Perhaps envious of Ron Jaworski’s ability to manipulate the rundown of every ESPN program for three days or more, colleague Merril Hoge has been firing off some strong opinions this week regarding the incoming crop of rookies.
Two days ago, Hoge predicted that quarterback Johnny Manziel is destined to be a bust.
“He’s clearly not a first rounder, and if somebody does draft him in the first round, their job is gonna be in jeopardy immediately,” Hoge said on SportsCenter. “Because he will not be able to withstand the expectations that are going to be put on him because his skill set will not handle it.”
Hoge overlooks the one team whose G.M. is also the owner. If Manziel is on the board at No. 16, it will be very difficult for Jerry Jones to pass, especially as his current franchise quarterback recovers from a second back surgery in less than a year.
On Friday, Hoge aimed even higher. Appearing on ESPN2’s First Take, Hoge said he’d draft Michael Sam before Jadeveon Clowney.
I’ll be taping the re-air to consider the context and the full quote; Hoge now claims via Twitter that he said he’d take Sam in the fifth or sixth round before Clowney in the first. If so, that nuance already has been lost on the man who are interpreting Hoge’s remarks as a preference for Sam over Clowney.
It’s understandable for Hoge to have reservations, given the concerns about Clowney’s work ethic. But Clowney is regarded as one of the best physical specimens to ever enter the draft. Sam will struggle to find a position in the NFL, too small to be a defensive end and too slow to be a linebacker.
But, hey, the point of the show is to embrace debate. Maybe next week they’ll take up the question of whether the world is flat.