Tag Archives: NFL

What Ohio high school has produced the most NFL players?

If you’ve recently run out of ways to brag about old alma mater, Pro Football Reference has just the tool for you: a database of high schools for the 22,000+ NFL players in the site’s database.

It’s not perfect as there are some duplicate schools and typos that need to be cleaned up, but it’s still awesome if you’re a nerd who wants to know where the best players come from (And if there was any doubt, I’ve proved I fall into that category with previous pieces on the recruiting of Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel and John Cooper at Ohio State for Buckeye Sports Bulletin).

And speaking of bragging rights, the Ohio schools at the top have one of if not the premier rivalry in the state: Canton McKinley and Massillon Washington

Continue reading

Mark Cuban apparently not that informed about NFL TV or the hog market

So Mark Cuban made headlines by saying Thursday night NFL games that have been around for a decade, and Saturday games that legally can’t be televised until after the college football season is over, could lead to over saturation that hurts the league, and that was covered by everybody under the sun?

His ability as a newsmaker is unmatched.

(Full story: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says ‘greedy’ NFL ‘ is 10 years away from an implosion’ – ESPN Dallas.)

I must say I am endlessly fascinated by these situations that come up from time to time in which a person suggests something that seems plausible and could perhaps even be true but fails almost completely to actually say anything to prove their point.

Before the NFL expanded its push into Thursday night (as ESPN consistently failed to deliver worthwhile college matchups over the past few seasons), I would have agreed it seemed like a risky proposition. Though my Twitter feed seems to be clogged with people complaining about the quality of the games, ratings were up last season

"Mark Cuban just doesn't get me."

“Mark Cuban just doesn’t get me.”

Also amusing, at least to me, is that Cuban pretty much missed the mark with his fat pig analogy, too, as lean hogs have dominated that market for decades, perhaps even to the detriment to the industry.

Otherwise, he really nailed this.

Welcomed to the jungle

The ’88 freakin Bengals. Man… 25 years ago they were the first team I learned to love and the first to break my heart.

I wouldn’t learn until later the brilliance of the zone blitz, the beauty of a play fake or the genius of Guns n’ Roses, but that was a season that marked me forever as a sports fan.

I’d been going to football games since literally before I can remember, but that’s the year ideas began to congeal. I didn’t know everything that was happening on the field, but I knew Ickey Woods and James Brooks were a killer running back tandem and Boomer Esiason was the MVP of the league. No idea what a zone blitz was, but I remember David Fulcher was a bad man. Continue reading

NFL: Following playoff loss, Boomer blasts Bengals coaches

The last man to quarterback the Bengals to a playoff victory acknowledged the current Cincinnati signal caller played a role in the Bengals’ 27-10 loss to the Chargers on Sunday, but Boomer Esiason had larger issues with the lack of response he saw from Marvin Lewis and his staff in the second half.

Meanwhile, the southpaw praised the San Diego staff for turning up the heat on defense and pushing the pace on offense.

Boomer blasts Bengals coaches | FOX Sports on MSN.

Browns assembling Wolverine killing crew?

The Cleveland Browns may not catch the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North race, but maybe the signings of former Ohio State offensive lineman Reid Fragel and former Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards yesterday indicate a new goal: assuring they can Michigan.

While unique, this is an approach that figures to play well to a large portion of the Browns’ fan base that warms up for Sunday afternoon by spending Saturdays hoping for Ohio State wins and Wolverine losses.

Browns sign Edwards, Fragel.

Nate Jackson discusses life after concussions as an ex-NFL player | The MMQB with Peter King

“Because it feels good to be a missile, even when it leads to my destruction. We all know how the big story ends. If I don’t die on the field, I promise you I’ll die off of it.”

That is the conclusion of the latest in a series from MMQB examining the concussion crisis facing football – Nate Jackson discusses life after concussions as an ex-NFL player | The MMQB with Peter King.

This is the third piece out of the series I have read, and they have all been interesting. Continue reading

Potential pitfalls of tanking in the NFL

The Browns’ trade of Trent Richardson to the Colts for a first-round draft pick was an interesting move to say the least.

