Robinson to Emmert, “Come Take My Wins!”

Long before Michael Robinson had won a Super Bowl as a fullback, he was once the starting quarterback for the 2005 Big 10 conference champion, Penn State Nittany Lions. During his senior year he threw the 5th best season by a PSU QB at that time (now 8th). His only full year as the starter at PSU, he lead the Nittany Lions to an 11-1 record, 3rd ranking in the AP Polls, a share of the Big 10 title with Ohio State, an Orange Bowl victory against Florida State and finished 5th in the Heisman Trophy voting. He helped Penn State and JoePa accumulate 27 wins in his four years and their first bowl win and double digit win season since 1999.

Insert the Jerry Sandusky scandal with the consequences in 2011 handed down by NCAA President, Mark Emmert. Penn State had numerous sanctions placed against it as well as bowl bans, probation, scholarship reductions for the football program and a hefty fine, not to mention 10 or so corrective actions the University had to implement.

Former players from all eras weighed in on the sanctions and the end of JoePa’s tenure, being fired during the investigation. Nine former players including the JoePa estate and several Penn State trustees last year, filled a lawsuit against the sanctions delivered by the NCAA calling them a rush to conclusion in the Freeh report. The report states that the NCAA, Emmert and then chair of the NCAA’s executive committee Edward Ray “acted in clear and direct violation of the organization’s own rules based on a flawed report by former FBI director Louis Freeh”. Freeh led the university’s internal investigation into the scandal, arriving at scathing findings that pointed blame in part on Paterno and three former school officials. The suit hopes to reverse the sanctions levied due to Sandusky’s actions.

At the John Travers Memorial Golf Tournament on May 9 at Blue Ridge Country Club, Robinson auctioned off a specially signed picture of himself as the beloved PSU QB. The picture was auctioned for $325 which was inscribed with a distinct message for the NCAA President, “Dear Mr. Emmert, Come take my wins! – Michael Robinson 12”

There is no doubt that what Sandusky had done is completely disgusting, monstrous and absolutely not what any of the victims parents/families thought their child was being subjected to. This was supposed to be a man who was out to help their child through their rough patches, guide them to success and groom them to be good citizens. His sentence is what it is and has been worked through the justice system. The day the sanctions were enforced on the university caused much debate as to whether the NCAA follows their own rules in handing down punishments on universities in the wake of scandals.

Through the years of coverage on the scandal and the countless interviews of former players, fans and college sports analysts, the monetary sanctions levied on the university seem just, since it will go to help the youth affected by such horrendous acts. The other sanctions however seem unjust as it punishes other innocent people, specifically the student athletes that took part and are prideful of the 112 wins taken from the program. It also punished the potential future student athletes that were turned away from a chance at a scholarship from the football team due to the reduction of available scholarships the program could use. The reason as explained by Mark Emmert was that no one man or program is above the university and must be punished.

Mike Robinson’s signed photo statement to Emmert seems to be a mini jab at the NCAA President however there is deeper meaning that all former PSU players have voiced on the sanctions. It was tough enough for the current players at the time to have to play to the end of the season under the media microscope of the investigation. Why further punish the current student athletes in the football program, potential future student athletes of the football program and the former student athletes from those 1998-2011 football programs? What was taken from the victims can never be replaced, but for whatever reasons that Mark Emmert had come to a conclusion back in late 2011-early 2012, common sense was not used and the situation in Happy Valley worsened.

The 27 wins meant the building of character to Mike Robinson. It meant the four years of tutelage under JoePa and the many lessons on growing up and being responsible, even lessons on how to treat a lady. There is no question from the alumni players, how much JoePa meant and still means to them and how much he would always have their best interests in mind. Maybe this is the time for them to be here for him since he had passed shortly after leaving the program. The alumni players have stood firm for what kind of man JoePa was and what he stood for. They’ve all tried to make sure that for the good JoePa had done in his lifetime at PSU, people still remember him for it. For Mike Robison, his part is standing up for those 27 wins.

Where doesn’t Allen Robinson fit in?

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My first blog writing gig for a website has come with morethanafan.net and their cfbroundtable.com site.  I accepted a position covering Penn State Nittany Lions football.  So, being a long time Michigan fan, I will always love Michigan, but now I have to draw my attention to PSU.

I’ve never disliked PSU and always rooted for them since they pluck a bunch of local kids from around where I grew up, to play for them.  So I never looked at them as “rivals”.  Plus, who didn’t like JoPa through his 30 plus years of coaching?  He taught a lot of kids through the program some very important values that they have taken to heart over the years and applied to their lives and even though he had a lapse in sense on what to do with the Jerry Sandusky situation, he is still revered by former players, coaches, alumni, and the university for the non-football contributions he made.

