This week, we'll look at just how talented and unique the ACC quarterback group is, put Justin Blackmon's DUI in perspective, review the position battles throughout the NFL, and a Top 10 list of the current FBS running backs with the most carries.
ACC Is LOADED With Quarterback Talent
The SEC features Arkansas's Tyler Wilson and underclassman Tyler Bray of Tennessee to lead the quarterback charge. The Big 12 has Landry Jones and West Virginia's Geno Smith as it's formitable quarterback unit. And the Pac-12 features the elite Matt Barkley and Washington's junior Keith Price to put they're name in the ring. But which conference has the most promise as a quarterback unit?
Almost without question, the ACC.
As far as seniors go, Mike Glennon of NC State is the clear cut top option at quarterback. A strong armed, pocket passer with limited mobility flashes a quick, effortless throwing release, adjusts his feet well in the pocket, and anticipates routes very well. His big arm and quick release have some similarities to Drew Bledsoe (the classic lack of mobility comparison, but it stands). He'll need to bulk up a little bit to hang tight in the pocket as well as show the ability to hit vertical routes despite the loss of speedy receiver TJ Graham. Also for seniors, don't rule out Georgia Tech's Tevin Washington as a hybrid quarterback, as he's showed poise in his dropback and some touch downfield. However, he has horrible footwork and balance and really lacks consistent velocity.
The junior class is really where it gets interesting, however. The top dog without question is Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas, who reminds of Cam Newton in size, body make-up, and smooth, long striding mobility with power. Thomas is far from a finished product, but does have the two year college coaching luxury that Cam Newton really didn't. He doesn't have a consistent feel for movement while in the pocket, his mechanics get very sloppy at times which causes him to lose velocity, and he needs to react quicker to short routes. Still, his size and mobility alone are enough to excite teams, and the quarterback improved by leaps and bounds over the course of the season.
After Thomas, Clemson's Tajh Boyd flashes some NFL ability. A short, compact release, he has composure under pressure, balance in the pocket when blitzes arrive, and gets a tight, well-spun ball consistently. He has shown the ability to make progressions downfield. If he can improve his middle of the field passing even further (has two fantastic weapons at receiver back), he could be a worthwhile early rounder.
I won't talk about Bryn Renner of North Carolina much, because he's probably the worst of the bunch because he struggles to re-adjust in the pocket, doesn't have consistent composure under pressure, and his whole body (including his arm), get stiff and panicky, but he does flash NFL ability. The last quarterback I will talk about is a favorite of mine: Wake Forest's Tanner Price. Along with Boyd and Thomas, he's a junior, but like Renner, I doubt he declares early for the draft. Price is one of the best I've seen in keeping his eyes downfield through traffic, reads the defense to pick his route (not often the case for quarterbacks), is very calm and poised, and is very confident with vision when moving up or out of the pocket. He doesn't have the biggest arm or the best size, but he could be a better version of Colt McCoy with more consistency on his deep ball.
Justin Blackmon DUI In Perspective
Early Sunday morning (around 3 a.m.), rookie Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon was arrested for an "aggravated DUI" charge, meaning he blew over a .15 after getting pulled over. When the facts came out, it showed that Blackmon actually blew a .24. For his body type, a .27 is considered "possibly dead". Before I get into what I believe it truly means for him and his future, here's an excerpt from Alfie Crow of BigCatCountry.com:
" It all depends on how the league views the offense. If the NFL views it as a first-time offender offense, given Blackmon's previous DUI occurred in 2010 when he was an NCAA player, he could just be placed in the league's program and receive possible treatment plan and random testing. This would likely result in just a fine from the league, if that.
If the league views it as a multiple offense type of deal, he could face a possible suspension." (full article: http://www.bigcatcountry.com/2012/6/3/3061502/justin-blackmon-dui-arrest-suspension-jaguars)
Let's make two things clear. First, driving while intoxicated with a .24 BAC is more than just reckless, it's an issue. I hope that he's of right mind mentally and with his personal life, because a .24 BAC is something that exceeds generally having a good time with your buddies. If it's not a personal issue, it may be a maturity and responsibility issue, which is much more concerning for the Jaguars.
And second, Blackmon's prior DUI had no way of previewing this second and more severe DUI. Outside of that first offense and some very minor noticing character concerns, Blackmon had a fairly good record coming out. Teams didn't view the first offense all that much (or else there wouldn't have been a battle for him between 5 and 6), and I believe that anyone who claims to have thought another serious offense off the field could have happened either got very lucky or knew him much better than NFL teams. I'd expect the first.
Blackmon doesn't deserve to have this forgotten, nor should this be forgiven soon either. I'm glad we have the luxury of Blackmon NOT being a superstar yet so we can amply realize the severity of this issue. In my opinion, Blackmon should be facing serious legal punishment for getting behind two tons of steel that could easily have been a lethal weapon if the roads weren't clear. But, I can say that I hope we realizes the severe errors in his way, the Jaguars make it clear that this won't be tolerated, and whatever issues he may have been dealing with will be left in the past.
Links to Our Position Battles Series
-An ongoing series, see the offensive position battles across the NFL that you'll need to keep an eye on this off-season.
Running Backs: http://www.optimumscouting.com/draft/nfl-articles/2012-nfl-position-battles-running-backs.html
Wide Receivers: http://www.optimumscouting.com/draft/nfl-articles/2012-nfl-position-battles-wide-receivers.html
Offensive Linemen: http://www.optimumscouting.com/draft/nfl-articles/2012-nfl-position-battles-offensive-linemen.html
Top 10...Running Back Carry Totals at the FBS Level
Last year, I took a look at the 2012 running back class's carry totals (It's important to note these running back carries, as running backs generally have only so much tread on their tires. Below are the ten running backs with the most career carries to date in their college football career. See this article to put these numbers (Montee Ball the focus) in perspective. ()
1. Robbie Rouse, Fresno State - 616 carries
2. Montee Ball, Wisconsin - 568 carries
3. Rex Burkehead, Nebraska - 537 carries
4. Stephan Taylor, Stanford - 521 carries
5. Zach Line, SMU - 501 carries
6. Cameron Marshall, Arizona State - 444 carries
7. Andre Ellington, Clemson - 409 carries
8. Brandon Oliver, Buffalo - 408 carries*
9. Marcus Coker, Iowa - 395 carries*
10. Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt - 374 carries
* = 2012-2013 junior (all others are seniors)
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