What, would you really want to talk about the Twins right now?
Benster made fun of the NFL Draft in this space the other day and there's a lot that merits derision about it, but the whole spectacle is some kind of marketing genius. 'Round about now, the NFL poohbahs would rather talk about anything other than the butt-kicking they received in federal court this week. And since we follow the news about the NFC North here, we do need to make a few comments about it.
From what I can tell, the locals aren't too impressed with the pick of quarterback Christian Ponder. My first impression was "Gary Cuozzo for the new century." For those too young to remember Cuozzo, which is probably most people, he was the Vikings quarterback in the short period in between the departure of Joe Kapp and the return of Fran Tarkenton. Cuozzo was a serviceable quarterback and was exceptionally smart, but was the sort of guy who you would want to replace. Ponder strikes me in a similar way. He's apparently off-the-charts bright (graduated in 2 1/2 years, already has a Master's degree) and he's had significant problems staying healthy. Guys like that don't stay long in the NFL, because if he's smart enough to blow through college in 2 1/2 years and get a Master's, he'll figure out that he can make plenty of money in the rest of his life without getting thrown to the ground by Nick Fairley. I assume the Vikings saw all the quarterbacks coming off the board and thought they'd better secure a guy they like, but I have to assume they could have still found Ponder in the 2nd round. I would have drafted someone else, but Ponder isn't necessarily a bad pick.
Which brings us to the problem pick of the draft, the selection of the Lions. It's a problem for everyone else in the division. The aforementioned Fairley is a stud defensive lineman from Auburn and he will now line up next to Ndamakong Suh in the middle of the Detroit defense and wreak havoc. What Detroit now has is a much younger and more athletic version of the Williams Wall on their defense. Life in the division was much easier for the other teams when the Lions were stupid. They aren't any more. I thought this was the smartest move of the day.
Da Bearz took Gabe Carimi, the huge road grader offensive tackle from the Badgers. It's a totally logical pick and Carimi will do a fine job for the evil Bears for probably a decade. Smart guy, nasty and will be able to keep Jay Cutler upright long enough for Cutler to survey the field and then throw an interception.
My beloved Packers, picking last, chose Derek Sherrod, a big tackle from Mississippi State. From all reports this was also a highly sensible and logical pick. Job one in Green Bay is keeping Aaron Rodgers upright and Sherrod looks like an imminent replacement for Chad Clifton, who has been the left tackle for the Packers since the Carter administration, or so it seems.