- May 29, 2001
Let's just cut right though Bevo's poop.
At a time when the Texas football recruiting machine has seemingly hit a bit of lull while it works through the kinks of a number of big-time prospects taking a wait-and-see approach to Tom Herman's program, this wasn't a weekend that did Texas football any good.
I mean ... let's all be happy for Brandon Jones, Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson for having their names called on day two and three of the draft, but more harm was done than good over the course of the three-day draft.
If your last name is Brockermeyer, Wheaton, Foster or Byrd and you just happened to sit down in front of your television over the last three days to watch a little bit of the draft because there was literally almost nothing else to do, there were a handful of themes that were repeated over and over and over again.
#1 - LSU and Alabama are football factories like no one else.
Considering the Longhorns lost coveted 2021 defensive end Landon Jackson late Sunday afternoon to LSU, it can't go without saying that the Tigers are becoming a problem factor in recruiting for the Longhorns in the year following a national title in a way that we've probably never seen before.
The Tigers are much bigger problem right now for the elite of the elite prospects than Jimbo Fisher is at Texas A&M.
#2 - The SEC dominated the draft.
Even if you take Alabama and LSU completely out of the equation, the SEC created nearly twice as many NFL Draft picks as the Big 12. Yes, the SEC would still have six more teams than the Big 12 in this situation, but if you think that 17-year-old prospects want to hear the nuance of the numbers when big flashing signs are in their face over the matter, you're not thinking like a 17-year-old.
All any 17-year-old heard all weekend during the draft coverage was that the SEC is the place to go if you wanted to be a drafted. Period.
I'm not telling anyone that they have to like it, but we can't just ignore that fat Crimson Tide colored elephant in the room, either.
My wife doesn't watch the NFL Draft. She still has a beef with it because I chose to watch and work on the 2010 draft during our honeymoon in Jamaica. Yet, she walked into my office on Saturday and asked the following question ...
"Is the SEC still having all of its players drafted?"
That's problematic to some degree.
#3 - The state of Texas dominated, well ... except for the Texas Longhorns.
Yes, the state of Texas produced 14 different first- and second-round draft picks on the first two days of the draft and none of them played in burnt orange.
Somehow the Longhorns weren't invited to the dinner party on a night when the prowess of the football played in the state of Texas was a loud talking point. It wouldn't have that big of a deal, except this was merely the continuation of a decade-long trend for the Longhorns when it comes to producing NFL talent.
No matter where you turned, there were awful stats to find.
AT SOME POINT YOU JUST WANTED TO SCREAM, "STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!"
#4 - The Big 12 isn't helping
As if it's not bad enough that the SEC received a three-day commercial over the weekend for every set of eyeballs connected to college football, leaving each conference in America to feel like the Tri-Lambs in Revenge of the Nerds when the Pi Delta Pis were hosting a kissing booth in a fundraiser, but the Big 12 did itself no favors by finishing dead last in terms of players produced in the draft by the five major conferences.
The Big 12 had eight fewer players drafted than the ACC. It had TWENTY-SIX fewer players drafted than the Big 10.
The optics for the league were not awesome to say the least.
Look, I'm not trying to scream for panic, I'm just pointing out that while I completely enjoyed the hell out of the three-day festivities, it did the Texas football program zero favors on the recruiting side of things.
All of these themes are issues that the Longhorns deal with on the recruiting side of things on a daily basis, but the draft put a huge spotlight on the uncomfortable talking points that Herman and his staff are not allowed to escape from.
It's like battling with another guy for the attention of a girl and having her friends constantly bring up that his car is cooler, his family has more money, his report card is better and he's the best athlete in the entire city when you already have to live in a world where the town is named after his family and your father works for his father.
At some point, Herman and his program are going to have to shatter the NFL Draft glass ceiling that sits on top of his program and the good news is that if the Longhorns break through in 2020 (or whenever the next season is played) on the field, the NFL Draft problem could be taken care of in fairly short order.
A monster season could send Sam Cosmi into the first round. The same is true of Joseph Ossai. If Jalen Hurts can go in the second round, why can't Sam Ehlinger? That's if there's a monster season to serve as the spring board.
A monster season might send a guy like Caden Sterns into the draft early. Or Brennan Eagles. Or any number of guys.
Suddenly, the problem won't be the NFL Draft not taking any of your players, but instead trying to replace all of the players that have been stripped of your program.
But, that's who Texas wants to be. It wants to be the program with rich program's problems. It wants to be the program that is telling the Brockermeyers of the world that they can be their next big-time first-round product instead of the person who will prove to pave the way as the first or second of that type of player.
Until it happens, this weekend was just a reminder of what the Texas football program isn't and hasn't been for far too long.
No. 2 - On Jones, Duvernay and Johnson ...
