I’m not in the mood for small talk, so I’ll get right to it: JaMarcus Russell is maddeningly over-rated. He’s poised to be the Number 1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft simply because people in the NFL seem to be committed to outsmarting themselves every year. This trend has taken on epic proportions since last year’s Houston Texans debacle (I mean seriously, at least 3 potential All-Pro fixtures on the board and you roll the dice with a workout warrior Defensive End that’s never proven anything?). Believe it or not, this year could be worse in terms of misjudging talent with Russell and Quinn leading the way. But even he has to be thanking his lucky stars for Brady Quinn, who’s attracting all of the over-rated attention.
Here’s my breakdown of ESPN’s Top 7 Draft Prospects and their actual value:
1. Calvin Johnson– I looked pretty hard to find some information to support the contrarian opinion on Mr. Johnson and came up empty. I really want to disagree with Scouts Inc. but he seems to be the real deal. Maybe he’ll have trouble catching passes thrown to the appropriate spot? Real value: #1 pick.
2. JaMarcus Russell– He didn’t even excel in college. This year’s LSU team was a perfect microcosm for Russell: underachieving but incredibly talented. Do you even remember anything he did before the Sugar Bowl vs. Notre Dame? Frankly, I want a QB that knows how to win. You can’t pick and choose your spots to be focused as a QB. Real value: 2nd-3rd Round.
3. Adrian Peterson– All I can think of when I see him is Eddie George for some reason. He’s incredibly fun to watch because he’s a great combo of speed and power but moderately injury prone. The upright running style can’t help his cause because he takes a lot of punishment. Seems to be half-way decent catching passes but didn’t have much of a chance at Oklahoma. But, he certainly produced from the get-go and you can’t overlook actual production. I can see him making an immediate impact wherever he goes. Real value: Top 5
4. Joe Thomas- Offensive lineman are like light bulbs: you can’t live without them, but you never really notice them until they stop doing their job. He blocks people really well, which shouldn’t change much in the NFL. Possible concern: not exactly familiar with state-of-the art offense at Wisconsin. But, I don’t think blocking schemes will hold him back at the next level. Especially considering O-lineman are thought of as the smartest and most articulate football players… when you actually interview them. Real value: Top 5.
5. LaRon Landry- A real asset at Safety. To save time, just take every cliché announcers use to describe good Safeties (playmaker, nose for the ball… and so on) and apply it here. Real value: Top 10-15
6. Gaines Adams- I’m pretty sure there’s just an endless supply of good DE’s that come out of college each year. Some you’ve heard of, others you haven’t. The wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’. Personally, I could never justify a pick before 15 on a DE, unless they’re an LT level gamebreaker. Real value: Late 1st round.
7. Brady Quinn– What more needs to be said? I think the Big Daddy Drew at Kissing Suzy Kolber covered it pretty well here. Also, I’m almost positive he’s actually 5’11” (Quinn, not BDD). And one of the Hanson brothers. From the group Hanson, not from the movie Slap Shot. Real value: Anywhere between the 4th-5th round to being traded to the CFL for a really good sandwich.