SI.com At The Draft Blog
Here's how I sum up day one: Lots of chalk, with an odd tinge. But aren't all drafts slightly odd? Don't all drafts have
I like the Jets getting
It's a lot to ask a kid who turned 21 less than three months ago to have a real grasp on the desultory history of the Detroit Lions over the past five decades, but
But now that he's a Lion, and the Curse of Bobby Layne is his problem (Layne was unceremoniously traded to the Steelers in 1958), Stafford seems eager to get started on maybe the biggest challenge to ever face an NFL quarterback. What could be tougher than taking over an 0-16 team that last won it all 52 years ago?
"I know they haven't won a championship for 50 years,'' Stafford said Saturday. "Obviously since I've been watching they've been struggling some. But it's all about getting out there, competing, and doing what it takes to win and that's what I plan on doing.''
Sounds simple enough, but Lord knows it won't be. This is Detroit, kid. There's nowhere to go but up.
"It's crazy,'' said Stafford, when asked about his link to Layne. "But I feel like you couldn't write it any better than that. It's a wild story and it's fun to be living it, that's for sure.''
Spoken like a new Lions quarterback. The kind that has yet to lose a game.
Say this much for the Jets: They'll keep trying until they get it right.
One year after trading for future Hall of Fame quarterback
The buzz of his selection was nearly overshadowed two picks later when the Raiders made made
Overall, the first two rounds reflected the widely-held opinion that there wasn't much separation among the players. Cleveland traded back three times in the first round before finally making a selection, and Dallas failed to make a single pick after dealing its only choice (second round) to Dallas.
The early winners would have to be the Eagles and Packers. Philadelphia traded up to 19 to get
The early losers: Oakland, which after taking Heyward-Bey, traded down in the second round and selected safety
Raised eye-brow: Denver, which traded its No. 1 pick next year (which at this point could be pretty high) to take cornerback
I'm not a big fan of writing about
While I understand why ESPN wanted her on the draft -- she's arguably one of the few sports broadcasters whose mere presence might actually bring in additional 20-something male viewers -- I would have opted for a more seasoned questioner for the Draft. Why? Her questions too often never rose above surface stuff.
Contrast that with -- and I can't believe I'm writing this --
• Have you spoken to
Specifics, specifics, specifics. Sanders had a very good day in his role.
To be fair, the post-pick interview gig is not easy. You have a finite amount of time and you are dealing with emotional people at a moment that might be the apex of their life. Plus, you are working on a stage in front of a huge and rabid crowd. ESPN has plenty of people in its arsenal --
The Patriots are done with an unusual first day of the draft that ends in unusual fashion: by drafting a German-born offensive lineman who ...
• attended a high school called Quirinus Gymnasium
• apparently didn't speak English until he got to the University of Houston in 2004
• was projected by most as a second-day pick and
• will be a 25-year-old rookie come September
Other than that,
He'll be happy to know that Boston's Harpoon Brewery makes a damn tasty Altbier -- the indigenous beer style of Duesseldorf, Germany, a few miles from Vollmer's hometown.
Seahawks general manager
Ruskell figured that Unger might still be available later in the second round, so he traded the 37th pick in the draft to the Denver Broncos for their first round pick in 2010. It was quite a coup when you consider the Broncos haven't made the playoffs since 2005 and are breaking in a new coach and quarterback this season. That could easily be a Top 10 pick next year.
After speaking with reporters, Ruskell returned to the "war room" and traded the Seahawks' 68th overall pick in the third round and the 105th overall pick in the fourth round to the Bears for the 49th pick overall and selected Unger. So basically he had to give up a third and fourth round pick this year for the Broncos' first round pick. That's called working the draft, folks.
"That kind of came out the blue," said Ruskell about acquiring the Broncos' first round pick next year. "We had talked to them earlier in the day because they had the two (first round) picks and maybe the possibility would come up if our guy wasn't there (Aaron Curry) of going down but not this."
