New England Patriots Draft Needs: Running Back

Over the next few days I will be considering the biggest draft day needs for the New England Patriots and assessing what players could possibly get drafted to address those needs.  Today’s entry will focus on running back.  The previous entries can be seen here:

Defensive Line: https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/2576/

Outside Linebacker: https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/new-england-patriots-draft-needs-outside-linebacker/

Wide Receiver: https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/new-england-patriots-draft-needs-wide-receiver/

Offensive Line: https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/new-england-patriots-draft-needs-offensive-line/

Contrary to what many so-called “experts” have been saying, I don’t see running back as a top priority in the 2011 NFL Draft.  That being said, if a guy like Mark Ingram is still available when the Pats select at 28 or 33, I’m sure that he will be considered, but spending that kind of money on a rookie when you already have a 1,000 yard back on your team doesn’t make much sense to me.  I’m sure that once Mel Kiper and Todd McShay log onto NTCF and read this, they’ll change their stance to conform with what I’m saying, but until then I’m the guy you want to listen to (or in this case read).  Kevin Faulk, Sammy Morris, and Fred Taylor are all free agents, so the only two running backs left on the roster are BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead (Eric Kettani is on the reserve/military list).  In the 2011 draft, I believe that the Pats will be looking running back in the 3rd round and later, so I’m going to focus on players that should be available around then. Here’s a look at a few guys that could be new additions to the Patriots come 2011:

Name: Shane Vereen

Position: RB

School: California

Year: Junior

Size: 5’10”, 205 lbs

Projected Round: 3rd

Analysis: Apparently a big knock on Vereen is his size…Last time I checked, guys like Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice are pretty good players.  Vereen displays good quickness and decent speed.  At 5’10”, he can lower his pad level to get under defenders and drive for extra yardage.  Vereen has a huge lower body, which helps him move piles and run over undersized defenders.  Could use to add 10-15 lbs of bulk to aid his running between the tackles.  Amassed 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior at Cal in 2010.  Is a good blocker out of the backfield, and his hands are good enough where he can be used on third down on the next level.  Durable runner that isn’t afraid to attack the line of scrimmage.  Watched Vereen participate in some skills competition on ESPN about a week ago and I loved his personality and competitiveness.

Name: Jordan Todman

Position: RB

School: UConn

Year: Junior

Size: 5’9”, 195 lbs

Projected Round: 3rd

Analysis: Todman gained 1,695 yards and scored 14 times for the Huskies in 2010.  Todman allegedly has decent speed in the 40 (4.45 range), but has vision to make up for his lack of straight line speed.  There is no quantitative measure of how effectively running backs can see holes, but Todman’s 1,695 yards proves that he knows what to do with the ball after receiving the handoff.  Todman has quick feet and moves well laterally.  195 lbs isn’t that big in today’s NFL, so in order to withstand the rigors of carrying the ball 20-25 times a game, Todman will need to add some muscle bulk.  Not the best hands, but Todman would be a great change-of-pace back immediately in the NFL.

Name: Delone Carter

Position: RB

School: Syracuse

Year: Senior

Size: 5’10”, 220 lbs

Projected Round: 3-4

Analysis: Delone Carter is a man.  This dude is huge.  His build reminds me of Thomas Jones, who is also a man.  Carter isn’t the fastest running back in the draft, but he is a bruiser.  He has the speed to grab 20 yards, but not game breaking speed like a Demarco Murray type.  Carter is a decent blocker out of the backfield, but only caught 8 passes in 2010 which has me questioning his hands.  Named MVP of the East-West Shrine game as well as MVP of Syracuse’s bowl game against Kansas State (27 rushes, 198 yards, 2 touchdowns).

