I made an analogy on my radio show this morning on 1560 The Game that the NFL Draft tonight is like Christmas Day for many NFL fans. Air of anticipation, excitement of the unknown, food, it's all there. (My co-host, John Granato, compared it to Hanukkah because it's played out over several days, but his analogy lost some steam when he thought there were literally only 3 days in Hanukkah.)
The Christmas metaphor spawned several "analogy" tweets from listeners, most of them about Kareem Jackson and most of them along these lines (courtesy of @fdknight on Twitter):
"Drafting kareem jackson is like asking for Nintendo and getting Colecovision. Both are video games, but the one u got sucks."
Perhaps this is proof that, above all else, maybe the biggest gift on draft night isn't necessarily a specific player, but the draft itself. Good players make your team better for years, bad players become comedic fodder for decades.
So with all of that established, come on downstairs kids! Santa Goodell is going to start handing out gifts at 7 p.m.! The 2012 NFL Draft live blog will begin around 6 p.m.
6:58 -- ...and by "around" 6 p.m., I meant 6:58. That's around 6 p.m. They both begin with 6. Anyway, let's set the scene, shall we? You are looking live at the coffee table in my chalet and a 45 inch, wall mounted Sharp flat screen, and as I hit the POWER button on my television to get things rolling, Chris Berman is literally screaming "Are you ready for the Draft?!? I'M READY FOR THE DRAFT?!?!" Um, I'm not ready for Chris Berman. They chase that with some hip hop song with draft specific lyrics. The "content generating" part of me says I've landed on a gold mine. The sane human being part of me hates the "content generating" part. Onward...
7:02 -- The reason I took my time getting home to live blog and watch the draft is because there is zero drama at the top of this thing. The Colts are picking Andrew Luck first, the Redskins are picking Robert Griffin III second, and after trading a fourth, fifth, and seventh round pick about a half hour ago to move up one spot, Cleveland is taking Trent Richardson third. The suspense is palpable insomuch as I have no idea what I'm going to eat for dinner.
7:04 -- We go to the green room and see that Andrew Luck is on a cell phone that might have prepaid minutes and say "DISPOSABLE" on the back. Remember Andrew Luck's neck beard that he grew this season? Well, that phone is the neck beard of cell phones.
7:06 -- The commissioner strides to the podium and here's the first pick -- it's Andrew Luck! NO WAY! So far I'm 1 for 1 on my mock draft, tied with the rest of mankind for first place in mock draft contests around the world.
7:07 -- Andrew Luck has a jolly look and a smile that says to me he would make an excellent "friend who is always happy drunk at frat parties" in college.
7:08 -- Suzy Kolber on post selection interview duties tonight (Sideline Hottie Rating [SHR] a solid 7.8 tonight), and Kolber asks him about going to Indianapolis to take over quarterback duties. Right here is where Luck would cement his status as my favorite player of all time if he told Kolber he could care less about the team struggggaling, and then told her he wants to kiss her.
7:13 -- The second pick is up now and the Redskins select Robert Griffin III, who looks dashing in a sky blue suit coat that looks like Vince McMahon's old play by play sport coat on WWF Superstars of Wrestling. Kiper and Gruden are gushing over RG3 as much as they did Luck. The funny thing is that history tells us that when two quarterbacks are picked with the top two picks, one does well and one fails miserably (Bledsoe/Mirer, Manning/Leaf, Couch/McNabb). We shall see.
7:18 -- By the way, Suzy Kolber looks good but not good enough to distract from the fact that she's asking some of the dumbest questions I've ever heard -- "Robert, three generations, what does it mean to have Griffin III on a Redskins jersey?" Erin Andrews, Samantha Steele, they can get away with questions like that. Kolber needs to work harder at formulating questions or get her SHR number above 8.5.
7:21 -- Trent Richardson is the third pick. As I mentioned, Cleveland gave up three picks to move up one slot to get Richardson. Richardson is the first player drafted this season with children born out of wedlock (an NFL staple), with two daughters ages 3 and 5. We'll keep an eye on these stats as the night rolls on.
7:23 -- Richardson has some nice glasses. I'm guessing his glasses allow him to see 20/20. Without glasses, I'm guessing he sees 20/15.
7:27 -- The Vikings pick USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil and I knew this because some jackass retweeted Adam Schefter who had spoiled this five minutes ago by tweeting this pick out. The NFL has gone to pain staking measures this year for there to be no spoilers during the draft, to actually have some level of suspense when Roger Goodell steps up to the microphone. But you knew that someone would have to "be first" and not play along, and Adam Schefter had to be the show off. Fuck you, Schefter. And UNFOLLOW to anyone who retweets him! UNFOLLOW, I SAY!!
