Friday, October 26, 2007

Bar exam results

Bar exam results are released this morning at 7 a.m. on the Ohio Supreme Court's web site.

I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. In a half hour I'm going to wake up and I'm either going to be Ralphie, whereupon I'll find an official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time, or I'll be Cindy Lou Who, and I'll discover that the tree has been stolen. Ugh.


Update, 7:07: I'm Ralphie. Phew.

Bar exam results

Bar exam results are released this morning at 7 a.m. on the Ohio Supreme Court's web site.

I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. In a half hour I'm going to wake up and I'm either going to be Ralphie, whereupon I'll find an official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time, or I'll be Cindy Lou Who, and I'll discover that the tree has been stolen. Ugh.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bar exam

Well, that was a hoot. During the morning session on Tuesday I actually booked my hotel for February. Just in case.

There will always be bar exam horror stories, whether it's your MBE answer sheet disappearing or your computer eating your essays. To the best of my knowledge, we didn't have any systemic failures like that in Ohio (at least, not yet).

But we did have two minor incidents. You know how you're not allowed to take apart the MBE book? Well one girl tore the two blank sheets out of the back. Her answer sheet was immediately confiscated and she was told not to come back.

The other one was a lot more fun. In Ohio, like in many states I assume, we have to give a full set of fingerprints when we register as a candidate for admission. And when we got our bar exam info from the Supreme Court two weeks ago we got a notice that we would have to give a fingerprint on at least one of the three days during the test. So on the first day, there was ink and a card on every table, and we all had to give our right index finger. No big deal. The second day we had to do it again. Well, they picked up our cards and we started the MBE. Then little bit later they came back to one guy's table and made him give a full set of fingerprints. About fifteen minutes later, they came back for the guy and unceremoniously escorted him out. Apparently they have computers on site to scan the cards, and obviously his didn't match.

I have two questions here. First, is there someone out there who is a professional MBE taker? What an awful job. How much do you think that service goes for? Second, when you are told in advance that you will be fingerprinted, and then you show up on exam day and the fingerprint material is there on your table, how the heck do you not abandon your plan? What on Earth makes you think it's a good idea to call the bluff of the Supreme Court of Ohio? Have you not been going through this application process for 22 months? Do you not grasp how ridiculously anal they are about this stuff? What is wrong with these people?

On the plus side--hey, that's two down as far as I'm concerned. I only need to outscore a few hundred more.

UPDATE: I have heard this story from several people, but the details are sketchy and unverified. Allegedly a few years ago in Ohio, someone had a heart attack either right before or right after the exam started for the day. The proctors asked around if anyone was a doctor, and of course a couple of people were, and one doctor stabilized the poor guy until an ambulance arrived. Meanwhile, the proctors apparently started the exam for the other thousand-odd applicants, and the good Samaritan lost about a half an hour. He petitioned for extra time, but were denied, and failed the exam. Allegedly. If anyone can verify that I would really like to hear details.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Welp, it's about that time

Bar exam starts Tuesday.

Here's the thing about the bar exam. Like most about to take it, I am dreading it. I do not expect it to be a fun experience.

Unlike most about to take it, I haven't killed myself studying for it. That's not because I think I can pass without studying. It's because freaking out like these two just isn't worth it. I have done pretty well in law school, and I'm counting on that to get me through. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I'll try again in February and I'll study more then. But if it does, then I've earned at least an extra month of leisure time that my friends didn't have. High reward, small downside.

Now, on the other hand, it has become abundantly clear at this point that whether I pass or fail will depend entirely on what kind of questions I get. If my contracts essay is on common law, I'll knock it out of the park. If it's on UCC Article 2, I may be in trouble. If the property question is on future interests, RAP, or conveyancing, I'm on easy street. If it's on landlord-tenant law I will need the full time allotment.

So, am I confident that I'm going to pass? Not exactly. But the odds are in my favor, and even though I'm stressed, at least I don't have an ulcer.

In other words . . . see you in February.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


1) Chris Isaak? Messed up the words to the national anthem last night. Come on. Ridiculous.

