Posts Tagged ‘NFL Draft’

My picture of former #1 overall pick Carson Palmer playing in Miami in 2012.

My picture of former #1 overall pick Carson Palmer playing in Miami in 2012.

The last time i tried to do a Mock Draft (in 2012) I think I got about three or four picks correct and one player matched to the right team but at the wrong slot.

This time around I’m not going to make a fool of myself and hazard a big ol’ bunch of guesses, considering     the only college game I have any clear recollection of watching was the BCS title game.

To be fair to myself I have done a fair whack of reading about this year’s class of college athletes, from news sites to going on candidates college team websites.

This draft class by most estimations is a bunch of duds. That is if you believe what cynical reporters say. The fact of the matter is that they are just bitter that they cannot predict the order of who will go where, as there are no Andrew Luck or RGIII’s sitting there amongst the cream of the crop.

It’s true not many offensive linemen are used to front up national advertising campaigns, but they do something far more important, they win teams football games, and winning in January helps you get to a Super Bowl.

So what if there is not a big bunch of quarterbacks and running backs projected to go in the top ten (or even 20 to 30) teams in need of improving or even dragging themselves back from the brink need to build by getting quality offensive and defensive linemen.

This draft is rich in big bodies, newly sculpted big bodies, ones that look like walking oak trees. Bulk is on it’s way out and being replaced by athletic, toned and nimble men who eat right, train hard and are highly intelligent.

2013 may not go down as a classic for big names and big buzz, but the moves made on Thursday and Friday may be the ones that turn around the fortune of a franchise. Just ask the St Louis Rams. Their two trips to the Super Bowl may have featured a once in a lifetime group of skill players such as Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce, but without the blocking of Orlando Pace I would say that we would not have seen Dick Vermiel lift a Lombardi Trophy.

I’ll be fast asleep when round one takes place, but I do have a day off work to pour over the first round selections on Friday morning.

The first 32 picks will include plenty of twists and turns I am sure, with teams jockeying to move up and down, making any kind of predicting absolutely futile.

My advice, just sit back, crack open a beer and enjoy the draft unfolding in front of you. With all media partners agreeing to not spoil the pick announcements with ‘green room’ coverage the moment big ginger G goes to the podium will be both entertaining and surprising.

If the Redskins want to make my day they could always try and trade up into the first, but regardless it will be a fun event and   one I will watch plenty of highlights of on Friday morning.

 

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Third time lucky for evin Kolb.

Third time lucky for Kevin Kolb.

With the 2013 NFL Draft under a week away, as is par for the course, the talk is dominated by the projected location of rookie quarterbacks.

Unlike 2012 when you were guaranteed quarterbacks going number one and two overall the situation for this position (in terms of projected draft selection) is muddier than a Mississippi mud-pie.

The passer generating the highest volume of column inches and podcast megabytes is West Virginia’s Geno Smith.

Depending on who you read or listen to Smith could get selected as early as number one by the Kansas City Chiefs and possibly fall to the late 20’s and get scooped by a team able to trade back up into the first round.

The way I see it is the Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills are the only likely candidates for Smith. as the other 27 NFL teams either have a veteran quarterback entrenched or a young quarterback they are still testing out (or in Cleveland’s case a second year qb nearing his pension).

Whittling this down you have Kansas City (Alex Smith), Arizona (Carson Palmer) and Buffalo (Kevin Kolb) who have all invested in veteran free agents and Oakland who have also signed a veteran free agent, but a completely unproven one in Matt Flynn. This leaves the Jaguars as the team with the weakest starting quarterback in the league, Blaine Gabbert.

Alex Smith and Palmer are former number one overall picks, and by my reckoning Geno Smith will, by virtue of the value of his position either go number two to the Jaguars, or he will fall faster than Tarzan trying to swing through the trees holding a pat of butter in each hand.

It does leave teams the Bills, Chiefs, Raiders and Cardinals with something to consider as their ‘new’ veteran signal callers could find the situation they move into strictly a temporary stop if they do not perform immediately. This means playoffs immediately in 2013.