The Giants already bolstered their linebacking corps by signing former Falcon
While Sintim played strong-side linebacker in a 3-4 defense in Charlottesville, he'll be asked to fit into the Giants' 4-3 scheme right away. "[The system] is a little different, but the game of football remains constant, " said Sintim, who spoke to us from his home in Woodbridge, Va., where 20 to 30 of his friends and family members were assembled. And does he think he's better rushing the quarterback or better in coverage? "Man, I'm just a linebacker."
Sintim visited Buffalo, New Orleans and Kansas City and ended up visiting the Giants a couple weeks ago along with about 15 other prospects. And did Sintim have any inkling about which of those teams might end up selecting him? "Everybody kind of keeps their poker face throughout this whole ordeal," he said. "For me, it was just watching and waiting, man. Watching and waiting."
New England's second pick in the second round played schoolboy ball at Burncoat High in Springfield, Mass. before moving on to Boston College, where he created a formidable front wall as a defensive tackle playing next to
"I just know it was a dream of mine," he said in his media conference call a few moments ago. "I hope I'm not dreaming right now. This is a really good feeling."
When he steps on the field for the Patriots in September, it will be a first for him in many ways.
"I've never been to a pro football game," said Brace.
Vikings head coach
In explaining why Minnesota passed up Mississippi lineman
Presumably, the Patriots wanted the same thing Childress did -- to "rhythm up'' to him, as the Vikings coach put it, so as to get a feel for what sort of fellow he is, now and going forward. Childress met on campus with the Harvin and Gators coach
"I mentioned to he and his family, 'Does this remind you of recruiting?' '' Childress said. "They said it did, and I told them, 'Here's the difference: You're not picking. We're picking.' Which kind of hit grandma and mom and stepdad and sister, oh yeah, that's right. It was a little illuminating when you look at it that way.''
At one point, Childress was sitting in the living room with Harvin's family "with the shih tzu and bouncing a baby on my knee. Literally.''
If teams simply drafted on talent alone,
The problem with Maulauga is that as much of a wrecking ball as he is on the field, he's a bit of a space cadet. I'm not just talking off the field, where he reportedly scored a 15 on the Wonderlic and didn't know who
Huge hits might make for great highlights in college but if you can't play within the confines of a structured defense in the NFL, you might end up on the other end of those highlights.
Hey wait: The Cowboys just traded out of the second round, to Buffalo.
That means the Dallas Cowboys don't have a pick on day one of the draft!
What will the headline be in the
That is one interesting trade.
"In Belichick We Trust" is a common sentiment -- sometimes even a greeting -- among Boston sports fans. So I checked in with some of them at various draft parties to get their take on things after a day in which Patriots coach
"I'm psyched by what they did," said
"I'm in total amazement with everything that went down," he said. "Nobody here can figure out why they kept trading down."
So far what he's doing is rebuilding the defense: CB
Love the Dolphins' selection of West Virginia QB
As soon as Cal center
Oher, yeah? Oher, no!
The Vikings' first-round pick at No. 22, despite their need at right tackle and Oher's availability at their slot, was
Oh, some of the fans still booed head coach
"It helped to spend a day on his turf, ask a bunch of questions and get a bunch of answers,'' Childress said. "I was able to get a feel for the guy. We really meet [draft prospects] in sound bites, if you will. Fifteen minute interviews. Meetings in the office for 20 minutes.''
As for Harvin the player, as a wide receiver to complement
We just had a conference call with the Giants first-round pick (29th overall),
A self-described "great physical receiver that has a motor," Nicks said the hamstring injury he suffered at the combine in February is no longer an issue and that he'll be ready when the Giants rookie minicamp begins May 8. "Once I get up there, I'm full go," he said. "It's football time. I'm back to 100 percent, I've got my weight back down, and I'm ready to play football."
The Giants have had some success with their first-round picks over the past few years.
It might not seem like a surprise that
"I was a little surprised being that I didn't make a visit and hadn't talked to the coach," said Curry, who got a call from the Seahawks about a minute after they were on the clock. "I knew they were interested because they had just let go of Mr. [
The Seahawks' lack of contact with Curry was by design as they were hoping to trade down with a team by making it seem they were interesting in selecting
"There was a little bit of (masking our interest)," said Seahawks general manager
Curry, a self described mama's boy, hugged his mother and cried after being selected and laughed when he was asked if his mother would be moving with him to Seattle.