2) Why the Canadian anthem? Yes, I know that the answer is that the Blue Jays play their home games in Canada, but isn't that a bit silly? If they're going to be playing "O Canada" shouldn't they also be playing "Himno Nacional Mexicano," and "Quisqueyanos valientes" (Dominican Republic), and "Gloria al Bravo Pueblo" (Venezuela), and so on?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bar study?

Sucks, man. Who knew?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I heard recently that my high school football coach has decided to leave the program and take the head coaching job at a rival school. I am sure it wasn't an easy decision for him, and it's hard to fault him for it -- apparently they were offering a significant pay raise, and he has a young family to take care of. And yet I can't help but feel a bit sad about this. My two brothers and I, and all of our friends, were very close to him as both players and alumni. It is strange to think that he won't be there anymore, and even more strange to think that once a year he'll be on the opposing sideline.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Draft recap

Welp, the Browns got the guy I wanted, and then the guy I didn't want. But now that the guy I didn't want is going to be playing behind the guy I did want, it's a whole different ball of wax. I'm on board.

They also picked up a corner in the second round who is supposed to be super-talented, but has some character issues. I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt (the charges against him having been dropped, and with two years of honor-roll trouble-free college in Las Vegas under his belt), but he should be on a zero-tolerance policy.

One important comment. I was watching the coverage on ESPN, and also had the "DraftCast" up on my computer. Jeremy Green--he of Scouts Inc., son to Denny Green, former front-office employee of the Cleveland Browns--was chatting with fans, answering questions and offering opinions. I have not liked Jeremy Green for quite some time. He was useless as a scout for the Browns, and has often been seen offering opinions which are either demonstrably false or otherwise indefensible. (He was also quoted in a recent issue of ESPN The Magazine as saying that Butch Davis was "way too heavily involved" in the draft in Cleveland, but if the alternative is having Jeremy Green run the show, I'd take my chances with Davis.)

Anyway, here's the point. The Carolina Panthers drafted USC WR Dwayne Jarrett in the second round on Saturday. In the chat room, Jeremy Green was slamming the pick, saying that Panthers WR Keyshawn Johnson (a former USC star) would not be willing to help Jarrett along in his career, and that Johnson and Jarrett were not on speaking terms. Meanwhile, over on the television--at the exact same moment--Keyshawn Johnson was actually interviewing Dwayne Jarrett, telling him how excited he was to have Jarrett come to Carolina, and promising to show him the ropes.

Jeremy Green. Awesome.

UPDATE: And now Keyshawn has been released by the Panthers. My friend joked during the draft that Jarrett was essentially Keyshawn's replacement, and we all hoped that he'd get the call during the telecast that he'd been released. Of course, this doesn't make Green look any better, but even if he had been right about those two, today's events would make the pick look a lot more sensible.

Friday, April 27, 2007

It's NFL draft time again

I no longer have the time or energy to do a four-part draft diary like I did three years ago, but I
figure I could still put together a mock draft. Why not, right? Here goes nothing.
  1. Oakland Raiders -- Jamarcus Russell
  2. Detroit Lions -- Calvin Johnson
  3. Cleveland Browns -- Brady Quinn
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Amobi Okoye
  5. Arizona Cardinals -- Joe Thomas
  6. Washington Redskins -- Gaines Adams
  7. Minnesota Vikings -- Jamaal Anderson
  8. Atlanta Falcons -- Adrian Peterson
  9. Miami Dolphins -- Levi Brown
  10. Houston Texans -- LaRon Landry
  11. San Francisco 49ers -- Adam Carriker
  12. Buffalo Bills -- Darelle Revis
  13. St. Louis Rams -- Alan Branch
  14. Carolina Panthers -- Greg Olsen
  15. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Patrick Willis
  16. Green Bay Packers -- Marshawn Lynch
  17. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Reggie Nelson
  18. Cincinnati Bengals -- Leon Hall
  19. Tennessee Titans -- Ted Ginn
  20. New York Giants -- Joe Staley
  21. Denver Broncos -- Lawrence Timmons
  22. Dallas Cowboys -- Dwayne Jarrett
  23. Kansas City Chiefs -- Robert Meachem
  24. New England Patriots -- Paul Posluzny
  25. New York Jets -- Aaron Ross
  26. Philadelphia Eagles -- Michael Griffin
  27. New Orleans Saints -- Chris Houston
  28. New England Patriots -- Anthony Gonzalez
  29. Baltimore Ravens -- Jon Beason
  30. San Diego Chargers -- Dwayne Bowe
  31. Chicago Bears -- Justin Harrell
  32. Indianapolis Colts -- Eric Wright
Note -- as I have mentioned in this space before, I desperately want the Browns to take Joe Thomas if he's available when they pick (and want to stay as far away as possible from Brady Quinn). With my awful track record in mock drafts, I figure by listing Brady Quinn as their selection I have pretty much guaranteed that they take someone else. I could also be talked into them taking Adrian Peterson with their first pick. I'm maybe a little concerned about his three serious injuries in three years, but he's really in a class by himself. Picking Peterson in the first and the best OL available (perhaps Ben Grubbs or Justin Blalock) at the top of the second round would be a pretty good day for the Browns.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Weird feeling

