Comments Off on Kyle Neddenriep: K.J. Walton Brings a Defensive Presence to Mizzou
K.J. Walton, a 4-star shooting guard from Indiana, committed to Missouri on Friday night. Will he be able to crack the starting lineup in year one? What can be bring to the Tigers? And when he’s fully developed, what will that look like? Kyle Neddenriep covered Walton for four years in high school, and he gives us the full breakdown on The Sports Wire.
Williams saw playing time in four games 2014 and finished 2013 on the SEC Academic honor roll. He entered spring ball as the primary backup to Connor McGovern, but saw himself drop on the depth chart as practices went on.
Rupert played in 13 games in 2014, with his only tackle coming against Kentucky. He was listed as the third string free safety entering spring ball.
Winston saw action in one game in 2014. The 6-foot-3-inch redshirt junior saw action in three games in 2014, and was listed as the backup nose guard heading into spring football.
Missouri entered the spring with 90 scholarship players, which is five above the maximum of 85. These three transfers draws the team closer to the 85 limit, but fans should expect at least two more transfers before the fall camp in early August.
Comments Off on Herbie Teope: The Chiefs are a better team in 2015 than they were in 2014
Herbie Teope of Chiefs Digest joined us on The Sports Wire to break down the first two days of the Kansas City Chiefs’ draft. I think we’re starting to see a trend in the way that John Dorsey drafts. And I think it’s both smart and well-reasoned. What does Herbie think? We asked him on The Sports Wire.
Comments Off on The Inside Slant: Matt Harmon breaks down the NFL Draft’s wide receivers
We continue our NFL Draft preview on The Inside Slant with Matt Harmon of The Backyard Banter. Harmon breaks down wide receivers with the best of them. Who does he think is the best receiver in the draft, and why does he think the number one guy won’t be selected first? That, plus Harmon gives us the 2nd and 3rd day players that could have successful NFL careers.
Comments Off on The Inside Slant: Terez Paylor breaks down the Chiefs 1st round choices
We continue our NFL Draft preview on The Inside Slant with Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star. Paylor has been working on his NFL Draft preview page for months. He’s watched more than 400 players on film, and he’s ranked each and every one of them based on how they would fit the Chiefs. I can’t recommend his work highly enough. So read his work on KansasCity.com, and listen to him right here on The Inside Slant.
Comments Off on The Inside Slant: Matt Miller breaks down the 2015 NFL Draft
We continue our NFL Draft preview on The Inside Slant with Matt Miller of Bleacher Report. For my money, Miller is the best draft analyst in the business. So we’re going to look at the draft from a national perspective. How will the top five shake out? Miller heard a rumor that could shock everyone Thursday night. I won’t spoil it for you. Without further adieu…
Comments Off on The Inside Slant: Chuck Smith breaks down defensive line prospects
Chuck Smith joined Brandon Kiley on The Inside Slant to break down the defensive linemen in the 2015 NFL Draft. Smith compared one of this year’s prospects to James Harrison. Find out who on this week’s episode of The Inside Slant.
Comments Off on The Inside Slant: Duke Manyweather breaks down the offensive line draft class
We’re breaking the NFL Draft from every perspective this week on The Inside Slant. We continue our coverage with the offensive line class, which could see as many as six or seven players drafted in the first round on Thursday night.
Which offensive lineman’s game translates best to playing left tackle at the next level? Is Cam Erving a better fit at guard than he is at center? And what stands out about this class as a whole? All of that and much more on today’s episode of The Inside Slant with our guest, Duke Manyweather.
Q: What stands out when you look at this offensive line class as a whole?
A: What stands out to me the most is how deep the tackle class is. There’s about 10-15 tackles that could potentially be drafted in the first 2-3 rounds. That’s pretty exciting… Generally there aren’t many centers that get drafted. I think last year there were 6-7 total. As I look at this year, there could be more than 7 centers drafted. At guard, it’s not too deep. There are some very good prospects there. There are some guys that I think could eventually become starters… But it’s not as deep as past years at guard.
