Twitter
Search

Entries in NFL (6)

Thursday
Apr252019

2019 NFL Mock Draft

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 – Drew Lock – QB – Missouri
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Devin White – ILB – LSU
6. New York Giants – Dwayne Haskins – QB – Ohio State
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – T.J. Hockenson – TE - Iowa
8. Detroit Lions – Josh Allen – OLB - Kentucky
9. Buffalo Bills – Ed Oliver – DT - Houston
10. Denver Broncos – Devin Bush – ILB - Michigan
11. Cincinnati Bengals – Jonah Williams – OT - Alabama
12. Green Bay Packers – Noah Fant – TE - Iowa
13. Miami Dolphins – Christian Wilkins – DT - Clemson
14. Atlanta Falcons – Cody Ford – OT - Oklahoma
15. Washington Redskins – Chris Lindstrom – G – Boston College
16. Carolina Panthers – Jawaan Taylor – OT – Florida
17. New York Giants – Brian Burns – OLB/DE – Florida State
18. Minnesota Vikings – Erik McCoy – G/C – Texas A&M
19. Tennessee Titans – Rashan Gary – DE - Michigan
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Greedy Williams – CB - LSU
21. Seattle Seahawks – Montez Sweat – DE – Mississippi State
22. Baltimore Ravens – Garrett Bradbury – G/C – NC State
23. Houston Texans – Josh Jacobs – RB - Alabama
24. Oakland Raiders – Hollywood Brown – WR - Oklahoma
25. Philadelphia Eagles – Darnell Savage Jr. – S - Maryland
26. Indianapolis Colts – Jeffery Simmons – DT – Mississippi State
27. Oakland Raiders – Clelin Ferrel – DE - Clemson
28. Los Angeles Chargers – Dexter Lawrence – DT - Clemson
29. Seattle Seahawks  - Byron Murphy – CB – Washington
30. Green Bay Packers – Johnathan Abram – S – Mississippi State
31. Los Angeles Rams – Andrew Dillard – OT – Washington State
32. New England Patriots – Daniel Jones – QB - Duke

Sunday
Mar182018

The Good, Bad, and Confusing of NFL Moves

We aren’t even a week into the new league year, but already there have been a ton of moves that will help shape the 2018 NFL season. Here is a quick take on the teams I feel have gotten better, worse, and completely confused.

Better

Chicago Bears – They have parted ways with Mike Glennon after giving the reigns over to Mitch Trubisky and brought in two solid backups. I feel like the idea of Chase Daniel is better than the quarterback Chase Daniel, but he is now in Chicago to be the primary backup and will land high on many people’s lists of top backups in the league. Time will tell if Tyler Bray will make the team, but he is another backup with experience.  The Bears are where highly thought of college receivers go to die, so it is about time they sign a big time receiver, and Allen Robinson gives Trubisky a real number one target. Add Prince Amukamara, Aaron Lyncch, Sam Acho,  and resign Kyle Fuller, and the defense gets a boost as well.

Green Bay Packers – Getting DeShone Kizer as the new backup to Aaron Rodgers is an upgrade, Muhammad Wilkerson for just $5M is all upside, and Jimmy Graham gives Rodgers a scary weapon at tight end. Will be interesting to see how the loss of Jody Nelson will impact the team.

Kansas City Chiefs – They dealt away Alex Smith to make room for Patrick Mahomes and brought in a stud receiver for him in Sammy Watkins. Kendall Fuller will take the place of the departed headache in Marcus Peters, while they also add linebacker Anthony Hitchens to an already solid defense.

Los Angeles Rams – Speaking of Marcus Peters, he is now in LA with the Rams, along with new acquisition Aqib Talib improve the Rams secondary, although they did lose talent up front.

Oakland Raiders – Goodbye Michael Crabtree, make room for Jordy Nelson. In addition to adding a reliable receiver, they are taking their chances on former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin.

San Francisco 49ers – There won’t be a move that goes further under the radar than the 49ers signing Weston Richburg. He takes over as center along side two underperforming first round guards in Laken Tomlinson and Josh Garnett, making the raw talent in front of Jimmy Garappolo something that could become elite. They replace the departed Carlos Hyde with Jerick McKinnon and were the winners in the rush to get Richard Sherman after he was released.

Tennessee Titans – The Titans had DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, two backs that run very similarly, but now part ways with Murray and bring in Dion Lewis who will serve as an excellent change of pace back and easy underneath target for Marcus Mariota. They also spend the money get Malcolm Butler as corner, and word is they will allow him to play.

Worse

Dallas Cowboys – Ready for the list of new players the Cowboys have brought in this season? Ok, here it goes:

 

Did you miss it? Yeah, they haven’t brought in anyone of note, their big signing has been the re-signing of their long snapper. Meanwhile they have said goodbye to Anthony Hitchens, Keith Smith will no longer be in at fullback, and Orland Scandrick has been released. Not a good sign for the Cowboys.

