On The Clock NFL Mock Draft from Fanspeak.com
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by Bill

Top 40 Combine Snubs

February 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

Top 40 Combine Snubs
Please note, you will not see Alabama, Tight End, Mike Williams or CB Demontre Hurst ,CB Travis Howard, RB Dennis Johnson, WR Jasper Collins, or LB Vince Williams those players and several others have been extensively discussed I wanted to focus on some of the players who have not been as thoroughly analyzed.

1. WR Justin Brown, Oklahoma, [Penn State Transfer], In his only year in Norman, Brown made you wonder what he could have done with more time there. In 2012 he gathered 73 catches for 879 yards 12 yard average, and added 5 TDs. He can high-point the ball, is surprisingly effective after the catch and he’s able to think along with the QB and make himself available to get the ball. Brown was the second-leading receiver for the Nittany Lions in 2011, with 35 catches for 517 yards and three touchdowns. He’s more steak than sizzle at 6’3 1/8” 207, he has a classic WCO WR build, and as an NFL comparison he reminds me of Antonio Bryant.
2. WR DeVonte Christopher of Utah has the potential to become an NFL starter; he has good size and speed about 6’0 ¼” and 192, speed reportedly 4.48ish, he’s a former QB and is still developing but at times has shown the hands and body control you want. Since Christopher came to Utah as a highly touted quarterback before switching positions, his background and understanding of defensive coverage has helped. He has a competitive streak and is good with the ball in his hands after the catch. His special teams’ acumen allowed him to win the Sun Bowl Special Teams MVP, my NFL comparison is Jimmy Smith or Joe Horn if he maximizes his potential.
3. WR Skye Dawson, TCU- His 10.43 100M speed and at least average skills as receiver make him interesting. Dawson finished third on TCU with 34 receptions for 455 yards this season. He was one of two players in the Big 12 to rank in the top five in the conference in both punt returns (9.4 average) and kickoff returns (23.1 average). Most notably Dawson was a three-time track and field conference champion and 2012 All-American in the 4×100 relay. He won the 2010 Mountain West Indoor Championship in the 60 meters with a 6.69, the third-fastest time in meet history. But the concern, other than his size, a high school junioresque 5’8 ¾” 162 hat and his inconsistencies when asked catch passes outside of his frame mean that he’s 1st be seen a return man who may grow into a receiver, NFL comparison Dante Hall.
4. DE/OLB Tremayne Scott, Ohio – Scott is very interesting he’s has the ideal 3-4 OLB build at 6’2 ¾” 257 and he is quick and powerful, if he can stay healthy and improve his mix of pass-rush moves he’ll make a team and contribute. He is a very good athlete, he has been well-coached and he has a very solid work ethic. Hampered by a foot injury suffered in October he was not healthy until the Independence Bowl, he re-introduced himself with five tackles, two for a loss, two sacks and an interception. Scott could be a 3rd day steal due to the paucity of great tape on him this season.
5. RB Perry Jones, UVA Jones finished his UVA career No. 9 all-time at UVA with 3,722 all-purpose yards and No. 17 in the Virginia annals with 2,033 career rushing yards. His 129 career receptions ranks No. 5 all-time at UVA and he became the fourth player in Virginia history and the 12th in ACC history to reach 1,000 career yards in both rushing and receiving. As an undersized back who largely makes his impact felt between the tackles it will need to be determined how he can be used at the next level. Versatile and sturdy for his 5’7 3/8” 193 frame, this year was not his best, Jones ran for 915 yards and five touchdowns and had 48 catches for 506 yards and three scores last season. He even threw a touchdown pass at Miami.
6. DE/OLB Brandon Thurmond, UAPB I was flabbergasted to see the year he’s had, posting 16.5 sacks, which leads the Football Championship Subdivision and he’s also added 56 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and seven quarterback hurries. Last season, he had just 25 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Thurmond is not just a great raw talent he has a fairly developed repertoire of pass moves and he’s very effective against the run. At 6’0 ¾” 260 Thurmond is on the cusp between being too small to play DE and is not extremely fast, but he is very skilled and determined he really reminds me of NIU DE/OLB Larry English who was drafted in the 1st by the Chargers.
7. DE Mike Catapano, Princeton, Catapano earned unanimous selection to the All-Ivy first team. He led the Ivy League with 12 sacks and ended the regular season ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision with 1.2 sacks per game. He ranked second in the Ivy League in tackles for loss with 15.5, which was only a half tackle off the League lead, and ranked ninth nationally in that category. The two-year co-captain ended the season with 41 tackles, and he had five games with at least two tackles for loss, as well as five games with at least five tackles. At 6’3 3/8” 270 and with his relentless style I see a bit of Chris Long in him and Coach Bob Surace invoked the name of Justin Smith whom he coached while with the Cincinnati Bengals.
8. QB Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State, Aplin finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the conference in total offense (3,572 yards) and passing efficiency (155.8) and No. 2 in passing yards (3,129). He broke his own school record for passing touchdowns with 23 and was named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week three straight times to end the regular season. Aplin is already the Sun Belt Conference's all-time leader in career total offense and passing yards. By way of comparison I would offer Jeff Garcia and Tim Rattay, at 6’1” 199 he lacks ideal size and his arm is adequate but not terribly impressive. But Aplin has exceptional toughness and character, inspired by his sister, who has Smith-Magenis syndrome; he’s gone from volunteer to organizer in the Special Olympics and, also through his sister, has become involved in projects for the March of Dimes. He is just the kind of player you want as your back up QB, smart, tough and with a little of the playmaker about him.
9. WR Uzoma Nwachukwu, Texas A&M While he’s 5’ll ¼” 198 he plays bigger than that he can go up and get the ball and run crisp routes. By way of NFL comparison I’d offer Earl Bennett. Nwachukwu is fairly complete and gives impressive effort as a blocker in both the pass game and the run game. He doesn’t always plays as fast as he is due to his choppy steps, but as you see him pull away from people you realize he is eating up a lot of ground. Those shorter, choppier steps are one of the reasons he might be successful as a slot receiver. He uses his speed and quickness to get off the line quickly and his footwork allows him to make quick moves against defenders, work the short and intermediate zones, and makes him ideal to catch quick game throws as well as the bubble screen. With Swope around you can see why he didn’t play there but he might in the NFL. His strength also makes him a threat from the slot as he isn’t all that easy to redirect or jam. Nwachukwu also has very good balance. His strength and balance make him very hard to tackle and dangerous after the catch.

10. DE/OLB Willie Jefferson. SFA After beginning his career Baylor the converted receiver/tight end from Baylor transferred after a series of off-field incidents. In his first season on defense he produced 15 sacks, blocked 5 passes and picked off two others, both of which he returned for TD for that he was made the 2011 Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year and All-Southland football selection. At 6'5 ½" 239 and timed in the mid 4.6 to high 4.7 range he could be as compelling a prospect as Conner Barwin was. Jefferson is still a work in progress and must answer some character questions but he has undeniable talent. He had a target on his back this past season still he totaled 24 solo stops and helped on 12 others, added 11.5 TFLs, 8 sacks, 3 passes batted down, 5 hurries and 5 forced fumbles! His build is reminiscent of Ted Hendricks but Chad Brown is the player I think he could play the most like if all goes well.

11.WR Erik Highsmith, UNC Highsmith may be seen by some as a bit of a disappointment, however he finished his career at Carolina 166 receptions, which ranks third all-time. He had at least 24 receptions in all four seasons. Still his early career seemed to promise something greater. Plagiarism scandal aside, I have watched him from his debut season which yielded 425 yards receiving and two touchdowns on 37 catches. This was on a team that featured: Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate and Zack Pianalto as potential pass catchers; his 2011 season produced 51 receptions for 726 yards and five touchdowns and seemed to promise even bigger things. A senior stanza that included adjustments to a new system yielded 54 grabs for 587 yards and 5 scores but fell short of many expectations. Still Highsmith is very close to what NFL teams seek in an ‘X’ receiver and if well coached I could see him as an effective #3 or even #2 in the NFL. The NFL WR he most reminds me of is Jason Hill, though he’s not as fast.

12. WR Zach Rogers, 6’0 1/8” 179. While not the most talented of the targets on Rocky Top in the last few years; he might be the most dependable. Let’s not assume that Rogers is not an athlete, Rogers defeated Randall Cobb in the high school state track meet 100 meter dash. That’s not to say the Rogers has elite speed. In all fairness no part of his game is elite, by the same token no part of his game is a glaring weakness and speaking of weakness he will need to get stronger. Recruited during the ‘Kiffin era', it took Rogers a while to make his impact felt, but he last year was by far his best with 32 catches for 491 yards an impressive 15.3 yards per catch average and 7 TDs; the NFL player I most see in him is Dane Sanzenbacher.
13. FB/H-Back Ronnie Wingo, Arkansas While most of the attention regarding players affected by the Petrino scandal has been directed at Tyler Wilson, and understandably so, but a player who may have been affected as dramatically is Wingo. Petrino is a formidable offensive schemer and likely he would have found truly creative ways to use the versatile 6’1 ½” 227 pounder who can play as many as 3 positions, inline-Y in a pinch, H-Back and Fullback, he has good hands, is an reliable runner of routes and is a better than serviceable short-yardage ball carrier. He could develop into a Jason Snelling type, in the right offense. He only had 59 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving in 7 injury and team disaster filled games. His 2011 was more representative of his capabilities, his production 253 yards receiving at a 6.2 carry clip, 274 yards receiving on 27 catches, if seen as a pass catching FB I don’t think there are many that should ranked above him.
14. H-Back/FB Willie Carter, Tulsa, Is a ‘Swiss Army Knife’ type his versatility is impressive and if he shows good acceleration and movement skills he could be drafted, he is 6’1 ½” 239 and a bit like Evan Rodriguez. Listed as an H-back, Carter is a hybrid tight end/fullback. He's mainly used as a pass catcher in the Tulsa offense Carter entered the offseason with a chip on his shoulder after he pulled his hamstring two days before the Armed Forces Bowl and had to sit out a loss to BYU. He added about 15 pounds to his frame and now weighs 239 pounds. In his first season in a starting role, Carter led the team with 61 catches and 868 yards receiving, helping to make up for the dismissal of top receiver Damaris Johnson just before the opener. In his last season he only 37 yards rushing, 49 catches, 382 yard and 3 TDs came via the air. If he pans out he could become a James Casey type.
15. FS/LB Cooper Taylor, Richmond This FCS star was yet another transfer from the FBS level. Taylor found accolades early in his career at GA Tech; he became a Yellow Jacket after a notable career at Marist High School in Atlanta. It may have helped that his father is former Georgia Tech quarterback Jim Bob Taylor. After a promising freshman year, Taylor had posted 69 tackles, forced two fumbles and had 1 pick. That year also included him making a game-saving play in the win against Florida State when he caused a fumble near the end zone; Taylor was one of the starting safeties in the 2009 season.
But in the third game against Miami he began experiencing an increased heart rate. He didn’t return to the game and after he was found to have Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, which causes arrhythmia. He sat out the remainder of the season and had a corrective operation. He fell down the depth chart and opted to transfer. He made an immediate impact once he became a Spider. In 2011 he started all eight games in which he appeared, recording 63 tackles, including 20 solo and 1.5 for loss, a forced fumble, an interception, a QB hurry and three pass breakups. In 2012 he continued to impress with 78 tackles, 1.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, 9 PBU and four interceptions. I think he’ll be drafted he has good athletic ability and at 6’4 ¼” 229 he’s a monster of a safety, he has been compared to Bernard Pollard, Kam Chancellor and Stuart Schweigert, there’s even some Urlacher in his game, and he has been used as a ‘Wildcat’ back at times.
16. FS Malcolm Bronson, McNeese State Bronson was one of the highest rated prospects in all of FCS football when unfortunately his season ended when he was injured in the third quarter of a 35-21 win over Weber State. Bronson was also a preseason All-American and on the Buck Buchanan watch list for the award presented to the best defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision. Bronson had nine unassisted tackles and two pass breakups for the Cowboys this past season. Last year he led the Cowboys with 90 tackles a year ago and had three pass interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown in the season finale at Lamar. He also forced three fumbles and recovered one. His uncle, Zach Bronson, was a free safety in the NFL from 1997-2004 and was a four-time first team all-SLC selection and was one of just five in the history of the conference to garner the honor four straight years. It would have been helpful to see if his knee was sound and if he showed the same speed and lateral quickness that made him a stand out. He has NFL ability when healthy Eric Frampton is the NFL player I most think he resembles in his style of play.

17. DE Rufus Johnson, Tarleton, Like most extremely productive DII players the biggest question is how he will acquit himself with the jump up in competition. He tallied 10.0 sacks and 17.5 tackles-for-loss and he has good on-field intensity and pursuit. At 6’5 3/8” 266 he reminds me a bit of Vinny Curry but he might be an even more explosive disruptor. Johnson is still mostly a climb the blockers outside shoulder or arm over style pass rusher, but if he gets stronger and gains variety with his moves he could be special. If he maxes out he could become a 'Poor Man's' Richard Dent.
18. Sean Progar, DE/OLB, NIU Progar was named All-Mac second team after posting 5.5 sacks and 11 TFL as a junior. In 2012 He ranked second on the team with 8.5 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss. At 6’1¾” 254 he is most likely going to have to move to OLB in a 3-4 defense. For his career he has 24 sacks and 39 TFL, he occasionally dropped into coverage, the primary concern, other than the transition to LB is that he’s not an exceptional pure athlete and he might never start in the NFL. As a best case scenario he might be a much less athletic Jerry Hughes.

19. DE/OLB Joe LeBeau, At Jackson State he caused some consternation when he was measured at only 6’2 ¼” 220 at the Casino Del Sol Game, still what didn’t shrink was his 40 career TFL with 16 of those solo, this despite the fact that he only played in 23 career games at Jackson State. Now weighing 228 he has worked hard at playing LB and he’s beginning to look like one, in the Casino Del Sol All-Star game LeBeau, who has recovered from a tweaked ankle, finished with two tackles, a tackle for a loss and a sack. If he can get a little bigger, 10-15 pounds, and maintain all his suddenness, then at the least he should be a valuable reserve and situational pass rusher. Joe LeBeau has an outside chance and if he completely maxes out his ceiling could be like Greg Lloyd, which is admittedly less than likely, more likely he's a special teams and/or situational player, but his pass rush potential has outgrown his body.

20. DE Ben Obaseki, Indiana State, While it was clear that the preseason all-conference and All-American was a marked man he still racked up 43 tackles, 25 of them solo, 5.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 8 hurries, a forced fumble and a pass broken up. Last season, Obaseki earned AP first-team All-American honors after compiling 7.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. Unlike some FCS defensive ends Obaseki has enough size at 6’1 ¾” 267 that he might be able to stay a down lineman, but there are many who would been interested in seeing him in LB drills, now they’ll have to wait until his pro day.
21. DT Gilbert Pena, Ole Miss, Pena is a powerful and still improving nose man with a high motor who can hold the point but also has good quickness and can collapse the pocket. He is still developing and is a junior college transfer but he has tantalizing potential. At 6’2 3/8” 334 he could still stand to work on his lower-body power, conditioning and setting up his moves, but those are all things he can learn. He has come a long way and not just from Yonkers, NY. After a stellar JC career he spent 2011 making the adjustment he played in 10 games, posted 11 total tackles, including 1.0 TFL. In 2012 he arrived with 34 tackles, 14of them solos, 2 TFL and 6.5 sacks. A fairly close NFL comparison is Clifton Ryan.
23. DT Brent Russell GA At 6’1½” 297 size had once been the primary concern some had had, but an arrest late in the season raised what is at least a ‘yellow’ conduct flag. Russell is a three-year All-American and he finished the 2012 season with 44 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. His approach reminds me of Brad Culpepper and his monster 2010: 71 tackles, 18.5 for loss, eight sacks is one of the 5 or 6 best seasons I have seen a DT have at any level.
24. DT William Campbell, Michigan, A large prospect who arrived at Ann Arbor with equally outsized expectations, Campbell might finally be putting it all together, or a cynic might see it as a ‘Dash for the Cash.’ After being a frustrating giant bundle of talent for 3 years Campbell flashed dominance at times, controlled the line of scrimmage and collapsed the pocket. This could be maturity, fully grasping technique or newfound motivation. At 6’4 7/8” 318 several teams will want to kick Campbell’s sizable tires. To illustrate how much better he was this year, he had 16 of his career solo tackles this past season, 1.0 of his 3 career sacks and 1.5 of his 5 career TFLs came in 2012, he was also briefly tried on the offensive line earlier in his career. His character, football and otherwise will likely be heavily scrutinized. But there are only so many people on the planet with his size and talent; it’s quite conceivable that he gets drafted. Alan Branch is too obvious a comparison.
25. CB Johnny Towalid, Indiana State, He has been to some extent overlooked throughout his career but he was awarded second team honors from the Associated Press. He was a First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection in 2012 as well as a The Sports Network Third Team All-American. He set a new Indiana State record with three interception returns for a touchdown while also setting the school record with two pick 6's in a game at #1 North Dakota State as well as the career record with four. He was named the MVFC and National Defensive Player of the Week for his two interception returns for a touchdown against the Bison and paced the team with five interceptions on the season, which tied for second-best in the MVFC and ranked tied for eighth nationally. Towalid recorded 34 total tackles, including one for a loss and broke up nine passes, recovered a fumble and blocked a kick. He had a season-best six tackles at North Dakota State and posted multiple tackles in 10-of-11 games. He’s enormously underrated, he lacks a bit of size at 5’9 ¾” 171 but he’s the MVFC’s “Honey Badger”

26. C Dalton Freeman, Clemson I understand that as a prospect Freeman would only appeal to certain teams at 6-4 ¼” 286 pounds, he looks more like a 5-Technique tackle than what most teams seek at center. He has dabbled a bit, in practice, at RT and was an excellent OG in high school; he has a high IQ on and off the field, is a coach’s son and could become a Matt Birk type if given time to get thicker and stronger. A zone blocking scheme team might take him in the last couple of rounds and grow him.
27. OT Elvis Fisher Missouri, Fisher is likely a RT at 1st and he’s previously torn his labrum, also his knees are a huge question mark, he suffered injuries to both knees in a 14 month period. Despite that if he moves well and bends he will be targeted on day 3. But if he checks out medically and gets stronger at 6’4 ½” 291 he is just big enough, that if he can add 10-20 pounds he could be a valuable depth player with starter potential. He most reminds me of Troy Kropog.

