Tuesday, May 5, 2015

9 comments MMQB Review: Peter King Wrote that Depression is a Character Flaw, But Don't Worry He Apologized So It's All Better Now

Peter King stalked a woman on a running trail last week in MMQB. I'm overstating what happened. He didn't stalk her. He just ran behind her for a mile and listened to her conversation while eagerly trying to remember what she was talking about. That's totally different from stalking. It's like eavesdropping, which is so much better. Peter got ready for the 2015 NFL Draft that had no consensus top players, unlike yet very much like, NFL Drafts in the past. Peter insisted there was a consensus #1 pick last year, yet I showed where Peter didn't even mock Clowney to the Texans three days before the start of the 2014 NFL Draft. This week Peter talks about THE CRAZIEST DRAFT IN THE HISTORY OF DRAFTS, how the Buccaneers didn't talk themselves into Jameis Winston, talks about the best moves (moves regarding players whose names Peter had heard of) and worst moves (moves that Peter didn't understand based on his knowing for a fact when all the players were going to be taken), and Peter enjoyed the Clippers-Spurs series even though (DID YOU KNOW THIS?) he's not a basketball fan.

Pick up the Tampa Bay Times, and see a huge photo of Jameis Winston in a red Bucs cap surrounded by nine blaring all-caps words:

Bring the paper to One Buc Place, where the team has its offices and practice facility. Winston is resplendent in a black suit, black tie, white shirt, Bucs lapel pin and that same red cap.

I still don't know if I think the crab legs photo was excellent trolling or a sign of immaturity. It probably doesn't matter either way.

Take out the paper to show Winston what greets him on his first day as a professional, the ink barely dry on his four-year, $25.3-million rookie contract, which he signed 90 minutes earlier. Open it for him to see. He looks. He’s emotionless.

What’s your reaction, Jameis?

(Winston stands on a table and screams "Fuck her righ----" as Jason Licht immediately tackles Winston and plunges a syringe into his neck)

Winston said: “I had to grow the last couple of years, because of what I’ve done, because of what I have brought on myself. It’s all a part of growing up. I can’t change people’s opinions of me. I just gotta keep getting better every day, as a player and as a man.

“The only thing I can do … It’s not words. It’s actions. It’s by my actions.”

That's a great point by Manzi---I mean Jameis Winston. It's his actions that people will judge him by.

I feel bad for Winston because the sports media just got burnt by Johnny Manziel swearing he was a different person from who he was in college and then he wasn't (I'm not blaming him, he's a person who has to grow up like any early 20-something does), so they are going to be very skeptical of Jameis Winston and his insistence he's totally different now.

Winston knows. It’s a talk-is-cheap time of his life, and he knows he has to stack day after day after day of business-like days together, one after another.

See? Manziel has ruined it for everybody over the next couple of years.

He has to win too.

What? The Buccaneers expect Winston to win them some games? The things you can learn in MMQB...

Two top-10 picks in January turning into the 23rd and 60th picks because of off-field problems. A first-round tackle turning into an undrafted player because of a Louisiana murder.

The NFL everyone!

The draft began with boredom: fairly predictable first round, and only two trades. But we’ve known Winston was going to be the first pick for so long that we forgot what a seminal pick he was, and what a risky pick too, for such a downtrodden franchise that needed him so badly.

Just like last year, when Peter had the Texans picking Blake Bortles #1 overall like everyone knew they would, the top of this draft was pretty boring. 

On Friday, when Winston and his family stepped off a plane from their home in Alabama, the entire Bucs staff was in the lobby to give Winston an ovation. There might be some hate in the community and the wider world, but not here. Not today. Livelihoods are at stake, and the new quarterback can save jobs if he plays like he often did up the road at Florida State.

Yeah, no pressure Jameis. You are not only supposed to learn how to be an NFL quarterback in no time at all but everybody wants you to save their jobs. These people shouldn't be expected to save their own jobs I guess.

“One of the pivotal moments came when Lovie and I went to the Rose Bowl,” says Licht, of the Jan. 1 game that pitted Oregon against FSU, Mariota against Winston, the two best quarterbacks facing off. “We got on the plane here in Tampa and Lovie pulled out his [Microsoft] Surface to watch tape, and I didn’t even want to see what he was looking at. I wanted Lovie to come to his own decision, not influenced in any way by me.”
The game: Oregon 59, Florida State 20. A walkoff win by Mariota. Now the two men who share the final say on Bucs’ draft choices and trades were alone, thinking. After the game, in the car back to the hotel, Licht was dying to know. He said to Smith: “All right, Lovie. Who’s your guy?”
“Jase, you know who it is,” Smith said.

It's Rex Grossman isn't it?

Licht didn’t know exactly how Smith arrived at this conclusion, but he knew Smith meant Winston.

Meanwhile, Lovie Smith sat there awkwardly because he was clearly referring to the quarterback whose team won by 39 points, but he didn't want to bring this up. After all, he had made a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton. Lovie could handle Jameis being his quarterback.

I don't want to be a wet blanket, but if I'm a Bucs fan it scares me a bit that Licht had it in his mind to pick Winston for over a year now. This is the same guy who thought Josh McCown could be a full-time NFL starter just last year.

