Nov 202013
 

Earlier this week I watched the film Remember the Titans for about the 217th time and got that same shiver of inspiration I had the first time I saw it. For those that haven’t seen it, It’s the true story of T.C Williams high school football coach Herman Boone and the struggles he had coaching the Titans remember the titans quotewhilst facing racial prejudice in 1970s Virginia. Despite the struggle he led the Titans to a perfect season whist bringing together both white and African American players during that tough racist time in America. As I watched I got to thinking of how the game has changed so much at all levels over the years, How racism has changed and how much of a political power house sports can be so as we head into the business end of the NFL season I have much on my mind about racism in the league following the Incognito incident last week and the voice mail he sent team mate Jonathan Martin.. I know the easiest thing to do would be to ignore the issue I’m about to talk about but I believe I owe it to a few friends of mine State side to bring it up. During the whole Incognito bullying situation, The one thing that got to me more than anything else was him saying that he had permission from African American team mates to use the ‘N’ word around the locker room and around the team after he was caught using it in that terrible voice mail to Jonathan Martin. I really want to get past this whole issue but I just have to talk a little about this before I put it all to bed. Just to be clear. I don’t think Ritchie Incognito is a racist but the fact he thought it was fine to use the ‘N’ word was just terrible in my opinion.

To do this right I have to solely address the NFL and all the white and African American players that play in it but this also relates to people of both races in everyday life off the field also.

imagesI feel very fortunate to have this platform to express my views and opinions and last weeks topic has opened my eyes and awakened my mind to a more serious issue in the game. Racism. Of my closest friends, At least three are African American and I came to the Sport City Chefs solely because of, Tyrone ‘ Tymeless’ Powell, so I believe I owe it to him to write this. I also believe it’s the right thing to do as a human being having noticed a white man saying he had permission from an African American man to use the ‘N’ word.

I’m going to start off by addressing white football players. – If anybody out there tells you that using the ‘N’ word is ok, Maybe someone might say. “You have our permission”, “Your one of the guys that hangs out with us and it’s ok, You can say that but others can’t”. If someone is saying this to you then what they are telling you is a lie. It’s stupid. Don’t pay attention. The ‘N’ word has a history to it that is so far beyond painful, It’s such a deep and meaningful word in a culture of people who were tortured , raped and murdered in horrific ways because of their skin color, For anybody to use that word for me is just simply wrong. I know I’m asking quite a bit given today’s culture. The music, The movies and so on and I love the music, I love these films. I train daily to meek mill and his music inspires me beyond belief but I do not understand why any artist or person of any race would use this word. I know it’s in the street conversation and so ends up in an artists writing and then lyrics but I just don’t agree with it. For me, There has to be a zero tolerance for using the ‘N’ word. If you are a white NFL player, Listen to me. Zero Tolerance. You just can’t do it. No matter what you hear. Don’t even sing it from a song you like because it is so offensive and if it doesn’t offend you then you should go and read a few history books, Go and find out what the history of that word is so that you understand the significance of that word before you use it. Just spend a little time if you don’t clearly know.13 Myself and Ty at the ball game_1

