*We will have several staff members in attendance at the NFL Draft, as well as being in NYC by mid-week if you want or need to be contact, please feel free to provide us with a contact number, email, IM or any/all other ways to communicate with us on or before draft day, especially on Sunday afternoon in the later rounds and then leading to the all important 1-2 hours following the draft when PFA's are being contacted and signed... one of the available IM's for our staff will be draftjm13... as well as calling (504) 415.9979.
*For those who have not followed or received the reports during the previous three drafts... in between DAY ONE and DAY TWO, and then following the 7th round... you can send us your prospect/player information that will be immediately sent out to all 32 NFL Teams... the example method for this process will be as follows: (School), (Position), (Name), (HT, WT, workout results and your (agent) best contact info either phone or email)... last year alone over 70 of the profiles that were sent out between rounds 6, 7 and post-draft saw the players be drafted, signed or added to a team's rookie mini-camp.
*Any/all media requests for observations, player notes, draft pick reviews or profile/bio info on those players selected by your individual team can all be sent to [email protected].. please include your deadline or time frame, so they can all be addressed accordingly.
*An updated version of the "TEAM NEEDS" chart will appear in FRIDAY'S report... again SATURDAY after the first three rounds... SUNDAY AM before "Day Two" starts and finally post-draft in preparation for PFA and FA signings... we have also updated it as of today and posted it at the end of today's report.
*Think that it is too early to get a jump start on the 2006 NFL Draft... well then you are looking to get left behind... our staff can help organize or contribute to your organization, franchise, player rep recruiting list or media coverage now so that you will be ahead of the curve when the new cycle of scouting starts later this spring... please contact our office over the next few weeks for more information.
*Since you can never have enough great information on each year's NFL DRAFT be sure to visit and purchase a copy of GMJR... the only hard-copy draft publication that is authored by a former NFL scout, Russ Lande, who has scouted in the league with both the Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams... a valued opinion and great friend to our staff, Russ' insight are valued by anyone who has ever read his material... he also has a very unique grading system for quarterbacks, which he learned while working with noted quarterback guru Mike White, a 17-year veteran of the NFL, who currently holds the title of Director of Football Administration with the Kansas City Chiefs... so visit www.gmjr.com/order_now.html for more information about obtaining this useful resource for your draft day enjoyment.
"MEMORY OF #51":
Having grown up outside New York City my first chance to see a Pro football game upclose came at a USFL game, since most family members felt I was just going through a faze and would grow out of my youthful fascination with football, so they did not want to pay the price of going to a NFL game, feeling I would grow tired or get antsy in the seat by the end of the first quarter.Â That would be the first time I saw Sam Mills in-person, but thankfully not the last.Â Years later, as was adjusting to my new life down in New Orleans, a well-dressed and smiling Mills came into a downtown restaurant where I was seated in the waiting area, he walked slowly towards me and sat down as if he was a regular guy waiting to be met by family or friends.Â Within a few minutes I brought up the nerve to say hello and we spoke for several minutes, as he told me he was headed to Carolina for what he said was the next phase of his career.Â Fast forwarding to the present time, I was in-town for the NFL Combine in Indianapolis a few years back, and after one of the days that had me wondering when or if any of the doors to success would open I packed my bag and headed out to the side door of the Convention Center, as I made my way down the long hall, a familiar face stood close to the door talking on a cell phone.Â I waved "John Murphy, have a good evening Coach Mills" was all I said, as I figured he had an even longer day than I, but without missing a beat he turned my whole week around in a single moment... "Hey, your the guy with all the emails right I spoke to one of my friends down in New Orleans, Buford Jordan, and he told me to look out for you", said a smiling Mills, who had no idea what a quiet relief he had given to me.Â We continued to walk back towards his hotel, eventhough I honestly told him I was in the same direction, but was really walking the complete opposite way.Â Mills quoted several items on linebackers I had written about and even said that he circled a few lesser-known guys he planned to watch tape on.Â I came across him later on that evening at a local establishment, and he welcomed me into his party like I was one of his life-long friends, telling me to give out business cards to anyone within ear shot of his voice.Â It was a very humbling moment to see someone be so genuine and at a time that I was in need of some positive re-enforcement.Â Sam Mills was a one-of-a-kind on the football field, a well-respected coach, but a first ballot Hall of Fame person, as even with all the trials and tribulations he faced in recent years he would occasionally send me a short note always saying thanks and letting me know I was on the right track to success... I will agree with his assessment if I can follow the path he showed me... that you can be successful in this business, while keeping your priorities in order at all times... that would be my thank you to him, as he will be remembered and missed.
