Jimmy Clausen is what happened to J.D. McCoy after Friday Night Lights ended

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In honor of the Chicago Bears signing Jimmy Clausen to serve as a back-up to Jay Cuter, I’m re-publishing running this article from April 21st, 2010.

Former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen and his so-called character issues, are truly just fabrications when you break them down. In the Draft evaluation process, scouts and NFL “cognoscenti” alike said he was immature and void of leadership skills.

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Hilarious Carolina Panther QB Jimmy Clausen Collectible

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The Carolina Panthers have made it absolutely clear that they are very interested in taking Stanford QB Andrew Luck #1 overall in the NFL Draft in April. (He still needs to officially declare)

That leads us to this funny parody of a Starting Lineup action figure, brought to us by the wonderful people at Mini Van Gundy.

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Carolina QB Jimmy Clausen Struggles Mightily in 1st NFL Start

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I often joke that if you watch the television show Friday Night Lights, and ever wondered what would happen to J.D. McCoy, the quarterback character growing up in an obscenely wealthy household after his high school days were done…all you have to do is follow the career of Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen. I even penned an entire essay on the topic while the Notre Dame product was working out for the NFL Draft last spring.

Sunday began the first NFL chapter of the Clausen/McCoy story, and the first couple pages did not have a happy ending.

By Paul M. Banks

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With the 30th Pick the Minnesota Vikings select…

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by Peter Christian

The Vikings have a love/hate relationship with the NFL draft. Well, I guess I should say I have a love/hate relationship with the Vikings NFL Draft decisions. They’ve had their share of great 1st round picks over the years (Randy Moss, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Kevin Williams) but they’ve also had their share of disastrous blunders (Demetrius Underwood, Troy Williamson, handing in the draft card late in 2003). I’ll admit that the current front office has done a good job at identifying good prospects in the first round in the past few years but since they are in fact the Vikings, I maintain my ability to be ready for a letdown (read: Vikings entire history).

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Northwestern-Notre Dame Private School Battle for Chicago’s Heart

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By Paul M. Banks

Welcome to the Chicago Invitational Challenge Live blog day one. It’s both an invitational and a challenge. Not just an invitational, nor merely a challenge, or tournament. But a challenge and an invitational. The fun started at noon today with the mid-majors going at it, but the action ramps up with Iowa St. vs. Saint Louis. Where it’s currently 30-27 ISU.

This is actually a pretty good undercard bout as the Cyclones boast two players who have a very high chance of going in the first round of the NBA Draft: forwards Craig Brackins and Marquis Gilstrap. And SLU has former ESPN analyst and coaching legend Rick Majerus at the helm. He’s spent most of the first half here at the UIC pavilion pacing back and forth in front of me. And at approximately 7:30 we’ll move on to the main event, the title fight, Notre Dame-Northwestern, the battle between two of Chicago’s most beloved private schools. Never mind the fact that ND is a longer drive from the Second City than Champaign, and in another state and time zone from Chicago, this will truly be a match-up between two Chicago teams. Here at the “Chicago Invitational Challenge”

In the words of the Black Eyed Peas, “Let’s get it started in here! Let’s get it started in HAAAHHHHH!”

ISU-SLU 41-31 14 min left.

Attendance here is…a bit sparse. As are pretty much all holiday tournaments. Mostly because everyone plays on an out of town neutral court, so it’s harder to get people to travel. But  that’s truly a shame, as some of the basketball that’s played at these things is about as good as you’ll find all season. It’s still early, I’m guessing more people will come for the battle between “the two schools full of private snobs, and elitists,” or whatever people say to deride these two schools with a very high tuition. After my experience at the Bears game earlier this month, and at every Cubs game I’ve ever attended, I think elitist and snob is a complement. Pro sports, or at least the people who ended up sitting next to me at Cubs and Bears games, could learn a thing or two from the “snobs” and “elitists”. Maybe that’s why I like college sports so much better than the pros, less people on parole (or will be someday) in the stands next to you.

