Posts Tagged ‘Alabama’

Normally people overlook the impact of what a good offensive line can have. I wasn’t alive for the era of “The Hogs” or to the Oakland Raiders with Gene UpshawJim Otto, and Art Shell but in recent years I have seen the impact of guys like Jonathan Ogden who is getting inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer after be selected 3rd overall by the newly relocated Baltimore Ravens (Formally the Cleveland Browns). Orlando Pace who was selected #1 in the 1997 NFL Draft by the St.Louis Rams really became the rock on the blind side that no one has ever seen, At Ohio State they even counted how many pancakes he would get in a game, that’s impact.

Luke Joekel, the best OLineman in the 2013 NFL Draft

The Offensive Lineman in this 2013 NFL Draft have taken the attention with great combine  numbers, and great film. We may have four OL going in the Top 10, the favorite to go #1 is  Texas A&M OT Luke Joekel.

Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher is the 2nd ranked T who could go between 4th-7th overall to this point. Alabama G Chance Warmack maybe a top 10 and not many guards do, remember Mike Iupati of the San Francisco 49ers was selected 17th in 2010 NFL Draft.

You got a high-riser in OT Lane Johnson from Oklahoma, a former JUCO transfer who turned some heads at the combine for his athleticism and quick feet. He has climbed into the Top 12 in the Draft according to some who saw him at the combine.

That’s just the start of the conversation for the OL Draft Class of 2013, there are some other tackles to like in this draft.

In the late 1st round area, your team could T/G DJ Fluker from Alabama who was apart of the BEST Offensive Line in the NCAA, he’s a bit on the bigger side but he can slide into guard, many don’t think he’s an ideal LT but can play the right side well.

Brennan Williams UNC from Easton, Massachusetts

North Carolina T Brennan Williams originally from Easton, MA, is a guy to keep an eye on as well, maybe another potential RT but remember UNC played a pro style and a spread style in the last three years, i see versatility. He blocked for RB Giovani Bernard so that’s a reflection on the whole O-Line not just him but I know Mass Athletes will be pulling for him to succeed on the NFL Level. His issue is staying healthy according to many scouts. I’d imagine the Patriots taking him to replace FA Sebastian Volmer.

The last tackle on my radar is Ohio State RT Reid Fragel, his strength is well his strength (no pun intended), his run-blocking is an area the former TE dominated at times after the move to RT. There will be more in the near future from me on Reid Fragel but the Detroit native is in a position where NFL teams love. The fact he converted from Tight End to Offensive Tackle and some compare him to Eric Winston from the Kansas City Chiefs.

Onto the Offensive Guards and Centers. I’ve already mentioned G Chance Warmack from Alabama so I’ll refrain, but the G/C class has some other big names.

G Larry Warford from the University of Kentucky

The biggest name is Warmack’s but  his Alabama teammate C Barrett Jones he’s a do-it-all Offensive Lineman, the most decorated lineman at Alabama since the Legendary John Hannah. “Roll Tide to that” would be a response you’ll often hear for sure. He won the Outland Trophy and the Rimington Trophy in his time at Alabama, that’s sheer domination.

Terron Armstead OT/G from Arkansas Pine-Bluff had an impressive 4.71 forty yard dash at the NFL Combine but his breakthrough was the East/West Shrine Game. He jumped from a 6th-7th round pick to a top 50 prospect, similar to Vlad Ducasse two yrs. ago from UMass but the difference between them is athleticism.

Larry Warford of Kentucky is a big boy at 6’3″ 333lbs but at the guard position he holds his ground. Kentucky maybe a bottom feeder in the SEC, but they weren’t a cakewalk. ANY DLine Men who squared off 1 on 1 against didn’t go by him, that’s impressive. Most likely he’ll go in the second round, but he could jump if teams don’t overdraft the un-deserving QBs.

Keep in mind when watching the Draft 2013 that you’re going to see a lot of “fat guys” so for those who like QB’s and skill players which I don’t, I’m a defensive fooball fan, then this isn’t going to be your favorite draft, but the comeback of blue-collar football maybe what is best for the NFL with the birth of the read-option in the NFL. There will be more info on the Draft just stay posted on Da Don’s Verdict.

