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Thursday, January 21, 2010
Quarterbacks and offensive linemen all around the Big East were collectively disappointed to find out that defensive end Greg Romeus will be returning for his senior season with the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Big East’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year received a third round draft grade from the NFL Advisory Committee, which he understands is a conservative projection.
“I knew it could be higher than that, so it didn’t matter,” Romeus said of the grade and where he ultimately could get drafted. “Coach (Dave Wannstedt) basically told me that. If that (third round grade) was a reason (for me coming back), it wasn’t a big reason.”
More importantly, Romeus believes that another year at the collegiate level will help his career. He told College Football Insiders Radio that it wasn’t just one reason or another, but rather many factors which led to his decision to return to Pittsburgh for his senior campaign.
“The pros outweighed the cons,” Romeus said of staying in school. Like most college football players who must decide whether or not they are ready to make the jump to the NFL, Romeus leaned heavily on his family and head coach.
“It was a long decision. I didn’t make my mind up actually until the last week, a few days before the deadline. I talked to Coach. He talked to me. Toward the last few games he just told me he would look things up for me and tell me what the best option would be,” Romeus said. “He and my family all sat down and came to the conclusion that the best decision for me would be to stay. Every year it seems I have improved, not just physically but mentally, which is a big part of the game that you need to haave when it comes to going to the next level. I just think another year of experience would benefit me a lot more. There’s really no rush.”
Who else encouraged him? None other than Pittsburgh alumnus and current New York Jet Darrelle Revis, who provided advice and shared his own experience; as a junior, he was presented with the same choice.
“He (Revis) told me to just trust Coach,” Romeus told College Football Insiders Radio. Adding, “I knew Coach wouldn’t lead me in the wrong direction.” Wannstedt appears to have earned the type of trust in his players that can be the core of a program on the rise.
A high school basketball star, Romeus was a bit behind in the learning curve but made a solid contribution as a red-shirt freshman in 2007, recording 41 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. In 2008 those numbers leaped to 51 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. The 6’6”, 270-pound Romeus enjoyed a 2009 season in which he finished with eight sacks, 43 tackles, three forced fumbles, five passes defended and an interception on his way to Co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors, as well as an All-College Football Insiders third team selection.
So where does he need to improve? Romeus wants to lead the team and ensure they achieve all that they can in 2010.
“We have a lot of goals for next year and to come back and have a chance to win a championship would be something good. I’m happy with my decision and I don’t regret it.”
Next year, Pittsburgh returns some key pieces from a 10-3 team that nearly pulled off a conference championship. Something that will be vital is leadership, and Romeus is on it.
“Me, as a senior, I feel as if I have to get out there and lead the guys. I’m ready to take on that role, coming in there everyday and making sure we train as hard as we can.”
Romeus understands that next year could bring even greater opportunities for him, namely a college degree and a Big East Championship. He’s already gotten college football fans excited about the 2010 Panthers, admiring the program’s consistency.
“We’re just improving every day. Everybody understands that it starts in the off-season and it’s something that we’re all buying into. Every year that happens we see the results are getting better. We are looking forward to that.”
As for this coming weekend, if you think Romeus is rooting for Revis to win a championship of his own, think again. When asked if he would be rooting for the former Panther he answered in the negative.
“Living in my Miami, we learned not to like the Jets.”
Click Here To Listen To Entire College Football Insiders Interview With Greg Romeus
Photos Courtesy of Dennis Hubbard & University of Pittsburgh
NFL Draft Bible scouting guru Justin Van Fulpen and talent evaluator Mike Bozarth set the table with the initial first round mock of the 2010 draft season.
1. St. Louis Rams (1-15) - QB Jimmy Clausen*, Notre Dame – The latest rumblings have the Rams potentially trading for Mike Vick and then selecting Ndamukong Suh. Until they obtain a quarterback, the Rams need to start from square one, which means identifying a signal-caller.
2. Detroit Lions (2-14) - DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska – The “skinny” 300-pounder wreaks havoc in the middle with his athleticism/burst and is a once-in-a-decade type of player.
3. Tampa Bay Bucs (3-13) – DT Gerald McCoy*, Oklahoma – One of the toughest positions to find a quality, impact starter is defensive tackle and McCoy will likely benefit from this. However, that is not to say he doesn’t possess great upside and top-five talent.
