Improve Your 40-Yard Dash Time With Tips From Cleveland’s Anthony Schwartz

Improve Your 40-Yard Dash Time With Tips From Cleveland’s Anthony Schwartz

Anthony Schwartz is FAST. Not only did he run a 4.29 40 at the 2021 Combine, but the former track star also holds the world under-18 best in the 100 meters at 10.15 seconds. Even without a single pro game under his belt (yet), it’s safe to say Schwartz is one of the fastest players in the league.

While he’s currently prepping for his rookie season with Cleveland, the 2021 Draft Pick took a minute to chat with us about training for the Combine, the importance of the 40-yard dash, and the best ways to increase your explosiveness and cut down your times.

Q: Were there any differences when you were practicing getting off the line as quickly as possible in track vs. for the 40 yard dash? 

A: For the 40, you have to be a little more explosive because you don’t have those hundred meters to make up. The 40 is more about getting out and digging back and digging out.

Q: What is something vitally important to running a good 40 time that the casual observer might not think of? 

A: I would say it would have to be arms, because your legs can only move as fast as your arms are pumping. So you have to keep your arms going and keep them pumping in order to keep your legs moving fast. They also help you in the start, too. Explosive arms help you get off to an explosive start. 

Q: What is another test at the Combine that could boost a receiver’s stock? 

A: I would say the 5-10-5 shuttle drill because it shows your short-range agility. It also helps you follow directions, because you have to touch the line and if you don’t, it shows you aren’t good at following directions. It’s more mental than physical, but it’s still very physical and can help a receiver up their stock. 

Q: Do you think that the 40-yard dash is still a useful test to measure someone’s speed on the football field or do you think it’s a little outdated?

A: I think for skill positions it’s still helpful. Really the most important part is the ten-yard split, but it shows that you’re able to maintain that speed, and having them run it again shows that they’re able to do it consistently. But I think lineman should only run 10 or 15 yards because if they’re running more than 10 or 15 yards in a game-time situation, then their job is done. 

Q: How much focus is there on running a good 40 time versus prepping and focusing on the other Combine drills? 

A: There’s more focus on the 40 because that’s kind of the make or break for some people. Some people wanna run a fast 40 because they need to, others just have to maintain their 40, so the 40 is really the most important thing. The other drills just kinda fall in because they’re not really looking to that as much as they’re looking at the 40. 

Q: Do you ever think we will see someone run a sub 4-second 40? 

A: I think it could be possible, but I don’t think it would be by a football player. I think it would have to be a track runner or something. 

Q: What are some of the best workouts you do to increase your acceleration? 

A: I like doing sled pulls. You know, tying a sled around your waist and running with it. It helps make your starts more powerful and it also helps with endurance and being able to keep your speed up. 

Q: Were there any other workouts you were doing to prep for the 40? 

A: I was really focused on my start because I had the end of the race down. I wanted to get my start better and have it be more explosive. 

Q: What are some common exercises that athletes do to improve their speed that don’t actually help that much? 

A: I would say some stuff in the weight room that people do doesn’t work at all. The weight room will get you more powerful but it’s not going to get you faster. You have to be out on the field running. You have to be out on the track running. And it’s something that comes with time. People think it’s a short-term thing, but you’re never going to be out on the track one weekend and be that much faster. It’s a grind, something you have to buy into. 

Now that you have the tools to become the fasest player on the field, make sure you stock up on all the gear you need for a successful season. Shop FTBL X CLR at eastbay.com and suit up in your team’s colors.

Want more advice from the pros? We’ve got you covered. Here are the Five Tools You Need To Make It In The League, straight from some of the top players.

NFL: 2011 Mock Draft // Picks 1-10

NFL: 2011 Mock Draft // Picks 1-10

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Round 1, Picks 1-10

words // Brandon Richard

Here’s the cream of the crop when it comes to incoming NFL talent. For the most part, the teams that need a franchise-caliber player will be selecting in the Top 10. While we’re uncertain about the status of the upcoming NFL season, there’s still a great deal of excitement surrounding the 2011 Draft Class. At least 25 prospects are expected to attend tonight’s event at Radio City Music Hall, which would be a draft record. Unfortunately for this class, it’s possible that they’ll be the first group paid under a new rookie pay scale – bummer!

