The NFL is irrational on many levels, especially given the big ginger moron who runs everything. But the most irrational thing about it is that the price of the top pick in the draft—or a pick in close vicinity to it—has continued to be enormous even though both the data and the existence of Ryan Leaf have long since proven that it’s better to have many good draft picks instead of just a great one. Of the three rookie quarterbacks in history—Leaf, Eli Manning, RG3—acquired by trading away a buttload of picks, only Manning has had a long, successful career, and he’s still an immensely irritating player in spite of it.
In fact, even when you don’t hand over a king’s ransom, trading up for a quarterback usually turns out badly. Jeff George, The Original Jay Cutler, was acquired for a first-round swap, plus Andre Rison, Chris Hinton, and a fourth rounder. Michael Vick was acquired for a first-round swap (the Chargers then used the No. 5 pick on LaDainian Tomlinson), plus Tim Dwight and a second rounder the next year. To find a successful, low-cost QB trade-up at the top of the draft, you have to go all the way back to the Colts trading John Elway to the Broncos (in a strange quirk of history, Chris Hinton was ALSO involved in this trade).
Further down in the draft, teams have traded up for the likes of Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Brady Quinn, Johnny Manziel, and other spectacular failures. Trading up is a shitty idea. Whenever some chucklehead like Adam Schefter regurgitates the scoop that Team X is looking to trade down, I make a one-hour wanking motion. Everyone wants to trade down because everyone knows trading up is idiotic.
So, with that in mind, why did the Rams and Eagles just trade away EVERYTHING for the chance to take Jared Goff and/or Carson Wentz, both of whom are clearly not surefire prospects? It’s one thing to pony up for Andrew Luck, but Dakota Boy? What the fuck is going on? Let’s look at some of the mitigating circumstances that cause a team to lose its mind and do this:
1. Every team needs a quarterback. This is obvious and true. Luck out on a QB and you’ve got job security for the next 10 years, unless you’re a blithering idiot like Ryan Grigson. Not only is a QB essential, but it also frees you to be lazy. You can win 10 games a year with a great QB and a shit roster, and plenty of teams have done just that, because cobbling together a stud defense and keeping it intact for years is just as difficult as finding a good QB, if not more so. Ask the Broncos, who just lost Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan to free agency.
2. Rookie quarterbacks are cheap. Thanks to the rookie cap, you can draft a quarterback No. 1 overall and not be crippled by the kind of insane deal that players like Sam Bradford used to receive. The estimated cap number for that first overall pick this year is a mere $5 million. Perversely, that gives you a greater incentive to draft a player who is more likely to suck, which means…
3. You are freer to fail with a QB. Ask Vikings GM Rick Spielman, who gambled on Ponder and still managed to keep his job. Since everyone knows that rookie QBs are a gamble, it’s easier to draft one and then blame the FOOTBALL GODS if that QB turns out to be a dud.
4. Defenses are crippled by the rules SMDH. In theory, it’s a lot easier to play quarterback now that defenders get a 15-yard penalty for merely discussing the act of tackling you. Plenty of quarterbacks are still god-awful despite this, but thanks to lax rules and proliferation of spread offenses, quarterbacks are, statistically speaking, more efficient than they used to be.
5. A rookie QB is a good sales pitch. He might suck, but he hasn’t started sucking YET! Come see him!
6. Everyone is scared shitless. Our own Barry Petchesky was right to note that, the way the league is currently structured, a team like the Rams is justifiably compelled to give away two years’ worth of good picks (they may as well have given Tennessee the one yard that Kevin Dyson needed back in 2000 while they were at it) in order to get itself a quarterback.
Carson Wentz and Jared Goff have had their respective draft values wildly overinflated by the league’s constant dearth of new talent at that position. This happens every fucking year, when a QB or two creeps to the top of the draft board, regardless of whether or not they deserve to. (JaMarcus Russell represents the eternal worst example of this phenomenon.) Teams need quarterbacks, but there are only so many of them to go around. That breeds fear. So these teams they talk themselves into quarterbacks, which makes other needy teams worry that they’re missing out, and it escalates from there. This is how you end up with tweets like this…
Sure, okay. If playing in North Dakota against guys who wouldn’t make Alabama’s scout team makes you pro ready, then I don’t know what the fuck “pro ready” means. Anyway, both Wentz and Goff will go too high, and both the Eagles and Rams just traded away the chance to build a functional support system AROUND those two. I just watched RG3 get murdered in Washington, in part because his offensive line was unfathomably bad. That tends to happen when you have no other draft picks. You end up dooming your franchise player, but it’s almost understandable because everyone is so desperate.