Name: John Clay

Position: RB

School: Wisconsin

Year: Junior

Size: 6’1”, 250 lbs

Projected Round: 5th

Analysis: Clay made a mature decision when declaring for the 2011 NFL Draft as a junior.  As of Janaury 4th, Clay turned 23 years old.  Realizing that the shelf life of NFL running backs is short, Clay made the decision to avoid trying to be a 24 year old rookie running back and make it to the league in 2011.  At 255 lbs, Clay averaged a surprising 5.4 yards per carry in 2010, gaining a total of 1012 yards and 14 touchdown on just 187 attempts.  Clay rushed for over 3,400 yards and 41 touchdowns in his three year college career.  Clay is more nimble than one would expect for a guy his size.  At 6’1”, his strides are long enough and he has enough speed to break off some big runs.  Expected to run around a 4.6 40, but getting that up to a 4.5 could vastly improve his draft stock.  Clay needs to work on lowering his pad level in order to stop taking so many shots to the thighs and knees.  Isn’t as much of a bruiser as would be expected, but breaks a ton of tackles.

Name: Noel Devine

Position: RB

School: West Virginia

Year: Senior

Size: 5’8”, 180 lbs

Projected Round: 5-6

Analysis: Guess what the biggest knock on Noel Devine is…yup, his size.  Guess what separates Devine from nearly every other back in the 2011 NFL draft…yup, his speed.  Devine is a game changer simply because he will run a blazing 40, somewhere in the 4.35 range.  Devine had a down year in 2010, rushing for only 936 yards and 6 touchdowns, but he also caught 34 passes for 258 yards.  Devine isn’t great between the tackles, but is a nightmare to keep an eye on for defenders because of his size.  His pass protection is lacking, but once he breaks a run outside the tackles, he is likely to make the defense pay.  Devine is very shifty and elusive, but his small frame makes him more susceptible to injury.  Simply from a size and skill stand point, Devine reminds me of a cross between Darren Sproles and Brian Westbrook (may be a bit bold, but accept it).  I would love to see Devine work in the slot.

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New England Patriots Draft Needs: Offensive Line

Over the next few days I will be considering the biggest draft day needs for the New England Patriots and assessing what players could possibly get drafted to address those needs.  Today’s entry will focus on the offensive line.  The previous entries can be seen here:

Defensive Line: https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/2576/

Outside Linebacker: https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/new-england-patriots-draft-needs-outside-linebacker/

Wide Receiver: https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/new-england-patriots-draft-needs-wide-receiver/

Within the next year, the Patriots could have a completely new front five on the offensive line.  Both Matt Light and Logan Mankins are free agents this off-season.  Many believe that Light is a life-long Patriot and won’t leave, but you can never be sure until the ink is on the contract.  Mankins had the franchise tag placed on him, which locks him down for 2011, but a trade is still very possible.  Dan Koppen, Stephen Neal, and Dan Connolly are all free agents after the 2011 season, and Nick Kaczur and Sebastian Vollmer are free agents after the 2012 season.  Even if no one leaves via free agency, Matt Light (33 in June), Dan Koppen (32 in September), and Stephen Neal (35 in October) are all aging, and Kaczur has struggled to stay healthy.  Depth is an issue on the offensive line, and upgrading on the interior is a possibility. Here’s a look at a few guys that could be new additions to the Patriots come 2011:

Name: Mike Pouncey

Position: C/OG

School: Florida

Year: Senior

Size: 6’4”, 310 lbs

Projected Round: 1st

Analysis: Pouncey’s draft day status is boosted by the success that brother Maurkice had for the Steelers this past year.  Mike played guard when Maurkice was in Gainesville, but slid over to play center for the 2010 season.  Pouncey played defensive tackle to begin his career at Florida, but switched to offense in 2008.  Pouncey has experience, having notched 45 career starts in the SEC.  Pouncey displays quick feet and a good punch.  May need to add some strength to play guard on the next level.  Best interior offensive line prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft, hands down.

Name: Danny Watkins

Position: OT/OG

School: Baylor

Year: Senior

Size: 6’4”, 312 lbs

Projected Round: 1-2

Analysis: Watkins played left tackle at Baylor, but translate much better at guard on the next level.  Started all 25 games of Baylor career after transferring from junior college.  Biggest drawback with Watkins is that he is 26 years old and will be 27 next November.  Unlike other 21 and 22 year old rookies, Watkins’ shelf life is already limited with not as much time allowed for him to improve.  His quickness isn’t as good as most tackles in the draft, but some quickness deficits can be negated by playing guard.  His strength is average, but athleticism is a big plus.  Knows blocking schemes well and is a smart player.

