Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NFL Draft Prospect of the Week: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

Courtesy of Google Images
After Da'Quan Bowers, Robert Quinn is the most physically gifted defensive end prospect in this draft. At 6'5, 270, he possesses the ideal frame for a dominant, pass rushing RDE in the 4-3 scheme. While not as big as fellow prospects such as Bowers and Clayborn, Quinn is more a more explosive and fluid athlete. Many believe he has the athleticism to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. No matter which scheme Quinn is drafted into, he should be able to use his first step explosion to get pressure on the quarterback and wreak havoc in the backfield. However, there is a reason Quinn is my 4th rated DE in my NFL Draft Prospect Rankings and not number one. While listed at 270, Quinn probably plays smaller than that. He sometimes gets pushed around in the run game, and at the NFL level it will only be harder to hold the point of attack. Many think he will fit best as a pass-rushing demon in the 3-4, but I do not think he will be able to handle the coverage aspect of outside backer. I believe Quinn is best suited in the traditional 4-3 defense, next to a great defensive tackle where all he has to do is rush the passer. I would love for my Detroit Lions to snatch him up if they are drafting in the 10-15 range. Here is a great video of him from his game against Boston College and highly touted prospect, Anthony Costanzo- Click Here

NFL Draft Positional Prospect Rankings-DE

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New NFL Draft Positional Prospect Rankings-DE

With all the different types of defenses run in the NFL today, certain teams are looking for specific types of players, while others are looking for a different type. This makes it difficult to properly rank prospects, especially at positions such as defensive end. I have decided to give my top 5 overall defensive end prospects, and then also split them up into a 3-4 defensive end category and a 4-3 defensive end category.

My Top 5 NFL Draft Prospects at DE

Courtesy of Google Images
1. Da'Quan Bowers-6'4,280-Clemson
Bowers is my new number one defensive end prospect based entirely on his physical abilities. He is an elite physical specimen. He combines size, speed, and strength to create the perfect defensive end prospect. This year he has combined production along with his potential. Teams looking for a pro-bowl 4-3 defensive end for the next ten years are drooling over Bowers. Read More

Courtesy of Google Images
2. Adrian Clayborn-6'3,285-Iowa
Adrian Clayborn is slightly stockier than Bowers and might be just as strong. He is another physical specimen that has NFL scouts excited. He is not quite as quick as Bowers, but his size and strength are comparable. Clayborn is probably the more NFL-ready prospect and could play in either the 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. However, he is rated behind Bowers because his ceiling is slight lower. Read More

Courtesy of Google Images
3. Marcell Dareus-6'4,306-Alabama
Dareus is strictly a 3-4 defensive end, but his ability to excel at that position is what makes him my #3 DE prospect. Dareus has the perfect body for the 3-4 DE position. He combines good length with excellent strength. Dareus is not quite as explosive as Clayborn or Bowers, but he is still very quick and effective. Dareus will make some 3-4 team very happy. Read More

Courtesy of Google Images
4. Robert Quinn-6'5,270-North Carolina
Quinn has prototypical size for a 4-3 defensive end prospect. Some scouts believe he can also play the 3-4 OLB position, but I think he is best suited for the RDE end spot in the 4-3. He has excellent speed of the edge, and is probably the most athletic of the top DE prospects. However, he lacks the strength of some of the other DE prospects, and he needs to develop some more pass rush moves. Read More

Courtesy of Google Images
5. Nick Fairley-6'5,300-Auburn
Fairley, like Dareus, currently plays tackle at the collegiate level. He could definitely play UT in a 4-3 scheme in the pros, but his ability to fit in as a 3-4 DE has him ranked as my #5 DE prospect. His length,  strength, and quickness are all very comparable to Dareus; however, I give Dareus the nod right now due to consistency. They will both be first round picks, and it will be interesting to see who turns out to be more effective. Read More

Top 5 4-3 Defensive End Prospects

1. Da'Quan Bowers-Clemson
2. Adrian Clayborn-Iowa
3. Robert Quinn-North Carolina
4. Allen Bailey-Miami
5. Ryan Kerrigan-Purdue

Top 5 3-4 Defensive End Prospects
1. Marcell Dareus-Alabama
2. Nick Fairley-Auburn
3. Adrian Clayborn-Iowa
4. JJ Watt-Wisconsin
5. Cameron Heyward-Ohio St

Monday, November 22, 2010

NFL Draft Prospect of the Week: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

Courtesy of Google Images
Da'Quan Bowers is one of, if not the top, defensive prospect for the NFL Draft this year. I currently have him rated #4 in my NFL Draft Rankings, but he is on the verge of jumping up in my next set of rankings. Bowers was the #1 rated prospect coming out of high school three years ago, already possessing the body of an NFL defensive end, but his play in his first two years did not reflect this. He recorded only four sacks in his first two seasons, and many people wondered if he would ever live up to his immense hype. However, this year Bowers has grown into the prospect he was born to be. He has recorded 58 tackles and 16 sacks to this point, outstanding production for any defensive end. He has been a man amongst boys utilizing his amazing strength and size to physically dominate his opponents. With a strong showing in the offseason circuit, Bowers is now in position to be taken in the top ten.

