Dan Leberfeld's Blog
While Sammy Watkins gets a ton of attention, and rightfully so, the other Clemson receiver in this draft isn’t too shabby.
Martavis Bryant is an exciting prospect as well. He’s got really good triangle numbers at 6-4, 211 pounds with 4.42 speed.
Bryant doesn’t mind all the attention Watkins gets.
In fact, on the field, all the attention Watkins got from opposing defenses, opened up some mismatches for Bryant, which he did a nice job taking advantage of, en route to earning Honorable Mention All-ACC honors in 2013.
Bryant’s height, long arms and good leaping ability help him win a lot of jump balls over smaller defensive backs.
“It allows me to block out defenders on the high point of the ball,” Bryant said. “I got a little vertical in me too, so it helps me gain an advantage over the defender.”
Where does Bryant expected to be picked in the draft?
“Hopefully first round – whatever happens, happens,” Bryant said.
He’s likely to go in the second or third round. And could end up constituting a very good post-first round value.
***The next issue of Jets Confidential Magazine will be out in two weeks. It’s loaded with inside stuff on Gang Green. To subscribe, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) or you can sign-up on this website.
The draft’s top cornerback 03.09.14
Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert has emerged as the top cornerback prospect in the draft. As they say, “you can never have enough good corners.” Here is a conversation with the Huntsville, TX-native . . .
Q)What are you measurements?
Gilbert: 6-foot-0, 202.
Q)Do you feel you are dangerous with the ball in your hands, whether on a return or pick?
Gilbert: Most definitely. I think I’m a dangerous return man with the ball in my hands and on an interception there is always a possibility for me to take it back to house.
Q)What are some parts of your game you continue to work on?
Gilbert: My transition coming out of my breaks and backpedalling. I was a terrible backpedaller, especially when I first got [to Oklahoma State] because I was a quarterback in high school. So defensive back was new to me. Being a good backpedaller and fluid with my hips was a big key.
You have to be able to use great technique. Because a guy like me you I have long legs, short torso. So it’s kind of hard for me to get my hips down and turn around and all that. But the more you work at it, the better you get at it.
Q)Did you play more man-to-man or zone in college?
Gilbert: I played a lot of press coverage. We were in press, pretty much, 70 percent of the game.
Q)Who is better between Darqueze Dennard and yourself?
Gilbert: I don’t know. I guess we’ll see come draft day. I think he’s a pretty complete play.
He’s a pretty good ballhawk. He does a good job of playing the ball in the air as well as me. That’s a similarity right there.
He’s not as fast me. I can tell you that.
How restricted free agency works 03.06.14
How restricted free agency works . . .
*If a player has received a “qualifying offer” (a salary tender predetermined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its players) from his old club. He can negotiate with any club through May 2.
*If the Restricted Free Agent signs an offer sheet with a new club, his old club can match the offer and retain him because the qualifying offer entitles it to a “right of first refusal” on any offer sheet the player signs. If the old club does not match the offer, it may receive draft choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer.
*If an offer sheet is not executed on or before May 2, the player’s negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club. In addition, a player who would otherwise be a Restricted Free Agent may be designated by his old club as its Franchise Player or Transition Player. No Restricted Free Agents were designated as Franchise or Transition players this year.
Timetable to sign free agents 03.06.14
For Restricted Free Agents, from March 11 to May 2.
For Unrestricted Free Agents who have received the June 1 tender from their prior club, from March 11 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).
For Franchise Players, from March 11 until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season, November 11.
For Transition Players, from March 11 until July 22. If the above-listed players do not sign by November 11, they must sit out the season.
In some drafts, Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson might be considered a first round lock.
But in the 2014 draft, which is so deep at receiver, he’s probably going to go in the second round.
The fact that he might slip do to the proliferation of top-shelf receivers, isn’t something the Detroit-native is obsessing over.
