NFL DRAFT '09
Senior (not to mention some Junior) Superlatives...
#1 sign the 2009 Lions might end up being...the 2008 Dolphins: They hired Titans defensive coordinator and Bill Belichick favorite, JIM SCHWARTZ, to resurrect the franchise, and made Bob Sanders-ish safety LOUIS DELMAS their canny selection at the top of round two.
#1 sign the 2009 Lions might end up being...the 2008 Lions:They spent the #1 overall pick and $74 million - with $41.7 mill in guarantees (three terrifying words: "Haynesworth got less") - on unproven QB MATTHEW STAFFORD when they could've spent the #20 overall pick and far less money by trading for an NFL-ready MATT CASSEL. Is it possible Matt Millen is contagious?
Most Likely to Succeed:WR MICHAEL CRABTREE, arguably the most talented player in the draft, bum foot or no, who slid to San Francisco. Conventional wisdom had Crabtree landing in Starbucks country at the end of the first hour or, maybe, becoming the biggest thing to hit the Dawg Pound since, well...every member of the Dawg Pound. But Seattle opted for impact Wake Forest linebacker AARON CURRY while Cleveland's head mangenius decided he didn't need the Texas Tech wideout to replace soon-to-be-kicked-to-the-curb Braylon "Who wants Stickum?!" Edwards. Instead Mangini started trading down, left and right, and Crabtree fell out of the top 5, even past the Raiders, who apparently didn't need a wide receiv - oh wait...
Worst of the 1st:Do we even have to say it? Is it not redundant at this point? Put it this way - just across the Bay from the *best *pick, it's all (BLACK) cloud AND no SILVER lining for this one. "Just Win, Baby" - Al Davis-ese for "Please be tall and run fast. We'll give you lots of cash."
Best Late Round pick:JOE BURNETT, CB, to the Steelers. Pittsburgh always seems to draft well and this year looks to be no exception. Don't be totally shocked if Asante Samuel's fellow Central Florida alum follows a similar path from Day Two pick to someday #1 corner.
Biggest surprise:The aforementioned Cleveland head coach - better known, perhaps, as the Patron Saint of Inexplicable Second Chances - spends all that energy trading this way and that, only to end up with a trio of grounded Jets and ALEX MACK, a good Center taken in a bad spot.
Biggest non-surprise:Cincy adding to its roster of questionable characters ANDRE "MANZIER" SMITH, the offensive tackle and Hostess Cupcake-enthusiast, late of Alabama who was early to leave the Combine; USC's plunging-because-of-non-physical-red-flags REY MAUA-mispronounce-my-name-a-lot, and BERNARD SCOTT, 6th round running back out of Abilene Christian (along with three other institutes of "higher" learning). According to the Grey Lady, Bernard's name has hit the black & white of police blotters "at least five times." Also, he's in his early 20s and has already been kicked off two teams. Have fun, Coach Lewis! (Can we get the Bengals a direct line to Drs. Phil and Drew?)
The Dan Marino "Boy-are-we-all-gonna-look-stupid-in-three-years-if..." free-fall pick:EVERETTE BROWN, DE/OLB, slipping out of the top 10, falling out of the top 20, nose-diving out of the 1st round and into the (almost) middle of the 2nd, and landing in Carolina, a team with nary a first-rounder and a pass-rushing question-mark in Julius Peppers. A fortuitous turn for the Panthers, who could use a few helpings of fortuitous after signing Jake Delhomme to a mind-boggling five-year extension. (A quick gander at their latest boxscore tells me the Carolina F.O. offers one year of extension per every home playoff-game interception.)
Boom or "El Busto" pick:USC quarterback MARK "Don't Call Me Dirty" SANCHEZ. Is he this year's Matt Ryan or Leinart Dos-point-0? The answer to that question will go far in determining the fate of the Jets for the next several years. Quite a roll of the dice for Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum, and a bold show of faith in an average-armed QB who, given his new place in the windy Meadowlands and the Brady-backed AFC East, could probably use some.
For all the off-season talk and ink spent on tales of "bluster" and "Swaggerlicious," this pick puts the Jets back in the NFL water-cooler scene. What are the odds that Sanchez will play better than the admittedly uneven QB of Jersey's short-lived Brett Favre Era? Not great. But the team that rents from the Giants now has a trajectory, and suddenly their fellow AFC East fan-base, upstate, isn't the only one looking to "getcha popcorn ready." Meanwhile the J-E-T-S didn't even have to give up a future 1st rounder. Helluva job if it works.
