Draft Report: Day One

28 04 2012

The draft is through the first two days and is reaching a conclusion in just a few short hours. From Bruce Irvin going in the top half of the first round, to Russell Wilson drafted a full round ahead of Kirk Cousins, this draft has delivered excitement and question marks at every turn. In the first round alone, there was 16 trades in the 1st round with teams constantly jostling to secure their player.

Some teams hit home-runs while others left you scratching your head. Here is a list of both categories:

Dallas Cowboys:

Trading up to sixth overall to secure Morris Claiborne was a great pick for the Cowboys. The secondary held Rob Ryan back last year, because he couldn’t install his complex defense because of the weak secondary. This pick, along with the signing of Brandon Carr, allows Ryan to be manipulative with his defense and challenge Eli Manning, Michael Vick and nearly christened rookie, Robert Griffin III.

New England Patriots:

The Patriots had pronounced needs when it came to their entire defense; a defense ranked 31st last year. So they grabbed two studs in the front seven with Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower. Both players should come in and provide an immediate impact and help rebuild the once dominate Patriots defense.

Now for the teams I didn’t like:

Cleveland Browns:

I’ll preface this by stating that I loved the Browns taking Richardson. One of the two best players in the draft and a player they desperately needed to go against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals. However, taking Brandon Weeden 22 overall was just a massive mistake. I personally don’t love Weeden and believe he is a product of the Oklahoma St. offense, but that doesn’t even bring up how he will be a 29-year-old rookie. I feel like the Browns panicked and took Weeden when they could of had him at 36. To make matters worse, they passed on a top 15 talent in Riley Reiff. Overall, great first selection, horrible second selection.

New York Jets:

The Jets selecting Quinton Coples raises many concerns about the current state of the Jets, but also last years 1st round pick, Muhammad Wilkerson. Wilkerson and Coples essentially play the same position in the Jet’s 3-4 scheme. So where is Coples going to play? I am assuming they will kick him inside to play the 3-technique, but this pick just doesn’t make sense to me. I realize Coples played defensive tackle his junior and dominated at UNC, but this pick screams of bust potential. We will find out in a few years if this works out, but I am having serious doubts.





The Last Leg

21 04 2012

Well everyone, we are finally on the home-stretch of the marathon that is the NFL off season. Since early February, draftniks and regular NFL fans have scoured message boards and newspaper articles to get the latest information about their team and specific players. This is makes the draft so interesting: the uncertainty. I have watched countless players from high profile programs like Alabama, to small school prospects from Presbyterian.

The draft official commences this Thursday, April 26 at 8:00 eastern. ESPN and NFL Network will broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall in New York the entire weekend, but Thursday is just round one of the draft. The draft resumes Friday at 7:00 and includes rounds two and three. Finally, rounds four through seven begin Saturday at noon.

I believe this draft will be so different than any other draft because, unlike last year when there was a lockout and free agency took place after the draft, free agency preceded the draft like normal. However, this is the first year where the salary slotting is in place. Essentially, teams don’t have to pay a massive sum of money in the top ten, therefore teams can be more risky without being burdened by selecting a player who didn’t pan out. Basically, there is less risk because of the amount of money you have to guarantee players, therefore it gives teams more leeway to trade and maneuver the draft, which makes the draft more unpredictable and exciting to watch.

Some teams to look for who might move:

Jacksonville Jaguars:

A report from ProFootballTalk stated that the Jaguars aren’t as excited about selecting Melvin Ingram and could try to trade back and select Michael Floyd or Kendall Wright. The Jaguars sit right outside the top-tier of talent and unless a player like Justin Blackmon or Morris Claiborne fall to the Jaguars, I could see them practically begging to move back and select Floyd or another defensive lineman.

