Apr
23

Alabama vs. Auburn: Extending the rivalry

Auburn and Alabama have one of the most storied rivalries in college football, but who has the edge when it spills over to the NFL? NFL.com’s Adam Rank has a look at some of the best players from Auburn and Alabama and you can be the judge.

Apr
23

Mayock unveils top 100, position rankings

With the 2012 NFL Draft just days away, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock unveiled his top 100 prospect rankings and updated his position-by-position prospect rankings.

In both lists, Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones has a prominent place, cracking the top 10 of the top 100 and rating at the top of the defensive end rankings.

Be sure to tune into NFL Network on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET as Mayock unveils his final mock draft.

Apr
23

‘Bama is new premier prospect factory

Step aside, “The U.”

Alabama is new premier NFL prospect factory. The national champion Crimson Tide is expected to have five players drafted in the first round Thursday night, which would be only the fifth time that has happened since the common draft began in 1967.

Based on the latest mock drafts on NFL.com, tailback Trent Richardson, linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw and defensive backs Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick are all projected as first-rounders.

Apr
23

Surprises abound in Cosell’s first mock draft

NFL Films’ Greg Cosell took a very different approach to his mock draft, choosing players based on film study and sense of team needs. The main objective of Cosell’s mock is to further discuss the top players by putting them in a draft format. One other caveat: A total disregard for documented off-field problems, character issues, anything that is not a function of on-field play.

There are a number of surprises, like a No. 1 overall pick not named Andrew Luck, and South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore — not LSU’s Morris Claiborne — is the top defensive back in the draft.

Apr
23

Cover Two: 2012 NFL Draft edition

On the new Cover Two Podcast, Jason Smith and Elliot Harrison break down Vikings smoke-screens, Ryan Tannehill, Trent Richardson, Michael Floyd, Brandon Weeden and a complete Top-10 mock. Also Megadeth, “Varsity Blues,” “The Program,” “Johnny B. Goode,” RG III’s weapons and falling prospects all get thrown around.

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora checks in with the latest draft buzz and which picks will create the biggest ripple effect.

Subscribe to the Cover Two Podcast on iTunes.

Apr
23

Could Kalil fall to Bills at No. 10?

The speculation has increased of late that Matt Kalil could fall past the Vikings at No. 3. But how far could he fall? According to SI.com’s Peter King, the Bills could be very much in play.

The Vikings face a serious debate over the value of selecting an offensive lineman so high in the draft. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said that left tackles aren’t the “game-changers” that teams are expected to choose so early.

“The Vikings are still a Matt Kalil team, but if he slips out of three, he could fall and be in play for Buffalo at 10,” King writes Monday on SI.com.

Apr
23

Dolphins GM: No pressure to draft QB

Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland denied reports that owner Stephen Ross is the driving force behind the team’s interest in selecting Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

The Dolphins run the risk of getting forgotten in a busy Miami sports scene, and could be tempted to make some sort of draft-day splash. Still, Ross would be wise to put to rest an awkward offseason of courting — and being rejected by — a string of free-agent quarterbacks, writes NFL.com’s Marc Sessler. Tannehill does not project as a Day 1 starter, so the Dolphins would need to buy into his long-term value.

Apr
23

Lombardi’s draft premonitions

With the 2012 NFL Draft just a few days away, NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi reveals 10 premonitions about this three-day extravaganza.

Here are the top five …

1. I believe the safest pick in the draft — beyond Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III — is Alabama running back Trent Richardson.

2. I believe the draft will get really interesting starting at pick No. 7.

3. I believe the Minnesota Vikings will end up making the third overall selection.

4. I believe Syracuse DE Chandler Jones is a hot commodity right now.

5. I believe there will be many trades made in the first round.

Take a look at the rest of the 10 things Lombardi believes to be true in this year’s draft.

Apr
23

Floyd makes jump up in Brooks’ last mock

The 2012 NFL Draft is just three days away and NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks dropped his latest, and final, mock draft before the first round commences on Thursday.

In the three weeks since Brooks unleashed his previous mock draft, the buzz surrounding Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd has been substantial. Giving the discussion, Floyd jumped 15 spots in Brooks’ latest mock draft, going No. 7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars desperately need to surround last year’s first-round selection — QB Blaine Gabbert — with offensive talent, and the hope is that Floyd could fill a major team need at receiver.

