for special-er special-ists
In 2000, the
Cobras' specialists weren't all that special. Offensive specialist
saw a parade of starters -- Jack Jackson, Marlon Estes,
Kevin Lee, Dexter Dawson, Antwaun Wyatt
-- as injuries felled player after player. Defensive specialist was
a revolving door as well until the second half of the season, when mid-stream
signees Adrian Lunsford and Reggie Carthon
finally helped create some semblance of stability. And at kicker,
expansion draft pick Remy Hamilton had a wildly uneven year
that ended with a final-second miss of a potential game-tying field goal
against Tampa Bay.
Thus, the Cobras
faced a two-fold mission this offseason: get healthy and get better.
For the most part, they did both.
Back and favored
to start at OS is Estes, the stellar speedster whose short season began
when Jackson was traded and ended with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Brought in to compete with him was Derrick Steagall, a former
Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket whose history of injuries in college does not
bode well in light of the Cobras' "Curse of the OS." Steagall was
red-shirted with a serious knee injury in 1996 and re-injured the knee
before the 1997 season. He has good athletic ability and speed but
suspect hands. Estes' job should be safe, and the Cobras need him
back in top form so he can establish a rapport with Fred McNair
during the preseason.
On the other
side of the ball, the Cobras invested their one non-lineman free agent
signing in the DS position, picking up Otis Mounds from Florida.
The hard-hitting defender led the Bobcats with 14 pass breakups and was
second on the team with 65 tackles. With Lunsford not re-signed and
Dell McGee gone to the XFL, Mounds is a lock for one of the
starting jobs. Battling Carthon for the other will be a pair of af2
veterans, Adrian Jones and Carlos Lockyn.
Jones, a former N.C. Central star who played with the Greensboro Prowlers
in 2000, would seem to have the inside track due to his defensive skills.
He led the Prowlers with four interceptions last year, and also returns
kickoffs. Lockyn is a versatile athlete -- he was Tennessee-Chattanooga's
top rusher his senior season in college with 867 yards while also playing
cornerback -- and could play at WR/DB instead.
perhaps surprisingly, the Cobras kept Hamilton. But they gave him
a stiff training camp challenge in the form of Josh McGee,
who was considered one of the ACC's best kickers while at UNC. Many
fans may be rooting for McGee to boot Hamilton out of a roster spot.
Either way, the training camp battle will improve the kicking game -- but
not as much as if the Cobras had gone after a reliable, AFL-experienced
kicker in free agency.
THE BOTTOM LINE
the defensive secondary with the addition of Mounds
Worst move: Steve
Videtech and Bjorn Nittmo were free agent kickers
who played at North Carolina colleges; one of the two should have been
Keep your eye on:
Lockyn as an emergency replacement at FB/LB if Marrio Grier
Georgia Tech career was marked by early success and injuries.
(back to WR/DB)
|Otis Mounds (FA
from Florida), Adrian Jones (af2), Carlos Lockyn (af2)
(FA not re-signed)
|Buddy Crutchfield (XFL), Terrel
Sutton (XFL), Dell McGee (XFL)
|Josh McGee (rookie)
Brian's Depth Chart
|1. Marlon Estes
|2. Derrick Steagall
|1. Otis Mounds
|2. Reggie Carthon
|3. Adrian Jones
|1. Josh McGee
|2. Remy Hamilton
What do you think?
Discuss the Cobras' situation at
OS, DS and K in the Rating
the Roster thread of the CZ Forum.