Your'e welcome for all of this OC.
2009 Draft Review:
2010 Draft Review:
2011 Draft Review:
2012 Draft Review (and quoted below with very-early bolded hits and misses):
2012 Season Predictions (Colts playoffs proof, Russell Wilson backing after preseason - I'm not THAT stupid. Wrong about a lot but nailed Giants, Falcons, Titans, Cardinals, Saints, Rams, Pats and Hawks to an extent, called for Kaep in a half-joking/half-hoping 49ers pick):
WARNING: Yikes... I knew I had the Bryce Brown thing in there but damn, when you take away the Colts preseason picks it's almost as if predicting the NFL is difficult!
2013 NFL Draft Review
Originally Posted by gpngc
2012 NFL DRAFT WRAP-UP
The paragraphs leading up to the grades were all terrible in the past. So this year, just grades with more analysis sprinkled in. And I also realize that when you look at past wrap-ups you don't remember exactly which guys the teams took, which is why I edited some. So I'll try to include more names rather than blanket statements.
Actually, I need make this point: Predicting the career of an NFL draft choice is a ridiculous exercise. Besides not knowing the actual person, there are SO MANY variables that go into how a player's career unfolds. There is no 'destiny' or determinism. You can predict a 'sure thing' with a good argument but the truth is you can't tell the future. You can make educated (or uneducated) guesses based on watching the games and reading about the players. But all of these things (and more) contribute to what happens with a drafted player:
A) The organization he's drafted to/talent around him.
B) The scheme he's drafted to.
- OK, so we can make educated guesses based on those two factors. I used to think, 'the Steelers are so lucky, they keep getting awesome players to fall to them every year.' Then I realized, the players they draft aren't necessarily pre-determined to work out. The fact is, that organization, those coaches, that culture - it breeds success. That's why so many of their picks work out. So pretty much what I mean is that I'm not sure Timmons would have worked out somewhere besides Pittsburgh. I'm not sure JPP would have developed into the best DE in the league if he didn't go to the Giants.
C) How hard he works as it relates to the pro game/how he adjusts to being a pro in terms of speed, mental toughness, and skill-specific progress.
- This is the most important point. Some guys get the reputation for being a hard-worker in college. Some are labeled as lazy. Some don't get any label. The fact is, you simply don't know how hard a kid is going to work/if he can even DO the work once he signs that deal. Because of this, there is no 100% CORRECT argument for or against a guy like Poe at this point in time. You don't know if a guy is going to be absolutely overwhelmed by the speed. Maintain weight. Stay in the weight room. Work on his craft as much or MORE than the guys they're competing with. You can guess, maybe educated guess, maybe VERY educated guess, but there's a reason mistakes are made each and every year.
In conclusion, the draft is a crapshoot and it's ridiculous to grade draft classes any time earlier than three years later.
So...um... here are my "grades" for 2012...
THE ALEX: A+
No explanation needed.
Not that high on Gilmore, but I like that either Glenn or Sanders will develop into a legit LT. Bradham, Brooks, and Carder are all quality football players. T.J. Graham plays the slot - eh, we'll see. Their receivers aren't very good. Heading into the season, they do have the best defensive line in football thanks to free agency, and an easy schedule (AFC East gets AFC South and NFC West - the two worst divisions in football). Wild Card finally? Fitzmagic? Sorry, but no.
MIA: A, BUT WITH NO EXPECTATIONS BESIDES RETIRED NUMBERS
The argument against Ryan Tannehill makes a lot of sense. In the past, A LOT of prospects with similarities to him as a prospect have failed spectacularly. But I love his arm and mobility. And his TV spot with Gruden showed a bright, TOUGH, young kid who LOVES the game. Two knocks on him that I disagree with: 1) That his team lost so many big leads/close games. I don't care. His defense and coach were terrible. I don't think you can judge a guy's 'clutch' factor (many would argue it doesn't even exist) based on losses during his first 15 games as a QB. 2) That 1.5 years as a starter should be held against him because 'why didn't take the job earlier?' They had heavily recruited blue-chip QBs in McGee and Johnson and their coaches sucked. And he took the job from Johnson. My main concern is his accuracy, which also happens to be the single most important trait I value in a QB prospect (provided he has the pre-requisite arm strength required). My final guess is that he works, improves, and becomes a very good NFL QB by his third season after some early struggles. As for the rest of this draft I view Jonathan Martin as a long-term starter, think Oliver Vernon can contribute at DE as early as this year, and believe Lamar Miller was a steal. He should not have fallen to the 4th and he'll use his speed to score at least one KR TD in his rookie season.
I figured Belichick would finally trade up with their window of opportunity potentially closing and a defense completely devoid of talent. I don't think I've ever seen a team use its first SIX picks on defense. Jones needs to realize his potential quickly. He won't. Hightower will though. And Tavon Wilson is going to be good because Michael Mitchell wasn't.
NYJ: EITHER A, F, B, D, OR C
This draft is as boom-or-bust as it gets. Simply put, if Coples puts in the work, he'll be great. Same with Hill. Something tells me Demario Davis might end up the most productive them all as a rookie, though. And RG1 is obviously going to be a stud. Here's what I want to say about the Jets though: I used to bash them. I hate Rex's mouth and understand why they are so unlikeable. But the fact is, this is still a good football team. I believe in Sanchez and I predict that the *** ***** experiment WILL work out football-wise. www.Smartfootball.com
. It's going to be a pain in the ass for defensive coordinators. And Sanchez will have a bounce-back year. The Jets offense had a myriad of issues last year but the PRIMARY reason it failed was not Sanchez's skittishness, Schotty's play-calling, no-separation receivers, or Wayne Hunter sucking and D-Brick for some reason reverting back to his pre-elite days. It was the LACK OF A RUNNING GAME (which also affects a defense). Shonn Greene was horrible. Well they didn't draft a RB so one or more of three things must happen: A) Greene sheds some weight, gets quicker, improves his terrible receiving skills and starts to play at least a LITTLE like he did during the playoffs in his rookie year. B) Joe McKnight breaks out (it's possible but I'm not holding my breath). Or C) The *** ***** stuff REALLY works. If one of those three things happen, Mark Sanchez will have a much better season (he was great in the red zone last year and has always been a decent play-action passer). This team is the butt of a lot jokes right now, and I understand why, but they went 8-8 last year despite all the issues and have hopefully improved the safety position - responsible for at least one loss last year. They also get the AFC South and NFC West. I see them making the playoffs and possibly returning to the AFCCG.
But does it really matter? I cannot wait to see what Eric Decker does next season. 107, 1500, 15? I have to admit, I really missed watching #18 last year. As for this haul, I don't like any of the players except Omar Bolden and Malik Jackson. And the Broncos are really dicks because all three of the other AFC West teams have A LOT at stake and MUST make the playoffs next year. Obviously only two other than Denver can, and the NYJ/NE and BAL/PIT division losers are always in play for the wild card spots.
I've consistently argued against Edgar Allan and I'm not about to stop now. The tape just doesn't show a quality football player. Could he develop into one? Sure. But I doubt it because he didn't show much PHYSICALITY. He wasn't violent enough for me. I was sure he was going to fall and didn't. The Chiefs screw me every year in mock drafts. One of the OL will stick (Allen probably). But I don't like much else. They do have a very good roster but I do not believe in Cassel at all. They'll struggle again this year. Sorry. I called it last year so Chiefs fans - here's to being wrong.
OAK: NOT 40
Bergstrom might be good. Hated Criner because he doesn't separate enough. The story of this draft class is Carson Palmer though. I've tirelessly debated in favor of the trade for the 'washed-up' QB and his half-a-season yielded some extremely interesting early returns. He came in cold and threw four picks against KC, won a few games including a borderline pre-2004 CP3 work of art on TNF against San Diego. He threw some more picks and ultimately lost what was essentially a playoff game to the Jeckyl-Hyde San Diego squad. I viewed the year as positive progress. When CP had a healthy Moore and Ford, he played much better than when he was relying on **** out wide. He also never had McFadden and came in cold in the middle of the season. He did turn it over too much, but the pick numbers were inflated by the four against KC in what was basically a first scrimmage for him. For a guy without an offseason coming to a new team midseason, I think he did pretty well. Now he'll get a full offseason program as the guy. Their defense isn't that good. McFadden can never stay healthy. The Chargers HAVE to put it together one of these years and now Peyton ******* Manning is now in the division. If Palmer leads the Raiders to the playoffs against those odds it would be quite an accomplishment. Even if he doesn't, the final judgment of the trade should be based on his performance primarily, and when his contract runs out or he's no longer a Raider. The only QB the Raiders could have drafted had they not made the trade is Brandon Weeden. They wouldn't have had enough ammo to move up for RG3 because of past stupid moves. And based on how the offseason played out, the Dolphins would have likely done whatever it took to get Tannehill. At #17, what player would have been better for the franchise than Carson Palmer? I struggle to find the answer, and even if there is one or more, ther chances they would have made one of those choices is not very high.
SD: STEVE URKEL
I simply do not like Melvin Ingram as an NFL player. His short arms are a concern, as is his lack of an elite burst off the edge. His best trait is his versatility which to me is a red flag because I don't know where or what he'll do WELL. I just know he can play in multiple spots. Also, two things inflated his draft stock: 1) the 'playmaker' tag. So he's got great hands - who cares, he's a ******* LB. He once ran a fake punt for a TD? Recovered an onside kick!? WHAT A WEAPON! WOW! He's not doing those things in the NFL so who cares. 2) This was a weak class of pass rushers. So Ingram busts but I like literally all of the rest of their picks. Chances are only one or two of them will work out. WRONG: Brandon Taylor, Kendall Reyes, and Ladarius Green all contribute. As for the upcoming season, I'm sick of picking the Chargers to make noise only to have them disappoint year after year. It's hard to see how a defense devoid of playmakers will get much better if Ingram doesn't help a lot. But Rivers will have a better year and they won't lose a game like that MIRACLE fumbled kneel down - something I had always thought about but NEVER thought I'd actually see. They'll just play better and finally make the playoffs. How far? Let me get back to you.
