If you are old enough to remember, back in the 70s, there was “Battle of the Network Stars.” The three major networks had their teams of stars doing challenges showing their determination and athletic ability. The same concept occurred on the 2011 ESPN All Star Challenge. Quarterbacks threw at moving targets and receivers; running backs and wide receivers caught passes from JUGS machines and QBs, while sometimes completing the obstacle course. Linebackers and defensive linemen also ran through their own obstacle course, and flipped tractor tires for feats of strength.
To be quite truthful, we didn’t learn huge amounts of usable information, but we did get to see 13 athletes compete and see glimpses into their personalities. Personalities do factor into fantasy, just ask a Chad Johnson or Jay Cutler owner.
Ryan Mallett- He showed the most arm strength and was very accurate in short distances. Mallett also had time to have some fun taking “pictures” with his fingers.
Andy Dalton- Great first name, but I digress. He was a competitor that was having fun. Dalton might never be a first string QB; however I could see a Ryan Fitzpatrick career from him.
Jake Locker- I want to like the kid, but he was cocky at times. Locker lacked poise and was inaccurate during the competition. He did seem eager to learn which came across in interviews.
RBs and WRs
WR-Austin Pettis- He ran quick and high. Pettis does not get low enough in his breaks and will get disrupted on routes. He attacked the football at the highest point and had a very happy demeanor.
RB-Jordan Todman- He surprised me with his hands which were very good considering how little they were used in Connecticut. He was very serious and determined. It appeared that he had a chip on his shoulder. Todman ran with more determination that I expected.
WR-Torrey Smith- He was very smooth, had great agility and hands. I’m not sure if he or Hankerson is my #4 WR.
RB-Shane Vereen- I really liked Vereen. He was a very good athlete, better hands than I expected. He reminds me of Jahvid Best and Ray Rice with his smoothness. Seemed to be very laid back, nothing phased him.
LB-Ross Homan- He was the least athletic guy in the competition, but was very determined. Ran out of gas during obstacle course. He looks like he would be suited to play an ILB or MLB.
DE/LB-Kelvin Shepard & DE/OLB-Sam Acho- Both were good, smooth athletes that had fun out there.
LB-Von Miller- He only competed in one competition; he was very quick and showed great agility. Miller was very personable and showed great composure in interviews.
DE/OLB-Ryan Kerrigan– He was a big farm boy with long hair. Powerful and quick.
NT/DT-Ian Williams- He was big and thick as you would expect a guy that takes on two or three blockers at a time. He showed a lot of quickness and athletic agility. Like Von Miller, he was always smiling.
I’m not sure what we learned can be measured by statistics, but I came away from this game being impressed by a few guys including both RBs and of course Von Miller. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to get in touch with me on the site or on twitter @AndrewMiley.