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Steve Geller

"WWL First News" Sports Anchor
Weekdays 5am-10am

"Sports Talk" Producer
Weekdays 4pm-8pm

Twitter: @stevegellerWWL
Email: steve@wwl.com
Posts from April 2013

Steve: Saints new DE says he is a ''top notch'' pass rusher
As soon as it was announced that "with the 183rd pick in the 6th round of the NFL draft the New Orleans Saints select...Rufus Johnson, defensive end, Tarleton State,"  I was sent scrambling to not only find any info on a player I had never heard of, but also to find out just exactly where Tarleton State is located.

Well, the University is near the Dallas / Fort Worth area and competes at the Division II level in the Lone Star Conference.    The TSU Texans football team went 6-4 last year and ended the season on a 3 game winning streak.

Leading the team in sacks, with 10, was Johnson... despite playing in just 9 games.  He also had 50 total tackles on the year, 17.5 of which were for a loss along with 7 hits on the quarterback and a forced fumble.  Those impressive numbers earned Johnson the conference's Defensive Player of the Year honors.

"I'm a very aggressive player, I'm a good pass rusher, and I read the ball well," Johnson said when asked about his strengths. "I'm just an aggressive player and a wonderful pass rusher; my pass rushing skills are top notch."

Johnson says he models his play after NFL greats like Julius Peppers and DeMarcus Ware.

The 6 ft 6", 270 pounder says he ran a 4.69 in the 40 yard dash on his pro day, but really turned heads with a solid performance at the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star game.

"One of the things we try to do in the later rounds is look at size, speed and some measurables," Saints head coach Sean Payton said when asked what he saw in Johnson. "We feel like he is a guy that can rush the passer really well, so he can line up one of those outside positions, and we will see how he develops.  You are looking for some traits that stand out, and with him clearly that was the case."

We will have to wait and see if Jonson's success at a small school will translate to the pros, but you can't really second guess the Saints since they've had so much success with drafting these types of players in the past.  Zach Strief, Marcus Colston, Jahari Evans are just a few.
Rufus Johnson now joins former Tarleton teammate Saalim Hakim in New Orleans. If you don't remember (which I did not) Haakim was on the Black and Golds' active roster for the final two games last season.  Bectha TSU has more Who Dats now than Cowboys fans... Haha.
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Steve's Mock Draft 2.0 - A Mizzou Tiger for the Black and Gold?
My 2nd go at predicting the draft was a lot easier this time around now that the dust has settled from free agency.  However, I am still wary because I do believe there will be 2 or 3 deals on day one that will shuffle things in the first round.  

If Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is in fact around at #15 when the Saints pick, they ‘aint trading down!  Richardson is a 6-3, 295 pound force that would provide a much needed pass rushing presence up front.   I know new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan would love a shot at molding this kid.  

So, here's my Mock Draft, version 2.0.  And, click HERE for all the details about WWL's Draft Fest starting Thursday!

1) Kansas City Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

2) Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Dion Jordan, Oregon

3) Oakland Raiders: DT Sharif Floyd, Florida

4) Philadelphia Eagles: OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan

5) Detroit Lions: DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU

6) Cleveland Browns: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama

7) Arizona Cardinals: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia

8) Buffalo Bills: LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia

9) New York Jets: DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU

10) Tennessee Titans: OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma

11) San Diego Chargers: WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia

12) Miami Dolphins: OG Chance Warmack, Alabama

13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

14) Carolina Panthers: DT Star Lotulelei, Utah

15) New Orleans Saints: DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

16) St. Louis Rams: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

17) Pittsburgh Steelers: S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

18) Dallas Cowboys: DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

19) New York Giants: CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida St.

20) Chicago Bears: LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia

21) Cincinnati Bengals: WR Keenan Allen, California

22) St. Louis Rams: OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

23) Minnesota Vikings: DT Kawann Short, Purdue

24) Indianapolis Colts: OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama

25) Minnesota Vikings: LB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame

26) Green Bay Packers: RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama

27) Houston Texans: DT Jonathan Hankins, Ohio State

28) Denver Broncos: LB Kevin Minter, LSU

29) New England Patriots: CB Desmond Trufant, Washington

30) Atlanta Falcons: DE Datone Jones, UCLA

31) San Francisco 49ers:  DE Alex Okafor, Texas

32) Baltimore Ravens: CB Jonathan Banks, Mississippi State   

Photo: Missouri Athletic Department

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