SILLY STUFF

Del Olaleye: It's draft season, which means a lot of idiotic takes

Del Olaleye: It's draft season, which means a lot of idiotic takes
Never forget Johnny Manziel. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

We’re in the middle of the least accountable time on the sports calendar. Analysts in a particular field make a pretty healthy living this time of year writing and saying things they never have to answer for. I’m talking about draft season, where only the internet has time to call you out on your awful misses. The business of the draft is a year-round thing. Writers and TV personalities for ESPN, CBS Sports and the NFL rank players by position throughout the year. The writers for these three outlets aren’t even a piece of lint when compared to the monster that is the totality of draft coverage. Every blogger has a position by position write up. Every sports network has a draft insider with a mock draft. I saw a different mock draft on the front page of CBSsports.com with Baker Mayfield’s name in the headline probably three times last week. The vast amount of outlets that produce draft content provide a sort of cover for awful evaluations of players and incorrect predictions on a team’s draft plans. You just can’t remember all the times someone was wrong. There are those special occasions though.

Do you remember a draft evaluation that was so bad that you hold it against the evaluator to this day? I still think about the time Mel Kiper ranked Logan Thomas the fourth best prospect in college football. Thomas played QB for Virginia Tech and Kiper was so enamored by the former Hokie’s physical tools that after a sophomore year that included 19 TDs and 10 INTs Kiper elevated Thomas to a top 5 pick. Some context to go along with that nonsense. Thomas’ sophomore year came a season after Cam Newton was selected #1 overall. Thomas and Newton are of similar builds but Newton was far more dynamic in the QB run-game. Newton totaled more yards rushing in his fourteen career starts at Auburn than Thomas did in his entire 4-year career.

Thomas peaked as a sophomore. His junior and senior years did not live up to the hype that Kiper bestowed on him but Kiper held steadfast and considered Thomas a potential first-round pick after a subpar junior year. The Arizona Cardinals eventually selected Thomas in the fourth round of the 2014 draft and that proved to be a mistake. Thomas has completed one pass in his entire career and was moved to tight end two years after getting drafted.

An evaluation so bad that’ll I’ll never forget it.

That evaluation of Thomas is not Kiper's most egregious flub and the thanks to the internet I don’t have to point them all out to you. Kiper, who may very well be the first draft insider, only faces scrutiny because of the size of his platform. Lesser known names continue to be wrong without any repercussions.

Kiper isn’t alone. I’m sure everyone can think of a guy who was so wrong that you would believe they never watched the prospect play. I won’t paint former Colts GM Bill Polian with that brush but some recents comments he made got me to do a little research. Polian had this to say on ESPN after evaluating Louisville QB Lamar Jackson: "Short and a little bit slight". Jackson is listed at 6’3” by the way. Polian goes on to voice other concerns that you might consider more valid. He talks about Jackson’s lack of accuracy and suggests that he won’t get away with running the football in the NFL. Polian sees Jackson’s physical abilities and thinks a transition to WR would be best. Those can be considered reasonable concerns but stature and build didn’t seem to be an issue in his evaluation of Johnny Manziel a couple of years ago. I wasn’t the only one to take notice. The internet will always keep the receipts. The employers of these “draft experts”? Not so much

The Dan Patrick Show provides a nightmare dreamscape for any draftnik. They bring NFL players on the show and read their draft profiles to them. For good TV they only read the weaknesses portion of those profile. ESPN 97.5’s Lance Zierlein provides the player write-ups for NFL.com and his evaluations are the profiles that show uses. The producers for the show now warn Lance when he could potentially catch some shrapnel from the players or fans who may not be thrilled with his evaluations. I work in the same office with Lance. I see the work he puts in for the draft. A miss by him can be considered an honest one. He does the work. I’m gonna doubt the same can be said for plenty of others.

When you’re working on mock draft 18.0 who has time for accountability?

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Astros lose to Braves, 6-2. Composite Getty Image.

Reynaldo López struck out seven over six scoreless innings, Orlando Arcia homered and the Atlanta Braves won their third straight, 6-2 over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

López (2-0) allowed four hits and walked one in his third straight sterling outing to start the season.

“It’s like I’ve always said, for me, the important thing is to focus,” López said through an interpreter. “To have the focus during the outings and then, to be able to locate those pitches.”

He has given up one run in 18 innings for an ERA of 0.50.

“He threw the ball really well against a really good hitting club,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Another solid one.”

Arcia hit a solo home run to left in the second and a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Luis Guillorme and backup catcher Chadwick Tromp each hit a two-run double in the ninth to put the Braves ahead 6-0.

“Tromp has done a good job ever since we’ve been bringing him in these situations and filling in,” Snitker said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him back there. ... He’s an aggressive hitter. He’s knocked in some big runs for us in the limited time that he’s played.”

Kyle Tucker homered for the Astros leading off the ninth against Aaron Bummer, and Mauricio Dubón had a two-out RBI single to cut the lead to four. After Bummer walked Chas McCormick to put two on, Raisel Iglesias induced a groundout by Victor Caratini to end it and secure his fourth save.

“They pitched well, and our guys are grinding out at-bats,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “Even in the ninth inning there, we’re grinding, fighting until the end.”

Hunter Brown (0-3) yielded two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings. Brown allowed nine runs in two-thirds of an inning in his previous start, last Thursday against Kansas City.

Brown said he executed better Tuesday than he had in his previous two starts.

“He mixed all his pitches well,” Espada said. “The breaking ball was effective. He threw some cutters in on the hands to some of those lefties. He mixed his pitches really well. That was a really strong performance.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies was placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken right big toe. IF David Fletcher had his contract selected from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Albies’ place on the roster.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) threw a side session Tuesday, but Houston will wait until Wednesday to see how Verlander feels before deciding whether he will make his first start this weekend against the Nationals, Espada said. ... RHP Luis Garcia (right elbow surgery) threw around 20-25 pitches off the bullpen mound, and RHP José Urquidy (right forearm strain) also threw off the mound, Espada said. ... LHP Framber Valdez (left elbow soreness) played catch off flat ground.

UP NEXT

Atlanta LHP Max Fried (1-0, 8.74 ERA) starts Wednesday in the series finale opposite RHP J.P. France (0-2, 8.22).

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