April 20, 2015

The Paul System

Sometime in April, 2004...

Paul: "So K-Man, how good is UVA football going to be this season?"

Kendall: "I don't know man, pretty good.  Right?  Preseason top 25, we should be a contender in the ACC.  New Year's type bowl game.  Darkhorse top-5 team?  Dare I dream national championship?  Lundy and Pearman in the backfield.  Biscuit at QB, and he can run, so it adds an extra dimension that Schaub never had.  Of course, Big Money at tight end.  Maybe a bit thin at receiver, but I like Mike McGrew playing his senior season.  The o-line should be good.  Big Elton Brown and D'Brickashaw Ferguson.  D will always be good under Al Groh... Ahmad Brooks, man!  Blackstock!  And don't forget a senior-season Chris Canty, he'll be a beast.  Paulie, I think we are going to be really good!"

Paul: "Sounds good!  How many future NFL players are on this team?  That's what I try to look at."

Kendall: "Well, let's see.  Guys who'll go in the next two NFL drafts...  Heath Miller, Darryl Blackstock, Chris Canty, Elton Brown.  D'Brickashaw Ferguson, whenever he goes pro.  I think Marques Hagans might have a chance as a wide receiver, not as a QB.  Lundy and Pearman in the late rounds.  That's probably about it."

Paul: "We'll go 9-3 or 8-4, tops.  Gotta have NFL talent to win in college football, I think.  If you're not filling the next two drafts with players, then you aren't going to win big.  I'll say 8-4 for this season."

Kendall: "You're crazy.  This is our best chance to get 10+ wins since 1995."

Paul: "I hope you're right, K."

Turns out, I was not right.  Paul took me to school.  We went 8-4 in 2004.

Ever since that hard lesson, I've tried to use the Paul System for setting my preseason expectations.  So let's apply it to the upcoming 2015 squad.  How much immediate pro potential is present on this season's team?

Nope, sorry.

Running Back
Not unless Smoke Mizzell pulls his shit together in a very real, comprehensive way.  I think it's an extremely safe bet that we don't have a 2016/2017 NFL draft pick in our offensive backfield.

Wide Receiver
I could honestly see Canaan Severin making it into the NFL, given his size and work ethic.  I'm not sure about T.J. Thorpe... seems like he would have made the jump if he were an NFL prospect, instead of coming to UVA to play his 5th year season.  Andre Levrone, Keeon Johnson, and Jamil Kamara have a lot of football in front of them, but none of them are on a certain NFL track.  At the end of the day, I'd say we have zero (or maybe one very marginal) NFL prospect at WR.

Tight End
Nope.  I guess we'll see about Evan Butts, but he's not a 2016 or 2017 draftee.

This one is interesting.  I think we're about to see a gradual re-emergence of the blocking fullback in the NFL, and that coincides with two development and excellent spring practice of two UVA fullbacks -- converted defensive lineman Vincent Croce and true fullback Connor Wingo-Reeves.  Croce is a senior and CWR is a junior.  I think either/both might be on the trajectory to be NFL camp invites.  It would be a miracle if either were draft picks, but you never know.

Offensive Line
I don't think Jay Whitmire is an NFL draft prospect, especially when you consider his injury history.  He's a 2016 camp invite (if he's healthy).  Beyond Whitmire, I don't think there is an NFL player among the upperclassmen on our OL.  Sadiq Olanrewaju and Eric Smith have a chance to play their way onto NFL radars... but they aren't anywhere close to being there yet.  They still have two full seasons to emerge.

Defensive Tackle
I'm bullish on David Dean as a middle rounder in the 2016 NFL Draft.  I also think Andrew Brown is going to play his way into a position where he has the option to go pro early after his junior season, in the 2017 draft.  Meanwhile, Donte Wilkins has a similar chance to make a name for himself during the next two seasons.  We have some pro potential at the DT position.

Defensive End
Mike Moore... maybe?

Given the youth prevalent at these positions, none of these dudes are earmarked for the 2016/2017 NFL Drafts.

Quin Blanding.

I like the idea of Tra Nicholson covering the slot at the next level, but NFL teams don't usually use draft picks on 5-foot-9 cornerbacks.  So I'm not counting him as a certain pro.  Maurice Canady seems like a camp body at the NFL level, ditto Tim Harris.

Paul said the 2004 team (with 8 future pros) would go 8-4.  What would he say about the 2015 team, with three, maybe four or five, future pros?  How good can David Dean, Andrew Brown, and Quin Blanding be?  Can Severin, Nicholson, Whitmire, and Canady fight their way into the 2016 NFL draft discussion?

The point is, we are lacking top-end talent.  Like, severely lacking.

Is there any reason to be anything but pessimistic about 2015 Virginia Football?


  1. Nope. You pretty much nailed it.

  2. We went 8-5 with little NFL talent in 2011. Only player drafted was Cam Johnson and current NFL players from that team include Johnson, Rodney Mcleod, and Luke Bowanko. I can see at least three players from this years team playing in the NFL, such as Quin Blanding, Andrew Brown, Maurice Canady, and Severin. I have my doubts about the coaching staff just like everyone else but I wouldn't be surprised at all to see us win 7-8 games this year if the quarterback play is improved. Thats a big "if" but with just slight improvement from that position, we would have won 7-8 games last season. London finally has experience at the quarterback position so hopefully that will translate to wins. Love the blog, go hoos!

    1. Future NFL players contributing on the 2011 team:
      Cam Johnson (drafted)
      Oday Aboushi (drafted)
      Morgan Moses (drafted)
      LaRoy Reynolds
      Matt Conrath
      Rodney McLeod
      Austin Pasztor
      Chase Minnifield

      I think the 2011 talent [clearly?] eclipses what we're looking forward to seeing in 2015.

  3. I think Burbank on the OL could have a chance. He might be just an inch too short though.

    Linebacker play will be the wild card for this defense. There is some talent there, just almost no experience. I wouldn't be surprised to see Kiser, Bradshaw and Stalker continually develop throughout this season into a respectable unit. I would guess the ability is there, it's just a matter of learning through gameplay.