New England Patriots:

This one is a softball for most people who know the draft. The Patriots are always trading back and accumulating picks for future years. If a quarterback is sitting at the bottom of the first round and a team with a high pick in the second round believes someone could select them before they select, a team will probably move up and trade to the 31st pick (Patriots own the 27th and 31st selections) to grab a quarterback or another player they covet.

Baltimore Ravens:

As a Ravens fan, (O, you didn’t know? Surprise!) I have a good knowledge about what the Ravens are trying to do in this draft. Unless a high level player like Floyd, Courtney Upshaw, Stephen Hill or Dont’a Hightower falls to the Ravens, I believe they will try to trade back and gain more picks. The Ravens lost a number of starters, but also a good amount of depth, in free agency and General Manager Ozzie Newsome is known for constantly navigating the draft to gain more picks. Call it a gut instinct, but I feel the Ravens will move back to the early second round and gain additional picks.

I’ll have a video of my top ten later in the week, so check back for updates and enjoy the final calm days before the storm.





A little bit of this and that

14 04 2012

Profootballfocus is one of my favorite websites and one of the best for educating yourself about the NFL. It tracks and grades each individual performance of every NFL player throughout the season. I strongly encourage you to explore the website because it erases the media hyperbole surrounding each player and delivers content about the performance of the player instead of their appeal to the nation.

Gordon McGuinness is a staff writer for Profootballfocus, and I had him compile a list of the top free agents left on the market.

Here is the list in no particular order:
Andre Carter – DE – Big question is his health after that season ending
injury, but he was good against the run while adding 11 sacks, 16 QB Hits
and 24 pressures in New England last year. He’s proved he’s not suited as a
3-4 OLB but a team running a 4-3 could do worse than bring him in for a
visit.

Dallas Clark – TE – Hasn’t looked great the last two seasons. That said
he was hurt in 2010 and had very little to work with at QB in 2011. Purely a
receiving TE, he’s worth a gamble from someone.

Jake Scott – OG – PFF’s 7th highest rated Guard last season. Not the kind
of guy who elevates the standard of your whole line like Evan Mathis, Carl
Nicks or Marshal Yanda but he’s consistent and a decent pass blocker.
Similar level to Ben Grubbs.

Vernon Carey – G/T – I love a player who gives you versatility. A better
tackle than a guard and although he hasn’t hit the heights of 2009 when he
was PFF’s 6th highest graded OT, he is solid enough at both positions to do
a job for a team.

Bobbie Williams – OG – Not getting any younger. Graded out in the top 5
amongst all guards every year from 2008 to 2010.

Casey Wiegmann – C – Veteran C. Solid player that’s not elite but still
serviceable. Gave up just 9 total pressures in 2011. Has been talk of
retirement.

As promised, here is my updated 2012 mock draft:

 

2012 NFL Mock Draft

1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck QB Stanford

2. Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III QB Baylor

3. Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil OT USC

4. Cleveland Browns – Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma St

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Trent Richardson RB Alabama

6. St. Louis Rams – Morris Claiborne CB LSU

7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Melvin Ingram OLB/DE South Carolina