28. OG Blaize Foltz, TCU Foltz is in many ways the classic ‘Power Pig’ he excels in the claustrophobic environs of the pit, especially when all he has to do is attack whatever is directly in front of him. He does struggle in centering up moving targets and dealing with pass rushers who make him redirect. Still teams that want a classic strong man OG would enjoy watching him work in Indianapolis, if only he were there. The player that I see when watching Foltz is Aaron Merz.
29. OG John Sullen, Auburn, Sullen is a big tough and raw OG that some think could play RT; Sullen is a tough, plus run blocker with a bit of a streak in his game. He will need to work on not only his agility, but also his get-off and his technique if he wants to be more than depth in the league. I see some Ryan Durand in Sullen.
30. OT Jeff Nady, Nevada, An intriguing developmental prospect Nady played both tight end and defensive line during his senior season of high school. He came to Nevada weighing 255 pounds and has since added almost 50 he’s now 6’5 ¾” and 302. In terms of on field demeanor he’s a little feisty he has a right tackle’s heart and a left tackle’s frame. If he can improve his core and leg strength he should be at the very least a valuable swing tackle in the NFL.
31. OT/OG Caylin Hauptmann, FIU Hauptmann started every game during the 2012 campaign, and finished his career starting every game played for the Panthers a 37 total games over three seasons. At only 6’3” 302 he is going to have to shift inside to keep playing, if he can play guard and/or center he has a chance to have a successful transition to the NFL, he’s athletic and durable.
32. OT Ryan Schraeder, Valdosta State He graded out at 96 percent on the year and totaled 56 knockdown blocks in 11 games. With his blocking, Valdosta State set five school records, including three in the run game. He did not play football until college but is a three-time first team All-America selection in three seasons. At 6’6 ½” 307 he looks the part he reminds me of Tom Compton.
33. TE, Jack Doyle, WKU Doyle is a big target was the top receiver for the Hilltoppers this past season. He has a little Ron Egloff, look him up youngsters, he is a bit of a finesse blocker but he gives good effort. Clearly where he excels is as a receiver. He was one of eight semifinalists for the 2012 John Mackey Award, he has the ability to pluck and secure the ball even when awkward positions. While far from fast or very quick he is nimble enough to create necessary separation and he knows how to box out defenders. He’ll need to add muscle to his 6'5¼” 254 pound frame and his 53 receptions and 566 yards; with 5 TDs it was apparent why he was a favorite target, his catch radius and savvy made him a QB’s security blanket.

34. D.C Jefferson, TE, Rutgers In his Rutgers career Jefferson played for four tight ends coaches and three offensive coordinators so after four years and 50 games played, 43 of them starts D.C. Jefferson managed just 47 career catches. At 6’5 ¾” 255 and ‘sneaky’ athletic the word is finally getting out about the former QB who was moved to TE in 2009, in fact D.C is a nickname and stands for Daunte Culpepper, to whom he was compared in high school. A very much unfinished product he is coming off a season that saw him produce a career-high 18 catches with one touchdown. I think there are now better than even odds he gets drafted late after an impressive Shrine Game week. Jefferson very much reminds me of Orson Mobley.

35. DT Romney Fuga, BYU At 6’0 ½” 319 the fine former wrestler has a build and approach that screams nose tackle, he is very consistent in creating interior pressure, he uses his low center of gravity to clog the interior and has good agility for his size he as a chance to be drafted if he test well. Fuga just had his best season, recording 42 tackles and 1.5 sacks while dealing with double teams all season long from opposing teams. He is somewhat similar to Shawn Worthen.
36. LB Devan Walker, SE LA Walker earned second-team All-Southland Conference honors as a linebacker in 2012 after playing his first three seasons at defensive end. In his Lions career he played in 42 career games for the Lions and finished with 168 tackles, 37.5 tackles for loss (second in school history) and 15 sacks (third in school history). The Baton Rouge native and former Catholic High product recorded 46 tackles with a team-high 12 stops for loss and seven sacks. At 6’1¾” 238 it was clear that he’d have to play standing up and he adapted very well to playing OLB, he has made pass drops smoothly even has flashed some ball skills. He is a bit like Adam Heyward.

37. WR, Rico Richardson, Jackson State, Richardson was the only receiver in the SWAC to gain over 1,000 yards receiving this season. The senior from Natchez, led the conference in TD grabs with 10. He averaged 19.3 yards per catch; he finished with 1,153 yards and 11 TDs on the season. He also became just the fifth player in school history to reach the 1,000-yard mark receiving. Richardson has a skillset that harkens back to Matthew Willis.
38. PK Zach Brown, Portland State, Brown is a plus athlete at his position; he injured his knee in the first game and missed half of his senior season. He previously played soccer and he has hit a 51 yarder in a driving snow storm, and he holds virtually every Portland State kicking record after a banner career. Brown had just four field goals in a season shortened to five games in 2012. But, he was a consensus first team All-American in 2011 after leading the nation in field goals made (24). Brown holds the PSU career record with 64 field goals made. He is very athletic and was recruited as a receiver, at 5’117/8” 204 he is solidly built and can be an emergency punter. He reminds me of Seth Marler.

39. QB Ryan Griffin, Tulane There is now a flavor of the month quality to him, but he was a very consistent and productive quarterback for a struggling program. He is certainly not a perfect prospect; Griffin finished his Tulane career with 9,026 passing yards on 836-of-1,396 accuracy. Griffin threw for 56 touchdowns in his career while throwing 56 interceptions. Some of the interception were misreads or balls forced into danger, however he was often trying desperately to bring his team from behind and during his time at Tulane the running game ranged from mediocre to non-existent. This season, he missed three and half games, with a shoulder injury, but still passed for 2,771 yards and 20 touchdowns, which ranked seventh and 10th, respectively, among the schools single season leaders. The Texas vs. The Nation game raised his profile, showed off his above average arm, ability to read defenses and accuracy. When he is right mechanically and mentally he can look like a top 5-10 QB prospect in this class. His 14-18, 210 yards and 2 TDs, performance in the game was impressive but wasn’t the most impressive thing he did. That was in practice where he dealt better with the offense the elements and the required throws than any other QB there. At 6’3 7/8” 216 he fits the mold and if given the chance to sit for a year you could have something, if he has the right situation he could be as good as Neil Lomax.

40. TE Lucas Reed, New Mexico Reed is the younger brother of Brooks Reed. He’s not the same quick-twitch athlete that his brother is but he is coming off what was statistically speaking, his worst collegiate season in 2012, which resulted in his tallying only five receptions for 37 yards. He had 22 receptions for 241 yards as a junior in 2011. His most productive year was in 2010, when he caught 33 passes for 459 yards and five scores. Reed caught 17 passes for 212 yards and a score in his redshirt freshman season. The Lobos have not exactly been a juggernaut in his time with them. As a prospect Reed has some Matt Veldman to him at 6’5 7/8” 249 he needs to gain functional strength he’s not enough of a pure athlete to survive unless he improved as a blocker, but if he does he could be a valuable reserve for many years.

Picture of Bill

by Bill

My 1970's All-Decade Team

August 7, 2012 in Baseball

Upon further review my 70’s All-Decade team would look something like this:

C – Johnny Bench easiest one! National League Rookie of the Year (1968), National League Most Valuable Player (1970 & 1972), World Series MVP (1976), 14-time All-Star, with 10 consecutive Gold Gloves. In 1980 Johnny Bench set an endurance record by catching 100 or more games for 13 consecutive seasons. Bench was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January 1989 with the fourth highest percentage of total votes cast, he is possibly the greatest catcher ever. His lifetime batting totals:.267 BA, 389 home runs, 1376 RBIs tell only a portion of his impact he was a terrific defensive catcher with a bazooka for an arm.
1B- Rod Carew (used to play 2B) Carl Yastrzemski or Willie Stargell The knock on Carew is his 92 career homers but his bat control and consistency were amazing in 18 seasons only his first 2 and final 2 were below the .300 mark, he was a fine base runner with 353 career bags pilfered and he a very good fielder at both 1st and 2nd base his .822 OPS is outstanding.
2B – Joe Morgan 2nd easiest, Morgan was only a decent fielder, but his 689 steals, 1.133 RBIs and 2,517 hits more than made up for that, Willie Randolph didn’t debut until 1975 and Frank White was a silky-smooth fielder, In 1977 he played 62 consecutive error-less games, but he was not a consistent offensive force.
3B – Mike Schmidt (over Brooks Robinson and George Brett) This was tough; Schmidt made the All-Century team but so did Brooks Robinson who was the best defensive 3rd baseman ever and Brett only had 6 full seasons in the decade.
SS – Dave Concepcion how is he not in the H.O.F! A career .267 hitter whose career bests were 16 in home runs, a .301 batting average and 84 RBIs all very respectable for the pre-Ripken/Rodriguez shortstops more importantly he had a .971 career fielding percentage.
LF- Pete Rose who played 1 B, 2B, Rose just barely edged: Carl Yastrzemski, Billy Williams or Willie Stargell. Rose is a monumental controversial and comic/tragic figure, but he is also the most prolific hitter of all-time he could play every infield position except short stop and all the outfield positions, he played maniacally hard
CF – César Cedeño just edged out Bobby Murcer. This was a young player named "next Willie Mays" with his speed, defensive skills & power by then Astro’s skipper Leo Durocher. He batted .310 his rookie season, he contended for Rookie of the Year & then hit .320 the next two seasons. From 1972-1974 he hit 20 HRs & stole 50 bases each season. He would steal over 50 bases through 1976 and be in the top four of the league leaders in steals six straight years. He led the league in doubles twice (1971-1972) won 5 straight gold gloves in center field and played in 4 All Star Games. Still his
RF – Reggie Jackson: The ‘Straw that Stirs the Drink’ Jackson one of the truly modern superstars he socked 563 HRs, 1702 RBIs, .262 lifetime BA, 2584 hits and as a bonus he posted 228 stolen bases.
Pitchers
RHP – Tom Seaver was the best pitcher of that group: 311 wins, 2.86 ERA and 3640 Ks speak to his nearly 2 decades of dominance.: During a 20-year career, Seaver compiled 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts, 61 shutouts and a 2.86 earned run average. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the highest percentage ever recorded (98.84%).
RHP – Jim Palmer: Palmer spent his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles, where he won the Cy Young Award three times, finished second twice, third once, and fifth two more times. Palmer finished 2nd in the MVP balloting in 1973, one of eight seasons where he received MVP votes. Palmer finished his career with 268 wins, a 2.86 ERA. Palmer is a first ballot Hall of Famer, being elected in 1990 while being named on 92.6% of ballots. He was named by Bill James, in the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, as the 17th best pitcher of all time.
RHP- Catfish Hunter- When rookie phenomena Vida Blue won 24 games, and Catfish Hunter had a 21-11 campaign at the age of 25, the A's blew the West away, winning the division by 16 games over the Royals. However, the savvy Orioles were able to beat them back for the pennant in the Championship Series, with Catfish Hunter losing the second game of the three game sweep by a 5-1 score. In 1972, the A's and Catfish Hunter began a run of three straight World Series winning seasons. Catfish Hunter would go 21-7 in 1972, and in the World Series against the Reds he won Game Two 2-1 and got a no-decision in Game Five. In the deciding seventh game, Catfish Hunter came on in relief with the score tied 1-1. Pitching on one day's rest, Catfish Hunter recorded eight out, giving up one hit, and got the win when the A's scored two runs in the sixth. Catfish Hunter then had a great 1973, posting a 21-5 record and going 3-0 in the playoffs over the Orioles and the Mets. In one of the most important games he ever pitched, Catfish Hunter won the deciding fifth game of the American League Championship Series, shutting out Baltimore on October 11th, 1973, with a five-hitter. Then, with Oakland down in the Series three games to two, he forced a seventh game with a 3-1 win over Tom Seaver and the Mets; the A's won their second title the next day. The Cy Young Award came Catfish Hunter's way in 1974, as he won 25 games and lost 12, with a 2.59 earned run average. Arm problems caused Catfish Hunter to go 2-9 in 1979, and at the age of 33 he retired after the season was over. Catfish Hunter pitched long enough to produce a 224-166 record and 42 shutouts and decide he merited a plaque in Cooperstown.
RHP- Gaylord Perry his 184 wins in the 1970’s was #2 behind Palmer. Gaylord Perry is a Hall of Famer who was the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in each league. He won his first Cy Young Award in 1972 while with the Indians, winning 24 games with 1.92 ERA and 234 strikeouts. In his three-plus seasons with the Tribe, Perry went 70-57 with a 2.51 ERA and had a save in his only relief outing. He was a two-time All-Star with Indians during the 1972 and 1974 seasons. Overall, Perry was a five-time All-Star with a record of 314-265 in 22 seasons (5350IP/3534Ks).
LHP- Steve Carlton- Carlton posted what might be the single-greatest season of any pitcher of the modern era. He posted a record of 27-10, hurling 346 1/3 innings, striking out 310 hitters against only 87 walks, and posted a sparkling 1.97 earned run average. At one point, Carlton reeled off fifteen consecutive wins and posted thirty complete games, unanimously winning his first Cy Young Award and garnering a few votes for most valuable player. Carlton notched an incredible, record-breaking iron man performance that began his magnificent 14-year career with the Phillies that featured four Cy Young Awards and a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Wise, by contrast, was 16-16 with a good 3.11 ERA for the Cardinals, and had a solid career that ended with a 188-181 record in 1985, including 19 wins and a World Series appearance for the 1975 Boston Red Sox. The Phillies clearly got the best of that trade; Lefty, as Carlton became known, won 329 games and posted more than 4,000 strikeouts in a Hall of Fame career.
Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson and Ferguson Jenkins were also great right-handed pitchers. Gibson’s best year, perhaps the best season ever, was 1968 when he had a 1.12 ERA, Gibson threw 13 shutouts, finishing the season with 28 complete games out of 34 games started, he’s not higher because personal problems and knee problems caused his career to end ignominiously after the 1975 season, when he went 3–10 with a 5.04 ERA.

Ron Guidry- Guidry got a bit of a late start in Major League baseball, not landing a regular gig until he was already 26-years old in 1977. But he was an immediate success, posting a 16-7 record with a 2.82 ERA, and an ERA+ of 140. Guidry might have had the greatest post 1968 season of any pitcher when he went 25-3 with a 1.74 earned run average and nine shutouts in 1978. For a short time he was the AL’s best southpaw pitcher. ‘Louisiana lightning’ was my favorite pitcher growing up and I had to fight myself to keep him out of the starting 5. The following season, Guidry led the A.L. in ERA (2.78), topped 200 strikeouts again, and posted an 18-8 record while finishing third in the Cy Young award voting. Guidry would continue to have several productive seasons with New York, finishing in the top ten in Cy Young voting in 1981, 1983, and 1985. In his ten full seasons as a starting pitcher, Guidry would finish in at least the top seven in Cy Young voting six times. He sadly had a brilliant but relatively brief period of 100% health of 6 years where he compiled the bulk of his 170-91 with a 3.29 ERA, he was in his 14-year career.