I've questioned Ozzie Newsome's recent high choices with mixed results the past few years. I don't like Upshaw in the NFL. I hate him at OLB. He'll need to lose a lot of weight. He may even end up bulking up and playing end in that scheme. But Osemele will be a starter and Pierce will be a Ben Tate-type back.
I'd be surprised if Tommy Streeter made more than 0 catches in his career.
Zeitler's a starter for the next ten years.
Even if Kirkpatrick busts, they got so many good players it might not even matter. I'm on record for bashing Dalton as a prospect but obviously he's well on his way to proving me dead wrong. Still, he may have some poor man's Matt Ryan in him (what he gave you as a rookie is the best he'll be). And we'll see if he's that in the next few years because his receiving corps looks awesome. Sanu could be Houshmandzadeh. They just got value all the way down the board. The internet loved this draft and I really don't disagree. I've been pretty high on the Bengals drafts recently but I think they take a step back this year. Keep in mind they played the NFC West last year.
CLE: JUST A NUMBER
After just casually watching OK State the past two years, I did some real work on Brandon Weeden and came away extremely impressed. His stats are of course inflated by the scheme, Blackmon, and Big XII defenses, but in a sick way they really do accurately describe his game and no one knows it - he's very accurate and has a GREAT arm, but will throw some picks. And he can throw on the run. Simply put, he's a very good QB. He really does have it all. I don't care about his age and I'm not scared about his injury history (please use other threads to argue this because it's just tiring). He needs receivers but he'll use Ben Watson as a rookie and lean on Trent Richardson, who will win rookie of the year easily. The Browns will be better next year, and Weeden/TRich will BOTH change the culture there. I wish they had Julio too. James-Michael Johnson was a steal and Schwartz will fit in fine at RT.
PIT: A SWEAR WORD
Echo everything everyone else is saying. **** them. Why did Ta'amu fall so much? Did Tomlin threaten to personally 'Chalky White bookcase' any GM who took him? Rainey has to return a kick for a TD also. Their secondary still sucks though but it doesn't even matter. **** you Pittsburgh. **** you Bill Leavy.
HOU: Q - IS MATT SCHAUB
Houston's drafts always perplex me. I don't really like Mercilus but I didn't like Brooks Reed either. If there's anyone who I trust to mold Mercilus, it's Phillips. The Posey pick was pretty shocking, but he'll work out. I really wasn't a huge fan of the depth of this WR class, so I respect a team taking a guy like that higher than most thought. Crick is a steal and their OL is going to be good whether or not the rookies contribute. All that matters for them is whether or not Schaub can take the next step. After proving he can ******* stay healthy. This league really comes down to QB performance in the end, right?
IND: MAGIC UNICORNS AND VELOCIRAPTORS
This is one of the best drafts I've ever seen. Dwayne Allen was severely underrated and will be the 'Y' (Marcus Pollard/Bryan Fletcher) with Fleener as the Flex (Dallas Clark). T.Y. Hilton is better than Titus Young and will be awesome, at the very least as a return man on that turf.
And getting Chapman that late is such good value it's ridiculous. Fugger, good, Vick Ballard, some are high on him, then there's Luck. I feel like the Luck hype started so RIDICULOUSLY early that people were bored with him by the time draft season began. RG3 won the Heisman and was more interesting and then the media shoved them both down our throats so much that everyone was just like 'OK we know, Indy gets Luck, Washington RG3, we know, let's move on to something else already.' Then I feel like the media realized this (and felt it also), and people just aren't buzzing about Luck anymore. He's boring. Goofy. Obvious. He was just so damn obvious. Despite trying to create any conversation starters relating to the guy, no one could. Simms and a few others questioned his arm strength, so he thew some bombs at his pro day that wrote the letters S.T.F.U. in a blazing trail of fire as they traveled through the air. Then 'will the Colts consider RG3??????????' No. Obviously, Luck is as close to Peyton Manning as we've ever seen. Obviously. So draft night rolled around, he was picked, and no one cared. There was no intrigue. Well think about him, AFC South, and his really-not-that-bad weaponry and luxurious homefield. Here is my proclamation: Andrew Luck will not only live up to the hype down the road, but he will have an amazing rookie season, winning some games he shouldn't with an awful defense,
and putting up crazy numbers: 65%, 4600, 32/12.
JAC: INVALID DUE TO UNAUTHORIZED PUNTER
First, continuing with my theme of a weak pass rush class, Andre Branch will bust. I Agree with the idea that as a prospect, Blackmon isn't A.J. Green/Julio or Andre/Calvin. Agree that he's more like Nicks. But that doesn't mean he's not worth a top-5 pick IN THIS CLASS. The way it worked out, he was the best receiver. If Julio stayed in school, he may have gone a little later. But is Hakeem Nicks not worth a top-5 pick simply because in the past there have been better, more freaky WR prospects? Did you watch the Super Bowl!? Blackmon should be great. He's a pure beast receiver with a TO-like beast streak in him. Now here's a prediction that may blow up this website: Blaine Gabbert will improve, markedly, this season. I said it. Cue the "Whoa there ************" memes and snarky 'you just want to be different' accusations. Well, I kinda do, but I really think the hate is way overblown. Everyone blasts this kid after a bad rookie year in which he still threw 12 TDs to 11 picks with one of the worst receiving groups of the modern era. A few things: 1) We've been spoiled by a trend of incredible QB rookie years. I believe it is easier now for a QB to achieve success in his rookie year, but that doesn't mean you should immediately discount a kid after one season. This point can easily be argued against (and I already know exactly how it will be), but MANY GREAT QBs had poor rookie seasons including Eli and Peyton Manning, among others. 2) He's 22 years old. And he'll have a full offseason with OTAs, two new VERY GOOD outside receivers, and a year of experience under his belt. I say he works hard this offseason and his preparation pays off. The obvious retort is that 'he's simply not tough - he'll still feel the ghost rush.' Maybe. But maybe not. Maybe I just don't like writing guys off after one season. Maybe I just don't like the "is" mentality that fans often have. That a player "is" what he "is" and that's it. He "is" bad. I believe it's about performance. There is no quantifiable metric that is applicable to a player. No Madden rating. There is no "is." You're only as good as your next game. Oh and I forgot to chime in about the whole punter in the 3rd thing - that **** is ********. I always try to understand the perspective of teams when they do something the majority disagree with, but I simply cannot figure this one out. Drafting a punter in the 3rd round is ******* ********.
TEN: CJ2K-MINUS-1.1K BUT SERIOUSLY C
I understand why they made the Kendall Wright pick. Nate Washington's not a long-term priority, Kenny Britt hasn't proven he can stay healthy, and Damian Williams doesn't have No. 1 talent. But I don't think Wright does either. I think he busts. Way too many 'wide open behind everybody because RG3' plays and WR-friendly competition in the Big XII. Being compared to Steve Smith is really tough because he truly is one of the most tough, unique, and just overall awesome players of this generation. The last prospect that commonly drew that comparison was... gulp... Golden Tate. I didn't like Zach Brown at all because of the lack of instincts but he can be Aaron Curry. Worth it in the 2nd round.
Mike Martin's good.
DAL: COULDN'T READ LOL
Love the move up for Claiborne because they would've been burned by taking a bad pass rusher had they stayed at No. 16, and 2nd-rounders are overrated when dealing with blue-chip prospect trades. He'll get a lot of picks and be one of the best corners in the league eventually. I don't know anything about Matt Johnson from Eastern Washington but I do know that despite adding two good outside CBs, the pass D will still be fairly weak if they rely on Brodney Pool at safety. Dallas has to make the playoffs this year after all the ******** **** they pulled last season (if Miles Austin doesn't get blinded by the lights, we have a different Super Bowl Champ), but it's going to be tough sledding in the NFC BEAST.
SUPER BOWL CHAMPION NYG: JPFINGP
Jerry Reese called Adrien Robinson, the TE from Cincy they took in the 4th, "kind of like the JPP of TEs." Well, that's scary. Also, Martellus Bennett. Randle was a steal regardless of his bad blocking. But this draft all comes down to two things: 1) David Wilson and 2) David Wilson as it relates to the OL they passed on and the two they took late. One of Mosley or McCants will likely develop, but I understand the concerns with passing OL for a RB. I did actually think Wilson would get consideration from Reese. He likes those kind of ACC big-timers (Phillips, Nicks, Sintim, etc.). Ryan Williams was better but Wilson will run hard and contribute as a rookie. Don't bet against Jerry Reese. However, I will attempt to do the impossible in regards to Hosley. He's feisty, cool, but I never liked his game or size. Overrated player who won't work out.
I see I'm being way too generous this year. But this draft features my favorite player: Mychal Kendricks. He will be a BEAST in the NFL next to DeMeco Ryans. Fletcher Cox is awesome but lovable, productive SEC penetrating 3-techs have betrayed me before (Dorsey). But Cox's film is too good to be swayed by superstition. Brilliant trade-up. I love Vinny Curry as a player but I don't know if he has the athleticism to be more than a taller Darryl Tapp in the NFL. I hope I'm wrong. Boykin was a ridiculous steal and I like Brandon Washington's potential. Also, Marvin McNutt could steal Jason Avant's job and no one would blink. I might make some bold predictions, but Bryce Brown coming in for an injured LeSean McCoy and rushing for a bunch of yards and TDs isn't going to be one of them (I'm bolding this next year regardless).
The minus is for Nick Foles because Nick Foles is horrible. The Eagles defense was way too arrogant last year and came in with a sense of entitlement, in-over-his-head first-year DC, and less-talented front-seven than they thought. After this offseason, they have one of the best front-sevens in the entire NFL. If Vick stays healthy (lol wut), they have a legitimate chance to get to the NFCCG.
