Forecasting the departed Knights

Here's a round of predictions about how the Rutgers players that went in the 2010 NFL Draft, and signed free agent contracts last week will fare in the pros.

C Ryan Blaszczyk (Detroit Lions tryout) - There's a chance that he could impress a coach enough with his high football I.Q., but limited physical tools will limit his opportunities.

WR Tim Brown (New York Giants) - The Giants carried seven wide receivers last year, which was abnormally high. Most teams usually carry five or six. New York's depth chart is set with Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, and, Domenik Hixon on the two-deep. Ramses Barden, a third round pick last year, is more of a developmental prospect still as a 6'5 behemoth out of Cal Poly. The other two receivers on the roster are Derek Hagan, a special teamer with size, and the diminutive Sinorice Moss.

Hagan's spot on the roster depends on how many receivers the Giants want to carry, and how fast Barden progresses. If the Giants decide to carry six or seven, Tim Brown will probably be in direct competition with Moss. That could be a difficult situation for Brown, who grew up following Moss in Miami. As a Giants fan, I despise Moss as a player though. I badly want Brown to make the team over him, and that really has nothing to do with a Rutgers bias, although following the team is how I was able to watch Brown for the past few years.

Brown is just plain better than Moss, already, who never actually was all that productive in college to begin with. There will be a lot of Brown skeptics because of his lack of size, but he has legit 4.27 speed, and showed more effort in any game last year than Moss has displayed in his four years in New York. There was a reason that the Giants pushed to sign Brown over contract offers from the Eagles, Jaguars, and Cardinals. He's legit, and by no means a minicamp wonder. Although, for the record, he's looked awfully good out there.

"Tim Brown did a nice job this morning,'' Coughlin said. "He was quick off the ball and he made some nice catches. He adjusted well and went low and picked the ball out of the air. He was able to maneuver his body past the defenders when he was headed out on a deep route. He knows what he’s doing out there and he has some nice speed.''

So far, so good.

FB Jack Corcoran (Houston Texans) - Corcoran is a fine receiving fullback, but hurt by the position's de-emphasis in recent years. If anything, he'll get more looks as a third-down back. Houston's starting fullback is Vonta Davis, who was described as exclusively a blocker when the Giants tried to sign him away a few years ago. Corcoran has a chance to end up on some team's practice squad. With such a deep draft, a lot of undrafted free agents will be making rosters and practice squads this year.

OT Anthony Davis (San Francisco 49ers) - Davis will be given every opportunity to start as a rookie for a Niners team that could emerge as the preseason favorite in the NFC West. Between Davis, Mike Iupati, TE Nate Byham, and RB Anthony Dixon, they really seem to be gearing up up for a run-heavy attack (even taking into account that Davis was more of a pass blocker in college). While San Francisco has Joe Staley on their roster, Davis could eventually become their left tackle of the future.

 

LS Andrew DePaola (New Orleans Saints - tryout) - These special teams gigs seem to especially be a total crapshoot. Their current snapper is already 37.

FB Ryan D'Imperio (Minnesota Vikings) - The Vikings return their starting fullback in Naufahu Tahim. They cleared liked D'Imperio enough as a linebacker conversion to draft him in the seventh round instead of risking him to the undrafted free agent market. D'Imperio will probably end up on a practice squad in Minnesota or somewhere else.

TE Shamar Graves (Chicago Bears tryout) - The athletic graves badly needs more development, and was considerably hurt by the NCAA rejecting his application for a fifth year, and the deep 2010 draft. He may well have to play in a league like the UFL or CFL for a few years, but don't write him off just yet. It's such a shame, because he really could have gone in the mid-rounds with a productive 2010 season. Mike Martz is the new offensive coordinator in Chicago, and I don't feel great for Graves or Kevin Brock because he likes to use tight ends to stay in and block. Best fit is as a H-Back in two-TE offense.

 

OL Kevin Haslam (Jacksonville Jaguars) - Boy, the Jags sure do like collecting Rutgers players. Haslam is an athletic player who's still raw, and offers more in the way of potential than production. He'll probably land on a practice squad.

DE George Johnson (Tampa Bay Bucs tryout) - He actually got his tryout with the Bucs, not the Saints..I know it's a deep draft, but Johnson's medicals must have been REALLY bad if all he could get was a tryout. While inconsistent, Johnson not only was good enough to be drafted, he was a better player in college than Jamaal Westerman who's now with the Jets. One of several Pro Day workout warriors, and he'd really flash his athleticism at times too. Hard to predict because I assume something must be up here, there's no way at all he shouldn't have been signed a team. Fortunately, Tampa Bay may have the worst DE depth chart in the entire NFL.

 

S Zaire Kitchen (New York Giants tryout) - Kitchen can lay the wood on special teams, and produced some impressive Pro Day numbers for a player who's fought back from multiple knee injuries. It's almost impossible to see him getting an invite to camp based on that fact though. It's a wonder that he's even made it back this far.

CB Devin McCourty (New England Patriots) - The Pats are down on their returning corners. Devin will almost certainly be in dime packages this fall, and has a good chance of winning the nickel job. Projects as a solid starter long term, in addition to his numerous gifts on special teams. A safe bet to have a long, productive career.

LB/S Damaso Munoz (Chicago Bears tryout) - Munoz is considerably hurt by the Tampa-2 defense going out of fashion in the NFL. Because Greg Schiano emphasizes speed and athleticism in his defenses, Munoz played linebacker at Rutgers despite his safety-likr measurables. He was probably further hamstrung by having to play more of a coverage and support role on the strong side. It was telling that he instantly started making plays last year after moving to WLB. Thought he'd at least get a free agent contract off of his workouts, but here's another player who seemed to be hurt by the deluge of available talent this year.

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