And they Traded Up from #31 ~ surrendering #74 to get'm!! Blech!!
Oh, man, am I gonna burn for this one!!
Pass Defense ~ Despite terrific Burst & Long Speed, Reid's Verticity sucks when he needs to Flip Hips and run. And I have serious doubts about'is Processing Speed: He often looked a beat late ~ a fatal beat.
Run Defense ~ Reid, like so many Safety Prospects, is wonderfully ferocious with'is Hits, but horribly lax with'is Wrapping ~ his Tackling Technique. As the alleged Last Line of Defense, that's pretty damned scary.
Between dubious Processing Speed, sluggish Verticity & Agility in the Deep Half, and raw Wrapping, I'm afraid that Eric Reid hits me as an admirable specimen of an Athlete who's going to have severe problems at The Next Level.
There is no question that Reid boasts phenomenal athletic Potential, and he will almost certainly rack up a great number of spectacular Splash Plays...Whether or not he proves an effective Last Line of Defense for'is Team on the other hand ~ especially when it matters, after New Year's Day ~ is quite another matter.
2 ~ DE Tank Carradine ~ Florida State Seminoles @ #40 ~ Outstanding Pick!! Gave'm a 1st Round Ranking!!
Tank Carradine is a freaking Dream Defensive End Prospect.
He projects as a Terrifying Force as a Pass Rusher & a staunch Edge Setter & Mauling Brawler as a Run Defender.
He's clearly got a great Passion for the Game, a Passion for Team Defense who will earn Pro Bowl appearances on his Run Defense alone...and a clear Passion to become one of the Great Ones. I can't wait to see'm Play.
3 ~ TE Vance McDonald ~ Rice Owls @ #55 ~ Good Pick!! Gave'm a 2nd Round Ranking.
Vance McDonald was usually deployed Off The Line ~ as a SlotBack, Slot End, Split End, or FlankerBack ~ so my categorizing'm as a Tight End ~ a classic On Line Role ~ is a Projection...but it's one I feel confident in.
He's Raw as a classic Tight End, but clearly commands the Blocking Power to excel, there.
Mind you, he's already ready to excel as a Flex End, should he be drafted for that Role.
But it doesn't present his greatest UpSide.
McDonald commands an awesome Fusion of Blocking & Receiving skills, and is a truly dangerous, dynamic Hybrid.
His hands suck, and he needs to work on that.
But there's a strong chance that he'll become an enormous Hybrid Weapon at The Next Level.
4 ~ DR Corey LeMonier ~ Auburn Tigers @ #88 ~ Strong Pick!! Gave'm a 3rd Round Ranking.
With Drive Power, Core Strength, and Initial Processing Speed ~ Snap Count ~ tallied as Weaknesses ~ in my Book, anyway ~ but impressive Verticity, an Excellent Motor, and generally superior Processing Speed, I believe that Corey LeMonier's best Positions at The Next Level is most decisively Flank Defender.
And I believe that he could develop into an exceptional one.
5 ~ FL Quint Patton ~ Louisiana Tech BullDogs @ #128 ~ Phenomenal Pick!! Gave'm a 1st Round Ranking!!
Release ~ Crisp.
Routing ~ Phenomenal.
Separation ~ Magnificent, despite ordinary Athleticism.
Catching ~ Beautiful.
Navigation ~ Exceptional.
Blocking ~ Superior, and improving.
I consider Quint Patton the most Ready To Serve WideOut in the entire Draft. There is nothing extraordinary about his Athleticism, but his mastery of Routes, of Gearing up & down to toss Defenders off'is Trail, and of the dozens of little subtleties that gain'm an advantage as he works through Traffic are incredibly refined.
I've read a lot of Reggie Wayne comparisons about this kid, and they're Spot On.
And you can forget about that "3 Years to Take It Through The Gears" business that usually applies to WideOuts.
He's ready to make an Impact today.
6 ~ XB Marcus Lattimore ~ South Carolina GameCocks @ #131 ~ Spectacular Steal!! 1st Round Ranking!!
Processing Speed ~ Phenomenal. Consistently sees the Field develop an half second before it does so.