"She looked at me and said, 'If you end up in Seattle, there better be a room for me in your house, if there isn't a room there better be an apartment that is within walking distance,'" said Curry.
I think I am going to lose my mind if I hear one more executive or pundit talk about the "best available player." My gut tells me that is a crutch that most people lean on, but is hardly common practice in reality. How often do teams take a player at the same position in both rounds one and two? Are you trying to tell me it never happens to be the case that the best guy on the board happens to play the same position as the player that the franchise selected in the first round? And for that matter, that a team picking in the first round would necessarily take their highest rated player even if they have an abundance of talent at that position already?
I am not saying it doesn't happen. The Lions under
But his first pick (No. 34 overall),
On a team that could easily score 500 points on offense next season, it's only natural that they attack the secondary here in the draft.
Newsflash: The Giants decided to use their first-round pick and, according to GM
Nicks caught 68 passes for 1,222 yards in 2008 and averaged a whopping 18.0 yards per catch. He had ankle injuries as a freshman and as a sophomore and injured his hamstring at the NFL combine in February. Reese said the weight gain that resulted from that hamstring injury didn't bother the team at all. "He kind of reminds you of an
While it was a fairly predictable pick, since the Giants released
The Giants, who had the 19th best passing attack in the NFL in '08, took
Matthews was an unheralded, walk-on that seemingly was on the team because of his last name. He didn't get him much more than garbage time and special teams duty his first couple of seasons. But after two years of toiling in obscurity, he not only earned a scholarship and some playing time but quickly developed into arguably the best linebacker on a team that had three projected first-rounders at that position.
I caught up with Washington defensive coordinator
"He's come miles since I first saw him," said Holt. "He was undersized and wasn't mature. He was just a late bloomer. He walked on and paid his dues. It's funny that he might be the best linebacker of the bunch now."
Over the past two months, I've been hearing
A couple of highlights today from McShay:
ESPN made a late decision to add McShay to the set at Radio City (as opposed to a studio in Bristol). If nothing else, it gives McShay, 32, some experience in front of a live crowd. To get a pulse of how NFL Fans think McShay is doing,
I'm making a guest appearance at a pit stop during a mad dash between the Ohio State and Cincinnati spring games. Thank goodness SI's corporate rate includes the loss damage waiver, because I nearly ran my rent-a-wreck off Interstate 71 and into a tree when I heard the Raiders drafted Maryland's
If you read my
Here are the 2008 numbers:
• Heyward-Bey: 42 catches, 609 yards, five TDs, 14.5-yard average
• Nicks: 68 catches, 1,222 yards, 12 TDs, 16.9-yard average
It's not really rocket science. If Heyward-Bey can't light up N.C. State, he's not going to light up the Chargers.
They've now traded down twice. Here are the details of the two trades.
• New England traded the No. 23 overall pick for Baltimore's No. 26 and No. 162.
• New England then traded the No. 26 for Green Bay's No. 41, No. 73, and No. 83.
The Patriots have traded out of the first round completely, but now have four second-round picks today and four third-round picks tomorrow ... but stay tuned.
Not bad for a program that never ranks among the top 25 schools in the country for recruiting according to all of the so-called experts. So if they aren't getting the top prospects yet they have four players good enough to go on the first day of the NFL draft, the question becomes are they just better at indentifying players in high school or more accomplished at developing them once they get on campus? The answer is likely both, considering Beatty's only other option was Division II Shippensburg in Pennsylvania and Butler was a man without a position until he settled in as a defensive back under Edsall's tutelage.
McDaniels said he selected Moreno first because there was a lot of buzz that teams selecting between 13 and 17 had a strong interest in him. Rather than risk losing out on him, the Broncos moved swiftly.
McDaniels said he believes Moreno can be a three-down back. One thing that really impressed him was Moreno's ability as a pass protector. Normally that's one of the toughest adjustments for featured backs.
