Archive for the ‘NFL Draft’ Category

2015 NFL Draft All-Roundup Team

Saturday, December 6th, 2014
After toiling in obscurity last year, Arizona State's Marcus Harrison has earned a spot on the All-Roundup Team (Photo:USATSI)

After toiling in obscurity last year, Arizona State’s Marcus Hardison has earned a spot on the All-Roundup Team (Photo:USATSI) Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

With Conference Championship weekend in progress and bowls to be played, there’s still plenty of meaningful college football on the horizon. But the Thanksgiving slate represented the close of the season for many college football programs. After this weekend underclassmen declarations will ramp up, and the “tape” evaluations can be wrapped on players who will be home for the holidays. It’s the final countdown to “draft season,” when bigger pictures come into focus, and wives ask draft writers when the DVR will finally have some free space on which to record new episodes of Scandal. Anywho, it’s time for the penultimate roundup of 2014. And to mix things up a bit, this week’s installment features the All-Roundup Team. This isn’t to say these are players I’d place at the top of their respective positional groups – I’m not nearly that far along yet – but these are players I’ve watched and enjoyed, and would probably stick up for in an argument. At least to a point. Since juniors and redshirt sophomores still have 40 days or so to declare, the All-Roundup Team is seniors only. Plus, I only picked 12 players, so it really more of a list than a team. I’m rambling now. Here we go…. (more…)

2015 NFL Draft Week 13 Roundup

Friday, November 28th, 2014
Former Miami (Ohio) basketball player Quinten Rollins has starred on defense for the football team this season (Photo:

Former Miami (Ohio) basketball player Quinten Rollins has starred on defense for the football team this season (Photo: Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

Thanksgiving is over, and it seems like last weekend’s college football games happened a month ago. If I had really been on top of things, I would have brought you the roundup in a timely and efficient manner. But like almost everyone else in the country, I spent the past couple of days with family, food and more football. With the holiday schedule, I’m already waist-deep in notes from this week’s games, but I’ll hold off and save those for next week. To keep things interesting for this belated Week 13 roundup, my focus is on four prospects flying below the radar. You won’t see them in the college football playoff this season, but you will hear their name called during the draft or college free agency. (more…)

2015 NFL Draft Week 12 Roundup

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014
Could Ohio State tackle Taylor Decker be thinking about leaving school early for the pros? (Photo: the via OSU)

Could Ohio State tackle Taylor Decker be thinking about leaving school early for the pros? (Photo: the via OSU) Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

When it comes to the NFL Draft, quarterbacks are always in the spotlight. No position is exposed to more microanalysis. Oftentimes this continues on into a quarterback’s pro career, when small successes or failures are peppered with qualifying statements that support the evaluators pre-draft analysis. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and wager that this is usually an unintended symptom of humankind’s desire to be “right,” and it’s really not my intention to dig deeper into possible motives at this time. My point is, no positional group is more heavily scrutinized. It comes with the territory. Even educated observers often attribute wins and losses to quarterbacks, and the subject of “QB Winz” is debated ad nauseam without resolution. It’s as fruitless a discussion as “glass half-empty vs. “glass half-full.”
At any rate, this leads me to Brett Hundley, a player who for the previous two seasons was lauded for his intelligence, leadership and general presence. It was tough to find a hint of negativity about him prior to this year. Yet this past week, rumors emerged that Hundley was or is not well-liked by some of his teammates, and that at least a few people around the UCLA program think that some of his recent comments indicate that he holds himself above the team. As a prospect, Hundley has been disappointing this season, but the fact remains that he has carried the offense on his back for most of the year. Rather than recognizing this, a narrative has emerged that Hundley may be a bad teammate. Again, this is a player whose character had been almost universally well-regarded. Such is the life of the quarterback. Eventually, Marcus Mariota’s recent speeding ticket will have some significance attached to it too. Somewhere out there, it’s probably already happened. Rundown time… (more…)

2015 NFL Draft Week 11 Roundup

Friday, November 14th, 2014
Is a move to running back in the cards for Braxton Miller? (Photo: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

Is a move to running back in the cards for Braxton Miller? (Photo: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports) Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

