Post-Combine Reactions

3 03 2012

The NFL combine is wrapped-up and besides the college pro days, the NFL Draft is on the homestretch. The combine is a shorts-and-shirts event; where uber-athletes can show their elite athleticism and ability to run, jump and power through the workouts.

However, football isn’t played in shorts or shirts, so one has to be cautious with being over reactionary when evaluating the performances of particular prospects. Especially if an athlete doesn’t perform as well in the games as he does at the combine. This is where NFL evaluators have to cross reference the performances at the combine with the game tape.

Here are some ‘risers’ and ‘fallers’ from the combine:


Cordy Glenn G/OT Georgia: The big man ran a sub 5.00 40 time, which is exceptional (and downright ungodly) for a man that stands at 6’5” and weighs 348 pounds. Glenn can play right tackle or guard in the NFL, and that versatility will be coveted by NFL teams.

Dontari Poe DT Memphis: Poe was perhaps the most impressive athlete at the combine. Out of 300 plus participants, Poe was an absolute freak-of-nature. Poe weighed-in at 346 pounds and ran faster than most prospects 100 pounds less at 4.87 second 40-yard-dash. Poe played at Memphis, which calls into question his level of competition, but his level of athleticism and size compares to NFL All-pro Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens. Yes, he can be that good.

Stephen Hill WR Georgia Tech: Before the combine, Hill was predicted to have a good showing at the combine, but exceeded expectations by running a 4.36 and having a vertical jump of 39.5 inches. Playing in a run-oriented offense at Georgia Tech, Hill only had 28 receptions for 820 yards, but he had a 29.3 yards per reception average, which is just an astronomical number. Hill has very little experience running an NFL route tree, and lacks strength to beat man-press, but his size-speed ratio will be too tempting to pass for NFL teams in the draft.


Vontaze Burfict LB Arizona St: The prospect who had the most to prove after a down 2011 season and numerous on-the-field problems, flopped like a Paul McCartney solo album. Burfict ran slow, jumped short and reportedly performed poorly in the interviews with teams. Once touted as a 1st round prospect, Burfict has a legitimate chance at dropping to the 4th or 5th round. Burfict has one more opportunity to showcase his incredible athleticism that he displayed his freshmen and sophomore year at his pro day.

Kendall Wright WR Baylor: When you are less than 6’ and only weigh-in at 196 pounds, you need to be fast and explosive. Wright, considered at top-ten pick, disappointed by running a 4.61 second forty. Now there needs to be a disclaimer for Wright: He looked explosive in drills, events and has a chance to redeem himself at his pro day. However, he needs to run a 4.4 to be selected in the 1st round.

The NFL Draft is less than two months away and each day will be filled with rumors and smoke-screens from teams trying to be surreptitious about the player they covet. Pro days will dot the calendar as universities will host scouts, coaches and general mangers to showcase their players who weren’t invited to the combine or need a second chance to perform.

Enjoy the ride because we are rapidly approaching the peak!


NFL Combine

25 02 2012

This weekend marks one of the biggest events and spectacles in the NFL off season: The NFL Combine. The combine features over 300 top NFL prospects jockeying for a higher draft choice and a more lucrative financial contract.

Here is a the itinerary of the combine:

The combine is not only an event to assess potential NFL players, but also an opportunity for agents and general mangers to start talking about contract negotiations of players already in the league.

The process of the combine can be grueling. From being prodded and poked by every team’s medical staff, to numerous interviews with scouts, general mangers, coaches and massive contingent of media members. The combine is a four day job interview with millions of dollars at stake.

Today the offensive line goes through the various on-field drills. Here is an example of one the drills presented by NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock.

The combine is also a chance for non-Division I athletes to showcase their skills and get noticed. Most of these players rarely play on television, and the combine allows these players to be better acquainted with teams and their evaluating staff.

Here is a list of some small school athletes that I will personally be focusing on:

Janoris Jenkins North Alabama

Amini Silatolu Midwestern State

Dontari Poe Memphis

Josh Norman Coastal Carolina

Trumaine Johnson

Check back this week for my reactions from the event, and who I believe were ‘risers‘ and ‘fallers’. Tune into NFL Network and enjoy the weekend!

