April-4th-2005, 10:41 AM
Here's the original article. I post the whole thing to read some of the silly things King wrote. To be fair, he hit on a couple.
Chargers may rue this draft
Posted: Monday April 23, 2001 9:48 AM
KIRKLAND, Wash. -- The other day, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen, a bit of a fantasy-football nerd, stopped by team offices and posed this question to head coach Mike Holmgren: "If Michael Vick falls to us at No. 7 in the first round, would you take him?" It was so preposterous a notion that Holmgren had never thought of it. But then he did, and he had to admit the prospect intrigued him. "Yeah, I would," Holmgren said.
"I'd like to have a shot at working with him."
Mike Riley would have liked a shot. Norv Turner, too. Those two, the San Diego head coach and offensive coordinator, respectively, would have coached Vick had not the Chargers traded away the No. 1 selection in the draft to Atlanta on Friday. And I feel sorry for them. Drew Brees is a good player and should be a solid NFL player. But I say now what I concluded after watching three of Vick's game tapes at sites around the country with Riley, Bill Walsh, Steve Young, Phil Simms and James Harris for Sports Illustrated: If I had the No.1 pick in the draft, I would have taken Vick. No question about it. Football is a gamble. The upside on Vick is so high that I don't know how a team with trust in its coaching staff's ability to develop players could pass on him, though I recognize he has a chance to be a classic bust. San Diego has a GM, John Butler, and personnel czar, A.J. Smith, as good as any GM/personnel combo in the game. And if I had a quarterback I wanted to groom, I'd want Mike Shanahan first, with Turner and Mike Holmgren tied for second. Turner would obviously have been Vick's mentor with the Chargers.
Top Five team drafts
Rating the teams that did best this weekend:
1. St. Louis. They might have gotten four new starters on defense, including free-agent cornerback Aeneas Williams, in the span of four hours Saturday. One question, though: What is a Ryan Pickett?
2. Tampa Bay. A one-pick onslaught. My feeling, and a strong one at that, is that Kenyatta Walker, picked 14th overall, will be a franchise left tackle for 10 years.
3. Baltimore. Prediction of the Weekend: Brian Billick will make tight end Todd Heap a big star. I mean, an 80-catch-a-year star.
4. Seattle. I was in Holmgren's office an hour before the draft began, and he told me the big reason why he wouldn't trade up to Cleveland at No. 3 or Arizona at 2: signing-bonus money. I checked my Management Council source, and it's easy to see why Holmgren would rather have Koren Robinson at 9 than Gerard Warren at 2. Adding an 8.5 percent increase to last year's numbers, the second pick in the draft would get an $11.7 million signing bonus. The ninth pick would get $6 million. Prorated over the life of a six-year contract, that's a $783,000 annual difference on the salary cap. That's big, very big, when the difference in the quality of player is small. And getting two long-term starters on offense -- Robinson and guard Steve Hutchinson -- is a good way to exit a draft.
5. (tie) Buffalo. Nate Clements would have been the pick at 14. He was the pick at 21 and trading down handed the Bills former Tennessee runner Travis Henry in the second round, a back who could be the team's mailcarrier by November.
5. Jacksonville. Two terrific interior linemen in Rounds 1 and 2 -- defensive tackle Marcus Stroud (13th overall) and long-term right tackle Maurice Williams (43rd overall) -- stop the bleeding for Tom Coughlin. Mark my words, Williams will be a good one.
San Diego can sit there there now, feeling lucky that its deal with Atlanta worked out to a T. The Chargers got the top-rated player on their draft board, running back LaDainian Tomlinson, and, in Brees, added the quarterback they liked after Vick. But someday I think they'll regret the one that got away. Sitting with those five football experts -- Walsh, the 49ers czar; ex-quarterbacks Young, Simms and Harris; and Chargers head coach Riley -- the feeling was unanimous that Vick has much work to do. We watched as pass after pass over the middle, often to open receivers, sailed high, wide or behind his target. (Memo to ESPN: Highlights are funny things. If I watched your draft coverage Saturday -- most of which was top-notch -- I would have come away thinking that Vick is some combination of Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and A-Rod. Every play made Vick look like a peerless superstar with no weaknesses. Don't you understand the reason the Chargers passed on taking him? They didn't trust his accuracy at all, and they shouldn't have. He was scatter-armed, particularly on those crossing routes. You missed a great chance to do real journalism in not showing the plays you kept in the video wastebasket, the bad throws that kept San Diego from picking him. Now, Ron Jaworski did take a critical look at Vick during a lull in the fifth round Sunday, but you should have done that in Round 1.)
