Category Archives: NFL
You might be wondering why I’m writing about Brodie Croyle. After all, he’s just a broken down third string quarterback these days – he also doesn’t have a job.
He’s 29 years old, so it’s not like it’s a real retirement, more a case of he can’t find a job in the NFL and this is a classy way to sign off, particularly for those Kansas City Chiefs fans that once saw Brodie as the great lanky hope to save the franchise.
The really interesting thing about Croyle (for me) is that he was the first real football player that I ever really watched from college to pro. I was on a trip to New York, staying in the plush Soho Grand, on a writing assignment to cover a Hewlett Packard conference, and by the time I got back to the hotel each night there was this strange television show called Hard Knocks, which was covering training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Not being much of an NFL fan at the time, I was intrigued by the camp battle between the freshly drafted Croyle and journeyman quarterback Damon Huard as they duked it out for the starting job. By the second night I was completely hooked, and firmly in the camp of Croyle, particularly when the narrator of the show kept pointing out how good his arm looked, and how he could end up as one of the league’s top gunslingers.
There is almost nobody in the league without an opinion on Vince Young. His detractors will tell you that he isn’t an accurate enough passer, and that running quarterbacks have no business in the league – then they’ll start talking about his mindset. Lots of those are out in force now that the Buffalo Bills have signed him.
His supporters will tell you that Young ‘just wins games’ in reference to his ability to come up with a victory despite the team being outgunned and outclassed. More than a few of these are coming out of the woodwork now that he’s a Bill.
Number 10 is more polarising than Tim Tebow in a lot of ways, because there’s a lot of people that are still undecided on Tebow, but most people have their minds made up about Young.
He took the route to the NFL that everyone advises you don’t take – coming out of college too early because your stock is high after a bowl game. It was at the end of a stellar season as the signal caller of the University of Texas that Young took his team to the 2006 Rose Bowl. That year the Rose Bowl was the BCS National Championship (before they changed the system to make the title game a separate thing), and Texas was playing the defending champion University of Southern California (USC).
Those were the heady days of USC under Pete Carroll, where he had all-world talents like running back Reggie Bush and quarterback Matt Leinart, while Texas had Young and running back Jamaal Charles.
The hype leading into that game was unbelievable, and USC were the favourites by a longshot – they were the defending champions and they had Bush. Texas were considered an underdog, but would take the fight to USC, and the game was one of the most talked about matchups in NCAA history.
The first round of the 2012 NFL draft is in the books, which means it is time to start handing outreport cards for every team.
Thanks to the introduction of a new collective bargaining agreement (which means small market teams get an even slice of the television revenue with their bigger competition) there is now a new rookie pay-scale in place, and it saw more blockbuster trades in round one than ever before.
While it’s not a complete slotting system, there is now a limited ‘pool’ of money available to rookies, and this limits how much high draft picks can earn. There is still some negotiation between teams and agents, but the NFL franchises only have a limited amount they can hand over to draftees. This means that quarterback Sam Bradford’s $78 million contract when he was the first overall pick in 2010 is a thing of the past.
It also means that teams looking to trade up are now able to do so without the fear of a massive contract (though first round picks will still be multi-millionaires). This made for a draft ripe for trades, and the first round more than lived up to expectation. Here is a look at the picks for all 32 teams with a rating out of 10 for how much the trade or pick helps the team.
#1 Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford.
No-brainer pick here. Cornerstone to rebuild the franchise around. The loss of future hall-of-famer Peyton Manning may actually turn out to be a good thing. He was keeping this team together with scotch tape and willpower.
#2 Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Baylor.
(Trade from the St. Louis Rams)
The Redskins gave the Rams a first round in 2013, 2014, a second round this year (No. 39), and their first round pick (No. 6) in this year’s draft in order to move up to number two.
It’s a king’s ransom, but they are convinced that Griffin is a franchise guy. If he works out, they got themselves a bargain, if he doesn’t then they are wrecked for the next couple of years.
#3 Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson, running back, Alabama.
(Trade from the Minnesota Vikings)
Browns gave away a fourth-round (No. 118), fifth round (No. 139) and a seven round pick (No. 211), along with third overall pick in order to jump up one spot.
This was purely a defensive move to prevent Tampa Bay from coming up and sniping Richardson. Jets were also rumoured to be interested in grabbing him.
Cleveland is sold on Richardson, and he looks better coming out than fellow Alabama product Mark Ingram did a year ago, so he could be a pretty special player.
Expensive but guaranteed the Browns got their guy.
#4 – Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil, offensive lineman, University of Southern California.
(Trade from the Cleveland Browns)
The Vikings pick up a bounty of picks to move back one and still draft the player they wanted.
Kalil is a beast, and will anchor that offensive line for years to come.
Stellar move for the purple and gold.
#5 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Blackmon, wide receiver, Oklahoma State.
(Trade from Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Surprising move from the Buccs here, as it was widely reported they would go for Claiborne in the absence of Richardson and he is still on the board.
The Jags shipped them their first-round pick (No. 7) and fourth-rounder (No. 101) in order to leap from seven up to five.
Love this move for Jacksonville, they were on the bubble and likely to miss out on a blue chip top-six prospect. Blackmon ticks all the boxes as a receiver, with the only concern being ball security when he’s making his trademark yards after the catch.
#6 – Cowboys – Morris Claiborne, cornerback, LSU.
(From Redskins through St. Louis Rams)
What a shocker this was.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sent the Rams (after they had already traded down from the second overall spot) the number 14 pick, and Dallas’ second rounder (No. 45) in order to move up a staggering eight spots.
Huge move for America’s Team, and they scoop up the highly-touted ball-hawking corner from LSU. Throwing in a second-rounder is a seriously cheap price to pay in order to take one of the draft’s top talents.
Last year it was Atlanta, with the Falcons trading a king’s ransom to move up to number six in order to draft wide receiver Julio Jones. Cleveland jumped at the offer, which saw them receive Atlanta’s first, second, and fourth round picks in 2011, along with the Falcon’s first and fourth rounders this year.
A common wildcard used to be the late Al Davis, who would ignore conventional wisdom and go after a player he wanted no matter what. Some of his picks were lampooned, such as when he took kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the first round back in 2000. At the time the jokes were endless, but these days ‘Seabass’ is considered to be one of the strongest kickers (if not the strongest) in the league.
Janikowski is currently tied for the record of the longest field goal in NFL history with 63 yards (thought it was kicked at Denver’s mile-high stadium, where the air pressure at such a high elevation gives kickers an edge). He consistently pins opponents at their 20 with touchbacks off kickoffs, and is a threat to score from 50+ yards out with his booming leg.
Looking at this year’s draft pick-by-pick, it seems primed for lots of wild trade action, though none will be as explosive as the Washington Redskins’ franchise-changing (or wrecking) trade to move up to the second spot.
The Redskins’ top brass traded away first round picks in 2012, 2013, and 2014, as well as a second round pick this year to the St. Louis Rams in order to move from number six to number two. That stunning move is unlikely to be outshined, but there will no doubt be some shockers in the upcoming draft on Thursday (there always is).
After the top two quarterbacks, there are four other talents that make up the ‘big six’ elites. USC lineman Matt Kalil, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, and Alabama running back Trent Richardson. After the big six are gone, the draft falls off a cliff in terms of value, which makes the potential for explosion in the top fifth of the draft quite high.
Here’s the full look at where the draft could become a little wild, and give the slot a score on how likely it is to move: