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Flattland - "Final Pre-Draft Thoughts"

<i>"An unreal amount of hype surrounds the upcoming weekend as we sit on the cusp of the NFL Draft. It's a significant step toward the next season, though I tend to feel it creates more speculation than it resolves."</i>

An unreal amount of hype surrounds the upcoming weekend as we sit on the cusp of the NFL Draft. It’s a significant step toward the next season, though I tend to feel it creates more speculation than it resolves.

The practical fact of the matter is that first-rounder, third-rounder, or Mr. Irrelevant, these kids are all still unproven rookies when it comes to The Next Level. Teams have to gamble, and there are no sure things. It’s a day of juggling probabilities.

Sure, it’s a good probability that Eli Manning will have a more successful career than, say, Ryan Dinwiddie, but it isn’t a sure thing. After that multi-million dollar roll of the draft dice, only hindsight can illuminate the productivity rift between a Round One Ryan Leaf and a Round Six Matt Hasselbeck. Which one of those two do you think the Chargers would pick if they could go back to ’98?

That said, it should still make for one hell of a fun and exciting weekend for we sportsheads. We’re likely to cheer, jeer, fear, and sneer as the rounds slowly trickle by. There will be the annual no-brainers, such as Gallery and Manning going early. There will also be the annual head-scratchers, such as last minute trades, the Cardinals’ inexplicable pick, and just how Kiper’s hair manages to keep doing that (This brings up possibilities for next year’s ferret-related experiment).

On the Flattland Front, the day before Draft Day will make this writer not only one year, but one decade older. At freakin’ THIRTY, this writer has abruptly come to realize that the majority of the guys he’s watching on the gridiron are now actually younger than he is. This writer had better hurry up if he intends to get on with being a world famous, let’s say, Punter.

This writer is unfortunately limited by the fact that his knee regions make strange not-normal knee vocalizations (Such as, “Pop.”) when this writer does anything more physically challenging than changing the channel when the Broncos come on. This writer does not like the Broncos. This writer makes little attempt to be unbiased, and will now stop referring to himself as ‘This’ or ‘Writer’.

Last Minute Seahawk Draft Contemplations:

Quarterback: We’re obviously sitting pretty under center. The Seahawks have a starter who keeps getting better, a reliable veteran backup, and an exciting youngster with potential to round out the depth chart. Last-last minute update seems to include, for some reason, Brock Huard.

Running Backs: Trade rumors abound. I’m opposed to a trade involving Shaun Alexander, though I wouldn’t be completely devastated should one come to pass. It would have to damn sure be worth the gamble, at least. What options would open up if Steven Jackson started to slide on down the board? Considering that Jackson is unlikely to slide all the way past Dallas, and the Seahawks are historically unlikely to trade up, it seems more likely that it’s going to snow here in New Mexico tomorrow. If Alexander does happen to be dangled as a possible trade, though, a WCO-friendly back like Jackson might make for a good reason to trade up for a change. Don’t see it happening, of course.

Receivers: Robinson, Jackson, and Engram make for a very solid receiver corps, but there arises the question of depth beyond the slot man. Considering the depth at WR in the draft, I’d be completely befuddled to see the Seahawks NOT draft a wide receiver at some point. At tight end, Mili is solid without being spectacular, and Jerramy Stevens has vast potential if he can get things straight and stop being Old Jerramy Stevens. I’m hoping, but not holding my breath, as it seems the kid is running low on second chances.

Offensive Line: Walter Jones, as usual, has the team in a tight spot. Another training camp holdout seems inevitable, and our OL cohesion will surely suffer from it. Can’t count on him to show up, can’t trade him, can’t act as though he won’t be here for the regular season. Argh.

Defensive Line: Losing three DT’s in one offseason is never a good thing. However, signing Grant ‘Prestigious Pompadour’ Wistrom IS a good thing. I’m not as concerned as all of the real experts seem to be here, but we do need to snatch up another tackle. I’m not convinced it should be in the first round, though. I’d be happy to see Sopoaga or Olshansky in the second, depending on how the draft plays out. How about Lavalais in the third?

Linebacker: The rotating Veteran Stopgap at MLB has gone on for far too long, but there might not be, at this point, a damn thing we can do about it. I would absolutely love to have Jonathan Vilma, but the chances of him dropping to #23 are dwindling toward nearly laughable. My eye is actually more focused on the June cuts with regard to the hunt for a starter. We could try for someone like Niko Koutouvides in the fourth, but that’d likely just be one more young face in an open competition with Huff and Bates, still leaving no obvious starter going into camp. An OLB understudy for an aging Chad Brown might actually be the better option under the circumstances.

Defensive Backs: A fourth cornerback would be good for depth, but right now it looks more like a luxury second-day consideration. There is a more pressing need at the safety position, but there’s a pretty drastic drop off in obvious potential once Sean Taylor leaves the pool (Which will be early). I’d venture to promote, say, Bob Sanders over Schweigert. Stuart’s off-field problems strongly concern me after the Stevens Experience, and I don’t think it’s worth another risk.

Completely Unrelated Stupid News:

*I have had an extremely bad week with Insect Life. When a turn signal malfunction necessitated the use of those archaic hand signal things, an ambitious wasp (Probably on a dare) elected to meander into my open car window and proceed to sting me directly on, yes, the FACE. This resulted in more urgent hand signal things. Earlier in the week, rat terrier-sized cockroaches in my motel bathroom convinced me that persons of my general activity level did not really need to take a shower every day.

*As of right now, across the street at the NM State Capitol Building, an obscenely loud musical event is going on in celebration of Earth Day. “Hello. I am a rock musician and I am going to wear my Genuine Cow brand leather jacket and play my solid body hardwood electric guitar loudly enough to stun every bird within five hundred feet in honor of my communion with Nature!” Ha ha.

*Jim Rome is going to be visiting my Base of Operations here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Local news reporters last evening lamented, reporting that the Jim Rome Show had been painting the City of Albuquerque in a bad light. I am not a Jim Rome listener, so all I can really say on the matter is: I sure hope so. I mean, come on. Albuquerque? Albuquerque sucks.

*In other news; It is inevitable that people will refuse to realize that this is, technically, a humor column. These people will angrily send me pro-Albuquerque mail.

Fire off your scintillating insights, inquiries, and angry pro-Albuquerque comments to trav@spinn.net.

Trav Flatt

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