So why didn’t the Bucs, who talked to more than 75 people as part of the organization’s investigation into Winston’s character, talk to the woman who accused him of attacking her, Erica Kinsman? Did the Bucs just want the investigation to be finished, and to say what the team wanted it to say?
“That’s not the case,” Licht said adamantly. “We are not talking about this now… but we read the depositions. We knew what she was going to say. This was a thorough investigation. We were not going to mistake charisma for character.”

So the Bucs didn't talk to anyone who gave a deposition during that investigation because they knew what these people would say? Or did the Bucs talk to some people who gave a deposition, except the person who was making the accusations during the investigation? I have no dog in this fight, but talking to some who gave a deposition, while also knowing what they would say, then saying "We didn't talk to the alleged victim because we knew what she would say," sounds a bit like reaching a conclusion the team wanted to reach. If the Bucs interviewed another person who had given a deposition then why did they interview this person if they just knew what he/she would say?

Said Licht: “The more I watched of him, the more I thought, what worries you about him, you love. He’s so damn tough. So clutch. When things are going bad, he rises.”

I mean, I could make a joke about bad things and Winston "rising" in those situations, but it would not be appropriate and in poor taste.

There is no question that Licht will be judged by this pick.

BREAKING NEWS: A General Manager will be judged by his draft picks.

But Smith is adamant about one thing.

“I try as a rule to make my own decisions about a person,” he said Saturday, sitting on the edge of the couch in his office. “So we had some incidents in college about Jameis to consider. The crab legs, shooting BB guns, standing in the cafeteria and shouting things out. You know, you do stupid things sometimes when you’re 20, 21 years old. You get off track. You say later, ‘I wish I hadn’t done those things.’ But then there was a serious accusation we had to come to grips with. [The accusation that he sexually assaulted a Florida State student, Kinsman.] That was investigated three times. No charges were filed. I understand something happened. But when do you get to the point where you say, ‘We have to let the courts decide, and we abide by their ruling?’ They did not charge Jameis with anything. And at that point, I am going to make the judgment that I am not going to hold this incident against him.”

Okay...I don't think the point is to hold the incident against Winston. The point is that the Buccaneers need to know if this incident is an example of Winston's behavior towards women, if it was a one-time incident that would never happen again if it ever happened originally or it's just one example of behavior that will cause problems for him as a professional in the NFL. It's not about holding incidents against a player, but judging behavior as representative of behavior you want associated with your franchise now and in the future.

Smith met an uncle of Winston’s who asked him: “You like the NBA?” Smith said he did.

“You remember the Michael Jordan draft?”

Peter doesn't remember this because he doesn't like basketball. Has Peter ever mentioned he doesn't watch much basketball when he's busy making judgments about basketball players/teams?

Smith did. That’s the year, 1984, that Portland took the ill-fated Sam Bowie second overall, and Chicago took Jordan third.

“Don’t pick the wrong guy,” the uncle said.

Don’t pick Marcus Mariota over Winston, he meant.


I do believe that Peter King thinks his readers are absolute morons. He feels the need to explain that "Don't pick the wrong guy," coming from Jameis Winston's uncle means Winston's uncle thinks the Bucs should choose his nephew over Marcus Mariota. Does this need an explanation? Does Peter think his readers are so stupid that they would believe Jameis' uncle is warning the Bucs NOT to choose his nephew? Does Peter think Jameis' uncle thought this would be a good chance to advocate for Dante Fowler Jr. to be the #1 overall pick? Of course Jameis' uncle is referring to drafting Mariota over Winston. Yet, Peter is compelled to explain that's the meaning to his readers of MMQB. Peter thinks his readers are idiots. So haughty of him.

They’d give this test to both Winston (first) and then Mariota (a week later). Winston reported to the facility one day in early March, and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and quarterback coach Mike Bajakian taught him what he’d learn on the first day of rookie minicamp. “Day 1 Install,” it was called. Fifteen plays, runs and passes, with a slew of formations, progressions in the quarterback’s read, snap counts, coverages, hot receivers if the defense blitzed, offensive-line protections. Bajakian took 90 minutes to explain the “install,” flying through it on purpose, to throw a lot at Winston to see what he’d remember—more conceptually than in memorization. Then, as part of the information-overload, the coaches took him to lunch in the Bucs cafeteria,

To see if he would stand up on a table and start screaming something obscene? 

introducing him to a slew of people, talking to him about his family, doing whatever to get his mind off the football and on to something else. They wanted to test his recall, and his football acumen.

And if Winston couldn't remember the name of Beverly, a fine lady who was in charge of all desserts at the Buccaneers facility, well then he certainly wasn't worth the #1 overall pick. 

Licht was blown away by Koetter’s impression after that couple of hours with Winston. “I’m going to compare every guy I test like that the rest of my career to Jameis,” Koetter told Licht. 

But there was one other thing that Koetter saw as a danger sign—and the Bucs realize is part of the education of a young quarterback. At Florida State, Winston threw 18 interceptions last season, and had at least seven more dropped or missed. Winston has bravado, which every team wants in its quarterback.

“I’m not afraid of making any throw,” Winston told Koetter that day in March.
“You need to be,” Koetter told Winston.
Good advice.

