Draft Picks Show Confidence

Doyel: Indianapolis Colts’ 2018 NFL Draft class doesn’t lack for confidence

INDIANAPOLIS — In the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Colts selected an edge rusher who says he’s the next Von Miller. In the fourth round they drafted a running back who compares himself to Alvin Kamara. In the fifth round they drafted a receiver who compares himself to Antonio Brown. And in the sixth round they drafted another receiver, one who didn’t bother with comparisons, just called himself “a hall of famer in this league.”

The Colts had themselves one hell of a draft.

Or these guys have no idea what they’re talking about.

It’s the latter, of course. I’m writing this here not simply to make fun of anyone, especially gigantic and explosive men I’ll be seeing weekly for years to come, but as a public service. This is a teachable moment, is what it is. Maybe those Colts rookies will see this – and I know you’re seeing this; social media made sure of that – and learn something. Maybe some of the best young athletes in the area, maybe even some beyond that given the internet’s reach, will see it.

Maybe a few youngsters will read this and use it to avoid embarrassing themselves, the way several Colts rookies embarrassed themselves last week.

And the way I embarrassed myself back in the day.

I couldn’t write about a topic as universal as the clueless confidence of college kids and not include my own story. Problem for me is: Which story about my out-of-control college ego do I include? Decisions, decisions. Big picture, put it like this: When I was a youngster at The Tampa Tribune, about to leave for a job with the Miami Herald, co-workers at the Tribune gave me a going-away party. In those days, at newspapers all over the country, colleagues would affectionately roast a departing reporter by printing up a mock front page, lampoonishly poking fun at him or her. Well, when they printed up mine, they didn’t have to exaggerate. Just quoted me accurately, bragging about how good I was going to be.

 And they never knew the best example. Or the worst, depending on your point of view. It was a few years earlier, my final year of college. The University of Florida student newspaper had its election for managing editor. I ran unopposed, because I was unbeatable. And if you didn’t know, just ask me. I’d tell you.

Those elections were more like a job interview conducted by the Independent Florida Alligator’s five-person board of directors, five adults who had lived enough life – and it couldn’t have taken much – to see me for the fool I was. At one point, a board member said he was uncomfortable putting me in charge of the newspaper, given my ego. He asked for a response, and I did my best to show humility. Nah! I forged dumbly ahead. Why give me the job? Well, I said:

“Because in 15 years when I’m at Sports Illustrated, you’ll feel stupid if you didn’t.”

Oh, yes I did.

Well, they gave me the job – by a vote of 3-2. Literally, I almost lost that election to nobody.

Point is, young people tend to have no self-awareness. At that age we are the most dangerous of creatures, young and full of ourselves and completely naïve to the fact that we don’t know what we don’t know. Give someone like that a microphone, and they might embarrass themselves. Wasn’t just me. And it’s not just some new Colts. The Arizona Cardinals drafted UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen 10th overall last week, and at his introductory news conference he humbly opined that “there were nine mistakes made ahead of me.”

Given a day to reconsider, and in the wake of national laughter at his hubris, Rosen toned down his comments. Nah! He forged dumbly ahead.

“I would actually say that I’m not as angry that there were nine guys ahead of me …” Rosen said, at which point he should have tightened his shoelaces and walked away. Alas, he grabbed one of his feet and put it in his mouth.

“… just three quarterbacks,”he said. “That’s kind of what gets to me. So there were three big mistakes ahead of me.”

Guys like Josh Rosen, they don’t get it. So many great young athletes don’t know what they don’t know, which is why it’s so charming, so astoundingly magnetic, when someone like New Albany basketball star Romeo Langford or Pike sprinter Lynna Irby comes along and speaks with such grace and humility.

Unlike, say, the Rutgers defensive end the Colts took in the second round, someone named Kemoko Turay, who got on a conference call with Colts reporters and was asked how he would fit into the Colts’ 4-3 scheme. Turay said some stuff about working hard and wanting to win, and concluded like so:

“(The Colts) are going to get a great player,” he said. “I’m our generation of Von Miller. I’m coming in.”

Thanks for the notice, kid. Lets the NFL get a head start engraving your Defensive Rookie of the Year award, which Miller won in 2011.

Later in the second round the Colts took another edge rusher, Tyquan Lewis from Ohio State, who was asked to “describe your style of play” and decided this was his chance to clear up any misconceptions about just how wonderful he is.

“My style of play – I’m speed to power,” Lewis said. “My speed is [deceiving]. A lot of guys don’t know how fast I really am until they really play me. Everyone doesn’t really understand, but I mean, I play really, really fast. I’m very powerful. I just love getting after the quarterback. I love playing against the run. I’m a very instinctive player, very smart and I just do everything right.”

Coach Frank Reich and defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus will be so pleased. They hired a position coach for the defensive line, but they can save some money and tell Mike Phair his services won’t be needed; the rest of the Colts’ D-line will learn by watching Lewis.

Fourth-round pick Nyheim Hines out of North Carolina State couldn’t decide which great NFL player reminds him of himself.

“I look forward to going out in the slot and being that mismatch guy like with Darren Sproles, Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey,” Hines said, naming a three-time Pro Bowler (Sproles), a rookie who caught 80 passes last season (McCaffrey), and the 2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year who was sixth in the NFL with 1,554 scrimmage yards (Kamara). “Those are the players I am similar to.”

The receiver the Colts took in the fifth round, Daurice Fountain of Northern Iowa, congratulated the Colts on Twitter by saying they had just selected “the steal of the draft,” and then told reporters why.

“I really just believe that I can go in and literally be … one of the next great receivers that are talked about like Antonio Brown,” Fountain said of the Steelers superstar. “He was taken in a late round. … I think I can be one of the next. I’m really sure that I am the biggest steal of the draft easily.”

Then what would that make Deon Cain, the receiver the Colts drafted in the sixth round out of Clemson? Cain pulled a Josh Rosen and said the draft slight would stoke him.

“I’m definitely going to show these teams that passed up on me that I am a great player,” he said, “and I’m going to be a hall of famer in this league.”

As the best sports writer in America – Nah! The world! – and someone who’s been biding my time in Indianapolis, waiting for someone to come along worthy of my literary gifts: Welcome to Indianapolis, young men. Here’s some advice somebody should have given me, back in the day:

Stop talking.

Start doing.

Find IndyStar columnist Gregg Doyel on Twitter: @GreggDoyelStar or at facebook.com/gregg.doyel.

https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/columnists/gregg-doyel/2018/05/03/colts-nfl-draft-josh-rosen-kemoko-turay-nyheim-hines-daurice-fountain/565933002/


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