It’s such a gamble, the NFL Draft. You never know how someone will respond to money, fame, adversity, publicity, etc. NFL teams take great care to ensure they get the right people that fit their system, culture and vision, and eliminate as much risk as possible.
And then there’s the question of ability: Is this guy any good? Good enough to take this early and pay this much?
So many factors. And so many mistakes. Every year teams reach (Buffalo) or just choose/handle it poorly. Let’s take a look at three that didn’t have their best days at the NFL Draft.
I fight with the Dallas Cowboys constantly. I grew up in Dallas and this is my team, but I don’t let them ruin my weekends (I save that for the Longhorns). But they try to. Oh, do they try. Barry Switzer, Stephen McGee, TO, Jerry Jones parking his Razorback RV right next to me at Texas vs. Arkansas 2003… They try.
Why would you take a guy in the first round that you could easily get in the third round? NFL draft experts had guard Travis Frederick ranked between 87-90 overall, which would put him in at end of the fourth round. Yet Dallas takes him at No.31. He might be an All-Star and he’s surely a terrific player, but he was considered slow and not strong enough at the combine to be a top-level pick.
Many experts believe Dallas’ plan was that didn’t have a plan at all: reaching for a lineman in the first, drafting another tight end (the third te in eight drafts: this time it’s Gavin Escobar from San Diego State) that is an athletic project, a wide out (Baylor’s Terrence Williams) that is already behind Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Dwayne Harris and a cornerback (BW Webb, William & Mary) after signing Brandon Carr and draft Morris Claiborne the last two years. What are you doing?
It got better with the solid picks of rb Joseph Randle (Oklahoma State) and lb DeVonte Holloman (South Carolina), but the top of the draft seemed unplanned. See? They try.
Colt McCoy has to be the happiest person in San Francisco. The former Longhorn is away from Cleveland, where they believe offense is some sort of witch. Giving up nearly three sacks a game and ranking in the lower half of every offensive category in the league, they didn’t pick an offensive player until the seventh round.
So you can’t run block or pass block, so you decide to trade picks this year that would have aided your offense for picks next year (what’s happening next year I don’t know about?) and settled on one pick, a lineman from a small college that, in the evaluation, is mentioned as “…some time on the practice squad is a possibility.”
Barkevious Mingo is a solid pick, but Brandon Weeden is fairly immobile and expensive, and Mingo won’t help him stay upright. Neither will Armonty Bryant, the seventh round pick that was recently arrested.
I have no doubt they will be back here next year.
It’s been all downhill for Smith since he lit up the Austin sky and the Texas Longhorns last fall. Since that game in October, he fell off the Heisman bandwagon, his team lost five straight and he turned into the pariah of the NFL draft.
After he was invited to the first round by ESPN, he wasn’t selected and the angst and stress was painful to watch. He threatened to not come on day two, but his agent talked him into it. He was taken by the Jets. No issues there, right?
Reports of his indifference at meetings with teams, “diva” behavior and poor interviews surfaced, which he denied and fired back at his critics. Every draft has that guy that things go badly for, and this year it was Smith, whether deserved or not.
Next week we talk some NBA.
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