Unfortunately I can’t just address the white players, I also have to address the African American players in the National Football league because when there is a small group of players that goes to one side of the locker room and have a discussion and the ‘N’ word is being thrown around, To me their putting up walls, Their putting up barriers. Because if we’ve just said on one side it’s zero tolerance, You can never use it and I’m certain that’s the right standard for myself. I never would use it and I believe it’s the right standard for others of my skin color and so now for an African American player to throw that around inside a locker room is wrong also. What you do or say in your home, In your car or on your cell phone makes no difference to me but inside a locker room where we are suppose to be a team hinders my ability to bond with my team mates. What I’m saying is if the league says we’re going to suspend you  and publicly humiliate you like they did to Incognito and in my locker room there is a few groups of African American players having conversations in which the N word is being thrown around everywhere. Well to me, 628x471By doing that what your doing is building a big wall that’s saying. ‘We can talk to each other but you can’t join in. Don’t come over here and talk to us is what is being said as far as I’m concerned. It’s a shame because if it’s not used at all something great can happen. This is the essence of a locker room in the NFL or really at any level of sport. Because in any sport you get groups of players that may never otherwise be together if not for becoming part of that team and sport. From my own experiences I’ve always thought that the greatest part of being an athlete, sports writer, Radio personality film producer or actor is that I’ve got to travel the states and learn about this multicultural world we live in and the experiences I’ve had have enlightened and formed me in ways that I would never have believed to be possible. I now have political beliefs that I would never have had if it wasn’t for the friends I’ve made and had these deep conversations with about life and the world in which we live. So if your an African American player in the NFL I ask you to not put up these walls. Don’t exclude your team mates. Don’t tear down what we’re trying to build in this society and please allow other young white athletes and people to learn and experience what I have. So, For the white players. It’s simple. Just don’t use that word and for the African American players. Please give us a chance to build something better. Starting in the NFL.

A few journalists I approached before writing about this topic told me not to. They said that it was something they would never risk writing about. That it could upset people and that I could lose my job and position at my company. Let me be clear. I am not scared to write about racial issues. I’m not scared to write about anything. Over the last five years I have made a few friends for life who are African American, Even someone who I would call my brother in T.P, So I feel I owe it to him and them to use this as a platform to address this issue. The way I see it,.racism It doesn’t matter what anyone says about this or whatever debates come from it. The bottom line is that we should all feel comfortable to say or write what is in our hearts and racism is something that hurts me to the core. Just the small mindedness of it all baffles me and it makes me sick to the stomach that we have to fight it still to this day. My friend who is a well known African American player in the NFL told me in a phone interview that weather this word ends with GA, GER, UH or RA. There’s nothing redeeming, edifying, or encouraging about it because as I said, The definition of this word for at least a hundred years has been the same. It’s debilitating, Vulgar, despicable and there is just nothing good that can come from using it. There is nothing endearing at all about it. My mother once wrote a note for me and in it she wrote ‘ Evil communications corrupts good manners ‘ and I think that relates to this. I also remember something great basketball coach John Wooden once said when a fellow coach said that using the ‘F’ word gets a teams attention more than any other word and that the ‘F’ word was the most powerful four letter word. Coach Wooden replied to that by saying ” The most powerful four letter word you can use is LOVE ” This word is redeeming, encouraging and it inspires people to heights and as he won 10 NCAA national championships and went on an 88 game winning streak I’d say coach Wooden proved that point. Former Cincinnati receiver and current Sunday night football commentator Chris Collinsworth once said.. “The greatest parts about playing in the NFL are the relationships that come out of it “. I just think that if you don’t live alongside and spend time with athletes and people outside of your own culture then your just never going to get it. Had it not been for the NFL and working with African Americans and being lucky enough to travel across America to meet the people I have then I would not feel so strong about this issue. I just beg anyone who sees anything like this going on to have the courage to talk about it. Let’s not go backwards. Let’s go forward with it. Let’s evolve. For me sports has always been the world leader and a leading edge when it comes to dealing with issues like this because typically race, politics and religion are topics that people generally don’t want to deal with because we don’t talk about it, except in set up groups of people who usually share the same opinion on the issues related to these topics. In sports however it demands that we talk about it frankly and openly if we expect to progress as one race of people. I dream of the day that we become just one race. Our hearts and our blood are the same color. Just remember that. I truly believe that when pure creative minds come together we can make the impossible possible and the ordinary extraordinary.

remember the titans - race...2

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COLLEGE PROSPECTS

With spread offenses continuing to have an impact on how NFL teams construct their defenses, traditional inside linebackers are quickly becoming a unique endangered species, a group with too much room to roam.

Many teams have long resisted drafting inside linebackers in the first round. Only linebackers with elite athleticism or pass-rush ability  generally earn a spot among the top 32. I was sure James Laurinitis and Ray Maualuga were first round talents and had first round skill sets a few years ago and seeing them slide into the second round opened my eyes to this issue. When Luke Kuechly was drafted last season I understood that he was a rare talent. I also thought the same of Alabama inside backers Rolando McClain and Donte Hightower so seeing those two Nick Saban influenced, pro ready middle linebackers get drafted where they did was expected.

