Friday, April 23, 2010

The Cynic's Guide to College Football: Round One

From a cynic’s perspective, last night’s Round One of the NFL draft was very disappointing. After all, my job is to write about the bad and stupid things that football teams do. And yesterday was remarkably devoid of that. Sure, there were some surprises (Clausen falling out of the first round). And some teams reached for players they probably could have gotten later (Tebow, Alualu). And invariably some of these players will be busts. But all in all, I think most teams did what they needed to do. So with that, I’ll do my best to comment on a few things about draft night.

What fun is the draft when I can’t even point and laugh at the Raiders?

Bring Back Saturday!

First off, I hate the new three-day format. While I understand their efforts to get more viewers during prime-time, I really didn’t like the draft competing with the NBA playoffs. Plus, when the early rounds were on Saturday, that was my one day in about six months in which I could use football as an excuse to put off chores and sit in front of the TV all day. The draft—at least the first couple of rounds—was my get-out-of-jail free card for one day off from spring cleaning and housework. Now, it’s going to be hard to justify to my wife (and myself) why I should spend my Saturday waiting for someone to take a punter in the sixth round instead of fixing the fence in the back yard.

This looks like a job for Mr. Irrelevant!

Nice Guys Finish First

Last night was a big night for “high character” guys. Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy are three of the nicest, humblest, most down-to-earth guys you will ever meet. Meanwhile, Dez Bryant, once projected as a top-ten pick, slid all the way to Dallas at #24 based on his off-field issues. With so much focus the last two week on Ben Roethlisberger’s issues, it was nice to see these kind of guys get rewarded. It’ll be interesting to see as the draft progresses if NFL GMs shy away from talented but troubled players in favor of Boy Scouts.

Bradford can smile all the way to the bank.

Injuries are Overrated

On another front, it was good to see two great players who came back for their senior years not have their draft stock hampered by injuries. Sam Bradford, projected as a top pick last year, went #1 overall despite playing in only three games this year due to shoulder injuries. Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham, projected as a mid- to late-first round last year, missed his entire senior season with a knee injury. But he still went #21 to the Bengals, the first tight end taken. (For comparison, last year’s top tight end, Brandon Pettigrew, went to the Lions at #20).

Carson Palmer is the happiest man in Cincinnati today.

And on the Third First Day, Tebow Shall Be Drafted

There was great wailing and gnashing of teeth coming from the Rocky Mountains last night when the Broncos traded up to draft Tim Tebow in the first round. I’m certainly not a Tebow hater, but you have to question the thought process here. It’s obvious the Broncos loved Tebow. Fine. But the Broncos had the 11th pick in the second round. With most teams having Clausen and McCoy higher on their boards, even if some teams in need of a QB got into the game, odds are that Tebow still would have been there. So in essence, the Broncos traded 2nd, 3rd and 4th round picks to move up 18 slots . To their credit, the Broncos have made several trades and still have a stockpile of draft picks, so they have potential for a very solid draft class. But I just think they ended up buying something they could have had anyway.

Just because.

“Who the Hell is Mel Kiper?”

Speaking of Tebow, am I the only one who found Mel Kiper’s reaction when Tebow was drafted hilarious? Kiper acted like someone had just personally insulted his entire family tree when someone dared to take Tebow ahead of his golden child, Jimmy Clausen. I kept waiting for him to pull out dueling pistols and “demand satisfaction.” The only person more worried right now than Jimmy Clausen? U. of Washington QB Jake Locker, who Kiper has already anointed as next year’s #1 pick.

Am I the only one who thinks Kiper is better suited for a Twilight movie than an NFL draft room?

On the plus side, with plenty of talent still left on the board, there's still plenty of time for your favorite team to completely screw the pooch. So stay tuned.

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