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PREVIEWING THE NFL DRAFT

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WHO WILL COME OUT OF THE OBSCURITY OF WILD SUCCESS IN COLLEGE TO SURPRISE THE NFL THIS YEAR

USA Today

WELL-MEANING YOUNG ESPN HOST: Folks, the 2015 National Football League Draft is mere weeks away, and teams are vacuuming the war rooms, preparing their wishlists and working feverishly behind the scenes to prepare. We've assembled an expert panel of analysts to discuss the prospects of top players in this year's class.

Let's start at the top of the board. Jameis Winston, quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles.

MEL KIPER: I tell you what, there are people who you can tell can throw a football, and this kid can throw a football. Why, just the other day, I was at the post office, arguing with the automatic stamp machine, and BOOM, this kid right here, he hits me in the back of the head with a football.

ADAM SCHEFTER: Now see, you've just gotta respect the heck out of a kid who's putting in that kind of offseason work.

RAY LEWIS, nodding violently: Likes to play. Runs his own errands. KNOWS THAT FOREVER STAMPS ARE THE MOST SECURE INVESTMENT IN TODAY'S ECONOMIC CLIMATE. YOU JUST DON'T SEE THAT KIND OF MATURITY FROM MANY PLAYERS.

HOST, TRYING HIS BEST TO CONTROL THE DISCUSSION: Now, some people have pointed out character concerns with Winston, and-

TODD MCSHAY: Why should we be concerned? What is character? Sometimes I dress up like Woody from Toy Story. He's a character. Kids love him. Adults too! I walk around Times Square and take pictures with tourists. This kid just needs to decide which character he wants to be, and talk to Margo at the costume shop. She doesn't ask any questions!

JON GRUDEN: Sometimes I run out of characters on Twitter. I don't like that. Why, just the other day, I was in a casual Twitter discussion, and I wanted to express how strongly I felt that how Hitler was righ[is cut off]

GRUDEN, continued: (2/2) t to kill himself because he was a bad man and-

HOST, WHO PROBABLY DESERVES BETTER THAN THIS: Moving down the board, Marcus Mariota, out of Oregon...

TREY WINGO: Smoke and mirrors, pal. Look, I love what Chip Kelly's doing up there at Oregon, but these system quarterbacks just don't translate well to the NFL.

TRENT DILFER: I saw Marcus at the combine. I approached him in a darkened tunnel. I bared my teeth and broke a pool cue on the floor in front of him. And do you know what he did? He politely excused himself! Can you believe that? You look at a winning quarterback, you're a guy like Tom Brady, you're gonna kill me dead on the spot to prove your dominance. Andrew Luck's stabbed me dead three years in a row. Respect the hell out of him for it. You gotta have a competitive fire to make it in the National Football League, and I just don't think this kid has it.

HOST, WITH A GROWING EXISTENTIAL WEARINESS: Let's move on to some of the other names on the Big Board. What do you see out of Kevin White?

MCSHAY: With the injury troubles that Sam Bradford has had over the years, I'd be wary of drafting another quarterback out of Oklahoma, Heisman or not.

HOST, WHO WE HOPE HAS A PLEASANT AND STABLE PERSONAL LIFE: Andrus Peat, out of Stanford.

BRIAN BILLICK: Love peat. One of the finest dirts out there. Some people make scotch out of it. I just eat it raw. High in fiber, tastes terrific. Top-10 pick.

HOST, WHO SEEMS NICE AND PROBABLY WENT TO A GOOD JOURNALISM SCHOOL WITH HIGHER INTENTIONS THAN THIS: Mike Hull, linebacker out of Penn State.

GRUDEN: Solid pick outta Linebacker University. Coach Paterno really knows how to develop players, if you ask me.

HOST, WHOSE ONCE-BRIGHT DISPOSITION HAS NOW DARKENED: This pile of old tires.

IAN RAPAPORT: Great developmental project. Very raw, but strong, lotta potential in there. You look at the outside, you're a coach right now, you might say "that's a pile of old tires." But this is how you build through the draft! You start movin' stuff around, and there's a litter of feral kittens in there. You move those kittens into a shoebox, set 'em aside. You light some oily rags? Now you got a fire to keep those kittens warm with. You wait for that fire to go out, you take some of that melted rubber? You got Christmas toys for the kids. If you'd rather waste a first-round pick on a running back? Well you be my guest, and my kittens and fire are gonna scamper right to the top of the division while my kids expand their creative horizons with stimulating new toys.

HOST, TERSELY, ANGRILY: Skymall's "Tree with a face."

GRUDEN: Love the build on this guy. Stout.

KIPER: Absolutely. Great pick.

BILLICK: Look at the eyes on this kid. No blinking, no wavering. Just pure leadership.

SCHEFTER: You need a large frame for the beating you're gonna take in the National Football League. You take this kid, you pair him with one of those tires you just picked up, you've got yourself a swing you can ride right to the playoffs, my friends.

LEWIS: You listen to me, now, you're a Pete Carroll or a Bill Belichick. You sit under this tree, you're going to achieve enlightenment just like Siddharta Gautama did in the 6th Century BCE, and you're going to win the Super Bowl just he did later that year!

HOST, WHO NO LONGER BELIEVES IN ANYTHING: Okay, one more...  Teddy Bridgewater, out of Louisv-

MCSHAY, disgusted: Never going to make it.

RAPAPORT: Small hands. Jeez, man.

KIPER: You make me sick.