2013 NFL Draft

April 25, 2013

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Being Force Fed?

The 2013 NFL Draft begins tonight in prime time. The real question is, do we all tune into the draft because we are frenzied fans of NFL teams, or because television (namely ESPN and the NFL Network) have crammed this down our throats and but on a multi-day productions that is more pomp and circumstance then actual business?


I have a hard time getting excited for the auction this year, no big name profile players are looking to go early in the draft. From a fan perspective, Offensive and Defensive Tackles look to be the cream of this class. (yawn) These are vital parts to any football team that is trying to build for the future, but is makes for the same excitement as watching infomercials for the sham-wow.

Geno Smith is slated to perhaps be the first quarterback taken, likely going to the Browns at pick #6. But, Geno Smith to me is not a guy to build a team around. He had glimpses of greatness and looked dynamite in action in some games early in the year, and was even listed near the top of the Heisman list – then he played some teams with good defensive schemes and he looked less than pedestrian.

Tavon Austin – one of Smith’s targets and an electric special team player, is also looking like one of the first “non-lineman” taken off the board. Many mock drafts have him in the top 10, with a few I have looked at having him go to the Bills at #8.

One of the more interesting developments for me (which tells you how unexciting the big name promise is in this draft) is that two Tight Ends might be taken in the first round. As more teams try to find the next Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham,- they will likely look toward Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz could both come off the board in the first round.

Hook, line and Mantei

Everyone thinks I am wrong in the work place, but I think Mantei Teo is going to be a huge bust in the NFL. He has had too much baggage with the whole fake girlfriend episode. Granted he had to endure the media circus, but it does not change the fact that he is a player that was super over-hyped because of the fact that he played for Notre Dame. He put up nice statistics and highlights playing against the sub-par schedule that the Golden Domers faced most of the year. When it came to the title game, and facing real competition against Alabama. He looked slow, missed on many plays badly, and flat out looked horrible.

One game does not define a career, but I am in the belief this exposes him for who he really is. A good player on a decent team, that was way over-rated and will be very average against better competition. Not sure that warrants a high draft pick in the first round. OR it just means that this draft is really that bad.

End of Another Husker Streak?


Not as much to cheer for in Lincoln these days

On the topic of bad draft. Nebraska has had no fewer than 3 players drafted for 44 consecutive years as part of the NFL draft. Read that again…..44 Consecutive years. This is an incredible streak. Many streaks ended for the Huskers under the tutelage of Bill Callahan. But this is a streak that even most ardent Husker fans likely don’t know about.This could be the year that this streak is broken. Husker fans should appreciate the coaching job that Bo Pelini really has pulled off last year….winning 10 games and their division in the B1G 10 with basically little talent that is worthy of the NFL draft.

Until Next Time, Stay Classy Oshkosh, Wisconsin

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NFL Draft Analysis: Day 1

April 27, 2012

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Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck at the footba...

Photo: #1 overall pick Andrew Luck.

Last night was the first night of the NFL draft. It was one of the more exciting drafts in some time, and also seemed to move along fairly quickly for a change.

One thing was for certain last night, there was more moving going on than a NASCAR race.

I cannot remember a first rounds chock full of trade after trade after trade. I am sure the new rookie contract caps that are in place were the reason for creating so much action last night. Teams are not going to leverage hundreds of millions of dollars on some of those early picks, which has been the case in the past.

Overall I would not call this a very strong draft in terms of depth of talent. I could be wrong but as with most drafts, it really takes a few years for this to all pan out and realize which players turned out to be as advertised and which ones simply did not pan out at all.


Is Ryan Tannehill overrated?

Minnesota did a good job of gaining some extra picks by moving down in the draft. They had various people hit them up for the services of drafting Trent Richardson, but eventually the Browns offered the best deal and go his services. No way were the Vikings going to chase out a guy to replace Adrian Peterson at this time, even though he did have a season ending knee injury last year? Are Vikes fans wishing they WOULD have taken Richardson anyway?

The pick I like the least is Ryan Tannehill to the Dolphins. I am not sold at ALL on Tannehill. I saw him play against Nebraska, and frankly he didn’t look that good, unless you want him to complete 2 yard out routes. All I hear is how great his arm is blah blah blah…All I see is how many games A&M lost in the last two years that they were in control of…..so if he is THAT good, shouldn’t he be leading them to wins as their quarterback?

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05:  Morris Claiborn...

Morris Claiborne went 6th overall to Dallas.

I like Dallas’s pick (Morris Claiborne) as for the loyal Cowboy fans that means that they can finally quit complaining about Terrence Newman. Why the heck the Cowboys kept that guy around as long as they did is beyond me. All he did was get schooled on a regular basis and give up huge yards to opposing receivers.

The pick I don’t like is Brandon Weeden to the Browns. The Browns keep swinging and missing on getting their quarterback (where have you gone Brian Sipe) Weeden is old, and is reminds me more of Chris Weinke than Roger Stabauch coming into the league as an old QB.

Should be much more excitement in the next two rounds…..until next time….Stay Classy Radio City Music Hall!


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How Will the NCAA Punish Ohio State?

April 26, 2011

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Big problems continue for the beloved Ohio State Program. Not that it is any big shocker, but the NCAA the fastest yacht in the boat race, finally made a public statement yesterday that they are looking into “alleged” infractions. The violations in the Ohio State case happened a basically 12 months ago. The news splash came out in late December right before the bowl game, and then further escalated about 2 months ago with Tressel’s admission he knew about the problems with the five players trading equipment and awards for tattoos. Heck he even had the email train to show for it.

Now the Buckeyes have until July 5 to answer questions for the NCAA. A hearing before the infractions committee is scheduled Aug. 12 in Indianapolis.(coincidentally one day before Johnny Goodman’s Birthday) After that, god only knows how long this will drag on. Heck it took the NCAA 5 years to nail USC for Reggie Bush and other violations of basketball players taking place during the same time span.

The lingering question is will the NCAA think that the penalties imposed by the school are strong enough, or will they wield a heavier hammer? Hard to tell. The scuttlebutt in the coaching fraternity is that “The Vest” is in deep doo doo. Heck even Nebraska increased head coach Bo Pelini’s salary just yesterday making him the third highest paid football coach in the Big Ten. Why? They lost way more games than they should have last year and folded like a cheap card table in their bowl game re-match with lowly Washington. Maybe Athletic Director Tom Osborne wanted to make a possible move to Pelini’s alma mater, Ohio State, look less appealing from a financial perspective.

Lucky #7

The NFL Lockout drama saga continues this week we are quickly approaching the 2011 Draft. AP writer Jaime Aron had an excellent article on April 23rd that listed the top players taken at each position in the draft since the modern day draft has taken place. As you can imagine this could be a hotly debated topic. I mean which #1 overall is the best? Bradshaw? Manning? Aikman, Campbell? You could make your argument for any of these guys at #1. But what I found interesting was that the #7 pick in the first round has been a veritable point of weakness overall.

Tops on Aron’s listing was Adrian Peterson in the #7 spot, who many felt “slid” to the Vikings as he was coming off an injury plagued college career at Oklahoma. Phil Simms, Sterling Sharpe, Bryant Young and Champ Bailey are others of mention at the number 7 spot but no one really stands out like is the case at the other positions in the top 10 overall in any given year

Maybe this means the #7 spot is due to have a great player taken. Of course anyone in the Top 10 each year is considered great or they would not be considered to be drafted that high. The consensus at #7 this year is Patrick Peterson, the dynamic secondary player from LSU. Only time will tell if a Peterson will dominate from the #7 spot overall in the draft.

Until Next time…stay classy Mel Kiper Jr.

Drafts, Tourneys, and Tiger (Oh My!)

March 29, 2011

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Opening Day for Baseball is later this week. Hard to be in the mood here in the midwest for baseball since it has been snowing and we have had temperatures in the low 30’s . Wonder if the Twins are re-thinking that new outdoor stadium at all this year with record snowfalls in the Minneapolis area this winter. We are not out of the woods just yet.

Speaking of Woods, Tiger Woods showed a brief glimpse of old Tiger on Friday last week carding a nice round at the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational and getting back into contention. He promptly got back out of contention on Saturday and on Sunday, no one it seemed wanted to win the tournament. Martin Laird from Scotland took the title and an automatic invite to the Masters with the win after he had squandered a 3 shot lead late in the round, only to see everyone else mail it in even worse.

