Saturday, May 23, 2015

2 comments Skip Bayless Mindlessly Criticizes Chris Paul, Ignores His Teammates Shortcomings

Skip Bayless was probably salivating, waiting for the Clippers to lose in the NBA Playoffs so he could write about how bad Chris Paul sucks. Skip has this ability to take a team game and make it all about one player. LeBron James isn't clutch so that's why his teams can't win titles. He won two NBA titles? Well, he still passes the ball when it comes crunch time. LeBron made a game-winning basket? FINALLY! This only makes up for all of the other mistakes LeBron made during the game. Kevin Durant needs to play angry and that's why the Thunder don't have four NBA titles right now. Today, Skip takes aim at Chris Paul for having the audacity to not lead his team to the Western Conference Finals. Skip thinks of a cutesy, bullshit nickname for Paul as he always tends to do. There's not much else to say at this point. It's Skip Bayless and he's a shitty troll and a shitty writer. Now he has taken aim at Chris Paul.

After 10 years in the NBA, at age 30, his greatest achievement remains his "twin brother" commercials, Chris and Cliff Paul, both played so convincingly by him.

And after 60 years on this Earth, Skip Bayless' greatest achievement is that he has dedicated his life to make sure as many people as possible hate him. Chris Paul has also earned a ton of money to where his family won't ever have to work again. There's that accomplishment too.

If only Chris Paul played basketball a little less like if he were Cliff Paul, who dedicates his life to helping State Farm customers in need of insurance "assists."

Because helping teammates score baskets is a definite negative to Chris Paul's game. How can Paul be a superstar if he's setting up his teammates to score points? Only Chris Paul's points count towards a Clippers victory, don't you know? By the way, Paul averaged an assist-and-a-half below his 2014-2015 per game average in the playoffs, as well as scored three points more above his 2014-2015 per game average during the playoffs. Paul also averaged a shot-and-a-half more per game during the 2014-2015 playoffs than he did during the 2014-2015 season. So, he did try to score more and pass less in the playoffs.

Obviously, Skip did zero research prior to writing this column. He would never dare do anything like research for his columns (which I'm sure ESPN probably doesn't care about, which is sad to me), but if Skip had done research, he would see Paul too more shots, scored more points and passed the ball less during the 2014-2015 playoffs. So he didn't provide "assists" to his teammates just as Skip requested that he do. Perhaps if Skip thought before he wrote then he would see he sounds ridiculous.

If only when Chris Paul's team needed him most -- in a Game 6 or 7 against Houston -- he played less like his nerdy alter ego in black-framed glasses, trim little mustache and Argyle sweaters and more like the quick-tempered CP3 known for hitting big shots and taking below-the-belt shots.

Paul had 57 points, 12 rebounds, 21 assists, and 4 steals in those two games. He played pretty fucking good basketball in those last two games, yet somehow Skip Bayless is pointing the finger at Paul for the Clippers loss to the Rockets. Of course. Skip would never change his tune in the face of clear evidence he is incorrect. He just doubles down on his stupidity.

They mostly got low-key good guy Cliff.

Unless you want to consider the statistics he put up in those two games, the Clippers got low-key good guy Cliff that played really well in those two games.

His nature is to pass the basketball, which is why he has led the NBA in assists four times, including the past two seasons. Yet his coach keeps pleading with him to shoot more, to be a little more selfish, to take over more and take it to the opposition.

And this is exactly what he did during the NBA playoffs this year. He shot more, assisted less and even hit a game-winning shot against the Spurs. Because the Clippers lost to the Rockets in seven games, Skip Bayless forgets all about this.

As a purely pass-first point guard, Chris Paul is a star, an eight-time All-Star. But when his eyes flash anger and he starts attacking, using his fullback's physicality and ballerina's balance to create space for his jump shot, he can be a superstar.

What is Skip's fascination with athletes "playing angry." It's like some juvenile, 5th grade criticism that Skip has for every athlete. He thinks LeBron, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul should all play "angry" and that makes them become a superstar. It's a ridiculously simplistic way of looking at it.

CPZero, I've called him. As in, zero rings.

HILARIOUS! Get it? Chris Paul hasn't won an NBA Title and his nickname is "CP3" so Skip Bayless calls him "CPZero" in the long line of fun nicknames Skip has given NBA players. "Princess Bosh" and "CPZero" are fantastic nicknames. Two points for cleverness.

Let's see, maybe I should join in the creativity and call Skip Bayless "Bullshit Bayless" or "Skip Clueless."

A superstar gets to at least one conference final in his first 10 seasons.

Maybe he does. A smart sportswriter looks at all the reasons a superstar hasn't reached one conference final in his first 10 seasons. A smart sportswriter doesn't blame the superstar solely for his team not making a conference final in his first 10 seasons. Obviously Skip isn't smart so I wouldn't expect him to do either of these things.

CP3 has yet to get past the second round. A superstar refuses to let his team, up 3-1 in a second-round series against an inferior foe, lose three straight games by a combined 46 points.

A superstar can't force his teammates to play well or hit their three-point shots. A superstar can only do whatever he can do in order to help his team win games. Chris Paul was injured for the first two games of the series against the Rockets (after hitting a game-winning shot against the Spurs) and played well over the last three games against the Rockets. J.J. Redick (and other Clippers players) did not play well and the Clippers don't have a very deep bench, which eventually did them in.

For sure, a superstar sees to it that his team does not blow a 19-point lead late in the third quarter of a closeout Game 6 at home.

A superstar can try, but when four Clippers players go a combined 14-46 from the field (Redick, Barnes, Rivers, Crawford), then that superstar can only do so much. Paul took 19 shots in that game, so it is not as if he didn't shoot the ball enough. But again, what good are facts when Skip just wants to ignore these facts and just push through an uninformed opinion?

And if it does come down to a Game 7 back in Houston -- a game Chris Paul's team was favored to win by two points -- a superstar does not allow his team to trail from start to finish and lose by 13, not to a Houston Rockets team it had beaten by 16 in Game 1 (without CP3), by 25 in Game 3 and by 33 in Game 4.

And again, a superstar can only do so much when those same four guys shoot 11-36 in this Game 7. Chris Paul shot 20 times in this game, so it's not like he was too busy dishing out assists to propel his team to victory. In the last two games of the Clippers series Chris Paul played well while the Clippers four shooters went a combined 25-82 (30.4%!) from the field. Let's re-think who may actually be the reason for the Clippers losing to the Rockets. I'll give Skip a hint, it wasn't entirely Chris Paul's fault.

Chris Paul, president of the NBA Players Association, can lead an entire league but can't lead his team when it really counts.

Chris Paul can try to lead his team, but there isn't much he can do if his team doesn't play well enough for him to have success while trying to lead them. What would it take for Skip Bayless to drop the act and understand that basketball is a team game? Chris Paul and Blake Griffin can't outscore the Rockets on their own. They need help from their shooters to score points and stretch the Rockets defense. Four of the Clippers' shooting guards and small forwards did not do this in two straight games. Therefore, because basketball is a team game, the Clippers lost to the Rockets in a 7 game series.

Feel free to blame coach Doc Rivers for the Clippers' epic Game 6 collapse. He deserves some blame for failing to push the right psychological or strategic buttons.

I wonder if Skip knows there aren't real psychological or strategic buttons? Like, there aren't real buttons that Doc Rivers could push and simply "playing angry" isn't going to allow Chris Paul to actually "play better." These are things that are pure hyperbole and couch potato criticism that Skip is engaging in. Doc Rivers deserves some blame, but Chris Paul deserves most of the blame for not using mind control to force the basketball into the basket when shot by his teammates. Skip Bayless needs to see more Chris and less Cliff Paul. Perhaps Skip would have been satisfied if Paul shot the ball 30 times instead of 20 times in Game 7?

By sheer force of will, Chris Paul couldn't say or do the right thing to inspire his teammates to snap out of it?

Again, this is real life. In real life inspirational words don't automatically make a team or group of players perform better. If this were true, all coaches would do is give inspirational speeches and teams would never practice.

No doubt, Chris Paul, as usual, put up superstar numbers in this year's 12 playoff games: 22.1 points and 8.8 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3. But his team was 6-6. His overall playoff record is now 28-37.

Chris Paul played well. Chris Paul's team still lost. Basketball is a team game. The only natural conclusion to be drawn is that Chris Paul is at fault for his team losing the series to the Rockets. Obviously.

You can argue Blake Griffin (who plays full-tilt to a fault) wore down and finally out by Game 7. You can argue J.J. Redick (2-for-9 from 3 with six turnovers), Jamal Crawford (3-for-9 from 3) and Matt Barnes (0 points in 22 minutes) just ran out of mental gas. All are fair points.

Right, you COULD argue that Chris Paul's teammates did their part in preventing the Clippers from winning the playoff series against the Rockets, but where is the hot take potential in that? There's no need to be logical and even handed when there is an easy "Chris Paul isn't a winner" hot take ready and waiting to be debated.

But the larger point is that "little" Chris played biggest only after a shocking event occurred in the second quarter of Game 7 at home against the Spurs in round one: He felt his hamstring begin to pull late in the first quarter. At first, he appeared devastated, as he sat on the bench with his head in his hands. He went to the locker room, then, just as shockingly, returned to the game five-and-a-half minutes into the second quarter.

Returned mad. Returned with the attitude, "No way I'm going to let this stop me." If the hamstring had torn, no amount of courage could've overcome it. But apparently, it was just strained, and he gutted through the pain and fear of a potential tear to play his greatest playoff game.

See, Chris Paul played angry and that's why he led the Clippers to the playoff victory over the Spurs in Game 7. This victory had nothing to do with Rivers/Crawford/Redick/Barnes shooting 19-42 and scoring 47 points in that game. It's just coincidence that the Clippers won that game while these four players performed well and the Clippers lost when these four players didn't perform well. Obviously, the real determination on whether the Clippers will win a game or not is if Chris Paul plays angry and provides inspirational speeches. Without those 47 points the Clippers still would have won the Game 7 against the Clippers. This goes without saying.

Skip Bayless is the worst. I can't emphasize this enough.

The stars get along OK but don't exactly love each other. Jealousy and finger-pointing sometimes rear their ugly heads behind the scenes. And sometimes on the court, CP3 wears on teammates with his constant complaining to refs and occasional complaining to them about blown assignments.

What one would call "leadership" where Paul tries to get his teammates to stop missing assignments, Skip Bayless would call "complaining" to them about their missed assignments. There's a thin line between complaining and leadership sometimes and that line is often drawn based on whether a team wins or loses a game or series.

