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View Full Version : Late Night Musings: Maroney & Parham



ckparrothead
01-17-2006, 12:31 AM
I'm just watching the Virginia-Minnesota game again for sh!ts and giggles. My eyes of course get naturally drawn to three players: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Lawrence Maroney, and Kai Parham.

And I like Lawrence Maroney best of them all, even Ferguson. I know D'Brick is higher rated and plays a more highly rated position. I'm just saying what I see.

Maroney really has it all. I guess I haven't gotten much chance to see how he blocks, but other than that, he runs between the tackles, he bounces it outside, he has ideal natural power that comes from his nice size and frame. He falls forward, he pushes the pile, and he's got great flat out speed. The thing that really stands out about this guy is his BURST. I love a noticeable burst in a runner. You see them traveling one speed, then just click and they're traveling at a higher speed. That's Maroney. He has the burst to be a great NFL runner, along with his great combination of size, speed, hands, etc. I've never gotten much chance to take a look at DeAngelo Williams, I'll admit...but Lawrence Maroney might be my favorite running back out of all of the backs in the draft including the likes of Reggie Bush and LenDale White. He jumps out at you that fast. I mean, I'm not saying draft Maroney higher than Bush, cuz that would be crazy. But there is a difference between liking a guy better and drafting a guy higher. You trade down and position yourself to take the guy you like better, but that doesn't mean you rate him higher. The Chargers may have liked Rivers better than Eli, but they weren't about to take Rivers #1, for instance.

Incidentally, Bill Polian himself was at this game between Minnesota and Virginia...and with Edgerrin about to leave, does anyone else think he was scouting out his next great running back in Lawrence Maroney? He'll have to hope Bill Belichick doesn't take him, because I have a feeling they'll be looking at Maroney too. Polian could have been checking out Parham, but Parham is more of a size linebacker, not exactly a Dungy type.

So, as for Kai Parham, nobody can say this guy doesn't attack, or shed linemen well. He is a RUN PLUGGER. This guy will plug right into the gaps, hold up at the point of attack, and fight and fight until he takes the runner down. He's the stuff good defenses are made of. He isn't an everywhere-at-once Ray Lewis or Zach Thomas, obviously. Parham probaby blitzes well too. He's that kind of player. Perfect for ILB in a 3-4. He uses his hands well to keep in the action and shed linemen, and he really gets down in there. Plus he's got speed to jump to the outside in anticipation of the sweep. Where Parham seems to lack a bit might be in the mental game and definitely in his conditioning/focus. Al Groh keeps having to talk to Kai a lot to make sure everything is getting called right on the D. They have some young linebackers out there no doubt, but there are some missed assignments and Parham just does not seem to be one of those "every down" linebackers. Not yet, anyway. Also, his conditioning may be in question, as he loses focuses for stretches of plays and begins to pull up with a little less than 100% effort. The reason I say conditioning is you can see this happening for a few stretches of plays where he just disappears, and then lets say a timeout is called or something, very next play Parham's back out there recharged and popping back into the middle of the grinder to pop a few sprockets out of place in the ground game machine. This could be a focus issue or it could just be conditioning. Maybe both. Remember how we got Morlon Greenwood to be a 1st and 2nd down linebacker but he'd come out on 3rd downs in the nickel package? We basically said he and the nickel CB get as much playing time as the other even though Morlon is technically a starter? Parham is perfect for that. At least, for now. He can plug away at that ground game though. You'd never have a problem with that.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson...he's pretty good. I guess about as good as pass protection as you'll see. But, he's not really a good run blocker. I know some folks will try and say he is, but I don't see it. That's fine I mean he's an obvious LT at the next level and Walter Jones ain't even the best at run blocking. Someone during the game mentioned Lomas Brown as a good comparison for Ferguson. I thought that was interesting. When Ferguson did get beat in pass pro, it was a straight back bull rush Matt Roth style. I wonder if that will happen to him in the pros too, unless he gains some weight. He looks way too light out there to me.

Incidentally, KB21 was pretty dead on when he said that Eslinger should end up in a Denver-style OL. He's a gifted cut blocker, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him garner attention from Denver or Atlanta on Day 2. He's not very powerful...doesn't have natural power for the run blocking. He'll make his way double-teaming and cut-blocking. That's my opnion.

But Maroney...I get the feeling watching him that if he steps into the right situation (Indy or New England), he's rookie of the year material.

SMadison29
01-17-2006, 12:40 AM
Incidentally, Bill Polian himself was at this game between Minnesota and Virginia...and with Edgerrin about to leave, does anyone else think he was scouting out his next great running back in Lawrence Maroney? He'll have to hope Bill Belichick doesn't take him, because I have a feeling they'll be looking at Maroney too.

I wouldn't think so only because of how much the Colts use their feature back in the pass game. Maroney isn't very good out of the backfield like that because a) he played at Minnesota & b) he has small hands like Ricky.


Incidentally, KB21 was pretty dead on when he said that Eslinger should end up in a Denver-style OL. He's a gifted cut blocker, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him garner attention from Denver or Atlanta on Day 2. He's not very powerful...doesn't have natural power for the run blocking. He'll make his way double-teaming and cut-blocking. That's my opnion.

With Houston getting Gary Kubiak as head coach I would throw them into the mix also. Steve McKinney gave up 9 sacks this year, that's the most I've ever seen a center allow.

ckparrothead
01-17-2006, 01:52 AM
I wouldn't think so only because of how much the Colts use their feature back in the pass game. Maroney isn't very good out of the backfield like that because a) he played at Minnesota & b) he has small hands like Ricky.

I completely disagree. Maroney is not one-dimensional in that way at all. What I saw was a runner who is a very FLUID pass catcher with a natural feel for running out the routes, catching the ball, and getting yards. It is funny that you brought up Ricky's hands, because he reminds me of Ricky Williams as a pass catcher, and Ricky is by no means a BAD pass catcher or a one-dimensional runner. He catches passes all the time. You look at Ricky's career and he has 246 catches in 82 games (3.0 catches a game). Edge only has about 3.7 catches a game. Maroney can have that same kind of pass catching production. He's a natural for it, and I have no doubt that is what draws Bill Polian to looking at Maroney as a replacement for Edgerrin James.

The small hands doesn't really affect a runner's pass catching skills. People speculate it affects your propensity for fumbling I suppose...and you don't want to see small hands on a receiver because receivers are asked play in and play out to make hard catches that running backs by and large are not. If you draft a Maroney, are you getting a top notch pass catcher running back a la Reggie Bush or Ronnie Brown? No. But you are getting about a notch below that, and that ain't bad.

Incidentally, Edgerrin James is not an appreciably better pass catcher than Ricky Williams, and from the looks of it, he isn't appreciably better at catching the ball than Lawrence Maroney. The game announcers certainly felt Maroney's catching was a strength of his.

djfresh47
01-17-2006, 02:08 AM
I was impressed with Maroney everytime I seen Minnesota this year and last. I like him more than DeAngelo Williams, but not as much as LenDale White or Reggie Bush. On a side note, the more I actually watch Reggie Bush, the more i'm impressed with him, if the Texans take Young over him I think they're gonna regret that move alot, and I think Young will be a good pro.

SMadison29
01-17-2006, 03:14 AM
The game announcers certainly felt Maroney's catching was a strength of his.

Hmm, that's strange because in the 3 or 4 games I watched of there's this year that's what the announcers harped on as his major weakness as he dropped a pass shortly after (on two occasions that I can recall). I love him as a RB because of his ability to take it the distance but I'm just not crazy about him coming out in the flat.