Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MetLife, Clink x4, MetLife
gpngc's 2015 Draft Review (since 2009 here)
And if you read the past ones, some have been baaaaaaaaaaad. Corny at best but more cringey. Oh well.
2015 NFL Draft Review
THE 2015 DRAFT CLASS: NOT EXACTLY GRADUATE LEVEL
When the Jimmy Graham trade story first broke I was a bit more skeptical than most (in part because heís always nicked up). A first-round pick is extremely valuable, I thought. But after studying this class, I have no doubt it was the right move. The Seahawks said they only had 19 first-round grades this year, which played into their decision to make the move. I donít grade guys based on round, but this class was definitely underwhelming, especially compared to last year. This yearís class featured so many more prospects Ė in the truest sense of the word - than usual. Many of the top guys did so many things wrong. I donít claim to be an NFL coach, but from what I do know about technique, football IQ, instincts Ė this class was not great as a whole for even top prospects. Very sloppy execution and a theme being lack of polish. Scouting is more about looking at how traits shown on the field translate to the league and less about evaluating football performance, but damn Ė it was distracting at times. It almost felt like they donít practice as much. I wondered if anyone else had that observation. I donít have any theory behind this, it was just a thought I had especially looking at the receivers, tackles, and defensive backs. Last year I loved the draft class and my predictions reflected that. This year Iíll be picking a lot more busts and disappointments.
WHY DO WE KEEP SAYING ĎTAPEí AND ĎFILM?í
Think for a second about a VHS videotape. Electrical (?) tape rolled up in a plastic cartridge. You insert it into a machine connected by wires to another machine with a screen, and somehow that tape magnetically/magically moves to produce a moving image on that screen. I refuse to believe any science actually supports this phenomenon. My theory is that each roll of tape is home to hundreds of millions of tiny Johnny Manziel-looking elves with paint brushes and that when the cartridge is inserted into the VCR, all these little elves move into formation and march from the tape roll, through the cords, and into the back of the TV screen. There, they paint the screen from inside the TV in real time and thus the moving image is produced. I believe that tapes became obsolete not because of DVDs and computers, but because NFL scouts and football people in general overworked those poor elves. Movies, TV recordings, and home videos were fine, but the elf union went on a permanent strike when football people from pop warner to the NFL gave them millions of extra hours of work each year. So why does everyone in the football world still refer to watching games as ďtapeĒ and ďfilm?Ē Because football is tradition. And I wouldnít have it any other way. In honor of those elves we will continue to refer to watching DVDs or YouTube videos as watching ďtape.Ē
It's important to know the above history because evaluating a prospect on that tape is not what many people think. There are two things involved when looking at a playerís college tape:
Performance (i.e. how well he does what heís asked to do on the field in terms of his goals as a football player in that game. This is results-based and usually coincides with statistical production).
Traits (i.e. the athletic and football-specific skills he shows on the field, especially as it pertains to what will translate to the completely different NFL level).
Evaluating traits and how they translate is not as clear-cut or easy as evaluating performance. The two do overlap, but there are times they donít Ė and thatís where it gets tricky.