Courtesy of Google Images
The offseason circuit is something that Bowers is certain to excel in. He has excellent size at 6'4, 280, and he also possesses the speed and quickness of some linebackers. Comparisons to former prospects Julius Peppers and Mario Williams based purely on athletic ability and realistic. He possesses the same frame as well as strength and quickness as these former top five draft picks. Bowers also is rather raw when it comes  to pass rushing skills, a fault formerly carried by Peppers and Williams. Bowers does excel against the run. He uses his ridiculous strength to simply overpower his opponents and make his way to the ball carrier. His pass rush skills are less developed. You may say, "But he has 16 sacks!" Yes he does, but he gets these sacks simply by physically dominating his opponents. He uses his quick first step and strength to get around collegiate tackles, but this will not always work in the NFL against bigger, stronger tackles. He will need to develop some pass rush moves if he wants to stay effective at the next level.

Bowers is an outstanding prospect. He possesses elite size, athleticism, and quickness. He has all the physical tools to be a dominate defensive end at the next level. Bowers sets a hard edge against the run, and with a little work should become a dominant pass rusher. He is a future pro-bowl, three-down defensive end in the NFL. He should be a top 10 pick in this years draft.

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10 Great, Easy Ways to Improve your Vertical Jump

Best 10 Ways to Improve Your Vertical Jump
Need those last few inches on your vertical jump so you can finally dunk the basketball?  Want to jump over tall buildings or simply want to be able to jump higher to impress you friends? This is a list of 10 great ways to improve your vertical jump. I give four basic, easy things you can do to improve your jump with little to no equipment. I then give four more moderately difficult exercise that require a little more effort. Then I give two intense workouts that will greatly increase your vertical if done correctly.
Courtesy of Google Images
I have researched as well as done all these exercises, and, in my opinion, these are the ten simplest and easiest ways to improve your vertical. The key to improving your vertical jump is working hard and doing every exercise with the intent that you will be dunking soon. It may take a few weeks, but by doing these exercises, your vertical should greatly improve. 
Basic Exercises

1. Stretching
The first basic exercise that will help you improve your jump is stretching. Simple stretching will help loosen up all the muscles that are important for jumping. This is especially important for those who work out a lot. Lifting a lot of weights, tightens up the muscles and sometimes begins to hurt their range of motion. It will also help your body stay flexible after some of the other exercises done in this workout. One stretch I find especially good is a turning lunge. This is performed by putting one leg back, so you are in a lunge position. Then extend the arm on the side of the leg that is back straight up in the air. Slowly turn away from the arm as far as you can go and then hold for 15-20 seconds. Preform three sets for each leg. I read about this stretch when I was in sixth grade, and I wholeheartedly believe that it single handily added 2-3 inches on my vertical. 
2. Calf Raises
A Calf raise is another basic exercise that can improve your vertical. These can be done in many different way. The most basic way is to stand on a stair or some other object where your heel does not touch the ground. Rise up on your toes as far as you can, and then come back down, completing a full range of motion. Weight can be added as your calfs become stronger. This is an easy exercise to improve calf muscle, which is important for jumping
3. Jump Rope
A third exercise is jumping rope. This may seem easy and simple, and that is because it is. Jumping roping not only builds calf muscle and gets the body used to jumping, it also builds core strength. Core strength is another important element of jumping. To not bore yourself doing thousands of jump ropes, consider using different techniques such as jumping twice in between each swing of the rope, or switching feet in between each jump. There are many different jump rope techniques, feel free to experiment with them. 
4. Jumping
The last basic way to improve your vertical jump is by simply jumping. Go out and play basketball, work on exploding out of your jump to the rim. Preform every jump with as much effort as possible. By constantly jumping as high as you can, your jump will naturally improve. 
5. Box Jumps
Box Jumps are a slightly more advanced way to improve your vertical. These are done by getting a box, jumping on to it, and then jumping off. People often jump from side to side or front to back. The choice is yours, but I would recommend both. The height of the box can also be increased as your strength increases. This exercise is another good way to work on your explosion. Remember to do every rep with a strong intent. 
Courtesy of Google Images
6. Squats
Squats are the most basic lift to build strength in the legs. A squat done correctly will greatly increase one’s vertical jump over time. I believe this is the most important lift for most athletes. It works many muscles in the legs and, if done correctly, can improve balance and muscle control. A squat is preformed by bending at the knees, while keeping the back straight, until the thigh is nearly parallel to the ground. Experts often argue on how far down a person should squat, so I will not recommend exactly how far you should go. I would ask your coach or trainer, and see what they say. I will say that I have never gotten injured well preforming squats, and I believe that they are very, very helpful in improving one’s vertical. 
7.Core Workouts
Another good and perhaps different way to improve your vertical is by improving your core. A good way to do this is by doing crunches or planks. Leg lifts also improve cores strength, but they are rumored to cause back pain if done incorrectly (I have not experienced these). These are fairly simple exercises that will help build a strong core, which is crucial to having a good vertical jump.
8. Step-ups
Step-ups are another fairly easy exercise to do that will help improve your leg strength. They are preformed by stepping up onto a box, rather than jumping, one foot at a time. When you step down, step down first with the first foot you stepped up with. Weight can be increased with time to build great strength. 
9. Hang or Power Clean
The first intense exercise is the hang clean or the power clean. These two lifts work on total body explosion, a concept crucial to the vertical jump. Chances are the more you can clean, the higher you can jump. Here is a good video of how to preform a hang clean. Remember to preform each rep with a strong intent. Slacking off in these exercises will not help you,
10. Jump Squat
The last great way to improve your vertical is the jump squat. A jump squat is basically a squat except the lifter explodes through the squat, causing the feet to leave the ground. This lift should be done with less weight than the squat to reduce the chance or injury, but the intent is extremely important. The lifter must act as if they are trying to jump as high as possible, putting as much strength into the lift as possible. 
These ten exercises, if done correctly and with a strong intent, should help you greatly improve your vertical. It worked for me, hopefully it will for you. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Nike Pro Combat Uniforms for NFL-Bad News

