Monday, April 30, 2012

0 comments Marcus Hayes Misses Pat Burrell's Scent, His Musk; Once This Is All Over Thinks They Should Get an Apartment Together

Ever since Marcus Hayes' epic "Chase Utley is loved by Phillies fans because he's white" chat happened, I've bookmarked Marcus Hayes as a person to look out for. I've written about him a few times, but he's never expressed extreme love/hate for a player like I had hoped he would since that date. My patience has finally paid off because Marcus Hayes has written a fluff piece/love letter to Pat Burrell. He wants us all to know that Burrell isn't just a sexy man with a sexy look in his eyes while he is sexily swinging the bat, but he's also a pretty face that played baseball in a very attractive fashion. To call what Burrell did "playing baseball" is selling him short. He played baseball much in the way Albert Einstein played inventor, much like George Gershwin played composer...except he did it all with much more charisma and sextitude.

(As a complete sidebar to this article, Burrell was also a pretty good player. A point I tend to lose when his physical attractiveness and his love of party are mentioned too often.)

TONIGHT, Pat Burrell will throw out the first pitch in San Francisco.

He will also swing and miss this pitch. The Phillies fans will then somehow simultaneously manage to boo and give him a standing ovation. That's how amazing he is.

For years, Burrell's influence on the organization will be felt.

Years? Decades. Millenniums. 20,000 years from now the only thing that will survive from modern society is drawings on office walls of Pat Burrell and stories of his exploits as a Philadelphia Phillie. Well, mostly the drawings will be of how movie-star gorgeous Burrell was and how much he liked to party.

Around Burrell, the Phillies constructed a ballclub that won the last five National League East titles; a club that won the World Series in 2008 and went to another Series in 2009, after Burrell left for Tampa Bay.

Of course MVPs like Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley also had the team built around them in some ways. The Phillies were built around Pat Burrell much in the same way the New England Patriots early 2000's dynasty were built around Kevin Faulk or Mike Vrabel.

He was not the best player on any of his Phillies teams.

But he was the sexiest.

Just once was he the most valuable player on a Phillies team, in 2002, when he teased the baseball world with a breakout season.

(Marcus Hayes begins rubbing his body with oils) What a tease, Pat the Bat was...

Burrell always was the biggest star.

I wonder why that was?

After a princely high school career in California

Here comes the unacceptable and hilariously terrible fawning over Burrell.

Let's cue some mood music for this column.

and a Ruthian stint in college at Miami,

Really it was more Mantleian, but no one enjoys using that word very much.

Standing 6-4, movie-star gorgeous and often without scruple, "Pat the Bat" thrived.

Burrell was sexy and dangerous. That's a combination no sportswriter can ignore. No sportswriter with scruple that is.

He rocketed through the minors.

Clearly, you can see from the metaphors Marcus Hayes is using that this is a very sexualized column on Burrell.

The corner locker belonged to Burrell. He radiated charisma,

I'm pretty sure he never radiated Charisma, but he did go out on the town with her quite a few times. He had a habit of coming back from his night on the town with Charisma AND Candy.

with his Ray Liotta eyes

Now are these the "I'm crazed on cocaine and is that a helicopter that has been following me all day" Ray Liotta eyes or the "I'm gonna have to beat the shit out of my neighbor, be back in a minute," Ray Liotta eyes? I feel like this needs to be cleared up.

and his Rat Pack exploits.

Nothing better than sitting down near the corner locker with the other media guys and hearing some stories of Pat Burrell tagging some road beef. Amirightorwhat? Let's just let guys be guys.

"He handled his business," says Howard, grinning. "If you're going to go out and party or whatever, you have to come in the next day to handle your business . . .

Pat Burrell was a good hitter and good at partying. Also, Marcus Hayes wants us to remember he was sexy too! Don't forget that!

"He was everybody's dream. Every girl's dream," Victorino says.

And Marcus Hayes' dream.

Every player watched how Pat dressed,

Or DIDN'T dress, as the case may be.

what Pat drove,

Or what drove women (and Marcus Hayes) crazy, of course.

where Pat lived,

He lived life in the fast lane, naturally.

how Pat tipped clubhouse attendants and barkeeps,

"Tell you what, in lieu of cash, come out with me tonight and get my sloppy seconds."

says Victorino: "He was similar to a godfather."

So he was like Ray Liotta, except a godfather? I smell "Goodfellas" sequel with Burrell as a cocky, sexy, fast-living mafia figure!

Blessed with heavenly looks, Burrell proved mortal most of his 11-year career. A foot injury has ended his run. Incredibly, Burrell is only 35.

I'm not sure what's shocking about Burrell's age. Injuries have ruined many a player's career. Also, I love how Marcus Hayes says Burrell was blessed with heavenly looks, but injuries made him mortal. I just love it. It's like Burrell is a Greek god and his Achilles Hell is his that makes him a human, right?

Only twice did he reach his production potential. In 2002 and '05, he drove in more than 100 runs and hit at least .280, the only times he hit those marks.

Maybe he exceeded his production potential those two years and the rest of the years WERE his production potential. Deep.

Burrell never was a bad investment. He averaged 31 homers and 93 RBI over the last three seasons of the deal, which cost the Phillies just over $37 million.

In the same span, Alex Rodriguez averaged 41 homers and 127 RBI . . . but then, Burrell made about half as much money.

Of course Rodriguez played a different position from Burrell and there are other numbers that could better compare the two players, but I still get Hayes' point. The other difference between these two players is no one except for A-Rod wanted to look at pictures of A-Rod shirtless...while everyone wanted to look at Pat Burrell shirtless.

And, despite shining in the Steroid Era, Burrell never was tainted by a scandal involving performance enhancers.

So we KNOW he was definitely clean since he never got caught!

Still, as Burrell stood in leftfield night after night, abuse rained on him. Fans were maddened by his tendency to watch third strikes as he raised his arms and locked his left knee;

Weren't Phillies fans paying attention to how pretty he looked out there? He's incredibly handsome and always willing to go get drunk and show up at the ballpark ready to play again. How can this frustrate them?

and fed up with his legendary evening jaunts into Center City, which could turn boorish.

Well, all Philadelphia fans are boorish, rude, inconsiderate people who hate Santa Claus, Jesus, and all that is good in the world. Isn't that what I've been conditioned to believe? So why would they not like Pat Burrell? He's just like them.

Still, weren't these Burrell's people? Where was the love?

Considering he is from California and played his college ball in Miami, I'm not sure the Philadelphia crowd are his people.

"I've been everywhere: New York, Boston, you name it," Manuel says.

Iraq, Afghanistan, the inner cities of major US cities...

"As far as [self-]abuse, Philadelphia is No. 1."

Actually, #2 next to every teenager in America's bedroom!

(Yeah, I know that was terrible. It was intended to be.)

He created a culture of dismissiveness that often resurfaces in the Phillies' clubhouse, like a foul odor.

I'm pretty sure that foul odor of dismissiveness is just the smell of a professional team's locker room.

When new general manager Pat Gillick deconstructed the Phillies in 2006, Burrell and Rollins were the only tenured stars left untouched. Aaron Rowand was part of that team, a mercenary trade product of the Thome deal. Howard, Utley and Cole Hamels were the new cornerstones, untouchable. Burrell was, by contrast, untradable, with a no-trade clause and that burdensome contract.

His time was nearly past, but Burrell remained

Really? Burrell hit pretty damn well from 2006-2008 (which is a point Hayes previously made in this fluff piece). His time was very nearly past, but he was still hitting the ball well.

