|04-01-2008, 10:21 AM||#1|
Is this thing on???
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tulsa, OK
Jonathan Stewart or Tashard Choice?
Take this with a grain of salt. Posted on fox.com website:
Oregon's Stewart could be draft's hidden gem
by Adam Schein
I could barely get out a hello to former Oregon star Jonathan Stewart.
Stewart, the special running back who dazzled on the collegiate level with a brilliant and beautiful combination of power and speed, recently had surgery to correct turf toe. He treated my introduction like a defender in his path.
"Just to get the record straight, the recovery isn't 4-6 months. It is 3-4 months. I will be ready for training camp."
We got it, Jonathan.
And hopefully, so does the rest of the NFL.
You see, in an NFL draft that lacks a bevy of impact players, Stewart has the chance to be the steal of the 2008 annual selection meeting.
Shame on the general manager who gets spooked by Stewart's toe surgery. This kid can do it all and has the body of work to prove it. He was a first-team All-Pac-10 running back. He set an Oregon record with 1,722 rushing yards, which ranks as the ninth-best single-season mark in conference history. He averaged a whopping 6.2 yards a carry and pounded in 11 touchdowns. Stewart was also a special kick returner, averaging 27 yards per return.
And if that wasn't enough, Stewart developed an ultra-special knack for not turning over the football.
At 5-foot-10 and 235 pounds, he has the size and strength of a fullback. He bursts like a scat back. And Stewart has the "it" factor that you simply cannot teach.
How many players have been compared to Larry Johnson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Curtis Martin? How many players say they want to be a blend of Bo Jackson and Walter Payton, and then look like it on the field?
Stewart has heard the comparisons. And while he wants his own identity, he won't shy away from being compared to some of the best runners this decade.
He said, "Jonathan Stewart is Jonathan Stewart. I've heard the LaDainian Tomlinson comparisons and I agree with them. I think my style is also very similar to Curtis Martin. He was such a tough player. I pride myself on that. And I can also be Larry Johnson with his power. He is big and he is fast and he gets the yards necessary. That's what I do."
Stewart refuses to believe his stock will fall after the surgery, and he's correct. It shouldn't. Stewart gets rightly angry at mock drafts that have him slipping, some even out of the first round. He had toe surgery on the advice of several NFL doctors after being poked and examined at the combine. Several scouts and general managers were impressed that he still ran at the combine despite the toe injury.
On his rehab, Stewart told us, "It's going well. I got my stitches out and I am in a walking boot. It's really making progress. I just have to stay off of it as much as possible."
And there's one other myth that drives Stewart down right batty: The label that he is injury prone.
Stewart said sternly, "I am not injury prone. I've played through injuries, the normal aches and pains. My freshman year (when he was limited to 10 games with an ankle injury as a true freshman) was the only year where injuries limited me to not seeing the field as much as I would like to. After that, I learned to play through pain and tough it up.
"I want to play every game. I play every snap. I had an ankle injury and now this toe. That's been the only problems I have ever had playing football. It hasn't slowed me down yet and it won't slow me down. I had 250 yards against a very good South Florida team on a messed-up toe in our last game of the season. That's me. That's how I play through. That should show a lot."
(Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images)
There are some teams that should consider calling Stewart's name in Round 1. The Bears are desperate for a running back with toughness at 14. The Lions don't have a legit starting running back. The Cardinals crave a young back. Stewart, even if he sat out training camp, would be the starter by midseason in Houston and thrive behind an Alex Gibbs-coached line. Dallas needs to replace Julius Jones and has two picks in the first round. While Seattle signed Jones and T.J. Duckett, neither one has the star potential of Stewart. San Diego will draft a running back at some point, though Round 1 would be a stretch. But if for some reason Stewart is still on the board, he'd clearly be the best player left.
Stewart tells us he has a scheduled visit with the Cowboys coming up in early April. A Marion Barber/Stewart combination could be scary. With Barber unsigned past this year, it would make a lot of sense.
Stewart also says he really clicked with the staffs from Denver and Chicago. His lifelong dream is to play in front of the hometown folks in the great Northwest and be a Seahawk. He also loved rooting for Emmitt Smith's Cowboys teams.
I laugh at the March and early April "stock up, stock down" chatter. A body of work is a body of work. Stewart is a top prospect in the draft. He was advised to have toe surgery, and so he did. The last thing you want to do is bet against a return to brilliance.
