Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2009 Round 7 #227 – Dallas Cowboys – CB Mike Mickens

With the 18th pick in the 7th round, the Dallas Cowboys select Cincinnati cornerback Mike Mickens, the second Bearcat they’ve taken in this draft. notes, “Mickens led the nation in interceptions last season and was a track superstar in high school. He has speed and very good quickness. This is exceptional value for a pick in the seventh round. Mickens has a chance to be the third corner for the Cowboys.”


For 46 consecutive games, Mickens was establishing his reputation as one of the premier pass coverage defenders in college football. It seemed certain that big things would happen, but covering a deep route in the 2008 Louisville contest, Mickens felt a pop in his left knee. Tests after the game revealed that he suffered a torn meniscus and cartilage damage. The injury would sideline him for the final three regular-season games. He would return for the postseason tilt vs. Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl, but he was not 100 percent after undergoing arthroscopic surgery.

He would also have to pull out of the Senior Bowl, as he experienced swelling in the knee during practices in Mobile. He also was unable to work out at the Scouting Combine in February.

Mickens was a two-time All-Greater Western Ohio Conference cornerback at Wayne High School. He helped the Warriors to a 24-9 record and two league titles during his three seasons. He amassed 205 tackles and 10 interceptions, blocked four field goals and returned a kickoff for a touchdown during his career.

The talented athlete also excelled in track, becoming the state 300-meter hurdles champion as a junior. He was also part of the school’s 4×400 meter relay team, helping them to a second-place finish at the state finals during his sophomore year.

Upon Mickens’ arrival at Cincinnati, it was evident that he was going to be something special. He did not play in the Rutgers game, but went on to start 10 games at right cornerback for the Bearcats in 2005. The Freshman All-American second-team pick by Football News, he deflected 14 passes and intercepted another that year. He also finished sixth on the team with 51 tackles (38 solos), making 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage.

As a sophomore, Mickens shifted to left cornerback. Constantly challenged by opposing quarterbacks, he made them pay by pulling down three interceptions to go with 15 pass breakups. He again finished sixth on the team with 59 tackles (39 solos), but was more involved in run support than he was as a freshman, registering a sack, 2.5 stops for loss and a forced fumble. His 18 total passes defended ranked eighth in the nation, earning him All-Big East Conference second-team recognition.

Mickens was named All-American and All-Big East Conference first-team as a junior. He combined with fellow cornerback DeAngelo Smith to register 14 interceptions, the most by a cornerback duo in the major college ranks in 2007. Mickens’ six pass thefts rank second on the school single-season record list, as he brought two of those thefts back for scores, gaining 136 return yards. He delivered 53 tackles (33 solos) and deflected six passes while also recovering a fumble.

The 2008 Thorpe Award semifinalist and preseason All-American managed to earn All-Big East Conference second-team honors as a senior, despite missing three late season games. He gained 158 yards (fourth-best season total in the Big East) on four interceptions, scoring for the third time in his career on interceptions. He added ten pass deflections and two stops behind the line of scrimmage, as his career-high 70 tackles (46 solos) ranked second on the squad.

High School

Attended Wayne (Huber Heights, Oh.) High School, playing football for head coach Jay Minton…Two-time All-Greater Western Ohio Conference cornerback…Helped the Warriors to a 24-9 record and two league titles during his three seasons…Amassed 205 tackles and 10 interceptions, blocked four field goals and returned a kickoff for a touchdown during his career…Also excelled in track, becoming the state 300-meter hurdles champion as a junior…Part of the school’s 4×400 meter relay team, helping them to a second-place finish at the state finals during his sophomore year.


Positives: Legitimate cover corner. … Possesses the quick feet and smooth hip turn to change direction and blanket his assignment. … Often forces the quarterback to go to his second option. … Reads the action quickly and gets an excellent break on the ball. … Cognizant defender. … Experienced in man and zone coverage with the combination of athleticism and instincts to play in either scheme at the next level. … Has a second gear to close and uses his long arms well to deflect passes. … Physical enough to make a big hit after his man makes the catch. … Improved hands for the interception in 2007 and has 14 picks and 44 pass breakups over his career. … Natural with the ball in his hands, returning two of his six interceptions for touchdowns last season. … Quick to come up in run support, even when pressing in man coverage, and flashes physicality that belies his frame. … Coachable. … Very confident in his ability. … Plays with attitude, will not back down from any receiver. … Leads by example on the field.

Negatives: Feasts on hastily thrown passes in zone coverage behind a dominant pass rush. … Must improve his ability to beat running back blocks when on the blitz. … A bit tall and stiff in his backpedal, which can make it hard for him to recover when the receiver runs a quick out. … While physical, Mickens has a tendency to lead with his shoulder when making a big hit, instead of wrapping up securely. … Left knee injury that cost him three games in 2008 and sidelined him for the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine is a significant concern.

Injury Report

2008: Suffered left knee cartilage damage and a torn meniscus vs. Louisville (11/14), missing the team’s final three regular season games vs. Pittsburgh (11/22), Syracuse (11/29) and Hawaii (12/06).

2009: Pulled out of the Senior Bowl after his left knee experienced inflammation during practices, and was unable to work out at the Combine.

Scouts, Inc. gives him a decent grade.

Overall Football Traits
Production 2 2005: Mickens starts nine out of the 10 games he appears in accumulating 51 tackles and one interception. 2006-’07: Mickens starts all 26 games accumulating 112 tackles and nine interceptions. 2008: Mickens starts 11 games accumulating 70 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, four interceptions and 10 passes broken up. He earned first team All-Big East honors in 2007 and 2008.
Height-Weight-Speed 3 Decent top-end speed and good height but below-average bulk.
Durability 4 2008: Misses final two regular season games after having arthroscopic surgery on left knee to repair torn cartilage. Returned in time for team’s Orange Bowl appearance but did not work out at the Combine.
Character 3 There have been no off-the-field or academic issues to our knowledge.
Defensive Corner specific Traits
Recognition Skills/Toughness 2 Finds and gets to the ball very quickly. Shows above-average awareness in zone coverage. Plays with an edge and great confidence but can do a better job of controlling emotions on the field. (See 2008 Oklahoma game)
Closing Burst 3 Displays good short-area burst and can get a tremendous jump on the ball when reads the routes correctly but doesn’t stay low in backpedal and can be a quarter-count late transitioning out of it as a result. Lacks ideal recovery speed.
Fluidity 2 Fluid hips and can change directions quickly. Smooth turning and running with receivers. Can latch on to the receiver’s hip when tracking the ball downfield and forces receivers to go though him to make a play on the ball.
Ball Skills 1 Playmaker. Aggressive going after the football.  Big hands and isn’t going to drop many passes gets hands on.  Does a good job of getting head turned around in time to locate the ball when asked to turn and run with receivers. A threat to take it the distance after every interception.
Run Support 3 Willing to step up in run support but can get engulfed by bigger receivers and needs to do a better job of shedding blocks. Does an adequate job of wrapping up and getting ball carriers to the ground but slides off the occasional tackle and not a big hitter.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 6 #208 – Dallas Cowboys – TE John Phillips

