LOS ANGELES — Sports fans today are more informed than they’ve ever been. Information about your favorite team is everywhere: legit league and team websites, fan blogs, Twitter, you name it. If you want to know what your favorite player is eating or doing at a given moment, check their Instagram or wait for TMZ to have a report later that night. It’s a blessing and a curse, living in this know-it-all-the-second-it-happens time that we do. But there is once place that exists, a lone Fortress of Information Solitude where everything walks in but nothing seeps its way out, where what happens there, truly stays there: the NFL locker room.
Save for once a year when one team volunteers to allow HBO’s hidden and very public cameras to film every punching player, coaching quarrel and ridiculously resilient rookie for its duration of training camp. The result is annually the best show on television. It’s the access today’s sports fan can’t get anywhere. It can scour the internet and follow every beat writer on Twitter until there is nothing left to click and scan, but it won’t ever know the details of a very real conversation Falcons head coach Mike Smith had with five-year defensive tackle Piera Jerry, who up and announced his retirement near the end of the first week and didn’t have a clue of what he was going to do next.
Yes, the Atlanta Falcons are the featured team on this year’s “Hard Knocks,” and if it wasn’t clear right from the opening video montage of Smith screaming over guys popping each other in a fully padded Day 1 practice, then over the course of the entire 60 minutes you figured out the coaching staff wants the Falcons players to put to bed the notion their physicality is how you say, lacking.
“You’re tough if you play this game,” Smith said in the coaches meeting room, as if trying to convince himself his players have what it takes to stand up and be physical this season, “and we got tough guys.”
This theme of being tough and smart and physical played throughout the entire episode with repeated clips of guys battling at the line of scrimmage for the play and then immediately head-slapping each other and talking tons of trash well after the whistle and usually until they had to be separated by teammates. It got rather old relatively quickly for my taste as it seemed ramped up for the show. Whenever a team featuring Osi Umenyiora claims to be tough, you know it’s B.S. And I know this because last year during the first NFL GameDay Morning meeting I mentioned the two-time Super Bowl winning defensive end’s name as a reason the Falcons defense might be improved and Warren Sapp immediately looked at me, his eyes got very wide and he said, “WHAT!?!” like I insulted the very spirit of the game. “Ain’t so soft tissue in this room, boy,” he said. It was then I realized you never, and I mean ever, bring up Osi’s name in front of Warren Sapp.
Inevitably what happens each year on “Hard Knocks” is you head into the season not really caring about the team in focus, but after a couple episodes find yourself cheering for a particular rookie or enamored with a foul-mouthed assistant coach. Last season on the Bengals it was Giovani Bernard and Mike Zimmer who fit the bill, this time around it appears Falcons rookie running back Devonta Freeman, and offensive line coach Mike Tice and linebackers coach Bryan Cox who’ll be in the spotlight in that regard. One of the most amusing segments of this first episode was a cut-up of Freeman looking for an apartment somewhere in Atlanta and safety William Moore telling us about, and playing with his kids, inside his mansion, which featured not only an indoor pool with a waterfall but a palm tree. Also indoors. While Freeman was marveling in what appeared to be a relatively pedestrian 4×6-foot walk-in closet, Moore, who signed a five-year, $29.5 million contract a year ago, was showing the world his shoe closet which contained every Air Jordan sneaker ever made. Ever. Of Air Jordans.
Freeman, in what was probably the greatest single scene in the history of “Hard Knocks,” then rode in a golf cart back to his car saying how blessed he was while taking a sip from a Capri Sun.
Do I think this is going to be an interesting season of the Emmy-award winning show? Good question. It was a rather uninspiring first episode. I was pleasantly surprised with how much Matt Ryan was shown, as well as Roddy White, who will probably come away as the biggest TV star when it’s all said and done. If you’ve followed him at all on social media or seen him on NFL Network’s Top 100 show any of the last two years, that’ll come as no surprise. He has a big mouth and it was clearly on display this first go-around. I particularly enjoyed him dropping a line I’m going to now use: that’s the difference between eating steak and still eating Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Other episode highlites:
– Flowerly Branch, where the Falcons team headquarters is located, is the name of a city that could only be located in The South.
– Rookie linebacker Tyler Starr’s fiance Megan Wheeler may have overtaken Lauren Tannehill has the hottest WAG in the history of “Hard Knocks,” and overall it was a fantastic episode for player’s better halves. Harry Douglas’s wife, a Miss Georgia International (whatever that means) and tight end Bear Pascoe’s wife were both getting it done. Also, respect for getting calf roping and hay farming in this episode, HBO. Mad respect.
– Speaking of Harry Douglas (I never miss an opportunity to write out his full name), what a strange dude. The women’s deodorant didn’t bother me as much as him being really anal and clean about packing. And that giant white teddy bear in his room. Bizarre.
– Devin Hester is on the Falcons? Who knew.
– Steven Jackson opened an art gallery in Los Angeles and I didn’t get the invite? My Hollywood swag is wearing off. Anyway, some of the pieces looked pretty cool, I’ll admit. Though let me ask you all this, which was more surprising: Terrell Owens finding a way to get himself back on camera for a few seconds or Jackson getting hurt during the first week of practice? Tougher answer than you think.
– Why is Jacques Smith messing with Jake Matthews? That just seems like a terrible idea.
– I think we should do the before/after photos with NFL Network employees. On second thought, maybe we shouldn’t.
– It’s safe to say we all could have learned a thing or two if we just played high school football with Byran Cox.
– Am I the only one who had no idea Kroy Biermann’s wife is that chick from Real Housewives? Also, no surprise it was low-cut shirt night in the Biermann household this week. Can’t wait to see what she wears for episode 2. And how on earth does he meet this broad to begin with? He’s some hick from Montana.
– The TV producer in me loved the end credits payoff of the earlier shot of Steven Jackson being pissed that someone had “taken” his room only to be revealed it was Matt Ryan, who unknowingly threw is stuff in there because he was first to show up.
– Thomas Dimitroff might have the best hair in football. He definitely is in a neck-and-neck running for Best Wearer of a Visor with South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier.
– First audio cut of the show was Atlanta rapper T.I.’s “Go Get It.” I’m really curious to see how they’ll use the bountiful music choices during this season. No doubt Ludacris makes an appearance. Also hoping for a Magic City segment. (look it up if unfamiliar)
LOS ANGELES — The annual abnormally giant human fashion and accessory show we call the NFL Draft gets underway tonight at Radio. City. Music. Hall. Where the flyest 21 and 22-year olds have their names called and then they awkwardly hug the Commissioner for an uncomfortably long period of time. Seems like we were just here, doesn’t it? Yes, it’s that time of year again where NFL teams load up on potential and What-Could-Be, and kids become instant millionaires before a single ball is snapped on Sunday. Who will be the Next Big Thing? Who will be the Next Big Bust? All speculative, all conjecture, all fun. That’s what the NFL Draft is and will be from here until the end of time. Let’s get started.
As always, I’m tuning into NFL Network for my coverage; not because I’m a company man but because it’s the best. Enjoy.
4:01pmPST – The draft is now an hour away and already a couple Radio. City. Music. Hall. calls from my man Rich Eisen (he’s joined by Marshall Faulk, Steve Mariucci, Michael Irvin and, of course, draft guru Mike Mayock). Gonna try and drop a few thoughts here before the real coverage begins at 8pmET… And look at this, show starts with old footage of the guys on the set in college. Marshall’s is of him getting drafted. So tiny and nice flat top with Paul Tagliabue
4:02 – WOW. Look at that mustache on Mooch. “National Champion Northern Michigan!” Mooch is a proud Yuper, indeed.
4:03 – Man, Irvin is so hood. That soundbite from his draft day was incredible. Referred to himself as “The Playmaker” even way back then. Guaranteed he could still catch 50 balls for 700 yards and a couple scores even today.
4:04 – MAYOCK JUST INTERCEPTED DAN MARINO. Didn’t see that in the “30 for 30.” “Did you hold that up?!” Marshall yells at him. Incredible. And love that Mayock finally ditched the Philly gangster pinstripe suit. Still 3-piece though. Always OG.
4:06 – Hot damn, now THAT’s a gangster suit from Alabama running back Eddie Lacy. Early front runner for best dressed.
4:08 – Geno Smith tells Melissa Stark and Deion on the Red Carpet that today his his mom’s birthday. That’s pretty awesome. Can’t beat getting drafted as a birthday gift.
4:18 – Feature on Pat Summerall and John Madden gave me instant goosebumps. Incredible piece. Sumerall was so smooth and told you so much by being so brief. Best of all time.
4:30 – A Django reference from Eisen talking about John Idzik, the Jets GM. Wonder if it’ll be the last? probably… what the hell is a “War Daddy?” We need a Mayock dictionary.
4:44 – Assignments that don’t suck: Hawaii. Alex Flanagan is the big winner of the Draft reporters tonight.
4:47 – Manti Te’o says he’s not angry. I’d be pretty pissed if I was him, though what ya gonna do. Everyone will forget about this soon enough. All that matters in the NFL is how he performs on the field. That’s it. If he can play, all this crapola about Catfishing and whatnot will go away.
4:59 – Shot of Geno Smith sitting at his Green Room Table and he’s rocking some Nike Flight lines in the side of his head. Very sick.
5:03 – HERE WE GO!! Mayock says Eric Fisher, followed by Luke Joeckel are the first two picks and then the intrigue begins with the Raiders at #3. Mayock loving Lane Johnson. Thinks someone will move up.
5:04 – Roger Goodell hits the stage to welcome the crowd to a chorus of boos. New York Fans are seriously the best… classy move remembering the people of West Texas and Boston as crowd chants U-S-A! Love America. Land of the free, home of the brave.