Don't care about the guard in the 3rd and don't see any steals I like later so I'll get right to the for-some-reason TWO QBs. First, I predict RG3 will be a very good player down the road. But I think he will struggle in his rookie year. And I have two major concerns in regards to his durability: 1) His frame, though he did look like he bulked up during the draft process. 2) His long-striding running style. He took some hits in college that left me scared, and those hits are just going to be x10 at the next level in terms of the speed, power, and size of the defenders. I hate to predict an injury but I would not be surprised if his career is Vick-like in terms of health. Running QBs *** ***** and Cam Newton stayed healthy because they are gigantic, freakish athletes. Their durability is a trademark of their game - they run like running-backs and therefore take hits in stride like running-backs. And he has an injury history. Again, this is just a concern, but I'll stop.
I also said the same thing about A.J. Green's frame and he hasn't had any serious issues after 16 awesome games. My only other thing with RG3 is how he'll handle pressure, but if he struggles early that's normal. Now, about the drafting of Cousins: If they came out and said 'he was the best player on our board, we stayed true to our board,' I wouldn't have an issue. But with reports coming out that they plan to flip him in a few years, I have to disagree with the pick. It's as if they thought 'he's falling and he's rated highly - YES, we are so smart for doing this!' If teams really liked him they would have taken him earlier than the 4th round, morons. Also, Cousins won't be a good QB. In a perfect world, the guy would never see the field. Maybe the Redskins are also leery of RG3's durability. Hm. OK I'll stop.
Solid class, especially if Massie is starting material (I think he will be). Something about Floyd's quickness screams bust to me, though, even though I thought he took his game to a new level all year. Fleming's good and Lindley will fight Richard Bartel for the 'make sure Darnell Dockett can't access twitter when he's drunk' role AKA the 'wait until Kolb dies behind our OL' role AKA the 'wait until Kolb and Skelton die in consecutive weeks behind our OL' role.
I like A.J. Jenkins but I think a RB may have been a better pick. Or Janoris Jenkins.
And I don't think LaMichael James will be much in the NFL. Looney will start and the last three picks were good value. I really don't Harbaugh but he seems like an excellent motivator and their D is good enough to make up for a mediocre offense. I fear they'll be a perennial contender. ****.
STL: F FOR REAL LOL U SUCK RAMS
I don't like being so close to TRich and Blackmon and not being able to land either. I don't like Quick over Hill and Randle. I think Pead will be a good 3DB at best, and SJax's decline will come rapidly and unexpectedly as it always does with RBs. Chris Givens is the best WR on the roster
, which is probably not a good thing. I like Brockers but it may take some time and the two character risk CBs both have absolute stud potential hanging out with annoying Cortland Finnegan. Jenkins will be the DeSean Jackson/Santonio Holmes of this class - a knucklehead with issues off the field, but a great player because he simply LOVES football too much to fail.
I can't see this team improving much on offense, and the defense wasn't even half bad last year to begin with, so... Bradford?
Clearly they think their OL is fine and as a casual observer I disagree.
But Rodriguez has potential and McClellin really wasn't that bad of a pick - he'll get sacks. Brandon Hardin will be a very good NFL safety. Alshon Jeffrey will score a few TDs but eventually gain back the weight and flame out. As for the upcoming season, Cutler reuinting with Marshall is truly scary for a team that annually plays tough D and big-time special teams, despite everyone writing them off because they're boring.
Reiff was obvious and Broyles could potentially Eddie Royal-rookie-year in his 2nd year.
Dwight Bentley was one of my favorites but he's small. He'll be a pro, but inconsistent. One of Ronnell or Travis Lewis has to be at least halfway decent, right?
GB: CONCUSSION DURING SEX
The best two players out of this draft class will be Blowjob Coleman and Casey Hayward.
I don't know what my problem is with Nick Perry, but 29 other teams also had one. I didn't think Kerrigan could make the OLB conversion and he fared well as a rookie, so maybe I'm wrong here: Perry won't translate well to OLB.
MIN: LET ME THINK ABOUT IT HAHAAHAHAHAHHA
Kalil might be awesome but he's a tackle so I don't really care THAT much - I think I prefer Blackmon OR Claiborne. Their defense is still horrible. Not high on Harrison Smith at all (Mayock hype-job bumped up because of a poor S class) and Josh Robinson is exactly the type of player that gets overdrafted because of a 40. He doesn't play man well and isn't physical enough. He'll suck. It's pretty funny that they took two of the Arkansas receivers. Wright and Childs drew incredible praise from places all over the internet. Childs has No. 1 receiver potential and would have gone much higher if not for injury. He'll end up a steal.
ATL: J FOR JINXED
When you include Julio the grade is obviously much higher. I like Konz (hope he's healthy) to be real good and think Jonathan Massaquoi could potentially be an impact pass-rusher but they didn't improve a mediocre defense much and probably couldn't have anyway. And Sam Baker has to play better. But I think Matt Ryan can play better, too. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady had awful defenses behind them so they just went crazy. Ryan has the weapons that elite QBs would put up 40 a game with. Let's go Matty Ice. But good news Falcons fans, Atlanta is my early favorite to win the entire NFC thanks to a better defense led by a revived Lofa Tatupu and an improved running game featuring Quiz. This will finally be the year they don't draw a horrible playoff matchup.
NO: GRADE SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY
It should be a D or F but I love Hicks' upside and Toon fell way too far. I know he's more name than game, but NICK TOON! He and McNutt have been in college for 10 years it seems.
TB: PANDEMONIUM BELOW PISCATAWAY
People who think Mark Barron can't cover because he didn't much need to realize that he never had to because that defense was ridiculous. He can cover. And he will. He'll be a top safety in the league in no time. I'm not a fan of Doug Martin. I know everyone else is and I understand why but I think his career will go one of two ways: 1) Donald Brown (which somehow may not actually be bad, but for the sake of clarity, this is the bust choice) or 2) Jordy Nelson. If you can explain why I liken his prospects to those two players then you win a prize. Now, I must choose option #1 because comparing anyone to Jordy Nelson is a fool's errand. Seriously, Doug Martin's a nice story but he's not better than Blount and a little better than Ian Johnson *gasp* (BLASPHEMY!) I'm bored. At first I loved Lavonte David but then I did a little more work on him and he makes a bunch of plays but he's more "run-around" than I originally thought. He might not help that awful run D at all. Finally, Drake Dunsmore is a BOSS.
CAR: CAM CAM
Kuechly was too easy. He's the perfect complement to last year's high-profile No. 1 pick. Unassuming grinder who will lead the defense. WHAT DAN MORGAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN!
Silatulu has immense upside and Josh Norman has ball skills. Joe Adams can return. Hell, I'll even shout out Frank Alexander as a rotational guy early in his career. The DL is still weak and I'd love for Cam to get a big-time WR, but unfortunately he's probably too good to ever have Carolina drafting high enough to get big-time #1 for when (if? Is he human? Blood test?) Steve Smith slows down.
SEA: EARL SINCLAIR DROPS HIS CUP
I started the 'What did YOU think of the Bruce Irvin pick?' thread. But if you'll notice, I sneakily made no predictions, saving my opinion for this thread. My philosophy is film>athleticism/upside, especially early in the draft. I value football-specific skills in terms of technique, football IQ, footwork, etc. That is why I don't like Poe. The main difference between Irvin and Poe, however, is that Irvin produced. And against a higher level of competition. I fully expect to be hammered and called a hypocrite and inconsistent. I'll take it. The fact is, two different players, although similar in some ways, CAN take two different paths. I will be accused of being a homer. That's fine. Just keep in mind the grades I've given Seattle in the past. Simply put, Poe is a ball of clay that won't work out and Irvin is one that will. I'll attempt to explain why I think so (and Chiefs fans can attempt to persuade me by going deeper into their argument too) and if it makes me a Chiefs hater and a homer (in 2012), that's fine. So, yes, this prediction goes against my philosophy. Deal with it.
Irvin calls himself a one-tricky pony. I call him a NO-TRICK pony. He has no pass rush moves. He doesn't use his hands well. He doesn't run the arc. So how does a guy who doesn't know how to play football that well accumulate 22.5 sacks in two years at WVU? Besides the incredible athleticism and insane get-off, the kid is RELENTLESS. Yes, he gets washed out at times in the running game, but he's playing DE in a 3-man front at 245 pounds. And he just plays hard. He gets driven back and keeps fighting, sometimes making plays 20-yards down the field. On-the-field hard work doesn't always translate into weight-room work ethic, but the kid has the frame to get bigger, an excellent motivator in Pete Carroll, and a coaching staff that has done an extremely impressive job developing defensive players. He's also playing the LEO role in the defense, for which he's not undersized (think 3-4 OLBish).
And the No. 1 need for the Seahawks was at MLB. The No. 2 need was situational pass-rusher/backup LEO/potential future replacement for Chris Clemons.
The internet was way off with this one. Reports indicate that a bunch of other teams (including the Jets at No. 16) were poised to take Irvin in the first.
I completely agree that he's raw. I think he's risky. He has a lot to learn. He's not nearly as strong as Aldon Smith or as fundamentally sound as Von Miller. But those guys were top-7 picks because they were indeed much better prospects. The only reason those names are thrown around is because Irvin *could* have an impact like Smith did as a non-starting sack-getter and Miller and he both had the best first-steps in their respective classes. Anyone comparing them for any other reason is reaching.
I just think that he can and will succeed because of the situation he was drafted into and the toughness I've seen from him on the field and read about off the field (in that respect, the situation CAN be compared to JPP - I understand JPP was much stronger but the situations are a bit similar).
I do acknowledge that putting him on a team with Golden Tate might force local donut shops to take down their signs.