Mickey Lolich- Lolich may one day be surpassed by Justin Verlander as the Tiger’s greatest pitcher his 459 games started is #1 on the Tigers all-time list 2,679 strikeouts is #1 on the Tigers all-time list 39 shutouts is #1 on the Tigers all-time list, 329 home runs allowed is #1 on the Tigers all-time list, 109 wild pitches is #2 on the Tigers all-time list (behind Jack Morris) 207 wins is #3 on the Tigers all-time list (behind Hooks Dauss and George Mullin) 508 games is #3 on the Tigers all-time list (behind John Hiller and Hooks Dauss and his 3,361 innings pitched is #3 on Tigers all-time list (behind George Mullin and Hooks Dauss). In 1971, his 308 strikeouts paced the league, he started 45 games and completed 29, he logged an incredible 376 innings pitched that year. Lolich was nearly as effective in 1972, winning 22 games as he helped lead the Tigers back to the postseason. In his final start of the regular season, the lefty dominated the Red Sox at Tiger Stadium, fanning 15 batters to vault Detroit ahead of Boston by a half-game. As usual, Mickey was a workhorse, pitching 41 games, completing 23, and hurling more than 300 innings. He finished third in Cy Young voting behind Gaylord Perry and Wilbur Wood. In the playoffs against the A’s, Mickey pitched brilliantly, posting a 1.42 ERA in two starts, but he lost one game and got a no-decision in the other as the Tigers took Oakland to the limit before losing the decisive Game 5. Lolich captured 16 victories in both 1973 and 1974, and on May 25, 1975, he defeated the White Sox, 4–1, in a rain-shortened seven-inning game at Comiskey Park for his 200th career victory. But the season was one of frustration for the veteran southpaw. He suffered one of the worst stretches of offensive support in baseball history in the second-half of 1975. While the Tigers were on their way to their most dismal season in more than two decades, Lolich pitched effectively but had little help. Over the course of 14 starts from July 11 through September 13, Mickey received a total of 14 runs from his offense! Not surprisingly, Lolich’s record was 1–13 during the stretch, which included a 19-game losing streak by the Tigers. When Mickey toed the rubber on July 11, he was 10–5 with a 3.31 ERA. When he lost the last of the 13 games during the 14-game stretch, his ERA was just 3.88, but his record had sagged to 11–18. He won his next start September 20—his teammates scored five runs for him—but it was his final game in a Detroit uniform. After the season, Lolich was dealt to the New York Mets for Rusty Staub in a trade that was unpopular with Tigers fans. Mickey never took to the Big Apple and never moved his family there. During his one season as a Met, he battled with the trainer and pitching coach, who wanted him to run and treat his arm with ice. Lolich balked at the advice. He managed a decent 3.22 ERA for the Mets, posting an 8–13 record in 1976. His biggest highlight in a Mets uniform came July 18, 1976, when he fired a two-hit shutout over the Braves at Shea Stadium in which he fanned four and did not walk a batter. At the end of the 1976 season, fed up with New York, Lolich retired in order to get out of the last year of his two-year contract. After sitting out a year, Mickey signed with the San Diego Padres, who pursued him and gave him a two-year deal. While playing with the Mets, Lolich had enjoyed visiting San Diego and felt it would be a wonderful place to finish his career. With a young Padres club he performed well in 1978 out of the bullpen, going 2–1 with a 1.56 ERA in 20 games. The following season, Lolich introduced a new weapon to his pitching arsenal: the knuckle ball. After an inconsistent 1979 season, Lolich retired and returned to his home in Michigan. Lolich won 217 games in his 16-year career.

Vida Blue, Blue, was a six-time all-star player who pitched during 17 seasons with the A's, Giants and Kansas City Royals before retiring in 1987, he totaled 3 20-win seasons 6 All-Star Games, he had a 3.27 ERA, 209 career wins, threw one no-hitter (1970), one combined no-hitter (1975), and three one-hitters (1970, 1971 and 1976) during his career. In 1971, Vida Blue became the first American League baseball player ever to win both the Most Valuable Player award and the Cy Young award. He had a 24-8 record and led the league with a 1.82 earned run average and eight shutouts. He struck out 301 batters in 312 innings.

Wilbur Wood- One of the games’ greatest knuckleballers was Wilbur Wood, he had consecutive scoreless inning streaks of 29 in 1973 and 27.2 in 1972. He tossed three complete game two hitters with two of those taking eleven innings. He also added nine complete game three hitters. He started both ends of a double header twice (Note: Once because of rain that allowed two consecutive off days. Wilbur finished the suspended game against Cleveland that began on May 26, 1973 then after a thirty minute break, began the regularly slated game. This happened on May 28, 1973.) and was named to the White Sox 'All-Century' team. a mind-blowing 376 innings pitched in 1972!), batters faced, wins and getting hitters to ground into double plays. was a three time All Star, a four time twenty game winner, he had 57 saves and 163 wins with the White Sox. He was named the 1968 American League Fireman of the Year, he was named the American League Pitcher of the Year in 1972 and was also named as the left handed starting pitcher on The Sporting News 1972 American League All Star Team.

Steve Rogers was a 1st-round draft choice in 1971 was the 1973 Rookie of the Year from The Sporting News. He averaged a decade of double-digit winning seasons. At the time that Rogers was released by the Expos, he was their all-time leader in victories (156), losses (148), games (391), complete games (128), shutouts (37) and strikeouts (1,603). He had a 3.17 lifetime ERA and wan an All-Star 5 time. A post-season standout, Rogers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies and their ace Steve Carlton twice in the 1981 National League Division Series. He held the Phillies to one run in Game One and hurled a six-hit 3–0 shutout, helping himself with two RBI in the deciding Game Five, to send Montreal to the National League Championship Series. In Game Three of that Series, Rogers pitched a seven-hit 4–1 complete game against the Dodgers, but lost Game Five in relief when he allowed a pennant-winning home run to Rick Monday. The decision of manager Jim Fanning to use Rogers in that game, on only two-days’ rest, is still debated by Montreal fans.

Mike Cuellar, A four-time All-Star, Cuellar was 185-130 overall with a 3.14 ERA. He was voted into the Orioles' Hall of Fame. In 1970, Cuellar won a career-high 24 games and again excelled in the postseason, this time with both his arm and his bat. A career .115 hitter, Cuellar highlighted Game 1 of the ALCS with a grand slam.

Jerry Koosman was one of the better LHP of the decade other than Carlton. Along with pitchers Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, he made the Mets 'Amazing' – and even landed on the cover of Life magazine in 1969. He had 222 wins and 209 losses and a 3.36 earned run average during his career, which spanned from 1967 to 1985.
In his first three ML games, in September of that year, he held opposing hitters to a .111 average and struck out 15 in one game. The following April 16, he no-hit the Phillies in his fourth ML start. His performance steadily declined with the Cubs, but he responded to a 1975 trade to the Dodgers by winning his final 12 decisions, finishing 18-9. His unusual knuckle curve made him a mainstay of baseball's best rotation through nine seasons and three pennants. He peaked at 19-10 in 1978.
The 70s really didn't have many long relievers as specialists. Starting pitchers were expected to go at least 7-8 innings all the time. Aces were expected to complete the majority of their games. Sparky Lyle deserves mention, 238 Saves, [when saves were much harder to come by], 99 Wins and a 2.88 lifetime ERA are some of the numbers that encompass his impact. Between 1967-1980, Lyle had more saves than anyone else in the AL (231). Also Lyle was the first American League reliever to capture a Cy Young Award (1977), other outstanding players included :

Relief – Rollie Fingers: Fingers, famous for his waxed handlebar mustache, is regarded as the pioneer of modern relief pitching. During his 17-year baseball career, Rollie pitched for the Oakland Athletics (1968–76), San Diego Padres (1977–80) and Milwaukee Brewers (1981–85). Because Fingers was inconsistent as a starter, the A’s quickly moved Fingers to the bull pen and eventually to his role as a closer. There he excelled quickly and frequently in his new role. Relying on a sharp slider, Rollie went on to notch 341 career saves. Rollie was a member of the Oakland A’s teams that accomplished the first modern-day “three-peat”, winning the World Series in 1972, 1973 and 1974. In 1974, he won the World Series MVP Award after earning two saves and one win. He had 1,299 career Ks, 2.90 ERA,
Relief – Bruce Sutter: The story of Bruce Sutter is an amazing one, when you consider the odds of him turning around a near dead career with an injured arm into a Hall of Fame ending all due to the development of one pitch. The injury came right away, signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1971 for $500, he went to the Bradenton Cubs of the Gulf Coast League. After pitching in just two games, he was diagnosed with an elbow injury and was gone for the 1972 season. He needed an operation on the pinched nerve, got it, came to training camp in 1973, but poof, no more fastball. Bruce had paid for the surgery himself. The savior of Sutter’s career was a relative of the fork-ball, but with Sutter’s long fingers, he could force it to spin forward and then dive downward as it reached home plate. His thumb would push the ball out from between his wide spread fingers and it worked because he has huge hands to hold it. Sutter still had just enough speed so the hitters couldn’t tell the difference whether it was a fastball or the splitter coming at them; in 1976 in 52 games, he went 6-3 with a 2.70 earned run average and all in relief. A noteworthy fact were the 73 strikeouts in 83 innings. He had never started a game and never would, becoming the first player in history to make it to the Hall as a 100 percent reliever. In 1977, he came out as a National League standout, earning 31 saves, with a meager 1.31 earned run average and a trip to the All-Star Game. Try on these stats: 107 innings and 129 strikeouts and only 23 walks! 1978 wasn’t quite as dominating, with 27 saves, a 3.18 ERA, with 106 strikeouts in 99 innings. He won 8 and lost 10 after going 7-3 the year before. Then, in 1979, Sutter hit the jackpot turning in a fabulous resume. In 62 games, he posted a 2.22 ERA, gained a National League leading 37 saves, with 110- strikeouts in 101 innings. He became only the third relief pitcher in baseball history to win the Cy Young Award. Mike Marshall from the Los Angeles Dodgers had won in 1974 and in 1977 it was the New York Yankees Sparky Lyle. At the time, his 37 saves had tied a National League record held by Clay Carroll and Rollie Fingers.

C Thurman Munson Many remember his tragic death at 32‚ when he perished at Canton‚ Ohio‚ in a crash of the plane he was piloting. A crowd of 51‚151 will attended the memorial tribute at Yankee stadium. Occasionally forgotten is how good a ballplayer he was. After fewer than 100 minor league games, Munson became the Yankees' starting catcher in 1970. The Yankees went from a mediocre team to back-to-back World Championships and Munson rivaled Fisk in the AL as the decade's top catcher. After a sluggish start he rallied to finish hitting (.302) and captured AL Rookie of the Year honors. Munson's power was slow to develop, but he hit for average and usually batted second in his early years. He was an outstanding fielder, with perhaps the league's quickest release in throwing out base stealers. A sore shoulder later reduced his accuracy. During the Yankees' mini-dynasty of 1976-78 Munson was at his peak. Off the field, he was a leader in the team's vicious clubhouse humor. On the field, he piled up his career-best offensive statistics (even a surprising 14 stolen bases in 1976). He hit over .300 with 100 or more RBI three years in a row (1975-77), won the MVP Award in 1976, and hit .529 in the 1976 series and .320 in the 1977 and 1978 World Series. Munson deserves much of the credit for the late-season surge by a shaky Catfish Hunter during the Yankees' 1978 comeback.

C Carlton Fisk- While Bench was the star in the NL, Fisk was considered the best in the AL. And he continued to be among the best for 10 more years. The durable catcher Fisk caught 2,226 games, a record that stood from 1993 until 2009 (when it was broken by Ivan Rodriguez). He was the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year in 1972 and was selected to the AL All-Star team 11 times, and he hit 376 homers with a .269 average, second all-time among catchers, and first at the time of his retirement. He was a 10-time AL All-Star who hit one of the most memorable homers all-time to end Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Of his home-runs he hit 351 as a catcher, he was a very good athlete Fisk became the first American League catcher to lead the league in triples when he hit nine triples in his rookie season of 1972.

C/RF Gary Carter ‘The Kid’ was expected to be the next Johnny Bench and was a good enough prep QB that UCLA signed him for that, however he chose baseball and shot through the Expos’ farm system, he would show a blend of offensive and defensive prowess that resulted in 3 Gold Gloves and 5 Solver Sluggers, he died earlier this year of brain cancer he is missed. He had 324 career HRs and was a .262 hitter with 1,225 RBIs, a career .773 OPS, he never eclipsed Bench but he is with Berra, Campanella Cochrane, Dickey, Fisk, Freehan, Harnett, Lombardi, Piazza, and Rodriguez as the next tier after Bench

C Manny Sanguillen- Sanguillen was speedy for a catcher, free-swinging Manny Sanguillen had great hitting ability, a strong arm, and a cat-like quality behind the plate. The ever-smiling Panamanian twice finished third in the NL batting race: in his second full season (1970), when he batted .325, and again in 1975, when he hit a career-high .328. The bad-ball-hitting Sanguillen was a good contact hitter, but rarely walked. Overshadowed by Johnny Bench, he edged out the Cincinnati catcher on The Sporting New's NL All-Star Team in 1971 – the only time between 1967 and 1975 that Bench was not selected. He was durable, catching more than 100 games in seven of his first eight full seasons with the Pirates. A lifetime .296 hitter, who was an exceptional fielder he had everything but pop in his bat..

C Ted Simmons- Simmons was the #1 Draft Choice of Cardinal in 1967, he holds Catcher Records in Hits (2,472) & Doubles (483) and was an All-Star 8 times (1972-74, 77-79, 81, 83)
C/3B Joe Torre Torre will obviously make it to Cooperstown as a manager but has been seen as no better than a borderline Hall of Famer as a player. Many might be surprised to know he comes in with a GWAA of 38.26. That is well past borderline (which is around 25-30 GWAA)–that's pretty much slam-dunk Hall of Fame territory. Through 2005, Torre's GWAA ranked 36th among all players to debut in 1960 or later. Among players from this group eligible for the Hall, he ranks 17th. (Counting Billy Williams, who was still technically a rookie in 1960, thirty-four players from that group have been elected to the Hall of Fame.) The only Hall-eligible players with higher scores who haven't been elected is Dick Allen.

C/1st B Gen Tenace A .241 hitter with 201 homers Tenace’s numbers are not all that impressive but he was exceptional in both defense and calling games behind the plate.

1B Dick Allen (1972, totally dominant) Power, speed, smarts and style. These are the words that teammates and opponents used to describe Dick Allen, one of baseball’s most exciting and enigmatic players. Angry, surly, disruptive narcissistic. These were labels that fans and the front office often applied to the sullen superstar. His career was a tale of two Dicks, as it were. But what a career it was. For a solid decade during the 1960s and 1970s, Dick produced screaming line drives with his war-club of a bat—and he often had GMs waking up screaming due to his stubbornness and unpredictability. No one questions whether Dick was ahead of his time; he gave baseball an uncomfortable preview of the modern player. What his fans wonder, however, was how much this brooding and insubordinate slugger could have accomplished had he found his comfort zone for more than just a season or two. As a high school hoops star he once touched a spot on the backboard 16 inches above the rim, not bad since he was a shade under six feet tall. In 1970 he was moved from the Phillies to the Cardinals and across the diamond to first base. He was voted the All-Star starter over reigning MVP Willie McCovey, and by August he had reached the 30-homer, 100-RBI plateau. In 1971, now a Dodger, he managed 29 homers and 90 RBIs in a pitcher’s park. His final numbers reflected his comfort level. Playing once again in a pitcher’s park, he led the league with 37 homers, 113 RBIs, a .603 slugging average, .420 on-base percentage and 99 walks. Teammates are nearly unanimous in the observation that Dick’s numbers in ’72 only hinted at the year he had. Time and again, when the White Sox needed a hit, Dick would come through. He was as close to automatic that year as a batter could be. Allen was a no-brainer pick for AL MVP. More important, he revived the passion of fans on the South Side, thus eliminating conjecture that the club might pull up stakes and relocate to Seattle or the west coast of Florida. After the season, the White Sox gave Dick a new contract for $250,000 a year, up from $100,000. His top salary with the Phillies had been $85,000. Another benefit of Dick’s MVP campaign was that he was able to convince the White Sox to add his brother Hank to the roster. Hank, who was 85 games short of qualifying for a pension, proved to be a valuable bench player during Chicago’s 1972 run. Fate was never particularly kind to Dick. The 1973 season was a particularly painful example. In a June game against the A’s, he collided with massive Mike Epstein during a play on the first base line. Dick broke his leg and ended up missing 90 games. He was batting over .300 at the time and was on pace for a repeat of his numbers from the year before. The White Sox weren’t the same when Dick returned to the field in 1974. Ron Santo had come across town from the Cubs for his final major league season and tried to install himself as the team’s leader. This created tremendous friction between the two stars, soon Dick was fed up. Baseball wasn’t fun anymore. He gathered his teammates in the clubhouse on September 14th and announced his retirement. Despite not playing the rest of the year, he still led the AL with 32 homers and a .563 slugging average. It was the first time a retired player ever led a league in a major offensive category. However since he’d failed to file his retirement paperwork Dick was technically the property of the Atlanta Braves, who had acquired his contract from the White Sox. Dick relented and agreed to join the Phillies. Philadelphia acquired his contract after he told the Braves in so many words that he would rather sit at home than play in the South (even the New South) again. Philadelphia manager Danny Ozark pressed Dick into service right away. He asked for more time to find his groove, but the press was pushing the team to get Dick on the field. He ended up playing 113 games at first base, driving in 62 runs despite a .233 average. His main contribution to the Phillies that year was working with their two sluggers, Schmidt and Greg Luzinski. Dick taught Schmidt to hit down on the ball and told him he couldn’t take the outs he made so personally. Luzinski was a low ball hitter who constantly got himself out chasing high pitches. Dick taught the Bull how to be more of a zone hitter. He responded with a monster year, racking up 120 RBIs. The following year, he came back, upped his average to .268 and boosted his slugging average by nearly 100 points to .583. The last month of the 1976 campaign was a tumultuous one. Dick felt there was a quota system in place—how else could one explain the lack of at-bats for Ollie Brown and Bobby Tolan? Meanwhile, Larry Bowa and Tug McGraw were driving everyone crazy with their clubhouse antics and media-hogging. At one point, Bowa said he missed the team’s old first baseman, Willie Montanez, implying that Dick wasn’t scooping balls out of the dirt the way his predecessor had. Dick called Bowa out and told him to throw the balls to his glove—end of problem. When fellow renegade Charlie Finley offered him a job in Oakland, he grabbed it. But he soon realized his mistake. Finley would say one thing and do another, and according to Allen, he broke several promises he made when working out the contract. After 54 games for the A’s, Dick said goodbye to baseball for good. Allen’s final numbers in the big leagues were 351 home runs, 1,119 RBIs, 1,009 runs and a .292 average. His career slugging percentage was .534 he was among the top five in the league seven times—and his on-base percentage was .378. Dick played 807 games at first base, 652 at third and 256 as a left fielder. He also logged a handful of appearances at second, short and in center field. Dick was named to seven All-Star teams during his 15-year career.