Before the festivities kick off tonight, let’s take a look at who the Top 10 picks may be. The NFL Draft starts  tonight at 8 p.m. EST. Be sure to check out Eastbay’s 2011 NFL Combine interviews with several of the top incoming prospects. These players may be the future difference maker for your favorite team.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Carolina Panthers

1. Carolina Panthers
2010 (2-14): The Panthers are in full rebuild mode after a season where everything fell out of the bottom. They won just 2 games on the season, were ranked 26th on defense and dead last on offense. As a result, the John Fox Era came to an end.
Needs: Face of the franchise that can put butts in the seats. Perhaps an impact defender or prime time receiver.
The Pick: QB, Cam Newton, Auburn. There’s a ton of  people saying that Cam won’t translate well at the next level, but the Panthers seem to be enamored with his potential. Cam is an incredible athlete, the most impressive we’ve seen at quarterback in years. There’s still some questions regarding his mechanics and ability to read defenses and call plays, but he can be taught. He’ll definitely sell some tickets, and if he succeeds, will give the Panthers a scary option under center.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Denver Broncos

2. Denver Broncos
2010 (4-12): The controversial Josh McDaniels Era finally came to a screeching halt after an unacceptably poor year in Denver. The writing was on the wall when the Broncos were swept by the rival Oakland Raiders by a combined score of 98-37. It was so bad that the team made sure they brought back John Elway in some capacity – he’s now the team’s Vice President of Football Operations.
Needs: Quality defensive lineman for John Fox’s new defense; a receiving tight end and some help in the secondary.
The Pick: DE Marcell Dareus, Alabama. Dareus is a large physical specimen that will step in and help any team that needs him right away. He could prove to be the inside force at the three-technique that Denver can build their defense around for the next 10 years. To learn more about one of the best prospects in the draft, check out Eastbay’s interview with Marcell Dareus below.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Buffalo Bills

3. Buffalo Bills
2010 (4-12): At some point, this thing has to turn around, right? The Bills have talent and guys that just flat out play hard. They’re competitive in a lot of games and end up finding a way to lose them at the end. A huge example would be the Steve Johnson drop against the Steelers in Week 12.
Needs: Franchise quarterback, front seven help, defensive end, outside linebacker and possible cornerback depth.
The Pick: OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M. Miller is an excellent athlete that fits a variety of schemes. He gets off the edge in a big way and causes massive disruption in backfields. For a team that needs all kinds of help with the pass rush, Miller would be a quality snag for the Bills.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Arizona Cardinals

4. Cincinnati Bengals
2010 (4-12): The T.Ochocinco didn’t exactly yield many popcorn-worthy moments, and surprisingly, it was Owens who played the better of the two receivers. As usual, the Bengals are a mess. They had a dismal season, Carson Palmer is pretty much a goner and it’s highly possible that both Owens and Ochocinco will be playing in new uniforms next season as well.
Needs: Playmakers on the defensive line, particularly a DE. They could also use some upgrades in their secondary.
The Pick: WR A.J. Green, Georgia. This is a pick they’ll make based on available talent. Plus, the Bengals will probably undergo a complete offensive overhaul. A.J. Green is top rated receiver in the draft and has the potential to be a playmaker for a decade. Some say he’s the best receiver to enter the draft since Calvin Johnson…and that Johnson guy is pretty good. Combination of size, speed and great hands make A.J. Green a desirable downfield prospect.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Arizona Cardinals

5. Arizona Cardinals
2010 (5-11): Kurt Warner’s departure opened up huge wounds for the Cardinals, who missed the postseason after back-to-back trips. Larry Fitzgerald still managed to tab a 1,000-yard season, but expressed frustration playing for a bottom-feeder.
Needs: Clearly, they need a quarterback. Though a guy like Gabbert could be available, the Cardinals are expected to pursue a QB through free agency rather than use a high pick on a prospect that isn’t particularly a homerun. They could also use a new running back, playmaking tight end, nose tackle, outside linebacker and cornerback.
The Pick: CB Patrick Peterson, LSU. Peterson has been labeled the biggest ‘can’t-miss’ prospect in the entire draft. Some experts feel like he should be first guy off the board, but because teams don’t typically draft corners this high, he’ll slide just a tad. That Cardinals need playmakers on defense and Peterson could team up with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to form one of the league’s elite cornerback tandems.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Cleveland Browns

