EDITOR’S NOTE: I love me some Alberto Riveron, so I couldn’t be happier to have seen his recent promotion in the press release posted below.
(Sorry, Dean Blandino. I have this weird thing — not good-weird, but bad-weird — for guys named Dean, and you were no Mike Pereira, either.)
Alberto Riveron, a member of the NFL’s Officiating Department since 2013 and a nine-year veteran NFL game official has been named NFL senior vice president of officiating.
Riveron will oversee all aspects of the league’s officiating department – including the implementation of the centralized replay model approved by clubs at the annual meeting in March – as well as administration, evaluation and development.
A native of Cuba, Riveron moved to Miami at age five with his family and developed a passion for the game. He began as an official in local youth leagues in 1977, made his collegiate officiating debut in 1990 before joining the NFL officiating ranks in 2004. In 2008, Riveron was promoted to referee, earning the distinction as the NFL’s first Hispanic referee. Riveron came off the field following the 2012 season to join the league office as senior director of officiating.
“Al has done a terrific job as a key member of our officiating staff for the past four seasons,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Prior to that, Al was an outstanding on-field official who earned the respect of his fellow officials, as well as coaches and players alike. To have Al leading our officiating department, and then to add talented, knowledgeable instant replay and officiating experts like Russell and Wayne, is a tremendous positive for us as we look forward to the 2017 season.”
Reporting to Riveron, who will report to NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent, will be two new hires designed to aid in the department’s long-standing goal of excellence in officiating performance –Russell Yurk and Wayne Mackie.
Yurk joins the staff as Vice President of Instant Replay and Administration. In this role, Yurk will direct the league’s instant replay operations in the Art McNally GameDay Central room and oversee all instant replay-related personnel. Yurk will also be responsible for officiating administration, including supervising operational aspects of scheduling and logistics as well as the training and development of instant replay personnel.
Yurk spent the past seven seasons as an NFL instant replay official after working as an on-field official for 10 seasons at the high school and college level. An instant replay expert, Yurk assisted in authoring the replay section of the NFL Referee’s Manual for the past two years.
Mackie, a 10-year veteran NFL game official, has been named Vice President of Officiating Evaluation and Development, responsible for the officiating evaluation and development program, managing the on-field officials weekly crew evaluation process, as well the staff of officiating supervisors and trainers, and the management of the Officiating Development Program.
A highly-respected on-field game official for the past two decades at the collegiate and professional level, Mackie entered the NFL in 2007 as a head linesman and quickly established himself as one of the league’s top officials at his position. Mackie has officiated in eight NFL playoff games, including serving as head linesman at Super Bowl 50 and for two conference championship games during his 10-year NFL career.
Mackie began his collegiate officiating career in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in 1996 and also officiated in the Atlantic 10 and Big East through his final collegiate season in 2006 prior to joining the NFL.
Riveron, Yurk and Mackie will all work in GameDay Central throughout the season and have the final say on instant replay decisions, in consultation with the referee as part of the new replay rules for the 2017 season.
“Al, Russell and Wayne are a team dedicated to delivering the highest quality of officiating and game administration in professional sports,” Vincent said. “The structure of their responsibilities will provide us with a sustainable model for greater efficiency, improved performance from our officials, and operational excellence in collaboration, development and training of our officiating team.”
We are just 48 hours away from the start of the 2016 NFL Draft, live from Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois. Picking third, we all now know that the draft truly begins with our beloved San Diego Chargers. The Chargers have the luxury of knowing the first two selections will be quarterbacks, giving them pick-of-the-litter among all the non-quarterback players.
To quote a famous line from comic book lore: With great power comes great responsibility.
The Chargers can not miss with this pick. This must be a player who will be a mainstay for the next decade provided he can stay healthy. We all know that is easier said than done in San Diego. This man must be a building block of the future, someone who can step into a starter’s role from game number one.
Many intriguing storylines are attached to the 2016 edition of the NFL Draft. Here’s a look at the biggest ones on everyone’s minds and lips heading into Thursday night.