Yet CP3's damn-the-hamstring demeanor in Game 7 against the Spurs inspired his teammates in ways he couldn't against Houston in Games 6 and 7. The Spurs had seen this CP3 once before, in Game 7 in New Orleans in 2008. Then, Spurs insiders told me they feared CP3 because he could channel his psycho side -- his rage to win -- into a virtually unstoppable offensive force.

Skip's insistence that athletes "play angry" all the time is exhausting. Playing motivated or playing with more vigor can be a good thing, but Skip's lazy fallback to explaining why an athlete's team win or lost inevitably goes back to whether that athlete "played angry" or not. It's just such lazy analysis...not that I expect anything more from Skip.

This is where I disagree with my First Take debate partner, Stephen A. Smith, who always reminds me Chris Paul is only 6 feet tall, so his "superstar" ceiling is lower. 

If you watch "First Take" then you are aiding and abetting obnoxious, ridiculous discussions such as this one. Chris Paul is short, so his "superstar" ceiling is lower. Okay then.

Stephen A. calls Chris Paul a superstar point guard but not a superstar, period.

Considering Stephen A. says a lot of stupid shit, this is a really stupid comment, but not up there with his pantheon of dumbass comments. If Stephen A. says it, just assume it's stupid. That's how I work.

Take it from a Spurs fan: Every time the ball left CP3's hand in this year's Game 7, I thought it was going in. He made nine of 13 shots, including 5-of-6 from 3. He was just too quick and shifty, even protecting his hamstring. He got a "superstar" call with 13 seconds left -- on the great Tim Duncan, no less, who was called for not giving CP3 room to come down on his jump shot. Of course, he made both free throws (he was 48-for-51 in the playoffs).

Paul must have shot his free throws angry. I love how Skip attributes to Clippers winning Game 7 of the Spurs series to Paul playing angry and well, while Paul played well in Game 7 of the Rockets series, and the Clippers lost. I like it because Skip ignores the variable in there that the supporting cast around Paul played well against the Spurs in Game 7 and didn't play well against the Rockets in Game 7. There is one constant in both series and variables changed in both series, yet Skip thinks something was wrong with the constant that affected the outcome of the series against the Rockets.

Then, with the game tied, Chris Paul ignored the Cliff Paul inside him and took the shot himself, blowing past Danny Green, somehow launching a runner over Duncan's outstretched fingertips with one second left, high off the glass ... and in.

That was the CP3 we failed to see in Games 6 and 7 against the Rockets.

Because the game wasn't close enough to where it was up to Chris Paul to hit a game-winning shot. The game wasn't close enough because Chris Paul was one of the few Clippers players to play well in these two games. Of course, if Paul had played angry then his teammates would have upped their performance as well. This makes sense in the fantasy world where Skip Bayless spends most of his time.

Maybe too often, he tries to live up to being president of the players' association or the twin good guys in the State Farm commercials. Maybe the commercials have done his psyche more harm than good.

Yes, that would explain nothing absolutely perfectly. Maybe two things that have nothing to do with each other do have an impact on each other. When you are Skip Bayless and aren't smart enough to use logic and reason to explain an event, you have to reach for an explanation to make it seem like you know what you are talking about.

Playing for Wake Forest, that CP3 once punched Julius Hodge in the privates midway through the first half at North Carolina State. CP3 eventually won that game with a buzzer-beater.

IF CHRIS PAUL PUNCHED A PLAYER IN THE NUTS DURING EVERY NBA GAME, THEN THE CLIPPERS WOULD GO 82-0. DON'T QUESTION THIS CONCLUSION! IT'S UNASSAILABLE!

This certainly isn't to say Chris Paul needs to do more of that, just that he needs to summon and channel his competitive anger more.

I have an idea...how about Chris Paul's teammates channel their competitive anger more. That way they don't go missing in the middle of important playoff games? If Paul's teammates played angrier then the Clippers would win every series, because after all, playing angry leads to a better performance on the court. Or is this conclusion to partially blame Paul's teammates for the series loss to the Rockets not "hot tak-y" enough and too even-handed?

If not, at this rate, he'll be best remembered for selling insurance.

Or he will be remembered as a Hall of Fame point guard who just happened to never win an NBA title. I realize that Skip is brain dead, but Chris Paul doesn't actually sell insurance and he's probably the best point guard in the NBA. Paul may never win a title, but he's also not 100% to blame for never having won an NBA title. His teammates have to play well too.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

5 comments MMQB Review: Peter King and the Case of the Unintelligible GPS Edition

Peter King weighed the pros and cons of the NFL suspending Tom Brady in last week's MMQB. Of course, Peter had no way of knowing the NFL would bring the hammer down on Brady that very day with a four game suspension. Peter was also sad that the Jaguars star rookie Dante Fowler got injured before he could prove he was the star Peter had already labeled him as being and he did a head count of the customers at a new Starbucks. It undoubtedly confused everyone at the establishment as Peter forced everyone to line up on the wall so that he could get a clear picture of how crowded it was. Thankfully, Peter did not stalk any women while running last week. This week Peter talks about how Robert Kraft is mad (though less made since the time Peter wrote this), wants Odell Beckham to earn a video game cover, how the GPS voice is messing with him because he can't listen very well, and congratulates La'el Collins' agents for having such candor in the process of lying. Yes, Peter thinks candor when someone is lying. I'm sure this makes sense to Peter in some way.

Since the football world was stunned by the release of the Ted Wells report 12 days ago and roundhoused by the strong league sanctions last Monday, you haven’t heard much out of the New England camp aside from two scripted statements of indignation and a lawyerly screed about the weak points of the Wells Report.

Other than the detailed response to the report and the two statements where the Patriots stated the Ted Wells report didn't prove anything, they really haven't said much. Just ignore the three separate times over the past week that they did say something and it will seem like they have been suspiciously quiet.

In his first public comments since being hit with the biggest team sanction in the 95-year history of the National Football League, Patriots owner Robert Kraft told The MMQB over the weekend that he is convinced his quarterback, Tom Brady, played no part in any football-deflation scheme before the AFC Championship Game in January.

Wait, the owner of the Patriots thinks that Tom Brady is not guilty of taking part in the deflation scheme? So the guy who has a vested interest in Brady not being a part of the deflation scheme in fact believes Brady was not a part of the scheme? Man, this changes everything.

Asked if Brady had told him he was innocent, Kraft said: “Yes. Because we had the discussion—if you did it, let’s just deal with it and take our hit and move on. I’ve known Tommy 16 years, almost half his life. He’s a man, and he’s always been honest with me, and I trust him. I believed what he told me. He has never lied to me, and I have found no hard or conclusive evidence to the contrary.”

This sounds familiar. I hear this a lot. It's not that little Tommy didn't study hard enough in class or was screwing around and didn't study, it's that the professor didn't give Tommy enough time to study for the test. Plus, he has that special learning disability which requires he not spend too much time focused on one thing so it was wrong for the professor to even expect Tommy to try and pass the test. And no, little Tommy would not smoke pot. He was raised better than that. It was his roommate's pot and I believe little Tommy because he and I have a good relationship.

He is convinced the Wells Report distorted the science to fit a conclusion that doesn’t work. He thinks the league has nothing but what he called “ambiguous circumstantial evidence” on the Patriots.

And really, I imagine Robert Kraft is such an expert on science that he immediately knew the science was distorted. All of this in an effort to give one of the NFL's best and most marketable players a stain on his honesty. It's part of the NFL's new marketing strategy to make their best players look like liars and cheats.

“This whole thing has been very disturbing,” Kraft said. 

I agree. It's also been boring and I'm tired of talking about deflated balls. Unfortunately this isn't going away any time soon, especially since the Patriots are fighting the penalties tooth and nail.

“I just get really worked up. To receive the harshest penalty in league history is just not fair. The anger and frustration with this process, to me, it wasn’t fair. If we’re giving all the power to the NFL and the office of the commissioner, this is something that can happen to all 32 teams.

Haha! Oh sure, NOW Robert Kraft doesn't want the commissioner to have all the power that he has. When it comes time to punish NFL players who get in trouble with the law or negotiate a CBA, the owners are fine with Goodell having all the power he needs, but when it's their team who gets dinged by a power-hungry commissioner, all of a sudden Roger Goodell has way too much power. Gee, who gave Goodell all this power? 

“If they want to penalize us because there’s an aroma around this? That’s what this feels like. If you don’t have the so-called smoking gun, it really is frustrating. And they don’t have it. This thing never should have risen to this level.”

Let me give my opinion again. I think this is all silly. The NFL does not, so this is where we are right now. I think spying on other teams and placing bounties on players is much worse than deflating footballs. But there is a lot of circumstantial evidence surrounding Brady and the Patriots that there were deflated footballs being used. I'm more concerned about the rumors of communication systems going out for the visiting team during games played at Foxboro than I am about deflated footballs. The bottom line is that Robert Kraft can be angry, but he helped to make Goodell into what he is.

There was much Kraft wouldn’t say, and he was at times curt, which is rare for him.

I understand there are things Kraft wouldn't say, but to believe the NFL has some vast conspiracy to use circumstantial evidence to bring down the Patriots is silly. Sometimes there isn't a smoking gun on things like this. Sometimes there is only a deflated gun.

Kraft is no absentee owner who swooped in to buy an out-of-town franchise. Born in Boston, he’s lived in the area his entire life except for his college years and talks proudly of having attended at least one Patriots game in every one of their 55 seasons. He bought the franchise 21 years ago and oversaw construction of a privately funded stadium finished in 2002. The Patriots have won four world titles under his ownership. You bash Robert Kraft’s franchise, and you bash his family.

OUR OWNER CARES ABOUT HIS TEAM MORE THAN YOUR OWNER DOES! NO ONE DENIES THIS! IT'S UNASSAILABLE!

Asked about his current relationship with commissioner Roger Goodell (which was until two weeks ago warm and convivial), Kraft said: “You’ll have to ask him.” He wouldn’t answer further.

Did he stomp his feet while he said this?

What can not be forgotten during this interview with Robert Kraft is that he has incentive to back Tom Brady and swear by Brady's honesty. It's Brady's legacy, as well as Kraft's legacy that's on the line. So while I believe Kraft believes Brady is honest, they both have incentive to do what they can to protect their name and legacy. After all, the Patriots are Kraft's family.

Asked whether he might violate NFL bylaws by going to court to try to get the league penalties overturned, Kraft said, “I’m not going to comment on that at this point in time. I’m going to leave it. I won’t say.”