If I'm any of the three Longhorns there were drafted this weekend, I'd be feeling pretty good about the situation I've fallen into.
In particular, I think Devin Duvernay fell into an absolute perfect situation in Baltimore, where he'll play with an MVP-level quarterback and Super Bowl-winning head coach, while playing in an offense that's practically begging for him to come in and fill a major role. From a fit standpoint, he couldn't have asked for more.
Honestly, the reaction of his head coach after his selection tells you everything you need to know.
Meanwhile, Jones is going to a team that is seemingly on the rise and building around young talent. If he can take the baton and not drop it, he'll have a chance to be a building block piece for the team while Tua Tagovailoa gets healthy.
Finally, Johnson will walk into a crowded wide receiver room in Jacksonville, but there is absolutely a place for him to make the roster coming out of training camp. He's not having to hope to make the practice squad in order to get the ball rolling. If he comes in and has a good training camp, it will help allow Dede Westbrook to move into the slot full-time, which would make Johnson the No. 3 outside receiver behind D.J. Chalk and second-round selection Laviska Shenault Jr. Yes, the Jaguars are a train wreck as a football organization, but the football situation he enters is decent for his purposes.
Even undrafted free agent Malcolm Roach landed in a situation where the New Orleans Saints are bringing him in as a priority free agent, giving him $95,000 guaranteed (with $85,000 guaranteed as part of his base salary and a $10,000 signing bonus). From an investment standpoint, the Saints are treating him like a drafted player and that separates him from the pack of two-dozen undrafted free agents they'll bring to camp.
No. 3 - Some numbers from the draft ...
Look, I don't want to bore any of you with too much number-crunching, so I'm just going to give some quick hitters.
* Five-stars and four stars dominated the top of the draft, as 21 five- and four-star prospects were drafted in the first round and 24 went in the second round. That means 70 percent of the first two rounds was comprised of five and four stars. I haven't gone back and compared these numbers yet to a decade's worth of data I've compiled, but at first glance this might be the highest number I can remember seeing in a few years.
* The five-star position as a whole actually underperformed from previous season. Two years ago, the five-star category produced an 80-percent success rate in terms of players being developed as drafted players, while only 17 former five-star prospects were drafted over seven rounds in 2020, which translates closer to a 65-percent success rate.
* The four-star tier had a strong year, producing 75 draft picks. By comparison, the four-star tier produced only 72 draft picks in 2018 and only 59 draft picks in 2017.
* As a general rule of thumb, think of the rolling data points like this: Roughly 25 percent of five stars, 5-percent of four stars and less than 1-percent of all three and two stars are selected in the first round.
* As a general rule of thumb, think of the rolling data points like this: Roughly 65 percent of five stars, 25-percent of four stars, 6-percent of three-stars and less than 2-percent of two stars are selected in the seven rounds of the draft.
Those two sets of numbers are ball parks, but they are almost universally consistent every year with only the occasional notable anomaly.
* Finally, just look at the picks by round. You can see pretty easily how the top rounds are dominated by the highest-rated recruits and as the draft continues, the production among all-tiers tends to more closely even out by the end of the draft.
No. 4 - The historic 2017 recruiting class ...
One of the things this weekend did was emphatically send home the point of what an epic failure the Charlie Strong era at Texas represents.
It's incredibly bad luck for the Longhorn program, but the final year of the Strong disaster just happened to occur over the critical months that make up the majority of the 2017 recruiting cycle, which might just go down as one of the top three best recruiting years in the modern history of the Lone Star State.
Just look at the top 10 of the LSR Top 100 from that year, as the No. 3 (Jeffery Okudah), No. 5 (K'Lavon Chaisson), No. 6 (Cee Dee Lamb) and No. 9 (J.K. Dobbins) players in the top 10 from that year all went in the top two rounds of the draft.
In a year from now, the No.1 (Walker Little), No. 2 (Baron Browning) and No. 4 (Marvin Wilson) players on the list are all expected to go in the top two rounds.
This doesn't include the likes of Jalen Raegor, Tylan Wallace, Eno Benjamin, Kennedy Brooks and Kenneth Murray, among others.
None of those players signed with Texas.
Of course, the very next year in the Class of 2017, Tom Herman and Co. dominated the top of the in-state rankings, but the 2017 and 2018 classes aren't yet projecting as other-worldly groups like the 2017 class is turning out to be.
Outside of Sam Ehlinger, whom I ranked No. 11 overall and as the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the state in 2017, a perfect storm of awful circumstances has ensured that the Longhorns didn't drink from the cup of what might turn out to be the best group of high-end talent produced in the Lone Star State since the Class of 2001.
Who was in the top 10 in 2001?
That would be the year that produced a top 10 with Derrick Johnson, Cedric Benson, Tommie Harris, Jonathan Scott, Quan Cosby, Cedric Griffin and Ben Wilkerson.