With the 35th pick in the 6th round, the Dallas Cowboys took another deep backup in Virginia tight end John Phillips. says:


Carrying in the suddenly strong UVA tradition of producing NFL-caliber tight ends under coach Al Groh, Phillips went from being a part-time starter to first-team All-ACC selection in 2008. Teams looking for an athletic receiver to threaten the seam should look elsewhere, but as a secure short- to medium-range target with the size and strength to contribute immediately as a blocker, Phillips quietly ranks as one of the draft’s better all-around tight ends. Had an arm span of 34 1/2 inches and a hand span of 10 1/4 inches at the combine.
High School

Talented two-way player at tight end and defensive end for coach Will Fields at Bath County HS … considered the 24th-best tight end nationally by and, and 30th by … 3 stars by … 87th on’s East Hot 100 list … listed as the No. 15 player in Virginia by SuperPrep, 16th by, 21st by and 24th by … listed 16th among players in Virginia by the Roanoke Times and 24th on the Charlottesville Daily Progress “Gold List” … named first-team All-State tight end as a senior when he caught 40 passes for 714 yards and five touchdowns … Roanoke Times All-Timesland tight end and region defensive Player of the Year his final year … first-team All-State at tight end and second-team as a defensive end as a junior … caught 25 passes for 495 yards and six touchdowns in just 10 games that season … finished his career with 87 receptions for 1,513 yards and 16 touchdowns … defensively he had 324 tackles, including 90 for loss and 42 sacks … also a standout in basketball and baseball … three-time All-Pioneer District honoree in both sports … All-State and MVP in baseball in 2004.


Positives: Prototype height for the position with long limbs. Solid build with room for additional growth. Reads the defense and can find the soft spot in the short and medium levels of zone coverage. Reliable hands. Catches the ball cleanly with his hands and secures it quickly. Good body control to catch the pass outside of his frame. Lacks the quickness off the snap that teams prefer, but accelerates smoothly. Physical inline blocker. At least adequate quickness off the snap and laterally for the down block. Provides a good initial pop and effort as a drive blocker. Veteran with four years of starting experience.

Negatives: Strictly a short- to medium-range target. Lacks the straight-line speed to challenge the seam. Only adequate elusiveness to make defenders miss in space. Occasionally lines up in the slot, but lacks the burst off the snap to continue in this role in the NFL. Could use more bulk in his upper body. Provides pop as a blocker, but lack of initial quickness evident in this area, as well. Struggles to recover if beaten initially.

At least Scouts, Inc. has heard of this guy:

Overall Football Traits
Production 3 2005: Phillips appears in all 12 games and starts the three games Virginia opens in a two tight end set. He catches two passes for a total of 27 yards and one touchdown. 2006: Phillips starts four of the 12 games he appears in catching two passes for a total of 65 yards. 2007: Phillips starts eight of the 13 games he appears in catching 17 passes for a total of 193 yards and two touchdowns. 2008: Phillips starts all 12 games catching 48 passes for a total of 385 yards and two touchdowns.
Height-Weight-Speed 3 Adequate bulk and room on frame to add significant weight but top-end speed is marginal for position.
Durability 2 Durability is not a concern to out knowledge.
Character 2 2008: Named the Rock Weir Award winner for the offense as the most improved player during spring drills.
Tight End specific Traits
Ball Skills 3 Stays focused and looks ball into hands but traps ball against frame too much and vulnerable to dropping passes should catch.
Separation Skills 3 Shows adequate footwork running routes but doesn’t show much burst coming out of cuts and going to have a harder time separating from man coverage at the NFL level. Struggles to avoid contact at the line of scrimmage and can get muscled out of routes.
Blocking 2 Initially gets hands inside defender’s frame and drives legs once in position but doesn’t always lock on and slides off some blocks as a result. Got stood up by Georgia Tech DE Michael Johnson during 2007 game. Takes adequate angles to downfield blocks and shows adequate body control in space.
Toughness 2 Plays with a mean streak and appears to take pride in blocking. Lowers shoulders into defenders when running after the catch.
Big-Play Potential 4 Fluid turning upfield and runs hard but isn’t going to make many defenders miss and doesn’t show a second gear in space. Takes too long to reach top-end speed and isn’t much of a vertical threat.

Calvin Watkins makes an interesting point:  “Cowboys TE coach John Garrett should know exactly what to expect from Phillips, a good inline blocker who will serve as the No. 3 tight end. John Garrett was Virginia’s receivers coach before coming to the Cowboys two seasons ago.”


NFL Draft 2009 Round 6 #197 – Dallas Cowboys – S Stephen Hodge

With the 24th pick in the 6th round, the Dallas Cowboys take another safety, another athlete who played his college ball in Texas, and another Stephen:  TCU’s Stephen Hodge. says he’s a “tweener.”


Earned second-team All-Mountain West honors as a junior after being a special teams coverage leader his first two seasons. Hodge followed that up with a first-team All-Mountain West performance as a senior, making 91 tackles including 10 for loss. His eight sacks led all Football Bowl Subdivision defensive backs in 2007, though he basically played linebacker in TCU’s defense and blitzed often. The question for NFL teams will be whether he’s a safety, weak-side linebacker or a special teams player.

High School

Regarded as one of the top athletes in East Texas … Played quarterback and defensive back for coach Andy Evans at Tatum High School … Led the Eagles to 28 wins in 38 varsity starts over three years … Also handled the punting chores … As a junior he rushed for more than 2,000 yards and passed for more than 1,600 yards, combining for 45 touchdowns, earning district MVP honors … As a senior he completed 105-of-160 passes for 1,471 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions and rushed for 1,561 yards and 19 touchdowns in a 12-2 campaign to earn district MVP honors for a second time … In three seasons he rushed for more than 4,000 yards and 51 touchdowns while passing for nearly 4,500 yards and 48 scores … Member of the Star-Telegram’s State 100 list … Ranked 56th on the state 100 list by … On the’s East Texas all-Underclassmen team and on their 2004 All-East team … Ran a 4.4 40-yard dash … Also excelled in baseball and basketball … Considered Baylor, Houston, Missouri, Texas A&M and SMU before deciding on TCU.


Strengths: Adequate height with stocky, strong safety build and long arms. … Big hitter who will lay the wood when the ballcarrier is lined up in his sights. … Finds his way through traffic inside to attack the ball. … Quick in his drop and can handle zone coverage outside at the second level. … Hustles downfield and reads screens quickly. … Could be a special teams force at the next level, like he was early in his college career, due to his secure tackling and aggressive nature.

