Megatron retires / I look back to 2007

For the record, I’m well aware that Peyton Manning retired yesterday.  Everybody in the world knows it, including my Portuguese grandmother who doesn’t know what a football is.  He’s...
Photo via: Youtube

For the record, I’m well aware that Peyton Manning retired yesterday.  Everybody in the world knows it, including my Portuguese grandmother who doesn’t know what a football is.  He’s the NFL golden boy and he got plenty of media attention, so he doesn’t need mine.  This is about one of the other GOATs…

It became official today that Calvin Johnson has retired at the age of 30. The second time in my lifetime that the Detroit Lions fan base has had to sit back and watch a superstar – and eventual HOF – retire early, leaving their pathetic franchise to start back at square one in the rebuilding process. It’s got to be miserable being a Lions fan. First of all, you’re a LIONS fan. Which means you haven’t enjoyed ANY playoff success and had to suffer through that 0-16 season with ma boy Orlovsky doing stuff like this…

Now Megatron went and broke your hearts again – must bring back painful memories of the day that Barry decided to hang up his cleats while he was still in his prime.

Anyway, it got me to thinking…what could have been? As in, what could have been if Calvin Johnson hadn’t been drafted by the giant stink hole of a franchise that resides in the Motor City. Would he still be playing if he hadn’t been losing double-digit games all these years? I know he said he doesn’t want to put his body through another NFL season, but my guess is he might feel differently about that if he actually had a chance at hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. So I pulled up the 2007 NFL draft and started coming up with hypotheticals. But somewhere in that mess I had two major reactions:

  1. That gaffe at the top of that draft will go down as the worst fuck up in NFL draft history.
  2. 2007 will go down as one of the best draft classes in NFL history. Period.

On the surface they seem like pretty contradictory observations don’t they? Let’s dive in…

It seems fitting that the Raiders had the #1 pick in that draft and decided to do, well, Oakland Raider-like things. They drafted JaMarcus Russell with the first pick because the dude had all the measurables. He had the size, arm strength and came from a big-time college program (LSU). Remember all those stories about him throwing the ball 70 yards while on his knees? He became a folk legend before the draft and he was a slam dunk pick for a franchise desperately in need of a long-term solution at the quarterback position. WOW did that go wrong in a hurry. He went 7-18 in his three seasons with the Raiders, was released in May 2010 and later arrested on drug charges. In the end he was a massive bust – and yes I mean massive because of his weight. The dude would have made Eddie Lacy look like Darren Sproles if they were in the same backfield. 6’ 6” and pushing 3 bills? Yeah, he was a talented dude but it didn’t work out and that pick by the Raaaaaaaaaidahs is even worse in hindsight because of all the guys they could have taken instead.

jamarcus-russell-fat

Who doesn’t want that as their starting QB?  Photo via:  Business Insider

The rest of that 2007 draft class includes 17 Pro Bowlers and the first 14 picks of that draft were headlined by superstars and future hall-of-famers including: Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas, Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch and Darrell Revis. It also includes the likes of: Ted Ginn Jr., LaRon Landry, Lawrence Timmons, Dwayne Bowe, Greg Olsen, Paul Posluszny, LaMarr Woodley and Eric Weddle (all taken in the first 40 picks). The overall class is impressive, but those first 6 all went in the top half of the first round and all of them are likely headed to Canton.

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