“The depth – it is what it is,” Robinson said. “That’s something that’s out of my control. I really don’t try to focus on that too much. I just try to go in every day and every workout to improve my game.”
Playing under former New England Patriots offensive coordinator, and current Houston Texans head coach, Bill O’Brien, the last two years in State College, helped prepare Robinson for the pro game.
“He [challenged] me as a player and as a person each and every day to improve my route-running and improve my play-making ability,” Robinson said. “Going into the off-season, he’d give me a list of things to work on and I’d try to fine-tune that each and every off-season and that’s helped me.”
The 6-2, 220-pound Robinson set a Penn State record for receptions (97) in 2013.
Robinson could sneak into the late first round, but will likely go in the second.
And could turn into an excellent second round value for the team that grabs him.
**The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is loaded with great stuff on Gang Green, and will be out in a few weeks. Don’t miss out. To subscribe, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) or on this website.
Q)Do you consider yourself more of a tight end or receiver?
Amaro: I think I’m a mixture of both. I think that’s why I’m so unique. It’s kind of a revolution in the game now with what tight ends can bring. I like to see myself as both a tight end and as a receiver.
Q)What are your strengths?
Amaro: I think just my overall pass-catching ability, my route-running and I think people underestimate that.
The scheme we ran we had two true freshman quarterbacks throwing me the ball. I caught 106 balls and people are going to say it’s the scheme of the offense, but at the same time, you have to be able to get open and you have to be able to run good routes and you have to do different things to disguise your route running and I feel like that’s the best thing I do as a receiver and as a tight end.
Q)Are you the best tight end in the draft?
Amaro: Yeah, I think if you think otherwise, you’re not really in it for the right reasons.
Q)What about people who question your blocking?
Amaro: It’s kind of hard to see what I can do from the television set. I think when (Coach Tommy) Tuberville was there, I did a much better job of blocking. That was my role in the offense was to be more of a blocker and catch the balls.
When (Coach Kliff) Kingsbury came in, he told me I’m going to need you to catch 10 plus balls every single game for us to be successful. I did what he asked me to do and we threw the ball 50, 60 times, but that was our game plan. But that’s what led us to be the most successful.
As we all know, this draft is loaded with wide receiver talent.
And because there is so much talent, there should be some pretty good receivers picked in the second and third rounds.
One of those talented guys, who fits into the 2nd-3rd round area, is Fresno State’s Davante Adams, who led the nation with 131 catches last season.
He felt after that monster season, it was time for the NFL, so he left school after his sophomore year.
“I just felt that I was NFL ready,” Adams said. “I know I’m NFL ready. I feel like I’ve done everything I can do to prove to NFL coaches, and whoever else is in charge, that I’m ready for the next step and put up some pretty good numbers this past season and the season before that.”
The season before that, he had 102 catches.
Adams also had a total of 38 touchdown catches at Fresno State, setting school and conference records.
The 6-1, 212 pound Palo Alto-native looks like he’s going to be a terrific pro.
“They’re going to get, in my eyes, the best receiver in this draft class, a very hard worker and a guy who really loves the game,” said Adams, when asked what he brings to the table. “I’m extremely passionate about what I do. And I think I definitely shows when I get out there on the field.”
**New issue of Jets Confidential Magazine coming out in a few weeks – loaded with inside stuff on Gang Green. To subscribe, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) or you can subscribe on this site. Don’t miss out.
Q)How exciting is it to get this point, where you are likely going to be drafted?
Davis: It’s a blessing, I mean, the way I grew up – single parent – we didn’t have nothing. Getting to come up through the University and get to this point without anything bad in the media from me or getting into any trouble – it’s a great deal.
Q)Why did you return for your senior season at Texas?
Davis: I feel like it (benefited me). I feel like I owed to the state, the city, Texas, the fans, there were just more plays for me left on the field there. I feel like, by me coming back, I was able to put more on film as far as my blocking and those little things.
Q)What part of game have you improved the most?
