For the past three editors’ faceoffs, Scott Bondy has beat up on our editor in chief JP Eichmiller. Eichmiller, who gave a good effort, simply doesn’t know that much about sports. Well get ready, Bondy, because spring training is over and this week you’re not taking on a sports lightweight. Instead you’re getting a legitimate challenge from a stat freak.
After months of debate and discussion, the NFL draft is finally here, and while it may take years to decide how players turned out, I looked into the crystal ball and have seen the future for this year’s draft class.
Biggest bust: There is nothing more evident to me than who this year’s biggest bust will be. Jay Cutler, quarterback from Vanderbilt University, is rated by some “experts” as the best quarterback in the draft. ESPN’s Skip Bayless and Chris Mortenson call him the next Brett Favre. What? Cutler was 11-34 as a starter and finished up at 5-27 in the tough SEC conference.
With a record as low as his, one would think his stats would be overwhelming. But they are far from it. Cutler ranked below the top 15 in the nation in every major passing statistic last season. CSU’s Justin Holland, who will likely go un-drafted, had more touchdown passes and yards than Cutler last season and had a higher completion percentage and quarterback rating.
While Cutler scored well in postseason workouts, the true test for grading players is what they have done on the field and, as the numbers show, Cutler hasn’t done much. On a positive note, I do think Cutler will be the highest draft pick ever to be MVP of NFL Europe. So at least Jay has that going for him.
The next Tom Brady: To find the next Brady, I look for three things — Someone who came from a big school in a big conference, a good college coach and someone who constantly put up big numbers but was never consistent.
No player fits this mold better than Oregon’s quarterback Kellen Clemens. While Clemens will go in the third or fourth round as opposed to Brady’s sixth round, they are very similar. Neither Brady nor Clemens finished their careers as starters and both put up exceptional numbers when they played. In his eight games last season, Clemens threw 19 touchdowns with just four interceptions while leading his team to a 7-1 record. He will be the real deal in the pros.
The next hall of famers: On average, there are two to three hall of famers from every draft. I foresee this trend to continue with offensive lineman D’Brickashaw Ferguson and linebacker Chad Greenway.
Ferguson, who didn’t allow a single sack in four seasons at the University of Virginia, is exactly what any franchise needs. He is a great player who is dominant on the field and will not cause trouble off the field.
Greenway, who was a standout linebacker for the University of Iowa, will be the best defense player from this year’s crop. The South Dakota native had 156 tackles his senior year and his constant motor will allow him to duplicate that number for many seasons at the pro level.
So in closing, Cutler is a bust, Ferguson and Greenway are going to get busts and Scott Bondy’s column of domination is done.
Mike Donovan is the Collegian’s sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org