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Draft King Analysis
July 28, 2012
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com

Reader feedback is always welcomed here on Draft King. Sound off with your thoughts on Twitter (@LouPickney) or via email at LouPickney@gmail.com.


Coming soon... the 2012 Draft King top defensive prospect preview.

A few thoughts:

-The college football season begins on August 30. That's just a little more than a month from now. And, to tide you over until then will be pre-season NFL football, high school games, and unexpected training camp cuts and feuds. Hell, right now the Dolphins are trying to build a time machine to go back in time to late April and not burn the #8 pick in the draft on Ryan Tannehill.

I kid, I kid... but until he proves me wrong, I feel that Miami taking Tannehill at #8 was a mistake, just like I still think the Titans drafting Jake Locker was a mistake in 2011. Now that I'm out of Nashville I have less pressure on me to play nice about that move. Maybe he will prove me wrong and prove to be a great NFL QB. Maybe the same is true for Tannehill, but until I see otherwise, I will remain defiant in my belief that neither were worthy of their respective high draft slots.

-If you're a fan of a team with a legit chance to contend in the AFC, you have to be pissed about the Rams giving up their home game against the Patriots for the right to play them at a neutral site in London, right? It's easy to forget now, but the Rams beat the Saints in St. Louis last year. If you're a Rams season ticket holder, you have to be pissed that your team voluntarily gave up one home regular-season game a year for the next three years. Unless the NFL agreed to some under the table style deal to help the Rams move back to Los Angeles (which they didn't), Rams ownership voluntarily put their team at a competitive disadvantage for the next three years in exchange for helping the NFL in its quixotic quest to push American football onto the UK.

Look, I spent a semester of school at the fantastic Harlaxton College in Grantham, England (and had the time of my life), and I learned enough about British culture to know that it's a nation obsessed with soccer... or what they call football. It's somewhat surprising to me that the league puts so much effort into trying to "get over" in the UK. The Brits have plenty of cool sports of their own to enjoy, like snooker or cricket, but soccer is their obsession.

-If you have Spotify, look up the song "Keep It Together" by The Co. Give it a listen. Just trust me on this one. And, no, this has nothing to do with football -- it's just a really, really good song that those who are lucky enough to have heard it can like and appreciate.

-It's amusing to me to see what Greg Schiano is doing with the Bucs, trying to play the Mr. Hardass role there. Maybe it will work, but there is a long line of successful college coaches who failed to succeed on the NFL level. Pete Carroll jumping to Seattle I can understand since he saw that the USC ship was about to sink, even though his NFL history wasn't exactly stellar. Nick Saban gave it a try with the Dolphins and ultimately went back to the SEC. Guys like Carroll or Saban who are masterful recruiters give up a huge competitive edge when they go to the NFL, and while they might be enticed by a big payday, ultimately they limit their ability to gain maximum success since recruiting is done in the NFL with cash, not slick talking.

This isn't to say that Schiano will fail in Tampa Bay, but just that guys like Jimmy Johnson are few and far between, and much of Johnson's success was connected with his ability to masterfully wheel-and-deal (along with owner/de facto GM Jerry Jones), including finding a sucker in the Vikings to go along with the super one-sided Herschel Walker trade. Keep in mind also that Johnson went 1-15 in his first season in the NFL before leading the Cowboys to Super Bowl wins in the 1992 and 1993 seasons.

But I look at the Bucs dealing DT Brian Price to the Bears for a conditional late-round pick and I scratch my head. Price was the 2009 Pac-10 player of the year. Has his star really fallen that far that fast? The Herschel Walker trade it was not, for sure.

-We really, really, *really* need a different word to differentiate between unsigned draft picks and players under contract who are refusing to report to camp. Chris Johnson refusing to report to training camp with the Titans last year? That's a holdout. Kendall Wright being unsigned? It's not fair to call that a holdout. Those are two very different situations. The Titans hold Wright's NFL rights and they haven't reached an agreement yet -- he isn't holding out from anything.

Maurice Jones-Drew
Maurice Jones-Drew has two years remaining on his current contract with Jacksonville. (US PRESSWIRE)
The same is true for Steelers WR Mike Wallace. He's not under contract with Pittsburgh, and while I suspect he will eventually sign his one-year RFA tender (most likely prior to the start of the season or perhaps at the deadline for 2012 to count toward his NFL tenure), he is under no obligation to do so.

Do you want to know how you can tell the difference between someone who is a holdout and someone who isn't? It's real simple: a holdout is subject to daily $30,000 fines for missing required team events, a significant increase that happened under the new CBA. Wright and Tannehill and Wallace won't be hit with that. But if Maurice Jones-Drew refuses to report to camp in Jacksonville? Boom, the meter starts running at $30K a day. THAT is a holdout. By not reporting on Thursday and being out of camp today, that $90,000 in fines and counting.

Note: the jacked-up maximum daily penalty was a huge factor in folding the holdouts of guys like 49ers RB Frank Gore and Eagles WR DeSean Jackson last year after our long national nightmare ended and the new NFL CBA was ratified. Only Chris Johnson was able to parlay a post-new CBA holdout into a new contract, and that was in large part due to him being just one year removed from a 2,000+ yard rushing season.

-There's not much more I can add to what has already been written about the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State sexual abuse scandal, other than that I believe the Nittany Lions were spared the death penalty because of the impact it would have had on the Big Ten. SMU received the death penalty in 1987 and, to a large degree, that set the wheels in motion for the ultimate demise of the Southwest Conference. I don't think that the same would have happened to the Big Ten (too much power/money there), but the fact that Penn State didn't even receive a TV ban speaks volumes about the economics in modern college football, even in the midst of the most horrible of scandals, and the ripple one school can have on an entire conference.

-As of this writing it's not official, but it appears extremely likely that USC will pry away RB Silas Redd from Penn State, creating a very impressive offensive trio with Matt Barkley at QB and Robert Woods at WR. Time will tell if Aundrey Walker will be able to be a viable left offensive tackle for the Trojans, and Barkley will be able to show if he can maintain his consistent passing numbers without Matt Kalil. Two years ago, Barkley had a pair of future top ten NFL draft picks at both tackle spots to protect him (Kalil and Tyron Smith) -- the same will not be true this fall.


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