A quarter of a century ago, fictional millionaire tycoon Gordon Gekko declared in Wall Street that making money was a zero-sum game: Somebody wins, somebody loses. Doesn’t it feel like the NFL draft is a zero-sum game, too?
It seems that way, especially when it comes to the all-important quarterback position. For every Tom Brady, there’s JaMarcus Russell. For every Joe Montana, there’s Todd Marinovich.
And let’s not forget about those years when quarterbacks are taken with the top two overall picks. History has taught us that when the supposed top two passers are juxtaposed and forever linked to each other, one’s a winner and the other’s a loser.
We’ve had Drew Bledsoe-Rick Mirer, Peyton Manning-Ryan Leaf and now have come to Andrew Luck-Robert Griffin III. Fair or not, Luck and Griffin will be forever linked after this week’s NFL draft.
However, don’t think for one second these two astute quarterbacks have to fall for Gekko’s zero-sum shenanigans. I legitimately believe the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins won’t go wrong with either Luck or Griffin as their franchise passer.
For the past two years, Luck has been anointed as the can’t-miss prospect. It’s easy to see why. He has ideal height at 6’4” and a great head on his shoulders. You have to if you want to graduate from Stanford with an architecture degree.
Luck can make all the throws and is evidently as tough—both physically and mentally—as they come at the college level. It almost seems unfair that the Colts are going to draft a franchise quarterback in Luck 14 years after they drafted another one in Manning.
Meanwhile, Mike Shanahan and the Redskins mortgaged their future to land a pretty damn good consolation prize in RGIII.
Griffin is seen as a quarterback prospect with unlimited upside and potential. He dazzled college football fans with his astute passing and running capabilities en route to winning Baylor’s first-ever Heisman Trophy.
Forget about Griffin’s razzle dazzle for a moment, however. What impresses me the most about Griffin is his demeanor on and off the gridiron.
Well before Griffin captured the Heisman, Sports Illustrated published quite the compelling feature on the Baylor quarterback. He was class president in high school, graduated with a political science degree in three years and has aspirations to go to law school one day.
In the meantime, Griffin will just have to settle with leading the Redskins back to their glory days of old. We’ve all seen what Shanahan can do with a great quarterback (see: Elway, John), and by all indications, he’ll have another great one in RGIII.
Likewise, we’ve all seen a great quarterback take the Colts to the promise land. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see Indianapolis get Luck-y yet again. Either way, Luck and Griffin both look like slam dunks at a position where finding the can’t-miss player is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Gordon Gekko be damned.
I don’t know what’s more disturbing about the whole Morris Claiborne-Wonderlic fiasco. Is it the fact that the LSU stud cornerback epically bombed on the NFL’s version of the SATs, scoring four out of a possible 50? Or is it the fact that people are defending Claiborne for his gigantic brain fart?
Given how badly he bombed the test at the NFL scouting combine, you have to wonder what classes this guy took at LSU. Something tells me Matt Leinart-inspired ballroom dancing class is somewhere on his unofficial transcript.
However, how about schmucks like ESPN’s Tim Kavanagh trying to justify Claiborne’s intelligence, or lack thereof, via Twitter? I guess it’s OK that young men like Claiborne get free rides to prestigious universities while they can’t even perform adequately on a standardized test.
Of course, Claiborne’s Wonderlic outing won’t deter him from being a top-five draft pick. All he has to do is guard receivers on Sundays, not compete for Nobel Prizes.
Still, there’s no way I buy the NCAA’s garbage PR claims that the “dumb jock” is simply a myth when I see athletes like Morris Claiborne scoring 8 percent on a test.
Speaking of Claiborne, most mock drafts have the stud LSU cornerback going fourth to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. On the surface it makes sense.
Pairing Claiborne with fellow SEC stud cornerback Joe Haden would give an already solid Browns defense big-time bite in the back end. However, Cleveland’s offense is so inept that it’s pretty much imperative that the Browns go offense with the fourth selection.
Do they, however, go with highly touted Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill? For the sake of Browns fans, I hope they don’t.
Tannehill is simply an athletic guy who went from receiver to quarterback and started a mere 19 games under center with the Aggies. Tannehill is too much sizzle, not enough steak.
If I’m Mike Holmgren, I’m taking Trent Richardson. He’s big and physical enough to thrive under a solid Cleveland offensive line, led by stud tackle Joe Thomas.
Handing the ball off to Richardson 250 times will alleviate a lot of pressure from quarterback Colt McCoy. Plus, if you can land the right receiver in a draft class full of quality ones, you could suddenly have a Cleveland offense with more bite than the dog pound.
After losing BenJarvus Green-Ellis to the Bengals, the New England Patriots are trying to replace the veteran running back with yet another veteran running back. They recently hosted the likes of Joesph Addai, Tim Hightower and Ryan Grant at Gillette Stadium.
This came as no surprise to Patriots fans, as Bill Belichick has elected to fill his roster this offseason with veterans who have lots of wear on the tires. The biggest get was receiver Brandon Lloyd, who is expected to thrive in New England, given his familiarity with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel’s system and that he has a Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady now feeding him the pigskin.
While some will scoff at the offseason moves of the Patriots, I will applaud them. Acquiring players like Lloyd, Donte Stallworth, Jonathan Fanene and Trevor Scott are the perfect examples of Belichick moves: low risk, high reward.
Some will see it as the equivalent of throwing football crap against the wall and seeing what sticks, but hey, that philosophy worked well for Jackson Pollock and has continued to work for Belichick.
Until proven otherwise, I’ll continue to support Belichick’s ability to pick through the NFL’s land of misfit toys.
Although I couldn't care less about the small-market St. Louis Rams, I’m hoping Jeff Fisher and company land stud Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon with the seventh overall pick on Thursday. Quarterback Sam Bradford desperately needs a go-to receiver to take the pressure off.
And for those picking on Blackmon’s supposedly diminutive 6’1” stature, you’re out of your collective minds. In case you haven’t noticed, wide receiver in the NFL these days doesn’t discriminate against size. It’s why the likes of Wes Welker and DeSean Jackson are tearing it up at that position.
Of course, if you can land the next Calvin Johnson (Michael Floyd, anyone?), you still do it. I’m just saying that with the offense-friendly rules in the league, you don’t need to be big to play big at the wide receiver position these days.
Regardless of his size, Blackmon is the best receiver in the 2012 draft. He’s explosive down the field, has great hands and can be physical over the middle when need be.
(If you don’t believe me, just look up his tape against Texas this past college season.)
A Bradford-Blackmon connection will give Jeff Fisher a great start to build on in St. Louis.
Meanwhile, the feel-good story of the New Orleans Saints’ 2009 Super Bowl victory seems so distant in the face of an awful 2012 offseason down on the Bayou.
The Saints lost the services of head coach Sean Payton for the season in the wake of the bounty scandal. However, that didn’t stop franchise quarterback Drew Brees (who’s still waiting to be paid like one, by the way) from saying the NFL didn’t have any hard evidence when they punished the Saints organization in Bountygate.
Too bad he didn’t hear disgraced defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ pleas for his Saints defense to harm the star players on the San Francisco 49ers offense before their NFC divisional showdown this past January.
And on top of that, it appears there’s dissension within the Saints ownership Benson family, led by patriarch Tom. I’m sure even New Orleans’s most bitter enemies wouldn’t wish this kind of dreadful offseason on the Saints.
At least, I would hope not. However, given the gruesome details of the entire Bountygate scandal, maybe this type of punishment is exactly what the New Orleans franchise deserves.
Either way, it’s definitely not easy right now in the Big Easy.