May 20, 2011

Rookie Bio - Orlando Franklin

History – Bio
Orlando Franklin was born December 16, 1987 in Kingston, Jamaica. His family soon moved to Canada where he was raised. He is currently 24 years old. Franklin didn’t take up football right away after moving to Canada. He didn’t know much about it, he just saw the other kids in his building carrying around their gear. It wasn’t until (at the time he was 8) one of his friends took him along to practice where he fell in love with the game. He says back then he was a lot faster than he is now so he played in the backfield.

High school
He began his high school work in Canada but moved to Florida as a junior. It's hard to overlook the 6-foot-6, 322-pound offensive lineman nicknamed "Big O" now, but that was precisely his family's fear while Franklin, who was born in Jamaica, was growing up in Toronto.

His family moved to Florida before his senior year of high school so he could get noticed by recruiters. Florida he would come to consider his home.

"It was real hard in Toronto," Franklin said. "I think that if I never moved from Toronto that I wouldn't be in the position that I'm in today. Once I got to the U.S. it was not real hard because I got a lot of opportunities to play really early and I got on the field and got recruited by a bunch of teams."

He played left tackle in 2005 as a senior at Atlantic High School under coach Chris Bean. Where he did not allow any sacks all season long. It led to Franklin being ranked as a four-star prospect by, as the 23rd-best offensive tackle in the nation.

Franklin decided to attend The University of Miami, it was like a big high school to him. He liked the atmosphere and was recruited as a guard. Due to some problems transferring credits from Canada to the US, he took a redshirt year in 2006.

In 2007, Franklin’s Freshman year, he ended up playing in all 12 games and starting three of them. Played in his first collegiate game against Marshall, started at left guard against NC State, Virginia Tech and Boston College. For the season he graded out at 95 percent, with 27 pancakes in 407 downs played. He played well enough to share the Rookie of the Year award with Graig Cooper.

Franklin suffered a left wrist injury against Florida State during the 2007 season, incurring a fracture and a pair of torn ligaments. That led to a postseason surgery and Franklin had to sit out the’08 spring practice.

His sophomore year of 2008 saw his weight increase to nearly 350 lb in the spring following the wrist operation. He quickly found that it wasn’t going to help him, as he’d thought. So he got back down to his playing weight - anywhere from 316 to 328 is how he describes it, and notes that playing heavier means more injuries, wear and tear on the body - he played in all 13 games at left guard that year. He had 11 starts, coming against Charleston Southern, Florida, Texas A&M, UCF, Florida State, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. Played well at Texas A&M, at NC State and against Virginia Tech grading out at 96 percent in all three games. Played a season-high 74 plays in the Emerald Bowl against Cal and graded 95 percent. Also played 70 snaps against UCF and 73 snaps at Virginia. Franklin tallied a team-high 38 pancake blocks and graded out at 94 percent that year.

As a junior in 2009, he continued to improve his game. It’s probably fair to keep in mind that this is a player who came to the game late. He didn’t have the benefits (or problems) of backyard games, pickup games as a youngster, or freshman through junior year coaching for his position in high school. Orlando saw that he had the body type to play the line in football, decided that would be his profession, packed up and moved from Canada to Florida to make that happen, and immediately played well at left tackle. That’s an impressive show of personal will and effort. By the time he was a junior in college, he was getting comfortable with his game.

That year, Franklin graded out at 95 percent with 51 pancake blocks and 13 lumberjacks. He started 11 games at left guard and one game at left tackle. You can talk about run blocking versus pass blocking, but when you combine them, you’ve got a player who grades out at 95 percent and who is increasing his pancake and lumberjack blocks each year.

He picked up a career-high 10 pancake blocks and graded out at 96 percent in the win over Duke. Also performed well against Georgia Tech (97 percent grade, eight pancake blocks, five lumberjacks); Wake Forest (97 percent grade, four pancake blocks); North Carolina (94 percent grade); Florida State (95 percent grade) and Oklahoma (93 percent grade).

He was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week after his performance in the regular season finale at USF when he started at left tackle. He was also an All-ACC Honorable Mention that year, and going against Oklahoma’s All-American DT Gerald McCoy, he reached a 93 percent grade, and limited McCoy to a half-tackle. He helped a Miami offense rack up 5,199 yards (3,405 passing, 1,794 rushing), which is the most since the 2004 season (4,593 yards) as the Miami offense is in line to become just the eighth team in school history to gain 5,000 yards in a season. Despite his late start into football, his game was continuing to improve.

And in 2010, it really did.

He played in 13 games that year, with 12 of them coming at left tackle. He’d gone from being a player with no experience, to moving into the left tackle slot as a senior in HS, and then moved to guard in college. Being promoted to the starter slot at left tackle essentially ranks a player as the best they have on their team’s OL. Franklin was up to the challenge - with him at left tackle, the Miami offense put up 5,477 yards (3,105 passing, 2,372 rushing), which is the second most in school history and the most since the 2002 season (6,074 yards). When you note that this offense managed over 3,000 yards passing, you start to understand that while he loves run blocking, his pass protection is far from poor. With over 2,370 yards rushing for UM that year, you also know that when he says that he loves to run block, he’s not kidding around. He led the team with 61 pancake blocks and 16 lumberjacks.

He was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week after his performance at Pittsburgh, grading out at 89 percent. Graded out at 95 percent against Ohio State and graded out at 94 percent against UNC.

Franklin made the Outland Trophy Watch List, was All-ACC Second Team as voted by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and was a Lombardi Trophy Candidate in 2010. He also received the U of Miami’s Sports Hall of Fame Unsung Hero Award. When he went up against top sackmaster Da’Quan Bowers of Clemson, he was up to the challenge. He’s played well against the best in the college ranks, and that’s all that he could have done up to now.

Over Franklin’s career at The University of Miami he played in 51 games over the four years. This was only one shy of the school record. He registered 29 combined touchdown-resulting blocks in his junior and senior seasons. Was a two-time All-ACC honouree and two-time ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honouree. Was also voted as the UMiami Sports Hall of Fame Unsung Hero in 2010. He also developed a reputation as a kindhearted teddy bear off the field who transforms himself into a mean player on it.


By the time he left school, he had produced quite a resume and tape with outstanding efforts against first-round picks Chris Long (2007) and Jason Pierre-Paul (2009). A guard who moved to left tackle as a senior, Franklin looked like he was built for the position. He has broad shoulders, long, 35-inch arms and 11 1/8-inch hand width to camouflage his still-developing technique, adequate athleticism and average instincts for the position. Even if he winds up at guard or right tackle, scouts are lauding his toughness and lineman's mentality.

He played the entire 2010 season with a torn meniscus in his left knee, an injury that occurred in 2009. Franklin said he opted to delay surgery because he felt the Hurricanes had "something special going" in 2010. He had surgery at the end of the season but deemed himself "98 percent" at the combine and chose to participate in all workouts.

Here is an analysis of Franklin’s blocking skills:

Pass blocking: Flashes the initial quickness and depth in his kick-slide to consider remaining outside at tackle if he plays on the right side in the NFL. Was late off the snap early in his career at Miami, one of several reasons why the coaching staff kept him inside at left guard. Possesses the physical traits to develop into a top pass blocker. Long arms, strong hands and surprisingly good balance and overall agility. Slides laterally and is able to control opponents when he locks on.

