Wednesday, April 22, 2020

NFL Draft: Jets Pick Happiness Scale

Here's my list of players that would make me happiest if the Jets took them in Round 1:

1. Tristan Wirfs
2. Jedrick Wills, Jr
3. Andrew Thomas
4. CJ Henderson ($$$$$)
5. CeeDee Lamb
6. Jerry Jeudy

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

NFL Draft: Crazy Ideas That Ya Heard Here First

The Draft is just two days away! Sports!?!? Finally! I don't have time to dive into each of these scenarios but ya heard it here first:

1. The Dolphins don't like any of the QBs at the top of this draft. They'll take three non-QBs in Round 1.

2. The 49ers - who everyone expects to trade back - will actually trade UP in the first round.

3. The Chargers will use the 6th pick on an offensive lineman or wide receiver. This team is very good already. Let's play for 2020. Ewing Theory with Phil Rivers?

4. Dave Gettleman will nail this draft. Nah, nevermind.

5. Tampa Bay will trade up for Justin Jefferson to play the slot? That would be an incredible group of receivers - Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Gronk, and JJ? Yes, please.

6. Only two quarterbacks will get taken in Round 1. Gimme Joe and Tua.

7. The Jets are going to trade Jamal Adams. And if the return is the Cowboys 1st (17th overall) and 2nd (49) picks, I will talk myself into liking the deal.

Monday, April 20, 2020

[Updated on April 20] NFL Draft Prop Bets

Updated on April 20

As I mentioned in the mock draft, there is no way that anyone has a firm hold on what is going to happen in this draft. There are going to be big surprises early and often. Let's try to take advantage with these mostly longshot props:

Justin Jefferson first WR taken, 50 units/to win 2000 - At 40/1 (it's actually up at 50/1 at many books), I'll take the chance that someone prefers production over upside.

Jets take CJ Henderson with their first pick, 50 units/1875 - My rationale is laid out in the mock.

Harrison Bryant first TE taken, 25 units/500 - This is probably my favorite value on the board. The way I look at it, all of these tight ends are in the same third round-ish grouping. It may not happen in this draft, but if we re-did the draft 20 times, this guy is the first TE taken on more than occasion. You can't convince me otherwise. Love the value.

Antoine Winfield first S taken, 50 units/400 - Again, for guys "ranked" within 10 spots in the major publications, why is McKinney so much of a bigger favorite than Winfield (or even Delpit)?

Alabama players taken in first round under 5.5, 62 units/49 - Wills, Tua, Jeudy, and Ruggs are locks, but I'm not convinced that any other Bama players go in round 1. This number could get up to 7 so high risk of looking very dumb here but I'm taking my chances.

Jeff Okudah taken with third pick, 25 units/87 - I made this bet right when it hit the board, and I sort of regret it already. Lions have to trade down out of this spot... but if they don't I think Okudah is their guy.

Eagles take someone NOT named Jefferson, Ruggs, Mims, Reagor, Higgins, Jeudy, Lamb, McKinney, Delpit, Queen, Ruiz, Murray, Henderson, Gladney, 25 units/250 - Gimme Antoine Winfield here as the first safety off the board, and I win two bets! Let's go. (Or Brandon Aiyuk works too).

Chase Young pick over 2.5, 35 units/385: There has to be a one on 10 chance that a team trades up to the second pick to grab a QB, right?

Ohio State players taken in first round over 2.5, 25 units/112: Chase Young and Okudah are locks. Then I'm hoping one of JK Dobbins, Damon Arnette, Jonah Jackson, or Malik Harrison to go late on Day 1. Again, this draft will have surprises everywhere. I'm just hoping one of them is wearing a Buckeye.

Keep checking back for more picks.

Monday, April 13, 2020

NFL Mock Draft 1.0

I love me some mock drafts. Usually, I can't get enough of them. The issue this year is that they all look the same, and nothing has changed in months. I cannot believe that everyone knew months ago how this draft would play out. My guess is that we are in for a number of surprises. Let's see if I can nail a couple of them.

Round 1

1. CINCINNATI BENGALS: QB JOE BURROW, LSU - No surprises just yet.


3. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (via Detroit): QB TUA TAGOVAILOA, ALABAMA - Let's go! It will cost them the 6th and 37th picks this year and next year's first rounder, but there are so many reasons this deal makes sense for the Chargers (they need fans, Tua is a stud, he won't be there at 6, they will be better next year so the first rounder won't be as painful). Pay the price. Go get Tua.

4. NEW YORK GIANTS: LB ISAIAH SIMMONS, CLEMSON - Gettleman has started to address the linebacking corps, but Simmons is a freak. Everyone else has o-line here.


6. DETROIT LIONS (via LAC): CB JEFFREY OKUDAH, OHIO STATE - Love it when a trade down works to perfection. Detroit has to be considering Okudah at 3. Now they get him and a suite of picks.