Having pulled up the current roster, 2014 schedule, and the departing players to the draft, I came away with an overall good feeling about the upcoming season.  Towards the end of the summer is when I will start to analyze the team more in depth along with their schedule.  Right now PSU students are going home for the summer and some senior football players including junior Allen Robinson, are hoping they hear their name called in the remaining 6 rounds of the draft tonight and tomorrow.

One of the best scouted prospects coming out of PSU this year is 6’2″ wide receiver Allen Robinson.  He is in a very packed wide receiver draft class where he was pegged by “mock draft experts” to go somewhere late in the first round or in the second round.  To say the least, there were a lot of surprising picks in the first round and a bunch of teams who need receivers passed on them and went for another need.  Teams in need of a wide receiver as a top 3 need are as followed: Rams, Jaguars, Browns, Raiders, Lions, Steelers, Jets, Eagles, Chiefs, 49ers, Broncos and Seahawks.  Plenty of teams to land on for Robinson who is considered by some “mock draft experts” the 7th best remaining receiver.  Robinson’s pro day improved on his combine numbers and with his size and his 4.49 speed, he would be an asset to any of the teams listed above.  Not to mention that he could be the complimenting receiver to another big named receiver currently on  a team or be your number one guy given his stature.

Upcoming second round picks from the list of teams above that need a wide receiver: 3rd Pick – Browns, 4th Pick – Raiders, 7th – Jaguars, 8th Pick – Seahawks, 12th Pick – Rams, 13th Pick – Lions, 14th Pick – Steelers, 17th – Jets, 22nd Pick – Eagles, 24th Pick – 49ers, 29th Pick – 49ers, 31st Pick – Broncos, 32nd Pick – Seahawks.

14 chances that a wide receiver could be taken, 14 chances that it could be Allen Robinson depending on how the teams have graded him on their board.  Size, Speed and great leaping ability (39″ vertical) will compliment any receiving core and he will be a red zone threat since he doesn’t mind the contact aspect of football (as seen when he ran his own lineman over to grab a few more yards against Syracuse last year.)  I could see him being taken early on to mid 2nd round but I would be shocked if he fell to the 20th+ picks of the second round.  It really all depends on how teams graded him and where they have him in the ranks of all of the other wide receivers.

News came in that an assistant coach saw the 1st round draft board of the Vikings and they had Johnny Manziel and Teddy Brdgewater 1 and 2 on their draft board.  Most of America didn’t have Bridgewater going in the first round after his pro day but it goes to show you that teams grade guys differently and that nothing is to be expected.  Personally, Carr would’ve been the pick there since he hasn’t missed where Bridgewater has in the throwing game and has more of a cannon.  So take in the next two rounds tonight, teams will look to pick up a great amount of solid left over players.

WHY THE TEXANS SHOULDN’T SELECT JADEVEON CLOWNEY #1 OVERALL

Let’s go down memory lane for a moment. The Texans had this very pick in 2006 and it came with a ton of pressure, as it usually does. Everyone was aware that Vince Young was the most versatile quarterback in the draft and fans wanted to see an actual Texan lead the, still relatively new, franchise with the hopes of the next Michael Vick. Pre-Draft mock experts had Reggie Bush going number one to the Texans, pretty much all across the board. To everyone’s surprise, the Texans talked with Mario Williams and signed him on the night before the draft making him, not Bush, the number one overall pick. Going into the 2006 draft, the Texans needed a ton of help on both sides of the ball which they balanced out with the use of the rest of their picks. They used their first two picks on defense picking up Williams and DeMeco Ryans (2nd round, 33rd overall) and their next five picks on offense (OT – Charles Spenser 3/65, OT – Eric Winston 3/66, TE – Owen Daniels 4/98, RB – Wali Lundy 6/170, and WR – David Anderson 7/251).

