Saturday, April 30, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Thoughts And Video Interviews - Part One

While this is not the last blog post on the 2011 Nfl Draft, by this space, it's a good idea to start summing up what happened at the NFL's Annual Player Selection Meeting. The idea of segmenting thought into word groups is appropriate, accompanied by 2011 NFL Draft videos that fit them.

Chaos and Controversy

The off-then-on again nature of the National Football League Lockout and the overarching struggle with the NFL Players Association dominated and colored every aspect of the production of The NFL Draft, and made long time draftniks observe that it seemed to put the normally relaxed NFL staff on edge.

Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had to deal with how fans viewed the labor struggle, and constant questions from the media, including this blogger. Goodell handled it all with his customarily smooth intensity. Here, during the NFL Red Carpet, Goodell said he just wants the players to get back to the negotiating table, but seemed to imply getting them to do so was as hard as running against the 1985 Chicago Bears Defense:

And when the NFL Labor Issue wasn't the focus, former Auburn Quarterback Cam Newton was. Cam, for reasons that focus on classic American Cultural issues with outgoing, confident black men, became a polarizing figure. At times, it was hard to figure out if criticism of Newton was based on race issues or very real concerns. It was an issue I talked about to varying degrees with three NFL Draft Media veterans,'s Vic Cariucci, CBS Sports' Clark Judge, and NFL Network's Steve Mariucci (who provided a more comprehensive view of the quarterback situation beyond Cam Newton), as well as "McLovin" from The Dan Patrick Show:

Frankly, the entire Cam Newton Controversy really altered how I think about the NFL and the media. The criticisms of Newton's intellect and made-up assumptions about his character were all too much like classic ways that black men have been put-down in America.

Coupled with Donald Trump's overzealous focus on President Barack Obama's birth certificate, it seemed like some people and media institutions (like the USA Today) that America gave an iconic spotlight to were degenerating into institutional racists, bent on using the age-old image paint that tries to makes a black person look unAmerican in the case of President Obama and Mr. Trump, and unintelligent and dangerous in the case of Cam Newton and the USA Today.

Even Ryan Mallet, who was heavily hammered for his character issues and an arrogance that's not unlike Eminem at his defiant best, fell in the NFL Draft - fell up to The New England Patriots. Now, Ryan's in position to be the heir-apparent to Tom Brady. I'll bet even Newton's looking at that development with some envy, because at Carolina, the burden's on his shoulders, where Mallet can kick back and learn from the best. Still, Newton's in position to collect a big guaranteed check, and huge endorsement deals, as long as he keeps smiling. Right now, he's just relieved:

Still, I came away feeling a little sorry for Blaine Gabbert, because, while he welcomed the competition, had to feel a little weird being painted as the "white male" alternative to Cam Newton.

Here, in Gabbert, is a young man completely of the 21st Century, with tons of black friends and zero race issues, dealing with American Cultural issues with race mostly possessed by people contaminated by the racist stench of the 20th Century, and old enough to know better. Even as he may have been a kind of pawn in the game, the hype surrounding Gabbert landed him in a great place: Jacksonville. It's just that he wanted to be the number one pick - you could see that in his eyes:

Promise and Faith

Seeing new New York Giants Cornerback and 2011 NFL Draft First Round hire Prince Amakamura meet former New York Giant Tiki Barber, who's returning to the NFL, was interesting because it was just simply two ships passing in the day who had a lot of information of common interest to share. Tiki, a player under Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin, can certainly talk to Prince about how to work with "Coach C" and Prince Amakamura can learn about life as an NFL Player from Barber, and talk about how the college game as changed since Tiki played.

Moreover, Tiki Barber's return to football, while taking a promising path, is still really one big question mark until some NFL team expresses a need for him. This space is rooting for his return to the NFL, if only to add to his already expansive playing resume, but also to regain what seems to be the diminished sheen of his NFL playing career.

Fun Times And People - Next

Former Alabama Defensive Tackle Marcell Daureus is just plain ready to take over the Buffalo Bills Defense, and it shows in this interview below (and this blogger will post an interview with former Auburn and now Detroit Lions Defensive Tackle Nick Fairley on Sunday night).

And in this area we have to place new Bengals Wide Receiver AJ Green, Denver Broncos new Linebacker Von Miller, and Green Bay Packers new pass-catcher Randall Cobb, who will bring a "Wild-Cobb" style to the Packers already explosive offense. Cobb's going to be fun to watch up there in the Frozen Tundra.

