With Micah Johnson signing with the Giants, it would appear that all the shoes have dropped in terms of former Cats making their way to NFL camps and teams. In light of that, the immaculately-dressed Chip Cosby put together a look at the prospects of making rosters and seeing playing time for the Big Blue rookies. Enjoy.
Corey Peters: The Falcons currently have five tackles ahead of Peters: returning starters Jonathan Babineaux and Thomas Johnson, and reserves Vance Walker, Trey Lewis and Peria Jerry. But Peters will have a chance to move quickly up the depth chart, as none of the tackles outside of Babineaux set the world on fire. Jerry, a first-round pick in 2009, missed his rookie season with a knee injury.
Trevard Lindley: The Eagles are known for churning out All-Pro caliber defensive backs, and Lindley will have a chance to settle in as a nickel back behind Pro Bowler Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs.
John Conner: The Jets seem like a perfect fit for Conner. They rely on a physical running game, and Conner figures to be groomed as a replacement for 15-year veteran Tony Richardson.
T.C. Drake: Drake would seem to have an uphill battle to make the Chiefs squad considering they return starter Leonard Pope plus backups Brad Cottam, Jake O’Connell and third-round pick Tony Moeaki.
Justin Jeffries: The Chargers definitely need help on the offensive line, as they struggled to open holes in the running game and protect quarterback Philip Rivers. The Chargers didn’t take a lineman in the draft, so Jeffries could stick as a backup tackle.
Alfonso Smith: The Cardinals have their rotation set with Beanie Wells, Tim Hightower and LaRod Stephens-Howling. Smith may have to beat out veteran Jason Wright for the fourth running back spot, but the Cardinals didn’t draft a running back and Smith’s special teams prowess will help his cause.
Zipp Duncan: Duncan, who started at left tackle during his senior season at UK, will be a guard with the Eagles. One thing that will help Duncan: The Eagles drafted 13 players without taking an offensive lineman.
Micah Johnson: It was no secret that the Giants needed help at linebacker, especially after releasing Antonio Pierce in the off-season. The Giants spent two draft picks on linebackers: Phillip Dillard (Nebraska, fourth round) and Adrian Tracy (William and Mary, seventh round).
Ironically enough, Pierce was an undrafted rookie who went on to have a nine-year career with the Washington Redskins and the Giants.
Of course, the flip side to the positive of sending players to the pros is that all of that NFL talent must now be replaced, making the outlook for next season a little uncertain. At least one ESPN writer (SEC blogger Chris Low) seems to think the Cats don’t have much to look forward to in the 2010 campaign. His post-spring SEC power rankings were published today with the Cats slotted in at #11, only ahead of Vanderbilt. The details:
11. Kentucky: The Wildcats have thrived on being picked low the past two years and then proving everybody wrong. Only four other teams in the SEC have been to bowl games each of the past four years. The problem heading into the 2010 season is that they lost so many key defensive players from those teams. Quarterback Mike Hartline’s return from a knee injury should help the passing game, which was non-existent after he went down last season.
Then again, if he listed his rankings in reverse order we’d be second…sort of. Clearly his opinion should be disregarded and instead replaced with that of a blogger who is infinitely more qualified to rule on such things – me. The team will be fine.
See? All better. Go Cats.