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Interesting articles in SI and TSN this week


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SI had one on D'Brickashaw Ferguson and TSN had one for Jay Cutler. Both good articles and both made me think a couple of times on who we should select. I've liked both them the most have them 1-2 on my board with Mario Williams 3rd only because of the switch to the 3-4.

I'll try to find the articles and post them below.

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No luck on finding the D'Brickashaw one in SI but I did find the Cutler one from TSN:

A Cut Above

Admit it. Before last fall, you hadn't heard of Jay Cutler. No, testosterone breath, not the bodybuilder from Las Vegas who looks as though his biceps, pecs and quads are ready to burst. We're talking about the football player from Santa Claus, Ind., whose rapid rise has expanded the number of premier quarterback prospects in the NFL draft from company to crowd.

SEC coaches knew about Cutler, who played at Vanderbilt. They voted him to the conference's 2005 preseason team -- ahead of Florida's Chris Leak, who passed for 1,353 more yards and 19 more touchdowns in '04. Cutler lived up to their expectations and was the SEC's offensive player of the year. Now, NFL talent evaluators are measuring the dandy from Vandy against Southern California's Matt Leinart and Texas' Vince Young.

"I feel Cutler will be the best of the three," says Panthers college scouting director Tony Softli. "He has that ****y confidence, the fire burning in his belly. He has the stronger arm, he has mobility, he's fearless to make the big play, and he has a whatever-it-takes-type attitude."

Cutler has skyrocketed from a third-round prospect to a top 10 overall pick because of his performance in four phases.

1. The '05 season

Wow factor: Cutler grabs the attention of NFL scouts by leading Vanderbilt -- Vanderbilt -- to a 4-0 start, including last-minute, come-from-behind victories over Wake Forest and Arkansas. In the season finale in Knoxville, Cutler's 5-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett with 1:11 left lifts the Commodores to a 28-24 victory -- their first against Tennessee since 1982. For the season, Cutler completes 273 of 462 passes (59.1 percent) for 3,073 yards and 21 touchdowns, with only nine interceptions.

Whoa factor: Playing behind an inconsistent line, Cutler develops some bad habits. He often throws off his back foot and doesn't set his feet or align his hips when he throws. He takes a lot of hits and is sacked 23 times, which raises his career total to 80.

The buzz: "People recognized he clearly had the team on his back and he seemed not to flinch in that situation," says Browns general manager Phil Savage. Seahawks director of pro personnel Will Lewis says, "Some of the decisions he made, the throws he made and the overall leadership you look for in a quarterback is what I saw. You felt like he was able to excel in all those areas."

2. The Senior Bowl

Wow factor: Performing on a big stage -- general managers, head coaches and personnel directors from every team are watching in Mobile, Ala. -- Cutler confirms what college scouts saw on tape during the season. A member of the North team (coached by the Titans), he has a solid week of practice, showing some mobility and displaying his ability to throw deep.

Whoa factor: Cutler is more impressive in practice than in the game. Defenses are limited in their schemes and aren't allowed to blitz, but he misses several throws and finishes with mediocre statistics. Leinart elects to not play in the game; Young isn't eligible because he's a junior.

The buzz: "He did a decent job picking up the offensive scheme," says Titans quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson. "Could he spit back the verbiage? It sounds like that's not important, but that is a huge deal for guys coming into the NFL -- just to be able to call the plays. He was able to do that." Former NFL cornerback Mike Mayock, who is evaluating players for the NFL Network, labels Cutler as the best quarterback in the draft.

3. The Scouting Combine

Wow factor: Cutler is flawless in passing drills, even though he isn't familiar with his receivers. He performs all the drills except the vertical and broad jumps. His best time in the 40 is 4.77, and his 23 reps in the bench press (he's one of two quarterbacks who lift) are more than 14 offensive linemen and 11 defensive linemen.

Whoa factor: Scouts can't compare Cutler with Leinart and Young, who don't participate in the drills or workout.

The buzz: "It showed he's got nothing to hide and he's confident in what he is and what he brings to the table," says Savage. Says Lewis: "He's not one of those pretty-boy types. He's a blue-collar, go-get-it type of quarterback."

4. Vandy's pro day

Wow factor: Despite somewhat adverse conditions -- windy, temperature in the mid-40s -- Cutler elects to throw outside on Vanderbilt's practice field. "I don't care where I throw," he says. "I'll throw in the street." Cutler makes all the passes: short, intermediate, deep, on the move. One time, he rolls to his left, pulls up and unleashes a 55-yard post. He throws about as well as he can; by one offensive coordinator's count, he misses on only one of 45 attempts.

Whoa factor: Cutler is in an almost too comfortable environment and throws to receivers he has been working with for several years. Vanderbilt quarterbacks coach Jimmy Kiser choreographed the 45-pass script and Cutler has rehearsed it three times.

The buzz: "The circumstances weren't ideal, but that's part of it," says Johnson. "Probably about one-fourth to one-half of your games (in the NFL) are not going to be played in ideal weather."


Most NFL evaluators think Leinart is the top quarterback in the draft. He played in a pro-style offense at USC and is the most polished.

Young is the most athletic -- his mobility is off the charts -- but his unorthodox throwing motion bothers some scouts.

Because of his toughness, improvisational skills and gunslinger approach, Cutler sometimes is compared to Brett Favre. Cutler will need to refine his footwork and be more patient. But scouts like his strong arm, poise and survivor mentality.

"If you asked me who I'd want to start in a game tomorrow, I'd say Leinart," says an AFC personnel director. "If you asked me who I'd like to start for 16 games over the next three years, I'd say Cutler. ... Cutler will make strides, and he will be better than Leinart in the long haul."

Dennis Dillon is a senior writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at ddillon@sportingnews.com.

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Whoa factor: Playing behind an inconsistent line, Cutler develops some bad habits. He often throws off his back foot and doesn't set his feet or align his hips when he throws. He takes a lot of hits and is sacked 23 times, which raises his career total to 80.

Sounds a lot like Patrick Ramsey .

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