Monday, August 12, 2013

Random Thoughts On Preseason Week 1

While it's kind of pointless to get excited about what happens in preseason games, I'd still rather see players perform well, rather than do nothing at all.  I was obviously quite happy with how Paul Worrilow did (12 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 pass defensed), as well as Christine Michael (89 yards on 16 carries), and also Glenn Foster (3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble).  These are at least good first steps.  Now, they just have to do this again, while their coaches can still remember what their names are.

While I could ramble on about a number of different players, the one who I really want to talk about is somebody who will most likely disappear, never to be heard from again.  This player is Louis Nzegwu, defensive end for the Carolina Panthers (2 sacks this weekend).  Nzegwu was one of the computer's favorite oddball prospects from the 2012 draft.  At 6' 4", 252#, he produced a 1.575 Kangaroo Score, as well as a 0.856 Agility Score, and is basically the ideal sort of athlete to become a 3-4 outside linebacker.  He also ran a 4.60 forty yard dash, which is pretty good for a guy his size.  Unfortunately, things just aren't that simple.

Nzegwu was never drafted, and has kind of bounced around a few different teams' practice squads in the past year.  The computer isn't completely stupid, and wasn't recommending that he be taken with a high pick.  It was obvious that he would only be a late round selection at best, despite his amazing athletic ability.  This was due to his mediocre statistical production in college.  He only averaged 7.25 TFL in his last two college seasons, and generally only had about 3 to 4 sacks per year.  The odd thing with Nzegwu, was that he was a somewhat average to smaller sized 4-3 defensive end at Wisconsin, but every now and then, he would get to play standing up like a 3-4 outside linebacker.  When he did this, he seemed much more comfortable and effective.  Perhaps, when given some space to operate, and not being immediately buried by an offensive tackle, it allowed him to take better advantage of the excellent agility and explosiveness he possesses.  Who knows what would happen if he were to become a 3-4 OLB?

For now, I still think his prospects aren't too great.  The Panthers run a 4-3 defense, and already have some truly excellent defensive ends.  He probably won't get much of an opportunity there.  Despite his good performance this weekend, I suspect there is still a good chance he will get cut or put on the practice squad.  In the eyes of these teams, he's just another undrafted prospect, nothing special.  If I was with a team that ran a 3-4 defense, and had little talent at the OLB position (Saints, Chargers, Bills, Jets, Texans, etc...), I would pounce.  Worst case scenario, he doesn't pan out, but it will cost them nothing to find out.

With Nzegwu, I always wonder if he could become the next Cameron Wake.  Like Nzegwu, Wake had only mediocre stats in college, and little to suggest great pass rushing potential (averaged about 8 TFL in his last two years in college).  Wake did show one athletic trait that should have caught people's attention, a 45.5" vertical jump, which is pretty much unheard of for a 236# player (he also had a 10'10" broad jump).  This resulted in a 1.371 Kangaroo Score, to go along with his excellent 0.843 Agility Score.  While Nzegwu's vertical jump wasn't quite as high, at 41.5", it is still ridiculous, and he was doing this while weighing more than Wake.  Nzegwu isn't just a good athlete, he is an astounding one.  Of course, the NFL felt it had no use for someone with Wake's ability, and ran him off to the CFL, so I wouldn't put it past them to do so again.


  1. I never really got why teams didn't just draft really gifted athletes in the last 3 rounds of the draft (O-line,RB,D-line,Linebackers,WRs,QBs) Instead of taking "smart" football players with a lack of physical talent...They have lesser upside and in the draft it's all about upside and need. Eziekial ansah is an example of that Huge athletic upside pretty big bust rate.... fills a huge need... Every team does this... But you don't do that early you go with a safe prospect with no off the field concerns no work ethic issues no prouducts of gimicy systems (Alex smith,Sam bradford)
    Think jamarcus russel.... Huge upside....huge charecter and work ethic issues... he showed up at 260 at the combine... 15 pounds overweight for the most imporant job interview of his life... (a 6,6 QB shouldn't be over 245) Sure he can throw the ball 70 yards down the field....but he can do it in the wind last 5 seconds of a playoff game against ur arch rival in there home stadium? it's amazing stupid teams draft so poorly (jaguars...RT over a pass rusher,Blaine Gabbert.... ) I don't get why Mel Kiper is paid so much to do what you can do better and why he doesn't get a new look... vampire hair.... sunglasses.....bad tan.... blegh...

    1. I like Kiper, mainly because he brings some personality and lunacy to the whole event. His hair is a national treasure. It probably doesn't hurt that I went to the same high school that he did (many years after him). He is still vastly better than Todd McShay, who is simply an obnoxious idiot.

      As for your thoughts on how teams should handle the late rounds of the draft, I agree. Seeing teams select "solid, smart, hard working guys who might be able to help on special teams", annoys me. Not that there is anything wrong with valuing most of those traits, but I think teams should swing for the fences, looking for the rare guys with unique upside potential.

  2. I understand taking solid smart guys early because you can't take chances like that in the 1st round (think jamarcus russel) but going for upside later is probaly better than getting some "safe player" who will be nothing more than an unspectacular solid player.... and I do like kiper I just hate ESPN ( liberal media and bias,Never shut up about the jets....,Tebow,Manziel,Teo,Clowney ) ... mcshay sucks....