[EDITOR’S NOTE: MAD RADIO WILL CHOOSE ONE OF THESE ROOKIES AND NEXT WEEK YOU’LL BE ABLE TO HELP. CHECK BACK FOR VOTING OPTION NEXT WEEK. ON FRIDAY MORNING THE TEXANS CUT SHAQ HILL, MAD RADIO WILL SUPPLANT HIM WITH SOMEONE ELSE SHORTLY.]
Picking Our Favorite Rookie
Given the scaled back practice schedule, NFL training camps have become more of a grind for the fans than the players themselves. Sure, we don’t subject ourselves to physical injury, but we pay full damned price for pre-season games that are about as meaningful as a Kardashian wedding. Those games can get pretty dull by the second half, so Mad Radio decided to pick an individual to root for when the starters are sneaking hot dogs on the sideline. We’re looking for a lovable underdog who is trying to beat the odds, so draft picks need not apply. Only undrafted rookie free agents are eligible to become the official Mad Radio Undrafted Free Agent (MADUFDA!)
Here are the criteria:
Scrappy–Hungry to the point where some people think he’s psychotic. This is a guy who would have joined the Marines if he hadn’t played football. Small stature is a plus. Examples: Julian Edelman, John Randle
Personality–not gonna lie, we’d like him to have an interesting personality. It’s not a deal breaker, but the chance that he’ll be heavily featured on the field is relatively low. Examples: Nate Newton; young Arian Foster
Unique Physique–Not ideal to judge a book by its cover, but we don’t know much about these guys so let’s do it anyway. This can be for the better or the worse. Either look like look like you’re sculpted from stone, or like you don’t belong on an athletic field. Example. Priest Holmes; Tony Siragusa.
Position Changes–These guys intrigue me. If you’re a college wrestler trying your hand at football, for example, you’re in. Example: Former Patriots guard Stephen Neal, who didn’t play football and was an All-American wrestler in college, would have been a shoo in.
Smaller School–Nothing sickens me more than seeing softies from big time schools get drafted because they fit a size and speed calculation that completely ignores the fact that they were speed bumps on the football field. Screw those guys. Our MaDUFDA will embarrass them in front of their families at training camp. He’ll make them have to explain why they got beat out by a nobody from a directional school in the midwest. Example: Nate Newton, Florida A&M
Shaq Hill: WR, Eastern Washington
Scrappy. I found several citations of him being a big part of winning scrappy games. Good enough for me!
Personality. I don’t know, but the dude’s name is Shaq.
Unique Physique. Kind of. Him just a little guy, but that’s becoming more commonplace as everybody catches on to what Belichick knew 15 years ago; shifty little dudes can gash a defense like dragonglass through a white walker (Dorky Game of Thrones reference)
Position change. No, although we probably don’t spend enough time talking about how different the college offenses are for receivers the way we do with quarterbacks. Slot receivers especially need to adjust to defensive looks and coverages to a far greater extent than they do in college.
Smaller school. Yes. Eastern Washington. Did you know that some areas in the eastern part of Washington are actually classified as desert climates? It ain’t all Boeing, forests, and pot smoking in Washington state, people.
Likelihood of making the squad. Tall order. The team is likely set at slot receiver with Braxton Miller. Hill would have to make a great impression on special teams, and even then he may succumb to the numbers game. He’ll also be competing with fellow rookie slot receiver Riley McCarron. John Harris said that both of these guys were tearing it up on the first day of camp.
Dylan Cole: LB, Missouri State
Scrappy. Yes, based on college film. It’s hard to tell much from non-padded practices, but from what I could see in the OTA’s it looked like the kid really wanted to pop some folks. I look forward to reports from the first padded practices.
Personality. TBD. I actually might like it if he’s too wrapped up in thinking about carnage to talk.
Unique Physique. Yes. The dude is rocked up, and he had a 39 inch vertical jump at his pro day. If he doesn’t make it in the NFL, he could easily show up as an extra in Ballers or Adam Sandler’s next self-indulgent sports movie.
Position Change. No.
Likelihood of making the squad. Favorable. He agreed to a deal with the Texans within minutes of the draft ending, and he told the Springfield News-Leader that he’d been talking to the Texans for “a long, long time.” They’re obviously intrigued by him, and if he contributes on special teams he has a real shot at making the team.
Zach Conque: TE/QB, Stephen F. Austin
Scrappy. Yes. Played through a lot of injuries, and kept SFA in the rival game versus Sam Houston two years ago when it could have been a blowout.
Personality. TBD. I don’t know, but the coach at SFA was his dad and his teammates still seemed to like him, so he can’t be too bad a dude.
Unique Physique. Yes. Not all that unique, I would say that he’s a bit lanky for the NFL.
Position Change. Going from quarterback to tight end. I’m just glad he didn’t go to Arkansas, because that would feel a little too much like Matt Jones.
Smaller School. Yes. And a local one at that!
Likelihood of making the team. Gonna be tough. He obviously will have his work cut out for him as he changes positions, and the team is seemingly set with their three top tight ends. If he shows improvement over the course of camp, I could see the Texans signing him to the practice squad.