Barely paid any attention to it. Between the lockout stuff, basketball season, and the fact that the NFL is starting this thing on a Thursday night. The Thursday night thing seems to really have me thrown off. The all-day Saturday couch potatoing was a personal favorite for me. Now that’s all gone.
Still, Pitt should have several players drafted this year. Whether Sheard or Baldwin crack the first round is anyone’s guess. That and where Greg Romeus, Dion Lewis and Henry Hynoski get drafted. Plus questions about whether Jason Pinkston and Dom DeCicco get snagged near the end or sign undrafted free agent deals.
Guess at least a rundown on some of the stories. I’ll skip the mock drafts that multiply and come from so many different places these days.
One of the best pieces on a player was this Greg Romeus one from a Tampa Bay Bucs site. Writing about all that Romeus went through in 2010 makes it a must read, but this bit really caught my attention.
“I remember the first three years I played, and in 2009 I was running like 80 snaps per game because our coaches didn’t really trust our backups,” Romeus said. “I think I’ve become a great pass rusher, but there are still different moves and different things I need to work on. You can never be too good at using your hands. I think my hands and just finishing plays are some things I can work on. Playing as many snaps as I did without ever coming out of the game, I didn’t play at full speed on all of my snaps. Teams at the NFL level pride themselves on hustle, so I need to get my conditioning to the point where I can go 100 percent every single play for an entire game.”
Mixed feelings when I read this once I get past the mock shock of the statement. One of the things that Wannstedt was supposed to do was recruit and he always talked of building depth. That never happened. LB, OL, CB, S all seemed continually thin.
Arguably, the deepest spot on the team was DE (and DT). Yet the mix of guys like Romeus being so good you don’t want to play too many snaps without them out there, and an unwillingness to play the back-ups came into play.
Jabaal Sheard seems to be getting a lot of attention in New England. As an early 2d round likely draft pick, and being converted to outside linebacker. Here’s a puff piece on Sheard focusing on how he grew after the night of throwing someone through a glass door.
Rhetorical questions about whether the incident negatively affects his draft stock seem laughable since Sheard was viewed as a 3d or 4th round draft pick back in January. Now he’s a solid 2d and maybe even the end of the 1st round. Surprised not to see more rumors, thoughts and suggestions that Sheard could end up in Buffalo since Dave Wannstedt is coaching the defense there.
Jon Baldwin isn’t getting a lot of buzz. He seems to be in every mock and predicted draft board as somewhere in the 2d round. And there has to be the obligatory story mentioning Baldwin coming from “da ‘Quip.”
“I’ve done everything possible to put myself in this position,” Baldwin said. “And it’s very humbling for me to think I’ll be joining so many other great athletes from Aliquippa who got picked in the NFL Draft.”
Moving down, Dion Lewis got a full-feature, front-on, puffer from his hometown Albany paper. It’s got pictures, multiple videos. It’s a veritable multi-media lovefest for Dion Lewis, and arguably how a newspaper can utilize the web for a deeper, more personal story. Enjoy it.
The article also mentions a Greg Doyel column that used Lewis as his posterboy for players that deserve a break from the NCAA to allow them to go back to school up to the last minute. I like giving kids as much as time as possible to make the decision and think that in football and now basketball, the NCAA does wrong by the kids it puports to look out for, but Lewis is probably the wrong choice to use as an example by Doyel.
Lewis has made it clear that one of the driving factors in his decision to leave early is the position he plays.
Pittsburgh’s Dion Lewis is one of a dozen running backs to declare early for the draft. He also dismissed the impact of a lockout on his decision, noting the move had more to do with his position.
“Obviously a running back takes the most pounding of any position out there,” says Lewis, who goes 5-foot-8, 195, but is considered a pretty good inside runner. “And the career for a running back is not that long. You have to try to get to the NFL as quickly as possible. I felt I had two great years and it was time to chase my dream.
“It is tough this way, and makes it a lot harder than for other rookies coming in other years. All we can do is wait to get that call (for being drafted), then wait to get that call for going in to start to work with your team.”
Meanwhile Henry Hynoski, the 1st or 2nd ranked fullback in this draft, will receive his degree and is still trying to make up for a hamstring pull during the combine.
“I really transformed myself, my body for the combine,” said Hynoski, who will graduate this week. “I worked really hard to get ready, transformed my whole lifestyle. I had my meals planned out and was following a structured regiment.”
He did most of the testing at the combine — “I was testing through the roof going into it,” he said — bench pressing 225 pounds 24 times, doing the broad jump in better than 11 feet and had a vertical leap of more than 30 inches.
But it was the 40 time, and the aftermath, that caused his stock to drop. While his time hurt, scouts obviously saw he was injured, they knew he had run in the 4.7s at Pitt. What really hurt was the fact that Hynoski did not get to do the position drills he had worked so hard preparing for.
“The tough part was missing the position drills, because that is where I would have separated myself,” said Hynoski, who also missed Pitt’s pro day with the injury. “It was frustrating, but I knew I did everything I could to be ready to be an NFL fullback.”
No one’s giving love to Jason Pinkston, so he’s doing it for himself. Wait, poor phrasing. Pinkston has been doing a couple posts at Huffington Post. He backs the union/trade group, and realized he could make it in the NFL when Pitt beat UNC in the Car Care Bowl (glad he realized it before the 2010 season).