When I started AFC2NFC dot com – my now defunct blog site and the reason my Twitter handle remains @afc2nfc – I’d been following the draft for a decade or so, reading and absorbing any info I could, and I wanted to see how my own takes would hold up. I had no idea how many people had already entered the fray by then. It was 2010 and I was way behind the curve. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and now, nearly five years later, I’m just now feeling comfortable with my own talent evaluation process. There’s still much for me to learn, and I routinely bounce questions off of more experienced football people in hopes of improving and fine tuning. I know that no matter how much I come to know, every method is flawed. It’s inevitable as long as human error is part of the equation. With real life people evaluating and being evaluated there are no two ways about it.
Why bring this up now? Well, because we are in the home stretch of the college football season, and that means the arguments will heat up as competitive analysts and writers dig their respective heels in to go to bat for their guys. Film guys versus stats guys versus metrics guys versus film/stats/metrics guys. If you’re new to my work, I’ll just briefly say that I have love for all facets of this process. I try my best to use my own visual impressions, common and advanced statistics, measurables, and any other pieces of information that I can scrounge up. To me, it’s all important, but I see guys I respect take hard line stances on one aspect or another, and duke it out with each other. This isn’t some Kumbaya spiel about unification. My mom told me that not everyone is going to like everyone else. It’s just life. In fact I, like I’m sure many others do, find a lot of the bickering entertaining. But I will say this: try to have fun with this (it is sports, after all) and not take things too personally. Be open to understanding other points of view even when you don’t agree. And if you really hate someone’s work, or just despise him or her personally, just stop reading or interacting with that person. Seriously, it’s not good for your heart. Roundup time.


2015 NFL Draft Week Ten Roundup

Saturday, November 8th, 2014
Ok, I admit it. Brandon Scherff should move to guard in the NFL (Photo:

Ok, I admit it. Brandon Scherff should move to guard in the NFL (Photo: Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

Ten weeks into the college football season and whoooo boy, we are starting to see which NFL Draft prospects are protected from on high. We already knew Marcus Mariota was untouchable, as I discussed this in detail last week. Now we can go ahead and add Melvin Gordon to the list. Gordon’s involvement (or lack thereof) in the passing game has been the subject of many arguments, and I suspect this debate to carry on into April. He has only 11 receptions in 39 games, and respected draft analysts have openly questioned his hands. Gordon didn’t help matters by missing a couple of opportunities last weekend. Pass catching aside, I have pointed to his tendencies to swing for home runs in two strike counts. By that, I mean Gordon knows he has acceleration and speed to beat most of the defenders he faces in college, and that allows him to get away with things he may not be able to get away with in the pros. Case in point, Gordon’s 51-yard TD run against Rutgers last weekend. On the play, he came to a compete stop behind the line of scrimmage before reversing field and turning the corner into open space. That’s a loss of yards in the NFL, where stopping your feet in the backfield is a no-no. I said that out loud and was roasted, but I’d be lying if I said little things like that didn’t bother me. Maybe I’m nitpicking a very good player. But that’s what we do sometimes in this draft analysis game. Disagreements – respectful ones – are always welcome. If everyone agreed, this would be pretty boring. My wife thinks it’s all boring anyway, but I digress. On with the Week Ten Roundup as we enter the home stretch… (more…)

2015 NFL Draft Week Nine Roundup

Friday, October 31st, 2014
Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato should soon crack the top 10 in FBS career passing yards (Photo:

Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato should soon crack the top 10 in FBS career passing yards (Photo: Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

On Tuesday, word surfaced that an anonymous scout had wondered whether Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was the “alpha male” an NFL team would want in a quarterback. “Like, if you punched him in the stomach, he might apologize to you.” It wasn’t hard to predict the reaction of twitter’s expansive NFL Draft following. Scoffing and scorn ensued, with many people shouting down the notion that Mariota’s personality should have any bearing on his NFL outlook. It was akin to the response Mr. Anonymous Scout received last spring when he questioned Teddy Bridgewater’s pro day, need to wear gloves, and yes, even Teddy’s disposition. Why, on God’s green Earth, is it so astonishing that a potential employer might factor in personality when making a hiring decision? The NFL is unlike other jobs in many ways, but in selecting personnel, an interviewer for any business will decide whether they like the interviewee or not. In the NFL, some teams will prefer a mobile QB, while others may favor a more traditional pocket passer. Some may want fiery leadership, while others opt for a quiet, “lead by example” type. Personal preference will always be part of the equation, so why a person might react to Anonymous Scout’s take as though his daughter’s honor has been questioned is beyond me. But I sure do find it entertaining. At any rate, here’s this week’s roundup.


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