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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.

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