February 2013

Readers,

Above all, we would like to thank you for reading Sporting Gentlemen and hope you find it not only informative, but fun and engaging as well. We understand that there is an extensive world of sports blogs out there, but what sets us apart is our point of view and attention to detail in the articles that we present. We strive to put out high quality work and always keep our subscribers in mind.

Because I work as the blog’s editor, I do not really get to post articles on a regular basis as a contributing author. I do, on the other hand, also enjoy the part of sports that leans more towards pop culture and not always scores and statistics. I guess you could say this is like the “beyond” part in our motto, “Looking beyond the PPGs and TDs.” That being said, you may see a variety of content within my Letters from the Editor posts. Since this is my first letter, I want to take advantage of it to show my journalist side because I think it would be fun to do. Next month, though, I will most likely start a trend of writing about unconventional topics, such as what I thought about this player wearing a certain style of basketball shoes or perhaps strange facts about spring training baseball.

Today I feel like being relevant and current and writing about the future of the NFL.

With the NFL Scouting Combine having just ended, and the Draft being two short months away, many questions are being asked: Who will be drafted first overall? Who is the best quarterback available? Will this team trade up or down to get the player they want? Does this player fit this team’s offense or defense? A number of thoughts popped into my head after watching the workouts from this past week.

First, I am a big fan of Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel and am glad that he did well in the combine. I think he has an enormous upside and may fare even better than fellow Seminole and Vikings starter Christian Ponder. He does, however, need time to develop, as we saw him throw a few inconsistent passes during his drills.

I am going to stop myself now before I go on rambling about more prospects I like (Mike Gillislee, Keenan Allen, Dion Jordan), it must be said that this draft will be dominated by “non-scoring position” players. I did not know how else to phrase that, but what I mean is the offensive line or defensive line, or a position where a player would not typically record points. Many top draft prospects, such as Star Lotulelei, who is one of the top ranked defensive tackles this year, are obviously outstanding athletes, but may not get to see the national attention other big name players, such as Robert Woods, would because of the position they play. Many people would complain that this draft is “boring” because the first overall pick is not a star quarterback, running back or receiver, but any position player has the ability to provide an immediate impact to the team that selects them.

While I have casually watched the NFL Combine in the past, this year was the first time I really sat down and paid attention to it. I realized how important the 40-yard dash is and how it can positively or adversely affect a player’s draft stock. Speed and quickness is essential no matter what position one plays, as it could be the difference between scoring and not scoring. The main event at the Combine, the 40-yard dash measures a player’s explosiveness from a cold start, simulating the acceleration they could create from a snap during a game. Manti Te’o was under much anticipation going into his workouts and ran a rather slow official 4.82 sec 40. Other sources claim his time will not render him an unfavorable draft prospect, but he still has the opportunity to show off his skills at the Notre Dame pro day on March 26.

I was holding my breath on Sunday while the running backs and wide outs were running their 40-yard dashes. These are usually the fastest players on the field and it showed as four players in particular broke a few stopwatches. Texas’ Marquise Goodwin and West Virginia’s Tavon Austin ran official 4.27 sec and 4.34 sec times, respectively. Goodwin was only 0.03 seconds shy of Chris Johnson’s Combine record 4.24 sec dash from back in 2008. Then, the Auburn Tiger running back Onterio McCalebb posted an unofficial 4.21 sec time, which Chris Johnson himself thought to be “childish.” McCalebb’s time was too good to be true and turned into an official 4.34 sec, the same as Texas A&M wide out Ryan Swope‘s time. Mostly I was relieved that no one broke the dash record because Chris Johnson is my favorite football player, but I was happy to see these guys run fast times.

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