NFL Draft

Douglas DeFelice/USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: Why NFL draft is so intriguing

John Rooke
April 27, 2019 - 11:57 am

Thinking out loud…while preparing myself for the next piece of my foundation to crumble…

  • Tweet of the Week I, from @darrenrovell: “This Day in 2010 – Patriots, concerned that the Ravens are going to take Rob Gronkowski at No. 43, get the 42nd pick from the Raiders for their 44th pick & pick No. 190. Gronkowski becomes a Hall of Famer. Ravens take Texas LB Sergio Kindle, who plays three NFL games.”

 

  • Just goes to show you – you never know what the NFL Draft will bring you.  And that’s a major reason why we get into it and watch it every year.

 

  • Not one. Not two. But three networks have covered the NFL Draft this week and weekend.  Did anyone watch the ABC-version during Round One on Thursday night?  I did.

 

  • Mostly out of curiosity.  Also because my “smart TV” at home allows me to watch an over-the-air station and a streaming/cable/satellite channel at the same time.  With the Bruins in the playoffs, the Red Sox and the Draft on at the same time, who could choose?

 

  • I chose poorly.  Sorta.  ABC’s Disney-centric coverage was what I expected it would be – for the casual-to-non-fan, spiced with Taylor Swift and several music-world references and appearances, plus background features on the drafted athletes beyond just their height, weight and stats. 

 

  • For what it was, I think ABC did a nice job of story-telling, without upsetting real fans too much.  But for those of us otherwise engaged with real games going on at the same time…they got real close a couple of times with ‘musical interludes.’ 

 

  • Good thing the Bruins’ Game One with Columbus was tight – I didn’t want to change the channel for fear of jinxing anything.

 

  • ESPN and NFL Network stayed true to form for the football fan.  But I did like seeing the ESPN ‘College GameDay’ guys on the ABC coverage.  After all, who knows the college players better than they do – talking about them every Saturday morning during the fall? 

 

  • It was cool – even Lee Corso found a ‘big head’ to wear on set, that of Ohio State-turned-Washington QB Dwayne Haskins.  There was personality, energy and an enjoyment from the GameDay crew that made the audience feel as if they were a part of the discussion without talking over them. 

 

  • But I’ve known Mel Kiper for close to 30 years, having worked with him at ESPN and having had him as a frequent radio guest.  Remember when he was a ‘Chuck Wilson on Sports’ mainstay on local radio in the ‘80’s and early ‘90’s? 

 

  • I need my Mel fix when it comes to the Draft.  You may not agree with him, or like his hair.  But he knows his stuff.  And he still has that hair after all these years.  Something to be said for that.

 

  • Last year's coverage of the Draft averaged 5.5 million viewers at any given time over the three days on three networks.  The first round on ESPN, NFL Network and Fox averaged 11.2 million sets of eyeballs – a big reason why ABC got into the act this year.  45.8 million viewers tuned in for at least part of it.

 

  • Oh, and Nashville looks as if they can put on a show.  Last year’s Draft brought a record $125.2 million in economic impact to Dallas, the NFL says, and there were an estimated 150K fans attending the festivities in the Nashville streets on Thursday.

 

  • Party on, Garth.  Party on, Wayne.  But will the party ever wind up here? 

 

  • The Patriots’ party started with a surprise, by the selection of Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry.  Anyone see Harry’s name on any of the mock drafts out there?  Neither did I. 

 

  • Surprise!  We’ve officially been lulled into the Belichickian thought process of drafting defense, drafting linemen or trading down and not drafting at all.  But player personnel guru Nick Caserio told us after the first round that what’s happened in the past has no relevance to this year.

 

  • Uh huh.  Well then.  Good thing.  Gotta write that down, since it seems to be their mantra every year, amiright?  Just sayin’.

 

  • Just because you’ve failed with several (ok, many) receivers in the Draft-past, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t step up to the well again when the time comes.  Besides, TB12 needs targets.  Harry is Dez Bryant-like (so says his college coach, Herm Edwards), 6-foot-2 and can go up and get it, with plenty of YAC to follow.  

 

  • Not yuck, YAC.  Yards After Catch.  Come on now, keep up with the vernacular, you ABC-watching, Taylor Swift-screaming, neophyte football fan, you.

 

  • Speaking of TB12, he and Julian Edelman were spied at BC this week getting some work in under the practice bubble.  Put that in your OTA practice-pipe and smoke it.

 

  • Not for nuthin’, but I like the idea of a possible Ben Watson return, should he officially decide to come out of retirement.  A trusty set of hands and a veteran-presence is never a bad thing.  And I think TB12 knows him a little already, so there’s that.

