From the drug house to the penthouse
OK, so he hasn't officially made it to the penthouse yet; but it won't be long now. And after Bruce Irvin hears his named called early in this week's NFL draft and then signs his first contract later on this summer, he certainly will have arrived - an amazing journey reaching its zenith, and a life that once appeared heading down the drain rescued. As you know, the NFL is full of players who have had to overcome a lot of obstacles and adversity in their lives, but few of them had it as tough as Irvin. With the ordeal he has gone through it's almost a miracle he has gotten to this point.
When Irvin first appeared on the radar as a pass-rushing DE at West Virginia, I thought of him as just another junior college transfer. Nothing unusual. I loved his dreads during his junior season then more than once in this blog expressed my disappointment as he decided to take the field with his dreads reduced throughout his senior year. But I knew nothing about his story. However, in the weeks leading up to the draft Irvin's story - a it's a doozy - came to my attention in several articles I've read.
"GOD GOT YOU OUT OF THAT HOUSE FOR A REASON"
Maybe the best part of the story came late in 2007, when Irvin moved out of a drug house he had been living in - one day before the police raided it and arrested everybody. Irvin took the hint and never looked back, putting his considerable athletic ability to good use instead of continuing a life full of knuckleheaded decisions. The first link below is one of the articles on Irvin, from Yahoo! Sports. And the second link is to his profile from the NFL Combine, including a highlight video of his drills at the Combine.
Well, maybe he's not done with all of his knuckleheaded decisions just yet. But if you watched the video, you can see how quick he is. It reminds me of the late Derrick Thomas. And when you have the kind of potential as a pass rusher that Irvin has, a misdemeanor for destruction of property isn't going to dissuade anybody from drafting him. I'd be shocked if he's not selected by the end of the 2nd round.
CERTAIN TO BE DRAFTED
These players with dreads are about to become very rich. Barring any last-minute disasters, they'll all be chosen on either the first or second day of the draft.
- S Mark Barron - Alabama
- CB Jamell Fleming - Oklahoma
- CB Stephon Gilmore - South Carolina
- LB Dont'a Hightower - Alabama
- DE/LB Bruce Irvin - West Virginia
- CB Janoris Jenkins - North Alabama
- CB Dre Kirkpatrick - Alabama
- DT Dontari Poe - Memphis
- RB Trent Richardson - Alabama
- DE/LB Courtney Upshaw - Alabama
Let's see. There was Travis Henry, father of 11 (by 10 different women), who went to prison for dealing cocaine because he needed money for all the child support. And then there was Chris Henry, suspended by the NFL for one too many arrests and ultimately dead at age 26. Well, there's another player named Henry about to enter the league who figures to be more well known for his actions off the field than on it - but this one in a positive way. I'm talking about Aaron Henry, of course, the former Wisconsin DB and one of my all-time favorite players. As detailed by this article in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (link below) from the week of his final home game for the Badgers last November, Henry had a rough childhood but stayed out of trouble and has used his chance to play college football to not only become a great leader and player, but an even greater person.
OK, so we know he's a nice guy; but can he play at the next level? I found it odd that he did not get an invite to the Combine even though he was a 1st team all-Big 10 selection in 2011. He's listed at 6-0, 208, but he's hardly a big hitter. But since he started his career as a CB, he certainly does have the coverage ability that everybody is saying safeties need to have these days. Just that will give Aaron an excellent chance to be drafted. And before he begins that career working in the UW athletic department, maybe he can hang out in the NFL for a while.
LIKELY TO BE DRAFTED
It will be a surprise and a huge disappointment for these players with dreads if they don't hear their names called at some point in the draft.
- WR Joe Adams - Arkansas
- CB Dwight Bentley - Louisiana-Lafayette
- CB Omar Bolden - Arizona State
- CB Ron Brooks - LSU
- LB Vontaze Burfict - Arizona State
- G Adam Gettis - Iowa
- WR Junior Hemingway - Michigan
- S Aaron Henry - Wisconsin
- WR Dwight Jones - North Carolina
- LB Terrell Manning - North Carolina State
- CB Josh Norman - Coastal Carolina
- LB Sean Spence - Miami (F)
- G Brandon Washington - Miami (F)
FROM THE PENTHOUSE TO THE DOGHOUSE
After his sensational sophomore season at Oregon in 2010, CB Cliff Harris seemed to be only a year away from being a sure 1st round pick in the draft. But, thanks to his own stupidity, a lot has changed during that year. And after being suspended and finally kicked off the team as a junior, Harris' draft stock has dropped so far that he might not get drafted at all. Reality has set in for Cliff, as described in this article in the Oregonian from his pro day about a month ago.
I like the part where he says "my character issues that I supposedly have." lol. What Cliff, you don't think driving at 118 mph on the interstate counts as a character issue? If you don't consider yourself a character risk, then prove it. Stop being an idiot.
After sending Johnny Knox, Bernard Scott, and Clyde Gates to the NFL in recent seasons, Division 2 school Abilene Christian is at it again. This year they have not one but two prospects with NFL potential, although they're not as highly rated as the aforementioned players were. I'm particularly interested in speedy RB Daryl Richardson (photo below), the younger brother of Scott, who has incredible dreads even longer than Scott's. Also hoping to get drafted is DE Aston Whiteside, who specializes in sacks but might end up playing on offense as a TE. Here's a report on their pro day in an article on the website of television station KTXS.
MAYBE THEY'LL BE DRAFTED
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One team's draft board looks a lot different than another's, especially when you get to the very end of the draft. These players with dreads are hoping they're beautiful enough in some team's eye to be selected in the final couple of rounds. But even if they aren't drafted, for sure they all will get signed as free agents.
- WR Travis Benjamin - Miami (F)
- RB Brandon Bolden - Mississippi
- WR LaVon Brazill - Ohio
- WR LaRon Byrd - Miami (F)
- RB Travaris Cadet - Appalachian State
- S Matt Daniels - Duke
- CB Antonio Fenelus - Wisconsin
- CB Jonte Green - New Mexico State
- S Winston Guy - Kentucky
- CB Cliff Harris - Oregon
- LB Jerrell Harris - Alabama
- G Rishaw Johnson - California U (PA)
- DT Ishmaa'ily Kitchen - Kent State
- WR Keshawn Martin - Michigan State
- S Jerron McMillian - Maine
- DE Donte Paige-Moss - North Carolina
- RB Daryl Richardson - Abilene Christian
- WR James Rodgers - Oregon State
- CB Laron Scott - Georgia Southern
- S Christian Thompson - South Carolina State
- CB Neiko Thorpe - Auburn
- LB Danny Trevathan - Kentucky
- G Jeremiah Warren - South Florida
- DE Aston Whiteside - Abilene Christian
- S Tavon Wilson - Illinois
You may have noticed that I never mentioned RG3. That's because he doesn't have real dreads (although it looks like it). I keep wavering on whether or not to include him as a member of the house, and for now (at least) he's out. I might have to kick out Dwight Jones too. Or maybe I'll change my mind again later.
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