Posted January 3rd, 2009 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

The NFL is now littered with former Texas players from the [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] era. It seems like every game involves a Longhorn in the starting lineup. The biggest impacts appear to be on both lines and in the secondary while linebacker is without a doubt the weakest position. Injuries affected a few of the players 2008 season, but the program should be proud of what these guys are accomplishing.

[tag]Justin Blalock[/tag] – The Atlanta Falcon’s made the playoffs behind a great running game and solid quarterback play. The unsung unit on the team was the offensive line. Blalock has cemented himself as a starter on an upcoming team by starting all 16 games after playing in 14 last season. At Texas, Blalock played tackle, but in the NFL he has been able to slide back to his natural position of tackle. Blalock was even able to score a touchdown on a fumble recovery.

[tag]Tarell Brown[/tag] – The forgotten member of the 2005 secondary has become a solid nickel corner in the NFL for the 49ers. Brown played in 15 games and started in one. He recorded 30 tackles and two interceptions.

[tag]Cedric Benson[/tag] – The beginning of the season didn’t appear good for Benson. After being cut by the Bears it appeared no one would request his services. The Cincinnati Bengals fell apart and came calling four games into the season. Benson started 10 games, gained over 700 yards, and scored two touchdowns on the ground. He also added 20 receptions. “EL Ced” finished with two huge games; making the chance he is offered a longer deal by the Bengals a real possibility.

[tag]Tim Crowder[/tag] – Crowder struggled with injuries and the depth chart all season. He played in six games, starting zero, and recording one tackle on the whole year.

[tag]Jamaal Charles[/tag] – Charles had a rookie season that has to be seen as a success. Charles sits behind Larry Johnson on the depth chart, but made plays when given the opportunity. The speedster averaged 5.3 yards per carry and added 27 receptions. His only touchdown of the season came on a reception. If Johnson isn’t retained by the Chiefs, Charles may get a look as an every down back.

[tag]Leonard Davis[/tag] – The offensive line for the Cowboys underachieved this season. Davis will go to another Pro Bowl but o-line selections are based on reputation more times than not. It was not all Davis’ fault but he did not perform at the level he did the previous year.

[tag]Phil Dawson[/tag] – Dawson was once again a lone bright spot for the Cleveland Browns franchise. He went 30/36 with a long of 56. He was perfect on extra point, but the 18 attempts magnify the struggles of the Browns offense.

[tag]Derrick Dockery[/tag] – Dockery is one of the higher paid linemen in the league, but is never as dominant as his salary would warrant.

[tag]Jermichael Finley[/tag] – Finley had a hard time getting started this season. He ended up playing in 14 games while starting one of them. The rookie finished with 6 receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown on the season.

[tag]Cedric Griffin[/tag] – Griffin has turned into a solid starting cornerback for the Vikings. He gets a lot of action playing opposite of Pro-Bowler Antoine Winfield but holds his own pretty well. Griffin plays with excellent enthusiasm and competitiveness which makes him an eager corner in run support. He played in all 16 games for the second straight season and recorded 91 tackles and a pick.

[tag]Mike Griffin[/tag] – Michael Griffin had the type of year that have made many hail him as the best defensive back to come out of the 2005 group. Griffin is a Pro-Bowl alternate after recording seven interceptions and a sack on the year. He is quickly becoming one of the best safeties in the league. His play has allowed the Titan defense to become one of the best in the league. Griffin also returns kicks for the #1 seeded Titans.

[tag]Ahmard Hall[/tag] – The former Marine has established himself as one of the last true fullbacks in the game. The Tennessee running game is one of the best in the league behind the duo of Chris Johnson and Lendale White. The two split carries with mirrored success, and the one constant is the presence of Hall. He has also become a weapon in the flat out of the backfield, recording two touchdown receptions this year.

[tag]Casey Hampton[/tag] – Hampton had a tough season as he struggled to get on the field with health and conditioning problems. When Hampton can play he remains the best 3-4 nose tackle in the game. He recorded one sack in 13 games that he was rarely able to make it all the way through.

[tag]Michael Huff[/tag] – The Thorpe award winner hasn’t lived up to his draft status so far in his career, but it is still early. Huff lost his starting job and didn’t record a sack, interception, or forced fumble on the year.

[tag]Quentin Jammer[/tag] – Jammer had another great year in San Diego. He is one of the most physical corners in the league and continually gets matched up with the opposing team’s biggest and best receiver. Jammer recorded 88 tackles, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles for the playoff bound Chargers. It has been amazing to watch the turnaround of Jammer’s play after struggling for the first few years in the NFL. The pressure of being a high pick has subsided and Jammer’s play has risen.

[tag]Derrick Johnson[/tag] – DJ has moved inside and performed well for the Chiefs. The knock on the former Texas star coming out was his unwillingness to take on blocks, and after a few years as a pro the criticism still exist. When playing in space he excels, but at the point of attack he has remained a liability. Johnson has been up and down, but has shown flashes of potential. He ended the year with 85 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one interception, and four forced fumbles. If/when the light turns on for DJ the sky is the limit.

