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Thread: Prospect Smackdown: Akeem Ayers vs. Brooks Reed vs. Justin Houston vs. Ryan Kerrigan

  1. #1

    Prospect Smackdown: Akeem Ayers vs. Brooks Reed vs. Justin Houston vs. Ryan Kerrigan

    Obviously by now we know that these are 4 of the top DE/OLB prospects in this draft. Lets see how they compare:

    Background

    Ayers: Ayers went into UCLA as a top 50 recruit according to Scout.com, and a HS All American according to SuperPrep and PrepStar. He was the #1 DE in California as a HS recruit according to Scout.com, and the 9th best player in the state overall. Born on July/10/1989 the soon to be 22 year old would play 38 games over 3 years at UCLA, and make 29 starts. In 2008 he played DE, in 2009 he played LB and DE, and in 2010 he played LB. In 2009 he was an CFN.com All American, and Honorable Mention All Pac-10. In 2010 he was a captain of his team, 2nd team All American according to the Walter Camp foundation, and finished 3rd for the Butkus award.

    Reed: Reed is a 5th year senior defensive end from the University of Arizona. Born on 2/28/87, the 24 year old is one of the older prospects getting first round talk. He played in over 40 games at college and started in over 30 of them. He was not a big time recruit of HS but his bio on the University of Arizona's website shows him to be at least a decorated athlete in-state. He actually made the SuperPrep All America team (and All West team) as a RB according to his UofA bio-page. Not a very decorated player in college.

    Houston: A former 3 star DE recruit out of Florida (Scout.com), Houston is the lone junior in this comparison. He is 22 years old, was born 1/21/89, and is therefore not a true junior. In fact, he is older than Ayers by half a year. In 2009 he was named All-SEC Second Team by Associated Press, SEC Coaches and Phil Steele. In 2010 he was a PFW All American and a Walter Camp 2nd team All American. I also believe he would be All-SEC. Started 24 of the 36 games he played in college.

    Kerrigan: An unanimous All American in 2010, Kerrigan is a decorated and accomplished college athlete. He entered Purdue as the #3 player in Indiana, and a 3 star recruit at DE. Like Reed, he would play in over 40 games in college and start in over 30 of them. Kerrigan is 10 days younger than me, and was born 8/16/1988. In '09 he was on the Hendricks award candidate, and 2nd team All American according to Rivals.com.

    Thoughts:

    Kerrigan runs away with this here, but Ayers isn't far behind. Both have been blue chip college players for a while now. There's a significant gap between them and the other two, and then there's a sizable gap between Houston and Reed. Reed, to be completely honest, doesn't belong in the conversation as far as background goes. Both Ayers and Kerrigan were captains and leaders on their team, intangibles that should carry forward in time. I'm pretty sure they're the only two who graduated, though Reed probably did also.

    Performance


    Ayers: Threw up 183 tackles from '08-'10 with 128 of them being solo tackles. He also notched 14 sacks and 29.5 TFL over that same span, 6 INTs (2 TDs), 5 FF, and 10 passes defended. Best year was his '09 when he notched 6 sacks, 4 INTs, 14.5 TFL, and 75 TKLs (55 solo).

    Reed: From '08-'10 Reed threw up 107 TKL, 17 sacks, 24.5 TFL, 5 FF, and 5 passes defended. His best season was the '08 season when he notched 37 TKL, 8 sacks, 9.5 TFL, 3 FF, and 2 passes broken up.

    Houston: From '08-'10 he's got 124 TKL (74 solo), 21 sacks, 38.5 TFL, 1 INT, 5 PD, and 3 FF. Best season was his 2010 that included the INT, 67 TKL (42 solo), 19.5 TFL, 11 sacks, 2 FF, 2 PD, and a couple hurries.

    Kerrigan: From '08-10 he threw up 191 TKL (122 solo), 30.5 sacks, 54.5 TFL(!), 13 FF, and 7 PD. His best season was the year 2010 when he threw up 26 TFL and 11 sacks. He also posted 70 tackles (50 solo), and forced 5 fumbles.

    Thoughts:

    Again, Kerrigan stands out from the crowd with Ayers just behind him. Kerrigan is clearly a guy who makes his living behind the LOS. Reed, again, does not really belong in the conversation. He doesn't get as many tackles, TFL, or plays off the LOS. Ayers' plays against the pass are impressive, and he put up the numbers of a playmaker.

