A look at NFL's 'Neat 16'
March 22, 2010 -by Dan Arkush

For those of us who write for Pro Football Weekly, March madness is never-ending. To a man, we all love many other sports besides pro football. And we all get off on the NCAA College Basketball Tournament, sometimes perhaps to an extreme.Every year like clockwork about 20 minutes into the first cluster of Thursday games, we get an e-mail from PFW publisher/editor Hub Arkush, who also happens to be my brother, requesting that we please keep the hoots and hollers to a minimum during office hours a difficult task indeed with everybody, including Hub, trying to do their jobs with the games on television in the background.

While writing this column on Friday afternoon for a Monday posting, my beloved alma mater, Missouri, was engaged in a duel to the death with Clemson (pick your Tigers!!!). And while I would have liked nothing more than to have dashed on over to the Cubby Bear Lounge down the street to catch the climax of the Missouri-Clemson game on a wide-screen TV while sipping on a Dos Equis or two (no martinis allowed until 5 p.m. CT), my allegiance to the world of pro football in the form of another deadline prevailed.But every now and then when sports collide, you get a perfect storm, or in this case the perfect column idea a breakdown of the NFL's "Neat 16."With a bow to the college tourney, which has now been pared down to the "Sweet 16" finalists, let's take a look at 16 pro football figures deserving of special attention in their own right as the month marches on.

For extra fun, I have bracketed my "Neat 16" into the four NCAA tournament regions.


~ ~ (No. 2 seed) Jets head coach Rex Ryan I'm just a tiny bit disappointed that Ryan has yet to crack wise over the acquisition of LaDainian Tomlinson, who he hopes can adequately replace Thomas Jones, who ended up signing for less money to play for the Chiefs than the Jets paid L.T. While Holmgren might have been the most approachable heavy hitter at the Combine, Ryan was by far the funniest, eliciting clever one-liners with an ease and naturalness that has totally won me over. Did I mention that I think the acquisition of CB Antonio Cromartie puts Ryan's Jets on a par with the perennially high-and-mighty Patriots, in this commentator's humble opinion? Don't worry. I have a feeling Ryan will be mentioning the same thing more than a few times in the coming days and weeks.

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