1. What will the Chargers do?
San Diego can enlist a franchise player from this spot but will they? Temptation will be heavy to trade down and try to add picks and value. If the Bolts trade down and add picks, the chances of hitting on a prospect increase. The risk is passing on the next big superstar/future Hall Of Fame enshrinee. What to do, what to do…
As we’ve already seen, quarterbacks drive the action in this draft. The number one and two selections have exchanged teams. More movement to acquire the top five quarterbacks on the board will occur, most likely in the first round. Carson Wentz and Jared Goff will undoubtedly go in the first two picks. Expect Paxton Lynch, Connor Cook and Christian Hackenberg to be drafted in round one.
Aside from the rookies, don’t be surprised to see Sam Bradford, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Colin Kaepernick traded in the first round. The Philadelphia Eagles (Bradford) and San Francisco 49ers Kaepernick) find themselves in the same boat. Both teams have quarterbacks that don’t want to play for them anymore. Both quarterbacks have plummeted on the field and in overall value. Will the two teams make the best of their bad situations and swap headaches (err…quarterbacks) especially after new 49ers coach Chip Kelly was just fired by the Eagles.
Whether it’s an even exchange or not, the Niners would be helping the coach that has set back their organization untold years. (Insert dramatic music here…) Quarterback desperate teams will rule the first two days of the draft. Sleeper team to be a player in the quarterback sweepstakes: The New England Patriots. You heard it here first.
3. Ole Miss players
There are always players that fall from grace in the draft. It’s most likely that player will come out of Ole Miss. Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is considered the best offensive lineman on the board in the last five years. Robert Nkemdiche was the chosen one for the number one pick in the draft just six months ago. A handful of off-the-field incidents later, he is not expected to go until the second round or worse. Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is the top-rated wide receiver prospect in the draft despite an unimpressive 4.6 40-yard dash time.
The NFL won its appeal and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will serve his four-game suspension for his role in the Deflategate scandal after all. This dark cloud will manifest itself multiple times during the proceedings, starting with the fact the first round will only be 31 selections due to the Patriots losing their first round draft pick. With the news dropping just 72 hours before the draft, it is sure to be a hot button issue all week long. As mentioned above, this news could also precipitate a move by the Patriots on the quarterback front.
5. Winners and losers
Every year, the talking heads will compile their winners and losers list for the draft as a whole. Some teams will reach way to high for a head-scratcher of a pick. One team will get the ‘steal of the draft’. We’ll all comb the internet and sports channels for the draftniks’ grades of each team.
We all know what’s coming, and like Christmas, we can’t wait for it to get here. We’re anxiously anticipating Roger Goodell taking the podium to thunderous boos as he announces the 2016 NFL Draft is underway and the Los Angeles Rams are on the clock.
The themes are the same, only the names will change. We’ll ogle a players’ smoking hot girlfriend. We’ll shake our head at a couple of players’ choices of suits. We’ll see that big name player plummeting down the draft board and keep a curious watch on how far he slides as if rubbernecking at the site of a car crash. We will watch every pick and celebrate the entire three hours like we’ve never seen it before.
Because football, that’s why.
Are YOU ready?
The Greg One
On Thursday, April 28 the NFL Draft will officially be underway from Draft Town in Chicago. I will be there in person, ready to document the twists and turns as I have every season since the Telesco/McCoy era began for the San Diego Chargers in 2013.
There are always great stories to tell for the most casual fan who attends the Draft. The NFL goes out of it’s way to make this three-day weekend a spectacle. They make the stars and legends of the game up front and center and you don’t need a front row seat to meet them.
Personally, I remember the deafening roar of the crowd when the Chargers drafted Manti Te’o. Hot on the heels of the catfish scandal, the roar was half-mocking and half-surprised but it was undoubtedly the loudest roar of draft weekend.
