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Paulson, who hails from the state of Washington, recently talked with SBN Seattle's Scott Enyeart about everything from the process of preparing for the NFL Draft, to the UW-UO rivalry, to who he thinks should be under center for the Seahawks in 2012 and more.
Our friends over at National Football Post have put together their latest mock draft for the 2012 season, and have the Seattle Seahawks selecting USC's defensive end/outside linebacker Nick Perry with their first round pick, 12th overall.
Perry, simply stated, is a friggin beast. NFP's Wes Bunting says it a little bet better:
Seattle Seahawks: Southern Cal DE/OLB Nick Perry
Finding a guy who can create pressure off the edge opposite Chris Clemons is a must. Perry has an explosive first step, is learning to use his hands and could end up being one of the better sack artists to come out of this year's class.
Perry racked up 9.5 sacks in 12 games for the Trojans in 2011, and even had a 10 tackle game against Arizona back in October. He's listed at only 250 lbs. which will undoubtedly go up heading into the combine and USC's pro-day.
He'd certainly make a great addition to what Pete Carroll is building in Seattle.
For more on the Seahawks, head over to Field Gulls.
It's crazy how fast a football player can go from being a lauded star to a picked apart underachiever, but that's the nature of the beast when a college athlete looks to make it to the pros.
James had an exceptional three-year career at Oregon but he already has pundits doubting his ability to perform at the next level. Just check the quote from Rotoworld.com's NFL Draft Preview by Josh Norris.
"...He has elite speed, which will immediately help in the return game. But too many of James' big plays on offense involved stretching runs to the sideline or breaking outside, which is significantly harder to do in the NFL. James does not run between the tackles confidently enough to be an NFL featured back."
Ouch. One compliment then a laundry list of ‘can't dos'. And it gets worse.
"He's also shown his thin frame does not react well to hits. James excels at finding a crease and exhibits pinball-like qualities to pick up yards after contact beyond the line of scrimmage, but after a few hits he tends to abandon his running lane for temporarily open field. ...ultimately I think he'll have a Danny Woodhead kind of role and should not be drafted before day three."
Welcome to the world of harsh analysis that is the NFL Draft. For James' sake, let's all hope he proves Norris wrong.
With the NFL Combine set for February 22-28, Pro Day season will kick off a few days later, starting on March 1 with the University of Missouri per CBS Sports' Rob Rang.
Pro Day's are the same as the combine in terms of drills and tests, but do not have any of the medical tests and personal interviews like at the NFL Combine.
Here's a look at the Pro Day schedule from Rang:
March 1: Missouri
March 2: Cincinnati
March 5: Alabama-Birmingham, Hawaii, McNeese State
March 6: Alabama A&M, Arkansas, Auburn, California Lutheran, Clark, Georgia Tech, Rhode Island, Sacramento State, UCLA
March 7: Alabama, California, California-Davis, Colgate, Fordham, Fort Valley, Kent State, Louisville, Northern Colorado, Oklahoma State, Southern California, Texas A&M, UTEP, Wisconsin, Weber State
March 8: Buffalo, Clemson, Colorado, Miami (Fla.), Mississippi State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio, Syracuse, Tulsa, Utah State, Washington, West Texas, Western Kentucky
March 9: Florida International, Montana, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Purdue, TCU, Troy
March 12: Air Force, Arkansas-Monticello, Central Michigan, Central Washington, Pittsburgh
March 13: Ball State, Florida, Kansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Marshall, Maryland, North Texas, Western Michigan
March 14: Bowling Green, Central Arkansas, Central Oklahoma, Florida State, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee Tech
March 15: Delaware State, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, UNLV, Nicholls State, Southern Illinois, Townson, Virginia, Virginia Tech, William & Mary
March 16: James Madison, Missouri State, Oregon State, Richmond, Temple, Tennessee, West Virginia
March 19: Arizona, Florida Atlantic, LSU, Southern, Wake Forest
March 20: Brown, Fresno State, Idaho, Iowa State, Louisiana-Lafayette, North Carolina, North Carolina A&T, South Florida, Texas, Tulane
March 21: Boston College, Nevada, North Carolina State, North Dakota State, Rutgers, San Diego State, San Jose State
March 22: Baylor, Boise State, East Carolina, Maine, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Stanford, Tennessee-Chattanooga
March 23: Jackson State, Missouri Western, N.C. Central, Southern Mississippi, Vanderbilt
March 24: Arizona State
March 27: Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Stephen F. Austin, Washburn
March 28: Central Florida, Connecticut, Northern Iowa, Pennsylvania, South Carolina
March 29: Brigham Young
April 4: SMU
April 6: McNeese State
The Washington Huskies put together a solid season in 2011 that many fans will be able to remember fondly many years from now. The standout performer for the school in the past season was definitely star running back Chris Polk. Polk had many great games in his Huskies career, but a recent game certainly stands out.
