Monday, February 25, 2008


I’m no expert on the draft- other than ESPN highlights I haven’t seen most of these guys play, let alone analyze them. But sources say Tulane tailback Matt Forté ran well- which is part and parcel for any C-USA player going as a first day selection.

Let’s put it this way. Any list that doesn’t include Forte as a Top 12 prospect at the RB position, well, those doubts are generated by the League young Forté played in than anything about said specific player.

My gut feeling is that there is a “list” of RBs who have a reasonable expectation of being able to play in the NFL. Further, I imagine that collective of talent is just below another collective: the “can’t miss” tailbacks. I’m sure Forte is on that first “reasonable expectation” list- but not considered a bullet-proof selection.

The problem that he runs into is a lot of guys on that “legit prospect list” don’t bring the same competition risk: the risk that the success one observes from C-USA players is occasionally more a measure of the paucity they played against and our League’s bias toward ridiculous carton offensive numbers.

Outside of the quarterback position, the draft produces enough first day selections that can populate both the aforementioned “can’t miss” & “could miss- but still a legit prospect” lists- and further don’t require a leap of faith vis-à-vis the competition that player faced. Unless you have Forté substantially projected ahead of a tailback from Alabama or UCLA or Penn State, you’re not taking that competition risk- at least not until later in the selection process.

To that end, I think the pool of TB talent from the eighth selection to the fifteenth selection features pretty much the same value expectation: can play, but not an indisputable franchise back. But Forte’s league, and not the player himself, makes him vulnerable to slipping outside the top ten TBs selected.

I mean, you can’t tell me that, for instance, Jamaal Charles is a stone lock to be a better pro than Forte. But he played at Texas- so you can be more confident that his on-field credentials are legit.

That isn’t Matt’s fault of course, but this is the NFL baby. I’m sure we all remember the Eagles’ defensive front devouring the hapless Saints running game this year.