I think it's bad advice. Part of the reason behind Winston's success at Florida State is his confidence that he can make any throw, so why try to take that away from him? Sure, refine it and convince him to not make certain throws in certain situations, but to tell him he needs to be afraid of making any throw? I think that neuters Winston and could eventually erode his confidence by turning him into a quarterback who goes against what has made him successful in college. Teach Winston to recognize coverage and why he shouldn't make a certain throw, don't teach him to be afraid of making that throw though. Let him figure out why he shouldn't make the throw he knows he could make. What do I know though?

You may recall when I wrote about Winston—the Florida State baseball team’s closer last season—at the combine in my Feb. 23 column that I asked him whether he would ever want to play both sports as a professional. “I can’t speak on that,” he said. “It has always been my dream, but I’m just playing football right now.”

Licht and agents Greg Genske and Kenny Felder negotiated the Winston contract so he’d have the business of football out of the way and he could focus solely on football starting with the Bucs’ minicamp starting this Thursday in Tampa. In the contract, a Bucs’ source said, is a clause prohibiting Winston from playing professional baseball during the life of his Tampa Bay deal.

Winston was never really thinking of playing baseball professionally. I like how this statement made to Peter King caused some to wonder about Winston's commitment to football, yet no one seems to have a huge issue with Russell Wilson pretending he may play baseball as a negotiating tool to get a new contract. Wilson has won a Super Bowl, so his commitment to football could never be questioned, even if he spends part of the offseason hanging around the camp of the MLB team that drafted him and constantly is like, "Man, I'd like to play baseball" as an obvious negotiating tactic.

Some inside football here.

I like how Peter has to warn his readers there is some "inside football" coming up. He wants them to have this warning in case they stumbled upon MMQB and thought it was just a collection of short stories about coffee, beer and how women on running trails should really not talk on the phone because they never know who may be following them for a mile. Shows me where the priority is for MMQB these days.

Four really good stories happened between the 53rd pick in the draft, held by Cincinnati as day two of the draft began, and the 61st pick, held by Indianapolis and traded to Tampa Bay when the Colts were on the clock.

Pick 53, Cincinnati: Jake Fisher, tackle, Oregon.

Coach Marvin Lewis loved Fisher. Owner Mike Brown lives by the draft board, and midway through the round, Fisher was the only player left with a first-round Bengal grade. The Bengals turned in the pick. Alexander, working his 22nd draft with the Bengals (the coaches in Cincinnati are more involved than with any other franchise), got the biggest surprise of his personnel evaluation career: He thought one or both of Ogbuehi and Fisher would be gone at pick No. 21, and he got one of them at 21, the other at 53.

As I've said on Twitter of late, teams lie after the draft as well. Either way Marvin Lewis isn't good at player evaluation or he is lying. There was no way that Ogbuehi was going to be gone by #21 due to the injury concerns and I didn't see many mocks that had both Ogbuehi and Fisher gone at that point. I can't imagine what team would pick Ogbuehi in the top 20 picks of the draft given the concern for his knee. I could be wrong, because as we learn later clearly Peter King knows when every player in the draft was due to be drafted.

This could be a redshirt year for Ogbuehi, who won’t be fully healthy until at least November;

Exactly, but Marvin Lewis thinks Ogbuehi would go in the first 20 picks and there is a chance Fisher goes that early too? Once you accept NFL teams lie about shit year-round, it makes what they say much easier to see through.

Pick 55, Baltimore: Maxx Williams, tight end, Minnesota.

But then, maybe 45 minutes before they were scheduled to pick, the Ravens heard reliably (or so they thought) that the Steelers were locked on Williams. Maybe it was true, maybe it wasn’t; you never know in the middle of the draft if you are being played or getting the real scoop. But Baltimore began to call teams ahead of Pittsburgh, picking 56th, to see if they would move. Arizona, at 55, was willing, figuring the guy they wanted here, defensive end Markus Golden of Missouri would likely make it to 58. For the cost of a pick exactly 100 picks later—No. 158 overall—Baltimore leapfrogged Pittsburgh. The Ravens picked Williams.

“So for a fifth-round pick, Ravens stole Maxx Williams from Steelers. Great move,” tweeted Ed Bouchette, long-time and plugged-in Steeler beat man.

It's interesting to me how Peter pays attention to what some NFL beat guys Tweet and ignores others. Ed Bouchette confirms the Steelers may have wanted Williams, so Peter takes this as reality, but later in this MMQB Peter states another prospect was a reach in the 1st round when a Dallas sportscaster stated the Cowboys were going to take this player at #27.

The Steelers got their rookie tight end, Jesse James of Penn State, in the fifth round. It’ll be interesting to see over the next few years how much damage Williams does in this rivalry. The Steelers are the types to look back, but if Williams makes beautiful music with Flacco, he’ll add some spice to a rivalry that doesn’t need it.

Keep creating these storylines and narratives, Peter. We can't let exciting football games between these two teams be the only story. There has to be more.