My big Board isn’t a mock draft, however. There is no attention given to team needs or the projected selection order. It is simply a ranking of the 32 best prospects potentially eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft.

After dominating performances were turned in last week by Stanford’s Shayne Skov (nine tackles, two tackles for loss, two forced fumbles) and Wisconsin’s Chris Borland (13 tackles, 2½ for loss, two sacks vs. BYU ) I think both are top 32 players but only Skov will make my list of the top 32. Borland narrowly misses it but is on his way up for sure. It’s the value of the position I’m keeping in mind. Let’s get through my top 32. Let’s say 32 out of respect for the great Jim Brown.

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RANK – Position – Name – School – (Height – Weight – 40 yd dash time )

1. DE Jadeveon Clowney*, South Carolina (6-6, 268, 4.65): Clowney has failed to live up to our astronomical jadeveon-clowney-2-football-wallpaper-610-x-412expectations, but scouts aren’t as concerned with his mediocre production as the media seems to be. When on the field, Clowney remains a dominating presence capable of making the game-changing play on each snap of the ball. He produced his best game of 2013 in a highly anticipated rematch with Tennessee left tackle Antonio Richardson on Oct. 19. He has an incredible skill set and I think he will be selected with one of the first 3 picks in next years draft.

 

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2. QB Teddy Bridgewater*, Louisville (6-3, 220, 4.65): I think Teddy will be the first player taken in next years draft. In an era in which college quarterbacks’ numbers are often inTeddy Bridgewater. 1flated by short passes and relatively simplistic schemes, Bridgewater’s sparkling production is due to Pro Bowl-caliber accuracy. His success (71.4 percent completion rate with 24 touchdowns against just three interceptions) comes out of a pro-style offenses that forces him to make tough throws. Bridgewater’s slight frame and level of competition are concerns but I believe he will overcome these issues. I wrote a column about Bridgewater just a few weeks ago here on sportscitychefs.com. Check it out !

 

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3. OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA (6-4, 238, 4.73): A running back until last season, Barr exploded in 2012 to the tune of 21.5UCLA-Linebacker-Anthony-Barr-Player-of-the-Week tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He has had some flashy moments again this year but like Clowney, Barr hasn’t been as good in 2013 as he was a year ago, struggling especially against Stanford and Arizona in recent weeks. Scouts rave about his work ethic and Barr is a terrific pass rusher, capable of beating tackles off the edge with speed and power.

 

 

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4. QB Marcus Mariota*, Oregon (6-3, 214, 4.52): Due to a sprained knee, Mariota was rendered relatively immobile against a Marcus-Mariota-physical and sound-tackling Stanford defense in a Nov. 7 loss. Without his legs keeping defenders off-balance, Mariota struggled a bit with his accuracy and awareness (fumbling twice). The elite traits are plain to see but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the redshirt sophomore elect to return to Eugene for at least another year of development before making the NFL jump. He could be a number one pick if he did in my my opinion.

 

 

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5. OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (6-5, 305, 5.14): I think any questions about Matthews’ ability to hold up at left tackle havNCAA Football: Texas A&M at Louisiana Teche been answered with a dominating performances against Arkansas’ speedy Chris Smith and Mississippi’s powerful Robert Nkemdiche this season. The son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, Jake proves the cliché true — the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I see him being a top 5 pick and the first offensive lineman off the board next year.

 

 

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6. WR Sammy Watkins*, Clemson (6-1, 200, 4.49): This guy is an amazing playmaker. He has so much speed which is ideal in an industry where speed kills.  A few weeks ago Watkins was one of the few Clemson Tigers who appeared unfazed by SammyWatkins702Florida State’s speed. Watkins accounted for nearly double the all-purpose yardage of any other Clemson player against the Seminoles, demonstrating the explosiveness and soft, reliable hands that help him project as a No. 1 receiver in the NFL draft. I can’t wait to see him in the league. Top 10 player for sure I think.

