Thursday, April 26, 2012

FOOTBALL NEWS BEFORE NFL DRAFT


FFHL NFL PRE-DRAFT PREVIEW
FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Wake up, football fans!The 2012 NFL Draft starts this Thursday night, April 26th.
Hello Football Fans,Surprise, I'm back (sporatically, for the offseason).
The 2012 NFL draft is starting this Thursday.  Check out the attached letter giving you a little heads-up and some little known trivia as well.
The Fugitive Commissioner, on the lam from the gambling police
Here’s the full schedule:
Round 1: Thursday, April 26 starting at 8 p.m. ET
Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 27 starting at 7 p.m. ET
Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 28 starting at noon ET

RECENT EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE 2012 NFL DRAFT

Remember the discussions last year about NFL teams trying to lose games in order to get the #1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft?  It was clearly understood that Stanford QB Andrew Luck would be picked first, and hence speculation had the Indy Colts “intentionally” losing games in the “Suck for Luck” Sweepstakes.

The IND Colts ended up with the first pick after finishing the season with a 2-14 record (STL Lambs had same record, but lost tie-breaker).  Indy first had to decide what to do with their revered QB Peyton Manning, who hadn’t played at all in 2011 because of neck injuries and multiple surgeries.  Owner Jim Irsay decided not to give Peyton his $28 million payment due March 7th; the Manning Era in Indianapolis was over, paving the way for Andrew Luck to take charge of the offense in 2012.

The Denver Broncos won the Manning Chase, after he had narrowed down his list to three, with San Francisco and Miami losing out.  Denver signed him to a big contract, and they later “un-retired” jersey #18 for him.  The Broncos’ first QB in franchise history was Frank Tripucka, who gave his blessing to the un-retirement of his number so that Manning could wear it.  Strange; Manning wore #16 in college.
Personally, I’m wondering whether Manning will even be healthy going into the season, and can remain healthy and/or effective long enough to have a positive influence on the Denver offense and the team overall.  I’m not saying that he will get hurt or be ineffective; I’m just saying it is a possibility, while the media seems to be ignoring that possibility and thinking that he will be the same dominating field general that he had always been when healthy in Indy.  We’ll see.

Soon after the Peyton signing, Tim Tebow was traded by Denver to the NY Jets.  It will be interesting to see how Rex Ryan and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano will fit him into the scheme, and how incumbent QB Mark Sanchez will handle the pressure from fire-breathing fans who will at some point start chanting for Tebow.
Personally, I’m wondering if the Jets will find an innovative way to incorporate both QB’s into a diverse, “two-headed QB” game plan that will force opposing defenses to be “weakened” by having to prepare for two different offenses from the same team in a single week.  If successful, it could change the course of NFL offensive philosophy.  There has already been a transformation in how running backs are utilized, with many teams switching from a dominating one-back thought to using a situational two-back system over the last five years or so.
After the Manning dust settled, the IND Colts pretty much settled on Stanford’s Andrew Luck as their selection for the #1 pick.  Then, the WSH Redskins traded their #6 overall pick in the 2012 Draft to move up to the #2 overall pick to presumably be in position to select Baylor QB Robert Griffin III (“RG3”).  It was an expensive trade for the ‘Skins, giving up their #1 pick in both 2013 and 2014 in addition to the #6 overall pick and their 2nd round pick in 2012.  After this trade, the speculation turned to Indy and whether they would select RG3 over Luck.  The argument was that, at the NFL Combine, Griffin showed excellent understanding of pass protections, route combinations, and reading progressions, that he didn’t have to demonstrate in his college offense, and his stock rose accordingly.  But in the end, it appears from all reports that the Colts will indeed select Andrew Luck at #1.  That being the case, Washington will no doubt select Griffin at #2.

Do you think both of these QB’s will be successful in the NFL?
Luck will be going to a weak offense in Indy.  And, the ‘Skins have had trouble developing or maintaining productivity from any of its quarterbacks lately (Jason Campbell, Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman).  Plus, you always have to consider that injuries can affect this analysis.

History would say that the odds are against both Luck and RG3 being successful.

