Draft Day. For Real.

Draft Day 2014: Payday for Johnny Manziel

Draft Day 2014: Payday for Johnny Manziel

After months of waiting, countdowns, and millions of mock drafts, Draft Day 2014 was finally upon us. For NFL fans, the draft is like Christmas morning. For three days.

Afterwards, we feel like kids bombarded with new toys. Not sure what we even like yet, we’re just happy to call them ours. Didn’t get what you wanted? Complain to your Santa Claus (aka general manager). But first, read this.

The biggest moment of the draft came just before it ended on Saturday afternoon. With the 249th pick, the St. Louis Rams took Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who became the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team. We watched on live television as he took the call, was overcome with emotion, and responded (as many players do) by kissing his love. Only, in Sam’s case, his love is a man.


Michael Sam celebrates his draft pick by the St. Louis Rams

Minutes later, they smeared cake on each other’s faces and kissed again. So, let’s just say Michael Sam didn’t walk quietly through that door. He went blazing through it. If he approaches his professional career with the same gusto, this guy could be the first openly gay Hall of Famer. And he’ll have many people cheering for him along the way.

Credit to Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams, who didn’t take Sam because he’s gay. They took him because he’s a good football player and he deserved to be drafted as such.

Of course, someone had to be a jackass. And leave it to someone from the Miami Dolphins locker room to do it. Cornerback Don Jones tweeted “OMG” and “horrible” after the scene played out. Now, I’m not about to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be comfortable watching. But, if you play in the NFL, don’t be stupid enough to tweet it out. Could someone please get a hold of that team? Someone not named Joe Philbin?

It pales by comparison, but the second most dramatic moment of the draft was on Thursday night. We watched as Johnny Manziel became this year’s Geno Smith. Passed over again and again, he was finally taken by the Cleveland Browns at number 22. It was painful and awkward watching him sweat it out, but as a new member of the most tragic franchise in the history of sports, it was also good practice. Browns fans are hoping “Johnny Football” can change their fate. And if management is too, they could have shown it by finding him someone to throw to.

The Browns lost their two best wide receivers, Josh Gordon and Nate Burleson prior to the start of the draft. Gordon is facing a year-long suspension for failing a second drug test. And Burleson re-broke his arm (this time a pizza was not involved). But, if the Browns aren’t worried…we shouldn’t be either. Ha!

There were no cameras and no celebratory make out sessions with Katherine Webb (much to the disappointment of Brent Musburger), but Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron had to wait much longer than his frenemy, Johnny Manziel to be drafted. The 164th pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, McCarron will now have to unseat Andy Dalton (who is in the last year of his contract) for the starting job. McCarron has one thing on Dalton, he has proven he can win big games. But proving himself to his new team will be another matter. Putting the wedding and online reality show on hold and focusing on the playbook would be a good start.

I would be embarrassed to tell you how many times I googled Jimmy Garoppolo’s name this weekend. Mostly for the spelling, but also because he was easily the most attractive pick in the 2014 draft. Garoppolo looks like Tom Brady and Tim Tebow had a baby. And if that offends you, well…you should probably go play for the Dolphins.

New Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

New Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois

I do have some awards to give out for the 2014 NFL Draft:

Best dressed goes to Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, chosen by the Green Bay Packers at number 21. And in a smashing crimson and black tuxedo. I suggest he invest in some flannel shirts and khakis before he heads up to the mistake on the lake. Oh, wait…that’s Cleveland. But Ha Ha should still get some flannel. And camo. Or, trade outfits with my next award winner.

Best Dressed: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S-Alabama)

Best Dressed: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S-Alabama)

Worst dressed goes to former Jacksonville Jaguars center, Brad Meester, who announced the team’s second-round pick wearing a camouflage tux. It was horrifying. And downright offensive. Made even worse, by its return appearance a few picks later when the team traded up for another receiver. I’m not sure what you hunt in a tuxedo, but I’m sure it’s not the Lombardi Trophy.

Worst Dressed: Brad Meester (former C-Jaguars)

Worst Dressed: Brad Meester (former C-Jacksonville)

And last but not least (literally), shout out to the AFC South for its flat-out dominance in picking Mr. Irrelevant. The conference has owned the last pick of the draft, thanks to the Colts and Texans, since 2011. At least the AFC South can dominate something.

I could go on for days, just like coverage of the NFL Draft. But instead of comparing quarterbacks to cars and players/general managers to horny college kids courting each other (ala ESPN’s Trent Dilfer), I will exit before you start daydreaming about escorting me out.

