When last we left happy skedaddler, Peter King, he was telling us how Ziggy Ansah is a risky draft pick before he speaks two African languages in addition to English. YOU SPEAK AMURRICAN OR YOU AIN’T A TEAM PLAYER. Peter also gave out a bunch of spoilers for the “Elway to Marino” 30 for 30 doc, because he’s a dick. He also used his column to talk sh*t to opponents of gun control, because he’s a dick who thinks his column is a message board.
But what about this week? You’re in luck, because the time PK spent eating the food in the Rams war room has cut down on the amount of aimless social commentary he offers this week. Unfortunately, it’s just replaced with excuses for why his mock draft sucked. READ ON.
ST. LOUIS — When you spend a round in a team’s war room, as I did Thursday night with the Rams, you understand why so many players, coaches, scouts and executives are magnetized to this game and cannot give it up.
They have Peet’s coffee and catered lunches! And no one else touches it because they’re too busy with their work. If only the Rams war room had a quiet car, he could spend an eternity there.
Being with the coaches, GM, scouts and execs of the Rams for Round 1, I saw and heard what a rush the draft is for football-freak 30- and 40-somethings. There’s a fun sort of tension. There’s gambling
which the Rams did especially well in moving from pick 22 to pick 30.
Ah, figurative gambling. I was hoping Jeff Fisher was putting up money on who could give him the longest mustache ride.
There are big-screen TVs, and the occasional chuckle at a Kiper or Mayock statement, and catered swordfish and strip steaks, and you’re with all your friends (mostly), doing what guys love to do: talk football.
What’s that? Do you enjoy watching the draft while getting drunk, stuffing your face and cracking jokes at the TV? I bet you do, plebeian. But know this: when you make your one-liner about Kiper commenting on a player’s length, it doesn’t bring a resplendent smile to the face of Jeff Fisher, which is why you will never truly know living.
I was here to write a story on the Rams for this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated (shameless plug — on iPads Wednesday and newsstands Thursday!)
How would the Rams try to close the gap with the supernova Seahawks and 49ers, and could they close the gap? Well, I lucked out, as you’ll read in the story this week, because GM Les Snead, coach Jeff Fisher and COO Kevin Demoff made stuff happen.
Stuff was made to happen, thanks to the son of Peter King’s agent and a head coach who is represented by Peter King’s agent. Very cozy, conflict-of-interest-y stuff!
You saw the Rams trade twice — from 16 up to eight, to take wideout/returner Tavon Austin, and from 22 down to 30, to take versatile linebacker Alec Ogletree — but what you didn’t see was the glee in the room when both picks were made. That was good.
The glee, you fools. THE GLEE. What is it to know the meat-and-potatoes information of the draft without witnessing Jeff Fisher humping his GM’s leg when his team has acquired a highly regarded drunk driver.
Case in point: When Ogletree was picked, special teams coach John Fassel and linebackers coach Frank Bush high-fived and considered the impact of the first two picks.
“Can I have Ogletree for punt blocks?” Fassel asked.
“Yeah, he blocked six punts in college,” Bush said. “He’s great at it.”
“Wait,” Fassel said. “I don’t want him to block the punts — I want to see Tavon return ‘em!”
And they both laughed the kind of laugh you hear in a draft room when you’ve just had a good day.
A GLEEFUL LAUGH! Dare I say, a TITTER! Then they got in a tickle fight that lasted until the third day of the draft. Finally, the magic of football has been revealed.
Will Austin be the electric player he was at West Virginia? Don’t know. Will Ogletree be all player and no distraction, which made him tumble down the board in Round 1? Don’t know that either.
“Does the face of God appear in the pearly whites of Jeff Fisher’s teeth? You bet your ass I know that one and the answer is FUCK YEAH IT DOES!”
But for one night, the Rams seemed to help their team quite a bit, and it’s obvious from the view I got why football’s such a drug to so many.
Football is a gateway drug to the even more potent narcotic that is ACCESS, which is 100 times more addictive than SWANK.
Now onto the rest of what was a very eventful draft weekend.
5. The quarterbacks didn’t go 6-29-31-33-40, the way we were sold that they might. They went 16-39-73-98-110. They fell because we all bought the hype — me included — from agents and team whisperers that the game has become even more quarterback-centric, and teams were going to take shots even if they weren’t sold on all the merits of the passers in this draft. Cleveland, Jacksonville, Kansas City and Minnesota, all candidates to take one, drafted a total of zero passers. As one personnel man told me Sunday: “I think we just couldn’t believe there wasn’t a run on them late in the first round, and it’s because it turned out teams just didn’t see them as their quarterbacks of the future.”
