Bradley’s Buzz: GT’s Dwyer is on Mel’s board; Tebow isn’t

Dwyer breaks another, and this wasn't even against UGA. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Dwyer breaks another, and this wasn't even against UGA. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

First running back taken in April will be a Jacket

Here’s how big this Mel Kiper Jr. thing has gotten: Mel reveals his first Big Board of the 2010 Draft — which isn’t, as you might surmise, scheduled to occur until next year — and ESPN.com Insiders not only makes a huge deal out of of it but also gives us a feature entitled, “Behind Mel’s First Big Board,” written not by Mel but by Chris Sprow.

Because this is Insiders content, any link requires registration, we’ll do a deep dive — “deep dive” is a buzz phrase I took from last month’s AJC brainstorming — and give you most of the big names. Sam Bradford, the OKlahoma quarterback, is No. I overall. Eric Berry, the Tennessee safety, is No. 2. Carlos Dunlap, the Florida defensive end, is No. 3. Jevan Snead, the Ole Miss quarterback, is No. 7. And Dez Bryant and Russell Okung, a receiver and a tackle from Oklahoma State (which you’ll be seeing in 12 days), are Nos. 8 and 13.

The top running back in the draft is Jonathan Dwyer of Georgia Tech, who’s listed as No. 13 overall. (And who is, we must note, technically a junior.) There’s also no Georgia player, not that you’d expect one. (A.J. Green is a sophomore and therefore not draft-eligible after this season).

And for those who are heavy into the conference-pride thing — certainly nobody around here falls under that heading — it should also be noted that the Big 12 claims 10 spots on Mel Jr.’s top 25, while the SEC takes six. And none of those six is the most famous player in the land.

That’s correct. Tim Tebow doesn’t crack the top 25. This debate has been raging for more than a year now, and it will get only hotter as the season plays out: Is it possible the guy ranked by some as the greatest colleagian ever won’t be a first-round pick? We will, I feel certain, offer our own two cents here at Buzz, but for now you can discuss among yourselves.

One Tech overrated, another Tech underrated

Reacting to the preseason Associated Press poll, Matt Hayes of Sporting News Today does a deep dive — infectious, isn’t it? — of his own and decides Virginia Tech is overrated at No. 7 and Georgia Tech is underseeded at No. 15. Of the latter Tech, Hayes writes: “No one in the ACC can stop that offense.”

And what of Georgia, which is ranked No. 13? Writes Hayes: “For those who think it’s 2006 all over again, understand this: Joe Cox is your starter because the freshman backups on the UGA depth chart aren’t close to what Matthew Stafford was in 2006.”

For the record, SNT has Georgia Tech No. 11, Georgia No. 15. As I noted when Sports Illustrated put the former No. 12 and the latter also No. 15, that sounds close to me.

A few quick words about my favorite pitcher

A big debut for his latest franchise.

Smoltz makes a big debut for his latest franchise.

John Smoltz started a game for the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday and won it. Worked five innings, struck out nine, yielded three hits and zero earned runs. Kind of a comeuppance for those who believed, as I did, that Smoltz has nothing left. Then again: …

As Brandon Funston writes on Yahoo! Sports:

“This wasn’t Carl Hubbell striking out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin consecutively in the 1934 All-Star game. In fact, it was more like what you could conceive of if Smoltz had been asked to make a Triple-A start in advance of joining the Cardinals. After all the Padres are, without much argument, the worst offensive team in the league — Smoltz didn’t face a hitter with a batting average north of .275. But that said, you can’t help but be impressed.

And you can’t. Smoltz struck out seven consecutive Padres over one stretch, which is good in any man’s league. That said, I hold to what I wrote when the Red Sox released him: There was no cause for the Braves to pursue the former Brave, for the basic reason that they don’t have a place for him.

