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Thread: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    Quote Originally Posted by turbofargo View Post
    That fact was brought up and acknowledged. Regardless they said the accolade, in Hoge's mind, was still given. Maybe if he was on a Ohio State or FSU there would be zero question. I'll try to look into why he was at Buffalo given his skill set over a well known school.
    Here's one take on that.
    How did so many colleges miss on LB prospect Khalil Mack?.
    By Eric Adelson
    March 6, 2014 4:54 PM

    ....It was just another stop on just another recruiting sweep in talent-rich Florida. Robert Wimberly, assistant coach at Liberty University, visited Westwood High in Fort Pierce when the head coach there, Waides Ashmon, told him about a player who was injured during his junior year but playing again as a senior.

    "I think he'll be a diamond in the rough," the coach said.

    Was he ever.

    Khalil Mack's recruitment, by a lone coach from an FCS school based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, is hard to fathom in an era when Florida high school players are often well-known by colleges by the time they're old enough to get their drivers' permits. The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Mack is now a potential top-five pick in May's NFL draft – at the scouting combine, he posted a 40-inch vertical and a 4.65 40-yard dash time – and if it wasn't for Wimberly, the linebacker might not have been recruited to a Division I school at all.

    "USF and UCF were looking," Wimberly said Wednesday by phone, "but there were no other offers. He would have been a young man who got overlooked."

    There were reasons: Mack was a prep basketball player who as a junior suffered a patella tendon injury that threatened his high school athletic career. He returned to health stronger than before, but he wasn't even thinking about football until Ashmon phoned Mack's dad early in the teenager's senior year and promised him that if he allowed his son to pick up a new sport, he'd go to college for free.

    Wimberly's visit helped fulfill that promise. By the time Mack got comfortable on the field, most schools already had a full list of recruits at linebacker. The Liberty coach walked into a situation every assistant dreams of: a potential star nobody knew about.

    "He could go one of two ways," Wimberly said. "He could be raw and marginal, or this kid has a chance to be a specimen."

    His gut told him it was the latter. That, of course, led to some nerves. When he saw Mack, who was then a 6-1, 215-pound workout demon, he could hardly believe there was no other school involved.

    "Man," he recalled thinking, "it's just gonna be a matter of time before schools jump in on him."

    Wimberly became more impressed as he began to learn more about Mack. The future linebacker loved the physical nature of both basketball and football, recoiling at being called "soft" earlier in his life and striving to remove that label permanently. He also had a diligence and a reliability that surfaced immediately.

    "He was very consistent to stay in contact with," Wimberly said. "He said he'd call you Sunday and he would. You were able to pick up on that work ethic. He carried that even in high school."

    All of that made Wimberly more nervous. Was Mack really going to Liberty?

    The answer was no, and not because of Mack. It was because of Wimberly.

    The assistant got a job at the University of Buffalo under head coach Turner Gill, and he immediately told his new boss about the kid from Fort Pierce. Then he stood out of the way, trying not to meddle or force Mack's hand.

    Mack visited Buffalo, on a day when the campus was covered with snow, and he decided to follow Wimberly there. The MAC school was his only offer.

    The entire Bulls staff learned quickly what Wimberly knew.

    "He could run," he said. "He can [come around the] bend and pass rush, turn the corner. Great hips – so fluid in his hips. And he's got long arms. He was so explosive getting from point A to point B, even as a freshman."

    Then the coaching staff saw him in the film room, learning the game he hadn't played as long as his new teammates. Mack wasn't just raw talent who needed years to develop. Wimberly thought he could rapidly become the best player in school history.

    Four years later, he's pretty close. "He made me a great coach," head coach Jeff Quinn said with a laugh.

    Quinn took over for Gill when Mack was a true freshman. Mack held the school record for forced fumbles and tackles for loss even before his senior season. His first game last year was against Ohio State, and he had an interception returned for a touchdown, nine tackles and 2.5 sacks. Urban Meyer said Mack could play at any school in America, and now that looks like an understatement. "He wasn't just someone who was going to put his hand in the dirt and rush," Quinn said. "They never knew what he was going to do."


    Buffalo had record attendance in 2013, and "Macktion" was part of the reason.

    Gill had moved on to Kansas and then to Liberty, and Wimberly returned to join him there in 2012. Wimberly doesn't take credit for being the guy who found Mack, but he admits scouts sometimes come up to him and want to shake his hand. He's still in touch with the Fort Pierce phenom, but now he's spending his time trying to find and coach the next Khalil Mack. If he does come across anyone who reminds him of Mack, he's not going to doubt his fortune or his instincts.

    "There's nothing like a gut feeling," he said

    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    Quote Originally Posted by turbofargo View Post
    I'll try to look into why he was at Buffalo given his skill set over a well known school.
    Rivals had him as a 2-star ILBer.

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    "Barring trade...". Barring trade. **SIGH**

    Talk about a wide open field of possible scenarios during hunting season. Turkey shoot.
    Randart likes this.

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    Quote Originally Posted by demiurge View Post
    Jerry Rice.

    Walter Payton.

    Deacon Jones.

    Mel Blount.

    Night Trane Lane.

