Many ridiculed the Oakland Raiders for selecting Darrius Heyward Bey over Michael Crabtree, a much safer pick. I, however, predicted in 2009, that the Raiders would draft offensive tackle Michael Oher from the University of Mississippi.
At the start of the 2008-2009 College season many scouts, myself included, rated Oher the top tackle in college. By season’s end, Oher had dropped several slots, which mostly was by consequence of the NFL combine, and in his place resided Baylor’s Jason Smith.
Smith, like Bey, struggled mightily his rookie season—and like Bey, Smith earned his job, primarily, on the fact that he was a master of the NFL combine—and not solely based on his on-field production.
To start the 2010 NFL Season, Oher is the starting left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, after unseating 2009 starter Jared Gaither. Bey and Smith are bigger question marks now than they were coming out of college.
The last and 256th overall pick in the NFL Draft has been coined Mr. Irrelevant. And in 2009, that title went to Ryan Succop of the Kansas City Chiefs. Succop’s responded: "I didn't choose to be Mr. Irrelevant. It just worked out that way. I'm just trying not to get caught up in it and focus more on the task at hand, which is trying to come in here and help the team.”
In return, Succop kicked a 22-yard field goal in overtime to give Kansas City a 27–24 win over the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Succop finished the season scoring (104) more than any other rookie in the NFL last year, which placed him second in Chiefs history in scoring by a rookie—which refuted the title of Mr. Irrelevant. But can Bey, in his second year, disprove his Mr. Irrelevant title?
There has been much news during the offseason of Bey working hard preparing for his sophomore year with the Raiders. Bey, however, has missed his fourth straight day of practice—not by fault of injury, but fatigue—he’s just a bit tired. Cable responded, “He is fatigued.”
So was the Little Engine that could! But the Little Engine couldn’t have if fatigue had overcome its desire to achieve. Nor would the Little Engine be a household name—if fatigue had hampered its will.
Does DHB have the “Eyes of the Tiger”? Or is he the next JaMarcus Russell?