Kevin Gemmell at ESPN's Pac-12 blog is running down the top conference performances of the year. He highlighted Polk's game against the Arizona Wildcats, in which Polk scored five touchdowns while running for 144 yards on 34 carries, as well as putting up 100 receiving yards. You can watch the highlights from that game below.
The game was definitely one of the best performances of 2011 for the Huskies. The wild matchup required two fourth-quarter Polk touchdowns for UW to come out on top.
Chris Polk, by many accounts, had a disappointing Senior Bowl. I pointed out respected draft analyst Tony Pauline's comments the other day on Polk, and how he has been hearing that some teams aren't even thinking about the former Husky running back before rounds four or later.
Polk's speed and conditioning have been called into question and his interviews were apparently kind of strange at the Senior Bowl as well. All this has led to a perceived drop in his stock, among scouts and national writers anyway, and it's puzzling for a guy as successful as Polk. I've watched him his entire career and my impression is completely different than what's being said, but regardless, it's being said.
Well, there's one way to dispel a lot of these rumblings, and it's something Polk is aiming to do. From Rob Rang, of NFLDraftScout.com:
Preparing interviews for Lindy's NFL Draft Preview scheduled to hit newstands March 1, I asked Chris at the Senior Bowl what he expects to run in the all-important 40-yard dash.
He smiled and replied simply, "Faster than any of you all think."
Pressed to be more specific, Polk elaborated.
"From what everyone has been saying and I've been reading, I guess speed is one of the big questions everyone has about me. I'm not that worried about it, to be honest with you. I know how fast I am. I expect to run something in the 4.4s."
If that happens, I would think most teams would look at his 4,049 yard career rushing mark and ability hit the home run and not a less-than-cut midsection and some weird answers in an interview. Should be interesting to watch, anyway.
Former Husky running back Chris Polk was surprisingly part of the Senior Bowl this year after it came out that he never, in fact, applied for a medical redshirt season in 2008 and was a senior all along. This came as a surprise to many and in interviews during the Senior Bowl Week, he raised a few eyebrows about how that all came about.
His most interesting response (about 1:50 in) comes when he is asked about the fact that he was technically a senior this year, having never received a redshirt season for 2008 when he played just two games before being injured --- the school had always listed him as having received the year. That he didn't technically get the redshirt year has allowed him to be able to play in the Senior Bowl.
Polk says in the interview that it was always part of the plan not to receive the official redshirt.
"I knew I was leaving this year,'' Polk said. "I didn't want them to turn in the paper work.''
If he really was always planning to leave, Polk kept up a good front throughout the 2011 season, insisting in interviews up until two days prior to the Alamo Bowl that he hadn't decided and would have to sit down with UW coaches and family and make his decision.
Polk had a fantastic career nonetheless and has been graded anywhere from the late first round to the third by analysts and scouts. Apparently though, Polk continued to raise a few eyebrows that week with strange interviews, less than stellar shape, and poor fundamentals.
Respected draft analyst Tony Pauline had this to say about Polk's week. It's kind of shocking, frankly.
