Monday, April 18, 2011

Training for"NFL" Football

(This article is the 6th Installment of the "Pro Draft Report" By Football Reporters Online)

Training for "NFL" football?

By Eric Dolan-Beyond Sports Network Partner & Parisi Speed School Owner/Trainer

Before getting into the “training for football” thing, it is important to look at why we care so much about football. We have coaches, trainers, scouts and journalists along with former coaches, trainers, scouts and journalists being dubbed as “experts” in football. Everybody has an opinion and everybody justifies their opinion using film, stats, athletic feats, and so on. At the end of the day, we are all fans and we all claim to evaluate without bias and to base our opinion on how some particular player looks on the field of play. This claim is basically a lie. Let’s face it, how the guy plays is only part of the equation. There is the difficult task of trying to figure out “how his game translates to the NFL.” While I am a believer in actually watching the man play being the most important step, it is true that schemes are different and different players fit different schemes.

There are guys better suited to play in the CFL, for example, than in the NFL. I don’t believe every CFL player is inferior, but I do believe the required skill sets are certainly different. You have different rules, a different field, and different schemes. So, trying to figure out who fits what scheme and who may be able to play in a system they never played in before, and who may have trouble with the “mental side” of the game, and who may be too fragile emotionally to play in a big market, etc, are all things that basic film study may not easily translate.

Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Then there are the numbers. The stats. Yes, the stats that so many people claim they don’t look at. Anybody can play with numbers and make them work to their own advantage. Lies, damned lies, and statistics. We hate stats. Stats are for baseball, not football, right? Wrong. Stats are what we train for. I’m talking numbers across the board. Tackles, sacks, interceptions, receptions, yards and touchdowns are some of the numbers we look at, but there are more than these. There are numbers like how many feet of water some random unknown safety can jump out of and still land on his feet. How many back flips did Jason Pierre-Paul do again? Then there is the ultimate set of numbers known as the Combine. What gets lost in these numbers is that the Combine actually consists of several variables including football drills, interviews, written tests and so on. What we are interested in, though, are the numbers. We want to know height, weight, forty time and vertical jump more than anything else. If we can get shuttle, broad jump, and three cone times; well, that’s just icing on the cake. How big are his hands? So, we train for this – not making our hands bigger, but the other stuff. We train to put on Vernon Davis and Mike Mamula displays of athleticism. This training and these numbers move millions of dollars in and out of the hands of future professional athletes before they ever sign a contract. A dominant, SEC, 3-year starter, and widely respected inside linebacker is a first rounder on everybody’s board. Oops. He ran a 4.97 forty. Umm, second rounder because of his production and despite his struggles with long linear speed.

The truth is, we have to train to become a better athlete in order to perform on the field, and we have to train to test well when the time comes. Some believe that testing and playing do not correspond. I do not completely agree with this. Testing may not always directly correspond, but there will be aspects that do and good, hard training is good for an athlete no matter how you slice it. Let’s take a look at Mark Ingram this year. Most feel he is the best running back in the draft. Some weren’t thrilled with his forty time because it was basically average. He caught a little slack for this. What few pointed out was that he had an exceptional “ten yard” dash to start the run. He obviously trained and trained hard on that run, but focused on the initial ten yards. Now we should ask ourselves whether we want a RB with a blazing forty or one who goes from zero to top speed in the shortest time and distance – a blazing 10 yarder. How many RB’s have to go fast in under 10 yards, stop and do it again versus how many run straight for 40 yards on any single play. Keep in mind there are different ways to time these players as well. Hand timing with a stopwatch will give the fastest times. Electronic timing will give the slowest, but most accurate. The NFL Combine uses a hand start, electronic finish which lands somewhere in the middle.

The other big tests are the 20-yard (5-10-5) shuttle and the three cone (L-drill) which are measures of agility and change of direction. The 5-10-5 also shows short lateral speed; and the vertical jump and the broad jump, which show different levels of explosiveness. The 60-yard shuttle is another popular drill that also indicates levels of stamina. I hear varying opinions on the importance of this drill. There is no doubt that we will never run an exact 20-yard shuttle, counting our steps, on the football field. We will also never do a standing broad jump on the football field. I’m fairly certain a 60-yard shuttle has never been attempted during a game either. Of course, if I told you that I could train you in these areas and I would promise you to get faster, more explosion, have more agility, quickness and stamina; would that make you a better ball player? It certainly can’t hurt.

A football player must first become an athlete. Training should start with this premise. We should absolutely move into sport-specific and testing-specific training within an appropriate time prior to taking the field or participating in a combine, but we need the basic fundamentals of athleticism before we can reach full potential in the more specific areas. We must eventually master football though. There is a great story about an NFL personnel guy and a coach arguing over a player and the coach finally admits he took the guy because of his great athleticism. The personnel guy responds with “You want great athletes, go to the Olympics, but the problem is half of them are women. I’ll get you great football players if that’s what you’re looking for.”

I love that story and it is absolutely true that a great athlete does not make a great football player. Of course, most great football players are indeed great athletes and have trained as such. When we get into sport specific training mode, strength, flexibility and injury prevention tend to get lost at times and these are the most important aspects of our training. Players should always perform an active and dynamic warm-up before training. I’m not talking about static stretching and a quick jog around the backstop. Stretch a cold rubber band out and let me know what happens. I’m talking about a good warm-up that actively assists in flexibility and strength. A good warm-up will not only loosen you up, but you will break a little sweat. A good warm-up increases your core temperature, activates your central nervous system and gets your muscles in competition mode.

