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.


Meet and Greet: Isaac Odim

January 2, 2011

Meet Isaac Odim, running back from Minnesota-Duluth (UMD).

 

Currently ranked the 61st overall running back by Scout Inc.’s draft board on ESPN.com, Odim is hoping to get a shot in the NFL and prove that playing for a Division 2 team can’t keep him from being a professional athlete.

 

Odim is a 5’11’’, 210lb player who runs the 40 in approximately 4.5 seconds. His speed is solid for a runner, but his best attribute is his outstanding ability to run hard and break tackles. “I pride myself on never giving up on a play, not letting the first person tackle me, and fighting for extra yards,” said Odim. According to him, he tries to emulate Adrian Peterson’s physicality by always fighting to keep the play alive while picking up more yards.

 

One thing that he feels could use some work is his pass (read more…)

Five Suspended OSU Players Decide to Stay, For Now

December 30, 2010

On December 23, the NCAA suspended five Ohio State underclass football players, quarterback Terrelle Pryor, wide receiver DeVier Posey, running back Dan Herron, offensive tackle Mike Adams, and defensive end Solomon Thomas, for accepting illegal benefits. These players reportedly traded autographs for free tattoos and sold personal game memorabilia such as Big Ten championship rings.

 

After receiving their five-game suspensions, which will take effect at the beginning of the 2011 season, it was speculated that some of these players may decide to enter the 2011 NFL Draft. Today however, according to multiple sources, all five players have decided to return in the fall and play through the suspension.

 

These players were being allowed by the NCAA to still play in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas. However, many members of the media believed that head coach Jim Tressel would not allow them to play in the (read more…)

Maryland’s Torrey Smith Will Go Pro

December 29, 2010

Today, junior wide receiver Torrey Smith of the Maryland Terrapins declared that he is going to enter the 2011 NFL Draft.

 

“I’m forgoing my last year of eligibility to enter the nfl draft,” Smith said via his Twitter page, @TorreySmithWR. This was posted shortly after Maryland’s 51-20 blowout victory over ECU in the Military Bowl, during which he had two catches for 10 yards and one run for negative three yards.

 

During the 2010 regular season, he hauled in 65 passes for 1,045 yards and 12 touchdowns. He led the Terrapins by a rather large margin in all of those categories. Throughout his career at Maryland, he has accumulated 2,208 yards on 150 receptions, including 19 touchdowns.

 

He was also a huge weapon in the kick return game for the Terrapins. During his career, he returned 124 kickoffs for 2,983 yards and three touchdowns. (read more…)

2010 Draft Class Well Represented on 2011 Pro Bowl Roster

December 29, 2010

This year, four NFL rookies were named to the initial Pro Bowl roster. Last year only two rookies, linebackers Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers and Brian Orakpo of the Washington Redskins, were named to the Pro Bowl. Is this a sign of great things to come for the 2010 NFL Draft class? I’m sure these players are hoping so. Here’s a look at the four players that made the initial roster and what they did to earn their trips to Hawaii.

 

NFC:

 

Ndamukong Suh, Defensive Tackle, Detroit Lions

 

Just as was expected when the Lions drafted him with the second overall pick, Suh came in and dominated in just about every aspect of the game. From penetrating the offensive line and bringing down the ball-carriers in the backfield, to creating turnovers, Suh has created a bigger impact than the Lions could have (read more…)

Panthers Lock Up First Overall Pick in 2011 Draft

December 26, 2010

At least fans of the Carolina Panthers will have something to be happy about at the end of this season.

 

Today, the Carolina Panthers officially became the sole owners of the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. After losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night and falling to 2-13, while having the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals improving to 4-11 this afternoon, the Panthers will have the worst record in the NFL regardless of what happens next weekend.

 

The Panthers have played ugly all season long, their only wins coming against the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals. With so many holes on their team, there is much speculation as to how they will use this year’s first pick.

