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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nelson Rosaro added

Before I get into Rosario's potential:
He was cut from the Jaguars, without appearing in much more than workouts.  I don't understand it, but there's always the potential that there's more than the average fan sees.

Carolina signed UCLA TE/WR Nelson Rosario this week, a tweener receiver who may require an unorthodox path to success in the NFL.   The 6'5, 230 lb averaged 18 yards on 61 catches as a senior, and has shown 4.55 speed at workouts.  He's lacking consistency, is probably too big to consistently play WR, and has no real shot at adding bulk to be an in-line tight end.

But there's a lot of intrigue there, and this is an ideal spot for him to grow into a role.  Consider the big, power forward type TEs in the Coryell offense - Kellen Winslow (the original, not the fake), Tony Gonzalez, and Antonio Gates.  Rosario has the body, and the body control, to box out defenders.  He has long arms and big hands - an ideal catching radius - and routinely can make incredible catches.  His routes, when good, leave DBs lagging.

But that's the end of the good news.  It doesn't always show up on tape, in that he can make incredible catches but he'll miss too many easy ones.  Those routes can become sloppy quickly.  He doesn't easily have a position that will keep him on the field regularly, and he's not a special teamer.


Personally, while the pair aren't the same, and they're not related, there's a remembrance of Dante Rosario.  I had a lot of hope for the elder Rosario in his time here, and was hoping he'd stick around in this more friendly offense but he didn't.  As good as it looked like Rosario could be, there was inconsistency.  There were fans who felt like Dante could play WR, too.

That Rosario was an average athlete, though - a college fullback, at that - and this one is pretty remarkable.   Maybe this one will work out better, but if he doesn't, it's up to him and his effort level. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Death Of The Fullback




It's been suggested before, but it can't be that far off.

While the alignment may never go away, it seems no less likely that college do away almost completely with the second back.  Per Chris Brown of Smartfootball.com:
"almost every good team is one-back based (even option teams)."  That, naturally, takes the fullback off the field most of the time.  In place, various moving parts are manipulatable to pull safeties out of the box, pull an extra DB on the field, or pull a LB into space, giving so many more options than simply having a fullback behind the QB or moving around inside the tackle box.

Brown's focus is almost exclusively college, sadly, but it's fantastic - and he recently put out a book, The Essential Smart Football.  Go get it.  But, in the last decade, college has outinnovated pro, starting with the Bears' explosion (and regression) with Gary Crowton but more notably teams like the Patriots and Saints taking the antiquated Erhardt-Perkins scheme (think Jeff Davidson) and using spread techniques to modernize it - and then, of course the Wildcat and option additions.   It hasn't come with much of a pro counterpart in coaches that will employ it - that's still mostly a failure, and pro-style coaches are the few that seem to get hired (I believe that the better way is to innovate in college, and become a pro assistant).   But, college does most of the innovation offensively, and of course, defensively to counter it.

And college is where athletes become position players.  If you have your backs, and you have guy you can develop into a fast, 240 lb player, that's more likely to be a LB now than a FB you will barely use.   They're not going to have a fullback who might play five snaps backing a more talented RB, and then ten snaps playing FB for that RB who works better in space.
Or, if hands are good enough, that player becomes a smaller TE they can move around, spread things wider so they can take defenses deeper.

In the 70s and 80s, pass offenses in the pros adjusted and used a lot of split backs. It saw its zenith with the early WCO, and the utility FB became a big piece of that, too.  Of course, that's died down, and it became harder to play run concepts from split backs, without the positives in the passing game continuing.

With spread and one-back comes a much easier application of zone blocking, which is almost a universal concept in college and pro now.   Add in that spread, and non-spread teams alike, are using more shotgun.  Shotgun takes away a fullback, or lessens the need; if you did have a second back with the QB, does it matter if it's a RB, FB, TE?  And which of those three is less versatile?  For that matter, lacking a top fullback much of the year, but having two good TEs, of course the versatile Coryell offense here turned to the TE as a makeshift fullback, most of the time Greg Olson just to highlight that blocking wasn't the first concern.

