My addition is at the end. Great, great article, but he forgot ONE very important thing that is mandatory for being on this site. Enjoy his blog.
The First Annual Mock Mock-Draft (The Intro)
Side Note: There will be a forthcoming article on Donald Sterling and the Clippers situation. The problem with these situations is everyone forms an opinion before hearing all the facts, allowing the whole thing to develop. So I’m waiting. In the meantime, I think we all agree those players need support. Personally, I’m now a Clippers [players] fan until this whole thing is resolved.
“Blake Bortles… Yup, he’s made with bits of real quarterback… So you know he’s good”
To a holistic sports fan, there is nothing more frustrating to me than the over-saturation of football in this country. And I LOVE football. I got DirecTV despite their horrific prices and customer service because they get Sunday Ticket and well – let’s face it – they’ve kinda got me by the balls on that one.
But like any other sports fan with basic cable I watch a lot of ESPN and if any network understands how much we love football, it’s ESPN. So in the offseason they launch this ridiculous campaign to keep me paying attention to football because they think I’m only a football fan. God forbid they actually thoroughly cover the NHL, or small-market NBA teams, or even America’s pastime during the football offseason.
No, I have to sit through Gruden’s QB Camp with running backs when he’s run out of quarterbacks to interview (it’s called “QB” Camp… am I missing something here?). Last year, Jon Gruden had Manti Te’o and Marcus Lattimore on his QB Camp before the draft. I’m sorry, what? I could maybe, kind of understand Lattimore, he plays in the vicinity of a quarterback and has to pass-protect for him. I’ll kind of buy it. But Manti Te’o?
It’s like watching Brick Tamland try and cover the weather, except it’s not supposed to be funny. Spare me.
As interested as I am in the continuing saga of Johnny Football, I couldn’t bear to sit through his talk with Gruden. Between Johnny trying to bullshit us all into believing he’s somehow reformed into a stand-up role model franchise leader and Jon Gruden looking at 12-second clips of football tape and saying things like, “Hey, that pass has just GOT to be better, Johnny,” while we’re supposed to be like, “OOOH BOY! Jon Gruden is being really tough on him!” yea no thanks. I imagine it went something like this:
Gruden: You know what I do like about you Johnny?
Johnny: What’s that, sir?
Gruden: You are a FOOT. BALL. PLAYER!
Johnny: (nervous laugh)
Gruden: I mean you are a GAMER! You are just a real baller! I see this play, I see heart. I see GRIT! I see determination. You know what you’ve got, Johnny? IN-TANGIBLES!
Umm… what’s the last thing on my DVR? Yea, lets watch that again. Whatever that is. Anything but this. (It’s Crazy, Stupid, Love by the way…)
Setting aside my well-documented hate for Jon Brenkus’ SportScience segment on SportsCenter, the SportScience of what makes Blake Bortles a top NFL draft prospect was the greatest travesty to sports coverage I’ve ever seen. First off, I had to look at Brenkus and his face, second, I had to listen to his Brenkus voice, third, it was about Blake-freaking Bortles (who apparently is like Andrew Luck or something now), and finally, it wasn’t even slightly informative and it had absolutely ZERO to do with “science.” It was like a trainwreck that I just COULDN’T look away from.
(notice how at the end Brenkus says Bortles’ performance puts him somewhere around projecting to be like EJ Manuel – as if to say, “Yup, it’s made with bits of real panther… so you know it’s good.”)
If you choose not to watch the trainwreck that is that SportScience to gain context and understand what I’m talking about, that’s your choice and I respect that. The list of things I’d rather see than be forced to watch Brenkus over-analyze Blake Bortles aka. “the next Christian Ponder” throw a bunch of footballs into a net in a controlled environment is too long for this blog.
And then when SportScience is over, let’s cut to Ron Jaworski and his “Big Board of Quarterbacks!”
Hold on, before we do that, serious side note.
Serious Side Note: If all teams in the NFL had at least a half-way decent option at quarterback, none of these guys would get picked until the second round. Not a one. Not Bortles, not Bridgewater, not Manziel. As far as sure things go, I’m sure that this draft is chalk full of solid backups. That’s what I see when I see Bortles. I’m sure he’d be a good backup.
Now, that’s not to say none of these guys will somehow pan out and be good starters. I just think they’re all projects, the whole thing is a crapshoot. So when you’re in a crapshoot, what do you do? You pick the guy with the highest upside, the most potential, the most talent, and the guy who’s the most entertaining. And that guy – ladies and gentlemen – is Johnny Manziel.
IF I HAD TO PICK A QB EARLY: I get the argument for Bortles, and I’ve actually come around to the whole him being the most “NFL-ready” quarterback in the draft. I’ll buy that.
WHY I WOULDN’T WASTE A 1st-rounder ON ANYONE: In this draft, I’m looking for the guy with the most upside. I don’t want a good starting quarterback. I don’t even want a franchise quarterback. I want the type of guy that can win games all by himself. I want a Super Bowl winner.
WHAT I’D ACTUALLY DO: I want to take other position players in the first round and take a Russell Wilson in a later round. I want the guy who’s not going to make mistakes, fly under the radar, and lead an already-talented team to Super Bowls. And how do you build a team? Through the draft.
So if I’m in the top-ten this year, I’m grabbing the no-doubter type of guys at the other positions in rounds 1 AND 2, and grabbing AJ McCarron in the 3rd round.
