Tuesday, May 5, 2015

My Favorite Picks (Offense)

More analysis to follow, but here were my favorite offensive players taken outside of the first round:

Baltimore Ravens
2/55    Maxx Williams    TE    Minnesota

Jacksonville Jaguars
2/36    T.J. Yeldon    RB    Alabama

Cincinnati Bengals
2/53    Jake Fisher    OT    Oregon

Chicago Bears
4/106    Jeremy Langford    RB    Michigan St

Green Bay Packers
3/94    Ty Montgomery    WR    Stanford
           
Minnesota Vikings
4/110    T.J. Clemmings    OT    Pittsburgh

Monday, May 4, 2015

15 Best Undrafted Free Agents



Here are 15 players that I think will start in the NFL despite being UDFAs:

Matt Miller, WR, Boise State - Denver (My favorite UDFA)
Nick Marshall, CB, Auburn - Jacksonville
Levi Norwood, WR, Baylor - Chicago
Josh Harper, WR, Fresno State - Oakland
Cody Fajardo, QB, Nevada - Oakland
Trey DePriest, LB, Alabama - Baltimore
Kyle Prater, WR, Northwestern - Cleveland
Quan Bray, WR, Auburn - Indianapolis (he’ll need to make another team; the Colts have too many pass catchers)
Bryan Bennett, QB, SE Louisiana - Indianapolis
George Farmer, WR, USC - Dallas
Rannell Hall, WR, Central Florida - Tampa Bay
Dres Anderson, WR, Utah - San Francisco
DeAndrew White, WR, Alabama - San Francisco
Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas - St. Louis (the “other” Malcolm Brown from Texas)
Bradley Marquez, WR, Texas Tech - St. Louis (former Mets draft pick)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2015 NFL Mock Draft - Round 1

My best guess at what will transpire on Thursday night...

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State - Ho hum.

2. Cleveland Browns: [projected trade] Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - Here's where the draft starts to get interesting. Someone is going to trade up for the Duck. The question is whom. My money's on the Browns. They have the ammo (two first rounders) to get the job done, and they have the gaping hole at the quarterback position. I've never seen a team so obviously want to trade the second pick. And for the life of me, I can't figure out what the Titans are thinking if they actually believe Zach Mettenberger is the answer. The Browns will take advantage.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia - The Jags pulled off the shock of the first round last year when they grabbed Blake Bortles seemingly out of nowhere. Here. We. Go. Again. I think all of the "Amari Cooper to the Jaguars" stories are bogus. Do I have any proof? Of course not, but it seems like a classic smokescreen from a notoriously secretive team. Gurley is an ideal fit for this team assuming his medicals have checked out. Upgrading from the horrible TG (Toby Gerhart) to this one might be worth three wins alone for the Jags this year.

4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama - If this scenario unfolds, the Raiders would wind up with the top player on my board. Cooper and Carr could actually form a nice QB-WR combo which Oakland fans haven't seen since the Jamarcus Russell-Zach Miller days. Wait, those days weren't good? Ok, then since the Rich Gannon-Tim Brown days. Yes, it's been a while.

5. New Orleans Saints: [projected trade] Leonard Williams, DL, USC - The Saints have some extra picks thanks to the slew of offseason dumpster fire trades made by Mickey Loomis (Jimmy Graham, Kenny Stills). They can package a few of the picks - maybe numbers 12 and 75 - to move up and fill a need on the defensive front. The Redskins need help in the secondary but no defensive backs warrant a selection this high in the draft.

6. New York Jets: Dante Fowler, Jr, DE/OLB, Florida - The Jets need a QB but should resist the urge to sell the farm for a chance to select Winston or Mariota. Fowler would be a great consolation prize in this scenario as a disruptive DE/OLB player that can do it all. They can focus on the offensive side of the ball later (please let Melvin Gordon slip into Round 2).

7. Chicago Bears: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia - If the Bears are going all-in on Jay Cutler (bahahaahaha), they should at least try to put him in a position to succeed. With Brandon Marshall gone, they can put White opposite Alshon Jeffrey and hope the talented Mountaineer can thrive as a number two option.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson - Nicknamed "Beastly" for his freakish measurables, I think he'll be better known as a "Bustly" before it's all said and done. He doesn't make enough plays for me to get on board with taking him in the top 10, but the Falcons are desperate for help at the position. Desperation + squinting real hard to make someone fit + Combine freak = trouble.

