Luck, Griffin, etc.: Profiles of every first-round pick


Luck, Griffin, etc.: Profiles of every first-round pick

From Comcast SportsNet
1. Indianapolis, Andrew Luck, qb, 6-4, 234, Stanford: A prototypical NFL QB with superior decision-making abilities, arm strength and mechanics. Father, Oliver, was also an NFL QB. 2. Washington, Robert Griffin III, qb, 6-2, junior, 223, Baylor: A fast runner and polished passer, Griffin could be a game-changer. Smart player with intangibles through the roof. 3. Cleveland Trent Richardson, rb, 5-9, 228, junior, Alabama: Compact, strong and polished downhill runner with excellent vision and acceleration. Good enough skills as a pass catcher to start. Could be best RB to enter draft in years. 4. Minnesota (from Cleveland), Matt Kalil, ot, 6-6, 306, junior, Southern Cal: Two-year starting LT with size and strength to protect blind side in NFL. Good in the run game, but will be tested by the better edge rushers. 5. Jacksonville (from Tampa Bay), Justin Blackmon, wr, 6-1, 207, junior, Oklahoma State: Jumping ability, open-field speed and possession-receiver toughness help cover for lack of elite wiggle and crisp route-running. 6. Dallas (from Washington through St. Louis), Morris Claiborne, db, 5-11, 188, junior, LSU: A talented athlete with a receiver's ball skills. Can velcro himself to WRs as long as he keeps his pads low enough. 7. Tampa Bay (from Jacksonville), Mark Barron, db, 6-1, 213, Alabama: Polished safety who can tackle and cover well. Excellent awareness highlights all his physical skills, which are strong across board. 8. Miami, Ryan Tannehill, qb, 6-4, 221, junior, Texas A&M: Good accuracy and a constant running threat, making him a raw project with promise. Converted from QB to WR and back to QB in college. 9. Carolina, Luke Kuechly, lb, 6-3, 242, junior, Boston College: A ready-made pro at inside linebacker, where he can find ball carriers and cover tight ends. 10. Buffalo, Stephon Gilmore, db, 6-0, 190, junior, South Carolina: Physical player who can disrupt WRs routes, but may struggle with advanced techniques. 11. Kansas City, Dontari Poe, dt, 6-3, 346, junior, Memphis: Big, strong and athletic, but not quite fast or nimble enough to move outside. Definitely an interior space-filler, which is not a negative. 12. Philadelphia (from Seattle), dt, Fletcher Cox, 6-4, 298, junior, Mississippi State: Furiously aggressive player who is strong, but raw. Goes for the big play. 13. Arizona, --Michael Floyd, wr, 6-3, 220, Notre Dame: Big, physical player who is a threat for the deep ball and in red-zone situations. Blocking ability a plus. Had off-field issues at Notre Dame. 14. St. Louis (from Dallas), dt, Michael Brockers, 6-5, 322, junior, LSU: Has come this far on substantial physical and mental gifts, could reach potential anywhere along the line. 15. Seattle (from Philadelphia), Bruce Irvin, de, 6-3, 245, West Virginia: A pure pass-rush play, Irvin was a workout warrior, but demonstrated a deep repertoire of pass-rush moves at WVU. Not a three-down player, but may not need to be. 16. N.Y. Jets, Quinton Coples, de, 6-6, 284, North Carolina: A big, powerful player who can disappear from time to time. 17. Cincinnati (from Oakland), Dre Kirkpatrick, db, 6-1, 186, junior, Alabama: Size may indicate a switch to safety, where his speed would play better, too. Sure tackler, but not great on balls in the air. 18. San Diego, Melvin Ingram, lb, 6-1, 264, South Carolina: A smart, athletic player who could be a hardworking contributor as OLB in some schemes. 19. Chicago, Shea McClellin, de, 6-3, 260, Boise State: Country strong, uses small size to his advantage by gaining leverage on linemen and has sure tackling ability. 20. Tennessee, Kendall Wright, wr, 5-10, 196, Baylor: Savvy and athleticism help him play above his physical limitations. Can space out at times. 21. New England (from Cincinnati), Chandler Jones, de, 6-5, 247, junior, Syracuse: A 4-3 DE whose toughness, big frame and motor show lots of potential. 22. Cleveland (from Atlanta), Brandon Weeden, qb, 6-4, 221, Oklahoma State: A 28-year-old who played minor league baseball before college football, Weeden brings maturity, accuracy and NFL-caliber arm strength and size. He has nice quick release and good touch. Struggles to retain accuracy and decision-making under pass rush. 23. Detroit, Riley Reiff, ot, 6-6, 313, junior, Iowa: Not as strong as Kalil, but nimbler and more technically sound. 24. Pittsburgh, David DeCastro, g, 6-5, 316, junior, Stanford: Three-year starter who can get on linebackers quickly in the running game. Nimble and strong. 25. New England, (from Denver), Dont'a Hightower, lb, Alabama.6-2, 265, junior, Alabama: Can shed blockers well and get to running backs. More instinctual than athletic. Some durability concerns. 26. Houston, Whitney Mercilus, lb, 6-3, 261, junior, Illinois: Fast and sudden in pass rush or against run, he can be a home-run swinger who sometimes strikes out. Long arms, relentless. 27. Cincinnati (from New Orleans through New England), Kevin Zeitler, g, 6-4, 314, Wisconsin: A big ol' road-grader in the run game, he could stand to get a bit faster and lighter. 28. Green Bay, Nick Perry, lb, 6-3, 271, junior, Southern Cal: A defensive end in college whose instincts, athleticism and size probably play better at OLB. 29. Minnesota (from Baltimore), Harrison Smith, db, 6-2, 213, Notre Dame: Has physical and mental attributes to be instant starter in NFL. Good athletic ability, but zone coverage is stronger than man. 30. San Francisco, A.J. Jenkins, wr, 6-0, 192, Illinois: Superior speed and acceleration combine with good body control to make Jenkins an appealing prospect. He's willing to go over the middle, but can't always shake DBs on the jam. 31. Tampa Bay (from New England through Denver), Doug Martin, rb, 5-9, 223, Boise State: Another polished, instinctual prospect, Martin does everything well, with the possible exception of holding onto the ball. More quick than fast, his speed is still a strong asset. 32. N.Y. Giants, David Wilson, rb, Wilson, 5-10, 206, junior, Virginia Tech: Dazzling, raw ability with higher risk and higher reward than a player such as Martin. Has speed and vision, though sometimes the cutback lanes he spies are too small.