Focus on technique. This is where combine-specific training really comes into play. You want more speed, power, and explosion – you need to generate more force production. Strong legs will do that. Technique will make the difference. The challenge with technique is that it’s a re-learning experience. This is why combine training takes such a long time to master. We all taught ourselves how to run when we were two years old. We also taught ourselves how to jump. Nobody learns how to efficiently run and jump with the least amount of wasted movement and best techniques to maximize force production until they are much older than two. This is a complete change in mental and neural makeup. One must completely change how their body acts and responds until it actually becomes the way their body acts and responds. This change in make-up goes for test training as well. You will actually hear players counting their steps, for example, when practicing their shuttles. Everything has to be on point and perfect. There is no quick fix to training for a combine or pro-day. Players pay monetarily, physically, emotionally and huge in time commitments to train for strength, flexibility, injury prevention, technique and, of course, statistics because they stand to gain and lose a lot more based on a tenth of a second.

Eric is a recent addition to the contributors List at the FRO. He is the Director of Scouting & Training at our co-operators BEYOND SPORTS NETWORK ( and a Parisi School Owner/Operator In Maryland.

3.8 Earthquake In SF Bay Area On Day Celebrating 1906 Quake

Just about five minutes ago, the office where I work out of my home shook just enough for me to wonder if it was a bus crash into the building or an earthquake. One check of Twitter revealed it to be the latter:

CesarQuintero Cesar Quintero
RT @beckyfc: @moshbrown Well, it IS the 105th anniversary of the earthquake that destroyed SF in 1906. Perhaps it was a commemoration quake.
42 seconds ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Yep. On the day when the Bay Area remembers the giant 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, the earth shook, and it wasn't planned. It was small, some felt it, others did not:

amandamaiyang amanda mai yang
i didn't feel the earthquake, because i have been convulsing from coffee withdrawl
2 minutes ago

Here are the details right from the website of the U.S. Geological Survey:

Magnitude 3.8

Monday, April 18, 2011 at 21:57:19 UTC
Monday, April 18, 2011 at 02:57:19 PM at epicenter

Location 37.597°N, 122.455°W
Depth 13.6 km (8.5 miles)

4 km (2 miles) SE (136°) from Pacifica, CA
4 km (2 miles) SW (220°) from San Bruno, CA
5 km (3 miles) W (266°) from Millbrae, CA
10 km (6 miles) S (175°) from Daly City, CA
20 km (12 miles) S (189°) from San Francisco City Hall, CA

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.2 km (0.1 miles); depth +/- 0.4 km (0.2 miles)
Parameters Nph= 79, Dmin=4 km, Rmss=0.1 sec, Gp= 72°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=3

California Integrated Seismic Net:

Event ID nc71560691

Stay tuned.

2011 NFL Draft Prospects on Twitter, Forget Mock Draft

The 2011 NFL Draft is just 10 days away, Zennie62 will be there (for the 7th year in a row!), and while bloggers and Draftniks are still making mock draft after mock draft, 56 2011 NFL Draft prospects (as recorded by Tweeting tweet away on Twitter, largely unnoticed by the media, outside of this blogger.

It's said that if you want to get to know someone, watch what they do and who they are online, and that's certainly true for the Draft prospects on Twitter. And who are they? The total list is at the link to Tweeting, but its equally notable for who's not on it: former Auburn Quarterback Cam Newton.

Yes, Newton's had an active Twitter account in the past, but, wary of a media seeming to look for a wrong move from him, Newton smartly went off the grid once he got into Draft season.

But that's not true for his competitors. The following top 2011 NFL Draft quarterbacks have active Twitter accounts: Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, Tyrod Taylor, and one not noted by Tweeting Athletes, Ryan Mallett @ryan_mallett_15.  (It should be noted that former Washington QB Jake Locker has a Twitter account here (@JakeLocker) , but it appears to be ran by a PR firm, because it just includes updates about him, not his comments.)

In terms of total tweets, the most active quarterback from that perspective has been Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, he leads the others with 2,184 tweets; Florida's Christian Ponder has the least at 700.  Missouri's Gabbert, the top ranked twitterer as QB, is just behind Colin K with 1,792 tweets.   Tyrod Taylor has 868.

And what do they tweet about?

The Twitter tweeting style of the signal callers is about as different as the players themselves.  Kaepernick, the favorite NFL prospect of this blogger behind Cam Newton and with Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker, has a bit of "brotha" in his Tweets, for example:

Kaepernick10 Colin Kaepernick
@JMillz90 take yo self to sleep bruh no one wans hear this nonsense lol
15 hours ago

Colin tweets to friends like Nebraska receiver @Niles_Paul. Kaepernick's tweets are compact, and mostly are not about people, but to people. When he tweets about someone, it's commonly in memorial, or to report something his Mom, friend, or agent told him. I've not seen an insulting tweet, or a tweet that could be read as such from Colin Kaepernick. If it's there, it's hard to find. That's saying something for a person who's now under the hot light of scrutiny, yet tweets as much as he does.

Blaine Gabbert's a different story.

The number two Twitterer has a lively and active tweet style. Like Colin Kaepernick, Blaine uses Twitter to communicate with his friends, who are fellow athletes like Missouri Basketball's Kim English, and his NFL Draft competitor Christian Ponder, and Wisconsin Defensive Lineman J.J. Watt. Gabbert (@BlaineGabbert) also tweets a lot about fishing, and overall reveals himself to be a likeable person.

But where Blaine differs from Kolin is in using Twitter in a way that can be called "candid."