The last time quarterbacks went #1-#2 in the draft was in 1999.
#1 was Tim Couch (Kentucky; not successful)
#2 Donovan McNabb (Syracuse; successful; but NOT a Hall-of-Famer, as he thinks he is – more later)
Plus, #3 was QB Akili Smith (Oregon; not successful)

It also happened in 1998, in a memorable contrast between two highly talented signal callers:
#1 was Peyton Manning (Tennessee; successful)
#2 was Ryan Leaf (Washington State; disastrously unsuccessful)

In 1993:
#1 Drew Bledsoe (Washington State, successful)
#2 Rick Mirer (Notre Dame, unsuccessful)

Stretching the 1-2 combo slightly, in 2002:
#1 David Carr (Fresno State; unsuccessful-bad team)
#3 Joey Harrington (Oregon; largely unsuccessful)

Stretching it a bit further, in 2003:
#1 Carson Palmer (USC; successful)
#7 Byron Leftwich (Marshall; semi-successful, semi-unsuccessful)

And in 1990:
#1 Jeff George (Illinois; unsuccessful)
#7 Andre Ware (Houston; unsuccessful)

In 1987:
#1 Vinny Testaverde (Miami.FL; successful)
#6 Kelly Stouffer (Colorado State; unsuccessful)
In 1983, the banner year for 1st-round QB’s:
#1 John Elway (Stanford; successful)
#7 Todd Blackledge (Penn State; unsuccessful)
#14 Jim Kelly (Miami.FL; successful)
#15 Tony Eason (Illinois; unsuccessful)
#24 Ken O’Brien (Cal-Davis; semi-successful)
#27 Dan Marino (Pittsburgh; successful)

I’ll stop going back further than 1983, but you get the idea.  There is about a 50% success rate.  I will go out on a limb and defy history in saying both will have successful NFL careers.

MINUTIA ON TOP 2 PICKS for 2012
RG3 and Luck were both early entrants, declaring for the draft after their junior seasons.  This year broke the record again for most early entrants into the draft (65), after the record was broken last year with 56.

Andrew Luck’s father, Oliver, was drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1982 with the #44 pick overall.  He is currently the AD for West Virginia, his alma mater.

MORE DRAFT MINUTIA

2,560 players have been drafted over the last 10 years.  Over 90% of players came from FBS schools, 73.9% from BCS schools and 16.4% from non-BCS schools.  That means almost 10% of draftees came from FCS (Division 1-AA) schools (6.8%) and lower divisions and Canada and other places.

Here are some small school entrants into the 2012 draft that are projected to be drafted in the first three rounds:

North Alabama (Div II) CB Janoris Jenkins, transferred from Florida after being dismissed from team after two misdemeanor marijuana possession charges in four months.  Coach for North ALA was Terry Bowden, who has since taken the Akron University head job for 2012.

Midwestern State (Div II, Wichita Falls, TX) OG Amini Silatolu; academic problems kept him out of Division I.

Appalachian State (FCS; Div. 1-AA) WR Brian Quick

University of Montana (FCS) CB Trumaine Johnson

Some successes coming out of the small school ranks recently are:
          1993 2nd round DE Michael Strahan (Texas Southern)
          NOR Saints OG Jahri Evans (Bloomburg U.)
          Dallas WR Miles Austin (Monmouth U.) 

Last year, a record 25 players attended the NFL Draft at the Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, NYC, despite suggestions by veteran players that rookies should boycott the event held during the midst of the lockout (remember that mess?).  LB Mark Herzlich, who was still recovering from a bout with cancer, attended last year, but was not drafted.

This year, 26 players will attend the draft, including:
#1 Luck
#2 RG3
#3 Matt Kalil (USC, OLT) likely to the Minnesota (Los Angeles?) Vikings; Matt’s brother Ryan was an All-American center for USC and is now a Pro Bowler with the Carolina Panthers.
And (my guesstimate in order of draft position): RB Trent Richardson (ALA), CB Morris Claiborne (LSU), WR Justin Blackmon (OK.St), DT Michael Brockers (LSU), DE Melvin Ingram (S.CAR), DT Fletcher Cox (MS.St), QB Ryan Tannehill (TXA&M), LB Courtney Upshaw (ALA), SS Mark Barron (ALA), DT Dontari Poe (Memphis), OG/OT Cordy Glenn (GA), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (ALA), LB Dont’a Hightower (ALA), DE Quinton Coples (UNC), WR Michael Floyd (ND), DT Devon Still (PSU), CB Stephon Gilmore (S.CAR), WR Steven Hill (GA.Tk), DE Nick Perry (USC), WR Kendall Wright (Baylor), TE Coby Fleener (STAN), WR Rueben Randle (LSU), and LB Shea McClellin (Boise State).



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