After the first player taken in the NFL draft was from Georgia, and the 12th player taken in the NFL draft was from Georgia, and five players who were taken in the first three rounds of the NFL draft were from Georgia, something occurred to me. Again.
Relatively speaking, Georgia really kinda stunk last season.
Now, I know there’s not always a correlation between NFL prospects and the success of a college team. But it seems to me there’s strength in numbers. And in this case, the numbers say Boise State coach Chris Peterson — he’s the guy in the picture, if you can take your eyes off Erin — might have done a better coaching job than anybody last season.
We explain, in this week’s Tuesday Countdown:
Below you will find a chart, showing the final Associated Press football rankings last season, along with the total number of players they had drafted last weekend and the total taken in the first two rounds — which I’ll define as premium prospects, except in Oakland, where it just means they run fast but can’t play football, which is why each will get $73 million from Al Davis.
Where was I? Oh right. The chart. Here it is:
Rk. Team (1st) Rec. Draft (Rd. 1-2)
1. Florida (48) 13-1 3 (1)
2. Utah (16) 13-0 4 (2)
3. USC (1) 12-1 11 (5)
4. Texas 12-1 4 (1)
5. Oklahoma 12-2 5 (1)
6. Alabama 12-2 4 (1)
7. Texas Christian 11-2 5 (0)
8. Penn State 11-2 5 (1)
9. Ohio State 10-3 7 (4)
10. Oregon 10-3 6 (3)
11. Boise State 12-1 0 (0)
12. Texas Tech 11-2 4 (2)
13. Georgia 10-3 6 (3)
14. Mississippi 9-4 4 (2)
15. Virginia Tech 10-4 1 (0)
16. Oklahoma State 9-4 1 (1)
17. Cincinnati 11-3 6 (1)
18. Oregon State 9-4 7 (1)
19. Missouri 10-4 6 (3)
20. Iowa 9-4 4 (0)
21. Florida State 9-4 1 (1)
22. Georgia Tech 9-4 4 (0)
23. West Virginia 9-4 3 (1)
24. Michigan State 9-4 1 (0)
25. Brigham Young 10-3 2 (0)
I know what you’re thinking: How did this moron get the columns to line up straight? But there’s something even more impressive that that!
If you look at the numbers in the remarkably aligned columns above — you went too far; that’s Erin again — you will see that Boise State was the only school in the final AP top 25 that did not have a player drafted. Despite this, the Broncos went 12-0 until losing to TCU in a bowl game. Now, I realize the WAC is not the SEC, and so does “DAWG68″ and “GATORBAIT” and everybody else who’s probably now furiously pounding out a comment, “Let those pansy butts from Idaho try to come to Tuscaloosa once! Hey, Marge? Where’s Idaho?” But Peterson went 12-1 with NO NFL prospects? He also 35-4 in three seasons. So what’s he doing in Boise?
I spoke to Mark Richt last month and he admitted, in so many words, that his team wasn’t physically or mentally tough enough last season. That would explain some of the ugliness we saw from a pre-season No. 1, particularly in losses to Alabama, Florida and Georgia Tech. Only four schools had more players drafted than the Bulldogs, including Southern Cal (11, including five in the first two rounds). Ohio State and South Carolina each had seven drafted. But the Gamecocks’ draft is a little misleading because they had only one player, tight end Jared Cook, taken as high as the third round. Six others went in rounds five and seven. And then there’s that state to just the south of us . . .
Remember back when Miami and Florida State were NFL factories? Guess they don’t pay as well as they used to. The Seminoles and Hurricanes each had one player drafted. Congratulations. They were tied with Weber State and Liberty. San Jose State had three. I’ve been to San Jose State. Trust me, it doesn’t scream: football magnet. The Gators had three players drafted. They would’ve had four if Tim Tebow had come out. If you haven’t heard, he’ll be back for another season. I think this will be his seventh.
I’m going to Hawks practice today and probably will follow up on this. But I had a conversation with Joe Johnson before the start of the playoffs and he talked about how he wanted to be recognized as one of those elite type players — the kind who step up in the playoffs. Of course, that hasn’t happened. He scored only 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting in Monday’s win at Miami and is averaging only 13.7 in the playoffs. Fact is, he hasn’t had a strong post-season game since game four against Boston last year (35 points). There’s only two possibilities: 1) Either he hasn’t stepped up yet, or 2) This is who he is — a very good player, occasionally a great one. But not a superstar. Until he proves otherwise, I’m inclined to think the latter.
When editors suggested that some of us begin Twittering, I immediate reached for one of my old textbooks, “Interpretive Reporting,” and went to the index. Wasn’t there. Did however find something rolled up that my friend, Bill, said he left at the apartment which . . . well, never mind. Anyway, when I joined Twitter, it was to expand my social networking horizons, promote AJC.com, blah, blah, blah. I never actually thought it would help in breaking news. I imagine, neither did Roger Goodell. Oops.
The Falcons were among at least three teams (along with San Diego and New England) that “Tweeted” its picks to followers before the commish announced them on stage. Goodell’s ego probably can take not breaking the news. But it didn’t go over well at ESPN, which pays the league millions to broadcast the draft and build up each pick like an episode of “24.” Here’s a few Twitter highlights from Saturday:
– 6:12 p.m. OK, getting close. Remember, we’ll send a tweet the moment our draft room makes up its mind on the #Falcons pick. Follow @Atlanta_Falcons.
– 9:07 p.m.: We’ll have the pick shortly….stay tuned! In touch with the War Room now.
– 9:10 p.m.: The Falcons select S William Moore, Missouri, with their second round pick at #55 overall.
But my personal favorite was sent at 5:30 p.m., before the Denver Broncos selected Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno. “I have heard Moreno could be Denver’s pick.” It was “Tweeted” by @FalconsRMcKay, as in Rich McKay. And, of course, he was right. Maybe he should do our mock next year. We continue . . .
Word is, that was the message from Goodell’s office to NFL teams. Translation: Not upstage-Tweetin’ next year. Reggie Roberts, the Falcons’ vice preside of football communications, said the team was sending out Twitters on its own picks after a representative in New York filled out the card for the selection (though before the announcement). “It’s another for us to connect with the fans,” he said.
The Falcons have signed former Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson. OK, some Georgia fans have enough trouble accepting the fact that every other Falcons drafted isn’t a Bulldog. How would they feel if Wilson beats out D.J. Shockley for a roster spot?
Erin Andrews: Not on Twitter.