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NFL Over/Under Picks

I have taken the win totals from DraftKings Sportsbook as it is the one I personally use. Here is where I am placing my bets on the over/under win totals this NFL season.

Team

Win Total

Pick

Arizona Cardinals

8.5

Over

Atlanta Falcons

7.5

Under

Baltimore Ravens

11

Under

Buffalo Bills

11

Over

Carolina Panthers

7.5

Under

Chicago Bears

7.5

Under

Cincinnati Bengals

6.5

Over

Cleveland Browns

10.5

Over

Dallas Cowboys

9

Over

Denver Broncos

8.5

Under

Detroit Lions

4.5

Over

Green Bay Packers

10

Over

Houston Texans

4

Under

Indianapolis Colts

9

Under

Jacksonville Jaguars

6.5

Under

Kansas City Chiefs

12.5

Over

Las Vegas Raiders

7

Over

Los Angeles Chargers

9.5

Over

Los Angeles Rams

10.5

Over

Miami Dolphins

9.5

Under

Minnesota Vikings

8.5

Under

New England Patriots

9.5

Over

New Orleans Saints

9

Under

New York Giants

7

Under

New York Jets

6

Under

Philadelphia Eagles

6.5

Over

Pittsburgh Steelers

8.5

Over

San Francisco 49ers

10.5

Over

Seattle Seahawks

10

Under

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12

Over

Tennessee Titans

9

Over

Washington Football Team 8.5 Over

Brent Honeywell Jr. is Finally a MLB Pitcher

Brent Honeywell Jr. is Finally a MLB Pitcher

It was September 3, 2017, Brent Honeywell Jr. took the mound for the Durham Bulls in front of just 3,073 fans at Coolray Field against the Gwinnett Braves. He went 5.1 innings that day, striking out five and giving up no runs. His first strikeout victim of the game was Ronald Acuna Jr., another of the strikeout victims that day was first baseman Matt Tuiasosopo. 16 days later Honeywell took the mound against the Memphis Redbirds and the Bulls won the Triple-A National Championship.

In 2018 the Gwinnett Braves were rebranded the Gwinnett Stripers, Acuna made his big-league debut and won Rookie of the Year, Tuiasosopo was out of affiliated ball and retired after a season in the Indy ball circuit. Meanwhile, Honeywell was out the entire season after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament in Spring Training and ending up going under the knife for Tommy John Surgery.

Fast forward to April 11, 2021, Acuna is in year three of an eight-year $100 million dollar contract, Tuiasosopo is the manager for that Gwinnett Stripers club, and Honeywell finally made his long-awaited MLB debut against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. There have been 1,316 days between that outing at Coolray Field in 2017, exactly 1,300 since a game that counted, and his debut in 2021, and Honeywell had thrown precisely zero pitches in a regular season game.

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Throughout that time, Honeywell wound up undergoing four separate elbow surgeries and went from the guy with the most talked about pitch among prospects, his plus screwball, and flirting with being a top 10 prospect in all of baseball, to a guy MLB.com has ranked at the 19th ranked prospect in the Rays system.

Still, when he toed the rubber at the Trop on Sunday afternoon, it was truly a goosebump inducing moment for all that had followed his career, and he shut down all six Yankees he faced, two via the strikeout.

Despite only pitching the first two innings of the game, those weren’t without high tension moments. Austin Meadows was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the first, Honeywell was asked if he considered taking justice into his own hands, he replied “I think I took justice into my own hands and shut them down for the two (innings) I was able to work.”

The Rays wound up falling 8-4 and Honeywell was optioned back down to the alternate site after the game, but Honeywell has plenty of confidence he will be back, saying “I know I belong here.”

MLB Needs to Change This Rule

How’s that for a title? Any idea what I’m talking about? If you don’t, in an era where the powers that be can’t help themselves, tinkering with ridiculousness under the laughably absurd false pretense that the games are too long. But hey, if you think they need robot umps for balls and strikes, I can’t really fault you. Home plate umpiring is terrible and only getting worse. If you think they need a universal DH, that’s ok. You can be wrong and still be a decent person.

