Saturday, January 22, 2011

The 2011 Draft Season Begins

Sure there are sites that have been mocking the draft since the last one ended (some even before that), but realistically, none of these preliminary projections mean anything until:

a) the underclassmen have committed to the draft or to return to school.  January 18th was the official deadline for these players to pull their names out of the hat.

b) the Bowl games have been played.  You'd be surprised how many players stocks rise or plummet as the result of poor showings, injuries or standout performances in these games which tend to place them against stiffer competition than they've faced all year, and provides more exposure than the typical Saturday afternoon game.

c) The All-Star Games.  Today marks the actual game of East-West Shrine week, where some of the most talented yet lesser-known players get a shot at being coached by NFL coaches (this year, Dan Reeves and Wade Phillips are the Head Coaches) and being fully exposed to NFL scouts and media-drones.  Personally as a South Florida alum, I'm excited to see the Bulls' best player in DT Terrell McClain (look for him on my Top Ten list to be released in the future) representing USF.  There are several other exciting players in the game including LSU's WR Terrence Tolliver, VT's QB Tyrod Taylor, PSU's RB Evan Royster and LSU OT Joseph Barkdale to name a few.  Meanwhile, the Senior Bowl Week takes place next week with the game to be broadcast on NFL Network on the 29th.  Almost my entire preliminary Dolphins draft board is scheduled to participate in the Senior Bowl so it should be a very exciting week and I will bring snippets of interest to Tins Fins on a daily basis as the 'Tin Bits' series resumes after a long hiatus.

So, forget what you thought about the draft two months ago or even a couple of weeks ago.  Now is where we start realizing what is really out there and what sort of value the NFL scouts place on each player.  Eventually we will have pro-days, the combine, and all the fall-out of failed drug tests, botched Wonderlic attempts, and loads of misinformation and obviously tainted leaks by sports agents and NFL teams attempting to play jedi mind tricks on each other through the media.  It's my favorite time of year, folks.  It's Draft Season!!

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