NFC West: Rashad Jennings

Where Doucet ranks in dropped pass rate

November, 5, 2012
11/05/12
11:00
AM ET
Arizona Cardinals receiver Early Doucet suffered three drops on 93 targets last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

His drops per target percentage was 3.2, below the 4.4 average for all players.

Doucet and teammate Rob Housler each had two drops during the Cardinals' 30-20 defeat at Green Bay in Week 9. Only one player, Oakland Raiders tight end Brandon Myers, had more (three).

The chart shows Doucet ranking second among 144 qualifying players in highest percentage of targets resulting in drops. Doucet is the only wide receiver listed. The others are running backs or tight ends.

ESPN defines drops as passes that should have been caught with ordinary effort. Each game is charted twice with multiple people in an effort to enforce a uniform standard.

Doucet lost playing time to rookie Michael Floyd as the game progressed Sunday. That trend will presumably continue following the Cardinals' bye.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Previously: The draft and meaningful free-agent signings have passed. Trades remain possible, but less likely as training camps approach. Barring a surprise or two, what you see on NFC West rosters is pretty much what you're going to get for the 2009 season. Where are the Rams, 49ers, Seahawks and Cardinals most vulnerable?

Today: I've weaved my thoughts into the conversation and posted the results below. Thanks for participating. We'll begin with the defending NFC champion Cardinals, followed by the 49ers, Seahawks and Rams.

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic quotes Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves as expressing surprise over the lack of interest for receiver Anquan Boldin. It's tough to define Boldin's value without knowing exactly what other teams offered. The Cardinals certainly weren't going to give him away.

Also from Somers: He expects the Cardinals to release Edgerrin James before the team's upcoming minicamp.

More from Somers: The Cardinals drafted safety Rashad Jennings after Alabama coach Nick Saban told them Jennings was one of the smartest players he had ever coached.

More still from Somers: a second-day draft notebook with background information on the Cardinals' choices. Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, told he was too small at 5-foot-6, choked up as he spoke with reporters following his selection.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times says the Bears tried to trade a second-round choice, 49th overall, to the Cardinals for Boldin. 

Morgan Urtso of the Arizona Republic says hundreds of fans at University of Phoenix Stadium applauded the Cardinals' selection of Chris Wells in the first round.

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says Kurt Warner is probably "popping a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne" after the Cardinals added Wells and kept Boldin.

Mark Heller of the East Valley Tribune takes a big-picture look at the Cardinals' draft. "Humongous" was the word Whisenhunt used to describe LSU guard Herman Johnson.

More from Heller: draft bios for the Cardinals' choices.

Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune sees three options after the Cardinals did not trade Boldin: " A. An angry Boldin refuses to show up for training camp and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, causes a stink. B. Boldin shows up, pops off - remember his diatribe the first day of camp last year? - then continues to catch passes, break tackles and pile up Pro Bowl numbers. C. The Cardinals trade him before camp opens."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com quotes Whisenhunt as saying the Cardinals didn't reach for any players on the second day. The moves they made would seem to confirm as much. 

Also from Urban: Sixth-round choice Will Davis will move from defensive end to outside linebacker for the Cardinals.

More from Urban: "House" Johnson, the massive guard from LSU, grew up a fan of former Cardinals lineman Leonard Davis. No surprise there.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic expects Tim Hightower to enter next season as the Cardinals' starting running back. That surprises me a little bit. I would think the Cardinals might find their next starter in the draft. They certainly picked a good year to pick near the end of the first round. Cardinals director of player personnel Steve Keim: "To be quite honest with you, I don't see a whole lot of difference between the fifth pick and the 31st pick. That obviously bodes well for us." And not so well for Seattle.

Also from Somers: He isn't expecting a quick trade involving Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin.

The Associated Press quotes former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan advising Boldin to keep his frustrations to himself.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers a few thoughts on Boldin's situation and a possible trade. Urban: "On a new team, Boldin doesn't have the Fitz/Warner system and he'll be paid a lot more. That could drive down his value outside of Arizona."

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind602 explores in greater detail the pros and cons associated with trading Boldin. One thought in relation to Boldin's physical style possibly shortening his career: "The bottom line points seems to be that even though the Cardinals are not a better team without Boldin, they might have a brighter future for a longer period of time given the picks that they'll receive for him."

Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com -- more on that pairing in a sec -- says the team could have picked a better year to be drafting fourth overall, given the lack of obvious franchise players in this draft. Note: Clare has covered the Seahawks for newspapers since the 1970s. That changed when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ditched its print edition. It's tough to envision Seahawks coverage without Clare, so it was great seeing him over at Seahawks headquarters for general manager Tim Ruskell's recent session with reporters.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times isn't expecting the Seahawks to draft an offensive tackle with the fourth overall choice. I tend to agree, but it's tough finding likely scenarios for Seattle -- particularly if Matthew Stafford, Michael Crabtree and Aaron Curry are off the board when Seattle is on the clock.

Doug Farrar of Field Gulls says it's tough to get a great feel for Mark Sanchez's prospects in the NFL when respected analysts offer disparate opinions.

ViperLjs of Turf Show Times summarizes St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Jim Thomas' comments about the Rams' draft plans based on what Thomas said during a radio interview. ViperLjs: "Thomas came on Bernie Miklasz's radio show today to discuss the draft, and revealed that there are indications coming from the organization that [Eugene] Monroe will be the pick. This corresponds with glowing comments made by [GM Billy] Devaney in his assessment of [Eugene] Monroe. I am one of the few who prefers Monroe to [Wake Forest linebacker Aaron] Curry; I'm consistently seeing doubts about his lateral mobility and ability to be a game changer at the MLB position."

