published Thursday, January 10th, 2013

5-at-10: Draft ripples, AFC picks, Hall of Blame and your open forum

  • photo
    UT's Cordarrelle Patterson runs against Troy at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Feeling the Draft

It's official, Cordarrelle Patterson is taking his big-time name and bigger-time skills to the NFL after one season in Knoxville. We all knew it, and maybe even realized it as early as the season opener when CP torched N.C. State cornerback David Amerson. Patterson, receiver Justin Hunter, quarterback Tyler Bray and defensive lineman Darrington Sentimore have elected to forego their final season with the Vols.

To that we say, so long. Yes, Patterson and Hunter would have been excellent pieces in new coach Butch Jones' spread (and thinking of Cordarrelle in space is making CelticVol CorGiddy). But it's time to start anew.

In fact, there were several big-name players starting anew or staying put Wednesday as the declarations for the NFL draft picked up speed.

Here are some of the highlights:

• As our SEC ace David Paschall tells us here, LSU has been hammered by early defections with 10 players from the 2012 team — and 2011 Heisman finalist Tyrann Mathieu — entering the NFL draft. In fact, we bet Bill Belichick is trying to pull some move where he can just draft "LSU" and get the whole package. It would be a world class steal since leaving Les Miles' Tigers are two likely first-round defensive ends (Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery), two fringe first-round defenders (safety Eric Reid and defensive tackle Bennie Logan), a high-motor linebacker in Kevin Minter who made a ton of tackles in the SEC and will be a starter in the NFL, a play-maker, toke-taker, Hall-of-Fame-nickname-staker in Mathieu and arguably the most talented punter in the draft in Brad Wing. Yeah, that's losing a lot.

• We all know about the level of success Heisman winner Johnny "Football" Manziel had at Texas A&M this year, but Aggies tackle Luke Joeckel and Damontre Moore will skip their senior seasons. And Joeckel and Moore could very well be the first two names called this April.

• Alabama's waiting word from tackle D.J. Fluker, corner Dee Milliner and running back Eddie Lacy. After quarterback AJ McCarron and linebacker C.J. Mosley have announced they are returning, if the Tide gets all three to come back for 2013, the NCAA needs to just allow Alabama to practice through the fall and the best team from the rest of college football can play the Tide in the BCS title game next January.

• Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is coming back for his senior year, and if he has a healthy Mr. Sammie Watkins next year, the Tigers will be the team to beat in the ACC.

• We love the draft. You know this. And as loudly as seven consecutive BCS titles screams the SEC's dominance, try this number out: 15. That's the over/under we'll set for SEC players drafted in the first round, which means there's a real chance that out of 32 first-round picks, the SEC could have half of them. So the SEC had as many elite, NFL-caliber players as the rest of college football combined. Ouch-standing.

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AFC picks

We opened the playoffs with a strong start picking games, going 5-1 against the spread. Remember, these picks are for entertainment only, and if things continue to roll, don't spend all that entertainment in one place.

We picked the NFC games yesterday, going with the Packers plus-3.5 and the Falcons minus-2.5. Here's our view on the AFC games:

Broncos minus-9 over Baltimore (and over the 46): You can almost cue up the Jim Nantz voice now:

Jim Nantz: Welcome to chilly Denver friends, where it's the story of rebirth against the final chapter of a Hall of Fame career. Peyton Manning and the Broncos vs. Ray Lewis and the Ravens, right here on CBS. Let's welcome in Phil Simms and get his thoughts, Phil.

Phil: Thanks Jim, and man, tone down the cheese a little bit. If you had ever played for Bill Parcells like I did, he would have beaten you with a chair. Speaking from experience, when you have a terrifying Hall of Fame linebacker on your team, your do everything you can not to let him down, and I'm sure Joe Flacco is scared to death. Sure he's got an old-school Joey "The Nose" Flacco kind of name, but Ray Lewis and his buddies can make you sleep with the fishes.

Jim: So you like the Ravens, Phil?

Phil: Goodness no. You know Peyton plays for the Broncos right? If you had ever spent anytime with Bill Parcells like I did when we won two Super Bowls, you would never say dumb stuff like that. Man it's cold.

Patriots minus-9 over Houston: OK, let's review what we know:

Gary Kubiak vs. Bill Belichick — Huge edge Pats

Tom Brady vs. Matt Schaub — Huge edge Pats

Dome team in New England in January — Huge edge... "Hey, Honey, where's our mortgage payment, we need to invest some entertainment."

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Baseball's guilt by omission

We think Jayson Stark asked some very interesting and cogent questions this morning about the baseball Hall of Fame voting that left us with a blank class despite the presence on the ballot of several players regarded as some of the best to ever play.

