Friday, April 30, 2010

6 comments 2010 NFL Draft Grades Part 1

My favorite part about the NFL Draft is going through each team's draft and giving my thoughts on the picks by each team. It is very egotistical of me, I realize that, but I just enjoy giving out grades and using my poorly reasoned thoughts on why each team did poorly or well in the draft. I had to split this into two parts, not because I am lazy, but because I wrote so much I didn't want everyone to go blind from having to read it. The 2nd part will be out on Saturday.

I don't think I graded each team's draft last year officially. I don't enjoy giving out "A's" or "B's," so I am going with my own system. I will give each team a grade from 1-10, with "10" being the highest a team can get and "1" being the lowest a team can get. The equivalent to the letter grades is approximately a "5" would be a "C" and I guess an "8" would be a "B" or something like that. Feel free to argue or call me an idiot and I will try to not be like Mel Kiper and give each team grades that are all in the same range.


I like the Cardinals draft. Dan Williams is a legitimate nose tackle and they got him later than I personally expected him to go. I liked the Andre Roberts pick, though I would have liked it more with Warner still on the team because he would have had a proven quarterback throwing the ball to him and John Skelton is an interesting prospect at quarterback. I have seen Roberts play and he really can play some football. I don't really like the trade up for Daryl Washington, I think he is a good linebacker, but not a guy that I would trade up for personally. This is offset by the drafting of O'Brien Schofield, who I think is going to make a nice conversion to the linebacker position in the NFL. It may take a year or two, but the guy always seemed to be around the football when I watched Wisconsin this year. Great pick.

Grade: 6

I don't like Washington as much as others do, but I do like Schofield and Dan Williams is a great pick. Skelton looks like a quarterback and he must have some brains given the fact of where he went to school, but there is going to be an adjustment period for him. He's not going to be able to help the Cardinals this year...if he even sticks on the roster.


I got to watch Sean Witherspoon a good amount this year and I am still torn on him. He is always around the football, but I feel similar to him like I felt about Micheal Barrow when he was a Carolina Panther...I feel like Witherspoon (whether it is right or not) is the guy who makes the tackle after a running back has gained 4-5 yards on a carry. I think he will be a good player, but I don't think he was a 1st round pick. I loved the Mike Johnson pick and I think he will be starting for the Falcons before long and I really liked the Dominique Franks choice. He is cocky and probably not a starter, but he is going to be a great #3 cornerback with being a #2 as his ceiling. This was another good draft for the Falcons.

Grade: 7

I want to give them a lower grade because I am not sure I see any potential impact players in this draft. That's not a bad thing either, because they filled some needs with these draft choices, but I don't know if they hit a home run on any of them or not. It doesn't matter because they had a good draft, even if it wasn't sexy. This is the kind of draft teams that are above average have in order to fill some holes they have on the team. The fans don't get excited about the picks, but they serve a purpose, which is to help the team get to the next level. The Falcons had a non-sexy, but productive draft.


I, like many other people love the Ravens draft. I love Sergio Kindle and I love how they got Terrence Cody to man the middle of the 3-4 defense. So what, he may never be in shape, but he's a huge guy and he wasn't in shape at Alabama and it didn't hurt him too much. Teams will know where he is on the field and have to dedicate two guys to him. The Ravens traded the #25 pick for Kindle, Ed Dickson, and Dennis Pitta. That's how you make draft trades. They got Kindle, a 1st round value, and two tight ends that are going to help out Flacco for a late-r 1st round pick. Flacco had no one reliable other than Derrick Mason to throw the ball to last year, but this year he has three new weapons (at a minimum) with Boldin, Stallworth, and Dickson. I loved Dickson at Oregon and was surprised he stayed on the board as long as he did.

Grade: 9

I would give it a 10 if I thought the Ravens landed on any of their late round picks. I do like Arthur Jones, but I don't know if he fits in well with a 3-4 defense in the NFL. If I thought he did then I would give them a 10. Great draft. The Ravens needed to improve their passing offense and they did, while also improving their defense.


I don't have anything against Buffalo, but I don't find this draft to be exciting at all. There are a bunch of players who look like special team players or projects that were drafted here. They need players to help them NOW. For a team like Buffalo that isn't great, I find it inexplicable they didn't come away with more players that could contribute right now. C.J. Spiller has been compared to the next Reggie Bush, and I like him a lot, but I somewhat think the Bills didn't have a huge need at running back. Maybe I am off-point, but I thought Jackson and Lynch could man the running back position for another year. What was wrong with that? It is not like Spiller is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. To me, this team's needs were QB and OT. They got Levi Brown and Ed Wang for those positions. That's not fixing a need. They did make a few moves in getting players to switch to the 3-4 defense, but I am not even sure if they chose the right player compared to other players available.

Grade: 3

They went into the draft with needs at OT and QB and didn't fix those needs at all. I don't call that a successful draft, even if they got a potentially great running back and filled some needs to switch to the 3-4. My point is that we still don't know who will play quarterback and block successfully. I laughed when the Bills owner said Denver "panicked" in choosing Tebow. Perhaps he should look at his team's draft closer and see that the Bills have improved (on paper) defensively, but haven't fixed their two biggest problems, which is the QB and OT position.


This is another team that seemed to ignore some of their needs in the draft. Of course, the needs they ignored were not #1 and #2 on the priority list like it was with the Bills. Jimmy Clausen was a steal where he was taken, but I don't get the pick of Tony Pike in the 6th round, especially for a team who is in desperate need for some DT help. As someone who watched this team all year, I don't know if relying on Ed Johnson to be the big fix is a good answer to this DT problem. They passed over DT's time and time again for other players. I love Armanti Edwards, like any good Appalachian State graduate should, but to trade a 2nd round pick in 2011 for him? I don't know if I like him that much, especially since he is changing positions to wide receiver. He's going to basically have a redshirt year. Greg Hardy was also a great pick, but he compared his work ethic to Julius Peppers', which isn't a compliment in my book.

Grade: 7

They got a quarterback and a 2nd wide receiver. That's good enough to get a good grade, but they could have done better by taking a DT at some point in the draft. I watched Gettis play Nebraska this year and absolutely tore them up, which impressed me, so they get extra credit for hitting on late round picks with him and Greg Hardy.


This is a hard draft to grade because they didn't have a 1st or 2nd round pick. How well could they have even met some of their needs when they don't pick before #75? Trading their 2nd round pick for Gaines Adams wasn't too smart (and no, not because he is dead. I am not Peter King. It wasn't smart because he wasn't worth that). I have to factor this in. Major Wright was a good pick, but the Bears weren't able to meet some of their needs in the draft due to their draft positioning unfortunately. I really like the LeFevour pick and Major Wright was a good choice. It was a merely good draft for me, but not completely because they didn't draft good players.

Grade: 5

Trading away their 2nd round pick for an underachiever (not because he is dead) didn't help and the Bears went in with their hands tied. They did a good job of meeting some needs with what they had. I have to say, I like the Wright pick and Corey Wootton was a great pick as well. I still wish they had a chance to address the offensive line more.


I love this draft too. I feel like Jon Gruden right now, because I am loving everything. I need to start knocking teams down a few notches just to feel like a bad-ass. I am not quite as excited about Jermaine Gresham as some others may be, but he is the best tight end available and the Bengals needed a tight end. The goal was to get Carson Palmer weapons and I feel like they did that with Gresham, Shipley,and Dezmon Briscoe (6th round? Really that low?). They got Brandon Ghee who actually had as a "con" in a scouting report that I read which said he didn't have have enough interceptions because the ball wasn't thrown his way enough. God, I wish I could find it. Teams didn't throw the ball at him and that is a "con" for a cornerback? Now that the Bengals got Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson they have two defensive ends on the roster who would have been lottery picks if they gave a shit.

Grade: 9

This was a good draft and the Bengals met every need they had. They may need some offensive line help, but priority #1 was the offense and they improved it in a big way. They have given Palmer some weapons so they may actually have the offense to not embarrass themselves. I don't know why the Bengals keep investing in guys like Carlos Dunlap, but Michael Johnson showed something positive last year so it may end up working out for them. I would have taken Dunlap off my board because I didn't see anything while he was at Florida which made me impressed.


They needed a wide receiver or two and a quarterback. They came out of the draft with no quality wide receivers and the 4th best quarterback. I don't consider this a success. I love Colt McCoy, we all do, but he holds onto the ball too long and I question his future in the NFL. That being said, having Mike Holmgren as his boss and playing in the West Coast offense is going to give him a chance to succeed. I love Montario Hardesty and think he was one of the top 3 backs in this draft, possibly even top 2. T.J. Ward was a questionable 2nd round pick for me and they did nothing to address their wide receiver needs. Carlton Mitchell is not a difference maker.

