GMs Beware Prospects May not Appear as Good as they Seem

nfl draft bustEach year in the NFL Draft there are three constants: (1) Prospects declare and go undrafted; (2) Can’t Miss prospects plummet down draft boards; and (3) and a darkhorse prospect will emerge . And this year is no different with a record 102 underclassmen declaring for the 2014 NFL Draft Round 1 – 7 will be mired in uncertainty. Gone are the days of sure fire locks, the pool of can’t miss prospects grows smaller and smaller each year with very little separating a first round pick from a second day pick.  And this year is apparently do different after linebacker Khalil Mack, defensive end Jedeveon Clowney, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, and offensive tackle Jake Matthews, there is a considerable drop off.

Despite these gaps separating the elite from the rest occurs every year, diamonds must be uncovered, future Hall of Famers, perennial Pro Bowlers must be found. 252 players will hear their name called on draft day, and the fortunes and fate of 32 NFL teams will hang in the balance. If rebuildyour favorite franchise screws up, there is always next year. Which prospect will have their future general manager in the unemployment line? Which prospect will outshine all those picked before him and get a over worked  and underpaid scout a much needed well deserved promotion to the front office?

Since Men Lie, Women Lie, and Numbers Don’t I believe any team that selects Michigan Offensive Tackle Taylor Lewan would be making a grave mistake. Although his combine numbers were amazing 2 arrests one for sexual assault and a DUI conjures up thoughts of Richie Incognito whose character concerns cost him his job.

And anyone who told you size don’t matter, then they were lying or just trying to be nice. Because the razzle and dazzle of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will certainly shock and vick rodgers and manzielamaze but will he survive an NFL season. RGIII, Mike Vick, and Aaron Rodgers struggles with staying healthy during their careers and none have finished a NFL season unscathed as of yet. If Ben Roethlisberger whose 6’5 250 can’t seem to stay healthy, does the Manziel mighty-mite who thinks run first really stand a chance?

With all due respect to the might Trojans of USC, history would suggest avoiding their wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs at all cost. They never live up to expectations and always disappoint, Marqise Lee may be the exception but history would suggest otherwise.

GM far too often find themselves so love struck with potential that they overlook that patients is notusc curse a virtue in the NFL, especially on defense. Although UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr and Notre Dame DL duo Louis Nix and Stephen Tuitt may actually one day get it, GMs must ask themselves if it will be under their watch or after they have been fired.

Terms like game manager, NFL ready, and rotation player may not be flashy titles bestowed upon premiere playmakers and game changers. But they could be the one to make that shoe string tackle, decisive deflection, or special teams play. At the end of the day these are the guys beer goggleswho make the difference between winning and losing. Screw what they ran in the forty and screw what school they came from! The players mentioned may prove me wrong, but history suggests otherwise, so LIKE BEER GOGGLES buyers beware prospects may not appear as good as they seem.


Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast


Seminoles win BCS Championship, will they repeat or be dethroned in 2014?

seminoles bcs champsTonight a champion was crowned but after the confetti and parades are done the real work begins for the National Champion Florida State Seminoles to defend their crown. Winning back-to-back titles will be more difficult than ever due to the 4-team playoffs which is debuting next year.

Although the Seminoles return Heisman winner Jameis Winston, we learned tonight that titles are won and lost in the trenches and in the secondary. The Seminoles will certainly be everyone’s Pre-Season #1 but who will be their biggest challengers in 2014?

  1. Florida State Seminoles: Why? Jameis Winston Why not? No Jernigan, Joyner, Green, or Shaw. Biggest reason: 4-team playoff.
  2. Oregon Ducks: Why? Marcus Mariota. Why not? Stanford Cardinals
  3. Auburn Tigers: Why? Marshall will only get better. Why not? Defensive coordinators having an entire off season to prepare.
  4. Ohio State: Why? Braxton Miller. Why not? Braxton Miller
  5. Oklahoma Sooners: Why? Budding star Trevor Knight. Why not? Saunders and Shepard are out of elgibility.
  6. Alabama Crimson Tide: Why? Nick Saban and Derrick Henry. Why not? No AJ Mcarrons, a questionable secondary and no pass rush.
  7. Stanford Cardinals: Why? Coach Shaw and the Stanford O-line. Why not? Arizona State, UCLA, USC, Oregon, and no playmakers besides Montgomery.
  8. Baylor Bears: Why? Coach Briles and Bryce Petty. Why not? Defense still wins championships
  9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Why? Everett Gholston returns. Why not? Stephon Tuitt, Louis Nix, and Zack Martin drafted in first round
  10. UCLA Bruins: Why? Brett Hundley and Coach Mora. Why not? Barr first pick in 2014 NFL Draft
  11. Georgia Bulldogs: Why? Marshall, Gurley, and experienced o-line. Why not? Aaron Murray graduated and Todd Grantham is still the DC
  12. LSU Tigers: Why? OC Cam Cameron and DC John Chavis. Why not? Ego Ferguson, Anthony Johnson, Jeremy Hill, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham play for pay in 2014
  13. Michigan State Spartans: Why? Connor Cook and DC Pat Narduzzi. Why not? No fly zone loses Darqueze Denard whose drafted by the New York Jets.
  14. Florida Gators: Why? 4-8. Why not? 4-8.
  15. Arizona State Sun Devils: Why? Taylor Kelly and Coach Graham 10-4. Why not? Will Sutton and Coach Graham
  16. Kansas State Wildcats: Why? Coach Snyder, Jake Walters, and All American Tyler Lockett. Why not? Scheme do not replace size and speed
  17. USC Trojans: Why? Embarrassment of riches. Why not? Coach Sarkistan is no Pete Carroll
  18. South Carolina Gamecocks: Why? No Jadaveon Clowney. Why not? No Conor Shaw.
  19. Texas A&M Aggies: Why? Coach Sumlin. Why not? No Jake Matthews, Johnny Manziel or Mike Evans. Can’t win if you can score and stop the other team from scoring
  20. Wisconsin Badgers: Why? All-American RB Gordon returns. Why not? Lose top 4 wr to graduation.
  21. Clemson Tigers: Why? OC Chad Morris. Why not? DC Brett Venables
  22. Oklahoma State Cowboys: Why? I’m a man, I’m 40. Why not? Coach Gundy.
  23. Ole Miss Rebels: Why? Bo Wallace, and the band of freshman get bigger stronger, smarter, faster. Why not? LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M
  24. Washington Huskies: Why? Coach Peterson. Why not? Coach Peterson
  25. Missouri Tigers: Why? Matt Mauk, Doriall Green-Beckham, and edge rushers galore. Why not? May sack the quarterback but can not stop the run