Power ~ Outstanding. A real Beast who delivers far more hits than he takes.
Acceleration ~ Adept. Not overwhelming, mind you.
Ricochet ~ Exceptional.
Fluidity ~ Amazing.
Security ~ Solid.
Pass Blocking ~ Adept, but could become extraordinary. Tremendous Effort.
Pass Receiving ~ Extraordinary. A legitimate Threat.
A smart Team will understand what any 4th Grader really ought to know: The vast majority of Players who're recovering from major Injuries ~ like Lattimore's Ligament ~ need about 18 months to complete the process of Taking It Through The Gears and fully recovering their previous form...unless you're Adrian Peterson!!
The good news?
If Nature is allowed to take its course at its own Pace...they usually do fully recover their previous form!!
This Prospectus is based on that theoretical Scenario ~ that Lattimore is drafted by a Team that's smart enough to let'm work back gradually in 2013 and limit his Load. But I would not call that an assumption, mind you!!
Marcus Lattimore, if Nature is allowed to take its course at its own Pace ~ even despite Lattimore's own reluctance!! ~ should emerge in 2014 as a deliriously explosive Back: Armed with phenomenal Processing Speed, extraordinary Agility, devastating Power & Strength, beautiful Pass Receiving skills, and potentially pulverizing Pass Blocking skills, Markus Lattimore should become an amazing and exhilarating Force at The Next Level ~ a true SuperBeast!!
7 ~ XB Damon Harper ~ Boise State Broncos ~ UFA ~ Magnificent Steal!! I gave'm a 2nd Round Ranking!!
Processing Speed ~ Tremendous. Terrific Field Vision, Patience, and Timing.
Power ~ Adept.
Acceleration ~ Excellent.
Ricochet ~ Exceptional.
Fluidity ~ Remarkable.
Security ~ Solid.
Pass Blocking ~ Solid.
Pass Receiving ~ Phenomenal. Tremendous Hands, outstanding Routing, and exceptional Instincts.
Damon Harper's story is an extraordinarily intriguing one.
He once started at Boise State over no less than Doug Martin, but a couple of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries later, he spent Years at the bottom of the Depth Chart as others rose above'm.
Yet he finally emerged in'is 5th Year to win the starting Gig and excelled in his 6th and final Year.
Yet more, he retains, after all this time and these Injuries, extraordinary Agility & Elusiveness. Indeed, perhaps the more appropriate term would be that these've been restored. My private theory is that a couple Years of light work on the lower end of the Depth Chart is often precisely what a body needs to give it time to fully Rest & Repair itself.
Sometimes Less is More.
Damon Harper has emerged from his Exodus as an exceptionally explosive, one who commands a truly deadly combination of outstanding Field Vision & Instincts, extraordinary Processing Speed, and tremendous Elusiveness.
What's more, is that he is a phenomenal Pass Receiving Threat ~ a remarkable Route Runner who works the Field like a WideOut, cuts crisply in and out'f Breaks, and boasts Soft Hands as well as tremendous Technique & Timing.
FlexBacks ~ my term for true Hybrid HalfBacks who can line up in the BackField, at SlotBack, or Split Out ~ are potentially devastating Weapons, all the more so in the 21st Century, and Damon Harper ~ at long last ~ finally has the chance to become an extraordinary one.
8 ~ WB Marqueis Gray ~ Minnesota Gophers ~ UFA ~ Outstanding Grab!! Gave'm a 5th/6th Round Ranking.
Gray is a QuarterBack/Split End Convertible, and an obvious Practice Squad candidate...But there is phenomenal athletic Talent to work with, and his history of flexibility strongly suggests that he just might pull it off!!
9 ~ OT Luke Marquardt ~ Azusa Pacific Cougars ~ UFA ~ Spectacular Steal!! 4th/5th Round Ranking!!
Super Project Luke Marquardt hadn't played any FootBall since his Freshman Year at High School when he joined Azusa Pacific in 2009...and his first Year there was at Tight End. So he essentially has all of 3 Years at Tackle.
You might say he's a bit Raw.
