In addition to gridiron grass greening and Pasadena roses blooming, there are several other rites of spring on Planet Pigskin.
Misguided "pundits" will put forth mock drafts that are inaccurate. Teams will be assigned letter grades based on how well or poorly they drafted. And CBS Sportsline's Pete Prisco will suffer a ruthless beatdown at the bloody, calloused hands of the Cold, Hard Football Facts.
However, the truth only hurts when it is realized and subsequently recalled. Just 12 months have passed, but Prisco's memory has clearly failed. His latest draft analysis only serves to prove one axiom: You can't teach an old hack a new tack.
From the outset, it is apparent that Prisco has learned nothing in a year's time. In 2005, he began his post-draft recap: "Imagine being in college, getting handed a test on your first day of a class, and the teacher says he will grade you as stringently as he would later in the semester when you've had time to prove yourself."
This year, the opening sentence sounds drearily similar: "Imagine starting a job, working a week, and at the end of that week you're called into the boss's office for an evaluation that will determine your raise for the year."
Imagine that Prisco had one ounce of originality. To understand draft grades, must we always envision a ridiculous scenario? Is he channeling John Lennon? Should we imagine all the teams practicing in peace?
From there, Prisco continues to repeat his trademark mistakes, oblivious to the ongoing embarrassment he brings to his employer.
Last year's CHFF criticism:
Prisco has the vocabulary of a fifth-grader...and not even a particularly precocious one. His preferred adjective is the first one that most kids learn: "good." He uses it no less than 25 times in his story. There are numerous "good players" whose "good football" makes them "good picks" as part of a team's "good draft."
Prisco went one better. (Or is it "gooder"?) He uses the word "good" an excruciating 26 times. It remains the one staple crop in his barren wasteland of creativity. Unfortunately, Pete, synonyms don't grow on trees. You're thinking of "cinnamon."
Last year's CHFF criticism:
Prisco's attention to detail is staggeringly "not good." He finds the concept of "singular vs. plural" and the use of articles ("a," "an" and "the") to be insignificant. The statement that Cleveland is a "team in need of playmaker" sounds perfectly fine to him.
Prisco offers this insightful nugget on Kelly Jennings, the cornerback from Miami who was selected as the Seahawks' first-round pick: "Jennings is quality cover player." Is that some variation on "paper-scissors-rock"? We're assuming he means "a quality cover player," but even that description is lacking in clarity. For the record, Jennings excels in man-to-man coverage.
Last year's CHFF criticism:
[Prisco] is particularly fond of the word "heck." It literally appears nine times throughout the piece. The Bengals, Cowboys and Vikings each had a "heck of a draft." Other teams did a "heck of a job" or landed a "heck of a player."
Prisco actually limits his mentions of "heck" to three. That is still three more than anyone not named Napoleon Dynamite, but it's an improvement. Heck yes it is. Gosh!
To be a "football writer," shouldn't you have to know about – call us crazy here – football and writing? We are already painfully aware that Prisco struggles to turn a phrase, but he also routinely demonstrates limited knowledge of the very sport that he primarily covers.
In his section on the Cowboys, Prisco questions the second-round pick of Notre Dame tight end Anthony Fasano. He asks: "[W]ith Dan Campbell on the roster, why is he needed?" Well, Campbell now plays for Detroit, having signed with the Lions as a free agent on March 14. Also, most teams regularly utilize two-tight-end formations and carry three players at the position. Those would be the biggest reasons why Fasano is needed.
(This glaring error has since been corrected – much like last year, when it was pointed out that Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt was not drafted in the second round, as Prisco had stated, but at the end of the third.)
Prisco then declares that Texas cornerback Cedric Griffin, a second-round selection of the Vikings, "will be a nickel starter next year." Hey, Petey, teams don't generally deploy five defensive backs at the beginning of a game. The nickel package is reserved for obvious passing downs, such as third-and-long. By the very definition, if Griffin plays as the nickelback, he isn't a starter.
Assessing the 49ers, Prisco writes: "I don't like the idea of using a fourth-round pick on Michael Robinson with the idea of moving him to wide receiver." We don't like the idea of using the word "idea" twice in one sentence. Plus, Robinson, the former Penn State QB, was announced as a running back, and that's where San Francisco projects him to play.
By the way, Robinson caught 52 passes during his Penn State career and was used primarily at wideout in 2004. So, in essense, Prisco opposes moving someone to a position where he has already played in college.
- RB Reggie Bush (Saints) should have been Houston's choice at No. 1.
- QB Matt Leinart (Cardinals) is "a great pick" and "the next star quarterback in this league."
- T Winston Justice (Eagles) is "a first-round talent" who "was a steal" in the second round.
- G Deuce Lutui (Cardinals) "will be an immediate starter."
- RB LenDale White (Titans) is "a quality player."
- DE Frostee Rucker (Bengals) "is a better player than many think."
- TE Dominique Byrd (Rams) may start at tight end.
- S Darnell Bing (Raiders) "will be a steal" since he "is better in coverage than people think."
Of this group, only Lutui (selected by the same team as Leinart) and Byrd (the second tight end taken by the Rams) were not named the "best pick" of their respective teams.
At least the USC draftees were only put into one category. Florida State linebacker Ernie Sims was somehow both the "best pick" and "worst pick" of the Lions. Could anyone possibly be less of an authority on college football? Prisco is the true Mr. Irrelevant.
With the 2006 NFL draft now fading like Prisco's memory and credibility, we're already looking forward to next spring's retarded recap: "Imagine walking into a supermarket..." It should be hack-tacular.