Friday, April 27, 2007

NFL Mock Draft - 4/27/07

Alright, here is my final version of a Mock Draft. Trades are included with guidelines for what I think the compensation that will be given.

1. Oakland Raiders: JaMarcus Russell, QB LSU
Oakland desperately needs a signal caller. Russell possesses all the tools to be great. I don’t know how much of a chance he’ll have to show it behind that offensive line though.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers* from Detroit: Calvin Johnson, WR Georgia Tech
(compensation for the pick: Detroit receives the 64th and 68th overall picks)
If reports are true that Detroit wants Gaines Adams then they would be fools not to trade out of this pick for whatever they can get. Tampa could sit tight and hope that Johnson falls to them at #4. However, I think they’ll want to be sure they get him at #2 with others team showing interest in trading up for Johnson.

3. Cleveland Browns: Joe Thomas, OT Wisconsin
Most people think that Cleveland will take either Quinn or Peterson here. I think Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage understand the need to control the line of scrimmage. And Cleveland already has 2 developmental QBs with Frye and Anderson. It makes more sense to get a veteran QB than to draft another young guy.

4. Detroit Lions* from Tampa Bay: Gaines Adams, DE Clemson
All reports from Detroit are that the Lions want Adams. Generally around this time I would write off any rumors as a smokescreen. However, knowing that Matt Millen is running the show I would not be surprised if this is true.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Adrian Peterson, RB Oklahoma
The Cardinals have to be hoping for Joe Thomas to make it this far. I do not foresee that happening. So, Arizona can look to trade down to a team that wants a player (Quinn, Peterson) or they can take the highest player on their board (Peterson, Brown, Landry). I see them joining the masses in the NFL and going to the 2 running back system. James is 1 year into a 4 year deal – He and Peterson can split time for 1 year, then Arizona could dump James and his monster contract and hand Peterson the full load in 2008.

6. Miami Dolphins* from Washington: Brady Quinn, QB Notre Dame
(Compensation for the pick: Washington receives Miami’s 3rd round pick)
If there is any wisdom in Daniel Snyder then he will trade down. They need extra picks with so many holes on their team - Washington was 27th in points given up, 31st in total defense, 27th against the run, 23rd against the pass. They had fewer sacks than any other team, fewest interceptions, and only had one more fumble than the Raiders defense to keep them from finishing last in that category too. Miami moves ahead of Minnesota to snag Quinn, who they have been enamored with for a long time.

7. Atlanta Falcons* from Minnesota Vikings: LaRon Landry, S LSU
(Compensation for the pick: Minnesota receives Miami’s 5th round pick)
There isn’t much left on the board for Minnesota. Johnson, Peterson and the 2 QBs might be the only players that really interested them. Landry is clearly the best player on the board, but Minnesota has a greater need at CB. If pressed to make a selection here I think Minnesota would take Landry – but I also think they would gladly take an extra pick to move on spot down. Atlanta gets the player they covet without giving up too much and now they can focus their 2 second round picks on the offensive and defensive line (where there is more depth in round than there is at safety in round 2).

8. Minnesota Vikings* from Atlanta: Leon Hall, CB Michigan
Hall is the top-rated corner according to most people around the league. Minnesota has a bigger need at WR, but the value just isn’t there. They’ll be able to address that need early in round 2.

9. Washington Redskins* from Miami: Amobi Okoye, DT Louisville
Washington is bad everywhere on defense. The logical thing to do is to take the best defensive player regardless of position. Okoye is the best left – now we’ll just wait and see if owner Daniel Snyder can be logical.

10. Houston Texans: Levi Brown, OT Penn State
Houston catches a big break here having the 2nd best offensive lineman fall to them. 3 teams ahead of Houston will take a long look at Brown (Arizona, Atlanta, and Miami). If all 3 of these teams decide to pass, then Houston should waste no time getting their draft card to the podium.

11. San Francisco 49ers: Adam Carriker, DE Nebraska
I think this pick will come down to 2 players – either Carriker or Patrick Willis. In the end, I say Carriker gets the nod because of the important role he’ll play in the 3-4 defense of Mike Nolan.

12. Buffalo Bills: Patrick Willis, LB Mississippi
After this off-season Buffalo has some major holes to fill. On the bright side, when their pick comes up there should be no problem finding and excellent player to fill one of those needs. Willis would be a perfect replacement for departed linebacker, London Fletcher.

13. St. Louis Rams: Jamaal Anderson, DE Arkansas
St. Louis was terrible at stopping the run last year. They’ve got to get better across the board on the defensive line. Knowing that, there are only 2 players that make sense at the #13 pick – Anderson or Alan Branch. Branch has been falling for a month now and we do not know when it will stop.

14. Carolina Panthers: Reggie Nelson, S Florida Alan Branch, DT Michigan
Carolina might be interested in Branch if they can move Kris Jenkins before or during the draft. If not then I see them grabbing Reggie Nelson to fill a void in their defense.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darrelle Revis, CB Pittsburgh
I expect new, defensive-minded Head Coach, Mike Tomlin to use early picks getting players on defense that he is comfortable with. Last season the Steelers biggest weakness on defense was their secondary play. And while it remains to be seen whether Pittsburgh will play the 4-3 or 3-4, both schemes call for talented corners. A bonus here is that Revis is a local product (played at the University of Pittsburgh) and fans always like to see familiar names be called on draft day.

