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A Little Lazy Journalism For You

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From Stewart Mandel at SI.com concerning Kentwan Balmer being drafted in the 1st round.


Overrated: Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina

I'd like to think I follow college football fairly closely, so what I'm about to admit may seem a tad bit embarrassing: I had literally never heard of this guy prior to this week. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw him smack dab in Peter King's first-round Mock Draft. Either I need to start watching more ACC football (which itself may require a steady IV drip) or there's a legit reason I'd never heard of him: The fact is he did almost nothing to distinguish himself his first three seasons. He did have a big senior season, earning all-conference honors, but mostly, he's just big (6-4 1/2, 308 pounds).

This kind of stuff drives me crazy mainly because Mandel did not offer an actual technical reason why Balmer was overrated but rather based it on (1) never hearing about him before and (2) the fact he had a breakout performance in his senior season after three lackluster years.  So basically Balmer is not considered overrated because Mandel watched some tape and observed him at the draft combine then decided what he saw was not as good as other people thought.  No, Balmer is overrated because Mandel has never heard of him and apparently, in Mandel's reality, you are required to have more than one stellar season in college to be a first round draft pick.

Mandel obviously fails to understand that for three years Balmer was playing for The Coach Who Shall Not Be Named and the defense had a suckity nature about it during that time period.  During Balmer's senior season he had the benefit of playing for Butch Davis which included a full spring and summer working with the new staff which included defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. It should be noted Pagano has since left UNC to be the secondary coach for the Baltimore Ravens which might signal that he is actually a pretty good coach.  The point is, Balmer benefited tremendously from training and playing under the new coaching staff to the point they helped him realize his potential as a pro prospect.  Besides that, guys blow up during their senior season all the time and move up the draft board.  Sure there is probably more risk with a guy who had one good year but given the circumstances with the coaching staff changes I happen to think the improvement was legitmate.  That and the fact the scouts, coaches and executives for the San Francisco 49ers know way more than you do Stewart.

And yes, I am bored.  I am left to fisk SI.com writers because they say bad things about a UNC football player.  I really hate the offseason.