But this isn’t about any of that. This is about the tragicomic way the recent Mets Marlins game ended, when Michael Conforto was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. You can check out Jomboy breaking it down here. Or for a quick recap, here’s what went down:

With the sacks packed in a tie game, Marlins reliever Anthony Bass threw a two strike slider to Conforto that was well in the strike zone. Conforto, possibly sensing he’d been beaten, leaned out and stuck his elbow pad into the pitch. The ball grazed the pad and nestled firmly in the catcher’s mitt. Home plate umpire Ron Kulpa, a special brand of terrible unto himself, actually started ringing up Conforto for strike three, and mid flourish, changed his mind and awarded Conforto first base, and the Mets the game.

Obviously, Bass and Marlins manager Don Mattingly argued the call but the damage was done. Kulpa and umpiring crew went under the hood to review the play, but could only make the determination that Conforto was indeed struck by the ball. Why? Because that’s all they were allowed to review.

By rule, a batter must make a reasonable effort to avoid being hit by a pitch. If the umpire rules that he doesn’t, then he doesn’t get awarded first base and the pitch is called a ball, assuming it’s out of the strike zone. From this rule, it can be inferred that a batter cannot deliberately put himself in the path of a pitch either, which Conforto clearly did. But, alas, not reviewable.

Moreover, also by rule, if a batter is struck by a pitch that is in the strike zone, the umpire is to call a strike and not award the batter first base. Bass’ pitch to Conforto was clearly a strike – even Kulpa was ringing him up before having last second change of heart. But of course, this is also not reviewable.

Why are they not reviewable? Who the heck knows, to be honest. The confederacy of dunces that runs Major League Baseball will do what it’s going to do. That said, when it comes to replay review, the line does have to arbitrarily be drawn somewhere. Where is that line? I don’t know and I don’t care.

However, what I do know is that MLB can take a cue from another major professional league who constantly struggles with its much maligned replay system, and what can and can’t be reviewed. The NFL automatically reviews all scoring plays. Someone scores a touchdown? Ok, let’s just make sure nothing wonky happened. Seems reasonable, right?

Here’s what MLB can do, and start doing immediately. Automatically review all plays on which a winning run scores. In 99% of cases it will be academic anyway as there won’t be any dispute. But in the odd case that there is, like we just had with Miami and the Mets, the review office can make a swift determination that shenanigans went down.

Sure, rule changes have to be collectively bargained or whatever, but I can’t see the Players’ Association fighting this. And if they do, Joe Torre can tell Tony Clark to go eff himself and make the change anyway. What are the players going to do? Strike?

Who knows, maybe the Mets would have won the game at some point anyway. But maybe they wouldn’t have. And maybe the Marlins will finish the season one game out of a playoff spot. MLB has to do everything in its power to ensure things like that don’t happen due to a butchered call.

The LA Kings Are Ready to Compete. So Why Won’t They?

Yes, just another armchair GM wondering what a guy who gets paid to do the job is thinking. This column isn’t meant to impugn the job Rob Blake has done as Kings GM. The team is almost universally regarded to have the best prospect pool in NHL, so he’s quite obviously done a remarkable job in accumulating talent. One could argue he waiting too long before conceding the team was in need of an overhaul, and flipping dependable veterans like Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin and Tyler Toffoli for young assets and draft picks. But all in all, if your team is number 1 in something like prospect quality, you get to take credit for that.

In the title, I say they’re ready to compete. This isn’t to imply they’re some kind of Stanley Cup favorite or anything, but they’ve shown me enough in a limited sample size, despite a brutal schedule and significant injuries to multiple key players, that they could be very much in play for a postseason spot in a very competitive Western Conference. Stars like Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty are playing as well as they ever have. Sean Walker and Matt Roy have emerged as two of the NHL’s best young defensemen. One-time captain Dustin Brown is aging like wine in an age when most NHL players age like bread. Cal Peterson is in the process of wresting the starting goalie job away from multiple time Stanley Cup hero, Jonathan Quick. There are a lot of reasons to be excited.

