Sunday, February 10, 2013

It’s Time to Draft a QB, and Here's the Guy

Mel Kiper was asked which QB might be flying under the radar -- this year's Russell Wilson. It's an interesting question.

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls immediately thought of Geno Smith (WVU), but Smith isn't exactly flying under the radar, as he is projected to go in the first round.  Wilson, of course, is far more accomplished and polished, but Smith’s game superficially resembles Wilson’s.  

Kiper answered the question, however, by naming Duke QB Sean Renfree (6'3', 225). The way Kiper talked about him, he sounds like a solid backup at the very least (kind of like Kirk Cousins) with starter potential and lots of upside. In Renfree's case, lots of upside. 

No expertise here, but Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls remember seeing Renfree play a little this past season, and he caught our attention. We made a mental note then, along the lines of, why haven't we heard about this guy?  

Well, for one thing, he played at Duke, where football has long been an inglorious afterthought. Still, Renfree looks like a quarterback. Honestly, it was the same kind of gut feeling we had 14-15 years ago when we saw Tom Brady playing at Michigan. Same damn thing, seriously, not that we’re comparing Renfree to Brady, no way.  

One thing, though, Renfree can actually run, maybe not quite like Colin Kaepernick, but he can run (a 4.5 40, same as Kaepernick). The main thing, to our untrained eyes: Renfree has the poise you want in a quarterback. Oh, and he completed 67 percent of his passes last year. 

Athletic? Look at Renfree's Rivals profile when he came out of high school.  Even then, Renfree was athletic (36-inch vertical leap, 4.5 40, 400-lb vertical squat as a senior in high school). Smart? He's seems intelligent (3.9 GPA in high school and whatever exposure to education he may have gotten at Duke).  

Football-smart is what we're more interested in, and Renfree had four years under one coach at Duke, and that coach was David Cutcliffe, the New York Giants' former QB coach who made a name for himself working with Eli Manning.

What's the Catch?
The BIG hang-up about Renfree at this point is that he suffered a torn right pectoral muscle while attempting the last pass of his final game, the Belk Bowl vs. Cincinnati, where he completed 37 of 49 passes for 358 yards. Renfee is expected to make a full recovery, but he will be unable to participate in the Combine and might not even be ready to work out until May.  

In a weak quarterback class, Kiper projects Renfree going in the fourth-fifth-sixth round. If that's the case, Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls would love for the Steelers to take him in the third round (same round as Joe Montana)

Seriously. Take Renfree higher than he's projected to go. Look how the 49ers traded up to get Kaepernick near the top of the second round in 2011. Most projections had him going in the late third round, where Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls vainly hoped he might be available for the Steelers in the third round.

This year, leave nothing to chance. Take Renfree in the third round and be done with it.

Maybe Not Such a Long Shot
It's about time the Steeler draft a quarterback they can legitimately develop as a viable backup to Ben Roethlisberger.  Quit fooling around.  Renfree’s not going to play for the Steelers this year anyway, unless both Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch (?) go down with injuries. If that’s the case, how much more useless could Renfree (or anybody else) be than Byron Leftwich has been the past couple years?  And who knows?  … you just might catch lightning in a bottle.

According to the Charlotte Observer, here is what Renfree's college coach, David Cutcliffe, had to say about him:
When Cutcliffe met with the media, he said Renfree’s work ethic matched that of his most famous protégés, Peyton and Eli Manning. 
“Everyone is aware of Peyton and Eli’s work ethic and how hard and well they prepare. Same guy,” Cutcliffe said of Renfree. “He has the same skills, knowledge, mental aspects of the game, same preparation. Every player on our team saw how hard he worked in the weight room, how hard he worked in the meeting rooms. He may be one of the most unsung football players in the ACC. He’s not a lot of flash. Just look at the yards he threw for, look at what he’s done in his career as a quarterback at Duke, moving this program forward. 
“Anybody in the National Football League or collegiately that does not want Sean Renfree in their locker room would be out of their mind.”
YinzBurgh BBQ for Everyone!
Congrats to our favorite take-out barbeque joint, YinzBurgh BBQ, on its one-year anniversary!  Read more here about the best joint in town.


Anonymous said...

Sean Spence(2012) and Colin Kaepernick(2011) are two separate drafts, Kaepernick wasnt a rookie this season like Spence. We took Marcus Gilbert late in the 2nd(#63) and Curtis Brown late the third(#95).

The Niners even gave him some packages last season in his rookie year.

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

Right you are, Anonymous. Thanks for straightening us out. It seems we had a spasm of draft-year dyslexia! Edited and updated.

Curtis Brown did well at the 2011 Combine. Let's hope he steps up this year.