As our Pirates prepare for the opener against Appalachian State, other Pirates – former greats – are in NFL training camps across the country. The
big headlines have been about David Garrard down in Miami where he was named the No. 1 QB on the Dolphins first depth chart. God…he is one that I am pulling hard for. He is such a great ambassador for the ECU football program and the University – he and his wife. How can you not pull for him…a big scrimmage on Wednesday could go a long way for David if he performs well. I am now a Dolphins fan.
Another feel good story is Dwayne Harris, making big noise down in Dallas and looking every bit like a WR who will stick this time around. He is getting a ton of reps at the slot and is listed among the top four receivers currently. With the Cowboys likely to carry at least six and with his return skills, he has a great shot…and he is also a great alum for the program.
I was really happy to hear that Davon Drew is starting to get some positive feedback in Baltimore in his third year there. He can no longer be a practice squad guy, so he is under some pressure.
But with an injury to the starting tight end, he is getting a ton of reps and had a great, great practice on Tuesday. Keep it up Davon. While Drew is fighting to prove to the Ravens that he was worth the two years on practice squad, another ECU alum, Vonta Leach, need not prove anything to anyone. Largely considered the best fullback in the NFL, Leach is looking forward to another season of paving the way for Ray Rice. Leach, too, is a great ambassador for the Pirates.
Down in Tennessee, the word out of training camp is that Chris Johnson is on a mission to be CJ2K again. He came into camp ultra fit and head down competing. Though a little too brash for my likes, he is a kid with a great heart and loves his Pirates, so I am pulling for him to make another run at 2,000 in 2012.
Over in Green Bay, C.J. Wilson finds himself in a high-risk, high-reward situation where he is being shown the lion’s share of the reps at right defensive end as he is being given a full-on chance to take that starting position. He continues to do well, he could become a household name. Failure…well…he could fast fall off the map there. I am betting on C.J. – another Garrard-like Pirate!
His former linemate, Linval Joseph, pretty much locked up the starting job on the Giants with his play in the Super Bowl. He is now solidly part of one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, in his brief career thus far.
Around the league, other Pirates are making bids to stick. In Cleveland, I think Emanuel Davis has too steep of a climb to make that team. They have moved him to Strong Safety, which makes sense giving his penchant for busting chops, but currently he is listed at the 4th SS, meaning he is getting only scrap reps right now. He will need to make a big head turning play or two in he early pre-season games, IMO, to have a fair shot at the gig…
Steven Baker is the No. 3 right tackle in Indy right now, so he will get a shot to see the field in preseason. I like his chances better at right tackle than at left, because his size and strength give him a chance there. Left tackle is the more complex one and I think Steven simply did not have enough experience to make it at left tackle in the League…Up in Buffalo, Jay Ross has apparently moved to Defensive End, which is not a good sign for him…he may not be getting a chance there where he is listed as a 4th teamer…perhaps Dave Wannstedt will see enough in him to keep him on the practice squad
while they decide what position he is best at…Hard to believe that WR Terrance Copper is in his 9th year in the NFL…wow…time flies for sure. He will likely be a deep reserve who mentors the young guys, but he will make a player here are there and keep on representing…
In Washington, a pair of Pirates face different odds in making the roster. Tackle Willie Smith started 3 of the last 4 games for the Redskins last season filling in for the injured starter.
Though he is currently listed as a No. 3 on the first 2012 depth chart, he has a good shot at sticking again this season. WR Lance Lewis, however, may just have too many numbers in front of him. He will have to make some noticeable plays to have a shot at a practice squad slot, IMO, but sometimes talent has a way of finding the top…The beat goes on in Jacksonville for OT Guy Whimper where he started 15 games in 2011 and will challenge for the job again this season. He is such a great story, learning the position, really in the NFL…rare.
QB Dominique Davis is making a lot of noise down in Atlanta where he is vying to make the roster and reunite with Matt Ryan (whom he backed up at Boston College). Davis has done well enough already to be getting heavy mentions both by the coaches and by the press down there in Falcons country. Davis has a great shot to stick as a No. 3 there with the Falcons.