Chris Polk may have been better off applying for a red-shirt season and returning to school as the former Washington running back is taking a tumble down draft boards. Scouts were less than impressed by his ball carrying skills during Senior Bowl practices. Polk looked very straight-linish and upright taking hand-offs, displaying no ability to create yardage.
Worse yet we've been told by several sources his interviews during the week were awful. Scouts were caught off guard by many of the responses Polk gave to questions posed. The answers to follow-up questions were just as worrisome for scouts who completed interviews. Polk is now being graded as a last day pick by a number of teams.
Now, obviously, this is a bit of rumor and it's unclear whether these are scouts or front office personnel doing the worrying, or both. It can mean a lot or it can mean nothing. For instance, I know that the Seahawks general manager John Schneider has gone on record saying that these all-star games and bowl weeks can only help a player, not hurt him, and Chris Polk's record as a Husky certainly speaks for itself. Having watched him the past few seasons, I'm definitely not going to be writing him off and there is a lot of time for him to clear anything up between now and the Draft.
Still, pretty interesting comments from a guy that's pretty well-connected.
The North team, featuring three Washington Huskies, defeated the South team by a score of 23-13 in the 2012 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. on Saturday afternoon. Those Washington players that were featured were running back Chris Polk, offensive tackle Senio Kelemete and defensive tackle Alameda Ta'Amu.
Polk was the North team's third leading rushing trailing Isaiah Pead, the game's MVP, of the Cincinnati Bearcats and Doug Martin from Boise State. He carried the ball six times for 16 yards for a 2.7 yards per carry average. Polk may not have gained many yards on the ground but he's still rated as one of the top running backs in this year's draft class.
All of the scoring in this year's Senior Bowl was done by kickers and quarterbacks as there wasn't a single running back that found their way into the end zone. There is still a couple months and the combine until the draft so the book isn't completely closed on Polk, Kelemete or Ta'Amu as they still have time to improve, or hurt, their draft stock.
The Washington Huskies will be represented well at the 2012 Senior Bowl and each of their former players will look to boost their draft stock with a strong performance. Between Chris Polk, Senio Kelemete and Alameda Ta'Amu, the Huskies should see at least three players have their names called at the NFL Draft, if not more. Here is what to watch for on Saturday afternoon.
Chris Polk is currently ranked among the top-tier of running backs and many think he will be selected in either the second or third round. While he lacks the breakaway speed that scouts tend to like with their running back prospects, Polk does an excellent job protecting the football and runs hard on every single play. A big performance in the game and workout drills could propel him as high as the early second round.
As for offensive lineman Senio Kelemete, many view him as a third or fourth round pick. All eyes will be on his injured ankle to ensure its health and that Kelemete has regained all of his strength in the area. Should he continue to impress at workouts and in the game, he could potentially be a late-second round pick.
Alameda Ta'Amu had quite the career at Washington, although he has reportedly struggled thus far in workouts in front of NFL scouts. A defensive tackle with a nose for the ball, some worry about his ability to be effective against the larger offensive linemen he will face on a weekly basis in the pros. Most believe he will be a fourth round pick when it is all said and done.
I'm not necessarily one to put much stock into what mock drafts say because so many different things could happen come draft day, but the idea that Seattle could be targeting a linebacker in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft is hardly far fetched. While it would likely scare some fans to take another athletic linebacker so high (bitten by Aaron Curry), Pete Carroll explicitly said several times in his season ending press conference that the Hawks would like to get faster at the linebacker position. That's why I sat up an took note of a recent mock draft by Draft Tek.
The Hawks defense while stout (7th overall in pts allowed) could still use a few upgrades in certain areas. 29 year old soon-to-be free agent Leroy Hill was particularly inept at his duties at WILL LB and the Hawks will be looking to correct this issue in 2012. Zach Brown is an athletic dynamo who could come in and takeover at the WILL, and provide the Hawks with the ability to lock down the edge and keep those speedy and elusive scat-backs from slipping through the cracks for big gains.
