In the fourth round, Atlanta chose Prince Shembo of Notre Dame, the player who was implicated in a sexual assault accusation that made national headlines because a suicide was involved -- nothing was ever proved or disproved in court. TMQ proposed in January 2013 that the player reveal his identity. Three months ago, Shembo did step forward, maintaining what happened was a consensual misunderstanding. That there's nothing one can say about a suicide that doesn't sound wrong is shown by Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff's comment, "Obviously, it's a sad situation for the young lady involved." The TMQ link in this paragraph goes into detail on what was alleged.
After the draft, Shembo said he'd wanted to speak out at the time, but Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly instructed him to say nothing. If that's true, Kelly behaved dishonorably. Shembo was an adult when at Notre Dame -- and surely the university would say he was a student, not an employee of the football program. So why couldn't he speak? If news stories contended an unnamed history major at Notre Dame had groped a woman without consent, there is no way the chair of the history department could order the student to remain silent. A college football coach ordering a player not to speak about an issue unrelated to sports makes the coach an employer and the player an employee.
Arizona Cardinals: The Cards' first three choices seemed to come straight out of the playbook of recent NFL trends. First, a la the Seahawks, a big safety: 6-foot-1, 211-pound Deone Bucannon. Then, a la the Patriots and Saints, a tall tight end: 6-6 Troy Niklas. Then, again a la the Seahawks, a defensive end with incredible athletic measurables but a lot to learn: Kareem Martin. TMQ long has felt that second-echelon clubs simply should copy the draft tactics of successful clubs. In this context, looking at someone else's answer sheet is legal.
Show some leg! Nearly a decade of the draft at Radio City Music Hall and still no Rockettes. And that's with members needing work since the show that was supposed to make leggy dancing a year-round event was canceled in pre-production.
Baltimore Ravens: In 2012, Joe Flacco led the Ravens to a Super Bowl triumph, throwing 11 touchdown passes versus zero interceptions in the postseason. But what have you done for us lately? Already the Ravens are viewed as washed up. Tuesday Morning Quarterback is not so sure. In the previous five drafts, the Nevermores selected 17 players from below the football-factory level, including one from Harvard. In this draft, Baltimore tabbed athletes from Coastal Carolina and Ball State.
Buffalo Bills: Working on this book, yours truly was on the Virginia Tech sideline in 2011 as Sammy Watkins twice destroyed a stacked Hokies secondary that boasted Kyle Fuller, also taken in Thursday's first round; Jayron Hosley, a 2012 third-round pick; and Antone Exum, a sixth-round selection last weekend. Half a dozen times Watkins did things that made me say, "Wow." Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster shook his head and said, "Wow is an understatement."
Watkins was the special talent of the 2014 draft. He has as much upside as Jadeveon Clowney, but less downside. The last time the Bills made a king's-ransom trade, for Cornelius Bennett in 1987, the arrival of "Biscuit" changed a group of talented underachievers into contenders. Watkins might do the same for the current Bills.