One of the fun things about the NFL draft is that no team will ever master it. Even teams that have a history of drafting well—like Pittsburgh and Baltimore—make terrible selections from time to time (like Huey Richardson!). And that's because there's no hard set of metrics that will ever predict a college player's pro potential with 100 percent accuracy. Sure, you can measure basic athletic skills through 40-yard dash times and seeing how many times a lineman can bench press a barbell with two cows hanging from each side. But those are simple tests of athleticism. Those are tests that tell a team "Well, he's a good enough athlete," which doesn't amount to much of anything in a league that has nothing but good athletes at every position.
And a scout can conduct personal interviews, but those probably establish more baseless prejudices about a player than if you never met him at all. If you meet Matt Barkley and he had diarrhea the night before and he's too concerned about his terrible case of swampass to answer your questions effusively, then you're probably marking him down on your report. DURRRR HE DOESN'T SEEM TO WANT IT DURRRRRR. I say all that knowing that Matt Barkley will be fucking terrible, but still. A six-hour interview with a player may seem extensive, but it's still a laughable sample size compared to the rest of his existence.
Plus, the scout's own report itself can end up altering the player's potential. Look at PFW writer Nolan Nawrocki's now-infamous write-up of West Virginia QB Geno Smith:
“ Not a student of the game. Nonchalant field presence — does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire. Mild practice demeanor — no urgency. Not committed or focused — marginal work ethic."
There's no way Geno Smith didn't read that report and say FUCK THAT GUY and then go do 500 wind sprints up and down a mountainside. Cam Newton got a similar writeup from Nawrocki and proceeded to have one of the finest rookie seasons ever, followed by a relatively disappointing year in which he scored "only" 27 TDs, threw for nearly 4,000 yards, and wore a sweater that everyone hated.
The process of the draft itself can change a player. Even your position can affect your future. There have been countless instances of players like Randy Moss and Aaron Rodgers, who drop down to the bottom of the first round, seethe in anger, and then destroy everything in sight after being properly motivated. If those men were to be re-drafted in their respective drafts again, they'd go right near the top (or to the very top, in Rodgers's case). And if that happened, who knows if they would have the same careers?
Conversely, you have players like Ryan Leaf who are drafted too high, given too much money and notoriety, and then shit the bed. The process of the draft essentially ruins them, not that Ryan Leaf didn't already have plenty of turd inside him prior to that. You can't account for how the draft will impact a player before the draft has happened, nor can you account for how that player will adjust to a new organization, new teammates, and a new city to live in.
Even game tape, which would seem to be useful since you get to watch a player PLAY, is unreliable. The competition level in college football ranges from Alabama to Chattahoochee Valley Community College, and that's just at the team level. Your prospect could be locked in coverage with a NFL-level talent on a shitty team, or a scrub on a Top 10 team. Game tape can also reinforce prejudices, both good and bad. "Wow! Look at that block he made! If I can just get him to make THAT block on every single play, he'll be a Hall of Famer!" Scouts can try to be as objective as possible, but they're human. People see what they want to see. And if you're in a tape room at 10 p.m., looking at your 57th prospect of the day, you're probably not gonna be as sharp judging him as you were with the guy you first looked at in the morning. It's like casting a film. Your enthusiasm naturally wanes. Things begin to blend together. Scouts like to think their reports are ironclad—and GMs love having those reports as "evidence" to justify a pick—but they aren't. And the difference between college football and pro football is so vast that even consistently reliable game tape still isn't perfect.
The NFL is a league that craves certainty. There always has to be a best team in the power rankings, or a class of "elite" QBs, or a surefire number-one pick, which is funny because this is a league that has made its audience based on its wild fluctuations. The best team one week plays like dogshit the next week. A team that has a middling stretch of football like the Ravens did last year suddenly comes alive at the end. Scouts and GMs and coaches hate unpredictability, and yet the NFL's success depends upon it.
In fact, the success of the draft itself depends upon it. The fact that the draft is not and cannot be foolproof is what makes it dramatic. The draft isn't fun without the Leafs and the JaMarcuses and the KiJanas. Those busts stand as historic proof that the NFL draft remains out of control, even to the NFL's biggest control freaks. I'll never get tired of people like Mel Kiper, who spends all of his time dedicated to this single weekend, fucking things up so badly. The man once had Jimmy Clausen at the top of his draft board, people. Jimmy Clausen. This is what makes the draft so very special.
So bust out your Straw-ber-ritas and celebrate, amigos. It's your NFL draft Jamboroo. YEEEEEEEEEHAWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!
