Saturday, April 30, 2011

Big Day For IU’s Brewer, Doss

So James Brewer and Tandon Doss will get their NFL chances, assuming the NFL doesn’t screw things up by blowing the season because of its labor dispute.

Both former Hoosiers went in the fourth round, not quite what they were looking for, but good enough to get a NFL opportunity. Remember, a quarterback by the name of Tom Brady went in the sixth round and he's done okay.

Anway, Brewer was the 117th pick and went to the New York Giants. Doss was the 123rd pick and went to the Baltimore Ravens.

The Giants like Brewer’s size (6-8 and 323 pounds), speed for that size and overall athleticism. General manager Jerry Reese called Brewer a “bit of a late bloomer” with “tremendous upside.” Brewer has to develop his technique and strength, but he’ll have plenty of time to do that because the Giants don’t have to play him right away.

“We always expect our guys to be ready to play in case there are some injuries,” Reese said on the Giants website. “He’s a smart kid. We think he can come in and do that.”

Doss impressed Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco. According to the Ravens’ website, Flacco gave team scouts six mid-level receivers to grade. Doss topped that list, for good reason. Some scouts rated him as having the best hands of any receiver in the draft. Last year he led the Big Ten in all-purpose yards (175.8) and earned all-conference honors.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh -- yes, the brother in law of IU basketball coach Tom Crean -- said Doss is, “Great after the catch. He’s a catch and get up the field. He’s a strong guy.”

Doss is more likely to make an impact next season -- assuming there is a next season -- than Brewer, but both have potential for solid pro careers.

In previous years since about 1993, players who weren’t drafted were taken as free agents. The lockout was messed that up, which is bad news for former IU players Ben Chappell and Terrance Turner. Both had hoped to be drafted in the later rounds, Chappell at quarterback and Turner at receiver. Neither was drafted, so now both have to wait till the lockout ends and the labor dispute is resolved. The best case scenario at this point is mid-summer.

And what will end the lockout? When both sides feel enough financial pain to agree. Until then, all the battles are being fought in the courts. And that's not nearly good enough.

NFL teams took 12 quarterbacks overall. Chappell, last year’s Big Ten passing leader and the most accurate quarterback in school history, was generally ranked as the 16th best quarterback.

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