Remember, the DoJo-Go-Pro-O-Meter is not interested in hearsay, rumors, or gossip… only fact.

Stan Heath had an interesting quote in an entry on Scott Carter’s blog that warranted a change in the meter.

Heath clarified his stance on Jones’ future on Thursday via text message, saying:

“I don’t have any expectations on Jones returning to school,’’ Heath said. “Until all the information about the draft and his most accurate status within the draft is available – I will not have an expectation nor will I advise him on what I feel is best.’’

That made me wonder if Heath had had any players leave early for the NBA at Arkansas. (He wasn’t at Kent State long enough for that to happen.) The only one that did so was Ronnie Brewer, who gave up his senior year to enter the NBA Draft. Jones and Brewer had similar production in their junior year, although Brewer’s measurables were a little better. The Jazz took Brewer 14th overall in 2006, making him the last lottery pick. Brewer declared for the NBA Draft in late April that year, but didn’t hire an agent right away. Heath’s quote at the time was interesting.

“It probably is a very smart thing for him to do. He definitely wants to play in the NBA, he knows that’s a big part of his future,” Heath said. “The rule was specifically made for guys like him — guys who really are considered in that realm of first-round draft pick, somewhere … who knows? With that, Ronnie is going to make sure that he doesn’t do anything to jeopardize his eligibility.”

So it stands to reason that if Dominique Jones were to make a move up draft boards – say, if he goes off in the NIT and the Bulls end up winning the thing – Heath would recognize DoJo’s opportunity and not stand in his way. Based on this, the DoJo-Go-Pro-O-Meter is being adjusted up to 40%.

USF fans are already working themselves up into a lather about whether or not Dominique Jones will go into the NBA Draft. And in the absence of solid information, many are believing whatever they want to believe, even going to Steve Duemig-like “you don’t know what I know” lengths with what is probably second or third-hand information.

The DoJo-Go-Pro-O-Meter represents our best guess at the odds of DoJo going pro, based on news reports and other hard evidence. No gossip, no hearsay, no friend of a friend. The meter goes from 0% to 100%, and will only reach one of those two points when a final decision is made.

Greg Auman had the first article about DoJo’s decision:

“I think about it all the time. That’s your dream when you’re a little kid,” Jones said. “I’m taking everything day-by-day. The NBA is not going anywhere. I feel like I’ll just take my time and make my decision on what I’m going to do, finish the year out here and just weigh my options.”

Based on this story, and the collection of NBA mock drafts that mostly have Jones taken in the second round (where contracts are not guaranteed) or not at all, we are setting the DoJo-Go-Pro-O-Meter at 30% to start. As more news comes out, we will make adjustments as necessary.

Voodoo 5 isn’t a SB Nation blog (yet), but we’ve noticed many of the college SBN blogs helping out their sister NFL blogs by putting together draft profiles of their former players who could potentially be taken in the first two rounds. So we’re following suit. The Bulls have three such players; today we’re profiling Jason Pierre-Paul.


Measurables: 6’5″, 270 lbs.

40 Time: 4.67 seconds.

Career Stats: 45 tackles, including 16.5 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks in 2009. He also blocked a kick, forced two fumbles, and ran an interception back for a touchdown. And as you might have heard, he performed 14 consecutive backflips at the International Bowl to beat Kion Wilson in a post-practice contest.

Quick Bio: To Bulls fans, Jason Pierre-Paul was a comet streaking across the sky. He wasn’t around for long, but he burned hot and bright, and everyone could see his greatness. Pierre-Paul went to junior college out of Deerfield Beach High School, playing one year at the College of the Canyons and another at Fort Scott Community College. He collected 119 tacks and 24.5 sacks in those two years, becoming a five-star junior college prospect at defensive end. Ultimately Pierre-Paul chose USF over a slew of big-time programs, becoming one of the program’s few five-star recruits to date.

After a slow start to 2009, Pierre-Paul broke out in a big way against Florida State with three TFLs, a sack, a forced fumble, and two hurries. He followed up the next week with two TFLs and another sack, and he also blew up a screen pass and ran it back for a touchdown. The next week against Cincinnati, he had two more TFLs. Then 2.5 TFLs and two sacks against Rutgers, where he was one of the few players to come out of that debacle with any honor. Seven tackles, two for loss, another sack, and another forced fumble against Miami. Pierre-Paul got it done in just about every game, whether it was against a weak sister or a top-flight opponent. With scouts and draftniks already projecting him as a possible first-round pick, Pierre-Paul declared for the NFL draft in early January, skipping his senior year.