For more videos, visit and stay tuned for the next installment of this 2011 NFL Draft recap.

Stories Waiting to be Found at Your County’s “Office of the Unclaimed Dead”

What happens when someone dies who has no assets - or friends or relatives - to pay for his burial?

As our society becomes more and more fragmented, and the economic crisis worsens for more and more people, your jurisdiction may be struggling to pay for the disposition of bodies of indigents. Or, perhaps you've had a recent experience yourself with a neighbor or a friend, or even a local homeless person, who died unable to afford a burial. What happens then?

Procedures for pauper's burials vary widely by jurisdiction. It is one of those little-discussed arenas of public health, a topic that often intersects with the deaths of the homeless.

In Florida, counties bear the cost of burying indigents.  But, in Leon County, for instance, friends and relatives may not attend the burial at the Pauper's Cemetery, due to "liability issues," and cremation is not allowed. In Bexar County, Texas,  paupers are entitled to a simple casket, a viewing for up to two hours, burial three to a plot (one to a plot for children), a brief gravesite service, and a granite headstone. Cremation is allowed.

When I was a medical resident here in San Francisco, an Office of  the Unclaimed Dead (literally) handled paupers' burials. Now, the San Francisco Medical Examiner's office handles them.

San Francisco has roughly 250 indigent deaths a year to manage - approximately one a weekday. Richard Vetterli, adminstrator of the Office of the  Chief Medical Examiner, is the person charged with dealing with these cases.

Establishing identity is a crucial first step, Vetterli says. As in most major urban areas, San Francisco's medical examiner investigators use DNA databases and publicity. Most people are conclusively identified fairly quickly. But there are still, even after prolonged and intense efforts, John and Jane Does who remain unidentified, sometimes for years.


Disclaimer: Identifiable patients mentioned in this post were not served by R. Jan Gurley in her capacity as a physician at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, nor were they encountered through her position there. The views and opinions expressed by R. Jan Gurley are her own and do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the City and County of San Francisco; nor does mention of the San Francisco Department of Public Health imply its endorsement.

Photo Credit:  Potters Field image from Bcostin via flickr

Photo Credit:  Tagged body image from Calvin Cropley via flickr

2011 NFL Draft Is History - Chada Ozugwu Is Mr. Irrelevant

As my friend and NFL Draft co-worker (for the 7th Year) Bill Chackhes and me, Zennie Abraham, pack up to leave Radio City Music Hall, Paul Salada has just announced that 254th pick in the 7th Round is to the Houston Texans - Chada Ozugwu DE, from Rice. He's Mr. Irrelevant!

For the 37th year, "Mr. Irrelevant" has been the focus of something called "Mr. Irrelevant Week." According to Mr. Salada, Ozugwu will be feted at "dinners and Disneyland" and everywhere around Newport Beach June 20th to June 24th.

Thanks To The NFL

This is my seventh year and it's been great working with the NFL. For 2012, I've asked Dr. Chackhes to be the Zennie62 NFL Draft Expert. The 2012 team in New York will be centered around him, as I design an approach and build a team for this event that takes better advantage of mobile tech.

Who Had The Best Draft?

As for which team had the best 2011 NFL Draft...

Stay tuned!

2011 NFL Draft - Cal Bears Represent

The consistently improving football program at Cal (er, the University of California) is well represented at the 2011 NFL Draft here at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

First, four Golden Bears have been selected thus far: Defensive End Cameron Jordan to the New Orleans Saints in Round One, Running Back Shane Vereen to the New England Patriots in Round Two, Defensive Back Chris Conte to the Chicago Bears in Round Three, and Mike Mohamed, to the Denver Broncos in Round Six.

And while Mohamed's the steal of the draft among Cal players picked, there are other Golden Bears still on the board that will be great additions to the NFL: DL Keith Browner, OL Donovan Edwards, OL Richard Fisher, OL Chris Guarnero, DB Darian Hagan, DL Derrick Hill, LB Jerome Meadows, DB Bryant Nnabuife, OL Marvin Philip, LB Jarred Price, QB Kevin Riley, WR Jeremy Ross, and FB Will Ta'ufo'ou.

Riley recently worked out for San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, but the word on the NFL Draft Floor at Radio City as I write this is that Riley "can't read past the first receiver...And if his legs aren't in the air like a cockroach after getting hit, he's running for his life."

Right now, we're at Pick 246 in Round Seven. Maybe there's hope for Kevin Riley.

