McIntyre may get slighted all over again | TahoeDailyTribune.com

McIntyre may get slighted all over again

Steve Yingling

As the April 29-30 NFL Draft nears, the big question is which quarterback will be drafted first – Vince Young of national champion Texas or Matt Leinart of runner-up USC?

That drama should play out during the first 30 minutes of NFL’s biggest weekend of football since the Super Bowl.

For South Shore football fans, though, the rest of the draft could runs it course without any real answers about Garrett McIntyre’s chances of playing in the NFL.

If you have been examining some of the predraft material online, the prospects of the former South Tahoe High football player being selected in the draft’s seven rounds are slim.

Reputed draft boards don’t have McIntyre being chosen in the first three rounds or being rated among the top 30 defensive ends or defensive tackles.

Sound familiar?

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McIntyre, however, is listed on ESPN’s NFL Draft Tracker and Fantasy Football Toolbox has a pretty flattering review of his play:

“This is a quick, penetrating type of defensive end, that has better than average mobility and movement,” assesses FFT. “He is not the most stout player against the run … he seems to have good strength in his arms and engages quickly with his opponent, which allows him to have the leverage edge many times over the person across from him. With his natural quickness off the ball he should be a load to stop one on one.”

Although the 6-foot-3 McIntyre was selected as the preseason and postseason Western Athletic Conference most valuable defensive player, there seems to be lukewarm interest in him. He didn’t attend he NFL Scouting Combine in February in Indianapolis, so scouts only have his college career and coaches’ opinions as reference.

But McIntyre’s draft quandary is nothing new. After high school, nobody wanted the Sierra Division Player of the Year. What college coaches failed to measure was the size of McIntyre’s heart, his determination and his nonstop effort. It will be interesting to see if NFL teams make the same oversight.

Fresno State lucked out when McIntyre decided to walk on for the Bulldogs in 2002. He soon became a starter and finished his freshman season with three quarterback sacks. By the time he entered his senior season, ESPN had pegged the defensive end/tackle as one of the country’s top 100 players and the Sporting News rated him as second-team All-American. At the time he seemed to be a cinch to be drafted when you consider that 224 college players are taken.

An ankle injury slowed McIntyre early in his senior season, but he still rebounded to make seven quarterback sacks and 11 tackles for losses. He finished his Bulldog career with 25 sacks, ranking him third on the school’s all-time list.

Not since 1997 has an area athlete been selected by an NFL team. Mike Crawford, a 1992 Whittell High grad, was taken by former Miami Dolphins’ coach Jimmy Johnson in the sixth round that year. Crawford was an undersized linebacker with average speed who endeared himself to his coaches because he got the most out of his talent through hard work and effort. By the way, Crawford wasn’t invited to the pre-draft Combine either.

The NFL is too much of a big business for their executives and coaches not to know about McIntyre. But will he make them look smart, too – like he did Fresno State – by walking into a camp as an undrafted rookie and making the team?

– Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling can be reached at (530) 542-8010 or syingling@tahoedailytribune.com

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