The ‘Torturous’ 2014 Draft

Four years after being the No. 1 overall pick, Sam Bradford might be looking over his shoulder in St. Louis this fall. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Four years after being the No. 1 overall pick, Sam Bradford might be looking over his shoulder in St. Louis this fall. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think Arizona will take a quarterback in the first two rounds.

2. I think the Rams will take a quarterback in the first three rounds.

3. I think you shouldn’t be surprised at that last one. Has Sam Bradford done enough to be untouchable in his four seasons with the Rams (18-30-1 record, 58.6 completion percentage, 6.3 yards per attempt)? I don’t think so.

4. I think Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray helped himself Wednesday, showing good mobility and the passable arm strength NFL teams expected when he worked out in Athens, Ga., less than five months after he tore his ACL. Murray wore a brace on his surgically repaired left knee at Georgia’s Pro Day. “I think I showed these teams they don’t have to worry about my knee, they don’t have to worry about someone who’s not going to be able to participate in the preseason,’’ Murray said. Time, and some pre-draft physicals, will tell. But Murray looks like a Day 2 pick.

5. I think I chuckle when the Lions say they are not concerned about Ndamukong Suh skipping Detroit’s off-season workout program as he tries to work out a new contract with the team. It is 111 days since the season ended and Suh was last with his team. The Lions have a new coach, and a new defensive coordinator, and a new defensive line coach. Suh is the best player on the defense. Not concerned? The correct quote, if club president Tom Lewand were on truth serum, would be something like, Pretty lousy start to our off-season program when our best defensive player’s a no-show—particularly when he’s the guy who most has to buy into the new staff since he’s going to be the highest-paid defensive player in our history. Yeah, we’re ticked off. Wouldn’t you be?

6. I think my Beat Writer of the Week is Mike Klis of the Denver Post. The controversy over Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and quarterback Peyton Manning both being in Tuscaloosa the other day talking to the Alabama coaching staff raised a stink because coaches and their players cannot be working together in any form until the start of the official off-season program (which, for Denver, begins today). So Nick Saban mentioned that Gase and Manning were on campus, and if they were researching or working together on anything, it would be a violation of the collective bargaining agreement. Klis called the Alabama sports information office and requested an interview with Saban to clarify what happened. He was told he’d be hearing from Saban, from a “BLOCKED” phone. But now it was Friday night, and Klis had another assignment—his weekly umping job. He was in the first game of a slow-pitch softball tripleheader in the Golden, Colo., men’s rec league near his home Friday night, doing a game between—and I love this matchup—the Alcoballics and the Sons Of Pitches. (Why didn’t any of us think of those names for our softball teams?) A batter had just singled, and Klis felt his phone vibrate. He called time. The screen on the phone said, “BLOCKED.” It was Saban. He asked Saban to hold on a sec, and he told the two teams he had a call he had to take. “Sorry, guys,’’ Klis said, and he went behind the backstop and talked to Saban for seven minutes. Saban told him he didn’t talk to Gase; Gase had family not far from there, and he just came by to talk to his assistant. He said he did talk to Manning. So Klis thanked him, went back and finished that game, and then dictated a chunk of a story plus quotes to his fellow Postie, Troy Renck, in his first week on the job after years of covering the Rockies. “That’s a welcome-to-the-Broncos-beat moment,’’ Klis said. Renck got the story up. Then Klis worked the last two games and hustled home to make adds to the story. “It was one of those situations that just happens sometimes in the job when you’re trying to live your life,’’ Klis told me Saturday. “I can’t exactly say to Nick Saban, ‘Hey Nick, can you call me between games?’”

7. I think, absent of much more proof that Manning and Gase planned a trip to Tuscaloosa together and met there to discuss anything, I doubt the league will sanction the Broncos over this. But if I’m John Elway or John Fox, I’m telling my coaches and players, “Let’s not have any more coincidences about being in the same place hundreds of miles away at the same time in the off-season.”

8. I think that’s a cool honor that John Harbaugh got Saturday, being immortalized with a bronze statue at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He’s the ninth coach to be so honored among football men in the aptly named Cradle of Coaches. Good company in the Miami Cradle of Coaches: Paul Brown, Red Blaik, Carm Cozza, Paul Dietzel, Weeb Ewbank, Ara Parseghian, John Pont, Bo Schembechler. “This cradle is the greatest honor in coaching, if you understand what it’s all about,’’ Harbaugh told Joe Kay of the Associated Press.