Including Irvin, the team drafted speed, speed, speed. I hate that Kendricks went one freaking pick before ours, but I like Wagner. I don't know how he'll work out at Mike. He's got the speed at least. But if that cute little ******* trade down ends up costing us Kendricks and Wagner sucks? I'll be pissed.
As for Russell Wilson, the media loved it but I don't see it with him. It's not just his height - he's just not that accurate. I don't agree with spending a 3rd-round pick on him. Hopefully he proves me wrong... after... Flynn sucks and he comes in and becomes a starter? WHAT DID I JUST SAY!? I don't know. Don't like the pick.
Ah, yes, Jaye Howard. Everybody loves Jaye Howard. If Jaye Howard had an arch nemesis that hated Jaye Howard even HE would love Jaye Howard.
I know some people love Turbin but I'm not one of them. I would have preferred somehow getting up for Lamar Miller.
Based on how this regime has found hidden gems in UDFA and the later rounds, I'd keep an eye out for Korey Toomer (awesome athleticism) and Jeremy Lane.
Also, this draft was good because J.R. Sweezy.
*******THANKS FOR READING*******
just your team's blurb
Each year following the draft, I write a long draft review. In past years I've called it "gpngc's Draft Wrap-Up" but what the hell is a wrap-up - besides what your dad should have done? So it'll be a "Review" going forward. These reviews go back all the way to 2009 - the year in which I started this tradition by applauding the Jets for trading up for Mark Sanchez.
Unfortunately, today's generation of internet readers aren't really readers in the sense that they read what's written. They're trained skimmers. This is the byproduct of an overall ADD society, where speed is king, we want answers NOW, and the loudest, boldest, and most controversial topic takes all the buzz immediately. Skimmers look at things. But they don't really read. Their eyes can't stay locked on intimidating long walls of texts so
they find short paragraphs. And their eyes dart to lists, bolded words,
and buzz words.
Twitter takes advantage of skimmers - because wouldn't you rather read Kobe Bryant's 128-character, grammar-less spitball in 5 seconds than waste 10 minutes on some no-name's thoughtful analysis? Pfffff. Thoughtful analysis - "I could write about the NFL - how does Peter King have a job?," says every single NFL fan who has ever posted on a message board. Journalism is dying, but I'm not so sure it's because of the internet or the institutionalized deterioration of society as a whole, as the greatest television show of all-time might suggest (more on McNulty and friends later). I think it's because we're letting a loud, obnoxious, substance-loathing minority not only control what we read, see, and hear, but slowly turn us into what we once hated.
Rotoworld is a fantastic website. It's the first and last visit of the day because every single nugget of sports news is condensed into an easy-to-read headline, and then examined - but not too thoroughly - by one of their most-likely-one-time-message-board-poster employees. They give their take, quotes from whatever they're citing, and pertinent information about the piece of news, all in a couple of sentences (I'm especially impressed by their past injury tidbits on each and every player in their database). Reading a RW blurb is easy. They want it to be easy and they've done an amazing job evolving a fantasy sports website into the best and most convenient sports news website in history.
The problem is that Rotoworld is a bridge to somewhere and we've forgotten that. Raise your hand if you've ever started a conversation by citing a RW blurb rather than the actual article RW is reporting from. Well someone, somewhere found the bit of information RW is reporting and no one cares. RW sources every bit of info they get, but they know full well the vast majority of their readers rarely click the source. It's smart business and there's nothing the "ground-level" journalists can do about it. "Real" reporters gather and share information, RW then reads it and puts it in a convenient place where everyone will see it. And for twitter posts and quick headlines, there's absolutely nothing harmful about that dynamic.
Unfortunately, drawing from full-length articles to deliver news is slowly killing the entire concept of online journalism or even high-quality blogging. It's diluting the process of delivering information with any meaningful context. RW, twitter, the Facebook like button, ESPN comment sections, reddit comment sections - the skimmers rarely read full articles. They can push like, read the headline, read two or three comments (sure to be HILARIOUS every single time amirite?), and each time are acting like a typical consumer of 2013 journalism.
What we aren't getting anymore is SUBSTANCE and that's because there's no demand for it. We want our news and we want it now. We want to see the headline - quickly form an opinion - and argue to the death in defense of that opinion. The facts and research come AFTER we've decided which side of the fence we want to be on.
Good writing makes us think. It makes us question our initial instincts about a topic, even one as trivial and seemingly meaningless as a draft prospect's ability to play a specific position in a game. Analysis and insight from the writer can lead to discussion and critical thinking from the readers. The problem is that we aren't reading - we're commenting on the headline - or whatever tiny tidbit we disagree with, rather than trying to understand the argument, suggestion, or message the writer is trying to get across.
Analysis, thoughtful insight, and substance-filled writing exists, but we are skimming and skipping and tl;dring past it without even knowing it. We've helped turn the minority that demands Tebow into the majority by proving to ESPN that we DO care. We HATE his story SO MUCH that so many of us feel the need to comment about how much we hate it. Think about that for a second. How many clicks does ESPN.com get, how many comments, from people who claim they don't care about the Tebow story? There's better stuff out there, people, but you're still clicking on third-string QB news. And then the jokes, "he's not even a third-string QB/he throws ducks LOLZ/something about Tebow freaks." The internet can be a magical place for discussion on any topic, including football. Or it can be something else. And we all think "it's because the average NFL fan is an idiot. I'm not a a part of it." Well maybe you DO read Barnwell articles or full prospect scouting reports or SI pieces. But you're lying if you never strolled into a Tebow article's comment section JUST FOR THE LULZ. We can have the LULZ, but the coverage of our favorite game has now shifted its focus from substance to LULZ, and everyone is to blame.
So, hilariously/sadly, the above tangent comes as a result of me wanting to make this insignificant point: the first thing people see when I post my yearly reviews all at once is that I thought the Jets trade-up for Sanchez was a terrific move.
Aaaaand immediately the reader is either skeptical or has already moved on to watching porn. You'll maybe skim down to your team, find a bad prediction or two, mutter to yourself "this guy's an idiot" and THEN start watching porn. My point isn't that you should blindly trust a hardcore draftnik whose opinions are rooted in film-watching, semi-extensive research, and a pretty good grasp on the NFL and the NFL draft. It's to trust SOMEONE, somewhere. And to read. The whole thing. Of something. Anything. Because clicking the story about Jason Collins or Tebow today isn't necessarily what ESPN wants you to do - it's what ESPN thinks you will do.
And to defend myself with Sanchez. I WAS wrong in the end. But:
1) He did help them to two AFC Championship games. If I told you it would cost your team a 6th overall pick + to get to two AFCCGs, you'd either say "my team is in the NFC" or "sign me up." No the ends don't justify the means, but this happened. Or we can get into the ridiculous "Super Bowl or nothing matters" argument as if it's possible to get to the Super Bowl without first getting to the AFCCG.
2) The Jets provided probably the worst surroundings any young QB in the history of the league has ever dealt with. Letting go of Cotchery was the beginning of the end - a tough, high-football-character, chain-moving, dependable receiver. Also, they:
- Made Santonio freaking Holmes a team captain.
- Failed to improve the running game after Jones and LT.
- Declined to sign Braylon Edwards until the end of the last season despite him being Sanchez's favorite target (I maintain Braylon and Rex had run-ins because there is no good reason he wasn't a Jet prior to the 2012 season).
- Traded for Tebow.
- Made literally a blind squirrel their OC despite never OCing before (you aren't fooling anyone behind those sunglasses).
- Didn't let Sanchez date Brunell's daughter.
And the most important thing is that Rex Ryan simply does not care enough about his offense. He's not a good HC for a young offensive player. He let inexperienced and possibly inept offensive minds do everything - and failed to add much talent on that side of the ball. It would be tough for ANY QB to succeed in that situation and being in NY and tasting early success also factored into his downfall.
Some would argue there was no downfall and he was never very good to begin with. I think that's a valid point, and one of the reasons I WAS wrong in the end, but the above circumstances did factor into the whole story and deserve to be discussed.
3) I loved the move in part due to how little it cost them. I was right on that front.
Here are my general thoughts on the 2013 NFL Draft:
THE NFLN COVERAGE WAS AWFUL
I could see Mike Mayock squirming. It was tough to watch and I'm sure even more frustrating to be a part of.
But I understand why. The NFL is pushing it's product - people. It's about entertainment. Viewers want to see PEOPLE. Interesting people. Controversial people. Baby pictures for some reason. They want to see draft picks' outfits and their families overcome with joy when they're selected. Think of the draft as a TV show. There's tragedy (i.e. Geno Smith - as if only making $5 million is a tragedy), comedy, emotion, excitement, and it's unpredictable. It truly does make for great TV. But for us who follow the draft process (and I'd argue any hardcore NFL fan MUST follow the draft closely because it truly is where Championships are built), what they've done with the presentation of it is akin to skipping plays during an NFL game that the producers deem inconsequential or uninteresting. This would probably include all pre-snap penalties, all runs for less than 2 yards, and many incomplete passes. If you're shaking your head "well that wouldn't be so bad," then you don't love football. You might love the NFL, but you don't love football.
Long story medium, we didn't get enough highlights. NFLN DID NOT SHOW THE DOBSON CATCH. That's almost unfathomable. (ESPN did, but the problem with ESPN's coverage is that their draft guys are number-mongerers whose football knowledge doesn't compare to the NFLN analysts). Instead we got baby pictures and of course overkill of the narratives they thought (knew?) the vast majority of their viewers wanted to see (Te'o, Geno, Lattimore).
So surprise, surprise - a football junkie thinks there wasn't enough discussion of each player picked. Or enough highlights/tape cutups of the players. Is putting the most memorable or interesting play of every prospect's career in the 10+ hours of draft programming too much to ask? Apparently so. Again, that would be wayyyyyy too footabll-y.