I have been in the American education system for the past twenty years. In terms of sheer time, I have repeated kindergarten through sixth grade after I graduated from high school.

And it just dawned on me that I am sitting in my last class ever.

Hits ya like a ton of bricks ...

Friday, April 20, 2007


We just bought a house. Wild.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Chesterland, Ohio

Mulberry Road. That's the street I grew up on. Awesome. This sort of thing has happened before, by the way.

Look at that -- no posts for nine days and then two in a matter of minutes.

For any 0Ls

On the off chance that anyone reading this is considering law school, I would highly recommend reading this post by Lyco.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Shoeless Ruth Ginsburg

So the Girl With Whom I Sometimes Spend Time (GWWISST) had a tour of the Supreme Court with her Media Coverage and the Courts Class. They had a grand ole time, and the whole process ended with an audience with Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Justice was talking about how jornalists shouldn't speculate as to things about which they do not have information. Apparently not too long ago, some media outlets reported that Ginsburg's health seemed to be in decline because she took longer than the other Justices to rise at the close of arguments one day.

What the reporters were unaware of, however, was that Justice Ginsburg had slipped her shoes off during the arguments, and was simply unable to get them back on in time.

Supreme Court Justices: They Take Their Shoes off at Work Just Like Us!

Monday, April 02, 2007

The NFL Draft is approaching

and the Browns are apparently considering Brady Quinn. These guys, however, think that's a bad idea, and it's hard to disagree:

As a man smarter than me once said, "Brady Quinn is David Klingler without the poise, footwork or arm strength. Good luck to whoever drafts the hero."

Spread the word! Don't draft Brady Quinn!

Friday, March 30, 2007

How to Perpetuate a Stereotype

1. Found a college in West Virginia.

2. Make a name for your basketball team with this man as your star.

3. After he leaves, win the NIT and have snazzy shirts printed.

Voila! Before you know it, everyone once again thinks West Viginia is full of white trash who can't spell. Of course, that's not even the best West Virginia shirt I've seen in the past year ...

Amen, brother.

I would like to state, for the record, that I am a huge fan of WV. Never had a bad time there.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tax Rap

This is Prof. Civ Pro II. The occasion is the Turbo Tax Tax Rap contest. The details are at TaxProf Blog.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Perhaps There Was a Zesta Rep Behind Me?

For the first time in my life I was just on the receiving end of racism, at least the old-fashioned, overt hatred type.

Background info: at least twice a day, I cross 2nd St on Massachusetts Ave coming to and from school (google map). Second is four or five lanes wide there including turning lanes, and is basically a dump-off from the I-395 exit. It's always busy. As far back as I can remember, a member of the Nation of Islam has been there for most of my crossings, handing out his newsletter. I always thought of him as just very dedicated to his cause, but nothing more. I'd never seen him talk to anyone other than black people in cars before. No pedestrians. No white people.

So today on my way home I was walking north on the east side of Second Street. When the light there is red, traffic backs up all the way onto the Interstate, and you can cross before the crosswalk by walking through the stopped cars, which saves me about a minute on a ten-minute walk home. I do this regularly. So I crossed the street right by where the 395 badge is on the map, and started walking towards Mass (there is no sidewalk on that side, only grass). I'm maybe 50 feet from Mass when he literally barked at me "YOU BETTER WATCH YOUR STEP CRACKER!"