Oh, there are flaws. For one, they’re not deep. We saw how badly their defense sagged after Walker and Roy suffered injuries in the same game – Walker taking an errant slapshot to the eye, Roy on the receiving end of a brutal cheap shot into the boards by Minnesota’s Kevin Fiala. They’ve also got a few too many place holders keeping seats warm for whenever the prospects get called up. There’s nothing wrong with guys like Trevor Moore, Blake Lizotte, Michael Amadio et al as human beings, and they probably deserve to be employed in the NHL, but no team with designs on contending is giving them significant ice time. And there’s of course the big one, which has been the big one for several seasons now. The “experts” will tell you it’s secondary scoring. Secondary scoring is just a fancy way of saying…well, scoring. Funny thing about ice hockey, it’s a difficult sport to win games in if you don’t have guys who can smash the puck into the net with some kind of frequency. Kopitar is a likely Hall of Famer, and one of the best two-way players of this generation, but has always been a pass first guy. He’s on the top line with Brown and Alex Iafallo. Brown leads the team in goals to date with seven, but is unlikely to sustain that pace considering his last (and only) 30-goal season was thirteen years ago. Iafallo is a nice player with terrific CORSI and ‘goals for percentage’ numbers, but has never broken the 20-goal threshold. The only name hockey casuals will recognize from the second line is Jeff Carter, who is well past his prime as a goal scorer, but still a tremendous defensive forward and elite penalty killer. So where are the goals going to come from?

That deep prospect pool, right? Well… here’s the thing. None of the Kings’ top prospects are that Alex Ovechkin type scorer. I mean, Ovechkin is a unicorn and one of the greatest to ever play, so maybe his standard is unreachable. But there’s no Leon Draisaitl. No Alex DeBrincaat. No David Pastrnak. No Sebastian Aho. Name whomever you want.

Top prospect Quinton Byfield profiles more as a Kopitar type, and while that’s nothing to shake a stick at, it’s not an elite goal scorer. Alex Turcotte is a relentless energy guy and plays both ends of the ice, but again, not an elite scorer. Arthur Kaliyef has the talent profile to potentially develop as a goal scorer, but persistent concerns about his work ethic make reaching his ceiling prohibitively unlikely. The other guys: Gabe Vilardi, Samuel Fagemo, Rasmus Kupari, Carl Grundstrom, Jared Anderson-Dolan and a handful of others all project to be quality second and third line player – a tremendously valuable collection of assets there – but again… no elite scorer.

It’s hard to find an top end goal scorer. There’s maybe one Auston Matthews, or Nathan MacKinnon, or Patrick Kane to draft every year or two.

That’s what makes the Kings disinterest in grabbing one this season all the more perplexing. It’s the consensus missing piece to the contention puzzle. But when the salary cap troubled Vegas Golden Knights made Max Pacioretty available during the off-season, the Kings weren’t interested despite having the most available cap space in the league. When Winnipeg’s disgruntled sniper Patrick Laine became available early in the season, the Kings once again demurred, and Laine was ultimately flipped for fellow disgruntled stud Pierre-Luc Dubois and Jack Roslovic. Even when Alex Galchenyuk, a former third overall pick whose production never quite lived up to his immense talent, was essentially free to a good home with zero long term commitment, nothing.

Where are the goals going to come from, if not grown on trees?

Back to the current squad, all the Kings’ best players are north of 30. Kopitar? The 14-year veteran is now 33. Doughty? The 9-time all star is 31, having averaged an absurd 26 minutes plus of ice time over his career. Brown and Carter are both 36. If they wait too long to make another charge at a title with their current veteran core, they’ll have to replace them too.

It’s a frustrating and peculiar complacency being shown by the organization. It’s one that poses the question, what is it exactly that they are waiting for?

