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Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve is a syndicated football column by Frank Coyle that covers NFL and College football year round. It appears in different national publications and on web sites throughout the season and postseason each year.

Patriots Top NFL 2015 Compensatory Picks


NFL Announces 2015 Compensatory Picks

NFL office announced 32 compensatory selections this week with Kansas City, Denver and Seattle leading the way with 4 additional picks each for the upcoming NFL Draft 2915. Baltimore and Houston will receive three additional picks each for losing more free agents than they signed during the open market in 2014.

The world champion Patriots get the highest compensatory pick with the #97th overall selection at the end of the third round followed by the Chiefs and Bengals to end the second day of the NFL Draft.

Draft Insiders’ Yearbook 2015 – Over 300 Scouting Reports – available early April – Complete 7 Round Mock Draft - New Top 300 Value Board

Photo – RB Tyler Varga - Yale

NFL 32 Compensatory Picks

3rd Round
97 New England
98 Kansas City
99 Cincinnati

4th Round
132 San Francisco
133 Denver
134 Seattle
135 Cincinnati
136 Baltimore

5th Round
169 Carolina
170 Seattle
171 Baltimore
172 Kansas City
173 Kansas City
174 Houston
175 Baltimore

6th Round
208 Denver
209 Seattle
210 Green Bay
211 Houston
212 Green Bay
213 Carolina
214 Seattle
215 St. Louis
216 Houston
217 Kansas City

7th Round
250 Denver
251 Denver
252 Pittsburgh
253 New England
254 San Francisco
255 Indianapolis
256 Arizona

NFL Free Agency 2015 - Top 50 Players


NFL Free Agency 2015 - Top 50 Players

Photo - DT Nda Suh

March 2015 Newsletter - Special Free Agency Report – available Now

Free Agents - Unrestricted & ‘Street’ - Franchise & Transitional Players

1 Ndamukong Suh (28) - DL - No franchise tag
2 Dez Bryant (26) - WR - Franchised
3 Justin Houston (26) - DE - Franchised
4 Darrelle Revis (29) - CB
5 Demaryius Thomas (27) - WR - Franchised
6 Jason Pierre-Paul (26) - DE - Franchised
7 DeMarco Murray (27) - RB
8 Greg Hardy (26) - DE
9 Julius Thomas (26) - TE
10 Byron Maxwell (26) - CB
11 Rodney Hudson (25) - OG
12 Bryan Bulaga (25) - OT
13 Nick Fairley (27) - DT
14 Mike Iupati (27) - OG
15 Pernell McPhee (26) - DE
16 Jerry Hughes (26) - DE
17 Jeremy Maclin (26) - WR
18 Terrance Knighton (28) - DT
19 Torrey Smith (26) - WR
20 Jason Worilds (26) - LB
21 Brian Orakpo (28) - OLB
22 Dan Williams (27) - DT
23 Stefen Wisniewski (25) - C
24 C.J. Spiller (27) - RB
25 Charles Clay (26) - TE - Transition tag
26 Jabaal Sheard (25) - DE
27 Jared Odrick (27) - DT
28 Chris Culliver (26) - CB
29 Justin Forsett (29) - RB
30 Malcolm Smith (25) - OLB
31 Orlando Franklin (26) - OG
32 Rahim Moore (25) - S
33 Brandon Graham (26) - OLB- DE
34 Jordan Cameron (26) - TE
35 Brandon Flowers (29) - CB
36 Stephen Paea (26) - DT
37 George Johnson (27) - DE
38 Clint Boling (25) - G
39 Da'Norris Searcy (26) - S
40 Joe Barksdale (26) - OT
41 Brandon Spikes (27) - ILB
42 Jake Locker (26) - QB
43 Percy Harvin (28) - WR
44 Bruce Carter (27) - LB
45 Michael Crabtree (27) - WR
46 Jermaine Gresham (26) - TE
47 Corey Peters (26) - DT
48 Shane Vereen (25) - RB
49 Mason Foster (25) - LB
50 James Carpenter (25) - G

Pro Day Workout Schedule 2015


Pro Day Workout Schedule 2015

Photo - DE Shane Ray - Missouri

Dates / Schools

March 2: Minnesota, Virginia, Wake Forest, Troy, Chattanooga
March 3: Auburn, Pittsburgh, Northwestern, New Mexico St, James Madison, Sam Houston St, Tuskegee
March 4: Texas A&M, Arkansas, Mississippi St, Purdue, Weber St
March 5: Clemson, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah St
March 6: Arizona St, Southern Mississippi, Northern Illinois, Appalachian St, Newberry
March 9: Ball St, Grand Valley St, Montana, Northern Arizona
March 10: Monmouth University, UCLA, Arizona, Kansas St, Akron, Kent St, Alabama-Birmingham, Army, Harvard, Samford, Tennessee St
March 11: Rutgers, Alabama, Southern California, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Colorado St, Louisville, Cincinnati, Marshall, Central Arkansas, Eastern Washington, Emporia St
March 12: Oregon, Michigan, Oklahoma St, Kentucky, Washington St, Fresno St, Wyoming, UNLV, Buffalo, Delaware, Idaho, Miami (Oh)
March 13: Hobart, Ohio St, Oregon St, West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Georgia St.
March 14: Prairie View A&M
March 16: Toledo, Bowling Green, Idaho St, Montana St
March 17: California, Eastern Michigan, Richmond, Southern Illinois
March 18: Baylor, Georgia, Michigan St, Virginia Tech, Boise St, Boston College, Louisiana-Monroe, San Jose St, Memphis, Charleston Southern
March 19: Missouri, Penn St, Stanford, Western Michigan, San Diego St, Hawaii, Maine, William and Mary
March 20: Central Michigan, Valdosta St, Harding
March 23: Iowa, North Carolina St, Georgia Southern, Texas-San Antonio
March 24: North Carolina, Iowa St, East Carolina, Ohio, Northwestern St
March 25: Tennessee, Syracuse, Central Florida, Kansas, Duke, Louisiana-Lafayette, Nevada, Southern Methodist, Illinois St, South Dakota St, Southeastern Louisiana
March 26: Utah, Tulane, North Texas, Fordham, North Dakota St
March 27: LSU, BYU, TCU, Missouri Western St,
March 30: Indiana, UMass, South Alabama
March 31: Notre Dame, Florida St, UConn, Yale, Stephen F. Austin
April 1: Miami, South Carolina, Florida International
April 2: Washington, Maryland, Florida Atlantic
April 7: Florida
April 9: UTEP

Top Ten Pro Prospect Rankings - NFL Draft 2015


Top Ten Pro Prospect Rankings - NFL Draft 2015
Offensive Players / Pre NFL Combine Rankings / * underclassmen

Special NFL Combine Report – available this week

Photo - Wideout Kevin White - West Virginia


1. * Marcus Mariota - Oregon - 6-4, 215
2. * Jameis Winston - Florida St - 6-4, 235
3. * Brett Hundley - UCLA - 6-3, 225
4. Bryce Petty - Baylor - 6-3, 230
5. Sean Mannion - Oregon St - 6-5, 220
6. Bryan Bennett - Southeastern Louisiana - 6-2, 215
7. Garrett Grayson - Colorado St - 6-2, 220
8. Shane Carden - East Carolina - 6-2, 220
9. Bo Wallace - Ole Miss - 6-4, 210
10. Taylor Kelly - Arizona St - 6-2, 215

Running Backs:
1. * Melvin Gordon - Wisconsin - 6-1, 205
2. * Todd Gurley - Georgia - 6-1, 230
3. * Tevin Coleman - Indiana - 6-1, 215
4. * T.J. Yeldon - Alabama - 6-2, 220
5. Ameer Abdullah - Nebraska - 5-9, 195
6. * Javorius Allen - Southern California - 6-1, 220
7. * Duke Johnson - Miami (Fla.) - 5-9, 205
8. * Jay Ajayi - Boise State - 6-0, 215
9. David Cobb - Minnesota - 5-11, 230
10. Jeremy Langford - Michigan State - 6-0, 205

1. Jalston Fowler - Alabama - 6-0, 250
2. Tyler Varga - Yale - 5-11, 235
3. Aaron Ripkowski - Oklahoma - 6-1 255
4. Zach Zenner - South Dakota State - 5-11, 220
5. Mark Weisman - Iowa - 6-0, 240
6. Hunter Joyer - Florida - 5-11, 235
7. Trayion Durham - Kent State - 6-1 245
8. Zach Zwinak - Penn State - 6-1, 235
9. Conner Neighbors - LSU - 5-11, 240
10. De'Marieya Nelson - Arizona State - 6-2, 225