This space got after Gabbert for issuing a tweet referring to someone as "He's an idiot," and while I was bombarded with emails and tweets defending Gabbert, never stopped reviewing his tweets. His latest one's a doosy, especially if you fly as much as I do:

BlaineGabbert Blaine Gabbert
I love watching people spaz out in the airport. Like dude....chilllllll out your flight is delayed half an hou

So, if Blaine loves "watching people spaz out in the airport," he probably scans YouTube for videos like this one, where a woman is, well, spazzing out in the airport:

But see, the problem is, rather than Gabbert coming to the aide of a person like this woman, if only to calm her, he's more likely to sit back and laugh at her or this guy in a coffee shop.

Or maybe Blaine would just tweet about it.

By contrast Christian Ponder's tweets are much like Kaepernick's but with the occasional product endorsement:

cponder7 Christian Ponder
Best thing I've ever eaten: Red Velvet Whoopie Pie from Starbucks
2 Apr Favorite Retweet Reply

Starbucks should be ringing his agent about now.

And Ponder does follow and answer the tweets of ESPN's Erin Andrews:

cponder7 Christian Ponder
@ErinAndrews I feel like you are always crying in your tweets
14 Apr

Who, apparently was following Ponder, but not any more:

cponder7 Christian Ponder
@ErinAndrews I tried to DM you but apparently you stopped following
14 Apr

Ryan Mallett's Tired Of Airports

Former Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett also has less tweets, at 977, and uses his Twitter account to communicate with friends, and tell his whereabouts.  Like his competitors, Mallett has been traveling around America, visiting various NFL Teams.  It's obvious, he's had enough:

Ryan_Mallett_15 Ryan Mallett
Tired of living in hotel rooms for a while. It has been a great process but it's almost over. #veryblessed
18 hours ago

Mallett's tweets are also compact, and contain little that's news or revealing. In other words, no controversy here.

Mike Vick's Student

Former Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor has a lot fewer tweets, and mostly about his appearances like with Michael Vick:

YoungMogulDMV AJ
by TyTaylor5
This Saturday @TyTaylor5 @MikeVick @3_B_RAN will be at Tech Bookstore 118 South Main St Blacksburg,VA tickets on sale
6 hours ago

Taylor, (@TyTaylor5) when not answering tweets from friends - he makes few quotes, and doesn't retweet much and avoids tweets that could be considered insulting or questionable, does reveal his relationship with Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Mike Vick, who's teaching him how to run the Bill Walsh Offense:

TheEliteGroup The Elite Group
by TyTaylor5
RT @MikeVick: About to teach Tyrod Taylor @TyTaylor5 the west coast offense......Each one teach one!!
5 Apr

This is part one of this series. In the nest installment, we'll compare the Twitter accounts of the top five candidates for the 2011 NFL Draft. 

The bottom line is Twitter's a great way for football execs and fans to tell what kind of person their potential draft pick is, and even to ask themselves 'Do we want to spend millions on this person?'  Right now, all of the 2011 NFL Draft Prospects I've reviewed seem to be OK, but Blaine Gabbert should cool some of his desire to issue tweets that could be read as insensitive; after all, he's going to be the face of someone's franchise.

Stay tuned.

San Francisco News - Earthquake Fetted, Bridge Fall, Recology - News Roundup

If Oakland gets coverage, why not add San Francisco news? After all, there's a lot of it, starting with marking the 105th Anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake.

According to CBS KPIX 5 News, many gathered early this Monday morning not just to celebrate the anniversary of the SF great quake, but to remember those who suffered in the Japan earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster of two months ago.

Woman Falls From Golden Gate Bridge

On Twitter, this tweet popped up two hours ago now:

cvandr Country Vacations
Girl Survives Fall From #Golden Gate Bridge -… Good grief! #SanFrancisco
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Looking deeper, it appears girl was but 16-years old, and it's not known if she fell or jumped (it's not reported as a suicide attempt) but she was in the water for 20 minutes before being rescued; the girl's at Marin General Hospital now.

Recology and SF Rec & Park Give Away Eighteen Truck Loads of Compost

Over the weekend, Recology, which collects SF's trash, hosted the "Great Compost Giveaway" and as thanks to San Francisco residents for participating in the SF's recycling and composting programs.

Thousands of participants collected their 5 gallons of compost free from Recology— compost made from the very food scraps and plant matter that San Franciscans place in their green compost bins daily. The event, co - hosted by Recology, the SF Recreation and Park Department, the SF Department of Public Works and the SF Department of the Environment, was formed to encourage more people to compost and promotes San Francisco’s popular community gardens.

USF Seeks Director Of Innovation

According to this tweet, USF, the University of San Francisco, has a job opening:

tmj_sfo_edu TMJ-SFO Educ. Jobs
Director, Center for Innovation... - University of California - San F...: ( #SanFrancisco , CA) #Education #Jobs #Job
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Other Twitter SF News:

YahooSF Yahoo!
SF Bay Area post offices open late for tax filing #taxes #sanfrancisco
13 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Gives new meaning to "hot time:"

justveri Jamal Wright
Man ‘Engulfed In Flames’ At San Francisco Porn Shop
17 minutes ago

And what about tweets about "San Francisco Mayor?"

cookiesinheaven jillian johnson
#SF Supervisor John Avalos to run for #mayor… via @sfgate #UCSB #Gaucho #UCSBAlum #SanFrancisco #SantaBarbara
28 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

RegioFora_CA RegioFora_CA
#US San Francisco pension rates fuel debate about reform: As Mayor Ed Lee strives to craft a... #SanFrancisco #News
13 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

SFNews360 San Francisco News
[SFNews 360] San Francisco Mayor Lee Not Happy With Finalists Police Chief ...: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is re...
21 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

LandisComm LandisCommunications
Smart move: #SF @MayorEdLee forms high tech advisory board. #tech
14 Apr

Stay tuned!