"WHAT'S BEING SAID":
The current sticking points to the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS getting a possible contract done with UTAH junior quarterback ALEX SMITH seems to be the final two years of what would be a six-year deal... while the 49ers seem to realize they are likely to pay roughly the same $24 million dollars awarded to Eli Manning (NY Giants) over the first two years of his contract... they do not want to have the back end (final two years) value be in excess of $20 million dollars, as it would likely cause his deal to be re-negotiated after the first four years... and when you add in the fact that most evaluators believe that Alex Smith will take 2-3 years to fully develop there is a real concern that signing him to a contract similar to Manning's could hamstring the teams overall ability to re-stock a roster that still needs a lot of work... there is also an excellent overview of this done by Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle in Tuesday's edition.
Former #2 overall first-round draft pick DARRELL RUSSELL has been reinstated by the NFL meaning that he is now free-and-clear to sign with any one of the 32 NFL teams... he was drafted second overarll by the Oakland Raiders in 1997, earning Pro Bowl appearances in 1998 and 1999.
He showed the ability to control the line of scrimmage and change the game from his defensive tackle spot thanks to his combination of size, speed, strength and power. "He's (Russell) is in better shape than most of the guys about to enter the draft... (I) have been impressed by his progress and work ethic", according to his trainer Derek Samuel of M.P.T.
Russell was recently timed at under 4.90 in the 40, while weighing in at 6'4", 345 pounds.Â "(I) would be grateful for any team that would give me another chance to prove myself... not only as a player but to maybe get back my name", explained Russell, who went on to say, "(I) think that I could still get back to contributing the way I did back in '98 and '99, but if it takes proving myself all over again that is what I would be willing to do".
Although it might seem to be a long time ago, Russell will actually turn only 29 years old in late May (5/27/76), so there is hope that he can still continue to turn his life around both on-and-off the field.
Please feel free to contact Darrell Russell or his agent for more information, as he is interested in setting up visits or possible workouts with any/all teams following the draft.
BALTIMORE RAVENS have been reviewing mid-to-late round running backs with heavy interest throughout the evaluation process... they are expected to select a running back somewhere between the third and fifth round... they have also spent additional time evaluating early-to-mid round offensive lineman with an eye towards drafting both a tackle and guard at some point of the draft.
CAROLINA PANTHERS have been slotted an offensive tackle in many of the "Mock" drafts available in other outlets, but one item that seems to have missed its mark with the selections given to them is that the Panthers are now in the market for a LEFT tackle, as they have moved Jordan Gross back to the right side, so guys like Alex Barron (Florida State) or Khalif Barnes (Washington) could be heavily discussed when they get on the clock.
CLEVELAND BROWNS have been reviewing early-to-mid round defensive tackles with heavy interest throughout the evaluation process... they are expected to draft at least one if not two defensive lineman during the draft with a pick as early as the 2nd or 3rd round.
DALLAS COWBOYS may have an internal tug-of-war if both MARYLAND junior defensive end/linebacker SHAWNE MERRIMAN and TROY STATE senior defensive end/linebacker DEMARCUS WARE are on the board when they go on the clock... while many believe that Merriman has put himself in position to be drafted in-or-aroudn the Top-10... there might be no player in the draft that has moved up more since the Combine than Ware who is now likely to be taken in the Top-15 picks.
DENVER BRONCOS have traded their first round pick (#25) to the WASHINGTON REDSKINS for their third round choice (#76) in this year's draft... plus their first round and fourth round picks in the 2006 NFL Draft.
DENVER BRONCOS now recoup the third round pick they had to forfeit for salary cap infractions... it gives them added flexibility in next year's draft with a pair of first round selections... and the team felt that they did not see a player that would be available at #25 that would have made a great enough impact to pass on getting the value they received from the Redskins... the BRONCOS now have picks #56 and #76 in the first day.
HOUSTON TEXANS obtained the rights to cornerback PHILLIP BUCHANON from the OAKLAND RAIDERS for their second round pick (#47) and third round pick (#78) in this year's draft... it moves cornerback down the "Team Needs" of the Texans, while moving it back up some on the Raiders board... the RAIDERS now have picks #38, #47, #69 and #78 in the first day.