New England Patriots – Ok, maybe my fandom is getting in the way here, but I am not one to say “they always lose talent and somehow win the division”. I am one to say “you just traded Jimmy G for practically nothing after sending off Jacoby Brissett in the preseason, who is gonna be the QB of the future?” Add to that the departure of Julian Edelman (I don’t care if he didn’t play last year, he is still the best receiver the team had) and replace him with the always underwhelming Cordarrelle Patterson? Oh, and we already touched on the fact that Dion Lewis and Malcom Butler are gone.

Confused

Arizona Cardinals – Let’s face it, this tweet perfectly sums up the signing of Sam Braford.

 

But they also sign Mike Glennon, one who we at The Stain have long been fans of. You also bring back Larry Fitzgerald but lose the Brown brothers, John and Jaron (not really brothers).

Cleveland Browns – Ok, you have picks one and four in the draft and seem to be debating between quarterback and running back…so you trade for Tyrod Taylor and sign Carlos Hyde? I am confused. You trade for Jarvis Landry, a very good WR, but you are going to have to give him a very large contract as he is currently under the franchise tag.

New York Jets – The Jets resigned Josh McCown and went out and brought in Teddy Bridgewater, which would be a solid QB room for a team who just might be a few good pieces away from being respectable…so they go out and trade away their 6th overall pick along with picks 37 and 49 and a second next year to jump up to three where they will no doubt add a QB? What a mess.

Saturday
May032014

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Shaun's Picks

I did six different mock drafts, all looking at different ways to fill certain needs or by taking a look at draft prospect rankings that differed significantly from the norm just to see different options for the first round. I then took all six mocks, added a bunch of my own bias, and came up with my final and official mock draft. This is somewhere between what I think will happen and what I think should happen. If you are interested in seeing the six other mock drafts, they can be found here.

 

1) Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney - DE/OLB - South Carolina – Clowney is the best talent in the draft in years, making him an easy number one pick. There has been some buzz about Khalil Mack possibly being the guy based on scheme versatility, but lining up Clowney on the opposite side of the line as J.J. Watt could make for one of the greatest defensive lines ever.

 

2) St. Louis Rams::Jake Matthews – OT - Texas A&M – Most boards have Greg Robinson going here, and I originally did too, but the Rams need help now and Matthews is probably the most NFL ready tackle in the draft. Robinson has the higher upside and will likely be the one selected, but he also has bust potential, and at this point in the Rams development, they can’t afford a but at offensive tackle.

 

3) Jacksonville Jaguars: Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson – With many reports that Justin Blackmon will not be playing at all in 2014, the Jaguars need a playmaking receiver they can count on.  Watkins is as impressive a wide receiver I have seen in college football since Larry Fitzgerald at Pitt.

 

4) Cleveland Browns: C.J. Mosley – ILB – Alabama – In my other mock drafts, I found the Browns could probably get Mosley all the way down at pick 26, but he fits the need best here. Sure they need a quarterback, but the thought that each of the top three will be gone by then just doesn’t seem likely to me. They need someone that can be a leader in the middle of that defense, and Mosley can be just that.

 

5) Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack - OLB/DE – Buffalo – People have said Mack is the surest pass rusher to come into the draft since Aaron Curry, and we have seen how well that went. I don’t see him being the bust Curry was, but I also don’t see him being a league leader in sacks. The Raiders need talent at every position, and lots of it, so look for them to take the best player on the board

 

6) Atlanta Falcons: Eric Ebron – TE - North Carolina – Julio Jones has proved to be an injury risk and the team has lost a future Hall of Famer in Tony Gonzalez, so a playmaking tight end is an easy selection. Ebron is one of the most talented receiving tight ends in the draft in some time, and could be a real star on a team like the Falcons.

 

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn – The Bucs might not know who their long term quarterback is going to be, but regardless of who it is, they will need to protect him. Robinson has the most natural tools of any offensive lineman in the draft, he just doesn’t have the polish. He has brute strength and is very athletic. He can protect the quarterback and blow up the defense on running plays, making him a perfect fit in Tampa.

 

8) Minnesota Vikings: Darqueze Dennard – CB - Michigan State – Defensive back might not be the most pressing need for the Vikings, and with them declining Christian Ponder’s fifth year option, they could very well go quarterback here, but Dennard might be too tempting to pass up. Unlike most of the corners in this draft, he has number one corner upside rather than the nickel corner profile of most guys. In an incredibly pass happy division, adding another play making corner could benefit the Vikings moving forward.

 

9) Buffalo Bills: Mike Evans – WR - Texas A&M – The Bills had some young receivers show flashes of brilliance last season, to go with flashes of rookie mistakes. I was tempted to put Marqise Lee as a surprise pick here to give them the duo the USC fans became used to of Lee and Robert Woods, but Mike Evans is the big bodied receiver that can wreak havoc in the AFC East.

 

10) Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert – CB - Oklahoma State – Detroit ranked 23rd in the NFL in passing yards allowed in 2013 and 28th in sacks. They have spent plenty of money and draft picks on the defensive line, but really need help on the back end. Gilbert might be the most athletic of the first round corners, but he also needs the most refining. He will get beat by the top receivers in the division, but he should make plenty of big plays too.

