We're wearing black today. The draft is done. Sigh.
We love the draft. You know this. So today we put a bow on the 2013 draft. Starting tomorrow, we're moving on and looking at the NBA and baseball and what have you.
Today, let's look at the draft and her beauty. Memories, light the corner of our mind. Misty, water-colored memories, of the way they were... drafted. Sigh.
From the dimly lit and morose "Talks too much" studios, let's all hope that's the final Barbra Streisand reference in today's 5-at-10.
Here are the teams/people that are smiling ear-to-ear this morning:
San Francisco: The league's best roster got better at its biggest position of need and planned for the future. The 49ers had a slew of picks and one glaring hole in the starting lineup, so they packaged some picks and moved up for Eric Reid, the former LSU safety, who will start from Day 1. Plus, the 49ers got great value in round 4 with Marcus Lattimore, and with Frank Gore in place, Lattimore can heal and develop.
Baltimore: Its crazy, but the two teams that made the Super Bowl, may have had the best drafts. That's scary for the rest of the league, considering what the already-deep 49ers added and what the Ravens were able to get. Baltimore added potential starters at four spots, and was able to land potential replacements for departed future Hall of Famers Ed Reed and Ray Lewis in Matt Elam and Arthur Brown.
Cincinatti: Are we in position where the Bengals consistently make wise draft decisions. This is like the Bizarro-World or something. The Bengals grabbed great value with Tyler Eifert in Round 1 and made the most in Day 2 with three potential starters with UNC running back Giovani Bernard, SMU defensive end/freak Margus Hunt and Georgia safety Shawn Williams. Great value across the board, and if they had taken Eddie Lacy rather than Bernard, this would have had the potential feel of an all-time draft, no?
St. Louis: The draft's best blend of value and need. The Rams needed a playmaker and got the best one in the draft in Tavon Austin. They needed a big-time linebacker and got Georgia's athletic Alec Ogletree. They needed offensive line help and drafted Barrett Jones. Safety was an issue, and T.J. McDonald from USC can play. Heck, Zac Stacy in the fifth round may be one of the best steals in the whole deal.
Geno Smith, Jets QB: Dude had to endure the humiliation of sitting in the Green Room through Round 1. It was awkward in its awkwardness. (Side note: Unless you are an absolute Round 1 dunk, don't you say no to the Green Room invite? We'd fire our agent for that little four-hour nightmare.) But Smith was taken in Round 2 by the Jets, which means, he goes somewhere that is starving for a QB, and he goes there without the first-round pressure and expectations.
Here are five folks who came out smelling from the draft — and not like a rose, either:
Buffalo: EJ Manuel? That is all.
Matt Barkley, USC: If dude had come out last year, he's a top-10 pick. This year, he was the first pick of round 4, and went to an Eagles team that has three athletic QBs already on the roster as they transition to Chip Kelly's fast-break offense.
Chirs Berman: Wow, he was so painful on Thursday night, that the sight of Trey Wingo hosting the rest of the Draft generated high-fives and toasts at the 5-at-10 compound. And any time you can make Trey Wingo high-five worthy, well, that's on you sir.
Tyler Bray and Da'Rick Rogers: As our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer shared today, it was a tough weekend for Bray and Rogers, two former Vols with decorated stats who did not hear their names called during the draft. How they respond to this will be the punctuation on their careers in a lot of ways. If each is motivated by the direct snub and indictments of their off-the-field antics — and those statements were made clearly and emphatically and unanimously by the 32 NFL teams — Bray and Rogers could be two of the great undrafted players in league history. Case in point: Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who went undrafted last year after an awful final season at Arizona State, was the best defensive rookie in football last fall.
2014 Big Board
South Carolina Gamecocks's Jadeveon Clowney (7) tries to beat East Carolina Pirates's Jordan Davis (78) during a NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. South Carolina defeated East Carolina 56-37. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
We all know South Carolina defensive end/man-child Jadeveon Clowney would likely have been the No. 1 overall pick last weekend if he had been eligible to enter the draft. With that in mind here are the 5-at-10's top 10 prospects we'll know way too much about by this time next year. Hey, only 360 days until the 2014 draft.
1) Clowney — A man/child that will only get better as he gains experience against the best conference in college football.
2) Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama left tackle — Yes, there were a slew of tackles high in last week's draft. That trend will continue next year with Kouandijo, Michigan's Taylor Lewan and Texas A&M's Jake Matthews.
3) Anthony Barr, UCLA defensive end — He's a much better prospect than former Bruins teammate Datone Jones, who was Green Bay's first-round pick last week.
4) Marqise Lee, USC receiver — Brother Marqise, Marqise my brother. Dude can make plays and is polished.
