1. Myron Rolle: I hate that he was black balled because football is not his only option, especially given the NFL’s emphasis on player conduct. Myron Rolle is the poster child for how players should behave and instead of touting him as such the NFL acted as the hypocrites they are and held it against him.
2. Jamarcus Russell: Russell will go down as the biggest bust in NFL history, finally taking the title away from Ryan Leaf and it will not be because Leaf was the 2nd overall pick and Russell was the 1st. It will be because Russell is out of the league after just 3 seasons and it is not due to an injury. Some people are optimistic that an NFL team will give Russell another shot, I am not one of them but even if they did I do not believe Russell would take the opportunity. I don’t think he has the desire to continue playing and why should he? His goal was to get paid and the Raiders handed it to him on a silver platter. If a team called Russell right now and asked him to join them in training camp, he’d turn them down faster than you can say “the NFL needs a rookie pay scale”.
3. New Draft Format: I do not like the 3 day draft format and I did not skip the NBA playoffs to watch it. I also did not like that late round prospects were invited to the draft. By the time Brandon Ghee, the last guy out of the green room, was selected ESPN had stopped covering the podium and switched to analysis. I don’t even recall seeing a shot of Ghee at the podium when he was selected.
4. Players Making Picks: I enjoyed seeing former and current players announcing picks. I think the NFL should make it a regular feature of the draft. My suggestion, though, is for the NFL to use the Ed Block Courage Award winners for each team in the future.
5. ESPN Crew: The ESPN crew was horrible and had zero chemistry during the draft. In fact, they were the main reason that I opted to focus most of my attention on the NBA playoffs and check back periodically on the draft, instead of vice versa.
6. “SHE SAID NO”: As a Baltimore Ravens fan, I absolutely loved the “SHE SAID NO” chant that rain downed on radio city music hall every time the Steelers were on the clock. I think that mantra will follow Roethlisberger the rest of his career.
7. Gerhart/ Race Card: I loathed Toby Gerhart implying that race and not his playing style was the reason he wouldn’t be a higher pick. The truth is there is no place for backs with Gerhart’s playing style in the NFL anymore. His style does not translate well to the NFL and it is in short demand. No GM in his right mind would use a 1st round pick on a player who will be nothing more than a short yardage bull dozer. I’ll go one step further and say that the 2nd round was too high for a situational player like that.
8. Pre- Pick Player Reactions: Going back to draft coverage for a moment. I hated seeing the player reactions prior to the pick being announced. It takes away all suspense. A better format would be to show the players reaction after his name has been called but that might be too much like right.
9. Prospect Privacy: The NFL needs to do a better job of protecting the privacy of NFL draft prospects. I think it is ridiculous the amount of personal information that gets leaked. I couldn’t imagine being Sergio Kindle or Jonathan Dwyer, and information about my medical history that I provided during a job interview was leaked to the media. I understand that a lot of these guys just come out and tell the media about it but I view that as a preemptive strike. They know the teams are going to leak the information, so they do it themselves to get any questions about it out of the way.
10. HGH: The Dr. Galea/HGH situation is a sports scandal in the making, unlike anything we have ever seen before. And I don’t think the NFL will make it out of this with its image intact. It has recently been revealed that Sanatana Moss of the Washington Redskins was one of Dr. Galea’s patients. I believe that this case has just scratched the surface and in the end will prove that the use of HGH is more rampant in the NFL than anyone realizes.
11. RFA: The number of restricted free agents who have yet to sign their tenders is alarming. The number of them that didn’t trade teams is even more alarming. I don’t think the NFLPA has enough evidence to prove collusion on the owners part but it sure does seem like there was an agreement in place that RFA wouldn’t be signed to offer sheets this offseason and that there would be no poison pill. I can only recall one RFA being signed to an offer sheet this off season and that was Mike Bell. You could argue that teams didn’t want to give up draft picks or what have you but it smells fishy to me.
12. Cushing/ AP Awards: Brian Cushing being re-awarded his defensive rookie of the year award and even gaining votes in the process, after it came out that he had tested positive for steroids during the season, made me sick to my stomach. I think the writers who carried out the act are idiots but I think the AP is the most at fault. They should have just stripped him of the award and either, gave the award to the guy with the 2nd most votes or had a revote without Cushing on the ballot. Simply put the AP had a chance to make a stand against cheating and they bungled it away by putting too much faith in the attention crazed talking heads that vote to do the right thing.
13. Pre Season Polls and Rankings: Preseason poll rankings are worthless and should cease to exist. The fact that NFL playoffs has an annual turnover rate of 50% is ignored by sports writers, except when a team like the Patriots misses the playoffs, like they did in 2008. How many of us can’t cut and paste last years playoff outcome onto a piece of paper entitled “2010 Playoff Predictions”? When sports writers do try to go out on a limb and buck that trend, they get criticized for it. For example, Peter Kings recently released preseason ranking. Is it really a big stretch to believe that the Dolphins could make the playoffs over a team like the Bengals? The Dolphins made the playoffs in 2008, they were in the very tight AFC wild card race at the end of last season, and they have upgraded some of their biggest weaknesses. Last season, was just the Bengals 2nd playoff trip in 2 decades and they finished the season on a very poor note, with back to back losses to the Jets, and a horrible record the second half of the season. That’s not a stretch, yet many people will claim that it is and have a fit about it.
14. Most Improved Team: I think the Detroit Lions will be the most improved team in the NFL next season. I like the moves they have made and I think they really helped themselves in the draft. If Matthew Stafford can make the next step, I think the Lions will cause a lot of problems for teams.
15. Biggest Loser: I think the Arizona Cardinals are the team setup to take the largest fall. The Cardinals recent success has glossed over the fact that they still have one of the worst owners in the NFL and are one of the most poorly ran franchises in all of sports. Ken Whisenhunt has proven to be a good coach, so I don’t think the Cardinals are headed back to the bottom of the barrel, just yet but I see them falling to mediocrity, which after their last two seasons is disappointing.
16. Twitter: Twitter is slowly becoming a PR nightmare for the NFL. Darnell Dockett is posting video’s of himself showering and earlier in the offseason, complaining about all the losses that the Cardinals had taken. Santonio Holmes is using it to tell fans to commit suicide and the world that he is about to smoke marijuana. Chris Johnson is using it to lobby for a new a contract. Reggie Bush is using it to complain about public service employees. And who knows what else these guys are posting. I think if players are going to be allowed to have accounts with twitter or public profiles elsewhere, they need to be advised to remain professional or taught to use the privacy settings. Some of the things these guys are saying are best said behind closed doors and to people they trust, not posted on the internet for the world to see.
But this is just one fans many opinions.