Saturday, April 16, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Running Back Rankings

(this is the 4th installment of the PRO DRAFT REPORT)

2011 Running Back Rankings-By Mark Kern

1. Mark Ingram- The comparisons to Emmitt Smith are definitely warranted. You know what you are going to get with Ingram. He is going to come to play every single day and give it his all. He had a very successful career at Alabama, which included a National Title and a Heisman Trophy. A knock on Ingram is that he does not have the breakaway speed that the scouts look for. He makes up for that with his ability to hit the hole and the “never go down” attitude that he plays with. Overall, Ingram may not be the most explosive running back in this draft, but he is definitely the most polished running back and will be able to contribute from day one. Look for Ingram to go anywhere from 15-25 in the first round.


Daniel Thomas- Thomas was an absolute beast for Kansas State the past two years. Thomas, last year, had 298 carries for 1585 yards and 19 touchdowns. The fact that he was able to have those numbers is impressive because the Wildcats had a very limited passing attack allowing the defense to load up in the box and try to stop the run. Thomas has great size for a running back at 6’2 230 pounds. He has dealt with injuries during the pre-draft workouts, which have hindered him, and he also has a tendency to run a little too straight up. Overall, Thomas has only been a running back for two seasons as he was a quarterback in junior college. He has made great strides and will give whichever team that drafts him a nice weapon in the backfield. Thomas should be off the board early in the second round. Look for teams like New England, Indianapolis, and Detroit to give him a serious look.

3. Ryan Williams- Williams broke onto the scene two seasons ago as a red-shirt freshman rushed for 1655 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Hokies of Virginia Tech. He dealt with injuries last year and it caused him to miss some games and not put up the numbers he expected. However, when healthy, Williams has the talent to be a big time running back. Williams plays with great intensity and will run through an arm tackle and he must be wrapped up. A knock on him is that he has also had problems with injuries. He also fights for those extra yards, leaving himself exposed to take big hits. If he can get back to the player he was two years ago, he could make a huge impact this year. Look for him to go sometime in the mid-second round and maybe a team like Washington or TampaBay may take a look at him.

4 Mikel Leshoure- Leshoure had a breakout year last year for the Fighting Illini, and has been compared to former Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall. Leshoure is huge at 6’0 232 pounds. The thing that makes him a great prospect is for his size he is very nimble and can get to the second level in a hurry. The knock on him is that he does not seem to always bring it on every play. That is something that could scare teams away from him, but he is definitely a guy to take a look at because of his physical tools. Leshoure should go late second, early third round to a team that likes to run the ball on offense such as the Tennessee Titans or the New York Jets.

5. Kendall Hunter- Hunter had a very solid career at Oklahoma State. Hunter does not have the physical stature that people expect out of a running back in the NFL. However, what Hunter brings is just a knack to find a crease and make plays. He has a very similar style to former running back Priest Holmes, in the fact that he is very patient and he uses his blockers very well. He has had his fair share of durability issues, but he is confident those are in the past. He should go mid-third round to a team that has a star running back, that could use a breather every once in a while. A couple of these teams would be the Jacksonville Jaguars and the St. Louis Rams.

6. Jordan Todman- Todman had a very successful year which led him to leave college after his junior year and enter the draft. Todman has outstanding speed and he can get in the open field in a hurry. Another plus for him compared to the guys above him is that he can help out a team in the return games as well. Todman is not a very physical runner and he struggles to break tackles. When Connecticut went up against the better defenses, he only averaged 3.3 yards per carry. This can be accredited due to the fact that Connecticut did not have quite the talent that those teams had in those games.. Todman is going to get a chance because of his versatility and look for him to go off the board in the early part of the fourth round. Teams like the Patriots and the Colts could take a look at him and use him because of his versatility.

7. DeMarco Murray – Murray may not be the biggest risk/reward running back in this class; he could also be the biggest risk/reward player at every position in this draft. Murray is an explosive athlete and when he gets the ball in his hands, he has the ability to take it the distance at any time. He can run, catch the ball out of the backfield, and also play a major role in the return game. He ended his career at Oklahoma with the most touchdowns in school history. However, even with that impressive stat, his career at Oklahoma was up and down. Murray had some injury problems in college, which are scaring some scouts away. With that being said, some team is going to take a chance on him off of potential alone. In the right system, he could be a very dynamic weapon. He could go anywhere from late second to late fourth round, it just depends on which team wants to gamble on him. A team to keep an eye on is the New Orleans Saints. They may be losing Reggie Bush and DeMarco Murray could provide a lot of the big play potential that Bush does.