[tag]Frank Okam[/tag] – Okam may have earned himself a roster spot for next year with his play down the stretch. He lacks the motor and intensity most coaches want out of an interior defensive lineman, but he has the tools to become a solid player in the league if he ever turns it on.

[tag]Cory Redding[/tag] – I feel bad for Cory Redding. I feel bad for any player, coach, trainer, and journalist (except Rob Parker) in Detroit. Redding was the heart and soul of their defense (if that is possible), and if he ever gets out of Detroit he may have a chance to make some noise. Until then, he’ll be rich in Detroit. He got three sacks on the year.

[tag]Brian Robison[/tag] – Robison plays behind Jerod Allen so his snaps are limited. When he is on the field he shows up and makes plays. He managed 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 15 games.

[tag]Shaun Rogers[/tag] – Shaun Rogers is the most disruptive interior lineman in football today. The guy is just huge and unstoppable when his motor is turned on. He took over games at points this season in spite of double and triple teams. Rogers will be in the Pro-Bowl again after turning in 76 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He has Hall of Fame type talent when it is all clicking for Rogers.

[tag]Aaron Ross[/tag] – He may not be the best athlete in his marriage, but the Thorpe award winner has become a better than average cornerback in a tough place to play. Ross started in every game he played, 15, and grabbed 3 interceptions, including one that he returned for a touchdown. Ross has the ability to be a shutdown corner as his technique and confidence continue to grow.

[tag]Bo Scaife[/tag] – Scaife has emerged as a very productive tight end even in the face of losing his quarterback and his team bringing in a big name free agent in Alge Crumpler. There were a few games where Kerry Collins completely forgot about Scaife, but he finished with 58 receptions and two touchdowns. Scaife has also become better as a blocker which allows him to stay on the field in all situations.

[tag]Lyle Sendlein[/tag] – People tend to forget about Sendlein when discussing the better offensive lineman Mack Brown has put into the NFL. Sendein has started every game of the season for a playoff team. Not too bad.

[tag]Chris Simms[/tag] – Simms is the number three quarterback on Tennessee’s roster.

[tag]Kasey Studdard[/tag] – Studdard remains a reserve lineman for the Houston Texans. He hasn’t been able to crack the starting lineup.

[tag]Limas Sweed[/tag] – Sweed is listed as the 4th receiver on the Steeler roster. One would think Sweed will contribute more after a full off season.

[tag]David Thomas[/tag] – The Patriots use a lot of tight ends in their offense, so none of them have numbers that are going to blow you away. Despite that Thomas has been able to get on the field a lot so far in his career. He pulled in nine receptions for 93 yards, but was never able to reach the end zone.

[tag]Nathan Vasher[/tag] – Injuries rendered the 2008 season a wasted one for Vasher. He played in eight games, recording one interception, before being placed on injured reserve.

[tag]Ricky Williams[/tag] – The former Heisman trophy winner and league pariah has made his comeback has a productive back in the Miami system. He was one of the many bright spots on a team full of them this year. Williams is able to make plays without being relied on to carry the full load because of the presence of Ronnie Brown. Ricky scored four touchdowns on 659 yards rushing. He may have made his biggest impact as a receiver out of the backfield where he averaged over seven yards a catch on 29 receptions.

[tag]Roy Williams[/tag] – The losing ways of the Lions followed Williams from Detroit to Dallas. Roy was never able to make an impact for the Cowboys for reasons that still remain unclear. He has proven to have the ability which leaves work ethic and injury as the two other reasons for his lack of production. Williams has unfortunately been criticized for both a lack of work ethic and inability to stay healthy in his career. He will need to have a huge year next year to justify the trade and contract Jerry Jones awarded him.

[tag]Selvin Young[/tag] – Young was another Longhorn that struggled with injury. Denver is notorious for alternating backs, and with the addition of injuries Young was never able to stay on the field. When he was healthy he produced so it will be interesting to see what the new coach in Denver decides to do with Selvin.

[tag]Vince Young[/tag] – 2008 was not a good year for VY. The greatest player in Longhorn history lost his job after one game and a knee injury, and never was even given the chance to win it back. It now appears Jeff Fisher made the right choice as Tennessee earned the #1 seed in the AFC. While they did it with defense and running the ball, Collins has done a good job in a Trent Dilfer type role. This season may end up being the best thing that has ever happened to Vince as a professional if he uses the experience in the right way.

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Limas Sweed is learning about all things Pittsburgh. Newest Steeler receiver is soaking in all facts about his newest team and city of residence.

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Posted June 16th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Football, Quick Hits

NFL rookie camp: Limas Sweed. Former Horn talks about his experience this summer in Pittsburgh.