Wide Receivers:
1. * Amari Cooper - Alabama - 6-1, 200
2. Kevin White - West Virginia - 6-3, 210
3. DeVante Parker - Louisville - 6-3, 210
4. * Dorial Green-Beckham - Oklahoma - 6-5, 225
5. * Sammie Coates - Auburn - 6-2, 200
6. * Jaelen Strong - Arizona State - 6-4, 215
7. Devin Smith - Ohio State - 6-1, 195
8. Phillip Dorsett - Miami (Fla.) - 5-10, 185
9. * Breshad Perriman - UCF - 6-2, 215
10. Jamison Crowder - Duke - 5-9, 175

For the rest of Offensive Top Ten Prospects - go to next page

Draft Insiders’- Pro Bowl Team - QB Rogers & DE Watt Win Player of Year Awards


Draft Insiders’- 2014 Pro Bowl Team

Photo - QB Aaron Rodgers - Packers

Players of the Year
Offense - QB Aaron Rodgers - Packers
Defense - DE J.J. Watt - Texans

Rookies of the Year
Offense - WR Odell Beckham - Giants
Defense - LB C.J. Mosley - Ravens

Jan. 25 - 2015 Pro Bowl (University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Four Cowboys Earn 1st team Offense / Seahawks Place three on Defensive Team

QB Aaron Rodgers - Packers
RB DeMarco Murray - Cowboys
RB Le'Veon Bell - Steelers
FB John Kuhn - Packers
TE Rob Gronkowski - Patriots
WR Antonio Brown - Steelers
WR Dez Bryant - Cowboys
OT Tyron Smith - Cowboys
OT Joe Thomas - Browns
G Marshal Yanda - Ravens
G Zack Martin - Cowboys
C Maurkice Pouncey - Steelers
K Adam Vinatieri - Colts
KR Darren Sproles - Eagles

DE J.J. Watt - Texans
DE Mario Williams - Bills
DT Ndamukong Suh - Lions
DT Marcell Dareus - Bills
OLB Justin Houston - Chiefs
OLB Elvis Dumervil - Ravens
ILB Luke Kuechly - Panthers
ILB Bobby Wagner - Seahawks
CB Darrelle Revis - Patriots
CB Richard Sherman - Seahawks
S Earl Thomas - Seahawks
S Glover Quin - Lions
P Pat McAfee - Colts

Draft Insiders' - Odell Beckham's Yearbook 2014 Scouting Report


Odell Beckham's Yearbook Scouting Report
Time to Reorder - Special Packages Available -

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Follow Frank Coyle through the season and postseason with NFL Draft, NFL Free Agency and NFL and College News.

Draft Insiders’ Yearbook NFL Draft 2014

Wide Receiver Positional Overview: This year's group of receivers is an incredible class that may rank with the best prospects in over a decade. The addition of 15 underclassmen significantly improved a below average senior class to make this the strongest position in this draft.

Photo - WR Odell Beckham - Giants

There will probably be at least 35+ receivers over the three-day event. Rookie receivers have been highly sought after with NFL offenses predominantly focusing on the passing game. This is the strongest receiving class since the famous 1996 group that featured Keyshawn Johnson, Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens, Eric Moulds, Terry Glenn, Muhsin Muhammad, Amani Toomer, Bobby Engram and Eddie Kennison among others.