9 Nuggets of Wisdom
1) With all of the foolish Pacman Jones talk, Jerry Jones better rethink his priorities at cornerback. Pro Bowler Terrance Newman is a free agent at the end of the year. You can't let him go. Newman deserves DeAngelo Hall money. He told us he'd like a deal before the start of the season, and he's thinking in the range of "7 years, $70 million and Halle Berry. That would be just about DeAngelo." Yes it would, Terrance. Yes it would.
2) For the record, I love the Hall deal from a Raiders perspective. If they can keep Hall, Nnamdi Asomugha and Fabian Washington, it will represent an elite trio at the cornerback position. Don't question Hall's character. We've talked to Keith Brooking, Warrick Dunn and Michael Boley about just how miserable life was in Atlanta last year under the coward Bobby Petrino.
3) New Dolphins Keith Davis and Jason Ferguson are classic "Parcells guys." And for what it's worth, while both claim they plan on having a lot of fun with Jason Taylor and his dancing ways, they emphatically claim the lifetime Dolphin is going to fit in perfectly in the Parcells/Jeff Ireland/Tony Sparano way of thinking. I'm not totally convinced Taylor will be there, but I respect their thoughts on the matter.
Steve Smith is happy that he's got WR help in Carolina. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)
4) In chatting with Steve Smith last week, Carolina's star receiver was downright giddy about the club picking up Muhsin Muhammad and D.J. Hackett (what a fit!). It represents a major upgrade in talent, experience and work ethic over ex-Panthers Keary Colbert and Drew Carter, as well as Dwayne Jarrett, who needs to grow up before his second season in Carolina.
Smith says Jake Delhomme is coming back nicely from Tommy John surgery and that he loved how Matt Moore played down the stretch. Smith even went out of his way to praise the potential of Brett Basanez.
While I love the Hackett acquisition and reuniting Smith and Muhammad, color me skeptical on the quarterback situation. I am very concerned about Delhomme's health. I really think the Panthers need to draft a quarterback at some point in the draft.
5) Pittsburgh's signing of Justin Hartwig was one of the most underrated moves of the off-season. Hartwig represents a major upgrade at center. He's an old-school throwback who became intoxicated on Steelers tradition after talking to former Steelers quarterback Neil O'Donnell. The two were teammates in Tennessee.
6) So what happens with you are 34 years old, coming off surgery, can't kick in bad weather, and aren't asked back in New Orleans? Obviously, you get a chance to kick in Seattle. Going from Josh Brown to Olindo Mare is a major downgrade and risk.
7) Chris Cooley confesses that it's a bit much to shift from Al Saunders' playbook to Jim Zorn's style. But he swears that Jason Campbell has the football savvy and work ethic to make it as smooth as possible.
8) I'm very intrigued by Georgia Tech running back Tashard Choice. He's wise beyond his years after leaving Oklahoma when his mom was sick and he had three brothers who had run-ins with the law. Choice enjoyed great success under Chan Gailey at Georgia Tech. He's a three-down running back who was a team leader and classic warrior. Choice led the ACC in rushing with 1,379 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He has tree trunk-type legs that give him power.
Some team, like San Diego, Detroit, Houston, Carolina or Denver — or maybe even the Chiefs now that Gailey is the offensive coordinator in Kansas City — is going to get a true professional in the third round.
9) Less than 24 hours after Brandon Marshall texted Adam Schefter from the NFL Network, we had Brandon Marshall live on our radio show explaining that he did indeed slip on a McDonald's wrapper and injure his forearm. He stayed with the story before declaring he had to go. We then would come to find out that it wasn't true (what a shock!) and that Marshall needed surgery after wrestling with his brother.
As a player, he's a star in the making. But Marshall needs a major lesson in maturity.
Interviews with Stewart, Choice, Smith, Davis, Ferguson, Choice, Dunn, Boley, Brooking, Hartwig, and Marshall were done live on the Sirius Blitz on Sirius NFL Radio.
Last edited by cmhargrove; 04-01-2008 at 10:50 AM..
|04-01-2008, 12:56 PM||#4|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Orlando, Florida
Jack Del rio
|04-01-2008, 04:05 PM||#5|
Is this thing on???
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tulsa, OK
I'll have to say that over the years, I always hoped we could find the next Terrell Davis. You think that someone like Portis will fill his shoes, and I think Clinton would have been great if he stayed here.
However, after watching some video of Tashard Choice, he is the first runner that ever physically reminded me of Terrell. This kid has power, great cuts, decisiveness, and he will not be denied at the goal line. He's no burner, but man this kid could have a huge career in Denver.