Allow me several paragraphs before we get into draft news (or, at least, draft rumors about Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney) and an interview with high pick Khalil Mack.
This is as opposed to every other week when Peter just talks about something non-NFL related without asking his readers' permission. I'm not sure why he feels the need to ask permission now.
There’s something else of note, something real … and at this time of year, when so much is smoke and mirrors and disguising real intent in advance of the draft, real sounds good to me right now.
Let's not forget that Peter has been reporting these smoke and mirrors for the past couple of weeks as if he knew the real intent of these NFL GM's. Tom Savage is shooting up boards! Khalil Mack is in play at #2! Teams are cold on Anthony Barr!
New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson is donating $5 million to help former Saints special-teamer Steve Gleason, who now is wheelchair-bound with ALS, and his Team Gleason foundation build and operate Team Gleason House for Innovative Living. The gift, Gleason said, will be used as an endowment for annual operating expenses for the home.
This is very kind of Tom Benson.
“Call me crazy,’’ Gleason said Sunday afternoon, “but I envision a facility like this in every NFL city.”
You may have a misconception about what Gleason said here. Let Peter clear that up for you because Peter wants to be clear.
Gleason actually didn’t “say” this. His ALS has advanced to the point where he cannot move any extremities, and he “types” by focusing his eyes on a computer screen, arduously recording words letter by letter on the laptop.
Thanks for clearing this up. I know I personally was extremely pissed off when I read that Peter typed Gleason "said" something. I was all like, "What a minute there, cowboy! Steve Gleason can't say anything because he has to use his eyes to type on a laptop. Don't do a disservice to those people who can 'say' something by indicating Gleason has all the facilities that a normal person without ALS has."
I asked Benson what motivated him to make this gift. “Steve is part of our Saints family,” Benson said.
Peter wants us to be clear. Tom Benson did actually SAY this using his own voice and no laptop.
I’ll be corny for a moment here. There’s something familial about New Orleans that’s different from most cities—maybe every city.
Sure, New Orleans is more familial than maybe every other city in the United States. This sounds like a completely plausible claim.
“Steve has this saying: ‘No white flags,’” said Benson.
PETER WANTS TO BE CLEAR THAT STEVE GLEASON DID NOT REALLY SAY THIS. HE CAN'T SAY ANYTHING DUE TO HIS ALS!
Ten days and counting, mercifully. Go fast, clock. Scatter-shooting what I know, now that the visitation period between players and teams is over, and the final boards are due to be set league-wide this week—if they’re not set already:
Yes, let's find out what Peter "knows," even though any information at this point has a good chance of being a lie or intentionally misleading.
When Clowney visited Atlanta last week, he left a very positive impression with the Falcons’ coaches and brass. I’d heard before that meeting that the Falcons weren’t inclined to entertain thoughts about making such a bold move, from sixth pick in the first round to No. 1 overall. Now they are thinking of it.
But Jadeveon Clowney is lazy and not worth the #1 overall pick! That's the narrative, don't try to change it now Peter.
I also like how Peter is telling us there are a ton of smokescreens this time of year and now he is reporting on Clowney-to-the-Falcons being a real thing and is not a smokescreen.
To move from six to one, it would likely take Atlanta’s first-rounder this year and next—at least that would be close if you’re using the draft pick-trade chart. (The first overall pick is worth 3,000 points, the sixth 1,600. For an equal swap, the Texans might ask for more than two first-rounders, figuring there’s no way the Falcons will be drafting in the top 10 next year.)
I'm pretty sure the Texans may ask for an equal swap in this trade, unless for some reason they want to get less compensation in a trade out of the #1 overall spot than they believe they should receive.
If the Texans would be happy to settle for, say, Blake Bortles or Khalil Mack,
And let's not get confused, if the Texans draft Blake Bortles then they would REALLY be settling.