I get why Kraft is angry, but a certain part of me thinks the Patriots (and Kraft) just need to accept the punishment is harsh and let it go. That's what they did as I wrote this, so I think this was probably a smart move. It sounds passive to say that, but the owners didn't give a shit about Roger Goodell being harsh and swinging his dick around with power when it benefits them. Once they are on the other end of the dick-swinging (and this reference will stop here, no worries) they don't like it so much. I understand Kraft is angry, but I'm not sure not speaking to Roger Goodell will get him to change his mind on the length of Brady's suspension or the loss of draft picks.

Asked why he suspended club employees John Jastremski and Jim McNally despite fiercely proclaiming his organization’s innocence, Kraft refused comment—for what he claimed were a variety of reasons.

This is an incredibly valid question. When Robert Kraft doesn't answer it then he's not being forthcoming. I understand he feels the Patriots got screwed, but suspending the employees who he claims are innocent is a really odd move. By being secretive on why this move was made, it looks like from an outsider perspective that he suspended them for not keeping their mouth shut or some other nefarious reason.

(As I finished writing this, it turns out the NFL requested these employees be suspended. It's interesting. It's not interesting that the NFL would ask that these employees be suspended but the Patriots not address this is why Jastremski and McNally are suspended. It's not like the Patriots are on good terms with the NFL right now and would feel the need to keep this secret. Even knowing the NFL requested they be suspended, why not acknowledge this? Odd.)

Kraft is on five significant league business committees. He chairs the lucrative broadcast committee, and the NFL is in the midst of contracts worth an estimated $40 billion through 2022 with the networks and DirecTV. Asked if he would remain as active in league affairs as he has been, Kraft said: “I’d rather not get into that for a week or two.”

Kraft may take his deflated ball and go home.

This weekend, the Kraft-Goodell relationship felt like Obama-Putin. The tone of Kraft’s voice made it sound like it’s too early for peace talks.

I think it's interesting that Peter subconsciously put Kraft in the "Obama" role and Goodell in the "Putin" role.

Kraft’s anger is based largely on the fact that he feels the Wells Report chose to highlight some bits of science and ignore others. For instance, there were two gauges to measure the air pressure in footballs in the officials’ locker room before the AFC title game. Referee Walt Anderson couldn’t swear which he used to do the pregame measurements, but his “best recollection” is he used a Wilson-logoed air-pressure gauge to measure the footballs...The average of the Wilson-logoed gauge measurements of the 11 footballs was 11.49 psi, which would put the balls well within range of the predicted halftime pressure. The other gauge measured the balls, on average, at 11.11 psi, which was seen as below the minimum allowed by the Ideal Gas Law and a sign the footballs may have been tampered. But what if Anderson used the Wilson-logoed gauge pregame, and again at halftime, and the balls were in the proper range as predicted by science?

Selfishly, I'm ready to move on from talking about this. The fact the PSI of a ball is being discussed in-depth based on a reading from two separate gauges just is the most boring and inconsequential thing to me. I feel like I'm being punished in still having to hear about deflated footballs. I thought the penalty for the Patriots was steep, but again, the NFL owners created this Goodell monster and backed up him when he needed backing up. It's their monster and Dr. Frankenstein can't sit around and wonder who created it.

“Anderson has a pregame recollection of what gauge he used, and it’s disregarded, and the [Wells] Report just assumes he uses the other gauge,” Kraft said. “Footballs have never been measured at halftime of any other game in NFL history. They have no idea how much footballs go down in cold weather or expand in warm weather. There is just no evidence that tampering with the footballs ever happened.”

Right, there is evidence there was an intent to tamper with the footballs. It's incredibly disrespectful to the public's sense of logic to believe "The Deflator" was a nickname used for anything other than to deflate footballs. The balls may not have been tampered with, but there definitely seems to be an intent to tamper with the footballs.

There is enough evidence that casts the Patriots and Brady in a bad light—the fact that McNally referred to himself as “the Deflator” in a text message; the six phone calls between Brady and Jastremski over three days once the first deflation charges surfaced, after they hadn’t spoken for six months ; the texting between McNally and Jastremski about inflation of footballs. 

Somebody was doing something to the inflated levels of footballs and Tom Brady suddenly struck up a relationship again with Jastremski after the charges surfaced. So either this is all one big misunderstanding and Brady picked a bad time to re-start a relationship, or something fishy was going on with the inflated levels of the footballs.

I asked Kraft why he seemed to grudgingly accept the 2007 Spygate sanctions but not these.

“Last time,” said Kraft, “there was no dispute about the facts. The team admittedly said what happened. … It was illegal to videotape [the opposing sidelines], and in the end we admitted it and took our penance. This is very different. In 2007 we did something and acknowledged the fact of what was done. This is an accusation of wrongdoing, without proof.”

As usual when it involves the NFL, if there is no video evidence then there is no other way of proving something is true. It takes video stating, "We see what you did" for the NFL owners, players and executives to actually acknowledge something did occur.

The Patriots have to hope they get some relief from Brady’s appeal to the league office (a longshot), and then must determine if Brady as an individual or Kraft on behalf of the organization goes outside the family to challenge the league ruling. There were indications over the weekend that Kraft was leaning against going rogue and suing the league, but talking to him, it still felt like a fluid situation.
I wouldn't consider "going rogue" to be the same thing as exercising the ability to file a lawsuit against the NFL. Again, I do take a great sense of LOL'ing out of this situation. Everyone hates Roger Goodell at this point.

“How do you think Garoppolo will do, if he has to play?” I asked.

Brilliant question, Peter. Shitty. Robert Kraft thinks Garoppolo will play really, really shitty. That's what I'm absolutely positive the answer is going to be to this question that need not be asked because what else would Robert Kraft say?

“My gut feeling is the same as yours,” Kraft said. “He is a very hard worker, a very fine young man, but until the bullets are flying and you’re out there, no one knows. Think about how many of these first-round picks, even, don’t make it. [Garoppolo was the team’s second-round pick in 2014.] He works hard and he studies hard, though.”

Well, that's still a dumb question, but Kraft basically is like, "I don't know and don't plan to find out." It's a non-answer because Kraft can't fathom how Brady won't be available. I don't take this as a real opinion of Garoppolo's ability, but evidence that Kraft hasn't gotten to the part of processing Tom Brady will be out of action for four games.

“Deep down,” Kraft said, “I would hope that’s an academic question.” 

It's probably not. Hey, this is the Roger Goodell that the owners wanted. They wanted a commissioner who was strong, stood for keeping the game of football strong and would keep his foot on the throat of anyone who stepped out of line on or off the field. It's not so much fun now, is it?

The drama in San Francisco, to be sure, will be Kraft and Goodell dueling at 10 paces. Aside from moving the goalposts to the back of the endzone in 1974 and adopting the two-point conversion in 1994, the NFL hasn’t had a significant change in the way it keeps score in its 95 seasons.

I believe what the owners are likely to pass isn’t a perfect plan, but it’s a good starting point—

When I read this, all I hear is "It will be a shitty plan until the owners go back in and fix the shitty plan once it is revealed as shitty."

With a success rate of 99.5 percent for PATs over the past four years, and with the rising number of touchbacks with the kickoff line pushed up five yards recently, the dead spots in games are, well, really dead.

I watched a few touchdowns followed by PATs, TV timeouts and touchbacks over the weekend on NFL Game Rewind, and this is an estimate of how much time there is several times per game when absolutely nothing happens:

PAT—About 55 seconds from the time a touchdown is scored until the time the ref signals for a TV timeout.

TV timeout—There are 20 per game, at 1 minute 50 seconds per timeout.

Touchback following the TV timeout—About 75 seconds from the time the game comes back from commercial to when the offensive team breaks the huddle and approaches the line for first down.

That’s exactly four minutes between plays of substance—the touchdown and the first play on the next series—assuming a PAT and a touchback. That’s a lot of nothing time.

Baseball is dying because it's so slooooooooooooooow. There is just so much standing around. Football is thriving because it's so fast-paced and exciting! The players actually do something when they are on the field.

Pushing the PAT back is the first step in that direction. It may not be enough, but it’s better than the 19-yard gimme that exists now.

Maybe show the owners videotape of why they should move the PAT back. It seems videotape is the only way to convince the owners there is a problem that needs to be corrected.

Then Peter talks about a Fay Vincent op-ed regarding the deflating of footballs by the Patriots. It's Fay Vincent. He and Murray Chass are best friends, so based on that I'm not interested in Fay Vincent's opinion.

“If you live to be a thousand years old, will this make any sense to you? Will it make any godd— sense?!”
—David Letterman, in his memorable post-9/11 monologue, on the frustration and anger over the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

This is David Letterman’s last week hosting the “Late Show with David Letterman.” His final show is Wednesday. I just thought that was the most memorable thing he’s done—at least in my memory.

It makes me laugh that Peter adds "---at least in my memory" to this thought. Obviously if Peter thinks this is the most memorable thing that David Letterman has done then it's from his memory. It seems like it just goes without saying. If Peter could remember something Letterman did that was more memorable then he would have named that as the most memorable thing.

“Mr. Brady believes he has never turned down [an autograph] request. If receiving an autograph from Mr. Brady is evidence that you are being rewarded by him for nefarious conduct, then hundreds or even thousands of people must be part of a scheme of wrongdoing.”
—Also from the Patriots’ rebuttal

Deep sigh. I think there is more to Brady's involvement than just providing an autograph. The Patriots' rebuttal did more to make them seem desperate and reaching for explanations than if they had just not rebutted the report at all. They made some good points, but the amount of laughable material in the rebuttal made me feel they were just reaching to explain what was really going on. 

“I have no comment at this time, and support our troops, and God bless the USA.”
—“Saturday Night Live” cast member Taran Killam on NBC Saturday night, playing Tom Brady, asked repeatedly in an “interview” if he was guilty of any connection with football deflation before the AFC Championship Game.
In other words, the satire on Brady rarely answering hard, direct questions was in full bloom on the TV show.

Tom Brady doesn't have to answer hard, direct questions if he doesn't want to. That's his right. He talked with Ted Wells and has received his punishment. He's done all he is required to do. The Patriots are doing a good enough job of trying to rebut the report without Tom Brady holding a press conference and announcing that he didn't do anything wrong. Every controversy like this doesn't have to be a public spectacle.

But will the NFL really be fixing the PAT if part of the new solution is pushing the kicking point to the 15-yard-line, meaning the PAT attempt on a kick would be from the 32 or 33? It does not seem so. Longtime Pittsburgh TV anchor and commentator John Steigerwald forwarded these numbers to me, and they’re interesting.


