Around the league
Around the league
The league's supplemental draft is next Thursday, and the top prize is Southern Cal defensive tackle Manuel Wright. He's a power player who has all the tools to be a quality NFL starter. He didn't always play up to those abilities at USC, but if he gets with the right team and realizes his vast potential, somebody will be getting a heck of a player. The word around the league is Wright will be taken in the third round, although it wouldn't be a shock to see him go in the second for this draft, which is held for players with special cases. Wright had academic troubles, which is why he's available; otherwise, he'd be starting for the Trojans this fall.
The late word is that Wright's stock is rising with a lot of teams. It makes sense. Seeing him, at 6-6 and 310 pounds, chase down Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers for a sack when the Trojans beat Cal last year was an impressive display of speed for a man his size. That ability has him moving up in the eyes of a lot of scouts and personnel people.
Another player who could be selected is Clemson receiver Roscoe Crosby, who's 6-2, 210 and has been timed at under 4.5 in the 40. He's a raw kid who impressed as a freshman in 2001 at Clemson, then quit to play minor-league baseball. He returned to school in 2003 but quit the team. He decided to enter this draft instead of using his three years of college football eligibility. It's a risky move, but with his size and speed, somebody might take a chance on him.
The team that uses a pick on a player in the supplemental draft will have to forfeit that pick in next April. For example, if a team uses a second-round pick on Wright, it would not have one next spring. That makes using a high pick risky, but we feel Wright is worth it. Some players who came into the league via the supplemental draft are Cleveland quarterback Bernie Kosar, Seattle linebacker Brian Bosworth and Jets receiver Rob Moore. All were first-round supplemental picks.
The National Football Scouting and Blesto scouting services, which do a lot of the preliminary scouting around the league, recently held their summer meetings to release their grades on 2005 college seniors. This has typically been a laughable thing for many team scouts, who actually do the brunt of the real evaluation. "It's nothing more than a starting point," said one team's personnel director. "Look at some of their rankings heading into the seasons from years past. They don't come close." An AFC scout added, "They're a bunch of young guys just starting out working for those services. That shows up in their grades." The teams that subscribe to the services use them mostly for a place to start. National ranks USC quarterback Matt Leinart as the sixth-best prospect. That's a joke. Leinart will be one of the top two or three players picked next April.
Jason White won a Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma in 2003 and then had another good year last season. Then he didn't get drafted. Now we might know why. Three of White's receivers -- Mark Clayton, Mark Bradley and Brandon Jones -- have their new NFL teams excited about their chances of being contributors as rookies. Clayton, a first-round pick by the Ravens, is expected to push for a starting job right away; Bradley, who has already signed his contract as Chicago's second-round pick, has the deep speed the Bears will need opposite Muhsin Muhammad; Jones, a long strider taken in the third round by the Titans, impressed during the team's summer work while catching some balls from White, who the Titans signed as a free agent. Throwing to Clayton, Bradley and Jones, it's no wonder White looked as good as he did.
The Falcons have decided to keep Peerless Price and give him a chance to redeem himself for two lackluster seasons since they traded a first-round pick to get him two years ago. But there are some inside the Falcons building who think Price has been open more than his numbers indicate. That means Michael Vick hasn't used him enough. The feeling is that Vick doesn't look to the receivers enough and instead uses tight end Alge Crumpler as his security blanket too much. That was something Price said to me late last season, although he didn't quite come out and blame Vick. Instead, he told me to watch the tapes. Word is those tapes show Price open. So why not give him another shot?
The Falcons also have Michael Jenkins, a 2003 first-round pick, and Roddy White, a 2004 first-round pick, in the mix at receiver to go with Brian Finneran and Dez White. The word is that Roddy White didn't show as well as the Falcons say he did during the team's offseason work. In fact, some said he came across as a cocky player who needed to be taken down a peg. So don't be surprised when the smoke clears if Price is again one of the team's starting receivers. Maybe he'll finally get some use.
The weak spot of the Saints defense is linebackers, but the coaching staff is high on second-year player Colby Bockwoldt. He came on last season to become a starter in the second half, which surprised a lot of people. Bockwoldt was a seventh-round pick who showed more speed than expected. He has bulked up in the weight room, and the Saints think he'll be better equipped to handle the running game. He should be one starter at linebacker with Courtney Watson and James Allen. Rookie Albert Fincher could push Watson at middle linebacker, which would force Watson outside.
Shaun Alexander told a Seattle newspaper this week that he would not sign the one-year franchise tender and would hold out if he didn't get a long-term deal. Guess what, Shaun? You're not getting one. Alexander, despite what he said, will eventually sign the franchise tender of $6.32 million. He's not going to sit out and pass up all that money. The Seahawks tried to trade him the past couple of months, but they got no takers. That's because teams are reluctant to trade for a player and then have to give him a big-money deal. Running backs can be found in the draft, and backs wear down as they move toward 30. Alexander will be 28 next month, so he's getting there.
If Fred Taylor is not healthy by mid August, the Jaguars could consider a move for Alexander, although that's unlikely. And would Seattle trade him to Jacksonville, considering they open with them? The reality is Alexander is probably stuck. So he signs the tender offer, takes a long-term deal to the Seahawks' liking, or sits out. Count on his doing the first one. Nobody is dumb enough to leave $6.3 million on the table.
Just as we predicted months ago, Vikings coach Mike Tice got away with a fine after being caught scalping Super Bowl tickets. Why just a $100,000 fine? The NFL wanted this mess to go away. Tice, we hear, was ready to take down a bunch of people in the league for doing the same thing if he was suspended or fired. That was enough for the NFL to back down and just fine him. Scalping Super Bowl tickets is a dirty little secret in the league, something a lot of front-office personnel and coaches do. By letting Tice off easy, this might prevent a major scandal for the league.
Don't buy into those Terrell Owens trade rumors, particularly the one that had him going to the Raiders for Jerry Porter. That won't happen because Porter signed a new deal this spring that included a $7 million signing bonus, and a trade would accelerate it onto this year's salary cap. The other thing that might hold up the deal, something lost on most everybody when talking about it, is that Porter turns 27 next week while Owens will turn 32 in December. That's a big age difference, one any smart personnel man would use to prevent any such trade. Raiders personnel man Mike Lombardi is too smart to trade Porter for Owens. Porter has more good years left, and he runs better. That isn't to say he's better, but the potential is there. Plus, could you imagine Owens and Randy Moss together? They're great separate, but together, they could be a nightmare.
The Jaguars are in serious trouble at RB. With Taylor healthy, they hoped to convert Greg Jones (2nd year, Florida State) to fullback and a back-up role.
Either they're scamblin' to sign a proven runner or are gonna be forced to count on Jones to step up and carry the load. Or both. They have several young guys at the position. The staff there knows what they're doin' or they were caught with their pants down....
I suspect it's gonna be a long season for Jax. The D will keep them in a game or two.
I think it starts with an S
Then ends with an AINTS
Can anyone help me out here?
I thought the draft was today??? Also correct me if I am wrong, There usually isn't many teams that pick in this draft due to giving up draft picks for the next reg. draft. I don't see many picks this year either... so teams will pick up players as FA/s
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