Mr Pressbox Pre-Draft: Mock this

21 04 2010

Opting to forgo a traditional mock draft that will be as useless as most people’s NCAA tournament brackets after the top five picks tomorrow night, I decided to add a little more foresight into my pre-draft analysis instead of a simple mock draft.

So, here are a few views from the Pressbox about what to expect from the draft:

1. Trades and trade rumors will intensify Thursday during the day leading up to the draft. During the draft, the trades will slow to a minimum. Then overnight Thursday leading up to the draft on Friday will hit a fever pitch heading into the second round. Overall, most of the trade action will take place during the downtime between days, not during the active draft rounds.

2. Sam Bradford will be the No. 1 pick by the St Louis Rams.

3. Ndamukong Suh will only escape being drafted by the Detroit Lions if someone trades up to the #2 spot (not likely)

4. Gerald McCoy will wear Warren Sapp’s old number for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

5. The Washington Redskins will draft a quarterback in the first two rounds. The stupid thing to do would be draft Jimmy Clausen at #4. The smart move is to draft OL Russell Okung with their first pick and then draft a quarterback with their 2nd round pick.

6. The 1st round will be top-heavy with OL picks.

7. The 2nd round will be a quarterback clearing house. Expect Colt McCoy (if available), Tim Tebow, Tony Pike, Dan LeFevour, and others, to go once the run on quarterbacks starts.

8. The Kansas City Chiefs fans will want the Chiefs to draft S Eric Berry, but Scott Pioli will choose a safer investment for the money paid to a #5 pick either drafting OL Bryan Bulaga or Trent Williams.

9. C. J. Spiller will most likely be drafted by a team trading up to get him. (Favorites: San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle or San Diego).

10. Tim Tebow WILL be drafted by a team who trades for the pick to select him. (Favorites: Seattle, Washington, New England or Minnesota).

11. The San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers will both draft running backs in the first or second round.

12. Tim Tebow will be mentioned at least once during every selection discussion of the first round on both the NFL Network and ESPN coverage.

13. One big name player will be traded during the actual selecting of the first round (involving either Washington or New England).

Follow Mr Pressbox on Twitter for pick by pick analysis during the first and second rounds, and comments all weekend.

With the first pick of the 2010 NFL Draft ….

Mr Pressbox Out!!

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Does Clausen draft day no-show foreshadow his draft stock?

17 04 2010

Not long after Jon Gruden compared Jimmy Clausen to Ryan Leaf (voted one of the biggest draft busts in history), Clausen made the best decision he has made in the last 3 years, declining the NFL’s invitation to attend the first round Draft festivities Thursday in New York.

This more than likely means Clausen sees the writing on the wall. He sees his stock value drop, while Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy gain ground on the draft boards. Clausen was a lock at #4 to the Washington Redskins prior to the Donovan McNabb trade. But since then, he has been slipping down the boards to #7 Cleveland, #9 Buffalo, #10 Jacksonville and even #13 San Francisco and #14 Seattle.

Clausen may have even got a phone call from other first-round free-faller from Notre Dame, Brady Quinn, who may have advised him the best place to be is at home watching on TV, not in New York with the world watching him suffer more embarrassment every time his name is not read by Roger Goodell.

He has already been compared to Ryan Leaf, and has a better shot at being mentioned in the same conversation with Nortre Dame quarterbacks Rick Mirer (former Irish QB who was #5 on the Biggest NFL Draft Busts list) and Brady Quinn than being compared with Joe Theisman and Joe Montana. The higher Clausen goes, the better chance he has of making the Biggest Draft Busts List in a few years.

Mr Pressbox Out!!

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NCAA flagged for excessive buzzkilling with new rules

15 04 2010

The NCAA has gone too far!!!

OK, we could say that on a daily basis, but this time it’s true. OK, we’ve all probably said that a hundred times already, too. But I’m serious. The new NCAA football rules are too much.

I understand and support the new wedge blocking rule on kickoffs. But the ban on eye-black messages is questionable and the new anti-celebration rule is just ridiculous.

It is no surprise that the NCAA waits until AFTER it’s Demigod Child Tim Tebow moved on to put this rule into place. They would never tell Tim he couldn’t do something. He could have written F*** USC on his eye black and got away clean as a surgical utensil. But now that he is gone, it is no longer acceptable. Because NOW, instead of wholesome religious references, unscrupulous football players might try to pay homage to deceased friends, area codes, or even put gang signs on them.

But the Nike Swoosh is OK?. Makes sense to me.

Now the new anti-celebration rule that penalizes teams by incurring the penalty from the spot of the infraction and removing the points is just unconstitutional.

I understand they want to reduce taunting and unsportsmanlike behavior, but this is just insane. You can tell a bunch of old white guys sat around a table sipping their Scotch while smoking cigars when they came up with this one.