Richardson has not been a slam dunk, top-five pick quality guy for the Browns so far, so it’s very possible they sold high (not that the Colts’ pick is likely to be in the top 10). I know on draft day there was actually some frustration among fans they had to pick him when he was there last year because he was the best player available and drafting running backs in the first round has gone out of style, but after draft day that really loses most of its importance.

After draft day, all that matters is who on your roster can play.

I know there is a line of thinking that says being only kind of bad or event decent is pretty much a waste of time in the NFL, but I’m not sure if that is true.

Sometimes starting over causes more headaches than can be accounted for. By that I mean it can create a total number of issues that becomes too hard to deal with in the increasingly short windows of time now allowed to build a team in the NFL.

Everyone has issues every year, even the Super Bowl champions. There are no super juggernaut teams, particularly now 20 years into the salary cap era with the rosters still ridiculously small.

The thing about changing regimes is it can turn some aspects of a team that were a strength and turn them into a weakness before the pre-existing weaknesses are fixed. That makes the product worse overall. I know some believe that might not be a bad thing, but I’m not so sure.

There is so much parity in the NFL taking an all-or-nothing approach can be very dangerous and counterproductive.

So many games could go either way, often there is not much difference between 10-6 and 6-10 other than a couple of bad bounces or poorly times injuries.

That is why a couple of years ago I began to wonder if taking the long approach in the NFL is the wrong way to do it. I’ve come to believe prudent way to run an NFL franchise is to treat each season – each game, really – like a chance to win. So many things could go wrong between now and next September, it’s hard to put too much faith ever getting there even while things slip away now.

That doesn’t mean run your players into the ground or ignore the salary cap, mind you, but don’t give away assets unless you’re really getting something in return.

As much as it makes sense to leverage now for a better future, I have never been able to bring myself to root for a team to lose in order to get a better draft pick. No matter what my brain might have told me in week 14 about the difference between the first and fourth pick in the draft, I always wanted to see the Bengals pick up that third win of the season in December if it was there for the taking back in the forlorn 1990s. Maybe that is another psychological phenomenon at work, but we’ll save that topic to explore another day.

Anyway, don’t over think this. One in the hand is still better than two in the bush in the NFL. Everyone is the same when training camp starts. Where a guy was drafted doesn’t trump if he can play or not, and the bottom line is you’ve gotta have more guys who can play than the other team to win.

Maybe this move will facilitate getting the franchise quarterback the Browns have lacked for so long, but those can be found outside the top 10 if you know where to look (see Green Bay and potentially San Francisco and Seattle for current examples), and it will be interesting to see how he fares if the team hasn’t found a suitable running back to take some pressure off him while he develops.

A look at what 4 Buckeyes did at Senior Bowl practice

Four Buckeyes spent the past week in Mobile, Ala., working in front of NFL coaches and scouts in hopes of improving their draft stocks.

In the practice leading up to the game scheduled for Saturday, Mike Adams, Michael Brewster, Dan “Boom” Herron and DeVier Posey all turned in performances that gained the attention of reporters covering drills, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

The biggest impact came from the biggest of the four men – Adams. That should come as no surprise as he has been a high-profile player since his days at Dublin Coffman High School in the Columbus suburbs. A five-star recruit, Adams endured a somewhat star-crossed career. He played early but battled a variety of injuries that kept him out of the lineup. After establishing himself as an All-Big Ten player during a standout junior campaign, Adams had to sit out almost half of his senior season because of an NCAA suspension.

In Mobile, the 6-7, 323-pounder caught everyone’s attention with his mix of size and athleticism.

“I thought he was the best guy overall,” Scout.com director of scouting Scott Kennedy said after one practice. “He did a good job of protecting his edge playing from the left tackle spot. Then they moved him over to right tackle and he won both of his reps over there.”

While evaluators came away raving about Adams’ power as a run blocker, there were concerns about his pass protection.

