Daily Digest for April 28th

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Saint Ann Tornado

Filed in PersonalTags: Family, Missouri, Saint Louis, Tornado, Weather

This past Saturday afternoon (while my parents were visiting from Indiana, no less!), I live-tweeted our tornado-warning adventure (see here, here, here, and here). The storm was really fast-moving, and came and went in about 30 minutes.

At the time, we were aware of a confirmed tornado about 8 miles from our house, at/near the West County mall in Des Peres. However, it has now been confirmed that the storm spun off a second tornado - one whose path came within about 1/3 of a mile from our house!

Below is the damage-path of the Saint Ann tornado:

Saint Ann Tornado 24 April 2010

Saint Ann Tornado 24 April 2010

Fortunately, it appears that the tornado was dying out by the time it was nearest to us - but someone tell my Dad that next time, he should stay in the basement instead of going outside to see the storm!

Daily Digest for April 27th

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Colts 2010 Draft Recap

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Draft, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

Overall

In the 2010 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts addressed needs regarding depth and the eventual replacement of some aging players. In the first round, the Colts added a third pass-rushing DE to replace the departed Raheem Brock and who may prove to be Dwight Freeney's eventual replacement.  In the second round, the Colts added depth at MLB, with a player who may prove to be Gary Brackett's eventual replacement. In the third round, the Colts added depth at CB to replace the departed Marlin Jackson and Tim Jennings. In rounds four and five, the Colts added run-blocking depth for the offensive line, with an OG and a TE. In the seventh round, the Colts added special-teams depth/developmental prospects at DT and OLB, as well as a potential kick-return specialist/WR/CB/special-teamer.

The first-round pick is a DE in the mold - if not a carbon-copy - of Freeney and Mathis, and was considered to be potentially the best pass-rusher in the draft. The second-round pick is a MLB in the mold of Gary Brackett, and in the Colts' developmental system he should have a year or two as Brackett's understudy. The third-round pick is a CB in the mold of Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden, and should provide an immediate upgrade to the Colts' dime package (along with Hayden, Jerraud Powers, and Jacob Lacey). The fourth-round pick is a depth/developmental prospect as a run-blocking OG. The fifth-round pick is a TE who specializes in run-blocking, and is considered to be perhaps the best run-blocking TE in the draft.

The 2010 draft crop of Offensive Tackles was deep in bodies, but shallow in talent. Thus, the Colts opted not to reach for talent at the one position for which the Colts have a primary need for upgrade. However, the problem with the Colts' 2009 Offensive Line was not at Left Tackle, but rather run-blocking, primarily to the right. The Colts apparently believe their 2010 starting LT is already on the roster, choosing to use their draft picks for rotational depth and developmental prospects.

Given that the Colts have no glaring weaknesses (aside, perhaps, from the OL run blocking, and kick returner - which the team considers to be a "luxury" position), that they lost the Super Bowl last season primarily due to injuries to DE and CB that prevented the defense from stopping the New Orleans offense in the second half, and that the starters in the two critical positions in the Colts' defensive scheme - DE and MLB - are beginning to age, the Colts' draft strategy makes good sense.

Round 1

Summary

Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Stats:

  • HT: 6'2 / WT: 255 / 40:4.69
  • Career: 139 tackles, 28.5 sacks, 39 TFL, 7 FF, 2 INT
  • 2008/2009 First-Team All-American, 2009 Lott Trophy (Defensive IMPACT player) Winner, 2009 Hendricks Award (Top Defensive End) winner

Overview:

Hughes is a "tweener" pass-rushing DE in the mold of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. He is considered to be the best pass-rusher in the draft, and is known for his speed, tenacity, motor, and football intelligence. Many projected Hughes as a Round 2/3 pick who would move to OLB in a 3-4 defense, due to his lack of size at DE (or, in other words: exactly what the experts predicted for Freeney).

