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MLB in the 2008 Draft: Round 1

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Posted 04-16-2008 at 08:59 AM by hagan714
Updated 06-12-2008 at 07:19 AM by hagan714

1. Dan Connor, Penn St., 6-3 233 4.67

Blue collar. That's the word heard most often when describing Dan Conner. The Penn State Senior linebacker has been nothing short of a tackling machine since the first game of his freshman year. Conner led Penn State with 145 tackles this year. Conner doesn't just wait for backs to come at him to be tackled. Conner has experience playing both inside and outside on the line backing core, both with equally impressive results. The best news for NFL teams is that Conner is probably a slightly more athletic version of Paul Posluszny. What you get with Conner is a smart, versatile linebacker who never misses a tackle. Above average athleticism with sideline-to-sideline range. Physically aggressive and will deliver the big hit. Possesses brut strength. Excellent size for the position. Smart with excellent awareness and instincts. Does a solid job in coverage. Versatile. A hard worker and leader with an intense and competitive non-stop motor. Has a lot of experience against top competition.

A tad undersized and needs to bulk up and will have to bulk up. He isn't always stout at the point and has had trouble taking on blockers head-to-head.He is improving against the pass but needs to drop back more in coverage. A little rigid and mechanical. Lacks fluid hips to turn and run in man coverage. Had some maturity issues early in college.

Conner and Posluszny have a lot of similar skills and both have a nose for the football, always seeming to be in on the tackle. Could project inside or outside at the next level. He may have been a little over hyped by the media.

Was suspended for a few games in 2005 for making harassing phone calls to a former assistant coach.

Dan Connor had a fantastic Senior Bowl. Scouts have questioned his athleticism, but Connor showed he could move during drills. He's got great technique and instincts. Connor also recorded nine tackles and an interception for the North squad. Connor did nothing but prove that he may not look or seem athletic in shorts, but put him in pads and he's as good as any body out there.

Dan Connor declined to work out at the NFL Combine, because of nagging injuries from the Senior Bowl. Connor was weighed and measured and reportedly did very well during the interview process. Teams are impressed by his work ethic and his passion for the game.

Dan Conner finally got to show off his ability at Penn State's pro day. After missing combine workouts because of injury, Connor put on a show. He ran a 4.67 forty yard dash and a 4.25 second short shuttle. In addition to those drills, Connor registered 21 reps on the bench press, a 35 inch vertical leap, and a 9'7" long jump. Connor has first round talent as a inside or weakside linebacker. He may, however, have to wait until round two to hear his name called.

One of the tops at his position, Connor should be a mid 1st rounder

2. Jerod Mayo, Tennessee, 6013, 242, 4.54

Mayo is an outstanding physical specimen. He possesses great speed and agility and shows good strength and explosiveness as well. He has been very productive and made a smooth transition from OLB to ILB in 2007, where his athleticism has served him well. Mayo covers a lot of ground, as evidenced by his high number of tackles (140 tackles -- 79 solo). He's explosive off the ball, which makes him an effective blitzer and he's capable as a run stopper and in pass coverage. He's able to stop on a dime, square up, and redirect quickly, not falling prey to the jukes and moves of the ball-carrier. He has good instincts and is a hard hitter. He doesn't miss many opportunities to make tackles. Has terrific range and does a great job in pursuit Mayo is especially comfortable in coverage who is fluid & smooth in coverage. Smart with good awareness and instincts. Physical and plays bigger than he is. Plays aggressively and has a nice motor.

Mayo needs to improve at the point of attack and become better at shedding blockers, a key to success in the NFL. Despite his production, Mayo still shows some inconsistency. He'll make a great play and then get caught out of position on the next one. Undersized and doesn't have either the ideal height or bulk that you look for and will needs to be protected up front. He's not nearly as physical a player as he needs to be on the inside. He also needs to improve at closing down running lanes. He'll also miss tackles when he tries to blow up the ball-carrier with a shoulder instead of wrapping up. Durability may be an issue.

Mayo enjoyed a couple very good seasons for Tennessee. Best fit may be as a middle 'backer in a Cover 2 or he may do better with a return to WLB in a 4-3 scheme where he can utilize his athleticism and ability to read and react. Not a traditional thumper but he will prove awfully attractive to teams that are willing to sacrifice some size for speed.

Mayo also has some injury history, having missed the final 4 games of 2005 with a knee injury and then playing through a knee injury at the end of 2006.
Posted in 2008 NFL Draft
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  1. Old Comment
    hagan714's Avatar
    lol 1 out of two
    Posted 07-15-2008 at 05:26 PM by hagan714 hagan714 is offline

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