I was fortunate enough to be at the bottom of the stage (with Boltblitz owner and fearless leader Dave ‘BoogaP’ Peters) when the Chargers announced the selection of Jason Verrett in 2014. Verrett, smiling from ear to ear, walked down the steps at the side of the stage. As he reached the bottom of the steps where myself and a handful of other Chargers fans waited he saw me in my powder blue Rivers jersey cheering for him. Verrett walked over and hugged me. I can always say I was the first person aside from the Commissioner to give Jason Verrett his first post-draft hug.
Speaking of the Commissioner, i’ve been able to meet and take photos with Roger Goodell every year. The Commish makes the rounds walking amongst the fans shaking every hand and signing every autograph he can in the time he is allowed. For all the heat he gets (especially when he takes the stage to announce the beginning of the draft festivities and every draft pick for the rest of the first round) he is unflappable, undaunted.
Upon meeting the Commish at the draft last year I told him, “On behalf of Chargers fans everywhere, we want the team to stay in San Diego. Don’t let them move.”
“I’ll do what I can.” was his response to me. Looks like he’s held up his end of the deal so far. The rest is up to the voting public in San Diego County.
As you’ve seen on TV, the Draft is the center of the football universe. You can’t walk down the street without running into a taping of Sportscenter, NFL Network or related program. Running into current NFL stars is easy, the hard part will be recognizing them out of uniform. Vendors troll the streets with free merchandise in tow.
Last season, I ended up in an elevator with the very relieved father of Randy Gregory. Gregory had just been drafted just hours earlier. At the hotel hosting the players I ran into Melvin Gordon three times. He was still showing the same thousand-watt smile he sported on the draft stage and was still sporting the same Chargers lid at 11 p.m. at night.
It was very easy to walk around and get the full draft experience. Everything is centrally located in Chicago in the Draft Town area in downtown Chicago. Almost all the players, coaches and talking heads you see on TV are there for the party as well and we’re all invited to partake.
I sat at a table in a hotel where Chargers great Courtney Hall told tales of his time with the team. I had an interesting chat with former Eagles and Chargers All-Pro Jon Runyan about the potential move to L.A. and how he was enjoying being a politician. Runyan was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (NJ) from January 2011 to January 2015.
Those are just a handful of the many experiences I’ve already enjoyed after three consecutive years of attending the NFL Draft. This will be my fourth year in attendance and I’m excited to see what this year brings. It will never be easier for a sports fan of any major American sports league to rub elbows and talk shop with the guys you see wearing your team’s colors, calling your team’s games or braking down your team’s play than it will be at the NFL Draft.
And did I mention that it costs you nothing to attend? The NFL is selling tickets to the combine now! Take advantage of a rare free opportunity before that changes too!
If you’re a diehard NFL fan, this should be a bucket list item. You won’t regret it!
The Greg One
On Tuesday, the Chargers announced on the team’s official website that they are inviting the public to join them for a signature-gathering event in support of the Citizens’ Initiative.
Here is the official release from the organization:
The 2015 football season has spiraled downhill for the San Diego Chargers. Despite all the issues going on away from the field, there was always the actual game to look forward to. When the game is on, all else fades into the background for three hours.
Thirteen games and a 3-10 season record later, all the off the field issues have spilled over onto the sanctuary of the field as well. Players are crestfallen, reduced to nothing more than playing for pride in this, their worst season since 2003 where the Chargers finished 4-12.
Looming largest of all is the ongoing Los Angeles relocation effort spearheaded by the NFL front office. The league is bent on reclaiming the Los Angeles market and the Chargers are frontrunners to be chosen to do so. Efforts from the community and city officials have been lackluster. According to Commissioner Roger Goodell, the Bolts have not provided a viable plan to keep the Chargers in San Diego.
Anything can happen in the NFL. Carolina can be the last undefeated team in the league. Johnny Manziel can win and lose the starting quarterback job for the Cleveland Browns in less than a week. There are not one but two divisions in the NFL where not a single team has a winning record. That being said, the only thing left to question for the Chargers is the day the moving trucks arrive.
If that is indeed the case, then Sunday’s tilt against the Miami Dolphins will be the final home game of the San Diego Chargers. The whispers that swirled around Chargers park every offseason for the past 14 years have become roars and no player is immune to it. Every play knows this is their curtain call before the home crowd in San Diego.
