Sports with Shook: Draft week is upon us



Nick Shook

Nick Shook

Nick Shook is the sports editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Mock drafts have been written, analyzed, over-analyzed, rewritten and over-analyzed again, and the time for the 2013 NFL Draft is nearly here. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is merely two days from being relentlessly booed before announcing the Kansas City Chiefs are on the clock.

You might be expecting a mock draft from me, but you aren’t getting one – check the @SportsWithShook Twitter page for our first round live mock draft show from last Friday, and plus, look at the tiny space I have here – but you will get five quick predictions that won’t be realized or denied until far down the road, but are still worth your consideration come Thursday, or right now. Here are my five predictions:

1. Geno Smith will be good, but never as good as his selection says he should

Smith is the top quarterback in the draft, which isn’t saying much, because we’re hearing pundits break down the play of Ryan Nassib – I know, I had to Google him too – and there are rumors that multiple teams want him. Some pre-draft transactions changed projections for where Smith might land, but Jacksonville could go totally off script and select him, or Philadelphia could nab him as the quarterback of the future, or – gasp – the Browns could use yet another first round pick on a quarterback, as Sports Illustrated’s Peter King continues to predict.

Smith can easily stiff-arm my prediction into the ground if none of the top 10 teams take him, because he does have the skills to be an above-average quarterback. But teams spend top 10 picks on franchise players – you know, Hall of Fame guys – and I don’t see Smith being one of them.

2. Steer clear of labrum injuries

One of the most nagging injuries any athlete can sustain is a labrum injury. How do I know this, you ask? Because I tore both of mine while playing, had arthroscopic surgery, and then tore it again – don’t laugh – in my sleep. It’s that easy of an injury to recur.

Basically, a torn labrum is fixed by inserting anchors into the torn tissue, allowing it time to heal and then rehabbing the surrounding muscles to support it. While I’m no doctor, I deal with nagging, aching pain on a daily basis and can’t throw anything with much velocity, so despite the downplaying of labrum injuries to Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, this is a serious red flag for me. It is an even bigger problem for Jordan, who will need to use plenty of shoulder strength to keep blockers’ hands off of him in his pass rush and run defense. It’s an equally large problem for Milliner because he has been quoted as saying he hasn’t started his rehab yet, and three months’ rehab is barely enough time to get back on the field for training camp. I’d be much more comfortable with four months.

3. Robert Woods is the draft’s best sleeper pick

I liken this to one simple explanation: if Matt Barkley and the rest of the USC Trojans didn’t absolutely choke away a shot at a historic season in 2012, Woods would be the top wide receiver taken in this draft. If you need more help, think Justin Blackmon in the 2012 draft after Oklahoma State’s run. He was a top-flight receiver in 2010, but 2011 made him an elite selection. Woods should have experienced the same jettison up the draft board, but instead, whichever mid-to-late first round team selecting him is going to get a gem.

4. Shame on whoever makes the mistake of taking Tyler Eifert early

I’ve seen four tight ends worthy of top-15 selections actually succeed in the NFL in my lifetime: Tony Gonzalez, Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow Jr. and Vernon Davis. Winslow only succeeded for a few years due to injuries and a bad decision to joyride a motorcycle in suburban Cleveland. All of those players stood out on their respective college teams; I knew who those guys were during the season. Tyler Eifert was not recognized in the same way. He might be the best tight end in this draft, but that doesn’t always mean he’s worth a high pick.

5. Combine heroes should be avoided

The main focus of this point is Dion Jordan. Oregon was a top team in 2012. I rarely ever heard Jordan’s name mentioned, and while that might be because he doesn’t play on that unique offense, I prefer to have players who stand out prior to their combine workouts. He might pan out, but I’d rather have a player who does it on the field in full equipment, not against a stopwatch in shorts and a compression shirt.

Having said that, and knowing my luck, the Browns will pick him.