To that end, TEs are just more versatile than FBs - taller, more able to fill either role, more likely a matchup problem in space.  An ideal blocking fullback is more bowling ball than receiver, and the most prolific receiving fullbacks (Larry Senters, Richie Anderson) were less able to do much else, as well as not being that matchup guy.   They were just open men most times.  Any player who has that ideal level of blocking, strength, athleticism, and versatility to play TE or RB would be at those other positions, almost every time, instead.  There are no weapons of the level of Graham or Gronkowski.

You could say that play action will die a quick death - and probably not.  You can still use motion, and a handoff fake to the RB, to sell.  Certainly, you don't need an I-formation, TE Right set to run playaction anymore than you need it to run - you run playaction off of your run plays, so if you're not I-Form to run, and you want your runs to be less easy to read, you are more set for one-back.  Zone blocking even deceives the defense less.  But as Bill Walsh once said, "if you really want play action, you pull a guard."  You don't need a fullback to pull a guard, obviously.   And Walsh was a common advocate of getting a lot of your passing done on first down - shorten the chains - which lessens the reliability of requiring a first/second down "base" offense or defense.  Things haven't worked that way for years.

To go back to the Pats' example for instance, their use of backs in general has been bizarre but specifically that needed lead blocker - they've used defensive linemen and linebackers often the last few years, likely more than any other team.  They had a fullback, Heath Evans, for a while but he wasn't that good a blocker either.   Now, of course, here in Carolina there's Mike Tolbert.  The squatty fullback will play the position, sure.  But it seems a placeholder, waiting a year to see what happens with Jonathan Stewart. And Tolbert's value is getting another pair of hands on the field, not as much his ability to ram his body into a body to move it.  Which, given the way of the NFL, may become a lost art for player safety anyway - LBs and FBs have to have it tougher longterm than linemen.

But, Carolina did so much of its good work without a fullback anyway - with Newton in shotgun so much, and the option being the only time I can specifically remember a fullback making a difference.  It's difficult to find a lot of time in the past that a fullback has been integral to a team - maybe LeRon McClain, who's more runner than blocker; maybe Vonta Leach in Houston, but Leach became quickly expendable because Arian Foster just does so well with the one-back zone read.    The alignment will be there, the look will endure, but I just don't see it becoming a major part of a team's attack anymore.

At best, for most teams, it's a change-up, and while it's never something that's going to be 'gone', and I don't think we'll ever see all teams go 1980s run and shoot, it's also hard to see the already-disappearing fullback be a big part.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Alex Smith Runs Mouth


