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Scott Sicko Goes Undrafted, Quits Football Despite Contract Offers

Of all the surprises to come out of the NFL draft weekend, what happened with New Hampshire tight end Scott Sicko was the most shocking. I don’t recall ever seeing a story like this one. With the draft capped at seven rounds, several talented football players go undrafted. Even though no team selects them in the draft, they’re able to sign with any team they choose as an undrafted free agent immediately following the draft (as long as there’s mutual interest). New Hampshire tight end Scott Sicko went undrafted but the Jaguars, Cowboys, and Jets all tried to sign him. Which team did he choose? None of them. Pro Football Talk shared this incredible story Saturday night via the Albany Times-Union:

Not getting drafted, [Sicko] decided, provided a new clarity, a different answer to the question of whether he wanted to get started on his life after football.

“If I were to be drafted I would have had more confidence of a much longer career in the NFL,” Sicko said. “I have to look at my life and decide what will make me the happiest. And the thing that will make me the happiest now and in the long run is to pursue my education.”

After getting his New Hampshire degree this May, Sicko plans to get a post-graduate degree or two in history, and become a history teacher or professor. And, yes, he knows he could have put off his education.

There you have it — Sicko told his agent to tell teams that called “thanks but no thanks” to their offers. He’s hanging up the cleats for grad school. Here’s the deal: if Sicko’s dream is to become a history teacher, then I can’t argue with him. But if he ever had dreams of playing in the NFL, just because he wasn’t drafted doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be able to live his dream. Antonio Gates is one of the best tight ends in the NFL and he went undrafted. Steelers linebacker and Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 was undrafted. Same with Kurt Warner, West Welker, London Fletcher, Herm Edwards, Priest Holmes, Tony Romo, and recently selected Hall of Famer John Randle. I’m not saying it would have been easy for Sicko to make it in the NFL but the reality is he wasn’t that far off as an undrafted free agent. I hope he doesn’t regret his choice.

Sources:
In a stunner, Scott Sicko says no thanks to NFL (Updated) [Albany Times-Union]
Player goes undrafted, says no thanks to teams [Pro Football Talk]

Raiders Al Davis Gets His Combine Studs Bruce Campbell, Jacoby Ford

The Oakland Raiders shocked the football world by making what seemed to be very logical picks on the first two days of the draft. With their first-round pick, they selected Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain eighth overall. With their second-round pick, they chose Texas defensive tackle Lamarr Houston. Both moves seemed to indicate a desire by the Raiders to shore up their run defense because they also traded away LB Kirk Morrison, a player owner Al Davis seemed to blame for their shoddy run-stopping.

In addition to their solid draft picks the first two days, the Raiders acquired quarterback Jason Campbell from the Redskins. On a roster with JaMarcus Russell, Bruce Gradkowski, Kyle Boller, and Charlie Frye as the options at QB, Campbell seems like the best option. While making some strong moves that should improve the Raiders in the future, you knew they couldn’t go the entire draft without making some typical Al Davis selections.

Much like they did last year by taking bust Darrius Heyward-Bey 7th overall, the Raiders went with back-to-back combine speedsters in the 4th round. With pick number 106, the Raiders chose Maryland offensive tackle Bruce Campbell. Campbell created a buzz at the combine by running a 4.85 40-yard dash, posting 34 reps of 225lbs on the bench press, and measuring out with the longest arms of any tackle at 36 inches. People joked he would be a lock to go to Oakland and they were right, only the Raiders took Campbell at a reasonable spot in the fourth round, not the first.

Two picks after drafting Campbell, the Raiders selected Clemson WR Jacoby Ford. Ford was another combine stud, running the fastest 40 time of any player, a 4.28. Ford’s small at 5’8″ and 180lbs and he didn’t produce huge numbers at Clemson, but he is a speedster. Both Campbell and Ford were typical Al Davis, speed/athletic player picks. The good news for Raiders fans is at least Davis took them in the fourth-round where it’s a lower risk. Translation, they didn’t embarrass themselves as much as we thought they would.

Disappointing Draft Night for Clausen

The NFL Draft is always exciting for young players who are fresh out of college. But for Jimmy Clausen, the quarterback from Notre Dame, it just plain sucked.