This isn’t good for football. We can’t have a multitude of teams trapped in a never-ending cycle of drafting franchise QBs and then ruining them. We have to disincentivize (not a word) teams from doing this, either by jacking up the rookie cap for QBs, or creating developmental farms, or restricting rules for the passing game, or instituting a redshirt system (oh god), or burning Jimmy Haslam alive. Otherwise, quarterback after quarterback will fail, and every game will look like a Browns game. I can’t let that happen. There’s not enough booze in the world.
Now, with that out of the way… WOOHOO FUCK YEAH IT’S DRAFT NIGHT! Shoot me up with Templeton and slap me in the balls, because we are gonna fucking PARTY tonight. I’m ready for all the minor trades and endless wait times and inane Kiperisms. GIVE IT TO ME. This is your NFL Draft Jamboroo. Let’s go crazy…
All draft nights in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Thursday Night: As always, you have two viewing options for tonight, both of which will lag roughly five minutes behind Twitter at all times when it comes to disseminating information. You can either go with Berman (ughhhhhhhhhhh) and his merry band of stooges on ESPN, or you can watch the NFL Network, which always manages to ruin Rich Eisen by surrounding him with a bunch of idiots and scam artists. Every time I get tired of Berman lapsing into baby talk (and this is a man who doesn’t even have to be on set for the majority of the weekend), I think to myself, “Hey! I don’t have to put up with this shit! I have choices!” And then I flip over to NFL Network and listen to Mooch doing an even WORSE Berman than Berman does, and I realize I have no choice at all. Then I flip back to ESPN, resigned to my fate. God dammit.
Friday Night: As always, I would argue that the best teams are the ones that don’t fuck up the second and third rounds. Anyone can make a decent first round pick. All you have to do is comb through the draft guides and, chances are, you’re gonna take someone who will, at the minimum, become a starter. And the later rounds are always a hopeless crapshoot where you’re forced to pick between talented-but-injury-prone guys and outright scrubs.
It’s those second- and third-round picks where GMs make their money. Nothing pisses me off more than when a team trades away those picks willy-nilly or trades down again and again just because they like some obscure dipshit from a Rutgers satellite campus (BELICHICK). My team once gave away TWO third-rounders so that they could draft Tarvaris Jackson, and I’m still angry about it. Teams that fuck up middle-round picks should be jailed.
Saturday: Since I am a Dirty Filthy Liberal, I’m obligated to admit that, for NFL players, the draft is a raw deal. You’re given no say over where you get to play. Your salary is pre-determined by your draft slot. And you can find yourself out millions of dollars just because a team’s background investigator found out that you smoked weed once back in 11th grade. Or, as with La’el Collins last year, you find yourself unfairly linked to a goddamn murder at the exact wrong time. In a truly free market, incoming rookies would be able to offer their services to the highest bidder and go from there.
That’s what I say as a pearl-clutching dipshit. But as a fan, I’m here to tell you that drafts are fucking awesome. They are collectively bargained, free-standing awesomeness. I enjoy the NFL and NBA drafts, and I wish that more live events that are NOT the Pro Bowl roster selection came in draft form. Nothing brings me more joy than watching some hotshot college stud sit there in a green room and watch in growing horror as he realizes that he has to sign with Cleveland. THAT’LL TEACH HIM SOME HUMILITY. I hope the Draft never dies.
• I was looking at the quarterbacks available in this draft and I was like, “Hey, why isn’t Connor Cook higher? He seems good.” And then I remembered this Vine…
“Let’s put it this way: he’s not Kirk Cousins,” another scout said. “The person kills him. Selfish. He goes out too much. It’s a tell-tale sign when your teammates don’t like you, and I know they don’t. He’s good, but that position is more than physical attributes. It’s also leadership. Is he going to lead your guys? I don’t think so. He’ll be a starter but I don’t think he can lead you to the promised land.” Fifth-year senior from Hinckley, Ohio. Passer rating was 95.2, Wonderlic was 25. “He stinks,” a third scout said. “Wildly inaccurate (57.5% career). Average arm, average mobility, average field vision. Not a leader. Not aware. Someone will take him in the second, third or fourth round and he’s going to disappoint. The owner needs to fire the GM right after they pick him if someone takes him in the first. But when the Buffalo Bills took EJ Manuel in the first, all bets are off.”