9. New York Giants: Landon Collins, S, Alabama - This might be a bit of an overdraft, but it's a perfect fit.

10. St. Louis Rams: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa - If the draft unfolds this way, the Rams will have their pick of offensive linemen. I'm guessing they go with the Hawkeye.

11. Minnesota Vikings: Davante Parker, WR, Louisville - This is almost too perfect as Parker was Teddy Bridgewater's running mate in college. Worked then, can it work now?

12. Tennessee Titans: [projected trade] Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford - Slides into the starting right tackle spot.

13. Washington Redskins: [projected trade] Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

14. Miami Dolphins: Marcus Peters, CB, Parts Unknown

15. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami - The '9ers need to find that Patrick Willis replacement, if that's even possible. Perryman will do what he can, but those are some huge shoes to fill.

16. Houston Texans: Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State

17. San Diego Chargers: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin - Crushing my hopes as a Jets fan.

18. Kansas City Chiefs: Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon - Need to start planning for life after Tamba Hali.

19. Tennessee Titans (via Bills via Browns): [projected trade] Shane Ray, DE, Missouri - Ray was in the top-10 conversation, but then a lady named Mary Jane caught his attention three days before draft. Good timing for the Titans, perhaps.

20. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Rowe, S, Utah - Buzzkill Central. After all the Mariota chatter, the Eagles faithful would be extremely disappointed with this outcome, although I don't think Chip cares too much.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska - I'll take Character Concerns for 800, Alex. This guy is perfect for the Bengals in a lot of ways, need, off-field trouble, and comes from a big school to name three.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest - He can't tackle to save his life, but he can defend the pass. At 22, you can't have it all.

23. Detroit Lions: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

24. Arizona Cardinals: Maxx Williams, TE, Arizona

25. Carolina Panthers: Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon

26. Baltimore Ravens: Nelson Agholor, WR, USC

27. Dallas Cowboys: Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas - Some home cooking.

28. Denver Broncos: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami

29. Indianapolis Colts: Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA

30. Green Bay Packers: Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky

31. New Orleans Saints (via Seahawks): Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington

32. New England Patriots: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma via Missouri

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cuddyer?

Please tell me these reports about Cuddyer are wrong. Please.

Giving up a first rounder and all this cash for this guy would be insane.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The 8 Things I'll (Try To) Teach My Daughter


[This post has nothing to do with sports. Deal with it, or click away now.]

Today is my daughter’s second birthday. I have had a pretty great life, blessed with an incredible family, unbelievable friends, and a great wife just to name a few. But, she has to be the best gift I’ve ever gotten.

I figured this was as fitting a day as ever for this post…

A few months back, I read a post by Texans RB Arian Foster on the things he plans to teach his daughter. The first three items below are his (italics), and the rest are mine. If she learns just these things from me, I'll be content.

1. Happiness. This is probably the most cliché virtue on the list but the most pivotal to her success. She needs to understand that "success" is a voyage, not an "x" on a map. I believe strongly that smiles are contagious, so I fill my home with as much laughter as possible. I do this in hopes that this mindset bleeds into her heart.

2. Kindness. It is a virtue that you must have if you are around me. Negative energy sucks the life out of people, and we're here to smile! You must treat people kindly. No one is any better than you are and you are no better than anyone else. We are all doing the best we can to figure out this thing we call life, so humble yourself to the fact that you know very little. I'm no different. I know very little, but I do my best to learn. I've learned things from a man with a PhD, a man who lived under a bridge, and a child. Treat everyone with kindness. It goes a long way. I was taught that people will rarely remember what you tell them, but they will always remember how you made them feel. In that same breath I'll let her know not to let people take advantage of her. Weak people prey on weak people. I'm not into the turning-the-other-cheek business. I firmly believe there are times when people must stand their ground. Pick your battles wisely, but don't initiate any unwarranted hate. 

3. Men and her worth. (loads shotgun) A sore subject for any man with a daughter. There will be a day when I give her away, and they say that a woman spends her life looking for her father in her groom, so until that day I will try to be the example of a man that she eventually will seek out. Men tend to be motivated by one thing. Don't fall victim to a prince charming. If he cares for her, he'll act accordingly. If not (aims shotgun), well, I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

4. Be honest even if no one is watching. Honesty and trust are two of the most difficult things to repair or rebuild. Stay honest at all times, and you won't have to worry.