Brown is a bit undersized (6'2, 230) and while his freakish athleticism is drawing comparisons to rookie Pro-Bowler Von Miller those same buzz words were used to describe everyone's former favorite Seahawk Aaron Curry as well. If he is indeed drafted by Carroll, I think its safe to assume all of Seahawks nation will be praying for the former. That being said, Brown has the physical tools to succeed and would be well worth the risk as a mid 1st round BPA selection.
I have to say, the idea is intriguing. Here is a great scouting video from the people over at DraftBreakdown that gives you an idea of what Brown can do.
Scouting Tennessee-Chattanooga QB B.J. Coleman, one of the players to watch in this week's East-West Shrine Game.
Former Oregon Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas has signed with mega-agent Drew Rosenhaus, and according to Thomas, sees himself in the light of the Carolina Panthers Cam Newton as to what he can bring to an NFL football team:
Here's what Thomas told ESPN's Joe Schad about what he brings to the table:
"Leadership, [a] winning attitude, hard work and I can make big plays. I saw what Cam Newton did this year. He took his raw talent and made a spark. I can do those things, too."
Newton and Thomas do have some similarities in playing style, and could prove to be a valued asset in the NFL. Thomas stayed true to his humble nature though, telling Schad "hopefully I get drafted...and keep working hard," and that he could be taken "all over the board." Nevertheless, Thomas was sad to leave his teammates:
"I feel like I'm leaving my brothers but I leave them in good hands, I loved all my times there."
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Thomas threw for 2,761 yards, setting a new school-record with 33 touchdowns in 2011. He also ran for three touchdowns., while only throwing seven interceptions.
For more news and notes on the Ducks, make sure to check out Addicted to Quack.
Oregon Ducks QB joins many other talented quarterbacks in the stacked 2012 NFL Draft.
Taking a look at QB Brock Osweiler.
After an outstanding junior season, Washington Huskies running back Chris Polk has officially declared for the NFL Draft. Polk has also signed with Caric Sports Management. St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson and former Washington linebacker Mason Foster are both clients under CSM.
Polk displayed his tough running style throughout his junior season, compiling 1488 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. The second-leading rusher in Washington history also hauled in 332 receiving yards and four touchdowns this past season. His receiving abilities make him even a more valuable offensive weapon for NFL teams.
SB Nation's Mocking The Draft currently has Polk ranked as the No. 60 overall prospect and No. 4 running back prospect. Running backs ranked ahead of Polk include Temple's Bernard Pierce at No. 51, Virginia Tech's David Wilson at No. 18 and Alabama's Trent Richardson at No. 3. Oregon's LaMichael James is ranked No. 77 overall.
Currently, Polk is projected to go anywhere from late in the first round to the second round of the draft. Fantasy Football Jungle's latest mock draft has Polk going No. 17 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals:
Cedric Benson is aging and has a lot of carries on his body. Polk is a complete back.
WalterFootball.com also has Polk going to the Bengals because of Benson's status, but has Cincinnati picking him in the second round at No. 53.
After showing that Colt McCoy isn't in the long-term plans with the Robert Griffin pick, the same may be said for Peyton Hillis at running back. Chris Polk is a Top 20 talent and a fantastic, complete running back with ideal bulk, power, versatility, and vision, and could give the Browns two staples to build around on offense.
Polk is rated as the fourth-best running back on the board by CBS Sportsline but isn't projected to go in the first round by either the Bleacher Report or Sportsline. But the Bleacher Report does feel as if Polk is talented enough to wiggle his way into the first round. The draft process will give us a better idea of where he'll eventually land.
CSM certainly thinks highly of him as he joins the St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson and the Tennessee Titans' Drew Bennett as clients.
Polk finished the season with 1,488 yards and 12 touchdowns on 293 carries for a 5.1 ypc average.
