Fighting For a Spot

donald-russell

Donald Russell, former Georgia State running back, is fighting for a roster spot on the Atlanta Falcons.

The former Panther stud back is now playing for the home town NFL franchise. He is listed as the 6th running back on the Falcons roster behind tailbacks Steven Jackson, JaQuizz Rodgers, Jason Snelling, Antone Smith, and fullback Bradie Ewing. The Falcons recently made the move to sign Steven Jackson, and it looks like the only potential playing time at tailback will come between him and JaQuizz Rogers as well as Jason Snelling, the others will be splitting time on special teams.

This would be big for Georgia State if Russell could make the hometown team, because there has been recent success for GSU players making NFL rosters. Russell has the type of potential to create a very recognizable brand for Panther football. The program is making the jump this year into Division 1 and entering the Sun Belt Conference, with Georgia Southern soon to follow.

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Georgia State Panther to the Washington Redskins

Emmanuel Ogbuehi, a tight end for the Georgia State Panthers, has been signed as an undrafted free agent to a rookie deal with the Washington Redskins.

emmanuel ogbuehi gsu     Washington-Redskins

He has been a three-year letter winner and has been on the team since its inauguration a few years ago. He is a fifth year senior who has made the most of his opportunity and now has his chance to make the Redskins team who is always looking for weapons for Robert Griffin III to use. He totaled 25 catches for 282 yards and 3 touchdowns bringing his career numbers to 47 catches for 581 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is listed at 6 foot 3, but stands much taller in person, and provides a big target for his future team in the NFL. At Georgia State’s pro day, Ogbuehi ran an impressive 4.6 40 yard dash, had  a vertical of 35 1/2 inches, and he also threw the 225lbs up for 31 reps. These are all great numbers for sure, especially coming from a program that has just “cut its teeth” in football. Emmanuel Ogbuehi is very humbled by this experience and he said “The Redskins were calling during the 6th and 7th rounds telling me they wanted me,” he then went on to tell me that the Redskins project him as a tight end/fullback/slot receiver which might help him make the squad at any of those positions. He can also find his way onto the team through special teams where he could be on coverage and return teams.

Emmanuel Ogbuehi1

Ogbuehi also comes from an athletic family, as his father played soccer for Nigeria at the national level. His ability is there and he looks like a strong candidate to make the team, but all we can say, Emmanuel, is Good Luck!!! Oh yeah and We are Georgia State!!!!

 

Written by Daniel, hammockd29

Falcons Draft Recap

Round 1 – Pick 22(From Rams): Desmond Trufant, CB Washington

Desmond Trufant

Trufant, we now know, was the player that Thomas Dimitroff and the Falcons coveted in the first round. They traded up to get him  and he was worth the pick. He is an automatic plug in starter at the corner spot opposite of Asante Samuel. He was a three-year starter at Washington and has the NFL pedigree, as both of his brothers play in the NFL. There are so many positives for this selection because Trufant is a complete player, and he has good size for a corner at nearly 6 foot and 194 pounds, he can match up with anyone.

Round 2 – Pick 60: Robert Alford, CB SE Louisiana

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl

This pick was an excellent value, even though it puzzled some people that the Falcons did not draft a defensive lineman with this pick. He is a freakish athlete who can play nickel corner and be a dynamic kick/punt returner. He had a great showing at the Senior Bowl which helped his draft stock.

Round 4 – Pick 127: Malliciah Goodman, DE Clemson

malliciah goodman

Here is where the Falcons first started addressing their defensive line. Goodman had an above average career at Clemson, but he never quite put a whole season together. There is no question that he has the tools to be a star at the NFL level, b ut he is also a developmental player who will benefit from learning from Osi Umenyiora and Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan. This is why he dropped to the 4th round.

