Three times a hack

Cold, Hard Football Facts for May 02, 2007



Limited vocabulary? Lazy inaccuracies? Piss-poor predictions? That's right!
It's Pete Prisco's annual draft evaluation.
 
By Cold, Hard Football Facts senior writer John Dudley
 
In each of the previous two years, CBS Sportsline's Pete Prisco has taken a feeble swing at evaluating the NFL draft – only to be exposed as a literary lightweight by the Cold, Hard Football Facts.
 
His 2005 analysis prompted us to proclaim that he put the "hack" in "hackneyed."  When the 2006 version had a recycled lead and most of the same mistakes, we surmised that you can't teach an old hack a new tack.
 
Now, after somehow surviving those vicious beatings with his jaw and job intact, Prisco has climbed back into the ring for another round of ridicule. His latest post-draft report demonstrates that he must be a glutton for punishment. Despite having 12 more months to hone his craft with a one-two punch of accuracy and creativity, Prisco remains a pigskin palooka.
 
If the criticisms that follow sound familiar, it's because they are. Prisco is like a plodding, punchless fighter. Even after getting repeatedly pummeled, he is incapable of adopting a different style.
 
Prisco's prior problem: He is particularly fond of the adjective "good."
With his 2005 piece, Prisco set the bar extremely high by using the word "good" 25 times. In 2006, he somehow outdid himself with 26 mentions.
 
This year, amid mounting pressure to maintain a goodly level of goodness, Prisco answered the bell. If you're scoring at home, "good" again appears 26 times – a full 15 of which are found in his eloquent descriptions of "players." Just note the write-up for the 49ers: Central Michigan tackle Joe Staley is "a good player," Texas cornerback Tarell Brown is "a good player," and the team "drafted a lot of really good football players."
 
He's quite a wordsmith.
 
Prisco's prior problem: He notoriously gets simple facts wrong.
One of Prisco's favorite mistakes is incorrectly listing the round in which a player was drafted. It's not like that information is readily available and easily verifiable.
 
In his summation of the Panthers, he writes: "If fourth-round pick Charles Johnson can help the pass rush, this will really be a special draft." 
 
Of course, Johnson was selected in the third round (No. 83 overall). Does that make it less special?
 
Prisco's prior problem: He loves to blow the Trojans.
A year ago, Prisco sang the praises of eight different USC players. Although only four of them were drafted in the first five rounds last weekend, each apparently merits adulation:
  • WR Dwayne Jarrett (Panthers) "will prove to be a steal" since "he plays much faster than his 40 time." 
  • WR Steve Smith (Giants) "is an underrated receiver who will eventually be a 60-catch player."
  • C Ryan Kalil (Panthers) is "outstanding" and someone whom "the Rams should have taken."
  • LB Dallas Sartz (Redskins) "will be a good special-teams player and could eventually develop into a starting linebacker."
Prisco is slightly less excited about two draftees from Penn State. Linebackers Paul Posluszny, the second-round pick of the Bills, and Tim Shaw, a Panthers fifth-rounder, are both characterized as "a little stiff." Maybe JoePa's diamond-shaped blue pills are to blame.
 
Prisco's prior problem: He tends to re-Pete himself.
Redundancy is the mark of a lazy writer. Unfortunately, Prisco's woes are also compounded by a limited vocabulary.
 
In assessing Detroit's draft, he writes: "Fourth-round corner A.J. Davis is a smallish corner who has nice cover skills. He will be a perfect nickel corner." 
 
What position does he play again? When backed into a corner, Prisco likes to corner the market on talking about corners who can line up at corner. Somebody please get a coroner because this guy is clearly brain-dead.
 
Prisco's prediction proficiency
Most of the time, players need more than one season to fulfill their potential. It would therefore be unfair to evaluate the bold predictions that were hacked together immediately after the 2006 draft.
 
Yet it's probably worth mentioning that Titans first-round pick Vince Young was considered by Prisco to be "years away from playing." All the champion quarterback from Texas did was go 8-5 as a starter, lead a string of astounding comebacks and capture Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
 
For a better indication of Prisco's ability to see football's future, let's look at a sampling of his comments from 2005...

Pete's prediction: Cowboys second-round pick Kevin Burnett, a linebacker from Tennessee, "will be an immediate starter."

Cold, Hard Football Fact: Burnett has played in 29 games over his two-year career. He hasn't started a single one.

Pete's prediction: Broncos third-round pick Maurice Clarett, the Ohio State running back, "will be a factor in their run game in a year or two."

Cold, Hard Football Fact: Clarett got cut in training camp and was subsequently sentenced to prison for aggravated robbery. Perhaps he has become a factor in the yard at the Toledo Correctional Institution.

Pete's prediction: Panthers fourth-round pick Stefan LeFors, the Louisville quarterback, "will become a good backup right away, and then who knows?"

Cold, Hard Football Fact: LeFors never took a snap during his one season with Carolina, but he could still prove to be a capable backup – in the CFL. He is now an understudy to Ricky Ray on the Edmonton Eskimos.
 
Prisco wouldn't know talent if it hit him in the face.
 
As for his strongest statements from this year's draft analysis, check out how Pete the Visionary sizes up the 49ers: "I love the pick of [Washington State's] Jason Hill in the third round. He will be a starting receiver by mid-season."
 
What Prisco neglected to mention – or factor into his grading – is that San Francisco traded with Seattle on Sunday to acquire Darrell Jackson for a fourth-round pick. He will undoubtedly replace the departed Antonio Bryant as the team's No. 1 wideout. So...Hill would have to beat out both incumbent starter Arnaz Battle and free agent signee Ashley Lelie at the other receiver spot.
 
Barring a rash of injuries, Hill's chances of starting aren't much better than Prisco's chances of getting it: Some things just aren't going to happen.
 
As always, the Cold, Hard Football Facts pull no punches when they step into the ring of pigskin punditry. We must relentlessly pound inaccuracies and opinions into submission so that truth always emerges as the undisputed champion.
 
And if Prisco is going to keep leading with his chin, we have no choice but to knock his punch-drunk ass out.

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