1B Steve Garvey- A very consistent player on offense and defense he had a .294, RBI: 1,308, 2,599, with 272 career home-runs, alongside third baseman Ron Cey, shortstop Bill Russell and second baseman Davey Lopes, the four infielders stayed together as the Dodgers’ starters for eight and a half years. He set a National League record with 1207 consecutive games played, from September 3, 1975, to July 29, 1983. Garvey appeared on the NL MVP ballot 9 times with 5 times placing in the top 10. Beating out Lou Brock to win in 1974, he finished 2nd over-all in 1978 behind winner Dave Parker. He racked up 10 All-Star Games including 2 MVP Awards. 4 Gold Gloves. 2 National League Championship Series MVP Awards. The 1974 National League Most Valuable Player Award. 1981 World Series Champion. The 1981 Roberto Clemente Award.

1B Tony Perez-One of baseball's greatest run producers, Perez retired as the 14th-best RBI man in ML history. After sharing Cincinnati first-base job in his first two years, Perez was switched to third base from 1967 to 1972 to get slugger Lee May into the lineup. For ten years (1967-76) Perez was one of the leaders of The Big Red Machine, six times topping 100 RBI. With Perez in the infield, the Reds won four pennants. In 1970, his top season, he hit .317 with 40 homers and 134 RBI.
1B Willie McCovey (best years in 60s) led NL in HRs 3 times and RBI twice; MVP in 1969 with SF; 521 career HRs; “McCovey Cove,” the bay outside the right field fence at San Francisco's Pacific Bell Park is named for him. McCovey had his banner year in 1969 and won the MVP award. In addition to leading the NL with 45 homers, 126 RBI, and a .656 slugging percentage, he drew a record 45 intentional walks and finished fifth with a .320 batting average. His 9.2 home run percentage that year is one of the highest ever. McCovey's appearance in the 1969 All-Star Game was his third of six, and he paced the NL to a 9-3 victory with two home runs. McCovey was an integral part of an ever-changing Giants team that contended for a decade, reaching the World Series in 1962 and the NL playoffs in 1971. Giants owners devastated Bay Area fans by sending McCovey, their favorite player, to the upstart San Diego Padres prior to the 1974 season. Tagged Big Mac in deference to Padres and McDonald's owner Ray Kroc, McCovey had two good seasons and one poor one before the Padres sold him to the Oakland Athletics, the Giants' cross-bay competition. He played in only 11 games for the A's, who released him at the end of the season. McCovey was invited by new Giants ownership to San Francisco's spring training camp in 1977, and he responded with a 28-homer, 86-RBI comeback at the age of 39.

1B Orlando Cepeda (best years in 60s) The ‘Baby Bull’ a lifetime .297 hitter had one last 30+ HR season in 1970 with 34. He had 379 career and homers and like Oliver Madlock and Dwight Evans he makes many best players not in the H.O.F lists and again this is a player whose career numbers are very similar to Al Kaline’s.

2B Bobby Grich- Here's Bobby Grich for you: in 4100 career at-bats with the Angels, he posted an OPS+ of 124. signed a Free Agent deal with the Angels after the 1976 season. A rare Middle Infielder with power, and Grich had an All-Star year with the Angels in 1979, belting 30 HR and 101 RBI to help the Angels win their first 3 AL West titles. as deserved first inductee in the Angels’ Hall of Fame, is the team’s career leader with: – 859 DP turned, he played almost 1,100 games at the keystone sack His best year with the Angels came back in 1979 when he made the All-Star team while finishing 8th in the voting for the MVP Award. Grich played in 153 games in 1979 and he was 157 for 534 (.294 BA, .903 OPS) with 78 runs scored, 30 homers, 101 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Grich played in 1,222 games in his 10 years with the Angels and he was 1,103 of 4,100 (.269 BA, .806 OPS) with 601 runs scored, 154 homers, 557 RBIs and 27 stolen bases. Grich is #6 in Angels’ history in games played with 1,222. He is also #6 in hits (1,103), #6 in runs scored (601), #8 in doubles (183), #7 in homers (154), #7 in RBIs (557) and #3 in walks (630) in Angels’ history. Grich made it to 3 All-Star teams and he won 1 Silver Slugger Award in his 10 years with the Angels
2B Willie Randolph-After a 30-game stint with the Pirates in 1975, Randolph was one of three players traded to the Yankees for pitcher Doc Medich in the off-season. Randolph immediately became the starting second baseman, and stayed in that role through 13 seasons and 32 shortstops. During Randolph's first six seasons with the Yankees, they won five division championships, four AL pennants, and World Series titles in 1977 and 1978. He left the Yankees ranking high on their star-studded all-time lists: second in stolen bases, seventh in at-bats and runs, eighth in games, tenth in hits, and 19th in triples; Randolph was also an outstanding defensive player, known especially for his ability to turn the double play. However, he never received the Gold Glove Award, which was perennially awarded to his equally sure-handed and more acrobatic and wide-ranging contemporaries: Frank White of the Kansas City Royals and Lou Whitaker of the Detroit Tigers. He was the Yankees' starting second baseman on the 1977 and 1978 World Series Championship teams.

2B Frank White-Frank White and Bill Mazeroski had almost identical careers. Mazeroski is in the Baseball Hall of Fame while White is left out. The reason for Mazeroski being in the Hall of Fame can be traced back to a ball he hit on October 13, 1960 and handful of Hall of Fame voters. The career stats of both of these players are eerily similar: .255 White to .260 for Mazeroski, both had 8 Gold Gloves, White had 10 fewer career hits, .383 slugging % for White to.367 for Mazeroski
SS Bert Campaneris- A .259 hitter who was a .963 fielder, the other and perhaps most outstanding element of Campaneris’ game was as a base runner, other than Lou Brock, Joe Morgan and Maury Wills there few could match the speed and disruptiveness of Campaneris who finished with 649 steals.

SS Mark Belanger – best defensive SS in the AL during the decade. Mark Belanger had a .280 slugging percentage for his career. He hit .228. His on-base percentage was an even .300. His park-adjusted OPS+ was 68.
In short, Belanger was a bad, very bad hitter. It took him 6602 plate appearances to hit 20 home runs. But the man could play shortstop. He could pick it with the best of them. From 1968 through 1978, Belanger won eight Gold Gloves and played in at least 140 games every year except for 1972 (105) and 1978 (134). Weaver had the pitching and the three-run homers covered by others. Belanger was there to be a golden example of the fundamentals, and he did his job excellently. Belanger was not a great player. A great shortstop, sure, but that and a little bit of speed were basically his entire game. He never once posted an OPS better than the league average, and his best offensive season in comparison to the league was 1976 (.270/.336/.326 with one homer, 40 RBI, 22 doubles and 27 steals) He had a best OBP of .426 in 1971 and a career best 5 long ones in 1974, .345 in 1969 was his best SLG%. But many think he was the best defensive SS ever.

SS Bud Harrelson (defensive wizard, could get on base) In 1971 he won the Gold Glove, and led the Mets with 28 stolen bases. Like Belanger he was a light hitter of his 1120 career hits only 192 were extra base hits, 7 of them home runs. His excellent fielding kept him in the lineup no matter what his average, but he also contributed with his speed on the base paths and by drawing more than his share of walks. His best year was 1970, when he reached career highs in five offensive categories and tied the since-broken NL shortstop record of 54 consecutive error-less games.

SS: Toby Harrah- Harrah was a very good glove man and had uncommon sock in his bat for a SS of his era, he had 4 20 HR seasons in the 1970’s. He only had one .300 season and was a .960 lifetime fielder, but he was one of a very few power hitting shortstops at that time.

SS/CF Robin Yount, his best years were in the 80’s. Robin Yount was a productive hitter who excelled in the field at two of baseball's most challenging positions — shortstop and center field. Playing his entire 20-year career with the Milwaukee Brewers, he collected more hits in the 1980s than any other player and finished with an impressive career total of 3,142. An everyday Major Leaguer at age 18, Yount earned MVP Awards at two positions and his 1982 MVP campaign carried the Brewers to the World Series. Yount finished with a career .285 average, 3,142 hits, 251 homers, 271 stolen bases and 1406 RBIs, he was a complete player but he was just 23 when the 1979 season began.

3B Brooks Robinson/George Brett Robinson was Selected to the Hall of Fame in 1983, AL Most Valuable Player by Baseball Writers' Association of America (1964) All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (1966), World Series Most Valuable Player (1970) AL Player of the Year by The Sporting News (1964) he was the 3rd baseman on The Sporting News AL All-Star Team (1961 to 1962, 1964 to 1968 and 1971 to 1972). Robinson was selected the AL Gold Glove as third baseman (1960 to 1975). He might be the best defensive 3rd baseman of all time, but his best years were in the 1960’s.

George Brett- Brett was the 1st player in history to accumulate 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, 600 doubles, 100 triples, 1,500 RBIs and 200 stolen bases. The 13-time All-Star played his entire 21-year career for the Kansas City Royals, earning an American League Most Valuable Player Award, a Gold Glove, three batting titles and a lifetime batting average of .305. His .390 average in 1980 was the highest since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. He had 3,154 career hits, 317 HRs, and 1,595 RBIs to go with his .305 average. Even as a Mets, Reds and Yankees fan as a kid, I loved how hard and how well Brett played. Though not a great fielder he had a .971 career % and I consider him a top 5 player of the 1970’s.

3B Ron Santo- Was named third baseman on The Sporting News NL All-Star Team (1966 to 1969 and 1972) He won NL Gold Glove as third baseman (1964 to 1968), Santo was a very good hitter and a solid fielder. He had 342 homers, .277 BA, 1331 RBIs, but his best years were 1961-1969.

3B Ron Cey-. A .261 hitter the ‘Penguin” was like Wynn, a smaller player with impressive pop, a good but not great fielder, Cey was a crucial part of the Dodger’s 70’s revival; 6 times an All-Star in the 1970s, Cey got his nickname from his stocky build, short legs, and choppy running style. In 1981 his string of eleven seasons with 20 or more homers was interrupted by the players' strike and a late-season broken arm.

3B Craig Nettles-At the plate, Nettles had league leading power — he led the league once in homers (32 in '76) and just missed once (37 in '77), and perennially was amongst the top 5 to 7 in the league in homers, even though that number was generally in the twenties. His average was usually around .250. Some feel that Bell and Nettles were about as good as Santo and Robinson, who are now enshrined in the H.O.F many consider Nettles the 3rd greatest defensive 3rd baseman of all time. Once established he led the American League with a .967 fielding percentage in 1970. He showed power by clouting a team-leading 26 home runs. In his 21 years Nettles put up the power numbers desired for a corner infielder, but his batting average was unusually average. He hit .267 in 1975, his second highest average in the big leagues, he might never make the hall but his name will always garner some comments from those who saw him play.

3B Bill Madlock Madlock’s record of four batting titles as a third baseman in only exceeded by Wade Boggs. Madlock replaced Ron Santo and thrived he was one of the best hitters of the era. in 1973, Madlock was traded to the Cubs with Vic Harris for Ferguson Jenkins. Madlock replaced Ron Santo at third base and hit .313, the highest average for a Cubs third baseman since 1945. The stocky Madlock had a compact swing, one of the most consistent in baseball, and scattered line drives throughout the National League. He easily won the 1975 batting title and edged Ken Griffey in 1976. A sometimes moody player who earned a reputation early in his career for sitting down against tough pitchers, Madlock was dealt to San Francisco on February 11, 1977 with Rob Sperring for Bobby Murcer, Steve Ontiveros, and Andy Muhlstock. The Giants moved Madlock, at best an adequate fielder, from third base to second, and his batting tailed off. The unhappy infielder was rescued by Pittsburgh on June 28, 1979. Madlock and Len Randle came to the Pirates for Ed Whitson, Al Holland, and Fred Breining and brought a pennant to Pittsburgh. Madlock returned to third base, batted .328 during the season, and hit .375 in the World Series.

1B/3B Darrell Evans While he was only a .248 career hitter he had impressive power evidenced by multiple 40 HR seasons and 414 career homers, he was a .946 career fielder he was often overshadowed by teammates. 414 career home runs ranked 25th all-time when he retired1605 career bases on balls still ranks 11th all time, 8th among 3B with 132 fielding runs despite only playing half of his career there
Grounded into fewer double plays per PA than Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines, and Barry Bonds.

3B Buddy Bell- Bell first appeared in the Major Leagues with the Indians in 1972, appearing mostly in the outfield as a rookie, but afterwards becoming a fixture at third base. Bell was a solid, but not overpowering, right-handed hitter on a mostly lackluster Indians team. He was named to the All-Star team in 1973. After the 1978 season Bell was traded to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Toby Harrah – another solid, veteran third baseman. Bell enjoyed his best season with the Rangers in 1979, collecting 200 hits, 101 RBI, and his first Gold Glove Award. From 1979 through 1984, Bell won the gold glove for third base in The American League. He also won the silver slugger award in 1984. He finished in the top 10 in Batting Average in 1980 and 1984. In fielding, Bell was spectacular and often played far off the third base line, taking many hits from opposing batters. In Total zone runs (a defensive statistic) he is 9th all time(ahead of Willie Mays) and 2nd among all third baseman (behind Brooks Robinson). His Range factor (another defensive stat) is 5th all-time among 3rd baseman. He was in the top 10 in fielding pct. 10 times and finished first 3 times. A career .279 hitter with 2,514 career hits and 201 career homers, Bell like Robinson, was such a fine fielder that his offense production was nearly seen as a bonus.

3B Doug DeCinces- DeCinces hit 237 home runs during a 15-year career in the major leagues. From 1973 until 1987 he offered a good blend of glove and bat for the Baltimore Orioles from his debut until early 1982, when he was traded to the Angels. He played here until late in the 1987 season and he was signed by the Angels as a free agent he manned the ‘hot corner’ for them until the last year of his career which was spent with St. Louis Cardinals, he was mostly remembered as the bridge between Robinson and Ripken, but he was also a .259 hitter with good power and a .959% fielder.

3B Sal Bando-During the A's championship years of 1971-75, he captained the team and led the club in runs batted in three times. He was the second American League third baseman to hit 200 career home runs, joining Brooks Robinson, and retired among the all-time leaders in games (5th, 1896), assists (6th, 3720) and double plays (7th, 345) at his position. In a 16-season career, Bando was a .254 hitter with 242 home runs and 1039 RBI in 2019 games played.

OF Hank Aaron (best years in the 50s and 60s of course) ‘Hammering Hank’ is remembered as one of the game’s greatest power hitters, however he is still underrated as an all-around player who was a fine fielder, he could steal bases 31 in 1963, he hit for average and he was astonishingly consistent In 1973, at the age of 39, Aaron was still a force, he clouted a remarkable 40 dingers. From 1955-1971 he was one of the top 10 or so players in the game, few others can claim to be that good for that long.

OF Carl Yastrzemski- In 1961, Yastrzemski finally arrived in the Major Leagues as the heir apparent to the legendary Ted Williams in left field. For 23 years, Yastrzemski proudly wore his famous "#8" for the Red Sox, with his extraordinary batting style and his unmatched skill in patrolling the grounds in front of the Green Monster. In the Red Sox' 1967 "Impossible Dream" season, he won the American League Triple Crown and was named the A.L.'s Most Valuable Player. At the time of his retirement, Yastrzemski was the all-time American League leader in games played (3,308) and was the only American League player to amass 3,000 hits and 400 home runs (finishing with 3,419 and 452 respectively, to go along with 1,844 RBI). A seven-time Gold Glove winner, Yaz earned the honor of 18 All-Star Game appearances, and is generally considered one of the finest defensive left fielders of all-time. Yastrzemski officially retired after the 1983 season, taking his memorable final lap around Fenway Park.

