ACC: Michael Crabtree
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
If there's one thing the ACC can brag about when it comes to competing against the other BCS conferences, it's NFL draft picks, and this year should be no exception. Over the past three years, the ACC has led all conferences with 25 players chosen in the first round of the NFL draft and the most players drafted overall (115). Half of the ACC could be represented in the first round this year.
The ACC has three of the top five NFL draft prospects, according to Scouts Inc.'s ranking of the top 32 draft-eligible players:
1. Aaron Curry, linebacker, Wake Forest
2. Michael Crabtree, wide receiver, Texas Tech
3. Jason Smith, offensive tackle, Baylor
4. B.J. Raji, defensive tackle, Boston College
5. Eugene Monroe, offensive tackle, Virginia
Florida State defensive end Everette Brown isn't far behind at No. 13, North Carolina receiver Hakeem Nicks is No. 26 and Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is No. 27. Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith made the cut at No. 32.
The fact that two Wake Forest players are even on the list -- let alone a possible No. 1 overall pick -- is evidence that the coaching staff has an eye for talent, and it is possible to lure players like Smith and Curry to Winston-Salem. Same with Boston College. Never in the history of the program has Wake Forest had a No. 1 overall pick. (Norm Snead was No. 2 in 1961). Their last first-round pick was defensive end Calvin Pace in 2003. In fact, Curry would be only the third player ever from Wake to be chosen in the first round.
Only Wake Forest and East Carolina showed an interest in Curry. At just over six feet, he was undersized, but ran really well. The staff liked his work ethic and love for the game. They took a chance on him because of those two qualities. There were a few other linebackers in the state that year -- Chase Rice went to UNC and Chase Bullock went to Maryland. Obviously neither of them had a career like Curry.
Detroit seems to be torn between former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, Jason Smith and Curry. The Rams will probably take a lineman because they just cut Orlando Pace, so Curry probably won't go there, and could fall to No. 3, Kansas City. Regardless, it will be a huge paycheck for Curry and will pay dividends in recruiting and exposure for Wake Forest.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Congrats on finding the blog's newest feature -- the reader mailbag at the top right of the page. In addition to the comments at the bottom of blog posts, this is a great way for you to ask questions, tell me that I make better cookies than I do predictions, or that I'm the smartest person you know. Either way is fine with me, really. Just be warned: Anything in there is fair game for fodder in here, and if you want me to actually email you back, a real email helps.
P.S. I'm not going to edit you. I don't have time and if you can't spell, you're not gonna learn hear. Just kidding. Here.
A prediction from Michael, in Hickory, N.C. --
Heather, Thanks for helping keep the sanity during an otherwise dreary sports summer. There are only 44 more days until my beloved Deacs begin the quest...not that anyone is counting. By the way, here's an early prediction for you...Georgia Tech WILL win an ACC title within 5 years. I had the unfortunate opportunities to play against Paul Johnson coached GSU teams. A lot of people scoff at the flexbone as archaic, but GSU ran it at the highest level of I-AA with I-AA's best athletes and NOBODY could stop them...not even UGA. Imagine what he will do with the talent he can get at GT. I expect to see more passing out of the upcoming versions. This offense combined with a decent defense can lead to some lopsided scores. It's hard not to run up a score when the opposition can't stop your running game. One more thing...I'll apologize now if you are a friend of Pat Forde's, but please take his job. You'd be doing us all a favor. I can't read his stuff anymore. I like yours, though, and I'm glad you're covering the ACC...although you are cutting into my work productivity. Keep up the good work. Go Deacs! Michael
Michael, I agree. Paul Johnson's offense has worked in the past against BCS teams and will work now. There's no reason the Yellow Jackets won't eventually be in the hunt. And yes, they will throw the ball on occasion. And poor Pat ...
