Good morning everyone. We now have three more WSU alumni who are joining the ranks of professional football players. Vince Mayle heard his name called in the fourth round, and will join Xavier Cooper as a member of the Cleveland Browns. It's pretty clear that Ray Farmer, Mike Pettine and the staff have some sort of crush on the Pac-12 in general and the state of Washington in particular. Seven of their 12 draftees are Pac-12 alumni, and three hail from Washington schools. Of the seven, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu may well be the happiest. No word on whether Ray Farmer was texting the coaching staff during the draft.
Vince Mayle's selection is nothing short of remarkable when you look at the big picture of his football career. As has been covered here and elsewhere, he wasn't even playing football a few years ago, and here he is getting drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft after two seasons of major college football. Bleacher Report's Mike Tanier wrote a great piece on Mayle, chronicling his unlikely journey from JUCO basketball player to NFL hopeful. I stumbled upon Tanier's work during football season, and he quickly became one of my favorite football writers. He's also a good follow on Twitter, if you're in to that sort of thing.
As for the team he's joining, Mayle isn't exactly rolling into a situation stocked with receiver talent, which is great. Cleveland's receivers are as follows: Dwayne Bowe, Phil Bates, Travis Benjamin, some guy named Kevin Cone, Gabriel Taylor, Brian Hartline, Andrew Hawkins, Marlon Moore, Rodney Smith and the eternally-suspended Josh Gordon. That's not exactly the NFL version of the Fab Five. On the money front, according to Over The Cap, last year's 123rd overall pick, Kevin Norwood of the Seahawks signed a four year contract of $2,640,108, with $420,108 fully guaranteed.
Connor Halliday did not end up hearing his name called Saturday, and instead signed a free agent contract with the Washington Redskins. Halliday was quoted as saying that he'd been told he could be selected as high as the 4th round, or he may not be selected at all. He was obviously on the low end of that. On the bright side, going undrafted is almost better than getting picked up late, as you are free to choose which team you'd prefer instead of being locked into one. In Halliday's case, he likely had multiple offers and chose the most favorable.
Let's be honest, the quarterback situation in Washington isn't exactly stable. The presumed starter, Robert Griffin, recently had his fifth-year option picked up by the team, but that is largely meaningless as they can cut him at any time and will only be on the hook if he is injured. It's also been well-chronicled that Redskins coach Jay Gruden and Griffin aren't exactly enamored with eachother, which was made clear more than once last season.
As for the other quarterbacks on the roster, there's ever-more-terrible Kirk Cousins, whom Washington should have traded a year ago when his stock wasn't in the dumpster. There's also Colt McCoy, who is a decent backup, but not much more. The team also signed another rookie free agent, Chris Bonner of the CSU-Pueblo Thunderwolves. No, I had no idea that this school existed, and I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as a Thunderwolf.
As it stands, if Connor shows well he has a good shot to at least make the practice squad. The only drawback is that he's playing for an organization run by one of the worst owners in professional sports. As for the financials, I couldn't track down his contract, but Jeff Tuel may be an apt comparison. According to Over The Cap, Tuel made $405,000 in 2013, but just $107,000 in 2014. He is scheduled to make $510,000 next season, but it is not guaranteed until he's on the opening day roster.
We've covered Xavier Cooper's selection by the Browns as well, but here is a ballpark figure as to his contract. Last year's 96th pick was Jerick McKinnon, who was taken by the Vikings. Once again according to Over The Cap, McKinnon signed a four-year deal with a total value of $2,765,000. Since the only thing that matters in NFL contracts is the guaranteed money, Cooper will walk away with no less than $515,000, which was McKinnon's guarantee.
As fate wold have it, Cleveland and Washington face off in the first preseason game of next season, 13 August in Cleveland. Since it's the opening game, all three guys should see a decent amount of action. It would be pretty funny to see Cooper trying to bust through the line to take down his old teammate. Additionally, there are reports that the Browns could quite possibly be the subject of Hard Knocks in 2015, which would be awesome since the show focuses a lot of attention on rookies. The Browns also travel to Seattle next season for the first time since 2003, facing the Seahawks on 20 December. Best of luck to all three as they try to succeed on football's highest level.
Cougs in the NFL
With pick No. 123, Mayle joins Cooper in Cleveland | The Spokesman-Review
So, which Browns jersey are you going to buy? The Xavier Cooper model, or the Vince Mayle edition?
2015 NFL Draft: Final quick-snap grades for AFC North teams - NFL.com
Cooper and Mayle's selections are both briefly mentioned in this draft grading post.
2015 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Pick WR Vince Mayle at No. 123 Overall - Dawgs By Nature
A couple commenters speculate that Mayle may play tight end. That made me laugh audibly.
Connor Halliday signs with Washington | The Spokesman-Review
Connor Halliday wasn't selected in the NFL draft but will get his shot in the pros with Washington.
Report: Redskins Sign Washington State QB Connor Halliday - Hogs Haven
All three Redskins QBs are in the final year of their contract, and McCloughan and Head Coach Jay Gruden could be looking for someone to stash and develop.
Late Rally Propels Cougars Past Wildcats - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Derek Chapman collected four hits and Ben Roberts had two extra base hits as Washington State evened the series at one apiece with a 5-3 victory over Arizona, Saturday at Bailey-Brayton Field.
Team Gleason Receives $10,000 Donation from ATT - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State University has been named the 2015 Leader of the Pac champion by AT&T and the Pac-12 Conference. As a part of winning the competition, WSU received the Fans’ Trophy and a $10,000 donation to the charity as voted by the fans.
MillerCoors Sued For Selling Blue Moon As A Craft Beer – Consumerist
Ok, this guy probably needs to get a grip on his life.
But First, A Word From 100 Podcasts’ Sponsors | FiveThirtyEight
There are a few podcasts to which I listen on a regular basis, and I rare is the instance when I don't hit the "skip" button until the read is finished, especially when it comes to a certain spot for strawberries.