NFL Draft 2013 Preview: Boston College Prospects

Boston College Linebacker Nick Clancy is One of Four Eagles Looking to Be Drafted

Boston College Linebacker Nick Clancy is One of Four Eagles Looking for a Ticket to the NFL

Leading up to this month’s NFL Draft, we’ll be taking a look at each ACC‘s school’s prospects and where they’re slated to be chosen. While 50 ACC players were invited to the NFL Draft Combine, those not in attendance also have ample opportunity to hear their name called between April 25 through 27.

Boston College has obviously seen its fair share of rough patches these past few seasons, but the program continues to churn out NFL talent just the same. While this year’s crop of potential draftees won’t feature any first-round standouts, there’s still plenty of opportunity here for Eagles to hear their names called. As they anxiously await that moment a couple weeks from now, here’s where we see BC players falling in the draft:

Emmett Cleary, OT, Senior (Projected: Seventh Round)

Boston College has always been known for producing tough offensive linemen, so his inclusion at both the combine and the top of this list should not surprise anyone. Cleary’s an enormous 6’7″ and 316 pounds, while also running a 5.2 40-yard dash time. Though the Eagles’ 34 sacks against during the 2013 season certainly don’t help his case, it’s still tough to ignore his fantastic combination of size, strength, speed and smarts. He won’t be in line to start in the NFL right away, but whichever team takes a late flyer on him could end up well rewarded later on.

Nick Clancy, LB, Senior (Projected: Seventh Round)

Clancy was a puzzling absence from the NFL Draft Scouting Combine, especially given the quality of linebackers this system’s produced (hi, Luke Kuechly, defensive rookie of the year). And given the statistics Clancy put up during his senior year, it’s hard not to call it an oversight. In just 11 games, he recorded 145 tackles, with four tackles-for-loss and 10 defended passes. For a BC defense that was sorely lacking in real playmakers, Clancy stepped up as a leader, tallying huge numbers for a team that certainly need them. A player who built momentum as the season went along, he recorded 52 (!!!) of his tackles over his final three games — and all of this while being the focal point of offenses looking to remove him from the play.

John Wetzel, OT, Senior (Projected: Undrafted)

Though a bit slower than his cohort, Cleary, Wetzel is just as large with just as much upside, too. After spending three seasons mostly as a reserve, he’s got relatively fresh legs for a guy his age, and that could be a huge selling point as teams look for value in later rounds. Wetzel length and stride also been noted as big pluses for the player, who just 10 months ago failed to be on anyone’s radar. It’s no given that he’ll be drafted — this year’s overall class is loaded on the offensive line — but at worst, he will find himself in some team’s camp come July.

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ACC 2013 Spring Football Preview: Boston College Eagles

Steve Addazio's First Spring Practices at BC Will Set the Tone for His New Regime

Steve Addazio’s First Spring Practices at BC Will Set the Tone for His New Regime

As the ACC‘s spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing the big storylines for each of the league’s 14 (15, in this case) teams. Check back on weekdays for what to look out for during your school’s spring practices and spring game.

Team: Boston College Eagles

Spring Practice Start Date: February 28

Spring Game Date: April 13 April 20 (updated to reflect newly announced date)

The Eagles are undergoing a complete overhaul this offseason now that Frank Spaziani’s reign of terror is finally over. Head coach Steve Addazio brings a new intensity into spring practice, and by all accounts, he’ll be looking for “his guys” early, to see which players are set to help him rebuild this program from the depths of 2012’s 2-10 finish.

Offensively, there’s hope for continuity as former wide receivers coach Ryan Day takes over to run a group that only scored 19.8 points per game last year. Whether or not he can harness quarterback Chase Rettig‘s skillset into wins, however, will be his biggest test as part of his new role. Rettig and his connection to receiver Alex Amidon were the only positives for the struggling offensive unit. In order to fix things going forward, he’ll have to identify some new leaders along the line (perhaps Dan Lembke and/or Aaron Kramer at the tackle spots?) and establish a running game to take some pressure off Rettig. Last year’s backfield was among the worst in the country, and those same players — mainly Andre Williams and Rolandon Finch — are back again for 2013. With former offensive coordinator Doug Martin and his pass-happy (to a fault) system out of the fold, there’s at least hope for some balanced play-calling this season.

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2012 ACC Football Season Recap: Boston College Eagles

After a Disastrous 2012 Season, We Try to Find a Silver Lining for Boston College Football

After a Disastrous 2012 Season, it’s Tough to Find Positives for Boston College — Though We Do Try

Team: Boston College Eagles

W-L: 2-10 (1-7)

Postseason: N/A

Top Offensive Performer: Alex Amidon, WR

Top Defensive Performer: Nick Clancy, LB

The talk heading into the 2012 season was that new offensive coordinator Doug Martin would be letting the reigns loose on a passing game that had been ranked 100th in the nation back in 2011. And sure, that did happen. The Eagles were ranked 45th in the country in passing yards per game this past season, and QB Chase Rettig — once thought to be a lost cause in a failing system — threw for more than 3,000 yards (nearly equaling his previous career total). But despite the increase, it didn’t really result in points scored. BC scored 19.8 points per game this season; more than last season’s paltry 18.2, but the team only moved from 112th to 111th in total scoring offense year-over-year. That average was also boosted by a four-game stretch in which they scored 31 points or more three times (but won just one of those contests).

