The NFL draft took center stage earlier in the week. I particularly like how the commish decided he would bearhug then nearly make out with each first round selection. I also like how Roger broke Melvin Ingram off with a sick post touchdown handshake. Since they are apparently boys, maybe Rog will let Melvin kick it at the scrip club.
Another feature of the draft allowed guest introductions by former great players. I think next season the NFL should kick it up a notch and bring back draft busts. "For announcement of the Chargers' second round pick, here is Ryan Leaf..." or "Charles Rogers will announce the Lion's 2nd round selection." The only issue, as one of my buddies pointed out, is that they would need to broadcast remotely from San Quentin. Here's how that bad boy would open..."Live from Leavenworth, the NFL Draft continues here on ESPN."
Then there is Jet-fan. This may as well be their Super Bowl because those guys go all out. There are few things more consistent than turning on the tube or firing up the internet box on draft day and seeing Jet-fan all liquored up acting a damn fool. Set your watch to it...they'll boo Goodell intensely for the first 10 picks and consistently throughout the draft. Then the cameraman will pan the crowd only to find Jet-fan has set up some sort of makeshift bar and are out of control...half an hour into the draft. Then "J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets!" chants. Then Roger gets on the mic to announce the Jets pick. He is initially booed until Jet-fan realizes it's Rex's turn to pick so they begin to cheer...until the draft choice is announced at which time they promptly start screaming bloody murder. To be fair, idiocracy by NY's front office and Jet-fan reaction is half the reason I watch the draft. It's been going on for years so don't take it personally New York.
Here is Slam Man's take on Jet-fans at the draft:
The actual draft was much less exciting than the shenanigans pulled by Roger and Jet-fan. I am not sure how any NFL GM can honestly get behind picking up Ryan Tannehill within the first ten picks. I get it, Mike Sherman was his coach at A&M and is the Dolphins OC. Dude is definitely a project. In fact, Sherman thought so much of his quarterbacking skills that he ran him at the receiver spot for two plus seasons. Memo to Miami...you effectively made this guy your franchise QB with the 8th overall pick. Good luck with that one.
Also, a guy like Stefon Gilmore at the 10 pick to Buffalo? Really Buffalo? Gilmore had an excellent freshman season then fell off the map at Carolina. Maybe Gilmore is just much smarter than I thought. Maybe Gilmore blew it out of the water in year one then put it on the shelf until draft time. Not a bad strategy to avoid injury and such. Whatever.
Dontari Poe at #11? This guy wasn't even first team Conference USA. Yes, he has size and skills but essentially wasted his talent at Memphis and was drafted highly because of his bench press skills and a good combine. #11 pick in spite of his college career.
I was also a little shocked to see Alshon Jeffrey drop to mid-second round status. Sure it is rough that his college coach tossed him under the bus immediately before the draft (by the way, why in the world would a coach do that at such time?), but that guy is a player. It's not his fault that he had Stephen Garcia erratically throwing him footballs half of last season. A little more discipline and skipping the chocolate fountain at the Golden Corral and he is a Top 15 pick overall.
So far as Clemson goes, Andre Branch, Dwayne Allen, and Brandon Thompson were all taken in Friday night's portion of the event. Branch, an early second round choice by the Jaguars, was out'ed by the talking heads for the same things we complain about with our ends. They-and by they I specifically refer to guys like Sapp, Bowers, and such-have tremendous talent but only produce for one season. The whole body of work is rarely there because these guys choose to slam cheeseburgers and not get serious until their collegiate careers are at least halfway over. When most have all but given up, these guys will have a breakout season and leave you wondering where that production was the last 2-3 seasons. Branch has tons of talent and will likely fill a linebacker role in the pros.
Allen dropped to the first pick of the 3rd round by the Colts. This pick at first vexed me as the Colts picked a tight end (Coby Fleener) in the first round. Indy clearly understands its role as a rebuilding team and apparently now wants to get multiple TE's in place to give Andrew Luck targets in the middle of the field and utilize the flexibility that two very capable TE's on the field at the same time provide. We have repeatedly gawked here about Allen's athletic ability. We were concerned when he admitted that the he and the team were, at times, looking forward in the schedule instead of the opponent at the time. He definitely has all the tools necessary to make it at the next level and will be one of those guys I follow throughout his career.
Thompson went to the Bengals. As you know, we are big Brandon Thompson fans here. He played wide open at Clemson and was a key contributor for Swinney and crew. Of all the losses from '11, Thompson will likely be the toughest on our Tigers moving forward. Coty Sensabaugh was taken by the Titans in the fourth round. We were impressed with his improvement last season. Scouts were impressed with his speed several weeks ago and likely were encouraged by his progression on the field in '11 and the upside shown through that campaign.
Our Tigers look to take the series against Tech this afternoon. After a tough walkoff loss on Friday, the Tigers rallied with an offensive explosion to tie the series yesterday. Clemson needs to convert and win this series and keep some of the weekend momentum going.
Finally, we need to highlight TDP's excellence as athletics director. Clemson currently sits at an impressive 65th overall and 10th in the ACC. If you needed proof that there are critical issues within the AD, these statistics give you all the ammo needed. 65th in nationally and third worse in the conference. Is that the expectation or is Clemson just not executing the overall plan well?