Kansas City Chiefs -- DeQuan Menzie, DB, Alabama (146th pick overall) -- A favorite sleeper pick of our buddy Greg Cosell, Menzie is a cornerback/safety potential tweener at the next level, and an interesting nickel player with Brandon Flowers and Stanford Routt holding things down on the edges. At 5-11, 202 pounds, and having run in the 4.7s, Manzie had to wait for the right team to see the right things on tape, as opposed to going with pure measurables.
Menzie said he will likely play at safety or nickel back with the Chiefs. "I was just happy to hear somebody's voice that I'm not used to hearing," Menzie said. "I don't care where I play. I don't care about anything. I just want to be in the NFL, I just want to get a role and I want to run with that role and make an impact on the team."
"The star position is basically the hardest position, people say," Menzie explained. "Because you’ve got to do a lot of reading the line, you’ve got to know formations, you’ve got to know where to fit and stuff like that. It’s really a hard position." "The player that Nick [Saban] puts at the star is usually really, really smart and really, really competitive," Chiefs GM Scott Pioli added. "DeQuan is both of those things, as is Javier, he’s that same thing.
Rookies must be confident when entering the NFL. Brandon McKinney and Antonio Johnson just found out today they will have to earn playing time when the team reports to training camp. Chapman didn’t sound worried, either, about his recovery from surgery. I wouldn’t be, either, if I got hurt Oct. 1, yet played through the rest of the season with a torn ACL. This guy sounds like the type who would tell doctors, "Take it out! I don’t need it!" He suggests he’s better than 50 percent in his recovery and is hopeful to be good to go by July. His mind-set won’t change when he’s back in business. "I demand a double team," he said.
"(I feel) pretty good, man. (I’m) real excited right now," said Chapman upon being taken by Indianapolis. "I’m glad to be a part of the Colts organization. I’m glad to be a Colt and ready to get into this process. The 3-4 defense going in, that’s the defense I love to play, playing nose guard. (I want to) make this organization win a championship. … I’m glad to be in the organization and play the game that I love."
"Playing the nose guard position in a 3-4 defense, you have to be a guy who is not selfish," Chapman said. "You have got to understand your role and do your job and just play – eating up blockers and basically (creating) a whole new line of scrimmage." Chapman said he welcomed double teams and often faced them in college. "My mind set was if a single guy blocks me, then that's probably a disrespect type of deal," Chapman said. "I demand a double team and that is just the fun part of my position. You demand a double team every play and you get doubled, it's what you do with it."
Smelley gave Alabama eight total draftees, including four in the first round. Among the undrafted Alabama players expected to receive contracts as undrafted free agents are wide receiver Marquis Maze, center William Vlachos and linebacker Jerrell Harris. "It was a little hectic. After the sixth round things started heating up with phone calls." Smelley said. "I'm super excited to play in Cleveland, play with Trent (Richardson)." Smelley said the Browns coaching staff checked with Richardson for an endorsement on Smelley before making the pick. "Trent called me said they asked him, '"What about that guy?' and he told them to grab me," Smelley said. "I appreciated that from my guy."
Lastly, there is Marquis Maze, the shifty WR from Alabama. With only 5 wide receivers under contract (and the fact that the Steelers usually carry 6), you would think Maze would be given a shot to make the roster. It will help that he is also a great kick returner.
Darius Hanks, receiver, Alabama: The 6-foot, 180-pound Hanks recorded 26 catches for 328 yards and a touchdown last season.
Mark Barron commenting on coming from Alabama to the NFL: "Coming from the program I come from it is just kind of the mindset we have. We want to be the best at everything we do. You just go out and work for it and everyday at practice we work at being the best at what we do. I think that will carry over with that mindset. The way we did things at Alabama I think will make it an easy transition for me to come in and make an impact early. I think I will be able to bring the mindset of winning and wanting to be the best."
"You’ll see an athletic range; speed; he’s physical," said General Manager Mark Dominik. "If you put on any football game of Mark Barron playing at Alabama this year, you’re going to see a guy that’s a physical football player, has range, wraps up – I love the way he tackles. He’s a force. He’s got great size to him. He’s a smart football player and has all those things. People involved in Alabama football [who] know him, know him as the captain of that football team. They see the toughness and dedication he brings to the football team, and that’s really important to us."
A lot of teams threw away from your side in college, but you have to expect to be challenged as a rookie cornerback: DK: "That’s what I want; I want to be challenged. I’m a competitor. If I get beat, I’m not going to be the one that hangs my head or complains to the coaches and makes excuses. I’m going to sit back, re-evaluate what happened, what went wrong, and hopefully I can fix it."
How did Ely do in spring practice? "Improved a lot," Saban said when he was in Atlanta. "It's critical for us that he continues to develop. It's going to be critical for us that the freshman that we recruited, when he gets there, he develops as well. "We've always been a little bit one quarterback short in terms of numbers, so all those guys developing is the only way that we can have the kind of depth that we need at that position."
"It's very difficult to be the best you can be as a team," Saban said. "This team, winning back-to-back championships, I can't tell you how proud I am and how I appreciate these young ladies for the hard work that they do, the great job that they've done in representing the University of Alabama and what their success have been over the last two years."