7. MIAMI DOLPHINS (via Carolina): OT MEKHI BECTON, LOUISVILLE - Traid alert! The Dolphins got their QB at 5; now they protect him for years to come. The Panthers get picks 18 and 26 for their troubles.


9. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (via Jacksonville): OT JEDRICK WILLS, ALABAMA - The Bradys move up to protect their new QB in exchange for picks 14 and 45.

10. CLEVELAND BROWNS: OT ANDREW THOMAS, GEORGIA - The run of stud offensive linemen comes to a finish here.

11. NEW YORK JETS: CB C.J. HENDERSON, FLORIDA - The vast majority of mock drafts have slotted a wide receiver to the Jets here at 11. I don't disagree that it's a position of need; my issue is that this is one of the deepest wideout groups we have seen in years. There will be plenty of value in later rounds to address that need. It's a similar story with offensive linemen. So, let's give the Jets a player that is at the top of the class in a shallow position group that fills a position of need. Then the Jets can go OL (Tyler Biadasz in Round 2?) and WR (Michael Pittman or Tyler Johnson in Round 3?) later in the draft. In a dream scenario, the Jets would trade down a few slots and pick up some more assets and still nab Henderson.

12. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: QB JORDAN LOVE, UTAH STATE - Mayock and Gruden have been suspiciously quiet leading up to this draft. I think something is brewing.

13. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (via Indianapolis): WR JUSTIN JEFFERSON, LSU - My biggest surprise of the round would be this JJ as the first wide receiver off the board. This could end up looking really bad when he ends up as the sixth WR taken but you can find 55-1 odds out there that he will be the first WR taken.

14. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (via Tampa Bay): DT DERRICK BROWN, AUBURN - Brown is in play for the Jags at 9. Getting him here plus the 45th pick would be a coup.

15. DENVER BRONCOS: WR JERRY JEUDY, ALABAMA - John Elway would be doing backflips if Jeudy drops to 15.


17. DALLAS COWBOYS: WR CEEDEE LAMB, OKLAHOMA - Jerry Jones will not be able to pass on this physical freak even if WR isn't the biggest position of need.


19. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (via Chicago): WR HENRY RUGGS, ALABAMA - Are we sure this guy isn't just John Ross 2.0? He had 40 catches last year. 209 players had more. I know this isn't a quantity contest but this guy should have been way more dominant with this skill set than just having 40 catches.


21. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: LB PATRICK QUEEN, LSU - Every mock I have seen has Philly going WR here (usually Justin Jefferson). I'm not buying it.

22. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (via Buffalo): CB TREVON DIGGS, ALABAMA - No pick in the first round would make me as happy as the Vikings using the 22nd selection - which they acquired in exchange for Stefon Diggs - on his brother. [Folds hands in prayer]

23. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: C CESAR RUIZ, MICHIGAN [Insert boring 10x All-Pro here]

24. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: WR DENZEL MIMS, BAYLOR - Drew Brees can't play forever so let's get him some weapons while he's here.

25. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: CB JAYLON JOHNSON, UTAH - Quick way to revamp the secondary.

26. CAROLINA PANTHERS (via Miami): S ANTOINE WINFIELD JR, MINNESOTA - Another surprise here with Winfield being the first safety off the board.







Friday, July 26, 2019

Fixing the Mets in 10 Steps

This season has not gone as planned for the Mets. It happens. As Mets fans, we are more used to this than most, but the situation is certainly salvageable. Here are the 10 moves I would make with an eye towards 2020 and beyond.

1. Zack Wheeler and Dom Smith for Royce Lewis: Wheeler is a free agent after the season. Please don’t sign him to an extension now when we can get a prospect for him (a better one if we include Dom) and then re-sign him in the offseason. Dom Smith rakes but has no position with Pete Alonso in town. Sending him to the 1B-needy Twins along with Wheeler, who would be a postseason starter, makes sense from both sides. Lewis is hitting .243 in A-ball but he’s barely two years removed from being the #1 overall pick in the draft.

2. Jeurys Familia for Rusney Castillo and a C level prospect: The Mets take on money in this deal short term to clear it later. Familia is due about $2m the rest of the year while Castillo is owed just over $4m. Then next year, Castillo is dues about $3m more than Familia (14m vs 11m) but Castillo then comes off the books after the 2020 season while Familia is still owed another $11m. This move gets Castillo out of non-40-man purgatory. Let’s give him one more shot these last two months to see if he can be the starting RF in 2020.

3. Steven Matz for Josh James and B level prospect: Matz is getting expensive, and are we sure he can be relied upon? The Astros work miracles on their staff (see Miley, Wade). The Mets should try James as the closer for the next two months because…

4. Edwin Diaz and Jed Lowrie for Keibert Ruiz and Dustin May. I’m not rehashing the Diaz/Cano/Kelenic/Dunn deal here. Too painful, but let’s make the most of the situation. Ruiz is a big time catching prospect and May has mid-rotation stuff. And dumping the $11m owed to Lowrie gives us some money to spend in the offseason.

