Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Feb 2007

DeOssie Decision: Sweat the Details

One of the advantages of running your own NFL website is that you get to bring attention to your favorite players and nobody can stop you. So I hope you will all indulge me as I point out this article about linebacker Zak DeOssie, the first Brown University player ever invited to the NFL combine (and probably the first one ever drafted before the seventh round). Like Bobby Carpenter, he has Parcells family genes -- and since scouts think he fits best as a 3-4 OLB, don't be surprised to see him drafted by the Patriots, Browns, or Jets. Coming soon: Spotlight on NFL prospects from William & Mary and LaSalle. (Free registration required.)

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 21 Feb 2007

18 comments, Last at 22 Feb 2007, 4:11pm by Tim


by GlennW (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 1:45pm

You guys weren't around to scout Fritz Pollard?

by GlennW (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 2:12pm

More seriously, Aaron, if you're interested drafthistory.com (linked) lists several high Brown draft picks over the years, three as high as the 3rd round and as recently as 1980 (OT John Sinnott). This is a nice resource as nfl.com only documents the draft since 1982 (and footballdb.com only since 1970).

by Carlos (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 2:59pm

Okay, who's the greatest Ivy League football player of all time?

I'm not much of a football history buff, but off the top of my head:

1. Calvin Hill
2. Ed Marinaro (better college career than Hill, but worse pro career)

Calvin Hill played in the same backfield as Brian Dowling, a/k/a BD from Doonesbury.

by GlennW (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 3:07pm

Historically you're looking at Hall of Famers Sid Luckman (Columbia) or Chuck Bednarik (Penn), hands down. You've probably got it with Calvin Hill in the modern era, based on pro play.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 3:48pm

Matt Birk has been pretty good too.

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 4:30pm

The thing that cracked me up was when he got tossed into the 7 on 7 drill and his rookie tight ends dropped the passes and got reamed out... I wonder who that was? Looks like the Pats don't just want the best 53rd man on their roster, but the most useful ball boys too.

Does anybody else remember that New York Giants fullback Keith Elias?

Ryan Fitzpatrick did alright in his few stints as well.

The interesting point that his trainer makes is that perception is reality with the draft. There is a difference between weighing 249 and 250, running a 4.59 and a 4.61. I'd think the FO crowd could appreciate that one.

by Carlos (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 4:51pm

4: cool, thx. didn't realize Luckman or Bednarik were Ivy grads.

by JasonK (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 4:57pm


I remember Elias. As I recall, though, he was a halfback. He never did much outside of preseason games. I remember him getting lots of coverage in the local press because he came from Lacey, NJ (and I was in high school elsewhere in Ocean County at the time).

by Snoop (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 5:43pm

Elias was special teamer, and even returned kicks for awhile.

Jason Garrett and Jay Fiedler were Ivy Leaguers with decent careers. There was also a punter for the Bengals from Harvard.

Eric Johnson has been a fair TE for the Niners, but with health issues, while Casey Cramer and Chris Heatherington have been FBs with varying degrees of success.

by joel in providence (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 5:58pm

Bednarik (UPenn) by a mile. greatest 2-way player in nfl history and made the greatest hit in nfl history. (also has the crookedest fingers in nfl history).

by RCH (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 6:08pm

Reggie Williams was a very good linebacker from Dartmouth (played for Bengals). The punter from Harvard was Pat McInally. Rich Diana was an outstanding running back at Yale and was drafted by the Dolphins in a respectable round but went to med school instead. Jeff Rohrer from Yale went to the Cowboys in 2nd round.

by Crabbie (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 7:52pm

Didn't Steve Jordan go to Brown? He was a very good (but not great) pass catching tight end for the Vikings in the late 80s. Kind of like a black Eric Johnson (Yale).

by Marko (not verified) :: Thu, 02/22/2007 - 3:44am

10: Chuck Bednarik was a great player, no doubt. Since he was before my time, I never saw him play. But I don't think he was the greatest two-way player in NFL history. Two-way players were the norm back in the day. Some of them surely were better than Bednarik (e.g., Bronko Nagurski, Sammy Baugh).

by bengt (not verified) :: Thu, 02/22/2007 - 6:55am

Coming soon: Spotlight on NFL prospects from William & Mary and LaSalle.
Hopefully the most prospering prospect from William & Mary is going to be Mike Tomlin!

by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 02/22/2007 - 10:24am

Dick Jauron played for the Lions and went to Yale. Not sure how well he did in Detroit though.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 02/22/2007 - 10:33am

There were guys from William and Mary in the league.

by BK (not verified) :: Thu, 02/22/2007 - 2:28pm

No mention of Marcellus Wiley here?

by Tim (not verified) :: Thu, 02/22/2007 - 4:11pm

Don't forget Jim Finn out of Penn, Mr. Irrelevant in 1999 and still in the league (with the NY Giants).