Who is the best pass rusher in the 2012 NFL Draft?
Speaking of bounties, the St. Louis Rams are due for quite a bounty of their own (see what I did there?) with the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. And after a day filled with bounties and franchise tags, I want to talk about the draft.
Sounds like the perfect time to bring back our Saturday Draft Buffet!
First, a programming note. We want to tackle your draft questions in an episode of TSTv next week, so start dropping your questions on me here.
Now, strap on the feedbag and hit the jump for a trip to Ryan's Draft Buffet (not affiliated with Ryan's chain of buffet restaurants).
The best pass rusher in the draft is ...
Good question. It looks like Quinton Coples is nearly the consensus outside pass rusher in a draft devoid of pure rushing linebackers, a la Von Miller last year. After Coples, the "high motor" label, faint praise, gets attached to the others. I remember people saying the same thing about Chris Long, and while Long may not be the master technician of someone like Justin Tuck, tenacity is a skill all its own. Mocking the Draft has a look at the top pass rushers, asking this same question. Interior linemen are not included.
Getting to know Stephon Gilmore
Morris Claiborne is the name to know if the Rams trade down to the fourth pick in the draft this year. The LSU corner is widely seen as the best available, and, arguably, a more NFL-ready prospect than his former teammate Patrick Peterson was coming out as the top corner in last year's draft. However, if the Rams do not draft Claiborne, this is a deep class of cornerbacks. A name to know for a possible later pick in the first round is South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore.
Wes Bunting at the National Football Post has an in-depth scouting report on Gilmore, who blew it up at the Combine. Gilmore is big and fast. More importantly, Gilmore is quick and smooth, leaving him less prone to getting burned. He's 6'1" 195 lbs, and Bunting notes his ability to press receivers off the line.
Pead Please Me
NFL scouts and front office folks are descended upon institutions of higher learning across the country. No, Pete Carroll isn't running a bounty program for tagging graduate assistants; pro day events are happening, giving teams another chance to get a closer look at players.
At the Cincinnati Bearcats' pro day, running back and Senior Bowl MVP Isaiah Pead continued to impress teams. Sitting on his 4.4 forty at the Combine, Pead went through position drills, the short-shuttle and three-cone drill. According to the report at CBS Sports, Pead showed the kind of explosiveness and burst prized in running backs. He has the makings of a solid second-round pick and a three-down running back in the NFL, thanks in part to his ability in the passing game as both a blocker and receiver.
Snubbed No More
No invitation is motivation for Miami Ohio offensive lineman Brandon Brooks, who was curiously left off the Combine invite list this year. Brooks stood out in a March 1 workout for scouts, showing the kind of movement and hand punch that made him a standout at the Shrine Game in January. He has another workout on March 8, where he will go through offensive line drills. Watch for his draft stock to rise.