A while back I blogged about the fact that Nike had won the uniform rights to the NFL starting in 2012. Recently at pictures have surfaced of what these jerseys could potentially look like. Let me tell you, these jerseys are terrible! Take a look at them and see for yourself. Pictured here is a preview of the Viking's Jersey.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

In My opinion: Top Ten Funniest Referee Moments

These top ten referee funny moments are based purely on my opinion. I am sorry if you do not agree with my rankings, but feel free to submit your own suggestions to me or make your own list. These are simply the ten funniest moments I have seen involving referee screw-ups. Normally I admire our striped friends for doing such a difficult job under so much pressure, but I feel like this list had to be made. I am sorry officials. Feel free to skip to the top five if you’re in a time crunch. 
#10- Ed Hochuli Screw-Up
To start off the list we have an Ed Hochuli screw-up. Despite what many people think, Hochuli is one the better referees in the NFL. However, this call is pretty funny. Not only does he screw-up the call, but then he takes about two lines to recover and return to the English language before finishing the call. 
This ref has had enough of taken a beating by the players, and he decides to fight back. After being sucker punched by a player, this referee takes on the whole team in a rather amazing battle. 
We turn to the NBA for the eight funniest referee moment. Lamar Odom passes it off the ref and to a teammate for the score. The best part of the video, besides the announcers reaction, is the referee grabbing his stomach after getting hit. He acts more like he got shot than hit by a basketball. 
These referees just seem to have no idea what’s going on. I know it must be hard to pay attention for a whole game, but it would be nice if they could at least pay attention for a whole field goal. 
This call comes in at number five due not only to the performance by the referee, but also the announcers. The referee keeps a very straight face during the call, and the announcers cannot seem to believe what they just heard. This is a very funny call, but not quite top 5 worthy.
The first moment in the top five comes from the NBA. The referee seems to have no idea where the ball is and runs straight into the player with the ball. He then calls a foul on Chauncey Billups for a foul the ref committed.
Although this moment may not have been televised for all to see it is still worthy of the top ten. This ref has had enough of players running after the whistle and takes things into his own hands. The best part of the video is the quarterback’s reaction after he gets decked. 
This call is number three simply because of the pure emotion put into it by the referee. He seems genuinely angry at the player for “giving him the business down there” However the funniest part of this call is the hand motions the ref puts in. His two downward punches are what makes this video. 
Coming in at number two is an NFL referee screwing up multiple times on a single play. Their are three penalties on one play, and he simply cannot explain them all. It takes him over a minute to make the call, and you still get the feeling he has it wrong. The best part comes near the end when he forgets which team has the ball. “First down, errr, Dallas”
Boxing comes in with the number one referee moment. This ref steps in to try to separate the two fighters and he takes a hard punch to the head and goes down like a rag doll. Granted this would not be funny if the ref was hurt, but he was okay. He goes down hard, and he is struggling to get up. His face as he tries to get up is priceless. 

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NFL Draft Offensive Prospect of the Week: DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma

Courtesy of Google Images
DeMarco Murray burst onto the scene at Oklahoma as the successor to Adrian Peterson and the next great back at Oklahoma. He wowed players, fans, and coaches alike with his elegant running style and smooth moves. Murray rushed for 1766 yards and 27 touchdowns in his first two seasons, and he could have had considerably more if not for injury. Now Murray is healthy again and he has rushed for 911 yards and 13 touchdowns so far to go along with 374 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Murray is starting to regain his draft status after being written off by many due to constant, nagging injuries.

Courtesy of Google Images
At 6'1, 207 pounds Murray is lanky for a running back. He is a little on the tall side, and because of this many people think he should move to wide receiver in the pros. While Murray could succeed at wide receiver in the pros, I believe he would be best used as a Reggie Bush, Brian Westbrook type back. He has the hands and quickness to be effective receiving out the back field and even split out at wide receiver, yet he possesses the vision to run the ball when he needs to. The word I would use to describe Murray is smooth. He is not the fastest or the most explosive back out there, nor is he as strong as some of the elite backs, but he simply knows what to do when he is on the field, and he looks good doing it. He has great moves and always seems to get where he wants to. Murray simply knows how to play the game of football.

I have Murray ranked #3 in my NFL Draft Rankings, and I believe he will be a steal for whichever team drafts him. His versatility combined with his skill will cause nightmares for opposing defenses. However, if he goes to a team that is expecting him to be an every-down, pound him between the tackles back, they will be sorely mistaken. Murray must be used correctly, but if he is he will be dangerous. If Murray runs in the 4.4's at the combine expect him to go in the second round or possibly even the late first.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Defensive Prospect of the Week: Nick Fairley,DT, Auburn

