Programming note: Ray Ratto will host his weekly chat today at 12 p.m. Join him for a painful hour of entertainment right here.
The best thing about Day Two of the NFL Draft is that nobody is actually obligated to watch it. Even by NFL standards, it’s fairly tedious vaudeville – except of course for this:
The Manti Te’o-as-Amelia Earhart Watch.
As the fabulist linebacker from Notre Dame dropped from place to place and eventually round to round, it was instructive to watch NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock get more and more cranky about the “Where’s Manti?” questions. It was all he could do not to leap at Rich Eisen’s throat and say, “Didn’t you see his 40 time? Didn’t you see him against Alabama? Isn’t that enough excuse for a team not to take him, even if they don’t mind the what-were-you-thinking-and-when-were-you-thinking-it distractions?”
And who wouldn’t want to see that? Especially when Eisen kept referring to the possible drafting of Te’o as “the moment we’ve all been waiting for”? I wanted to hit him, and I not only like the guy, I am purest zen.
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As for the 49ers and Raiders, one traded up to get secondary help, the other traded down to get secondary help. In a draft with no sexy players and way too many tackles, they were both playing into the stereotype of this draft as a hot, congealed mess. And maybe the grueling task of making sense of it was why Mayock was so cranky.
But there’s today, so maybe Mayock will curb his apparent bloodlust and just slug a producer. Then again, if he didn’t reach over to choke Steve Mariucci when Dallas took Wisconsin’s Travis Frederick (“He’s a third-rounder on my board,” he kept saying), maybe he’s just imperturbable.
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As for Eisen, who is usually more than merely tolerable as a host, if someone devised a drinking game for every time he mentioned Te’o’s name, the damage to the nation’s livers would have made the concussion problem in the sport look like chapped lips.
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Oh, and how about the choreographed tribute to the Boston Marathon bombing that the Patriots ruined by trading their pick to amass two second-day and two third-day selections? This never would have happened to David Stern. Hell, it might not even have happened to Gary Bettman, and that’s saying something because everything happens to Gary Bettman.
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Geno Smith’s choice not to attend tonight’s second night of the draft is an outstanding choice by someone who knows the difference between disappointment and being used as a sadfaced show pony for television. File it all away for later, Geno. Even if your career doesn’t turn out the way you wish, putting your business finger up to the whole tawdry exercise is nothing other than praiseworthy.
Or maybe that’s just me wishing he stands up at his press conference when he does get drafted and says, “I’m going to expend all my human energy showing all those morons who didn’t pick me what they missed. Including the morons who did pick me.”
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Now for some homework: Do yourselves a favor and make note of everyone who grades the draft in the next two days. And then shun them. As much as they didn’t know before the draft, they know even less now. Hell, it took ESPN 30 years to find a coherent theme to the 1983 draft.
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And finally, only 38 hours until the first mock draft of the 2014 class. Buy plenty of Chee-tos. There is no sporting event that says “I have orange hands and I’m embarrassed about it” quite like the draft.