    Size/Game/Projectability


    Ayers: Stands a little bit taller than 6'3", but looks taller due to long limbs and an athletic build. A very projectable athlete, he weighed in as high as 259 this offseason at his pro day. He managed to run a better time at 259 than he did at a lighter weight at the combine. He moves extremely well but isn't physically powerful, and you can kind of see that in his stats. Not a great tackler, and needs to get NFL strong. Some would say he needs to get his nose dirty more often, and I say that cocaine is bad for you. That said, might come off a bit soft at times, though I'm sure that will get exaggerated beyond what it is. Top of the line flexibility it seems, and he can get his shoulders lower than anyone here. Physical game and tools play up because he is a player who uses his head on the field. Pursues well.

    Reed: Not all that projectable, but good size at 6'2" 262 or so. Better athlete than what may be thought, and plays with excellent leverage when he's on. Might be the strongest guy in this group on the field, but also the slowest and least flexible. Plus, they're coming out of college and he's the oldest, so it'd make sense for him to be the strongest. He's got more "man strength" on him right now. He's the only one to have any injury troubles. Still, a tenacious player and he can wrap them up and bring them down once he has you. I've made a Woodley comparison at some point or another, and he has the kind of upside maybe...Still Woodley was a far better college player and prospect.

    Houston: Not a very rangy athlete, but has a strong compact build. Upper body is strong, and combines that strength with an explosive first step. Posted great workout numbers. Physically doesn't project to get much bigger, if at all, but 6'3" 270 isn't exactly bad. Not the best in pursuit, and not all that aggressive when asked to play in space. Can get his shoulder low, but not a complete natural at doing so. Built like James Harrison, but I'm not sure Harrison at 22 would be an elite 3-4 OLB because he wasn't.

    Kerrigan: Not a very long player, but proportionate and has good size anyway. He's the tallest of the group at 6'4", and he's in Houston's weight range between 265-270. Seems to have similar flexibility to Houston, and this may become an issue in the 3-4 OLB thing. Had a 3-4 LB-esque workout, some would say. That said, he can be easily juked in pursuit and is not great in space.

    Thoughts:

    This is where Kerrigan falters a little. He doesn't move as well as Ayers, and his frame suggests there's room to throw on weight. Houston and Reed again fall behind, and again Reed is far from first.. I like Reed, but I'm starting to believe more and more that he's a 3rd rounder while writing this thing. He's better than guys like Chris Carter or or the great Cliff Matthews, but he's not holding up in this comparison.

    Intangibles:

    Ayers: Top notch, with no history of trouble.Captain and leader on his team, and played like a skilled player.

    Reed: 5th year seniors are given an "oh" kind of treatment, but otherwise he seems fine. Also a leader on his team.

    Houston: No real incidents, but I hear alot of words like cocky. Being a junior might be considered a knock since he'll carry the "raw" label around. Is he willing to play the 3-4 OLB role?

    Kerrigan: Also top notch. Leader and all that jazz.

    Thoughts:

    Houston lags behind here, but it's entirely possible that's overblown.

    Ranking them for the Jets:

    1: Ayers - He's got the proper size and build for the position. He's the only one of these guys who's proven he can cover and play in space consistently. He can move around within the D over time, and probably steal Thomas' spot from him fairly early. Projects to be a guy who can move around the LB spots and even take snaps at DE. Versatility is a big deal, and Ayers is a guy who looks like he has that card to play.

    2: Kerrigan - Loses it for me when it comes to projecting him to the position at the pro level. He's a bit of a stretch at the position and alot of his value in the 3-4 OLB projection is in his college stats and combine numbers. I think he'd do his best work in a 4-3 as a DE. Can easily be flip flopped with Ayers if they choose to let him play in Jason Taylor's pass rushing specialist role for a year or so as he works on other things. That said, those "other things" probably require more than a year of work and may not come along as quickly as you'd hope. He's a guy who's as likely to be asked to gain 15-20 pounds in the pros as he is to hear that he should drop 5-10 pounds.



    3: Houston - Not as experienced as the first two, and comes with questions about his ability to project to the position. The raw talent is exciting, but the lack of polish is just as big a turnoff. Not sure such a gamble is necessary for the Jets to take, especially since they're probably trying to get past the Gholston thing. I don't think he has the instincts Kerrigan has that makes me think it's possible he could be a 3-4 OLB option in year 1.



    4: Reed - The hottest prospect of the offseason. Who doesn't love Brooks Reed? This GRITTY little engine that could can knock your lights out! No really, I have given some thought to this guy and I don't get why he's a first round candidate. He had a good offseason, he had a solid college career, he threw up some workout numbers...but he's also a 5th year senior, doesn't have any special size or particular skill, isn't proven in space, and lacks the general feel of a blue chip prospect. He's a decent 3-4 OLB prospect, but he's a developmental guy himself.