No. 5 - Ok, Shaka, it's time to do the damn thing ...
Kevin Durant is the best basketball player that the Texas Longhorns are ever going to sign in basketball.
The Longhorns didn't even have to make the Sweet 16 for me to appreciate what watching one season of Durant in burnt orange meant from a fun memories standpoint.
I enjoyed the hell out of that season.
More than a decade later, I know Greg Brown isn't better than Durant, but he might just be the most exciting player from a highlights standpoint that the program has ever signed or will sign.
Landing him on Friday was a monumental deal. These dudes don't grow on trees around here, even if the Austin area has quietly turned into an underrated hotbed of basketball talent in the last two decades.
All I want from the basketball team next season is fun. Kansas is going to be good. Baylor is going to be good. The Big 12 will be good.
I'm not demanding that the Longhorns win the conference or make it to the Sweet 16 because as much as everyone might be desperate for those things to happen, sometimes they don't even when you do have a really good team.
Yet, when you look at this Texas team on paper, it's going to have pieces that to do a little something. It has senior guards. It has shot makers. It has defense. And now it has a nuclear talent to stir the entire drink.
If Shaka can't do it with this group, then he just ain't ever going to do it.
Personally, I can't wait for the season to start.
No. 6 - Vic Schaefer carries a wallet that reads "Bad MF" ...
There's not enough time in the day for me to tell you how impressed I am with new Texas basketball coach Vic Schaefer.
Don't tell him there's a damn pandemic going on. Don't tell him he can't even meet personally with recruiting targets. Don't tell him that competing against Baylor is difficult.
Schaefer ain't got time for excuses.
You know what he does have time for?
Two five-star prospects from the class of 2021 to build the future of his program around.
On Friday, five-star point guard Rori Harmon of Cypress Creek, who is described as Gary Payton with a cleaner jump shot, committed to the Longhorns. Less than 24 hours later, five-star forward Aaliyah Moore out Oklahoma joined the party.
Depending on what set of rankings you look at, both are viewed as top-10 prospects in the entire nation. Schaefer hasn't just come into Austin and talked a big game, he's already getting things done ... pandemic or not.
This is what it looks like when Texas aims for the sky with its ambitions and gets it right. You can make a case that the most exciting program on the entire 40 Acres to follow at the moment is the women's basketball program.
No. 7 – BUY or SELL …
(Buy) Yeah, I think we're going to see some sort of altered state of the schedule and a later start makes sense.College football season doesn’t start until mid-October.
(Buy) If by above-average you mean that he sticks around the league for more than three or four seasons and is able to carve out a niche for himself that one day includes a second contract, yes, I believe he will.Brandon Jones has an above average NFL career.
(Buy) Yes, this is absolutely a business decision that they are making as much as anything else.Brockmeyers, careers>legacy in picking a school
(Buy) That's fair at this point heading into year four, especially after he needed to can 70 percent of his staff. The 2019 season is one that he's been building towards for four years and the urgency around it is real. It's time to deliver.Worries about Herman being able to develop talent like a top 5 program after 3 years should be VERY concerning to the Longhorns head brass. NFL draft being prime example.
(Buy) It's my feeling at the moment, but we'd be naive to dismiss the young quarterback at Oklahoma.Sam is the B12 offensive player of the year this season.
(Buy) Hell yeah. Easily. They won 19 games this year before the Big 12 Tournament was set to begin, so yeah.B/S. Minimum REGULAR season win total expectation Shaka next season is 22.
(Sell) It's still too much of a leap of faith for me to make.With a major recruiting win and a seasoned group of upperclassmen, next year Shaka breaks through with a 2nd place in conference regular season, then sweet 16 appearance
[QUOTE="TurfYoda, post: 13877017, member: 27016"]Following the draft and FA, the Cowboys have all the pieces in place for a deep postseason run.[/QUOTE]
(Buy) Yes, the Cowboys have the pieces in place. That doesn't mean that they'll make a deep postseason run, but the pieces are in place.
(Sell) I had zero bad thoughts at all during the draft. I enjoyed the entire damn thing.The Draft was fun and provided a nostalgic weekend, but deep down you have an awful feeling that organized sports has forever changed due to current events, making the draft feel empty and without significance.
No. 8 - Scattershooting on the 2020 NFL Draft ...
... It's hard for me to completely articulate my feelings as a Cowboys fan because while I'm stuck in a two-decade purgatory as a fan, I really enjoyed the hell out of the draft to the point that it made feel like I reconnected with the team to a degree this weekend. It's rare when I've ever felt great about a Dallas draft from top to bottom, but every time they selected, the Cowboys took a player that appeared to be tremendous value in the round in which they selected him.
