1. I think in the Most Ridiculously Unimportant Note of the Week, I bring you how I did in my mock draft. (I don't dare, do I?) I dare. And it's not very good.
After hitting on nine two years ago and eight last year, the week-earlier magazine deadline impacted my competency. (I'm sure that wasn't the only thing that did). I hit on 28 of 32 in the round, which is nothing to brag about, and seven in the correct slot: Cam Newton (1), Julio Jones (6), Tyron Smith (9), Ryan Kerrigan (16), Danny Watkins (23), Jimmy Smith (26), Muhammad Wilkerson (30) ... with an asterisk: Smith went 27th when the team picking 26th, Baltimore, had the trade snafu with Chicago and didn't get the card in on time. It seems fair to count it. Of the seven in the correct slot, only five were by the correct team. Jones at 6, I had Cleveland taking, for instance, and he went to Atlanta.
2. I think Trent Dilfer, at ESPN, and Mike Lombardi, at NFL Network, earned their dough over the weekend. Dilfer has become a lightning rod of sorts, a smart football person who can talk about more than quarterback play and isn't afraid to ruffle feathers. He said Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder "melted'' at times in big situations, said Andy Dalton was the best quarterback in this draft, and had a harsh assessment of Seattle for reaching in the draft. "Listen,'' Dilfer said, "I pray I'm wrong. I hope he [Ponder] rubs it in my face. He's a great kid. But my concern with him is his ceiling is very low. At best, I think he can be Chad Pennington.''
As for Lombardi, very good work by him, especially on the news around the time the Patriots were on the board with the 73rd pick, when he said the Pats were going to draft Ryan Mallett.
I called Lombardi Sunday to ask him about one of the best scoops of the weekend -- maybe the best -- and about the suggestion on Twitter from Boston Globe football writer Greg Bedard that Lombardi may have been used by Bill Belichick to see if the Pats could have smoked out a better deal by a team interested in trading up for Mallett. Tweeted Bedard: "Almost positive Patriots leaked the Mallett pick to NFL Net to see if anyone would say, 'Oh crap,' and overpay to trade up.''
New England took running back Stevan Ridley with the 73rd pick, then Mallett with the 74th. Asked whether there was a chance he could have been used, Lombardi said: "Completely fictional. The Patriots, I'm not speaking for 'em. They wouldn't have brought Mallett in for a visit if they didn't have any interest. It's completely inaccurate. The Patriots were seriously interested in Mallett, and I don't think I was used by them. Not at all.''
Lombardi, of course, wouldn't have had to have been told of New England's plan, if indeed there was one, and I have no evidence this is true. It's odd, though, for an organization as famously zipped-up as New England to have a story that big slip out.
3. I think of all the guys in the Green Room at the draft, Blaine Gabbert was the only one who looked like he was auditioning for "Mad Men.'' Thin tie, silver tie clip, matinee good looks, well-coiffed 'do. He'd need shorter hair, though.
4. I think I agree with the Ravens: The Bears should have done the right thing after they admittedly messed up the first-round trade with Baltimore Thursday night and should have handed Baltimore the pick it deserved. You know the story, I'm sure.
Baltimore agreed to trade the 26th pick in the first round to Chicago for the 29th pick and the Bears' fourth-round pick. With two minutes left in the Ravens' 10-minute selection period at 26, GM Ozzie Newsome called NFL personnel czar Joel Bussert at the league draft headquarters and informed him of the terms of the trade. Under league rules, the Bears were obligated to do the same.
Newsome was told by a Bear front-office man the deal had been called in, but with the clock winding down, he asked Bussert about it, and Bussert said he'd gotten no such call. Newsome asked again, the Bears said again they'd called, and then the clock ran out on the pick. Kansas City rushed up its pick, Jonathan Baldwin the receiver, and the Ravens told their rep in New York to turn in the pick for Smith. When the Bears realized they hadn't called, GM Jerry Angelo apologized for the mix up. Chicago kept its pick and got the player it wanted -- tackle Gabe Carimi from Wisconsin.
