It's Draft Week ... Finally

Quotes of the Week

I

“I’m sad to see some of these guys retiring. I’m not far behind.”

—Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, on the field at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. He was in New York to see friend Derek Jeter play for the last time, and he’ll stay today to tape the Letterman show. Jeter and Letterman have both announced plans to retire.

II

“It’s not something we’re counting on. It’s something that would be a relative surprise.”

—Jacksonville general manager Dave Caldwell, on the status of suspended wide receiver Justin Blackmon, the fifth pick in the first round just two years ago. He was suspended twice last year, the second time indefinitely, for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, and the team hasn’t been in contact with him—per league guidelines—while he’s been in rehab.

Hard to think Sammy Watkins won’t be in the final couple of options for Jacksonville when the number three spot in the first round comes up Thursday night.

III

“We look at the draft as, in some respects, a luck-driven process. The more picks you have, the more chances you have to get a good player. When we look at teams that draft well, it’s not necessarily that they’re drafting better than anybody else. It seems to be that they have more picks. There’s definitely a correlation between the amount of picks and drafting good players.”

—Baltimore assistant GM Eric DeCosta, to Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB, in Vrentas’ enlightening story last week about the Ravens’ love of compensatory picks, and how they intentionally try to obtain more compensatory picks than other teams through a sort of planned obsolescence of their own veterans. 

I strongly recommend you give Vrentas’ story a read if you have not already.

IV

“He’s got the balls of a burglar.”

—Rich Gannon, former NFL quarterback and 2002 NFL MVP, to me, on Johnny Manziel, in my virtual roundtable with five quarterback experts dissecting Manziel this week.

“For far too long the NFL has been sitting on its hands doing nothing while an entire population of Americans has been denigrated. How long will the NFL continue to do nothing—zero—as one of its teams bears a name that inflicts so much pain on Native Americans?”

—U.S. Sen Harry Reid (D-Nev.), on the floor of the senate last week, on the “Redskins” name.

VI

“Frankly, I would probably change the name.”

—U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), asked on “The Dan Patrick Show” by Patrick what he would do about the Washington team name.

So two of the biggest political leaders in America, who can’t agree that today is Monday, went on record in the past week as saying they would change the name of the Washington Redskins. The story’s not going away. Eventually the league and Washington owner Dan Snyder are going to have to come to the realization that “Redskins” is too objectionable to too many people.

I understand all the status-quo fans of the team, and Snyder, who think this is PC America run amok. And whatever the reason Snyder is spending time and money on Native American causes through his Original Americans Foundation, I applaud him for trying to help a depressed segment of our society we often overlook. But Snyder risks being on the very wrong side of history if he chooses to make the name of the team an Armageddon cause.

Stat of the Week

Asked a veteran personnel man this week how many players his team had with “make-it’’ grades on his draft board, and he said 170, which is up about 25 players from a usual draft. Different teams I’m sure will have different ways of looking at this board; I’m just saying this draft probably has more players who would make an average NFL roster than most recent drafts.

The 170th pick is the 30th pick in the fifth round this year. San Francisco owns it. Here are the teams that, theoretically, could have the biggest injection of new life on their rosters this fall, the teams with the most picks among the top 170:

8: Cleveland*, Jacksonville, San Francisco.
7: New York Jets.
6: Atlanta, New Orleans, St. Louis, Baltimore, Houston, Detroit, Minnesota, Green Bay.
* Cleveland’s top eight picks all come in the first 145 slots.

On the other end of the spectrum, the teams with the fewest picks in the top 170:

3: Indianapolis (and the third one is 166 overall)
4: Tennessee, Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, Washington, Tampa Bay, Seattle.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

Dallas draft picks in the top 228 slots this year: 5.

Dallas draft picks in the bottom 28 slots this year: 6.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

NBC buddies Brian Williams and Peter King enjoyed The Boss in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of Peter King)
NBC buddies Brian Williams and Peter King enjoyed The Boss in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of Peter King)

After years of being told, “You’ve got to go to Jazzfest,” I finally went to the New Orleans spring staple, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, on Saturday … to see Bruce Springsteen at the old lady of a racetrack there, The Fairgrounds. I’ll be returning. It was a gorgeous day and a great Americana scene. Thousands of people—maybe 50,000 or so—walking from venue to venue, listening to gospel music in the Gospel Tent or blues in the Blues Tent, eating an array of local food (I chose the catfish tacos), enjoying the sun and the music. Springsteen was his usual indefatigable self. How does a 64-year-old man keep up that pace—not just for 2 hours and 35 minutes, but the pace of touring and keeping it so fun night after night? Coolest part of the show: He brought up John Fogerty—and Fogerty’s two sons to play maracas—and they combined on “Green River” and “Proud Mary.”

At the same time Springsteen played, you could have (and thousands did) seen elsewhere on the property Trey Songz, Foster the People, Better Than Ezra, Al Jarreau, Johnny Winter, The Head and the Heart (a Seattle-based Steve Gleason favorite) … or Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers.

Three bits of lagniappe from the day in New Orleans: 

1. Saw Rob Ryan, the Saints’ rock star of a defensive coordinator, and NBC’s Brian Williams, a huge Springsteen fan, at the show. You see what Williams, the Yankee fan, is doing in this photo? He’s covering up the Red Sox logo on my shirt. 

2. Out for a drink after the show, I got to meet Nils Lofgren and Mrs. Nils. Very nice people. They live in Phoenix. Big Arizona Cardinals fans. 

3. I visited Steve Gleason, who spent some time in the hospital this week with pneumonia. He’s feeling better, but his ALS is advancing inexorably. It’s such a cruel disease; muscles controlling his ability to swallow now don’t work. Cutest thing I saw all weekend: Gleason’s son Rivers sitting on his lap in his wheelchair, watching a Jimmy Kimmel skit on YouTube.

Tweets of the Week

I

II

Ian Rapoport sports a Kiper Jr. hairdo.

III

IV

I don’t know who that is, but I like the handle.

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210 comments
Mr.MurderMurphy
Mr.MurderMurphy

It's still Rock n' Roll to me..... wooo!

The draft pushback seriously compresses player development time, this might be a year that B plan Free Agents bring the team along even faster.


If the Rams go QB whoever it is gets compared to RGIII forever. Do you pressure a kid that much or get sure safe pick or trade back and play it safer?

Anaximandar
Anaximandar

I do not like the draft being pushed back 2 week, and I don't think I'd be a fan of 4 days of drafting.  I was thinking that, as a fan, I wouldn't mind the draft being spread out a bit more.  What if they had Round 1 of the draft the 3rd week of April, Round 2/3 the 4th week, and the rest the first week of May?  I know I'm pretty up to speed on all the first/second round quality players.. but with a week of media coverage in between each draft day, the story would shift to start analyzing the later round players. I would greatly enjoy the story shifting to other players for a time and all the speculation that would go along with that.

RandallAllen
RandallAllen

"The [Redskins] story’s not going away"   That's because it's a media-created, media-driven story.  I'll keep saying this until it's old: my wife is Cherokee and she doesn't care about the name of the Washington NFL team.  Her mother--God rest her soul--became a fan of the team PRECISELY because of the name of the team.  Finally, when Red Mesa (AZ) High School--which is located in the heart of the Navajo Reservation--changes the name of its teams from the--you guessed it--Redskins, then we can talk about the Washington NFL team changing its nickname. Until then, it's not an issue!

daveg2011
daveg2011

Please no more on those red sox....enough already!!! Where were all these "fans" before they actually won a series???

RickHendrick
RickHendrick

 Thank you for the piece on Gary Smith. I recall with great fondness the Thursday arrival of my Sports Illustrated, circa 1964, when a twelve year-old sports nut could settle in and read several beautifully written long form stories. Each issue was solid gold to me, and I kept them neatly stacked on a shelf, where I could peruse them again and again.

  I met Frank Deford at his brother in law's house in Kennebunkport (interrupting him as he was banging away on a huge upright typewriter, but he couldn't have been more gracious) in the summer of '68, and for this sixteen year-old, it was better than meeting the president.

gary41
gary41

The Rams have the time and the position to look at everybody.  They are in the cat bird seat for this one.  The more time, the more speculation.  Drives analysts crazy.  

clt0002
clt0002

There was an article in Alabama about Fisher's connection with Robinson, his son has played on the same team with him at Auburn for the past few years. I couldn't be happier for the guy. His family had to flee their home during Katrina and he grew up very poor. There was an article about how his mother couldn't afford tickets to any of his games. I hope he does well and wish him the best. 

QuinBagwell
QuinBagwell

How could Houston not draft a player who gives them instant national attention and coverage, and brings with him a talent which many believe will make him an extraordinary success? Manziel offers Houston more to gain than any other team. With him will come hordes of jones sickened cowboy fans, and the ability to move the needle for Houston to overtake Dallas as the premier franchise in Texas. You gotta take that shot !

davewr58
davewr58

You said "I understand all the status-quo fans of the team, and Snyder, who think this is PC America run amok" … no you don't, because you continue to attack Synder. It IS PC run amok and you liberals need to give it a rest. It's interesting that the name has been okay for most of Washington's 82 years of existence, but once the white liberals decided that the name was offensive, it had to go. Who are you going after next … schools and pro teams who have animals as mascots? Might offend PETA, you never know. I hope Snyder sticks to his guns and keeps the name, just to upset you left-wingers.

JimBowski
JimBowski

Great job peter--two early season jock sniffs for peyton!

EdwardKirby
EdwardKirby

The biggest surprise of this year's draft will be the dearth of trades. There is simply too much talent, and everyone will be wanting to trade down (so as to accumulate more picks), and there will be few takers.

The exception might be the top five to seven picks.

gary7
gary7

Just like that idiot that writes for the Washington Post Sport Dept, you looked under a rock and found 2 scum balls to "Change The Name", McCain has screwed over Indian Tribes for years in Arizona and that traitor Reid is in a private land grab with his son and the Chinese.  Indian Drunks,Bad Comedians and crooked politicians you all have quoted in the last week or so saying the name should change, not to mention what Botox Bob will whine out next, stick to your fantasy of pretending you could be a GM in the National Football League or at least the next time you want to quote some nim-wit that you think is prevalent to spread your own personal narrative, take the time and see who and what they really are.

number18
number18

Idiot Reid and Idiot McCain are about to get Their names changed--senator will be dropped.

Frotoon
Frotoon

I thought King was never going to use the word Redskins again in an article.

bobbie johnson
bobbie johnson

I'm offended that a man who should be serving the back end of his prison sentence for accessory to murder (Ray Lewis) is a well respected host on ESPN. 

IdDoHannahStorm
IdDoHannahStorm

Washington should just change the logo to the Spanish 'redskin" nut to shut people up.  Peter would probably still be offended on behalf of the allergic.

bobbie johnson
bobbie johnson

"Redskins" is a name that mostly elite white liberals like King find offensive.  These people constantly need new causes to run to, and this is just the latest.  Save the Whales and Acid Rain are no longer chic. 

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

also what's ridiclous is guess what you know the nfl said they had to move the draft back to may because of the show at radio city music hall, well guess what the show was cancelled, and the nfl has known for a while, so they could've easily had the draft 2 weeks ago

DanBayliss
DanBayliss

I run a bunch of half and full marathons, Peter! Where can I geta MMQB shirt?? I'll run the next one in your shirt!!

Dan

ecp_unix
ecp_unix

So, was the group Kansas singing "The People Of The South Wind" offensive?

Mike26
Mike26

I am really sick of this whole Redskins thing - it's a non-event that some liberals are still insisting on trying to make a national issues.  It never has been, isn't now, and never will be.  Having our "top" Congress folks (which they're not) waste time on this is embarrassing to this country.  There's not ANY polls outside this minority group's (the group trying to make this an issue) small minds that say it needs to be changed.


Enough is enough.  Get back to football.

hayhowesq
hayhowesq

@RandallAllen  Oh come on. The media couldn't drive a story if no one was paying attention. And, as the stories have made clear not all minorities agree with your wife. The fact she thinks the way she does, is no reason to stop covering the story.

RickHendrick
RickHendrick

Hi Dave, Your inference that Red Sox fans are bandwagoners couldn't be further from the truth. All of New England suffered with each losing year, loving our Sox through the 86 year drought.

Many fans, including my father, lived a full life and died without seeing the Red Sox win a World Series, and when they finally did it in 2004, my tears flowed for him and for all lifelong Sox fans who couldn't be there.

   So to answer your question, that's where we fans were.


Mike26
Mike26

@QuinBagwell  You're correct.  Teams should ALWAYS listen to their fan bases...

dfgomaha
dfgomaha

@number18 senator Is for life if you watch the sunday news programs...

Enusmith1
Enusmith1

Can you back up your statement with proof?

YuSuk
YuSuk

Because there aren't any republicans who find the name offensive? Are you sure about that? Why do you have to blame liberals for everything? Redskins IS offensive to many people. Just because you don't think it is doesn't mean everyone feels that way. Why are your beliefs so much more important than people who do find it offensive? We are talking about tens of thousands of people, it's not like there are only a dozen people who are upset. Too bad the South couldn't just secede so all the republican bigots could live in harmony together while they ruin everything around them.

tmarlin1221
tmarlin1221

@Mike26  Or change the washington team's name to the Jewskins rather than Redskins.  Snyder shouldn't have a problem with it, since he's not offended by redskins at all.  

Mike26
Mike26

@RickHendrick  And now they've gone from nice fan base story to overindulgent greedy corporation with lazy players....it's another reason why people have left MLB.

Joe79
Joe79

@YuSuk  


 Learn the origin and original use of the word and then explain how and why it should be or is offensive to anyone!!!  The Native Americans were the first to use the the term to describe themselves in negotiations with white settlers so get over yourself drama queen!


Oklahoma means Land of the Red People in the Choctaw Nation and it is a term that was created by a full blooded Choctaw, Rev. Allen Wright, who is considered to be one of the most honest and integritous individuals to ever walk the planet.  

ecp_unix
ecp_unix

@YuSuk Uh, it was a bunch of Democrat bigots that seceded. Lincoln was a Republican.

Mike26
Mike26

@YuSuk  Even PK's best efforts at polling folks and researching anti-Redskin name groups rarely passes 30%.  That's a small amount of people - even with the name-dropping PK integrates into his writing it doesn't sway more people.  In fact, mentioning those two in particular is foolhardy because both are on their way out of significance = McCain is already there.

WadeNelson
WadeNelson

@YuSuk  I didn't know increasing everybody's standard of living, providing an abundant amount of jobs, and not being trillions of dollars in debt would be considered "ruining everything around them."

Mike26
Mike26

@tmarlin1221 @Mike26  You need to stop posting the same stupid comment over and over  - it doesn't make it any smarter.

Enusmith1
Enusmith1

Who are you referring to? Was everything lollipops and gum drops before Obama? Wow what a twisted mentality you have.

tmarlin1221
tmarlin1221

@Mike26 @tmarlin1221  You need to stop using other men's images as your avatar.  Lusting over men is not what this website is for.  

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