High-stepping, pointing to the crowd or opponent and diving into the endzone uncontested are just a few examples of new rule violations. But who decides when and where the infraction officially occurred, and how? Will instant replay be used? Will there be a celebration cop on the crew? And how far will it go.

Just wait until the first game when a player is flagged for celebration after a visiting player returns an interception for a touchdown and slows down after glancing over his shoulder to see who is following him. Is slowing down and looking back at your opponent now considered taunting? How much slowing down is too much? If a player walks the final three yards into the endzone, is that excessive?

And then, wait until the first meaningful game is decided by an excessive celebration call for something minor like fist-pumping after a game/season-changing play. What if it is the player’s first career touchdown? Or an emotional day for a player who just lost his father and just broke away to score the game-winning touchdown? What happens if Team A is penalized for a certain celebration on Week 2 (and loses the game) and then Team B is not penalized for the same exact type of play during Week 5? Can Team A dispute the results of the game? How can the NCAA ensure consistency in the calls?

It is not a black-and-white, clearly defined situation. Of course, some instances are more blatant than others, but where does it end? Who has the final say? Can a coach challenge the interpretation?

And after a banner year for referees being fined or suspended for blowing pivotal game calls, do we really want to give them more power to institute a new rule than has too much room for individual bias and interpretation.

I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all! Flag me for that!!

Mr Pressbox Out!!

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Tim Tebow declines NFL Draft appearance, raises stock

14 04 2010

By declining the NFL’s invitation to be in attendance for the first round of the draft April 22, Tim Tebow demonstrated yet again he knows how to make a tough decision.

Sure he could have let the NFL use and abuse him like a circus elephant to try to increase ratings and sell advertisements for the made-for-prime-time Thursday night NFL Draft extravaganza. But he made the right call, which will likely end up as another touchdown in Tebow’s NFL career.

Anyone who has read my work knows I absolutely believe Tim Tebow is not worthy of a first-round draft pick. But they also know I believe Tebow is one of the top 5 quarterbacks in this year’s draft class .

Over-hyped quarterback prospect Jimmy Clausen has yet to make an official decision regarding his invitation. If he is smart, he will save himself the embarrassing fate of fellow Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn by watching his draft stock plummet from home.

As things stand now, after the recent trades and free agent signings, I believe Tebow will be drafted early in the second round, probably by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or a team that trades up to snag him before pick #40 (i.e. New England Patriots or Seattle Seahawks).

My mock draft hits the streets Saturday. Stay tuned.

Mr Pressbox Out!!

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Tebow Conspiracy: First (unofficial) Mock Draft Sighting

31 03 2010

Now I know how Major League Baseball players felt when standing in the batter’s box against Randy Johnson. You see this big, hulking presence wind up preparing to deliver one of the scariest fastballs ever in baseball. But no matter how confident you were that the fastball was coming, or how much you readied yourself for that sizzling pitch, you were helpless. It was coming and there was nothing you could do about it.

That is how I feel with this Tim Tebow draft conspiracy. It’s coming. Like a fastball down the pipe, it’s coming. My only hope is that I don’t get drilled in the head with it.

FoxSports.com’s Adam Schein sees it coming, too. I’m sure there was a self-serving purpose to his prediction, but Schein has delivered what I have found to be the first (unofficial) draft projection. Sorry, Adam, but if he does get picked in the first round, I’ve got dibs on the “I called it first” title.

I say “unofficial” because (1) Schein delivered it in his normal sarcastic delivery (professing his “bro-mance” or “man-crush” with Tebow), (2) he made no real attempt to try to pick who might draft Tebow and where, and (3) Schein is not only my list of “serious Mock Draft” providers.

Schein suggests the New England Patriots and the Washington Redskins might be interested in him. First, Bill “Hoodie” Belichick will not take Tebow in the first round. If he’s available in the second, definitely. But Belichick runs too tight of “war room” to allow hype like Tebow-mania to make him change his draft board. And the Redskins will not take him with the 4th overall pick in the draft. No way, no how. Which is perfect for the Redskins because he SHOULD be available when they come around to pick again in the second round (#37).

And after Sam Bradford’s superb pro-day, you can hear the St Louis Rams sewing the letters on his jersey for the Draft day presentation. So, they will have no need to take a quarterback in the second round. He could easily fall right into the Redskins’ lap.

Again, I always feel like I need to say this, but I agree with Schein when he says Tebow will eventually be a solid NFL player. I totally agree. I just do not feel he is worthy of a first round pick. So much could happen, so many things could go wrong. Nothing is guaranteed with him. Then again, what do I know, all of the “experts” have Jimmy Clausen projected to be a top 10 pick – and he hasn’t touched a football since November.

I like seeing Clausen ranked that high. It will make the draft more interesting this year watching to see how far he falls, a la Brady Quinn and Aaron Rodgers.