Courtesy of Google Images
Cam Newton may be receiving most of the hype this year for the Auburn Tigers, but Nick Fairley is possibly their best player. He has been a terror for opposing offenses this year. A junior, Fairley stands an intimidating 6'5 and weights in at nearly 300 pounds. He possesses excellent size and speed for the defensive tackle position. He is very similar to my #1 ranked DT, Marcell Dareus, in that he is an ideal fit for the 3-4 defensive end position in the pros. This is due to his tall frame combined with size and strength that would allow him to demand double teams, yet still be able to set the edge against the run. However, with Fairley's quickness he could also play under-tackle in a 4-3 scheme.
Courtesy of Google Images
Fairley has been the most dominant defensive tackle in college football this year recording 18 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks so far. He has been shooting up draft boards because he combines exceptional physical ability with strong play. The reason I am cautious with him, ranking him as my #4 DT in my NFL Draft Rankings is due to his lack of consistency. This is his first year of doing anything in division one football. He attended a junior college and then proceeded to accomplish nothing last year at Auburn. This is his first good year of college football. If he continues to prove himself this year and works out well in the off-season he could be selected in the top-half of the first round. However, if he begins to fade their are plenty of other talented defensive tackles that could go ahead of him. There is no denying the physical ability of Fairley and it will be fun to watch him and Cam Newton attempt to lead Auburn to a National Championship.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Josiah Vierra-A True Inspiration

What a truly great, great story. A story like this really puts things in perspective and makes you grateful for the gifts we have. What a great kid. Here is the link
Courtesy of Google Images
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Offensive Prospect of the Week: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

Derek Sherrod has been the big name at the offensive lineman position this season. He has played very well this season, and with the lack of an elite offensive tackle prospect, many people have vaulted Sherrod to the top of their prospect rankings. I have not made such a big jump, but I have moved Sherrod up to #3 in my NFL Draft Rankings. I do not think he has surpassed Anthony Costanzo or Nate Solder, as prospects, despite their average seasons, but I think he has overtaken Gabe Carimi who is beginning to look more like a star right tackle prospect.

Courtesy of Google Images
Sherrod, a senior this year, has great size at 6'5, 305 pounds. He also possesses very good athleticism. His feet are very quick for a man his size, and this allows him to dominate defensive lineman in college. He also possesses very good upper body strength. When he gets locked onto a man in pass protection it is over. His run blocking is also very good. He gets good push and uses his strength to move defensive lineman and create holes. His run blocking is superior to his pass protection at this point, although some scouts believe he needs to work on finishing his blocks. I think he is a better run blocker than Costanzo, but he is not quite as quick or polished in his pass protection. However, he is stronger than Costanzo and if he can continue to improve on his technique and footwork he could very well be the top tackle taken come April.

This is a deep, yet weak class of offensive tackles. Their is an abundance of good tackles coming out, but their is no elite tackle prospect. Sherrod probably has the best chance of becoming the elite tackle, but I believe Costanzo and Solder are much safer bets at this point. Gabe Carimi should become an elite right tackle in the NFL, but I'm not sure he will be able to handle left tackle. It will be interesting to see how all these prospects play out in the NFL.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Offensive Prospect of the Week: LaMichael James (Sophomore)

Courtesy of Google  Images
LaMichael James has been one of the hottest names in college football over the past two seasons. Last year he set a freshmen rushing record racking up 230 carries for 1546 yards (6.7 ypc), and this year he is out to crush those stats. He is on pace for 1815 yards and 21 touchdowns. Despite playing in Oregon's dynamic offense, these numbers are still very impressive. James is very, very fast and his quickness and agility are exceptional. His ability to make people miss is as good as it gets on the college  level and his production cannot be denied. However, he is very small. He stands 5'9 and weights in around 185. James needs to put on some serious weight, while maintaining his speed in order to become a top prospect. His small stature does not mean he is not strong though. James is a very strong runner to compliment his speed and his leg drive is impressive, he simply needs to add weight so he can stand up to the beating he will receive in the NFL. He does have another year or two to do this as he is only a sophomore and he probably will not declare for the draft this year. I think he can bulk up and that is why I have him at #4 in my NFL Draft Rankings. James has the natural rushing ability that reminds me of some of the greats, and I do not believe he will let his small stature stop him. Around this time next year, people will be talking about James as a first-round draft pick. The NFL success of Chris Johnson, Jahvid Best, and Maurice Jones-Drew only help the case of James. James could lead Oregon to a national championship this season and everyone will see his exceptional ability. Next year, James will likely be my #1 rated running back.

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Defensive Prospect of the Week: Akeem Ayers,LB, UCLA

Courtesy of Google Images
Rated as the number one linebacking prospect in my NFL Draft Rankings, I obviously think very highly of Akeem Ayers. He is a player who just oozes athleticism. Ayers is built like a stud, standing 6'4 and weighing in around 255 pounds, he has excellent size for a linebacker. He possesses good but not great speed, clocking in between 4.55 and 4.7. However, he has excellent natural athletic ability and with his great size, slightly above average speed is good enough. Ayers is naturally suited for the outside linebacker position, but he could also play middle linebacker and even put his hand on the ground in some situations and rush the passer. A junior this year, Ayers is came into the season fresh off of a superb sophomore season in which he recorded 69 tackles, 3 sacks, and two interceptions. He also scored two touchdowns. In his junior season he is on a similar pace.

Courtesy of Google Images
Ayers is a special player, his combination of size and athletic ability allow him to play many different positions. He has the potential to succeed in the 4-3 (SAM or MIKE) or the 3-4 as an outside rush backer. He has the frame to add a few more pounds if need be, and if he can maintain his speed he will be a terror off the edge. Ayers has a nose for the football and uses his size to physically dominate opponents. He sometimes struggles to get off blocks and this could cause concerns for some teams looking to draft him early. If Ayers can run in the 4.5 range at the combine he will most likely be a top 15 selection, but if he clocks in more in the 4.6 to 4.7 range, he may fall to the bottom of the first round. However, players with his size and athleticism are not passed on easily.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Detroit Defeats Washington to Record Win #2!