“YOU GUYS, I WAS ONLY WRONG BECAUSE THOSE JERKY EXECUTIVES AND AGENTS LIED TO ME. I’VE ONLY BEEN A FOOTBALL WRITER FOR LIKE 30+ FUCKING YEARS, HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO SEE THROUGH THEIR DECEIT!?!”
Also, worth noting that PK doesn’t address his constant bleating about how Te’o was gonna be a first-rounder in these 12 reactions to the draft.
There can still be great running backs picked high, but why do it unless you have a combo speed/power guy like Peterson — especially when rushing gems drop out of the sky on Day 3? But some of it had to do with the fact that there wasn’t a sure thing on and off the field like Andre Johnson or Calvin Johnson.
These wasn’t a running back taken high because there weren’t can’t-miss wide receivers available. Got it.
11. Riskiest picks of the top 100: Dion Jordan, Tyrann Mathieu. The Dolphins jumped ahead of Philadelphia and former Oregon coach Chip Kelly to snap pass rusher Dion Jordan; it cost Miami the 12th and 42nd picks overall, though I’m told the Eagles weren’t going to choose Jordan fourth overall. Jordan could be Aldon Smith. He could be Mike Mamula. (Look him up, kids.)
Consult your local library, kids. Or wherever you keep your Google. Because it’s not like Mamula isn’t referenced every time there’s a linebacker who rockets up draft boards as a result of good workouts.
12. Even if Detroit fans on a pass rusher with 4.5 career college sacks at the top of the draft (and I get the Ziggy Ansah risk)
“I mean, the kid speaks two crazy African languages in addition to English. The PC police won’t let me say it, but who else here thinks he’ll turn your defense into a tribal insurgency. I can’t be the only one.”
14. Stop killing the Cowboys. Just stop.
Sure, just as soon as they quit doing dumb shit. OH HO HO, THAT MEANS NEVER, GEDDIT?
Dallas got the No. 1 center on many boards at 31 (Travis Frederick), filling a gaping hole; an offensive tight end to someday replace Jason Witten (Gavin Escobar) at 47; and a 51-game starter at wideout from Baylor, Terrance Williams (who averaged 19 yards a catch last year) at 74. As one GM told me Sunday: “Frederick might be a reach, but if you get a starter for your team for six or eight years — at any position — isn’t that worth the 31st pick overall in a lousy draft?”
“As the Cowboys GM told me Sunday: please tack on this quote as anonymous on Sunday and you can watch Jerry Jones high-five anyone you want. Not you, though. The grease on your hands reminds him of Wade Phillips.”
At least Matt Barkley has his humor intact.
Line of the weekend, 45 minutes after the Eagles made the plummeting Barkley the first pick of the fourth round, and the first choice on day three:
“Does this count as the first pick?” Barkley said to me.
Killer line. LOFTY line. And the fact that he said that lame self-effacing joke to Peter King and not someone gives it a 500 legit percent increase in quasi-humorousness.
Quote of the Week I
“I’m all in for Week 1, just like you guys are.”
— Robert Griffin III, the rehabbing Washington quarterback, at the club’s draft party for fans over the weekend. He jumped up and down on stage, and the crowd reacted like a packed house at a Jay-Z show.
I’m sure Peter King has seen many a Jay-Z crowd in his days.
Also, hold on a sec.
//shocked there isn’t a post where Florio condemning RGIII for risking his knee by jumping
Quote of the Week V
“He can skedaddle.”
— Kansas City coach Andy Reid, after the selection of fleet Iowa running back Knile Davis in the third round Friday night.
Yeah, Davis went to Arkansas, dipshit. I BET SOME AGENT LIED TO PETEY! IT’S NOT FAIRRRRR!
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Speaking of skedaddling:
He leads the league in skedaddling.
I enlisted SI college football guru Andy Staples to help me with the math on something that amazes me about the smurfy Austin
That’s the smurf that chugs beers and stuns everyone.
the first pick of the St. Louis Rams and the only offensive skill player to be picked in the top 15 of the 2013 draft. Austin told me he missed one practice in his four years at West Virginia. Doing the math with Staples, if you figure Austin went through three sets of spring practices (15 per year, 45 total), four preseasons (25 per year, 100 total), four bowl games (15 per year, 60 total) and about 50 regular-season practices per year (100 total), that adds up to 405 practices.
Austin practiced 404 out of 405 West Virginia practices, then, and played in 52 of 52 WVU games.
