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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Walter McFadden: Oakland Player Profile | Silver and Black Report

Silver Spotlight: Walter McFadden | Silver and Black Report


No: 22
Height: 5-10
Weight: 180
Birth date: 01/21/1987
College: AUBURN
Acquired: Selected in the 5th round of the 2010 NFL entry draft (138th overall)
The Oakland Raiders chose defensive back Walter McFadden with the 138th overall selection in the 2010 draft. While at Auburn, McFadden earned one of the starting cornerback spots during his junior season. Known for his playmaking in the secondary, three of his nine interceptions went for scores, including a school record 100-yarder against Northwestern in the 2010 Outback Bowl.

McFadden played in 49-games at Auburn, starting his final 25 contests at left cornerback. In 2009, he was an All-SEC first team selection, while also adding All-American honorable mention from the NFL Draft Report.

In the Silver & Black’s minicamp last weekend, McFadden continued showing a nose for the football and displayed enough in his first outing that he could potentially be a contributor early in his career.

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted McFadden’s brother –Bryant – in 2005, starting at cornerback for them during their Super Bowl before departing to Arizona in 2009.

Tommy "TJ" JAckson: Begins Coaching Career Back Home in Opelika | Opelika-Auburn News

PREP FOOTBALL: Jackson brings more than experience back to Opelika | Opelika-Auburn News

With former defensive line coach Steve Coker taking the top job at LaFayette, Brian Blackmon and the Opelika Bulldogs are turning to someone who knows a little something about the defensive line to take over.

He also happens to be someone who knows a little something about Opelika.

T.J. Jackson is returning to Bulldog Stadium this year, though this time it will be outside the lines, working with Opelika’s front four.

Jackson was a two-time All-State defensive lineman for the Bulldogs, a first-team All-SEC performer for Auburn University and spent parts of three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs.

He’s never coached before. But Blackmon said you wouldn’t know that from seeing him in action.

“He brings a great level of intensity,” Opelika’s second-year head coach said. “He kind of coaches the way he played, and he’s picked up all our guys’ intensity with it.”

Jackson grabs the reins of a talented, experienced group, one that should be the bedrock of an improved Bulldogs defense.

Caleb Lawrence — a senior three-year starter — and rising junior Jamarlo Alford will man the middle of the line.

Lawrence, at 5-foot-11, 260 pounds, was overmatched with double- and triple-teams at times in Opelika’s 3-4 last year. Alford (6-1, 240), along with a switch to the 4-3, should help free him up.

The tackles’ play will also help the ends — senior Tyler Peppers and junior Torey Agee — work. Blackmon said Peppers (6-3, 235) is getting some interest from smaller D-I schools, and Agee (6-4, 245) has the size and pedigree to be a prize recruit next year.

And neither of them have to look far to see what a little hard work on top of some size and talent can get them.

“The credibility that (Jackson) brings with the kids. They see that he played in the NFL, at the college level, and he started here in Opelika,” Blackmon said. “He’s doing an outstanding job.”

Even with the graduation of Alabama-bound Corey Grant and a bevy of playmakers, things also appear to be looking up on the offensive end.

The main reason for Blackmon’s optimism is the healthy return of junior quarterback Dalton Pritchett, who played through a series of concussion and shoulder issues last season.

Like he had last season with Grant, Pritchett will also have a feature back in Cameron Hill — little brother of former Opelika and Auburn
University defensive lineman Tez Doolittle — to attract some of the defense’s attention.

The offensive line, which struggled with its size last season, is also another year bigger and experienced, and will be built around 6-5, 250-pound tackle LaDarius Chatmon.

And Pritchett will have a receiving corps that includes former quarterback platoon partner Braden Rogers.

“Dalton’s really solidified himself as the No. 1 guy,” Blackmon said. “He’s getting a little better every day. The biggest difference from last season is his maturity level. He’s focused on learning the offense and getting better.

“It’s night-and-day.”

