Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2010 – Round 5 #19- New England- P Zoltan Mesko

The first kicker selected in the draft. writes- Mesko is a four-year starter that had his best season punting the football in 2009. He averaged 44.5 yards in 52 attempts with 0 blocked. Mesko is excellent at dropping the ball inside the twenty yard line to pin opponents deep into their own territory. Mesko has good size and athleticism for the position with above average leg strength. Mesko has been effective in tough weather conditions and shows poise under pressure. He has been solid with his hang time and distance but isn’t an elite punter in this years draft. Mesko is a solid prospect that will likely get his named called late in the draft.


NFL Draft 2010 – Round 1 #13- Philadelphia(From 49ers through Broncos)- DE Brandon Graham writes- Brandon is a short thickly-built player with good athleticism. He has very good initial quickness as an edge rusher but doesn’t have elite speed or range in pursuit. Brandon uses his hands well to control and leverage blockers versus the run as well as to counter as a pass rusher. Graham is the Wolverines’ most disruptive defender and plays with a high motor. He doesn’t have enough burst and lateral agility to excel as a stand up player in the NFL but may be effective in zone blitz schemes in limited coverage responsibilities. Brandon is a good football player who should be productive at the next level in the right defensive scheme.


2010 NFL Draft to include record tying 53 non-seniors

The 2008 NFL Draft also saw the same amount of under classmen. In 2009 the total was 46. From AP-

The expected heavy influx of non-seniors applying for this year’s NFL draft did not happen despite looming labor unrest in the league.

Although a record-tying 53 players declared for early entry, that number released Tuesday by the NFL was short of most projections.

“I think that the colleges have really done a good job of telling these young men how it is to their advantage to stay in school,” said NFL draft consultant Gil Brandt, who helped build the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. “I thought there would be more and I was surprised.”

Six All-Americans did apply for the draft: defensive backs Eric Berry of Tennessee and Joe Haden of Florida; defensive end Derrick Morgan of Georgia Tech; tight end Aaron Hernandez of Florida; linebacker Rolando McClain of Alabama; and wide receiver Golden Tate of Notre Dame.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, also declared for April’s draft, along with Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead; Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen; Southern California running back Joe McKnight; Cal running back Jahvid Best; Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap; and Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman.

Fresno State tailback Ryan Mathews, the nation’s leading rusher, applied. So did tackles Bryan Bulaga of Iowa and Anthony Davis of Rutgers, who are projected to go high in the draft.

I remember when Herschel Walker came out of school(U of Georgia) early and all the controversy it caused. A Herschel Walker today wouldn’t risk a potential big payday in the NFL either.

What I don’t get is how some experts expected the total of non-seniors to be around 100 or a 100% increase from last year. Maybe I’ll find an article that list the college players who stuck it out. A free college education should be valued. One day your sports playing days will end and what will you do for money then? Look at Bernie Kosar who left the University of Miami early for the NFL. Right now he is bankruptcy court.

The entire list of college underclassman declaring for this year’s NFL draft is below the fold.


Oh have the mighty fallen- Purdue beats Michigan 38-36

The last time the Boilermakers won in Ann Arbor, I was just five years old. From AP-

Joey Elliott threw for a career-high 367 yards and two touchdowns, ran for a score and Purdue held on for a 38-36 victory against Michigan.

The Boilermakers (4-6, 3-3 Big Ten) trailed by two TDs at halftime and rallied to end their 11-game road losing streak by winning at Michigan Stadium for the first time since 1966.

Michigan melted down in the third quarter again, allowing Purdue to score three touchdowns, including one after an onside kick caught the Wolverines by surprise.

In danger of missing a bowl after a 4-0 start, Michigan had a chance to tie after Brandon Minor’s third TD with 2:10 left, but Tate Forcier was sacked on a 2-point conversion that Michigan was forced to attempt because of a missed extra point.

If not for contract considerations, I could see Rodriquez’s tenure at Michigan being over at the end of this season. 3-9 and .500 football isn’t what the University of Michigan is paying for.


Iowa and Washington State Football Coach Forest Evashevski dead at 91

He led Iowa to two winning Rose Bowl appearances and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000. RIP.

Forest Evashevski, the former Michigan football star coached Iowa to two Rose Bowl victories in the 1950s, has died. He was 91.

Evashevski’s son, Forest Evashevski Jr., said Saturday that his father died Friday night from cancer at his home in Petoskey, Mich.

Evashevski said his father’s seven children, including five sons and two daughters, and wife Ruth, were at his bedside when he died.

Evashevski, the captain of Michigan’s 1940 team, was hired at Iowa in 1952, seven years after Iowa’s last winning season. He inherited a program that had languished in the bottom of the Big Ten.