Cameron Jordan And Mike Silver

And this Cal Bears blog post would not be complete without a mention of long time NFL sports writer and friend, Yahoo!'s Mike Silver, who first cut his journalist's teeth as a sports writer for The Daily Californian. Now, Mike's famous for getting his best scoops while getting rat-blast-wasted with his NFL news sources.

Mr. Silver's not here, but was mentioned by fellow Yahoo! Sports reporters while the group of media were interviewing Jordan. In a video that will be uploaded Sunday, Jordan jokes about Silver and a kind of Silver-Fest breaks out. Off-camera, Jordan was warned not to drink with Mike, to which he responded "I already did!"

Stay tuned and GO BEARS!

Dallas Cowboys Get Tyron Smith, Steal Carter In 2011 NFL Draft

The Dallas Cowboys went after the big offensive tackle they wanted in USC's Tyron Smith, and got what many see is the steal of the 2011 NFL Draft in LB Bruce Carter from North Carolina. For fans who wanted the Cowboys to go after a quarterback (and let's face it what fan doesn't?), Tony Romo's job is intact, even as fans point to the "need to address the quarterback position."

This space holds that it's a scheme problem at passer, not a talent problem. But this blogger digresses; back to the subject of the Dallas Cowboys and The 2011 NFL Draft.

Much is known about USC's Tyron Smith, the 6-5 307 pound left tackle with a 29-inch vertical leap and a 4.6 40-yard-dash time, who's one of those "set and forget" offensive linemen who will play in the NFL for something like 10 years. NFL Draft Expert Dr. Bill Chachkes, says "he's a hard worker, who's very motivated to give his best all the time. The issue is how well he pick up what will be his third system in three years. He was with Pete Carroll, then Lane Kiffin, both at USC, and now the Cowboys. Because he came out early, that's three systems in three years."

Here's Smith against Cal last year:

But the talk is about Bruce Carter. At 6-2, 241 pounds, Carter's in the mold of Oakland Raiders Linebacker Rolando McClain, but while two-inches smaller, is just as fast - but some question his hitting ability. As this video of North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech shows, while Carter's not one who clobbers people, he gets to the ball, and in a hurry:

Still, Cowboy fans will be waiting to see Carter lay the wood to a Washington Redskins player.

A Fast RB

In 2011 NFL Draft Rounds Three to Six, the Cowboys took Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray, Missouri St. OT David Arkin, and Buffalo DB Josh Thomas, and East Carolina WR Dwayne Harris, the Cowboys addressed areas of depth concern, but no clear draft steals.

Of course, if DeMarco Murray lives up to his 1,214 yard 2010 effort, this blogger will have to erase that last sentence.

Oakland Raiders Miss QB, Add Beef In Wisniewski In 2011 NFL Draft

New York, NY - For the Oakland Raiders The 2011 NFL Draft may not have provided the bonanza of impact player picks of the 2010 NFL Draft, paced by speedster Jacoby Ford, but the Silver and Black did add beef in two top college lineman prospects: Stefen Wisniewski and Joseph Barksdale.

Stefen Wisniewski, from Penn St., is the nephew of popular Oakland Raiders Legend Steve Wisniewski, and a player NFL Draft expert Dr. Bill Chachkes says can play "either left or right tackle, but really is best suited as a left tackle." By contrast, Joseph Barksdale, from LSU, is best at the right tackle position.

In between the two linemen, the Raiders added Miami's Demarcus Van Dyke, one of the fastest defensive backs at the 2011 NFL Combine. Here's a video highlight:

And in addition to fast, both Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa are at, or in the case of Mr. Chekwa, over 6-feet tall. Both are also knowns as DBs who can cover and hit - perfect for the Raiders style of play.

Adding Skill People

The Raiders added skill position players in the lower rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft, including Eastern Washington RB Taiwan Jones, Tennessee receiver Denarius Moore, and Miami Tight End Richard Gordon in rounds four, five, and six.

Of those three, Richard Gordon just may be the steal of all Raiders picks for this year thus far. Hammered by injury, his "good blocking but no-catch" rep was almost stuck on him for much of his time in college, but in 2009 he did make six grabs, and then-Miami Head Coach Randy Shannon remarked Gordon was even better in practice.

Looks like the Raiders got a player who's just seeing the upside of his potential.

Stay tuned.

Seattle Seahawks Go For Beef In 2011 NFL Draft

New York, NY - After a largely successful 2010 NFL Draft, the first for new Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks second campaign has the team adding more beef to the squad.

