Column: NFL teams with GMs who can spot talent will be fine

Sez Me …

Poor babies.

A group of nervous NFL general managers got together last week and recommended The League push back the draft from its scheduled April 23 start.

They cited coronavirus concerns keeping them from properly evaluating prospective draftees mentally and physically. They can’t meet with players, nor can the athletes visit team physicians. Franchise offices are shuttered.

To this, The League office said, no. Commissioner Roger Goodell sent out a memo stating the draft will go on as scheduled, done by phone, Skype, Zoom, tin cans on a string, or whatever, in hotel conference rooms or out in the middle of the Gobi Desert, or wherever.

And, Roger adds, those who bitch about it publicly will be taken to the woodshed.

That’s how it should be, babies.

There are no organized games anywhere and likely will be none in late April. Adam Schefter thinks each round should play out on prime time TV seven straight nights. I’m all for it.

Anyway, if, at the end of March, these people don’t have a solid handle on top collegiate talent — most of which appeared at the combine for interviews and physicals, and have their skills overly documented and broken down on video — then they shouldn’t be getting paid a handsome wage to do what they do.

As Bull Halsey said: “When in command, command.” Sez Me: “If you can’t relieve yourself, get off the pot.”

GMs used to draft out of Street and Smith’s magazine. The first draft was held in 1936 at Philadelphia’s Carlisle Hotel, and 90 names were put on a chalkboard and the football men picked off it. How many were sight-unseen?

Prior to 1977, the lottery was held in late January-early February.

Those football people who know their stuff will be fine. Those who don’t won’t be fine — as usual, virus or not. The League has survived.

“Some teams are nervous; they’re shrinking their boards,” says Daniel Jeremiah, the El Cajon native, Christian High and Appalachian State quarterback, former scout and now lead draft guru for NFL Network. “I know they’re taking some players with medical issues off their boards.

“But Phil Savage (GM of the Browns from 2005-2008) always referred to this time as a fog of confusion. He told me: “Stick with what you had at the end of the season.” I subscribe to that 100 percent. A lot of players vault in the spring.”

That, and too many fall, considering they aren’t playing football. It’s like saying writers are better when they show you a blank sheet of paper.

“The evaluation process will be fine with personnel people evaluating players’ abilities,” says A.J. Smith, former GM of The NFL Team That Used To Be Here. “Because the games already have been played. All the tapes are available.

“What’s missing is more interaction with players. Character checks are very important. Will enough be done not to worry about a particular player? Teams have to adapt, and they will. Draft boards are set right now.”

Tua Tagovailoa is the big concern. Alabama and independent doctors say his hip is ready, but he’s had three surgeries below the waist.

“Tua looks well ahead of schedule; it’s a tricky one,” Jeremiah says. “To me, the gap between him and (Oregon’s) Justin Herbert is very large, but it doesn’t matter if you draft a quarterback first or 31st. If you miss, it’s going to cost people jobs.”

I’m not buying any team seriously looking at Tua doing it blind.

If you think some GMs won’t find a way to cheat around these restrictions — especially medical evaluations — as my friend Zeke would say, you had a clue once and it died of loneliness. …

Smith doesn’t rule out cheating, but: “That wouldn’t be the team I’m working for.” …

Among the No. 1 overall picks from 2010-2015 — Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Eric Fisher, Jadeveon Clowney and Jameis Winston — only Fisher currently is on a roster. …

If Ron Rivera, who hardly has greatness at QB in D.C., doesn’t want Newton, what does it tell us? That nobody should want him. …

Drew Brees donates $5 million to the virus fight in Louisiana and Twitter idiots complain it’s a small percentage of his net worth. …

Meanwhile, fan-favorite billionaire owners are laying off employees. …

Bill Belichick has been nominated for a Sports Emmy. Must be a silent. …

It would have been great to see Brian Dutcher get AP Coach of the Year, but Dayton’s Anthony Grant didn’t have a preseason-ranked team, either. …

SDSU is the only Division I school in 2019-2020 with 40 combined wins in football and basketball. …

The Olympics now are scheduled in Japan for 2021, but they will remain the 2020 Olympics. That’s OK. It will be 2020 someplace. …

Sad time for great Cavers. RIP, Jack Henn. …

Stink O’ The Week Sezment: 2020 World Series. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get up Christmas morning, open gifts, have brunch, and then settle down to Yankees-Dodgers. …

Stink O’ The Week II: March. This month is longer than the Siege of Leningrad — and that was 900 days. …

Please don’t ask why Clippers boss Steve Ballmer can buy the Inglewood Forum for $400 mil and yet Fredo Spanos didn’t just spring for a stadium here. Balmer could buy Fredo and sell him on eBay. …

Jim Nantz, who does the NCAA Tournament and the Masters, has to be in a slump (he declined my interview request, which might have cheered him up). With Tony Romo getting all that loot, wonder if Jim feels like George Costanza did when his secretary made more than him. …

No elective surgeries. Tommy John? OK. …

President Trump called A-Rod for advice. Privilege of rank. I’ve been trying to get through to Alex for weeks. …

I’m finding it hard to meet the new me when I can’t shake hands. …

Damn, there are a whole lot of people in this country who don’t know jack squat. Oh, and there should be at least one prerequisite for a politician: Completion of sixth grade. …

Bless the doctors, nurses, healthcare givers and scientists. The real heroes of this mean piece of history.

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