5. Todd Frazier and Jason Vargas for any C level prospect with a remotely famous last name. Does Bartolo Colon have a kid in the minors by now? If not, what about Aaron Ashby (Brewers, nephew of Andy) or Cory Abbott (Cubs, no relation to Jim) or Edmundo Sosa (Cards, no relation to Sammy) or Daulton Jefferies (A’s, no relation to Gregg) or Jose Soriano (Angels, no relation to Alfosno) Jhailyn Ortiz (Phillies, no relation to David) or you get the point…. Cash saving + lotto ticket seems like a fair return for these vets.

6. Thor and Cano for Jacoby Ellsbury's corpse and Didi Gregorious: Trading Thor is crushing, but this Cano contract (4 years, $96m left after this year) is an albatross. Maybe he will be motivated in the Bronx. Ellsbury’s contract is currently being paid by insurance but only has another year on it anyway. Like Castillo and Yo Cespedes, his deal will expire after 2020. Didi is a free agent after this year but would be a perfect addition to this team long term allowing Rosario to move to CF.

7. Juan Lagares to Colorado for a C level prospect. The Rocks could actually use Lagares’ defense in the vast expanses of Coors.

8. Wilson Ramos and Justin Wilson for Mason Denaburg. Straight forward deal. Two useful pieces for a B level rospect.

Offseason moves

9. Sign Gerrit Cole

10. Sign Anthony Rendon

2020 Lineup / Rotation

C: Nido/RUIZ
1B: Alonso
2B: McNeil
LF: Conforto
CF: Rosario
RF: R. Castillo

1 deGrom
4 TBD (Kay?)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Mapping Out a Dream Draft Scenario for the Jets

1. Trade #3 to Washington for #15, #46, and Washington’s 2020 1st Rounder

2. Trade Pick #15 and #46 to Houston for #23 and Jadeveon Clowney

3. Use their picks in the following ways-

Pick 23: Garrett Bradbury, OL, North Carolina State
Pick 68: Greg Little, OL, Ole Miss
Pick 93: Kelvin Harmon, WR, North Carolina State
Pick 105: Oshane Ximines, DE, Old Dominion
Pick 196: Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma
Pick 217. N.Y. Jets: Mark Fields, CB, Clemson

Come out of the weekend with two starting offensive linemen, an elite edge rusher, two high upside lotto tickets in Harmon and Ximines, and Washington’s 2020 first rounder. That seems like a W.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

NFL Draft Thoughts/Predictions

A bunch of random draft thoughts and predictions:

-This is a bad draft class overall, and it starts with the subpar quarterbacks. Daniel Jones is easily the most overrated, but Kyler Murray will play in fewer than 2.5 Pro Bowls in his career...which will be the most of any quarterback taken tomorrow night.

-Daniel Jones is Ryan Nassib 2.0.

-The offensive skill position players are also underwhelming. Maybe that's why everyone wants to trade down.

-In three of the last four drafts, the Jets have taken players that many argued were the best in the class despite not having the top pick (2015: Leonard Williams, 6th overall; 2017: Jamal Adams, 6th overall; 2018: Sam Darnold: 3rd overall). Could history repeat itself with Nick Bosa falling to #3? I'm not counting on it, but stranger things have happened. I'm also hoping Greg Little falls to the top of the third round so the Jets can pounce.

-I would love to see Devin Bush slide to #20 so he can replace Ryan Shazier in Pittsburgh.

-If the Giants take Dwayne Haskins at #6, they are the big winners of the draft process because they have thrown everyone off that scent.

-Does taking a tight end in the top 10 ever work out? Nope. That's why I have the Bills taking Hockenson at #9.

-I don't get all of the Josh Jacobs hype. He didn't start until the second half of his junior year, and now we are convinced he's the no-doubt best running back in this class? I'll take shares of Trayveon Williams 60 picks later.

-I also don't understand why Greedy Williams is dropping like a rock. He's 6'2" and flies. Are we really worried that he's not a great run defender?

-I hope I'm wrong because I love athletic freaks, but DK Metcalf has bust written all over him. Workout wonders don't always translate to on-field success. He has me worried. I'll take shares of Kelvin Harmon two rounds later.

-My favorite fits for player/team: Devin White/Lions and Brian Burns/Falcons.

-My favorite prop bet: Parris Campbell to be first wide receiver selected at 40-1. Worth a few sheckels.