Round 2

Summary

Pat Angerer, MLB, Iowa

Pat Angerer, MLB, Iowa

Pat Angerer, MLB, Iowa

Stats:

  • HT: 6'0 / WT: 235 / 40: 4.69
  • Career: 2009 - 135 tackles, 4 TFL
  • 2009 First-Team All American, 2009 Second-Team All American, 2009 First-Team All Big-Ten

Overview:

Most draft analysts projected Angerer to be a mid-round prospect and a solid contributor and eventual starter at ILB. Angerer is a solid-tackling ball hawk who contains well. Excellent run defender and shows speed in covering the field. That the Colts took Angerer in the second round perhaps indicates that the team thinks he has the potential to be groomed as Gary Brackett's eventual replacement.

Round 3

Summary

Kevin Thomas, CB, USC

Kevin Thomas, CB, USC

Kevin Thomas, CB, USC

Stats:

  • HT: 6'0 / WT: 192 / 40: 4.48
  • Career: 1-year starter at USC, 57 tackles, 11 PD
  • 2009 Second-Team All PAC-10

Overview:

Thomas is a quick, physical, if inexperienced, cornerback. His height and weight are reminiscent more of Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden than the shorter/smaller Jerraud Powers, Jacob Lacey, or Tim Jennings. The Colts had a definite need for depth at CB (see: Tim Jennings in the Super Bowl), and have shown the ability to coach up inexperienced players (see: Powers and Lacey). Thomas provides an upgrade and depth as a dime- (or perhaps even nickel-) back.

Round 4

Summary

Jacques McClendon, OG, Tenn

Jacques McClendon, OG, Tenn

Jacques McClendon, OG, Tenn

Stats:

  • HT: 6'2 / WT: 325 / 40: SPD
  • Career: Stats N/A

Overview:

McClendon is a big, run-blocking beast of an OG. Projected as a likely undrafted free agent, some consider McClendon to be a reach for the Colts in the fourth round. However, the Colts generally select OL in the mid-rounds of the draft, and tend to select "project" picks who can be developed in the Colts' system. McClendon fits that mold, and continues an apparent trend of increasing size on the offensive line.

Round 5

Summary

Brody Eldridge, TE, Oklahoma

Brody Eldridge, TE, Oklahoma

Brody Eldridge, TE, Oklahoma

Stats:

  • HT: 6'5 / WT: 261 / 40: 4.85
  • Career: Started at TE, OG, C
  • 2009 Second-Team All Big-12

Overview:

Eldridge is a versatile player on the offensive line, having played Center, Guard, and Tight End; but his primary strength is as a run-blocking Tight End. Eldridge is considered by many as one of, if not the, best run-blocking Tight Ends in the draft. It is highly likely that the Colts drafted Eldridge for precisely that role, as he would be an incredibly small OG, even by previous Colts' standards.

Round 6

(The Colts had no picks in Round 6.)

Round 7

Summary

Ricardo Mathews, DT, Cincinnati

Ricardo Matthews, DT, Cincinnati

Ricardo Mathews, DT, Cincinnati

Stats:

  • HT: 6'3 / WT: 294 / 40: 4.98

Overview:

Mathews is a developmental prospect for the Colts' interior defensive line. His propensity as a run stuffer likely indicates that he will remain at DT, although based on his size Mathews fits the DT/DE "tweener" mold. Adds depth to a generally solid defensive tackle rotation.

Kavell Conner, LB, Clemson

Kavell Conner, LB, Clemson

Kavell Conner, LB, Clemson

Stats:

  • HT: 6'0 / WT: 242 / 40: 4.63

Overview:

Conner is a developmental prospect at WIL for the Colts. His speed and range suit him well for the weakside LB position in the Colts' system. Adds rotational depth to the LB corps and, as a compensatory pick, comes at a very good value for the Colts. Likely special-teams depth in his first year or two.

Ray Fisher, DB, Indiana

Ray Fisher, DB, Indiana

Ray Fisher, DB, Indiana

Stats:

  • HT: 5'9 / WT: 185 / 40: 4.45

Overview:

Fisher was a KR/PR specialist in college who played WR his first three seasons, then switched to CB in his senior season. Likely drafted by the Colts as a potential kick returner, Fisher is a special-teams player who adds potential depth at both CB and WR.