But the worst of it came in the second round. Te'o was taken at No. 38, Geno at No. 39. And the Networks got what they wanted. It was about 8pm ET, exactly the peak time of their viewership. And they went Te'o and Geno mania. The problem wasn't so much that they spent too much time on them - it was what they were missing at that time. First of all, the 2nd round of the NFL draft is not a time to fill up with fluff stuff. The 2nd round is EXTREMELY important. There were still a bunch of very good prospects on the board and every single pick deserves to be talked about. They did this for the first round but because a guy goes No. 42 rather than No. 32 he deserves less time? Bad. But ignoring drafted players was expected. What wasn't expected was ignoring trades. Crazy trades. NFLN was too busy talking about Te'o and Geno that they missed out on:
A) San Francisco trading up with NFC rival Green Bay, ONE SPOT in front of division-rival Seattle to grab a player some thought Seattle was targeting in Rice's Vance McDonald. Does that mean they really zinged the Seahawks? Probably not. But the Seahawks traded down right afterwards and curiously took a SECOND RICE OWL TIGHT END later in the draft. Odd and worth-noting at the very least. But NFLN was too busy with fluff to even GIVE DETAILS ABOUT THE TRADE which I HOPE they did at some point (I ended up finding the details on the internet later).
B) The Super Bowl Champs trading up and taking one of the best prospects in the entire draft - Kansas State LB Arthur Brown. Why did he fall? Who did the Ravens jump? You could have played the "Ray Lewis replacement" angle guys! Nope. Te'o. Geno. Te'o. Geno. Bad, bad job.
And the Cyprien pick, the Hunter trade - the coverage was good! But as soon as the two buzz-worthy players went off the board, they treated the 2nd round as if it was the 7th.
Finally, Rich Eisen was a bad DJ. He openly questioned the Jets for drafting Smith despite having zero credibility on the matter and wasted time trying to jazz up the broadcast rather than letting the college coaches and draft guys actually analyze. Some people think he's funny - I don't but I get it. But no one cares if you like the Jonathan Franklin pick because that was the one name in the fourth round that you recognized. I prefer the more efficient Scott Hansen who appears to know more football.
THE NFC IS BECOMING THE NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE
I'll get to specifics for each team later but teams like the Bucs, Rams, Vikings, and Panthers all immediately got better while teams like the Jets, Bills, and Browns still don't look great on paper. The NFC was better than the AFC last year and this draft further widened the gap. Sure, some AFC teams had nice drafts but as the offseason winds down, name the teams in the NFC who would be true surprises to make the playoffs?
Philadelphia and Arizona. Two teams. And BOTH got better this offseason. Based on talent, Philly and Arizona - the two worst teams in the NFC - are either above, on par with, or near the following AFC teams:
The Colts have Luck, the Bengals are stacked, and the Steelers are still the Steelers, but none of them are world-beaters. Same goes for the Texans who looked like a different team without Cushing and still have a mediocre QB.
Sure the Broncos, Ravens, and Patriots figure to be elite teams. But I don't think there's any question which conference is weaker. It'll be a much easier road to the playoffs in the AFC in 2013.
ON TO THE GRADES...
Before I get to the grades I want to make this point for the second year in a row. This time for the skimmers. Predicting the career of an NFL draft pick is ridiculous. There's a reason GMs miss every year. It's simply impossible to predict:
1) How hard a player will work once he gets paid and realizes how difficult the NFL is.
3) How the program he's drafted to helps or hurts his transition to the league.
I use No. 3 based on what I know about the team's history and what I think will happen in each individual scenario (i.e. the Steelers usually getting the most out of their prospects, the Giants having awesome tutors for JPP, etc.).
Below, my grades will reflect what I think is going to happen. There is very little bias in my predictions. You'll notice that I predict more busts and I'm generally way harsher than most draft reviews. This is because the vast majority of draft reviews pick few busts and are unrealistically optimistic. There will be busts. A lot of them. Most draft classes look great in April. But many look bad years later. I'm here to try to predict that chaos, not make you feel good about your team. It's not personal. It's business.
"Business. Always business."
-- The Greek
In honor of our Super Bowl Champion B'More Ravens, instead of a letter grade, each team has earned a quote from the greatest show of all-time, David Simon's 'The Wire.' The quote is guaranteed to appropriately signify 110% my thoughts on each draft class AND what will EXACTLY happen in the future for each draftee. Somehow.
“Either do it or don’t, but I got some place to be”.
The Bills were victims of circumstance. Two years ago they wisely declined to address a need at QB and passed on Jimmy Clausen and Tim Tebow to take C.J. Spiller. This year, with Buddy Nix three years older and understandably impatient, we all knew the QB was coming.
Before I knock the pick based on my (worthless to Bills fans) evaluation of Manuel, I want to make this point: The Bills spent a lot of time with ALL the QBs in this draft. They did their homework on all of them. Doug Marrone coached against Geno Smith three times and worked with Nassib daily for four years. Regardless of what anyone else thought, THEY TOOK THEIR GUY. AND, they were able to take THEIR QUARTERBACK (this position is different) and still get more picks in the process on a trade-down. This is me applauding their process but not necessarily the pick.
Manuel's NFL prospects are a mix between Ponder and Locker. Like Ponder, he was an average college QB with highs and lows, but no real consistency, which makes a selection in the first-round almost mind-boggling. In terms of physical traits, he's similar to Locker. Good arm, awesome athlete, top-notch intangibles. But he lacks the accuracy usually needed to succeed in the NFL. I sense the "it" factor a little bit here so I'm hesitant to predict a bust. The Bills probably talked themselves into seeing Russell Wilson. In the end, I can only confidently judge what I saw on the field, so I will begrudgingly predict Manuel struggles and the Bills are in the QB market yet again in a couple of years. I sincerely hope I'm wrong.
Robert Woods is solid and was overlooked. He'll be their best receiver in no time. Alonso will start and improve the run defense because it can't get much worse. Duke Williams was also a good pick but Goodwin doesn't profile as much more than a role/special teamer in the NFL.
"No offense, but that's some weak-ass thinkin'. You equivocatin' like a mother ******."
I'm not high on Jordan. He's not a gifted pass rusher and was non-existent for long stretches for the Ducks. I recognize his Aldon Smith potential but it's a project. I think his floor is pretty high but unfortunately that's about where he'll settle in. A JAG edge player who gets about 5-6 sacks a year. Jamar Taylor is taking a big step up in competition - rather than being a part of a dominant program against scared opponents he'll be working against Tom Brady. I see an eventual nickel back - which isn't that bad in today's NFL. Dallas Thomas will eventually start for some team and Jelani Jenkins' unique cover skills will help him find the field. Nothing outrageous here.
“Did he have hands? Did he have a face? Then it wasn’t us.”
Jamie Collins has super potential and is a better pick at No. 52 than Mingo at No. 6. He's got all the traits of a plus pass rusher and with some good scheming will push for 10 sacks as a rookie. Aaron Dobson's a project whose 2012 tape shows a slow, plodding, stone-handed receiver. His 2011 tape was better so the Pats are hoping to FINALLY get an X here. They won't because Belichick's Chad Jackson nightmare is somehow still affecting his ability to fill the easiest position in football. And also he took Rutgers. The whole school. Good.
"The feeling is it ain't right for you to be at the head of our table, when you can't call off your dog. Call it a crisis of leadership."
-- Proposition Joe
Full disclosure: I root for the Jets. I am a Seahawks fan but I root for the Jets and Giants.
Milliner and Richardson don't fill 2013 needs at OLB, TE, and FS so whiny Long Island Jet fans can blast those picks all they want (WE TRADED REVIS FOR ANOTHER CB?! WAH WAH WAH!). Idzik stuck to his board. That's the way it should be done. Milliner might never be Revis but he's younger and cheaper. Revis won't be the best CB in the league in four years, but Milliner will probably be in the top 5. And Idzik didn't trade Revis - Woody Johnson - the worst owner in the NFL did.
And when Richardson is knocking down QBs and inexplicably making plays in pursuit like a safety at 300+ pounds no one is going to care that Jeff Cumberland is starting at TE. Richardson pick compares to when the Giants took JPP. Do they need another interior pass rusher? No they don-Wait a minute. You can NEVER have enough quality defensive linemen. Credit the Jets for building on a strength. And if they ever move to a 4-3, an interior of Wilkerson/Richardson is scary.
OK. I spent waaaaay too much time arguing against Geno Smith as a first-round QB before the draft. Despite awkward attempts by the media to crown Smith as the top QB and a possible top-5 pick, I consistently stated two things:
1) I would not take Smith in the first round.
2) I think there's a chance he falls on draft day.
Jason La Confora wrote a RIDICULOUS "article" (more like a REALLY BAD blog post) calling Geno Smith a LOCK to go in the top 5. I remained skeptical even after that and I wonder how he was allowed to publish something as fact that was clearly a wrong opinion (and now I question his professionalism in general because he's had bad misses before this).
My criticisms were the obvious ones. His offense and skewed stats. How he played down the stretch. His leadership questions. His footwork. Going through progressions. Not competing at the Senior Bowl. 32 career fumbles. I never thought Geno Smith was a very good QB prospect so I'm not going to sit here and predict a strong NFL career. BUT, I am now rooting for him and I loved his reaction from draft night. He was so relieved/angry/excited and obviously disoriented (predicted playoffs with the freaking JETS), that the chip on his shoulder was visible in some ways. He looked like an athlete with a pronounced source of motivation - and that drive could be the difference between a flawed draft prospect and a good quarterback.
Much of my negative evaluation of Smith has to do with his transition to the NFL, and if he is going to make it, working his ass off has to be a given. I think he'll put in the work. And either he'll show well as a rookie or he'll absolutely suck, putting the Jets in position to get Bridgewater or Johnny Football. I'll guess the latter, but you have my attention and support, Mr. Smith.
Also, Brian Winters is going to start Week 1 and will probably be an above-average OG in the league for years. Campbell and Oboshi are good ideas for the OL too. And the acquisition of Ivory makes total sense. Idzik might have made a mistake with Smith, but he's cured their cap situation and has added a bunch of talent. It's a start.