Weaknesses: Safety-linebacker “tweener.” … Plays in the box most of the time in the 3-3-5 defense, basically as a linebacker. … Is not as physical as he should be. … Runs around blocks because he has trouble getting off them. … High and choppy in his backpedal. … Takes poor angles at times and does not have the fluid hips or lateral speed to handle man coverage responsibilities. … Statistics inflated by aggressive TCU defensive scheme that had him constantly blitzing.

Scouts, Inc. gives him a horrible grade, saying he was the 19th best OLB in the draft. Otherwise, he’s far enough down the depth chart that they don’t even have a grade for him.

In the unkindest cut of all, Tim MacMahon dubs him “a Roy Williams-type of safety” and muses “Many experts projected him to play outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. Not sure how he’ll fit in the Phillips 3-4.” Considering the Cowboys put the actual Roy Williams-type safety on the street during the offseason, a good question.  MacMahon adds,

This line from his NFL Draft Scout report could explain the Cowboys’ thinking behind the pick: “Could be a special teams force at the next level, like he was early in his college career, due to his secure tackling and aggressive nature.”

Rather clearly, the Cowboys are drafting for backups and niche needs in this draft rather than going with the “best available athlete” that all the experts counsel.  The Cowboys have spent an entire draft picking special teamers and backups.

Shades of 1995, indeed.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 5 #172 – Dallas Cowboys – K David Buehler

The Dallas Cowboys picked a placekicker, USC’s David Buehler, with the 36th pick in the 5th round.

How in the world does that make sense? They drafted Nick Folk two years ago and he made it to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.  He was excellent last year, too.  Unless  they plan to keep two kickers on the active roster, this is a wasted pick.

DMN’s Tim McMahon thinks that the ‘Boys will indeed keep two, making Buehler a kickoff specialist.  He adds, “Buehler made big news at the combine by putting up 25 bench press reps, more than some first-round offensive linemen. He practiced at fullback and safety for the Trojans, so maybe Buehler can help the scout team, too.”  Man, if we’re drafting kickers as safety and fullback projects, we’re in worse shape than I thought. agrees that he’s a tremendous athlete, though.


Unlike most place-kickers, Buehler is an impressive athlete with exceptional strength for a player at his position. He proved that recently at the NFL Combine, where his 25 repetitions bench pressing 225 pounds was more than even three of the 2009 NFL Draft’s elite offensive linemen, Michael Oher of Mississippi, Eugene Monroe of Virginia and Max Unger of Oregon. One look at his family tree, you can see that stellar athletes are the norm in the Buehler household.

His father, John, was a three-year letterman (1969-71) on Southern California’s track team as a shot putter. His uncle, George Buehler, lettered in football at Stanford for three seasons (1966-68) and then played offensive guard with the Oakland Raiders (1969-78) and Cleveland Browns (1978-79). Another uncle, Charles, lettered in football at Stanford for three years (1960-62).

During his prep and junior college playing days, Buehler served as his team’s place-kicker, linebacker and running back. He also competed in volleyball, golf and track. Upon his arrival at Southern California in 2006, he also worked at fullback and strong safety.

Still, it is his strong kicking leg that he will make his professional living. He holds the distinction of being the only the second kicker in school history to score at least 100 points (2007) in a season, joining Ryan Killeen (122 in 2003, 112 in 2004). Buehler’s kickoff abilities are also quite special. On 180 kickoffs, 105 of them (58.3 percent) have pinned opponents within the 20-yard line, with 69 resulting in touchbacks (38.3 percent).

Buehler handled kicking chores at Canyon High School, where he also saw action as a fullback and linebacker. He earned 2004 All-Century League honors as a senior. He also lettered in volleyball, golf and track.

As a freshman, Buehler attended Santa Ana Junior College. Playing on both offense and defense, in addition to handling kickoff chores he was selected to the All-Mission Conference National Division first-team. He registered 25 touchbacks on his 58 kickoffs, and 29 tackles (19 solos) with one interception as a linebacker. Playing fullback, he rushed for 50 yards on nine carries (5.6 avg) with five touchdowns and also caught a pass for a 2-yard score in ten games.

Buehler transferred to Southern California in 2006, playing behind the late Mario Danelo during his first year in the program. He appeared in 11 games, making his only field-goal try, a 49-yarder vs. California, the longest three-pointer by a USC kicker since 1998. He kicked off eight times, pinning the opponent inside the 20-yard line on six of those attempts, including three touchbacks.

With the tragic death of Mario Danelo, Buehler inherited the place-kicking chores for the Trojans in 2007. The All-Pac 10 Conference honorable mention scored 100 points on 16 of 19 field goals and 52 of 54 extra-point attempts. He added three solo tackles and pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard line on 35 of his 84 kickoffs, producing 18 touchbacks.

Buehler was named the Trojans’ co-Special Teams Player of the Year in 2008. He added All-Pac 10 Conference first-team honors, as he amassed 92 points, delivering on 9 of 13 field goals and 65 of 66 PATS. He pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard line 64 times on 88 kickoffs that included 48 touchbacks.

Junior College

He made the 2005 All-Mission Conference National Division first team as a freshman placekicker, linebacker and running back at Santa Ana (Calif.) Junior College. He had 25 touchbacks on his 58 kickoffs in 2005, plus recorded 24 tackles and one interception

High School

Attended Canyon (Anaheim, Cal.) High School, earning All-Century League team honors as a senior…Also lettered in volleyball, golf and track.


Positives: NFL-caliber leg strength. Capable of handling kickoff and field-goal duties at the next level. Accurate. Gets good, quick elevation on his kicks. Rare size and athleticism for a kicking prospect. Can break down and make the open-field tackle in coverage. Practiced at fullback and safety with the Trojans. Unfazed by jump in competition from junior college to USC.

Negatives: Regressed as a senior in his deep accuracy. Only made 1-of-4 career field goal attempts against rival UCLA. Lacks experience in clutch situations; USC rarely played in close games.

Scouts, Inc. says he’s the 3rd best kicker in the draft:

Overall Football Traits
Production 3 2005: Buehler started his career at Santa Ana (Calif.) Junior College where he kicked and contributed at the linebacker and running back positions. 2006: Transferred to USC appearing in a back-up role and connecting on his only field goal attempt. (49 yards) Also recorded three touchbacks in six kickoff attempts. 2007: Connected on 52 of 54 extra point attempts and 16 of 19 field goal attempts. He also averaged 64.6 yards and recorded 18 touchbacks on 86 attempts while kicking off. 2008: Hits on nine-of-13 field goal attempts with a long of 43 yards. Also average 67.9 yards and notched 48 touchbacks with his 88 kickoff attempts.
Height-Weight-Speed 1 Tremendous frame, bulk and strength for the position.
Durability 1 Durability is not a concern as he has yet to miss playing time due to injury.
Character 2 Related to George Buehler (Uncle) who played guard in the NFL for a total of 10 seasons with the Raiders and Browns. Also no off-the-field incidents we are currently aware of.

