Momentary Football Diversion


This pre-draft season has been very revealing when it comes to certain players, and if I were in a draft room this week, there are a few players I would jump up for and defend off the things I have learned about them over the past four months.

The first question on my mind is always: Would I want this guy on my team? Is there any rare athletic ability that gives him the tools to succeed? Is there a humility about the player that convinces me he will stay hungry? And is he bright enough to survive in the world of professional football? You might enjoy what I learned about the following players:

1) Manny Lawson, LB, N.C. State: Here’s a college defensive end rising up the draft boards for good reason. He’s 6-foot-5, 241 pounds and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. His 17 sacks in the past two seasons tells a little of his story about the kind of athlete he is, but a conversation I had with him recently told me a lot more. Lawson was offered a basketball scholarship to Davidson College coming out of high school, which tells me he will not struggle in space dropping back in pass coverage in a 3-4 defense. As a high school track-and-field athlete, he triple jumped close to 50 feet and long jumped just under 25 feet, making him one of the best jumpers in the country. As a college defensive end, he was a member of N.C. State’s 4×100-meter relay team. Imagine a 6-5 defensive lineman on a sprint relay team — that is rare! He finished up our conversation telling me his post-football career plans involve his other love, architecture.

9) Mario Williams, DE, N.C. State: The top defensive end in the draft is a kid from a good family with good values and a sense of humor. I asked Williams how often the opposing offenses slide the protection to him and he chuckled and said close to 90 percent of the time. He laughed because he knew former teammates Manny Lawson and John McCargo wouldn’t agree. By the way, when I told them what Williams said, they laughed too. Williams will be the top graded player on a number of draft boards — ahead of Reggie Bush — and when I told him that might be the case, he was so quick to say that’s nice but really doesn’t mean a thing if he doesn’t play well when he gets to the NFL. By the way, that rare score of 85 which I mentioned when I discussed Vernon Davis, well, Williams also had an 85. I mentioned to him how rare that score was, and instead of thanking me, he mentioned where he thought there was room for improvement!

Standing on the soap box for a sweet 16

About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982

General NCS Football

22 Responses to Momentary Football Diversion

  1. CarnifeX 04/18/2006 at 3:27 PM #

    signs that chuck is recruiting well, and allowing the players to grow.

  2. Wolf-n-Atl 04/18/2006 at 3:40 PM #

    I would draft Manny Lawson just for the great quotes.

  3. Kingfish76 04/18/2006 at 4:18 PM #

    Nobody ever doubted Chuck’s ability to find diamonds in the rough. Examples: Boulware, Lawson, Tulloch, and McCargo.

  4. VaWolf82 04/18/2006 at 4:30 PM #

    Now if he could just find a QB.

  5. J-wolf 04/18/2006 at 4:41 PM #

    ^Ain’t that the truth. I may still be spoiled off of Rivers, but the talent we’ve had in QB lately couldn’t fill a thimble. It’s really sad when I get so happy about incompletions just because they weren’t interceptions.

  6. BJD95 04/18/2006 at 4:44 PM #

    Now, if he could just WIN SOME FREAKING GAMES with the talent on hand. It will be nice to watch our guys gets accolades during the NFL draft, but it’s a bitter pill to swallow how little we accomplished with them the last 2 seasons.

  7. elee624 04/18/2006 at 4:49 PM #

    does a 5-1 record as a starter not do anything for anyone? marcus stone is a quarterback. his game management skills have been compared to those of the greatest of them all, phillip rivers. chuck’s recruiting has never been a question. he recruits MANY athletes. this is evident by his players abilities to just switch positions, either on the same side or opposite sides of the ball, and be successful in the switches. maybe we should expect the unexpected this year, considering his ability to recruit athletes and the fact that Thunder and Lightning (Baker and Brown) are back, Blackman is split wide, Stone is 5-1, and we have athletes. i’m not as pessimistic as most. maybe i’m too optimistic. however, until i’m proven wrong by Stone, i’m gonna stand by him.

  8. VaWolf82 04/18/2006 at 4:58 PM #

    does a 5-1 record as a starter not do anything for anyone?

    Not if you are talking about Stone.

  9. class of 74 04/18/2006 at 5:24 PM #

    It’s a shame Chuck can’t find QB’s like he can find defensive talent. If he could then we would have the makings of a perennial top 10 program.

  10. Astral Rain 04/18/2006 at 5:29 PM #

    At least he’s halfway there- which means if Chuck lucks into a QB- we’re going to be in damn good shape…

  11. PittsburghPackFan 04/18/2006 at 5:41 PM #

    Guys, you forget that State had like the worst O-Line ever last year.

    If The Chest can shore up that one, then Stone & Co. could have a great year.

  12. Wufpacker 04/18/2006 at 5:48 PM #

    The QB issues aside, Williams, Lawson, McCargo, et al are getting a lot of good attention, not only for their athletic prowess and what that is translating into with regard to the upcoming draft, but also for their qualities as human beings. We can all be very proud of these young men, on and off the field. They are representing NCSU very, very well.

    FWIW, I have to believe this is also a direct reflection on the coaching staff.

  13. rt24pack 04/18/2006 at 6:55 PM #

    Off the subject but the best QB on the field at the Red White game was the Evans kid. Ran the team very well and threw the ball right on the money. Genetics.

