Charles Ferguson’s 2011 Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job focused on the 2008 financial collapse that literally shook the world.
While it shouldn’t have won best documentary (which should have gone to either “The Tillman Story” or “How Sweet It Is: Whatever Happened to the Gerkin”) and it paints a rather broad picture sometimes using less than the most upstanding people to demonize…well, they do mostly deserve to be demonized…less than the most upstanding people, it’s still a pretty fascinating (and infuriating) view.
This year’s inside linebacker class is not unlike those painted in the movie.
You’ve got the obnoxious prick (Glen Hubbard), the somewhat blamess bad guy (Charles Prince), the wanna-be crusader (Barney Frank) and the evil-mastermind shrouded in an unfathomable level of arrogance (Larry Summers although BK could also fit this description as well. As could Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. Or the guy who created Shakey’s Mojo Potatoes).
I’m going to exclude Illinois’ talented and troubled Martez Wilson from this group because first of all it’s too easy and shouldn’t really count (like counting the time you had sex with a $1,300/hour prostitute as one of the notches on your bedpost. Yes you had intercourse, but it’s no triumph. So your number of notches stays at 2 BK, okay, deal with it). Besides, I featured Wilson in my OLB category as I think that’s where he’ll end up after gets into the NFL – on the outside…or in prison.
So let’s take stock on some of our top inside line-backer prospects in this year’s draft.
GLEN HUBBARD: QUAN STURDIVANT, NORTH CAROLINA
Quiet but deadly. That’s what non-supplysiders might call former Bush economic adviser Glen Hubbard. A sheepish, John-Clayton-looking, arrogant sun-of-a-pistol who dismisses any wrong doing on his or really the entire Bush administration’s part in regards to the 2008 financial meltdown. Quiet but deadly – It’s also what they call UNC’s Quan Sturdivant (as well as the chili cheese fries at Irv’s Burgers in West Hollywood – TRUST ME, just stick with combo #1 and call it a day).
Sturdivant was a solid if not overly spectacular player at UNC known more for off-the-field transgressions (July 2010 Marijuana possession arrest) and injuries (missed 5 games in ’10 due to the same hammy problems that had him drop out of some drills at the combine).
Still, his physicals are good clocking an impressive sub 4.6 in the 40 with good numbers on the broad and vert and an almost acceptable 21 reps.
But here’s the thing about Sturdivant – like Hubbard – he’s too quiet for his own good and I don’t trust it. Sure, there are times you want people to just shut the fuck up – Gwyneth Paltrow (enough with the baby advice already), Michelle Bachman (stop with the birther nonsense and take off your clothes already); Dennis, my mentally disabled next door neighbor (really, do you have to rap some Wiz Khalifa outside at 6am every weekday morning) and BK (anyone who listened to our first podcast knows what that’s all about). But not middle (or inside) linebackers. They need to be vocal leaders and there’s something about Quan Sturdivant that just screams “Specials only”. Kind of like walking by a Border’s or Blockbuster these days. He may hang in this league for a while, but you don’t spend a 2nd or 3rd rounder on a guy who’s best case scenario has him chasing down punt returners.
CHARLES PRINCE: CASEY MATHEWS, OREGON
Casey Mathews is a borderline Top 10 ILB prospect so don’t mistake me listing him 2nd as an indication that I think he’s the 2nd best ILB in the draft – he’s not. However, Mathews is being overhyped as a prospect. Take the exact same guy with the exact same intangibles, stick him on Oregon State and make his last name something like “Kregg” and make his dad not an ex-football player but an ex-tool salesman and make his brother not a current football player but say a sort of meandering ex-landscaper and Mathews wouldn’t even be drafted.
Like Prince, who may not have been culpable but was still part and parsel of the financial problem, Mathews may not really have NFL skills but is going to get a shot to play in the show. This is based almost exclusively on his name (Clay Sr.’s son, Clay’s brother, Bruce’s nephew) and the fact that he had a good night in the National Championship game against Auburn.
But while you can dismiss his sad 13-rep performance at the Combine’s as a result of injury, he’s short, undersized, and has hands smaller than China’s spunky tennis pro Li Na.
At some point name recognition can only get you so far – just ask George W. Bush. I really have nothing against the Mathews clan, but this is getting ridiculous. Can’t we just put Casey on the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL and call it a career?