That’s 456 of 457 football events for which the kid showed up. The only one he didn’t: a Sunday practice in 2011 … when he was being operated on for a broken pinky suffered the previous day. He was back for the practice after that one.
Oh boy, Smurfy Austin is also Smurfy Gamer. A trail of blue grit follows him everywhere.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me II
Speaking of Tavon Austin:
Buffalo GM Buddy Nix and Rams GM Les Snead orchestrated the trade that that led Austin to the Rams Thursday night, St. Louis acquiring the eighth pick for second- and seventh-rounders and a swap of third-rounders.
Snead was born in Eufaula, Ala. (pop.: 13,137) in 1971.
The high school football coach at Eufaula High until 1967 was Buddy Nix.
“Buddy was a big deal in my hometown,” Snead said.
Snead went to Auburn. A good buddy of his, the backup quarterback on the football team, married Nix’s daughter.
On Thursday, Nix, the big man in Snead’s town when Snead was but a gleam in his father’s eyes, handed Snead the most dangerous weapon in this draft to compete with the power boys, San Francisco and Seattle, in the NFC West. And Snead handed Nix the pick to draft the player, E.J. Manuel, the Bills hope becomes the successor to Jim Kelly.
I wonder if anyone in Eufaula realized that over the weekend.
I wonder if anyone outside that bumfuck gives a shit.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me III
The first names of the seven Denver draft picks: Sylvester, Montee, Kayvon, Quanterus, Tavarres, Vinston and Zac.
WEIRDY MCWEIRD! Remember the days when football players has good ol’ American names like Frank and Sam and Lou and they didn’t speak clicky African dialects? Those were the salad days of white coach high-fives, lemme tell ya.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Here in St. Louis, with a couple of hours free Thursday afternoon and not wanting to obsess about the draft, I took a walk from my downtown hotel over to the Gateway Arch. I’ve seen it before, but not really up close.
“Yup, it’s still an arch.”
I walked around both bases of it — it’s much wider than I thought.
Things look larger up close. WEIRD.
And there was a tour group of what looked to be junior-high kids hearing a guide give some of the facts and figures of the Arch, so I loitered in the back and listened. Fun Arch facts:
All right, I dig and dig through this endless midden heap and now finally we get down to brass tacks: OVERHEARD GATEWAY ARCH REPORTAGE.
• It’s 630 feet high — and the bases are 630 feet apart.
Oh, how intereszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
• The two bases are embedded in 23 tons of concrete apiece.
• Construction started 50 years ago, and it was finished 47-plus years ago.
• It signifies the gateway to the western United States.
MOTHERFUCKER, I LEARNED THAT IN MIDDLE SCHOOL. WHY DO I HAVE TO SIFT THROUGH THIS SHIT EVERY WEEK. WHHHHYYYYYYYY?
• Ten small planes, in violation of the law, have flown under the top of the arch since it opened in 1965.
It’s beautiful, by the way.
“Has nothing on Les Snead’s cock hair, however.”
Tweet of the Week I
“After ’03 Draft, scout yelled out to room ‘Anyone want to sign this QB Tony Romo? He’s from Wisc, wants to sign here.’ Silence.”
— @adbrandt, the football business writer Andrew Brandt, former executive with the Green Bay Packers.
A player who went undrafted didn’t draw interest in war rooms. FASCINATING NUGGET.
Ten Things I Think I Think
2. I think if I’m Mark Sanchez, I ask John Idzik very respectfully to put me out of my misery and release me.
Eh, Sanchez’s salary is guaranteed either way. I’d be pushing to make millions for doing nothing, too.
3. I think for those of you who say the Jets can’t cut Sanchez, even with a post-June 1 designation, you need to understand something. Of course they can. They may choose not to, but they certainly can cut him, and I believe it would be the best move for team unity and the future of the franchise.
Fun Cutting/Arch Fact: Any team can cut any player on their roster! There are financial penalties for doing it. WEIRDWEIRDWEIRD!
The Jets currently have $20.1 million in dead money that will count against the 2013 cap, which means, more or less, they have about $103 million to spend on players this year. If they cut Sanchez and designate him a post-June 1 cut, he would count $12.35 million on this year’s cap and $4.8 million next year. So the Jets would be down to about $91 million to spend on players this year. Impossible? Hardly. Washington will defend its NFC East title and have about $99 million to spend this year because of an NFL sanction and dead money. The Raiders will have about $76 million to spend.
