Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Couple Of Names

I'm not a huge draftnik. I usually wait until draft day to get excited. Beats trying to memorize the names and relative rankings of 1000 amateurs, most of whom who will spend their careers deep on some team's depth chart, if at all.

So there are always guys and there is always hype and I don't cotton to much of it. But - like everyone - I love the Cinderellas. In particular I love Northwestern quarterbacks and obscure collegians from the state of Michigan.

Not coincidentally, this draft has both.

Mike Kafka, QB, Northwestern

It took Kafka until the end of August to secure the starting gig for the Wildcats following the graduation of C.J. Bacher. All he did was lead the Big 10 in passing throwing for 3400 yards on 65% passing, leading Northwestern to an 8 win season and a spot in the Outback Bowl. He saved his best - and worst - for the bowl game with career highs across the board. 47/78/532 4TD, 5INT. He also had a season high 20 rushing attempts. He threw a 102 yard pick 6 early and then carried his team back late with three drives in the last three minutes that put the team a made field goal away from winning in what proved to be the most exciting bowl game of the season.

He played very well in the Shrine game, winning the MVP. He confirmed his athleticism at the combine and then had the best Pro Day of any quarterback yet.

He may not be anywhere near the most famous or celebrated quarterbacks in this year’s draft, but Mike Kafka sure did astound the scouts from 25 teams in attendance at Northwestern’s pro day on Thursday. Among those on hand were Bengals QB coach Ken Zampese and Cardinals QB coach Chris Miller. The senior signal caller followed up on his sensational NFL Scouting Combine performance, in which he was among the top quarterbacks in the vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, and 60-yard shuttle, with a tremendous throwing session indoors on FieldTurf. Kafka passed to his former Wildcats receivers, Zeke Markshausen and Andrew Brewer, and according to one scout, missed only one throw the entire workout.
– Gil Brandt
Major concerns about his relative lack of experience and coming out of a spread offense. He played under center at the Shrine game, and played well. I saw one mention that he was a bit indecisive. So, we'll see.

Joique Bell, Wayne State University

Have to give a shout out to the future alma mater here. Wayne State isn't exactly a football factory, despite its location in talent-rich Detroit. Bell rushed for more than 2000 yards his junior and senior seasons and won the Harlon Hill his senior year.

He's raw, he hasn't played against tough competition, he's slow. On the other hand he appears to be a willing blocker, he has good size. He has great character.
After the third day of Senior Bowl practice, Ravens running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery told the Detroit Free Press that Bell had been, "as offensive skill guys [go], the most impressive guy."

"You see if a guy can make a guy miss when he's in the hole," Montgomery continued. "What I saw ... four times when he had the ball, he was able to front up a guy right in the hole and shake him and get out of there."


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