  2. #2
    Good read..

    FWIW: I heard Kerrigan on Sirius NFL Radio..He said he is down to 262.

  3. #3
    its a good read but some inaccuracies. Justin Houston was also a team captain.

    the way i see it Kerrigan and Houston are on a high tier, Ayers and Reed are on a lower tier.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    its a good read but some inaccuracies. Justin Houston was also a team captain.

    the way i see it Kerrigan and Houston are on a high tier, Ayers and Reed are on a lower tier.
    Wanna lay some coin that Ayers goes before Houston? I'm hardly going to guarantee it and it could certainly go against me, but I'm in a betting mood.

    Whaddyasay? If Ayers goes before Houston, you donate $50 to the site....if Houston goes first, I'll do it.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by crasherino View Post
    Wanna lay some coin that Ayers goes before Houston? I'm hardly going to guarantee it and it could certainly go against me, but I'm in a betting mood.

    Whaddyasay? If Ayers goes before Houston, you donate $50 to the site....if Houston goes first, I'll do it.
    I've been meaning to give back to JI... what's a VIP membership go for... 30?

    ill do a VIP bet... loser has to buy the winner a year worth of VIP?

    Ill take Justin Houston over Ayers... better athlete more sacks ok with me.

  6. #6
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    Why am i the only 1 who see this for what it is.I don't care what CBTNY thinks because of all his work or what Bit thinks because of all his #s,LOL.If the jets were not going to resign david harris,Ayers would be the perfect replacement to team with Scott just like we should have drafted Keith rivers instead of gholston..

    This team needs a way to put pressure on the QB.Justin Houston offers the best option where we select.He can replace Jason Taylor on this team with greater results without even trying.we didn't sign taylor to cover anyone,so why all og a sudden we're worrying about whether Houston can cover.The kid is a Pass rusher,with a 1st step you can't teach.


    ayers is the type of Lber you team with a hammer like either scott or harris.Houston is the kind of Lber that changes games because of his impact on the QB.

  7. #7
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    of those 4 its kerrigan by far

  8. #8
    "Reed: Reed is a 5th year senior defensive end from the University of Arizona. Born on 2/28/87, the 24 year old is one of the older prospects getting first round talk. He played in over 40 games at college and started in over 30 of them. He was not a big time recruit of HS but his bio on the University of Arizona's website shows him to be at least a decorated athlete in-state. He actually made the SuperPrep All America team (and All West team) as a RB according to his UofA bio-page. Not a very decorated player in college."

    Reed:

    Highschool, 1st team DE all-state (Coaches poll) #9 Fullback in the NATION (Scout.com) scholarship offers from 7+ D-1 schools, including Purdue.

    College, HM All Pac-10 2008, 1st team All Pac-10 2010, entered 2009 on Hendricks and Lombardi watch lists. 2010 Team Captian (players vote) and Defensive MVP (Players vote).



    " Might be the strongest guy in this group on the field, but also the slowest and least flexible."

    Official NFL Combine records, 40 yard fastest ET:

    Reed = 4.66
    Kerrigan= 4.79
    Ayers = 4.88
    Houston = 4.94

    Ten yard splits, fastest combine ET:

    Reed= 1.63
    Houston= 1.66
    Kerrigan= 1.72
    Ayers= 1.72

    In addition, ability to change direction and flexibility may be tested by the 20 yard shuttle drill.

    Reed and Ayers at 4.28, Houston at 4.37, Kerrigan at 4.40 (fastest HT---no ET recorded)


    Draw your conclusions as you may.

    Why let facts stand in the way of a good post?
    Last edited by Tucsonpaint; 04-10-2011 at 04:13 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Tinstar View Post
    .If the jets were not going to resign david harris,Ayers would be the perfect replacement to team with Scott just like we should have drafted Keith rivers instead of gholston..
    keith rivers got his jaw broke and is basically about as helpful as gholston

    if Ayers can play linebacker like Harris, that would be great, I haven't seen that.

    Why wouldn't they sign Harris? he's the 1st one they are gonna sign. Bart Scott played like crap against Pittsburgh, he's actually the weak link in the run game. he can blow up blockers but didn't do much tackling in the 1st half.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    keith rivers got his jaw broke and is basically about as helpful as gholston

    if Ayers can play linebacker like Harris, that would be great, I haven't seen that.