 

  • Some things never change.  Le’Veon Bell is already a no-show at J-E-T-S workouts.  Please don’t change, Le’Veon.  Or change the Jets, either.

 

  • Did you see where Russell Wilson – the newly-crowned highest paid player in the NFL – gifted his offensive linemen $12K each in Amazon stock, in appreciation for their, um, protection last season?  What is that – about three shares each?

 

  • Strangely enough, I kinda agree with ESPN analyst Rex Ryan.  Gulp.  But I think Duke QB Daniel Jones could end up as the sneaky-best move of the Draft by the NY Giants.  There, threw you a bone, Giant fans.

 

  • But it could also be a reason why he’s not coaching anymore, either.  So there’s that. 

 

  • Already, the complaints are rolling in.  Tweet of the Week II, from @DevoPro: “(Giants’ GM Dave) Gettleman officially had his final first round as a GM, ever. I don’t see how he makes it as GM anywhere in 2020!”

 

  • Tweet of the Week III, from @adamschefter: “Clemson and HC Dabo Swinney agreed today to a 10-year, $93 million contract, making it the largest coaching deal in college football history.”

 

  • And that’s what happens when your defensive line has three of the Top 17 players selected in the NFL Draft.

 

  • Brace for it, Friar fans.  On-ice success translates differently for others, like freshman forward Jay O’Brien.  The 2018 1st round NHL draft pick has decided to transfer, according to several reports.  And Nate Leaman is reportedly in the mix for consideration as a head coach in Buffalo and Ottawa.

 

  • As the new, live recruiting period in college basketball gets underway…I noticed incoming Friar freshman Greg Gantt was ranked 64th overall in ESPN’s Top 100 for next season.  Solid.  It hasn’t been too long ago that Top 100 recruits were the exception around here, and not the rule.

 

  • The transfer portal (aka virtual college free agency) has been wide open, with more than 800 student-athletes looking for landing spots following their recent football and basketball seasons.  With a decided need in experience, Providence has dipped into the well thrice themselves (after losing two to the portal) and come out with seemingly smart choices.

 

  • After UMass grad-transfer Luwane Pipkins – who signed his scholarship agreement this past week – 6-8 North Florida forward Noah Horchler and former St. Joseph’s guard Jared Bynum fill specific areas of need.  Especially Bynum, who will sit out one year and have three remaining.  He should get the keys to the car from Ed Cooley after Pipkins turns them in.

 

  • Sam and Joey Hauser, after stunning Marquette and the Big East with their decision last week to transfer out of a possible Top 10 program next season, announced they are visiting Wisconsin, Virginia, Iowa and Michigan State as possible destinations.

 

  • And all Marquette grads everywhere are saying, ‘please, not Wisconsin.’ 

 

  • Creighton’s team next year may also take a slight step back, with 6-9 forward Martin Krampelj’s decision this week to enter the NBA Draft.

 

  • Is Villanova already overrated for next year?  Seen several “Way Too Early” Top 25’s that have the Wildcats ranked highly – even in the Top 10 – despite losing Eric Paschall and Phil Booth. Why?  The 3rd -rated recruiting class coming into the Main Line.

 

  • But it says here – and always will say here – that the Big East has long tended to eat its’ young ‘uns.  Experience wins.  It’s why, with Paschall and Booth, the Cats won this year.  It’s another reason why Ed Cooley hit the transfer bag hard this off-season.

 

  • DePaul has added Kansas transfer Charlie Moore – who is now playing for his 3rd college team after Kansas and Cal.

 

  • Georgetown and Syracuse have re-upped on their once-again hoop rivalry for another four years, through 2023. 

 

  • Love the apparent addition of Maryland to the URI schedule for next season.  David Cox must know what he has, because the Rams are scheduling themselves, strength-wise, for an NCAA Tournament-worthy resume. 

 

  • Now, they’ll need to win a couple of those.  But first-things-first.  And that’s to get them onto the floor in the first place.

 

  • The NCAA announced this week (our guy, Dan Gavitt, is at it again) they’ll begin holding the men’s and women’s basketball championships in all divisions (I, II, III) as combined championships in Atlanta next year, and again in Dallas in 2023.

 

  • Now, for the dark side…things got interesting in the FBI-led college basketball trial going on in a New York federal court this week.  Arizona’s Sean Miller absolutely had the bus roll over him, with comments from convicted felon Christian Dawkins.  It will be interesting to see where this goes, with another week of testimony expected.