Going by the numbers, there's a real argument that the best left-fielder, one of the three best right-handed pitchers and the best hitting catcher of all-time were on the ballot in Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza and none were elected.

As Stark questioned, it's time to discuss what the Hall of Fame is going to be. Is it a shrine that is to be guarded and only the shining moments and all-star players with all-star character are allowed in? Is it a living museum of the all-time moments — good and bad — and all-time greats — whether they were good or bad people?

The steroid era happened. We all turned a half-closed eye toward it and ignored it as home runs flew out of ball parks and records fell and baseball returned to favor. Those in the game, those governing the game, those managing the game, those covering the game and those following the game allowed the steroid era to happen, and now can we pretend it didn't? Can we close our eyes again, this time really tight, and wish that Hank Aaron was still the home run champ and we didn't know anything about Brian McNamee?

Of course not. Just like we elected the best players from the segregated era and the dead ball era and amphetamines era, we're going to have to realize that the best of the steroid era have a place in the history of the game. And if they have a place in the history — none of the records of Bonds, Sosa, Clemens, Piazza et al. have been erased — they have a place in the Hall.

One more question: Why was Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens good enough to be voted MVP or Cy Young by a lot of the same folks voting for the Hall then but not good enough now? It's not like the steroid rumors and stories just popped up in the last 12 months.

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This and that

— The Tennessee Vols hoops squad and their coach Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin took one on the chin in their SEC opener against Ole Miss last night. Here's our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown's report. It appears that chas9's early diagnosis that the Vols may have a really hard time getting into the tournament is pretty astute. Yes, it's only one SEC loss, but here's saying that the Vols and the Rebels are going to be linked at that 5-6 spot in the league, and if they are together on the bubble in two months, Ole Miss owns the tie-breaker having gone to Knoxville and winning handily.

— We're swinging by the studio to join Jim Gumm around 3ish today on ESPN Radio 105.1 and Butch Jones is scheduled to call in around 3:30. Feel free to listen in, because as they say in Animal House, "Don't cost nothing."

— Brian Kelly reportedly has interviewed with Philadelphia. Hey, he's got a better chance of beating the rest of the NFL than he and the rest of the coaches in college football do at beating Nick Saban and Alabama right now. In truth, Kelly interviewed and then left the country... sounds like some one feels like they deserve a raise from the Golden Domers, no?

— Ted Roof is headed back to The Flats to be Georgia Tech's defensive coordinator. Roof is from the A-T-L metro area, was an All-American linebacker at Tech and has had an up-and-down run as a coach the last few years. Here's saying this will be a pretty good fit, considering Roof is a major upgrade from last year's debacle and coaching defense for Paul Johnson will give Roof a load of autonomy.

— Troubled Oakland linebacker Rolando McClain, who was linked to some serious crimes in the last year or two, was pulled over in Alabama for his tinted windows being too dark. Not unlike Latrell Sprewell getting arrested on New Year's Eve for having his stereo too loud, having your windows too dark is like flashing a neon sign on your car that reads, "Hey, Cop, look at us!!!" Well after getting cited for his windows being too dark, Rolando signed the ticket with a nice message to the officer that sounded like "Luck Y'all" but included the grandmother of all dirty words. Stay Classy Ro.

— Not to be outdone some goofball named Austin Presler was arrested earlier this month in South Carolina for breaking into a convenience store at around 2:30 a.m. Presler apparently stole some beer, some smokes and some snacks before walking less than a mile to where he was staying. Presler was caught, but it was not crack detective work or security cameras or what have you that nabbed him. Nope Presler, who is more Fredo than Michael to be sure, left a trail of Cheetos crumbs that he was snacking on as he made his getaway from the store.

————

Today's question

Let's flip it and reverse it. As long as you remain in the boundaries of the family-oriented, interweb-based sports column, ask us anything you want (that's not guaranteeing you'll get an answer mind you).

Plus we need at least one more mailbag question any way.

Discuss.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
sportsfan said...

Jay - I played a little ball in my time. Still play a little golf although not exceptionally well. I've also ridden a bike for exercise for a while now. I'm not excusing the professional athletes that have been accused/admitted PED use. My humble opinion is that professional athletes that used PEDs in any professional sport still had to put the bat on the ball, or ride up the mountain. So bottom line is, I don't have a problem with professional athletes that were PED users being in the HOF. Amateur sports such as the Olympics in my opinion is a completely different situation. Also, I do have a big issue with professional athletes involved in murder investigations being considered for HOF eligibility.

January 10, 2013 at 10:38 a.m.
mcpell3 said...

5/10 - with all the defections to the NFL (cue Jaws) how do you see the SEC West and East shaking out?

