Tuesday, April 23, 2013

THE RETURN OF THE FUGITIVE COMMISSIONER



A LOOK AT THURSDAY’S NFL DRAFT

Temecula, CA – As a new sports season starts for football fans, the Fugitive Commish, fresh from his winter scouting, has released the season’s first sports report for Temecula Calendar sports fans. as usual, this report
is packed with facts and fun memorabilia, all wrapped in the Commish’s dry wit, a carryover from a childhood spent in Iowa.

“Hello Football Fans,
The NFL draft is starting this Thursday night on ESPN.
Check out the attached extraneous minutia heading into the "start" of the season.
I've also included a couple of quiz questions.”

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL

OK, here we go football fans!
The 2013 NFL Draft starts this Thursday night, April 25th.
Here’s the full ESPN viewing schedule:
Round 1: Thursday, April 25 starting at 8PM ET
Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 26 starting at 6:30PM ET
Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 27 starting at noon ET

This year, 23 players will attend the draft, including (alphabetically):
Brigham Young defensive end Ezekiel Ansah
West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin
North Carolina offensive guard Jonathan Cooper
Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher
Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd
Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker
Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel
Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson
Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan
Alabama running back Eddie Lacy
Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel
Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner
Louisiana State defensive end Barkevious Mingo
Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson
Louisiana State safety Eric Reid
Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes
Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith
Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant
Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro
Alabama offensive guard Chance Warmack
Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Watson
Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner

This year’s draft class is projected to be very deep, but with only a mediocre group of quarterbacks (particularly as compared to last year’s QB class, with Andrew Luck and RGIII going #1 and #2).
The pundits are all over the board on which QB’s will be drafted in the first round (if any!), and in which order.  Try your luck – rank these seven quarterbacks in the order you expect them to get drafted (I’ll list these in the order I think they will get drafted – guessing only).
(and if you throw in a QB that gets drafted above any one of these seven, you get extra bonus points):
                    Geno Smith            WVA
                    EJ Manuel              FSU             
                    Ryan Nassib           Syracuse
                    Matt Barkley           USC
                    Mike Glennon         NC State
                    Tyler Bray              Tennessee
                    Tyler Wilson           Arkansas

                    Others potentially: Zac Dysert (MIA.OH), Matt Scott (AZ), Landry Jones (OKL).

Heisman finalist Collin Klein (KSU) is slated to go in the 6th or 7th round (lots of weaknesses with regard to the pro game)

Rather than QBs this year, it appears as if the top of the draft will be dominated by offensive linemen, with maybe 3 of the first 5 or 6 picks being OL, and maybe as many as 6 or 7 OL picked in the Top 20.
Defensive lineman also project as a solid group, both DT’s and DE’s.

What about running backs?

Last year Trent Richardson (ALA) went to Cleveland at #3 overall, and it appeared that all other RB’s would have to wait until at least Round 2.  But Doug Martin (BSU) at #31 by Tampa Bay and David Wilson (VA Tech) at #32 by the NY Football Giants were picked to end the first round.
This year, there may be zero running backs picks in Round 1.  The top rated runner projected for either Round 1 or 2 is Eddie Lacy (ALA), followed by probable 2nd-rounders Giovani Bernard (UNC) and Montee Ball (WISC).  Marcus Lattimore (S.CAR) is the hard-luck, two-time knee injury back that has loads of talent, but is still recovering from last year’s devastating knee dislocation/tear and may not get drafted until the 3rd or 4th round.

Enough of that.  Let’s wait for the actual results, and then wait three years or more to see if these draftees develop into NFL players.

RECENT EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE 2013 NFL DRAFT

YESTERDAY
Arguably the best cornerback in football before his late-September ACL tear, Darrelle Revis has agreed to a 6-year, $96MM contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  None of that contract is guaranteed, but he is looking healthy and will at least get his $16MM for 2013 and probably another $16MM in 2014.  He is betting on himself.  The Jets were unwilling to pay Revis this much, so ended up trading him to the Bucs for their 1st round pick in this year’s draft (#13 overall) and a conditional pick (4th or 3rd rounder) next year.

OTHER OFF-SEASON MOVES
RB Steven Jackson (STL) signed on with the ATL Falcons.  Even at age 30 (in July) and having carried the load in prior years with the Rams, he still appears to have gas left in the tank.