JESUS. Whose baby did Connor Cook murder? I wanna meet Cook in person, so that I can verify his prickishness. Some wily team may end up getting the Asshole Discount on him.
• Up until the big trades and the reemergence of Ballghazi, this had been a relatively quiet NFL offseason. And you know what? It was nice. I think we needed the breather, if only so that Schefter doesn’t come chiming in with some bullshit tweet like, “Yesterday 80 people died in a factory explosion but all anyone can talk about today is where Kaep is headed. THE NFL IS BIGGEST REALITY SHOW ON TELEVISION, FOLKS!”
• There’s no way to bet on the NFL Draft over at Draftkings or Fanduel, and as someone who despises DFS ads but loves actually playing DFS, we need to remedy that immediately. I propose a mock draft pool where you draft your prospects in order and then whoever nails the picks closest gets ALL THE MONEYS. Sure, the odds would be garbage and the “friend” of some prick fuck who runs the data sheets for DraftKings would just happen to win the whole thing. But I still want the action. Gimme the action, you two-bit scam artists. DADDY NEEDS TO BE IN THE GAME AGAIN.
• The Patriots will not have a first-round pick tonight because the Ginger Hammer took it away from them as punishment for Ballghazi. And while I hate the Patriots and enjoy watching them suffer, it’s fucking INSANE that the NFL never restored the pick. It’s really gonna hit tonight when they get to the 29 slot and it’s vacated. The importance of draft picks is amplified a hundred times over at the moment of selection, so to sit there and watch that pick go by will serve a hearty reminder that Roger Goodell is a power-mad dictator who must be destroyed.
• I have important news in the field of Bro Anthropology: I have discovered that CUCK has replaced BUTTHURT as the pejorative of choice for Barstool commenters and the like. The Google stats bear it out. Here is the trend chart for BUTTHURT, which rose to prominence back in 2012 and has leveled out…
And here is the chart for CUCK, which has skyrocketed…
So if you’re a drunken Trump voter and you really want to stick it to some PC LOSER on Twitter, don’t go accusing them of, like, having a hurt butt from lots of gay sex. The hot new thing is to accuse of them of, like, having their old lady bone other guys. LULZ. That’s great stuff.
• I bought a trampoline this spring. You aren’t supposed to do this. In fact, if you go searching the internet for trampoline recommendations, the only thing that turns up are consumer websites saying that you shouldn’t buy ANY trampoline at all, because it will kill your children.
But I bought one anyway because A) My family had one when I was a kid (it didn’t even have a net!) and I am not dead, B) It’s far cheaper than installing a pool or playground equipment or any other kind of outdoor recreational fixture, and C) Kids will actually give up screen time to bounce on one. Do you know how hard it is to get these fuckers off screens? It’s well worth endangering their limbs and vital organs in order to get them some fresh air. I can let them go nuts on the trampoline (the warning label clearly states only one jumper at a time, but I willingly turn a blind eye to that), enjoy a cocktail, and then go claim the first kid who bursts into tears. So far, I’ve only had ONE child get a black eye using it. I consider that a win. I give the trampoline four stars.
• I was in Atlanta a few weeks ago and while I usually consider the South a haven of racist nutjobs riding around on airboats firing guns into the sky, I gotta tell you that people down there have a really strong porch game. I went to a restaurant that was 90 percent porch. It was remarkably pleasant. Get one of those big heat lamps and I can hang out on a Southern porch for nine days. All dwellings should be in porch form.
• Here’s my boring Prince story. I grew up in Minneapolis, where you are mandated by law to love Prince because A) It’s Prince, and B) There will never be a cooler person to come out of Minnesota, ever. It’s still remarkable that Minnesota could produce THAT. It makes every Hansen and Johnson in the state feel two percent cooler, even if that’s all a delusion.
I got to tour Paisley Park when I was a kid. My mom still has the souvenir mug from the trip. While we were walking around the premises, I saw an open door to a control room and a guitar resting on a stand next to the console. No one else was inside the room. So I walked in and touched the guitar. And the second I touched it, a big bodyguard dude stormed in and said, “DON’T TOUCH THAT.” Scared me to fucking death. I ran out of there with Chris Johnson speed. I have no evidence that the guitar was Prince’s, but I sure as fuck told everyone that. I TOUCHED HIS GUITAR. HIS COOLNESS IS ON MY FINGERS.