"How you expect to run with the Wolves come night, when you spend all day sparrin' with the puppies?"
Sylvester Williams was the No. 10 player on my board so obviously I think he's going to be a special player (although my reverse planet theory states he has a chance to bust as all DTs do). Ball is questionable - he's not very explosive but he was drafted to the ideal situation. The biggest steal of the draft was Quanterus Smith - go ask Nick Saban about him. He'll be a starter by his second year and rack up good sack numbers.
"This game is rigged, man. We like them little bitches on the chess board."
On draft day, my father asked me if I knew who was going No. 1. I replied "Eric Fisher, an offensive tackle from Central Michigan." He looked puzzled. Then he laughed. And it hit me.
The first pick in the draft is going to be AN OFFENSIVE TACKLE FROM CENTRAL MICHIGAN.
At the risk of sounding like someone depreciating Fisher and the draft process in general, the humorousness of that statement is actually telling. Simply put, the Chiefs picked the wrong year to suck. The top prospect on my board was a 5-9 slot receiver. There were no Patrick Petersons or Von Millers or Julio Joneses in this class. The Chiefs needed a QB and got the best one that would be available this offseason - the very underwhelming Alex Smith.
I'm torn by the acquisition of Smith. On one hand I'm not an Alex Smith fan at all but on the other hand I can understand why they did it. Reid can win with him, he was the best QB on the market, and pick No. 34 usually looks better than the player you ultimately get out of it. Smith will help them win games this year. Also, what else could they have done? Some thought "passing" on Geno Smith was a bad move but realistically he was never an option and shouldn't have been as evidenced by his draft-day free fall and the fact they made the A. Smith move so quickly. Andy Reid isn't a spring chicken, the AFC is weak, and there wasn't really much else they could have done besides trade for Palmer (but it's a division rival), trade for Matt Flynn (who knows) or draft a very flawed QB who would likely lead them to another horrible year.
But the argument against the trade made sense too, grounded in an idea I really can't disagree much with - Alex Smith isn't that good. It's tough to argue against that other than the 'what should they have done?' It's easy for us to say "at least TRY with a drafted QB and if it fails at least you tried and the wage scale means it doesn't cost that much." But that completely depreciates the spirit of competitiveness in the league and across the organization, the jobs at stake in all of this, AND the entire scouting department of the team. The personnel men of the Chiefs did not like any of the QBs. Telling them to "take a chance on one just because one of them is bound to work out so just hope" completely undermines their evaluations and all of their hard work. And similarly, disparaging the Alex Smith trade because "they aren't going to be good enough to win a SB until they find a franchise QB so they might as well suck until that happens" is a selfish fan's mentality. Winning a single football game in the NFL is an accomplishment. Getting to the playoffs, which is a distinct possibility with Reid/A. Smith, is an exciting and extremely impressive accomplishment. Winning a Super Bowl is the ultimate goal - but it's not the only goal.
Fisher was my No. 2 prospect so I have no problem with the pick. As far as cutting Winston and the whole Albert saga I'll say this - Winston may have graded out well at PFF but clearly there has to be a reason no team ever seems to want him. Could they have kept Winston, paid Albert, and drafted something else at No. 1? Yes. But instead they took the best player on their board and have one of the best young OTs in the NFL. Is it annoying that they got the No. 1 pick in a year where the best player was an OT? Absolutely. But they didn't mess up here. They DID NOT take Jake Long over Matt Ryan - that comparison never made sense because no QB in this class was anywhere near the prospect Ryan was.
As for the later picks, Traivs Kelce was a steal and will be a Pro Bowl TE if he stays out of trouble. Knile Davis was one of the worst draft picks I've ever seen in my life. He has ball security issues, no vision, and runs scared. There were probably 20 RBs worth that pick more than him but such is life in the 40-time era. Finally, Catapano makes the building smarter which is always a good thing.
"Thin line between heaven and here."
Sooner or later the entire league is going to come from Ted Thompson's GM tree and no one is going to be able to trade because they'll all be looking to move down.
Hayden's a special story and has exciting coverage ability and change-of-direction instincts in terms of breaking on the ball. He'll start and a make a Pro Bowl or two. McKenzie got good value by moving down and Watson and Moore both figure to earn prominent roles early in their careers. I like them both. While some think Tyler Wilson is the best QB in this class, but I think he's a project with limited ability. But if Matt Flynn gets beat out by ANOTHER Wilson, Tom Hanks is going to have to give him counseling. Kasa was a good fourth pick and watch out for RB Latavious Murray - if he earns his way on to the field behind Mr. Glass McFadden he's an intriguing option to run some people over at 6-3, 224.
"That's good. That's like a 40-degree day. Ain't nobody got nothing to say about a 40-degree day. Fifty. Bring a smile to your face. Sixty, ****, ****** is damn near barbecuing on that ************. Go down to 20, ****** get their ***** on. Get their blood complaining. But forty? Nobody give a **** about 40. Nobody remember 40, and y'all ****** is giving me way too many 40-degree days!"
-- Stringer Bell
It's just so bleh to me. They moved UP for an ILB which is weird. Especially when he's relatively slow and not good in man coverage. Fluker might end up as a guard, and he's no Jonathan Cooper so it's tough to get excited. Keenan Allen is interesting. Throughout the draft process I was never particularly high on him in large part due to a lack of athleticism. But as a 3rd-round pick, it's absolutely worth it. He needs to work on his route-running but he has a knack for making plays and the Victor Cruz Theory is at work here - playmakers make plays across every level. He wasn't the most gifted athlete at receiver for Cal but that didn't stop him from getting touches on reverses over faster, quicker-testing options. Game speed - he's got that. The Bolts didn't upgrade the talent on their roster much, but their OL will be improved (it can't get any worse) and Mike McCoy will prove to be one of the best coaches in the NFL in time. He'll revitalize Rivers and get good seasons out of DX, Meachem, and Eddie Royal in the near future. I've picked the Chargers to make the Super Bowl the past two seasons. Am I stupid enough to do it again? I'm pretty stupid. But no.
Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens:
"**** them West Coast ******. Cuz in B'More we aim and hit a ***** you heard."
Congratulations to the Super Bowl Champs and their fans. Extremely happy for the greatest safety of all-time, the Monotone King Slayer (Mr. Excitement eh?), and Raymell Rice of New Rochelle, N.Y., proving to the talking heads that running-backs ARE people too (they DO matter and good ones ARE worth draft picks).
All the way down the line I love what Newsome did here after questioning him in his past few drafts, especially early. Elam and Arthur Brown will start right away and excel. Brandon Williams will prove to be a gem. I don't really like Mellette and I may have gone WR earlier but he's worth it so late. John Simon can be Jarret Johnson and Juszczydjzdyzdzjdyzyc is tough as nails and will definitely be one of the premier fullbacks in the NFL. I like Wagner. And Anthony late. Yikes Ozzie.
"I'll take any mother ******* money if he givin' it away."
-- Clay Davis
Value all the way down the board as has been the case recently with these Bengals. I'm not a big Andy Dalton fan so if he doesn't take a step forward this year with all of the talent around him, I could see Gruden and company looking for a new QB next year. Eifert will probably be one of the AFC Pro Bowl TEs this year and Gio Bernard has Darren Sproles+ written all over him. He'll easily be the most productive Bengal RB next year, fantasy footballers. I know a lot of people didn't like Hunt's film and were scared off by his Senior Bowl performance but I think with his size and athleticism he was worth a first. Getting him in the second and putting him along that tough defensive front is an awesome move. He'll be a good NFL player - he was just hitting his stride - watch the Bowl game tape.
"Draft dodgin' peace freaks, huh?"
-- Lester Freamon
The high grade is mainly for the gamesmanship. I love the strategy of trading for future picks because it's so obviously a smart investment for teams that aren't going to contend. The Browns strategy is obvious - they are planning on going QB in 2014 so by stockpiling picks they are now in position to move up to get their target. If they're picking high enough - they have extra picks. Smart. As for Mingo, his inability to finish plays at the college level means two things: 1) He might not be able to finish in the pros either and 2) Browns coaches so those misses as an opportunity - there's still upside for this athletic freak. I ultimately see more bust than boom in Mingo - he doesn't have that knack to get there and I don't like his instincts. The Browns roster for 2013 is not bad despite a projected lack of help from this draft class, but I can't call for them to make the playoffs. I was disappointed with Weeden's rookie year (and the offensive line) and hope Richardson won't be a back with durability issues. However, Weeden taking a step forward is definitely possible and would make this situation interesting. I liked him more than most last year.
"I like that ring too. [pause] Boy, you got me confused with a man who repeat himself."
Simply put, Jarvis Jones is a better football player than Jordan or Mingo. He's in a perfect situation and will continue to disrupt QBs at the NFL level. Sometimes it's just that easy, folks. The test numbers complicate it but the eye in the sky never lies. He's got functional strength, natural bend, and strong hands. As for Bell, I predict an interesting 3-year stint with the Steelers. He'll have a good statistical rookie year with some home runs, but struggle with negative runs and short yardage. He's an easy tackle and doesn't move his legs violently to get through piles. Eventually he'll move on and be JAG at RB - not worth a 2nd. Markus Wheaton was one of my favorite players in the draft. Feisty, speedy, and tough - he's Deion Branch with deep speed and will be the Steelers No. 1 receiver by his second year. Shamarko Thomas will start eventually too and I like Vince Williams to get significant snaps down the road as well. Terrific Towels.
"Game's the same, just got more fierce."
