Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Brooks: Sly Williams could turn Broncos defense “from good to great quickly”

AFC West draft grades: Gap closing on division champ Broncos
www.nfl.com

The Broncos add a blue-collar worker to the lineup with the selection of Williams. The former Tar Heel comes from comes a humble background (Williams worked at a factory for a while after high school before walking on at Coffeyville Community College), but developed into one of the most dominant defenders in college football by outworking the competition. Based on his previous drive and determination, Williams could become an unstoppable force in the middle for the Broncos. If so, Denver’s defense could go from good to great quickly in 2013.

Brooks is also a fan of the Montee Ball and Quanterus Smith picks, for what that's worth.

One scout’s assessment of Lerentee McCray and Lucas Reed

Ranking the AFC West UFAs
espn.go.com

McCray doesn’t show great top-end speed on tape and his lengthy injury history raises a red flag. His durability is the bigger issue because he has the skill set to contribute as a role player if he can stay healthy. He is an effective hand fighter whether he’s rushing the passer or defending the run, and he has an above-average motor.

Reed, the younger brother of Houston OLB Brooks Reed, isn’t a physical player. He needs to develop an edge as a run-blocker and improve his ability to make plays in traffic over the middle. On the other hand, he’s fast enough to work the seam and has a big catching radius. He has 10.5-inch hands, 35.5-inch arms and a 37-inch vertical.

Sounds like a pair of developmental guys, but given the reported bidding war for McCray, it may be tough to sneak him through to the practice squad. Of course, there are four months between now and that decision, and a lot can happen in the interim.

A brilliant article about Jason Collins and gay athletes

The Decision
www.grantland.com

Backlash politics do not disappear by themselves, not as long as there remains an audience for them. They hide. They camouflage themselves. And the audience doesn’t disperse. It takes refuge in euphemism and deceit. Backlash politics must be crushed, and the audience must be rendered politically inert. Self-congratulation is the worst possible context in which this can happen. Watch how quickly “Jason Collins” becomes a conjuring spell on the political right. Watch them invent a “Jason Collins” that they can use to their own purposes. Watch it happen. It will look like magic.

Charlie Pierce is one of the most outstanding social commentators of this era, and it's a credit to Grantland that they feature his writing.  His overarching point here is that we, as a society, shouldn't be as self-congratulatory as many of us would like to be, just because Jason Collins's announcement has been met with mostly positive public reactions.  For most of the non-bigots among us, it's easy to have respect and understanding for Collins, and we assume that everybody else is just like us.

Pierce believes that the announcement is being received less well in quieter quarters, and he's almost certainly correct that a backlash will follow.  Society still has a ways to go, even if many of us have evolved.

NBA free agent Jason Collins is first openly gay athlete in a major American team sport

Why NBA center Jason Collins is coming out now
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

No one wants to live in fear. I’ve always been scared of saying the wrong thing. I don’t sleep well. I never have. But each time I tell another person, I feel stronger and sleep a little more soundly. It takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret. I’ve endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time. I still had the same sense of humor, I still had the same mannerisms and my friends still had my back…

...Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start. It all comes down to education. I’ll sit down with any player who’s uneasy about my coming out. Being gay is not a choice. This is the tough road and at times the lonely road…

...The most you can do is stand up for what you believe in. I’m much happier since coming out to my friends and family. Being genuine and honest makes me happy.

It is our hope that the positive reception given Collins's news continues, and is extended to the fellow openly gay athletes who are to follow.

Jason Cole also counts the Broncos’ cook as a source, apparently

Jets' release of Tim Tebow could be blessing in disguise if QB is willing to take stock
sports.yahoo.com

Coaches and players who were with him in Denver say that Tebow would get to the line and immediately lose track of the play call from the huddle in the jumble of what he was told and what he saw across the line.

John Fox famously claimed two years ago that Mike Silver must have been speaking to the cook when he said Tebow was the Broncos' fourth best quarterback, behind Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn, and Adam Weber.

As always...Thank You, John Elway.

A reminder that the Denver Post guys are clowns

Friday NFL draft picks for Denver Broncos may produce gems
www.denverpost.com

This could be different.

