Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Draft Busts

With the upcoming draft in the NFL, there is much buzz and hype about many different prospects. The annual circus is in full swing. Guys like JaMarcus Russell are being hyped as the next big thing, when he seems much more like a dumber, younger Daunte Culpepper. Offensive linemen get pumped up, yet soem of these guys are the product of their blocking scheme as much as a QB can be the product of the pass attack. I'm a big believer in looking at what a guy did in college, who he played against, what skills does the guy have that translate well to the NFL. Matt Leinart stayed an extra year in college and it made GMs talk themselves out of him being the number 1 pick. The same thing is going on right now with Brady Quinn. Quinn was touted as the best QB prospect if he came out last year. He stayed in the NCAA, and now might slide outside the top 10. Stupid.

The first draft that I remember vividly was the 1989 draft, mostly because the Cowboys had the number 1 pick and Barry Sanders. That draft was stocked with great talent, and there was one guy that the press was hyping in an out of control manner: Tony Mandarich. Mandarich was a freakin' lineman from Michigan St. who was suppose to make us all forget about John Hannah. He was a jerk who was 10 years ahead of his time (compare him to Kyle Turley), and he was an alleged juicer at Michigan St. Brian Bosworth had the same problem going from the NCAA to the pros: no juice = poor play. Mandarich stunk it up for the Packers, and because the Pack passed on Barry Sanders, the NFL was spared the domination of the game by a Barry Sanders-Brett Favre backfield combo. Sanders and Favre could have become the team of the decade instead of the Cowboys. From '95-whenever, they could have denied Elway/Young/the Rams their Super Bowl victories.

It is quite easy to point fingers (mostly the middle) at Ryan Leaf and laugh, but I always viewed him as a tragic figure for the modern NFL. He serves as a cautionary tale for kids before they think of going to the pros. A draft bust I like to point out rather than Ryan Leaf is Blair Thomas. Thomas was wretched with the Jets, and as I have stated at other times, a Big Ten Rb, so he was made to bust. Thomas started that Penn St. RB Curse of Thomas-Ki-jana Carter-Curtis Enis. I hope Larry Johnson breaks the mold and does not drop dead after his 400+ carry season. Thomas is an extra hard choice to stomach because of the RBs behind him who had decent pro careers. Some of those guys lasted a long time and had productive careers: Rodney Hampton, Chris Warren, Barry Foster, Brian Mitchell, Terry Allen and NFL leading rusher, Emmitt Smith. Thomas was another part of the long chain of NY Jets draft busts. I am soooooo looking forward to the draft day for Jets fans' reactions. Last year, they let me down when Mangini made safe picks and the fans were happy. C'mon NY, don't let me down!

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