Deadline SnoozingThursday, November 01, 2012
Tim Tebow has been traded.
Yes, to the Indianapolis Colts of all places. No, this is not some sort of joke. If Mark Sanchez’s Madden 2013 franchise is ever going to reach the promised land, there cannot be any distractions.
However, Sanchez is unlikely to be so lucky in real life. You see, the prevailing view in NFL front offices is that third- and fourth-round picks are the world’s most precious resource.
It’s why trades in the self-proclaimed greatest sports league on earth are about as common as the Chiefs having a lead. Yes, the NFL’s insanely convoluted salary structure is a mitigating factor that doesn’t exist in, say, Major League Baseball. But the paralyzing fear amongst NFL GMs that the mid-round pick they’re about to trade away is going to turn into the next Jamaal Charles or Mike Wallace is the main reason almost nothing of consequence is going to happen between now and this afternoon’s 4ET deadline.
There’s a very real chance the biggest name to swap jerseys this week will be Mike Thomas. There are many teams that need a Pro Bowl talent like Dwayne Bowe or Steven Jackson. A missing piece that could be the difference between making the playoffs or going home, home-field advantage or the No. 4 seed. But the Jeff Irelands and Rod Graves of the world can’t part with the “upside” each mid-round pick presents. The idea that they will unearth the next Geno Atkins.
Want to know a secret? The third-seventh rounds of the 2007-11 drafts have produced 19 total Pro Bowlers. That’s out of 948 players taken. As in two percent.
When it’s broken down to the third and fourth rounds? 11 Pro Bowlers. Out of 346. That’s 3.18 percent.
Of the 72 players selected in the third and fourth round of the 2007 draft, 30 are still in the NFL, or 41.7 percent. (Admittedly, I thought this number would be lower.)
That is not to say the move the Raiders made for Carson Palmer last year was logical. It wasn’t. But the one Chicago pulled for Brandon Marshall? Do you really think they’ll be missing those two third-round picks?
Draft picks are essential building blocks. That can’t really be argued. But when talents like Bowe and Jackson are routinely available for little more than a third- or fourth-round pick? You would think a forward-thinking club would mandate it trade at least one mid-round pick each year if it could net them a proven talent who could contribute and make a difference right away.
The NFL is fond of its Mr. Irrelevant tradition, but the fact is, a majority of its day-three picks end up as Mr. Irrelevants, not just the last guy taken. But if you try telling this to an NFL GM, it won’t get you far.
It’s why Steven Jackson won’t be sending Alex Green to the bench where he belongs. It’s why Dwayne Bowe won’t be inspiring Vikings fans to text each other “Lol, we were literally starting Jerome Simpson until we made this trade.”
It’s why we’re all buckling up for a whole lot of nothing this afternoon.
When Packers coach Mike McCarthy let slip that Jordy Nelson (hamstring) was “real close” to suiting up for last Sunday’s win over the Jaguars, the general assumption was that he’d be a shoo-in for Week 9.
Not so fast.
Nelson was held out of Wednesday’s practice, and will be limited to rehab work again this afternoon. The upshot is that he’ll his test his hamstring on Friday, but the reality is, that’s not a whole lot better than he did in Week 8. What was once a certainty in his playing against the Cardinals is now questionable at best.
With Arizona offering little to no resistance its past four games and the Packers’ bye looming in Week 10, it’s quite possible they’ll decide the prudent choice is to hold Nelson out one more game. That's especially likely in light of the fact that coming back too quickly from a groin injury essentially cost Greg Jennings his season.
Leshoure? As In Really Sure?
Sunday, Mikel Leshoure did not play the final quarter and a half of the Lions’ win over Seattle. Coach Jim Schwartz insisted his absence was not injury related, and instead because Joique Bell had developed the hot hand.
That’s all good and well, except...Leshoure was seen limping off the field holding his calf after his final snap. Whatever. If Schwartz wants to play games, that’s his prerogative. What happened was clear to most anyone with eyes and a brain.
Flash forward to Wednesday where Leshoure missed practice. Schwartz’s jig was up, right? Hardly. Detroit’s answer to Baghdad Bob again insisted Leshoure was not hurt, and that he was out for “personal reasons.”
It would have been easy to label a bold-faced lie had the Detroit Free-Press’ Dave Birkett not guaranteed Leshoure was missing because of “legit personal reasons.” But therein lies the rub. It’s entirely possible Leshoure is both dealing with a personal issue and an injury.
Will we find out the truth today? You would assume, but the truth and Jim Schwartz have a way of rarely meeting eye-to-eye. For now, consider Leshoure questionable but ultimately likely to suit up for Week 9.
Quarterback/Receiver/Tight End Quick Slants: Michael Vick: still a starter. One prognosticator breathes easier. … Ryan Tannehill (quad) was limited in Wednesday’s practice, but is on track to start Sunday. … Brandon LaFell is concussed. His Week 9 status is very much in doubt. … Coby Fleener will be sidelined a minimum of two weeks with a shoulder injury. … Victor Cruz (calf) was limited in Giants practice, but should be fine for Sunday. … Cecil Shorts has officially supplanted Laurent Robinson as the Jaguars’ starting "X" receiver. … Peyton Manning (thumb) is practicing in full. … Dez Bryant (hip) missed Cowboys practice. He’s expected to be fine for Sunday, but he’ll be worth checking up on the next few days.
Running Back Quick Slants: There’s a “viable chance” DeAngelo Williams is traded this afternoon. … DeMarco Murray (foot) failed to resume practicing Wednesday, and is looking doubtful for Week 9. … As has become his custom, Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) was held out of practice. He’ll return either today or Friday. … Trent Richardson (ribs/chest) was limited, but the Browns are just managing his reps. … As expected, Jonathan Dwyer (quad) sat out of Steelers practice. He’s tentatively expected to return this afternoon. … Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) was limited. If both Dwyer and Mendenhall are active Sunday, it’s Dwyer who’s expected to get the start.