Slive speaks on expansion; where will Tebow go in draft?

 

New York—Good morning friends. Your humble correspondent is in NYC today to work the NFL Draft for the CBS College Sports Network. We’ll have coverage of the entire first round tonight and will do something a little different by looking at the draft from both the pro and the college perspective. It should be fun so please tune us in.

Before I move on to today’s topic I want you to know that I caught up with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive after yesterday’s post on whether or not the conference should be proactive rather than reactive to possible Big Ten expansion. The commissioner was very candid in saying that the SEC is not going be passive if the Big Ten blows up the college football landscape by going to 16 teams.

“We will be proactive,” said Slive. “We will do our due diligence and determine the right course of action for our conference.”

Read into that what you will. I think it means that everything is on the table. Big Ten commish Jim Delany told reporters in Scottsdale, Ariz. (site of the annual BCS meetings)  that his plans for expansion are not as far along as media reports have suggested. So it is not a question of “if” but “when.” So other commissioners (Big East, ACC to name two) have to start making contingency plans in case they lose teams. We will be talking about this subject a lot more, to be sure.

But first, let’s have some fun.

Here are 10 Southern players I’m keeping my eye on for the next two days while working the draft. The order has nothing to do with how high they will be picked, but my curiosity factor about what team picks them. Feel free to add your own names to this list:

 

1. Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: A once in a generation defensive back who will be a great pro. Had 12 interceptions his first two years and people just quit throwing in his direction. I’ve seen a bunch of drafts that have him going to Cleveland with the No. 7 pick. But I wonder if Kansas City will surprise us and take him at No. 5?

2. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida: The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner. A great, great college player whose talents may or may not translate to the NFL level. There has been speculation that Jacksonville would take him at No. 10. I can’t see it. But New England has three picks (44, 47, 53) in the second round. Florida coach Urban Meyer and Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick are tight.

3. Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech:  I think Seattle and new coach Pete Carroll may take Morgan at No. 6 because Morgan is perfect for the 4-3 defense that Carroll runs. Seattle may gamble and hope Morgan is still there when the Seahawks pick again at No. 14. Morgan is a helluva football player.

4. C.J. Spiller, RB/KR, Clemson: This guy put up a ton of stats at Clemson but here is the most impressive: Over his career Spiller had 21 touchdown plays of 50 yards or more. Jacksonville needs to excite the fan base and sell tickets. They can’t take Tebow at No. 10 but they could take Spiller.

5. Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: I saw McClain start his first college football game in 2007 and I saw him play  his last against Texas in the BCS championship game. Along with Al Wilson of Tennessee (1998), McClain was one of the toughest, most disciplined leaders I’ve seen among defensive players.  The team that drafts this guy will instantly transform its defense into something faster and more athletic. He is a no-nonsense guy who is skipping the glitz of New York to watch the draft on TV with his family.

6. Demaryius “Bay Bay” Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech: Everybody is talking about Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant as the best receiver in the draft. But Thomas is the guy you want if a want a pro who acts like a pro. He’s big. He strong. He makes plays. He averaged 25.09 yards on 46 catches.

7. Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida: A lot of teams like Pouncey because he looks like a guy who could play in the NFL for a dozen years. He can play guard or center which is why, if he’s still on the board when Falcons choose at No. 19, they have to consider him. I think Pittsburgh beats Atlanta to the punch and takes him at No. 18.

8. Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer told me the other day that Williams came to Knoxville as a project who was on the pudgy side. Not anymore. Williams flourished in his one year under Monte Kiffin. He could be the third defensive tackle picked.

9. Joe Haden, CB, Florida: When the Gators were tinkering with the idea of using Haden for some snaps at quarterback last season (they didn’t do it), I went back and looked up his high school stats (he is a native of Fort Washington, Md.). They were staggering as he set a Maryland public high school record with 7,731 career passing yards. This guy is just an incredible athlete and was the best lock down corner in the SEC. A bunch of mock drafts have him going to the 49ers at No. 13. That sounds about right.

10. Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida: This guy has intrigued me ever since I visited Skip Holtz, the new coach at USF. George Selvie was an All-America defensive end at South Florida and got all the pub. But Holtz told me he was blown away by Pierre-Paul when he started looking at tape. I think Georgia Tech’s Derrick Morgan and Michigan’s Brandon Graham are better prospects at defensive end but we’ll see. Somebody is going to fall in love with his athleticism because this guy is a freak (6-6, 275) in the most positive sense of the word.