This came from Chris, in Richmond, Va. --
Heather- The Va.Tech Hokie Fans are giving you a bunch of grief about your comments Re: the Running game!! *LOL* I am also a Hokie Fan But don't get all bent out of shape like these people!! *LOL* Check it out www.techsideline.com then click on forums and Football Board.. Unless we do a better job of blocking our running game won't be worth a damn.. And the fact that Glennon has been there for about 6 years and still does the same crap, that makes it even worse.. Keep Up the Great Work AND Go Hoosiers!! haha :D Chris.
Chris -- Ah, the message boards. The digital dysfunctional families of our universe. Thanks for adopting me, Hokies. Yes, I realize Lewis and Cheeseman will be back, but combined they have one start -- and that's only because Branden Ore was suspended for the first quarter of the Orange Bowl. Together they had 78 carries last year. Are they talented? No doubt. But how long will it take to get this running game going?
Speaking of Hokies, Andrew Churchill from somewhere wrote this:
Heather, In your rankings of ACC running backs, you fail to include Jahre Cheeseman or Kenny Lewis as options at tailback for Virginia Tech. Cheeseman WILL BE BACK PRACTICING FULL SPEED COME AUGUST, and Lewis will be cleared to return by the END OF SEPTEMBER. While these two will be recovering from offseason injuries, they both will be available for most (Lewis) or all (Cheeseman) of the season and should be considered 'options'in the backfield. thanks
Andrew -- Please DON'T SHOUT AT ME! Yes, I know they'll be back, the question is when they'll be 100 percent. It's not like I didn't mention these guys. They'll be considered options once they start practicing again and show they can be. You're welcome.
This one is from somebody in Charlotte, I think his name is Dan:
i think changing your stadium rankings was clever and fun to read through again.
Why thank you, whoever you are.
Another nice guy, this one named Sean in Tallahassee:
Heather, Great job so far on the blog. I look forward to it everyday. You have no idea how ready I am for football season to get hear.
I hear ya.
It's never too early for a little Heisman talk, and Grayson in Clemson, S.C, wants to know if Cullen Harper will get any consideration:
Heather, I just wanted to see if you had anything to say about Cullen Harper for Heisman this year. Last year Matt Ryan was a big candidate and Harper had him beat in almost every statistic. Given this and if he plays as well as last year, what do you think?
Grayson -- Harper is obviously the best in the league, but there are too many other talented QBs in the country. The Big 12 alone is loaded (Chase Daniel, Sam Bradford, Graham Harrell and Colt McCoy). Don't forget about Tim Tebow, Beanie Wells, Michael Crabtree ... tons of options this year.
Here's a fun rant from Courtney, a Boston College fan in Pasadena, CA:
As a faithful Boston College eagle alum, I have to admit I take a little bit of offense at your ranking of BC's stadium. I don't think your point is totally incorrect, because I have been to a couple of BC bowl games and the turnout is pretty embarassing. However, I think parts of your message shortchange BC and its fans a bit. For example, the statement that we couldn't even pack the stadium for FSU on primetime is a little misleading. I happen to have flown from LA to Boston specifically to attend that game, and attend I did, along with a ton of other BC hardcore. However, what you failed to mention/consider is #1) it was POURING rain the night of that game, so take Boston in November + pouring rain = horrendous game watching conditions and #2) up until just a few years ago, BC was in the Big East, which meant we tailgated til halftime, then watched the second half of the game inside Alumni stadium...old habits die hard. And back to the bowl game situation, you have to admit, we get some crappy bowls (if there was one called the toilet bowl, I guarantee BC would get a bid). And seriously, it's a hell of a lot easier to hop in your pickup and drive 2 hours from Virginia/Georgia/North Carolina to one of the million bowls in the southeast so they really shouldn't get THAT much credit. I'd love to see how many Georgia Tech or Virgina fans made it to a bowl in New Hampshire (disregarding the fact that they'd be playing on a foot of snow). OK, hopefully you've made it all the way through my rant, so thanks for listening...and Go Eagles! :-)
Anyone who leaves Pasadena to go to Boston is a true fan, Courtney. Thanks for the note.
So far, so good. Keep em' coming.