6. Cleveland Browns
2010 (6-10): The Browns weren’t a good team by any stretch of the imagination, but they were competitive. They scored back-to-back wins over the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots, and it took overtime for the New York Jets to beat them in Week 10.
Needs: Cleveland needs talent upgrades at a lot of positions. A big time wide receiver could be on the radar, as will help on the o-line, inside linebacker and defensive end.
The Pick: DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina. By some, Quinn is regarded as the most talented player in the entire draft. However, a few outside circumstances have pushed his stock down. For one, he was suspended in 2010 for a situation involving an agent and illegal tutoring. Two, he’s had complications with a benign brain tumor. Otherwise, you could be talking about the top pick in this year’s draft. The question is whether not Cleveland will want to gamble with this pick. Quinn could slide down in to the late first round because of the mentioned concerns.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: San Francisco 49ers

7. San Francisco 49ers
2010 (6-10): Even with that dismal record, the 49ers were still in contention for a playoff spot down the stretch because the division-winning Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West with a 7-9 mark. Another sub-par year in the land of great expectations, in addition to some player run-ins, ended up leaving Mike Singletary without a job.
Needs: Could look at a franchise QB, address defensive front 7 weaknesses and improve cornerback depth.
The Pick: QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri. It’s time to admit that Alex Smith is a straight-up bust and move on. Gabbert gives the 9ers a chance to do so. New Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is a quarterback guy and is the perfect candidate to groom Gabbert into something special.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Tennessee Titans

8. Tennessee Titans
2010 (6-10): It appears that both the Jeff Fisher and Vince Young eras are over in Tennessee. Midseason disagreements between the two led to a “one or the other” situation, and ended up with both men being shown the door. At one time, the Titans were looking strong at 5-2. They finished the season losing 8 of their last 9.
Needs: A franchise quarterback and improvements on the offensive line, the linebacker core and secondary.
The Pick: DT Nick Fairley, Auburn. This certainly doesn’t fill any pressing needs for Tennessee, but the value may be too great to pass up. Remember, after the National Title game, Fairley was projected to be the #1 overall pick. Concerns about his maturity and work ethic have slid him down draft boards since the Combine. Like I always say though, on-field production should always be considered first and there wasn’t anybody better than him last season. Tennessee may have found their Haynesworth impact player and can draft a QB later on.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Dallas Cowboys

9. Dallas Cowboys
2010 (6-10): Jerry Jones said that he wanted and expected his Cowboys to be the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. They fell way short of that prediction, plummeting near the bottom of the NFC East. However, after firing Coach Wade Phillips and replacing him with Jason Garrett, the ‘Boys showed some promise.
Needs: They have to keep Tony Romo healthy by re-tooling the offensive line and could use upgrades at safety.
The Pick: OT Tyron Smith, USC. Maybe this is going out too much on a limb, considering Jerry hasn’t used a first round pick on an o-lineman since 1989. However, there comes a time where you have to switch it up and start protecting your investments. Smith is impressive physically, a quality blocker and excels against the pass and run.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Washington Redskins

10. Washington Redskins
2010 (6-10): Another odd season in Washington, with a ton of controversy surrounding coach Mike Shanahan, Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb. I’ll remember this season as one where McNabb was benched in favor of Rex Grossman. They started off decent, but finished the season 2-7 in their last 9.
Needs: Plenty. A young QB for Shanny to groom, offensive line help, a playmaking wide receiver, a running back and improvements on the defensive line and secondary.
The Pick: WR Julio Jones, Alabama. Here’s a guy that appears to be one of the biggest talents in the draft. Initially slotted to be a lower first round / early second round guy, Julio shot up draft boards with his incredible Combine performance. Not only were the numbers impressive, but he put them up with a legitimate foot injury. A.J. Green has been ranked the top receiver in the class for some time, but some scouts have even moved Julio above him. The Skins need a downfield threat and Santana Moss may also be on his way out.

 

NFL: 2011 Mock Draft // Picks 11-20

NFL: 2011 Mock Draft // Picks 11-20

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Round 1, Picks 11-20

words // Brandon Richard

After kicking off this year’s 2011 NFL Draft Preview yesterday with Picks 21-32, let’s now take a look at Picks 11-20. Typically, the middle part of the first round is full of teams that may be one or two pieces away from contending for a Super Bowl. Teams like the St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants and San Diego Chargers fumbled away their playoff hopes towards the end of the season. Who are some of the guys that they could be targeting to help them get back on track? Find out below.