    Just a few of the guys that have been small school stars. Some of the best ever.

    Its a potential limitation, but not a deal breaker.
    Nobody said that it was a deal breaker. Rather, it is a legitimate question posed to anyone who would declare Mack the greatest defensive prospect in 15 years. In other words, better than Luke Kuechly, Von Miller, J.J. Watt, Robert Quinn, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Clay Matthews, Jerod Mayo, Patrick Willis, Darrelle Revis, Mario Williams, Haloti Ngata, DeMarcus Ware, Vince Wilfork, Kevin Williams, Troy Polamalu, Julius Peppers, Dwight Freeney, Ed Reed, Justin Smith and Brian Urlacher, just to name a few.

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    It is a possibility he is the best defensive player to come out in 15 years like Hoge mentioned based on tape viewings. Will he actually live up time will tell but from what Av mentioned.

    Clay Matthews drafted rd 1 pos 26
    Luke Kuechly drafted rd 1 pos 9
    Von Miller drafted rd 1 pos 2
    J.J. Watt drafted rd 1 pos 11
    etc.

    Point being he does have a chance to meet even exceed expectations as much as those players. Has a legitimate chance although Clowney would still be no. 1 to be taken by the Texans and out of the people mentioned only Mario Williams went No.1 overall (Von Miller did come close so did Suh). Looking back at past drafts this is what Hoge thinks, Mayock is also very high on the kid thinks he is the best; only for this year as far as I read,haven't seen any comparisons by Maylock.

    Should we take him then? Not on one or two people's projections, commended even with evidence as they may be. Before his character and love for the game was in question people without a doubt wanted Clowney tagging him with the once in a generation player. Even with the log jam of high talent we already have at DE some of us are trying to get him in. Mack, another once in a generation player, with heart and passion for the game, athleticism to back it up who plays LB, a position we could use. I think it is at the least worth a look.

    Will agree the once in a generation statement seems to happen to often for it to be, well once in a generation.

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    I like Charlie Campbell well enough. I follow him on Twitter. And he could end up being right, as the Rams could take Watkins or Mack.

    But I've never once read something he's written and thought, "Man, this guy's got some good inside sources/access." He seems knowledgeable enough in terms of teams and needs and whatnot, but this looks like another case of the mysterious "sources."

    We'll see how it plays out.
    Last edited by Nick; -04-02-2014 at 05:57 PM.

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    Think the only way the Rams take either Mack or Watkins it would be if they traded back. Topic doesn't make sense to me. If they can't trade back I say take Clowney if available or take your pick of Robinson or Matthews at #2...

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    Where did Deacon Jones go to College? DeMarcus Ware? Too Tall Jones? Merloin Olsen?

    Speaking of Ohio State, Mack DOMINATED the game against them, and clearly was the best player on either team by far.
    lostsoul likes this.
    Barry Waller

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Waller View Post
    Where did Deacon Jones go to College? DeMarcus Ware? Too Tall Jones? Merloin Olsen?
    We've already addressed that argument.

    Speaking of Ohio State, Mack DOMINATED the game against them, and clearly was the best player on either team by far.
    You mean the game last August when the Buckeyes jumped out to a 23-0 in the first quarter and then coasted 40-20 victory?

    Nobody is questioning whether Mack is a top prospect in this year's draft. He's not the top defensive prospect in the past 15 years, though.

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    He's not even the top prospect in his own draft class.

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    If this guy is as good as everyone says and we can't trade down then I say yes - grab him and unleash that pass rush and send da shrimp and Craperneck to da bench.

    The scouts and coaching staff will get a pretty good assessment and I am OK with that.

    Think of all the first round busts from USC Oklahoma Miami FSU Bama - Keyshawn Johnson Matt Leinhart Todd Marinovich Brian Bosworth the list is endless.

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    We've already addressed that argument.
    Not really. You stated it was a 'legitimate question' - that's nice. Some people believe that question answered - being a small school player doesn't limit your potential - which is what we are talking about as a prospect. It does limit your experience at high level play, which Mack has been hit or miss at. He was a one man wrecking crew against Ohio State, and likely took their coaching staff by surprise.

    Baylor saw what he could do and schemed around him, and they had a lot more success than the Buckeyes and Mack wasn't much of a factor.

    You mean the game last August when the Buckeyes jumped out to a 23-0 in the first quarter and then coasted 40-20 victory?
    Just silly. Yes, Ohio State in the middle of its 24 game winning streak was a much better team than Buffalo. That says nothing as to whether Mack was a great player or not.

    One game I always keep in mind was between the Whiners and the Bears back in the day. It was opening day, 1965, and the Bears lost 52-20. Why is that a game that was interesting to me despite being 5 years before I was born?

    Because that Bear team started Gale Sayers, Mike Ditka, and Dick Butkus, all in their prime.

    Teams win ball games. But some times the best player is on the team that didn't win. Sometimes the best 3 players are on the team that didn't win.

    You certainly know that.


    Nobody is questioning whether Mack is a top prospect in this year's draft. He's not the top defensive prospect in the past 15 years, though.
    I tend to agree with that. But that doesn't mean Mack isn't necessarily a better prospect than Clowney. Clowney could be great, but some of the guys that have looked at him have really trashed his play last year. Its the consistent effort problem.