Side Note: I don’t really get the argument that the only reason AJ McCarron was good in college was because he was surrounded by a talented team. Like, I get that argument, but I don’t see how the fact that he played with NFL talent in college is somehow a hindrance? If anything, isn’t that an advantage? I dunno. If I’m taking any of these guys not-named Manziel, I’m grabbing McCarron in the third.
Back to Jaws.
Ron “Jaws” Jaworski is the absolute king of conjuring something out of nothing for ESPN. As a matter of fact, Deadspin did a whole bit on it. One of the best Deadspin articles I’ve ever read. And I read every freakin’ day.
Here’s what ESPN does: They sell “Jaws” as this quarterback, expert, guru guy and occasionally he goes Champ Kind on us and likes to say outlandish stuff that’s supposed to be “CONTROVERSIAL” like, “Colin Kaepernick could be the greatest quarterback of all time.” OR, this year when he said Johnny Football didn’t even crack his top-5 quarterbacks and he wouldn’t even bother taking him in the third round.
“OMG JAWS NO!!?!? WHY? If Jaws doesn’t think Johnny Manziel is gonna be good then, well, maybe like, NO ONE IS GONNA DRAFT HIM! How could you say that Jaws? Why doesn’t Jaws like Johnny?!”
And we’re all supposed to freak out like that. Then ESPN brings in other commentators to commentate on what Jaws commentated. They literally manufacture sports stories that don’t exist using their own employees. Freaking brilliant!
Well, turns out that Jaworski had watched like, 5 games of Manziel’s games when he made that statement. He actually admitted that. http://nfl.si.com/2014/02/26/ron-jaworski-johnny-manziel-nfl-draft-third-round/
Dude. I’VE WATCHED MORE THAN FIVE OF THE KID’S GAMES AND I WORK A FULL-TIME JOB! Are you kidding me, bro? I can name five games I’ve seen off the top of my friggin’ head. I saw him live against Auburn in 2012, I saw him play Alabama (twice), against Rice, and Duke and a few more. And you’re a QB expert? For like, your job!?
Well, looky here. A week ago, Jaws new and improved 2014 NFL Draft QB Rankings come out and look who’s in the top-five?? Manziel. When asked, “why the change of heart on Manziel?” He said, that he had sat down and watched more tape on the kid – err, he watched like, ten games instead of five – and lo and behold, now Jaws thinks he’s a top pick kind of guy.
Please, Champ. Do us all a favor and keep your opinions to yourself if you’ve done less work than I have at analyzing a top-prospects’ play.
(“Hey Champ, whaddya say we sit these next few plays out…”)
Hmm, we could really use a member of this team who reports news that isn’t really relevant. You know, someone who just will report ANYTHING, no matter how insignificant. Get me Veronica Corningstone – err, Adam Schefter.
(If you havent’ noticed, it’s an Anchorman theme)
Last year, the barrage of RGIII updates that meant absolutely nothing was IN-sane. Every day @AdamSchefter was furiously scrolling through his blackberry. And Trey Wingo would cut to Schefty for a five-minute RGIII update montage that could have been easily summed up like this:
Trey: Adam, how’s Robert’s knee?
Schefter: Good. Still rehabbing. Maybe he’ll play Week 1, maybe not. Back to you, Trey.
Trey: Thanks Schefty!
But we couldn’t have an All-NFL Offseason Freakout Team without a ring leader, and that person, your very own Ron Burgundy, is Mel Kiper Jr.
Side Note: I actually have a lot of respect for Kiper. It’s insane that he knows as much about the draft as he does. He’s a really, really intelligent dude. But it doesn’t change the fact that he’s part of the problem.
ESPN Meeting room, February 22nd, 9:11 AM
Boss: Super Bowl is over people, and we’re entering the dark period of no football. What do we do? I need ideas.
Guy 1: I think we need to get Kiper and McShay to do some mock drafts. At least five each.
Boss: I hired you guys to think bigger. To be innovative. Come on.
Guy 1: You’re right boss, they did five each last year. What if they did SIX each this year?
Guy 2: OOOH! And have a big change in each one to generate interest.
Guy 1: And you would have to pay to see these mock drafts on ESPN Insider!
Boss: I like what we’re doing here, folks. We’ve really got the ball rolling now.
Guy 3: Why don’t we cover hockey a little bit more. Maybe educate people about the game
Boss: You’re fired.
Make no mistake about it, folks. I love football. But I don’t need to hear about non-stories about prospects and what they are and aren’t doing for four months before the draft EVERY single day. It’s exhausting and it’s desperate. Cover free agency. Let me know if a prospect gets hurt or breaks some record at the combine, and give me a couple mock drafts a few weeks before. Spare me the Gruden QB Camp, the tweets about nothing, the fake Jaws-Manziel controversy, PLEASE SPARE ME BRENKUS-BORTLES. Talk about hockey, talk about golf, talk about basketball, talk about baseball.
Having said all that, we’re less than two weeks from the NFL draft, and I think it’s finally appropriate to talk about it. So tune in next week and I’ll have a real Mock Draft and expound on some of my quarterback thoughts.
FILLERBUSTER ADDENDUM: Rule 3a Article 5 in my bylaws CLEARLY states “you CAN’T mention Blake Bortles, especially MORE THAN ONCE, without showing a picture of his girlfriend, dammit.” Here you go.