NFL 2008-2009 Off-Season Pre-Draft Catch-All

Emmitt Smith out at ESPN, so no more hearing him lament about bitches owing him sex.

Andre Smith, who is (was?) primed to be a top-10 pick, left the Combine early unbeknownst to Combine officials. He showed up out of shape, didn't run or lift, and took off early without anyone knowing. (His agent tried to pull a brilliant, "oops! It was my fault! I was supposed to tell and I forgot! Don't blame my bell cow client!" maneuver)

This just adds to an already iffy image, following a Sugar Bowl in which Smith did not participate due to violating a team rule (and his team was upset by Utah, due in no small part to the 8 sacks the team yielded with their elite left tackle missing).

This moron probably just cost himself millions and millions of dollars. Either that, or he'll be pick #7 and the starting left tackle for your! 2009! Oakland! Raaayyyyders!

But failing that, the top 10 is now short a tackle, and my concern about one being there at pick #8 grows further.

In commemoration of Emmitt's departure:

I almost posted that video. Only bummer is that it's missing some of his greatest word butchering.

There's no "amorition" (Emmitt-speak for "aberration"), and no "debacled"!

I'm sad that the "Bitches still owe me sex" clip got taken down.

Look harder.

And here's another nice vid (refuses to embed, maybe because of the hyphen?)

Apparently Alex Smith was asked to learn 3 offenses every year.

And did you know the NFC West is a conference all to itself?

SI's Tony Pauline sums up the Andre Smith situation:

It's been a bizarre few days for Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith, considered by most to be a top five pick. Immediately before the second group of offensive linemen were about to start their workout, an official announcement was made stating Smith had left the combine headquarters unannounced. After a long search, Smith was found 30 minutes before the workout began. The announcement went on to say Smith and his agent were giving conflicting stories as to the reason of his disappearance. Sources later said Smith's interviews with teams have been going horribly. He's been inappropriately dressed and has been giving a number of conflicting statements as to why he was choosing not to workout at the combine. Several offensive line coaches have already suggested Smith be removed from their team's draft board and there's no doubt his draft stock is falling.

In other news, Fresno State's pride and joy in this draft, Bear Pascoe (from Porterville!) is falling after running a 4.9 40. Not a thrilling performance for a pass-catching TE.

*Legion* wrote:

Look harder. :)

I tried to find it for the awards but the original you posted way back when was gone.

Gee, big shocker: Marvin Harrison says, "I don't wanna take a pay cut!"

I wish the Colts were dumb enough to cave, but they're not dumb. Harrison will soon enjoy the experience of being a 36 year old free agent receiver with a sudden onset of character question marks.

The Colts are also going to let Jeff Saturday test the free agent market. He's 33, and he's probably going to cost too much for a position that can be addressed fairly easily with 2nd or 3rd round draft picks.

Harsh. I had hoped Marv would be abit more understanding of his own position, but it doesn't look like it.

Right as usual, Legion.

I'd still love them to hang onto Jeff if they can, but I guess we'll see if he gets any interest from around the league. Richard wasn't awful, but the O-Line wasn't nearly as effective with him in middle.

This moron probably just cost himself millions and millions of dollars. Either that, or he'll be pick #7 and the starting left tackle for your! 2009! Oakland! Raaayyyyders!

This was the first thing that I thought of when I heard about his combine antics. How is your prospect list shaping up, *Legion*? Who do you like at 1-5 so far?

Ahh the combines.. and the draft.. Reminds me of one of my favorite onion articles

http://www.theonion.com/content/news...

Minase wrote:

This was the first thing that I thought of when I heard about his combine antics. How is your prospect list shaping up, *Legion*? Who do you like at 1-5 so far?

I've got hours of Combine sitting on my DVR, waiting to be watched.

But if we're mocking the top 5 picks:

1. Detroit - Matt Stafford (QB). They may pursue a trade for Derek Anderson, but failing that, Stafford looks likely. The Lions have a LT in Jeff Backus and spend a 1st rounder for their other OT, Gosder Cherilus, last year, so they don't look likely to dip into this year's OT crop, though there have been whispers that Backus may slide inside to guard. If they acquired Anderson (or otherwise addressed the QB position), and didn't plan on moving one of their existing tackles inside, you could look at Aaron Curry, or possibly even B.J. Raji.