4. Washington Redskins (4-12) - QB Sam Bradford*, Oklahoma – Scouts and NFL-types alike are waiting until Bradford’s private workout (tentatively scheduled for April) to make their judgments. If everything checks out medically, new head coach Mike Shanahan will put his stamp on the team with a new quarterback.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (4-12) – DB Eric Berry*, Tennessee – Some consider Berry to be the best player in this year’s draft, one capable of playing cornerback and both safety positions.
6. Seattle Seahawks (5-11) – DE Derrick Morgan*, Georgia Tech – With Patrick Kerney set to turn 35 this season, the Seahawks will be in a position to nab the most talented defensive end in the draft to start opposite Lawrence Jackson.
7. Cleveland Browns (5-11) - ILB Rolando McClain*, Alabama – An all-around talent who played in a 3-4 defensive scheme in college, McClain would be an ideal fit with the Browns, especially with D’Qwell Jackson coming off a season-ending shoulder injury.
8. Oakland Raiders (5-11) - OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State – The Raiders need a tremendous amount of help along the offensive line and Okung would be an ideal building block…unlike Robert Gallery, the number two overall pick of the 2004 draft, who has been relegated to backup guard duties.
9. Buffalo Bills (6-10) – OT Anthony Davis*, Rutgers – While the Bills may hope one of the quarterbacks slip to them at number nine, it won’t matter who’s under center if they can’t keep that signal caller upright. They should pounce on Davis, a dominant run blocker who has the potential to be the best left tackle coming out of this draft.
10. Denver Broncos (7-9) – WR Dez Bryant*, Oklahoma State – It could be Christmas in April for the Broncos if the former Okie State Cowboy Bryant slips. With Brandon Marshall on his way out, they would have a ready-made replacement in Bryant, who has a similar skill set and can’t be as big of a drama queen as Marshall.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9) – DT Brian Price*, UCLA – The Jags would be extremely interested in Derrick Morgan, if he is still around. Derrick Harvey has been less than impressive in his first two seasons, but deserves another year. Both of the Jags’ young defensive ends would benefit from the addition of another talented tackle to go alongside the veteran John Henderson. Price is an extremely talented player that creates disruption in the offensive backfield.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9) – DT Dan Williams, Tennessee – Williams is a force in the middle, but many question if he is just a one-year wonder. The former Volunteer isn’t the most talented player on the board, but would fill a need for Miami’s 3-4 defense. However, don’t be surprised if the Dolphins look to trade down to accumulate additional picks. If they don’t find anyone willing, they will be satisfied to fill the need.
13. San Francisco 49ers (8-8) – DE Carlos Dunlap*, Florida – Dunlap is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2010 draft. At 6’6”, 290 pounds he is big enough to play a 3-4 end or be a dominating 4-3 rush end. His DUI during the 2009 season will hurt his draft stock. He will still be a top-15 pick, but if kept his nose clean the former Gator could have been a top-five pick overall.
14. Seattle Seahawks (8-8) – RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson – Even though it looks like the Seahawks found a solid running back in former Cal Golden Bear Justin Forsett, they are not done rebuilding the ground attack. Spiller is an electrifying player; a great receiver and return man whose touches should be spread out. The Seahawks would have a great tandem at running back with the addition of Spiller.
15. New York Giants (8-8) – CB Joe Haden*, Florida – The New York football Giants should do back flips if this former Gator and Thorpe Award finalist drops to them at 15. Big Blue has needs help at all three levels of the defense and Haden is the type of lockdown corner than can make everyone look better.
16. San Francisco 49ers (8-8) – OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma – Once pegged as a sure-fire top-ten pick, Williams is indeed talented…but is probably a little overrated. The biggest question mark is whether he will be a left tackle or right tackle in the NFL, which will determine his value come draft day. The Niners wouldn’t need him to protect the quarterback’s blind side, so this Boomer Sooner would be a true San Francisco treat.
17. Tennessee Titans (9-7) – DE Jason Pierre-Paul*, South Florida – Pierre-Paul is a player that has been flying up boards of late. He could be long gone by the time the Titans pick if he impresses at the NFL Scouting Combine. He is a little raw, but has elite ability which is why he is a lock first rounder despite playing only one season at the Division I level. The Titans could use a shot of youth on their aging defensive line.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – OG Mike Iupati, Idaho – Iupati is still raw, but his ceiling is high—he’s a potentially dominant interior lineman. He is an extremely physical player that plays the type of football the Steelers are known for. Given time, Iupati could be an elite guard or tackle in the NFL.