5:06 – Someone resembling Joe Namath just did some awkward chanting to put the New York Superbowl on the clock. I can’t tell if he’s your kooky drunk uncle or just plain kooky. His hair is so bizarre, too. It’s a terrible rug, that’s for sure. And just under 283 days and counting until Super Bowl LXVII… and Goodell puts the Chiefs on the clock.. and look at that Hawaiian shirt on Andy Reid. Thanks for dressing up, Andy.
5:09 – Whoa, Eric Fisher’s mom. What’s up.
5:11 – I know these two oafs are going 1-2, but I really wish Al Davis was still alive so the Raiders could screw everybody’s board and take West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin at #3. Now that would really be something.
5:16 – Here comes the Commish to more boos … “with the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select Eric Fisher, tackle, Central Michigan” … Alex Smith sleeps a little easier tonight.
5:17 – Jacksonville is on the clock. What are they waiting for? Immediately take Luke Joeckel. Come on! Blaine Gabbert is your franchise QB!!
5:20 – “I’m so proud of myself” … big ups to you Eric Fisher for giving yourself props. Somewhere Freddie Mitchell is nodding in agreement.
5:24 – Goodell out with the Jags pick … Joeckel is it, on his iPhone5 as he shakes hands and hugs his peeps in the Green Room. How do we feel about their new uniforms? Helmets are kinda cool with the half matte, half gold… classy 3 piece gray suit for Luke .. and good to see we’re still hugging the Commish like crazy. This is by far the weirdest facet of Draft day to me.
5:24 – Hip snap! Mayock needs that pop-up video treatment explaining all his lingo.
5:28 – Rich explains this is the first Raiders First Round pick since 2010 when they took Rolando McClain and his flock of pistols. They have to trade down, right?
5:29 – Darren McFadden is the only Raiders First Round pick still on the team since 2003. Being a Raiders fan must literally be the worst.
5:31 – “We need a word better than rebuilding,” Irvin says about the Raiders… OK, clock has stopped, which means we have a TRADE!!! Yes!!!! It’s about to get hairy up in herrrre.
5:33 – Dolphins move up. WOW. Miami going for broke this offseason to compete in the AFC East … and here comes Roger with the call …
5:34 – DION JORDAN!!! and we have a round of “whooooaaaaaasss!!!” from the guys on set. Unbelievable. Turning to my resident Ducks fan Chelsea for some reaction: “HOLY SHIT!!!! and it’ll be really easy to get tix to see him play.”
5:35 – “This is all about going to get some pressure on Tom Brady” – says Marshall. He’s absolutely 100% right. Miami has to compete and to do that they have to stop the Patriots. Well here’s one way to do it. What a move. Love it. Love when crazy takes over the Draft.
5:36 – Amazing bow tie on Jordan and not for nothing, he’s a freakin’ giant…. “He’s breathtaking off the edge.” Mayock is swooning.
5:39 – If you’re scoring at home, and I know you are, that’s 4 Radio. City. Music. Halls. out 0f Eisen.
5:42 – First pick of the Chip Kelly era is Lane Johnson, the big tackle from Oklahoma. Mayock’s adoptive son. “Most athletic offensive tackle in the Draft” … ROCKY theme playing in the background. Hilarious.
5:45 – Lane Johnson just said something about buffets. I have no idea. Great southern accent. Good ole boy for sure. Said he was excited to protect Michael Vick. Wonder what Chip has to say about that?
5:49 – Joey Harrington jokes never get old. Love Mooch pretending not to listen to Eisen rib him.
5:50 – Barry Sanders, your new Madden cover boy, out to announce the Lions pick.. and it’s Ziggy Ansah. Never played football until a couple years ago after getting cut from BYU hoops team and track team. Amazing. What a story. Mayock explaining how Ziggy wasn’t on scouts radars in September until he started dominating and then blew up the Senior Bowl…
5:53 – Browns fan draft party and guy wearing a “Punters Are People Too” shirt in the front row jumping up and down. Very cool.
5:55 – Browns select Barkevous Mingo. the winner of the All-Name team today. Don’t even think about it. He’s the winner.
6:00 – The Cardinals pick is in and we’re waiting … great shot of Bruce Arians rocking the Kangol. Are they officially licensed team gear? The Arians Era is basically going to be like if Samuel L. Jackson coached an NFL team. Someone get HR on the phone …
6:01 – Jonathan Cooper picked by the Cards….zzzzzzzzz…. come on, Cardinals fans, you’re not happy about that?! You don’t even know who he is?! Mayock says the team got better by drafting him. Well then, what the hell do I know??
6:04 – Rams have traded up with Buffalo to the #8 slot and talk from former scout and guru Daniel Jeramiah is they’ll be taking Tavon Austin, whose stock has risen like Apple computers in 2001 in the last couple days… Also, love Jeramiah. He’s going to be a huge star very soon and a big media winner when this Draft is over.
6:08 – Mega trade with the Rams and Bills with St. Louis getting 2 picks (1st and 3rd) and Buffalo getting 4 in this year’s draft. Bills loading up and here’s the Commish with the pick … Tavon Austin … Sam Bradford sleeps a litlte easier tonight… and snap, look at that burgandy jacket. Looking sharp, son. West Virginia swag.
6:12 – Deion asks Austin if he always has this much confidence. Um, come on Deion, look at that suit, of course he does. Pretty sure he wakes up and pisses excellence …
6:16 – Jets on the clock here with the 9th pick… fans on the edge of their seats in Radio City. Oughta be realllly interesting here … and the Commish says : Dee Milliner from Alabama … Revis out and another corner in. No pressure, kid.
6:18 – Mayock had him number 2 on his defensive board … and states “essentially the Jets traded revis for Milliner and 3rd next year” … as we see Milliner at the combine dropping passes like he’s Terrell Owens.. that’s just brutal video. Welcome to the NFL, son.
6:21 – Nice watch, Dee. Hope that’s a rental.
6:23 – “At least his first game isn’t against Revis’s new team … oh wait, yes it is. … at least his first nationally-televised game isn’t on a short week against Tom Brady … oh wait, yes it is.” Love it when Rich does this.
6:24 – Army troops in Afghanistan says the Titans should take guard Chance Warmack so Chris Johnson can get back to doing this thing .. and the pick is in and the Titans war room is very happy …
6:25 – Pick #10 and the Titans take Chance Warmack from Alabama … Major Taylor picked it right! “I told you 6 fatties would go in the top 12.” Mike Mayock, everybody!!
6:30 – Rapoport reproing the Bills could still take Ryan Nassib at 16 … Chargers pick is in and it’s offensive lineman DJ Fluker … 3rd straight Alabama player taken … Nick Saban, if you need him… Roll Tide.
6:32 – First time since 2000 that a quarterback wasn’t selected in the first 10 picks (Chad Pennington) … some guy named Brady was taken with the 199th pick that year. Whatever happend to him?
6:33 – “I love his length.” Mayock doesn’t give an eff.
6:38 – From Chelsea: “I’d love for the Jets to draft Barkley. Not in the first round, but eventually. That ‘d make me so happy.” Um, that would make us all happy.
6:46 – And the Jets pick is in … wow, fans are gonna go nuts here … Geno? … nope, it’s Sheldon Richardson, some defensive tackle from Missouri … wow. Very Anticlimatic … “explosive, freakish athlete at 310 pounds .. and Jets fans aren’t that excited” … uum, ya think?
6:50 – Panthers take Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, a very good player who really shouldn’t have dropped that far. In that division you have to be able to stop offenses and this is one way to accomplish that. Also on the All-Name team for this Draft. He’s at home watching with his family. That’s the way to do it. Why come to New York when you can party with your family?
6:58 – Saints are on the clock and to say they need defensive back help would be an understatement. I threw for 378 yards and 4 scores last year against them… and here comes the Commish with a special guest from St. Jude’s hospital, whose favorite team is the Saints … Kenny Vaccaro is the pick … loving his suit, two-toned three piece .. very fly… can’t wait to hit up @fragglesrocks for the All-Swag team tomorrow.
7:00 – Mayock: “you never want to be limited in the box” … Addison chimes in: “you always want to be strong in the box.”
7:04 – Bills on the clock here at 16 and it’s QB time … will they do it? … EJ MANUEL from Florida St.!! WOW!!! The first quarterback taken!! unbelievable … Deion Sanders is going to have A LOT to talk about with him shortly … dang. Former Syracuse coach and new Bills HC Doug Maronne passes on our guy Ryan Nassib .. Kurt Warner loves that pick … I’m stunned.
7:06 – Just texted Owl, my resident Bills fan … we’ll see how angry of response he comes back with … “Love it. and I LOVE that they traded down.” Didn’t see that coming. Thought for sure he’d want Nassib.
7:08 – EJ emotional with Deion .. “I’m just so happy” .. good moment for him. his mom had breast cancer and beat it… you’ll be seeing this interview a lot in the next couple days.
7:12 – It’s getting fun now in here. The 49ers have traded up and have made a pick … swapped picks with the Cowboys … and we appear to be in a back log … Steelers up right now and take Jarvis Jones … WOW… Jantzen, our Georgia alum friend, is PUMPED RIGHT NOW!! unreal. still think he should’ve named his kid Jarvis.
7:14 – 49ers up and take Eric Reid, the defensive back from LSU, who’s in the green room holding his adorably cute daughter… “big physical safety” says Mayock … love former 9ers great Merton Hanks giving Reid his cap: “maybe he’ll make him do the chicken walk,” says Eisen … Reid walking out to meet the Commish with his daughter in his arms … very cool moment … maybe my favorite so far.
7:20 – G-Men on the clock with the 19th pick and the Commish is out… always curious to the crowd reaction … Justin Pugh … Syracuse Tackle … “I told you it wasn’t sexy, but I love the pick” … as some broad is dancing like crazy on screen … “she likes the pick” says Rich.
7:25 – Oregon guard Kyle Long goes to Chicago amid rampant Manti Te’o speculation. Long is the brother of Chris Long from the Rams and son of Raiders great, Howie. Talk about NFL bloodlines. He’s going to no doubt be a success. And let’s be honest, Jay Cutler needs needs protection.