16. Green Bay Packers: Greg Olsen, TE Miami
Green Bay needs a RB for sure – but I do not think Marshawn Lynch is the answer, at least not in round 1. Lynch has character concerns which will drop him in the draft thanks to the hard line taken on conduct issues by new Commissioner Roger Goodell. Olsen is head and shoulders about the rest of the TE class and fills and immediate need for Green Bay.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Moss, DE Florida
Jacksonville’s biggest need might be at WR, but they can’t afford to use another high pick on a pass catcher. Moss will improve the pass rush for the Jaguars and Moss will be comfortable playing pro ball near his old college stomping grounds.

18. Cincinnati Bengals: Alan Branch, DT Michigan
Cincinnati has a big need at defensive tackle and Branch is a top 10 talent that has dropped the last month because of poor workouts and concerns about his effort throughout games. He is a great value here for Cincinnati.

19. Tennessee Titans: Ted Ginn Jr., WR Ohio State
Marshawn Lynch is available, but character concerns will keep Tennessee away. Cornerback is a possibility but I think Ted Ginn Jr. is too much to pass up. His return prowess is an added bonus – and Tennessee will need someone to fill Adam Jones’ shoes in that regard.

20. New York Giants: Paul Posluszny, LB Penn State
Joe Staley could be the selection here with New York looking to replace Luke Petigout. But New York is looking for a linebacker and Posluszny is an excellent one from nearby Penn State.

21. Denver Broncos: Joe Staley OT, Central Michigan
I think the Broncos would love to find a pass-rusher like Jarvis Moss at this spot, but I don’t think he’ll make it to them. Staley has been moving up the draft board steadily the last month. Denver could add him and make him the anchor to their line and Jay Cutler’s best friend for seasons to come.

22. Dallas Cowboys: Robert Meacham, WR Tennessee
Dallas had a need to get young at WR. Starters Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn are both 33 and have many, many miles on the odometer. Local products in the secondary like Aaron Ross and Michal Griffin from Texas could be intriguing though.

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Dwayne Bowe, WR LSU
Offensive lineman Willie Road and Will Shields have left in consecutive years now. Joe Staley would be an excellent pick if available – but it’s hard to believe he’ll make it past both the Giants and Broncos. The Chiefs still have a big hole to fill at WR, and Bowe is full of value at the 23rd pick.

24. New England Patriots: Chris Houston, CB Arkansas
Asante Samuel has yet to negotiate a new deal or sign the franchise tender. I do not expect him to be with New England for more than one more year. That means getting a player to develop behind him is paramount.

25. New York Jets: Anthony Spencer, DE/OLB Purdue
Pretty straightforward here – Spencer is one of the best available players and he fits a need and role for the Jets.

26. Philadelphia: Aaron Ross, S Texas
Philadelphia needs to get younger and deeper in their secondary. They may have their choice between 2 stars from the University of Texas (Ross and Michael Griffin). Ross is slated slightly higher and gets the nod here.

27. New Orleans Saints: Lawrence Timmons, LB Florida State
New Orleans fills a big hole at CB when they signed restricted free agent, Jason David, away from the Colts. Timmons has had an up and down ride in the draft stock market. Another option for the Saints and feel good story would be to draft Dwayne Bowe from LSU if he falls to this point.

28. New England Patriots: Jon Beason, LB Miami
It is very difficult to predict what the Patriots will do. I think their needs come at linebacker and secondary. With the 28th there are 2 star Hurricanes available (Beason and safety Brandon Meriweather). Meriweather might still carry some concerns after beating and opposing player with his helmet during a brawl last season. And after already addressing their secondary with their first pick, linebacker would seem to make more sense here.

29. Baltimore Ravens: Marcus McCauley, CB Fresno State
Offensive tackle is a big need source here with RT Tony Pashos gone and left tackle Jonathan Ogden considering retirement. Joe Staley might have been available here 3 weeks ago, but no longer. Baltimore should be able to fill that need later and grabbing a talented corner like McCauley makes more sense in this situation.

30. San Diego Chargers: Brandon Meriweather, S Miami
Griffin and Meriweather are the top safeties left on the board. Meriweather is more talented but comes with more baggage. I expect talent to trump character on this one.

31. Chicago Bears: Ben Grubbs, G Auburn
Grubbs is talented enough to be an early first round pick, but the fact that he plays guard drops him down the list. NFL teams just do not value the guard position highly, but make no mistake this young man will be an excellent football player. Chicago should find no trouble finding a spot for him to play for 10-12 years.

32. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Gonzalez, WR Ohio State
Bill Polian and Tony Dungy feel like they can find players to fit their needs at other positions later in the draft. However, finding a WR that has the quickness, hands, and route running ability later in the draft is less likely. Gonzalez is a polished WR that can play in the slot for the Colts who use 3 wide receivers regularly. The Colts may look to trade down into the middle of round 2 and get Gonzalez, Steve Smith, or Craig Davis at that point if the option presents itself.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

David Carr & Schaub, Brady Quinn & Russell

I cannot say it any better, so here is Gregg Easterbrook on QBs. I wholeheartedly agree with his comments on Carr vs. Schaub (a great quick look at the comparable stats) and Quinn vs. Russell (and the craziness of media hype in determining where players get selected in the draft.)