I was too taken aback to even respond. I looked around, my jaw on the floor, and then turned back around and kept walking. When I was across the bridge, I looked back again and decided that I should have said something along the lines of "excuse me?" or "what the fuck?" but it was too late. I walked home shaking the entire way. I will never forget the contempt in his voice. And I will never forget his face, nor will ever look at that intersection, or him, or sadly the Nation of Islam, the same way ever again.

I know that I'm a suburban, white, child of privilege. So I don't have a leg to stand on in these matters at all. I’m also aware that this particular injustice is about 1/6 of a drop in an ocean exponentially bigger than the Pacific. And the “cracker” slur does not even carry a fraction of the loaded connotation or hate of the N-word or anything similar. But this makes our country’s history of race relations just that much more contemptible to me (if that were even possible). I had no idea how much something that simple would sting. The wound was still raw an hour later. I did not want to eat. I couldn’t think about much else—what would have happened if I responded? Where does he get off? Why does this bother me so much?

As I write this right now, I can’t sleep. I cannot pinpoint the reason (lots has gone wrong in my life in the past ten days or so), but as I lied there staring at the ceiling, this incident replayed itself in my mind more than anything that has been bothering me recently. I have always been fine with the fact that Chris Rock can say the N-word while I can’t, but this really drives home why.

I am aware that I have led a very blessed life, and believe me when I say that I am not trying to compare what happened to me today to what happens to countless people less fortunate than myself on a daily basis. In addition to likely not having to deal with anything like that again for a while, I came home to my nice apartment building with its wireless Internet afterward. It was a one-time insult, not an institutional bias that will keep me from getting a job or a promotion, and I was not threatened with bodily harm. I was able to vent to close friends about the experience. But even with all that, it hurt. A lot. And it probably will for a bit.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Match Day

Unlike the legal world, where us law students are left to fend for ourselves when it comes to jobs, graduating medical students essentially get told which job they're going to go to. Sure, they apply to different programs and interview and rank their preferences, but the end result is that med students across the country open their envelope on Match Day and discover (along with the other 200 people in the room) where they will be spending their next three to seven years.

This year's Match Day was yesterday, and I am pleased to report that my wife and I will be spending our next four (or maybe five) years here in Cincinnati. She will be at both University Hospitals-Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital, doing residencies in both internal medicine and pediatrics (something the cool kids call "med-peds").

So this is good news. We're both very excited.

Now if only I could find a job.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


I think I just failed the MPRE this morning. That would make me one of only two people I know who will have had to take it twice. The other being my esteemed blogmate, EK. See you in August, jerk.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I have a non-interview today. Yeah, I don't know what that is either. But about a week and a half ago I sent my resume to a few firms in town, and last week I got a call from one of them. The message said something like "We don't have any positions available for graduating 3Ls right now, but we'd love for you to come down and talk to us, so we can get to know you a little bit."

Obviously I'm not going to pass up an opportunity to beg for a job, but how exactly does one prepare for a non-interview?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Two years

You Can't Get Arrested for Being Awesome is officially two years old. Yay.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Don Blair doppleganger

This won't make much sense to anyone not at UC Law, but I was channel surfing this afternoon and happened across a program that appeared to include our ever-popular law librarian commenting on the presidency of Benjamin Harrison. After doing a double-take, I realized wasn't Don, but the resemblance was striking enough that when he came on to comment a second time, I did it again.

The culprit was Dr. Allan Spetter, a history professor at Wright State University. These photos don't do it justice, but I can't help but wonder if they're long-lost brothers.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Rug Pee-ers Did Not Do This, Man

Hi. My name is EK, I'm a cancer, and I like dolphins. I suppose I'm going to post around here from time to time, which is fun. It's not like I don't already basically write the posts around here anyhow.

OK, on with the rug peeing. I have a friend. We'll call her Suzy. Last Saturday, she went home with a boy. We'll call him Mike. Now, despite Mike's impassioned pleas for her to make out with him in the street as they were walking home from the bar, Suzy had the patience to wait until they were back at Mike's parents' house to get busy (our friend Mike, you see, is taking a "leave of absence" from college and still lives at home).