Pros: Maybe the most intriguing physical specimen in the 2010 draft class – tall, well-built, fast, incredibly long arms (he reportedly has an 81″ wingspan). Uses those arms well to engage and then get away from blockers. Gets out of the blocks quickly, sometimes anticipating the snap count, and can beat slower offensive linemen around the corner before they can even set up. Doesn’t take plays off. Extremely athletic and can make plays very few players at his position can make.

Cons: Might be too lanky to play in a 4-3 defense right now, and would need some work to become a good run defender as a lineman. Because of his height, he can be leveraged out of plays. Sometimes overpursues ballcarriers or quarterbacks in the pocket. Only played one season of major college football and may need a little while to develop and bulk up, though he has the frame to do it if need be. And, uh… how should I put this… when you listen to him give interviews, he doesn’t come across as the sharpest knife in the drawer. Looks could be deceiving – maybe he just isn’t a good public speaker (I should know). At the same time, I hope we never find out his Wonderlic score.

NFL Comparison: Depends on whether you want to compare him to a defensive lineman or a linebacker. I’m not sure there’s a current defensive lineman to compare him to. Julius Peppers is bigger, stronger, and better against the run, so that doesn’t work. But you don’t have to go back too far to find one that might work. Remember Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila? Similar in size and speed to Pierre-Paul, and a lot of people thought he was a one-trick pony, like some people think Pierre-Paul is. But KGB had one hell of a trick. He needed a couple of years to settle in with the Packers, but in 2001 he had 13.5 sacks without even starting a game. He was an incredible pass rusher. Between 2001 and 2005 he had 59 sacks and 13 forced fumbles while only missing one game. While he never became a good run stopper, Gbaja-Biamila still managed to make an impact even when he was reduced to a situational pass-rusher in 2007, with 9.5 sacks. It’s too bad 3-4 defenses weren’t in vogue a few years back because that guy could have been a holy terror as an outside linebacker.

And they both have hyphenated last names! They’re practically twins!!

If you want to compare Pierre-Paul to a linebacker, I’ll let Michael Lombardi at the fantastic National Football Post handle that one.

Jason Pierre-Paul of South Florida has only started seven games and one year of major college football, yet he looked as impressive as any defensive lineman I’ve watched work out. He’s raw and athletic, and he played hard all season. The lack of experience will hurt him in his rookie season — but in two years, if he keeps working hard, he might be the next DeMarcus Ware.

Day-y-y-y-y-um.

Projection: I already wrote about how much Pierre-Paul has been subjected to the irrational exuberance that goes on during the buildup to the draft. But I think where he ends up drafted will be dictated by two things. One, what defensive system does the team use? Two, is it worth overlooking his nomadic past and his present shortcomings to get their hands on such impressive physical talent? A team with a 3-4 defense might be willing to take him sooner if they need an edge linebacker, because Pierre-Paul could definitely fill the bill. And of course some teams put higher stock in potential and skill than experience and production.

The bottom line is someone will take Pierre-Paul in the first round, probably in the top 15 picks. The earlier they pick him, the more of a roll of the dice it will be. I don’t think teams have to worry about his work ethic as an NFL player. But what he achieves in the pros will involve a lot of things beyond his control, like where he’s placed on the field, how soon they need him to make a major impact, and how well he’s coached up. Based on that, I think he will either boom or bust. Hopefully the first one, for everyone involved.

Jason Pierre-Paul features from BullsVision

Voodoo 5 isn’t a SB Nation blog (yet), but we’ve noticed many of the college SBN blogs helping out their sister NFL blogs by putting together draft profiles of their former players who could potentially be taken in the first two rounds. So we’re following suit. The Bulls have three such players; today we’re profiling Nate Allen.

Measurables: 6’0″, 207 lbs.

40 Time: Unsure. Allen reportedly pulled a quad muscle earlier in the combine and won’t run on Tuesday, his scheduled workout day. If that changes and he does run the 40, I’ll update the profile with his time.

College Stats: Finished with 144 solo tackles (five for loss) and 80 assists. Intercepted nine passes, broke up 12 more, recovered four fumbles and a blocked field goal, and scored three touchdowns.

Quick Bio: Nate Allen followed in the footsteps of Anthony Henry* and J.R. Reed, becoming a very productive free safety at USF. After playing sparingly in 2006, Allen burst onto the scene in 2007 and started every game his last three seasons, 39 games in all. Playing alongside Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams in 2007, both of whom were drafted by the NFL, Allen showed a nose for the ball with 76 tackles, four INTs, and three fumble recoveries. He also played on special teams and got USF’s ROFLcopter victory over Louisville started by returning a fumble on the opening kickoff for a touchdown.

Allen’s numbers slipped in 2008 as the defense struggled in general, but rebounded last year. Allen was defensive captain in 2009 and had 85 tackles, and four interceptions. He was the Big East defensive player of the week after a two-INT game against Syracuse, and was named second-team All-Big East after the season.

