Michael Brockers is hot, Ryan Tannehill may not be. The old draft trade chart is out the window, the Jags have an itchy trigger finger, Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd have the attention of the Rams, Seattle may not want to move as much as the current rumor suggests and, speaking of rumors, I'd advise you not to believe many of them about moving up.
T-minus three days until you all get to open your presents, and this is what I'm hearing:
Seattle doesn't want to use up two of its three choices in the top 100 of a draft they like a lot for a quarterback they might be able to pick sitting at 12. Think of it: There's one team that might take Tannehill between five and 11 -- Miami at eight. Let's say Seattle GM John Schneider feels there are multiple holes not at quarterback he needs to fill, and let's say he had to throw in his third-round pick, 75th overall, to be able to draft Tannehill. That means, after taking a quarterback in free agency and budgeting $15.5 million over the next two years for Flynn, he'd have used the 12th and 75th picks to procure another quarterback. Knowing Schneider and his love of building the roster through the draft, I'm dubious. From what I heard over the weekend, the trade market up to seven is comatose, unless Jacksonville's asking price is downright minuscule.
Now here's a story. A receiver in high school and defensive end in college, Thompson worked out at the SMU Pro Day as a tight end. Not a bad move, because teams came away thinking he could make the transition given his size (6-6, 259), athleticism and good hands. In the last two weeks, Thompson visited 11 teams and would have seen more if there'd only been more days in the week. I could see him going late in the third round and Brooks going by late in the second.
Sunday night, respected Dolphins beat writer Armando Salguero reported the Ross item is not true and said a highly placed club source told him, animatedly, that Ross hasn't told anyone who to draft. And this morning, I got a call from someone saying Florio was right on; Ross wants the quarterback. So what will happen here? I don't know. But I do think it's less of a lock Tannehill goes no lower than eight than it was a couple of weeks ago. If Miami passes on him at eight, I expect him to go either to a trade-up team with Kansas City at 11 or to Seattle at 12.
I'll give you an example. Let's use Tannehill. The transition number for quarterbacks this year is $14.3 million. The average of the third through 25th quarterback salary this year is $8.1 million. Who knows what the numbers will look like in May 2015, but they probably won't be smaller, or the gulf narrower. In other words, if you pick Tannehill at eight, you'll be paying $6.2 million more in a five-year deal for him than if you picked Tannehill at 12. Crazy. But true.
Now, some teams I spoke with over the weekend say the fifth year in the deal will simply be used as leverage in negotiations for a long-term deal. But I can see sticklers like Scott Pioli in Kansas City, Howie Roseman in Philadelphia and Mike Brown in Cincinnati holding players to fifth years at a lower price. There's a reason Pioli went on last week in his press conference with local writers about why he loved picking at 11. That's where the more team-friendly numbers begin.
In case you're interested, the difference in fifth-year numbers for defensive ends picked in the top 10 versus in the final 22 picks of round one ($4.3 million), and defensive tackles ($2.6 million), could come into play because of the big numbers of each position in the first round. "In any case,'' one club official told me over the weekend, "the old draft trade chart is obsolete.''
The Patriots worked out Boise State outside 'backer/defensive end Shea McClellin and liked what they saw ... "Write it down,'' said a good personnel man. "Ted Thompson's taking help for Clay Matthews.'' A bookend pass-rusher, in other words, so Matthews sees less double-teaming in 2012 and beyond ... Guard-tackle Cordy Glenn is a favorite of Arizona at 13. Not saying the Cards will pick him, but I heard a lot in the last few days from people I talk to saying he was the one guy I didn't have in my mock first round who belongs ... Speaking of the Cards, I talked to Larry Fitzgerald over the weekend. Let's just say he wants fellow Minnesotan Michael Floyd with that 13th pick. Badly ...
Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram are all over the board, in terms of who might take them and what personnel people think of them. I'm talking anywhere from seventh to the second round for Coples, and 12th to the end of the first round for Ingram ... The longer the process goes, the more holes scouts poke in Dontari Poe.
"Somehow this has got to be stopped. It's destroying people's lives.''
"It is fair to say they were protective of the players who could be disciplined in the next phase of this, and that was really what their focus was on, defending or excusing the conduct of the players who were involved in this program. That is unfortunate because the players who could have been injured and maybe were injured are also members of the union, and they are entitled to protection. Their interests, I think, are entitled to greater consideration and greater protection than the interests of the players who may have participated in this program or engaged in conduct that put the safety of other players in jeopardy. That could be a difference between us when the discipline on players is finally resolved and issued.''
Make no mistake: Players are getting suspended and fined, perhaps as early as today, and the union will fight it aggressively, blaming defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for running a program the players didn't totally go along with.
"He is one of the 10 best players in the draft. Historically, inside linebackers are not valued, mostly because they get replaced on sub downs in sub packages and nickel packages. He's the opposite and his strength lies in the pass game. He's the best pass-dropping inside linebacker I've ever seen in college football. He has instincts and speed. There's real value there because he's a three-down inside linebacker.''
I have Kuechly at 11 in my mock draft, to Kansas City, and until I heard Mayock say that, I hadn't considered Kuechly might not be there for the Chiefs.
"I want to know their names, so I can put them in my book of people not to hire.''
I know it's fashionable to give Trent Richardson, far and away the best back in this draft, to Cleveland at No. 4 in round one Thursday. But with the game becoming more and more of an aerial show, the Browns should be thinking hard about their choice before Thursday.