 

Here are a bunch of other guys I’m watching from Southern schools. I had to leave a lot of good ones out. Please add to the list.

Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech: I’m not sure exactly what the NFL boys want in a running back but I have to believe that Dwyer has it. Good size. Good speed.

Montario Hardesty, RB, Tennessee: I was very impressed with the way Hardesty blocked out all the distractions at Tennessee and had a great senior season.

Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama: It’s got to be a 3-4 team but there are a lot more of them now in the NFL. I can’t believe this guy is going to fall to the second round.

Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida: This guy’s stock has been falling since he was suspended right before the SEC championship game (alcohol related).

Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida: What Tebow was to the Florida offense this guy was to the defense.

Dexter McCluster, RB, Ole Miss: The Rebels finally wised up and started giving this guy the ball last season. He’s small (5-8, 175) but he can make plays.

Riley Cooper, WR, Florida: Good athlete who knows how to run routes and get open. He became Tebow’s Go-To guy for most of the 2009 season.

Eric Norwood, LB, South Carolina: Nobody will miss a player more in 2010 than the Gamecocks will miss Norwood (29 career sacks).

Rennie Curran, LB, Georgia: Could have used one more year in college. He’s small but Curran is an absolute tackling machine.

Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama: If he had listened to Nick Saban and returned to Tuscaloosa Jackson would have been an All-America player in 2010 and a first-round pick in 2011. He still may go in the first round.

Trevard Lindley, CB, Kentucky: A native of Hiram, I have always liked Lindley as a play maker and a lock down corner. There are a bunch of DBs ahead of him on my board.

Jevan Snead, QB, Ole Miss: This time last year he was projected as a possible first-round pick because of his arm. But he struggled in 2009 and decided to leave school early. Don’t think he’ll be picked in the first two rounds.

Jonathan Crompton, QB, Tennessee: I read and hear some NFL teams like his arm. That may be true but he still has a long way to go as a decision maker.

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154 comments Add your comment

slick

April 22nd, 2010
8:30 am

kaput

April 22nd, 2010
8:40 am

Somebody will get a steal with Riley Cooper in the fourth round or so. The dude is amazingly fast, fastest white guy I’ve ever seen.

MMA is stupid

April 22nd, 2010
8:47 am

Wow Tony,
Nice of you to add Crompton in there….Dont know why, but nice of you.

bigdawg01

April 22nd, 2010
8:48 am

Agree with you Kaput…much as i hate the gators, cooper is top notch athelete and will produce on the next level. Highly underrated guy.

Vdawg

April 22nd, 2010
8:49 am

Tebow will go to Pittsburgh

Dink

April 22nd, 2010
8:51 am

Pretty good list Tony. I also think the RB Ben Tate out of Auburn may be a surprise also, have fun!

Go Dawgs!

Reptiles Rule

April 22nd, 2010
8:55 am

Man Tony, I will SOOOOO glad when all of this Tebow draft talk and speculation is OOOVER. It seems everyone and their Aunt have some kind of opinion but the truth is nobody really knows. We have a guy here in Tampa in our sports radio market that emotionally talks about this virtually everyday and actually gets mad on the air about it, his voice rising when he angrily insists Tebow will never amount to anything in the NFL (by the way, he is a big U Miami guy). He almost got into it with TV broadcaster Charles Davis the other day because Davis likes Tebow. Amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ll be glad when it’s done…

Mikey

April 22nd, 2010
8:56 am

Jeff Owens…
Geno Atkins…
Kade Weston…

Alphare

April 22nd, 2010
8:56 am

I did pay attention to Derick Morgan playing, that guy is absolutely different than any player I’ve ever seen. Would love him playing for the Falcons.

Cody is not flashy, but he is almost a sure thing – low risk difference maker to me. If he is a 2nd rounder, that just tells me the draft pickers are out-smarting themselves.

Mikey

April 22nd, 2010
8:58 am

I have refused to read or watch anything that has the word MOCK in it regarding the draft.
It is absolutely a waste of time and effort. I know it keeps the Mel Kipers of the world employed but it is completely asinine.

SimpleDawg

April 22nd, 2010
9:07 am

Oklahoma will have 4 players drafted in the first round…..makes you wonder how they lost games….oh, I guess Bradford was that good….and his backup wasn’t.

The Falcons will get a good player at 19, but will it be the right player? They need to trade down in the first round for a second round pick. No second round pick hurts…..that’s a long time between picks.

There will be an awful lot of good players taken in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.