Obscure Movie Reviews, Part 2 of ?: Diggstown

So I dug up an oldie but I thought maybe goodie over the weekend. It had probably been well over 20 years since I had last seen it, but while digging through some internet databases of sports movies throughout history, this one popped up. I had a vague recollection of liking it, but I had to watch it again to make sure that two decades of moderate to heavy drinking didn’t cloud my memory. 

The Movie:  Diggstown

The Sport: Boxing

The Oversimplified Plot: Washed up boxer takes on a town’s toughest ten dudes back to back as part of a con. 

Key Cast Members: James Woods, Lou Gossett Jr. Oliver Platt, Bruce Dern

Rating: 5/10

The Good: First off, the cast is great. Gossett kind of gets whatever the recollective equivalent is of typecast. Show of hands, who thinks of anything other than Iron Eagle when his name comes up? Exactly. When it comes to Woods, people tend to get justifiably distracted by the fact that he is sexual predator of children, but he’s had some solid roles, and apparently “career scumbag grifter” falls right into his wheelhouse. Who’da thunk? Dern and Platt’s careers speak for themselves. 

In terms of the action, the boxing is decent – way better than all of the Rocky movies to be honest, at the risk of being accused of blasphemy. A few of the bit part guys brought in were former professional boxers Rockey Pepeli and Tex Cobb. Fun fact. Relatively unknown at the time, Jim Caviezel played one of Gossett’s opponents. 

The Bad: As decent as the boxing is, fight movies follow a tried and true, and ultimately frustrating script, of the good guy taking a savage beating only to miraculously recover and triumph at the end. One of the things that actually made the first Rocky so great is that he lost to Apollo Creed, a major deviation from Cinderella stories throughout time. Diggstown is no different. In about half of the fights Gossett’s “Honey” Ray Palmer has in the movie, he’s on the verge of getting brutally knocked out before pulling a rabbit out of his hat and getting the win. We know it’s going to happen. For the movie to even exist it HAS to happen. But still. 

The script also leaves a ton to be desired. It’s not awful, but for a movie in which comedy is evidently supposed to be a not insignificant part of the appeal, it really falls flat. There’s one hilarious scene where Woods tries to motivate Gossett by telling him all the things his opponent does that are better than him, and follows it up with “but you’re black.” Rereading that sentence now, maybe it wasn’t that hilarous after all. 

Should You Watch It: Eh. One may understand why 41-year-old me doesn’t get the same enjoyment out of a movie that 18-year-old me got, but I’m embarrassingly no more mature now than I was then. Today, I’d gladly recommend a few other sports movies that will provide a greater enjoyment return on your time investment. But on the flip side, I won’t judge you too harshly if you tell me you watched it and enjoyed it. 

This is the point in the article where I Google the movie and see if I missed anything worth talking about. Apparently, Diggstown only grossed $4 million plus at the box office – about 25% of what it cost to make the movie. So take that for what it’s worth. I was also reminded in my Googling that I neglected to mention Heather Graham was in the movie. And, uh, yeah, she’s quite hot… but I feel like if you really wanted the Heather Graham hotness experience you’d watch Boogie Nights or something – not for a small role in a mediocre boxing semi-comedy. 

Have you seen it? Let us know what you think about it @thestainsports on Twitter. 

 

Obscure Sports Movie Reviews, Part 1 of ?: Goon

Oh, quarantine life. Is there anything better to do when isolating yourself from society as a deadly pandemic ravages the planet than indulging in obscure sports movies? Honestly, probably. But we’re not really the “better” type. Besides, who doesn’t like a sports movie? Actually, probably a lot of people… but nobody reading any of the content we produce, that’s for damn sure. So here we go.

The Movie: Goon

The Sport: Ice Hockey

The Oversimplified Plot: A likeable dive bar bouncer beats up a hockey player at a game and gets a minor league contract out of it. Because of course that would happen.