7:33 – Bengals up at #21 amid report that Falcons have traded up to 22 … Bengals take Tyler Eifert from Notre Dame, arguably the best tight end in the Draft, which perhaps foils the Falcons plans … Eisen points out Falcons knew Bengals were taking Eifert when they made the trade … still curious who they’re grabbing now despite.
7:40 – Falcons take Desmond Trufant, defensive back from Washington who fits in and will start right away with a depleted secondary down in ATL. He’ll be tested too with all the weapons in that division. NFC South shaping up to be a really competitive.
7:42 – Lots of good players still available including Sharrif Floyd, Mayock’s top-rated defensive player and his most explosve player on tape all year … Geno Smith .. Ryan Nassib … Vikings are about to make their pick as members of the military coming out on stage … awesome.
7:45 – Floyd goes to the Vikings … he dropped but he’s going to play right away and learn from Kevin Williams.. what a force they could be in the middle there … “this kid will be a heckuva player,” Mayock says.
7:48 – Mayock getting out of his seat talking about Floyd’s explosiveness … “right now there’s a chip on my shoulder … and I’m ready to get going” he says with Deion … nice simple Mad Men pink shirt black tie combo … “I’m here and I can stand here today and say I’m a better man than I was a year ago.” Redemption is always a nice element to any sport.
7:50 – Painful shot of Geno Smith in the Green Room … getting that Aaron Rodgers and Brady Quinn treatment right now.
7:51 – Bjoern Werner going to the Colts at 24 … “a taste of Germany going to Indianapolis” says Eisen … “guy that does everything really well but doesn’t have a spectacular trait,” adds Mayock … compares him to Paul Kruger … Werner wipes off his girlfriend’s kiss on his way up. Don’t let her see this tape, young fella.
7:53 – Aaron Rodgers tweets to Geno Smith to hang in there and said good things come to those who wait … awesome.
7:54 – Vikings back up with their second pick of the round … Xavier Rhodes from FSU … “whoa” from Mayock. Hey, someone has to cover Brandon Marshall and Randall Cobb, right? … Te’o still on the board.
7:59 – Packers on the clock and they need a Running Back … is it Eddie Lacy time? Also, and can’t believe I’m just noticing this; Irvin’s suit is very conservative for the second year in a row…wonder if he’s feeling OK these days.
8:01 – Datone Jones from UCLA to the Packers … hey, you can never have enough pass rushers, right?
8:03 – Rich starts talking about Geno and Manti and how the audience is probably sick of hearing about them by now … “some players on the desk might think that,” Mayock not happy with the repeated Te’o talk.
8:09 – Deandre Hopkins from Clemson, a wide receiver drafted by the Texans at 27 to go with Andre Johnson and those weapons … Irvin says he reminds him of Roddy White … high praise (Nic Cage voice).
8:14 – Broncos pick is in at 28 and the Patriots are on the clock … Mayock giving us three names – Damaontre Moore, Sylvester Williams or Manti Te’o for Denver … we’ll see … guessing it’ll be Moore with the loss of Elvis Dumervil and that fax fiasco earlier this offseason.
8:15 – Goodell out and it’s Sylvester williams … Mayock was right , shocker… “he can immediately come in and start at defensive tackle.” Oh, you don’t say?
8:17 – Apparently Williams worked at a radiator plant … “Do you know how many radiators you have to make to make the kind of money he’s gonna make” … Irvin references “Game Changers” (fantastic show) again to which Rich responds, “I haven’t even once said the P word!” Referring to the podcast … “I HAVE A PODCAST!!” he coudn’t make it anymore.. I knew it.
8:19 – Wow, the Vikings are back in the First Round trading with the Patriots and could take Te’o … unreal … Classic Bill Belichick move. Cant’ wait to see the particulars … damn! 4 picks to the Patriots: a 2, 3, 5 and 7. What must Tom Brady be thinking…
8:26 – Former Patriots lineman and Boston Marathon first responder Joe Andruzzi out to talk about marathon … unreal moment. That guy is a real man and Patriot.
8:30 – Vikings take Cordarrelle Patterson, the explosive receiver from Tennessee. This is what frustrates Patriots fans. Remember a few years ago when Dez Bryant fell into their lap and they traded down to the Cowboys? Yeah, think Brady would like to have Dez right now? We’ll see how Patterson pans out.
8:37 – Rams up with another First Round pick and take Alec Ogletree from Georgia. “Les Snead played some poker tonight and won.” Guess Mayock likes the Rams draft.
8:38 – Two picks to go. Cowboys and Ravens. We’ll see what Jerry Jones has up his sleeve here. We know he always likes to make a splash.
8:42 – Travis Frederick, center from Wisconsin. HAHA. Wow. So that’s what we were waiting for, Jerry. Isn’t this guy not even the best lineman on his own college team and a 2nd day projected pick? Cowboys fans must be steaming right now. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of folk.
8:43 – OK, so one last pick for Manti Te’o. There were only a handful of teams who thought to be in his market – Bears, Vikings, Ravens – and let’s see what they do.
8:47 – WOW. So Te’o will have to wait until Day 2 to get drafted as the Ravens go with safety Matt Elam from Florida to replace Ed Reed. What a First Round.
8:48 – Thanks for tuning in, everyone. Had a lot of fun with this for the 4th year in a row now. It was low on celebrity but thank goodness the trades were plentiful to keep it interesting. No players from Southern Cal or Miami, 12 players from the SEC and only 1 from the Big Ten selected. Only one quarterback chosen, and not the one we expected, and no running backs for the first time ever. What will come on Days 2 and 3? No one knows, so be sure to check out all the action. I’ll have sporadic commentary on my Twitter feed: @ChrisBrockman.
LOS ANGELES — With a third of the regular season down we have exactly one undefeated team (Atlanta) and no longer any winless ones (thanks, Cleveland), and here’s what we know in the National. Football. League.
I’m not convinced any team is great but there’s at least eight teams who are terrible, that’s for certain. The NFL is very medium-heavy right now. There’s at least 10 teams that could be Super Bowl contenders but every single one is missing something to put them over the top or in the driver’s seat.
Oh, and did anyone notice that neither the 49ers or Giants wore any pink on Sunday? Kinda strange given that the league is so gung-ho on it. More on the pink phenomenon next week. Let’s find out who’s the man.
32.) Kansas City Chiefs (record: 1-5) (last week: 30) — Hey, all you fans who were booing Matt Cassel last week, which basically means you were clamoring for Brady Quinn, how’d that 22-of-38, 180-yard, 2-interception performance from the former EAS spokesman taste? Did I mention that you lost 38-10 and Quinn had a 48.7 Passer Rating? You’re on your way to the No. 1 pick, your coach getting fired and at least another 3 years before another playoff game. Now you’re done.
31.) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) (32) — The best part about the bye week: moving up a spot when someone proves themselves crappier than you. And because I know you were all wondering, my Maurice Jones-Drew fill-in this week in fantasy, Mr. Brandon Bolden, got me a whopping 28 yards rushing for 1.87 points. #FreeMJD
30.) Carolina Panthers (1-4) (27) — It’s probably a good thing the Panthers had a bye this week or they might have fallen to the bottom of these rankings with another stink bomb of a showing. Seriously, I couldn’t be any lower on this team. Just showing me nothing. And DeAngelo Williams says something about his terrible game in Week 5 and how that shows fantasy owners how they could never be real GMs. Sheesh. Get a life, bro.
29.) Tennessee Titans (2-4) (31) — Not only did I pick the Titans to win last Thursday because I was pulling for my brother and knew that if Tennessee pulled the upset he’d be the best possible postgame, on-set guest, but Matt Hasselbeck then went out and delivered! Couldn’t have been happier for handsome, bald men everywhere. And how great was his son on the set? I seriously thought he was going to decapitate that poor, throwback Kurt Warner bobblehead.
28.) Cleveland Browns (1-5) (29) — What did I tell you last week? I said the Browns, while winless, could at least put points on the board, and therefore should not and would not be ranked last in this poll. And how did they respond? Only went out and made me look good by dropping 34 on the Bengals at home for their first win of the season. And happy 67th birthday Brandon Weeden! Went out and threw for a couple of touchdowns, including a 71-yarder to Josh Gordon.
27.) Oakland Raiders (1-4) (28) — As I explained to Jantzen on Sunday night, Carson Palmer is probably the best bad player in the league who’s actually not that terrible, but he stinks. The thing is, if you think about all of that put together, it makes total sense. The Raiders really should’ve upset the Falcons on Sunday but shot themselves in the foot on numerous occasions. Palmer threw for 353 yards but had a costly pick six in a tie game, then came down and led a game-tying drive. One minute he’s great, the next he’s bad and then he’s great and then he’s bad again. Plus, if the Raiders defense could stop anyone or get to the quarterback (4 sacks) they’d have more than 1 win. I don’t think they’re that far off.
26.) Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) (15) — It’s official: this Eagles team is garbage and Michael Vick should be benched and Andy Reid fired. That’s whatevery Philly fan is saying this week. And lo and behold, Reid ousted Juan Castillo. Right, because it’s his fault the offense is terrible (27th in scoring). I guess the Eagles 12th ranked defense was too low. Sheesh. Though 30th in sacks is kind of inexcusable. Who knows. This is a one-win team disguised at .500.
25.) Buffalo Bills (3-3) (26) — I honestly have no idea how Buffalo won in Arizona last weekend and I’m not convinced they’re any good. In fact, let me ask my huge Bills fan buddy, Shawn. Me: “how would you assess the Bills at this point?” Him: “Crap… Being a Bills fan is a complete waste of time.” That settles it.