7:32 -- Jesus, another trade. Jacksonville moving up two spots and giving up a fourth rounder to cockblock the Rams on Justin Blackmon. So Blackmon goes from an offense in college that was architected by Dana Holgorsen to an offense in Jacksonville that looks like it was constructed by Dana Carvey. Also, someone alert the burn ward over at Memorial Hermann -- Kareem Jackson will need his usual room the night of the Jacksonville game.
7:36 -- So if you're keeping track, the two most exciting non-QB skill players in the draft are going to Cleveland and Jacksonville. If this draft were a soap opera, this is the equivalent of writing their characters off in some sort of open ended death plot. We can only hope that Richardson and Blackmon come back in five years with amnesia and sign with the two teams that matter.
7:39 -- Um, teams know they don't have to trade up, right? Dallas just moved up to the sixth pick because that's what the cool kids are doing, and they take LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. So if you had "Claiborne Wonderlic Score +2.5 over Claiborne Draft Slot," cash that ticket!
7:45 -- Tampa Bay takes Alabama safety Mark Barron, prompting Gruden to say "This isn't Mark Barron, this is the RED BARON. He flies around!" which smacks of a line that (a) was made up by his wife and she is forcing him to say it or sex will be withheld or (b) a drunk fan dared him to say in a bar somewhere on the upper East side last night.
7:47 -- We are at pick number eight, and of the seven picks so far, the only one that was used by its original owner is the Colts at number one. The Dolphins are on the board now, and I think I speak for every heterosexual male when I beg the Dolphins to pass on Ryan Tannehill, because the longer Taneyhill is in the green room, the more we get to see his girlfriend, who if she were a sideline reporter would have a SHR score that would recalibrate the scale.
7:50 -- Tannehill to the Dolphins. Dammit. Back to internet porn.
7:52 -- Kiper is listing all of Tannehill's game management and decision making negatives (and they were plentiful) and then he talks about how Tannehill working with his college coach Mike Sherman, on whose watch he displayed and developed all of his shitty game management and decision making skills, will be a HUGE positive. Um, makes perfect sense.
7:54 -- Seriously, remember when the Dolphins passed on Brady Quinn in 2007 at the ninth pick and for the next three hours we got shots of him being consoled by his girlfriend as he plummeted to the 22nd pick? This is what we just lost out on with Tannehill, people. I don't think we realize the severity of this development.
7:56 -- Carolina Panthers use the ninth pick on Luke Kuechly prompting celebratory bar fights up and down Commonwealth Avenue. PANTHAHS!!!!
7:59 -- As Stephon Gilmore, cornerback from South Carolina, gets drafted by Buffalo, I'm checking my Twitter timeline and most of the tweets are either correcting me that Tannehill's girlfriend is actually now his wife, and that Matt Kalil's mom is hotter than the newly wed Mrs. Tannehill. I'm now counting down the seconds to the next commercial break so I can do some Kalil MILF recon.
8:04 -- The Chiefs just selected Dontari Poe, defensive tackle from Memphis with the 11th pick. I watched a lot of Memphis football this season, mostly because they were an automatic "bet against" team. (No joke, they were a precious gift to gamblers, especially the first two months of the season. They were an historically shitty team, and rarely covered the spread.) I don't remember seeing Poe make one play. So he underachieved against C-USA competition. I'm sure that $10 million guaranteed will light a fire under him.
8:09 -- Just rewound the DVR and found Matt Kalil's mom. To quote the teacher in Forrest Gump, "Is there a Mr. Kalil, Mrs. Kalil?"
8:14 -- Our first excellent porn name is off the board, Philly moving up to number 12 to take defensive lineman Fletcher Cox. Right now, I have these guys listed as best porn names available on my porn name big board:
1. Riley Reiff 2. Dont'a Hightower 3. Brian Quick
8:19 -- Arizona picks Michael Floyd and we knew this because ESPN, instead of just flat out spoiling it for us, had Adam Schefter say that the Cardinals told Larry Fitzgerald that they'd be drafting Floyd, and "let's see if they're telling him the truth." As if they're lying to their best player. Serious question, is the quest to "be first" helping or hurting these insiders? I watch sports like I watch episodic television; to me, this is like tweeting out spoilers of shows in the middle of the show. Ok, rant over.
8:27 -- The Rams just took Michael Brockers, defensive lineman from LSU. I knew this before it happened because Peter King has jumped into the "got to show off that I have sources" fray, and I follow him on Twitter. Sigh.