Key Cast Members: Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber

Rating (?/10): 6.5

The Good: Scott is criminally underrated as an actor, and while “likeable, somewhat dimwitted hockey tough guy” isn’t exactly a role that will stretch his method abilities, he nails it as Doug “The Thug” Glatt. You do kind of find yourself pulling for him, much in the way you pulled for Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore to beat Shooter McGavin. It’s meant to be a mostly irreverent comedy and succeeds at that, but there is just about enough suspense in the right moments to make you wonder about the outcome.

Irreverent though it may be, it stuck mostly to the notion that it is a hockey movie, and succeeds. Ross Rhea, the enforcer played by Schreiber, seems to be modeled after a real hockey goon – possibly Rob Ray of the similar sounding name, or Gino Odjick. There’s also a scene where Rhea clubs an opposing player upside the head with his stick, ala Marty McSorley, resulting in a suspension and demotion to the minors. (editor’s note: It’s prevailingly unlikely that McSorley was an influence beyond that incident, as he was actually a fairly talented player in his day who also happened to be good at beating face. Guys like Odjick and Ray were simply brawlers.)

Also, while Scott and Schreiber are the only real well-known names in the cast, some of the more minor parts were executed brilliantly. Richard Clarkin is downright perfect as washed up veteran Gord Ogilvey. Jonathan Cherry’s portrayal of goalie Marco Belchior is over the top, but captures the essence of goalies’ legendary quirkiness. Goon even features a bit part by legendary NHL pugilist Georges Laraque, including an homage to one of his real fights where he very politely asked his opponent if he wanted to square up, and then wished the opponent sincere good luck before they traded blows. 

Lastly, it’s loosely (very VERY loosely) based on a true-ish story of Doug Smith, who played hockey on his fighting merits alone in the 1980s. And who doesn’t like a true-ish story?

The Bad: It’s one thing for a movie’s villain to be a hateable character. Everyone hated Alan Rickman in Die Hard, right? That’s because the late, great Rickman was freaking awesome at his craft. Jay Paruchel plays Scott’s best pal in the movie and is easily the worst part of it. His character is so damn annoying that he nearly made me turn off an otherwise thoroughly entertaining movie on multiple occasions. I have no idea if it was just a horribly conceptualized character, or Paruchel just taking it upon himself to be as brutally annoying as possible. Either way, edit him out if anyone ever remasters this.

In most sports movies, the actual sports action is fraught with unrealism. Not always to the point of Rocky IV, where Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren trade heavyweight haymakers for a dozen rounds when in reality any ONE such punch from a heavyweight landing ends the fight, but Goon is no different. Some of the action is good. Some of it, surely intentionally for comedic effect, is nonetheless farcical. I know it’s a comedy but would prefer the sports part of it stay somewhat true to form.

Lastly, some of the language is overly crass. And listen, I have a difficult time going a dozen words without dropping an f-bomb in conversation sometimes so I’m far from a prude. But there’s a juncture you reach beyond the comedic value of shock effect where you may ask yourself, “ok, was that string of homophobic slurs really necessary or could the movie have survived without it?”

Should you watch it?: I mean, sure. You got anything better to do right now? Joking aside, with reasonably set expectations, Goon is well worth 90 minutes of your time. It’s on Netflix so it’s easily accessible. Unless of course you hate fun.

Watch it and let us know what you think @thestainsports on Twitter.

Brendan Leipsic is Not Your Privacy Posterchild

And now he’s released, per multiple online reports, including theScore.

He, of course, is Brendan Leipsic. If you’ve been under a rock the last few days, a private Instagram chat of Leipsic and his friends, including fellow fringe NHLer Jack Rodewald, was leaked publicly. In this chat, as you might imagine there would be when a bunch of testosterone-fueled, intellectually underdeveloped 20-somethings are involved, were a bunch of appalling comments about women, sex, and drug use among other things. You can google them if you please but we’re not in a hurry to link to stuff like that.