 

They have never used the first overall pick in team history. The only first overall pick they had was in 1995, which (read more…)

New Mexico Bowl: 2011 NFL Draft Prospects

December 20, 2010

BYU:

 

Matt Reynolds, Offensive Tackle

 

Another solid game for Reynolds as he helped lead the way during a 514 yard offensive attack. His outstanding run blocking paved a path for the BYU runners to gain 219 yards on the ground. He showed good technique against the Miners’ defensive linemen, but that isn’t saying too much. Too often, Reynolds relies on his toughness and big body to help him slow down defenders. He will need to work on getting in better shape and improving his pass blocking, where speedy defenders tend to get the best of him. With great intangibles and a hard-nosed attitude, Reynolds has the foundation to be a decent NFL offensive lineman, but has much room for growth and improvement. In the NFL, he may work better as a right tackle or guard then as a left tackle, which was his main position (read more…)

Rimington Trophy: Jake Kirkpatrick

December 18, 2010

The Rimington Trophy is presented annually to the best center in the nation. This year, Jake Kirkpatrick of the TCU Horned Frogs earned this prestigious designation.

 

Kirkpatrick made his case while helping TCU come up with its second undefeated regular season in a row. Kirkpatrick and his offensive line gave quarterback Andy Dalton plenty of time to throw all season long, allowing Dalton to throw for 26 touchdowns and completing 66.2 percent of his passes while only getting him sacked eight times. He was part of the offense that was ranked ninth in the nation in yards-per-game (491.5) in large part to their eighth-ranked rushing attack that averaged 5.47 yards-per-carry. His services were a crucial part of allowing the Horned Frogs to earn a #3 BCS ranking at season’s end that got them an invitation to play in the Rose Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers.

 

(read more…)

Da’Quan Bowers Honored with Nagurski and Hendricks Awards

December 18, 2010

The Bronko Nagurski Award is presented annually to the best defensive player in the nation, decided on by members of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). The Ted Hendricks Award is presented annually to the best defensive end in the nation. This year, defensive end Da’Quan Bowers of the Clemson Tigers earned both of these prestigious designations.

 

At the beginning of the 2010 season, there were questions about Bowers’ ability to rush the passer. His worth as a run-stopper was crystal clear, but there wasn’t enough production as a pass-rusher in 2009 for a player of his ability and potential. Well, he did more than enough to quiet any doubters. During 2010, his junior year, he had 16 sacks and a forced fumble to go along with his 61 total tackles. He displayed outstanding athleticism by beating opposing tackles in pass-rush on a consistent basis, (read more…)

Patrick Peterson Honored with Bednarik and Thorpe Awards

December 18, 2010

The Chuck Bednarik Award is presented annually to the best defensive player in the nation, decided on by the Maxwell Football Club. The Jim Thorpe Award is presented annually to the best defensive back in the nation. This year, cornerback Patrick Peterson of the LSU Tigers earned both of these prestigious designations.

 

If there was ever a player that made NFL scouts drool, it’s Peterson. Peterson is an uber-talented athlete who flies around the field and makes plays on almost every down. Not only is he a sensational cornerback, but he also is a sparkplug on special teams. This season, he tallied 36 tackles, four interceptions and six broken up passes on defense. Some might say that his defensive stats aren’t stellar, but it’s hard for him to rack up stats when the opposing offense avoids throwing or running to his side. On special teams, he (read more…)

John Mackey Award: D.J. Williams

December 18, 2010

The John Mackey Award is presented annually to the best tight end in the nation. This year, D.J. Williams of the Arkansas Razorbacks earned this prestigious designation.

 

During his senior year, Williams became one of the most reliable weapons for outstanding quarterback Ryan Mallett. His production declined from his sophomore to junior year, but then returned to form in his senior year, catching 49 balls for 589 yards and four touchdowns. He is also the active NCAA career leader in catches (147) and receiving yards (1,817). He became one of the most feared receivers as well as blockers on a Razorback offense that helped lift Arkansas to the Sugar Bowl to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. In recognition of his abilities on the field as well as off of it, he was also honored with the Disney Spirit Award, given to the nation’s most inspiring (read more…)

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