"In Praise of David Carr: TMQ's immutable Law of Quarterback Talent holds: All quarterbacks suddenly become more talented when the pass blocking is good. Matt Schaub seemed promising in Atlanta, where the blocking was good and a premium running attack kept pressure off the quarterback. Now he goes to the Texans, and we'll see how he looks while being sacked 249 times a game. Actually, that's the total number of sacks endured by David Carr as a Texan, but if you have ever had the misfortune of watching the Moo Cows, it felt like whoever was behind center got hit 249 times per game.

Let's inject a little realism on the Texans' wily quarterback moves. In the 2006 draft, Houston passed on Vince Young, who's from Houston. Now Houston gives up two second-round draft choices -- the equivalent of a first-round pick -- for Schaub, a backup with a grand total of two career starts. A decade ago, Buffalo gave Jacksonville a No. 1 choice for backup quarterback Rob Johnson, and perhaps you remember how that turned out. Schaub's career passer rating is lower than Carr's, while their career YPA and touchdown-interception ratios are essentially the same. That is to say, Schaub has performed somewhat less well than Carr, despite playing in a dramatically better offense. What does Schaub bring to the Texans? The sense that he hasn't played enough to be viewed as a disappointment. Houston management considers this worth the equivalent of a No. 1 draft choice, while considering David Carr worth nothing at all, since the Texans waived him.

TMQ has always admired Carr, who for five years toiled without grievance for a poorly run, losing franchise. The Texans under Carr had a succession of who-dats at left tackle, plus no-accounts at other offensive line positions; never fielded a blue-chip running back; and if you can name a Houston tight end, you are a better man than I am, Gunga Din. Yet Carr performed reasonably well and never complained. As the first overall choice in the NFL draft, Carr might have sounded off. Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Michael Vick -- several recent first-overall quarterbacks -- have thrown public temper tantrums. Thrust into a bad situation, Carr was a consummate gentleman and the exemplar of the team player. For that he was shown the door. Here's my first 2007 prediction: Carolina will be very happy to have landed the classy David Carr.

Law of Quarterback Talent note: JaMarcus Russell totally outperformend Brady Quinn in their bowl meeting, leading conventional wisdom instantly to transfer the expected No. 1 crown from Quinn to Russell. Maybe Russell will be the better pro; I have no idea. (And, bear in mind, neither does anyone else.) But during the Sugar Bowl, I was counting "one-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three, one-thousand four" as Russell stood upright like a statute and calmly scanned the field for receivers. When Notre Dame snapped the ball, Quinn rarely had two seconds before he was hit or forced to scramble. All quarterbacks suddenly become more talented when the pass blocking is good! The LSU offensive line provided great pass blocking in the Sugar Bowl, while Quinn spent much of his final two collegiate contests, against USC and LSU, scrambling to his right. Suppose Russell finds himself at Oakland behind a gawd-awful line that last year surrendered 72 sacks, while Quinn lands with a team with good pass protection. Sports pundits may profess amazement that Quinn has suddenly become more talented while Russell has suddenly lost his talent!"

Full article

Thursday, April 12, 2007

NFL Mock Draft 4/12/2007

Well, the NFL Draft is fast approaching. Only a few short weeks and we'll be able to waste away a perfectly good Saturday watching Chris Berman break down nicknames for the newest members of the NFL. What follows is another installation of my projection of first round selections in the 2007 NFL Draft. Included are a few trades that I think we might see on draft day. Have a read and feel free to leave your comments afterwards.

1. Oakland Raiders: JaMarcus Russell, QB LSU
I think Oakland owner, Al Davis is desperate to find a way where he can pick Calvin Johnson instead of a quarterback. However, things do not look promising on that front, and if they can’t find an adequate QB before the draft then the Raiders have to take QB with their first pick and Russell seems to be a better fit than Quinn. Although, I still hold the notion that Oakland should contact Jacksonville about Byron Leftwich in order to make it possible to grab Calvin Johnson, the best player in the draft.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers* from Detroit: Calvin Johnson, WR Georgia Tech (compensation for the pick: Tampa’s second round pick acquired from Indy and Tampa’s 3rd round pick, giving Detroit the 64th and 68th overall picks)
I firmly believe that the Lions will (and should) move out of this pick. Jon Gruden gushes over Calvin Johnson. While Tampa could possibly wait and see Johnson fall to them, I think they’ll get anxious and make a draft day deal with Detroit after Oakland has turned in their draft card to the commissioner with Russell’s name written down.

3. Cleveland Browns: Joe Thomas, OT Wisconsin
Cleveland has plenty of options at the #3 spot. They could take Brady Quinn, an Ohio native. They could grab Adrian Peterson to be Jamal Lewis’ caddy for a year. Or they could grab the best offensive lineman in the draft, in Joe Thomas. Last year the Browns suffered a rash of injuries on the offensive lineman and they would do well to grab Thomas as an anchor for the group. Quality RBs are easier to find (although some think Peterson may be a great one) and picking a QB this early is a risky business – too risky for an already on thin ice coach, Romeo Crennel.