And a few sobering words about your Atlanta Hawks

Esteemed former colleague Steve Aschburner of SI.com writes at length about the Hawks’ attempts to make inroads against the NBA East’s big three, and he quotes an unnamed scout as saying it won’t work. The quote:

“I think they’re a middle-tier team again. Still have a lot of talent but if you’re counting on [Josh] Smith and [Marvin] Williams, you’re only going so far. I like the Florida kid [Al Horford], but how many of those other guys have done anything with a team? [Mike] Bibby played in good systems in Sacramento and [in college] at Arizona, but most of them spent a year or two in college. Or none [Smith]. When most of your experience is from AAU teams, it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose.”

Aschburner believes — stop me if you’ve heard this one — the Hawks need a Hall of Fame talent to win the NBA title. But, having said that, what else is there to say? The only teams who have such guys have won titles already, and they’re not apt to part with them. Would the Hawks be better served dumping everybody and deep-diving back into the lottery every season in hopes they’ll get a John Wall? I think not.

Finally, a few cheery words about your Atlanta Hawks

Writing for HoopsWorld, Jason Fleming waxes enthusiastic about the job done this summer by Hawks GM Rick Sund. As Fleming points out, all three of the free agents retained by Sund — Bibby, Williams and Zaza Pachulia — agreed to deals that decrease in value in 2010-2011, which not coincidentally will be the first season of what the Hawks hope will be extensions of both Joe Johnson’s and Horford’s contracts.

107 comments Add your comment

DeepDiver

August 24th, 2009
5:19 am

Could it be?

DeepDiver

August 24th, 2009
5:27 am

Yes, it is. First. Always a pleasure, Mark.

Spike

August 24th, 2009
6:50 am

Wow, really a slow news day, huh?

Top Dawg

August 24th, 2009
6:52 am

Joe Cox has never lost a game he started…………. (well, at least not since kindergarten.)

Braves Fan in Dawg Country

August 24th, 2009
7:09 am

Sorry, Joe Cox is going to have to prove to me he can really win games in the SEC before I am a believer. I think he is a step up from JT III, and I know he was highly rated coming out of high school with Massaquoi, but from the little I have seen, I don’t believe it. If Knowshon was still around and they could hand the ball off to him 40 times per game, then I think he could be good enough in that system. For everyone saying that he has never lost a game since kindergarten, then I guess he should have been starting for the past 3 years in front of Stafford, because he did lose a game or two. Its not that I think he is bad, I just don’t think he is SEC good.

Required Reading | Hard Knox Sports

August 24th, 2009
7:21 am

[...] Jonathan Dwyer on Kiper’s Big Board and Tebow isn’t? [AJC] [...]

JB

August 24th, 2009
7:29 am

Watched the SEC championship game replay of Bama/Florida last night on CSS. Tebow CAN pass pretty darn good………..but from the shotgun. that alone will put him in the second round.

RobertNAtl

August 24th, 2009
7:35 am

I don’t think Tebow will be drafted in the first round, but I think he will be successful in the NFL. He is a competitor who will adapt his style to fit the NFL — passer first. He would best be served by going to a team with a star quarterback (New England?) and then serving as a top backup for two years.

PT

August 24th, 2009
7:38 am

Ga Tech is vastly over rated. Thay may very well be a top 25 team, but they arent talented enough at all positions nor deep enoough to win the ACC. Va Tech, FSU, and even Clemson are more talented and deeper. NC and Miami may be.

saint simons

August 24th, 2009
7:43 am

I’m not even a Techie alumni. I couldn’t get in. I didn’t have enough zits. Hahahahahahaha

Peadawg

August 24th, 2009
7:57 am

People that question Joe Cox need to remember the Colorado game back in (2006?). We were down 13-0 in the 4th quarter. Cox came in and drove us down TWICE and we ended up winning 14-13. We will be just fine w/ Cox at quarterback.

Vick=Thug

August 24th, 2009
8:07 am

??????

I guess we better cancel all the games and just give the big trophy to GT? While we are at it, lets replace Obama with Coach Pajamas.

Well, just in case… lets play the games….

Tom

August 24th, 2009
8:21 am

Could that be the visage of Stewart Cink between JD and PJ in that pic?

Mark Bradley

August 24th, 2009
8:33 am

Sure looks like Mr. Cink, doesn’t it, Tom? The picture, FYI, is from the Clemson game.