Or simply Bears fans are utterly disgusting sometimes…then again you heard what a Notre Dame fan did to Jimmy Clausen. And from what I hear, Clausen provoked him. Gives a new meaning to the term “Fighting Irish.”

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If I knew how to photoshop, I would put Clausen’s head on the leprecaun, with two black eyes, and have him lying on his back.

alright enough with the distractions, Iowa St. has opened a bigger lead on the Billikens now, and they’re threatening to turn this into a route. Both teams are undefeated and unranked currently, but the ‘Clones are the only team that looks like they should be ranked right now. Reigning Big 12 player of the week Craig Brackins leads the way with 15 pts so far, ISU 56-SLU 43, 4 min to go.

Iowa St. Head Coach Greg McDermott sums up the last game perfectly, “we found a way to win an ugly game, we finally got our offense in rhythm during the 2nd half.” Exactly ISU wins the 65-54. After falling behind in the 2nd half, the Cyclones stopped the Billikens on 9/10 offensive series.

Craig Brackins was a fun interview subject, one of the reporters asked him about his Tweets today. I hyperlinked his Twitter if you want to follow him, but he has to approve each and every one of his followers. If I were him, or in his situation, I would do the same. A lot of weirdoes out there, especially on online.

I have to admit I like the ND band. They play more original music, like Jimmy Buffett “Fins” and Styx “Come Sail Away”.

ND owns the series over NU 63-23-1. and this is their first meeting since 1984, which the Irish won by about 20.

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I hope this game moves at a much higher tempo than the last one. So far, not so much. ND leads 5-4 with 16:10 left in 1st half. So far they seem to be owning the paint on both ends. Stats would not exactly confirm that, but they’re using the superior size and more athletic bigs to intimidate the Cats from getting down low. I think that’s why Bill Carmody started Kyle Rowley tonight. He’s the biggest guy on the roster, even though he’s…well he’s far from leading the team in minutes per game for a good reason.

Northwestern takes their first lead on a Juice Thompson field goal, 9-8 with 13 min left in half. Now that Minnesota has knocked off Butler, NU’s lone loss this season looks a bit worse than it did before Wednesday. That said, they can redeem themselves here by giving #23 Notre Dame their first loss of the season. Good defense in this game so far, and bad shooting at both ends.

TSB readers know what I think of Tyler Hansbrough, well tonight I get to watch his little brother Ben, a two guard for the Irish. A good excuse to put my all time favorite Tyler H. pic. even though I loved Beeker from the muppets, so I hate doing that to Beeker.

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Shooting getting uglier, but Northwestern takes a 16-10 advantage with just udner 8 min left in half. 6 pts in a game like this is…15 I guess. And what I mean by that is if you lose a game 90-82. that’s a much closer game and a lot better effort than say a 58-50 game. Seriously, the margin is the same, but it makes a difference trust me. We need a scale for this. we need a stat to measure this.

When NU forward/center Luka Mirkovic took and missed a turnaround baseline jumper, I heard someone on the NU coaching staff say “what the hell”? classic.

Even better than Rick Majerus tell one of his players “you gotta watch the f–king press” right in front of me last game.

At another timeout I hear that the new coach at Notre Dame, football I mean this time, will be Bob Stoops. seriously. And of course, every time you mention Charlie Weiss, a fat joke must follow. But I’m a professional, so I’ll let people in the comment threads handle that…if they so desire.

25 all with a min left in half. low-scoring like soccer here tonight.

John Shurna hits a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnng three as time expires to give NU a 30-27 advantage heading to the break. Shurna is starting to maybe come into his own this year. His time spent playing with the under 19 national team is paying off. He’s made a big leap from his freshman year.

When Shurna was at the podium last year, his soft-spoken, quiet nervousness reminded me of Paulie Bleeker (the guy played by Michael Cera) in the indie smash “Juno”. They kind of look alike too. I think at least.