UPDATE:Tim MacMahon reports, “David Buehler won’t be just a kickoff specialist.”

David Buehler is a football player whose best skill happens to be booting kickoffs into the end zone. That isn’t the only thing the Cowboys plan to have him do, though.

Nick Folk has a firm grip on the point-scoring part of the kicking job. But new special teams coach Joe DeCamillis told Buehler that the Cowboys plan to expand his special teams role past kickoffs. “I believe I’m a kickoff/special teams player, but I’m not positive,” Buehler said. “I’m going in there with my eyes wide open.”

Buehler, the 172nd overall pick, played linebacker, running back and kicker in junior college. He practiced at safety and fullback after transferring to USC and played on special teams as a non-kicker before becoming the full-time kicker. He has the size (6-1, 227), speed (4.62 40) and strength (27 bench-press reps) to cover punts or block for returners.

“I’m fair game,” said Buehler, who has been buddies with Folk since they met at a kicking camp a few years ago. “I’m their property now, so I’m willing to do whatever helps the team win.”

Or whatever justifies a roster spot.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 5 #166 – Dallas Cowboys – S Michael Hamlin

With the 30th pick in the 5th round, the Dallas Cowboys select Clemson safety Michael Hamlin.   This will, of course, create confusion since they already have a safety named (Ken) Hamlin.  And this after they rid themselves of the two Roy Williams situation by getting rid of the safety and keeping the wideout.

But I digress.

He’s 6’2″ and 214 pounds and runs a 4.62 40.


Hamlin showed his leadership skills in 2008, speaking up and imploring his teammates to play up to their ability after the team struggled and underwent a midseason coaching change. The young players responded, with Clemson winning four of its final six games to earn a spot in the 2009 Gator Bowl.

Hamlin and his two brothers all followed in their father’s footsteps and became defensive backs. While Michael went on to star at Clemson, his siblings, Markee and Marquais, play for South Carolina State. The two teams played each other in 2008, marking the first time since 1981 that brothers competed vs. each other in a Clemson game (Mark Richardson of Clemson and his brother, Jon, who attended North Carolina, played vs. each other at Chapel Hill that year).

The Tigers’ defensive captain started 43 games for Clemson, the most by a defensive back in school history. His 14 interceptions rank third in school annals and his 243 yards gained on interception returns rank second. He also ranks second in school history with 18 takeaways (four forced fumbles, 14 pass thefts).

At Lamar High School, Hamlin was a finalist for Mr. Football in South Carolina. Rated the 11th-best safety in the nation by Tom Lemming, he was named the state’s Defensive Player of the Year by High School Sports Report. He added All-State honors as a junior and senior and was a three-time All-Region selection, capturing Region Player of the Year honors in each of his final two campaigns.

Hamlin registered 23 career interceptions, including a team-high four as a senior. He threw three passes as a senior and two were touchdowns, including one to his brother in the state title game. He had 20 catches for 290 yards and four scores, and gained 148 punt return yards and 179 kickoff return yards. He added All-Region accolades in both baseball and basketball, as Lamar’s baseball squad won the state championship as a junior.

Hamlin enrolled at Clemson in 2004, participating on the scout team. He shared “Cat” (strong safety duties) with C.J. Gaddis in 2005, as the 190-pound defensive back started the final seven games. On 492 defensive plays, he recorded 55 tackles (30 solos), broke up three passes and intercepted two others as the first freshman to start in the Tigers secondary since Justin Miller in 2002.

As a sophomore, Hamlin missed three games after breaking a bone in his left foot vs. Boston College. He still managed to get on the field for 576 plays in 10 starts. He was in on 64 tackles (47 solos), including five stops for loss. He picked off two passes, returning one 74 yards and knocked down three other throws while recovering a pair of fumbles.

Hamlin received All-Atlantic Coast Conference recognition in 2007. He started all 13 games for the first time in his career, producing 97 tackles (73 solos), the fifth-highest total among league defensive backs that year. Three of his stops were for losses, as he also picked off four passes and deflected six others. Three of his four fumble recoveries led to Clemson scoring drives. He also intercepted a two-point conversion attempt and returned it 100 yards vs. North Carolina State for the first defensive score off an opponent’s extra point in school history.

Hamlin was an All-American honorable mention by Sports Illustrated and an All-ACC first-team choice as a senior. He ranked eighth in the nation with six interceptions and was second in the conference with a total of 16 passes defended (10 breakups, six interceptions). He also placed second on the team with a career-high 110 tackles (74 solos), as he served as the squad’s first two-time team captain since the 2001 campaign.

High School

Attended Lamar (S.C.) High School, playing football for head coach J.R. Boyd…Finalist for Mr. Football in South Carolina…Rated the 11th-best safety in the nation by Tom Lemming, he was named the state’s Defensive Player of the Year by High School Sports Report… Added All-State honors as a junior and senior and was a three-time All-Region selection, capturing Region Player of the Year honors in each of his final two campaigns…Recorded 23 career interceptions, including a team-high four as a senior…Threw three passes as a senior and two were touchdowns, including one to his brother in the state title game… Added 20 catches for 290 yards and four scores, and had 148 punt return yards and 179 kickoff return yards…Earned All-Region accolades in baseball and basketball, as Lamar’s baseball squad won the state championship as a junior.


Positives: Rangy player with the frame to add an additional 10-15 pounds of mass. … Quick to come up in run support. … Willing to take on blocks to get to the action. … Reliable tackler in the open field who flashes hitting ability. … Wrap-up tackler who looks to punch or rip the ball out to create a turnover. … Instinctive in coverage. Reads the quarterback’s eyes and gets a good break on the ball due to his feel for the game. … Natural hands for the interception. … Competes for the ball and can time his leap to catch it at its highest point. … Good vision and elusiveness with the ball in his hands. … Cerebral player who lines up the Clemson defensive backfield and was voted a permanent team captain as a junior.

Negatives: Questionable straight-line speed. … Much better with his eyes pointed toward the quarterback, as he lacks the deep speed most teams want as the deep safety. … Reliable open-field tackler, but lacks bulk and explosive hitting ability to be an intimidator over the middle. … Durability red flags: broke both feet in his career, missing three games in 2006 after breaking one against Boston College and undergoing postseason surgery after the 2007 season with a stress fracture in the other.