Manuel never minded that Burrell sometimes was the last guy to return to the team hotel.

I sense a running theme here. That running theme seems to be that Pat Burrell can do his job very well even after he has spent his nights carousing and drinking on the town. While I think Burrell hit the ball well during his career, perhaps Hayes can see why Burrell wasn't the toast of the town? If there was a perception he had untapped potential and he was the last guy to return to the team hotel? Maybe the perception could be if he came in earlier at night he could reach his potential? "Bullshit," says Charlie Manuel.

"There are people who can stay out until 2, 3, 4 o'clock in the morning and still do their job," Manuel says. "With Pat, that might not be all that bad. The less he could think about his performance, the better he hit."

So basically Charlie Manuel thinks Pat Burrell isn't the brightest bulb in the box. It was a good thing Burrell spent time on the town so he didn't have to think about his performance. Hmmm...I'm not sure if this is persuasive or not. Either way, Burrell was still a very good hitter.

Who does Manuel think Pat Burrell is? A woman? A woman with a small brain. With a brain a third of the size of a man's brain? It's science.

Burrell could have been a clubhouse cancer, as he became more and more marginalized with the ascension of Rollins, Howard and Utley. But he wasn't.

Really? Does Marcus Hayes remember typing this:

Eroded by years of derision, dealing with Burrell meant a snarl one day; thoughtful perspective the next; an up-yours walkoff with the third. He created a culture of dismissiveness that often resurfaces in the Phillies' clubhouse, like a foul odor.

I'm not saying Pat Burrell is a clubhouse cancer because I wasn't there, but a person who has a bi-polar type personality and created a culture of dismissiveness that lingers three years after he left the team...that's pretty close to calling a player a clubhouse cancer. If he wasn't a clubhouse cancer maybe he was a clubhouse STD or something like that.

"He bought in with the fact that we were changing the face of our team. He let those guys do their thing," Manuel says, appreciatively. "There was never a bitch."

There was never a bitch...except for those women Burrell brought home from the Center City bars at night who only wanted to talk.

(Bengoodfella looks around for a high-five as everyone looks at him dismissively, as the stench of this joke hangs in the hair...much like a foul odor)

It has been 3 years of pain and of failure. Since he doubled off J.P. Howell in his last at-bat as a Phillie, Burrell has averaged 111 games, 14 homers, 50 RBI and hit .235.

Really, his career ended that night against the Rays.

But his movie star good looks and chiseled manly frame just keep going, going, and going...

Pat Burrell, Marcus Hayes wants to say something. He's gonna put it out there. If you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. He wants to be on you. Your career has ended, but that sparkle in your Ray Liotta-cocaine-crazed eye won't ever stop sparkling. It's probably the cocaine that causes that look in your eyes, but it could be just the reflection of just how handsome you are in the eyes of Marcus Hayes.

In Philadelphia, his impact will be felt for years.

The bars in Center City have reported a 17% decline in sales since Pat Burrell left and the Phillies fans don't have a player on the current team they can have a disproportionate amount of hatred towards as compared to his actual output on the baseball field.

Mostly, Marcus Hayes will miss that smile, those gorgeous good looks and the charismatic foul odor Pat Burrell left behind. Goodbye angel. Fly those beautiful princely arms away from professional baseball now.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

3 comments Tim Smith Thinks Ruben Tejada > Jose Reyes

I'm all about optimistic thinking. When a great player leaves one of my favorite teams I am always optimistic another player can come in and do a good job. I'm not insane though. When the Braves traded Mark Teixeira to the Angels, I knew Casey Kotchman was not going to replace Tex's production. Even in a small sample size I knew it was probably an illusion if Kotchman played better for the rest of the 2009 season than Tex. No matter how much I wanted it to be true, Kotchman didn't replace Tex. On a similar note, Tim Smith thinks the Mets are better off with Ruben Tejada over Jose Reyes. Financially maybe, because Reyes was expensive to re-sign. As far as performance on the field goes? No. Jose Reyes is a better baserunner, is a true leadoff hitter and has more power than Tejada. They are just different players. I'm not saying Tejada can't become a good player in the future, but the Mets would be better off with Reyes in the lineup over Tejada right now.

If Tejada is excited, nervous or anxious about Reyes coming to town, he did not show it before the Mets played a doubleheader against San Francisco on Monday.

I'm not sure why Tim Smith thinks Tejada would be nervous. He played shortstop a good amount last year, says in this very article he thinks of shortstop as his natural position, and it isn't like he is being individually matched up with Reyes. I think Tim Smith is projecting the idea Tejada should be nervous onto Tejada, when this really isn't the case.

One non-article related point...the caption for this article shows Tejada throwing his bat down after striking out. The caption reads:

Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada shows passion for game as he tosses bat after striking out to end the fifth inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader.

I enjoy how tossing the bat takes on a different meaning depending on which player is throwing the bat and how that player is performing. If this caption were written about Jose Reyes I can see it reading something like:

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes shows his frustration at his slow start to the season as he angrily tosses the bat after another inning-ending strikeout.

When a player is playing well and tosses the bat, it shows his passion for the game. Otherwise, if the player is poorly he isn't passionate about the game, but instead is just frustrated he is so terrible at baseball.

Of all the reasons why the Mets should have kept Reyes at Citi Field, Tejada has eliminated the biggest ones. He can field the position and he is productive with the bat.

Letting Reyes go to Miami was a good move for the Mets. I like Ruben Tejada. He can field his position and is productive with the bat, but he isn't Jose Reyes. Jose Reyes has had a tough start to this season, but he is also a true leadoff hitter who gets on-base, is a threat to steal bases, and still has power. I know you may be tired of me calling him a "true" leadoff hitter, but it is true. He has speed and gets on-base. Those guys are hard to find. Tejada is much cheaper and he has been off to a good start to the season, but he isn't Jose Reyes.

In his career-worst season, which was 2005, Reyes put up a .273/.300/.386 line. He had 60 stolen bases and 17 triples. His speed causes problems for the other team's defense and pitching staff. I respect what Tejada has done in his time as the Mets shortstop, but he is a completely different player from Reyes. Tejada gets on-base, but he isn't a true leadoff hitter and he doesn't have much speed. Tejada is replacing Reyes at shortstop, but that's the only way he is really replacing Reyes.

If the early results are any indication of what the future holds, the Mets aren’t going to miss Reyes at all.

I don't think the early results are any indication. Reyes has started off slow and even Tejada's numbers aren't exactly lighting the world on fire. As Tim Smith wrote this article Tejada was hitting .246/.324/.361. That's better than how Reyes was hitting (.215/.278/.354), but he also doesn't bring speed to the table like Reyes does and Reyes is going to improve on those numbers. Tejada's numbers are fairly well in line with his minor league statistics.

They’re better off without him.

No, the Mets are not better without Jose Reyes. They are better off not having to pay his contract, but they aren't better off without Reyes in the lineup.

The Mets can live without him. Tejada has softened that blow.

Of course the Mets can live without him. But the title for this article, "NY Mets are better off with Ruben Tejada instead of Jose Reyes, who fled for Miami Marlins" simply isn't true. When directly comparing the two players, the Mets would trade Tejada for Reyes in a heartbeat, all things being equal...which of course they aren't once we include salary into the equation.

Reyes has started the year far off his career numbers, while Tejada has started this year off at around the same pace as his career numbers suggest. Granted, Tejada is only 22 years old (so he could improve) but the last two seasons at AAA he hit .280/.329/.344 and .246/.314/.353. I realize Tejada is young and it is tough to compare him to Reyes, but his 2012 line of .246/.324/.361 is in line with his career minor league averages. Sure, he could improve, but Jose Reyes is a good bet to improve on his cold 2012 start as well, and once he improves his 2012 numbers should be much better than Reyes' 2012 numbers.