Since I mentioned worse, do you ever remember a year that was worse for number one seeds in the NCAA basketball tournament? None of them make it to the final four, which is not a totally big deal. What is a big deal is who did make it in….Only 2 people out of over 5 million in the ESPN on-line bracket pool had these final four teams all picked correctly. Butler, Kentucky, Virginia Commonwealth and Connecticut. I am guessing it is two households that either have kids at VCU and Butler or one spouse went to one of those schools and got married to someone that went to the other.

On the topic of Big Deals, the NFL lockout continues. Now we are approaching draft time, and teams are “encouraging” some of the players to not attend the draft. C’mon owners, this is a dream day for most of these guys and it is not like you get to get paraded across the stage and be in the spotlight again. You only get drafted once. Can’t we just agree to all get along for the three days of the draft and not make these rookie players feel uncomfortable.

Regarding handshakes and spotlights, kudos to Gonzaga women’s basketball star Courtney Vander Sloot who became the first NCAA basketball player to score 2000 points AND dish out 1000 assists in a career. That is some big time playing.

Until Next week, stay classy Shaka Smart!

Analysis of The NFL Draft Coverage

April 26, 2010

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Let’s talk about the NFL Draft

It is the beginning of the Baseball season, the first round of both the Basketball and Hockey Playoffs, the sun is shining and yet the headlines are about the NFL. The NFL holds the draft in April each year. Why? Well there are lots of contractual reasons, and some logistical reasons, but mainly it is to keep so that the teams can get the newest players signed to contracts and into summer training. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban thinks that it is a strategic ploy to take viewing audience away from the NBA, I think not. People who actually watch the NFL draft are not interested in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The NFL has been holding the draft in April since long before anyone thought of broadcasting it, live or tape delayed. It has move to prime time because there is an audience, not the other way around.

I will admit that I did not watch the entire draft. I checked in from time to time, but like most sports enthusiast, I could get everything I wanted to know from the newspaper or the web the next morning. Oh, I had interests; like who was my team going to draft? What about the other teams in my division? How did the players from my college fare? What about the nationally known players?

Now there are plenty of people in broadcast, and many more on various blogs who will discuss how the draft went. They will pontificate on what team did well, why some player was not drafted as they predicted, what the affects will be on each team. Since we cannot know how well any individual will perform at the professional level based on potential, I will leave that analysis for those people who get a great deal of enjoyment and possibly some pay for doing so. Instead, I intend on commenting on the coverage of the NFL draft in general.

First, I want to applaud the staff at ESPN. There were experts on who talked literally for three days straight. The support staff found video of every player and had statistics ready almost instantly. Now the talking heads did ramble from time to time, and contradict themselves, but that is part of the process when broadcasting live. If the who thing were predictable, there would be no point in having it. Like the old sports adage, if we knew who would win the game, why bother playing it.

I do have a complaint. As I watched, I could see what each team was doing by following the ticker tape along the bottom of the screen. At times, I even put the TV on mute, or listened to music when I was at the gym and could have tuned in the audio but chose not to. The announcers discussed picks from several minutes (up to an half an hour) earlier. This was mainly to give the support staff time to dig up video clips and stats, but it also revealed a bias in the reporting. Not only did they spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing and discussing the picks of the two teams from New York City, they would break away for the live announcements for those two teams, and those two teams alone.

This falls into the “it is the largest market” argument, but we must realize that these are the home teams for most of the media outlets, ESPN included. To do this consistently may be good business for that 10% of the national market, but it does not seen very smart for the rest of the country, especially if you are catering to the nation. If you want to be a regional broadcaster, than do so and let other regions do their own thing. ESPN seems to be moving to that regional model for the big markets like Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago. This is actually sad to me. I live in the middle of the country, equidistant from Chicago, Minneapolis, Green Bay, St. Louis and Kansas City. Unfortunately, the team I follow is not from any of those cities, so if ESPN does go regional, I will miss out completely.

So the summary of my rambling today is – although the NFL draft is not riveting TV, and it is New York City centric, I like how ESPN has covered it and I hope there are no major changes in the near future.

