Saturday, January 12, 2008

An Evaluation Of Star Rookies And Sophomores In The NFL

I just learned that tailback Darren McFadden, the University of Arkansas star runner who finished as the Heisman Trophy runner-up in each of the past two seasons, will forego his final season of college eligibility and enter the 2008 NFL draft. This is also confirmed on ESPN.

Multiple sources said McFadden's father, Graylon McFadden, dispatched the appropriate paperwork to the NFL office early this week. The decision by one of the college game's most electrifying performers to leave school a year early and pursue a professional career was hardly unexpected.

League and team officials, by policy, are precluded from commenting on underclass players who have petitioned for early draft entry until after the deadline for doing so has passed. The deadline is Jan. 15, and the NFL will release a full list of underclass prospects after that.

While it is still early in the evaluation process for the April 26-27 draft, many league scouts feel that McFadden could be the most talented prospect in the player pool.

Now to be fair, because I'm not a huge college football fan, I haven't had the chance to watch this guy play often. Therefore, I can't predict how he will perform in the NFL next season. However, based on the trend of rookies and sophomores not performing well the past two years (except for a selected few) my guess is he'll get off to a slow start.

Other than Adrian Peterson, who seemed to just explode out of nowhere, I'm unimpressed by the lack of talent from recent college players who entered the NFL, especially after all the hype that surrounded them. The following list includes young players who have not impressed me thus far or are terribly overrated.

-Reggie Bush - He is the definition of what it is to be overrated. Maybe because of his name people like him so much. The fact is, he can't run straight. He's too fancy and runs like he is still in college. Well, this is the NFL and in the NFL if you run and spin to the sides to dodge you're going to get run over.
-Vince Young - I really loved this guy at first. If anybody was going to succeed out of college, he would have been my pick. However, he sold out to the Madden curse and has been plagued by injuries all year. His career will never be what he hoped it would be as a result.
-Matt Leinart - Where did this guy go? He had a less than mediocre first year and he rarely played this year due to injuries.
-Brady Quinn - He never got a chance to play with the Browns....and he probably won't play for awhile thanks to the recent discovery and success of Derek Anderson.
-Troy Smith - He'll see playing time next year, but the Ravens should have started him later in the season. They had nothing to lose anyway.
-JaMarcus Russell - Yet another example of a rookie quarterback who should have started after all the hype, but never was given a chance to.
-John Beck - Speaking of nothing to lose, the Dolphins started this guy hoping maybe he'd change things for the better, but he didn't. I don't think Bill Parcells is that fond of this guy and I doubt he'll be starting next year.
-Jay Cutler - Just Awful
-Tarvaris Jackson - Even worse than Cutler!
-Kellen Clemens - If the Jets are hoping that there future quarterback lies in the fate of Kellen Clemens, then the Jets have a major screw loose.
-Calvin Johnson - He was hyped up a lot....until he got hurt.
-Brodie Croyle - Unimpressive this year.

Now this isn't to say that these guys can't improve. I'm just saying these guys were hyped up coming into the league and have done nothing noteworthy

Enough with the negativity. Who are the young players who have been doing well?

-Joseph Addai - Perhaps he's just lucky to be playing along side Peyton Manning.
-Maurice Jones Drew - Very fast, very small, and very powerful. This is a good-quality running back.
-Lawrence Maroney - Same with Addai, only he's luckier to have fallen in with the Patriots.
-Greg Jennings - One of the players on the Packers who has given new life to Brett Favre.
-Devin Hester - If nobody kicked to him, then teams would save giving up lots of points. But, that wouldn't be fun to watch.
-Marshawn Lynch - Probably the Bills' best player. Still, that's not saying much.
-Chris Henry - LenDale White - These guys make a decent running back duo for the Titans. Better than the running back duo on the Saints , at least, but no where near as good as the running back duo on the Vikings, Cowboys, or Jags.
-Anthony Gonzalez - With the loss of Stokley this year and the absence of Marvin Harrison, Anothony Gonzalez has proven too be a reliable extra weapon for Peyton Manning.

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