There’s a rumor (apparently faulty) making the rounds about the Eagles moving up to try to get Johnny Manziel. I wouldn’t pass it along if the person who told me wasn’t smart and, to this point, reliable. But I just can’t see it, and I have someone who would know better than the rumor source telling me it absolutely won’t happen.
Oh, so source #2 is smarter than source #1. I wonder if Peter has a source draft chart based on each source's intelligence with that source's percentage of accurate rumors passed along. It's sort of Peter's Big Board for sources.
I just put it out there as an example of the kind of stuff that makes the rounds when so much of what happens at this time of year is designed to be a misdirection play.
You know, sort of like Tom Savage shooting up boards could be a misdirection or the fact any team with the ability to look at video tape and get past his physical characteristics could look at Blake Bortles and want to spend a Top-10 pick on him is a misdirection as well.
If Atlanta can’t get one, they can certainly get to No. 2.
Yes we know, Peter. The Rams' #2 pick is completely up for sale. We get it. The Rams want to accumulate draft picks and they call in their favorite reporter to help them get a market for that #2 overall pick. The Rams want to trade that pick and Marvin Demoff needs you to help them do so. It's understood.
St. Louis holds two first-round picks—the second and 13th overall choices—and you should put something close to the mortgage down on the prospect of them trading one or both of them.
So NFL teams, get ready to make your best available offer and make that offer high. Because the Rams are only going to accept big offers for their two picks. Not that Peter is going to set the market for the Rams of course or use MMQB to convey to NFL teams what it would take to move up and get the #2 or #13 overall picks of course.
That means the Rams, under Snead, have traded their three first-round picks a total of four times. Any questions about their intentions with the two first-rounders on May 8?
No Peter, my only question is whether you sleep well at night or do have some sense of guilt that you are used at times as a conduit of information to NFL teams by your agent? Does it bother you or are you fully aware of the conflict of interest as it pertains to the fact your agent who represents you also represents the Rams head coach and is the son of the Rams COO? I'm sure there are bigger conflicts of interest in the NFL, you know like Jay Glazer being personal friends and training those athletes he covers, but I'm not sure conflicts of interest are more blatant than Peter's pimping out of Alex Mack a few weeks ago in his Tuesday mailbag and his inside information on the Rams draft strategies for this year. I can't help but think Peter is being used as some sort of conduit to get information out to other NFL teams to help set a market for an eventual Rams draft day trade.
Manziel stuff. Come to find out that one team, at the NFL Scouting Combine, spent the entire 15-minute individual interview period with Manziel talking only about his personal life and his run-ins with trouble. When the horn blew to signify he had to go to his next speed-date, Manziel asked team officials and coaches in the room, “Any football questions?” There was none … This, by the way, from one NFL offensive coordinator whose team will not be choosing a quarterback high in this draft: “If I had the first pick in the draft, I’d take Manziel.”
Peter sees that any discussion of Manziel moves the needle, so I expect we can hear more Johnny Manziel talk from Peter for the next 5-15 years, depending on how successful Manziel is in the NFL of course.
Also, the fact this offensive coordinator isn't picking a quarterback high in this draft doesn't mean this offensive coordinator is an unbiased spectator when giving his opinion. If Manziel goes higher then that means there is a chance one of the quarterbacks this offensive coordinator may hypothetically like could go later in the second round. There's always an agenda and the fact the offensive coordinator's team isn't selecting a quarterback high doesn't mean there isn't one he wants to fall to his team.
I absolutely buy Dallas’ interest in Manziel. One: He is Jerry Jones’ kind of guy, and I believe Jones all along has had half an eye on Manziel, particularly if he could get him at a bargain position—say, the middle of the second round. I don’t believe Manziel will make it out of the first round, of course, but Jones could be sorely tempted at No. 16 overall if Manziel were there.
I'm shocked that Jerry Jones wants to make a splash and take a quarterback who will bring the Cowboys attention for something other than their record. Just absolutely shocked. How unlike Jerry Jones to be focused on getting attention for the Cowboys and doesn't seem as considered about making a pick that upgrades the Cowboys team as a whole. I can see how the Cowboys would be concerned about Romo's back, but to draft a quarterback in the first round? I'm not sure that's a smart move.