All drafts in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
The Draft: I watched one of Jon Gruden's QB Camp segments, the one with Luke Joeckel (who isn't a QB, but ESPN isn't the kind of place to split hairs) and I have to tell you that those segments might be the most homoerotic thing on television. It's just Gruden and a young protégé, sitting in a dark room, sitting side-by-side, watching "tape" of the prospect in action. You constantly feel as if Gruden is a heartbeat away from busting out a bottle of champagne, putting on a porno, and telling Joeckel that he seems "really tense" before giving him a vigorous backrub.
I remember there was one point where they're watching Joeckel block someone and Gruden is in the throes of ECSTASY, saying to Joeckel, "Tell you what, I could watch this all day." Really? You could? It's just a fucking block. Let's not go nuts. People rave about these QB Camp segments without considering, for one second, that Jon Gruden is a crazy person. He really is. I bet when the cameras stop rolling he just lets loose and is like, "This is what I'm fucking talking about. Two men, sitting in some fucking chairs, watching some fucking tape. THIS IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT, FOLKS." I would like to watch a psychoanalyst break down these segments in real time, as they occur. That would be way better than watching the segment itself.
Anyway, time for the random crap...
• Manti Te'o has already said he won't be attending this draft, which sucks. The NFL owners should collectively pay him $2 million just to attend. There's no rule against it (NOTE: There's probably a rule against it). It would be worth their $2 million to have Te'o sitting in that green room while the whole world STARES at him and wonders how far he's gonna fall because he was such a moron.
By the way, I love that one anonymous scout puffing his chest and telling NFL.com that his team took Te'o off their board.
He doesn't have enough ability to put up with all that.
Oh, go fuck yourself. DURRRR WE AIN'T THE TYPE TO TOLERATE DISTRACTIONS 'ROUND HERE. If Te'o falls to Round 3, that team would probably swipe him in a heartbeat. The NFL is full of raging imbeciles. You may as well take a chance on a guy who's already been exposed as one. Better than drafting a shithead who doesn't know he's a shithead yet.
• By the way, no offense to Alan Gendreau, the gay former college kicker trying to get a spot on an NFL team, but that would be the lamest way for the first openly gay athlete to come into pro sports. I want a HEADLINER, dammit. I want Ryan Tannehill calling a press conference and being like, "THE HOT WIFE WAS ALL A RUSE!" Kickers are barely treated as NFL players to begin with. Tack on the fact that Gendreau is basically a practice squad player and you have the most obscure player humanly possible to attempt to make such a big splash. That's good for him, and I salute his candor, but the people at BIG GAY need to push one of their big gay stars out of the closet first. Come on, Anonymous Star Gay Player Who May Be Friends With Mike Freeman: DON'T LET A KICKER OUTSHINE YOU.
• ESPN has instituted a policy this year forbidding reporters like Adam Schefter from tweeting out picks. They're only allowed to "speculate" on potential picks before they're announced, which is fucking stupid because now Schefter will have to say, "I bet the Chiefs could take Luke Joeckel at this spot," instead of just coming out and saying it. Those picks will get tweeted out before they're announced anyway, so I dunno why ESPN would bother with it. It's not the same as Berman tipping picks like an asshole. You don't HAVE to look at Twitter during the draft. It's not inherently tied to the broadcast feed. You may as well let Schefter tweet the picks for people who hate surprises, which I believe is a legitimate genetic condition.
• I need some sort way of shocking people through Gchat so that they stay on topic. It's always aggravating to start chatting with someone, then have them suddenly fork the chat into two completely different lines of conversation... Oh hey, we have to figure out where we're meeting on Saturday Night. DID YOU HEAR THEY CAUGHT THE BOSTON GUY?! Whoa whoa whoa, slow down there. Only one topic at a time. Let's not divide this thing into a 64-part family tree of chat strings. Let's address Saturday first, then get to the news. We're losing rhythm, people.
Sometimes, I'll ask someone a question over Gchat or email, but they'll have moved onto a different topic already and will FAIL to go back and address the old topic. Don't do that to me, motherfucker. Finish the cycle. I need to know if you liked that shirt on me or not.
• I took my kid to the bank the other day and I realized that there are few things worse than exposing your kids to an ATM. I've spent the past year trying to teach my oldest kid about money. I give her a weekly allowance that she gets if she takes out the trash and helps with the baby. I make her buy her own crap if she wants stupid crap. I keep telling her to NOT buy stupid crap and save her money for something more important, like a motorcycle.