This issue will heat up this week. And it will be debated for the entire season. It will come up when Tejada slumps or when Reyes gets injured.

"When Tejada slumps?" He was hitting .246/.324/.361 as of the day Tim Smith wrote this article. If that isn't slumping, what will his numbers look like when he does start slumping?

And while the team has lost some of its “wow factor” that he provided out of the leadoff position and on the basepaths,

I like how Tim Smith dismisses stolen bases and speed on the basepaths as a "wow" factor and not something tangible that puts pressure on the opposing team's pitching staff. It's like he believes stolen bases and other results from the pitcher focusing on Reyes when he is on-base isn't really tangible in any fashion and can't result in runs being scored for Reyes' team.

I mean sure, Justin Verlander has that "wow factor" of striking a bunch of hitters out and not giving up hits, but I think Jaime Garcia is a comparable pitcher.

the Mets — the twinbill aside — don’t play a horrible brand of baseball.

This is all because of Ruben Tejada of course and has nothing to do with the fact any other Mets hitters who are hitting the ball really well. Sure, David Wright, Josh Thole, Daniel Murphy, and Kirk Nieuwenuis are tearing the cover off the ball at the plate, but that Ruben Tejada, boy his .246 average is carrying this Mets team right now!

Tejada said there isn’t a noticeable difference in the clubhouse now that Reyes is gone.

What? So you mean the person who is responsible for replacing Jose Reyes and will inevitably be compared to Reyes is downplaying the effect of not having Reyes in the clubhouse? This is shocking to me! There's no way Tejada could be lying since he has a vested interest in making it seem like there is no difference in the Mets clubhouse with him at shortstop instead of Reyes.

While both Tejada and Reyes have been playing under heightened expectations, Tejada seems to be faring better.

And of course, 17 games is the perfect sample size to determine how the rest of the season and the next three to four years will play out.

Though Tejada and Terry Collins started on a sour note when Tejada didn’t show up early for training camp, the manager has nothing but praise for the way Tejada has taken over the shortstop position.

Listen to this "praise..." Collins isn't exactly overflowing with praise for Tejada more than saying Tejada is pretty much what he expected him to be.

“I think the thing that’s been best is that he hasn’t tried to do more than he’s able to do. He hasn’t tried to live up to being Jose Reyes.

Translation: "Tejada is talented, but he is no Jose Reyes. We understand he is more limited in his skill set than Reyes was. Fortunately, Tejada hasn't tried to be as good as Reyes."

Offensively he’s the same guy we saw last fall,” Collins said.

Translation: "He doesn't steal bases, he hits for a decent average and gets on-base at an acceptable clip. We don't expect him to do more than that, and that's fine."

Tejada has tried to be more patience at the plate, which has shown in his on-base percentage.

What? Tejada's OBP is significantly lower than it was during the 2011 season. I don't think his patience has necessarily shown through in a higher OBP. Tim Smith is essentially making this up.

Giants center fielder Angel Pagan, who played with the Mets last season, said he had no doubt that Tejada could handle taking over for Reyes.

“I knew what he could do. He put on a few pounds and now he’s hitting homers.

Ruben Tejada has not hit a homerun in the majors since September 5, 2010. Angel Pagan probably isn't the best person to talk about how well Tejada is progressing since he doesn't seem to know Tejada has not hit any homers over the last two seasons. Maybe Pagan saw Tejada hit some homers in batting practice one day and this caused him to become confused.

It’s just a matter of the Mets giving him the chance to go out there and play every day.”

Which, thank God now that Jose Reyes is gone, Tejada can finally do. The Mets are better off with Tejada over Reyes anyway, right Tim Smith?

Tejada said he will embrace Reyes’ return as he expects most of the Mets fans will.

They booed him.

And then he will continue trying to play well enough to beat the Marlins and put some distance between himself and the Reyes comparisons.

There already is distance between Tejada and Reyes. They aren't the same player. The Mets would be better off with Reyes on the roster. Still, Tejada isn't a bad player, but there isn't any comparison between the two. They both play shortstop and Tejada doesn't bring as diverse of physical tools to the table as compared to Reyes. Tejada is only 22 years old, but right now Jose Reyes is still a better baseball player than Ruben Tejada. The Mets would be better off with Reyes, even if he is slumping right now.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

8 comments 2012 NFL Mock Draft

I don't recall how many first round picks I guessed correctly prior to the 2011 NFL Draft, but it couldn't have been very many. I feel like I had a bad draft last year. You can go back and read it if you want. It's not my best mock draft. I'll try to do better this year. I remember now being very, very nervous about Cam Newton being the #1 overall pick. My analysis of Newton of going to Carolina was terribly off. It's embarrassing, but it is also how I felt at the time. I didn't know if Newton could play in the NFL at a high level. For one year, he proved he could. Let's review my comments about Newton in an effort to lose all credibility with everyone who reads this before I even start my 2012 NFL mock draft.

1. Carolina- Cam Newton, QB

I have done as much research as possible into the available quarterbacks in this draft.

Which was obvious based on how I COMPLETELY MISSED on my Newton evaluation. I wasn't lying though. I figured Carolina would take a QB and wanted to know the pros and cons of each quarterback available. In my defense, I am terrible at evaluating quarterbacks. Always have been, always will be. I was on the Brian Brohm train and I'm still a fan of Jason Campbell.

I will say I could talk myself into this pick by saying there isn't really a "#1 overall talent" to be seen in this draft. There isn't a guy who has enough talent and should be taken #1 overall by Carolina, so why not shoot for the moon and see if you can land a franchise quarterback? Is there really a "sure thing" in this draft outside of AJ Green or Patrick Peterson? That part says take Newton, while the logical sports fan in me has many more questions than answers about him.

It's a bit fatalistic, and Von Miller would argue he has talent to be a #1 overall pick, but I still stick by the point of shooting for the moon. Carolina had Jimmy Clausen as the quarterback, why not take a chance on Newton?

My other issue is I don't know if Pickles (what we call Clausen in Carolina) was given a fair shot in Carolina last year. He didn't get the proper coaching he deserved and was put in a tough situation.

I do still say Pickles wasn't given a fair shot. He was put in a tough situation during the 2010 season few rookie QB's could have succeeded in. I can see a scenario where he would be a very competent backup quarterback with a different franchise.

Short-term he won't be ready to play in the NFL, so Pickles will be the quarterback for a while, which could ultimately lead to the Panthers getting the #1 pick next year and then drafting Andrew Luck.

We'll just let those words hang in the air. I thought Newton wasn't ready to play short-term in the NFL and thought Clausen would start for most of the year. This is clearly the fear of Newton busting that was causing me to write this.

My point is I'll do better this year...or at least will try to. I'm really excited about getting this mock draft together for some reason. As usual, I won't predict any trades in the first round. And as even more usual, this mock draft consists of me guessing trying to use logic in a situation with incomplete information.

1. Indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck, QB

I feel good about making this pick accurately...especially since the Colts have announced he is the pick. We all know Andrew Luck is the best quarterback in the history of the NFL Draft. Hearing this makes Andrew Luck happy. If I had to nitpick Luck, which you know I will love to do, it does concern me a bit how mechanical he seems. It sounds silly, but I think one of the things that make quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning successful is they take calculated risks on the field. Maybe it is a matter of perception, but I don't see Luck (or Matt Ryan) that way. I don't really question Luck's arm strength, but I do think there comes a time when a quarterback can be too cerebral. I guess my fear for Luck is that he ends up like Matt Ryan (who is a great quarterback, but carries a perception he checks down a lot) and he doesn't become afraid to throw an interception. Overall, this is an obvious pick and a good pick. Luck should have a very good NFL career. My (small) criticism makes Andrew Luck explain nervously. He should feel fine though, because he is the first pick in the draft, so he can raise his arms and jump happily.

2. Washington Redskins- Robert Griffin III, QB

I feel like it would be typical of the Redskins to trade all of these picks for Griffin and then draft Trent Richardson or trade out of the #2 spot in the draft. This wouldn't even be the biggest disappointment about the draft. The biggest disappointment about the draft is that Chris Berman still heads up ESPN's draft coverage. I've been tired of him for over a decade now. He's irritating and loud. Griffin is in a great situation in Washington. He has the best quarterback genius in the world, Mike Shanahan, as his head coach and he has the second best quarterback genius in the world, Kyle Shanahan, offensively coordinating him. In all seriousness, I'm hoping they use Griffin's strengths to his advantage in the beginning. I am a little concerned Griffin is a product of the terrible Big 12 pass defenses and I am also concerned the Shanahans won't design the offense to Griffin's strengths. Big 12 defenses have made really average quarterbacks look in the past and if I had a concern about Griffin that would be it. Griffin has intangibles and while I still can't believe what the Redskins gave up to get him, if he succeeds then it will all be worth it.

3. Minnesota Vikings- Matt Kalil, OT

There are rumors the Vikings aren't going to take Kalil and will want to give the secondary help. I hope the Vikings don't do this. Obviously the Vikings need to improve the secondary, but improving the pass rush will also do this. The Vikings need to protect Ponder and Kalil is the best tackle in the draft. Don't overthink this one and take Kalil. Of course, there is always the possibility the Vikings are pretending they want Blackmon/Claiborne in order to get a team to trade up to the pick. This way the Vikings can net some more picks and still get one of the offensive linemen they covet. Offensive linemen aren't sexy picks, but when a team has a young QB they want to protect, they are necessary picks. I'm going to drive to Minnesota and punch Rick Spielman in the face if he doesn't take Kalil. Fix the secondary later, draft an elite left tackle first.

4. Cleveland Browns- Trent Richardson, RB

I know last week I begged the Browns to take a franchise wide receiver. I still think they need one, but the lure of having a franchise back has to be tempting. Richardson was the best running back at Alabama for his entire three years, even when Mark Ingram (who was a first round pick last year) was on the team. I also realize teams aren't supposed to take a running back high in the draft because it is a waste of money. In this situation, where the Browns are trying to stick with Colt McCoy or help another quarterback get comfortable, I think having a guy like Richardson would do nothing but help. A strong running game is one of a rookie QB's best friends. If the Browns don't take Richardson, I'd like to see them take Justin Blackmon. Overall, I think Richardson should be the choice. At the very least, he gives the Browns a running game to support whoever is the quarterback.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Morris Claiborne, CB

This pick has to be Claiborne, right? I'm afraid (well, not afraid because I want to laugh if they do it) they will choose Luke Keuchly here. I don't think that's the right pick. The Bucs need to do whatever it takes to keep newly signed Eric Wright off the field as much as possible. Wright could end up with 10 interceptions this year because quarterbacks are going to love throwing at him. Claiborne is an excellent corner who is going to be needed in a division with Brees, Newton, and Ryan. I think Greg Schiano gets the pick right. Claiborne can be left alone with a receiver and he is a sure tackler. Doesn't get much better than that.

6. St. Louis Rams-Justin Blackmon, WR

While I do know Jeff Fisher probably wants Fletcher Cox, or if Claiborne falls here he would be the pick, this pick has to be a wide receiver. Maybe "has to be" is a strong use of words, but the Rams have to give Sam Bradford/AJ Feeley something to work with. Relying on Danny Amendola, trading for Brandon Lloyd, and relying on Jags cast-offs has to end. Take Blackmon and give the Rams offense something to work with. Yes, the defense needs help up front, but give Bradford a fighting chance on offense.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars- Michael Floyd, WR

I don't expect the Jags to make this pick. I think a team is going to move up ahead of the Dolphins to grab Tannehill. If the Jags keep this pick, I think they will have to do something to improve the defense. I feel like the Jags want to trade back and get Michael Floyd or Kendall Wright. If they stay here, I'm calling Michael Floyd. It just feels like a move the Jags would make, even if they only want "high character" guys. They need to get Blaine Gabbert some help and Floyd seems to be the best wide receiver available at this spot. I don't see how they have Gabbert throwing the ball to a bunch of nobodies for another year, while the defense holds the opposing team to below 20 points. The Jags can't expect Gabbert to succeed when only having a tight end and running back who are offensive weapons.

8. Miami Dolphins- Ryan Tannehill, QB

Tough pick. I don't know whether to believe that Mike Sherman isn't advocating for Tannehill, that Stephen Ross demanded the Dolphins draft a quarterback, or Tannehill was the pick all along. I do know three things: I know new regimes usually mean new quarterbacks and Joe Philbin will want a quarterback who can run his system, and the Dolphins feel like they need a quarterback. If the Dolphins don't take Tannehill, then I see them taking Melvin Ingram. I don't personally like Tannehill, but I'm also terrible at evaluating quarterbacks. The Dolphins obviously want a new quarterback, so if they like Tannehill then they should choose him.

9. Carolina Panthers- Melvin Ingram, DE

I have no idea who Carolina will select here. I wish I did. I don't want them to select Quinton Coples or Stephon Gilmore. I would prefer Coples between those two guys. I don't see them going with a cornerback and I don't see them going with receiver either. I'll just stick with what I do know. I know Carolina needs defensive tackles, but they really want defensive playmakers who can rush the passer in a 4-3, but also drop into coverage if need be. I don't think they like Coples as much as being advertised so I'm going with a versatile 3-4/4-3 guy. This should please all the South Carolina fans who want the Panthers to take every single draft-eligible player from the school. I'm not even sure Ingram was brought in for a visit with Carolina, but I'm still going with the pick.

10. Buffalo Bills- Luke Kuechly, OLB

Tough pick here. Buddy Nix is very open with his picks and he has said he needs to improve the secondary. I also spoke with a Bills fan on Twitter who said it's between Gilmore and Barron now. This could be a smokescreen to get the Eagles/Cowboys to trade up and give the Bills a pick for the privilege of doing so. I’m guessing it will end up being that way and I will stick with my original pick against my better judgment. I am at 50/50 that the Bills go with Barron or Gilmore here over Kuechly, so I will stick with my gut. You know, the same gut that told me Cam Newton won't be able to start in the short-term prior to last year's NFL Draft.

11. Kansas City- David DeCastro, G

This pick will never happen. It makes way too much sense to me. The Chiefs need a guard and DeCastro is easily the best guard in this draft. What scares me most about this pick is with Kuechly gone, the only other guy in my draft I can see in this spot is Fletcher Cox. I don't like it when I can't see which other player would could go in a certain slot because that means a surprise pick is in store. Cox would be a good pick for the Chiefs as well. Just stay away from Dontari Poe. He has "bust" written all over him in several different languages. I think drafting a potential Pro Bowl guard is probably the best move.