Six teams in the NFL won 12 or more games last year. Here are those teams, and where the leading rusher on each ranked in league rushing stats last season:
I'm not saying Richardson is so devalued that he shouldn't be picked very high. I'm saying the Browns and the Rams -- St. Louis also loves Richardson -- should think what awful receiving corps they have first ... and how they have quarterbacks desperate for a franchise wideout.
The University of Mount Union, an Alliance, Ohio, school with 2,200 undergrads, has chosen E. Dominic Capers as the speaker at its 166th commencement on May 5.
That's Dom Capers, the Packers' defensive coordinator and dedicated Mount Union grad, class of '72.
I got off the Acela train in Boston Friday around 11:25 a.m. with my friend Ken Fost. We were up for the 100th anniversary game at Fenway. Ed Randall, the longtime baseball announcer, was on our train. And as we exited the Back Bay Station for the 25-minute walk to the park, Randall walked up to me and said, "How long a walk?" Maybe 25 minutes, I said. "And a cab ride?" Maybe five or so. So Ed fell in with us to walk.
It's one of the great city walks in America, one I made often living in Boston's South End for the past three springs and summers. You bisect Back Bay and the South End, walking past the dogwoods in full bloom and the dog-walkers and the brownstones and then the beautiful pool at the Christian Science building, and then the gardens in the Fens.
And Ed started telling us his story, how he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 47, is in remission now, and decided to devote a good bit of his life to urging men to get PSA screening. "Last year, we were in 175 minor-league ballparks, setting up displays, urging men to be tested,'' he said. "Did you know it's more common for men to get prostate cancer than for women to get breast cancer? But if you're diagnosed early, there's a cure rate over 90 percent. It's not a death sentence.'' And so it went.
I know, I know ... Looks like a very long year for the Sox. But I miss those long walks to and from games in one of the best walking cities in America -- or anywhere.
"Happy 60th birthday to Pats coach Bill Belichick. It means from now on he'll be listed on the injury report as QUESTIONABLE (prostate).''
"Not surprised Bill Polian said Richardson might be best player in draft. I've said that for 2 months. Like I said, it's tape study.''
"Just walked in for a steroid pee test with my shirt off and the tester laughed and said 'Never mind, man. I think you're good' :(''
According to Duncan: "LeBlanc's sense of entitlement has been a source of conflict with her grandfather, a self-made billionaire from the hardscrabble 7th Ward who shuns the spotlight and still routinely clocks six-day workweeks. 'She's smart and has talent -- but she's just all over the map,' said one source, who has worked with LeBlanc. 'I think she really enjoys the glitz and glamour of being the owner, but she doesn't really roll up her sleeves and get into the business side of it.' ''
I've always sensed the high profile for her was overstated anyway, but it'll be interesting to see if she responds to the wake-up call issued by her 85-year-old grandfather.
I can tell you this: The league doesn't want the Vikings to move; the franchise is a tremendous one, with tradition and a foothold in an area of the country the league doesn't want to lose. Getting a team back in Minnesota will be tougher than it was 15 years ago when the league worked to get the Browns back in Cleveland. The economy's different. The political environment to build stadiums is far different. This week will be a telling one for the future of the Vikings in Minnesota.
a. RIP, Dick Clark, from someone who remembers you introducing the Jackson 5 to kids like me 42 years ago. (Maybe longer.)
b. Speaking of incredibly youthful-looking Syracuse University products (Clark, 82), how about these three: Marv Albert (71), Bob Costas (60), Ian Eagle (43).
c. After that little elbowing incident Sunday, I think Ron Artest's name should be Metta World War, not Metta World Peace.
d. I guess you got my prayer about the rainout at Fenway Sunday night, God.
e. You all predicted this, in the 2012 Home Run Standings: Nolan Reimold 5, Omar Infante 4, Albert Pujols 0.
f. Boston's eighth- and ninth-inning guys at the start of the season, Mark Melancon and Alfredo Aceves, have put 21 baserunners on in five innings of work. Nineteen have scored.
g. Don't know that I've ever seen back-to-back seven-run innings by the same team, as the Yanks did the other day.
h. Congrats Phillip Humber -- even though it sure looked like Brendan Ryan checked his swing on the final pitch of the perfect game.
i. Loved, loved, loved the Bruins-Caps Sunday. Tremendous drama.
j. The Bruins-Caps game prevented me from seeing all of the Kobe magic. But the highlights of Lakers-Thunder, post-Metta-elbow, looked fantastic too.
k. Beernerdness: Ate lunch Friday at Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square, and I have to give the place credit for the most exotic beer menu I've seen. I had the Ayinger Weisse, a wheat beer from Germany, that was light and delicious; and Heady-Topper, an incredibly rich and flavorful double IPA from a tiny brewery, Alchemist, in Waterbury, Vt.. It's served in a 16-ounce silver can that an Eastern Standard employee fetches each month in Vermont. He brings back around 15 cases in his Dodge Durango. Now that's a restaurant with a dedication to the best beer right there. You should see this beer menu. Next time in, I'll try a bottle of the Fluffy White Rabbits.
l. Coffeenerdness: Keep trying the coffee, Amtrak. It's no better.
m. One question for the New Jersey State Police:
n. Great line from the
o. If anyone cares.