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The Packers Didn’t Draft B.J. Raji for His Command of the English Language

Yes, that’s how Packers first-round pick and former Boston College Eagles DT B.J. Raji signed an autograph as pointed out by the folks at Deadspin. Let’s just hope this guy stuffs the run and sacks quarterbacks better than he spells. Maybe he should have put down the bong and actually attended a few English classes. Perhaps that would have helped. For the record, I’m expecting him to be a bust — I just get a horrible sense about his body language.

(Or maybe he was just trying to share with us how all the players felt after games??)

Brett Favre Officially Released by Jets, Free to Sign with Vikings

Holy ****. You have to be freaking kidding me. Brett Favre, who said after his year with the Jets that he was done, requested and received his release from the New York Jets Tuesday night. Favre previously was on their reserve/retired list, meaning the Jets owned his rights. This whole move is curious by the Jets for several reasons pointed out by the NY Daily News: “they get no compensation if he signs elsewhere. The Jets would’ve held his rights for 2009 and 2010, the last two years on his contract.” So if Favre said he had no intention of coming back, then why would he request his release? So he could go sign a one-day contract with the Packers? I doubt it.

Back when Favre first got traded to the Jets, there was a poison pill if the Jets dealt Favre to one of Green Bay’s NFC North opponents — New York would have had to give the Packers three first-round picks. PFT, along with the rest of the football world, is speculating that Favre could go to Minnesota: “The next step for [agent Bus] Cook? He’ll start pestering Bevell and Childress to start pestering Brett to provide the final piece for one of the most talented teams in NFL history at every position except the one that counts the most.” I believe the Vikings would be better off with Sage Rosenfels over Favre, but the comedic aspect of good ole number four returning would be sensational. Brett, come back, we need something other than the Raiders to laugh at!

It Wouldn’t Be a Bengals Draft Without a Few Ex-Cons

By most accounts, the Bengals are getting high grades for their draft this weekend. In the first round, they bit on Alabama OT Andre Smith who bounced out of the scouting combine early, causing scouts to be concerned that he was irresponsible. Sure, he may be dumb for doing that, but he’s still a good football player. Rather, he’s a good run blocker — in the footage NFL Network showed when he got drafted, Smith was burnt on almost every passing play. Anyway, with Rey Maualuga shockingly still around in the second round, the Bengals snatched him up making it the second straight year they drafted a top USC linebacker (Keith Rivers was the other). Maualuga may have fallen because of questions regarding his character — in 2005, he initiated an off-campus fight, and in 2006 he was disciplined by Pete Carroll for “unruly behavior” at a party.

While Maualuga and Smith had “character concerns,” nobody compared to the team’s sixth round pick, Bernard Scott, who truly would fit the ex-con billing. Scott is a running back out of D-II Abilene Christian, by way of about three other colleges. He’s had a theft problem at one school, supposedly struck a coach at another school, and he didn’t play his senior season because of an off-field fight. He has been arrested five times and is finishing up his 18 month term of probation for giving false information to an officer during a traffic stop. But the guy supposedly is a talented running back and the Bengals are convinced the problems are in his past. Whatever. I’m guessing they’re just looking to pad their all-arrest team. What else would make sense?

Even Percy Harvin’s Confused by the Vikings’ Quarterback Situation

When I first saw the Vikings pick Percy Harvin in the draft, I was somewhat surprised and confused. Their biggest needs in my eyes are quarterback and secondary. I guess QB is a problem that they really couldn’t solve based on the lack of talent in the marketplace and maybe they didn’t feel there were good defensive backs available at 22. Because of that, they selected the versatile game-breaker, Percy Harvin. When I thought about Harvin and Peterson causing havoc behind that monster offensive line, I realized the Vikings made a good selection by giving themselves another excellent weapon. Still, there is one problem that looms over everything in Minnesota: who will get Harvin the ball?

Percy himself isn’t even sure of the answer to that question, judging by his introductory press conference on Sunday. Go to the 1:00 minute mark of that video and you’ll hear Percy say, “I’ve been waiting for this great opportunity to play with great players uhhh Adrian Peterson … uhhh … the quarterback … some of those players. So this is a great opportunity for me.” As good as Percy is and as much of a game-changer as he may be, I think he hit on the problem in Minnesota without even knowing it: they don’t have a real quarterback there. Sage Rosenfels can sling it around, but neither he nor Tarvaris Jackson is the answer. It’s too bad because the rest of the offense is really good.

Grading the Mock Drafts: Pro Football Weekly, Todd McShay, and Mike Mayock Got the Most Right

We see so much of these draft experts during February, March, and April it could make our heads explode (if not theirs). Turns out, the three most well-known draft experts might actually have their jobs because they’re better than just about everyone at what they do. When comparing the mock drafts of Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay of ESPN with Mike Mayock’s of NFL Network, Sporting News’ War Room, Don Banks’ at SI, Pro Football Talk’s, Jay Glazer and Peter Schrager’s of FOX Sports, five experts from CBS Sports, Pro Football Weekly’s, and National Football Posts, PFW, McShay, and Mayock all had the best.

