When I played the game of football I used what my Creator gave me to the best of my ability. I was too small, too weak, too slow…too everything but was blessed with playing in the National Football League for ten years - even though I shouldn't have been there ten days.
And this is why I'm fascinated by players that have been gifted with so much more. Before we proceed with the 2012 Freakshow for this year's NFL Draft, I offer this disclaimer: to be called a "freak" in my world is a term of endearment.
"Freaks play football" and have existed in the game of football since our species began pummeling each other and the inception of the NFL did nothing to diminish this maxim. NFL executives, scouts and coaches have searched the world high and low, near and far for the biggest, strongest, fastest, quickest and most powerful people on the planet. Ted Hendricks, Bob Hayes, LC Greenwood, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bubba Smith, Deacon Jones, Harold Carmichael, Jerry Ball and many more are proof of this truism.
I do not use the word "freak" in any way, shape or form with a negative connotation and certainly don't mean to offend those that may use this word to describe the less fortunate plight of some people. I use the word within the context of which I lived, played and admired for so many years: the locker room.
And so, without delay or hesitation, I offer you the most rare, exceptional and unique human beings in this year's NFL draft - regardless of where they may be drafted. So I invite you to step right up and don't be shy…because you will not believe your eyes!
Dontari Poe: DT Memphis 6-4 346 4.89 (40) 44 Reps Bench
Good: Think of Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens. Poe is thick and has a great lower half. Solid and put together. Carries his weight extremely well and can play at 350. Can't get him out of the weight room. Benched 225 forty- four times - best at the combine.
Plays with great pad level and has a natural bend that allows him to get leverage. Quick and violent off the ball. Loves to play in the trenches and makes his way through traffic well. Holds up at the point-of-attack well. Takes on blockers and fits nicely between double- teams. Possesses all the tools to be an excelent pass-rusher at the next level. Pushes the pocket and generates consistent pressure inside. Would be able to play in either a 4-3 of 3-4 scheme.
Needs to put in work developing his trade but seems to display the willingness to get better.
Bad: Needs to learn the game. Doesn't do a great job of recognizing the play and reacting to it. Doesn't use his hands well and needs to extend his arms at the point of attack. Doesn't get consistent separation to get off blocks.
Doesn't play with a running motor. Needs to show consistency in effort on the field.
Freak Factor: 8.5 Dontari moves like a linebacker. The extreme combination of size, speed and power makes him King Freak in this year's draft. Poe is a boon or bust player with a tremendous upside.
Bruce Irvin: DE West "By God" Virginia 6-3 245 4.41 (40) 6.70 3 Cone Drill
Good: Rare combination of size and speed. Ran a 4.41 at the combine and had a three-cone time (6.70) that is fast for cornerbacks. Possesses a great first step and can get the edge easily.
Explosive off the ball and has the athleticism to seek, destroy and create havoc on the grid.
If he ever develops nuance and learns to use his hands better and creates a consistent counter move to getting the edge, he could be one of the best pass rushers in the league.
Bad: Bruce needs to get stronger. In addition, scouts worry about his ability to play in the complicated schemes of the next level. Doesn't show a natural desire to mix it up and get his hands bloody. Gets covered up easily and doesn't always set the edge well.
Freak Factor: 9.0