 

  • Also for former URI player and assistant coach Preston Murphy, now at Creighton but presently on administrative leave from his duties, has had some damaging evidence against him revealed in this trial – namely a video showing him allegedly accepting a $6K bribe in a Las Vegas hotel room.

 

  • What goes on in Vegas, apparently didn’t stay in Vegas.

 

  • Tweet of the Week IV, from @MattNorlander: “Here's an all-timer. In 2017, then-Texas A&M asst Amir Abdur-Rahim met w/ Dawkins, Blazer + undercover agent to discuss paying then-A&M player Robert Williams (now a Celtic). A pair of shoes were then allegedly purchased @ Cosmo in Vegas, stuffed with $11,000 and FedEx'ed to Williams.”

 

  • Happy birthday this week to two titans in the sports world – Bill Raftery and John Cena.  Hey, Cena qualifies, absolutely.  But I will disown him if he continues this heel turn with his “Doctor of Thuganomics” routine.  C’mon, Cena.

 

  • In case you’ve lost count, that’s now EIGHT STRAIGHT playoff series’ won by Boston/New England professional teams, dating back to the American League Divisional Series last fall.  Sox (3-0), Patriots (3-0), Celtics (1-0), Bruins (1-0).  23-6 is the current overall won-loss record in postseason games during this time, heading into the weekend.

 

  • No wonder the rest of the world hates the hub. 

 

  • The Bruins could be the next big winner.  They really could.  With NHL faves falling like autumn leaves from contention…cue the duck boats.  Rev the engines, again.

 

  • Tweet of the Week V, from @TomBrady: “I think Zdeno could play a little tight end…”

 

  • And the Red Sox odds to win it all still stand at 12-1, says Vegas at the beginning of this week.  You know you’re tempted to at least slide a fin that way, aren’t you?

 

  • Although, why would you aggravate yourself?  The Sox have lost Nathan Eovaldi for 4-to-6 weeks, even if his return prognosis is good.  Plus, the bullpen is still weak sauce.

 

  • Why is it every time I watch Matt Barnes pitch, he’s terrible?  Clearly, I don’t see every performance he has, because his overall numbers say otherwise.  But it’s to the point now that when I see him go in, I turn off the TV.

 

  • Split with Toronto, they’re awful.  Split with Baltimore, ditto.  Split with Detroit – meh.  Overgeneralization, or truth in reality?

 

  • Milwaukee’s series sweep over Detroit was their first NBA playoff series success since 2001.  Let that sink in for a moment, considering what we’ve experienced around here since then.  What was that – 12 world titles?

 

  • The Celtics have a punchers’ chance against the Bucks, yes.  But their overall offensive balance and scoring ability is likely to be a sucker-punch to the Celtics’ on-again, off-again defense in the end.

 

  • Like many of you who remember John Havlicek’s days as a Celtic, we were all saddened to learn of his passing this week at the age of 79.  I hated the Celtics as a kid growing up, probably because they seemed to win all the time.  In reality, they did – just about.  But I always loved Hondo.

 

  • His on-court grace and demeanor, the way he hustled, the way he took charge when he needed to take over a game…man, Hondo had “it.”  I didn’t have to be a New Englander at the time to appreciate his talents.  He was the reason I tried to wear the number 17 in middle school back in Texas, until my coach told me he didn’t have a “17” to give me.

 

  • My first encounter with Havlicek came soon after I arrived in New England at Providence’s Channel 12, in 1988.  We met during the old “Goofy Games” competition Disney World used to stage for TV stations across the country as a marketing and promotional gimmick to attract park-goers.  Ha.  Like Uncle Walt needed that kind of help.

 

  • But Hondo was on Team Boston (WCVB, Channel 5) that first year we were in Orlando competing for WPRI.  I introduced myself, interviewed him, and we even staged a goofy bit or two of our own for the cameras.  But he was so gracious, so funny, and so ready to bust chops on anyone, including me. 

 

  • And I loved every second of it.  THE John Havlicek, busting my b*lls.  I was a Celtic teammate, even if for a fleeting second, and I loved that.  I’ll never forget it…just like we won’t forget his “Celtic-ness,” his kindness, and his willingness through the years to help others. 

 

  • @espnVshow tweeted this week, on John Havlicek: “I only interviewed John Havlicek ONE time but immediately liked him very much. What a classy man. He's a guy who destroyed some of my beloved Knicks teams, yet some guys transcend simple rooting interest. He was one. It's almost not logical how saddened I am at this news...but I am.”

 

  • Bob – I feel exactly the way you do. 

 

  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

 

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Cordischi and Coit!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.

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