5) Sammy Watkins, Clemson receiver — The man you know better as Joe the Policeman from the What's Going Down episode of 'That's My Mama", Mr. Sammy Watkins is due a monster bounce-back season, and he and Clowney will own next spring's combine.
The 2013 draft was deemed forgettable because of the black hole at quarterback. The 2014 class will be better. Not 2012 good with Luck, RGIII and Co., but better nonetheless. In fact, there could be a hard run on this class, considering that Johnny Manziel and San Jose State's David Fales could be among this mix, too.
1) A.J. McCarron, Alabama — We think his size, experience in a pro-style offense and intangibles will make him highly coveted. Think of this guy as the model of what franchises want; he's the anti-Tyler Bray apparently. Which is example 1 and 1A that if you are going to be a quarterback and get a kooky tattoo, go with the strange chest tat rather than the goofy back tat. Sometimes it's just that simple.
2) Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville — If he builds on the Sugar Bowl showout/blowout he put on Florida, Teddy Ballgame could be top-five overall.
3) Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech — He's a more athletic version of EJ Manuel, who was a first-rounder last week.
4) Tajh Boyd, Clemson — Dude has all the skills and runs a multiple set in Chadd Morris' offense. If he had declared for last week's draft, he likely would have been the first or second QB drafted.
5) Aaron Murray, Georgia — Doubting this pick? Know this: Dude is a Peyton-level film studier and preparer. And if you need a comparable name, think Andy Dalton, the Bengals starter who was a second-round pick and starter from Day 1, but Murray has a better arm and an 18-wheeler of experience against SEC defenses, also known as NFL-light.
And if you're wondering why Johnny Football is not on this list, well, let's just say we're not sure if he's a more athletic, more accurate Tim Tebow — a very good thing — or a shorter, more athletic Tyler Bray — a very not good thing.
This and that
— Thanks for stopping by Lakers, who were swept by the Spurs in Round 1. That was fun.
— There are sources this morning saying that the Jets, who drafted Geno Smith in round 2, have cut Tim Tebow. Wow, it's hard to think of an experiment that was less successful than Tebow to the Jets? Maybe when the Braves signed Nick Esasky, and Esasky played like 12 games with Atlanta before catching a career-ending case of vertigo.
— We will put all the draft stuff behind us starting Tuesday, we promise. We'll catch up with the
— Did you see the story our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown did on the fast start to UT football recruiting on Sunday? Butch Jones has jumpstarted the process. Maybe Titantic's pick in the Coach Draft last week was inspired after all, huh?
— The Big Ten has officially realigned and changed its division names from hysterically dumb Legends and Leaders. Sadly, the suggested Slow and Slower or Plod and Ding were edged by the more traditional East and West. So it goes. Here are the divisions: East — Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers; West — Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin. Wow, here's pencilling in Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game eight out of the next 10 years, huh?
— Baseball is a funny game. And that's a big part of its charm. And we'll get more into this of course, but consider the two No. 3-hitters that faced off in last night's Tigers-Braves series finale of Detroit's sweep: Justin Upton is hitting .307 with 12 homers has 21 RBIs; Miguel Cabrera is hitting .375 with only three homers and has 26 RBIs. So it goes. Side note: A semi-big series for the now-struggling Braves starts tonight against the Nationals. We'll be watching after Bulls' practice tonight and may even take to the Twitter (@jgreesontfp).
— Some of you may have seen that our newspaper is going behind a paywall after a set number of visits per month. If you subscribe to the paper, you are already are good. Hopefully you guys will subscribe. We're going to keep doing what we do around these parts, and we'll offer contests like always — hey the Derby is this week, so be on the look out for another contest tomorrow. We won;t be able to say, "Don't cost nothin'" though. Alas. With each change there will be change and then the change will become routine. Wait, that sounded like a fortune cookie. We christen this new site the Flying Wasp, bless this ship and all who sail on her.
— Also if you do not have lunch plans today, Vandy coach James Franklin will be at the UTC quarterback club today at Finley Stadium. Nice get for the QB club folks. Well-played indeed.
There's a slew of them, but let's start with some rapid fire opinion:
What did you think was the best move of the draft?
What was the worst?
Who has a better chance at making the NFL, Tyler Bray or Da'Rick Rogers?
Also, how different is the face of Tennessee football if, among all the other debacle-esque decisions, this one had been made correctly: What if Lane Kiffin had stuck with the-UT commit and rising-Clemson-senior/star-to-be Tajh Boyd rather than Bray? Reverse that one too, was any person hurt more by Kiffin's departure than Bray, in retrospect?
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...