After a spirited bout of making out on the couch, during which Mike managed to misplace his pants, the two would-be love birds passed out, surely tired from all the alcohol and awkward groping. The next thing Suzy knew she woke up from an all-too real dream that she was stuck in a rainstorm to see that Mike was micturating into a cup on the table next to her. His cup ranneth over, however, and the excess was splashing everywhere: onto the blanket, the floor, and of course onto Suzy. Mortified, she told him to take it to the bathroom. He responded by falling back into the chair he was sleeping on, still pantsless and legs splayed, and passing back out. Sexy.

So, first chance she got, Suzy bolted.

Next thing she knew, he was requesting her friendship on Facebook. We were were quite amused to learn that Mr. Golden Shower had over 1000 friends, most of whom were hot women, according to his photo albums. He is supposedly graduating from Tennessee in 2007. But best of all, his interests include "forgiveness" and "distinct smells." The next day, he called her to ask her out again, but no mention of whether he advised her to bring an umbrella.

The lesson: never trust anyone from Tennessee.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Our site feed seems to be pushing through every post we've ever done. I think it's related to our switch over to the New Blogger, and it should stop soon.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Bowl

For what it's worth, I'm rooting for the Bears today. I'm not necessarily convinced they'll win, but if I were a betting man I think I'd take the (seven) points.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sealand is for sale!

Remember Sealand? You know, the old fort that Paddy Roy Bates Prince Roy I took over with a helicopter 40 years ago?

Well, it's for sale.

I am officially requestion--no, demanding--that all of you New York-bound biglaw people, pinch a few pennies here and there from your newly-raised salaries, save up those monster bonuses, and buy Sealand! I will volunteer my services as its first Attorney General (assuming I can pass the Sealand bar -- oh wait, I will probably get to write it, so that shouldn't be a problem. In theory.).

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sex ed

I knew Texas was a little different, but this surprises even me. Apparently in Texas you can't buy dildos except for "educational" uses, so a trip to the local sex shop results in cryptic conversations about what sort of, uh, educational demonstration you intend to perform.

The video also includes this exchange:

Customer: "And what are these used for?"

Employee: "Well these are actually, uhm, these are butt plugs."

Customer: "Butt plugs?"

Employee: "Mm hmm."

Customer: "And that's a 'demonstrator' as well?"

Employee: "No, these are just to go in the butt. . . . The anus is not defined as a sexual orifice by Texas law, so you can buy whatever you like to go there."

Narrator: "In case you're as confused as we are, here are a few of the rules: You can buy this [a dildo] as long as it's used for educational purposes. You can buy this [a vibrator] because generally a penis doesn't have a face or an animal attached to it. And you can buy this [a butt plug] because you can put anything up your butt as long as it isn't a penis."
Oh, those crazy Texans.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

R.I.P., Barbaro

A friend commented the other day on the passing of Barbaro:
I've been thinking about it, and I'm pretty sure I felt exactly the same when I heard Barbaro died as I did when I heard Steve Irwin got killed by a stingray.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union

Yes, Virginia, this is still (sort of) a blawg, so here is commentary on the State of the Union address. A friend comments via email:

the thing that i am noticing most is nancy pelosi sitting behind W, blinking incessantly. like, 4 blinks for every dick cheney blink on the other side.

If you happen to read this while it's still on, check out the blinks, it's a little unnerving.

UPDATE: If you're not enjoying it enough already, you can play the State of the Union Drinking Game.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

On offensive linemen and good football teams

I am a Cleveland Browns fan. Most of you know that. Over the last eight seasons I have watched them suffer through incompetence previously known only to the Bengals. Though the defense has never been great, the offense has been downright awful. From 1999 through 2006, the Browns have finished last in total offense three times, second to last once, and in the bottom quarter of the league three more times. The lone "bright spot" was their playoff season of 2002, where they finished a decidedly-less-awful-yet-still-pretty-awful 23rd.