Said quarterback Philip Rivers in a press conference this week:
“I’ll probably soak it in on the drive over there a little more than the past hundred-something times I’ve done it before a game. Because it could get emotional thinking about it, riding down that hill for the last time to this stadium.”
Antonio Gates was brought into San Diego as an undrafted free agent and will retire a first ballot Hall-Of-Famer. Said Gates:
“Obviously, San Diego has been phenomenal to me, I’ve played in San Diego my whole career. All I know right now is I’ve got one game left in Qualcomm, and I want to make the most of it. I’m going to go out and play it like any other game. I’m going to do the same thing from a preparation standpoint. Obviously, the assumption is that we’re going into this game to win. That’s my only concern. And if this is our last game, who knows what the future holds, but I want to make it my best game, a game to remember.”
Defensive captain Eric Weddle is the fourth-longest tenured Chargers after Rivers, Gates and punter Mike Scifres. Said Weddle to reporters:
“For us as players, we don’t have any idea or clue what’s going on, so we’re blind just like everybody else. So what we hear is what we hear from the outside. It’s unfortunate. It’s a great city, great fans. I wish we were better and could put a better product out there for them. But you are what you are. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to give it our all for them one last time if it is our last game.”
Win or lose, expect the Chargers to stay after the game and inhale being a San Diego Charger on their home field one last time. The players are as unsure of their moving status as we are but they’re not taking the gravity of the moment for granted. Expect an intense, inspired team hell-bent on winning their final home game. It will be a colossal success or an abject failure from trying too hard and making mistakes. There will be no in-between.
If you’re a Bolts fan, forget about how the season has played out. Show your appreciation to the team and come to the game. Tune in from home. Don’t give up hope that the team will stay, until the moving trucks do in fact arrive. Wear your lightning bolts with pride Bolt Nation. This is still our team.
The Greg One
It’s that time of year again. Yes, we know it’s time for the draft in less than 36 hours. What I’m referring to is what has become a yearly tradition since year one of BoltBlitz, my annual Oakland Raiders mock draft. For the uninitiated, refer to the BoltBlitz archives for the previous editions. There’s always no time like the present to lay the beatdown on the Raiders. Even with a high draft pick every year, they will find a way to screw it up. I take all the guesswork out for the Raiders and make their picks for them.
Miley Cyrus, running back
One hot mess deserves another. Ms. Miley is already Raiders ready looks-wise. Mohawk? Check. Attitude-wise she is spoiled, entitled and about five more years from a Behind-The-Music special. Sounds like the Raiders front office. She instantly makes an impact on offense as a tailback. She can distract the defense with her high pitched caterwauling or she can teach the offensive line to twerk in hopes of gaining yardage because the opposing defense is on the ground, holding their sides in laughter. Just win, baby.
The Kool-Aid Man, fullback
Picture the scene at the podium as the Commissioner reads the pick. As he scans the room, you can all of a sudden feel a rumbling both audible and vibrating underneath your feet. As the tension reaches its nadir, the Kool-Aid Man bursts through the NFL Draft backdrop yelling his trademark OH YEAH. The 6’6, 300 lb. specimen is so elated he can’t control the cherry flavored juice spilling out of his dome, ruining the Commissioners suit. The hard part is going to be finding a set of pads that will prevent breakage but the Raiders feel he will be invaluable in short yardage and goal-line situations.
The Raiders picked a punter in the first round in 2000. That makes it evident that no one in the building is safe when the Raiders are on the clock, including the Commissioner. At 56, the Commissioner seems to be a bit old to be playing professional football to which a Raiders staffer replied ‘Look at Brandon Weeden, that guy is two years away from a mid-life crisis.’ Touche. They make a good point. Weeden does have a bald spot you could land the Space Shuttle on but Weeden is not on trial here. By securing Goodell, the Raiders aim to use his powers to swing games into their favor by issuing arbitrary rules during the game. I.E. ‘Andrew Luck is not allowed to pass in the fourth quarter.’ If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying. It’s the Raider way.
