Everyday we find out which players have been visiting which teams. We find out which players are doing private workouts for specific teams. This can be really useful information, but also highly confusing.
The biggest thing to understand is that players have to be judged on an individual basis. Think about the scouting process. In a little over a month, scouts will begin gathering information on rising Seniors for the 2013 draft. Teams will spend 6 to 7 months studying, interviewing, and researching those Senior players. That is a long, arduous process.
In late December and early January underclassmen will declare for the draft. Teams have much less time to research and study them. Those prospects can’t play in the Senior Bowl or Shrine Game so teams don’t have that avenue to watch them. The Scouting Combine is the first time when teams get to meet underclassmen up close.
One way teams make up for the lack of research with underclassmen is through pre-draft visits and private workouts. We hear a lot of teams are meeting with Dontari Poe and Michael Brockers. How many have brought in Devon Still? Teams know Still inside-out. Poe is a Junior from Memphis. Brockers is only a Redshirt Sophomore. These are guys that teams knew very little about. Both are very talented. That means teams must do as much as possible to figure out how to rate these players. Poe could be a star or a huge bust. Brockers could be a really good DT or just a grinder. Before taking or passing on players like this, teams must make sure they are comfortable with the grades given to the players.
When teams bring in underclassmen and small school guys, that doesn’t mean the teams necessarily like them. It means the teams are trying to make a decision. They might like the players. They might simply want to make sure that passing on them is the right thing to do. You never want to be dismissive when talking about a really talented player.
Imagine if the Giants passed on JPP because he lacked ideal production. Or if the Pats passed on Rob Gronkowski because of his injury history. Albert Haynesworth had issues when coming out of Tennessee, but I’m sure the Titans are glad they took him. Meet the players. Study the players. Then you have a better idea of who to take and who to pass on. It won’t eliminate draft busts. All you can do is be as well-informed as possible.
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The Seattle Seahawks are getting linked to a couple of interesting players: S Mark Barron and ILB Dont’a Hightower. Barron makes no sense because the Seahawks have a great pair of young Safeties in Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. So what gives?
Dallas (14), Philly (15), Jets (16), Cincy (17, 21), San Diego (18), and Chicago (19) all could either use Safety help or have young players that they may or may not like. My guess is that Seattle would love to trade pick 12 to one of these teams so that they can move back and target Hightower.
I have said plenty of times on here that Hightower isn’t an ideal fit as MLB in the 4-3. And that’s why Seattle might like him. Think about their defense. Red Bryant is the biggest 4-3 DE in the NFL. He can’t rush the passer at all, but is dominant vs the run. CB Brandon Browner lacks speed, but is 6-4 and a good physical CB. Kam Chancellor is one of the biggest Safeties in the NFL. Pete Carroll likes oddball pieces. He loves players that are physically dominant.
Hightower is up and down in that area. He doesn’t overpower blockers the way you expect on a consistent basis, but I do think he is the hardest hitter in the entire draft. He devastates players when hitting them at full speed. And Hightower is massive at 6-2, 265. He’s an oddball, physically imposing prospect. He doesn’t make sense for normal 4-3 defenses and that’s just why Carroll loves him.