- Frank Coyle's Blog
- College Football Mondays
- Ahead of the Curve
- NFL News
- College News
- Order Publication
Jersey - Rutgers Players Highlight NFL Draft 2009
Photo - Eugene Monroe - Virginia
Scarlet Scuttlebutt with Keith Sargeant
Scarlet Scuttlebutt caught up recently with Frank Coyle, a nationally-known pro football scout based in Red Back who publishes Draft Insiders’ Digest. In its 18th season, DraftInsiders.com is a website and publication dedicated to the year round coverage of NFL and NCAA Football.
Coyle discussed the NFL Draft prospects of each Rutgers hopeful as well as several other New Jersey products in a Q&A.
Scuttlebutt: Have you ever seen a year like this, where there’s so many New Jersey products scattered through the draft. I mean, seven alone could go in the first round.
Coyle: “No I haven’t to tell you the truth. It’s pretty interesting, especially the running backs — Knowshon (Moreno) and (Donald) Brown and (Shonn) Greene. And then you start factoring the Rutgers kids and B.J. Raji is a kid from North Jersey. Michael Ray Garvin, the kid from Florida State who ran a 4.22. There’s a lot of players.
“You know, Penn State made a 25-year gravy train off New Jersey kids when Rutgers was no good. And obviously Rutgers stepped up, so it’s kind of changed it a bit. But Jersey’s always had a good base of kids. They just never went to Rutgers.
“But I do think the high school talent-level has increased with better coaching, and I think it’s going to be reflected in the draft.”
Scuttlebutt: The Rutgers guys, let’s get them out of the way first. Kenny Britt is obviously the headline guy. Where do you see him going?
Coyle:“Possible late-round guy to the Colts or the Giants, and certainly off the board in the first 10 picks of the second round. A kid who really came on strong after his one-game suspension. Big, good run-after-catch ability, not a true burner but good speed and some good, natural receiving skills. I expect him to play and play well fairly early in his career.”
Scuttlebutt: Tiquan Underwood, Courtney Greene are guys being discussed in the mid-rounds. What do you think of their chances this weekend?
Coyle: “Greene, I like him a lot. I think some inconsistencies probably cost him an early-round grade, but I give him a middle-round grade and I see him being a starting NFL strong safety in the right set. He’s going to have to prove more consistent in coverage but he’s a good player and I think someone in the 4th, 5th round is going to get a real quality safety.
Underwood, boy, he kind of fell off the map with the whole passing game there this year and then came on at the back end. Good speed, kind of frail. I think he’s going to have to come into camp and win a No. 5 (receivers) job and win the kickoff duties, and I think he’s capable of doing that. Probably a marginal top 150 kid but with good speed and I think his return skills help him.”
Scuttlebutt: What about Mike Teel, Kevin Brock and Kevin Malast?
Coyle: “”Brock is a kid who a lot of people rate as a good No. 2 or 3 tight end on blocking. He needs some development as a receiver but a possible late-round pick and the type of kid who can definitely win a No. 3 tight end job on a roster. … Teel, a kid with some protypical numbers, above average arm, some nice experience. I think he’s got the skill set to win a No. 3 job in camp, but he’s going to the kind of kid who has to settle into a system and improve over time. I think he’s got the ability to win a No. 3 job this summer. … Kevin Malast is a kid who’s going to have to come in and make it on special teams, and win a backup role. I think he has the makeup for that. Does he have the speed, I think he’s going to have to prove that he does. He’s a guy that has the makeup for special teams but he’s going to have to show he has the speed to makeup in coverage.”
Scuttlebutt: Jamaal Westerman, Jason McCourty, Pete Tverdov — are they all invite guys?
Coyle: “”Yeah they all have a possible late-pick grade. McCourty showed some good speed and the way they draft defensive backs he’s a possible late-pick. But he’s going to have to come in and show he can win the No. 4 or 5 corner role and match up with slot receivers. Westerman’s a kid that has a little bit of a burst off the edge and he’s going to have to win a situational pass-rushing role, and again a possible late pick or high-priority free agent. And Tverdov has a marginal grade. He’s going to have to get into a camp and show in the 4-, 5-week window he’s going to have to prove he can do something at a fairly high level to make a roster or be carried on a practice squad.”
Scuttlebutt: What do you think of Eugene Monroe, the offensive tackle from Plainfield and Virginia?
Coyle: “”Monroe I’ve had as the No. 1-rated offensive tackle all along and he’s stayed there. He probably goes to the Rams (at No. 2). I can’t imagine him getting out of the top 5. But he could be as high as 1 or 2. The prototypical left tackle, very developed in pass blocking and covering the blind side. He’s just a heck of a player.”
Scuttlebutt: Malcolm Jenkins, the defensive back from Piscataway and Ohio State?
Coyle: “”Jenkins is a kid who has good speed only; not elite speed. But he’s got real nice size, a lot of production in the Big 10. People project him at both corner and safety in that he has a starting grade at either place. I think he’s off the board in the middle of the first round. He’s probably better off in a cover 2 scheme as a corner, and his speed is good, not great. Everything else — tackling, instincts are very good.”
Scuttlebutt: A kid from New Brunswick/Wisconsin, linebacker Jonathan Casillas?
Coyle: “”Strictly a will linebacker in a 4-3 scheme, and the type of kid who could win a nickel ‘backer role and be a really good coverage guy on special teams. So I think he can do a lot of things well, but he’s strictly a will linebacker.”
Scuttlebut: A couple other Jersey guys — Donald Brown, Knowshown Moreno — first round both?
Coyle: “”I think Knowshon is a first-round back. He’s my No. 1 back. Really good cut-back speed, a developed receiver. I think he comes in and helps a team as a 1 or a 1-a immediately. Brown, a kid who I moved into the top 40. Could sneak into the first round. Another kid with a lot natural ability. And both these kids are very clean off the field, too. Tough kids, medically clean, good academics, very coachable, and I expect both Moreno and Brown — if they don’t win a starting job next year — they’re going to come in and get a lot of touches.”
Scuttlebutt: Overall, how would you rate the draft?
Coyle: “”I think it’s good. I think what changes every year is where the strengths and weaknesses are. I think, even though you’re not going to see a top 15 corner, it’s a very deep group of corners. From 15 to maybe 150. I think you have a nice set of defensive ends. The offensive tackles, the top half-dozen are excellent. And I love the tight ends, especially with the wide-open offenses. Your three quarterbacks right up at the top, they’re all going to have to sit. If you play them too early there could be a problem, but I think overall (Matthew) Stafford, (Mark) Sanchez and (Josh) Freeman are all good if coached right and in the proper setting.”