Tag Archive | "NFL Draft"

2010 NFL Draft teams select character


The NFL Draft’s first round wrapped up pretty quickly. Teams knew who they wanted but more so who they didn’t 2010-nfl-draft-logowant. Tim Tebow celebrated at his home in Florida as he put on a Denver Broncos cap after being taken with the twenty-fifth pick.He said what many were thinking when he told Jeremy Schaap of ESPN that the Broncos knew that by picking him they were getting a guy who won’t get in trouble.

The word “character” was thrown around all night just as it has been for the entire episode involving Ben Roethlisberger. The media or perhaps the NFL began using character a few years back as a euphemism for words like, good behavior, discipline, lack of ego and law abiding citizen.

Despite being a first round pick in mock drafts from the likes of Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock, Jimmy Clausen was left sitting in his home in California without a phone call from any NFL team.

Generally acknowledged as the easiest of the available quarterbacks to fit into an NFL offense, Clausen had trouble with one of the meanings behind the use of the word character.

He is called arrogant and cocky. He admitted this week on the Dan Patrick radio program that he was asked about that on interviews with teams that showed interest in him.

His answer to the question was to send the clubs to his coaches and teammates, leaving draft watchers to wonder if those worries were being confirmed as Clausen went undrafted in round one.

Character is in the eye of the beholder of course and just to prove that point, Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys gleefully plucked wide receiver Dez Bryant out of the pile.
Bryant was considered worthy of the #4 pick by Kiper and #11 by Mayock but came perilously close to being left out of the fun.

Jones, known as a guy who loves turnaround projects, (TO, Tank Johnson, Adam Jones) saw the glass half full when it came to the subject of Bryant.
Rather than seeing his run-in with the NCAA as a reason to ignore his obvious talents, Jones traded up to get him at #24. You think he had Deion Sanders whispering encouragement in his ear?

The Cowboys gave New England their third round pick at #90 in exchange for a chance to get Bryant and the Pats fourth round pick. But without the intervention from Jones, Bryant would be sitting in the same spot as Clausen.

It used to be that legal trouble, drug use or team suspensions were the hot buttons for NFL draft experts. Not any longer. If you’ve got an iffy personality or one that can’t be deciphered and considered manageable you better prepare yourself for getting overlooked. Rounds two and three kick off tonight at 6 pm EDT.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax™

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Will McNabb Trade Come Back & Bite the Eagles?


WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the biggest news to come out of Washington since the Health Care Bill passed, the donovan mcnabbPhiladelphia Eagles traded Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb to their division rival Washington Redskins in a move that dropped the jaw of many NFL insiders around the league.

In return the Eagles will get this month’s Redskins 2nd round draft pick (37th overall) in the NFL Draft and another later round pick next year that will be determined later.

New Redskins coach Mike Shanahan signed Rex Grossman earlier in the year and with this move may be expected to move Jason Campbell who has been the starter for more than three seasons.

Shanahan takes over a team that underachieved last season and this move frees up the #4 overall pick to fill another hole on the team. Prior to this trade for McNabb, the Redskins were almost certain to take Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen with that selection.

When asked for an explanation for trading McNabb to a division rival they will be facing two times per year, Eagles’ coach Andy Reid said “You can’t say that we didn’t think about that. We did, but this was a decision that we thought was best for Donovan and, at the same time, the compensation was right for us. We certainly took into consideration Donovan’s feelings here, too.”

“I’m really excited about my future with the Washington Redskins,” said McNabb. “I’m eager to work with Coach Shanahan. He’s been a very successful coach with a couple of Super Bowl victories on his resume. While it’s been my goal to win a Super Bowl in Philadelphia, we came up short. I enjoyed my 11 years here and we shared a lot more good times than bad.”

In his 11 years donning green in the City of Brotherly Love, the 33-year-old McNabb is a 6-time Pro Bowler and guided the Eagles to one Super Bowl appearance and 5 NFC championship games. He holds most of the team’s records at his position including 32,873 yards passing, 2,801completions, a 59% completion percentage and 216 TD passes. On the ground the elusive slinger has rushed for 3,249 yards and 28 TDs.

Kevin Kolb is the new starter after only starting two games and Michael Vick goes into preseason expected to be the backup.

On paper it appears the Redskins got a steal in this move. Last season, McNabb had the 3rd highest QB rating in his career (92.9) and threw for 3,553 yards and 22 TDs.

Mike Shanahan is considered one of the elite minds in the NFL and may be able to convert the Redskins into a contender as soon as this upcoming season.

