Manuel Ramirez was the only constant for Texas Tech's offensive line from the 2003 season through the 2006 season. Starting 41 games at right guard, Ramirez used his huge size and strength to maul opponents both at the point of attack on running plays and protected four different starting quarterbacks in pass protection. Ramirez was hampered in his senior campaign by bone spurs in his knee, which were successfully removed, and should be ready to play at the NFL level.
Drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 4th round, Ramirez lends instant credibility to a line that has been much maligned the past several seasons in the Motor City, both as immediate depth and as competition for the starting left guard spot. Ramirez did play only on the right side while he played at Tech, but he should be able to pick up the left side without to much of a problem. Ramirez should be a huge asset in opening running lanes for Kevin Jones/Tatum bell and protecting quarterback Jon Kitna.
Although the knee injury may have given teams pause on drafting Ramirez, the Lions found themselves an intensely strong player with a passion for football, the kind of guy that can come into a locker-room and be the type of presence that all coaches hope for.
Joel Filani has often been described by his collegiate head coach Mike Leach as a "baby moose" when he arrived on the Texas Tech University campus. Yet, by the time Filani graduated after the 2006 season, one could make a case that Filani was no longer a baby moose but instead a full grown bull moose. After a breakout game against California in the 2004 Holiday Bowl, Filani had terrific junior and senior seasons. He totaled 2307 yards, 21 touchdowns, 14.79 yards/reception, and 156 receptions. Filani's best year was undoubtedly his senior season where he averaged 14.3 yards per reception on 91 catches with 1300 yards and 13 touchdowns. At 6 feet 3 inches tall and 214 pounds, Filani is a physical specimen who ran a 4.49 and 4.53 at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Yet, Filani fell to the Tennessee Titans in round 6 of the NFL Draft and was picked with the 188th pick of that round. This brings about an interesting situation as Filani appears to be in a position to be catching passes from his former rival and University of Texas star, Vince Young. Filani is fast enough to be a deep threat but strong enough to take a shot going over the middle and hang onto the football. Another benefit of this pick for the Titans is that Filani has experience both blocking for and covering kickoffs, something that most big time college receiver don't have. Joel has also shown that he can take over a game when given the opportunity to do so. One has to look on at the 2005 Nebraska or Kansas State games along with the 2006 Iowa State and Baylor Games.
While Filani has on occasion dropped balls that he should catch, he became an integral piece of the Texas Tech offense and his polish as a receiver should make him an intriguing player to watch as he suits up for the Tennessee Titans during the 2007 season.
Keyunta Dawson was perhaps the most underrated defensive linemen in the Big XII in both 2005 and 2006. While his sack numbers over those two years weren't that gaudy at 2.5 and 6 respectively, his total tackles were worth noting. From a down defensive end position (excluding one start at linebacker against the University of Colorado), Dawson recorded 62 tackles in 2005 and 63 in 2006 for a staggering total of 125. Dawson's biggest strength has always been his speed and was clocked in the low 4.5 range while at Texas Tech. Dawson ran a 4.72 at his Pro-Day, but this was attributed to a pulled hamstring. Dawson holds up well against the run for someone who isn't quite ideal for being an end in college or the NFL and has an explosive play-making ability if given the chance.
Drafted in the 7th round by the Indianapolis Colts, Dawson looks to remain at defensive end there even though he was technically classified as a linebacker in the draft. Indy seems to like Tech players with Dylan Gandy currently being on the roster and Montae Reagor having been a fixture until his departure for Philadelphia during the 2007 free agency period. Dawson looks to be slated as a rush end and reserve to Dwight Freeney but could play as an upright linebacker or even as a situational defensive tackle in the mold of Montae Reagor.
Indy drafted a player with still untapped potential that could become a very good addition to a defense that seems to always need to reload.