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Posted June 16th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Football

Another Topps photo shoot video interview, this time with former Texas wide receiver [tag]Limas Sweed[/tag]. I think Limas is going to be a steal for Pittsburgh in the middle of the second round. I don’t know how many passes he’ll catch in his rookie season but it won’t be long before he’s a favorite of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Watch the interview below:


Topps 2008 NFL Rookie Photo Shoot with Limas Sweed from YouTube.com

Limas is pretty comfortable in front of the camera and seems like a nice, intelligent young man. I love the fact that he’s learning the “geetar” and that he thinks an Audioslave song from 2002 is kinda an older song you might not know.

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Steelers hold high expectations for Limas Sweed. Limas got fired from Blue Bell for falling into a vat of strawberry ice cream.

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Limas Sweed to the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of the 10 best marriages of talent, team needs from 2008 NFL Draft.

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Posted April 26th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Draft, Football

One pick away from joining Vince in Tennessee. So close…

With the number 22nd pick of the 2nd round in the 2008 NFL Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Texas wide receiver [tag]Limas Sweed[/tag]. Sweed goes to a team with a solid quarterback and should have a chance to contribute right away and then take over as the team’s number one guy after Hines Ward retires. Lower than everyone thought and Texas fans are disappointed, but the Steelers are a great spot for Limas.

Congrats to Limas and good luck to him in the NFL.

Update: The Steelers’ official site has a transcript of Sweed’s conference call with Pittsburgh media after his selection. Worth a read.

Update 2: Interview with Pittsburgh wide receivers coach Randy Fichtner is also now available.

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Posted April 24th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Draft, Football

ESPN draft expert Todd McShay loves [tag]Limas Sweed[/tag]. He has the Texas receiver going 24th in Saturday’s draft to the Titans, but he’s even higher on him than most NFL teams. McShay believes that “ten years from now, we’re going to say Limas Sweed was the most productive and most talented wide receiver in the 2008 NFL Draft class.” Pretty bold statement and I sure hope he’s right, especially if Sweed is on the receiving end of Vince Young‘s passes in Tennessee for the next ten years.

Watch his scouting report below, the quote is at the very end:

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Posted April 24th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Draft, Football

Most NFL mock drafts only include a round or maybe two, but just like last year ESPN’s Todd McShay has released his seven-round mock draft for your perusal (if you’re an ESPN Insider.) Getting one round is tough enough, but McShay actually did a decent job last year and even nailed Justin Blalock to Atlanta and Brian Robison to Minnesota last year.

Below is where McShay believes the Longhorns in the draft will go followed by my my thoughts on the picks:

Round 1

24. Tennessee Titans – [tag]Limas Sweed[/tag]
This is best possible scenario for Texas fans. Titans need wide receiver help desperately and Sweed may be the best one in the draft. Getting him at #24 would be great for the Titans VY.

Round 2

43. Carolina Panthers – [tag]Jamaal Charles[/tag]
Charles is the first running back taken in the second round. He’d actually have a chance to start for Carolina to, only has to beat out DeAngelo Williams.

Round 3

115. Philadelphia Eagles – [tag]Marcus Griffin[/tag]
Nice spot for Marcus, interesting to see him going so high. I’ll be surprised if Griffin goes before Finley and Hills, simply because I believe those two have much higher ceilings. Great to see a former walk-on work his way into a mid-round NFL Draft pick.

127. Indianapolis Colts – [tag]Jermichael Finley[/tag]
Jermichael might be a little disappointed by how far he falls but he’d be ecstatic to be picked up by the Colts. Pretty much the perfect situation for him. They use their tight end a lot, Peyton Manning to throw him the ball, they split the tight end out wide frequently, and most importantly the Colts throw work out of the shotgun a ton and Finley wouldn’t be asked to be down on the line run blocking much.

129. New England Patriots – [tag]Tony Hills[/tag]
Another good situation. Hills would be given time with New England to develop and wouldn’t be asked to start right away. At the same time, there’s no young, highly regarded tackles on their roster so he’s got a chance to compete by year two.

Round 5

154. Washington Redskins – [tag]Frank Okam[/tag]
Much lower slot than people expected out of Okam a few years ago but McShay may actually have him higher than the current opinion. I’m not sure what I think, I have a feeling he might go as early the fourth round if a team makes a pick based on potential but then I wouldn’t be shocked to see him go undrafted either.

Round 7

215. Baltimore Ravens – [tag]Derek Lokey[/tag]
Imagine if Lokey had Okam’s build, the kid would be a first round pick. But he’s 6-foot-1 and a light 290 pounds which is considered very undersized for an NFL defensive tackle. I’d love to see Derek go to a team and be utilized as a goal line fullback and deep snapper as well as a defensive tackle who can give 15 – 20 snaps a game.

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Longhorn pipeline may continue to flow for Titans. I’d love to see them pick up Sweed in the first and Charles and the second or third.

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