Monday, May 12, 2014

11 Things We Learned From The NFL Draft

We won't know who "won" or "lost" the NFL draft for years. It kind of takes that long for players to develop, or not. We can, however, take certain things away that are strictly a result of the data provided by the draft, and that on-field production (or the eventual lack thereof) will have nothing to do with. 

To wit:

  1. Blake Bortles is doomed. I mean, he was probably doomed before the draft - the guy apparently has worse footwork than Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein - but now, he's totally doomed. When you're a quarterback drafted by Jacksonville, you're doomed. When you're a quarterback drafted in the first round by Jacksonville, you're doubly doomed. And when you're an obviously flawed QB drafted in the first round by Jacksonville ahead of other players who could have helped them more in order to play behind a terrible offensive line that's just gotten worse since the season ended? Doomed like a Latverian opposition party.
  2. The Rams are going to sell a lot of jerseys next year. For having the guts to take the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, they're going to reap the benefit of being the first NFL franchise to actively take on homophobia. As Michael Sam plummeted down draft boards, the whispers got louder and more ridiculous, and felt more and more like contorted logic to justify not risking a pick on a guy who was - gasp! - gay. Self-fulfilling prophecy from the gaggle of old men running the game, never mind that player after player has come out and said what we knew to be true: there have been (closeted) gay players in the NFL for years, and nobody's locker room has exploded into a pink supernova of dysfunction as a result. No, Sam isn't going to be Jadeveon Clowney, but hell, most of last year Jadeveon Clowney wasn't Jadeveon Clowney. If he turns into a solid situational pass rusher for the Rams, then he'll be all any rational football fan could have hoped for: a football player.
  3. Question for next year's edition of the Wonderlic: Skip Bayless is to Jon Gruden as Tim Tebow is to Johnny Manziel (T/F)
  4. Seriously, was that the biggest shit-eating grin a #22 overall pick has ever worn on draft night or what?
  5. There's something cute about the way New England as a whole freaks out every time the Patriots draft a QB, as if this is a sign that Tom Brady is about to be lifted bodily into heaven in order to QB God's own football team, and thus Bill Belichick is drafting his replacement. What Belichick is actually doing is drafting the next backup QB he's going to burnish to an eye-burning gleam and then dump on someone for a pile of draft picks. Ryan Mallet's time to leave the nest has almost come; a new project was needed. And we all know that Brady is an ageless cyborg who will be behind center for the Pats well into the 24th Century.
  6. The ESPN radio feed for Night 1 (I refuse to call it Day 1 BECAUSE IT HAPPENS AT NIGHT) could be summed up as "We didn't like that pick." Cleveland could have drafted Hercules and they would have complained about his short wingspan and troubled family issues as reasons it was a terrible, wasted pick.
  7. The new fixation on which conference "won" the draft by having more players picked is, frankly, stupid. Partially because once those guys are picked they're not in that conference any more, partially because different conferences have different numbers of teams and thus there's no direct comparison, and partly because for God's sake, tons of guys have come out of Temple and had fine NFL careers, and if that doesn't formally sever the link between college results and professional status, nothing will.
  8. Jerry Jones resisted the allure of quick box office and favorable local press and has demonstrated - albeit briefly - he may be interested in putting together a decent football team instead of grabbing headlines. We'll see how long this lasts; I give it until Johnny Manziel's second good game for Cleveland, at which point Jones will try to trade most of Irving, TX and forty six draft picks to get him.
  9. Boy, all that drama about "WHAT WILL THE TEXANS DO?" really paid off, didn't it? So glad nobody's in the business of manufacturing stories in order to generate traffic.
  10. "Nobody cares about running backs any more" has become the new conventional wisdom, as evidenced by the fact that the first RB taken in the draft went late second round. This will continue to be conventional wisdom until a running back teams actually want shows up in the draft, at which point conventional wisdom goes out the window.
  11. "Generational talent" isn't actually generational if one of these guys comes along every year or two. Just thought I'd point that out.
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