8. Shane Vereen- Vereen has helped to continue the trend of talented running backs to have successful seasons at California. Marshawn Lynch, Javhid Best, and Justin Forsett are all running backs who have made some plays in the NFL. Vereen should be no different. He benched 225 31 times, the best of any running back at the combine. He has also been involved in the return game, which is always a plus. A negative is that he often does help his quarterback at all on pass-blocking. He is a good running back who should be able to contribute and to help out a team. He should go late third round to a team like Arizona or Miami to help in the run game.

9. Delonte Carter- Carter was a huge part of getting Syracuse back on the right track in leading the Orange to a Pinstripe Bowl victory of Kansas State. Carter is a pinball at 5’10, 215 pounds.He is very effective running through the tackles. As a defense, you must gang tackle or he will just run right through you. He lacks the elite speed to get to the second level and beyond. He also has a tendency to try and get to the outside instead of working to his strength and continuing to attack north and south. He should be picked sometime in the late fourth to early fifth round and will be a good value pick by whatever team gets him. Cold-weather teams like Chicago, New England, and Green Bay could use him to help control the clock.

10. Alex Green- Green was a somewhat of an unknown at the beginning of the year but started to turn some eyes during the season. He is a big running back at 6’2 220 pounds, but also has the speed to make some plays. He had some ball security problems fumbling eight times on 271 touches in the past two years at Hawaii. He also played in the WAC where the defense is not real great and the offenses are spread out, helping to open up the field. Green is an interesting prospect with his size and speed and teams in the fifth round should like what they see there. A team like the Eagles could take a look here as Lesean McCoy has had injury issues in the past.

Sleeper: Noel Devine- Devine was electric in college having 36 career runs of 25 yards or more. He is tiny at 5’8 160 pounds, which is scaring teams off. He is not going to be able to carry the football 20-25 times, but the way game is changing, he will not be needed. Pound for pound this is one of the strongest players in the draft. If he can stay healthy, a team could pick him up at the end of the draft or even as a free agent. He will get a chance to prove he can do it though, and whichever teams gives him that shot, could be very thankful in the future.

Honor Roll: Harvard’s Gino Gordon could very well find his way onto an NFL roster. The swift runner is also adept at catching passes out of the backfield, and also blocks well for his smaller size. Gordon was the 2010 Co-Ivy Player of the year & was named to the All-New England FCS team, nad was the all-time yards per carry leader (5.3) and Harvard’s fourth all time leading rusher with 2,643 rushing yards and 25 Career TD’s (23 Rushing). Mike Montoya out of Canada’s Laurier College could also be another surprise selection. He does everything asked of him, is a “100% team player” and had did 41 Bench reps at his third party combine. He’s eligible for this draft because he graduated early last year. In 2009 he had 847 Rushing Yards and 6 TD’s. He is a tremendous blocker with a low center of gravity, making him hard to get off his feet.

This running back class may not have the “superstars” like an Adrian Peterson or a Chris Johnson, but there are many productive running backs in this class. There are a lot of durability issues with this class, but if they manage to remain healthy, this has the potential to be a solid class with many running backs contributing to their team’s success.

Oakland Kwik Way - Restaurant Legend Reopens

The place known for its big, greasy burgers of the 70s and 80s reopened two days ago. Its on Lake Park Avenue down from the Grand Lake Theater.

Nicolas Cage Arrested In New Orleans; TMZ Claims Taunted Police

Funny thing. While famed Actor Nicolas Cage earns royalty money from movies like National Treasure, which was just on the USA Network today, he was in a New Orleans Jail and is now out on bail for $11,000.

How he got there is a story.

According to, Cage was really drunk, hammered, so much so that he was seen by a cab driver loudly shouting at his wife Alice, and then, he says that Mr. Cage grabbed her.

The cab driver called the New Orleans Police, who came and tried to get him to go home. But Nicolas Cage wasn't having any of that; he asked them to arrest him. They refused, so he kept at them until they did.

He was booked for domestic abuse and disturbing the peace.

