Genius GM Kev Makes The Wrong Call

by Kevin Burton

   Spent Sunday afternoon catching up with a friend.

   I tuned in to see the Detroit Lions Pittsburgh Steelers pre-season game. Detroit’s right tackle is Penei Sewell a second-year man from Oregon who I demanded my Bengals draft fifth overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

   When they didn’t draft him I complained in Page 7 that they should have taken him instead of the player they did take, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.

   OK, so 81 receptions, 1,455 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns later, Chase made the case for himself as a worthy first-round pick.  

   Sewell over Chase was perhaps the stupidest thing I have ever said in this blog, though alas, there may be other candidates for that title.    

   In my defense, the Bengals at the time had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL and had just paid for it. Their star quarterback Joe Burrow had suffered a severe knee-injury that shortened his promising rookie season to ten games because that line couldn’t protect him.

    People were calling Sewell a “generational” offensive lineman and I thought Cincinnati needed him.

   Though Sewell is a solid starter and is not sweating the roster cuts being made this week, nobody thinks of him as being in Chase’s class.

   So it is that level of player-selecting acumen that I am taking into this year’s fantasy drafts.  God help me.

   Over the years the Bengals haven’t shows much draft acumen than I, but they sure got this one right.

   Usually the only reason to watch the Lions play football is that the Thanksgiving turkey spread isn’t quite ready.  But Sunday I did so because I was scouting players for fantasy and for an idea I ultimately abandoned.

   I had said it would be funny to draft a team made up of players from the four NFL teams with cat nicknames, Cincinnati

Bengals, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers, and gift that team as a present for our two cats, Gabbie and Ronnie, to manage.   

   I went so far as to do some mock drafts with that intent.  I said if I could coax so much as a D-minus from yahoo as a draft grade, I would draft the team Cat Scratch Fever into being.  Couldn’t do it.  My last resort was drafting first, picking Christian McCaffrey and seeing if that could save the day. Nope.

   The cats got Cincinnati’s Tee Higgins and D.J. Moore of Carolina as wide receivers in the second and third rounds. Those were reasonable, even good picks.  After that though, my fellow mock drafters must have thought I was insane, drafting Detroit’s Amon-Ra St. Brown and T.J. Hockenson way before they should have gone.

   It got increasingly stinky from there, like the litter box the day before it is changed.

   Forced to drop my first silly idea, I moved on to the second one and took the players from those four teams and held a draft for the two cats so they would each have a team.

   Our cats are grudging acquaintances. They tolerate each other, most notably when they share the lounging space where the sun comes through the back window. That kitty spa is the best, maybe the only example of their cooperation.

   So if they were somehow able to play fantasy football they would attack it full force. There would be a serious spitting and growling rivalry.

   I asked my wife Jeannette which cat should get the first pick. She said Gabbie

should pick first because she was older and more sophisticated.

   I went along with that, not immediately picking up on the fact that if the older cat gets dibs in fantasy drafts the older human should get dibs on various things too.

   Shame on me.  I may pay for that one later.

   For her team, the Sophisti-Cats, Gabbie ended up with Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence at quarterback McCaffrey and D’Andre Swift and at running back, Higgins and Moore at wide receiver and Jags running back James Robinson (probably) at flex.

    Even Engram is at tight end with Evan McPherson at kicker and Cincinnati as the defense. 

   For her team the Bells, Ronnie ended up with Burrow at quarterback, Joe Mixon and Travis Etienne at running back, Chase and St. Brown at wide receiver, and Jacksonville’s Christian kirk at Flex.

   Ronnie has Hockenson at tight end

Austin Seibert at kicker and the Carolina defense.

   Any injuries to those players, and even bye weeks, will quickly turn these teams into dogs, which fantasy players and cats alike would hate.

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