2. St. Louis - Eugene Monroe (OT). The Rams actually wanted Jake Long last year, and were surprised and disappointed when Miami made him the "surprise" (as in, unexpected, but still worked out well ahead of time) #1 pick. Especially with Andre Smith taking himself out of the picture, Monroe appears a foregone conclusion in St. Louis.

3. Kansas City - Aaron Curry (LB). The new 3-4 scheme demands linebackers, and Curry is clearly the top linebacker (heck, top defensive player) in this draft as it stands now. A QB remains a possibility, as do the top offensive tackles.

4. Seattle - Mark Sanchez (QB). In many eyes, this was supposed to be the Crabtree pick. Indeed, virtually every mock draft has Michael Crabtree going right here. But the Combine was not kind to Crabtree, who was revealed to have a stress fracture in his foot, and who measured a full two inches shorter than the Fitzgerald-like 6-3 he was listed as at Texas Tech. Meanwhile, Seattle has been pretty overt with their interest in acquiring their QB of the future. Apparently, nobody was hanging around the Combine QBs as they threw more closely than Greg Knapp was. It's a new regime with no loyalty to the 33 year old Hasselbeck, and Knapp's offense won't resemble the Holmgren offense that Hasselbeck had his success in - it's probably a safe bet that you won't see that 3-wide I-formation look quite so much.

There's so many ways this pick could go. Crabtree. Jason (or Andre) Smith. Aaron Curry if the Chiefs don't take him. B.J. Raji. But I'm getting vibes that the new regime wants to pick their QB to build around, as well as take advantage of the "mulligan year" you get when you start a rookie QB. Probably not the way I would go, but this isn't the *Legion*'s Draft Board post. Every year I tell myself that certain QBs shouldn't be drafted so early, and almost every year, some of those QBs do in fact go that early. So until I start to get some vibes that point elsewhere (maybe a big Crabtree "Pro Day" or something), the nagging in the back of my head that says, "they want their QB" wins the day in this mock spot.

This is easily the most interesting, and most "in-flux" spot in the top 5. Which is probably why you put forth the question.

5. Cleveland - Everette Brown (OLB/DE). A 3-4 defense demands a pass rusher at OLB. Willie McGinest in his prime was this for the Patriots, but Willie McGinest last year was good for all of 1 sack for Cleveland. Indeed, the team's leading sack artist last season was their nose tackle, Shaun Rogers, with 4.5. They have to be looking at a pass rushing 'tweener like Brown and think that he can be a guy who can excel as a stand-up 3-4 OLB. They're set on the right side with Kamerion Wimbley, but they badly need someone on the left.

I've got hours of Combine sitting on my DVR, waiting to be watched.

lol.. wait your serious?

I'm used to the Lions drafting sub-par QBs out of desperation, but I was hoping the Seahawks would pass on this year's sub-par class (even worse than last year, IMO) and trade the pick down to a team looking for an OT or (if Curry slips by KC) an LB. Hasselbeck should have a few good years left in him, so I'd like to see a safety to replace Brian 'arm-tackle' Russel and more OL & DL help. If Hasselbeck gets hurt or shows that he's done, draft the QB of the future next year or take a few fliers in rounds 3-6 this year and hope one of them sticks.

Trading down from a top 5 is almost impossible these days - last time it happened was 2003 (Jets traded up to get Dewayne Robertson), and before that, it was in 2001 with the Chargers trading down from #1 to #5 so the Falcons could grab Vick.

I can't foresee a big clamor from anyone to get Seattle's pick at #4.

Hasselbeck should have a few good years left in him

I wouldn't be in a hurry to replace Hasselbeck either. I know he's been working with a back specialist to help with the recovery. Shutting it down early was the right call, he's had a nice long break to heal.

If I was Seattle... well, I'd pay close attention to Crabtree's workouts. I'd think hard about the OTs. I'd jump on Curry if he's there at #4. And I would have to give a long hard look at B.J. Raji, because those interior big men are worth their weight in gold (and they weight a lot).

TheGameguru wrote:

lol.. wait your serious?

Being the guy that "knows all that stuff about football" doesn't happen by magic.

As someone who has seen him play, Crabs in my tree is good. Real good.
The only reason Nic Harris was anywhere near him all night was crowd noise. The home field factor screwed him in a prime time game and he got caught up in the funk all of Tech did after that.
If a better player (All those that Legion listed. The Man is a scout team for me. I've made bets off his advice and won. Multiple times) falls, they should jump, but if you can get a QB like old Matt throwing to a stud receiver, that could be real good.

