Sadly, time has run out on me this year. A thriving business, a pregnant wife, 4 back episodes of 30 Rock on the DVR and an in-flux of high quality German S&M porn throughout the internet has made my 2011 blog quite a bit less robust than the 2010 version.
Thusly, with less than 24 hours until the draft, time has run out on me. Just like time ran out me in 8th grade to ask out Christine George (she wasn’t interested); just like time ran out on me in college to ask out Angela Jaramillo (she was interested), just like time ran out on me to use my collection of Robert Pattinson jokes and comparison’s (“Leonard Hankerson’s about as tough down the middle as Robert Pattinson is at a Louisiana Bath House during the ‘biting’ hour) it’s all over but the highlights.
So while this year’s blog is admittedly not as thorough as last year’s award-winning version we did manage five (5) podcasts with BK (3 of which you can actually hear him on) and this year we’ll be doing a post-draft podcast and live tweets so really when you think about it I was signicantly lazier this year than last.
Still, the positive feedback continues to come in and the readership (and listernship) has never been higher. So let’s do some rapid fire commentary on our remaining positions:
It really is amazing that Cam Newton is likely going to be drafted #1 overall as everyone seems to be saying. Not that he does or doesn’t deserve the pick (he doesn’t) but just that he got this far in basically less than a 12-month period. All the concerns about Newton – simplistic offense, lack of experience, inaccuracy, looks to run too quickly, doesn’t take the game serious enough, a taller, better-looking, less-annoying, Tim Tebow – are all still there. At the end of the day, though, maybe Newton is one of those one of a kind talents that can transcend the seemingly unmeasured line of past draft history that would otherwise point to his failure. And maybe the real criticism of the 6’5, 248lbs. Auburn quarterback is not about how he plays but rather how he handles himself. Too confident, too LeBronian. Why can’t he be like Greg McElroy? Well-Spoken. High Wunderlik. White as the driven snow. But Cam Newton is who he’s going to be and while I would love to see Newton turn into a superstar with a more humble personality than one might expect I fear that Newton’s more likely to be compared to other Smith’s (Akili, Alex, Rusty – that’s right I’m calling him out) than a Manning (well, maybe Archie).
Blaine Gabbert is an equally interesting pick because he also emerged last year and seems to have all the right tools and is moderately humble although that hair would probably say otherwise. One year as the starter in Missouri and apparently that’s good enough for the Top 10. I honestly don’t have a read on Gabbert, but I tend to think like many that his skill set will translate at some point into making him a legit starting QB in the league.
Washington’s Jake Locker is as impressive a physical speciman as Newton in a lot of way, with that cute little 4.50 40 time and what not. I’d say he’s another Fran Tarkenton if this were 1968, but it’s 2011 and this guy’s going to break more hearts Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels after he makes it official he’s not going to seek the Republican Nomination for President and rather will host the new Fox News reality show “America’s Next Top Homophobic Politician.”
I do not get the Andy Dalton talk. Sure he won a ton of games at TCU but this Ginger child isn’t going to translate in the NFL nor will Florida State’s Christian Ponder. I saw Ponder a bunch and there’s something missing there and it’s not just all the game he missed due to injuries. Ponder has a MBA from FSU which in the world of academia rates right below an AA from Santa Monica Community College (but still above a doctorate from LSU).
Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick is another physical monster who unlike Newton will have the luxury being considered a developmental project and in the right situation could find a home in the league. Ricky Stanzi of Iowa will go somewhere in round 4-6 and remind everyone of such greats as Scott Zolak and Shane Mathews.
Finally, what to make of Arkansas’ 6’7″, rifle-armed Ryan Mallet. A guy who at one point was considered a possible Top 10 pick (in a year where it seems every other team needs a QB), Mallet’s apparent bad (or perhaps more accurately lethargic) attitude, drug rumors, an unimpressive combine and some bad late season performances have him dropping in the draft quicker than Jennifer Hudson dropped the pounds to fit into that Oscar dress. Still, Mallet seems to have that unique combination of Dan McGwire meeting Cade McNown – and who wouldn’t want to draft that?
Even after Mark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy in 2009 at Alabama some questioned his future pro prospects. In 2010 he got hurt, split time most of the year when he came back and then had a so-so combine. Yet his stock seems to be going up and he’s likely the only RB to be selected in the first round. Yet as much as I’d like to see Ingram making it I’m having a hard time buying him as being a particulary effective NFL running back. Ingram is under 5’10” as are a bunch of other backs this year including V-Tech’s Ryan Williams, Okie State’s shrimpy Kendall Hunter and that cute little 5’8 spark plug Shane Vareen from Cal Berkely. That’s while I’m putting my money on the only 6’0″ likely to be drafted somewhere on Day 2, K-State’s Daniel Thomas. Sure he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer having missed a season due to grades, but the kid had 19 TD’s and besides sometimes it’s best not to think too much anyway.