2010 NFL Draft – Colts: Round 7

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Draft, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

With the 238th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts take:

Ricardo Matthews, DT, Cincinnati

Ricardo Mathews, DT, Cincinnati

Ricardo Mathews, DT, Cincinnati

Stats:

  • HT: 6'3 / WT: 294 / 40: 4.98

Overview:

Mathews is a developmental prospect for the Colts' interior defensive line. His propensity as a run stuffer likely indicates that he will remain at DT, although based on his size Mathews fits the DT/DE "tweener" mold. Adds depth to a generally solid defensive tackle rotation.

Bio:

Draft Analysis:

  • NFL.com

    The Colts like to develop stout run stuffers at the defensive tackle position, and Mathews' best attribute is his ability to gobble up running backs up the middle. He will work to try and earn a backup spot in training camp.

  • Yahoo Sports

    Played out of position as a five-technique guy at Cincinnati. However, he's got the first step and motor to be an effective three-technique on the Colts defense.

Scouting Reports

  • NFL.com (Grade: N/A)

    (No Analysis)

  • SI.com (Grade: 1.96 - Free Agent)

    Positives: Explosive one-gap lineman effective making plays in every direction of the field. Quickly gets off the snap, fluid changing direction and effective in back side pursuit. Easily gets out to the flanks and plays with both leverage and knee bend.

    Negatives: Undersized, handled at the point by single blocker and very slow to shed.

    Analysis: Mathews is a hard-working lineman who really watched his game take off last season. He has size limitations yet is athletic enough to be used as either a one-gap lineman or in the three technique position.

  • National Football Post (Grade: 5.5 - Free Agent / Rank: #32 DT)

    Mathews lacks power at the point of attack and struggles to anchor when the opposition runs at him. He does a nice job keeping his base down and extending his arms into blocks. But he lacks ideal balance on the move and consistently ends up on the ground. Mathews possesses a decent first step vs. the pass game, but he has a tendency to get too high on contact and struggles to fight his way through blocks. He looks a lot more dangerous when asked to stunt and showcases a good pop on contact. Mathews keeps his base down and has some lateral mobility inside. He isn't explosive when asked to close, but he can create push inside. He is easily sealed away from the ball in all areas of the game and is routinely overwhelmed on run plays inside.

  • Fox Sports

    A solid senior season helped Mathews cap his collegiate career in strong fashion, but the defensive tackle isn't expected to be selected in the NFL draft. He ended his career at Cincinnati by helping the Bearcats win the Big East before losing 51-24 to Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Despite that impressive 12-1 season by the Bearcats, Mathews managed just 3 1/2 sacks in his only season as a starter and accumulated 44 tackles to rank 10th on the team. However, he managed to lead Cincinnati with 12 1/2 tackles for loss and was named second-team all-Big East. He's considered undersized and scouts are wary of his lack of athleticism and speed while playing in a defense that gave up an average of 143.8 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. Mathews is seen as a project for the NFL, having some strength off the line but not enough to power through offensive linemen. He didn't live up to the promise with Cincinnati after being named first-team all-conference three times in high school while also winning a conference title in wrestling. Those skills could cause an NFL team to take a chance on him for some added depth.

  • WalterFootball (Rank: #22 DT / Projection: Round 6/7)

    A one-year starter, Ricardo Mathews made the All-Big East Second Team. He finished the year with 12.5 TFL and 3.5 sacks.


With the 240th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts take:

Kavell Conner, LB, Clemson

Kavell Conner, LB, Clemson

Kavell Conner, LB, Clemson

Stats:

  • HT: 6'0 / WT: 242 / 40: 4.63

Overview:

Conner is a developmental prospect at WIL for the Colts. His speed and range suit him well for the weakside LB position in the Colts' system. Adds rotational depth to the LB corps and, as a compensatory pick, comes at a very good value for the Colts. Likely special-teams depth in his first year or two.

Bio:

Draft Analysis:

  • NFL.com

    Conner will have to overcome his lack of height at the pro level, but possesses the speed and toughness to potentially contribute on special teams right away. The Colts have done well with undersized linebackers in the past, and Conner plays bigger than his stature would indicate.

