Bradley’s Buzz: Making a mock(ery) of the NFL draft

I shouldn’t complain, given that Buzz in the spring would be a 50-word weekly brief if it weren’t for the NFL draft. But you know matters have gotten a little squirrelly, as we say along Pit Road, when CBSsports.com gives us four mocks for a draft that’s still a month away.

But this doesn’t give CBSsports.com sole possession of first place in the heated race for most mocks. NFL.com also has four, including one from esteemed former colleague Steve Wyche and another from semi-esteemed — I’m kidding; he’s a fine fellow — former Falcon Jamie Dukes. And here’s a video top 10 from Charles Davis.

All this blather would be a tad more intriguing if the draft hadn’t crystallized last Thursday, when Georgia held its pro day in Athens. As Charles Robinson writes on Yahoo! Sports, Matthew Stafford is the clear favorite to go No. 1 overall. And the aforementioned EFC Steve Wyche believes Detroit’s choice is now obvious. (Pat Kirwan of NFL.com disagrees, putting Stafford No. 4 in his mock, with tackle Eugene Monroe of Virginia going first.)

Seeking to sound a note of reason, Don Banks of SI.com notes that almost nobody looks bad on a scripted pro day. (Apparently Alabama’s Andre Smith is the exception that proves the rule.) And Todd McShay of Scouts, Inc. goes so far as to say that Knowshon Moreno, who was believed to have hurt himself with a sluggish 40 time, actually showed well.

The consensus of all these mocks seems to have Moreno going in the middle of the first round. Less consensual is what the Falcons are apt to do with the 24th pick. Click on these links and you’ll find names like Peria Jerry (a defensive tackle) and Brandon Pettigrew (a tight end) and Aaron Maybin (a defensive end) and Clay Matthews (a linebacker) and Robert Ayers (another linebacker) slotted, which means nobody really knows what Thomas Dimitroff is planning. Which makes sense, given that Dimitroff might not yet know himself.

Grim tidings for Buzz readers

Writing for Pro Football Weekly, Mike Holbrook reports NFL owners might be considering shifting the draft to February. That would make it infinitely harder to fill this space, and it would also mean the first mock drafts would be posted on Memorial Day.

Baby Braves

Outfield prospect Jason Heyward? (By the way, I know I’m going to mess up and refer to him as Justin Hayward, who was just the singer in a rock ‘n’ roll band known as the Moody Blues.) Jayson Stark of ESPN.com quotes an unnamed scout as saying he’s Darryl Strawberry with a faster bat. Hey now!

And Jon Heyman of SI.com becomes the latest to laud Tommy Hanson, and he includes Heyward on his list of young guys to watch. (He also includes Elvis Andrus, the shortstop who went to Texas in the Mark Teixeira trade.)

In another post, Heyman credits the Braves as being savvy shoppers by signing Tom Glavine and Garret Anderson. Then again, he also praises the Red Sox for signing John Smoltz and the Mariners for landing Ken Griffey Jr. Can’t win ‘em all, I suppose.

Eyes on the enemy

The Braves open in Philadelphia on April 5. The Phillies are the reigning champions. The Phillies, writes esteemed former colleague Gerry Fraley for FoxSports.com, are also in trouble. Cole Hamels has an iffy arm and Chase Utley is coming off surgery and J.C. Romero must serve a 50-game suspension. Me, I’d call that an opportunity for the Bravos.

A moving story about a Dookie — really!

In ESPN The Magazine, Tom Friend profiles Nolan Smith, the Duke point guard whose dad Derek, a native of Hogansville, Ga., died of a heart attack in 1996. Derek Smith, you should know, was one of the nicest guys ever, and he helped Darrell Griffith seize the 1980 national championship for Louisville.

And here’s something you mightn’t remember: Derek Smith made one of the great lost shots in NCAA tournament history. He hit a falling-down follow to put Louisville ahead of Arkansas in the 1981 Midwest Regional second round, whereupon the Hogs called timeout and inbounded to U.S. Reed, who threw in the winner from midcourt. File that alongside Kelly Tripucka’s jumper from the deep corner at the old Omni that gave Notre Dame a one-point lead on BYU — also in 1981 — just before Danny Ainge went one-on-five with the Irish.

Something else you might not know: Derek Smith and fellow Georgian Wiley Brown — he of the truncated thumb — claimed to have invented the High Five during that 1980 championship season. Here’s a YouTube clip recalling those splendid and high-spirited Doctors of Dunk. (Derek Smith is No. 43.)

The domino effect: Kentucky, Florida, Anthony Grant?