Tech News: Jott, Voice To Text Service, Ending As Of May 3rd 2011

Just got this email from the Jott folks that's a sad piece of tech news:

Dear Jotters,

We are writing to remind you that the Jott service will be ending on May 3rd, 2011. Please be assured that we'll continue to work to help you through this transition. We truly appreciate your business and enthusiastic support over the years, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Learn more about why we're ending the service
That's too bad. Unfortunately, I never used Jott much, but when I did, it was a kick to see my voice get translated to text, then come out on Twitter. But for some reason Jott wasn't compelling to use. It may be that it took an extra step or two to use with Twitter on the smartphone. But, for whatever reason, this blogger stopped using it after a one-month go at it, two years ago.  

So, today I click on the link, and learn...

In 2006 Jott emerged as a leader in mobile voice-to-text applications. Now, nearly two years after Jott’s acquisition and a successful integration into Nuance, we will officially end the Jott service. This may seem counter-intuitive – success leading to a shutdown. But while it is an ending of sorts, the reality is that the technology, service, talent and imagination of Jott will continue on as part of a far broader set of services. The Jott team, vision and technologies are an integral part of a global business which includes partners such as AT&T, Rogers, Bell Canada, Vodafone, Cisco, Vonage, and many others.

The dramatic expansion of Nuance’s voice-to-text services is clear evidence that consumers will respond to innovations that carriers offer, and with that in mind, we will focus our voice-to-text service investments on carrier and enterprise distribution, and no longer on

What to expect
After May 3rd, 2011 you’ll no longer be able to access any of the Jott services – Jott Assistant, Jott Voicemail, or Jott for Salesforce. Until then, Jott will continue to run as you’ve come to expect. You will not be charged for this last month – we’re making it free to all of our current subscribing customers, starting today, April 4th, 2011. Those of you who have paid in advance for annual or pay-as-you-go plans should expect to see a refund by June 2nd, 2011 for any unused portion of your plan as of April 4th, 2011.

For more information, visit the Jott blog here.  But what's Nuance?

It's essentially just like Jott, but more focused on communications solutions for corporate clients, and in different business areas. Indeed, the Nuance website is confusing, because it's hard to tell if it's offering a product app or is a consulting firm.

It will be interesting to see what Jott does with Nuance.  I have one idea of what they should do, but I think I'll keep this one for myself.  

Stay tuned.

Boston Marathon 2011: Kenyans, Ethiopians Rule

The 2011 Boston Marathon is history, and according to a Twitter tweet, Kenyans and Ethiopians rule, at least for the men:

bostonmarathon Boston Marathon
M: Top 10 finishers include five Kenyans, four Ethiopians, and one U.S. runner.
19 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

But really for the women, too. In fact, the winners, Geoffrey Mutai and Caroline Kilel were both from Kenya. Mr. Mutai finished in a blazing 2:03:02. Kilel headed the women with 2:22:36. Overall, looking at the top 10 finishers for men and women in the 2011 Boston Marathon, of the 20, only three were from the United States, including the women's second place finisher, Desiree Davila.

Who did this...
bostonmarathon Boston Marathon
W: Desiree Davila's second place time 2:22:38 was a personal record by four minutes.
9 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

And Kara Goucher finished fifth, and said afterward:

bostonmarathon Boston Marathon
@karagoucher "I love the Boston crowd. They're crazy.They were chanting my name and made me feel like a rock star.The atmosphere is awesome.
33 minutes ago

Kenyans, Ethiopians Rule: One Solution

What to do for America? Buy em! Seriously. Get some of the top Kenyan and Ethiopians runners and throw major bucks at them, given them Manhattan condos and free air travel, and then make them American citizens. After that, USA will appear more often at the top finishers lists of events like The Boston Marathon.

Really, if you care, that is.

For more details, visit the website here:

Oakland Happenings, Kwik Way And Rudy's Opening - News Roundup

This blogger follows Twitter, where there's so much information, the micro-blogging site that some call a social network, but really is a social broadcasting site, is the best news aggregator ever made to date. So what's happening, large and small, in Oakland and San Francisco? Let's check out some samples from Twitter, and other sources, too.
northoaklandnow Oakland North
#EarthDay started early in #Oakland for volunteers this weekend. See Shirley Lau's photos, contribute your own!
Checked out the link. It leads to a report that Oakland celebrated Earth Day a bit early with 79 volunteer sites set up all around the city; Earth Day is Friday, April 22nd.
MarvyMcFly MC Hegler
that's why they copy the swag (by the way I hate the word swag) RT @TDOUBLE22: Secretly, everyone want to be from #Oakland
42 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply
Not a happening, but a cool thought... But the next one is funny and of note, and the mural's cool too:
1599Geneva Black Frog
Colorful #Oaksterdam mural in downtown #Oakland ironicallt not painted by high #potheads
53 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply
That, all under the #oakland hashtag now, so not much there right now. But after I removed the # from Oakland I learned that The Oakland A's are holding MC Hammer Bobblehead day in July! Seriously...
angela3fold Angela Criser
This actually makes me want to go to an A's game...MC Hammer Bobblehead Day at the Oakland A's In July:
Other notes:

A friend, who's been involved in Oakland, Ca real estate for years, mentioned that while Mayor Jean Quan's scoring points for community outreach, she doesn't seem to be reaching out to the business community. His perspective is a good one; if that's the case, Quan's got to work to erase that feeling. Small business create jobs; getting rid of the Oakland parking ticket enforcement system (which may be illegal by the way), is one start.

