Thursday, April 21, 2011

Latest on NFL Draft with ESPN's Mel Kiper

From ESPN -


Conference Call Replay with ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Mel Kiper, Jr.

ESPN conducted a media conference call Wednesday, April 20, with NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., who discussed a number of 2011 prospects.  Select comments:

On this draft being a great year for defensive linemen…
“This year is the year for the defensive lineman. And certainly for defensive ends. Robert Quinn, had he played this year, might have been the first or second pick overall. Bowers ironically would have been a first or second pick overall had it not been for the knee concern. So, two of the top guys you expected at this position are not there for different reasons.”

On the Pittsburgh Steelers critical draft needs…
“The overall defensive line has to get younger, no question about it. I think the cornerback position, depending on what happens to Ike Taylor – and even with Ike Taylor back, if that’s the case they’ve got issues at corner. They have monumental issues if Taylor isn’t there…And they have to figure it out on the offensive line too…If you can get a versatile kid that can play tackle/guard that would be a good thing on the offensive line as well. If they can address those three positions – defensive line, offensive line and cornerback – they’ve got (Emmanuel) Sanders and Antonio (Brown) coming along at wide receiver…You’re looking at a year with the Steelers where they have to address three critical positions.”

On the lockout affecting deals made during the draft…
“You’re going to have a lot of movement in terms of positional movement for players. There’s a wide range of opinion as there always is on players. Teams are going to look and say, ‘here’s a guy dropping, let’s jump up and get him.’ I think you’re going to see New England be a big player. Belichick has already commented about getting calls already. They pick at 17, 28 and 33…There’s going to be some maneuvering going on…When you get to that pick in the 7, 8, 9. 10 range you’re going to see a lot of movement.” 

On Michigan outside linebacker Jonas Mouton…
“I think he’s a lot underrated…He’s one of the guys that I’ve highlighted a lot. I think he’s going to be a third or fourth round pick. At that particular point, he can play in any scheme whether it’s a 3-4or 4-3. He didn’t have the ‘wow you over’ 40 time, but he plays a lot faster because he’s so instinctive. He’s just a good football player. I like the kid. I liked everything about him and the way he played.”

On expectations of drafted quarterbacks to be NFL ready…
“Do these quarterbacks have to be ready now? As a league we see that. Chop you up and they’ll spit you out. That’s the way this league is and you better be ready…We’re kicking kids to the curb in the NFL before their college careers could have been over. It’s amazing…The test case for this is Aaron Rodgers. That’s the way you should develop a quarterback. What would have happened if he had gone to the Redskins? I don’t think he’d have been Aaron Rodgers right now. He probably would have been kicked to the curb. But he developed. He changed his whole delivery, his whole mechanics of throwing the football. Now he’s a potential Hall of Famer and has a Super Bowl ring. There you go.  If Gabbert’s handled properly he can develop, but he’s not going to be ready right away…I don’t think any of these quarterbacks are ready to play right away.”

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