Another draft has come and gone, and Georgia continued to keep its strong NFL pipeline open. The Dawgs ranked #13 in draft player quality, a pretty solid ranking considering its one elite prospect has a torn ACL. The full list is here, and you’ll get a laugh at Florida ranking #4 due to the strength of its….offense…?…having six players drafted. WHO SAID WILL MUSCHAMP CAN’T COACH?!?
Todd Gurley, Rams (1st round, 10th overall): Obviously, most of the strength of this Georgia class lies in the monster RB Todd Gurley. The first first-round running back selected since 2012, Gurley’s landing spot is less than ideal. The Rams are weak on the offensive line (though strong behind Greg Robinson and Roger Saffold on the left side), and have a complete dearth of playmakers on the outside as long as Tavon Austin demonstrates a lack of receiving skills. To add insult to injury (no pun intended), the Rams play in the NFC West with strong defenses in Seattle and Arizona. Perhaps he can eat in two games against a depleted 49ers team, but who knows?
Former Auburn back Tre Mason had a pretty nice second half to his rookie season last year, but Gurley should have no problem supplanting him as the featured back. Fantasy ripoff Zac Stacy, though?
2 days after his angry tweet about the Rams drafting Todd Gurley, Zac Stacy was traded to the Jets for a bag of balls. 973 yds, 7 TD as rook
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) May 2, 2015
In case you missed it, Stacy’s response to the Gurley pick was swift, as he tweeted (and deleted) “YIKES”, followed by a trade request, which the Rams granted for a 7th-round pick.
FIT: D+. Gurley is going to be asked to be the workhorse here, and his career will likely be shortened by Jeff Fisher giving him the Eddie George treatment.
Chris Conley, Chiefs (3rd round, 76th overall): From a pure opportunity standpoint, Conley couldn’t have landed in a better situation. The Chiefs let Dwayne Bowe walk this offseason, and their receivers accounted for ZERO touchdowns last year. With their signing of deep threat Jeremy Maclin, there should be ample space to operate underneath for the combine wonder.
Additionally, Conley immediately becomes KC’s tallest receiver, as 6’3 journeyman Armon Binns and his 27 career catches are likely not to stick on the roster.
FIT: A-. WR was likely KC’s biggest need going into the draft, and Conley joins a 7th-rounder from Northern Illinois as new targets for Alex Smith. Only Smith’s inability to get the ball downfield keeps this from being a home run for Conley.
Ramik Wilson, Chiefs (4th round, 118th overall): The first three Georgia draftees will play their football in Missouri, which is just…odd. SEC country indeed, I suppose.
Ramik has a good chance to stick as a 3-4 inside ‘backer (where he played for his most productive Georgia year), as the Chiefs are a little light there. Derrick Johnson is a stud, and Josh Mauga had 103 tackles in his first year with the team. Depth is a major concern here, and the team’s run defense was not-so-good last year. Wilson should get a shot to move right into a reserve role and join the starting 11 if Johnson’s injury issues persist.
The fear here is that some are listing him as an outside linebacker, where he would be well behind former Dawg (and 2014 sack leader) Justin Houston, as well as aging edge rusher Tamba Hali and last year’s second-round pick, Dee Ford.
FIT: A if he stays inside, F if they see him as an edge guy. We grew to know and love Wilson as an inside ‘backer.
If he can protect the middle of the field like the following GIF (B.S. penalties aside), Wilson will be just fine.
Damian Swann, Saints (5th round, 167th overall): Again, depends on where the team sees him playing. With Keenan Lewis and former Patriot Brandon Browner entrenched as the starting corners, the versatility Swann demonstrated in one year under Jeremy Pruitt is essential to his staying power.
If he is indeed a corner in the Saints’ D, Swann will also be competing with former Florida State corner P.J. Williams, a third-round pick who many mocks saw as a late first-rounder.
Rotoworld lists Swann as a free safety, where he’s clearly behind Jarius Byrd. Career starter Kenny Phillips was signed this offseason for depth as well, but he’s been completely unable to stay healthy.
FIT: C-. Swann’s best hope for a roster spot here is as a special teamer and sub package corner. While that’s all you can really expect as a fifth rounder, the Saints have invested heavily in their secondary over the past two years. On the other hand, 81.3% of 5th rounders at least play their rookie years with the team who drafts them, so he should be in NOLA for special teams and depth in year one.
Amarlo Herrera, Colts (6th round, 207th overall): ‘Marlo is a prototypical run stuffing, old school middle linebacker who may have missed his NFL calling by 10-15 years, but he has a good chance to stick for his first few years. The Colts have been awful against the run in recent years, and a division with Houston, Jacksonville, and Tennessee means that he’s playing almost half of his schedule against teams that aren’t exactly capable of chucking all over the field and exploiting his weakness as a pass defender.
