Continuing our draft coverage here at GGN, we are proud to present a discussion with Will Spencer. 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. Scouting prospects since 2002, anything he doesn't know draft related, is probably not worth knowing.
In between his trip to Mobile, Alabama to cover the Senior Bowl, and covering the Scouting Combine, he has kindly agreed to sit down with GGN and discuss some of the prospects we have been talking about. If you are on twitter be sure to follow Will for the latest draft coverage, and instant updates from the Combine. As someone who followed his Senior Bowl updates throughout the week, I can assure you that it is well worth it.
GGN-In your opinion which one player helped his stock the most at the Senior Bowl last week, and which one player hurt his stock?
W.Spencer- Odrick was great to talk to. He's very candid about his abilities but knows that he always needs to strive to get better. Odrick impressed me in practices at the Senior Bowl, holding up well against double teams and disrupting the center of the pocket. I think Odrick is one of those guys that can be successful as either a 4-3 DT or a 3-4 DE, but I think he might have the most potential as a 5 technique in the entire draft. He needs to get a little bit stronger at the point of attack, but an NFL weight training program will make that happen
GGN-Cornerback is an area of need for this team, aside from Joe Haden, which Cornerback has impressed you the most for you to put them as the #2 CB in the draft?
W.Spencer- Cox is actually my third ranked cornerback in this class. He knows how to use his body well and has solid size at over 5'11" and 189 pounds. Cox is a willing tackler and isn't afraid of contact, something that seems to be lacking in the play of many college defensive backs. Perrish is also a very solid return man, taking back 2 punts and 4 kickoffs for touchdowns in his career at Oklahoma State. I've heard the are some maturity concerns with Perrish and he's been addressing the bowl game suspension head on to NFL scouts. All things considered, I think Cox will be taken at the top of the 2nd round
GGN-Of the possible OLB's that will be available at 29, which one do you see being a good fit in Rex Ryan's aggressive 3-4 system?
W.Spencer- One guy that I was really high on as a later round pick was Wisconsin DE/OLB O'Brien Schofield. O'Brien had a nice senior season at defensive end but made had to make the transition to OLB in the Shrine Game, where he absolutely shined. Schofield showed his quickness and flowed to the ball well for someone who hadn't played OLB before. His strong performance at the Shrine Game got him an invite to the Senior Bowl and he and I were actually on the same flight into Mobile. Sadly, O'Brien tore his ACL in the first day of practice at the Senior Bowl, so his stock came to a screeching hault. However, if he can recover successfully, he'll be a very nice developmental pass rusher and should make an immediate impact on special teams
GGN- The Jets may be looking for a solid slot receiver, if we decide against picking Shipley, or any other WR early, who has the potential later to fill this role?
W.Spencer- It's easy to say that the Raiders will provide another "shock selection," but I think the biggest surprise will come from the quarterbacks. Personally, I dont hold Clausen or Bradford as high as some and I think they are benefiting from a relatively weak QB class. Due to that, I could easily see a team taking a quarterback much earlier than expected and passing on more of a sure-fire pick. For example, I wouldn't be surprised if the Rams took a QB with the first overall pick, even though neither Clausen or Bradford are worth the pick and Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy would be a much safer pick. I could also see a team like Seattle or Buffalo taking a quarterback with their first pick, even though they have serviceable quarterbacks on their roster
GGN-Vernon Gholston, can we give up on him, or does he just need more time?
W.Spencer- I think Gholston has had enough time. I thought of him as a workout warrior when he was drafted and was never really impressed by his play at Ohio State. He wasn't able to perform against top offensive tackles and seemed pretty limited in his pass rushing skills. If I were the Jets, I'd be utilizing the uncapped year to absorb his cap hit and part ways with him. A guy like Rex Ryan is a master at finding late round talent that can rush the passer, so no need to keep an expensive guy around that won't even see the field.
GGN- What can we expect from Draft Breakdown regarding coverage of the scouting combine?
W.Spencer- I plan on doing a daily Combine blog, similar to what I had going while at the Senior Bowl. Sadly, the NFL does not allow media (other than NFL Network) into the actual Combine events, so I won't be attending. However, I'll be discussing the performance of players throughout the process and be bringing readers news, notes or rumors that I hear
GGN-Who are you expecting to have the best combine, and elevate his stock to a position that his play probably doesn't warrant?
W.Spencer- Jason Pierre-Paul of South Florida will probably be a workout warrior. He is freakishly athletic and that will boost his draft stock even more. He could wind up being the first defensive end taken in the draft, which I believe would be a mistake. I could easily see a team like Oakland taking Pierre-Paul with their pick, even though Derrick Morgan of Georgia Tech is a much more polished and talented defensive end
GGN-One final question and we will let you go, you're Mike Tannanbaum, you hold the 29th selection in the 2010 NFL draft, what do you do with it?