April 27, 2009

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As a caveat – I follow football, but I am not a rabid fan.  If you’re looking for an analysis of how player X fits into a team’s 4-3 defensive scheme, you’re looking in the wrong place.  I’m looking to high a few interesting stories from the draft.

Stafford vs. Sanchez

Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford was the top overall pick in the NFL draft.  Stafford is a fine player.  However, his contract – 6 years with $41.7 million guanteed and  $78 million maximum value (if some rather lofty performance goals are met – quite unlikely) is staggering to many.  Try as they might, the NFL teams have not found a foolproof way to determine which players will excel and which will falter at the NFL level.  If Stafford goes the route of many before him (Akili Smith, Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, et al) the Lions will end up eating forty million dollars and getting very little for their money.  Some players simply see the guaranteed money, decide that they are set for life, and just go through the motions until a team cuts them loose.  I’m not suggestion that this is the case with Stafford – just that the risk is there.  I’m opposed to a rookie salary cap, on the principle that I tend to oppose things that inhibit the free market economy.  I’m not really sure that there is a perfect solution.

The Jets traded to get pick #5 so that they could draft USC quarterback Matt Sanchez.  Some observers had Sanchez ranked ahead of Stafford.  Sanchez will likely see a contract that is much smaller than that of Stafford’s.  From a pure financial perspective, the Jet have a smaller risk and a player with possibly more upside than Stafford.

Another Sanchez note: The St. Louis Rams, with the #2 overall pick, bought a plane ticket for Sanchez.  This created considerable buzz that the Rams were considering Sanchez.  Most likely, it was a cheap way (in terms of dollars) to try to fake out another team so that the other team would try to trade for the #2 pick.  There’s very little downside to this move, even though it didn’t work out.  Well played, Rams.

On the subject of analysts: I heard someone mentioned that it is important to place a quarterback in a system that suits them.  Yes!  You always hear about guys who are “system quarterbacks”.  If this is a QB who can succeed in a particular system, why wouldn’t you attempt to build the system around them?

Michael Oher

Michael Oher  never knew his father, had a mother who was a crack addict, and repeated first and second grade.  He lived in various foster homes.  When he was 16, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy agreed to have Michael live with them.  The presence of the African-American Oher in the house of the Caucasian Touhys caused concern from some friends, especially considering Michael’s troubled past.  The Touhys shrugged this off and became the only real family Michael has ever known.  Michael eventually sorted out a dismal academic record while he also excelled on the football field.

On Saturday, left tackled Michael Oher become the #23 overall pick in the NFL draft, a first round selection by the Baltimore Ravens.  He is a true testament to perseverance and overcoming adversity.

Rhett Bomar

Rhett Bomar was the starting quarterback at Oklahoma in 2005.  He was kicked off the team in 2006 when reports surfaced that Bomar had been overpaid by an employer – being paid for hours that were not acutally worked.  Clearly, this was a mistake by Bomar.  However, he picked up the pieces and transferred to 1-AA Sam Houston State – a school with about 1% of the publicity of Oklahoma (and that is a generous estimate).  In two years, Bomar shattered records at Sam Houston State and was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award that is given annually to the best player in division 1-AA.

On Saturday, Bomar was picked in the 5th round by the New York Giants.  Clearly, with Eli Manning entrenched at quarterback, Bomar will not be the starter next year.  However, Bomar does have an opportunity to prove himself.  If he goes into the situation with the right attitude, he might eventually be a starting quarterback in the NFL.


Not surprisingly, the Oakland Raiders made the “what were they thinking” pick of the draft, picking wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey at #7.  Most people agree that Heyward-Bey was a legit first rounder, but not at #7.  To compound the situation, Texas Tech stud WR Michael Crabtree was still on the board (he was taken at #10 by the 49ers).  It’s true that Crabtree benefitted by playing in Mike Leach’s wide open system at Tech, but the kid clearly has great skills.

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