Grade: 5

I like the Haden pick and at least they made an effort to get a quarterback (finally), but otherwise I don't love this draft. I look for impact players and I can't find any. I know Mike Holmgren has a plan, but I don't know if I 100% like his plan based on this draft. Colt McCoy went to the best offense for his talents. If he is going to succeed anywhere, it is in the West Coast offense.


I don't like to question the Cowboys drafts because they are generally pretty good at finding talent. This year they got Dez Bryant, which was a huge steal because he is the best receiver in this draft. Tony Romo has to hope he behaves himself though, which I think he will. Sean Lee was a great pickup in the 2nd round and Owusu-Ansah has the potential to be a great corner. That being said, I am not enamored with the late round picks by the Cowboys. I can't be too picky because most of the needs they have are based on possibly losing some players to free agency after this year and are therefore not immediate, but I still didn't like their late round picks too much.

Grade: 6

I love the front half of the draft and don't like the last half of the draft. It's better than having it the other way around I guess. They improved their team and if I believed Sam Young could become a quality left tackle I would give this draft an "8," but I don't believe he can. He was part of the Notre Dame offensive line that couldn't protect Clausen too well wasn't he? This grade is a high "6" because Bryant is the real deal and they did have a good first half of the draft, but I just can't give them a "7."


Here we go. I think they missed on both of their 1st round picks. I think Josh McDaniels thinks he is smarter than everyone else. The Broncos picked a wide receiver in the 1st round who knows two routes and a quarterback who hasn't shown he can throw either of those routes. I am not saying either of these players CAN'T be good, but I feel like the Broncos drafted two projects in the 1st round. Tebow is a hard worker and a great leader, but why trade for Brady Quinn and then draft Tim Tebow? Maybe Demaryius Thomas can (in theory) run a bunch of routes well, that's fine, the bottom line is that he hasn't shown he can. Zane Beadles had a 4th-7th round grade depending on who you believe. I have gotten in trouble (with Jacksonville in my MMQB Review) for bashing a team that has a player valued higher than other teams do, so I will just say maybe they really like him. I think summed it up best:

Josh McDaniels has turned Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler into Tim Tebow, Demaryius Thomas and Dick Quinn. What a disaster.

You know what? I like the late round picks for the Broncos. It is like McDaniels and friends decided to stop showing everyone how smart they were and actually tried to draft good football players. Eric Decker was a great pick, though I want to scream everytime I hear someone compare him to Wes Welker. Yes, they are both white, but Decker is taller and slower than Welker. For me, he is a possession receiver on the outside, not a Wes Welker-type player. I think he could shine a lot more on the outside. I think the Broncos also nailed the Perrish Cox pick and they got two quality centers in the same draft. Why couldn't the Broncos do this with their first two (three, if you include Beadles) picks?

Grade: 3

I may really regret this grade at some point in the near future, but I don't care. If it weren't for the fact I like the late round picks, I would have given them a "1." For me, you don't take a franchise quarterback who needs to be developed when you just traded for a young quarterback that needs to be developed. I am not saying Quinn is great, but why even take him if you plan on trading up for Tebow? You don't take a wide receiver who is also a sort of project if you have a need NOW at wide receiver. There's nothing wrong with getting rid of talented players, but you have to replace those exiting players with talented players too. I am not sure I see that happening. Of course Denver will go 4-0 to start the year and I will look dumb until they end the season 3-9 in the weak AFC West.


I can't give Detroit too much credit for not screwing up the 2nd pick in the draft. Some insist the Lions should have taken an offensive tackle, which does make sense in some ways, but they have to take the best available player for them and that is Suh. It's not like they don't have a need along the defensive line. I also didn't completely get the trade up for Jahvid Best. They traded away the #34, #100, and #214 and got back the #30 and #128 in return to move up and take Best. I feel like I am being nitpicky, but I don't know if Minnesota, Indianapolis, New Orleans, or St. Louis were going to take Best at that point with the injury issues he has had. It's better to be safe than sorry, but I am not sure Detroit would have reasonably lost Best if they had stayed at #34. Possibly they were afraid a team would jump in front of them for Best before the start of the draft the next day. They did trade some of their picks for guys like Scheffler, Houston, and Corey Williams so give them credit for that as well. Jake Fox has a ceiling as a right tackle, not a left tackle, but it is still a good pick.

Grade: 8

I am throwing in the picks that were traded for Williams, Scheffler, and Houston in here as well, which caused the grade to go up. The Lions met their needs in this draft. They needed a defensive lineman, a running back, and some help in the secondary and they got that. They did miss out on an offensive tackle, but Backus isn't a horrible left tackle, he just has to deal with a division full of great pass rushers. Stafford will just learn to run to this right a lot with pass rushers chasing him (I know Stafford is a good quarterback, but if they had drafted a left tackle last year and then a quarterback this year in the 2nd round they wouldn't have to worry about this problem AND they still could have gotten Suh in the 1st round). Choosing Suh over a left tackle was the right call. Maybe they gave up a bit much to guarantee themselves Best, but they got their guy.

Green Bay

For me personally, I see the cornerback position as the biggest position of need for the Packers coming into this draft. They did not address it. They got cut up by the Cardinals in the playoff game in the secondary and at the linebacker position in coverage. It was brutal to watch. A close #2 need was left tackle and they did take care of that with the drafting of Bulaga. I thought they reached for Neal when they could have gotten another tackle or a cornerback at that point in the draft and I don't even know why they wasted a pick on a tight end. They don't even have a need there and it is not a position where I think a team needs a lot of depth. Other than Bulaga, I like the James Starks and C.J. Wilson picks in the 6th and 7th round. Wilson is going to be a valuable rotation guy and Starks was considered a Top 5 running back before the year began and he got injured. Other than that, they did get Burnett who will compete for a safety job. I just wish they had been a little more focused on finding a cornerback to get out of this draft and even possibly another tackle.

Grade: 6

This is a lower grade than most people are giving the Packers and I give it because I don't think they fixed the problems that plagued them last year. The offensive line stunk for half the season and the secondary needs to get younger. I hate to lower the grade because of this, but I feel like these problems could have been addressed better. Maybe my grade here is a little unfair because I am grading them on meeting their needs rather than the players they chose. It is not a bad draft of players but when I don't like the 2nd round pick and think another pick (on a tight end) was wasted then I can't give a higher grade.


I think they should have taken Kyle Wilson over Kareem Jackson, but the Texans obviously know more than I do so I have to trust them on that. The Texans needed a corner, another running back, and some defensive line help. They met these needs in the first 3 rounds with their first 3 picks. I am not a huge fan of Ben Tate, but I am also aware that he was a great pick in the 2nd round and for the Texans offense. It is a situation where I think a player ended up in a good situation. My biggest question currently is what the Texans fascination with tight ends is all about? They drafted James Casey last year (and they already had Owen Daniels) and they drafted two more this year. I actually like the two tight ends they drafted this year, but I have to question the need to draft two in the overall scheme of things. I really like the Trindon Holliday pick in the 6th round and it is a luxury pick, but they now have a kick returner and there aren't that many players who can provide his definite value in the 6th round. Very good draft, but I wish they had stayed away from all the tight ends this year.

Grade: 7

This draft lost me a little bit in the middle with Earl Mitchell who I didn't see being taken in that spot and I don't know why they drafted Sharpton or another tight end. They ended the draft well and I would rather have Dickerson than Graham at tight end. Not a bad draft, I just wish they had prioritized the cornerback position a little bit more in the middle rounds and I didn't like their 3rd round pick compared to other DTs available at the time.


I am a little afraid to be too critical of Bill Polian. First off, he knows what he is doing as he has proven time-and-time again in building the Bills, Panthers, and Colts. Second, he is an asshole and anyone who criticizes him gets stomped like the dirt they are. I don't want to be stomped. I have a feeling Polian was the guy who told Peter King the Combine was overrated, so let's look at the results. I love the Jerry Hughes pick and I think he will fit in with the Colts very well. I expected the Colts to go looking for some offensive line help and they didn't draft a single offensive lineman, except a tight end who looks to be converted to an offensive lineman. I think that is a mistake. Peyton Manning is brilliant at getting rid of the ball, but he needs better protection. Otherwise the Colts drafted hardworking, Colts-type players for the defense in Angerer, Conner, and Matthews. Obviously the Colts were very focused on getting more players for their defense and trying to develop guys for the offensive line.

Grade: 7

Honestly, this grade is giving a little bit of leeway to the Colts simply because they seem to know what they are doing. The later round picks by the Colts seem to lack size and the ability to play in the NFL, so I have to dock them a few points for that. They did a good job meeting their needs with Hughes and Angerer, and Kevin Thomas from all I have read on him seems to be able to contribute in the secondary immediately. This was a solid draft by the Colts.

