Earlier today, we highlighted two noteworthy items from Albert Breer’s latest column. Breer hears that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin could garner NFL offensive coordinator consideration this offseason. Also, an NFLPA source tells Breer that the Raiders may have to add salary this year in order to hit the CBA’s mandated minimum spend.
On top of that, Breer has even more news. Here are the highlights:
- Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is undersized at 6’3″ and 294 pounds, but scouts feel that he is talented enough to make it work at the next level. “He’s a really good football player,” said an AFC college scouting director. “He isn’t a big hulking guy—average height, average weight, not long enough to play end. But he maxes out everything he has. Tough, great hands, instinctive, a really good athlete, motor, balance, bend, everything. The only thing he lacks is size. He will run good (at the combine), but he won’t light it up. But his motor, leverage, hand use, he can rush the passer, he’s stout vs. the run. He’s just a good all-around player. I can’t say he’ll be a dominant force in the NFL, but he’s just the type of guy you win with. A first-rounder all the way.” That evaluator went on to opine that Allen is a better athlete than 2016 Alabama products A’Shawn Robinson (Lions) and Jarran Reed (Seahawks). That’s high praise, considering both players have already become contributors for their respective teams.
- Oklahoma wide receiver Dede Westbrook is another breakout player with size concerns. Still, his draft stock is looking good. “The rise that he’s made, it’s unbelievable,” one area scout assigned to OU said. “Last year was his first at a big-time program and he was inconsistent—drops, it didn’t seem like he was aware on the field, he looked unnatural. He’s a totally different player now, and he’s talented to begin with. They’ve done a great job coaching him. He’s pretty good in all areas now—hands, he’s more confident, he’s catching the ball better, and there’s a little something about him. He could go really high.” That doesn’t mean every scout is sold on him. Breer writes that “some evaluators look at him as a poor man’s DeSean Jackson.” But, like DJax, Westbrook can line up on the inside or the outside and can also be a factor in the return game.
- Only 12 of the 117 head coaches hired by NFL teams since 2000 came directly from the college ranks, but it’s possible that trend could change. Putting aside obvious names like Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Jimbo Fisher, and Jim Harbaugh, Breer ran down five names who have arguably helped their teams overachieve: Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst, Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, new Texas hire Tom Herman (formerly of Houston, a smaller program), Washington’s Chris Petersen, and Stanford’s David Shaw. In the case of the Chicago-based Fitzgerald, the “perception” is that he would be enticed by the Bears job, Breer writes.
- For all the talk of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, Breer expects the league to keep close tabs on Oakland’s proposal. That’s because the league wants to maintain a foothold in the North Bay area. Now that the 49ers have moved to Santa Clara, the league is hopeful that the Raiders could expand their fan base with the Bay’s affluent residents. It also helps that Oakland is easier to get to than Santa Clara. Recently, there has been word that the NFL would actually prefer to keep the Raiders in Oakland.