  • Yahoo Sports

    A tight thumper inside who lacks ideal fluidity when asked to redirect but has some range as a linear athlete. More of a special teams guy.

Scouting Reports

  • NFL.com (Grade: 2.0)

    Conner is an undersized linebacker who was a productive, thee-year starter for the Tigers. He is a tough, hardnosed defender who can be an explosive tackler on contact. He can get engulfed at times versus larger linemen. He doesn't have great lateral quickness and burst but does run well to cover ground in pursuit. He can be inconsistent with his angles and run fits and doesn't always show good instincts reacting as plays unfold. He tends to be out of position with initial alignments and footwork but gives great effort to the pile. Conner is a good football player who has size limitations and needs to develop his coverage skills and overall reactions to contribute at the next level.

  • SI.com (Grade: 2.37 - Fence Player / Projection: Round 6)

    Positives: Athletic linebacker best in a one-gap system. Breaks down well, very active in his all-around game, flies around the field. Quickly changes direction, plays sideline to sideline, and covers a lot of area on the field. Physical, and works to get involved in the action. Shows ability in pursuit, chasing from the back side. Runs downfield with tight ends or even receivers in coverage.

    Negatives: Undersized and engulfed at the point of attack. Must improve his playing balance.

    Analysis: Connor is a prospect who significantly improved his game the past two seasons. He has size limitations and would be best as a weak-side linebacker in a one-gap system. He should be a serviceable backup at worst.

  • Mocking The Draft (Projection: N/A / Rank: N/A out of Top 200, #24 OLB)

    He may not have started all of Clemson's games in 2009, but Conner quietly had an excellent season. He finished with 103 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and two sacks. Conner is a good tackler who projects as a solid backup at the next level.

  • National Football Post (Grade: 5.8 - Backup/Depth Caliber / Rank: #19 OLB)

    A good athlete who showcases the range to consistently attack the football sideline-to-sideline, Conner does a nice job slipping blocks at the line of scrimmage. At times he will take himself out of plays and open up holes around him. He struggles to consistently recognize the play and can be slow to read his run/pass keys. Conner doesn't consistently take proper angles toward the play and isn't the most secure tackler in the open field. He lacks ideal power in his upper body and has a tendency to bounce off ball carriers when trying to close on the ball.

    He isn't physical at the line of scrimmage and struggles to take on blocks in the hole. Conner doesn't do a great job protecting his legs. He's easily washed away from the ball and when a lineman gets into his frame, the battle is over. But he displays good power and natural leverage when asked to tackle in the hole. He generates good power on contact and can quickly sniff out the ball inside and shoot the lanes toward the ball. He displays good overall range vs. the run game but doesn't make the amount of plays his athletic tools would indicate he should due to lack of instincts, awareness and the ability to beat blocks inside.

  • NFL Draft Countdown (Rating: 1 Star / Projection: Round 6/7/FA)

    (No Analysis)

  • Fox Sports

    Conner, a former star running back and safety at Manchester High School, in Richmond, Va., had never played linebacker when he arrived at Clemson in 2005. Conner, though, left the program with 309 tackles, leading the team in each of the last two seasons after redshirting in 2005 and recording 46 tackles as a reserve linebacker the following season. Conner, 23, who played in 52 games to tie a Clemson record, led the Tigers with 111 tackles in 2009 and had eight tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and two sacks. He was one of 35 players nominated for the 2009 Butkus Award, given annually to college football's top linebacker after leading Clemson with 125 tackles in 2008 and helping the Tigers rank in the top 15 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense, pass defense and scoring defense.

  • FFToolbox (Rank: #N/A in Top 100)

    It is not that Conner is not having a good senior season, but scouts wanted to know that the Richmond, Virginia product was more than a one year wonder and so far the results are mixed. Where there are few questions about Conner is in his strength and health. Conner is extremely strong for a 6-1, 235 pound linebacker and that will fit in very well with some NFL teams. He has also never missed a game during his three and a half seasons with Clemson.