 

11) Tennessee Titans: Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville – I am not one of those people who think this draft is bad at quarterback, but I also don’t think there is a real star available either. There are a lot of quality game managers who have the upside of someone the likes of Joe Flacco. If there is one player that can become a star, it is Bridgewater, but he needs to be in the right environment to do so. He will struggle in cold weather locations like the East and North divisions, and while Nashville has it’s cold stretches, games in Jacksonville, and two stadiums with a roof on it (Indianapolis and Houston) should allow Bridgewater to really shine.

 

12) New York Giants: Aaron Donald – DT – Pittsburgh – The Giants have had the mot success when they have disruptive pass rushers off the edge, but Donald could give them an all around disruptor right up the middle. Donald might be the second most talented player in this draft, and can be an absolute steal at 12, but defensive tackle is actually pretty deep in this draft and is not a major need for the teams at the top, so Giants fans should be very happy if Donald gets to them.

 

13) St. Louis Rams: Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix – S – Alabama – Clinton-Dix to the Rams at 13 has been the longest consistent pick in mock drafts ever since the draft order was determined. The Rams have decent corners, but their safeties are a major weakness. Clinton-Dix could step in and make a major impact right away.

 

14) Chicago Bears: Jason Verrett – CB – TCU – While the Bears have an excellent duo of starting corners, both are over the age of 30, so it is time to start grooming the heir apparent. Verrett is under 5’10”, so he will probably be a lined up on the traditional slot receiver, and he ran a sub-4.40 40, so he can run with the best of them.

 

15) Pittsburgh Steelers: Brandin Cooks – WR - Oregon State – Over the past two seasons the Steelers have lost Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jericho Cotchery, leaving them with a massive need at wide receiver. Cooks would join former Oregon State teammate Markus Wheaton up in Pittsburgh to give them a pair of burners opposite number one receiver Antonio Brown.

 

16) Dallas Cowboys: Calvin Pryor – S – Louisville – The Cowboys just might be set to pick in in the top ten of the draft next year. They need help at almost every position on the defensive side as their depth was exposed as a massive weakness last season. They will likely spend the majority of their picks on the defensive side of the ball, and Pryor would be a fantastic start.

 

17) Baltimore Ravens: Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan – Michael Oher has a fantastic story which turned into a quality movie, but it turned out he wasn’t a very good NFL player. Eugene Monroe is set in at left tackle, and Lewan has never played right tackle, but if he slips this far, he is a must pick.

 

18) New York Jets: Odell Beckham Jr. – WR – LSU – If the Falcons don’t pick Ebron at six, he is the pick here, but since he is off the board, the best receiver is the obvious pick, and for me it is Beckham Jr. The Jets clearly are not sold on Geno Smith at quarterback given the fact they brought in Michael Vick, but it is too early to add another QB to their roster. Look for the Jets to add other offensive weapons to the recently signed Erik Decker and Chris Johnson to help on offense.

 

19) Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin - OT/G - Notre Dame –The Dolphins lost two starters on the offensive line due to scandal in 2013, so they need help on the offensive line. Martin can play either tackle or guard, both positions of need, and he can play right from the start.

 

20) Arizona Cardinals: Blake Bortles – QB – UCF – The Cardinals were the best team in the league that did not make the playoffs in 2013, and were arguably better than some that did taste the postseason, so drafting a quarterback rather than an immediate need may be tough, but Bortles makes it easier. Bortles would get the chance to sit behind Carson Palmer for part of the season but will work his way into playing time. Bortles would be a fantastic pick for the Cardinals.

 

21) Green Bay Packers: Marqise Lee – WR – USC – At first glance, with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb already on the team, receiver doesn’t look like a need, but the depth at the receiver position was exposed in 2013 after their receivers suffered injuries. If Lee was in the draft last year, he would have been a top-10 guy, but he will side this year, and become a steal for the Packers.

 

22) Philadelphia Eagles: Ryan Shazier – OLB - Ohio State – Trent Cole and Connor Barwin are the current outside backers for the Eagles, and neither of them are exactly spring chickens. Shazier is the top outside linebacker on a lot of boards after Anthony Barr has slipped for a lot of teams. One of the two will likely go here, and my money is on it being Shazier, although I believe Barr is the better player.

 

23) Kansas City Chiefs: Xavier Su’a-Filo – G – UCLA – Su’a Filo being the first round pick for the Chiefs the season after they went tackle with the top overall pick last season, but he will help create to core of a team that will compete to win championships for many years to come.

 

24) Cincinnati Bengals: Kyle Fuller – CB - Virginia Tech – The Bengals lost their defensive coordinator and two of their top corners are already into their thirties. Fuller is a quality corner that can serve as the dime back in his first season but be a legit starter in a year.

