Saturday, April 4, 2009

Brick is back...again

Well brick in the box fans, we are deep in the NFL’s silly season. Players are moving, teams are shaping their rosters for next season, and the draft is right over the horizon. And brick in the box has been strangely silent.

Well as my loyal reader knows, I write most of my columns at work. And our IT department has decided to block my blogging access. But I am now armed with a new memory stick, and will continue to write here at work, and will post when I get home.

So what will be the 1st Item to get my attention, well with the draft coming up, lets look at the explosion numbers for some of the defensive players who may be there for the Raiders in the 2nd round on.

Why this focus, well we all know the Raiders need help up front on defense, and in my mind, absent film study, these explosion numbers are one of the best indicators of future success for defensive front seven players.

Credit has to go to Pat Kirwan for bringing the explosion scores to my attention. Do yourself a favor and google his article from a few years back for a complete description of the concept ( is yet another site blocked here at work).

Short and sweet, you take the workout numbers in broad jump, vertical leap and bench press and add them up. Anything over 70 is considered excellent. Now you have to factor in other variables, is the guy a strict weight room guy with a huge bench and not much else, is he a jumper with no strength to finish, do the results on the field match the work in shorts and tees?

Past results speak for themselves, from the 2005 draft here are some standouts:

Luis Castillo – 77
Shawne Merriman – 75
Demarcus Ware – 75
Justin Tuck – 72

So who in this years draft who currently grades out as 2nd to 4th round picks have this rare combination of attributes that cause scouts to drool? Here are a few standouts in my mind:

DT – Ziggy Hood – Missouri – 76

He currently hold a mid 2nd round grade, but watching this guy and looking at his numbers, I would not be surprised if he finds himself in the late 1st round. Now if I am wrong and this guy doesn’t end up being a late riser in the draft, I would be all over him in the 2nd.

DT – Jarron Gilbert – San Jose State – 73

I won’t lie to you, I have not watched a single down of this guy. But the an excellent 40, a good short shuttle and an explosion score of 73 will get my attention, and force me to take a closer look at this 2nd round prospect. Could he project to a base DE?

LB – Conner Barwim – Cincinnati – 72

I think that the Raiders 2nd round pick is too high, and he will be gone by the 3rd. But if he is still on the board in 3 for the Raiders, I would be excited to take this guy as a fix to the SAM backer problems. Either by plugging him in at SAM or at MIKE and moving Morrison over.

LB – Cody Brown – Uconn – 72

See Conner, not as fast so he would be a better fit at MIKE, forcing the move of Morrison.

DE – Lawrence Sidbury – Richmond – 73

Small school standout, sound like something that Big Al would be all over? Well in the 3rd round he could definitely be there. I have seen some highlights which would lead me to think he may be taken as a Rush LB by a 3-4 team. The Raiders don’t need another light in the britches DE, IMO.

DT – Terrance Taylor – Michigan – 76

Now we are talking, I know it may be the Michigan fan in me, but I like what this guy does on the field, and with a late 3rd round grade, this guy could be just what the doctor ordered. He is not fast or quick, but he has the kind of explosion and size you look for in a 2 gap hole plugger. This would allow the Raiders to move Warren to the under position, move Kelly around (a future column will delve into this) and improve the line at 2 to 3 positions.

DT – Roy Miller – Texas – 77

Put this guy in the same category as Taylor. Better speed and agility numbers, less on the field production. Hence the late 4th early 5th round grade. Value Baby.

There are plenty of others, who fit the bill here. Workout darling BJ Raji scored a 74, my favorite of the USC backers, Brian Cushing got a 75, Mr. Shorts and Tee Shirt Michael Johnson blew everyone away with his balanced 77 to go with excellent speed numbers. But I just didn’t see the on field production, or value where the Raiders pick to go any further in depth on any of them.

So there you go, take a closer look at these guys to fix what Ails the Raiders as the draft progresses. And make sure to tell your friends you heard about them at brick in the box first.

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