With the 25th pick in the 1st Round, the Hawks took Alabama offensive lineman James Carpenter, who some scouts say can start "immediately" at right tackle. resident NFL draft expert Dr. Bill Chackhes says "He can play any position on the right side, tackle or guard, but has never played to his left. Seattle may want to convert him to left tackle, which may take time."

After Carpenter, the Seattle Seahawks added Wisconsin Guard John Moffitt, who will compete for a starting job at either right or left tackle. Both Moffitt and Carpenter are well over 300 pounds, and represent Coach Carroll's objective of improving the Seahawks's already punishing ground game.

In rounds Four and Five, the Hawks added a linebacker in Mississippi St.'s K.J. Wrights, and then the first skill position player, Georgia Wide Receiver Kris Durham. Defensive Backs Richard Sherman from Stanford and Mark Legree from Appalachian St. and the effective Nevade Wide Receiver Niles Paul round out the Seahawks's picks in Round Five.  

On Paul, Dr. Chachkes' friend Russ Landy of GM Junior, a scouting service (who's behind us on the NFL Draft Floor) says "Paul has good potential, but struggles to run routes, and is not a flexible as he could be."

No Quarterback?

Many Seattle Seahawks fans were looking for Coach Carroll to pick a quarterback to start their 2011 NFL Draft efforts. But the message sent appears to be that the organization likes it's current group of signal callers, even as veteran Matt Hasselbeck will not be returning to the team for the 2011 Season.

Stay tuned.

2011 NFL Draft - Ryan Mallett To Pats Is Talk Of Internet

As The 2011 NFL Draft comes to a close, (we're in Round Five as this blog post is written) the talk of the event is not Cam Newton to the Carolina Panthers, but former Arkansas Quarterback Ryan Mallett, as he was drafted by the New England Patriots.

Dr. Bill Chachkes, and Football Reporters Online Editor says that Mallett "Still (has) a great deal of potential, but he's got to learn to be humble behind Tom Brady. The Patriots will have to deal with his character issues."

It's those "character issues" that have caused Ryan Mallett, called "Big Tex" and the holder of the Arkansas school record for completions in a game (87 percent), to fall to the Pats late in the 3rd Round, when many projections had him picked as high at the 1st Round.

Specifically, some have called him "arrogant" and was said to have tested positive for drugs. Moreover the whispers around the NFL Draft floor are that Mallett admitted to the problem. That information was as much confirmed in the Kansas City Star.

But, with all that, Ryan Mallett is confirmed as the Pats new quarterback.

What Mallett brings to the table that makes him a steal for the Pats is perhaps the best pocket-presence and pro-style experience of any  of the 2011 NFL Draft QB Prospects.  Plus, there are throws Mallett made in college that aren't typical at that level of play.   For example, Mallett routinely throws without a hitch-step off play action from the I Formation. And Mallett, who's father is a coach and comes from a football family, is adept at reading defensive coverages, perhaps the best at this in the 2011 NFL Draft.

What happens to Mallett from here is in the hands of the Pats. Indeed, Ryan looks like he's in the best place for his future.

2011 NFL Draft –A closer look at 3 small school prospects

A close up of 3 Small School Prospects-By Matt Elder-Special Contributor-Football Reporters Online

Matt takes a closer look at three prospects for this draft from smaller schools.

Every year scouts from all over the country fly into places like Columbus, South Bend, and Athens. They come looking for the next big thing, the next sure fire prospect, and the guy who’s going to take their team to that next level. However every year players emerge that are not from places like Madison, Tuscaloosa, or Eugene instead these players come from places like Hampton, Charleston, and Hillsdale. Every year players come from the lower levels of college football and leave draft fans asking “Who?” on draft weekend. This article is going to over three players who are looking to be the next small school prospect to leave their mark on the NFL. We’ll look at one prospect who will get drafted, one who should get drafted, and one who deserves to get drafted.

Who Will Get His Shot...

DT Kendrick Ellis-

A dancing bear out on the field, Ellis's combination of size and athleticism is frankly frightening to opposing offenses. Coming from a very tradition rich Hampton program, Ellis has seen his stock sky rocket since his year ended in November. Ellis has a terrific first step as he explodes across the line of scrimmage and often catches the opposing offensive lineman off guard and gets the immediate advantage. He plays with very good leverage, and knows how to get low and explode out of his stance. He is incredibly strong coming out of his stance often being able to overpower players at the point of attack. I would like to see Ellis work hard on the fundamentals. He needs to stay low throughout the play, Ellis has a tendency to get high after initial contact and this can cause him to lose leverage battles. It has gone unnoticed by many due to his level of competition, because of how strong Ellis is he has been able to blow through most of the interior lineman he faced regardless of his technique, so he has never had a need to perfect that. There are questions about Ellis's character and work ethic after his dismissal from South Carolina. Ellis was initially suspended for part of 2008 for an undisclosed violation of team rules over the summer, and right before SEC media day Ellis was dismissed from the team for yet another violation. What caused the violation has never been disclosed but one has to assume that this has to be more than simply missing a curfew or being late to a team meeting. That being said seeing how far Ellis has risen on most boards is a sign that he must be answering questions surrounding his dismissal the right way and convincing people that he is worth the risk that comes along with taking players with character concerns.