Run blocking: Only marginal initial quickness off the snap, but comes off surprisingly low and hard. Can knock defenders off the ball. Shows good leg drive to gain ground and doesn't back down from a fight. Flashes some nastiness finishing plays and will work to knock his opponent to the ground. Has to do a better job keeping his hands inside the numbers of defenders. Has a tendency to let his hands get too high and wide, which will result in holding penalties against NFL athletes.

Franklin participated in the combine this year. Though he said he was only at about “98%” during the combine because he was recovering from knee surgery. He did however post good numbers at the combine considering his size and injury. Below are his combine measurables.

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6' ft 6 in 316 lb 35 in 11 1/8 in 5.2 s 1.76 s 2.93 s 28.5 in 26 rep
All values from 2011 NFL Scouting Combine.[2][3][2]

Franklin has a good physique for the RT position. He measured 6’6” inches tall at the Combine and weighed in at 316 pounds, his lower playing weight. Traditionally, tackles are preferred to have long arms - 35 inches is considered optimal - only because it lets the player use them to obstruct speed rushers on the edge for a half second more. It’s an area where Franklin needs coaching and experience, but his arm length is 35 inches exactly, for those who follow that school of thought. His hands are 11 ⅞ inches - big, even for a lineman. Even more impressive is that he has the wingspan of 81 ⅛ inches. His predraft scouting reports were all over the map - some scouts loved him, others didn’t. Here’s a shortened example of both sides, from Pro Football Weekly:

Positives: Very physical and will exert his will on opponents — plays with tenacity and seeks to bury defenders in the ground. Has good body power and substance to anchor and hold the point of attack against bigger bodies. Outstanding football disposition — plays with a mean streak. Outstanding grip strength. Aggressive run blocker. Strong finisher. Battles hard and competes. Is light enough on his feet to handle edge speed. Tough, will play through pain and has been very durable.

That’s all fair enough - there’s a lot to like about Big O. Franklin ran a slow 40 at the Combine, but he’d just gone through a meniscus surgery on his left knee, and yet he still ran. His fractured wrist and torn ligaments as a redshirt freshman didn’t affect his work the following season. He’s an emotionally and physically tough player, and he won’t let dings and ‘boo-boos’ affect his game. He deals well with pain and he’s generally been durable. He’s also very good at taking down an opponent legally - or dropping him, and moving on to another player.

Negatives: Inconsistent technique — plays too wide-based and hands too often go outside the target. Relies too much on his natural strength. Tight-hipped, stiff-ankled and has a lot of lower-body stiffness — tends to play upright as a result. Lazy eyes — can be late to see and adjust to the blitz. Has a selfish makeup with a huge ego and a sense of entitlement not desired in the trenches. Not accountable.

The issue raised on his technique is accurate, but this is why you pay position coaches in the NFL - no rookie comes in with perfect technique. Orlando does keep his stance a little too wide in the drills, and he’s stronger kickstepping to the left - moving to the right will take a little time, since the ability has to be developed through repetition. He’ll have to keep his head on a swivel, and learn to bend his knees on every down, not, at times, his waist. It’s a common failing among less experienced players, and for all that he’s accomplished, Franklin is still learning the game. He’s going to keep right on learning - this opportunity has been his goal since he was in high school. He hasn’t wavered on it. He’s shown the grit that is key to success in the pros.

To the other issues, they get to the heart of why some scouts don’t like him. If you watch his post-draft interview at Dove Valley you don’t see the attitude that is expected after the general media commentary. You see a confident young man who is politely grateful for his opportunity, and who believes in himself. In the NFL, you’d better, or your career will be short - does anyone doubt that Tim Tebow believes in himself? Champ Bailey? Clady? It’s one of the things that NFL people resonate with. Franklin had already spoken with Coach Dave Magazu and seemed appropriately respectful of him.

What you don’t see in that short piece of video was the kind of stubborn, self-absorbed person that much of the draft reporting makes him out to be. Then again he could be hiding it well. What we do know is he is a finisher, someone who isn’t happy unless his assignment is on the ground and he’s laying on top of him or running downfield to find a new victim.

When he spoke, he seemed centered and confident, but not cocky.

I doubt that Dave Magazu is going to have any trouble handling this kid. - Magazu has 32 years in coaching, including nine in the NFL and has coached the OL under head coach John Fox since 2007. The comments from Franklin’s college OL Coach Jeff Southland support the belief that Orlando is highly coachable. Look at his comments in light of the improvement that Franklin made while working under him. He describes Franklin as ‘a very sensitive guy’. That’s not the picture that the media has painted, but it’s the view of a coach who knows Franklin well.

Orlando Franklin was selected 14th in the 2nd round, at 46th overall, by the Denver Broncos.

Franklin has quickly become a controversial pick among the fan base. It’s understandable - folks were expecting a defensive tackle, and Franklin played most of his career at left guard, which confuses folks. He’s been accused of being a ‘dirty’ player. He’s better at run blocking than pass blocking, and that’s a reasonable concern. It’s a vast overstatement to say that he can’t pass block, though. When you look at his career, he’s done well in that role.

Big O may have created some controversy among the fans, but the front office plainly doesn’t share those concerns. The 61 pancake blocks and 16 lumberjacks he achieved in those 13 starts (which lead his team yet again) suggest that when you take down opponent after opponent, some of them are likely to claim that you cheated. When you do some simple math, Franklin averaged almost six pancakes or lumberjacks each game. Some of those guys are going to be angry - and embarrassed.

Bottom line, John Elway wants the Broncos to look good and have a great personality.

"I've always felt every good team I've been around has had a personality you could see right away," said Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations. "And every coach has a personality, a way they look at things and feel about players. We want to match that up, have those players that have the things we want, the characteristics we want for (coach) John Fox and the Denver Broncos."
And speed tops the list.

"We have to get faster, especially on defense," Fox said. "That was one of the primary goals in this first draft, and it will always be when we're putting our team together. You've got to be fast to the ball and fast with the ball.

"You can be a 4.7, 4.8 guy (in the 40-yard dash) and be productive in spots on defense. But it's a matchup game, and eventually you're going to have to cover a 4.5 guy, a 4.6 guy, or you have to run past a guy on offense. Speed is crucial."

Franklin, a 316-pounder, was the fourth-fastest offensive tackle at the combine.

Then there is the attitude Fox is looking for, attack-minded on defense with the ability to play with power on offense. The Broncos were dismal in short-yardage situations on offense the last two seasons, often unable to move defensive players off the ball at the line of scrimmage.

Enter Franklin, considered by many NFL scouts as one of the best drive blockers available in the draft.

"He's big and physical, he knocks people off the ball, he gets his hands on you and you're usually going the other way," Fox said. "That was something that was impressive."

John Elway has praised Franklin's demeanor on the field, and that’s coming from a man who suffered a lot of sacks before Denver finally put together an offensive line to protect him. The comment on Franklin’s weight is interesting - his weight went up during the time that he was out following the wrist surgery, but he quickly got it under control. It wasn’t an issue throughout the rest of his college career to my knowledge and I saw him comment that he likes to play at about his current weight of 316 (to a max of exactly 328, he says, which was interesting in its precision), because it reduces injuries. Young players who reach the NFL have to learn to take care of their bodies, and it was clear that Franklin had at least a basic grasp of what works for him. It reduces the chance that he’ll have weight issues.