-Three guys that I have not seen in any first round mocks that might sneak into the top 32 (aside from Parris Campbell): QB Ryan Finley, DB Nasir Adderley, and OL Chris Lindstrom

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

2019 NFL Mock Draft

Here's an abridged version this year without any projected trades:

Top 20
1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
4. Oakland Raiders: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Allen, DE, Kentucky
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor, OL, Florida
8. Detroit Lions: Devin White, LB, LSU
9. Buffalo Bills: TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa
10. Denver Broncos: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
12. Green Bay Packers: Hollywood Brown, WR, Oklahoma
13. Miami Dolphins: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
14. Atlanta Falcons: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
15. Washington Redskins: Drew Lock, QB, MIssouri
16. Carolina Panthers: Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
17. New York Giants (from Browns): Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
18. Minnesota Vikings: Andre Dillard, OL, Washington State
19. Tennessee Titans: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

Jets Picks
68. N.Y. Jets: Greg Little, OL, Ole Miss
93. N.Y. Jets: Kelvin Harmon, WR, North Carolina State
105. N.Y. Jets: Oshane Ximines, DE, Old Dominion
196. N.Y. Jets (from Chicago through Oakland): Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma
217. N.Y. Jets: Mark Fields, CB, Clemson

Thursday, June 21, 2018

NBA Mock Draft and Trade Ideas

1. Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
2. Sacramento Kings: Marvin Bagley III, F, Duke
3. Atlanta Hawks: Luka Doncic, SG, Real Madrid - I'm not sure the Hawks will be the ones making this selection, but I think Doncic will be the pick at 3. I don't trust rumors 24-48 hours before the draft, and the Doncic-to-the-Hawks rumors have been flying recently which makes me think it's the Hawks leaking this information in hopes that they can make a trade (maybe to offload the Schroeder contract).
4. Memphis Grizzlies: Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri
5. Dallas Mavericks: Jaren Jackson Jr, F, Michigan State
6. Orlando Magic: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
7. Chicago Bulls: Mo Bamba, C, Texas 
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky
9. New York Knicks: Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova
11. Charlotte Hornets: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
12. Los Angeles Clippers: Wendell Carter, PF, Duke - Every year a guy slips, and unfortunately for Carter, I think he's the guy this year. Why? The stigma associated with old-school centers.
13. Los Angeles Clippers: Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M
14. Denver Nuggets: Miles Bridges, G/F, Michigan State

I wanted to get Lonnie Walker and Zhaire Smith into the lottery but did not see a spot. It wouldn't shock me at all if they land in the top 14 though.

Trades that make sense:

[WARNING: Please digest your food before reading the remainder of this post; there are some ugly contracts here.]

Knicks give Joakim Noah, 9th pick, 37th pick to get Deandre Jordan (from LAC), 19th pick (from ATL)
Clippers give Deandre Jordan, 13th pick to get Dennis Schroeder (from ATL), Malcom Delaney (from ATL), 9th pick (from NYK), 37th pick (from NYK)
Hawks give Dennis Schroeder, Malcom Delaney, 19th pick to get Joakim Noah (from NYK), 13th pick (from LAC)

Knicks get out from the disastrous Noah contract and pick up an asset in Jordan that helps them win now (he's a FA after the season). This deal saves them about $13m and makes the Knicks players in the 2019 free agent market where they can build around The Unicorn, Ntilikina, Hardaway Jr, and the 19th pick. This is a path to moderate contention in 2018-19 with more hope thereafter.

The Clippers have to believe in Schroeder to make this deal work, but if they do, they move up four spots to potentialy get a guy like Mo Bamba or Wendell Carter who replaces Jordan while also getting an early second rounder. For the record, I'm least sold on the Clippers haul from this deal.

The Hawks swap three more years of a bad Schroeder deal for two more years of a bad Noah deal while moving themselves into the back part of the lottery. Luka Doncic-John Collins-and the 13th pick form a nice nucleus for 2020. Add in a very high pick at the top of next year's draft and there's hope again in ATL.

Three team trades are tough enough so the chances it happens are infinitesimal so while we are at it, let's ADD another team:

Knicks give Joakim Noah, 9th pick, 37th pick to get Deandre Jordan (from LAC), 19th pick (from ATL)
Clippers give Deandre Jordan, 12th pick to get Dennis Schroeder (from ATL), Malcom Delaney (from ATL), 3rd pick (from ATL)
Hawks give Dennis Schroeder, Malcom Delaney, 3rd pick, 19th pick to get Chandler Parsons (from MEM), 4th pick (from MEM) 12th pick (from LAC)
Memphis gives Chandler Parsons, 4th pick to get Joakim Noah (from NYK), 9th pick (from NYK), 37th pick (from NYK)

Memphis is new to this deal; they would offload two years of Parsons for two years of Noah which saves them about $13m but sees them drop from 4 to 9. They would also acquire the 37th pick.

The Clippers move all the way to 3 in this scenario (which makes it more appealing than the 3-team trade above) while Atlanta would move from 13 to 12 as a small consoloation for taking on the Parsons contract instead of the Noah deal but also from 3 to 4.

