Each week Jesse Bartolis of NFLMocks.com and I swap draft-related questions and answers back and forth. This week I sent some questions his way. My questions are in bold.
1. Which free agency move thus far do you think has impacted the draft the most?
It's still early (about 8:30 on Tuesday night), but so far in terms of today's action, I think the biggest move is the trade of Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears. There were rumblings that the Bears would consider moving up for Michael Floyd and that it was often mocked they would take him if available. I think that is no longer the case and they look a different direction (potentially a pass rusher there).
In terms of free agency moves I'm going to go with Vincent Jackson to Tampa Bay. I think it alters two teams on draft day. First I think now the Buccaneers won't be looking at Justin Blackmon as much as they might have otherwise if he's available in the draft (though I would not completely rule it out). But secondly with Vjax leaving the Chargers over the past year the Front office have let Rivers' two favorite receiving targets (Sproles and Jackson) leave via free agency, their LT leave, they had Dielman retire, and they are also letting Tolbert go. They have to give him something early in the draft now, right?
Also if Mario Williams lands in Buffalo that could change things a lot. I think DE no longer is a near lock in the first round they being to potentially look at tackles. I've heard they like Riley Reiff, but information around this time is not always believable. Still a Williams signing now makes LT Buffalo's clear biggest need. It also forces teams that were planning on making a run at Mario Williams to look elsewhere for pass rush help.
2. With only pro days in mind, which player do you think has hurt his stock and why?
In all honest this is one area where I wish media was much better. It's surprising with how much media is out there how difficult it is to sometimes find good information on pro days. And most of the information you do get is mostly who stood out.
But from what I've learned.
I'm going to go with an underrated guy here and that is Winston Guy Jr. out of Kentucky. I think he had a chance to show off much better speed than he had at the combine, but he still had a nagging injury at his pro day so he didn't participate and might not go as high as I think he could otherwise.
I think another guy who is a potential first rounder and that is Courtney Upshaw. Upshaw didn't participate in his pro day either and word is (not from any of my own " sources") scouts are becoming frustrated with Upshaw. I don't think he's a top 20 lock anymore.
3. Boise State's Doug Martin seems to be a hot name amongst NFL Draft analysts. Where do you see his floor and ceiling in the draft?
That's a good question. I think Martin has a good ceiling depending on where he lands in the draft, and by that I mean what team, not what draft slotting. I don't think his ceiling is quite Ray Rice or Maurice Jones Drew, but I can see elements of his game that are similar to both of those players. I think Rice and Drew have more breakaway speed, but Martin is a true three down back who can even return kicks. Martin is tough and strong with good quickness. He doesn't have the "Wow" factor that Lamar Miller does and I don't think he can create as much as David Wilson does, but on a team that blocks well and has a good screen game he could have a few 1200 yard seasons and 10+ touchdowns. What Martin does have like those two players is a terrific center of gravity and powerful frame.
I think his floor is what Cedric Benson is (not what he was suppose to be) if he goes to a team that doesn't run block well, a guy who just gets a few yards straight ahead and is used a little bit in the screen game.