Thursday, September 3, 2015

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In my re-review of Derek Carr, I was fairly positive I would change my mind on him. A lot of the things I thought about him were definitely wrong, but for the most part I’m OK with him as a Vikings fit. I think he requires a lot more caution than Bridgewater or Bortles in terms of evaluation, and as you’ll see, there are a lot of pitfalls.

Carr is best known for being an extremely productive, statistics-friendly passer with over 5000 yards this season, and a 50:8 TD/INT ratio. He has one of the strongest arms in the draft and a brother who was a previous flame-out in the NFL. The statistics won’t matter, but he’s certainly an intriguing prospect.

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The Minnesota Vikings are rounding out their depth chart for veteran competition before the draft, and have signed former Philadelphia Eagles safety Kurt Coleman.

To go along with potential Pro Bowl-level talent Harrison Smith, the Vikings have Jamarca Sanford, Andrew Sendejo, Mistral Raymond, Robert Blanton and Brandan Bishop.

Sanford has played at an above-average level for the past two years, and Sendejo looks to be a rising talent. Mistral Raymond, for a short period of time, was expected to be the starter but lost out due to injury and Sanford’s higher level of play. From a depth perspective, the Vikings are in a fantastic place, a complete turnaround from three years ago.

Coleman, unfortunately, hasn’t shown the kind of talent with the Eagles (and three defensive coordinators) to leapfrog Sendejo or Sanford for a starting role, but is definitely in the mix as a depth player and special teams standout.

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{Motivated. Passionate. Intelligent. Positive. Forthright.}

The above adjectives collaboratively describe father, football analyst, Twitter buff and former NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels.

Although Rosenfels’ career did not spend much time in the spotlight, his dynamic personality and leadership—both on and off the field—had a significant impact in the league and especially during his time here in Minnesota.

During the decade that Rosenfels spent in the NFL (2002-2012), he occupied five different rosters and played under several offenses and coaching systems. Although he never served full time in a starting role, Rosenfels gained the insight, skills and leadership that made him a valuable element for any squad.

A well-rounded athlete, Rosenfels attended Maquotketa (Iowa) Community High School where he lettered not only in football but also basketball, baseball, tennis and track. Rosenfels knew he would need to narrow his focus, however; after his final season of football, the highschool senior sat down with his parents and discussed which sport he should play in college. Physically, Rosenfels was built for football—he and his family agreed that it was the sport he would be most successful in.

“I loved basketball, but we knew I wouldn’t improve [on that] much more,” Rosenfels said. “We felt I had a lot of untapped potential in football.”[1] Soon after the discussion with his parents, a scholarship offer from Iowa State sealed the deal.

Rosenfels played four different positions while in high school, filling roles on both sides of the field. He taught himself to kick and punt as a sophomore, and he also dabbled a bit at corner and safety. “But let’s just say tackling was not my strength,” he quipped.

“Coming from a small town, a lot of players played both ways, as there are only so many good athletes on a team,” Rosenfels explained. He always knew that QB was the position he wanted to play permanently, though, and it was at that position that Iowa State recruited him.

While at ISU, Rosenfels led the Cyclones to an 8-3 record in 2000. He was a two-year starter, playing a key role in wins against major opponents like Iowa, Kansas and Colorado. The Cyclones played in the Bowl in Phoenix that same season, and Rosenfels led the team to the first bowl victory in ISU history. His 308 yards and two touchdowns earned him the Offensive MVP title.

Rosenfels was a “quiet success” story in college. In fact, he was defined in a 2000 article as one of the top NFL prospects among senior QB’s—The Gazette’s Jim Ecker listed him alongside Drew Brees. When Rosenfels entered the Draft in 2001, however, many NFL Scouts weren’t sure how soon he would be picked up. Rosenfels fell to the fourth round of the draft. He was the sixth quarterback selected in a draft with premier talent at that position, including Brees and Michael Vick.

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Wrestling with Blake Bortles as a prospect has both been instructive for me as an evaluator and reinforcement of the system of methodical, granular scouting. A first (as well as second, and possibly even third) look at Bortles as a prospect had me wondering where the hype was coming from and why he’d be worth more than a 3rd round pick, optimistically.

Breaking down his strengths one by one and casting light on his particular issues really helps explain why Bortles is so highly valued by others, and reportedly within the NFL. Once again, we can evaluate Bortles using the same categories that we used to look at Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel: Accuracy, Delivery, Pocket Presence, Ball Velocity, Field Sense, Scrambling/Running, Intangibles and Primary Concerns.

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