Pick 60, Dallas: Randy Gregory, defensive end/outside linebacker, Nebraska. My first thought after this pick: Rod Marinelli’s going to have Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory in his defensive team meeting room. Hope he’s ready. The Cowboys honestly considered Gregory in the first round, too, before going for another need guy, cornerback Byron Jones of UConn. When it got close to pick 60, I’m told a serious conversation wasn’t needed; Gregory was such a strong candidate as a player that Dallas was willing to work with him on his marijuana history, and his history of depression and anxiety, according to SI.com’s Don Banks. Other reports say Gregory was either bipolar or had some other personality disorder that made it difficult for him to focus on football, or anything, for long periods. Gregory, without question, was a top-10 value on talent alone. But he tumbled down so many draft boards because of his character flaws.

Yes, in the original draft of this MMQB Peter King referred to a history of depression and anxiety, as well as possibly being bipolar as "character flaws." Of course he did. These are the types of things that Peter writes without thinking. He later apologized on Twitter and all was good. I, of course, made some vague Tweets about a lack of comment from a certain guy who works for "SI" who criticizes other writers and sports talking heads for their comments, as he was suspiciously quiet about this statement. I feel like he gives more leeway to employees of "SI" for statements such as this. He has sort of a "Yeah, he screwed that one up" type of attitude, which is fine, but I get concerned Peter even made the statement in MMQB. Sure, he apologized, but if I Tweet something insensitive on a topic (or do something like this almost every month as it seems of late in regard to Peter King), then what good is an apology if my audience doesn't believe I won't just do it again? That's how I feel about Peter. I feel he is so disconnected from reality in some ways that he needs everyone to say, "Hey buddy, being bi-polar isn't a 'character flaw'" and it shouldn't be that way. Should Peter need someone to correct this statement for him? I wouldn't think so, yet he does. I think that merits some criticism.

Talking football, there have always been rumors that Greg Hardy is a bit bi-polar as well. It's always a rumor and it doesn't mean it's correct. Some guys are just odd. I heard similar stuff about Gregory during the college football season, but in a slightly different version. 

And for the Jones family. On Sunday night, I spoke with Cowboys COO Stephen Jones, who was on the front line of the Gregory decision over the past month:

The MMQB: Did you consider him in the first round? I heard you did.

Jones: I think in this day and time, we want our first-round pick to be clean. That’s how we operated here.

Said with no sense of irony from the team that signed Greg Hardy as a free agent.

The MMQB: Rod Marinelli seems like a my-way-or-the-highway kind of guy. Was he on board with Gregory?

Jones: Absolutely. He is my way or the highway. He has said to us before about certain players, ‘I don’t think I can work with this guy.’ But if they love football, and if they fight their ass off in practice and in games, he can work with them. And he wants them.

Translation (and this goes for every NFL team): If they can win us some games and make their position coach look good, then they have a spot on this team. Just as long as they don't get in trouble again, of course. If these players do get in trouble then the team will try to figure out how good they will be without that player and take action or not take action accordingly.

Pick 61, Tampa Bay: Ali Marpet, guard, Hobart. Not a lot of pressure on Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht in this draft. There’s the Jameis Winston pick, and the dangers of that. There’s the disaster of 2014 free agency, which included the pricey acquisition at left tackle, Anthony Collins, failing miserably and getting cut after the season.

Don't forget the rest of the failure from the 2014 free agency period and win the Buccaneers "won" free agency before by signing Carl Nicks and Dashon Goldson. 

At the Senior Bowl, offensive line coach George Warhop told Licht his favorite two players were Smith and Marpet. At the combine, after Marpet ran a guard-best 4.98 40-yard dash, Licht texted one of the Bucs’ owners in the Glazer family—desperate for news on how the quarterbacks looked in Indianapolis—with news on the passers. And he added: “By the way, our favorite player here is Ali Marpet.”

Isn't it weird how most NFL teams get the exact players they loved prior to the draft on draft day? It's odd how nearly every single team was targeting this specific player and then they ended up drafting that player. Yet it happens all the time. A team is targeting a player and then they land that player. Odd, especially given the NFL teams don't continue to lie after the draft. It's all truth-telling from that point on.

On Sept. 13, 2014, Marpet played left tackle and blocked for quarterback Patrick Conlan against Endicott College in Beverly, Mass., with 1,725 watching. On Sept. 13, 2015, if all goes well, Marpet will line up at right guard and block for the first pick in the NFL draft, Jameis Winston, in his NFL debut against the Tennessee Titans, with 65,908 watching. That’s not too big an adjustment, is it?

Well, since Marpet isn't a woman official then I see no reason why this would be a huge adjustment for him. If Marpet were a female official making her introduction to NFL life, then Peter would have serious issues with this type of adjustment. 

Now Peter names his "GM's of the Weekend" or as it is better known, "GM's who seem to have made good moves on paper because that's all Peter really understands or knows at this point." 

Trent Baalke, San Francisco. No one plays the futures trading game better than Baalke. He held the 15th pick of the first round, and the worst-kept secret in football leading up to the draft was that San Francisco was over-the-top smitten with Oregon defensive end Arik Armstead. Here was Armstead, available at 15. But here came San Diego, picking 17th, desperately wanting to get up to pick Melvin Gordon, fearful that Houston, at 16, might. Baalke got San Diego’s fourth-round pick this year and fifth-round pick in 2016, and still got Armstead picking at 17 … at a savings of about $725,000 in first-round-slotting-system contract dollars because Baalke got him two picks later. Baalke also traded a pick 10 slots from the bottom of the draft, number 246 overall, and flipped that to Dallas for a 2016 sixth-rounder. So the Niners enter the offseason with a league-high nine picks in the 2016 draft.