8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannenhill QB Texas A&M

9. Carolina Panthers – Quinton Coples DE UNC

10. Buffalo Bills –  Riley Reiff OT Iowa

11. Kansas City Chiefs – Dontari Poe DT Memphis

12. Seattle Seahawks – Luke Kuelchy ILB Boston College

13. Arizona Cardinals – David Decastro OG Stanford

14. Dallas Cowboys – Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama

15. Philadelphia Eagles – Fletcher Cox DE Miss. St.

16. New York Jets – Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama

17. Cincinnati Bengals – Janoris Jenkins CB North Alabama

18. San Diego Chargers – Stephen Gilmore CB South Carolina

19. Chicago Bears – Jonathan Martin OT Stanford

20. Tennessee Titans – Whitney Mercilus DE Illinois

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Michael Brockers DT LSU

22. Cleveland Browns – Nick Perry DE USC

23. Detroit Lions – Jerel Worthy DT Michigan St.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Adams OT Ohio St.

25. Denver Broncos – Devon Still DT Penn St.

26. Houston Texans – Kendall Wright WR Baylor

27. New England Patriots – Cordy Glenn OG Georgia

28. Green Bay Packers – Peter Konz C/G Wisconsin

29. Baltimore Ravens – Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame

30. San Francisco 49ers – Stephen Hill WR Georgia Tech

31. New England Patriots – Mark Barron S Alabama

32. New York Giants – Coby Fleener TE Stanford

Round 2

33. St. Louis Rams – Bobby Massie OT Ole Miss

34. Indianapolis Colts – Dont’a Hightower ILB Alabama

35. Minnesota Vikings – Josh Robinson CB Central Florida

36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mohamed Sanu WR Rutgers

37. Cleveland Browns – Kirk Cousins QB Michigan St.

38. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dwayne Allen TE Clemson

39. St. Louis Rams – Rueben Randle WR LSU

40. Carolina Panthers – Amini Silatolu OG Midwestern St

41. Buffalo Bills – Brandon Weeden QB Oklahoma St.

42. Miami Dolphins – Kendall Reyes DT UCONN

43. Seattle Seahawks – Chandler Jones DE Syracuse

44. Kansas City Chiefs – Shea McClellin OLB Boise St.

45. Dallas Cowboys – Markelle Martin S Oklahoma St.

46. Philadelphia Eagles – Harrison Smith SS Notre Dame

47. New York Jets – Doug Martin RB Boise St.

48. New England Patriots – Andre Branch DE Clemson

49. San Diego Chargers – David Wilson RB Virginia Tech

50. Chicago Bears – Orson Charles TE Georgia

51. Philadelphia Eagles -Lavonte David OLB Nebraska

52. Tennessee Titans – Alshon Jeffery WR South Carolina

53. Cincinnati Bengals – Kevin Zeitler G Wisconsin

54. Detroit Lions – Josh Norman CB Coastal Carolina

55. Atlanta Falcons – Lamar Miller RB Miami

56. Pittsburgh Steelers – Alameda Ta’amu DT Washington

57. Denver Broncos – Trumaine Johnson CB/S Montana

58. Houston Texans – Kelechi Osemele OG/T Iowa St.

59. New Orleans Saints (Forfeited)

60. Green Bay Packers – Ronell Lewis DE Oklahoma

61. Baltimore Ravens – Brandon Brooks OG Miami

62. San Francisco 49ers – Nate Potter OT Boise St.

63. New England Patriots – Jared Crick DE/DT Nebraska

64. New York Giants – Brandon Thompson DT Clemson

65. Indianapolis Colts – Vinny Curry OLB Marshall

66. St. Louis Rams – Brandon Boykin CB Georgia

67. Minnesota Vikings – Marvin Jones WR Cal

68. Cleveland Browns – Zebrie Sanders OT Florida St.

69. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -Mychal Kendricks ILB Cal

