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baronm 05-02-2005 01:27 PM

new england was going after fincher

Saints Pick UConn's Fincher In Third Round
By New London Day Sports
Date: Apr 24, 2005

Big East linebacker Alfred Fincher was the first UConn player chosen in the NFL Draft in over a decade. Fincher, who has seen his stock rise dramatically, moved from a second day prospect to being a first-day selection of the New Orleans Saints.

Fincher was looked at by a number of other NFL clubs including New England.

Saints Pick UConn's Fincher In Third Round
Inside LB's Selection Is Earliest Round Ever For Huskies Player
By The New London Day, Staff Writers

Alfred Fincher became the first UConn player selected in the NFL Draft since 1994 when he was taken 82nd overall by the New Orleans Saints Saturday night.

Eleven years ago, Paul Duckworth was chosen by the Green Bay Packers in thesixth round (190th overall).

Going in the third round, Fincher's selection marks the earliest round ever for a UConn pick. He's also the earliest Husky selected overall since Walt Dropo went at No. 74 to the Chicago Bears in 1946.

“It is very exciting,� Fincher said. “I was sitting here watching the draft and my heart started beating while I saw the other linebackers go. I felt like I can compete with those other linebackers as they kept going and I did not go. I was a little nervous about it but now that I know I am going to be a Saint I am really excited about it.�

Fincher, a 6-foot-1, 240-pound inside linebacker, was the third Big East Conference player to be drafted, trailing only cornerback Adam Jones of West Virginia, going sixth overall to the Tennessee Titans, and offensive tackle Adam Terry of Syracuse, taken in the second round, 64th overall, by the Baltimore Ravens.

“I'm very proud of Al and very happy for him,� UConn head coach Randy Edsall said. “This is the highest that UConn has ever had a player selected (third round) and it is a well-deserved honor for all of the time and effort that Alfred has invested in bettering himself.

“It is a situation where you are happy to see great things such as this happen for good people. This is a great reward for what he has done here, not only in terms of his own personal gains that he has made, but also for the gains that this program has made as a result of his hard work and dedication.�

Fincher is the first Husky to be drafted by the Saints, who took him with their third pick at 18th in the third round. New Orleans chose Oklahoma offensive tackle Jammal Brown with the 13th pick of the first round and Nebraska safety Josh Bullocks with the eighth pick of the second round.

“He looks the part, as far as being a physical build,� Rick Reiprish, director of college scouting for New Orleans, said of Fincher. “He's outstanding with the intangible things. The work ethic, he brings his lunch pail every day to practice. He's a hard worker. He's really a football player. He was productive at Connecticut. He brings a football mentality to the team.�

Reiprish added that he thinks Fincher will be an outside linebacker in the NFL.

“The Saints organization has a lot of good people in it,� Edsall said. “I worked with a few of them in Jacksonville. Jim Haslett is an excellent coach and if they're willing to invest a third-round pick in Al, then I'm sure he is entering into a good situation in terms of his potential role on the team.�

A first-team All-Big East pick in 2004, Fincher appeared in 47 career games, starting 35, including each of the final 29 games of his UConn career. He ranks sixth in UConn history with his 357 career tackles and is fourth with his 35.5 career tackles for loss.

In 2004, Fincher served as the team's lone captain on defense and turned in a strong season, leading the league with his 140 tackles as the Huskies went 8-4 overall and won the Motor City Bowl in Detroit, Dec. 27. His 11.67 stops per game ranked sixth in the nation while he also added 12 tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, seven pass break-ups, a fumble recovery and five forced fumbles.

Fincher showed a knack for stepping up his play in bigger games with a career high 21 stops against West Virginia Oct. 13 on the heels of making 17 tackles against Pittsburgh Sept. 30, equaling his then-career high. For his efforts, he earned UConn's first ever Big East Defensive Player of the Week honor.

Expecting to be drafted higher Saturday, Fincher now has extra motivation to prove others wrong starting off his professional career.

“I feel like any team that messed up on me it is their loss and I am coming to New Orleans and they know what I am about,� Fincher said. “I am going to go down there and take care of that defense and I am going to take it over like it is mine. I am going there with a mission.�

Fincher plans to celebrate his selection with family and friends and then get right to work: “I'm just going to enjoy the moment. I will probably be out (Saturday night) running the stadium getting ready to go to work.�

This Article has been provided by the staff of the New London Day Sports Department, and is reprinted with permission. You can find more information on The Day, in their sports section (registration required)

couldn't have been too bad of a scouting job by haz and co.

Danno 05-02-2005 01:46 PM

new england was going after fincher
Whats the saying about a blind squirrel?

My guess is Loomis stole the Pats draft-layers. I\'m sure a nasty investigation will follow.

saintswhodi 05-02-2005 02:40 PM

new england was going after fincher

My guess is Loomis stole the Pats draft-layers
If only he would have stolen one of their coordinators last year to coach him. ;)

chRxis 05-02-2005 02:45 PM

new england was going after fincher
well, this kid is definitely a good pick... let\'s just hope he plays as well as he is thought to play.... i know all about his college career, but that doesn\'t amount to squadoush in the NFL... there were plenty of \"can\'t miss\" collegiates that missed in the NFL

mutineer10 05-02-2005 02:49 PM

new england was going after fincher

Reiprish added that he thinks Fincher will be an outside linebacker in the NFL.
Maybe James Allen and Sedrick Hodge have some competition, after all. Fincher seems to have the size, strength and determination. We\'ll see...

Danno 05-02-2005 03:10 PM

new england was going after fincher

Reiprish added that he thinks Fincher will be an outside linebacker in the NFL.
I thought he implied that thats where they\'d start him, not where he\'d ultimately end up. Either way, I think he\'ll see some quality playing time in special packages and may be a starter by seasons end.
I think if he develops as hoped, then Watson at WLB and Fincher at MLB is a better set-up than vise-versa (on paper that is).

Now if the reports of his speed surprising everyone at the combine are true, and he truly plays faster than he times on top of that, he may be able to push for time at the SLB spot.

It won\'t take long to see if he can hang with TE\'s and RB\'s since he\'ll be practicing against some pretty speedy ones.

yasoon 05-02-2005 03:27 PM

new england was going after fincher
He looked quick in that highlight package that was recently put up, but I guess that\'s what happens when Toledo is on the field.

I couldn\'t find his shuttle time online, which is a little more relevant for an LB than 40 time. (Hopefully he won\'t be asked to make alot of plays 40 yards down field.)

I agree with you Danno, I see him in the middle with watson on the weak side if he works out...we\'ll see.

4saintspirit 05-02-2005 03:30 PM

new england was going after fincher
His biggest attributes are his work ethic and his intelligence - Both are very high -- which probably explains why the Pats liked him -- 2 big traits tehy always seem to look for. But hey -- anybody the Pats wanted I\'m happy we drafted

chRxis 05-02-2005 03:55 PM

new england was going after fincher
i agree, if the patriots were looking hard at him, he\'s got to be at least intelligent and hard working... the reason they are so good is because they do so much with so little, whereas the saints are the polar opposite... they do so little with so much... hopefully, i\'m wrong this year.... maybe being their swan song this year will take them all the way

LKelley67 05-02-2005 06:11 PM

new england was going after fincher
does he have a nickname? if he doesn\'t he needs one.

alfred the butler- he closes the door.

fincher the pincher


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