Saturday, April 25, 2009

Stancheck, Isdaner Hopeful

Isdaner, Stanchek Itching for Draft: Linemen Hope to Hear Names Called Sunday
By Stefanie Loh
The Dominion Post, April 24, 2009

On Sunday morning, former WVU offensive lineman Greg Isdaner will wake up to embrace the first day of the rest of his life.

Well, the first day of the next chapter of his life, anyway.

After months of waiting in limbo, Isdaner expects to learn his fate Sunday, when the NFL draft comes to a conclusion.

"This week has been the longest week of my life," Isdaner said. "I'm ready for Saturday and Sunday to come and just be over.

"It's felt like I'm sitting around and waiting. I want to control my own destiny."

Isdaner has spent the past few weeks at home, in Gladwyne, Pa., working out wherever he can find a weight room, and just hanging out with friends and family.

According to Stephan Halpert, Isdaner's agent, the lineman is on the Philadelphia Eagles' top-30 list, and has received phone calls from every team in the league.

On his visit to the Eagles' practice facility, Isdaner said, he met with head coach Andy Reid and line coach Juan Castillo.

They just "talked about life," Isdaner said. "They don't really tell you anything."

Still, the past couple of weeks have looked promising. Aside from the Eagles, the 6-foot-4, 315-pound guard said he's spoken to Kansas City, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh.

"They just want to know where I'll be on draft day, that type of thing," Isdaner said. "I've heard the same thing from every team. I guess it's good to know they're worrying about getting my phone number."

It's been the same story for former WVU offensive tackle Ryan Stanchek.

Along with a couple dozen other NFL hopefuls, Stanchek recently worked out for his hometown Cincinnati Bengals.

This week, he's been contacted by some teams checking to get his draftday phone number.

"I've had a couple of teams do that," said Stanchek, who declined to name the teams. "I feel that you know a team's really interested when they call and say, 'What's your draft-day number?' "

Both Isdaner and Stanchek said they feel pretty good about their position leading up to the draft, which starts at 4 p.m. Saturday (ESPN). Neither player expects to go on the first day, but Isdaner has been projected as high as the fourth round by some analysts, while Stanchek is hoping to get snapped up in the six or seventh round, or through free agency.

"I feel confident I'll be drafted," Isdaner said, "As for when, I have absolutely no clue."

Stanchek just wants a chance.
. . .

Colts, Pats, 'Boys Look at McAfee

McAfee gets NFL attention
By Colin Dunlap
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 24, 2009

Pat McAfee is long on leg strength -- and confidence.

The West Virginia place-kicker and Plum native is on brink of being selected in this weekend's NFL draft. He's one of the top-rated kickers by most draft analysts and a projected late-rounder by some.

So, when asked, McAfee never wavered, figuring if he doesn't get drafted, there's still a spot for him in the NFL.

"I'm just staying even keel about all this," he said. "If I don't get drafted, hey, no big deal, man, I'll just have to go into a camp as a free agent and take someone's job from them. That is honestly the way I feel, so why not just say it like that?"

McAfee, 6 feet, 228 pounds, handled all three components of the kicking game at West Virginia last season -- punting, field-goal kicking and kickoff duties. And he excelled at all portions of the triumvirate, which have the NFL scouts intrigued.

A semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award -- presented to the nation's top punter -- he had a 44.7 yards per punt average, dropping 23 punts inside the 20 yard line. McAfee was also a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, given annually to the nation's top kicker after he went 17 for 20 in field goals, including 7 of 8 from beyond 40 yards, and also had eight touchbacks.

Some teams like him as a kickoff man, some like him as a place-kicker, where others have raved to his Pittsburgh-based agent Eddie Edwards about his punting.

The Indianapolis Colts extended one of their limited college prospect invitations -- rare for a kicker -- to McAfee a few weeks ago. He said the Colts, New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys have been in contact with him most.
. . .

Friday, April 24, 2009

Isdaner Takes Early Chance

Isdaner ready for uncertainty of NFL Draft
By Mike Casazza
The Daily Mail, April 23, 2009

Morgantown, WV -- Like many college underclassmen do, Greg Isdaner quizzed with the NFL's draft advisory committee last season about his immediate future in the league.

The response wasn't entirely encouraging.

In fact, it was the kind of feedback that might convince a junior to return to school.

"The exact wording was, 'You do not have the potential to be picked on the first day as of right now based on game tape,'" Isdaner said.

Assured he wouldn't be picked in the first two rounds Saturday, Isdaner nevertheless signed with an agent and thereby forfeited his senior season at West Virginia.

"It'd be different maybe if you thought you had a chance to go in the first round, but being a guard, I realized we generally don't go that high in the draft," the now-former left guard said. "From there, I asked if there was any consensus I'd go undrafted. There was none. There was none of that whatsoever."

