Johnny Man Crush and the NFL Draft.

Win Games, Sell Tickets, Or Both?

Win Games, Sell Tickets, Or Both?

Wow, that’s a long time between posts.  A record.  I almost forgot my login information.  I think I was so disappointed with the Masters that I had to leave this space for a while.  A whole post about the Masters being good even when it wasn’t and then that last hour and a half happened.  Unparalleled boredom.  I felt wronged.  And believe it or not, I try not to be wrong if I can help it, but sometimes you can’t help it.  I’d like to mix in being right every once in a while, but we’ve come upon the NFL Draft and no single event leads to more failed prognostications.  The leadup to the draft isn’t about being right, it’s about finding a community to be wrong with.  If you think your buddy from Summer Camp is going to Detroit in the 6th round, you can probably find a mock that backs you up.  Then, on Saturday, when your buddy goes undrafted and is fielding calls from Canada, you won’t be alone.  With the NFL Draft you are never alone.

We had a longer lead-in to this Draft than we’ve ever had and so most topics have been leeched of all intrigue.  Hey, have you heard this year’s crop of WRs is incredibly deep?  Only about four thousand times.  The yearly quarterback plummet (in the process of being named The Geno Smith Slip N’ Slide Perpetual Trophy) happened so long ago to Teddy Bridgewater that I’ve almost forgotten there was a time when he was considered a candidate for the #1 pick. Poor Teddy could have used the draft about six months ago.  In Bridgewater’s place we have Blake Bortles, Jimmy Garropolo and Derek Carr.  Derek Carr, who we don’t even have to pretend is related to David Carr–because he is! It’s that easy. The once fabled QB class looks like a train wreck to me, more shattered dreams in QB-less cities.  Can you imagine if the Vikings draft Blake Bortles?  Ponder and Bortles.  It just reeks of desperation.

I think we overlook how much desperation there is in the draft.  Such limited commodities and tremendously high stakes.  Is someone sold on Blake Bortles or are they just wishing?  Are they going to be out of a job in a year or two regardless, so it’s worth a swing?  You probably couldn’t be the GM of an NFL team (too many phone calls/not enough suits in your closet) but if you had a top-10 pick you could probably do that job.  Sure, the GM has access to reams of information you don’t.  Scouting is THEIR JOB and what have you, but is the difference on a guy like Bortles or Bridgewater going to be in the scouting?  I doubt it.  Is the guy available, does he fit a need and can you risk not taking him?

Don’t forget fear of making mistakes when we talk about tremendous draft blunders.  Getting a pick wrong carries a stigma, but so does leaving a guy on the board that becomes a star.  No one wants to see Johnny Manziel turn into their Aaron Rodgers.  Or Russell Wilson.  Or Tom Brady.  Factor in Manziel’s charisma, his pre-packaged persona, his knack for making football fun to watch and you’ve got someone who a lot of teams probably can’t afford to pass up.

There’s been a lot of talk about Manziel sliding of late and with that talk comes speculation in Philadelphia that the QB Chip Kelly once recruited could still be on the board at #22 when the Eagles make their pick.  Would the Eagles with countless holes on defense and an alleged starting QB already on the roster (along with the Sanchize) take Manziel if he slipped?  Would that lead to Chip Kelly offensive nirvana?  It has the sports talk hosts on cruise control, but I’m pretty comfortable saying it won’t happen.  Almost as comfortable as saying the end of the Masters would be thrilling.

There are 21 teams ahead of the Eagles in the Draft.  A lot of them need a quarterback.  Desperately.  Some have been waiting a decade for a quarterback.  Doesn’t Jacksonville owe it to their fans, the few that remain, to take Manziel. Sure, you can say, whoa–Jacksonville has too many holes.  They have to take the best player available.  They have to build a line and a good defense then they can look to a QB.  That’s horsebleep.  And, it’s sh*t because the “safe” guy they take at #3 could also be a bust.  And, no one wants to watch an offensive get built.  Or, if they take Sammy Watkins, who is going to throw him the ball?

I’m not terribly high on Manziel with my uneducated opinion, but he can run and he can throw and he’s certainly not lacking for confidence.  He’s not going to go meek in the huddle.  The consensus seems to be he plays too wild, takes too many chances–none of which will pay off the NFL.  He’ll be throwing picks across his body, when that body isn’t getting broken by NFL defenses.  He’s too small.  I’m starting to think that height is a bit overrated in NFL QBs.  You could fill up all the empty seats in Jacksonville with 6′ 4″ guys with big arms that couldn’t sniff an NFL field.  I don’t see why I couldn’t be wrong about Manziel the same way I was wrong about Russell Wilson.

And, so if I’m the Browns and I’ve been through the following carousel: Campbell, Weeden, Hoyer, Lewis, McCoy, Wallace, Delhomme, Quinn, Anderson, Dorsey, Gradkowski, Frye, Dilfer, Garcia, Holcomb, McCown, Couch, Pederson, Detmer, Wynn…what do you really have to lose?  One year of hype and ticket sales is probably worth it, isn’t it?  You’ve been starting over every year since you got the franchise back in Cleveland.  The best QB on this list eventually became so bad that we named a Fantasy Football league for terrible QBs after him.  Cleveland doesn’t need a slightly scrappier defense, or a slightly better offensive line.  They need to alter the history of the franchise.  They can take the slow approach, which hasn’t worked through various regimes over the last 15+ years, or they can buy a scratch ticket.

Cleveland is likely to pass on Manziel, but someone is going to take him and you can’t really blame the team that does, because the absolute worst that could happen is you are back where you started next year at this time and that’s something these franchises are all too familiar with.  I don’t know if Manziel is going to be Brady Quinn or Steve Young, but someone at the top of the draft is going to give him a chance.

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I’d trade my entire draft for the following player: MIKE EVANS.

With no Patrick Peterson clones in this draft, I’m without my usual DB obsession.  With the gaping holes in the Eagles’ secondary there has been a lot of talk for months about Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor.  I’m like, can’t we just go back in time and take Earl Thomas?  Please?  So, while I’d happily take either of those safeties to occupy the Kurt Coleman Gulf of Touchdowns at Lincoln Financial Field, Mike Evans rises above the fray with his obscene physical tools.  He’s like David Boston (on the juice) without the juice…if that makes any sense.  If it doesn’t, we probably can’t be friends anymore.  Of course, if you aren’t in the top 6 or 7 picks you have no hope of getting Evans, who’d fill massive holes for any number of teams at the top of the draft.

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How will the Eagles draft go?  The latest rumor, after a week of googling a WR from Indiana of all places (that’s Cody Latimer), has the Birds trading up to get Odell Beckham the WR from LSU.  From the sounds of it, Beckham would remind you a lot of DeSean Jackson, minus the record company and questionable instagram account.  I must say that this troubles me a great deal.  I didn’t particularly care what Jackson’s salary was, or how well he got along with people.  I’ve never heard a great team whine about chemistry.  So, I’m afraid it could be another disappointing draft day.

In years past the Eagles would have been panicked with only 6 picks and promptly started trading down with reckless abandon.  They then would have taken three WRs in the late rounds (quantity over quality) and they all would have been aggressive busts.

This time around I think the Eagles do take a WR early, a 50/50 proposition at best, and try to fill a hole they created themselves while leaving the other pre-existing holes unattended.  But, we’ll see what happens on Thursday night when the NFL changes people’s lives in 10-minute intervals.

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