19. Atlanta Falcons (9-7) – S Taylor Mays, USC – There are far better all-around safeties still on the board, but Taylor Mays’ combination of elite size and speed will make him the second safety selected. He is a physically-gifted player, but must sharpen up his game to ever have a chance of being an elite NFL player. There is no question that his instincts and awareness are below average.
20. Houston Texans (9-7) – S Earl Thomas**, Texas – Bernard Pollard was a pleasant surprise for the Texans defense last season. Now Houston is searching for a playmaking free safety to pair with Pollard and the former Longhorn Earl Thomas is exactly that. He is a natural ball-hawk with great instincts who excels in coverage.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) – TE Jermaine Gresham*, Oklahoma – This is a perfect example of team need meeting the best available player. Gresham is one of the best pass-catching tight ends to enter the draft in a long time. He needs to show he is healthy and have a strong showing at the Combine to be selected in the first round.
22. New England Patriots (10-6) – OLB Sergio Kindle, Texas – It will come as no surprise that the Patriots will get great value with this pick. Kindle is a solid all-around player that has the ability to get to the quarterback. He is also capable of playing in a two-point stance or with his hand on the ground, versatility Bill Belichick will put to good use. New England has lost a lot on defense over the last few years, and it looks like they might lose more this off-season. Expect the Pats to select defensive players early and often in the 2010 draft.
23. Green Bay Packers (11-5) – OT Bryan Bulaga*, Iowa – The Packers desperately need to upgrade their offensive line—Aaron Rodgers was hurried and hit way too much in 2009. The team has explosive playmakers that can stretch the field, but Rodgers simply didn’t have the time to throw downfield. Bulaga would provide help on either the left or right side.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) – MLB Brandon Spikes, Florida – The Eagles are one of the most talented teams in the NFL and there are not many positions they need to address, but they could really use a playmaker at linebacker. Former Gator Brandon Spikes would be a perfect fit for the Eagles—he’s ready to step in and play from day one and would provide leadership as well.
25. Baltimore Ravens (9-7) – WR Golden Tate*, Notre Dame – The Ravens passing game was terrible during the playoffs. Number one wide out Derrick Mason could be headed towards retirement and understudy Mark Clayton is simply not a number one receiver. Tate could step in and make an immediate impact. He is capable of lining up allover the field. With a great offensive line, a Pro Bowl running back, and a young strong-armed passer, it’s a no brainier: the Ravens need a big time playmaker on the outside.
26. Arizona Cardinals (10-6) – OT Bruce Campbell*, Maryland – The Cards could go linebacker with their first pick, but the left tackle position is a more important spot for them to fill. Former top-ten pick Levi Brown is a decent right tackle and should remain on that side. Campbell has a lot of talent and has a good chance of being selected before this, but if he is available here, the Birds shouldn’t hesitate to write his name on their card.
27. Dallas Cowboys (11-5) – S Chad Jones*, LSU – Chad Jones is a playmaker, capable of delivering huge hits. At 6’3”, 230 pounds with speed, Jones could play either the free or strong safety position. He would be a very nice addition to a talented Cowboy defense that at times is still vulnerable to deep plays through the air. He could end up being the second best safety in the 2010 draft.
28. San Diego Chargers (13-3) – RB Jahvid Best*, Cal – With future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson probably on his way out, or at the very least headed towards a much smaller role, Best would be a great replacement. He is an explosive player with big play ability. The Golden Bear was running very well before suffering a season-ending concussion and back injury. If he gets the green light from the doctors Best should be a first-round pick.
29. New York Jets (9-7) – WR Damian Williams*, USC – The Jets need a more reliable receiver than Braylon Edwards. Williams has good hands, offers big time playmaking ability and would provide former USC teammate Mark Sanchez with a dependable target. Illinois product Arrelious Benn may have more upside but Williams is the safer pick for Gang Green.
30. Minnesota Vikings (12-4) – QB Tim Tebow, Florida – If Brett Favre decides to come back for another year, don’t be surprised if the Vikings look to secure their quarterback of the future. Tebow probably needs to stand on the sideline for a year or two but the Vikings roster is pretty stacked, so it wouldn’t be a huge risk to select one of the greatest college players of all-time.