The Ravens were hugely ticked off. Owner Steve Bisciotti told Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun: "I'm disappointed in the Bears and the McCaskeys [the club owners]. It is in my opinion a deviation from their great legacy. They concluded that their heartfelt and admirable apology was sufficient for our loss. All of us at the Ravens strongly disagree.'' As do I.
The right thing would have been to give Baltimore something -- either the fourth-round pick or some pick to make up for what turned out to be a broken promise. The NFL ruled because the Bears never informed the league of the deal, it wasn't official. I like Jerry Angelo a lot. Always have. But this is dead wrong, and it's a terrible message to send to fans and people who follow the league.
5. I think, to address the situation many of you brought up on Twitter since the Ravens-Bears trade dust up, the Ravens-Vikings draft-trade story of 2003 is not quite the same. Similar, but know the story before you say this is the Karma God getting even with Ozzie Newsome.
In 2003, Minnesota had the seventh pick in the draft, Jacksonville eight, Carolina nine and Baltimore 10. When Minnesota was on the clock, Jacksonville and Baltimore both were trying to trade up to number seven, and both to acquire the same player -- Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich. Baltimore thought it had a deal for Leftwich and attempted to call the league to report the deal. The Ravens called several times and couldn't get through.
In the meantime, Jacksonville had a lesser offer on the table to move up one spot, but Minnesota told the Jags it was making a deal with Baltimore. When the Vikings' time expired and the deal wasn't able to be consummated because it wasn't reported to the league officials in time, Jacksonville rushed the pick of Leftwich up to the NFL table at the draft. So the Jags jumped Minnesota and picked Leftwich.
At the same time, Carolina saw the confusion and submitted its pick of tackle Jordan Gross. Minnesota then turned in the card for the player it wanted, defensive tackle Kevin Williams. And Baltimore picked Terrell Suggs at 10. After this year, the league put in two additional phone lines, so when trades needed to be reported near deadline, someone would always be able to get through.
6. I think, not to beat the Bears up too much over this, it seems pretty ironic that one of the networks (forget which one) kept showing sportsmanship commercials on the draft coverage over the weekend. Did you see? In a youth basketball game, a kid hits the ball out of bounds, but the ref doesn't see it and awards the ball to the other team. The kid tells his coach he touched the ball, and goes to tell the ref, and the coach tells the kid he's doing the right thing. Which he was. And then the NFL Draft comes back on. You know, where there's a good example of the wrong thing, the unsportsmanlike thing, being done.
7. think I'd like to clarify something from the column last week, a quote from Green Bay GM Ted Thompson in which he said the draft experts "don't know anything.'' Thompson called me Saturday to explain what happened. The quote is accurate, but he didn't intend it to be about those in the national media (Mike Mayock, for instance) who study players for a job. He said he was referring to all the fans who become draftniks at this time of year. "I have tremendous respect for the guys who really study it,'' Thompson told me. Consider the situation clarified.
8. I think we're in for a long football exhale. My advice to you if the lockout bores you to tears: Don't let it. Don't pay attention. Don't read about it. Trust me: I'll tell you when to care about the legalities.
9. I think this is my cold water thrown on the weekend's festivities. It's a letter from a follower of this column, Arnauld Chatainier, from Toulouse, France. He writes: "Bon jour Peter! The first-round day was a SAD day for me. After 20 years of passion for the game, 12 spent in pads in a country with less than 5,000 registered players, I finally realized that NFL football was not a sport anymore but a business. 'Big deal,' you would say ... and you'd be right. But after watching JaMarcus Russell, Vince Young, Reggie Bush, Cam Newton and a bunch of untested QB getting drafted within 12 slots, the idea finally occurred to me: After a 2-14 season, those picks are made to keep your stands full, not to turn around your franchise.
"For every Sam Bradford-Home Run QB, there are 12 players who will implode. Reggie Bush was drafted to revive a devastated fan base after Hurricane Katrina, not to be an every-down back, which was obvious even for me, a poor French MMQB, with poor football IQ. Vince Young was drafted to make the cover of a video game and sell tons of jerseys, not to be a perennial Pro Bowler. Don't criticize the guaranteed money spent for first-round draftees: That $50 million is not for winning. This is the money an owner has to spend to keep his stadium full.
