2/12 Offseason Cavalcade - Scouting Sam

Campus Insiders & CFN
Posted Feb 12, 2014

Michael Sam, Olympics, the All-Name Recruiting Team in the offseason Cavalcade of Whimsy.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Offseason Daily Rants - Feb. 12

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Throughout the offseason I'll be chiming in on the latest news and info with my pretentious, self-serving rants. Follow for the latest postings @PeteFiutak and @ColFootballNews

Just wait until the scouting reports come out. Positives: Great situational pass rusher, good closer, great motor … Weaknesses: Was erased at times over the second half of the SEC season, just okay against the run, and um, well … … Scouting is an inexact science to begin with, but this time around, the tables will be turned – the scouts are going to be analyzed just as harshly as the prospect.

I'm not saying Michael Sam is the next great pro football pass rusher, and he might be one-dimensional – I'm not going to dog anyone who thinks he's legitimately a late-round pick because he doesn't have the right skills, because he's not a top-50-caliber prospect – but he's a real, live NFL player, and lazy scouts have to come up with more talking points than "he doesn't have prototype size" and "he'll be a distraction."

How big is Sam? We'll know for sure at the Combine, but he's probably going to check in at just over 6-1 and 255 pounds, but he could probably play around 260 if needed. Robert Mathis? 6-2, 245. Von Miller? 6-3, 250. Clay Matthews? 6-3, 255.

Again, Sam isn't the perfect prospect and he's hardly a sure-thing before the fourth round, but he's hardly undersized and his height doesn't matter considering he has long arms.

Also, it's time to get rid of the Tebow excuse. There was no bigger distraction to a team than Richard Sherman after his Crabtree rant – the Seahawks didn't exactly lack for focus against Mr. Manning.

Football players live in the ultimate bubble, and answering one or two questions once in a while hardly qualifies as a distraction. While thinks might not have been as clean and easy as it might have seemed at Missouri, if Sam was a distraction, it was a good one for a team that overachieved its way to within a game of playing for the BCS championship.

Denver was fine with Tim Tebow as its quarterback, even if he couldn't play a lick. The New York Jets didn't suck because Tebow was a backup. Just because it's an easy narrative for the media to focus on and ask questions about, it doesn't mean the team is going to care.

But Sam presents a new twist. No one can simply say he doesn't want to take Sam just because … he's … not the right fit, without any semblance of a backlash.

Sam came out, but it's doubtful that any scout or GM who doesn't like him will.

Monday, February 10th

Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … this column isn't all that Hot. It certainly isn't Cool. Unfortunately, though, it's all Yours.

If he was Michael William Sam, he'd be named after all three linebacker positions … Okay, NFL, here's your big test.

Michael Sam is a third round prospect and one of the 100 best players in the draft, and there's a margin for error of one round. If he goes in the fourth, fine, if he goes early in the fifth, okay – it's not crazy. However, if he drops deep, it'll be because teams are passing for reasons other than his potential on the field.

Hopefully, he's not selected by the Raiders – it would be too easy for Sam to be drafted by a franchise known for trailblazing and outside-the-box thinking. Minnesota and Miami, this moment is for you. Need a pass rusher? Want to put the issues of 2013 in the past? A tremendous playmaker who flies into the backfield will be right there for the taking, and there's absolutely no reason whatsoever not to draft him in the mid-to-late third.

Hopefully, some GM doesn't just make the pick and then say it was because Sam's a great prospect. It would be better if a franchise decided to make a statement and say, yeah, he was drafted because he's a great prospect and because it's a socially important moment that the team wanted to be a part of.

After the whole process plays itself out, no matter where he's drafted, Sam's inclusion into the NFL will work out just fine.

At the Combine, halfway through the 40, you now have to do a flip … The problem with the Olympics is the judging. Of course there's officiating in all sports, but once the difference between winning and losing becomes based on another human being's opinion, then it becomes more of a beauty contest than a true sport.

If your hockey team scores more goals than the other hockey team, your team wins. If you get down the mountain faster than all the other skiers, lugers or bobsledders, you win. It's not fair when you can do absolutely everything right, and do exactly what you're supposed to do, and then lose because someone liked another performance better. That's why I love college football. My beloved sport's champion is now going to be decided … um … by … uhhhh … a committee and … uh … panel of judges with no real criteria to go off of other than … yeaaaah … what four teams they think are best … and … uhhhh. Nevermind.

Fortunately, the skaters were never leading enough to get the right camera shot … In the If I Notice It, Then … category, how in the world did someone not catch that from behind, the U.S. women's speedskater outfits – with the all-black look except for the interestingly-placed gray in the thigh and underneath area – makes it look like they're skating commando in chaps?