Q: One thing I keep hearing is that there are very few true left tackles in this draft. Do you agree with that? A: I do agree with that. It’s based upon a few things. One — some guys are projected to move inside. Some guys are projected, with their skill set, would better fit the right side… Generally you see a run on left tackles in the 1st round. 2013 was pretty notable, where you had 4 left tackles within the top 15 or so picks. This year, when you really look at it, there’s about 3-4 real left tackles.
Q: Who would those be?
A: La’el Collins, to me, is a left tackle. Many people project him to go inside. I just think he’s very steady on the edge. He shows great range and physicality. Jake Fisher from Oregon is definitely a left tackle. He’s pretty natural at the position with some of the things he can do. D.J. Humphries is definitely a left tackle, he has great athleticism. And then the guy that I think possesses everything to move to left tackle is TJ Clemmings. He played right tackle in college, but the things that he possesses, there’s only a handful of guys in the league that have that. And they’re all playing on the left side. As far as 1st round guys, those are the ones that I think can be legit left tackles in the NFL.
Q: You didn’t mention Andrus Peat as a left tackle. You don’t think he can make the transition to the NFL? A: To tell you the truth, I think Peat can be a swing tackle. I think he can play both sides. The thing that I like about him is his ability to recover. It’s pretty phenominal. That alone, he can play left tackle for that reason. He’s a guy that I think could play either right or left tackle without any issues.
Q: Do you think Brandon Scherff is a true guard at the next level?
A: I have Scherff as my OG#1. When you turn on the tape, the things that stand out about Scherff is his overall physicality. He finishes. He’s strong in the run game. He’s able to pull, get around the corner and be destructive when he makes contact out in space. He does have some limitations as far as his mobility in his lower body, which does limit his range as an offensive tackle. If you turn on the Indiana and the Maryland film, he really did struggle against average pass rushers. He really did struggle in pass pro because of that. But, when you look at how he wins at tackle in pass protection, he’s really good when he jump-sets guys, gets his hands on guys immediately, when he’s able to quick set. He’s able to win in a phone booth. Because of those reasons, I believe he’s going to project inside to left guard. And I think he’ll be a pretty darn good left guard. I think it’s unfair to compare him to Zach Martin. I think you could put Martin at offensive tackle right now and he’ll be able to play without compromising your offense… When people compare Scherff and Martin, the only comparisons are they both could move inside and Scherff could be very good there. But as far as potential and skill set, I thought Zach Martin brought more in terms of mobility and range and pass protection and things like that.
Q: La’el Collins intrigues me from a size and strength perspective. What stands out on film about him?
A: La’el is a guy who when you turn on the tape, it is evident from the start that at the point of attack his strength, power and explosion is really a thing of beauty. You can see him really generating force and pop. You see defenders heads jolt back. He has enough range to kick to a spot and protect the edge. He’ll run guys around the top of the pocket, or “trace the hoop” is what I like to call it. And he has dog in him. He really likes to get after it. He attempts to finish every single play. And finishing as an offensive lineman isn’t about pancakes and knockdown blocks. It’s about getting that little added extra at the end of the play to let the defender know, “hey, I’m gonna be here all day.” And you really do see that from La’el. You go back and look at his 2013 film against Alabama… I mean, he was a handful for them to deal with on the offensive line. When I really look at his tape, and I’m not one to compare players, but when I do look at his tape, I see some traits that closely resemble Trent Williams. They have a very physical mindset, they get their hands on people. Even their pass set is very similar in that they get vertical and work to a 45 degree angle. They’re really able to get to their spot. That’s a really good thing. I see him as a left tackle, and I have him ranked as the number one tackle in the draft.
Q: The other two guys I wanted to ask you about are D.J. Humphries and T.J. Clemmings. How do those two compare?
