It's unusual for me to fly solo on our "Jets Two-Minute Drive" webcasts, but with my partner Eric Allen not back in the saddle until Tuesday morning and Clark Judge of CBSSports.com ready to roll, it was time for me to step up to the microphone and Paul Marsh to ride shotgun on the board.
Judge is a man with great information on the draft for the Internet entity that used to go by the name CBSSportsline. I'm sure I embarrassed him for a two-year old accomplishment — his phenomenal mock draft in the days before the 2007 NFL Draft.
It was merely the best mock draft I'd ever seen turned in by a football writer. He tabbed 29 of 32 first-round picks, which sounds easy until you try it. And he had 11 bull's-eyes — player going to the right team at the right spot in the round.
Two years later, Judge is still crunching the numbers and pounding out the stories on this year's draft. He saw the Lions struggling with the choice among Georgia QB Matthew Stafford, Baylor T Jason Smith and Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry and thought they'd go with Smith. But he loves Curry, perhaps to go to the Chiefs at No. 3 and doesn't think, as some mock drafters do, that if Stafford doesn't go to Detroit, he might slip past Southern Cal's Mark Sanchez to perhaps San Francisco at No. 10.
"I've seen Stafford play," Judge said. "He can make every throw. He's definitely the best quarterback in this draft."
As for the Jets at No. 17, Clark was viewing the same three offensive spots — QB (read: Josh Freeman), WR and RB. I'll leave his observation and prognostication for you to hear on the radio broadcast, but he had some insight when I told him that head coach Rex Ryan might just throw all the dratniks and experts a curve by staying with the defensive side of the ball with the top pick.
"I hadn't even been thinking defense for the Jets," Judge said. "Defensive coaches tend to draft defense with the top pick in their first draft and offensive coaches tend to draft offense. But Rex Ryan has filled holes on the Jets' defense. The holes that are left are on offense."
Judge also wisely was not ready to send Vernon Gholston away, saying that the Ohio State LB, used sparingly as a rookie, could be considered in some ways an extra first-round pick this year. He echoed the sentiment that Ryan and coordinator Mike Pettine have already offered about VG: "If it's in there, we'll get it out."
My chat with Judge will go live Tuesday morning. We'll also have Real Football's first Round 2 mock draft of the spring. A hint on whom Real likes for the Jets to select with their 52nd pick: Think Patrick Henry.
Ask Kerry Rhodes
You still have time to go to NFL.com and add a comment or question to the queue for the website's live chat with Jets S Kerry Rhodes. The session begins in less than a half-hour at 5:45 p.m. EDT.
Another Epic NFL Voice Silenced
Word just came in over NFL.com that Harry Kalas has died.
Kalas, best-known as the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies, and John Facenda weren't the only "voices of God" for NFL Films but they were the most famous. Facenda, also a Philadelphian, died in 1984 at the age of 71. Kalas was 73 when he was found unconscious in the broadcast booth at 12:30 p.m. before this afternoon's Phillies-Washington Nationals game.
I met Kalas a few times back in the early Seventies, when I was a young sportswriter just starting out, covering a few Phillies games to go along with a year on the Eagles beat and another year on the Sixers for a small South Jersey newspaper. Harry was a friendly man with a fantastic voice — is it the cheesesteaks? — who, in the few times I spoke with him, made me feel comfortable as a kid just out of college dropping in at the old Vet and covering the City of Brotherly Love's pro sports.
It was great to hear that familiar voice then crossing over from diamond to gridiron to narrate many NFL Films productions, including his lyrical "Inside the NFL" commentary for many years on HBO.
"We lost our voice today," Phillies president David Montgomery, his own voice cracking, said today. I second that emotion.