D’Quell Jackson (140 tackles) and Jerrell Freeman (93) are Indy’s inside incumbents (alliteration!). Freeman is on a 1-year RFA deal, and Jackson is entering his 9th year in the league. From a depth perspective, Herrera should be able to find some time on the field.
FIT: A-. There aren’t many better fits for one of my all-time favorites.
Among the undrafted Dawgs, C David “Boss” Andrews to New England is good, because (spoiler alert) Bill Belichick tends to get the most out of all of his players, one way or another. Ray Drew is a Dolphin, Toby Johnson a Titan, and Corey Moore a Texan.
On balance, one feels for Gurley. The rest of the Dawgs’ draftees ended up in very good situations to display their talents.
A Further Examination of Mark Richt: The Blind Side, SEC Media Days, and the Case for the Career Coach
Jennifer Rohner stops by to share her thoughts on Mark Richt’s tenure and the need for longevity in college football.
I love the movie The Blind Side. There’s just something so warm and comforting about it. Not only does it share an inspiring message about family, loyalty, and charity, it does so through the language of my favorite spectator sport. And all with a Southern flavor. It’s a perfect tide-over for these moments late in the offseason (like now, for example) when one doesn’t think they can wait another second to watch a real, live, honest-to-God football game being played. You know, the point where all of the preseason speculation and off-season player hoopla has become as tiresome as the Harlem Shake and you find yourself wanting to just get on with things, already. That’s when a dose of football cinema can serve as a breather from what gets to be a grating fixation about games that won’t happen for several more weeks.
One sequence of scenes in said film always makes me laugh. It’s the part where our hero Michael Oher is being mercilessly recruited by every high-profile big-name in the SEC. We are treated to a parade of SEC Head Honchos, all playing themselves (with amusingly limited acting ability, considering the roles they’ve been cast in) and all begging to recruit the story’s desperately sought-after lineman. I realize the movie is four years old and that it details events of nearly a decade ago, but looking at those montages one can’t help but notice one thing. Not one–not one!— of those coaches featured still holds his position anymore. (At least not at the advertised school.)
There is a conspicuous absence in that hullaballoo of SEC Celebrity Coaches. And as irony would have it, he is the only one who is still in charge of his program today. He’s the most tenured football coach in the conference (at least until Mizzou joined last year). None other than Mark Richt.
(Not that I think he was left out deliberately. According to the book on which the film is based, Mark Richt’s actual pursuit of Mr. Oher was brief. The book states that he was recruited by Georgia, but Mrs. Tuohy graciously and early on told Coach Richt that Georgia was not on their list. He just as graciously thanked her for her time and went on his way.)
Last week provided another Offseason Night’s Dream in the form of SEC Media Days. While everybody’s attention was grabbed by the audacious Johnny Football, the elegantly mundane A.J. McCarron, and the brashly overconfident Jadeveon Clowney, little was said about the Georgia coalition. Leading the low-key pack was Coach Richt, demonstrating his inimitable way of quiet leadership, confidence, and (some might say) downright dullness.
Looking at both of these paradigms–a slightly older football film and a slew of fresh SEC Media Buzz–reminded me of something I’ve felt strongly about for a long time. Longevity and excellence need to go together as much as possible in this game. The craziness that has become the CFB universe creates the need for programs to have experienced and tenured leaders at the top. Leaders who have been long-invested in their troops to and can lead the Charge of the Light Brigade. These kinds of leaders are becoming fewer and farther between these days.
I believe it’s time for the return of the career coach: the mentor-in-chief who becomes the institution, the elder statesman, and the pillar of the school. And out of all the active SEC Football Leaders today, Mark Richt stands the best chance of becoming the steady force that could guide his program with excellence and consistency for years to come.
I don’t care if he didn’t set the world abuzz last week with clever antics like Australian Accents or bold assertions on controversial issues like player stipends. Things like that work for Les Miles and Steve Spurrier. Let them be them–I’d be disappointed if they didn’t live up to their personas. But Coach Richt also does what is right for him, and for the program. And in my opinion he always has.
Coach Richt has been through a lot with the Bulldog Nation. From returning the program to national attention in the early 00’s to merciless calls for his head a mere three years ago, then bringing us back to the national title mix all over again, he has continued to keep something of a Southern Gentleman/Churchillian resolve.