As evolved as we like to think we are as a species, degrading rhetoric, especially about women and especially by men is still rampant in the workplace, in social circles, online, etc. For Christ’s sake, they even make a freaking documentary about incels. The man elected to the presidency famously bragged about grabbing women by their private parts with impunity. His presumptive opponent is himself the subject of assault allegations, albeit ones with dubious merit. Yeah, it’s 2020 and here we are.

Before you think that I’m trying to virtue signal or paint myself as some kind of social justice warrior for the aggrieved, or use this situation to make a political statement, hear me out. I’m a couple months shy of 42 now, so long removed from my teens and 20s. But in my youth, I made jokes and comments that would be considered patently offensive by most people, attempting to be clever and edgy to get a rise out of my friends, succeeding only in sounding like an asshole. It’s pretty embarrassing, and one day, Brendan Leipsic will probably look back on this with embarrassment too.

But here’s what really pisses me off. While we are seeing plenty of justified commentary about what a jerk Leipsic is on social media, we’re also seeing pathetic lamentations of losing the assumption of privacy. Let me say that again. A professional athlete makes repeated abhorrent comments about women in a chat with his friends, and people are upset that those comments didn’t stay private.

Welcome to my Ted Talk. You have no privacy. When you go online, your activity is tracked. When you talk, people are listening. It’s not conspiratorial. Pull out your phone right now, make a comment about sleeper sofas, and then open your Facebook app to see what ads are on your feed. Your conversations are not private, and they are not safe. Your social security number is not safe. Your credit card information is not safe. There is a multi-billion dollar industry in identity protection because NOTHING YOU DO IS DAMN PRIVATE. I personally buy an annual membership to an identity protection company. I’d tell you which one but they don’t advertise with us so you will just have to guess.

Your phone is password protected. Your computer has a log in. Every website you visit makes you log in. If you work for a large company, they likely have a policy of making you lock your work station when you leave for breaks, or at the end of the shift. They may have keystroke monitoring software. They may actually be tracking your online activity as you “work.” Why? Because nothing is private.

When you’re driving, the police can just scan your license plate. If you’re out to eat, and someone was so inclined, they could take your drinking glass and harvest your DNA from it. If you’re having a conversation at the restaurant, someone could hear you if they wanted to. And not just the person sitting at the next table. Anyone with a few bucks to purchase a particular kind of microphone can.

The Internet is forever. Things don’t go away and things don’t get forgotten. Just ask Josh Hader. Screenshots are a thing. Ask anyone with a smart phone and 99.9% of people know how.

When you travel out of the country, what happens? That’s right, they stamp your damn passport.

When you pull out your aforementioned cellphone to call or text somebody, what happens? That’s right, your location is mapped by a cell tower.

You ever walk by a storefront and see a promotion come up on their digital advertising board that oddly lists some kind of special for exactly your demographic? It’s not that odd. They have a camera with technology in it that immediately determines your gender and approximate age.

Nothing. Is. Private.

So if your first reaction to the news of Leipsic and his friends’ commentary in their “private” Instagram chat was, “whatever happened to the presumption of privacy?” I have some news for you. What you are really saying is, “what has the world come to when legally adult men can’t engage in horrifyingly degrading rhetoric with impunity?” Is that really how you want to be interpreted? I didn’t think so. Now go delete that tweet. Hopefully for you, nobody screenshotted it.

This has been my Ted Talk.

Homer Corner: An LA Rams Draft Recap

The LA Rams had one of the more interesting drafts in recent NFL memory. And since half of The Stain avidly supports the franchise as a fan, it’s only right that we try to make some sense of it. I’ve been told that I’m prone to negative overreaction and hyperbole when it comes to evaluating the operations of the teams I support, but I promise to be objective.

Even for the impartial observer, the whirlwind of roster turnover from the Rams’ Super Bowl runner up squad has been a thing of interest. While the offensive acumen of head coach Sean McVay and the boldness of GM Les Snead are beyond dispute, it is fair to wonder if they have a plan. I for one was curious how they would approach this draft, both as a fan and as someone who has difficulty looking away from train wrecks. Perhaps I’m still scarred from the Jeff Fisher era’s brutal ineptness. Who knows?

