Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Mock Draft Watch, part 1

The Curse of Dennis Miller

In what has to be one of the stupidest moves ever by the NFL and Disney, Monday Night Football is moving to ESPN.

Last I checked, Monday Night Football, despite some clunker games, was still drawing better than most prime time shows. Yes, the ratings were going down, but radical surgery like this was not needed.

- ABC could have hired a better analyst than John Madden, who's past his prime as an analyst.

- ABC could have made a serious commitment to Dennis Miller, or at least the comedian-as-announcer concept. For all those who complain about Miller's commentary, the only increase in ratings since 2000 was during Miller's tenure.

- ABC could have scaled back some of the graphics they used. Yes, occasional stat graphics are nice, but they didn't need to put so much detail into getting them on and off the screen. If you want to throw up a stat, put it on the score panel like CBS does, or flash it at the bottom of the screen. I want to see the game, not the cool stuff people can do with their computers. I have plenty of friends who can show me the cool things they can do with their computers.

- ABC could have picked sideline reporters based on, oh, I don't know, their ability to report? Seriously. ABC has Jack Arute, who does an excellent job with sideline reporting for college games. ESPN has Dr. Jerry Punch, an "MD" doctor, doing their college football sideline reports. If they wanted to hire someone from the outside, they could have gotten Pam Oliver from Fox or Armen Keteyan from CBS. Instead we get Eric Dickerson, Melissa Stark, and Lisa Guerrero.

They didn't need to move it to ESPN. Because now we are going to be subjected to Monday Nights with the worst announce team in football: Mike Patrick, Paul McGuire, and Joe Theismann. And if they thought the ratings were bad before, they are going to sink fast with that crew.

Lance Armstrong to Retire

Well, it's official. Austin's Lance Armstrong, the greatest cyclist in Tour De France history and a hero in many quarters for kicking Euro posterior,
is retiring after this year's Tour.

Mock Draft Watch, Part 1

One problem I've found with doing a mock draft watch is that many prominent Web sites make you pay for mock draft projections and frankly, when you subtract important stuff like food, rent, insurance, and internet access, there's not much room in the budget for "premium" web site content.

Fortunately there are websites out there that don't charge. So here's a sampling of the freebies:

Sporting Fools
Corey and his friend Cesar alternated making picks.

First Overall Pick: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Cal
Yeah, I know Rodgers' stock has slipped in the eyes of draftniks, mainly due to
the success (or lack thereof) of Jeff Tedford coached QBs in the NFL, and the rumors (and rumors during draft week are usually worthless) that 49ers coaches are more interested in Alex Smith. I'll give Corey's pal Cesar the benefit of the doubt because none of this was around when he was making the pick. Besides, Rodgers has the physical tools and he was the only quarterback whose team gave USC a game last year, and he may turn out to be a decent quarterback.

That said, Aaron Rodgers couldn't beat Texas Tech and our lousy defense.

Cowboys Picks: (#11) Jamaal Brown, OT, Oklahoma; (#20) Shaun Cody DT, USC
I would be happy both of these picks. Jamaal Brown, who is a right tackle, could help shore up the right side of the line with free agent signee Marco Rivera, keep Drew Bledsoe on his feet, and open holes for Julius Jones. The shoulder injury from the Orange Bowl is always a bit of a concern, but I think he could make a difference. Shaun Cody, listed as a DT but will probably play DE in the Cowboys' 3-4, was an anchor for USC's national championship teams the last 2 years, and plays run and pass well. I think he's being projected this low by most because he's seen as "lean" for a defensive tackle (he'd be perfect for a 3-4 end, though).

The only problem is it leaves the 'Boys without a safety, and I'm not sure if there are any free agent safeties left.

Texans pick: (#13) Thomas Davis, S, Georgia
The safety position is one the Texans(and a lot of NFL teams) could certainly use. Thomas Davis is a very athletic player that has the physical tools. The scouting reports say he overpursues and misses play action passes, but I think one could say that about a lot of NFL safeties, and if it's a problem, it's a coachable problem. So the real question is: How coachable is he?

Sporting News
First Overall Pick: Alex Smith, QB, Utah
No problem with this pick. The 49ers need everything, so they might as well start with the quarterback. Smith, Rodgers, take your pick.

Cowboys picks: (#11) Shawne Merriman, LB, Maryland; (#20) Darryl Blackstock, LB, Virginia
Merriman seems to be a popular pick at #11, and since he played 3-4 linebacker, I'm not surprised people are projecting him to the 'Boys. He seems to have the athletic tools, but I'm not entirely sold on the rest of his abilities.
The Blackstock pick concerns me more, however, because his tackle, TFL, and sack numbers declined over his college career.
And it still doesn't give the 'Boys a safety.

Texans Pick: (#13) Marcus Spears, DE, LSU.
He's a 4-3 defensive end who will have to make some adjustments to playing a 3-4 end, which he will probably be because he doesn't have the speed to be a linebacker. The Texans need D-line help and he could fit the bill.

And no, I'm not going to say that he's the best Spears to come out of Louisiana since Britney. I don't want to insult a man of that size.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback
I only throw this up because Gregg Easterbrook puts the "mock" in mock draft. Just read it.

Tomorrow: Mock Draft Watch, Part 2
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