So that’s my Prince story. I’m gonna miss him. He fucking owned.
Pre-Draft Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Hands Are Tied,” by Bob Mould. I am annoying about Bob Mould the way other sportswriterpersons are annoying about Bruce Springsteen. Anyway, Mould released a new album last month and it’s the most consistent of the three he’s put out on Merge Records. But frankly, all of them kick ass. You should listen to them. In fact, I demand it. I will cut you if you don’t. And if you listen and then tell me that you don’t like them, I’ll cut you AGAIN. I wanna grab every person on the street and strap a pair of cans on them and cry out LISTEN TO THIS! LISTEN TO THIS, YOU STUPID FUCK! I don’t think that would go over well, but still. Bob Mould been around for a longass time, and yet not enough people out there know how much ass he kicks. It ain’t right.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
It’s Carson Wentz! Yes, the presumed Eagles savior(’s agent) blogged a blog over at Jeterland. I hope you’re as excited as I am for the coming of Football Adam LaRoche.
How We Play Football in North Dakota
Upside down? With frost bears playing offensive line? In heavy fabric tutus?
You don’t get through winters with an average temperature of 12.8° without being a certain kind of tough — the cracked-skin-dried-blood kind of tough.
GRRRRRR I AM A MAN BUT I AM ALSO A PICK-UP TRUCK.
That toughness comes in handy in a place like North Dakota. You see, up there, jamming your numb fingers against someone’s ice-cold helmet happens every practice. Getting decked on the cement-like dirt is just how a play ends.
As half of Twitter pointed out, North Dakota State played all their home games in… the Fargodome. “When you get driven into a cushy layer of Fieldturf at room temperature, it makes a man of ya.”
And here’s the thing: I love it.
Listen man, you’re a quarterback. Your coach isn’t gonna want you jamming your fingers into frozen earholes with no gloves on. You’re getting a hand muff and a red practice jersey and you’re gonna fucking LIKE IT.
Because in North Dakota, we don’t care for flash or dazzle.
Or electricity. Or running water. Or FURRINERS.
That’s not our game. We don’t do things the fanciest way. We do them the right way.
I know that The Player’s Tribune is written entirely by a group of Gatorade copywriters, but who does this help? Wentz is gonna have 49 teammates who did NOT play in Bumblefuck, North Dakota. Were they doing it the wrong way this whole time?
Let me tell you right now — football is football, no matter if it’s played in the Rose Bowl or on a dusty field in Bismarck. Those warm southern states may produce the most NFL talent, but there’s a special brand of football going on up north.
Yes. Bad football. Remarkably shitty, slow, unwatchable football.
When I started out in the Bismarck youth football league, I was a running back. Now, I wasn’t a shifty, finesse running back.
Then what kind were you?
I was an up-the-gut…
Oh no. Don’t…
Oh God. You’re gonna talk about punching people in the mouth, aren’t you?
punch-you-in-the-mouth running back.
UGH CHRIST. Every slow running back thinks he’s a bruiser. Like, what other choice is there? If you’re too slow to outrun defenders, you guys are gonna hit each other. I’m not giving you points for being Tommy Vardell in a former life.
There’s no love lost between the cities of Fargo and Bismarck, I can assure you that.
Oh it is LIT.
Man, we wanted to beat those guys.
Man… we really wanted to WIN, which is a unique quality among athletes.
North Dakota State football is a perfect representation of the grit and work ethic that makes where I’m from a special place.
I think we should annex it and build a Wegman’s on it.
Our offense might have reminded you a bit of Alabama or Stanford.
The best way to learn how to win is to be around winners.
Well then, Philly’s gonna be a rough town for you, Trump Junior.
So what do I say to all the people who wonder if I’m ready for the NFL?
“You’re right. I’m not ready. Let me do a post-grad year at LSU to make sure I’m not being fed into a meat grinder.”
I’ve been getting ready my whole life.
I would like to put Wentz and Sam Bradford in a room together and find a way to physically measure their delusions.
Emmitt Smith’s Futures Lock Of The Week!
“For the 2017 Super Bone, I like the Hudson Textiles (50/1) to win it all! They have all the peaches in place! JJ Ward! Lamar Latrell! Bork Oswego! I know Bork doesn’t have a very long rents-to-may, but he’s a classic plopback gasser! The perfect scrototype! I’m excited to see what Bork can do in this art fence.”