 

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7. OT Cameron Erving*, Florida State (6-5, 310, 5.26): Florida state seminole Cameron Erving played in 13 games as a red shirt freshman defensive tackle, but cameron erving.jlooked like a natural when moved to left tackle a season ago. Long, balanced and athletic, he’s a hidden factor in the dynamic play of freshman quarterback Jameis Winston and could enjoy a “quiet” ride into the top 10 of the 2014 draft, just as former Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel did a year while blocking for Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. With a solid pro day and combine he has a chance to be the first overall pick given the position value. I prefer Jake Matthews right now though.

 

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8. OLB C.J. Mosley, Alabama (6-2, 232, 4.56): While a bit undersized, Mosley might be the best pound-for-pound player in the country. US PRESSWIRE SportsAthletic and instinctive, he is a true three-down linebacker capable of making plays against the run and pass. Mosley lacks the bulk scouts want in a pass rusher but his awareness in coverage is special. I really like him in a Tampa 2 style of defense. He reminds me so much of Derrick Brooks the great Tampa bay Buccaneer.

 

 

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9. OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo (6-3, 248, 4.66): With an eye-popping 56 tackles for loss, 18 sacks and 11 forced fumbles already on his resume entering the kmack2013 season, rest assured that scouts knew Mack well. The best player outside of BCS schools, he stepped up with dominating efforts against Ohio State and Connecticut this year to establish himself as a legitimate top 20 prospect. He will show his ability in the pre draft set up. He will have a great chance at his pro day given that he really has the focus in Buffalo.

 

 

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10. WR Mike Evans*, Texas A&M (6-5, 225, 4.58): Like his famous heisman winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, Evans is just a redshirt sophomore, but he mikevans1-800x531could have quite the decision to make after the season if he continues to dominate the SEC. Deceptively fast and possessing great body control as well as timing, Evans is an exciting split end prospect who reminds me of Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Vincent Jackson. That’s now 2 Buccs I’ve used as comparison’s. That’s as rare as Mike Evans ability and size / speed combination.

 

 

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11. OT Cyrus Kouandjio*, Alabama (6-5, 312, 5.12): Some questioned the wisdom of moving Barrett Jones from left tackle (where he had won the Jacobs Blocking cyrus kTrophy as the SEC’s best lineman) to center in 2012. The reason for the switch was Kouandjio, a physically-blessed athlete who some have compared to former Redskins Pro Bowler Chris Samuels, the No. 3 overall pick out of Alabama in 2000. Cyrus will follow in the footsteps of Chance Warmack and DJ Fluker as top 20 picks from this great Alabama Crimson Tide offensive line.

 

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12. QB Johnny Manziel*, Texas A&M (5-11, 210, 4.45): Last years heisman winner Johnny football is an incredible playmaker. Scouts will poke holes in Manziel’s grade after the season due to less-than-ideal size and the distraction he johnny-manziel-2-450x311may prove to be off the field. However, it is impossible not to simply marvel at his magical ability on the field, including during his possible swan song at College Station, throwing for 446 yards and five touchdowns in a victory against Mississippi State. Showing the same remarkable elusiveness as a year ago and improved arm strength, Manziel is a first round pick whenever he elects to leave College Station. I’ll give you 2 comparisons here. On the field he reminds me of Doug flutie with more speed and athletic ability and Joe Namath off the field for his ability to party. I really like him and would go to war with him in a heart beat. Just a winner and a great person. Go and you tube his heisman speach to see this.

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13. DL Stephon Tuitt*, Notre Dame (6-5, 303, 4.89): An offseason sports hernia surgery may have played a role in Tuitt weighing 20 pounds more this season STuittthan a year ago, and early on in the season the extra weight seemed to be slowing him. He has played much better of late, however, and is simply too gifted to fall far on draft day should the junior elect to leave South Bend. If a good position coach gets hold of him then he could really flourish early at the next level.

