More so than robins or marshmallow peeps or seersucker suits, there is one true harbinger of spring that lets you know the NFL Draft is at hand once again.
That’s right, anonymous scouts telling Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that some black quarterback reminds him of JaMarcus Russell.
It happens every year. Amid the voluminous research compiled by the veteran Packers beat man are the truly off-the-rails criticisms of players that have little to do with the playing of the game itself.
This year’s biggest victim appears to be Ohio State’s Cardale Jones (big results at big college program, check; “athletic,” check; happens to be black, oh yeah).
“Kind of reminds me of a poor man’s JaMarcus Russell,” said one of the fleet of unnamed scouts to McGinn. “At least JaMarcus had some touch. This guy just throws the ball. His mechanics are all over the place.”
But wait, there’s more.
“Strong arm. Big, big body. Not the brightest cookie in the world,” another of them said. “I worry about him when he gets money in his pocket. I just don’t know if it’s all there mentally.”
There’s also the obligatory mention that Jones was a “non-qualifier” out of high school and his Wonderlic score, which isn’t sufficiently low to be a red flag anyway.
That’s not to say Jones is a can’t miss-prospect. He was a third-stringer at Ohio State before injuries opened the door for him to lead them to a title, and he was eventually benched when the guys ahead of him got healthy. And he’s not a polished passer, which is why he’s been working on that aspect of his game all spring with quarterback guru George Whitfield.
At least when it comes to draft lunacy, there seems to be some equal opportunity this year. White guys get ripped too, from Jared Goff’s “slender build,” (and small hands) to Paxton Lynch being “a little spacy, a little different.”
Connor Cook is “Selfish. He goes out too much.” Christian Hackenberg “hangs out more with managers than he does teammates. It tells me he likes to be king of the little people rather than king of the big people.” Dak Prescott is “just a winner,” however, despite a pre-draft DUI arrest.
There’s plenty of good information in there, with McGinn there always is. But it has practically become a traditional April game of Draft Cliche Bingo, in which “casual racism,” is the free space.