As bad as their quarterbacks and receivers have performed, their worst results have been on the ground--their rushing rank has been higher than their passing rank only once. They have finished last in the league in rushing once, and second to last twice. In 2005 Reuben Droughns became the first Browns player to rush for 1000 yards in a season since Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack both did it in 1985. Egads. Pointing to that ineptitude, a lot of people think the Browns will target Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson in this year's draft. These rumors appear to be fueled in part by the speculation of the Browns beat reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who has a habit of not knowing a goddamn thing.

Other people think the Browns need a quarterback--Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson manned that position this year, but neither did it particularly well. LSU QB Jamarcus Russell and Browns GM Phil Savage are from the same town, and Russell apparently attended a camp sponsored by Savage when Russell was in junior high. Lots of observers think Russell will be gone by the time the Browns pick (many project him to the Raiders at no. 1), but are sure the Browns will select him if he's still on the board. Meanwhile, Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn has made known his desire to play in Cleveland, and many fans throughout Ohio hope the Browns select hometown boy and former Ohio State star Troy Smith (his final performance notwithstanding).

I think all of those people (the people clamoring for Adrian Peterson, Jamarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Troy Smith--heck, some of them even want Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson) are crazy. I want Wisconsin OT Joe Thomas. Improve the Browns' run game, you say? Not even Jim Brown could succeed behind that porous offensive line. Droughns' best years do appear to be behind him, but bringing in a young kid to get hammered back there is a good way to ruin at least three careers (Peterson's, Savage's, and head coach Romeo Crennel's).

Get a true leader to play quarterback, you say? In the last eight seasons the Browns have tried a no. 1 overall pick (Tim Couch), a three-time Pro-Bowler (Jeff Garcia), and a former Super Bowl-winner and no. 6 overall pick (Trent Dilfer) at quarterback--not to mention a Mormon (Ty Detmer), a retread (Doug Pederson), a McCown (Luke), a hick (Kelly Holcomb), a ghetto-hick (Frye), and a guy with pontoon boats for feet (Anderson). While the second set might not impress anyone, the first set had success everywhere but Cleveland. Heck, Jeff Garcia ripped off six consecutive wins with the Eagles this year.

What's the common thread here? The offensive line. Since 1999 the Browns have slapped together an offensive line full of journeymen and unknowns, and the results have reflected that. In the last eight drafts the Browns have spent only nine picks on offensive linemen. Only three of those players are still in the league (2006 fourth-rounder Isaac Sowells, who appeared in exactly one game for the Browns this year; Jeff Faine, the Browns 2003 first-round choice, will start at C for the Saints in the NFC Championship game tomorrow after being traded on draft day last year; and Melvin Fowler, the Browns' third-round pick in 2002, who was traded to the Vikings in 2005 and now starts at C for the Bills. Faine, a pure center, and Fowler, a center-guard, were the only two of the nine who were selected on the draft's first day). To Savage's credit, he attempted to address the offensive line through free agency in the last offseason, but freak injuries (LeCharles Bentley), surprise retirements (Bob Hallen), drug suspensions (Alonzo Ephraim), and mental health issues (Ryan Tucker) negated most of his effort.

Meanwhile, the leading teams of the last ten years have invested heavily in offensive linemen in the draft. Indianapolis has selected 15 interior linemen in the last ten years, plus two tight ends. Denver has selected 11 linemen and five tight ends (two of whom were converted to tackle). The Patriots have spent 16 picks on interior linemen and an additional eight on TEs. Your 2006 leader in points scored, the San Diego Chargers, have selected 19 interior offensive linemen in the last ten drafts.

The 2005 New York Jets were 4-12--they spent two first-round picks on offensive linemen, and made the playoffs in 2006. (Yes, I know that the Jets benefitted from a ridiculously easy schedule, and really weren't as good as their record indicated, but they did make the playoffs, and now have a good line to build around.) The last decade or so is full of examples like that--Tony Boselli went no. 2 overall to Jacksonville in 1995, and they made the AFC Championship game twice in his first five years; Jonathan Ogden went no. 4 overall to Baltimore, and they won the Super Bowl in 2000; the Rams took Orlando Pace no. 1 overall in 1997 and won the Super Bowl in 1999; Walter Jones went no. 6 overall and has been a key ingredient in an offense that has produced three consecutive division titles and a Super Bowl appearance. Other, lesser-known OTs taken near the top of the draft have helped as well--Luke Petitgout went to the Giants in 1999, and they made the Super Bowl his second year; Kenyatta Walker (no. 14 in 2001) helped the Buccaneers to the playoffs in his rookie year and to a Super Bowl win in his second; Levi Jones (no. 10 in 2002) is blocking for one of the league's better offenses right now in Cincinnati; in 2003, the Panthers took Jordan Gross at no. 8 and made the Super Bowl or the NFC Championship twice in his first three seasons; that same year the Broncos selected George Foster at no. 20, and he has now blocked for four 1000-yard backs in four seasons; in 2005 the Saints selected Jammal Brown at no. 13, they are now on the verge of the Super Bowl, and he is a Pro Bowler in his second year.