The Detroit Lions recorded their second win of the season sunday, matching their combined win total from the last two seasons. They did so in impressive fashion knocking off the Washington Redskins behind dominating performances by Calvin Johnson and the defensive line. Coming off the bye, the Lions were in prime position to pick up a win. With Matthew Stafford returning for the first time since an opening day injury and the Lions continuing their improved play, Detroit won a tight, hard-fought decision.

Courtesy of Google Images
At QB Stafford threw for four touchdowns and only one interception after coming alive in the second half. He finished 26/45 for 212 yards. You would like a little higher completion percentage, but just having Stafford back was a breath of fresh air. He displayed the arm strength, accuracy, and general throwing ability that made him the #1 overall pick and had everyone so excited to start the season. If Stafford can build on this performance he could quickly grow into the franchise QB everyone thinks he will be. He might just be the second best quarterback in the NFC North behind Aaron Rodgers.

At RB both backs had above average performances. Kevin Smith had 12 touches for 67 yards and Jahvid Best had 17 touches for 79 yards. Best's performance was less spectacular than Lion's fans have come to expect of him, but it was still solid. As teams begin to game plan more and more for Best, Scott Linehan will have to find more creative ways to get him the ball in space, where he is extremely dangerous. The big surprise of this game was Kevin Smith. He had an impressive second half and showed flashes of his pre-injury self. Smith displayed great vision and decision making on when to bounce the runs outside, and  he looked good catching passes out of the backfield and the slot. If fully recovered, Smith and Best should form a solid duo for the next few years. I would also like to see Jerome Felton getting a few more carries in short yardage situations, such as the 3rd and 1 in the redzone during the fourth quarter. Felton has proven to be an effective short yardage runner and the Lions should make use of him.

At WR the Lions displayed some hope. Calvin Johnson had a phenomenal game. He absolutely dominated Deangelo Hall, who was fresh off his four interception performance. Johnson was aggressive going after balls and always seemed to be open, ending up with 9 catches for 101 yards and 3 TD's. With Stafford back Johnson should finally be able to develop into the superstar receiver that he is destined to be. At the other receiver positions Nate Burleson actually had a decent game. He had 7 catches for 47 yards, and provided hope that he could become the #2 target he was brought to Detroit to be. However, he needs to learn to hang onto the ball as his fumble was crucial. Bryant Johnson had one catch, but the Lions are better off in their 2 WR, 2 TE sets.
Courtesy of Google Images

At TE the Lions were very quiet. Brandon Pettigrew did have a touchdown, but besides that him and Scheffler were shut down. I'm not sure if this was because Calvin was always open so Stafford didn't have to go to his second option or simply because the tight ends were covered. Either way, I think the Lions need to utilize their double TE sets because Pettigrew and Scheffler both provide exciting mismatches that Linehan should look to utilize.

The offensive line had a solid game but not spectacular game. They were very impressive in pass protection, surrounding only one sack to a defensive front led by Albert Haynesworth and Brian Orapko. Stafford was given ample time to throw and it appears the line will be able to provide suitable protection. Jeff Backus continued his improved play and hopefully he can continue to anchor the line and protect Stafford. In the run game the Lions average over four yards per carry, but they could have had more. The line provided some holes, but they still lack the consistency in the run game that they need to become an above-average unit. A good guard in the draft could help the line finally become a strength.

Courtesy of Google Images
On the other hand, the defensive line is already a strength. Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams, Kyle Vanden Bosch, and Cliff Avril all had phenomenal games. Suh, VB, and Avril all recorded two sacks and Williams was constantly disrupting plays in the backfield. Add in the play of Sammie Lee Hill and Turk McBride and the Lions have not only a talented but deep line. The defensive line is definitely the strength of this team, providing a strong pass rush and also stuffing the run extremely well. The Lions seem to have finally done what Matt Millen refused to do, build from the trenches.

At LB the Lions had one of their better games, but they are still a below average unit. DeAndre Levy returned from injury and recorded four tackles, but even his return could not greatly aid the struggling unit. Julian Peterson is getting older and Ashlee Palmer is simply not the answer. This is an area the Lions should try to address in the draft.

The secondary had another up and down week. Chris Houston continued his exceptional play, shutting down his side of the field. He continues to be one of the top steals of the offseason. Alphonso Smith had a few nice plays including an excellent interception, but he was also beat a few times and dropped a potential pick six. Smith would be the perfect nickel corner if the Lions could find one more effective corner. Jonathan Wade had a decent game, but he is not the long-term answer anywhere. Louis Delmas had a solid performance as usual, filling hard in the run game and doing the job in the passing game. Amari Spievey came in to replace the injured C.C. Brown, and was beat on a deep pass. However, he did shut down the tight end on two straight two-point conversion attempts. Spievey has the physical tools to become a starting safety for the Lions, he just needs to learn a bit more.

Overall the Lions had a very encouraging game. Stafford's return combined with the play of Calvin Johnson and the defensive line should give hope to Lion's fans everywhere. The Jets better come ready to play next week!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College

Courtesy of Google Images
At 6'7, 308 lbs, Anthony Costanzo has a prototypical frame for an offensive tackle. While he could stand to put on a few pounds of muscle, he has long limbs and great length which will allow him to control opposing pass rushers. Costanzo is a four-year starter for Boston College and he has performed very well, being named to the All-ACC team as well as the honorable mention All-American team. He has long arms, extremely quick feet, is very agile for a man his size, and is also very smart (He is majoring in biochemistry). The one knock on Costanzo is his strength. He has not quite filled out his frame like some of the other prospects and many think he is susceptible to the power rushers of the NFL. However, strength is something that can be improved in the NFL, whereas length, intelligence and quickness cannot. These natural traits and oozing potential are what makes Costanzo my #1 Offensive Tackle Prospect. He has all the tools to become a 10-year cornerstone at left tackle for a team in the NFL, and this will help him get drafted in the top-10 come April.