  • WalterFootball (Rank: #9 OLB / Projection: Round 5/6)

    Didn't start every game for Clemson, but still managed 103 tackles, seven TFL and two sacks as a senior.


With the 246th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts take:

Ray Fisher, DB, Indiana

Ray Fisher, DB, Indiana

Ray Fisher, DB, Indiana

Stats:

  • HT: 5'9 / WT: 185 / 40: 4.45

Overview:

Fisher was a KR/PR specialist in college who played WR his first three seasons, then switched to CB in his senior season. Likely drafted by the Colts as a potential kick returner, Fisher is a special-teams player who adds potential depth at both CB and WR.

Bio:

Draft Analysis:

  • NFL.com

    The Colts lacked an explosive return man last year, and Fisher has the ability to become a difference-maker in that capacity. He will certainly compete for the job in training camp.

  • Yahoo Sports

    Fisher is a former wideout who moved to corner last season as a senior. More of a project, but can definitely help out on special teams as a return man.

Scouting Reports

  • NFL.com (Grade: N/A)

    (No Analysis)

  • SI.com (Grade: 2.29 - Practice Squad / Projection: Round 7)

    Positives: Athletic prospect who has shown himself to be a top return specialist. Displays solid awareness, effectively reads receivers eyes and displays a nice move to the throw. Battles with opponents throughout the action, possesses a burst of speed, and plays faster than his forty time. Correctly positions himself against opponents, sized well, and possesses a better-than-average ball skills. Quickly releases off the line of scrimmage at receiver, uses his hands to separate from defenders, and comes back to the ball out of breaks. Consistently finds the open spot the field and extends to make the reception away from his frame. Displays strong hands at receiver. Did a solid job on coverage units besides returning punts and kicks at Indiana.

    Negatives: Lacks the great bulk and will struggle in battles. Shows hesitation in his game at cornerback.

    Analysis: Fischer has been productive in all three facets of the game on offense, defense, as well a special teams. He never truly developed at one position, but we prefer him at receiver. Fischer could be a surprise undrafted rookie in 2010 who impacts the game on special teams.

  • National Football Post (Grade: 5.5 - Free Agent / Rank: #45 CB)

    A former wideout who made the transition to CB as a senior. Fisher has good short-area quickness and straight-line speed but doesn't look natural as a corner. He has some ability as a PR/KR man but looked more promising as a wideout.

Daily Digest for April 25th

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Chip Bennett Tornado sirens going off - we all just headed into the basement. [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett Chip Tornado sirens going off - we all just headed into the basement..
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Chip Bennett More tornado sirens - and now hail. Good times. [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett Chip More tornado sirens - and now hail. Good times..
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Chip Bennett Lights are dimming. Might be off the grid soon. [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett Chip Lights are dimming. Might be off the grid soon..
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Chip Bennett Chip Lost power only once. Looks like the bulk of the storm went east of us. Just a gentle rain now. Should be about time to head back upstairs..
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Chip Bennett Lost power only once. Looks like the bulk of the storm went east of us. Just a gentle rain now. Should be about time to head back upstairs. [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett Chip So, a tornado touched down less than 10 miles from our house - right next to my former church, which is apparently now without power, and getting ready for an acoustic worship service tonight, with generator-powered lights. The sun is out here now. Just a typical, spring day in Saint Louis!.

2010 NFL Draft – Colts: Round 5

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Draft, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

With the 162nd overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts take:

Brody Eldridge, TE, Oklahoma

Brody Eldridge, TE, Oklahoma

Brody Eldridge, TE, Oklahoma

Stats:

  • HT: 6'5 / WT: 261 / 40: 4.85
  • Career: Started at TE, OG, C
  • 2009 Second-Team All Big-12

Overview:

Eldridge is a versatile player on the offensive line, having played Center, Guard, and Tight End; but his primary strength is as a run-blocking Tight End. Eldridge is considered by many as one of, if not the, best run-blocking Tight Ends in the draft. It is highly likely that the Colts drafted Eldridge for precisely that role, as he would be an incredibly small OG, even by previous Colts' standards.