Cage wife is not a "complaining witness" and doesn't want him arrested.

Meanwhile, National Treasure played today and probably earned him the cash spent to get out of jail.

UPDATE: TMZ reports the two were arguing over a rental address and Cage tried to pull his wife to where he believed the correct location was.

Running News: Zazzle Bay To Breakers Office Visit

In this bit of running news, The Zazzle Bay To Breakers is coming May 15th, and as one who's ran it 19 times, I'm excited to be a part of the 7.7 mile road race again - as press. I've decided not to run it, in exchange for an equally interesting position. (Not telling, yet.)

(Oh, and for those of you who feel compelled to check my record because you have nothing better to do and just want to be nasty, forget finding an accurate recording online - you have to go to the Doe Library at Berkeley. Bay To Breakers Race Director Angela Fang, explained that the records have been given, and then given again, to so many organizations, that it's not possible as of this writing to find a clear record online past 2001; my first run of the Bay to Breakers was in 1988, when I posted a time of 1:04:30 - just perfect for having several of the 10,000 beers Miller put out for runners.)

The Bay To Breakers Office

The office of the Zazzle Bay To Breakers 12k is pretty much about what you'd expect to see: small, with cubicles surrounding a main gathering area, and a set of enclosed offices along the walls. It's perfect for collaboration, and that's what Ms. Fang and her staff do a lot of, as was evident that Wednesday. Because when I arrived, the organization was just 20 registrants away from a sellout, and Katie Harrar, who's the all-purpose Manager Of Event Sales and Logistics, was announcing the change in numbers as it happened. Pretty cool to be there for the countdown, and all unplanned.

I met the staff, from Katie, who I was on the race truck with in 2009, and produced this video: Connor Spicer, who helps race registrants, Brain Ng who is in charge of marketing and employs a MacBook Pro, as I do. And there's Zachary, who is the sponsorship director, who makes sure that sponsor needs are met.

The one person I did not meet was the race producer, who was behind closed door working on making sure things were coming together for the race. (I think he wanted to stay off camera, anyway.)

The Plan For The 100th Bay To Breakers

It's easy to want to focus on the negative community issues of the past, but my desire was to move forward. And this year, there's a ban on alcohol for the Bay to Breakers, but that doesn't mean less fun - in fact, the reverse. So, Fang and I talked about the fun stuff, like their plan to give out, for the first time, "finisher medals" to every participant.

That means if you registered for the Bay To Breakers, you will get a commemorative 100th aniversary finisher medal just for crossing the finish line. There will also be, as Angela explained "some period music" entertainment. That means sounds of the 60s, the 70s, and the 80s, and the 90s too. Even, perhaps Disco, as Fang says "You will definitely see Groovy Judy out at the Conservatory of Flowers. A little flower power there." So, if you have a disco ball around the house, bring it to the running race.

In conjunction with the new rules there will be a "significant amount" of fencing, but on them will be photos from Bay To Breakers of the past. "There will be a visual experience that hasn't been there in the past," Fang said. Plus, Footstock, the annual event that serves as a gathering point after the running festival, is in a different place for 2010.

"We have moved Footstock from MLK, this year it's going to be at Speedway Meadow," Fang said. And it's there that running race title sponsor Zazzle is going to be "doing some interesting activations," she added.

What's Zazzle?

Ok, you may be wondering by now what Zazzle is. is an online company where you can go and design you own t-shirts or hats and other products in your brand or logo and buy them or have others purchase them. It's their first year as the title sponsor and seems really into the "fun" of the Bay To Breakers, calling it the "World's Most Creative Race."

Running News: Bay To Breakers Sellout!

The Bay To Breakers was at 20 registration slots to go, and as I was making the vlog, it sold out. The "bing" sound you hear in the background as I'm talking to Ms. Fang is the sound made when a registration is purchased. By the end of our talk, they sold out. Proving that the Bay To Breakers is still the "must-be-a-part-of" draw of years past.

Visit the website at Bay To

Palm Sunday Calm: Arianna Huffington, Reality Rocks, AdTech - Recaping A Week

Today is undoubtedly the quietest Saturday this video-blogger has enjoyed in quite a while. And since it's the day before Palm Sunday and Holy Week, it's fitting.