Summary: Welp, I predicted exactly zero of these picks correctly. Let me be clear, this draft is in no way an abject failure, as so many of their drafts have been in my nearly four decades of fandom. The team added a considerable amount of quality football players, which in itself is a nice accomplishment considering they didn’t have a first rounder. The oddity here is, the team had some pressing needs and one is left to wonder if they addressed any of them. Let’s take a look at the picks.

Cam Akers, RB, Florida State – Round 2, 52 Overall: In terms of player quality, it’s not really debatable. Akers is better than the 52nd player in this draft. But, in the new analytics-driven NFL, there’s a market inefficiency at running back.

What I like about the pick: Akers is really a terrific player. A true three-down back, he put up remarkable numbers behind a flimsy offensive line in college. The tape indicates he’s willing and able in pass protection, and he’s a load to bring down. He’ll play significant snaps immediately.

What I don’t like about it: They didn’t need him. Last season they spent a pick on Darrel Henderson, whose analytics in a small sample size showed reasons for optimism. Malcom Brown has shown himself to be a capable deputy to the since departed Todd Gurley for several seasons now. There were quality running backs on the board as late as the 7th round, Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin for example.

Grade: B-. It’s certainly not a terrible choice. I was initially a bit more sour on Akers’ selection here but it’s not fair to be too harsh in grading a pick that figures to be productive for a long time, even if he doesn’t fill a direct need.

Van Jefferson, WR, Florida – Round 2, 57 Overall: Again, not a bad player here. Just… why though? The value is here. But not really the need.

What I like about the pick: Jefferson is considered an elite route runner – which is probably the most important skill a receiver can have. Think Cooper Kupp. In the absence of any dominating physical trait, an elite route runner can still put up borderline dominant numbers and be a terror on opposing secondaries.

What I don’t like about it: If running back wasn’t a need, then wide receiver definitely wasn’t. Even after shipping Brandin Cooks to the Texans, the team still has Robert Woods, Kupp, the underrated Josh Reynolds, and tight end Tyler Higbee as weapons for Jared Goff. And if wide receiver WAS in fact the pressing need, wouldn’t waiting around and taking a deep threat like Devin Duvernay rather than a Kupp facsimile have made more sense?

Grade: C. There’s a lot to like about Jefferson as a player. I just wonder how much he’ll see the field his rookie year. If the team doesn’t lock up Kupp long term, this grade may get a bump. If they do, and he’s not getting significant snaps by 2021, well then it may take a hit. Not a terrible pick here. But not a very good one either.

Terrell Lewis, OLB, Alabama – Round 3, 84 Overall: There’s no arguing it, Lewis is a monster… when he’s on the field. Had he not missed two seasons with injuries, his name would be mentioned alongside Chase Young’s.

What I like about the pick: Lewis is a first round talent who fell to the third. Plus, pass rushers are in short supply and high demand. I can’t imagine the front office was expecting Lewis to be here so you have to give them immense credit for pouncing.

What I don’t like about it: Not a damn thing. Even with the considerable injury risk, Lewis is a tremendous get here. If I had to quibble and choose SOMETHING negative, I would say it makes the already idiotic signing of A’Shawn Robinson that much more stupid. Oh well.

Grade: A+. Even if Lewis gets hurt over and over and never plays meaningful downs for the team, you make this pick 100 out of 100 times. Well done.

Terrell Burgess, S, Utah – Round 3, 104 Overall: Burgess was a key member of a Utah defense that was one of the best in college football last season. He’s a bit small for safety and a bit slow for corner, so it remains to be seen where he fits.

What I like about the pick: At the risk of being repetitive, he was a quality player on an exceptional unit. If the goal is to add good players irrespective of position, you can’t do much better than Burgess.

