Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

Joe Marino’s Talent Watch: Week One

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Every Thursday this college football season, BBD's Joe Marino will provide analysis of some of the nation's top prospects—as well as prospect rankings and other fun features—in his weekly Talent Watch column.

Every Thursday this college football season, BBD’s Joe Marino will provide analysis of some of the nation’s top prospects—as well as prospect rankings and other fun features—in his weekly Talent Watch column.

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

I’ll never forget watching the 2003 NFL Draft. It was my third year of being truly interested in following football in a deeper level and keeping up with college football’s top prospects as they entered the NFL. In 2001, I began evaluating prospects and creating my own rankings and draft boards so by the 2003 draft, I felt like I was on my way to being the next Mel Kiper.

In the fourth round, with the No. 111 overall pick, the Buffalo Bills selected cornerback Terrence McGee out of Northwestern State and I was instantly humbled. Why? I had never heard of McGee. After all of my preparations, I didn’t even know a player who was taken in the fourth round. I took it hard and vowed to make sure this never happened again while taking my studies of players to an even deeper level.

Ten years later, a player here and there gets drafted that wasn’t on my radar but it’s very rare. This passion and drive for evaluating prospects has lead me to this great opportunity to share my work with you on Buffalo Bills Draft and now the debut of this scouting column. As for McGee, he went on to have a stellar 10-year career in the NFL; he holds six Bills franchise records and has been selected as an All-Pro on two occasions.

I have plenty in store for the 2014 season as I introduce a new crop of future NFL players. This column will be a great source to familiarize yourself with the prospects that will be selected next spring. Over the course of the season, I will feature more than 150 prospects for the 2015 draft as I highlight them in their biggest games, provide initial positional rankings, make predictions, and spotlight some of today’s best NFL draft analysts and football minds.

I hope you enjoy the 2014-15 College Football season and stay tuned as I share my thoughts.

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2014 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Wisconsin RB James White

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Wisconsin’s James White is one of the top senior running back prospects in this year’s draft class. (Photo: Jeff Hanisch — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

While the value of the running back position is on a rapid decline, it increases the likelihood that NFL teams can come away with productive running backs in the late rounds of the draft. One such running back is Wisconsin’s James White.

Despite splitting carries throughout his four-year career—and often being on the lower end of the share—White ran for 4,015 yards at Wisconsin, the fourth-most in school history. His 45 rushing touchdowns and 48 total touchdowns rank third among Badgers all-time.

White has had opportunities to shine, and he’s typically taken advantage of them. He played in 52 career games at Wisconsin, missing just one game in a four-year span. He followed up his collegiate career with a strong performance at this year’s Senior Bowl, which included being named the Most Outstanding Player of the North squad in this year’s game.

In an interview with Buffalo Bills Draft in March, White said he thinks he is “one of the best running backs in this draft.”

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2014 NFL Draft: 10 Prospects Whose Tools Are Better Than Their Tape

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

While Anthony Barr’s physical tools stand out, his on-field play is not quite as outstanding. (Photo: Gary A. Vazquez — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

More times than not, good football players are also good athletes with prototypical physical traits, but being a great athlete and having great size does not necessarily mean one is a great football player. Every year, there are players whose draft stock is defined more by their measurables than what they have actually done on the football field. That is due in large part to NFL teams drafting players based on what they can become rather than who they are.

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2014 NFL Draft: 10 Prospects Whose Tape is Better Than Their Tools

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Chris Borland isn’t the biggest or fastest linebacker, but he makes plays every time he is on the football field. (Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

In an ideal world, every prospect would have the prototypical size and athletic ability that scouts envision to play a given position, but that is far from the case. Despite that, every year rookies who didn’t check an important box still succeed at the professional level. Whether it’s Anquan Boldin and his 4.72-second 40-yard dash dominating at wide receiver, or London Fletcher playing linebacker at a high level for 16 seasons at a height of 5’10″, limited physical traits do not preclude a player from NFL success.

The 2014 NFL draft class has several players who perform well on tape but lack the desired physical tools for their positions.

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2014 NFL Draft: Linebacker Options to Fix Buffalo’s Run Defense

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

If the Buffalo Bills choose to improve their linebacker corps with the No. 9 overall pick, UCLA’s Anthony Barr is one possible option. (Photo: Andrew Weber — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Eric Samulski

The Buffalo Bills improved in many ways under a new coaching staff in 2013, but stopping the run continued to be a problem. The Bills ranked 28th in the NFL in run defense, allowing 129 yards per game, 4.4 yards per carry and 19 runs of longer than 20 yards.

Middle linebacker Kiko Alonso had a tremendous rookie year, totaling 159 tackles and two sacks, but he showed far more value in coverage, sometimes being swallowed up by blockers in run defense. If the Bills are going to get better against the run as a team, they need to spend the offseason adding more stout talent around Alonso in the linebacker corps.

With that in mind, the Bills should have their eyes on some of the following linebackers in the upcoming draft who excel against the run. Most of these players have experience in versatile defenses or possess skill sets that would lend themselves to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s hybrid system.

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