If Kentucky fires Billy Gillispie, which could well happen any day, one-third of the SEC could be affected. So writes Gentry Estes of the Mobile Press-Register, and his theory works thusly: Kentucky dumps Gillispie and hires Billy Donovan away from Florida, which then turns to Anthony Grant, who’s in the mix for both the Georgia and Alabama jobs.

82 comments Add your comment

Leland

March 23rd, 2009
8:47 am

Dear Mr. MB–don’t have nothing to say, just wanted to see what it feels like to be first. Your pal, Leland

Dooner

March 23rd, 2009
9:01 am

Where are the four ACC teams that were to be in the final 8? Live in North Carolina and dispise the ACC especially UNC. Born and raised Big Blue.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
9:19 am

I have nothing to add, either. Thanks, Leland.

Comin' Down The Track

March 23rd, 2009
9:24 am

You consider The Moody Blues a rock and roll band?

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
9:34 am

I’m pretty sure the Moody Blues considered themselves one.

GeoffDawg

March 23rd, 2009
9:52 am

How much weight do you think the Lions will give Stafford’s Wonderlic results? If mental acuity is their litmus test, I’d say he’s now answered what many of his detractors have been spouting off about.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
9:55 am

I believe it will be awfully hard for Detroit not to take Stafford. Why wouldn’t it?

Cuz

March 23rd, 2009
9:57 am

Mark maybe if you mention the amount of money bet on the Final Four you can segue into Dickie Betts and the Allman Brothers in your next column.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
10:06 am

I once referred to James Augustine, the Illinois forward, as Brian Augustine, whom I believe was a baseball player. I lived in fear that I would call Marcus Giles by his brother’s name — Brian Giles — in print. I am absolutely positive that I will mess up and refer to Jason Heyward as Justin Hayward. The photos above were more for my benefit than y’all’s.

marseilles mutt

March 23rd, 2009
10:15 am

MB- do not start Monday with trick questions! Or trick statements that answer trick questions. Oh, you and I might take Stafford in a skinny minute, but why wouldn’t Detroit? Well, simply because they are Detroit and it makes too much sense. Statement debunked, positive answer and we are all happy…I think. Now I am confused. Are you playing Carmack here?

Slow monday, huh?

Leland

March 23rd, 2009
10:19 am

Dear Mr. MB–what an experience, being first. You ought to try it–you could comment on your own blog and just about guarantee being first. Comin’ Down The Track–what’s in a name, after all? Or a category? Moody Blues was just fine no matter where we put them, especially Isn’t Life Strange. Your pal, Leland

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
10:22 am

I was going to ask how it felt, Leland. Now I know.

And I have to admit I’ve always liked that Moody Blues song, “The Story in Your Eyes.” On “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” which I bought when I was in high school. Then I bought “Seventh Sojourn.” I didn’t like that as much.

Leland

March 23rd, 2009
10:23 am

Mr. Bradley, Mr. Bradley–WHOM, I believe, was a baseball player? Go back to start. Your pal, Leland

Cuz

March 23rd, 2009
10:25 am

Mark, maybe you should have saved the Hayward, Heyward comments for “Tuesday Afternoon”? Sorry, I could not stop my fingers from typing that. MUST REGAIN CONTROL………

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
10:26 am

I laughed at that one, Cuz, I must admit.

And Leland, haven’t you heard that old routine by the Smothers Brothers — “Whom’s on first?” No? Well, maybe it was by Stiller and Meara.

TROTTINGHOME

March 23rd, 2009
10:48 am

Detroit is drafting an o-line first . Wrong AGAIN Bradley

the real Old Gold

March 23rd, 2009
11:05 am

Jason Heyward is a really great player. I live in Rome and have watched him shine the past few seasons live and in person. Can’t wait to see him at Turner field.

ugabball

March 23rd, 2009
11:07 am

Anything on UGA B Ball. No one ever writes anything. Is Anthony Grant the 1st choice? I’m ready for UGA BBall to be relevant again!

Supes

March 23rd, 2009
11:21 am

Matthew Stafford will go 4th to the Seahawks.

Left to Right

March 23rd, 2009
11:22 am

Internet rumors started last night that Georgia has offered their head coaching job to Anthony Grant and that Grant is a leading contender for the Bama job. Have you, or any of your collegues, heard anything credible to this effect? Thanks.

Cuz

March 23rd, 2009
11:26 am

Hey Bamastan, what was Jessica Parker Wilson’s wonderlic score. 31-0 and he ony finished half.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
11:36 am

I’m aware of the Internet report regarding Grant. But that’s all I know about the Georgia situation.

You should also be advised that a major job could come open in the SEC within the next 48 hours that could shake up the coaching industry. Not too hard to guess which one, is it?

Baba O'Riley

March 23rd, 2009
11:46 am

UT women’s job???

bowman

March 23rd, 2009
11:56 am

Matthew Stafford is smart to enter the NFL draft this year. He’s the No. 1 rated QB this year. Next year, he’d be the No. 4 rated QB. He wasn’t even the best QB in the SEC, If he’d stayed at UGA, he’d have been the third-best QB in the SEC, behind Tim Tebow (Florida) and Jevan Snead (Ole Miss). But just because he’s the No. 1 rated QB in the draft doesn’t mean he’ll be the No. 1 pick in the draft. It’ll be years before Stafford is reading to start for and lead an NFL team. As stupid as the Detroit Lions have been in the past, the team’s new leadership will take an OL this year and wait until next year to get a better QB. That QB will have a better chance to succeed because the OL actually may be able to provide some protection.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
12:07 pm

Good guess, Baba. But about 165 miles south of where I meant.

gdg73

March 23rd, 2009
12:10 pm

The Lions are woeful on both sides of the ball and need to concentrate on fixing both lines. I would first try (emphasis on try) to trade out of number 1 and get some later round picks to fix the overall team. With a decent offensive line and another receiver to compliment Johnson, the offensive could be pretty good. On the defensive side of the ball, find a DT to keep blockers off of Ernie Sims at MLB so he can be the playmaking LB he was brought there to be. Bringing Julian Peterson in via trade will also help. I am a Bulldog fan, but bringing Stafford in is not the answer. Hopefully Detroit’s new front office will start building the infrastructure of the team (the lines) before buying sports cars (receivers and Qbs) and trying to drive them on dirt roads (bad teams).

Michael Scharff

March 23rd, 2009
12:11 pm

So, Mark, if that’s the case, then does said SEC school become the plum job opening? I think the fans and alums with power make tha a very pressure-packed position. Also, what happens to said coach if this comes to pass?

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
12:16 pm

Don’t know what happens to the coach in question, but I’d imagine the theoretical vacancy would move to the head of the list regarding job openings — ahead of Arizona, Virginia, Alabama and Georgia. And let’s say the school with the theoretical opening made a theoretical run at a coach who’d spurned an overture two seasons ago — think one state south of here — that could well change the mindset of one Anthony Grant. Could it not?

Halsey

March 23rd, 2009
12:28 pm

Stafford has been a lock for a long time. Even though many people don’t seem to realize it, he is an elite QB prospect. A team that needs a QB would be crazy to pass on an elite QB prospect for an O-lineman or especially for a LB.

Cuz

March 23rd, 2009
12:28 pm

I heard theoreticaly that in theory said vacancy was once held by a realistic head coach in Minnessotta who once held a head coaching slot at a vacant head coach position at a University in the Southeast Conference that was realisticly a pathetic basketball school before a coach with the last name of a town with a school that beat Texas to move on the the sweet sixteen was hired.

I had to stop twice to catch my breath.

gdg73

March 23rd, 2009
12:31 pm

Let me ask this question as well. Who looked better running Mark Richt’s pro-style offense coming out of UGA, Stafford or D.J. Shockley? Who had the better numbers in their final season? Who had the better skill players to work with?

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
12:33 pm

Enough of me being cute. I’ve attached a link above — it’s now the bottom item — that spells out the whole thing nicely. Gillispie gets fired, and then …

uconn mike

March 23rd, 2009
12:38 pm

find it a little funny that the lead page has nothing on the Sweet 16, but has football stories. I guess that’s a sign of how bad the ACC and SEC’S showing in the tourney has been. How about some cudos to the Big East, there are a lot of Yankees down here.

uga_b

March 23rd, 2009
12:48 pm

I think the Falcons taking a tight end in the first round is laughable and should ruin the credibility of the mocker. Tight Ends don’t go that early and especially not to system-specific needs-based teams. The truth is that better tight ends than Pettigrew (who is a heck of a player) go in the second round. Who do they have us taking in the third round? A fullback? Ridiculous.

They have four options which are safety, LB, or D-line. The only other scenario would have to involve a tackle slipping and them trading up into the teens.

uga_b

March 23rd, 2009
12:53 pm

I think Bowman’s comments are funny btw. Tebow is a wonderful college player whose position is QB; he is not a prototypical pro QB. But hey a lot of great college players can’t fit the position-specific NFL. Snead’s been a good-looking player and it will be nice to see if Bradford can put on weight. McCoy is small and another player who may not fit the NFL. Stafford is 6′3″ 240 and has a rocket arm. He is the smartest player in the draft which should help him learn a system. Is he totally polished? No. But he has an elite tool set.

