Reads, Listens, and Views…and Tweets 8/5

How good are UTEP's Kris Adams (Bears) and Cincinnati's Armon Binns (Jags)? The 2011 RSP has the low-down. Collage by Matt Waldman.

A great week of football at the Rookie Scouting Portfolio. A healthy dose of training camp helps. Special thanks to all of you who have subscribed to the blog or have made it part of your daily ritual. If you like what you’ve seen thus far, please consider these three acts of kindness:

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Then consider one special act of kindness to yourself: Check out my publication The Rookie Scouting Portfolio. Those who buy it keep coming back year after year. See what they have to say about this player evaluation resource with a fantasy-friendly approach.

As the college football season approaches, I’ll be posting more prospect analysis that you’ll likely see in the 2012 Rookie Scouting Portfolio, available here for purchase in the early spring. Back issues available by emailing me.

On Fridays, I share what I’ve been reading, listening, and viewing each week – football, fantasy football, and non-football.


Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman – an essay in this book about football. Recommended by Sigmund Bloom.

Fantasy Football

The Weekly Gut Check No. 226: Upside Down Draft Strategy by Yours Truly – Why the fantasy football playing world has its general approach to drafting upside down and how to fix it.


Ambitions as Deep as Their Pockets by William J. Broad

“A new generation of daredevils is seeking to plunge through nearly seven miles of seawater to the bottom of a rocky chasm in the western Pacific that is veiled in perpetual darkness. It is the ocean’s deepest spot. The forbidding place, known as the Challenger Deep, is so far removed from the warming rays of the sun that its temperature hovers near freezing…”

Getting Bin Laden by Nichols Schmidle

What happened that night in Abbottabad.


Greek Song by Telegram – The bassist was a high school classmate who now plays with Corey Smith. I especially like his Telegram project, which has played at the renown Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Ga.

Splanky by Count Basie – Swing, groove, flow; whatever you call it, this is it. If this doesn’t make you move, you’re deaf. And if you are hearing impaired, the rhythm will still make you get up and dance.

Pat Bianchi with the BE3 Trio – Another old high school friend, Jim White, is the excellent drummer (he teaches at two universities and is pretty well known in the Nashville studio scene) on this burning performance.

Listening to Jim play makes me want to put on a looping video of Adrian Peterson’s best runs.

Eye Catching  Camp Tweets 8/5

Armon Binns

AlfieBCC True. & Newsome RT @CapJAG: @AlfieBCC could make a strong argument that after M80 & Shorts the next most impressive receiver has been Binns.
My Take: Jason Hill has not been mentioned at all this week. In fact, reporter asked Jack Del Rio this week about Hill and he talked about the other receivers, specifically Mike Thomas. I’ve probably been the biggest fan of Jason Hill among those writing about football over the past 4-5 years, but the fact that Del Rio responded the way he did reminds me of the way former 49ers coach Mike Nolan did a few years ago after Mike Martz praised Hill.
There might be something about Hill’s practice habits that get him on the wrong side of a coach. Alfie Crow said in another Tweet that Hill has only made a few plays and the WR corps as a whole as been “blah.” Let’s hope Hill doesn’t ruin a good opportunity. It has only been a week, but it is something to watch.
As for Binns, the receiver from Cincinnati has primary wideout size and enough speed to work his way down field effectively. He’s a nice after the catch runner and I was surprised he was not drafted. Sigmund Bloom has been mentioning Binns as one of his favorite UDFAs all spring and summer. The other receiver Alfie Crow mentioned is former UCF Knight Jamar Newsome.
Kris Adams
BradBiggs: Undrafted rookie WR Kris Adams making some plays with reserves.
My Take: I’m a Kris Adams fan. The UTEP star has terrific speed and fantastic leaping ability. In fact, I think he could possibly make Johnny Knox look a little sluggish (I’d like to see that race). He can catch the football and he showed up nicely in a game against Arkansas.
I’m glad he’s getting a chance in Chicago and I’m not surprised he’s making plays. He needs to work on catching the ball earlier in terms of getting his hands further from his body, but he has natural skills at tracking the football and he has a competitive mentality that endears me to him as a project.
James Starks
jasonjwilde: I’m a Ryan Grant guy, but way Starks has looked in early practices – accelerating, hitting holes hard – it’ll be hard to keep him off field.

MikeVandermause: Starks running with some power and authority.

My Take: I love and respect my pals who don’t “see it” from James Starks, but part of good talent evaluation is seeing what isn’t evident yet. In this case, I believe that what we didn’t completely see from Starks last year was a product of not playing football for nearly two seasons and at the same time transitioning to the NFL as well as adding 15 lbs. of muscle to his frame. That’s a lot adjustment variables don’t you think?
Considering Starks was trusted enough in the playoffs despite not playing for essentially two seasons, should tell you that he’s only going to get better. It might not be this year that he emerges as the starter, but I think it’s coming.

2 responses to “Reads, Listens, and Views…and Tweets 8/5”

  1. That Klosterman article was pretty neat, even if he didn’t exactly nail some of the nerdier details. I’ve seen a few different theories advanced as to why football is so popular – Drew Magary says it’s because nearly all of the games are on network TV (making them “events” in a way that Tuesday night NBA games on TNT are not), which I agree is a factor. Analogies to chess or war also make a lot more sense in the context of football than basketball or baseball; there’s something about beating someone by out-thinking them that’s inherently appealing to a lot of people. Of course there are strategic elements to other team sports, but football’s 11-on-11 structure and clearly-defined plays dilute the impact of individuals and bring scheme and tactics to the forefront.

    Re: Starks, I’ve been watching the Packers playoff run a lot lately. Their run blocking last year was generally below average, especially in getting up to LB level, but Starks consistently turned TFL’s into 2-3yd gains by setting up blocks and bursting downfield. He might not get the opportunity as a “feature” back this year, but he’ll definitely be an asset for GB.

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