4. Detroit Lions* from Tampa Bay: Brady Quinn, QB Notre Dame
I love the move down by Detroit to #4. They can acquire extra picks (even if not enough to make the trade ‘even’ based on the NFL draft chart). Tampa Bay would receive 2,600 points in value while Detroit would receive 2,320 value points. However, Detroit is still going to end up with either Quinn, J. Thomas, or G. Adams – all of which they are interested. And not only do they get extra picks, but they also will not have to give their top pick as large of a contract since NFL rookie contracts are somewhat slotted based on where they are drafted.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Gaines Adams, DE Clemson
Arizona must be hoping that Detroit covets Quinn or Adams and that Cleveland makes Peterson their pick, so that Arizona could have a shot at OT Joe Thomas. However, I do not see that happening and expect Arizona to end up with the top pass rusher out of Clemson. Certainly not a bad pick for Arizona, but oh what things could be if they could get their offensive line help. Of course they could choose to take OT Levi Brown, but I think the value here is with Adams. Maybe Arizona will look to trade down and then pick Levi Brown.

6. Buffalo Bills* from Washington: Adrian Peterson, RB Oklahoma
(Compensation for the pick: Washington receives Buffalo’s 3rd and 4th round picks)
Washington, being without picks in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round, should look to trade down early in the draft. Although knowing Daniel Snyder maybe we’ll see them give up all their picks in the 2008 draft to move up to draft Calvin Johnson. I don’t think there is anyone at #6 that Washington must have, so swapping with Buffalo would be prudent. Buffalo needs a workhorse back after parting with Willis McGahee and they have an extra 3rd pick this year from Baltimore that allows them the freedom to move up in the draft.

7. Minnesota Vikings: LaRon Landry, S LSU
Minnesota runs the ball well is effective in stopping the run well but have trouble generating a pass rush. They could be interested in one of the top 2 defensive ends but after spending first round picks the last 2 of the last 3 years on DEs (Kenechi Udeze and Erasmus James) I think that they will be hesitant to do so again. They have a need for a WR, but Calvin Johnson is the only WR that warrants getting drafted in this spot. Landry is an impact player that would immediately upgrade their secondary. He might not be able to crack the starting lineup in year one with Minnesota, but his versatility would allow for him to play in the nickel defense and the Vikings could groom him to start in 2008.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Jamaal Anderson, DE Arkansas
The Matt Schaub deals moves Atlanta into the #8 spot. My feeling is that Rich McKay is hoping to see Landry be available at this spot. But I don’t see him slipping past Washington (if they keep their pick) and Minnesota. If Landry is gone, then I think the Falcons will be picking from one of 2 players: either grab Levi Brown and continue the steps to make their O-line bigger or take the 2nd best DE in the group to replace the departed Patrick Kerney. My money is on them taking Anderson in hopes that he can perform at a high level like the original ‘dirty bird’ running back Jamal Anderson.

9. Miami Dolphins: Levi Brown, OT Texas
The Dolphins have a lot invested in Daunte Culpepper. If Culpepper is going to lead this team then they need some big men in front of him to pass protect. Culpepper was sacked 21 times in just 4 games in 2006. Although, Keith Traylor will be 38 this season, so DTs Alan Branch or Amobi Okoye could be appealing to Miami. Also, after losing Wes Welker to New England the Dolphins might be interested in grabbing a player like Ted Ginn that could fill Welker’s role as a WR / return man.

10. Houston Texans: Leon Hall, CB Michigan
Houston’s trade with Atlanta may have ruined their chances of getting OT Levi Brown. However, Houston’s line saw improvement in pass protection last year. David Carr was sacked more than any other QB in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, 7 Quarterbacks were sacked more than Carr. One of Houston’s other weaknesses was their inability to create turnovers. The Texans had the 3rd fewest interceptions in 2006. Hall is the cornerback that is most ready to contribute and he could battle for a starting gig opposite of Dunta Robinson.

11. San Francisco 49ers: Adam Carriker, DE Nebraska
Reports are that the 49ers fell in love with Carriker at the Senior Bowl. Carriker is the hybrid type player that would fit ideally in the 3-4 defensive scheme that Mike Nolan is forming in San Francisco.

12. Washington Redskins* from Buffalo: Amobi Okoye, DT Louisville
Washington has a leaky defense, and it’s leaky everywhere. I expect them to draft the best defensive players regardless of position when they turn in their card to Roger Goodell. In 2006 Washington was 27th in points given up, 31st in total defense, 27th against the run, 23rd against the pass. They had fewer sacks than any other team, fewest interceptions, and only had one more fumble than the Raiders defense to keep them from finishing last in that category too. Okoye is one the fast risers in the draft and evaluators love that he is only 19 years old. Daniel Snyder is probably giddy over the thought of being able to give this youngster 3 monster contacts over the length of his career.

13. St. Louis Rams: Patrick Willis, LB Mississippi
The only team worse in the NFL at stopping the run in 2006 than the Indianapolis Colts was the St. Louis Rams. St. Louis might be interested in DT Alan Branch, but after 2003 first round pick Jimmy Kennedy proved to be a bust, I think Willis is the safer pick here. Willis should be ready to fit into the starting lineup immediately and provide run support for the porous defense.

14. Carolina Panthers: Alan Branch, DT Michigan
Rumors are starting stir that Kris Jenkins may be on his way out of Carolina. If that is the case then getting Branch to fill in immediately makes sense. Branch was once a sure-fire first round pick, but poor workouts at the combine and Michigan’s pro day has seen his value drop.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darrelle Revis, CB Pittsburgh
I expect new, defensive-minded Head Coach, Mike Tomlin to use early picks getting players on defense that he is comfortable with. Last season the Steelers biggest weakness on defense was their secondary play. And while it remains to be seen whether Pittsburgh will play the 4-3 or 3-4, both schemes call for talented corners. A bonus here is that Revis is a local product (played at the University of Pittsburgh) and fans always like to see familiar names be called on draft day.