2014 NFL Field Goal Accuracy, 30- to 39-yard attempts
Field goals made: 272.
Field goal attempted: 302.
Field goal percentage from 30 to 39 yards: 90.1 percent.
NFL kickers make more than 99 percent of extra points—on average, over the past three seasons—and so the percentage is going to go down if the scrimmage line is moved back 13 yards. But as Steigerwald points out, only slightly.

NFL kickers make about 99.5% of their extra points from the current distance. From 30 to 39 yards they make 90.1% of the extra point attempts. That's still a high percentage, but I wouldn't at all say it's "only slightly" bigger than 99.5% . If Peter took a 9% pay cut then I doubt he would consider this to be a "slight" pay cut. The same principle applies here. 90.1% is still a high percentage of field goal makes, but it's not "only slightly" a lower percentage than 99.5%. That 9% decrease in field goal makes isn't slight.

My first reaction at Odell Beckham Jr. being named to the cover of the new Madden video game: The guy’s played 12 NFL games, zero in the playoffs. Could we please let him earn it first?

It's a video game cover. Why should Beckham Jr. have to earn a video game cover? Who cares? Peyton Hillis was on the cover of Madden. He had one season during his career where he exceeded 600 yards rushing. He did about as much as Beckham Jr. has done to earn the cover.

If the Madden game is about not just what you’ve done but what you’re about to do—and clearly the marketing of this game is about the exciting young player staying hot—then Beckham might be the easiest choice in the league. He enters the 2015 season on fire.

So what's the point? I don't think I understand the point Peter is wanting to make here. If his point is that video games are about entertainment and the cover of Madden isn't a testament to a player's career achievements...then yeah, it's pretty obvious. It's a video game.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

I kept wondering what the GPS in my car was trying to say over the weekend as we left New York City headed for my nephew’s college graduation dinner in Baltimore.

It was probably saying that you should know where you are going and don't completely rely on GPS to get you where you want to go in an area you aren't familiar with. I'm kidding of course, Peter's GPS was most likely signaling to other GPS in the area to put it out of it's misery so it doesn't have to continue to lead this sad existence of having Peter constantly spill coffee on it.

You know how the female voice in those GPS systems can mispronounce with the best of them?

Yes, I hate how the computer voices don't pronounce words properly. #privilegedamericancomplaintsfromtheyear2015

Well, as we drove onto the New Jersey Turnpike and headed south, the voice said, Merge left and head south toward Carsley, or something like that.

The audacity of this computer voice. Peter has no idea where he's going and this is the best the computer voice can do? Unacceptable. What is Peter supposed to do? Accept responsibility for knowing where he is going? That's not his job.

A mile or so later, the voice said, Merge left and head south toward Carsonley.
There is no Carsonley. Now I was getting confused.

I have an idea, and this comes from someone who is terrible with directions, since you know that you have to merge left, how about you merge left and look for something that sounds like "Carsonley." Obviously you need to merge left and I doubt there are two places that sound nearly the exact same such a short distance from each other. Merge left. Who cares what towards, it will make sense eventually, but just merge left for now.

Here came the sign, as we approached the lovely area of the Turnpike north of Newark Airport, for the highway that was about to split in two going south. On the left-hand side of the road, the New Jersey Turnpike south, it read:
CARS ONLY

Well, now you know. I do hate it when a GPS gives the correct directions, but mispronounces words though. It's like, why do you even exist if you can't pronounce words correctly? Go kill yourself and Peter will find another GPS that takes on the responsibility of figuring out where the hell he is supposed to be driving, because it is NOT Peter's job to know where he's driving to. It's your job, computer voice on the GPS that didn't give inaccurate directions.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think the candor of the representatives of La’el Collins—now—is to be applauded in the wake of Collins going undrafted and then signing as a free agent with Dallas.

Yes, let's applaud the candor of Collins' representatives. They were so candid AFTER they lied. This apparently impresses the hell out of Peter.

Robert Klemko of The MMQB

Peter really doesn't have to mention who Robert Klemko works for. It's known at this point.

Most of us in the media business, I think, believed it was a bluff when agent Mike McCartney warned teams not to draft Collins, who was wanted for questioning in a murder case the week of the draft, and later questioned without being detained by police in Louisiana. Had he been drafted, McCartney told teams, Collins would have sat out the year and re-entered the draft in 2016. So no team drafted Collins, and McCartney and his agency, Priority Sports, got their way. By not being drafted, Collins got to pick where he wanted to play, and he chose Dallas, where he could be a luxury piece on what could be the best line in football.

Apparently La'el Collins is a future Hall of Famer. I learned this after the draft was over and NFL teams were recruiting him to play for their team. I thought he was a first round draft pick who appears to be very talented yet unproven in the NFL, but little did I know how popular he would end up being.

“We can put it on the record now,” McCartney told Klemko. “We were never going back in the draft. If someone had drafted him, we would’ve had a long, long discussion about it, but at the end of the day you can’t go back in the draft. He could get injured, gain weight, or 10 great tackles could come out. Too many risks.”

THANKS FOR YOUR CANDOR IN INITIALLY LYING BUT TELLING THE TRUTH NOW!

Peter King also appreciates Pete Rose's candor. He told the truth about gambling on baseball. What candor! Rose didn't admit to gambling on the Reds while he was the manager, but I'm sure that revelation is for the next book he's writing. He's gotta milk the revelations over time for maximum income potential.

Does it really count as being candid if Collins' representatives continued lying and eventually told the truth? Didn't his representatives just lie until they decided to tell the truth? It's how I see it at least. They insisted for negotiating reasons that Collins would re-enter the draft if a team drafted him, but after the draft was over and he signed with the Cowboys, they said they were probably lying about that. As I said last week, Peter King must be a great father to have if he thinks lying and then eventually telling the truth is being candid.

2. I think for those who say: Whoa—McCartney was lying. You’re defending lying? Not necessarily. McCartney’s most important job was protecting his client, and putting Collins in the best place possible for 2015, 2016 and beyond after an unprecedented event before a draft.

They absolutely did a great job. There's no doubt about that. But they didn't display candor until they had nothing to lose by being candid. That in itself sort of ruins the point of applauding McCartney for being candid. Why applaud him for telling the truth once he felt it wouldn't hurt him to be candid?

Peter King is an odd person to think the candor should be applauded in this situation. The job McCartney did should be applauded, but he wasn't exactly honest.

And there was no guarantee that McCartney, in the end, wouldn’t do what he said. If Collins got picked by a cold-weather team, maybe he’d have told McCartney to just forget it, and he’d go back in the draft pool next year.

I can see why Peter had trouble with the GPS. It seems that he has difficulty reading AND listening. the exact quote from McCartney:

“We were never going back in the draft. If someone had drafted him, we would’ve had a long, long discussion about it, but at the end of the day you can’t go back in the draft.

I'm trying to figure out in that quote where Peter gets the indication that Collins would have gone back to the draft. Is there room for flip flopping in the use of the term "never" when it comes to going back into the draft? It seems to me like Collins would never have gone back into the draft and there seems to be a pretty strong guarantee that McCartney wasn't going to do what he said. Mostly because he said he wasn't going to do what he said. No wonder that GPS kicked Peter's ass, his listening and reading comprehension skills seem to be struggling.

6. I think it hit me the other day, doing a little research on running backs and the draft in recent years for a Todd Gurley story I’m working on. The draft is a crapshoot, period.

Peter King just realized the NFL draft is a crapshoot. By the way, he's one of the most respected and well-known NFL sportswriters. Not that this should concern anyone that Peter King has been covering the NFL for almost 30 years and just realized the draft is a crapshoot. Apparently it took the Rams drafting a running back for Peter to finally realize this. See, even though he hasn't won a playoff game in a decade, is overpaid for his record with the Rams and has never lived up to his perceived reputation, Jeff Fisher does serve a purpose to society!

But the running back position is the crapshootiest of all positions, at least lately. Some of the backs picked in the top two rounds since 2009: Christine Michael, Montee Ball, Trent Richardson, David Wilson (injured, I know), Isaiah Pead, LaMichael James, Mikel Leshoure, Daniel Thomas, Jahvid Best, Ben Tate, Montario Hardesty, Beanie Wells. Between 2009 and 2013, 26 backs got picked in the first two rounds, and half of them are current flameouts.

I'm not going to do research on this due to time constraints (plus, I feel like my gut is correct), but my gut instinct is that the running back position does not have the highest percentage of flameouts drafted in the first two rounds since 2009. I'm simply glad that Peter finally realized the draft is a crapshoot and am amazed he at any point felt otherwise.

7. I think the underrated acquisition of the offseason could well be Dennis Allen re-joining the Saints as the assistant to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Sean Payton loves Allen, who always has been good at taking unaderachievers (such as last year’s disappointing second-round cornerback, Stanley Jean-Baptiste) and making them contributors. Looking forward to seeing the New Orleans secondary be more aggressive and efficient with Allen’s help.

Plus, the Saints then have an obvious person to take the place of Rob Ryan if the Saints defense starts off the season struggling. But a Rob Ryan defense would never struggle would it? He's Rob Ryan, defensive coordinator extraordinaire.

9. I think you can add Oakland coach Jack Del Rio to the chorus of those who felt the NFL’s sanction of the Patriots “was a little bit overdone.” It get curiouser and curiouser.

Jack Del Rio is the head coach of an NFL team, an NFL team that could one day face sanctions from Roger Goodell for doing something that Goodell didn't like. That colors his thinking. The players think the sanctions were a bit much too, because they don't like Roger Goodell. NFL teams are afraid Goodell could come down hard on them in the future, and those who don't agree the sanctions are heavy-handed are probably not going to speak up at this point for a variety of reasons (their owner wants them to stay quiet, respect for Brady, etc), so it makes sense for everyone to gang up on Goodell. It doesn't mean the sanctions were fair or unfair, but this quote from Del Rio is more evidence that Roger Goodell is not popular these days and has become very open criticism.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

d. Great front page of Mississippi’s Jackson Clarion-Ledger on Saturday—B.B. KING: “The thrill is gone.” That’s the entire front page, with a gigantic broadsheet photo of King, who died Thursday from Type 2 diabetes at 89. Imagine: still performing at age 89. That’s what King was doing.

