Your 2009 Rumor Riser: Tyson Jackson

Every year a rumor emerges in the days leading up to the NFL draft that sends all the talking heads in the media into an absolute frenzy.

This year’s rumor? LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson moving into the top 10, no wait, the top 5! Wait! Late word is that the Lions have scratched their choice of Matthew Stafford and are now taking Jackson with the top overall pick!

A month ago, Jackson was projected to go in the top 20, but no higher than No. 13 to Washington. Scouts dumped on his pass-rushing ability, but said he would be a nice addition to a team that needed a big-bodied run-stuffer on their defensive line.

But just less than a week ago, the National Football Post ran a story that the Chiefs were reportedly “in love” with Jackson and could take him No. 3 overall. Then Gil Brandt of the New York Daily News wrote that Jackson’s stock was rising and that KC was “smitten” with the defensive end. Now, fading (and I do mean fading) draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. has the Chiefs slated to take Jackson in his latest mock draft.

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Campbell to demand trade if Redskins draft QB

According to, quarterback Jason Campbell says he’ll demand a trade if the Redskins draft a quarterback at this weekend’s NFL draft.

Even though the article doesn’t specify, I’m sure Campbell means he’ll demand a trade if Washington selects a quarterback in the first round. I highly doubt Campbell would be upset if he was watching the draft this weekend and at the bottom ticker it read: Round 6, Pick 186 Washington Redskins: Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech.

Personally, I don’t blame Campbell for demanding a trade if the Skins take USC Mark Sanchez at No. 13 or better yet, trade up to get him. Daniel Snyder has put Campbell through the ringer this entire offseason by attempting to trade for Jay Cutler and then talking with free agent Byron Leftwich (now with the Bucs). Snyder has shown little support for Campbell over the past month and things appear to be coming to a head this week as the draft approaches.

The Washington Times speculates that if the Skins trade up to get Sanchez, they have a trade partner for Campbell in the Jets. That scenario certainly makes sense, but it would obviously be contingent on whether or not Washington could land Sanchez, which might be hard given that Seattle could be interested in him at No. 4.

Another scenario to keep an eye on is what the Browns do with Brady Quinn. If Seattle passes on Sanchez and Cleveland loves him at No. 5, the Browns could send Quinn to Washington and then the Redskins could trade Campbell to the Jets. But at this point, that’s way too much speculation and while it’s fun to talk about all of the scenarios, fans are usually left disappointed at the lack of big trades that occur on draft day.

Are the Bills trying to trade up for Andre Smith? is speculating that the Bills are trying to trade up from their No. 11 spot ahead of the Bengals at No. 6 in order to nab Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith.

Buffalo is obviously in huge need of a left tackle after trading Pro Bowler Jason Peters to the Eagles last week. If they want to get ahead of the Bengals (a team also in need of a tackle), then they may have a trade partner in Cleveland.

The Browns have the No. 5 pick and while some speculate that they could be targeting USC quarterback Mark Sanchez or Texas Tech wideout Michael Crabtree with that selection, they have bigger needs on the defensive side of the ball. (The reason people are speculating about Cleveland taking Sanchez or Crabtree is because some believe that the Browns will deal either/both Brady Quinn or Braylon Edwards by the end of the draft.)

Cleveland’s biggest need as it outside linebacker and unless Aaron Curry falls to No. 5, no other linebacker prospect would be worthy of that spot. So if Buffalo wants to trade up, the Browns could drop back to No. 11 and then target a defender like Brian Orakpo or Everrette Brown there.

What’s interesting is the possibility (emphasis on “possibility”, because this is still only a rumor) that the Bills would even want Smith, a prospect who has had his fair share of problems leading up to the draft. He was suspended for the Sugar Bowl game in early January, showed up to the NFL scouting combine out of shape and reportedly had a lackluster showing at his Pro Day. But the fact that teams still consider him a top 10 prospect speaks to his immense talent. (If he didn’t carry all of that baggage, he would be a serious candidate for the top overall pick.)

It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Buffalo has the desire to move up and if they’ll pull the trigger on a trade. Tackle Michael Oher of Ole Miss could be there at No. 11 if the Bills don’t trade up and while he doesn’t have as much natural talent as Smith, he also comes with less baggage and is still one of the best offensive line prospects in the draft.

Top 5 Potential First Round Busts

Growing up, we were all told that if we studied hard enough, we’d ace tests, understand our homework and get good grades in school.

What’s funny is that same philosophy can be applied to NFL teams when they scout the draft, yet they’re not guaranteed to succeed in the end. Teams pour countless of hours into scouting the draft and yet they still wind up failing by selecting players that turn out to be busts.

Pundits will brag that it’s easy to spot potential first round busts, yet teams continue to draft flops every April. The teams that usually do well (Steelers, Patriots, Colts, etc.), are the ones that can spot players that fit their specific offensive or defensive schemes. They limit the risk of taking a bust because they can scout prospects that fit specific roles within their overall team philosophies.

But for the teams that are still enamored with drafting the best player available regardless of scheme, or the ones that draft for need and ignore everything else, I’ve ranked the top 5 potential first round busts in this year’s NFL draft. Granted, it’s easy to list all of a player’s weaknesses and label them as a potential bust, but I tried to compile the five prospects that demonstrate specific concerns for pro teams.

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NFL Draft analysis: “The 3-4 Tweener”

Below is an interesting article by Hunter Ashley of on NFL draft prospects who are defensive ends, but are viewed as 3-4 outside linebackers at the next level because of their size.

There comes a time in many players’ careers when the coach calls them in, sits them down, and “asks” them to switch positions for the good of the team, and often for the good of the player. Sometimes a change in spots is a savvy career move. I recently interviewed UNLV running back Frank Summers who was asked to play fullback in the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game. He was receptive to the change. In fact, he was so receptive that he hauled in four passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. Brian Toal of Boston College took that a step further and worked out as a fullback and a safety at his pro day after realizing that he lacked the size to remain at linebacker in the pros. Voila, Toal is now a draftable player.

Of course, it is a gamble, and it doesn’t always work out so well. Just take a gander at Vernon Gholston. Perceived as an athletic freak and a near lock to transition smoothly from collegiate defensive end to professional rush linebacker, Gholston took the F train to Bust City in his first year as a pro.

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