12. Seattle Seahawks- Fletcher Cox, DT/DE

The Seahawks need to improve their pass rush and Fletcher Cox can play both defensive tackle and defensive end. If the Seahawks don't trade out of this spot then Cox is going to be a steal for them in this spot. I could see where he would go in the Top 10 of the draft. I don't know if Pete Carroll thinks he can get the most out of Quinton Coples or not, but I see Cox as having a lot of talent and a better motor than Coples.

13. Arizona Cardinals- Cordy Glenn, G

Larry Fitzgerald is on record as wanting a wide receiver to team up with him. I think the Cardinals are smart enough not to listen to Fitzgerald. The offensive line needs to be upgraded and with DeCastro off the board, I think the Cardinals will go with Cordy Glenn over Riley Reiff (or is it Reiff Riley?) because Glenn can play guard and could slide over to tackle in a pinch. I know Fitzgerald wants playmakers and we all want to know if Kolb is an NFL quarterback, so it makes sense to give him a receiver. Still, I think the Cardinals go the route of better protecting Kolb in order to give him time to throw the ball and help out Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams (injured all last year and I like him a lot) with running lanes. I think this pick makes a lot of sense, so it will never happen. The Cardinals will probably make a move to make Fitzgerald happy over protecting the guy throwing Fitzgerald the ball.

14. Dallas Cowboys- Mark Barron, S

It feels like every mock draft has Mark Barron mocked here. In all honesty, I can see the Cowboys taking Stephon Gilmore in this spot. Both areas in the secondary are needs for the Cowboys. I will pick Barron because I feel like he is much more of a sure thing in the NFL, as compared to Gilmore. There's not much else to say here. Barron would be the right pick, but I can see how Gilmore would be the pick as well. All things being equal, I think the Cowboys will covet a hard-hitting safety the most. After all, Barron is probably a Top 10 talent while Stephon Gilmore is a late-rising guy who I think isn't on par with Barron in terms of talent.

15. Philadelphia Eagles- Stephen Gilmore, CB

The Eagles just traded Asante Samuel and I had Gilmore slotted here before they did that. So I'm even more sure about this pick now, which naturally, means I am going to be wrong. The Eagles do have other needs and sometimes it is hard to peg what they will do in the draft. Rodgers-Cromartie is a free agent after this season and I think the Eagles will choose to upgrade their secondary at this spot. I can see them trading up for Mark Barron to keep him away from the Cowboys as well.

16. New York Jets-Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB

I think the Jets are going to want to go after a pass rusher in order to put more pressure on the quarterback. I think all the Chandler Jones and wide receiver talk is just a smokescreen, Courtney Upshaw may not fit the defense, and Quinton Coples doesn't seem to fit the defense very well, so that leaves me with hybrid type pass rushers. Mercilus was a very productive defensive end for Illinois, at least for one year. The best part, and I think the part that catches the attention of the Jets coaching staff is that he was productive as a stand-up rusher in college and will get after the quarterback. Receivers and offensive line help can be available later in the draft.

17. Cincinnati Bengals- Riley Reiff, T

Let's not forget the Bengals have a "franchise" quarterback as well and they want to protect him. The disaster against the Texans in the playoffs is probably still at the forefront of the Bengals mind, so I can see them taking Riley Reiff to help protect Andy Dalton. If it isn't Reiff then it will be Jonathan Martin, but I think the Bengals take steps to make sure the offensive line isn't porous like it seemed to be against the Texans. This isn't a bad pick either. I don't know if Reiff is projected to be a franchise type right tackle, but he is an upgrade over what the Bengals have now.

18. San Diego Chargers- Jonathan Martin, T

I'm guessing hard at this one. I know the Chargers need a pass rusher and could probably use another safety. One would think they would go in that direction. The Chargers rarely seem to do what I expect them to do though. The Chargers probably want to protect Rivers better than they did last year and Martin projects to be a solid LT/RT in the NFL. The Chargers need a pass rusher, but I think ensuring Rivers stays upright will help to improve the entire Chargers offense. There are no safeties worthy of being taken here anyway, so I'm not sure that's an option.

19. Chicago Bears- Michael Brockers, DT

This is another pick that probably makes more sense on paper than it does in reality. In reality, it seems the Bears need to take a receiver here. I can see three players the Bears would select here. Brockers, Coples, and Kendall Wright. I am leaning strongly towards Wright, but I think the Bears will look to improve the interior of their defensive line and go with Brockers. It's probably very tempting to match Coples up with Peppers or give Cutler the best receiver in this draft in Kendall Wright though. At the end of the day, improving the interior of the defense is the direction the Bears will go.

20. Tennessee Titans- Janoris Jenkins, CB

If Jeff Fisher were still coaching the Titans, I would put Dontari Poe in this spot. Fisher seemed to love drafting defensive linemen when he coached the Titans...or maybe that was just my recollection of his time in Tennessee. I think drafting Poe will be tempting, as would possibly drafting Courtney Upshaw, but the Titans are going to take their chances on a guy who is supposedly the most talented cornerback in this draft outside of Morris Claiborne. In a race between Jenkins and Dre Kirkpatrick, I think the highest potential wins.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB

Most mock drafts have Courtney Upshaw in this spot, but I don't see the Bengals going that way. They need cornerback help and Kirkpatrick was a very impressive tackler and cover guy at Alabama. I think this pick makes sense to me, which means it will never happen. Nate Clements was just okay last year and Leon Hall appears to be injured. So why not upgrade the secondary?

22. Cleveland Browns- Bobby Massie, T

The Browns have a huge need at right tackle. Quinton Coples is sitting out there and has to be very tempting. Not to mention, the Browns can always go after a quarterback like Brandon Weeden. I'm not entirely sure the Browns like Weeden to take him here and improving the offensive line for Trent Richardson is probably a priority. Just thinking this through, the Browns don't pick again until #37. Do they want to take a chance teams like the Colts, Rams, or Lions take one of the offensive linemen they want? I think they will make their tackle move here at this spot. Now the Browns can focus on the QB position or the defensive line with their two second round picks.

23. Detroit Lions- Mike Adams, T

Well, shit. For the 19th consecutive year the Lions need an offensive lineman in the NFL Draft. In my mock draft, a lot of the top guys are gone. Though Calvin Johnson thinks the Lions are going defense, and really who can blame them, I see them beefing up the offensive line since most of the top cornerback prospects are gone at this point. This is too early for Dennard and Mike Adams is one of those players who is seen as talented, but needing to put it all together. Besides, protecting Matthew Stafford is as important as improving the defense in my opinion. If Stafford gets injured, the Lions are in deep trouble.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers- Dont'a Hightower, LB

This pick makes me irritated with myself. I feel like I am not thinking outside the box enough with this pick. Maybe the Steelers go with Nick Perry or Shea McClellin here. I think Hightower will and should be the pick. Personally, I think he is a steal here. He fits what the Steelers like to do on defense and he could be the next generation of great Steelers linebacker.

25. Denver Broncos- Kevin Zeitler, G

It may make sense for the Broncos to choose Kendall Wright here since they have a new (Ok, they have an old "new") quarterback and they want to give him weapons to work with. Two issues that do give me pause though. First, they want to make sure Manning stays healthy, which could mean an offensive line upgrade and the Broncos really, really need defensive tackles. I think these two concerns take precedent. I think the Broncos go first with protecting their big investment at quarterback and will go for a defensive tackle later in the draft.

26. Houston Texans- Kendall Wright, WR

I am reading the Texans may want to draft a pass rusher at this spot. I can see that, but I think the bigger need is a reliable #2 in order to take pressure off Andre Johnson. I see Wright as very well being the best receiver in this draft and I think he would thrive with Johnson on the other side of him. While I can see the Texans need for another pass rusher or an offensive lineman, I see getting a #2 receiver as being the direction they go.