5. Don't live every day like it's your last but like it will be your best. If I knew my last trip around the sun was coming soon, I would probably do some stupid things, but if I expected every day to be my best, I think I would have a contagious optimism about me, almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Look forward to something every day. Have short term and long term goals that interest you. Find a hobby, find your calling, find something, find many things. Just have something that keeps you motivated and enjoying life daily.

6. How to have a catch. I would be a failure if I couldn’t teach my daughter how to throw and catch. The rest of these are lifelong-type goals, but I'm hoping we can cross this item off the list by the time she’s three.

7. Keep life in perspective. Few things in life are as big a deal as they might seem initially. Break ups, failed tests, rejections, they are all going to happen. Treat them like speed bumps and not walls. Learn from them, and move on.

8. Don't hold grudges. Someone once told me, “you wouldn’t care what other people thought of you if you realized how seldom they do.” There will be people in the world you won't like. It's inevitable, but people who you don't like won't think about you very much so don't waste time thinking about them. It takes a lot of energy to stay mad at someone. Just let it go. That being said, if someone continues to give you a hard time, stick up for yourself (I would also be happy to do it for you).

Sunday, May 11, 2014

15 Best Undrafted Free Agents



WR Brandon Coleman, Rutgers, Saints
S Craig Loston, LSU, Jaguars
WR Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State, Titans
DT Anthony Johnson, LSU, Dolphins
OT Antonio Richardson, Tennessee, Vikings
DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas, Seahawks
CB Chris Davis, Auburn, Chargers
LB Shayne Skov, Stanford, 49ers
OT James Hurst, North Carolina, Ravens
C Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma, Titans
QB Connor Shaw, South Carolina, Browns
LB Max Bullough, Michigan State, Texans
CB Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida, TBD
RB Kapri Bibbs, Colorado State, Broncos
WR Damian Copeland, Louisville, Jaguars

The top five on this list will start multiple games this season.

Friday, May 9, 2014

NFL Draft: Round 1 Thoughts

Things I'm Feeling:

-Nailing four of my 11 picks in the final mock draft.
-Being an early proponent of Mike Evans to Tampa Bay.
-The Jets having a shot at Marqise Lee in the second round.
-The Dolphins and Patriots reaching in a big way for their first round picks, and the Bills sacrificing next year's first rounder to move up for Sammy Watkins. 
-The Rams defensive line with the addition of Aaron Donald.
-MAC Football. Behind the SEC (3), they have the most top 5 picks in the last two drafts (2). Jimmie Ward, the 30th selection tonight, is also a MAC product.
-The 2014 Saints. They are making a run at the Super Bowl this year, and Brandin Cooks certainly helps.
-Louisville Safety, Calvin Pryor's #25 Jets jersey will replace my Louisville Safety, Kerry Rhodes' #25 Jets jersey
-CJ Mosley just seems like a Ravens / Ozzie Newsome kind of player.


Things I'm Not Feeling:

-Blake Bortles in Jacksonville. I had huge hopes for this guy, but that's an ugly situation to step into.
-Eric Ebron to the Lions. Defense should have been the focus, not a glorified tight end/wide receiver.
-Do the Steelers ever draft first rounders that don't play linebacker? I like Shazier but there has to be other areas of need.
-The 2015-beyond Saints. See above, but the price of making a run this year comes at a cost down the road. That Jairus Byrd contract in particular will be a tough one to swallow.
-No running backs being taken on Day One. Carlos Hyde and Jeremy Hill are first round talents.
-Johnny Football would be a huge improvement over GenoVick.



Best Available:

1. Marqise Lee
2. Cyrus Kouandjio
3. Stanley Jean-Baptiste
4. Jeremy Hill
5. Carlos Hyde
6. Jimmy Garoppolo
7. Jace Amaro
8. Jordan Matthews
9. Xavier Su'a-Filo
10. Cody Latimer
11. Lamarcus Joyner
12. Louis Nix
13. Ra'Shede Hageman
14. Scott Crichton
15. Kyle Van Noy

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

NFL Draft: Three Bold Predictions‏

The Sports Banter

1. None of the top 10 picks will be traded from this point forward (Rams already own the Redskins pick). For all the talk about teams moving up or down and about loving certain players, I think it's all a smokescreen. The price of moving up at the top of the draft is just too high for any team to sacrifice the picks that are now expected.

2. Jeremy Hill will be the first running back selected. I said earlier in the week that I think Carlos Hyde and Hill were the two best running backs in this class, but I think the consensus right now has Hill as the fourth or fifth back. I think a team will fall in love with his size/speed combo and grab him in the middle of round 2.

