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15 Mar 2007

The Eclectic Ben Grubbs

by Doug Farrar

Small Town, Big Man

The city of Eclectic is a tiny hamlet in Elmore County, Alabama, about in the middle of the state. With an official population of 1,037 (as tabulated in the year 2000), the most distinctive aspect of Eclectic has been its name, reputedly given by a local resident who had taken an "eclectic" course of study at school. Not exactly miniseries material, but hey ... once upon a time, nobody knew anything about Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Just as Joe Namath changed that, Auburn guard Ben Grubbs is looking to put Eclectic on the map.

"Eclectic" can also be used to describe Grubbs' athletic career. Though he now stands as the undisputed top guard prospect of the 2007 NFL draft, Ben Grubbs' sports history from middle school on saw him playing three sports and just about every position on the football field.

The 23-year-old, born March 10th, 1984, loves the small town where he grew up. "It's a close-knit town," he said. "Not much violence. If you want to send your kid to a safe school, Elmore County is the school to send them to. That's a testament to how peaceful and quiet it is. It's close-knit and everyone loves each other." He especially loves his mother, Deborah, who raised Ben and older brother Cedric by herself.

"My mom, she works at the post office," Grubbs said. "She's worked there for the past 10 or 11 years. My dad, he passed away when I was five from a blood clot in his leg. So it's been basically me and my older brother -- he's 25. My mom just did a great job of raising two boys on her own and she's my motivation and inspiration. I thank God that He put her in my life because she definitely taught me and my brother a lot of things. I credit my success to her."

Athletics became important to Ben in middle school, but it was hardball, not pigskin, at first. Nicknamed "Big Hurt" after White Sox slugger Frank Thomas because he was the biggest kid on the baseball team, he caught the attention of another "when I was 13 years old," he said. "One of the football coaches (saw me) and he asked me to try out for the football team. I said, 'Why not?' and I tried out and that's really the start of my football career. I did pretty well and it just went on from there."

Power, Forward

Football would be his main sport at Elmore County High, but Grubbs also lettered in basketball all four years there. Playing center and power forward, he believes that basketball helped his football agility and ability. "My offensive line coach always compared football to playing basketball," Grubbs recalled. "He asked me, 'Can you play ball?' I said, 'Yeah,' and he said that if you could play basketball then you can play football. The footwork is the same for keeping a guy with the ball from the goal and keeping a defensive lineman from getting to the quarterback."

Peaking at 248 pounds in high school, Grubbs played "wherever my team needed me. I remember playing receiver and catching screens and scoring touchdowns. I ran for touchdowns, caught the ball. I played (blocking) tight end, linebacker, and along the defensive line, so when I came to Auburn and all the transitions they put me through -- it came easy."

He made his mark wherever he played -- SuperPrep magazine named him one of the top ten prospects in the state, and he was afforded All-American honors. He made All-State as an offensive lineman, and All-County as a linebacker.

When it came time to pick a college, Grubbs narrowed it down to three. "Auburn, Alabama and LSU, and it was a tough decision for me, so I just prayed about it," he said. "The environment that Auburn has -- it was like my own home town. It wasn't too big or too small. Everything is pretty much close-knit. It's only 45 minutes from my hometown so my family could come see me. I could go home pretty easily and it basically just felt like home."

Mmmm ... Pancakes!

But his new home came with complications. It would take Grubbs a full two seasons to find his place on the field at Auburn. As a redshirt freshman in 2002, he competed as a 250-pound defensive tackle on the scout team. 2003 saw an important progression, as he moved to the offensive side of the ball, and a position as a 280-pound blocking tight end. The first sign that the O-line was where he belonged came right away.

"I practiced tight end for a couple of weeks (in the preseason), and then they threw me in the game against Mississippi State -- and (laughing) I had three pancakes (where a defender is bowled over) on one block. That was my first play ever and Carnell Williams went for something like a 45-yard touchdown and I didn't even block the right guy. I was just happy to get out there and play and the adrenaline was just flowing through my veins and I was excited." Grubbs saw action in several games that season and got his first start against Louisiana-Monroe.

In 2004, Grubbs finally found the right position. "After a pretty good season at tight end, during the off-season, (the coaches) came to me and wanted me to move inside to guard and I ended up starting three years there," he said. "Playing tight end, I had a sense of what the offensive scheme was because all I really did was block. It was the same exact plays and the same exact schemes. If it was a zone (blocking scheme) I knew I had to take my zone-step and I knew I had my own zone. That was one of the keys that got me to play guard like I did because it was pretty easy to catch on.

