Unsurprisingly, plenty of conversation has already been generated with the results of Peter King’s MMQB All-Time Draft released on Monday. The project, which King calls “near-and-dear”, was a twelve-team draft in which every player from NFL history was available.
The twelve-man panel included prominent former NFL General Managers Ron Wolf, Eddie Accorsi, and the always polarizing Bill Polian. It also included respected former front office and player personnel figures like Joel Bussert, Gil Brandt, and John Wooten. Renowned media members Rick Gosselin, John Turney, Bob McGinn — and of course, Peter King himself — also took part in the exercise, along with current Pro Football Hall of Fame Vice President Joe Horrigan.
Given the vast nature of such a project, there was sure to be a wide range of perceptions on matters like the levels of dominance of specific players, positional importance, etc. A “hot take” or two was certain to emerge at some point, but given King’s commissioning of such a comprehensive, reputable forum of football minds, the project’s integrity would surely persist — right?
Unfortunately for King, the long-awaited project was doomed from the onset — crippled by one small mistake — a singular lapse in judgement that rendered the entire exercise meaningless.
The inclusion of Dan Fouts.
One would think that a Hall of Fame quarterback with years of experience as a color analyst for nationally televised NFL games would be the ideal candidate for this project. Ordinarily, that would be the case.
To kick off the festivities, Fouts selected Ray Guy with the fourth overall pick in the draft. There are no typos in that sentence. He selected a punter, with the fourth overall selection.
“I didn’t want to be stuck at the end of the draft without a punter because there are so few of them that are great, and in my mind Ray Guy is the best.” Fouts explains on MMQB.com.
For some context, the first three picks in the draft were Lawrence Taylor, Joe Greene, and Johnny Unitas — selected over Tom Brady by Rick Gosselin, a longtime writer for the Dallas Morning News, and a Pro Football Hall of Fame voter. Brady went ninth overall to Peter King.
With his next selection at sixteenth overall, and with Jerry Rice still on the board, Fouts proceeded to select his former favorite passing target, tight end Kellen Winslow. Other notable gaffes in the first ten rounds include:
- Kicker Jan Stenerud in the fourth round.
- Terry Bradshaw in the fifth round.
- Former Colts and 49ers running back Joe Perry in the ninth round, with Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allen, and Emmitt Smith still on the board.
When all was said and done, the former Chargers’ quarterback selected six former teammates, as well as his former coach.
- TE - Kellen Winslow
- WRs - Charlie Joyner and John (JJ) Jefferson
- T - Russ Washington
- G - Larry Little
- DT - Gary Johnson
- Head Coach Don Coryell.
A little effort would have been nice. Instead, it came off as almost sarcastic, making a mockery of the entire ordeal. Fouts assumed the role of the class clown who, in a moment of luck, found himself lumped in with the “smart kid” group during a school project. He let the others in the group do all the work, then seemingly made up his answers just before it became time to present to the class.
The result? The entire group received a bad grade.
Yes, King’s exercise was done in the spirit of fun, but would it have killed Fouts to have taken his position on the panel even the least bit seriously? A punter and kicker in the first four rounds? Six former teammates? Even many of the defenders he selected were guys he played against.
Sadly, this display of ineptitude is a common occurrence for Fouts, whose lack of weekly preparation translates directly to his consistently poor on-air execution. How many years does it take for an in-game color analyst to properly evaluate an instant replay? Or to correctly pronounce the names of the players involved in the action on the field? How much longer will Patriots defensive tackle Malcom Brown be called “Jamal Brown”?
There is perhaps no better example of Fouts’ inexcusably lethargic attitude towards his job than this clip from an interview with Mike Valenti of CBS Detroit’s 97.1 The Ticket. In the clip, Fouts verbalizes that he “hasn’t seen Detroit yet”, so he couldn’t be counted on to provide any commentary regarding the Lions’ season to that point.
Keep in mind that not only was the the interview recorded with a Detroit radio host, but it was already more than ten weeks into the 2016 season. Is it too much to ask of a National NFL analyst to have at least one prepared comment on the team for which you were asked to be interviewed for your perspective?
Fouts’ refusal to improve at his craft not only makes for a frustrating listening experience on game days, but it gives the feeling that he’s simply along for the ride — cashing in on his playing career for as long as he can until eventually someone pulls back the curtain and exposes the fact that he has provided absolutely nothing in the way of meaningful NFL analysis for years. It’s as if he’s been doing it just to keep himself busy — or perhaps for the company-paid dinners and press box buffets on Sundays.
If you happen to be of the mindset that although Fouts is a deplorable analyst, he’s otherwise completely harmless to the game, then ponder this fact for a moment: He has a vote for the Pro Hall of Fame.
As for King’s MMQB NFL All-Time Draft — it’s too bad that one bad egg can taint such a prominent assembly of football intellect. For those who are able to power through the Fouts-induced malaise, here are the fifteen New England Patriots that were drafted in the project, and where they ended up on the list.
- Tom Brady, QB - 9th overall
- John Hannah, G - 30th overall
- Junior Seau, LB - 43rd overall
- Mike Haynes, CB - 88th overall
- Rob Gronkowski, TE - 103rd overall
- Randy Moss, WR - 138th
- Darrelle Revis, CB - 142nd overall
- George Webster, LB 144th overall
- Andre Tippett, LB - 149th overall
- Ty Law, CB - 219th overall
- Jerrel Wilson, S - 243rd overall
- Adam Vinatieri, K - 261st overall
- Rodney Harrison, S - 276th overall
- Nick Lowery, K - 281st overall
- Bill Belichick, Head Coach - 308th over