by John Walters
No idea if using the No. 1 overall pick to draft 5’10” QB Kyler Murray will turn out to be a brilliant maneuver or cosmically stupid—oddly, the Cardinals just got rid of a Heisman Trophy-winning Oklahoma QB who was a dud on the field and in the locker room—just know that it’s a huge risk.
You may recall that we called this pick about a month ago with absolute certainty. If Arizona can land a first-round talent for Josh RosenRosen, that improves this risk. For now, we would’ve taken Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams, emphasis on the latter.
Mark this down: with the first pick in the first round, the Cardinals took 5’10” QB Kyler Murray. With the last pick in the first round, the Patriots selected 6’4″ wideout N’Keal Harry. Ask anyone around the Arizona State athletic department and they’ll tell you Bill Belichick got the better player.
If the Caribbean native Harry can adapt to the New England clime (plus guaranteed road games in Buffalo and East Rutherford), he can be a monster in Foxboro. Clip and save.
Defense Never Rests
Never mind Murray and Harry (Hey, you brought ’em up, JW), defense was the story last night. Twelve of the first 19 players were defensive front seven studs (a defensive 2ndary player did not hear his name until the 21st pick [Maryland’s Darnell Savage, Jr.] and a running back not until the 23rd [Alabama’s Josh Jacobs, who will be absolutely loved by Raider Nation]).
Bosa and Williams are locks to be great. Time will tell if Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell was a reach at No. 4 or if Houton’s Ed Oliver got unfairly dissed (picked 9th by Buffalo) over an unfortunate jacket incident caught by ESPN’s cameras.
Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery became the first Irish defensive lineman to go in the first round in more than 20 years. Two years ago, as his season was ending with an ejection in the rain at the Southern Cal game, few would have predicted this. He made a wonderful comeback.
Celtic legend John Havlicek, basketball’s original glue guy, passes away at age 79. Hondo was a small forward who came up GIGANTIC in big moments, from “Havlicek stole the ball!” to his burying of a jumper to force another overtime in the 3-overtime classic against the Phoenix Suns in the 1976 NBA Finals.
Growing up as a Knicks fan in the early 1970s (I actually remember them winning an NBA championship…it’s crazy), Hondo was the player I feared most. And never hated. He always seemed to make the right play, but the manner in which he performed courted nothing but respect and admiration. You’ll read in all the plaudits today how simply nice a man he was.
Havlicek played on a national champion Ohio State team (with Bob Knight and Jerry Lucas) in 1960 and then went 8-0 in NBA Finals. Even Jordan looks up at that figure. He always seemed to play for the winning team. That was no coincidence.
Much thanks for all the kind words on the Deadspin story. Funny enough, I’m working two shifts at two different restaurants today (part of my smugness, no doubt), which is why today’s column is so abbreviated.
I want to publicly thank Bob Roe, my guardian angel professionally the past six years and my shepherd on this story. No editor is better, as an editor and as a person. It’s a crime that he is not managing editor at a big-name publication. But this is what happens when you have a penchant for wearing funny socks. I love Bob.
Also a huge thanks to Barry Petchesky at Deadspin, whom I’ve never met in person. I’d been shopping this story to various publications the past three weeks. I was even telling editors I didn’t even care to be paid for it. I got a few “not in our wheelhouse” replies and even a few non-replies. If you are in a creative field and the rejection is getting to you, do two things: 1) keep polishing your work to improve it and 2) keep looking because there is probably a Barry Petchesky out there.
Also, Barry asked wonderfully probing questions that made the article stronger. Most of the trenchant commentary you see in there is because Barry pushed me to answer some questions I may have been too uncomfortable to initially explore. Thank you, Barry. Beers on me.
Of all the comments I’ve received, I thought Amy Lundy Dahl (a friend from my UConn book days) made the most insightful. She wrote, “It read like someone who had been set free.” Absolutely. In the past decade I’ve been liberated from worrying about whether I was living up to the expectations myself and others had set (Hey, why did those dudes make senior writer and I didn’t?!) and just learned to enjoy my life.
Some day? It’s already here. Take advantage.
Thanks for reading. And thanks to all of you who know who you are.