But by 1956 the Hawkeyes were in the Rose Bowl, defeating Oregon State 35-19. They went again in the 1958 season, beating California 38-12. Evashevski won 52 games at Iowa, where he coached until 1960. He also led the team to three Big Ten championships.


U of Michigan bans all bags at next Saturday’s game

How many women will stay home Saturday rather than go without their purse? From AP-

Michigan is banning purses and all other bags from Michigan Stadium for security reasons, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are planning additional screening measures, too.

The University of Michigan said Wednesday it will require written permission from a medical professional before allowing any bags into the football stadium for Saturday’s game against Indiana.

Recent arrests in Colorado and New York related to a terrorism probe touched off a flurry of national security bulletins. Michigan said in a statement that “adjusting security measures is the prudent thing to do.”

School safety Deputy Chief Charlie Noffsinger said Michigan hasn’t received information on any specific threats but acted after consulting with federal officials.

The University can do what they want, but how much of our rights as citizens are we supposed to give up just for vague threats? I’ve all but stopped flying since 9-11. The last time I flew, my carry-ons were given extra scrutiny. When people feel the inconveniences outweigh the entertainment, they decide to stay home. I don’t blame them either.


Michigan football players allege NCAA violations

They claim Wolverine coaches are exceeding the time limits set for football practice. From AP-

Several Michigan football players claim the program regularly violates NCAA rules limiting how much time they can spend on training and practice sessions, according to a published report.

Players from the 2008 and 2009 teams told the Detroit Free Press for a story published on the newspaper’s Web site on Saturday that the amount of time they spend on football activities during the season and in the offseason greatly exceeds the limits. The players spoke to the newspaper on condition of anonymity because they feared repercussions from coaches.

Coach Rich Rodriguez and the university’s compliance director, Judy Van Horn, both denied that the football program was violating NCAA rules.

“We know the practice and offseason rules, and we stay within the guidelines. We follow the rules and have always been completely committed to being compliant with all NCAA rules,” Rodriguez said in a written statement to the newspaper.

Clearly a case of he said, he said. I tend to believe the players. They have more to lose and Rodriguez has always struck me as person lacking in integrity.


White powder scare at U of Michigan Football practice

This news comes just days before the Wolverines play arch rival Ohio State.

Michigan football practice was delayed nearly two hours late this morning after a player reported finding an unknown white powdery substance on the practice field. Head coach Rich Rodriguez immediately suspended practice while police and federal agents were called to investigate.

After a complete analysis, FBI forensic experts determined that the white substance, unknown to the players, was the goal line. Practice was resumed this afternoon after special agents decided the team was unlikely to encounter the substance again.

So what do you think the substance was? Baking soda? Talcum powder? Chalk for the football field?

Hat tip- Doug at Below the Beltway


NFL Draft 2008 – Round 2 #54 – Miami Dolphins – QB Chad Henne

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Miami Dolphins gambled that they’d be able to find a quality quarterback late in the 2nd round. It appears to have paid off, as they got the last of the top rated QBs in the class, Michigan‘s Chad Henne, who some think is the best of the bunch.

Scouts, Inc.: 27

Strengths: A thickly built, strong and tough QB. He can be very effective when he has time to throw. Shows the ability to lead his receivers and also knows when to change up velocity. Shows outstanding touch, timing and accuracy on vertical throws. Throws a very catchable ball but also has good overall arm strength. Arm is not elite, but he certainly can make all the necessary throws. Shows good zip on deep out and can fit the ball into some tight windows on intermediate throws between the hashes. Does a good job of reading coverage while dropping back. Keeps the ball high and generally displays good footwork. Not a great athlete but he does get set quickly and has adequate straight-line speed. He is at his best when given time to set up, make reads and step into his throws. Does a great job of selling fakes and is very comfortable working the play-action game. Excellent experience as a four-year starter at highest level. One of the most intelligent prospects in his class. Very hard worker; a film rat. Understands defenses and has made sound decisions throughout his career. Displayed great toughness senior year. Has a warriors’ mentality as he played through a popped out shoulder on multiple occasions during senior season.

Weaknesses: Overall mobility and athleticism are poor. His production is severely hindered when you flush him out of the pocket and force him to make plays on the move. He will never be a running threat. Height is adequate but not ideal. Has some trouble finding passing windows at times. Still improving in terms of overall decision making. Has cut down on key errors but still too streaky in that department. Pressure brings out the worst in him. While he does have good footwork when set, he needs to avoid getting sloppy when on the move. He has a tendency to throw off his back foot when rolling out or when coming off the play-fake, which takes away from his accuracy and velocity. He still needs to learn when to throw the ball away or take the sack rather than throwing the ball up for grabs (see: 1st quarter INT vs. ND in 2006). Release could be more compact, as he tends to drop down and wind-up a bit on longer throws. Durability only became an issue as a senior in 2007.

