The same message was received 14 times in college football offices last season.
Like a note passed around in a grammar school classroom, offensive coordinators underlined the same comment at the top of their notebooks:
Use extreme caution when throwing at Prince Amukamara.
That isn’t to say that the Glendale, Ariz. native was infallible. Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon, the nation’s best receiver by a wide margin, got the best of Prince a time or two. After all, to be the best, you have to beat the best.
Prince racked up 59 tackles (36 solo), one TFL, one sack, 13 PBU, but not one interception. It’s hard for a cornerback to pick-off passes when they're thrown via desperation most of the time.
There are several franchises with early picks in the NFL draft that need a lock-down player like Amukamara in the worst way. Where will he end up? There are three likely possibilities:
Mike Singletary may not have cut the mustard, but if any coach is going to bring the will to win, it’s Jim Harbaugh. While college success doesn’t always translate to the NFL (see: Saban, Nick), Harbaugh transformed former Pac-10 cellar-dweller Stanford into a powerhouse.
The 49ers ranked No. 16 in the NFL last season, allowing 22 PPG. Even worse, San Francisco checked in at No. 24 in pass defense, allowing 231 YPG. Teams passed for 20-plus yards 48 times and 40-plus yards 11 times.
Prince could very well be the cure for San Francisco’s long-ball ills.
Remember when Terrence Newman was the talk of NFL defensive backs? Unfortunately, time makes fools of us all and at 33 years old, Newman’s going to be made a fool of by younger, faster receivers. Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick didn’t exactly look the part of all-pros last season, either.
The Cowboys ranked a putrid No. 26 in passing defense, giving up 243 YPG. Teams tossed 20-plus-yard passes on Dallas’ defense 57 times and 40-plus-yard lobs 13 times. Adding insult to injury, the Cowboys were first to last in scoring defense allowing 27 PPG.
Some new jets need to be added to Jerry World. Jones already installed enough high-definition televisions to satiate 50 sports bars and a replay board that rivals the size of the Pacific Ocean. He may as well add one of the finest cornerbacks in the draft to complete the ambiance.
The Lions are praying that Amukamara falls to No. 13 and if he does, the Detroit brass can’t call their pick in fast enough.
With the selection of eventual All-Everything Ndamukong Suh in last year’s draft along with key additions in free agency, the Lions are a few key players away from next year’s postseason.
Detroit rebounded well last season, going 6-10, though their defense remained average as a whole. Allowing 219 YPG through the air isn’t going to win games. Nor are 43 passes of 20-plus yards and nine of 40-plus.
The Lions found themselves in the bottom half of defense overall in 2010 at No. 24 in rushing defense and 19 points allowed. A cornerback like Prince could very well do for the secondary what Suh did for the line.
Several mock drafts have LSU’s Patrick Peterson and Amukamara off the board when Detroit picks. If the 49ers and Cowboys choose to go in a different directions or Peterson drops to Dallas, Amukamara will be a Lion.
Offseasons are for scrubs.
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