Alex Smith Slams Newton? It’s hard to say how the Alex Smith comments should be handled – it’s easy to say it doesn’t matter, or that they’re not comparable situations. Or that it doesn’t matter what this guy thinks, which probably should be the reaction – but that’s not much of an article.
Here are Smith’s comments:
 "This is the honest truth, I could absolutely care less on yards per game.  I think that is a totally overblown stat because if you’re losing games in the second half, guess what, if you’re like the Carolina Panthers and you’re going no-huddle the entire second half and, yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games.  That’s great.  You’re not winning, though."
Well, fair enough Alex, but you weren’t why the 49ers won most of those games, either.
Let's start with this: Newton had a total of 3 300 yard games.  Carolina finished third in rushing.  It’s definitely true that Carolina threw deep a lot.  Deep throws in larger numbers mean more big plays which mean more yards, but not necessarily sustainability or game control.  That’s definite.  But were there deep bombs because Carolina was behind?   No, absolutely not – Carolina actually gets higher percentage, at least it seems, when trying to build points they have to have (and teams take away the deep ball anyway). 
It’s definitely a passing offense, and there’s a correlation between the early 2011 offense that threw too much (mostly by design it seems) and a lack of wins. But the early games were certainly a lot more blaming on the defense, and certainly special teams failures (the AZ game came down to a matter of yards in a game that had Carolina giving up a special teams TD earlier).  
Of course, however, this offense isn’t no-huddle, by any means.  Carolina also ran the ball a ton (cite # carries).  You may have even heard that Newton scored a rushing TD or two – something about a record and going after the overall rookie TD record for all skill players?   So Smith’s words in that case are, at best, misleading.  Newton neither made many calls at the line, nor played better in two minute type situations.  
And, while there wasn’t as much offensive consistency as you might prefer out of a top 10 unit, to go with the D/ST problems, Newton didn’t get 4000 yards because he was behind.  His first half yards were higher, as were his attempts.   He only threw 55 balls down more than a full touchdown. 
And, I’m sure Smith would love to have had the rookie year or buzz that Newton did.  Smith took seven years to have a successful season, which is more important than a statistically great one, but he hasn’t had any of those either.  Smith’s spent plenty of time riding benches and fighting the Shaun Hills, Chris Weinkes, and David Carrs of the waiver wire, more or less saved by good coaching and then almost unwanted by that same team within the year (a couple of wins and circumstance from being Trent Dilfer, or worse, having to go to Miami as their 19th best option to start).   I’m not saying that Smith is jealous, but envious is conservative – Newton could (and probably won’t) easily skate by on his rookie successes.  He proved year one that he was NFL material, and Smith took 7.   When Smith was an instant millionaire, Newton was a sophomore in high school.  Probably wasn’t easy seeing Aaron Rodgers get it right either (while I’m at it –what an awful QB class – Rodgers and Smith, Charlie Frye, David Greene, Stefan Lefors – when Kyle Orton is the next guy who started, and the remaining notables are Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel,  Ryan Fitzpatrick - well, wow; more success outside or Rodgers in the 6th and 7th than above it).
As well, there’s a lot of over-generalization in this statement, and the idea of getting to 100 yards rushing/30 rushes/etc over 40 pass attempts.  This isn’t that NFL anymore.  The Pats and Packers aren’t counting their carries, and dumping Gatorade at the 30th time Danny Woodhead dances behind draw blocking.  There are plenty of passing attacks that can and do succeed longterm without a massive run intervention – though I don’t see Carolina staying with that longterm – so it’s not like there’s “one way” to do things.
The 49ers do rely on defense and running (certainly not Smith), and you could say they do it “right”.  But while the Packers’ and Pats’ defenses need to improve, did that keep them from having immense success?  There’s no one way to do it.  No team is perfect, no team is going to be good at everything and the best way is to have balance.  No doubt there.  But it’s not a league that requires you to have
Smith is ultimately right because passing stats don’t matter.  Agreed.  He doesn’t need to trash-talk, mischaracterize, or hassle other teams to defend himself.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Passing Defense Coordinator?

This blog, for the last number (I don't want to look back - 2007?  Geez) of years has been a lot more front office driven than anything else.  It's what interests me most, it's what I write most.  Coaching, salary cap, strategy are as interesting as the games themselves to me, to a point (I once mocked my own expansion team, in 1997, though the idea came from a 1996 Sports Illustrated article by Dr. Z).  More or less, at that point I wanted somewhere to start discussing the Julius Peppers extension that never happened.

At any rate, I've followed coaching and staff for a long time, always wondeirng where I'd want to fit in and coach if I ever had.  I enjoy coaching hierarchies. I've never seen "Passing Defense Coordinator", to my knowledge, in college, pro, or high school.

New DBs coach Steve Wilks, who was an Assistant Head Coach in San Diego last year, apparently comes with that title.

It's interesting that Ron Rivera never named an Assistant Head Coach.    I talked about that here last season, and I don't have a good answer yet. Rob Chudzinski, who was AHC before Wilks  - wasn't here, before or after his interviews and success, a bit of a surprise.

But, I find this move equally fascinating, and I honestly consider the two to be somewhat equal. It's definitely power, and the straight-talking Rivera doesn't add titles for no reason.  It could be seen as a bit of reclamation of part of the defense from Sean McDermott, who didn't do a great job last year, circumstances or not.  It could be seen as a matter of power of oversight that they expected Ron Meeks to have, and failed at.  It's hard to say.

But it does more or less suggest that there's more to the Wilks' anticipated move to Carolina than before, and there was already plenty (he wanted to go, was under contract, so they gave him a title even though he was obligated to stay).  And, we know that Andy Reid (who hired Rivera and McDermott as assistants in '99) was shopping McDermott to Rivera (and John Fox).

What I can't put together is the timeline of it all.  Which happened first?  Was Wilks on board for DBs coach, or coordinator?  Was McDermott waiting out  Rivera and talking to Fox, because McDermott was going to be a position coach (he did have experience at both LB and DBs).

There isn't really evidence to know the intent.  I'd love to find out.  Nothing was known about Wilks last year coming to Carolina, until he had signed this year. McDermott was hired here within what felt like hours of his firing, apparently a coordinated move.