As Peter is prone to do, he thinks a team "wins" the draft by having the most picks in next year's draft and creating more picks in this year's draft. This "futures game" that Baalke is playing worked so well for the 49ers last year, plus he has Jim Tomsula coaching these guys up so what could go wrong?

Next year around draft time, Peter is sure to have a MMQB where he will state that the 49ers "control" the 2016 NFL Draft. What team "won" the draft the year before will then "control" the draft for the next year. That's how it works for Peter.

Mike Maccagnan, New York Jets.

Maccagnan added a speed merchant used to playing big games, Ohio State’s Devin Smith,

Oh, so how will Smith having experience playing in big games help the Jets then?

and an intriguing quarterback prospect, Bryce Petty, with a value pick at 103.

Intriguing meaning, "He's a white, pocket quarterback who some reporters got duped into believing he would be taken earlier so this seems like a steal based on incorrect previous information these reporters had."

Tom Telesco, San Diego. I like Melvin Gordon a lot, and the Denzel Perryman pick gives San Diego three solid inside linebackers; Perryman will be the best of the lot by midseason. But this nod to Telesco is for not trading Philip Rivers. Making that trade because Rivers is 33 and the Chargers aren’t sure if he’ll sign with the franchise long-term would been a dumb, panicked move

Great job in not doing something stupid by trading a franchise quarterback! Also, the Saints didn't trade Drew Brees, so kudos to their front office for not considering a trade since Brees has a huge cap number next year and the team may have to renegotiate or release him. They could have considered a trade, but did not. Great job!

GM I Couldn’t Figure Out

Dave Gettleman, Carolina. None of these things can be judged for at least a couple of years, of course, so Gettleman, who has done a good job being patient in his Carolina rebuild, deserves time to see if he’s right and everyone else is wrong. 

Whatever. I don't care about Peter's opinion of the Panthers' draft. What I do care about is when Peter says things that aren't factually true. While earlier in this MMQB he paid attention to a Tweet from Ed Bouchette, and created a narrative regarding the drafting of Maxx Williams by the Ravens, when the Steelers wanted him as well. It seems Peter ignores other evidence he could find where a statement he might want to believe is true, is actually incorrect.

But with a significant tackle need (Carolina is due to start the shaky Michael Oher on Cam Newton’s blind side, no pun intended), I thought Gettleman over-drafted Shaq Thompson at 25. Thompson certainly would have been there 10 or more picks later.

Thompson "certainly" would have been there. Really? From a Dallas sportscaster...

 Maybe it is just Dallas saying that and the Panthers stumbled into drafting him at the perfect time.

So I don't care what Peter thinks, but evidence points to Thompson not being a reach at #27. Maybe the Panthers are lying and they really care if "experts" think they reached and the Cowboys are covering for them. Or maybe Peter just sort of wrote what he felt he knew but didn't really know.

And picking wide receiver/tight end combo guy Devin Funchess at 41 was a significant reach, according to the chorus of GMs I spoke with over the weekend. “Can be lazy and become disinterested in the game if he goes stretches without being utilized,” Ourlads Guide to the NFL Draft wrote of Funchess.

You mean like Steve Smith would get, which is why the game plan usually ensured he got the ball early in every game? And of course, these GM's all were lying before the draft, but they are back to always telling the truth after the draft is over.

But Gettleman didn’t just reach for Funchess. He traded third- and sixth-round picks to move up to get him. There will be significant pressure on the 14th tackle picked in this draft, fourth-round pick Daryl Williams, to produce at tackle for Carolina. 

He's not even penciled in as the starter right now. The guy who started the last part of the season and two playoff games is penciled in as the starter. So.............not as much pressure as Peter King wants there to be.

None of these players may be any good and this could be an "F" draft. I don't care, but at least try and base these opinions on fact if you are going to try and pass them off as fact.

Picks I Liked

40. Tennessee: Dorial Green-Beckham, wide receiver, Missouri/Oklahoma. No idea if he’ll boom or bust. But the 40th pick is a good place for a player with Randy Moss raw talent and a risk-reward pockmarked past.

Peter needed to get a quick interview in with Stephen Jones to find out what motivated the Cowboys to draft a guy with "character flaws" at #60, but the guy who pushed a girl down some stairs at #40, well that seems about the right time to take a kid with that kind of talent. Peter likes it.

Idiot Mock Drafter of the Year

Me. When will I learn? I got worse as the month went on. In my mock draft from last Tuesday, I had four direct hits: Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Trae Waynes, Arik Armstead. In my mock draft April 1, I had six direct hits: Winston, Mariota, Waynes, Dante Fowler, DeVante Parker, Kevin Johnson. I mean, who gets worse with four more weeks to research?

Someone who takes the time to speak with NFL GM's and scouts about their feelings regarding which teams will pick which players at certain spots. Someone who then relies on these same anonymous scouts and GM's to honestly evaluate players after the draft is over and yet now feels like he has gotten to the bottom of the truth.