Pro Football Weekly’s mock draft blew everyone out of the water getting an absurd 15 of 32 correct. Todd McShay was the best individual expert of the mock drafts I reviewed, nailing eight first-round picks on the nose, and essentially three others (he had the Broncos’ 12 and 18 selections correct, just in reverse order, and the Bucs taking Josh Freeman). National Football Post got 10 right and essentially one other (Freeman to TB). Mike Mayock had 10 exactly right from the first-round, just like NFP. Kiper got eight right and essentially one other with the Bucs taking Freeman at 19. Rob Rang, Chad Reuter, Clark Judge, and Pro Football Talk all had seven picks right in the first-round but didn’t have any other picks “essentially right” they way Kiper and McShay did. Top information guys like Mike Lombardi from NFL Network and National Football Post, and Don Banks at SI only got two first-round picks right. Jay Glazer and Peter Schrager at FOX only had five and three, respectively.

Furthermore, two “expert drafts” had Everette Brown going in the top 10. He went 43rd overall to the Panthers. Some dumbass articles just looking to pick on people say that McShay, Mayock, and Kiper have no idea what they’re doing because they got as many wrong as they did. In order to judge these, you have to look at success rates like batting averages or NBA field goal percentages. PFW blew everyone away batting .469. Mayock and NFP were next at .313, but McShay and NFP essentially went .344. When you figure that most people got well under 20% right, these guy’s predictions look a whole lot better. Let’s ease off them, please.

Special thanks to LBS contributor The Driver for help on this project.

UPDATE: A couple of Danish guys tell me they beat almost all the experts.

Lions, Jets Roll the Dice with Stafford and Sanchez, Worth the Gamble

Most of the Matthew Stafford reaction from Lions fans on my show Friday night was negative. Most Lions fans were scarred by the likes of Joey Harrington and all the other offensive skill position busts they’ve had recently and wanted to go with a safer pick. They wanted to build up the defense because it was so terrible last year. While I understand their concerns, here’s my argument in favor of Detroit’s pick and the Jets moving up to get Mark Sanchez: if you’re looking to achieve long-term success in the NFL (division titles, playoff appearances, double-digit wins, Super Bowl contention) year-in and year-out, you need a good quarterback. That may be understating things — you need a very good to great quarterback.

If you were a fan of the Packers under Favre, the Broncos under Elway, the Colts with Peyton Manning, and the Patriots with Brady, you can/could be confident that your team will be in the playoffs and threatening for the Super Bowl almost every year. That’s not to say that defense doesn’t win championships — it does, just look at Pittsburgh this year — but defensive-minded teams have off seasons more often than ones with excellent quarterbacks. If that weren’t the case, then Brian Billick wouldn’t have been fired by Baltimore. While Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez might not develop into stars, there’s no question in my mind that having a good quarterback is essential to building a franchise. Why do you think Bears fans were so elated to have Jay Cutler? Stafford and Sanchez might not be the guys, but they’re worth the gamble, especially for Detroit. Lions fans should be patient and be willing to live or die with Stafford. Going QB with the first pick was the right move.

Raiders Show Why They’re the Raiders, Select Biggest WR Bust Heyward-Bey

If there’s one player in this draft that I’m confident will wind up being a bust, it’s Darrius Heyward-Bey. Because Maryland’s quarterback was a local kid from LA, Chris Turner, I saw a good amount of their games and paid attention to what they did. Let me tell you this: I never once remember hearing or seeing Darrius Heyward-Bey, and that’s part of my biggest concern with him. How is it possible for a guy who’s supposedly a top-10 pick in the NFL draft to be so easily taken out of games in college? For an 8-4 team, does 42 catches, 609 yards and 5 touchdowns impress you? That doesn’t seem too impressive for a 12-game season. Heyward-Bey only had one game where he caught more than five passes and that also was his only 100-yard game of the season. Does that scream out game-changer to you? Me neither.

Al Davis and the Raiders are running the team the same way they did 30 years ago when Davis was a genius — playing the speed game. Heyward-Bey ran one of the fastest, if not the fastest 40 times at the combine. Darrius ran a sub-4.30 40 which was a time good enough to get Chris Johnson drafted from East Carolina in the first-round by Tennessee last year. Speed certainly is a weapon, but I’d be more concerned with taking a player who’s more of a play-maker with great route-running abilities and hands. Speed alone wouldn’t make me take a guy with the 7th pick in the draft. I feel sorry for you, Raider fans. You needed a big-time receiver and instead you got a speed demon who can be taken out of the game without much trouble. Way to rebuild the franchise, Oakland. Thanks for playing.