Combine Results:

6'4, 346 lbs., 35” Arms, 10.5” Hands, 5.28 40, 26 Bench Press Reps (225 lbs.)


2010-94 Tackles, 15 TFL's, 2 Sacks, 2 FF, and 5 QB Hurries

2009-51 Tackles, 15 TFL's, 1.5 Sacks, 1 FF, and 2 QB Hurries

Who Should Get His Shot...

CB Cortez Allen

The Citadel is known as a military college with a renowned Corps of Cadets program. Not much is made of or even thought of about their football team...until this year. This year everybody is buzzing about the tall and athletic CB in Cortez Allen. He is the type of prospect that scouts drool over and that can drive a coach to pull their hair out. The issue with Allen has always been his inconsistent technique and playmaking ability. He seems to lack the instincts you want in a lock down CB despite his measurables. His 5 career INT's over 41 games played give people plenty to wonder about. However keep in mind that Allen was unquestionably the top player at Citadel and was purposely avoided by some teams in an effort to minimize his impact on the game. However when he was thrown at he didn’t always show the skills needed to go after the ball and make a play on it. This is concerning because when watching him on tape you fall in love with everything he does prior to the pass getting there. He has the speed to stay with almost all of the WR's he will be matched up against, he showed the hip fluidity to transition from his backpedal to his sprint with little loss of momentum, and he did a great job of understanding his zone coverage responsibilities. The questions surrounding Allen are all about can you get him to take that next step in his development and go from good cover corner to a true lock down man to man cover corner? If he can do that, somebody is going to have a late round steal on their hands in a relatively weak DB class.

Combine Results:

6'1, 197 lbs, 32” Arms, 8.5” Hands, 4.51 40, 4.01 Shuttle, 6.76 3 Cone, 35” Vertical, 10'09” Broad


2010-22 Tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INT's, 5 PBU's, 1 TD

2009-57 Tackles, 3 INT's, 5 PBU's, 1 TD

Who Deserves His Shot...

WR Andre Holmes-Hillsdale

Never heard of him? Doesn’t worry neither have many other people who are just now reading his name for the first time. Let me tell you why you'll want to know his name as we draw closer to the 2011 NFL Draft. Holmes hails from DII Hillsdale College which plays in the powerful GLIAC conference which is one of the stronger football conferences in DII. He has put up back to back 1,000 yard receiving seasons and really became a more consistent big play receiver in 2010. The 6'4 WR has made a habit of towering over most CB's and that was also the case at this year's NFLPA Texas v. The Nation game where he showed off good body control, and a willingness to fight through tackles and pick up extra YAC yards. The athleticism that Holmes showed off during the NFLPA game is reinforced by the fact that he was the 2010 Triple Jump Champion from the GLIAC conference. Holmes had questions remaining about his overall speed and ability to possibly separate at the next level as he headed to Indianapolis for this year’s combine. At the combine he proceeded to answer those questions laying down an impressive 4.53 40 yard dash to go along with an even more impressive 6.69 3 cone drill which shows off his quickness and ability to change directions. Moving up a level Holmes needs to show more explosiveness off the line. He's going to face more consistent and effective jams in the NFL in an effort to neutralize his down the field size advantage. He needs to show more urgency in trying to get into his routes and must learn to fire off the line to try and beat the jam. Should be an effective red zone weapon early on in his career but I think he has Marques Colston type potential as a big WR who if he learns to be just a little more physical could become dominant in time.

Combine Results:

6'4, 210lbs., 34” Arms, 8.5” Hands, 4.53 40, 4.31 Shuttle, 6.69 3 Cone 35” Vertical, 10'10” Broad


2010-104 Receptions, 1,368 Yards, 11 TD's

2009-77 Receptions, 1,076 Yards, 6 TD's

*this piece is even more timely now thta Mr. Ellis is a member of the NY Jets-The Eds*