The idea of a visit to church is at least in my head; let's see if I will at least translate it to action. Frankly, the feeling of not being pressured to be somewhere at a certain time - for an event or a plane flight - is a nice one. I think God will forgive me.

If memory serves (and it should serve well, even after one-too-many glasses of scotch on during a fun Thursday evening I can still remember - can't do that anymore - and courtesy of my friend Mr. Tagami), two weeks ago, Thursday, I hit the ground, running:

1) Got off a plane from Georgia, where I was visiting Mom and has become my second home, and was off to a Flip Video Camera presentation meeting that I was told was cancelled via email, and as I was in the air. And we now know what happened to Flip Camera at the hands of Cisco. (Save Flip.)

2) Went to WonderCon the next day, Friday. If you're not familiar with WonderCon, it's a 25 year old convention of comic book publishers and artists, that's morphed into a pop-culture gathering of such size, talk is that it's going to expand to take up all of the space at the two main sections of Moscone Center, north and south. The event presents me with the chance to meet and interview people I've only seen on TV and the movies, like Jim Kelly, Cindi Morgan, and Celeste Yarnell, or who's work I've read, like MAD Magazine's Sergio Aragones. Cool guy.

WonderCon was three fun days of being around people who call themselves geeks and nerds, including me, but really now aren't any different than the rest of us, and because "geeks and nerds" have become so mainstream, it's time for another term. Now, I'm not complaining, because it's cool that the rest of the World's caught the fever. It's just that it's almost, well, you know, cliche. It's become a term for a demographic marketers target to push movies. But a deeper discussion of that - let's place on the backburner. Bottom line: WonderCon was a blast, and a good warm up to ComicCon 2011.

3) The next week, I interviewed Courtney Ruby, who's Oakland's City Auditor, and at a place called Disco Violante. If you're an Oaklander and didn't see the video, it's here...

Ms. Ruby's a fun person under a lot of pressure I think she puts on herself, and to maintain an office under the threat of a huge potential budget cut. Given all she's facing, I know Palm Sunday's welcome.

4) I'll get back to more local blogging today. But frankly, there's so much to blog about, that I'm considering adding guest bloggers - so if you're up for it, and don't mind my bugging you to use the Zennie-style of blogging, send me an email.

5) The next week, I was to be interviewed for NBC's Caught On Camera, and about my video called Fight On Fillmore. That was a fun time. Plus, the NBC people made me think about what videos "go viral," and it seems like we're attracted to either kids doing something funny or cute, or adults doing something bad. I don't know why that is, but the exception was the success of Susan Boyle. Perhaps because we expected to see a train wreck, and got a woman who sang like her life depends on it, and in a way, now it does.

6) Later that week, I also had it in mind to attend something called Reality Rocks, a first-of-its-kind expo of Reality TV, and thanks to a set of out-of-the-blue press releases from the good folks at Rogers and Cowan. R and C is the largest entertainment PR firm in America, and handles a lot of Hollywood's A-list talent. So, I figured a day trip to LA would be fun and profitable on a Saturday. Heck, I'm not saddled with dad duty, because I'm not a father (but would love to be one), and I don't have any relationship obligations (yet at this point) to keep me nailed down, so off to LA I went.

What a blast.

I've discovered that I needed to meet, know, and be around entrepreneurs. What's cool about LA, even though I don't desire to live there (there's nothing better than a Georgia summer), is the number of people who are interested in doing deals and partnerships around entertainment. Plus, given the mistakes I made with Sports Business Simulations, namely learning someone's esoteric programming language and then being trapped by them - dumb, stupid, idiotic me - I needed to be energized again.

See, I love being creative, and I think what drives me to video-blog is that I'm both making something - each blog post, to me, is a program. And using it to meet and talk with people and help them get their message out there. But for the Tech side, I'm nervous about finding the right partners for my next venture - no luck yet.

But I digress.

Meeting Dallas Maverick's Owner Mark Cuban and FUBU Founder Daymond John, was part of the tonic. The energetic Guy Kawasaki and Arianna Huffington completed the process at AdTech, and that was to name just four of the many people I met who gave me new energy.

Then, I completed the week at the office of The Bay To Breakers, where another set of fun folks reside. Race Director Angela Fang was kind enough to open her working digs and let this video blogger in for a spell. Here's the video from that visit:.