The Hawks would have to send the Grizzlies a cheap contract (think a few hundred thousand dollars) to make this work.

Never hapening but if it did, the lottery would absolutely, 100% look like this:

1. Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
2. Sacramento Kings: Marvin Bagley III, F, Duke
3. Los Angeles Clippers: Luka Doncic, SG, Real Madrid
4. Atlanta Hawks: Jaren Jackson Jr, F, Michigan State 
5. Dallas Mavericks: Mo Bamba, C, Texas
6. Orlando Magic: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
7. Chicago Bulls: Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri 
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky
9. Memphis Grizzlies: Wendell Carter, PF, Duke
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova
11. Charlotte Hornets: Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky
12. Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma 
13. Los Angeles Clippers: Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M
14. Denver Nuggets: Miles Bridges, G/F, Michigan State

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Draft Idea for the New York Mets

I’m an unabashed supporter of the Mets, and I’ve been itching for a perfect year where they could execute the strategy I’m about to describe. Sandy, this is the year!

First, some facts:

-The Mets own the sixth, 48th, 83rd, and 110th picks in the draft. They cannot, by league rule, trade those picks away. 
-The Mets have a bonus pool of approximately $9.6m (ninth most). 
-Teams that eclipse their bonus pool spending amount are subject to penalties. The most extreme penalty - incurred when a team spends between 15% and 100% over their allotment - results in the loss of that team’s first round draft picks for the next two seasons in addition to paying a dollar for dollar penalty on the overage. So, if a team has a draft pool of $100, and they spend $200, they would lose their 2019 and 2020 first rounders and pay a penalty of $100.
-Picks 36-through-43 and 69-through-74 – Competitive Balance picks - are eligible to be traded. 
-The Mets farm system is relatively barren as evidenced by rankings from reputable sources:
John Sickels ranks the Mets’ system 28th in baseball; ranks them 26th; Baseball America has them 25th, and Keith Law at 21. Outlook: bleak.
-Casey Mize, a RHP from Auburn, is the consensus #1 prospect in the draft by a wide margin.
-The Mets at the time of publishing this article have a 20-19 record (15th best) with playoff aspirations this season. 

Ok, now the idea:

The Mets should go 100% over their draft bonus pool allotment at the cost of future draft picks and penalty money to jumpstart the farm system immediately and obtain the best player in the draft class.

How would this happen?

1. Trade for at least two Competitive Balance picks, the higher the better. For the sake of this argument, let’s assume the Mets were able to acquire picks 40 and 72. This would increase their pool to over $12.2m. It would also give them six of the top 110 picks.
2. Tell Casey Mize that if he falls to #6, you would pay him a $13m bonus. (And actually mean it). $13m is significant because this is larger than any team’s total bonus pool.
3. Have Mize publicly say that he wants at least $13m to sign and hope that scares off the five teams picking ahead of you, the Tigers, White Sox, Phillies, White Sox, and Reds. 
4. Identify five* top talents that are considered “tough” signs because of strong college commitments or because they are two-sport guys. Every single year these players exist. This year, think of Kumar Rocker (Vandy commit), Jordyn Adams (football), Kyler Murray (football).
5. Confirm that $2m would get these guys to actually sign (and give up football if necessary).
6. Draft these players with picks 40, 48, 72, 83, and 110. 
7. Take some cheap to sign college seniors with your 5th through 10th round picks.

*An easy pivot here if you felt so inclined would be to find 10 “$1m players” instead of five $2m guys.

We need this guy in Flushing

Total cost: ~$36m ($24m in signing bonuses + $12m in penalties) and two future first rounders.

Other Thoughts:

-The Mets would be spending $24m more than expected this season; however, future first round picks would each cost about $4m each (assuming a pick in the middle of the round) so the “excess” cost here is not actually $24m but closer to $16m over a three year period.

-If you think of these five “other” $2m as late first round picks, this makes a ton of sense.

-This jumpstarts the farm system right now. Getting actual players into your system gives you more assets. There’s value to that since you cannot trade future first rounders.

-A key component here is that the Mets would get the best player in the class. Having a top prospect can represent tens of millions of dollars in surplus value down the line. The concept still works if you can’t get Mize (split his money more ways among more players), but it looks much better if you can.

-This is not a dip-your-toe-in-the-water strategy. You lose your next two first rounders whether you go 15% over or 100% over your budget. You might as well take full “advantage” of the benefit you get in exchange for the penalty being incurred. 

-I’m not minimizing the importance of first rounders, but it’s obviously harder to find top end talent once you are out of the top 10. It’s possible but unlikely the Mets will have a top-10 pick again in the next two years. 

-If the Mets signed a top-tier free agent (Manny Machado?) they would lose their first rounder anyway so the penalty would only be the loss of their second rounder in 2019.