Sources confirmed that the only thing more shocking than reading his own name on the Raiders draft card was the fact they took until the third round to pick him. ‘I’m already your best offensive player’, Goodell was overheard saying over a mic that was still hot. The above picture documents he offered a dollar on the spot to any rookie in the room to take his place on the Raiders roster. No one accepted.
Emmet, Wide Receiver
Just one name like Madonna, Cher or Prince. Emmet. Emmet can catch anything thrown his way and never fumble with his specialized kung-fu grip. (Now, to get the Commissioner to pass three inch footballs on gameday…) Emmett serves another just as important task as he automatically becomes the one person capable of building the Raiders a stadium! Everything is Awesooooome!
Doctor Octopus, Quarterback
The Raiders break their arms patting themselves on the back when they select Doctor Octopus to be their quarterback of the future. Said a Raider executive, ‘The man has six arms! We could score 42 points on one play! Wheeeeeeeeee!!!’ That quote says two things: the Raiders still can’t do math but maybe they have a point. If he can beat Spider Man he should be able to beat Peyton Manning.
Phil Jackson, Coach
The Raiders continue to push the envelope now by drafting people from other sports as they welcome former Lakers and Bulls head coach Phil Jackson. No one in football seems to want to coach the Raiders so why not basketball? Jackson has eleven rings and would be the perfect man to restore ‘The greatness of the Raiders.’ That’s if the Raiders played basketball. Good luck running the Triangle offense on a football field…
Russell Westbrooks’ wardrobe
Two words. Alternate uniforms.
If the players on the field aren’t distracting enough, a blinding new uniform should stun everyone’s eyeballs long enough to ensure easy touchdowns. As long as the Raiders are wearing the uniforms, they don’t have to look at them. Genius.
There you have it. Seven picks that will pan out better than what the Raiders will actually pick during draft weekend. Rest in pieces you face-painted, spike wearing, parking lot jumping, Darth Vader wannabes.
The Greg One
The month of the Bolts Fam!
Write a letter
Letter to non-sports fan day Dec. 2nd
E-mail the mayor day Dec. 4th
Express yourself in a letter about what the Chargers mean to you. You can pick important points from the section below or go to this page (Link) to check out my letter. Write the mayor, members of the county council, the Union Tribune, or Dean. A mailed letter means a lot more, but sending an e-mail works.
So just to get in the spirit, we are going to pick a day and we want every to write a letter/ e-mail on that day and send it. Forward the letter to non-sports fans to the people you know in the San Diego region who don’t like the Chargers. (You don’t even have to write your own on that day) We will need their votes too.
Save our Bolts Selfie day:
OK so I get annoyed with the message boards filling up with selfies of fans in their Chargers gear, but hundreds of you do it. So let’s put those pictures to work. Get out a sharpie and write #saveourbolts on a piece of paper. Get in your chargers gear and take a picture. Post your Save our bolts selfie to all your social media. Let’s all do it on one day and make it a trending topic. If you are not in San Diego write “#saveourBolts from ___”
#savethebolts #SavetheBoltsRoger #SavetheboltsDean
Save our Bolts Selfie day Dec. 9th
Make a Video:
Most of you have smart phones, so use here. Shoot a video, from 15 to 30 seconds a minute tops. Talk about what the Chargers being in San Diego means to you. Post it to Vine, Twitter, FB. We all do it on the same day and perhaps we can get a topic trending. I think the video’s should be directed at Roger Goodell and the NFL. #savethebolts #SavetheBoltsRoger #SavetheboltsDean
Save our Bolts video day Dec. 11th
Organize a Rally:
We need to start at Chargers park on a work day. Late afternoon, bring kids after school. Fans of all ages and background together standing in front of Chargers park. Make signs about saving our Chargers. This will get media attention and be noticed by the whole NFL universe.