 

 

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14. TE Eric Ebron*, North Carolina (6-4, 245, 4.67): Ebron doesn’t get nearly the national attention of Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins or other highly eric ebronregarded tight ends, but scouts are fascinated with his rare combination of size and speed. The UNC staff was so enamored with Ebron’s athleticism and physicality that they lined him at defensive end at times last season. The junior needs polish, but is precisely the type of physical mismatch the NFL is looking for in today’s tight end.

 

 

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15. OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan (6-7, 310, 5.04): Possessing an incredible combination of size and athletic ability, Lewan has earned taylor Lwancomparisons to former Michigan standout Jake Long throughout his career with the Wolverines. Lewan has been the obvious bright spot upfront for Michigan, which has struggled with injuries and penalties. He could overtake the few tackles in front of him and go in the top five picks if he puts it all together during the pre draft evaluation.

 

 

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16. DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota (6-6, 311, 4.95): Blessed with an extraordinary combination of size and athleticism, HagemanRaShed HAGEMAN could join Michael Brockers and Dontari Poe as recent big defensive tackles whose real rise up draft boards didn’t begin until the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Hageman looked unblockable at times in Minnesota’s Oct. 26 upset of Nebraska, logging two tackles for loss, including a sack.

 

 

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17. OT Cedric Ogbuehi*, Texas A&M (6-5, 300, 5.15): Overshadowed by all of the talent on the Aggies roster, Ogbuehi is an excitingCEDRIC OGBUEHI...1 prospect in his own right. A standout at right guard a year ago, Ogbuehi (pronounced ah-BOO-hee) stands to make a lot of money if he continues his early stellar play at right tackle. He informed the media Oct. 18 of his intentions to return to College Station for his senior season, but an undisclosed injury which sidelined him for two games (UTEP, Vanderbilt) may cause him to change that decision. I think he really has to weigh up his options after these injuries but a return to College station could move him into the top 5 next year. Interesting prospect and situation. If he returns I see him taking over for Matthews at Left tackle and then follow him and Joeckel as top 10 picks off this line 3 years on the run. A top 20 pick I think if he comes out this year.

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18. DE Trent Murphy, Stanford (6-6, 261, 4.85): Used as a standup outside linebacker as a well as a down defensive lineman for the Trent Murphy (#93 - OLB)Cardinal, Murphy is equally impactful in the passing game, running game and on special teams. Eight tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, a blocked kick and a pass broken up against Oregon State on Oct. 26 earned Murphy CBS sports Top Prospect of Week Nine. Murphy projects best as a 4-3 defensive end from what I can see but can also be great as an outside linebacker in a 3-4. It will be interesting to see what he decides to do in the pre draft stage.

 

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19. WR Marqise Lee*, Southern Cal (6-0, 195, 4.51): Had an amazing game last Saturday against Stanford and has impressed me so much during college career. Lee has been hampered by a knee injury and unsteady play at quarterback this season, MARQUISE LEEand he has also dropped a few passes on the year. A year after scoring 14 touchdowns as part of a Biletnikof campaign, Lee only has two in 2013. While his production is a concern, Lee’s talent is obvious. If he falls out of the top 20, someone is going to get a steal. If he gets his act together he could move ahead of Sammy Watkins. He has some great game film. Great prospect that could be a top receiver in the NFL.

 

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20. TE Jace Amaro*, Texas Tech (6-5, 260): The NFL is looking for seam threats rather than extra blockers at tight end in today’s game andJACE AMARO there hasn’t been a more impressive prospect in the country in 2013 in that role than Amaro. Scouts are beginning to mention the name Jimmy Graham when discussing the Red Raiders’ junior, a comparison which could catapult Amaro into the top spot among all tight ends by May. Both he and Ebron, who I have slightly ahead of him right now could be top 15 picks given the impact of a tight end in today’s game. It will be a great battle for the top spot between these two great athletes.