For my full draft rankings Click Here  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Defensive Prospect of the Week: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

Courtesy of Google Images

Last year Terrence Cody received most of if not all the hype for the Alabama defensive line, but Marcell Dareus probably deserved most of it. This year, after a slow start, Dareus is showing why he is my number one rated defensive tackle. After recording 33 tackles and 6 sacks last year he has 19 tackles and 3 sacks so far this year, despite missing the first two games. Dareus should continue to rack up stats this year and it all starts with him if Alabama hopes to rebound from their loss to South Carolina and return to the National Championship.

At 6'4 306 lbs, Dareus is a full-grown man. The thing that separates Dareus from the average defensive lineman is his athletic ability. Most men 6'4, 306 lbs. are slow on their feet or clumsy, but Marcell is a fluid athlete. He is explosive and can physically dominate other lineman. His first step is extraordinary for a man his size and it will allow him to fit in at multiple positions at the next level. He has the frame to add more strength and he could add another 10-20 pounds depending on the position he would like to play in the pros. No one is a perfect prospect (except possibly AJ Green) and Dareus, like others, has his flaws. He has been very inconsistent this year and some people believe he is lazy. He also needs to continue to add strength in order to stand up to the beating he will receive every game in the NFL.

Marcell Dareus is no Ndamukong Suh or even a Gerald McCoy, but he is still the elite defensive tackle prospect in this draft. He will most likely be taken in the top 10 because of his extraordinary potential, but their is always a risk drafting defensive lineman. It will be interesting to see follow the career of Dareus.

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NFL Draft Prospect Rankings (10-25-10)

Here are my NFL Draft Rankings as of 10-25-10. They will be updated periodically and more prospect profiles will be added.

1. Andrew Luck, Stanford
2. Jake Locker, Washington
3. Ryan Mallet, Arkansas
4. Christian Ponder, Florida St.
5. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

Running backs

1. Mark Ingram, Alabama
2. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
3. DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
4. LaMichael James, Oregon (Not Draft Eligible)
5. John Clay, Wisconsin

Wide Receivers

1. AJ Green, Georgia
2. Julio Jones, Alabama
3. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
4. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.
5. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
6. Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburg
7. Ronald Johnson, USC
8. Austin Pettis, Boise St.
9. Jeremy Kurley, TCU
10. Titus Young, Boise St.

Tight Ends

1. Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
2. Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin
3. Weslye Saunders, South Carolina
4. Luke Stocker, Tennessee
5. D.J. Williams,  Arkansas

Offensive Tackles

1. Anthony Costanzo, Boston College
2. Nate Solder, Colorado
3. Derek Sherrod, Mississippi
4. Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin

5. Tyron Smith, USC
6. Demarcus Love, Arkansas
7. Matt Reynolds, BYU

Guards and Centers

1. Stefen Wisniewski, Penn St.
2. John Moffit, Wisconsin
3. Mike Pouncey, Florida
4. Marcus Cannon, TCU
5. Rodney Hudson, Florida St.

Defensive Ends

1. Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
2. Robert Quinn, North Carolina 
3. Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
4. Allen Bailey, Miami
5. Cameron Heyward, Ohio St.
6. Cameron Jordan, California
7. Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
8. Aldon Smith, Missouri
9. Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma

Defensive Tackles

1. Marcell Dareus, Alabama
2. Nick Fairley, AuburnMarvin a
3. Stephen Paea, Oregon St.
4. Marvin Austin, North Carolin
5. Drake Nevis, LSU


1. Akeem Ayers, UCLA
2. Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
3. Bruce Carter, North Carolina
4. Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
5. Jeremy Houston, Georgia
6. Von Miller, Texas A&M
7. Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
8. Greg Jones, Michigan St.


1. Patrick Peterson, LSU
2. Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
3. Brandon Harris, Miami
4. Aaron Williams, Texas
5. Janoris Jenkins, Florida
6. Brandon Burton, Utah
7. Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech


1. Rahim Moore, UCLA
2. DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
3. Deunta Williams, North Carolina
4. Tejay Johnson, TCU
5. Mark Barron, Alabama
6. Jeron Johnson, Boise St.
7. Robert Sands, West Virginia

These are most of the main prospects at each position. I don't claim to be Todd McShay or Mel Kiper Jr, and I am not familiar with every single prospect that will be drafted. However, if you have a question about a certain prospect not listed just let me know, and I will research him.

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Favre and Romo Both Injured

The last few hours has brought bad news for the fans of the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings. After an MRI this morning, it has been confirmed that Brett Favre has two fractures in his ankle and is walking in a boot. He is in danger of ending his consecutive start streak and possibly more. It looks like it may be time for Favre to hang it up. For the Cowboys, Tony Romo has fractured his left clavicle in the game tonight against the Giants. The projected recovery time is 8-12 weeks, so Romo will likely miss the rest of the season. Combine this injury, which means Jon Kitna will be the starter, with the fact that the Cowboys started the season 1-4, and it looks as if the Cowboy's season is all but over. Both the Vikings and Cowboys are in trouble for the season. The Vikings are arguably in a better situation due to Adrian Peterson and a strong defense, but it is not looking good for either team.