All of that teaching goes out the window the second your kid sees you at an ATM. I'm like, "You must save your money. It's very valuable. NOW'S LET GO SEE THE MAGIC FUCKING MACHINE THAT SPITS OUT A HUNDRED BUCKS WHEN I PUSH A FEW BUTTONS." Kids see that ATM working and they think money grows on trees. I had to work (kind of) to make it so that the machine gives me the money, little girl. YOU'RE PAYING FOR GAS FROM NOW ON.
• Nobody told me that growing old included growing neck pubes. I went to look in the bathroom mirror the other day and there was a wiry hair about three feet long sprouting out of the side of my neck. That's not cool, God. Seriously. There's no greater sign that your entire body is breaking down than your wrinkled skin randomly shooting out neck pubes. Who even knows how long that thing was there. I bet someone at the gym noticed. Christ.
• My wife snores sometimes (as do I), and when someone next to you is snoring, the only real way to get them to stop is to hit them, so that they change into a position where their sinuses aren't blocked by 50 pounds of mucus. Anyway, I try to do this as lightly as possible. Just a love tap. But that never works. To stop a snorer, sometimes you really have to bring the hammer down. And so some mornings I'll wake up and we'll have this exchange.
ME: Hey, you were snoring last night.
HER: I was?
ME: Oh yeah (imitates her snoring).
HER: (laughing) Oh God.
ME: I had to kick your ass to get you to stop. Really wailed on you.
HER: Did I stop?
HER: Oh well, that's good.
A week later, I'll be the one snoring and get my ass kicked. There's really no other way to deal with snorers. All physical abuse is permitted in handling them.
• I can't think of a more depressing upcoming season than the Jets 2013 season. The Jets just went 6-10 with Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez and no Darrelle Revis. And now they're gonna do it AGAIN! Holy shit, that is awful. They could have at least fired Rex in January and made SOMETHING different. They haven't even cut Tebow yet. I feel like there needs to be a BIG GOVERNMENT takeover of the Jets. Just use a billion dollars in taxpayer money, buy the team, fire everyone, clean the feces out of the parking lot, and find an Italian entrepreneur to purchase the team at a modest profit. Surely there's some kind of eminent domain law that can used to get the team away from Woody Johnson before he fucks it up for another 12 months.
• The Jags, Dolphins, and Vikings are all re-designing their unis for the offseason and I'm happy to report that the matte helmet trend is finally making its way to the NFL. The Vikings helmet looks like it's all-matte, while the Jags opted for a fucked-up receding hairline of a helmet that turns all glossy and gold at the crown. I bet the players adore them. Players love the batshit craziest-looking uniforms possible. We're only 12 months away from a team using 60 different shades of matte coloring and peacock feathers in their new uni design. Player play fast when they feel sexy. I bet Buzz Bissinger commissioned Gucci to make six leather replicas of the Jaguars uni for him to jerk off into.
• I went to a karaoke bar this offseason (IMPORTANT NOTE: Deadspin editor Tommy Craggs LOVES karaoke). Anyway, the wait between choosing your song and getting to sing it is just agonizing. I get sweaty and shaky and start fiddling with my hands. Then just when I think my turn is up, some other asshole pops up to sing a Nu Shooz song and I'm like, FUCK YOU! THIS IS MY MOMENT! Karaoke is not relaxing.
Jukeboxes at bars operate on a similar level. If I put my money in and the song hasn't played for 20 minutes, I'm about ready to take a crowbar to the machine. I want everyone to know that I picked a Jimmy Cliff song! BOW DOWN TO MY MUSICAL TASTES! I SHOULD DJ AT COACHELLA.
• Devin Friedman at GQ wrote this great big article on legal weed products here in the US, and a lot of the edible weed products available now are so concentrated that you only have to eat, like, half a cookie to get stoned. And my question is... WHY? Doesn't it strike you as a bad idea to put insanely concentrated amounts of pot into munchie form? Why not spread it out a little, so you can eat a whole bag of chips and be decently buzzed? Do you die if you eat a whole pack of weed gummi bears? I don't need that much weed inside one gummi bear. Stoners aren't exactly known for their restraint around edible foodstuffs. We're looking at a future of millions of lollipop ODs, people. I read the article and I was like, "I'm glad pot is being legalized, but I didn't know you were gonna do THIS with it."
• I visited my sister in California last month and my sister has an oven that tells you the temperature inside the oven as it's pre-heating. This is brilliant. Watching an oven pre-heat otherwise is AGONY. All I want to do is bake some frozen cookie dough, but this stupid oven is still pre-heating after 90 hours. The least the oven can do is tell you what the hell is going on in there while you wait for it to finally reach 350 degrees. Half the time, I just throw the cookies in anyway when it's 60 degrees inside. Mmmmm... melted dough.