Opelika concludes its spring season with an intrasquad game tonight at 5:30.| 737-2568

AU Draft Recap - Track Em Tigers

Thursday Newsbits - Track Em Tigers

Auburn had a pair of players drafted last weekend by the NFL, Ben Tate and Walter McFadden. There was one surprising omission from the draft, SEC sack leader Antonio Coleman. Tate went in the 2nd round to the Houston Texans, in a bit of a surprise pick. The Texans had needs elsewhere, but apparently liked what they saw from Tate. It will be a challenge for Tate to get carries in a crowded Houston backfield that includes former Vols Chris Henry and Arian Foster, as well as the electric Mountaineer Steve Slaton, and veteran Louisiana Tech alum Ryan Moats.

Walter McFadden was selected in the 5th round by the Oakland Raiders. McFadden joins a team with problems across the board, including the secondary. One side of the Raider D sports All-Pro California product Nnamdi Asomugha. There is opportunity on the other side, as McFadden will compete with veteran journeyman Chris Johnson, and rookie Jeremy Ware for playing time. McFadden may well start this season. He joins a number of former Auburn players in Oakland, including Jason Campbell and Quentin Groves. The Raiders can only get better with 3 Auburn guys playing major roles!

Despite not being drafted, Antonio Coleman should have the opportunity to play early in the NFL. Coleman signed a free-agent contract with the Buffalo Bills, and should add some pass-rushing muscle to a team that managed only 32 sacks in 16 games in 2009. Jake Ricks signed with the Indianapolis Colts, which is also a great opportunity. Aside from star Dwight Freeney, the Colts always seem to be having issues on the D-line.

Fantasy football rankings like Campbell's move & Tate's chances to start - ESPN

St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson and Cincinnati Bengals' Cedric Benson fall in 2010 fantasy football rankings - ESPN

Other gainers of note include: Jahvid Best, who suddenly looks like the only real option the Detroit Lions have for Week 1 (and who'd be an even more intriguing fantasy option if he wasn't such a colossal injury risk himself); LenDale White, who looks like the touchdown maker (such as it is) in Seattle; Jason Campbell, who gets his walking papers and a breath of fresh air in Oakland; Ben Tate, who landed in a spot (Houston) where his team needs someone to wrest control of the backfield; Chaz Schilens and Louis Murphy, who benefit from JaMarcus Russell's departure; and a couple of Dallas Cowboys, Dez Bryant and Felix Jones, the former of whom I expect to be a Week 1 starter, and the latter of whom looks more and more like the clear leader in the team's backfield committee.

Devin Aromashodu: Poised for big season with Chicago? | Bleacher Report

2010 NFL Fantasy Draft Dodging | Bleacher Report

Devin Aromashodu, WR – CHI

For some, Aromashodu erupted on the scene late last year amassing 22 catches, almost 300 yards and four TDs over the final four games of 2009. For myself, I have been high Aromashodu since his days in Indianapolis when he was fighting with Roy Hall to be the fourth WR. I never really understood why the Colts released him in the first place. He had shown great hands, a knack for getting open, making the tough catch, and surprisingly good speed. When D.A. went to CHI, I made sure that my sleeper list was updated accordingly. When Cutler then went to the Bears I believed it was only going to be a matter of time before he got his opportunity. And when he did, he once again showed what he had in Indy, only this time, there was not Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison to keep him from seeing time as a starter. Fast forward to 2010, where the Bears have now added offensive guru Mike Martz. There is little doubt in my mind that D.A. not only becomes the WR1 in that offense, but that he also has a productive fantasy year. I’m looking for notable WR3 numbers, and potentially even low end WR2 if Chicago’s offense is passable.

Antonio Coleman: Trying to earn a spot with Buffalo Bills |

Free agent Antonio Coleman trying to beat odds by earning spot with Buffalo Bills |

Free agent Antonio Coleman trying to beat odds by earning spot with Buffalo Bills
By Mike Herndon
May 12, 2010, 7:29AM
G.M. ANDREWS/Staff PhotographerFormer Williamson High and Auburn star Antonio Coleman was at the Senior Bowl in Mobile and is now trying to earn a spot with the Buffalo Bills.Five months ago, Antonio Coleman was the big man on campus. Now he’s just another name on a list of long shots trying to prove they belong in the NFL.