Pros: Does a lot of things well. Like Carlton Mitchell, his combination of speed and athleticism will have him in demand. Can hang in both man and zone coverage, so you don’t have to hide him in passing situations. Smart, instinctive player who knows where to be on the field. Has made several clutch plays, including the single biggest play of USF’s 2008 season – an interception and runback against Kansas in the last 40 seconds that put the Bulls in position to kick the winning field goal on the final play. Stayed healthy throughout his college career.

Cons: It’s actually kind of hard to come up with one. Allen is extremely steady and while he doesn’t have a truly game-breaking skill, he doesn’t have a fatal flaw either. He could get a little bit better in coverage, but he’s hardly a liability. If he had an elite skill (like Eric Berry’s highlight-reel hitting, or the superior range of Morgan Burnett), there’s no question he would be a first-round pick.

NFL Comparison: I’m going to break right through the aversion to comparing players of different races and say Allen reminds me of Eric Weddle. Weddle doesn’t blow many guys up, but he covers well, plays good run defense, and gets ballcarriers on the ground. He’s fast enough to do what he needs to do, and he uses his smarts to get in position and make plays.

Projection: Nate Allen is the least risky of the Bulls’ three potential high draft picks. He might even be a little underrated at this point. Whoever takes Allen, likely in the early to mid-second round, is going to get a solid NFL player who they won’t have to worry much about. Put him on a team that doesn’t hang its secondary out to dry and he’ll be even better.

———

* – That’s not a mistake. Henry didn’t switch to CB until his senior year at USF, even though he’s played his entire NFL career there.


Voodoo 5 isn’t a SB Nation blog (yet), but we’ve noticed many of the college SBN blogs helping out their sister NFL blogs by putting together draft profiles of their former players who could potentially be taken in the first two rounds. So we’re following suit. The Bulls have three such players; today we’re profiling Carlton Mitchell.

Measurements: 6′ 2 7/8″, 215 lbs. No, he didn’t lose 81 pounds overnight, that’s what he always weighed.

40 time: 4.49 seconds at Scouting Combine.

College Stats: Set USF’s single-reason receiving yardage record in 2009 with 706 yards on 40 catches. Career totals of 105 receptions, 1648 yards (a USF record), and nine touchdowns.

Quick Bio: Mitchell joined the WR rotation as a redshirt freshman in 2007 and made two memorable plays. He was on the receiving end of Matt Grothe’s crazy TD pass against West Virginia, and he caught a 75-yard TD pass against UCF that made everyone realize the Bulls were trying to run up the score on them. Mitchell didn’t become a starter until his junior season last year, playing in 11 games and starting 10. He had a career-long 85-yard touchdown to open up the second half against Syracuse and ended up with three 100-yard receiving games on the season. Primarily a deep threat and big-play receiver, averaging almost 16 yards per reception over his career and 17.6 yards in 2009. We really got an idea of Mitchell’s downfield speed and range when B.J. Daniels and his bazooka arm took over at quarterback.

A lot of USF fans feel like he left for the NFL too early, but the chance (need?) to provide for his family makes it understandable to me, anyway. It would have been nice to see what Skip Holtz could do for him. Holtz should streamline personnel this year and stop the revolving door at receiver and running back, which could have helped put a spotlight on Mitchell. But he had already decided to go pro before Holtz was hired. Oh well.

Pros: Good speed for his size – he’s like a downfield receiver in a possession receiver’s body. Isn’t afraid to take a hit to make a play, even over the middle. Blocks well down the field and on the edges. Has what Hubie Brown would call “tremendous upside potential.”

Cons: Never became THE receiver in the USF offense. (I couldn’t tell you whether that was because he wasn’t dominant enough, or because the Bulls had too many receivers in their rotation. Probably a mix of both.) A little slow out of the blocks at the line, and doesn’t have the greatest hands in the world. Bring up the next-to-last play of the USF-Cincinnati game in 2007 when he dropped the game-winning TD in the end zone, and Bulls fans get mad and start snapping off F-bombs. Never had a big game against elite competition.

NFL Comparison: Sidney Rice with not as good hands, or Braylon Edwards with much better hands. The Rice comparison works better for me. Mitchell and Rice share a lot of attributes – size, general speed, the ability to make speed moves on DBs and break away down the field, and toughness. We can only hope Mitchell hits it big in the NFL like Rice did in 2009.

Projection: Mitchell performed well at the combine and with his combination of size and speed, someone may decide to invest a second-round pick in him. It might be interesting to see the Chargers draft him at 60th overall if someone backs up the truck to sign RFA Vincent Jackson and San Diego, which is not exactly flush with cash, decides not to match and takes the draft picks.

