Friday, May 30, 2014
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Friday, May 9, 2014
-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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
2. Rams via Redskins (Coop): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn – Trade this pick. Trade this pick. Trade this pick. Okay, if that doesn’t work take Greg Robinson. As mentioned in the previous mock, he is the best tackle in the class for a line that has more than a few question marks. The Rams finished 30th in the league in total offense and have needs all over, but the quickest way to compete in the NFC West is to bolster the line and protect Sam Bradford. There is temptation to take Sammy Watkins here, however a franchise tackle is too good to pass up.
3. Jaguars (Rick): Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo - Some consider Mack the safest pick this year. Each year that picks falls because it may not be the sexy or popular pick, but Mack has the tools to be a perennial Pro-Bowler. The Jags need pass rushers, dead last in the NFL in sacks with 31, Jason Babin isn't the answer. It will be hard to pass on Sammy Watkins considering Justin Blackmon is a J-Walking ticket away from a year long suspension but Mack will be a consistent game changing player for them and they have none of those on defense.
4. Browns (Coop): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – There are no sure fire lock quarterback picks in this year’s draft. So rather than rolling the dice on another potential bust signal caller with this pick, the Browns can select another dynamic wide receiver. Teaming Watkins with Josh Gordon, Ben Tate, and Jordan Cameron gives them arguably the best set of weapons in the AFC. With the luxury of a 2nd pick in the first round, the Browns can afford to put off addressing their QB situation for another 22 picks and still find a long term solution.
5. Raiders (TSB): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M - "Nah, we're all good here. Matt Schaub is our QB." Wait, no one has actually said that except maybe the Texans last year which is a pretty god reason they are picking at the top of the draft this year. Oakland needs a franchise player. Manziel is boom or bust but at least he has boom potential which can't be said for most of the rest of this organization especially the aforementioned Schaub. As I wrote in the last mock, the QB situation has been the black hole of the Black Hole since Rich Gannon left. Just listen to some of these names that have lined up under center since 2004: Carson Palmer, Jason Campbell, Jamarcus Russell, Dante Culpepper, Andrew Walter, Kerry Collins. And it’s not like these guys were backups. Each of them led the Raiders in passing at least once in the last decade. Yikes. Manziel can change all of that and sell some jerseys.
6. Falcons (Rick): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan - Despite assault charges against him stemming from a ruckus in December, the Falcons need to take Lewan here. They need major help at OT and you can't go wrong protecting your prized QB. They had woeful O-Line play last year and as his rap sheet indicates he has a real mean streak that the Falcons could use up front.
7. Bucs (TSB): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M - I am pretty sure I was the first time one to come up with the Evans-to-the-Bucs idea so I'm sticking with it. He is V-Jax 2.0. Is it crazy to have two of the identical players on a team? I can't think of a great reason why that would be a bad thing if that player is incredibly gifted and creates all types of mismatches. V-Jax 1.0 is 31 years old. He's not playing in the Not For Long forever. This will be a passing of the torch eventually, but for now, gimme both of them.
8. Vikings (Coop): Blake Bortles, QB, UCF – Bortles is a prototypical NFL QB who immediately cleans up the mess at QB in Minnesota. He walks into an ideal situation where he can rely on Adrian Peterson and the running game very much like Mark Sanchez did in his first few years in New York. The difference here is that Bortles should be able to get more out of his tools with the talented trio of Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Kyle Rudolph lining up around him.
9. Bills (Rick): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M - The Bills gave up 48 sacks and 108 QB hits last season. That combination ranked 29th in the NFL last season. That's with two mobile and athletic QB's that started for them last year. Their offensive line is in shambles, Matthews would be a great value and need pick at #9.
10. Lions (TSB): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State - Three of my four picks have been repeats proving once again the NFL needs to move the draft back to its normal time in April. At this point teams will be guilty of paralysis by analysis. From last mock: Dennard paired with 2013 second round CB Darius Slay could give some stability to a secondary unit in desperate need of it. The Golden Tate signing alleviates the need to address the wide receiver position, not to mention that offense isn't the problem in Motown. This makes too much sense not to happen.