Mike HerndonColeman, the Williamson High alum who led the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss at Auburn last season, began his professional career last week with a three-day mini-camp in Buffalo, where he’s trying to make the Bills as a free agent.

It’ll be a long, hard slog before Coleman knows whether to start looking for a house in Buffalo, but he believes he got off to a good start.

"It’s hard to tell, but I think I went up there and performed at the level I’m supposed to perform at," Coleman said this week. "I was physical, and when I had to rush, I got after the quarterback."

The mini-camp was filled with meetings, meetings and more meetings, with the players then trying to put what they learned into practice on the field. With an entirely new staff led by head coach Chan Gailey, the learning curve is steep for veterans and newcomers alike.

On defense, the Bills are switching to a 3-4 set that has Coleman, a defensive end in college, lining up at Jack linebacker. He and veteran Aaron Maybin, who also is making the conversion from defensive end, were the only two Jack linebackers in the mini-camp, allowing for plenty of reps.

Coleman said he received praise during the camp from outside linebackers coach Bob Sanders. He can draw further encouragement from the words of Gailey during a recent Bills press conference.

"Everybody who walks on that football field has a chance," Gailey said. "If you don’t go by that philosophy, then to me you’re short-changing these guys you’re signing. You have to give them an opportunity to win a job."

Free agents face long odds, but Coleman and others like Alabama’s Colin Peek (Falcons), Eryk Anders (Browns), Cory Reamer (Jets) and Lorenzo Washington (Cowboys) can take heart in the stories of players like Saints running back Pierre Thomas, Redskins running back Willie Parker and Colts center Jeff Saturday, NFL regulars who entered the league as undrafted rookies.

Last year, former Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson stuck with the Falcons after signing as a free agent, and former Vigor standout Ellis Lankster, a seventh-round pick in the ’09 draft, earned playing time with the Bills in 2009 after many assumed he wouldn’t survive in a crowded Bills’ secondary.

Coleman, who knew Lankster from their high school days in Mobile, said he spent a good bit of time with the former West Virginia cornerback during the mini-camp. Also taking part last week was former Troy quarterback Levi Brown, a seventh-round pick in April’s draft.

Coleman, Lankster, Brown and the rest of the Bills are off this week, returning to Buffalo this weekend for OTAs and another chance to prove themselves.

"I’ve just got to take it one step at a time," Coleman said. "I just go out there and play every play like it’s my last, because you never know."

Contact Mike Herndon at

Montez Billings: signs with Saints as free agent |

Montez Billings signs with Saints as free agent |

Montez Billings signs with Saints as free agent
By Mike Herndon
May 12, 2010, 10:49AM
Associated PressMontez Billings must have caught Sean Payton's eye in his try-out with the Saints.The Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints will try to do what Auburn couldn't -- get Montez Billings to reach his considerable potential.

Billings, who caught 55 passes for 645 yards and one touchdown in his college career at Auburn, has signed a free-agent deal with the Saints after trying out with the club last weekend, the club reported Wednesday.

Billings (6-1, 181) was a highly sought-after recruit out of Pelham, but his best season at Auburn was 2007, when he caught 28 passes for 321 yards and one score after breaking into the starting lineup midway through the season.In 2008, he was second on the team in receiving with 24 catches for 277 yards.

The Saints also signed former Kentucky linebacker Sam Maxwell to a free-agent deal Wednesday and waived another pair of undrafted free agents -- linebacker Jason Beaucahmp and receiver Chris Bell.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jason Campbell: Oakland Raiders get QB in trade with Washington Redskins - ESPN

Oakland Raiders get quarterback Jason Campbell in trade with Washington Redskins - ESPN

The Oakland Raiders, after making a deal that shipped out their leading tackler for the past four years, added a possible starting quarterback Saturday in a deal with the Washington Redskins for Jason Campbell.