 

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21. DT Louis Nix III*, Notre Dame (6-2, 345): Regarded as a potential top 10 prospect heading into the season, Nix has struggled this year.LOUIS NIX-1024x834 At least some of his struggles can be attributed to a knee injury, which Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said would require surgery following the season. After resting his knee against Air Force and Navy, Nix returned against Pittsburgh on Nov. 9 and enjoyed his best game of the season. I can see him rocketing up the draft board when he gets healthy.

 

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22. OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor (6-5, 335, 5.27): A dominating drive blocker who projects best at guard but spent the entire 2011 season protecting CYRIL RICHARDSON.1Robert Griffin III at left tackle, Richardson is massive, powerful and shockingly athletic. Scouts love Richardson’s talent, but the extended splits in Art Briles’ scheme have fooled us before with former first round picks Jason Smith (No. 2 overall in 2009) and Danny Watkins (No. 23 in 2011). You really have to put that out of your mind when scouting these linemen out of Baylor as a good offensive line coach can un teach bad habits from this type of blocking scheme.

 

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23. OC Travis Swanson, Arkansas (6-4, 318): If Richardson is the elite interior lineman of the 2014 senior class, Swanson ranks as a close Texas A&M v Arkansassecond. Athletic, powerful and versatile (some view him as a potential guard convert), Swanson will continue former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema’s tradition of churning out quality NFL prospects along the offensive line. Where Swanson will earn his NFL paycheck lies in his balance and core strength in pass protection. Good ability in the run game and I think because of his intelligence and ability to make line calls he will be able to start as a center in his rookie year. Can be a good guard also.

 

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24. OLB Ryan Shazier*, Ohio State (6-2, 226, 4.58): Shazier might be 10-15 pounds lighter than scouts would prefer but his instincts, speed Ryan shazier-620and bone-jarring hits make him a fearful defender that offenses must account for on every snap. The Buckeyes’ leading tackler and most consistent defender, Shazier stood out in their comeback win against Iowa. The 6-2, 226-pound junior was the one sure thing in the Buckeyes front seven coming into this season, and he’s more than done his share as the Buckeyes resident defensive star. Shazier leads OSU by a big margin in tackles with 73. He also has 12 TFLs and two forced fumbles. Love him as a weak side linebacker in a 4-3.

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25. OLB Vic Beasley*, Clemson (6-3, 235, 4.55): Beasley led Clemson with eight sacks in limited duty as a sophomore and already has 10 through nine games in 2013. Like most vic beasley 1of the Clemson Tigers, Beasley struggled against Florida State, the most talented team he’ll face in the regular season. Beasley is similar to surprise 2012 first-round pick Bruce Irvin for his slim frame and explosive burst, but Beasley also flashes rather than dominates. DE: Jadeveon Clowney hasn’t been the most productive D-lineman playing in the state of South Carolina this fall. It’s been Beasley, who is tied for the national lead in sacks with 10. He also has 15 TFLs and broken up five passes. I can see Beasley potentially moving into the top 10 picks if he continues on the path he’s on. He won’t be my 25th ranked player for long. Definitely on the rise.

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26. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State (6-3, 215): Carr’s staggering production (69.5 completion percentage, 32 TDs, four interceptions) is certainly inflated by head coach derek carr fresno-st-hawaii-footballTim DeRuyter’s QB-friendly spread attack but there is no denying Carr’s talent, including his big-time arm. If Carr follows older brother David’s footsteps and lights up Senior Bowl practices, he’ll erase any doubt as to the identity of the top senior quarterback prospect in the country. This season he’s displayed his astute ability to read coverages and recognize pressure at the line of scrimmage with several pre-snap adjustments based on obvious film study. That mental preparation paired with his above average arm talent are why I think there’s a great chance he will be a top-10 pick next May. The senior bowl week will be huge for him

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27. CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State (5-11, 197): The success of the Seattle Seahawks’ long, physical press cornerbacks could push several into the first round, including Dennard dennard- an instinctive, tenacious defender who leads the top-rated Spartans defense. The top-ranked Spartan defense has a crew of guys who merited consideration for this list (DE Shilique Calhoun and LBs Max Bullough and Denicos Allen), but it’s Dennard who is the best of the bunch. MSU makes its bones with its aggressive pressure packages and that relies on excellent DBs. Dennard is as close to a lock-down corner as you’re getting in college football and is a great blitzer and reliable tackler. He will move into the top 15 of my list if he continues to impress and might be a top 10 pick next may.