"You never fault a team for taking a risk on a man with that potential," Harris told me. "He could be the greatest playmaker ever to play quarterback in the NFL."
Agreed. Butler gambled that Tomlinson, would last until No. 5 -- he did -- and that Brees would be there on their next pick, at No. 32. He was. The amazing thing is that Butler will probably pay those two players, collectively, slightly less than he would have had to pay Vick. And he will get the last laugh if Brees is as good a player as Vick, which is possible. But I still think you take the risk for a player with Vick's rare talent. Always.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Seattle picked a guard in the fourth round named Pork Chop Womack. His given name is Floyd, but no one calls him that. Pork Chop intrigues me for three reasons:
1. He majored in something called Fitness Management at Mississippi State. How about going to college to work at a health club? Good gig if you can find it.
2. He was nicknamed Pork Chop not long after birth because his mom thought he resembled a local wrestler in Cleveland, Miss., named Pork Chop Cash.
3. Imagine getting ready for school on a hectic morning in the Womack household when Pork Chop was just a little Porker. Little Pork Chop is late, and Mom yells up the stairs: "Pork Chop! PORK CHOP! Hurry up or your bacon will get cold!"
The 10 things I think I think
1. I think I always get a kick out of Jim Haslett, the fiery head coach of the Saints. On Saturday for this Web site I wrote: "The New Orleans Saints slapped Ricky Williams in the face by taking Deuce McAllister with their top pick. I know what the Saints will say. The value was too good to pass up. They will say they had McAllister rated -- pick one -- sixth, eighth, ninth or whatever on their board (actually, head coach Jim Haslett said he was the fifth-rated player) and he was by far the best player they had left. I don't doubt that. But I can't help but feel this pick was made because Williams is not Haslett's type of guy."
Here was Haslett's reaction after he read the item Saturday night: "What the hell are you thinking?" Haslett told me he thought he had to insure himself because Williams has missed just about half the total time of the last two years due to injury. Suffice it to say Haslett doesn't think he'll have a problem dealing with Williams over this. I do. Haslett actually tried to compare this to the Giants taking Ron Dayne when they had Tiki Barber. Weak, Jim. Barber was a situational back and only took over a dominant role with the Giants last fall because Dayne was so pathetically ineffective.
1b. I think, by the way, that I seriously wonder if Williams has an idea that his manhood was challenged by his coach Saturday. By taking the Deuce with the first-round pick, I mean.
2. I think -- no, I know -- that my Quote of the Weekend comes from Seahawks draftee Ken Lucas, who was asked how much contact he'd had with Holmgren before the draft. "Actually," said Lucas, "I never did conversate with Seattle."
3. I think these are my four quickie observations about the draft.:
a. Horrible year for the small colleges. The first non-Division I pick, and the only one of the first three rounds, was the 77th overall -- cornerback William Peterson of Western Illinois, drafted by the Giants.
b. Dallas and Oakland both picked risky quarterbacks of the future in the second round. The Cowboys will move away from the classic pro-style passing game with erratic but mobile incumbent Tony Banks and an equally erratic but more mobile rookie Quincy Carter out of Georgia, an electric player owner Jerry Jones loves. And Oakland reached for a 53 percent passer from Washington, Marques Tuiasosopo, who right now is a better leader than passer. "The Raiders will love having him in their huddle," Washington Huskies head coach Rick Neuheisel said. Maybe, but they won't love him for long if he's a 53 percent passer.
c. Carolina cut an old quarterback who can't move, Steve Beuerlein, and drafted his carbon copy, Chris Weinke, who becomes the oldest quarterback on the roster. I'm having trouble with your strategy, Coach Seifert.
d. The Redskins will regret drafting Fred Smoot. Promise.
4. I think the Trent Green trade is marvelous for both teams and even better for Green, one of the really good guys in the game.
5a. I think I would like to thank Mike Holmgren for accommodating my schedule here early Saturday morning. I'd never covered a draft at SI without doing some onsite fact-finding on Friday, and I might not have been able to do that in this case either, had Holmgren not been flexible. The story: I said to him, "Mike, my daughter, Mary Beth, is a high school freshman. And Friday, she might be pitching against the No.1-ranked softball team in New Jersey. Anyway, could I impose on you to come in a bit early the day of the draft to brief me on your plans?" No problem, he said. He understood. And indeed, I had to fly into Seattle on Friday evening after the late-morning Montclair High varsity game at Immaculate Heart Academy in Bergen County. That's Jersey, for all you non-Sopranos fans.
5b. I think you must be wondering how she did. And in the great tradition -- but not quite the same ending -- of the Montclair High Field Hockey Note of the Week from last fall, this is my Montclair High Softball Note of the Week: IHA 11, Montclair High 0. All earned runs. Six in the first, five in the third. What a ball club we faced, well-drilled and well-skilled. I could say we gave them five outs in the first, which we did, but when it's 5-0 with no outs, that's a pretty shallow excuse, isn't it? Mary Beth just has to get the experience. She knows it. And we have to get better as a team. We know that. (Sound like a coach, don't I?) What I'm proudest of -- this is a 15-year-old starting her third varsity game and coming back from a fractured pitching elbow two years ago and rotator cuff tendinitis last year and a total change in her motion this winter to stave off further injury -- is that she never got down, never threw a glove, never glared at a fielder who didn't grab some smoked liner, never slumped her shoulders, and just went at each batter hard. You should have seen her in the bottom of the fourth: Groundout, strikeout, strikeout. I saw a slight smile crease her face when she walked off the field. Very slight, though, because she realizes (I think) there is no joy in being down 11-zip. Now, Mary's sister, Laura, who you met in field hockey last fall, is a senior tri-captain. Laura has been DH-ing recently, and the coach is batting Mary Beth sixth and Laura seventh in the batting order. And I have been trying to soak in every moment of it, sappy guy that I am, because it's the last time in their lives they will be on the same team together (it only happened once before this, in rec softball when they were in fifth and eighth grade). On Thursday, in a tie game against Essex County power Belleville, Mary Beth singled to center with one out. Belleville moved its rocket-armed shortstop to third base, anticipating the bunt; if the bunt went even a foot to the left of straight-away, she'd be able to pick it up and fire to second to negate the sacrifice. On the second pitch, Laura squared around and bunted the ball eight feet in front of home plate, just to the right of center. The rocket-armed kid picked it up, glanced at second, saw she'd be too late, and threw to first for the out. Job done. Cool stuff, seeing one daughter sacrifice the other to second. And I must have thought six times that night: "I have to remember moments like that for the rest of my life."
6. I think if the Detroit Lions believe Jerry Rice is going to be happy catching 37 balls as their third wide receiver, I've got some beachfront property in my backyard to show them.
7a. I think, as a hopeless Red Sox fan, I want Derek Lowe in long relief. Now. Rolando Arrojo should close. Shea Hillenbrand for president, by the way. And this one goes out to Dan Duquette: Do not trade Trot Nixon unless you can get Glendon Rusch from the Mets.
7b. I think Safeco Field is a testimony to the perfect sports facility in an inclement climate. And that Ichiro Suzuki guy reminds me of a speedy Wade Boggs. You do not get a strike -- fastball, breaking pitch, change -- by him, under any circumstances. The Mariners are why I love baseball. They lose Griffey and Rodriguez, and they're better than ever, 15-4 and showing no signs of slumping.
7c. I think Bob Brenly better learn how to use his bullpen. Twice now he's left Matt Mantei in the bullpen in the ninth and blown a lead. Curt Schilling isn't God, Bob.
7d. I think Joe Morgan could have knocked me over with a feather Sunday night when he said Craig Biggio got his 1,990th hit with the Astros. The guy has a good five years left. He's going to Cooperstown, especially playing in that hitters' ballpark now.
8. I think if you are ever in Seattle on a beautiful, 62-degree evening, as Friday night was here, you will want to move here.
9. I think Mel Kiper never gets hoarse.
10. I think I may change my mind about something. The day after the Ravens' Super Bowl win, this was my early line on Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans: Saints 22, Bills 21. Can I make that Rams 22, Bills 21? I like what the Rams have done.
April-4th-2005, 01:42 PM
you know I wonder, we are definitely not the worst team out there (49ers and Dolphins shared that this year it seems, though who can blame the Dolphins). Teams like the Browns and Cowboys are really no better either, as arent the Cardinals, Lions, and Bears.
I just wonder how much are their teams bashed in comparison to ours, more, less, same amount? I have gotten used to the constant media bashing of us as well.
April-4th-2005, 06:15 PM
Well in the overall scheme of things, how important is it for a corner to blitz the quarterback? A great thing no doubt, but hardly something you would choose one guy over another for.
However, Smoot's lack of blitzing skills is also because of his poor tackling abilities, which is important.
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