SDS Mailbag: Guessing first SEC draft pick, underperforming colleges with lots of NFL talent and ranking ‘The Office’ managers
For those of you missing football, the FCS spring season kicks off tomorrow night with McNeese State taking on Tarleton State at 7 p.m. ET. Then, there’s a full slate of FCS action next weekend.
For people who need a bit of a break after the Super Bowl before spring practices start up, you’re in luck, because basketball season is hitting its stride!
Today, we’ll discuss the 2021 NFL Draft, some college/NFL talent disparities, conference hoops tournaments, “The Office” and more. So, without further ado, here are your questions for this week’s Mailbag:
I saw an SDS column a few weeks ago about teams that outperformed recruiting rankings in 2020 (Iowa State, Northwestern, Indiana, Mizzou, etc.). Turning that to the NFL, which colleges have underperformed the amount of NFL talent they currently have in the league? Michigan and Texas Tech come to mind watching the Super Bowl. USC and Maryland have lots of pros, too.
While Texas Tech does have several players currently in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes is far and away the most notable. Keke Coutee on the Texans is a good receiver and there are some other guys who contribute (Danny Amendola, etc.), but That’s probably not the answer. Also, 2-4 campaign in 2020 aside, Michigan probably doesn’t qualify as an “underperforming team,” as the Wolverines won 10, 10, 9, 10 and 8 games between 2015 and 2019.
Maryland is a really good one, with Stefon Diggs, Yannick Ngakoue, DJ Moore and others, but how about South Carolina? The Gamecocks have struggled since the end of the Steve Spurrier era, but they have several talented players in the NFL ranks today.
Stephon Gilmore is one of the top corners in the league. Jared Cook and Hayden Hurst are solid tight ends. Alshon Jeffery and Deebo Samuel are talented receivers. Javon Kinlaw and Jadeveon Clowney have the defensive line locked down.
That’s a lot of talent for a team that hasn’t posted double-digit wins since 2013.
We know a bunch of SEC players will go in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Who do you think will be the first SEC player off the board?
From what I’ve seen in mock drafts, there are a few options. A wide receiver seems to be a good bet, with LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and Alabama’s DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle getting a lot of buzz. Florida TE Kyle Pitts and Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II are also in the mix. And we can’t dismiss Alabama QB Mac Jones, especially if there’s a run on QBs in the first few picks.
If I had to make a prediction right now, though, I’m going to go with Chase. Yes, I realize he didn’t play in 2020 and I also realize that he won’t get to showcase his skills at a normal NFL Combine, but I still think he’s one of the best receivers in the draft (along with Smith).
Keep an eye on the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 5. They have a guy named Joe Burrow playing quarterback for them, and we’ve seen how good Burrow and Chase were together at LSU in 2019. That would be a really tempting pick for the Bengals to make.
That’s my official prediction, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if the Dolphins snagged Chase or Smith at No. 3 overall or if the Falcons scooped up Surtain at No. 4. We’ll see what happens between now and April!
Which conference tournament are you most excited for in basketball?
Well, I do think the SEC Tournament will be interesting. Alabama will be the favorite, of course, but pretty much any team in the league could get hot and win it all in Nashville.
But, the tournament I absolutely cannot wait for is the Big Ten’s. Currently, 7 B1G teams are ranked — No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Ohio State, No. 6 Illinois, No. 15 Iowa, No. 24 Purdue and No. 25 Rutgers. That doesn’t even include NCAA Tournament bubble teams like Indiana, Minnesota and Michigan State. Penn State and Maryland are dangerous on the right nights, too.
The tourney was moved from Chicago to Indianapolis, and I expect there to be plenty of chaos. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens there. I’ll be pulling for Illinois, but the winner of this tournament will definitely be in the running for a No. 1 seed in March Madness.
Rank everyone who was a manager of the Scranton branch on “The Office.”
By my count, there were 9 people who, even for a brief period, held the title of “Regional Manager” at the Scranton branch. I’m not including Ed Truck since he was the manager before the time during which the show took place. So, here’s how I’d rank the 9 managers:
- Michael Scott — I mean, no-brainer, right?
- Dwight Schrute — Giving Jim and Pam severance pay? Classy move, Schrute.
- Robert California — I think this character is the most underrated character on the show.
- Creed Bratton — His time in charge was brief, but what a time it was.
- DeAngelo Vickers — Will Ferrell’s time on the show was short, but the episode where he co-hosts The Dundies with Michael is an all-timer.
- Charles Miner — I always cringe at the Jim-Charles interactions, but Idris Elba is a great actor.
- Andy Bernard — The show started going off the rails a bit here, but there were some good moments.
- Nellie Bertram — She was a great character during the Florida arc. I didn’t care for her when she made her way up to Scranton.
- Jim Halpert — I really didn’t like Jim as a co-manager. That era just sucked the fun out of him. He’s much better when he’s being silly with Dwight and Pam.
So, there you have it. I’m still not over the fact that “The Office” is no longer on Netflix.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.