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Draft King Analysis
August 27, 2012
Lou Pickney,

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

First things first -- my friends over at Draft Kings (similar name but very different than what I do) have a $10,000 freeroll fantasy football game for week one of the NFL season. My week one team is already locked in, and I strongly recommend that you give it a try. No bait and switch, no nonsense, just the chance to play a free game with some nice guaranteed money included. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

-The usual fan weariness is starting to set in with the start of the NFL season still more than a week away. Don't worry, it will be here soon enough, and we're less than 72 hours out from the start of the college season. High school football has started, including in Nashville, where my alma mater, Father Ryan High School, is off to a 2-0 start. It kills me to not be able to do color commentary for their webcasts this fall; besides my ex-girlfriend's dog, Clyde, I probably miss broadcasting FRHS games more than anything else from living in Nashville. Oh well, at least I can watch the live broadcasts online, even if I'm no longer able to be in the broadcast booth for them.

-I'll be in Tampa at the end of next month for the Florida State/USF game (time still TBA on that one) on 9/29 and Redskins/Buccaneers NFL game on 9/30. That should be fun. I'm glad Hurricane Isaac didn't wreck the Tampa Bay area since I still have plenty of friends in that area from my days working in TV and radio there, though I do have concerns for Louisiana and Mississippi. Before I went to sleep this morning I was badgering friends of mine in New Orleans who hadn't evacuated yet to leave town. Hurricanes are no joke, and I'm not talking about the University of Miami.

One of my regrets from my Tampa days was never making it to a USF game in person. Barring something unexpected, I'll be able to see FSU CB Xavier Rhodes play in person, which will be good since he's one of the best cornerback prospects in the country. Between Rhodes and NC State's David Amerson, the ACC is the heavy favorite at this point to have the top corner drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft.

-It was amusing to read the online reaction to Honey Badger going to "rehab" earlier this month. They don't know his situation and neither do I. What I do know is that people go to rehab for their image more than anything. Honey Badger looked like he would go in the 20-30 range in the 2013 NFL Draft. Now? He's more likely to hit in rounds two or three. Selfishly, I am disappointed as a fan that he won't be returning punts and making crazy tackles for LSU while Verne Lundquist does his chortling routine on CBS.

-When I redo the 2013 Draft King mock, which I plan to do after this upcoming weekend of college football games, I will make some adjustments for players like Honey Badger and Tennessee Vols WR Da'Rick Rogers. After being the go-to receiver for the Volunteers last fall after fellow WR star Justin Hunter tore the ACL in his left knee against Florida, it was a touch-and-go situation with Rogers during spring practice, with him reportedly considering transferring at that point before being talked into returning. Then, earlier this month, Tennessee put Rogers on "indefinite suspension" and today Rogers announced his plans to transfer to Tennessee Tech. Former Vanderbilt head coach Watson Brown runs the show for T-Tech in Cookeville, TN a couple of hours west from Knoxville down Interstate 40, and it will be interesting to see how Rogers does for Tech when they play at Oregon on 9/15.

Da'Rick Rogers
Da'Rick Rogers scored touchdowns even when he lost his helmet last season. Good luck stopping him, FCS defenses. (US PRESSWIRE)

Last week, Joe Schad reported that Rogers had "violated the school's substance abuse policy", which says something considering certain time-honored traditions in Knoxville during the Phillip Fulmer era. Things are a bit different now with the man in the orange slacks running the show, though if Tennessee posts another 5-7 record this year you can expect Derek Dooley to be shown the door in Knoxville.

The suspension/transfer situation could cost Rogers a spot in the first round of next year's draft, but if it means a team like Miami can snag him toward the top of the second round, then it's advantage: team in need. There will obviously be concerns by NFL teams about the off-the-field stuff, but it wasn't a fluke that Rogers lead the SEC in receptions and receiving yards last year. He's 6'3" 215 with great hands and outstanding speed. And, while he won't have much time to learn T-Tech's offense, he is reuniting with his high school quarterback there, so at least there's some existing chemistry there for them.

-Another change I will make is regarding the needs of the Indianapolis Colts. After years of running a Tampa Two style system that didn't require great size/speed at cornerback, the team is now operating a 3-4 scheme and needs the kind of elite corners that they could pass up under their old system. I had anticipated the Colts addressing that need in next year's draft, but Indy instead traded their 2013 second-round pick and a conditional selection to Miami for CB Vontae Davis. It was a bold move, but the fact that the Colts were willing to do that despite some of Davis' troubles with the Dolphins speaks volumes about the premium that most teams have on top cornerback talents in the modern NFL.

-When the college games begin this Thursday night, be sure to check Twitter soon after for the deluge of confused/angry posts by fans who aren't aware that college football kickoffs now happen from the 35 yard line and touchbacks on kickoffs come out to the 25 yard line, not the 20. You can expect the announcers to spout the NCAA propaganda about it being safer for the players. But the reality is simple: football is an inherently dangerous, violent sport that sometimes causes permanent injury to the participants, everything from brain damage to paralysis. Fiddling with the kickoff rules won't change that fact.

There have been a number of questionable rule changes to the college game in recent years, from the play clock change (done for television reasons -- don't try to argue otherwise with me) to the mindless "if you celebrate before you score a TD we'll call it back" rule to now the bizarre change to kickoffs that now give us two different types of touchbacks; punts that go into the end zone will still come out to the 20, not the 25. The one change that was desperately needed, the addition of a playoff system, finally happened, but it won't go into effect until 2014 and will be in Mini Vader "fun-size" form with only four teams involved... at least until the power brokers involved see how much money can be made from having a proper postseason.


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