The Moreno pick was surprising to many because the Broncos signed running backs
Ayers initially will line up at end, but McDaniels believes he can also play outside linebacker in the team's new 3-4 defense.
The Bucs traded up to 17 to take QB
Harvin is the 17th Florida wideout taken in the draft since 1991 (the first draft of former Florida coach
All but Darrell Jackson have failed to live up to expectations. Many, like Anthony and Green, failed spectacularly. It's too many failures to be a coincidence.
Twitter has really transformed the way the NFL draft is covered this year. Many of the writers here in Seattle, including yours truly, are not only writing about the draft, they are "tweeting" about the draft.
Even NFL commissioner
The atmosphere around Foxboro today could not be more festive as fans anticipate New England's top pick.
Just before the draft kicked off at 4 o'clock, there was a rock band playing outside the new Patriots Hall of Fame, just under the iconic end zone lighthouse fans will recognize from television. There are fan tours going around the stadium, and the "End Zone Militia" -- the guys you see in colonial garb shooting their muskets after each New England touchdown -- is firing off smoky rounds for the guests down on the 10-yard-line about every 10 minutes.
And the bars and restaurants at the new Patriot Place outside the stadium are packed. I popped over to CBS Sports Scene, and it's mobbed with folks watching the draft and Yankees-Red Sox -- which is always a big-time event in Boston. One guy wore a t-shirt that said "Pedroia the Destroyer." Another guy sported a t-shirt that said "University of Belichick." One brave soul wore a
Boston has a rep as a baseball town and CBS Sports Scene seems to reflect that: the restaurant's sound system was tuned to ESPN's draft coverage, but it was being shown on just one TV. Every other screen in the house, including a massive screen out in the parking lot, is tuned to Yankees-Sox.
Somewhere (OK, somewhere on the NFL Network)
Who will be the three QBs standing come Week 1?: Leftwich, McCown and Freeman would be my guess, because how to do you properly develop two young passers like Freeman and Johnson at the same time?
Who's the big winner so far?
Some more fallout from the Sanchez pick:
• Of the three players the Jets sent to Cleveland --
There's the first shock. Utterly shocking. The Chargers take
If you're into instant analysis, here's a quick take: ESPN and the NFL Network have performed well so far and one person towers above the rest -- NFL Network analyst
NFL Network newcomer
It's painful to write but NFL Net's
Well, so far in the Giants Stadium press room, we're following the same pattern we did last year: sitting around, waiting for the Giants to make a trade and making fun of the NFL Network. In 2008, the possibility of a draft-day trade involving tight end
Many had speculated that the Giants would take Maryland's
I'm a Boston College grad and have followed the program pretty closely for 25 years (All Hail Flutie) and have written about the program quite a bit over the years.
I can tell you that the Packers picked up an absolute brick wall in defensive tackle
-TCU (a ridiculous 1.72 YPA), which plays in a mid-major conference (Mountain West).
-Alabama (2.65 YPA), a dominant SEC power last year.
-Ole Miss (2.71 YPA), an awesome defensive club and the only team to beat national champion Florida last year.
-USC (2.73 YPA), which will probably have three linebackers drafted in the first round today.
-Tennessee (2.79 YPA), a traditional SEC powerhouse.
That's some pretty good company for Boston College ... and none of these defenses relied as heavily on one player as BC did on Raji.
For the Packers, it's absolutely the appropriate pick. They ranked a
Fair or not, the players that come before you at your college, especially if they play the same position, have an indirect effect on your standing in the eyes of NFL scouts and general managers. Penn State running backs got a bad reputation in terms of their on-field production after
This year the focus in this regard is on Texas'
I love the pick, but I think they could have gotten him with their second first-round pick.
The draft couldn't have turned out any better for
He fell in love with the city while he was out there before the draft, walking through Central Park, devouring pastrami sandwiches at Carnegie Deli and checking out a couple nightclubs that he will no doubt return to now that he's gone from tourist to the Jets' new "franchise" quarterback.
