• Draft Debate Points: Offensive line and Wide receivers

    I have watched just enough tape to be dangerous on this year's draft. Take what I say with the understanding that I have not watched more than a single game on any one of these players, but I have seen some extensive cut-ups from various games on each of these guys. Enough with the disclaimers, here goes.

    1) At offensive tackle I thought there was Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff and then a big gap to the rest of the tackles. David DeCastro was a good looking guard, but there really weren't other offensive linemen that looked ready to play right now in the NFL. I also did not see any gap between Kalil and Reiff. Much of the tape I watched I found myself thinking that Reiff was the better player. Reiff has an edge to him and plays nasty. He anchors v. the bull rush better and didn't get beat on inside moves as much as Kalil. Kalil is a top pick, but I'm not sure he is a top 5 talent in this draft.

    2) Of the receivers, Kendall Wright has the most polish. He knows how to play receiver better than any of the other guys. The issue is does he have any upside? Probably not much.

    Justin Blackmon doesn't look like he is a sub-4.5 guy on tape, but he has incredible hands and the toughness after the catch of Anquan Bolden. My concern is can he scare anybody deep?

    My pick would be Michael Floyd. I know my son plays for Notre Dame, but Floyd is a better down field route runner and plays faster than Blackmon. I really cannot give Blackmon the edge over Floyd the way that everybody else seems to do.

    The most interesting guy is Stephen Hill. He is very raw. He comes off the ball like he is jogging in the park. If he came off the ball like that when he ran the 40 it would have been a 4.7 instead of 4.3. But he is a 6'4" monster with great speed and every flaw I saw could be easily corrected. Any of those 4 guys would be welcome on my team. First round depth at WR is legitimate in this draft.

    More to come tomorrow.

    Comments 36 Comments
    1. StarvinMarvin's Avatar
      You gonna be doing this for the other position groups also Cris? As for your above opinions, I can't comment cuz other than UK and ND I don't do college ball enuf to know any better.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      In the interest of extending the conversation on each subject:

      1. The knock I have seen on Reiff is that "he is more of a right tackle." What on earth does this mean? Can you see things on tape that point this way? I assume it has something to do with the ability to handle rushers with two out of three in speed, power, and moves.

      2. You say Wright might not have much upside compared to his current skill set. ow much more does he need? He ruins college corners. Is there reason to think he won't be able to consistently perform enough better than pros to be a very good receiver? If you have something to look for, I'd love to learn it. If it's a feel thing, that's fine, too.

      With the Floyd/Blackmon dilemma, how much of the perception gap do you think might be due to the DUI, the QB's (I have to believe Weeden makes 81's job easier from time to time than does the dude at ND for 3) and the fact that Blackmon is following Dez "The Brittle Flake" Bryant?

      On Stephen Hill, have you seen tape on his drops? I don't know how many there might have been, but the biggest performance knock I read is that he doesn't make the routine catches as often as you would like when using the word "routine." And THAT I don't think is as correctable as I might hope if I want him to excel from the beginning.

      I am curious about your thoughts on Reuben Randle and Nick Toon as well. Some dude named Brian Quick also seems to be climbing the receiver charts, and I have never seen a photo of him. Anything there, if you've seen some tape? These are guys who likely will be available to every team, as I expect Blackmon and Floyd to be top 10 and Wright to be top 25.
    1. Docta's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottDCP View Post
      In the interest of extending the conversation on each subject:

      1. The knock I have seen on Reiff is that "he is more of a right tackle." What on earth does this mean? Can you see things on tape that point this way? I assume it has something to do with the ability to handle rushers with two out of three in speed, power, and moves.

      I am curious about your thoughts on Reuben Randle and Nick Toon as well. Some dude named Brian Quick also seems to be climbing the receiver charts, and I have never seen a photo of him. Anything there, if you've seen some tape? These are guys who likely will be available to every team, as I expect Blackmon and Floyd to be top 10 and Wright to be top 25.
      He's probably means that Reiff's better at run blocking than pass. You put your best run blockers on the right side as that's where you run most often.