-- Slim Charles
Value everywhere from rounds 2 through 6 besides Sam Montgomery who won't do anything in the NFL. As for Nuke Hopkins, I regrettably had him 37th on my board but I think he'll perform better than that ranking opposite Andre in Houston. He's the Jarvis Jones of WRs. Swearinger might be too reckless but if he can stay healthy he'll be a starting safety. Brennan Williams is really good but I tend to always overvalue Clemson and UNC players - clearly something is wrong with the water there because they rarely live up to the hype. Houston's window is closing and I was surprised they didn't take one of the mid-round QBs. Next year. It's sad to think that with a single draft pick a year ago the Texans went from controlling the AFC south to a bleak AFC South future. A second humbling year and subsequent self-reflection is on the horizon.
"Better to be lucky than good."
I wasn't high on Werner because pass rushers who get the majority of sacks with pure motor usually don't translate. You need to have a trait - whether that is a first step, speed, bend, power, hands, a spin, a dip-and-rip - I don't see any of that at the NFL level for Werner. But I do like Kerwyn Williams as a speed back and if Montori Hughes can stay out of trouble he'll be a solid rotational defensive piece. The Colts aren't improved but they can push the Texans in a weak division. I was mocked for picking the Colts to make the playoffs last year (LUCK IS GETTING SRSLY OVERRATED GUYZ), but I saw them with the QB advantage in the most of their games. Unfortunately I don't think they'll win more than 9 games this year.
"Do the chair know we gonna look like some punk-ass bitches out there?"
This is one of the toughest classes to grade. The situation is similar to KC's but the key difference being that the Jags didn't add a QB. I would have preferred to see Flynn, but unlike the Chiefs the Jags are content with putting Henne/Gabbert out there which to me sounds like Kahn is eyeing Johnny Football/Bridgewater/Clowney. Monroe and Branden Albert are similar but again, they stayed true to their board with Joeckel. Can't knock them there - he's going to be a fine player, especially in pass protection for his dynamic college teammate in 2014. Cyprien is a stud starter and should have gone before Reid - he's Kam chancellor with better range for Gus Bradley. I was wrong for predicting good things for Armanti Edwards and Pat White and I don't think Robinson has a place as a WR or RB in the NFL. Josh Evans could be their future FS and of three CBs - one or two will undoubtedly be contributors on special teams.
"Look, the man gave the word, aight? We either step up or we step the **** off."
The Titans are overhauling a poor offensive line, which in theory should help the offense. The problem is that while interior line upgrades should mean a better running game their "star" tailback is still prone to negative runs (and negative GAMES), tries to hit a home run on every carry, will be 28 years old this season, has 1,463 career touches, and will still be the No. 1 key for opposing defenses thanks to an unproven and scatter-shot young QB. I was surprised to see a 4.5 YPC in 2012 for CJ?K but his inconsistency from game-to-game was a microcosm of the Titans up-and-down year. So in theory, Warmack/Levitre/Schnweinke SHOULD improve the running game/offense as a whole. But they'll need a step up in performance from both their 28-year-old enigmatic RB and young QB for it to actually happen.
I don't think Locker has what it takes to be an above-average NFL (or college for that matter) QB, so I think the OL additions will be a waste in 2013. As for Justin Hunter - there was no reason to surrender a 2014 3rd to ensure drafting him considering there were about 900 even-or-better receiving prospects on the board. For a guy with A.J. Green-like ability he's a loooooong ways away from A.J. Green on tape. He'll bust. Gooden's a JAG - a better athlete than football player who they hope they can "Zach Brown" but I doubt it. I do like Wilson to add to an underrated group of corners. Munchack is tied to the hip with Locker and this season will go one of two ways - 1) they'll take advantage of the weaker AFC, get improved play out of Locker, including some zone read magic, and win 9 or 10 games to shut me up for a year or 2) Locker will play like the QB he's been since Washington, win a few games with some magic but ultimately doom the team with inconsistency, leading to the firing of Munchack. I'll bet the latter.
"If it's a lie. Then we fight on that lie."
-- Slim Charles
I had Travis Frederick ranked as the No. 27 player on my board so I won't even entertain the ridiculously misinformed "reach" callers. He's a 10-year starting center that they took over second-tier talents at risky positions. There wasn't a better pick on the board for the Cowboys, whose centers have cost them games by not being able to snap out of freaking shotgun. There's no one else there you can pencil in as a starter for a team that NEEDS to make a playoff push this year. Escobar makes sense too but everyone's looking for Jimmy Graham, forgetting the fact that a Gates/Graham comes around like once every ten years. He'll score some TDs, but he won't be much better than Bennett. Joseph Randle isn't a quality NFL back in terms of skillset but he'll get on the field given their RB mess. Terrance Williams is a one-tricky pony but the Cowboys do need that one trick. He may factor in. And I can't believe Tomlin missed out on his boy. Two solid DB pick-ups to help their awkward and baffling transition to the preferred defense of the early 2000's led by a zombie coordinator. I don't see how that D will work philosophy wise or personnel wise in the NFC.
“If anyone ask you if you in this game, you tell them you in it for life. Alright? You play it hard, you play it tight and you make sure they know you are gonna stand by your people”.
I knew Jerry Reese was going lunchpail this year after getting his sexy positions least year. Pugh's immediate help along the offensive line and while his versatility is a plus, he's going to settle in at guard long-term after struggling at RT. Hankins is a shrewd move for a team that's susceptible to some odd hiccups against the run but always seems to stifle the ground game in big moments. Moore wasn't a dynamite pass rusher at TAMU despite what his stats show, but he's walking into the best situation football-wise with veteran leadership. He's also walking into the big city - I wouldn't be surprise to see some off-field issues. And Nassib was my No. 1 QB. Flawed player with that unidentifiable knack for making plays. He can push the ball down the field and has sneaky scrambling ability. I believe the Giants got a better quarterback in the 4th round than the Jets got in the 2nd round. He'll be starting for someone, somewhere in three years. Finally, I have to shout-out a freak safety in Cooper Taylor - he'll be a good special teamer at worst in that program.
"It's like one of those nature shows. You mess with the environment, some species get ****** out of their habitat."
Lane Johnson is a stud but these Eagles should have taken Tavon Austin. Ertz isn't going to be anything special and James Casey was fine as the primary move guy. Kelly's offense is going to be way more run-heavy than people realize so I don't see Ertz factoring in much early on with so many mouths to feed. Bennie Logan, good, Poyer's technique isn't great which is why he fell, and then there's Barkley. Barkley can tweet all he wants but if he doesn't take Andy Dalton pills and somehow improve his arm strength, he's not going to be anything in the NFL. And it was never about his deep ball. He throws a good deep ball. Anything to the outside - even short flares to the RBs - lacks zip. His arm screams pick 6 when he's not throwing over the middle or deep. Overall, it was one of those OK classes that won't be noticed when we look back on it years from now even if Lane Johnson makes many pro bowls.
"We don't need to dream no more."
-- Stringer Bell
The best moment of the draft was RGIII at the Redskins rally jumping up and down. That more than anything else got me fired up for the season. Consider that their first round pick was used on RGIII and we should probably just move on to the next team. I think all the Skins' draftees will figure into their plans early simply because the roster lacks depth. Rambo will be a better pro than Phillip Thomas and Amerson has the perfect teammate to help tend to burn wounds in DeAngelo Hall. I see a similar career trajectory in the pros - big picks, bad burns.
"West side's about be all Baghdad and ****."
So here's the thing about this class: the top three picks are all going to be starting (Matheiu perhaps a NB by then) when we look back on it in three years so it's obviously one of the best classes for that reason alone. Jonathan Cooper's a hall-of-famer. In the fourth they got a typical Texas talent that equals next-to-nothing in the pros. As for the two RBs, one of them is going to lead the team in carries as a rookie but I can't figure out which. I'll go with Ellington since I (foolishly) dismissed Taylor due to a lack of explosion. I rated Ryan Swope RIDICULOUSLY high on my board (somewhere in the 20s) but was completely unaware (again, I watch film primarily), that he's had four documented concussions. That's as bad as it gets. The odds of him having a career with 0 concussion issues going forward are EXTREMELY slim. I'd rather draft a guy who tore his ACL yesterday than someone with four concussions. I hope he can stay healthy but unfortunately I see some production as a rookie and/or second year player and then an unceremonious but wise fall out of the league. If he somehow stays on the field, he'll be one of the most productive secondary receivers in the NFL from the slot and on the outside.
"We may be assholes, but on the upside, there's an awful lot of us."
-- FBI Fitzhugh
This is the definition of a mixed bag. First, the trade-up for Reid was a bad move. Eric Reid looks the part, but the film does not show a top safety prospect. He's uninstinctive, slow to the spot, a hitter-but-not-tackler, and never seems to make any plays in an ideal situation. I understand his H/W/S is ideal and he's top notch in character but I see an immediate downgrade from Dashon Goldson. Trading up all those spots and only giving up a 3rd was a coup, but they took the wrong DB - Trufant or Cyprien would have been better moves.
Carradine in the 2nd is an absolute steal and will be awesome on that defense by Week 10. Vance McDonald is tough to project because he's had drop problems but he can definitely be Delanie Walker this year rather than Harbaugh's Mike Ditka prediction. Lemonier might flame out or he might be a pass-rush specialist with some value. But arguably the best pick of the entire draft was taking Quinton Patton in the fourth round. He'll be their No. 2 by his second year and could end up taking Crabtree's role if he leaves in free agency.
Lattimore wasn't that special after his first ACL tear, so coming back 100% could mean a solid back but not a star. That's if he comes back 100% - this is not a torn ACL - he tore up his entire knee. Tough not to root for him though. Quinton Dial's selection perked my ears up because he's just so perfect as a 5-technique and if you've watched USF recently you understand why B.J. Daniels is possibly the most hilarious draft pick of the past 5 years. You annoy me 49ers with Carradine/Patton, but I would've been way more scared with an acquisition of Revis pre-draft or Cyprien during.
"Nevermind you why. Why ain't in your repertoire no more."