Davis: I’d say my blocking.
Q)How comfortable are you playing in the slot?
Davis: A lot of people think I’m just a deep-threat receiver. I don’t just run straight. I take pride in my route running so I can play the slot, too. All kinds of option routes, slant routes. I can go outside also – I can go over the top if it’s needed.
Q)You were considered a leader at Texas. How did that show itself . . .
Davis: I just told (the young receivers on campus) from Day 1 – come in, stay out of trouble, you always want to be on somebody’s good side, you don’t want to be one of these players that’s always questionable. you know – doing something wrong and not going to class- That’s the first thing. I just took them into my hands – staying after practice with them, running routes with them, teach them how to run routes.
Richardson – a potential steal? 03.01.14
Colorado receiver Paul Richardson knows a couple of thing scouts want to see from him.
“I’ve got to continue to gain weight and continue to get stronger,” Richardson said.
How skinny was Richardson at CU?
“This season I think they had me listed at 165 or 170. I was only 161 this season, 162 at the most,” the 6-0 Richardson said. ”I’ve already gained over 14 pounds. I’ve shown I can gain weight. I weighed in at 175.9 (at the Combine). I plan on continuing to gain weight and getting stronger.”
If Richardson can get bigger and stronger, the man who set so many records at CU, could turn out to be a steal for some team in perhaps the third round.
Richardson scored 21 touchdowns at Colorado before leaving school early for the draft.
He ran a 4.4 forty at the combine.
Who does he compare himself as a wide receiver?
“A split between Mike Wallace and DeSean Jackson right now,” Richardson said. ”I’m trying to come in and make a name for myself.”
If he continues to get bigger and stronger, he might just do that.
Information on the 2014 Salary Cap 02.28.14
What is the 2014 Salary Cap?
The 2014 Salary Cap is set at $133 million per Club, a $10 million increase over the prior year.
How does that number impact each team?
The $133 million is the per Club salary cap. However, each team may, at its own discretion, carry over unused salary cap room from the prior League Year. Most Clubs elected to carry over Salary Cap room from 2013 to 2014. The average carry over for those teams that elected to do so was $6.1 million per Club. Thus, those Clubs have an average of $139.1 million to spend on player salaries in 2014.
How is the Salary Cap calculated?
The Salary Cap is calculated by taking a percentage of all projected NFL revenues, subtracting projected benefits for the upcoming season, and dividing by 32 teams.
What are team minimum cash spends?
Under the current CBA, Clubs have minimum cash spending requirements. For the years 2013-2016, Clubs are required to spend an average of 89% of the Salary Cap over the four-year period. League-wide, Clubs must spend an average of 95% of the Salary Cap over the four-year period.
This creates a cash-spend floor, forcing historically low-spending Clubs to offer overall competitive compensation for packages.
Are player benefits taken out of this $133 million?
The $133 million Salary Cap is the cap on active player salaries. In addition, each Club will spend in excess of $33 million in benefits. This includes pension, severance, workers compensation, insurance premiums, disability benefits, etc.
(Courtesy of the NFLPA)
Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin had a monster year in 2013, with 15 touchdown catches.
People around the program will tell you he really matured last year.
““I’ve learned to do the things you have to do to be a man,” Benjamin said. “Before I was basically just being a kid, doing kid things, not putting in the work you need to put in to be a great receiver.”
What was the impetus for his maturation?
“Just seeing the season we had (in 2012), knowing that we could have gone to a national championship, knowing that we left a lot out there,” Benjamin said. “I just wanted to turn it around for the team, for the organization.”
What does the 6-5, 240-pounder think he will bring to a team aside from a big receiver?
“I’m a good team guy in the locker room,” Benjamin said. “They’ll get a guy that’s never going to give up. And if I need to work on something, my route running, my catching, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Q-and-A with WR Mike Evans Part II 02.26.14
Q)Did Johnny Manziel help make you better?