Of these four teams I find the most interesting story to be that of the Buffalo Bills and Kevin Kolb. A lot of draft experts in America think that the Bills are going to take the plunge and rise up to the waterline having netted Geno Smith, but I think Kevin Kolb has found a place where he can finally establish his career in the NFL.

Kolb has only played 21 games in six seasons, so he has the advantage of half a dozen seasons learning about schemes and studying the intricacies of the game but under 4 games a season actually playing. This lack of games played has advantages in terms of freshness, but disadvantages in terms of a proven ability to play a full season, something every coach, GM, team-mate and fan wants to see.

Kolb has been injury prone, and as a result never played more than nine games in a season, but as recently as last season he helped the Arizona Cardinals to a surprising 4-0 record. Yes Kolb’s record turned south quickly to 4-2 before the injury bug struck, but this was behind a pedestrian offensive line and a seemingly ever-changing backfield.

If Geno Smith is still on the board when the Buffalo Bills pick at number eight then he may end up getting used to the cold weather, but I will be rooting for Kevin Kolb to finally get his shot at leading a team for a whole season and beyond.

Yes there is a scenario where the Bills draft Smith and let him carry a clipboard as a rookie, but more and more the old-school scenario of letting a quarterback learn the ropes before the spotlight shines on him is becoming scarce.

Kolb himself did not throw a pass as an Eagles rookie, he just took some sacks in a blowout win over the Detroit Lions (in 2007).

Life has changed and I don’t see a happy families situation for Kolb and Smith together. Let’s hope the only time they both see the field together in 2013 is as opponents.

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There is never anything sexy about selecting an offensive lineman in the first round of an NFL Draft, but if you want to be a contender when it comes to getting your grubby mitts on a Vince Lombardi trophy it all begins with the big uglies. 

The Detroit Lions were a 2011 season playoff team, but they were steam-rolled in the WIld-Card round by a rampant New Orleans Saints team, losing 28-45, including conceding 35 second-half points. 

One of the key reasons the Lions failed to roar in the Bayou was an inability to establish a running game, with Detroit’s leading rusher being the brittle-kneed Kevin Smith who underwhelmed America with 21 yards on six carries. 

The Lions drafted Illinois running-back Mikel Leshoure as a second-round pick in 2011, hoping he would solve the backfield blushes, but he tore his Achilles is August and has never played a down. He has also been caught twice possessing ‘mary-jane’ this year, so the Lions may be less inclined to show their full support to him becoming the featured back in 2012. 

Aside from the running game, the Lions offensive line was in need of a serious upgrade, and this brings me neatly on to the Silver and Blue’s first-round pick in 2012, junior offensive tackle Riley Reiff from Iowa.

This pick was pure necessity and Reiff will be an immediate upgrade on Jason Fox, and the successor to stalwart Jeff Backus.

If you can cast your mind back to the turn of the century you will recall ‘the greatest show on turf’ the St Louis Rams, led by former shelf-stacker Kurt Warner and Swiss Army knife skilled running-back Marshall Faulk.

What really made the difference in that team was the first overall pick made by the Rams in 1997, five-time All Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler Orlando Pace. Yep a man monster at offensive tackle.

Now I’m not saying that Riley Reiff is ‘THE’ answer, but I am projecting the Lions to win 1-2 playoff games in early 2013.

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I tried to watch as much of the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft as I could, but as it started at 1.00am on Friday morning here in England I feel happy in the fact I made it to Ryan Tannehill being picked at #8 overall by the desperate Miami Dolphins.

When I woke up about five hours later I checked out NFL.com and Rotoworld to find out the 24 first-round picks selected that I missed whilst dreaming of Robert Griffin III lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy some time this decade.

Perhaps the biggest first-round head-scratcher to me was the Cleveland Browns picking the oldest rookie in NFL history at #22.

Yes the Browns managed to, by handing in a single scrap of paper, simultaneously wipe the grin from incumbent quarterback Colt McCoy’s baby face, and also puzzle many Cleveland fans across the world.

