by Don Wassall
The number of black players selected in the early rounds of the NFL Draft who turn out to be busts has grown appreciably in recent years, but it’s a phenomenon that’s never remarked upon by the corporate media, which has just as much interest in perpetuating the league’s Caste System as does the NFL itself. In a society in which racial politics figures heavily into everything — including, yes, even the “purity” of the world of sports — blacks are generally found at the bottom of most criteria measuring financial status and quality of life and thus the Powers That Be deem it very important for a number of reasons to present a facade of unwavering black excellence in sports.
Thus we find ESPN and the NFL Network still annually showing a dated show around this time of year on all-time draft busts that focuses on White players from the 1980s and ’90s such as Tony Mandarich, Brian Bosworth, Mike Mamula, Heath Shuler, Ryan Leaf, etc, when there is an amazing abundance of black busts over the past decade that such a show should be focusing on. It doesn’t matter for example that Mamula actually had a decent career before injuries cut it short; by comparison the Cincinnati Bengals just signed two black defensive ends who were both the eighth overall pick in their respective drafts, Jamaal Anderson and Derrick Harvey. Both have been big-time busts whose careers put together aren’t half as good as was Mamula’s, but don’t expect to find either Anderson or Harvey on an updated version of ESPN’s biggest draft busts any time soon.
One reason there are so many black busts in the NFL is the over the top hype certain players receive beginning in high school. A great example this year is Vontaze Burfict of Arizona State, who has (finally) been falling down some teams’ draft boards. He was a player always referred to as “an elite athlete,” but his Combine numbers did anything but back that claim up. As CBS Sports wrote of Burfict’s performance at the 2012 Combine last month:
“Arizona State inside linebacker Vontaze Burfict entered the Combine needing to answer questions about his maturity and athleticism. He may have failed at both.
“Burfict raised more than a few eyebrows when he blamed the ASU coaching staff (which was led by former two-time NFL head coach Dennis Erickson) for his inconsistent play in 2011 during his interview with the media Sunday.
“He then proceeded to run slower than any other linebacker tested at the Combine in the 40-yard dash, registering a 5.09 second time that was beaten by 36 of the 48 defensive linemen including 346 pound Dontari Poe. A troubling lack of overall explosion was also shown with a 30″ vertical jump, a number beaten by all but two linebackers in Indianapolis. . .
“Characterized as an elite talent deserving of first round consideration by some in the media, Burfict is rated as the No. 88 prospect in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com and that may be generous.” http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/13682485/35011522
Here are some samplings from scouting reports on Burfict, prior to his pathetic Combine and Pro Day numbers. Remember, these opinions are based on what these alleged “experts” saw from watching film, which leads one to believe even more fully that scouts have no eye for speed and just look at an athlete’s skin color. That would explain why Luke Kuechley of all people had his athleticism questioned.
Walter Football: 9/2/11: “Vontaze Burfict has ideal size with excellent speed and is an elite athlete.”
Optimum Scouting: “Burfict may be the best athlete at the Mike linebacker position coming out of college since Patrick Willis.”
NFL’s Future: “Burfict is an elite athlete for his size. He’s a quick twitch athlete with great short area quickness”.
ESPN’s Todd McShay: “Burfict is a physical freak with tremendous athleticism and explosive power.”
This gem from a featured columnist at BleacherReport is the best: “…there is not one athlete in this draft that can match the Arizona State linebacker’s raw athleticism.”
Burfict’s stats for 2011 were quite pedestrian: 69 total tackles, 5 sacks, 1 interception, and 3 pass breakups. In other words, the equivalent of about five games of work for Boston College’s tackling machine, Luke Kuechly, who was repeatedly questioned as “unathletic” before coming up with a sensational performance at the Combine that dwarfed Burfict’s in every way.
And it all traces back to. . . Rivals and Scout. Both had Burfict as a top recruit coming out of high school. Rivals had him number 1 for his position with a 6.1 rating which according to them is “Franchise Player; considered one of the elite prospects in the country, generally among the nation’s top 25 players overall; deemed to have excellent pro potential; high-major prospect.”
Amazing they can tell all of that just out of high school. And they don’t want to be wrong, so the hype continues way out of proportion to reality all through college, and then into the NFL.
It’s a much different story for White college stars. 6’6″ Matt Jones ran a blazing 4.37 40 at the Combine in 2005 yet many of the same “experts” who drool over Burfict’s non-athleticism still insisted on pegging Jones as a tight end rather than a wide receiver.
Toby Gerhart at 235 pounds ran an impressive 4.53 40 at the 2010 Combine, yet many “experts” said he was only capable of playing fullback in the NFL — and Gerhart had just won the 2009 Doak Walker Award as the best college running back in the United States!
Brian Leonard ran a 4.49 40 at the Combine but was also generally referred to as a fullback rather than a tailback. White wide recievers, no matter how fast they are and how many big plays they make, are almost always decreed to be “possession receivers” by the same “experts” who thought Vontaze Burfict was an elite athlete.
The only sure thing about the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft is that many deserving White players will be drafted later than they should be, or won’t be drafted at all, while the ranks of prematurely drafted black players who “surprisingly” turn out to be busts will once again swell.
Caste Football discussion board members Woody, Dwid and Thrashen contributed to this article.