The 2007 NFL Draft finally arrives this weekend, and though I've made it clear that I think the television coverage is lacking, I - like many of you - will be tuned in, anyway.
Fortunately, I have a ridiculous amount of work to do this weekend, so I have a built-in reason to make sure I keep the damn television on mute.
This year's draft is far less interesting than last year's, both on a national level and from a Longhorn-centric perspective. Still, it's always big news - so much so that, if you really wanted to find out if it's possible to fill up a GMail inbox, setting up an news alert for the key words "NFL Draft" would probably be your best way to find out.
With that in mind, I decided to do what I did for the Kevin Durant story and work the telephones for some inside information. The two people that I talked to gave me some great insights on the Longhorns likely to be drafted this weekend, though it's not going to help us figure out which particular team Texas' draftees will wind up with.
What follows are the takes from two insiders (one NFL talent scout, one independent evaluator - both of whom wish to remain anonymous) on Texas' players in the draft.
[An official thank you to you-know-who-you-are for getting me the phone numbers I needed.]
Scout: We generally don't consider drafting guards in the first round, but I'm not sure Blalock isn't worth it. I'll put it this way: drafting a guard early is a luxury. We can't afford that luxury this year, but there are teams which can and are looking closely at him. The two things I want out of a line prospect are multiple years as a starter and a mean streak. Blalock's got both, and he's strong as an ox. He's going to have a long career.
Independent: The question teams will be asking themselves is: "How good a guard is he going to be? Will Shields good? Or merely a consistent starter?" If a team decides he can be a Pro Bowl-type player, he could get a first round selection. Otherwise, he'll go in the second round. Everyone likes him.
Scout: We need help in our secondary, but we won't be drafting Ross. Some like him more than others, but I wonder whether he's not better suited to play safety. I actually think he's a bit of a tweener.
Independent: The reviews on Ross are mixed. Some think he's a playmaker who can be coached up to being a better corner than he currently is. Others think he's just going to be good for nickel help. But hey, he excelled at a premium position in the NFL Draft. He'll get taken early.
Scout: He's intriguing, but I'm not sold on him. He disappears too often. To me, that's scary. He has potential, but I'd only recommend him if he slipped to the third round.
Independent: There are concerns that he's not a playmaker, but I know a lot of teams think he can be a steady contributor. There's plenty of value in that. I suspect he'll be off the board by round three.
Scout: Brown is what you NFL writers [Ha! --ed] call a sleeper. Everyone's a little bit on edge about character-question guys, but the people we've talked to about Brown assure us that he's a really good kid. He had a disappointing senior year, but he's got the potential.
Independent: Brown's problem is that he's had two off-field marijuana incidents in one calendar year. Bad, bad timing with the Commissioner cracking down on behavior problems. He tested out well, though, so he won't fall too far. Kind of an interesting prospect. I think he's an interesting test case with regards to how teams penalize off-field issues.
Scout: He sure is a workout freak, but where does he play? I don't think he'd make it as an end in our league. Can he be a linebacker? I've got colleagues who think he might make it there, but players without a great fit at a position don't get taken early. Third or fourth round sounds right to me.
Independent: Robison is a classic case of a player who just needs one team to believe in him. I think his athleticism assures that of happening, and I suspect that a team that's more creative with how they use their personnel will be the one to nab him.
Scout: The best thing he has going for him is that he's a demon [Not sure what this means, and I didn't ask. -ed]. I just don't know that he's got the physical tools to make it, but he'll get picked somewhere. He'll have his chance to prove it.
Independent: We all know how much this draft is a meat market above all else, and Studdard's not exactly prime rib. Someone will draft him on Sunday, though.
Best of luck to all the Longhorns this weekend. You're all national title winners and will be fondly remembered for outstanding careers at Texas.