*Legion* wrote:
boogle wrote:

(All those that Legion listed. The Man is a scout team for me. I've made bets off his advice and won. Multiple times)

Oh lord, that's pressure! :)

Meh, its not. I don't always bet with you. I only have an 85% win ratio anyways so there is some margin for ya.

boogle wrote:

(All those that Legion listed. The Man is a scout team for me. I've made bets off his advice and won. Multiple times)

Oh lord, that's pressure!

I'm very intrigued by Crabtree. Watching some video, I don't know how anyone thought he was the 6-3 he was listed at. His body looks like a cloned copy of Anquan Boldin's (and looking at NFL.com, the numbers are the same too: 6-1, 215-218lbs).

He catches the ball with his hands, something that a lot of receivers coming out of college don't do consistently. Crabtree showed all the NFL WR skills he could show in the "Air Raid" offense. Unfortunately, that doesn't include a lot of the mental aspects of being an NFL WR, like sight adjustments - the Red Raider offense just throws receivers at the defense and asks the QB to find the one that the defense missed. Good for college, tough for NFL evaluations.

Crabtree is at home in traffic, which is another thing college WRs often struggle mightily with. Many of them are too used to just being able to break open with their speed, and that's not happening in the NFL. Crabtree fights for balls and can make catches when blanketed.

Everyone is on pins and needles to see his 40 time. He was fast enough for college, but scouts want to see him sneak under 4.5. They don't want to see a 4.7 40 like Anquan Boldin ran. For a top 5 pick, they want to see a guy built like Boldin but who runs downfield better.

Apparently Dan Snyder has his heart set on Albert Haynesworth, and he's going to make damn sure he gets him.

I won't miss him being in the AFC South. Maybe he'd flop anyway after getting his big payday, but the guy that was a monster for the past two years is a guy that I'll be glad is gone.

Who wants Dan Orlovsky?

Rat Boy wrote:

Who wants Dan Orlovsky?

I'd take him as a backup. He was a developmental guy coming out of college, and in his first real action, he managed to break even on TDs/INTs (8 each) and complete 56% for a decent 72 passer rating - decent, that is, on an 0-16 sinking ship of a team. He's a big, not-very-mobile guy, but he played in 10 games and was sacked 14 times - compared with Daunte Culpepper, who posted the same sack total in 5 games.

Detroit is insane to name Culpepper as their starter. I hope the idea is to have a tackling dummy at QB for a while, so that they can draft Matt Stafford and he can come in and be a typical rookie, but look good by comparison. Otherwise, the Lions offensive line is going to look awful statistically from all the sacks allowed, through little fault of their own.

Legion - your opinion on the Colts taking Percy Harvin with their first round pick?

SpyNavy wrote:

Legion - your opinion on the Colts taking Percy Harvin with their first round pick?

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is "Gator WR" - Jacquez Green, Reidel Anthony, Reche Caldwell, Taylor Jacobs, Travis Taylor, Jabar Gaffney, Chad Jackson. Spurrier may be gone, but Urban Meyer's spread option offense has just about as much of a chasm between it and NFL offenses. It's just a long history that makes you twitch.

Harvin is explosive, but unpolished as a receiver, being a strange hybrid player in Meyer's spread option. He also has a long injury sheet. He entered college as a 178 pound featherweight and has been trying to bulk up over the past few years. He says he played at 202 in his senior year, but slimmed down to 194 for the Combine, presumably to help himself run better.

Problem is, he didn't run great. He was expected to post a Steve Smith-like 40 in the low 4.3s. Instead, he ran 4.41. Not bad, but not what you want out of a guy who's supposed to be a blazing fast playmaker.

Nobody is looking at Harvin as a hybrid RB/WR at the NFL level, too fragile for that. And a lot of sub-6' receivers have struggled to be consistently successful in the NFL. There was a guy who looked just like this two years ago: Ted Ginn Jr., except Ginn came from a pro-style offense which produces successful pro receivers (like Santonio Holmes or your very own former teammate of Ginn's, Gonzalez).