MIAMI DOLPHINS are the focal point of any/all trade offers at the top of the draft board... as teams feel that they will hold the key to how the rest of the Top-10 picks play out... so while teams might make similar offers to the CLEVELAND BROWNS for pick #3 it is likely that the Dolphins would get a little bit more from those looking to move up... based off of who the San Francisco 49ers select... the Dolphins could field offers from Minnesota (#7, #18 and possibly another pick) or Tampa Bay (#5, #36 and possibly a late round pick)... they are also expecting to make a move with veteran cornerback Patrick Surtain, possibly during the first day of the draft, which would give them potentially 5-6 day one selections if they were to pull off multiple deals.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS would gain much greater flexibility with their two first round choices (#7, #18) should they receive the rights to restricted free agent defensive end AARON KAMPMAN, who they signed to an offer sheet last Friday... the GREEN BAY PACKERS have until Friday to match the offer or receive the Vikings' fifth round pick in Saturday's draft... should the Vikings get Kampman... they will likely turn their attention elsewhere at pick #18... which could also effect which defensive ends are still on the board when the Packers select #24... also, don't be surprised if the Vikings make an early move to secure an interior offensive lineman, possibly someone that can play center, as there is some concern over the health of starting center Matt Birk, who is recovering from having surgery to repair hernias on both sides.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS are eyeing the chance to select one of the remaining top-rated quarterbacks at the back end of the first round with AUBURN senior quarterback JASON CAMPBELL being the main target... it will also allow the Redskins greater flexibility early in the draft should Campbell come off the board or the team decide to go in another direction... there are a handful of teams that feel that Campbell's accuracy and the way he throws such a catchable ball and leads his receivers (which can allow for big plays after the catch) could allow him to be the top-rated signal caller in this draft 3-5 years down the line.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS could decide to add another offensive weapon, wide receiver or tight end with their first round (#30) selection should a player they do not expect to slide down to them still be available.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS have declined to match the DETROIT LIONS offer to restricted free agent offensive tackle KYLE KOSIER, who now has a one-year contract with the Lions... the 49ERS will receive the Lions' seventh round selection (#223) as compensation for the rights to Kosier... the 49ERS felt that it was too much to give Kosier who would then become an unrestricted free agent at year's end.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS have been reviewing late-round fullback prospects with the idea of spending a "Day Two" selection to add a versatile fullback that can catch and run with the ball as much as being a lead blocker... they have also evaluated a number of mid-to-late interior offensive lineman with the objective of finding a player that can play center/guard, as a reserve for right now, but with the potential to step into the lineup in 2-3 years.
*Now that the DENVER BRONCOS have dealt their first round pick (#25)... the first round selections that are most likely to be available/dealt within the first 32 picks are MIAMI (#2), CLEVELAND (#3), HOUSTON (#13), CINCINNATI (#17), MINNESOTA (#18), DALLAS (#20), SEATTLE (#23), SAN DIEGO (#28)... meanwhile, the teams most likely to make a move up would be TAMPA BAY (#5), MINNESOTA (#7), NY JETS (#26), PITTSBURGH (#30) and PHILADELPHIA (#31).
ALABAMA senior offensive lineman EVAN MATHIS has received additional attention from Detroit and Indianapolis in recent days.
CLEMSON junior cornerback/return man JUSTIN MILLER ran into some trouble last weekend, as CNN/SI reported on Tuesday that he was arrested Saturday night for public disorderly conduct and noise violation... the Clemson Police Department says that he was released on bond, but have not made the official police incident report available.
DELAWARE senior cornerback/return man SIDNEY HAUGABROOK has received addtional attention from Indianapolis, Miami, NY Giants, Philadelphia and San Diego over the past week.
FLORIDA A&M senior wide receiver/return man ROD MILLER has additional game film available if teams want to contact his agent.
GRAND VALLEY STATE senior defensive tackle KEYONTA MARSHALL has drawn additional interest from teams that are looking for a run stuffing interior defender or nose tackle... there are some that believe that if he can get himself into better shape and shed a few pounds that he can develop into a starting caliber player in a few years... currently carries a late round to PFA type grade on many boards.
MURRAY STATE senior tight end JIMMY ST. LOUIS has received additional attention from the NY Jets in recent days.
NEBRASKA junior cornerback/return man FABIAN WASHINGTON had a private visit with Tampa Bay and also met with St. Louis sometime over the past few weeks.
NICHOLLS STATE senior running back COLT COLLETTI posted some of the best workout numbers in his limited Pro Day opportunities... ran at or below 4.50 both times along with 33 reps of 225 pounds... has a great attitude and approach to the game... might be able to perform along the lines of former small school standout Keith Elias, who spent time successfully in the NFL with Indianapolis and NY Giants.
NORTHERN IOWA senior linebacker DANNY TRIPLETT has continued to rehab from off-season knee surgery... he hopes to be full-go by the start of training camp... with the lack of ideal depth in this year's linebacker crop, especially at SLB... he's still a guy with some good upside potential as a PFA.
OKLAHOMA senior defensive tackle LYNN MCGRUDER is a player that has been identified as someone that has likely gone from being a late round selection at the end of the regular season to being more likely selected in the middle rounds of Saturday's draft... his impressive all-around Pro Day numbers surely have something to do with the recent improvement of his final grade.
RUTGERS senior offensive tackle RON GREEN has been cleared by his doctor to begin rehabbing his right shoulder, which was scoped in early March... the former JC All-American is currently 6060, 320 pounds... will likely be available for workouts by late-spring... please contact his agent for more information, including a full letter from the doctor, regarding his updated examination.