In his year-end press conference last week, Savage was asked whether the Browns would address the offensive line in this year's draft. Particular emphasis was placed on the guard-center-guard positions, as they out-under-performed the others. Savage's response was diplomatic enough, and he assured those in attendance that they will do what they can to improve the team based on who is available. But then he expounded upon a long-standing belief of his that while blue-chip tackles must be taken near the top of the draft, quality guard-center-guard players can be found on the second day or as undrafted free agents.

Well, that's the sort of claim that I can't just let go without checking up on it. Considering my recent experience as a Browns fan, seeing the team all but ignore the offensive line in the draft, and their attempts to find quality players in the sixth and seventh round, I did not believe that all these quality players were just floating around out there.

So I compiled a list. I went through the depth charts for all 32 teams and identified the starter at all five line positions. I defined the starters as the player who started the most games at a given position (as opposed to the player who was starting at the end of the season). I then charted the draft position for all 64 starting tackles, and all 96 starting guard-center-guards.

As you can see, and much to my surprise, Phil Savage was right. The significant plurality (more than a third) of the starting offensive tackles in the NFL were drafted in the first round. The first and second rounders combined make up about 60% of the starters. The single biggest group of guard-center-guards, on the other hand, was the undrafted players. Almost a quarter of those were undrafted, though it's worth noting that the second-biggest group is first-rounders, and that almost half of these starters were first-day picks. Still, that means the majority of them were either second-day draft picks or not drafted at all.

Now, it has to be said that this could be the result of something like a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, general managers believe that OTs should be taken on the first day, and that G-C-Gs should be taken on the second day (or not at all), and that's why we see the distribution as it is. I can't entirely dismiss that out of hand, but a consideration of the GMs' incentives suggests that problem might be overstated. GMs are judged according to how many games their teams win, not how many of their draft picks are in the starting lineup. While the two can be closely correlated, it's hard to imagine that, for example, many of the starting OTs are starting only because they are high draft picks; they still must play well enough to keep their spots. And because teams can bring in so many undrafted players into camp, there is typically plenty of competition.

Anyway, let's get back around to the point. Tackles at the top of the draft, G-C-Gs later or not at all. How have the Browns fared under this model? As I mentioned, the Browns have drafted only nine offensive linemen since their reincarnation. How did those break down? Two were first-day picks. Jeff Faine, in 2003, was a first-round center. That bucks the trend. Melvin Fowler, in 2002, was a third-round center-guard. That bucks the trend too, though not as egregiously. Of the seven players drafted on the second day, four were tackles and three were guards (in the guard total I have included Isaac Sowells, the 2006 fourth-rounder who played tackle in college but has worked almost exclusively at guard with the Browns). According to the handy-dandy little graph above, very few of the second-day tackles are likely to develop into starting tackles in the NFL, arguably making them wasted picks.

The Browns cannot afford to waste more picks. (Many of their non-o-line picks of the last eight years have been wasted as well, but that's a story for another day.) Joe Thomas, if he's available, represents a great opportunity for the Browns to get back on the right track toward building a respectable offense, both on the ground and through the air. I'm not saying that he's their ticket to the Super Bowl, but few teams have managed to get there without a passable offensive line. It's time the Browns started trying.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Back to school

Winter break is over, and it's back to school tomorrow. I've enjoyed my few weeks off, and I think I might get back to blogging soon. At the very least, I will have a post about offensive linemen in the NFL draft coming in the near future. So you all can look forward to that. After that, who knows?