Round 4 – Pick 133: Levine Toilolo, TE Stanford

levine toilolo

This was an excellent pick by the Falcons. The scouting department has served the fans well with this one. Toilolo comes from a freakishly athletic family in which his dad, brothers, and uncles have all played major sports at the collegiate and professional levels. He is 6 foot 8 and 265 pounds, and he was overshadowed at Stanford by 2nd round pick TE Zach Ertz and also last year’s 3rd round pick TE Colby Fleener of the Colts. He has had a good career for having to share the ball, which is what he will do this season behind Tony Gonzalez. He also gets to learn behind Gonzalez, potentially the greatest tight end of all time.

Round 5 – Pick 153(From Bears): Stansly Maponga, DE TCU

stansly maponga

Maponga is a guy who was targeted early but slipped to the 5th round where the Falcons actually traded up with the Bears to snag him. He possesses rare pass rush abilities, but like Goodman he is a project at defensive end. He will also be in the mix on this defensive line for the Falcons.

Round 7 – Pick 243: Kemal Ishmael, S UCF

kemal ishmael

This was a pick to support the secondary depth, as well as to provide special teams help. Ishmael could be a nickel corner and a backup free safety. He had a solid career overall and might make the team.

Round 7 – Pick 244: Zeke Motta, S Notre Dame

Notre Dame Miami Football

I know what you’re thinking, why draft ANY defensive player from Notre Dame. This however was strictly for the special teams ferocity that Motta plays with; he was a playmaker but slow for a secondary player. He will be a backup at strong safety and play on all of the coverage units for the Falcons.

Round 7 – Pick 249: Sean Renfree, QB Duke

sean renfree

This was a luxury pick, and the Falcons got a great value here. Renfree is going to be able to come in to Atlanta and compete with Dominique Davis for the backup QB role behind Matt Ryan. This is due to the fact that Luke McCown left in the offseason. Renfree has been Duke’s best quarterback in school history and was coached by David Cutcliffe, who also coached both Peyton Manning and Eli Manning. Renfree has also helped with the “Manning Camp” the past few years which helps younger quarterbacks learn the position.

Check out how the Falcons first and second round picks first met!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fozy1K-0LXM

 

Written by Daniel, hammockd29

HamMOCK Draft

1. Kansas City ChiefsLuke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M

This would be a great addition to a team on the rise, and if the Chiefs are serious about becoming a well-run franchise, they will  draft this stud and sure up their future. They already have a good coach (Andy Reid), good quarterback (Alex Smith), and a talented defense (Eric Berry, etc), and they have recently used the franchise tag on their left tackle Branden Albert, but this would make them a long term help and solidify their franchise.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB BYU

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The Jaguars need many things and Ansah could help legitimize their pass rush immediately. He has size speed and athleticism. He is very raw and would require some technique training, but is worth it because of his ceiling.

3. Oakland Raiders – Sharriff Floyd, DT Florida

He is the biggest difference maker on the inside of the defensive line. He has the burst from the inside and is a great addition when you want to start controlling the line of scrimmage. Floyd could come in and be a staple on the defense for many years to come, he is a can’t miss player.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – Star Lotulelei, DT Utah

The questions with his heart condition have made him drop from the graces. He was going to be the number one overall pick until this was found out, but he will return to his rightful place.

5. Detroit Lions – Eric Fisher, OT Central Michigan

eric fisher

The Lions have needed a left tackle to protect franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford since they drafted him. This is a no brainer and would help them evolve as an offense. They now have Reggie Bush as well and he needs a good tackle to run behind.

6. Cleveland Browns – Dee Milliner, CB Alabama

This would help their defense tremendously, and give them two legit corner backs, with Joe Hayden on the opposite side. They added Paul Kruger to help with the pass rush and this would make this a viable defense.

7. Arizona Cardinals – Geno Smith, QB West Virginia

They go through quarterbacks here like Tiger Woods goes through mistresses. This, however, may be the guy that Larry Fitzgerald has been waiting for. He has the arm, the athleticism, and will be a good locker room leader.

8. Buffalo Bills – Jonathan Cooper, OG North Carolina

jonathan cooper

He is the best guard in this draft and would help the Bills win the line of scrimmage, where the game is won. He has great use of his hands and will help block for Ryan Nassib who they will draft in round 2.

