National Football Post, a site which I've found to be much more insightful and accurate than ESPN's NFL coverage (i.e. Mel Kiper and Todd McShay), has released its top 60 NFL prospects. Some interesting points:
1. Brandon Graham is number 58, which makes sense because he's most likely a Lamarr Woodley 3-4 OLB quarterback-menace-in-training than a 4-3 DE.
2. Lions fans that wanted the them to pass on Matt Stafford to get the better Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy will be surprised to learn that Bradford is only the number 12 prospect (lower than Stafford was this season) and not even the highest rated QB (that would be Jevon Snead). McCoy is number 31 and Tebow is 34. The fifth rated QB and first not-obvious one? Western's Tim Hiller at 50. Should be an interesting first game.
3. There is going to be a TON of high end defensive talent from which a team with a talent-deficient defense and a very likely top 5 pick may choose. (Taylor Mays [please?!], Eric Berry [unlikely as I think Delmas will play SS], Gerald McCoy, Terrence Cody, Brandon Spikes.)
4. The list also includes juniors-to-be like Arrelious Benn. No mention of Donovan Warren.
Peruse the list at your own leisure at the following links:
Reality Check - we have a top ten recruiting class right now, a kick-ass coach and tons of star-potential youngsters.
The stadium renovations (going to be loud!) and new practice facility (which will both be awe inspiring) will help recruiting even more next year.
We had an awesome recruiting class last year, with a ton of the kids redshirting. This means a bigger stronger faster meaner Roundtree, T-Rob, Omameh, Barnum, Smith, and Floyd to name a few.
Not to mention guys like Martin, Cissoko, Odoms, Shaw, Fitzgerald and Stonum all got a ton of experience by true freshman standards.
There is the potential to a top 5 recruiting class this year with a strong close (Campbell, Robinson, snake oil 1, snake oil 2).
Other reasons for excitement:
- Brandon Graham destroying QB's (fingers and toes crossed)
- Another off season of Barwisization
- Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown destroying safeties and linebackers next year (over-under on Minor-caused concussions is 3.5)
- Hemingway will be back
- Offensive line that will be big-ten caliber with depth
- Forcier and an improved/healthy Dual-Threet
- Jonas Mouton's potential & Obi Ezeh being another year better
- T-Rob and Gallon to help out Odoms
- About 9 months to figure out who can return kicks without fumbling (freshmen?)
- Incoming FG kicker that hits like a linebacker
- And of course - Zoltan
Lots to be excited about if you ask me.
- Who are the top candidates to return kick-offs and punts?
- What incoming freshmen will have the biggest impact?
(Update - Picking Tate Forcier is cheating...not really and I agree he will have a big impact, but could it be someone else? For instance, I don't know anyone that thought Odoms would have had as big an impact as he did. Another good question would be, who do you guys think will be the biggest 'sleeper' impact player in the class next year?)
So, it's the day after the Shafer fiasco, and then it dawned on me - "Oh shit! Is Graham going to bolt for the NFL?" I would think the possible turmoil, the changing schemes again, etc., could affect his decision. What do you think?
Here's a call to insiders, or just a thread to provoke more rabid debate:
Anyone out there have new info or theories on the early entries, transfers, and un-renewed 5th years?
Last I read B-Graham was filing the NFL advisory council to test the waters but publicly said he is coming back (meaning he will stay unless they tell him he gets big bucks), Butler was rumored to be leaving after this year as well on separate threads.
Any updates on Transfers? Seems like we are due for a handful of people to bolt, and that would probably happen soon so they could move on.
With our entire starting D-Line graduating or leaving (I presume Brandon Graham will leave), I am worried about where we will stand next year. I know Martin has been playing well and the Butler shift may be interesting. Also, Van Bergen has showed some promise. Roh and Lalota and Campbell(?) are coming in next year. It would be a shame if we improve our LB core and DB's but our D-Line falls apart. Do we have any budding superstars I am unaware of? Is there any real cause for concern?
OFFENSIVE PLAYER WHO SHOULD KEEP HIS JOB
DEFENSIVE PLAYER WHO SHOULD LOSE HIS JOB
Steve Brown, FS. For God's sake, Steve Brown. For God's sake. For. God's. Sake. I had high hopes for Steve Brown. I really did. I watch him run and he's fast. I see him body slam people to the ground on special teams and I cringe. The kid has some sort of mental block or confidence loss when he's at free safety. I don't know what it is, and I don't know how to fix it. I feel bad for him, because I always hear good things about him and I honestly think he tries hard and feels bad when he screws up. But the screw-ups are mounting too quickly for the coaching staff to ignore anymore. I was watching the game at the bar yesterday, so I was distracted a little more than I wanted to be. But he missed an easy tackle on former walk-on Blair White that led to a 61-yard TD pass. He was also the one targeted on the long pass down the left sideline (to Mark Dell, if I remember correctly) where he was in position but just failed to find the ball and make a play. Brown isn't completely useless, since he did make a sack and force a fumble. However, his shortcomings are too significant. I don't care who they put in there. Normally, I'd say Michael Williams, but Williams got a concussion in yesterday's game. Charles Stewart. Move Morgan Trent to free safety and plug in Cissoko at corner (Trent was benched for stretches, anyway). Artis Chambers. Insert Mouton at SS and move Harrison to FS. Hell, burn JT Floyd's redshirt and plug him in there. Something. Anything. But if Brown isn't going to improve (and at this point in his career, I have a hard time picturing significant improvement), the coaches need to start grooming someone to take over the position. The offense will improve in 2009 with every significant player returning. But the defense will have a maximum of two seniors in 2009, and both of those guys are defensive ends (Brandon Graham, if he doesn't declare for the NFL, and Adam Patterson). On such an inexperienced defense, we can't afford to have such horrible safety play. Get a youngster some experience now.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER WHO SHOULD KEEP HIS JOB