Saban’s hypocrisy about early entrants is appalling

Thanks to Nick Saban, I am now taking a special interest in the career of Jacksonville Jaguars safety Ronnie Harrison.

Drafted in the third round by the Jaguars, he won a starting job during the season last year and started eight games.

Even though he was sidelined with a knee injury the final two games of the year, he will enter the upcoming season as a starter and seems to have a bright future.

That is why it was so puzzling when the Alabama coach singled him out when he went on a rant earlier this month decrying underclassmen for declaring early for the NFL draft.

“If you’re a third-round draft pick, and we had one here last year – I’m not going to say any names — goes and starts for his team so he’s making third-round money, which is not that great,” Saban said. “He’d be the first guy taken at his position this year, probably, and makes $15 to $18 million more.”

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Jaguars’ entire season could be decided in the first 12 days

The NFL’s computers didn’t do the Jacksonville Jaguars any favors when they spit out what turned out to be the schedule this season.

They play two of their toughest games – Kansas City in the opener and New Orleans – in the first six games.

And in the second and third games of the year, the play two division teams – Houston and Tennessee — that swept them last year. And Tennessee has swept them the last two years.

The Tennessee game will be a Thursday night game, so they have three games in the first 12 days. It could be a 12-day season.

The Jaguars went 0-5 against their first three opponents last year and will be underdogs in all three games.

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Belichick’s grumbles about offseason program are misguided, self-serving

Bill Belichick is unhappy these days.

That is not a news flash. Being grumpy is his normal persona.

And Belichick is used to doing his things his way. Owner Bob Kraft has given him carte blanche to run the New England Patriots the way he wants to. Except Kraft won’t let him cut Tom Brady if he thinks it’s for Brady to move on the way he dumped Cleveland icon Bernie Kosar when he was the Browns’ coach.

There is probably not another coach or executive in the league who has the control over a franchise the way Belichick does.

Still, Belichick has to follow league rules. Sort of. Until he is caught trying to cheat because he doesn’t like those rules.

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New in-depth draft analytics book is the real deal

In The SIS Football Rookie Handbook, Matt Manocherian sets out to answer the question, “Based on their play on the field, who do our full-time college scouts will think will make the best pro players?”

That caught my eye because with the college season ending in January and the draft not taking place until late April, scouts tend to get so caught in the scouting combine and Pro Day and private workouts that they often don’t put enough emphasis on how the players performed on the field last fall.

Manocherian notes that in February the draft board is “pure.”

“It knows nothing of the ‘Underwear Olympics’ that we call the combine and Pro Days, has heard no input from biased coaches competing against our draft resources and hasn’t yet ruled out players with whom the medical staff is uncomfortable.”

Sports Info Solutions has the largest collection of football scouts under one roof – bigger than any NFL team — with 50 video scouts.

Manocherian is a former NFL scout with the New Orleans Saints and the Cleveland Browns. The video scouts at SIS have spent 40 hours per game charting and analyzing data on every football game played last season.

The book is a combination of scouting and analytics.

He notes that when he was with the Saints, the scouts would take a picture of the draft board in February and tell the same joke.

“Remember what it looks like now because we are about to spend the next two months ruining it,’’ the joke goes.

His books attempts to give fans a look at the board before it’s ruined and is a serious work that will appeal to fans who like to dive into the draft.

The book covers 599 pages and has two pages of information on more than 250 players.

Let’s take a look at what they say about Kyler Murray, because there is so much debate about his pro potential.

They rank him as the second quarterback behind Dwayne Haskins, They say Murray is a rare playmaker who may have to work his release to mitigate size concerns.

They list his strengths as mobility, arm strength and clutch playmaking ability. They list his weaknesses as size, experience  and inconsistent release.

Their last word is that he has the inherent quarterback skills and intangibles necessary to succeed.

The book also delves into discussions like “The Secret Behind the Rams’ Rushing Success.” Hint: The key is motion, not ground and pound.

In a discussion of goal-to-go strategy, it notes the fade is the second-most targeted route type in goal-to-go but is one of the most inefficient throws a quarterback can make in those situations.

It says that drag routes and throws to the flat work best.

That is just one of the hundreds of nuggets of information tucked into the book.

It is the first edition of the book, but is likely to become the gold standard for draft preview books in the future.

If anything, it has almost too much information.

You may have to take time out from your day job to study into all the information in this book.

Kraft faces no good options in embarrassing prostitution case

New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft is finding out the downside of being a celebrity owner in the NFL.

As a legal matter, being charged with solicitation after visiting a Florida massage parlor two days in a row in January – including the morning of the AFC title game being played halfway across the country – is not a big deal.

According to the Wall Street Journal, prosecutors even offered him a deal in which they will drop the charges on the condition that he admit that if the charges hadn’t been dropped, prosecution would have resulted in a conviction.

All he would have to do then is 100 hours of community service, complete an education course about prostitution, be screened for STDs and pay some of the court costs and it would all be over.

It’s likely the low-profile men also charged would take that deal.

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