Sunday, April 27, 2008

Draft Dodging, Part II

This is one of the saddest days of the year.

That's because when it's over, Todd McShay of the Moto X Games Channel won't be around to blah blah blah blah about a sport (football) he never played (above the one-alligator, two-alligator, three-alligator level) and yakkety-yak ad nausem about people (football players) he's never spent more than five minutes with.

It's almost as depressing as the end of Selection Sunday for the NCAA basketball playoffs when we realize that roley-poley Joe Lunardi and his bad hair won't be available for mocking and taunting.

At least we still have Mel Kiper's Bouffant for another day or two (and, say, hasn't anybody else noticed that Mel has the exact same hairstyle as those ladies in the major polygamy scandal that's made the news lately?).

The NFL played on the field, as we've come to learn, isn't nearly as enjoyable as the NFL which takes place in gaming parlors and fantasy leagues, oftentimes fueled by the war of specious reasoning and circular logic in those vintage babble-offs featuring McShay vs. Mel Kiper's Bouffant (has anyone noticed that Mel has the same hairstyle as the females in the Utah polygamy circus?).

In this spirit, it's always a bargain to peek at the thumbnail sketches provided by something called "ESPN Scouts Inc."

"Chris Long doesn't have elite size or as much upside as the aforementioned Gholston, but he's a tough run defender and a relentless pass-rusher, who has good but not great speed. He also does an excellent job of using his hands to control blockers. He's capable of stepping in and making an immediate impact because he's so fundamentally sound, as you would expect from the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long."

And thus continues THE most over-used analytical connection in sports ... "bloodlines" (i.e. "Player X is the son of a coach, so ...").

Which is why Jarrett Payton set all of those NFL records, as you would expect from the son of Hall of Famer Walter Payton (actually, he was impressive in leading the Amsteredam Admirals to the World Bowl XIII title three years ago ... which makes us sad that we don't own an "AMSTERDAM ADMIRALS World Champs" t-shirt).

Wait a sec ... what about the first two LBs drafted: Keith Rivers and Jerod Mayo?

"Rivers doesn't have as much potential as some of the other linebackers in this class, but he's clearly the most complete player in this year's outside linebacker class. Also, he is the kind of player a team wants in its locker room representing the organization ... "

Yummy ... the ol' "locker-room presence" angle -- in the '50s, we'd say that "he's a real gent; quite a chap, not a scoundrel."

"Mayo isn't quite as instinctive as Rivers, and he has to improve his cover skills. But Mayo has more upside than Rivers. He has very good top-end speed for his size, and although he lacks ideal strength, he explodes into hits."

Perfect ... the ol' "upside" cop-out, sprinkled nicely with buzzwords such as "top-end speed" and "explosion" (whatever that means ... maybe it's the difference between getting hit by an 18-wheeler or a locomotive).

What about second-rounder Brandon Flowers of Va. Tech?

"Flowers doesn't have elite size or (buzzword alert! buzzword alert!) top-end speed. Occasionally, he gets caught out of position trying to make a big play. However, he plays far bigger than his size indicates (what?) and faster than his 40 time suggest (whatever that means). He opens his hips very well (thanks to a well-developed pelvis and hindquarters) and has the upper-body strength to deliver a violent punch (to the head? to the crotch? after the whistle?). There's also a lot to like about his willingness to play the run." (ohhhhh-kayyyy)

Notre Dame tight end John Carlson's mini-profile was an interesting read:

"Carlson had a disappointing showing at the combine and his 4.88 40 time shows that he's going to have problems working the seam. There are also concerns about the number of passes he dropped last year. However, he has the frame to bulk up and develop into an effective in-line blocker. He also has the wide frame and body control to develop into an effective short-to-intermediate receiver and productive red zone target."

Working the seam? Is John a seamstress? And, that "wide frame" tag seems like the buzzword of this millennium. Not only was it used for Carlson, the 38th player selected, but also for WR Jordy Nelson (the 36th pick) and WR James Hardy (the 41st pick).

Will Leitch was correct when he stated (inside the left inside flap of the dust jacket for "God Save The Fan"), "ESPN thinks its viewers are stupid." (That is, unless Will didn't write that ... and that an editor put words in Will's mouth, either way ... he/they are correct ...)

