Wednesday, April 19, 2006

ATL_eagle Scouting Service (BC’s Mel Kiper) Part III

The two biggest question marks heading into the draft are where will Kiwi and Will go? Both have first round ability. Both have confounded GMs? What position will each play? Both are solid citizens and good guys while at BC. Unfortunately that doesn’t count for much in the NFL. Here is my take on their prospects.

Mathias Kiwanuka. There was speculation that Kiwi might have been a Top 5 pick if he had entered the draft last season. Instead he decided to return to BC. After a good, but not great year, and a luke-warm combine, he is now projected to be a late first round pick. Evaluators are questioning his size and natural position. They also say he is weak against the run (which I totally disagree with -- Kiwi had some problems shedding run blocks, but was great working down the line and got many backs from behind). I don’t know what to make of Kiwi’s prospects. I think he has the ability to be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL. His speed and length should translate well. I guess I question his desire. Kiwi had a motor his sophomore year and had a great season. He was very good his junior. Senior year he became the focus of the opponent and it seemed to wear on him. He had a few great games and a few amazing plays, but his consistency was gone. I am not sure what happened. Part of it could be chalked up to his injury. Part to being used differently (dropping into coverage). But as the NC State game showed, when he was motivated, he was a monster. I wonder if Kiwi will have the desire to dominate on the next level. I get the feeling there is a lot more to him than football. He started as a basketball player who came to football late. Plus there is his family legacy. His heritage and his background were overplayed, but the way he carries himself and the initial bypass of the NFL makes me think that he might not want to be a football player. Would it surprise anyone to see him get into politics after football? Or truly back up his talk and get into African relief efforts? This is starting to get off track. I think Kiwi is a great guy. And could be a great NFL player. But the "could" is a big enough question mark that I wouldn’t draft him top 10 either. Don’t listen to the weight or run stopping issues surrounding his draft status. The only question in my mind is: does Kiwi want to be great? Unfortunately we won’t find out until well after he is drafted.

Will Blackmon. Will is another team guy with talent. He is being looked at as a CB. I don’t read much about teams drafting him for his return abilities. I’ve seen projections from the 2nd round to the 5th. This is what I think about Will -- great athlete. Good coverage ability. So so technique. Questionable concentration. The basis of the last comment was his freelancing, getting burned a few times and watching him on the sidelines of some games. Will was one of those guys that was often into the music or what was going on around him as opposed to what was going on on the field. Senior Year he seemed much more focused. Was it maturity or the fact that he was on offense? I don’t know. At the NFL level I would take the chance with Will. 2nd round seems right. Even if he doesn’t work as a DB, I think he can and will be an NFL caliber return man for a good five or six years. Hopefully maturing and good coaching is all Will needs.

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