But before I go, I have some advice to the players. To Michael Sam, to Johnny Manziel, to A.J. McCarron, and to all the players in the 2014 NFL Draft: Just make it about football now. Let your game speak for itself.

As for the rest of us, now…we wait. For New Year’s. Or, the start of the new NFL season. While some stat-crazed lunatics go from mocking the draft to predicting the records of each newly formed team.

Me…I’m going to get a jump start on my New Year’s resolutions. Before the start of the new season.

Resolution number one, to avoid the preseason media hype and judge these teams and this draft class when it’s appropriate to do so. Which is, six games in for the teams and three years from now for the picks. And you can thank Bill Polian for that.

Happy New Year!



My “Mock” Mock Draft

With just a few weeks to go until the NFL draft, pretty much everyone has done a mock draft. I haven’t seen one from President Obama yet, but I’m pretty sure he’s working on it. I think mock drafts are ridiculous. Which is exactly why I wanted to do one.

Yes, I am mocking the mock draft.

#1 Houston Texans – Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M) I know Houston has discussed possibly trading down from the number one pick, which may make sense, especially in this draft. But if you ask me, it’s kind of cruel. Because it inevitably leaves the fans thinking, “Really? We lost all those game for nothing?” So, I’m keeping the Texans at number one. For the fans. And yes, I’ve got Johnny Manziel going number one overall to the Texans (sorry). But with former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush (and their dogs) at his pro day, it’s pretty clear who the Bushes want the Texans to draft. Plus, “Johnny Football” was born in Texas (as was his nickname), played high school and college football in Texas. And you don’t mess with Texas. Or the Bushes. Or their dogs. It’ll be fine. Johnny Manziel was the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy. And he handled that well.

#2 St. Louis Rams (from Washington) – Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn) Want to keep Sam Bradford upright? 6’5” and 332 ought to do it.

#3 Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles (QB, Central Florida) Florida guy. Stays in Florida. Unfortunately, it’s Jacksonville. Which is still better than Orlando. Plus, maybe his college fans will fill some seats at Everbank Field. If nothing else, to see his girlfriend.

#4 Cleveland Browns – Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State) This guy is married with a baby. He’s not looking for nightlife. He just wants to play professional football. They still have professional football in Cleveland, right?

#5 Oakland Raiders – Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville) The Raiders acquired former Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in free agency. Which is exactly why they’ll need another quarterback.

#6 Atlanta Falcons – Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina) Goodbye, Tony Gonzalez. Hello, Eric Ebron. Not quite Tony Gonzalez with a mohawk. But he could be in a few years.

#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State) Darrelle who?

#8 Minnesota Vikings – Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson) Nolan Nawrocki described Boyd as, “better suited as a backup” and “the type you look to replace.” Well, no one likes to sign backup quarterbacks in a starting role like the Minnesota Vikings. And with more than a dozen starting quarterbacks over the last decade (and three last season), no team likes to replace quarterbacks like the Vikings. Thus, Boyd is a perfect fit.

#9 Buffalo Bills – Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M) Protecting EJ Manuel is the key to this season. A tackle who hails from football royalty (dad is Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, cousin is Packers linebacker Clay Matthews) is about as good as it gets. But just in case that doesn’t work out, they should take a backup quarterback with their next pick.

#10 Detroit Lions – Calvin Pryor (S, Louisville) The Lions need a safety. And a Calvin worked out well at wide receiver, so… At 5’11,” maybe they can call Calvin Pryor “Minitron.”

#11 Tennessee Titans – Zach Mettenberger (QB, LSU) A promising future as a quarterback. If he can recover from injury and stay healthy. Just like current Titans quarterback, Jake Locker. With two of them, maybe they have a better chance. Also, SEC.

#12 New York Giants – Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M) The Giants are in desperate need of a wide receiver and one who will catch more of Eli’s passes than the other team’s defenders. At A&M, Evans and Johnny Manziel formed one of college football’s most dominant quarterback-receiver pairs. And the Giants do play the Texans this season, so there’s a chance they could again. If the Giants play Evans at cornerback (which is unlikely).

#13 St. Louis Rams – Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, Eastern Illinois) Just in case the “protect Sam Bradford” thing doesn’t work out (see #2).

#14 Chicago Bears – Logan Thomas (QB, Virginia Tech) With Jay Cutler as your quarterback, it’s not a matter of if he gets hurt – it’s a matter of when. I picked Thomas for two words: “tough and durable.” What about Jordan Palmer? Please. I’m not crazy about Carson Palmer as a starting quarterback. Let alone his lesser known little brother.