Next if you live in El Cajon, Lemon Grove, Chula Vista or Carlsbad. Organize your own local Save our Bolts rally. It is easy. If you are on facebook. Pick a time, date and location and make a Facebook event. Then share on Chargers FB groups, post to twitter. Post it with #saveourbolts. Ask your friends to re-post. Show up take pictures. Even if you get 10 people post your pictures. If you promote with enough lead time we’ll try to make it out.
Most importantly, it will show Dean something important. He may need to win a County-wide ballot measure to get a stadium built. Showing him that we can and will organize to help keep the team will show him he can count on us to help.
Rally at Chargers park Friday dec. 12th (Beat Denver and save our Bolts rally!)
Neighborhood (region wide) rallies Dec. 13
Hey, kids. I took some time off, and had surgery and other stuff going on, but I never stopped being a fan of, or paying attention to, our Chargers. This article started out to be about the Chargers, but I found it to take a turn toward something I would like to address.
They (you know who “they” are) say that during the NFL season the average percentage of domestic violence goes up. I can see how the football season can affect some people who don’t have much self-control. In light of the latest controversy dealing with, but not exclusive to, Ray Rice, the domestic violence issue has been a huge deal, as it should be. I don’t know if you noticed but one thing stood out to me that doesn’t seem to be mentioned is that after Rice punched his then fiance’ square in the face, he seemed to be very calm as he picked up her limp body and dragged her out of the elevator as if this was a common occurrence for him.
I just wonder what goes through a man’s mind when he does something like that. The other controversy is that how the league seemingly is trying to downplay the incident. Really? I understand trying to protect the players, but not when it comes to domestic violence. Leave the hitting for the field.
Say goodbye to your multi-million dollar career, not to mention all the money you could have made in endorsement deals. Now you’re going to be viewed as a villain. I’m sure Ray Rice is probably a great guy but when you hit, punch, sock, whatever you want to call it, a woman it is so sad and pathetic. I myself have encountered the same and I WALKED AWAY. It’s a sad situation that it takes something like this to be reactive.
Mr. Goodell..let’s be proactive instead.
If there is one cliché I’ve heard often during my short life on earth it’s this, “The only constant is change.” Change is the name of the game every year in the NFL and the upcoming season will be no exception. Several rule changes will be enforced this upcoming season to ensure safety, speed, and the league’s reputation. What has become the norm for the league? A lot of the changes in rules are reactive (remember the Immaculate Reception or the Holy Roller?). How the changes will affect the game, and the Chargers, won’t be known until the regular season begins. Here’s a brief rundown.
1. Roger Goodell would like to remove the point after touchdown attempts from the game. This rule change won’t be permanent this season. However, as fans may have noticed, extra point attempts have been moved to the 15 yard line. Two point conversions will still originate from the two-yard line. Also, and I didn’t notice this change last week, the goal posts are taller by five feet. No more close calls in the event that a kick gets too close to the uprights. This change is due to Justin Tucker’s questionable game winner over New England in 2012.
2. Player safety is a top priority for the league. A couple of new rules were approved to address this issue. First, offensive players can no longer roll up on defensive players from the side. Normally, players weren’t allowed to roll up from behind. Now, the rule has been amended to include rolling up the side of a defender’s leg. Hands to face no longer has to be prolonged contact. Any contact will result in an illegal use of hands penalty and 10 yards.
3. In what is being called the “Navarro Bowman Rule,” all fumbles are now reviewable. Normally, a fumble was only reviewable if it happened in the end zone. Now all fumbles will be reviewable. Warning: the video below is hard to watch.
4. In order to speed up the game, officials will no longer stop the game clock if a quarterback is sacked after the two-minute warning. It’s good thing Chargers Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich is installing the no huddle offense.
5. Slam dunking the ball through the goalpost will now result in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Yes, there will no Jimmy Graham knocking the goal post off-balance delays. Soon, most players will have to channel their inner Barry Sanders and hand the ball to the official.
6. In light of recent social developments, the NFL is cracking down on what is essentially trash talk. As stated on the official NFL video, abusive language will include words that address a player’s race and/or sexual orientation. Coaches, game officials, and league representatives will held to the same high standard and such trash talk cannot be directed their way. The resulting penalty is 15 yards.