Evans: He throws great balls all the time. He throws it away from the defender, where only I can get it. So, he’s a great passer and a great quarterback.
Q)What happened with your two personal fouls against Duke?
Evans: Yeah, going into it, thinking it’s my last game, overly emotional, trying to get a pass interference call, a bonehead play by me. Second personal foul, I was upset, didn’t know why I got that one. Johnny came to the sideline, him being a leader, myself being a leader, we talked it over, and then he told me he needed me to win the game. Came to me in the second half and ended a great career.
Q)What happened on the second personal foul?
Evans: I think I pushed off at the end of the play. The play was dead and I think I pushed him off. I slapped at the cornerback.
Q)What does it take to succeed in the NFL?
Evans: Work ethic and being a film head, getting in and watching film, especially route running. And a little talent never hurt.
Q)How does you height help your game?
Evans: It helps with blocking and it helps with jump balls.
Q)How would you describe your personality?
Evans: I talk way more on the field than I do with the media. I seem like a quiet guy to the media, but on the field, I talk a little noise.
Q)Who do you model your game after in the NFL?
Evans: I get a lot of Vincent Jackson comparisons, and that’s a great comparison. But I think Brandon Marshall. He’s vicious after the catch, big, physical guy, can go up and get it, blocks real well. So I’ve modeled my game after him since high school.
Q)What are the keys to catching jump balls?
Evans: You have to have good eye-hand coordination, timing with the ball. There are a lot of smaller guys that are good at jump balls as well. Being quick off the ground.
ESPN’s Mike Wilbon has a big problem with the proposed rule that would penalize NFL players for using the N-word during games.
“You’re gonna have a league with no black owners and a white commissioner — middle-aged and advanced-aged white men — say to black players, mostly — because that’s what we’re talking about — you can’t use the N-word on the field of play, or we’re gonna penalize you,” Wilbon said on ESPN. “I’ve got a massive problem with that. I know there are black men of the same age… who say no, you’ve got to take this word out of the workplace. I understand that. But I don’t want it enforced like this.”
Q-and-A with WR Mike Evans 02.25.14
Q)What was it like playing with Johnny Manziel in college?
Evans: It was a great experience, playing with one of my best friends. He’s a great playmaker. I just love him to death.
Q)How much did your background in basketball help you on the football field?
Evans: It’s helped a lot. I think a lot of other basketball players should play football. We have the qualities.
If there’s a jump ball in the air, treat it like a rebound. It helps me get off the press, use my quickness like when I used to dribble.
Q)Do you need to improve your route-running?
Evans: Everybody can improve on route running. My freshman year, I felt my route running wasn’t as good.
This past year, I felt I improved. But I have a high ceiling. I think I’m one of the best players in this draft and I think I can just getting better.
Q)What do you think of the depth of receivers in this draft?
Evans: I haven’t seen a draft stacked like this with receivers in a long time.
Q)What is your best route?
Q)How are you against physical corners, getting jammed at the line?
Evans: When I’ve faced it, I’ve had my career days, so. I like man coverage. If you watch my film, I think you’ll see that I like it, and I embraced it.
If the Dallas Cowboys release outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware for cap reasons, expect the Jets to make a run at him.
Jerry Jones says releasing Ware (which would clear $7.4 million in cap space) is a possibility.
“When you are where we are on the cap, even though we’ve had some new cap space added, and you have a defensive player that’s your highest-paid defensive player, and hasn’t been on the field much the last two years, that has to be considered,”Jones said on ESPN. “You can’t have it all.”
Ware is the type of dynamic edge pass rusher from the 3-4 OLB position the Jets could use.
Indianapolis – Jets have a meeting scheduled for Sunday night with Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier (6-1 1/2, 232)
Shazier is one of the best coverage linebackers in the draft, and could help the Jets deal with tight ends better.
He is a native of Plantation, Florida, and his father is the Miami Dolphins’ team chaplain.