What I don’t like about it: Where is he going to play? John Johnson and Taylor Rapp are the safeties. He can’t play outside. You could slot him in at the nickle, but the team is high on David Long already. Plus, another round is gone and with it an opportunity to address the squad’s biggest weakness – offensive line.

Grade: C+. I was going to be a bit harsher here, and then I remembered how Green Bay’s draft was going at this point. Burgess is a fine player. They can figure out what to do with him later.

Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue – Round 4, 136 Overall: Purdue is a physical handful without any real indicator that he can catch well enough to be a primary target, run routes well enough to get open, or block well enough to open running lanes.

What I like about the pick: Very little. With Hopkins’ physical traits, you can always hope to catch lightning in a bottle. And if that happens, I will happily admit I was wrong here.

What I don’t like about the pick: The team has Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett and Johnny Mundt already. It’s not inconceivable that Hopkins doesn’t even make the team, and that’s very poor for a fourth round pick.

Grade: D-. Thaddeus Moss went undrafted, and is a better player. *shrugs*

Jordan Fuller, S, Ohio State – Round 6, 199 Overall: It’s hard to quibble with nabbing a three year starter from an elite program at this stage in the draft. Fuller is better against the run, according to the experts, than he is against the pass.

What I like about the pick: See Burgess, Terrell. Good player. Good unit. Keep in mind, nearly 200 players have gone at this point and if you’re getting an NFL-ready player here, you’re ahead of the curve.

What I don’t like about it: There’s no path to playing time for Fuller. He should make the team if he does well enough on special teams in the preseason, but if he doesn’t kill it there, and there aren’t any injuries, how does he work his way onto the team?

Grade: B-. Judging purely on the quality of player, he’d get a higher grade. It’s hard to ignore the truth at this point though, that the team had needs at linebacker, offensive line, and backup quarterback and still haven’t addressed them.

Clay Johnston, LB, Baylor – Round 7, 234 Overall: A popular and emotional leader for the Baylor defense, Johnston was injured for half of 2019.

What I like about the pick: Los Angeles Lakers fans from the 90s will get this reference. There’s some Mark Madsen to Johnston. And if you get beyond the novelty of it, there’s enough quality to his game to justify being employed. If he’s healthy, he’ll make the team, which in itself makes this a good pick at this point.

What I don’t like about the pick: Yo! Where’s my offensive linemen at!?

Grade: B+. There’s a path to playing time for him almost immediately, which speaks both to the quality of this pick as well as the absence of any depth to the team’s linebacking corp.

Sam Sloman, K, Miami of Ohio – Round 7, 248 Overall: A place kicker… for the love of God.

What I like about the pick: Very little. Sloman’s kick percentage in his college career is pretty good, culminating with an impressive 87% last season. But at MoH, how many real pressure kicks did he take?

What I don’t like about it: You’ve already signed quality CFL veteran Lirim Hajrullahu. There’s ALWAYS quality veterans like Kai Forbath looking for work. Reclamation projects like Brett Maher. Veterans who for some reason seem to start every season unemployed before getting picked up by a contender… Nick Folk comes to mind. Why? Why do this?

Grade: F+. It’s a stupid pick. But at least if they took a kicker, they took one who has a chance to be decent.

Tremayne Anchrum, OL, Clemson – Round 7, 250 Overall: Finally. A lineman. Anchrum was named All-ACC last season as a senior.

What I like about the pick: Did I mention he’s a lineman? He’s also a pretty good one from a pretty good team. The Rams needed Guard help badly, and finally got it.

What I don’t like about it: Nothing. Anchrum won’t be Orlando Pace, but he was also chosen 249 picks later.

Grade: A+. Anchrum should play significant snaps as a rookie, and despite being a big small for an NFL guard, he can eat a few sandwiches and play well. I’d have given this pick an A even if they took him two rounds earlier.

Agree with me? Let me know on Twitter at @thestainsports. Disagree? Think I’m a moron? Let @shaunkernahan know. Thanks for reading.