Clifton Brown of CSNBaltimore wonders if the Ravens should be wary of Alabama defensive players in the draft, including top prospects like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and C.J. Mosley. Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome is an Alabama alumnus and has close ties with the school, ties that may have contributed to the Ravens’ selections of players like Jarret Johnson, Terrence Cody, and Courtney Upshaw.
Although Johnson was a standout performer in Baltimore, Cody has largely been a disappointment, and after a promising rookie season, Upshaw fell off in 2013. That’s not to mention, of course, non-Raven Alabama products like Kareem Jackson and Mark Barron who have failed to live up to expectations. As ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. observed, Alabama defenders play in an elite system with top-flight coaching and consequently “come into the league thinking they pretty much are as coached as they can be and basically they’ve hit the ceiling.”
Will the trend of Crimson Tide defensive standouts who fizzle in the NFL deter Newsome from drafting players like Clinton-Dix and Mosley if he feels they represent the best fit for his club? Given Newsome’s skill and reputation, probably not. But it is another storyline to consider as the first round of the draft unfolds in a couple of weeks.
Now for some more early morning notes:
- Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin has been generating a lot of buzz in recent weeks, and we recently heard that Martin is expected to be off the board within the first 17 picks. Now, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah tweets that he would not be surprised if Martin went in the top 10, with Buffalo (No. 9 overall) being a potential landing spot.
- As our own Luke Adams wrote several days ago, although the Lions might be willing to trade Ndamukong Suh, any such deal would be riddled with obstacles. As such, Suh seems likely to stay put in Detroit for at least 2014, but if he were to be traded, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk names the Jaguars and Raiders as the likeliest candidates.
- Although the Falcons have shown a great deal of interest in Jadeveon Clowney and visited with the top prospect last week, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution believes that interest is a “smokescreen” to drive up the price for teams like Detroit that might want to move up in the draft. Ledbetter writes that Atlanta has too many holes to mortgage the future to move up for Clowney as they did for Julio Jones several years ago.
- Stanford DE Ben Gardner visited with the 49ers and Raiders this weekend, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- The Bengals worked out Tusculum QB Bo Cordell, who also threw for the Eagles, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today.