 

25) San Diego Chargers: Louis Nix III – DT - Notre Dame – The Chargers need a true nose tackle, and that is just what Nix is. He is the type of guy that could drop to the third of fourth round, or go as early as 25. Maybe this is my Notre Dame fandom shining through, but I think he is a difference maker so long as the team determines his knees won’t be an issue moving forward.

 

26) Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel – QB - Texas A&M – I don’t like Manziel. I don’t get how he has been so successful, but he has been. Eventually I fully believe his antics will cause him to go down in flames, and is there any more fitting city for him to do that in than Cleveland? I think not.

 

27) New Orleans Saints: Bradley Roby – CB - Ohio State – The Saints got significantly better on defense in 2013, but they currently have Champ Bailey listed as a starting corner on their depth chart, making corner a desperate need, and Roby is the best available.

 

28) Carolina Panthers: Cyrus Kouandjio – OT – Alabama – The Panthers offensive line is an embarrassment for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations, as are their receivers. Kouandjio is an incredibly underrated offensive lineman and I think is going to be really good, maybe even make a Pro Bowl or two.

 

29) New England Patriots: Stephon Tuitt - DE/DT - Notre Dame – Tuitt is a top-10 talent, but an his makeup are off the board. If a team can take an outspoken, me-first player and turn him into a team-first mute who does his talking on the field, it is the Patriots. The Patriots are a great fit for this guy.

 

30) San Francisco 49ers: Kony Ealy – DE – Missouri – The 49ers need an edge rusher, and this could be another spot for Anthoy Barr, but a guy that can rush with his hand on the ground is a bigger need. Ealy fits that need and would be my pick for them.

 

31) Denver Broncos: Jordan Matthews – WR – Vanderbilt – I absolutely love this kids game. In the first game of the season he got hit so hard he was puking on the field. He came off the field for one play, then went back in and made one of the biggest catches of the college football season. He went on to break several SEC receiver records. With Decker gone, Matthews could fill that role, and might even be better.

 

32) Seattle Seahawks: Ra’Shede Hageman – DT – Minnesota – I saw a lot of Hageman this season, and he looked fantastic. He could very well be the second best defensive tackle in this draft, and would fit the Seahawks perfectly.

 

Round 2

#

Team

Player

Pos

School

1 (33).

Houston Texans

Tom Savage

QB

Pittsburgh

2 (34).

Washington Redskins

Anthony Barr

OLB

UCLA

3 (35).

Cleveland Browns

Kelvin Benjamin

WR

Florida State

4 (36).

Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr

QB

Fresno State

5 (37).

Atlanta Falcons

Morgan Moses

OT

Virginia

6 (38).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Davante Adams

WR

Fresno State

7 (39).

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jimmy Garoppolo

QB

Eastern Illinois

8 (40).

Minnesota Vikings

Chris Borland

ILB

Wisconsin

9 (41).

Buffalo Bills

Dee Ford

DE

Auburn

10 (42).

Tennessee Titans

Carlos Hyde

RB

Ohio State

11 (43).

New York Giants

Cody Latimer

WR

Indiana

12 (44).

St. Louis Rams

Gabe Jackson

G

Mississippi State

13 (45).

Detroit Lions

Jimmie Ward

S

Northern Illinois

14 (46).

Pittsburgh Steelers

Lamarcus Joyner

CB

Florida State

15 (47).

Dallas Cowboys

Demarcus Lawrence

DE/OLB

Boise State

16 (48).

Baltimore Ravens

Marcus Martin

C

USC

17 (49).

New York Jets

Austin Seferian-Jenkins

TE

Washington

18 (50).

Miami Dolphins

Bishop Sankey

RB

Washington

19 (51).

Chicago Bears

Deone Bucannon

S

Washington State

20 (52).

Arizona Cardinals

Jeremiah Attaochu

OLB

Georgia Tech

21 (53).

Green Bay Packers

Jace Amaro

TE

Texas Tech

22 (54).

Philadelphia Eagles

Stanley Jean-Baptiste

CB

Nebraska

23 (55).

Cincinnati Bengals

David Yankey

G

Stanford

24 (56).

San Francisco 49ers

Jarvis Landry

WR

LSU

25 (57).

San Diego Chargers

Martavis Bryant

WR

Clemson

26 (58).

New Orleans Saints

Kyle Van Noy

OLB

BYU

27 (59).

Indianapolis Colts

Allen Robinson

WR

Penn State

28 (60).

Carolina Panthers

Keith McGill

CB

Utah

29 (61).

San Francisco 49ers

Weston Richburg

C

Colorado State

30 (62).

New England Patriots

Troy Niklas

TE

Notre Dame

31 (63).

Denver Broncos

Phillip Gaines

CB

Rice

32 (64).

Seattle Seahawks

Ja’Wuan James

OT

Tennessee

 

 

 

Round 3

#

Team

Player

Pos

School

1 (65).

Houston Texans

Antonio Richardson

OT

Tennessee

2 (66).

Washington Redskins

Joel Bitonio

OT/G

Nevada

3 (67).

Oakland Raiders

Donte Moncrief

WR

Ole Miss

4 (68).