24.) Detroit Lions (2-3) (24) — Anyone else think it’s hilarious that Nate Burelson said the Lions have been too busy trying to better off the field that they’ve gotten too nice on it. Yeah, that’s not the problem, Nate. The problem is that your coach is an a-hole, Matthew Stafford is 24th in Passer Rating and Yds/Attempt and 17th in completion %, and your offense is 18th in scoring despite being 2nd in total yards. You can’t win if you can’t score. And you can’t score if Calvin Johnson has only 1 touchdown.
23.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) (25) — Sure, the Bucs beatdown the Chiefs last week, who are a catastrophe of an organization right now, but it was still nice to see them handle their business against a team they should. Josh Freeman had his best game of the season (328 yards, 3 TD, INT) and we had a Mike Williams sighting for the second straight game.
22.) Indianapolis Colts (2-3) (18) — Gotta be honest, didn’t see Sunday’s disaster against the Jets coming. Sure, like most, I expected a bit of a letdown after the emotional comeback against Green Bay in Week 5, but that was a legitimate stinkfest against the Jets. It was by far Andrew Luck’s worst game as a pro (3 turnovers, 0 TDs, 51.3 Passer Rating) and Indy’s 3rd ranked defense made Mark Sanchez and Co. look like superstars, which we all know, they are not.
21.) New York Jets (3-3) (23) — If the Jets beat the Patriots this week, I’ll hunt down Roger Lodge and shave his head on the Jim Rome show.
20.) New Orleans Saints (1-4) (22) — Is it possible the Saints come out of their bye week and go on a run and make some noise in the December playoff race? Sure. That’s possible. However, look at the schedule: 2 with the Bucs and Falcons, Broncos, 49ers, Giants, Cowboys, Eagles. Yeah, that’s tough.
19.) Dallas Cowboys (2-3) (20) — I honestly don’t know what to do about the Cowboys. But I do know that Dez Bryant can’t blame the side judge for him dropping the game-tying 2-point conversion. You’re having a career day buddy, cap it off with a great play to keep your team alive. And I’m guessing those 24-hour a day bodyguards Jerry Jones is making you pay for are working?
18.) St. Louis Rams (3-3) (17) — Brandon Gibson, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis and Brian Quick. No, they’re not the members of the newest boyband sweeping the pop music scene, they’re Sam Bradford’s “weapons” at wide receiver. Though I do like the rookie Daryl Richardson in the backfield. Looked nice last week with 99 total yards.
17.) Cincinnati Bengals (3-3) (12) — The Bengals freefall continues. No excuse to lose to the Browns if you want to be taken seriously as an AFC contender. None. What. So. Ever. And I know I said this a couple weeks ago, but A.J. Green just continues to make the impossible possible. He’s hands down the best receiver in the NFL right now. Imagine if he had someone other than the Red Rocket throwing him the ball, too. Scary, scary thought.
16.) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3) (8) — I love Matt Hasselbeck, that is pretty well documented, but the Steelers should not have lost that game last Thursday to the Titans. It appears the injuries are finally catching up with Pittsburgh. Between Polamalu, Harrison and Woodley, and Mendenhall the defense is battered and the running game is inconsistent. Ben Roethsliberger has to sling it all over the yard and that’s not a recipe for success.
15.) Miami Dolphins (3-3) (21) — Not sure why, but I’m starting to like this Dolphins team. And just think, 7 weeks ago they were at the bottom and I was geared up for a season of Lauren Tannehill picture posts and now, while near the bottom of the league in total offense (22nd) and defense (27th), they’re at .500 and a couple of Dan Carpenter field goals from being 5-1.
14.) San Diego Chargers (3-3) (10) — What’s great about the Chargers is they’re good enough to build a 24-0 lead against a quality team like Denver, appear to have it all working, and then in the blink of an eye (or in this case a 12-minute halftime), bad enough to go out and give up 35 straight and fuel talks of their coach getting fired and how their QB hasn’t played well in 18 months. At least Antonio Gates is playing well again.
13.) Arizona Cardinals (4-2) (14) — Consecutive losses. The QB you wanted, then didn’t want but were forced to start anyway is now out for a while after his ribs got separated from torso which leaves with the guy you didn’t want at first, then wanted but couldn’t play because HE got hurt. But hey, at least SOMEONE is passing the ball to Larry Fitzgerald (5 catches in his first 2 games, 31 in the last 4), which has led me to the decision to temporarily suspend the #FreeFitz campaign.
11.) Minnesota Vikings (4-2) (7) — My buddy Slade, a huge Redskins fan, was shocked I picked the Vikings last week and dutifully rubbed it in my face Sunday night. Likewise, friend of the website Jimmy had this to say: “Looking like the ViQueens of last year … yup, we are the ViQueens this week … it’s ok, 14-2 will take the division and give us home field.” Ah, sure.
12.) Washington Redskins (3-3) (19) — Remember when I asked if you’d change the channel whenever Robert Griffin had the ball? How about now after that 76-yard touchdown run and Landover Leap? I’m shocked My Good Friend Robert played in the first place after that hit he took by Sean Weatherspoon of the Falcons (and no shock the league is investigating the Redskins handling of the situation), let alone pulled that ridiculous run off. Been beyond impressed with this kid so far. And I’ll say this every week: hope he keeps it smart and stays on the field.
10.) Denver Broncos (3-3) (13) — That was some Peyton Manning performance in the second half in San Diego, wasn’t it? It was hilarious scrolling Twitter during the first half, with everyone throwing the dirt on his grave, and then in the second half, when everyone was singing his praises. Twitter is great like that. He looked good, no doubt, but let’s not forget the Chargers totally pissed down their own leg and virtually gave it Denver. I’ll say it now: no way the Broncos win a playoff game.
9.) New England Patriots (3-3) (4) — Are the Patriots the best 3-3 team ever? Perhaps. But this goes back to last season, where they reached the Super Bowl despite having the 31st ranked defense; you can’t rely on Brady and Co. to carry you each week because you’re going to play a pesky team like the Seahawks at their place and have dumb mistakes cost you. Seriously, that game should’ve been a 3 or 4 score game in the 4th Quarter and there wouldn’t have been any chance for Russell Wilson late-game heroics. The way New England consistently gives up big plays in the secondary show how much Belichick has blown it in the Draft in recent years.
8.) Seattle Seahawks (4-2) (16) — I still have the Seahawks behind the 49ers because I don’t trust Russell Wilson, but damn that was a great throw to beat the Patriots, wasn’t it? As the ball was hurtling through the cold, wet, northwest air I knew where it would land. And wouldn’t you know Sidney Rice was behind the inept Patriots secondary. Oh, and yes, I realize I lost the bet with the Schaffers and “boat race” will not be appearing on The League this season. Such a sad moment for catchphrase pushers everywhere.
7.) San Francisco 49ers (4-2) (2) — After outscoring opponents 79-3 in their previous two games, the 49ers got boatraced by the Giants 26-3 on Sunday in a rematch of the 2011 NFC Championship game. This was telling from San Fran’s perspective. Complete no-show at home with the national TV audience. That’s two games now where this has happened. Real confusing. Not sure what to make of this. Oh, right, it’s Joe Buck’s fault.
6.) Houston Texans (5-1) (3) — Everyone talked about how the Texans really didn’t play anyone through their first fives games; really, they just beat the Broncos, when you think about it. Well, they got their chance on the big stage Sunday night and showed the NFL world what they’re made of. They might has well been playing two-hand touch on the set of “Hey, Dude!” And I know you love it when I talk about my fantasy team, but I was down 22 and change with Arian Foster and the Texans Defense going into Monday night and ended up winning thanks to that B.S. blocked punt and TD with 5:30 left.
5.) New York Giants (4-2) (11) — This could be the best team in football and they’d be higher if I didn’t think they weren’t capable of laying an ostrich egg against the Redskins this weekend. I’ve never seen a team in recent memory play to the level of their opponent more than the Giants. Eli Manning is an absolutely G. The defense remains their biggest question mark. If the 49ers had a better offense I’d be more impressed by holding them to 3 points. Stopping my Good Friend Robert on Sunday will be a good measuring stick.
4.) Green Bay Packers (3-3) (9) — You just know Aaron Rodgers read every last word written about how he and the Packers offense were out of sync, would never capture that 2011 magic again, etc. and then he came out and said Eff You, Guys, I’m Still James Bond Here. How many fantasy owners out there had Rodgers AND Nelson going. How’d that taste?
3.) Chicago Bears (4-1) (5) — There were so many sack/fumbles and Pick 6’s this week I had to double check the schedule to make sure the Bears had a bye. But yup, exactly zero of those were a result of Jay Cutler flashing that patented false bravado and doing something stupid. Weird. Could’ve sworn he was involved.
2.) Baltimore Ravens (5-1) (6) — Yes, the loss of Ray Lewis is a big one. Any time your heart and soul isn’t out on the field, it’s a blow, but losing Ladarius Webb will prove more costly. You may have heard this, but the NFL is a passing league and if you can’t stop the pass, you’re in big trouble (ask the Patriots). Onus on Joe Flacco more now than ever.
1.) Atlanta Falcons (6-0) (1) — Was this week our first sign of chinks in the Matty Ice MVP armor? I’d say so. His first two interceptions Sunday were bad throws and the third he just got lit up and it floated like a wounded quail. However, it says a lot that in these games where he’s played poorly, or the team has trailed in the 4th quarter, that he’s brought them back and won the game or put them in position for a winning field goal. That’s what you call onions and the foundation of an MVP season.
LOS ANGELES — There aren’t two more iconic figures in their respective sports than Derek Jeter and Ray Lewis. Consistent staples in a business overrun by constant changes, where players trade hats and jerseys like children exchange … what do kids trade these days? It’s not baseball cards anymore, is it? Emoji messages? STDs?
Jeter and Lewis are legends, and that’s an understatement. First-ballot Hall of Famers, who five years after their retirement will be rightfully celebrated in Cooperstown and Canton. And the best part about the festivities is there won’t be a debate as to what cap or jersey the two will be recognized in. For this generation of sports fans, you can’t think of the Yankees without the dignitary of the dugout, or the Ravens without the gargantuan of the gridiron, coming to mind. Literal faces of their respective franchises.