And I bet Peter knew two songs by B.B. King, "The Thrill is Gone" and "When Love Comes to Town" by that jokester band, U2 and King. He can eulogize B.B. King all he wants of course, but I'm betting the collaboration with U2 makes up the majority of Peter's knowledge of B.B. King.

e. The most amazing factoid in the wake of the horrible Amtrak crash near Philadelphia that killed eight commuters last week: The track and infrastructure on the northeast corridor train route that still transports thousands of people a day is up to 150 years old. Not all of it, of course. But some. Which means it was laid or built, in part, right around the time of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

So Peter is saying these parts of the track are holding up well for their age? Or is Peter saying that Amtrak deserves more funding? I'd love to know where political expert Peter King wants to come up with these funds to take care of the backlog of repairs for a train service that consistently loses money. Peter doesn't know. It's like his screeds against guns and most of his other political observations. Peter hates guns and that's all he knows. Amtrak needs money to update their tracks and that's all Peter knows or cares about.

g. The St. Louis Cardinals are apace to draw 3.5 million fans for second straight year. What a franchise. What a baseball town.

They play the game the right way there. That's all I know.

l. Paul Pierce is absurd. Steph Curry is absurder.

I can't believe Peter didn't include, "I don't watch the NBA much" prior to making this comment. It's tradition that he make an observation about the NBA immediately after pointing out how much he hates NBA basketball.

p. Steve Kerr’s agent, remember, was Mike Tannenbaum. Yes, that Mike Tannenbaum, before he took the job heading up the Miami Dolphins’ front office.

It would be impossible for me to forget this since it was brought up repeatedly before, during and after Kerr was negotiating with the Knicks and Warriors to be their head coach.

r. Column note: I will be away next Monday, and Greg Bedard will be filling in for me in this space. My daughter Laura is getting married Saturday afternoon in California.

Oh, that should be fun. Maybe Greg Bedard writes stupid shit and I can mock him too. I'll have to read the MMQB and see if it's worth the time.

Kings are coming from as far away as Spain and England, from New York and Connecticut. I’ll be back June 1.

But not B.B. King, because he's dead. Maybe King should have left money for Amtrak to fix parts of the rail system in his will. Peter would posthumously love him then. The thrill would be back.

The Adieu Haiku
In San Fran this week,  
if you see Bob Kraft, tell me
if his eyes shoot darts.


Worthless. I hope Bedard doesn't include a haiku next week. Just worthless. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

2 comments Drew Sharp is Unhappy the NBA Lottery Works As It Is Intended to Work

Drew Sharp is upset that the Detroit Pistons haven't had better luck in the NBA Draft lottery over the past few seasons. He's mad that the Pistons are too good to get high lottery picks, but aren't good enough to make the playoffs. The only takeaway from this is that the NBA Draft lottery is broken and must be fixed. Of course, in the same article where Sharp complains the Pistons deserve a high lottery pick, he also points out how drafting high in the NBA lottery isn't a sure-fire way to land a great player. So Sharp is unhappy the NBA Draft lottery works in the way it is intended to because the Pistons deserve a high lottery pick that Sharp points out may not even get the Pistons an outstanding player. The last time the Pistons landed a high lottery pick, they drafted Darko Milicic. Since 2010 when the Pistons have drafted in spots 6-10 they have drafted Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight, Andre Drummond, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. So it seems like Sharp should want the Pistons to NOT get a Top 5 pick in the NBA Draft lottery. Alas, that is not the argument Sharp is making. He thinks the lottery is broken because it works how it is supposed to and he wants the Pistons to land a Top 5 pick that Sharp points out have a tendency to not live up to expectations anyway. Of course.

The NBA's lottery logic is egregiously flawed.

Not just flawed, but EGREGIOUSLY flawed. There is no coming back from how flawed the lottery is.

While the bad should be rewarded with the first dips into the pool of fresh, young talent, the league is failing miserably in maximizing the value of the process.

The No. 1 overall pick shouldn't be awarded. It should be won.

Instead of the draft lottery, there should be a draft tournament.

The logic is flawed. The worst teams should be rewarded with higher draft picks, so logically, the best way to do this is to hold a tournament where the winner of the tournament gets to draft first. So logically, the worst teams will be rewarded through the process of a tournament where the teams that didn't make the playoffs will compete for the #1 overall pick. Again, LOGICALLY (my God, there's no logic in this), it makes sense to maximize the value of the lottery process by holding a tournament, where the worst teams don't have a good chance of winning this tournament, in order to determine which team gets the #1 overall pick. How in the holy hell does it make sense to award the #1 overall pick to a team that wins a tournament, while acknowledging the worst NBA teams deserve the first shot at players in the draft? 

See, if a team is so bad that it is in the running for the #1 overall pick then that team logically won't be able to beat other NBA teams in a tournament. Therefore, it makes no logical sense to say, "Hey, the worst teams should have the best chance at getting the #1 overall pick," and then stating the #1 overall pick should be determined by the very same basketball games that showed the worst teams are the worst teams. Logically, the best "bad" teams will win this tournament and be awarded a better draft pick. It doesn't reward bad teams for being bad, it simply reproves the worst teams in the NBA are going to be the worst teams in the NBA and ensures a better NBA team gets a better draft pick than one of the worst NBA teams. It's not a bad idea, it's just an idea that doesn't achieve it's intended purpose. Logically. 

The current lottery system — a number of ping-pong balls in proportion to the number of games lost — punishes the Pistons more than other teams.

I mean, I would argue differently considering Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond exist on the Pistons roster. Or Greg Monroe DID exist prior to hitting free agency. Who the hell knows what's happening now? What punishes the Pistons more than other teams are really stupid fucking free agent signings. Ben Gordon, Josh Smith, and Charlie Villanueva would like to talk about this issue. Maybe Drew Sharp should look into stupid fucking free agent signings as the source of the Pistons' biggest issues.

Though bad the past six seasons, they haven't been dreadful enough to improve their chances at getting a top-three selection. The Pistons have a 3.89% chance of landing a top-three selection in Tuesday night's draft lottery.

The Pistons have been bad, but not one of the worst teams in the NBA. Therefore, the Pistons don't have a good chance of landing a very high draft pick. The lottery has worked as it is intended to.

It has been 12 years since they last got a top-three selection. The Pistons' problem is that they stay in the middle of the lottery pack. This will be their sixth straight season in the draft lottery, but they've never had a selection higher than seventh. The newly crowned NBA MVP, Golden State's Stephen Curry, was the seventh pick in 2009.

The Pistons made the playoffs from 2001-2002 through 2008-2009, so they had no chance at getting a top-three selection during those years. The Pistons didn't have a first round pick in 2012 and 2014. so that leaves the, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 drafts where they could have landed a top-three pick. The Pistons only had four chances in the last 12 years to get a top-three selection. They feel less cursed if you provide complete information, no?

The Pistons built the core of their current team in those four drafts, so it's not like they have really struggled finding talent in spots 6-10 of the first round. Considering the Pistons made the playoffs in half of those 12 years since they last received a top-three selection, I'm not sure what Drew Sharp is bitching about.

The draft lottery should benefit those close enough to genuinely contend for playoff series victories in the next season as well as those still molding a foundation onto which they could build a contender in another two or three years.

Whatever happened to the idea Drew mentioned where bad teams should be the ones who get the first dip into the talent pool? I guess that doesn't matter anymore.

I disagree the draft logic is flawed. Why should teams close enough to contend for playoff series victories be rewarded with higher draft picks? And let's be honest. The Pistons are good enough to contend for playoff victories only because they are in the Eastern Conference. They haven't won more than 32 games in a season since 2008-2009 season. They are consistently a mediocre team that has drafted well enough to win games, but have made other dumb moves that have held them back from making the playoffs. Why should this be rewarded over other teams who are just flat-out terrible? One man's "molding a foundation onto which they could build a contender in another two or three years" is another man's "they draft well, but don't draft well enough to cover up for other mistakes that are made in building the roster."

They might be the Eastern Conference lottery team best positioned for a dramatic surge upward if they score in the draft.

Maybe they are or maybe they are not. Who knows? Pretending this assumption is correct doesn't mean this assumption is actually correct. The Pacers, Heat, and Hornets all made the playoffs a year ago and two of those teams were missing their best player for a large part of the season. If any of those three teams landed a top-three pick then I would say they would surge upwards faster than the Pistons would, PLUS these teams have all shown that they actually can win a playoff series in reality (except the Hornets) and not theoretically on paper...you know, like Sharp claims the Pistons could.

Can you imagine a starting backcourt next season of point guard Reggie Jackson and Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell with Andre Drummond holding fort down low? Or how about Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Townes pairing with Drummond next season?

Can you imagine D'Angelo Russell slinging passes to Roy Hibbert and Paul George? How about Karl-Anthony Towns and Hassan Whiteside on the same team protecting the rim? What about Justise Winslow leading the fast break for any of these teams? If these players are any good they will help whatever team they are drafted by. Simply because the Pistons have a few good players doesn't mean they are more "worthy" than the Heat or Pacers, both teams who suffered injuries to important players this past season.

A draft tournament would help teams like the Pistons.

And obviously, because the draft tournament would help teams like the Pistons then it is a good idea. There's no doubt about that. The draft lottery would help teams like the Thunder, Pacers, Heat or Suns a little bit more.

It's something NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA Players Association should strongly consider — if for nothing else but silencing the annual harping from skeptics that bad teams deliberately tank for more losses and more lottery ping-pong balls.

Ironically, Drew Sharp is talking about harping from skeptics and he happens to be one of those skeptics. So Drew Sharp has created the idea of a draft tournament in order to help his hometown team get a top-three draft pick and to stop himself from bitching about teams that deliberately lose games to get a better draft pick. He's acting like this draft tournament is anything but an attempt to satiate his own bitching and whining about the lottery process by acting like he isn't one of these skeptics. I really do believe the media cares more about tanking than the average NBA fan does. I could be wrong, but the media bitches about tanking so much that they create their own echo chamber where they believe tanking to be a huge issue when I think it's a huge issue of their own creation. I'm not sure how much the public, outside of fans of the teams doing the tanking, care about the issue.

Winning to prove that you deserve to be the biggest loser.

There are 14 nonplayoff teams. But the 13th- and 14th-ranked lottery teams shouldn't eligible for the tournament.

LO-fucking-L! So Drew Sharp goes through this whole column talking about a tournament that rewards those teams that are close enough to contend in a playoff series, but aren't good enough to make the playoffs. Then he immediately eliminates the two lottery teams that are the closest (in terms of record) to making the playoffs from the tournament. The Thunder and the Suns would have made the playoffs if they were in the Eastern Conference, but those are the two teams that Drew Sharp so amazingly chooses as not belonging in the tournament specifically designed for good teams who aren't good enough to make the playoffs.