... I believe that before it's all said and done, Cee Dee Lamb will be remembered as one of the top-five receivers in the history of the Dallas Cowboys franchise. That's what I think of his addition to the roster. I think we're talking about the second-best offensive skill player that the Oklahoma program has ever produced outside of Adrian Peterson in the modern era of the program.
... One of the best things about landing Lamb is that the Cowboys kept him away from the Philadelphia Eagles.
... Jerry Jones is never allowed to leave his yacht ever again. That thing was good luck this weekend.
... Am I allowed to say that I don't know what to think of Joe Burrow and the Bengals? Man, as out of this world good as he was a year ago, I'm just not convinced on him. Maybe it's the fact that he's joining the Bengals, one of the true awful franchises in American professional sports. Whatever it is, I'm just not sold.
... Really liked what the Ravens did. For a franchise that was already a legit Super Bowl contender, they were able to give a big boost to both phases of an offense led by Lamar Jackson. Adding J.K. Dobbins to the puzzle reminds me a lot of when the Ravens drafted Ray Rice back in the day and I'm anticipating that Devin Duvernay makes a huge connection with Jackson in the passing game. Add in the help that the team got on the defensive side of the ball with a trio of picks in rounds one and three, and I think the Ravens were among the winners of the weekend.
... I like what the Dolphins have got cooking. Put me in the group that believes Tua Tagovailoa is going to light it up in Miami over time. They finally got someone that can take the quarterback torch away from Dan Marino.
... I feel the opposite about the Chargers. Just saying.
... Consider me still indecisive about how well I think Matt Rhule is going to do at Carolina, but I really like the draft they put together.
... As someone that was a big fan of Jalen Hurts as a college football player, I think the Eagles absolutely wasted a second-round pick on him.
... Tampa Bay is going to be a live-wire this season. Get your popcorn ready. Goodness gracious, the NFC is loaded.
... The 49ers got better this weekend. That's a well-oiled organization.
... Does Seattle hate Russell Wilson?
... Consider me a big fan of the entire way the draft was handled by the league and ESPN. They turned the draft into something that has always been framed as super serious into something that was super fun. We enjoyed judging people's living rooms. We enjoyed the kids and the dogs getting their TV shine on. Give us more of Jerry's yacht, Kingsbury's crib and whatever the hell was happening in the Mike Vrabel household in 2021.
... My guy Daniel Jeremiah was an absolute star this weekend in the ESPN/NFL Network coverage. It can only be a matter of time before ESPN makes a move for Mr. MoveTheSticks as the future of their NFL Draft coverage once the Mel Kiper Era officially ends.
No.9 - The List: Deciding the Teddy Riley/Babyface debate ...
For those that weren't paying attention last weekend and this week, musical legends Teddy Riley and Babyface had quite a weird little social media historical moment.
It started last weekend when the two legends from the 1990s and beyond were going to have some sort of Instagram Live showdown, except that Riley had so many technical issues that the entire moment will mostly be remembered for him acting like a 60-year-old trying to figure out modern technology. Yet, in the following days, Babyface did some Babyface stuff and Riley eventually figured out how to unmute his audio settings and both put on shows that have had people talking about their music.
Therefore, in honor of both, I came up with a Top 10 list for each, which we can compare against each other in the name of declaring a winner between the two music producing giants - one the master of the club banger and the other the master of the CD your girlfriend probably loves. Both arenas have immense value.
Teddy Riley's Top 10
10. Blackstreet's "Before I Let You Go"
9. Guy's "Teddy's Jam"
8. SWV's "Right Here"
7. Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step"
6. Hi-Five's "I Like The Way"
5. Wreckx-N-Effect's "Rump Shaker"
4. Keith Sweat's "I Want Her"
3. Blackstreet's "No Diggity"
2. Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative"
1. Michael Jackson's “Remember the Time”
Babyface's Top 10
10. Babyface's "When Can I see You Again"
9. Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight"
8. Karyn White's "Superwoman"
7. Bobby Brown's "Rock Witcha"
6. Mary J. Blige's "Not Gon' Cry"
5. Toni Braxton's “Love Shoulda Brought You Home”
4. The Whispers' "Rock Steady"
3. Tevin Campbell's "Can We Talk"
2. Bobby Brown's "Don't Be Cruel"
1. Boyz II Men's "End of the Road"
This is a tough call. "Remember The Time" is my favorite Michael Jackson song of all-time, while End of the Road is the mountaintop of mid90s R&B. Choosing between the best of Bobby Brown isn't easy. It's almost impossible to compare the two. If I want to bop in the car, I'm going with Riley, but if I'm in a slow-jam mood, give me Face.
Pound for pound when looking at each song in each Top 10, I think I have to give the edge to ... Riley
Botton line - If I could only listen to one of those lists for the rest of my life and the other list could never be listened to again, I'd take Riley's list on the desert island.
No.10 - And finally...
Is it wrong that this is how I envision all of you?