• I was in an airport bathroom the other week and went to wash my hands. There was a towel dispenser next to the sink. I washed my hands, and went to grab a towel from the dispenser, but my hands made the towel wet and the wet part of it tore away, leaving me with 1/20th of a paper towel. I did this 900 more times before finally getting a full towel. SO MUCH ANGER.
• I like Matt Taibbi's advice to always draft the weed guy. You could win a Super bowl with 21 weed guys and one lucid QB. You really could.
Predraft Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Unknown Awareness," by Kylesa. From Jordo:
Grrrl lead guitar solos and double drum kits. Stupid made up sub-genre: "Southern Bayou Psych-Doom"
I'll take Southern Bayou Psych-Doom any day of the week. And I'm a big fan of any album cover that features what appears to be raining eyeballs. This band is awesome. I'm very glad to have them in my life now.
By the way, there's a 736-page oral history of metal dropping next month. FUCK AND YES, I am reading that.
Someone Could Get Hurt
I've got a new book coming out next month, Someone Could Get Hurt, which you can pre-order here at Amazon or at Barnes & Noble if you're feeling like a rebel. Anyway, if you like the Dadspin posts, this is your book. It's all new material AND there's, like, an actual narrative. I didn't just slap a bunch of shitty rants together. That's what THIS column is for. I wouldn't do you like that.
Anyway, there are some book tour dates set up right now. They'll add more if you scream obscenities at @GothamBooks on Twitter enough. And yes, there are two Brooklyn dates below because Brooklyn is annoying. That second one is some kind of show with, like, other people. You have to buy tickets for it. I bet you get a discount if you wear a really cool scarf to the venue.
5/20 - Austin, TX (Book People, 7 p.m.)
5/23 - Chicago, IL (Book Cellar, 7 p.m.)
6/3 - Brooklyn, NY (Book Court, 7 p.m.)
6/12 - Brooklyn, NY (Running Late Show at Galapagos Art Space, doors at 7 p.m., tickets can be purchased here)
6/13 - Cambridge, MA (Harvard Coop, time TBD)
6/14 - Washington, DC (Politics & Prose, 7 p.m.)
9/28 - Baltimore, MD (Baltimore Book Festival)
I'll also pick a bar for all of us to hang out at after the reading's over, like an old-school Deadspin Pants Party. There will be white guys AND more white guys! Should be awesome. I apologize in advance for all the book whoring. Baby needs shoes.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader John sends in this story I call POOP CALM:
I'm currently working late and just ran out to grab some Pot Belly's. On the way back to my office I was hit by a familiar rumble in my gut. I could tell this one was coming hot. Luckily I made it into the first floor bathroom of my office, sat down, and started spraying paint. Unfortunately though, the toilet had a stupidly high water level...not overflowing, just poorly designed. My dick was about a quarter inch from the acid-filth that was firing out of my back end. This presented a dilemma: reach in to rescue my stuff, and risk taking some poop shrapnel to the hand, or leave my manhood exposed to ricochet fire. I tried to clench a bit to keep my junk above water, which seemed to minimize things on that end.
Unfortunately the high water level meant that my asshole was also dangerously close to the surface. Explosive diarrhea at close to point-blank range is fucking intense. My balls and ass took the brunt of the ricochet action, including one of those terrible, return-to-sender splash-backs to the exit-hole that makes you want to jump off the can. Gahhhh. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I'm wearing white boxers.
So I cleaned up the best I could, but was freaked out that I'd missed something and didn't want to pull up my boxers yet. This was a large public bathroom, so I decided to keep my pants/boxers around my knees and made a mad dash to the paper towel dispenser, then to the sink to wet the towels, and finally back to my stall. Fortunately, nobody walked in during my idiot-sprint. Unfortunately I won't really know if that took care of things until I get home tonight. I want a shower.
Now for one of my own: I took my kids to a playground last weekend and after running around for a bit, my son said he had to take a shit. He was scratching his ass and starting to cry, he had to shit so badly. So I ran with him to a nearby school and dashed up the stairs, and I could tell that every step was killing him because he didn't want to hold it in.
So we get to the bathroom and I pull down his pants and it's a fucking MESS. There's shit all over his underwear, the back of his pants, his legs, everything. As I pulled the pants down, I actually dragged more shit along with them, down to his socks, before realizing how grave the situation was. He was mortified. I had emergency pants in the car (PHEW!) so I told to him to stay there and not let anyone in until I got back.
There was a janitor who saw me fly out of the bathroom and go running to my car, and now I was scared that the janitor would take advantage of a pantsless boy alone in a bathroom and go molest him while I was fetching the pants. I had my fists clenched as I ran back, convinced I was gonna have to stop him physically from assaulting my kid. Instead, I ran up the stairs and the guy stared at me again, like I was the dumbest father in history.