A: I’ll tell you what, I’ve got Humphries as my number three, and Clemmings as my number 4 (offensive tackles). You’re getting lean, athletic, long-limbed guys that have a ton of potential and upside. I do think that Humphries is more advanced at this point. Some things he does with his hands, and punch timing… His ability to win the edge consistently without falling off blocks… You see that he is very strong with his inside hand. He’s able to collision bump and pass off stunts. He has great range to do that, as well. Those are some things that I really like about Humphries that I think sets him apart from Clemmings. Clemmings, at this point, needs to work on the consistency of his sets and kicking to get to his spots. He also has some inconsistencies as far as his punch time and his strike zone recognition. At this point, that’s going to need development. Offensive line and offensive tackle is a learned skill. Clemmings has only been playing the position for 2 or 3 years. His potential and upside is off the charts. With the NFL, development is not always guaranteed, but you would like to think that if a guy like Clemmings gets into the right situation, he could develop into something special.
Q: There’s a lot of information indicating that the Chiefs may be interested in Cedric Ogbuehi at number 18. If that’s true, what do you think the Chiefs are seeing that others aren’t?
A: I think what the Chiefs are seeing in Ogbuehi is a guy that has really good athleticism. He has really good awareness. You see things like he’s able to see stunts develop and blitz pickup and things of that nature. He’s always in the right position. He’s never taking the wrong angle. So you’re seeing consistency in that regard. But some things that I really don’t like about him is I just don’t see a lot of dog in him. I don’t see the finish. And the thing that’s most alarming to me is his hand usage. He allows defenders into his frame a lot and that raises his pad level. There’s a lot of times when he does throw a solid punch in terms of the timing, but he gets pushed right back into them. At offensive tackle, you have to be good with your hands…And then just the overall ability to leverage with the hands, really torque the elbows and neutralize the defenders… I don’t see from him. And that’s really alarming. Because development in the NFL is no guarantee. And the hands are very difficult to develop. That being said, at 18 with the Chiefs, I think Andy Heck is one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL… That staff may have confidence that whoever they bring in, they could really develop and bring him along.
Q: What kind of things are you looking for in an offensive lineman’s hand usage?
A: Some of the things I look for when you’re talking about overall hand usage is the punch timing, the strike zone recognition, independent hand usage (not punching with two hands, but being able to switch up hand usage), overall violence in the hands, strong hands, the ability to jolt the defender — and that goes back to explosive upper body strength. General crafty hand usage — being able to re-work your hands and craftiness and stuff like that.
Q: When you watch Cam Erving’s film, what do you see? And how good could he be?
A: I think Erving could be very good. I actually have him ranked as my 2nd center, but I have him ranked as my number one overall interior o-line. What that means is that those are guards that play guard or center or they project to play different positions along the interior. But I have him projected as the number one interior offensive lineman and because of that, it will bring great draft value. He does have position flexibility. But when I do turn on the tape, I see a guy that has strength at the point of attack. He has very quick and athletic feet. He’s not always able to set back and over, which I like to be able to see centers do. That naturally creates space in pass protection when you have those big nose tackles on you. I do see his ability to climb to the 2nd level. I think he plays with controlled aggression at this point at center. It was a new position to him. I didn’t really see too much of an edge there. But I just saw a guy that went out there and played football, and was very solid with the position move. That being said, the things that he does do well… He’s able to mirror, he’s able to anchor. He has independent hand usage. He has an overall ability to generate force off the ball. To me, that projects to left guard. I think his best position will be guard. I’m sure teams will give him a look at center, as he did have success there for Florida State… His lateral ability and range looks like a guard to me, and a good one at that. But he’s a guy that does bring draft value. First round value? I don’t know about that. I see that a lot. I think people are starting to say, “he’s just too good to pass up on.” But to me, I think he’s a late first or early second type of talent.
Q: Mitch Morse is a guy that a lot of Mizzou fans like. What do you see from him?