I really, really miss football … Here's the deal. You're not allowed to rip on anyone who gets into all the ins and outs of recruiting and holds National Signing Day if you then have any interest in watching women's figure skating, X Game events, skiing, or any of the other Olympic sports with a heavy teenager influence. No, it's not okay for grown men to get upset to the point of threats and ugliness when it comes to recruiting, but NSD is what builds the foundations of college football programs. If really rich, silly people can get schedule vacations around going to watch teenagers play professional tennis and golf, then it's okay for a 49-year-old dude to spend a February Wednesday taking a break from his TPS reports to hit refresh 948 times to see where Adoree Jackson was going.

80 hours, two gallons of Mountain Dew and 14 bags of Funyuns later … There's recruiting nationally, and there's Washington State landing quarterback/punter prospect Peyton Bender, whose road trip to school is 3,056 miles from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Pullman.

And it helped to be able to go against Peyton Manning in a really, really big game … And it's already starting. Yes, it is possible for a smallish quarterback who isn't a 6-5 pure pocket passer to be a Super Bowl champion, BUT, Russell Wilson's best attributes - besides his maturity-beyond-his-years leadership ability - are the best defense in the NFL and Marshawn Lynch to hand off to. Seattle won the Super Bowl with Wilson as a key part of the puzzle, but it didn't win because of him – big difference. Lots of NFL teams are going to make a lot of big mistakes on smaller quarterbacks by using Wilson as an example. It's the old NBA adage; if you're going to take a chance on a draft pick, take a chance on big. Almost no one has the accuracy of a Drew Brees, and few have the make-up between the ears of Wilson. Aaron Murray, Tajh Boyd and Johnny Manziel aren't better prospects now.

"How long have you been a short quarterback?" … Just when it seemed like the world sucked after a few doorknobs went batspit over actors of different skin colors portrayed a family in a cereal ad, and just when it seemed insane that some got into a twist over a soda ad with people singing in different languages about how beautiful America is, remember, the biggest storylines about Wilson after the Super Bowl were about his performance, his poise, his height and his age – and nothing else.

Your 2014 Recruiting All-Name Team ... Set the dial to groan on the comments. It's the one part about the recruiting period I truly love – all the new names. It's time to get used to a whole new set of upcoming stars and other players who'll soon take over our Saturday afternoons. Some names are better than others, and here they are.

The coolest names from the 2014 recruiting class are …

QB – Giovanni Rescigno, Rutgers – Buona fortuna nella Grande Dieci. Si sta andando a bisogno.

RB – Squally Canada, Washington State – He's going to blow through the line if he ever gets the ball in the Mike Leach offense.

RB – Traevohn Wrench, Kansas – You should see his spin move.

WR – Fonzale Davis, North Texas – His route running ability is cool-amundo.

WR – Thaddeus Snodgrass, Kentucky – He's a cross, ah, Bluegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Featherbed Bent and Northern California Sensemilia.

TE – Devon Spaulding, Central Michigan – I want to play tight end, I want to play H-Back. I want to play fullback, I want … a milkshake.

OL – Layth Friekh, Arizona – Ahhhh, FREAK OUT! Layth Friekh, c'est chick, FREAK OUT!

OL – Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia – The Mountaineers cajuste need someone to pass protect. (Sorry.)

OL – Terrell Cuney, Texas – Not … touching … this.

OL – Kavaris Harkless, Florida – He needs to help a Gator attack that was punchless.

OL – Bearooz Yacoobi, Purdue – A misfire on a Hanna-Barbera cartoon character.

PK – Gary Wunderlich, Ole Miss – Vince Young wasn't able to figure him out.


DL – Bozidar Antunovic, SMU – Margus Hunt was so much easier.

DL – Lion King, Eastern Michigan – Good player, but annoying "wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh" always coming from his dorm room.

DL – Zaycoven Henderson, Texas A&M – Also known as Zaycoven Football

DL – Tashon Smallwood, Arizona State – But his car is really, really fast.

LB – Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, Toledo – We can make your body move/Totally, yet, the party's started/ Sweet dreams keep comin' harder/Ola ola ay/Ola ola ay

LB – Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State – Great linebacker who gets mad deep like a threat, blow up your project, then take all your assets.

LB – O'Shane Ximines, Old Dominion – I'm going to throw it out there. The only player in college football history with the initials O and X?

DB – Dominique Fenstermacher, UNLV – In terms of space, it really will be more about the name on the front of the jersey.

DB – Jontrell Rocquemore, Utah State – Cool name with a potentially cooler nickname: J-Rocque.

DB – Wonderful Terry, WKU – The Hilltoppers failed to offer a LOI to Miserable Todd.

DB – Limihai Hifo, San Jose State – The B side to the classic Sly & The Family Stone single, "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"

P – Logan McElfresh, Minnesota – Also a failed Keebler cookie.

LS – Davis Winkie, Vanderbilt - "Isn't that beautiful? C'mon, say it with me: Winky... Dinky... DOG! Oh, yes."

Sorry if this column sucked, it wasn't my fault … I wanted to it to be better, but Malik McDowell's mom wouldn't sign off on the Letter Of Intent to release all of the good items.