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Draft King Analysis
September 11, 2013
Lou Pickney,

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This is the point of the year when people begin trying to analyze early results from both college and NFL football games, which can sometimes be enlightening but at other times can be highly misleading. Remember the 2012 Arizona Cardinals starting 4-0, including a win at New England that destroyed Knockout Pool brackets across the globe? They finished 5-11 and are a strong reminder why you would be wise not to get too high, or too low, about early results.

At the same time, it's hard to imagine a worse start to the season than what the Pittsburgh Steelers endured on Sunday. It's not just the home loss to the Titans, it's the season-ending injuries to multiple starters, most notably center Maurkice Pouncey who suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee. Losing ILB Larry Foote to a torn triceps won't help things either. Interestingly, the multiple Cincinnati Bengals fans I know here in Huntington aren't getting their hopes up -- they've been teased too often. Their last playoff win came against the Houston Oilers in January 1991.

One big surprise in week one was the huge performance by San Francisco 49ers WR Anquan Boldin against Green Bay: 13 receptions for 208 yards and one touchdown. Not bad for a guy who turns 33 next month playing in his first game with a new team. Boldin had some monster seasons during his seven years with the Cardinals, but after somewhat reduced productivity in his three seasons in Baltimore, his breakout game one caught many people by surprise, including me.

People are still buzzing about the first half performance by the Philadelphia Eagles in Landover, Maryland against the Washington Redskins in the early game of Monday night's NFL double-header. The hurry-up on fire worked particularly well when Washington's defensive line began to tire late in the first half, and while new head coach Chip Kelly and QB Michael Vick are receiving the bulk of the mainstream attention, the return of four-time former All-Pro offensive tackle Jason Peters cannot be overlooked. His health in 2013 will play a major role in how much success the Eagles will be able to achieve.

Speaking of mainstream attention, the overexposure of South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney remains problematic as far as his popularity goes. He's had the look of a future NFL star since his high school days, but that huge hit on Michigan RB Vincent Smith on New Year's Day 2013 in the Outback Bowl has been driven into the ground and broadcasters have been focusing on him to an inordinate degree. There was, and will continue to be, backlash about this. But if he stays healthy, it's hard to envision a scenario where he isn't taken with one of the top five picks -- and he could end up going #1 overall depending on which team ends up with that selection.

If you've missed it, I recommend that you read the Sports Illustrated in-depth feature story about Oklahoma State. As of this writing two of the five sections have been published online, but whether you believe the claims made, it's rather remarkable how many people went on the record for the story. I don't have any first-hand knowledge of the allegations made, but it doesn't look good, at least depending on who you find most credible.

Late add: While I was sleeping (and keep in mind that I work overnights), Charles Robinson and company at Yahoo dropped this bombshell of a report about SEC player payoffs. So maybe D.J. Fluker's Twitter account wasn't hacked after all this past April? And to provide proper context, the always-great Dan Wetzel penned this great article about the folly of many of the NCAA's rules.


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