For example, Tim Tebow and Michael Sam (wow I couldnít think of different examplesÖ ugh) were wonderful college football players. Their stats proved it. The tape showed excellent performance after excellent performance. They made many big plays, few mistakes and provided their top college teams with exactly what the coaches wanted from them and then some. But even while playing tremendous football at the highest level of the college game, neither displayed the movement and elite football skills necessary to transition that type of performance into the pros. The number one misconception about scouting college prospects is that the college and pro games are similar. They are not. So if you watch tape, try to do two things: One, remember the work of the elves. Two, try not to get caught up in performance and results. Try to project how traits will translate. I used to think the NFL combine was completely overrated and even somewhat pointless. I donít anymoreÖ
40 YARDS AND AN iCLOUD OF DUST
What first-year football player and second-round draft pick Quentin Rollins teaches us is that pro sports is about athleticism first and the sport second. Thatís why the NFL combine athletic tests DO have value. Yes, the tape is important Ė playing football is what these guys will be doing after all. But as Iíve said before, the college and pro games are completely different animals. And the first of many reasons for that is the level of speed and athleticism. The makeup of a pro football game is a collection of some of the best athletes in the world on the field almost literally flying around, processing information at the speed of light, and moving each other and an oddly shaped ball up and down a field. Everyone has a remarkable mix of size, speed, and athleticism that you wonít find anywhere else. Yes, there are those very rare players who make up for a lack of elite Ė relative to the other players on the field Ė athleticism with inexplicable instincts and the god-given gifts of instincts, muscle memory, and information processing that make what we might call a ďpure football player.Ē As kids, we want to believe that our idols in sports achieve success because of dedication to the game and practice, practice, practice. Weíre taught that our favorite players are special and that they love their sport as much as we do. There are some pros who do. But the common denominator among most players is not as virtuous. A pro athlete is a pro athlete because heís a pro ATHLETE. In most cases, itís not a love of the sport any more than an average plumber loves toilets. Itís opportunity, money, status and what can I get from the game? Michael Jordan was the most competitive and successful pro athlete of the modern generation. He was a player who poured every ounce of his soul into each and every game and practice of his career. He was a borderline sociopath about it. And even he quit basketball to pursue something else. Antonio Gates didnít practice his way into becoming one of the most productive tight ends of all time. He wasnít dedicated to football any more than Tim Duncan was until he figured out he should be. He came into the league with that potential and worked it from there. So why do we care about 40s, 3cones, and vertical jumps? Because NFL teams want athletes and you canít be a helpful NFL football player without a certain level of athleticism. And the more athletic you are, the better you can be. Football strategy is complex, but winning is not complicated. The game will always come down to the fundamentals, and the biggest, strongest, fastest, and most athletic players have the best tools to become the best blockers, tacklers, runners, passers, covermen, and catchers. Nothing about this line of thinking is revolutionary, of course, but every time someone makes fun of Ďwhat a guy does in shortsí I think back to why I just couldnít cover that one receiver in man-to-man. He was just bigger, faster, and quicker. Rollins can learn how to play CB. I canít learn how to run a 4.4.
IF YOU BUILD IT THEY MIGHT COME
Daniel Jeremiah was the first to say it, and I agreed after watching all six guys: this was a two-QB draft. And in a league where parity isnít what it once was, the demand for a franchise QB is as high as ever. Teams with a franchise guy are at such a gigantic advantage in todayís game. It used to be David Garrard and Jake Delhomme and Kelly Holcomb and Tommy Maddox and Rob Johnson could be good enough to do things. Now, star QBs are throwing it 50 times, and E.J. Manuels are throwing it 50 times. So the gap between performance is almost doubled in sheer volume. In 2004, Jake Delhomme was making a decision and/or throw about 30 times a game. Peyton about 40. In todayís game, Brandon Weeden is making a decision and/or throw 50 times a game. Peyton about 60. Teams with good QBs have more of an advantage now than they did years ago.
The other part of the issue is the lack of top passing QBs being produced in our country. Believe it or not, there are human beings with working eyes who donít believe Russell Wilson should be paid big money to be the Seahawks QB for the next 10 years. Some people who lack an understanding of simple economic principles also thought Flaccoís contract was not worth it for the Ravens. What would you have those teams do? Start B.J. Daniels and Tyrod Taylor? Itís supply and demand. There are no QBs. High school teams are putting their best athletes at QB and running spread stuff with QB runs. Half of the college game is no huddle and half-field reads with no drops from the gun. These guys have to learn how to play QB from scratch after getting into bad/different habits for four years. I have no proof of this, but itís been widely accepted that youth and high school football participation numbers are down. I think some would-be special QBs are playing baseball and maybe even Greg Paulusing us. Why not? Fully guaranteed contracts and no risk of CTE. The first-round arm talent ready to fill the Jets hole at QB might actually be in Vegas playing for the Mets minor league squad. And because of this dearth of quarterbacks, parity is down a bit and a new class of NFL team has been created as a result. These teams are actually fun to watch because they have a ton of talent Ė dare I say championship level talent Ė but are missing that one position. These teams would be Super Bowl contenders with the same Joe Flacco who was ďoverpaidĒ according to some Matt Millen disciples out there. I give you Ė the HEADLESS HORSEMEN:
Jets, Texans, Cardinals, Bills, Rams.
