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Draft King Analysis
January 15, 2013
Lou Pickney,

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

That Seattle/Atlanta game was one for the ages on Sunday. Somehow, inexplicably, the Seahawks and Falcons managed to meet the high standard set by Saturday's games. The only thing disappointing about it, save for the letdown felt by the legions of Seattle fans disappointed with the outcome, was Brian Billick's performance on TV color commentary. I've thought for some time that he was underrated in the role, but unfortunately he wasn't on his A-game on Sunday. But I still give FOX credit for mixing things up a bit, something CBS Sports has seemed very hesitant to do in the past across the board (see: Billy Packer, Dan Dierdorf, etc.)

Sadly, the best NFL color commentator around, Mike Mayock, wasn't involved due to his contractual obligations to other networks. Such is life. More realistically, FOX could have had Gus Johnson on play-by-play for that Seattle/Atlanta game, which would have been absolutely crazy in a good way. Too bad that didn't happen.

But, announcing misgivings aside, this past weekend was a great one overall for NFL fans. There are plenty of fun sports and exciting moments and thrilling games in competitions around the world, but there is something special about the NFL playoffs. I-A/FBS college football fans will finally get a taste of that when the Mini-Playoffs debut in 2014. Just one more year to go for that. But, for now, the NFL is the undisputed king of the postseason as far as I'm concerned.

Today is the final day for draft-eligible underclassmen to apply for "special eligibility" for the 2013 NFL Draft. If it was really something special, Jadeveon Clowney would be able to apply for it. There's nothing truly special about the process -- either you're three or more years removed from your high school class graduation year or you're not. But, whatever you want to call it, today is decision day. Last chance, Taylor Lewan. The train is pulling out from the station and it isn't coming back around until next January.

I forget sometimes that people can write to me on my @DraftKing account, particularly since it doesn't notify me via email (and it's spotty at best at notifying me on my @LouPickney primary account). Here are a couple from earlier this month that I missed...

3:17 PM - 1 Jan 13
: @DraftKing where would you have Georgia's QB Murphy if he declared for the draft?

Lou: Did you mean Aaron Murray? Or the ending of RoboCop? Or Atlanta favorite Dale Murphy?

I kid, I kid. And, much to the delight of Georgia Bulldog fans, Aaron Murray has said he plans to return for his senior season. My take: he will likely improve with another year in college, though with this being such a weak year for QB prospects, who knows where he would have gone.

His 64.5% completion rate was pretty strong, ditto for 34 TDs against 10 interceptions. But having another year to prove himself against SEC competition, provided that he proves up to the challenge, should be worthwhile for him. Murray is below prototype height at 6'1", which isn't a deal killer but might have made him comparison less favorably with the likes of, say, NC State QB Mike Glennon or Tennessee QB Tyler Bray. But the bottom line is that Murray wasn't likely to be a first-round pick in April, but with a strong 2013 be could be next April, and there's something to be said for that.

12:07 AM - 5 Jan 13
: @DraftKing your projections of the #Bears taking Matt Barkley with their first rounder are giving me night terrors

Lou: It's hard for me to envision the Bears using their first-rounder on Barkley unless they unload Smokin' Jay Cutler, and there's no guarantee (or even an indication) that we'll see that happen. Not yet, anyway.

At the same time, since I've held off from updating my mock beyond some mild adjustments as of late, I'm not sure that Barkley still has the grasp on the #2 quarterback spot that it once appeared he had. Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson, who ended up being waylaid by the Arkansas program's free-fall following the Bobby Petrino scandal, will now have the next few months to prove his quarterbacking ability. I hope Johnny Manziel is taking notes for what can happen to a quarterback when he loses two top-tier offensive tackles after what transpired with Barkley this past season at USC without Tyron Smith or Matt Kalil to block for him.

Once everything is locked into place as far as who's in and who's out for the 2013 Draft, the real fun can begin. We know the top 28 slots and will have the top 30 by the end of Sunday. Coaches and general managers are being hired, teams will soon begin starting to show their hand as far as who's staying and who's going personnel-wise, and the long off-season draft-eligible player vetting process will move into full swing.


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