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle looks at the history of the 10th overall choice in the NFL draft. The 49ers once found J.J. Stokes in that spot. Crumpacker lists offensive tackle, outside linebacker and defensive end as the 49ers' top needs, but coach Mike Singletary is adamant about taking the best player without as much regard for need.

Also from Crumpacker: He lists players the 49ers might consider in the draft, including running back Rashad Jennings.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee thinks the 49ers will address outside linebacker and running back in the second and third rounds.

David Fucillo of Niners Nation sizes up Brian Orakpo as a prospect for the 49ers. He asks: "How do you get playing time for the draft choice alongside [Manny] Lawson and [Parys] Haralson?"

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Mike Jurecki and Dan Bickley of XTRA radio had fun with Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin on the air (office alert: the link goes directly to audio). Boldin recently took up boxing to help him stay in shape and hone his hand-eye coordination. Jurecki and Bickley asked Boldin who he wanted to see on the stool in the opposing corner, Cardinals general manager Rod Graves or Jets safety Eric Smith. That one drew laughs. They also asked Boldin what his plastic surgeon thought of boxing as an avocation. Boldin said he knocked down his lone opponent in the second round.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says a Boldin trade has seemed "inevitable" for some time.

Also from Somers: He sizes up potential trade partners for the Cardinals, including the Eagles, Giants, Titans, Jaguars, Bears, Chiefs, Ravens and Redskins.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com quotes Boldin on Michael Irvin's radio show. Boldin said he wants his situation resolved quickly one way or another.

Also from Urban: Jewelers were at Cardinals headquarters to fit players and team personnel for their NFC championship rings.

ESPN.com provides audio from Boldin's interview with Irvin.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' contract extensions with Parys Haralson and Joe Nedney are "sure to be popular in the locker room." Haralson: "It was a priority because I'm basically excited about the direction the team is going in and with the things coach [Mike] Singletary is doing and the expectations his defense has. It's all about being somewhere where you are comfortable. I like it out here." 

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat describes Haralson's re-signing as "an essential move" because the team lacks pass rushers. Maiocco: "I've always doubted the 49ers would take a pass-rusher with the No. 10 overall pick. Perhaps, if Brian Orakpo is there the 49ers would consider him. But, more than likely, all four offensive tackles, Michael Crabtree and B.J. Raji would have to be gone, along with the two QBs and the trade possibilities attached to them."

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News quotes Haralson as saying he thinks the 49ers could have the best defense in the league.

John Morgan of Field Gulls, while acknowledging that Seattle likely would not draft Jeremy Maclin fourth overall, says the Missouri receiver has struggled against top competition.

Also from Morgan: He compares Darrius Heyward-Bey to Eddie Royal.

More from Morgan: University of Arizona receiver Mike Thomas might provide good value for the Seahawks with the 105th overall choice in part because Thomas can help in the return game. Morgan: "Thomas could be a great wide receiver. He has the short, squatty build of Wes Welker or Steve Smith, and is arguably a better athlete than either. He's also shorter than either -- somewhat significantly. Thomas is under 5-8. And that's really the essence of any critique against him. He's really, really short."

William Tomisser of Seahawk Addicts sounds surprised I would project as few as seven victories for the Seahawks in 2009. I see a pile of 8-8 in this division, give or take a game here and there. And I need to see more from the Seahawks this summer before giving them the benefit of the doubt in several areas. Plus, I'm not a big fan of their schedule.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are looking at running backs to complement Steven Jackson. However, none of the 23 known college visitors was a running back. Thomas: "But the Rams have scouted a lot of running backs, and they've shown more than passing interest in North Carolina State's Andre Brown, Iowa's Shonn Greene and Liberty's Rashad Jennings. The Rams have talked to Brown at the Senior Bowl, the NFL scouting combine and North Carolina State's pro day. They also had an individual workout with Brown, with a Rams contingent that included running backs coach Sylvester Croom on hand."

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams new regime has inspired a more optimistic outlook for Rams followers heading into the draft.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The item about Cardinals general manager Rod Graves and the running backs his teams have drafted elicited an underwhelming response.

windknot02: Not an impressive list. On the other hand, maybe Rod is due.

cman548: That list isn't terrible, but it speaks to the importance of offensive line. Any success these backs had came with teams that weren't the Cardinals.

With an assist from Steve Muench of Scouts Inc., perhaps we can give Cardinals fans a little more to talk about. He sees Andre Brown of North Carolina State as a likely starter teams might find available in the second round. He also explained why he likes Donald Brown despite initial misgivings and why he wouldn't draft Chris Wells early.

I followed up with Muench on Andre Brown because we do not hear his name as frequently as we hear others. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has said he would like two running backs with divergent styles. Current Cardinals back Tim Hightower is 224 pounds. Brown is 228. The similarities might be limited, however.

Muench: Andre Brown is 228 pounds, but he is a lot faster than Hightower. Shonn Greene and Rashad Jennings and Javon Ringer all fall into the category of Hightower-type backs. They are quicker, but they are big backs, not a lot of wiggle. Kory Sheets is an interesting name in the middle rounds. He can catch it out of the backfield. He can complement.

Having spent all last season watching NFC West teams -- and not college prospects -- this was a conversation I wanted to continue. Muench felt the same way; he's spent all his time watching the college prospects. This was a chance for us to bring together our perspectives in trying to figure out what might make sense.

(Read full post)

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