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National Football League
Draft King Analysis

September 28, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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Today I had the opportunity to see Adrian Peterson play in person, as the Vikings visited the Titans at LP Field in Nashville. It's always enjoyable for me to see great running backs in person, as in live action it is even easier to appreciate the little nuances that the great players have. With Peterson, it's remarkable how he looks once his rush gets outside the tackles. He had a tough time running up the middle; Albert Haynesworth, who might break the bank as a free agent this off-season, had a great deal to do with that. But despite the absence of suspended Vikings offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, Peterson showed amazing flash in open space.

Titan fan with spiked hair
Check out the spiked hair!

Chris Johnson looked impressive for the Titans as well, as he has for the most part since being Tennessee's first round pick in April. Can anyone else in the NFL get to the corner as quickly as Johnson can? I don't think even Maurice Jones-Drew (who is also fun to see play in person) can match him on that.

My favorite scene from the stands today was a guy two rows down with an Eddie George powder blue Tennessee Oilers jersey (though I believe that the 1998 Oilers wore white for every game that year, but I could be wrong) and his young son or nephew or whatever who had a spiked hair-do dyed in Tennessee Titans colors. Gotta love that fan enthusiasm!

The college football scene was turned upside-down yesterday with upsets galore. The biggest upset of those was Ole Miss going into Gainesville, FL and upsetting the previously unbeaten Florida Gators. Later in the day it was Georgia also losing at home, spotting Alabama a 31-0 start before a furious rally that fell short.

I don't know that the losses necessarily hurt the draft stock of either Florida QB Tim Tebow or Georgia QB Matthew Stafford. Tebow played well, and in particular wide receiver Percy Harvin had a strong showing for a Florida team that might have suffered a letdown after last week's thrashing of Tennessee in Knoxville. As for Georgia, the fact that the team (and the fans, for that matter) didn't give up is admirable. It also reflected well on Matthew Stafford's leadership skills.

I hope that the people in the NCAA who pushed for rule changes to speed up the game are happy. We have teams kneeling out games with 2:02 to go -- seriously, that's how the Auburn/Tennessee game ended last night. Tennessee had to use its final timeout because Auburn went out of bounds getting a first down with just over two minutes to go (since the clock now restarts when spotted after an out of bounds play unless there's two minutes or less to go in a half), and Auburn kneeled it down three times to end it thanks to the :40 play clock. I don't see how that was an improvement in the college game at all.

Is it unfair? No. But it sure detracts from the quality of a great sport. How does this help the game? I don't know.

As long as I'm complaining, can the NFL please do away with those horrid throwback uniforms? The worst has to be the Jets with their "New York Titans" uniforms. When they showed highlights at LP Field today from the Jets/Cardinals shootout, there were people expressing confusion about what team was putting up all those points on Arizona. Between that and Nike's Island of Dr. Moreau style experiments with the University of Oregon's uniforms, it's enough to make a traditionalist's brain melt.

Sam Bradford
Oklahoma's Sam Bradford is an impressive QB. (Icon SMI)

Don't look now, but Oklahoma is #1 in both polls. The season is long, and there is a team in Austin, TX that is ready for the Texas/Oklahoma showdown in the Red River Shootout, but the Sooners beat TCU (a ranked team) handily last night. OU redshirt sophomore Sam Bradford threw for an impressive 411 yards and four touchdowns, and particularly in looking ahead to 2010 or 2011, the 6'4" 220 pound Bradford looks more and more like a potential high draft pick. He technically could enter the 2009 NFL Draft, but I'd imagine that would be unlikely. But you never know.

As part of Penn State's decisive win over Illinois last night, WR/KR Derrick Williams became the first player on a Joe Paterno coached team to have a rushing TD, a receiving TD, and a kickoff return for a TD in the same game. Williams didn't come out of the blocks with the breakout type performances that many expected of him, but he is showing as a senior that he still has plenty of skill, skill that could potentially translate to the pro game. And, as long as Penn State remains among the ranks of the unbeaten BCS conference teams, he should receive plenty of attention.

Victor "Macho" Harris continues to be a very strong corner for Virginia Tech. Harris, who mulled over jumping to the NFL in January before opting to return for his senior year of college, is an athletic playmaker who has plenty of swagger to go with his quick moves on the field. V-Tech has tried to utilize Harris in some of the team's offensive schemes, but to this point Harris hasn't been able to have many breakout moments on that side of the ball. But no worries for him on that, as Harris is a solid, speedy corner who should have every opportunity to develop into a strong defensive player on the pro level.


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