On the Supplements and Feeling A Draft

The Supplemental Draft is tomorrow.  Anyone else have that marked down on their calendars?  The Supplemental Draft is another opportunity to take a chance on a prospect that has a lot of upside and warts.  Except for former Texas fullback Ahmard Hall.  He was in the Marines.  And I happen to know that they check everyone for warts and hernias.  So he's clean.  He just hasn't played in some time.

However, the prospect that has everyone talking is Ahmad Brooks, the talented but undisciplined linebacker from Virginia.  Brooks took the nation by storm during his Freshman season by posting 117 tackles, far and away a record for a Freshman linebacker at Virginia.  He added to his legend during the 2004 season.  Last year, he struggled with injuries and off-field incidents.  He has since been suspended by Virginia coach Al Groh and turned to the Supplemental Draft out of desperation.


At 6'3", 260 pounds, Brooks still posted exceptional times in the 40 (4.65) and in the vertical leap (32 inches).  He worked out for a number of scouts on June 22nd and has apparently slimmed down considerably since ballooning to nearly 300 pounds this off-season.


Now, the way the Supplemental Draft works is that there are three groups of teams that are slotted according to record and whether or not they made the playoffs.  Teams that didn't make the playoffs and won 6 or fewer games last season (i.e. the Cardinals) are in the first group.  They're followed by teams that won more than 6 games but didn't make the playoffs and then by the 12 teams that did.  Whichever round the prospect falls in, the team that takes him loses that round's pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.  There are many out there that believe Brooks is worth a second round pick.  He has that much potential.


As far as the Cardinals are concerned, though, I would hope that they don't select Brooks tomorrow, and given their history, I doubt they would.  They've shied away from players with character issues in the past.  The last linebacker they drafted out of Virginia, Darryl Blackstock, had a great deal of difficulty learning the Cardinals' defense last season, since Virginia is one of the few college teams that uses the 3-4 as their base defense.  And, with the number of teams that have switched to or are in the process of switching to the 3-4 defense, he's not likely to last long anyway.


All that having been said, if he's still around when Arizona picks in the 4th round, they should take him.  They have a very young defense, but if there's one position where they're showing their age in the front seven, it's at middle linebacker.  If Brooks has a year to contribute on special teams and learn the defense, he may turn out well.  He certainly has the physical attributes and athleticism that teams look for in the position.  He's worth the risk in the 4th round (especially since the Cardinals choose so early in round 4).  Much before that, he's really not worth it.


Draft Pick Signings:

The Cardinals have been exceptionally busy in locking up the bulk of the prospects selected in the 2006 Draft.  Already signed are 5th rounder Brandon Johnson, 6th rounder Jonathan Lewis, 7th rounder Todd Watkins, and, most surprisingly, 2nd rounder Deuce Lutui.


The only stragglers that remain are 3rd rounder Leonard Pope, 4th rounder Gabe Watson… and Matt Leinart.  While I expect Watson and Pope to be signed relatively soon, I would not hold out any hope for Leinart until at least the week before Training Camp starts.  At least the Cardinals have a late reporting date and there are likely to be a few first round picks signed and in camp before the Cards even have to start thinking about a holdout.  As soon as former USC teammate Reggie Bush and the rest of the top five sign on the dotted line, I expect Leinart to follow pretty quickly.  He seems intent on starting his NFL career and proving all the naysayers that doubted him and passed on him wrong.


The bottom line is that everyone should be expected to be at camp when it starts at the end of the month.

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