Media Days Marathon: Draft Questions From The American
By Matt LaPan
NEWPORT, R.I. -- On the shores of beautiful Newport, RI, a new conference was officially born (sort of) with the first official media day for the American Athletic Conference, better known as The American.
The new conference is comprised of a mixture of former Big East and Conference USA teams and will look to contend immediately with the "power conferences," according to conference commissioner Mike Aresco. The conference will be led into battle by BCS contender Louisville and its quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, but there is a lot of other talent in the new conference.
As our Media Day Marathon comes to a close, lets' dive into some draft questions for The American.
1. Will Michael Dyer end up in Louisville? And what would that do for his draft stock?
The rumors have been flying for days; Teddy Bridgewater even told ESPN that he saw Dyer on campus at Louisville, but we are still waiting for official answers. With no official word from the team during media day, despite the reputable reports, the Dyer-to-Louisville idea is all but a reality.
With that said, how much can this help Dyer, the much-traveled running back who has taken an astronomical fall after being the Offensive MVP in the 2011 BCS Championship for Auburn? Finally landing with a BCS-caliber team should give Dyer a big boost. Dyer did find his way onto the early list of 2014 running back prospects on Football.com, and when the updated rankings come out, he should be on the rise. Louisville is a team that has great balance in both the run and pass games, and utilizes running backs well. The Cardinals should do that more with a more dynamic player in Dyer.
2. Is Rutgers' Brandon Coleman the best wide receiver prospect in the country?
Coleman has staggering physical attributes (6-foot-6, 220 pounds). He is a physical presence on the outside that a lot of NFL teams look for, but is he "the guy?" Coleman does fly a bit under-the-radar as he comes off a knee injury, but he does not lack the confidence needed to be the best. When asked if he thought he was the best wide receiver in the AAC, Coleman replied, "I believe I'm the best receiver in the country."
Combine his stature with good physical tools and Coleman has the potential to back up his claim. But, injuries and a rebuilding team around him could derail his quest.
3. Which inside linebacker will establish himself as the best prospect from the American?
With a wealth of quarterback talent in the AAC, inside linebacker is an even more important position than it is around the rest of the country. The conference has three linebackers who could establish an NFL-ready game: Yawin Smallwood from UConn, Derrick Mathews from Houston and Greg Blair from Cincinnati. Each has flaws -- Smallwood's injuries, Mathews' reported transition from outside linebacker to inside, and Blair's having to adapt to a new frame following a drastic weight loss. This will be a race that should be fun to watch.
Now that Dyer is officially on board, I'm curious to see what dimension he brings to the Louisville offense. And how playing with Bridgewater helps him improve.