16. Green Bay Packers: Greg Olsen, TE Miami
Many mock drafts project Cal running back Marshawn Lynch in this spot, and I was in that camp until recently. Lynch’s stock is slipping and NFL teams are recognizing that they are able to find capable players later in the draft and in free agency. And my good friend, The Commish, likes to remind me that it is typical for RBs to slide on draft day. I think the Packers will reach out and grab another weapon to appease their franchise QB who should be tutoring a young QB instead of pretending like he is one.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Reggie Nelson, S Florida
The Jaguars aren’t the only team interested in the talented safety from the National Champions, so don’t be surprised if some team makes a move to get ahead of Jacksonville in round 1. If Nelson is still available at #17 I fully expect the Jaguars to grab him and never look back. Nelson can replace Deon Grant, and again fans will be happy to see a familiar face on their NFL franchise (Nelson was making plays regularly on Saturdays last fall about 70 miles away from Jacksonville).

18. Cincinnati Bengals: Lawrence Timmons, LB Florida State
The Bengals have spent recent first day draft picks on linebackers out of the University of Georgia. Odell Thurman has been great when on the field, which is less each year because of off-the-field incidences. (Thurman was suspended 4 games last year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy). David Pollack missed the entire 2006 season with a broken neck and may never see the playing field again. Timmons performed well at the combine and his pro day and does not come into the league with character problems or baggage – and that is something that Cincinnati must make a priority.

19. Tennessee Titans: Robert Meacham, WR Tennessee
Tennessee has filled on hole on their team by adding CB Nick Harper in free agency, but now that Adam Jones has been suspended for a year, they could be looking for more help at that position. Tennessee has lost top WR Drew Bennett to the Rams and adding local product Robert Meacham is a possibility. The Titans could also be looking for a RB to pair with LenDale White, so don’t be surprised to see them pull the trigger on Marshawn Lynch if Green Bay passes. However, with the character concerns surrounding Lynch and their experience with Jones, I think they’ll pass on any who is questionable with their first round pick.

20. New York Giants: Paul Posluszny, LB Penn State
New York was unable to add LB Al Wilson from Denver because of a failed physical, so they would very well look to grab the best linebacker in the NCAA last year. Posluszny won’t blow you out of the water with his workout numbers, but he is a young man that is able to make plays on the football field.

21. Denver Broncos: Jarvis Moss, DE Florida
The Broncos have had a busy off-season filling up holes as quickly as they were able to. One hole that remains is a pass rushing DE, after the Broncos failed to lure Patrick Kerney to Denver. Moss and Anthony Spencer are the best pass rushers left on the board if they choose to go that route. They could also take a look at fast rising OT Joe Staley, but with Denver still using the zone blocking scheme I don’t expect them to use an early pick on an offensive lineman.

22. Dallas Cowboys: Ted Ginn Jr., WR Ohio State
The defensive secondary was Dallas’ biggest weaknesses in 2006. The Dallas defense ranked 24th among all teams against the pass. They were able to sign safety, Ken Hamlin, from Seattle. That makes me think that they will use this pick to either grab a young corner like Aaron Ross or take a WR. At the start of the 2007 season both starting wide receivers for Dallas (Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn) will be 33 years old. Getting a player like Ginn who can develop behind two of the best in the league is prudent.

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Dwayne Bowe, WR LSU
Kansas City’s offensive line is beginning to show their age, which is why I expect them to take a long look at Joe Staley if he is still around. However, I do not think that they will be able to overlook their glaring need at WR, especially with quality players such as Bowe, Dwayne Jarrett, and co. available.

24. New England Patriots: Chris Houston, CB Arkansas
New England has had a very busy off-season. They have improved at WR (Stallworth and Welker) and LB (A. Thomas). And they are rumored to be interested in adding inside linebacker Ed Hartwell. The biggest weakness for the Patriots is in the secondary. Franchised CB Asante Samuel has not reached and accord on a long-term deal and could even demand a trade before the season begins or threaten with a holdout. The longer this situation continues to linger the greater the chance the Samuel will not be around after the 2007. Houston impressed scouts with his sub 4.4, 40 time and should see his name called before round 1 is complete.

25. New York Jets: Anthony Spencer, DE/OLB Purdue
New York has still yet to replace their top pass rusher of 2 years ago when they traded John Abraham to Atlanta. Spencer is a quality defender that fits into the Jets 3-4 scheme and can improve the teams pass rush.

26. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Griffin, S Texas
Philadelphia is one of the top organizations in the NFL; they make smart, shrewd decisions regarding personnel. Therefore, they are in excellent shape heading into 2007 and can do a number of things with their initial pick. Safety is a position where youth could be pursued for Philly, so I’ll saddle them with Griffin from Texas.

27. New Orleans Saints: Aaron Ross, CB Texas
Ross comes off the board right after his fellow secondary mate from Texas. New Orleans was only able to generate 11 interceptions last year and Fred Thomas has clearly lost a step. Thomas is 33 and fellow starter Mike McKenzie is 31. The Saints do not have much talent behind these 2 starters and need to begin developing some. Ross is the best cornerback available in the draft and makes complete sense for New Orleans in this spot.

