The Longest Offseason

The ongoing dramas of Pacman Jones and Michael Vick remind me of one eternal truth. The offseason is too darn long. If every sports outlet didn’t force football down our throats 12 months a year, we’d probably have forgotten completely about the draft by now. Thanks to Jones, Vick, Ricky Williams, and Tank Johnson, a lot of us have.

I haven’t. My first rookie draft started on Tuesday. Let’s take a closer look at my picks to date.

1.08: Michael Bush, RB Oakland Raiders. “It’s not every day you can draft the fourth string running back for the team with the worst offensive line in the NFL,” I wrote. Warrick Dunn, Jerious Norwood, Shaun Alexander, Mike Bell, Mewelde Moore, Marion Barber and T.J. Duckett are my running backs. Alexander’s foot may be still broken, and it’s possible that Julius Jones talked Wade Phillips into giving him goal-line carries this year. I need Bush to be a starter by next year. If the Raiders draft seven or eight offensive linemen next April, it might work.

2.01: Sidney Rice, WR Minnesota Vikings. “I can’t pass on the opportunity to draft a receiver named Rice. ” Yeah, I’ve done better. Rice won’t be 21 until September, and the promised vertical passing game at South Carolina was more horizontal than planned. Rice is, as they say, a physical specimen. Unlike Chris Henry, he’s a specimen who actually performed in college. I have Torry Holt, Deion Branch, Bernard Berrian, Chris Chambers, Donte Stallworth, Michael Jenkins, Nate Burleson, Vincent Jackson, Ronald Curry, and Demetrius Williams at WR. Just about all of those guys are starters, so I don’t have immediate needs.

2.11: Lawrence Timmons, LB Pittsburgh Steelers. “Not a lot of value in this pick. I’ll take the potential stud LB for the Steelers.” Kirk Morrison, a guy I got as a rookie free agent two years ago, was my top-scoring linebacker last year, finishing seventh overall. Morrison, Will Witherspoon, and A.J. Hawk are my current starters. Shaun Phillips, Marcus Washington, Barrett Ruud, Abdul Hodge, and James Harrison are my other guys. Now that I look at it, maybe I need to get another LB with my 3.10/3.11 picks.

I have five picks left. Anything could happen. I wasn’t too active in free agency, so I can pick up seven players after the draft’s over. You can keep 60 players until the end of the preseason, after which you’re down to 53.

In the AUFL, I made a couple of moves to get my team ready for 2007. Vince Young’s my keeper QB, and for now Andre Johnson is my WR. I do have Randy Moss, who suddenly has value, although I doubt anyone will bite. I had Reggie Bush, DeAngelo Williams, Edgerrin James, and Ahman Green at RB. All four feel like RB2 types. So, I traded Reggie Bush for a second-round pick, then turned around and picked up Clinton Portis for my third-round pick. So in the end I moved up from 27 to 21 in the draft. I don’t care what people say about RBBC in Washington, Portis will get the load. At least I hope that he gets all the red-zone carries. I’ll have to draft Betts, naturally.

I’m going to have the exact same number three overall pick that I had last year. I’ll have a similar decision. The number one overall pick probably will be Frank Gore. The champ has Gore and Larry Johnson. If he’s smart he’ll trade one of them away. Maurice Jones-Drew could be the number two overall pick. If I have to draft Adrian Peterson, as I drafted Bush last year, I could finish 11th again. I can’t have two RBBC situations with only four RB roster slots. Actually I’ll probably end up with someone like Joseph Addai. It’s fun to project when there are less than three months until the draft.

In other news, the White Sox got at least 6 innings out of their starters for 14 straight games. Due to one of the worst offenses in the majors, they had a losing record during that streak. They rallied to tie the game, but the Royals have a guy on third in the top of the 10th with one out. The Indians and Tigers are starting to pull away a bit.

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