Quan would counter that, she met with software companies, but they were in San Francisco. The Mayor would also say she met with the Women's Initiative for job training, and list other meetings. But what my friend means are specific steps to further improve Oakland's business climate and more hands-on contact with Oakland's established business people.  

I would translate that into this: Mayor Quan needs to get the "I won.  I'm Mayor" chip off her shoulder and meet with these folks, even if they backed Don Perata.  That's the issue for many, and I'm not dancing around it.  That's the talk.

Moving along...

Emeryville's "Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe" is opening in Downtown Oakland's Uptown District in May, in the Fox Theater, at the ground floor level. For late-night foodies like this blogger, that's welcome news. Rudy's has a kick-ass breakfast menu, too. Hopefully, I can get breakfast at 1:30 AM.

To mark the occasion, Rudy's is having a BARBIE WALK OF FAME. Check out their Facebook page here, for more information.

But I've got to ask, what is that going to do to Flora's restaurant traffic?  I still hold that Oakland's adding a lot of eateries, and at some point, one of them's going to fail.  Since Rudy's says it "can't fail," it's safe.  But the others?  I'm not so sure. 

I was at Cafe Van Kleef for a spell Saturday night, and at around 12:30 AM it was lighter than usual.  Luka's was jamming, but even there you could see the crowd thinning out.  When things were better, economically, 1AM was the ramp-down point; now it's closer to 12 AM. 

And of course if you didn't see it...

Oakland Rapper Alleged Sex Predator? Jesus Campos Murder A Hit?
A shocking and unfortunate story was relayed to this blogger by a source recently.

A very famous, well-known Oakland rapper is accused by two sources of being a sexual predator, who asks young women, in some cases underaged, if they need a ride in his car, then he "talks sex talk" to them, takes them to his home, where he proceeds to try and have sex with them - to allegedly rape them...(more)


Oakland Kwik Way - Restaurant Legend Reopens

Some good news to counter the Oakland Rapper Alleged Sex Predator? blog post.

Kwik Way, the place known for its big, greasy burgers of the 70s and 80s reopened two days ago. Its at 500 Lake Park Avenue, just down the street from the Grand Lake Theater.

During the 70s, and when this blogger was in junior high and high school, Kwik Way was known as the "hang," the favored burger joint, where one could stand outside and watch the food being prepared. It was an excellent stop after a movie at The Grand Lake Theater, so it's a given the movie palace's owner Alan Michaan is grateful for it's reopening. But it was a long time coming..(more)
Stay tuned. 

NFL Draft 2011: The Wide Receiver Rankings

(this is the 5th installment of the Pro Draft Report Presented by Football Reporters Online)

The Wide Receivers-By Zachary Powell

1. A.J. Green – WR - 6’3” – 211 lbs. – Georgia
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.48; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 1st Round

Since Green declared for the 2011 Draft, he’s been the consensus number one receiver on the board. While not possessing top-flight speed, Green has been an extremely productive player (166 receptions, 1982 receiving yards, 24 TD’s); despite missing several games to suspension and injury during his three-year career as a Bulldog. His productivity is due to a blend of his excellent height and his crafty route running which allow him to get off the line quickly and his long strides allow him to get separation. Has long-arms and great hands. Exceptional body-control that makes him very tough to defend on the deep ball. Is considered a adequate run-blocker but will have to do a better job at finishing blocks at this level. A.J. does have the tendency to get outmuscled by bigger and more physical DB’s on occasion. He has the frame to add more weight without sacrificing speed. There isn’t much to dislike about Green and he should be the first of this deep receiver class to hear his name called.

2. Julio Jones – WR – 6’4” – 220 lbs. – Alabama
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.39; Cone – 6.66) Draft Projection: 1st Round

In terms of potential, there is none greater than Alabama’s own Julio Jones. Has excellent upside but is considered raw in a number of areas. His size and speed draw comparisons to current All-Pro WR Andre Johnson (Houston Texans). He has shown the ability to go over the middle, take the big hit and hold on to the ball. His biggest assets are his hands, which he uses efficiently in creating separation; he will rarely be jammed at the line of scrimmage. The biggest knock on Jones is his inconsistency. He struggles to locate the ball on deep routes; and has the tendency to get lazy and allow the ball into his frame, which results in a number of easy passes to hit the ground. There are few receivers with his combination of size, talent and effort. Was the 2011 winner of the Sylvester Croom Commitment to Excellent Award. If Jones can put everything together, he has the potential to be an All-Pro type player.

3. Torrey Smith – WR – 6’0” – 202 lbs. – Maryland
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.43; Cone – 6.72) Draft Projection: 2nd Round

Torrey is a late bloomer, who spent the 2007 season as a redshirt. The most impressive quality from Torrey is his big-play ability; he set the ACC single-season kickoff return record with 1,089 yards, including a 99-yard return in the 09’ Humanitarian Bowl. He finished the ’10 season with 67 receptions for 1,055 yards and 12 TD’s, good enough to be placed on the All-ACC team. Smith is a dangerous runner after the catch and is a threat to take any catch to the end zone. He can struggle at getting off the line in press coverage and needs to work on fighting off DB’s. He compares favorably to former teammate Darrius Heyward-Bay, who went 7th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. Ended his career with 2,129 all-purpose yards which ranks him 2nd all time in the Atlantic Coast Conference. His value peaks here because of his ability to return kicks and his top-end speed.

