Big week in sports just passed. We have an assortment of items to hit on, but before we get started, I want to mention a fascinating story regarding current Miss America, Lauren Nelson.
Nelson represents America by way of Oklahoma. Her platform while adorning the crown is Internet Safety for Children. You have likely viewed her commercial for Cox Communications where she champions the cause.
Talk is cheap. She assisted police in a predator sex sting recently. The show "America's Most Wanted" filmed her in action where she pretended to be 14 years of age and skipping school for the day.
The premise behind this program always grabs my attention. The same type of series airs on "Dateline" and always draws the ire of all watching. Question: Why are none of the local TV stations working the same angle in Tulsa?
What are the drawbacks to this type of sting operation? Bad guys are outed and embarrassed. TV ratings spike, awareness is brought closer to home and local law enforcement reaps the benefits of assistance from the public. Are TV programmers and directors sleeping at the wheel on this idea?
Ok, one more national news item before we turn local. If you had to guess which city would produce the first transsexual sports columnist how many cities would it take for you to come up with the correct answer. Two?
Mike Penner is a long time sports columnist for the LA Times. He will take a few weeks of vacation like most Americans. However, when she returns please refer to her as Christine Daniels. Only in America. Only in Los Angeles.
This past weekend saw the NFL Draft take place on the NFL Network and ESPN.
The first round alone took more than six hours. Coverage ran more than 12 hours for the day. Keep this little nugget in mind before complaining about the duration.
ESPN pulls higher ratings for draft coverage than any other sporting event sans an actual NFL game, higher than baseball or basketball games. Incredible.
Of course there is always a local flare with ties to OU going in the first round. This year, the ties were even closer to home.
With the seventh pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, The Minnesota Vikings selected Adrian Peterson from Oklahoma. The most intriguing aspect of this pick is A.D. heading up north to play on turf in a dome.
He will platoon in the backfield with Chester Taylor to start the season. It will not take long before he is logging the bulk of the carries.
With the 27th pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected Robert Meachem from Tennessee. For those of you with short-term memories, Meachem played his high school ball at Tulsa's Booker T. Washington.
The pick surprised most experts and even Meachem himself. He was hearing from teams such as Tennessee, Dallas, San Diego and New England. Out of nowhere, he received a call from the Saints front office and now will adorn the Black and Gold.
This is an absolutely extraordinary fit for both parties. Meachem heads to the number one offense in the league. He brings with him a 6'2", 214-pound target blazing down the field with 4.40 speed.
Defenses cannot key on him. The Saints offense is too diverse. The coaching staff has another pawn in their ever evolving offensive chess game.
He can come in a play immediately with little pressure associated with being a team's number one pick. He doesn't have to be a sound bite or mouthpiece for the team. See Drew Brees or Reggie Bush.
Within minutes of hearing his named called out by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he inquired about head coach Sean Payton's playbook. Guaranteed money aside, he is leaving nothing to chance.
The Saints fans are among the best in the league. They are excited to see what a quiet, humble Tulsa kid can bring to their team. He'll be in good hands down on the Bayou.
My final Draft Grades. It is difficult to give out grades immediately. The typical expert waits three to five years to see how the events pan out. Not me.
Brady Quinn's slide: A+. It was so bad for the Golden Boy at one point the NFL was forced to take him away from the bright cameras into a secluded room. Highest of comedies is someone like Suzy Kolber finding you in the back and asking "How does it feel to free fall with no end in sight?".
Mel Kiper's hair: B-. Solid, well-defined "do" as usual, but Mel seemed to lack a little pep in his step. Could it be the rumblings of Todd McShay taking some of his precious airtime leading up to the draft?
Chris Berman's anchor job: D. I believe the saying goes something like "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." What if it is broke or at the very least, extremely played out? His service has been appreciated but it may be time to leap into the year 2000 Boomer.
Michael Smith: B+. The NFL columnist for ESPN.com was a new addition to the NFL coverage team this year. He was at the B table. The ex-NFL'er are always jumping on him, but he stands his ground and doesn't take too much garbage from wannabe ex-quarterbacks like Sean Salisbury.
Trey Wingo in HD: D-. Yikes! Would have been an F, but he has the unenviable task of asking the coaches the tough questions during the draft. Does Michael Vick hate dogs? Are the Bengals going to draft straight from a penitentiary system?
New Orleans Saints: A. Let's recap. The Saints lost a washed-up, semi-likable wide receiver with a mouth much bigger than his game in Joe Horn. His age had passed his skills.
They replace him in this draft with a down-to-earth kid who wants to work hard and not spew garbage from his mouth. Meachem's Follow Your Dreams Foundation was recently formed.
The foundation will assist Tulsa youth as well as kids still feeling the effects from Hurricane Katrina. In fact, let's change the Saints draft grade already.
Taking Meachem not only upgrades their offense but adds to the team's character. A+.
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