As per Wikipedia: A soufflé is a light, fluffy, bakedcake made with eggyolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a savory main dish or sweetened as a dessert. The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means “to blow up” or more loosely “puff up” — an apt description of what happens to this combination of custard and egg whites.
Every soufflé is made from 2 basic components:
- a French Creme patissiere base/flavored cream sauce or purée
- Egg whites beaten to a soft peak meringue.
The base provides the flavour and the whites provide the “lift”. Foods commonly used for the base in a soufflé include jam, fruits, berries,chocolate, banana and lemon (the last three are used for desserts, often with a good deal of sugar). When it comes out of the oven, a soufflé should be puffed up and fluffy, and will generally fall after 5 or 10 minutes (as risen dough does).
Because of its tendency to fall rather quickly, the soufflé has been displayed in many forms of media, especially cartoons and children’s programs, as very difficult to survive outside the oven for more than a short time. Some jest that a poke or a loud noise will make a soufflé collapse (and with it, the pretentions of the hostess).
As I was reading story after inane story about who ended up in the first round, third round, out of the draft, athelete, soaring stock, sliding stock, short arms, great wingspan, too long an arm, fast for a big man, slow for a little man, hip fluidity…
Yes, the NFL draft hype has already begun. It seems players are “shooting up the boards” or “dropping like a popped souffle” every day, or several times a day. Poor one on one drill at the senior bowl? Oh, he just proved he is awful. Great day covering the 10th best senior WR while the QB under center lobs some good old Michigan ducks who apparently headed to mobile? Goes to sure first rounder.
I feel like I am watching a cooking show where they are trying to make an NFL souffle, but they really don’t know what (or if) will make it come out right. And, as is life in the NFL, if you get that “lift” at the right time you can make a playoff run — and then it falls 10 minutes later and the team doesn’t go back again. The Patroits pulled a great souffle out of the oven in the early part of last Decade, but Father Time caught up to them as he always does, and the souffle has fallen back to the pack. If you’ve ever had a fallen souffle, it still tastes great, but it doesn’t have that special poofy look and feel. They are still good – but not “unbeatable”. There are many different ways to flavor the “base” in a souffle, and different toppings add to the variety. While there is no one right way to flavor it properly, there is only one “right way” for it to be a success — to puff up and stay there long enough for the big entrance…or in the NFL, the big game – the Superbowl. Every season is a new souffle.
Moreso than teams, it is the individual players being evaluated for the draft that comes stronger to mind. Some guys – like Iupati at OG – are rising out of the pan. Others like Taylor Mays…well, just like the souffle at the end, he’s falling back to earth after talk of being a top 5 pick had he come out last year.
The real question is: What does it all mean for the Lions. Answer: Not a whole lot.
Even ater a decade of Millen, many fans still want to repeat the same mistakes over and over again — reaching for the “late rising” player at a position of “need”, or going for the name/shiny pick. Kiper and McShay always loved Millen’s drafts. Why? He “filled all his needs” (funny how that never REALLY happened, only in draftnik land), “took the right guy”, and “couldn’t pass up this guy there”. Anyone could have scouted Millen’s internal draft board (sadly for the scouts and fans, the only one that mattered) by reading draft guides on the internet. Even then, it seems like the average person had more knowledge of who to pick and why than the front office.
Not so any more. Most NFL teams are only looking to things like the combine and the senior bowl to do just a few things:
- Get some decent film and looks at some small school prospects
- See if a guy catches their eye they want to do more research on that they didn’t have on their radar (rare)
- Confirm opinions they already have
- Answer basic suspicions (questions) they have
Do we really think that a few good days of senior bowl practice has “proven” that Brandon Graham “has the burst it takes” to be a “dominant” DE in the NFL as McShay said the other day? Umm…no. I chatted with everyone’s favorite neighborhood capologist and Lions fan NetRat about this some time back. In a nutshell, when you see dramatic risers/sliders it is because the media is noticing people scouts have been looking at all year. Sure, the national media didn’t have any clue (neither did fans) who DeAndre Levy or Sammie Hill were last year — but we know now.
As you read about these stories of players rising and falling like a souffle on a daily basis it is really the media trying to figure out where players are slotted in the highly secretive NFL draft rooms. Now that the Lions have a real front office and coaching staff in place, don’t look for it to be easy to know who the Lions are targeting. They have specific talent and skill sets in mind, and don’t pay attention to the media other than to get an idea where other teams may have a guy slotted for purposes of trades back. As players get poked and prodded by the draft process, some of them will implode (like Andre Smith last year), some will just slowly fade (like Taylor Mays) and others will puff up and stay there (like Brandon Albert, who is now rumored to be a possibility to head to RT because of his struggles at LT).
So whether whether Mayhew ends up picking puffy souffles, or deflated souffles, or ones we’ve never heard of — if he and the scouts do as well as last year then once again we will be in for a real treat this season when the draft day cooking finally arrives at the table.