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Tag:NFL draft
Posted on: April 27, 2009 12:22 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2009 12:27 pm
 

Ramses Barden: ...So let it be done.

"The city that he builds shall bear my name... So let it be written, so let it be done."



The famous quote above was spoken by actor Yul Brynner - as Pharaoh Rameses II - in the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille classic The Ten Commandments. Much like ESPN's coverage of the 2009 NFL Draft, Commandments was an overproduced, gaudy opus of overacting and chest-banging self-indulgence. I'm referring, of course, to the commentators and "experts" trotted out every 2 minutes to bless us viewers with their knowledge and insight. Give me Chris Mortensen any day, but the rest can join me on my couch if they like. If I have to listen to Keyshawn Johnson and Steve Young try to "one-up" each other and argue all afternoon about whether QB's or WR's are more important to their football team, they may as well be available to make an occasional beer run.

There's another comparison one can draw from The Ten Commandemnts. Each year, the NFL draft's story line is the same for most of the teams involved; one that involves reaching the promised land. The draft is what it is - pick the players you think are the best and fit your needs. The New York Giants have had three productive and relatively successful drafts under general manger Jerry Reese. I have to admit that the Hakeem Nicks pick was not only predictable but anticlimactic; it was going to be Nicks, Kenny Britt or Brian Robiskie at #29 in the first round. Reese has shown to be a smart yet conservative in his drafting, so Nicks was the clear choice. 

Nabbing Andre Brown - the often injured yet talanted running back out of N.C. State - was a pleasant surprise falling to the 129th pick. OLB Clint Stintim (Virginia) will be a nice addition to the linebacking corps, and OT William Beatty (UConn) was a smart choice in adding depth to a strong but aging offensive line. Each year I look for that pick that intrigues me - that player that flew under the radar that everyone thinks might be an impact player, but didn't play on the national stage or against the elite schools. In 2004, I was intrigued and excited about the trade for Eli Manning, but like most Giants fans the immediate bashings and less-than-stellar start to his career quickly derailed my enthusiasm. As I've mentioned, Jerry Reese makes smart but safe choices. I've been satisfied with most all of his picks the past few years, but his selection in the 3rd round (85th overall) has got me shivering with anticipation. That pick was Cal Poly Wide Receiver Ramses Barden. 

Who? 

Ramses Barden, that's who. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/
players/1246159
   

He's 6'6", weighs in at 228 lbs and has an armspan of... well, let's just say that I wouldn't be shocked if he could touch the sidelines with his fingertips while standing on the "NFL" logo at midfield. He's a hulking figure and towers over everyone else running downfield. Built like a brick sh**house as my father used to say. A brick sh**house, indeed

In researching Barden and looking at some highlight films, what's most impressive about his physical attributes is his ability to keep defensive backs off his body by boxing them out to get himself into the best possible position (and his defenders into the worst possible position) for catching the ball. He seems to have good overall athletic skills for a big guy, and enough agility to get down on low passes over the middle while leaping for extremely overthrown balls. He does have his drawbacks according to the scouting reports; he's got average speed at best, and doesn't have overly reliable hands like Hakeem Nicks. He's not going to blow anybody off the line, but at 6'6", will he ever really need to?

I can't explain why I like this pick so much. Perhaps it's simple mathmatics - Eli Manning relied so much on the 6'5" Plaxico Burress that a replacement that's an inch taller and will potentially gain another few pounds of muscle before the season begins seems like a perfect fit. I understand that my enthusiasm needs to be tempered. He's a rookie. He may not be able to make the transition to the pro level. He may need time to develop his skills. There also happens to be a few other wideouts on the team that will have something to say about his playing time - Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, Mario Manningham and the aforementioned Mr. Nicks are all in the mix heading into the season.

I can't say how Tom Coughlin will handle this, but I know what I'd like to see him do: Give this kid a shot. IF he's healthy, IF he's proving himself consistently in training camp, IF he's going the extra mile to improve his game and IF he's able to handle the transition and make a connection with Eli... let's see what he's got. Even if it's only on third down situations or inside the red zone, I want that guy out there to compliment the sure-handedness of Steve Smith and the quickness of Domenik Hixon. I want to see the fade pattern make its triumphant return to the Giants offensive playbook.

I know what you're thinking. I should calm down. Take it easy on this one, right? There's no way for us to know how this will eventually work out, and the chances that a rookie receiver from California Polytechnic State University will make a significant impact in his first year or two are pretty slim.

You know what I'm thinking? I'm thinking that if Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon and Kevin Boss have proven one thing - it's that you don't need to be a first round draft pick or a seasoned veteran to make an impact on the receiving corps of the New York Giants. Somehow, someway, they will find a way to put your talent to use. I'm also thinking that I want to pre-order my professional "BARDEN" jersey once they put up his number on the team website. 

Play the kid if he's up for it... So let it be written, so let it be done. 





sources: gopoly.com / nfldraftblitz.com / nfl.com

Posted on: April 15, 2009 4:47 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2009 10:25 am
 

Don't Live to Regret: Edwards is a no-'Bray'ner

All the "woulda-shoulda-coulda" stories. Regretting the chances we DIDN'T take. Message to Jerry Reese: Get this guy, get him now.