The NFL Draft starts Thursday night at 8 p.m. EST. Be sure to check out Eastbay’s 2011 NFL Combine interviews with several of the top incoming prospects. These players may be the future difference maker for your favorite team.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Houston Texas

11. Houston Texans
2010 (6-10): I can’t think of a more strange season in recent NFL history. They flew to Brett Favre’s house to bring him in during the offseason, he agreed and then everything went downhill from there. Favre stunk and had some off-field troubles, their receiving core was banged up, a trade for Randy Moss absolutely backfired, the roof of the Metrodome craved in and they finally ditched Brad Childress.
Needs: Desperately need to improve their secondary and should be looking for pieces to fit Wade Phillips’ new 3-4 defense.
The Pick: DE Aldon Smith, Missouri. Prince Amukamara is still on the board, but there have been some reservations in Houston about taking a CB so high. The Texans struggled on defense, but have brought in Wade Phillips to spell those issues. Doing so means they need pieces  to fit the 3-4 defense and a dynamic pass rushers to really get the gears in motion. Aldon Smith could be the guy that plays Phillips’ new DeMarcus Ware with his impressive frame and speed.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Minnesota Vikings

12. Minnesota Vikings
2010 (6-10): I can’t think of a more strange season in recent NFL history. They flew to Brett Favre’s house to bring him in during the offseason, he agreed and then everything went downhill from there. Favre stunk and had some off-field troubles, their receiving core was banged up, a trade for Randy Moss absolutely backfired, the roof of the Metrodome craved in and they finally ditched Brad Childress.
Needs: They need a long-term answer at quarterback, their defense may have many holes after free agency and improvements at safety and the o-line.
The Pick: DE Cameron Jordan, California. DE isn’t a pressing need for the Vikings, but with pick #12, you have to draft for value. On top of that, Ray Edwards may be walking, which will make the acquisition of Jordan even more appealing. Cameron is a standout pro prospect that brings a mix of size, strength, speed and versatility to the table. He excels both as a pass rusher and run stopper. Check out Eastbay’s interview with Cameron Jordan for a closer look at what makes this young man such an intriguing prospect.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Detroit Lions

13. Detroit Lions
2010 (6-10): There’s still a lot of work to do in Detroit, but they showed some signs of great improvement. They ran off 4-straight wins to end the season, including a victory over the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.
Needs: The Lions need big upgrades at cornerback, depth at DE and LB and could bring in some new bodies for the offensive line.
The Pick: CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska. The Lions desperately need help in the secondary and Amukamara lands in their lap. Some feel that there isn’t much separating him from Patrick Peterson, as he possesses the physical gifts that scouts look for in a shutdown corner. Should be able to come in and help out the Lions overall defense immediately.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: St. Louis Rams

14. St. Louis Rams
2010 (7-9): The Rams took a step in the right direction last season and Sam Bradford looked like the real deal. A win against the Seattle Seahawks in the final game of the season would have sent them to the playoffs, but they couldn’t quite get the job done.
Needs: To maximize Bradford’s effectiveness, the Rams need a play-making wide receiver in the worst way. Also expect them to make moves for a backup running back, right guard and defensive lineman.
The Pick: DT Corey Liuget, Illinois. Julio Jones would be ideal in this spot, but due to an impressive Combine, he’s probably off the board at this point. In that case, look for the Rams to go with the best player that fits one of their needs. They’ll be looking for new defensive line starters and Corey Liuget fits the bill. Liuget is a great athlete and gets quick penetration and causes a bunch of chaos when targeting the quarterback.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Miami Dolphins

15. Miami Dolphins
2010 (7-9): Another disappointing season for the Miami Dolphins, who finished 7-9 for the second-straight year. They still found themselves in playoff scenarios toward the end of the season, but quickly played themselves out with 3-straight losses to cap off the year.
Needs: Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are probably both walking when free agency hits. They’re quarterback play has been extremely underwhelming and they could an anchor for their offensive line.
The Pick: C/OG Mike Pouncey, Florida. Tony Sparano has a background as an o-line coach, so he understands the value of having a quality center as a foundation for everything you do. He also saw Mike’s brother Maurkise thrive in Pittsburgh a year ago. Pouncey will help the Dolphins spell some of their blocking woes.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars

16. Jacksonville Jaguars
2010 (8-8): The Jaguars were on the verge of pulling off the unthinkable and taking the AFC South crown away from the Indianapolis Colts. At 8-5 and sitting in the division driver seat, the Jags lost 3-straight to finish the season.
Needs: Garrard is solid, but the Jags need to start thinking long-term QB. The pass rush suffered a setback with another Aaron Kampman injury and the secondary is way too inconsistent.
The Pick: DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue. With Kampman’s future uncertain, the Jags would be picking up one of the hardest workers in the draft. Kerrigan is undersized, but comes equip with relentless effort and the intangibles you like to see in defensive ends.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: New England Patriots

