Now that the draft's over and done with and the shockwave from millions of NYG fans simultaneously howling in despair after the Giants' first round pick of Jason Pierre-Paul has settled down (seriously, Eyjafjallajökull got nothin' on Giants' Nation), what do we do? Work? Study? Read inane editorials about roided-up DROYs? There's no real Giants news, only silly speculation about future Depth Charts and progress reports from players nursing their wounds.
Seriously. What now?
In lieu of working on my final paper covering Classical Chinese History: 2011 LB prospects to watch out for!
Now, I'm not going to pray that the Giants draft a MLB with their first pick next year. That'd mean our current guys failed spectacularly. I have every expectation that Jonathon Goff will finally figure out how to play NFL football and help turn around years of mediocre Giants LB play. However, it's impossible to absolutely predict success and health. Maybe Goff, and Dillard, and Johnson are consistently mauled by running backs and tight ends. Maybe they forget to sacrifice a virgin to the ACL gods and their knees spontaneously implode at 12:59 pm, 9/12.
Location: East Rutherford, NJ
Cause: wrath of the gods.
Who knows? So I looked for guys that have been consistently good (and healthy), year in and year out, that maybe deserve a little extra attention if you happen to be watching their games. Based solely on complete speculation on my part, these prospects should project to MLB in a 4-3 (comment below if you don't think so).
The video evidence and play-by-play analysis on football draft sites is weak, I'll admit (especially on MLB play), but screw it, I'm working with yahoo search, youtube, and a healthy dislike of real research. What do you want from me? I've listed them here according to Walterfootball.com's expected draft position.
#1: Travis Lewis, OLB (Oklahoma)
6'2, 232lbs. Estimated draft position: Top 20.
2009 Stats: 109 Total Tackles, 9.5 TFL. First Team All Big-XII.
2008: 144 TT, 12 TFL, 3.5 Sacks, 4 Ints. Big-XII Defensive freshman of the year.
Before Free flips a shit, yes, I know he's an OLB. I put that as his position. But if Weatherspoon got a ton of people all hot and bothered on this site, Travis Lewis has to be considered as well. If he had declared for the 2010 draft, there's a good chance Lewis would've been called before Weatherspoon. He's that good.
Iconic moment (based on skimming the first page of results from yahoo image): OU's 2008 drumming of Texas Tech that propelled them to the National Championship Game. Lewis got 13 tackles and an interception of stud system QB (and current CFL benchwarmer) Graham Harrell.
2010 Matchups to watch for:
10/2 (Texas), 11/27 (Oklahoma State) Bleagh, the elite teams only play scrubs...
#2: Greg Jones, MLB (Michigan State)
6'1, 228lbs(!). Estimated draft position: Round 1-2
2009 Stats: 154 T, 14 TFL, 9(!) Sacks. AP All-American, Big Ten DPOY, First Team All Big-Ten.
2008: 127 T, 14 TFL, 2 Sacks. First Team All Big-Ten.
2007: 73 (or 78?) T, 7.5 TFL. First Team Freshman All-American.
Greg Jones, since becoming a starter midway through 2007 as a true freshman, has been a stud for MSU. He's led the team in tackles all 3 years and was named one of 4 team captains last year. According to his LB coach Mike Tressel (clearly an unbiased source), Jones is "an instinctive player with a great motor [...] a relentless competitor who never gives up on a play." What I like the most about the guy isn't necessarily the gaudy total tackle numbers, but the TFL and Sacks as a true MLB in a 4-3. He's kinda puny, but 5-10lbs more under an NFL workout regimen and he'd be fine. BTW, there are a couple clips on youtube that show how a football player like Greg Jones sheds sacks (as opposed to a monster like Rolando McClain who just pushes around college linemen):
- A series of vids analyzing the Michigan State vs Michigan game here. (Strangely buggy, crashed my browser twice) The first couple show how slippery Jones is.
- I really like this vid. Notice how Huyge, the guard, just sits on the ground afterwards, stunned.
9/18 (Notre Dame), 10/9 (Michigan), 11/27 (Penn State).
Okay, this is taking way too freaking long. This was supposed to be anti-work, not actual work.
#3: Quan Sturdivant, MLB (North Carolina)
Pick Six against Notre Dame
6'2, 232lbs. Estimated draft position: Round 1-2.
2009 Stats: 79 TT, 12 TFL.
2008: 122 TT, 5.5 TFL, 2 Sacks, 1 FF, 2 Int (1 for TD).
2007: 47 TT, 1.5 TFL, 1 Sack, 1 Int, 1 Blocked Punt.
Well, Quan's listed as an MLB on Walterfootball, but spent most of his playing time as WLB. His wikipedia article ominously states that though he was the starting middle linebacker at the beginning of '09, he was moved back "to recapture his success from the previous year." Though there's didly on youtube for Quan, that move back to weakside backer, IMO, probably reflects an inability to play with blockers in his face. Even with a very talented dline (Cam Thomas, Marvin Austin, Robert Quinn), Sturdivant could only play in space. Oh yeah, and he won some awards from some publications but I ignored everything but consensus, AP, and Head Coaches. Leaving nothing.
9/4 (LSU), 9/25 (at Rutgers!), 10/23 (Miami), 11/13 (Virginia Tech)
and... that's really the extent of guys I care to have a full writeup for. Random Guys!
Dont'a Hightower, ILB (Alabama). 6'4 250. R 2-3.
(Strangely enough, it's impossible to indent without making it look like a quotation...) Rolando's injured former partner in crime. Big, slow, injury-prone.
Matchups: 9/11 (Penn State), 10/2 (Florida), 11/6 (LSU).
Kelvin Sheppard, MLB (LSU). 6'3 239. R 2-3.
Fake writeup. Too lazy. Walter says he can run a 4.62.
Matchups: 9/4 (North Carolina), 10/9 (Florida), 11/6 (Alabama)
Mark Herzlich, OLB (Boston College). 6'4 238. R 2-3.
A late 2nd round OLB who took a medical redshirt for the '09 season. Why include him? Cause he beat the shit out of lethal bone cancer within a year and is going right back to football. This man is a fighter and a playmaker. Would Mark have quit like the rest of the Giants the last 2 games last season?
Matchups: 9/25 (VTech), 10/2 (Notre Dame).
Josh Bynes, MLB (Auburn). 6'2 239. R 2-3
4.63 40. 2 year starter.
Matchups: 10/23 (LSU), 11/26 (Alabama).
Screw it. I'm done. The rest are too slow, too small, or too out of position. Or maybe I'm too apathetic at this point in the year (it is a tad early).
I'm not saying you should definitely look these guys up, scrutinize their every play. But keep their names in mind, especially the first 3, and if you happen to be free one Saturday, might be worth it to flip the channel. Greg Jones could be this year's Rolando McClain.