Where Martin and the Boston College offense failed most, however, was the running game. After career leading rusher Montel Harris left the program this summer, the Eagles struggled to find any real consistency with his replacements, Rolandon “Deuce” Finch and Andre Williams. But it’s not entirely right to blame the backs, when it was Martin’s system that really caused the issue. In 2012, Boston College ran the ball just 345 times (versus 437 times in 2011). Predictably, the Eagles’ run game was a disaster as a result of the rushing/passing inequity, only racking up 90.5 yards per game (119th in the country). Even more predictably, Doug Martin is no longer with Boston College and will be taking his one-dimensional offense back to New Mexico State next season.

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ACC Football Top 25 Players of 2012: #24, Nick Clancy

Boston College's Nick Clancy is No Luke Kuechly, But He Still Made a Huge Impact in 2012

Boston College’s Nick Clancy is No Luke Kuechly, But He Still Made a Huge Impact in 2012

As part of our 2012 season review, we’re counting down the top 25 players in the ACC this season, from no. 25 to no. 1. Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus completely bulletproof, obviously — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.

No. 24, Nick Clancy, LB/Boston College (Preseason Rank: NR)

Boston College is starting to turn into their own “Linebacker U,” though given the Eagles’ recent struggles on the field, most still seem to be slow on the up-take. Faced with the task of filling departed star (and current Carolina Panther) Luke Kuechly’s shoes, Nick Clancy had his work cut out for him in 2012. And yet, despite the tall order, the senior actually thrived in the role. Just like his predecessor, Clancy managed to lead the conference in tackles, with 145 (81 of which were solo). For those keeping track at home, that’s now the fourth straight year an Eagle has led the ACC in tackles (the first three times were Kuechly). And while Clancy wasn’t the agent of pure chaos in the middle of the field that Kuechly was, he also possesses a different trait that makes him just as valuable: pass disruption. In just 11 games, he defended 10 passes — a significant jump from just two in 2011. Considering how much attention was on him this time around, it was phenomenal to see the senior and sure pro draft pick step up in such a big way, despite the disappointing campaign for BC.

Previously:

#25, Aaron Donald, DT/Pittsburgh

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2012 All-ACC Football Team: Defense

Florida State's Tank Carradine Leads a Parade of Seminoles on the All-ACC Defensive Side

Florida State’s Tank Carradine Leads a Parade of Seminoles on the All-ACC Defensive Side

As most other publications have also done, we’ve put together an All-ACC team here at Atlantic Coast Convos, honoring the best players from the 2012 football season. We’ve also included players from Syracuse and Pittsburgh, as that has always been our policy, and once bowl season is over, all ACC football news will have to involve them anyway. In this post, you’ll find both the first- and second-team defense. Picks for the first- and second-team offense were posted earlier today.

See any selections you agree with? Disagree with? Feel free to voice your concerns in the comments below.

2012 Atlantic Coast Convos All-ACC Team: Defense

First Team

DE Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, Florida State

DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State

DT Joe Vellano, Maryland

DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

LB Jack Tyler, Virginia Tech

LB Nick Clancy, Boston College

LB Kevin Reddick, North Carolina

CB Ross Cockrell, Duke

CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

S Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

S Earl Wolff, Florida State

PK Dustin Hopkins, Florida State

P Will Monday, Duke

SP Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

Second Team

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ACC Football Player of the Week, Week 3: Chris Thompson, Florida State

Florida State RB Chris Thompson is Week 3’s ACC Player of the Week

Each week, we’ll be identifying the best ACC player from that weekend’s games. As always, it’s a completely arbitrary award with no specific criteria beyond the vague concept of “excellence.” No, we don’t take write-ins.

ACC Player of the Week, Week Three: Chris Thompson, RB/Florida State

In just one half (and nine carries) of football, FSU’s Chris Thompson obliterated the Wake Forest line, racking up 197 rushing yards, along with two scores and two receptions for 23 yards. While we won’t necessarily point to any one factor in the Seminoles’ complete evisceration of the Demon Deacons on Saturday, there’s a pretty strong case to be made for FSU’s running game and its ability to pick up large chunks of yardage at will. With Thompson and cohort James Wilder Jr. in the backfield, it’s difficult for the unit to have an off-game and they’ve been incredibly instrumental in setting a well-balanced offense for a ‘Noles team currently firing on all cylinders.

Honorable Mention:

Duke Johnson, RB/Miami (245 all-purpose yards, 4 TD)

Romar Morris, RB/North Carolina (202 all-purpose yards, 2 TD, 1 blocked punt)

Nick Clancy, LB/Boston College (24 tackles)

Tevin Washington, QB/Georgia Tech (218 total yards, 4 TD)

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