Draft Day: “Ready, Set…. WRONG”


Okay, since this is now on the INTERWEBS and will be here forever, let me stupidly boldly get “on record” as to my opinion of the key players who will be drafted sometime tonight. Please wait three years for all of us to actually WATCH how these guys pan out, and THEN get back to me with either jeers or cheers.

My three categories are simply: “Great, Meh, and Suck.”¬†(with a +/- allowable on each level.) The reasoning for such a crude, three-tiers-only system, is that if you take a guy in the first round, you damn sure expect him to be great. You don’t want him to flat out suck, and if he’s anywhere in the middle, well… that is why the word “meh” has become so popular.

Here we go…

post_manziel1. Johnny Manziel: ¬†Czabe Prediction: MEH –

I know, I know. I raved right here at the new www.theczabe.com a few months ago about Johnny Football. But then I saw how analysts savaged his inability to hit simple check-downs or his penchant for running needlessly out of the pocket. He’s no Russell Wilson, and he won’t go to a perfect team like Wilson did. One that relies on savage defense and a punishing running game. Johnny will have his moments early in his career, but then gets absolutely smashed to pieces at some point and it’s downhill from there.

post_clowney2. Jadaveon Clowney: Czabe Prediction: MEH+

Am I concerned about work ethic and attitude on this guy? Hell f’ing yes! I know that the excuse for a tepid 3rd year production is that he was “double-and triple-teamed” constantly. Or that he was trying to avoid an injury. I think that only goes so far. A guy who plays intermittently in college, is going to TRY to do that at times in the pros. And when he does, it will get noticed and he’ll be savaged.


3. Sammy Watkins: Czabe Prediction: GREAT

There SEEMS to be nothing about this guy that says he WON’T be a fabulous pro wideout and a fantasy stud right away. But you never know. I think there’s far less variables on picking good WRs who are high #1’s than other positions. The job is pretty simple. Know your route. Beat your man. Catch the damn ball.
post_bortles4. Blake Bortles: Czabe Prediction: SUCK

I have never bought into this guy’s hype, and I am convinced the pro scouts have essentially “talked themselves” into liking him as a high first rounder. He’s a square jawed, handsome rugged guy, with a smokin’ hot girlfriend. But look where he played, and who he played against. I see Brandon Weeden all over again. And Bortles just LOOKS like he’s 27 years old too.


5. Khalil Mack: Czabe Prediction: GREAT

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like when a bunch of NFL people ALL conclude that a guy from a school you have NEVER in your life seen, or even heard of (“University at Buffalo, The State University of New York” – yes, that’s their REAL full name, and please get it correct!) is going to be a stud: LISTEN TO THEM. He usually is. I’m in on Mack. I’d take him #1/#1 if I could. Everybody needs LBs, and the good ones play every damn down and usually need no hand holding to get up to speed.

As for everyone else in the draft, I don’t have much opinion. I gave up a long time ago pretending that I even know SOMETHING about how these guys will do in the pros, even though it makes you sound cool and smart, even when you are dead wrong.

In fact, my limited “couch opinions” above, are based only upon a stew of gut instinct, past history, and an educated guess.

Which, I suppose, is really no worse than any other way to take a stab at sports’ biggest remaining unsolved mystery: The NFL Draft.

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Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. "Czabe" also writes and edits his own commentaries for www.czabe.com and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at czabe@yahoo.com.


  1. Bortles is going to be a star in this league. It is obvious you did not see UCF play South Carolina or Baylor. He is the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft. In a few years you will crying on your DC show, “drafting RG3 was the biggest mistake in franchise history”.

  2. No way, Bridgewater is the most pro-ready with his excellent footwork and supurb decision-making. Bortles, Carr, and (maybe) Manziel may have higher potential ceilings, but will need considerably more coaching to be ready as starters. Bortles and Carr were both drafted into excellent situations with decent veteran QBs ahead of them that will help ease their transition as well as some good offensive weapons around them. Bridgewater may not have a high ceiling, but will likely be able to flourish in a West-Coast or Norv Turner style “Coryell” offense.
    If Manziel starts from Week 1 next year, I expect him to throw 25+ interceptions and many, many sacks if he is not injured sometime before week 5. Just watch Manziel’s games – he makes TONS of terrible decisions. He throws into crowds of defenders very often and is only saved by the elite abilities of Evans as WR; in the NFL many of those throws end up as INTs. On many snaps, he seems to make a single read before giving up on a pass-play and running the ball; he frequently ignores wide-open receivers in order to make ill-considered scrambles that work out in the college game, but that will end up badly in the NFL game. On many play-action passes (admittedly, at least some of them are option plays) the defense bites HARD on the play-action and leaves several WR uncovered yet Manziel will give up on the pass and run the ball – another example of his play style that succeeds at the college level but will fail at the NFL level.


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