It will be interesting to see if he can charm the unrelenting New York media the same way he was able to in Los Angeles. No player is more media savvy entering the NFL than Sanchez. He always made a point of shaking hands with reporters before and after interviews, even if that meant going down a row of about 10 people.
Leave it to the Raiders. They take a receiver in
For Davis, it's simple, I suppose. He sees quarterback
What's that oft-quoted definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Kind of sounds like the Raiders drafts of recent vintage to me.
All is quiet at Broncos headquarters. The team has moved its war room from the large team meeting room just behind the lobby to the coach's conference room on the second floor.
Unlike with previous coach
Don't look for much action for the Broncos in terms of trading up. McDaniels said yesterday he would not surrender the team's two first-round picks, Nos. 12 and 18, to move up for one player. That does not mean he won't trade one of the selections as part of a deal to move up.
Denver is expected to go heavy on defense. Many of their moves this offseason have been on offense, and they need to start adding pieces for the new 3-4 defense they plan to run.
It always has been politically incorrect to refer to draft rooms as "war rooms,'' though my hunch is a lot of battles get fought behind those closed doors. By the time a pick gets announced, of course, everyone contributing to the decision generally is on board, at least for public consumption. Even if it isn't true.
Consumption, consumption . . . that got me to thinking about an exchange a few of us had on Thursday with
Pouncing on the opening, and desperate for some leakage of inside info, a
"I like that Napoleon," he said. Then the Vikings exec caught himself. "Netropolitan? Whatever it is, the one with the three in it.''
Spielman laughed as he turned a lovely shade of strawberry.
When I interviewed him early in the week,
So far, Edwards has been good. A little folksy, but he has interesting potential as a studio analyst.
As one writer wondered aloud: "Hey
On one level it seems almost completely implausible that Cleveland coach
That's the reason Kansas City passed on the best linebacker in this draft, and maybe the best player,
That's what the Chiefs have right now -- the best 3-4 end in the draft. Now we'll see if the 295-pound Jackson can justify the high pick.
"I'm a country boy,'' Jackson just said on a conference call from Louisiana. "I couldn't take being in New York today. I've got to be with my family.''
Music to Pioli's ears.
For months, whenever
On Saturday at 4:32 p.m., Curry got the answer to where he would go and the world finally got its answer to what his reaction would be: Seattle, and tears.
Curry went to the Seahawks with the fourth pick in the draft, a destination that he had not talked much about in recent days. There was much speculation he could go No. 1, and virtually everyone assumed he would go in the top five. When
The Chiefs did what my SI colleague
Funny, but I never heard any comparisons to Seymour until word leaked out that the Chiefs were considering Jackson at No. 3. Prior to that, most teams had him graded as a mid first-rounder.
I'll reiterate what I wrote
Wanted to give you some highlights of our first chance to talk with both new Lions quarterback
• Mayhew dodged the question whether the Lions really intended to draft someone else, like Wake Forest linebacker
• Schwartz said Stafford will play if he's clearly the Lions best quarterback, and he'll sit and wait his turn if he isn't.
"The best players are going to play, and we need to keep an eye toward that with Matthew,'' Schwartz said. "Is he the best player, and is he ready? And both of those questions have to be answered. We're in a really good position right now with a rejuvenated
"It's a great situation to be in. We don't have to force our hand and we don't have to make a decisions that's not based on merit. We go into this process not with, 'Hey, we're going sit him for a year regardless, or 'Hey, he's going to start right away.' I think we go in and say if he's ready in our eyes, and he's our best quarterback, then he plays.''
• Stafford said he's ready for the challenges of being the guy asked to turn around Detroit's long-standing football futility. "I put a lot of pressure on myself to be great anyway,'' he said. "I'm a confident person. I believe in myself. I believe in my talent.''
Stafford was out to dinner last night with about 20 friends when he got the news that a deal with the Lions was done. Who picked up the check, someone asked? "I did,'' said Stafford, not missing a beat.
I have had the opportunity to speak with potential Rams picks
You can feel the hunger in Smith's voice when he talks. The former tight end has taken a liking to the offensive line and he has a certain intensity to his voice when he talks about being on the field. He yearns to get back out there and prove he is the best while destroying the opposition. He is still somewhat raw but that seemingly only serves to intrigue some offensive line coaches.