Combine Results

40 Yd Dash

3 Cone Drill

225 Bench Press

Broad Jump

Vertical Jump

Mario Williams – 6’7” 295 lbs

4.66

7.21

35 Reps

10’

40 ½”

 

One reason Vince Young wasn’t really on their radar was due to the fact that they still saw major potential with David Carr whom they drafted number one overall back in 2002 but had struggled staying upright being the highest sacked quarterback three of his first four pro years. However, he showed the Texans enough to get another full year of starts before not being resigned in favor of the Texans getting Matt Schaub. The Texans even drafted two offensive tackles to help protect Carr, but he eventually played horribly in other areas. Needless to say, the 2006 Texans had four different rookies start eight games and lead their respected position, while finishing 6-10. Williams had a great start and produced solid numbers over his time with the Texans (averaging 40.16 tackles and 8.83 sacks each year and could’ve been more if he didn’t miss 14 games his final 2 years). The point is, he was also a can’t miss pick, at defensive end, but it didn’t help them win a Super Bowl. Even though Vince Young isn’t employed by the NFL at this point, it doesn’t mean he couldn’t have flourished with Andre Johnson either.

Fast forward eight years and the Texans find themselves in a similar spot come May 8th. This draft seems similar, however on different circumstances this time around, the Texans have the distinct opportunity to select the top college prospect (in their eyes) of this year’s draft. It is an exciting time for any team that holds this pick each and every year but with this pick comes ultimate scrutiny from the beloved owner(s), writers and fans. At the forefront of this year’s draft is Jadeveon Clowney, who after his pro-day, is the can’t miss number one pick for any team in the Texans position, according to mock draft experts. There is just one thing, this year is also packed of NFL talent at the quarterback position as well, which the Texans also need. After the Schaub/Keenum experiment last year, the Texans could really use a new franchise quarterback more than another defensive end that could have the same impact as JJ Watt has on the other end. On the forefront of the needs board, the Texans have three quarterbacks, to which no one really is considers as a true franchise quarterback, and five defensive ends.

The one thing that every team needs to win and on a consistent level, is a consistent quarterback with good size. Bill O’Brien has had that in his coaching career since 2006 (Tom Brady in New England, Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenberg at Penn State). Having Bortles could continue that trend and allow O’Brien to keep the style of offense that has helped make him one of the top offensive minds in football. Taking on Clowney would mean that they would have to scheme defensive plays to make him effective since they also have Watt rushing hard on the other end as well. Their Romeo Crennel defense is a make-up of mostly 3-4 mixed with some 4-3. In his 3-4, the lineman are to draw double teams so that blitzing linebackers don’t get tangled up with offensive lineman. Does that type of defense sound good for a light on his feet, quick and explosive defensive end like Clowney? I think not. In fact, game films show Clowney against double teams all throughout his senior year and he was tossed around and not very effective.

The video below is of the Missouri game in which Clowney played poorly throughout only having 4 solo and 1 assisted tackles as well as a deflection in a two overtime game. Props to whom ever made this montage highlighting every play he was on the field for. You can visibly see some good things but on most plays he isn’t putting much effort in, peeling off of chasing the backs, going 10 yards deep in the back field and if he doesn’t get the edge he lets up. In fact he was mostly blown off of the line of scrimmage where as his other team mates took on double teams as well and were more effective in staying on the line.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb-8ePTyOnQ

Top Quarterback Prospects Combine or Pro Day workouts:

 

40 Yd Dash

3 Cone Drill

Broad Jump

Vertical Jump

Blake Bortles – 6’5” 232 lbs

4.93

7.08

9’7”

32 ½”

Tajh Boyd – 6’1” 222 lbs

4.84

7.33

8’10”

30 ½”

Teddy Bridgewater – 6’2” 214 lbs

**4.79

7.17

9’5”

30”

Derek Carr – 6’2” 214 lbs

4.69

9’2”

34 ½”

Johnny Manziel – 6’0” 207 lbs

4.68

6.75

9’5”

31 ½”

**Denotes 40 yd dash was a result from pro day

The Texans are faced with a tough issue at hand with the number one pick overall. Need one, get Clowney and fill a pass rushing need on one of the leagues worse defenses. Need two, improve on the quarterback position which is also a huge need and pick up a defensive end later in the draft with either picks acquired in a trade down or with their second round pick. Huge issues stand in the way of Clowney and the Texans. Numerous experts and former pro athletes who all study the tapes say that the commitment isn’t there. Warren Sapp was recently quoted as saying, “My grandfather taught me something a long time ago. He said ‘You will never get more money by doing less work,’” Sapp said, via the Houston Chronicle. “I look at Jadeveon Clowney’s [game] tape and I don’t see a guy that is playing the game with his hair on fire, making plays, running up and down the field sideline to sideline, doing all of the things.”  That’s not something you want to hear as a team with that number one pick looking to possibly draft Clowney.  Merrill Hodge recently was picking apart his game as recent as his senior year, stating that his technique is flawed, looks like he lacks desire and has limited moves as a defensive end with really only having a good swim move.

