Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Safety first? Not in the NFL Draft

The folks at College Football News generally do a nice job of breaking down the sport. They're not as good when it comes to trying to pose as NFL Draft experts. CFN put out a Top 250 prospects for the 2010 draft that asks you to believe Brandon Spikes is the number three prospect for next year. There's no chance that's accurate. If Spikes was that highly regarded, he would have been told he was a sure first rounder this year and gone pro. His grade was considerably lower. Spikes isn't CFN's only miss by a long shot either. The player who will begin the year billed as likely number one pick for next year is Sam Bradford, not USC safety Taylor Mays. Just another reminder that terrific college players are not necessarily hot commodities at the next level.

Las Vegas odds don't necessarily tell us how teams will do in the coming year - wouldn't have found a small number on the Rays to win the AL last year, for example. They do give a pretty good indication of what expectations should be before the year begins. The Venetian sports book has posted their NFL win totals for the coming year, and it appears they don't think too highly of Tampa Bay (6.5 wins) while the Dolphins and Jaguars are expected to be unremarkable eight win teams. New England's twelve wins is the largest total for anyone while St. Louis and Detroit trail the field with five. Sadly, I'd recommend taking the under on Tampa Bay.

Barry Bonds says he's not retired, and he recently met with the Dalai Lama. He's lying about one of those things, and it's not the one you think. Whether Bonds is willing to admit it or not, he's a retiree now thanks to being unable to credibly play the field, the fact he's clubhouse cancer and that whole federal indictment thing. Big hitter, the Lama. I'm pretty sure that's about all they have in common.

Special teams wizard Frank Gansz died yesterday. He will be remembered mostly as the Kansas City Chiefs head coach for a brief stint in the late Eighties, but I covered him in Jacksonville. He was quite a character. Gansz showed up to coach the Jaguars special teams and brought an enormous PA system so all the players could hear him at practice. Not all Jaguar players, ALL players on the planet. The speakers were that loud. I can still repeat some of his phrases nine years later - "Are you in your lane? Are you prepared to attack the ball?". RIP to one of the best at what he did.

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