I would say this is a shocking example of ineptitude, but it's not shocking. It's typical of modern sportswriting. Drew Sharp has an end he wants to achieve and he'll be damned if he doesn't achieve that end, even if he has to contradict his intent. He wants a tournament for NBA lottery teams to prove they deserve the #1 overall pick because they have molded a foundation, so he eliminates the two teams that are closest to actually making the playoffs and currently seem to be the closest to molding that foundation to success. Brilliant.

Take the remaining 12 teams. The worst four get a first-round bye. Each will play in its own three-team bracket. The next eight play one another based on their lottery seeding. The four first-round winners will play the four worst teams in the second round. The second-round winners will represent the draft's Final Four.

Or maybe it should be called the Flawed Four.

And the intent of this tournament is? To reward the best teams in the NBA with better picks? Because if the intent is anything but that, then this tournament will not achieve it's intended purpose. The worst teams in the lottery have had 82 games to prove they don't deserve to make the playoffs. A draft lottery tournament will only go to reinforce this as true.

The NBA has expressed resistance in such a plan because it doesn't want anything detracting from the full attention on the league's best battling for an actual championship. But shouldn't all league parties involved want the best system possible for those teams striving to become a playoff team?

Yes, they should. Teams that aren't very good right now do want to become a playoff team in time, so that's why they get the best possible lottery position, because they aren't very good and they want to be a playoff team. Simply because the Pistons are a mediocre to below average team doesn't mean they want to make the playoffs more than a team like the Magic or Sixers, who aren't very good at all, want to make the playoffs.

The 19-year-old draft entry requirement effectively has rendered the current lottery system obsolete. You're extremely fortunate now if just one of the top-four players selected becomes a decently productive starter, let alone a superstar such as former No. 1 overall selections Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose.

Great, more LOL'ing for me. Drew Sharp writes this column about how the NBA needs to "reward" NBA teams who try to build good teams and almost make the playoffs with a top-three pick. Then Drew Sharp ends the column with "NBA teams are fortunate if a top-four player becomes a productive NBA starter." So if the Pistons need luck to get a productive player in the top-four of the draft then why would the NBA "reward" them with a top-four pick? The Pistons have found two productive starters with the four first round starters they had between picks 6-10. Why not just have the Pistons stay there since they have proven they can find productive starters in those spots and not "reward" them by turning the intent of the lottery around? 

I think this is hilarious and very Terence Moore-esque of Drew Sharp. He spends an entire column talking about how the Pistons deserve an early lottery pick and then writes that teams are lucky to find productive players with those early lottery spots anyway. He submarines his own point. Welp, I guess it's not really a problem that the Pistons don't get those early lottery picks is it? 

Over the past seven drafts, only eight of the 28 players selected in the top four have been even remotely impactful.

That's basically a 25% average (one out of four).

And THESE are the guys that Drew Sharp so vehemently wants the Pistons to be in a position to draft?

If the odds are that long in finding that one potential star among the top-four selections, then shouldn't the value of that pick be worth more than the random assembly of ping-pong balls?

Notice how Drew Sharp leaves out the 2007 draft. If the 2007 draft were included then it would be 11 of 32 players selected in the top-four that have been remotely impactful. If that odds are that long in finding that one potential star among the top-four selections, then shouldn't it make sense to leave the draft lottery as it is and allow the teams with the worst record to have the best chance at the top-four picks? After all, the Pistons aren't really missing out on anything special if that's hard to find a productive player in the top four picks.

Over the last seven drafts (2008-2014) I count 11 players that have been remotely impactful in the 5-8 spots in the first round and 9 players that have been remotely impactful drafted in the 9-12 spots in the first round. So what does it matter if the lottery is egregiously flawed for the reasons that Drew Sharp indicates? Why is a tournament needed if the teams that are building something great can still find impactful players later in the lottery? After all, Drew Sharp admits it's not easy to find great, productive players in the first four picks of the draft. So how is allowing them the chance (through a tournament) even a reward for teams like the Pistons? I guess we will see tonight how it goes for them.

Monday, May 18, 2015

2 comments Mel Kiper's 2015 NFL Draft Grades; Everyone Wins This Year!

I stopped doing draft grades last year and started doing non-grades, which basically consisted of which pick I thought was the best for a team and which I thought was the worst pick for a team. It was just my opinion. I grew tired of giving out grades when it takes years to figure out how a team did in the draft. I also included comments from Mel Kiper, since anything he says about the draft is always fun for perusal. Mel always says non-important statements like a guy "could be" a guy for depth on a team's roster soon. He really said last year:

Lavelle Westbrooks is one to watch as more depth at corner. 

One to watch as more depth. So he's one to watch as someone who will make the team? Great. Anyway, this year I'm not going to give my opinion in the form of non-grades either. I don't know enough about all 200+ players to give one, but I am going to mock Mel Kiper's comments and his draft grades. This is not to be confused with five years from now when I again mock Mel's grades and comments once these guys drafted in 2015 have played in the NFL for five years. 

So I had a hard time finding Mel's grades this year. I did get an image of them at this site. So those are his grades and immediately you will notice one particular thing. What is that one thing? Everyone gets a ribbon! Of the 32 teams that drafted, 28 of them did above average or better in the draft. That's great. This is the most successful draft in NFL history!...or Mel Kiper is giving out great grades to every team like he does every single year in an effort to be as right as possible in retrospect. See, it's easier to say, "Man, I totally thought that guy was going to be great in the NFL" in retrospect and be wrong rather than write, "The Bears had a terrible draft..." and start ripping on those players while running the risk of being wrong. When Mel is wrong when going negative, he will hear about. Mel doesn't want to hear about and chooses to minimize the amount of time he is wrong, so he prefers to be wrong while being positive. He's weenie basically. One would think a draft "expert" such as Mel would be fine being seen as wrong, but this isn't correct because Mel thinks almost 90% of the NFL did above average or better. In fact, Mel only gave 8 grades lower than a "B-." Weenie. 

Arizona Cardinals: C+

Mel said the Cardinals need to address the OLB, RB, C, and CB positions. They addressed one of those positions in the third round, but he thinks they did an above average job. Okay, so he likes the picks the Cardinals made?

"...but I didn't like the value too much with either of the top two picks."

So Mel didn't like the players the Cards chose with their top two picks and they didn't draft for three of the four positions of need? Fuck it, they did above average. Makes sense.

Atlanta Falcons: B

So though Beasley is a slight reach on my board -- he can rush the passer but can he provide value elsewhere? -- 

For example, how good at Accounting is Vic Beasley? Can he provide value for the Falcons when it comes tax time? Because, if they are being honest, the Falcons Accounting department sucks and any help Beasley could provide there would really up his value to the organization.

I don't mind the pick there.

Congrats Falcons! Mel Kiper gives you retro-permission to draft Vic Beasley. Also, Justin Hardy is "a solid depth addition" at wide receiver. He plays the position of wide receiver and may not suck.

Baltimore Ravens: A-

"Tray Walker is an interesting, 6-foot-2 CB prospect who could emerge with seasoning."

Wait, he's going to emerge with seasoning? Does this mean at training camp he'll show up with cayenne pepper, perhaps a little table salt or other spices that will really give the food during training camp that much needed flavor? If so, this was a much-needed pick. Training camp food sucks.

Yeah, Mel didn't say too much stupid for the Ravens. He fawned, which wasn't hard to do.

Buffalo Bills: C-

This is the lowest grade that Mel gave out. The worst an NFL team did was draft a little below average. What a draft!

"Watkins is going to be just fine, but Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. could both have been taken without moving up, and that now factors into the grade this year..." 

Wait, what? So the Bills are going to get dinged for last year's draft by Kiper, because he feels the team gave up too much to get Watkins, then dinged again this year because they didn't have a first round pick. Mel is brutal...or as brutal as someone who gives the lowest grade of a "C-" can be. I don't understand why not having a first round pick factors into the grade when the metrics being measured are:

• How much overall talent did a team add, based on board position?

• How effectively did they address key personnel voids?

• How efficient were they in maneuvering on the draft board?

At what point is "Did they make a trade last year and lose picks for this year?" show up as a metric that Mel is measuring?

"The Bills didn't need an amazing draft, thanks to good roster-building outside of QB." 

Well, don't worry Bills fans. Your team didn't even need an amazing draft, so really Mel's lowest grade doesn't even mean anything to him, because the Bills were set anyway.

Carolina Panthers: C

The Panthers passed again on an O-lineman --- and I repeat, they need really need some O-linemen, any O-linemen --- in Round 2...

The Panthers added some useful pieces, but the O-line still looks scary from where I sit---

It's a shame they didn't draft an offensive lineman when Mel thought they should have. BUT the Panthers did draft an offensive lineman and Mel thought it was a good pick.

Daryl Williams is a decent value at No. 102, and he could push for a starting role at one of the tackle spots, though that's wishful thinking in 2015.

Okay, why is that wishful thinking? The Panthers needed offensive linemen, they drafted one in the fourth round and now Mel is all, "Well the tackles in front of him on the roster are too good for Williams to be a starter." One minute the team needs offensive linemen because the O-line is scary, the next minute the ones they have are good enough to beat out a fourth round pick. Make up your mind.

Chicago Bears: B+

If there's a void here, it's a pass-rush addition, but you can't hit every need...

Oh, someone should tell that to the Panthers, who just got bludgeoned by Mel for not filling their need at OT, but then filling it too late.

Pretty good draft overall, 

Actually Mel, a "B+" is a step below an excellent draft. Semantics, I know.

with the big question being whether White can transition quickly,

Rick Telander is going to be very upset when the Kevin White he knows starts to transition. It's going to throw him for a big loop.

Cincinnati Bengals: B+

In fact, if Ogubehi felt like a bit of a reach given his injury situation, Fisher balances it out. 

So it's okay for Mel to believe that a team reaches for a player, but only as long as another player falls to that team in the draft. Got it. So the Bengals could have drafted me in the first round, but if the best pass-rusher in the draft falls to them in the second round then it's fine to have wasted a first round pick on me? It's always fun to read Mel's rules for how he grades the draft. You know, other than the major rule being "Don't give any low grades because that's taking a stance, which you should not do."

They added a trio of tight ends, and you get the impression that'll practically be a highly-competitive camp situation, with the hope that someone breaks through. 

I think I figured out the issue with Mel's grades. He doesn't understand numbers or letters. The Bengals drafted two tight ends, but Mel thinks "a trio" is two tight ends. Also, yes Mel, I'm betting the Bengals are hoping one or more tight ends perform well in training camp. Spoiler alert: Every NFL team wishes for this to happen at every position. 

Cleveland Browns: B

The really curious selection was Cameron Erving at No. 19. Although I agree with some that he's among the best O-lineman in the draft -- and easily the best center -- he might end up at guard right away.