The top 10 of one team not in the top 10, though I do not know the order: Two quarterbacks (Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles), four tackles (Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan, Zack Martin), one defensive tackle (Aaron Donald), two pass-rushers (Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack), one wideout (Sammy Watkins).
What? I thought the Top-10 of the draft was already set and the only thing to be decided was the order these players would come off the board. That's what Peter has told us in a previous MMQB.
1. I think the difference between this year and many recent ones is that we know which players to place at the top of the draft, but we have no idea whom to match where. I’ll take this shot at the top 10, though the Rams certainly will have a chance to trade the second pick, and will be very interested in doing so:
- Houston: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida.
- St. Louis: Greg Robinson, T, Auburn.
- Jacksonville: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina.
- Cleveland: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville.
- Oakland: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M.
- Atlanta: Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M.
- Tampa Bay: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo.
- Minnesota: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA.
- Buffalo: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson.
- Detroit: Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan.
What happened to this "something very close to the first half of the first round"? How did Zach Martin and Aaron Donald sneak into this group? I'm vexed and confused. What happened to Anthony Barr and where is Teddy Bridgewater at on this team's big board? I thought "we" knew who to place at the top of the draft and now one NFL team has a different order. It's almost like it's impossible and disingenuous to pretend to be able to guess the Top-10 (or Top-16) of the NFL Draft in late February.
Want a darkhorse for Carolina at 28—or, if the Panthers are lucky and he falls to 60? Guard-tackle Joel Bitonio of Nevada. Coach Ron Rivera went to Reno to meet him and came away impressed, I’m told.
But, but "Wide receiver...make a splash...give Cam weapons...I'm a Panthers fan who only wants to see shiny, exciting new players drafted while I mock the Cowboys for only drafting shiny, exciting new players. Who cares if Cam has time to throw? I'm an ignorant Panthers fan who only wants to be excited even if it means the quarterback gets murdered by a pass rusher because he has no protection."
Yeah, I'm tired of hearing about how Cam "needs weapons" when four of the starting offensive linemen from last year's team could no longer be starting this upcoming season. I mean, you have to protect your quarterback, but the ignorant stupid fucks here in Carolina are stuck on a wide receiver because THEY ARE SHINY AND SO MOTHERFUCKING EXCITING!
(rant done...if a wide receiver falls to Carolina, great, otherwise offensive line is a much, much bigger need in my opinion...I get tired of hearing how bad Carolina needs to draft a receiver by these idiots who think drafting skill position players is the only way to go)
I spent time on the phone Saturday with the most unknown of the prospective high picks—outside linebacker Khalil Mack, from Buffalo of the Mid-American Conference.
Can he still be considered "unknown" if he's been talked about so much that everyone knows his story already? Don't worry Peter doesn't answer that question.
You might know some of his story:
Because he's so unknown part of his story is already known. By the way, don't we as a public know Khalil Mack's story as well as the other top picks' story at this point?
Mack’s best fit is as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, though he says he can also play 4-3 end or outside ’backer, and, at 251 pounds, it’s not impossible that he could play inside as well. But his edge-rushing ability would be best employed coming off the edge in the 3-4. That’s what the Texans play.
Plus, the Rams are totally thinking about drafting Mack at #2. So if an NFL team wants to move up and grab Mack before the Rams do then make a really good offer now. No time to waste, make that offer now or else Mack is totally going to be a St. Louis Ram because they love him so much, but not enough to actually draft him. So make the Rams an offer because that pick is up for grabs, but make the offer really, really strong.
“Got a gut feel where you’re going in the draft?” I asked.
“Not at all,” Mack said. “Wish I knew.”
Well, Peter has known since late February you were going to go in the Top-10, he just didn't know which team it was that would be drafting Mack.