Best Draft Day Statement:To SHELDON BROWN, courtesy of the Eagles. As mentioned in last week's Out-Takes, Philly has a bit of a situation on their hands with the veteran corner. See, Brown's none too keen on his deal - you know, the one with FOUR YEARS LEFT on it - and he's threatened to hold out until his contract gets reworked or he gets traded. Well, Sheldon, someone got traded. Pats CB Ellis Hobbs - or, as my Eagles front office friends like to call him, "Leverage." Sulk all you want, the Eagles seemed to say. Your replacement could be a kick returner worth a pair of 5th round picks in a lousy draft. See you in camp. Or not. Whatever.
Worst Draft Day Statement:According to Mrs. Out-Takes, who doubles as my own personal Jamie Sommers, bionic hearing in tow, the NFL's deputy commish announced a Rams pick by referring to the team as the "ST. LOUIS CARDINALS." Understandable, I guess, and everyone makes mistakes, but come on, this is the big leagues. Maybe get the team names right.
The "We'd call it the 'Awkward Moment Award' Except 6 Hours Ain't Exactly a 'Moment'" Award: To Quan Cosby, wide receiver out of Texas, who sat through ESPN's Draft coverage with Erin Andrews and, oddly, the "Dry to the point of being Jason Robards-level Scary" Bill Cosby (no relation).
I'm of two minds here. On the one hand, I can't help thinking, "Wow, for a guy who's seen outrageous success financially and artistically on the world stage, Bill Cosby sure seems pissed off a lot." On the other, the fact that Dr. Huxtable Ugly-Sweater adopts these lesser prospects and shares their draft day is kinda cool. Probably makes them feel good, generates some exposure, gives them a story to tell, something.
But here's the thing: lesser prospects face greater odds when it comes to getting drafted. Many of them, in fact, don't get drafted. Which is what happened to Quan Cosby. Yep, despite all those ESPN puddin' pop-ins, the poor kid got taken at the same spot in the draft that our family dog Lola did, and she still hasn't finished her 40. (Come here, girl - come on! Aw...forget it.)
Blooper Reel ("Out-Takes" Mocks the "Out-Takes Mock" Edition)
Mr. Bill & Friends blew up all hope any of us had of looking smart in the "aftermock" of our draft projections. But, not wanting to join the ranks of gutless Kipers & Mayocks everywhere, we here at Out-Takes chose to go through our picks with a fine-tooth comb.
Round 1: DARIUS BUTLER, CB, UConn - Okay, not a bad start. The Patriots did end up taking the guy 18 spots later. Call it a wash or a push, just move on with some kind of "sssh" sound.
- San Diego cornering the market on edge rushers seems like overkill. I mean, they already have Shawne Merriman and "a little help from his friends." Ahem.
- Dolphins go whole-hog and full-bore, wildcat-wise, stealing Out-Takes' shot at getting this one right. Damn you, Tuna!!!)
Round 3a: TRADED for a 2nd rounder in 2010 - NAILED IT. Exact spot. Exact result. Out-Takes breathes easy on Day Two, kicks up its feet and decides everything else is gravy. But...
Round 3b: TYRONE MCKENZIE, LB, South Florida - NAILED IT AGAIN! Exact spot. Exact result. Out-Takes begins to get greedy and cocky. But...
- Not even close. (We still want credit for "Trevor 'Yes We' Canfield" nickname.)
- Right player, right round...wrong slot, wrong team. Despite a good pick, these stealers's black & gold towels remain terribly lame.
Round 6: (Bowing to tradition, this selection TRADED to facilitate one of the earlier 2's or 3's) - We think we got this one right, but the psycho structure of all these trades has stricken Out-Takes with some sort of Draft Day Vertigo. We'll report back as soon as the frenzy dies down and someone throws us a rope.
(Good luck going from Fresno to Frisco, Bear.)
(Jerry Jones takes a break from messing up his own grand plan to select McGee and mess up ours.)
. - BOTH dreadfully wrong. The Out-Takes mock goes down, not with a bang but a whimper.
And finally, one last Senior Superlative...
The Arsenio Hall "Things That Make You Go Hm..." Award
How many panicky Pats fans would've been fretting in the aftermath of the draft had DARIUS BUTLER (#41) and PATRICK CHUNG (#34) simply flip-flopped draft slots? Just wondering. And speaking of Patriots draft picks...
Anyone feeling uneasy about this weekend's more surprising selections would be well served by cutting over to the patriots.com Audio Section and checking out the post-draft press-conferences of PATRICK CHUNG, TYRONE MCKENZIE and RON OHRNBERGER. Truly impressive individuals. And ya gotta love McKenzie, who worked the Hampton Inn graveyard shift while taking care of his ailing Mom AND making his mark on yet another NCAA football program.
Good stuff, great kid.
John Cockrell is a screenwriter, whose other work has run the gamut from "Sesame Street Parents Magazine" to Playboy TV's "The Weekend Flash." (He figures everything else is pretty much in-between.)"