Player Comparisons:

N/A

Bio:

Draft Analysis:

  • NFL.com

    The Colts just picked the best blocking TE in the entire draft. Eldridge started games at center, guard, and tight end this season for the Sooners. In fact, he was an all-conference FB as well. He's nasty, he's tough and he will upgrade the Colts' run game and be a tremendous complement to Dallas Clark.

  • Yahoo Sports

    Has played both tight end and offensive line for the Sooners over the past couple years and give the Colts one of the better blocking tight ends in the draft.

Scouting Reports

  • NFL.com (Grade: 2.0)

    Eldridge is a big, powerful blocking tight end who has very limited receiving skills and lacks the speed to be any kind of threat downfield. He has struggled to stay healthy for a full season and missed time due to a neck injury during his senior year. He also spent some time at guard to take advantage of his size and pass-blocking skills. He can be a powerful blocker once he gets his hands on opponents but also can be late off the snap and often gets beaten by quick defensive linemen. He could get a look as either an offensive lineman or tight end but will need time to develop.

  • SI.com (Grade: 2.27 - Practice Squad)

    Positives: Well-sized blocking tight end who will also get consideration as a developmental offensive lineman at the next level. Blocks with good knee bend, leverage, and quickly gets off the snap into defenders. Strong, turns opponents off the middle of the line and plays with good awareness. Keeps his head on a swivel, displays good vision, and works until the whistle blows. Keeps his feet moving in pass protection and anchors at the point of attack.

    Negatives: Stiff, over-extends into blocks and lacks balance. Marginal speed and not much of a pass-catching threat.

    Analysis: Eldridge has done a terrific job in his role the past four seasons and effectively helped out when called upon to play on the offensive line last season. We like him best as a blocking tight end brought onto the field during short-yardage situations.

  • National Football Post (Grade: 5.7 - Backup/Depth Caliber / Rank: #22 TE)

    Eldridge is a limited athlete who struggles sliding his feet laterally in pass protection. He lacks the power to hold off opposing linemen once they gain a step on him. But he does a nice job getting off the ball quickly in the run game and working his legs through contact. He possesses a strong upper body and is tough to shed at the point of attack, but he lacks the fluidity to stay in front of defenders in space. Isn't much of a threat in the pass game. Lacks natural hands and the athleticism to separate against man coverage at the next level. He saw time during the 2009 season at left guard and showcased the fluidity to slide laterally and hold his own inside. He obviously needs to add weight, but he does have some intrigue as a potential No. 3 tight end or developmental offensive lineman.

  • NFL Draft Countdown (Rating: 1 Star / Projection: Round 6/7/FA/ Rank: #16 TE)

    (No Analysis)

  • Fox Sports

    Listed at tight end, Eldridge is more of a jack of all trades on the offensive line, having also started at center and guard during his senior season. He would have seen fewer snaps at tight end had Sooners star Jermaine Gresham not suffered a season-ending knee injury prior to the opener. Eldridge caught a total of 13 passes for 98 yards and one score during his four-year career, but his value lies nearly entirely in his blocking ability. He is big, strong, powerful and has an excellent work ethic. His biggest negative is a lack of speed, which not only inhibits his ability to be a receiver, but also can make him slow off the line and give him occasional trouble blocking quicker defenders. Durability is also a concern. Eldridge missed the end of his senior season due to a stress fracture in his neck, which he says has fully healed. Eldridge should get a look in some team's training camp, but whether he's drafted appears iffy. He'll garner interest from teams looking for a blocker to fill in at tight end or other spots along the line in emergency situations.

  • WalterFootball (Rank: #33 TE / Projection: FA)

    (No Analysis)

2010 NFL Draft – Colts: Round 4

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Draft, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

With the 129th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts take:

Jacques McClendon, OG, Tenn

Jacques McClendon, OG, Tenn

Jacques McClendon, OG, Tenn

Stats:

  • HT: 6'2 / WT: 325 / 40: SPD
  • Career: Stats N/A

Overview:

McClendon is a big, run-blocking beast of an OG. Projected as a likely undrafted free agent, some consider McClendon to be a reach for the Colts in the fourth round. However, the Colts generally select OL in the mid-rounds of the draft, and tend to select "project" picks who can be developed in the Colts' system. McClendon fits that mold, and continues an apparent trend of increasing size on the offensive line.