Atlanta Falcons

Telvin Smith

OLB

Florida State

5 (69).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pierre Desir

CB

Lindenwood

6 (70).

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tre Mason

RB

Auburn

7 (71).

Cleveland Browns

Ka’Deem Carey

RB

Arizona

8 (72).

Minnesota Vikings

A.J. McCarron

QB

Alabama

9 (73).

Buffalo Bills

Billy Turner

OT

North Dakota St.

10 (74).

New York Giants

Jeremy Hill

RB

LSU

11 (75).

St. Louis Rams

Brandon Coleman

WR

Rutgers

12 (76).

Detroit Lions

Scott Crichton

DE

Colorado State

13 (77).

San Francisco 49ers

Marcus Roberson

CB

Florida

14 (78).

Dallas Cowboys

Caraun Reid

DT

Princeton

15 (79).

Baltimore Ravens

Kareem Martin

DE

North Carolina

16 (80).

New York Jets

Trai Turner

G

LSU

17 (81).

Miami Dolphins

Dakota Dozier

G

Furman

18 (82).

Chicago Bears

DaQuan Jones

DT

Penn State

19 (83).

Cleveland Browns

Cyril Richardson

G

Baylor

20 (84).

Arizona Cardinals

Terrence Brooks

S

Florida State

21 (85).

Green Bay Packers

Marcus Smith

DE

Louisville

22 (86).

Philadelphia Eagles

Dominique Easley

DT

Florida

23 (87).

Kansas City Chiefs

Bruce Ellington

WR

South Carolina

24 (88).

Cincinnati Bengals

Zach Mettenberger

QB

LSU

25 (89).

San Diego Chargers

Bashaud Breeland

CB

Clemson

26 (90).

Indianapolis Colts

Trent Murphy

OLB/DE

Stanford

27 (91).

New Orleans Saints

Dri Archer

RB/WR

Kent State

28 (92).

Carolina Panthers

Paul Richardson

WR

Colorado

29 (93).

New England Patriots

Travis Swanson

C

Arkansas

30 (94).

San Francisco 49ers

Jackson Jeffcoat

DE/OLB

Texas

31 (95).

Denver Broncos

Shayne Skov

ILB

Stanford

32 (96).

Minnesota Vikings

Brandon Thomas

G/OT

Clemson

33 (97).

Pittsburgh Steelers

Will Sutton

DT

Arizona State

34 (98).

Green Bay Packers

Dion Bailey

S

USC

35 (99).

Baltimore Ravens

Ego Ferguson

DT

LSU

36 (100).

San Francisco 49ers

Jordan Tripp

OLB

Montana

 

Friday
Apr252014

2014 NFL Mock Draft - Torsten's Picks

Who doesn’t like making a mockery of things, especially the NFL draft. Before we get started, a few points.

·         The player listed will be who I think the team WILL select, not SHOULD select, though that player will often be mentioned in the comments too.

·         I won’t be mocking trade scenarios. While it’s an absolute certainty that there will be some trading up and down going on, it doesn’t work. The possibilities may also be mentioned in the pick comments, but the projected pick is who I think the team will pick, postulating that they keep it.

·         I understand I’m in the minority, but I’m not a scheme guy. I believe a guy can play football, or he can’t. So whether a team plays a 3-4 or a 4-3, are you telling me Khalil Mack doesn’t make their defense better? Exactly. Ok, moving on.

 

1.       Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: He’s the most talented player in the draft, and I don’t think the Texans will be able to resist the temptation of a pass rush featuring Clowney and JJ Watt. Personally, I take Khalil Mack here, who has a slightly lower ceiling but is more of a “sure thing,” and fills a position that currently is more of a need. But it’s hard to argue against Clowney. I think the persisting questions about his work ethic are a little overblown. Defenses won’t be able to triple team him with Watt on the other end.

2.       St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: They’re featuring a power run attack. Robinson is the best run blocking tackle to come out of the draft in ages. Match made in heaven, right? Well, you don’t know what you are going to get from the current brain trust of Fisher and Snead. They’ve shown shrewdness and acumen with some of their drafting and signing. They’ve also shown shocking incompetence and lack of forethought. I think they trade the pick if a good enough offer comes along, but they absolutely must upgrade the tackle position in round one, be it with Robinson, or another capable guy like Matthews or Lewan.

3.       Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida: After the Blaine Gabbert fiasco, they’ll probably be reticent to use another high pick on a quarterback. But they did resign Chad Henne, and while he isn’t a long term solution, the classy veteran can mentor Bortles for a year or so. Unlike Gabbert, he wouldn’t have to jump right out of the frying pan and into the fire. Bortles has the reputation of being a little raw, but having the most upside, even though I hate that word,

4.       Cleveland Browns – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: I don’t know if this is awesome value here, or if this draft is just really deep. Probably the latter. Sometimes it’s hard to ascertain exactly what you’re going to get when you draft a star player from a smaller school that plays against iffy competition. With Mack, this is not the case. He is all that, several bags of chips, and as close as you can get to a guaranteed star.

