Noted evaluator Greg Cosell recently took some time to discuss the AFC West’s draft with Yahoo’s Doug Farrar. Cosell, who does evaluations for NFL Films, had some very positive comments on the new Raider rookies. In particular, he liked the Raiders first round pick DJ Hayden, fourth round pick Tyler Wilson and sixth round pick Latavious Murray.
You can hear the entire segment, here, at approximately the 39 minute mark.
For your convenience, I’ve transcribed most of what Cosell had to say, below. I’ve included only Cosell’s comments, not host Doug Farrar’s, but his are worth listening to, as well, if you have the time.
I thought that he had the smoothest backpedal in this draft, outstanding balance and body control. I would describe him as explosively sudden with his movements.
He had a complete skillset. He played press, he played press-man, he played off-coverage zone, he was a physical run defender. I thought he was competitive, he was challenging and when I was finished watching him – and I watched him very late in the process, Doug, I think I watched a week before the draft so I got to him very late - so I had seen every other corner pretty much by the time I had watched DJ Hayden and I thought he was the best corner prospect in this draft after I had seen him.
He was drafted because of his size and athleticism. There’s a ton of upside to his game given his lack of experience but his overall physical attributes – this kid is really athletic. He’s got great balance, great body control.
I think down the road people could see him, easily, as a left tackle with more experience and NFL development. He was obviously a right tackle at Florida State. To use the coaching terms, he’s got a high ceiling. There’s a lot here, athletically. There [are] not a lot of guys at this size who move like this kid does.
He’s raw, he’s not ready – certainly not to play left tackle in the league – but he’s got a lot of physical attributes that you want to see from the position.
As we’ve discussed before, I would bet that good offensive line coaches would tell you, ‘I can correct that stuff in a half hour.’
My point is that his issues are correctable. Whether they become corrected, who can answer that? But his issues are correctable.
It’s not like guys who are not competitive. Normally, guys who are not competitive, you can’t correct that – it’s built into their core personality. This kid’s issues are correctable and coachable.
The big question for me with him is whether he's more than a sub-package player. Can he be a starter? He's clearly a versatile player -- he played a lot in space in Connecticut's defense, and he played a lot over the slot.
He's an athletic mover, but is he a starting linebacker? I guess I'm uncertain about that. He showed some quickness as a pass rusher, and there were times when he lined up in a three-point stance with his hand on the ground. He was used in a variety of ways, and he was effective in that defense in all those ways.
I guess I’m wondering ‘Is he a jack-of-all-trades that’s a sub-package player in the NFL or is he a starting linebacker?’ I’m not sure.
I keep reading about, ‘He’s small,’ and I always find these measureable numbers interesting. I get that the 6’1” [height] is what people are responding to, not the 245 [weight]. After I finished watching him, I was surprised at his weight because he plays like a smaller player which is why, at the end of the day, I wonder if he’s a sub package player –which, by the way, is okay. I guess we’ll see.
To me, [Wilson] is one of the most intriguing picks in the draft because, I gotta tell you, I think he’s going to be their starting quarterback.
This kid, to me, was a very difficult watch in the sense that there were times that I really liked him and there were times I came away saying, ‘This kid’s a free agent.’
I know all the extraneous stuff – the program went down hill with the Patrino-stuff, his good receivers left – I get that. That doesn’t mean anything to me because I’m watching Tyler Wilson. I could watch a game in which the quarterback is 10 for 30 and come away and say, ‘This kid’s gonna be a great NFL prospect,’ so I don’t care about all that other stuff.
But when I watched him there were some games where I thought he stood in the pocket with great toughness, looked down the gun barrel, made great throws. There were other games where I felt that he was overly-conscious against the rush and perceived pressure, so I would jump back and forth depending on the game.
He’s got a good arm, when needed, not a gun. There were games when I thought he showed excellent ball location – made very good throws. There were other games where he was very erratic with his accuracy, so I jumped back and forth with this kid depending on the game but I still believe, Doug, because of their QB situation, he’s going to end up being their starting QB.
I think at the end of the day, the kid does have the insticts of a pocket quarterback with the understanding of progressions. I think he does have that. He’s essentially a pocket quarterback – he can move and throw on the run a bit, but he’s essentially a pocket quarterback.
