Five Wide Fullbacks: The NFL Draft Edition

Grant Halverson

Who'll be the 1st QB taken in the NFL Draft?

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1. From 2010 to 2011 we heard a lot about how Tommy Rees was a "winner" and that was often described as his best attribute. Do you think because that narrative was so played out and Rees fell to 2nd string that we've overlooked the fact that Everett Golson has won his first 10 games of his college career?

I've thought about this often. We do spend a lot of time debating the need for better coaching and building the foundation of a program on a day-to-day basis as Coach Kelly always stresses but a team really can't take the next step without great players.

Golson appears to be one of those special players. A true game-changer if you will.

He took his high school to 3 straight state title games, winning 2 of them. I know he was banged up his senior year and missed a couple games but he hasn't lost a football game in 3 calendar years now.

His unbeaten streak won't last forever (or will it??) but it's great to have that confidence and swagger back at this all-important position.

2. Speaking of quarterback, who are the college signal-callers you would take a chance on in the 1st round of the NFL Draft in April?

The following list are the players I think have a chance (however small) of going in the 1st round:

Matt Barkley, USC

Aaron Murray, Georgia

Geno Smith, West Virginia

Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

Tyler Bray, Tennessee

Landry Jones, Oklahoma

Tajh Boyd, Clemson

Mike Glennon, NC State

E.J. Manuel, Florida State

Okay, Manuel is a bit of a stretch but heck his former teammate Christian Ponder went in the 1st round after 49 touchdowns and 30 interceptions for his career in college as the Seminoles went 33-20 his four years there. Manuel's numbers are a little better and at least Florida State has been 20-6 since he took over as starter.

My first reaction to all the love Glennon and his freakish long neck are getting is to recoil. But then I look and he's got 62 TD's to just 28 INT's for his career. That's not bad. But I wouldn't go spending a top 12 pick on him like the Buffalo sports radio was clamoring for recently.

Boyd is an interesting case. You could convince me to take him in the 2nd round for sure. I'm just not sure he'll get enough love between now and the draft to move up. His numbers are really good although he's a little short for NFL standards.

I'd stay away from Jones in the 1st round. I think he'll fold like a wet paper towel in the NFL. He's put up some big numbers at Oklahoma but he's been surrounded by great talent, he constantly plays poorly in big games, and he's also thrown 51 interceptions over his career---double-digits every single season.

Tough to get a read on Bray---how much of the Tennessee stink is going to linger around him come draft time? While he certainly wasn't a great college QB he was a bright spot for the Vols through their messy last couple of seasons. He's got the size and arm and could definitely move up to a nice draft position.

Wilson feels like the poor man's version of Tyler Bray. Yet most mock drafts have Wilson going ahead of him. I don't think I agree with that.

The top QB is probably going to come down to the trio of Barkley, Murray, and Smith. If I'm a fan of an NFL picking one of these guys I wouldn't be ecstatic but they are good enough picks, I think.

It seems like the second West Virginia lost that Geno Smith disappeared from planet earth. People might think he's a system quarterback but I think the NFL has moved past that stigma and he does offer a lot of tools. It's also hard to argue with 96 touchdowns and 21 interceptions over a 4-year career. Going by the numbers he should be the consensus top QB in the draft.

Murray's size might be an issue but his stats and arm strength are all there on full display. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt but everyone keeps saying he's an elite QB and I've never really believed it.

Then there's Matt Barkley. I'm laying it on the table and guaranteeing that scouts fall in love with him all over again and he's the top QB taken in the draft.

3. Which NFL team would you like to see Manti Te'o be drafted by?

The 12 worst records right now include: Arizona, Buffalo, Miami, Cleveland, Tennessee, Jacksonville, San Diego, Oakland, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans, and Carolina.

I can tell you where I don't want Te'o to go: Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville, and Oakland.

The Bills and Browns are cold-weather cities with bleak futures, Jacksonville would just be such a waste for Manti's brightness as an individual, and he doesn't really fit the Raiders, ahem...culture very well.

Any one of those other teams I'm fine with Te'o landing at, including the Chiefs where I think there problems are severely overstated. At least they've been to playoffs in recent times and won 10 games, oh I don't know...last year!

4. There's been a lot of message board talk about the running back position next year for the Irish. With Riddick and Wood (likely) gone will the position be a big enough strength through which the offense can rely on like this season?

There are going to be many a debates about this topic over the next 8 or 9 months.

The depth looks delicious but who is going to be the primary back?

It's probably not going to happen but I think Cam McDaniel could be the best option in 2013. However, it's unlikely he'd surpass George Atkinson.

I'm not terribly worried about GA3 but I'm not that bullish either. In my mind he's going to have to improve by quite a bit in the off-season and if he doesn't we'll be looking at not so much questions marks, but likely a big rotation of bodies at running back.

Amir Carlisle is still a mystery to me, but his pedigree is so good I expect him in the two-deep. I'm not sure he's going to come into spring and blow us all away, but I'm excited to see what he's got.

I like what Mahone brings to the game, but he could get lost in the mix next year. It's not the end of the world for a redshirt freshman to deal with that.

Of course the rotation is likely to evolve as next year moves along. I don't see how Greg Bryant is sitting on the sidelines for anything but a game or two. Would anyone be shocked if 3 or 4 backs are used on a regular basis next year?

5. The game against Michigan next year in the Big House will be in primetime again, making it the third straight game against the Wolverines and second straight at Michigan Stadium that will be played at night for this rivalry. Your thoughts?

I love it.

We'll likely make the 2014 game a night once again and end the series with a bunch of memorable primetime games.

Next year will be big since the Irish open with Temple and Michigan with Central Michigan so God willing we'll be seeing two unbeaten teams early in the season.

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