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28. OT Antonio Richardson*, Tennessee (6-6, 332, 5.16): Boasting an exciting combination of size, athleticism and power, “Tiny” looks like the second coming of former ant richardsonDallas Cowboys Pro Bowl LT Erik Williams. Richardson’s physical talent is obvious but he has struggled with mental breakdowns this season, drawing numerous penalties. Richardson really opened eyes with an outstanding performance against South Carolina All-American pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney in 2012. While he wasn’t as stellar in the rematch in 2013, Richardson has still shown the ability to hold his own against the SEC’s top pass rushers while being a force in the ground game. Really has taken care of Tyler bray’s blindside in Tennessee.

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29. CB Jason Verrett, TCU (5-10, 182, 4.49): Verrett lacks the size so en vogue in today’s NFL, but agility and ball-skills never go out of style for cornerbacks. Verrett ledNCAA Football: Virginia at Texas Christian the Big 12 with 22 passes defended and six interceptions in 2012. His stellar coverage (six tackles, two passes broken up) against Oklahoma on Oct. 5 earned him the Top Prospect of Week Six. Verrett?s best traits are his ballhawking ability to bait throws and the timing and confidence to undercut routes, looking like a magnet to the ball. He also has good toughness and strength for the position, routinely throwing his body around and making plays in run support. He has the ability to move ahead of the other corners before next may.

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30. ILB Shayne Skov, Stanford (6-2, 245): I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m a sucker for instinctive, physical inside linebackers and that is precisely what Skov has proven shayne-skovhimself to be over his distinguished career. While Skov may lack elite straight-line speed, his diagnosis skills, power and ability to make big plays have stood out in each of Stanford’s biggest games this season. With the value of the position declining with the emergence of spread offenses in the NFL, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him fall out of the first round but he will be a great player at the next level whichever number or round he’s picked.

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31. CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State (6-0, 200): In terms of size, agility and speed, no cornerback offers a more intriguing skill-set than the Cowboys’ star. Gilbert Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Stanford v Oklahoma Stateranks among the nation’s leaders with four interceptions through nine games and has returned five kickoffs for touchdowns during his time in Stillwater. A standout over his career as a corner and returner due to his agility, acceleration and ball-skills. Gilbert’s ability with the ball in his hands is among his greatest assets. He’s taken five kickoffs back for scores over his career. This is such a strong year for cornerbacks. With Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Ohio state’s Bradley Roby, Virginia tech’s Kyle Fuller and Florida’s Louchiez Purifoy all having great potential and first round ability. It really is a solid corner class.

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32. DT Will Sutton, Arizona State (6-0, 305): Perhaps due to concerns about how he would hold up in the NFL, Sutton gained weight for his senior season and hasn’t Will+Sutton+Arizona+State+v+Arizona+_utg8bUnhlYlbeen as dominant as last year, when he recorded an astounding 23.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. Though Sutton’s production has tailed off (5½ tackles for loss, two sacks through eight games), some of this is due to the extra attention he has received after winning the Morris Trophy a year ago as the Pac-12’s best defensive lineman (over Dion Jordan and Star Lotulelei, among others). Has a short, compact build that gives him a natural leverage advantage over most NFL offensive linemen. Times the snap well, flashing an explosive burst to slip through gaps. Possesses quick feet, balance and lateral agility to avoid cut-blocks. Accelerates very quickly to close on the ballcarrier. Possesses surprisingly strong and active hands to rip free from blocks and to rip away at the ball when he sees it exposed (three forced fumbles in 2012). Experienced at virtually every position along the defensive line. He drawn comparison to Bengals star Geno Atkins. Great prospect.