Monroe is calm, cool, and collected. He thinks about his words before speaking and then does so in a thoughtful, monotone way. He was the number one ranked offensive lineman in the country coming out of high school and it seems as if he has been prepping for this since he was born. He already talks and acts like a pro and isn't fazed by anything, even when I asked him if he was frustrated by the persistent talk about his knee as of late.
Three out of 16 (18.8 percent) isn't a very good success ratio in anyone's book. But let's look a little closer at that list of No. 1 QBs. In the case of
That means five of the 16 quarterbacks (or 31.3 percent) taken first overall led the first and only team they played for to a Super Bowl win (or more). And when you draw the lines a little more liberally, to include
One more caveat:
Take that, Stafford doubters, and take heart, Stafford fans. Almost 44 percent at least going to the Big Game is not the worst of track records for No. 1 QBs.
All weekend long,
Reminded that at least before a game he could be comforted by the knowledge that he would soon be able to unleash his nerves with a big hit on the field, Curry threw his head back and laughed. "Can't do that anymore," he said. Not that he isn't confident. After watching some draft talk on television in his room and getting dressed in his new gray suit from elevéé, Curry caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and said in a sing-song voice, "I'm a beast!"
I'm told the offers right now are not nearly enough to get the pick, and the Rams are still quite likely to use the pick on an offensive lineman or maybe
I'm not sure what team is competing with the Jets, but I'm guessing Washington. Big mystery there.
If the Jets get the pick, it would have to be for the 17th pick this year and next year's one ... plus something else.
By the time
Curry had a good excuse for running late, however. He was doing interviews with ESPN and NFL Network with
For all that Curry had given him, Bryson wanted to give something back. Before Curry got on the elevator to head to his room and change, Bryson gave him a backgammon set from St. Jude's as well as an autographed football card of himself. Curry proudly displayed Bryson's card when he got back upstairs for all his well-wishers to see. "First and only one," he said. "This kid's going to be a future Pro Bowler some day."
I just got settled at Gillette in time to catch an NFL Network interview with
He made a couple interesting comments, saying that the chances of the Patriots bundling their picks and moving into the top 10 are "less than zero." A report on Boston sports radio WEEI I heard on the way down, meanwhile, squashed rumors of the Patriots moving up to grab Texas Tech wide receiver
He also said the Patriots will go for the "highest player available" on their board and not draft for need.
Belichick will address the media after New England's first selection. In the meantime, there's a fan event here at Gillette and I'll scope that out to gauge their mood (most likely giddy given the general tenor of Boston sports these days). I'll also check in by phone with fans at some of the various draft parties taking place around the Boston area to get their reaction, too. Belichick's Patriots have a history of surprising fans with their picks, so it will be interesting to hear what they have to say.
Ah, access. Sports networks love nothing more than promoting insider status. Courtesy of ESPN communications ace
ESPN will also be with uber-agent
One of the best things about draft day, NBA or NFL, is the misinformation and gamesmanship. I'm way more familiar with the latter than the former, having covered about 20 NBA drafts through the years to about a half dozen pro football editions, but the cat-and-mouse stuff is very much the same. Everyone wants to know what the other guys are thinking, no one wants to tip his hand as to what he himself might be considering and they all treat the media as an annoying but necessary nuisance, vital to spreading their gospel --- and misinformation --- but prone to asking pesky questions.
This leads to a lot of flat-out guessing, to fill the vacuum of legit facts, and that was in full bloom at Winter Park in suburban Eden Prairie, Minn., in the days and hours leading up to the Minnesota Vikings' draft maneuvers. This much was clear: The Vikings had been showing a special interest in controversial Forida wide receiver
Harvin was strictly a
Keeping him on the field, out of the trainer's room and out of trouble apparently would be the greater challenge than anything he'd encounter on Sundays .. Which gets back to the Vikings' cloak-and-dagger stuff. They refused to confirm their continuing investigation and conversation with Harvin, but they didn't exactly deny it. It seemed as if they were quite content to have the info out there, if only to keep the other teams guessing. Then again, in this economy, a special, short-notice trip to Florida is a luxury if it's only meant as a smokescreen. So there was a definite feeling of "They think that we think that they think that we think ...'' around the facility as Saturday's selections approached.