What I learned

16 12 2011

This class has taken me to heights I didn’t think I could possible muster. When I first entered the class, the daunting task of learning difficult programs like Photoshop and Final Cut seemed almost insurmountable. But with criticism and continued practice, I was able to create something I didn’t believe I could at the beginning of the year. My project: A New Libya, turned out to be the climax of the my young journalism career. I was able to create something real and humanizing, while connecting and building a relationship with the subject.

I hope as a transition to the professional world of journalism that I continue building upon these skills and become a successful all-around journalist. I realize that as journalism changes and is forced to adapt to public needs, that journalists are required to adapt also. I look forward to the upcoming challenges directed towards me in the future.

Punched Out: Derrick Boogard

16 12 2011

Recently in class we watched a piece done about Derrick Boogard, an enforcer in the NHL. The piece was done by the New York Times over a sixth month period, and dove deeply in the abusive nature of Boogard’s life. Boogard had suffered from so many concussions that his brain had started to have the onset stages of dementia.

Throughout his life, Boogard was able to progress in the hockey world through his physical nature and propensity for fighting. The piece challenges viewers to understand the dangers of repeated head trauma and how the repeated blows to the head can alter personality and lead to permanent changes.


Boogard died of drug overdose. His family believed the constant and chronic pain from fighting led to the abuse of painkillers. The NY Times did an excellent job at capturing the visceral nature of hockey and how some like Boogard, are forced to sacrifice everything just to fulfill their dreams.

Swifting Landscape: Changes in Media

12 11 2011

As we continue to look at the ongoing changes in the media landscape, it’s vital yo realize the impact of Steve Jobs. The late Jobs was the catalyst for a whirlwind of changes that is currently affecting the media. Jobs revolutionized media by inventing current smartphones and changing the way people get their news and how they get it. Instead of reading a website on your personal computer or a newspaper, people are now turning to their phones and tablets to gather the news.

This change has forced media to turn to more visual ways of presenting news. Instead of just text, people want pictures, graphs, video and illustrations. As aspiring journalists, we need to be aware of these rapid change and become fluent in the production and editing of these different ways of producing media.

In conclusion, I believe this change is good for journalists. Journalists tend to gravitate towards one skill; writing or photography for example. But with media corps. downsizing, traditional ways of journalism and educating journalists is changing. No longer can you be just a writer or photographer in this new media landscape. You have to well-rounded in all facets of media and be able to transition to each one smoothly.

Mobile Assignment: Show Me State Games Comes to MU

9 11 2011


Clayton Hill, Mizzou Rec Coordinator, helped organize and protect participants at the Show Me State Games in Columbia, MO. (J2150/Dalton Barker)

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Show Me State Games returned this past weekend with 3v3 soccer games. The games were held on Saturday and Sunday, and teams from around the state were there to compete.

According to Mizzou Rec staff member Clayton Hill, the event was well attended, “Stankowski Field was absolutely packed.” The age range ran from young kids to adults, “I swear I saw a guy that was 26.”

Show Me State Games are a staple at MU, from basketball to volleyball, the recreation department continues to strive to make the games as fun and safe as possible.

“We want to protect our participants and our facilities,” Hill said. Hill stressed that safety and well-being are his main concerns during the games.

“Everything went smoothly…it was a neat experience.”

Using Info graphics

7 11 2011

Info graphics can be such a tedious process for upcoming journalist. So much information has to be evenly organized in a clean manner for the reader to clearly understand. One wrong decision on the esthetic outlay of the graphic can make it difficult for your audience to read or interpret the data.

Nathan Fleischmann joined our discussion last Monday, and helped explain the four simple steps to making a successful info graphic. Step 1: Research. Research is the base of your info graphic, like the foundation of your house, it must be steady and fully-fleshed out. If you have good information and a plethora of it, you can size it down and make it easier for the reader. Which shows how important Step 2 is, editing. Editing allows you to narrow the lense of your research and focus on what you want your reader to focus on. Step 3 is plotting, which determines how exactly you will lay out the information. If your information isn’t in a conducive manner, readers will be confused and move-on quickly. Finally we have Step 4 Review, always rechecking your source and editing your final draft is essential in creating a successful info graphic. No matter how creative you are, if your info is inaccurate it will be cast aside immediately.

Info graphics aren’t just thrown together to make a pretty diversion for a readers eye. They aren’t meant to be subtle page breaks from your eyes constant progression through the text. It is meant to depict large amounts of information efficiently and accurately. But it requires a lot of hard work to be properly understood. Practicing these steps will ensure that your info graphic is ready to publish.