Give any of those teams a franchise QB, they become championship caliber. The rosters on those teams are LOADED.
But what can they do? Nothing. Wait. Just continue to build. Try your Tom Savages, take your Bryce Pettyís for 2017, purchase bionic knees for Carson Palmer. Just stay the course and hope you stumble on a Russell Wilson or hope Drew Brees realizes every defensive player that puts on a Saints jersey immediately loses all skill and demands a trade. As much as it seems like it Ė tanking really isnít the only answer. Luck, Cam, Ben, Ryan, Eli, Rivers, Stafford (ehhh I know), yes these guys were No. 1 picks. But just as many werenít. Brees, Brady, Peyton (FA signing remember), Wilson, maybe Bridgewater, maybe Carr, maybe Kaep Ė these guys were all found outside the first round/@32, and Rodgers and Flacco in the teens/20s. You can find a QB without tanking. But today, itís exceedingly difficult because the demand is higher than ever and the supply is lower than ever. I donít want to give the Headless Horsemen too much credit for being wise to pass on QBs with early picks this year because it was pretty obvious in this draft. But with all the bad wasted picks high picks in years past, itís nice to see patience and commitment to building a solid roster.
Itís crazy to think of what could be with these five teams. Theyíre too good to be picking top 5 next year, but it would take a special run from a less-than-great QB to even get them into the playoffs, let alone far.
ON TO THE (NOT) GRADESÖ
Predicting the career of an NFL draft prospect is a RIDICULOUS exercise. But itís better than draft grades and itís fun to look back on. 90% of busts happen for two reasons that are almost impossible to forecast. 1) How hard a guy works after heís been paid. 2) Injuries.
Iíve been doing this since 2009, and Iím starting to realize that a pro career unfolds a certain way becauseÖ Öthatís just how it happens. There are zillions of factors that contribute to this. I can like a guy or think heís overrated, but itís impossible to be correct today, even if a statement written here turns out to be true in a couple years. Itís all guesswork. I have no idea what Devin Funchess is even going to be doing on the field, let alone how well heíll be doing whatever it is they ask him to do. Iím just gonna pick a bust there. Heís a very annoying player.
Related, this has become harder to do. I used to have such strong conviction, but the more experience I get, the more I learn thereís so much I donít know. I donít want to be wrong, but hedging or not making a commitment is a cop-out and boring. This yearís top two QBs really could go either way. My picks for each will surprise you. But itís just very hard. Melvin Gordon was tough as hell too. He seemed about as obvious as star RBs can be but then he ran a 4.52, Greg Cosell echoed some of the same concerns I had that I was ready to dismiss as overanalyzing, and HIS FACE AND HAIR MAKE HIM LOOK LIKE TRENT RICHARDSON. Without giving too much away, Iíll say this: heís not going to be as bad as Trent Richardson.
Iím going to be wrong. If you think there is any way to not have some hilariously bad predictions , try it for one year. Itís not possible. If I can nail 5 or 6 things, and say 10 other accurate-ish things, thatís enough to keep doing this every year. I got Antonio Brown right. I got Anthony Barr wrong. Ab exercises.
Iím way more negative than other draft reviews and draft grade articles. Pretty much every article you read after the draft is unrealistically optimistic. Many of those writers have friends in the league or arenít allowed to write overly negative things and are probably discouraged to write anything really negative at all. They donít want to bash guys in the league or predict negative (realistic) outcomes. Their bosses donít want them to upset fans. They want fans to read and be happy. I highly doubt anyone in the NFL reads this and I donít know any personnel people anyway, so I donít care about bashing GMs. I also donít really care if negative predictions upset fans. I think the only fans who would sit and read any of this are those who have enough patience and objective thinking skills to handle negative predictions, even if they disagree with them. There will be busts. I will attempt to predict those busts and I wonít be shy about it. Go look at any past draft class. It will be littered with busts and guys who never amounted to anything. Every teamís draft looks good in May. But most wonít look too good in a couple of years. Thatís just the reality.