In acquiring Campbell, the Raiders added a year to his existing contract, the quarterback told's Matt Mosley. He will make $4.5 million in 2011.

"I look at this as getting to start over," Campbell told Mosley via phone. "I talked to Mr. [Al] Davis, and he wanted me for two years. He wants me to help their team to a new level."

Campbell had already signed the Redskins' tender offer worth $3.1 million for 2010. Campbell said he and his agent, Joel Segal, had received interest from the Carolina Panthers on Friday until they selected Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen with the No. 48 overall pick.

When asked if he was promised the starting position by the Raiders, Campbell said he "got that feeling."

"Had I stayed [in Washington], there was no guarantee I was going to be the backup. Now I have a chance to go play for a team that really wants me.

-- Quarterback Jason Campbell

"I'm going to work hard to make sure that happens," said Campbell, who will compete with former No. 1 draft pick JaMarcus Russell, who was benched last season.

The Redskins, who earlier this month acquired Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles, received a fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft.

"Had I stayed [in Washington], there was no guarantee I was going to be the backup," Campbell told Mosley. "Now I have a chance to go play for a team that really wants me."

Campbell started 52 games for Washington since being a first-round pick in 2005. He has thrown for 55 touchdowns, 38 interceptions and has a career passer rating of 82.3. Campbell has been sacked 102 times since the start of the 2007 season, tied for third-most in the NFL in that span, behind Ben Roethlisberger and David Garrard.

Campbell is coming off his best season, completing 64.5 percent of his passes with 20 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and a passer rating of 86.4. But the Redskins went 4-12 last season and coach Mike Shanahan was brought in to turn the team around. Shanahan decided to go with McNabb instead of Campbell.

Campbell has been hurt by the constantly changing offensive coordinators and schemes since his time in college at Auburn. Campbell will be playing in his ninth different offensive system and under his 10th coordinator since entering college.

Russell completed 48.8 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 50.0 passer rating that was the lowest in the league in 11 years. He has struggled with his weight and questions about his work ethic throughout his career and never developed into the franchise quarterback the Raiders expected when they drafted him in 2007.

In 31 career games, Russell has completed 52.1 percent of his passes with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, 15 lost fumbles and a 65.2 passer rating.

Russell has already been paid more than $36 million since being drafted in 2007. The Raiders still owe him $3 million in guaranteed money. If he makes the team, Russell will be paid $9.45 million next season.

The Raiders currently have five quarterbacks on the roster, with Russell, Campbell, Bruce Gradkowski, Charlie Frye and Kyle Boller.

Gradkowski had been expected to compete with Russell for the starting job before the trade for Campbell. Gradkowski hurt himself lifting weights this offseason and recently had surgery. He is expected to be fully recovered by training camp.

Meanwhile, the Raiders sent their starting middle linebacker, Kirk Morrison, to Jacksonville as the bartering got heavy in Round 4.

Oakland selected one of the draft's fastest players, wideout Jacoby Ford of Clemson, with the pick acquired from the Jaguars.

After the Raiders drafted Rolando McClain in the first round to take over at middle linebacker, Morrison became expendable.

"For me, it's a new beginning. I feel like I was drafted all over again," Morrison said. "I definitely didn't see a slip in my play. Now I can move to Jacksonville and show what I can do."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Ben Tate: Houston Texans pick in second round of NFL draft |

Houston Texans pick Auburn's Ben Tate in second round of NFL draft |

Ben Tate is taking his legs and confidence to the NFL.

The Houston Texans drafted the Auburn tailback in the second round Friday night with the 58th overall pick. Tate led Auburn in rushing in each of the last three seasons.

The selection was something of a surprise to Tate.

"The only time I had talked to the Texans was when I was at the Combine," Tate said. "I thought it would be more of a longshot for them."

But Tate, who had some of the best times at the NFL Combine among the running backs, was remembered.

He ran for 1,362 yards last season, the fourth best season in Auburn history, and finished his career with 3,321 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Tate is the fifth leading rusher in Auburn history.