What we do know is that McDermott and Meeks were announced more or less simultaneously.  In my (possibly far fetched) ideal, Wilks may have simply been the DBs coach, but very well could've been the coordinator, with the hopes of stashing McDermott and/or Meeks under him.

So titles are just titles for some.  If much of the above is true, or even regardless of it - with McDermott struggling last year and Rivera himself pledging more time to that side of the ball, is Wilks next in line?  Would he be the heir apparent if McDermott doesn't improve the defense himself?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rookie Minicamp Rules?


These new rules are bizarre.  That only your pickups from draft weekend, and a select group of inexperienced practice squadders (I’m assuming, based on Jonathan Nelson getting in), will practice along with a very large pool of ‘workout’ players for a shot at the extra ten spots that might be available on the roster (you can go to camp with 90 players, another way of making sure no  one takes too many hits, I guess).
 
So, since Carolina didn’t draft or pickup any QBs (which, I would’ve picked up a kid from the undrafteds but not before – it’s unlikely you do trade Jimmy Clausen at this point, but if you do have the chance?  Do it – which means you at least need a 3rd guy on the roster who knows your O for the year), they had to pickup a couple guys who could.  Along with that, they dropped in 35 players who don’t have a contract at all for tryouts. 
 
So you have Luke Kuechly, probably the nation’s best college linebacker last year, along with at least 3 other guys they had rated at a 3rd round or better (assuming Adams, maybe Norman), running around out there versus guys who weren’t good enough to be put on an 80 man roster (most teams are keeping that final 10 for tryouts).  It’ll be nice seeing some of these guys against NFL guys, because there aren’t that many out there in rookie minicamps.  It shouldn’t be difficult to stand out when you’re facing guys who haven’t made a roster in a while, if at all.
 
Oordt 
 
It’s nice to see Schuyler Oordt in camp.   I was very high on Oordt, a guy I barely saw a few plays of, out of Northern Iowa.  His numbers were all that intrigued me – he came from a very simple offense where he barely got any targets, but he was the team’s second leading receiver. 
 
So what’s the big deal?  At 6’7, he’d be one of the league’s tallest players.  A 248 lb TE, Oordt adds 33 ½ inch arms to the package and a 4.67 40. Sounds great doesn’t it?  On paper, that’s ideal.  He was a guy I’d have drafted, probably as high as the 6th, last year.  He would seem to make sense in this league, where a tight end’s as valuable boxing out smaller guys as he is doing anything else – so many former power forwards are good at it now.   And Oordt’s physical stature makes sense there as well.
 
More or less, a TE is an anomaly, having gone from a very standard weapon to one of the few positions on the field that doesn’t have a matchup on the field.  Specialization has created corners that match up with WRs, naturally. Safeties have become a matchup on WRs and backs.  There’s not often anyone as tall as a TE in coverage, and most LBs have the size but it’s tough to keep up.   Add to that the easiest pass play in the book – the curl/hook, one of the few where you can face the QB and stand still for the pass – is something a box-out TE can take advantage of, that none of the other positions can.  If you’re in front of a LB, it’s just a jump and catch situation.
 
So why doesn’t a guy like this succeed? 
 
It’s a year in, so it’s not too late to succeed.  But I don’t know that Oordt will.  For one, he’s been with a couple of teams already.  Two, he’s lacking a lot of experience, and Northern Iowa isn’t a  first class program.   He’s not developed that well, in that he can and needs to get a lot stronger for his frame to use it properly. It’s clear he’s not quite the guy I thought he was, and while it’s nice to see him in camp, it’s not the way I’d have expected and I don’t have high hopes.
 
From a blocking standpoint, 6’7 is a lot to get low.  If you can’t block at WR, you’re a limited capability player, impacting on 10 plays instead of 60.   So a TE that can’t block really needs to be fantastic at receiving.  Take Gary Barnidge, a similarly built player, who couldn’t play in John Fox’s system.  He flourished in a way in preseason, looking like an NFL player finally, before becoming injured.   And that’s with more experience, at a major school, and honestly more talent.
 
