NFL draft: Analyzing the overanalyzed

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:14 PM ET

A week ago Peter King had this throwaway line in his Monday Morning Quarterback column on S.I.com: "By the time we get done looking at these guys, none of 'em can play."

According to King it came as he called around the league, this particular line coming from a longtime pro personnel director.

It's a funny line, but one that may just have a little too much truth in it.

The problem this year is there's really nothing else for organizations to be working on.

The players are locked out so any contact with them is strictly forbidden. They can't work out at team facilities. They can't use team strength or conditioning coaches.

All of which leaves teams with a lot of idle hands. By most accounts those idle hands have been put to work on helping out with the draft.

So now not only do you have scouts and personnel guys sitting in on meetings and watching tape, you have guys who would normally be doing their own thing helping out on the draft as well.

"I've visited with several former colleagues that said these draft meetings are more thorough than ever before," Jon Gruden, an ESPN analyst and former NFL coach, said during a conference call this week. "Every coach, every scout, every member of the organization is sitting in on these meetings to study and learn about every player available because there are no players in the building for the off-season program."

On the surface that would seem like a good thing.

Until you go back to that original line from King.

Basically look long enough at anybody and you can find enough faults that you talk yourself right out of any interest you may have had.

When you're talking about a bunch of 20-something young men who have not begun to scratch the potential that lies within, that many eyes and attention on just about any player is bound to unveil all kinds of unflattering traits.

They're calling this draft class the most thoroughly scouted class in the history of the NFL.

Just don't expect that to mean more drafting success.

Players are still going to go higher than they should while others will drop and provide later-drafting teams a real boost.

You've heard the one about too many cooks spoil the broth. Well, the NFL could be looking at a similar analogy heading into this draft.

More than ever it's going to be up to a strong general manager to sort out what's relevant and what isn't to come up with the best possible fit for his team.

JACKSON, YOUNG GET PUNTED

ESPN has decided less is more and have cut down on the number of in-studio voices who will bring you the NFL draft.

A year ago it was a five-man job with Chris Berman, Mel Kiper Jr., Jon Gruden, Tom Jackson and Steve Young all talking over one another to get their point across.

This year it's down to three with Jackson and Young getting the unceremonial boot.

Also gone from a year ago as part of the telecast is Keyshawn Johnson.

Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will chime in periodically from another set.

In Canada, the draft is available on TSN2 beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. The same channel will cover Rounds 2 and 3 the following night, starting at 6 p.m.

A good warm-up for the draft, if you can find it, will air Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN when the network brings you Bill Parcells Draft Confidential. If the hype is to be believed, Parcells will tell us all exactly what he looked for at draft time during his extensive and successful NFL career.

THE DEZ BRYANT INTERVENTION

Plenty of teams aren't letting the lack of formal workouts hold them back.

Colt McCoy has the Browns getting together. Ryan Fitzpatrick has a host of the Bills getting after it in Arizona.

But we've got to hand it to the Dallas Cowboys for going the extra mile.

Knowing, or perhaps having heard that idle hands are the devil's workshop, a handful of the Cowboys got together to dole out a little preventative medicine.

Dez Bryant, the Cowboys wideout whose off-field concerns saw him slip to No. 24 in the NFL draft where Dallas traded up to get him, was a recent guest of centre Andre Gurode, quarterback Tony Romo and linebacker Keith Brooking, a trio of Cowboys vets who wanted to make sure Bryant understood the importance of staying on the straight and narrow while the league and its players work out how to divvy up $9 billion.

According to Bryant's Twitter account he "had a good time" at the meeting.

But if he didn't get the message, it will have been one wasted lunch date.

A STABBING ... NO SHOCKER HERE

Apparently the fact that Brandon Marshall was stabbed in the stomach by his wife wasn't all that surprising to at least a couple of his Dolphins teammates.

To label Marshall mercurial isn't a stretch but when his own teammates barely lift an eyebrow upon hearing he's on an operating table with a knife wound in his belly, says a lot more than any description of the guy could.

This was one Dolphin's response to Marshall's wild weekend via the Miami Herald.

"And this is supposed to surprise me how?" a Dolphins player texted Saturday morning when told of what happened to the Miami wide receiver.


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