The Vikings have six picks -- no fourth, no sixth but two sevenths -- and wouldn't mind adding a couple, even if it meant sliding down a few spots. Their other great need is on the right side of their offensive line and they feel the options a little later might be just as good as they will be at No. 22.
True to his high-character reputation that had been as much of an attraction for teams in this draft process as his football ability, Curry sent a text message to Lions general manager
Despite his praise for Stafford, and his compliments for the Lions, that does not mean, however, that Curry was just going to shrug his massive shoulders and forget about it. Instead, his shoulders had suddenly gotten an attachment. "It's another chip," he said. "First high school, then college [he was lightly recruited out of E.E. Smith High School in Fayetteville, NC], now this," he said.
One of the sources said not only has there been no deal reached, but there have been no substantive talks between the Chiefs and
I noted with some interest at the NFL meetings less than a month ago that Dunn was frustrated that the Chiefs apparently planned to allow Cassel to play the season at his one-year tender of $14.65 million. And the two sources I've spoken to say nothing has changed, that there is not a new deal with the Chiefs' quarterback of the future in place.
Just getting set up at the Chiefs' headquarters. The team offices used to be a few hundred yards away at Arrowhead, inside the stadium. Now they're in the practice complex, next to three full-sized fields, in a new sanitized building. No sight of the football people over here on the media side.
Give me a couple of minutes to get some reaction on the report from
One press room veteran here at the Lions team complex did come up with a famous Detroit No. 9, but no matter how well he plays, Stafford will never replace
I'm getting a serious case of the willies being at the Lions' Allen Park team complex here for draft weekend. I was last in this building on draft weekend 2002, which also happens to be the most recent year Detroit took a first-round quarterback, selecting the doomed-to-fail
Just coincidence? Maybe. But we'll see how far this one happens to extend, won't we?
You might remember that the big controversy of that selection was that then-Lions general manager
This year, it was clear that new head coach
I guess vigorous debate and a little dissent when it comes to first-round quarterbacks are just Detroit traditions on draft weekend.
When the NFL draft begins around 1 p.m. here in the Pacific Northwest, Washington coach
While Sarkisian, the former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at USC, tries to turn around the fortunes of a team that went winless last season, a part of him will be thinking about how
Sanchez has become a trendy pick for the Seahawks with the No. 4 pick, which wouldn't surprise Sarkisian, who thinks his former quarterback is prepared to play in the NFL next season if need be. Sarkisian, who was the quarterbacks coach with the Oakland Raiders in 2004, has been keeping in touch with Sanchez on an almost daily basis, giving him advice on dealing with NFL teams to relaxing with his family in California rather than sweating it out in the green room in New York on draft day.
"We've been talking and he's excited. It's a great time for him," said Sarkisian. "It can get stressful so I keep reminding him to do something fun and relax. What he's doing (on draft day) isn't going to change the way people think at that moment so go relax and be with your family during that moment."
As much as Sarkisian would love to have Sanchez join him in Seattle ("That would be fun. I'd show him around") the sense along Seahawks Way is that the Seahawks are leaning towards drafting a player that will make an instant impact on the team with
The informative folks at The Nielsen Company released an interesting stat yesterday: Viewership for the NFL Draft has increased 62 percent since 2002. Those are astounding numbers for an annual sports program, and it's why the two-day
The choice between the two networks depends on where you live (given the NFL Network is in less homes) and what analysts you trust. ESPN's gurus include the omnipresent
ESPN senior coordinating producer
This is my second year here in New York City experiencing the draft and already I can see an even greater level of fan involvement and interest from last year to this year, let alone five to 10 years ago. The NFL does a fantastic job marketing the event and pro football's popularity has never been higher but there are really two things about this weekend that stand out and make it a holiday of sorts for millions of fans: hope and personal involvement.