9. New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, OLB/DE LSU

There is a big hole at linebacker/defensive end, which is the root of their pass rush in Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense. They need a difference maker and this would be a great addition.

10. Tennessee Titans – Chance Warmack, OG Alabama

This is a case of Warmack being the best player available at this spot. They also need a guard, and this would be a great investment on keeping Jake Locker upright and helping Chris Johnson run more downhill. This has been lacking since Johnson arrived in Tennessee, as most of his runs are east and west instead of north and south.

11. San Diego Chargers – Lane Johnson, OT Oklahoma

This would be a great value pick for the Chargers, they need a left tackle to keep Phillip Rivers up and on his feet. They need to start the healing process from last year and this would be a great way to start, he’s big and he can play left tackle on Sundays, thats all you really need to know.

12. Miami Dolphins – D.J. Fluker, OT Alabama

This is a consolation pick, the Dolphins need a tackle and would be slightly reaching a bit. If they are able to trade up and draft one of the top three tackles, that would be ideal. If not, this is what they will stick with.

13. New York Jets – Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame

With their second pick in the first round, the Jets will need to  start adding pieces to the offense to help move forward, and the quickest way to help a struggling QB is to give him a tight end. Eifert is the new “gotts have” tight end, and he will improve their offensive prowess immediately.

14. Carolina Panthers – Sheldon Richardson, DT Missouri

sheldon-richardson

This would help their already talented defense by adding a quality player at one of their biggest needs, and Richardson is a difference maker on the interior of the defensive line. He is versatile and will be a perfect match.

15. New Orleans Saints – Dion Jordan, OLB/DE Oregon

This would surprise most people if Jordan dropped to the Saints at 15 overall, but this would also be a great fit as New Orleans needs to improve their pass rush as they transition into the 3-4 defense.

16. St. Louis Rams – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Tennessee

The Rams are in need of playmakers for Bradford to use, especially since Amendola went to the Patriots and Steven Jackson left for Atlanta. This is possibly the best playmaker in the draft, with his raw athleticism alone.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jarvis Jones, OLB Georgia

JarvisJones

This is possibly the best pure pass rusher in the entire draft and the Steelers just got rid of James Harrison and this would be the quintessential player to replace him. The spinal stenosis has served Pittsburgh well, as this would drop this stud to their pick.

18. Dallas Cowboys – Sylvester Williams, DT North Carolina

These Cowboys need a new sheriff on the defensive line. Williams could be that guy, and he could help control the line of scrimmage.

19. New York Giants – Xavier Rhodes, CB Florida State

The Giants need quality help at defensive back and this could be a model addition. He has size and the suddenness to be a good NFL corner back.

20. Chicago Bears – Manti Te’o, ILB Notre Dame

This could be a match made in heaven, but not on the internet. Was that dirty? Anyways, with Brian Urlacher leaving it would make sense for the Bears to address it round 1. This could be the middle linebacker of the future and last for the next several years.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Alec Ogletree, ILB Georgia

alec ogletree

This would fulfill the pipeline from UGA to the Bengals that has been established. The Bengals also need a middle linebacker who can cover sideline to sideline. He is probably the most talented linebacker in the draft, but because of his off-the-field issues he has dropped this far. The Bengals never seem to care about character anyways.

22. St. Louis Rams – Kenny Vaccaro, S Texas

With their second pick in the first round, the Rams would like to add the best safety in the draft. Check. This would sure up their secondary and help with their overall defense.

23. Minnesota Vikings – Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia

tavon austin

Here is the spot that they replace Percy Harvin, Austin has a comparable skill set and size to him. He also has the catch and run capability that Harvin possessed, which compliments their newly acquired wide out Greg Jennings, who is a more traditional receiver.

24. Indianapolis Colts – Desmond Trufant, CB Washington

This will help that struggling defense from last season. Andrew Luck and the offense helped this team to the playoffs, but the defense was the Achilles heel. Best corner available, and Trufant is a complete player.