Offensive Prospect of the Week: Jake Locker, QB, Washington

Courtesy of Google Images 
After his junior season at Washington Jake Locker had a choice, enter the NFL Draft or return to school to try and lead the Huskies to a national championship. Locker choose to stay in school. Entering the 2010 College Football season, Jake Locker was nearly the consensus number one quarterback prospect. His size, athletic ability, and passing skills had wowed the entire country and everyone was caught up in the Jake Locker hype. The Huskies were poised for their best season ever and Locker was set to become the number one pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Then the season began. Washington has stumbled to a 3-4 start to the season, including an embarrassing 56-21 loss to Nebraska. Locker has been heavily criticized for not being able to lead the Huskies to victory; however, despite the criticism, barring the Nebraska game, Locker has not played that poorly. He has thrown for 1614 yards and 14 touchdowns (Only 4 INT), while at the same time rushing for 253 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Courtesy of Google Images
At 6'3, 230lbs Locker has ideal size for a QB, but it is not his size that makes Locker stand out. Locker is a special athlete. He was selected in the 10th round of the MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels, and is rumored to throw in the mid-to-high nineties on his fastball. He also claims to run in the 4.4, 4.5 range in the 40-yard dash. He possesses excellent quickness and agility for a quarterback his size. Physically their is nothing wrong with Locker, he has excellent arm strength and and fairly impressive accuracy. He also has rather advanced footwork and mechanics for a college quarterback. The only thing holding Locker back is himself. He tends to be a streaky passer, displayed by his awful 4-20 passing performance against Nebraska. Also, he often trusts his arm strength too much and tries to force throws. However, he has to attempt to make plays because he is the heart and soul of the Washington offense. Locker has a lot of weight on his shoulders. He received a tremendous amount of hype leading up to the 2011 season, and he has not delivered on that hype. However, he is still a very gifted quarterback. He has the size, speed, strength, and passing ability to succeed at the next level. A good coach can help him with his inconsistent passing and a better team will allow him to quit forcing things. Locker is almost underrated now, with the emergence of Andrew Luck and Ryan Mallet and come draft time Locker will hear his name called in the first round, possibly the top 10.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Finally a "Good Samaritan"

ESPN's Andy Katz broke a story today about Pittsburg's basketball coach, Jamie Dixon, helping people out after their car crashed on the highway saturday night. A car had flipped over and the passengers were trapped inside. Dixon pulled over and helped the passengers reach safety, injuring his hands in the process. The state trooper on the scene called Dixon a "good samaritan".

Courtesy of Google Images
To me this is an awesome story. With all the negative press surrounding pro athletes regarding their stupid decisions, with all the negative press around coaches cheating (Bruce Pearl, Jim Calhoun), and with all the press about agents illegally talking to collegiate athletes, it is refreshing to hear a story about a public sports figure doing it the right way. Dixon has been a successful coach since he has come to Pittsburg, always putting the Panthers in contention for a Big East title, this year being no different, and it is awesome to see him displaying good character also. Dixon could have easily drove by the scene like everyone else, but he took the time out of his surely busy day to help some people in need. This is the kind of example that needs to be set by more athletes and coaches. Their ability to influence others is so great that if they set a positive example many people will learn from them. However, if they set a poor example people will still be watching. Athletes and Coaches have a lot of responsibility whether they like it or not, and it is awesome to finally see one of them doing the right thing. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Offensive Prospect of the Week: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

Google Images
AJ Green  may be my top-rated wide receiver but Julio Jones is not far behind. Julio at 6'4, 220lbs. may be even more physically impressive than Green. He has all the physical tools to be a dominant, #1 target. After being a top recruit out of high school Jones exploded onto the college scene his freshmen year. He had 58 catches for 924 yards and 4 touchdowns. However, since then he been plagued by injury and ineffectiveness. He has all the tools to succeed but for some reason he has struggled to put it all together. As mentioned before he has elite size. His speed is good to very good. He is projected to run around a 4.44 forty, but he is a long strider and his speed will not jump off the screen at you. He has great hands and will make the spectacular catch. The thing that separates Green from him though is route running. Although Green is not an elite route runner either, Green has the ability to explode and separate out of his cuts, unlike Jones. Jones seems to struggle coming in and out of his breaks, something that could affect him more at the next level. Julio is still likely to be a first rounder due to his potential, and with a little work he can still be a great player in the NFL.

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Defensive Prospect of the Week: Adrian Clayborn, DE, IOWA

courtesy of google images
At 6'3 285 lbs. Adrian Clayborn is a true man. He possesses the physical size and strength to simply dominate his opponents. This allows him to control the line of scrimmage, holding his own against the run while generating a solid pass rush at the same time. He is consistently in the backfield of the opponent. On top of his superior strength and size, Clayborn also possesses a remarkably high-motor for a man his size. He rarely takes a play off, and is active throughout the game. He will be a three-down player in the NFL. Clayborn also has great technique. He has a large repertoire of pass-rushing moves and uses his hands very well. He is very advanced or a college lineman and you can tell he is well coached. Clayborn is everything you could want in a defensive lineman prospect. He was arrested due to an assault charge but nothing ever came of it. Adrian is off to a rather slow start this year, recording only two sacks through six games (compared to 11 last year), but this is likely due largely to the fact that he is facing constant double teams and increased attention. It will be interesting to see how he finishes out the season, and how that will effect his draft status. Right now he is a first round lock, and with a strong finish to the season and a solid combine, he will likely be drafted in the top ten.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

LeBron Reveals Tweets of Anger

Courtesy of
According to ESPN, LeBron James has recently revealed some tweets that were sent to him shortly after his decision to join the Miami Heat. These tweets are awful, and they are really a disgrace to sports fans all over the world. LeBron is insulted racially among other things. It is really sad that fans would write such things to a human being over a sports game. Fans need to remember that athletes are humans too and no matter what they do in the small world of sports, they do not deserve to be treated so terribly. This reminds me of the Nick Collins fight, where Collins was insulted racially simply because of his play on the field. Fans need to step back, realize that life is bigger than sports, and grow up. This is a sad story. Check out LeBron's Twitter

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's Next? Two-Hand Touch?