3. Aaron Donald will be a top 5 pick. Since I already predicted no trades would happen in the top 10, I'm looking at you, Oakland. The Raiders always do crazy things in the draft. Always. It wouldn't be a first round if they took a player everyone expected them to take. Donald seems like their type of player.


Rick

1. The Buffalo Bills trade up to select Sammy Watkins. Watkins has been connected to pretty much every team in the draft since the college football season ended. The Bills need weapons and they're one of many teams in love with Watkins. I have inside information Watkins was at a draft party hanging out with Andre Reed all night. Just connecting dots.

2. There will be at least 5 trades in the top 16. The rookie pay scale has drastically changed Draft Day. Teams are no longer scared to take chances on guys earlier in the draft, swings and misses are no longer decade long mistakes for organizations. If teams want a guy, they'll go get him. I expect a flurry of trades tomorrow night. But not for a certain position.

3. No quarterbacks will be taken in the top 10.
None of these QB's are rated highly on anyone's boards, that's a fact. If you went best player available you wouldn't see a QB off the board until the 20's. No team wants to burn a 1st round pick on a QB they could get on day 2. The difference between the media's top 3 and the next 4-5 QB's isn't that drastic. QB needy teams aren't going to panic this year, not a great QB class.


Coop

1. No quarterbacks go in the top 10 picks. There are no home run picks at quarterback, and there is a slim chance that the teams at the top of the draft choose the best player available rather than draft for need. 

2. The 49ers trade up to take Mike Evans. There are a number of reasons for this: 1) They have 11 draft picks this year, 2) They need another playmaker at WR, and 3) They are feeling the heat from the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl. Rumor has it that they have an interest in Odell Beckham Jr., but they would be making quite a statement trading up for Evans who is a potential matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.

3. A personal favorite, 3 Notre Dame players go in the first round. This may not be as big a reach as I think, but Louis Nix III, Stephon Tuitt, and Zack Martin all hear their names called on Day 1. Would be a tremendous showing for the Irish on draft day.

Mock Draft 2.0: Featuring Rick and Coop (Part II)

1. Texans (TSB): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
2. Rams via Redskins (Coop): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
3. Jaguars (Rick): Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
4. Browns (Coop): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
5. Raiders (TSB): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
6. Falcons (Rick): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
7. Bucs (TSB): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
8. Vikings (Coop): Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
9. Bills (Rick): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
10. Lions (TSB): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
11. Titans (Coop): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St.
12. Giants (Rick): Zach Martin, OG/OT, Notre Dame
13. Rams (Coop) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
14. Bears (TSB): Aaron Donald, DL, Pitt
15. Steelers (Rick): Kyle Fuller, CB, VT
16. Cowboys (Rick): Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

17. Ravens (Coop): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU – After finishing 27th in the league in passing the Ravens addressed their need at WR by signing Steve Smith, but he is 34 and just isn’t the dynamic playmaker that he used to be. They could use another young burner opposite Torrey Smith, and Beckham has the skill set to jump right into the rotation from day one and produce. Joe Flacco will have a field day with the speed that Beckham and Smith bring to the table.

18. Jets (TSB): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina - I would have loved if Beckham fell one more spot, but grabbing Ebron is nice consolation. The Jets need playmakers (echo, echo, echo). They added Eric Decker and Chris Johnson which was a very nice start, but it's time to give GenoVick another weapon. Ebron will create mismatches all over the field. Adding Ebron and another wideout later in the draft could make this offense... potent. Never thought I'd say that after watching this team the last three years.

19. Dolphins (Rick): CJ Mosley, MLB, Alabama - Miami is obliterated along their offensive line, contingent they use a second round pick on a versatile lineman who can compete at RT or inside at guard, this is a solid pick. This pick also fills a need while not over drafting for it. This is a great spot for the dolphins to trade back but Mosley represents great value and can start in the middle right away. This will allow Dannell Ellerbe to kick back outside where he's most effective.

20. Cardinals (Coop): Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville – There is a hole on the back end for the Cardinals who are potentially losing Yeremiah Bell to free agency. Pairing Pryor, Mathieu, Peterson, and Cromartie in the Arizona secondary gives the Cardinals one of the best secondaries in the league. Pryor is an intimidator on the  back end, delivering huge hits and putting fear into the hearts of the receivers crossing the middle. His tackling ability will also be a huge asset in defending against the run.