28. New England Patriots: Brandon Meriweather, S Miami
To be honest I have no idea what New England will do in the draft. I tried to get some insight from The Commish (a noted Pats fan), but he did not have much of a clue either. What I do know is that their secondary is thin and was probably their biggest weakness in 2007. Thus, I have them selecting 2 secondary players with their first round picks. However, Scott Pioli could very well draft a player that I have never heard of that will be starting in the Pro Bowl in 2009.

29. Baltimore Ravens: Joe Staley OT, Central Michigan
Starting Right Tackle Tony Pashos has bolted for Jacksonville. Staley could move into the lineup and replace him and eventually be ready to move to the left side to replace Jonathan Ogden (entering his 12th season), who may retire before the 2007 season begins. Staley is one of the players that has been rising in recent weeks thanks to good workouts. So, he could see his name go off the board earlier than this since quality and quantity are both good things to have on your offensive line. However, if he makes is to pick 29 then expect Baltimore to place their hat on his head.

30. San Diego Chargers: Dwayne Jarrett, WR USC
One month ago I would have been shocked to see Jarrett as the 5th WR drafted, but that is what a slow 40 time will do to you. (Jarrett ran his 40 time in the 4.6 range). Nonetheless, Jarrett was able to get open and make plays against Division I opponents on a regular basis at USC. San Diego is looking for someone to insert opposite of Vincent Jackson now that Keenan McCardell is on his way out. I think San Diego will make the pick to keep Jarrett on the West Coast for a few more years.

31. Chicago Bears: Tony Ugoh, OT Arkansas
This has not been a great off-season for the NFC champs. Thomas Jones was sent packing to New York for little compensation. Franchised linebacker Lance Briggs is threatening a holdout and is seeking a trade. But on the bright side Bears fans – you still play in the NFC North, which means next year you’ll get to play Detroit, Minnesota, and Green Bay twice each. On to the draft…Chicago could use another body on the offensive line and you can take your pick who you think the next best is after Staley is gone. Ugoh, Justin Blalock, Ben Grubbs.

32. Indianapolis Colts: Steve Smith, WR USC
I never thought that Steve Smith would be drafted this close to teammate Dwayne Jarrett, but with Jarrett’s slow 40 time and Smith’s quick one (4.4 seconds) you get one falling star and another rising one. Since Tony Dungy has been the coach in Indy they have yet to use a first round pick on a linebacker. In the Tampa 2 defense Dungy can find “system” linebackers that you do not need to spend a high pick on. Losing CB Nick Harper hurts as well, but Indy has been investing first day picks on defensive backs for several years now. I expect this pick to come down to either WR or DT. Justin Harrell or Tank Tyler might prove to be appealing as bandages to help heal their poor run defense. However, my thought is that they’ll grab a WR. They have lost #3 WR Brandon Stokely and #4 WR Aaron Morehead looks like he might be on his way to Minnesota. That means Indy will be looking for a polished WR that can play in the slot in 3 wide receiver sets. Steve Smith is that polished WR that could contribute immediately to another championship run.

Monday, April 09, 2007

If I were GM of every team....

here is what the top 10 picks of the draft would look like. (Thought I would take a different angle than most people who try to guess what notoriously kooky and deceiving GMs might do based on the quotes and general disinformation that is disseminated this time of year.)

If you're interested in a dynasty fantasy football rookie mock draft, check these out.

1. Oakland Raiders: Brady Quinn, QB Notre Dame

Plenty of people have Oakland taking Russell, although more recently, more are guessing Cal. Johnson. I think going WR would be a mistake. It is rare that a team wins the Super Bowl without a premier QB. (The only semi-recent team that comes to mind is the Baltimore Ravens with T. Dilfer) Teams only ever pick in the top 3 of the draft ever so often, and if there are QBs considered to be potential great QBs, you need to take a chance on these guys (even if there are notorious flameouts to look at in the past i.e. R. Leaf, J. Harrington and D. Carr) You don't ever think of a WR carrying a team to a championship, that's what the right QB will do. So, if Al Davis wants to win it all he needs to go QB (and I personally prefer Quinn to Russell), and if he wants to sell tickets, he should go ahead with Cal. Johnson.

2. Detroit Lions: JaMarcus Russell, QB LSU

Using the reasoning above, the Lions must take a QB. J. Kitna is just good enough to possibly get you too the playoffs, but he is not transcendent enough of a talent to carry this team to the ultimate prize. Time to take a chance on another QB, and hope for the best.

3. Cleveland Browns: Joe Thomas OT Wisconsin

A. Peterson is a popular pick here, but going RB fails to realize what is going on in the NFL currently. That is, that just about anyone can run the ball behind a good line (i.e. what the Denver Broncos prove to us) and even great talents cannot run the ball behind a bad line (i.e. Edge James going to Arizona). So, rather than waste the money and pick on a RB who you can probably find the basic equivalent of in Free Agency or in a later round of the draft, first shore up that line and make it possible for a RB to go somewhere with the ball. Gotta create the holes before anyone can run through them.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Calvin Johnson WR Georgia Tech

With no premier players at more important positions left, time to grab the best player in the draft in Calvin Johnson. He can't win games on his own, but he may be able to turn a mediocre QB into a good to great one (like Randy Moss did for Daunte Culpepper), and with the way that Tampa Bay is stocking QBs, you'd hope there's at least one mediocre QB in the bunch.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Levi Brown OT Penn State

Offensive line is a huge area of need for this team, and if they ever want to make any of those dollars that they are sending to Edge James worth it, they need to open up some holes for the guy. Brown did a great job run blocking at Penn State and should go a long way in helping out the Cardinals in that area.