OF Lou Brock-Brock played a major role in changing the way baseball was played by using the stolen base as an important offensive weapon. He retired as Major League Baseball’s all-time stolen bases leader, a record that stood until 1991. Brock was considered a promising power hitter, and he became the second player to hit a home run to dead center at New York’s Polo Grounds. His Cubs career would prove a disappointment, however. He hit .263 and .258 his first two seasons and was a poor fielder. He was fast but stole only forty bases combined over the two seasons. During the 1964 season, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. The trade was widely considered a steal for the Cubs. They received a pitcher, Ernie Broglio, who had won eighteen games the previous year. History has more than vindicated the Cardinals. In 1966, he stole seventy-four bases to lead the National League in steals, beginning a streak in which he would lead the league in steals in eight of nine years. He helped St. Louis win the World Series in 1967 by setting a series record with seven stolen bases while batting .414. The Cardinals returned to the World Series in 1968, and Brock hit .464 while stealing seven bases again, though the team lost in seven games. St. Louis struggled in the following years, and the team became more dependent on Brock’s ability to score runs, encouraging him to steal more often. In 1974, Brock stole 118 bases, setting a major league single-season record. On August 29, 1977, Brock got his 893rd career stolen base, breaking Ty Cobb’s longstanding record. He played two more seasons, finishing with 938 career stolen bases. Before retiring he archived another milestone, becoming only the fourteenth player [at that time] to reach 3,000 career hits. Brock was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985, the fifteenth player [at that time] to be elected in his first year of eligibility.

Dwight Evans- Evans was a player who did many things very well, he was a power hitting outfielder who won eight Gold Gloves, he had 385 career homers, 290 or better five times in eight years; however on-base percentage was his real strength. Unfortunately for Evans he was born at the wrong time, there were several very good right fielders born in 1951, the same year as Dwight Evans. Dave Winfield was born that year; he's already in the Hall of Fame, and should be. Dave Parker was born that year; a lot of people think he's a Hall of Fame candidate. Al Cowens was born that year; he wasn't a Hall of Fame player, but he was a good player and he was second in the MVP voting in 1977; four MVP voters actually thought Cowens was better than Rod Carew, and Carew hit .388 and had 239 hits. Jeff Burroughs was born that year; he did win an MVP award, although he's not a Hall of Fame player, either. Evans posted a career .272, .370 OBP, and 1384 RBIs, many think Evans deserves induction to the H.O.F, his numbers are very good and he was an even better player than his numbers suggest. Other than batting average his production was nearly the same as Al Kaline's.

OF Bobby Murcer- This gentleman of the outfield was under the heavy burden replacing Mickey Mantle, he handled it as well as anyone could. Murcer was the star of the Yankees throughout the early 70’s. Murcer was expected to be the next Mickey Mantle, the hope of the future for a baseball franchise that was mired in mediocrity and was being mismanaged by the management at CBS. None other than Ted Williams described Murcer in 1972 as baseball's best chance for a triple crown (leading the league in homers, RBIs, and average). Murcer's 1971 campaign, when he hit .331 with 25 homers and 94 RBI was likely one of the top 5 seasons of the decade. He finished with 252 homers and a .277 lifetime average, had he played his enter career in the pinstripes he might have made the H.O.F.

OF Dave Parker- ‘The Cobra’ He is remembered as a true 5-tool player. Parker was 22 years old when he broke into the big leagues on July 12, 1973, with the Pittsburgh Pirates. When he wrapped up his career in 1991 he had 2,712 hits, .290 BA, 1,493 RBIs and 339 HRs, he also had two 20 steal seasons and posted a .966 fielding %.

OF Fred Lynn If more of his career had been in the 70’s I would have selected him at CF. Fred Lynn played in his first game on September 5, 1974 and proceeded to smash major league pitching to the tune of a .419 batting average and a .698 slugging average over his first 15 games. He followed that up with one of the greatest rookie seasons of all time, leading the Red Sox to the World Series and earning the Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and Gold Glove awards for the 1975 season hitting .331 with 47 doubles, 21 home runs, 103 runs, and 105 RBIs. He earned honors as American League MVP and Rookie of the Year and won a Gold Glove for fielding excellence. He led the league in runs, doubles, slugging average, OPS and runs created per 27 outs. He finished second in runs created and in batting average and fifth in on-base average.. Lynn was the first player to achieve this trifecta, an accomplishment matched by Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners in 2001. In 1979, he enjoyed perhaps his best season. He led the American League in hitting at .333, on-base average at .423 and slugging at .637. He also slugged a career-high 39 home runs, scored a career-high 116 runs, and had a career-high 122 runs batted in. He was named to the American League All-Star team for the fifth time and earned his third Gold Glove. He finished fourth in American League MVP voting.

OF Frank Robinson This all-timer was on his last legs by the 70’s. The American League Triple Crown winner in 1966, Robinson amassed 586 home runs and ended his career just 57 hits shy of the 3,000-hit club. His intelligence and leadership helped him become the Major Leagues' first African-American field manager in 1975, when he skippered the Cleveland Indians. By 1970 he was 35, but in 1973 he hit 30 homers, his last 30 HR season.

OF Amos Otis- A very fine all-around player Otis was an integral part of the speed and defense oriented Golden Era Royals.

OF Billy Williams- Largely remembered as power hitter but he was .976 career fielder and .986 during his time patrolling center. He was a fine LF From 1961 to 1973, Williams annually hit at least twenty home runs and was responsible for eighty-four or more RBIs. His best years were in the 60’s but he was still productive in the early 70’s.

OF Ken Griffey (Senior) The 2nd best player from Donora PA., after Musial in 1976 he was just edged out by In 1,997 games, Griffey compiled a lifetime batting average of .296, with 152 home runs and 859 RBI. He once stole 34 bases. This was in 1976, with the Big Red Machine. He had 2,143 career hits and 77 career triples.
OF Dave Winfield (probably the best player who never won an MVP award) Not only was he a true 5-tool player, he was a 3 sport star drafted by the NBA and NFL as well as baseball. He is one of only 7 players in the history of Major League Baseball to reach over 3,000 hits and over 450 home runs. He won 7 Gold Gloves and 6 Silver Sluggers 12-time All-Star is amongst the all-time leaders in hits, home runs and RBI. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, his first year of eligibility.

OF Willie Davis- Known for his offense, Davis played center field for the Dodgers for 13 seasons starting in 1961. He hit in a team record 31 consecutive games in 1969 and batted .305 or above three years straight in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Davis left the Dodgers in 1973. His last season in the major leagues was in 1979 with the Angels. For his career his offense numbers: 182 HR, .279 BA, 1053 RBIs, only tell part of the story, his base running and defense were excellent.
OF Willie Wilson- Wilson only spent 3 full season in the majors during the 70’s he was a speedy player and top defensive player. His best years, including the year he edged Yount for a batting title were in the 1980’s.

OF Bill North- With determination, speed, toughness, swagger, and a resolve to never back down from conflict or confrontation, Bill North forged an impressive eleven-year major league career with the Chicago Cubs, Oakland A's, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. All the while, he secretly played with, and overcame, a serious and permanent injury suffered during a high school game that could easily have derailed his dream of becoming a big league ballplayer. North was the starting center fielder on four playoff teams, and earned World Series Championship rings on two of them, the Oakland A's of 1973 and 1974. His fielding range was excellent; from '73 through '76, he recorded more putouts than any other major league outfielder. Despite a .261 career batting average, which was roughly on par with the league, his career on-base percentage of .365 was forty-three points above the league average. Batting first or second in the lineup for most of his career, Bill knew his offensive value to the team was to get on base. He racked up 395 stolen bases, leading the American League in '74 and '76, narrowly missing a third title in '73 due to injury. North received very little national recognition. He never was selected to an all-star team, nor honored with a Gold Glove Award. He received just two votes in league MVP balloting during his career. Despite that all who played with and against him would tell you how hard and well he played, all this and he played his whole career being blind in one eye and became a switch-hitter in 1971, very late but While posting better numbers in far fewer at-bats batting right-handed (1134 AB, .287 average, 17 HR, .397 slugging %.) compared to left-handed (2766, .250, 3, .297), his career OBP (.378 RH, .360 LH) showed consistency from both sides of the plate. North compiled the finest defensive season of his career in 1974, yet was denied an AL Gold Glove Award, a slight that rankles him to this day. Bill finished third in the league with 437 putouts, and his .991 fielding average, 9 assists and only 4 errors were better stats than those posted by the award-winners Paul Blair, Amos Otis and Joe Rudi. North stole clutch bases with an 80% success ratio in innings 7-9. Though often overlooked he was just the kind of player needed at the top of a good lineup. A versatile switch-hitter blessed with great speed and instincts in the outfield and more pop in his bat than many realized.

OF Garry Maddox- “Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water. The rest is covered by Garry Maddox.” So said Ralph Kiner, about the Phillies eight-time Gold Glove winning center-fielder. Maddox was also an accomplished base stealer, swiping 20 or more bases in nine straight seasons. Maddox had considerable smarts to go along with his athleticism. In the field, Maddox always knew how to play the hitters. At bat, he used all fields. As a base stealer, Maddox knew when to pick his spots. Perhaps remembered best for his defense, Maddox hit a solid .285 lifetime, with 1802 hits, 337 doubles, 62 triples and 117 home runs.

OF Lyman Bostock- Bostock was 27 when pellets from a shotgun blast struck his right temple, robbing him of a career that would have demanded he be remembered He was a 6-foot-1 electric tapestry. Manager Gene Mauch said Bostock would get so worked up before games that,

"He had to be rested periodically, otherwise he would have exploded."

Best friend and teammate Larry Hisle said Bostock played the game so hard, "you would have been embarrassed to be on the field with him and not give 100 percent." Bostock learned to back up his talk by watching two of the Twins' finest hitters, Tony Oliva and Rod Carew. Oliva taught Bostock how to set up pitchers during Bostock's rookie season in 1975. Carew demonstrated how to put Oliva's advice into action. Over the course of the next three seasons, Bostock emerged as one of baseball's elite hitters. Comfortably obscured by the shadows of teammates Tony Oliva (who would win three batting titles in his 15-year career) and Rod Carew (who would win seven batting titles in 19 seasons), Bostock hit .323 in 1976, then a career-best .336 the following year. Standing uncommonly far back in the batter's box, leaning heavily on his right foot, the left-handed Bostock evoked stylistic comparisons to Stan Musial. Lyman Bostock was a batter with power potential, he had 30 triples and 23 home-runs in his 3+ year career. He was a plus fielder with .979 career %, a good arm and 45 career steals, 15 of them in his final season at the time of his death. He , broke his ankle making a play at the center field wall, which ended Bostock's rookie season with a .282 batting average. Bostock followed with seasons of .323 and .336, with more walks than whiffs. Baseball free agency was in its toddler years then, and the Twins regularly lost star players to higher bidders. After Bostock hit 14 home runs, drove in 90, and slugged .506 in 1977, he and Hisle headed for greener pastures. Bostock opted for the state he loved: California. Bostock had earned $20,000 in his final year with Minnesota. He signed a five-year, $2.5 million pact with California, a fabulous contract at the time. When April of '78 ended Bostock told Angels' owner Gene Autry to take back his salary. He hadn't earned it. When Autry demurred he instead donated his pay. After his act of charity, Bostock's batting improved quickly, and in June he went 44-for-109 – a .404 clip. He was batting .296 and hot enough to expect to once more hit .300 for the season. Tragically on September, 24, 1978, Leonard Smith, the estranged husband of a friend of Bostock shot him thinking he was her boyfriend. Like North and Maddox, Bostock was a speedy and graceful player; baseball men of the era recall his bat control, a .311 lifetime hitter who, former Orioles manager Earl Weaver once predicted, "will win five or six batting titles before his career is over." If not for one tragic moment he may have been right.

OF Paul Blair, like North he was a defensive wizard often overlooked due to his lack of pop or ability to hit for high average. Despite that in the 1970 World Series, Blair batted a team-high .474, a feat overshadowed by Robinson’s stellar play at third base against the Cincinnati Reds Eight times, Blair won a coveted Gold Glove award, including seven straight from 1969 to 1975. Only Brooks Robinson (16) won more defensive honors as an Oriole.
OF Jimmy Wynn The ‘Toy Cannon’ had 291 career homers despite 11 seasons in the, then cavernous’ Astrodome.

Best World Series of the decade (maybe of all time) was the 75 Series between the Reds and Red Sox.

Best pitching staff – Orioles 1971, four 20 game winners (Cuellar, Dobson, McNally and Palmer)

Best infields: Reds mid 70s Orioles '70-76 Dodgers '73-79

Best Outfield – Red Sox '75-79 (Rice, Lynn, Evans)

Most underrated players: 1. Al Oliver: Oliver was a career .303 hitter with 219 home runs and 1326 RBI in 2368 games. He batted .300 or more eleven times and retired with 2,743 hits (45th on the all-time list). He also ranks among all-time top 50 in games played (2368), total bases (4083), RBI (1326) and extra-base hits (825). He was among the league's top ten in doubles nine times and among the league's top ten in hits nine times as well and finished in the top ten in batting average nine times. Five times he was among the league's top ten in total bases and four times he was in the top ten in RBIs.
2. Vada Pinson- Pinson, was one of the best center fielders of the 1960s, for a long time the man with the most hits (2757) who wasn’t in the Hall of Fame; Pinson’s 2,757 hits, coupled with 256 home runs and 305 stolen bases, made him, only 1 of a handful to reach 2,500 hits, 250 home runs and 250 stolen bases. But by 1970 his best years where behind him, he was so fast and elegant an outfielder that he had been compared to DiMaggio and Mantle and was timed from home to 1st in 3.3 seconds.
Honorable Mentions for most underrated: Willie Davis, Bobby Grich, Amos Otis, Freddy Patek, and Frank White.

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by Bill

Catch a Defense With Snag Routes

July 10, 2012 in NCAA Football, NFL Football

From Chris Brown's Amazing www.smartfootball.com

The Snag concept is considered one of the more effective concepts out there against multiple types of coverage. It's particularly useful against zone coverage. But it can be effective against man as well.

Image courtesy of Chris Brown of http://http://smartfootball.com
The image above is the basic Snag concept versus Cover-3. The receiver has a seven to eight yard split, a typical split when a crossing route is being run, and he runs a diagonal stem to about five yards and sits down in a zone while the running back runs a shoot route or also known as a flat route to an open area.

One may ask, how does the receiver know when to sit down in a zone (what Bobby Petrino calls his "Look" Route)? The way for a receiver to know is to read the play side linebacker. Once the play side outside linebacker runs across the face of the receiver running the route, he sits down and looks at the quarterback. The linebacker looks to cross the face of the wide receiver in order to neutralize the flat threat of the running back. The quarterback's read is high to low. He reads the wide receiver and if the receiver isn't open, he checks down to the running back in the flats. Over the past few years, we've seen passing offenses evolve; going from the normal Ace personnel (2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB) to Empty sets (5 WR's, no RB, no TE). We're seeing a lot of spread offense principles implemented in NFL passing offenses and we're seeing a variety of spread offenses at the college level. Teams are increasingly shotgun more than ever and passing concepts are becoming more and more sophisticated to beat the defense. Against man, the X will want to push the corner on a hitch. The QB has to decide if the linebacker can stay on the back in the flat and will throw to the back if he cannot. Otherwise, the option is a two man timing pass to the hitch.
The Snag concept is more popular than ever. Houston, Illinois, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, and Southern Mississippi have all had success with its use. Additionally Mike Sherman, former Packers and Texas’ head coach and currently the Dolphins offensive coordinator has used the ‘Snag’ concept to great effect at Texas A&M and it’s assumed that he will install these same packages in Miami’s offense. The Snag Route’s DNA stretches back to the BYU offense designed by Doug Scovil and Norm Chow, it grew from the concept of the oblique stretch is something that is usually tied to that BYU offense. It is a route combination utilizing a vertical and horizontal stretch so it is challenging to defend. Chow also called it "creating triangles."

Against 2-deep, many teams will choose to throw double slants to the left, this can be very effective against cover 2. Alternately, the flat route and the curl horizontally stretch the underneath zones. If the ‘Sam’ buzzes out to the flat then the WR running the curl should be open. Some defenses will call upon the ‘Mike’ to help, however his leverage will likely be poor. If the ‘Sam’ picks up the curl, then the flat should be open. If the CB drops down to the flat, then the corner route should be open. More often than not this play will go to the back in the flat since defenses generally defend from deep to short and from middle to outside. That is a 3-4 yard gain with the chance for more, which is as good as a run (remember, keeping possession with the passing game). If the defense begins to play the flat aggressively, then the Snag (curl over the middle) should come open. If they play 2-deep and have 5 underneath, then double slants would be the pre-snap read; otherwise the corner route could be the option if the TE can get outside of the safety, double slants or some other horizontal, vertical, and oblique stretches; the high-low read works on the cornerback with either a corner route and a hitch. Some play designers will prefer to slant the curl more towards the middle of the field, or swing a back out to force the defense to spread out and leave more green grass. As an example a team could have their TE run the corner and motion the WR inside or have him release inside and threaten the LBs creating the oblique stretch.

As more and more teams are playing QBs earlier in their development you can expect to see more and more “college” passing concepts like ‘Snag’ Post over Dig and Choice route packages that are popular become increasingly popular in the NFL.

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by Bill

The Next Blackmon and Weeden?