ďOK, shut up already. Letís see what this idiot said about my teamís draft.Ē
The order of my team reviews is determined by the following:
The likelihood of each teamís starting quarterback to have his teammates attend his birthday party, from most likely to least likely. Iíll start with Tampa and Tennessee because Winston and Mariotaís teammates all want to get to know their new franchise QBs (Mettenberger would be the only no-show).
Here we goÖ
BUCCANEERS HELP RAYS, DRAFT CLOSER FIRST OVERALL
ďWhere thereís smoke, thereís a smoke monster.Ē
Traits, traits, traits for Jameis Winston. Tremendous arm. Top-notch anticipation. Accurate, good placement, strong, smart. Confidence, leadership. ALWAYS keeps his eyes up. Some think heís not mobile enough Ė huh? Feels the rush and moves well inside the pocket with his eyes downfield. I donít care about his beer gut. Supreme confidence in his teammates, trusts his receivers to make plays, even while covered. Composed in the face of pressure. And again, an absolute gun. Release is a little long, base is a little wide, but nothing too bad. There is a lot to like, clearly. Does he have issues? Yes. He could have thrown more than 18 picks because he literally does not care where defenders are. Heíll fade away and throw to the middle of the field off his back foot. He actually tried this fadeaway throw over 5 times from what I saw, which means that: A) heís insane, and that B) either his coaches did not care what he chose to do on the field or that he did not care what they told him. Heís irrationally comfortable trying to fit the ball in tight spots or to covered receivers. In the NFL, that could be a good thing sometimes because his world-class receivers deserve that and theyíll love him for it. Windows are way smaller so you need to be willing to do that Ė captain checkdownís donít win. But heís going to throw a lot of picks. His ball-handling skills on play-action are bad. He stares things down, which is fine, but heís an easy read for DBs right now. He needs to work on seeing deep safeties and reading underneath zones better, but heís already taken his lumps and will get better there. Itís great to trust your arm, but there were WAY too many risky decisions. Itís almost as if he plays with an under-developed pre-frontal cortex Ė the part of the brain responsible for decision-making and planning that isnít fully grown until about 25 years old. If you just watched his film, youíd guess heís made some immature decisions off the field. He hates to check down, and that needs to change ASAP. He doesnít want check downs. He wants to do it big then! (den?). He wants to **** her right in the *****! He lacks the discipline to be Eli Manning on the field right now. And that comparison is pretty good. Heís like Eli on the field. A little clumsy and goofy but really special tools and sometimes heíll just do that thing that makes you go why did he do that thing? And sometimes that thing will work when it shouldnít. And mostly that thing wonít work BECAUSE it shouldnít. He can learn though. He can tone it down though. Can. I think.
And thatís all well and good. Thatís fun. Thatís exciting. I really donít know how that player would play in the NFL, but I do know heíd be WELL worth the first overall pick on tools alone. Winstonís an outstanding PLAYER.
But we all know the Bucs didnít draft a football player. They made an investment in a kid who plays football. The true odds of Winston doing something front-page-worthy dumb off the field are probably very low. John Manziel was literally an alcoholic. Winston is an immature, entitled mega-star athlete whose arrogance is so instagrammed up that he literally couldnít help himself from stirring the pot minutes after being drafted. Regardless of what you think of the pic he posted, itís at least a little eyebrow-raising that a Bucs official had to ask him to tone it down minutes into his pro career. Itís funny because two or three years ago I would have argued ardently against anyone who blew that up as more than a harmless joke. One comment would be ďitís not funnyĒ and the next comment would be that comment quoted with the response ďyes it is.Ē And Iíd agree with all the upvotes to the ďyes it is.Ē But to me today, itís not funny anymore. I guess I should say get off my lawn? I admit, maybe Manziel pulling the wool over my eyes is part of it. I argued strongly that Manziel going to Vegas, etc. wasnít a big deal. Now I didnít know he was really an alcoholic at the time; he had an addiction. I thought he was just a kid partying. Bottom line was that he lied and I believed him. He wasnít about being a professional NFL franchise QB. He was about being a celebrity and playing football to make money and attain status. I mean how did I miss that when he literally made the money handshake in tribute to a rapper. And even his own dad said he was worried about him. What the **** was I thinking?!? Anyway, back to Winston. Iím not getting fooled again. This is obviously different. I do think Winston