After a brief hiatus, our good buddy Greg Cosell of NFL Films, ESPN's NFL Matchup, and Shutdown Corner is back to talk a little football. And with a little more than a month passed since the draft, we thought it would be interesting to review that selection process by division, now that teams have given a bit of insight into how their new players will be used. We'll start with the NFC West, go through the divisions, and wind up just in time for training camp.
A few thoughts from Mr. Cosell:
On how new Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles might use defensive back Tyrann Mathieu: "A thought came to mind when you talked about how often the nickel cornerback will play. I wonder, in the NFC West, if it might be fewer snaps than for other teams [in other divisions]. San Francisco plays with two and three tight ends fairly often, Seattle has multiple tight ends and can use them, and the Rams signed Jared Cook. And, they still have Lance Kendricks. We don't know the answer to this, but he might play fewer snaps as the nickel corner. As far as the safety situation, I think they feel that he's a quick kid who's around the ball a lot, and they're trying to get him on the field. He's not going to start at corner. So, if he's a nickel corner, that's great. How many snaps? We don't know that, but if they want him on the field for 90 percent plus, he'll have to play safety."
On where Seahawks running back Christine Michael could fit into Seattle's plans: "He's a really intriguing running back. He's got size, lateral quickness, and natural power. He's got acceleration. He's got really explosive feet for a 220-poound back. I thought he was really decisive downhill. I liked him a lot. It's a pick where I'm sure they'll say that they had him highly rated and they had to take him, and I can understand that. But what's really fascinating about it is that here's a league in which running backs are not theoretically valued, and here's a guy who hardly carried the ball [in 2012], and he gets taken with the 62nd pick in the draft."
On the 49ers' selection of LSU safety Eric Reid: "Every year, there's one safety I struggle to analyze because of the way he's used. This year, it was Eric Reid. Clearly, San Francisco felt really strongly about him, because they traded up to get him. You don't make the trade they did without the expectation that he steps in as your starter. It's not that I didn't like him; it's more that I never got a great feel for him, and I watched a ton of LSU tape. I'd say that he's a very nice mix of size and overall athleticism, but his question mark, based on what I saw, would be stiffness in coverage. He's pretty fluid once he gets running in a straight line, but I'm not sure about the change of direction."
On how receiver Tavon Austin will change the Rams' offense: "As soon as they made that pick, and I was doing radio that night at the draft, I said that the Rams [will go with a more wide-open offense." Keep in mind what the Rams' personnel is. They have two tight ends who can move in Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks. They've got Tavon Austin. They've got Chris Givens, who a lot of people have forgotten about, but that kid can run. Everyone's talked about Chip Kelly and the speed offense, and taking nothing away from him, but in Sam Bradford's Heisman year, Oklahoma scored 60-plus points five or six weeks in a row, and I think they averaged 82 plays a game. Bradford's played in that, and they don't have what you'd call a feature back. So to me, everything about their skill positions signifies hurry-up, spread, tempo, speed to get guys in space."
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