January 10, 2013 at 10:41 a.m.
Walden said...

Jay- Do you think Tom Glavine is Hall of Fame material? What about Greg Maddux? I heard your comment on SportTalk last night re: you can't vote for Maddux next year if you didn't vote for some of this years' crop, but that comment aside, is he material?

January 10, 2013 at 10:43 a.m.
Livn4life said...

Fiveatteninthirteen: Well best wishes to Patterson, Hunter, Bray and D. Sentimore. With all the new changes/schemes coming, who knows what they could have contributed? I think Bray is taking the biggest chance as 1, with Sentimore 1A taking a chance. I will skip all the, they can't, they can debate. I will be surprised to see any but Patterson starting their first year(providing they all make it). He may even be a stretch. I understood Brian Kelly was interviewing in Philly hoping that team would get to play Alabama....nah ain't goin' there. Kelly has done well at ND. He should stay. As for this afternoon and the Jim(Dadd)Gumm show, enjoy. I hope to weigh in but will likely be there for the Butchster's sound off. The Recruiting funk is getting on and on and on. Hopefully the JohnnyVols will end up with some good ones. Finally, IF, I mean really IF...Nick Saban was going to GoPRO this year, what team would be the best fit for him? If you've already dealt with that one, I apologize. I've been out of pocket(like my money goes for insurance copays)for most of the holidays. PEACE ON in 2013!

January 10, 2013 at 10:47 a.m.
chas9 said...

Along with most of the best pundits, I've been saying The Big Dance will likely feature only three SEC teams, Kentucky, Mizzou, and Florida. I had The Vols on the bubble, but it's clear now that Ole Miss must replace UT in that slot. And four teams is the most we'll get.

The Black Bears don't look like world beaters, but they're way better than Tennessee. It was encouraging to see Stokes (double-double) play the fun-to-watch ball we saw last year, and McRae's game impresses more each time out. Newcomer Reese's minutes should increase, and Monster Man Makanjoula's solid play is the team's best hope for improvement. In most games Hall will play more than 12 minutes and will contribute more than zip points and five fouls.

The offensive-minded Richardson continues to show no poise. Most of all, Golden looks more interested in spotting up for a three than running the team. That's disaster. I hear commentators say he's one of the league's better point guards, but I don't see it.

Apparently, Cuonzo's charges drew the nation's fifth biggest crowds last year, despite a so-so record. Unless they improve the menu, this season they'll become the flavor of last year. They're supposed to be built on defense, but they can't stop penetration.

Later, I watched A&M dominate Arkansas. We'll see how The Aggies like SEC play about 4:01 Saturday, but I think the game was more about how weak The Hogs are than how good the Texas gang is. Still, the energy A&M played with was a sharp contrast to how lethargic the Knoxville bunch is.

And this evening the KY-Vandy slaughter will be commentated by General Robert Montgomery Knight. Watch to see if he sweats blood trying to say anything positive about The Cats.

January 10, 2013 at 10:52 a.m.
John_Proctor said...

Master G:

You love the draft. We know this. So where do you think once and never Vol, DaRick will be drafted assuming that he comes out this year? Haven't heard much from or about him since his soft landing in Cookeville which is probably be a good thing.

January 10, 2013 at 11:13 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Great questions gang. Let's dive in —

Sportsfan —

Serious crimes are another thing entirely. And can we all agree that OJ has opened the door to the fact we need an appeal power.

McPell —

Murray coming back (and four meaningful defections from the Florida team) means UGA is the favorite in the East. Alabama is the favorite in the West.

We'll rank them thusly (and yes, we've always been an Auburn optimist):

East — Georgia, USC, Florida, Tennessee, Vandy, Missouri, UK

West — Alabama, A&M, Auburn, Ole Miss, LSU, Miss State, Arkansas

Livn(Large)

We think the three offensive Vols (that's meant to be the Vols that play offense but in Bray's case it works several ways) will be drafted and stick in the league. We thinK Sentimore may not have liked the academic forecast, but that's just a guess.

As for Saban, we don't think he'll ever go back to the NFL, but if he did it would have to be at a place that a) allowed him control of the entire operation (so Dallas is out) and b) had a upper-echelon QB already in place. If we were forced to choose about the jobs out there, the Chargers would be the best fit right now, but again, we don't think he'd leave Bama for an NFL gig.

Walden —

Yes, Glavine and Maddux are no-doubt, first-ballot Hall of Famers. But if you are going to presume everyone in the steroid era is guilty, well, they played in the steroid era.