25. Minnesota Vikings – Kevin Minter, ILB LSU

With their second pick of the first round, the Vikings could use a stud at middle linebacker, and this is the best guy available. They would help their rush defense and fill two glaring needs with their two first picks.

26. Green Bay Packers – Eddie Lacy, RB Alabama

This just makes perfect sense, with possibly the best quarterback in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers, the Packers need a good compliment to him. Lacy possesses rare skills and has the ability to run over tacklers and also make them miss and run by them.

27. Houston Texans – Zach Ertz, TE Stanford

zach ertz

With the top two receivers taken already, I feel that this is the best value for the Texans. They need someone to take the pressure off of the run game and Andre Johnson, and Ertz would bring more versatility to their offense.

28. Denver Broncos – Bjoern Werner, DE Florida State

This would have been different had they had a good fax machine, but since Elvis Dumervil went to Baltimore they need a quality defensive end. Werner is a great fit here and would step right in and help out.

29. New England Patriots – John Jenkins, NT Georgia

This would feed right in to how Belechick perceives players, he loves versatility. Most people do not know that Jenkins also played at defensive end along with his natural tackle position. He can move around on the line to create the best possible matchup.

30. Atlanta Falcons – Cornelius “Tank” Carradine, DE Florida State

tank carradine

This would be a great pickup for the Falcons, they need a pass rusher. Carradine is a top 10 talent but because of his ACL injury during the 2012 season he has dropped this far. He has already healed enough to run his 40 yd dash and workout for teams.

31. San Francisco 49ers – Margus Hunt, DE Southern Methodist

margus hunt

This would build the depth of their already superior team, which will help the pass rush opposite of Aldon Smith. They have a ton of picks in the draft, so they may move up to get someone else or they may stay put and pick all 13 of their players.

32. Baltimore Ravens – Matt Elam, S Florida

This would be a great value, especially with all of the top 3 inside linebackers off the board. They need to replace Ed Reed long term.

 

Written by Daniel, hammockd29

Revis to the Bucs

Is it really true?

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Yes it’s official, Darrelle Revis has been traded from the New York Jets to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 13th overall pick in the 2013 draft and a conditional 4th round 2014 pick.

He was then signed to a long-term deal with the Bucs for 6 years and $96 million, something he had been requiring for a while. The Bucs have the necessary cap room to accommodate this deal and have needed a defensive back to enhance their pass defense. The pass defense was ranked last in the NFL last year, and with the addition of safety Dashon Goldson in free agency earlier this offseason, coupled with this move, they have rectified those concerns.

This team is ready for the draft and will be a strong contender in the NFC South with this trade.

Tyrann Mathieu: Draft Prospect Preview

With the draft only a week away from today, this will be my last draft prospect preview for the year.  I will be posting some more draft stuff ahead like a mock draft for the first round and other draft topics.  Until then though I’ll give you a draft prospect preview to cap it off, and who better to end it with than Tyrann Mathieu, former defensive back for the LSU Tigers.

tyrann mathieu

Playing down on the Bayou in “Death Valley”, Tryann Mathieu could be described in one word; playmaker.  That is what he was, game after game in the biggest and baddest conference, making plays all over the field and making it look so easy.  Now, since then he has been kicked off the team and out of LSU for his consistent positive drug tests and hasn’t played in a college football game since the 2011 season.  Which leaves him to be described by most people in two words now; trouble maker.  He will certainly be looking to redeem himself when he gets his chance in the NFL.

At LSU, Tryann Mathieu, formerly known as the “The Honey Badger”, could be rountinely seen on Sportscenter making highlight after highlight with his big play ability.  His nose for the football and ability to cause turnovers made him a deadly weapon on LSU’s defense.  He would only play two seasons at LSU before being kicked off the team due to failed drug tests.

In his two years he accumulated 4 career interceptions and 11 career forced fumbles, the forced fumbles became something he was known for.  He was also well known for his fantastic punt return ability because any time he touched it he could take it to the house.  Not a big guy, but quick and very elusive to make guys miss and look silly trying to tackle him.  He would finish with 2 career punt return touchdowns and loads of yards.  He would be a Heisman finalist in his sophomore season, being his peak in his career to this point.