5.       Oakland Raiders – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: It’s pretty much a certainty that the Raiders won’t be as horrid as they were last year. The Matt Schaub acquisition would appear to give them some time and possibly wait until the middle rounds for a quarterback, but the opportunity to get Bridgewater might be too tempting. If I’m the Raiders, I would go after Sammy Watkins. Perhaps being successful with the drafting of a receiver in the first round can erase some of the stink from the Darius Heyward-Bey disaster.

6.       Atlanta Falcons – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: How many years have they been talking about Atlanta bringing in the successor to Tony Gonzalez? Well, Gonzalez actually IS retired now. They didn’t draft Zach Ertz or Tyler Eifert this year. Do they have choice this year? I think their preference is probably trading up to a position where they can get Clowney to address their woeful pass rush, but I don’t think they’ll be too disappointed with Ebron.   

7.       Tampa Bay Bucs – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: The Bucs would be delighted if Watkins dropped to them at the 7th spot. Of course, that’s no guarantee. The Raiders and Jacksonville also have a big need at the receiver position. Don’t believe the Manziel stories here. Not happening.

8.       Minnesota Vikings – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: I don’t buy the Manziel stories here either. The team’s best player, running back Adrian Peterson, is beginning to entire the twilight portion of his career, and Manziel is not a plug and play starter. He’ll need a year or two to develop, and if they don’t want to end up in a situation where Peterson leverages a trade, they’ll make do with Cassel, who isn’t as terrible as you think if you give him protection. Another good tackle to pair with Kalil would do that.

9.       Buffalo Bills – Ha Ha Clinton Dix, S, Alabama: It just so happens that the team lost Jairus Byrd to the Saints in free agency, and the best available safety is on the board for them. And while he’s maybe a little bit of a reach at 9, it shouldn’t be enough to deter a team from filling a need. Taylor Lewan is also a possibility here because he’s the best remaining offensive lineman, and they’re invested in keeping EJ Manuel healthy.

10.   Detroit Lions – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: There’s been a lot of chatter about Sammy Watkins here but I doubt he’d last, and I’m not convinced Detroit will want to trade the assets it would take to move up. No worries, though. Evans, is not much of a step down, if at all. And gone will be the days that defenses can octuple team Megatron.

11.   Tennessee Titans – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: The Titans too end up in the position where they can fill the void created by their biggest free agent departure (Alterraun Verner). That is, of course, if you don’t count Chris Johnson, who was released and subsequently signed by the Jets.

12.   New York Giants – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: The Giants will be counting their lucky stars if Lewan drops to them. Their offensive line play last season was nothing short of cataclysmic. There’s no possible way that Eli Manning is as bad as he was last year. He’s won two Superbowls when he’s been kept upright.

13.   St. Louis Rams – Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska: The Rams get to see twice a year what giant cornerbacks can do defensively when they play Seattle. At 6 foot 3, Jean-Baptiste is a monster. Most have Gilbert and Roby rated higher, but the position is changing. (editor’s note: I’m hoping for Anthony Barr, if only because the thought Robert Quinn, Chris Long and Barr simultaneously rushing the passer gives me gleeful heart palpitations)

14.   Chicago Bears – CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama: The Bears were nothing short of calamitous at stopping the run in 2013. Had they been merely pathetic, they probably make the playoffs. I’m not saying Mosley is Brian Urlacher, but fans and teammates alike will be able to get behind his style.

15.   Pittsburgh Steelers – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon StateFew quarterbacks buy time quite like Big Ben. Guys with blinding speed and good hands like Cooks would seem to be a perfect fit. This team has lost quite a bit at the receiver position the last couple of years, and replacing some of it with Cooks makes sense to me.

16.   Dallas Cowboys – Odell Beckham, WR, LSU:  I’m putting Beckham here because I’m assuming it’s Jerry Jones who has the final call, and while Beckham is a good player worthy of getting picked in this neighborhood, Dallas has different needs. Like the offensive line.

17.   Baltimore Ravens – Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia:  The Ravens are an astute organization, and one of the first things astute organizations do after giving their quarterback a Brinks truck of Benjamins is to surround him with some good blocking. This could also easily be Zack Martin, Cyrus Kouandijo, Joe Bitonio, or another talented tackle. I just think Morgan Moses is a really cool name.

18.   New York Jets – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St.:  It’s hard to pass on a first round talent at cornerback if it falls to you. I’m wracking my brain and I can’t come up with a need pressing enough to pass up Gilbert. Wide receiver maybe, but they just signed Eric Decker. I’m stumped here, I’ll admit it.

19.   Miami Dolphins – Jordan Matthews, WR, VanderbiltI’ve got a bit of a man crush here. Mike Wallace stretches the field, Matthews would offer a nice complement. Other receivers are rated higher in other people’s mocks, but I think whoever ends up with Matthews gets a great value.