Scouts, Inc. rates him surprisingly high for a guy that fell to the end of the 5th round:

Overall Football Traits
Production 2 Clemson red-shirted Hamlin in 2004. He started seven of the 12 games he appeared in during the 2005 season finishing with 55 total tackles, 30 unassisted tackles, two special teams’ tackles and one tackle-for-loss. Hamlin also broke up a pass and intercepted two passes in 2005. He started 10 games in 2006 finishing with 64 total tackles, 47 unassisted tackles, six special teams’ tackles and five tackles-for-loss. Hamlin also broke up three passes, forced a fumble, recovered two fumbles, intercepted two passes and missed three games with an injury (see durability) in 2006. He started all 13 games of the 2007 season finishing with 97 total tackles, 73 unassisted tackles, two special teams’ tackles and three tackles-for-loss. Hamlin also broke up six passes, forced a fumble, recovered two fumbles and intercepted four passes in 2007. Hamlin started in all 13 games during the 2008 season and recorded 110 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, and one sack. He also added six interceptions and 10 pass break-ups. Earned second team All-ACC honors during the 2007 season and earned first team honors during his senior campaign in 2008.
Height-Weight-Speed 2 Hamlin lacks elite top-end speed but he’s fasts enough to cover the deep half of the field and he has room on his frame to add even more bulk.
Durability 3 Hamlin broke his left foot in the fourth quarter of the 2006 Boston College game and missed the next three games.
Character 2 Voted permanent defensive captain by his 2007 teammates. Graduated with a degree in management in may of 2008.
Defensive Safety specific Traits
Recognition Skills/Toughness 3 Reads quarterbacks’ eyes. Generally doesn’t bite on play action but can jump up in short yardage situations. Flashes the ability to deliver the big hit over the middle but won’t be able to push receivers around as much in the NFL. Can be a step slow filling in run support. Doesn’t play with enough of a mean streak when steps up in run support.
Closing Burst 3 Can plant off back foot and explode out of backpedal but notch below ideal closing burst, footwork is a bit inconsistent and can be a step late getting to the ball as a result.
Fluidity 4 Going to have some problems turning and running with explosive slot receivers/tight ends. Turns shoulders too early at times and vulnerable to double moves. Can cover the deep half of the field but doesn’t open hips well enough to play a centerfielder-type role.
Ball Skills 2 Aggressive, times jumps well and can snatch the all out of the air. Flashes the ability to make the big play after the catch. (see 2007 North Carolina State game)
Run Support 3 Fails to wrap up on occasion but doesn’t miss many tackles and takes sound pursuit angles. Good motor and doesn’t give up on plays. (See third quarter Darius Heyward-Bey run in 2008 Maryland game) Has experience lining up in the box. Has adequate-to-good upper body strength and flashes the ability to keep blockers off frame but inconsistent in this area.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 5 #143 – Dallas Cowboys – DB DeAmgelo Smith

Dallas traded up a few spots to take Cincinnati defensive back DeAngelo Smith,  gaving up the 156th and 210th picks to the Falcons to move up.   DMN’s Tim McMahon reports, “The 5-11, 194-pound Smith made 12 career interceptions, including eight in 2007. He was clocked at 4.50 in the 40 at the combine. Smith started 28 games for the Bearcats (23 at corner, five at free safety).”  The guess is he’ll be a safety in the NFL.


Smith teamed with Mike Mickens to form one of the elite cornerback tandems in college football. The two combined for 26 interceptions during their careers together, more than any other active duo in the NCAA in 2008. Always known for his outstanding hands, the right cornerback added a new wrinkle to his game as a senior taking over full-time punt return duties to add to his resume that included handling the bulk of kickoff return chores as a junior.

While not the celebrated tackler that Mickens is, Smith is a top-notch pass defender, breaking up 21 passes as a two-year starter. He ranks tied for second in school history with 12 interceptions and set the Bearcats’ single-season record with eight pass thefts in 2007, ranking second nationally in that category. He also collected 179 yards in returns, the fifth-best total in Cincinnati annals, as his two touchdown returns are good for a third place tie in school history.

Causing problems for opposing quarterbacks is commonplace for Smith, who registered 11 interceptions, returning five for touchdowns, en route to earning All-State first-team honors as a senior at Independence High School. He closed out his career with 20 pass thefts, returning seven for scores.

Smith also caught 14 touchdown passes and totaled seven punt or kickoff returns for scores as a senior. He earned first-team All-City and All-District honors. He was named to the Columbus Dispatch-Agonis All-Star team, as he helped the team to a regional finals appearance in the state playoffs.

Smith enrolled at Cincinnati in 2004, spending the season on the scout team. The Bearcat Academic Honor Roll selection appeared briefly in seven games, mostly on special teams in 2005, finishing with one solo tackle. He was the top reserve at both cornerback positions in 2006, recording 23 tackles (17 solos) with three pass deflections, a pair of interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He made the most of his opportunity in his only game as a starter, earning Big East Player of the Week honors after posting six tackles and returning an interception 84 yards (fourth-longest return in school history) vs. Rutgers. He also gained 65 yards on four kickoff returns that campaign.

Smith took over right cornerback duties as a junior, coming up with 49 tackles (39 solos) that included 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He caused and recovered two fumbles, as he also deflected eight passes. His eight interceptions set the school single-season record and led the Big East Conference while ranking second in the nation. He also amassed 296 yards on 12 kickoff returns (24.7 avg), earning second-team All-Big East recognition.

In 2008, Smith was chosen All-Big East third-team. He started all 14 games, picking up the leadership slack in the secondary when Mickens was sidelined late in the season. He broke up 10 passes, intercepted two others and caused a fumble. He also had 53 tackles (36 solos) with 3.5 stops for loss. His versatility proved invaluable, as he lined up at free safety for the first five games before returning to his more familiar right cornerback spot for the rest of the schedule. He also averaged 9.5 yards on 23 punt returns.

High School

Attended Independence (Columbus, Ohio) High School, playing football for head coach Alan Jones…Registered 11 interceptions, returning five for touchdowns en route to earning All-State first-team honors as a senior…Closed out his career with 20 pass thefts, returning seven for scores…Also caught 14 touchdown passes and totaled seven punt or kickoff returns for scores as a senior…Earned first-team All-City and All-District honors…Named to the Columbus Dispatch-Agonis All-Star team, as he helped the team to a regional finals appearance in the state playoffs.


Positives: Aggressive, adequately-sized corner with long arms and confidence. … Stays low in his pedal and flips his hips open well. … Good hands for the interception when closing forward on the ball. … Attacks quick screens behind the line of scrimmage, will throw his body into the tackle. … Has played some free safety when needed and also returned kicks. … Works hard to improve his game.

Negatives: Fits best in a zone system where he can see the play in front of him and close on the ball. … Plays near the line at times but does not get his hands on receivers. … Gambles to get to the ball. … Only adequate straight-line speed. … Has trouble adjusting to the ball in the air and making the interceptions when moving backward. … Has a tough time getting off wide receiver’s blocks due to his lack of size and upper-body strength. … Gets turned around easily. … Lacks the suddenness to handle quick slot receivers. … Not a physical tackler. … Whiffs on attempts to cut tackle because he ducks his head. … Questionable ball security, decision-making and speed as a punt returner.