27. New England Patriots- Andre Branch, LB/DE

No one has a fucking clue ever what the Patriots are going to do. I'm pretty sure they aren't going to use both first round picks this year, but I don't predict trades even though a predicted trade would be a layup when we are talking about the Patriots. There are a ton of names that could be taken here. I pondered mocking a receiver to the Patriots, but I think this is a bit early for those receivers left. So if the Patriots are thinking defense, I put this pick between Andre Branch, Chandler Jones, or Shea McClellin. I think Branch will end up being that guy.

28. Green Bay Packers- Shea McClellin, OLB/DE

I feel very confident saying Green Bay will be looking at defense in the draft. The offense seems pretty set at this point. The defense looked like it could use some help towards the end of last year. I can't figure out if the Packers really want help for Clay Matthews or this is a ploy to hope a guy like Harrison Smith falls to them. I'm going with the idea they will go for help for Matthews. I'm not sure McClellin falls this far, but in my mock he does. Keep an eye out for Alonzo Dennard here. I think the Packers could go secondary and if they don't go at safety they could see Dennard a #1-type corner.

29. Baltimore Ravens- Stephen Hill, WR

I think it is fairly obvious the Ravens need to improve their offense. They need playmakers and guys who can get open in the secondary and score touchdowns. As much as I enjoy blaming Joe Flacco for all the Ravens' problems, I also recognize the Ravens haven't done a great job of surrounding him with wide receiver talent. Maybe with Boldin/Torrey Smith/Hill the Ravens have given Flacco pass catchers. Now it is up to Flacco to get them the ball, which I am not sure he is entirely capable of doing.

30. San Francisco 49ers- Reuben Randle, WR

The consensus seems to be the 49ers are going with an offensive lineman here or pass rusher. I see they have made a concerted effort to improve the passing in the offseason and I think that continues here. The 49ers wide receivers had one catch against the Giants in the NFC Championship Game. I think the 49ers will ensure that doesn't happen again by continuing the improvement of the receivers in drafting Randle. I'm not entirely sold on Randle being a first round pick, but it seems NFL teams disagree with me.

31. New England Patriots- Devon Still, DT/DE

I doubt the Patriots keep this pick. If they do, I can see them going with Still, who I think is a perfect fit for the defense. Still was projected to be a Top 15 pick earlier in February and he seems to have the talent to play DT or DE in the NFL. If he goes to a 4-3 defense I see him more as a 4-3 end. Still, it feels silly even making the pick here because I have no doubt the Patriots will end up trading this pick.

32. New York Giants- Courtney Upshaw, DE

Some people have a running back mocked to the Giants at this point. I'm not sure I see that happening. The Giants found Brandon Jacobs in the 4th round and Bradshaw in the 7th round. I don't see them choosing a running back in the first round. The Giants could also go defensive tackle here, but I think with Osi demanding a trade and Upshaw falling (at least in my mock) as much as he has then the Giants will go with defensive end to ensure their pass rush stays strong.

So there we go. My picks will all be busted by 9pm tonight, so feel free to call me an idiot. Also, feel free to leave feelings about the draft in the comments. It's fun to make fun of teams who draft poorly.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

11 comments Anyone Can Be an NFL GM, But Only the Select Few Can Write an Irritating NFL Column Like Gregg Easterbrook Can

Gregg Easterbrook is back. He has written a column mocking NFL mock drafts and mocking NFL teams for the picks they make. Like most of his TMQ's, this column is completely tongue in cheek and just out there having some fun with the NFL. That is unless Gregg is right about something he says, in which case he will provide you a link and tell you how right he truly was a couple of years from now. If Gregg ends up being wrong about something he says, then he won't mention it again or mealy-mouth his way out of saying he was wrong.

A great example of this occurred earlier this NFL season when Gregg wanted to show the Patriots had not won a playoff game since Spygate. In order to support this contention, Gregg stated Spygate actually started AFTER the Patriots were actually punished for Spygate. The Patriots won two playoff games on their way to the Super Bowl that year, but to include these playoff wins would basically be admitting the Patriots had won a playoff game since Spygate. To fix this, Gregg stated that Spygate started (very conveniently) after the 2007 season was over. This was after the Patriots had been punished for Spygate, but that didn't matter to Gregg. He isn't a slave to reality. Of course later in this past NFL season, he quietly admitted in a TMQ he was wrong about when Spygate happened, but buried this admission at the end of a 10,000 word column.

So anyway, Gregg is mocking the mock drafts and is just goofing around, unless he is right about something in which case he was super-serious when he said it.

Deep down inside, the secret of NFL draft mania is that we love busts.

Nobody, other than Bill Simmons, knows exactly what every sports fan in the world secretly wants more than Gregg Easterbrook. Gregg Easterbrook is so omnipotent he tells us on a weekly basis EXACTLY what an NFL coach is thinking during a game. He knows why a head coach doesn't go for it on fourth down, he knows why a head coach goes for a field goal over a touchdown, and he even knows exactly what an NFL player is thinking on a certain play. In his own head, Gregg Easterbrook believes himself to be the smartest person alive.

JaMarcus Russell, Tim Couch, Brian Bosworth, Akili Smith -- guys who are taken at the top of the draft and then go bust have clandestine appeal.

Not if you are a fan of these teams. If you are a fan of the teams that drafted these players then these players have very little appeal.

No matter how badly you've been embarrassed, for example, you have not been embarrassed as much as Ryan Leaf.

I know I personally compare nearly all of my positive and negative life experiences to those life experiences of Ryan Leaf.

There's another reason busts cause Americans to love the NFL "selection meeting" -- busts show that anybody could run a draft. The highly paid experts in the draft rooms are revealed to be throwing darts at a board.

To an extent the NFL draft is a crapshoot, yes, but to another extent these draft experts are doing more than throwing darts at a dartboard. They are making educated guesses based on film study, interviews and attempting to reduce the amount of unknowns about an NFL prospect as much as possible. So these draft experts aren't throwing darts at a dartboard. They are basing personnel decisions on gathering as much information as possible on how a college player's game will translate to the NFL.

A person might daydream about being a concert pianist or a prima ballerina or an astronaut or a power-hitting third baseman. These are only daydreams, because great talent and years of hard work are required to achieve such positions.

But anybody could run an NFL draft!

Eh, not really. Anybody can run an NFL draft about the same way anybody can be a sportswriter. There is still a certain amount of innate or learned talent involved in succeeding at it. I wouldn't expect Gregg to know this, since he is mostly a complete moron about the NFL, but the person running the NFL draft for a team is usually a General Manager. The General Manager's job entails more than just running the NFL draft. He also is responsible for many, many other things rather than just simply running the NFL draft. The General Manager is responsible for every player signed and released in a given season. The General Manager is also responsible for planning the long-term and short-term direction of a team and executing this plan while dealing with constant changing variables like player performance. Not anybody is capable of such long and short range planning in such an effective manner.

The fact Gregg thinks the guy who runs the NFL draft primarily just runs the draft and anyone can do this does not surprise me in the least. For someone who has a weekly column about the NFL, Gregg knows shockingly little about the NFL. I'll tell you what I think anyone can do. Anyone can write a poorly researched and overly-long article about the NFL on a weekly basis, while making up fake rules and criticizing the already decided outcome of NFL games. So the irony of Gregg boiling down a complicated job into one simple task is ironic considering it doesn't seem to take a hell of a lot of skill to write the NFL-related portions of TMQ on a weekly basis.