“It doesn’t bother me. It happens all the time. That’s what makes sports great. You have nothing to talk about on sports radio, it’s ‘Hey, let’s talk trades,’ and everybody comes up with a trade. It’s great. I think it’s fun. But if the guy getting talked about in the trade gets a little nervous, my point is, I’ve got to tell him just not to listen to that stuff. I mean, everybody can trade. Trade me. I don’t care.”

—Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly, on the spate of trade rumors around his team, as reports swirled that he desperately wanted to trade up to acquire Marcus Mariota with the first or second pick of the draft.

The wisdom of Chip Kelly. What wisdom it is.

Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me

Todd Gurley was the top-rated player on the St. Louis draft board.

It doesn't surprise me the future Los Angeles Rams had Gurley as the top-rated player on their board. He's a stud running back, even if he is coming off a major injury. Plus, Jeff Fisher knows you build a team from the running back position up while ignoring the quarterback position until he has to upgrade at that position.

The Atlanta Falcons in April arranged for a former star linebacker, Jessie Tuggle, to announce the team’s fifth-round pick, live from the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. All teams did their day-three picks remotely, to boost interest locally somewhere in the home market, and most got at least one former star to announce one or more of them.

Tuggle was handed the card to make the announcement and looked down at it.

Grady Jarrett, defensive tackle, Clemson.

Tuggle’s son.

This is an interesting story, but it's exactly that, a story. This isn't a "factoid" by any stretch of the imagination. I just am saying this probably doesn't fit under the "Factoids of the Week that May Only Interest Me" section of MMQB. It's a story, not a fact.

Marcus Mariota does not have accounts on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Then that must mean he is going to be successful in the NFL because he's too focused on succeeding to have time for social media. It could also mean he doesn't want anyone seeing the things that he does during his life, whether good or bad, but that's probably just the jaded away of looking at it.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Notes of the Week

 1. The more big events in my life in Chicago, the better. Love that city. Love walking everywhere. Love the crowds on Michigan Avenue. 

It's a great place to walk behind people for a mile or so while they are talking on the phone or just trying to go about living their lives. 

My Chicago hotel Wednesday and Thursday nights, before traveling to Tampa on Friday, was 1.6 miles from the draft site on Michigan Avenue. I walked it three times in the two days I was in town and wouldn’t have minded walking it six times.

Peter even followed this one lady down an alley. He had been trailing behind her for a few blocks while she was on her phone and then she quickly turned down an alley (she must have been in a hurry!) and ran off. It's weird to Peter how the women in Chicago would take off running after he trailed behind them for a while. It must be a new exercise program.

Then Peter has a Tweet about Floyd Mayweather's team pulling the credential of Rachel Nichols and Michelle Beadle. I didn't feel like embedding it, but if Mayweather pulling a credential from journalists would surprise you then it shouldn't.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think it was cool to see Nate Boyer, the 34-year-old Army Special Forces veteran of three tours in the Middle East, get signed as an undrafted free-agent long-snapper by the Seahawks on Saturday. That shouldn’t be confused with “has a great job at winning the long-snapping job with the Seahawks” because of the clear advantage that incumbent Clint Gresham has to win the job. Not only did Gresham just sign a three-year, $2.7-million deal with Seattle, with a $300,000 signing bonus, but he has some physical advantages. He’s six years younger, and 6-3 and 240. Boyer is 5-11 and 220.

Nate Boyer didn't have a bad snap in three years at Texas. Yet, he went undrafted and finally got on with a team as an undrafted free agent. Was Boyer undrafted because he's old and was in the military? Obviously it couldn't have had anything to do with his skill set. Why did he go undrafted just because he's older and served his country?

(Seeing if anyone gets this non-hilarious parody of last year's post-draft rage)

3. I think there haven’t been many stories like the La’el Collins story since I’ve covered the NFL, and we need to let the legal system take its course. But if I were him, and if I were exonerated by police in the case, I would go play football somewhere this year.

Since apparently I was a homer a little while back while discussing the Panthers draft, let me be a homer for another minute. Robert Klemko responded back to me on Twitter (he's another writer who looks for his name on Twitter, even when it's not tagged) at my criticism that he had the Panthers taking Dorial Beckham-Green at #25. Yeah, it wasn't ever happening. Never. Not happening.

After paying $13.1 million to a guy who sat out the rest of the 2014 season due to legal troubles, the team was going to draft a guy who pushed a girl down stairs? No fucking way. Klemko defended the mock draft choice (found here) by telling me Dave Gettleman (the Panthers GM) was with the Giants when Plaxico got in legal trouble and then the team drafted Hakeem Nicks. He then called Nicks "no angel" at UNC. Interesting, except Nicks did nothing at UNC that could qualify for "no angel" status. He never got in trouble with the law, at least that I could find. Nicks was part of an academic fraud investigation, but that was AFTER he was drafted and had played for the Giants. But sure, whatever way Klemko wants to defend his picks, even he has to play slightly loose with facts. This response bothered me for some reason. He seems to have made up Nicks being "no angel" at UNC, unless there is something else I don't know about or couldn't find he was referring to.