Jacksonville listed the Jaguars needs as WR, QB, and safety. They didn't draft a single player for any of those positions. They did the same thing they have done over the past two years, which is draft two players from the same position back-to-back to begin the draft. First it was Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves, then Eben Britton and Eugene Monroe. This year it is Tyson Alualu and D'Anthony Smith. I haven't ever heard of D'Anthony Smith so I did some research on him and some people hated the pick and others loved it. That helps me absolutely zero in figuring out how good he is. As I have said several times before, they could have gotten Alualu later in the draft than they least I think so. I won't dock them points for taking him too early if they really think he is worth the #10 pick. Nowhere have I read that Alualu wasn't a reach. As far as the Jags late round picks went, they drafted guys from every middle-sized school across the United States, including Murray State, Central Arkansas, Southern Illinois and James Madison. Maybe they found diamonds in the rough. Unfortunately, none of those players seem to be able to meet the needs the Jags had or will make a difference in this year's team.

Grade: 2

Alualu saves this draft from being worse than it is. At least he has talent to make it in the NFL no matter where he was picked and D'Anthony Smith was a reach as well. Gene Smith doesn't care what anyone thinks when he is making picks, including the fans who pay to see the Jags play...a number that is dwindling every day. Of the late round picks, Austen Lane seems to have the most talent and at least they upgraded the return game with Scotty McGee. Unfortunately they had other pressing needs they completely ignored, which I can't ignore when giving them a terrible grade.

Kansas City

I thought the Chiefs had to come out of this draft with a right or left tackle of significance and they didn't do this. They have to protect Matt Cassel and they don't seem to care to. The reason I didn't have Eric Berry going to the Chiefs isn't because he lacks talent as a safety, but because as great of a safety as he may be, they don't NEED him at #5. They need a left tackle or a linebacker more. It is too early for a linebacker, so left tackle it should have been. I can't believe I am going to criticize the Chiefs for taking a great safety, but I think they needed to take care of their offensive line first. Dexter McCluster was a complete reach in the 2nd round, as was Javier Arenas in the 3rd round. It's great to see a shitty team looking to upgrade their kicking game and drafting one dimensional weapons on offense when they don't have the necessary basics to make their NFL team good and able to win games. The Chiefs tried to fill their needs in the later rounds with Asamoah and Sheffield, both of which were good picks, but I felt like this should have been done higher in the draft.

Grade: 4

They get points for having drafted talented players, albeit talented players that I am not sure are actual needs for the Chiefs at this point. Berry is a stud, but not a stud they needed, Arenas is a nickel corner and return man and McCluster is a change of pace weapon on offense. The Chiefs had other needs though and they ignored them. The purpose of the draft is for a team to actually become a better team with the players they picked. Are the Chiefs better? Yes, they are, but they still have many of the problems they faced coming into the draft. I see that as a failure to draft properly. Eric Berry should be a great player, but the need at safety isn't as big as the need at left tackle in my opinion. I like the value they got in the later rounds, but I can't ignore the early round talent is talent that doesn't fix their biggest problems.

I will do the second half of the draft grades tomorrow. I hate to split them up, because there is a ton of bad journalism out there, but I had to do it to save everyone's eyes.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

5 comments Peter King Talks Some Tim Tebow

I didn't cover Peter's Tuesday mailbag last week so I felt like I have to cover it this week. It is all a part of the NFL Draft-oriented week I appear to be running here at BotB. After this week, no more draft talk I promise. There is just so much good NFL Draft-related material, I can't help myself. Today, Peter massages his Tebow-ner and talks about why if Tebow doesn't meet expectations set for him and save the entire world from its sins, he will at least be the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL.

Ok, Peter never said that, but it is fun to make things like this up. By the way, I am refining my NFL Draft grades and plan on posting the first half tomorrow (yes, I said "first half," I got carried away a little bit). I know I am posting it late after draft, but I wanted to actually think about what I was going to say rather than just do a day-after grade and end up regretting everything I said two years down the road.

I've thought all along that Tim Tebow would need a redshirt year, but two things now tell me I might be wrong.

1. The lusty feeling in Peter's heart when he sees Tim Tebow in person.

2. Peter texted God and God texted back, "Def ready 2 start this yr. Will put good word in 4 him to McDaniels."

First, Denver trading the 40th, 70th and 114th picks in a power draft to pick Tebow is a powerful statement.

"I'm Josh fucking McDaniels and I can do whatever the hell I want to do because it is my team for the next 1-2 years until I get fired. If I want to trade a 1st round pick to Kansas City in order to draft the team mascot for Georgia, I will do it. Don't you see my hoodie with the sleeves cut off? That means I am smart and know how to dress like a homeless man."

What a powerful statement.

The 25th pick is worth 720 points on the chart every team in the league uses -- some more religiously than others. The 43rd pick is worth 470, the 70th worth 240, and the 114th worth 66. That totals 776. The Broncos paid 56 more points than were necessary by the chart -- equivalent to the 199th overall pick, a late fourth-rounder -- to get Tebow. Denver, obviously, wanted to make the deal badly enough to ratchet up the compensation.

So just for clarification, there isn't a chance in Hell (in the opinion of Peter King) the Broncos overpaid to draft Tebow, they just wanted him that badly. There is a difference. That difference can be seen in whether the person reporting this story is gullible enough to just accept what is being said by McDaniels. This person should be gullible enough to not ask questions about why a team that needs multiple draft picks to fill multiple holes caused by trading away the best players on that team is overpaying for a player in the draft. Here, Josh McDaniels is telling the story to Peter that speaks for itself on the gullibility scale because Peter can be gullible at times.

The Broncos went over the recommended compensation for Tebow, there is nothing wrong with this. I get the feeling Peter doesn't entertain the thought this wasn't smart move for the Broncos.

"When I went to Gainesville Monday to work him out,'' McDaniels said, referring to his hush-hush trip to spend the day with Tebow, "we spent about seven hours together.

"We went to go see 'Valentine's Day' together, got a couple slices of pie at a pizzeria, walked around campus together pausing only to sit under a tree for a while and then he tearfully told me goodbye as I departed on a midnight train to Georgia to see Demaryius Thomas work out."

Now, understand that our offense is pretty complicated, and the terminology and the scheme is totally different from what he did at Florida.

The total terminology at Florida:

"Fake the hand-off and then run with the ball."
"Hand the ball off."
"Fake the hand-off and then throw the ball to one of the four receivers who are open."

He's so smart about football that he was able to begin to speak my language and talk apples to apples. He'd already translated what he knew of our scheme into my words. That's something that carried a lot of weight with me.''

I like to think McDaniels' pre-draft interview with Demaryius Thomas went this way:

(McDaniels) "So at this point after the snap, what do you do?"

(Thomas) "Block."

(McDaniels) "No, this is a passing play. What route do you run after the snap?"

(Thomas) "When I don't block, I run straight ahead and wait for the ball to be thrown to me."

(McDaniels) "No, no. You have two options based on what you and the quarterback read from the defense pre-snap. You are supposed to run a curl route if there is man coverage on you, but if they are running a zone, you and the quarterback hopefully recognize it pre-snap and run a drag over the middle."

(Thomas staring blankly) "So, I thought I was supposed to run straight ahead. I don't know what those other routes are. How far ahead do I run straight ahead in these other routes before I can expect the ball to be thrown to me?"

(McDaniels knowing he HAS to draft Thomas to show everyone how smart he is)

McDaniels also said: "The football traits he has is the stuff you die for.''

Come on! I am expected to not make a Jesus-Tebow joke about dying for something? I can't make this joke, I just can't.

That tells me McDaniels will find something this year for Tebow to do. I don't know what it is.

"Hey Tim, I am pretty thirsty. Can you run and get me a glass of water...and can you run to the store and get me some gum as well. Juicy Fruit, specifically."

I am just kidding, Tim Tebow may end up making a wonderful NFL quarterback. It is just too much fun to mock the fact the Broncos took a project quarterback in the 1st round and there is such an incredible amount of love for Tebow among the media and the world in general.

I think Demaryius Thomas isn't the receiver Dez Bryant is, but he's a guy the Broncos will sleep better at night having, and he'll step in for Brandon Marshall. Can he be Marshall? I doubt he'll be the impact player, but he'll have the chance.

It is nice that Peter doubts the wide receiver the Broncos selected in the 1st round will have an impact the receiver they just traded away had. I know Marshall was causing problems, but replacing Marshall with a guy who isn't as good is a downgrade at receiver...and that is not how a team gets better. I know this is simplistic thinking, but I thought to win more football games the Broncos would need to get better at each position?

McDaniels made it clear to me the best quarterback will start. He said Kyle Orton is the incumbent, and the starter, today. In camp, who knows? Maybe Brady Quinn lights it up, or maybe Tebow comes along faster than everybody thinks.