20.   Arizona Cardinals – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&MNope, not kidding. Carson Palmer showed that this is an entirely different team with decent quarterback play, but he’s not a spring chicken anymore. What he is is smart, competitive, and classy. If you could pick a current veteran starter to tutor his eventual successor, wouldn’t Palmer be on your short list? There is, of course, the chance that Manziel doesn’t even fall close to this far…

21.   Green Bay Packers -  Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA: There are a lot of issues on the defensive side of the ball in Green Bay. In Barr, they get a disruptive pass rusher who at one point was being mentioned alongside Clowney and Mack as defensive players worthy of a top five pick. I wouldn’t be shocked with an offensive lineman here like Joel Bitonio, especially since Aaron Rodgers is at his most effective when he has a pulse.

22.   Philadelphia Eagles – Marquise Lee, WR, USC: Wide receiver is the trendy idea here for Philly in the wake of DeSean Jackson’s departure. Probably because it makes the most sense. They have defensive needs too, and the very good Aaron Donald is somehow still on the board, but I see Chip Kelly wanting more on offense.

23.   Kansas City Chiefs – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: Their defense, vaunted at the early part of 2013, was exposed late in the year. When you’re playing Peyton Manning twice a year, you need to be solid on the back end. You can also make cases for Brad Roby and Jason Verrett.

24.   Cincinnati Bengals – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: If by some chance Donald actually falls this far, you’d have to think the Bengals would set a land speed record on the way to the podium. Difference makers on defense aren’t often found this late.

25.   San Diego Chargers – Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: A little high for Amaro? Probably a little, but Antonio Gates hasn’t put a full healthy season together in a while, and another receiving option to go with the excellent Keenan Allen is probably high on Phil Rivers’ wish list too.

26.   Cleveland Browns – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville: This may end up being another one of those situations where even though a player doesn’t fill a giant need, he’s too good to not pick. Having already added Mack, this suddenly looks like a really good defense.

27.   New Orleans Saints – Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU: Van Noy doesn’t fill a glaring need, but he’s the type of player who can make any defense better. I am not buying that the departure of Lance Moore means that the Saints MUST add a receiver here… but it wouldn’t shock me to hear Davante Adams’ or Cody Latimer’s name called either.

28.   Carolina Panthers – Joel Bitonio, OL, Nevada: Look, I’m perfectly willing to admit that a significant chunk of my “research” on players involves YouTube and Google. That said, when the “negatives” that are pointed out about a player include that you’d like to see him a little taller or have arms that were a little longer, it’s often a case of, “well, we gotta find SOMETHING wrong with the guy, let’s criticize something like limb proportion…” But if you want something more concrete, Cam Newton is this organization’s future, and only makes sense to protect him with good linemen. Like Bitonio.

29.   New England Patriots – Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame: This boils down to needing a Vince Wilfork clone. Nix is enormous, and well-schooled at the home of the Fighting Irish. I was close to adding another weapon for Tom Brady like the aforementioned Adams, Latimer, or maybe even Kelvin Benjamin, but I couldn’t pull the trigger.

30.   San Francisco 49rs – Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State: Is it cheating that I’m putting this here in the wake of the Aldon Smith fiasco? I don’t know which rumor is correct: the team not exercising the option or the team not giving up on him. But I’ll tell you one thing, 9 million is a lot of dollars to risk on someone facing multiple criminal charges, not to mention a very recent bout with alcohol abuse. So…enter Shazier, who is very very good.

31.   Denver Broncos – Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: I concede, this is kind of a cop out pick for me. The best reason I can come up with is that the Broncos figure to have multiple touchdown leads by halftime of many of their games, so defending the pass has to be a priority, right? Right??? Hey, like I said, cop out. But Roby is a lightning bolt.

32.   Seattle Seahawks – Cyrus Kouandijo, OT, Alabama: The ‘Hawks could use some upgrading along the offensive line…eventually. Hear me out. Or…see me out? Anyway, there’s concerns out there that he’s not ready, or maybe not healed completely from some college injuries. Whatever. He doesn’t even have to play much in year one. He can learn, or recover, or whatever, but I don’t see Seattle letting a guy who was once considered a possible top 15 pick fall past them at 32.

 

Wow. There it is. And I’m sitting here looking at 8 more players who could easily go in the first round. Wait, there’s 3 more. Oh well. Enjoy!  

Tuesday
Jan282014

Most Annoying Super Bowl Storylines

Every year around this time, the media does a phenomenal job out beating dead horses and desperately trying to make stories out of things that are non-issues. It’s unspeakably annoying. It’s as if they think a game the magnitude of the Super Bowl needs additional hype or something. Here’s a few that make us want to stab ourselves in the eardrums.

