Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Drafted and the Undrafted of Day 3

There was little doubt for Notre Dame fans that Tyler Eifert and Manti Te'o would both go very early in the draft. After that however, there was question marks about the rest of the former Irish players eligible to be drafted. The Bengals grabbed Eifert in the late first round and the Chargers traded up to get Te'o in the early second.

For the next three rounds though, it was quiet for Notre Dame fans until the sixth round. Let's take a look at who got drafted and who will have to sign as a free agent somewhere.


Jamoris Slaughter (Cleveland Browns)

Slaughter went very early in the sixth round to the Cleveland Browns. Considering his injury problems at Notre Dame, the fact that he was able to still get drafted is an attribute to his ability. As much as I would like to say that Cleveland is a good fit for him, well Cleveland and good fit don't belong in the same sentence. I will just wish him good luck because you need it in Cleveland.

Theo Riddick (Detroit Lions)

Although he had to wait, this seems like a very good landing spot for Riddick. He has a chance to play with a good young quarterback in Matthew Stafford. The good thing about Riddick is that he can play multiple positions. He could be in the mix with other runners like Jhavid Best and Reggie Bush. Or if he plays receiver, he can compliment Calvin Johnson AKA Megatron and Tight End Brandon Pettigrew. Riddick should fit in nicely here.

Kapron Lewis-Moore (Baltimore Ravens)

What defensive player wouldn't want to go to Baltimore? Although Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are gone, this team has a tradition of great defense for two decades that got them two Super Bowl wins. Great teams
don't rebuild, they reload. I think the Ravens will appreciate the value this guy was for a late round pick.

Zeke Motta (Atlanta Falcons)

Some say it is better to not get drafted than to get drafted in the last round. I guess that does depend on the situation but fortunately or unfortunately for Motta, he was taken by the Falcons with a compensatory pick. What it means to me is that for him to make the team, he will definitely have to be able to play special teams. He should be up for that.

The Undrafted

Cierre Wood

This is too bad because if he stayed in school, he could have improved his stock enough to be an early round pick. Teams had to be reluctant to select him because he was always in the shadow whether it was Armando Allen, Jonas Gray, or Theo Riddick. He was always the second back. He would have had one year to be the man. That could have helped him but he should still get a free agent contract. He will have to probably play on special teams to make the roster.

Robby Toma

I really was not surprised to see him not get drafted. Toma was a great team player at Notre Dame, but he never really got a chance to show his true value. He came along as Teo's sidekick and backed up Michael Floyd for most of his career. The one year he started was with a redshirt freshman quarterback in Everett Golson. There is no doubt that the development process for Golson hurt his numbers.

He may or may not get a free agent contract. I think that if he doesn't, going to Canada and showing what he can do might be a good idea.

Braxston Cave

Cave was solid on the line for Notre Dame's magical season last year. If I am an NFL team in need of linemen, I would take a look at this guy.

Mike Golic

See Braxston Cave.

Good luck to all of these guys and thanks for your contributions to Notre Dame. We will be rooting for you.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

After Falling to the Second Round, Manti Te'o Lands in San Diego

Sometimes, good things come to those who wait. At the Blue-Gold Game, Manti Te'o said that he was most looking forward to sharing the experience with his family when asked what he would enjoy the most about the draft. Te'o was hoping to go in the first round but it really wasn't that big of shock that he slipped a little. Then the second round started and six selections were made until, with the 39th pick of the NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select Manti Te'o linebacker Notre Dame.

I honestly did not see the Chargers as a team he would go to. I saw him replacing either Brian Urlacher in Chicago or Ray Lewis in Baltimore. Those would have been huge shoes to fill and that could have put a lot of pressure on him. Another place I saw him going was Minnesota to join fellow Domers Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Robert Blanton, Harrison Smith, and John Sullivan. The Vikings made sense because they have had success with Fighting Irish players, but they passed on Te'o three times.

When all three of those teams went by the wayside, where Te'o would end up could have been anywhere.
Although San Diego was a surprise, this is a good place for him. The team really doesn't have any big names on defense and linebacker is a huge need for them. So he should be able to go right in and start.

San Diego is also a city that does have a big polynesian population and will embrace him as a community leader. He could be the next Junior Seau. Congratulations and good luck Manti. You will be missed in South Bend.

Heading into day 3 of the draft, Theo Riddick, Cierre Wood, Zeke Motta, Robbie Toma, Braxton Cave, and Mike Golic are all still on the board. Hopefully, they all get drafted or a free agent contract. Good luck to all of them.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tyler Eifert Is Now a Bengal, But Manti Te'o Still Waiting To Get His Name Called

With the 21st pick in the NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select Tyler Eifert Tight End from Notre Dame. As great as that sounded, that was the only highlight of the first night of the draft for Notre Dame. Manti Te'o  somewhat surprisingly did not get selected in the first round. It was surprising because he was passed on three times by the Minnesota Vikings who supposedly had interest in him. Chicago was also a bit of a surprise since they have to replace Brian Urlacher. The same can be said for Baltimore needing to replace Ray Lewis.

Going into day two, it will be interesting to see where Te'o ends up. He could literally go anywhere at this point.

In the mean time, Eifert can make plans to go to Cincinnati. He has an opportunity to go into a good young offense led by Andy Dalton. He will compliment Jermaine Gresham at the tight end spot. Other offensive weapons on that team are wide receiver AJ Green and running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis. The addition of Eifert really makes this offense more explosive.

Congratulations and good luck to Eifert. Te'o will be off the board very soon as well. Other domers to watch for in the later rounds are Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick, Zeke Motta, and Robbie Toma. Good luck to all these former Irish stars.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Defense Dominates in Spring Game

Whenever there is a Spring game, it is always a little tough to root too hard for one side or the other. You obviously want a good team all around and if one side just dominates, it can mean that one side is really good or the other side is really bad.

Well on Saturday the Irish defense just dominated the offense. I tend to be optimistic about that though because as Irish fans we wondered how the defense will look without Manti Teo'. It appears that Carlos Calabrese and Dan Fox can step right in without missing a beat. A more pressing matter for the defense would be replacing Zeke Motta at Safety as the only guy with any real experience is Austin Collinsworth who missed last year with injury.

On Saturday the defense looked solid. I really liked the pressure by Louis Nix and the surprise was Tyler Stockton.

Looking at the other side of the ball, the offense did not score a touchdown until late when the latest freshmen phenom quarterback Malik Zaire had a long touchdown pass against the fourth string. It was followed by the highlight of the day as Nix came in at quarterback and and ran over everybody.

The offensive line was a bit of a concern, but in all fairness they did go against one of the best fronts in the nation. In spite of the lack of scoring there were some positives on offense. Running backs George Atkinson and Cam McDaniel will have big shoes to fill with the departures of both Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood. Both had very nice games but Atkinson still has the bad habit of running high and Calabrese reminded him of that with a devastating hit.

Of all the quarterbacks, I thought Tommy Rees looked the best as he moved his team into scoring position on both of his series. But to be fair to Everett Golson, he was against the starters and to be honest I think the red shirt actually hurt him more than it helped him. I remember at least three plays where he was touched but could have escaped the pocket and made a play.

In spite of that, Golson did have some nice throws and there was one that should have been caught by Davaris Daniels for a touchdown.

Overall, I liked the effort and the team has put the Alabama loss behind them as well as all the offseason drama. If the spring game was any indication, I think we can expect another magical year in 2013.