Name: Marcus Cannon

Position: OT/OG

School: TCU

Year: Senion

Size: 6’6”, 350 lbs

Projected Round: 2nd

Analysis: Marcus Cannon is a beast.  Considered to be a workout warrior, Cannon has added 50 pounds since arriving on TCU’s campus, but hasn’t lost any of the quickness or agility that made him one of the nation’s top right tackles.  The only knock on Cannon is that he struggles with speed rushers on the edge, but what would you expect out of a guy that weighs in at 350?  In my opinion, Cannon translates best as an offensive guard on the next level.  He can use his shear girth to plug up the middle of the offensive line, while still utilizing his quickness to pull on outside run plays.  Versatility is coveted in New England, and similarly with Pouncey and Watkins, a lineman that can play multiple positions is a huge plus for coach Belichick.

Name: James Brewer

Position: OT

School: Indiana

Year: Senior

Size: 6’6”, 323 lbs

Projected Round: 4th

Analysis: Brewer reminds me a bit of Sebastian Vollmer.  Clearly, Brewer was the most talented offensive lineman at Indiana for a few years, but injuries hindered his progression and success.  Took over the left tackle spot for Rams’ rookie sensation Roger Saffold.  Many believe that Brewer is talented enough to warrant a late first to early second round selection, but injury question marks have him sliding down draft boards.  The biggest knock on Brewer is that he lacks the aggression and mean streak expected out of a player that has his size.  Brewer has great feet and hands, utilized primarily in pass blocking, but his lack of assertion hurts him at times.  Great week at the Senior Bowl.

Name: Zach Hurd

Position: OG

School: UConn

Year: Senior

Size: 6’7”, 325 lbs

Projected Round: 5th

Analysis: Not much more you can ask of an offensive guard than to be first team All-Big East for two consecutive years while blocking for a 1,000 yard rusher in every season that he has played at UConn.  Hurd missed the Senior Bowl with a calf injury.  Hurd is more of a power blocker than a finesse guy, but that is expected out of an offensive guard as big as him.  Hurd’s lateral ability is somewhat limited, but he is a project type lineman that could flourish within the right system.

Big East Game 14: Cincinnati 93 – Providence 81

-Saturday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bearcats was a lot closer than the score would indicate.  Providence was down by 16 points with as little as 8 minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the game when they began a Friar-like run to get back into it.  Marshon was rolling.  Kadeem Batts was battling for every inch underneath, tipping rebounds and making shots.  Ron Giplaye, in his first significant bout of playing time, was leaving everything on the floor.  Giplaye was finishing dunks and grabbing boards.  Duke Mondy’s defense and clutch shooting was coming at just the right time.  Then, it was all thrown away by a TERRIBLE foul call with 16 seconds left on Ron Giplaye.  As Cincinnati’s Rashad Bishop rose up to shoot a mid range jumper, Giplaye left his man to contest the shot, and as Bishop released the ball and kicked Giplaye, apparently the official thought that Giplaye had fouled Bishop.  Bishop made one of two free throws, and then bad play execution by the Friars to end the game sent it into overtime, where Cincinnati ran away with the victory.

-Aside from the GARBAGE that took place with 16 seconds left in the game, the Friars still had a chance to run a play to win the game at the end of regulation.  After the second free throw was made by Cincinnati, Marshon Brooks caught the inbounds pass and began walking the ball up the court.  Yes, as Keno Davis is frantically running around trying to get Marshon over half court so he can call a timeout, Brooks is nonchalantly walking the ball up.  That is why Marshon Brooks gets on my nerves.  Come on dude, have some intelligence for one second.  Coach Davis knows a hell of a lot more about basketball than you do.  You know in the back of your head that you will be taking the last shot.  Get over half court, let coach call a timeout with 13 seconds left, and allow him to draw up a play that hopefully will be successful for you.  Wake up Marshon!  Instead, Davis got the timeout call with 9 seconds remaining.  The ball again was inbounded to Brooks at half court, he walked around for about 5 seconds, waited for Batts to set a screen, and then heaved up a fade-away contested three pointer.  Great work Marshon, I’m proud of you kid!