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So when the All-American team decided to have a “white-out,” naming 3/5 Caucasian players to the first team, for no inexplicable reason, Luke Harangody received more votes than any other player in the nation. The nation? are you serious? the nation’s best player? as Duke Vitale, whoops I meant to say Dick Vitale would say ARE YOUUU SERRIOUSSSSSSSS??!!!!

I just don’t see it. I know this hasn’t exactly been Harangody’s best half ever, as he’s 3-9 shooting for 7 pts so far. Shurna leads the game with 14 pts on 5-10 from the floor. Still I don’t see what all the Harangody hullabalooza is all about.

On the strength of two Juice Thompson 3 pt FGs, NU leads 41-38 with 15:27 to go. You knew the Juice would start hitting those sometime, and that time is now.

I still love the ND band, their 80s music choices are killer. Just heard the “A Team” theme after some “867-5309 Jenny”

46-38 Northwestern now with 13:55 left. A big Jeremy Nash 3 pointer right after a Juice Thompson drive to the hole. The Juice is indeed loose.

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If you believe in “halftime adjustments” and I sure do, then Carmody really has made some great adjsutments in the locker room. Cats lead 50-38 with 11:42 left. Upset alert?

Yes, very much upset alert. The Irish can’t seem to find a way to consistently solve NU’s smothering defense.

Hi drama here as NU’s lead gets all the more slimmer. 57-51 just over 5 minutes to play.

Usually a coach should be happy when one of his players makes a 3. But on Alex Marcotullio’s last 3 bomb, which he made. Carmody looked about as dejected and frustrated as a coach can look.

61-56 Cats 1 min to go. The upset is a brewing, remember in 1995 when no one gave NU a chance to beat ND in football, and they won 17-15 sending shockwaves throughout the sports nerd world? Some dude here has a shirt with that score on it today, and they showed him on the jumbotron!

Angry Fan Punches Jimmy Clausen in the Face

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By Paul M. Banks

While Head Coach Charlie Weiss gives the Notre Dame program a figurative black eye, QB and team captain Jimmy Clausen suffers a literal one. Make that two black eyes, reports say. It occurred in a South Bend bar called CJ’s a few hours after a tough loss to UConn. An irate fan said something about Clausen, his girl, drinking was almost certainly involved and then fisticuffs ensued. Allegedly. It sounds exactly like a scene from my favorite college football movie, “The Program” (1993). You might remember star QB and Heisman trophy candidate Joe Kane getting drunk and having a townie oaf goad him into a fight.

Here are more details from the both the print and radio arm of the the evil Chicago Tribune empire:

“A South Bend police spokesman said Monday no police reports were filed over the weekend that involved Clausen. The particulars of the confrontation are thus unclear, though a person answering the phone at CJ’s, the bar in question, said the incident “absolutely did not take place inside the bar.”

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“WGN AM 720’s David Kaplan reported that it occurred at 2:30 a.m. Sunday. That CJ’s employee, who identified himself as a bartender, said Clausen and family members were at the bar following the Connecticut loss — along with other Irish upperclassmen apparently gathering after their final home game at Notre Dame Stadium.”

The article goes on to remind us all what an egocentric, douchenozzle with a sense of entitlement Clausen truly is. He takes after his coach, who shares his arrogance and misguided belief that the rules don’t apply to him.

Quoting the Trib:

“It is another in an assortment of off-field incidents involving the Irish’s starting quarterback that date back to his first year on campus. He was cited in June 2007 for transporting alcohol as a minor. Then, in August 2008, pictures appeared on the Web site “The Big Lead” depicting a not-yet-21 Clausen and three teammates at what the site labeled “Beer Olympics.”

I know he was supposedly “sucker-punched,” but the way Clausen garners headlines, by draft day he may be portrayed as some kind of Frankenstein douchemonster QB, the horrors of which the world has never seen. Think the delusion of grandeur, over-ratedness, and petulance of Jay Cutler with the whining ability and insecure narcissism of Jeff George meets the self-destructive tendencies and general malfeasance of Joe Kane from the aforementioned film. I know that last one is fictional, but you get the idea, the tragically-wasting-one’s-physical-gifts-because-you’re-a-severe-head-case story.