According to ESPN, the NFL will now be suspending players for "devastating hits" and "head shots". This new rule comes in response to some truly terrible hits over the weekend. It is awful to see people get nailed in the head during a game. It is terrible when players miss games due to concussion, and may end up sustaining brain damage, and it is the absolute worst when a player is paralyzed from a hit in a football game. However, to begin suspending people for tackling someone too hard is dangerous for the NFL. This will result in players slowing up, which is potentially more dangerous than hitting hard in the first place. It will also greatly reduce the quality of play. Getting hit is part of the game of football and if players are not allowed to hit, it gives even more advantage to the already favored offenses in the NFL. Receivers will be free to run over the middle, running backs will no longer fear the hard-hitting linebackers. Most players in the NFL are not intentionally trying to hurt themselves and others. The sad fact is that when you play a game where you run full force into other human beings, sometimes people are going to get hurt. To suspend players for hits that are most likely accidental is turning the NFL into something it should not be. What's Next? Two-Hand Touch?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins will Report to Teams

According to ESPN, two holdouts to this point, Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins, have decided to report to their teams. They have been told that in order to be eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season, they must join their teams. Jackson must join by Oct. 31 and Mankins by Nov. 16. The reason for these players holdout is the uncapped year. Both were due to be unrestricted free agents after the 2009 season, but due to the uncapped year they remained restricted free agents. This angered both of them and they decided to holdout for the deal they wanted. Neither player received the deal they coveted, so they continued their holdout. Now, both players must return in order to insure they can get the deal they want this offseason. I feel for Jackson and Mankins in this situation, but I do not agree with them missing most of the season. I realize they did not receive as much money as they were looking for, but to hold out for this long reveals that they do not really care for their team. This is another example of players putting other things before their team.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Offensive Prospect of the Week: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

My previous two prospects of the week, AJ Green and Andrew Luck, are the top prospects at the wide receiver and quarterback positions respectively, so it is time to preview the top running back prospect, Mark Ingram. Mark Ingram, the defending Heisman Trophy winner and star running back for the Alabama Crimson Tide, is a dominant college football player. Last year he rushed 271 times for 1658 yards, good for a 6.1 yards per carry average. He also scored 17 times. This year he has 56 carries for 396 yards (7.1 ypc) and 6 touchdowns. He has received less carries due to injury and the emergence of Trent Richardson, Alabama's other running back, but he has been very dominant when he has received carries. He checks in at 5'10, 215 lbs., but he looks and plays more like 225. He is a bull when he runs the ball and he rarely goes down after first contact. His vision and instinct are elite, and his balance is very impressive also. His strength is also unmatched at the running back position, and he is a load to bring down. The only thing preventing Ingram from being a once-in-a-lifetime prospect is his speed.  He lacks elite top-end speed, but will probably still run in the 4.45-4.50 range. This speed does not hurt him, but it is not elite like his other traits. Ingram, a junior, will be drafted in the first round if he declares, and he could sneak into the top 10 if a team covets a running back. The only thing that could knock Ingram down in the draft is if he runs in the 4.6 range and begins to draw comparison to Ron Dayne.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nike Buys Rights to NFL Apparel-Spells possible lockout?

Nike Pro Combat Jersey
According to Profootball Talk, starting in 2012 all NFL apparel will be made my Nike and not Reebok. This is a huge deal as Nike will now be able to put their logo on all NFL gear, which is a stark contrast to before when players who wore anything but Reebok were fined. Nike provides all the new gear to the NFL for free, but they will make millions in the sale of all the NFL apparel to fans, jerseys, gloves, jackets, hats, etc. This will most likely lead to new looking NFL jerseys, similar to to Pro Combat uniforms released in college football this year. The rights to NFL apparel is a gigantic investment for Nike, and it begs the question as to why Reebok would let the rights go so easily. One possible reason is that Reebok believes a lockout is coming and they did not want to invest so much in a league that will not be functioning for a whole year. Another reason is that Nike simply bid an absurd amount to lock in this contract, which could also spell bad news for the NFL. If the players see how much money the NFL is really making, they may become even more unhappy, leading to a lockout. It will be interesting to monitor this story and see if it contributes to a possible lockout.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Owner of Winless San Francisco 49ers Says Team Will Win Division!

According to ESPN, Jed York, owner of the San Francisco 49ers, told ESPN via a text message that the 49ers will win the division. The 49ers are currently 0-5 on the season, and they have failed miserably in meeting the high expectations that were put on them. Granted the NFC west is a very weak division, but to say that an 0-5 team will come back and win it is absurd. The 49ers have yet to show they can put a full game together, offense, defense, and special teams. Right now they need to focus on one-win, not winning the division. I hope this is a motivational move to show that he still believes in Mike Singletary and the team because otherwise this may be categorized with Dan Gilbert's Letter, under stupid things done by owners. I know it is entertaining when Mark Cuban says dumb things and gets fined for it, but most owners need to avoid talking to the media and making bold predictions. We get it, every owner thinks their team is the greatest, but in reality it's just not true.