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Dark Phoenix #3

Rising from the ashes is another edition of The Dark Phoenix. As you all know, this is where we look at deep sleepers that could make an impact for your team, now or in the future.


Adminchinobe Echemandu, RB4 Minnesota Vikings
5'10" 226 lbs. - California - 7th round pick (2004) 208 overall

Rush / Rec Stats
Att
Yards
TDs
Rec
Yards
TDs
Versus San Diego
14
55
1
2
28
0

Alright, first we're going to use his nickname "Ace" from here on out, so I don't have to type Adminchinobe again! Ace changed his name from Joe Echema in 2003 while in college at California. He was an all conference player his senior season with California. He led the Bears in rushing with 1,195 yards and 13 TDs He had averaged a good 5 YPC, and proved to be a good receiver out of the backfield with 22 receptions for 185 yards. He missed 2 full seasons due to academic ineligibility, and thus has relatively low mileage when compared to other backs in his draft class.

Ace is an explosive power runner that can deliver a blow and run through arm tackles. He is very quick to the hole and has good short area burst. Ace also keeps his feet moving after initial contact and picks up plenty of yards with a great second effort. He is an aggressive, instinctive runner that fights for positive yardage. He is more quick than fast and isn't incredibly shifty in the open field. He has worked hard to improve his skill set since his senior season.

Ace was originally drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2004. He spent most of the season on the PUP list, but was able to see some action late in the year. It wasn't enough for the Browns, and the new regime in Cleveland sent him packing. The Vikings picked up Ace as an unrestricted free agent in July. Once again, Ace is buried on the depth chart behind some talented RBs But injuries are wreaking havoc in the Minnesota backfield. Currently Michael Bennett and Mewelde Moore are banged up, and rookie Ciatrick Fason has been somewhat limited by an ankle injury. Ace is a long shot, to be sure, but he has shown that he has the talent to be successful in the NFL. It also doesn't hurt that Minnesota's line is one of the best in the league. Keep an eye on Ace in deeper leagues because more than likely he will be signed to the Viking's practice squad.


Cleo Lemon, QB3 San Diego Chargers
6'2" 226 lbs. - Arkansas State - Undrafted Free Agent (2001)

Pass / Rush Stats
Att
Comp
Yards
TDs
INTs
Att
Yards
TDs
Versus Minnesota
14
19
136
1
0
0
0
0

Cleo Lemon is a phenomenal athlete that was a devastating weapon at Arkansas State. He set all ASU passing and offensive yardage records while in college. He is a coaches son and is a very intelligent QB. He tossed a school record 49 TDs while passing for 7,706 yards at Arkansas State.

Lemon's greatest asset is his ability to scramble and make plays with his feet. He has a rocket arm and can make all the deep throws necessary to be productive at the pro level. His delivery is spot on, and his mechanics are very sound. He can move around well in the pocket, but is not a running QB. He feels the rush well, and anticipates pressure. His accuracy has been poor, but he is improving.

Cleo was signed to the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2001. He was released shortly thereafter when he failed his physical because of a lingering knee injury. He bounced around for a while in the NFL, from the Ravens in 2002, to the Chargers in 2003. He did spend some time in NFLE with the Berlin Thunder where he backed up Tim Hasselbeck and Todd Husak. He spent the 2003 season on the Chargers practice squad, and was held as the 4th QB in 2004. It's interesting to note that he was not put on the PS in 2004. The Chargers felt that Lemon would be signed by another team and they didn't want to lose him. Doug Flutie was released in the off season and Lemon was promoted to 3rd string. The QB situation in San Diego bears watching. Obviously, the team loves what Lemon can do and are grooming him slowly. With Brees signing his one year franchise tender, Cleo could be promoted to 2nd string as early as next year. Many feel that if Brees has another solid year, the Chargers will trade Rivers thus making Lemon #2. Cleo Lemon is the perfect example of the long shot who's working hard to make an impact.


Chris Henry, WR4 Cincinnati Bengals
6'5" 195 lbs. - West Virginia - 3rd round pick (2005) 83rd overall

Rush / Rec Stats
Att
Yards
TDs
Rec
Yards
TDs
Versus Philadelphia
0
0
0
3
64
1

Chris Henry is an incredibly gifted athlete that has an elite skill set. He is a big play receiver that averaged over 16 yards per catch in 2004. He also had 12 TDs on only 52 receptions his final year in college. His numbers were down from his sophomore season, when he burst on the scene with 41 catches for 1,006 yards and 10 TDs Defenses keyed on stopping Henry and did affect his numbers somewhat, but they could not cover him when he was motivated to get open.

Henry's skill set is similar to that of the superfreak Randy Moss. Easy there, I said it was similar not an exact match. Henry has a great leaping ability and catches the ball at it's highest point consistently. He has great speed and it doesn't take him long to get into his top gear. He is a tall WR that has long arms and strong hands. Chris fights for every jump pass and more often than not comes down with it. His attitude is the only thing holding him back. Henry could've been a first round pick if it wasn't for his immature attitude. He is a very selfish player that often can come at the detriment of the team. If Henry can grow up and realize that he's in the big leagues where NFL stands for "Not For Long" then he could develop into a top flight receiver.

The Bengals love what they have seen from Chris Henry. He is able to learn from a former poster boy for selfish WRs, Chad Johnson. Johnson's guidance could prove to be invaluable for the young WR. Henry is making a name for himself in Bengals camp. And while he's a ways down on the depth chart it seems as though he is destined for a great NFL career. The 3 year rule for WRs should be considered when drafting Henry in deeper leagues. He's not going to produce much now, barring injury. But he has the skill set to become an elite receiver in only a few seasons.

Be sure to check out next week's edition of The Dark Phoenix. The last week of the preseason is upon us and we'll get one more chance to see some deep sleepers in action. And when the regular season begins, be sure to keep track of long shots with our Dynasty Watch feature article. The Dark Phoenix will then look at college players each week, giving you the edge in your fantasy leagues.

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