cares more about being great than Manziel did. But Iím taking his character flaws Ė and regardless of how you think ESPN wronged him bla bla bla, he DOES have character flaws Ė and Iím projecting them into his pro career. People donít really change. And itís not like he made one mistake. Itís who he is. Careless and thinks heís untouchable. He believes he can do what he wants. And why wouldnít he? With only yes men in your life, you learn that. And what he wants, is to do it big then. He wants to have his fun and win games and run around and be funny and do what he wants to do on his terms. And the unique thing is that I think his teammates really do love him. But at some point heís going to do what HE wants and not what his coach tells him to do, and heís going to operate on his own terms, and there will be problems. I think heíll stay clear of trouble off the field, but what I worry about is whether or not the work required to be great will fit in HIS terms. And yes, heís been an athlete his whole life, and heís put in countless hours, etc. He watches a ton of film, I know. But at some point heís going to be told to do something he doesnít want to do. Heís going to be told no. He was bigger than his head coach on National TV - remember that scene? I donít know exactly what will or even could go wrong, but at the very least, itís not going to be smooth. He rubs me the wrong way. I think his issues were actually downplayed and I actually give ESPN credit for airing the Jim Harbaugh thing (which made Winston in a candid moment look like a spoiled excuse-maker, and Harbaugh put him in his place). We learned during the draft that Jeff Fisher did not have Winston on his board Ė Schefter told his the Rams had Mariota at 1 and Gurley at 2. Although I question a lot about Winston, I will say that itís much easier for a team picking 10th to keep him off their board than a team picking 1st.
Iím fully aware of what this borderline incoherence reads like. Itís all internet psychobabble that could easily be laughed at as early as Week 8 of this year. But there is one trait in an NFL prospect that is sometimes difficult to judge yet integral to a playerís outlook: instincts. What Iím doing here is using my own instincts. It doesnít matter if Iím wrong Ė the idea is to have your own philosophy and stay true to it. My judgments may very well be wrong with this player, but they might be right for the next one. Ultimately, you are defined by your actions. Ignoring the vibe I get from Winstonís actions would be silly.
It would not shock me to see him playing pro baseball in five years if the NFL isnít going how he wants it to (Russell Wilson hit .200 in the minors so that was a negotiating ploy; Winston can actually pitch). Winstonís necessary maturation process will affect his performance Ė despite his success it did at Florida State. The question is to what extent and how will his teammates and coaches deal with it. Iíll go with this: productive but disappointing pro career with too many interceptions, clumsy fumbles, and problems with coaches. I think the nuances of the position are what separate good prospects from great pros. Heís going to have to focus on those details and humbly swallow his pride and take to teachers to be sharp enough to be great. Iíll say three playoff appearances and two playoff wins (if this is met in year one Iím so shotÖ). So basically Eli Manning without Tuck and the pass rush or Stafford without Calvin.
Of the two O-linemen I like Smith a lot, but donít know if heís really a left tackle, and think the Harry Potter character will bust.
They dropped the ball with Kaelin Clay but Kwon will be well-kwon as a plus special teamer. Finally, Kenny Bell is an awesome receiver prospect and will end up as one of the steals of the crabft.
ROOKIE QUARTERBACK QUITS AFTER FIRST PRACTICE; ĎIíM NOT PUTTING MY HANDS UNDER THERE EVERY PLAYí
Morcus Mariota is fascinating. Thereís a lot going on here but Iíll give the short version (EDIT: I lied). You know how Russell Wilson canít see over the middle in the pocket? Morcus is like Russell Wilson who can hit the MOF. He also has more natural accuracy than Tyrion Wilson. On a macro level, his accuracy (my #1 most important trait when evaluating a QB prospect), arm strength, smarts, and athleticism make him a true franchise QB prospect. I should stop there, but instead Iím going to do three stupid things Iím strongly against doing when evaluating prospects.
1) Generalizing. Morcus is a spread QB, and the success rate on spread QBs is staggeringly bad.
2) Overanalyzing. Morcus doesnít take drops, he just resets his feet behind his elite line, and if he transferred his weight heíd look like a number one pick. But he doesnít do that and his drop is just a reset in the pocket to see what he wants and then sling after the fact. Heís not really playing the position heís going to be playing in the NFL. He doesnít anticipate. He doesnít feel the rush. His mechanics are inconsistent and the ball is too high before the release.