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 24th, 2009
8:38 am

If I were drafting mid to low 1st round, I’d think about taking Tebow. He has that one thing you can’t really put a number on; he’s a winner.

Seriously?

August 24th, 2009
8:38 am

Hey Peadawg-

How many games did that Colorado team win that year? Montana State (almost as fierce as Wyoming for you UT morons) beat them 19-10…..Colorado went 2-10. No one scored less than 14 on them (Colorado State won 14-10) Hurray for gingers!

MightyQuinn

August 24th, 2009
8:44 am

Well, lets see: 1. I’m not a draft freak but I make a extra point to turn off Mel Kiper anytime he pops up on my TV. His picture shows in my dictionary for the word “irritation”. And 2. Pre-season rankings. See definition of “Yawn”. Play the games! 3. Yeah, I had written Smoltzie off. It was impressive even if it was the Padres. But lets see how handles the Dodgers or Cubs. 4. So how are the Hawks going to get a “superstar”? Aren’t they going to have to draft one? And the better the record gets, the lower the possibility of that happening unless they work a trade, but who do we have that anyone would trade a very high draft pick for? And who in college now fills the bill anyway? At least they are a lot more fun to watch now. But in a few years, getting swept in the second round is going to get old.

Peadawg

August 24th, 2009
8:46 am

You obviously missed my point Seriously. UGA played like crap that entire game. Cox came in rallied the troops and won the game for us. Good job making yourself look like an idiot.

MBA Grad

August 24th, 2009
8:48 am

Sure, Smoltz’s start is a good story for the weekend.

But I love that on a day when Brian McCann plays the hero for Atlanta, Jeff Francouer makes history by being only the second person in history to hit into a game-ending, unassisted triple play.

Max Sizemore

August 24th, 2009
8:49 am

Tebow is vastly over-rated, and those who really know football understand this. But because so many people believe in him (metaphor intended), those knowledgeable few won’t really say what they think because they don’t need the aggravation. Look at what happened to June Jones when he was honest enough to call Tebow “a system quarterback.” Here’s what’s going to happen: Tebow knows that he isn’t good enough to succeed in the pros, or even to be drafted in the first few rounds, so at the end of the season he will announce that he will not play pro football, that he is going to save some more souls or otherwise continue down some messianic path. That’s the only way he can keep from being exposed. Write this down, folks.

Seriously?

August 24th, 2009
8:50 am

Peadawg, you miss my point. That Colorado team blew balls BIG TIME, and that uga team was vastly superior on talent, and should have blown their doors off. Half of the morons on here could have led uga to a win in that game. They went 2-10 that year….2 and freaking 10. Give me a break. Try to spin it all you want, Cox is a career back up, and CMR can’t coach up his talent without dancing or blackouts. Keep hanging your hat on that great victory against the doormat of the Big 12 though.

Saint Simons

August 24th, 2009
8:52 am

45 – 42 !!!!!!!!! hahahahahahhahahhahah

Max Sizemore

August 24th, 2009
8:57 am

Oh, and by the way, Jevan Sneed is certainly a better prospect than Tebow. But look at what happened to Steve Spurrier (or at least Spurrier’s vote) after he effectively said so. I think most would agree that he knows something about quarterbacks.

Reality Check

August 24th, 2009
9:02 am

This is a joke, he plays in the acc for christ sakes. When was the last time the acc had someone taken in the first round? Everyone knows the first round is for the SEC, Big 12 and USC! You techies are so dumb you need a Reality Check! and you’ll get it in November!

Mark Bradley

August 24th, 2009
9:03 am

Mel has that effect on some folks, Quinn. But he’s also an institution. Which isn’t to say he needs to be institutionalized.

Saint Simons

August 24th, 2009
9:06 am

Stafford sure looked good this weekend, first pass int for a TD! hahahahahahahaahahahaha

Gator Growl

August 24th, 2009
9:10 am

Who the hell is Mel Kiper Jr and what team did he play for?????

PMC

August 24th, 2009
9:14 am

Adarius Bowman was on his board at #17 preseason too. Now he’s in Canada.