"I moved to guard in spring of 2004, and by the time fall rolled around I was ready to go."

Ready, indeed. Grubbs was named Auburn's Most Improved Lineman by his coaching staff after the 2004 season. Starting every game, he received a blocking consistency grade of 90.38 percent, with 76 key blocks and 16 that resulted in touchdowns, according to NFLDraftScout.com. He allowed two stops behind the line of scrimmage, one quarterback pressure, and no sacks in 816 plays -- an amazing season for a first-year guard at a major school.

Grubbs gives credit to Hugh Nall, the Tigers' line coach since 1999, for his fast start. "He took me in from day one," Grubbs said. "He's a hard coach. If you mess up he'll get on you, but if you do well he'll give you praise as well. I looked up to him and respect him. He played center for Georgia, and he blocked for Herschel Walker, so when you look at his background you can't help but respect the guy because he has the accolades to back up his talk.

"I just really paid attention to what he was coaching me to do and tried my best to apply it on the field. He helped me out with my technique -- he taught me to be patient for one because we really didn't get the techniques he was teaching us (at times), but he stuck with us and he made us better players."

2005 saw a new maturity and consistency in Grubbs, and the ascent of left tackle Marcus McNeill. The two of them combined to form perhaps the best left side in the collegiate ranks. For the second straight season, Grubbs received a great blocking consistency score (89.67 percent, the highest of any lineman in the SEC), and the Tigers averaged 133.4 yards on the ground over the left side after the departures of running backs Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams. Grubbs was a first-team All-SEC selection: his 22 blocks that led to touchdowns was a conference high.

The mention of blocking consistency scores got Grubbs thinking about grades and technique. "I know that after every game, on Sunday when we'd come in and watch film, we'd have our grade sheet there and (the coaches would) grade on technique, assignment and productivity. If you had a pancake, he'd give two points, so your grade can vary from how you did in each game. After every game we had a grading sheet and I was pretty consistent. It's just like the grading system in class."

Grubbs detailed three different kinds of blocks on which he has been constantly graded -- pancake, rodeo, and cockroach blocks. "A cockroach block is where we just simply cut the defender's legs out from under him," he said. "Rodeo is about pass protection -- if I block the guy the whole time the quarterback has the ball and don't give up any pressure, that's a rodeo. It's like me staying on the bull the whole time -- that's a rodeo. A pancake block is when you just put the guy on his back."

What's his favorite part of the game -- heading upfield in one of Auburn's zone schemes, or using his power and explosiveness to run people over? "I would say pancaking a guy because it just takes the guy's pride from him and you know you'll pretty much have him for the rest of the game," he said. "During my career at Auburn we always had competitions with who could have the most pancakes. Coach Nall, he'd put them up on the board (after) each game, and at the end of the year we'd see who had the most. (Right guard) Tim Duckworth and I had some good competitions. I had 38 (pancake blocks) and I think he had something like 41, so he won that one."

There was enough of every type of block from Grubbs in 2006 to propel him to the top of the charts. McNeill had moved on to great success with the San Diego Chargers, and Grubbs was now the leader of Auburn's young line. With a 90.57 percent score, he led his conference in blocking consistency for the second straight year. It was the culmination of all his dreams -- by the time his final season was done, Grubbs was rated as the top guard prospect by just about every expert and scouting service in the country

It was time for the NFL to come calling.

Revenge of the Wingmen

Thought to be one of the most consistent performers during Senior Bowl practice week, Grubbs had a time of it at the Scouting Combine in late February. He came to Indianapolis with a viral infection that affected all his drills, though he did the full workout. He tried to make up for it in the interview process, the most remarkable part of the process, according to Grubbs. "Just walking into the rooms with and meeting with the different head coaches -- I was like a kid in a candy store because if you love football you'd definitely be impressed with some of the coaches that were there," he said. "They really don't ask the questions, they let another guy do that, but that was pretty much the most exciting thing.

"I had several interviews each day and I think I did well. I know those play an important role in getting drafted because they just want to get to know you as a person. They know you can play football, but they want to know how you are off the field. They asked about my background and my family. Have I been arrested? Have I ever been suspended or missed any games for any disciplinary problems?" Grubbs never missed a game at Auburn due to injury or for any other reason, and he started in 37 straight contests.

