SILLY STUFF

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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Many of the games have been hard to watch. Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

They say that breaking up is hard to do, then comes the rebuilding, and that's where the real pain happens. Last week, the 4-9 Rockets lost a tough game, 103-91, to the very average San Antonio Spurs at Toyota Center. That night, Ben McLemore scored 21 points, while P.J. Tucker contributed four points.

Every other point for the Rockets was scored by a player who wasn't on the team last year. That's no way to build a fan base of young people, or older people, or anybody. Because of COVID restrictions, the Rockets can sell only 3,000 tickets to games, and they're still having to offer special deals like four tickets and four drinks (soda, water, wine or beer) for $79.

The night the Rockets fell to the Spurs, DeMarcus Cousins was out with an ankle injury (surprise), John Wall was out with a sore knee (shock), and Eric Gordon sat with a lower leg injury (stunning). They were not sidelined by COVID protocol, it was age creakiness. All three are on the other side of 30. All have a history of missing games because of injuries. Danuel House also missed the game because of a bad back and COVID protocol.

The Rockets took to the floor with able-bodied Mason Jones, David Nwaba, Rodions Kurucs, Kenyon Martin Jr., Jae'Sean Tate and Christian Wood. They're nice players, for sure, they're on an NBA roster. But the NBA is a megastar-driven operation. How many of them would you recognize if they were standing behind you at Costco? The way the Rockets sign, trade and cut players, many or most of the current roster won't be around next year. Becoming a fan of a current Rocket is like falling in love with the Rug Doctor you rented for the weekend at a supermarket. It's going back Monday.

Last year, the head coach was Mike D'Antoni, the general manager was Daryl Morey. Both are established and respected figures in the league. Would you recognize the Rockets new coach Stephen Silas? Can you even name the Rockets new general manager?

And that's how you sink to 14th place in the Western Conference standings, inevitably a lottery team, the end to the Rockets' eight-year run of making the playoffs … the longest current streak in the NBA. The 2021 Rockets aren't just a lousy product, it's worse, they're a boring team. Gordon and Tucker, maybe the two most popular Rockets veterans, are rumored to be traded soon. Fans will have abandonment issues.

Maybe the Rockets should offer something stiffer than beer on "Guys Night Out" next Thursday when the Portland Trail Blazers visit Toyota Center. Good seats available.

That's not what you want to see

Did you see where the New York Mets fired their general manager Jared Porter because he sent explicit, uninvited, unanswered text messages to a female reporter?. Porter absolutely deserved to lose his job. What he did was awful and cruel. More than just losing his job, he should be committed to a home for the terminally stupid. Who does something that moronic? So unconscionable and abusive, on top of being job-killing.

But not all junk shots are meant to be hurtful – here's one that's actually funny, and totally inadvertent and innocent. Several years ago, a local sportscaster not only took a photo of his naked, anatomically correct body, he posted it on Facebook for all of his friends, indeed the world, to see. I won't name the local sportscaster because he was the victim of his own innocent lack of focus. It could have happened to anybody. Not me, thankfully, but anybody else.

Here's how it happened. The sportscaster was taking a shower, and when he emerged, he noticed his kitten curled up in the bathroom sink. Aw, isn't that cute? The sportscaster grabbed his phone and took a photo.

And posted it on Facebook. He didn't notice that, in the background of the photo, in the mirror, was his naked body. You can't say he was butt naked because it was full frontal nudity. You can't say it was a wardrobe malfunction because there was no wardrobe involved. Fortunately his wife noticed the mishap and told the sportscaster to delete the photo.

Here's the real problem, and his solid alibi. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put huge, wide mirrors in the bathroom, especially opposite the bath tub? There's a good look, you're naked, dripping wet, with patches of soap you missed rinsing off. This should be a fleeting disturbing image, not one to be preserved on film or online. Solution: don't bring your phone, or any photographic equipment, into the bathroom. We've all taken accidental photos. Nobody needs to see a photo of your disgusting body. You are not Michelangelo's statue of David. I don't let my dog watch me take a shower or any other business conducted in the bathroom. There is a reason that bathroom doors have locks. Use them.

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