Ok. That's enough recapping. Time for two more blog posts, then to pay attention to the National Football League and the NFL Draft. (Oh, and the President's coming to town.)

And unplug for a while.

Stay tuned - and happy Palm Sunday.

And for those of you who asked, my Mom's fine, thank you. I just have the duty of being the only child at 48 years of age. And while I may look 20 years younger, I'm at the point in life where spending time with her is of extreme importance, because I don't know how much time I've got with her.

Google Video To Officially End April 29, 2011

The email presented below arrived this morning from Google. It announces the official end of the Google Video division, which existed before Google purchased YouTube on October 6, 2006, and then existed along side YouTube until 2009, when Google stopped allowing uploads to the service.

For this blogger, having stopped feeding Google Video after becoming a YouTube Partner in 2007, the email is just a formality.

But for those of you who have videos on Google Video, and you want to get to them, read this and act fast:

Dear Google Video User,

Later this month, hosted video content on Google Video will no longer be available for playback. Google Video stopped taking uploads in May 2009 and now we’re removing the remaining hosted content. We've always maintained that the strength of Google Video is its ability to let people search videos from across the web, regardless of where those videos are hosted. And this move will enable us to focus on developing these technologies further to the benefit of searchers worldwide.

On April 29, 2011, videos that have been uploaded to Google Video will no longer be available for playback. We’ve added a Download button to the video status page, so you can download any video content you want to save. If you don’t want to download your content, you don’t need to do anything. (The Download feature will be disabled after May 13, 2011.)

We encourage you to move to your content to YouTube if you haven’t done so already. YouTube offers many video hosting options including the ability to share your videos privately or in an unlisted manner. To learn more go here.

Here’s how to download your videos:

Go to the Video Status page.
To download a video to your computer, click the Download Video link located on the right side of each of your videos in the Actions column.

Once a video has been downloaded, "Already Downloaded" will appear next to the Download Video link.

If you have many videos on Google Video, you may need to use the paging controls located on the bottom right of the page to access them all.

Please note: This download option will be available through May 13, 2011.

Thank you for being a Google Video user.


The Google Video Team
Ok, now, go do it. 

Stay tuned.

Flip Video Camera: Cisco Action Shows It Fails At Social Media

Cisco's sudden and really awful decision to end production of the Flip Video Camera brand and fire 550 people stunned not just this blogger, who went on a rant...

But the media and the Internet. On the day of the announcement "RIP Flip" become a Twitter trending topic, and "flip camera" was one of the top 20 most searched keywords on Google Trends.

That fact should not be lost on marketers, because it means The Flip brand hit the mark of engagement with the key demographic that is most likely to use social media and micro-blogging services, like Twitter.

Most of these users employ Twitter to talk about products and events, and Cisco's sacking of the Flip Video Camera is but one example - but a big one.

So big that it shows Cisco failed at getting digital and social media. If Twitter, or that group of people called "The Twitterverse," would cry out about the Flip, why didn't Cisco have any kind of marketing activation that featured a comprehensive, coordinated Internet and social media campaign for the Flip?

I said that Cisco lacked the passion for the product, which is in the hands of two million people (give or take folks like me who have more than one Flip), and this finding buttresses that take.

Now, Cisco will obviously bristle at my claim, and because it would point to its social media effort. But the problem, as clearly evident from reading a Cisco blog entry on its social media guidelines, is that the company's use of social media is defensive.

Read this from Cisco Social Media Guidelines, Policies and FAQ:

We take social media seriously at Cisco.

We look at it as a collaborative tool to help better serve our customers, our partners, our investors and our employees…and to LISTEN to them as well. There, of course, have to be guidelines and employee training around the use of social media. Within our company culture of transparency, we thought we’d make our newly updated internal Social Media handbook available for everyone. We don’t claim to know everything about Social Media, but we do know that the wisdom of the crowd is generally better than the wisdom of the few. With that in mind, we welcome your thoughts, observations and viewpoints on our Social Media Policy and Guidelines

Look at the words: "collaborative tool","better serve our customers","guidelines", and "employee training," and it all ads up to one word: boring. Where are the words "buzz" and "excitement" and "product" and "marketing" to make a "fan" base?