Clausen was predicted by many people to be a first-round draft pick, with experts saying he was the second best QB coming into the draft behind Sam Bradford. Bradford was the first overall pick, selected by the St. Louis Rams as predicted. But I think the most upsetting part of the night for Clausen had to be the announcement that the Denver Broncos had selected Tim Tebow as the 25th overall pick. I’m guessing that Jimmy had to be stunned. Clausen did have a year of eligibility remaining but he chose to leave South Bend and boy, that has to be haunting him now.

Notre Dame hasn’t been very successful with their QB’s being top ten draft picks lately. Remember, Brady Quinn was projected to be a top ten pick but instead he fell into the 20′s before getting drafted by the Browns. But now Clausen is ending up in the second-round, which will be a blow to his confidence (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the kid is pretty cocky) and his pocketbook. But, what will be considered a lose for the South Bend quarterback, can still be a win for LBS fans. Since he was not drafted last night, that means Ochocinco’s prize for predicting the team that would draft Clausen is still up for grabs. All I can say is that I don’t this as such a bad thing, maybe Clausen needed to be knocked off his pedestal before he could learn to play in the NFL.

Sources:
Clausen, Broncos come up short [ESPN]

Tebow Makes Sense For Broncos

The first-round of the 2010 NFL Draft has passed and some teams are being praised while others are being torn to shreds.  It comes as no surprise that the player generating the most buzz in the aftermath of Round 1 is none other than Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who was selected by the Denver Broncos with the 25th overall pick.  I may be a part of the minority here, but I think Josh McDaniels and Denver made the right move.

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who could make an argument that any player in the draft cares more about football than Tim Tebow.  There’s no player who has shown that he’s more coachable or more willing to do whatever it takes to help a team win than Tebow.  Is some of this “intangible” stuff often overrated when discussing NFL prospects?  Certainly, but it’s worth mentioning when talking about a rare breed.  Just ask his former coach and he’ll tell you — Tim Tebow is special.

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2010 NFL Draft First-Round Recap

Here’s a recap of the first-round of the 2010 NFL Draft with a blurb on the Top 10 selections and how they fit with their respective teams:

1) RAMS – SAM BRADFORD, QB, OKLAHOMA

Bradford was the guy. They are desperate for QB help and they really don’t have a decent option on their roster. He should walk in and start week one with their limited choices. He needs a lot of help and will have to adjust to playing under center and calling his own plays but he should develop nicely.

2) LIONS – NDAMUKONG SUH, DT, NEBRASKA

I love this pick. It was the easiest pick in the entire draft and the Lions didn’t bungle it. Suh is a monster and had one of the most dominant games by a college player I’ve ever seen. He’s going to be a star in the NFL and help turn the Lions’ defense around.

3) BUCCANEERS – GERALD MCCOY, DT, OKLAHOMA

The Buccaneers came up short in the Albert Haynesworth sweepstakes a year ago but now they’re getting the defensive tackle they coveted. I doubt McCoy will become as good as Haynesworth but they need him to anchor their line. After striking out with Gaines Adams in the first-round a few years ago they were desperate for some help up front. I don’t think he’ll compare to Suh, but the Bucs loved him.

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Sam Bradford Is the Right Pick for Rams

One of the discussion topics for The Washington Post sports panel I’m part of is whether Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is the right choice for the Rams in the first-round of the 2010 NFL Draft. My response to the question centers largely around one issue: value. Here are my thoughts:

I answer this question the same way I did last year with the Detroit Lions. If you feel that there’s a quarterback in the draft who will be a franchise QB, then the right move is to take him. For St. Louis, we know they don’t have a quarterback and they haven’t had good quarterback play the past three years; they desperately need help at that position. From a scouting standpoint, only they can answer the question of whether or not they feel like Bradford can be a a franchise quarterback. If they do, they have to take him.

If you look at the teams that have been successful over the past several seasons, they all have something in common: strong quarterback play. Look at the Colts, Patriots, Eagles, Saints, and Chargers. All those teams have had consistently good quarterback play and they have won consistently. While teams with strong defenses can pop up to make a great run here-and-there, the chances of them falling back to the pack the following year is great. If you look at the recent history of the league, the key to having long-term, consistent success if having a good quarterback.

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