No skill, insight or God-given ability is required to pick the wrong guy.

It takes a certain amount of skill to choose the right guy though. Therein lies why some General Managers are successful.

Any 32 people chosen at random from the telephone book could have looked at all the hundreds of players leaving college in 2007 and decided that Russell was most promising.

And yet, they would have been wrong. Could 32 people chosen at random chosen Darrelle Revis at the #14 spot in the 2007 NFL Draft? At #19, could 32 people chosen at random have decided the Titans should select Brandon Meriweather, Michael Griffin, Reggie Nelson or Eric Weddle as the right safety to draft in that spot? How about when things get harder later in the draft? Could 32 people at random have chosen Jermon Bushrod in the 4th round? Could 32 people have chosen the right move for the Jets would be to trade the 25th and 59th pick for the 14th pick? Could 32 people have been the team with the 14th pick who made this trade and then choose two Pro Bowl players with the 25th and 59th pick?

The NFL Draft is more than just simply picking the right players. The NFL Draft is about being in the right position to choose the best players for your team.

And it's not just the occasional blown pick -- busts are a running theme of the NFL first round. Troy Williamson in 2005, Vernon Gholston in 2008, Reggie Williams in 2004:

This is because some players never pan out for one reason or another. Busts are a part of the NFL Draft and aren't always a product of bad scouting. Shit happens.

Three of the first six players selected in 2003 went bust.

Six of the top 14 players in the 2007 NFL Draft have gone to a Pro Bowl. Seven of the top 12 players in the 2006 NFL Draft have gone to a Pro Bowl.

Check the 2009 first round -- many of the late selections (Clay Matthews, Hakeem Nicks, Vontae Davis, Michael Oher) are better than the super-prestigious early choices (Tyson Jackson, Aaron Curry, Darrius Heyward-Bey).

I don't think Gregg understands he really isn't proving a point at all, other than some teams make bad draft choices. So do the Packers, Dolphins, Ravens, and Giants not get credit for making smart choices at the end of the first round? If the General Manager who chose Aaron Curry didn't know what he was doing, then didn't the General Manager who chose Clay Matthews know what he was doing? If Gregg is going to criticize the Chiefs, Seahawks, and Raiders for making bad picks "anyone" could have made, shouldn't Gregg also acknowledge these other four teams made good picks? Or could "anyone" have chosen Vontae Davis late in the first round? He can't chalk up a bad pick to a lack of skill and then not acknowledge skill in making a good pick.

Isn't the fact some teams make good choices and other teams make bad choices over a longer period of time indicative there is some sort of talent to choosing the right player in the draft?

In the first round of 2005 the 32nd player chosen has had a better NFL career than the second and third players chosen. No special ability is required to make NFL draft choices!

Yes, but the 11th, 24th, and 27th picks had better or comparable careers to the 32nd player chosen. So there was no ability in choosing these players, it was luck of the draw? If there is no special ability to making draft choices then why does Gregg Easterbrook talk about how smart the Colts, Saints and Patriots are for finding unwanted and lowly-drafted players later in the draft? After all there is no special ability to doing this, right? Gregg seems to acknowledge there is a special ability to finding unwanted and lowly drafted players, but all of a sudden this is no longer true?

Is Gregg saying the draft choices are that obvious? I don't think this is true. Of course, Gregg would NEVER put out a mock draft to back up his contention anyone can draft well. Gregg is that guy who insists he can do anything, but always seems to be too busy to back up his claims with actual evidence.

The guy sitting next to you at the tavern could do it.

What is this, 1920's Ireland?

Then Gregg starts talking about monkeys trying to reproduce Shakespeare plays and how it is nearly impossible to do so. It sounds like he knows he doesn't have a point about this "anyone can be a GM" thing and wanted to kill space. Here's a sample:

Though actual attempts to get monkeys to write Shakespeare have not gone particularly well. In this experiment, six crested macaques given access to a typewriter mainly pounded on the letter "S"

Hamlet contains 130,000 letters. The chance of picking any one letter at random using the English alphabet is one in 26. If the goal is Hamlet, 130,000 consecutive random guesses would need to be right at 1 in 26 odds.

Riveting stuff.

But it's the knowledge that highly paid NFL coaches and general managers are confidently picking busts on national television that will keep us watching.

No. What keeps us watching is seeing which player our favorite team chooses and what player the other teams pick.

Now everyone has a mock draft, only TMQ annually mocks the draft. My selections:

1. Indianapolis: Kate Upton, bikini model. The woeful Colts could use the sex appeal of the most alluring woman of 2012. If Upton was doing the Dougie on the sideline while the Colts were playing on the field, which would spectators watch?

Woo-hoo! I get it! Women are sexy and men like watching women be sexy! That's funny stuff, Gregg.

Why do I get the feeling Gregg has an unmarked white van with "Free Candy" spray-painted on the side, which he parks outside high school football games?

5. City of Tampa: Mustela frenata, long-tailed North American weasel. The Bucs dangled money, so Greg Schiano walked out on his promises at Rutgers.

The Bucs also dangled an NFL head coaching job. So it isn't like it was a complete money-grab to go from college football to the NFL. It's sort of a promotion in some ways.

After Schiano bolted to grab the cash, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey showed himself a weasel governor by declaring, "Rutgers had the best graduation rate of any Division I football program." The statement simply is not true.

This makes him a liar, not a weasel.

Lin was born in California and attended Palo Alto High, which is visible from the Stanford campus. He led Palo Alto to the state title. Yet Stanford did not recruit the star from its own town, though an "official visit" would have entailed crossing the street.

Yes, nearly every college team missed on Jeremy Lin. This was covered thoroughly about two months ago (or was it two years ago?) by every media outlet in the world while Gregg Easterbrook took a two and a half month break from annoying the shit out of American by writing an NFL column.

Had he been thousands of miles away, surely Stanford would have said, "We've got to get that Jeremy Lin."

No, they would not have.

13. Washington Wizards (from Arizona Cardinals, projected trade) : It makes absolutely no difference whom the Wizards draft, and it never will.

NBA expert Gregg Easterbrook everyone!

14. Dallas: "Any one of 500 coaches."That's who Jerry Jones said could lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl, given Jones's super-brilliant management.

Hold on a second. So an egotistical, self-important person has judged another person's job as being easy due to his own lack of knowledge about what it takes to succeed at that position? Is this describing Jerry Jones or Gregg Easterbrook claiming in this very column that "anyone" can be an NFL GM?

Gregg is such an egomaniac that it doesn't even cross his mind while criticizing Jerry Jones for saying 500 coaches could have led the Cowboys to a Super Bowl that he (Gregg) said "anyone" can be an NFL GM. It takes a special kind of asshole to call out others for the exact same behavior that certain asshole exhibits himself.

When Jones bought the 'Boys, his first super-brilliant move was to fire Tom Landry. More than two decades later, all Dallas head coaches combined under Jones have fewer victories than Landry.

Yet again, Gregg struggles with being accurate and not misleading his audience. Landry coached the Cowboys from 1960-1988. he won 250 games in that time, while coaching 418 games. So it really shouldn't be shocking Landry has won more games as the Cowboys head coach then any other Dallas Cowboys head coach, because he was in Dallas longer and coached more games than all of the other Cowboys coaches combined. Other Cowboys coaches have won 198 games, while coaching 368 games. So the other Cowboys coaches are on pace to have a lower winning percentage than Landry, but they also have coached 82 fewer games. The Cowboys also have 3 Super Bowl victories since Landry left, as opposed to Landry's 2 Super Bowl victories. This should be noted as well.