Ten things you need to know about Earl Morrall.
7. In 1972,filling in after Bob Griese broke his ankle in Week 5, Morrall went 9-0 as a starting quarterback in the Dolphins’ perfect season—the last time any NFL teams won every game it played during a season—and was named First Team All-Pro for the second time. But he was replaced by Griese as the starter for the Super Bowl after struggling in the AFC title game at Pittsburgh.
Imagine if this happened in 2014. Imagine if a backup quarterback named first team All-Pro was replaced for the Super Bowl after struggling in the title game. I can already hear Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith arguing back and forth whether this was the right move or not. It's not like Morrall only played part of the title game, but he was 9-0 prior to the game as the starter and the coach replaced him for struggling in the AFC title game. The media would have a field day with this story if it happened in 2014.
“If I was a GM in the NFL, I would not take him in the first round of the draft … You’ve got to see the quarterbacks throw the ball live. I’ve never seen a top quarterback in the last 10 years have a bad Pro Day until Teddy Bridgewater. He had no accuracy. The ball came out funny. The arm strength wasn’t there, and it made me question everything I saw on tape because this was live.”
—Mike Mayock, on the Petros and Money Show on AM-570 in Los Angeles (via Pro Football Talk)
These are all opinions, so it's hard to get all up in arms over these opinions, but this was just crazy to me. Teddy Bridgewater had a bad Pro Day. Fine. How does his bad Pro Day trump everything else he has done during games and on the field outside of that Pro Day? I like Teddy Bridgewater a lot, so take anything I say with a grain of salt. Mayock says:
You’ve got to see the quarterbacks throw the ball live.
There is tape of Teddy Bridgewater throwing the ball live. He played for three seasons at Louisville and there were plenty of chances to see him throw the ball live during that time. I saw Teddy Bridgewater throw the ball live when he was a freshmen against West Virginia. So does that make me qualified to say he should be taken in the first round?
The ball came out funny. The arm strength wasn’t there, and it made me question everything I saw on tape because this was live.”
I mean, go for it, but any "draft expert" who watches one bad Pro Day of Teddy Bridgewater's and then decides to write him off as a first round prospect better be prepared to do the same for any quarterback who has 2-3 bad games on tape. I know it isn't live, but the tape doesn't lie either. It's all there on Bridgewater. Ignore the tape at your own peril.
It's just absolutely hilarious to me how guys like Mayock are knocking down Bridgewater because he didn't do well at a scripted workout. It's like his three years of tape means nothing and was simply an optical illusion so that seeing Bridgewater throw live suddenly helped reveal the truth about him. It's ridiculous, but "draft experts" can pretty much say whatever they want and nobody cares. They are experts who aren't experts and aren't held to a standard that their opinion is a truthful and fact-based opinion. It's not like there is any downside to saying anything controversial or saying a hot sports take. When Mayock is drooling over Bridgewater in two years all will be forgotten.
“When is the draft now? I think it’s in September.”
God, what an insightful and important quote. I'm glad Peter included this among his "Quotes of the Week."
“Well, I’m very confident in what I’ve done. The people who are the critics, they look at all of the negatives. They don’t look at all of the stuff I’ve accomplished. They don’t look at that I’m one of three quarterbacks in the history of the NFL to do certain things. They don’t look at that kind of stuff. They want to find ways to tear me down, but I’m not worried about that. They can say whatever they want. All that matters is what everyone believes in this organization and what I believe in myself. That’s how I go about my business.’’
—Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, reporting to work last week for the Bengals’ offseason program.
In non-ironic fashion after providing this quote by Dalton about his haters who don't look at everything that he has accomplished, Peter provides information showing the difference in Dalton's regular season and postseason performance.
Dalton is beginning to chafe at the perception (reality’s more like it) that he’s been good in the regular season and poor in the post-season.
I'm not sure if Peter is outing himself as one of Dalton's haters or simply pointing out the criticism is fair. One thing I do know is the Bengals weren't exactly winning multiple playoff games prior to Andy Dalton being their quarterback in 2011.
