Take a likely top-15 pick at middle linebacker and add one trip to the Combine and what do you get? Good form on the testing. Luke Kuechly (KEEK-lee) produced such an outcome two months ago, and in doing so he showed exactly why the Combine’s best functions are to get medicals and interviews, look for outlying anomalies and serve to make sure that time will reward those expected to become higher draft picks with expensive semi-private training at the top facilities in the country, courtesy of their friendly, hopeful agents. His elite status also permits elite training. It showed.
I say hopeful agents because those representatives put out the cash for that training, which runs to 20 thousand dollars, and sometimes higher. They front other funds as well, and often lose money on the endeavors, but they’re hoping enough good will to get the next contract to negotiate as well. Much as it surprises no one who’s been in business, the best agencies usually take the lion’s share of the top market. Everyone scrambles to try to be the next success story - among both the athletes and their agents.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Panthers WR Steve Smith says a Saints defender told him during a game that he'd get fined were he not to "go after (Smith's) legs" while forcing him out of bounds. Smith also relates a conversation he had with Gregg Williams during a game last year, saying "He took responsibility, he was saying it wasn't right, but that's who he was."
Meanwhile, the FBI and Louisiana State Police are investigating the wiretapping allegations against Saints GM Mickey Loomis. Cortez Kennedy vouched for Loomis to Peter King, who of course finds the whole thing interesting. PK notes that New Orleans so vocally and vehemently denied the allegations after offering quiet reactions to news of their own Vicodin and bounty scandals.
Are y’all ready to get RAMD? For the third year in a row, I’m doing a Rational Actor Mock Draft, which assumes that I know what a rational actor would do. Basically, if every team were run by somebody who thinks like me, this is what would happen. Please note the following ground rules:
2. This is meant to describe what teams SHOULD do, not what they WILL do. I’m not interested in regurgitating Peter King’s disinformed mock, and you shouldn’t be interested in reading something like that. Take this exercise as me sharing my thought process, and hopefully, a bit of football insight.
3. As such, I don’t care if this matches any actual picks, as they happen. When PK or some other tool is patting themselves on the back for getting seven or eight right, I’ll be smirking at them. When they bitch about agonizing over this pick or that pick for hours, I won’t be; there’s no agony to this whatsoever.
I’m glad we had this talk. Turn your clothes backward, and Jump! Jump! Because I’m the Daddy Mack, and I just told you to.
When Draft Classes Make the Biggest Difference
But no team found contributors in more places than Denver’s two Super Bowl champions. John Elway came aboard in 1983; a dozen years later, Denver drafted Terrell Davis. Rod Smith was an undrafted free agent and Ed McCaffrey came to Denver after playing with the Giants. Gary Zimmerman and Mark Schlereth manned the left side of the line, but were drafted by N.F.C. East teams in the 1980s. John Mobley, Tom Nalen and Shannon Sharpe were key contributors, but drafted years apart. The ’97 team fielded only two starters who were part of the same Denver draft class: middle linebacker Allen Aldridge and center Tom Nalen. In 1998, two second-year players — guard Dan Neil and defensive tackle Trevor Pryce — were the only starters from the same draft class (Aldridge was playing with the Lions in 1998).
Collecting so many aging free agents like Howard Griffith, Tyrone Braxton, Bill Romanowski, and Neil Smith, plus younger players like Alfred Williams, Darrien Gordon, and Maa Tanuvasa, and then combining them with the guys listed above to create a cohesive winner was a remarkable feat, cap Shanahanigans aside.
As for the main point of the piece, Stuart shows that rookies (or any single draft class) rarely make significant contributions to a SB championship, which stands in contrast to Elway's comments from yesterday about expecting immediate impacts from drafted players.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Elway met with the press (video, partial transcript) yesterday to talk about the draft, which begins only 60 hours from the time of this writing. Elway spoke about the retirement of Brian Dawkins (it was the player's decision), the team's needs at defensive tackle (he claims it's overstated) and at cornerback (you can never have too many), and even the Ring of Fame-worthiness of Simon Fletcher (still not in, despite Elway being tricked into thinking he was just added by a reporter's question).
