Three Potential NFL Draft Smokescreens

Don’t forget: keep an eye out for sportsthink’s first annual Most Valuable Players in the Draft this week. 

The season of misinformation is upon us.  I scrounge for any insight into the Chargers’ draft plans, just like any fan.  But the leaks that grab the headlines?  Some of them are clearly untrue.  Here are a few anonymous “team evaluations” that seemed designed to try to throw people off the scent.

The Cardinals want nothing to do with a quarterback this year – Clearly there’s no Andrew Luck in the 2013 Draft.  There’s probably no one that projects to outplay Carson Palmer in 2013.  But that doesn’t mean the Cardinals won’t draft a quarterback at number seven, and the most likely candidate is Geno Smith.  Smith has two stand out attributes that Bruce Arians has historically coveted in quarterbacks: some touch on the deep ball and the ability to stay alive and reset his feet in the pocket.  Whether those skills outweigh Smith’s accuracy problems is another question.  But don’t be surprised to see the Cardinals take him, despite all their bluster to the contrary.

Teams rate Jonathan Cooper higher than Chance Warmack – These scouts, they’ve seen both players play, right?  Jonathan Cooper is a physical specimen: he not only moves like a tight end, but he has the strength to throw around defensive linemen.  The thing that distinguishes offensive guards from other massive, professional athletes, though, is their ability to latch onto other large humans and move them where they want to go.  In this latter respect, Warmack vastly outclasses Cooper.  For anyone thinking that Cooper will “fit better” in an NFL zone blocking system, put on the tape of the BCS title game, and watch Warmack slapping around Notre Dame linebackers at the second level.  Warmack projects to be a much better pro than Cooper, and will likely be drafted as such.

Johnathan Franklin is threatening Eddie Lacy to be the first running back drafted – The aforementioned BCS title game?  That was Lacy, not Franklin, exploding through tacklers en route to 7 yards per carry against the best defense in the country.  Lacy gets to the hole quicker; makes better, more consistent reads; and takes more decisive cuts than Franklin.  Plus he outweighs him by 50 pounds.

Now appearing in any future post for which I can find an excuse to include her: Halle Berry!

Now appearing in any future post for which I can find an excuse to include her: Halle Berry!

I like Franklin in the later rounds, but I think he’s a bit of wildcard.  The fumbling issues stand out as one glaring problem.  He apparently put on the ball on the ground a ton of times his first three years at UCLA.  Franklin reportedly addressed the issue after a summer at the Omar Epps school for fumble prevention.  Good that he was able to make strides, but doesn’t this beg the question: if all he needed to stop fumbling was to carry a ball with him around campus, why didn’t he start a few years earlier?



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