Monday, May 04, 2009

Filling holes

Here is a quick look at who will replace the Terrapin football players taken in the draft a few weeks ago:

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (1st Round)
Replacement: Torrey Smith
Smith really came on at the end of the season and started the last six games. He may not have some of the speed or measurables of Heyward-Bey, though he isn't lacking in quickness or moves, but he is a playmaker. With Heyward-Bey nursing an injury against Boston College Smith had a coming out party with 8 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown against a pretty good defense. In the last six games Smith caught 16 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown while Heyward-Bey had 19 catches for 233 yards and a touchdown. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Smith matches or betters Heyward-Bey's totals from last season with perhaps more consistent performances.

CB Kevin Barnes (3rd Round)
Replacement: Anthony Wiseman
Barnes might be the toughest player to replace. Neither Wiseman nor Nolan Carroll have the tools or instincts that Barnes possesses but with an improves group of safeties and a new and aggressive scheme by defensive coordinator Don Brown perhaps the staff can offset the loss of an elite college corner like Barnes.

LB Moise Fokou (7th Round)
Replacement: Demetrius Hartsfield
The linebacker corps will look very different this coming season. There are a grab bag of younger players looking to take up spots and outside of Adrian Moten it isn't clear where anyone is going to play. Alex Wujciak would likely to be another starter but is coming off surgery. Things were desperate enough that the staff took tight end washout Drew Gloster and moved him to middle linebacker for the spring. Fokou was a very reliable player who was normally right where he needed to be even if he wasn't a "big play" defender. Unless one of the younger 'backers can develop quickly it will be tough to replace his steady play.

LG Jamie Thomas (7th Round)
Replacement: Lamar Young or Andrew Gonnella
Like the rest of the offensive line this position is searching for answers among a group of young and mostly untested reserves. Young would seem to be the early favorite to replace Thomas but the whole line is in such flux it is hard to say who will play where outside of center (Phil Costa) and left tackle (Bruce Campbell). Thomas was at times a dominant run blocker but like the rest of the unit struggled with consistency, especially in pass blocking.

TE Dan Gronkowski (7th Round)
Replacement: Lansford Watson
Watson has all the tools to be a great college tight end but the staff has been disappointed in his performance at times. He has the size and speed you want in a tight end but can he commit to blocking and running disciplined routes? He may give way to Tommy Galt if he cannot convince the staff he is committed to being the starter. H-backs Devonte Campbell and Matt Furstenburg might also revive the position if neither Watson and Galt cannot provide the production in the passing game. Based on talent alone this group has the potential to improve on Gronkowski's 29 catches, 287 yards and 3 touchdowns but hasn't shown enough to instill confidence that will happen.

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