I also like the two Clay’s – Wisconsin’s John Clay probably gets nabbed in Round 6 or 7 if at all and he’s slow and runs like he’s 250 even though he’s only 230 but I don’t know I seem to think there’s a place for him as a situational short yardage back. Meanwhile, Tulsa’s Charles Clay comes in with some real pedigree as a legit fullback. He can catch and even though his 18 reps for a FB are, frankly, terrible he seems like you could develop him into a blocker and add some strength once he gets to the show.
Listen, let’s cut the nonsense. A.J. Green of Georgia is rising faster than BK at an Inglewood Strip Bar and his SEC mate Julio Jones from Alabama ain’t far behind. They’ll both be drafted in the Top 10 and while I don’t quite hear the same kind of heat you did in the past for Top Wideout picks like Larry Fitzgerald or Calvin Johnson, these two have all the physicals to be starters in the league. I like Randall Cobb a lot out of Kentucky because he reminds me a bit of Domick Hixon with higher upside – he can return kicks and be a part of the passing game. BK’s higher on Boise State’s Titus Young basically for the same reason and primarily just to disagree with me. But we can’t count out SDSU’s two receivers – Vincent Brown came off a big Senior Bowl week and will be a starter in this league by the 9th week of his rookie season while little talked about DeMarco Sampson will become another Kasim Osgood in the league and excel on specials.
Not a lot to chew on her, but there’s some turkey and salmon jerky in this mix that you might be able to at least whet your appetite with.
Honestly, I don’t see how Virgil Green doesn’t get the top TE pick. His physicals are shnockers with 4.54 40 (FOR A TIGHT END GOD SMACK IT!), sub 7 3-cone, and a broad and vert that made Willie Beamon turn over in his grave and say AMEN (is Willie Beamon dead?).
I guess his performance was underwheling at Nevada, which isn’t a great sign since that team scored more points than Randy Quaid scored meth during his pre-Broadway musical run in Seattle back in ’09.
So the far less interesting Kyle Rudolph of Notre Dame and Lance Kendricks of Wisconsin are the likely first 2 TE’s to go.
I’m going to defer you to our riveting Podcast on Offensive and Defensive Lineman but I will say I think when all is said and done Nate Solder will be the best Offensive Tackle in the draft. Once he gains some strengh, which he will, he’s got a higher ceiling than anyone else at the position including USC’s Tyron Smith, who I’m surpised has emerged as the #1 OT around. Also, don’t count out TCU’s round mound of sending DE’s to the ground Marcus Cannon. If you can keep that guy away from the Chicken Wings he can be a starter in this league too.
Again, time will force me to defer you to the Paths of Glory podcast where we go into depth on Defensive Ends and Tackles but other than the fact I say YES to Arizona’s Brooks Reed and NO to Badger J.J. Watts and Tar Heel Marvin Austin, remember DuJuan Blair when you see Da’Quan Bowers of Clemson start to drop. DuJuan Blair, now the starting Power Forward/Center of the San Antonio Spurs, was a highly regarded player his junior and senior years at Pitt. He was a player of the year candidate both seasons and a consensus Top 10 pick. Consensus, that was, until it turned out he had no cartiledge in his knees! This guy’s knees were more damaging to his draft status than Boxing Helena was to Bill Paxton’s acting reputation. Blair didn’t just slip out of the lottery, he slipped into the 2nd round. And while some of that had to do with teams not wanting to give him a guaranteed contract (which a 1st round selection would have resulted in), amazingly he slipped about 8 spots or so down to the Spurs in the 2nd round when teams above them could have drafted him with basically no risk. In 2 seasons, Blair is a legit NBA performer who worst case scenario probably has at least 2 or 3 more very good seasons and a few more effective seasons after that. So Da’Quan Bowers is the Best DE in this draft and while his knees are a concern someone is going to grab him in the late first and by his 2nd year in the league he’ll be an All-Pro. I’m not saying he’ll have a 10 year-career, but for 3 or 4 years he’ll be very good and I promise you that’s more than we’ll be able to say about many of the other 1st round picks.
PUNTERS AND KICKERS
Who gives a shit. But if you got a pull for someone, make it University of Miami at Florida punter Matt Bosher. He’s a kicker and a punter (although he seems to project as a punter) who ran a respectable 4.73 40 at the combines and was the only kicker to participate in the Bench Press! Sure his 8 reps were the worst at the entire combine (even Samantha “Choo Choo” Becker, the lone cheerleader at the combines out of Slippery Rock got the bar up 9 times) but you gotta love that kids moxy.