Gil Alcaraz IV

Gil is the owner of the Minnesota Vikings blog, The Viking Den, and an editorial writer for Lakers Nation. Having followed the NFL Draft for years, Gil has had a knack for naming some of the big surprise players to make it in the NFL. Gil is also a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

Picks 1-20 set for first round of 2012 NFL Draft

January 1, 2012

Andrew Luck Colts

The 2011 NFL regular season has come to an end and the 2012 NFL Draft first-round order is beginning to take shape.


As of right now, the first 20 selections have already been matched with their corresponding team based on final regular season records.


Let the early-to-mid-round mocking begin!


1. Indianapolis Colts (2-14) 2. St. Louis Rams (2-14) 3. Minnesota Vikings (3-13) 4. Cleveland Browns (4-12) 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) 6. Washington Redskins (5-11) 7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) 8. Carolina Panthers (6-10)* 9. Miami Dolphins (6-10)* 10. Buffalo Bills (6-10) 11. Seattle Seahawks (7-9)* 12. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9)* 13. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8) 14. New York Jets (8-8) 15. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) 16. San Diego Chargers (8-8) 17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland Raiders, 8-8) 18. Chicago Bears (8-8) 19. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) 20. Tennessee Titans (9-7) 21. Denver Broncos (8-8)** 22. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7)** 23. New (read more…)

Barkley announces plan to return to USC in 2012

December 23, 2011

Matt Barkley 2

The USC Trojans football program received an early, extra-special Christmas present this year when their offensive leader, junior quarterback Matt Barkley, announced that he was returning to school in 2012.


During an on-campus press conference, Barkley made his decision to forego the 2012 NFL Draft and return for his senior season clear to a crowd of raucous Trojan faithful.


“I have firmly decided to forego the NFL Draft in 2012 and finish the exceptional and unique journey that I’ve had here at USC,” Barkley announced.


For the past two seasons, the USC football program has been at the mercy of a BCS Bowl ban as part of the sanctions stemming from the “Reggie Bush/illegal gifts” fiasco. Now that the ban has been lifted, the Trojans will be in prime position to push for a PAC-12 crown as well as a berth in one of (read more…)

Oregon’s James reportedly NFL-bound

December 15, 2011

James TD

After deciding to return to school despite leading the nation in rushing yards per game last season, Oregon running back LaMichael James is reportedly calling it quits on college.


According to The Oregonian, James has decided to forgo his senior season and will declare for the 2012 NFL Draft. Considering the lack of longevity of NFL careers for running backs, another year in college without much else to prove would be a poor decision for one of the nation’s most talented runners.


In 2011, James has helped lead the Ducks to another tremendous season that will end with an appearance in the 2012 Rose Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers. Like in 2010, James led the nation in rushing yards per game this season with 149. With only one game to go, James currently has 1,646 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season.


(read more…)

Luck confirms intent to enter 2012 NFL Draft

December 6, 2011

Andrew Luck 3

Congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts!


Unless they go on a four-game winning streak, which is rather unlikely, the Colts have won the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.


According to a report from USA Today, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has confirmed his plans to forgo his senior year and enter the 2012 NFL Draft. In an interview with ESPN, Luck made his plans for next year rather clear.


“I think I’m going to hopefully play professional football if a team will have me,” Luck said.


Well unless he undergoes some catastrophic injury during the Fiesta Bowl or any pre-draft games/workouts (knock on wood), I’m sure just about every NFL team would love to have Luck on their roster. Don’t worry, Andrew; you’re safe.


It’s expected that Luck will be taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, which appears to be the possession of (read more…)

Luck leads list of five Heisman finalists

December 6, 2011

Andrew Luck 2

It’s that time of year folks. The Heisman Trophy race is almost over as the five finalists come barreling down the home stretch. In the 77th installment of college football’s top award, the list has been whittled down from the thousands of FBS players to five.


The list consists of two quarterbacks, two running backs and a cornerback. Four candidates are juniors and one is a sophomore. All but one player will be participating in a BCS Bowl Game.


The first, and most obvious, candidate is Stanford junior quarterback Andrew Luck.