-- Chris Partlow
Last year in this space I defended the Bruce Irvin pick (early returns were a mixed bag), questioned the Bobby Wagner trade-down because I wanted Kendricks (idiot), and wrote off Russell Wilson because of his accuracy. So the guy who broke the record for passing efficiency wasn't accurate enough for me? BRILLIANT! This is harder than it looks, folks. I've never been more happy to be so wrong.
I do find it hilarious that everyone is gushing about this underwhelming Seahawks class simply because they've all been proven so wrong the past few years. But I judge based on what I see - and this is nothing special.
Yes, what John Schneider and Pete Carroll have done with the roster since they got to Seattle has been arguably the most impressive string of personnel moves the league has ever seen. From the Lynch trade to adding Browner for nothing to the drafting of an elite defense and now the acquisition of one of the best players in the league in Harvin - it's been an unbelievable rise to the top of the NFL in terms of talent. Look at some of their late round picks - Chancellor, Wright, Sherman. I don't like paper champions - they never seem to work out. This Seahawks team is probably the most talented from top to bottom in the entire league. Does that result in a deep playoff run? It should. But it has to happen on the field.
So this year's class features the most talented RB in the draft (I question this but it's been widely accpeted that (s)he is), a couple of big DTs (Williams' knees scare me - he's a bust risk in the 2nd but worth it in the 5th), Chris Harper (solid AND DID YOU KNOW HE'S SMART - WOW!), and a dude who got arrested during the biggest event of his life (ok). Based on this regime's success in the later rounds, the most intriguing pick is EASILY the SECOND TE FROM RICE DRAFTED, Luke Willson, who had all of NINE catches in 2012. NINE. I suspect he was drafted for the sole purpose of revealing to the team Vance McDonald weaknesses.
"Like... how do you get from here to the rest of the world?"
Tavon Austin is the best slot receiver prospect since slot receivers have become a thing. He's never missed a practice. I don't care if he's 5-9. Prospects whose ONLY weakness is size (everything else is elite) ALWAYS continue to ball out at every level. The league is too conservative in regards to size prototypes and the Seahawks have Russell Wilson as a result! Hands, quicks, speed, KR skills - Austin is already one of the scariest players in the NFL. He was the No. 1 player on my board. Ogletree has talent and Jeff Fisher surely asked him if he truly loves football before taking him like he must have before stealing J. Jenkins last year. T.J. McDonald will be a nobody, everybody's favorite (for some reason - he's so average) short-stepper Zac Stacy won't factor in, and Barrett Jones will find the field but get bullied once he does. Stedman Bailey I can't figure out. I wrote in this space last year that Chris Givens would be their best receiver - he was. Bailey might be an ideal possession receiver to Givens' speed outside and Austin's explosiveness inside. The Rams are extremely scary.
"For you I would suggest some pantsuits, perhaps muted in color, something to offset Detective Moreland's pinstripe lawyerly affectations and the brash tweedy impertinence of Detective Freamon. Rawls is watching on this one, let's at least pretend like we got a ******* clue."
-- Sgt. Jay Landsman
So I've been reviewing drafts for a while and there are some GMs that earn poor grades every year. People question what they're doing from the ESPN talking heads to the internet draftniks to possibly other front offices. It doesn't make any sense. It's almost as if they're trying to get everyone to bash them at the expense of making good decisions. Phil Emery has been that guy the past few years. He took a ho-hum offensive lineman at 20 overall and two run-around LBs shortly thereafter. The sad part is that I LOVED his final three picks. Wilson is as smooth a receiver in this class and just needs to be a little tougher in order to supplant Earl Bennett as the Z receiver. Washington has Jaye Howard (SENIOR BOWL MOMENTS EVERYONE SAW TELEVISED BUT REALLY WASN'T A GOOD FOOTBALL PLAYER OTHERWISE) written all over him which is why he fell. And Jordan Mills will crack that OL. So your best picks were in the 5-7th. Something's wrong here.
"************* come to me and say 'it's a new day Jimmy', talking **** about how it's gonna change - **** NEVER ******* changes."
-- Jimmy McNulty
The Lions filled all but one need (LT, unless Michael Williams is the next Jason Peters which is possible) but as long as Jim Schwartz is the head coach I don't see them returning to the playoffs. Ziggy Ansah scares me. Statistics show that 1.5 of the three top flawed pass rushing prospects will bust. I've already called for underwhelming production from Jordan and Mingo but I still can't endorse the pick. The Senior Bowl game was fantastic but he was horrible during practices. It's going to be a whole new world and if it doesn't click early, it never will. I don't like Slay over Banks because I like Banks but he could be a good player. Warford and Taylor are good in the mid-rounds. The Lions might win 8 or 9 games this year but the tough sledding in the NFC will ultimately cost Schwartz his job after a second year without playoffs.
"What got you here is your word and your reputation. With that alone, you've still got an open line to New York. Without it, you're done."
-- Brother Mouzone
Jonathan Franklin, to me, was JAG on a film. His production was great and he has enough speed and vision to make an impact, but he's not going to be a star, especially with Green Bay. He's probably an above-average third-down back talent wise but Lacy is going to catch passes. He's a 1B at best and a 3 at worst. Eddie Lacy in the 2nd round takes the cake. This current Packers regime vehemently disregarded the RB position because it's Aaron Rodgers' show but finally came to their senses this offseason. If Lacy stays on the field, he'll rumble to the the tune of 1500 yards from scrimmage and 12 total TDs (can't get too crazy, Rodgers needs his stats). Josh Boyd will be a rotational player as a rookie and eventually start and the Bakhatiari and Tretter will both see significant playing time at some point in the next two years. As for the first round pick, it was the only miss. Jones isn't special and his film was just average. He'll struggle as a 5-tech and make most of his money as rotational 3rd-down DE.
"Don't seem possible. That's some Spiderman **** there."
Since the wage scale (and probably before then) this is the first draft I've seen with three first round picks. The brililant thing here is that even if one is a gigantic bust, the Vikings will still have gotten more out of their top draft picks than most teams. I see Rhodes starting - but he won't be nearly as good as Cromartie. Floyd and Patterson are going to make teams wonder what they were thinking on draft night. The Patriots in particular in regards to Patterson. Hodges is a perfect WLB. Unfortunately, the Vikings are in the NFC and still have Christian Ponder. Their roster is super talented but it'll take another extraterrestrial effort from AD to push for the postseason.
"You can look him in the eye now. No matter who he is or what he done you look him right in the eye."
-- Chris Partlow
The NFC = West theme continues because the Falcons are up there with the Steelers, Ravens, Giants and Packers in terms of personnel strategy. They add Steven Jackson to a loaded roster and actually upgrade at RCB and NB with Trufant and Alford. I don't see anything in Toilolo's future but Goodman will start one day and Maponga will get sacks as a specialist. The rich got richer here. SJax is a nice addition but their offense won't be much better - Matt Ryan was brilliant last year so I expect a razor-thin dip in performance which will be non-distinguishable thanks to the extra .2 YPC SJax will give them. Getting the Seahawks at home might be the difference between homefield throughout and the 5-seed.
"How complex a code can it be if these knuckleheads are usin' it? Then again, what does it say about us if we can't break it?"
The Panthers will be a very popular "sleeper" pick next year and their fate falls directly on the shoulders of Ron Rivera, who led possibly the worst performance of any coaching staff in the league last year. Newton and Kuechly worked past some idiotic playcalling on both sides of the ball (remember the quarters-coverage-ten-times-in-a-row-game?), to finish 5-1 down the stretch. This draft *should* help them continue where they left off. Based on their late season play, the two DTs (Star and Short) could actually turn an early-2012 weakness, run defense, into an area of strength (think last year's Bucs). I'm still concerned with the back end of the defense, but Rome wasn't built in a day (7-9 expansion year was built in a day though - WOW DOM CAPERS!). I love doubling up on DTs there. Short's super talented and projects as more of an impact pro than Star due to superior pass rush ability. Unless they get an MVP-ish year from Cam and JStew finally puts it all together, this coaching staff is going to hold them back, Rivera will lose his job, and whoever inherits the roster will just need to add some DBs and WRs before Newton inevitably gets to a Super Bowl (he's won at literally every level). But that's way down the road.
“The Sunday truce is as old as the game itself, you can do some crazy **** and be like what the ****, but NEVER on no Sunday”.
Rob Ryan will prove to be the most important acquisition. The Saints defense has been so bad in the past that it's pretty evident that the players simply couldn't respond to coaching - Spags or ACL-reaper. One way to fix this problem is to slowly shift personnel and trick one-time talents on the defensive side of the ball into actually covering and tackling in a 3-4 rather than doing whatever it is they were doing in a 4-3. Vaccaro is great at 15. He can attempt to cover Tony Gonzalez and successfully cover the other TEs and slot receivers. Armstead will of course start over one of the two underwhelming tackles but it won't be the Jahri Evans story giddy Saints fans are already predicting. Oh draft day. Every team KNOWS it got better but doesn't realize that an uptick in wins for one team means SOMEBODY'S win total is going down. Kenny Stills is a sneaky draft pick - I didn't really understand the lack of attention. Sure, he's finesse, but is that really a fatal flaw for a receiver? Not usually.
"Scared of someone calling you good?"
Add in Revis and their grade is obviously much higher. Jonathan Banks was overlooked because of a poor (relative term here - he's a press corner) 40-time but he's one of the best SEC CBs of the past 5 years. He'll start opposite Revis and all of the sudden the Bucs' biggest weakness is a HUGE strength. That secondary is truly scary. This season it'll come down to Josh Freeman and I doubt Mike Glennon ever amounts to anything. A lot of make-or-break years for QBs across the NFL. But what do they do if Freeman goes for 24/16, the team goes 9-7 and misses the playoffs, and has the 19th overall pick in the draft? Do you sign him to a long-term deal because what else are you going to do? The QB market is always a fascinating one.
Thanks for Reading
*Just your team's blurb!