Maybe Tim Tebow will lecture the entire team on the dangers of pre-marital sex (God, I wish Travis Henry was still on the team. I really, really wish he was) or maybe Kyle Orton's neck beard will attack someone in training camp. Peter's point is that we don't know what will happen dammit, so quit speculating by writing all kinds of scenarios down. Just stop everyone! Quit speculating!

Ok, back to Peter speculating...

But the fact Tebow already has a head-start on knowing the offense, and was peeved he had to leave Denver over the weekend to go back home (NFL rules don't permit rookie to be at their team's facilities, other than for a rookie mini-camp, until their class graduates in the spring) is a sign he might come along quicker in the mental part of the game than many draftees would.

See this is the type of "Tebow-love" thing that gets him so much hatred from the world that doesn't like the massive amount of love he receives. Tebow knows basic things about the Denver offense and wants to stay and practice with the team (how many rookies DON'T want to do this?) and now he is smarter than all the other draftees...not draftee quarterbacks, but draftees overall. Tebow may come along quicker on the mental part of the game, but the fact he knows some of the teams plays in his head doesn't necessarily tell me he is ahead of where he should be mentally.

I wouldn't be surprised if McDaniels invented some sort of red zone or goal line package for Tebow.

He wouldn't design a package for Tebow like most coaches do, he is fucking INVENTING one that doesn't even exist in any other playbook in the entire world. I really hope McDaniels designs a jump-pass for Tebow on the goal line, those were always interesting to watch when he was at Florida.

Now, this would be interesting for team chemistry, because whoever wins the starting job (I assume Orton) will have to swallow hard to be OK with getting yanked a couple of times a game for Tebow.

Obviously Denver saw how much yanking Vick-McNabb in/out of the game could disrupt the flow of the offense in Philadelphia and immediately knew he had to do the same in Denver.

I wouldn't worry about Orton. Kyle Orton has no ego. This is a guy who got benched for Rex Grossman. After that, there is nowhere to go but up in terms of shots to his ego. Kyle Orton can handle being benched for Tim Tebow because being benched for a University of Florida quarterback isn't anything new to him.

There're going to be doubts about him. Great doubts -- and I understand that. Some people don't think he has the natural traits of a great quarterback.

I just think he is a quarterback working on his throwing motion coming out of a college offense that isn't well known for preparing the quarterback for the NFL. I don't doubt his work ethic or if Tebow can become a great quarterback, but I doubt if he was worth a 1st round pick. That's pretty much it, but doubting Tebow can do anything is becoming a Tebow-hater in the eyes of many.

Here's what I think: Do Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods swing the club the same way, hit irons the same way? No. But they both win tournaments. There're different ways to throw, different mechanics, and you can still get the job done.''

This is not a good comparison. Tebow's motion compared to Tom Brady's motion is like comparing Tiger Woods swing to Charles Barkley's swing. That's a more accurate comparison. Throw in the fact I hadn't seen Tebow go away from his primary receiver too often in college and hasn't taken too many snaps from behind center and I can't help but be skeptical of his ability to be a good NFL quarterback.

It's going to be fun to watch.

No, it's not. Hearing about Tebow all the time will continue to be unbearable.

I was intrigued by Tampa's draft, if only by the pairing of two defensive tackles (Gerald McCoy and Brian Price) and two wide receivers (Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams), all in the top 101 selections.

By the way, Tampa Bay is headed completely in the right direction. More on this in my NFL Draft grades, but they are headed for positive things.

Williams, obviously, jumps out as the 101st pick in the draft. He had academic troubles at Syracuse, broke curfew, was suspended by coach Doug Marrone and later quit the team. It's a classic risk-reward draft choice; many teams in the league didn't have Williams on their draft board.

Only a wide receiver desperate team would take him, really. Hence the Bucs got him. He quit the team at Syracuse. QUIT THE TEAM. Why draft him, no matter his talent? This was after he got suspended and broke curfew.

But Dominik said: "He's a starting receiver. I think he's going to start for us at some point this year. He's excited to play football, and we all know it's a risk. Quitting is obviously a big hurdle to get over. That's not good. But he's a good kid and a passionate football player

Passionate except for the fact he wasn't passionate enough to not break curfew, get suspended from playing football and quitting the team. Of course if Greg Paulus was my quarterback I would have quit too possibly.

Let's get to the Peter King mailbag now...

From Steve Curfman of Cary, N.C.: "Knowing now that Jimmy Clausen lasted until the 48th pick and would have been there at 37, do you think the Redskins are kicking themselves knowing they could have had an LT (Trent Williams) and QB (Clausen) for the next 10 years as well as their third- or fourth-rounder next year, or are they content with having an LT for the next 10 years and a Pro-Bowl caliber QB in Donovan McNabb for the next 2 or 3 years and without that 3rd/4th rounder next season?''

First off, this is all hindsight. There is no way the Redskins could have known they could get Clausen at #37 and still get a good left tackle in the draft and save the draft picks they instead traded for McNabb. No one expected this to actually happen.

That being said, I remember when the McNabb trade went down and Peter said this:

I like Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen knowing they probably couldn't get the college quarterback of their dreams, Sam Bradford, in trade with St. Louis -- and going out and getting a 2010-ready passer who will upgrade their team drastically at the most important position on the field.

I said n the post:

Obviously I don't know much inside information and the Redskins might, but I wouldn't trade a 2nd round pick and 3rd or 4th round pick for a 33 year old quarterback based on the assumption the Rams are picking Bradford. What if Bradford is still available at #4?

I am using hindsight now (I wasn't when I wrote that statement), but there was always the possibility a quarterback would fall in the draft. I thought a team like the Redskins, which had offensive line issues, may have been better off showing some patience and seeing how the draft shakes out. Maybe McNabb would have been traded at that point, that's the risk you take, but I am not a fan of trading draft picks when the team you coach has multiple holes that need to be filled.

PK: Very good question. I believe Mike Shanahan liked Clausen, but the only quarterback Shanahan truly liked in this draft was Sam Bradford; if he couldn't get Bradford, he felt why not get the tackle he liked for that scheme, and a quarterback he thought he could win with for the next four years.

That is a good answer then. If Shanahan didn't like Clausen, McCoy, Tebow or any of the other available quarterbacks, then he shouldn't worry about losing out in this Clausen/Williams possible scenario where the Redskins didn't trade for McNabb. Of course if Shanahan really liked Bradford he could have traded the #4 pick and the 2nd/3rd round pick he gave up for McNabb for the #1 pick. Maybe it wouldn't have worked or maybe the Rams wouldn't have gone for it, I am just brainstorming right now.

I guess what I am saying is that as much as Donovan McNabb improves the Redskins, I still see him as a short-term fix, while I think the Redskins could have acquired a guy with some of the picks they traded away who is a long-term fix. If Shanahan really liked Bradford, he had the ammunition to trade up and get him.

From Tonyof Wilmington, Del.: "Mr. King, do you find it at all interesting that so many question the Tim Tebow pick when Vince Young was considered to be first-round worthy when he was picked? Both had some mechanics issues, and both relied a lot on their athleticism as opposed to being pure passing QB's.

I don't see the comparison between these two quarterbacks. Contrary to popular belief, Tebow isn't half the athlete Vince Young is, nor did Vince Young's throwing motion require as much work as Tebow's throwing motion did. Young's throwing style looked ugly, but the motion was fairly correct compared to Tebow's throwing motion. The biggest misconception I have heard about Tebow is that he is a great athlete, when he isn't. He's obviously a great athlete compared to the rest of the world, but compared to Vince Young and other "running" QB's, I don't think he possesses that type of running ability or athleticism. He is a great athlete, but there is no comparison to his athleticism and a guy like Vince Young. When he ran at Florida, he often ran over defenders, which won't work as well in the NFL.

The one thing Tebow has going for him is that he is a hard-working, he has the build to be an NFL quarterback, and he already has a huge fan base. He can make it in the NFL, but just don't compare him to players he is not similar to.

Most notably Tebow was more of a winner and appears to have far better intangibles and leadership ability. Why are so many willing to dismiss Tebow, particularly when Tebow appears to be strong in the areas where Young has struggled, i.e. the mental part of the game?''

Tim Tebow played four years of college football, while Vince Young only played three years. That's a difference in the two players. Young was an athlete at quarterback in college and the NFL and I don't know if Tebow is an athlete at quarterback or not.

PK: It's an interesting point. I think the biggest thing they have in common is bad classic NFL quarterback mechanics. Young is still working on that aspect, as well as his accuracy. Tebow has a long way to go with his mechanics, but he'll have a good teacher in Josh McDaniels.

Thanks for the Joe Morgan-esque answer Peter. We now have as much information after you have answered the question as we had before you answered the question.

From Peter of Lincoln Park, N.J.: "The Thursday draft stinks. The justification Roger Goodell is touting is the ratings. But I would assume the ratings are higher for the same reason the Thursday slot stinks -- because people aren't watching the draft together. Our group used to have a draft party every year, but couldn't do it this year. What are your thoughts?''