And it leads to the slide presentation of a document that's a set of bureaucratic guidelines - do's and dont's. There's nothing about using social media to generate buzz. What's good is that Cisco wants its employees to engage in social media. What's bad is that there's nothing that shows the employee how to use social media to generate buzz about Cisco products.

If Twitter is a great place for crowd activation - getting a ton of people to do something - and Cisco has its own "crowd" called its employees, getting them in the game of buzz building should be part of this document and the Cisco social media process.

It's not there.

Credit goes to Cisco for taking the passion out of social media. It's no wonder the Flip Camera's history; Cisco lacked the feel for it, and for the culture that embraced it.

Save Flip!

Meanwhile, Cisco needs a social media expert with passion and smarts, like Pepsi's Director Of Global Digital and Social Media, B. Bonin Bough:

Zennie Abraham To Be Featured On NBC Caught On Camera

Viral videos have made for Network TV content for sometime now, and it was only a matter of time before one of this blogger's videos saw the light of television day.

Well, that's excluding my old television show, The Blog Report With Zennie62, that was on ColoursTV. What was great about that show, which aired in 2009-2010, was that it allowed the direct use of the videos made with my Flip Video Camera right onto a TV format. It's still something that's not been done before or since. I'd like to do it again, if the business details can be worked out.

But I digress.

Without any contact from this blogger, NBC took notice of the Zennie62 video Fight With Bouncer At SF Fillmore Jazz Festival: doing job with patron. If you've not seen the video before, here it is:

This video was originally made as part of a ColoursTV segment that never made it to the screen. But that's the reason for the introduction you see. The video itself was and is a kind of study of human nature, and there are stories within the overall story of the encounter between a patron who had a little too much to drink and a bouncer just trying to do his job.

The video has drawn over 3,000 comments and over 700,000 views - actually closer to 800,000 views. And it drew the attention of NBC. I met the crew for the show Caught On Camera where we filmed a segment talking about the video.

Does the almost three-year-old video put the Fillmore Jazz Festival in a bad light? No. It doesn't. By just holding the patron until security arrived, the bouncer may have prevented a really ugly melee in front of a storied establishment.

Moreover, the bouncer's actions have been the catalyst for a number of emails from former police officers, bartenders, and other bouncers, who explain how hard that job is, especially during a large-scale event, how they believed the bouncer did his job well, and how the situation should be prevented in the future.

Here's one such email from 2009:

Dear Mr. Abraham,

I just watched the video from the Fillmore Festival. As a retired police officer(Commander of Police) with 32+yrs experience with the SFPD encounters like this are common place in and around nightclubs in the City. Violent confrontations are taking place daily. The SF Entertainment Commission which oversees the Clubs have not taken a proactive approach to minimizing these actions.

Bouncers, doormen, security staff, and floor persons need training. Training should include but not limited to:powers of arrest, use of force, conflict resolution, how to call the police, handling emergency situations, etc.

In this case I agree with you additional staff should have been called and the police should have been notified immediately. The Bouncer could have place Number 3 under arrest for disturbing the peace(threatening to fight). I do think he used reasonably objective force to detain him. But once the Bouncer used any force Number 3 should have been arrested

If you decide to pursue this issue I would be available to provide additional information re: nightclub security.

Thanks and I enjoy your articles.

To the credit of the Fillmore Jazz Festival, the next year, 2010, the area where the event occurred was more 'controlled', patrons stood in a line to the side, and there wasn't the room where someone could stand and confront a bouncer, and great care was taken to make sure that Harry's Bar didn't get too crowded inside.

Harry's and the Fillmore Jazz Festival are great San Francisco traditions. This was in no way intended to harm them one bit. Indeed, it's a complement to the staff and to the bouncer.

Fitness Model Megan Avalon's Fitness Workout With Bowflex

If you've ever wondered how to get the most out of the Bowflex Fitness Machine, watch this video with Fitness Model and Personal Trainer Megan Avalon who hovers between Gold's Gym centers in the SF Bay Area.

Megan, who's becoming a famous fit model and is a regular in this space, shows us how to do lat pull downs, and how to work both the front chest area, and the back muscles as well.

But them, Ms. Avalon shows us why the Bowflex is a really special device: she uses it to work her triceps in a way you'd not expect unless you were an expert user.

Watch for Megan Avalon in upcoming female bodybuilding contests.