WR Wes Welker (NE) was signed by Denver to hook up with Peyton Manning.
WR Danny Amendola (STL) signed with New England.
WR Mike Wallace (PIT) signed with Miami.
WR Greg Jennings (GB) skipped over the Mississippi River to play for the Packers’ rival, Minnesota.
WR Percy Harvin (MIN) was traded to Seattle; Vikings get Seahawks #25 overall pick and a 7th-rounder in the 2013 draft and a mid-round pick in 2014.
OT Jake Long (MIA) signed with St. Louis.

S Ed Reed (BAL) signed with Houston.
LB Paul Kruger (BAL) signed with rival Cleveland
DE Elvis Dumervil (DEN) ended up with Baltimore, after a late fax communication caused his contract renewal with the Broncos to not go through.
DE Cliff Avril (DET) signed with Seattle.

I probably missed a few “major” moves, but that will whet your appetite for the upcoming season.

MINUTIA FOR THE 2013 DRAFT
This year broke the record again for most early entrants into the draft, with 73 underclassmen declaring for their NFL opportunity.  [That broke the previous record set last year with 65, over the previous record set in 2011 of 56 underclassmen entering the draft].  32 of the 73 underclassmen (43.8%) come from the SEC (eleven from LSU alone); do you suppose this correlates to graduation rates?  Last year’s #2-ranked Oregon Ducks have zero underclassmen entering the 2013 draft.

Draftmetrics.com has come out with some interesting statistics regarding some projected outcomes for the 2013 draft based on results from the NFL Drafts of 1993 through 2006.
There will be 254 players drafted this year.  Following is a sampling of their numerous projections:

171 players (67.3%) will play at least three seasons
130 players (51.2%) will play at least five seasons
77 players (30.3%) will start for at least three seasons (a “starter” is someone who starts at least 8 games in a season).
58 players (22.8%) will start for at least five seasons.
42 players (16.5%) will start as rookies (based on draft years 1993-2012 rather than 1993-2006).
24 players (10.6%) will be selected for at least 1 Pro Bowl
13 players (5.1%) will be selected at least once as All Pro
10 players (3.9%) will be selected for at least 3 Pro Bowls
Only 3 players (1.2%) will be selected at least three times as All Pro (and to elaborate, two of these
      three players are likely to end up on teams that have one of the Top 13 draft picks this year, while
      the third three-time All Pro will end up with one of the other 19 teams selecting #14 through #32.

OTHER MISCELLANEOUS NFL NEWS

This info is old and cold, offered up on February 4th, but the MGM Race and Sports Book came out with 2014 Super Bowl odds almost immediately after Super Bowl XLVII was over.
San Francisco and Denver opened as 5-1 favorites to win next year’s championship game.
New England and Green Bay opened as 7-1 shots.
Defending Champ Baltimore joins Seattle and Houston with 10-1 opening odds.
And the “rebuilding” teams: Jacksonville at 200-1 and Kansas City at 150-1
I’ll update these numbers for all 32 teams just prior to the start of the regular season, but I’m guessing that KC will not be as high as 150-1 and Baltimore will probably go higher than 10-1.


QUIZ QUESTIONS

QUESTION #1:  The NFL’s longest-serving active player and the player who has played in more games for one team than any other player in NFL history decided in early April to retire and not lace up the shoes for 2013.  Who is he?
HINT 1: He’s 42 years old.
HINT 2: He played in the “Black and Blue” division.

QUESTION #2:  In 2012, there were eight NFL quarterbacks that did all of the following: passed for over 4000 yards, threw 20 or more TD passes, completed at least 65% of passes thrown, and had a passer rating of at least 85.0.  I’ll give you the “easy” four, and you come up with the other four.
Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers.
You may be able to get three more, but the eighth one is a shocker.
BONUS: Of these eight QB’s, all have won at least one career playoff game, except one.  Which one?


ANSWER #1:
Jason Hanson, who owns NFL records for most career 50-yard field goals (51) and most games played with one team (327).  He is still hampered by a heel injury that he developed last year, and he doesn’t want to compete at a limited level.  “I lost a little of my desire to play injured.”

ANSWER #2:
Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, and Matt Schuab, and …
Carson Palmer, the eighth QB and answer to the bonus question.  He will be the new starting QB for the Arizona Cardinals this year (unless AZ takes a QB with the #7 pick in the 2013 draft and that guy can beat out the aging 2002 Heisman Trophy winner).
To replace Palmer in Oakland, the Raiders brought in Matt Flynn (SEA) to compete.
Arizona shipped out QB Kevin Kolb, and he ended up in Buffalo.

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