“Donovan is an accomplished quarterback who has been a proven winner in the National Football League,” said Shanahan. “I have long admired his competitiveness and feel he will be an outstanding addition to the Redskins and our community. He knows our division and the roadmap to success in the NFC East.”

Yes he does and that roadmap may also include a playoff match-up against his former Eagles and the fans in Philly who have long been screaming for his removal.

 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax™

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Tim Tebow Bombs in 31-13 Senior Bowl Loss


MOBILE, Ala. – Florida quarterback Tim Tebow had a dismal performance in yesterday’s Senior Bowl in Mobile,Tim Tebow Alabama and it comes as no surprise to most NFL scouts. Under the watchful eye of the Miami Dolphins’ coaching staff and scouts coast-to-coast, Tebow was playing in a pro-style offense and with a questionable NFL arm, his stats were, well, let’s just say not Tebow-like.

Tebow finished 8-of-12 for 50 yards and two fumbles. His longest completion was 11 yards and he was held to just 4 yards on four rushes.

“I think I’m definitely open to improving my fundamentals,” Tebow said. “I think I definitely showed that by being here. If you just watched the way I played, you could see there is room for improvement and what I need to work on.”

Now that all the hype and glory of college ball is behind him, Tebow has a more challenging task at hand, impressing NFL scouts who are good talent evaluators and certainly know the huge difference between a college and an NFL quarterback, and it will take a lot more than looking good with your shirt off.

While some unaccountably compare Tebow’s career path to NFL Hall of Fame QB Steve Young, more questions than answers have surfaced recently. Bottom line is, Tebow’s stock has dropped, spiraled back down to earth now that it is crunch time and his performance in the Senior Bowl supported what most pro scouts already knew.

Some have talked about a possible position change maybe moving him to tight end or halfback but when it comes down to picking especially in the higher rounds, don’t expect a team to waste it on a player they would have to train in a new position.

Tebow’s best football may very well be behind him and his best chance of going high in the draft was being chosen by a Florida team like Jacksonville, Tampa Bay or Miami. After his Senior Bowl performance under Coach Tony Sparano and the Dolphins’ staff, you may want to scratch Miami off that list.

Copyright © 2010 – Sports Climax

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NFL Update: Stafford Injured, Titans 0-4, Broncos 4-0


Hottest news this NFL weekend includes the Detroit Lions No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford’s knee injury.

In a 48-24 loss in Chicago, Stafford showed several signs of why he was touted as a No. 1 when he orchestrated Photo: Andre J. Jackson DFP several long scoring drives of over 70 yards against the banged-up Bears defense including one 98 yard drive for a touchdown.

But the show came to an abrupt end late in the game when Stafford took a sack then lay on the grass, clutching his knee in pain. Stafford limped off the field and spent the rest of the game with his knee wrapped in ice while veteran Daunte Culpepper took the remaining snaps.

ESPN reported that Stafford’s injury was a dislocated kneecap that popped back in while he was on the sideline and the injury is expected to sideline him for one or two weeks.

After starting out 3-0, Mark Sanchez, New York Jets quarterback and second slinger taken in last year’s NFL Draft finally had his rookie break-out game throwing three interceptions in a 24-10 road loss in New Orleans. Before the loss, Sanchez’ three straight wins included an upset victory against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.  

Darren Sharper returned one of Sanchez’ errant throws 99 yards to the house and that 14-point swing was too much for the young quarterback and his Jets to overcome. The Saints went on to win 24-10.

In other surprising news the Tennessee Titans fell to 0-4 while the Denver Broncos improved to 4-0 with their 17-10 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Copyright © 2009 – Sports Climax

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Starting Stafford Too Huge a Risk for Lions


DETROIT – After seeing rookie sensations Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco evolve into legitimate starters last year in the Matthew StaffordNFL, the temptation was too much for the Detroit Lions and Coach Jim Schwartz.

With the season opening September 13th with a road game in New Orleans followed by a visit from the Minnesota Vikings, Schwartz ignored the risks and named Matthew Stafford the starter.

Putting the young slinger across from Minnesota’s swarming defensive line just eight days into his NFL career may evolve into a human sacrifice and reinvent the name ‘Purple People Eaters’ for the Vikings.

The Vikings sacked Lions quarterbacks a total of 10 times in the two games last year. That is a risky scenario to place a young rookie quarterback in who is trying to build confidence.

Stafford has an incredible arm, there’s no doubt about that but it’s hard to throw with a 300-lb. lineman’s arms wrapped around you.

We’ve been hearing the Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco theories but those two rookies stood behind proven offensive lines last year and were given plenty of protection throughout their 11-5 seasons. There’s talk about how improved the Lions O line is this year but why not wait a few weeks to verify that.

