The Best Draft We Never Had
Maybe the trick to enjoying the NFL draft is not to participate in it. In 2021 the Denver Broncos passed on linebacker Micah Parsons. The 2020 draft gave us Jerry Jeudy instead of Justin Jefferson. Noah Fant was hardly the steal of 2019, Josh Allen was available in 2018, Garett Bolles has been holding since 2017, and the 2016 NFL Draft…..that was Paxton Lynch.
The Denver Broncos ended up trading a boat load of picks for quarterback Russell Wilson, finally joining the festivities with the 64th pick, and last one of round two.
But let’s be honest. By the 64th pick, the Broncos could have drafted Haywood Japickme and nobody would have noticed.
Fortunately, there were plenty of mistakes made in this year’s NFL Draft to keep us entertained.
• Kenny Pickett (Pitt) ended up being the only quarterback picked in the first round after the Pittsburgh Steelers took him at number 20 despite questions about his accuracy, arm strength, and not to mention – his surprisingly small hands. I guess they’re not lying when they say size really doesn’t matter.
• With the lack of quarterback talent and Pickett, Malik Willis (Liberty), and Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati) all having similar draft grades, Pittsburgh not only could have waited a few picks before selecting a quarterback – they could have waited a few days.
• But it wouldn’t surprise me if Pickett ends up playing 10+ years in the NFL – Just look at Colt McCoy.
• It was cute when New England Patriot’s head coach Bill Belichick had his dog in front of his computer during the 2021 NFL Draft, but this year it looks like the dog is making the picks too. Belichick selected offensive lineman Cole Strange, a Third-Team All-Southern Conference player from Chattanooga. Strange was taken with the 29th selection. Mel Kiper had him ranked as the 69th best prospect in the draft.
• Belichick will go down as the G.O.A.T. – But I still have to point out his 70-79 record (including 29-58 vs teams over .500) when Tom Brady isn’t playing quarterback for him.
• The Georgia Bulldogs had fifteen players taken in this year’s NFL Draft, including five on day one. That’s more professional football players than the entire Jacksonville Jaguar roster.
• Six wide receivers were selected within the first 18 picks, and seven more went in round two. Marquis Brown got picked up by the Arizona Cardinals, AJ Brown landed in Philadelphia, and $100 million contract are becoming commonplace in today’s NFL. The wide receiver position is so coveted that Antonio Brown could find a team, get paid millions, storm off the field shirtless around game ten, and it would still be worth it for both parties.
• Speaking of getting paid. The NFL determined after an investigation that former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson did not get paid to intentionally lose football games as he claimed. Jackson probably had to take the only job offered due to the NFL’s history of racial discrimination in the hiring practice, sign up to coach the worst team in the league, and suffer the indignity of living in Cleveland, but he wasn’t getting paid to lose. Makes sense. If Jackson (3-36-1 in three years with the Browns) was getting paid for losing – he’d be a Rockefeller.
• In baseball news, Robinson Cano was designated to the minor leagues after hitting just .195 this season for the New York Mets. Good luck to the Syracuse AAA hitting coach that has to give advice to a guy with 335 HRs, 1305 RBIs, a .302 career batting average, and 17 years of MLB experience.
• It’s really unfair to compare the new Face of the Colorado Rockies Franchise, Kris Bryant, to the old Face of the Franchise, Nolan Arenado. Arenado is hitting .359 with 6 HRs and 18 RBIs so far this season, while Bryant has yet to hit a homerun and had just 4 RBIs before going on the Injured Reserve list. There’s definitely no comparison.
• Speaking of cheap replacements. Back in 1983 the USFL made a splash by luring former NFL greats like Jim Kelly, Hershel Walker, and Steve Young to come play. The only player I’ve ever heard of from the 2022 version is former Denver Bronco bust, Paxton Lynch.
• Lynch was granted his release from the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League after being suspended for most of the season due to a vaccination issue. Later, Lynch was selected in the 12th round in the USFL draft, and subsequently went 2 for 5 for a total of one yard including an interception in his opening game with the Michigan Panthers before losing his starting job. Apparently, the USFL stands for the Unable to Scout Football League.
• Kind of strange that Paxton Lynch is getting opportunities, and Colin Kaepernick is still jobless. If the XFL, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, doesn’t give Kaepernick a shot, pretty sure the X stands for xenophobic.
• Missing teeth, long beards, flying sticks, and plenty of violence. No, I’m not talking about the storming of the Capitol building. The NHL playoffs have begun. Go Avs!
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