Jonathan Dwyer is right where he should be at the top of that list. He should probably have 1500 yards this year.

There is no Georgia player because the two best players that are draft eligible (Jeff Owens, Trinton Sturdivant) were injured last year. It’s actually good for Georgia because they are young and deep. Geno Atkins will be on that list by the end of September.

Reality Check… seriously…NC State had the number 1 overall pick a couple years ago. Virginia has had 2 OL’s in the top 10 recently. Wake Forest had 1 in the top 5 and another that cost a #1 pick this year.

Coach BooBoo

August 24th, 2009
9:16 am

In the last four years, the ACC has had more first round draft picks than any other conference.

Nativebird

August 24th, 2009
9:20 am

“Smoltz worked five innings, struck out nine, yielded three hits and zero earned runs”…and then his arm fell off.

Ken Stallings

August 24th, 2009
9:36 am

Don’t worry about the comeuppance regard Smoltz, you’ve got lots of company! Hey, if Smoltzie can win 10 I’ll be very happy as well as very shocked.

Regarding the ESPN Mel Kiper tote board: this is another indication that ESPN has gotten too big and can create news vice report on it. It’s a often used tool — create an organization so big that one person in the cabal can release something, and then appoint several others to report on it. By the time it’s done, the story gains traction and becomes “newsworthy.”

Tebow will be drafted high. He’s too good a quarterback. He might win the Heisman this season. But he’s a prototypical NFL quarterback with size, arm, and vision. So, when you factor in the leadership and winning tradition, he’ll be a first round pick sure as sunrise.

MightyQuinn

August 24th, 2009
9:45 am

My opinion, Mark, is that Mel escaped from the Bad Hair Institute and needs to be captured and returned. I figure you’re going to blog something on the Bravos later today, but I thought I’d ask now: What is your opinion on the six man rotation. I heard Simpson mention it on the broadcast this weekend, in a hypothetical sense regarding Hudson’s return. Has anyone ever done it at all, or with any success? You could use this as a hot button topic!

Not Disappointed

August 24th, 2009
9:50 am

Mark, Dwyer “The Diesel” has the build, strength and speed to do well at the the next level. He is a strong first rounder. The Diesel is on the move do yourself a favor, “Get out of the Way!” Ramblin Wreck!

College Football is almost upon us. How can you Gents not be happy? Blog on…………….

Jack G.

August 24th, 2009
10:09 am

Stafford was the #1 OB recruit in the country coming out of High School. To get him to come to UGA, consessions had to be made and promises made as to Starting and playing time. This dosent mean he wasnt good, but it moved Cox to a backup status without reguard to his ability. Now Cox has a chance to show his stuff.

I personally think he will do an excellent job.

Long Ball

August 24th, 2009
10:32 am

Hey Reality Check, You need to move out of your 1965 singlewide in that big trailer park in Athens, get a hookup for some cable tv and good internet provider and learn how to read some news. Your tutor at the local welfair library isnt teaching to well. That being said I guess you forgot about Calvin Johnson, Chris Long, Mario Williams, oh yeah MATT FREAKIN RYAN! The man that has saved the Falcon franchise. Look if your pissed off that your unemployed trailer trash im sorry but get a freakin life!

actually

August 24th, 2009
10:59 am

Actually Reality Check, the numbers show that the first round belongs to the ACC. The rest are trying to catch up to them.

Cuz

August 24th, 2009
11:00 am

I think that New Orleans will use their pick for Tebow. I mean look at the marketing potentials.

“Tim Tebow is a Saint.”

Courtesy of Two Idiots Marketing

Mark Bradley

August 24th, 2009
11:01 am

I know I said I’d deep-dive into this later, but here goes: I can’t imagine Tebow not being a Round 1 draftee.

Mark Bradley

August 24th, 2009
11:02 am

Nice one, Cuz. You’ve done our firm proud.