The NFL doesn't care if people get to watch the draft together or not. They know ratings were up 30% and that is all they care about. Case closed.

From Steve of Milton, Ontario: "Peter, it seems the clock is ticking rapidly on Jamarcus Russell's days as a Raider. If so, where could you see him going? One team stands out to me as a great spot for him to salvage his career: Washington. Donovan McNabb can mentor him, and allows Russell a couple of years to develop; if any coach can make Russell a competent NFL QB, it's Mike Shanahan;

I would love to see McNabb try to mentor JaMarcus Russell. I love the idea of giving Russell a few years to develop. The only thing Russell would develop after being on the bench for a few years is a massive gut and possibly some splinters in his ass. Nothing says, "long-term" plan like taking a failed #1 pick who is overweight and then giving him a few years to learn under a quarterback who has been accused of being out of shape a few times himself.

He made his own bed with his lack of effort and now he'll have to lie in it. Washington is as good a choice as any,

We all know one team is going to take Russell, but which team will it be? It has to be a team with a head coach whose ego tells him he can fix Russell when others could not, it has to be a team with an owner who would let a coach sign a #1 pick that has been a bust, and it has to be a team that apparently few other options for the backup quarterback.

though I could see a place like Philadelphia (even after drafting Mike Kafka) because scouting adviser Phil Savage would give him a strong recommendation.

I hate piling on JaMarcus Russell, I really do. What kind of owner or General Manager would listen to a recommendation from a scouting advisor about Russell? Every other NFL team has information on Russell and are aware of his strengths/weaknesses. Some team is going to sign him after the Raiders let him go, but I think the only recommendation that would work to convince a team's General Manager to sign him would be, "The Raiders know what they are doing. We are not the Raiders so he has to be given a shot to play for a team that isn't dysfunctional." That's almost the only recommendation for Russell I could listen to as an owner or General Manager.

Whew, NFL draft week is almost over and then I will go back to bad journalism that encompasses all sports.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

9 comments TMQ: Gregg Sums Up the NFL Draft...No Hilarity Ensues

Gregg Easterbrook can't seem to understand why the NFL Draft is so riveting to everyone or why it holds so much importance. Naturally he has written two columns about the NFL Draft. The draft may be overrated, but it sure is good for pageviews which help ESPN believe people actually enjoy TMQ isn't it? There's not much introduction I can do here. It's Gregg Easterbrook and he is talking about the NFL. The heading says Gregg argues the draft is more like a lottery than a science...which must be why they call the Top 14 picks are referred to as "the lottery."

Forty-yard dash numbers analyzed to the hundredths of seconds …

I saw a feature before the draft that showed a difference in a quarterback's release of 2.1 seconds to 2.3 seconds is two extra feet a linebacker can cover. Hence hundredths and tenths of a second are very important due to this. I thought I would add this fact since Gregg hates specificity in numbers so much.

Fascination with the NFL draft is plenty nutty, but the zaniest aspect of this event is the pretense -- shared by NFL scouts, draftniks and spectators alike -- that drafting is a science.

It is a science and it is also luck. I would argue it is probably 50% of each.

Stare at enough film, click enough stopwatches and you'll be able to determine who "should" be drafted in what round.

I hate to be the "science nerd" but this is absolutely correct. Scouts can look at a player's film and see weaknesses or strengths in his game and how that will affect his ability to make it in the NFL. There's a reason Jason White can't make it in the NFL, but he wins the Heisman Trophy in college. His skills don't translate well to the NFL (whether he had skills in college is up for debate) and scouts know this.

But in truth, NFL draft choices are like lottery tickets. They may succeed. They may bust. The buyer has no clue what's going to happen, just like the buyer of a lottery ticket.

But in truth, if this were entirely true there would be as many players in the NFL who were drafted in Rounds 4-7 starting for teams right now as there are players drafted in Rounds 1-3. There isn't an equal probability of success for players drafted in Round 6 and players drafted in Round 1. The draft isn't random like a lottery ticket. It is not like a lottery ticket because there is a difference in good players and not-so-good players. Scouts can see this by looking at film of the players, so there is some science involved with the draft process.

The first player chosen, JaMarcus Russell, was lionized by insider types, both in the NFL and the media. Mike Mayock of NFL Network, whom the league is promoting as the most skilled draftnik, raved unreservedly about Russell, saying "his ceiling is as high as any quarterback I have seen coming out of college since John Elway." Maybe Mayock was referring to the ceiling of Russell's house, because Russell is a mega-bust.

I hate how Gregg takes something a person says and tries to turn it into something it is not. Mike Mayock did not say, "I guarantee JaMarcus Russell will be a great NFL player," he merely said what Russell's ceiling was...meaning how good Russell COULD be. Russell never reached that ceiling. Not understanding this quote shows a lack of knowledge about the NFL, because Mayock was talking about potential, not reality. There's a difference.

Other players from the 2007 first round -- Ted Ginn, Marshawn Lynch, Adam Carriker, Justin Harrell, Jarvis Moss -- have been busts; all were praised by NFL insiders who supposedly had access to scientific yardsticks.

I don't recall too many people liking the Justin Harrell pick, in fact, he is the reason the Packers got a "D" in many draft grades in 2007. I will admit many times people get overly excited about a draft and praise too much. I try to avoid this.

When the Panthers chose Beason, and the Dolphins chose Ginn, neither were engaging in super-sophisticated scientific thinking. Both were buying lottery tickets.

Right, except it is an educated lottery ticket because they had seen these players compared to other players and thought they were better than those other players. It is not like they are drawing names from a hat.

If NFL choices are essentially lottery tickets, then the more held, the better your odds.

JemeHill is upset that Gregg Easterbrook has now taken her patented, "think of an incorrect premise and then base the entire article about it" idea.

Philadelphia traded down so many times it ended up with 13 selections, almost twice the league average, including four picks in the fourth round. Would you rather have four fourth-round choices or one first-round pick? Four lottery tickets are better than one.

It depends on the team. There is no hard and fast rule about this. Do the Colts want four fourth-round choices where two of them won't make the roster and the other two will be backups or do they want a Top 15 pick who is nearly guaranteed to start and make their team better? I would guess they may want the Top 15 pick, but another team may want four fourth-round picks. Let's not make hard-and-fast rules where there isn't a reason to make hard-and-fast rules.

Mayock said Tebow belonged in the fourth round; Peter King of Sports Illustrated said that a weirdly hyper-specific "17 NFL general managers" had assured him Tebow would not be drafted until the second round,

It was hyper specific because Peter King probably polled every General Manager in the NFL and 17 of them said Tebow wouldn't be taken until the second round. Should Peter round up to 20? Or round down to 15? How the hell is the exact number of people who told him something "hyper specific?" Why does Gregg Easterbrook despise exact numbers?

Tebow went in the late first round (exactly where TMQ, possessing no insider information, predicted Tebow would go).

That obviously means TMQ is smarter than anyone else. Of course TMQ missed the team and the exact spot Tebow would go, but he wants us to ignore that. It is not hard to predict the exact round a player of Tebow's stature will go in.

(Yes, I know I missed the round Tebow would go in. I couldn't figure out who would take him so I left him out. Otherwise I think I could have gotten the correct round for many of the players that got drafted.)

Arizona: A mere 15 months ago, this team was leading with two minutes remaining in the Super Bowl. It's now totally off the radar: Cleveland got twice as much attention on draft day as Arizona.

Cleveland got more attention because they were drafting lower and didn't need as many good players out of the draft to improve their team. Indianapolis and New Orleans were also pretty ignored on draft day because they currently have good teams and don't require as good of players out of the draft as the Browns do. ESPN tends to ignore the teams on the day of the NFL Draft who don't draft big name players or who don't have early picks.

Buffalo: It's the year 2010. How can a professional football team totally ignore the need to be solid at offensive tackle?

It's a little disturbing I am asking the same thing as Gregg in my NFL Draft grades. I think I may need to re-evaluate my analysis of the Bills draft if it is like TMQ's in any fashion.

Carolina did get Clausen in the second round, and he might have been the team's first-round choice if there had been a first-round choice. With hyper-precision, ESPN lists Clausen's height as "6-2⅝."


Invariably, Steve Emtman and Ki-Jana Carter, both No. 1 overall selections with brief, undistinguished careers, are included. But Emtman and Carter suffered serious injuries in their rookie years, then more injuries in comeback attempts. They weren't busts -- they just had bad luck in a violent game. The high-drafted player who has bad luck with injuries should be viewed with sympathy, not as a bust.

Which is why you don't see these two players at the top of too many lists for draft busts. Players who had injuries derail their career usually get more of a break from the "bust" label. I had even forgotten Emtman was a #1 overall pick.