The league’s best quarterbacks crumble under excessive pressure up front, even Tom Brady as seen in the Super Bowl game when the New York Giants knocked Brady totally off his game upsetting the heavily-favored New England Patriots.

The NFL game is a sprint compared to NCAA and Stafford could have gotten a feel for the pace and speed of the game by watching the first few Sundays from the sidelines.

There would be a lesser argument for handing Stafford a clipboard and headset in New Orleans if this were a ‘Stafford vs. Stanton’ or a ‘Stafford vs. Orlovsky’ debate but the Lions have a proven Pro Bowl quarterback on their roster, Daunte Culpepper who has thrown for 23,208 yards in his career. That’s 13 miles; more than 232 football fields.

Culpepper deserves a legitimate chance to reinvent himself. It happens all the time. John Travolta did it on the screen with Pulp Fiction; Chad Pennington did it on the field with Miami last year.

Culpepper, the three-time Pro Bowl player showed up 30 pounds lighter in game shape before the season started expecting to start. Now that he finds himself out of the starting position he was never given a chance to lose, there may be some bad locker room karma heading the Lions way.

When Daunte joined the Lions in October 2008 we covered that story, “Daunte Should Avoid the Lions”. The Lions have a knack for finishing player’s careers on a sour note (Google Tatum Bell and Marcus Pollard). If Culpepper sits rotting away on the bench while he has some arm left, he could join that group. You have to wonder; Will Daunte ask to be traded?

Culpepper appears committed to again making a mark in the NFL and he cannot do that collecting splinters on the bench.

Playing against former teams brings the best out of athletes as we see ever week when ex-Lions visit Detroit and have career days after being traded or cut. I would have expected the best out of Daunte against his former Vikings team during Week Two at Ford Field.

The logical decision would have been to sit Stafford for at least two weeks then re-evaluate his progress, the O line and the team then go from there. William Clay Ford is always more interested in selling tickets as in the case with hurrying quarterback Joey Harrington, a first-round dud that was never given a fair chance to develop.

The Lions got impatient. This is clearly a rebuilding time, just as the past decade has been so what would a few more weeks of development have mattered?

 This is unlikely to be a playoff season but the Lions are taking a chance of destroying the confidence of their franchise $78 million investment-another reason this team is, and may always be, destined to be a loser.

Voice your opinion by taking our front page poll and vote whether Stafford and Mark Sanchez should be taking snaps NFL Week One.

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More Matthew Stafford Articles:

Get Ready Lions, Stafford Knows How to Party!

Why Stafford and Detroit Lions are a Bad Marriage

Bitch-Slap-of-the-Week – Matthew Stafford

Copyright © 2009 – Sports Climax

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Lions miss out on the draft of the decade


NEW YORK – During this past weekend’s NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions failed to take advantage of stealing several first-round nfldraftprojected players that were staring them right in the face. Snagging these prospects would have patched up several of their holes in their defense and guaranteed them several sure starters for next season.

While many people commented on how ‘genius’ the Lions front office looked by trading their top pick in the 3rd round for three of the N.Y. Jets picks, a former projected first-round pick, 6′ 7″ 260-lb DE Michael Johnson from Georgia Tech was waiting in the wings for a team that would steal him in the third round.

Possibly a Pro-Bowler one day, Johnson’s resume is overflowing with accomplishments that include a record amount of blocked kicks, several forced fumbles, sacks, the tons of awards; the list goes on and on.

If the Lions went into the draft thinking defense, Johnson would have been the fourth pick in what would have clearly been the best draft of any of the NFL teams for 2009 and possible one of the best drafts over the past decade.

Here’s the scenario that was passed up by the Lions.

First overall- LB Aaron Curry and the fans go wild in support.

First round pick #20 – DT Peria Jerry and the fans start believing the Lions new front office knows football. They actually begin to envision a defense on the way to recovery.

First pick in 2nd round (#33 overall) – MLB Rey Maualuga. Fierce hitter, once projected top-ten pick and the steal of the draft. The Lions fans at Ford Field get their chants for “Rey” answered and actually start wanting to inquire about purchasing season tickets.

Third round selection- DE Michael Johnson 6′ 7″ 260 dynamic player; once predicted a top-ten overall pick. Lions fans say, “Who?” but after reading the player’s bio and hearing ESPN analysts start referring to the Lions as being the winner in the draft, their eyes begin to water up, they want to send apologies to Mayhew for all the names they had called him and begin to fantasize about a playoff game within a few years.