Miles

April 22nd, 2010
9:08 am

Tebow: the biggest steal in the draft!

GatorinAthens

April 22nd, 2010
9:12 am

I sure hope Riley Cooper gets a haircut soon. I saw him at the Orange and Blue Game broadcast being interviewed by Brady Ackerman. It looked like he had flybacks. That can’t be good for his forty time.

Reptiles Rule

April 22nd, 2010
9:14 am

Mikey, you are one smart dude. These Mel Kiper guys, I mean, what exactly does it take to become a draft guru?? A specific kind of hairstyle?? How many times is that guy actually right??? Same for Todd McShay. Even a blind squirrel would be better at picking…maybe even better since at least at the end of the day the squirrel would have some nuts to show for it…

Reptile from Tamper

April 22nd, 2010
9:15 am

Why do I read the AJC online when I could bother the crap out of everyone at the Tampa Tribune website. Oh yeah, because everyone says the same thing and I wouldn’t get any response. I am Gator, hear me growl!

JB

April 22nd, 2010
9:16 am

Bay Bay Thomas might have been Georgia’s SECOND number one pick in a row in the draft had he played in Athens. Imagine him his Jr. year catching 65-70 passes and 15 TD’s from Stafford and 45 passes and 12 TD’s from Cox…..just saying…..Could be the difference in a 20 mil dollar contract vs a 50 mil one….oh well.

joe

April 22nd, 2010
9:17 am

I want to see how long it takes before any UGA players are picked…could be waiting a while…

Reptile from Tamper

April 22nd, 2010
9:19 am

I hate Todd McShay because he says bad things about Tim Tebow. Anyone who utters disparaging remarks against Tebow should be boycotted.

Reptiles Rule

April 22nd, 2010
9:19 am

I won’t temper my remarks Tamper. I guess some people are just natural born idiots. You are exhibit A.

JB

April 22nd, 2010
9:20 am

I ‘m worried about this Jerry DT from Mississippi the Falcons drafted last year. Will he ever see the field and hold up enough to help.Can you spell BUST.

The rest of us

April 22nd, 2010
9:21 am

I sure hope the AJC says something disparaging about Tebow soon so all you Gator fans will go back to the Tampa Tribune and Gainesville Sun and give the rest of the SEC fans in the Georgia area a freaking break.

Charles from Reeltown

April 22nd, 2010
9:22 am

Crompton in the NFL? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Charles from Reeltown

April 22nd, 2010
9:23 am

Sec should expand to pick up UAB and Samford.

Reptile from Tamper

April 22nd, 2010
9:24 am

If not for fans like me checking in from Tamper, FL giving my daily takes on the Florida Gators, what would the rest of you talk about?

Reptiles Rule

April 22nd, 2010
9:28 am

Don’t count on it. Atlanta is Gator Country too. If you don’t believe me, just go ask your boss where he went to school. Of course, that’s assuming that you have a job or don’t work at McDonalds…

jumbeauxtiger

April 22nd, 2010
9:29 am

It seems that Tebow has gained momentum among NFL clubs lately. I believe someone will draft him late in the first round and I think he is going to surprise alot of people. Charactor and work ethic go a long way in life.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Reptiles Rule

April 22nd, 2010
9:30 am

Temper, What would you rather talk about…how lovely Shreveport is during the Holidays?? I hear Memphis is also nice that time of year. Enjoy your trip…

Reptile from Tamper

April 22nd, 2010
9:33 am

I’d talk about my golf cart I drive around the mobile home park I own in Bradenton, FL. My 27 handicap I hold at Silver Lakes Golf Course. Charlie Pell. Pretty much anything Gators. My friend Mr. Two Bits. How I wish the Swamp still had artificial turf. Stuff like that.

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 22nd, 2010
9:36 am

Tony, I’m a math whiz and a college football expert, but you’re a journalist, very bias, but a journalist.

Please fix Bay Bay Thomas “But Thomas is the guy you want if a want a pro who acts like a pro.”

Remember, you do get paid for this.

…You’re welcome.

The rest of us

April 22nd, 2010
9:36 am

Seems like Florida and Georgia both played in a state in which the BCS National Championship game WASN’T played if I remember correctly.

Reptiles Rule

April 22nd, 2010
9:38 am

As long as we don’t have to talk about the going rate for tanning bed memberships or how short Aaron Murray REALLY is, I’m cool with that.