Both were taken from their teams and sports fans over the weekend in the form of potential career-ending injuries; Jeter with a broken ankle and Lewis in the form of torn triceps muscles. Jeter, already hobbled in the post season, suffered his injury in extra innings of Game 1 of the ALCS diving for a Jhonny Peralta groundball which proved to be the game-winner for the Tigers. Lewis, who was declared lost for the year on Monday, meanwhile, went to the infirmary doing what he’s always done: chasing down a would-be touchdown maker.
The duo are the last of their breed. Superstar athletes who’ve played their entire career with one franchise and did so at the highest possible level; the championship stratosphere. Jeter was the backbone of five Yankees World Series titles; Lewis was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV, the Ravens 35-7 victory over the Giants.
While some have said Lewis’ play has slipped in recent years, he’s still been the unquestioned leader of a perennially top-ranked defense, and showed no signs of slowing down this season. He was on a 152-tackle pace at the time of his injury, which would’ve been his highest since 2003.
Jeter had a spectacular 2012 season in leading the Yankees to another AL East division crown. He played in all but 3 games while going to bat the most times in his most career; his 216 hits were his most since 1999. Jeter was 9-for-27 in the postseason at the time of his injury.
On the field, with a combined 35 years of professional experience in two cities, Jeter and Lewis share adjectives that define their playing style: warrior, leader, charismatic, gamer, clutch. They’re quintessential plays are also quick to come to mind: Jeter’s postseason flip against Oakland, diving into the stands against Boston, a home run for his 3,000th hit, the jump throw and his arms raised in victory; Lewis’ pregame dance, the rousing sideline speeches, punishing hits, his Super Bowl interception and playoff sacks of Tom Brady.
Off the field, their lives couldn’t be more different. Jeter’s bachelorhood is the stuff of legends, the idolization of wannabe teens and playboys everywhere (even A-Rod). The New York penthouse apartment, wooing of Hollywood’s biggest stars and of course, the gift basket. Lewis has several children, is big in his South Florida community and preaches in his spare time. His transformation from potential inmate to pillar of faith and inner strength is what personal redemption is all about.
Phenomenal players and better men. The debate will rage in the coming weeks and into their sports offseasons as to what their futures hold. “Should they retire?” is the question you’ll see on NFL and MLB Networks, on ESPN and in magazines and online articles. I told anyone who would listen I thought Peyton Manning should’ve retired this past summer rather than risk further injury to his neck by playing another football season, but the case for Jeter and Lewis are different. Surely, a broken foot will heal and doesn’t affect the shortstop’s ability to hit a baseball, such torn triceps can be repaired and won’t slow the linebacker’s path to the running back.
Do I think they should come back? Both are playing at a high level, so sure, give it one last go. Major League Baseball and the National Football League are better with those two men in them, competing, representing all they have to offer. But don’t drag it out. Announce at the beginning this is it, a la Chipper Jones and let the fans pay their respects throughout the season. Then walk away gracefully. Like icons.
LOS ANGELES — I wasn’t paying attention this weekend, did anything controversial happen?? What in Hank Stram’s jet black toupee went on in Week 3!!?! Was there something in the sideline Gatorade? Did these replacement refs have a bad shift at the toll booth before their games? Seriously. Between Pole Gate and Golden Gate the only thing I really have to say is:
Before this post gets flagged for pass interference, let’s find out who’s the man.
32.) Cleveland Browns (record: 0-3) (last week: 28) — I actually don’t think the Browns are all that bad, but Brandon Weeden is killing them after three games. He’s tied for the lead league in interceptions (6) and is 30th in Passer Rating (60.7). The defense has been formidable but you get the feeling it’s going to take something flukey or a big special teams play to turn the tide and get in the W column.
31.) Miami Dolphins (1-2) (29) — Yes, the Dolphins should’ve beat the Jets last weekend. No, they did not. Yes, I’m jealous of Dan Carpenter’s luscious flowing locks. No, I’m not jealous of his kicking abilities in pressure situations. Crazy to think if Miami had pulled that out, it’d be in first place in the AFC East. It’s going to be one of those years.
30.) St. Louis Rams (1-2) (23) — I don’t know what to make of this Rams team, gotta be honest. Kinda goes with how the NFC West is shaking out this year, don’t ya think?
29.) Oakland Raiders (1-2) (32) — Our buddy Jantzen, a life-long, rabid Steelers fan, went up to the Black Hole last weekend for the Pittsburgh/Oakland game and texted these nuggets about the ambiance: “I’ve gotten a lot of ‘Fuck the steelers’ chants in our direction. It seriously is scary.” And then there was this one: “the Raiders fans just booed the Steve sabol tribute cause it ends with the immaculate reception.” Stay classy, Oakland.
28.) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) (31) — Has anyone seen Justin Blackmon? Is he all right? Did he get another DUI and no one bailed him out of jail yet? I know it’s extremely early to throw around bust talk, but when you draft a receiver 5th overall you expect him to have more than 4 catches for 31 yards. I know Blaine Gabbert is throwing him the ball, but how many weeks can that be an excuse?
27.) Tennessee Titans (1-2) (30) — That was some wild game but Jake Locker suddenly doesn’t look terrible (this week). But seriously, Chris Johnson, what gives? It wasn’t cool when you blamed the offensive line for not creating holes and this 1.4 yards per carry thing isn’t gonna fly since it’s doubtful you’ll get 1,200 carries this season. But ah, nice hair?
26.) New Orleans Saints (0-3) (17) — Panic Button, meet the Saints. Or at least their fans. Yeah, I’d say it’s nearly time to think about 2013 and with the Packers up next 0-4 is a real strong possibility. I love these research nuggets: since 1990 exactly ONE TEAM has made the playoffs after starting 0-4, that highly memorable 1992 San Diego Chargers, led by the late great Junior Seau and the Stan Humphries/Marion Butts offensive combo.
25.) Colts (1-2) (25) — Andrew Luck threw for 313 yards but the Colts rushing attack is only 23rd in the league (90.3 ypg). He’s gotta get some help and the defense needs to not have brain farts that lead to 80-yard touchdown passes to the Jaguars if Jim Irsay’s playtoy wants to have a successful season. Oh, and how about the Reggie Wayne resurgence. He leads the league in targets (40) and is 4th in receptions (23).
24.) Carolina Panthers (1-2) (16) — So it appears the Cam Newton backlash has started and is quite real, as evidenced by this Hello Kitty mock cartoon. Look, I didn’t like the Superman TD celebration down 23-0 either and Cam does seem to have a sulking problem, but he’ll be fine. I was more concerned with the whole getting straight up punked on national TV at home.
23.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) (27) — Because #KickersArePeopleToo, has there been a better Mr. Irrelevant than Ryan Succop? He’s made all six of his field goals this season, including the game-winner in overtime to beat the Saints last week. Oh, and Jamaal Charles appears to be back. Man, did he ever look fast on that 91-yard touchdown run.
22.) Detroit Lions (1-2) (18) — Defense struggled. Offense kept them in the game. Calvin Johnson leads the league in 20+ yard plays. That all sounds about right for the Lions. But I’m rolling with the Vikings in the NFC North for now.
21.) Buffalo Bills (2-1) (24) — If the Bills really want to prove they belong in the playoff discussion they best show up and play like they mean it this week at home against the semi-reeling Patriots. Poor C.J. Spiller had one week as the best player in the NFL before injuring his shoulder, though Fred Jackson somehow thinks he’s going to play this weekend (poorer guy). That leaves Tashard Choice has the Amish Rifle’s offensive cohort. Yikes.
20.) Minnesota Vikings (2-1) (26) — Just before the game my buddy Jimmy the Vikings fan texted me: “how bad are the Vikings gonna get a– raped today,” so confidence was high going in. After Minny got ahead by two scores he chimed in: “quick stop the game. Isn’t there a tornado or something in the area.” It’s gonna be one of those seasons in the Homerdome. In other news, I picked up Christian Ponder to be my backup in fantasy. So he’s now on two first place teams.
19.) New York Jets (2-1) (22) — I have no idea what’s going on with the Jets and don’t really want to try and figure it out. Darrelle Revis is out for the year with an ACL tear, which obviously hurts their heavily-relied upon defense. And what are they doing with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow? I know what they’re NOT doing: completing passes.
18.) Tampa Bay Bucs (1-2) (13) — I get the feeling this Bucs team is going to do well at home and struggle on the road. Though, I did confidently prognosticate they’d make the playoffs a week ago, so START PLAYING WELL ON THE ROAD!!
17.) San Diego Chargers (2-1) (12) — Perhaps this speaks more to how good the Falcons are than how bad the Chargers really are, but seriously. You had Atlanta coming cross country on a short week and you STILL got blown out. That’s just embarrassing.
16.) Washington Redskins (1-2) (11) — Did I see that the Redskins signed running back Ryan Grant this week? Really, Mike Shanahan? ANOTHER running back? Patriots:Tight Ends = Redskins:Running Backs. Yeah, I just went SAT on your ass.
15.) Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) (10) — When you stop and realize the Eagles are a dropped INT in the end zone and a bogus replacement ref P.I. call away from being 0-3, you come to the wonder just a.) how bad are they, really? and b.) should Andy Reid be on the hot seat? Hell, here’s a c.) is Michael Vick gonna get benched or carted off the field first?
14.) Seattle Seahawks (2-1) (21) — The good thing about this Seahawks roller coaster is you don’t have to wait in line for 90 minutes to ride it. And it lasts 3 hours instead of 5 minutes. OK, look, we all know (except Golden Tate, Pete Carroll and the NFL apparently) that it was an interception on Monday, so really, Seattle should be lower. But like Mr. Parcells says, you are what your record is and Carroll’s crew is 2-1. Don’t forget to fasten your seatbelt.