Bio:

Draft Analysis:

  • NFL.com

    The Colts add depth to their interior line with the selection of Jacques McClendon. In selecting the former Tennessee standout, the Colts are hoping to find a young player to develop for a bigger role in the near future. This is another move by the Colts to solidify their depth on the offensive line.

  • ESPN.com

    McClendon possesses great size, a wide body and excellent inline strength. While he is a limited overall athlete, he has enough quickness and lateral mobility to hold his own on the interior at the next level.

  • Yahoo Sports

    A thick, well-built guard who adds some much-needed pop and power to the Colts offensive line inside.

Scouting Reports

  • NFL.com (Grade: N/A)

    McClendon could become a developmental prospect as a potential run blocker in short-yardage situations. He is a smart player with good strength and decent speed and may eventually become a contributor.

  • SI.com (Grade: 1.5 - Free Agent)

    (No Analysis)

  • National Football Post (Grade: 5.4 - Free Agent / Rank: #36 OG)

    McClendon isn't a gifted athlete when asked to get out in space. He looks heavy-footed on the move and struggles to reach/seal defenders in space. He isn't effective on slide-down blocks and lacks the type of body control to stay on his man through the play. But he showcases above-average power as an inline run blocker and exhibits the lower body strength to create off the snap. He lacks ideal fluidity when asked to pass protect on an island, doesn't get off the ball quickly and struggles to mirror in space. He's at his best in a phone booth where he does a nice job keeping his base down, playing with natural leverage on contact and generating good power on his punch.

  • Fox Sports

    Like many of his Tennessee teammates, McClendon saw his draft stock slip with the Vols' 4-4 finish in SEC play last season. But the Cleveland, Tenn., product could still ride his strength to a shot at the next level. McClendon has a very strong lower body and the power to drive defenders off the ball. In addition to his toughness at the line, he has a quick pivot out of his stance and the ability to reach a moving target down the line. McClendon's technique is still somewhat raw, and he struggles to get his hands inside at times, but he's persistent and able to finish most of his blocks. His ability to get - and perhaps stay - on the field in the NFL will likely depend on whether or not he can improve in pass protection. He's a little narrow at the base and thus vulnerable to the bull rush. He'll most likely get a look as a free agent after the draft.

2010 NFL Draft – Colts: Round 3

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Draft, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

With the XXth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts take:

Kevin Thomas, CB, USC

Kevin Thomas, CB, USC

Kevin Thomas, CB, USC

Stats:

  • HT: 6'0 / WT: 192 / 40: 4.48
  • Career: 1-year starter at USC, 57 tackles, 11 PD
  • 2009 Second-Team All PAC-10

Overview:

Marlin Jackson, Kelvin Hayden

Player Comparisons:

Thomas is a quick, physical, if inexperienced, cornerback. His height and weight are reminiscent more of Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden than the shorter/smaller Jerraud Powers, Jacob Lacey, or Tim Jennings. The Colts had a definite need for depth at CB (see: Tim Jennings in the Super Bowl), and have shown the ability to coach up inexperienced players (see: Powers and Lacey). Thomas provides an upgrade and depth as a dime- (or perhaps even nickel-) back.

Bio:

Draft Analysis:

  • NFL.com

    The Colts add depth to their secondary with the addition of Kevin Thomas. The Southern California standout had been one of the stars of the pre-draft season, and his intriguing skill set could flourish in the Colts' zone-based scheme.

  • ESPN.com

    Thomas has a great combination of size and top-end speed. In addition he shows the ability to turn, locate and find the football. While he is a bit tight in the hips when having to quickly turn and run, he still provides enough athletic ability to develop into a quality starter in the Colts' defensive scheme.

