Separating draft bafflegab from gospel
By BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency
|Baylor QB Robert Griffin III has been the subject of a lot of pre-NFL draft bafflegab. (Baylor University photo)
The National Football League draft plays out next week and, so far, the only sure thing is that Indianapolis will take Andrew Luck.
After that, it's pot luck. Between then and now it will be difficult to separate the bafflegab from gospel.
One day, Matt Kalil is the best offensive lineman prospect. The next someone is prevaricating all over Robert Griffin III. One day Ryan Tannehill is the second coming of Matt Flynn or Aaron Rodgers; in the next breath some scout (perhaps hoping a team will pass on him so they can select him lower in the first round) is dicing and slicing his game like Julia Child on a cutting board.
The only consensus between now and Thursday is that there is no consensus and it is best never to believe what is being whispered. Like this week, when a mini dust devil enveloped Griffin, after a story suggested he could be more flash than substance and that he spends as much time reading his clippings as he does defences. An unnamed scout is quoted as saying Griffin had "a little bit of a selfish streak."
Consider the source.
The ubiquitous unnamed source always has a lot to say this time of year. Just as often, the source can have ulterior motives.
Broncos linebacker Von Miller, who sacked Griffin and forced a fumble in a 2010 Texas A&M victory over Baylor, said this week that Griffin doesn't always stand up to pressure. "He can run and throw, but I wouldn't put him in that same class as (Michael) Vick, Cam (Newton) or (Josh) Freeman." Of course, Miller admitted, he could be a bit biased, joking: "You know I can't say anything nice about somebody from Baylor."
Fair comment. But if the source is unnamed, who can judge the validity of any statement? In Griffin's case it isn't going to make the Redskins decide not to pick him.
But if a general manager hears enough incendiary remarks about a potential draft pick it could give him pause.
"When the draft gets closer, everybody's going to try and find something wrong with you to try and pull you down, so I'm not going to sit here and argue ... that guy is dead wrong," Griffin told CBS Sports. "But I think the people that know me -- and even people in the media -- know I'm not a selfish guy."
Then there is Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill. Dolphins' GM Jeff Ireland was talking him up; the Browns were said to like him a lot. But to suggest Tannehill would be an upgrade over Colt McCoy next season is speculative at best and probably delusional.
They need people to catch and run with the football.
Kalil is an interesting player and could go as high as third in Thursday's draft. His brother, Ryan, has made the last three Pro Bowls playing with Carolina. Matt, according to Don Gregory, the Panthers' director of college scouting, is better.
"He's bigger, faster, stronger than his brother," Gregory told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He will be a 10-year pro and protect your (expletive) out at left tackle."
Now, if only Griffin can find someone between now and draft day, to protect his expletive.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expressed optimism Friday after meeting with Minnesota politicians, saying he believes the state legislature will soon pass a bill to finance the construction of a new stadium for the Vikings.
Goodell said the league's insistence that the state ante up isn't a threat that they might move the franchise to Los Angeles. "There were no implied threats or any threats at all," Goodell said.
In the meantime, a spokesman for Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa confirmed Goodell met with city officials this week. And, Vikings' owner Zygi Wilf's plane was spotted at a Southern California airport. But, it was probably just a coincidence. Right?
This year there are 42 restricted free agents in the NFL. They includes blue collar left guard Doug Legursky to linebacker DeAndre Levy to superstars in the making such as Mike Wallace.
Not one was given an offer sheet with the deadline at midnight Friday. So, if it looks like collusion, sounds like collusion and feels like collusion, is it collusion? It is a question the NFLPA might just want to ask.
The Jets got together for off-season workouts this week, and Mark Sanchez says he's got some catching up to do with Tim Tebow. At least, in the weight room.
"He's been as advertised, as good of a guy, if not better, than anybody said," Sanchez said. "So, he's been a great addition so far."
Sanchez said he wants to bulk up to withstand the rigours of the season and believes Tebow's presence will help. "From a competitor standpoint, he's great," Sanchez said. "He's what you want in an off-season program -- working hard, competing with the guy in the weight room. This is a big, strong guy, so it's good for me. That's been one of my goals this off-season -- putting on a little more muscle mass. I've taken a beating."