But my GOD, the Potential on this kid.
In terms of sheer Size, Strength, and Athleticism, Luke Marquardt is the equal of the extraordinary Offensive Tackles who went at the top of this Draft, including the top 2 Picks in the entire Nation.
And the others aren't much more refined or developed than Marquardt, himself.
It's a fascinating Process, The Draft.
Luke Marquardt commands the Agility not just to survive but to excel at The Next Level.
But what's happened, here, is that Marquardt comes from an obscure Program that hasn't produced a Draft Pick in 26 Years ~ The Nigerian Nightmare, Baby!! ~ and then he unfortunately compounded his obscurity by missing his entire Senior Year, after which he got hurt at the Combine and again at'is Pro Day.
That raises legitimate questions about'is Durability ~ as does his incredible Height, which is actually far taller than I prefer my Offensive Tackles to be, because I feel they always have to work harder to exert Leverage.
But it also cripples his Draft Stock, because Scouts, General Managers, and Head Coaches are ~ like most Earthlings ~ mostly comprised of tentative Creatures who fear that making Big Bets on obscurities will get them fired.
I, on the other hand, don't give a Rat's Ass.
Luke Marquardt has legitimate Health questions, but his UpSide is spectacular.
10 ~ DT Lawrence Okoye ~ British Discus Lobbers!! ~ UFA ~ Ridiculous Steal!! 4th/5th Round Ranking!!
Oh, HELL, yeah!!!
For those unaware, Lawrence Okoye hasn't played a Down of FootBall in'is entire Life.
And, yet: Look at me, proposing ~ theoretically ~ to spend a perfectly good Draft Pick on this fellow.
How could that be??
Lawrence Okoye is of course a Champion Discus Thrower ~ and he played a spot of Rugby in'is Youth, wot wot!!
And now he wants to try'is hand at FootBall ~ real FootBall. American FootBall.
Why should we give this Johny Come Lately the Time of Day, much less burn a perfectly good 7th Rounder on'm??
1 ~ 478 in the 40 Yard Dash ~ Better than every single Defensive Tackle at the Combine ~ #1. The next closest guy near his Weight was Nick Williams, at 494. 494!!. That gap between #1 and #2 is flabbergasting.
2 ~ 438 in the Short Shuttle ~ Better than every single Defensive Tackle at the Combine ~ #1.
3 ~ 125 Inches in the Broad Jump ~ Better than every single Defensive Tackle at the Combine ~ #1. The next closest guy near'is Weight was the phenomenal Sheldon Richardson, at 116 Inches. That Gap is ridiculous.
4 ~ 35 Inches in the Vertical Jump ~ Better than every single Defensive Tackle at the Combine ~ #1. Starting to sense a Theme, here? That was 2 full Inches better than anyone else in'is Weight Class, so to speak.
And he has a phenomenal 35 Inch WingSpan.
Nobody needs to tell me that a great Athlete does not necessarily make a great FootBall Player.
But if you've read any of this kid's Interviews ~ oh, I highly recommend them ~ his Character ~ his Ambition, his Intelligence, his Vision, his Passion and his raw, human Brilliance ~ are as utterly amazing as his Athleticism.
Indeed, here's a Link to some remarkable Quotes at his London Pro Day, if you're interested:
The fact that nobody drafted this kid is mind-boggling.
True, he's going to need a Year or two or three to get there...But it seems to me that 32 Teams have made note of the thousands and thousands of tremendous Athletes who've never Made It...and drawn spurious Conclusions.
Lawrence Okoye has The Heart of a Lion, Ladies & Laddies.
And my money is on'm making a substantial Impact in Year 2...and rapidly ascending from there...to Stardom.
The Miners' 2013 Draft is evocative of The Game of the Century ~ Bobby Fisher's magnificent MasterPiece.
Having absolutely butchered their 1st Pick in spectacular fashion ~ according to my hilariously unqualified self ~ they then followed through this disastrous opening move by stringing together ~ in my opinion ~ an historic sequence, producing Steal after Steal after Steal of phenomenal, magnificent magnitude.
"A+" seems truly inadequate.
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-