7. Contact before a pass will be closely scrutinized this season. In effect, defenders will no longer be allowed to lay a hand on a receiver after the 5 yard buffer zone and if the quarterback is still in the pocket. Additionally, defenders are no longer permitted to grab a receiver before a pass has been thrown. It will not matter if the hold impedes a receivers movement. Defensive holding will result in a five yard penalty. Offensive pass inference, a ten yard penalty, will be called if a receiver pushes off on a defender to catch a ball.
8. Player movement on the line of scrimmage will be watched closely. Offensive lineman (particularly centers) will be given five yard false start penalties for jerky movements that might signify the start of the play. Watch out for this penalty during shotgun formations when the center has to look back before snapping the ball.
9. Although some rules have been implemented to speed up the game, one rule change that might have an opposite effect will permit officials while at the replay booth to consult with the league officiating department. My guess is it’s like giving an official a lifeline if the official isn’t certain.
We’re two days away from Thursday’s NFL Draft. I’m looking forward to returning to New York City for a second year in a row with all intention of getting some great interviews, photos and coverage for you, loyal BoltBlitz readers.
We’re all looking forward to seeing what the Chargers will do in the draft and if GM Tom Telesco can have as successful a draft as he did last year. This is shaping up to be a very exciting draft, full of twists and turns. In my opinion, there will be far more wheeling and dealing than we saw last year. Here are some of my observations of what we will see over the draft’s three days.
Houston will take Johnny Manziel. The talk out of Houston is about everyone but Manziel, which usually means they’re most likely picking him. They will be smart and trade out of the number one spot with Atlanta or Oakland, adding an extra pick and taking Manziel at 5 or 6. Houston’s biggest weakness is the quarterback position and the most famous/best quarterback in the state of Texas is Manziel. A pick for Johnny Football will bring people back to the stadium, get cash registers ringing and sell season tickets at a nauseating rate. This is the perfect professional and financial fit for the Texans, and the buzz will make their fans forget all about Matt What’sHisName.
San Francisco will trade into the top ten. The 49ers have 11 picks in this draft and there is no way they use them all. Eleven picks would take up 20% of their opening day roster. San Francisco is desperate for a big-time wide receiver to play opposite Michael Crabtree. No to mention they’re looking for the heir apparent to Anquan Boldin, who is still productive but only has a year or two left in the tank at age 33, a geezer by NFL standards. Don’t be surprised if they package three of their picks to jump ahead of Tampa and claim Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans.
Picking at 25, my gut instinct says San Diego will pick Louis Nix III. The biggest hole on the team is at nose tackle where they only have one player who could play the position if they had to play a game today, Sean Lissemore. Nix is the most pure nose tackle in the draft, often compared to Vince Wilfork. If Nix is gone, I think the Chargers will trade out of the first round with a team that wants to re-enter the draft such as the quarterback-needy teams like Cleveland, Tampa Bay or Oakland.
Dallas will move out of their spot at 16 and overdraft a player they could have had in the second round. Such is life when Jerry Jones runs the war room. Dumb things happen.
At least two big name veteran players will be dealt during the draft.
Six quarterbacks will be drafted in the first round.
Five teams will not pick in their designated slot so that means at least five trades, three of them involving the top ten slots.
Last season, the Chargers had a groundbreaking draft and I can’t help but give myself some credit for bringing some good Chargers karma into the building. Remember the commercial about superstitious fans? That’s me. I’m going to try to find the same seat I was in last year!
I’m looking forward to bringing you live coverage, blogs and hopefully some great interviews. I will be live-tweeting as long as the battery on my iphone holds out. RCMH is a drafty, cavernous building that seems to sap the life out of cell phones with alarming speed. I will not be opposed to the NFL moving the draft to a different venue such as Honolulu or Las Vegas maybe….hmmm. Are you listening, Mr. Goodell?
Stay tuned, Chargers fans. Here’s hoping the Chargers war room yields results as good or better than last year!
The Greg One