SHAW U. senior linebacker CHRIS PEAVY has impressed several teams that have been able to receive and evaluate more of his tapes from this past season, including the Pioneer Bowl (Tuskegee) and Las Vegas All-American Classic.
SHAW U. senior defensive tackle WALIF CAMPBELL has drawn additional interest after teams have been able to see his tapes from the East Coast Bowl, HBCU All-Star Classic and some games from the 2003 season... his size (6046, 334 pounds) has those looking for a possible run stuffer or nose tackle taking a closer look at him as a PFA or FA.
SOUTH CAROLINA junior wide receiver TROY WILLIAMSON is rated as the #1 wide receiver on at least 3-4 teams' draft boards.
SOUTH CAROLINA senior linebacker MARCUS LAWRENCE is rated between a late third to fifth round choice on most teams' draft boards.
SOUTH CAROLINA senior safety JAMACIA JACKSON has gained additional attention from several teams who have also looked at him with the idea of adding 5-10 pounds and converting up to play outside linebacker.
SOUTH CAROLINA senior safety/linebacker ROD WILSON has been cleared of all charges regarding an incident that saw several items stolen after the school decided to skip the post season after the season-ending fight that took place against Clemson... please contact his agent for more information, as their is a copy of the court/attorney letters available.
TEXAS A&M senior defensive tackle MARCUS JASMIN had an interesting senior campaign... but before the change in coaches he was a player on the rise... our staff was able to obtain several earlier game films on Jasmin, especially those of his sophomore campaign, where he had several dominating contests... besides that note... there are also a handful of teams that have also said they might decide to evaluate him further as a possible conversion to offensive tackle once he gets to mini-camp.
UNLV senior offensive lineman JOE CRUTCHFIELD has been working with Pro Bowl center Mike Flanagan (Green Bay), as the younger Crutchfield has been doing positional drills and snaps, as a center for several months... Flanagan has spent time with him teaching him the differences in technique between guard and center, which should help bolster his potential once he gets into mini-camp.
UTAH senior linebacker COREY DODDS has received additional interest from Indianapolis and NY Giants in recent weeks... he also has additional game film available if teams want to contact his agent.
NFL TEAM NEEDS (As of 4/20/05):
RB, CB, TE, DL, OG, S
OT, DL, WR, OLB, S, TE
DL, OG, WR, LB, CB, OL
DT, OL, CB, TE, RB, K
WR, OLB, OL, FS, TE, RB
WR, RB, DT, TE, QB, K, S
DL, OC, ILB, SS, WR, CB
OT, QB, RB, DL, WR, P
OLB//DE, S, OL, RB, LB, WR, K
CB, QB, WR, OLB, OL, P
DE, CB, OL, LB, DT, K
Green Bay Packers
OL, DE, LB, S, QB, TE
OT, DL, RB, WR, LB, S
CB, DT, OL, S, LB, RB
CB, OT, DL, WR, OLB, RT
Kansas City Chiefs
CB, LB, WR, QB, DL, P
RB, WR, NT, QB, CB, OT
WR, OL, RB, K, DL, TE
New England Patriots
LB, WR, S, OG, QB, RT
New Orleans Saints
OLB, DT, OL, WR, QB, K
New York Giants
WR, RB, FS, DE, OL, FB
New York Jets
CB, TE, RB, OT, DT, K
LB, NT, CB, SS, OG, RT
DL, OLB, RB, OL, TE, WR
OT, CB, TE, WR, DL, LB
San Diego Chargers
OT, WR, RT, DL, CB, LB
San Francisco 49ers
QB, WR, DL, RB, OL, CB, TE
DE, CB, OL, WR, RB, QB
St. Louis Rams
OT, CB, DE, S, TE, P
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
RB, WR, DL, TE, QB, S
CB, OT, WR, RB, K, RT
CB, DL, TE, LB, WR, OG
*Be sure to listen to Sporting News Radio's Draft Day coverage, featuring former NFL lineman and Fox Sports analyst Brian Baldinger, hosts Bob Shelton, Bob Berger, analyst Jim Sabo and Next Level Scouting's own John Murphy.
*Be sure to listen to ESPN (Florida) radio's Thursday night program (7-9pm) leading up to the NFL Draft featuring Orlando Alzugaray... you can find out more by visiting www.espn1080.com.
*Be sure to listen to Sirius' NFL Radio program each day leading up to April's NFL Draft.
*Next Level Scouting Staff members Dean Zarafonetis, Matt Jansen, Pat Schuster have also contributed to previous reports, as have Carlos Holmes, Josh Buchanan.
*All rights reserved by NextLevel Scouting, Inc. and John Murphy... any use of the material enclosed without the express written or verbal consent of NextLevel Scouting, Inc. or John Murphy is prohibited... John Murphy can be reached via phone or email at 504.415.9979 and [email protected]