Posted on: July 13, 2011 10:49 am
Edited on: July 13, 2011 10:53 am
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Nate Robinson is making alternative plans should the NBA go into an extended lockout as many fear.
Rather than sit and take it easy or sign with an international basketball team, he told Tzvi Twersky of SLAM that he "might go play football."
Now, before you simply laugh off the idea of the 27 year-old attempting to make this career change, know this. Long before Robinson starred as a point guard for the University of Washington, was selected in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns and won three Slam Dunk championships, he was a standout cornerback for then-head coach Rick Neuheisel's Husky football team.
Robinson, following the footsteps of his father, Jacque Robinson, signed with the Huskies on a football scholarship. He only played one season for the football team, but saw action in all 13 games as a true freshman, starting the final five contests and recording 34 tackles and two interceptions.
Statistics rarely tell the whole story and that is certainly the case here.
The 5-09, 180 pound Robinson is an extraordinary athlete whose quickness, vertical jump and surprising physicality always made him a better candidate for the NFL than the NBA, at least that was the opinion of one young NFL Draft analyst back in 2003. He certainly has been blessed with athletic genes. Father Jacque is the only player in college football history to have been named the MVP of the Rose Bowl (1982) and the Orange Bowl (1985). A running back, he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the eighth round in 1985 and later played with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com agrees that Robinson could play in the NFL and emphatically states, "If I were a team that needed a cornerback, I'd sure as hell give Robinson a call."Brandt, of course, prior to working with the NFL as an analyst, spent nearly 30 years as the Dallas Cowboys' Vice President of Player Personnel.
It has been nearly ten years since Robinson played competitive football with helmets and pads. That said, there were many who doubted whether he could make the leap from the Pac-10 to the NBA strictly because of his lack of prototype height. His height wouldn't be quite the detriment as a nickel or dime cornerback, however, precisely why Robinson could surprise if given an opportunity.
Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:49 pm
Last night I described Cam Newton as getting a head start on Missouri's Blaine Gabbert in the race to be the first quarterback selected in the 2011 draft.
According to Gil Brandt, the race is already over.
Brandt, an NFL.com analyst and longtime Dallas Cowboys' director of personnel, was quoted by Jimmy Burch in Monday's Star Telegram that he'd be "shocked" if Newton was not the No. 1 overall pick of the draft.
While Newton is unquestionably talented , Brandt's prediction is a bold one. Just because Newton is a spectacular athletic talent and plays the quarterback position does not necessarily mean he should be the first player selected. Newton's numerous character concerns and adjustment to a pro-style offense require significant investigation.
Perhaps Brandt and some clubs have learned enough already about Newton. I have not. I look forward to watching his interview and workout. Both will have play a considerable role in my ultimate grade on his NFL prospects.
Perhaps most importantly, it is important to note the fit that Newton may or may not have with the Carolina Panthers, who, of course, own the No. 1 overall pick.
This is a team currently built around the running game. While the Panthers could lose impending free agent DeAngelo Williams, they boast the talents of Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson and a solid run-blocking offensive line. On the one hand, adding a multi-purpose threat like Newton might seem like the perfect addition to the club. On the other hand, however, a ball control quarterback might be a better fit for a team likely to be built around the running the ball and defense -- the style of play new head coach Ron Rivera is thought to prefer.
Rivera's offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski, might also be making a huge adjustment should the Panthers elect to take Newton. Chudzinski, who was promoted to this role after serving as the tight ends coach and assistant head coach for the Chargers last season, may not have the experience with multi-purpose quarterbacks to endorse such an obvious gamble on pure athletiicsm.
Posted on: April 24, 2009 9:00 pm
One of the more enjoyable aspects of this gig is talking to some of the high profile players on their "Road to the Draft." I've been fortunate to follow Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry and Texas defensive end/outside linebacker Brian Orakpo throughout the Combine, Pro Day, NFL Draft experience and tried to highlight some of the highpoints in a series of articles on their journey.
The third of the four-part series with Brian Orakpo was posted today, but with so much going on, the article is a little difficult to find.
For those interested, here is a link to copy and paste for Brian's take on the numerous private workouts and team visits he's had over the past month. He's flown all over the country (Denver, Washington, Houston, Kansas City, and Cleveland) over that time and has gave me some interesting details on differences with how some teams chose to work him out.
The phone call he received from Gil Brandt is an interesting one, as well...
Check it out: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/
Posted on: April 19, 2009 4:39 pm
There has been much speculation as to what the Chiefs will be doing with the 3rd pick of the draft. Most have projected Kansas City to take Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. Some, myself included, have projected them to take Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe.
A new contender has arisen, however, in LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson.
Though many view Jackson as a significant reach for a top five pick, Gil Brandt didn't seem to think so, telling the listening audience of his Sirius radio program that Jackson is a "top five pick. Put that in the bank."
The comment, in itself, is interesting but not specific to any team -- other than those within the top five, of course.
But considering that Jackson fits best as a defensive end in the 3-4 and that there are only two teams using the 3-4 in the top five (Kansas City and Cleveland), the options for where Brandt believes Jackson is going are limited.
New Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli is facing the tough task of molding a team built around a 4-3 scheme into the 3-4 alignment he helped build in New England. Pioli has a track record of using first round picks on the defensive line, utilizing first rounders to build standout trio of Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren. Jackson has been described to me by veteran scouts as a virtual clone of the Patriots' Ty Warren.
Considering the widespread belief that the Browns are focusing on either USC quarterback Mark Sanchez or Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree with the fifth pick, Brandt would appear to be referring to the Chiefs with his comment -- not that it really matters. The Lions and Rams aren't likely to consider Jackson with the first two picks of the draft and no team is going to offer up the collection of picks necessary to trade into the top two picks to get ahead of the Chiefs to nab Jackson.