-Kadeem Batts played a great game, probably his best of the season.  Although the Friars’ big men were taken advantage of on defense, Batts battled the entire game and ended with 17 points and 11 rebounds.  Batts’ play has improved nearly every game, and I’m liking what I see out of the 6’8” freshman.  Bilal Dixon on the other hand actually stayed on the court for more than 5 minutes, but contributed only 7 points and 4 boards in 26 minutes.  More importantly, Dixon was benched for freshman Ron Giplaye in the last 10 minutes of the game.

-Speaking of Ron Giplaye, the kid played a really solid game.  I’ve been calling for Giplaye to see more playing time nearly every review, and he finally got some solid minutes.  Although very erratic and sloppy on defense, Giplaye contributed 5 points and 5 rebounds in 13 minutes of play.  Giplaye may be subject to criticism because of the foul called against him at the end of the game, but I’m not going there.  I saw it Ron, no foul there.

-Vincent Council, come on dude wake up!

-Gerard Coleman came off of the bench for the second consecutive game.  Coleman only played 12 minutes in Saturday’s contest, and he managed 1 point, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals.  I like the message that Keno is sending here.  Starting spots are won in practice.  If a player isn’t practicing well, then he does not deserve to keep starting just because he has in the past.  The time to get Coleman on the right track in terms of discipline and work ethic is now, as a freshman.  Keep doing your thing Keno, I like it.

-Ray Hall is huge and I love the effort he brings…but he can not jump at all.

-Duke Mondy is the best one-on-one defender in the Big East…try and prove me wrong.

-Now, an NIT bid is slipping away.  The Friars could use a huge upset against Notre Dame on Wednesday, but they aren’t going to get it playing the way they have over their last three games.  The four remaining games on the Friars’ schedule are home against Notre Dame, at Marquette, at Louisville, and home against Rutgers.  Ideally, three wins would be great to finish the season at a respectable 6-12 in the Big East.  Hopefully, two wins and a decent showing in the Big East tournament will have the Friars in a post-season tournament.

-Side note: Apparently Ricky Ledo was at the Dunk last night doing a shoot around with the Friars before the game…whatever that means.

NEXT GAME: Wednesday, February 23rd vs. Notre Dame, 7pm

New England Patriots Draft Needs: Wide Receiver

Over the next few days I will be considering the biggest draft day needs for the New England Patriots and assessing what players could possibly get drafted to address those needs.  Today’s entry will focus on wide receiver.  The previous entries can be seen here:

Defensive Line: https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/2576/

Outside Linebacker: https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/new-england-patriots-draft-needs-outside-linebacker/

Some don’t consider wide receiver a position that needs to be addressed early in the 2011 NFL Draft, but I think that by the end of last season and in the playoffs, the Pats’ lack of a big-play wideout hindered their offense at times.  Wes Welker is the best slot wide receiver in the NFL, and Deion Branch performed better than I expected on the outside.  Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are very good young threats at tight end, but Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman, and Taylor Price have not shown the ability to be reliable targets.  Here’s a look at a few guys that could be new additions to the Patriots come 2011:

Name: Julio Jones

Position: WR

School: Alabama

Year: Junior

Size: 6’4”, 220 lbs

Projected Round: 1st

Analysis: I can dream, can’t I?  Although spending the 17th pick on a wide receiver may be out of the question for the Pats, if Jones slips to their spot, his talent alone may be too much to ignore.  There isn’t much to dislike about a kid that is 6’4”, 220lbs and runs somewhere between a 4.4 – 4.5.  In 2010, Jones grabbed 78 passes, for 1,133 and 7 touchdowns.  Not bad for a kid playing in a run happy offense.  Jones would provide the physical presence and down field playmaking that the Patriots’ receiving corps is currently lacking.  Jones needs to become more consistent with using his hands to catch the ball instead of his body.  A.J. Green is the obvious top receiver in this draft, but Jones isn’t far behind.