July 9, 2012 in NCAA Football

As we recently witnessed Brandon Weeden the prolific Oklahoma State QB who at 28 years, 195 days, became the oldest player ever taken in the first round of the modern NFL draft, this despite the much-discussed concerns about his age. It’s undeniable he had a great college career and was improving throughout: Weeden threw 34 touchdown passes in 2010 and 37 last fall. He totaled 26 interceptions over the two seasons. He was a record-breaking junior season in his first year as a starting quarterback in addition he holds school records, including single-season records for passing yards (4,277), total offense (4,209), touchdown passes (34), completed passes (342), pass attempts (511) and the completion percentage (66.9), this season he had a 159.78 passer rating with 37 TDs and in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl, the last game of his college football career, Weeden threw for 399 yards, completed 29 of 42 passes, and had 4 touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing) along with one interception in a 41-38 win against the Andrew Luck led Stanford Cardinal. Weeden’s favorite target for much of the past 2 years has been 2 time All-American Justin Blackmon.
Justin Blackmon finished the 2011 regular season with 121 catches for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns. He led the Big 12 in receiving and ranked second nationally in both receptions per game and total receptions. His 15 touchdown catches led the league and represented the third-highest total in the nation. For the second consecutive year, he earned the title of unanimous All-American. Despite the extreme defensive game plans geared specifically at stopping him, he emerged as the Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's top receiver for the second consecutive season. He joined former Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree as the only players ever to win the Biletnikoff Award more than once.
There might be a passing and receiving tandem poised to take a run at the success of Blackmon and Weeden. One of them is a controversial recruit who was pursued by top-tier programs and trouble in the past the other went from a two-star prospect from Fleming Island High in Tampa in 2008 to the Sun Belt Conference's player of the year in 2011 after leading Arkansas State to a 10-2 record. He completed 274 of 418 passes for 3,235 yards and 18 touchdowns and also led the Red Wolves in rushing with 605 yards and 9 TDs on 151 carries.
I am speaking of Josh Jarboe the Multi-transfer who was dismissed from Troy after transferring from Oklahoma, at 6’1 ¾” 214 with a 40 estimated between 4.48 and 4.54 it’s easy to spot the reason for the Blackmon comparisons. Jarboe is a target with a large catching radius and he is very effective after the catch.w

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by Bill

May 7, 2012 in NFL Draft Rankings

Nick Ficorelli (@MrFicIISports). Founder, CEO, and Blogger of The Sports Chronicles (website under construction). Is one of the 16 'Draftniks' who will be featured over the coming days, here is the 1st one-
Matt Kalil

2012 MINNESOTA VIKINGS DRAFT REVIEW

The Minnesota Vikings entered the 2012 draft with 10 picks (3, 35, 66, 98, 128, 134, 138, 175, 210, and 223). They had a ton of needs on the team most notably LT, CB, S, and WR. But LB & DT were not too far behind. Basically, the team could not go wrong in whatever approach they took because the players would have been needed

1.3 – Matt Kalil OT USC 6'6.5" 306 || 34 1/2" arms || 10 3/8" hands || 4.96 forty || 1.70 at ten yards || 4.65 short shuttle || 7.33 3 cone || 27" vertical || 30 reps on the bench press

He was a consensus multiple All American in 2011 and won the Pat Morris Trophy for the best offensive lineman in the PAC 12 last year. He has been mentioned by several scouts to be the best offensive lineman to come out since Joe Thomas and Jake Long. He is often compared to Joe Thomas too. It does not matter who is like though. He is not like Charlie Johnson and that is what matters the most.

The Vikings decided to trade up into the first round at the end of round one. They traded pick #35 and #98 to Baltimore for pick #29.

1.29 – Harrison Smith S Notre Dame 6'1.7" 213 || 32 5/8" arms || 10 1/4" hands || 4.54 forty || 4.12 short shuttle || 6.63 3 cone || 34" vertical || 10'2" broad jump || 19 reps on the bench press

This pick was a solid pick. It will be debated for years about whether or not it was worth the trade up, if Smith is really a first round caliber safety, and if he would have been there at #35. I was not a fan of Smith in the second round at any point prior to the draft. I thought they should have went with a defensive tackle (Jerel Worthy would have been nice) in round 2. But Smith has excellent measurable. His 3 cone is outstanding. His forty is good for a safety and he has long arms. It was not a bad pick at all and in fact was a good pick considering the state of the Vikings safeties. Obviously, it was a need pick.

3.66 – Josh Robinson CB Central Florida 5'10.1" 199 || 31 1/4" arms || 9 1/4" hands || 4.29 forty || 3.97 short shuttle || 6.55 3 cone || 38.5" vertical || 11'1" broad jump || 17 reps on the bench press

This was an excellent pick. Robinson was a two time 1st Team All-Conference USA cornerback who had 36 passes defended and 10 picks the past three seasons. Obviously he has all the speed and quickness you want. He has faced top competition too. He squared off against AJ Green in 2010 and "held" him to 8 catches for 77 yards and zero TDs.

4.118 – Jarius Wright WR Arkansas 5'9.5" 182 || 31 1/2" arms || 8 1/2" hands || 4.41 forty || 4.03 short shuttle || 6.93 3 cone || 38" vertical || 10'0" broad jump || 11 reps on the bench press

I like Wright a lot. He made First Team All SEC last year and had excellent production with 63 catches for 1,029 yards and 11 TDs. I know that there were some other bigger WRs that were available that some people would have preferred. But the return specialists were flying off the draft boards way earlier than expected. TJ Graham & Chris Givens went in the third round. Then Joe Adams and Devon Wylie went before Wright. The pickings were getting slim. Wright had much better production from the WR position which in the end is more important. You can always get someone to return punts supposedly. But having a guy that can also give you some very good value at the WR position is more important. I think at that point Wright was a pretty good pick.

4.128 – Rhett Ellison TE USC 6'4.7" 251 || 33 3/4" arms || 10 1/4" hands || 4.69 forty || 1.63 at ten yards || 4.39 short shuttle || 7.16 3 cone || 32.5" vertical || 9'03" broad jump || DNP bench press

Now this pick was straight out of left field for almost everyone. In fact I do not know of any fan that was looking for a TE turned FB at this point in the draft (or in the entire draft for that matter.

4.134 – Greg Childs WR Arkansas 6'3.1" 219 || 34 1/8" arms || 10 1/8" hands || 4.39 forty || 1.50 at ten yards || 4.09 short shuttle || 6.90 3 cone || 40.5" vertical || 10'7" broad jump || 19 reps on the bench press

This was another pick that came straight out of left field and was another surprise. I like Childs' measureable though. He did have some decent production in 2010 and 2009, until the devastating knee injury against Vanderbilt. He is one of the few big WR’s that scouting reports said can beat the press coverage. I know there were other WRs that were available and may have been just as good. Maybe the team liked Childs overall size and upside more than any of the others. I think that Childs could end up being a steal in this draft.

The Vikings traded #138 and #223 to the Lions for pick #211 and their 2013 4th round pick.

5.139 – Robert Blanton CB Notre Dame 6'0.6" 208 || 31 1/4" arms || 9 1/8" hands || 4.53 forty || 3.97 short shuttle || 6.71 3 cone || 34" vertical || 9'8" broad jump || 12 reps on the bench press

I was shocked by this pick too especially when you consider some of the better defensive backs available, like George Iloka, Markelle Martin, Josh Norman, and Justin Bethel, Alfonso Dennard. It is hard to find any scouting site that had Blanton above any of the guys I just mentioned. The Vikings said they were going to use him at safety. However, he has improved every year he has played. He could turn out to be a pretty good safety when it is all said and done. He is a good and willing tackler and has great character.

6.175 – Blair Walsh K Georgia 5'9" 187

Kind of a strange pick considering they signed Ryan Longwell to a 4 year 12 mil deal last July 27th. The deal 3.5 million guaranteed with 1,750,000 in 2012, 2.5 million in 2013, and 2.75 due in 2014. I mean why use a draft pick on a kicker after giving up that deal to Longwell? Maybe they will keep Walsh for kickoffs and long field goals? Since the team is rebuilding I think it would be good to let Walsh get experience in the NFL. That way by 2013 he will be more seasoned.

7.210 – Audie Cole LB North Carolina State 6'4.1" 246 || 32 3/4" arms || 10" hands || 4.73 forty || 1.68 at ten yards || 4.29 short shuttle || 6.96 3 cone || 35" vertical || 9'6" broad jump || 15 reps on the bench press

This was not a bad pick at this point. They finally selected a LB. I liked him earlier in the season as I watched a few of his games. The scouting reports vary in what they say about his abilities in coverage. Many sites thought he would go earlier.

The Vikings make another trade by giving up #211 to the Titans for their 2013 6th round pick.

7.219 – Trevor Guyton DE Cal 6'2.5" 285 || 33" arms || 10 1/4" hands || 5.03 forty || 4.53 short shuttle || 7.44 3 cone || 31" vertical || 8'9" broad jump || 25 reps on the bench press

Another player who was expected to go earlier. He lined up all over Cal's line so he could be a nice addition to the defensive line rotation.

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by Bill

Anyone Can Mock Round 1, How About This? Round #7.

April 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Round 7
7 208 Indianapolis Colts FS Neiko Thorpe, Auburn
7 209 St. Louis Rams FS Josh Bush
7 210 Minnesota Vikings CB Trevin Wade, Arizona
7 211 Cleveland Browns DT Vaughn Meatoga, Hawaii
7 212 Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB J.K Shaffer, Cincinnati
7 213 Washington Redskins LB Tank Carder, TCU
7 214 Indianapolis Colts DE/OLB Olivier Vernon, Miami from Jacksonville via New York Jets[R7 - 1]
7 215 Miami Dolphins DE/OLB Cordarro Law, S.Mississippi
7 216 Carolina Panthers Dante Paige-Moss, UNC
7 217 Buffalo Bills DT Jaye Howard, Florida
7 218 Kansas City Chiefs OT Marcel Jones, Nebraska
7 219 Detroit Lions C Garth Gearhart, AZ State from Seattle[R7 - 2]
7 220 Chicago Bears DT Rennie Moore Clemson
7 221 Arizona Cardinals OG Desmond Wynn, Rutgers
7 222 Dallas Cowboys H-Back Emil Igwenagu, U.Mass
7 223 Minnesota Vikings FB Joe Martinek, Rutgers from Philadelphia via New England[R7 - 3]
7 224 Green Bay Packers NT Hebron Fangupo, BYU from New York Jets[R7 - 4]
7 225 Seattle Seahawks Davin Meggett from Oakland[R7 - 5]
7 226 San Diego Chargers Johnny Troutman, Penn State
7 227 Tennessee Titans Jaymes Brooks, VPI
7 228 Jacksonville Jaguars LB Audie Cole NC State from Cincinnati[R7 - 6]
7 229 Philadelphia Eagles DT Damon Harrison, William Penn from the Atlanta Falcons
7 230 Detroit Lions DT Dominique Hamilton, Missouri
7 231 Pittsburgh Steelers CB Chris Greenwood, Albion
7 232 New York Jets CB Omar Bolden, AZ State from Denver[R7 - 7]
7 233 Houston Texans DE/OLB Kyle Wilbur, Wake Forest
7 234 New Orleans Saints Miles Burris, San Diego State
7 235 Green Bay Packers WR Derrick Moye, Penn State
7 236 Baltimore Ravens WR Chris Owusu, Stanford
7 237 San Francisco 49ers QB Kellen Moore, Boise State
7 238 Kansas City Chiefs WR Julian Talley, UMass from New England[R7 - 8]
7 239 New York Giants FB Bradley Ewing, Wisconsin
7* 240 Pittsburgh Steelers FS Eddie Whitley, VPI
7* 241 Green Bay Packers TE Adrien Robinson, Cincinnati
7* 242 New York Jets DE/OLB Adrian Hamilton, PVAMU
7* 243 Green Bay Packers LB Vontaze Burfict, AZ State
7* 244 New York Jets H-Back Brad Smelley, Alabama
7* 245 Cleveland Browns DT Markus Kuhn, NC State
7* 246 Pittsburgh Steelers SS Matt Daniels, Duke
7* 247 Cleveland Browns TE George Bryan, NC State
7* 248 Pittsburgh Steelers CB Johnson Bademosi, Stanford
7* 249 Atlanta Falcons QB CJ Kinne, Tulsa
7* 250 San Diego Chargers RB Adonis Thomas, Toledo
7* 251 Buffalo Bills WR TJ Graham, NC State
7^ 252 St. Louis Rams OT/OG Justin Anderson, Georgia
7^ 253 Indianapolis Colts CB Buddy Jackson Pittsburgh

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by Bill

My 2012 Safety Rankings

April 24, 2012 in NFL Draft Rankings

2012 Safety Rankings
1. Mark Barron 6'1 1/8" 214 FS/SS Alabama 4.56 8.5 He diagnoses plays very quickly and flies to the play, he very, very rarely talks false steps or 'takes the cheese' by biting on play-action or fakes intended to take him out of position his route recognition while playing the deep half is much better than most and he is like an extra linebacker in run support.?? He'll be especially valued by teams that like their safeties to be able to switch responsibilities; remember?? He played free safety, strong safety, slot cornerback and even linebacker at Alabama. Barron underwent a double-hernia operation following the season and missed the Senior Bowl and combine, but he seemed to show few ill-effects at his pro day he said he was at about "80-90 percent," but worked out to show scouts during the school's Pro Day Thursday, March 29, where he was in his recovery from hernia surgery. Barron ran 40 times in the 4.53-4.57 range and looked good in drills posting a 34 1/2" vertical, 10'2" broad jump. Outside of healthy the only other ding is a 'pink flag' not quite red stemming from him being arrested in March 2011 on charges of hindering prosecution, a misdemeanor charge, as police believed he was not telling full truth about one-car accident in his hometown of Mobile.?? Still Barron is the 1 safety in this class who is a sure fire day 1 starter in most any scheme and his name could be called anywhere from 13-22 in the upcoming draft. His NFL comparison is to Darren Sharper.

2. Harrison Smith 6'1 ¾" 213 pounds SS Notre Dame 4.57. While Smith does not show the same kind of close to elite athletic ability on tape that he did at the Combine, He's rarely beat deep, not because of his speed, but because he knows he has to be the deepest player on the field. It seems like a simple concept, but it rarely happens during the course of the game. He isn't an explosive tackler who makes a big hit, but he's reliable enough to trust in the open field. He does a good job disguising what coverage he is in, and rolling at the last second, at times putting him in position to come up with big hits and deflections. Still I find him to be a very linear athlete who struggles to stay in the ‘hip pocket’ of quick receivers. He had an excellent 2010 season with 91 tackles, seven interceptions then last year as team captain, he added 90 tackles, one forced fumble and 10 pass breakups but no interceptions. Harrison Smith is probably a better strong safety than free safety depending on the scheme, but you always know what you're going to get from him. He's solid, a leader an above average athlete he puts me in mind of a more talented version of Andrew Shanle.

3. Antonio Allen 6‘1 5/8" 208 40 Time: 4.58 SS | South Carolina Allen is a ‘Spur’ he plays a hybrid linebacker/safety role for South Carolina and rarely lines up as a traditional safety. He will have to adjust to new position and playing deeper down the field. Can match up with most tight ends and likes to be very tough in mixing it up, he saw time at strong-side linebacker early in his career at SC. Involved in a minor incident on campus in his first year at SC. Has no major injury history and no other off-field issues. He’s a bit of a tweener who will have to find a place in the NFL. Allen plays like a linebacker but has the body of a safety. Effective on the blitz, consistently defeats blocks and has no problems taking down the runner once he locks on to the opponent, he ended the season with 35 tackles and a pair of pass break-ups, he’s a football player who you want out on the field because he simply makes plays. An NFL comparison is Will Demps.

4. Markelle Martin 6’0 ¾" 207 FS, Oklahoma State 11am, is a safety with good size, functional speed and a pension for getting injured. With his ability to play both free and strong safety, he’ll need to continue to sharpen his awareness and diagnostic abilities from the safety position. He's not a big hitter, but he's an aggressive player and his capable of knocking balls loose. He's shown that he's rangy and can cover as well as or better than most of the safeties in this class. He's fairly slick footed with a smooth backpedal. His football IQ does at times seem to cause him to struggle with zone concepts, he is an athletic prospect but he has shown a propensity to be unsure not only where to go, but when. He is scheduled graduate with a degree in economics, served as a mentor to younger freshman who experienced problems similar to his own, and ultimately grew into a solid two year starter for OK State. Though he eventually grew into a leadership capacity and learned from his off-field mistakes, Martin is an undisciplined player that deals with mental errors and penalties. At times he tries too hard to make the big play, instead of making the smart play. He was hotly recruited and originally committed to Oklahoma, before de-committing and enrolling early at Oklahoma State. As an alternative admissions student he seemed unhappy at 1st and rarely saw the field as a freshman, except for special teams. He became academically ineligible towards the latter portion of freshman season; Martin was suspended for OSU's bowl game; fathered a child back home Wichita Falls, TX and considered transferring or even giving up playing. But, with the aid of his mother, academic advisor, and coaches, Martin began to mature, worked much harder in the classroom and on the practice field, and fought through a difficult start to his collegiate career. His raw athletic ability is somewhat blunted by his hesitation. Martin’s versatility will help his stock; his size and speed produce impressive numbers at the April 17th pro day he’s doing on campus should help to improve Martin’s stock. Martin isn’t Ed Reed and he isn’t complete enough to be a future star, Martin’s Pro comparison Ken Hamlin.