There is a decent chance the Broncos will select starters in the second and third rounds in the NFL draft Friday, while they got a backup defensive tackle in the first round Thursday.

In the second and third rounds, expect the Broncos to seek two players that play cornerback, running back or strong safety.

These fools are continuing to beat their drum about cornerback, running back, and strong safety.  I guess that's to be expected, although I think they're all wet.  When did Sylvester Williams necessarily become a backup DT, though?  Did training camp and the preseason already happen, and I missed it?  Aren't these the same bozos who've been yelling for a DT for years now?  

Also, is it better to draft D.J. Hayden twelfth overall, and also get the 42nd pick of the draft, or is it better to draft D.J. Hayden third overall, and forgo the second-rounder out of some stubborn groupthink idea of what constitutes acceptable value for the third pick?  And really, does it take three DP writers to write that one stupid article?

Day 1 of the NFL Draft left Mr. Bartlett with nothing but questions, because he made the mistake of reading the Denver Post.

Me and this guy against the world

Mohrmann: The Broncos left something on the table
milehighsports.com

With a hole at middle linebacker, it seemed that they had their choice between Alec Ogletree and Manti Te’o. The Broncos passed and instead opted to bolster their defensive line with Sylvester Williams.  And for the life of me I can’t figure out why…

...For all we know, Williams could go on to have a hall of fame career and help lead the Broncos to multiple Super Bowls. But for me, Alec Ogletree would have instantly changed the tone set by the defense. There is already a pass rushing threat when it comes to Von Miller, but Ogletree plays with the fierceness and speed that will have an impact on every down. Ogletree possesses the tools that made him a standout in the SEC, the next closest thing to NFL.

If you've read through the latest edition of Chewing the Fat, you'll know I wanted the Broncos to choose Alec Ogletree at #28. 

Apparently, there were two voices in the wilderness.

Over the next few days, weeks, and months, you're going to hear a lot about Sylvester Williams being a great pick.  Perhaps he will be.  With the draft being a bit more lottery and a lot less skill, anything can happen.

But a year from now, don't come crying to ol' uncle TJ when Ogletree wins Defensive Rookie of the Year.  

Someone has to be a contrarian around here.

Cowboys first-rounder: I didn’t think I was a first-rounder

Cowboys’ Jones boys deflate their own football people with draft ‘philosophy’
sports.yahoo.com

And Frederick, for his part, told a Dallas radio station that even he didn’t believe he’d be taken when he was.

“I thought I was a second-round offensive lineman,” he told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. “I thought somewhere in the second round would be more of a fit for me. I truly didn’t expect this.”

Sometimes, you can’t make this stuff up.

At least Travis Frederick is a humble young man?

IAOFM Classics: A reminder about Draft groupthink

You Got Served: Draft groupthink
www.itsalloverfatman.com

Understand this – every team wants to say they took the BPA on every pick.  The media environment is such that instant analysis MUST happen after a draft, despite the fact that it’s completely worthless.  Look at a team like Pittsburgh, which took G David DeCastro and T Mike Adams in the first two rounds.  The media says that both picks represented good “value” because each player was mocked by various media members to go higher in the draft.  They say that Pittsburgh went the BPA route, only because no consensus had formed that the Steelers would go for offensive linemen.

For our newer readers, and for those who forgot, I thought I'd wheel out this reminder from last year about groupthink, and why the smartest people won't make any absolutist pronouncements about what happens this weekend.  Don't play yourself talking about the draft like a lot of these media fools play themselves, you heard?

Quinton Carter is breathing a sigh of relief right now

Broncos' Quinton Carter has felony gambling charges dropped in Nevada
www.denverpost.com

Quinton Carter, a Denver Broncos safety, had felony gambling charges against him dropped by prosecutors on Monday.

Carter, 24, was charged March 9 with three felony counts of a fraudulent act against a gaming casino in North Las Vegas.

Carter was accused of placing $5 chips on a craps table at the Texas Station casino after the dice was rolled. Security officers said he was videotaped adding three bets to the table too late, according to the police report.

What happens in Vegas apparently really does stay in Vegas.