The pain from Sunday night's humiliation is finally beginning to fade while a sense of optimism is starting to take its place. The Winter Olympics start tonight but I'm more looking forward to the Underwear Olympics, where elite professional athletes are judged like cattle. I think with the recent success of overlooked players like Russell Wilson, Bruce Irvin, T.Y. Hilton, etc... people/scouts in the NFL are beginning to look past arbitrary measurements like height, physique, hand size, etc... etc... etc... and starting to re-focus on college production.
I'm not going to do another mock draft until the Combine is over but I do think it's interesting to see who the "experts" are mocking to us post-Super Bowl:
ESPN's Todd McShay - Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Ranked 34th overall by CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com
"While Verrett's coverage ability is impressive, his lack of preferred size is a concern that could keep some teams from stamping him with a first round grade. Verrett plays bigger than his size, showing the willingness to take on large ball-carriers, including tackling the 6-foot-6, 252-pound Bell in the open field. However, the Sooners repeatedly ran in his direction because Verrett can get tied up with physical blockers. Further, while he did not miss a tackle in this contest and is well known for his scrappy play in run support, Verrett relies on wrapping his arms around ball carriers' legs to bring them down, rather than delivering a forceful blow."
ESPN's Mel Kiper - Bradley Roby, CB, TCU
Ranked 45th overall by CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com
STRENGTHS: Roby has world-class speed with the click-and-close ability to play tight coverage and mirror receivers all over the field. 4.39-second 40-yard speed and a good fighting attitude to battle for the ball.
WEAKNESSES: Lacks preferred size for the position. Can be late looking for the ball. Tendency to concede underneath throws, although some might have been scheme-based in college. Must prove he can drive on the ball and limit plays in front of him.
CBS' Rob Rang - Jimmie Ward, SS, N. Illinois
Ranked 81st overall by CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com
"Scouts knew heading into the Senior Bowl that Ward possessed the fluidity and instincts to cover but competition in the MAC is much different than in Mobile," Ward (5-foot-11, 192 pounds) is "athletic enough to handle deep coverage, as well as slide down to cover slot receivers," according to the evaluator. Ward, considered a good leader, was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award last season, given annually to the nation's top defensive back."
CBS' Dane Brugler - Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Ranked 18th overall by CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com
STRENGTHS: Fluid athlete with impressive burst, agility and underrated strength. As his size suggests, Ford relies on his burst off the snap to gain the corner against offensive tackles. He accelerates smoothly and is flexible enough to bend around the corner as a pure speed rusher.
Also possesses long arms and broad shoulders. These give him better pop at the point of attack than his opponents expect. While he's not going to be able to hold up against a powerful run-blocking right tackle all day long, Ford shows some toughness in setting the edge and does a nice job of jumping outside to keep contain.
Best of all, while most of his snaps due come from the three-point stance, he is occasionally asked to drop back into coverage, giving scouts evidence that he'll be able to handle coverage duties. Ford shows balance and efficient change-of-direction skills when operating in reverse, making him one to watch as a linebacker convert.
WEAKNESSES: Lacks the size and leverage ability to routinely hold his ground at the point of attach against tackles, when asked to defend the run. Lacks consistent rep experience dropping into coverage and may have a learning curve there at the next level, where he'll need to show an ability to contribute if he hopes to be an every-down NFL player.
Draft Tek - Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
Ranked 28th overall by CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com
"Pryor teamed with senior Hakeem Smith to give Louisville perhaps the most physical safety duo in the nation. Pryor became a starter midway through his true freshman season in 2011. He is a ferocious hitter (eight career forced fumbles) who improved in coverage this season; he had seven picks and 14 pass breakups in his career.
Pryor's lack of speed -- he seems likely to clock in the low 4.6 range in the 40 -- will bother some scouts, but he has good instincts and covers a lot of ground. He might be best-suited for strong safety at the next level."
WalterFootball.com's Walter - Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Ranked 33rd overall by CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com
"Shazier leads Ohio State is tied for sixth nationally with 134 tackles. He also has 22.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, four forced fumbles, four pass breakups and six quarterback hurries. It's his second season in a row with at least 100-plus tackles, 17-plus tackles for loss five sacks and three forced fumbles.
And no one questions his speed: He has been clocked as fast as 4.47 in the 40 and generally is in the low 4.5s. He might be the fastest linebacker in the nation.
So with that kind of production and that kind of speed, why a second-round grade? It's his size -- or lack thereof. Shazier is listed at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, and he might be both shorter and lighter."
WalterFootball.com's Charlie - Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
Ranked 40th overall by CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com
STRENGTHS: Good size and length for the position and uses his long arms to disrupt receivers. Fluid movement skills with quick feet and body control to blanket in coverage - smooth hips and balanced transition in bump-and-run.
Good route anticipation and stays patient and controlled, but also the recovery quickness to take chances. Instinctive and alert to make positive plays on the ball. Barely gets lost with a good feel in coverage, understanding when to look for the ball.
Very physical and fearless in coverage and aggressive in pursuit. Works hard to gain ideal body position and knows how to use the sideline. Excellent competitor and won't back down from bigger targets. Experience on special teams as a punt returner. Has worked hard to get stronger in the weight room.
WEAKNESSES: Needs to improve his discipline in coverage - too much physical contact downfield. Will get lackadaisical at times with his technique and play too tall or get grabby. Has the read/react quickness to click-and-close in a hurry but needs to do it more consistently on underneath throws - will allow his hips to be turned too easily in bail technique.
Needs to consistently wrap to finish hits and break down better in space - lack of strength shows vs. the run.
Durability concerns after battling knee and ankle injuries over his career - missed five games in 2013. Character needs investigated after an alcohol arrest in Sept. 2011 and a one-game suspension in 2013 (vs. South Carolina) for a violation of team rules.