Kevin Sumlin – Elite Coach or Weis 2.0

kevin sumlin and aggielandkevin sumlin and aggielandWhen Texas A&M joined the Southeastern Conference many did not expect them to be able to hang with the so called big boys of the SEC. Thanks largely to the once in a lifetime talent in Johnny Manziel and three elite offensive lineman (Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews, and Cedric Ogbuechi) the A&M football program has outshined that team in Austin and is now the face of Texas football.

The Heisman winner and his stalwarts have reinvigorated gigem nation and Coach Kevin Sumlin‘s six year extension is a token of appreciation for rescuing the once proud program from the depths of mediocrity and irrelevance.

But did A&M jump the gun in offering Sumlin a six year extension? Haven’t we manziel magicseen this tale before, where an offensive mastermind starts with a bang but ends with a sizzle and the school is left holding the bill wondering what happened?

No one will contest Sumlin’s proven track record of success as a quarterback whisper that has been the mastermind of explosive offenses at Houston and as the quarterback coach for Heisman winner Josh Huepel and the 2000 BCS National Champion Oklahoma Sooners.

But didn’t the disgraced but now humbled Coach Charlie Weis have a resume that was just as impressive? Notre Dame awarded Weis with a jaw dropping 10 year extension because they thought Weis was the answer to their prayers after the infamous Bush push. But after abysmal showing in consecutive BCS Bowl games; folks charlie  not so weisrealized that they had jumped the gun in awarding an extension after only two years on the job.

Weis’s success was largely tied to quarterback Brady Quinn just like Sumlin and the reigning Heisman winner Mr. Football. May Sumlin be headed toward a similar fall from grace? Sumlin got his contract extension based largely on the performance and play of Manziel. Since his star quarterback is not included in his latest deal should folks in gigem nation have reason to be nervous?

manziel vs lsuIf the offensive struggles against LSU and Missouri are any indicators of things to come, the days of explosive offenses in Aggieland may already be over.

Life after Manziel will be mired in uncertainty, but then and only then will we know if A&M is here to stay or if Sumlin is merely Weis 2.0, a coach whose success had more to do with his quarterback and not with his play calling? Stay tuned…I know I will. – A. Denmark


Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Alabama gets exposed in win, blueprint to beat Tide revealed

johnny manziel and nick sabanThe game called the rematch, Texas A&M vs. Alabama exceeded expectations, and it appears that a new rivalry has been born. Although Coach Nick Saban survived the Manziel Magic his reputation as a defense stalwart took a huge hit surrendering over 628 yards of total offense.

Despite having an embarrassment of riches and a bevy of five star recruits, the defensemike evans and cyrus jones looked average. Do not get me wrong, the defense was disciplined and schematically sound, but the Tide have NO play-makers on the defensive side of the ball. No reliable edge rusher to terrorize opposing quarterbacks; No shutdown corner to keep offensive coordinators up at night; and no space eater that stops the run.

In a winning effort the defense got exposed as imposters living off of the glory and reputations of past teams who dominated on the defensive side of the ball. Although Saban is relieved that he survived, he and everyone in Roll Tide Nation should be very nervous. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart must do something to address his secondary and lack of a consistent pass rush, because SEC teams like les miles and mark richtLSU, Ole Miss, and Georgia are licking their chops biting at the bit to take down the reigning BCS Champions.

nick saban yellingAgainst the Aggies, Coach Saban looked completely helpless, with no clue how to stop or thwart one Manziel heisman moment after another. Historically, Saban has struggled with containing mobile quarterbacks and spread offenses in days past and all of the teams who are considered serious threats to the Crimson Tide dynasty all have mobile quarterbacks, run elements of the spread offense, and possess play-makers who stretch the field and that frequently make mince meat of man-to-man coverage.