    A lot of analysts think this is a guy that tanks if his team starts out 3-6. And that can certainly be a big negative in the locker room.

    So while I agree with you that Hoge is overstating Mack's potential, I think there is a real question as to who will have the best career out of the defensive players. It certainly could be Clowney. Or he might end up being Aundray Bruce. And that's pretty dangerous when you are looking at spending one of the top 5 picks in the draft.

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    Quote Originally Posted by demiurge View Post
    Not really. You stated it was a 'legitimate question' - that's nice. Some people believe that question answered - being a small school player doesn't limit your potential - which is what we are talking about as a prospect.
    If you insist on misquoting me, I'll continue to correct you.

    Neither I, nor anyone else, has stated that playing college ball at a small school limits a player's potential.

    Rather, what I, and others, have stated, is that it is more difficult to assess a player who faced a lower level of competition. That is a simple, and pretty much undeniable, concept. If you think strength of competition is irrelevant, that's fine, but I suspect you would be subscribing to a minority view.

    Just silly. Yes, Ohio State in the middle of its 24 game winning streak was a much better team than Buffalo. That says nothing as to whether Mack was a great player or not.
    Once again, you've missed my point. I was simply responding to Barry's assertion that Mack "dominated" the game, which was an odd thing to say about a player on the losing end of a blowout.

    So while I agree with you that Hoge is overstating Mack's potential
    Then why are we arguing?

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    If you insist on misquoting me, I'll continue to correct you.
    Or you could just clarify your comments. Its kind of hard dealing with the thought that rattled around in someone's brain as opposed to what actually coalesces into concrete writing.

    For example,

    Neither I, nor anyone else, has stated that playing college ball at a small school limits a player's potential.

    Rather, what I, and others, have stated, is that it is more difficult to assess a player who faced a lower level of competition. That is a simple, and pretty much undeniable, concept.
    Actually, no, you haven't stated that, in either of your previous posts. For example, this is the first time you stated the word 'assess.' What you wrote previously is simply the fact that he came from a small school, not why you thought the thought that a player from a small school couldn't be an elite prospect. You assumed others would understand your intent without clarifying it, until now.

    If you think strength of competition is irrelevant, that's fine, but I suspect you would be subscribing to a minority view.
    Quite possibly. But then, I can point to some of the greatest players in history as the counter argument - if these players were accurately assessed coming out of college, than clearly they would have been great prospects.

    Which goes to my point - level of competition is just one of many factors, and time after time we've seen great players emerge from lower level schools.


    Once again, you've missed my point. I was simply responding to Barry's assertion that Mack "dominated" the game, which was an odd thing to say about a player on the losing end of a blowout.
    Fair enough. Barry also said he was the best player on the field when playing against OSU in the same sentence, and that was what I took him to mean. Mack certainly had a dominating performance: 9 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT for a TD (and that as impressive a run back as you'll see IMO).

    Then why are we arguing?
    Because I disagree with the concept that a small school prospect can't be considered a generational player, a once every 20 years prospect, after we've seen so many of them go on and dominate in the league. Even if you are stating it is simply assessing the player would limit them in terms of the perception of their worth.

    Remember the #1 overall player in last year's draft was from Central Michigan? Fresno State, CM, and Utah have all had #1 overall players taken in the last 12 years - 25% of the best scouted players available in that time frame came from small schools in less prestigious conferences.

    Hell, the Rams themselves all time team is full of small college players - Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Jackie Slater, Marshall Faulk...

    So while I don't agree that Mack should be considered the best defensive prospect in 15 years, I don't think its simply because he comes from a small school, either in terms of their potential or in terms of scouts finding them. Lots of great players come from small schools, and the Scouts have been finding more of them these days.

    Hell, they started noticing after the Steelers of the 70s. Mean Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, John Stallworth - all small school hall of famers off of one team.
    Last edited by demiurge; -04-03-2014 at 01:40 PM.

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    Re: Barring Trade, Rams Deciding on Mack or Watkins

    Quote Originally Posted by demiurge View Post
    What you wrote previously is simply the fact that he came from a small school, not why you thought the thought that a player from a small school couldn't be an elite prospect.
    That's because I never thought that. You merely read that thought into my comment.

    Because I disagree with the concept that a small school prospect can't be considered a generational player, a once every 20 years prospect
    If someone were to express that concept, I would disagree with it too. So, again... why are you trying to put words into my mouth?

    Again, despite your repeated efforts to twist my words, my point is rather simple.

    Assume you had two players. Same position. Both are 6'4, 220 lbs. Both run a 4.4. Both had 30 reps on the bench. Both had the exact same stats in college. The only difference between the two is that one played for Florida, and the other played for North Dakota State.

    Are you telling me that you disagree with the assertion that it would be easier to project the Florida player than the South Dakota State player as an NFL prospect?

    If you agree with THAT concept, then you agree with me, and the only person you are arguing with is the strawman you've created out of thin air.
    Last edited by AvengerRam; -04-03-2014 at 02:44 PM.

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