Tate improved his stock at the NFL Combine, prompting analyst Gil Brandt to say Tate was "the fastest riser on the board, I believe. A lot of people have been working him out and come away feeling he's better than they thought."

Tate was the first back to lead Auburn in rushing three straight years since Tommy Lorino did it from 1956-58.

Auburn has sent plenty of running backs to the NFL, most recently Carnell Williams, Ronnie Brown and Kenny Irons.

Walter McFadden: CB selected by Oakland Raiders in fifth round of NFL draft |

Auburn CB Walt McFadden selected by Oakland Raiders in fifth round of NFL draft |

Auburn cornerback Walt McFadden was picked by the Oakland Raiders with the 158th overall selection in the fifth round of the NFL draft Saturday.

McFadden is the second Auburn player chosen in the draft. Running back Ben Tate was picked in the second round by the Houston Texans on Friday.

McFadden had a team-high six interceptions and was a second-team All-SEC player in 2009. He had 87 tackles, nine interceptions and three touchdowns in his four-year Auburn career.

The Pompano Beach, Fla., native was honored by Auburn beat writers with the inaugural "Good Guy Award" after last season.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ben Tate: USA Today Ranks As 7th Best Draft RB

Head of the running back class in 2010 NFL draft field -

Auburn, 5-11, 220, 2-3: Tate is a physical runner who many thought flashed surprising bursts of speed during his college career. The real surprise was that he does have excellent speed, as he showed at the combine when he shocked scouts with a 40 time of 4.34 seconds despite his 220-pound frame. He has been compared to Marion Barber III of the Dallas Cowboys in terms of being a tough, inside runner. Some scouts think Tate might have the combination of toughness and speed that will make him productive in the NFL, which shouldn't be that surprising when his college career is put into perspective. Although many think Tate was inconsistent at Auburn, his career total of 3,321 yards rushing was fifth in school history, behind the likes of Bo Jackson, Carnell Williams, James Brooks and Joe Cribbs.

NFL Draft prospect bio: Auburn CB Walter McFadden

NFL Draft prospect bio: Auburn CB Walter McFadden

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ben Tate | Auburn, RB : 2010 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile

Ben Tate | Auburn, RB : 2010 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile

Draft Scout Snapshot: DS Rating on 9/1/09: #14 RB, #191/750 Overall, Projected Rd: 6
2009 Senior Bowl Invite…2008: 12 GP; 2 GS; Rush: 159-664-4.2-3; Rec: 15-90-6-0; KR: 1-11-11-0; 0 Sol-1 TT; Second Team Preseason Media All-SEC … Second Team Preseason Coaches’ All-SEC … Named to Maxwell Award Preseason Watch List … Finished sixth in SEC in rushing yards per game at 55.3 … Led team with 664 rushing yards and 765 all-purpose yards … Missed time in the spring with a nagging hamstring injury. 2007: 13 GP; 6 GS; Rush: 202-903-4.5-8; Rec: 16-144-9-0; KR: 2-36-18-0; 1 Sol-1 TT; Led team in rushing yards (903), rushing attempts (202), all-purpose yardage (83.3 ypg) and rushing touchdowns (8). 2006: 9 GP; 0 GS; Rush: 54-392-7.3-3; Rec: 2-(-3)-(-1.5)-0; The Sporting News Freshman All-America Honorable Mention. 2005: Graduated from high school early in time to participate in spring drillls.

Apology for lack of updates

Hello -I am a huge AU fan. My particular interest is how former AU players are doing in the NFL and beyond. However, if you are seeing this page, you notice it hasn't been updated in quite some time.

The only excuse I have is a good one: work has been incredibly busy. In this economy it is incumbent for those of us who are blessed to have jobs to work to be the best at them.

This blog is a labor of love. I will try to update it more often. If there are any folks out there that would like to help, let me know.

YouTube - Top 10 2010 NFL Draft Eligible Prospects Auburn Tigers

YouTube - Top 10 2010 NFL Draft Eligible Prospects Auburn Tigers

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