“After a pretty solid session on Tuesday, Adams struggled with the speed rush on Wednesday,” Scout.com’s Tim Yotter said. “Marshall’s Vinny Curry burned him a few times before Adams recovered and finally got the best of Curry. But facing a quick end, Adam seemed to lose his balance too often trying to keep up with the opposing speed.”

Tony Pauline of Sports Illustrated noticed that as well, concluding, “Adams of Ohio State was not able to capitalize on his dominant performance from Monday and looked human at times this morning. How will this affect his draft stock? Let’s say at this point he’s not a lock to be a top-15 choice.”

Meanwhile, Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Weekly quoted a source as admiring Adams’ raw ability but questioning his technique.

As of now, Adams appears to be the only Buckeyes with a shot of being taken in the first round of the draft, but the trio who joined him in Mobile are certainly on the radar of NFL personnel staffs.

Brewster, a four-year starter at center for Ohio State, had some much-ballyhooed battles with former Michigan standout Mike Martin with conflicting views of which player got the better of it emerging from the practices.

“Mike Brewster went against Mike Martin and that was a spirited battle,” Kennedy told Scout.com’s Beth Long. “It was really close. I had it 3-1 for Brewster.”

Pauline also saw it closely on Monday –“Martin fired off several snaps and took the advantage with his first step, but Brewster adjusted and out-positioned Martin toward the end of the drill. It’s been fun to watch.” – but seemed to favor the former Wolverine two days later.

“Brewster of Ohio State is having a tough go of it this morning,” Pauline wrote Wednesday. “He was just beaten badly by Mike Martin of Michigan, who had been quiet most of the day. Brewster has been struggling to hold the point and continues to get pushed back off the line.”

Yotter rated Brewster among his surprises from day one of the practices.

“Typically, center isn’t a highly touted position in the NFL draft, but if Brewster’s nasty streak is any indication, he may be a consideration at guard as well,” Yotter wrote. “The 6-foot-5, 315 pound player has no problem taking a defensive lineman to the ground (legally) and giving him a little shove after that, but he also showed good leverage in early one-on-one work. He got off-balance once in drills but was generally in control despite his willingness to mix it up. His 49 consecutive starts, second-most in Buckeyes history, is a testament to his toughness.”

Posey entered with as much as anyone to gain from the Senior Bowl because of his senior season being limited to three games by a pair of NCAA suspensions, but he might not have made the impression he hoped.

The Cincinnati native predictably passed the look test and impressed scouts with his ability to get in and out of breaks smoothly and quickly, but an old familiar problem crept us as well.

“DeVier Posey continues to fight the ball as he’s a natural body catcher and he plays smaller than his near 6-2, 209-pound frame suggests,” Charlie Bernstien of Scout observed. “Posey has been one of the biggest disappointments at the Senior Bowl.”

Rob Rang of CBS Sports described Posey as posing the most formidable physical challenge to a gifted set of cornerbacks on the North squad but expressed concern about the former Buckeye dropping too many passes that were not placed perfectly.

“Posey struggled adjusting to passes slightly behind and had a couple of big play opportunities simply bounce to the ground because he allowed passes to get into his pads rather than catching the ball with his hands,” Rang wrote.

Finally, there was Herron. The running back weighed in at 5-9, 212 and impressed with how hard he ran but did not get a passing grade in pass protection.

“Dan Herron of Ohio State showed surprising foot quickness today,” Pauline wrote Wednesday. “After being stuffed on the inside for a few handoffs, Herron suddenly displayed the ability to bounce around the outside and avoid defenders and piles.”

Pro Football Weekly raised the pass protection concerns but was impressed with how Herron ran routes.

Ohio State’s NFL Draft Hopefuls

Ohio State may go a second consecutive year without a first round pick (that hasn’t happened since 2002-03), but there figure to be plenty of Buckeyes hearing their names called before the weekend is over.

I’m not too surprised Cameron Heyward has slipped out of most mock drafts. He may yet be a first-rounder, but if he is not it will be a result of a couple of things: the unusual depth at defensive end and his being only a decent pass rusher.

