A scout’s journal . . .
I don’t follow the big names. The big names, they got plenty of guys following them. You think Ki-Jana Carter is gonna go unnoticed? Come on. We already know his shirt size and his favorite sports car. How much more can a lousy scout dig up?
Me, I go for the small names. I beat the bushes. I check under rocks. I scour the country for every backwater college that still believes in the tackle and the forward pass.
And I watch.
And I make notes.
Sometimes I have a drink and fall asleep.
But mostly, I find diamonds in the rough. So keep your Rashaan Salaams and Tyrone Wheatleys. I got the gems you never heard of. Here is my long-awaited Sleeper Roster for the 1995 draft.
Terms are negotiable. . . .
TRAILER HOME DOKES, DT, University of Jenny Craig: Look, he’s large. I won’t kid you about that. But he’s a solid 300-pound tackle — underneath the 200 other pounds of fat. The kid had perfect attendance in college (at training meals). And with the right coach and some good strong wire for his jaw, he could be the next Richard Dent by 1998. One drawback. Getting Trailer Home on and off the field can take a little time. Say 20 minutes, if the forklift works.
BUTT HEAD HOLLISTER, QB, University of California at Big Sur: In all my time as a scout I have never before seen a kid throw like this one. We’re talking 60 yards in the air, through a tire, bull’s-eye! Two things that any good coach can work out, and he’s got the next Joe Montana. One is Butt Head’s signal calling, which so far is limited to one play: “Let’s get stoked!” The other is the fact that Butt Head refuses to play if the surf’s up.
IGOR (SIX RUBLES) TURGENOV, WR, University of Moscow: An import. Big deal. The kid knows how to catch a ball. He trained with the Russian circus, shagging hoops for the bears. Igor has the speed and size. Minor drawback: In an effort to support his loving family in Minsk, Igor tends to sell off pieces of his uniform before he ever reaches the field. The helmet. The shoes. The jersey. Last game he played in his underwear — until halftime, when he sold that, too.
CONDOMINIUM JOHNSON, RB, Las Vegas College: First of all, that story about the Jaguar is completely false. It was leased, OK? And just because a kid has a Jacuzzi in his dorm room is no reason to think he’s on the take. Johnson is 6-3, 230 pounds of Class A, thoroughbred stud, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna sit here and explain how those tickets to Aruba wound up in his wallet.
ED (TOO SMALL) JONES, NT, Tuscaloosa Institute: That’s right. He’s Too Tall’s distant cousin, only his mother married a circus entertainer and, well, anyhow. . . . Too Small stands 4- feet-2, 140 pounds. How can he play nose tackle? Simple. He runs through the center’s legs. How’d you like to take the snap and find Too Small’s head in your hands, huh? Huh? You hear me talkin’?
LEAD FOOT LEIBMAN, K, Pontoon State: No lie, he kicks it 80 yards, thanks to his left foot, which is made out of lead. Why? I dunno, an industrial accident or something. What do you care? You need a kicker, I give you a kicker. The only problem with Lead Foot is on road games. Getting him through the metal detector can be a real drag.
DEION (PLATINUM) SANDERS, DB, Thorn Apple Valley State: Like his famous uncle, Platinum also excels at two sports: football and curling. Some GMs call him a discipline problem, but he fights only when teammates make fun of his broom.
MEL KIPER JR., ST, Institute of Trivia: That’s right. Kiper is the draft guru for ESPN. But he’s also an invaluable special teams player. You put him deep, the other team kicks off, and every guy whom Kuiper ever called “a stupid pick” comes flying in to kill him. Meanwhile, your guy with the ball runs for a touchdown. I would save Kiper for the Super Bowl, because this may work only once.
BILLY RAY BOB UM . . ., OT, Auburn/Ole Miss/Nevada/Gonzaga/ Fayetteville: A natural offensive tackle at 6-6, 310 pounds, Billy, the son of a dairy farmer, had a bit of a problem making grades at the five universities he attended. The problem began when he couldn’t remember his last name.
GIANNI ADOLPHO WILLIAMS, WR, Love College: I’m warning you right now, you’ll have to get past the uniform thing. Williams, with blazing speed, is particular about what he calls his “color scheme.” For example, he refuses to play for the Miami Dolphins because “turquoise is as out as sushi.” He likes the Raiders — “silver and black, simple, elegant” — and the Patriots —
“red, white and blue, sort of American retrospective, very Tommy Hilfinger.” For what it’s worth, he considers the Lions’ Honolulu blue “a sad, sad joke.”
There you have ’em, folks. As much talent as McNair and Wheatley at a fraction of the price. My line is open. Call me, before someone else does.
I’ll be in Wisconsin, scouting a kid they call Moo Moo McFly.
Sounds promising to me.