And I cleaned the boy up and just kept saying OH SHIT OH FUCK OH SHIT OH FUCK OH SHIT OH FUCK the whole time because shit was just EVERYWHERE. I had to wet paper towels to get the rest of it off his legs. It was the worst thing that has ever happened. Ever. I'm packing six pairs of emergency pants in my car and never taking my kids outside again.
Fire This Asshole!
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we'll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year's end or sooner. And now, your potential 2013 chopping block:
- Rex Ryan*
- Mike Munchak
- Ron Rivera
- Jason Garrett
- Jim Schwartz
- Greg Schiano
- Dennis Allen
- John Fox
- Andy Reid (for old time's sake)
*Potential midseason firing
I think the top five guys on that list have real lack of potential for this upcoming season. I mean, Rex has one foot out the door already. The Jets just needed 12 extra months to fire him because they're the Jets.
Drafttime Snack Of The Week
Breakfast cookies. Mmmmm... breakfast cookies. We bought these for my kids because they eat less than an Irish prisoner on a hunger strike, and they still wouldn't eat them. They're fucking insane. It's a cookie for breakfast, you fools!
They're delicious. They're so good, I ate five packs before realizing what kind of cumulative effect eating so many fibrous cookies would have on my bowels. I didn't shit right for a week. I still ate the rest of the box, though.
Drafttime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Mariachi! From John:
While looking for a nice 12-pack to bring to my friend's yearly Super Bowl party, I came across a box with what looked like the silhouette of Dusty Bottoms from "The Three Amigos." I mean, how can I say no to that? I have two words to describe the taste: Flat piss. The only thing worse than the taste that night were the shits the next day. I'm actually writing this from the toilet during my fifth session of the day.
Mmmmmmm... fifth poop of the day. I MUST HAVE IT. I love the bottle. I really do. Even with John's warnings, I still probably couldn't resist it.
Robert Evans's Steal Of The Draft Watch!
Time for legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans to give us his Steal of the draft. Take it away, Mr. Evans.
"Baby, my steal of the draft is Eddie Lacy of Alabama! Tough, strong, physical... like a young Heston! Oh, what an offseason we've had here at Woodland, gang. Paddleball in the morning. Lingerie kiteboarding in the afternoon. Blowjobs in the evening. THE FULL EVANS! What a time to be alive.
"Now, I've heard a lot about this Chargers team doctor who writes himself prescriptions and butchers kneecaps. And I have to say... What's the big deal, baby? Back in my day, we had ONE doctor on the Paramount lot... Dr. Haynes. Great guy? YOU BET! Willing to write a scrip for Merck Cocaine anytime I needed it? DAMN RIGHT. Doc did everything on the set. He operated on injured stuntmen. He performed rhinoplasty on starlets in the trailer. And we didn't have to pay him market rates because he wasn't a licensed doctor! TALK ABOUT A DEAL!
"He even gave Nicholson fake tits once. True story. Nicholson and I were shooting up hydrogen peroxide one night when Jack gives me the eyebrows and says to me, 'Evans, I'd love to try out a pair of tits for just a day.' And he wasn't joking. He had me call the Doc at 4 a.m. that night. Sure enough, Doc shows up, cuts his nipples wide open, stuffs two silicone implants inside Nicholson, hands him a morphine lollipop, and is out the door in 40 minutes flat!
"Well, Nicholson played with those tits for HOURS. He ran around the house buck naked and feeling himself up, screaming I'M A SHE-MALE TODAY, EVANS! Then he called in six hookers and had them titty-fuck him with strap-ons, which makes no sense! I think he really missed them after the Doc took them out the next day, but I can see why he didn't keep them. After all, he's got a nice rack of his own these days! ALL NATURAL, BABY."
Thursday Night Movie Of The Week For Redskins Fans (no pick)
Looper, a movie that makes no sense at all but is still awesome anyway. I don't know why, in the future, the mob would be the only people have black market access to time travel equipment. Also, it would probably be a lot more cost effective to just throw a corpse in a river than create an elaborate time travel loop just to eliminate people. Oh, and now people are telekinetic as a subplot? Holy shit, that's gilding the lily. Anyway, it's still worth it to watch lots of people get killed. I especially like any movie where a bad guy's hand gets smashed in a door. You get some really good finger acting when that happens.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"Ah, these uniforms are godsend. Horseplay is down 40 percent, youthful exuberance has been cut in half, and high spirits are at an all-time low."
Enjoy the draft, everyone.