Brian Xanders said, “He played guard early in his career. He’s a taller guy at 6-5, 320-325 (pounds). He has really long arms, but when they put him at left tackle, he was a physical, fierce competitor. He takes his guy three or four yards down the field. He’s a good pass protector because he has length in his arms. His footwork was good enough. We just liked his demeanor, and then we had a good interview…He had an edge to him. He was ready to go. We think he fits in also as a right tackle because of his physicality and his size and in the vertical movement he possesses. We’re excited about him.”

John Fox added, “I think he’s an offensive tackle and has a great combination of athleticism and power, and that’s something we’re looking for. He does it with the right set of mindset.”

Even though Franklin was dunned in the media for his personality, the review admits what most of them concluded - the tape suggest that this is potentially one of the best OL players in the 2011 Draft. He’s on-field mean, sure - and as far as the Broncos are concerned, that’s the good side. He’s been productive in multiple slots, and he has improved every year that he’s been in the game. All of the rest seems like window dressing - the only thing that’s going to matter now is how he produces on the field.

Franklin moved from left guard to left tackle his junior season, but the Hurricanes' dominant drive blocker will play right tackle in Denver, where he could be protecting Tim Tebow's blind side if the second-year Florida quarterback beats out Kyle Orton this fall.

What Franklin really looks forward to is boring holes for Tebow or the Broncos running backs.

"I like to think of myself as the most physical offensive lineman that was in this draft, and I am looking forward to bringing that nature to the Denver Broncos," Franklin said.

His play is what spoke so loudly to the Broncos.

General manager Brian Xanders visited Miami last year and said he liked everything about Franklin, from his experience to his size and strength, but especially his nastiness.

"He takes his guy three or four yards down the field. He's a good pass protector because he has length in his arms," Xanders said.

Coach John Fox, who is known for injecting players with a nasty streak into his defenses, looks for the same demeanor in his offensive linemen.

"He's big and physical and knocks people off the ball. He gets his hands on you and you're usually going the other way," Fox said.

So, the Broncos bypassed such heralded run-stuffing prospects as Marvin Austin and Stephen Paea to select Franklin in the second round of the NFL draft last week.

"Orlando helps us big time at tackle," said John Elway, chief of football operations. "It makes us pretty solid up front."

Given his nose for nastiness, it's no surprise that Franklin considers run-blocking his strength, and he said he's eager to drive defensive linemen back for a mobile quarterback like Tebow: "It definitely makes playing football a whole lot more exciting."

"Yeah, you could say that, I guess. Some people accuse me of being a dirty player, but I just like to get after it," Franklin said. "Some people just think I'm a nasty player because I talk a lot on the field and I'm trying to get the pancake (blocks) and stuff and I'm going to talk all game to you. That's just my game."

At least he, and the Broncos, disagree with that - he says that he plays hard, plays by the rules but plays to the whistle on every down. Jason Fox was UM’s left tackle in 2009 (he will be a rookie LT for the Detroit Lions this year) and he says of Franklin, “He smiles off the field, but when he's on the field, he's all business - like he should be." Miami’s 2010 offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland’s comment was clearly of a more personal nature than your average, canned-sounding responses. He said “We've been through a lot together, some hard times. I'm sure there have been times he has hated me as his coach, but I'm just so proud of the way he has grown up." That doesn’t sound like a young man who’s hard to coach - just one who needs the coach to communicate well and to hold him accountable as well as teach and support him as a player.

What he'll have to hone are his pass-protecting skills, but the Broncos expect him to be able to step right in and start as a rookie in place of Ryan Harris, who is expected to bolt in free agency whenever the NFL's labor impasse is ironed out.

Orlando Franklin has the physical tools, the attitude and the potential to be a starting right tackle in the NFL. Whether he succeeds is entirely up to him - but so far, betting against him hasn’t been a profitable venture. The running game desperately needs a top blocker. I think that the Broncos just got one. Welcome to the Mile High City, Orlando. I hope that your stay is productive, long, hostile and effective. ~ Aussie.

Wiki, Hurrican Sports, CBS, NFLdraftscout, ItsAllOverFatman, DenverPost, DenverPost

May 19, 2011

Let Tebow Play!

I had this thought, idea the other day and I think it could be an interesting thing to explore further. First off I was thinking about Tebow and the harm this lockout is having on him. If the players ever needed a perfect example of harm caused to the players then Tebow would fit it.

The lockout has directly affected Tebows’ job security. Tebow needs to be working closely with coaches to better understand the playbook and NFL defenses. He needs coaching to correct his technique and tips to get better. He needs to be able to work out in front of the new front office to impress them with his skills as he fights for a position and possible promotion. Tebow needs these things to continue his growth and progression as a player. Without it he could completely miss his chance and the information he so sorely needs. This could cause him to bow out of the league without causing a ripple or living up to his potential.

So to that end I say Let Tebow Play!

The question is how do we go about this? What can we do to help get Tebow back on the field? Over at MHR (click here) they have shown a number of possibilities that we as Fans could try to help move this CBA along. Things like cancelling your season tickets, not buying any NFL merchandise or not attending games. But as the article points out there is no point to these as the league will never feel the effects. If you cancel your season tickets one of the number of others on the waiting list will be happy to take them.

If we don’t buy merchandise you aren’t effecting the NFL but the store that sells that product. Take as an example, they would buy stock from the NFL then place the standard markup on them. If you don’t buy the merchandise it isn’t the NFL that feels the effect but Eastbay who have paid for all this stock then can’t push it. It is the small time corner shops that will feel the effect of you not buying merchandise, it won’t be the NFL.

Then there is the question of not attending games. It would send a statement to the league but it would be after the fact and have no effect on the outcome of the CBA. There is no real point as people have already paid for their seats. Plus we are asking a select few to go out of their way to not attend after they have spent their hard earned cash on tickets. It just isn’t going to happen.

That leaves us fans pretty much empty handed. But there is one option we have not thought about (seems inconceivable). All of these suggestions and types of boycotts affect the league, the NFL. So why not go the other way and go after the Players? Can we as fans affect the players and their unity which forces them towards resolving this CBA issue? Well yes I think we bloody well can. But we have to be smart about it, first since we are Broncos fans let’s not go after Broncos players but other teams players. We have to get under the players’ skins, got to get them questioning themselves and their position in this issue. We have to go after the players that are very fan orientated and see themselves as super stars, say Chad Ochocinco as a prime expect. These are guys that have been idolized since they were young. Have the fans follow them and admire them, plus all the extra benefits that go with being a celeb. But if the fans turn on them can they deal with it? Some will but others I highly doubt it.

Therefore I am suggesting a revolt against these guys, the players, in a good old fashion divide and conquer tactic. Create discontent in the players and watch them cave and be willing to bargain for a new CBA.

This war on the players has to be a verbal war, go after them with words. Not physical, there should be NO lynching of players. I am saying get after them on twitter, emails, whenever you see them on the street, just tell them how they feel. Things like ‘I use to be a huge fan of ours but then you became greedy’, ‘I love watching you play but now after this, I prefer Soccer’, ‘You use to be cool, why did you change.’ You get the picture? Show them more and more that they are losing their fans and are becoming the enemy. We need to get our voice out there and in the media, if we can sway public opinion then marketing companies, the guys that sponsor the players, will start to drop off. This would cause the players to lose a few needed checks in the lockout. With the fan discontent and also affecting their back pockets we will really start to get to the players and I don’t think they can deal with it for long.

