A lower-profile player the NFL has pegged as a star
Posted: Thursday April 13, 2006 11:51AM; Updated: Sunday April 16, 2006 1:48PM
Maryland tight end Vernon Davis ran an incredible 4.38 40-yard dash.
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Dr. Z will answer select user questions each week in his NFL mailbag.
Reggie Bush, the three QBs, Mario Williams, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, A.J.Hawk ... I think that by now we're all acquainted with the players projected to the top five of the draft, you know, the usual suspects. Allow me, please, to introduce another name, someone who's putting on a late sprint as we head for the far turn. His name hasn't been widely mentioned, but a lot of personnel people are re-thinking their first impressions.
Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland. No, I can't tell you which team told me he might be its first pick, and that would be way up high. That would be scooping myself, since once again I'll be doing that pre-draft handicapping box. But the guy I talked to said, "Every time I look at him, he gets better and better."
Oh sure, it's nice to have a good active linebacker or quick-footed offensive tackle, but we've all seen what a keynote tight end can do for an offense -- Antonio Gates, for instance, or Jeremy Shockey when he's healthy. Davis, who is 6-foot-2 1/2, 250, runs a 4.38, a freak number for sure for such a big guy.
Well, I heard one scout say he's not really 250. He's a pumped up 230-235. Who cares, if he can split a seam with that speed? I've heard that he needs work on his blocking, and I have to laugh at that one. There are no great blocking tight ends. OK, I'll amend that, there are no great pass-catching tight ends who worry the defense with their blocking. Guys like Kyle Brady or the Chiefs' Jason Dunn can block, and so can H-backs such as the Vikings' Jim Kleinsasser and the Redskins' Mike Sellers, but you won't see them catching any 30-yard TDs. Just keep it in mind -- Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland.
Money For Nothing
How many times have you heard people complain about football players making so much money? Million dollar contracts, etc. So could you explain, please, why no one seemed puzzled by KatieCouric's $15 million contract to anchor the CBS Evening News? Now I'm going to sound hopelessly square here, but what, exactly, does she do to earn all that money?
I'm not knocking Katie. She seems like a pleasant enough person. But, geez ... that's almost double what LaDainian Tomlinson makes, almost triple CurtisMartin's paycheck. I really would like someone to explain to me what she does, compared to what people do at the top level of the sporting arena.
Sure, I watch the evening news, the same as everyone else does. But it's the events themselves I'm interested in -- people rioting in the streets, getting whacked over the head and so forth. The news analyst who merely says, "And now we take you to Alan Pizzey in Rome," for instance ... well, isn't that like the guy who passes the basketball to the one who sinks the three-pointer?
Last night I watched the CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer, who will hand over the reins to Couric. I didn't see anything that he did that, oh, maybe five million people in the U.S. couldn't have done. "I'm a big Katie fan," he said when it was announced that she'd be replacing him. Fan of what? I mean is it the special twist she gives it when she says, "And here's our chief White House correspondent, Jim Axelrod, with the story?"
I'll grant that NFL stars earn a lot of money. But these network news anchors seem to earn more. And they've never had to pick up a blitzing linebacker in their lives, or tried to stop a 250-pound fullback. And no one's ever told them when they're 32 or 33, "Well, it's been a great career, see ya around." If their knees or shoulders let them last that long, that is. And there aren't a few million people who can do exactly what they do.