YES, WHY IN THE HELL WOULD THE BROWNS TRY TO DRAFT THE BEST OFFENSIVE LINEMAN IN THE DRAFT? THOSE STUPID FUCKING BROWNS SCREWED UP AGAIN!

The pick did make me think the Browns remember how much the run game fell apart when Alex Mack got hurt last year, and they aren't about to let that happen again. Still, a surprising pick.

So the Browns run game fell apart last year without Alex Mack and this year they drafted Cameron Erving, who may be the best offensive linemen in this draft? So what in the hell is surprising about this pick? Is Mel surprised the Browns made a smart pick? I must know. The pick made sense and Mel thinks it makes sense, yet he's shocked.   

The QB situation is obviously a mystery -- I liked the idea of adding Bryce Petty in Round 3 here -- and based on what I can see, the Browns think the best use of the QBs they have right now is to keep them handing off.

I guess the Browns QB's should keep handing off if they insist on drafting the best center in the draft. Who knows why the Browns do what they do? 

Dallas Cowboys: C+

Randy Gregory is the big story. Gregory is a gifted pass-rusher with top-5 ability, but Dallas is rolling the dice at No. 60 and believing Rod Marinelli can help a kid who has off-field issues that threaten to derail his career.

I think Mel Kiper may be upping the drama factor just a bit here. Gregory has some issues, but let's allow him to get into the NFL before having his NFL career derailed.

As to the big question mark, which was not selecting a running back, my sense is the Cowboys know there are many backs who will run effectively behind their offensive line, and you can add one on the cheap pretty easily. The depth chart there just really isn’t that bad.

So the #2 need for the Cowboys that Mel identified coming into this draft really isn't that big of a need? Why list RB as the #2 need in the draft if the team doesn't actually need to draft a player at that position? 

Denver Broncos: B-

Denver needs to hope at least one of the rookie O-linemen emerges as an answer to help the interior of their offensive line, 

Actually no, I bet the Broncos were hoping the players they drafted would actually make the worse in the long run, as well as bring embarrassment to the franchise. Now that Mel has pointed out they probably want these rookie O-linemen to play well, then the Broncos franchise will decide that this is probably what they need to hope for.

but if Ray pans out, this draft could be pretty good.

So I'm not sure what to be snarky about here. So if Shane Ray plays well then that means the entire draft for the Broncos could be pretty good or should I be snarky about Mel Kiper basing this draft's reputation on whether the first round pick plays well? Isn't that one of the best determinations regarding whether a draft is good or not, how well the first round pick performed?

Detroit Lions: B

"Even if Tomlinson is a bit of a reach, you added one starter and potentially two with the value of a single pick. That's not too bad.

Filling two positions with one pick does seem like something that could be categorized as "not bad." That is true. Very insightful.

Alex Carter gives them some needed depth in the secondary, and the addition of Gabe Wright gives them much-needed depth on the interior of the defensive line. 

So the big takeaway or lesson to be learned from the Lions draft is that depth is always going to be "needed" in some way. Though it seems according to the "Mel Kiper Depth Assessment Guide" that "needed depth" is a less urgent need than "much-needed depth." "Quality depth" on the other hand is a step above "needed depth" and involves filling a less urgent need. Perhaps next year Mel should release his "Depth Assessment Guide" prior to draft time so NFL teams can peruse it.

Green Bay Packers: B

I thought the Packers did a good job because they got players I can see helping them right away, and they really didn’t have major needs to fill. - See more at: http://packersinsider.com/2015/05/mel-kiper-nfl-draft-grades-packers-receive-a/#sthash.bFrK18bW.dpuf
Damarious Randall is just the definition of duct tape in the secondary, 

Duct tape: a wide, sticky, and usually silver tape that is made of cloth and that is used especially to repair things

Yes, Randall is JUST the definition of duct tape.

Quinten Rollins is just total intrigue, 

He's JUST total intrigue. So he's a spy like James Bond, made of cloth that is used to repair things like Damarious Randall or where does he fit on the "Mel Kiper Depth Assessment Guide"? Who knows? In fact, there are rumors Quinten Rollins doesn't even exist, that he's just a whisper heard in the ears of NFL GM's. No one has ever actually seen him. Just total intrigue.
I thought the Packers did a good job because they got players I can see helping them right away, and they really didn’t have major needs to fill. - See more at: http://packersinsider.com/2015/05/mel-kiper-nfl-draft-grades-packers-receive-a/#sthash.bFrK18bW.dpuf

Houston Texans: B

The continuing question around the Texans is whether they'll get enough out of the QB position to help elevate the good roster-building they've done elsewhere, but it's not like there was a starting QB play to be found in this draft for them, and they did a good job of continuing to strengthen the roster beyond that position.

I always enjoy how Mel gives teams a pass in his draft grades for not filling a positional need and other times he knocks a team's grade down for not filling a positional need. Sure, quarterback is the most important position on the field, but the Texans did the best they could without reaching for a quarterback. Other teams, like the Bills built their roster but didn't fill the QB position in this draft and they get knocked down for a trade they made last year. The Panthers didn't sufficiently address the offensive line position (I always find it interesting the "experts" think it's understandable not to reach for a QB, but think teams should just fill another need they have in the draft even if they clearly don't like the options), but have a QB, and they got a lower grade for that. Mel's grades feel scattershot at times.

Kevin Johnson is a bit lean, but everything else is there,

He has two arms, two legs, ten toes, ten fingers and a working brain. He seems like a full human being to Mel.

Indianapolis Colts: B-

The Colts managed to get several of my favorite players in the draft, yet I still think they continue to play with fire by not doing more to build quality depth along the offensive line.

Welp, the Colts have that franchise QB-thingie that all teams want, but they aren't protecting him sufficiently. That knocks them down a grade. Houston doesn't have Andrew Luck, but that's cool because they helped the roster around the QB position. Sure, Indianapolis built the roster around Luck, but that doesn't count because it doesn't count.

(Not that building a good offensive line isn't important, but what do the Colts and Panthers have in common in this draft? Both desperately need offensive line help and both picked towards the latter half of the draft and didn't grab offensive line help...it's almost like they both didn't like the guys available at that point)

Phillip Dorsett is an absolute burner who can actually catch the ball, and if you like T.Y. Hilton, I think you're going to love Dorsett. A great player ... but a big need? That looked to me like a clear case of "best player available" drafting.

(Bengoodfella faints at the idea of a team drafting the best player available)

Why on Earth would a team do this? First, the Browns select the best center in the draft who is also MAYBE the best offensive lineman, and now the Colts have selected the player they think to be the best available at their draft position. When will teams learn to fill needs, not acquire good football players?

If there's a big gripe, it's the Colts seem to consistently take for granted that Andrew Luck won't get hurt despite all the hits.

While I agree the Colts drafting a wide receiver was really weird, reaching for an offensive lineman isn't going to fix this problem of Luck getting hurt despite all the hits. Wishing and hoping an offensive lineman is a first round talent just because you select him there doesn't mean this wish will come true. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: B+

From a phone call that Mel had after the draft:

Kiper said he gave the Jaguars a “B .”

Actually Mel, you gave the Jags a "B+." There is a huge difference apparently or else you wouldn't include the "+" to the grade of "B."

“They helped out their quarterback by getting Yeldon, Rashad Greene, Sterling and Koyack, and they helped their defense stop (Colts quarterback) Andrew Luck by getting Fowler, Sample and then Bennett, who was a steal in the sixth round,” Kiper said. “All the way around, there was some method to what they were doing.”

What? A method to what the Jaguars were doing? The Colts draft the best player available, the Browns choose the best offensive lineman and now the Jaguars have a method to their drafting. What is going on with these AFC teams? 

Kansas City Chiefs: B-

They had Mitch Morse graded well above where I did, but I think he'll compete to start at either guard or center, which adds to his value. 

So Morse is going to compete to start at both positions? He's not going to show up drunk to training camp and just sit on the sidelines and drink water? Here I thought maybe Morse would show up, refuse to play center, and then play PS4 for the rest of training camp.

Steven Nelson adds more depth in the secondary,

I always love it when Mel has nothing to add regarding a player so he just states that player "adds depth." Basically, Mel needs to write another sentence and has no idea what to write, so he writes, "This guys plays football and was drafted. He is a warm body." And also, as the "B-" grade shows, Mel loved this draft as he seems to love every draft by every NFL team. That's why it is so much fun to go back and review his grades a few years later. 

Miami Dolphins: B

Jordan Phillips has first-round physical ability and third-round tape, so landing in Round 2 just about averages things out

The silliness of this sentence makes me laugh. So if a player has first round tape and seventh round physical ability, then drafting him in the fourth round sounds about right? Mel is essentially saying, "I am an expert on the draft and have no idea if Jordan Phillips is going to be any good or not. Fuck if I know, so using a second round pick on him sounds good." He gets paid to do this by the way.

If there's a question, it's the lack of a linebacker earlier on. The Parker pick really elevates this draft for me, and they can hope the coin flip on Phillips' becoming really good works out.

Mel liked every single pick the Dolphins made from Rounds 1-4, but he is worried the Dolphins didn't draft a linebacker. Teams can't fill every need with limited picks. Only in NFL Draft "analysis" can someone like Mel write, "I liked every pick the Dolphins made early in the draft" and then write, "I wish the Dolphins had drafted a linebacker early on." It's like going to a restaurant and ordering food and when the waiter asks how the food was saying it was delicious but you wished that you had ordered something else.

Minnesota Vikings: B

Trae Waynes brings about a lot of debate among my colleagues on the draft. We know he can cover in a straight line, and I love the speed, but the detractors point out Waynes really struggles when wide receivers aren't running in a straight line.

They had one of the best picks in Round 2 when they added a potential immediate starter in Eric Kendricks. This kid can really run sideline to sideline

If the Vikings could get into the lab and create a Trae Waynes/Eric Kendricks hybird (to be called Tric Wayndricks) then that would be the greatest defensive football player in this draft. He could cover in a straight line and run sideline to sideline.

The Vikes hit needs pretty well, and if Waynes cleans up aspects of his game, they might have really helped the defense with him and Kendricks. Good draft, but Waynes still has some "we'll see" aspects.

This is as opposed to the other draft picks which are all guaranteed to be good in the NFL? 

New England Patriots: B-

They did well overall, but I'm not sure why they didn't take at least one wide receiver or cornerback.

My guess would be because they didn't want to.