NFL Draft

April 20, 2010

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NFL Draft

The 2010 draft will kick off Thursday night, with a new three day format.  In the past, the draft took place on Saturday and Sunday.  This year’s draft will be split across three days.  First round picks will be Thursday night, the next two rounds will be Friday night, and the final four rounds will occur on Saturday.  The NFL is making this move to try to score higher TV ratings for the draft.  I see this as a losing proposition for fans, though.  In the past, the Saturday start to the draft lent itself very nicely to draft parties.  A Thursday night draft doesn’t work quite as well for those who have work the next day.

After releasing longtime quarterback Marc Bulger, the St. Louis Rams are expected to select a quarterback with the top overall pick.  The general consensus is that this year’s crop of quarterbacks doesn’t have the slam-dunk guy who is a near-guaranteed star.  Barring a trade, the Rams are expected to pick Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, whose injury derailed the Sooners’ 2009 season.

Speaking of the Rams, their ownership is still in flux.  When majority owner Georgia Frontiere passed away in 2008, her 60% stake of the team was inherited by her children, Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez.  Now, they have chosen to sell their stake in the team.  They accepted a bid from Illinois businessman Shahid Khan (check out his Wikipedia bio for a great immigrant-makes-good story).  However, minority owner (40%) Walter  Kroenke has an option to match any offer.  At the end of his window to match the offer, Kroenke announced that he would exercise his option.

There’s a wrinkle in the plan, though.  The NFL bans owners from owning franchises (in other sports) in other NFL cities.  Kroenke owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Denver Avalanche – and would thus be barred from buying the Rams, unless this rule is waived, or unless he sells the Colorado teams (his 40% stake in the Rams was grandfathered during a 2005 expansion of this cross-ownership rule).  I’m really not a huge fan of the rule, as it doesn’t make much sense to me.  Some people think the Kroenke has a legitimate interest in becoming sole owner of the Rams, whereas others see this as posturing in an effort to get Khan to pay more for Kroenke’s 40%.  Only time will tell.

Another player sure to be drafted high in the NFL draft is Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.  Suh is expected to be grabbed in the first three picks.  Suh already has a massive fan base in Husker Nation – but he may have gained a few more on Saturday.  During Nebraska’s spring game, Suh announced his intention to donate $2.6 million to the university.  $2 million will go toward the strength and conditioning program within the athletic department.  $600,000 will go toward endowing a scholarship in the college of engineering – from which he earned his degree.  Suh’s family is yet another story of immigrants living the American dream.  His Jamaican-born mother and Cameroon-born father  met in Oregon in 1982.  There will certainly be some 2010 draftees who get into trouble in the future – but I sincerely doubt that Ndamukong Suh will be one of them.  He’s a great player and an all-around class act.  I say this despite the fact that I hate the University of Nebraska.  It’s hard to root against the kid.

Be Like Ike

On the baseball beat, Ike Davis was called up by the Mets on Monday.  Not coincidentally, players called up on Sunday would have received credit for an entire season of service time; those called up on Monday only get credit for actual time served (I explained how this works when I answered the question of why Stephen Strasburg got sent to the minors).  The effect of delaying Davis’ call-up until now is that he will not become a free agent until after the 2016 season.  Down the coast in Atlanta, 20 year old Jason Heyward broke camp with the Braves and is off to a great start.  However, barring a demotion at some point, this means that Heyward will become a free agent following the 2015 season.  A few weeks in April make a lot of difference down the line.

If you’re a longtime reader of The Soap Boxers, you’re familiar with Davis’ name.  He was one of the players selected with draft picks the Mets received as compensation for losing Tom Glavine to free agency.  Chalk up that exchange as a win for the Mets.

Where There’s a Will

Mike and Mike in the morning were talking with George Will this morning and mentioned that his book Men At Work will be re-released next month.  It’s 20 years old, but one of my favorite baseball books.  Will picks the minds of 80’s baseball icons such as Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. to see what makes them tick.  (Yes, this is the same George Will who writes about politics).

When I was looking up the book in Amazon so that I could link to it, one of the books that popped up in “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought …” was Jim Bouton’s Ball FourBall Four takes an even more interesting look way behind the scenes of baseball.  It’s a great read, but there’s adult language and situations, so it’s not the sort of book to use as a bedtime story for your kids.  (There’s no logical reason to talk about Ball Four today, othe than the Amazon connection.  It’s just a good book 🙂

Draft questions

April 27, 2009

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Staff sports columnist Johnny Goodman talks about questionable picks in the NFL draft in today’s edition of The Soap Boxers.  We are pleased to announce that Johnny will be a weekly contributor to TCO in the future.

