Monday, April 26, 2010

The Draft is Daft

By Tony Mangia

Does anyone ever get the NFL draft picks right? Like fortune tellers, weathermen and NCAA bracketers before them, every spring the football prognosticators rear their over-informed heads and make determined picks. Vertical leaps, arm strength, 40 speed and psychiatric evaluations make the difference in being considered a sure first round pick or being ditched at the prom, ala Brady Quinn. For example, the experts take on QBs Tim Tebow and Jimmy Clausen caused the most drama this year. Clausen would be a top ten pick and skeptics piled on
the Tebow beatdown. Guess who was holding his you-know-what on Friday while the ex-Gator was wearing a glass slipper in Denver? Draft foreseers, like TV weathermen, still get to keep their jobs even after calling for sunshine when its pouring rain.

Take Mel Kiper Jr. and his high-browed predictions--please take him and his Chicago Bears helmet haircut. Does anybody really pay attention to this guy? It seems like NFL teams don't. Sandra Bullock has more foresight than Kiper. The 2010 draft's first three--no...four--were gimmes. My grandmother could have picked them correctly and she still sees Don Meredith on Monday Night Football. In order: Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy and Trent Williams were the top picks on everyone's board but, after that, Kiper only had 13 of his top 25 players even picked in the first round. And who is this other guy, Todd McShay? Where the hell did he come from?! Just what we need, another draft pundit.

ESPN bought the draft to prime time this past week. They had a countdown clock in the left hand corner of the screen to remind us about Thursday night all week and even the next day for the second round. People actually care that much about the second round?! Maybe those crazed fans in the gallery at Radio City actually plan their Friday nights in between rounds of WWE Smackdown and Wii? The network apparently did get it's ratings. I dozed off by the twelfth pick. It was like watching a "Housewives of Wherever" marathon--loud, in your face--isn't everything on ESPN-- and with a gaudy sense of fashion. Gotta love some of the size 50 zoot suits suits the players wear. Living room shots of Clausen and McCoy--Colt, not Gerald--flapping in the breeze made for fun viewing. Still, I was laboring to even make it to the New York Giants 15th pick without nodding off. I heard they picked another defensive end. Did Osi retire again?

Back to the experts. The New York Daily News got 5 of the first 32 picks correct--INCLUDING the first four mulligans. The New York Post was 4 of 32 and the esteemed Peter King of Sports Illustrated was 4 for 28 after the first four. I did better in this year's NCAA's and that is not small feat considering that Kiper has a staff of 40 and lunch with football guru, Chris Berman .

After the weekend's spectacle, Kiper barely addressed his fricassee of mis-calculations and blabbed on about next year's early favorites in the draft. Who pays this guy? He is getting credit for making the draft an event. He should get the blame. ESPN did right with John Gruden's breakdown of the top four QB's and, next year, they should promote the ex-coach's opinions--if he's still around. Gruden's thoughts are more valid than the computer-crunching dork, Kiper and some of ESPN's other analysts. They're turning into a male version of "The View" and Chris Mortensen is slowly morphing into Joy Behar. Will the bickering never end?

Roger Goodell and the NFL claimed the show was a ratings bonanza and it quietly buried the Ben Roesthlisberger conundrum underneath all the glitz. It isn't the Super Bowl, but I bet its not too long before Disney (which owns ABC and ESPN) puts it on the regular network. David Stern, of the NBA, has already complained that the evening draft cut into its basketball playoff programming. Sorry David and 'Fringe' fans, coming soon to ABC prime time, "Must Flee TV."


The Angels took some of the wind out of the Yankee's sails by taking two of three from the pinstripes this weekend but sound full of hot air themselves. Dallas Braden (who?) threw a tantrum after A-rod stepped on his pitcher's mound. Funny, how A-rod always gets into these quarrels. Glad that Angel's coach, Mike Scoscia (an ex-catcher) called Mark Teixeira's bull-rush into catcher, Bobby Wilson, legit. Hey, if you don't want to get hit, don't block the plate.

Andy Petite pitches like he's found the same fountain of youth Mariano Rivera has been slurping out of. Granderson has cooled off, but I'm not reminiscing about Johnny Damon ...yet. Javier Vazquez has returned to 2004--not in a good way. Gardner is getting to base and leads the league in stolen bases. Nick Johnson is "banged up". So was Hideki Matsui but Godzilla would be, and is, hitting .300.

This pie-in-the-face routine around MLB has to stop. It was funny and spontaneous last year with the Yanks--even though it got tiresome--but now it has turned into The Cleveland Show--a retread of an original flash of genius.

Is it me, or does anyone else notice how loud women's softball is on television? Where does all that chatter come from? It sounds like the miked all the spectators and given the kids free Red Bulls.

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