8. I think the NFL allowing the Patriots’ deflated football saga—the Ted Wells investigative team began its work 101 days ago—to stretch past the draft makes this absurdity possible: If New England is punished, say by the loss of a draft choice, something that happened in the 2014 season will be punished in the 2016 season. That’s just wrong. Roger Goodell cannot simply say to Ted Wells or to any investigator: “Get back to me when you get back to me.” He has to either put a time limit on the investigation, or at the bare minimum, say, “You’ve got to have this done some time before the draft, so if there are sanctions to be assessed, we can assess them at the right time, not a year and a half later.”

Look Peter, Roger Goodell is not in charge of a timeline for any type of NFL investigation. Sure, maybe Wells is collecting billing hours while sipping cocktails, but he's doing that without Roger Goodell's knowledge. Sometimes an investigation into whether a bunch of footballs were deflated, and if true, when they were deflated takes over 100 days. Roger Goodell expects the NFL's players to do exactly as he wants them to do, but his hands are tied when it comes to making Ted Wells wrap up an investigation the NFL is paying him to provide conclusions on.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. So Alex Rodriguez tied for number four on the all-time home run list. So? Let me know when he’s going for number one, and then I’ll pay attention. I mean, in what other walk of life does time stop when you become the fourth-best at something, particularly with Rodiguez’s asterisks?

Way to try and pass it off as not a big deal, Peter. Yeah, who really cares about the 4th leading home run hitter in MLB history. Who is Willie Mays anyway? It's no big deal. Nice way to pretend your apathy doesn't revolve entirely around A-Rod's repeated PED use.

b. Kevin Harlan in last two minutes of Clippers-Spurs: “I DO NOT WANT THIS SERIES TO END!”

c. Me either, 


and I’m not even a basketball fan.

Oh, that's better. No mention of the NBA, and the mentions happen every week now, are complete without a caveat on how much Peter hates the NBA.

d. B.B. King is in hospice care. Comfort to him. Our culture has been so enriched because of him.

I'm betting the only B.B. King song that Peter knows is "When Love Comes to Town," and he only knows this song because King did the song with U2.

i. Always good to steal a game at Wrigley, as I did Wednesday night. Thanks to my SI Chicago ad sales team for a fun evening, even in the 46-degree chill. Gerrit Cole’s something to see. And it was cool to see Andrew McCutchen’s 1,000th career hit, a screaming triple to the center field warning track.

The ball was probably screaming because Peter had been following behind it for a mile, eavesdropping on the conversations it was having.

The Adieu Haiku

Marpet, guard. Hobart.
In the second round. Hobart.
You kidding? Hobart

Congrats, Peter! In a 11 word haiku, you manged to use the same word three times. This is now the most useless "Adieu Haiku" in MMQB history. I would say it's the fourth-worst "Adieu Haiku" but apparently no one cares about the fourth-best or worst at anything.  


DG said...

Nice analysis. Couple thoughts:

1) You did a good job pointing out how perspectives before/after the draft frequently draw upon how the media perceived the board. It is a weird cycle; the media creates mock drafts, using the few truths and many lies they hear from sources, the draft happens, then the same media gives grades or written evaluations on the teams based on "value" when good/bad value is derived from where the player was ranked by the same media. If a player goes higher than expected by the media, it is a reach, rather than the media undervaluing that player (likewise a player falling is good value rather than just a pre-draft overestimation of his abilities). I know that true reaches/drops exist, but IMO these are so buried behind this before/after analysis that they are pretty damn hard to spot.

While on that point, I love looking at these post-draft evaluations (I know I shouldn't but I don't watch a ton of college but I watch a lot of NFL so I like to have some idea about new players) and seeing how so many players "would've gone higher" but didn't because of "character flaws" or injury concerns. SO many of these reviews will say "top 10 talent" well who that got drafted in the top 10 didn't have top 10 talent? I feel like 20 players have top 10 talent and 35 players have top 20 talent.

2) I think your right about PK and his need to apologize for offensive comments. A few mistakes here and there, maybe it is excusable. When it is occurring often, regardless of an apology, it is a reflection of character. I don't think he has poor intentions, but I think he has a pretty clear high and mighty vibe.

3. This doesn't concern PK, but Chip Kelly is really starting to grate on me. He seems like he is on a desperate campaign to prove how smart he is. I don't see an improved Eagles roster, but you can bet if they take a step back next year you'll get some snide comment "Sometimes you have to take chances and they dont pay off" that people who fail but cant stand to acknowledge it always use.

4) I am not a fan of LOL, but his comment about A-Rod made me LOL. So what you have the 4th most home-runs of all time? It is only the BEST that counts. That's right, give me JETER every time. I dont care to bother, but look at the QB with the 4th most career passing yards, I am not impressed, who gives a shit about 4th? But seriously, do some of these people admonishing A-rod seriously think the garbage man could hit that many homers if they took the right cocktail? No doubt steroids have enhanced his total, but what about the pitchers he faced who were enhancing their ability in getting him out? I am not an Arod fan, but the people speaking out against him are clearly making it personal. I like to think about Andy Pettite getting his upcoming tribute or recollections of the 2004 red sox and ask why they get a pass for taking juice. It is because they played nice with the media and the media looks out for itself. I hate the fact that roids were a part of the game, but tell me A-rod and Bonds werent all time greats in terms of talent and I can stop listening because I know that person doesnt know shit about baseball.