4. Jonathan Baldwin – WR – 6’5” – 228 lbs. – Pittsburgh
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.45; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 2nd Round

Baldwin, an impressive physical specimen, is a bit of an enigma heading in to the 2010 NFL Draft. Blessed with an incredible combination of size and speed, he has been ranked everywhere from the #2 wideout in his class to the middle-teens. Absolutely elite in ball skills – a natural at catching the ball away from his body; and creates nightmares for smaller DB’s in jump ball situations. Averaged 18.3/per catch in his career at Pitt, speed is not a concern. Rarely is jammed at the line and has the quick burst needed to make quick adjustments in his routes. He does get lazy from time to time in route running. The major concern from scouts on Baldwin is his “diva” reputation. Baldwin publically threw his QB under the bus after a bowl loss and was arrested and charged with assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. The charges were later dropped but only add to his reputation as a bit of a problem child.

5. Randall Cobb – WR – 5’11” – 192 lbs. – Kentucky – 4.46
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.46; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 2nd Round

Elected an All-American as an all-purpose player by the Associated Press, Cobb can do a little bit of everything. Had a very productive 2010 season at Kentucky, finishing with 955 yards receiving, 401 yards on the ground and 12 total touchdowns; including 3 passing TD’s and a returned punt. Cobb has a knack for finding seems and holes in the zone – he’s quick out of his breaks and uses his body well to create separation from opposing DB’s. He lacks elite size and top-end speed but can get behind coverage from time to time. A very tough receiver who will fight for extra yards and described as relentless as a run blocker. Is susceptible to mental errors on the field and will drop an occasional easy pass. The phrase “jack of all trades but master of none” fits here. He’ll likely settle in to a slot position at the next level, similar to Wes Welker in stature and skills.

6. Leonard Hankerson – WR – 6’1” – 205 lbs. – Miami – 4.43
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.43; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd Round

Leonard Hankerson is a bit of a question mark heading in to this draft. He has the size and speed scouts are looking for at the next level but his slow development at Miami was a bit puzzling. Had only 17 catches for 203 yards in his first two years for the Hurricanes. Finished the ’10 season with 1,156 yards and 13 TD’s. Has a long stride but is slow to build speed; but has enough speed to create some matchup problems in the vertical passing game. Is fearless over the middle and can take a short-to-medium route and find a seem. He is described as “attacking” the ball with his hands and isn’t afraid to mix it up in one-on-one situations; but has poor ability to adjust to underthrown balls. Has frustrated Miami coaches with his tendency to drop easy passes. Runs more upright than you would like and is sometimes lazy in his route running. His ranking this high is strictly based upon his potential; the improvement he’s shown over his time at Miami shows his ability to be coached. He will likely need a year or two to continue his development before his contributions will be felt.

7. Titus Young – WR – 5’11” – 174 lbs. – Boise State – 4.43
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.43; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd Round

Much like Jonathan Baldwin, there are many questions about intangibles that surround Young. Often described as immature, Young was suspended 10 games during the 2008 stemming from off-the-field issues. Scouts thought he would challenge for the title of fastest receiver at the combine but ran a disappointing 4.43 (was recently clocked at his Boise State Pro-Day at 4.35). With his underwhelming size, he has to show that he can get past the secondary. Has lightning quick route running skills and is dangerous in the open-field. Young wears his emotions on his sleeve which is a double-edged sword; will get unnecessary flags thrown his way but also works hard over the middle of the field and isn’t afraid of the big hit. Struggles when jammed at the line of scrimmage and can get rerouted out of his breaks. NFL teams know what they are getting with Titus; a fiery receiver, whose production at Boise cannot be denied. He compares favorably with Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson. If he can display the same type of electricity with the ball as Jackson, someone will be getting a steal in the later parts of the second round/early third round.

8. Jerrel Jernigan – WR – 5’9” – 183 lbs. – Troy – 4.46
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.46; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 3rd Round

There is a lot to like about Jerrel Jernigan. Some will write off him due to him playing at Troy but Jerrel has shown up on the big stage (16 receptions for 145 yards in two games vs. Oklahoma in 2008 and 2010). His 4.46 forty-yard-dash time is not con. He has excellent straight-line speed and can get into the gap in a heartbeat. He is a pure-runner with the ball in his hands and has an array of moves to get opposing defenders off-balance. He could be an ideal fit for teams wanting to install a Wildcat package. The downsides of playing at a small school are questions regarding competition and the type of offense run at Troy; can he handle the complex routes at the NFL level? His size is a concern but Jernigan has worked tirelessly to add weight to his frame. His production at the NCAA level is solid but it remains to be seen if it will translate to the pro game.

9. Tandon Doss – WR – 6’2” – 202 lbs. – Indiana
Combine Numbers (40T - DNP; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 3rd Round

Tandon enters our rankings a bit behind the curve. Not able to participate in the Senior Bowl as a junior and declined to participate in the combine drills. Doss led the Big Ten in all-purpose yards and finished fourth nationally. The Indiana prospect is one of the most sure-handed receivers in this class, and perhaps one of the most experienced as a three-year starter for the Hoosiers. He has deceptive top-end speed and maximizes yards after the catch. He’ll never be mistaked for a burner in the NFL, but is the prototypical possession receiver at the next level. The biggest hole in his game is his run blocking; he gives a solid effort but his technique will need to be refined against NFL receivers. There isn’t a consensus on where Doss will end up in the 2010 NFL Draft but his skill set varies from the other receivers this year and could hear his name called early.

10. Greg Little – WR – 6’3” – 210 lbs. – North Carolina
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.56; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 3rd Round

Questions surround Little’s maturity level but his skill set as a receiver remain unchallenged. His 2010 season ended before it began as he was ruled ineligible for the season for violating NCAA benefits (receiving agent benefits). However, Little’s production level never matched up to his potential; his best season came in 2009 where he had 62 receptions, 724 yards and 5 TD’s. Little’s college nickname was the “Freak” after a game against NC State where he drove CB Jarvis Byrd ten yards off the ball while blocking on an end-around before driving him in to the ground where he eventually had to be helped off the field. His physical skills are off the chart but he drops because of the mental lapses on the field. He doesn’t pay attention to the small details and will take off a play off if he’s not involved. If he can bring it all together, he could be the biggest steal of the entire draft.