A small defensive back at 5’9″ 186 lbs., Mathieu was invited to the NFL Combine where he displayed average speed running a 4.50 40 and not much strength only benching 225 lbs. 4 times.  This was the alarming thing of the combine for him but he still had an overall solid combine in most scouts’ opinions.  He also had a 34 inch vertical jump and a 117 inch broad jump.  For someone that has been out of football for a year and in drug rehab, he certainly did well I think.

He is not the fastest guy out there but Mathieu is extremely quick and has great ball skills.  His weakness is in man to man coverage but when the tyrann-mathieu.p1ball is in his area, he can make a play on it.  He lacks in overall physical strength but did show time after time in college that he can break down and make a good form tackle.  A guy that plays with a lot of emotion and sure will to do better than his opponent, Mathieu has that aura about him that he is just better than everyone else, not a bad quality for a defensive back, they kind of have to think like that to have a chance at being successful.  His return ability makes him extra valuable because he proved time after time that he can be a dangerous return man, not to mention he could be a really good special teams player getting down the field and being the first to make the tackle.  His main issues come with his character and his off the field struggles.  He has to get these under control if he wants to have any chance in the NFL.

I would project Mathieu to go in the mid to late 5th round simply because teams are going to stay away from the possible headache that he can be and because he is not that great in man to man coverage.  He does have excellent talent and intangibles and proved he can play at the highest level by thriving in the best conference in college football.  If he can get his ship sailing straight, he could turn out good for someone.  He could easily come in and play nickel corner right away and contribute on special teams right away as well.  He has shown the ability to be great, now we’ll get to see if he can get to that potential, but he has to stay out of trouble to do that.

Worst Team Right Now

Well free agency is cooling down and the draft is just around the corner and already, we see teams that are making progression to get better and teams that aren’t so much.  I have looked around the league and already been able to point out the worst team heading into the 2013 season.

Who could that be?  The Jaguars? No, they are looking to change their culture and seem to be trying to put their best foot forward.  Browns?  No, they signed Paul Kruger, and after finishing the season on a good note last year, they have some momentum heading into the season.  Oh well it must be the Chiefs right?  I would say wrong again, they traded for Alex Smith, and with Andy Reid as their coach and the surplus of individual talent on defense and offense, they could be a sneaky team this year.  Not to mention they have the number 1 overall pick.  So who does that leave really?

Well I’ll tell you who I think is the worst team going into the season right now and that would be the New York Jets.

New-York-Jets-Lose-to-Miami-Dolphins

Yes, those J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS.  Not going to be saying it that much this year with the way things are looking.  For starters they are trying to deal away their best player to get some picks and relieve some cap space.  It hasn’t happened yet, but all signs point to it happening at least no later than the draft.  They come off of a season with a poor showing and it’s been getting worse each season after Mark Sanchez‘s first two seasons making AFC Championship runs.  They keep dealing away their offensive stars to give Sanchez nothing to work with.  Also you could say Sanchez has started to regress some too.  Yes their mindset is building through the draft like most top teams do, but let’s be honest; the Jets have never really had the best luck at drafting players over their entire history.

So how do they fix this problem of slipping and try to save their coach’s job?  First, you have to get Sanchez some weapons.  He needs to have someone relevant to throw too and hand the ball too.  If he has no one than you can expect no offense to be generated from the Jets.  Rex Ryan is a defensive minded guy, but he still needs more pieces to be able to have an effective defense.  This is when the offense comes into play still though, because if you add weapons to the offense, they can stay on the field more and give the defense a chance to rest making the defense more effective when they are on the field.  It all goes hand in hand.  Until they can do this the Jets will continue to wallow in the bottom of their division, with the way the Patriots, Dolphins, and Bills are looking, and the league especially.