      And I'm also curious about what you think about Randle. I like him more than Hill, since Hill is extremely raw.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottDCP View Post
      On Stephen Hill, have you seen tape on his drops? I don't know how many there might have been, but the biggest performance knock I read is that he doesn't make the routine catches as often as you would like when using the word "routine." And THAT I don't think is as correctable as I might hope if I want him to excel from the beginning.
      Living where I do and watching (and going to )Tech games, I too think that Hill dropped too many passes. Not hard ones, but easy ones that were vitally important to his team. I would not put a lot of trust in his powers of concentration or his clutch receiving.
    1. BuckeyeRidley's Avatar
      I agree that Matt Kalil is going to make an impact in the NFL. I think here we'll see a USC guy that won't be deemed a bust or had just an "ok" or inconsistently good career. I think that there are talented USC guys like Reggie Bush in the NFL now but when you see his career in the League, I expected more with his #2 pick status. DeCastro I think is going to make an impact as well; both he & Kalil are poised to be significant contributors with their rookie seasons & in their careers.
    1. vancemeek's Avatar
      There is talk among some that Reiff may fall quite a bit. I predicted Buffalo at 10 in my mock. I also have Floyd high, going just one pick after Blackmon to Jacksonville. One problem with Hill is that he played in an offense that didn't allow a lot of catches. His raw talent is off the charts though. I'd love Wright to Cincy at 21, depending on who is available BTW.
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      Something about Blackmon just says Crabtree 2.0 to me.
    1. mikesteelnation1's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by msclemons View Post
      Something about Blackmon just says Crabtree 2.0 to me.
      Agree 100% clem. He's not a top half of the round receiver. Not big enough or physically dominant enough for that.. {perhaps we wait for the contract hold out and "foot injuries" prior to training camp before wr give him that official moniker?}
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      DeCastro is getting all the love at guard and he is a fine player. But take a look at Kevin Zeitler out of Wisconsin on tape. He mauls people,very physical. High motor, 100% effort guy. Can also play center, which adds to his value. I like him even more than DeCastro.
    1. Russell S Baxter's Avatar
      You never know how this things play out but Zeitler would be perfectly suited to replace G Ben Grubbs (signed with Saints) in Baltimore. Could be ideal pick at #29 and the ability to play center means he could also be eventual replacement for C Matt Birk...
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lapham View Post
      DeCastro is getting all the love at guard and he is a fine player. But take a look at Kevin Zeitler out of Wisconsin on tape. He mauls people,very physical. High motor, 100% effort guy. Can also play center, which adds to his value. I like him even more than DeCastro.

      Really like Zeitler. I think DeCastro is a little more athletic and nimble in pulling, but I think Zeitler is stronger, which is saying something because DeCastro is very strong.
    1. StarvinMarvin's Avatar
      Question for Lap or anyone else that cares to reply (and sorry to make this a Bengals ?) So if Zeitler & DeCastro are sitting there at either pick (17 & 21) who would you take. Are you going back to a pulling run game with the Law Firm and whoever or looking for more between the tackles? Also what would the impact be on the passing game if any choosing 1 over the other? Thanks.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottDCP View Post
      In the interest of extending the conversation on each subject:

      1. The knock I have seen on Reiff is that "he is more of a right tackle." What on earth does this mean? Can you see things on tape that point this way? I assume it has something to do with the ability to handle rushers with two out of three in speed, power, and moves.

      2. You say Wright might not have much upside compared to his current skill set. ow much more does he need? He ruins college corners. Is there reason to think he won't be able to consistently perform enough better than pros to be a very good receiver? If you have something to look for, I'd love to learn it. If it's a feel thing, that's fine, too.

      With the Floyd/Blackmon dilemma, how much of the perception gap do you think might be due to the DUI, the QB's (I have to believe Weeden makes 81's job easier from time to time than does the dude at ND for 3) and the fact that Blackmon is following Dez "The Brittle Flake" Bryant?

      On Stephen Hill, have you seen tape on his drops? I don't know how many there might have been, but the biggest performance knock I read is that he doesn't make the routine catches as often as you would like when using the word "routine." And THAT I don't think is as correctable as I might hope if I want him to excel from the beginning.