Odell Beckham #3 - 5-11, 195 - LSU - Sp. 4.40
Hindu Theory Percy Harvin

Electrifying junior receiver/ returner completed a fine career for LSU, earning SEC honors several time over his career. Odell has been a consistently productive big play performer whether as a receiver, runner or return specialist. He combines explosive quickness and speed that allows him to make plays after the catch or returning kicks. He has shown consistent big play ability in those roles to make defenders miss or run away from them. Over his career, he has been a featured big play weapon for the pro style Tiger passing game that has featured several NFL receivers. He is an excellent all-purpose performer who has natural hands and running skills to fill a few key roles as a pro. He was a consistent playmaker in all roles and could earn the #3 job as a slot receiver as a rookie, in addition to both return duties. He has incredible natural hands who runs precise routes and is able to utilize his great suddenness to create space. He is both very quick and fast with the short area suddenness to create running room and hit an opening. He has top speed with the initial quickness to get into his routes nicely and the ability to make fast cuts at the break point and create consistent separation. He displays top AA and has a fine understanding of the passing game with the ability to adjust his routes and make the tough catch. He has the speed to get deep or take the short screen pass and make a big play using his natural running skills. Despite his marginal size, he displays the toughness and body control to make the difficult catch, take the big hit and hold on to the ball. He releases from the line quickly and fights thru the jam to get into his routes. After the catch, his top running ability makes things happen with his rare elusiveness to make defenders miss and speed to run away from tacklers. He is similar to Percy Harvin and Randall Cobb in speed, quickness, style and AA with big play talent to be a game to game difference maker.
The Numbers: As a junior, he started 13 games and had 59 catches for 1152 yards for a 19.5 average and 8 TDs. He won the 2013 Hornung Award as college football’s most versatile player for both his receiving and outstanding return skills. He led the SEC and ranking #2 in the nation in all-purpose yards with a 178.1 average. As a sophomore, he started 12 of 13 games and had 43 catches for 713 yards and 2 TDs. Over his career, he set the LSU record and finished No. 2 in SEC single-season history with 2,315 all-purpose yards as a junior in ’13. He started 34 of 39 games for three seasons and totaled 143 catches for 2340 yards and 12 TDs. Over his career, he had 2 punt returns for TDs in 2012 and had a career 9 yard average along with a 25 yard career average for kickoff returns. Over the 2013 season, he had 32 kickoff returns for 845 yards and a 26.4 average. At the NFL Combine, he ran 4.43 time with a 1.50 ten yard split. He did 7 reps. He had a 38.5” VL and a 10’2” BJ with a 3.94 short shuttle and 6.69 three cone in an excellent display of athleticism. He performed very well in the receiving drills.
The Skinny: Very explosive athlete with the ability to become an impact player as both a receiver and returner. He is a top athlete with the talent to provide early impact and game changing talent. He can be a slot receiver with the skill set to become a major matchup problem. His top open field running skills gives his club a dangerous weapon in a number of roles. Highly-developed athlete with the developed skills to be a much better pro than collegian. Pro Bowl returner to give an offense consistently good field position. Developed skill set to be a very good pro and he probably does not fall beyond the top selections. Impact weapon with big play ability in a few roles.
Draft Projection: 1st Round

College Football Selection 2016 Committee - Top 25 Team Date Announcements


DANA POINT, Calif. – The College Football Playoff (CFP) Selection Committee met has the dates set for the 2016 college football season.

“The integrity of our members and the dedication they bring to the table is clear,” said Kirby Hocutt, Selection Committee chair. “We will give the time, energy and effort each week to ensure we rank the best 25 teams. Our members take their appointment seriously and we look forward to the season kicking off this week. This week, we reviewed our procedures and we discussed the data and analytics that are available to help members make their decisions.”

In advance of the committee issuing the first set of rankings, members reviewed timing for the weekly announcements, as well as recusals.

The committee will begin to produce rankings following week nine of the season—similar to 2014 and 2015. Members will again meet in person, on Mondays and Tuesdays. The committee will issue its first rankings Tuesday, November 1, with subsequent rankings taking place the next five weeks. The rankings will be revealed each week on ESPN’s College Football Playoff: Top 25.

The final selection committee rankings of 2016 will be released on Selection Day, Sunday, December 4. At this time, the selection committee will announce Playoff Semifinal matchups, New Year’s bowl pairings, and the final Top 25 exclusively via College Football Playoff Selection Day programming on ESPN.

Below is the complete schedule for the selection committee to announce its rankings on ESPN.
Tuesday, Nov. 1 7-8 p.m. ET ESPN
Tuesday, Nov. 8 7-8 p.m. ET ESPN
Tuesday, Nov. 15 9-9:30 p.m. ET* ESPN
Tuesday, Nov. 22 7-8 p.m. ET ESPN
Tuesday, Nov. 29 7-7:30 p.m. ET ESPN
Sunday, Dec. 4 (Selection Day) Noon-4 p.m. ET ESPN

*Approximate start time will be 9 p.m. from the Champions Classic basketball doubleheader at Madison Square Garden. The rankings will be revealed live between the Kentucky vs. Michigan State and Duke vs. Kansas basketball games.

The committee’s recusal policy remains the same as previous years, which states: “A recused member shall not participate in any votes involving the team from which the individual is recused.”

“A recused member is permitted to answer only factual questions about the institution from which the member is recused, but shall not be present during any deliberations regarding that team’s selection or seeding. Recused members shall not participate in discussions regarding the placement of the reduced team into a bowl game."