#15 Pittsburgh Steelers – Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State) The Steelers need youth at cornerback (no offense, Ike Taylor). Roby ranks high in speed, tackling, and ball handling. He has “thin ankles and large hands.” Which is much better than fat ankles and small hands. He is also known to get in trouble in bars. Thankfully, the Steelers have a quarterback who can help him with that.

#16 Dallas Cowboys – Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina) DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher are out. And defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was out last season. So basically, the Cowboys need a whole defense. And Jadeveon Clowney could be that. If he’s available at number 16. It’s more likely that Jerry Jones will show up at Radio City Music Hall on his unicorn. But that could happen too.

#17 Baltimore Ravens – Antonio Richardson (OT, Tennessee) The Ravens need to replace Michael Oher on Joe Flacco’s blind side. Like Oher, Antonio Richardson also grew up in Tennessee. And is also huge.

#18 New York Jets – Marqise Lee (WR, USC) The Jets could use another receiver to complement Eric Decker, who they signed from the Broncos in free agency. Lee is athletic, fast, and a good route runner. He has also overcome great adversity in his personal life. Which should help him playing for the Jets.

#19 Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin (OT, Notre Dame) Described as a “clean player.” And God knows, the Dolphins could use some clean players in their locker room. Miami is also the new home of Jordan Rodgers (backup quarterback and brother of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers). Does anyone else think it’s weird that all the little brothers of NFL quarterbacks are named Jordan?

#20 Arizona Cardinals – Aaron Murray (QB, Georgia) Again, Carson Palmer. We all know the Cardinals are looking for the second coming of Kurt Warner. And Aaron Murray looks kind of like Kurt Warner. So, that’s a start.

#21 Green Bay Packers – Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh) The Packers defense needs help. This guy has the name of two of the Packers’ most beloved players (even though one of them is now retired). Nuff said.

#22 Philadelphia Eagles – Deone Bucannon (S, Washington State) Tough, punishing, physical safety. Led the PAC-12 in tackles. Chip Kelly will like him. Unless he already hates him.

#23 Kansas City Chiefs – Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson) The Chiefs have someone who can throw the ball, someone who can run the ball, and now they have someone who can catch the ball. Which is nice.

#24 Cincinnati Bengals – Tom Savage (QB, Pittsburgh) Andy Dalton? I don’t know. So, just in case that becomes “hell no.”

#25 San Diego Chargers – Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State) Distant cousin to Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. So, maybe this could help them land him too.

#26 Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis) – HaHa Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama) In a surprise move, the Cleveland Browns trade their second first round pick back to Indianapolis. For nothing. They just feel really bad about the Trent Richardson trade. And they should. The Colts proceed to draft HaHa Clinton-Dix as a reminder. Also, when my sister Jenny was little and couldn’t say my name, she shortened it to Haha. And when my nieces and nephews were little, it became Auntie Haha. And the Colts are my team. And the Colts need a safety.

#27 New Orleans Saints – Kyle Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech) Saints need to fill out the backfield. From a football family, his brother Vincent played for the Titans, brother Corey is on the Lions practice squad. He should have them saying, “Who dat?” in no time.

#28 Carolina Panthers – Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State) After trading away all his talent, Cam Newton needs someone to throw to. Benjamin is someone and then some. He caught the game winning touchdown in the National Championship game to beat Auburn (where Panthers quarterback Cam Newton won a National Championship). So, that should give them something to talk about.

#29 New England Patriots – AJ McCarron (QB, Alabama) Bill Belichick is just shrewd enough to find the next star quarterback – at the bottom of the first round. And it’s about time Tom Brady had some competition. Also, it’s about time Gisele Bundchen had some competition – from Katherine Webb, former beauty queen, object of Brent Musburger’s oggling, and McCarron’s brand new fiancée. I just hope that Ugg sponsorship is transferable, because coming from Alabama, McCarron’s going to have some cold feet up in New England.

#30 San Francisco 49ers – Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, LSU) Confident, competitive, playmaker. Sadly, not related to David.

#31 Denver Broncos – Jason Verrett (CB, TCU) Peyton Manning says the Broncos need to reestablish their identity after the Super Bowl loss. And so far, John Elway is redefining the Broncos — as a defensive team. He basically signed all the defensive free agents, will probably draft all the defensive players he can get his hands on, and may also sign all of the undrafted free agents on defense.