Point is, is it worth having Mark Sanchez and the buttfumble jokes and the mayhem headlines and the almost certain knowledge that he’s gone in 2014 around to infect 2013 and the new franchise quarterback, Geno Smith? Whether you think it was smart to take Smith or not, the fact is he’s in Jersey now, and the Jets are going to give him a fair shot to be the long-term quarterback. It’s silly to think it’s not going to be a total zoo around that team if Sanchez stays this season. I’d rather have a prayer with team peace while developing a new quarterback and spending $91 million on players than mayhem and spending $103 million.
Yeah, I’m sure no one respects Sanchez, and the jokes would get tiresome, so I kind of get that reasoning. But I still think it’s dumb to release outright someone who have so much money tied to when he could still get something out of him. Hell, I’d keep Sanchez around just to have the rest of team take turns kicking him in the dick at practice every day. That’ll help chemistry.
4. I think those who would be derisive of mock drafts this year, deride away
but keep these things in mind: This year was going to be awful anyway, because of the new people running drafts up top (seven new GMs or coach/GM combinations), and because of the wide disparity of opinions (Justin Pugh ahead of Sharrif Floyd) on some boards.
This is actually a shithead move out of the Bill Simmons’ playbook. If Simmons has a bad year at picking games, he starts going on about how CRAZY UNPREDICTAWEIRD that particular NFL season is. In other news, reading so many trolls is going to kill me.
5. I think this illustrates the bizarre nature of this year’s draft: One team I spoke with Friday, not in the market to draft a quarterback but stunned at the descent of Ryan Nassib, told me Nassib was the second-rated quarterback on its board. And one team I spoke with Sunday had 10 quarterbacks rated higher than Nassib.
EXECUTIVES DISAGREE ON EVALUATIONS OF A PARTICULAR PLAYER! THAT NEVER HAPPENS ANY OTHER YEAR! JUST ILLUSTRATES HOW THE 2013 DRAFT TOOK PLACE IN UBER BIZARROVILLE.
7. I think, not that it’s going to tell the tale of the guy’s career, there was a little bit too much woe-is-me head-hanging out of Geno Smith Thursday night. Buck up, fella.
If it’s not gonna affect anything, then who gives a shit? Oh, you were just afraid to really criticize him because you’d come off looking like a racist asshole like when you did that to Cam Newton.
8. I think the fact that the Patriots will have four defensive backs from Rutgers in camp this summer (if prospective free agent Brandon Jones is signed and hangs around until July) is obviously freaky. Three draft picks from Rutgers out of seven total? Freaky too. But Bill Belichick deserves the benefit of the doubt for now — and I say for now because he’s been a poor cornerback picker over the last five years.
Totally. Fives years of terrible drafting at a position isn’t enough time to knock the guy. I say if the trend continues into the next century, maybe then it’ll have enough legs to stick. Until then, just have to wait and see.
9. I think Manti Te’o at 25 would have been eminently justified. Manti Te’o at 38 is a value pick for San Diego.
Haha, first mention of Te’o, like, 4,000 words into his column. Bet you if he went in the first PK would have led with the inspiring story of how he overcame controversy to still be a first-rounder.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Been a little busy with football thoughts this week to have non-football ones
Gasp! Could this be a slightly less miserable Monday than most?
but I’ll give it a go.
c. There is a special place in columnist heaven for you, Kevin Cullen. This column puts you there.
I’d like to think that if God did let sports columnists into heaven that he’d have to ghettoize them because they’d ruin the heavenly experience for the rest of us.
e. Thanks for putting Houston in the American League, whoever did that.
Thanks, Baseball Jesus!
f. Red Sox and Yankees, 33-16. Rays and Jays, 21-30. Wasn’t it supposed to be the other way around this year?
Nope, because I still don’t give a fuck.
g. Coffeenerdness: St. Louis has Peet’s coffee, which automatically makes it a place worth visiting.
Peet’s is sold in grocery stores so by PK’s reasoning, this means everywhere is worth visiting.
h. Beernerdness: Had a couple of O’Fallon Wheat beers while in town. OK; nothing memorable. No fruit in the beer, but it had a lemon taste to it. Very smooth and easy to drink, but the taste was meh.
Gets a plus for being liquid and therefore easy to drink, but work the mehville sub-citrus-y taste. You’re luck you have Peet’s, St. Louis, or else PK would never waddle back.
The Adieu Haiku
Vikes picked a punter.
Chris Kluwe, endangered dude?
Come write for SI.
A Rams coach high-five
That’s the story of football
And the catering.
I want more like this!
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