There are dozens of permutations of this concept that I could go into much further detail on but the point of this article is to shift the mindset. 

This certainly pushes the envelope and, to me, is worth the risk. Let’s try it, Sandy.

Monday, April 23, 2018

2018 First Round Mock Draft 2.0

My final mock draft includes two trades that make too much sense not to happen.

The first: Denver ships a second rounder and #5 to the Giants for #2. The Broncos get any non-Darnold QB they desire. The Giants will watch QBs go 1-2-3 which means they are guaranteed to get one of the Chubb-Barkley-Nelson triumvarate whom they probably would have been willing to take at 2. Free second rounder.

The second: Buffalo sends their two first rounders to the Colts for #6. The Bills get their franchise QB; the Colts load up on lotto tickets.

With that, this is my best guess...

[Apologies in advance for the brevity.]

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB USC - It's lazy to just assume that any QB the Browns take will be terrible. That's not necessarily true. However, the Darnold turnover lowlight reel is way too long for me to feel comfortable with Rudy's chances at success in Cleveland.

2. Denver Broncos (from New York Giants): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA - John Elway needs a solution at QB. Rosen, for my money, is the best one in this class. He'll learn for part of a season behind Case Keenum, and then the job will be Rosen's for the next decade.
3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma - If I'm the Jets, I'm thrilled if either Rosen or Baker slip to #3 but not both. This way the Jets can claim they got their guy, and the guy plays with a little chip on his shoulder for being the third QB taken.
4. Cleveland (from Houston): Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State - Chubb is a nice bookend for last year's top pick Myles Garrett, but I don't expect him to turn into a superstar.
5. New York Giants (from Denver): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State - Dream scenario for every Giants fan.
6. Buffalo Bills (from New York Jets through Indianapolis): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming - Time for the Bills to use those bullets and hope Allen can clean up those accuracy issues. His arm will play anywhere he goes.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, DB, Florida State - It's rare that you could feel better about picks 7 through 11 than 1 through 5, but I think the match of player and team fit beautifully.
8. Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame - Easiest pick of the draft.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama - John Lynch will load up this defensive backfield soon enough. Minkah gets it started.
10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia - Smith paired with Khalil Mack? Sign me up.
11. Miami Dolphins: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville -
12. Indianapolis Colts (from Cincinnati through Buffalo): Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State - Ward is a guy that Colts might target at #6 if they don't trade back.
13. Washington Redskins: Josh Jackson, DB, Iowa
14. Green Bay Packers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
15. Arizona Cardinals: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
16. Baltimore Ravens: DJ Moore, WR, Maryland
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Da'Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
18. Seattle Seahawks: Kolton Miller, OL, UCLA
19. Dallas Cowboys: Vita Vea, DL, Washington
20. Detroit Lions: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo): James Daniels, OL, Iowa
22. Indianapolis Colts (from Kansas City through Buffalo): Marcus Davenport, DL, UTSA
23. New England Patriots (from Los Angeles): Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
24. Carolina Panthers: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
25. Tennessee Titans: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
26. Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
27. New Orleans Saints: Harold Landry, LB, Boston College
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
30. Minnesota Vikings: Jaire Alexander, DB, Louisville
31. New England Patriots: Mike Hughes, DB, Central Florida
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Thursday, January 25, 2018

2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

For those new to my mocks, welcome. It’s good to have you onboard. For those returning readers, thanks for coming back.

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC – The Cleveland Browns must take a quarterback with this pick. Have some conviction in a player already, and stop being the Jets and waiting until the later rounds to try finding an inevitably terrible signal caller. For the love of peace. Please do this. Now, whomever it is they actually choose will suck, but you gotta take a chance here in a QB-heavy draft. I'm not buying the Troy Aikman comps for Darnold. Personally, I think he looks like actor Sean Astin. More like the Rudy Astin than the Stranger Things Astin at least but still I think I’m on to something. Be wary, Cleveland.

Past. Present. And Future?
2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA – On the complete flip side of the Browns (and to a lesser extent the Jets), the Giants franchise has had incredible stability at the QB position. Eli Manning has been the starter for the last 13 seasons and despite his mouth-breathing ways has led the team to two Super Bowl titles. It’s time for him to ride into the sunset and for the Gmen to find the next face of the franchise. Rosen goes from Big City to Biggest City and will probably thrive under new coach Pat Shurmur.

3. Indianapolis Colts: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State РMaybe not an obvious fit but after years of hearing the clich̩ that you should never spend a high pick on a running back, Zeke Elliott and Leonard Fournette changed the way of thinking. Getting Barkley and a healthy Andrew Luck back could make this team an immediate playoff contender in a relatively weak AFC. Indy has the third most money to spend in free agency which is an especially good thing since Ryan Grigson left town. I think this pick shakes up the franchise in a very positive way. They could also trade back a couple spots to a QB-needy team and add some draft capital, but getting Barkley would be my priority.