This would need to be a mass war of opinion, don’t get it wrong I think the fans have a major part to play in the CBA negotiations. The NFL thinks they are untouchable and they probably are but they know the players aren’t. That is why both factions are always in the media trying to paint the better picture. I think the players are afraid that we may turn on them, if that happens they very well may have to cave in and sign a deal.

‘But what about the players? They aren’t the bad guys. They aren’t the ones that want more money?’ This is true but they are the ones that chosen this path and the NFL has provided some nice deals and incentives in the past. It must be seen that the players may be losing some money now but that 10% in the long run isn’t that much. The current players are worried about themselves plain and simple. They are worried about how much they are losing, not the future of the game. To put this in perspective in 10 years time the salary cap could well be 250 million compared to the 130-150 now. The growth of the game will continue and will only get bigger and better and players will make more. The league won’t be making 10 billion anymore, it could be making 20 billion. When will the first 200 million contract get signed? The players of the future have nothing to worry about. The percentage that is lost now would not impact them much. They may not be able to get that 200 million contract for a few extra years but that 150 million contract still looks nice.

So this reflects back on current players. They are worried about the top dollar they can get. This doesn’t affect the lowest tier of players as the salary floor will not be changed. This affects the top dollar the star players can get. They all want their gold plated pools.

I will though preach patience. Don’t after reading this go to twitter and start blasting players. Wait a bit. Give it a month or two. The fans will need to be patient and see if a deal is done in June or July, this can be the fall back plan. But if it comes into August and September I would start to get worried. If they cancel the upcoming season then ‘Unleash Hell’ and everyone should get after it. Make them know how pissed we are. But until then be patient and do something else, like go on a holiday or actual do some real work for a change.

Let Tebow Play! ~Aussie.

May 13, 2011

New Denver Bronco - Rahim Moore from UCLA

With the inevitable departure of veteran safety Brian Dawkins in a matter of years from football, it only made sense that the Denver Broncos drafted a FS in the 2011 NFL Draft. There will NEVER be another Brian Dawkins, or as Bronco Country will call him 'Weapon X', I think the choice of Rahim Moore will be a solid long-term decision for Denver.

And here's why.

Rahim Shaheed Moore was born on February 11, 1990 in Los Angeles, California to Rodney & Nowana. Rahim is also the brother to two siblings, Shaheed & Duraisha.

During his time at Dorsey High School in LA, he lettered in all four years of playing football for coach Knox. Rahim began his football career by getting a taste of both offense & defense when coach Knox had him play defensive back & wide receiver. Something clicked because Rahim went on to make quite a name for himself while impressing college scouts.

**Was ranked 2nd nationally & number 1 in the West and in the state of California at safety by; received five stars from

**Was a PrepStar Dream Team selection... Played in the U.S. Army All-Star game... received four stars from

**Was named All-State first-team by Cal-Hi Sports... was a member of the Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West squad (No. 4)... Helped his high school reach City Section semifinals

**As a sophomore, this is when he really started to shine for his team, racking up 99 tackles and 8 interceptions and as a junior, he had 122 tackles and 7 interceptions.

**In his senior year alone, Rahim made 112 tackles, 8 INTs, 10 deflections and 3 fumble recoveries. As for offense, his stats were 15 catches for 339 yards and 6 touchdowns. Also during his senior year, he lettered in track, finishing 3rd in the 400 meter event at the CIF L.A. City Section Finals. He was a three-time league champ in the 400 meter race.

In the fall of 2008, Rahim Moore chose to play for UCLA and got a quick start to his college football career.

As a freshman, he was a starter in all 12 games at free safety (an opportunity a lot of freshman college kids don't get but Rahim took full advantage of it). He was fourth on the squad with 60 tackles and with that, he brought in 3 years worth of honorable mentions to his name. In addition, Rahim became the first true freshman to start a season-opener on offense or defense since Matt Ware in 2001.

Tied at 11th in the Pac-10 in INTs and also tied at 3 for most INTs on the team; he also tied at 6th in the Pac-10 in fumbles recovered. Rahim was named to the All-Pac-10 Freshman team for and was an honorable mention Freshman All-American for He also impressed college coaches enough to get Pac-10 honorable mentions and last but not least, he was the Defensive co-winner of UCLA's prized John Boncheff, Jr. Memorial Award for Rookie of the Year. Whew...

His sophomore year at UCLA was even accredited and full of amazing things this guy can do on the field.

Once again, he started in all 13 games for the Bruins and led the nation with 10 interceptions. *Was selected to the first-team All-America by
 *Second-team by the Walter Camp Foundation, AP, and
 *Third-team All-America pick by The Sporting News and Phil Steele
 *First-team All-Pac-10 selection by league's coaches
*Named Pac-10 Defensive MVP & first-team all-league by The Sporting News

*Named co-defensive winner of UCLA's other coveted prize, the Henry R. Sanders Award for *Most Valuable Player
*Received high honorable mention for the Thorpe Award
*His 10 INTs ranked #2 on the school single-season list (no other football player in the Football Bowl Subdivision had made 10 interceptions in a single season since 2003)
*His INT average of 0.77 a game led the nation in 2009
*Was ranked 2nd in the NCAA and first in the Pac-10 for passes defensed
*Totaled 3 INTs in the season opener against San Diego St. to tie for the UCLA school single-game mark

During his sophomore season, he suffered a mild concussion in the 2nd quarter while playing at Stanford and was forced to leave the game, but it wasn't serious enough to stop him from making his mark on the UCLA team for the rest of the season.

One of his biggest highlights was during the UCLA-Cal game where he led his team with a career-best, with 9 stops and one for loss yardage. Another big sophomore year highlight for Moore was in a game against Arizona, when in the first half alone he recorded 2 interceptions that would have led to two Arizona scoring drives.

For his junior year and what would become his last as a Bruin, he again was a starter for all 12 of UCLA's games. One of the very few college players I've heard of being able to start, let alone play in every game of his football career.

He was selected by his teammates at the season captain and that was only the beginning of another year full of honorable mentions from credited sports media outlets.

Rahim was named to his 2nd first-team All-America roster by The Sporting News... named to the third-team All-American by the Associated Press... Fourth-team All-American & Mid-Season All-American by Phil Steele.

He was third on his team for tackles (77) and tied for 17th in the Pac-10 for tackles
Was one of 10 Thorpe Award finalists
Was named to the Bednarik Award, Lott Trophy & Nagurski Trophy watch lists
Was one of only 3 All-Pac-10 first-team players to repeat from 2009

Some of his game highlights include:

**Was credited with 8 tackles vs. USC
**In a game against Houston, he recorded his 14th college career INT which led to a Bruin touchdown and tied for 4th on the all-time UCLA list
**He tied his career high with 9 tackles against Cal

Here are his college totals for all 3 years he played at UCLA:

3-5 (0)
10-79 (0)
1-42 (0)
14-126 (0)

Rahim chose to skip out on his senior year in college so he could enter himself in the 2011 NFL Draft (at this point, it might have been to his advantage to stay in college one more year not only to gain more experience but to avoid being caught in the NFL lockout with a chance of no NFL season). But what's done is done.

In between leaving college a year early & getting selected by the Broncos to play in the NFL, Rahim showed great potential at the UCLA Pro Day. Moore ran the short shuttle in 4.16 seconds and the long shuttle (11.47) before going through an extensive & physical positional workout.

