Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Jake Locker wants to avoid this list
On Tuesday, I wrote about Washington Huskies QB Jake Locker (blog entry is here), who will definitely get a lot of hype headed toward the 2011 NFL draft. In colleague Todd McShay's very early 2011 mock draft, he has Locker going top-10 (No. 9, to the Jacksonville Jaguars) but also notes that is the result of team needs and "it won't be surprising if he becomes the No. 1 overall pick."
While visiting some schools in the Pacific Northwest last week, the subject of those way-too-early 2011 NFL mock drafts came up a few times. It is an especially tricky subject when it comes to touting quarterbacks. Sometimes, the draft gurus prove to be right on target (Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford so far) and sometimes, those quarterbacks anointed as future top picks, well, they don't even end up as first-rounders. This week's top 10 list: the hyped college QBs who didn't end up getting picked where some projected them to. (Caveat: I tried to focus this group mostly from draft projections one year out, not off of high school recruiting rankings.)
1. John Walsh, Brigham Young Cougars:
NFL personnel folks supposedly were really high on Walsh's arm. Colleague Mel Kiper certainly was, talking about the Cougar QB as a first-rounder. Walsh had thrown for over 8,300 yards and 66 TDs in his career, and in his final game at BYU, Walsh threw for 454 yards and four TDs in a 31-6 Copper Bowl win over Oklahoma. He bolted for the NFL. Unfortunately, for Walsh, he ended up falling to the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round and never played in an NFL game. Ironically, Steve Sarkisian -- now Locker's coach -- ended up transferring to BYU from a junior college because of the void Walsh, a childhood friend of Sarkisian's, left. "He was a tall guy and he could throw the ball. He just lacked foot speed," said Sarkisian.
2. Jevan Snead, Mississippi Rebels:
The one-time Texas QB really turned some heads late in the 2009 season, putting up a 14-2 TD-INT ratio in the Rebs' final five games. His stock with draft analysts surged. Then in the 2010 season, he turned some stomachs.
Snead threw 20 TDs and 20 INTs as he seemed to regress playing behind an inexperienced O-line. He still came out early. Despite some projections that he'd be a fifth-rounder, Snead didn't get picked at all. He signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent.
3. Andre' Woodson, Kentucky Wildcats:
Spurred by a big junior season, Woodson was pegged as a top overall prospect. At 6-4, 225-pounds, his size sure seemed ideal. He even put up big numbers in his senior year as well, throwing 40 TDs and just 11 INTs. However, NFL scouts were skeptical. He didn't get picked till the 6th round in 2008. And later that summer, the Giants cut Woodson.
4. Charlie Frye, Akron Zips:
MAC love was in high gear when Frye flashed on the radar in 2004. Mel Kiper made him the No. 4 guy on his Big Board:
If things play out right for Frye he could become this year's version of Ben Roethlisberger, the former Miami (OHIO) quarterback who was the 11th overall pick last season. Frye will have to get better protection this season, but his physical skills should allow him to thrive in the offense of new head coach J.D. Brookhart, the former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator.
Frye put up similar numbers as a senior and even won MVP honors at the Senior Bowl. Still, he was drafted in the third round in 2005. He has started a handful of NFL games while playing for three teams and has a 16-29 TD-INT mark.
5. Curtis Painter, Purdue Boilermakers:
Coming into his senior season, Painter appeared to have made big strides as a game manager, cutting his INTs way down, as Mel Kiper pointed out when he named the Boiler QB his No. 10 overall prospect the spring before the 2008 season. Painter, though, battled some injuries. His team went 4-8. He ended up going with the 201st overall pick (6th round) in 2009 to the Colts.
6. Brian Brohm, Louisville Cardinals:
He had good size, a great pedigree and a QB-friendly system. He was named the top prospect in a projected 2007 draft class. The Sporting News compared Brohm to Peyton Manning. He stayed for his senior season but his team went just 6-6 as he struggled with a 7-8 TD-INT ratio while trying to cope with a lot of pressure. He slid down to the 56th pick.
7. Dan Orlovsky, Connecticut Huskies:
One of the Huskies' first big football recruits, Orlovsky had a solid career and was projected as the No. 21 prospect heading into his senior season. "Orlovsky is blessed with ideal size and has a strong arm that can light opponents up despite a delivery that lacks ideal quickness," wrote Kiper back when. However, Orlovsky lasted until the fifth round of the 2005 draft. At the pro level, he might be most famous for this.
8. Colt Brennan, Hawaii Warriors:
He put up huge numbers in a pass-happy system and was projected as a top 20 pick coming out of his junior year. Skepticism grew by the time the actual draft came and he didn't get pick until the 6th round.
By the way, check out this Big Board from August of 2007 -- Brennan dropped off it. Matt Ryan was No. 17.