(TRADE) 4. Buffalo Bills (via Texans via Browns): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming – Does trading down for the Bills' two first rounders and their second rounder make sense? It's basically a perfect match on the "draft value" chart, and I think that's a win for both sides. It allows Buffalo to get a top-tier QB, and it gives Cleveland the thing it covets most: more high draft picks. Now, the pick…If you are going to be successful as a quarterback in Buffalo, you need arm strength above all else. Allen has that. Unfortunately, he’s also very inaccurate as a passer. On the plus side, he’s a great athlete. On the down side, he makes bad decisions. Where does this all shake out? Time will tell. For now, he’s a Megamillions ticket, and if the Bills believe in him, they should move up to grab him.

5. Denver Broncos: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama – When you zig, John Elway zags or just flips over you on his way to the goal line. 2017 was a disaster and everyone is expecting the team to revamp the quarterback position. I think they pull a surprise, and sign Kirk Cousins as a free agent instead of drafting a QB which would allow them to use this pick on Fitzpatrick, a player that could reinforce an already strong secondary. Cutting Aqib Talib would save the team $11m so Fitzpatrick might be a need pick come draft night.

 6. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma – It is time for the Jets to use a high draft pick on a QB that will lead this franchise for the foreseeable future. 2017 was the first time in half a decade that this team didn't waste a pick on a QB. I challenge you to look at these names without throwing up on yourself: Geno Smith, Tahj Boyd, Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg. Gross. Mayfield was the best player in college football this year. I get that Heisman success doesn't necessarily translate into NFL success but this guy finished in the top four of Heisman balloting in each of the last three seasons. That just doesn't happen. He's a leader, he throws the ball accurately, and his personality will be an incredible fit off the field in New York. After passing on Deshaun Watson last year, the Jets can't afford another miss this year.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State – Watch film of the Wolfpack and this guy always jumps out. He’s a superstar in the making at a position of need. If he’s there at 7, the Bucs will sprint to the podium.

8. Chicago Bears: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama – I think most mocks will pair the former Bama superstar with second year QB Mitchell Trubisky, and it makes a whole lot of sense. If you want Mitch to make any kind of leap in his sophomore campaign, he needs a number one wideout.

9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State – The ‘9ers need secondary help and John Lynch should be able to identify that type of talent. For my money, Ward is the most talented DB in the class, but Minkah Fitzpatrick’s versatility will push him higher on the board.

10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia – Gruden will love this guy. He’ll be his Derrick Brooks.

11. Miami Dolphins: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame – Another sprint-don’t-walk-to-the-podium pick. No brainer.

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Arden Key, DE, LSU – I’ll take “Talented Players from Big Programs with Off-the-Field Issues” for $400, Alex. Could there be a more perfect Bengals pick? I don’t have an explanation as to why he missed all of spring practice last year, but the Bengals should find out … and then take him anyway because he’s the most talented player on the board.

13. Washington Redskins: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU – I don’t think whomever is under center would complain about having Josh Doctson 1.0 spread wide to one side of the field and Josh Doctson 2.0 spread wide to the other.

14. Green Bay Packers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech – Clay Matthews’ career is winding down (damn, I’m old), and Edmunds can be his successor.

15. Arizona Cardinals: Mike McGlinchey, OL, Notre Dame – I’m not sold on any quarterbacks here so the Cards take the best offensive lineman on the board. It hasn’t generated much chatter, but Case Keenum to the desert makes a lot of sense to me.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M – The Breshad Perriman experiment didn’t work out. Since the Ravens are all but stuck with Joe Flacco, Kirk gives him a weapon out wide, and he doubles as a dynamic kick returner.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Connor Williams, OT, Texas – Best OL on the board.

18. Seattle Seahawks: Derwin James, S, Florida State – James probably would have been a top 10 pick if he came out after his freshman year but a slow recovery following a torn meniscus injury causes him to slide to Seattle which would be an ideal spot for him, the newest member of the Legion of Boom.

19. Dallas Cowboys: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA – The hottest name on draft boards right now is a Roadrunner from UTSA. He could go 10-15 picks higher or 10-15 picks lower and I wouldn’t be shocked. For now, he stays local and becomes a Cowboy.

20. Detroit Lions: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU – The Lions have not had a player rush for 100 yards in a game since 2013. That’s unfathomable. Guice did it a dozen times at LSU (three of those games he eclipsed 250 rushing yards). He’s the playmaker Detroit needs to balance out the offensive attack.

(TRADE) 21. Cleveland Browns (via Bills): Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama – A personal favorite of mine.