At 6ft, 202 lbs, his footwork, movement skills & quickness were all impressive to those watching. He showed his true athleticism in his turns & transitions, and also during the ball skills. A ball hawk in the making ready to go to the next level. And while his lack of conditioning was a concern and still is, he solidified himself as a top-50 selection.

Here are his NFL Combine stats:

1st in the 20 yard shuttle - 3.96
Tied for 4th in the 40 yard dash - 4.62
Tied for 2nd in the Vertical Jump - 35.0
6th in the Broad Jump - 9' 7"
Tied for 5th in the 3-cone drill - 6.98

The Denver Broncos chose Rahim Moore in the 2nd round (45th overall) of the draft and while EVERY player has faults, I think from just reading about him he could definitely be a deadly weapon for us in the future.

With the choice of Moore, Denver will have gained a player with some "much-needed athleticism" as puts it, in addition to ball skills and the playmaking ability that the Denver defense, let alone the secondary, have lacked for way too long.

His biggest strengths have come down to Zone Coverage and Closing/Recovery. He has good Read & React skills as well as Run Support but making questionable moves that give running backs quick chances to exploit his mistakes. Is a good tackler but his expertise lies in intercepting & making the QB look bad. Not much of a man-to-man coverage guy, which could be a big issue for Denver to deal with if he's going to play at FS.

I think with the influence Dawkins has a natural born leader, Moore can become a great football player. Having Weapon X as a teammate let alone as a major influence is something Moore won't take lightly, considering he is much like Dawkins in many ways. With the right coaching a team full of players eager to get this Denver Bronco defense & overall team back on the right track, good things will come of not only Rahim Moore but the other rookies as well.

Here is a little tidbit about Moore that is enlightening about the newest Bronco:

"Moore is following in the footsteps of former Bruins safeties Kenny Easley, Eric Turner, Carnell Lake and Shaun Williams. He stepped in as the first true freshman starter for UCLA since Matt Ware in 2001, and went on to start 37 consecutive games.

It's a good body of work for NFL scouts to review when looking at the junior. And he's a classic example of a prospect who will elicit a wide range of opinion.

Moore earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors as a freshman, then led the country with 10 interceptions in 2009 - the most by an FBS player since 2003. But he struggled to produce big plays as a junior, registering just four pass breakups and one interception.

The critical scout will be concerned that 2009 was an aberration, and that Moore's slim build and questionable instincts will prevent him from standing out in the NFL.

Moore counters those questions by pointing out that opponents avoided his side of the field last season, and that he had to "switch my game up" on a much younger defense and play more of a strong safety role.

"Every year you're not going to have your best stats," said Moore. "But I think this year I showed more I can come downhill, tackle and make other plays. Interceptions are not everything."

Moore said the team that drafts him doesn't have to worry about the safety position for the next 10-12 years. He believes he's special "in the most humble way. I'm going to get in early. I'm going to leave late. I'm going to put in the same amount of hours, maybe more (than) the coaching staff.

He tries to pattern his game after Ravens All-Pro Ed Reed. Moore said he almost started crying when he got to talk to his favorite player of all time in a 45-minute phone conversation.

"That is one of the smartest men I've ever talked to in my life," Moore said of Reed. "I learned so much. I respect what he does, the hard work and dedication. The things he does on the field and off the field, I think some of the things I do resemble."

Like I mentioned before, with time and the support of his coaches & teammates, Rahim Moore can become what we need at FS in the near & far future. Definitely has a lot of potential to be a great player for us.


Rahim Moore: Draft Preview

May 8, 2011

Rookie Bio - Nate Irving


Nate Irving is a player who has been through a lot and had to overcome much to be where he is today. Overcoming this adversity has made Irving not only a better player but a better person, this is his story.

Nathaniel Irving was born July 12, 1988 to Jerome Irving, a truck driver, and his mother, his father since remarried to Irving’s step mom Francis Corbett, a kindergarten teacher. Irving is one of six siblings. His hometown is Wallace in North Carolina which he moved to from New Jersey with his father.

Nate Irving, ILB, North Carolina State
Height: 6-1. Weight: 242.
Hand Size: 10 ¼ in.
Projected 40 Time: 4.82.
Combine 40 Time: DNP.
Bench: N/A Vertical: N/A Arm: 33 1/4.
Projected Round (2011): 3-4.
Date of birth: July 12, 1988 (age 22)

After moving to Wallace, Irving attended Wallace-Rose Hill High School in Teachey, North Carolina. He led Wallace-Rose Hill, under Coach Jack Holley, to a 10-0 start to the season as a senior. He tallied 110 tackles, six forced fumbles, three sacks and one interception in his senior year. Chipped in 12 all-purpose touchdowns also, this led to All-conference selection and a North Carolina Shrine Bowl selection. At high school he majored in zoology. Regarded as only a two-star recruit by, he was not listed among the top prospects of the class of 2006. But if you had talked to coaches at Wallace-Rose Hill High School they would have painted a much different picture.

There are football stories starring Nate Irving that have become legend around Wallace-Rose Hill. Stories around the many big plays he made – the forced fumbles, drive-killing interceptions, head-jarring hits. Anyone who saw him roam the field in Bulldogs black-and-orange had to feel sympathy for those poor souls carrying the ball for the opposing team.

Still, there is one play in which the telling is accompanied by a chuckle.

Irving was a freshman playing for the Wallace-Rose Hill junior varsity. Playing at tight end, he caught a pass and crossed the goal line. Then he spiked the ball and maybe even began to dance. After all, his first touchdown seemed something worth celebrating.

Only, yellow flags flew. Unsportsmanlike conduct, a 15-yard penalty.

As Irving returned to the sideline, the Bulldogs' coaches were laughing too hard to be mad. They explained to Irving, who had just moved to Wallace from New Jersey and was playing his first organized football game, that the end zone theatrics he'd seen while watching TV on Sundays were not permissible on the high school field.

Irving smiles when he hears the story. He doesn't remember a similar penalty since.

Jack Holley coached Irving at Wallace-Rose Hill, puts him at the top of the linebackers he's had in 49 years on the high school sidelines. Never one to give compliments lightly, Holley calls Irving an even better person.

Holley always taped his players' ankles in the locker room before they left for road games. After getting taped, Irving would sit in a corner by himself. The Bulldogs' assistant coaches would wait outside.

“His eyes would start watering,” said Holley. “I'd come out and the other coaches would ask, ‘Is he crying yet?' Once he started they'd say, ‘Alright, it's time to load the bus.' You knew somebody was going to get hit that night.”

Tim Jenkins came to Wallace-Rose Hill to coach the defense prior to Irving's sophomore year. He remembers his initial meeting with his future star, “Coach Holley took me over there to meet him and said, ‘He's going to look like the sorriest piece of crap, going to have dreads and be dragging a little bit. But he'll look you in the eye and he'll say yes sir.' And he stuck that big bear paw out there and Nate and I have always had a good relationship.”

At the beginning of Irving's junior year, Jenkins suggested moving from defensive end to linebacker. Keeping Irving on one side of the field probably cut down on his tackles, but it also meant the Bulldogs could force opponents to become “one-handed,” run 75 percent of their plays to the side opposite Irving.

“The big thing was his instincts,” Jenkins said. “He worked real hard at taking on blocks, finding the ball and getting off of people.”

