NFC West: Nate Odomes

Hoop dreams an NFL nightmare

April, 28, 2010
NFC West teams must be hoping the 35 players they drafted last week aren't hooping it up before minicamps.
My thoughts Tuesday: "I'm always a little surprised to hear NFL players talk about getting out on the basketball court. The risk for a serious ankle or knee injury would seemingly be too great, particularly playing against lesser athletes. Sounds like the Rams don't have to worry about (Sam) Bradford tearing up his knee on the hardwood."

Appearing on Wednesday: "Denver Broncos All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady tore his patella tendon playing basketball, two league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Clady has told people he will miss three months, according to the sources."

Seems like there's enough risk in football without taking chances playing another sport in the offseason. If you've played much basketball at any level, you've probably injured an ankle or knee, or had your teeth knocked out or a nose broken. It just happens. This is a tough break for Clady and the Broncos, but no surprise under the circumstances.

Former Bills and Seahawks cornerback Nate Odomes famously suffered a severe knee during a charity basketball game in 1994. He missed the next two seasons and played only seven more games the rest of his career. A Bengals player suffered a torn Achilles' tendon playing basketball this offseason.

As Ricky Watters once said, "For who? For what?"

Mailbag: Great draft class fallout

April, 17, 2010
Chris from Philadelphia writes: Firstly, I loved your past draft analysis piece, and I think it is a great attempt at trying to objectively evaluate these classes. My only suggestion and/or gripe is that having an MVP be worth eight points favors a little too much in draft classes where the star players are primarily offensive.

Rarely does a defensive player receive that award, and I'm curious if your results may or may not be a little skewed because of it. In fact, in several years, the same player won the MVP and offensive player of the year award (1972-77, 1979, 1981, 1983-85, 1989, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2004-2007).

My thoughts would be to limit the MVP to six points as well, and in years there are duplicates to only count that award once or limit the offensive player of the year to three points. These last thoughts were just some quick and crude ruminations.

Again, I really appreciated the article.

Mike Sando: Thanks, Chris. I tweaked point totals and recalculated throughout the process. I even ran a statistical correlation between various category totals and overall point totals. Like you, I wanted to know if any category was influencing the totals inappropriately.

Pro Bowls correlated most strongly. All-Pro honors also correlated strongly. The other awards weren't handed out enough to significantly alter the results. And I was certainly fine with Pro Bowls playing a large role in the grading. A player will get to a Pro Bowl undeservedly from time to time, but guys with six or eight or 10 appearances were almost always really, really good players.

To test your theory, I removed MVP and offensive player of the year points entirely, then recalculated the totals. The top five classes remained 1983, 1996, 1981, 1969 and 1985 -- in that order. The 1988 and 1989 classes were close behind.

Mark from Arlington, Va., writes: I'm not even a Rams fan, but in the most-likely-to-end-up-in-Canton list, you don't include Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt? Huge omissions!!! Those guys are in!! Period. Do you have something against the Rams? Go take a look at their stats. Also, keep in mind that they had to share one ball. Pro Bowls? Super Bowls? C'mon. This throws a wrench in your findings if you ask me.

Mike Sando: A year ago, I wondered how Cris Carter fell short of the Hall of Fame. Then I became a Hall of Fame voter. Now I know. You don't assume these guys will get into the Hall of Fame just because they put up big numbers. Receiving numbers have suffered from inflation. There's a line of thinking that says we need to get more receivers into the Hall, and perhaps it's a matter of time. But it's also a matter of opportunity and some of the non-receivers are stronger candidates. Bruce and Holt may have put up Hall of Fame-type numbers, but that doesn't get them in automatically. Carter can attest to that.

Brendan from Inwood, W.Va., writes: Mr. Sando, in your 1985 draft, you did not mention the two supplemental picks, specifically Bernie Kosar -- a first-rounder who started half-way through his rookie campaign, where he led Cleveland to the playoffs. He had multiple playoff appearances in his career, appeared in a Pro Bowl, had the best passer rating in the AFC one year, and has the record for the most passes without throwing an interception. Not to mention he led the Browns to three AFC championship games and could easily have made it to two Super Bowls, and indeed helped the 1993 Cowboys in the NFC Championship game making his first super bowl appearance to run out the clock. Just thought that he should be mentioned. Have a great week!

Mike Sando: Nothing against Kosar, but we didn't evaluate supplemental draft choices. Supplemental drafts are separate from regular NFL drafts.

(Read full post)