9. I think the draft should be Thursday, not two weeks from Thursday.

TALK BACK

Have a question or comment for Peter? Email him at talkback@themmqb.com
and it might be included in Tuesday’s mailbag.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. My very best to my friend Jenn Aparicio, the wife of Baltimore radio personality Nestor Aparicio. Jenn has a rare form of leukemia. “This is heavy lifting,’’ Nestor says. Jenn is one tough person, and an extremely optimistic, bright one. Her story is on Facebook, at #JennStrong.

b. Story of the week: Jesse Katz in Los Angeles Magazine, on the harrowing journey of Yasiel Puig from Cuba to Dodger Stadium. A terrific and vivid account that I highly recommend.

c. Great note on the FOX baseball telecast Saturday: The Angels have not been over .500 since opening day 2013. That is amazingly preposterous.

d. Not a big fan of Major League Baseball making the Red Sox and Orioles play Sunday night baseball, with the annual Patriots Day 11:05 a.m. start this morning at Fenway featuring the same two bleary-eyed teams.

e. I’ve always felt the biggest thing wrong with the NBA, from very much an outsider’s perspective, is how bad teams embrace losing so it will help them rebuild. And when I read the Philadelphia 76ers owner, Josh Harris, tell USA Today after the team finished 19-63 this season“I think the season has been a huge success for us,’’ there aren’t many other ways to spin that. The 76ers used this year to get into the best situation for the future, which involved clearing out the roster and losing as much as possible to be in the best draft position in 2014. Imagine being a Sixers fan, knowing your team hopes it doesn’t win many games, and asking you to pay regular prices for tickets to see a bad team.   

f. Great line by a sprung prisoner, Jonathan Fleming, to the New York Post, after being freed from prison when evidence surfaced he’s been falsely imprisoned for 25 years for murder. He had a coffee. Starbucks. Latte. “Which kind am I drinking?’’ Fleming said to the Post. “Latte? Much better than Tasters Choice and cream. Much better. It’s real good. My first time ever at Starbucks. Coffee was like 40 cents when I first went to prison.” Good news: The coffee’s better. Bad news: It’s not 40 cents anymore.

g. Mark Buehrle, Toronto: 4-0, 0.65 ERA on April 21. Yeah, we saw that coming.

h. Who’s going to start the Giancarlo-to-Boston-for-young-pitching rumors?

i. Please learn to run the bases, Mike Carp. Please.

j. Coffeenerdness: Memo to Starbucks: If you care about quality, please address the situation at your BWI Airport locations. You’ve got some very long lines there, if a couple of stops last week are any indication.

k. Beernerdness: I have found it—the beer in the world that’s closest to the refreshing and hooray-it’s-spring taste of Allagash White. I found it in the Minneapolis airport the other night: Lift Bridge Farm Girl Saison, from the Lift Bridge Brewing Company in Stillwater, Minn. (And kudos for the airport bars at this great north hub, for having so many Minnesota microbrews and brews.) Light and refreshing and full of taste, “ale brewed with orange peel” as the label says, and worth your effort to find it.

l. One of the great sports TV shows I’ve seen was the “Hillsborough” ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the 25-year anniversary of the English soccer tragedy when 96 fans died in a soccer-stadium stampede. Vivid and chilling and heartbreaking—and rewarding at the end. A tremendous piece of journalism on TV.

m. Shouldn’t ESPN’s “Sports Reporters” show be called “Sports Columnists?”

n. You’ve still got it, “Veep.”

The Adieu Haiku

Hey Mel! Mel Kiper!
I miss my “Draft Report” book.
Bring it back next year.

mmqb-end-slug-square

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215 comments
Shane Mac
Shane Mac

Peter:  As for your Stat Of The Week segment - You can take any team who, in the last 14 years, have had a draft where there were 4 instances of failing to take a better player than the one they drafted.  That the Raiders picked 4 QBs who eventually tanked, the only one that honestly stands out is JaMarcus Russell in 2007.  You do know how many other teams would have taken Russell had the Raiders declined.  That you selected a high second round (#59) and two high 3rd round choices (#69 & #78) to round out your argument is ludicrous.  The high failure rate of Raider management in the last 14 years is indeed true but your example of it was a real reach.