Bob

March 23rd, 2009
12:59 pm

gdg73, the answer to all three of your questions is Stafford. While Stafford had better skill players around him, he did not have the offensive line that DJ had. He is a great quarterback and most of the criticism that he recieves (ie. not a smart player, not an accurate passer, can’t win the big games) is simply unfounded and baseless. I honestly don’t understand why people are so skeptical about this guy.

gsdfaregtyea

March 23rd, 2009
1:04 pm

Yeah but who cares what Yankees want? Delta has a thousand flights a day and is ready when you are

uga_b

March 23rd, 2009
1:07 pm

I guess my draft comment didn’t go through. Basically, there is no way they are taking a tight end that high. It’s a deep position and TEs rarely go in the first round–and usually only one if they do go. They go defense and most likely the line. But if a good safety or LB is available, they get them. Only other scenario I envision is if a top flight LT drops into the teens, they try and trade up.

The good news is that DT is pretty deep in this draft. But if the move Jamaal inside, it makes sense to go end. This is what I think they should do.

Baba O'Riley

March 23rd, 2009
1:09 pm

Nobody in this draft is worthy of the #1 pick. They should just start the draft with the #5 pick.

Left to Right

March 23rd, 2009
1:21 pm

If Georgia was to offer the job to Grant (and David Hale of the Macon Telegraph is now reporting on his blog that the Georgia atheletic department is denying any contact with Grant and says no offer is on the table (although that still leaves some wiggle room, doesn’t it?)) and Grant were to respond that he is waiting to see what happens with UK and UF, I would HOPE Georgia would withdraw its offer.

JB

March 23rd, 2009
1:25 pm

Stafford will be the number one pick. If you own a boat with no motor OR rudder, which one do you get first. The motor of course…no use steering the boat if if won’t go any where !!!!!!!!!!!! Stafford will sign a $60 mil + deal with 20 -25 mil guaranteed. A teacher in Georgia will work 30 years and make about $1.5 mil……………………boy are we messed up…………..

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
1:25 pm

Remember me writing over the weekend that Georgia should hire Anthony Grant now? http://tinyurl.com/c3h9op That “now” could become a huge word.

JB

March 23rd, 2009
1:27 pm

Hire the guy from Kentucky…….Think he would be motivated to win at UGA ? You betch ya.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
1:29 pm

UConn Mike, I understand what you’re saying. But most every paper has made the determination to focus on local stories, and there really aren’t any local stories — unless you count individuals, like J.T. Tiller of Missouri or Robert Dozier of Memphis or Jordan Hill of Arizona — for the AJC in the NCAA tournament. It used to be different, I know. But that’s the way of the new journalistic world.

GeoffDawg

March 23rd, 2009
1:33 pm

Supply and demand JB – you can legitimately argue that a teacher has a greater benefit on society than an NFL QB but you’re not seeing 50,000 people showing up on Sunday to watch anyone recite the quadratic equation.

kappellmeister

March 23rd, 2009
1:35 pm

Hey MB – si the rumor now dead that Cutler could go to Detroit??? Thanks, Mark – you’re oneof the few that actually ANSWER questions on the blog, and you’ve been the best about that for some time.

scott

March 23rd, 2009
1:39 pm

I know MS has a rocket arm and passed his Rorschach Test with flying colors, but can anyone tell me why MS is a potential #1 pick and David Greene went 85th?

B. Thenet

March 23rd, 2009
1:42 pm

Good point Baba.

This is not the right year to have been 0-16. Stafford is the best of a poor group of QBs this year.

While it will be hard for the Lions to pass on him, just because of the hype surrounding him since he first set foot in Athens. It would be a very wise move for the Lions to not get tied up with Joey Harrington v. 2.0

A great arm will get you a big contract out of college, but it won’t win you many games in the NFL. The decision making and accuracy of Matt Stafford are not what you want out of a #1 pick, especially when you end up paying way too much for these guys on their first pro contract.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2009
1:47 pm

I wouldn’t guess as to what’s happening with Jay Cutler, Kappellmeister, but thanks for the kind words.

And Scott, you answered your own question. David Greene had a decent arm. Stafford has a great one.

MatthewH

March 23rd, 2009
2:01 pm

Just FYI-the Richmond newspaper is reporting that VCU has given Alabama permission to talk with Anthony Grant. It doesn’t look like UGA has asked for permission yet. As a native Atlantan living in exile in Richmond, the only solace I have is that our city’s college basketball teams (Univ of Richmond and VCU) are actually good! Please don’t go, Coach Grant!