A: I’m going to be completely honest with you, he’s a guy that I really liked in 2013 and 2014. I think he’s a right tackle in the NFL actually. I liked him better than Justin Britt on film in 2013. I actually expected Morse to declare for the draft as well, but he didn’t. What I see from him is — first of all, toughness and nastiness. I see the explosive nature in which he plays in. I see his ability to hit, lift and drive defenders off the ball. He’s very consistent in kicking and getting to a spot. His stance is a little bit unorthadox, but he’s able to get to his spot. He’s able to widen defenders up the field who try to rush wide. One of the things I see is he has very explosive upper body strength. He’s very good with his hands. He really does jolt defenders back. One of the plays that sticks out to me is if you go back to the 2013 bowl game against Oklahoma State… One of the first plays, they had zone opposite and Morse is uncovered. He sifts through B-gap, takes a proper angle and he takes the middle linebacker for a ride for 3-4 yards. It’s one of the most violent encounters I’ve seen in football in a long time. The power and explosion… He’s a guy that I do really like. And I think he can stick at right tackle, but potentially could play a guard position as well. But, again, a guy that I turn on the film and I think he’s going to be a good value in the 3rd or 4th round for a team.
Comments Off on The Inside Slant: Benjamin Allbright breaks down the quarterback draft class
We’re breaking the NFL Draft from every perspective this week on The Inside Slant. We begin our coverage with the quarterback class, headlined by Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston.
Which current pros do Winston and Mariota compare to? And what would it take for both of them to justify a top 3 pick? All of that and much more on today’s episode of The Inside Slant with our guest, Benjamin Allbright.
Q: Who do you see as the top quarterback in this class?
A: I’ve got kind of a tie. I think it’s the two quarterbacks that everyone is talking about. They’re just diametrically opposite in terms of style of play. You’ve got Jameis WInston whose basically, to me, Jay Cutler 2.0. And you have his opposite counterpoint in Marcus Mariota who, to me, is Alex Smith 2.0. I think both those quarterbacks have some strengths and some weaknesses, but I don’t think either of them is ever going to be anything more than a mid-tier NFL starter in the long-run.
Q: If Winston and Mariota project to be Jay Cutler and Alex Smith, why are people so high on them?
A: Well, because they’re young quarterbacks. It’s a quarterback-driven league, so the hype on these guys ends up pushing them up. Quarterbacks get taken well before they should be taken in every NFL draft. Look no further than last year with Johnny Manziel. I had an early day three grade on him, and there he was at the back end of the first round getting taken. You see guys get taken well above where they should, and the litany of names is quite lengthy. You’re talking about Christian Ponder, EJ Manuel, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker… They’re all taken well before they should have been. It just happens. Youth and potential tend to trump, in the minds of general managers, reality of what they could become, and it’s a problem with drafting quarterbacks in the NFL.
Q: If you had to rank these quarterbacks, how would you rank them? Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Geno Smith, Luck, Tannehill, RGIII, Russell Wilson
A: They would definitely be behind Luck, Tannehill, Wilson. I probably had them behind Geno, I would have to look… Just about every one of those names, they would have been behind. They would have been behind Bridgewater, Carr, Luck and Tannehill and Wilson. Yeah. They would have been near the bottom of that list.
Q: So almost all of the quarterbacks drafted in the first two rounds over the past 3 years would be ranked ahead of Winston and Mariota?
A: I would have had Winston and Mariota rated ahead of guys like Weeden and Bortles… I’m trying to remember the number I had on EJ Manuel… I think I would have had them over EJ. But, yeah, that’s a pretty fair assessment.
Q: If Mariota and Winston reach their potential, what does that look like? I know you said their comparisons are Jay Cutler and Alex Smith… Is that their peak?
A: I think so. I know you hear the Ben Roethlisberger comparisons out there for Winston, but he’s nowhere near as athletic as Roethlisberger. You know, maybe he can become good Jay Cutler… You know, I don’t know. Eli Manning throws a lot of interceptions, and he’s dragged a couple teams to the Super Bowl kicking and screaming. Maybe Eli Manning is the ceiling for Winston. I don’t really know. Alex Smith, for all of the knocks on him, he’s very efficient with the football, and when he has great defenses, he wins football games. I think he went to a Super Bowl backing up Kaepernick if I remember correctly. He got them mostly there, they just relinquished his starter role midway through the season. He’s come close before. So I don’t think having either one of these guys precludes you from winning the Super Bowl. I just don’t think either one is ever going to be great in terms of what they bring to the table.