Name: Jonathan Baldwin

Position: WR

School: Pittsburgh

Year: Junior

Size: 6’5”, 230 lbs

Projected Round: 1-2

Analysis: Another big receiver should be around when the Patriots pick at 17, and maybe even at 28 or 33.  Jonathan Baldwin had scholarships to play both football and basketball in college, obviously choosing football.  His size alone makes him an intriguing prospect, but he has an uncanny ability to go up and get the football over defenders.  Having a good basketball pedigree is always a huge plus for receivers and tight ends in my mind.  Even at 230 lbs, Baldwin has been clocked near 4.45 in the 40.  Underachieved in 2010 with only 53 catches for 822 yards and 5 touchdowns, but much of his underproduction can be blamed on shaky quarterback play.  Had some off of the field issues, so Baldwin needs to mature a bit.  Talent-wise, Baldwin is a top flight prospect.

Name: Torrey Smith

Position: WR

School: Maryland

Year: Junior

Size: 6’1”, 205 lbs

Projected Round: 1-2

Analysis: Smith may wind up being the fastest receiver in the 2011 NFL Draft.  In 2010, Smith caught 67 passes for 1,055 yards and 12 touchdowns.  Smith is also considered to be one of the best return men in the country.  Smith sometimes relies on his body too often to make catches, but his size and strength allow him the ability to separate from defenders and make catches over the top of undersized defensive backs.  Smith has the rare ability to be able to run fast in a straight line, cut with one step, and get off of press coverage on the line of scrimmage.  He has good vision after the catch.  Smith is a prototypical boom-or-bust prospect.  Similar qualities to former Terrapin Darrius Heyward-Bey, without the low 4.3 speed.  40 time may wind up being near the 4.37 region.

Name: Austin Pettis

Position: WR

School: Boise State

Year: Senior

Size: 6’3”, 205 lbs

Projected Round: 3-4

Analysis: Pettis’ production over his four years as a Boise State Bronco can’t be denied.  Pettis caught at least 46 passes in each of his four seasons.  In 2010, Pettis hauled in 71 passes for 951 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Coming into the 2010 season, Pettis was considered to possibly be a first round selection in the 2011 draft, but as usual Boise State players drop down draft boards.  Pettis’ 40 time is rumored to be around 4.5, but shows the ability to separate in game film.  His size makes him a big target for quarterbacks, and he isn’t afraid to go over the middle.  Pettis has great hands, and would be a steal for a team looking for a possession receiver in the 3rd or 4th round.

Name: Jeremy Kerley

Position: WR

School: TCU

Year: Senior

Size: 5’10”, 192 lbs

Projected Round: 4th

Analysis: Unlike the previous four wide receivers that were mentioned, Kerley has more “Patriot-like” size at 5’10” and 192 lbs.  What separated Kerley from many other receivers is his quickness.  With a 40 time rumored to be around 4.5, Kerley isn’t going to stretch the field often, but his quick feet and solid hands make him a nightmare to cover on short routes.  Kerley also possesses good return skills, which can be telling about his ability to see the holes and make yards after the catch.  Kerley caught 56 balls for 575 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior at TCU.  His draft position is heavily dependant on his 40 time.  I wouldn’t mind seeing Kerley in a Pats uniform if he was a fourth round pick or later.

Bruins Make Pre-Trade Deadline Splash

Earlier today the Boston Bruins made a pair of deals to help net them the puck-moving defenseman they were looking to acquire in Tomas Kaberle (Toe-mahs Cab-ur-lay).  The Bruins were able to shed some baby fat and beef up their line-up in preparation for their playoff run.  Here is a breakdown of the deals…

_________________________________________

To Boston: Kaberle (D)

To Toronto: Joe Colborne (C), 2011 1st rnd pick

_________________________________________

To Boston: Rich Peverley (C), Boris Valabik (D)

To Atlanta: Blake Wheeler (F), Mark Stuart (D)

_________________________________________

So, what does all this mean?  Plain and simple the Bruins got better.  They have a veteran who makes an excellent first pass out of his defensive zone to start the rush, they got rid of Blake “I can’t hit the net” Wheeler, and they gave up a defenseman in Mark Stuart who was struggling to crack the line-up the last few weeks after returning from injury.  The center they picked up from Atlanta has won 55 percent of his faceoffs this year and has very good speed.  He’s also scouted as someone who has a very quick wrist shot and someone who likes to shoot as often as possible.

