Reads Listens Views-NFL Draft Day 1 Edition 4/27/2012

If you can look at Irvin’s game through the lens that he can learn better technique to stay low, learn a change-up move, and learn to diagnose run plays with extra work, the physical talent is evident. Read more below.


That was quick. And as someone who loves evaluating players and has less patience for waiting on picks, I loved how fast the first round flew by. I’m going to share some takes, but in case you’re new to this blog, here’s a list that includes seven first-round picks that I’ve analyzed in detail in recent months so I don’t have to rehash anything.

While I’m not a huge fan of Brandon Weeden, I see the logic behind the strategy to trade up to insure they got Trent Richardson and traded down to land the Oklahoma State quarterback. While I have Weeden lower than most, I see his potential as a starter. I dislike how he manages pressure and that’s probably the biggest reason he wasn’t what I considered a first-round bargain. However, if Richardson can supply the ground game the Browns at least had with Peyton Hillis two years ago, Weeden is good enough from a clean pocket to have some success and grow into the job. Greg Little and Justin Blackmon are similar style players. I wasn’t surprised by this strategy, but hoped (too idealistically) they would wait a little longer for a quarterback.

I was surprised by the Cardinals selection of Michael Floyd. I thought Melvin Ingram was the best fit here. I also thought there was enough receiver depth to make Larry Fitzgerald happy and still land an impact player at another position of need. However, Floyd has the potential to make Arizona an awfully attractive spot for a free agent quarterback and linemen if neither Kevin Kolb nor John Skelton pan out. I’m actually more interested to see who wins the battle for the “Steve Breaston role,” Early Doucet or Andre Roberts. I have always liked Roberts, but Doucet admittedly has made enough strides to make this a dead heat.

I can’t wait to see Seattle edge rusher Bruce Irvin in the preseason. He’s the ultimate boom-bust player in terms of talent-character-experience. To run a 4.4, accumulate 23 sacks in two years, and claim zero coaching on the position? Fascinating. I like Pete Carroll’s daring. He is not afraid to take guys with questionable backgrounds. I think that speaks well of him in some respects, because there’s a part of Carroll that needs to be able to relate well to these men in order to succeed with his style of leadership. I admire what I know about him.

Melvin Ingram to the Chargers was shocking. I would have thought Pete Carroll would have liked Ingram more than Irvin. There’s no way Ingram should have dropped this far. I’m still reeling that Courtney Upshaw is still available when Nick Perry and Chandler Jones were selected ahead of him. David DeCastro to Pittsburgh

The most pleasant surprise of the night was Kendall Wright going to Tennessee. I like that the Titans are working to infuse this offense with weapons. Jake Locker has the athleticism to run more spread concepts and a fast-break offense with Wright, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, Damian Williams, and that former East Carolina wide receiver-turned-2000-yard rusher, could be dangerous. I don’t know if they have this in the works, but if I can envision it I’m sure they have, too.

The one player I had thoughts before the draft that I might have missed on was Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins. A lot of people I respect seemed to like him as a pick in the 2nd-3rd round. I didn’t see enough from his routes to feel comfortable ranking him nearly my top-20 at the position. I actually look at his ranking just below Rishard Matthews of Nevada and cringe. However, even with what I perceive to be an error in judgment on my part, I still think Jenkins as a first-round pick was still as much as two rounds too high.

Greg Schiano recruited and coached Ray Rice. LaGarrette Blount is at best a more agile Brandon Jacobs until he learns to pass protect. Something tells me the Bucs have little faith in him and that something is Doug Martin, a back that reminds me of a combo of Rice and Frank Gore.

Last but not least, I warn you not to write off Blaine Gabbert just yet. Not because of the Justin Blackmon selection, but the presence of Mike Mularky. I think he can tailor an offense that will minimize Gabbert’s weaknesses and play to his strengths far better than Jack Del Rio’s regime. The pressure sensitivity is a concern, but can you name a good Jacksonville receiver that would have started for any team other than perhaps the Browns or Bears? I think I can post a good counter argument if you come up with answer.

Get the 2012 Rookie Scouting Portfolio for the most comprehensive analysis available of skill players in this class.


Tomorrow I will be on the air with Bill Smith of Frying Pan Sports as a co-host for his draft show at 6:30 pm as we watch and react to the second and third rounds.

The Dave Holland Quintet – Perhaps the best band on earth today that plays improvised music.


Here’s an in-depth report on Arizona State LB Vontaze Burfict. The link is to the Q&A of Burfict, but Part I is a narrative of the events of his life.

A PBS video report of the Michael Vick dogs five years after his arrest and conviction. If you think the Pit Bull breed is dangerous I probably won’t be able to convince you otherwise. However, it won’t keep me from showing otherwise.

Steph Stradley is a blogger for the Houston Chronicle known as the Texans’ Chick. She’s also an attorney as is her husband. Here’s an enlightening Q&A about the Jerry Sandusky case from the point of view of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Michigan has a racism museum that collects items from our history that depict people in some of the most ugly stereotypes imaginable. Knowledge can lead to wisdom. Here’s a chance to grow more knowledgeable about the pervasiveness of ignorance.

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