Small Schools Rock: Players were chosen from these colleges below the testosterone-pumped level of the Football Bowl Subdivision (the artist formerly known as Division I-A): Appalachian State, Brown, Fordham, Hillsdale, Indiana of Pennsylvania, James Madison (two!), Massachusetts, Montana (two!), Morehouse, Murray State, South Dakota State, Weber State and William & Mary (two!).

Just a few paragraphs above this Gregg is complaining teams don't draft players from small schools...and now he is showing how many players from small schools were drafted this year.

Cincinnati: In 2009, the Bengals played good defense and power-ran well, but a plodding passing game left them helpless once they fell behind the Jets in the playoffs...Bryant would be a motormouth nightmare, but it also would have posed significant problems for defenses. Instead, Lewis tabbed tight end Jermaine Gresham, who should be good, but is unlikely to alter Cincinnati's plodding image.

Jermanine Gresham is a pretty fast tight end and he can catch the ball. He is not a wide receiver, but the Bengals aren't going to be a plodding offense with him. They also drafted Jordan Shipley, so that may help the plodding reputation Gregg seems to think the Bengals have. I think with both Shipley and Gresham the Bengals may not "plod" as much this year.

Dallas: What exactly was the "character issue" regarding Dez Bryant?

Lying to the NCAA. That's it...well except for the fact he knows Deion Sanders.

His NCAA offense was being present when Sanders discussed a marketing deal, then not admitting he'd been with Sanders when the NCAA turned this seemingly trivial situation into a witch hunt.

It wasn't that he didn't admit it. He said he wasn't there and then was found to be lying. You can't lie to the NCAA.

Denver gave a fourth-round choice to jump from 24 to 22, then selected Thomas, a wide receiver. This trade makes sense only if the Broncos believed the team at 23 was planning to take Thomas. But that team was Green Bay -- which came into the draft strong at wide receiver and desperate for a left tackle. Left tackle Brian Bulaga was available; the Packers were likely to select him, as, indeed, they did.

This is the Josh McDaniels era in Denver in a nutshell...or at least the way he makes personnel moves. They basically gave up a fourth round choice to make sure Green Bay wasn't taking Thomas. This is kind of retarded. Of course New England could have taken him also, since they owned the #22 pick, but I am assuming since they gave up the #22 pick they didn't want Thomas. So McDaniels gave up a 4th round pick to leapfrog the Packers when they probably wouldn't take Bryant.

TMQ feels sure Clausen slid in the draft because teams thought, "The last Notre Dame quarterback isn't doing well,"

BotB thinks TMQ is a dumbass for thinking this.

which is true, but also totally illogical as something to hold against Clausen.

So this fake assumption Gregg just made makes no sense, which is why it is a fake assumption that TMQ probably just made up.

After East Dillon's second game, Riggins and Matt Saracen go deer hunting. Last fall, in Texas high school football, the second regular season game was Sept. 4, while Texas deer hunting season opened Nov. 6. Two weeks after deer hunting, Saracen leaves Dillon for art school in Chicago, after seeing Lyla, who is home from Vanderbilt on "mid-semester break." The mid-semester break at Vanderbilt last fall was Oct. 22 and 23. So did Matt leave for Chicago in September, October or November? It's impossible to figure out.

It is impossible to figure out because it is a television show that is completely fictional. Also, quit spoiling the fourth season for those who don't have DirectTV.

Indianapolis: David Caldwell, William & Mary; Tim Hiller, Western Michigan; Brandon James, Florida; Javarris James, Miami; Brandon King, Purdue; Jeff Linkenbach, Cincinnati; Brett Swenson, Michigan State; Thad Turner, Ohio; Vuna Tuihalamaka, Arizona; Blair White, Michigan State. Who are these guys? Undrafted free agents signed by the Colts after the draft ended Saturday evening. If history is any guide, they will mean as much to Indianapolis' fortunes as the team's draft choices.

As evidenced by the offense for the Colts that is made up of 1st round draft picks. I have listed these first round picks 100 times before, we all know them, but the Colts tend to make up their defense with more undrafted free agents, but the offense is made up of a bunch of 1st round picks. So while Indianapolis' fortunes also rides on the coattails of highly drafted first round picks. I don't see how Gregg keeps missing this point.

The G-Persons' first choice was spent on Jason Pierre-Paul, whose YouTube video of backflips has been a hit. Maybe I've missed something -- is the backflip a football tactic? Pierre-Paul, a defensive end, had 6.5 sacks in seven starts in his one season at South Florida, then declared for the pros. Six and a half sacks, just seven starts -- that makes him a first-round draft choice?

I would say a sack in nearly every game he started this season would make a defensive end a 1st round draft pick. Teams in the NFL love players who have athletic potential and have even actually shown they use that potential on the football field. I have gotten some cold feet about Pierre-Paul, but only because I am afraid he may be a one-year-wonder, but not because I think he may not have football/athletic ability.

The Jets also signed Jason Taylor...But TMQ fears Taylor's changing teams three times in three seasons will torpedo any chance he had to don that garish yellow jacket in Canton. Hall of Fame electors favor players who spent their entire careers in one place, toughing out the down years.

Gregg Easterbrook also really enjoys just making up things and talking out of his ass doesn't he? Is Brett Favre going to be hurt by his recent team jumping? Does the Hall of Fame really care if a player changes teams a few times towards the end of his career? I don't think so, but apparently TMQ knows something (nothing) we don't.

The Patriots remain a solid team, but last year lacked playmakers. Randy Moss is in decline, Donte Stallworth is gone, Wes Welker is hurt, Flying Elvii running backs are perennially hobbled, the New England pass rush has dropped from awesome to average. With all those extra choices, Belichick might have packaged a few to move up for an impact player such as C.J. Spiller or Derrick Morgan.

I love how Gregg Easterbrook's main premise for this TMQ is that the draft is a lottery and no team really knows which players are going to be good or not. He earlier said teams like the Patriots are smart by hoarding draft picks, which increases their odds of landing a good player or two under his theory that more chances to draft players will make the draft become less of a crapshoot.

BUT NOW, Gregg Easterbrook thinks the Patriots should trade those extra choices which give them better odds of getting a good player (his words, not mine) to get one impact player, who under his theory of the draft being a lottery may nor may not be good. So Gregg completely ignores his own theory of how to run the draft in order to be critical of the Patriots hoarding draft picks. He wants to criticize other teams for putting all their eggs in one basket (draft pick), but also be able to criticize a team for using HIS OWN THEORY about the draft and get extra picks. Gregg needs to make a decision, because if the draft is a crapshoot like he says, the Patriots have the right idea. If the draft is not a crapshoot and is based on some sort of science (or in-between these two opposite sides of the spectrum), then possibly the Patriots should trade up and get an impact player if they know he will be a good player and worth drafting up for.

If anyone wants to know why I don't like TMQ, this is Exhibit #2,485. He can't even stick to his own idea behind this column.

The thought of the New England offense plus Spiller is scary --

So the draft is no longer a lottery and Spiller is a guaranteed good player? When did this happen? Isn't Gregg's whole idea behind this column that no team knows if a player will be good or not? Knowing this, how does Spiller on the New England offense make them scary? The draft is a lottery isn't?

I have so many questions.

New Orleans: Can you name the defending champion's backup quarterback?

Chase Daniel. Didn't look it up either (I think I am right).

Neither can I.

Not shocking.

Beyond that, a canceled season in 2011 would surely make future NFL broadcasting rights deals much less valuable. A reason payments from networks to the league -- and in turn, payments from the league to players -- have skyrocketed since 1993 is that labor peace makes broadcast rights to NFL games more valuable.

I don't know if this is true. If a labor deal is reached, and a broadcasting deal is offered, I can imagine the networks won't reduce the offer because the NFL just had a lockout. If anything, the new labor deal could potentially make the NFL more attractive because there isn't a threat of a new lockout.

Labor peace (networks and fans assured of games) and a salary cap (rendering all teams competitive) have translated into a spectacular increase in money for NFL players and owners alike. Both parties would be fools to kill this golden goose, so a new deal will be worked out and there will be pro football in 2011.

If a deal is worked out, there will be labor peace, and the games will still be worth a lot of money to the broadcasting companies looking to bid on the games. Obviously a new broadcasting deal wouldn't be struck if there is a lockout, so there most likely won't be a lockout for a new broadcasting deal either, and the value won't decline because of no labor peace.

"Friday Night Lights" Playcalling In one upcoming game scene of the new season, SuperCoach Taylor calls the same play -- a veer-option left -- on four consecutive snaps.

Gregg has watched a high school football game before, right? They are not generally well-known for its creative and diverse play least none that I have been to.

This year, the advisory board told Michigan cornerback Donovan Warren he'd be a first-round choice, and told Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead he'd be no lower than a third. Both jumped, and neither were drafted. Maybe they'll stick with an NFL team; both should have finished college.