I don’t see it being pretty for the Jets next season and would peg them as the worst team right now heading into the 2013 season.  I just look around the league and see everyone trying to get better except the Jets.  They are the only poor team from a year ago not trying to get better and that’s why I would say they will be at the bottom for this next season.  Be on the lookout for my choice of the best team right now, that one is going to be much tougher, but I will narrow it down to one eventually.  Until then, let me know who you think is the worst right now.

-Preston, gsuwolfman13

 

Greg Reid: Draft Prospect Preview

Greg-Reid-MCT

Remember this guy?  The once play maker for the Florida State Seminoles, cornerback Greg Reid, will be going into the draft trying to keep the ship that is his career from sinking.

Reid was at Florida State until he was kicked off the team before the start of his senior season.  He was kicked off because of violating team rules after being arrested for the second time while at Florida State; yeah I would say that’s warrants for his removal of the team.  Reid would transfer to play at Valdosta State, but would injure his knee, tearing his ACL, before the season started and was out for the entire year.  So he didn’t even get to play his senior year, but yet he was still invited to the NFL Combine which shows how much talent and potential this guy does have.

At Florida State Reid showed everyone the kind of player that he could be, a great one.  The ability to lock-down anyone and make fantastic plays on the defense as well.  He would finish with 7 career interceptions and 32 career passes knocked down, showing that he has the ability to force turnovers.  He was also a very dangerous return man which makes him an even more valuable commodity.  More of a punt returner, he had 3 career touchdowns and averaged at least 10 yards a return each season.  His ability to be a dangerous returner is something that can separate him from other players being selected in the draft.

He doesn’t possess world-class speed, but he does have the speed to run with receivers down the field.  He is a very instinctive player and has great awareness on the field.  His natural football instincts allow him to always find himself around the ball and give him a chance to make plays.  Being an excellent punt returner, he is very dangerous with the ball in his hands and any time he gets his hands on the ball he can go the distance.  He lacks in physicality and strength making him a pure cover corner, which can hurt his ability to press guys at the line which is something he’ll need to work on.  He is coming off of a major knee injury which makes for some question marks on his durability.  I mean Darrelle Revis, the best corner in the NFL, is coming off an ACL injury and they are questioning his ability.  Reid also has off the field issues he will need to clean up before people can really trust him.  He needs to prove early on that he can stay out of trouble.  Even so, he has the talent that some teams will not be willing to pass up.

I project him as an early to mid 6th rounder because of his recent history with injuries and trouble off the field.  He has 2nd to maybe even 1st round talent but his durability and decision-making leave a lot in question.  If he can straighten his off the field problems out and get back on track, and prove he is healthy, he can be quite a late round steal for someone.  A deep sleeper in this draft, Reid has the potential to get back to his old FSU playing ways.  If he does, some team that took a chance on him will be very happy.

A.J. Green VS Julio Jones

                        aj green v julio jones

These two studs are forever linked and will always be subject to comparison.

It all started in high school as these two highlight-reel receivers were being recruited by every SEC, ACC, and any other conference school who saw anything about them. A.J. Green committed to UGA and Julio Jones committed to Alabama. These two both arrived on campus as the focal points of their respective schools and their passing games.

Both of these young men exceeded expectations upon arrival, both sporting the same number in college, eight. These were both two very different offenses at the time. The Georgia Bulldogs had Junior gunslinger Matthew Stafford at quarterback and had a very complex passing system, whereas the Crimson Tide had more of a rushing attack as John Parker Wilson was more of a game manager and the offense was only balanced because of Jones’ deep threat ability.

aj green v julio jones 1

They both continued their careers in college and left as two of the most prolific receivers in SEC history. As their Junior seasons came to an end they both decided to forgo their Senior season to declare for the NFL Draft, together. As the draft approached, it quickly became evident that they were the top two and the best the draft had to offer since Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, formerly of Georgia Tech. The Cincinnati Bengals selected Green with the 4th overall pick and the Atlanta Falcons traded their 2011 first round, 2011 second round and their 2012 first round picks to move up to the 6th overall pick and selected Julio Jones.