8:29 -- Brockers has a James Harden style beard. Somewhere Ron Artest is making reservations to fly to St. Louis so he can kick his ass.
8:31 -- Wow, the Seahawks just used the 15th pick on Bruce Irvin from West Virginia and didn't even need thirty seconds to think about it. He was a guy that some teams had in the first round and some didn't even have in the first two rounds. Adam Schefter tells us that Irvin was a high school dropout who spent time in jail before going to junior college. Fortunately, the application to get into West Virginia consists of one page with the word "PULSE" and a box to check "YES" or "NO." So he got in, and presumably graduated with honors.
8:32 -- Oh yeah, Irvin was also arrested on March 18 for knocking a neon sign off of the front of a deli or some dumb shit. Somewhere, the Bengals' general manager is having to explain to his owner how Irvin got swiped out from under their noses.
8:39 -- Jet fan time! And with the 16th pick, the Jets select North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, whose scouting report includes the phrase "disappears for long stretches." That should go well.
8:46 -- Still stinging from Irvin being snatched from their clutches, the Cincinnati Bengals go for the best troublemaker available and take Dre Kirkpatrick from Alabama. In case you're wondering, Kirkpatrick had allegations of weed smoking swirling around him like a cloud of bong smoke. The fact that the Bengals drafted him with a pick that originally belonged to the Raiders is an homage wrapped in a metaphor for something.
8:57 -- Ok, with Melvin Ingram coming off the board at 18 for San Diego, and Shea McClellin now going to Chicago at 19, we are six picks away from the Texans. Here is what my chicken scratch list (I'm not organized nor a big enough dork to have a true "Big Board") of guys left for them to consider looks like: Chandler Jones, Stephen Hill, Kendall Wright, Cordy Glenn, David DeCastro, Coby Fleener, Nick Perry, Whitney Mercilus.
9:03 -- Adam Schefter just told us that the Patriots will move up to number 21 to take Jones, so go ahead and cross him off the list. Also, ESPN has clearly given up on the "no spoilers" thing, given that Schefter just told us who the Patriots will be taking TWO picks from now. "No spoilers" lasted twenty or so picks, kind of like a New Year's resolution to work out every day that lasts till like January 20. Same thing.
9:05 -- Also, Twitter is saying that Kendall Wright is going to the Titans, so not only do the Texans miss out on selecting him, but now have to watch Kareem Jackson try and cover him twice per season. Blackmon and Wright setting up shop in the AFC South. Kareem has to feel like Sam Bowden (Nolte) in Cape Fear when Max Cady (De Niro) decides to settle down in Essex County after he gets out of prison.
9:12 -- Chandler Jones....long arms...upside...blahbadeeblah....
9:13 -- Brandon Weeden gets picked by the Browns with the 22nd pick, which immediately squashes two schools of thought that I surmised have been bullshit all along -- first, that Weeden's age (he turns 29 soon) was an issue. If you get six or seven good years out of him, this pick is worth it. And second, that Colt McCoy was still the man in Cleveland. Another Longhorn washout.
9:15 -- By the way, ESPN reported today that the Browns really like Colt McCoy and expect him to make a "big leap." They apparently had their fingers crossed when they said this, and under their collective breath whispered "...off a bridge" after "leap."
9:20 -- Offensive line run beginning? Riley Reiff off the board to Detroit, David DeCastro to PIttsburgh. We're two picks away from the Texans!
9:22 -- Patriots move up in the first round AGAIN (bizarro draft), and take Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Ok, Texans, Stephen Hill or Cordy Glenn?
9:29 -- And the Texans pick is in....and it's Whitney Mercilus, who easily has the most WWE friendly name in the draft, which reminds me that I spent 20 minutes on my radio show this morning espousing the virtues of the NFL adopting WWE style ring entrances to unveil the draft picks in the green room. It would work, trust me. But back to Mercilus. When we made predictions on the air this week, I had the right position, but wrong guy (I had Nick Perry as the pick.) Clearly, Wade Phillips still has the most stroke in the Texans war room, and they have no intention of letting down defensively in Year 2 of the Phillips Era. Wide receiver will have to wait until Friday.
Ok, I'm done. Before I go, some quick winners and losers:
WINNERS: Andrew Luck, the Minnesota Vikings, Bruce Irvin, and Mr. Kalil.
LOSERS: The Raiders, the Saints, Chris Berman's sport coat, all of us when Tannehill got drafted
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Good night, everybody! Thanks for coming.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.