2013 Draft: The Top 100 Drafted

April 24, 2013 Leave a comment

2013-draft-logo-story

Since I have no better place to put this, here are top 100 players who will be drafted, according to me, by position in no particular order. Because I am Lord of the draft. Or entering a contest. Whichever is more plausible.

Quarterback

Geno Smith
Tyler Wilson
Ryan Nassib
Matt Barkley
Zac Dysert
E.J. Manuel
Tyler Bray

 

Wide Receiver

Cordarrelle Patterson
Robert Woods
Tavon Austin
DeAndre Hopkins
Stedman Bailey
Keenan Allen
Justin Hunter
Markus Wheaton
Quinton Patton
Terrance Williams
Marquise Goodwin
Da’RickRogers

 

Running Back

Jonathan Franklin
Giovani Bernard
Eddie Lacy
Marcus Lattimore
Zac Stacy
Joseph Randle
Andre Ellington
Montee Ball
LeVeon Bell

 

Tight End

Tyler Eifert
Travis Kelce
Gavin Escobar
Zach Ertz
Vance McDonald

 

Offensive Tackle

Luke Joeckel
Eric Fisher
Lane Johnson
Terron Armstead
D.J. Fluker
Menelik Watson
Dallas Thomas
Kyle Long
Jordan Mills
David Bkhtiari
Oday Aboushi

 

Offensive Guard

Jonathan Cooper
Chance Warmack
Larry Warford
Justin Pugh
Alvin Bailey
Hugh Thornton

 

Offensive Center

Barrett Jones

 

Interior Defensive Line

Star Lotulelei
Sheldon Richardson
Sharrif Floyd
Sylvester Williams
Johnathan Hankins
Jesse Williams
Datone Jones
Kawann Short
John Jenkins
Brandon Williams

 

Edge Rusher

Tank Carradine
Quanterus Smith
Dion Jordan
Ezekiel Ansah
Bjoern Werner
Barkevious Mingo
Alex Okafor
Damontre Moore
Margus Hunt
Jarvis Johnes
Sam Montgomery
Corey Lemonier
Khaseem Greene

 

Linebacker

Arthur Brown
Manti Te’o
Kevin Minter
Alec Ogletree
Sio Moore
Jamie Collins
Jon Bostic
Nico Johnson

 

Cornerback

Dee Milliner
Xavier Rhodes
Jamar Taylor
Desmond Trufant
D.J. Hayden
Leon McFadden
Johnthan Banks
Jordan Poyer
Darius Slay
Logan Ryan

 

Safety

Kenny Vaccaro
Jonathan Cyprien
D.J. Swearinger
Eric Reid
Matt Elam
Phillip Thomas
Tony Jefferson
Shamarko Thomas

Categories: NFL Tags: , ,

A Short QB Conversation

March 5, 2013 Leave a comment

This week I misread an assignment I got and started writing for it. I was made aware of my mistake before I got too far, but here is what I briefly came up with:

Joe Flacco: Wait for it…

Tom Brady: Here we go.

Matt Ryan: Dude—

Flacco: ELITE!!

Ryan: Come on. You were lucky, and you know it.

Flacco: Lucky? You finally won a playoff game, congrats Matty Light.

Brady: Good one, Unibrow. Did you come up with that insult at the Motel 6 you stayed at for Disney?

Flacco: Ha, ha, very funny. They don’t have Motel 6’s at Euro Disney.

Peyton Manning: Might as well call you Rahim Moore, that should’ve been me beating the snot out of the 49ers.

Brock Osweiler: Hey, Mr. Manning, I took care of that “business” you asked me to do. Nobody will ever know what happened to Moo—

Manning: Not now, numbnuts. How many times do I have to tell you not to bother me in public?

Luck: You realize you have just as many championships as Flacco, right?

Manning: … I will cut you, you usurping son of a—

Tony Romo: Hey guys! Phew, that round of golf was exhausting. Shot a 68. Beat that, suckers.

Brady: Hey, Happy Gilmore, this is a conversation for football players.

Flacco: Trying to figure out to do with all this cash. Thinking about finally upgrading to a new VCR, maybe paying for some basic cable.

Adrian Peterson: Anyone got an orange peanut? I’M OUT, MAN, NEED MY FIX!

Categories: NFL

Tim Tebow is the Tim Tebowest thing to Tebow Ever

November 15, 2012 1 comment

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An Exercise in Hubris: Why Holding the New York Marathon This Weekend Is Wrong

November 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Originally written for Bleacher Report

Have you ever been through a major hurricane?