All of these players were at some time projected first-round picks and all were available and passed up by the Lions. Adding these four defensive stars would have created a defensive line that included Grady Jackson, Dwayne White, Peria Jerry and Michael Johnson and a linebacker group of Julian Peterson, Ernie Sims and Rey Maualuga.

Overnight the NFL worst defense would find itself with hitters like Sims and Maualuga and could have been one of the more punishing and feared groups in the league while moving way up the ladder against the run.

With Coach Schwartz being a defense specialist, this scenario would have put the Lions as the biggest winners in the draft while filling several of their important needs.

If this upcoming season again features average running backs setting personal-best records every Sunday while running at will against another Lions sieve-filled defense, Lions’ fans can only shake their heads and again say, “Maybe in next year’s draft.”

Copyright © 2009 – Sports Climax

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Why Stafford and Lions are a bad marriage


DETROIT – When Matthew Stafford smiles at the camera and explains how he will “do whatever it takes to win in Detroit” I see a naïve Lionsyoung man who is oblivious to the fact he has just been thrown into the Lions’ den.

Stafford’s agent Tom Condon has represented his client well in landing the largest rookie contract in the history of the NFL but is money everything? Isn’t the idea supposed to be to play a game you love and have fun while you make the big bucks? If so, Detroit is the wrong place for Stafford.

In and around Atlanta, many of the UGA fans I have spoken to are quick to say how Stafford’s erratic play has frustrated them over the years. They remember how many quarters he spent overthrowing open targets and how he buckled under pressure in many of the big games. How will that translate to the Detroit Lions and their fans?

Following the organization since the days they played during snow squalls in historic Tiger Stadium, I have to say not very well. Many teams in the NFL have rosters that would support a long-term development case like Stafford but Detroit is not one of them.

Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay is a great example. Rodgers worked the clipboard for years developing his talent while watching one of the all-time greats in Brett Favre before stepping into a starting position years later.

That’s how the transition from college to the NFL normally happens and there lies the problem with this marriage.

The Lions’ fans and the city of Detroit have totally lost their patience with this organization. To the point they have spent the past month saturating blogs around the country with threats of dropping support for the team if they draft Stafford. Groups of fans have gone to the extreme of showing up at press conferences filling the air with “Don’t draft Stafford” chants.

These actions truly are nothing personal toward Stafford but rebounding from the most disastrous run in NFL history under a guy named Millen should not include converting a #1 overall pick into a high-risk player like Stafford when there are guaranteed starters like Aaron Curry and Jason Smith available who are projected to step in game one and play in the league for 8-10 years.

While some may argue that Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco are examples of the contrary to long-term quarterback development, look at the Falcons and Ravens rosters compared to Detroit and realize that Stafford’s situation is not the same scenario, it’s nowhere close.

Ryan and Flacco both stood behind offensive lines with time to pass; Stafford goes to a team who allowed a ridiculous amount of sacks in the NFL over the past few seasons.

Stafford will not have a mentor like Favre, instead he will have an aging quarterback who is clinging to his final few years in the league and unhappy fans and media he will be pressured into trying to please.

Tom Brady looked near-flawless during the Patriots’ record-setting 16-0 season, standing tall and confident in the pocket hitting receivers but when pressure was applied during the Super Bowl game against the N.Y. Giants, even he looked lost and failed.

Yes, Stafford’s contract carries an earth-shattering $41.7 million guarantee and keeps the checks coming in for 6 years but athletes want to win and regardless what they say in front of the lights and cameras, their egos are huge and need to be fed.

Right now the kid may be celebrating what he and his agent have accomplished but when it comes down to playing in Honolulu Blue, reality is going to hit and the fun will be over. How can a kid live up to a $78 million contract in a blue-collar city where unemployment lines wrap around buildings and boarded up foreclosures line the streets?

Stepping in and delivering results immediately like Matt Ryan did in Atlanta when he threw a 60 yard bomb for a TD in his first NFL pass may help a bit. A 60-yard Hail Mary to Calvin Johnson streaking down the sideline may make the fans momentarily forget how stupid of a move the Lions made.

The only problem with that is, that play was against the Lions and there is no other defense in the NFL bad enough to allow that to happen.

That is the reason we heard the supportive “Aaron Curry” chants and degrading “Don’t draft Stafford” chants; the team needs defense and they need it now and they passed up an opportunity to get a guaranteed starter.

Playing quarterback or goalie positions in Detroit takes the thickest of skin and I have never seen a rookie with skin thick enough to withstand the repercussions that comes with that territory, especially if they are not wanted to begin with.

The Lions have seen several past first-round QBs including Andre Ware and Joey Harrington flop and suffer faultering careers after being placed on Lions teams that had better rosters than the current team has. It’s a long process and Stafford is not capable of becoming the overnight savior the fans and organization needs.