13.) Dallas Cowboys (2-1) (15) — Funny how with all that’s going with the replacement refs, Belichick, Rodgers, the crappy Saints, Cardinals shocking everyone, Eagles, that the Cowboys are seemingly flying under the radar. Who thought we’d ever say that?
12.) Chicago Bears (2-1) (14) — The defense won this game for Chicago last week, we can all agree on that. I’m not saying its carrying Jay Cutler’s dopey ass so far this season but Mr. Cavallari is tied for the lead league in INTs (6), 4th in times sacked (11) and 2nd to last in passer rating (58.6). But he currently is in 1st in Picking On Guys On Your Team Twice Your Size. So good job!
11.) Arizona Cardinals (3-0) (20) — Overreaction jump in the rankings! Kevin Kolb! Defense! Loud Noises!
10.) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) (8) — More from diehard Steelers fan Jantzen: “There was a woman behind me that said ‘I’m gonna beat the shit out of a steeler fan tonight’ after DHB got knocked the fuck out. When Antonio Brown fumbled, that same woman jumped on the back of my seat, put her arms around me and started shaking me. The closest steeler fans were 10 rows away from us. I thought I was gonna get shanked. Lucikly she left me alone. Part of me is glad we lost.” Raiders fans, everybody!
9.) Denver Broncos (1-2) (9) — Some of the tweets during the Texans/Broncos game this week were interesting. A lot of “Peyton Manning can’t throw anymore” floating around out there. Look, Peyton’s never thrown the prettiest ball but it always got there and in a HURRY. Through 3 weeks it’s clear we’re not seeing that just yet. Now, will it come back? Or is this the Peyton 2.0. But it was kinda cool seeing him get back the Broncos back in the game they had no business being in.
8.) New England Patriots (1-2) (6) — You’ve all seen the stat by now: the Patriots haven’t been under .500 since Week 1, 2003 when they got routed by the Bills. Now, New England went on to win the Super Bowl that year so maybe that’s a good sign for this year, but so far the offense is out of sync (except when they go no-huddle) and the defense can’t make a big stop. What do you think of the 50 large Bill dropped for “getting the referee’s attention?” Worth it? I saw an interesting tweet that said it was basically like us regular folk being fined $400. I don’t know if anything is worth 4 bones. Wait, I’ve lost more than that in one night at the craps table. Nevermind.
7.) Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) (19) — This Bengals team is that girl who works at the coffee shop you see on Tuesday mornings for 5 minutes and you can’t decide if she’s cute or not. Some days she is and you talk yourself into her, and other days you hide your face behind the paper so she doesn’t make small talk at the counter. So, yeah, Cincy gave up a big lead to the Redskins, but still, did you see it build a huge lead on the road against a team most thought was pretty good? It was impressive. The Ginger Rifle was throwing darts and there’s big play guys all over the field. Then again, Marvin Lewis is the coach, so we’ll see how long this lasts. But two games in a row is pretty good.
6.) Green Bay Packers (1-2) (5) — The Mike Silver Revolution is nearly complete with this latest WTFJH craze. So besides that, here’s the Top 5 Things to Result From Golden Gate: 5- “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”; 4- Aaron Rodgers apologizing on behalf of the entire NFL; 3- Pete Carroll doing anything; 2- Free Ed Hochuli movements; 1- T.J. Lang’s Twitter account.
5.) San Francisco 49ers (2-1) (1) — Is it possible the 49ers just had a bad week in Minnesota? Sure. If it happens again this week in New Jersey, then maybe it’s time to re-think the Harbaugh genius.
4.) New York Giants (2-1) (7) — My favorite items from the Tom Coughlin “A Football Life” in no particular order: he went to Syracuse and all the shots of the Hill, Coughlin created chaos during the family moves, Coughlin telling the guy to put on longer pants and stop wearing “bermuda shorts,” Fred Taylor saying he got injured “once,” the “N-O” button on his desk, his wife saying “I don’t want him around full time,” John Madden’s phone message after Week 17 in 2007 and the emotion in his voice, taking 3 shots to make can in trash: “ugh, basketball,” Floyd Little, “is the Gatorade bath really sticky?” question from the kid and Frierson coming in and saying “it looks like Philip Rivers!” at his college photo.
3.) Baltimore Ravens (2-1) (4) — Joe Flacco. I know the Ravens have Ray Rice and he’s a top 4 back in the league, but seriously, this team will come and go as far as #5. And Justin Tucker, you get one free pass in this league; Sunday night was your pass. Next time, don’t make it that close. It was a 27-yard field goal. Seriously, bro. High School girls can make that kick with ease.
2.) Houston Texans (3-0) (3) — One of the final three unbeatens, the Texans looked like a true contender last week until the final 5 minutes when they let Peyton back in the game. But let’s get to the real issue: did you see Matt Schaub get decapitated?! He ended up losing a piece of his ear on the hit! Watching live, I thought he was dead. Or at least KTFO. But yeah, the Texans are good.
1.) Atlanta Falcons (3-0) (2) — A couple weeks ago I said that Ed Reed is an ageless wonder, well double that for Tony Gonzalez. He’s got 3 TDs in the first three games and is 7th in the league in receptions (21). He said before the season he was 99% decided this was his last year, well if he keeps playing like this, he may reconsider. And hands down, Matty Ice is the MVP of the first three weeks of the NFL. I’m riding him to the ROFFL Title this year. Bank it.
LOS ANGELES — The day is finally here: the First Round of the 2012 NFL Draft. We’ve been talking about this day since the season ended back on February 5 when Tom Brady’s hail mary landed just by the outstretched arms of Rob Gronkowski. It was then speculation began on who would go No. 1 overall, even though we all assumed (correctly, it turned out) that it would be Andrew Luck of Stanford. Last year, it was Cam Newton who dominated our pre-Draft chatter; this year it’s Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III who’ve high-jacked the Draft talk in the months leading up to Roger Goodell taking the podium at Radio. City. Music. Hall. As always, I couldn’t be more excited for this year’s First Round. And as always, I’ll be documenting all the action live all night with NFL Network as my guide (#duh) with its team of Rich Eisen, Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin and Mike Mayock. I’m expecting hilarity, ridiculousness, insight and lots of references to watching tape, being a beast and scout jargon Mayock likes to use to confuse the viewers. I laid out my First Round Predictions earlier this week so we’ll see how I do, but above all, I’m expecting a fun several hours. The festivities don’t officially kickoff until 8pmET but I’m tuning in for the pre-game show just in case. We’ll see if anything good happens. Enjoy!
4:03pm – Robert Griffin III on the red carpet with Melissa Stark and wow, does he look just like Andre 3000’s kid brother; pretty much dressed like him, too, with a baby blue suit and purple tie and a checkered shirt. Camera pans down to his socks, which say “Go Catch Your Dreams” and are Redskins colors. Very sick. He had them custom made; no kidding. This guy is going to be a huge, huge star in the D.C. area. Ya know, until he clashes with Mike Shannahan and Jared Allen separates his shoulder in Week 6.
4:08pm – WOW!! An hour to go before the draft and we already have a trade. Michael Lombardi and Jason LaCanfora are reporting the Browns have traded up to No. 3 to presumedly take Trent Richardson. Unreal. The Greatest Player Of All-Time, also known as Jim Brown, called Richardson “ordinary” earlier today. I guess we’re going to find out just how ordinary he is in Cleveland. Colt McCoy is smiling big right now.
4:13pm – So the Browns give up, reportedly, a 4th, 5th and 7th, as well as swapping No. 1s for Richardson. Well, I guess Cleveland had the picks after last year’s coup with the Falcons for Julio Jones. NFLN has Richardson video on, it’s ridiculous how good he is. The Vikings should’ve just traded Adrian Peterson and taken Richardson.
4:15pm – Bill Belichick coming up on Patriots Cam! I love that Bill always wears a suit for these things. He’s amazing. Man I hope the Pats trade up and take Chandler Jones or Mark Barron or Luke Kuechly.
4:24pm – Bill has said “we’ll see what happens tonight” three times already. Good to see he’s in midseason form in late April.
4:27 – hilarious tweet from Tom E. Curran re: Belichick: “Perhaps the finest coach in NFL history just sucked the life out of the NFL Network predraft broadcast. #belibuster”
4:42pm – “The Ones” feature is very tight. Love the Jon Hamm voice over. Some good names on that list and some busts. Interesting to see if both Luck and Griffin (I refuse to call him that other moniker) can become superstars as usually one is and one isn’t when two QBs go that high. I would bet both make the Pro Bowl in 4 years.
4:45pm – Eisen kicks it to Deion Sanders, who’s on the stage walking across a gigantic “PRIMETIME” which is embroidered on the carpet. That wasn’t an accident, I assure you.
4:51pm – and we have an early candidate for Most Annoying Commercial: you guessed it, “The Avengers” trailer. I think this movie is going to be so terrible and unwatchable not even Robert Downey Jr. will be able to save it but it’s not going to matter because it’ll still rake in boatloads of cash thanks to the fanboys, who are going to come out in full force for it. Who am I kidding, I’ll probably end up donating my 30 bucks to cause.
4:54pm – Ryan Tannehill standing with Melissa Stark says he’s excited about 14 times. Yeah, I would be too if I was about to be the 8th pick in the draft when any other year I wouldn’t go in the first 3 rounds. Oh, and his wife is a model. He’s winning the draft so far tonight.
5:00pm – NFL Draft open for NFLN narrated by Jon Hamm. I’m getting flashbacks to Don Draper’s Kodak pitch from season one of “Mad Men.” If you’re not watching that show, you’re missing out.
5:02pm – and there it is! Our first Radio. City. Music. Hall. from Eisen. Only 56 more to go! What a scene out there in New York. Someday I need to attend the Draft as a fan. I gotta think it’s either one of the coolest, most fun days ever or akin to sitting outside Best Buy in the freezing rain on Black Friday because your girl wants a new blender.