I see Cam as a ‘tweener – not quite big enough to play inside all the time but not quick enough to get to the quarterback from the outside. He can do everything, but the things he does well aren’t that exceptional or rare. That’s why for two years I’ve felt he most likely ends up in a 3-4 as an end. He should kill it in that role anchoring one side of the defense and tying up blockers while others take the glory. He’s actually done a lot of that at Ohio State in Jim Heacock’s ever-evolving defense, but there are a lot of big, strong guys who can overpower an offensive tackle in the NFL. Sacks are at a premium, and that’s going to cost Cam a little cash on draft day, but expect him to be the type a coach can plug into a spot on day one and forget about him for the next 10 years. He’ll be a fantastic guy in the locker room, too, and you can probably say that about almost every member of this OSU draft class. A former basketball player, Cam is probably kore athletic than the average 3-4 end, so he might bring more playmaking to that position than is generally expected.

No one else is a sure full-time starter, though.

I think both Brian Rolle and Ross Homan could be starters in the right scenario, but more likely they are situational guys who play special teams and fill in the when people are injured. Neither is as big as the league would like, but both run well, have great instincts and high football IQs.

From a talent standpoint, I think Homan has always been underrated (perhaps because he came from a Division IV school), but he’s had trouble staying healthy, and I’m sure that will hurt him on some draft boards. He’s always played the pass well, so I could see him winning a regular role in someone’s nickel package.

Rolle has a better chance to play every down, and he would not be the first guy with his body type to do it. He did fine in workouts, but expect him to be a guy who outplays his physical ability.

He seems like the kind of guy the Colts or another Cover-2 team like the Vikings could use. He has the strength to hold his own inside, but his frame makes him susceptible to getting walled off a bit too easily.

I think the same thing (Re: scheme) about Jermale Hines, but that would be if he adds a few pounds and moves to linebacker. Probably 10 years ago he would be an in-the-box safety such as Roy Williams, but those days are fading away as teams favor smaller, faster safeties to combat the league’s growing pass-happiness.

Size aside, Hines is a great football player. He plays hard, brings the wood without getting out of control and reacts very quickly to what he sees. It’s not hard to see why the coaches always praised his football sense, and he plays fast as a result. Of course, a move to linebacker brings questions about how he would handle blockers.

The two cornerbacks both seem to me to be greater enigmas than you would imagine from multi-year starters, but neither Chimdi Chekwa nor Devon Torrence ever really seemed to excel at turning and playing the ball consistently despite both having the size and speed to run with and compete with anyone. That leaves me wondering if they could learn in the pros or they are what they are. Torrence, in particular, has reason to be raw considering he maintained a baseball career until two years ago and began his OSU career as a wide receiver.

Moving to the other side of the ball, I’d take both guards, Justin Boren and Bryant Browning, on my team any day. Both are intelligent guys, strong guys, but neither is among the most athletic at their position. I bet both get under-drafted but are on 53-man rosters next year.

Boren plans to play closer to 300 pounds than the 320 or so he carried last season, so it will be interesting to see what effect that has on him. He’s a mauler who finishes every block.

I must admit Dane Sanzenbacher had a far better college career than I expected after seeing him in high school, and I’m afraid I’ll be guilty of doubting him again as he moves to the next level. He’s got great hands, smarts and plenty of speed. He can find open spots in a zone and open up a guy in the open field to create separation, but I’m not sure how he can get off the line of scrimmage in the NFL. I like his quickness, but I’m afraid he lacks the upper body strength to beat jams and break tackles to run after the catch. I’m guessing he’ll get drafted, and he’s got a chance to impress a coach and make a team, but I’m not sure what kind of impact he’ll have over time.

Finally, there’s Brandon Saine. He was invited to the combine, where he predictably ran well, and he has great hands for a running back, but he has never had much luck making people miss or finding daylight. He may be a great sprinter, but he lacks short-area quickness. He might have a role with a team, but it will take some creativity.