5. Brandon Taylor, 5' 11 1/8" 209 FS/SS LSU, 4.58 On the hoof you can tell he’s a former cornerback who stays pretty low in his back pedal and can flip his hips, his football IQ, work-ethic, dedication to the film room all improved and he became more of a student of the game in the past year. Still most teams want more of a physical presence than he provides. His brother Curtis played on LSU's national title team in 2007 and was drafted in the 2008 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers and another brother Jhyryn spent two years at LSU before transferring to a junior college in the spring of 2010. He is productive and his film work pays off he finished his career with 160 tackles (11.5 for losses), 15 passes broken up and four interceptions, compiling 71 tackles and two interceptions as a senior, NFL comparison Reggie Nelson.

6. Winston Guy 6'0 ½" 218 SS/OLB Kentucky 4.61 [4.69 at the Combine 4.53] at his pro day Guy was All-SEC Conference Second Team for the 2011 college football season as voted on by The Associated Press. Guy was just behind his teammate in tackles, ranking second in the SEC with 120 stops. The native of Lexington, Ky., also ranked tied for 22nd in the nation in tackles, averaging 10 per game. Guy had eight games of double-figure tackles this season, including a high of 14 at South Carolina and against Tennessee. The senior was named National Defensive Back of the Week for the Western Kentucky game when he had 10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions. Guy was made a made first All-SEC selection by league coaches, although he was a second-team pick last year by CollegeFootballNews.com. Guy finishes his career at Kentucky with 297 tackles after recording back-to-back seasons of 100 tackles or more the past two seasons. He is seen by some as a “tweener” he is a better pass defender than most think, but clearly he’s still more effective close to the line of scrimmage, his NFL comparison Willie Offord.

7. Trenton Robinson Michigan State FS 5'9 3/4" 195 4.52 [4.46-4.43 at his pro day]
Key stats: Robinson started 32 of 46 career games he ranked third on the team with 80 tackles (5.7 avg.) in 2011 he started 13 games at free safety in his career he has 229 tackles, nine interceptions and 12 pass break-ups in his career; his nine interceptions are tied for 12th in MSU's record book. He is also a two-time All-Big Ten honoree with 27 tackles in his four bowl games (6.8 avg.). He had six tackles in the win over No. 18 Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl, seven tackles, including a TD-saving stop against running back Mike Shaw, against Michigan in 2010. He also intercepted QB Denard Robinson's third-down pass into the end zone. Some have noted he's on the small side and it's true he's no Atwater as a tackler. Still he has the kind of coverage skills that are highly prized and he will even get consideration as a Cover-2 CB. A two-time Big Ten honoree at free safety for Michigan State, Robinson improved on his 40-yard dash time during his pro day. After running a 4.52 during the NFL combine, Robinson improved to run a 4.43, according to a scout, NFL comparison Antoine Bethea.

8. Sean Cattouse | 6'2 3/8" 211 pounds | SS | California 4.71 [4.61-4.70 at his pro day, 4.74 at the combine], He is a long-levered, straight line safety best defending the run, he shows average quickness up field, displays a good head for the ball and sifts through the trash to get to the action, he breaks down well, uses his hands to protect and plays with an aggressive streak. He is judicious and disciplined with assignments and works to keep the action in front of him. Cattouse did not see too much playing time during his freshman campaign, but he did earn two starts in California’s biggest two games. Filling in for an injured safety, Cattouse started the Big Game against Stanford and recorded a season high five tackles. He also earned a start in the Emerald Bowl. His impressive play late in 2008 led to higher expectation in 2009, but he did not begin the year in the starting lineup, but worked his way there by the end of the campaign. He started with 13 tackles as a redshirt freshman that season, working his way up to a career-high 59 stops last season. Cattouse also has 7 career interceptions. There is a lot to like about Sean but unlike fellow Bear DeCoud it's not his coverage ability, he’s a hard hitting tough run defender; he has tallied: 24 pass defenses and 7 interceptions in 4 years at Cal shows that he can drop back into coverage and make a play on the ball but he does need to develop his skills in this area, especially staying low in his backpedal. He finished his senior season with 76 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, 1 sack and 2 interceptions to go with 4 PBUs, NFL comparison Glenn Earl.

9. George Iloka, SS/OLB Boise State, 6'3 5/8" 225 4.66 Iloka goes beyond looking the part with arm length that would be elite for a DE: 34 1/2" despite that he had 20 Reps on the bench Vertical: 34.5" Broad 10'4" impressive specimen He only had 7 career interceptions including just one over the last two years as well as only 6 pass break-ups over that same time period. he started his final 45 games, lined up as both a safety and a cornerback and finished his career with 231 tackles and seven interceptions. He is much like VPI's Aaron Rouse who certainly looked the part but struggled to find a position in the NFL. 2011 Season totals: 58 Tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1 PBU, Fumble Forced 2010 Season totals: 63 Tackles, 3 TFL, 2 INT, 5 PBU, 1 Fumble Forced. NFL comparison Aaron Rouse of VPI who was taken 2007 with the Packers' 3rd round pick.

10. Christian Thompson SS/FS S.C State 6'0 3/8" 211 4.47, this former Auburn Tiger transferred to South Carolina State and became an impact player right away for the Bulldogs. He is a versatile secondary player who can move between strong and free safety as the need arises. While some may question his instincts and football IQ, the fact that he played like a LB, FS, and SS at SC. State allays that concern a bit for me; after transferring from Auburn in 2008. Thompson was a tackling machine in the MEAC, racking up six tackles for a loss and one sack in 2010.In 2011, Thompson played SS and recorded 46 tackles (one for a loss), one interception and seven passes broken up. Only two HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) prospects were invited to the combine, and Thompson was one of them. He is a team leader but his aggressiveness can, at times lead to some mistakes, he'll need time but he as definite starter potential in the NFL. His physical play earned him the nickname C.T. Scan from his college teammate; he can deliver jarring hits, NFL comparison Marvin White of TCU, the Bengals, Cowboys and Lions.
Christian Thompson
11. Brandon Hardin, CB/FS Oregon State, 6'2 5/8" 219, 4.41. The term sleeper can be used to denote a player from a smaller program; however the term applies to Brandon Hardin because he missed his senior season due to a training camp shoulder injury that required surgery. After running in a range from 4.44-4.38 in the 40-yard dash likely turned some heads. Hardin had 24 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press; Hardin also registered a 35.5" vertical jump and a 10'4" broad jump. He also participated in several football-related drills, Hardin, who played in the East-West Shrine game in January, Hardin practiced four times for NFL scouts and played well in provided more evidence that his left shoulder is completely healed. At 6'2 5/8" 219 pounds, scouts have told him they could see him as either a corner, safety or a hybrid defensive back. Hardin was able to practice one day at corner before moving to safety for three practices. Hardin has played cornerback in the past, but likely projects to safety in the NFL. Besides the shoulder injury, Hardin had a broken hand and a sprained wrist four years ago. As a junior, Hardin had 63 tackles, 12 more on special teams, blocked an extra point and forced three fumbles. As a sophomore, he had 11 special-teams tackles and intercepted a pass against Arizona State. Hardin was an all-state selection growing up in Hawaii who won a gold medal in the 100 meters at the track and field championships.

12. Duke Ihenacho SS San Jose State, 6'0 213, 4.59 Ihenacho made an improvement in his 40 speed at the recent SJSU pro day Ihenacho had a terrific performance. He emerged from his brother's shadow once on campus, however, developing into a starting safety as a true freshman and breaking out a year later as an All-WAC linebacker with 66 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and leading the WAC with five interceptions. Ihenacho was asked to move back to safety as a junior and though his big plays dropped significantly (one interception, one fumble recovery) those close to the program felt he was a better overall player and he again earned all-conference recognition. Ihenacho's 2010 season started off well with four tackles and a forced fumble against the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Ihenacho suffered a broken foot a week later against Southern Utah and was forced to take a medical redshirt. He returned in 2011 to register 73 tackles, six passes broken up, four tackles for loss, two forced (and recovered) fumbles and an interception. Though his statistics weren't eye-popping, he was again recognized as an all-conference pick, the only man in school history to be named to the First Team All-WAC team three times. Some harp on his average instincts, but he is a plus tackler with good ball skills, still he's not a candidate for deep middle coverage. His proven consistency should earn him consideration in the middle rounds for a team needing help defending the short and intermediate zones and on special teams. After an injury-plagued 2010 season, Ihenacho bounced back in 2011, becoming a key part of the SJSU defense that led the team to a 5-7 overall record the most wins for the Spartans since the 2008-2009 season, he ran 4.62 and 4.68 at the combine and 4.51-4.57 at his pro day, with a 39 ½" vertical, 10f3" broad jump he kept his other numbers from the combine. He’s a big hitter and a playmaker, who forced or collected13 career turnovers, [seven interceptions, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries].

13. Sean Richardson, SS, Vanderbilt, 6'2 1/2" 216, 4.52 Richardson had an outstanding combine, he was in the top 2-5 in nearly every category, yet he is not just a 'workout warrior, in 2010 he led the Commodores in tackles in 2010, recording 98 total stops and a sack in addition to breaking up five passes. He’s been worked out Richardson showed a natural change of direction ability and moved well, I think he'll be selected earlier than most. Richardson's a consistent, excellent-sized safety who's had a solid but less than breathtaking college career (in his defense, he played for Vanderbilt). He knows how to tackle solidly, but some will fixate on his 1 career interception despite being a three year starter, 10 career pass breakups, 251 career tackles 17 of them for losses. Still he's made some big plays; in the 2008 Music City Bowl when Richardson was a true freshman, he recovered a blocked Boston College punt in the end zone for a TD. The Commodores added three field goals and won 16-14, I will not be at all surprised if he goes earlier than most expect on day 3.

14.Justin Bethel, CB/FS, Presbyterian, 5'11 ½” 200, 4.58 Bethel is a very competitive and will be a boon on special teams; he blocked nine kicks in four seasons and his 19 bench reps are why some think he can play at either safety spot. He is aggressive in pass coverage, Bethel appeals to teams looking for a safety because of his hard-nosed nature when playing at the line of scrimmage. In addition to intercepting six passes at the college level he is very explosive and a willing run-support player.

15. Lance Mitchell 6'2 3/8" 207 SS Oregon State, 4.60 [from his Junior Pro Day] Lance Mitchell he has the size to lay out the big hit. However, Mitchell is also relatively quick and can chase down the ball carrier or make up ground and breakup a pass. Once he earned the starting job as a sophomore in 2009, Mitchell made his mark. It was during that season when the safety tallied 72 tackles and looked like an experienced veteran instead of a first year starter. Mitchell turned into a leader of the secondary as an upperclassman. He ranked third on the team with 74 tackles and added two interceptions, three pass breakups and five passes defended. A knee injury hindered Mitchell's progress heading into the 2010 season and in 2011 he battled through an abdominal injury the entire season finishing third on the team with 76 tackles. Mitchell tallied seven tackles, a fumble recovery, an interception and a pass break-up against Arizona early in the season to earn Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors; Mitchell didn't bench or jump. He’s still recovering from postseason hernia surgery. Mitchell was a draft prospect before abdominal injuries mounted at his pro day Mitchell had an above average 3-cone: 6.93, his Short Shuttle: 4.34 but only managed 12 bench reps.

16. Jerrell Young South Florida 6007 207 Sr. At his pro day Bill Belichick was in attendance, as was Russ Grimm and eight other teams scouts: the Bucs, Raiders, Steelers, Jaguars, et al came to see several players, but especially Young, who possesses an NFL body, with a strongly built, long frame, that can handle the punishment of playing in the box at the next level. Where he struggles, and why he won’t be looked at prior to the 4th round by most teams, is in man coverage. Young has good speed, but doesn’t possess that necessary extra gear that will help him make up for the false reads he makes in coverage, causing him to not be an ideal fit playing back in coverage because he lacks the last line of defense ability. He is an interesting developmental prospect at the safety position and someone the teams mentioned could be interested in on day 3 of the draft.

17. Eddie Whitley Virginia Tech 6010 195 Eddie Whitley, VPI Has started at free safety can play free safety, rover, either cornerback spot or in the nickel package if needed, in 2011 he started 12 games, recording 73 tackles, including four for loss, also has six pass breakups, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. At his pro day he was to prove one thing: he was faster than a 4.6 guy. He was timed as fast as 4.38, on a fast surface.

18. Kelcie McCray SS/FS, Arkansas State, 6'1 5/8" 4.54, He improved on his combine results at Arkansas State's Pro-Day. He's is expected to be a fourth to sixth round pick at safety in the NFL draft. At pro-day McCray ran a 4.52 40-yard dash, a .02 improvement from the combine. In Jonesboro on he recorded a 33.5-inch vertical leap, 10-foot-2 broad jump, 4.33 short shuttle and 7.30 three-cone drill. McCray possesses a solid combination of size and speed and seems likely to be a mid-round pick in the NFL. Known for his physical play and punishing hits, McCray had 70 tackles, four interceptions and four passes defended as a senior in 2011 and was an all-Sun Belt first-team selection. He ended his career at Arkansas State with 220 tackles and 10 interceptions in 49 games.

18. Janzen Jackson, FS, McNeese State, [Tennessee transfer] 5'111/2" 188, 4.58 [4.64 at the combine, 4.49-4.55 at his pro days.] Jackson is a versatile safety that could probably play any position in the secondary, last year, after transferring after a semester off to take care of some "personal problems." He and scouts think he has next level skills. A bit of a question mark in terms of maturity but if he can stay clean he has the ability to be one of the best safeties in this class. Since he only managed 9 bench reps some wonder if he might be better suited to be a Cover-2 CB. Despite his frame he's a hitter, in three seasons at the collegiate level, Jackson totaled eight interceptions, 12 pass breakups and six tackles for loss.

19. Eddie Pleasant SS/FS Oregon 510 1/4" 211 4.63, Pleasant can make things unpleasant for receivers and ball carriers. His one of the tougher safeties in this draft and his hands and ball skills are underrated. He has good short-are quickness and is very effective blitzing off the edge; he began his career as a linebacker before moving to safety as a junior and the LB mentality is still evident.

20. Matt Daniels Duke 5'11 3/4" 211 Daniels earned first team All-ACC honors in 2011 after recording 126 tackles, 14 pass break-ups and two interceptions in first-year defensive coordinator Jim Knowles’ 4-2-5 scheme, which allowed the senior more freedom within the defense. He is one of the heaviest hitting safeties in this class and will likely be a late bargain.

21. Matt Johnson, SS EWU, 6’0 5/8" 212, 4.53 Johnson can play in the box and he's 3rd in school history in interceptions with 15. He's entering his fourth season as a starter, having earned All-Big Sky first-team and The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS All-America third-team honors for the FCS champion Eagles last season. In 15 games, he totaled 105 tackles with five interceptions and eight other pass breakups, adding two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He is a physical presence who is instinctive and a better athlete than most realize, but his 38" vertical, 40 as well as 6.84 3-cone and 10'1" broad show he is not just an effort player.

22. Tramain Thomas Arkansas 511 3/4" 192 4.51 Tramain Thomas grew into his role as a free safety at Arkansas and had his finest season as a senior. He was not invited to the combine, and his size is somewhat of a concern, but Thomas can make up for those detractions in other areas, his 10 bench reps at his pro day are also a bit of a concern. He posted 91 tackles and led his team with five interceptions in 2011, with his football IQ and his flashes of athletic ability beyond his size and stature. At less than six feet and 200 lbs., Thomas is smaller than what most teams are looking for at the position.

23. Phillip Thomas Syracuse 510 5/8" 198 Jr. 4.74 He turned in what had to be a disappointing effort of 4.74 seconds, after being suspended from the program towards the end of the last season due to a violation of athletic department policy, Thomas decided to declare despite having a year of eligibility left at Syracuse. He signed on with high-profile agent Drew Rosenhaus and is trying to work his way up the mock draft boards; good luck. He has talent, he led Syracuse with six interceptions in 2011, but his work-ethic is a question he only knocked out 14 reps on the 225-pound bench press, amongst the fewest of any safety prospect at the combine.

24. Ryan Steed Furman, CB/FS Steed 4.6 [4.68 at the combine 4.55-4.62 at his pro day. He was a three-year starter in Furman's defensive backfield and an FCS All-American this past season. He totaled 180 tackles and 14 interceptions in his collegiate career, which ranks among the best marks in school history. He was a rising CB prospect prior to the combine but after 40 time of 4.68 12 bench reps , VJ: 34", BJ: 121", 3-cone: 6.94, 20y shuttle: 4.22A productive small school corner, Steed had 14 interceptions in four seasons at Furman, including four in each of the last three seasons, he shows toughness and is willing to come up and help out in run support, but since he doesn't have the top-end speed most teams seek he might end up as a FS.

25. Corey White Samford 511 1/2" 206 4.47 White had an impressive performance, running the 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds. White also had a good showing in the vertical jump (41.5) and broad jump (10.6). White also performed for the scouts at the NFL Combine, some think he projects to FS and some even see him as a Cover-2 corner.