“If a committee member or an immediate family member, e.g., spouse, sibling or child, (a) is compensated by a school, (b) provides professional services for a school, or (c) is on the coaching staff or administrative staff at a school or is a football student-athlete at a school, that member will be recused. Such compensation shall include not only direct employment, but also current paid consulting arrangements, deferred compensation (e.g., contract payments continuing after employment has ended) or other benefits. The committee will have the option to add other recusals if special circumstances arise.”

Recusals for the 2016-17 season are as follows:
• Arkansas – Jeff Long
• Central Michigan – Herb Deromedi
• Clemson – Dan Radakovich
• Duke – Tyrone Willingham
• Oregon – Rob Mullens
• Southern Mississippi – Jeff Bower
• Stanford – Condoleezza Rice; Tyrone Willingham
• Texas Tech – Kirby Hocutt
• Wisconsin – Barry Alvarez

For additional information on the selection committee, weekly rankings, and to view the selection committee protocol in its entirety, visit www.collegefootballplayoff.com.

About the College Football Playoff
The College Football Playoff matches the No. 1 seed vs. No. 4, and No. 2 vs. No. 3 in semifinal games that rotate annually among the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Goodyear Cotton Bowl, Capital One Orange Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual and Fiesta Bowl. The 2016 semifinals will take place December 31, at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl. The national championship game will be Monday, January 9, 2017, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

#1 Mississippi St (9-0) at #5 Alabama Heads Premier Games

Top-ranked Mississippi State (9-0, 5-0 SEC) seeks to extend its perfect season against 5th ranked Alabama (8-1, 5-1) in an SEC West showdown at 2:39 p.m. CT Saturday from a sold-out Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Photo - WR Amari Cooper - Alabama

The contest will be televised live by CBS with Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Allie LaForce calling the action. Free live streaming video is also available through CBSSports.com. ESPN’s College GameDay will originate from Tuscaloosa at 8 a.m.

The Bulldogs are aiming for the first 10-win regular season in school history. An MSU victory on Saturday would set up next weekend’s home finale against Vanderbilt with a chance to clinch the division title. With a loss to Alabama, the Bulldogs would have to win their remaining two games and need Auburn to defeat Alabama in order for MSU to clinch the division.

Alabama has won three national titles in the past five seasons. They look to claim a place in the Final four in the inaugural playoff system rankings with a win today. The Tide is a favorite to win a matchup that could determine the SEC West leader and possible national champion.

MSU has embraced the underdog role all season, coming out with victories four times under that scenario. The squad is seeking to become the first team to win at LSU (Baton Rouge) and at Alabama (Tuscaloosa) in the same season since MSU did it in 1957.

“In every article you read, we are big underdogs heading into this game,” said head coach Dan Mullen. We know that role. We are going to be ok with that. Our guys are going to come in with a chip on their shoulder and play with great effort. No matter what everyone else is predicting, we want to play that way every week.”

“We’re back to the team that we were to begin with to begin the season,” added Heisman Trophy candidate Dak Prescott. “No one expected us to win; no one thought that we would win. We were the underdogs in all of those games.”

The Bulldogs are fully rested and well prepared after a 45-16 non-conference win against UT Martin last weekend. Saturday will be the fourth top-10 team MSU has faced this season. The squad has won 12 consecutive games – one shy of tying the school record – and has not tasted defeat in 364 days.

The Tide, ranked fifth in the College Football Playoff poll, survived in overtime at No. 14 LSU last weekend by a score of 20-13. Alabama has won the last six meetings against the team that resides just 84 miles down Highway 82.

Saturday’s matchup features the league’s top total offense and top total defense. MSU is putting up 522.1 yards per game, good for sixth nationally. Alabama is allowing only 275.2 yards per game, including 89.7 yards per game on the ground.

Prescott is the only FBS player to rank in the top 10 in total offense, points responsible for and passing efficiency. Prescott has thrown for 2,231 yards and rushed for 779 yards. He’s tossed 18 touchdowns and rushed for 11.

Running back Josh Robinson stands just 14 yards away from cracking the 1,000-yard mark for the season, while De’Runnya Wilson, a Birmingham, Ala., native, has caught a team-high 22 balls for 367 yards and six touchdowns. Senior wideout Jameon Lewis has worked his way back to full strength and will play Saturday.
Defensively, All-America candidate Benardrick McKinney paces the Bulldogs with 55 tackles. Defensive end Preston Smith is tops on the team in tackles for loss with 11.5, including seven sacks.

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

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