When I finished watching him, I said to myself, ‘Okay, if this kid were to really play well and all the positives came through, what is Tyler Wilson in the NFL?’ And I think that, at the end of the day, and there’s nothing wrong with this although some would disagree, I think that Tyler Wilson is a Matt Schaub type of QB. That’s pretty good, by the way. Matt Schaub is a pretty good NFL QB. You wouldn’t say he’s a top-5 guy, you wouldn’t call him elite. I don’t think Tyler Wilson is [elite either] but he could become a solid starting NFL QB. He’s not as big as Schaub, obviously, but I’m talking about the way he plays.”
I was really fascinated by Latavius Murray, the running back from Central Florida. He’s 6’2, 6’2” and a half, 223 lbs. He reminded me, in some ways, of Demarco Murray.
I think he’s a bit of an upright runner but he’s got burst, he’s got deceptive measured speed. He’s the kind of guy that, when he gets out into the open field he got a lot of long runs. Now, obviously, Central Florida was playing some teams that you don’t view as major college. But, when he got out into the open field it didn’t necessarily look like he’d run away from people, but he did.
I think he would work best in a power/counter-type scheme, not in a zone scheme. He’s a bit upright due to his height and length and at times some stiffness showed up in his movement because of that. He’s also more straight-line, linear [speed] than [he is] laterally quick.
I thought he was a good receiver, too, by the way. Again, that’s why the kid is drafted in the sixth round but, you know, I think his size, his speed – he’s got a chance.
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That is a well thought out observation of his talent. And I agree, however his receivers do have that break away capability. J. Ford, D. Moore, Streater. These guys can play. Staying healthy is the key. We have the offensive line and the running back. Question's are at QB, T - End, and defense. Should be fun.
When I watch Matt Flynn, I just think he's a winner. And that can take you heck of a long way in the NFL.
I actually watched all his NFL throws yesterday (must have been bored!)
His short/medium range throws are very accurate, with pace and zip
Clutch thrower on 3rd down/red zone
Good pocket presence and movement
My only criticism, is the obvious one, the arm strength. I swear, he has possibly only completed one pass of over 25 yards in his entire career. 99% of his career completions are under 15 yards. Vast majority under 10 yards.
And most of his big plays, and touchdowns, came from receivers making big plays after the catch.
I actually think he will do well. As he won't turn it over. And he's good in the pocket. And he's accurate. He's not going to be a disaster - I think he could easily end up with 4000 yards+, 65% accuracy, and a 90+passer rating.
Where he will fail, is the offense will have no explosion. And he won't make the big plays. His TD total will probably be pretty low.
You know, McKenzie thought DJ Hayden was top 3 talent, and would have taken him at 2. Even with his medical history.
Either McKenzie knows absolutely nothing about evaluating talent, or this kid is pretty special.
I fully expect him to be at least as good as Joe Haden. His ceiling is much higher, as he's a lot faster. This guy has elite CB speed.
@ChristopherMooney As do I. I think this class and the change of players is what we needed. Lets face it, Al got old and he got taken advantage of. He would approve of this class. Don't forget about Murray. He could very well have been a steal!
I don't know about Flynn. But I like Wilson. And Jaws still cannot get over The Plunk kicking his ass. How many QB's has he picked to be good. I do not know one. And DMC will be fine. As far as our picks, I like all of them.
It's hard to take the Jaws review seriously in that Flynn has had very productive games and many other starting QBs have not. Flynn is physically limited, yes, but not so much as people would have us believe. He may not have a Joe Flacco arm but he can make most of the most needed throws.
Indy!, Jax has a QB competition between Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne and Cleveland's QB is last year's rookie pick Brandon Weeden.
I liked this draft overall and I think each and every player can contribute to the 2013 team.
@AsherMathews I don't buy the "productive games" angle on Flynn. When any back-up QB steps into a game it throws off the defense because they've practiced for the starter - many times the QB will look better than he is... Matt Cassell? Rob Johnson? Jay Fiedler? Go further back - Mark Wilson looked like he was the next Stabler when he got his reps for us. Then he was an embarrassment when he actually got control of the team.
