ESPN’s Merril Hoge is swinging for the fences this week.
Hoge went out on a limb earlier this week and said Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is a potential NFL bust. It was a harsh assessment but Hoge shook his Magic 8 Ball and did not like the results.
He is not enamored with South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney either.
Hoge was a guest on ESPN’s "First Take" on Friday and was asked about Missouri defensive end Michael Sam’s pro day performance. He outlined his best draft day scenario for Houston, which is passing on Clowney in the first round and eventually selecting Sam.
That statement led to confusion by the person responsible for social media at ESPN. The network sent out a tweet stating Hoge would select Sam over Clowney. Of course, that tweet was deleted, but not before a screen grab.
— Play 60 Kid (@NatePlay60) March 21, 2014
Here is what Hoge initially said when asked to compare Clowney and Sam:
"You got one guy who is a dynamic athlete," Hoge said. "His athletic skills are crazy, but as a football player, they’re very average. Then you look at Michael Sam, his athletic skill sets are not eye-popping or awesome, but his football skill set is good. It’s sound. You would take a player like him and say, you know what, he has a chance to make my team, and I know this. One thing coaches like is somebody I can trust. He’s going to play hard for me. He’s going to be where he needs to be. Now, is he going to dominate people like Clowney could, but we hardly see on a consistent basis? That’s what you’d have to decide."
After the response, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith asked Hoge if he would take Michael Sam before Clowney. Hoge believes Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack should be the No.1 overall pick, and outlined why he would select Sam instead of Mack.
"If I’m building a team … First of all, I wouldn’t draft Clowney," Hoge said. "Let’s just say we’re talking about the Houston Texans. He will be there when I pick, but I don’t pick him in the first round. Somebody else takes him, so I get around the second round, and I take [Zach] Mettenberger [LSU quarterback] because I took Khalil Mack. Then maybe in the fifth or sixth round, guess what? I get Michael Sam. I got a guy who gives me effort, and will play every down, and will be where he needs to be for my defense, and that’s very important."
As Yahoo’s Eric Edholm discovered, some of Hoge’s predraft predictions are legendary. And by legendary, we mean absolutely incorrect.
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