The howling wind and the pounding rain are just the beginning. A frightening storm gives way to a horrific aftermath.

Eerie darkness permeates the room at night. With no electricity, candles and flashlights can only do so much. The city is silent.

After Hurricane Andrew, I lay in that haunting atmosphere, wondering if things would ever be the same. We were fortunate in the aftermath of that storm. Our family was safe and sound. My grandmother regained power just a few days later. We had food and water.

Aside from getting a nasty stomach flu, I was insulated from it all. The devastation surrounding us was incomprehensible to me as a child. It seems to be that way to some New Yorkers today in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Despite the ravaging wind and water Sandy brought to New York City this week, Mayor Bloomberg and race organizers have decided to hold the annual New York Marathon.

Why?

The hubris of holding the New York Marathon this weekend is staggering even by New York standards. What is the point of holding an event like this, one that needs a great deal of manpower and hundreds of generators that could be used to help those still without power? What about all that bottled water that could go to families who are forced to drink potentially tainted tap water as they wait for help?

Lisa McGarry, a 42-year-old New Yorker, is running the Marathon this weekend. Here is what she had to say to the NY Daily News:

Running is my outlet. Some people express their emotions and bring people together in difficult times through artistic talents. Some people have skills to help save lives, or to fix infrastructures. But I am a runner. It’s what I know how to do. After September 11, I ran across the Brooklyn Bridge to the WTC daily. Three weeks ago, a friend was killed in Afghanistan. His death hit me hard. It was dealing with that grief that I realized I had to do the only thing I know how to do…run.

can’t fix Staten Island or the Rockaways. The only thing I can do is run. It’s what I can do show support for my city.  To show my support for my friend who died in Afghanistan. This is my city, too. And this is what I do.

I also trust that the city will not put any lives at risk, by holding the marathon. We did it in 2001 while the city was still burning.  The rest of the city is getting back to normal. And I truly think it will bring in business to much needed areas. Lower Manhattan has lost a week of business. I work in SoHo, and haven’t been able to go back to work. I am so grateful that my job is now salaried.  I am sure the stores of Soho will be happy to have all those European tourists back shopping.

Longing for normalcy so soon after this disaster is an incredibly needy sentiment for a city with a reputation for toughness. Yes, they held the Marathon as part of a much-needed catharsis after the events of 9/11, but it was nearly two months after the tragic attack on New York.

Should we hold a race that requires the attention of thousands of officials and volunteers, not to mention countless resources that needy New Yorkers could use right now, because of a misguided plea for normalcy?

It is nice to know Ms. McGarry will get a chance to have an “outlet” along with, perhaps, hundreds of other runners while thousands sit in squalor and darkness just miles away. Perhaps she can lend some of her body heat to those without power as a cold front moves in this weekend.

To be fair, many New Yorkers do not agree with the decision to hold the Marathon. Some runners are boycotting the race, and hotels are turning away others while they house the displaced.

Still, the right thing to do would be to postpone or cancel the race, even at this late stage.

People died in this storm. Houses burned down. Staten Island was still cut off from the rest of the world until today. The subway system could be in shambles. Long Island is a desolate place today, its residents all but abandoned.

But this is New York. The show must go on, casualties be damned.

Aaron Rodgers for MVP

January 2, 2012 1 comment

It seems silly that I feel the urge to campaign for Aaron Rodgers as the NFL’s MVP after he had all but wrapped up the award a few weeks ago. Green Bay was in the midst of a run at an undefeated season and Rodgers was the cream of a very good quarterback crop. Here we are, though, with another NFL season fully in the books and Drew Brees improbably closing the gap on the Packers’ quarterback, who narrowly missed an undefeated season. There is no denying the greatness of both of these record-breaking quarterbacks. They are on another level, with Tom Brady and arguably Matthew Stafford and Eli Manning hot on their heels. We witnessed a special season from these two great quarterbacks, and both are more than deserving to be in the MVP conversation. Only one truly deserves the award, though, and I am here to tell you what you should already know: Aaron Rodgers is the NFL MVP.

The main argument for Brees-as-MVP is his obliteration of Dan Marino’s yardage record, and it is a fair one. Brees put the record out of reach, topping Marino’s old mark by nearly 400 yards. That is special — despite the relative ease and propensity to pass around the league nowadays, that is no small accomplishment. The feat is somewhat diminished by the fact that Brady also broke the record, and Stafford joined the duo in the 5,000-yard club, though to what degree is impossible to determine. Rodgers would have joined them as well had he played his team’s final game as well, even though Brees threw the ball many more times than Rodgers.