Or maybe he’s just misunderstood. This guy has spent all his formative years studying film and working on his mechanics, maybe he’s lived a very sheltered life like a real world version of J.D. McCoy from “Friday Night Lights,” and perhaps his social skills aren’t the fittest, and that’s what leads to problems? Only those who know him best can say for sure.

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The University has not released a statement yet, and it likely won’t until more details comes out. I’m expecting this story to have some legs, and no matter how interesting, or uninteresting the actual tomfoolery and ballyhoo was, it will certainly do one fantastic thing for sports fans that are extremely fatigued by incessant Notre Dame coverage. Everyone will stop beating the dead horse that is the inevitable Charlie Weiss firing story.

I actually care a lot more about Clausen being #1 overall in my latest NFL mock draft. Now that this news has broken, his stock will fall and I’ll have to change that.

NFL Mock Draft 11-23

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By Paul M. Banks and Peter Christian

With the Oakland Raiders finally benching JaMarcus Russell this week (and winning no less right after doing so) it brought me back to the NFL Draft of 2007, when all the experts were so high on the LSU signal caller. Right before the draft, I even extolled Russell’s virtues during my guest appearance on sports talk radio in Milwaukee: Steve “the Homer” True’s show on ESPN radio. You can listen to that clip by clicking this link. It’s right up near the top of the page. And I encourage you to comment below on what panned out and what didn’t from my predictions over two years ago. Because that’s why we love sports talk radio, and internet comment threads- the debate. So if you have feedback on who I have your team taking, you can comment below.

Team Player Position School

1. Cleveland Browns Jimmy Clausen QB Notre Dame

By losing in the final seconds to Detroit, Cleveland “won” the #1 Overall Pick Bowl yesterday. (And that bowl game actually sounds more natural and legitimate than the names of many college bowls). The Lions have their QB of the future, Cleveland has Brady Quinn. So that means they desperately need a new quarterback. Although now that news of Clausen’s involvement in a bar fight have emerged, I’m having serious buyer’s remorse in making this pick, and will likely change it next week.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ndamukong Suh DT Nebraska

With another game remaining against the Saints, the Bucs run defense (or should I say lack thereof) will become ever more apparent and they’ll go for a run-stopper. Suh is an every down defensive tackle due to his dual ability to stuff the run or crash the pocket. He’s an expert at winning his individual battles at the line of scrimmage and often causes disruption in the backfield constantly. He should be taken #1 overall, but unfortunately he’s not a QB.

3. St. Louis Rams Eric Berry S Tennessee

If you don’t know who Eric Berry is, look him up. He could be the heir apparent to Ed Reed as the elite defensive playmaker in the NFL. And if there’s one thing St. Louis needs, it’s defensive plays. And offensive plays, and special teams plays and….

4. Kansas City Chiefs Russell Okung OT Oklahoma State

Heading into the regular-season finale against Oklahoma on Saturday, the durable Okung is slated for his 46th consecutive start for the Cowboys. He’s a big reason why the 9-2 Cowboys’ offense produces 203.5 yards a game on the ground. Twice during his career he has not allowed a sack against the nation’s leader at the time – the latest was an effort against Texas A&M end Von Miller this season His time spent at T. Boone Pickens University will serve him well, as Okung combines all his physical gifts with a high football IQ

5. Oakland Raiders Jake Locker QB Washington

JaMarcus gets benched, and the Raiders respond by upsetting a very good team in the Cincinnati Bengals. Still Bruce Gradkowski is not the solution, so Oakland will again take a signal caller. This cements Russell’s legacy: bigger bust than Jenny McCarthy.

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6. Detroit Lions Trent Williams OT Oklahoma

The Lions need a lot, they can start on the O Line. The Okung or Williams debate over who is the better choice at offensive tackle is one where there really isn’t a loser. Trent Williams, like Okung, has good feet, strong hands and the talent to become elite in the NFL.