Jordan Richards is a smart, versatile fit in the secondary, which is exactly the kind of guy they like. I had him going lower, but if you think the guy can help and he's there for a team this good? Take him.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, I get it. It's okay for some teams to reach in the draft, but other teams get knocked down a grade for reaching. I think I'm going to need Mel to release the "Mel Kiper Guide to When It's Okay to Reach for a Player in the Draft" because I'm pretty sure no NFL team is going to draft a guy they don't think can help. Whether the team is traditionally good or not should be irrelevant. If Mel is going to knock a team for reaching, how good the team that does the reaching should be irrelevant.

Again, I wished they would have done more at CB and WR, and that drops them some, but you can't say they didn't get some good players, for a Super Bowl champ, no less.

Mel loves all the players the Patriots took, but wishes they would have taken different players, yet still likes the Patriots draft. This is how draft grades and analysis works for Mel. 

New Orleans Saints: C

Andrus Peat hits a need on the offensive line, but he's probably not ideal as a starter in Week 1 because NFL-level pass-rushers could give him fits.

See Mel, this is the type of thing that happens when a team like the Colts drafts an offensive lineman because it fits a need. You bash the pick for not being an ideal starter in Week 1. I have no idea if Peat will be any good, but this is how teams draft players who don't work out. They fill a need because Mel Kiper says it's a need.

The first-rounder they got back from Seattle turned into Stephone Anthony, and though he hits a need, I had a trio of inside linebackers ahead of him on my board.

And this shows the full subjectivity of draft grades. They often only depend on the person doing the grading and his/her opinion of the players selected versus other players available.

The Saints did some good work addressing defensive needs, but they really could have used another pass-catcher. When you factor the Graham deal as a part of the overall grade, it takes a hit.

So to review, Mel didn't like the Saints two first round picks, their second round pick, one of their third round picks and yet he thinks they did an average job in the draft? Got it. Way to go out on a limb there, Mel. What would it take for Mel to give a "D" to a draft? He hated all of a team's picks? Even then Mel would probably give that team a "C-." 

New York Giants: B-

I expected the Giants to take either Brandon Scherff, if available, or Ereck Flowers with the No. 9 pick, so when Scherff ended up at No. 5, Flowers became the man. He could end up at right tackle, pushing Justin Pugh inside. If Flowers can transition well, the Giants could get better at two positions with one pick, but you just can't make that promise.

I literally have no idea what the point of this sentence was. Flowers may play tackle, which means Pugh would play guard and the Giants could improve both positions but nobody can predict the future so there's no telling if that will happen or not so let's not talk about this anymore.

The addition of another safety in Round 5, Mykkele Thompson, just emphasizes the need at that position and, perhaps, how they plan to use Collins. I just thought it was a reach. I had better options available on my board, but again, it's all about fit and development at this point.

It's about fit and development at every point in the draft, not just the later rounds. Even the #1 pick isn't going to work out if he doesn't go to a team that fits him and works to develop his skill set.

New York Jets: A-

they were then able to move back up later to secure Bryce Petty, who has ability but will need time to develop because there are so many NFL concepts that are foreign to him. Still, good value to get a No. 4 QB down at 103 overall.

I always like it when a draft "expert" gives a team credit for a player falling to them, as if the Jets used mind control to ensure they would be able to get Petty at 103 overall. Sure, it was a smart move to draft Petty, but getting "good value" is as much about luck as it is anything else.

And remember: I factor Brandon Marshall into this draft."

And then Mel will factor Marshall into the draft after that as well. Mel is probably still holding the RG3 trade against both the Rams and the Redskins in his draft grades. 

Oakland Raiders: B

If I'm critiquing, it's probably in Round 2, where I thought Mario Edwards was a bit of a reach as my 61st-ranked player.

Mel, your draft grades are literally nothing but you critiquing a team's draft. So yes, "if you are critiquing" meaning, "if you are doing draft grades again."

Edwards was a need, but this team has plenty of them and I had a couple dozen players rated higher there.

The Raiders get knocked down to a "B" (yes, "down" to a "B") because the team had so many needs and Mel didn't like the player the Raiders took. This obviously means the Raiders didn't do a good job in the draft by not listening to Mel's opinion, which is the only correct opinion.

Jon Feliciano could help at guard, though value there was just OK.

Oh, he could help? Great, that's pretty much the reason the Raiders drafted him. Mel had questions about a few picks, but the questions weren't enough for him to think the Raiders were not one of the majority of teams that did a great job in this draft. I'm guessing if Jon Gruden did draft grades then he would give every team an "A." 

Pittsburgh Steelers: A-

The Steelers had a really good draft.

As did apparently almost 90% of the other NFL teams in Mel's opinion.

You think they wanted to find answers in the secondary? Yep, those guys will be green, but at least the depth chart looks better.

The players may suck, but at least there are functioning humans at these positions in the secondary! In "Mel Kiper's Depth Assessement Guide" this is probably known as a mix between "quality depth" and "green depth," which is totally different from "slightly experienced depth."

Philadelphia Eagles: B+

ILB Jordan Hicks went higher than I expected but I don't mind it because he's a really good player who filled a need.

Sure Mel thinks that Hicks was a reach but the Eagles think he can help, he fills a need, AND the Eagles are a good team so it's fine if they reach for a player. They have permission to do so from Mel. 

San Diego Chargers: B-

I would have really liked to see the Chargers add some fresh legs at either wide receiver or tight end, given some of the age on the roster at those positions, and nose tackle was a need that wasn't addressed.

The Chargers had five picks in the draft after trading up to get Melvin Gordon. They couldn't address every need they have in the draft with those five picks.

They did get some really good players, though.

Again, Mel really enjoyed his meal but wishes he had ordered something else. By the way, the Chargers got some really good players with five picks, but it only amounts to a slightly above average draft. I never understand these grades. 

San Francisco 49ers: C+

This one wasn't bad by any measures,

Just as a reminder, Mel thought none of the NFL teams had a bad draft.

but there's a lot of projection here,

Every draft pick is a projection of some type.

The other thing I wonder about is the lack of a true inside linebacker or cornerback. I'm fascinated to see what this class becomes because it's short on guarantees.

The 49ers did seem to draft more players who are considered "raw," but I would love for Mel to point out which teams in the draft picked a class that is long on guarantees. I bet five years from now those drafts long on guarantees won't seem that way anymore. 

Seattle Seahawks: A-

Mel didn't really write anything stupid about the Seahawks. Sadness accrues. My snark has run out on this one. 

St. Louis (Los Angeles) Rams: C 

This was a fascinating draft class, but one that I thought had several reaches on value

And the Rams are not good enough of a team to have permission from Mel to reach. Sure, maybe they drafted players that they thought could help the team, but permission to reach is denied.

The Rams want to be better running the football, which should help take pressure off a passing game we can't expect to be special, and they seemed to emphasize that goal with every pick.

WHAT? The Rams are another NFL team that had a plan and executed that plan in the draft? Inconceivable. No wonder Mel gave this draft a "C," he hates it when a team has a plan during the draft.

I don't dislike the value as much as I typically would -- I've said 1,000 times I don't think taking RBs in Round 1 is a good strategy -- because the Rams have the roster to start winning now, and because a star QB isn't walking through that door, they had to go with the run game.

So it's okay to draft a running back in the first round if a team is trying to win now, but otherwise if a team isn't trying to win now, then it isn't okay to draft a running back in the first round? By the way, both teams that Mel gave permission to draft a running back in the first round didn't make the playoffs last year. It seems important when discussing how they are teams that are trying to win now. So the biggest error the Rams seem to make was drafting offensive linemen before Mel thought they should, which of course, he would criticize the Rams for not filling a need if they didn't draft these offensive linemen. That's just how Mel works.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B-

Winston is not Andrew Luck, a winning lottery ticket handed to a fortunate franchise; he's the definition of a boom-or-bust selection. Again, I don't think they made the wrong decision, given the obvious need; I only think what Winston becomes is an unknown because the real work to help him develop into a true franchise leader is about to begin.

It's annoying when people compare every #1 overall pick to Andrew Luck, as if a quarterback like Luck comes out of the draft more often than once a decade. Pretty much any quarterback drafted in the first round isn't going to be polished and pro-ready like Andrew Luck was when he was drafted. So stop comparing quarterbacks taken #1 overall to Luck, because most quarterbacks picked in the first round are boom-or-bust selections.

After the Winston pick, the Bucs looked to address some clear needs up front. Donovan Smith was a reach on my board -- 

And if the Bucs had selected another player at another position then Mel would have pointed out how the Bucs have a need at offensive line and they didn't fill that need. 

Tennessee Titans: C+ 

After Mariota, I thought Tennessee had some reaches on value on three consecutive picks: Dorial Green-Beckham is a special athlete, but he's incomplete and plays soft, and I thought there were several better options available at No. 40;

Of all the criticisms of Dorial Green-Beckham, that he's incomplete and plays soft aren't two I have heard too much. These types of things will happen when he has limited exposure playing college football due to the real reasons that he was a shaky pick at #40. He's a stud if he stays on the right path though and I can't imagine how Mel thinks there were several better options available at #40. Not shockingly, Mel doesn't list these options. I have a feeling there's a reason he doesn't list these better options because they don't exist.

I had Jeremiah Poutasi as my 12th-ranked guard (he played tackle at Utah), so that's a reach on my board in Round 3; and the Angelo Blackson pick was again a slight reach for me.

And the Titans DO NOT have permission to reach in the draft. They got a guy with first round talent in the second round, so one would think it balances at least one of these picks out according to how Mel's bizarre mind works, but I guess not. 

Washington Redskins: A-

I don't think there was a softer team in the NFL the past season than the Redskins, especially on defense, where they simply didn't tackle.

So Mel loved how the Redskins improved on defense by using four of their ten selections on defensive players and only selecting one defensive player in the first 140 picks. That's how you get an "A-" from Mel, people. If Mel thinks you are a team that is soft on defense, don't draft any defensive players early. Mel loves that.

Matt Jones was a bit rich for me in terms of value, but it's all preference on RB at that point.

Permission to reach a bit is granted, given the Redskins success of late and all.

When I went through tape with Jon Gruden,

A nightmare scenario for anyone who gets stuck in this room with Mel and Jon "I Love Everybody and Here is a Cutesy Nickname for the Road" Gruden.

So there they are, the grades for what seems to be (based on Mel's grades) the best draft in the history of the NFL. Everyone gets a ribbon and no team did terribly. Five years from now, every team will be shown to have had either an average draft, or in the case of four teams, just a slightly below average draft. I bet Mel is happy he didn't write anything that could be used against him in the future. Be positive, you won't get criticized.