blocking ~ Poor, as you'd expect. Good Effort, but who's kidding who??
Tavon Austin is a phenomenal Open Field Runner.
He is, in fact, what a SlotBack ought to be: A true Dual Threat to Run or to Receive.
The Game is changing...and I believe that Tavon Austin will be perceived as an Agent of that Change.
2 ~ FD Alexander Ogletree ~ Georgia BullDogs @ #30 ~ Also a bit'f a Reach. Gave'm a 2nd Round Ranking.
Run Defense ~ Phenomenal Lateral Agility & Range, but horrible Core Strength, Fluidity, & Hand Mechanics. Covers an amazing range of Turf, but is awful at working through Traffic, and often gets washed out.
Pass Defense ~ Incredible Verticity, impressive even for a former Safety, though his Processing Speed hinders'm from being amazing, as he often Reads & Reacts a Tick too late. Outstanding Range in Coverage.
Pass Rush ~ Not very applicable, for he won't play OutSide in a 344, but when they send'm, he's awesome.
Intangibles ~ Dubious Processing Speed. Has a room reserved at the local Constabulary.
I'm afraid that Alexander Ogletree is likely to be the kind of guy who makes a lot of HighLight Reel Plays in all phases of the Game ~ Explosive Tackles, Acrobatic Interceptions, and Spectacular Blitzing Sacks ~ but who on a Play By Play Basis will prove to be an enormous disappointment.
For what it's worth, he could play Sam, Mike, or Will in a 434, or either Mike or Ted in a 344.
Physically, he might best be suited to play the Mike in the 344, but mentally, I have grave doubts. His Processing Speed isn't fast enough to make the Calls as the Mike, but he's not physical enough to play the Ted.
He doesn't consistently Read & React fast enough to be an effective Mike in the 434, and he's not physical enough to play the Sam, but he might be able to develop into an effective Will Flanker.
In all fairness, he's only been playing MidFielder for two Years, so it's possible that the lack of Processing Speed, Core Strength, Combat Tactics, and Physicality might very well improve substantially.
In any case, if you put'm in there at Will Flanker in the 434, you'll allow'm to showcase his phenomenal Pass Coverage skills and'is Range, and I strongly suspect that ~ with a consistent and narrower scope of responsibilities ~ all of those Weaknesses that I've discussed might indeed see substantial improvement.
3 ~ FS Tim McDonald ~ Southern California @ #71 ~ Reach!! Gave'm a 5th Round Ranking!!
Pass Defense ~ Awful CenterFielder. Weak Lateral Agility & lousy Range. Inferior NickelBack. Dubious Verticity.
Run Defense ~ Awful. Bad Spacial Diagnostic Acuity ~ In English: Reads Angles & Space poorly, and subsequently takes Bad Angles when attacking. Loves to make the Splash Hit, but otherwise consistently Contact-Retardant
How very strange. Here's a guy who would've made a decent Splash one very short year ago, in an horribly barren and desolate Safety Class, but he opts to return to Southern California, risking a likely few Million to help'is Mates bid for the Championship. That shows considerable Depth of Character, right?? Yet he the goes on to play the ensuing Year like he's afraid of getting hurt, the Defense he leads goes to Hell, and so does the Team.
Well, I wasn't high on'm a Year ago, and I'm far less impressed, right now.
If I had to guess, I'd say that he was swayed by Matt Barkley's foolish decision to return to bid on the Championship.
McDonald comes from great BloodLines, and I must say that I'm haunted by an ethereal notion that there was much more to the story of the Trojans's spectacular 2012 collapse than meets the eye...But I have to call'm as I see'm.
4 ~ FL Stedman Bailey ~ West Virginia Moutaineers @ #92 ~ Excellent Pick!! Gave'm a 2nd Round Ranking!!
I love the fact that the Rams managed to get Austin and Bailey!! Gotta give'm Double Word Score for that!!
For one with such a thin Routing Resume, Stedman Bailey nevertheless inspires great confidence, based in fact on his exceptional Body of Work, in'is ability to master a Pro Level Route Tree, once he's confronted with it.
He's not dynamic in an Aspect, but he brings superior Athleticism to the table, and ~ far more critically ~ a tremendous Work Ethic. He does The Little Things in every Aspect of the Game. He Moves The Chains.
5 ~ OC Barrett Jones ~ Alabama Crimson Tide @ #113 ~ Tremendous Pick!! Gave'm a 2nd Round Ranking!!
As a 1st Rounder, early in the 2013 Draft Season ~ last Autumn, specifically ~ I'd considered Jones too rich for my Blood...But as a wily, savvy, shrewd Scrapper who can play 5 Positions and play them well ~ albeit never at an Elite Level, mind you ~ for the cost of a 4th Rounder?? Oh, Hell, yeah!!
Run Blocking ~ Marginal Drive Power hurts'm here, but in a Zone Scheme where he's working Angles, Jones could flourish. He commands tremendous Fluidity, outstanding Mechanics & Dexterity, and he is, above all, a remarkable Student of the Game ~ a master of the hundreds of little nuances that make the winning difference in The Trenches. That and his willingness to constantly refine'is Game tell me he'll be very effective at The Next Level.