Even if statistics are everything — and they are not — I believe Rodgers had the more impressive season outside of yardage and traditional completion percentage. Here is a side-by-side comparison (some stats from Pro Football Focus):

At first glance Brees wins the beauty contest — it is hard to argue with the annihilation of the yardage record. Where Rodgers really sets himself apart, though, is his accuracy and efficiency. As I previously alluded to, Brees threw for 837 more yards than Rodgers, but you will note they came on 156 more attempts and one more game. This in no way diminishes Brees’ accomplishment, but it does highlight efficiency differences. The fact Rodgers nearly averaged one full more yard per attempt is subtly impressive. While Brees had a fantastic 71.2% accuracy — another NFL record, in fact — Rodgers completed almost 80% of his passes when removing receiver drops, throw-aways, and spikes, beating out Brees by almost 2%. Again, take into consideration the fact Rodgers had fewer attempts than Brees, which only magnifies the fact his receivers dropped 40 passes. The coup de grâce, however, comes in Rodgers’ record-setting 122.5 NFL rating, which was almost 12 points better than Brees.

To put his statistics into perspective, if Rodgers had thrown 156 more passes to match Brees’ attempt count, he would have thrown for 6,094 yards and 59 touchdowns based on his season yards-per-attempt and touchdown rates. Of course it is unreasonable to assume those numbers would have actually been attained, however this point serves to highlight the efficiency with which Rodgers dissected opposing defenses. Not only did Rodgers shred those defenses, he did it with no semblance of a running game, a drop-happy wide receiving corps, and an offensive line that gave up many more sacks.

Also lending support to Brees, because we tend to have short memories, is the fact that Matt Flynn torched Detroit for 480 yards and 6 TDs, both Packers records. Somehow that has evolved into an example why Rodgers should not win the award, because Flynn made it look easy for Green Bay. The fundamental flaw with this argument is that it is unprovable. What if Flynn is the next great quarterback? What would happen if Chase Daniel played an entire game for the Saints? There is no way to know answers to these questions for last season; Flynn’s great game does not take away from Rodgers’ great season.

Numbers aside, the fact of the matter is Aaron Rodgers nearly led his team to an undefeated season en route to a #1 seed, and he beat Drew Brees in their head-to-head matchup. Rodgers played one less game, which was his and his team’s prerogative, but he earned that with his other-worldly play. The Packers had no running game of note, and they had one of the worst league defenses. The Saints, meanwhile, had the league’s easiest schedule to boot (.441 opponent winning percentage), albeit the Packers’ schedule was not terribly tough. In two of the Saints’ three losses, Brees threw more interceptions than touchdowns; Rodgers did not have one truly bad game.

Both quarterbacks were a joy to watch this year, and again both deserve to be in this conversation. Brees’ gaudy raw numbers make him the best candidate for the Offensive Player of the Year Award. While Rodgers is no longer the “hands down” winner, however, he is still the better choice for MVP. Ask yourself this simple question: if we call the statistical comparison a draw, which can be reasonably argued, then why should Brees win the MVP over Rodgers?

Categories: Football, NFL Tags: , , ,

Money Talks

November 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Before I get into this, I want to acknowledge that the chances the Jaguars leave Jacksonville are slim — or none, according to some — lest I incur the wrath of their fans. One of the running gags in the NFL is the Jaguars’ inevitable relocation, and Twitter exploded with such jokes (myself included) when news broke that Wayne Weaver was selling the team to Shahid Khan, owner of auto parts maker Flex-N-Gate Corp.

The Jaguars are currently valued at $725 million by Forbes, the lowest in the NFL. Khan paid $760 million for the team in cash — the man is obviously part of the 1%. As part of the purchase agreement, Khan has given his assurances the Jaguars would not be relocated. Indeed, their lease in Jacksonville runs through 2030 and is “ironclad” by all accounts. This did little to quell jokes and speculation about their eventual relocation, though, as sports journalists and fans across the country continue to do so as I type. Do Khan’s assurances and the stadium lease eliminate the possibility the Jaguars will relocate?

