1. Offensive line upgrades, starters and depth.
First Round, Pick #11
Maurkice Pouncey, OC, Florida - 6'5, 304
There's no reason to detail this guy, you know who he is. He will be expected to make immediate impact.
Second Round, Pick #45
Sean Weatherspoon, ILB, Missouri - 6'1, 239
Registering over 400 in college, Weatherspoon is an absolute tackling machine. He's a jack of all trades and has no major weaknesses in his game. He can blitz, run-thump, and he's much better in coverage than McCalin. He's set to go off the board late 21st/early 2nd, so we may have to make a move to go up and get him. Taking Pouncey in the first is likely done after we get paid to move back a little, so whatever this move costs should be of no consequence. Weatherspoon would be an immediate upgrade from what we have and would not need to come off the field on 3rd downs.
CBS Draft Scout:
Read & React: Good instincts and reaction speed -- knows the game and plays very fast. Reads plays quickly. Easily identifies screen and bootleg and takes away the open check-down receiver in the flat. A bit overzealous against the run. Will take false steps, bite on play-action and run past the ball in the backfield.
Run defense: Very good chase defender who comes downhill in a hurry, especially if the play goes east-west. Scrapes down the line and finds the opening to attack the running back. Physical but tries to avoid linemen in traffic, picking his way through to the ball. Spies the quarterback to prevent long runs on scrambles, and will beat them to the corner from the middle. Usually takes the right chase angle, but is quick enough to recover if the ballcarrier cuts back. Will take on fullback and lineman blocks inside, but does not have the size or punch needed to regularly disengage. Also has troubles getting off run blocks from larger receivers.
Pass defense: Recognizes routes in zone coverage, and is quick enough to lay a lick on receivers coming into his area. Gets deep in his drop and covers a lot of ground. Good enough change-of-direction agility in space to stick with receivers on the edge and run with backs and tight ends over the middle. Runs down the seam with almost any receiver. Natural athlete with very good hand-eye coordination for the interception or pass breakup. Uses quickness and hands to avoid cut blocks by receivers in space. Will face matchup difficulties against taller, faster tight ends at the next level.
Tackling: Wraps up elusive ballcarriers in space. Can line them up for the explosive tackle if given the chance. Pounds receivers coming over the middle, using his shoulder to lay them out. Will overpursue plays or hit a hole before the runner has reached it, opening a cutback lane. Relies on hitting with his shoulder, which will be an issue at the next level. Undisciplined breaking down in space, allowing elusive runners to go around him.
Pass Rush/Blitz: Effective blitzer who finds a hole and explodes through it. Quick enough to elude fullbacks in the hole to get to the quarterback. Can close quickly on quarterbacks and puts on major hits. Works through blocks from tight ends on the edge and linemen or running backs inside to rush the passer. Times jumps to knock down passes on his way to the quarterback.
Intangibles: Upbeat, infectious attitude on the practice field translates as the team's emotional leader.
Third Round, Pick #80
John Jerry, OT/OG, Mississippi - 6'6, 328
This name has been floated around MHR quite often, so I'll not go into too much detail. He played last season at 350-360lbs. His weight will need to be maintained at the current level of 325-330 to keep him at prime effectiveness late in games and late in the season. He will push for a starting position at guard and play backup to Ryan Harris. He's got a very high probability of being an impact guard by 2011 at the latest.
Fourth Round, Pick # 114
Riley Cooper, WR, Florida - 6'4, 222
I see this kid as something of a late bloomer. He was a two sport athlete in college, but turned down an offer from the Texas Rangers and is now able to focus on football. He's a big possesion receiver in the mold of Brandon Marshall. In my mind, there's nothing but upside with this pick.
CBS Draft Scout:
Release: Good use of hands and lateral agility to gain a free release against man coverage. Isn't an explosive runner out of his stance, and relies more on his physicality, route-running and size advantage to get open against man coverage. Normal acceleration downfield, but is faster than he looks and can eat up the cushion.
Hands: Generally reliable receiver who typically looks the ball in and secures it before moving upfield. Allows too many passes into his chest, especially on comebacks. Typically extends and plucks the ball out of the air. Improved his concentration as a senior in catching passes in traffic. Doesn't back down from the physical challenge of jump-ball situations. Times his leaps well and has an obvious size advantage. Good body control to contort to the poorly thrown pass. Can snatch the ball out of the air and keep his feet in bounds to make the spectacular reception. Has improved his vision in tracking balls over his shoulder, but has inconsistent in this area over his career.
Route running: Deceptive straight-line speed to get over the top. Moderate burst out of his breaks to create separation. Good use of hands and body lean to create space.
After the catch: Deceptive speed to run away from defenders when he's hit in stride, but lacks the instant acceleration or agility to be a consistent threat to gain much yardage after the catch.
Blocking: Good size, strength and physicality to help his teammates as a downfield blocker. Improved as a blocker in 2009, but isn't as consistent as you'd like for a player of his size. Provides a good initial pop, but has to sustain better.
Intangibles: Two-sport athlete at Florida and was drafted in the 25th round of the 2009 MLB draft by the Texas Rangers. Reportedly signed a contract for $250,000, though he elected to play his senior season and wants to pursue a football career. Charged in February of 2009 with the misdemeanor of resisting an officer and failure to comply with police for not getting out of the way of a moving car upon police orders. The case was dismissed.
Fourth Round (Tony Scheffler Trade)
Sam Young, Notre Dame, OT - 6'8, 316
NFL Draft Scout:
Great things were expected from the Parade All-American from Florida when he came to South Bend, but being the first true freshman ever to start on Notre Dame's offensive line opening weekend was truly a fine accomplishment (first-year players were eligible to play immediately starting in 1972).
All Young has done since is start every game for the Irish. He lined up at right tackle for the first 16 games, then moved to left tackle for 10 contests in 2007 before moving back to the right side for the last two seasons. In 2009, Young helped the Irish become one of the most prolific offenses in the country, rolling up more than 450 yards per game.
Though not considered one of the more athletic tackles in the 2010 draft, Young's size, strength and pedigree are likely to land him a spot in the middle rounds and give him the potential to have a long NFL career.
Sixth Round, Pick # 184
Danny Batten, DE-OLB, South Dakota State - 6'3, 246
Listed as one of his ten candidates for the annual "Wes Welker Award" (late round prospect making impact), Sports Illustrated's Don Banks says this about him:
Batten has built momentum throughout the pre-draft scouting season, turning in a good week at the Texas versus the Nation all-star game in February and building on that with an impressive pro day workout for scouts last week. He projects to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, but at 6-3, 246, he has room to grow into a 4-3 edge-rushing defensive end role as well.
Seventh Round, Pick # 220:
Deji Karim, RB, Southern Illinois - 5'9, 209lbs
Set to get picked in the seventh round, Deji runs a 4.40 40 and is being taken to add depth behind Knowshon, Buckhalter, and Arrington. He should also contribute as a special teamer.
After drafting three offensive linemen and two linebackers, there will be zero tough cuts to make. The only guys that will need cut are those that don't matter; guys like Jarvis Moss, Nick Griesen, Tyler Polumbus, and Gorin. By not drafting more defensive linemen, we won't have to cut anymore of the 236 linemen already on the roster than we already had to.