70.  Washington Redskins –  Bobby Wagner ILB Utah St.

71. Jacksonville Jaguars – Casey Hayward CB Vanderbilt

72. Buffalo Bills – Jamell Fleming CB Oklahoma

73. Miami Dolphins – Mitchell Schwartz OT Cal

74. Chicago Bears – Alfonzo Dennard CB Nebraska

75. Kansas City Chiefs – Luxas Nix OG Pittsburgh

76. Seattle Seahawks – Brock Osweiler QB Arizona St.

77. Philadelphia Eagles – Jayron Hosley CB Virginia Tech

78. New York Jets – George Illoka S Boise St.

79. San Diego Chargers – Chris Polk RB Washington

80. Chicago Bears – Chase Minnifield CB Virginia

81. Arizona Cardinals – Andrew Datko OT Florida St.

82. Dallas Cowboys – Ben Jones C Georgia

83. Tennessee Titans – Brandon Washington OG Miami

84. Cincinnati Bengals – Nick Toon WR Wisconsin

85. Atlanta Falcons – Vontaze Burfict ILB Arizona St.

86. Detroit Lions – Zach Brown OLB UNC

87. Pittsburgh Steelers – Tony Bergstrom OG Utah

88. Denver Broncos – Tyrone Crawford DE Boise St.

89. Houston Texans – Mike Martin DT Michigan

90. New Orleans Saints – Sean Spence WR Miami

91. Green Bay Packers – Robert Turbin RB Utah St.

92. Baltimore Ravens – Josh Chapman DT Alabama

93. San Francisco 49ers – Robert Turbin RB UCONN

94. New England Patriots – Coryell Judie CB Texas A&M

95. New York Giants – Travis Lewis OLB Oklahoma





19 Days And Counting

7 04 2012

We are approximately 19 days from the NFL draft and the frenzy is starting to take place. From various rumors about certain teams liking or disliking players, to the release of Wonderlic scores.

All of this is part of the process that makes the draft one of the most realistic and entertaining events in sports.

This week I have compiled a couple of players that I believe will do well in the NFL and others who I believe will struggle because they lack a specific ingredient to become successful NFL players.

Dontari Poe DT MEMPHIS

Poe is an absolute physical specimen when you watch him run, jump and occasionally dominate his competition. But therein lies the problem, on the field he makes an impact on an inconsistent basis and doesn’t stand out on tape against lower-level competition. Poe should honestly be a one man wrecking crew in the Conference USA, but lacks the technique and motor to be a dominate player on a consistent basis. Can all of this be corrected by a good defensive line coach? Absolutely. Poe has the tools, but defensive linemen are risky enough to draft in the 1st round because of the difficult transition to the pros, but Poe isn’t entering the NFL after playing in one of the big six conferences, so this will most likely make his transition harder. Overall, if you told me Poe was a pro bowler in three years I wouldn’t be shocked. He has everything you want in a defensive lineman, but I believe he is just too raw and will never put it together to match his high projected draft status.

Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma St.

Before the masses try to claim me as insane, let me preface this by saying that I believe Blackmon will be a solid pro in the NFL. My issue with Blackmon is perception and his lofty draft status; he has been virtually been mocked in the top six since the end of the college season. Blackmon dominated the college level and I watched him first hand beat our secondary on multiple occasions. But I watch him against physical press corners and he struggles because he doesn’t have elite speed. I don’t care what he ran at his pro day or the yards he puts up. When you watch him against Leonard Johnson of Iowa St., he struggled to gain separation. Most of his catches at Oklahoma St. were within the first ten yards and would occasionally have a splash play because of double moves. I just don’t see a top ten player in Blackmon and comparing him to A.J. Green or Julio Jones from last years draft is just wrong. He isn’t in that league because he lacks big play capability. Blackmon will be able to shield defenders and make tough catches in the NFL because he has excellent hands and body control, but I believe his lack of separation ability and height will cause him to struggle against physical press corners.

Dont’a Hightower ILB Alabama

When I watch Hightower I see a guy who can just play the game plain and simple. He does a great job of taking on blockers and filling the hole once he diagnoses the play. In passing situations he struggles to move laterally, but this was covered up by his ability to rush the passer as a defensive lineman. Hightower is able to be a three down linebacker because he plays the run exceptionally on 1st and 2nd down, but can also rush the passer on 3rd down. He has his limitations in pass coverage and lacks sideline-to-sideline range, so I don’t think he would fit in a standard 4-3 defensive alignment, but in the 3-4 he can thrive. As long as he doesn’t injure his knee again, he should enjoy a lengthy and successful NFL career being a crucial cog in an NFL defense.

I have a plethora of draft content coming in the subsequent days and weeks before the draft. Be sure to check back later today or tomorrow to conclude free agency by a guest piece by ProFootballFocus writer Gordon McGuinness.