He was the classic gym rat as a teenager at Wallace-Rose Hill High School.

Irving also stood out with his study habits. Every Sunday during the season, after church, Irving would ask Corbett for the car keys so he could drive to the Bulldogs' weight room and pick up a videotape of the upcoming opponent. Irving would return home, plop himself down on the carpet in the living room and spend all day studying the tape. Corbett recalls him sitting in the living room for hours, pausing, fast-forwarding and rewinding, looking for specific details that could help him read the plays.

“He could diagnose the film,” Jenkins said. “It was like he already knew.”


After finishing high school, Irving decided to attend North Carolina University and become a member of the Wolfpack.

In 2006 his first season with the University he redshirted the season at linebacker.

The following year, 2007, he finished the season as one of the Wolfpack's top performers on defense. There were some interesting points to Irving’s 2007 campaign. He moved into the starting lineup in the win over Virginia and started four of the last five contests - he was sick prior to the Wake Forest game and did not start. 27 of his 52 tackles were made in the last four games of the season. He made five tackles for loss in those last five games. Tallied a total of 155 special teams plays over the season. He posted a season-high 10 tackles in the overtime win at Miami. He led the team with two forced fumbles, one versus Virginia and one versus Wake Forest.

In 2008 he received an honorable mention All-ACC performer for 2008, he would have battled for first-team honors if he hadn't missed a third of the season with an injury. First team would've been certain had he played more and then his name began appearing in the early rounds of NFL mock drafts. He managed to put together a very successful year. He averaged 8.7 tackles per game in 12 career starts. He tied for third on the team with 84 tackles despite the games missed. He led the team with four interceptions - highest total ever by a Wolfpack linebacker. He was forced to sit out the majority of the second half against East Carolina after sustaining a lower leg injury in the second quarter and then missed the next two games. He reinjured the ankle after playing just 16 snaps versus Florida State and then was out until the Duke game. Came back for the win over the Blue Devils, playing 82 snaps, tallying 10 tackles and causing a fumble. He followed that with an 11-tackle performance in the win over Wake Forest - including two tackles for loss and an eight-yard sack. Earned the Most Valuable Linebacker Award at the annual team banquet. A 2009 preseason All-ACC choice by Phil Steele's College Football Preview and a second-team choice by Athlon Sports.

Then it happened. The car crash.

Francis Corbett said her husband, Jerome Irving, is a jokester. She thought he was playing around when he woke her on the morning of Sunday, June 28, 2009, and told her something was wrong with Nate. She knew her husband was serious as soon as she heard the message Wake Medical Center personnel had left on his phone, asking them to come immediately to the hospital.

Nate had left their house late to drive back to Raleigh. At 4:40 a.m., he fell asleep at the wheel near exit 314 on Interstate 40, roughly 20 miles from the N.C. State campus. The sport utility vehicle he was driving ran off the road and struck two trees and flipped at least once, according to the highway patrol's report.

The photographs are devastating. Less than a foot separates the mangled roof from the driver's side seat cushion. Windows are shattered. The entire body is crumpled, it was a junk heap that had been run through a compactor and headed for the scrap pile. There is no reason to believe anyone who was in the vehicle could've made it out alive. The highway patrolman on the scene said it was nothing short of a miracle.

It was at least 90 minutes before Irving was discovered and then rushed to a hospital.

Irving woke up in a Raleigh hospital with a separated shoulder, a collapsed lung, cracked ribs and a compound fracture in his left leg. He was lucky to be alive and his football future was in serious doubt.

When his dad and step mom arrived in his hospital room, he'd already had surgery to repair the severely fractured left leg, been diagnosed with the separated left shoulder, a cracked rib and punctured lung on his left side.
When he saw his family, he told them he loved them. And that he was sorry he'd wrecked the truck.

Yet he was alive, and three days later he was walking. Within a week, he was back home with his family.

In the next couple of weeks, his teammates visited daily. Corbett said the support from the university and the football program played a key role in his recovery.

Once he was discharged, the family living room became Nate's hospital room. He refused to just lie there. He used therapeutic bands to rebuild his strength, made himself walk to the bathroom and rarely used his crutches. Corbett was compassionate but firm, telling him the bed could be his platform or it could be his grave.

With a tall mountain to climb, Irving never quit. He told reporters in August that he felt `blessed' to be alive after the accident. He then began lifting with the team that winter and running with the Sports Medicine staff and was cleared prior to spring practice. He fought his way through a gruelling rehab process for 8 months and by March of 2010 he was ready to get back on the field.

His injuries healed more quickly than his psyche though. He struggled with an overwhelming sense of guilt for what he put his family and his teammates through.

"It was an accident," he said, "but I felt like the decision-making on my part could have been so much better. I could have left earlier or stayed the night and left in the morning. I felt like that was kind of selfish on my part."

Irving returned to school in the fall of 2009 but his injuries did cost him the season of that year. North Carolina State coaches welcomed Irving into practices and onto the sideline as a player-coach. Yet no amount of cheering allowed Irving to shake the feeling that he had let his teammates down. He watched his teammates play, well as much as he could stand that year, as opposing offenses riddled the Wolfpack defense for 31 points per game, 11th in the ACC. In close games, Irving could hardly stand to watch. After the Wolfpack's 2009 rivalry game against North Carolina, he broke down in tears in the front seat of his stepmother's car.

"I couldn't tackle anybody. I couldn't do anything," Irving told her through his tears.

She tried to convince him that his mere presence made a difference. He didn't yet see what she saw: He was becoming a better person.

"In that off season, he learned how to be an off-the-field leader," Frances Corbett said. "Denver did not get just a good football player. They've gotten a person who knows how to overcome adversity."

The accident made him realize what his life would be like without football.

"It was terrible," Irving said.

“My family, they were the main people that helped me get back in good spirits and not just hang my head and feel sorry for myself,” Irving said, “They helped me get back up and work even harder than I did before.”

Most people would try to forget the worst, most painful day of their lives. Not Nate Irving. He tattooed a reminder on his left forearm — a large shape of a cross.

"I felt like God had better plans for me than to sit in that ditch and die," said Irving, 22. "I am embracing every chance I can get to live life and enjoy this opportunity the best that I can."

Return to College

When he returned to practice in the spring of 2010, N.C. State coaches decided to move him to middle linebacker.

His new position coach, Jon Tenuta, refuses to compare Irving to the player he might have been prior to the accident. But he's been impressed by what he's seen from one of the Wolfpack's tri-captains.

“He's an excellent young man, an intelligent guy.” Tenuta said. “The middle linebacker runs the defense. He'd better be strong up the middle. He calls the defense, the audibles or whatever we have to do. His teammates know he's going to make plays.”

Irving felt this new position came naturally to him, though he jokes that he's always seen himself as an offensive player, a wide receiver or tight end. Occasionally, he'll mention to running backs coach Jason Swepson or head coach Tom O'Brien that he's available as a short yardage back or to lead block in goal line situations. They usually respond with a chuckle.

Walking to the practice field or in the weight room, he'll still belt out a song, something he's done since high school, maybe Ain't No Mountain High Enough or a Kirk Franklin tune – “just something strange to keep us in good spirits.”

He doesn't grow tired of talking about his accident; there are photos of the vehicle on his phone as a daily reminder. It's part of his story now.

“I'm just going to go play,” he said. “I don't feel like I have anything to prove to anybody, just go play football and have fun doing it.”