Overall: In four years at Michigan (2004-’07), Henne started every game in which he played (47). He set school career marks in completions (828), attempts (1,387), passing yards (9,715) and passing touchdowns (87). He has also rushed for three career touchdowns. Despite missing three games as a senior (leg and shoulder injuries), Henne passed for 1,938 yards and 17 touchdowns in just 10 games. In addition to good size and arm strength, Henne brings to the table rare experience as a four-year starting quarterback at Michigan. He’s not the type of quarterback that can carry a team but he does an excellent job of managing games and distributing the ball to his playmakers. He was considered the most durable quarterback in the senior class prior to the 2007 season. However, knee and shoulder injuries have caused him to miss significant time. Henne is the type of quarterback that will shine in pre-draft workouts because he is such a gifted natural passer when he can set his feet and throw unhurried. However, his lack of mobility and erratic decision-making skills when under pressure are legitimate concerns in our opinion. Henne should come off the board in the second round of the upcoming draft. His intangibles, toughness and work ethic will allow him to overcome some physical limitations but his NFL career could be defined by how much he can improve his feet over the next few years.

Rick Gosselin: 25

So, the Dolphins got a quarterback with a 1st round value deep in the 2nd. Bill Parcells is having an amazing offseason thus far, at least on paper. Then again, as a Cowboys fan who watched him take first day bust after first day bust, I’ll wait and see whether these guys pan out.


NFL Draft 2008 – Round 1 #1 – Miami Dolphins – OT Jake Long

NFL Draft 2008 Logo Unlike past years, where teams with the 1st overall pick wasted 15 minutes of our time despite having months to make their decision, the Miami Dolphins signed Jake Long before the draft started and Commissioner Goddell announced his selection immediately upon kicking off the draft.

Scouts, Inc. ranked Long #4 overall, with the same 98 grade as four other players.

OT | (6’7″, 313, 5.219) | MICHIGAN

Strengths: An experienced, technically sound OT prospect with great size-potential. Is versatile; has experience at left and right tackle and could play either/both in the NFL. Also has proven capable of performing at a high level in power-run scheme and new zone-blocking scheme. Possesses excellent height, adequate bulk and the frame to get bigger if necessary. He has a massive wingspan with long arms and big hands. A natural knee-bender; he gets set quickly in pass pro, plays with good body lean and rarely gets caught lunging. He shuffles his feet quickly and can get back inside to defend double move. Uses long arms and powerful punch to jar defenders and run them wide as pass rushers. Shows excellent awareness in pass pro; consistently gives inside help and does an great job of picking up stunts, twists and blitzes. He takes very good angles as a run blocker. Has adapted very well zone-blocking and shows the mobility to execute in a similar scheme in the NFL. He has good upper-and-lower body strength as a run blocker. Also works hard to sustain and shows a good mean streak. Great intangibles. A leader and hard worker on-and-off the field. Good student in the classroom and intelligence carries over to the field, where he picks up techniques, schemes and assignments quickly.

Weaknesses: Lacks elite mobility for an elite OT prospect. Has enough quickness and balance to perform at a high level in the NFL, but he is not as nimble as former top OT prospects such as Orlando Pace (Rams), Jonathan Ogden (Ravens), D’Brickashaw Ferguson (Jets) and Joe Thomas (Browns). Had some trouble versus Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston’s elite speed rushers. Durability is somewhat of a concern after he missed the first seven games of the 2005 season with an ankle/foot injury.

Overall: Long was redshirted in 2003. In his first active season at Michigan (2004), he appeared in 12 games, starting the last 10 at right tackle, and was selected to the Freshman All-America team. As a sophomore in 2005, played five games (four starts) at right tackle. He moved to left tackle in 2006, and went on to start all 26 of the Wolverines’ games over his final two seasons. He was a first team All-America selection and the Big Ten Lineman of the Year in each of his last two seasons. Long missed the first seven games of 2005 while recovering from spring shoulder surgery and suffering from foot and ankle injuries. Long has outstanding experience to go along with his massive frame, above-average quickness for his size, a powerful upper body (37 reps), long arms (35.6 inches) and big hands (11 inches). He is not as athletic as last year’s top tackle prospect Joe Thomas (Browns), but Long has more than enough range to effectively protect the quarterback’s blindside in the NFL and he’s bigger, stronger and more physical than Thomas was coming out of school. One year later, Long grades out slightly lower than Thomas (No. 3 overall in 2007) but he could actually come off the board earlier in what projects to be a weaker class.

Rick Gosselin ranked him 4th as well.


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