by Kevin Burton
There were storms in the KAKE-land viewing area Thursday night, so I made a choice right away.
I said and I meant it, that the very FIRST time our local ABC affiliate broke away from the NFL draft for something as frivolous as a storm warning, I was out. I would tune in ESPN radio, which is not from this area and thus would not interrupt my show.
In fact, for a brief time Thursday, before the storms and threatened programming interruptions passed, I had them on simultaneously.
Yes, it was a little more than four months before the NFL regular season begins, and probably a little less than four months before my fantasy football drafts begin. But actual NFL player movement data was available and I was going to capture it.
Except that I fell asleep before my favorite teams, Cincinnati and Kansas City, made their first-round selections. That probably makes me a bench-warmer as both a fan and a fantasy manager.
Neither did I make it all the way through the Friday or the Saturday coverage. But I tuned in for hours each day. So before April turned to May, I was close to all in.
Yahoo Sports has sent me multiple e-mails about fantasy football leagues forming. More importantly, they have turned on the mock draft apps, the means by which football scientists such as myself, can practice drafting teams pretty much around the clock.
On one level my wife Jeannette is aware of this activity. The NFL draft itself is a storm warning to her, alerting her that conditions are favorable for fantasy football activity. But she’s pretty much distracted by the aerating of the front lawn and getting furniture to her son projects, to be followed closely by replacing the deck.
So looks as if the coast is clear for me to plan my fantasy empire. Hush, hush.
But before we get too far into this, a note on just the football, apart from fantasy.
My Bengals got an A grade from Pro Football Focus, A- from nfl.com and B+ from ESPN. I don’t have what it takes to uphold or dispute those grades. I can tell you though, what I applaud.
Cincinnati took three defensive backs in the draft, CB DJ Turner II of Michigan in the second round, S Jordan Battle of Alabama in the third and CB DJ. Ivey of Miami (FL) in the seventh. I pray that will be enough to get Eli Apple out of our defensive backfield and off the roster.
I sure hate to point out these things about an Ohio State guy, but here is a timeline of one-bad-Apple eruptions, compiled by Dan Treacy of The Sporting News.
April 2016: Annie Apple defends her son against anonymous draft critics on Twitter, telling evaluators to ‘stop playing with our name.’
October 2016: Annie Apple takes to social media to criticize Giants owner John Mara for his handling of domestic violence allegations against kicker Josh Brown.
Nov. 15, 2017: Apple threatens to walk out on the Giants during a film review session.
Dec. 26, 2017: Apple’s Giants teammate Landon Collins calls him a ‘cancer’ during a radio interview.
Dec. 27, 2017: Apple is suspended by the Giants for ‘conduct detrimental to the team.’ The Giants entered the 2017 season with playoff expectations, but the year quickly went off the rails with disappointing play compounded by persistent drama.
Oct. 23, 2018: Despite new coach Pat Shurmur saying Apple has a ‘clean slate,’ the Giants trade him to the cornerback-needy Saints midseason.
2019: Apple becomes a full-time starter in New Orleans but allows a passer rating of 100.9 and isn’t retained.
2020: Apple appears in only two games for the Panthers before his release in late October.
Jan. 23, 2022: After the Bengals advance to the AFC championship, Apple tweets that he’s not sure whether he hates the Saints or Giants fan base more.
Jan. 30, 2022: Minutes after the Bengals advance to Super Bowl 56, Apple calls Tyreek Hill ‘a baby’ on Twitter and tells Mecole Hardman to call him if he wants Super Bowl tickets. Two weeks later, Hardman pinned Cincinnati’s loss to the Rams on Apple.
Jan. 24, 2023: Apple repeatedly antagonizes Stefon Diggs, Shaq Lawson, and even Josh Allen on Twitter, telling Diggs, ‘Cancun on three.’
I didn’t remember most of that. All I know is when the game is on the line Apple is more likely to give up a big pass play than to do his job. I don’t think a team that’s seriously ready to win a Super Bowl should have him around.