I wouldn't be surprised, though, if someone takes Harvin before the Colts would even have a chance, especially if he can erase that 4.41 40 with a fast Pro Day workout. His initial burst quickness is something that some scouts and coaches are just in love with.

I also don't think the Colts need to go chasing another WR so high. Start Wayne and Gonzalez. Dallas Clark will split wide as the #3 half the time anyway. No need to spend a 1st round pick for the fourth option in the passing offense. Sign a decent free agent, grab a later-round rookie, and you've already got a young project player in Pierre Garcon to continue to groom for that spot. You can only afford to throw so much money at the receiver position, and Wayne and Clark are top-level earners at their position, and Gonzalez has a 1st rounder contract and will probably earn a nice payday extension soon. Committing too much money to that position starves the rest of your team - the Colts only invested in Gonzalez as they could see that Harrison was coming up on the end of his run, else they probably would have waited a bit longer.

Meanwhile, the heart of the Colts defensive line couldn't stop a pee-wee offensive line from opening holes. Harvin is a luxury and a risk that the team doesn't need to take on. They need to cross their fingers and pray - pray! - that Ole Miss's Peria Jerry lasts to their pick. I for one hope he's long gone before then. There are some second-round DTs out there too, but nobody that disrupts like this. B.J. Raji is the draft's top 1-technique/3-4 nose tackle. Jerry's the top 3-technique.

The Chiefs just cut Donnie Edwards, Patrick Surtain, and Damon Huard for a total cap savings of about $13.5 million. That gets them to $50 million under the cap, and well positioned to keep their #3 pick and make a big FA signing.

I'm starting to hear rumblings that Curry's excellent performance at the combine may have Detroit or St. Louis taking him. This is just what happened to the Chiefs last season when they had hoped to take Jake Long with the number three (or four?) pick. I think I am sold that Curry is the best value for an early pick. He's got a really good head on his shoulders to go along with solid skills.

If not Curry, I'm thinking the Chiefs would love to take Monroe, givng them a nice set of bookend OTs for a long time.

Jayhawker wrote:

The Chiefs just cut Donnie Edwards, Patrick Surtain, and Damon Huard for a total cap savings of about $13.5 million. That gets them to $50 million under the cap, and well positioned to keep their #3 pick and make a big FA signing.

I would take this to hint that Pioli is looking at getting Matt Cassel to hide behind those bookend OL picks.

Colts cut Harrison, as expected.

Bucs slaughtered the old guard: Derrick Brooks, Ike Hilliard, Joey Galloway, Warrick Dunn, and Cato June, all gone. The team was already flush with cap space, and is now looking at having in the ballpark of $60 million to play with.

I wonder, though, if a number of teams are preparing themselves for a day very soon when there will no longer exist a salary floor. One thing the players union seems to not recognize is that the salary cap brings with it a salary floor that's not very far beneath the cap.

For every Dallas and Washington that will spend a ton, the players may find that there's a whole cluster of teams that will spend less than what the cap forced them to in the past. The union seems to have starry-eyed dreams of unchecked spending. It's unchecked saving they should be worried about.

For every Dallas and Washington that will spend a ton, the players may find that there's a whole cluster of teams that will spend less than what the cap forced them to in the past. The union seems to have starry-eyed dreams of unchecked spending. It's unchecked saving they should be worried about.

This is potentially the most worrying thing to me about the upcoming labor crisis. I know some people (GameGuru) hate parity, but I think it's been instrumental in making the NFL the juggernaut that it is today. I could see a lot of small-market teams scrimping on salaries to squeeze out more money instead of hitting the cap every year.

I could see teams like Jacksonville and Buffalo becoming like the Oakland A's and Seattle Mariners of MLB - farm teams to the big-money teams like the Red Sox and Yankees.

Bears fan racks up $28,000 phone bill watching games on his laptop. Better check your bills, *Legion*.

Bucs cut Brooks, Hilliard, Dunn, June and Galloway.

Just got home so commentary later...

EDIT: Didn't see Legion's take. I can understand, Brooks is getting old even if the brain still works great BUT June was being groomed for his spot. With Cadillac out for who knows how long and only Graham (coming off injury) and rookie PR/KR Clifton Smith why get rid of Dunn? Hilliard was productive as a 3rd down back, now Bryant is the most veteran WR on the team (unless they keep Clayton but doubt that will happens he wants like a 20m contract)

I mean how far can a team go without some veteran leadership?