17. New England Patriots
2010 (14-2): Once again the Patriots looked like the clear-cut front-runner for the Super Bowl heading into the playoffs and suffered a disappointing early exit. After embarrassing the New York Jets 45-3 in a Week 13 game, the Pats found themselves on the wrong end of a revenge game, falling to the same Jets 28-21 in the playoffs.
Needs: The Patriots could use some help with a rush linebacker, and though they’ve never needed a top-tier running back, could use a home-run hitter if one is available. Look for them to upgrade Tom Brady’s protection as well.
The Pick: OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College. Arguably the top OT available in the draft, Castonzo is a stud tackle that will give the Pats some flexibility when deciding what to do with free agent Matt Light.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: San Diego Chargers

18. San Diego Chargers
2010 (10-6): The Chargers dug themselves into another early-season hole. Only this time, they weren’t able to climb their way out. They missed the postseason for the first time in 5 years.
Needs: The Chargers will attempt to address pending vacancies at DE, shore up the linebacker crew and possibly look for some receiver help.
The Pick: DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin. Here’s another highly skilled lineman with carried-over athletic traits from playing tight end earlier in his career. Watt isn’t projected to be an elite pass rushers, but rather a highly disruptive force that can immediately improve the quality of the d-line. For more insight on what J.J. Watt brings to the locker room and huddle, check out Eastbay’s exclusive NFL Combine interview with the soon-to-be pro below.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: New York Giants

19. New York Giants
2010 (10-6): Once again, what looked to be a promising season for the Giants bottomed out at the end. They started a red-hot 6-2, but finished just 4-4 in their last 8 games. Like many other teams, their plans on making a postseason run were foiled by the Green Bay Packers.
Needs: Look for the Giants to revamp their offensive line, bolster the defensive tackle and linebacker groups and address depth issues at corner and safety.
The Pick: OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin. The Giants will address their void at left tackle and Carimi gives them a perfect opportunity to do just that. Carimi is an experienced 4-year starter that provides playmaking ability as a pass protector and run blocker.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2010 (10-6): The Bucs turned a lot of heads last season, narrowly missing out on making the playoffs on the last day of the season. Josh Freeman showed great poise in leading Tampa to their first 10-win season since 2005.
Needs: With the pieces on offense falling into place, Tampa needs to re-tool their once dominant defense. They’ll look at DE, linebacker and safety.
The Pick: DE Da’quan Bowers, Clemson. Cha-ching! The only reason Bowers would fall this far is because of ‘need.’ He could realistically be chosen in the Top 10 as well. There are some concerns about his long-term health, but once tabbed as a guy who could go #1 overall, Bowers is a capable two-way starter on the left side.

NFL: 2011 Mock Draft // Picks 21-32

NFL: 2011 Mock Draft // Picks 21-32

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Round 1, Picks 21-32

words // Brandon Richard

What makes this year’s NFL Draft unique is the fact that the lockout has prevented teams from making free agent moves prior to filling in their holes for the future. Depending on how the recent lift on the lockout holds up, it’s likely that teams will be building their teams in reverse; first through the draft and then through free agency heading into next season.

Despite the inability of owners and players to get on the same page during the offseason, the incoming class of players is clearly excited about an opportunity to play at the next level. According to reports, a record 25 players are expected to attend Radio City Music Hall on Thursday Night.

Prior to the start of the NFL Draft, we’ll be showing you a final mock preview of potential landing spots for some of these kids. The mocks will be broken up into three separate parts that will be posted leading up to the big event. The NFL Draft starts Thursday night at 8 p.m. EST.

Also check out Eastbay’s 2011 NFL Combine interviews with several of the top incoming prospects. These players may be the future difference maker for your favorite team.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Kansas City Chiefs

21. Kansas City Chiefs
2010 (10-6): The Chiefs shocked the football world by going from the AFC’s worst in 2009 to division champions in 2010. They looked completely overwhelmed by the veteran Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs, but the future is bright.
Needs: They need help on the offensive line, particularly at right tackle, where Barry Richardson and Ryan O’Callaghan are struggling.
The Pick: NT Phil Taylor, Baylor. Taylor is undoubtedly a first round talent, but recently being diagnosed with an inoperable foot condition leaves teams worried. At this point in the round, he’s great value and gives the Chiefs some versatility on the line, but they may look elsewhere if the concerns over that injury are too heavy.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Indianapolis Colts

22. Indianapolis Colts
2010 (10-6): Not your typical season for the Colts. They squeaked their way into the playoffs after the Jaguars choked down the stretch and Mark Sanchez out-Manning’d Peyton in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Needs: Pass protection, pass protection, pass protection. Peyton is getting older, and after a career of not being hit much, now isn’t the time to start letting him get laid out.
The Pick: OT Nate Solder, Colorado. Solder will bring a nice change of pace to that Colts o-line. He’s a former tight end that comes to the table with a certain degree of athleticism rarely seen in offensive lineman.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

23. Philadelphia Eagles
2010 (10-6): Philly one of the biggest stories in the NFL last season, led by the NFL’s comeback player of the year Michael Vick. The Eagles had dreams of a storybook-ending, but Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers had other ideas and prevailed in their Wild Card playoff match-up.
Needs: Depth at offensive line, running back and linebacker. Their depth at cornerback needs to be addressed as well, with the retirement of Ellis Hobbs.
The Pick: CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado. The Eagles have a pressing need at cornerback and a great prospect falls in their lap. Jimmy brings impressive size and speed to the table, and more consistent play would have landed him in the Top 15.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: New Orleans Saints

24. New Orleans Saints
2010 (11-5): The Saints didn’t fall victim to the “make it to the Super Bowl, miss the playoffs next year” club, but the season wasn’t a rousing success. They dropped the NFC South title to the Atlanta Falcons and then found themselves upset by the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Needs: Chris Ivory showed great promise at running back, but health and departures will open up a spot in the backfield. They need a run stopping DT, DE depth and a kicker as well.
The Pick: DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa. On top of impressive size, speed and strength, Clayborn possess the non-stop motor that NFL head coaches look for on the defensive line. His senior year wasn’t as impressive as expected, but the talent is there.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Seattle Seahawks

25. Seattle Seahawks
2010 (7-9): This is a tough spot for a 7-9 team to land, but the division title and playoff win over the defending champions will prove to be invaluable moving forward.
Needs: The division title doesn’t erase the fact that this team needs to get much better. Their offensive line needs to be addressed, as do the potential exits of CB Kelly Jennings and SS Lawyer Miloy. They could also use a boost at DE, LB and need a playmaking DT.
The Pick: DL Marvin Austin, North Carolina. Some have Austin falling to the second round, but he’s undeniably a first round talent. He possesses great speed and strength, giving any team that picks him an explosive pass rushing threat.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Baltimore Ravens

26. Baltimore Ravens
2010 (12-4): The Ravens were up 21-7 on the Pittsburgh Steelers in their division playoff match-up, then were outscored 24-3 in the second half to miss out on the Conference Championship Game. Tough break.
Needs: The Ravens are primed to make another deep run, but still face some aging and free agency concerns. Look for them to address pass coverage and Trevor Pryce’s hole.
The Pick: DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple. Wilkerson brings a ton of versatility to a defensive-minded team who likes players that can take on multiple roles. His athleticism and upside make him hard to pass at this point.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Atlanta Falcons

27. Atlanta Falcons
2010 (13-3): The Falcons had a 4-game turnaround in 2010, surprisingly beating out the New Orleans Saints for the NFC South division title. They looked nearly unbeatable at home, but like many other teams in the playoffs, ran into a red hot Packers team that refused to be beaten.
Needs: Atlanta is well built for the future, but the inevitable downfalls of two aging superstars may leave them will holes to fill; DE John Abraham and TE Tony Gonzalez.
The Pick: TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame. Tony Gonzalez is finally starting to show his age, so replacing him with the best all-around tight end threat in the draft makes plenty of sense for the Birds.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: New England Patriots

28. New England Patriots
2010 (14-2): Once again the Patriots looked like the clear-cut front-runner for the Super Bowl heading into the playoffs and suffered a disappointing early exit. After embarrassing the New York Jets 45-3 in a Week 13 game, the Pats found themselves on the wrong end of a revenge game, falling to the same Jets 28-21 in the playoffs.
Needs: The Patriots could use some help with a rush linebacker, and though they’ve never needed a top-tier running back, could use a home-run hitter if one is available.
The Pick: RB Mark Ingram, Alabama. As stated, the Patriots aren’t pressed for a running back, but the best of the class is available for them to steal right here. We all know Bill Belichick stockpiles pick, so they can take risks in this spot. Still, don’t be shocked if this one is traded if the player they desire most isn’t available.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Chicago Bears