Now that the annual marathon that we call the NFL Draft is over, lets look at some of the biggest question marks in this draft.

Matthew Stafford  – over forty million guaranteed money.  Wow…Hope he turns out to be John Elway and not Ryan Leaf.  But I am not convinced.  Still the Lions had to try and sign this guy as they have nothing in the tank.   Duante Culpepper can keep the quarterback seat warm for a year or two if needed, but the Lions need this one to work out well.  Staffords proud parents appeared to be the happiest people on stage when the pick was announced.  Of course if I knew my son was going to be rolling in 40 Mil plus, I would be smiling too.

Is there a bigger question mark in this draft than the Raiders taking Receiver Darrius Heyward- Bey as the 7th overall pick?  I guess, not…after all, this is a pick made by the Raiders we are talking about.  I mean Michael Crabtree is still available at this point in time, I guess Al Davis figures if he can succeed under the Mad Bomber Mike Leach, who is possibly the strangest of all major D-1 College coaches, then he absolutely has no chance to succeed in the normal environment of the Silver and Black.  Basically Heyward-Bay has what Al Davis always seems to love, straight line, world class speed.  I see no reason to take the guy that high  and neither does anyone else.

The Jets traded up to get the glamour boy of the 2009 draft, Quarterback Mark Sanchez.  I actually like what the Browns did here by trading the pick away.  They did not get maximum value to move the #5 overall to the Jets, but they got the best deal they could find.  The Browns win here as they save the multi million dollar gamble on a quarterback.  The guaranteed money for the #5 overall pick would have been hefty for the browns, who have already seemed to position themselves for the future with the QB position.  The Jets gamble here in my opinion, putting all of their eggs in one basket.  I think this is a gamble, but remember I also think this is overall a weak draft.

Tampa Bay has a new coach and apparently a new quarterback.  The Bucs traded up to get Josh Freeman.  He is still very raw, but he is freakishly athletic.  Raheem Morris apparently fell in love with Freeman while a defense coach at Kansas State.  Byron Leftwich can provide a stop gap measure.  Not sure if I like this pick or not.  Freeman is the guy who beat much more talented Texas Longhorn teams on a regular basis, but also is the same guy that made Nebraksa’s defense look like the Blackshirts of the mid 90’s while they struggled against everyone else.  As a side note, I am a Husker Grad and …..did you know that Both Sanchez and Freeman had originally committed to come to Nebraska…but I digress.

The Dolphins chose Pat White in the 2nd round with pick #44 overall.  What???!?! Pat White? Do the fish plan on running the wildcat formation full time this year?  This was a HORRIBLE pick this high.  They could have easily nabbed White 2 rounds later in my opinion and picked up a number or players here with this pick that could have proven to be a lot more useful to the organization.

The Eagles are another interesting bunch.  I think they hit a home run with Macho Harris in the later rounds, but I still question the toughness of WR Jeremy Maclin.  Can he run?  Yes!  Is he explosive?  Yes!  Is he a great returner?  Yes!  Do I think he is another Reggie Brown for the Eagles?? Yes.  I have seen too much of this guy’s play in TV and in person and I am not convinced he has the toughness to play a lot of downs in the NFL.  Sort of a la Reggie Bush.  Great Athlete, explosive as heck, but soft in my opinion.

Last but not least we look at Percy Harvin going to the Vikings.  First Randy Moss, then the Love Boat, now Harvin.  Do they like problem in Minnesota.  I guess he forgot to leave the weed back home before the combine, and the Vikings overlooked that in the draft, although there were 70+  OTHER players they pulled off their draft board due to what their front office deemed as “character issues”  I guess potential talent outweighs character issues here.  Another player in the mold of Maclin.  Flashes of greatness but still a lot of questions.

As always it will take some time to see who turns out to be great players and who is a complete bust.  Overall this is one of the weaker drafts in recent years, and there was seemingly less “sure things” then I can remember in a long time.



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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.