Editors face off

Apr 242006
Authors: MIKE DONOVAN The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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 sports@collegian.com

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Editors face off

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Apr 242006
Authors: Scott Bondy

Mel Kiper Jr. graces my TV for about an hour each day, which means only one thing: The NFL draft is right around the corner.

And like every year, the 2006 NFL draft is sure to mix up the whole league. Who knows, the Texans might make a playoff run next year. The point is there are very few things anyone can be certain about. But some things hold true every year. This year’s draft will produce: the next Ryan Leaf (the big bust), the next Tom Brady (the late round sleeper), and at least two Hall of Famers.

A “bust” can only be defined as someone going in the first round whom scouts and experts agree has the potential to be very good, yet disappoints. The perfect example would be Leaf, who lasted five miserable years in the NFL after being selected with the second pick in the 1998 draft.

So who could fill such big shoes this year? I’m sure people will think I’m nuts, but I think it’s going to be Vince Young.

Any dual-threat quarterback is a gamble considering there haven’t been too many successful ones of late. The only quarterback in the game right now that can really run and pass is Donovan McNabb.

But let’s not compare these two men because Young makes McNabb look like a Nobel Prize-caliber genius.

Smart quarterbacks make good quarterbacks. It may not be saying much, but they are the brains behind most of the operation.

One would think it would be too bold a task to predict a sixth round sleeper pick (much like Brady), but I have done it. Drew Olson is my guy.

My colleague, Mr. Donovan, claims to be a stats guy. Well, let me feed him some stats. Olson completed 64 percent of his passes while throwing 34 touchdowns and only six interceptions (three of those coming against Northwestern in the Vitalis Sun Bowl). How is it possible that this guy is expected to go in the late rounds? It baffles me, Mel. Did you know he led UCLA to a 10-2 record and had a passer rating of 161.6 (5th in the nation)? That’s OK though; go in the sixth round Drew, you’ll make more people look stupid. And it’ll make for a better TV show on ESPN Classics: 5 Reasons You Can’t Blame.All the Idiots Who Didn’t Draft You.

This year’s class of athletes certainly has its stars, but does it have Hall of Fame potential? Who knows? But I’ll give it a go. Considering I’m picking at complete random, I’ll go with my favorite player in the draft: Brian Calhoun. He packs a big punch in a little frame. The 5-foot-9 running back is undersized, but that shouldn’t be seen as a disadvantage. Height surely didn’t hurt Emmitt Smith (5-foot-9), Barry Sanders (5-foot-8) or Walter Payton (5-foot-10). Calhoun has the speed and the hands to make things happen.

My next Hall of Fame selection would have to be defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka of Boston College. I don’t know a better word to describe him than: Beast. If there’s one formula I follow when predicting a great defensive player, it would be: Long+big+quick=success.

I’m no Mel Kiper, but maybe that’s a good thing. In 1994, then Indianapolis Colts general manager said, “Who the hell is Mel Kiper? My mailman knows more about the draft than he does.”

Scott Bondy can be reached at specialsec@collegian.com

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