"A lot of teams asked me about our blocking schemes," he continued. "They asked me to go to the board and draw up some plays. Some gave me a time limit. I had like a minute to go through all the run plays and all the pass plays and I had to draw it up on the board and explain to them my blocking scheme and what the rest of the line had to do."

During his well-attended Pro Day on March 12, Grubbs was able to make amends for the physical aspects of that Combine performance. He performed better in five of six drills:

40-Yard
Dash
20-Yard
Dash
10-Yard
Dash
225-Pound
Bench Reps
20-Yard
Shuttle
3-Cone
Drill
Combine 5.18 2.96 1.80 29 4.72 7.99
Pro Day 5.10 2.95 1.65 35 4.78 7.70

(All numbers courtesy of NFLDraftScout.com. Standard FO disclaimer: Any play which requires an offensive lineman to run 40 yards is probably ill-advised.)

"I did everything," he recalled of his Pro Day. "I got all the agility drills, I jumped and broad jumped. My Combine numbers weren't the best but they were good enough to stand on their own, so I just wanted to improve my numbers. I improved on everything except my pro agility. All the scouts that were there said I did a really good job and to keep it up. Kansas City and the Rams were there. I would say we had something like 14 or 15 (NFL) teams (in attendance)."

Grubbs has visits scheduled with the Cowboys and Redskins in early April, and his agent text-messaged the name of a third team near the end of our interview -- this is a young man very much in demand.

Having graduated in May of 2006 with a major in Public Administration and a minor in Business, Grubbs had time to put in extra training and film study through his last collegiate season. He's entering the big leagues at an exciting time for linemen -- with the mega-deals being handed out to every free agent guard of any merit or distinction, his position is receiving unprecedented acclaim.

"For one, teams are investing so much into the quarterback, and to keep the quarterback healthy you need a good offensive line," Grubbs opined, when asked why he thinks guards are getting "skill position" money all of a sudden. "In years past, the left tackle was the most valuable, but as you were saying, it's moving onto the guards now because they play an important role as well. You need a good offensive line to protect the quarterback and to get yardage in the running game. I think that's one reason that players are getting the money, like (San Diego guard) Kris Dielman, he got the money this year, so I guess it's exciting because we're finally getting the recognition we deserve. The tackles always get drafted higher than the guards, and a lot of guards don't even get drafted in the first round, so it's good to see this."

Future Shock

Is he a first-round talent? How good is Ben Grubbs, how will his skills transfer to the NFL, and why will he succeed if it happens? To Rob Rang, Senior Draft Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, Grubbs is as sure a thing as there is in this year's draft. "Grubbs is NFLDraftScout.com's top ranked offensive guard, and a likely first round pick," Rang said on Wednesday. "He is viewed as a pure guard, as opposed to Texas' Justin Blalock and Tennessee's Arron Sears, who each have experience at tackle.

"Grubbs has previous experience at other positions, however. He saw time at defensive tackle as a freshman and carries over this intensity onto the field as a guard. The overall athleticism that allowed him to play tight end transferred to his guard play. Grubbs' athleticism, size, strength, and intensity make him arguably the top guard prospect from the SEC since Alan Faneca left LSU in 1997. Grubbs should compete for Pro Bowl accolades early in his career. The interior line is among the strongest positions in the 2007 draft. Grubbs, along with USC center Ryan Kalil, are the principal headliners of the group."

For now, he waits, works and watches. In April's last weekend, he'll hear his name called and the next challenge will begin. And once again, Ben Grubbs will be asked to take a new challenge to its limits.

Small town? Yes. Big time? Absolutely.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 15 Mar 2007

36 comments, Last at 28 Apr 2007, 6:58pm by Tom Kelso

Comments

1
by max (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 4:47pm

good feature. Hopefully he'll be available at #31 for the Bears.

2
by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 4:55pm

This is outstanding. Thanks. I think Grubbs is the best lineman in the draft, bar none.

3
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 4:55pm

This was a gem of an article. I so rarely get to watch college ball and pay scant attention to it due to time constraints. It doesn't hurt that Grubbs seems like a pretty good kid.

I look forward to the future FO discussion board debating who is better, Brady, Manning, or Grubbs.... (and then along will come Michael Oher--from the book Blind Side--to crush them all).