Their selection of Brandon Weedon, the 28-year-old (who will be 29 in October) can be arguably seen as a bad move, as the former draft pick of the New York Yankees baseball team (yes I am not going mad) has spent much of his throwing arm’s energy pitching in the minor leagues.

He does have the added advantage of maturity, leadership, experience with one of the biggest sports franchises on the planet and a calm temperament that will equip him well to run an NFL huddle, but he is around 5-6 years older than the rest of his rookie class.

Unlike the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins who opted for super-stud senior quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III (pictured above) hoping they will still be leading their team in the 2020s, it is unlikely that Weeden will be heading up a Browns team anytime past 2016.

The Browns did the safe thing and moved up to #3 (moving up just one pick) to get the best running-back prospect in the draft with ‘Bama’s Trent Richardson as their first selection.

I was pretty upset that the Cowboys managed to swoop in and draft LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne at #6. The Rams gave up the opportunity to pick at that spot, just like they gave up the chance to pick at #2 (having traded with the Redskins). Fortunately for St Louis they managed to get themselves an LSU alumni for themselves, and most likely someone they did not think would be available at #14.

Their selection, Michael Brockers the defensive tackle, will start from day one. Like cornerback, it is incredibly hard for a defensive tackle to make an immediate impact. Most rookie defensive tackles take at least a year to get into the groove. There are exceptions like the Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh, but this is rarer that a blood soaked T-bone.

It also chokes me that the New England Patriots managed to avoid trading down again, instead selecting two future NFL starting defensive players, nabbing Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones at #21 and then one of my personal favourites Dont’a Hightower, the 2012 NCAA National Championship winning inside linebacker from the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The Jaguars also showed some balls by moving up to #5 to piss-off Rams head-coach Jeff Fisher (who originally held the #6 spot) and draft the best wide-receiver in the 2012 draft class, Justin Blackmon from OSU.

I did like the Lions selection of offensive tackle Riley Reiff the humongous offensive tackle from Iowa. With Matthew Stafford living up to his #1 selection expectation in 2011, Detroit needed to do all they could to make sure he stays standing every week.

Justin Blackmon - my shock #3 pick by the wideout starved Minnesota Vikings

Anyone who knows the difference between a touchdown and a touchback knows that this year’s NFL Draft already has two players locked in, but from pick 3 onwards there is no doubt in my mind that it will be much more of a roller-coaster than many mock-draft writers have predicted.

Below is my attempt at a top 10 NFL 2012 Mock Draft, including the position, team drafting, player I am predicting will be picked and why…

1) Indianapolis Colts…select Andrew Luck, QB Stanford

2) Washington Redskins…select Robert Griffin III aka RG3, QB, Baylor

These two picks are locked tighter than an upstream-swimming salmon’s sphincter as Luck is rated as the best quarterback prospect in the past 20 years, and the Redskins traded the farm to swap number 1 picks with the St Louis Rams.

Funnily enough the last time we has two such high-profile quarterbacks get selected in the top two draft picks it was the Colts at #1 who selected Peyton Manning, and the San Diego Chargers at #2 who picked a bust bigger than Dolly Parton’s when they nabbed Ryan Leaf.

3) Minnesota Vikings…select Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Yep I’m in a minority here, as most experts have USC offensive tackle (pictured above) being selected by the Purple People Eaters, but I am gambling on the Vikings getting a stud wideout to go with their stud running-back Adrian Peterson and a primary target for second year quarterback Christian Ponder.

4) Cleveland Browns…select Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

A nation championship winning back and the best prospect since the aforementioned Adrian Peterson. Richardson is a thoroughbred who can find the holes, catch the ball and play a full 60 minutes. The Browns made the decision not to go after RG3 so must have some sort of faith in Colt McCoy. They did however let Madden poster-boy Peyton Hillis go, and have the glass-kneed Montario Hardesty as their top back. Richardson will bring back some ruggedness to the Browns, a team who people respected in the 1980s – honest they did. 

