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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. talks about the NFL Draft and when Auburn's players might be selected

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. was kind enough to have a teleconference this morning about the upcoming NFL Draft.

He talked at length about what Cam Newton and Nick Fairley have to do to impress teams in the next three months.

Kiper currently has Fairley going No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers. He had Newton going No. 10 the Washington Redskins.

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I'll have a full story tomorrow, but here are some raw quotes on both players. On Newton, who he said "has all the upside you could want":
"I think Cam Newton, the interview process, the due diligence that teams go through over the next two to three months with every prospect is going to be important. Intangibles is a word you're going to hear a lot about. That's going to define whether Newton is a top-10 pick or if (Ryan) Mallett is even a first-round pick, for that matter. So I think intangibles are going to be critical. They're going to be checked out in the next couple months. It's still three months before draft day and between now and then Cam Newton is either going to be in the top 10 or he's going to slide into the late first round. It's going to be a very fluid grade depending on how that goes.

"And remember, he's only got 14 starts and people are going to be looking at that Florida situation and what went on there, what went on in the recruiting controversy with Mississippi State and Auburn and look into all that. And if they feel he is worthy of being the face of an organization, worthy of getting a lot of guaranteed money and a guy you want to move forward with as your quarterback, then Cam Newton, based on what I saw this year, on his performance and his upside, I think he's worthy. If all that falls into place, he's certainly worthy of being a top-10 pick."
Kiper had similar things to say about Fairley, who had one dominant season in college:
"He went from one and a half sacks to 11. From three and a half tackles for a loss to 24. From 28 tackles to 60 in one year. The dramatic improvement was obvious. i think there were some games here he kind of paced himself. He didn't go all out on every play and attack on every play and in the NFL you've got to adjust to that. That's the case for a lot of defensive tackles. That's why I think the comparisons to Ndamukong Suh I think are overrated. Suh had a higher grade with me. Suh was my No. 1 player all year last year. He played all out every play and he was a dominant player for two, three years. Really, it was a great performance for three years because he was out there making his presence felt. Fairley was only doing it for one year, so there's a big difference between Suh and Fairley and their body of work. So that's why I don't give Fairley nearly the grade I gave Suh.

"But I think in terms of being the No. 1 overall pick, Carolina needs a defensive tackle more than it needs an end. I know Da'Quan Bowers will be in the discussion. But I think Fairley could win out. If the interviews go well and they're solid on him, he was a guy who was a one-year wonder, but he's got so much talent, so much ability that we're going to forget about the fact that he only dominated for one year."
Kiper expects WR Darvin Adams, OL Lee Ziemba and LB Josh Bynes to be taken on the third day of the draft (rounds 4-7). Right now -- and this an extremely early projection -- he had Adams going early on the third day, Ziemba in the middle and Bynes late.

Of the three, he had the highest interest in Adams, who he called "intriguing ... just because of the talent he showed in a number of games that I watched this year."


Anonymous said...

Somebody's going to get a great player and leader in Bynes. It seems like the guy has been overlooked and underrated since high school. But we AU fans know better!

And why has Ziemba slipped so far?


War Eagle AC-47 said...

Anonymous, the reason Ziemba has slipped is because he was 2 inches shorter in real life than on his resume, and he had difficulty getting down low enough in his stance when he was moved to guard in preparation for his upcoming game. Some said he did not get his pads low enough for maximum leverag.

Also, some scouts deemed him not big enough to play tackle in the NFL. The guy weighs 317 and he isn't fat, so I don't see his weight as a problem. But his knees, if you recall, were given as a reason for his false starts a season ago.

I am amazed at how difficult it is for these guys to get drafted. A number of very bright lights in college football are not even being discussed.

Andy Bitter said...

It's a step up, so it's going to eliminate a lot of players. Ziemba might have been good against quick college ends, but I wonder if he's quick enough to handle NFL guys.

You look at somebody like Robert Gallery, who couldn't hack it as an NFL tackle but has done very well for himself as a guard.

AUsome10 said...

You don't have to be a 1st rounder to have a successful career in the league. You have to be rated as a "special" player by the experts at the time. And Mel Kiper will get it wrong just like college recruiters get it wrong. There will be a lot of excellent college players taken rounds 3-7. Those rounds will have a lot of SEC players there. There are too many players like Tom Brady that were underrated and James Harrison type players that come from no where. Sometimes its better as a young player not having the pressure of making more money than everyone else on the team and working your way into everyone's respect.

RW said...

I don't understand why first rounders are guaranteed so much more money than everyone else. Doesn't the whole concept of the draft mean that players are required to play on a team no matter what? Why give them more money in that case?

Anonymous said...

Whatever team picks up Darvin is in for a special treat. He is better than overrated Julio and can compete with AJ Greene and other top WR's throughout the country

Anonymous said...

I am a huge Auburn fan but Darvin Adams is not a better overall receiver than Julio.
He has great hands and is consistent but is not as as big, as fast, or as electric as julio