Cards: Topps Inception 2014 (#97/199), Bowman 2013
Acquired: In Person 12/15/2015, Whataburger Community Player of the Year
Cecil Shorts went to Mount Union- located in Alliance, Ohio. The Purple Raiders are a Division III team and a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference. Among the other notable alumni to graduate from Mount Union, are Dom Capers and Pierre Garçon. After Garçon graduated in 2008, Shorts shifted from quarterback to wide receiver. He finished his career at Mount Union with 63 touchdowns and 4,705 yards receiving.
Cecil was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 114th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Scouts got the impression that Shorts’ early on experience at quarterback helped him adjust quickly to receiver, reading opposing defenses, and running crisp routes. They were equally impressed by his intangibles, level of competition, and his
leadership. The knock on Cecil was he played at DIII, and while he is a complete receiver -he lacked the size and burst that first round prospects possessed. It wasn’t until 2012 that Cecil got a shot at the starting lineup as Blaine Gabbert’s #1 target. Barely missing the 1,000 yard mark (979 yards), Shorts established himself as a long bomb threat. He scored 7 TDs that year and averaged 17.8 yards per catch. Over the next two years Cecil’s production slipped and after the 2014 season he was allowed to seek free agency.
After the departure of longtime receiver Andre Johnson, the Texans were looking to rebuild their wide receiver stable and signed Cecil to a two year contract. Shorts makes a natural fit for what the Texans want to do, and threw him in at the slot. He made an impact during the preseason catching a 58 yard TD against the 49ers, and was one of the team’s impact players. In 2015 Shorts played in 11 games, recording 42 catches for 484 yards and 2 TDs. Entering 2016 Cecil is the ‘grizzled’ veteran now in the WR corps entering only his 6th season. Liking what he has experienced in H-town, Shorts actually negotiated his contract to be more cap friendly but with so much speed on the Texans roster he didn’t make the 2016 squad. Although his veteran presence and leadership will be missed, Shorts will surely find a home with a squad in need of an experienced slot man.
I faced a dilemma at this event trying to decide which card of Shorts I should get signed at this event. The situation resolved itself quickly since I was the first person in line and Shorts was the first player I met. He signed both cards for me, and his son gushed over his Topps Inception card, that I was equally enthralled by.
Card: Sage 2014
Acquired: 2015, Box Breaker
Henry Josey is chasing the dream and you have to admire a man like that. After running for 263 yards in one game as a Sophmore for Missou, catching 175 passes, and running for over a thousand yards twice in his career, you’d think a guy’s name with 4.4 speed would be etched on a map somewhere for a professional team, but things didn’t work out that way for Josey.
Going undrafted he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014. While he had a great preseason rushing for the Eagles, averaging 6.6 yards per carry on 225 yards, he was part of the final painful round of cuts. From there, the Barry Sanders sized running back has been on rosters of the Colts, Jaguars, and the Vikings -just in 2014.
After being cut by the Vikings in 2015, Henry signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. He rushed for 30 yards, and had 4 receptions in his debut season for the Argos.
Card: Sage 2016 Artistry (#49/100)
Acquired: 2016, Hobby Box Breaker
Jalen Ramsey is considered the top defensive back of the 2016 draft and is expected to go quite early. The young cornerback from Florida State has drawn comparisons to both Sean Smith and Richard Sherman. The blue chip DB certainly displays the athleticism needed for the position to be a shut down corner and the versatility to play safety. A long jump champion, Ramsey is a strong press cover man, that can hop inside and jam a slot man. He ran a 4.41 40 and was the top performer both at the vertical and broad jump at this year’s combine.
He finished his college career at Florida State with 181 total tackles, 15.5 TFL, 5 sacks, and 3 picks for 58 yards. Most draft pundits view Ramsey as a good fit for the Safety position.
Ramsey’s draft stock has remained steady near the top of the 2016 class and has been linked to going as high as #1 overall with the Titans, or as late as #10 with the Eagles. The Titans pulled off a monster trade though and moved out of the top 5, with the Browns following soon there after. It made a lot of sense that Ramsey moved at #3 to the San Diego Chargers, who were going through a defensive makeover after the departure of longtime veteran safety presence Eric Weddle during free agency, but they signed Casey Hayward, and went with Joey Bosa instead. The Cowboys were up next but went with Ezekiel Elliot instead. Finally at pick #5 the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Ramsey, where he is expected to contribute immediately to the young squad now undergoing a defensive makeover.