31. New Orleans Saints (13-3) – OLB Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri – The Saints would have to be thrilled with the addition of a well-polished linebacker like Weatherspoon. With Jonathan Vilma lined up next to him, Weatherspoon could be the Defensive Rookie of the Year. He needs to play a little more under control, but that is something that can be fixed. He is a playmaker with a nose for the ball and will provide great value for a team in need of a defensive shot in the arm.
32. Indianapolis Colts (14-2) – DT Arthur Jones, Syracuse – The Colts will go either defensive tackle or outside linebacker with their first pick. They may have their sights set on Weatherspoon, but will settle for a solid defensive tackle. Jones would help free up pass rushers Jerome Mathis and Dwight Freeney and allow them to wreak even more havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
* Keep a lookout for more Mock Drafts from both Justin Van Fulpen and Mike Bozarth.
* Denotes Junior
** Denotes Red-Shirt Sophomore
Photos Courtesy of Notre Dame Sports Information, College Press Box, Dennis Hubbard, UT Photography, University of California, Syracuse University Athletics
Monday, January 18, 2010
As the East-West Shrine Game gets set to kickoff in Orlando, we take a look at five players to watch on each side.
Western Illinois CB Patrick Stoudamire -- A lot of hype based on big senior campaign and plenty of Internet buzz but can that translate into a late NFL Combine invite... this week's practices will tell the tale.
Bowling Green WR Freddie Barnes -- Led the nation in receptions, but all eyes will be on whether he can consistently get off the line of scrimmage and show separation and acceleration while the ball is in the air... his perceived game speed will determine his final draft grade.
Fordham QB John Skelton -- Can he follow in the footsteps of Joe Flacco and make a big splash starting at this week's practices... has a live arm, big, sturdy frame but must show he has the footwork and ability to adjust to faster game now that the level of competition increases.
Ole Miss DE Greg Hardy -- Has the ability to be one of the top pass rushers in this year's NFL Draft, but he has been injury-prone and inconsistent the past year and a half... a big week, especially in 1-on-1 drills can jump him right back into 1st round consideration.
Central Florida DT Torell Troup -- His quickness off the ball and ability to cause consistent pressure from an interior defensive line position make him a very attractive prospect... this week's big stage will allow him to put his name on the map... could be the East roster's "Fastest Riser" come week's end.
Utah S Robert Johnson -- Shocked and upset by his current status of not holding a invite to the NFL Combine he plans to take it out on all the opposing offensive prospects and play his way into one of the final senior spots in next month's event in Indianapolis.
California WR Verran Tucker -- Has the size/speed to wow scouts in 1-on-1's and his potential as a vertical threat could push up his final draft grade, but he needs to catch the ball consistently and run improved routes during this week's practices.
UNLV LB Jason Beauchamp -- Under-rated defender that will be closely evaluated by teams the employ a 3-4 scheme... impressive athlete with ideal size and shows an explosive burst to the QB... his name should be mentioned as one of the "Top Risers" coming off the West roster.
Texas Tech OG Brandon Carter -- Was thought at one-time to be among the top-rated interior linemen for this year's NFL Draft... he's had some off-the-field issues along the way and will need to address those when talking to scouts and show more consistency to his game during the practices on-the-field.
Eastern Washington QB Matt Nichols -- Solid career and terrific numbers posted throughout senior campaign where he lacked ideal weapons, but still managed to earn a late roster spot in this contest; big week of practices could earn him a late NFL Combine invite or at the very least improve his current grade.
*Interesting side note... in-spite of the fact that this year's game is being played at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida there are a total of only seven players who are either from the state of Florida or natives of the Sunshine state... meanwhile, there are a total of 17 players who are either from the state of Texas or natives of the Lonestar state.
Photo Courtesy of College Press Box, Dennis Hubbard
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Join NFL Draft Bible President Daniel Mogollon, Executive Editor Ralph Mancini and draft guru Justin VanFulpen as we talk...what else...NFL Draft. From the All-Star games, the NFL Scouting Combine and school pro days, every week we will bring you players to watch and the latest news from the leading authority on the NFL Draft.
When: Sunday January 17
Show Time: 10:00 AM Eastern
Length: 1 Hour
Call In Number: 1.347.945.6275
To Listen Live, Replay or Download - Click Here
* The Underclassman List
* Who Should Have Stayed?
* Who Should Have Come Out?
* Our Big Board Top 10
* East-West Shrine Player Watch
Photo Courtesy of Dennis Hubbard