There’s no time like the draft where you have a thousand people all printing the same thing. There’s general consensus on who had a great draft and who had a questionable one. As usual, I prefer to say things everyone else isn’t saying. So I’m not going to do the draft grade thing, just share a few thoughts.
My Team Played It Smart! Of course, it was great to see the consensus #1 wideout, Devin Thomas, fall to my Redskins. And to generally see a different strategy from them; acquiring picks, for example. At first I didn’t like that we then proceeded to take two other passcatching specialists, but to do what Zorn wants to do, we can’t afford to lose a receiver.
Double-dipping? It’s an interesting trend – the Packers have a potentially good quarterback of the future. They took two more. The Cowboys have a Pro Bowl running back. They took two more. The Redskins have two solid receivers, one of which has been to Pro Bowls. They took two more. With each team, we’re talking about their first or second overall pick. Way to pick with confidence, giving us the backup plan as a package deal.
My Guys Are Happy – I watched a number of video clips before the draft, primarily of the fantasy positions, and was impressed with Josh Johnson and Donnie Avery, sort of adopting them as underdog favorites. Johnson (Tampa Bay) was drafted before several more highly touted guys: André Woodson, Matt Flynn, Erik Ainge, and arguably Colt Brennan. Avery was the first receiver drafted. It’s nice to know the scouts agree with me, even if Mel Kiper doesn’t.
Glenn Dorsey, You Know Their Names, Right? – Glenn Dorsey was interviewed right after being chosen by the Chiefs, and was asked who made the call to him. He said “It was the general manager” and later said “He put the coach on and we talked for a bit.” I had this inkling he’d forgotten their names, and I found that hilarious. Though it’s understandable, you start the day having no idea who you’re going to be working for. Or maybe he was just being nice to us, in case we didn’t know who Carl Peterson and Herm Edwards are.
By The Way, I Can’t Stand Mel Kiper – don’t get me wrong, I love that there’s a guy there to tell us the scoop on all 252 guys selected, and another 100 that could have potentially been selected. I just hate the way he talks and presents himself. I turned the broadcast of the draft off after a while, but I noticed at least two times where they were going around the table, and he said the exact same thing someone before him said, but seemed to think he was sharing some new insight that hadn’t been covered yet. You could feel it around the rest of the table; they were all thinking, “So… nothing to add then,” but they knew they couldn’t bash him on the media. He clearly wasn’t paying attention to what others were saying and only lives to hear himself talk.
But The Others Aren’t Much Better – I love how the other guys seemed to be making fun of Kiper for knowing a thing or two about the guys picked at the end of the draft. It’s kind of his job. Honestly, I think he only gets to do this every year because he’s the only one willing to go in depth on all the guys available. And if I were a TV sports anchor, and I was going to be on the spot to talk football throughout all seven rounds, I’d do my research too. I think every one of them should have known who all of those guys were, so we could have actually seen some debate. But they assume America is going to lose interest, they stop showing film of the picks, and start talking about Jason Taylor being on Dancing With The Stars, so we have no chance to fall in love with these potential future Marques Colstons from day one.
The Second Person – Between now and next draft, can someone hold a seminar for anyone who covers football to teach them new ways to open a sentence? If I had a dollar for every time someone started a thought with “You’re talking about” or “You talk about,” I could live off the interest for the rest of my life. As in “You’re talking about a guy who at 6’4,” 215 pounds, is the prototype for his position.” Or “You talk about the Patriots, you’re talking about a team that builds from the outside in. They start with the line, and worry about the rest later.” Which would be building from the inside out to me, but never mind. My God, man. You’re the ones talking about all this stuff, not me. For some reason, these people seem to think it’s bad to speak for themselves, so they phrase their sentences in a way that makes it sound like it’s everyone else’s thoughts too. This irresponsible use of the second person hit a head when Kiper was asked if he’s ever had a pick called that he knew nothing about. His response was peppered with things like “When you get in the later rounds, you don’t know all the stats and everything about these guys, maybe you know their height and weight and that’s it.” He’s talking to YOU, Mel. At least here, at least in this one instance where he was asking a question of YOU personally, you could have used the word “I” in your response. But when you talk about Mel Kiper, you’re talking about a guy who can give you a headache just by speaking.
A Couple of Other Bonehead Broadcasting Moments – Now, I know it’s not easy sitting at a desk all day, making sure every silence is filled. But there were some times I slapped my head because these guys said something ridiculous and didn’t even notice. For example, Steve Young, in talking (I believe) about Matt Ryan, said something to the effect of “He’s going to do what it takes. He’s got that mentality: Over my dead body is this going to happen.” So… he’s suicidal? Chris Berman used the word “namesake” when pointing out that Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and Antonio Cromartie have the last name. They’re COUSINS. I am not my cousin’s namesake, Peyton Manning is not Eli Manning’s namesake. If I named my kid Diamond Brown, Neil Diamond would be his namesake. But only if I did that intentionally. That is the proper use of the term. Go to school.
Oh God, Another Interview – Interviews with the coaches and players involved in recent draft choices were the worst part of the day. Or maybe the best. They’re excruciating, because the interviewer is trying to get a guy to say “He’s amazing! Ohmigawd, I can’t believe we drafted Vernon Gholston!” or “Yeah, Baby! I’m a Jet!” They’re never going to get that. It’s the coach’s job to make sure these players don’t get too full of themselves. Though they’ve got a monster check coming their way that says they’ve made it and they’re the best talent in the league, the coach HAS to counteract that by playing it down and saying nothing better than “We hope he’ll be a good fit for us and do good things for our team.” As for the players, the reporters aren’t usually going to get good sound bites because the players are in a half-dazed mode induced by the surreal process of knowing that 32 employers are taking turns picking employees, and one of them will probably pick them, and they can’t control which one. It’s crazy.
The Number 21 – When the Redskins’ pick number 21 approached, Chris Berman started talking about Sean Taylor, and I thought to myself, “Oh God, he’s going to do it.” Sure enough, he pointed out that Taylor’s jersey number is 21, and they’re picking 21st, and said “Maybe more than an accident.” That’s the other reason I’m SO happy the Redskins traded out of that pick – I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when the Redskins, including Joe Gibbs, were making a big deal about winning games by 21. This said to me, “Picking 21st is supernaturally insignificant – we’re moving on.”