Each week Big East Coast Bias polls bloggers around the conference on a football topic. How do their views differ from yours? This week, we asked:
Which Big East player selected in the 2012 draft will have the most success in the NFL and why?
Survey said …
This probably isn't the popular pick, but I'll take Bruce Irvin (West Virginia). Most of the criticism being lobbed his way is because he was taken too high. But he's incredibly disruptive on defense and when you think about it, that's what NFL defenses are all about. There's always room for a guy that can get 8-10 sacks a year and with 22.5 over the last two seasons he could be that type of player. He's not in on a lot of tackles, which, as a linebacker, isn't something you want to hear. But even if he becomes only a pass-rushing specialist, he can play a long time if he's able to get to the quarterback.
OK, I know I am going to sound like a total homer here – but I am going with Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu. By now it is widely known that Sanu’s draft status was hurt by his high 4.6 forty time at the combine. However, a player doesn’t come to amass 115 receptions with his speed alone. Sanu is a smart, instinctive player who was able to get open even when it was obvious the ball was coming to him, making numerous catches in tight coverage and traffic. While the Bengals are not the poster child of how franchises should be run, Sanu is actually stepping into a situation where he can succeed. Cincinnati has a young offensive core. Andy Dalton is a young quarterback who performed well his rookie year. More importantly, Sanu is not being asked to be the #1 receiver. A.J. Green is as about as good as they come for a young receiver and will be a stud going forward. Jordan Shipley is an adequate slot receiver, but beyond him the Bengals receiving corp is thin.
Enter Sanu, a player who is still growing into the position. Overlooked is the fact that Sanu started out his first spring practice in 2009 as a safety. An early enrollee, Sanu was moved to receiver a week before the spring game, yet still managed to show his athleticism as he scored a touchdown on a catch and run. He then went on to catch 51 passes for 639 and 3 scores as a freshman. He also doubled up as a wildcat quarterback, running the ball 62 times for 346 yards and 5 scores as a freshman. Rutgers then struggled mightily on the offensive line in 2010 giving up the most sacks in NCAA history. Desperate to produce any kind of offense, the Scarlet Knights again leaned heavily on Sanu to run the ball. He ran the ball 59 times for 309 yards, but was banged up in the process. By the end of the season he was at times nothing more than a decoy as he played through injuries. His receptions fell off as he only totaled 44 receptions in his sophomore campaign. Last season as a junior, was the only time in his career where he concentrated only on being a receiver (he was also a high school quarterback), carrying the ball only 4 times in 2011. Here is a player who has yet to fully learn the position and will only get better with NFL tutelage. The Bengals secured a first round talent who will out produce his draft slot and may easily top over 50 receptions in his rookie campaign before settling in on a successful career in Cincinnati.
Jerry is a regular Rutgers fan blogger.
I look to Chandler Jones to have to most successful NFL career out of all the Big East players that were selected in the 2012 draft. At 6-foot, 5-inches and 266 lbs., Jones has the ability to play at multiple spots for the Patriots, whether they choose to employ a 3-4 or 4-3. New England's D was atrocious last year, ranking 31st in passing and total defense so you can bet that Belichick will be looking to his younger players to provide a jolt. Plus, how many times have the Patriots traded up in the first round to select a player? To buck the organizational trend like that indicates to me that they have some big plans for him.
The first thing to ask is which player has any shot of substantial time as a rookie, and how he integrates into the scheme in which he was drafted. The answer based on those considerations is Syracuse's DE Chandler Jones with the New England Patriots.
The Pats took the opposite approach from recent years when they were content to trade down and collect later-round picks. They went in with guns blazing and picked Jones at 21 and Alabama LB Don'ta Hightower at 25 in the first round. Then the drafted four more defensive players in succession.
Bill Belichick is a defensive mastermind. He will maximize the abilities of these players to enhance his entire defensive unit. The Patriots wanted to improve their pass rush. With Jones and Hightower in the lineup, that's likely to happen.
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