Posts Tagged ‘2010 NFL Draft

01
May
10

Yahoo! says former Lions player a bust. Really?!

Photo by Vince Muzik

Left over thoughts from the NFL Draft. Yahoo! sports blogger Doug Farrar wrote this in his Shutdown Corner column “Draft Busts of the 2000s: Where are they now?”

LB Ernie Sims, Florida State: Recently traded to the Eagles, Sims was yet another (former Lions GM) Matt Millen overdraft – he was taken ninth overall despite serious concussion issues in college. So far, he’s been most noted in the NFL as a rangy but undisciplined player who tends to whiff mightily in space.

Click the link to Ernie Sims stats and you’ll notice he’s listed as six feet tall. Ernie Sims is NOT six feet tall! If he is six feet tall, I am Michael Jackson.

Back in 2007, I covered a Lions game at Ford Field. At one point as I was standing on the sideline, I found myself standing only a few feet away from Sims. I’m not particularly tall, and Sims was shorter than I am. He’s about 5-foot-8 (at the most). Scouts will often show up to see a player and give him the “eye ball test.” In other words they’ll show up to see the guy in person just to make sure they really are as advertised. Sims should have flunked the test. Combine that with his concussion issues, and it’s likely Sims should have never been rated a first rounder by anyone.

As former Iowa Hawkeyes coach Hayden Fry used to say, “Big fast people beat little fast people.” The constant in Fry’s equation is the word fast, i.e., speed. Being 6-foot4, 220 lbs. doesn’t automatically make one an athlete. There’s more to it than that. You must be able to move. And if a guy has a head for the game and he can play, then he’s a player no matter his height.

Sims a “Millen overdraft”? As a first rounder, yes. Sims is a terrific athlete, and he still could blossom into the next Sam Mills, another “short” linebacker who had tremendous success in the NFL. But taking a guy who’s undersized that much leaves you open for heaps of criticism if the guy flops. I liken it to what famous Fidelity Fund manager Peter Lynch once said about picking stocks: If you buy IBM and it goes down, people wonder, “What’s wrong with IBM?” If you buy a small growth stock of a company few have ever of before (like Pep Boys Manny, Moe and Jack) and it goes down, people will say, “What’s the matter with YOU!” Same applies here.

Ernie Sims has been well compensated financially for whatever trauma there was to being an “overdraft.” Hopefully, things will work for him in Philly.

 

24
Apr
10

Tyson Alualu: Yeah, we remember him!

Photo by Vince Muzik

As I was pulling into my parking spot at the Minnesota Vikings draft Party at Jimmy’s in Vadnais Heights Thursday night, I listened to the incredulous tone of the guys on the radio as the Jacksonville Jags made their first round selection in NFL Draft — Tyson Alualu, defensive tackle, from the University of California Golden Bears!

Say what?

Young Mr. Alualu, the 10th overall selection, wasn’t scheduled to go until later in the draft, perhaps as late as the fifth round according to some. Maybe he was a reach. Time will tell. However, if you watched the Golden Bears play the Gophers last September here at TCF Bank Staduim, Alualu stood out. He was very “active” as they like to say in the business. At half-time, my friend Matt Sherman, himself a former quarterback at Iowa (1994-97), said, “That one defensive tackle they’ve got is really good.” Were Matt and I the only ones who took note?

“Has anyone ever in the history been this much of a reach?” one of the guys on the radio inquired. Yes, and the name should be very familiar to football fans. William “The Refrigerator” Perry was selected out of Clemson by the Chicago Bears in 1985. “The Frig” was thought to be more of a fifth rounder due to weigh concerns. Those who remember the great ’85 Chicago Bears team know Perry etched a place in NFL history as the blocking back for Walter Payton in goal line situations who also scored two TDs himself as a rookie, one in the Super Bowl. He played 10 NFL seasons.

The NFL Draft is fun because you get to see where your favorite college players will continue their careers. Beyond that, it gets ridiculous to think you can forecast the future. Rick Reilly of ESPN put it well: “It’s a drama with no ending.” It’s just a start; the conclusion comes years later. The day after is way too early to talk winners and losers.  That’s why the late Toronto Maple Leafs chief scout Pierre Dorion told me back in 1990 during a conversation we had in his Marriott Hotel room, “You never criticize some one else’s player decisions because you never know when you’ll be the one picking a dog — and the one subject to the criticism that goes with.”

16
Apr
10

Taking Note of Jimmy Clausen

One coach I grew up working with was Kevin Hartzell, then head coach of the St. Paul Vulcans and now back in the business coaching the Sioux Falls Stampede of the U.S. Hockey League, a Tier I Junior (16-19 year old players) League based across the Midwestern U.S. Hartz made it a point to notice how a player approached his work, feeling it was indicative of the sort of player he was. Did the kid pay attention to detail or was he sloppy? Was he early for practice or was he always a late arrival? “Little things” Hartz would call them.

That stuck in my head last night watching ESPN’s  Jon Gruden’s QB Camp, a film session Gruden does with the top four quarterback prospects — Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, TimTebow,and Jimmy Clausen — in this year’s NFL Draft. Claussen has gained a reputation for being arrogant. For what reasons, I don’t know. My friend Michael Floyd caught passes from him at Notre Dame for two years and liked Jimmy. That’s all the recommendation I need.

Photo by Vince Muzik

Clausen took some harsh, no-holes-barred criticism from Gruden, reputed to be an expert indeveloping young quarterbacks, as to what he could do to improve his play. Whether it was a just a product of the way ESPN edited the show, Clausen didn’t mind writing down the criticisms  Gruden had. This isn’t the sort of thing an arrogant person would do. It was reminiscent of what photo editors at Sports Illustrated have told me when critiquing my work; it’s not any fun. While taking notes won’t make you a great player, I would say that’s one of those “little things” that tells me how Clausen approaches his work: He’s a student.  Maybe the other guys have great memories; however, if they are human like the rest of us they are prone to forgetting things if they aren’t written down. Personally, if I were a young guy trying to make it in the NFL, I’d want to remember every important point a teacher like Gruden had to say to me. Even if it weren’t pleasant; it’s the only way to improve.

Personally, I think Nebraska’s defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is the best player in this draft hands down. Sam Bradford I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole after that shoulder surgery and Tim Tebow is a project not worth of a first rounder. Colt McCoy is worth a long look at the right price, but Clausen gets my vote. Of  course, whatever team he goes to will have give him good offensive line play or else he’ll get killed, but that’s another issue. For now I’ll go with Clausen.