Scouts, Inc. says,

Overall Football Traits
Production 3 2004: Cincinnati red-shirts Smith. 2005-06: Smith starts one of the 20 games he appears in. He records a total of 24 tackles and intercepts one pass. Smith also returns four kickoffs for a total of 65 yards in 2006. 2007: Smith starts all 13 games accumulating 49 tackles and ties for the FBS-lead in interceptions with eight. He returns 12 kickoffs for a total of 296 yards. 2008: Smith starts all 14 games accumulating 53 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions, 10 passes broken up and one forced fumble. He returns 23 punts for a total of 219 yards.
Height-Weight-Speed 4 Height and bulk are adequate but top-end speed is below-average.
Durability 1 Durability is not a concern to our knowledge.
Character 3 Member of the Bearcat Academic Honor Roll during the fall of 2006.
Defensive Corner specific Traits
Recognition Skills/Toughness 3 Reads keys and locates the ball quickly. Instinctive and seems to understand how offenses are trying to attack the coverage.  Can line at corner or safety and can play man or zone coverage. Does not shy away from contact and has good upper body strength but could be more aggressive in run support. Gambles at times and vulnerable to double moves. Can get pushed around by bigger receivers despite being tough for size.
Closing Burst 3 Can plant back foot and drive out of backpedal when a receivers catches the ball is caught in front of him but doesn’t show the same kinfd of burtst .  Marginal recovery speed and going to have tougher time overcoming false steps in the NFL.
Fluidity 3 Quick-twitch athlete that has fluid hips and can change directions in an instant. Can turn and run with receivers smoothly but isn’t fast enough to run with most NFL receivers. Allows too much separation when playing off man and appears more comfortable playing close to the line of scrimmage.
Ball Skills 3 Can snatch the ball out of the air. Has adequate leaping ability, times jumps well and flashes the ability to highpoint the ball. Extends arms and shows a good sense of timing when breaking up passes but doesn’t track the ball well enough.
Run Support 4 Does a nice job of going low and chopping ball carriers legs out from under him but misses the occasional open field tackle and not a big hitter. Needs to shed or slip blocks quicker.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 4 #120 – Dallas Cowboys – DE Brandon Williams

The Cowboys traded down three spots to pick up Tampa’s 7th rounder (’cause we don’t have enough picks already…) and then take another lineman and in-state player, Texas Tech’s Brandon Williams.   This might be a rare case where the Cowboys got good value in the draft! says:


Big 12 opponents fully appreciated the impact Williams had on the Red Raiders’ in 2008, even if others paid more attention to the high-flying offense. After all, Williams led the conference with 13 sacks, earning first-team All-Big 12 accolades as a junior, and leaves Tech ranked fourth in school history with 22.5 career sacks. Williams is strictly a speed rusher, as he lacks the bulk and strength to provide much in the running game. Teams are always looking for pass rushers and this fact could make Williams a top-100 selection come April, but another year at Texas Tech to get stronger would have been beneficial.

High School

South Hills High School in Fort Worth, Texas … No. 69 overall prospect in Dallas area (Dallas Morning News) … District 8-4A first team after posting 102 tackles and 11 sacks during senior season … Rated as one of the state’s top 20 defensive linemen … Timed at 4.8 second in the 40-yard dash … Also offered by Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa State, Central Florida and SMU … High school coach was Jerry Watson.


Positives: Lanky, athletic frame with room for at least an additional 15-20 pounds of added mass. … Good initial quickness off the snap. … Can pressure the edge immediately with his burst and has the balance and flexibility to get under the tackle and close. … Has a late short burst to close. … Good straight-line speed.

Negatives: Essentially a one-trick pony at this time because he lacks the bulk and strength required to be dependable against the run in the NFL from the traditional defensive end position. … Lacks the balance and flexible hips to change direction fluidly and project as a linebacker. … Relies on his long arms and speed to trip up ballcarriers too often. … Is not a strong tackler and opponents break his arm tackles.

Scouts, Inc says:

Overall Football Traits
Production 2 2006: Williams appears in 11 games as a true freshman and records 16 tackles including 3.5 sacks. He breaks up one pass. 2007: Williams starts 11 of the 12 games he appears in recording 41 tackles including 11.5 tackles-for-loss. He forces three fumbles and recovers one fumble. 2008: Williams starts all 12 games and records 21 tackles including 12.5 tackles-for-loss and 11 sacks. He forces three fumbles and breaks up three passes.
Height-Weight-Speed 4 Adequate-to-good height but needs to bulk up to play defensive end or move to rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Combine 40 time was poor but he plays faster than that result indicates.
Durability 2 Durability is not an issue to our knowledge but lack of size puts him somewhat at risk.
Character 3 No off-the-field issues to our knowledge.
Defensive End specific Traits
Agility/Quickness 2 Better agility than Combine numbers reflect. Reads movement and explodes off the ball. Shows above-average closing speed in pursuit. But he does show some tightness in the hips, he struggles to change directions in space and he will likely have a difficult time matching up in coverage if moved to outside linebacker.
Strength/Toughness 4 Plays from the snap until the whistle and fights to get off blocks. Lacks ideal lower body strength and gets driven back at times. Undersized and can get engulfed by bigger offensive linemen.
Instincts 2 Finds the ball quickly and rarely caught out of position. Shows above-average awareness and does a nice job of sniffing out draws as well as screens.
Pass Rusher 2 Quick enough to turn the corner and shows above-average closing speed when gets a clear run at the quarterback. Can set offensive tackles up to the outside and then swim or spin back inside. Ball-hawk that looks to knock the ball loose when gets to the quarterback.
Run Stopper 4 At his best when on the move. Shows quick hands and long arms, which if used properly can help him keep blockers off his body. Possesses the lateral mobility necessary to get down the line and fill cutback lanes. However, he possesses marginal strength and really struggles to hold his ground when teams run at him. He typically takes far too long to shed the block.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 4 #110 – Dallas Cowboys – DE Victor Butler

With the 10th pick in the 4th round, the Dallas Cowboys take Oregon State defensive end Victor Butler, apparently with the intention of making him an outside linebacker in the 3-4.  He appears to be a serious project.

Holy crap this is a lousy draft.  Thus far, not a single player likely to compete for a starting job this year. says,


An undersized pass-rush specialist with the Beavers, Butler must make the transition to outside linebacker in the NFL. A standout pass rusher who broke out to register 10.5 sacks as a junior despite only starting one game, Butler was first-team All-Pac-10 and tied the single-season sack record at OSU with 12 as a senior and leaves second in school history with 25.5 career sacks. It was his final two games with the Beavers that really have scouts intrigued. Butler earned Sun Bowl MVP after racking up 11 tackles, including five tackles for loss, four sacks and a forced fumble against Pittsburgh and showed surprising fluidity when operating in coverage while at the East-West Shrine Game.

High School

Three-year letterman as receiver, safety, defensive end and kick returner … Played defensive end only as a senior due to team needs … Two-time all-league and all-county as a senior.