Actually, it's more like, "ESPN's pencilnecks don't know any more about the NFL than you or your 4-year-old niece, Madison (unless her name is Abigail) -- now, watch 'em prove it."

ESPN Scouts Inc.'s director of pro scouting -- so we're told -- is Jeremy Green, who -- so we're told -- has been an NFL scout for 11 years, including two as director of pro personnel for the Cleveland Browns. He is the son of Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green.

America needs it updated to read: "...son of that sorry sack-of-dogsquat who formerly coached the Cards."
Now we're good ...

Something else: If Jeremy Green is the director of pro scouting and Todd McShay is the director of college scouting, then does that make Herb Kirkstreit the Director of All Things Neckties & Hair Product?

Maybe what Todd & Jeremy need to do is channel their inner-Schrute in order to establish which one is the assistant regional manager and which one is the assistant TO the regional manager.

This is why Disneyland Sports needs to get Dr. Jerry Punch and Adriana Monsalves onto the set to give America knowledge and beauty -- and not an endless stream of frickin' B.S.

"McShay has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998. During that time, numerous NFL teams have relied on his reports to supplement their draft scouting." (wink, wink)

And you and I have been watching NFL football since 1971 or 1972 and NFL teams have depended on our allegiance and expertise (because if they F it up, we're sure as hell gonna let 'em know about it).

What McLame forgot to tell America is THE quintessential John Carlson Moment occurred in the third game of his junior year (2006) ... the #2-ranked Irish were hosting the #11-ranked Wolverines ... and in the game's first minute, Carlson reached up for a VERY catchable pass from Brady Quinn ... only the ball doinked off of Carlson's iron-skillets-for-hands and LB Prescott Burgess gobbled up the rebound and returned it 31 yards for a TD.

Then, with less than five minutes remaining in the game -- and Michigan up, 40-21 -- Quinn lost the handle on the football while attempting to pass. The ball got knocked around until Lamarr Woodley scooped it up and chuggged down the sideline, shedding a feeble tackle attempt by Carlson, and eventually crossing the goal line for a 54-yard TD.

ESPN ScoutsWeak can't print that because somebody's breakin' down game films and pullin' cliches from the Big List of Cliches ("Matt Ryan is a very accurate passer ... " -- whatever the F that means ... jeez Louise, unless his completion percentage is 27 percent or he's throwing 10 or 11 INTs a game, isn't he, by definition, "accurate"?)

Everybody knows that the quintessential Matt Ryan Moment was during that Thurs. nite ESPN game in which he played like a sack of crap for 3 1/2 quarters against Brandon Flowers' D and ... in the rain ... the Disneyland Sports TV cameras captured not only Matt vom-Matt-ing (barfing/upchucking/puking) on the sideline, but also that fan in the stands holding up that "RYAN FOR HEISMANN" sign.

Yup ... we "guess" that was a typo on "Heismann" (even though the sign was hand-printed, not typed).

One day, the Doyle Brunson Poker Week In Review Network is going to get it together and give us expert analysis which pertains to something those clowns actually know something about.

Such as the pot roast entree at Houlihan's.

"Nice explosion from the beef ... the bed of mashed potatoes has plenty of upside ... avoiding the addition of pepperoni and mozzarella cheese helped dish maintain its pot roast focus and resist temptation of becoming a pizza ... if the potatoes and brown sauce had been replaced by noodles and a creamy sauce, this would be stroganoff and not pot roast, so, ya gotta like the way the chefs remained within the framework of the pot roast concept ... very accurate, but maybe not the same potential as a veggie wrap ..."

Or last night's softball game.

"Comebacker to the pitcher with bases loaded didn't gain approval of teammates ... ditto with the dropped flyball ... why does Paul always bat me 10th?"

Or bedroom dysfunction.

"Struggled with bra clasp ... inner-thigh was available, but mismanagement of play clock hampered game flow ... sloppy, over-aggressive mouthwork left both parties dissatisfied ... pleasured self in the shower while thinkin' 'bout Matt Ryan's upside... "

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