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7. Washington Redskins Gerald McCoy DT Oklahoma

This would be a nice complement to Albert Haynesworth, and the Skins could use more talent on the defensive line because the last time they had an overwhelmingly dominant d lineman was something like 40 years ago. McCoy is a pillar of strength that can dominate from the center of the field. He is very agile for a guy just shy of 300 pounds and will be a combine favorite.

8. Tennessee Titans Greg Hardy DE Ole Miss

Greg Hardy may be the purest sack artist in the draft. He has a lethal combination of speed and power that he mixes up to get to the quarterback. Hardy also has a sort of “Overdrive” that he shifts into once he smells a possible sack.

9. Buffalo Bills Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma

Trent Edwards is obviously not the answer, not with that 30th ranked passing attack. After season ending surgery, Bradford’s draft stock was, to paraphrase Snoop Dogg “dropping it like its hot,” but it hasn’t fallen as fast as you might think. His body of work still speaks volumes about what he could do on the next level.

10. Seattle Seahawks Carlos Dunlap DE Florida

Dunlap is one of the biggest reasons Gator opponents have backfield mishaps. He is fast AND strong which will allow him to cause nightmares for opposing tackles for years to come. But because the press is busy kissing Tebow’s a$$ every time the Gators play, he’s a well kept secret.

11. Denver Broncos (From the Chicago Bears, a horribly mismanaged organization that treats both the media and their fans like subhuman garbage)

Brandon LaFell WR LSU

LaFell is a rubber band man when it comes to contorting his body in the air to make the catch. His hands are his biggest asset as he catches the ball softly and away from his body. He needs to improve his route running as he isn’t a super fast runner but as long as he makes catches to bail out his quarterback he’ll be a good NFL player. And don’t let his record as a starter fool you, Kyle Orton is a guy who makes throws that need to be bailed out sometimes.


12. Green Bay Packers Bryan Bulaga OT Iowa

As you might have heard, the Pack’s OL is terrible. Myabe they could get the Bucks’ Brandon Jennings to play OG, people in Wisconsin seem to think he can do anything right now. And if LeBron jokes about playing for the Browns…ok enough fooling around. GB will get a huge boost in their ability to run and pass protect on the left side when they take Bulaga, one of the best OL in college football.

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13. San Francisco 49ers (From Carolina) Sergio Kindle OLB Texas

Kindle is a versatile linebacker that is an excellent attacker. He takes very good angles to the ball and makes tackles all over the field. Sergio’s mix of energy and instincts allows him to overcome the fact that he is a little slower than coaches would want.

14. San Francisco 49ers Bruce Campbell OT Maryland

Campbell could go higher, because he easily has as much talent and ability as Okung and Williams, but he doesn’t have their track record of durability. Therefore, he slips down the board a little.

15. Houston Texans Jahvid Best RB Cal

Best is exactly what is name proclaims at his position. He has very good vision and an even better instinct on when to turn on the jets. He is very good at making defenders miss at every level. He isn’t a bruiser back but if coupled with a versatile offense he has the makings of the next young play-making running back.

16. Miami Dolphins Terence Cody DT Alabama

Cody is a big time anchor guy who could go higher if he stays in good shape throughout the combine and workout process. He is a perfect 3-4 true nose tackle and can really control the flow and direction of a play.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars  Jonathan Dwyer RB Georgia Tech

The Jags offense works much better when they have two main backs in their stable. And Dwyer, an old school workhorse running back, would be an upgrade over MoJo’s current backups.  He can run inside and outside and can handle as many carries as the coach gives him. Dwyer’s a big back, but he has good speed as well and can be the muscle of a two back system or handle the lone number one duties as well.

18. New York Jets Arrelious Benn WR Illinois

In any other year, Rejus Benn fells out of the first round due to his disappointing 2009 season. But this year’s receiving class is weak and it’s not his fault the quarterbacking in Champaign this fall was a hot mess. Of course, you could probably say the same for the Jets Mark Sanchez. Maybe he’ll look better next year with some complements to Jericho Cotchery.