Do you remember passing on an appetizer at a restaurant? You know, the really tasty looking kind that everyone else ordered but you?

You probably reasoned with yourself - "I can do without it - Mind over matter". You don't know why you felt that way, but hey - you saved a few bucks, saved yourself a few extra pounds, and saved room for your main course, right? The waiter no sooner slapped the plates down on the table and the succulent aroma was already wafting towards you. You could literally see the steam take the form of a hand that curled it's finger - beckoning you to "come here and take a bite". But you didn't... instead you sat and watched everyone else enjoy their appitizer. Of course, they offered to share with you - "C'mon, take some. I can't eat all of this anyway." You sat back, forced yourself to smile and said "Nah, really I'm good. If I wanted it I would have ordered it myself." But... you didn't. And though you were silently kicking yourself for overcomplicating such a simple decision, it evolved into nothing more than saving face. Stupid, right? I'll bet it worked out fine though, because you made up for it by grabbing some ice cream on the way home. That's what I would have done.

A minor regret, easily tucked away and forgotten thanks to a 24-hour Baskin-Robbins.

On weekends, we're all faced with making at least one trip somewhere - to someplace we would rather not be going if given the choice. Usually it's family you don't quite get along with or enjoy being around. Or good friends that happen to live a full 2-hour drive away. But what really burns you is not that you had to go in the first place - it's the fact that you ignored that little voice inside your head that told you there would be massive delays on the parkway. It told you that you should give considerable thought to taking that alternate route you're always so quick to brag about having discovered years ago.  At least now you have something to think about as you pop another piece of nicotene gum in your mouth while stretching every last nerve you own staying calm in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Another small regret that helped toss a perfectly good weekend afternoon into the trash can, but it's not the end of the world.

I remember being at Fairleigh Dickinson University almost 20 years ago for Giants training camp. A retired player - who shall remain nameless for fear that he may track me down - was milling around the commissary. I politely asked him for an autograph and reached out to shake his hand. He ignored me, and didn't even look at me when he said "I'm working. I don't sign while I'm working". A 20-something man acting like a dejected 10-year old, I dropped my head and shuffled away crestfallen (I think i actually shoved my hands in my pockets and kicked a rock as I left). It wasn't asking for the autograph that I regret. It was the comment I made when I saw him later in the day... he was presenting trophies to some pee-wee football team (complete with photographers from the local PennySaver). I uttered "Hey kids, don't bother asking for an autograph - He's 'working' today" as I passed by the group - I even threw in a set of obnoxious air quotes for good measure.

OK, so I was 20-something, but I would be lying if I pretended that there weren't multifaceted levels of regret attached to that incident. It's alright though, because I ran into him years later and everything was cool. And by 'cool", I mean he ignored me again.

And then there's "The Big One".

One big regret that each and every one of us lives with. Maybe it's that girl you were infatuated with and never summoned the courage to ask out on a date. Perhaps it was that promotion or opportunity you held yourself back from pursuing because you felt you had no shot at it. A house or car that you backed away from investing in, because it was "just a bit too..." something; too expensive, too old, too big, too this and too that.

Maybe it was keeping quiet when something needed to be said, or standing up for someone who needed the help. Maybe it was putting off a visit with a loved one until it was too late - never having the chance to say goodbye.

These are real-life. These matter, and these can hurt. They're important in comparison to your allegiance to an NFL team. There's a weight there, and its immesurable - the consequences dynamic. Let's get back to the NFL and lighten things up a bit.

In a few years, we could all be sitting around discussing the trade the Giants didn't make. You know - the one that could have sent Braylon Edwards to the Giants for some draft picks and a receiver? One of the dedicated and talented, yet undeniably not-ready-for-primetime receivers on the Giants roster? Yeah, Edwards had a down year in 2008... he dropped everything thrown to him. Except for that Monday night game in week four against the Giants. You just knew that this 6'3", 220 lb monster of a receiver was going to turn things around. He just needed some consistency from his quarterback, and a coaching staff with a winning attitude. It wasn't as if he was carrying the same baggage that Plaxico Burress did when he made the trip fom Pittsburgh in 2005.

Man, Braylon Edwards would have looked good in Giant blue as our new number 17. Too bad they didn't listen to that little voice in their heads, telling them to give considerable thought to taking that alternate route. Too bad they ignored the outstretched arm of the Cleveland Browns that only wanted a signature and a hand shake. To quote Shelly Levene, the desperately pathetic salesman in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross - "All my thoughts are on them as I'm holding the last thought that I spoke: 'Now is the time'... they signed."

An aroma is wafting towards East Rutherford at this very moment - beckoning for the Giants to "come here and take a bite" out of their offensive shortcomings. It's only a matter of opinion, but Edwards just might be something to invest in - and not worry about whether he's just a little too inconsistent. Or a little too expensive.

It's not life or death. But it's certainly not something that can be satiated by stopping off at a 24-hour Baskin-Robbins, either.

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com