Archive for the ‘2011 NFL Draft’ Category

Now the lockout has lifted John Clay has become a Steeler

Phew – that’s about all I can muster after 132 days without offseason football movements.

With the lockout finally over and free agency in the NFL set to explode like a realised gunpowder plot its time to get back to the serious business of fantasy football.

Already there have been some fascinating moves with teams committing to sign undrafted free agents who did not get selected back in April.

One guy that impressed me when watching college football last year was the slightly slow but extremely powerful former Wisconsin badger John Clay.

Its funny that Clay signed a contract today with the Pittsburgh Steelers, as his running style and big frame reminded me of a certain Steelers and Rams legend known simply as ‘the bus’. Jerome Bettis was unfamiliar with a six pack and a low calorie diet, but when it came to 3rd and 1 on a crucial drive you knew who you wanted behind the wheel.

Clay is a tough back who played in a committee backfield with the Badgers, so he should be relatively fresh going into the 2011 season.

True – Clay may not even make the final 54 man roster (yes 54 due to the new CBA) but he is one guy that I will be rooting for.

Come to think of it with my man crush on former Badger defensive end J.J Watt (a first round pick by the Houston Texans) and my love of former New York Jets WR Al Toon’s son Nick Toon set to have a huge season also with the Badgers, I won’t be surprised if I get drunk and wake up the next day with a big tattoo depicting a large red W.

More to come…..just glad we have guaranteed football for the next ten years.

Also well done NFL bosses for keeping the NFL game in London for 2011 – Crying Cutler at Wembley will be entertaining for sure.

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My picture from the NFL game at Wembley in 2010

Was very interested to get an email from the NFLUK website saying that ticket prices for the NFL regular season game in London, the fifth consecutive of its kind, will be frozen at the 2010 prices.

Whilst this is good news (well not as good news as prices dropping) I cant fail to dismiss the elephant in the room – namely that fact we are nearing 100 days of an out of season NFL strike.

Listening to the ESPN Football Today podcast over the weekend (from last Friday) I heard Ross Tucker talking about the NFL Rookie Symposium being the first major event on the NFL calendar post the 2011 Draft to have been cancelled.

The Rookie Symposium is the equivalent of university orientation week. From someone who attended a university orientation week (albeit back in 1995) it was a bit dull and I was spoke to a lot, but it certainly helped me to meet new people and it overwhelmingly made me feel that I was not alone wandering round a new town looking for lecture rooms, libraries and bookshops.

Postponing this sort of event for NFL rookies will only be a bad thing as it means that valuable advice from NFL players and staff that have ‘been there, done it and worn the sweat soaked t-shirt’ will be missed.

I’m sure in their heart of hearts NFL officials from head office will be kicking themselves that this date has been missed. After all we don’t want the 2011 NFL rookie crop turning to the dark side of crime, disorderly conduct, and worse of all, as demonstrated by Cowboys WR, Dez Bryant, being found guilty of wearing trousers in a manner ‘too baggy for shopping mall patrons decency’.

I joined the Texans by making J.J. Watt my first rookie pick

I have to admit I am like a small child in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory when it comes to making fantasy rookie NFL player picks.  It sends a sugary buzz up to my brain as I pour over the players I want to pick, and for that brief time slot every day I feel like a proper NFL GM.

I know the truth is its all nonsense, but selecting rookies in fantasy leagues where I manage a full squad of 50-55 players is one of the most fun things an NFL fan can be involved in.

Most of the fantasy football game leagues I am in have exclusive rookie player drafts AFTER the real NFL draft, but two leagues I am in (UFL – Utah Football League and the NFL – Not Quite Football League) both conduct the first three rounds of their rookie drafts a week BEFORE the real NFL draft.

This mean you really do become a fully fledged GM as you don’t know which NFL team your drafted player will end up playing for.

In the UFL I had 5 picks in the top 61 (#7, #21 from trade, # 27, #41 from trade, and #61) . Bearing in mind I made all 5 picks a week before the 2011 NFL Draft here are the picks I made…..

#7 – J.J. Watt DE Wisconsin (went to Texans Round 1 #11)
#21 –  Jimmy Smith CB Colorado (went to Ravens Round 1 #27)
#27 –  Corey Liuget DT Illinois (went to Chargers Round 1 #18)
#41 – Phil Taylor DT Baylor (went to Browns Round 1 #21)
#61 – Christian Ponder QB Florida State (went to Vikings Round 1 #12)

So there it was – All 5 of my picks went in the first round of the real NFL Draft 7 days later.  Perhaps the biggest shock was that I managed to get Christian Ponder at #61.