North Carolina DE Quinton Coples also experienced a big move up, going No. 9 to the Carolina Panthers.

Apr
23

Trent Richardson praised by unnamed scouts

Alabama running back Trent Richardson hasn’t been the victim of another unnamed scout attack, in fact quite the opposite has occured. He’s been praised.

“Rare is the player who can escape the National Football League’s version of the Great Inquisition without being nitpicked to death,” Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes. “Trent Richardson, the irrepressible running back from Alabama, is the exception. The NFL people don’t just like Richardson. They almost worship the ground upon which he walks.”

McGinn polled 20 scouts about the top running back in the draft. All 20 picked Richardson. Only two other backs in the last 10 years were unanimous picks — Adrian Peterson and Reggie Bush.

“There’s one running back,” one personnel director said. “All the rest are complementary backs.”

Apr
23

Steven Ross pushing Dolphins to draft Ryan Tannehill

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is the driving force behind the team’s interested in selecting Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the No. 8 overall pick in this week’s NFL draft, a league source told ProFootballTalk.com on Sunday.

Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was Tannehill’s college coach at Texas A&M. But it’s Ross who’s making the push, the source said.

Later Sunday, a source sent an e-mail to the Miami Herald to say that the report wasn’t accurate. The source said that Ross isn’t telling general manager Jeff Ireland what to do with the team’s pick.

However, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote on Monday that a source called him to say the original report from ProFootballTalk.com was correct, and Ross wants his team to select Tannehill.

Despite these contradicting reports, the Dolphins still need a quarterback after losing out on free agents Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. Matt Moore and David Garrard are currently in line to take snaps at quarterback next season.

Though many — including NFL Network draft analysts Mike Mayock and Charley Casserly — don’t see Tannehill as a top-10 draft pick.

Apr
23

Fitzgerald wants Cardinals to draft Floyd

Larry Fitzgerald reportedly told Sports Illustrated this past weekend he would like the Arizona Cardinals to draft Norte Dame wideout Michael Floyd.

The Cardinals currently hold the No. 13 pick in the first round, but it’s possible that Floyd may already be off the draft board by then. Floyd has emerged as the second-best wideout prospect in this year’s draft class behind Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon.

Fitzgerald’s opinion may not hold that much sway in the Cardinals war room, but the team could use more depth at the receiver position.

Apr
22

Falcons GM Dimitroff says he’s willing to trade up again

A year ago, Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff shipped a raft of draft picks to the Browns for the right to pick Julio Jones. Though he now has fewer picks this year, Dimitroff told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently that he would make such a move again if he had to.

“If you feel that you want to package picks to go up and get the player that you feel can help the team, well, then you use your draft picks as fodder to go after that player,” Dimitroff told the newspaper.

As things stand now, the Falcons, who gave their first- and fourth-round picks to the Browns in that trade, won’t make any picks Thursday until the second round comes along.

Apr
22

Vikings’ Frazier casts doubt on assumption team will take Kalil

Many are assuming that the Vikings will take left tackle Matt Kalil with the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but comments that coach Leslie Frazier made to The Star Tribune on Sunday might cast that idea in doubt.

“You’ve got to really weigh your options,” Frazier said. “Because the philosophy (in the NFL) has always been to get the game-changer. And left tackle is not necessarily the game-changer. Usually game-changers are the guys who can score you points. Receivers. Quarterbacks. So what are we measuring that left tackle against? It’s a loaded debate.”

Vikings GM Rick Spielman has declared the team will either pick Kalil, CB Morris Claiborne or WR Justin Blackmon. If Frazier is truly worried about the game-changing potential of Kalil, perhaps Claiborne or Blackmon will be the pick.

Apr
22

Report: Dolphins’ Ross wants team to take Tannehill

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants the team to pick QB Ryan Tannehill with the No. 8 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, ProFootballTalk.com reported Sunday, citing a league source.

However, a source with the Dolphins later contested the veracity of that report in an e-mail to the Miami Herald, telling the newspaper that Ross will be leaving the decision up to GM Jeff Ireland.

That Ross, and not Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, is angling for Tannehill would be surprising, given that Sherman coached Tannehill at Texas A&M.

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