I may need to hire that guy who took his Wonderlic Test with Tebow if I actually have to hear Roger Goodell read Tebow’s name on opening night of the draft. He’s obviously got experience telling Tebow to “shut the…”

Mr Pressbox Out!!

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Carroll fuels Tebow draft conspiracy

24 03 2010

I felt like Mel Gibson in a taxi cab watching Julia Roberts on a treadmill through binoculars. The conspiracy was coming true. I didn’t know whether to be happy it was coming together like I said, or upset that it was coming together like I said.

When I saw that Pete Carroll, new Seattle Seahawks coach, comment “I can’t believe a quarterback of his stature won’t be (taken in the first round),” I also heard the sound of the first dominoes of the conspiracy falling. (courtesy of Jason La Canfora’s NFL.com blog)

First the NFL invites Tebow to be present at the NFL draft, when no one is predicting him even close to the first round. Draft invitations are only extended to potential high first round picks, never to guys who aren’t even on mock drafts in the first round. It makes no sense.

Until you hear Carroll’s comments today. Then it starts to clear up. The NFL gets in the ear of “the new guy” and “suggest” he make a well placed comment about Tebow being first-round talent. Carroll is the first and only person to suggest such an outrageous thing. Other teams know Seattle is in need of a quarterback replacement (with Matt Hasselback’s imminent departure) and no one believes Charlie Whitehurst is really going to be their long-term solution at quarterback.

I challenge anyone to find me a legitimate mock draft (ESPN, NFL.com, FoxSports, CNNSI, Yahoo, Sporting News, etc – not some crazy hack) that has Tebow in the first round dated between January 1 – March 24, 2010. It doesn’t exist.

Now you get the other teams worried that Seattle aren’t going to waste a pick on him in the first round, but they may be hungry to move up and take him early in the second round, or possibly another team like Washington or Tampa Bay might snag him early in the second round.

Let the panic spread!!!

The next thing you know, Tebow is on everyone’s big board. Not because of his talent, but because they want to be the team to take Tebow, and the race is on to see who actually picks him first. It’s more like a game of chicken than a race – to see who the first guy to flinch and take him might be. Now, Tebow is drafted in the 20s of the first round by a team that has no need for him. Why? Hysteria. Tim Tebow fueled hysteria.

Here is my disclaimer: I believe Tim Tebow has the potential to be one of the top quarterbacks taken in this draft. I think Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Max Hall, Tony Pike and Tebow are solid NFL-caliber quarterbacks. I guarantee Tebow will prove to be better than Jimmy Clausen. Take that to the bank. But he is not ready yet. He even admitted it. He is not worth the money and the value of a first round pick. Plain and simple.

The only way Tebow is drafted in the first round is through the snowball of hype Pete Carroll just created. And I promise you that someone in the NFL offices had a hand in the remarks made today. Otherwise explain Pete Carroll’s remarks.

Mr Pressbox Out!!

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Tebow’s greatness leads to NFL rigging the draft?

17 03 2010

And it never ends …

Just when you thought reality was finally going to knock Tim Tebow out of the Pantheon down to Earth with the rest of us schmoes, the NFL kicks us in the gut with the news that Tebow has been invited to attend the draft.

The NFL has invited only those players with a guaranteed slot in the first round of the draft, and after the Aaron Rodgers and Brady Quinn sagas played out on live television, they restricted the invitations to reduce the risk of a player being embarrassed on draft day.

But then Tim Tebow was born – or was it immaculately conceived – and all the rules change.

By inviting Tebow to the draft site, they plan on putting him in the gallery with cameras on him from the minute Roger Goodell makes his first trip to the microphone. The NFL undoubtedly is putting pressure on NFL teams to “be the team to draft the man, the myth, the legend, the god, Tim Tebow.”

I was OK with wrestling being rigged. I understand horse racing and boxing have their “moments.” But this is just too far. Now the NFL gets to ram Tebow down our throats?!?!

I feel like I’m back at college at a party with Roger Goodell and he’s got a beer-bong and can of Tim Tebow, while the NFLPA is ramming the tube down my throat. Standby, here comes the Tebow, whether you like it or not!!

Tim Tebow is nowhere near a first round pick in this years draft. Even he admits he has a lot of room for improvement and things to work on. The first round is not the place to draft “projects.” That’s the 3rd-6th rounds. That’s what they invented Compensatory Picks for. The first two rounds are dedicated to building and improving teams, not drinking the Tebow energy drink.

Now we can all wait for the Guarana and Tebow crashes after be forced to stomach this crap.

If Tebow is drafted in the first round, you can bet Vince McMahon is somewhere on the NFL board of directors.

First Jimmy Clausen it expected to be a top 10 pick, now this? Is football that desperate?

I can’t take it anymore.

Mr Pressbox Out!!

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