5:03pm – and here’s Goodell to the dais to a chorus of boos from the Radio City crowd. New York is seriously the best. They’d boo their moms if they hadn’t made the playoffs in three years. “The 2012 NFL Draft is officially open” actually gets cheers from the crowd and Goodell announces the Colts are on the clock. How is this taking any time whatsoever?!? Jim Irsay, you’ve known you were taking Luck since October!!?!
5:04pm – Luck is on the phone as Eisen tells us since we’ve known this was the pick since 2009, NFLN is gonna show it, which won’t be the case throughout the night. No doubt they’ll show Griffin on the phone, too. The pick is in, so let’s get this party started.
5:06pm – It’s official. Luck is the first pick and his mom pinning him with the Colts horseshoe on his lapel. Very cool moment. Handshakes all around in the Colts war room. So Luck doesn’t exactly look like a Mad Men extra. Looks like I’m already 0-fer on my predictions. Thought that one would be a lock.
5:08pm – Mayock just compared Luck’s athleticism to Cam Newton’s. Umm, really? If Luck rushes for 14 touchdowns this season I’ll run the LA Marathon buck-ass naked.
5:10pm – Luck with Deion on the stage and he’s excited and NOT sporting a neckbeard. Definitely the upset of the day thus far. And the Redskins have their pick in and of course it’s going to be Robert Griffin III. Can’t believe he’s still rocking the braids. It’s 2012. Come on, bro.
5:13pm – Griffin has his named called and as he’s hugging his family and entourage in the green room he picks up his daughter who’s holding an iPhone. Don’t know why, but this is hilarious to me.
5:14pm – apparently the Browns have made their pick already and the Vikings are on the clock. They should without a doubt move down and compile picks. Deion calls Griffin the savoir of the Redskins. I wonder what VA and Scotty Wat think about that. I’ve posted it on our GroupMe, we’ll see who gets back. Deion says you “have to have swag” to wear those socks. I’m already over Deion.
5:20pm – Browns make it official and take Richardson. This guy is… wait for it… a beast. Too bad he’s stuck in Cleveland, which means he’ll probably be out for the season with a knee injury in Week 4.
5:21pm – these guys are taking FOREVER to get on stage to the Commish. They are literally shaking hands and man-hugging with 30 people before getting up there. There is a wicked logjam right now, as the Vikings and Bucs have already turned in their cards. IN other news, I think my Triscuits are stale but that won’t stop me from eating the rest of the box.
5:24pm – and it appears the Jaguars have traded up to No. 5 to take who Lombardi is guessing is Justin Blackmon. OK, that’s fine and dandy, but who’s gonna throw him the ball!? Is Maurice Jones-Drew playing quarterback now? Richardson on the stage with Deion with his two daughters who are rocking Browns hats. Pretty cool moment.
5:26pm – Mayock says it’s either Morris Claiborne or Matt Kalil for the Vikings here and the Rams will be taking whomever they don’t. Here’s Goodell … Vikings take Kalil, smart pick. 10-year pro. He’s the biggest lock in the Draft. And good because no one has to lose their job, as I bluntly stated earlier today.
5:28pm – a Lane Kiffin sighting! Wow. And Kalil rocking a serious beard. He also becomes the 476th player from USC chosen. That’s ridiculous, nine more than Notre Dame.
5:31pm – OH SNAP. First big shocker of the first round. Cowboys trade up to No. 6!!?! Jerry Jones has done it again. Who is he taking there? Mark Barron? Here’s the Jags’ pick … Justin Blackmon it is. “That’s a great pick” says Mayock. Yeah, it is, but still. Blaine Gabbert is still your quarterback.
5:33pm – first GroupMe update from my buddy Dave, a Giants fan: “not looking forwad to playing RG3 twice.” There you have it.
5:37pm – Mayock says reason Cowboys hasn’t made a Super Bowl in recent years is because of their secondary, as Goodell comes out and announces Dallas taking Morris Claiborne. “best ball skills of any corner coming out in recent years.” And is that Claiborne with his kid? So that’s 6 picks and four kids among the draftees. That HAS to be a record.
5:39pm – really like Claiborne’s suit. I tell ya what, Cowboys fans can’t ever complain about Jones not doing what it takes to compile players. He goes out and makes things happen. They don’t always work, but he’s got that Steinbrenner in him in that regard.
5:43pm – so every selection except the top pick has been via a trade, which is a new record and now the Bucs pick is in… Mark Barron from Alabama, who people thought might go in the teens. Nice purple checkered shirt and tie and damn, an enormous gold watch. Mayock all but guarantees he’s a Pro Bowler.
5:47pm – this is a great pick for the Bucs when you think about it, with all those receivers and explosive offenses in the NFC South. Now we have the Dolphins on the clock, so who knows what they’re doing. Ryan Tannehill? Jesus, that’s going to be a disaster. Good thing I’m not a Dolphins fan. Let’s see what Marc says.
5:49pm – and it’s Tannehill to the Dolphins. Man oh man. I thought last year teams panicked with taking quarterbacks early with Jake Locker, Christian Ponder and Gabbert. This guy might be worse than all of them. And poor Chad Henne, I actually thought he might be a decent pro. What do I know, though, Tannehill could be a legit starter. But I wouldn’t bet an apple on that.
5:53pm – the Panthers pick is in and I’m guessing it’s Melvin Ingram though Mayock disagrees, but we agree it’s a defensive player. And the Bills pick is in, too. This first round is flying!
5:54pm – Panthers take Luke Kuechly from Boston College, the stud linebacker. This guy is going to be ridiculous. He’ll make the Pro Bowl this year, count on it. Shot of him at home in Cincinnati with a huge party going on. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that’s the way to go. Big party at your house. No need for the hoopla of being in New York.
5:56pm – another “Avengers” spot. I’m telling you, major flop. Followed by an Outback ad. Kinda makes me wanna go fight some crime and eat a bloomin’ onion. These stale Triscuits aren’t cutting it.
5:58pm – Bills dial up Stephon Gilmore from South Carolina. More defense for Bills after last year’s selection of Marcel Dareus. Let’s see what Owl says about this pick: “I know very little about him. He’s fast. I like taking a corner though, so I’m happy with that part of it.”
6:00pm – lot of conservative suits from these guys so far in the top 10. Only Robert Griffin went for something a little offbeat. Even Michael Irvin has a generally conservative (for him) look with pin stripes. Mayock did call him Nucky Thompson, which was pretty funny. Chances Irvin knows that reference? 5%?
6:03pm – Chiefs take Dontari Poe to the surprise to most. Poe becomes literally the 10th of 11 picks to have dredlocks, I think, which is ridiculous. And we may have another trade, Eagles move up to 12 to take what people think is Fletcher Cox.
6:06pm – Poe has the top hair in the Draft. Hands down. Also amusing is how he’s wearing his hat now. And JESUS that’s a big watch. “think Haloti Ngata” says Mayock. Damn, that’s some comparison. Irvin wonders why he was so average in college, which is a good question. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he didn’t work hard enough and took his dumptruck size shape for granted.
6:11pm – let’s see how Eagles fans respond to this pick, always interesting … Fletcher Cox it is and moderate cheers/boos. This is a big boy. OK, I’m all for congratulations backstage, but there needs to be a time limit on getting to the stage. This is getting out of hand. Actually, Cox was one of the quicker guys… wow, what a bear hug he just laid on Goodell. The commish needs to go through his own combine/training before the Draft to deal with these blows he’s taking from guys. I thought this would be a one-year thing, but nope. People love hugging Roger.
6:15pm – Cardinals on the clock. So are they going to take Michael Floyd here or what? Still not sure they’re sold on Kevin Kolb, especially after admittingly going after Peyton Manning earlier this offseason, so we’ll see what happens here. They must feel like they can win their division but are missing what? Defensive line, Offensive line. Who knows.
6:18pm – Cards go with Floyd to team up with Larry Fitzgerald and whomever Ken Whisenhunt decides to march out there at QB. First Notre Dame receiver taken in first round since Tim Brown in 1988. We all know how that worked out (hint: very well.)
6:20pm – Irvin saying Floyd reminds of him Anquan Boldin. I’m buying that. Fitz hasn’t been as good since Boldin left, and well, since Kurt Warner retired. I also buy into the notion of having two stud receivers; balances out the defense so it can’t take away one. Look at the Patriots; who in the hell do you focus your coverage on on that team?
6:23pm – update on Tannehill from Epstein, our resident Dolphins fan: “Don’t know much about him. (Owner Stephen) Ross loves him, which isn’t a good thing to me. Guess we’ll see. Who knows what the Dolphins are doing.” So they have that going for them, which is nice.
6:26pm – apparently Seahawks owner Paul Allen is calling out every other teams picks on his Twitter account before it’s broadcast. Hilarious… Rams take Michael Brockers, the defensive tackle from LSU. Ooh, really liking his suit, too, three-piece with a purple pocket square.
6:30pm – love the war room shots as we see Seattle and Pete Carroll just chillin. Very cool cat. Almost literally ran into him rounding a corner at the Senior Bowl in Mobile this year, and he just laughed it off. Then again, it was kinda late, so who knows where he was coming/going. “I like the drama, I like not knowing the picks,” Mayock says in reference to not showing the kids on the phone before hand. It does add some intrigue, I’ll admit… Seahawks take Bruce Irivin, who can be kind of a wild card but is possibly the best rusher in the draft and wears #11, which is pretty cool for a defensive player. If I was a badass linebacker in college I’d definitely wear a single digit number or something low. Makes you look cooler.
6:31pm – Jets on the clock, who knows what would happen here but they’re definitely taking a defensive player. Really hope it’s not my boy Chandler Jones from Syracuse, that would be disappointing.
6:35pm – not sure if this is a good sign for the Seahawks or not, but the last 1st round pick out of West Virginia: Pacman Jones! Your Seattle Seahawks, everybody!
