Thursday, April 29, 2021

Going Second

Memo to everyone: Please stop calling athletes "generational talents."

This seems to have caught on everywhere. TigerBlog thinks it started with Trevor Lawrence, the Clemson quartertback who will be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft tonight. Yes, he by all means appears to be an extraordinary quarterback, but hey, can we let him take a snap in the NFL first? 

You can only consider someone a generational talent AFTER they've finished playing. And, by the very nature, you can't have multiple generational talents in the same sport at the same time, so if Lawrence is a generational talent, then, say, Patrick Mahomes is not.

Also, if TB thinks about, there have been about five actual generational talents that he's seen in his lifetime. 

TigerBlog is mildly interested in the NFL draft. He finds it fascinating, the amount of time and money that goes into it, only to come away three years later having to draft yet another franchise quarterback because the savior from three years ago didn't save anything (that's a New York Jets reference). And that doesn't even take into account the endless mock drafts, which in the end matter as much as NCAA tournament field predictions all year.

TigerBlog's rule No. 1 were he a NFL GM would be to always trade down and get more picks. The more picks you have, the more likely you are to get good players. There is no guarantee that having the top pick translates into having the best player three years from then. 

Look at Mahomes. He is probably the guy you'd take to build your franchise around if you were choosing up sides. He was the 10th player picked. TB has never heard of three of the guys taken ahead of him: Solomon Thomas (the third pick?), Corey Davis and John Ross. When TB looked them up, he found out that none of the three is still on his original team. Neither, for that matter, is Mitch Trubisky, who was the No. 2 overall pick. 

TB's other big rule would be never judge a player by his best moment in college or in the combine; only go over the entire body of work.

If you want to know a draft that TB was very interested in, it was held Monday night at 10:30 and lasted only one hour. It was the Premier Lacrosse League draft. 

The format was great. The league's eight coaches were all part of a Zoom call, and they simply announced their own picks. No league commissioner was needed. Imagine that in the NFL? It would be way better.

TigerBlog's main interest in the draft was a pair of Princeton alums. Would Michael Sowers go first or second overall? Would Connor McCarthy get drafted?

The first two picks by all indications seemed to be Sowers, the all-time leading scorer at Princeton, and Jeff Teat of Cornell. TigerBlog, by the way, has seen both referred to as "generational talents" on several occasions.

As TB has said on many occasions, he thinks Sowers is better than Teat while he acknowledges freely that he would think Teat is better than Sowers if he had been the Cornell contact. That's how it works.

Generational talents or not, both are extraordinary lacrosse players. More than that, both are also extraordinarily humble young men who have been flawless representatives of their programs. TB can vouch for Sowers on that front. He is modest and team-oriented, a great leader and a real role model for every little kid who came up to him for an autograph or picture in his time as a Tiger. 

Teat, by all indications, is the same way. TB has never met Teat, but he's heard this about him for years. And to get the definitive word, he reached out to his old friend Julie Greco, who was the Cornell men's lacrosse contact for Teat's time with the Big Red. She could not have had more good things to say about him as well.

Teat would go No. 1 to the Atlas. That sent Sowers at No. 2 to the Waterdogs. While TB would have loved to see Sowers go first, he's happy that Sowers is now going to be teammates on the Waterdogs with another Princeton alum, the great Zach Currier. 

TB would love to see McCarthy get a chance even after going undrafted. When healthy, he's a lethal outside shooting midfielder.

Yes, Sowers is playing at Duke this year, along with Phillip Robertson. Yes, McCarthy is at North Carolina. They play each other Sunday afternoon, and hopefully in the NCAA championship game next month.

No matter what, though, to TB, they'll always be Princeton guys. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree that the term "generational talent" has become the buzzword du jour on ESPN. Other words which have caught on rapidly: "transitory" on the finance channels and "inflection point" on the talking head political shows.

(Of course, we owe "transitory" entirely to Princetonian Jay Powell, who launched that buzzword into the mediasphere. Ooh, I think I might have just created my own buzzword.)

Your calculation of five generational talents in your lifetime is right on target. By definition, a GT comes along once in a G. So that's basically one every 20 years.