 

 

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BY RHODRI JONES.

rhodridjones@hotmail.com

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Rhodri Jones

Rhodri Jones is currently on location in California, covering Superbowl 50 for us here at sportcitychefs.com. Over the past six years, Rhodri has established himself as a great writer and has entertained the world with his supreme sports knowledge and confident, laid back style with our NFL draft and weekly NFL radio shows during the season. His accent and knowledge combination is niche in the industry at the highest level and it really sets him apart. Rhodri' talents truly just begin there. In 2012, during one of his adventures here in the United States, Rhodri got his foot in the door at GQ magazine as a potential contributing writer and his journalistic skills are second to none. His current featured work is about the great Dianne Halloway and her amazing men's footwear company '' The Halloway collection ''. Rhodri was schooled in the Welsh language and is a passionate Welsh-man and loves speaking his language at any given opportunity. As a writer here at Sport city, Rhodri has given us many of his great articles and we dare you not to be inspired when you read them. In 2013, Rhodri was a vital part in the creation of the movie ''The Last Fall''. A film created and directed by former NFL wide receiver Matthew A Cherry through his production company in Los Angeles. This inspired Rhodri to set up his own film company 'Pond Field Entertainment' and with copyright he's starting 2016 in Los Angeles establishing the company in the industry and starting out himself as an actor. With his amazing work ethic, array of talents and unique persona, it shouldn't be long before we see Rhodri at the top of the film game. When you learn and understand his life's story to date, It's hard not to see Rhodri as a phenomenon. A true warrior and winner in life with unlimited potential. He's a truly amazing and inspiring individual. When asked his inspirations in life, Rhodri started with his family and in particular his mother who he said was '' truly one of a kind ''. She's no doubt a big reason behind Rhodri's drive and determination. In the sports industry he said, as a child he would emulate Wales international rugby center Scott Gibbs and did so on the field until a serious injury took his dream away. Never the less, Rhodri returned to the field and then to the grid-iron in South Wales after fighting to recover from the serious injury that held him back. In the NFL, players like Jim Brown, John Lynch, Payton Manning, Ray Lewis, Walter Payton, Qadry Ismail, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Oher, Hines Ward,Troy Polamalu, the late Junior Seau, Pat Tillman, Steve McNair and many others both current and past have all been massively inspirational to Rhodri during his life and a huge reason behind his passion for the game. In the UK sports media industry he gives much love to Sky Sports NFL, C4 NFL, BBC sports and the likes of Nat Coombs, Mike Carlson, Kevin Cadle, Neil Raynolds and Nick Halling for their support, motivation and for making his name known to fans in the UK by reading his messages and tweets out live to the nation each week on their live NFL shows. We'd imagine they'd be equally grateful to Rhodri for his depth of knowledge and his unique views. Rhodri has been a great ambassador for us at London's Wembley stadium since the NFL introduced it's 'International series ' games there. Rhodri has visited the United States many times and has covered games in Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Oakland and Indianapolis and has attended many more as a fan in both the pro and college game, bringing many players and coaches to us here at sport city. Rhodri started out with us here through his great friend Tyrone 'TP Tymeless' Powell. They came in together after TP left a company in New York and brought his loyal friend with him. Rhodri was known to NFL fans in America at this point through his correspondents on NFL.com with the likes of current NFL experts, coaches and players like Gil Brandt, Pat Kirwin, Phil Simms, Bill Parcells, Brian Billick, Teddy Bruschi, Ray Maualuga and Steve Wyche to name just a few. Hopefully all will be re-united at Superbowl 50 so stay tuned for posts and insight from our very own Rhodri Jones here on sportcitychefs.com. Rhodri will be at the radio show on Superbowl Sunday bringing us the gossip and creating a vision of the big event before the world sets it's sights on the big game at Levi's stadium.

  2 Responses to “RHOD’S CORNER – Clear eyes, Full hearts, Can’t lose !”

  1. So very thorough, great story thanks!

  2. Amazing article about a serious subject. Glad somebody said it I suppose !! I know Rhodri through the film and media industy and I love the passion he writes with. Can’t wait for more there and in our industry. Multi-talented man !! X.

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