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Eddie Lacy completes his college career as a two-time defending national champion, now onto the NFL Level.

Next on my list at number four is the bruiser tailback from the two-time defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Yes I’m talking about Eddie Lacy.

Talk about a guy who could run you over, but he’s only 6’1″ 220lbs (I would argue he’s way more than that). But regardless he runs hard and like Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson and way back with Shaun Alexander before him he fits everything the Tide fans want. Like those three he doesn’t waste much time behind the line of scrimmage. He picks a hole and simply runs straight, after all Barrett Jones basically did all the work for him before the play, and AJ McCaron is flawless with the exchange.

In other words he’s definitely not a dangler. Although he did ran for 1,322 yards and 13TDs as a junior this past season, splitting time with freshman phenom TJ Yeldon. He’s not flashy, he’s not graceful, he’s vintage like John Riggins or Otis “OJ” Anderson in the days of roc’ em soc’em football.

He is better than fellow 2013 NFL Draft power back LaVeon Bell from Michigan State. It’s not because of the SEC factor cause most SEC backs struggle in the NFL (Moreno, Ingram, Hardesty etc.) there are exceptions and that is Arian Foster, and Lacy would benefit in a system like Houston with Kubiak a mastermind offensively and he could do what Doug Martin did this season. Bell on the other hand is a bit slow although he may be stronger.

Eddie Lacy dragging Ole Miss Rebel defenders along the field. Displaying brute strength and power at the running back position

He was in my eyes the offensive player of the game in the SEC Championship Game with his consistent carries eventually leading to 181 yds. on 20 carries with 2TD vs Georgia, and it continued in the National Title Game rout against Notre Dame.

We all know Alabama has three potential first round picks on their offensive line with C Barrett Jones, G Chance Warmack, and  T DJ Fluker.

But think of the SEC as a league where if you lose the battle at the line of scrimmage, you can’t win. This includes running the ball in which Lacy was a major red zone go to guy for them, he capped off those long drives with TDs.

To my belief, his stock is in the 2nd-3rd round range, but some have gone as far to say that teams believe he’ll wind up being the first running back taken in the 2013 NFL Draft. I certainly feel he’s somebody you can pair with somebody as opposed to making him a feature back, though I feel he will be effective. Not at a pro-bowl 1,500 yd level but maybe as a Green-Ellis type where he may not be the ideal choice but definitely more than manageable.

As far as perspective teams I’m leaning with the St.Louis Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Dallas Cowboys.

For the St. Louis Rams I know that Jeff Fisher would like to be able to trade Steven Jackson, the same way the Cincinnati Bengals were able to trade Corey Dillon in 2004. If so, Daryl Richardson a former 7th round pick would need some assistance, that could be Lacy, and we all know how much Fisher loved Eddie George when he coached the Tennessee Titans.

Lacy would benefit in a  system like Pittsburgh greatly, they appreciate the style in which he plays. They miss Jerome Bettis, and for the older fans Franco Harris. But my main reason is Rashad Mendenhall. He may not be able to carry the load as heavy as they once thought when they drafted him back in 2008 with all the injuries and fumbles .

Last but not least the Cowboys, and what a blunder this turns out to be. They have a glamour boy in Felix Jones, who can’t stay healthy for more than 8 games a year and they have DeMarco Murray who simply can’t stay healthy cause of his awful pad level. Lacy becomes the power back they’re desperate for and in time this is a wise investment for the salary cap ridden Dallas Cowboys.

My NFL player comparison for Eddie Lacy would be a mix of three guys Jamal Lewis, Peyton Hillis, and former Kansas City Chief Larry Johnson. Now hear me out on this all three of those backs won’t certainly blow you away, but they all get the tough yards, battle on those short-yardage plays and they also finish on the goal line particularly around the five-yard line which I bet some teams wish they had at their disposal heading into every single game.