    Why wouldn't they sign Harris? he's the 1st one they are gonna sign. Bart Scott played like crap against Pittsburgh, he's actually the weak link in the run game. he can blow up blockers but didn't do much tackling in the 1st half.
    Ayers isn't going to play LB like Harris. He really is an OLB prospect, as much as I fought that a while back. He's got OLB size, he's got the ability to make plays behind the LOS, he's done it against tackles, he can play with his hand in the ground, and he's not terrible against the run thought he's no Harris, and he needs to get stronger...that's the DE aspect...he's a LB because he can cover, he plays well in space, he knows how to read and dissect plays and has shown it on a mostly consistent basis...he's not Harris because he's a better pure athlete...he can get lower than Harris, he's longer, taller, heavier, healthier...

    I also understand Brooks Reed had a good senior bowl and combine. I still don't think that'll jump him up two/three rounds into the first. The guy is a nice prospect and he really legitimized himself this offseason, but he's got a Gilberte-esque feel to him lately. Like alot of these guys that got hyped this offseason I say good for him, but I can't say I buy the first round hype.

  11. #11
    Houston is a guy I'm trying to come around on, but for some reason I can't. Didn't know he was a team captain bit, and that is a plus for him. Georgia's a pretty young group right now so he ran with the wind on his side there...still a good thing for him.

  12. #12
    There are all kinds of mock drafts out there. Gil Brandt's (former baby photographer) Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Etc. My hope is that from them we are getting some little reflection of reality----that they do have contacts with team managers/scouts who can provide them with some inside team info. Nevertheless, these guys are all so disparate in their projections that it is hard to believe they really know anymore than we know. I guess you can take a poll of them---an average---and hope that it is more like reality than any single prognosticator.

    I think the teams are VERY interested in not making mistakes----I mean the Falcons (27th pick) worked out Reed last week and brought their whole office, from the GM on down, to Tucson. Reed will visit ATL next week.

    I think if I were in the teams' front office, I would look at:

    1) What positions we really need to be filled. Then, having identified the position, I would look at kids that play this position in the all-star games, 2) I would identify some candidates and carefully monitor their performances in the Combine---maybe a little at what they do on Pro-day. 3) If I liked a kid (s) based on what he did in the former, I would look again/much more at his college tape and do some back ground work. I would want to see every college game in which he has ever played. (not you tube or highlight tapes)Then, if I thought the kid might be a fit for what we wanted as a team, I would schedule a private work out with him, sit him down in an informal setting (maybe dinner) and see what kind of a kid he was, have him draw up some stuff on the white board and see what he knows about football, talk to everybody who ever knew him, and see what he can do in the drills. Then I would rank him on my board according to needs. Even then, I wouldn't know if I was going to get this kid, cause someone who has done the same as I have might take him before me, or a kid that I never thought we had a chance at becomes available.

    So even the teams involved don't really know who they have a shot at till they're on the clock. Much less we on the boards.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Much ado about Nothing View Post
    I also understand Brooks Reed had a good senior bowl and combine. I still don't think that'll jump him up two/three rounds into the first. The guy is a nice prospect and he really legitimized himself this offseason, but he's got a Gilberte-esque feel to him lately. Like alot of these guys that got hyped this offseason I say good for him, but I can't say I buy the first round hype.
    it's not accurate to compare Brooks Reed to Jarron Gilbert. Gilbert basically did nothing but jump out of pool. Reed had an awesome senior bowl. Reed is more similar to Kevin Williams okla st DT or Tyson Alulalu Cal DT... a 3rd rounder before the Senior Bowl and ended up top 10. Reed won't make it to top 10 but there's a better than average chance he's not even on the board when the Jets pick. I've seen mocks with him as high as 16 to JAC.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    it's not accurate to compare Brooks Reed to Jarron Gilbert. Gilbert basically did nothing but jump out of pool. Reed had an awesome senior bowl. Reed is more similar to Kevin Williams okla st DT or Tyson Alulalu Cal DT... a 3rd rounder before the Senior Bowl and ended up top 10. Reed won't make it to top 10 but there's a better than average chance he's not even on the board when the Jets pick. I've seen mocks with him as high as 16 to JAC.
    Alualu wasn't a third rounder last year...and Williams is a while back but I have trouble buying a guy went from third rounder to 9th pick overall...He was proooooobably mostly mocked as a 2nd rounder like Ware was in '05...Alualu is kinda the same thing and I know he was still mocked in the first round often enough.

