Afternoon GGN'ers, hope your all having a fine Monday. We are pleased to say that we had the oppurtunity to talk to Will Spencer of Draft Breakdown again recently, regarding the NFL combine, Pro Day work outs, and Jets specific prospects. So in between him jetting between pro days, we conducted the following Q&A.
If you would like to read the first "Draft Talk" with Will, then you can find it here
*Will is the founder and lead writer for Draft Breakdown, his work has been published on the Baltimore Ravens official website, Scout.com, Orange and Brown Report as well as Ravens Insider. Will is also a member of the Football Writers Association of America and graduated from the Sports Management Worldwide Scouting and General Manager class in 2009*
GGN: Lets start with the obvious post combine question, who in your mind helped their stock the most, and who hurt it the most with the workouts?
W.Spencer: It's easy to throw out a name like Bruce Campbell for who helped themeselves the most at Indy. However, I like to think that Ndamukong Suh helped himself more than any player. Suh has been my top player in the draft from the end of the college season, so you might ask why the top ranked player helped himself the most? The fact is, many people had Suh rated closely with Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy before the combine and McCoy was gaining steam. In fact, some were starting to say that McCoy was actually the better player of the two. Suh went into Indy with a bit of a chip on his shoulder and blew McCoy away in the workouts, outperforming him in every major category, including putting up 32 reps on the bench press to McCoy's 23. It's my belief that any doubts about Suh being the best player in the draft were washed away.
As for who hurt their stock, I'd say Brandon Spikes, the inside linebacker from Florida. I had Spikes ranked as a mid-2nd round prospect before the combine and received a lot of criticism for that. There were questions around Spikes' work ethic and his speed. I felt Spikes was trying to hide something by not going to the Senior Bowl and competing, and then he gets to the combine and decided to not run the 40 yard dash, which wasn't a surprise. Spikes looked extremely stiff in position drills. He couldn't stay low in bag drills and his hips looked as stiff as some offensive linemen. To follow it up, Spikes gets to his pro day and runs a 5.0+ 40 yard dash to which you could actually hear him tumble down big boards across the country. Spikes' speed suggests a third round pick at best, but given his play on the field, I'll hold true to my mid-2nd round grade, but would not be surprised if he slid into the bottom of 2, or top of 3.
Join us after the jump for more draft talk
GGN: Of the top 10 players on your board, who do you think is most likely to make a pro bowl first, and who would you say has the biggest bust potential?
W. Spencer: We actually just tweaked our big board, so this is a great questions. Out of the top 10, I'd say Suh (1) and Berry (2) could both make the Pro Bowl within 1-2 seasons. They're both just THAT good. As for biggest bust potential, I'd say Sam Bradford (7). Bradford has a lot of questions surrounding him right now and quarterback might be the hardest transition of any position at the next level. Bradford is going to be overdrafted based on a weak QB class and he'll wind up on a poor team with limited weapons, making it even harder for him to shine.
GGN: We have been hearing that the Jets really like Golden Tate, we met with him, I asked Ed Thompson from scout.com, he seemed to think he was the prospect we most had our eye on, what do you think? With the receivers we have, do you see Golden Tate as a can't pass up prospect for us?
W. Spencer: Not at all. I could easily see the Jets pass on Golden Tate and I highly doubt that Tate is the guy the Jets have their eye on the most. Rex Ryan LOVES defensive backs and pass rushers and will do anything to get them. Personally, I see the Jets taking some sort of defensive line/pass rusher in the first round. That could be Terrence Cody, the big nose tackle from Alabama who could be a great rotational guy with Jenkins. I'd also watch out for players like Jared Odrick to play the 5 technique, or edge rushers like Jerry Hughes of TCU if available.
I think Tate is being a bit overrated based on his workouts. He's a converted running back and while his straight line speed was fantastic at the combine (4.42) but his speed doesn't show up on film. Tate is a slot receiver at best in the NFL and I'm not sure a team would spend a first round pick on such limited potential. Personally, I could see the Jets waiting it out and possibly re-signing Coles to play the slot.
GGN: Onto another receiver, Erik Decker, I'm high on him, where is his stock right now? where can you see him being taken?
W. Spencer: Eric Decker is an interesting prospect. Not only did he record the highest score on the Wonderlic test (43), his smarts translate onto the field. He knows how to read coverages and how to find the holes in a zone. I like Decker as a late 2nd round pick and his stock could be higher depending on how teams view other wide receivers right now.
GGN: Can Decker work out of the slot in the NFL?
W. Spencer: Yes. Decker is a good with getting yards after the catch, and I really like him working the center of the field against linebackers or safeties.
GGN: You got the chance to interview Sean Weatherspoon recently, one of our members asked me to ask you, whether he has any value to 3-4 teams, can he be an effective inside player in a 3-4 system?
W. Spencer: He does and several 3-4 teams showed interest with him at the combine. However, I think he's much better suited to play the Will or maybe Mike positions in a 4-3 defense. Spoon has some trouble shedding blocks at times and having more big bodies in front of him would greatly benefit his game.
GGN: You also got to interview Jamar Cheney, a player that I think is being completely over looked, where is his stock sitting right now? and he seemed to hint he would prefer a 4-3 type system, do you think he could move inside on the 3-4?
W. Spencer: Chaney could also move inside and might be a bit better at making that transition than Weatherspoon. Chaney is a very athletic guy and reads the play well. Chaney interviewed with several 3-4 teams, so obviously someone else is thinking the same thing.