Sorry for the deluge, but I feel we are kind of on the same page with these topics and it encourages me to read your posts.

Snarf said...

Can't believe you let this little gem (nugget?) sneak by:

"But for today, I want to say how great it’s been to work daily with Greg, someone I’ve admired in the business for so long—and how I will not let his work disappear from our site altogether. His insightful, edgy, challenge-the-status-quo contribution to The MMQB has been a huge reason that we’ve been able to make the jump from iffy microsite startup to a major factor in the football media business in two years. This a great opportunity for him, to be a big voice for the magazine, and I know he’ll be great there. All the best to a good man and a cornerstone for The MMQB."

PK must be one of the least self-aware people alive. He views the MMQB as some plucky startup making it big in the world of big media? Seriously?!?!

Chris said...

While Winston may end up being very good for the Bucs and I probably shouldn't judge him based off of one game but honestly if I'm a Bucs fan I'm a little concerned that Lovie was very vehement about drafting Winston after watching him and his team lose by 39 points.

I know I shouldn't be surprised anymore by Peter's complete lack of self awareness and obliviousness but how gullible and naive is he? How does he not see the similarities between Manziel's statement last year and Winston's now? Of course Manziel should have been more mature and been able to handle himself off the field but the media was dumb enough to assume based on one statement that he had suddenly changed and was a different person. And Peter took it hard considering how he's been breathlessly reporting on any possible fuck up from Manziel.

Slag-King said...

And Peter took it hard considering how he's been breathlessly reporting on any possible fuck up from Manziel.

Peter desperately wants Manziel to be the next Favre. Remember his write-ups on Manziel? Substitute Manziel with Favre's name and you have another Favre article. I think he hopes against all hope that Manziel will succeed (and continue Ben's satire on Peter's fascination with QBs).

I do not think he sees Winston as in the same atmosphere as Favre (much less in the same planet). His write-up on Winston is rather bland.

Bengoodfella said...

DG, it's fine to leave a comment as long as you would like it to be. It's a good point about Top 10 talent numbers after the draft. It's funny also how mock drafts will come out soon and then a player who is mocked in the Top 15, but a year from now doesn't get drafted there will be described as once considered a "Top 15 player."

He's apologizing at least once a month now and others are apologizing for him like this doesn't happen more frequently of late. It's ridiculous.

Honestly, Peter just doesn't want to acknowledge A-Rod's record because A-Rod used PED's and he's hiding behind the whole "who cares about 4th best" thing. At least that's what I think. He doesn't want to come off as a person who is holding PED's against A-Rod (for some reason), so he resorts to "Second place is the first loser" talk.

Snarf, I can't believe I missed it too. It's a little startup backed by a huge sports website and magazine that supports the site. It's not like Peter didn't have name recognition as it is anyway.

Chris, I thought that was weird too. It also concerned me that Licht didn't talk to the accuser because everything was in the deposition. It was odd to me. I thought that game against Oregon hurt his draft stock, but it impressed Lovie and the gang. I think Lovie doesn't care given the QB's he's had in the past.

Slag, Peter loves himself some QB's, especially white and plucky QB's. I thought Matty Ice would fill the role for him, but it never happened. I think what's interesting is that in terms of a guy thinking he can make all the throws, making great/stupid throws and bringing his team back...I mean Winston sort of has those gunslinger characteristics like Favre. I won't compare them entirely, but in terms of making bad throws due to overconfidence, they are similar at this stage in each of their careers.

Chris said...

What will be worse for Peter is if Winston stays out of trouble but ends up being a complete bust on the field. Then Josh Freeman syndrome will set in for Peter and then he will fire both barrels at Winston for being an overpaid loser

Chris said...

Oh and also I thought it was weird for Licht not to want to probe any further if the accusations of intentionally shoddy police work by Talahassee PD are true then that deposition is likely not the full story.

Anonymous said...

What the hell does Lovie Smith know about QBs anyways? His Chicago QBs were, for the most part, atrocious. His QBs last year were atrocious. If anyone should be given no benefit of the doubt when it comes to evaluating QBs, it's Lovie Smith.

Let us not forget that Tampa Bay as an organization willingly signed and started Josh McCown last season. So as an organization they should be given no benefit of the doubt with regards to QBs. I honestly don't think Mike Glennon has been given a full chance here. His rookie season wasn't half bad, and while he'll never be accurate enough to be a high-level starter in this league, there's no reason he couldn't be, say, Gus Frerotte. Which sounds insulting until you remember Frerotte played something like 15 years and started a lot of games, including in the playoffs.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I'm not sure if PK likes Lovie as much as liked Schiano. Maybe he'll go easier on Winston if he doesn't end up working out. Yeah, I didn't really want to talk too much about the investigation, but with all that went on around the Tallahassee PD, I would think the team would want to talk to the alleged victim. Whatever, it's their draft pick. Their choice, you know?

Anon, I'm not sure I would give Glennon a full shot, but with that first pick they were going QB anyway. I think their mind was made up. Glennon looked really good in 2013, so I think there is some talent there. I'm not sure why the Bucs were looking to trade him prior to the draft. That seems silly since he could at least be a marginal starter if Winston isn't ready at the opening of the season.