2007 Highlight Reel

2008 Highlight Reel

2009 Highlight Reel

Carlton, I know that you’ve been away from the football field, and I understand that eating a hearty meal every once in a while is alright, but dude you really let yourself go.

The scale don’t lie, and it looks like you might need to go on NutraSystem or HydroxyCut before Pro Day. But hey, if you can still run a 4.3 40, they might switch you over to Defensive End and become the top pick in the draft.

(H/T to Greg Auman)

Jason Pierre-Paul’s coming-out party was held in Tallahassee last September. He and the rest of the Bulls’ defensive line tormented Christian Ponder and the Florida State offensive line in a 17-7 win at Doak. In his only season of DIVISION ONE FOOTBALL (copyright Dan Hawkins), he ended up with 45 tackles and 6.5 sacks. He was a good collegiate defensive end, and he has outstanding speed and measurables. So when he decided to go into the NFL Draft, most people had him projected as a top-end pick.

Then somewhere along the line, with no new information on the table, Pierre-Paul’s stock went up. He became a first-round pick on nearly everyone’s board. He started creeping up towards the middle of the first round, passing Mike Jenkins’s mark as the highest-drafted Bull to date (25th in 2008). And in the last couple of weeks, things have gone totally crazy. Most Bulls fans have heard about Todd McShay’s mock draft that had the Bucs taking Pierre-Paul with the third overall pick. (McShay has been way out in front of the JPP parade – he had him pegged as a first-rounder even before Christmas.) He’s not the only one who has Pierre-Paul that high. Bucky Brooks at NFL.com also has him as the third pick, and so does Pro Football Weekly in their last mock draft. This might be a reflection of the Bucs being run by a bunch of dumbasses, but still. Third overall.

Mel Kiper had him down as the 11th overall pick a couple weeks ago, and in his latest mock draft Pierre-Paul has moved up to 8th, although that would doom him to a prison term with the Raiders. Mike Mayock of NFL Network says he’s the #1 rated defensive end in the draft. Scouts.com projects him as the fifth-best player in the draft. Everyone is going crazy about his size, speed, agility, athleticism, and most importantly, his potential. A “combine creation” has been born, and we haven’t even made it to the damn combine yet.

Of course, as all of these things go, Pierre-Paul started out underrated and became so underrated that eventually he moved up to properly rated, and now he’s moved straight on to overrated. Isn’t that right, Matt Hayes?

“One season in Division I football resulted in 45 tackles and 6.5 sacks. And he could be the first end taken because he runs a 4.6 40 and has ‘upside.’ See the lunacy yet?”

And then the most hilarious 180 of the draft hype process so far comes from the same Todd McShay who had Pierre-Paul third overall, and still does for all I know. (Like I’m going to pay ESPN $6.95 to double-check.)

“The importance of mental agility is starting to sink in. … Here’s a good test for this season’s GMs. Watch where South Florida DE Jason Pierre-Paul goes in comparison to Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan. Pierre-Paul is a physical freak, and a team may get flak for passing him by to get to Morgan. But what that team will know is that Morgan is far more versatile and game aware than his counterpart, who hasn’t shown much more than pure pass-rushing ability.”

We’ve never had a player from USF that was so thoroughly dissected and tossed around the draft board like a rag doll. Dr. Saturday explored this topic as well, but he framed it as the age-old “potential vs. production” question rather than looking at the net effect for everyone involved.

I think Pierre-Paul is in a bad position now because the hype and the fallout is far beyond his control. He’ll either be drafted very high (whether he deserves to be or not) and then be expected to live up to possibly unreasonable expectations. Or he’ll start sliding down the mountain, losing millions in guaranteed money and having all kinds of “what’s wrong with him?” articles written. That’s the kind of draft death spiral that’s hard to get out of, the one where people find more and more things to nitpick. At this point, if he doesn’t take the field in the NFL and come out like gangbusters, he will be immediately labeled a bust, which might stain his career. Imagine him going to the Bucs with their cheap owners, crappy coaching, and brain-dead front office, and having to live up to what he did playing in the same stadium in college. It totally sucks.

On the other hand, I’m having a hard time seeing the downside for USF. Let’s face it, the elite high school talent wants to go somewhere that will help get them into the NFL. If Pierre-Paul stays up at the top of the draft board, no matter what happens to him in the pros, Skip Holtz can point to that in recruits’ living rooms and tell them that USF can turn out the best of the best. (“And he was only at USF for one year! Imagine what you could do if you’re there for four years!”) They can get drafted early, get on national TV holding the hat and jersey while shaking hands with Roger Goodell, and most importantly, get paid. It’s a domino effect after that. Eventually you beat some big names for recruits and it becomes easier to get where you want to go as a program.

If USF takes another step up in their recruiting quality over the next couple years, we’ll probably all have Jason Pierre-Paul to thank.