I’m rooting for Oordt to be a longshot, to impress enough in rookie minicamp to make it to training camp, with a couple catches from Derek Anderson or Jimmy Clausen doing enough to get him on the practice squad, to develop.  
 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Final draft profile, and sorry for the weird formatting lately.  They keep changing things, and I can't just paste text anymore.  Stupid, but this is how I write since I often write from remote locations and don't have time right now to just sit and do it as often anymore.


#217- DJ Campbell, S, California
 
Campbell (6', 205 lb) is a 13 game starter for Cal who played in 48 games, totaling 110 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 INT (29 yards), 7 deflected passes, a forced fumble, and four fumble recoveries, most of which happened in his senior year (he played behind 3rd round/2011 Chris Conte before that). Campbell struggled to get playing time prior to his senior year, but responded as a starter. 

Campbell's Pro Day numbers were good enough to rate strongly at the position as well - he ran a 4.51 40, which would've been good enough to be 2nd at combine;  his impressive 22 reps of 225 in the bench press would've tied him for first at his position at combine. 

Campbell is a smart, athletic backup type safety who’ll start out on special teams, and may not become a star, but will do everything right when asked.   This is the type player who’ll end up relying on circumstance to become a potential starter, or could just carve out a strong career playing special teams at a high level. 
 
Carolina does have an opening for such a player, with Jordan Pugh struggling behind starters Charles Godfrey and Sherrod Martin.  New acquisitions Haruki Nakamura and Reggie Smith should have a fight for one of the starting spots, but chances are strong the loser goes (same thing happened last year).  Either way, unless they move Jordan Pugh to corner, that's who Campbell will be fighting. 
 
Campbell has ties to Ron Rivera, not only for the Golden Bear alumni link, but also a link with his nieces (same high school).  Not that interesting, and you've read it elsewhere before (a month ago, possibly - sorry, I'm tired), but it's worth a mention.  I'm interested to see what can come of Campbell: he's the right mix of smarts and ability and just needs time to learn.  I hope he gets it.
 
 
 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

#205 - Brad Nortman; And His Competition


Brad Nortman, P, Wisconsin - they couldn't trade away this compensatory pick
(the Panthers traded away the other 6th along with next year's 3 for Frank Alexander), but grabbed the second punter drafted.  And since I'm behind on my profiles, Carolina has now signed the guy who just got cut for the first punter drafted.

First, the vet, signed 5/7, so that part is somewhat timely.  Harris, 33, is a veteran that the Jags had re-signed in the offseason, but then released once they drafted Brian Anger in the 3rd (!) round.  Harris is unspectacular (42.7 average, only 13 punts downed inside the 20), and rated in the bottom third of punters this past year in most categories.  He's a steady vet, but certainly not a weapon. 

Now, to Nortman.  Wisconsin is a pro-style program and that's helpful - fewer gimmicks, even on special teams.  Nortman's cold-weather performance is a plus, as punters in the further south areas can sometimes project more poorly in wind, cold.

Nortman's also a Wisconsin native (Brookfield), and was rated #4 in the nation by
Rivals, #8 by Scout.com (who also rated him their #4 player in the state).  He was
all-state as a punter, all-conference as a linebacker.  So, he's not going to be
your kickoff gunner, but he's got experience playing other than just specialist at a
high level.  He measures in at 6'3, 211, adequate size for being the last line of
defense on a kick. He ran a 4.78 40, decent enough for a punter.  If you're just starved for information, his broad jump was 10'01, he benched 225 12 times, and his 20 yard shuttle was a 4.31.  

Nortman averaged 42 yards per punt in college, but Carolina likes his consistency more than his strong leg.   Last year's punter, Jason Baker, struggled greatly with control and execution. 

#143 - Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina


One of the players I'd kept a strong eye on, Norman is a big (6'0, 200), physical
corner with surprising athleticism for a guy who fell because of a 4.6 40 at the
combine. But his tape shows a guy who stays with his receivers, and goes after the
ball (which becomes a jump ball due to his coverage) at its highest point.  He has
good ball skills, long arms, a lot of toughness in his game, and while he appears to be a better football player than athlete (which is more than fine), he's also coming from a smaller school so there may be room for him to develop speed in the next year or so.