He finished his Huskies career as the second-leading rusher in Huskies history even though he's only a junior. He was selected to first-team All-Conference the past two seasons.
The 2012 NFL Draft is coming up and this year's class of available players looks to be stacked. Washington Huskies defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu was figuring to be a top pick early in the 2011 NCAA season, but a year of injuries and a less-than-spectacular performance in the offensive sprint that was the Alamo Bowl led to a decrease in chatter surrounding Ta'amu.
It appears that he still figures to place well in the draft, however. Robert Occhipinti of Drafttek predicts that Ta'amu will be selected as the No. 33 overall pick. In other words, the very first selection in the second round. That pick would belong to the St. Louis Rams. Here's Occhipinti's reasoning.
The Rams use a DT rotation of at least 4 in each game, yet the Rams only have two good tackles: 35 year old Fred Robbins and 33 year old Justin Bannan. The drop off in talent after them is immense - as a result the Rams having a bottom 5 ranking in all rush defense stats in 2011. Alameda Ta'amu is a huge mountain of strength with surprising agility that commands double teams in the run game and can open up lanes to the QB in the pass rush. He lacks long arms to be an effective pass rusher but the size and talent he displays makes him great in run situations, and a good compliment to the end rushing duo of Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Inside he will allow Robbins and Bannan the chance to rest and be more effective when they are on the field. Depth, size, talent and youth are the reasons Alameda Ta'amu is a good choice for the Rams
Makes a lot of sense and is something worth keeping an eye on in the coming months. It appears Ta'amu is still regarded as a top pick for teams looking to beef up their 4-3 defense.
Along with the announcement that LaMichael James will go pro comes the inevitable furious mock-draft adjustments and probable rising and falling of his stock both before and after the Combine. Right now as it stands, though, where should we expect James to be taken in this year's Draft?
Though at this early stage it's hard to predict exactly where teams will place him on their board, a conservative guess would be somewhere between rounds two through four. Rob Rang, a respected draft analyst, had this to say about James' potential for the NFL back in mid-November.
Despite staggering production, scouts can't help but be cautious when grading [LaMichael James] for the next level. Listed at 5-9, 195 pounds -- many suspect he's considerably smaller than the Oregon program indicates -- James clearly doesn't possess the size most pro clubs want in a featured back.
He's also not necessarily the traditional scat-back as some peg him to be. James has only 13 receptions this season and finished each of the past two years with 17. Though his relatively low catch totals hardly mean that James lacks the hands to be an effective outlet receiver, any concerns about his ball skills weren't helped Saturday night with only one catch (for 10 yards) and a muffed punt in which the ball simply slid through his hands.
James is a stronger runner than you'd think considering his size. He finishes runs like a big back -- feet chugging, twisting and leaning forward to gain ground as he's being tackled. That said, his value lies with his elusiveness and blazing straight-line speed -- and teams have traditionally been unwilling to invest a top 100 pick in undersized backs with this limited skill-set.
Some of the other speedy, undersized backs James has been compared to -- Darren Sproles, Taiwan Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers -- made it to the fourth round despite similarly jaw-dropping collegiate production.
I think what Rang writes, though possibly discouraging or unbelievable for Duck fans, is logical and is based on historical precedent. Even if James lasts that long and doesn't go until day three of the Draft, it doesn't mean he won't be effective for his team and ultimately have a good career. Jacquizz Rodgers, for example, has played solidly in his rookie campaign in a backup role, racking up 205 yards rushing and a touchdown to go with his 21 receptions for 188 yards and a touchdown through the air, and may play a key role in the playoffs.
On the other hand, with the success that Rodgers and Darren Sproles have had this season, Sproles with 600+ yards on the ground and 700+ yards through the air on his way to 9 total touchdowns, perhaps teams will begin to see a higher value in running backs of LaMichael James' ilk. Time will tell, and it will be one of the more interesting storylines of the mid-rounds.
For more on LaMichael James' announcement and everything Oregon Football, make sure you check out Addicted to Quack.
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