Here are several random thoughts rattling through my head after the first big weekend of the NFL and college season.
- If the scouts I talk to are right, Stanford will be hit hard by early exits in January. I’m told Cardinal WR Devon Carjuste, CB Alex Carter and OT Andrus Peat are all locks to join the draft early. Of course, if the team can’t get off the mat after last weekend’s setback and Coach David Shaw’s troops have a disappointing season, maybe some of them reconsider. It’s early, of course. To check out the others we listed, check out today’s report on ITL.
- So I watched the Saints’ upset loss to Atlanta yesterday, and after seeing QB Matt Ryan play without any interruptions by the vaunted Saints DL, I wondered how do you project a player’s success at handling a big contract? I ask this because the Saints’ last week before the Falcons game was almost a days-long party for DE Junior Galette, who came from very humble beginnings before being compensated quite nicely by the Saints. He had a great 2013 season, but will a young man who entered the league as an undrafted free agent be able to focus on getting better after having so many financial dreams come true? The NFL does all manner of psychological tests on players as they enter the league via the draft, but I’m not aware of such a battery for players as they weigh a star’s ability to deal with success. It was just one game, but Galette, DE Cameron Jordan and the rest of the team’s DL were supposed to zoom into the backfield like a hot knife through butter. It didn’t happen. Oh by the way: Jordan’s contract is up after this season.
- I’m always interested in looking at the makeup of the league after rosters are set (including practice squads, but kickers and punters omitted). Here’s the breakdown by position:
- Maybe there aren’t many conclusions you can draw from such a grid, but here’s what it means to me:
- Teams aren’t doing as much development of passers on practice squads, maybe because QBs are so expensive that they can only afford to carry two.
- Even though offensive linemen aren’t the guys you normally carry for special teams purposes, there are still more than 100 more OL than any other position. And even though teams use 5-6 defensive linemen in goal line packages, there are still 60 more OL than DL (499 vs. 439) in the league. So if you’re a big, heavy guy with potential, you’ve got an excellent chance to make a practice squad.
- Tight end has become a glamor position, but that doesn’t mean there are just stacks and stacks of big, strong men that can also run. Teams may WANT a Graham/Gates/Gronkowski, but they aren’t necessarily finding them.