19. Atlanta Falcons Rolando McClain LB Alabama

McClain is an amazing tackler in space and can cover a lot of ground from the middle linebacker spot. He’s got great fundamentals and has a knack of shedding blockers to make big tackles.

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20. Dallas Cowboys Arthur Jones DT Syracuse

Jones’ is a gap filler and is stronger than Atlas. He is in a Pat Williams type run stopper that will be look like a man amongst boys at times. He plays hard on every play and is of the rare breed of football players that will never quit on any play.

21. Seattle Seahawks (From Denver) Brandon Spikes LB Florida

The “incident” if you will that Spikes was involved in has sent his draft stock-a-tumbling as all the “character issues” will come into play.

22. San Diego Chargers Sean Weatherspoon OLB Missouri

Weatherspoon can play both sides of the field (he’ll end up near the ball anyway) and is always around a big play. Whether he’s rushing the passer, busting up a play in the backfield, breaking up a pass or chasing down a receiver from behind, Weatherspoon can do it all.

23. Arizona Cardinals Joe Haden CB Florida

Haden has jumped to the top of the board amongst other corners with solid coverage and ball skills. He makes good reads and adjusts well to the ball when its in the air. And if weren’t for all of the college football media devoting 90% of their coverage to telling us what a model American Tim Tebow is, we’d all be more well aware of these facts.

24. Baltimore Ravens Brandon Graham DE Michigan

Graham is a big body that plays very well upfield. Scouts will love that he is versatile enough to play the end position in either scheme. Graham himself will love the opportunity to play in a place where defense traditionally comes first and athletes with skill sets usually thrive. Plus, it will be nice to get out of Ann Arbor before all the investigations begin, and players begin to find themselves in sticky situations.

25. New York Giants Jermaine Gresham TE Oklahoma

Gresham is an elite pass catching tight end. He can run a perfect seam route or he can cover a lot of space over the middle. He needs to work on his blocking but he should be a touchdown machine with his hands, size and route running skills.

26. Philadelphia Eagles CJ Spiller RB Clemson

Spiller’s a fast runner built on a solid frame. His outside running game and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield is where he’ll make his mark, but he’s not afraid to go right at a defender. A little extra muscle and being able to show his durability will help Spiller’s stock go up.

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27. Pittsburgh Steelers Jermaine Cunningham DE Florida

Cunningham isn’t as explosive as his teammate Carlos Dunlap but he is more reliable on a play by play basis. He gets to the quarterback with regularity and makes a lot of tackles in the run game as well.

28. Cincinnati Bengals Colt McCoy QB Texas

Believe it or not, it will be time start grooming Carson Palmer’s successor soon. Time flies doesn’t it? Best to do it now while you have the luxury of not being desperate

29. Minnesota Vikings Patrick Robinson CB Florida State

Robinson is a super fast coverage man that is above average in nearly every aspect of the game. He anticipates routes but isn’t a huge risk taker and tackles well in the open field. He is also a very good return man.

30. New England Patriots Navorro Bowman LB Penn State

Belichick’s teams are always at their best after Thanksgiving, and now they have the added motivation of having a win over their bitterest of rivals stolen away from them by horrible officiating, so they might not lose again this year.And they need depth at LB. Bowman has spent much of the year ranked the #1 OLB prospect from ESPN.com He’s been an absolute force down the stretch for PSU, (another Big Ten defensive player of the week award today) and it’s becoming impossible not to compare him to Lavar Arrington- same school, position, and jersey number. Arrington went on to six Pro Bowls, so that’s quite a complement

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31. New Orleans Saints Trevard Lindley CB Kentucky

Give how potent their O is, NOLA will obviously draft for D this spring. And Lindley is about to put the finishing touches on what could be the best-ever career by a University of Kentucky defensive back.

32. Indianapolis Colts Taylor Mays S USC

If you asked a scout to write down their ideal size and speed numbers for an NFL free safety they’d list: 6-3, 235, 4.4. Oddly enough that is Taylor’s height, weight and 40 time on record. Enough said.