Tedy Bruschi has stated that he loves Clowney and sees no reason as to why he shouldn’t be number one.  That was mere moments after Clowney finished his pro day.  First off, pro days are over-rated in some ways and this is due to the fact that it is all schedule and rehearsed.  These players spend weeks and months working out, getting stronger and faster for the combine, doing the same combine drills over and over to get the technique down and to improve for the combine.  After the combine, it’s off to working on areas of your game that you need to improve on to show NFL scouts on your pro day and individual private workouts afterwards, that you are ready to be “their guy”.  Players hook up with a training coach and come up with 50-70 drills/plays to best show off their talents.  Let me reiterate, it’s planned, rehearsed, practiced over and over and over against bags, against no defenses really pressuring them, against upright bags not blocking or applying pressure on them.  Not to knock Tedy Bruschi and his knowledge and experience but why get excited about that?  I would want to see this guy blow by actual players and avoid blockers and pass rushers by moving around in the pocket in that moment and see how they all deal with the similar pressures they will face in a game.  Don’t put too many eggs in the basket of someone’s awesome pro day, put your eggs in the decision on not wanting to pick a guy who was rattled in his pro day like Teddy Bridgewater.  How do you mess up a planned workout?  They say nerves; his nervousness of his pro day and he got rattled?  What happens when you select him and he chokes under NFL pressure?

Enough of that rant, let’s look at scenarios for the Texans.

The Texans have a huge advantage by hanging that first pick over the heads of the rest of the league. A very possible scenario is that the Texans don’t want to play against Clowney if they do pass on him and choose either Khalil Mack or Bortles with the first pick. A team just out of the top five, sitting at number six is the Atlanta Falcons who could use a pass rusher in the worse way. The Browns have been heard to like a wide receiver or quarterback at the number four spot which it’s predicted that Manziel or Sammy Watson will go there, so the Browns will not want to trade up to select either of those players first since they will be there by pick four anyways. Oakland at number five is not in need of a quarterback since they had picked up Matt Schaub and will be looking to bring him pieces to the aerial attack like Sammy Watkins or go defense to go along with newly added Lamarr Woodley and Justin Tuck, if Mack is available. If the Texans can trade down out of the top five and still be in front of the Vikings at eight, they would take Bortles and force the Vikings to take Bridgewater, whose stock has been tarnished with his so-so pro day.

The Texans have a high demand pick for a high demand player in Clowney which they could easily scoop up a ton of early round picks in a trade down scenario to which they could also scoop up Bortles, who experts say is a Bill O’Brien type of guy. If they take Bortles first overall or are able to trade out of the top five with Atlanta, to hope he is there at six, he will more than likely sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and either take over later in the season if there are struggles or sit pretty much the whole year and develop to take over in 2015. With their second round pick or if they trade for other picks, they can easily find a decent defensive end in this draft to help on the other side of the line with JJ Watt. That defensive end could be Dee Ford who posted a better 3 cone drill, 225 bench and similar 40 yard dash, broad jump and vertical jump as Clowney. I see the next two years going the same way, if not better for O’Brien, like his two years at Penn State, if Bortles is picked. O’Brien had to deal with a previously under-performing team with an inadequate armed quarterback in McGloin (who doesn’t have great zip on the ball) and had his ideal quarterback (Hackenberg) arrive a year later playing very well as a freshman. Bortles has the NFL frame and arm to get the job done especially with the revamped receiving core and the still dangerous backfield.

Top Defensive End Prospects Combine or Pro Day workouts:

 

40 Yd Dash

3 Cone Drill

225 Bench Press

Broad Jump

Vertical Jump

Jadeveon Clowney – 6’5” 266 lbs

4.53

7.27

21 Reps

10’4”

37 ½”

*Dee Ford – 6’2” 244 lbs

4.59

7.07

29 Reps

10’4”

35 ½”

Kony Ealy – 6’4” 273 lbs

4.92

6.83

22 Reps

9’6”

31”

Scott Crichton – 6’3” 273 lbs

4.84

7.19

24 Reps

9’

31 ½”

Kareem Martin – 6’6” 272 lbs

4.72

7.20

22 Reps

10’9”

35 ½”

*Denotes Pro Day workout (did not attend combine)

Can you name more dominant defensive players that are attributed to winning their teams multiple Super Bowls than quarterbacks? What you may realize is really what the Texans should do with that first pick. Mark my words, the Texans will be contending for a Super Bowl in the coming years and could quite possibly be the next New England Patriots with Blake Bortles as “their guy”.