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 2016 chopping block:
I can’t believe that the Titans now have a bevy of sweet, sweet draft picks and they will entrust the development of those picks to Mike fucking Mularkey. It’s criminal. I’m beside myself. Why not just burn the draft cards live on TV?
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Antti sends in this story I call POOP ON THE BUS:
A few days ago my girlfriend told me a story that is going to keep me away from long-distance transportation vehicles’ sanitary departments for some time. I would like to share this story for the willing.
Imagine an Estonian long-distance bus. Since not a soul has any idea what those are like, I will just say this: they are decent. Quite nice and modern double-decker buses, with your standard Wi-Fi connection, comfortable seats and, of course, a WC.
She was on a three hour ride from the capital to her hometown. The bus was not even half full, so she had her own pair of seats and focused on listening to some nice music. About an hour to the journey she noticed a 50-year old Russian lady in considerable discomfort. Her face was visibly red and sweaty and her expression was most distressed. As the hue of her face grew even more intense, she unbuckled and hurried to the toilet, thighs held tightly together.
A solid half an hour later the Russian lady emerged back from the WC, looking most relieved. As a wise human being, my girlfriend decided to avoid the war zone for a while, even when she knew that she would have to enter there at some point.
Fast forward another half hour and it was time. My girlfriend got off from her seat, walked to the WC, entered and closed the door.
What first hit her was the ungodly stench. She swears it was pungent enough to make your toenails fall off. But the real surprise was yet to come. When she lifted the lid of the toilet, she discovered to her horror that the excrement of the Russian lady’s was still there. God knows how, but it looked like a damn rusty pipe and it was tall enough to reach the lid (the inside of the lid contained a matching poop stain). There was no toilet paper anywhere. Anyway, my girlfriend stormed out of the WC, without the need to use it.
A few minutes later another girl was brave enough to try her luck. She came out of the WC posthaste, looking awfully pale and aghast.
As a side note: I was eating a Mars bar when she told this story. I did not finish that Mars bar.
Wise move, sir.
Drafttime Snack Of The Week
Korean fried chicken! All fried chicken should be Korean fried chicken. It’s the only food in the world that could be described as “teeth-shattering” and actually have it be appealing. I like to bite into it, severely burn the inside of my mouth, and then power through the rest while crying. Good eating.
Drafttime Beer Of The Week
The now-extremely cheap Smaug Stout! Tie your fancy microbrew to an underwhelming sequel and watch it depreciate in value! From Sam:
I found this swill at a 99 Cent store. It was manufactured by Fish Tale Ales to promote the release of cinematic classic The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. (So it’s 2 years old? Or better yet, AGED 2 years.)
Both bottles are 22 ounces. The Smaug Stout is 8.5% alcohol and has chili pepper in it. It tastes like spicy post-Sriracha diarrhea. The Bolg (who?) Belgian Style Tripel is 9.5% alcohol and I’m not man enough to try it yet.
The Desolation of Smaug is Millennials’ very own Attack of the Clones, and drinking Smaug Stout is like my ruined childhood in a bottle.
Damn. That is harsh. Almost as harsh as bargain movie ale. I MUST SPIT IT OUT.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“We don’t need these fancy elections to know who’s in charge. I’ll tell you who’s in charge: The Great Council. No one talks about them in the newspapers or on the FaceNets, but Rivertime Joe filled me in. This was way back in 1992 when we used to fence RCA televisions together. The Great Council… they decide everything: who gets to be President, what team wins the World Series, what kind of little microchip tracking doohickies go in the local water supply, all of it. The Zinka virus? That’s them. They got hands in every cookie jar. One time I was living under a bridge and I mentioned them by name. Ten minutes later, my hubcap cereal bowl was GONE. That’s how they operate. They know.”
Draft Night Movie Of The Week For Patriots Fans (No first rounder)
The Big Short, which I thoroughly enjoyed despite the fact that I still don’t really understand any of it. And I read the stupid book, too. You could put it in the simplest, most basic way possible (as this movie does), and it still flies over my head. I’m fucking helpless. Just come and take my money, Wall Street. I’m not smart enough to wrap my head around your treachery.
Also, Ryan Gosling should play a dipshit in every movie. He’s scary good at it. It can’t be the much of a stretch for him. I will see The Nice Guys 80 times.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“And now, to top off our most propane-explosion-free science week ever, our grand finale: the launching of a weather balloon!”
Enjoy the draft, everyone.