5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers…select Morris Clayborne, CB, LSU

Veteran Buccs cornerback Ronde Barber simply cannot go on, despite signing an extension earlier this year. The Buccs have a young team and they need a dominating corner to do what Ronde did for over a decade. Clayborne could possibly go at #3 to the Vikings. Any corner that gets selected this high had better be special, and I’m not talking special-teams special. Patrick Petersen was picked as a corner in the same slot last year and he ended up in the Pro-Bowl. Clayborne I doubt will have the same rookie impact.

6) St Louis Rams…select Matt Kalil, OT, USC

The Rams would have had their heart set on Blackmon, but this is my mock draft so they have to fish elsewhere for a big catch. With Cleveland and Tampa addressing need Kalil, the best tackle available, will be the chosen one by the Rams. Yes they got Roger Saffold last year, but with Kalil the Rams will have their best offensive lineman since Orlando Pace. 

7) Jacksonville Jaguars select…Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

This is one team with needs at defensive line, wide receiver and depending on how much optimism you have for 2011 1st Rd pick Blaine Gabbert, a new quarterback. The Jags will have a number of options here but Cox has the best combination of durability, strength and speed. Putting Cox alongside Tyson Alualu will give the Jags a formidable combo for the 2010s. 

8) Miami Dolphins select…Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

The Fins have sucked harder at quarterback than Kojack would at an international lollipop licking contest. Matt Moore is not the answer and neither have been some of the hideous signal callers that have been starting in Miami over the past decade. Tannehill is in a class of his own in this draft. He is a top ten talent, but not a top 5 one. Tannehill has great awareness, but maybe that awareness will trigger his spidey-sense to steer clear from the Dolphins. It’s unlikely  as he will be very likely to be in aqua and white no sooner than you can spot a pair of surgically enhanced breasts on Miami Beach. 

9) Carolina Panthers select…Mark Barron, S, Alabama

A second member of the Crimson Tide to get selected in the top 10, Barron is the number one safety available by a country mile. He comes armed with a national championship ring and some classy leadership skills. The Panthers struck gold in the 2011 draft with Can Newton, Barron is not that sparkly, but he is a solid silver pick and can bring his ball hawking skills to Carolina, with immediate game 1 impact. His 12 picks in college is pretty respectable. 

10) Buffalo Bills select…Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Despite having the drawback of going to Cretin High School (yes it’s true) Floyd is a game-changer, who can catch the small passes and make them into big gains. The Bills have got a respectable defense, bolstered by the big free-agency signing of Mario Williams. They now need a wideout to take the pressure off Steve Johnson. This could in-part help the Bills become legit once again. 

Can’t wait for tomorrow night, not sure I will make it much past Andrew Luck standing there with the ginger prince, but my ipod will be knackered out Friday morning as I read through the selections made as the rain batters the window and my six moth old batters my eardrums. 

Dez is no longer a Cowboy in my fantasy league

Been very quiet on the ol’ blog in the last month, but then again it is the offseason and some tournament is taking place in South Africa that seems to be deflecting attention from the NFL.

The football highlight for me in the last month has been taking part in a fantasy rookie draft in one of the Action PC Football leagues I created back in 2006 (each team has a 55 man roster).

Having 8 picks in the top 100 is quite a luxury, but I did have to make trades to get three of those picks, and I did lose pick #81 to move up from #9 to #5.

My target with the #5 pick was Cowboys first round pick Dez Bryant, and lucky for me he was there and waiting for me when I had my first of 8 picks.

After that I went and got five consecutive defensive players, and in my humble opinion I got five guys that can all be impact players in 2010 and beyond.

Here are the five D studs I landed:

Derrick Morgan DE – supposedly the most NFL ready DE in the draft

Sergio Kindle OLB – A speed pass-rusher in the Orakpo mould

Taylor Mays S – This guy was projected to be a top 3 pick a year ago – he will have a point to prove

Terrence ‘Mount’ Cody DT – This guy is a monster and in a Ravens uniform he will look scary

Javier Arenas CB/RET – My second ‘Bama player, Arenas should be a stud returner as a rook

In our final round (each round is 20 picks) I managed to snag Gator legend and Mackey Award winner TE Aaron Hernandez, and with my final pick I swooped for Northwestern DE Corey Wootten, all 6 feet 7 inches of him.