Positives: Rangy build with plenty of room for additional muscle mass. … Good initial burst off the edge as a pass rusher. … Capable of challenging the tackle and flexible enough to bend around the tackle to collapse the pocket. … Good closing speed. … Good lateral quickness and balance to redirect. … Shows some leg drive as a bull rusher. … Helped himself at the East-West Shrine Game, showing good upper-body strength to pop the tight end off the snap. … Good straight-line speed and agility to redirect in coverage. … Tools to warrant development as a rush linebacker. … Voted team captain.

Negatives: Classic “tweener.” … Essentially a one-trick pony. … Lacks the bulk to remain at defensive end and may lack the necessary speed and agility for coverage. … Questionable instincts for move a linebacker. … Relies on his agility to avoid blockers when in space. … Struggles to disengage from blockers once they’ve locked on. … Only one season as a starter.

Scouts, Inc gives him a decent grade.

Overall Football Traits
Production 3 2005-’07: Butler starts one of the 36 games he appears in accumulating 45 tackles, 18 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception, four pass breakups, three fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles. 2008: Butler starts all 13 games accumulating 65 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He earns first team All PAC-10 honors in 2008.
Height-Weight-Speed 2 Adequate height and bulk but excellent top-end speed.
Durability 1 Has not missed any playing time with an injury.
Character 2 Voted team captain in 2008.
Outside Linebacker specific Traits
Instincts/Recognition 3 Instincts are adequate-at-best but he shows good discipline and generally stays at home when offense runs misdirection.
Pursuit/Point of Attack 3 Excellent range, takes sound pursuit angles and a sideline-to-sideline run stopper. Very good upper body strength but don’t see it enough on film and more effective in space than is in phone booth situations. Takes too long to shed blocks when gets reached and can get driven back.
Tackling 3 Strong tackler in a confined area but doesn’t show great body control in space and is an inconsistent open field tackler.
Pass Coverage 4 Fast enough to run with backs/tight ends down the middle of the field but takes too long to open hips. Not fluid changing directions so going to have some problems matching up underneath as well. Lacks ideal ball skills and not a playmaker.
Pass Rusher 2 Greatest strength. Quick, gets good inside body lean and shows above-average closing speed. Can set tackles up to the outside before redirecting inside.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 4 #101 – Dallas Cowboys – QB Stephen McGee

The Cowboys chose Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee, the consensus best-available QB, with their first pick in the 4th round.  The 6’3″, 225 pounder is raw but has tremendous upside.

Obviously, this is yet another pick spent on a backup, since Tony Romo is a Pro Bowler and under a lucrative, long-term contract to start.  Still, the team needs to start grooming a backup and the 4th round means he’ll come cheap by NFL standards.

Here’s what says about him:


Few quarterbacks will ever be drafted after starting only three games their senior year, but McGee has the tools worthy of consideration. A fine Texas high school quarterback recruited by several top programs, McGee went to Texas A&M to make his own name. While his statistics under former head coach Dennis Franchione were solid enough to earn NFL attention (60 percent completion rate for 4,606 yards and a 24-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio), McGee was hardly developing into a pro-ready quarterback through Franchione’s read-option offense.

With former Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman taking over the helm in 2008, optimism was high that McGee would enjoy a big senior campaign. Then he suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder early in the season, limiting him to only the three starts. A solid week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game – and this year’s weak senior class of quarterbacks – could result in McGee earning a surprisingly high grade from some teams who are willing to look past his stunted development and focus on his undeniable tools. Had an arm span of 32 inches and a hand span of 9 inches at the combine.
High School

Three-year starter at quarterback for Class 3A Burnet High School, leading his team to a combined record of 36-5 (including a 28-2 mark as a junior and senior). … Burnet appeared in the 3A state finals in 2002 and 2003. … did not throw a single interception in the 2003 regular season. … finished his career with 8,256 passing yards and a 3A state-record 101 passing touchdowns. … as a senior, McGee completed 196 of 313 passes for 3,579 yards with 47 touchdowns and three interceptions. … as a junior, he completed 155 of 276 passes for 2,841 yards and 34 touchdowns and five interceptions. … as a sophomore, he connected on 93 of 176 attempts for 1,829 yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions. … two-time all-state selection and three-time all-district pick. … named the 3A Offensive Most Valuable Player after his senior year. … also earned Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine Super Team second-team and Austin American-Statesman All-Centex Co-Player of the Year honors. … coached by Bob Shipley. … also played basketball and track and field. … all-district on the hardwood as a sophomore, but was injured as a junior. … advanced to the regional meet in track with the 400- and 1,600-meter relays. … an excellent student, McGee was Burnet’s No. 1-ranked student-athlete and ranked No. 9 overall in his senior class of over 250.


Positives: Legitimate NFL frame. Good toughness. Has absorbed a lot of hits throughout his career and is willing to play through pain. Legitimate arm strength. Good zip on his passes, especially on short and intermediate routes. Flashes the arm strength and trajectory for deep passes with touch over the top. Good athlete who can buy time in the pocket and also make plays as a runner in the open field. Good agility and strength for the position as a runner. Solid week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game offers hope that he can develop with time in a pro-style offense. Excellent intangibles. Natural leader who was voted permanent team captain in 2006. Twice led the Aggies to upset victories over rival Texas.

Negatives: Raw as they come. More of a thrower than a passer at this point. Inconsistent footwork and delivery. Inconsistent accuracy, mostly due to flawed technique. Still acclimating to reading a defense from a passer standpoint. Lacks patience in the pocket and will either run or force passes too often, rather than check down. Needs to be cleared medically due to the torn labrum suffered during his senior year.
Injury Report

2008: Limited to three starts due to a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. says, “McGee will be one of the most sought after quarterbacks in the country. Last season as a junior, he threw for over 2,800 yards, 34 touchdowns and only five interceptions. McGee has a strong arm, good mobilty and makes great decisions with the ball. He carries a 4.0 GPA. ”

Scouts, Inc. gives him mixed grades.