  14. Dan 04/18/2006 at 7:27 PM #

    Im really proud of our DL kids. Its speaks to the tpye of young men Amato is turning out.

    In one way its just bad timing that the great defense era didnt get to play with Rivers. In another way, its symptomatic of inconsistent recruiting. Not to mention non-existant recruiting along the OL.

  15. 253541 04/18/2006 at 8:52 PM #

    Not just O-line but LB’s have suffered in recruiting. But las tyear ended on an encouraging note, with the offensive adjustments. As soon as the started controlling field postition during the game they were able to pull out some wins with that stingy D.

    More on topic, Manny Lawson is the prototype 3-4 standup end. He’s maybe just a step down from Demarcus Ware Browns or Jets would love him in the second round, if the Steelers or Patriots let him get there.

  16. 253541 04/18/2006 at 8:54 PM #

    Not just O-line but LB’s have suffered in recruiting. But last year ended on an encouraging note, with the offensive adjustments to run the ball more. As soon as they started controlling field postition during the game, they were able to pull out some wins with that stingy D.

    More on topic, Manny Lawson is the prototype 3-4 standup end. He’s maybe just a step down from Demarcus Ware.The Browns or Jets would love him in the second round, if the Steelers or Patriots let him get there.

  17. GAWolf 04/18/2006 at 9:00 PM #

    I had the fortunate opportunity to happen across Sunnyside in Garner before I read about it on Pack Pride. The DL guys working there… including Manny but not Mario… were all super guys. They were witty and talked football while being reserved enough not to say too much about private team matters. I was thoroughly impressed with each one of them. They even signed a poster for my at the time Tarheel fan nephews. That takes some gumption for a true Wolfpacker…. Good luck to all of them. They each deserve whatever success comes their way.

    With that said, I also spent some quality time with Hines Ward in Athens. He might very well be the single most impressive personality and nicest guys I’ve ever known. There’s no doubt that his great character off the field is the primary reason for his great success on it.

    Thanks for the inside look…

  18. BladenWolf 04/18/2006 at 9:00 PM #

    Mario and Manny are two of the top atheletes in the draft. As I remember it, we had a hellacious defense on both ends and rarely did we have teams run successful sweep pitches or passes to the flats.
    They will both do very well in the NFL’s defensive schemes. Particularly Lawson, who has incredible lateral movement. And Williams is another Peppers.
    They both make me very proud. They are quality young men that reflect well on NC State. The Chest did good.

  19. Tau837 04/18/2006 at 9:00 PM #

    “does a 5-1 record as a starter not do anything for anyone?”

    Not when:
    1. It is accompanied with a 5/5 TD/int ratio.
    2. He had no more than 128 yards passing in any of the wins.

    He didn’t have to win those games, he simply had to not lose them. And to his credit, he did that just fine… something that had proven difficult for Jay Davis.

  20. wolfpackfan73 04/18/2006 at 10:50 PM #

    Someone please explain why we can’t find a top notch, high level coach with name recognition. With $2M we should have already had someone signed. Is it that people are truly afraid of the competition at Carolina and Duke or is it something else that I’m missing?

    You’ve wandered into the wrong thread….this one is supposed to be about football.-VaWolf82

  21. packgrad2000 04/19/2006 at 8:44 AM #

    On the QB…Marcus Stone is not the man for the job. He cannot make reads and has no field presence. He never seems to know where the rush is coming from, and usually he will look for his #1 receiver and then run. He has one of the worst QB IQ’s I’ve ever seen. On the plus side, he has a stronger arm than PR and he’s as big as a linebacker. In Jay Davis’ defense, he was asked to do 3x what Marcus Stone was asked. Of course you’re not going to fail as much if you don’t try as much. That 5-1 record also coincided with the rise of Andre Brown and the rushing attack. I hope this new QB from KY will learn quick.

  22. elee624 04/19/2006 at 1:35 PM #

    I don’t care if marcus stone throws for 0 yards in games if we are winning the games. i realize that this is a stretch, but let’s put his record as a starter in perspective. if he keeps his pace of 5 wins for every loss up, we will be 10-2 at the end of the season likely looking at either a BCS or peach bowl bid. marcus stone was put in a situation last year where he KNEW that he was out there for the purpose of not throwing the game away. he knew what was on the other side of the ball. he knew it wasn’t his job to go out and win the football game. oh and one more thing, if we’re going to throw stats out about him (i.e. he never threw for more than 128 yards in a game and had a 5/5 TD/Int ratio), at least be accurate. Twice he threw for more than 128 yds (WFU-136 in a game he didn’t even play in until the 2nd half and BC-247 which is nearly twice what was said to be his most productive game). His TD/INT ratio was 7/6. If I’m not mistaken, which i may very well be, 2 of the INTs were Hail Mary’s (In other words, not legit). At least give him a chance to prove us wrong before we throw him to the wolves. Davis was one thing. He was bad from the get go. Another thing, on the field presence issue. He has played 6 games (When I say 6 games I mean games in which he was “the guy” and was playing in a situation where it mattered). Phillip Rivers is gone. There will never EVER be another one of him. He was a once in a lifetime player. We have to understand that there is not another Phillip Rivers out there waiting to play for the Wolfpack. Stone finds ways to get enough to win games. I like that.

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