Considering the rise to superstardom that NBA fans have seen this season from Los Angeles' Clipper Blake Griffin , we can probably take it for granted that he knows athleticism when he sees it.
And apparently, the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk champion sees it in former USC tight end Jordan Cameron, endorsing him as the best player in the 2011 draft in a viral video that began on YouTube and has since become an internet sensation, earning replays by the NFL Network and SportsCenter.
In the video Griffin spoofs Spike Lee's character Mars Blackmon from the Air-Jordan videos of the 1990s.
NFLDraftScout.com was given the link to the second cut of the video, which, while perhaps not quite as comical, does a better job of highlighting Cameron's unique athleticism and provides a "tale of the tape" between Cameron's workout at the Combine and the other tight ends available in the 2011 draft.
As the video notes, Cameron is the only player tested at the Combine this year who finished among the top five in all seven events (40-yard dash, short shuttle, three-cone drill, long shuttle, vertical jump, broad jump, bench press). Cameron finished either first or second among all tight ends tested in five of the seven events.
A little later in the video and Cameron's senior production while at USC is compared to that of 2010 tight end prospect Jimmy Graham. Graham, of course, looked like a rising young star in limited duty this season for the New Orleans Saints after being drafted in the third round.
Like Graham, Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez, Cameron's production on the football field comes in large part due to his skills on the basketball court. Cameron originally signed with BYU out of high school to play basketball and only returned to the football field four years ago while with Ventura Community College. Emerging as a highly touted JUCO prospect, Cameron signed with USC as a wide receiver (playing basketball in 2008) and only made the switch to tight end as a senior.
Despite his minimal production (16 catches for 126 yards and one touchdown at USC), the obvious athleticism seen in the video was just as apparent at the Combine and during Cameron's strong week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game.
Considering this year's weak class of tight ends, it isn't surprising to learn that Cameron is moving up draft boards. While undeniably raw, his size, speed, leaping ability and soft hands make him an ideal developmental prospect for today's the hybrid receiving tight ends dominating the league.
Don't be surprised if Cameron ultimately is drafted at a similar point as Graham (No. 95 overall)... or perhaps even earlier.
Link to original video
Link to second video (same as one above)