Come back

The Wendell H. Murphy Center adjacent to Carter-Finley Stadium is the home for the N.C. State football team. A sea of red, everything from whirlpools to a wolf sculpture can be found in and around the 103,000 square-foot building, the largest in the nation dedicated solely to football. Nate Irving’s return game was the season opener against Western Carolina. Irving and his Wolfpack teammates would emerge from a tunnel on its ground floor to take the field.

Standing nearby would be Irving's family, blessed and grateful to witness the star linebacker's return in an interrupted college career.

As the wolf howls and the fans roar, Irving's step mom, Francis Corbett, will be watching a living miracle again play the game he loves. The discipline and love she and her husband instilled in Irving provided the cornerstone for his comeback from a devastating car accident. His determination took care of the rest.

“The Murphy Center concrete is really strong,” Corbett said. “But I hope it's able to hold me.”

It took Irving a while to get his legs back, but by the 4th game of the season (at Georgia Tech) he was officially back. He ended that game with a career-high 16 tackles, 4.5 TFLs and 2 Sacks. With that performance he was named the National Defensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

His resilience is inspiring. He is a true physical presence and he has the ability to play multiple LB spots in the NFL. He is a punishing hitter that plays much bigger than his listed weight. His short area quickness and agility allow him to be an absolute force at the LOS. He not only can stack and shed in the hole, but he can also run around you. He plays the game with an attitude and his aggressive demeanor comes through with every hit that he makes. His incredible instincts allow him to dissect plays quickly which makes him even that much more dangerous.

Nate Irving won the Brian Piccolo Award (along with Boston College's Mark Herzlich) from the ACC, an honor given to the most courageous player in the league. But he's more than just a good comeback story. He led the team with 93 total tackles and ranked fourth nationally with 21.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

A first-team All-ACC performer, second-team Walter Camp All-American and a semifinalist for the 2010 Butkus Award, Irving's 21.5 tackles for loss for the season tied for fourth in Wolfpack history, while his career mark of 39.5 ranks seventh.

He finished his college career with the following stats:


Leading up to the Draft

Wolfpack fans have idolized Irving for years now, but more than just the people in Raleigh have their eye on him now. Last season the All-ACC standout gave the nation a reason to remember his sophomore season, after sitting out the entirety of his junior campaign due to the tragic car accident. As a senior Irving led the nation's college linebackers with 21.5 tackles for loss, led NC State with 7 sacks, and accumulated 93 tackles. Since the end of the season, Nate had added 10 pounds to his athletic frame, weighing in at about 240 pounds. He also ran a 4.65 40-yard dash and also posted 27 repetitions of 225-pounds on the bench press.

After choosing not to work out at the Scouting Combine, Nate Irving was the center of attention at North Carolina State’s pro day on Wednesday. On the field, Irving’s production speaks for itself. He weighed in at 242 pounds and ran well for his size, which will garner attention. Linebacker coaches from Baltimore, Carolina and Tampa Bay were on hand to watch Irving. Irving ran 4.76 and 4.79 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his pro day, had a 32 1/2-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-11 broad jump, a 4.25-second short shuttle, a 6.98 3-cone drill and did 27 reps in the bench press. ‘Irving’s workout went well, and I see him as a third- to fourth-round pick.’ - Gil Brandt,

Irving is a fast linebacker that makes plays all over the field. Well prepared player that reads keys quickly and has a nose for the football in run support. Drops smoothly in coverage, has terrific ball skills and the closing burst to get after the quarterback on blitzes. Vocal leader and fierce competitor.

- Physicality, Short area quickness and agility, Plays the game with a mean-streak, Awesome instincts

- Terrible injury history, Average speed

This is my view on Irving that was in the Linebacker Prospect post: Put on size after his accident and played well afterwards. He had a good year, hits hard, not the fastest but makes up with it reading plays quickly. Possible late round prospect that could be drafted to try out for ILB. Irving reminds me a lot of Mays in the way he hits. I think he is a better version of Mays with more upside.

I think this is a correct assessment. He brings the wood, has coverage skills that Mays doesn’t and can read plays quickly. He will be a better player than Mays and I think can start quickly. I look forward to seeing him in Orange and Blue.


With the 3rd pick in the 3rd round (67) of the draft of 2011 the Denver Broncos selected LB Nate Irving.

The Broncos, in fact, liked Irving so much they had him rated as the No. 1 inside linebacker on their draft board. When training camp opens, Irving will be competing against Joe Mays for the starting job at middle linebacker.

General manager Brian Xanders said the Broncos had no concerns about the lasting effects of Irving's injuries from the accident. Irving has a metal rod in his leg, but team doctors categorized Irving as "low risk" after putting him through a battery of medical tests.

"You could just tell he loved football," Xanders said. "(The accident) was a wake-up call for him. He lost that year, and it really helped him mature and grow up as a football player."

The Broncos flew Irving to Denver on Saturday for his formal introduction at Dove Valley team headquarters. Irving toured the facility in search of Broncos gear he could take back to North Carolina. He received a gray Broncos polo shirt and an orange hat, and said he can't wait to return to practice with his teammates as soon as the NFL lockout is lifted.

As Irving prepares to start his NFL career, the memories of June 28, 2009, won't be far away. And if he ever starts to forget, all he has to do is look at the photo of his mangled SUV that he keeps on his cellphone, or look at the large tattoo.

"I noticed that within a snap of a finger it can all be taken away. I want to go out and play every play as hard as I can, every practice as hard as I can, be at every meeting and do every workout," Irving said. "Just to be out there and take full advantage of it and appreciate the game for what it is really worth."

The future of Irving looks bright and I look forward to watching him play. He played in jersey number 56 in college and I hope he can get that at the Broncos. It would mean Ayers would have to give up the number but I think Ayers should take a traditional defensive lineman number, something in the 90s, Ayers played in 91 in college. Either way I wish Irving good luck and a long career as a Denver Bronco. ~ Aussie.

Scouting Report, Wiki, LB Prospects, Go Pack, ESPN, Star News, DenverPost

May 3, 2011

Welcome to Denver, Von Miller

Born on March 26, 1989 in DeSoto, Texas, Von Miller is the oldest of two sons to Von Sr. & Gloria Miller. Both his parents were athletes in high school and now own a power supply business.

Having grown up near Dallas, Von aspired to be apart of the very much disliked Dallas Cowboys (if you ask me) but was picked up by Denver instead. How he got there is just as interesting.

Von played high school football for DeSoto High School (just south of Dallas) but it wasn't until his junior year that he really started to make an impact on the team. In his junior year alone, he recorded 37 tackles, 7 sacks, 14 tackles for loss (TFL) and 12 quarterback hurries.

As a senior he was named the District 8-5A Defensive MVP after making 76 tackles, 6 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. also rated Von as the 29th best prospect in Texas and the 15th best weakside linebacker in the nation.

While in high school he played with 3 other teammates that would eventually end up at Texas A&M University like Von, they include Tony Jerod-Eddie, Cyrus Gray and Garrick Williams.

Von became a freshman defensive end at Texas A&M in 2007 and it didn't take long for him to be a productive part but his real shining moment wouldn't come till two years later.

The Sporting News named him Freshman All-Big 12, after he posted 22 tackles including 10 solo stops. In addition, he recorded 2 sacks, 4 TFL and a forced fumble. He came into his freshman year at 220 pounds (that’s a big dude for that age) and was apart of the 4-2-5 defense for the Aggies.