26. Josh Bush Wake FS, Forest, 5'11" 208, 4.51 Bush is the more versatile of the WFU safeties in this draft, he has played FS, some think he can play over the slot and a few even see him as a SS. He ran the 40 in 4.50 and 4.52 seconds, with a 33 1/2", a 9-foot-7-inch broad jump, 4.45-second short shuttle, 7.02-second three-cone and 18 bench reps. Bush could be an UDFA or 7th-round pick. His intellect, flexibility of use and frame are intriguing.

27. DJ Campbell, FS/SS, California -- Campbell took a back seat to his highly touted teammate Sean Cattouse, but outperformed the combine invitee during Cal's pro day. In terrible conditions, Campbell ran 4.5 in the 40 after posting a 38-inch vertical jump. He was not considered worthy of an invitation to mini-camp by scouts before the season began, but his pro day workout likely sealed a spot for him in the final round.

28. Johnny Thomas FS, Oklahoma State 510 1/4" 206 4.58 [453-4.63 at his pro day] He's shown that he's very good at playing zone and helping stop the run game. However, his major weakness is his lack of man coverage skills. Thomas started 11 games last season, including the last nine, and finished fourth on the team with 63 tackles. He also had three interceptions, but he was ruled ineligible for 2011 and will likely be a UDFA because of that.

29. Jose Gumbs, SS, Monmouth, 510 1/8" 210 4.48 Gumbs, a strong safety known for his hard-hitting style, was clocked at between4.44 and 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash by NFL scouts at his Pro Day workout. It was Gumbs actual speed that had been something of a mystery. To put those times into perspective, the fastest time run by a safety at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis was a 4.5 by free safety Christian Thompson from South Carolina State. The fastest time by a strong safety was a 4.52 by Vanderbilt’s Sean Richardson. In the 225-pound bench press, Gumbs did 20 reps, only three strong safeties did more at the combine, with Richardson and Oregon’s Eddie Pleasant topping everyone with 22 reps. With a vertical of 41 inches, Gumbs surpassed Richardson’s 38 ½’ , which topped all safeties at the combine. In addition, Gumbs appeared to do well in the position specific drills as scouts from six NFL teams, including the Jets, Eagles, Colts, Broncos, Saints and Falcons, along with Toronto from the CFL, looked on. with a 10'2" broad jump 7.15 3- cone and 4.28 short shuttle it’s clear though he'll need coaching but he is just the type of developmental prospect that we shall see if teams will not make the same mistake they did when they overlooked Monmouth's Miles Austin in the draft

30. Cyhl Quarles Wake SS Forest 6'1 3/4" 212 4.59 [4.62 at the combine 4.56 at his pro day] Quarles is a hard-nosed, aggressive safety he is not consistent as a cover man but his physical presence and He led the Wake Forest defense in tackles as a senior. In their 'Quarters' base scheme he played "right safety or left safety, and therefore either free safety or strong safety depending on the formation.

31. Josh Norman CB/FS ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57, 4.62 and 4.64 seconds. Norman recorded a 4.53-second short shuttle and a 6.92-second three-cone all improvements from the combine. Norman gets by with his physical style of play and impressive ball skills. He is regarded as solid in coverage although some not a tendency to be late in recognizing routes and prone to mental lapses. The need for some refinement in his technique but at the Shrine game he showed the potential to play with talent from the FBS level.

32. Tysyn Hartman, SS, Kansas State 6'2 3/8" 218 4.65 Hartman is a thumping 'box' safety, some think he could grow into WLB at his pro day he recorded a 4.63- and 4.66-second 40-yard dash, a 6.69-second three-cone drill, a 4.03-second short shuttle, a 9'11" broad jump and completed 17 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press.

33. Tony Dye SS UCLA 5'11" 205 Sr. Tony Dye 5'10 1/8" 201, UCLA, 4.57 Dye does have a nose for the ball as evidenced by his leading the Bruins in tackles in 2010. While not the ideal safety size in the NFL and not fast enough to play corner in a 'Man' scheme, Dye will have to improve his strength and durability to start in the NFL, Safety Tony Dye, was graded as a mid-round choice coming into the season only to struggle with several injuries, also turned in a solid performance. Dye was credited with 40 times of 4.58-4.56 seconds, posted 4.15 seconds in the short shuttle and 7.02 in the three cone drill. He also touched 36.5" in the vertical jump. Last season he showed improved instincts and is a hard hitter, excellent in run support but he does need to work on his coverage skills particularly his ball skills and coming out of his stance when playing in the slot, the reason he is a potential UDFA is because of his injury concerns.

34. Tavon Wilson FS Illinois 6010 205 Sr. He was the Illini's best cover corner as a senior, All-Big Ten Conference honorable-mention, recording 74 tackles, 5 1/2 for losses, seven pass deflections one sack one interception and two fumble recoveries. Wilson returned one fumble for a touchdown. As a junior, he started every game and 48 tackles, two for losses, eight pass deflections, one interception and two fumble recoveries. As a sophomore, he finished third on the team with 74 tackles and led the team with seven pass deflections. He improved his combine performance He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds and 4.55 seconds, the short shuttle in 4.16 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.04 seconds. He measured a 32-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-4 broad jump and completed 17 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press.

35. Donnie Fletcher CB/FS, BC, 6’0 ½" 199 4.47, Fletcher posted times of 4.38 and 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash, preformed 17 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press and a 10'5" broad jump during his pro day, however despite the strong numbers the angular, tough defender was exposed during the season when he faced speed receivers with the ability to snap into and out of their breaks and at the Senior Bowl he struggled in coverage revealing some hip tightness. Three out of the four scouts I consulted feel he could become a FS and a good one.

36. DJ Campbell, FS /SS, California, 6’0 1/8” 201, 4.54, Campbell took a back seat to his highly touted teammate Sean Cattouse, but outperformed the combine invitee during Cal's pro day. In terrible conditions, Campbell ran 4.5 in the 40 after posting a 38-inch vertical jump. He was not considered worthy of an invitation to mini-camp by scouts before the season began, but his pro day workout likely sealed a spot for him in the final round or at least PUDFA status.

37. Neiko Thorpe Auburn, CB/FS 61 ½" 198 4.41 Thorpe started 40 games (27 at CB from 2009-10 and 13 at free safety) against SEC competition, yet Thorpe was not even invited to the NFL combine, but his performances on his pro day would have made him worthy of some head turning had he been there. The snub from the combine was likely due to the fact that Thorpe spent most of his time at Auburn as a cornerback, and with his speed it is no wonder why. Still, he played enough at free safety to give teams a glimpse of what might be able to do. As a former National Champion with Auburn, and he could be a steal for a team in the final round of the draft.

38. Jerron McMillian Maine FS/SS 511 1/4"201 4.47, At Maine's pro day his broad jump was longer (10’6"), 40 time faster (4.35 and 4.38) which are major improvements from the combine where he ran 4.56, had 17 bench reps, had a 36 1/2" vertical, 10" broad jump, 4.22 short-shuttle and 6.69 3-cone. He's a very attractive prospect as it appears he can play at either safety spot. Some feel he has Pro Bowl potential as a special team’s player.

39. Antonio Fenelus CB/FS, Wisconsin 5'8 1/4" 190, [4.68 at the combine 4.5-4.52 at his pro day.] At his pro day some had him as fast as 4.44, while the Michigan State game showed some flaws in his game he is very strong for his size as his 20 bench reps proved, some see him as a Cover-2 CB, but he may have a better chance as a FS who can cover the slot.

40. Johnny Thomas Oklahoma State SS, 510 3/8” 206 4.58 [453-4.63 at his pro day] He's shown that he's very good at playing zone and helping stop the run game. However, his major weakness is his lack of man coverage skills. Martin his teammate outshone him in all areas except tackling and toughness, where Thomas is near the top of this class.

41. Johnson Bademosi, Stanford, CB/FS 6'0 3/4" 201, 4.43. Bademosi, who was clocked as fast as 4.35 on his first 40 attempt and no slower than 4.51 and he also demonstrated real explosiveness in the vertical (40") and broad jump (10'5"), 4.10 short shuttle, 11.47 60 yard shuttle, 6.96 3-cone, he's seen by some clubs as a corner and others as a developmental free safety prospect, Bademosi may have earned himself a draft selection. He as very good size and has a tackler and provided strong run support. In the NFL, Bademosi could possibly fit in a zone coverage scheme as a corner back, but the consensus is FS is where he'll land.

42. Damien Jackson Mississippi SS, 6’1 7/8” 206, 4.68 A transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast CC 2010: Played in 11 games, with eight starts at free safety (did not play against Auburn) and lead the team in solo tackles (44) and finished second in total stops, 21st in the SEC (68). He tied for second on the team in pass break-ups and notched 4.5 TFLs, one QB hurry, 1 FF and one fumble recovery. He has average range for a safety despite below average speed, which may limit his NFL potential.

43. Dominique Hawkins FS, 511 1/8" 192 4.57 Bench Reps: 11, Vertical Jump: 38 ½ Broad Jump: 10’02" Short Shuttle: 4.26, 3-Cone Drill: 7.30, Hawkins was a four-year starter in the secondary for UND, compiling 195 tackles, seven interceptions and 17 pass break-ups during his career. Besides his duties in the Fighting Sioux secondary, Hawkins also had a prolific career as a kick returner for UND. He ran back 80 kicks over his four seasons, accumulating 1,880 return yards (a 23.5 yard average).

44. Delano Howell Stanford 5’10 7/8” 210, 4.58 [4.65 at the combine 4.51 at his pro day], A former running back, the hard-hitting Howell has 7 career picks, he is impressive in run-support, he has qualities that teams seek physically and mentally, After leading Stanford in tackles last year, much was expected and at times he delivered; he was responsible for 19 PBUs and forced 4 fumbles in his career.

45. Matt Merletti North Carolina 5110 205 Sr. 4.60 and he grabbed attention with 31 bench reps, Vertical Jump: 31 1/2" Broad Jump: 09'05", Short Shuttle: 4.27, 3-Cone Drill: 6.55. The senior was injured in the loss to Clemson at the time he lead the Tarheels with two interceptions and is tied for third on the team with 36 tackles. Matt Merletti was the team's defensive captain, and considered one of the leaders in the secondary. His toughness and character will make him hard to cut.

46. Blake Gideon FS Texas 6'1 204, 4.57 Gideon at his pro day ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 and 4.56 seconds, but the track at Moncrief is considered a fast surface. Those numbers just don't translate exactly to the football field and his training over the last several months may have been beneficial to his numbers, but Gideon's workout today may intrigue some scouts. As a cliché-encrusted "coach's kid" who was a "leader on the field" and helped make sure everyone was lined up, the perception was that he should be preventing those very same poor angles he would take. Like many workout success stories, there's something being lost in translation and the sense there that has to be about more to why, despite the fact he can test well in some measures he but can't flip his hips and transition and gave up so many big plays deep in the back end, [see the Baylor game for details.]

47. Troy Woolfolk CB/FS, Michigan, 5'10 7/8" 195 4.56 He's had a very up and down collegiate career, but he looked good in front of scouts at his pro day, running a 4.56 40-yard dash. He also looked fluid in other drills, including the 3-cone drill (6.77), short shuttle (4.19), vertical (31.5") and broad jump (9'), adding 20 reps on the bench press. Like many of the tougher but lacking in elite coverage skill CBs, Woolfolk is being projected to FS.

48. Donovan Richard, OLB/SS, SC State, There has been serious late buzz surrounding former Bulldogs linebacker Donovan Richard. The 5-11, 214 pounder dazzled, posting a team best 24 reps of 225 pounds on the bench to go with a 39-inch vertical, a 10-2 broad jump and a blazing official 40 time of 4.41 that was clocked by at least one scout as low as 4.36. He is very, very raw in terms of coverage but his talent may cause a team to bring him in to try playing SS.

49. Christian Scott, SS, Texas, 5'11" 220. As with any player who has increased their stock based largely upon testing numbers, the buzz around Scott may not survive a trip to the film room. Amazingly when he and Earl Thomas were signed at Texas there was debate as to who was the better prospect. He tested well at his pro day: 4.60 seconds in the 40, 4.28 in the short shuttle, and 7.00 in the 3-cone drill. Scott most often was playing deep center-field or Cover-2 and if he's taking on someone in man-coverage it's going to be a TE or RB. When he can play in tighter space he's real solid at making physical form-tackles and filling against blocks. He's basically your classic SS from back in the day when such players weren't isolated in space against receivers. Scott most often was playing deep center-field or Cover-2 and if he's taking on someone in man-coverage it's going to be a TE or RB. When he can play in tighter space he's solid at making physical form-tackles and filling against blocks. He's basically your classic SS from back when such players weren't isolated in space against receivers. When he has to make a tackle in space or demonstrate a corner's hips against the pass he can be made to look very, very inadequate. He's a poor man's Roy Williams.

50. Shawn Anderson, SS/FS Cal [PA.] 6'0 3/8" 172 4.49 [4.41-4.57 at his pro day] While Anderson is very slender he is both fast and quick; he might even be athletic enough to move outside to CB. He's a player who moves with great freedom, he has the body control, coordination and a fair level of toughness that gives him a chance to be seen at more than one position if he can build his body to the 185-195 lb. level.

51. Korey Toomer Some think Toomer can play CB and while certainly fits the bill with speed (4.48 40) and length (6'2 1/4", nearly 80" wingspan), he played on the inside at Idaho In his career, he had 10.5 tackles for a loss in 2011, to go along with his 4.0 sacks, four pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, one interception, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick. He’s a very good athlete with solid production.

52. Chaz Powell, CB/FS Penn State 6’0" 203 4.53 he’s a player that scouts are aware of; he arrived as a FS, was moved to WR and ended at CB. His size, speed and coverage capabilities could actually result in Powell being selected in the later rounds. He has only been used in zone coverage in the secondary, so he only has experience in zone and very little off-man, he played in 18 games and will likely be a special teams only player at first.

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by Bill

How Not To Scout-10 Common Scouting Mistakes

April 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Combine10. “All Indians walk single file, or at least the only 1 I saw ever did” I.E. making a judgment regarding a prospect after 1 or very few game tapes.  A player can have one hall of fame type performance that in no way reflects his actual talent level.  By the same token a nagging injury, bad match up or playing out of position can prevent a prospect from showing the full extent of his talents.  Whenever possible 3-4 games over 2 seasons is the smallest trustworthy sample when giving a thorough assessment of a player.

9. He’s the greatest since/worst I’ve ever seen!  It’s usually wise to avoid an overreliance on superlatives and hyperbole, one problem is it erodes your credibility also, like starting a song at the top of your register; it leaves you nowhere to go.

8. “He’s a: high-motor, low-pocketed, gamer, who can pick and slide and stack& shed as he wades through the trash with typewriter feet.”
We all love the nearly Runyonesque argot of the scouting profession but piling up too much jargon can make you seem like a parody of a scout and it can be off-putting for a novice reader.

7. What is a seven year career with 3 stints on the P.U.P list?  While it is seductive to play Carnac and it is professional and even appropriate to project and conjecture about a prospect’s future as a professional.  It may be less wise to actually attempt to predict the future.  If you’ve spotted a quality that you feel will make their success much more or less likely at the next level it is incumbent upon you to say so, however that’s very different from declaring a player a future Hall of Famer or a megabust prior to rookie mini-camp.

6. My pet newt has eyes, Fred has eyes, ergo Fred is a Newt. While it true that some programs and coaches do an excellent job of preparing players mentally and physically for the NFL, while others may not, still each prospect is unique and deserves to be evaluated as such as opposed to lumped together with other players from that school or system.

5. This is a deceased parrot!  Yes but look at the beautiful plumage. While test scores and physical prowess are certainly informative and can be a helpful part of the evaluation process, still the best way to determine if a player can play football is to observe them playing football.

4. I am Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and this is my assistant beaker. Scouting is not a science so “objectivity” in player evaluations is a mythological beast. Since there is currently no objective or empirical basis for player success, size, speed, measurable intelligence have all failed, productivity is a factor but statistics cannot and should not drive a player’s evaluation.

3. He could throw it threw a barn door, if he could hit a barn door.   This Abe Gibron quote illustrates the mistake made of overweighting an aspect of a player’s profile while underestimating another.  For example as Chris Brown wrote in Smart Football ‘More arm strength is not always better — being able to throw it 80 yards compared with 65 is meaningless. Instead the question is, Can you throw the ball 25-30 yards, on a line, from one hash to the other on a deep comeback route?’  The biggest mistakes are most often made on the most outsized talents, Mandarich, Russell, Leaf, etc., big, strong prototypes for their positions.

2. The Emperor has no clothes, or does he?  Professional gamblers, fighter pilots, corner backs and cat-burglars need to have absolutely no self-doubt, what they do requires 100% self-belief anything less could be fatal.  However scouts need a modicum of self-doubt, it makes you cautious, hopefully you will double and triple check all of your work and speak with others you can trust to act as a cross-check.

1. Lather, rinse, repeat. More might not always be better, but it is when it comes to becoming an evaluator.  Want to be a ‘guru’ do you have 20+ years to invest?  This is not something you can learn in a year, it’s a lifestyle if you want to do this for the purpose of being competent at it as opposed to money, fame or self-aggrandizement you will have to be like water on a rock and a great listener as well as a trained observer.

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by Bill

Hello world!

April 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Welcome to Fanspeak. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!