Posted on: July 16, 2010 1:10 am
North Carolina linebacker Quan Sturdivant, a first team All-ACC pick last season and solid NFL prospect for the 2011 NFL draft, was arrested Saturday for possession of marijuana.
His arrest alone could serve as a distraction to Butch Davis' Tar Heels, the trendy pick to win the ACC this season.
Even more ominous, however, is the report from the AP and ESPN's Joe Schad that the NCAA is investigating the North Carolina football program to "make sure no Reggie Bush stuff is going on."
The details of this developing story remain sketchy at this point, but what is very obvious is that agents and the prospect of their providing inappropriate benefits to players is the NCAA's concern.
It isn't difficult to understand why agents have been flocking to Chapel Hill.
As I mentioned in a previous article, this UNC defense is extremely talented. So talented, in fact, it is reminiscient of the 2008 USC squad that sent Brian Cushing, Clay Mathews, Jr., Rey Maualuga, and Kaluka Maiava (among others) to the NFL. That 2008 Trojan defense was the last unit to have so many senior prospects reportedly given such high preseason grades by NFL scouts.
For the Tar Heels, seniors Marvin Austin (DT), Bruce Carter (OLB) and Deunta Williams (FS) currently rank at the top of their respective positions on NFLDraftScout.com's most recent rankings of 2011 prospects. Fellow seniors Sturdivant and cornerbacks Kendrick Burney and Charles Brown are also viewed as potential mid-round values. And if the senior talent isn't enough, keep in mind that the most talented player on the defense might be junior defensive end Robert Quinn, a prospect that has earned already earned comparisons to former UNC star and 2002 No. 2 overall pick Julius Peppers.
Schad's article specifically mentions Austin, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 4 overall rated player for the 2011 draft, as having been questioned by the NCAA for, among other things, driving former UNC's star Kentwan Balmer's vehicle and occasionally staying in Balmer's apartment. Balmer was the San Francisco 49ers' first round pick in 2008.
Hopefully for all involved, the comparison to USC remains viable only in that, like those Trojans, these Tar Heels boast rare talent...
Posted on: April 25, 2009 7:26 pm
I projected that the Titans would take a receiver for the first since 1998, but with Percy Harvin off the board, thought the Titans might instead shift their attention to the defensive side of the ball. Instead, they took Kenny Britt, whose size and straight-line speed gives the club a big, deep threat they need to take advantage of the safeties cheating close to stop their running game.
The Cardinals have obvious needs at running back and may consider Chris "Beanie" Wells here, though as a bigger, physical back, he is a little similar to what they already have in Tim Hightower. Wells has great potential as a downhill runner, but offers little as a receiver or pass blocker, which might make him a tough fit for the pass-heavy Cardinals.
A pass rusher like Clint Sintim is also a possibility, though inside linebacker Rey Maualuga and cornerback Darius Butler make a lot of sense simply due to their value.
At this point in the draft, Maualuga is just too much of a value for a team needing LBs and more physicality on the defensive side of the ball.
Posted on: April 25, 2009 7:18 pm
For one of the few times in recent memory, the Giants took a player than filled an immediate need in UNC receiver Hakeem Nicks. Though I had him slipping into the 2nd round in my mock draft, I'm quite high on Nicks, who I believe has the hands, toughness and and body control to make an immediate impact.
The Titans, who also could use help at receiver, are up. Rather than take a receiver, however, don't be surprised if they address their depth concerns on the defensive side of the ball.
A. Ziggy Hood, DT, Missouri
B. James Laurinaitis, OLB, Ohio State
C. Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC
D. Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut
E. Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
F. Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
The best player on the board is Maualuga, but he's slipping due to character concerns. I rationalized that the Titans may take Percy Harvin in my mock draft because they've been more willing than most clubs to overlook character concerns.
Posted on: April 1, 2009 5:14 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2009 3:23 am
Inside linebacker Rey Maualuga needed desperately to work out well today because he ran a 4.88 40 while aggravating a hamstring injury at the Combine.
He did just that, running a 4.65 40-yard dash for scouts' hand-held times. And he ran his time with a quarter-size blister on his right foot, which he displayed after looking a bit tentative during linebacker drills. Maualuga, to his credit, did not make a big deal of the blister. He stepped to the side to speak to his agents as the linebacker drills were ending and I happened to be standing near them. I peeked over their shoulders as he took off his bright green shoe and pulled down his sock. There, under his big toe and on the primary pad of his right foot was a significant blister. The skin had been worn down and nearly rubbed off and looked quite painful. As he did this, fellow linebackers Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews, Jr. finished the workout and most scouts' attention turned to quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was warming up.
Scouts were a bit surprised, frankly, when Maualuga returned later to run the 40. They seemed to appreciate the fact that he did not shut it down at that point, and that he also looked strong in the shuttle drills earlier in the day. His 4.25 and 4.27 short shuttle times were comparable to the best linebacker times in Indy.
Maualuga looked fairly fluid in drills before dropping a couple of faux interceptions, although he did rebound a bit at the end of that exercise.
Teammate Clay Matthews looked fabulous in his drops and made multiple fantastic catches.
The team's fourth linebacker prospect, Kaluka Maiava, joined CB Cary Harris on the sideline with a pulled hamstring.
Posted on: April 1, 2009 3:29 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2009 3:32 pm
It's an absolute circus here at the USC campus, as hundreds of NFL executives, scouts, ex-Trojan players and others close to the program flood the field to get a close-up look at the school's top talent. General Managers in attendance include Billy Devaney (St. Louis) and Ted Thompson (Green Bay). Head Coaches Sean Payton (New Orleans), Jim Schwartz (Detroit), Brad Childress (Minnesota), Mike Singletary (San Francisco) are also among the hoards.
Among the early returns on 40-yard dash times was linebacker Clay Matthews' impressive 4.55 (hand held), which was not a surprise given the athleticism he displayed at the Combine in February.
Defensive end Kyle Moore posted a 4.7 (electronic), which is more than acceptable given his 6'5", 270-pound frame.
Patrick Turner's 4.58 40 (electronic) was exactly what scouts needed to see in order to keep him as a mid-round value.
Potential first round pick Rey Maualuga delayed his workout a bit this morning, but the reason why is unclear. He's on the field now, however, and he looks to be healthy.