A Good Draft Day For Warriors
Friday - May 06, 2009
Hawaii football fans were excited to see former Warriors David Veikune and Ryan Mouton go in the second and third rounds, respectively, in the recent NFL draft. Both players went as high as anybody had predicted, and when you throw in long snapper Jake Ingrams’ selection in the sixth round, it was a banner weekend for UH. It was also good news for Josh Leonard and Jameel Dowling, who received free-agent contracts.
But the landscape has changed, and where just a couple of years ago players like former linebackers Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard would have had their choice of free-agent opportunities, as of this writing Elimimian has received a tryout with Buffalo and Leonard not even that. And they were not alone. Former Boise State star running back Ian Johnson went undrafted and got a free-agent contract with Minnesota, while record-setting former Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell got only a tryout with the Cleveland Browns. Clearly, college productivity alone is not enough to ensure an investment by NFL teams they need to project a player as able to compete at the next level.
For those who were drafted high, the money is still good, insanely so if you are No.1 pick Matthew Stafford, who received a six-year contract with a guaranteed $41 million. According to former Warrior and current sports agent Leo Goeas, Cleveland’s No. 52 pick in the second round will be worth $1.65 million in guaranteed money as part of a four-year, $3.2-million deal for Veikune, and Tennessee’s third-round selection at No. 94 overall will net Mouton roughly $600,000 guaranteed plus a rookie salary of $310,000. It’s a feast at the top and a famine at the bottom in the NFL.
The recently completed Warrior Bowl at Aloha Stadium gave rise to high expectations for the University of Hawaii’s offense next season. Starting QB Greg Alexander as well as backups Brent Rausch and Shane Austin looked ready for primetime, and the quality and depth at receiver in unprecedented. The offensive line looked good, and running back Leon Wright-Jackson and Inoke Funaki will likely be pushed by a pair of newcomers in the fall. The offense seemed eons ahead of where it was last year. The defense appears to have some talented athletes, yet will need to get an identity by the time the season opens against Central Arkansas on Sept 5.
It’s impossible to watch former St. Anthony of Maui star and current Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino and not be infected by his enthusiasm and passion. Last week Victorino was a human highlight reel with key hits and defensive gems. As for the folks at ESPN the Magazine who rated the Phillies centerfield defense as “average,” maybe someone should send them the video of Victorino making a sliding catch at the wall in right center with his back to home plate. It’s easy to see why Victorino has become a huge favorite of Phillies fans.
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