Cole Pepper: No Clear Hero Of Sochi Games, NFL Combine Shows Jaguars Draft Prospects
With the 2014 Winter Olympics in the books and the UF Gators set to top the AP college hoops poll, Cole Pepper broke down the week in sports on our weekly First Coast sports wrap.
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics come to a close
I think the Sochi Olympics will be most remembered for what DIDN’T happen. It started early when one of the Olympic rings didn’t open in the opening ceremonies.
What else didn’t happen? Team USA didn’t win a medal in the men’s hockey competition. Neither did Russia, the host country.
Shawn White didn’t win a medal. Bode Miller didn’t medal in the downhill and didn’t take home a gold. An American woman didn’t win a medal for the first time since the 1930's.
There was no clear cut Olympic hero, although many could claim their place as THE story of the Olympics, there wasn’t that one athlete that dominated the story line.
And maybe more substantially, there was no terror attack. We were very concerned about that as we began the games.
The U.S. won the second most medals, behind the host Russia, but finished fourth in gold medals won with just 9. Incidentally, it’s the same number of gold medals as 4 years ago.
The next Olympic Games will be held in Rio in two years; the summer games will follow this summer’s World Cup Soccer tournament there.
2014 NFL Scouting Combine
The NFL Scouting Combine was underway this weekend in Indianapolis. There are a number of players who the Jaguars might choose in the first round. Let’s start with the quarterbacks:
Johnny Manziel ran a very impressive 40 yard dash, but he was also measured at 5-foot-11 and 3/4 inches.
There hasn’t been a quarterback under 6-feet tall drafted in the first round since the 1950's.
"Johnny Football" would certainly create a major buzz if the Jaguars—or any team—took him.
Many scouts believe that Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater is the most NFL ready quarterback in this years’ draft. Teams were interested to see what he would weigh. He tipped the scales at 213 pounds.
Not bad at all. It will be interested to see how he does when he throws at his on-campus workout.
UCF’s Blake Bortles is the lesser known of the three, but fits the NFL’s prototype of a pocket passer. At 6-feet 5-inches, he’s a big, tall sturdy quarterback, but he didn't play the same level of competition that Manziel did in his college career at Texas A&M.
If the Jaguars don't go with a quarterback, maybe they’ll go for a pass rusher like South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, who this morning ran his 40-yard dash with a time of 4.47.
That’s the kind of time that wide receivers are running, and Clowney is 265 pounds. I still think he’s the most likely Jaguars first round pick.
Among the top 10 picks, perhaps the most well regarded at his position is WR Sammy Watkins of Clemson, who ran a sub 4.4 40-yard dash and looked very much like a future Pro Bowl receiver.
Remember, the Jaguars don’t know if they’ll get Justin Blackmon back.
The Daytona 500 started yesterday, and the winner is, Mother Nature.
Rains interrupted the Great American race yesterday after 38 of 200 laps.
They re-started around 8:30 p.m. last night and Over 10 hours after the race started, Dale Earnhardt Jr. crossed the finish line first to win the Daytona 500 for the second time in his career.
It was quite a week for Jacksonville's newest professional sports franchise. The Jacksonville Armada rolled out their name, logo and colors on Tuesday then help a fan fest with around 1,000 fans at the Jacksonville Landing on Thursday.
The next order of business is to find a venue; it appears they’re choosing between the University of North Florida and the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville as a temporary site until they build their soccer specific stadium, they hope by 2017 or 2018.
Florida Gators #1?
It appears that the Gators are poised to move up to the #1 ranking in the country.
Syracuse had been number one, but they lost twice this past week. Florida is playing the best basketball of any team in the country, but like the undefeated Wichita State team who figures to be #2, they haven’t played a very tough conference schedule.
The SEC is really down this year with only Kentucky considered a real challenge to make a deep run in the tournament.