Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Irish Fantasy Draft: Rounds 1 & 2

The fantasy draft is in full swing as you can see by the ticker located on the right sidebar. Here's a quick breakdown and analysis of the first two rounds of picks from the owners.

1.01 (UHND) - Rocket Ismail, WR

"I went back and forth on this pick for a while, but at the end of the day, I couldn't pass up Rocket simply because no player who has played for the Irish in the last 20 years could change a game the way he could. Not only is Rocket the most explosive player for ND in the last 20 years, but he may also be the most versatile. I can use him as a receiver, kick/punt returner, and even out of the backfield." - Frank

1.02 (Domer Law) - Brady Quinn, QB

"With Rocket off the board, I decided to take a signal caller with the second overall pick. It was a tough decision between Brady and Clausen, but ultimately I liked the way that Brady battled in close games better than Clausen's accuracy. If I was picking purely on skills, I'd have selected Clausen. Instead, I'm drafting the gamer." - Wacko

1.03 (Her Loyal Sons) - Ricky Watters, RB

1.04 (WeNeverGraduate) - Bryant Young, DT

"It's very tempting to take Clausen here, but I can find a solid quarterback with stronger leadership qualities later on. I'll snatch up the most disruptive defensive lineman ND's had since Browner and happily plug him in the middle of my 4-3 defense." - Mattare

1.05 (Subway Domer) - Jimmy Clausen, QB

"Where's my limo?!?" - The Subway Domer

1.06 (Irish Illustrated) - Chris Zorich, DT

"The two-time All-American brings national championship experience to my team to go with the kind of “bleed blue and gold” mentality that’s at the foundation of all great Notre Dame squads. And he’s going to knock your quarterback out of the game, so that helps too." - Pete

2.01 (Irish Illustrated) - Manti Te'o, LB

"The most gifted Irish linebacker in the past 20 years will run my defense and be able to make plays all over the field with Zorich in front of him. The Irish haven’t been flush with talent at this position and there’s a drop-off after Te’o." - Pete

2.02 (Subway Domer) - Jeff Burris, S

"Not only was Burris an All-American Safety, but he was also Notre Dame's top choice at running back near the goaline. Burris will play the same role as a Subway Domer Disciple." - The Subway Domer

2.03 (WeNeverGraduate) - Aaron Taylor, OT

"My goal going into this was to assemble a squad that was going to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Bryant Young will be the keystone of that strategy on defense and Aaron Taylor will be the same on offense. WeNeverGraduate welcomes the best offensive lineman ND's produced in the eligible time period (by a wide margin) to the team. Aaron, please feel free to place your 1993 Lombardi Award on my mantle." - Mattare

2.04 (Her Loyal Sons) - Justin Tuck, DE

"Because I'm coaching this team and I'll never fail to unleash hell." - domer_mq

2.05 (Domer Law) - Jeff Samardzija, WR

2.06 (UHND) - Todd Lyght, CB

"I wanted to go defense here and the linemen I wanted were off the board so I went with the 2x All American and #5 overall draft pick in the '91 Draft. Lyght gives my defense a lockdown corner to build around." - Frank

- - - - - - - - - -

Couldn't be happier with my first two picks. I reeled in a pair of All-Americans and first round picks to build around on each side of the ball, guys I had at #1 and #4 on my overall draft board. What makes them especially valuable is the fact that there's a very significant drop-off at their positions after them in terms of the talent pool. You could argue that Zorich is on the same tier as Young and I'd probably agree, but there's no one in the same stratosphere when it comes to Taylor at left tackle.

Passing on Clausen at #4 was a difficult decision. Jimmy had arguably the best season for a quarterback in school history in 2009, could make all the throws with pinpoint accuracy, and came up huge in the clutch week after week in the most stressful season in the history of football (10 games decided by a touchdown or less).

Some claim he's not "a winner" like Brady Quinn was, but I don't really buy into that. It wasn't his fault the Irish defense was the worst in school history his junior season. Had he been supported by even an average defense there's a good chance Notre Dame woud've landed in a BCS bowl. Would that have transformed him into a winner? The reality is without Jimmy that team easily could have gone 2-10.

What made me ultimately choose against him though was the fact that there's one thing that always bothered me about him: he made it crystal clear from day one that he was at Notre Dame for self-serving reasons and couldn't have cared less about the tradition, school, or history. He was using it as a three or four year class with Charlie Weis, nothing more.

I don't doubt he busted his butt to try to win, but my belief he didn't care enough was confirmed when I witnessed the way he reacted after losing his final home game to UConn (a game that delivered the final nail in the coffin for his head coach). Instead of being broken down and devastated post-game like freshman Manti Te'o was, he was smiling and taking pictures with his family on the field. He even went as far as to sneak his helmet to his brother to bag as a memento.

To me it brought his career in South Bend full circle. It started with the self-indulgent, grandiose announcement of his commitment to Notre Dame at the College Football Hall of Fame where he made clear he was headed to Notre Dame not because he loved the school, but because he wanted Charlie Weis' tutelage and the exposure being under the dome brought him. It ended with smiles and laughs despite a devastating loss because he at least thought he'd achieved his ultimate goal of being groomed to be an NFL superstar.

It rubbed me the wrong way then and it rubs me the wrong way now. He never truly got or embraced Notre Dame and that's not the type of guy I need leading my squad.

1 comment:

  1. This idea struck me initially as kind of silly and desperate in the doldrums between signing day and spring practice, and perhaps it was. But reading the comments of the first two rounds is pretty amusing and I'm looking forward to the coming rounds. Well done.