"On the 29th of April, 2011, I finally gave up the idea that Pro Football was a sport. With so many red flags, Cam Newton was not drafted to win, he was drafted to sell T-shirts. I'm sad, because I lost my innocence.''
Thanks, Arnauld. Well done. You have quite a few fans over here nodding in agreement. One of them would be film maven Greg Cosell, who I think just might offer a job at his right hand to watch film and say things like, "There shouldn't be a single quarterback in the top 20 players in this draft.''
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Just when my meager NBA knowledge convinced me Oklahoma City was going to waltz into the NBA Finals, the Memphis Grizzlies come along.
b. Dwyane Wade doesn't look like he wants to cede the first star on his team to LeBron.
c. Sharks-Canucks Western finals? Call it the East Coast DVR Series.
d. OK, sue me. I thought the Royal Wedding was cute. There's nothing wrong with the occasional royal occasion.
e. I love it when a team like the Indians comes out of nowhere to shock baseball. There's one or two every year.
f. If there's one or two every year, King, why is it never the Buccos?
g. Baseball Stat of the Week I: Chipper Jones has more career hits (2,517) and RBI (1,512) than Mickey Mantle (2,415 and 1,509) ... in 113 fewer games. Now something like that shocks me.
h. Could it be because the Mick had far more sleepwalking day-after-night games than Larry Jones has had?
i. Great respect for the hardworking 49er corps of beat writers. They're smart and skeptical.
j. Good to meet all of you at Comcast Bay Area. For those keeping score at home, Raider voice and sports show host Greg Papa and Bob? Not brothers. Had a good time on "Chronicle Live'' with Greg the night before the draft, in studio.
k. Has there been a baseball market with more dissimilar stadiums than San Francisco and Oakland?
l. Baseball Stat of the Week II: Bobby Jenks, making $6 million this year, has allowed 20 base runners in his last four-and-two-thirds innings.
m. Saw one of the strangest at-bats Saturday night. Dustin Pedroia up. Runners on first and second. Fouled off a bunt attempt. Fouled off another bunt attempt. Ball. Foul. Ball. Line drive down the right-field line, lands three inches foul. Line drive down the left field line; hits a foot foul. Foul. Ball. Ball. Walk.
n. Missed The Office finale. Will catch up this week.
o. Next time you personally implode my rotisserie team, Matt Harrison, could you give me a little warning?
p. Coffeenerdness: I've got to get weaned off the six espresso shots a day. That's going to be my job starting this week, when sanity returns to my coffee intake.
q. Beernerdness: Thank you, Marriott Santa Clara, for having such high-quality beer on tap at midnight Thursday as I finished my Friday morning SI.com column on the first-night wrap of the draft. My choice: Fat Tire Amber Ale. Wish the bartender had given it a head, but a tasty way to end the night.
r. Mike McGuire checks in, a few hours before the death of bin Laden was reported. Great to hear from our favorite Army first sergeant from his deployment in Afghanistan, and knowing him, he's up and around today, and he and his men are exulting in the news about the al Qaeda leader.
McGuire's email from Sunday was accompanied by a monthly newsletter with photos and updates on what his unit is doing on the ground: "As you will read in our monthly letter to friends and family, all is going well. Looking forward to some R&R in July, I think we may go to Rome. Not sure. Maybe just save the money? Decisions, decisions.
"Did you enjoy the draft, I saw the first round live here. Kind of surprised at how some things shook out. Atlanta made out big (in my opinion). Mallett really fell farther than I thought, he must have something in the closet or concerns because he has the big time arm. I am thinking he will be a star. Eventually.
"One army note, my son-in-law won the all-Europe and Army MEDAC/DENTAC soldier of the year, pretty big deal. He also got promoted to Sergeant E-5. And the biggest: My daughter Emily is having a baby. Hope all is going well and enjoying the summer coming? What's up with your SOX? Cardinals really looking good now, bats are hot, defense is hot, they are looking awesome right now, back-to-back dramatic wins. Wow! I like it. I hope you like the letter. Take care, Mike.''
All sounds well, Mike. Stay safe.
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