Thursday, March 11, 2010

2010 Draft - Small School Sleepers - Mitch Ryan, TE

It is a common argument to debate what a 'sleeper' is, but I classify it as anyone who flies under the radar but is ultimately successful, or someone who was successful and still flies under the radar because he didn't go to the big schools, or have the biggest PR firm behind him.  Whatever your own understanding of a sleeper is, no one can argue that the following players all attended smaller schools in not so well known conferences/divisions of NCAA football.  But the players this series will follow have been chosen exclusively for the fact that they were successful, and could contribute to the success of the Miami Dolphins in 2010.

We start off with Mitch Ryan, a Tight-End from the University of San Diego. As you will see he's a bit of a hybrid, primarily a receiver (he lines up outside a bit), but his 6'5", 240 lb frame means he can hold up inside.

Ryan played in a conference no one outside that conference has ever heard of, and he missed all of 2009 with a torn ACL and torn meniscus injury (that's what the last part of the 3rd video is referring to) but before you say USD is not a legit training ground, the Colts have a USD grad at WR on their team, and their receivers aren't too shabby, and Ryan's former QB, Josh Johnson is the backup in Tampa Bay.   

Ryan's numbers are not huge because he only played in 22 games and played tight-end on a team that had a 1000+ yard rusher, a running QB who racked up 800 yds/season and also two 1000+ yard receivers.  Despite that, he collected 39 catches for 574 yards and 9 touchdowns and the video shows his hands are softer than Ted Ginn Jr at a beach party attended by Chris Johnson.  

Ryan is not even ranked on CBS/NFLdraftscout's list of the top 96 TEs available.  Forget sleeper, the scouts are in a coma when it comes to this guy.


  1. obviously this was meant to be the first in the series, but I accidentally published the Akwasa one first.

  2. It's no were blinded by all this orange!!!  j/k!  8-)

  3. dang he can move for a big guy! any idea how well blocks?

  4. that I don't know.  Any San Diego peeps out there?

  5. I'm trying to warm myself up mentally since the ground is covered in ice here - it's actually gotten colder as the year has progressed - at this rate we will be living in igloos by July!

  6. The Knight who says NiMarch 11, 2010 at 12:00 PM


    It's finally warming up in NJ. It's been high 40s and 50s for almost a week now.  8-)

  7. Tin,
    Good job on this expose.  That is what I love about sleepers...all it takes is a savvy scout to realize this potential. A smart team picks them instead of all of the sexy picks that become busts, thereby shocking the NFL community.  However, they only stay shocked for a short time, and the next draft try to mimic what the smart team did. Copycats!

    The real talent, is in the ability to recognize talent!

  8. The Knight who says NiMarch 11, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    You could say Kendall Langford and Donald Thomas fit the mold for finding small school gems.

  9. So much for global warming.  Global warming Chemtrails are they the same thing ?

  10. Somehow that guy reminds me of John Nalbone. A small school, pass catching TE that nobody ever heard of. I'd give him a shot as an undrafted rookie FA, but I wouldn't spend a draft pick on him (although I agree that we should draft a pass catching TE in the mid-rounds).

  11. You're reminding me of when Herm Edwards was with the Chiefs and it looked like Kiper was running his draft.  Now he gets to talk to Kiper all the time!!

  12. Thought you were in Sac Tin....covered in ice?  I'm assuming you moved, but if not I guess I need to crawl out of my cave and see what's going on in my state!

    Thanks for the highlighting some of the "little guys", chances are good the Fins pick up a guy from your series here, they always seem to grab one......

    As everyone talks roster weaknesses and potential picks/trades one area overlooked is OL.  Do you think Sporano looks at the line and says "we're good", or are they looking to mix it up?  If they are looking to replace someone, who would it be?  My guess would be Smiley and/or Carey. 

    Just want to know if y'all think that could be a surprise move we make this year.......