    I kinda hope Reed is gone before our pick so:

    1. A bigger better player falls.

    2. No one here has to deal with "omg we passed on Brooks Reed!" - a sob story.

    Unfortunately, mocks are mocks and don't dictate even where he might go. I'm still leaning anywhere from the mid-2nd to the early third.

    Like Gilbert he's a guy who's come out of left field from a not-quite-big program to get himself mocked in the first and even have people obsessively mock him to their team in the first. Gilbert didn't just jump out of the pool....that became the hallmark of his viral campaign...just like "ZOMG HE LOOKS LIKE CLAY MATTHEWS AND MIGHT PLAY THE SAME POSITION!!!11 Have ya SEEN his 10 yard split? RB worthy!" has become Reed's mark. Like Reed, Gilbert had a strong all around offseason during his offseason.

    Iunno this Smackdown I wrote really exposed me to more facts about Brooks Reed. He just straight up barely or didn't hold his ground at all when compared directly to other possibly DE/OLB guys who're supposed to go in the 2nd half of the first round. He's less accomplished, his school isn't a football factory, he's coming off injury, he's older, he was less productive than these guys...he outsacked Ayers but he should have outsacked Ayers given the context...his vertical was a weak 30 1/2 inches...he's less accomplished than other possibly first round picks...
    Last edited by Much ado about Nothing; 04-10-2011 at 01:21 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Much ado about Nothing View Post
    Like Gilbert he's a guy who's come out of left field from a not-quite-big program
    Arizona in the Pac 10 is a big school. there's a ton of those guys in the league, compared to San Jose State in the WAC. I dont think he's like Clay Matthews. He more like Brian Orakpo very very strong player.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    Arizona in the Pac 10 is a big school. there's a ton of those guys in the league, compared to San Jose State in the WAC. I dont think he's like Clay Matthews. He more like Brian Orakpo very very strong player.
    He wishes he was like Orakpo. Orakpo threw up a 39 1/2 inch vertical....was was more productive at Texas...I think he graduated on time though I'm not sure...he wasn't being outproduced by a teammate....not to mention that Orakpo is the same age as Reed is now, but he's been in the NFL for two productive seasons.

  17. #17
    Rak is better than Reed but Rak wasn't available at 30 overall.

    It's sloppy to play the comparison game, I think Brooks is very strong compared to others in his class, like Rak. I dont think orapko is getting much stronger over those years since he's graduated... he is what he is. Gilbert is development player, Reed is good to go.

    I dont believe Brooks Reed can be "the guy" but he can be another guy and that's important. he's not Demarcus Ware but he could be Anthony Spencer. they need guys, and they aren't gonna get a star at 30.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Green Jets & Ham View Post
    I have to admit the thing that scares me about Reed is Gil Brandt's ranking. He has Reed in TIER 10 (91-100) of his HOT 100, that means he has Reed tabbed not even as a 2nd Rounder like muchado, but as a late 3

    I like what I've seen of Reed, but that scares me.
    I have no problem with drafting Reed. The whole "tier" system is bogus to me I'm sure if the Jets had drafted Flacco instead of Gholston there would have been an uproar over draft positioning but whatever.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    Rak is better than Reed but Rak wasn't available at 30 overall.

    It's sloppy to play the comparison game, I think Brooks is very strong compared to others in his class, like Rak. I dont think orapko is getting much stronger over those years since he's graduated... he is what he is. Gilbert is development player, Reed is good to go.

    I dont believe Brooks Reed can be "the guy" but he can be another guy and that's important. he's not Demarcus Ware but he could be Anthony Spencer. they need guys, and they aren't gonna get a star at 30.

    well said. You make excellent points. I like Reed and would not cringe if we take him at 30. As a Jets fan I just want a superior player for our front 7. I think we must develop a GREAT and dominating defense. I think REED can help us. I think Wilkerson can help us. I am just hoping that the player the front office wants is there for us at 30.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    Rak is better than Reed but Rak wasn't available at 30 overall.

    It's sloppy to play the comparison game, I think Brooks is very strong compared to others in his class, like Rak. I dont think orapko is getting much stronger over those years since he's graduated... he is what he is. Gilbert is development player, Reed is good to go.

    I dont believe Brooks Reed can be "the guy" but he can be another guy and that's important. he's not Demarcus Ware but he could be Anthony Spencer. they need guys, and they aren't gonna get a star at 30.
    "Star" is a matter of immediate perception based on college production and/or athletic (and in some cases mental) gifts. The pick at 30 could very well become a star, know one knows.

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