Bradley continues adapting, improves ball-handling and court vision


Bradley continues adapting, improves ball-handling and court vision

WALTHAM, Mass. – Just like Avery Bradley comes back each season with a new element in his basketball tool box, defenses have adapted to some degree to try and counter whatever Bradley is doing a better job at.

Before it was take away the mid-range shot and make him a 3-point shooter. Now it’s run him off the 3-point line by closing out hard and fast against him.

Well, running him off the 3-point line is actually playing into the hands of two areas of Bradley’s game that have seen significant growth during the offseason: ball-handling and court vision.

Bradley’s improvement in those areas has been evident in the preseason, something the seventh-year guard hopes to continue in the regular season opener on Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets.

“I worked on my ball-handling a lot,” Bradley said. “Instead of doing all the Kyrie (Irving) stuff that trainers have people do, I tried to focus on just one or two moves, just perfecting a few moves that I can put into my game.”

What we’ve seen from Bradley is better sense of when to attack players with his ball-handling and when to use it as a set-up to get his teammates good shots.

He attributes both to the work he has put in and just becoming an older, more wiser player on the floor.

“I’m able to make plays for my teammates because I’m a lot more confident in my ball-handling, in my play-making and my decision-making," said the 25-year-old Bradley. "I feel a lot more comfortable out there.”

While it may not seem like that big a deal that Bradley’s putting the ball on the floor more and attacking off the dribble, it’s actually really important for this Celtics team.

With Bradley now looking to attack off the dribble more, that means that the Celtics now have a starting five – Isaiah Thomas, Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson and Al Horford – with each player comfortable and confident in their ability to take most defenders and their respective positions, off the dribble.

That makes Boston a significantly better team offensively in terms of being highly unpredictable and to a larger degree, tougher to contain.

“He’s a great defender, one of the best in the NBA,” Boston’s Amir Johnson told “But people sleep on his offensive game. He can hit the corner 3s, wing 3s, pull-up jumpers … he can pretty much do it all out there. Now that he’s looking to get to the rim more, that just makes him and our team really, much better.”

Indeed, Bradley sounds as though he plans to continue probing different ways to generate points for the Celtics.

One approach he’ll surely take is to do a better job of taking advantage of the mistakes defenses make against him, like players who try and chase him off the 3-point line.

“Me being  a better 3-point shooter should challenge me to think the game a little more,” he said. “If it’s drawing fouls … I know I should be drawing more fouls from the 3-point line. There are times when people are just running out of control at me at the 3-point line. I have to be smarter.”

Bradley added, “I worked on that this summer. It’s translated in practice, so now it needs to translate in games.”