UPDATE: Tim Tebow was taken by the Denver Broncos at No. 25 in the first round.
Thought I’d check in one more time before heading out to Flowery Branch, because we’re into the seven-hour countdown to the Falcons’ pick and there might be traffic. But first, here are a few things that have caught my attention of late.
(If you missed it, click here for our earlier pre-draft warm-up blog.)
♦ TEBOW KNOWS ALL: There are two stories about the most talked-about NFL draft pick whom nobody seems to agree on. Tebow’s father, Bob Tebow, whom I’m guessing can’t be completely objective on these matters, told a Jacksonville radio station, “If the Jaguars don’t take him at 10, he’ll be gone by 15.”
Really? For what it’s worth, teams 11 through 15 in the draft are (in order): Denver, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle and the New York Giants.
The other story has to do with comments attributed to Jimmy Sexton, Tebow’s agent, in an ESPN.com feature, in which he says he already know where the player will be drafted. When asked if the pick would shock the world, Sexton said, “I don’t know if it’s gonna shock the world because I always thought he was going to do well. But we pretty much know. We have a pretty good idea what’s going to happen.”
Here’s what I know about NFL drafts: Nobody other than the general managers making the selections know what will happen, and sometimes even they don’t really know. Any unexpected selection ahead of them can cause a ripple effect. Secondly, players and agents are told all the time, “If you fall to us, we’ll take you.” And then often, they never get the phone call.
So if you want to know how much credence I give either of these stories, make a circle with your thumb and index finger.
♦ ROETHLISBERGER UPDATE: He’s still a Steeler. He may remain a Steeler. But several teams have been linked to Ben Roethlisberger in trade talks, including, but not limited to: St. Louis, Oakland, Arizona, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Buffalo, Seattle and Cleveland. Feel free to Google.
The most intriguing one is Arizona. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, the former Georgia Tech and Falcons’ tight end, was Roethlisberger’s offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh. It’s also well established that the franchise is not sold on former first-round pick Matt Leinart.
A blogger on the Cardinals’ own website managed to get access to Whisenhunt (shocking!) and persuaded him to give some general comments (shocking!) about the trade rumor. Whisenhunt managed to verbally tip-toe to avoid tampering charges.
Read into the quotes what you like: “It seems like you’d be hard-pressed to find a team that hasn’t been linked to [Roethlisberger]. At this time of year, there’s no shortage of information and misinformation flying around; who teams are interested in drafting, who they’re not, who’s gonna be traded, etc. From our standpoint, it doesn’t seem to make sense to publicly comment on which rumors are fact and which are fiction but I can tell you there’s a fair amount of each.”
♦ MORGAN FALLS TO FALCONS? I like Don Banks of SI.com a lot, and he’s as solid a football writer as they come. But I would be stunned if what he predicts in his final mock draft today actually happens: Derrick Morgan of Georgia Tech falling to the Falcons at 19th.
Banks writes of Morgan: “The Falcons, in need of a front-seven player who can spruce up their pass rush, can’t believe their luck in finding Morgan, a hometown hero of sorts, still on the board. He’s a versatile 4-3 end who many believe is the draft’s safest pass-rushing prospect.”
If this becomes true, Banks certainly pegged it with “can’t believe their luck.”
♦ KIPER’S DRAFT: It’s occurred to me after the last blog when I referenced Mel Kiper’s mock draft — generally the most discussed one since he works for ESPN — that most of you don’t have access to it because I’m one of the nation’s only 17 “Insider” subscribers. So here you go. Mail me a nickel.
(I decided to bold face all SEC and ACC players, figuring there was more interest in them.)
Mel Kiper’s Final Mock
1. St. Louis: Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford.
2. Detroit: Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh.
3. Tampa Bay: Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy.
4. Washington: Oklahoma OT Trent Williams.
5. Kansas City: Tennessee S Eric Berry.
6. Seattle: Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung.
7. Cleveland: Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan.
8. Oakland: Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen.
9. Buffalo: Rutgers OT Anthony Davis.
10. Jacksonville: Clemson RB C.J. Spiller.
11. Denver (from Chicago): Alabama LB Rolando McClain.
12. Miami: Texas OLB Sergio Kindle.
13. San Francisco: Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga.
14. Seattle (from Denver): Texas S Earl Thomas.
15. N.Y. Giants: Missouri OLB Sean Weatherspoon.
16. Tennessee: South Florida DE Jason Pierre-Paul.
17. San Francisco (from Carolina): Florida CB Joe Haden.
18. Pittsburgh: Florida G/C Maurkice Pouncey.
19. Falcons: Michigan DE Brandon Graham.
(Kiper’s comment: “I’ll repeat again that Graham is as productive a player as you’ll find in the draft. He led the nation in tackles for loss, even as opposing offenses targeted him. His battle was proving that he is more than a potential 3-4 outside linebacker. Well, the proof is here. Graham has the leverage to be disruptive against the run, and his ability to disrupt the backfield as a pass-rusher is unquestioned.)
20. Houston: Fresno State RB Ryan Mathews.
21. Cincinnati: Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant.
22. New England: Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham.
23. Green Bay: Idaho G Mike Lupati.
24. Philadelphia: Boise State CB Kyle Wilson.
25. Baltimore: Georgia Tech WR Demaryius Thomas.
26. Arizona: Tennessee DT Dan Williams.
27. Dallas: Indiana OT Rodger Saffold.
28. San Diego: Alabama CB Kareem Jackson.
29. N.Y. Jets: East Carolina DT Linval Joseph.
30. Minnesota: Florida QB Tim Tebow.
31. Indianapolis: TCU DE Jerry Hughes.
32. New Orleans: Penn State DT Jared Odrick.