For this edition of NFL draft news and notes we’ll continue to let you know about all of the declarations occurring, among other issues at hand.
If your favorite team ends up draft Kuechly you know for sure what you’re getting. One of the best tacklers I’ve seen in College Football over the past five or so years and the standard in “instinctive player”. He covers fairly well too and will be starting next year.
LaMichael James is much more of a question mark. Game breaking ability for sure, but can he run in a traditional offense, the standard thought is no.
Ole Miss T Bobbie Massie may also be declaring:
-Good pursuit on screen pass to chase it down from behind
-Inside power move to throw OT off and flush Weeden from the pocket
-Gets plenty of push on pass rush v. back up RT
-Firing off the ball and utilizing a swim move to get pressure now, just a step late
-Misses tackle and allows game tying TD run
-Thomas came alive once Ok State lost one of its starting OT’s but otherwise was a non-factor
Best fit, team/coaches: The Oakland Raiders or Baltimore Ravens with whom Kirkpatrick would get the chance to play a lot of tight man-to-man in press coverage. Both teams like their cornerbacks to be physical with receivers, which fits perfectly with Kirkpatrick’s strengths. He excelled playing under Nick Saban at Alabama and would fit well under John Harbaugh in Baltimore.
However, it is doubtful Kirkpatrick will be available when the Ravens pick late in the first round. The Raiders traded their first-round pick, currently 17th overall, to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Projected draft position: If Kirkpatrick comes out early, he’ll likely be a first-round pick depending on how he fares at the Scouting Combine and in Alabama’s pro day workouts. His offseason trials will determine if he or LSU’s Morris Claiborne is the first cornerback drafted.
Current pro he compares to: The Cincinnati Bengals’ Leon Hall and San Diego Chargers’ Quentin Jammer.
Western Kentucky RB Bobby Rainey is the best running back prospect you’ve never heard of. NFL.com researcher Chad Reuter asked me to give a second opinion on him this summer. Based on the clips I saw, I thought he was a second- or third-day pick who would make a roster and contribute on special teams for sure. He reminded me a little of Brian Mitchell, the great return specialist for the Redskins. However, the more I watch the 5-8, 205-pound all-purpose runner pound the rock in an I formation ground game, the more he reminds me of Ray Rice in terms of build, stamina, versatility, and vision. I need to see more of him against top-notch competition, but he’s a player to watch. He won’t be a first-day pick and he’ll need to work his way onto a roster, but he’s a talented runner.