BARNEY FRANK: KELVIN SHEPPARD, LSU
Barney Frank is neither thin nor handsome; neither exceedingly noble or exceedingly knowledgeable. But he became a leading voice of dissent and investigative prowess during the congressional hearings on the financial crisis and compared to the rather sorry bunch around him, came out looking okay.
My comparison of the openly gay Frank to Sheppard should not be seen in homophobic football circles as an inference on Sheppard’s sexuality as the man’s Mila Kunis fanboy site should clearly attest. (Now if I put Wisconsin’s Culmer St. Jean on here, that would be another story. Not because I know anything about his personal life but we all know the past history with Wisconsin’s baller’s and we’ll leave it at that).
Like Frank, Sheppard’s not scared to hit the hole and has been called a natural born leader. Like Frank, he’s a big hunk of cheese weighing in at a legit 2-fitty and unlike Frank, his combine number were acceptable. (Frank’s 40 time at the 1998 Congressional combines was 11.7 but he did manage 3 reps).
It seems to me that Sheppard should be rated as the #1 ILB prospect over position question guys like Wilson and Washington’s Mason Foster not to mention Sturdivant. But like Frank, sometimes guys with funny voices just aren’t taken as seriously as they should.
THE ANTI-LARRY SUMMERS: AKEEM DENT, GEORGIA
Former Clinton and Obama economic advisor, as well as former Harvard President, Larry Summers really is a remarkable prick. He’s very smart, I guess, but then again so was Ted Kaczynski, Neville Chamberlin and the guy who created flourescent lamps and look what happened to them (actual headline from 1849 edition of the Irish newspaper “The Daily Drunk” – Flourescent Lamp Creator and Comedian Arrested in Car with Tranny Hooker – Denies He Knew She was a He”).
Summer’s is so arrogant that Donald Trump suggested he tone it down a notch. The same cannot be said about Georgia’s 2010 Defensive Captain Akeen Dent. Talk about intangibles. He made the honor roll twice and unlike Summer’s – who was born with a silver trust account in his mouth – Dent’s dad went to jail and for like something real, not some bullshit check-forging scam.
But with Dent the question isn’t leadership or college production (126 tackles in 2010) or even physicals (his speed at the combines was average, his 24 reps acceptable and he had the best vert and broad for ILB’s at the combine). It’s that some don’t see that “somethin’ somethin'” on the field. Like Noah Wylie – he’s fine. You wanna put him in as a doctor – he’ll be fine. You wanna put him in as a lawyer – he’ll be fine. You wanna put him in as the lead in some sci-fi mini-series – he’s miscast but he won’t completely fuck it up. And that’s what people seem to say about Dent. He’s perfectly fine, but he’ll never be a star.
But this is where I may beg to differ. I’m not saying he’s Ray Lewis or Patrick Willis but inside linebackers are leaders who’s impact on a game are often times not seen merely in stats. I think Dent makes it as a starter in this man’s league and since I’m never wrong, you can bet the house on it.
BK-O-METER, SLEEPERS AND RANKINGS.
Sadly, time has gotten the better of me this NFL Draft season and we’ve decided from this point forward to forgo the BK-O-Meter, Sleepers and Rankings category because the draft is a week away and I’ve got like 20 more posts to make. So we added the Podcast (the ILB podcast may not post, however, because BK was on a cell phone and decided in his infinite wisdom to not speak directly into it) and I’ll give you a couple other foods for thought when you watch this year’s NFL draft. BK is a fan of Miami’s Colin McCarthy (“His combine numbers are off the charts”) and North Carolina State’s Nate Irving (“This guy makes plays!”). But he likes Cal Berkely’s Mike Mohamad the most – because his physicals are good and he’s a white guy with an odd last name. I think Michigan State’s Greg Jones has fallen unfairly after a poor Senior Bowl and can be a player in the league. Also watch too see if UConn’s Greg Lloyd, the estranged son of the former Pittsburgh Steeler All-Pro linebacker with the same name, gets drafted. His physicals aren’t great, his college career was okay and he’s had some injury and other minor issues here and there and under normal circumstances wouldn’t be drafted but we’ll see if, like Mathews, his name gets him a 6th or 7th round grab.