Following an admittedly average performance in the combine and some productive workouts and interviews, Isdaner expects to get the call Sunday afternoon as a late-round pick.

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to get drafted," he said. "Then again, you don't really know. I'm confident I will. I think most people are confident I will, but the entire process gives you no indication.
. . .
Isdaner was invited to the NFL Combine, which helped legitimize his decision. His performance was satisfactory and in the middle of the offensive linemen in attendance. His worst result was the 40-yard dash, which he ran in 5.52 seconds, slower than all but three of the 45 linemen.

"I hurt myself on my first 40 and that affected all the other times," he said. "But that's out of my control. Everything I've been in control of I've done well at and done it the right way. People might think I made a mistake, and I can see where they're coming from, but I certainly don't feel that way." was even in its analysis, saying Isdaner is "agile in space but has average straight-line speed. ... Choppy in his lateral movement at times. Leans too far into his man when run blocking; can get ripped off or lose his balance."

Positively, though, the same review said he "comes out of his stance with fair quickness, gets his hands active right away and is able to push his man down the line when coming off the ball. Strong angle technique, gets to his man's opposite shoulder and anchors to create a lane or will push his defender so he takes himself out of the play."

ESPN ranks Isdaner as the No. 8 offensive guard in the draft, though at 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, Isdaner has had conversations about playing tackle and even center.

Sports Illustrated said Isdaner is a "workman like blocker with limited athleticism and upside potential. Unlikely to ever be a starter in the NFL, he could be an inexpensive back-up for a roster."

"I didn't think I'd be going in the first round or on the first day, but after that, it's really a crap-shoot at the guard position," he said. "It's about what a team needs and if I get drafted, then obviously they saw something in me they liked and needed. I can't say growing up it was my dream to be in the NFL, because that's a pretty unrealistic dream, but it's something I think I can do and take advantage of if given the opportunity."
. . .

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2001 Undrafted Players

Wes Ours: Before there was the beer truck, there was Wes Ours. At 250lbs in college and likely over 300lbs these days, he was a truck of some type. After a stint in the NFL, the former full back has matured into a linebacker/fullback in the AFL (Are there fullbacks in the AFL? Or just halfbacks?). Using his size to his advantage, Ours is usually used as a blocking back and enjoys it:
"I'm a blocker," said Ours. "They brought me here to block and I don't mind blocking. Like I said, I honed up my skills and my best skill is blocking."
Ours spent the 2001 to 2003 seasons hopping from one NFL team to another. The colts initially picked him as an undrafted free agent. They cut him early in the season but he was quickly picked up by the Titans. The Titans, in turn, also cut him later in the season and the Colts resigned him. In early 2002, before the season, the Colts released him for a second time. The Steelers picked up Ours in 2003. He spent pre-season in training camp, almost went to NFL Europe, but was eventually cut before the season began (not that he didn't try). During his NFL career, outside of making blocks, Ours made one catch for three yards.

Ours made the transition to the AFL after being picked up by the Los Angeles Avengers in 2004. He was unproductive in that year, as he was on injured reserve. In 2005, he was picked up by the Philadelphia Soul and has been there since (though the 2009 AFL season has been canceled). Obviously, he's often used as a blocker but he is often given the ball in short yardage situations as well. Statistically, Ours had his best seasons in 2006 and 2007 when he gained 130 and 129 yards respectively. His statistics decreased in 2008 but he did help his team win the Arenabowl, the AFL championship.

Finally, Wes Ours didn't just get to play the game he loves, he gets to coach it too.

Khori Ivy: For the first three years of his career, he hopped from one practice squad to another as well as spent a season in NFL Europe. The Patriots originally signed Ivy in 2001 and he then moved to the Bengals the before the end of the season. In 2002, Ivy was transferred to NFL Europe's Barcelona Dragons. He caught 27 passes in Spain and gained 350 yards. In 2003, he was picked up by the Steeler. During preseason, Ivy took a tough hit from the Cowboy's Darren Woodson (who was fined for the hit). He suffered a concussion and was cut shortly afterward.

Ivy then moved to the AFL's Detroit Fury. During the 2004 training camp he suffered a season ending ACL tear. In 2005, the Los Angeles Avengers picked Ivy up as a free agent. That year he gained 200 yards on 20 receptions for 6 touchdowns. The following offseason, the Utah Blaze chose Ivy in their expansion draft. However, he was waived in January 2006 and has not since played football professionally.

Vikings Look at White

Source: Vikes targeting 'slash' QB after workout
By Alex Marvez
FOX Sports, April 21, 2009

A source told that the Vikings conducted a private workout Tuesday with White. Minnesota has interest in White as a quarterback and wide receiver, the source said.
. . .
Sage Rosenfels, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Houston, and incumbent Tarvaris Jackson are set to compete for Minnesota's starting quarterback spot during the preseason.
. . .