Norman's size is helpful, but his body control for his size makes him ideal for going up and getting a ball he has a chance to get.  His technique is good, and he stays low in his drops to allow him to turn and run easily.  
Norman had apparently been a signee at Georgia but couldn't keep his grades up.  
That landed him at Coastal.  He apparently knows fellow Panther and Coastal alum
Mike Tolbert, who looks to play a prominent role in the offense.  He'll fight for
time with Brandon Hogan as the nickel, and I would anticipate he'll have a leg up on the other kids on the roster.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

#104 - Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas

Still slow in pushing my thoughts out - sorry.  Hectic couple of weeks. 


Continuing the run on athletes from the heartland, Joe Adams is a shifty receiver in the Steve Smith mold - something that's not said lightly.   Adams (5'11, 180) is built somewhat like Smith, with a barrel chest, longer than average arms for his size, and bigger than average hands for his size.  Like Smith, he's electric with the ball in his hands and very fast, but timed out at the combine slower.  


Adams ran a 4.55, after promising a 4.2 - followed by a 4.47 at pro day.  The 4.2 was overly ambitious - it may have cost him a bit - but does he seem to have legitimate speed below 4.4?  Possibly.   For whatever reason, he wasn't testing out that fast.  Adams stated it was due to additional weight - stating so at his Pro Day. His 10'3 broad jump and his 20/60 shuttle numbers were average.  


But, Carolina did meet with Adams for two full days, being one of a handful of WR to meet with the team. 


The bottom line is that Carolina has drafted at least one WR in the last three drafts.  It's unprecedented, and leaves the team with five guys with two full years' experience or less that were drafted by the team. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

#103 - Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma




Very busy around the homestead this week, and it's a long offseason.  I'll try to update on my thoughts of the 3rd day picks as I'm able. 

Acquired this pick in trade with the 49ers, who got our 6th round pick and our
future 3rd.  Alexander is a tall, lean prospect whose playing weight was 255, but
showed up at combine at an athletic 270.  He's a tall-enough 6'4, with a long reach
and decent separation ability with his hands.  He does have to stay low, but does
well when he does contact low and can get to the part where he would separate.

Alexander isn't the same prospect as Quentin Coples, but he has many of the same
attributes and production.
Quinton Coples - 30.5 TFL, 17.5 sacks
Frank Alexander - 32 TFL, 15.5 sacks

Quinton Coples Combine - 4.71 40, 25 BP, 4.79 20s, 31.5" VJ, 7.61 3cone
Frank Alexander Pro Day - 4.76 40, 24 BP, 4.59 20s, 34.5" VJ, 7.48 3cone

Quinton Coples - 6-5 3/4, 284, 10 1/4" hands, 33 1/4" arms, 80 1/8" wingspan
Frank Alexander - 6-3 3/4, 270, 9 3/4" hands, 35" arms, 83 1/8" wingspan


Ron Rivera talked about Alexander in the "rotation", so they seem to have him
penciled in for those 25 or so snaps in relief of Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson. 
He's not going to play the 5-technique in 3-4 alignments so he'll be a likely
candidate to play OLB in those sets if he's on the field. Alexander does have experience rushing from OLB as well.  But I wouldn't count out Alexander being a guy who's starting in two years, when Hardy's rookie contract is up. 

Marty Hurney made it clear that the team had traded up in the 4th to get to Alexander (though that comes with the caveat that they either had to believe the 49ers were going to take the pick, or that the trade was to get both Adams and Alexander).

But Hurney was talking about trading into the 3rd, as soon as they'd come out to talk about the 2nd round pick.  It's not definite that Hurney was looking to get Alexander (if I had to guess, I'd wonder about Trumaine Johnson, CB; I have no backing for that, but Johnson was one of Carolina's visits). 

But, Greg Brannon recently mentioned on an airing of PantherTalk, after describing the team's war room and how their rankings clearly had, for instance, Amini Silatolu as the 'obvious' highest rated guy on the board.  He goes on to mention that Alexander had an "old 2nd day grade", meaning they had him at least a round higher, which would put him late 2nd, early 3rd (in other words, top 50 to top 75).  

It's hard to say if the trade will be worth it - I'm not (and am never) in favor of trading future picks for current picks, but the equity in trade isn't awful.  A price of one round higher is typical when renting a pick a year early. .

Alexander has to earn his on the field, but he looks like a tremendous player who'll help step up the rush game immediately for Carolina.