4
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 5:06pm

Sort of makes me wish we got to see Auburn vs USC a couple of years ago in the National Championship. Just because USC crushed OU, doesn't mean they would have beaten Auburn. Auburn was undefeated in the SEC.

Imagine an offense with Jason Campbell at QB, Ronnie Brown and Cadallac running the ball behind Marcus Mcneil and Ben Grubbs ( All first round picks). The defense would have one of the nations top 3 corners in Carlos Rodgers as well.

I remember an Interview with Mel Kiper Jr. and he said 90% of the scouts he talked to said that they thought Auburn had more talent and would win ( over USC). I guess everybody just kind of forgot about that when Oklahoma got pounded.

5
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 5:12pm

How come only 14 or 15 teams were at Auburns pro day?

With his athleticism it sounds like he could be a good pulling guard.

Did anybody else read " The blind side"?

6
by billvv (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 5:42pm

#1 No way he makes it that far! I'm hoping that the Jets either move up to get Joe Thomas or wait for Grubbs! I'm sure other teams earlier on are hoping he falls to them too!

7
by John (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 5:47pm

His ten yard burst improved dramatically, but his 20 yard shuttle performance actually declined--so I wouldn't count on him being much of a pulling guard in the NFL.

I tried to make something intelligible out of the combine numbers by applying some basic kinematics knowledge and elementary physics. My numbers point to Justin Blalock as the best lineman in the draft. Grubbs poor combine performance disqualified him from the top ten, but I think I'll recalculate his performance based on his Pro Day numbers. Stay tuned.

8
by beedubyuh (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 5:59pm

Yeah, I doubt this fella will be around at pick 31 (sigh).

I actually have Blalock or Joe Staley as good targets for the Bears first rounder.

On a side note, was this article part of a endorsement deal with nfldraftscout.com? If it was, what a great way to do product placement. I get to read an excellent article AND I have an overwhelming desire to go check out the website.

This is much more desirable than having to look at that damn guy sitting on the toilet (ugh).

9
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 6:08pm

6: I doubt it... both of the latest mocks on ESPN have Grubbs going 31st to Chicago. Kiper does have him 18th on his big board, but Scouts has him at 32nd. Seems like a late first pick... so maybe the Jets will take him, but the odds are obviously pretty good for Chicago.

As for Oher... the book's publicity only helps him, but he's probably going to be behind Jared Gaither (of UMD) and Alex Boone (of Ohio State).

10
by Jason Mulgrew aka Lord J Rocka aka King of the Castle (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 6:41pm

If the Eags draft him you'll know he is good.

Otherwise, he'll suck.

KEVIN CURTIS, BABY!!! AWESOME WITH A CAPITAL A!!!

(Sorry, I'm all hyped up on the NCAA Tournament and the Eags' excellent offseason.)

11
by Francisco (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 6:59pm

I read "The Blind Side." It was certainly no "Moneyball," and was a lot thinner on football than I had hoped. More like an "Outside the Lines" in book form.

12
by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 7:22pm

With their entire line signed for at least the next three years, and good, inexpensive home grown depth behind the starters, the Patriots have absolutely no need of a guard.

Which, of course, means that they'll probably take Grubbs at 24 or 28 if he's available, just becuase their drafts always surprise people. Unless of course, there's a good TE available...

13
by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 8:04pm

#1 / 8 - Great player agreed, but not THE main need this season. The weakest link among of the 21 starters (ex-QB), is RT. Fred Miller is only going to get worse with age. All other positions have solid starters and a sufficent depth of replacement players. The Bears have big $$$ already invested in Terry Metcalf, Garza's starting and Old Man Ruben will likely be back. It would certainly be a luxury pick if Grubbs is chosen.

14
by thad (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 8:50pm

re 10
What about Borat?
It's out on DVD!!!!

15
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 9:22pm

I know a lot of Ravens draftniks would like to take Grubbs at 29, and if Ozzie and co. think the same way the Bears would probably have to trade up to get Grubbs if he's still available at that point.

16
by spatne (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 10:16pm

Joe Namath put Beaver Falls on the map? I thought it was Christopher Hewett.