My team will not reap any benefits from this draft until 2011, as the picks made now will not play in the league (the AMFL – Art Monk Football League) until they have completed their rookie season in the NFL.

I cant wait until September. Anyone got any comments on my picks?

Will Seahawks grab Sanchez?

Will Seahawks grab Sanchez?

Everyone has a go at a mock draft, and NFL FAN IN ENGLAND could therefore not resist. I can bet the likes of Barak Obama to Dr Stephen Hawkings have a list somewhere, whether it is on White House watermarked stationery or the back of a KFC napkin. With the NFL Draft just hours away its a nervous time for scouts, GMs, owners and fans alike.

 1 Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford QB – OK I cheated he has already been selected
2 St. Louis Rams – Jason Smith OT – This is the replacement for Orlando Pace and a sensible selection
3 Kansas City Chiefs – Aaron Cury LB – This is a case of the best player over the biggest need
4 Seattle Seahawks – Mark Sanchez QB – He has shot up the board and rainy Seattle is the best place to learn
5 Cleveland Browns – Michael Crabtree WR – Even if he wasnt injured he would not have gone #1
6 Cincinnati Bengals – Eugene Monroe OT – Bungles need more than this dude but Carson will like the move
7 Oakland Raiders – Jeremy Macklin WR – I do buy all the crap written that Al Davis loves speed
8 Jacksonville Jaguars – Brian Orakpo LB – Jags look to get younger and faster on D
9 Green Bay Packers – BJ Raji DT – Packers do have other needs but if this is the next Ngata then v cool
10 San Francisco 49ers – Andre Smith OT – Smith may look like a sack of spuds but he is tough
11 Buffalo Bills – Malcolm Jenkins DB – Bit of a shock here but Jenkins can be a star
12 Denver Broncos – Tyson Jackson DE- Broncos miss Raji but keep with a D star
13 Washington Redskins – Michael Oher OT – Yes they need DE but Samuels and Jansen are old
14 New Orleans Saints – Beanie Wells RB – The New Awleenz backfield gets a bit more crowded
15 Houston Texans – Robert Ayres DE – Texans need a new pal for Super Mario
16 San Diego Chargers – Rey Maualuaga LB – Chargers need this player to upgrade d immediately
17 New York Jets – Darius Heyward-Bey WR – Jets want to stretch the field (that is if they do not trade up) 
18 Denver Broncos (from Chicago)- Knowshon Moreno RB – This time the Broncos get a stud RB early
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Freeman QB – Buccs cannot go into 09 with a McCown at the helm
20 Detroit Lions (from Dallas) Clay Matthews LB – A general for many years to come
21 Philadelphia Eagles – Donald Brown RB – with Moreno gone Brown will be the new king
22 Minnesota Vikings – Hakeem Nicks WR – Everyone forget the Williamson mess up right now
23 New England Patriots – Brandon Pettigrew TE – best TE on the board
24 Atlanta Falcons – Percy Harvin WR – Howabout White, Gonzales and Harvin my my !
25 Miami Dolphins – Brian Cushing OLB – The Fins are gonna get that bit better with Cushing
26 Baltimore Ravens – Aaron Maybin DE – Ravens do what they do best nurture D talent
27 Indianapolis Colts – James Lauirinaitis – LB Colts always need tacklers
28 Buffalo Bills-  Peria Jerry DT – Bills get a big body to disrupt opponents
29 New York Giants –  Everette Brown DE – Biggest faller – this is a steal
30 Tennessee Titans – Larry English LB – The successor for Keith Bishop
31 Arizona Cardinals – Evander Hood DT – Cards will get a new WR later in draft
32 Pittsburgh Steelers – Eben Britten OT – Steelers OLine needs a boost

Come on – love to hear your opinion ………..