We typically leave NFL draft coverage to one of the several thousand blogs dedicated to poking and prodding this year's herd of cattle, but our totally unbiased scouting department tipped us off to an outrageous iniquity that we felt compelled to address. And as a bonus to our readership, we continue to deliver fine whine about the Buffalo Bills. Consider this dual post our gift to you on this high holy day.
I once had to wear a Toronto Blue Jays cap for an entire softball season because I lost a bet. I'm prepared today to go one further. If Cam Newton is a better professional quarterback than Greg McElroy, I'll wear a Toronto Blue Jays cap for two entire softball seasons.
Ridiculous, you say? Probably. And certainly, on the face of it. But consider the following analysis:
The first syllable of McElroy's last name is a homophone for Mac. Newton stole a PC. Advantage: McElroy
McElroy's sister is a kind and gentle soul, gracious with fans of all shapes and sizes. Newton's father tried to sell him to the highest bidder. Advantage: McElroy.
Moving on to professional potential, a Google search for 'greg mcelroy tom brady' yields 44,300 hits. If you Google 'cam newton character issues', a whopping 331,000 hits are produced. Advantage: McElroy.
Most casual observers probably believe that Newton's statistics are far better than McElroy's. You all remember what Mark Twain said about statistics and lies, don't you? Let's take a look at the two signal-callers' 2010 passing stats. McElroy was 222-313 for 2987 yards, a 70.9% completion percentage, 20 TDs and 5 interceptions. Newton went 185-280 for 2854 yards, a 66.1% mark, 30 TDs and 7 picks. Since passing the football is clearly the method NFL coaches prefer their quarterbacks to employ to advance the ball, the advantage is as unequivocal as it might seem contrarian: McElroy.
McElroy led the Crimson Tide to a 24-3 mark in games he started. Newton's Blinn JC and Auburn teams were 25-1 in his starts. Advantage: McElroy, for learning how to lose gracefully while remaining a winner. Even the best NFL QBs will drop 4-5 games a year. Learning how to do so without losing focus is a critical skill.
In the brains department, it's really not even close. McElroy posted a Wonderlic score of 48, while Newton recorded a 21. Advantage: Newton. McElroy's score concerns most NFL coaches, who don't want players smarter than they are.
It'd be hard to find a more obvious example of the mainstream sports media completely missing the boat, unless you opened a newspaper and read about Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, or, really, any Major League Baseball game played in the late 90s or early 2000s. Bookmark this page and remember to speak well of us in five years when McElroy's leading the Vikings to another NFC Championship game while Newton's fishing with JaMarcus Russell.
The Bills were terrible against the run last year, just like the year before that. Everyone in the league knew this. Teams ran against the Bills 54.69% (clicks!) of the time. The league-wide average for percentage of running plays was 44.57%. Only two other teams were run on more than 50% of the time: Denver (51.40%) and Oakland (50.21%). I don't know if the respective 3.29% and 4.48% differences are statistically significant, but it's clear that everyone knowingly, purposely, and with malice aforethought skewed their offense towards the run when they played the Bills, more so than against anyone else in the league. In case you're curious, Pittsburgh had the lowest rushing rate against at 35.19% and the next-best team (Baltimore) was 39.18%. So the Steelers are the anti-Bills, which may explain why they played in the Super Bowl while Buffalo has the #3 pick in tonight's draft.
I've whined about Buddy Nix's drafting prowess before so it comes as no surprise that I expect him to do something terrible with said #3 pick. I would like them to trade down for a defensive lineman of NFL-starter quality and a pick in the mid-to-late-teens, and then use that mid-to-late teen pick to draft an NFL-starter quality offensive or defensive lineman, or a linebacker who will be more effective than a turnstile. My second choice would be for them to draft Nick Fairley at the #3 spot. My tertiary option would be Von Miller at #3. My quaternary option would be some other approach that fulfills their glaring run-stopping needs.
The Bills do not need to take a QB at #3. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the future of the franchise, but they can get by with him for another year or two if they draft a QB in the second round and bring him along slowly. Nor do they need a RB as they already have Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller. So I used to think they would take Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, or Mark Ingram. But I found an even dumber pick for B-Nix to make, and I can practically guarantee he'll do it. AJ Green. In addition to their aforementioned run-stopping woes, they have no pass rush, a journeyman QB, a porous OL, a middling running game, and Stevie "Wonder" Johnson. It makes no sense whatsoever to draft a WR. So AJ Green is the pick.