Something with the grandiose name NFL Draft Advisory Committee, composed of high league officials, may sound to impressionable college kids like a fast lane to fame and fortune. But the insiders on the advisory board have no idea where players will be drafted -- nobody has the slightest clue, until draft day!

Unfortunately, there isn't any way for the NFL Draft Advisory Committee to know months in advance where a player will get drafted. I am sure there were also players who got good advice from the committee, but there are also those won't get good advice. That is the way it is unfortunately. Just because they give the advice doesn't mean players have to take the advice.

Abolish this board and end the inducement to leave college.

Abolishing this board will do nothing to end the inducement of players to leave college. Players will still try to leave college for the NFL, they will just go with less information about their draft prospects.

Did Donovan Warren really believe he would be a 1st round pick? I hadn't heard of him as a first round pick, but maybe I just missed something.

Pittsburgh: He's a big, bruising guy who plays quarterback but looks and acts like a linebacker, throwing his body around on the field with abandon. I am referring to Tim Tebow: The Steelers could have drafted him with the 19th choice and been in a position to replace Ben Roethlisberger with a guy incredibly similar, physically and in style of play, to Roethlisberger.

Except for the fact he lacks Roethlisberger's exact height and weight, ability to throw the football, NFL-readiness, and pretty much everything else involved with being an NFL quarterback...except they are both white. They do have that in common.

The Framers -- who created the grand-jury system for a reason -- would have been irate at Georgia prosecutor Fred Bright, who did not have enough evidence to charge Roethlisberger with anything, yet made numerous statements intended to damage Roethlisberger's reputation. Prosecutors are supposed to charge people with crimes or leave them alone, not pass along allegations whose truth or falsity have never been assessed by a jury.

I have been fairly hard on Roethlisberger, but the defense attorney in me says that Gregg is absolutely right. Fred Bright should have charged Roethlisberger with a crime or shut the hell up and quit editorializing if he isn't going to charge him.

San Francisco: The Forty-Niners had two first-round choices and used both on offensive linemen; this causes TMQ to predict that Alex Smith will suddenly seem a lot more talented.

Every quarterback seems more talented when he is behind a good offensive line. Nothing makes a quarterback look worse than when he is constantly being chased by the defense because his offensive line stinks.

Seattle: Pete Carroll skedaddled from USC just as it was in danger of NCAA sanctions, and arrived at Seattle, which was already holding two first-round choices in the 2010 draft. By the end of draft weekend, ESPN and NFL Network analysts both were talking about Carroll having a great draft with the Blue Men Group. It's easy to look good on draft day if you inherit two first-round picks!

For fear of defending Pete Carroll, it doesn't make you look good to just have two first-round picks, you have to do something smart with them. Pete Carroll made two good choices in the draft, so he and/or the GM does deserve some credit.

Reader Comments Reed Miller of San Diego writes, "In response to a reader's remark about Dan Marino's passing record potentially being broken with the new overtime rules: for now -- this may change -- the new rules only effect postseason play. Marino's record is for the regular season. Comparing this to other sports, how many extra points do basketball players get from overtime games in the NBA? How many extra hits, strikeouts etc. do baseball players get in extra innings? Think about the recent Cardinals-Mets game that ran 20 innings, all the numbers from that game count toward career stats. Many other sports include overtime in players statistics, there's no reason the NFL should not."

I think this is a great point and I have never really thought someone had a point when they tried to bring up this is why the college overtime system would never work in the NFL. Other sports have the overtime statistics count, so I don't see the huge problem in the NFL when this happens. As I said previously, if it is such a big deal, just don't count overtime statistics, but I really don't think it would end up being a numbers skewing problem if the NFL did adopt the college overtime system.

Next Week: Next week comes in August, when TMQ resumes, along with the football artificial universe.

I feel a bizarre mix of happiness and sadness that I don't get to mock Gregg on a weekly basis anymore. The good news is I will be well-rested come August to take on TMQ and its idiocy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

9 comments Dear Rick Reilly, Please Stop Writing Forever. Signed, The World

Yesterday Peter King talked about Steve Sicko and how noble he was for passing up the NFL to be a history major at UNH. Well, he changed his mind. Steve Sicko is no longer on Peter King's speed dial nor will he get further shout-outs in Peter's MMQB. That should show him.

Rick Reilly can't stop writing bad columns. It is an addiction he has. He just HAS to write sentimental, useless crap. The heading of today's abortion of journalism is called "Not Feeling the NFL Draft." Get it? It's a cutesy play on words. See, from this title it seems like Rick doesn't like the NFL draft, so he isn't "feeling" it, but it also means he isn't feeling the "draft," which can also mean air coming in through a window or such. It has a double meaning and it is about windows and air! Hilarious, only the most educated 7th grader can write something like this.

Unfortunately, Rick actually writes the entire article about how important the NFL Draft he is actually kind of feeling the NFL Draft. But who gives a shit about accuracy when you can make such a clever play on words? As usual, this 500 word article (that Rick Reilly gets paid millions of dollars to write) is terrible. How this man has a job while (presumably) thousands of well-educated journalists who could actually contribute something to sports journalism, other than speeding up its demise, are out of work. Life is not fair.

Last April, after I clicked off two bloated days of the NFL draft, my wife looked up from her book and said, "Who won?"

I get it, I get it! His wife thought the NFL Draft was an actual game, because she doesn't think it matters at all! Hilarious.

For fear of taking shots at sportswriters family members, which I try to avoid, I can't help but wonder if this story is an example of how sports-ignorant Rick Reilly's wife may be or is an attempt by Reilly to tell a fictional story for the purpose of telling a piss-poor joke. Actually, given Reilly's history he may have told this joke previously and is recycling it to make it seem new.

There are many, many reasons to be a draft dodger, but the best one is in that question: At the end of it, nobody wins.

The entire rest of this column will be an example of how good teams draft well. Yet, Reilly states nobody wins at the end of the draft. Confused? Don't be. Rick Reilly is an idiot. We know this and have to adjust our expectations accordingly. Asking Rick Reilly to write a coherent 500 word column is like asking my panther-cat to stop trying to escape from my mom's's just not happening.

It's like reading a novel with the last chapter torn out, watching a movie with no third act, falling in love after the first kiss but before you've tried her spaghetti.

It's like reading a novel and then having to wait a few years to see if the book was any good or not. I know Rick Reilly doesn't watch sports, but if he did watch sports, he could see that at some point down the road there is an actual verdict on whether a draft pick was a good one or not.

It's like "The Sopranos." Entertaining, but the ending sucked.

No, it didn't. Tony lived and so did everyone else. They went on with their lives. Nobody's life has a definite ending until they die, Tony Soprano didn't die, so his life didn't have a definite conclusion. We just didn't get to see the rest of his life.

Let's look at the drafts from 1997 to 2007. (2007, you'll recall, was 20 years after Brett Favre first started considering retirement.) Here's how many Pro Bowl years those draft picks have had since:

There are so many ways to measure whether a team is good at drafting or terrible at it. I don't really know if Pro Bowls is the best way to determine whether a team had good drafts during this period or not. What about the players that contributed but didn't make the Pro Bowl? Do they not count as good draft picks? Also, you can have 1-2 players on a team skewing the results.

Wasn't it just a few paragraphs ago Rick Reilly stated he didn't think the draft was very useful because "nobody wins" and it is like "watching a movie with no 3rd act?" So my question is can the draft be a situation where no one wins, but then a few years later we find out who won?

  • Indianapolis Colts 37
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 35
  • Dallas Cowboys 34
  • Seattle Seahawks 31
  • Philadelphia Eagles 27
  • Chicago Bears 26
  • Minnesota Vikings 26
  • Baltimore Ravens 25
  • New England Patriots 24
  • Washington Redskins 23
  • Green Bay Packers 23
  • San Diego Chargers 22
  • Arizona Cardinals 22
  • Carolina Panthers 20
  • New York Jets 19
  • Denver Broncos 19
  • St. Louis Rams 19
  • Atlanta Falcons 19
  • Kansas City Chiefs 18
  • Cincinnati Bengals 18
  • San Francisco 49ers 18
  • New York Giants 18
  • Oakland Raiders 16
  • Miami Dolphins 15
  • Tennessee Titans 14
  • New Orleans Saints 13
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12
  • Buffalo Bills 10
  • Houston Texans 10
  • Jacksonville Jaguars 9
  • Cleveland Browns 7
  • Detroit Lions 4
What immediately strike me as funny about this list is that, I was right, the Colts have drafted well but 3-4 players take up much of those Pro Bowl appearances for them. In fact, Reilly makes this point for the Colts, but still misses one important player.