6. Washington Redskins: Gaines Adams, DE Clemson

The way to build up a championship team (other than getting the right QB) is to dominate in the trenches. The Redskins already have a good offensive line, time to work on putting together a solid defensive front. Adams will be a huge step in the right direction.

7. Minnesota Vikings: Leon Hall, CB Michigan

Minnesota was great against the run last year, but perhaps that was because teams enjoyed passing against them so much. In fact that's exactly how New England game planned against them in week, where they only rushed 13 times the entire game with almost half of those coming in the 4th quarter after the game was well in hand. Hopefully Leon Hall can slow teams down enough through the air, so that teams have to consider trying to run against that tough run defense.

8. Atlanta Falcons: LaRon Landry, S LSU

Hanson's an Atlanta resident now, so I'll count on him for this one.
From Hanson's mock draft, "The Falcons biggest weakness last year might have been safety play. Chris Crocker seemingly got beat on every double move and Landry would immediately contribute to Atlanta with his speed and versatility."

9. Miami Dolphins: Amobi Okoye, DT Louisville

Keith Traylor (and the rest of the Dolphins defense for that matter) is aging at an alarming pace. Okoye brings in talent and youth (19 years young) to a defense in desperate need of both.

10. Houston Texans: Marshawn Lynch, RB LSU

Help is desperately needed on the offensive line, but neither Thomas or Brown made it this far. So, the next best thing is a RB who can catch some balls out in the flat and do something with them. A. Peterson is not the right fit here, since he is not a very good receiver out of the backfield and Lynch is the better blocker as well. Lynch's receiving and blocking abilities will help take some pressure off of Schaub, plus with Ahman Green already on board, and destined to get hurt in the first 2 weeks of the season you don't need Peterson to come in and follow up Green's injury by getting hurt himself before week 8.

I'm sure there will be some arguments with some of these selections, and I will be happy to hear them....let me know why you think I'm off my rocker, and just remember, I'm not trying to guess what teams will do, just saying what I think they should do.

TUFL Rookie Mock Draft v. 2.0

Here is version 2.0 of the TUFL mock draft. I have added a couple of sections to each pick. First is my pick, as in what I would do in a particular situation as opposed to what I think is going to happen (where it differs). Second, is the previous pick from v. 1.0 , (again only if there is a difference between the two) and the reason for the change in my thinking. To see the no comments version of both drafts, and a list of "My picks" click here.

1. Matt: A. Peterson RB Oklahoma

The top 3 of this draft are fairly set in stone (A. Peterson, M. Lynch and Cal. Johnson). The only question is what order do those 3 guys go in. I was tempted to have Matt take Cal. Johnson, because he already has some youth at RB with C. Benson and F. Gore, however, his depth at this position is shaky. Even if he hangs onto E. James, he is expensive, and will almost definitely not be around after this year. Taking Peterson, might free him up to drop James and have more cap room for the Free Agency auction. Plus, despite the fact that Matt is weak and old at the starting WR spot, he does have some youth there with at least some prospects of getting better, in Ma. Clayton, M. Jenkins, H. Baskett, Si. Moss, C. Jackson. Admittedly outside of Clayton, the outlook for these prospects does not compare at all to Cal. Johnson, however, the sheer volume of young guys gives him a decent chance of having a couple of them work out. (My Pick: M. Lynch I think that Lynch will end up in a situation where he is the undisputed starter and probably on a better team with a better offensive line. Plus, Lynch is a more complete back so, even if the team is behind, he will be involved in the passing game, which has helped mediocre backs like L. Jordan and D. Davis to have good seasons in the past.)

2. Peter: M. Lynch RB California

This seems like a potential trade situation here. Peter's big needs QB and TE are horrible value at this point in the draft, and while Lynch and Cal. Johnson would be nice additions, they would just add to already stacked positions for Peter. W. Parker and T. Henry make a great 1, 2 punch at RB, with T. Jones a solid backup. Peter's WR depth is probably top 3 in the league, and outside of D. Mason, there is no one glaringly old in the bunch. If Peter wants to compete this year, look for him to trade down and try to pick up G. Olsen later in the draft. If he is looking to build to the future, having a guy like M. Lynch around as a cheaper option than T. Henry (after he breaks out this year), will help immensely in that endeavor. This is a can't lose situation for Peter. (My pick: A. Peterson, being the best RB left after M. Lynch goes off the board. Peterson will be splitting carries with J. Lewis for one year, plus I don't like Crennel's offense much in Cleveland. This team will be behind and passing to catch up, so at least in year 1 don't expect much from Peterson, and by year 2 they may be breaking in a new coach in Cleveland, which could lead to them regressing for another year or 2. Bad situation if Peterson ends up in Cleveland, which is a common projection right now.)