Money creates happiness for a certain amount of time but after the enormous homes, extravagant vacations and collections of cars becomes commonplace, it all comes down to how much fun a guy is having playing the game he has grown to love.

After the dust from Stafford’s party settles and he is two years into his journey in a Lions uniform, will the few extra million he received by going #1 as opposed to #3 or #4 be worth it? I think not.

Copyright © 2009 – Sports Climax

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Aaron Curry should go No. 1 in NFL Draft


DETROIT – Now that we’ve spent weeks of listening to ESPN’s Todd McShay shuffle his draft order like a deck of cards and tried (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)not to stare at Mel Kiper Jr’s giant hair taking over our television screens, it’s our turn to make a prediction who will be the No. 1 overall pick by the Detroit Lions.Forecasts throughout talk shows and websites on who will be the pick for the 0-16 Lions have been changing like the weather.

Many had Georgia ‘Dawg QB Matt Stafford a solid No. 1 choice and USC QB Mark Sanchez as a possibility but drafting a quarterback high is a too big a gamble for the Lions (Google Joey Harrington). I expect the Lions to shy away from high-risk picks like Stafford or Sanchez.

New Detroit Lions Coach Jim Schwartz has not ruled out taking a quarterback in the top slot but isn’t quite sold on it yet, “We need to see [Stafford] throw,” said Schwartz who insisted Stafford come in for a personal workout.

Alabama OT Andre Smith, another one-time projected No. 1 overall has also fallen off the top rung of my ladder after he ditched the combine on drill day and when finally performing in front of a group of NFL observers, failed miserably. His numbers included a 5.28 second 40-yard dash and a 225 bench press 19 times.

Many of Smith’s numbers for the day would not have placed him even in the top ten of the OT’s on combine day. With a history of weight control issues and his inability to produce top numbers, it’s obvious why Smith decided to abandon the combine.

Blocking has little to do with running in a straight line for 40 yards but conditioning does and Smith clearly is lacking conditioning. The Detroit Lions have dealt with weight issues in their recent past including with their All-Pro defensive lineman, Sean ‘Big Baby’ Rogers.

The Lions responded to that problem by trading Big Baby away after the player spent dozens of snaps a game sucking down oxygen on the sidelines. It’s safe to say the Lions are not interested in dealing with another potential weight-control or conditioning issue.

The slam-dunk pick of the draft is Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. Curry is believed to be the safest pick and as the Lions attempt to survive a decade of draft disasters and the stench that fired President Matt Millen has left behind, it is imperative they end up with a player who can step into a starting position on opening day.

That player is Aaron Curry and I expect to see him donning Honolulu Blue alongside Ernie Sims on opening day after being selected as the No. 1 overall pick on draft day.

Copyright © 2009 – Sports Climax

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Stafford may skip NFL Combine


ATLANTA – There’s a buzz around Georgia that Bulldog Matthew Stafford may not accept the offer to work out during this month’s UGA File PhotoNFL Combine.If Stafford refuses to participate, he and his agent should be sent a strong message. Teams high on the draft list like the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs should pass and let the underclassman sit and squirm in his seat as a list of names are called before his.

If you think that cannot happen, Google Brady Quinn and Matt Leinhart. Both award-winning college quarterbacks were projected by many to be No. 1 picks.

Leinhart, a USC standout, sat for hours finally being taken 10th by the Arizona Cardinals and Quinn of Notre Dame was forced to sit and squirm in his seat and listen to 21 names echo in the hall before his was finally called by the Cleveland Browns.

To make matters worse, Quinn was forced to sit out and miss the first several days of camp as his agent tried frantically to get a deal signed, a deal signed so late, it eliminated the quarterback’s chance of taking the snaps on opening day.

Getting back to the Stafford issue. There is a certain amount of pressure in performing in front of an audience like the Combine but organizations deserve an opportunity to see how these young athletes respond under a little pressure, especially when those unproven players have agents who plan on asking for tens of millions of guaranteed dollars.

Bottom line is, if a player, especially an underclassman quarterback, cannot perform up to par at a Combine, should he and his agent walk with a semi-trailer full of millions?

If Stafford does not show as expected, this may prove to be risky advice by his agent. It’s almost like they are hiding something from the NFL scouts.

The Lions or Chiefs are foolish to choose Stafford unless he puts on the spikes and airs out some balls this month.

If the ‘Dawg from Georgia doesn’t show, there may be some extra-motivated lineman that will salivating for the draft.

Copyright © 2009 – Sports Climax

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