I actually was primed to pick Jonathan Baldwin the Pitt WR at #61 but I made a quick double check on my cheat sheet and then checked the first 60 picks made and realised no-one had pulled the trigger on Ponder.

Yes the Vikings needed a new QB but many so called ‘experts’ didn’t see Ponder getting selected at #12. Their hand was forced after Jake Locker went at #8 to the Titans and then Blaine Gabbert shockingly was selected at #10 by the Jaguars.

I know defensive tackles are not ‘sexy’ picks but my team needed defensive help everywhere. I think getting  Phil Taylor 20 picks later than when he was actually drafted was good value.

What do you people think – how would you have drafted?

Carolina to do the right thing and get Dareus??

I wont be winning $10m from Budweiser by predicting correctly all 32 picks but hey if you don’t buy a ticket you cant take part in the dance.

Here goes my annual leap into the pool of humiliation……..NFL Fan in England’s mock NFL Draft Round 1 2011.

Team – Predicted player, position, note.

1) Panthers – Marcel Dareus DT – This will be a minor shock but Dareus could do a Warren Sapp in Carolina

2) Broncos – Von Miller OLB – Broncos to give Tebow a chance and try and get defense upgraded

3) Bills – Cam Newton QB – Stunning move as Bills decide to get a new gunslinger to reverse fortunes

4) Bengals – Blaine Gabbert QB – This is possibly where Redskins trade up to but if not Bengals get their QB

5) Cardinals – Patrick Petersen CB – Cards need help in many places this is a best on board pick

6) Browns – AJ Green WR – Cleveland get the best WR in the draft

7) 49ers – Cameron Jordan DE – 49ers make their strong d-line even tougher

8) Titans – Nick Fairely DT – Titans get the next DL stud to stomp on ghost of fat Albert

9) Cowboys – Prince Amukamara CB – Cowboys need a new leader in the secondary

10) Redskins – Jake Locker QB – Only on the basis that Gabbert is gone and Redskins didn’t trade up

11) Texans – JJ Watt DE – The guy is like a human octopus arms everywhere and a big help to Super Mario

12) Vikings – Robert Quinn DE – Vikes wall is crumbling, now is the time to tear it down and start again

13) Lions – Tyron Smith OT – Lions are building up nicely and Smith will be an immediate starter

14) – Rams – Julio Jones WR – Rams smile as Jones surprisingly lands in their lap

15) Dolphins – Aldon Smith DE – Fins need quality injection in the d-line

16) Jaguars – Anthony Constanzo OT – Someone has to make holes for MJD and Rashad Jennings

17) Patriots – Mark Ingram RB – Green Ellis the Law Firm is not the answer, Ingram is.

18) Chargers – Mike Pouncey – OL – If he is as good as his twin Chargers are happy bunnies

19) Giants – Gabe Carimi OL – Giants o-line is old and Carimi is a workhorse lunch pail type.

20 ) Bucs – Corey Liuget DT – Tampa Bay combine McCoy and Liuget to form a formidable wall.

21) Chiefs – Da’Quan Bowers DE – KC pick best person on their board

22) Colts – Phil Taylor DT – Colts get serious on d-line with a big big blocker

23) Eagles – Muhammed Wilkerson DT – Bit of a surprise but Eagles always value d-line strenght

24) Saints – Akeem Ayers – Saints need a spark at LB, and Ayers can light it up

25) Seahawks – Jimmy Smith CB – Character concerns go out the window – fans no longer sleepless

26) Ravens – Jonathan Baldwin WR – Time for the Ravens to get a fresh face and a successor to Mason

27) Falcons – Stephen Paea DT – Falcons d-line is ok but this will start to make it special

28) Patriots – Ryan Kerrigan DE – Pats say thankyou very much.

29) Bears – Danny Watkins OG – The whole world knows the Bears need to upgrade offensive line

30) Jets – Marvin Austin DL – The Jets get someone who will help from  right now

31) Steelers – Cam Heyward DE – Steelers like nothing better than boosting the d-line

32) Packers – Mikel Leshure RB – Surprising but Packers wont get him by end of 2nd.