29. Chicago Bears
2010 (11-5): Sometimes it came by luck; other times, nostalgic grind hard Chicago  Bears football. The Bears got back on track in 2010, winning the NFC North and advancing to the Conference Championship Game. Unfortunately, quarterback Jay Cutler found himself sidelined with injury when it mattered and the Bears had nothing for the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.
Needs: How much did Jay Cutler find himself buried in the dirt last season? Too many times to ignore the offensive line. Look for the Bears to get Jay some extra protection early.
The Pick: OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi. This draft is deep with offensive line talent projected to go in the First Round, so the Bears select the next best guy available. Sherrod is a prototypical left tackle in terms of stature and intangibles. He does well with both pass protection and run blocking.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: New York Jets

30. New York Jets
2010 (11-5): Head Coach Rex Ryan is one of those guys that can seemingly talk things into existence. In his mind, the Jets are always Super Bowl bound and his players continue to buy into his thinking. After an up and down regular season, the Jets won consecutive games against the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots in the playoffs before running into the freight train known as the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Needs: The Jets need to upgrade their defensive front seven. A rush linebacker will be ideal in this spot, as would a nose tackle for the future.
The Pick: OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA. Ayers is a perfect example of a really talented guy whose draft stock fell because of a sub-pair Combine performance. I’ve always been a fan of placing more value on actual game play than a few non-contact drills. Ayers brings versatility to any defense, being a usable asset against the run, in coverage and as a pass rusher.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

31. Pittsburgh Steelers
2010 (12-4): Starting the season without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers came ever-so-close to becoming the first team to win 7 Super Bowls, but stumbled at the finish line to a very game Packers squad.
Needs: Not that it was a big secret, but Aaron Rodgers exposed the fact that airing the ball out early against Pittburgh’s aggressive pass rush can and will lead to success. Especially with Ike Taylor looking to test free agency, expect the usually unpredictable Steelers brass to pick up a cornerback.
The Pick: CB Aaron Williams, Texas. Steelers miss out on some quality cornerback prospects at the top of the board, but will be happy to see Williams available here. Great athlete with a desirable combination of size and speed. If they bring back Taylor, Williams is still a great fit lining up opposite of him.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Green Bay Packers

32. Green Bay Packers
2010 (10-6): Against all odds, the Green Bay Packers brought home the Lombardi Trophy this February after besting the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. They were only the second #6 seed to make it to the Super Bowl, ironically following in the footsteps of the 2005 Steelers.
Needs: Cullen Jenkins is set to become a free agent; Johnny Jolly is facing some off-field legal problems; and Justin Harrell is often injured. The Packers need to shore up their front seven defensively, but could also use some offensive line help to keep Rodgers from hitting the turf too much.
The Pick: DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State. Aaron Rodgers could still use a little extra protection, but GM Ted Thompson has had great success with picking outright talent over best fits. Saying that, Heyward actually helps out the Pack in a big way. The son of “Ironhead” Craig Heyward addresses any concerns they may have at DE and is great value at this pick. Experts have said Heyward is Green Bay’s primary target. Check out Eastbay’s 2011 NFL Combine Interview with Cameron below.

 

NFL Watch: Green Bay Packers Win Super Bowl

NFL Watch: Green Bay Packers Win Super Bowl

NFL Watch: Green Bay Packers Win Super Bowl XLV

words_Brandon Richard

The Vince Lombardi Trophy is returning to Title Town. The most injured team in the NFL this season is ironically the team that stands alone at the end. In a game where they lost cornerback Charles Woodson and wide receiver Donald Driver of the second half, the Green Bay Packers once again proved to be the most resilient team in the NFL. Led by a 304-yard and three-touchdown performance by MVP Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers outlasted the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 to win Super Bowl XLV.

The Packers jumped out to a fast start in the first quarter. On the team’s second drive, Rodgers connected with wide receiver Jordy Nelson three times, including a 29-yard strike for a touchdown to put the Pack up seven early in the game. The following possession lasted just one play for the Steelers when Ben Roethlisberger threw an ill-advised pass into coverage, resulting in an interception by safety Nick Collins for a touchdown. The quarter ended with Green Bay holding on to a commanding 14-0 lead.