Q: If you’re a GM, and you’re drafting a QB in the top 3, what would it take for that QB to accomplish in order to justify the top 3 ranking?
A: I think if you’re going to spend a pick like that on a quarterback, he needs to become — by his 2nd or 3rd year — a top 10 starter in the NFL. In terms of production, he needs to be low on the turnovers, he needs to generate yardage, he needs to generate positive momentum in the offense. Especially in the critical situations — when you look at 3rd and 4th down, or long situations, 2 minute situations — his numbers need to be pretty good. He needs to be a guy whose leading the offense and not a detriment. Not a guy whose getting by on the talent around him.
Q: Looking back, has Ryan Tannehill justified being a top 10-15 pick?
A: I think he has. Especially if you look at it through the lens of what he became by the end of last season. We’ve seen a continual upward progression with Tannehill. A guy that was only a starter at quarterback for a year and a half at Texas A&M. He was their 7th leading WR prior to that. I’ve definitely seen an upward trend with him. Last year, I was very impressed with where he was by the end of the year. Started rough, but by the time he got there it was pretty good. But yeah, I think Tannehill was definitely worth the pick.
Q: Are there any quarterbacks after Winston and Mariota that could develop into starting NFL quarterbacks?
A: There are some possibilities. Brett Hundley, with significant work, he could become a starter in the NFL. Bryce Petty is a guy I want to like, but lower velocity than you want… He’s also going to be a 24 year old rookie coming off a broken back… And then you look at Garrett Grayson, that’s another 24 year old rookie with injury history. I think he’s a career number 2, maybe a spot starter. I don’t really care for Sean Mannion. Chris Bonner is really raw, and he looks like he could be a starter down the line if you put work into him. Brandon Bridge needs a lot of work, but could be one. None of these guys are going to be world beaters, though.
Q: Do the injury concerns worry you with Bryce Petty?
A: Yeah, I don’t know how many people you have that used to have a bad back. Everybody that I know that has a bad back carries it with them for life.
Q: I feel like everyone agrees that Winston will go number 1 overall. Where does Mariota end up?
A: Winston is a lock at number 1. I reported that 2-3 weeks ago. He is going number 1 to the Bucs. It’s happening. There’s still a chance someone could trade up to number 2. The Titans are desperately trying to create a market for him by pretending they’re going to take him. They may end up taking him to ransom him. He doesn’t fit with the Ken Wisenhunt archeotype at quarterback at all. Maybe they could keep him and use him, I don’t know. Initially I thought maybe San Diego, but they cooled on that. The Browns aren’t really in. They want to move up to get Danny Shelton. The Eagles seem to be the team that’s banging the drum. The Rams are a team that’s sniffed around. They could move up and try to get him. I don’t know if they want to do that or not, but they’re a team that’s talked about it, and I know they picked up the 5th year on Brockers. They could potentially move him as well. Those are the teams that I think would be at the forefront. Maybe the Bears could be a sleeper team.
Q: Gun to your head, who would you predict moves up to get Mariota?
A: That’s rough… If I had to predict it, I’ll go out on a limb. I’ll predict the Rams go up and get him.
Q: Would Mariota be a good fit for the Rams?
A: Yeah, I do. Jeff Fisher’s had success with mobile quarterbacks. Even ones he didn’t want. He didn’t want Vince Young, and he still won games with him. He definitely had success with Steve McNair. So he’s had success with mobile quarterbacks and moving them around in the pocket. So I think it would be a good fit, yeah.
Comments Off on Sam Snelling: Missouri can sustain success with experience
Sam Snelling of RockMNation landed an exclusive interview with former Missouri basketball assistant coach Tim Fuller in which Fuller goes through the ups and downs of the past four years. Snelling joined us on The Sports Wire to discuss his interview with Fuller, and where he believes the Missouri basketball program is heading.