Posted: December 31, 2009 at 4:21 p.m.
Steuber's NFL Draft Journal
Posted: December 31, 2009 at 4:21 p.m.
In front of scouts from the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins, Houston quarterback Case Keenum had the worst day of his collegiate career in a game that could have determined his football future. Keenum, a highly-regarded signal caller who posts virtual reality-like numbers in Houston's spread offense, recorded season lows in completion percentage (58.5%) and passing yards (222) in the Cougars surprising 47 – 20 defeat to Air Force. Not to mention, a career-high six interceptions and just one touchdown pass. Keenum had thrown just nine interceptions and 43 touchdown passes through 13 games this year.
Prior to his dismal display in front of a national audience on Thursday, Keenum was rumored to be leaning towards entering the 2010 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Keenum has good size, excellent pocket presence, the ability to locate an open receiver and deliver an accurate, catchable ball. But as talented as Keenum is, the offense that he stars in allows him to post the incredible statistics that he's produced over the last two seasons.
Keenum's attributes and ability are reminiscent of former Hawaii standout and current Redskins third-string quarterback Colt Brennan. Brennan had a sensational junior campaign at Hawaii and considered entering the draft following the season. At that time, Brennan was projected to be a late second, early third round draft pick, and he was expected to take advantage of his success. But in the end, he decided to return to Hawaii for his senior year. Brennan didn't have the individual success many expected, but Hawaii went undefeated and played in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia; Hawaii lost 41 – 10 and Brennan dropped to the sixth round in the 2008 draft.
Keenum has a huge decision to make after this poor outing. He can hope that team's throw out the tape from the Armed Forces Bowl and strictly judge him on his other 13 games this season; and roll the dice and enter the draft. Or, he can return for his senior season, just as Brennan did, showcase his skills once again in an offense that allows him to be great and hope to improve his draft stock by a round.
If the draft took place prior to Thursday's kickoff, Keenum, at best, would have been a late third round pick. But after scouts and personnel directors study the film of his latest performance, it's in Keenum's best interest to return to Houston for his senior year and work on his mechanics, arm strength and decision-making.Keenum has hurt his draft stock more than any other draft-eligible player playing in a bowl game; he was exposed as a system quarterback.
Posted: December 31, 2009 at 1:24 p.m.
Gerald McCoy | Oklahoma
When Oklahoma takes on No. 21 Stanford today in the Brut Sun Bowl, there will be a few NFL teams observing the talent on the field. The Baltimore Ravens will send a scout; the San Francisco 49ers are dispatching their Director of Player Personnel Trent Baalke; and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are sending General Manager Mark Dominik. It's interesting that Dominik is attending the game and not Director of College Scouting Dennis Hickey, National Scout Jim Abrams or another high-level scouting executive; Dominik's presence signals a strong interest in a particular player, and that player is Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
The Buccaneers have Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh at the top of their draft board, but I've learned that sitting at No. 2 on their board is McCoy. As it currently stands, the Buccaneers hold the No. 3 overall draft pick, while the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions own the No. 1 and No. 2 picks respectively. It's almost certain that Suh will be a top-two draft pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, as will one of the top quarterbacks, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford or Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, which allows McCoy to land with the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay has some young defensive tackles on their roster, Dre Moore and Roy Miller, and a couple of veterans, Ryan Sims and Chris Hovan, under contract. But not one of the four players mentioned has the playmaking ability that McCoy possesses. Moore has one year remaining on his two-year rookie contract, while Miller, who was the Bucs third round pick in 2009, still has three years remaining on his four-year contract. As for the veterans, Sims just signed a four-year, $8 million contract in 2009 and is due to make just $1 million in 2010. Hovan, on the other hand, has one year remaining on the five-year, $17.5 million contract he signed in 2006. At 31 years old, Hovan has been durable during his time with Tampa, but he's on the downside of his career and hasn't been very productive in the trenches.
Dominik understands the urgency to get a playmaker in the trenches, and it's no surprise that he's in El Paso, Texas this afternoon to witness the player he covets first-hand.In addition to McCoy, the Buccaneers will also have an interest in another underclassman, Tennessee safety Eric Berry. The Buccaneers secondary has promise with cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Elbert Mack. But at safety, they could use an upgrade over Sabby Piscitelli, who's more of a situational defender. Pairing Berry with steady defender Tanard Jackson would give the Bucs a solid, young secondary to build their defense around for many years.
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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber's features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: email@example.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.