Overall Football Traits
Production 2 2004: Texas A&M red shirts McGee. 2005: McGee starts one of the eight games he appears in completing 24 of his 53 passes for a total of 283 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He rushes for a total of 235 yards and two touchdowns on 43 carries. (5.5 yard avg.) 2006: McGee starts all 13 games completing 194 of his 313 passes (62-percent) for a total of 2,295 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. He rushes for a total of 666 yards and four touchdowns on 146 carries. McGee catches one pass for a 12-yard gain and he punts twice for a total of 71 yards. He places one of those punts inside the opponent’s 20-yardline. 2007: McGee starts all 13 games completing 211 of his 364 passes (58-percent) for a total of 2,311 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He rushes for five touchdowns and a team-high 811 yards on 181 carries. (5.0 yard avg.) 2008: McGee starts three of the six games he appears in completing 56 of his 85 passes (65.9-precent) for a total of 586 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He finishes the year with -50 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Height-Weight-Speed 3 Marginal height and bulk but above-average top-end speed.
Durability 4 2007: Injures non-throwing shoulder during Alamo Bowl. 2008: Undergoes surgery on non-throwing shoulder and is held out of spring ball. Injures throwing shoulder during New Mexico game and then re-injures it against Army two weeks later.
Character 1 Great competitor and teammates rally around him. Works hard on and off the field. Voted Permanent Team Captain in 2006. One of if not the toughest quarterbacks in the nation.
Quarterback specific Traits
Game Management 3 Played in the read-option offense for the first three years of career and started just three games in head coach Mike Sherman’s pro style offense last year but has the mental toughness to make the necessary adjustments. Generates a lot of yards when after plays start to break down. Shows above-average poise in the face of pressure and isn’t afraid to take the big hit.
Accuracy 3 Mechanics need a lot of polishing, especially his footwork. Throws off his back foot sometimes and doesn’t follow through as often as he should. Also has a tendency to over-stride with his front foot, which occasionally can cause his ball to sail high. Does a decent job of changing up velocities. Throws a ‘catchable’ ball underneath. Has shown the ability to throw efficiently while on the run.
Release 3 Ball jumps off hand and can throw from different arm slots. He flashes the ability to get rid of the ball quickly on three-step drops but he has a tendency to cock the ball back and wind-up on deeper throws. Pats the ball too much.
Arm Strength 2 Underrated arm strength. Gets adequate-to-good zip on the ball when throwing the deep-out and can drive the ball downfield on vertical throws when steps into the pass.
Mobility 2 While not an elite athlete, he’s certainly one of the most mobile and experienced runners in the 2008 quarterback class. Competitive ball carrier that displays excellent vision and toughness.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 3 #75 – Dallas Cowboys- OT Robert Brewster

Now that they’ve finally started drafting, the picks are coming hot and heavy.  With the 11th pick in the third round, the Cowboys took Robert Brewster, who played offensive tackle at Ball State but is expected to move to guard in the NFL.

Goose Gosselin ranked him 81st, so another pick where the Cowboys didn’t take the best available player.

Here’s what has to say:

Pick Analysis: The Cowboys pick up a hulking interior prospect with the selection of Brewster. Though he spent his college career as an offensive tackle, Brewster will likely move inside to guard for the Cowboys.


Ball State’s national ranking in 2008 was the first in school history. With Brewster providing stellar blocking in the trenches, the Cardinals scored 33 of 48 times in the red zone, including 27 touchdowns and six field goals.

Brewster had 13 touchdown-resulting blocks through 14 games. That performance by Brewster earned him consideration for the Lombardi and Outland trophy, given to the best interior lineman in college football.

At Wyoming High School, Brewster lettered three times in football and also competed for the basketball team. He was named the Cincinnati Hills League Offensive Player of the Year as a senior, leading the team to a 7-3 record. He also garnered All-State, All-City and “Tremendous 26″ Division III Player of the Year accolades. The team would compile a 34-11 record during his prep playing days.

As a true freshman, Brewster immediately earned a starting job. He lined up at right offensive tackle for the first four games, shifting to right guard for the final seven contests. He provided solid pass protection as quarterback Joey Lynch set a school season-record with 18 touchdown tosses. The lineman would go on to post 65 knockdown blocks, helping the Cardinals average 299.0 yards per game.

Ball State allowed 43 quarterback sacks in 2005 and Brewster graded 82.7% for blocking consistency, delivering nine touchdown-resulting blocks. His play up front saw the Cardinals reduce their sacks allowed total to 28, as the offense gained 4,215 yards, an average of 351.2 yards per game.

Brewster continued his dominance in 2007. He was a first-team All-Mid-American Conference pick, collected 105 knockdowns and 13 touchdown-resulting blocks in 13 games. The team averaged 433.8 yards per game, including 284.9 yards via their aerial attack, finishing the year with an 82.54% grade.

Brewster earned All-American midseason honors from Sports Illustrated and was a unanimous All-MAC first-team choice in 2008. He allowed just 2.5 quarterback sacks on 405 pass plays and led the conference down linemen with 100 knockdowns, while ranking second in the league with 14 touchdown-resulting blocks.
High School

Attended Wyoming (Cincinnati, Oh.) High School, playing football for head coach Bernie Barre…Lettered three times in football and also competed for the basketball team…Was named the Cincinnati Hills League Offensive Player of the Year as a senior, leading the team to a 7-3 record…Also garnered All-State, All-City and “Tremendous 26″ Division III Player of the Year accolades…The team would compile a 34-11 record during his prep playing days.


Positives: Good initial quickness off the snap, lateral agility and flexibility for the cut block. Can get out and run to make blocks at the second level. Good initial pop. Can turn the defender and seal. Flashes some nastiness and looks to finish his opponent when he feels vulnerability. Bends naturally at the knees and eases out of his stance fluidly with the balance to mirror defenders.

Negatives: Operates out of the spread and is rarely asked to block out of a three-point stance. Inconsistent hand punch. Only marginal hand quickness. Will allow his hands to get outside the chest-plate when run blocking. Lacks the strength to consistently sustain.

Scouts, Inc. gives him very mixed reviews and a grade of 52.

Overall Football Traits
Production 1 Brewster started all 11 games during his true freshman season in 2005. He lined up at right tackle during the first four games and then moved to right guard for the final seven games. 2006-’08: Brewster makes 39 consecutive starts at right tackle and earns first team All-Mac selections in 2007 and 2008.
Height-Weight-Speed 2 Adequate height, adequate top-end speed and above-average bulk.
Durability 1 Started all 50 games of four-year collegiate career.
Character 2 Known as a self-starter. Majors in criminal justice.
Offensive Tackle specific Traits
Strength/Toughness 4 Showed adequate upper body strength at the Combine but it doesn’t show up on film enough. Doesn’t jar defenders with a violent initial punch and though blocks from the snap until the whistle needs to be more aggressive at times.
Agility 2 Quick, moves well and does a nice job of adjusting to moving targets in space. Makes a smooth transition to the second level and shows good lateral quickness.
Awareness 2 Shows good pre-snap awareness, quickly recognizes blitzes and gets into sound position to pick up assignment. Does a nice job of staying at home when sees line stunts unfolding and waits for inside rusher to loop around when defensive end shoots inside.
Pass Protection 3 Gets set quickly. Light on his feet, maintains balance and does a nice job of shuffling feet. However, he has a tendency to catch pass rushers and needs to develop a stronger initial punch. Doesn’t do a good job of sinking hips and gives too much ground to bull rushers despite size.
Run Blocking 3 Gets into sound initial position and uses hands well. Capable of reaching five-techniques and sealing the edge. However, is more of a finesse blocker than a road grader and doesn’t get enough push.


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