HermanRipps
HermanRipps

U sports gru's don't know any more than the rest of us. Come draft day things change at the blink of an eye. Coach may have his mind made up and name on card, and last second call from owner over rides coaches choice. Draft day this year will be dramatic.

rskins09
rskins09

Know Tommy Prothro (former SD head coach )  used to call around the  league before the draft and would always ask  " does he want to play " ..Hear the the Charger's  had a big party after the Draft when Kellen Winslow, Sr.  was still on the board .. 1979  13the pick ..  1st player picked  was Tom Cousineau  Bills who ended up playing in Canada ,then NFL ..

gary41
gary41

There are people in football who are very good at evaluating talent.  It is the first job of any organization to find those people.  Evaluating talent does not mean collecting information and making lists. 

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

The NFL draft is now waterboarding? "Torturous" is now being used in other scenarios these days....just let it play out Mr. King, you'll be fine. Have a beer... 

RemytheGrizzly
RemytheGrizzly

The Texans obviously need a QB, so that will be their first pick.  Jaguars will take a pass rusher simply because they don't have one.  As for the Steelers, they either need a cornerback or wide receiver.

TimPappas
TimPappas

when i say the "sports reporters" the first thing that came to mind was Sizzlers must be closed

gary41
gary41

2011 was a remarkably weak group, with several selected not even on some draft lists.  It is no mistake that the worst teams draft first, yet have difficulty making intelligent decisions.  Certainly it helps to do your homework throughout the year in areas of known weakness.  Of course college QB's have zits--this is another statement of the obvious.  The QB position is special and deserves special full time consideration, for all teams, whether they are lined up by need to draft in the first several rounds or later.  Some teams consistently draft a QB in later rounds for a reason.  Those who can't make a QB decision this year should be on the sidelines.   

DolFanAllen
DolFanAllen

This is why coaches and GMs get fired.  They know they need a QB first and foremost to win in the NFL and then do the 2 step around the obvious.  Seven of the top 10 teams picking in the draft all suffer from Bad QB play.  Thus, they're drafting at the top of the draft.  If they continue to ignore the obvious, they'll be drafting in the same spots again next year.  INSANITY.


Teddy Bridgewater should be the #1 overall pick.  He was pretty much rated the top QB in the class by most going into his Pro Day.  The talk that his stock has slid due to his Pro Day is ridiculous. If a GM or Coach is allowing a meaningless Pro Day to override what's on tape, both of them need to be fired.  I'm finding it hard to actually believe that a team would actually do something that amateur.  We'll see on May 8th.

MelchiorMelchior
MelchiorMelchior

The Vikings need a dependable running back also.  Yeah, I said it.

RalphTheGardener
RalphTheGardener

The only reason that Russell Wilson got to play was because Flynn developed tennis elbow during camp. Same with Foles when Vick kept getting injured. The last thing the Vikings need after Ponder is a Bridgewater.

Mike N
Mike N

Other than Newton and Kaepernick, those other QB's on the list above are busts!

JohnnyNacho
JohnnyNacho

In today's NFL the top pick should likely be Quarterback, Pass Rush or 5 Star Offensive Lineman.  Although Mack seems to be a very good player you just won't get value w/ the top overall pick on a linebacker.

VIPOD4ever
VIPOD4ever

It's Raider Nation, not "Black Hole People" !  (sounds very patronizing and border line racists)


Secondly, the Manziel link to Oakland is so yesterday. 


Reggie will pick from these 4 depending on who remains when #5 is on the clock:


Clowney,Watkins,Mack or Robinson.







2656wdb
2656wdb

Peyton was recently (last couple of weeks or so) in the Oklahoma football facilities.  It would be interesting to know if Gase was also there.

Aussie TEK
Aussie TEK

Clowney shouldn't be first pick.  His work ethic should cost him being picked first.  Plus Texans need offensive help.  They should pick Watkins first and get QB and RB later rounds.  Lack up RB depth last year cost them many games.  

Ciscos
Ciscos

I've been saying since the season ended, Jadeveon Clowney isn't a lock at the first pick. Smart money says in the end, he probably will be, but that's not a given. That's the quandary Bill O'Brien has. Does he draft a QB? I'm not excited about any of this years crop of picks. All of them are picks and sits. I don't expect any, with the exception of Bortles or Manziel to come in and be the face of the franchise - and that's only by default because neither Cleveland nor the Jags have a QB that gets anyone excited. That leaves Clowney.

Clowney has all the physical tools. But so did Mario Williams (minus the 40 speed). To Mario's benefit, his coach never tossed him under the bus about his work ethic. Spurrier tossed Clowney and so have several analysts.  Having your work ethic questioned is as bad as it can get for a first round pick. A questionable work ethic denotes elements of being lazy. Maybe Clowney was bored in college. But that's on him. He should have found ways to motivate himself week in and week out. Maybe Clowney didn't want to get hurt. Then he was playing in fear. That's not a selling point either.


I almost feel bad for Bill O'Brien. Draft Clowney and the boo birds will go crazy if the negative points about him hold true. Pass him up and deal with the consequences of him being one of the most dominating players of the oncoming decade. Predictions are a mother. 


I think Bill either trades down and avoids the heat, or bows into the pressure and takes Clowney.

gbgentleman
gbgentleman

Good news: The coffee’s better. Bad news: It’s not 40 cents anymore."

eh...I buy quality coffee beans online, grind them myself, use half and half and still pay less than 40 cent per cup.

Gabriel Perez
Gabriel Perez

I think you should check out Turn on AMC.  I am still worried about what the Cowboys will do during the Draft.  It will be a move, but whatever decision Jerry Jones makes, I hope it is worth with so many holes in Dallas.


GuyMontag
GuyMontag

"The circumstances around the death, which took place in a firefight with enemy forces near the Pakistan border in eastern Afghanistan, remain a mystery."


Not really.  Jon Krakauer in his book ,"Where Men Win Glory" (2010 revised paperback edition), described the friendly-fire incident and how Gen. McChrystal supervised the Pentagon's cover-up to use Tillman's death for propaganda (I would also recommend watching the DVD "The Tillman Story" and Mary Tillman's book "Boots on the Ground by Dusk").


However, what is a still a "mystery" is what I've called "The [Untold] Tillman Story" of the bipartisan whitewash of Gen. McChrystal (and others responsible) started by the Bush Administration and continued by the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress (for details, see the Feral Firefighter blog posts "Defend Your Integrity" and "Something to Die For").

JayReardon
JayReardon

How Tillman got killed is a mystery?  Now that is a mysterious statement.  The second, third and fourth investigations -- forced by the Tillman family in the face of the Bush/McChrystal cover up -- ascertained that friendly fire killed him in a typical military ClusterF***.

Stuartaeye
Stuartaeye

Speaking as a former Starbucks Assistant Manager, the Starbucks at BWI is most likely a franchise and Starbucks won't do much about it. 

DanTanna86
DanTanna86

Haha. More fake "sources" just to get a blog out.

Freethot
Freethot

A "Friend of Rick Smith" is referred to as FORS?  Seriously?  Would that make a family member of Rick Smith to be FORS KIN?  .. just sayin'

RogerPaul
RogerPaul

aren't you on the wrong thread ,guillaume?


guillaume.bdamour
guillaume.bdamour

Dear Mr King, Dear Americans,

You really need to open your eyes about your country, your army and the people that run it.

The way you talk about soldiers as ‘’heros’’ that ‘’protect your country’’ is absolutely mind boggling.

Is terrorism in decline because you went to Irak/Afghanistan?

Was the rebuilt successful in Irak/Afghanistan?

Was even Bin Laden caught in Irak/Afghanistan?

The answers to those questions are all a big NO. Al-Qaeda is present all around middle east and Africa, why only invade Irak and Afghanistan? The reason America sent a huge amount of troops to those places were never

‘’to protect’’ your country. It was all for oil and money, everybody outside the US knows it.

How do you treat those ‘’heros’’ after you give them a little medal and a standing ovation on opening day? You let the ones who have psychological problems die alone. 22 suicides a day in your military because of post-traumatic stress. Where’s the help your ‘’heros’’ need? Nowhere. Sorry, ‘’not enough money’’.

I’m sure Pat Tillman was a great man, but thinking about putting him in the Hall of fame is absolutely ridiculous. He wasn’t a ‘’hero protecting your country’’, he was a sacrificial lamb sent to ‘’war on terrorism’’ only to satisfy the insatiable thirst for money and power of your egomaniacal leaders.

Shame on you for putting your heads in the sand and calling it patriotism

el80ne
el80ne

@RemytheGrizzly Why wouldn't the Texans wait to the first pick of round two to pick a QB rather than take the high risk of drafting a bust while burning the first overall pick doing it? That makes no sense.

el80ne
el80ne

@DolFanAllen Do you know why pro days are used by scouts and personnel to judge a player? I'm not saying pro days should be the only thing used to scout a prospect, but considered along with the host of other evidence at their disposal like game tape. It's not unreasonable to downgrade a prospect for a poor pro day. It was his choice to not workout at the combine, if he did he could have given them more looks.

el80ne
el80ne

@RalphTheGardener That's not the only reason. Wilson completely outplayed Flynn in the preseason games, particularly the finale. Flynn developed the same 'sore arm' issue with the Raiders, leading to Terrelle Pryor starting the season for them. It wasn't a fluke.

Mike N
Mike N

@VIPOD4ever


Right because we all know Raider fans aren't racist, correct?

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

@Ciscos  Hey Johnny D:  I didn't realize Bill O'Brien was the Texas GM.

Mike N
Mike N

@Ciscos


Correctomundo!


If Clowney took plays off in college trying to impress the scouts, imagine how many more plays he'll take off when he gets a $20+MM guaranteed contract?

Mike N
Mike N

@gbgentleman


I'll bet you also take 1st dates thru the MickeyD's drive thru, no?

Ciscos
Ciscos

@Gabriel Perez The only decision Jerry Jones needs to make is when he needs to sign the checks. Last year I actually think he listened to his coaching staff and let them decide instead of him channeling his inner Al Davis and grabbing someone he likes instead of what they need.

Aussie TEK
Aussie TEK

@JayReardon  Friendly fire has killed many soldiers from all countries.  If Obama is investigating the Tillman death you will definately not get the truth.

el80ne
el80ne

@DanTanna86 King's not a talent evaluator/scout, but he is known for cultivating high placed sources on teams and providing legit info when he quotes them.

hayhowesq
hayhowesq

@DanTanna86  What makes you think he is faking sources? I doubt he would have risen to the top of his profession if he made up sources.

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

@guillaume.bdamour :  Pat Tillman became disillusioned - especially with our presence in Iraq.  He didn't see any reason with us being there once the initial assault was over.  It is hard to know if he felt he was being heroic when he took the tour in Afghanistan and probably would be most dismayed by whom his killers actually turned out to be and how his death was covered up and turned into an obscene display of "heroism".  The last thing he wanted to do was die

HermanRipps
HermanRipps

@guillaume.bdamour Some of what U say is correct, but the part about Pat Tillman is Bull S  T! Pat Tillman joined of his own free will and regardless of how he was killed in combat, he was killed in combat. He is looked at as a hero because he had it made with a nice contract to play pro football, and he turned it all down to extract a pound of flesh from your distant relatives for 911.

Your in America now which still allows you to say what you want, Relax take the Towel of your bald head, and enjoy your freedom.

el80ne
el80ne

@guillaume.bdamour Yeah like we really need you to lecture us about the mistake of Bush. FYI, most of us didn't vote him into office.

CarlEdwardJansen
CarlEdwardJansen

@guillaume.bdamour  Absolutely correct, you are more of a hero for stating these unpleasant facts than 99.999% of the military volunteers that went there. Thanks!

DolFanAllen
DolFanAllen

@el80ne @DolFanAllen  The Combine and Pro Days are irrelevant.  There are sooooo many players who had horrible showings at these events and went on to be Great players.  Tom Brady and Terelle TD Davis to name a few off the top of my head.  Kurt Warner wasn't invited to the combine and didn't have a pro day.  There are tons more where that came from.  

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

@HermanRipps :  Then you must have a poor job, eh Ripps?  Save your agenda for your next Tea Party tickle fest . 

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