Draft King Analysis|
January 25, 2012
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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Coming soon, thoughts on the top offensive linemen free agent prospects for the upcoming off-season. There will be some talent in the mix, but I think a comparison of top unrestricted free agents who hit free agency versus top WRs who hit free agency (likely to include Marques Colston, Dwayne Bowe, and others) will encourage the Rams to decide on selecting USC OT Matt Kalil at #2 overall. Surely they will make a run at a top UFA wideout (or two) to give Sam Bradford better options at wide receiver than the crop he had to work with in 2011.
Many are projecting Alabama RB Trent Richardson to go either to Cleveland at #4 or Tampa Bay at #5, but I don't see that happening. It's nothing against Richardson, who is a fantastic running back coming out of what is turning into an NFL RB factory in Tuscaloosa. But the change in the rules in the NFL puts a premium on having an effective passing game and in defending the passing game. Richardson is a capable receiver out of the backfield, but the draft is loaded at the position and there's just too much depth to justify using a top five pick on a running back.
I think of it like this with Richardson: would you pass up the chance to take the best corner in the draft, or the best offensive tackle, or even the best wide receiver in the draft, in a league where the passing game and stopping the passing game are vital? Would you pass up for the opportunity for a team wanting to trade up, maybe just a few spots back where you could probably still land Richardson?
This isn't the 2005 NFL Draft -- the days of three running backs going in the top five are over. And, again, the draft is super deep at running back.
How good is Ohio State OT Mike Adams? That is a matter of opinion. To some, he is not only a first-round talent, but he's a possible top ten pick and the second offensive lineman to be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. USC OT Matt Kalil is in the top three on the vast majority of mock drafts at this point, and he appears to be the prohibitive favorite to be the first offensive lineman drafted. After that it's a bit murkier, with Iowa OT Riley Reiff ahead of Stanford OT Jonathan Martin on many boards.
Mike Adams has looked good at the Senior Bowl from most accounts that I've read, save for when Marshall OLB/DE Vinny Curry got the better of Adams in some drills. To me that's not so much negative toward Adams as it is more validity to what my Huntington, WV friends have told me about how good Curry will likely be in the NFL.
An advantage that Adams has over Kalil, Reiff, and Martin is that none of them were eligible to participate in the Senior Bowl. There is always risk in taking part in exhibitions and events like the Senior Bowl. But there is upside as the Senior Bowl can be a launching pad, as it was last year for Broncos OLB Von Miller, who ended up being the third player selected in last April's draft.
I've heard round 4/5 grades thrown out as a possibility for Oregon QB Darron Thomas, who surprised the sports world when he declared for the NFL Draft the night before the deadline. He threw for 2,7621 yards and 33 TDs versus just seven interceptions in 2011, though some perceive him as a system quarterback. His 62.2% completion percentage could have been better, and accuracy is as valued now as ever in the modern pass-happy NFL. But, with the right team, I think Thomas has the potential to develop into a good NFL quarterback. There are worse options out there, for sure.