The hope is pretty simple and it is akin to a politician selling change. It is late April and that means every fan out there can believe that this is finally their team's year. Sadly, a lot of that hope will be dashed by early October. But for now they can dream big and people are finally talking about franchises like the Lions and the Rams because this is their center stage and their time to shine.
The personal involvement component is a little bit deeper. Most fans aren't 6-5 and 320 pounds. They don't run a 4.4 forty. As such, they realize they don't have what it takes to play in the NFL. But their fantasy team kicked butt last year and they could easily do a better job picking players than their favorite team's front office, right?
I'm spending my draft weekend here in Winnersville, USA, home of the newly re-branded Detroit Lions (You know what they say: Get the font and the logo just right, and the victories are sure to follow). They're forecasting strong thunderstorms blowing through this area Saturday afternoon and evening, and I assume those are the long hoped for winds of change that Lions fans have been keeping an eye out for since, oh, 2001 or so.
With Georgia quarterback
The Lions own the 20th pick of the first round, and then the first pick of the second round, 33rd overall. They absolutely have to come away with two starters with those selections, and then probably two more Sunday morning, when they get the 65th and 82nd overall picks, both of which are third-rounders. The plan is that those five players will set the course for the "new'' Lions, the team that will begin chipping away at the colossal failure Detroit has become this decade.
Lions fans seem quite wary of everything about the team's fresh start, and can you blame them? After 0-16, and the never-ending debacle that was the
But hey, I was once a beat writer for a Tampa Bay team that was in the midst of an NFL record 12-year streak of double-digit loss seasons, and even the Bucs eventually turned it around and wound up winning a Super Bowl. So all things are possible, and even the worst franchises can be remade into a winner. I'm not saying it's going to happen this year, or even next, just that despite recent evidence to the contrary, the Lions are not eternally damned to reside at the very bottom of the NFL food chain.
Here's hoping the return of Motown's team starts in earnest today, with Stafford and two other stars to be named later donning Honolulu blue. Ten years is a long time to wander in the NFL desert, and when it comes to the draft in particular, the Lions are long past due for some winning moves.
With apologies to
Five things I'm thinking about as I get ready to hop on a New Jersey Transit bus out to Giants Stadium, where GM
2. It's supposed to be a glorious 85 degrees in sunny New York City today. What will the temperature be inside the windowless Giants media room?
3. If the Giants don't orchestrate a trade for a wide receiver today, how might they use their first-round selection to draft one?
By the time the Giants will be on the clock with the 29th pick,
4. Will the Giants be able to maximize their picks?
New York has five picks among the first 100, and the team has 10 picks overall. Only the Patriots, Bengals and Cowboys (all with 11 picks) have more opportunities to stockpile talent over the weekend.
5. Thank goodness I am riding the bus and not driving out to Giants Stadium. I am letting someone else worry about traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel.
The weather dude said that this will be the first 80-degree day in Boston in seven months -- yet most winter-beaten, sports-mad New Englanders will be packed into barrooms, beer halls and lyric little bandboxes for some afternoon delight: the red-hot Red Sox hosting the Yanks at Fenway at 4:10 p.m. and a critical draft for the Patriots, who should make their first of four scheduled picks today a couple hours after first pitch.
A large group of Patriots fans even dished out 70 bucks a pop on this first summery day since September for the honor of hunkering down inside Gillette.
Of course, nobody knows what the post-
The Patriots need tons of help on defense, particularly when it comes to defending the pass.
The impact of the draft gaffes has been felt on the field, where the Patriots were among the worst pass defenses in football last year, with an 89.8 Defensive Passer Rating. You can't win titles that way, no matter who's at quarterback.
Welcome to the second annual SI.com At The Draft Blog. Today, we have dispatched 12 writers throughout 10 cities across the country. They have one goal: To bring you behind the scenes of the first two rounds of the 2008 NFL Draft. The dozen:
The blog will run from now until the end of the second round. Have any thoughts along the way? Feel free to weigh in with your reactions