As far as I’m concerned, that says something about what SEC football should be about–loyalty, tradition, and ultimately enduring excellence. Of course, the longer you hang around any given school, the greater your chances are not only of taking a program and flying with it, but also running the risk of stumbling, falling, and incurring the wrath of all-too-often unforgiving fans. It takes a hearty soul to stay around and withstand all that. (Even Chris Fowler implied this at the beginning of his interview with Mark Richt this week, saying that head coaches in the SEC “aren’t supposed to last thirteen years”.)
How many Bear Bryants, Vince Dooleys, Bobby Bowdens, or Eddie Robinsons are there in the CFB world anymore? (The best example I found of such longevity was Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech, having led the Hokies since 1987. After him very few come even close, from what I could determine). Call me a crazy old traditionalist, but in the world of College Football today, often wrought with arguably misplaced priorities and unnecessary scandal, not to mention just plain absurdity (let’s face it–stories about college football players with imaginary dead girlfriends should NOT be turning up on TMZ), a little bit of stability would seem to be in order.
It takes time and dedication, though, to build these kinds of football dynasties. And there will always be a lot of peaks and valleys, even for the best of them.
But in our quick-fix, want-it-now, push-the-easy-button world, tenacity and resolve often becomes lost virtues. Football, like all sports, can be a useful metaphor for life. At its best it can be not only an impressive display of elite athletic prowess and mental perseverance, but also can relay important life lessons through the parables of downs for players and fans alike. But to subject it to the whims of impatient supporters and relentlessly scrutinizing and naysaying media can shift the focus away from the original ideal.
Sure, if a guy isn’t getting the job done at the helm, isn’t the right fit at the right time, or in some way dishonors the program, it might be time for him to go. I’m certainly not saying that it’s OK to stay in a bad situation (as all of us Georgia fans know that at the time, both Ray Goff and Jim Donnan needed to go). But when you have a good thing going, something that is good more often than it is bad, like an overall happy marriage or a solid friendship, it is probably worth keeping. Even through some rough patches.
(As all of us ladies know, if you have the right guy, keep him!)
Unless, of course, as fans we are more interested in the immediate gratification in winning over the big picture of a perennially successful program. Which, unfortunately, is going to include some losses and even frightfully bad seasons from time to time (even for y’all, Crimson Tide Nation).
Coach Richt has stayed with us all these years, sticking to his principles, and even at times taking on the press and being a strong leader when it has been warranted. He’s someone who stands a good chance of becoming the next great elder statesman of SEC Football. I am by no means saying that Saban, Spurrier, or Miles couldn’t do exactly the same thing where they all are now. In fact I hope they do. I’m just saying that when it comes to consistency, lack of volatility, and simple tenure, Coach Richt is pretty hard to catch.
I would love nothing more than to see him stay around long enough to recruit generations of ‘Dawgs to come and bring them into the continuing chapters of one of the most storied–and stable–programs in the country.
You may say I’m a dreamer…..but I strongly suspect I’m not the only one!
What do you think? Do you think your current coach has what it takes to stick it out and build a true and long-lasting football dominion? Think any of the newer coaches will stay around indefinitely and become the next Bear Bryant? I’d love to hear from you!
Next time….I will be investigating some of the auxiliary aspects of SEC game days!
–Jennifer Rohner, Chief Culture Correspondent
@KoltonHouston75: It took me 22 years to get the best birthday present but the NCAA finally gave me my eligibility! #HoustonIsFree
Can you say #blessed ????
I will be contributing to the Gwinnett Daily Post’s coverage of the Georgia Bulldogs this season. I’m looking forward to the opportunity and appreciative of the challenge that will be presented by writing for someone within the constraints of mass-consumption. As much as I enjoy winging it and writing what I want to write when I want to write it how I want to write it, a little accountability will likely prove beneficial.
This will not affect DudeYouCrazy.net in any way. I’ll still be here. I’ll still be writing more than you want me to. I’ll still be ticking off Clemson fans and tweeting puns about Vanderbilt. But I’ll also be writing some more serious/formal pieces for the GDP.
With that said, my first article at the Post went up late last night. Please check it out.
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Episode 3 of the DudeYouPodcast is now ready on iTunes. DOWNLOAD IT HERRRRRRE.
In the third episode of the DudeYouPodcast, DudeYouCrazy was joined by South Carolina Correspondent Johnathan Barnes.
Topics covered in their conversation:
- Jadeveon Clowney (Yawnnnnn)
- South Carolina QBs
- South Carolina RBs
- South Carolina’s Defense
- Gambling Lines
Additionally, DudeYouCrazy rants free-style on Aaron Hernandez.
- Connor Shaw: 2600 yards passing, 21 TDs
- Jadeveon Clowney: 13 sacks, 25 TFLs
Check out JB’s work on Amazon.com here.
That’s all I got/