17
by max (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 10:33pm

#13. Where can I find the salary information on the offensive line? I know that Brown might not return next year but I do not know the contract situations of Garza or Metcalf. I certainly agree that RT is a concern that will need to be addressed soon and that our depth at OT in general is pretty crappy (St Clair = suck). Ideally, we could take a versatile guy like Justin Blalock who could start at guard immediately (if Brown leaves or if he's better than Garza) and kick out to RT after a year or so (I don't know Miller's contract situation either). However, it seems like the Ravens are almost certain to take an offensive lineman with their pick and Blalock's versatility would work very well for them w/ their holes at G and RT. That leaves Sears and Grubbs. I think Sears' stock has slipped a bit, for whatever reason and that he would be a reach at #31. I think you could argue that the Bears could take a WR, DT, OLB w/ the #31 and gamble that Sears or Staley falls to their next pick.

18
by Jason Mulgrew aka Lord J Rocka aka King of the Castle (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 10:36pm

re: 14

Don't worry. I have been Borating, as well. But I didn't watch it at all tonight because of the NCAA Tournament.

19
by James, London (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 6:57am

I'm in agreement with Bobman. This was excellent, particularly for someone who doesn't see any college ball. The first in a regular series? (Please?)

20
by Podge (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 7:43am

Those blocking consistency grades - are they available for the NFL as well? If so, where, and if not, why not?

Good article.

21
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 9:46am

Look at the risk/reward for these later first round/early second round picks.

Your still getting a player with so much potential, and maybe even the best player at his respective position.

BUT, you don't have to pay him top 10 money. So a good team like the Bears, Steelers, or Ravens might be bringing in the #1 guard and a future pro bowler but NOT having to pay him Russell, Quinn, Johnson, Peterson, Gaines, Thomas money.

22
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 9:57am

12. Yeah, I really think the pats are gonna do something thats gonna cause everyone to go "what the hell?"

Like maybe move up and take okoye, even though they have absolutely no need at that position.

23
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 9:59am

Also, as to the blind side reference, I loved the book.

This is also the third or fourth offensive lineman I've heard of playing highschool Basketball.

24
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 11:23am

I loved the blind side and Lewis in general.

But who knows if he was any good at basketball. I mean if your in such a small town, and your the most athletic in the school, they practically have to let him play. I mean, how many kids were in his highschool class? What if he's 250, posting up on these 180 pound boys?

25
by Benjamin (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 11:24am

RE: The Blind Side. It’s interesting that this book is brought up because one of the premises is that the Left Tackle position has become the most important one on the line. At least in terms of what teams are willing to pay for. According to Lewis, it used to be that teams thought all lineman were completely fungible and wouldn’t pay any of them. Then when teams realized that the left DE provided that most threat to the QB, they paid the LT and the LT only. Today, however, teams are much more likely to send a jailhouse blitz up the middle than they were before which makes the interior line play much more important. This is especially reflected in this off season where mediocre guards are getting what used to be LT money. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we are starting to see the distinction between line positions blurred again so that no position is deemed more important than the other. Except this time instead of no one getting paid, everyone is deemed important. Does anyone else see it that way?

26
by Eric (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 11:37am

Re 4: What do you mean 'imagine an offense'? That was their offense. You don't have to imagine it, just watch their old games from like, 2003 and 04. BTW: McNeil wasn't a first round pick.

27
by Shooter (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 11:48am

#17 - Click on my name for salary cap info. Metcalf pulls down an astonishing $1.5M/yr. for the next 3 yrs. for being the first off the bench for the G-C-G postions. Garza is on the hook for $1.5M/yr. for the next 5 years. Both received ~$4M SB. Even more astonishing is John St. Clairs $0.75M annual salary.

I agree the Bears have needs at OT, DT, OLB and I'd add SS. They are OK at WR (Bradley, Currie). QB is still the most pressing issue, although Angelo is giving him at least another year as starter.

28
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 4:52pm

25- There are different kinds of lineman.

A guy like Derrick Dockery is just a rock. He's a big strong lineman that can blow the guy in front of him off the ball. He's suitable for a power run game at LG. ( Lenoard Davis fits this mold as well).

Then there are guys like Randy Thomas, his former Redskins RG. He's big, athletic, and is very effective in pulling and leading on traps.

Then there are actual different types of lines. Some lines rely a lot on zone blocking schemes that require movement and being able to hold double teams ( Colts, Denver, Giants, Patriots).

