2015 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Michigan State Spartans

July 20th, 2014
Connor Cook led Michigan State to wins in the Big Ten Championship Game and the Rose Bowl last season (Photo: detroitnews.com)

Connor Cook led Michigan State to wins in the Big Ten Championship Game and the Rose Bowl last season (Photo: detroitnews.com)

DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

After a bumpy 2012 season, Michigan State rebounded to finish with a school-record 13 wins last year. The Spartans rode the nation’s third ranked scoring
defense (fourth in yards allowed) to an easy win over Michigan in the regular season, and to a win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. The
latter victory earned Michigan State its first Rose Bowl berth since 1987, where the team finished the season by knocking off Stanford 24-20. The 2014
Spartans return their quarterback, leading running back, second-leading receiver, and their top pass rusher, setting the team up nicely for another Big Ten
title run. Here’s a look at Michigan State’s top, draft-eligible players heading into the season. (Asterisks denote underclassmen) Read the rest of this entry »


2015 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Oregon Ducks

July 19th, 2014
Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu has drawn at least one comparison to NFL star Darrelle Revis (Photo: dailyemerald.com)

Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu has drawn at least one comparison to NFL star Darrelle Revis (Photo: dailyemerald.com)

DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

In their first season under Head Coach Mark Helfrich, the Oregon Ducks won their first eight games while averaging 56 points per contest, and seemed to be on their way to a berth in the BCS Championship Game. But with quarterback Marcus Mariota slowed by a knee injury, the Ducks fell to Stanford in a Thursday night game, putting their title hopes on life support. Those dreams were completely killed two weeks later when Oregon was blown out on the road at Arizona, and the Ducks wound up playing for pride in the Alamo Bowl. Despite being considered a first round prospect by many analysts, Mariota opted to return for his redshirt junior season, and with his knee fully healed, he’ll look to make one last run at collegiate glory. Here’s a look at Mariota and
some of the other draft-eligible Ducks on the roster. (Asterisks denote underclassmen) Read the rest of this entry »


2015 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

July 19th, 2014
Everett Golson returns as Notre Dame's starting quarterback after missing the 2013 season due to academic issues (Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)

Everett Golson returns as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback after missing the 2013 season due to academic issues (Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)

DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

In 2012, on the strength of its defense, Notre Dame finished the regular season undefeated and earned a berth in the National Championship game against
Alabama. Following a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Crimson Tide, the Fighting Irish lost two star players, Manti Te’o and Tyler Eifert, to the
NFL. Then in May of 2013, quarterback Everett Golson was banished from the program for an academic violation. Through two weeks of the 2013 season, Notre Dame had already suffered its first loss, and the team went on to drop three more games during the regular season. After a 9-4 season, Brian Kelly’s team had gone from title contenders to Pinstripe Bowl winners in less than a year’s time. The head coach gets his quarterback back for 2014, and the two will team with a new cast to try to recapture the magic of two years ago. Here’s a look at Golson, and some of the other draft-eligible players who will suit up for the Irish this fall. (Asterisks denote underclassmen) Read the rest of this entry »


Quarterback Harassments – The Full Story

July 13th, 2014

Defensive lineman Desmond Bryant was the Browns’ most efficient pass rusher last season (Photo: dawkpounddaily.com)

DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

This past Saturday, veteran cleveland.com columnist Terry Pluto briefly discussed the Browns’ 2013 defensive struggles. Pluto pointed out a number of statistics that proved just how misleading Cleveland’s ninth place ranking in yards allowed really was. As anyone who watched could attest, the team’s primary struggles came on third down, leading to sustained drives, and eventually, a hell of a lot of points for the opposition. None of this is surprising or new, but another stat Pluto included in his column did get my attention. Read the rest of this entry »


Uncovering the Athletes: SPARQ Concepts and the Cleveland Browns

July 13th, 2014

Second-year defensive back Josh Aubrey (#37) possesses an impressive combination of speed and power (Photo: startribune.com)

DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

Just before Independence Day, NFL.com writer Chris Wesseling wrote about the Seattle Seahawks’ recent success with late round draft choices, and the team’s connection to Nike’s SPARQ rating for athletic ability. SPARQ stands for speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness, and its calculation for football uses numbers from several of the drills players run at the NFL Scouting Combine and their pro days. According to Wesseling’s research, Seahawks strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle helped develop the SPARQ formula, and SB Nation site FieldGulls.com has covered Seattle’s connection in great depth. Unfortunately, Nike no longer makes the SPARQ calculator available on its website, but there are still ways to approximate values based on information that is available. With this in mind, I’ve crunched some numbers to find out which young, late round or undrafted players currently on the Browns roster are the most impressive athletes, and could, in turn, emerge as contributors once the regular season starts. Read the rest of this entry »


Pettine’s Recipe on Offense will Borrow from the Champs

July 6th, 2014

Seattle’s success with Russell Wilson could ultimately help Johnny Manziel win Cleveland’s quarterback competition (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

After an arrest for DWI in North Carolina, it is obvious that Josh Gordon is incapable of staying out of his own way. The NFL’s reigning leader in receiving yards was already facing a probable year-long ban for repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, before Saturday’s news further frustrated his employers and fans. The Browns were hopeful that Gordon’s suspension might be reduced on appeal, but the 23-year old receiver’s most recent brush with the law is a laugh in the face of that hope, slamming the door on any chances of Gordon playing meaningful football this season, and maybe ever suiting up for Cleveland again. It’s an unfortunate story, written by one of the most (if not the most) naturally gifted athletes ever to suit up for the new Browns.

There is no question that the weekend DWI is extremely disappointing to the team’s coaching staff and front office, but the Browns have been preparing themselves for life without Gordon since about two weeks before news of a failed drug test first leaked on Day Two of the draft. There were no reactionary draft picks in rounds two through seven, but the organization did add veterans Earl Bennett (since released) and Miles Austin in an effort to bolster the receiving corps. There is no replacing Gordon, but there are ways to minimize the impact of his loss. In fact, the wheels have probably been in motion to reduce the importance of the number one receiver since the 2013 season ended. After all, despite Gordon’s gaudy statistics, The Browns finished their last campaign with 11 or more losses for the sixth year in a row. For all of the flash on paper, last year’s offensive formula under Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner was a failure on the field, so Jimmy Haslam hired a new team of chemists for the lab this season. First-year Head Coach Mike Pettine has brought in former Texans and Redskins coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and together they are borrowing a blueprint that should transform the Cleveland offense into something vastly different in 2014. Read the rest of this entry »






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