Pittsburgh finally got on the board early in the second quarter when kicker Shaun Suisham connected on a 33-yard field goal. Defense would take over a majority of the quarter, including another interception thrown by Roethlisberger, this one picked off by cornerback Jarrett Bush. Taking advantage of another forced turnover, Aaron Rodgers located wide receiver Greg Jennings down the middle for a 21-yard touchdown pass with a little over two minutes to play. The time left on the clock proved to be too much for Roethlisberger, who authored Pittsburgh’s first touchdown drive of the day, finding Hines Ward for an eight-yard touchdown before the half. Had momentum been seized by the Steelers?

That appeared to be the case, as things tipped in favor of the Steelers in the third quarter. Charles Woodson and Donald Driver were lost for the game with injuries, and Pittsburgh returned to the smashmouth football they’re known for. On their first possession of the second half, they used six straight run and scramble plays, capped off with an eight-yard touchdown trot by Rashard Mendenhall. Both defenses held steady for the rest of the quarter, leaving Pittsburgh with possession and a four-point deficit heading into the fourth and final quarter.

Just when we thought Pittsburgh was ready to take control of the game, Green Bay forced another crucial turnover. With the ball on the Packers’ 33, Clay Matthews put a helmet on a running Mendenhall, causing him to fumble. Once again, the Packers made the best out of their opportunity. Rodgers capped off a 55-yard drive by finding Jennings for this second touchdown of the day.  The Packers created a little breathing room, but it was quickly erased by a 66-yard touchdown drive by the Steelers, Mike Wallace finding the endzone this time around. Receiver Antwaan Randle-El also converted the two-point attempt, pulling Pittsburgh within a field goal.

Green Bay answered the Pittsburgh drive with a score of their own. Kicker Mason Crosby completed a 75-yard drive with a 23-yard field goal, putting the Packers up by six points. More importantly, they milked 5:27 off of the clock, leaving Roethlisberger just enough time to attempt another Super Bowl game-winning drive. Things looked good early for Pittsburgh, as Ben found tight end Heath Miller for 15 yards and a first down. He followed up with a five-yard pass to Hines Ward, but failed to connect on his next two. With fourth and five, and the Super Bowl on the line, Roethlisberger looked to connect with Mike Wallace downfield, but the pass was broken up and Green Bay was able to kneel out the clock for the win.

Take a look at what some of the participants of Super Bowl XLV were wearing on the field for the big game. You can purchase all of The Packers’ Super Bowl Locker Room gear at Eastbay now.

NFL Watch: Green Bay Packers Win Super Bowl XLV

Aaron Rodgers wearing the Nike Speed TD 3/4The Nike Speed TD 3/4 is the shoe Aaron Rodgers won to win his first Super Bowl.

Ben Roethlisberger wearing the Nike Air Zoom Super Bad IIBen Roethlisberger signals a play in the Nike Air Zoom Super Bad II.

Antwaan Randle El wearing theReebok NFL Molded Burner SpeedSteelers receiver Antwaan Randle El celebrates in the Reebok NFL Molded Burner Speed.

Donald Driver wearing the Nike Super Speed TDDonald Driver reacts to a first down catch in the Nike Super Speed TD.

Chris Kemoeatu wearing the Nike Air Zoom Merciless DChris Kemoeatu tries to make a touchdown-saving tackle in the Nike Air Zoom Merciless D.

Troy Polamalu wearing the Nike Super Speed DTroy Polamalu expresses disappointment in the Nike Super Speed D.

Nick Collins wearing the Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon FlyNick Collins returned an interception for a touchdown in the Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly.

Brett Keisel wearing the Nike Air Zoom Alpha TalonBrett Keisel tackles James Starks wearing a Steelers colorway of the newly released Nike Air Zoom Alpha Talon.

Hines Ward wearing the Nike Throwback TDHines Ward scores a touchdown in his trusty Nike Throwback TD Player Exclusive.

Jordy Nelson wearing Reebok cleatsJordy Nelson tries to make a catch in his Reebok cleats.

Mike Wallace wearing the Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon FlyMike Wallace is off to the races in the Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly.

Greg Jennings wearing the Nike Super SpeedGreg Jennings helps seal the game wearing Nike’s Super Speed D 3/4.

Charles Woodson wearing the Reebok Super Bowl Locker Room HatCharles Woodson holds up the Lombardi Trophy while wearing the new Reebok Super Bowl Locker Room Hat.

Clay Matthews & Aaron Rodgers wearing the Reebok Locker Room T-Shirt & HatClay Matthews and Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers embrace being champions in the Official Locker Room T-Shirt and Hat by Reebok.

images via Yahoo