16. Jersey/B: Carmelo Anthony, petulant millionaire. On the day Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni resigned, the team was 10-24 with Anthony and 7-2 without him. Me-first and constantly complaining, Anthony would be a perfect fit for Rex Ryan's system.

When Gregg wrote this column, the Knicks had gone 16-6 under Mike Woodson with petulant millionaire Carmelo Anthony leading the way and super-awesome Jeremy Lin injured on the bench. This doesn't exactly fit the narrative Gregg is trying to propagate that Jeremy Lin is a wonderful NBA player, while Carmelo Anthony is a useless piece of shit who drags his team down. I bet Gregg hates it when people do research to show just how full of shit he is and how much he truly tries to mislead his readers.

20. Tennessee: March Madness Selection Committee. They pitted Vanderbilt versus Harvard and Duke versus Lehigh in the first round it order to get rid, as quickly as possible, of colleges that have distressingly high graduation rates for men's basketball.

The NCAA also pitted teams with low graduation rates against each other. Did they do this to get rid of teams with low graduation rates? No, they did not. It goes both ways. Gregg never even thought of it this of course.

For a supposedly smart guy, Gregg sure bases a lot of his conclusions on a lack of research and poorly thought out reasoning.

Fun fact: Tim Tebow already has more career rushing yards than Manning has compiled in 14 years.

Fun fact: Peyton Manning has more passing yards than Tim Tebow will ever get no matter how long he plays in the NFL.

28. Green Bay: Peta Murgatroyd, professional dancer. She is Donald Driver's partner on "Dancing with the Stars," where they recently proved that it does in fact take two to tango.

I don't think this needed to be proven. The saying goes, "It takes two to tango," and it is meant to be used as a fact.

"It's a quarterback league" -- everyone says this of today's NFL. Yet a surprising number of NFL teams behave as though they don't believe it, not investing in quarterbacks nor trying over and over again until they find a quality signal-caller.

Here comes another Gregg Easterbrookian contradiction. Easterbrook is well known for saying that undrafted or unwanted players are just as good as highly-paid glory boy first round picks. Yet, where do you think he suggests teams should look for a quality signal-caller? Not in the 5th round, not in the 6th round, not in the 7th round or among undrafted free agents...but in the first or second round of the NFL Draft. I guess highly-paid glory boys are good for something after all.

Consider: Of last season's 12 playoff teams, eight started a quarterback drafted in the first round, including three starting a quarterback drafted first overall. Three others started a second-round quarterback. Only one of the 12 playoff teams, the New England Patriots, reached the postseason without a first- or second-round-drafted quarterback on the roster.

So let's remember this little fact next Fall when Gregg tries to compare a highly-paid glory boy quarterback to an undrafted, unwanted quarterback and wants us to believe undrafted free agents are as good as highly drafted players.

Based on 11 of 12 playoff teams having high-drafted quarterbacks, you'd think there would be a line forming to call the names of quarterbacks.

You would think, but since the NFL Draft is just a crapshoot and anyone can do it then teams are just throwing darts at a board anyway, right?

Yet last season there were five NFL teams that did not have a first- or second-round drafted quarterback on the roster: Buffalo, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City and New England. And of the teams lacking a highly drafted quarterback, only one reached the postseason.

It's almost like quarterbacks drafted earlier in the draft are better than NFL quarterbacks drafted later in the draft and some NFL teams know what they are doing when they draft a certain player.

Not just drafting quarterbacks high, but getting quarterbacks as rookies and sticking with them through thick and thin, closely associates with NFL success.

Which explains why teams look at NFL busts like Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, and Tim Couch as players worth drafting early in the first round. So teams draft these quarterbacks in the first round, which Gregg advocates, and then for whatever reason these quarterbacks don't pan out Gregg accuses these teams of not knowing what they are doing for drafting these quarterbacks in the first place.

It seems all but inevitable that at least one quarterback-hungry club will pass on a highly regarded quarterback in this week's NFL draft, and then by next Christmas be lamenting its also-ran status.

Yes, but when a team like the Browns take Gregg's advice by drafting Ryan Tannehill, and he busts, Gregg will accuse the Browns General Manager of not knowing what he is doing. Yet again, Gregg fails to see how his advice, which seems to be "Go after a quarterback in the draft, no matter what" doesn't entirely square with his belief anyone can be a General Manager because early round players turn out to be busts. If a General Manager doesn't like Tannehill, then he shouldn't draft him. It's that simple.

As usual, Gregg wants it both ways. He wants teams to do whatever it takes to draft quarterbacks in the first or second round, but he also wants to accuse these teams of not knowing what they are doing by drafting quarterbacks who don't succeed. Maybe a team is passing on Tannehill or another quarterback because they DO know what they are doing. Gregg has never thought of that.

One reason not all NFL teams go strong for quarterbacks is that coaches and general managers are concerned with avoiding criticism.

You mean like when an idiot non-sportswriter says "anyone" can run a team's NFL Draft because a player failed in the NFL for reasons beyond the control of that "person who runs the team's NFL draft?"

Drafting a quarterback high exposes the coach and general manager to jeering if the player fails, whereas if a highly drafted lineman or linebacker becomes a bust, few remember.

Says the same guy who listed three linemen or linebackers who where busts earlier in this very column.

In contrast hardly anyone remembers what coach or general manager (or even what team) picked Dwayne Robertson, Mike Williams, Tyson Jackson or Aaron Curry, major-disappointment linemen or linebackers chosen with recent top-five draft selections.

No, people remember who chose these players. Maybe Gregg doesn't remember, but he doesn't speak for everyone. Off the top of my head, with no looking it up:

Dwayne Robertson: Jets (don't know the GM)
Mike Williams: Lions (Matt Millen...who else?)
Tyson Jackson: Chiefs (Scott Pioli)
Aaron Curry: Seahawks (don't know the GM)

Want to win an NFL playoff game? Invest high draft choices in a quarterback, then stick with him.

What a revolutionary idea, Gregg! Did you just discover this well-known fact just now? You should right a book about this very topic that most people are already very well aware of.

Want to keep your name from being mentioned on sports-talk radio? Pass on quarterbacks high in the draft.

Matt Millen disagrees.

Here is what jumped out at your columnist from the brouhaha: Gingrich is traveling with a Secret Service detail.

The former speaker is all but mathematically eliminated from the Republican presidential nomination. The Chicago Cubs have a more realistic shot at winning the World Series than Gingrich has at winning the White House. Yet Gingrich continues to barnstorm at taxpayer expense.

How dare Gingrich exercise his right to run for public office and be afforded the security detail the former Speaker of the House seemingly (since serious Presidential candidates seem to get Secret Service detail) deserves while doing so!

A government committee decides which candidates merit Secret Service details But having a detail is an option, not a requirement. If Gingrich, a millionaire who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on jewelry, actually meant what he says about opposing the deficit, he would dismiss his subsidized bodyguards and pay the full cost of his own security.

If Gregg Easterbrook cared about children in Africa he wouldn't accept whatever monetary compensation he gets for this column and would donate all of his money to Nothing but Nets.

Next Week: Once again all drafts grade out as above average,

Of course Gregg Easterbrook doesn't give out draft grades. That would involve having some knowledge of the players who were taken in the draft and Gregg only knows enough about college football and the NFL to say what every team and player should have done when things go wrong. If Gregg has to make predictions or provide criticism before he already knows the outcome, well, he just isn't capable of doing that.