  13. The Knight who says NiMarch 11, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    It's no longer Global Warming which has been going on for 10,000 years based on science. It's now Global Climate Change so they can use any extreme weather to support their agenda

  14. Donald Thomas went to UConn - that's a big school.

  15. I don't know what we'll do about OL, because I agree that there are some
    concerns - you all know I'm not a Vernon Carey fan - but at the same time we
    did ok at times and great at times last year and we have loads of young
    developmental guys already - Murtha, Feinga, SirVincent Rogers, Gardner,
    Garner, Andrew Hartline, Tsoumpas, plus Berger, Thomas, Carey, Smiley,
    Grove, and Long. I just don't see why they would use a high draft pick or
    any at all on OL. They have major needs and will continue to double up on
    those needs - 2 NTs, 2 WRs, 2 LBs, 2 Safeties and will probably also take a
    TE, and a CB.
    If we did go OL, it would a big surprise to me, but I am usually surprised
    at least once in a draft (last year I literally couldn't stop going on about
    the Pat White pick for about 6 hours - my wife thought I was nuts).

  16. Oh, and yes I am in Sacramento - the temperature dropped 15 degrees this
    week and everything is covered by ice in the morning.

  17. I think/hope our O-Line is set but we could use some depth at OT.

    LT: Long (franchise LT)
    LG: Smiley (very good run blocker but injury prone, one of the best pulling guards in the NFL)
    C: Grove (good run blocker)
    RG: Thomas OR Garner (to be battled out in the offseason/preseason)
    RT: Carey (liability in pass protection, good run blocker, very durable)

  18. 6hour rant - now thats funny. & today is the first day I have even seen (spots) of the ground for 4months...

  19. The Knight who says NiMarch 11, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Yeah I guess. It's just not one of the big name schools.

    The Dolphins have shown some interest in DE/OLB Travis LaBoy. So have the a few other teams including the Pats and Jets. He could be a good pickup if he's healthy. He had a torn bicep but before that he was starting to break out as a pass rusher. 6-3 250 good athleticism and speed.

  20. Hey Red Dog, Sponrano is never going to look at OL line and be happy. He will always want better

  21. Yeah I remember Henning said something to that effect...

  22. Maybe our wives need to get a parallel blog going to rant about our rants! 

  23. You won't get an argument from me on that point.  I just wonder how we are supposed to stop the natural progression of nature ?  Maybe those Chemtrails will Help. :)   As my brother says follow the money trail and you will find the culprit that is spending it, or using it to get re-elected.

  24. We Have PlaymakersMarch 12, 2010 at 6:40 AM


    Really???  Ice in Sacramento???  That's weirder than what happened with the Ryan Clark visit.  LOL!

  25. We Have PlaymakersMarch 12, 2010 at 7:09 AM


    I'm not a Carey fan either (especially over the last two seasons) but the one extremely impressive thing about the guy is that he's definitely durable.  Instead of drafting another Tackle, I can see the logic of us drafting another Guard.  I'm not sure if it was Omar or Armando who mentioned this in one of their blogs but I agree.  I really like where we're with Thomas & Nate Garner competing to start @RG but I'd like a little insurance @LG with Smiley.  Smiley didn't start in 8 games over the last two seasons so that worries me.

  26. We Have PlaymakersMarch 12, 2010 at 7:11 AM


    You just made my point for me about needing another Guard to back up Smiley.

  27. WHP, we have Berger, Garner, Thomas, Smiley, Feinga, Hartline and Tsoumpas
    competing. That's 7 guys competing for two starting spots and 2 backups. I
    don't know much about Hartline and Tsoumpas, but the other 5 are pretty good
    (at least Feinga was at the collegiate level, and the O.C.P. goal will be to
    bring him down to the 325 range and make him stronger).
    Yes, I worry about Smiley's health concerns too, but I don't think we're in
    a situation where we have to replace him altogether by drafting a Guard in
    the first couple of rounds. Even if he does go down, Garner has shown he
    can play there.
    Ultimately you want to make every position as perfectly manned as possible,
    but you can't do it all at once, and the other positions are much more of a
    priority right now.