6:36pm – look at the names available for the Jets here: Ingram, Courtney Upshaw, Quinton Coples, Chandler Jones. Damn. Tom Brady can’t be loving that. Ryan Tannehill is too busy staring into the eyes of his new bride to care. Ryan Fitzpatrick is off grooming his beard somewhere.
6:39pm – ok, Jets fans, let’s hear it … Quinton Coples is the pick and we get some claps and jumping around from the gallery. Well we have another bust candidate. I question how much this guy likes playing football. We’ll see. “Julius peppers-like ability” says Mayock. I mean, come on, Mike. I was at the Senior Bowl, too, and the most impressive thing about Coples there were the fraternity brands on both his upper arms.
6:42pm – from Dave: “Coples and Goodell are hugging like they’ve known each other for 15 years.” Yeah, the hugging has gotten a little creepy at this point.
6:46pm – With the first of their two 1st Round picks, the Bengals take Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick, and man am I loving the red sweater under the suit the gray suit. And look at that polkadot tie he’s got there. But seriously, what’s with the dreds?! I really thought guys were going away from that look.
6:53pm – Melvin Ingram finally goes off the board to the Chargers. Surprised he fell as far as he did. Goes to show if you’re a player without a true position or teams aren’t sure where you can play it will affect your stock. It’s too bad, he had a fantastic Senior Bowl and could be one of the best defensive players to come out of this draft when it’s all said and done. Good value for San Diego here. WOW, he and Goodell just did a choreographed handshake like they were Victor Martinez and Manny Ramirez. That was pretty fly, can’t front there.
6:56pm – This might be the first selection of someone I’ve never heard of: Shea McClellin from Boise St. Good to see Parker’s Broncos getting some love in the first round.
7:01pm – Patriots move UP in the draft, just like I predicted, and will take Chandler Jones per Adam Schefter. LOVING that pick. I guess that’s why Bill was being so coy earlier in the afternoon.
7:06pm – another logjam of picks with three in the hopper. Here’s Goodell with the Titans at No. 20 … Kendall Wright, the receiver from Baylor. Good move for them especially with Kenny Britt’s uncertainty following ACL surgery.
7:09pm – did Irvin just compare Wright to Santonio Holmes? That can’t be a good thing, can it? And the Steelers are on the clock at 24 even though we have yet to hear who the Patriots are taking at 21, even though we think it’s going to be Chandler Jones, or maybe Courtney Upshaw. Bill loves SEC players and is friends with Nick Saban.
7:10pm – here’s Goodell with the Patirots pick … boos from the Jets fan, haha, haters… CHANDLER JONES!!! YES!!! Mayock’s no. 9 player falls to 21. This is fantastic. Haven’t been this excited about a Syracuse player coming out since Dwight Freeney and that seemed to work out just fine. Also, how stupid athletic is this family. I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but Chandler’s brother is UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones and his other brother, Arthur, plays defensive line for the Ravens. Three professional athletes, not bad. The Brockmans need to step up their game.
7:12pm – second first round pick for the Browns, let’s see how they screw this up … wow, Brandon Weeden! Unreal. Nice knowing ya, Colt McCoy. “He can make all the throws” says Mayock. I really like this kid, had a great Senior Bowl and a great season at Oklahoma St., which I thought should’ve been playing for the national championship. Should be a good pro. Ha, just realized how ridiculous calling him “kid” looks, he’s 28 and married for Pete’s sake.
7:13pm – VA, a Redskins season ticket holder, has weighed in on Robert Griffin via GroupMe: “he appears to be off the charts in any category you’d want in a franchise QB. Having said that, he’s coming to the sports Bermuda triangle of Washington, dc and I’ve assumed nothing but the worst for/from him.” And there you have it. Good luck, Mr. Griffin.
7:17pm – Lions pick about to be announced as we learn that the Patriots traded up AGAIN. Wow, I really nailed that one. This time up to 25, swapping out with the Broncos.
7:19pm – Calvin Johnson, your new Madden 2013 cover boy, is out to announce the Lions pick. Let’s see how this works out for him. I guess if anyone can break the “Madden Curse” it’s Megatron. Oh, and they take Iowa tackle Riley Reiff. Sure, why not, need to protect the injury prone Matthew Stafford somehow.
7:21pm – big Stanford guard David DeCastro goes to the Steelers at 24. Blue collar pick for a blue collar team. Pittsburgh rarely misses on guys, so this is will probably work out for them. Let’s see what the Patriots do here, probably Courtney Upshaw, I’m guessing. Eisen says Pats traded out all their lower picks, so they have two 2nd round picks tomorrow and that’s it for the draft. Interesting move by Bill there. I’d guess they’d trade down on one of those 2nd rounders for more picks on Day 3, but that’s just a guess.
7:22pm – Patriots take Dont’a Hightower from Alabama. The 4th Crimson Tide player to go so far tonight. “two of the most explosive defensive players in this year’s draft,” Mayock says about the Pats draft so far. Really solid. Pats were 31st in the league last year in defense, so there’s only one way to go in that regard. Both players with start and play a TON next season.
7:28pm – and we have another “WHO?!?” pick of the first round. Whitney Mercilus from Illinois for the Texans at No. 26. Guess you have to try and replace Mario Williams somehow.
7:32pm – Eisen and Marshall do their Goodell/Ingram handshake impression. Eisen’s too white to pull that off, which he immediately acknowledges, so that’s good. Mayock just wants Charlie Yook to stop telling him what to do in his ear. Good luck with that, as well.
7:34pm – Bengals take Kevin Zeitler from Wisconsin to play guard. Zzzzzzzzzzzz… Maycok saying if your’e a Bengals fan you should be happy. Um, OK.
7:36pm – OK, new commercial I’m sick of, the Top 100 promo that NFLN is running. I’m only half kidding because I really like that show having worked on it last season. I think this year’s list will be more indicative of who the players actually think are the best 100 players in the league. Last year it appeared if the voting was skewed because a) not a lot actually voted and b) no one really knew what this list was and how it was constructed. Really curious to see if Tebow makes the list. I’m guessing no. Cam Newton will be in the top 25 and maybe higher than Eli Manning, who continues to get no respect. Rob Gronkowski will also be very high. Aaron Rodgers will be your new No. 1. I have no inside info, just speculating. Probably do a full post about this next week or further along in the list, which kicks off this weekend.
7:39pm – packers take Nick Perry from USC, who is a BEAST. He can play some serious ball. Last time the Packers picked a Trojan his name was Clay Matthews, seems to have worked out so far.
7:42pm – Courtney Upshaw looks like he’s about to rip that table off and throw it across the green room. I’ve stood next to that guy. He’s straight up the scariest dude I’ve ever seen. Shocked he’s still on the board.
7:45pm – Ravens trade out of the first round to the Vikings, who take Harrison Smith, a defensive back from Notre Dame. Shocking, Mayock loves this pick, wonder if it’s that because he’s the Irish broadcaster? Haha, Mayock just called Darren Sharper “what’s his name” that’s hilarious. First time since 1994 that Notre Dame had multiple first round picks. So that must’ve been Jerome Bettis and who? Chris Zorich? No. Hmm… Ok, looking it up.
7:47pm – So I was way off there. Bryant Young, Aaron Taylor and Jeff Burris were taken in the first round that year from Notre Dame. In case anyone was wondering, the first overall pick that year was Big Daddy Dan Wilkinson. The 3rd pick was Heath Shuler. NFLN’s own Marshall Faulk went 2nd and Willie McGinest 4th. Respect.
7:49pm – in doing the Verizon phone promo, with a closeup of his hand and the phone, Eisen says “sorry ladies, I’m married.” Classic.
7:50pm – 49ers take A.J. Jenkins, the receiver from Illinois. Mayock had him as a 2nd rounder and 8th best WR. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Why would they take him, anyway? They signed Mario Manningham and Randy Moss this offseason in order to bolster that passing offense for Alex Smith. Really odd move unless you think this kid can play right away, which I seriously doubt.
7:53pm – Interesting tweet just now from Deadspin, noting that ESPN has said the word “Tebow” 14 times, while NFLN has said it only once. Not sure what that means but it’s not nothing that’s for sure.
7:54pm – Josh, my resident Ravens fan chimes in after they trade out of the first round; “waste of 3 hours.”
7:56pm – Bucs trade up to take running back Doug Martin from Boise St. Hmm, LaGarrette Blount can’t be happy right about now.
7:57pm – and we’re minutes away from the end for the first round with the Giants on the clock. Amazing how fast this has gone, roughly less than the average time of an NFL game. That is the real upset/surprise of the night, especially given all the trades.
8:04pm – here we go, let’s wrap this up: “the world champion New York Giants” take David Wilson, running back from Virginia Tech. Wow, 3 running backs in the first round, also an upset, though not to Marshall Faulk. “He’s a football player”, um, yeah, they all are, Mike. Astute observation.
8:06pm – that was exciting and fast. What a fantastic first round. Really shocking no players drafted from the usual powerhouses Ohio St., Penn St., Miami, Florida or Florida St., among others. One thing that kind of annoyed me, aside from the all the man love with the Commissioner, is that everyone seemed to “love” every pick. I really like when the analysts kill picks on these types of things. Bruce Irvin and AJ Jenkins really shouldn’t have been picked where they were but yet there was no real criticism. Best picks, in my opinion: Morris Claiborne, Melvin Ingram and Chandler Jones. Didn’t really like any of the offensive players, aside from the obvious guys at the top. I think Weeden can play in this league but he’ll need some help on Days 2 and 3 from the Browns personnel department. Had a really fun time, once again, so thanks for taking the time to re-live all the 1st Round action with me. It was fast-paced and really exciting. Already can’t wait for my fantasy draft to see which of these rookies my buddies overvalue and the Sept. 5 kickoff. Happy offseason!