I found myself in a spot in Rhode Island for a few hours last week that I’d never been before—South Kingstown, on the sea, 45 minutes south of Providence—visiting retired New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride for a story you’ll be seeing this week. Wooded, quiet, close to beaches, not over-developed.
South Kingstown woods, you now have Peter King's seal of approval. Feel free to grow and prosper as you wish from now on.
What a great smell,
An underrated smell, even. The woods near South Kingstown have always been underrated!
a sea smell, even a half-mile in from the water.
Careful with the wind! It brings smells all over the place in South Kingstown. The wind is also very underrated. It can straight blow you away.
I couldn't play for him
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 26, 2014
What Kobe really means is that he is currently injured, so he couldn't play for Donald Sterling. He would play for him, but he couldn't right now. Plus, the Lakers have already showed Kobe the money. Back when the Lakers had not shown Kobe the money, he seemed pretty dang willing to play for Donald Sterling.
If Kobe thinks Karl Malone's, "I'm hunting for Mexican girls" comment was bad just wait until Donald Sterling has a few comments about Kobe's wife.
I half expect Peter to write, "I don't know much about the NBA and have no interest in the sport, but I do know Donald Sterling is a racist." I feel like this is a sentence he must type. Nearly all of his comments on the NBA are prefaced by how little he knows about the NBA.
Ten Things I Think I Think
2. I think the one consistent whine about the schedule I heard in the past few days was the Oakland fandom complaining about opening at the Jets, then returning to play at New England in Week 3 and London in Week 4.
I would be irritated the Panthers close the season on the road against a division rival, but they have only closed the season at home four times (I believe) since 2000 so I guess I should be used to it at that point. No schedule can be fair, but closing on the road against a division rival nearly every year is a bit tiresome.
That’s a tough start for sure. But the Raiders—as most western teams do when they have to play in England—requested a Week 3 East Coast game so the trip to England would be 5.5 hours instead of 10. So the only beef is playing Week 1 on the East Coast.
See Peter, the Raiders fans didn't request the Raiders play an East Coast game before going to England, the team did. This can all be fixed by the NFL just not playing games in England, but that would make sense and ruin Roger Goodell's plan to put an NFL team in England, regardless of whether they want an NFL team or not. After all, there are a few American markets that would support an NFL team, so why not give England a team. After all, money.
And who cares, really?
Raiders fans do, Peter. Raiders fans clearly care. You just said Raiders fans were whining about this road trip, so that's who cares.
5. I think if Blake Bortles sat in the front row at a Rays or Marlins game with his girlfriend, no one would say, “Hey, why isn’t Blake Bortles concentrating on football and staying out of the public eye before the draft?” First: it’s possible directors and camera people wouldn’t know what Blake Bortles looks like, so he might not even be noticed. But also, if they did know it was Bortles and put his mug on TV, I can’t imagine anyone questioning his dedication or decision-making because he chose one evening to sit in the stands at a baseball game.
Stand up for Johnny Manziel, Peter! Don't let the big bad bullies in the media criticize him.
(Peter will then go on a 300 word rant about what a waste of money Josh Freeman was this season)
6. I think, also, I’d like to know the difference between J.J. Watt and Russell Wilson being on-site at the NCAA basketball tournament, and Johnny Manziel being there.
The difference is that Russell Wilson and J.J. Watt have already been drafted by an NFL team while Johnny Manziel has yet to be drafted by an NFL team and there is a line of thought he should skip attending sporting events and prepare for the draft. I disagree with this, but there is a difference in Manziel being at the NCAA tournament and Wilson/Watt being at the NCAA tournament. Manziel is not employed in the NFL yet and Watt/Wilson are.
7. I think I get the part about folks wondering if Manziel is devoted to his craft when they see him in the bars at 2 a.m. But going to sports events is a different story entirely.