Monday, April 20, 2009

Baseball a Backup for White?

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News writes:
He has been selected three times in Major League Baseball drafts -- twice by the Angels and once by the Reds -- but continually turned down the money to play college football.

I asked him at the combine in March how difficult it was to say no to baseball.

"I really haven't said no," White said. "I've been focusing on my football career."

So baseball remains at least a back burner option for White (6-0, 197).

Lankster Visits Steelers

Last three prospects visit Steelers
By Ed Bouchette
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, April 17, 2009

The Steelers are entertaining their final three college prospects today before next weekend's draft. They are cornerback Ellis Lankster of West Virginia, cornerback Mike Mickens of Cincinnati and wide receiver Louis Murphy of Florida.
. . .

Myles Signed by CFL Team

Riders Filling Needs At Receiver
By Jamie Nye
CKOM, April 17, 2009

If there is one position the Saskatchewan Roughriders appear to be lacking going into training camp is import receivers. Carl Berman, Gerran Walker, and Weston Dressler are the only players on the roster with CFL experience.

Today the Riders hope they helped their depth as the fight for the two wide out positions will be a great story in training camp. Two more import receivers signed one year contracts with an option. West Virginia grad Brandon Myles and Southeastern Louisiana alum Byron Ross have been locked up by the Riders.
. . .

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

White Receives More Interest reports:
The Philadelphia Eagles have scheduled a workout for White later this week, and he is expected to be put through quarterback and positional drills. White also has interviews scheduled with the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots, who seem to be doing extensive homework on him.
So, just to review, the following teams have shown specific interest in White:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lankster Visits the Bears

Two more names surface for pre-draft visits
By Brad Biggs
The Chicago Sun Times, April 4, 2009

Two more names have surfaced of players who visited Halas Hall last week, bringing to 13 the total number of names we have learned on the Bears' list of pre-draft visits.'s Adam Caplan reports that Texas Christian running back Aaron Brown and West Virginia cornerback Ellis Lankster were in town for a look. Both are considered potential late-round draft selections. Brown rushed for 2,616 yards for the Horned Frogs but is considered a little slim at 6-foot, 200 pounds. Lankster, 5-9, 191, did well for himself at the Senior Bowl and is believed to be a player the Bears have their eyes on. College scouting director Greg Gabriel attended the Mountaineers' pro day.
. . .

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Alexander Highlights

I've been slacking lately. But here's a nice little Joe Alexander video to make up for it:

And from MSN Sports:
Joe Alexander scored a season-high 16 points in Milwaukee’s 107-78 win over New Jersey Monday night. Alexander has made 52 appearances this year and is averaging 4.6 points per game. Look for Alexander to see expanded action with Milwaukee now out of playoff contention.

Cobourne Paranoid after Surgery

Cobourne coy on surgery
'I have enemies out there'
By Herb Zurkowsky
The Gazette, March 30, 2009

All Avon Cobourne will admit to at this point is undergoing surgery last Friday. And the procedure was performed in Montreal.

Although the Alouettes' starting tailback won't disclose the nature of the procedure, he emphatically stated the surgery won't prevent him from being ready for training camp on June 7.

"I have enemies out there," he told The Gazette late Friday. "Whatever it is, I haven't spoken to the right people to tell you. It was just something I needed to do, due to the wear and tear. And I wouldn't have done it unless it meant I'd be better off."

Translation: Cobourne didn't have permission from Als management to say anything more. Indeed, he was surprised The Gazette learned of the surgery.
. . .
Despite playing only 12 regular-season games, Cobourne still rushed for a team-leading 950 yards and came third overall in the Canadian Football League. Had he not been hurt, Cobourne might have become the first player in league history to gain 1,000 yards in both rushing and receiving. He caught 66 passes for 616 yards.

Cobourne's Cinderella story is now well known. He had to wait until his third pro season before getting the opportunity from new head coach Marc Trestman to play regularly in the offensive backfield. Prior to that, Cobourne was limited to special teams play. He was even forced to try out at linebacker in 2007 by an ill-advised coaching staff to justify his spot on the roster.
. . .
The job might be Cobourne's to lose at camp, but he won't go through it unchallenged. He's one of five tailbacks on the Als' roster, including Mike Imoh, Dahrran Diedrick along with Brandon Whitaker and Chris Jennings, both of whom practised with Montreal last season.

"It's do or die every play and practice," Cobourne said. "Someone will have to be that much better than me, and I don't feel there's anyone out there that is."

Over an 18-game season, Cobourne believes he's capable of rushing for 1,700 yards. At 5-foot-8 and 193 pounds, it might now be paramount for Cobourne, who has a year and an option remaining on his contract, to prove he can remain injury-free.
. . .