Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Vern Fiddler . . .
NFL DRAFT: In an effort to stretch the NFL season to virtually a year-round news cycle, they recently put more time between the Combine, where invited prospects show up at Indianapolis to go through a dog and pony show like no other, and the draft.
At the Combine, they go through drills, physicals, drug testing, 40-yard times, bench press repetitions, vertical jumps, extensive personal interviews and on, and on, and on.
An increasing number of quarterbacks are choosing not to throw during the Combine, rather waiting until their Pro Day at their school.
The extra time gives teams time to pick every scab they can on players. By the time it gets to draft day, most players have added concerns for teams to downgrade them.
This year Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil slipped from a possible top pick for the Titans to No. 13 and the Dolphins. It was a reported two-year-old Facebook picture that surfaced, showing a picture of Tunsil smoking a marijuana bong wearing a gas mask. He looked like an alien from outer space.
Tunsil’s stock dropped some more when he admitted taking money from a coach at Mississippi State.
His attorneys are investigating a financial advisor to determine if he was responsible for leaking the picture and other damaging information on social media.
Tunsil has signed with high profile Memphis agent Jimmy Sexton and an attorney in Holly Springs, Miss., Steve Farese.
It will be interesting to see how Tunsil reacts to having millions of dollars. Money and fame can disappear rather quickly on South Beach.
TITANS TOP PICK: If you like numbers, you loved the Titans first draft class under Jon Robinson.
Robinson drafted 10 prospects. Hopefully for the Titans sake, there will be more prospects that suspects. Jumping from college football to the NFL is gigantic leap. Some get it. Others don’t.
I like Jack Conklin, the offensive tackle from Michigan State. He was the first pick at No. 8 and has everything Robinson wants in a player. That is playing with the motor always running, playing with passion and brains.
I always look for sleepers in the draft. I picked out DB Cortland Finnegan after the Titans took him in the seventh round of the 2006 draft. He played at Samford, not Stanford, and worked his way into a starting position. He later played for the Rams, Dolphins and Panthers. He is currently not with a team and his career might be over.
My longshot sleeper this draft is Mr. Irrelevant, the last player picked in the class. He is Kalan Reed, a cornerback out of Southern Miss. He is 5-11, 195 pounds. He was acquired from the Broncos. Don’t you know they will be furious if Mr. Irrelevant becomes relevant?
Sir Charles: I suggest NBA analyst Charles Barkley take English as a second language class.
He was commenting on the Atlanta Hawks, who he thought should have “taken someone out,’’ when the Cavs coach allowed his team to go for the record for making 3-pointers. It ended 123-98. Several analysts and former players chastised Barkley for his point of view. They said the Cavs coach must have thought it was OK, so he didn’t call the Hawks off.
“He shouldn’t have did that,’’ Charles said, “He shouldn’t have did that.”
I know Auburn’s English professors are proud of Charles. As his college coach Sonny Smith said about Charles – “Charles loves college. He just doesn’t like going to classes,’’ Smith said.
SAD CASES: It amazes me how much money NBA players make and how many of them are broke.
Former Bulls star Scotty Pippen made $120 million and blew it all. Latrell Sprewell, a three-time All-Star, has gone through $100 million.
Then you have Allen Iverson, who earned $160 million but lost his money in a variety of ways. He was an alcoholic; a heavy gambler and legal fees were draining. Oh, yeah. Iverson also supported a posse of 50 leeches.
Jason Caffey had $34 million, but it didn’t begin to cover child support for 10 children from eight different women.
SHORT CUTS: I hear Memphis prep golfer Goodman Rudolph will play golf at Mississippi State. He is the grandson of the late Mason Rudolph. Mason was on the PGA Tour for some time and played in the U.S. Open when he was 16. He was a Clarksville native. … Predators goalie Pekka Rinne continues to amaze me with his stamina, his grit around the net and his hand-eye coordination. He stopped 44 shots in Game 4 against San Jose.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban has hired a former Crimson Tide nose tackle, Josh Chapman, as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at his alma mater. He played there in 2007-11 after playing his high school football at Hoover High School out of Birmingham . . . Titans draft pick Derrick Henry ran a 40 in 4.54 seconds. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner and running back is a load. That time ranked 11th fastest among running backs, but he was also the heaviest at 247 pounds . . . The NHL is killing the sport by the late starts in the Stanley Cup playoffs . . . In honor of the late Atlanta wordsmith Furman Bisher, Selah.
Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Writers Hall of Fame. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.