11. Titans (Coop): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St. – Gilbert is a long, fast corner who can hold his own in press coverage against some of the bigger NFL wide receivers. There is no issue with his production either, he led the Big 12 in interceptions in 2013 and returned 2 of them for touchdowns. The point where he stands out above the rest is his return ability. In his 3 years at Oklahoma State, Gilbert returned 6 kicks for touchdowns which is just 1 shy of the NCAA record shared by CJ Spiller. If everything lines up properly, his game is very close to that of Patrick Peterson.
12. Giants (Rick): Zach Martin, OG/OT, Notre Dame - I've heard nothing but immense praise for Martin since the "silly season" started and that's hard to do. Scouts are calling him by far the safest pick in the draft. The Giants treasure versatility and Martin is dripping with it. He plays inside and outside at above average levels and is expected to be a stud interior lineman in the NFL. With depth questions along with an aging Chris Snee coming off hip surgery and openly contemplating retirement, this is a big pick for the Giants. Paired with last years first rounder Justin Pugh, the Giants have a young and impressive core along the line for the first time in years.
13. Rams (Coop) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama – This is a kid who earned playing time at Alabama as a true freshman in 2011, won 2 national championships, and most importantly has the best name in the draft. The only blemish on his resume is a two-game suspension for violating team rules, but he returned to top form after his brief absence. Ha ha has great range and should be an immediate help a St. Louis unit that finished in the middle of the pack in 2013.
14. Bears (TSB): Aaron Donald, DL, Pitt - Chances of this happening on Draft Day are very remote because I think he'll be long gone, but if it does happen, this is a nice fit and a big win for Chicago. Donald just makes plays, repeatedly.
15. Steelers (Rick): Kyle Fuller, CB, VT - Physical corner that Mike Tomlin covets. Pittsburgh has had a deep roster for a long time but have neglected it for too long and it's caught up. The secondary was once the strength of this team but they need an overhaul of youth. This is a good start.
16. Cowboys (Rick): Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA - I'm not as high on Barr as some people, but Dallas needs to replace Demarcus Ware so the one dimensional Barr isn't a bad fit. He's fast off the edge and should fit into a situational speed rushing role immediately.
2 (49) - Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
3 (80) - Troy Nicklas, TE, Notre Dame
4 (104) - Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
4 (115) - Terrance West, RB, Towson
4 (137) - James Hurst, OT, North Carolina
5 (154) - Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor
6 (195) - Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
6 (209) - Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
6 (210) - Craig Loston, S, LSU
6 (213) - Louchiez Purifoy, CB, Florida
7 (233) - Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Monday, May 5, 2014
-Manziel at #2 and Mike Evans at #13 for the Rams? Very unlikely but crazier things have happened.
-I would call the Seantrel Henderson story a shame (elite recruit, horrible college career on and off the field, quit Combine, failed marijuana test), but maybe he just doesn't like football all that much. This is not meant as a dig at the guy. It's possible that he just doesn't care. Maybe he'll find his passion elsewhere, and that's not a bad thing.
-The extra two weeks of the Draft process will make teams to crazy things, but I can't fathom Khalil Mack being taken ahead of Jadeveon Clowney.
-I can definitely envision a scenario where the top three tackles are gone by time Atlanta comes to the pdium with the sixth pick. If they want one, they should trade up.
-I still think it's funny that the National Football Post, a site which I like a lot, had Ryan Nassib as their top prospect for the 2013 Draft. Whoops. This year they have Blake Bortles as their #41 prospect overall.
-We will look back at this Draft and wonder why Blake Bortles wasn't the no-brainer top QB.
-For those curious, here are my QB rankings:
3. Jimmy Garoppolo
4. Connor Shaw
5. Derek Carr
-The stigma against taking a running back has gone too far. Carlos Hyde will win Offensive Rookie of the Year wherever he lands. Jeremy Hill will be a stud too.
-My running back rankings:
3. Terrance West (Towson)
4. Tre Mason
5. Storm Johnson
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Random Thought: If there was any non-Sterling-related justice in the NBA, the Pelicans would win a top-3 draft spot in this year’s lottery and not have to send their pick to the 76ers. New Orleans tried to compete this year by trading their 2014 (top-5 protected) first rounder for Jrue Holiday, but it didn’t work out. Philly put out a joke of a product on the court this season. It would be sweet justice if the Pellys could add a superstar to their lineup. Holiday-Evans-Gordon-Anderson-AD plus either Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, or Joel Embiid? Sign me up.
Email Test: I am posting this blog via email (or at least trying to). Could be an exciting development if it works.