  • Yahoo Sports

    A physical, long-armed press corner who has the ability to re-route receivers off the line. Thomas lacks ideal range down the field but is a good fit for the Colts at this spot.

Scouting Reports

  • NFL.com (Grade: 7.1)

    Thomas was a starter for only one season at USC. He has a good combination of size and athleticism for the cornerback position but doesn't have great strength in block protection or in tackling in run support. His length enables him to make plays on the ball, but he is inconsistent to re-route receivers off the line of scrimmage. He is an inconsistent reactor which makes him vulnerable to double moves and losing leverage in coverage as well as in run support. Thomas breaks down well in space but isn't a reliable open-field tackler. He runs well, but his technique (footwork, transition angles, etc.) need to improve for him to be consistently effective in both man and zone coverages. Thomas has the talent and size to develop into an effective NFL cornerback, but he needs to improve in several areas as well as answer durability concerns at the next level.

  • SI.com (Grade: 2.79 - First-Year Contributor / Projection: Round 2/3)

    Positives: Nice-sized cornerback best facing the action. Stays low in his backpedal, quick flipping his hips and has a burst out of his plant. Displays better than average ball awareness, plays heads-up football, and fights hard to defend the throw.

    Negatives: Seems to struggle in zone and does not show great route recognition. Slow locating the ball with his back to the action.

    Analysis: After being used primarily as a backup prior to the 2009 season, Thomas showed flashes of ability last year. He possesses the size and the underlying skill to play at the next level as a nickel or dime back, yet he is an unfinished product and will need time to develop his game.

  • National Football Post (Grade: 5.8 - Backup/Depth Caliber / Rank: #22 CB)

    A tall, long-armed corner who showcases good physicality off the line and loves to use his length to disrupt timing and bump receivers in the pass game, Thomas displays good awareness and ball skills in coverage and looks natural hand fighting with receivers in the pass game and closing on the ball. He displays decent click and close ability, but he is always up so tight to the receiver that he never has far to go. But he isn't the most fluid athlete when asked to change directions and quickly get out of his breaks. He has a tendency to get caught with his footwork overextended and fails to make up for a false step.

    Thomas isn't nearly as effective in off-coverage, where he needs to rely on this athleticism and footwork to win. He displays good straight-line speed when asked to turn and run downfield. Overall, he has the size, length and ball skills to make a roster as a bump corner, and I could see him carving out a niche as a team's nickel/dime corner, but he also needs to play bump on the outside.

  • NFL Draft Countdown (Rating: 2 Stars / Ranking: #14 CB / Projection: Round 3/4)

    Strengths: Ideal height and bulk --- Long arms --- Smooth athlete --- Adequate speed --- Is quick and agile with excellent feet --- Fluid hips and transitions well --- Can turn and run with wideouts downfield --- Good ball skills --- Strong --- Physical --- Gets a nice jam at the line --- Solid instincts and awareness --- Confident with  a  short memory --- Upside.

    Weaknesses: Health / Durability is a major concern --- Tackling ability leaves much to be desired --- Is not real explosive and lacks a burst --- Struggles to recover when beat --- Is not overly powerful --- Doesn't have great hands --- Plays Tall --- Marginal  Production --- Relatively Inexperienced.

  • Fox Sports

    A broken foot and shoulder surgery claimed much of Thomas' first two seasons at Southern California, but he still ended up making an impact, intercepting three passes while serving mostly a backup role in 2008 before earning All-Pac 10 second-team honors as a senior this past season. He finished the 2009 campaign with 57 tackles and 11 pass break-ups, although he didn't have an interception and wasn't able establish himself as an elite prospect. Thomas has good length for an NFL cornerback, and he proved his athleticism with showings as a top performer in the 40-yard dash, bench press, broad jump and 60-yard shuttle at the NFL Combine. But some doubts remain about his reaction time and technique in coverage, and his consistency is not where it needs to be at the next level. Durability is also a concern following his banged-up collegiate career. Thomas is probably too good of an athlete to slip through the draft in April, but he's an unfinished project as far as the NFL goes, which means he'll likely fall to the later rounds.

Daily Digest for April 24th

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