Yesterday's post was about my indecision about watching the Senior Bowl. I'm glad I watched it, because it was a whale of a game. Erik Ainge led the South squad to a last minute game-winning touchdown drive. LSU and the SEC showed well for the most part, especially Ainge at quarterback and Ali Highsmith and Wesley Woodyard at linebacker. Hester acquitted himself nicely as well. Chevis got burned for a sick touchdown pass from Chad Henne to former Tiger Lavell Hawkins, but otherwise played quite well. Doucet apparently left camp with an injury earlier in the week.
In addition to being an obsessive LSU football fan, I am also a casual New Orleans Saints fan, and I was watching this game not only out of LSU- and SEC-pride, but also to look at potential future Saints. It's no secret that the Saints have an explosive offense but a weak defense that lacks playmakers. If I was King of the Saints, I would be looking for the best defensive players available at either defensive tackle, linebacker, or corner. I'm reasonably satisfied with the defensive ends and safeties on the roster, but that's about it.
So, I was looking for defensive playmakers. The one I saw that I liked the most wasUSC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, who may or may not be available when the Saints make their first selection at #10. This guy looked like the real deal to me, a rare playmaker at defensive tackle. The only concern I have about him is that the announcers, who know a lot more than me about these things, said he was a "zero-technique" tackle, meaning he is at his best playing directly opposite the center, which may not be exactly what the Saints need.
Other than Ellis, I really liked Trevor Laws, the defensive tackle from Notre Dame, but I think he is more of a mid-round pick. He looked like he could be a quality mid-round pick though if we haven't picked up a DT before then.
I loved Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, the cornerback from Tennessee State University. He made play after play not only in the passing game, but also in the running game. He's a tall corner, which is always a good thing as well. This is a guy who could be the sort of workout warrior who moves himself into the first round, which would probably put him out of reach of the Saints who would have better corners available at pick #10, but they Saints could seriously use a playmaking corner. If they take a corner in the first round, it would probably be Michael Jenkins from South Florida, or possibly Aqib Talib from Kansas. Either would be good picks, as both are ball hawks and playmakers.
I didn't see a linebacker who I thought would be a worthwhile pick at #10, and the best linebackers will be long gone by the time we pick in the second round, but Wesley Woodyard of Kentucky looks like he can play and could be available in the middle rounds.
That was pretty awful last night. I haven't had a lot of opportunities to see this team play, especially since the injury to Chris Johnson, which apparently has made this team completely unviable against SEC competition. The problems I see with this team mainly center around a complete inability to get the ball into a good scoring position. Sometimes, they throw up a bad shot by choice, such as taking a quick 3-pointer with a hand in their faces. Sometimes, they spend 15 seconds passing the ball around 25 feet from the basket and realize the shot clock is down to 10 so they're forced to try to work too quickly from that point and end up taking a wild shot to beat the buzzer.
The result? Really poor field goal shooting. The cause(s)?
Well, earlier in the day, I watched Kentucky beat South Carolina. Despite the loss, the thing that struck me the most about South Carolina is that they have the kind of offensive playmakers that we desperately lack. We don't have a player like Devan Downey, who can can slash to the basket or pull up and hit a 3-pointer and can create turnovers leading to transition points. Heck, right now we don't even have a player like Zam Fredrick, who is a pure shooter. Chris Johnson was a similar sort of player, but now he's hurt and we haven't figured out how to play offense without him.
I see no end to this skid until Johnson comes back from injury, and even then we are an average team at best.