Pass Blocking ~ Similar story. I'd say that his Core Strength is even more mediocre than his Drive Power: In both Aspects of the Game, he's not going to be able to match up with the Elites against the best Defenses, so you could see a substantial drop off in effectiveness, come January. There's only so much that his phenomenal FootBall Mind can overcome. Having said that, he is intensely competitive, and should succeed consistently against most Foes.
Barret Jones, in my Perception, projects to be one of the very most reliable Prospects in this entire Draft Class.
What I admire most about'm is the Processing Speed he brings to the table, and this is a guy who can be relied upon not only to make the most of his Skills, but to constantly evaluate and reevaluate how he's doing over the course of his Career, a given Year, and indeed, the Game at hand...and to make Adjustments accordingly.
He doesn't command remarkable Core Strength or project tremendous Drive Power, nor is'is Fluidity or Lateral Agility breathtaking. Where he stands out, in my view, is as a Craftsman: His Dexterity is exceptional, he Navigates well ~ working Angles and such ~ and he possess an outstanding Command of Tactics: His Diagnostic Acuity in Reading Defenses and'is Processing Speed to Rapidly Read & React to PreSnap Changes is terrific.
I think he will always be susceptible to getting Blown Up by the better Defensive Tackles, as there's only so much that Intelligence, Dexterity, and Technique can do to overcome unremarkable Core Strength or Drive Power.
As such, you could see a substantial drop off in effectiveness, come January, when it's needed most.
But I also believe that he will win far more Battles than he'll lose, this wily, scrappy, intelligent Leader, and will prove to be a tough, reliable, and resilient part of an Offensive Line, forging a lengthy and commendable Career.
6 ~ HB Zachary Stacy ~ VanderBilt Commodores @ #160 ~ Excellent Pick. Gave'm a 3rd/4th Round Ranking.
I'm a big Fan of Zachary Stacy. He's a Strong, Quick, Decisive One Cut Runner who Hits The Hole Hard, knocks people down, tears up Yardage, and consistently Moves The Chains. He reads the Field extraordinarily quickly and extraordinarily well, he's Patient, he's Smart, and takes very few Losses as he leads your Team DownField.
Furthermore, I believe that there is untapped athletic Potential, here, as his Short Shuttle & 3 Cone Times at the Combine suggested that far more explosiveness lies within than we've seen on Film.
But even if he never translates that onto the Field to a greater degree than he already has, Zac Stacy strikes me as an extraordinarily impressive HalfBack.
7 ~ FD Phillip Steward ~ Planet Hoosten Cougars ~ UFA!! Beautiful Pick up. Gave'm a 2nd Round Ranking!!
Clearly, what with my preoccupation with the likes of Derek Hayden, Young Steward, here, and others, in my time OnLine, my Objectivity on Prospects from Planet Hoosten obviously cannot be trusted.
Having so stipulated...
Phillip Steward is, in my view, the quintessential 21st Century MidFielder Prospect ~ A Defender with sufficient Core Strength & Tenacity to hit and hit hard, the extraordinary Lateral Agility & Range needed to effectively cover miles of Green Ground, the incredible Verticity required to Flip Hips & Run with this Century's Athletes in the Passing Game...and above all the Processing Speed to Rapidly React & React after the Snap and attack decisively!!
He's well behind the 8 Ball, already losing his Rookie Year to Injury, but that of course could not've been forecast on May Day 2013, and I'm writing this handful of Retroactives with that date in mind, so's to secure Authenticity.
And in any case I have no qualms about my lofty Evaluation of Young Steward.
I consider him an extraordinary Prospect.
By my Count, they started off with 2 1st Rounders plus the usual compliment...and drafted one 1st Rounder ~ worth about the same Value as their original #16 ~ and no less than four Prospects who I gave 2nd Round Rankings to, despite having traded away their only 2nd Round Pick!! Yes, I'm easily amused...
New EngLand Patriots ~ B-
Buffalo Bills ~ A
Miami Dolphins ~ D
New York Jets ~ C
PittsBurgh Steelers ~ D-
CleveLand Browns ~ B+
Cincinnati Bengals ~ B+
Baltimore Ravens ~ A
OakLand Raiders ~ A+
San Diego Chargers ~ D
Kansas City Chiefs ~ B
Denver Broncos ~ D
Planet Hoosten ~ B+
JacksonVille Jaguars ~ B+
Tennessee Titans ~ C
Indianapolis Colts ~ A+
Philadelphia Eagles ~ D-
Washington RedSkins ~ B+
Dallas CowBoys ~ C
New York Giants ~ D
Detroit Lions ~ B+
Minnesota Vikings ~ F-
Chicago Bears ~ B
Green Bay Packers ~ A
Seattle SeaHawks ~ A
San Fransisco Miners ~ A+
Saint Louis Rams ~ A-
Arizona Cardinals ~ B
Atlanta Falcons ~ C+
Carolina Panthers ~ C-
New Orleans Saints ~ A-
Tampa Bay Buccaneers ~ C-