3) Narrative Scouting. How was there not more made about his subpar performance in the National Championship Game? Morcus looked worse than his usual self in the biggest game of his life against NFL-level defensive players and coaches. He didnít have a presence on the field or inspire confidence. He also cried after the game on camera.
If Iím staying true to my values, judging traits like Iím supposed to, Iím looking at how he threw at the combine, believing all the teammates who say heís an incredible leader, and putting my faith in the coaching staff to teach him the fundamentals he needs to parlay his abilities into being a great NFL QB. Iíll answer the three points from above:
1) To Generalizing - Morcus is his own individual prospect and each player should be judged based on his own merits, not what has happened to similar players before. Heís better than all those other spread QBs anyway.
2) To Overanalyzing - Morcus threw for one milliondy yards and infinity+3 TDs. His mechanics can be tweaked, but heís a fine passer, as shown at the combine and on literally thousands of throws on tape, and he will learn his drops easily.
3) To Narrative Scouting - Itís one game, he wasnít even that bad, his teammates and former teammates like Kyle Long love him, and Tom Brady cries.
I really still donít know if I can do it. Thereís just something I donít like. And I donít like where he went. I especially donít like how obvious Tennessee was in trying to get an RGIII haul for that pick. If they really believed in Morcus, why would they put all that trade stuff in the media? (and it was obviously them doing it) You have to listen, I guess. But it didnít seem like they were just listening. It seemed like they were saying Ė ďYO EAGLES, BROWNS, JETS, BEARS Ė look at everyone whoís interested! And weíll just take him if we donít like your offer Ė call our bluff, watch! So offer us more!Ē Then they did call the bluff and, ďdamn, I guess we gotta coach this kid up Ė call the billboard company and get a picture of a duck.Ē At that spot, its either 1000% sold on that franchise QB and you arenít even thinking about anything else OR you want to trade the pick, and thereís some trepidation about taking the player. Hmmm. I think the Titans have that same trepidation I do. Hmmm. They convinced themselves it was worth the risk Ė like I want to predicting good things. Hmmm. Itís almost as if itís up to Morcus himself to either prove his worth from here on out and his career could go either way. Hmmm.
I just canít do it. And part of it is last year Ė the truth is that I saw what I WANTED to see with Bortles and Manziel. My notes had more negatives than positives for those two guys and I still didnít pick busts. I want to KNOW I have a franchise QB when I watch his tape. I didnít get that from Morcus. Iíll say productive player Ė not a mega bust Ė but not a top-8 QB at any point. Similar career arch to Alex Smith, but with much better stats throughout.
DGB has those incredible traits but heís a damn PROSPECT if Iíve ever seen one. Athletically, heís beyond elite. But he needs to learn how to play WR. Heís kind of like Morcus in that way. Not very good for next yearís offense in terms of readiness early. Shawn Jefferson will get it done and heíll be their best offensive player by his second year. Jalston Fowler will catch 24 passes and 2 TDs as a rookie. Whiz brought him in for power pass and nakeds with him in the flats. Wilson throws to his FB once a game and Morcus is going to be on the perimeter looking into the flats just like Wilson does.
David Cobb is by far the best back on the roster right now, which isnít saying much, so heíll be productive. A bit Alfred Morris-y, and he has great instincts and natural creativity. The OL should be very good. Give him 1257 total yards as a rookie. The Titans will have the 4th most rushing yards in the league next year, but a 6-10 record.
MIKE MCCARTHY BURNS ALL SLIP-N-SLIDES IN GREEN BAY, BANS PLAYERS FROM WATCHING BASEBALL IN PACKER FACILITIES
Something happens to DBs when they arrive in GB. For some reason corners and safeties who play there have such variance year-to-year, game-to-game, and even play-to-play. Guys will look like all-pros for a stretch and then just be terrible at points later. HaHa came on down the stretch and in comes another first round safety in Damarious Randall. Theyíll be able to invert them now if they want but Capers likes to play DBs everywhere. Versatility is big for him, which might explain some of the fluctuation in play because guys are playing different positions. Whether heís inside corner, outside corner, 3rd safety or starting over Burnett, Randall will get the job done. Certain guys have a natural innate ability to cover people. Theyíre good defenders in basketball and just have the natural twitch and spatial sense to stay with another moving person. Randall has that. Coached up, heís a top-5 safety in the league. With the Green Bay DB curse, Jimmy Graham is going to steal the ball from him on a cross-field 2-pt. conversion in the NFCCG next year. Even so, heíll be very good.