The following semester, Miller got a little off track and when the newly hired coach, Mike Sherman, found out he was skipping classes and failing to produce in practice, he placed Miller on suspension for Spring 2008.

Discouraged and disappointed, Miller nearly quit school and tried to transfer somewhere else but not before his father wisely encouraged Von to stay. Needless to say, Von took his father's words of wisdom and not only stayed in school but adapted a more serious attitude toward his studies and football.

So when his sophomore yea r came around in the Fall 2008 season, he played at weakside linebacker under defensive coach Joe Kines' 4-3 defense. Von played in all 12 games and posted 44 tackles including a whopping 25 solo tackles and led the team with 3.5 sacks. He also recorded 7.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles and recovered two more.

His place in Kines' defense became more focused on pass coverage as opposed to rushing the quarterback, which held him back from doing what he did best, being a pass-rusher. He had to be disappointed with his new role because in the final seven Big-12 games of his sophomore year he came up with just 8 tackles.

Things did change for Von in his junior year though as he was put in what they call a "jack" position. His role on the defense turned into a defensive end/linebacker hybrid enabling him to utilize his pass-rushing skil ls.

Enter his breakout season as a football player.

Miller led the nation in sacks (17) and ranked fourth in the nation with 21 tackles for loss. His highlighted efforts led to him being named first-team All-Big 12 at defensive end and was also named to first-team All-American by Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.

Von became the first Aggie to be named a first-team All-American since Jason Webster in 1999, (a ten year span).

And a year before the football team got a new defensive coach, Joe Kines' was bold enough to compare Miller to the late Kansas City Chiefs star, Derrick Thomas, in the way he played football. Miller was then inspired to watch tape on Thomas and study how he played the game.

In Fall 2010, the Aggies had a new defensive coach in Tim DeRuyter. Von was once again moved to a different role for the defense, this time he became an outside linebacker in DeRuyter's 3-4 defense.

Early on in Miller's senior season, he suffered an ankle/foot injury but soon recovered enough to return to the field. And although he basically played on an injured ankle/foot his whole senior year, he came back with a vengeance.

He posted 10.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. With those stats, he received his second first-team All-Big 12 honors and won the Butkus award as the nation's top linebacker.

In addition, Von also received his second first-team All-American honors, which came from, Walter Camp,, Pro Football Weekly and the Associated Press.

So in his last two college seasons, his stats add up to 27.5 sacks and 39.5 tackles for loss, leading him to be the top pass-rusher coming into the 2011 NFL Draft.

Prior to the draft, which took place just shy of a week ago, he was named Defensive MVP in the 2011 Senior Bowl, which showcases all the major college talent from around the nation.

And among all the linebackers at the 2011 NFL Combine, he posted these impressive stats:

1st in the broad jump
1st in the 60-yard shuttle (done in a record-breaking 11.15 seconds for linebackers at the Combine)
Tied for 1st in the 3-cone d rill
2nd in the 40-yard dash
3rd in the vertical jump
and 3rd in the 30-yard shuttle

Not too shabby at all for a 6-3, 246 lb linebacker.

In March 2011, at the Texas A&M Pro Day, he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash.

Just barely a week ago, the draft took place and while a lot of people thought we'd go after Marcell Dareus or possibly Patrick Peterson, the Broncos' continued to surprise with the choice of Von Miller as the 2nd overall pick in the draft.

I can't really argue with t he choice seeing as how it wouldn't hurt us at all to put more pressure on the quarterback. We do have the Sack Master of them all in Elvis Dumervil, and heaven forbid this happen again to us, but in the case of what happened to the sack happy Elvis last season, it wouldn't hurt to have a back-up pass-rusher... especially with our sad little defense that it is right now.

And so now, sadly enough this brings me to the main event of this off-season... the horrible thought of not having a football season.

This off-season has been plagued by the NFL Labor Union talks with the Player's Association (a.k.a. Stupid Union) and it has been, without a doubt, a hard thing for all the owners, teams and players (incoming & current) to deal with. But I would have to say it's been more so for the fans, for the thought of no football season in just a few months is incomprehensible.

And while both sides argue and put off reaching a compromise in the near future, some current NFL players have talked incoming rookies into joining the lawsuit the players are bringing against the NFL.

I mention all this because one of my least favorite players, LaDanian Tomlinson, did just that to our first draft pick, Von Miller.

So when time came for the Broncos to announce their pick at #2 in the draft, it was in my opinion, a bit awkward for the commissioner and Miller. However, the announcement of Miller being chosen as the newest Denver Bronco, seemed anything but awkward as the two not only shook hands but hugged before the packed crowd at Radio City Music Hall and cameras.

One can only hope that a now player of ours won't be distracted by the lawsuit he's apart of against his own team and t he entire NFL.

Miller also became the highest selected linebacker in the draft since LaVar Arrington was selected at #2 by the Washington Redskins in 2000. And he became the highest selected Aggie since Quentin Coryatt was selected 2nd overall back in 1992.

Hall of Fame quarterback and now Vice President of Operations for Denver had this to say about choosing Miller at #2: "(Miller's) a type of guy that comes around every 10 years."

Clearly Elway and the other 2 stooges in the Broncos' front office see something in Miller that Jazzy doesn't. haha

And so while the NFL and the players continue their childish drama of who's right and who's wrong and who should give in first, I try my best to look past it all and think of all that could go right for the Broncos this season now that we have made some major adjustments in the organization.

1) Got rid of the narrow-minded completely insane "coach" Josh McDoh-I-don't-have-a-clue-about-coaching-a-Pro-football-team-without-completely-imploding-them.


2) Got rid of "Mr. All-I-think-about-is-Me, Myself & I", Brandon Marshall (One of only 3 things McD ever did right for Denver)


3) Drafted Tim Tebow (Denver's new face of the franchise) and a team of people that will back him up when he gets the chances to prove himself worthy of a starting job.


4) Hired a new head coach with a lot more potential at success in Denver, John Fox.


5) Denver hired THE Hall of Famer & my hero, John Elway, as VP of Operations for the Broncos.


6) Resigned Champ Bailey to a new contract (thank God).


7) Drafted an optimistic group of players in this year's draft that all deserve a chance when the time comes (even from fans, that means you Jazzy) :p


And in just a few short months, all citizens of Bronco Country will get to witness, enjoy & revel in the induction of the very much loved & respected Shannon Sharpe to the NFL Hall of Fame.

Check, check, check !!!!

Furthermore, while I'm on the stay-optimistic bandwagon, with time, we will have Dumervil back in top shape ready to wreak havoc on all quarterbacks... my money is on this guy to plow Cutler into the ground when we take on the Bears, I cannot wait for this game to roll around!)

I look forward to seeing what our new additions will bring to this team and what success we can have with our new coach.

Welcome to the team Von Miller - it's Millertime in Denver! ahaha


Here are a few highlight videos about Miller. Turns out there are a lot of videos on him so I only posted a few. Also I think its in the first video, in some parts its hard to tell which one is him but I figured out he was #40 at Texas so, there ya go.

Von Miller Texas A&M Highlights
Von Miller hits Adam James, Ouch!
Von Miller Butkus Award Winner 2010 Highlights
Draft Preview: Von Miller
Von Miller Skills Competition 2011