The Bruins also picked up center Chris Kelly from Ottawa the other night for a second round draft pick.  Kelly is very similar to what Greg Campbell brings to the table.

This team is definitely better but, are they a cup contender?  I don’t feel it.  They need a sure-fire sniper on the top line if they want to do any damage past the second round of the playoffs.  This team will need a full effort night in and night out if they want any chance of making a run.  Either way, I’m excited about the direction the front office has put this team in.

New England Patriots Draft Needs: Defensive Line

Over the next few days I will be considering the biggest draft day needs for the New England Patriots and assessing what players could possibly get drafted to address those needs.  Today’s entry will focus on the defensive line.

Vince Wilfork is and will continue to be a staple on the defensive line for years to come.  Ty Warren’s return from injury will improve the talent level along that line as well.  With the high level of talent and depth of 3-4 defensive lineman in this draft, picking up one of those players could prove to be a great move towards improving the Pats’ defense in 2011.  Here’s a look at a few guys that could be new additions to the Patriots come 2011:

Name: Cameron Jordan

Position: 4-3 DT/DE / 3-4 DE

School: California

Year: Senior

Size: 6’4” 285 lbs

Projected Round: 1st

Analysis: Jordan has the size and strength to be an effective 3-4 defensive end, and he also possess the agility and quickness to push the pocket and pressure the quarterback.  Managed 34 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks over the course of his career.  Already has familiarity with the 3-4 scheme, as Cal runs a 3-4.  With a decent 40 time Jordan could be considered by 4-3 teams to play end, and by adding 15 lbs, defensive tackle also.  Jordan will need to put on some bulk to play the run effectively, but is a candidate to contribute immediately.  With Nick Fairley and Marcel Dareus likely off of the board, Jordan will be battling with JJ Watt and Adrian Clayborn to prove who is the best 3-4 end left on the board.

Name: JJ Watt

Position: 4-3 DE / 3-4 DE

School: Wisconsin

Year: Redshirt Junior

Size: 6’6” 292 lbs

Projected Round: 1st

Analysis: Second team All-American JJ Watt burst onto the season with Wisconsin this past season.  At 6’6”, 292 lbs, Watt is best known for his burst off of the line and his relentless pass rushing.  Watt has the frame to add another 15-20 lbs, which would place him in Richard Seymour territory in terms of size.  Watt consistently neutralized offensive lineman on run plays, but his lateral quickness was sometimes lacking.  With a little polishing, JJ Watt could be a force in the league.  Won the Lott IMPACT Award for integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity among college defenders.  Academic All Big-Ten in 2009 and 2010.  High character guy.

Name: Adrian Clayborn

Position: 4-3 DE/DT / 3-4 DE

School: Iowa

Year: Senior

Size: 6’4” 285 lbs

Projected Round: 1st

Analysis: First team All-American Adrian Clayborn comes from a pedigree of defensive players at Iowa, led by head coach Kirk Ferentz, who happens to be a friend of coach Bill Belichick.  Clayborn has great hands that he knows how to use, utilizing rip and swim moves to dominate offensive lineman.  He may be the best run defender of the players that will be mentioned on this list.  Clayborn is active against the run, using his strength and quickness to shed blockers.  Clayborn’s explosiveness is still questioned, something that I will be looking for at the combine.

Name: Cameron Heyward

Position: 4-3 DE / 3-4 DE

School: Ohio State

Year: Senior

Size: 6’5” 290 lbs

Projected Round: 1-2

Analysis: Before returning to school for the 2010 season, Cameron Heyward was considered to be a lock top 15 pick.  Heyward’s dominance wasn’t the same in 2010, but that doesn’t mean he’s a slouch.  Recent surgery on his elbow because of a hyperextension suffered in the Sugar Bowl.  At 6’5”, 290lbs, Heyward’s speed is obviously in question but his pure ability can’t be denied.  He has great feet and hands for a guy his size, which translates to him being a decent pass rusher, and then combined with his exceptional strength, Heyward is stout against the run.  Surprisingly, one of Heyward’s biggest strengths is his quickness off of the line of scrimmage.  Heyward was a four year starter on one of the best defenses in college.  Late in the first round, or with the first pick in the second round, Cameron Heyward would be a great selection.