9er —

We're starting to see you point about the limited dance partners from the SEC. Plus, LSU's loss at Auburn was almost as painful as UT's loss last night. And yes, we think the Wildcats are going to go Biblical on Vandy tonight.

It's time for Knight to go away. We'd rather listen to Vitale, and that's saying something. At least Vitale is enjoying himself; Knight acts like he's having a root canal.

Johnny P —

Mailbag.

— 5-at-10

January 10, 2013 at 11:34 a.m.
chas9 said...

Dubya--You didn't ask me, but both Greg and Tom are easy ins. (I see your point about the steroid era.) Just thinking about the T&G show reminds us how lucky us Braves fans were. Were they as good as Koufax/Drysdale?

January 10, 2013 at 11:48 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

HOF- If we were to debate the pros and cons of what would constitute entry into the hall of fame for anything, especially baseball, that would be one longa-- 30 for 30. While PEDs may make you slightly faster and stronger, the skill level is still in play. If we had to factor in everyone's negative factors, we probably would not have anyone in the HOF. Sidenote (totally unrelated): By all accounts I still believe Pete Rose should be in the HOF. Yes, he bet on baseball, but to the best of my knowledge he didn't throw any games. If he won, he won, if he lost, he lost. He still played fair and square.

Da Mocs-

Any word yet on the new OC? Has Keyon and Muhasibi received their boots to the head?

My commentary on the FCS-

Any possible use for this? (no biggie if not) Also, any ideas about playing Turtledove (literature shout-out) on the Mocs in Sunbelt/C-USA land based on my pros/cons?

January 10, 2013 at noon
BIspy4 said...

The thing about PED use is it allows players to recover quicker from injuries and the strength it gives them allows them to hit a ball away the bat's sweet spot and hit one out. Balls that might have been pop ups instead might carry another two feet to land just out of an infielder's reach. Unless you're umping the Braves-Cards game, in which case the infield fly rule extends to I-20. But I digress.

Some Hall O' Famers today said they were glad Bonds and Clemens were denied and were happy the writers kept the doors to Cooperstown closed - for now. I think it's a shame Craig Biggio didn't get in; no allegations of PED use with him and he finished with 3K hits and was an all star at three positions. Sure, so was Pete Rose. But on each and every clubhouse door is a list of no-nos. And Rose violated the very first on the top. Someone who spent that much time in the game should know what the first rule of business not to break is, and he broke it. Again. And again.

5, I might move South Carolina ahead of Georgia right now. They have two very good QBs coming back. Georgia is losing a hooge chunk of its defense. And if Mr. Clowney hears you didn't pick them ... well ... he's Mr. Clowney. And Mr. Clowney would like to speak with you. Now.

January 10, 2013 at 12:10 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

No, Maddux and Glavine were not as good as Koufax/Drysdale. But Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz were better than Koufax, Mr. Drysdale and whomever else they trotted out there.

JMC —

Thanks for the reminder about the letter — maybe this Sunday.

No word on the OC as of yet, but we know Johnny Frierson aka Ned Ryerson is on top of all matters Moc.

Spy —

Agree across the board.

And if Mr. Clowney needs an answer, well, we'll be out of the office until 2046.

— 5-at-10

January 10, 2013 at 12:26 p.m.
Walden said...

Jay- While Glavine and Maddux technically played in the steroid era, it is a bit of a stretch to lump them in with the Roid Monsters of the late 1990's.

January 10, 2013 at 12:50 p.m.
Walden said...

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh on my way back from lunch, and he was musing over Junior Seau's brain injuries... he said, and I paraphrase, "if we are now saying that repeated blows to an organ can cause serious disease to that organ, should Bill Clinton be worried?" Love him or hate him, Rush is funny.

January 10, 2013 at 12:53 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay-

Works for me. Also, it was a column that I wrote, not a letter. Big difference. ;)

January 10, 2013 at 12:53 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Walden —

Yes he is funny. And wow, considering all the Rob Parker hubbub that ESPN dealt with when Parker said on air that RGIII was not "black enough," Rush got a pretty raw deal for saying that Donovan McNabb was overrated.

And is it not a stretch to lump Biggio in with that group, yet he's got 3,000-plus hits and he's still twisting in the wind.

— 5-at-10

January 10, 2013 at 12:58 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5,

Now that ESPN has (thankfully) kicked the talentless Rob Parker to the curb (remember - he was the guy with the idiotic line of questioning involving nepotism to a Detroit Lions coach a couple of years ago), who else should the Mother Ship jettison? Aside from Skip Bayless and Screamin A Smith, of course.

Now that's a parlor game. Or a good way to kill an hour or two and a couple cold co-coler's at a place like Doc's or CBC.

January 10, 2013 at 3:01 p.m.
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