- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner11 days ago
My comments this week that Tampa Bay's Mike Glennon is a more advanced NFL quarterback than Washington's Robert Griffin raised some eyebrows, but there's a lot more to it than the one quote.
Remember, before last year's draft, I said I liked Griffin a little more than Andrew Luck as a prospect. Griffin has a strong and mostly accurate arm. There’s nothing wrong with the way he throws the football. The issue he has faced is mastering the subtle nuance of the position. That is not surprising considering he played in a spread offense in college and when he got to the NFL the Redskins built an offense with the pistol formation and read option elements because of his speed and movement. Then he missed out on an entire offseason because of a knee injury, so he gets a bit of a mulligan for this season. He lost a ton of learning time.
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner25 days ago
The basic formula for Chip Kelly's offense is leveraging numbers plus alignment. The Eagles used that formula to take advantage of the Raiders on two big plays, a running play and a passing play from the exact same formation.
On Philadelphia's first drive against the Raiders last Sunday, Oakland defended the Eagles' formation of three receivers to one side with two cornerbacks playing off and linebacker Sio Moore tight to the formation.
For Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, his option is clear as a bell. With three receivers to his left and two defenders giving a cushion, it's a bubble screen to receiver Riley Cooper. That's easy.
After preparing for the Eagles offense, the Raiders needed to know better. The bubble screen is one of the staples of the Eagles' offense with Kelly. This play went for a 42-yard gain. The numbers advantage and alignment of the Raiders made it easy.
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner1 mth ago
The interesting thing about the design of Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor's record-setting 93-yard touchdown is it combined two concepts in one play.
On the first play against Pittsburgh last week, tailback Darren McFadden was offset with Pryor in the backfield. The right guard pulled left on the play. Everything looked like a power run by McFadden to the left, including the downblocks.
Three key defensive players for Pittsburgh reacted to the power action: linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons and safety Ryan Clark. Clark, who lined up 18 yards off the ball, probably shouldn't be involved like he was as a deep safety, but you understand that he saw power and he is going to get involved.
While that happened to the left, on the right side the Raiders had three blockers lined up outside the tackle. Fullback Marcel Reece was in the slot, and the Raiders had two other receivers to the right to block for the read-option action if Pryor kept it.
You’re combining concepts, with power to the left and read option to the right.
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner1 mth ago
The Seahawks' first touchdown on Thursday was an example of Russell Wilson not being just a "run around" quarterback. He moves around to do something decisive.
On the touchdown to Sidney Rice, Seattle receiver Golden Tate was lined up to the left as the "X iso" against Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. After the snap Wilson glances at that side, but he comes off it so quickly, I don’t think he had any intention to throw to Tate. He just wanted to move single high safety, Rashad Johnson, over to that side with his eyes. And Seattle has thrown it to the "X iso" on that route before, so they’re playing off something they have done in the past.
Wilson was setting up Rice, who was running a hook-and-go route on his right side. Rice's route looked improvised, but it's not. It looked like it was improvisation because Wilson moved out of the pocket.
Here’s picks 1-16 in my mock draft, you can see picks 17-32 here. The parameters I presented for those selections still apply. One other point: I don’t place grades on players based on the round in which I believe they should be selected. I project players to the NFL and then look at team needs. If a player I feel transitions well to the NFL fits a given team, then, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good pick. If you're looking for quarterbacks, you won't find any first-rounders in this mock draft.
In my last column, I focused on the wide receiver position in the 2013 draft. The recurring theme was size, a continuing trend both in college football and the NFL. I mentioned Justin Hunter, Keenan Allen, Deandre Hopkins, Chris Harper, Da’Rick Rogers, among others. The shortest was Hopkins, at just under 6-foot-2; Hunter was the sleekest at 6-foot-4, 196 pounds. With the possible exception of Hunter, who ran an official 4.44 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, and is the most explosive vertical receiver on the board, it’s a group whose collective traits reflect their physical dimensions, their hands and their competitiveness as opposed to their speed.
At this time of year, leading up to the NFL Draft, everyone wants lists. Who are the top five quarterbacks? The top five running backs? The top five wide receivers? I get asked those questions all the time. They’re difficult to answer, for the simple reason there are far too many variables to categorize individual and distinctive players with the same set of standards and criteria. Part of the equation, as well, is that different teams, based on schemes and utilization, have divergent visions of how best to deploy those players. For instance, how can you possibly compare Matt Barkley and Mike Glennon? If your offense features intermediate and downfield passing as a foundational element, you would not evaluate Barkley very highly. Maybe you have him as a fourth-round pick, if that. Glennon, on the other hand, fits your approach. You might well grade him as a late first, or early second round option.
There are two players in this year’s NFL draft that I find compelling in so many ways. Both are wide receivers: Cordarrelle Patterson and Tavon Austin. Each is fascinating as an individual prospect, with explosive athleticism and multi-dimensional skills that mesmerize and captivate. Even for an old tape hound like me who rarely gets excited with the remote in my hand, evaluating Patterson and Austin was a lot of fun. There were many times I found myself audibly saying ”Wow”; believe me, that does not happen too often when I’m watching tape.