Thursday, April 26, 2012.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen has never made developing NFL talent a priority. “If that’s what they’re playing for, they’re not going to play their best football here,” Petersen says. He develops talent for his own team and lets the rest take care of itself. And over the next three days it all comes to fruition, as up to seven Broncos will be taken in the NFL Draft. It does make Petersen a bit incredulous, though. “How did we do that? And how do we do it again?” exclaims Petersen. He’s going to sit back and enjoy every minute of the draft. “They were the kids we thought they were—and developed into players even better than we thought they were,” Petersen says.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com is one of the few (in the expert category, anyway) to go through all seven rounds in his mock draft, right down through Mr. Irrelevant. Reuter brings up a few teams not previously discussed. He has the Packers using their first and second round picks on Boise State products Shea McClellin and Billy Winn. McClellin has been much discussed in Green Bay, to be sure. Reuter sees Doug Martin picked by the Buccaneers in the second round. Haven’t heard Tampa Bay much in relation to Martin. In the fourth round, he predicts Tyrone Crawford will go to the Colts and George Iloka to the Seahawks. Reuter projects Nate Potter as a sixth-rounder, going to the Falcons. And yes, he does have Kellen Moore being drafted—but not until the seventh round by the Saints.
With that being said, you’ve got to love what the Detroit Free Press came up with regarding the Lions’ first round pick tonight. The paper checked out 26 mock drafts from various prognosticators, and they had 15 different players going to Detroit with the No. 23 overall selection. One of them is Martin, who ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. thinks is Motown-bound. Shortly we’ll be able to wad up all these mock drafts and deposit them in the nearest receptacle.
SI.com’s Stewart Mandel has one parting shot on the subject of Kellen Moore going into the draft, and it’s worth repeating. Mandel calls Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill the most overrated quarterback on the board and Moore the most underrated, writing, “I don't care that Moore is only 6-foot, that pesky handicap that's obviously troubled Drew Brees so much. No one who watched Moore lead his team on that game-winning drive against Virginia Tech in 2010 or shred an eventual Top 10 Georgia defense last fall can say with a straight face that he was anything but a lethal passer. His accuracy was astounding, his anticipation of where his receivers would break unmatched by any quarterback in the draft this side of Luck. While Moore's arm isn't a Luck-like rocket, it's not weak.”
Mandel continues: “This isn't a Tim Tebow situation, where Moore won a lot of games (50) despite zany mechanics. Moore is an incredibly polished passer—among the very best in the country the past four years—and could easily become an NFL starter if given the chance. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like many teams are willing to give him one.” Yea, Mandel.
Here’s a refresher on Boise State and the NFL Draft. The record for most Broncos taken in one year is four, in the 2007 draft following BSU’s first Fiesta Bowl win. The highest selection ever was Ryan Clady, the 12th overall pick by Denver in 2008. The only other first round choice was Kyle Wilson, who went to the New York Jets as the 29th overall selection in 2010. Interestingly enough, the next two highest picks out of Boise State were from the 1980’s. Markus Koch was 30th overall in 1986 and David Hughes 31st in 1981. Back then, both those picks were in the second round.
On Tony Pauline’s SI.com list of risers with McClellin in tonight’s draft is linebacker Korey Toomer of Idaho. Writes Pauline: “Toomer was not on the scouting radar at the start of the season but has since caught fire. After a terrific senior campaign and knockout pro day, he traveled to visit a dozen franchises around the league. Toomer is another expected to land between rounds three and five.” That’s a healthy jump from “hoping for a training camp invite” status. Toomer could get a look as a fullback. He played a short-yardage role for the Vandals last season, getting nine carries for 27 yards and scoring three touchdowns.
Perusing spring football afar as it relates locally, Eagle High grad Taylor Kelly finished spring at Arizona State in the middle of a three-way quarterback battle. Kelly is up against fellow sophomore Mike Bercovici and redshirt freshman Michael Eubank in the race to replace Brock Osweiler. All three had similar stats in the Sun Devils’ spring game last Saturday. Kelly completed 10 of 12 for 116 yards with a touchdown and interception and rushed for 77 yards and two TDs. Asked by the Arizona Republic to use one word to describe each QB, new coach Todd Graham said “poise” for Kelly. The 6-1, 214-pounder, who originally committed to Nevada over two years ago before switching to ASU, didn’t play in the Devils’ 56-24 loss to Boise State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas last December.
Is it too late to move this game to Thursday, August 30? Say it isn’t so. The inaugural game in the new Dona Larsen Park this season will pit Boise High against Vallivue High. The Braves are appropriate, because it was their ancestors who played on the old Public School Field on that same site before Borah, Capital and Timberline were built. But what should be a special community occasion is going to be buried when it’s played on Friday, August 31. The grand opening is going head-to-head with the Boise State-Michigan State opener on ESPN, the first game of the Broncos’ post-Kellen Moore era. What’s wrong with Thursday?
This Day In Sports…April 26, 1959:
Cincinnati pitcher Willard Schmidt has the dubious distinction of becoming the first major league player ever to be hit by a pitch twice in the same inning. Then Schmidt was forced to leave the game the next inning when he was struck on the hand by a line drive off the bat of Milwaukee’s Johnny Logan. Long day for Schmidt—and a long day for hurlers, as a record 14 pitchers trudged to the mound in a game won by the Reds, 11-10. Heck, in the Steroid Era that would be just another day at the office.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)