Sunday, April 27, 2008

New NFL Badgers

Congratulations to Jack Ikegwuonu, Taylor Mehlhaff, Paul Hubbard and Nick Hayden, who became the latest former Badgers to be selected by NFL teams.

Ike went in the fourth round to Philadelphia. The Eagles have two good corners in Lito Sheppard and Asante Samuel, but it seems like Sheppard wants out of Philly. Doesn't matter much for this year, since Ike isn't going to play while he's rehabbing his injured knee. The Eagles have been pretty successful drafting and grooming cornerbacks over the years — then letting them go in free agency. Ike landed in a good spot, hopefully his injury and off-field issues don't inhibit him from reaching his professional potential.

Checking the Saints' depth chart, it appears that Martin Gramatica is the lone kicker in New Orleans right now. God, I hope Taylor beats out out that little brat! Apparently Gramatica kicked pretty well in the Saints' last three games last season, and was expected to compete with Olindo Mare for the kicking job. If Mehlhaff can stick, what a great place to start his career — a dome. Ryan Longwell's whining for years about the advantages dome kickers have may have turned off some fans (read: me), but he's right.

Hubbard's going to have an uphill battle to win a job in Cleveland, which led by Joe Thomas had a terrific offense last season. Braylon Edwards is the go-to guy at wideout, they recently acquired Donte Stallworth, and Joe Jurevicius is a good #3. Paul will have to beat out the likes of Tim Carter, Josh Cribbs, and Travis Wilson for a job. It'll help if he can show value as a special teams player.

The Panthers came into the draft looking to address their defensive line, but didn't take a D-Lineman until Hayden in the sixth round. So that bodes well for his chances of sticking. Carolina's other guys at defensive tackle are Damione Lewis, Steve Williams, and Ma'ake Kemoeatu; their ends are Julius Peppers, Tyler Brayton, Charles Johnson, and Stanley McClover. So basically, Peppers and a bunch of nobodies. It'll be interesting to see if Hayden can stick at tackle, since he weighs less than 300 pounds.

Just read that the Packers signed Ken DeBauche, who we saw at Crazylegs yesterday. Don't figure he'll make the team, but it will be good for him to get in an NFL camp and show what he can do; guys bounce around so much at those kicking positions that you just need to impress one team. And Luke Swan signed with the Chiefs. Here's hoping Marcus Coleman gets a shot with someone.

Which of these Badgers ended up in the best situation?

And in other news, Jim Leonhard signed with Baltimore after spending his first three seasons in Buffalo.


Will said...

Guessing Hayden, because they needed a d-lineman after trading Kris Jenkins to the Jets. Was surprised that Melhaff went that high, but good luck to him. If I'm a Saints fan, I'd hope he would serve as the No. 1 kicker. If not, we just wasted a valuable draft pick. listed Hubbard as a "steal" for what it's worth. Wish the Giants drafted him late as opposed to grabbing Manningham in the third round (just a personal preference...I think Manningham will do just fine as a No. 4 or No. 5 receiver this season and benefit from teams not focusing on him as the No. 1 guy like in college).

What did you think of the Packers' quarterbacks?

Scott Tappa said...

I like the Packers' quarterbacks, provided Rodgers stays relatively healthy. It sort of reminds me of the mid-'90s when they had Favre, Brunell, and Detmer - all young, untested guys who turned out to be good enough to start. Don't think they absolutely need to bring in a veteran backup, although a team that close to the Super Bowl should probably have some experienced insurance at that position.