Here is the rub: money talks, and Khan clearly knows how to listen. Consider this scenario:

The Jaguars, again, are the lowest-valued NFL team at $725 million, while most of the other teams are valued around or over $1 billion. It is a fair assumption that the team’s value would dramatically increase by merely relocating to the right market like, say, Los Angeles. If the estimated increase would take the team close to or over $1 billion, that would be about a $275 million increase — again, simply for relocating. If broken anytime soon, the Jaguars would supposedly owe the city over $60 million in rent on top of losses from parking, taxes, and other Jaguar-dependent sources of income. I can only guess at what that would all amount to, but I imagine it cannot be much more than $275 million if it even comes close to that number — before researching some of this information, I saw it would cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” to break that lease, no small amount of money.

From here it seems like simple math: if the franchise value increases by $275 million or so, and it costs that much or less to break their lease in Jacksonville, it seems like Khan would break even, at worst, by simply moving the team to the right market. He certainly has the money to pay to break that lease before he sees the franchise increase in value. Of course, Khan could then look forward to a sharp increase in revenue from the bigger market and fanbase — it is hard to argue the Jaguars can make more money in Jacksonville than Los Angeles. There is the small matter that the L.A. group purportedly wants a significant stake in the team, but this scenario does not have to play out in southern California. (Though, if I were Khan, I would offer 30% of the team to the LA group, immediately recouping any money paid out in Jacksonville exit fees while still retaining a controlling stake in the team.)

I am oversimplifying the situation, of course, but I never claimed to be an expert. I am playing Bill Simmons here — armchair money speculator. Khan seems to be genuinely interested in owning a football team for the right reasons — that is to say, the joy and thrill of owning a team, not just trying to make money. That would be great for the Jaguars and for football. All I am saying is that handshake agreements and ironclad leases are obstacles, but ones that can be overcome if enough money is involved. To me it is a bit naive to say the Jaguars have zero chance of relocating.

University of Miami – The Academic Misconception

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Even the Rock got his degree from Miami.

I love Gregg Easterbrook’s weekly TMQ column on ESPN’s Page 2 during football season, even though I tend to disagree with some of what he says on a weekly basis. Recently, though, I have taken some umbrage with his disparaging remarks about the University of Miami and the scandal in which they are embroiled. Specifically, Mr. Easterbrook exhibits some lazy journalism regarding Miami’s academic prestige, something university president Donna Shalala has referenced in recent months. He seems to think Shalala is being deceptive when referencing academic prestige regarding Miami’s student-athlete, but that simply does not paint an accurate picture of the academic prestige in Coral Gables.

His first shots came on September 6th, when he writes that the Hurricanes only graduate 67% of football players (or 64%, depending on which number he thinks is right — he puts down both). He wrote that in response to president Shalala’s claim that Miami student-athlete academic achievement is mentioned in the same breath as Notre Dame and Stanford. While I do agree there might be some hyperbole involved in that statement, using one outdated graduation rate for one sport reeks of bias. I am fairly certain that, while the scandal involves the prominent football program, Shalala was talking about student-athletes as a whole.

At any rate, even if we are just talking about the football program, Mr. Easterbrook should probably use better data. Miami’s graduation rate among football players has improved over the years, and they are currently tied for third in the ACC with an 81% graduation rate. While perhaps not in the same league as Notre Dame (96%), Stanford graduates 86% of its football players, just a few percentage points better. By comparison, the other schools Mr. Easterbrook recently derides have average-to-terrible rates — Ohio State graduates 63% while Oklahoma graduates just 44%. Donna Shalala’s claims of academic prestige are not so misleading after all, it seems — ambitious, perhaps, but not deceitful. Incidentally, the ACC is the nation’s top academic conference when it comes to graduating football players. Going back to student-athletes as a whole, Miami graduates a healthy 86% overall, and they continue to strive for excellence.

More importantly, what can we say about the academics of the University of Miami as a whole? I remember President Shalala specifically aiming to improve the university’s academic prestige when she took over for Tad Foote during my undergraduate career. Did she succeed? Well, Miami has steadily risen in academic rankings over the past decade — they are currently the no. 38 ranking in the nation according to U.S. News, a ranking which has gone up dramatically during Shalala’s tenure at the university. Not only are student-athletes graduating at a great rate, but they are receiving one of the best educations in the country. “Sun Tan U” is long gone.

While I have come to understand and even accept the national negativity aimed at the University of Miami, gross misconceptions like these are worth addressing and hopefully correcting. Miami has risen to become one of the best universities in the country all around while boasting top-flight medical and law schools for decades, among other great programs. One football scandal will do nothing to change that. While Nevin Shapiro’s poison runs its course through Miami’s system — make no mistake, once it runs its course the Hurricanes will be back — critics would be well served to find something else to aim at when trying to take cheap shots.

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