9. Drew Stanton, Michigan State Spartans:
Blessed with good size and good athleticism (and a comback spirit), was it that much of a reach when he was tabbed as the No. 5 player heading into his senior season? (On that same Big Board, Patrick Willis fell off.) Apparently, it was a bit too optimistic as his stats dropped considerably in 2006. He was picked 43rd overall by the Lions and has had a 1-6 TD-INT ratio in his NFL career thus far.
10. Hunter Cantwell, Louisville Cardinals:
A former walk-on whose stock took off in college when Brohm's injury gave him a chance to show his skills, Cantwell rise's from walk-on to being a guy projected as the top pro QB prospect in his class was eye-catching. However, he ended up going undrafted; to his credit, he made the Carolina Panthers as a free agent.
Around College Football On May 5, 2010
• Former USF coach Jim Leavitt's lawyers have fired back at his old school, reports Scott Carter:
Leavitt's primary attorney, Wil Florin, said he filed a motion Tuesday in Hillsborough County Circuit Court asking for an immediate evidentiary hearing regarding a public records request made to USF seeking material related to the school investigation that led to Leavitt's firing. Florin's motion is in response to a USF motion filed April 26 to dismiss a large chunk of Leavitt's lawsuit, including the request for public records pertaining to the probe.
In the motion filed by attorney Rich McCrea, USF also contends portions of Leavitt's lawsuit are "either legally insufficient or redundant, immaterial, impertinent, and scandalous."
• Lots of juicy plots to think about for the upcoming college football season, Chris Dufresne writes:
A lot of scalp scratching can happen between college football seasons. Example: Lane Kiffin now graces the masthead at USC, while John Robinson is a high school assistant coach. With Carroll no longer in town to take postgame exception, Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh recently signed off on a promotional 2010 ticket plan dubbed "What's Your Deal?"
Bobby Bowden, after 34 years, is no longer Florida State's coach. Joe Paterno still coaches at Penn State, but no longer needs glasses after undergoing laser surgery. Rich Rodriguez remains at Michigan, although the NCAA Infractions Committee may soon demand corrective lenses.
• Former Ole Miss star Patrick Willis (see above) just got a five-year extension for $50 million. I'm really happy for him. I've never covered an athlete who overcame a rougher upbringing. Here's one story I wrote on him. And if there was one guy playing college sports who had reason to be mad at the world it was him. Instead, Willis was as upbeat and pleasant as any player I've ever been around.
• Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Jake Johnson and wide receiver Patrick Terry have decided to transfer and both players have been granted releases from their scholarships, Norm Wood reports:
Both players were preparing to enter their junior seasons at Tech, but only Terry has used a redshirt year thus far. If either player elects to transfer to a Football Bowl Subdivision school, NCAA rules dictate he'll have to sit out a season under transfer rules. They won't have to sit out a season if they transfer to a Championship Subdvision or lower level school. Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 232-pound native of Fredericksburg, has to be a particularly disappointing loss for the Hokies. After spurning scholarship offers from U.Va. and Maryland in 2007 to accept one from Tech, Johnson quickly gained a reputation that summer at Tech's recruiting camp as a physical specimen with the potential to be far better than many recruiting analysts figured he'd be (he was considered by many analysts to be among the nation's top 125 linebackers).
• Teddy Bridgewater has been anointed by some as Miami's hopeful successor to Jacory Harris. Barry Jackson updates the Miami prep QB's recruitment:
Bridgewater, whose numerous offers include UM, UF, Alabama and LSU, said he will consider Miami -- "they've been calling me a lot'' -- but has no front-runner. He has called the idea of succeeding Harris appealing, but said the large Northwestern presence on the UM team won't influence him. He said key factors include academics and graduation rates and ``what schools are putting guys in the NFL.'' Top Northwestern receiver Eli Rogers said he and Bridgewater want to go to the same school and that Miami is a strong contender. UM might sign two quarterbacks and also is pursuing Arkansas-based Kiehl Frazier, whose top five includes UM and UF.
There have been some comparisons made between Bridgewater and Harris. I've been told by people who have worked with both these two QBs aren't very similar at all. Harris is much more vocal and has more of an outgoing personality, whereas Bridgewater is more low-key.
• Nick Stoner doesn't just have a great name, but he's also a rising star on the recruiting landscape after an impressive showing at a recent camp, reports Chris Pool:
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound cornerback from Indiana ran a track meet the day before the camp, but that didn't stop him from running a 4.42 40-yard dash at the combine.
"It was a tough day, but I felt I did a pretty good job overall. All in all, it was a good day. It was the first time in a long time that I got in my backpedal," Stoner said. "I'm a cornerback and I learned some new techniques today for coverage. I really wasn't challenged to run my fastest today but I still had a good workout. I'm always trying to learn and get better."
Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser.