Prospect Watch: Week 12, 13 and 14


It is the perfect week to talk about investments with the opportunity to “invest” in Packer Stock launching early last Tuesday morning. Instant return in our investment. That is what every person wants, it is what the 21st century NFL fan wants with its draft. It wasn’t too long ago when a team would draft a QB and he would sit behind the starter for 2-3 years, then get his shot. It still happens, of course, most notably Favre transitioning to Rodgers in Green Bay. However, with tens of millions of dollars going into contracts these days teams don’t have the luxury of waiting and grooming a player for years (although the new CBA helps) and hoping they molded a Pro Bowl caliber player.

This season has seen all ends of the expectation spectrum with the success of  Cam Newton and Andy Dalton, the promise of  Christian Ponder and the “deer in headlight look” of  Blaine Gabbert. Many are calling Newton the “new breed of QB,”  while others are already calling for the head of young Gabbert in Jacksonville. “Patience is a virtue,” but none of us seem to have it.

Enter the 2012 QB prospects. We still have yet to crown a 2011 champion but already the Lucks, Barkleys, and Griffins all have expectations to be met at the NFL level. Many have Andrew Luck replacing one of the greatest QBs of all time, Barkley as the missing link to the Seahwaks or Redskins and Griffin as the “not getting enough credit/soon to be superstar in all this (his newly acquired Heisman Trophy will surely help though). Why stop at anointing college players yet to play a down in the NFL the next NFL superstars? I am anointing my yet to be conceived son the gem of the 2036 NFL Draft.

After missing a few weeks I invested some time into the last 3 weeks of the college season and here is what I came away with:

Matt Barkley (QB, USC): There is a wave of Matt Barkley support sweeping analyst across the country with his recent play. After watching him against Oregon and UCLA I can see where it is coming from. He increased his YPA to 9.5 (vs Oregon) and 10.1 (vs UCLA) and had a 10:1 TD:INT ratio in those 2 games. Barkley is set to meet with a draft advisory board to discuss if he should declare for the draft. His best case scenerio, if he returns to USC, is to lead USC to a bowl game, be a Heisman finalist and go from the 2nd or 3rd rated QB to number 1. With the new CBA in the NFL it is all about getting to your second contract to make money. Therefore, if Barkley wants college fame he should return to school, if he wants to start his clock (NFL contract wise) to make money as a NFL QB he should go pro.

Trent Richardson (RB, Bama): Richardson has stated to media recently that he has got a “whole nother year. I’m not worried about anything else.” It’s hard to say if winning a National Championship might sway him one way or another. He finished the season strong running for 203 yards against Auburn and 175 yards against Georgia South. If Richardson declares, he will be the 1st RB chosen in April. It is just a matter of what team takes him.

Justin Blackmon (WR, OK State): Blackmon seems to be ready to declare for the NFL Draft. Stating “Right now, I think that would be the best thing for me.” I think that would be the best thing for teams like the Rams, Jags, or maybe Vikings, who could all insert him right into their offense. OK State’s National Championship hopes basically ended with a loss to Iowa State. Blackmon had 10 receptions for 99 yards and a TD in that loss and followed it up with another 10 receptions for 95 yards in a win against Oklahoma. Blackmon will have to display some maturity and a solid 40 time at the combine to yield a high pick with the questions about his ability to get separation from DBs and mixed reviews on his character. 

Zach Brown (LB, UNC): I didn’t get to view Browns games the past few weeks (there is only so much room on my DVR for the Walking Dead) and I’m not the type to assume he did good because his numbers hint that he did. However, I am the type who can’t wait to see what type of show this young man will put on at the NFL Combine in February.