aj green v julio jones 2

They, of course, lead both of their teams to a better offensive outcome, as Jones went to Atlanta and joined an offense that included Roddy White, Matt Ryan, and future Hall-of-Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. Green joined an offense that was rebuilding and his quarterback, Andy Dalton, would actually be drafted the round behind him and both of them would go on to surprise everyone and be in contention for rookie of the year. Julio Jones has had two great years in his first two seasons in the NFL having 54 and 79 catches, respectively, 959 and 1,198 yards and 8 and 10 TDs for those years. Green has been even better his first two seasons with 65 and 97 catches, respectively, 1,057 and 1,350 yards and 7 and 11 TDs for his two seasons. So the question is simple, who would you rather have on the other end of your passing game? The answer is more complex, as both excel in different ways as receivers.

Who would you take? A.J. Green or Julio Jones? The choice is yours, well if you’re a fantasy football owner, because these guys are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Marcus Lattimore: Draft Prospect Preview

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South Carolina’s own Mr. Football in 2009, Marcus Lattimore, would then decide to play his college career for the South Carolina Gamecocks and when he was on the field, he was that feature back that you feared if you were an opposing team or even just an opposing fan.  Lattimore quickly burst onto the scene his freshman year against the rival Georgia Bulldogs, rushing for 182 yards on 37 carries and for 2 touchdowns.  He proved early on as an 18 year old, that Spurrier and any future coach for that matter could hook their wagon to him and ride him to victories.  Even though a concussion ended his Chick-Fil-A bowl game appearance early, he would still finish the season rushing for 1197 yards on 249 carries and 17 touchdowns.  Lattimore would be named the NCAA Freshman of the Year and an obvious selection to the All-Freshman Team.

From there, Lattimore would be bitten by the injury bug over his next two seasons, ending them prematurely.  In his sophomore year, against Mississippi State, he would tear a knee ligament and leave the game, being done for the year.  His junior year would finish all the same, he started out having another great season after recovering from the knee injury before, to only have his year ended by another freak injury.  He would dislocate his knee, tearing knee ligaments, against the Tennessee Volunteers in a very gruesome injury.  His career would come to an end after announcing this year he would enter the NFL Draft.  He would finish with 2677 yards rushing on 555 carries and 38 touchdowns and 74 catches, 767 yards and 3 touchdowns in only 29 games.

These injuries in his career have garnered the main attention from the NFL Scouts and made them put his career in the back of their minds.  Although unfair it seems, you do have to question the durability issues, but look at guys like Adrian Peterson and Willis McGahee, these guys came back from bad knee injuries the next season to be very good/great backs.  That’s what Lattimore is very much focused on at this point, doing the best he can to rehab and get on the field for the next NFL season and I don’t see why he can’t do it.  If it’s one thing you can evaluate him on right now, it’s his work ethic and his character.  Whether you are a Gamecock or not, you have to pull for this guy and can’t help but want him to succeed in the NFL.

Lattimore has all the tools that you could ask for in any running back.  He stands at 6’0 and weighs 218 pounds, and is very much a power back, but do not under estimate his speed.  He does have to ability to break it once in the open field.  He has very good vision and ability to use his blockers to create more running lanes and bigger lanes for him to run through.  He is a very smart runner in between the tackles and naturally very tough to bring down in between the tackles and in the open field.  Although he is more of an upright runner, he knows how to lower his shoulder and run through potential tacklers.  His best quality though, is his dedication to be great and prove he can once again be an every down back.  A perfect teammate and a great locker room guy, no worries about him being a disruption, a very underrated quality in a player but nonetheless a very important one.  His one big red flag though, is his durability and brings his NFL potential into question.

Even with those injury concerns, he is a projected 3rd-4th round pick and could even be a 2nd round pick if the right team just can’t pass him up.  Lattimore would be a steal for any team that needs some running help.  If not for the injury concerns, he would be a top 5 or top 10 pick for sure.  If he can put these injury problems in the past, he has the potential to be one of the best in the game.