#32 Seattle Seahawks – Patrick Laird (WR, Army) If you win the Super Bowl by 35 points, you shouldn’t even get a first round pick. But, since that’s not a rule (yet), and the Seahawks do need to replace Golden Tate, I gave them the lowest ranked wide receiver I could find (who still doesn’t sound too bad). After all, the draft is supposed to be the great equalizer. Right?

The Houston Texans are on the clock…

And since they’ve been there for about six months now, I hope they pick fast.


Credit: Nolan Nawrocki at Pro Football Weekly and  NFL.com for practically all of my player research.

Note from the author: I guess mock drafts are kind of fun. Basically, you just make shit up. I can do that! And I will declare victory if any of these players actually go at my slotted position.


Draft Day Movie: C’mon Man…


I was among the first to see the Draft Day movie on Friday afternoon. Mostly because I couldn’t wait. But also because I wanted to review it for all of you. Yes, you are welcome. It’s just one of the services I provide.

There were only about a dozen people in the theater for one of the first showings of Draft Day. Granted, it was a beautiful day in Indianapolis and the last thing most people probably wanted to do was go sit in a dark movie theater. But, I wanted to see football. And my husband obliged.

Draft Day has been touted as, “the best sports movie since Jerry Maguire.” So naturally, I went in thinking Jerry Maguire. I didn’t get Jerry Maguire. I didn’t get Waterworld. But, I definitely didn’t get Jerry Maguire. So, The Blind Side still holds the lead as best sports movie since Jerry Maguire in my humble opinion. And Draft Day doesn’t even come close.

Draft Day has some interesting behind-the-scenes looks at the NFL draft. Some of them are realistic, some of them – not so much. But where the film really misses is with the characters (or lack thereof). After a fairly quick one hour and forty-nine minutes, I can honestly tell you there was only one character I cared about – even a little bit. He was Vontae Mack (played by Chadwick Boseman), a linebacker draft prospect channeling Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire. He was only in a few scenes and mostly while talking on the phone.

Kevin Costner, who plays Kevin Costner (just like he does in every other movie), goes by the name of Sonny Weaver Jr. this time, General Manager of the Cleveland Browns. You know who should have played Weaver? Thomas Dimitroff, the actual GM of the Atlanta Falcons. He not only looks like a movie star, but has a personality and is likable. Also, he would have had a lot more chemistry with Jennifer Garner.

Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff

Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff

Garner plays Costner’s (I mean, Weaver’s) coworker and love interest. A likeable actress in a role with almost no depth. As the salary cap manager for the Browns, all we know about “Ali” is that she’s sleeping with the GM, is pregnant with his child, and chooses the morning of the draft to tell him. Which had me thinking (in my best Cris Carter voice), “C’mon, man!”

Then, there’s Weaver’s mother Barb (played by Ellen Burstyn). Who insists on spreading the ashes of her late husband (Sonny Weaver Sr.), the former coach of the Browns (who Sonny Jr. fired – we find out later for health reasons), on the practice field the day of (you guessed it) the draft. Again…C’mon man!

Also making an appearance is Rosanna Arquette. As Barb Weaver’s sidekick and Sonny’s ex wife. With absolutely no explanation whatsoever. C’mon man!

Tom Welling stars as Brian Drew, the current Browns quarterback rehabbing from a knee injury. This guy is everything you want in a quarterback – handsome, likeable, with a beautiful family. And played by a great actor – with a very small part. What a missed opportunity. C’mon, man!

And here come the spoilers. If you plan to see Draft Day and you don’t want to know the plot, stop reading now. But come back later, because I know you’ll agree with me.


Last Warning: Spoilers!

Josh Pence, who plays Bo Callahan, is everything you don’t want in a quarterback. A cross between Johnny Manziel and Geno Smith, he suffers a first pick snub for being a liar…only to be drafted six positions later. C’mon, man!

And perhaps the biggest farce of all, after magically turning one first round pick into two (plus a punt returner), Sonny Weaver takes, wait for it…a running back. At number six?! C’MON, MAN!!!

And then, it’s over. We are lead to believe that Sonny Weaver Jr. changed the course of the most tragic team in NFL history.

But the best line of the whole movie came when it was over. As the credits are rolling, my husband leans over and says, “And they went 3-13.”

C’mon man!


Disclaimer: I don’t know if Vontae Mack was a bang or a bust or if Ali got the right guy, but my husband Michael was the pick of a lifetime for me. And today is his birthday. So…happy birthday, baby. I love you!

I did not love Draft Day. But I did love the football scenes, which were few. And far between.