(TRADE) 22. Cleveland Browns (via Chiefs via Bills): Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa – Harrison and Jackson revamp the secondary. Now, Cleveland can spend the rest of the draft on the offensive side of the ball and start to

23. Los Angeles Rams: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma – Zeus 2.0. Brown is the son of the former NFL behemoth with the same name. This Brown is 6 foot, 8 inches of girth and will protect Jared Goff’s blindside for a decade.

Zeus 2.0: A man among boys
24. Carolina Panthers: Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama – Payne might have made himself more money than any other player during this year’s college playoffs.

25. Tennessee Titans: Vita Vea, DL, Washington

26. Atlanta Falcons: Billy Price, OG, Ohio State

27. New Orleans Saints: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama – Obviously I’m partial, but I love this fit. Tackling machine heads to a team desperate for one.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Harold Landry, LB, Boston College

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State

30. Minnesota Vikings: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville – Wait, what? The Vikings have too many quarterbacks as is, right? Wrong. Case Keenum has one foot out the door. Sam Bradford is always one step away from IR, and Teddy Bridgewater has looked underwhelming. Enter another Louisville product, Lamar Jackson. He could be the QB of the future or he could play wide receiver or he could replace Jerrick McKinnon. He gives the team optionality.

31. Philadelphia Eagles: Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia – The Eagles have 20 of 22 starters signed for next year. One of the two unsigned is LB Nigel Bradham. Carter can be a low cost alternative and jump right into the starting lineup.

32. New England Patriots: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State – Another personal favorite. I would hate seeing him face the Jets twice a year for the next decade.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

NBA Trade Idea

Just had this idea:

Sixers get: #1 overall pick in 2017 Draft (Markelle Fultz) from Celtics
   -Would fit in perfectly with young core

Pacers get: #3 overall pick in 2017 Draft (Josh Jackson / Jayson Tatum) from 76ers
   -About as good of a return as Indiana will get for George, a pending free agent at the end of this season

Celtics get: Paul George and the lower of a) the 76ers 2018 1st Rounder or b) the Lakers 2018 1st Rounder (owned by Philly)
   -Celtics cash their plethora of draft capital for a superstar and hedge with a future first rounder

Who says no?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Round 1 Recap

I’ll have a more thorough recap after the draft is done but here are some initial reactions:

The Good
-The 49ers: They were able to trade down from 2 to 3 and then back up into the late first round to acquire Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster. Great haul for the rookies, Lynch and Shanahan.
-The Jets: They got the best player in the draft at 6. That’s a huge win.
-The Bucs: The OJ Howard top-10 buzz was just smoke, but he gives Jameis another pass-catching weapon. It’s finally an exciting time to be a fan of Tampa Bay again.
-My mock: I hit on six of the first 8 picks. (Of course it doesn’t count for anything, but I had Fournette going to the Jags in my first mock and talked myself out of it. D’oh.) And, I didn’t post some kind of final, FINAL mock draft like Kiper and McShay.
-My prop bets: If gambling were legal and you followed my picks, it would have been a money-making night for you as 4 of 6 hit for a profit of 50 fake dollars.
-Takarrist McKinley: Love everything about him including the huge picture of his grandmother that he brought on stage.

I just pre-ordered my Adams jersey. Gonna love this guy.

Not Sure Yet
-The Browns: Eventually they need to find a QB. They had the chance at 12 but instead chose to trade down for more picks. Time will tell but it will be another year of guessing about the future in Cleveland.
-The Raiders: Boldest move of the day wasn’t a trade up for the QBs; it was Oakland taking a guy that was accused of rape this week. They better be correct.
-Alabama: The Crimson Tide had four first rounders which is a tremendous accomplishment; however, aside from Marlon Humphrey, the others slipped much farther than most expected.

The Bad
-The Bengals: I’m not buying John Ross as a good value at 9.
-The Dolphins: Jarrad Davis over Reuben Foster?

Best 25 Available
1. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
2. Kevin King, CB, Washington
3. Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky
4. Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
5. Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
6. Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State
7. Tyus Bowser, LB, Houston
8. Budda Baker, S, Washington
9. Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
10. Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
11. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
12. Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt
13. Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
14. Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
15. Josh Jones, S, NC State
16. Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
17. DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
18. Nathan Peterman, QB, Pitt
19. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
20. Davis Webb, QB, Cal
21. Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
22. DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
23. Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
24. Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
25. Sidney Jones, CB, Washington

Remainder of Jets Draft
Round 2 (Overall Pick)
7 (39). New York Jets: Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky

Round 3 (Overall Pick)
6 (70). New York Jets: Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech
43 (107). New York Jets: Derek Rivers, OLB, Youngstown State

Round 5 (Overall Pick)
6 (150). New York Jets: Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson

Round 6 (Overall Pick)
7 (191). New York Jets: Amba Etta-Tawo, WR, Syracuse

Round 7 (Overall Pick)
6 (224). New York Jets: Kyle Kalis, OL, Michigan