Gen Neyland

August 24th, 2009
11:03 am

Off any relevant subject matter but I gotta wonder if T.Boone and Jerry Jones are related somehow…

Dawgs73

August 24th, 2009
11:03 am

The whole Joe Cox thing is interesting. I think he is under rated and over rated at the same time. What I mean is, he is much better than people give him credit for but a little less than some comparisons (DJ Shockley). He certainly has a grasp of the offense, will be more apt to move the chains with short possession throws, but will not blow any one away with his arm. He is a tough minded, more demostrative/authoritative than Stafford, & will take control of the offense, and has an interesting quality to him. I guess we will see how “good” he can be on opening day.

Mark Bradley

August 24th, 2009
11:07 am

Overrated and underrated at the same time? I thought I was the only one who fit that heading.

MightyQuinn

August 24th, 2009
11:09 am

Gen Neyland,
T.Boone and JJ are from the RichAhole clan of the midwest.

Chris

August 24th, 2009
11:17 am

The streets of the homeless are littered with former starting NC qbs who never made it in the pros. I mean you’d have to go back some 30 years (Todd Blackledge) to find a NC quarterback who did make it.

Being great in college often doesn’t translate to the pro game (see Charlie Ward). I still think Herschel was the greatest college player in my lifetime and yet his pro career was above average at best.

Mark Bradley

August 24th, 2009
11:20 am

Not sure Chris Weinke is homeless, Chris. But what an evocative image.

Dr. Warren

August 24th, 2009
11:30 am

Herschel’s choice to go to the USFL sinked his pro career from probable Hall of Famer to very good but disappointing.

David Granger

August 24th, 2009
11:31 am

I think that Tebow would be a very good draft choice, though I’m not sure how high a pick I’d chance on him. It’s always hard to evaluate a skill-position player who doesn’t play in college the kind of offense that he’ll have to play in the NFL. Tebow doesn’t have a laser arm, but he does throw the ball very well. (I’ve never seen anyone who completes more wobbly, wounded-duck passes down the field…just because they’re thrown so accurately.) I think he would be a very good fullback to have on your team, especially for short-yardage.

I think Joe Cox will be a solid QB. I’m not sure that he’ll be the kind of player who can lead a team to victory when they don’t play well…but I think he can be a winner if the rest of the team plays a good game. (Reminiscent of John Parker Wilson, though Wilson played a lot more than Cox will.) I do worry that Coach Richt might pull the plug on Cox a little too soon…he has a tendency to do that. Whoever our QB is going to be, I hope that UGA will let him BE a damn quarterback. In years past, we have gone large parts of the game…critical downs, too…where UGA would just run the draw play on third and long, because a QB had thrown a bad pass or two earlier. (Or…in some cases…had thrown a good pass, but either had the receiver drop it or pop it up and have it picked off.) One of the reasons that Matthew Stafford looked so good in 2007 was that the receivers FINALLY caught passes that they should have been catching all along…and even threw in a good catch or two on a couple that they probably shouldn’t have caught.

And it’s good to see Smoltz have a good game. You’re probably right that the Braves just didn’t have a place for him…though I would have signed Smoltz in pre-season instead of Glavine. I honestly though Smoltz had more left in the tank (may or may not be true), but in his prime Smoltz signed for less to stay in Atlanta a couple of times…and Glavine did NOT. Bill James pointed out that there always seems to be older pitchers who can be effective, but they can’t pitch well on regular rotation…they need more rest between starts. Would be nice to see Smoltz do that the rest of the year…win four or five games as a spot starter.

oledawg

August 24th, 2009
11:37 am

I bet Mel Kiper was “Class Nerd”, when he was growing up. What a buffoon.

willdave

August 24th, 2009
11:46 am

I wouldn’t put a nickel’s worth of stock in Mel’s Big Board at this point. I don’t think you can get a reliable projection of the 2010 draft until the upcoming college and professional seasons have concluded. An abundance of factors that develop this fall, such as injuries and lackluster performances at the college and pro levels, will shape the April draft. So let’s just wait before we get too worked up about what Mel Kiper thinks.

That said, I feel confident that Tebow will be taken early in the first round next year. That’s my projection.

Reid in EAV

August 24th, 2009
11:47 am

Mel Kiper Jr. gives blow-dryers a bad name. And I didn’t even think that was possible.