As for trading picks, Elway says the team is more likely to move down from #25 than up, so we should all prepare for the possibility that Thursday night will come and go without Denver adding a player. He also says the team will again draft with the intent of receiving significant contributions from their early picks as rookies.
Saints' Loomis could eavesdrop
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana was told Friday that New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis had an electronic device in his Superdome suite that had been secretly re-wired to enable him to eavesdrop on visiting coaching staffs for nearly three NFL seasons…Loomis, who faces an eight-game suspension from the NFL for his role in the recent bounty scandal, had the ability to secretly listen for most of the 2002 season, his first as general manager of the Saints, and all of the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
A few thoughts:
Happy Monday, friends. I was hoping to get Part 7 of my Manning Offense series done while I was in Dallas, but alas, we ended up working three long days, and I didn’t have time. It’s going to have to wait until after the Draft, because I need to shift to that situation.
How is it possible that the best Broncos site in the world hasn’t done a single bit of mockery? Have you considered that? I would say that it’s mostly because we think that it’s a waste of time, and that there’s no shortage of people spending their time doing and updating them. When it comes down to it, we don’t know what the teams are going to do, and when a good mockery performance is getting six or seven picks out of 32 right, what’s the point?
I do one annual piece of mockery, called the Rational Actor Mock Draft (RAMD), and I’ll be doing that tomorrow. Expect that to be IAOFM’s only foray into mockery, once again. The way we see it, it’s better to cover what actually happens on Draft weekend than it is to do 74 mocks between January and April. As in the past, you’ll want to be here for the best coverage between Thursday and Saturday.
For today, I’m going to give you some thoughts about football, the Draft, and what I think the Broncos should do this week. Fun times, right? Ready… BEGIN!!
Archie Manning: 'I think (Peyton) is going year to year'
But now, the elder Manning says, “I think (Peyton’s neck injury) makes you a little more realistic’’ about a retirement date.
“I think he’s always done a good job of not taking his health for granted; I think he learned that early on because of (brother) Cooper’s injury,’’ that ended his football career, says Archie Manning. “But after missing a season, I think he is going year to year.’‘
“Denver is not Buffalo,’’ says his father. “I saw a number where the average home temperature (in Denver) is 60 degrees. You play just half your games at home anyway. We’ll see. I think he has more things on his mind than the weather. I really think he has one focus: Make this transition to a new team. You miss a whole year and now you change (teams)—it will be different.’‘
Of course, during Peyton's introductory presser, he said he's "planning on playing for a long time," while the structure of his five-year contract gives Denver and Manning outs after the 2012, 2014, and 2015 seasons if the issues with his neck again become a hindrance. (via PFT)
The Lord has blessed me to play in the NFL for 16 years. I would like to thank the Eagles & the Broncos 4 believing In me. I would like 2 thank all my teammates & Coaches that I have been blessed 2 go to battle with. Along with u, the fans 4 helping make my career 1 that i have enjoyed tremendously. In other words. I am announcing my retirement from the NFL. #BBTB
Dawkins spent three seasons with the Broncos after 13 in Philadelphia, and he was named to eight Pro Bowls and was a four-time first-team All-Pro. He started 39 of the 41 games he played for Denver, but a neck injury forced the future HOFer to miss the team's regular season finale and two playoff games.
Tannehill not a lock for Dolphins or top 10; more recent draft buzz
Over the weekend, I was told the same thing that Mike Florio reported on ProFootballTalk.com: that owner Stephen Ross wanted the Dolphins to pick Tannehill. I was also told Miami’s offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, likes his former A&M quarterback but isn’t standing on the table for him…And this morning, I got a call from someone saying Florio was right on; Ross wants the quarterback. If Miami passes on him at eight, I expect him to go either to a trade-up team with Kansas City at 11 or to Seattle at 12.
Elsewhere, PK says the Jaguars are anxious to move back from the #7 pick, the Colts would like to get Coby Fleener in Round 2, and Minnesota must come up with a new stadium deal in the next two or three months if they're to keep the Vikings.