Torsten's top three:

Number One Scoring Offense vs. Number One Scoring Defense: Ok, we get it. Denver has an explosive offense, Seattle has a sturdy defense. Here’s why it’s crap. Yeah, Denver scored the most points and Seattle allowed the fewest to be scored upon them. Does it make them the best? Maybe, maybe not. Sure, Denver’s offense is great, but their point total is somewhat inflated by the fact that they continued to bomb the ball down the field in garbage time of games that were already blowouts and their opponents had essentially thrown in the towel (See 12/22 vs. Houston). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with keeping the pedal to the medal, per se, but it’s not a matter of debate that this type of philosophy will impact point totals. Additionally, Seattle’s defensive prowess is somewhat inflated because of how brutal the atmosphere is for visiting teams. At home, they’re liable to hang a goose egg on any offense. On the road, where offensive linemen can get off with the snap as opposed to a split second late, they can be run on a little bit, and that makes a difference.  But anyway, this is the Super Bowl! Obviously, any team that gets here is going to be pretty good on both sides of the ball. They have to be. That’s why they’re the last two remaining. 

Richard Sherman: It’s truly ridiculous. He goes on a WWE villain-type rant in his post-game interview after making the game-deciding defensive play, insulting Michael Crabtree, and everyone is quick to call him names, including “thug.” All of a sudden, people jump on the other bandwagon. Oh, Sherman overcame incredible odds to avoid gangs in Compton, demonstrate academic excellence in high school and again in college at Stanford, and look at the genuine distress he was in over NaVorro Bowman’s gruesome knee injury! Come on… having empathy when a colleague, even an opponent, suffers a terrible injury doesn’t make you special. It makes you not a sociopath. And his assertion that being called a thug is just a notch below being called the N-word, well that’s just lunacy. For those of you that care, the word thug originates from circa-13th century India about a nefarious group of scoundrels that gave people a bad time. It was and is commonly used to describe mafia and other organized crime henchmen whose sole purpose was to physically intimidate or harm people who didn’t “play ball.” And yes, it is used in connotation with black gang members as well, but if it’s equivalent to one of the more despicable slurs out there, why did Tupac Shakur start a hip hop group called Thug Life, alluding to thug life being more about overcoming adversity and achieving success? Anyway, what it boils down to is this. I’m not a shrink, but it appears Richard Sherman is an excellent football player, academic and intelligent, a little narcissistic, and perhaps a little underdeveloped socially. But ultimately, who gives a sh*t? He’s just one player, albeit a good one, who is gonna be on the field February 2nd.

The Weed: Granted, this is more of a joke than it is a storyline; the two states who legalized recreational marijuana use are represented in football’s biggest game. But believe you me, there are those people out there (who no doubt have done their fair share of recreational using) who truly believe that it’s some kind of cosmic justice or karma. Really? On the plus side, the topic has come up of medicinal pot use in the NFL, specifically pertaining to the treatment of concussions. Which, if it’s viable, needs to absolutely be implemented. Meanwhile, the joke is old. Let it go already. It’s not like stoners are suffering from a shortage of things that they find funny.

Shaun's top three:

Before I jump into the three storylines I am sick of hearing, I want to add to one of Torsten's.  Usually Torsten is the one that loves to throw about conspiracy theories within sports, just ask him about Sepp Blatter or the NFL referees, but he completely missed one.  We are probably all sick of the Peyton Manning and Papa commercials for Papa John's, but is it really any surprise that main sponsor of the Super Bowl is a pizza company when the two teams that make it to the game come from states that have legalized marijuana?  I think not.  With that said, here are the three storylines I am sick of:

Peyton Manning's Legacy: Really?!?!  So, if Manning doesn't win another championship, does that mean he hasn't been a great quarterback?  As a Patriots fan, I inherently cannot stand Peyton Manning, but there is no debating he is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.  Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl, but guess what, he was great.  One more championship won't be enough to catapult Manning over Joe Montana in the eyes of anyone that feels Montana is the greatest ever.  Trent Dilfer has won a Super Bowl.  The NFL's leader in interceptions thrown last season, Eli Manning, has two rings.  Peyton's legacy is set as one of the greatest ever, regardless of the outcome of Sunday's game.

Weather: When it was first announced the Meadowlands would be hosing the Super Bowl, I was really hoping it would be about -20 degrees with 60 mph winds because I feel it is a terrible idea, but now that every sports outlet has a full time meteorologist on staff to let us know what the updated projected high and low for Sunday are every half hour, I no longer care.  The two teams in the game come from dynamic home climates.  One, the Broncos, play their home games at high altitude and cold weather.  Meanwhile, the Seahawks play in the wettest city in America.  Rarely does anyone look at the weather before the first cut to the stadium during a pregame show, so why should we this week?

Media: No, seriously, I am sick of everything on TV and radio in terms of the game outside of outlets that actually look at matchups and breakdown the game.  My phone sent me alerts yesterday (Monday) when each team landed at Newark Airport.  What?!?!  Teams flew to Jersey for the game, the plane arrived, and that is news?  Thank you ESPN, you make me a dumber sports fan one update at a time.  Then there is media day.  A whole event dedicated to the media interviewing players...which they do every day anyway, only media day is held on the field.  Oh, wait, no it isn't, this year the game is in an outdoor stadium with snow on the ground, so they are hosting media day indoors, you know, kinda like every other interview ever.