What slaps you across the face is that the Indianapolis Colts used the draft to climb out of their spider hole of the 1980s and 1990s to become a gorilla in the AFC, and not just with Peyton Manning (10 Pro Bowls). DE Dwight Freeney (5), RB Edgerrin James (4) and WR Reggie Wayne (4) were genius picks, too.

So the Colts have 4 guys who accounted for 23 of the 37 Pro Bowl appearances. That's impressive, but I don't feel it is the whole story. Isn't there one other guy the Colts drafted who made a few Pro Bowls? A wide receiver?

Oh yeah...Marvin Harrison. He contributed 8 Pro Bowls to this count. It's funny how Rick Reilly seem to leave him off this list. So that means 5 players contributed 31 of the 37 Pro Bowl appearances by the Colts. This is still very impressive, but it also doesn't make the Colts look like the wonderfully-awesome drafting machine Rick wants to make them look like by using Pro Bowls as a measure.

This brings me to my complaint that he only counts players who made Pro Bowls as good picks by a team. I don't think this tells us anything really. Wasn't Dallas Clark a good pick by the Colts? So I think this information about how many players from each team made the Pro Bowl tells us something, I don't think it tells the full story about how good a team drafted during this period because it ignores guys who were 3rd-7th round picks and become solid contributors to the team. Reilly's method also completely ignores undrafted free agents a team may sign after the draft.

There really isn't a good way to measure how well a team drafted, but I think using a combination of Pro Bowls, starts for a team and how many of those players are still on the team/or were on the team for 4+ years would be a good way. Just using Pro Bowls stinks.

What slaps you harder is that the Cleveland Browns could've done the same thing, but they screwed the Chihuahua. Their run of No. 1 picks from 1999 to 2002 is the single worst stretch of drafting since the Iraqi Republican Guard.

I don't know. I almost think the Lions run of 1st round picks from 2002-2005 might rival that.

2002- Joey Harrington
2003- Charles Rogers
2004- Roy Williams, Kevin Jones
2005- Mike Williams

If the Lions don't get 1st place, they at least deserve a strong 2nd place.

1999 -- Tim Couch, QB: first pick of the draft, 0 Pro Bowls, out of the league after five seasons. But hey, he married a Playboy Playmate. Bust marries bust.

"Bust marries bust." Neither funny nor clever. How does this man have a job? He is even turning down excess jobs. How does this happen?

2001 -- Gerard Warren, DL: third pick of the draft, 0 Pro Bowls. And they passed up LaDainian Tomlinson!

Cincinnati and Arizona also passed up on Tomlinson. So not-great minds think alike.

The Oakland Raiders are not last on this list, but I don't see how.

Because using solely Pro Bowl appearances to determine if a team is good at drafting or not is misleading.

Between 1997 and 2007, Al Davis had 14 very high picks and got only three first team All-Pro seasons out of them.
He could've done better using a blindfolded chicken. Or even Matt Millen.

Actually, he couldn't have done any better with Matt Millen making the picks. I am not sure what a "very high" pick actually means either because the Raiders had 15 1st round picks during this time. In fairness to Al Davis, the All-Pro system is a step above a Pro Bowl season, so Rick is raising the bar here. Also, the Raiders did draft Charles Woodson, Shane Lechler, Sebastian Janikowski, and Nnamdi Asomugha during this time. This year, the Raiders pick was completely rational, which I feel like I have to mention. I am not defending, I am just saying...

What really bugs me is how smug all these people will be about every pick. They're always grinning and puffing out their chests and spouting stuff like, "Look, we knew we had to move up and steal a 10-year starter in this league. This ain't our first rodeo."

Rick Reilly complaining about others acting smug is so deeply ironic. What does he expect them to say?

"We really don't know what we are doing and didn't get any of the players we want. We are failures, please come support the team this fall and spend your money on tickets, jerseys and concessions."

I would actually rather the general manager or coach lie if they got stuck with a player they didn't want. I don't want to know immediately how bad the player is, I prefer to see while he is out on the field.

I like to clip and save these quotes for years later, when the final score is finally in.

Me too! I like to keep score and see how many times Rick Reilly can mail in his columns and sell his soul for money.

Rick Reilly self-plagerism.

Rick Reilly plagerizing someone else.

His claims ESPN stole his ideas.
Reilly says ESPN has been handed "five or six" Emmys by him. Of course he forgot all of this when ESPN backed a buttload of cash to his front door. It's amazing how bygones can be bygones when a bunch of money is involved. Now Reilly is stealing ideas from himself and desperately trying to be an actual journalist...and just generally failing at it.

"We just didn't think it was worth it." -- New York Giants GM Ernie Accorsi, in 2000, on not trading up to get RB Jamal Lewis (who is one of only six backs to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season) and instead picking RB Ron Dayne, who was riding pine within months.

Yes, that was a bad pick, but along with being one of six players to rush for 2,000 yards in a season Jamal Lewis also missed a year in the NFL because he was in jail. I feel like this has to be factored into the equation as well.

The Giants didn't actually pass up Lewis though, they just didn't trade up to get him. I feel like this is completely different from passing over a guy. You can blame nearly every team for not trading up and getting a guy. Hell, you can blame 31 teams for not trading up and getting Peyton Manning but it doesn't mean they made a mistake. So criticizing the Giants for not trading up for Jamal Lewis is unfair, but they do deserve criticism for drafting Ron Dayne.

"I think we made a great pick. To be a championship team, you need playmakers on both sides of the ball and we can do that with Courtney." -- Couch, on draft day 2000, talking about Courtney Brown. Takes a playmaker to know one.

Tim Couch didn't make the pick nor is he a scout. I don't see how we can hold his comments about one of his potential teammates against him, as if he spent the entire fall scouting Courtney Brown and recommended the Browns draft him.

The whole NFL draft is this wonderful 77-float parade that goes past the first judge's stand and right off a cliff. We never hear the other shoe drop.

REALLY? How in the hell is this true? Every NFL fan can make a list of Top 10 busts of all-time, the name "Ryan Leaf" is a joke, and coaches and General Managers are fired for drafting poorly. How can anyone say we never hear the other shoe drop? This is how teams are judged and essentially what makes good teams become good teams and bad teams become bad teams. Draft busts have gotten coaches fired by the owner and mocked by the fans. If Rick Reilly really thinks there is no follow-up on how teams do in the draft he obviously doesn't follow the NFL close enough.

If the draft really is worth all the hype and hair and, this year, red carpets (oy!), we should at least have a little follow-through.

Which we do. Players are paid for the first couple of years by the contract they signed, which is usually slotted as to where that player was drafted. Every good NFL fan knows Tom Brady was not a high draft choice while Ryan Leaf was a bust. I don't see how Rick can say there isn't enough follow-through on the draft.

Here's my simple proposal: On the sleeve of every jersey, instead of the player's number, put the player's draft order number. For instance, Tom Brady would wear 199. Roger Staubach would've worn 129. Joe Montana: 82.

This is an idea that is beyond stupid. Moronic would be too kind for this suggestion. Why the hell does a player need to wear his draft order number? Anyone with an Internet connection can look this information up easily.

And then you could look over at the bench and see all the 1s and 7s and 13s, doing nothing except hogging the heater space.

Now Rick Reilly sounds like Gregg Easterbrook. I swear to God, one day I am going to get together a list of players together and show that highly drafted players actually play more often and better than lower drafted players. Yes, there are high profile busts in the 1st round, but if a person takes a look at the 4th-7th rounds they see more guys who never made the team or didn't play well than the number of busts in the 1st round. I don't know how I will show this, but I am very tempted to get started on showing this to be true. The high profile busts just stick out more in the minds of everyone, because they generally get signed for more money, compared to a 4th round guy who played one year and then got released.

The NFL draft comes off as though the story ends after the last pick, as though the movie ends the moment Dorothy's house lands on the witch; put on your coat, the movie is over, THE END.

I know I always say it, but Rick Reilly is just not a good writer. Does he really believe no one pays attention to how the draft picks do after the draft concludes? The best way to grade a General Manager is with the picks that team makes in the NFL Draft. Everyone knows this. That's why NFL draft grades are a joke and are very rarely correct. Hasn't he heard the Matt Millen or Al Davis drafting jokes? He even makes a few in this column. I can't believe that Rick Reilly actually believes no one pays attention to a draft 2-3 years after that draft occurs.

What it really is, of course, is THE START.

Right. Everyone knows this. This column was neither funny, clever, informative or coherent. The entire basis of this column was that few people pay attention to the results of a draft several years after that draft, even though what talent a team accumulates through the draft is a huge part of how a General Manager and team is judged. In fact, I am not even sure what the entire point of this article was due to me losing what Reilly was trying to say from the rambling beginning where Rick Reilly said the draft stunk because it didn't have winners or losers to the end where he said there are winners and losers but nobody knows this to be true.

I do feel dumber having read this article.