21. Packers (Rick): Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State - The Packers have had a hole in the middle of their defense for a while, it's been hidden by names. AJ Hawk sounds good, but he's average, and he hasn't been able to shoulder the load since Desmond Bishop moved on. Shazier is a freak athlete who can make an impact on the defensive side of the ball. They don't have a sideline to sideline LB. As much as Clay Matthews is a terror, he's primarily used to rush the passer. Shazier can take care of the back end while Matthews does his thing. It's a good move in a division that has to worry about pass catching RB's like Reggie Bush and Matt Forte. Oh and guys like Adrian Peterson. That 4.36 40 time sounds pretty good right now.

22. Eagles (TSB): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State - Lose Desean Jackson, replace him with a younger cheaper version that might turn out to be just as good. Seems like good roster management to me (aside from getting nothing of value back in return from D-Jax, that is).

23. Chiefs (Coop): Marqise Lee, WR, USC – Consider me an optimist, but Lee is exactly what the Chiefs need in this draft.  Before this past season, Lee was the consensus #1 WR in college and a lock to go at the top of the first round. What followed was a truly lackluster campaign which was marred by injuries and a terrible quarterback situation. It isn’t hard to envision him returning to the 2012 form that made him a Heisman front runner. Alex Smith would certainly love drafting a player who can take a safe pass and turn it into a huge gain at any time.

24. Bengals (Rick): Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State - The perennial "he has a record so he should fit right in" pick for the Bengals. Roby has all the tools to become the best CB in this class, but recent off the field issues have his stock falling a bit. The Bengals top CB is coming off his second ruptured Achilles in the last 3 years and their other corner is on the wrong side of 35. Their 2012 first rounder, Dre Kirkpatrick is fueling the reputation of Alabama defenders who come into the NFL with more hype than production, he's been toying with the "bust" label. Roby fills a need here for the Bengals who are real thin at CB.

25. Chargers (TSB): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU - Aside from Eric Weddle, this secondary is pretty abysmal. I don't think it's reasonable to expect to beat Peyton Manning twice a season when Shareece Wright and Crezdon Butler are your starting corners. Verrett becomes a Day 1 starter.

26. Browns via Colts (Coop): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno St. – This is not David Carr 2.0, mostly because this situation is drastically better to be walking into. David walked into an awful situation in Houston where he was sacked so many times that he couldn’t remember who he should be throwing to. The Browns now have 2 dynamic playmakers at WR, a very versatile RB, a top TE, and dominant offensive line. To me that sounds like the best possible situation for a rookie quarterback to be walking into. Carr has the arm strength to deal with a Cleveland winter, could be exactly what the Browns need to make the next step towards being a playoff contender.

27. Saints (Rick): Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana - The Saints lost a reliable target in Lance Moore this offseason and don't have much quality depth at the WR position for a pass happy offense. Latimer has seen his stock rise steadily since his pro day. His 23 reps at the combine showed off his strength (led all receivers and beat some lineman), he's a big strong receiver that could complement Kenny Stills who is the primary deep threat. He'll learn from and eventually replace Marques Colston. He's a former basketball star much like someone else on this team.... What's up Jimmy Graham?

28. Panthers (TSB): Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt - Carolina does not have a wide receiver on their roster that caught a pass for them last season which is amazing. It's time to address that need to give Cam Newton a weapon outside and Matthews is the top guy on my board at the position.

29. Patriots (Coop): Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame – Vince Wilfork re-signed a one year agreement, but nobody knows how effective he will be coming off an Achilles injury. Nix gives the Pats some depth and most importantly a future stalwart on the defensive line. He is about as athletic a man at 360 pounds as you are going to find, and will be a nightmare for opposing teams to block.

30. 49ers (Rick): Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU - Big, strong, productive, fast. Everything you want in a WR. The 49ers will most likely move up to grab one earlier, but Benjamin presents decent value late in the first round. Shares the same alma mater as Anquan Boldin, he'll undoubtedly learn a lot from his new teammate. Kaepernick will love have a huge target who can win on contested deep balls. Benjamin will work well on the other side of Crabtree with Boldin in the slot and Davis over the middle.

31. Broncos (TSB): Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin - Just a solid football player through and through that would start right away on a team in need of a youth infusion on defense. Safe pick, if not a superstar.

32. Seahawks (TSB): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville - I don't have a great justification for this pick, but the Seahawks do some things that don't always make sense on draft day but work themselves out eventually. Maybe they run into trouble trying to re-sign Russell Wilson. Maybe the undersized Wilson gets hurt. Who knows but it's never a bad thing to have additional resources at the most important psition in sports.