All Star Game-itis

by Tommy Lawlor  –

One thing we really have to be careful of is making too much of what happens in all star games, good or bad. The game tape from Sept. through early Jan. is the real key. Those games show you how a player performs on a “real” team and in games where strategy and scheme are factors, and where winning is truly important.

I happened to watch some tape recently involving a few players who were in AS games. DeMarcus Love did not have the best showing in Mobile. He was overmatched in one-on-ones and didn’t help himself at all. Then I saw him in action in an Arkansas game and was reminded how much I like him at times. He is big, strong, and mean. He likes to punish defenders, not just block them. You have to balance out the struggles from the Senior Bowl with everything you like from the regular season. After all, he will be part of a structured offense in the NFL. The Senior Bowl is very individualistic. Guys who lack top athletic ability will be exposed, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be good NFL players. Former LSU star Andrew Whitworth was awful at the Shrine Game a few years back. Awful. Now he’s a solid LT in the NFL.

Phil Taylor is a guy that really got my attention in Mobile for the right reasons. I went back and watched some more Baylor and he stood out to me more this time around. I may have been impatient with him the first time I put on the tape. I knew his size and potential would make him a Top 75 pick, but after watching him in the Senior Bowl and re-watching some tape I now think he can jump into the back end of the 1st round. There are some character questions regarding his time at Penn State that will have to be checked out thoroughly.    If you remember last year there was a DT named Cam Thomas who had a terrific showing at the Senior Bowl. We all went back and re-watched his tape, but his regular season play didn’t match his Mobile performance. That told you he was highly inconsistent. Sure enough, he fell way down in the draft.

* Want to see a great block? Find the highlight of TCU biggie Marcus Cannon vs Wyoming. TCU had a run play to Cannon’s side. He downblocked. A DT from the other side of the formation moved along laterally in pursuit. He wasn’t expecting to find Cannon waiting for him. Boom. And then some. That poor DT got destroyed by Marcus. I have concerns about Cannon because he’s an awkward fit. Is he too big for G? Is he athletic enough for RT? I don’t see him at LT. Still, I watch moments like that and see his dominant potential and it is hard not to get excited.

* One player that has really grown on me recently is CB Kendric Burney. He missed time due to an NCAA suspension, but played well upon his return. He had a very good career at UNC. He then had a good showing in the Senior Bowl practices and game. He’s only 5’9, 181, but he can make plays. I hope he runs under a 4.55 (Bill Polian’s cutoff for CBs). Burney could be a late 2nd round pick with the right 40 time. If not, he’ll slide. I’m pulling for him to run well. Instinctive, productive playmakers aren’t easy to find.

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