Name: Kenrick Ellis

Position: 4-3 DT / 3-4 NT

School: Hampton

Year: Senior

Size: 6’5” 335 lbs

Projected Round: 3rd

Analysis: If a team is in need of a nose tackle in the 2011 draft, big Kenrick Ellis is among the short list of guys that you need to take a look at.  Originally a South Carolina Gamecock, Ellis was dismissed from the program due to off the field issues, and landed at Hampton.  As a senior, Ellis posted 94 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, and two sacks, earning first team All-MEAC for the second consecutive year.  Obviously, at 335 lbs Ellis is a very strong guy, but he has quick feet for a guy his size and shows surprising agility (similar to the scouting report of Vince Wilfork out of Miami).  Character concerns are the difference between Ellis being a late first rounder or a third rounder, but either way he is a supreme talent.

Big East Game 13: DePaul 79 – Providence 76

-There is one word that can be used to describe Thursday night’s loss to the DePaul Blue Demons: Unacceptable.

-By now I’m sure that you’ve all heard about the variety of losing streaks that were broken against the Friars on Thursday night.  To be honest, I don’t really care.  What really is aggravating me is how poor of a display of the game of basketball that was presented in that game.  Turnovers were happening at an unbelievable pace.  Airballs were being thrown up every other possession.  Players were flopping.  Shots were being blocked into the first row of seats.  It was so ugly that I needed 6 Guinness’ just to be able to sit through the whole thing.  I can’t say that I was shocked, as I had mentioned in a previous review that the Friars often play to the level of their opponent, whether good or bad.  That being said, I don’t care if you play poorly, but come on PC, DePaul is a team that you NEED to beat.

-Does is astound you as much as it baffles me that nearly every single game that the Friars play, a player on the opposing team has a “career night” or a career high in points?  It is seriously becoming sickening.  Do they overplay the opposing team’s best players that much, or are they just that terrible on defense?

-Marshon Brooks and Gerard Coleman started Thursday’s game on the bench.  That was expected from Coleman considering that he missed the UConn game and the last week of practice due to academic issues.  Brooks on the other hand came as a bit of a shock.  It can be seen as a good thing that Davis isn’t hesitant to discipline his best player if necessary.  But, if the alleged “team leader” needs to be disciplined, Davis may be losing control of him team.  Hopefully, this is where the disciplinary issues end.

-As Scottie loved to remind me over the past week, Vincent Council was a combined 0-20 in his last two games.  Council stepped up his play against the Blue Demons, putting in 12 points on 5-11 shooting, adding 4 rebounds and 2 assists.  Council played his best down the stretch, connecting on a nice runner and a huge three within the last couple of minutes.  But, Council had four turnovers, and continued to over penetrate and have nothing to do with the ball.  As of my last check, Council is the leading assist man in the Big East, but he has nearly 90 turnovers on the season.  Again, Council needs to play smarter basketball.

-Bilal Dixon, stay off of the court, you disgust me.  Kadeem Batts, keep battling buddy, but when Marshon makes a great dump down pass to you within the last minute, please just flush it home!

-Duke Mondy is playing good basketball.  Mondy had an underwhelming performance against UConn after getting the start for the suspended Coleman.  Mondy rebounded nicely against DePaul scoring 17 points and accompanying that with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals.  Mondy also had 5 turnovers, but that’s somewhat acceptable when you contribute in so many other ways.

-Marshon, keep doing your thing.  But, all of this pouting that you do every game isn’t helping anyone out, especially the young guys.  Man up and take a loss like a man, even if it hurts as much as this one.

NEXT GAME: Saturday, February 19th vs. Cincinnati, 7pm