Draft King Analysis|
September 18, 2015
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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Late night Friday version from me this week, and I can't promise this will be particularly coherent after my whirlwind day. I'll do my best.
Earlier today I drove from Nashville to Memphis to do play-by-play for the webcast of the Father Ryan High School vs. Evangelical Christian School varsity football game. Until I arrived I thought I would be doing it solo, and I prepared accordingly. But props to Owen Dougharty from the FRHS Behind the Crest student broadcasting program, who was able to make the trip and work the game with me as the color commentator. Owen being there made it much easier for me to do my job.
I love to broadcast football games, but it leaves me mentally and emotionally exhausted, if not physically as well with my voice by the end. Also, I shift into "announcer mode" once I'm ready to go live, and it takes time for me to unwind from that. My usual INTP personality doesn't exactly snap back into place right away.
But, overall, I really enjoy it, even when it involves a whirlwind round trip. And if I'm able to teach the high school kids a few things, that's even better.
Enough about me -- let's overreact to Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season, shall we? Only kidding. Sort of. Just remember, last year the Titans went into Kansas City on opening weekend and won 26-10. Tennessee then proceeded to lose 14 of its final 15 games.
In the era of the instant hot take on Twitter, it was amusing reading back on my timeline to see just how quickly many people were ready to write off Peyton Manning last night against the Chiefs after a rough start. Manning then turned things around to rally the Broncos in what was a heartbreaking loss for Kansas City, one of those early division home games you know might come back to haunt you if you don't close it out.
Manning is a wily veteran, but he's 39 and has been taking NFL-level hits since 1998. When he broke in as a rookie starter 17 years ago, QBs didn't have anything close to the level of protection they have today. For example, it's jarring to go back and watch the 1998 NFC Championship Game (sorry Vikings fans) and see the beating that Falcons QB Chris Chandler took while playing the game of his life.
To be sure, there are plenty of things that are penalties now which weren't penalties then.
Going back to the Chiefs, how about the red-hot start by CB Marcus Peters, who has had a pick-six in each of his first two games as a pro? Here's what I wrote about him in the November 10, 2014 version of my 2015 NFL Mock Draft, when I had him projected to Dallas at #25:
Things didn't work out for Peters with the new administration at the University of Washington. But forget that: Peters is supremely talented and would be a great fit at a need spot for the Cowboys.
It really bothered me how Peters was demonized after things got sideways between him and the new-for-2014 coaching staff at the University of Washington. It was typical of how college athletes end up with a raw deal, which is what happens when you make millions for others and have no collective bargaining power.
Think about this: the coach who recruited Peters to Washington, Steve Sarkisian, walked out on his team to coach for a conference rival (and a bigger paycheck). He was replaced by Chris Petersen, who walked out on Boise State to take the Washington job (and a bigger paycheck). Petersen is a noted disciplinarian, and Peters was stuck in a tough bait-and-switch scenario that didn't end well for him.
So, I say, bravo to Kansas City for doing its due diligence on Peters and making the decision to use the #18 overall pick on him in the most recent draft. So far, so good with that move.
Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg would be well-served to have a strong performance tomorrow night at home against a reeling Rutgers team that is facing serious problems, to put it mildly. Hackenberg is said to not be worried about his stats in 2015, which is good to hear since a 48.1% completion rate (as he has through two games) is nothing to be content about having.
Teams are smartening up to just how important accuracy is in the modern NFL... or at least I would like to believe they are. But between Hackenberg throwing more interceptions than touchdowns in 2014 and his less-than-stellar start to 2015, I'm ready to drop him from the first round of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft if things don't change soon.