Jeff

April 22nd, 2010
9:38 am

Slive and the SEC are no dummies and IMHO he’s putting this out there as a preemptive strike agains the Big 10/1. If the Big 10/1 knows that the SEC will react swiftly to any move they make it makes them think twice. Additionally it freezes some schools who might prefer the SEC over the Big 10/1 if these jumbo conferences get off the ground (read: the big prize, Texas). The folks in B’ham know exactly what they’re doing that’s for sure.

Howard

April 22nd, 2010
9:42 am

Tony…I still say to you and Mel Kiper and all the other talking heads who constantly question Tebow…and to an extent…Colt McCoy’s ability to make it in the NFL…what are you smoking?? These guys aren’t Danny Wuerffel, Gino Toretta, etc. These kids are legit. And concerning Sam Bradford…great kid and great talent, but how many titles did he win?? How many injuries?? The first time he goes down on that shoulder in the NFL, it will make that hit in the BYU and Texas game look like schoolyard tag. So come one… And as for Jimmy Claussen…who in the hades proclaimed this kid such a great pro?? Charlie Weis?? What in the hades did he ever do for Notre Dame and what in the world did he do anyway to make you guys so enamored with him?? He will flop just like Brady Quinn!!!

Pig Vomit

April 22nd, 2010
9:46 am

Now Howard, it’s said “Double U NNNNNNNNNNNN BC.” Got that?

Ormewood

April 22nd, 2010
9:49 am

Winning titles in college means nothing at the NFL level. How many titles did Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco or Mark Sanchez win? Those three guys took teams to the playoffs their rookie seasons in the NFL. I think Tebow will become a starter in a couple of years. Same for McCoy.

Jacksonville Jaguar Fan

April 22nd, 2010
9:52 am

I sure hope all these Tebow fans put their money where their mouth is and by tickets to watch Tim Tebow hold a clipboard if the Jaguars draft him. If not, it’s a wasted pick.

UT96

April 22nd, 2010
9:53 am

Sure, Crompton will be drafted by some NFL team and last unitl about the third preseason game, when the coaches realize, in the words of Crash Davis- Bull Durham, Crompton has a million dollar arm and a five cent head. Heath Shuler was the same way, dumb as a box of rocks.

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 22nd, 2010
9:56 am

actually, I’m not a math whiz either, just a college football expert.

Reptile from Tamper

April 22nd, 2010
9:59 am

Tanning beds? Step your game up of go back to the Tampa Tribune, gecko.

McDawg

April 22nd, 2010
10:08 am

the Snead decision boggles one’s mind or at least mine//Spiller is the guy i’m very curious about-not sure i would use a 1st round but seems like the kind of guy who can come and make a real impact in the right situation

NFL GMs

April 22nd, 2010
10:11 am

The Tim Tebow decision is a mind bottler to us.

Mike

April 22nd, 2010
10:13 am

I’ve been sayng for months, even in the middle of teboW mania, that the guy was over-hyped. His delivery was unprepared for the NFL. Florida players under Meyer have not gone on to do well in the NFL.

Tebow will go 3rd or 4th round, sign a small contract, and never amoun to anything as a football player.

Ron Mexico

April 22nd, 2010
10:13 am

Jeff, you’ve hit the nail on the head, except there’s nothing holding that nail. The Big 10 and SEC footprints are completely different, and the schools that they’d be looking at are different too. SEC would poach from the southern half of the ACC and has an outside shot at a Texas team or two. The Big 10 is looking east and west. The only clout the SEC might have would be with a TV deal featuring an “improved” product, but they just locked that up for a few years. The Big 10 is in the drivers seat, and everyone else is just riding shotgun.

Don't Laugh

April 22nd, 2010
10:16 am

Mark it down – Crompton’s name will be around much longer in the NFL than Tebow. The guy will end up being a starter for someone within the next three to five years. Mark it 8 dude.

Mikey

April 22nd, 2010
10:21 am

Tony, I might just watch you on CBS College tonight.
Or maybe the NFL Network…

I sure cannot stomach the talking heads at ESPN.

jim

April 22nd, 2010
10:21 am

tebow 2nd round pick

Mike

April 22nd, 2010
10:24 am

Georgia has led the SEC in the NFL drafts with 57 players since 2000.

http://www.mrsec.com/story/the-sec-in-the-nfl-draft

McDawg

April 22nd, 2010
10:26 am

i don’t like this expansion thing what is the point? not money unless we are talking greed

JB

April 22nd, 2010
10:26 am

some NFL team will take a flyer on Tebow in round TWO.

Mike

April 22nd, 2010
10:27 am