Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think you did the right thing by staying put, Jerry Jones, and not selling the farm for Darren McFadden.
It's simple. Dallas would not have been able to get McFadden the touches to justify the pick if Jones had paid the high price to go up to get him. McFadden would have had, at most, 175 rushes and receptions with a healthy Marion Barber in the backfield with him. Imagine paying a guy $25 million guaranteed to be a backup.
2. I think -- I guess -- Jerry Reese didn't think he got enough value from New Orleans for Jeremy Shockey. I would think an unhappy tight end who's missed time with injuries would be worth second- and sixth-round draft picks (or a second this year and a fifth next year). I like Reese a lot, but I think he'll think back on this moment in October and say, "I really should have taken that deal for Shockey.''
3. I think these are my quick-hit observations of the TV weekend:
a. Wendi Nix, in Kansas City for ESPN, said in a predraft show that the Chiefs would be "comfortable'' if 75 percent of the team's draftees were in the starting lineup by opening day. Comfortable? Are you kidding? Nine starters from one draft, playing in the 22-person starting lineup for any team? Comfortable is not the right way to put it. More like "best draft in NFL history.''
b. Why is the lead item on the ESPN scroll during the first hour of the predraft show about Brett Favre appearing on the cover of the Madden video game? Other than pimping a sponsor, what remote news value does that have?
c. ESPN did not have a team of people covering the draft. It had an armada.
d. Ron Jaworski had the best analysis of the pre-show. It was about Joe Flacco, and about how the complex zone blitz of Villanova really bothered him. I mean, when a guy gives you a tidbit from Delaware-Villanova, you've got to respect that.
e. Steve Young had one of the more interesting quotes of the day, when discussing what the Titans should do at number 24 in the first round. "Vince Young has done everything you could ask of a young quarterback,'' he said. Oh, he has? His two-year QB rating: 69.0. Touchdowns: 21. Interceptions: 30. Passing yards per game: 158.
f. I missed most of the NFL Network Saturday telecast, which I heard had some really good points, including Adam Schefter calling every pick before Roger Goodell hit the podium, and Mike Mayock starring in his first-round picks. But I did see where the Network had Brian Billick talk about the "art of evaluating quarterbacks.'' Uh, isn't that the reason Billick is not the coach of the Ravens anymore? Because he didn't do a very good job of evaluating quarterbacks?
g. Jag-warz, announcers. Please. Please! Not Jag-wires. How can you pronounce it Jag-wires? There is no long i sound. There is no i.
4. I think Matt Ryan has some idea, but not a lot, about what he's gotten himself into with this replacing Mike Vick business. On Saturday I read a few of the message boards that Falcons "fans'' log on to, and some of the posts are, shall we say, intense. There's still an awful lot of Michael Vick emotion in that city.
5. I think I like San Diego picking cornerback Antoine Cason 27th overall, because after losing Drayton Florence in free-agency, the Chargers were down to two starting-caliber cornerbacks. GM A.J. Smith knew they had to fortify the spot even if it meant they'd be paying a third corner a lot of dough. "We believe in having three starting corners,'' he said Saturday night. So do I. Look at the percentage of the snaps corners play on each team. I bet you'll find half the teams in the league have three corners playing at least 50 percent of the plays, maybe more.
6. I think, if you gave him sodium pentathol, Chris Long would tell you he wishes he had gone to the Patriots, even if it would have cost him a lot of money to do so.
7. I think the Ravens' draft, obviously, will ultimately be judged on whether Joe Flacco can play or not. And if you've been reading this site, you know I thought the Ravens' guy was Chad Henne, not Flacco. Someday, maybe I'll get the truth on that one, but I think it came down to the Ravens having an internal debate on whether to pick Henne or Flacco, and the offensive coordinator thought Flacco's upside was significantly better.
I think he might struggle. The edge Henne had was that he played quarterback for four years as a starter at a big program, Michigan, and Baltimore is a team that needs a quarterback to play now. How will Flacco be more pro-ready than Henne? He won't be. It'll be an interesting experiment.
8. I think congratulations are in order for Len Pasquarelli, who won the prestigious McCann Award for distinguished service to our profession and will be honored in August at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Lenny's recuperating from an illness at home in suburban Atlanta, and he's been missed out on the combine/draft trail this offseason.
Len has always been appointment reading for me, the most important NFL beat guy for me to keep up with every day. No one in our business works harder and writes as often and as coherently. I know it's killing him to not be working now. But if you're reading this, Lenny, I've got some sage advice for you: The NFL will still be here when you get back. And one other thing: You're missed. Seriously missed.
9. I think I've got two sporting bets on whether Brett Favre plays again. I say no. He'd better not play. I've got $3 at stake here.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Propose to Pam already, Jim. C'mon. Get the job done.
b. The Red Sox won the world championship because of their bullpen last year. This season they could lose it because of their bullpen.
c. There haven't been 10 better catches in major-league history than the one Reed Johnson of the Cubs made in deep left-center in Washington on Friday night.
d. There aren't a lot of prettier minor-league parks than Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C., home of the Class A Greenville Drive. Saw it for a few innings the other night.
e. Nice of you to visit Colgate and impart your message, Dalai Lama.
f. Coffeenerdness: I owe John Haynes, who makes delicious barbeque at the Falcons training facility, a huge thanks. Not just for the pork he catered that I ate Friday, but for the coffee he found somewhere in the building Saturday night when I was going quite mad.
g. Thanks, Falcons PR men. You run a good ship, Reggie Roberts.
h. Boy, am I tired. I can imagine how Mayock, McShay and Kiper are this morning. The happiest day of their year, I can guarantee you, will be when the talk shows stop calling.
i. Take care of that wheel, Laura King. You've only got two of them.
j. Three weeks until I'm out of the kids-in-college business. Amazing. Where did the time go? And doesn't it seem like only yesterday when I was enraging half of you by writing an entire column about the Mary Beth King 1-0, complete-game, 16-inning pitching loss to Nutley? I'll never forget the great e-mail I got the next week from someone. It read: "What? No boxscore?''