11. Edmund Gates – WR – 5’11” – 189 lbs. – Abilene Christian
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.37; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 3rd-4th Round

Gates, out of Abilene Christian, while being one of the oldest prospects to come out is also the most unexperienced. Only playing one year of high school football, Gates quit to focus more on a basketball career. After being booted from a Junior College, Gates followed his cousin Bernard Scott (NFL’s Cincinatti Bengals) to ACU. A small, but quick receiver, Gates ran a 4.37 in the forty – tops about receivers at the NFL Combine. Not the sharpest at route running and has adequate ball-skills. Every time he touches the ball, he’s a threat to score. His inexperience leaves a lot to be desired and could take time learning NFL-level routes and reading coverage.

12. Vincent Brown – WR – 5’11” – 184 lbs. – San Diego State
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.71; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 3rd-4th Round

San Diego St. was a surprise in 2010, and Vincent Brown was a big reason why. Had a productive 2010 with 69 rec. for 1,352 yards. Brown is a solid route runner…does the little things extremely well that don’t show up in the stat column. Below average speed but makes up for it with his agility and his bursts out of cuts to separate from defenders. Brown is described as a “violent” run blocker; San Diego St. has pulled him to block the backside from time to time. He’s going to have to work hard to fix the mental errors and continue to grow.

13. Dwayne Harris – WR – 5’10” – 200 lbs. – East Carolina
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.56; Cone – 6.77) Draft Projection: 3rd-4th Round

2010 Conference USA player of the year; also first team all-conference selection as a punt returned. Set ECU’s single-season records with 1,123 rec. yards and 101 receptions. Projected as a slot receiver at the next level, runs solid routes and does a nice job at getting in and out of breaks. A tough receiver; does most of his damage over the middle of the field. Lacks elite-level speed to be considered a deep threat but does have good strength to fight for extra yards after contact. Stock draft after the Senior Bowl – Harris lacked explosiveness and described as having “stone hands.” His toughness will allow him to catch on but he’ll have to work on his ability to attack the ball with his hands and now allow the mental lapses which have raised questions about his long-term status in the NFL.

14. Niles Paul – WR – 6’1” – 225 lbs. – Nebraska
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.59; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 3rd-4th Round

Nebraska wideout Paul has the physical tools to become a very good NFL prospect but his checkered past has caused him to drop on many boards. Paul finished 2010 with 39 catches for 516 yards and just one touchdown (he missed two games due to injury; didn’t touch the ball in two others). Scouts love his combination of size and strength; he’s a load to bring down in the open field. He’s got a tremendous vertical leap (36-inch). The knock on Paul is the aforementioned past (arrested twice for alchohal related offenses) and his inconsistency. Drops a lot of balls he shouldn’t (focus; and has small hands for a receiver at 8-inches). With a bit of coaching, Paul has the potential to develop in to a starter at the NFL level.

15. Gregory Salas – WR – 6’1” – 206 lbs. – Hawaii – 4.57
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.57; Cone – 6.65) Draft Projection: 4th Round

Enjoyed one of the most productive careers in NCAA history (285 cat., 4,345 receiving yards and 26 TDs). His size, strength, experience and soft hands give him tremendous value as a receiver at the NFL level. He struggled with drops at the Senior Bowl but his tape at Hawaii shows this is a strength. Release needs work and can be pushed off his route, but when allowed to get top end strength, he can make you pay. He does not have the explosiveness to break away from receivers at the next level.

16. Terrence Toliver – WR – 6’4” – 211 lbs. – Louisiana State
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.52; Cone – 6.48) Draft Projection: 4th Round

Toliver has the height to make scouts drool. A fairly unproductive player at LSU; just 85 career receptions. His length allows for long strides and smooth acceleration; has deceptive straight-line speed. Has strong hands, large wingspan ad hand-eye coordination to make the tough grab. Doesn’t always see the ball in to his hands allowing for some easy drops that frustrate coaches. Has some character issues – was arrested and charged with tampering with a police officer, disturbing the peace and public intoxication.

17. Cecil Shorts – WR – 6’0” – 200 lbs. – Mount Union – 4.53
Combine Numbers (40T – 4.53; Cone – 6.50) Draft Projection: 4th Round

Shorts is attempting to follow in the footsteps of former Purple Raider receiver Pierre Garcon (now playing for the Indianapolis Colts). Cecil began his career as a QB, but showed his all-purpose ability as a redshirt freshman (rushing for 209 yards and catching 12 passes for 289 yards). A jack of all trades but showed tremendous value as a receiver. Can line up anywhere but is most effective out of the slot; and runs every route in the tree effectively. Inconsistent using his hands in front of him; ball is frequently jarred loose. A bit lazy on routes he’s not directly involved in. Will have to show his production wasn’t the result of being the superior player athletically at the DIII level.

18. Jeremy Kerley – WR – 5’10” – 188 lbs. – Texas Christian
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.56; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 4th Round

The 2010 Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year. Just one of two players to rank in the top 20 for punt returns (12.9 yards) and kick returns (27.7 yards) in 2010. Has quick feet and ability to separate from receivers set him apart from other receivers at the Senior Bowl. He lacks the size scouts covet and will have to show he isn’t a product of the spread system at Texas Christian. His value is probably as a specialist which works in his favor as teams are using roster spots for return men and decoys in the receiving game.

