Monday, July 25, 2011

It's been so long: A 2011 refresher

It is wonderful to see that the players and owners were finally able to devise a mutually agreeable plan for dividing the $9,000,000,000 pie that is the business of professional football.  The view here has always been that there was far too much at stake for any games to be missed ~ especially the preseason (which is pure profit for the owners, in as much as players are not paid until the first week of the regular season) ~ and the abbreviated camp season is a win for the players, if not the coaches.

Because it has been quite some time since any football has been discussed it might be useful to begin a quick review of where we were before the lockout began: The NFL draft. To be honest it has been difficult recalling who was drafted (that may just be a function of getting older), so here is the first class of draftees whose salaries will be governed by the new collective bargaining agreement; and who, because of the lack of OTAs, will most likely make their biggest contributions this season on special teams:

1. Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), DE, 6'5", 294 lbs
Athletic enough to play OLB but one has to wonder if his selection has more to do with Aaron Smith's recent spate of injuries.

2. Marcus Gilbert (Florida), OL, 6'6", 330 lbs
Considered an outstanding pass blocker, but is he the answer at left tackle?

3. Curtis Brown (Texas), DB, 6', 0", 185lbs
Decent speed and excellent leaping ability; but has to improve upper body strength to contend with physical receivers and/or to provide effective run support.

4. Cortez Allen (Citadel), DB, 6'1", 197 lbs
Faster and stronger than the third round pick; a good system player who lacks the instincts of a more polished player.

5. Chris Carter (Fresno State), DL, 6'1", 248 lbs
Seems a reach on paper ~ some projected him as a rookie free agent ~ but is versatile enough to play down or at ILB.  Special team potential.

6. Keith Williams (Nebraska), OL, 6'4", 318 lbs
Shorter arms means this value selection projects to the guard position, and he showed a good ability to pull.  Needs to develop more upper body strength.

7. Baron Batch (Texas Tech), RB, 5'9", 200 lbs
Good inside runner who can also catch the ball out of the backfield; but if he cannot block then he has no chance of making the team.

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