The only returning finalist, Luck has led his Cardinal to an impressive 11-1 record this season, with their only loss coming against the Oregon Ducks. Coming into the season, Luck was considered the top candidate to win the award and has done a terrific job of keeping himself in the hunt. With 3,170 passing (read more…)

Ok. State WR Blackmon not expected to return in 2012

October 31, 2011

Justin Blackmon

Apart from the player himself, the next best source of knowing whether a player is expected to return to school or head for the NFL is their head coach. For Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, that man is Mike Gundy, who believes that his star receiver won’t be back in 2012.


“If he wants to come back, he’s certainly welcome,” Gundy said. “We will have a party. But I can’t imagine that he would be back again.”


Many considered Blackmon to be a top-five pick prior to the 2011 NFL Draft, but he opted to return for his junior season.


Although the amount of competition that he’ll have for that top WR spot in the draft is rather high, a top-five pick is in no way out of the question. So far this season, Blackmon has hauled in 74 passes for 834 yards (read more…)

Stanford loses SS Howell for at least one game

October 20, 2011

Delano Howell

The Stanford defense took a big shot today when a school spokesman announced that starting strong safety Delano Howell would not be playing during the Cardinal’s Saturday game against the Washington Huskies.


Through the first six games of the 2011 season, Howell has been a big playmaker in the defensive backfield for Stanford. Arguably the strongest link in the Cardinal secondary, the senior safety has racked up 25 tackles and four defended passes this season.


Howell, who’s dealing with a hand injury, will be replaced by sophomore Devon Carrington. So far this season, Carrington has tallied 19 total tackles and one defended pass while seeing action in a backup role. He has played in all six games this season and will get his first start against Washington.


As of right now, Howell is week-to-week and could miss more than just the Washington game (read more…)

Oregon’s James suffers elbow injury against Cal

October 7, 2011

lamichael james1

All seemed well while the Oregon Ducks were pummeling the Cal Golden Bears on Thursday night. The Ducks were dominating on the scoreboard and Heisman hopeful LaMichael James was having a game that would surely grab the attention of voters everywhere. Unfortunately, his night would not end as well as it began.


After rushing for 239 yards and a touchdown on the night, James fell awkwardly on his right arm after a run in the fourth quarter. During the fall, his face was immediately etched with pain as he dislocated his elbow. He was tended to by the team’s medical staff and was carted off the field after the arm was put into a temporary cast. The game resumed and the Ducks came away with a dominant 43-15 victory.


Despite how nauseating the injury looked, it appears as though the Ducks most valuable offensive weapon (read more…)

Barkley breaks USC single-game passing yards record

October 1, 2011

Matt Barkley1

On this beautiful Saturday afternoon, the USC Trojans overcame a second-half surge by the Arizona Wildcats to come away with a 48-41 victory. The highlight of the win for the Trojans was the record-breaking passing performance of quarterback Matt Barkley.


A junior who’s doing everything he can to prove he’s ready for the NFL, Barkley has had an up-and-down season so far in 2011. After starting off the Trojans at 3-0, Barkley struggled last week against the Arizona State Sun Devils. He looked flustered out on the field and failed to make big plays when they were needed most. The Trojans lost their first game of the season, falling to 3-1.


That, however, wasn’t going to deter him from hitting the field against the Wildcats and performing surgery on the Arizona secondary.


When the clock finally struck zero today, Barkley had an impressive 468 (read more…)

Top PAC-12 Talent: Oregon Ducks

August 31, 2011

With Stanford scratched off of the to-do list, I’ll turn my attention to the Oregon Ducks.


The 2010 PAC-10 Championships and National Championship runner-ups will have their sights set on another regular undefeated season. Unfortunately, a depleted defense and an offensive line that lacks experience could keep them from running away with a PAC-12 title in 2011. If anything, Stanford will have something to say about their candidacy as shoe-ins to win the conference.


Despite their deficiencies, they still have running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas in their arsenal and should be able to utilize both to their full potential.


Overall, there’s still plenty of electricity left in this team’s roster. Their quack might not have the same luster that it did in 2010, but it will still be hard for any PAC-12 foe to ruffle their feathers if they stay healthy (read more…)

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