1. It is clear that Peter is very, very concerned about the media questioning what Manziel should be doing with his time.
2. Shouldn't all of these thoughts about Johnny Manziel be under the same #5 heading in Peter's outline? These are all thoughts about one certain topic, so Peter would either continue his thoughts on Manziel by putting an "a." or "b." below the #5 or just make points #5-#7 all one thought. It's how outlines are supposed to work I believe.
Do you know, for instance, that Manziel, on the day he visited with the Texans in Houston, was in the gym at 6:15 a.m.working out before he had to be in front of the Texans brass? My point about all of this: It’s fair game to doubt Manziel. But I think it is folly to suggest that being at a ballgame or The Masters is a black mark against his dedication to football.
And somehow this point took three separate numbers in Peter's "Things I Think" outline to fully get across.
9. I think I’d like to congratulate our writers at The MMQB for a fine week.
"Congratulations to me and my website!"
When the NFL pushed the draft back two weeks, I wanted to avoid two extra weeks of nothing but draft coverage, because I think we’re already inundated with it for two full months, starting at the combine. So this week, while not ignoring the draft, our writers wrote solid pieces on other things.
It was probably a good idea to write about other things rather than the draft. Of course, there's the whole matter that Peter seems to continually struggle with which is instead of congratulating other people in private, Peter gives public congratulations in MMQB here that can come off as a bit self-serving or fishing for compliments.
When I walked into Sports Illustrated managing editor Chris Stone’s office Friday, he said, “What a week you guys had!’’ That is my bow for the week. Hope you don’t mind me bragging about our troops.
I don't know why Peter thinks his readers would care now about him publicly congratulating friends/co-workers/random people/inanimate objects. He's been doing this for several years now.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. The only remaining question about Donald Sterling: When’s he selling the team?
Who is he going to sell the team to? Magic Johnson? He wouldn't let his girlfriend appear in a picture with Magic Johnson, you think he's going to be excited to sell HIS basketball team to Magic? Donald Sterling is selling the Clippers team when the NBA makes him sell the Clippers team, which I guessing will be sometime between "never" and "over his dead body."
e. Daniel Murphy stole his 27th straight base Sunday. I dropped my dentures when I heard who held the Mets’ record for consecutive stolen bases: Kevin McReynolds, with 33. How is that possible?
It's possible because Kevin McReynolds stole 33 bases without getting caught. He did steal 50 bases over three seasons from 1987-1989. It's not like he never stole a base.
f. Dice-K a closer? A nibbler closing? Impossible. That’s it. I am officially a baseball dunce.
It was official a few years ago. Not every closer has to throw the ball 97 mph and throw a ton of strikes. There is more than one way to close out a baseball game.
g. I am also officially a TV dope. I have missed “Game of Thrones” and “Mad Men.” Totally. Every episode.
But five years from now when Peter starts watching "Mad Men" I'm sure he will tell us all how entertaining it is in MMQB. "Mad Men" seems like the perfect Peter King television show. I'm surprised he's never watched an episode.
h. Apropos of very little: Ansel Adams died on April 22, 1984. Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994. Pat Tillman died on April 22, 2004.
Hmmmm...what is the takeaway from this again?
i. Coffeenerdness: Six shots of espresso Sunday, before 3 p.m. It is officially close to the draft.
Or Peter officially has too much money that he feels the need to waste it on bullshit like six shots of espresso.
k. If I could print the best lines each week in “Veep,’’ I would. If Elaine Benes were saying them, they’d be printable. But Selena Meyer? Too edgy for a family website.
Yes, Peter lives in a world where "Veep" is too edgy for his site. Even if he didn't print the curse words, it's all too edgy for anyone to read.
The Adieu Haiku
So, Donald Sterling:
You had to open your mouth.
Long past time to go.
You tell him, Peter! Way to put Donald Sterling in his place in haiku form. Tough words should be delivered in the form of a traditional Japanese poem. Speaking of long past time to go, about this Adieu Haiku...