GGN: I also read in your interview that teams asked him if he had ever cheated on his girlfriend. What are the strangest questions you have heard teams ask a prospect?
W. Spencer I think there's a big trick question out there that teams ask and it's become pretty common. "What is the worst thing you've gotten away with." That puts the players in a very odd spot. Do you own up to doing something bad that you you were slick enough to not get caught for? Or do you want to reveal anything bad you've done? It's a tough one.
GGN: If you had to pick one mid round pick, around 3rd-6th round, which skill player that is set to be taken there could have the biggest impact on his team immediately in 2010, a little like Shonn Greene did for us?
W. Spencer: I like Brandon Deaderick, DE from Alabama. Many forget that Alabama is one of the few teams that run a 3-4 defense and Deaderick played the 5 technique there as well as a few other positions on the line. Deaderick isn't going to give you 8 sacks a season, but as a 5 technique that anchors the line in a 3-4 defense, he could make a huge impact. What's better is, Deaderick could be had somewhere in the 3rd-4th round area.
I could also see another Alabama player making a huge impact in the 3rd round in Javier Arenas. Arenas is an ideal fit at the nickelback position for any team and will make an immediate impact as a special teams player. Arenas also has the ball skills and coverage ability to play the #2 corner spot in a pinch.
GGN: If we do go with Tate early and we need to pick up a pass rushing linebacker in the 2nd round, who are the players that we should be looking at towards the end of the 2nd round?
W. Spencer Koa Misi is a pass rusher that you should keep your eye on. Misi played DE throughout his career at Utah, then went to the Senior Bowl as a linebacker, playing the Will position mainly. He has the abilities to put his hand on the ground and get after the QB, but also has the athletic ability to drop into coverage. Watch for Misi at the bottom of round 2.
GGN: Mount Cody seems to be working to drop a little bit of weight, and Rex Ryan personally attended the Alabama pro day, Mount Cody a fit for the Jets?
W. Spencer: Without a doubt. Jenkins is a very strong NT, but having health has been an issue. Imagine a rotation at NT between Jenkins and Cody. AFC East offensive linemen would be exhausted towards the end of the game and the Jets linebackers would be able to run around and make plays on every down.
GGN: Did you see the Sporting News magazine had him as a 7th round prospect, and they had Crompton rated higher than Clausen, what do you make of that?
W. Spencer: Yes. I saw that. The thing to remember is that many of these magazines are written WAY too early so they can get on the news stands. For example, I wrote an article for the USA Today Draft Preview magazine on Tim Tebow. The problem was, they needed the article by January 25th, which meant I couldn't write about Tebow at the Senior Bowl at all! The USA Today people went back and added a few lines to the article about the Senior Bowl, but you see the issue there.
That being said, some of the rankings in there were so far off, it was laughable. That's clearly the worst Sporting News Draft Preview I've ever seen.
GGN: A lot of people, really rate Brandon Graham and the Jets as a perfect match, what are the chances he is sitting there when we come to pick at #29?
W. Spencer: Slim. Brandon Graham is moving up draft boards while Sergio Kindle is falling. Kindle could be a good fit in Rex Ryan's defense as he was moved around at Texas similarly to how Ryan uses his linebackers. As for Graham, he's a great fit in the 3-4 defense but is quick enough to play DE in a 4-3. He doesn't have long arms, so he'll have to rely on his speed in playing in a 4-3, but the guy is a worker and uses sound technique.
GGN: If Graham is gone, is Jerry Hughes first round worthy?
W. Spencer: Absolutely. I'm still surprised that Hughes passed on the Senior Bowl, but he's worthy of a late first round selection. Hughes is one heck of a pass rusher and plays the run effectively. There were also packages at TCU where he rushed from a 2 point stance and even dropped into coverage, though that didn't happen too often.
GGN: Although all pro days are important in their own right, which prospect's pro day is most important to his stock?
W. Spencer: It's hard to not say Tim Tebow. Tebow didn't throw at the combine and couldn't afford to have his Senior Bowl performance be the taste left in the mouths of scouts and GMs. Tebow did improve his mechanics, but you could see that the longer the workout went on, he started to revert. Mechanics are almost impossible to completely change but you have to give him credit for working so hard at it.
GGN: Have you heard of the Jets scheduling any individual work outs with any prospects, and which players did you hear the Jets were most interested in at the combine?
W. Spencer: I've heard the Jets have worked out or scheduled to work out Mike Iupati, Toby Gerhart and Ryan Mathews. As for who they watched closely at the combine, Terrence Cody was a name that I've heard mentioned several times as well as Brandon Graham.
GGN: Lastly, any interviews lined up Draft Breakdown over the coming weeks?
W. Spencer: I just finished up an interview with North Carolina DT Cam Thomas, but haven't put it on the site yet. Players that are on my list to talk to include Devin McCourty and Arrelious Benn, but it all depends on how much time I have between pro days and scouting reports. I'll be at the UConn pro day on the 24th, so I'll be talking with Marcus Easley and Lindsay Witten there.
So all of us at GGN would like to thank Will for taking the time to talk to us. We realise that this is a very busy time for him. We encourage everyone to check out Draft Breakdown for prospect interviews, scouting reports as well as mock drafts. For instant updates from pro days like UConn's on the 24th, you can follow Will on Twitter @draftbreakdown.
Also keep your eyes out for another interview this week. Which is all I will say on that one for now.