      I am curious about your thoughts on Reuben Randle and Nick Toon as well. Some dude named Brian Quick also seems to be climbing the receiver charts, and I have never seen a photo of him. Anything there, if you've seen some tape? These are guys who likely will be available to every team, as I expect Blackmon and Floyd to be top 10 and Wright to be top 25.
      Reiff may not be as athletic, but he is calmer at the point of attack and appears more physical. It is great to stop speed rushers, but the speed to power bull rush takes a man to handle. They are both good, but if I had never seen the ratings, I would have liked Reiff.

      Wright is just small. The other three guys are big and physical. Wright could be more of a slot guy in the pros too. But you make a good point, what is wrong with being good now?

      The drops were awful. Walk-in TD types. But, he is such an inexperienced receiver because of Ga. Tech's option offense. Very little pure route running so hard to judge. 6'4 and 4.3 is a good place to start teaching a WR.

      I saw Nick Toon and REALLY liked him. I tried not to, but thought he was very polished for somebody not in the conversation much. Not sure about his speed.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by StarvinMarvin View Post
      Question for Lap or anyone else that cares to reply (and sorry to make this a Bengals ?) So if Zeitler & DeCastro are sitting there at either pick (17 & 21) who would you take. Are you going back to a pulling run game with the Law Firm and whoever or looking for more between the tackles? Also what would the impact be on the passing game if any choosing 1 over the other? Thanks.
      Bengals almost have to take a corner, guard, WR, and probably another speed back early. This draft sets up well for those two picks for the Bengals. I think the Bengals could come out of this with a dangerous young team. The rest of the division may be better, but definitely older in key positions.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by StarvinMarvin View Post
      Question for Lap or anyone else that cares to reply (and sorry to make this a Bengals ?) So if Zeitler & DeCastro are sitting there at either pick (17 & 21) who would you take. Are you going back to a pulling run game with the Law Firm and whoever or looking for more between the tackles? Also what would the impact be on the passing game if any choosing 1 over the other? Thanks.

      I think you definitely take DeCastro at 17 if he's there unless somehow someone like Floyd or Richardson drops. Then you go CB or WR at 21. I think 21 is probably a little high for Zeitler, but I'd definitely trade down 5-6 spots and grab him.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Bill Polian was on a ESPN pre-draft show. Said Kalil isn't an elite tackle. Not strong enough. Not worth the 3rd pick. Said if he were the Vikes, he'd trade down, try to get Kalil, Reiff or another tackle later in the draft.
    1. vancemeek's Avatar
      I take DeCastro over EVERYBODY except Richardson. WR is deep, so I'd take DeCastro over Floyd and wouldn't even think about it.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      Bill Polian was on a ESPN pre-draft show. Said Kalil isn't an elite tackle. Not strong enough. Not worth the 3rd pick. Said if he were the Vikes, he'd trade down, try to get Kalil, Reiff or another tackle later in the draft.
      Bill Polian may very well be correct in his assessment, he certainly knows a whole heckuva lot more at player evaluation than me. But doesn't he just come across as a cranky old man?
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      Bill Polian ... doesn't he just come across as a cranky old man?
      Twenty five years ago, he came across as a cranky young man. No biggie.
    1. Pruitt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      Bill Polian may very well be correct in his assessment, he certainly knows a whole heckuva lot more at player evaluation than me. But doesn't he just come across as a cranky old man?
      And what is wrong with being a "cranky old man?"

      I am old enough - and cranky enough - to realize that so much of the pre-draft analysis is complete and utter nonsense. A pet peeve of mine - and being cranky and old, I have close to 500 "pet peeves" - are both NFL Draft analysts and Fantasy Football Experts. 99% of fans pay attention to them in the spring, but who bothers to check on their analysis after the fact.

      Kwame Harris is a close second to Jordan Gross, and may have the most upside of any offensive lineman in the draft. He is equally effective as a run and pass blocker and could be moved to left tackle in the NFL. Should go in the first half of the first round.