Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rick Cleveland: The Draft is upon us.

The 2017 NFL Draft begins Thursday, and there is really only one sure thing. That is, mistakes will be made.

It happens every year.

Pundits have praised the Dallas Cowboys for picking Dak Prescott in the fourth round last year with the 135th pick of the draft. Prescott went on the NFL Offensive Player of the Year, a Pro Bowl quarterback and a legit candidate for Most Valuable Player.

Boy, those Cowboys surely were smart, experts have said and written.

A better way to look at it: At least the Cowboys weren't quite as dumb as the other 31 NFL teams.

One hundred and thirty four players were chosen before Prescott. Seven quarterbacks were taken ahead of Prescott. The Cowboys drafted four other players before they drafted Prescott. Heck, the Cowboys tried their best to trade up in order to pick quarterback Paxton Lynch in the first round. A big draft day story was how John Elway and the Denver Broncos out-maneuvered Jerry Jones and the Cowboys to secure the rights to draft Lynch out of Memphis.

Lynch may turn out to be the one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. We shall see. But he accounted for two touchdowns as a rookie. Prescott accounted for 29.

It wasn't as if Prescott should have been flying under the radar. He played college football in the Southeastern Conference. He accounted for 114 touchdowns over four seasons in the best college football league in America.

A casual reader may think that Prescott is the exception, that rare talent that NFL scouts and front office people miss on.

He is not.

Just a quick glance at the most successful Mississippians in NFL history tells us that mistakes are the rule rather than the exception.

Brett Favre, who was a 2016 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was the 33rd player taken in the 1991 draft. He was the third quarterback taken.

The Seattle Seahawks took Dan McGwire out of San Diego State in the first round. The Los Angeles Raiders took Todd Marinovich out of Southern Cal in the first round. Nobody took Favre in the first round.

McGwire threw for two touchdowns in his career. Marinovich threw for eight.

Favre threw for 498 more touchdowns than the two of them combined.

Many people believe Crawford native Jerry Rice to be the best player at his position in NFL history. Surely, he would be in the first paragraph of any conversation on that subject. But he wasn't even the first or second wide receiver taken in the 1985 draft. No, the New York Jets took Al Toon out of Wisconsin and the Cincinnati Bengals took Eddie Brown out of Miami before the 49ers had the opportunity to take Rice out of Mississippi Valley State with the 16th pick.

Both Toon and Brown were good NFL players. Toon caught 31 NFL touchdowns; Brown caught 41.

Rice caught an NFL record 197.

You would think that when Rice caught 27 touchdowns in one college football season – and caught 24 passes in one college game – that might have convinced NFL people. But, no, they had to overthink it.

When Rice was timed in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine, his best time was 4.68 seconds. That apparently raised a red flag. Never mind that nobody ever caught him from behind in college. Archie Cooley, Rice's college coach, when famously asked about that 4.68 40 time, replied, “Hell, nobody was chasing him.”

Not sure what this says: Rice was the first overall pick in the short-lived USFL's 1985 draft. The Orlando Renegades, coached by Lee Corso, took him but couldn't sign him. The league folded after the 1985 season.

Thirty-two years later, NFL teams are still drafting, still making mistakes.

Rick Cleveland is a Jackson-based syndicated columnist. His email address is rcleveland@mississippitoday.org.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of catching, what's the over/under on time before Chad Kelly catches another charge? #hobbylobby

Anonymous said...

Yaaawwwwwnnnnnnn ,,,,,, SSSsnnnnnoooooorrreeeee ,,,,,, ZZZZZZZzzzzzzz

Anonymous said...

One thing for certain, this year's draft has to be a little less stressful than last years for the Rebel faithful.

Over 9000 said...

What the hell is this? The NFL draft? How come this makes the news and the Madison Shuckers U11 travel ball team winning the Heart O' Dixie Youth League Cliff Finch Memorial World Championship is ignored?

Hey, I work my ass off and get paid handsomely to turn those boys into MEN! Into WINNERS! And I think I...er they deserve just a LITTLE RESPECT!

See what you done did? My roid rage is escalating. I'm gonna head to the concession stand and I'm not responsible for what may happen!

Anonymous said...

Good column Rick. Mistakes made in various NFL drafts.

But the best mistake was made last year by the player himself - costing millions of dollars in first year and contract dollars, and maybe costing what some thought to be an up-and-coming coach's career. Of course we have a few more months to see what the final results of the NCAA's renewed investigation provides the black bears for coming years, but surely that loss can at least make the top ten list of draft day errors.

I know, I know. Off subject. It was the NFL team's mistakes. But hey, even party colleges can make mistakes with their drafting -- oh, uh, -- signings. Close enough to fit a JJ comment section?

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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