That's problem 1. Problem 2 is Flynn had a Super Bowl-quality team around him in Green Bay - makes it at lot easier to look all-world. He doesn't here. Beyond that - Joe Philbin, his coach in Green Bay - didn't even bother to look at him when he was a free agent. Last year he lost the QB battle to a rookie - and that was AFTER Seattle paid a ton of cash for him. That is virtually unheard of in the NFL.
I still like the QB swap for us because we needed to get Palmer off the books. But I don't put much stock in Flynn. Hey - I could be wrong. I just hope our weak schedule doesn't serve up a double whammy for us... he looks so good against bad teams we decide to resign him AND we win enough games that we move too far down in the draft to get a decent replacement QB.
I was kind of hoping we would have made a couple more moves by now as well - dump DMC for picks or something. We're still moving too slow imho.
Seriously Indy! Your listening to Jaws, really. We have 5 solid picks. Plus our free agents. And now DMC has help in Murray. Got to have faith and face it, know one is going to give us a chance or say anything good. Especially Ron Jaworiski,Jaws, what ever, please! We are reloading! It will take 2 more years, maybe.
@TravisKing I'll listen to anyone - even you. The more information the better informed you are. If you read my post, you see I was questioning Jaws ranking - however we ARE near the bottom when it comes to QBs.
@Indy! @TravisKing Yes, I agree. My mistake. But right now at this point I see it as a starting point for our future. I watched Wilson in college. I am a huge Alabama fan and SEC. And Wilson has talent.
Is he a Manning or Brady, time will tell. Flacco was not that great when he started. Neither was Trent Differ or a host of others. What is the one thing the Raiders always had when we won championships, defense. Right now we have talent. And we have cap room in case we need to get a player like a McCarrons from Alabama next year. I am excited to see these young guys compete and see who stands up and stands put. I am not listening to the negative. Because I see positive. Raider Nation get busy talking. YOU GOTTA HAVE FAITH! I think we will finish positive or maybe 500!
@TravisKing @Indy! I like Wilson too - thought that was a nice pick that deep in the draft. So far as this season, we should end up in the 500 range imho - it's a fairly easy schedule and I believe we've turned a corner on the rebuild. But if you've been watching the team the last decade - you know it's a lot easier to go from 4-12 to 8-8 than it is to go from 8-8 to 12-4. So there's still a lot of work to be done. We are headed in the right direction imo.
Hmmm... not really a big fan of Matt Schaub. Have to say though, from way over here on the east coast - mostly what we've been hearing about the Raiders' QB situation is how Matt Flynn ranks near the bottom of the pack. Jaws ranked him the #32 QB in the league - which, let's face it - is pretty hard to believe. I couldn't even name Cleveland's qb without the help of google - is it still Colt McCoy? Chad Henne was starting in Jax last I heard. Come on - Flynn's at the bottom?
So far as the draft - they're saying about the same thing everyone else has said. We did pretty good - nothing amazing. Hayden is the one guy who's probably a sure fire starter (if his injury allows) - the rest are good picks that might surprise or might disappoint. The one thing we really have going for us is a cake walk schedule - this is the easiest schedule we've had in 4 or 5 years. If Allen is really as good a coach as we keep hearing (but haven't really seen yet) - we should be in the .500 neighborhood this year.
Everyone has raised their eye brows at the Raiders for years. But everyone forgets that the Raiders were the winning est team of all. Al Davis was a great leader and coach when he was able to be on the field to do his job. The last decade was their worst because Al got old, he was sick and dying. And players took advantage of his generosity. Players like Seymour, Moss, in my opinion took the money and ran. And look who wants them now. No one. This draft class is awesome, because you can build without money hungry players that will not give anything. And build with youth and teach with the history of the team. The Raider way. Loyalty, toughness, legit and don't take no - - - - !
I think at the end of the day you want good solid football players. Elite players are few and in between, maybe one or two a draft. All of these picks I think are solid foot ball players and will contribute in the winning ways of old school Raiders. I like it.
They said the same thing about Stabler and Gannon and a host of others. They all made it to the big game and have rings. Give me speed, toughness, smart and love of the game and I will beat you. I will win championships. If the Raiders end up this season as the worst, they need to get a top elite QB, like AJ McCarrons at Alabama. A solid leader who wins. A top reciver like Cooper or Bell at Alabama or defense line and edge rusher. But the biggest is QB, a leader of men to win.