News Rodeo

I rarely indulge in the whole link/comment blog staple, but it's been weeks and the news is beginning to crowd the pen, so let's rustle up some links and ship `em on down to Bovine University.

The Hawks ink Will Herring, Jordan Kent, Courtney Taylor and Mansfield Wrotto (Various)

This is, of course, non-news as there was zero doubt that any of these players would sign.

Having watched a little video on Wrotto, I can tell you that reports that he's "raw" do not fully communicate how far he needs to come to be NFL ready. His sense of body or proprioception, what is often referred to as grace or athleticism, looks top-notch, and he's effortlessly powerful, but every halfway decent pass rusher in the NFL is going to make mince-meat of this guy until he learns to better position his body when blocking, and especially, until he learns to not bite on obvious head-fakes, jukes and swim-moves. I know Ruskell has said that everyone taken in the first four rounds is expected to make the roster, but watch Wrotto when preseason arrives, he might need a year or two on the practice squad.

When evaluating the Hawks very thin tight end corps, it might be worth wondering if Kent could bulk up a shade and reposition himself.  At 217 he's a fair sight from being big enough to work off-tackle, as-is, but the Hawks are exceptionally deep at wide receiver, but scary thin at tight end, with only Will Heller, Bennie Joppru and Joe Newton, providing serious back-up for Methuselah.

Finally, you might want to call me person one of the Courtney "the Bohemian" Taylor fan club. The big knock on Taylor is that he lacks straight line speed and...Oh, you were finished? Then allow me to retort. Taylor was a top performer in the ACC, easily one of the nation's top conferences, and a veritable football factory of NFL talent. Many considered him a first day talent, but in a supremely deep draft for wide receivers, he fell to the 6th round. The catalyst to Taylor's fall was an unimpressive 4.5 forty at the NFL combine. Dwayne Bowe, the 23rd selection of round one by the Kansas City chiefs ran a 4.51. That performance combined with an already less than stellar view of his playing speed sent Taylor's stock plummeting.

Here's the thing, though: What do you think Muhsin Muhammad's current 40 time would be? How about Anquan Boldin? He ran a linebacker-esque 4.72 at the 2003 NFL combine and has since had multiple knee surgeries. Because we are dealing with tenths of a second, a jam at the line, a rounded off cut, or a slightly askew route can easily swallow whatever speed advantage say, Teddy Ginn Jr., has over Taylor. Receiving is a "skill" position: Taylor is a skilled route-runner, a skilled receiver, skilled at finding holes in zone coverage and skilled at making tough catches in traffic. His effective work in end-arounds, he average 9.9 yards per rush in college, makes me think he's not that game slow, either. And, of course as per de rigueur of the Ruskell administration, Taylor is a considered a good guy and a hard worker. He's not likely to crack the starting squad as yet, but watch for him to perform ably in the preseason--I think he was a steal.

EWU alum Erik Meyer brought in to challenge for the third Qb spot (Seattle Times)

My guess is that this is a way to challenge David Greene/a local boy publicity stunt, but it's possible that this is a vote of no-confidence for the former Bulldog.  Though I've thrown my support behind Greene, to be transparent, I just don't know that much about how Greene has performed in training camp and on the practice squad. He's looked strong in limited action during the preseason, and his college profile looks quality, but if the things I don't know were atoms, they could fill a swimming pool. Meyer for his part, has been very accurate in his college and pro career, but teams didn't even sniff at him in the 2006 draft and the number of NFL Europa vets who have been able to make the transition is small. Don't even get me started about Jake Delhomme. 2006 Delhomme DPAR - 2006 Steve Smith DPAR = .1, 2005 Delhomme DPAR - 2005 Steve Smith DPAR = 1.1.

Best of luck to the kid, but I sincerely hope that Greene makes this another feel good footnote in short order, and crushes Myer's NFL dreams like a trash compactor.

Ichiro resigns!! (Well Substantiated Rumor)

Ok, I've a bit of crow to swallow as I was one of many that didn't buy into "2007 Seattle Mariners: Contenders" and had hoped, aloud, that Seattle would be sellers come the trade deadline rather than buyers, but this is just terrific news. Ichiro is the true face of the franchise, a player of talent and character unseen since Gar retired, and though the nickname Mr. Mariner may be taken, you'll beg my pardon if I start calling Mr. Suzuki, Mariner-san.

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