It's always seemed to me that entering the NFL as a rookie has to be one of the most intimidating experiences a young man can have in our culture. I mean sure, you can make a great case for military boot camp. But at least there, you're in the same boat as what my older kid called "boots" when he was going through it. Everybody is just as scared as everybody else and in theory, they're tearing you all down equally.
Going into the NFL is more like entering a prison yard for the first time. With rookies being the fresh fish who have to earn the respect of the lifers in order to survive. So most of them keep their heads down, put in their work, and try not to draw any negative attention to themselves.
But "most" does not mean, "all." Some strut in there, not like Andy Dufresne, but like Cool Hand Luke. Unafraid. Ready to speak their mind. As Dragline puts it, "natural born world shakers" who are supremely confident in everything they do. Whether they're claiming they can eat 50 eggs like Luke, or throw a ball 80 yards like Kentucky's Will Levis:
And Levis is not backing down at all, just because he's at the Combine and facing the scrutiny of 32 personnel departments:
NFL.com - Kentucky's Will Levis, a likely top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, spoke Friday at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine and -- in under 15 minutes -- presented himself as arguably the most self-assured QB in this year's class.
"Yeah, I mean, my goal is to win more than anybody," Levis said. "I want to be the greatest of all time. Like, you're crazy if you don't think that way."
For some, however, Levis is a complicated evaluation.
He earned rave reviews in the 2021 season … Last season, however, didn't go quite as well. [Levis] was saddled with two major injuries: a painful turf toe and a (non-throwing) left shoulder injury. His numbers dropped off almost across the board -- especially as a runner -- as a result. …
Asked why he chose to throw at the combine -- Alabama's Bryce Young is one top QB who will not -- Levis wasn't about to hit the brakes on his belief in himself.
"Because I've got a cannon," Levis said, "and I want to show it off."
I've got to admit, if I was advising Levis (and for 10% of his earnings, I'll register with the NFLPA as an agent), I'd tell him not to let his mouth write checks until he proves his ass can cash them. But if I'm an NFL talent evaluator, I don't hate it. Some guys just have that need to call their shots. To talk a good game first and then back it up later. Whether it's for the extra motivation or just to psyche themselves up, supreme confidence talking or crushing insecurity being suppressed, that's up to the one doing the talking. All I know is that there's something to be said for having that much belief in yourself you're willing to swing your dick around for the world to see.
Levis does have the advantage of actually possessing an impressive piece of artillery:
So there's no lie in his words. On the other hand, he's leaving himself wide open to this comparison:
But since he's not going to be my quarterback, either way it's entertaining as hell. Either he'll live up to the hype he himself is creating, or he'll crash and burn to the delight of every veteran in the league who resents him for popping off before he'd ever accomplished a damned thing. However it plays out, it's going to be a blast to watch this kid's career play out.