Then you have lines like the Steelers, Seattle 06 with Jones, Hutchinson, or KC with Roaf and Waters. Those lines will rely more on often on the guy beating the guy in front of him ( with some traps).

To run the second group, you need good lineman that can win individual matchups. In the first group you will rely more on coehsiveness as there really is a skill/art to the double team ( where to block, how long to hold it for etc.)

You don't need these big road graders to on Denver's line. They tried to draft a more traditonal lineman with Foster but he got pulled from the lineup and was even traded to Detroit.

So to answer your question, if your trying to run a simpiler more power run game, you have to have some studs on that line. Now I understand L. Davis and Dockery aren't pro bowl regulars but they are above average despite when the media wants you to believe. Davis's size and strength gives him huge potential as a straight ahead blocker. Dallas seems to want to move him back from tackle to guard, to have that power inside, and have him not having to rely on athleticm as much. Dockery is another huge/strong guy that was an outland trophy winner at Texas. He's a road grader.

So even though Davis/Dockery aren't the best lineman, they are outstanding at their individual strengths. They are huge, strong guys that can be very good straight ahead run blockers for a power run game.

29
by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 5:46pm

Re 25:

It's market forces, or something like darwinism, in action.

With equal pay incentives, all the different line positions probably got roughly equal amounts of talent.
Assuming a right handed formation, and equal skill level across the line, the left tackle is the most vulnerable. All the other linemen have guys on either side of them (the TE is to the right of the RT) and can afford to sacrifice some agility in favor of power, but the LT cannot because he has so much more space to cover.

However, once LT's started getting by far the most money on the line, the LT position naturally started drawing all of the best talent. The most physically talented players, who had that elite combination of agility and power and hence could play any position, naturally gravitated to LT because it pays better. Hence, a situation was created where the LT became the most physically gifted player on the line.

But defenses are not stupid. For equal skill positions across the line, it makes sense to attack the left tackle with a speedy rusher outside if he's powerful but slow, or with a power rusher inside if he's little and fast. But once the LT's became freaks of nature with power and speed, attacking the left end makes a lot less sense. So you attack the next most vulnerable position. That's typically not the RT, because of the TE, but rather rushing the inside. So now teams are realizing that it's not enough to have an elite LT and some scrubs at guards.

When things hit equilibrium it will probably work out that LT's make a little more than the other linemen, but I think the league in general is starting to realize how important linemen are and paying them more, relative to skill positions, especially RB's.

It also seems to me, although this is just an opinion, that DT's are getting bigger and faster than in the past, which puts more of a premium on OG's.

30
by Snoop (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 7:38pm

The Blind Side: Interesting read, a little too uncritical in some respects. Also, reading behind the lines, Sean Tuohy just struck me as a guy whose company I would not enjoy.

31
by Snoop (not verified) :: Fri, 03/16/2007 - 7:41pm

or between the lines, or around them...all the same

32
by NY expat (not verified) :: Sat, 03/17/2007 - 12:42am

Sounds like Oakland should be checking if Hugh Nall is available.

33
by Steve Greenwell (not verified) :: Sat, 03/17/2007 - 5:43am

23: Aren't most professional players experts at multiple sports? I mean, at least at my high school, the very best basketball players also excelled at volleyball, and football-wrestling was also a common overlap. Unless someone is playing at an exclusive private HS on a scholarship at some sort, I imagine the athleticism of a top football player would also allow them to excel at other sports.

34
by Newark Highschool Fan (not verified) :: Sat, 03/17/2007 - 4:21pm

re: 10

put this guy opposite Andrews and watch Westbrook become the up the gut hoss, the giants wanted Dayne to be and the skins wanted Duckett to be.

35
by Marci (not verified) :: Tue, 03/27/2007 - 2:28pm

I think Auburn has an awesome football program but does not get the credit due because it is NOT University of Alabama. I agree that Auburn should have played USC in the championship bowl they were undefeated that year and they were cheated by going to the Sugar Bowl. The SEC does not the credit due to them. I am glad that Florida kicked Ohio's butt this year.. The SEC is a force to be reckoned with.
Ben is one of my all time favorite Auburn football players and I believe that he is just beginning. This is the start of an excellent season for him. I hope he goes far and I think the Ravens or Redskins could benefit from him...

36
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 6:58pm

Let's hope that Ben opens some lanes as wide as Charles Street.......