3. Fauble: Cal. Johnson WR Georgia Tech

Like Peter I'm already stacked at the RB and WR positions, so any pick made here probably won't have an immediate impact. As such, I won't reach for anyone beyond these top 3 guys, and picking 3rd, look for me to get the leftover. In this scenario that is Cal. Johnson. Not a bad guy to get "stuck" with. The only way I see myself going after someone other than these 3 is if something flukey happens like the Colts drafting J. Addai last year. Although, I'm having a hard time imagining what the equivalent might be this year. An added bonus of getting Cal. Johnson in particular is knowing just how coveted he is around the league, and he might make a great trading chip come trade deadline time.

4. Bones: M. Bush RB Louisville

I strongly considered having Bones go a different direction here, but his RB situation is so old and tenuous with W. Dunn and F. Taylor as his current starters, and no backups worth mentioning, that to go any direction other than RB would almost seem non-sensical. Depending on how far Bush drops due to his most recent surgery, Bones could go for the highest taken 2nd round RB (if there even is one) if its not Bush. K. Irons and A. Pittman seem like the most likely possibilities at this point. In Bones' situation I would take Bush even if he drops to the late 3rd round. The kid was going to be a 1st round pick, if he had come out after his Junior season, and I have no reason to believe that he won't come back full strength. This could be the kind of investment that could have been made on W. McGahee when he came out, although all indications are that Bush will be ready to play his rookie year. The biggest concern will be the RBs on the depth chart in front of Bush's new team. If they are on the younger side, this situation should be shied away from. However, if he were to end up on a team like the NYJ that would give him a great opportunity to take over soon, as T. Jones would be turning 30 as Bush starts his 2nd season.

5. Veen: T. Ginn Jr. WR Ohio State

With only 1 WR currently signed for the upcoming year, any position but WR would be a huge surprise here, especially since the value is there at this point in the draft. Veen will probably get his choice of the non-Cal. Johnson WRs.

6. Seth: R. Meachem WR Tennessee

At this point in the draft, QBs (Quinn and Russell) and TE (G. Olsen) will start to be considered. However, Seth is already 3 deep at TE, and even though he will probably have to replace Palmer due to his huge contract sometime soon, he already has P. Rivers and Campbell "developing" behind him, so no need to grab Quinn or Russell at this point. Seth needs to either go WR or RB with this pick, as his depth at both positions is okay this year, but going forward could be shaky as he needs to deal with his bloated cap position. Not sure if the value is quite there yet to reach for the 2nd round RBs, although it is definitely a strong consideration at this point. (Previous pick: D. Bowe Bowe's position seems to be slipping in the mock drafts, while Meachem's is moving up. Meachem will probably be the 3rd WR off the board.)

7. Hanson: A. Pittman RB Ohio State

Hanson seems to be in a position to take the player with the most value regardless of position. He is a little weak depth wise at RB and TE, though and Pittman as possibly the 3rd RB taken in the draft could be the most valuable player available. With 3 WRs already taken (possibly representing all of the 1st round WRs), and the young talent Hanson already has at that position (S. Holmes and V. Jackson) I would not expect him to go WR (at this point), and at QB he is stacked with a good starter and two above average young cheap backups already, so that is unlikely as well. (Previous pick: G. Olsen I think G. Olsen makes more sense for his team, but since Hanson has a pick at #9 as well, and virtually no possibility of Olsen being taken by Veen (who has A. Gates), there is no reason to take Olsen in the 7 spot. Instead he will probably take a player who might not slip past Veen at #8.)

8. Veen: D. Bowe WR LSU

With 2 WRs in the first round, Veen can now start a complete fantasy squad including 3 WRs. A. Pittman would have been a solid selection, with Veen being weak at both RB and WR, but with Pittman going one pick in advance, taking another WR is not a bad option for this team. (Previous Pick: D. Jarrett, let the comparisons to Mike Williams begin, as his slow 40 time could knock him all the way to the 2nd round of the NFL draft.)

9. Hanson: A. Gonzalez WR Ohio State

This pick happens if A. Gonzalez goes to the Colts as there is some buzz about that possibility. Hanson is a huge Colts fan and could not pass up the opportunity to grab the next great Indy WR. (Previous Pick: R. Meachem No longer an option as Meachem's stock is rising) (My Pick: G. Olsen T. Gonzalez can definitely be relied upon next year, but he is also getting older and will need to be replaced. B. Troupe has had multiple chances to step up, and has failed to do so. Sooner or later Josh will need to find his TE of the future. I think G. Olsen fills that need. Plus, at WR while his stars are older, he already has a collection of 5 young guys with medium to good potential for being quality fantasy starters in the future, so less of a need there. I think that Hanson still thinks that someday B. Troupe might live up to his potential. Despite me being quite down on Troupe as ever being worthy of being a fantasy starter, I think Hanson views Troupe as the TE of the future for his team, and as such has no need for G. Olsen.

10. Chu: D. Jarrett WR USC

With 2 slow, disappointing former USC stars already on board (Mike Williams and LenDale White), Chu is going to have to prove to me that he can have the discipline to stay away from these guys, before I can keep from projecting him to go after the guys. (My pick: B. Quinn Chu may be okay at QB next year with 3 probably starters, but none of the group seems to even have the potential to become a top guy. Time to stock the shelves with a top prospect. I think Quinn is a far better NFL prospect than Russell, and if Russell ends up on the Raiders, the situation will be far and away a better situation, regardless of where Quinn ends up. Quinn won't contribute right away, but would offer hope at the QB position in the future for Chu.)