Although it is ludicrous to write the Crimson Tide as a title contender, their shootout bcs title contendersthis past Saturday revealed a chink in the armor that could give opposing teams a fighting chance in defeating the reigning BCS Champions. After giving up 628 yards of total offense, what will the Crimson Tide defense do for an encore? Their challengers are waiting. Stay tuned… I know I will #rolltide

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Johnny Manziel – #tebowmania = #johnnyfootball, why Manziel will slide in 2014 NFL Draft

johnny manziel and tim tebowFive years ago college football’s biggest star was an undersized quarterback with an unorthodox throwing motion that electrified the world of sports with his clutch play, his grit, and a emotional promise speech that was immortalized on a statue in front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Tim Tebow had led the Florida Gators to 2 BCS Championships titles, a Heisman, andtebowing had built a fan base of millions that had never ever been seen before in the world of college sports. Tebow-mania was then magnified even more after he led the Denver Broncos to a AFC West Division Title and a second round upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Never before had an athlete graced the cover of GQ Magazine, Newsweek, and Vogue all within the same week, which further enhanced his celebrity status.

However, when his fortunes changed the same glamor and media attention ultimately was his undoing and now looking for work which was no fault of his own. NFL front office personnel could not ignore his deficiencies as a passer and were unwilling to deal with the circus that would ensue if they signed him.

johnny football haircutJohnny Manziel aka Johnny Football, reigning Heisman winner, is now the face of college football, his after hour exploits and the infamous fumble touchdown against Alabama has also made him a celebrity in his own right. Just like his Heisman-brother, Manziel has built a significant following which rivals that of Tebowmania. Manziel has been projected by many to be a lock for the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by popularity alone despite being undersized, a slight build, and a questionable arm strength.

After witnessing the good, the bad, and the ugly of Tebowmania will an NFL franchise take a chance on another SEC quarterback who has thrived at being impromptu but johnny football and lebronbails at the first sign of trouble? Don’t get me wrong Manziel certainly has the tools to be an asset in the NFL, but will a franchise being willing to deal with the media attention that follows the quarterback who has become the star the stars want to meet. Who vacations with Drake, takes batting practice with the Texas Rangers and has Lebron James and Chris Paul on speed dial? Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 3 PM EST. Subscribe to podcast

Pre-season College Football Top 25 spring edition: (1-5)

Road to the BCS Championship

Road to the BCS Championship

Although the euphoria of March Madness has consumed the time of the common man my true college football fans have already began the countdown to kickoff for their favorite teams. I have frequently given pre-season polls a hard time because it fails to account for injuries and the eligibility of college football’s biggest stars who either ruin a team’s chances due to their selfishness and poor attitude.

For true college football fans pre-season polls provide us with an opportunity to speculate on the endless possibilities that await our favorite teams as we grow one step closer to 17 weeks of excitement, mayhem, and upsets. And without further adieu here is my Pre-season College Football Top 25 spring edition: (1-5)

  1. Alabama wins BCS National ChampionshipAlabama Crimson Tide (13-1): The Tide must replace three key members of their offensive line and former five-star recruits will have to step up to account for losses in the secondary. The Tide return Heisman candidate quarterback and sophomore running back  TJ Yeldon and wide receiver Amari Cooper who will likely contend for All-American honors.
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0): Now eligible for postseason play the Buckeyes welcome back quarterback Braxton Miller who is a favorite to contend for the Heisman. Coach Urban Meyer has recruited sec-like speed into a defense that is high on talent but low on experience. Due to a week non-conference schedule and with the Big Ten experiencing a down year an unblemished regular season appears likely and is expected.
  3. Stanford Cardinals (12-2): The Cardinals have found their next star Stanford wins Rose Bowlquarterback in Kevin Hogans whose athleticism and in-game moxie conjured up memories of Andrew Luck. Cardinals will continue to rely heavily on their run game which has its fare share of bull-dozers. All-American linebacker Shayne Skov appears to be fully recovered from his torn ACL a year ago and will lead a dominant defense that led the nation in sacks last year.
  4. Texas A&M Aggies (12-2): The Aggies return reigning Heisman winnerTexas AM wins Cotton Bowl Johnny Manziel and a bevy of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Although the Aggies will have little trouble scoring points the defense must fill a lot of key position.
  5. Oregon Ducks (12-1): Although the Ducks lost head coach Chip Kelly to the NFL the Ducks explosive offense should not miss a beat lead by quarterback Marcus Mariota who ranked top ten in the Oregon Ducks Quack Attackcountry in passing efficiency. The Ducks lose a lot of talent and senior leadership on a defense that lacks experience. Their offense will score enough points to allow the defense time to mature in time for November 7th match-up at the Farm against the Stanford Cardinals.

(6-10 on Thursday)

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST