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NFL17: Draft Dogs and Pony Show to Exhibit at Philadelphia Museum of Art

21 Apr

Gotta’ hand it to the curators of the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft, they can spin friggin’ straw into freakin’ gold, holy Rumpelstiltskin!

With a player product possessing of such a high degree of uncertainty as do most college draftees, the Cufflinks have done a splendid job in persuading media conglomerate (Disney / Comcast / NA / Fox / TW) that draft days (4.27 – 29) are “must see TV” and the plethora of fluctuating mockery (pre-draft boards) that precede ‘em are required homework for every fantasy follower.

Within this year’s mildly-anticipated draft will quite possibly be a future Hall-of-Famer, maybe two, likely multiple Pro Bowlers (today about half the NFLPA membership) and anywhere from 30-50% who will roster in the NFL and / or practice squads for on average of 3-5 years.

On the flip side, of the seven (7) rounds of picks, including those of the compensatory selections, about 2/3rds will last for but from 0-2 years in the National (50-70%), never to roster or just in for a cup o’ Gatorade®. Keep in mind that the League does need to replenish its ranks, so, even if that year’s pool is rated luke-warm, if teams are top-heavy in older players, the so-so selectees may get an atypically longer look-see from needy coaches & GMs.

With those numbers, with that state of ephemeralia, it’s nothing short of miraculous the job that NFL Suits & Skirts have done in selling this Traveling Circus of Selection to the buying public.

I use ‘buying public’ generously here, given that 90% of those enthralled with the tedious tally of picks over three days are young males aged 9-22, 20% of those matriculating in sport media. But hey, they’re consumers, too, you know it.

— — —

I’ve listed herein a break-down of all the 1R pick performances from last year’s 2016 draft held in the city with “Big Shoulders,” in total a result I believe that’s pretty typical of most first-year, first-rounders in the League.

A team’s 1st-round pick is certainly not wholly determinative of the success or failure of that year’s draft or its decision-making. The following rounds (2-7 (+C)), assuming every team chooses in most of those later phases, can, on wisdom and a little luck, bolster a clubs roster for years to come, even as the #1 turns pumpkin before its pie-time (bust-a-roo).

But that first pick, even as a 2nd-rounder, is also a very well vetted pick.

And not just combine skills but mental maneuverability as well, in test form and real world record, making Deshaun Watson’s surprise visit to a Tuscaloosa eatery a few weeks back, with no intro, no greet n’ meet before settling-in to start a good vibe, a display of ghastly gall that may’ve banked on the race – rivalry confusion to pull off the play, a factor then in his reliability rating, on field and off.

There is bold & brave, and then there is just plain bad judgment. Rivals worth their weight will often need only the smallest excuse to be generous beyond their legal duty. I guess small is still humungous for the gargantuan ego.

But in truth, most of the time and hope that a search committee invests will ride on that first selection. When it doesn’t pan out or provides less-than-expected benefit, it puts just that much more pressure on the following picks, where the pool of talent dilutes accordingly with each passing round, to pan in. And of course, draft outcomes will play to some degree on the tenor of talks come contract time with established veterans

That doesn’t mean that positively peachy picks can’t be had on the back branches. They certainly can as the Dallas Cowboys (Dak Prescott 4R(C) -MVP candidate), Chicago Bears (Jordan Howard 5R) and Kansas City Chiefs proved (Tyreek Hill 5R, 1T-All Pro) with some of the best grabs in the bunch for 2016.

#31: Germain Ifedi, OT, Seattle Seahawks, 13g (13s)*
#30: Vernon Butler, DT, Carolina Panthers, 10g (0s), 1-fr, 1.5s, 5t-8a
#29: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Arizona Cardinals, DT, 5g (0)
#28: Joshua Garnett, OG, San Francisco 49ers, 15g (11), 3fr
#27: Kenny Clark, DT, Green Bay Packers, 16g (2), 2-fr, 13t-8a
#26: Paxton Lynch, QB, Denver Broncos, 3g (2), 1-1, 59%, 2t-1i, 6.ypa
#25: Artie Burns, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers, 16g (9), 3i, 13pd, 51t-13a
#24: William Jackson, CB, Cincinnati Bengals, 0g, pre-season injury (pec)
#23: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings, 9g (1), 1r, punt team
#22: Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins, 2g (0), 2r, not “healthy (?)”
#21: Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans, 14g (13), 47r, 635y, 2td
#20: Darron Lee, LB, New York Jets, 13g (9), 42t-28a
#19: Shaq Lawson, DE, Buffalo Bills, 10g (1), 7t-6a
#18: Ryan Kelly, C, Indianapolis Colts, 16g (16), “one of good pieces (GM)”
#17: Keanu Neal, S, Atlanta Falcons, 14g (14), 72t-33a, 5pd, 5ff
#16: Taylor Decker, OT, Detroit Lions, 16g (16)
#15: Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns, 10g (10), 33r, 413y, 3td
#14: Karl Joseph, S, Oakland Raiders, 12g (9), 44t-16a, 1i, 1ff
#13: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Miami Dolphins, 14g (14)
#12: Sheldon Rankins, DT, New Orleans Saints, 9g (0), 4sk, 15t-5a
#11: Vern Hargreaves, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 16 (16), 10pd, 68t-8a
#10: Eli Apple, CB, New York Giants, 14g (11), 7pd, 41t-8a, 1i-1ff-2fr
#9: Leonard Floyd, LB, Chicago Bears, 12g (12), 7sk, 23t-10a (W11 neck-C))
#8: Jack Conklin, OT, Tennessee Titans, 16g (16), AP.1T – All-Pro
#7: DeForest Buckner, DE, San Francisco 49ers, 15g (15), 6sk, 2fr, 43t-30a
#6: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Baltimore Ravens, 12g (12), AFCN – ROY
#5: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars, 16 (16), 2i, 14pd, 55t-10a
#4: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas, 15g (15), 1631y, 15td, 32r – 363y, 1T-All Pro
#3: Joey Bosa, DE, Los Angeles Chargers, 12 (11), 10.5sk, 29t-12a
#2: Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles, 16g (16), 62%, 7-9, 16t-14i
#1: Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams, 7g (7), 55%, 0-7, 5t-7i, 5+ypa
* Patriots forfeited 29th 1R pick per Deflategate penalty to reduce total to 31

There were 1st round dandies (12) in Draft 2016, impact possibilities (12) and wish-we-had-it-overs (7). Any wash-outs are still pending.

It’s not exactly an exhaustive analysis but then who wants to fall asleep at the screen (See; sabrmetrics)? Likewise, it’s not exactly hard to demonstrate just how over-sold is the NFL draft every year, at least as family entertainment.

In the League’s defense, they target their market (See; above) and probably reach it to some degree of satisfaction, keeping the boys busy for a few days and host city restaurants hopping with happy customers.

Nearly every NFL fan will take a gander at their team’s #1 selection, and then the tally of names / positions / college affiliations of the rest when it’s all done by Sunday AM. Fans of football won’t invest too much mental energy but will instead put the lion’s share of their trust in their team’s calculations of particular needs and then to pick accordingly, even if that‘s the next best player available.

There is good art, there is bad art, and then there is NFL Draft 2017 jammin’ up the parking lots and lavatories with their performance art and all the drama “of a bladder (Twain on viewing Shakespeare bust in Straftford-upon-Avon).”

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: NFL-wikiproject, Ixnay-Beao; R.Goodell-L.Boyd-M.Green, NFL.Draft, NYC, 4.26.12, R.Clinton; E.Elliott, wc, 11.9.14, WOSNsports; D.Watson, wc, 1.10.16, AtlantaFalcons; JimMarshall, Topps, 1970
Posted: 4.21.17 @ 1:07pm; Copyright © 2017
Sources: Wikipedia (draft) & pro-football-reference (#s)

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NCAAF.16: It’s Saban, Meyer,…then Everyone Else in FBS-D1

2 Sep

..........Saban.wc.8.18.9.2.47m.RammaJammaYellaI’m not one to watch CNBC and the like. That goes for most TV today. Can’t stand the ADD-delivery, the lies (faux-reality), the dumb-down (The Simpsons) and the double-dipping (commercials and monthly bill).

But I love sport, even as I’m portfolio poor.

At times, wish I had just that sort of insatiable appetite for all things money that some others possess and profit by, but I find learning of its accumulation to be about as interesting as lawncare or home repair. That wasn‘t always the case.

As a young lad I was possessed of a junior but fairly savvy business bent.

Example: When beer can collecting was the craze (70s) I sold my stock before market went belly-up. Unfortunately, soon after, I’d discover…correction, was taught, how to empty those cans with gusto (Burp!). Regardless, I always did find Louis Rukeyser’s motif (♫) and monologue (Wall Street Week) to be quite intoxicating, even if a bit esoteric towards the Cufflink crowd.

.........beer.cans.Visitor7.2012.wc.1.8kBut one need not be money-minded to know corporations like Apple and CVS Health are corporate heavies who set the bar in their respective fields of techno-gadgetry and healthcare sales. They’re in a league of their own, able to brush off periodic DTs in QEs to remain ahead of the curve, not by following trends but often by setting them, remaining innovative, recruiting the top prospects and of course gobbling the competition, the last, by courtesy of Commerce, Justice Departments and federal bench. Oy vey.

AOTC in sales is sweet, but if they and their peers could only heed the pit calls for costumer service and quality control. Trailing oil but bad.

That aside, when the new fiscal season kicks-off, all eyes lock on the leaders.

And it’s no different in college ball.

Saturday will see most institutions of higher learning begin their football seasons and take those first steps in that long, arduous trek towards what they hope is a berth in a title tussle or at least a bowl invite.

.........Meyer.11.30.13.A.Glanzman.289k.wcAnd when that pigskin takes to flight and the smack-of-pads fill the crisping air, there are two titan-esque tacticians who strode the FBS-D1 sideline and, more than any Heisman-hyped player, excepting the rare Manziel, Tebow or Herschel Walker who steal the show, will pull the gaze of fans and set the standard that all emulate.

The Giants: Nick Saban (The University of Alabama) and Urban Meyer (The Ohio State University).

Between ‘em both they claim eight (8) national championships: Saban (Fairmont, WV (‘51)) won one at Louisiana State (‘03 (3)) and has four in Tuscaloosa (‘09, 11, 12, ‘15 (16)), while Meyer took two as a Gator guru (‘06, 08 (3)) and one in his native Ohio (Toledo (‘64)) in Buckeyes’ land in 2014 (8).

It’s Saban, Meyer and then everybody else who seems to follow and hope when it comes to coach competition on the big school gridiron.

Is that good or bad? That all depends on your perspective.

Glass half-empty view says, Saban and Meyer, while not technically a monopoly on titles and recruitment, are a cartel of two.

It’s like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo versus Dr Pepper Snapple (Brian Kelly (ND)) and Faygo (Jim Harbaugh), up n’ comer in the beverage biz and headquartered in Detroit (rappers seem to love it (See; Wikipedia), for whatever reason).

........Coke.car.wc.Curitiba.PR.568k.Morio.3.18.6These two title-hogs are quelling the competition in college football’s upper echelon, only in that rare case where a golden nugget should appear in the pan as in Heisman winning, Seminole national champion and soda taste-tester (Burger King (‘13)) Jameis Winston, who will come along to break-up the monotony.

Even when the State of Florida was dominating Division-1 play, beginning in the early 1980s and running into the 2000s, with the likes of Miami (Schnellenberger / Johnson / Erickson), Florida State (Bowden) and Florida (Spurrier / Meyer), there were still plenty of top programs around the nation to add variety with Holtz at Notre Dame, McCarthy at Colorado, Osborne at Nebraska, Switzer at Oklahoma, James at Washington, Carr at Michigan and then Tressel (TOSU) and Carroll (USC) at close of the Sunshine reign.

All meaning, college football’s half-empty glass could use a re-fill of diversity, maybe with a twist or two and a “straw” to stir it up. If only “Johnny Trouble” had had the brains to stay in school (TA&M). The chicken n’ egg thing.

The glass half-full take: There is a special kind of consistency of quality that comes with winners like Meyer & Saban, in league with Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Kentucky’s John Calipari in men’s college b-ball. They all run tight ships and come into port with tremendous booty.

........Krzyzewski.wc.1.12.12.DMCullen.DoD.4mNick and Urban appear polar opposites. Saban with a bit of his father’s flair while Urban is all business. In truth, they’re probably more alike than different. Titlists still put their pants on one leg at a time.

Saban the Younger responding to a press query last week about fights in practice:

“Alright, so, to me there’s never a time for guys to lose their cool. I think those are selfish decisions (If he loses it), that are emotional decisions that don‘t really help your team (AL.com, 8.26.16).” And Saban said the key word: “Team.”

Not the same verve & vigor of Dad, Lou Saban (d.2009), who is an NFL Films legend in class with Chiefs’ Hank Stram (d.2005) (Saban in 60s Buffalo: “They’re killin’ me, Whitey, they’re killin’ me!!,” and 1974: “If we die, we die together…you can get it done, what’s more…you GOTTA’ get it done!”). But like Urban, Nick’s very perceptive, decisive and can sometimes sport that easy smile reflecting his familial love for the game and the life.

For those half-empty tumbler types, there is hope in busting up the Saban – Meyer continuum of championships.

.......Harbaugh.12.30.14.wc.E.Upchurch.216kWolverines‘ trustees have paid ‘Hurry-Up’ Harbaugh a king’s ransom in nearly every form of legal tender imaginable (salary, loans, etc.) and wouldn’t surprise if they’d had Michigan Stadium (“Big House”) re-named in his honor if it expedites matters;

Jimbo Fisher has his guys well positioned (#2) but needs to prove there’s life at FSU after Jameis Winston (See; Chizik (AU));

Brian Kelly looks to be on cusp (again) of finally getting his chomping-at-the-bit golden-domer alumni that long awaited return to prominence (‘88);

Charlie Strong (UT) and Kev Sumlin (A&M) are getting national championship money ($5M) but have their programs headed in the wrong way;

Bob Stoops (OU) is a winner (‘00) but testing the patience of Normanites;

Les Miles (early Google gets Les Miserables (Hugo)) (LSU) is a winner too (‘07) but agreeing to Lambeau locale, even versus #25 Badgers, has this writer miffed;

Best coach in Texas, Gary Patterson has been TCU’ing for most this century (143-47 (9-5)) and like Dabo in SC is looking for that break-through moment.

........Swinney.10.31.15.wc.LambeauLeap80.94kClemson’s Dabo Swinney may have nation’s best progression (75-27) since taking reins (08) and top candidate to topple cartel. Explains the raise ($5M).

Mark Dantonio (MSU) is a serious man and getting serious coin but in serious need of a CFP spot;

Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss) is showing steady progression not unlike Vince Lombardi in those early Green Bay days (7-5, 8-4, etc.) but faces top Seminoles (#2) in opener, ♫ (over) in F..L..A ♫;

Jim Mora (UCLA) slipped in 2015 (8-5) but has the slate to soar in 2016; and

If Bob Petrino can keep it clean, find a class and get in position, watch out!

Even if another coach can work his men to win in Tampa next January, it’ll take a program awakening of Renaissance proportion to break up the titles tandem crafted by masters Saban and Meyer. A Michelangelo, da Vinci, El Greco, van Eyck, Botticelli, Titian, Cellini, a Raphael of football means, any style will do, but the gridiron artisan in head-set better know his medium and keep those titles coming if he’s to be remembered with the greats.

....brass.thumbtack.J.Dalton.wc.thm(WP.SB.USA14)Steven Keys
Brass Tacks
Photo credit: N.Saban, wc.cca, 8.18.9, RammaJammaYella; beer.cans, 2012, Visitor7, wc; U.Meyer, wc, 11.30.13, A.Glanzman; Coke.car, wc, Curitiba-PR, Morio; M.Krzyzewski, wc, 1.12.12, DM.Cullen, DoD; J.Harbaugh, wc, 12.30.14, E.Upchurch; D.Swinney, wc, LambeauLeap80, 10.31.15; brass-tack, J.Dalton, wc
Posted: 9.2.16 @ 5:10pm, edit @ 9:35 EST; Copyright © 2016