For the 254 football players who were just drafted onto NFL teams, this past weekend was the moment for which they’ve preparing their whole life. But they weren’t the only ones who enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience this past weekend.
Life-long Vikings fan Jerry Hansen, a Minnesota native and decades-long draft junkie, was a winner in the NFL/Verizon Mobile Draft Dream Sweepstakes, which means he got a behind-the-scenes look at the NFL draft live from Radio City Music Hall in NY City.
Click here to view a video of Hansen making the pick.
“I’ve been a draft junkie since Mel Kiper, Jr. first started issuing his annual draft report and would answer the phone himself,” Hansen told me from NY City this past weekend. “I love the NFL draft. I used to take vacation days from work so I could watch the entire draft.”
Hansen announced the Saints 3rd-round pick, DB Johnny Patrick out of Louisville, because the Vikings didn’t have a pick in that round. But he was also able to announce the Vikings 4th-round pick, DT Christian Ballard out of Iowa. But more than just announcing the draft picks, which multiple other winners of the sweepstakes were also able to do, Hansen says the thrill was all-encompassing. From running into NFL legends in his hotel to watching the top college prospects get their names called in the 1st round, the experience is one Hansen will never forget.
“To be here after all these years, and now to be there sitting at the Vikings draft table and talking to Scott Studwell, it was so surreal. I wore my Scott Studwell jersey and I’m talking to him on the phone as we made our pick. It was just unbelievable. I’m in a rush right now just talking about it.”
Jerry traveled to NY City with his wife and following their time at Radio City Music Hall for the NFL Draft they enjoyed the Grey Line tour of the city. Jerry said he’d been to NY City in the past on business, but he’s always wanted to visit Ground Zero. As fate would have it, events transpired literally hours after Jerry and his wife returned home from their trip and Usama bin Laden had been killed by American Special Forces.
Said Jerry in an email to me this morning, “I wanted to make sure I saw Ground Zero and when we got home last night we heard they got bin Laden. Our timing on the trip was good…”
I couldn’t have written it better myself.
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 49 Comments »
CJ did a great job in the previous entry of detailing some of QB Christian Ponder’s success in big-spot moments, contradicting some of the criticisms the Vikings 1st-round pick has received from the likes of Trent Dilfer, even though he’s yet to take the field in the NFL.
Now, we don’t want to annoint Ponder as the next Tom Brady or Joe Montana just yet. He hasn’t stepped foot on an NFL field, so I don’t want to assume he’s going to be a clutch performer when we need him to be that. However, I’ve come across a few other interesting tidbits on Ponder that contradict what Dilfer and others have said. Here they are…
– In total on 3rd downs, Ponder had a college passer rating of 131.0 and a TD/INT ratio of 20-8.
— In 4th quarter come-from-behind wins, Ponder had a 67.5% completion rate with a 160.7 college passer rating and a 2-0 TD/INT ratio.
— 41 of Ponder’s 45 third-down completions were for either TDs or 1st downs in 2010.
Tags: Christian Ponder
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 70 Comments »
As many of you may have heard by now, ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer had some harsh words directed at Vikings 1st-round draft choice Christian Ponder in terms of his value as a #12 overall selection.
“Christian Ponder is Elvis Grbac,” Dilfer said last Friday morning during a radio appearance. “He’s Elvis Grbac. Elvis Grbac was a beautiful thrower. He threw for 4,000 yards. He did a lot of nice things. Every time it got tough, he melted.”
Ponder also received mixed feelings from other draft pundits, as I pointed out last Friday. But as for Dilfer’s comments, it got me wondering why he felt Ponder “melted” in pressure situations. Dilfer also went on to say Ponder “plays with a lot of anxiety. Do you want your quarterback in the NFL to play with a lot of anxiety?”
Ponder’s splits say otherwise.
During his junior and senior seasons at Florida State, Ponder completed 105 of 133 passes (78.9%) for 1,156 yards when the game was tied. When his team was losing by a margin of 1-7, Ponder completed 116 of 180 passes (64.4%) for 1,380 yards with 5 TDs and 1 INT.
Other numbers that indicate his ability to perform in pressure situations would include his 4th quarter performances. In 2009 and 2010, Ponder completed 69 of 112 passes (61.6%) for 779 yards with 5 TDs and 2 INTs. Not to mention his performance against AP ranked teams – 72 for 117 (61.5%), 846 yards, 9 TDs and 3 INTs.
What I like most about Ponder’s splits, though, is how he managed the offense when it reached the opponent’s red zone. His last 2 seasons at FSU saw Ponder complete 45 of 72 attempts for 373 yards with 22 TDs and only 1 INT in the red zone. When faced with 3rd and goal, he converted 8 of 11 attempts for 44 yards with 7 TDs and zero INTs.
How Ponder reacts to pressure situations as an NFL QB is to be determined, but I thought it would beneficial to point out his numbers in said circumstances over his past 2 seasons.
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft, Christian Ponder
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 69 Comments »