19. Tyrod Taylor – WR – 6’1” – 216 lbs. – Virginia Tech – 4.51
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.51; Cone – 6.78) Draft Projection: 5th Round

Even after breaking most of Tech’s QB records, Taylor projects as a receiver at the next level. Blessed with tremendous arm strength and jaw-breaking mobility, he does project a bit on the short side as a quarterback. Has great speed and can really make defenders miss with his elusiveness and quick hips. Will work out exclusively as a quarterback in pro days and could be used as a wildcat option at the NFL level. Questions about his ability to catch the ball and run routes will have to be answered but based upon his athletic ability alone, someone will take a chance on him as a receiver somewhere in the 2010 draft.

20. Austin Pettis – WR – 6’2” – 205 lbs. – Boise State
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.56; Cone – 6.68) Draft Projection: 5th Round

Pettis leaves Boise State as the school’s all-time leader in receptions (229) and touchdown receptions (39). Steady and productive over his career; finished the year with 71 catches and 951 yards and 10 TDs for a Bronco offense that finished second in the nation in scoring offense. Good hands but not great. Comes out of his breaks with good speed; exceptional route runner. He’s a tall target at 6’2” but ran a pedestrian 4.56 and has to show that he can go vertical. Shines on the big stage and isn’t afraid of the spotlight. Could be a steal in the 5th round.

21. Darvin Adams – WR – 6’3” – 185 lbs. – Auburn
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.52; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 5th Round

22. Ronald Johnson – WR- 5’11” – 186 lbs. – Southern California
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.51; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 5th Round

23. Denarius Moore – WR – 6’0” – 191 lbs. – Tennessee
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.45; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 5th Round

24. Dane Sanzenbacher – WR – 5’11” – 182 lbs. – Ohio State
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.45; Cone – 6.46) Draft Projection: 6th Round

25. Lester Jean – 6’3” – 211 lbs. – Florida Atlantic
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.59; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 6th Round

26. Aldrick Robinson – WR – 5’10” – 182 lbs. – Southern Methodist
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.51; Cone – 6.65) Draft Projection: 6th Round

27. Orenthal Murdock – WR – 5’11” – 195 lbs. – Fort Hays State
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.55; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 6th-7th Round

28. Jockee Sanders – WR – 5’6” – 174 lbs. – West Virginia
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.51; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 7th Round

29. Mark Dell – WR – 6’0” – 193 lbs. – Michigan State
Combine Numbers (40T – DNP; Cone – DNP) Draft Projection: 7th Round

30. Terrance Turner – WR – 6’2” – 221 lbs. – Indiana
Combine Numbers (40T - 4.51; Cone – 6.77) Draft Projection: 7th Round

31. Armon Binns – WR -- 6’2” – 211 lbs. – Cincinnati
32. Kealoha Pilares – WR – 5’10” – 215 lbs. – Hawaii
33. Derrell Johnson-Koulianos – 5’11” – 204 lbs. – Iowa
34. Terrell Zachery – 5’11” – 208 lbs. – Auburn
35. James Kirkendoll – 5’11” – 182 lbs. – Texas
36. DeAndre Brown – 6’6” – 239 lbs. – Southern Mississippi
37. Tori Gurley – 6’5” – 230 lbs. – South Carolina
38. James Cleveland – 6’0” – 197 lbs. – Houston
39. Courtney Smith – 6’4” – 220 lbs. – South Alabama
40. Jeffrey Maehl – 6’1” – 181 lbs. – Oregon
41. Jamel Hamler – 6’2” – 195 lbs. – Fresno State
42. Ryan Whalen – 6’1” – 204 lbs. – Stanford
43. Keith Smith – 6’3” – 224 lbs. – Purdue
44. Graham Zug – 6’2” – 182 lbs. – Penn State
45. Markeith Summers – 6’3” – 201 lbs. – Mississippi
46. Jarvis Williams – 6’4” – 218 – North Carolina State
47. Carl Moore -- 6’2 ½” – 222 lbs. – Florida
48. Owen Spencer – 6’2” – 191 lbs. – North Carolina State
49. Marshall Williams – 6’1” – 188 lbs. – Wake Forest
50. Videl Hazelton – 6’2” – 210 – Cincinnati
51. John Chiles – 6’2” – 217 lbs. -- Texas
52. Kristopher Adams – 6’3” – 194 lbs. – UTEP
53. David Gilreath – 5’9” – 172 lbs. – Wisconsin
54. Detron Lewis – 5’11” – 211 lbs. – Texas Tech
55. Terrence McCrae – 6’2 – 195 lbs. – Ohio
56. Xavier Dye – 6’4” – 210 lbs. – Clemson
57. Armand Robinson -- 6’0” – 203 lbs. – Miami (Ohio)
58. Brandon Caleb – 6’0” – 192 lbs. – Oklahoma
59. Kyle Jefferson – 6’3” – 184 lbs. – Wisconsin
60. Trae Johnson – 5’11” – 187 lbs. – Tulsa
61. Gerald Jones – 5’10” – 196 lbs. – Tennessee
62. Jimmy Young – 6’0”—204 lbs. – Texas Christian
63. Austin Kelly – 6’2” – 205 lbs. – Duke
64. Jeremy LeFrance – 6’0” – 196 lbs. – Akron
65. Cortez Smith – 6’2” – 183 lbs. -- Purdue

Honor Roll:

Joe Horn-5’11”-180lbs.- Ashland University-As a GILAC conference (D-II) superstar, Joe has earned many plaudits during his career, and is drawing interest from several NFL teams. In his final game, Joe had 8 TD’s (yes 8), 6 Receiving and 2 Returns….