I touched on Quentin Rollins in the beginning. Heís got everything you want in a pro CB except great recovery speed. He can play man, which is most important. Theyíll work with him and he wonít have to help right away while he figures out the game. Itís questionable to take him that early but thereís untapped potential. There really wasnít much left at the end of the 2nd round anyway.
I donít think much of Ty Montgomery as a pro wide receiver although he could carve a niche as a slot receiver. I doubt it though. Maybe they put him in the backfield a bit like they do with Cobb sometimes. Heís more of a RB. He looked faster two years ago so maybe something was wrong. The reason he went so high is his return prowess and I see no reason that wonít translate. Maybe he can recover onside kicks too.
Hundley was another fun talking point for people who know nothing about the draft. Iím not even going to get into how stupid it is to question taking a QB ďwhen they already have one!Ē Itís about value. You always need a good backup because you never know when your starter will get suspended for deflating balls or something. With his arm talent, size, and athleticism, Iíd never knock a team for spending a measly 5th-round pick on Hundley, but his tape is pretty bad. His placement is spotty, heís so worried about making a bad decision that he holds on to the ball forever, and his coaching staff basically said Ďscrew this weíre running himí last year. Heíd need a lot of work if he was just going back to UCLA. I simply donít like QB prospects who werenít at least very good passers in college. Still, upside. And I like my backup being a real running threat because if my starter leaves in the middle of a game, itís hard for players to adjust to a dual threat on the fly. Call it the Seneca Wallace effect. So while I donít predict the player will ever really be good, itís a worthwhile investment in theory.
Jake Ryanís OK for what he is but he needs to be kept clean to be even the old version of A.J. Hawk. Not impressive at all but heís athletic with high character and try-hard. Getting pulverized by blockers on Ohio State didnít look too good for him though. Not really feeling it in the 4th.
The Packers are looking to build the secondary into a strength. After how last year ended itís no surprise that the top three picks all have major special teams potential. There arenít any real holes on the roster so expect them back in the NFCCG mix. Ted talks.
BROWNS DENY FIRST-ROUND PICKS WERE DRAFTED TO BE BOUNCERS, CLAIM RUMORS OF ADDING NIGHTCLUB TO LOCKER ROOM ARE ĎCOMPLETELY FALSEí
This class comes down to one question: can Mike Pettine look any more uncomfortable in front of the camera? The guy just looks perpetually annoyed. He seems bothered and defensive and sounds almost regretful. He definitely doesnít believe anything heís saying. But can you blame him? His criminal owner took the advice of a homeless man to draft him a 5í11Ē alcoholic QB last year. Somehow, literally every single thing in that sentence is true.
I have no clue why so many people were talking about Danny Sheltonís 40. There are plenty of interesting insights analytics can give us about the draft, but the last freaking athletic test requirement red flag I care about is 40-yard dash for a nose tackle. If a LB or CB is extremely productive and then runs an unusually slow 40, thatís something to consider. But a 340-pound NT? Really? Is this really what weíre talking about? My first reaction was Ė ďWho cares? What was his 10-yard split?Ē My second reaction was Ė ďWait, why do I even care what his 10 was?Ē For those wondering, it was slow also. If your NT has to run 10 yards itís probably not good. And if he has to run 40, youíre in big trouble. I refuse to believe any GMs actually had him off their board because of speed requirements for that position. Anyway, my initial impatient reaction to Shelton was that he doesnít really do anything. He plays low and has outstanding quickness and heís violent and Wilforky but where will his impact really be? Sure theyíre better against the run immediately, but at 12 overall youíd think someone who factors in more against the pass or an offensive playmaker would make sense. Devante Parker would have been pointless, Waynes was gone, the top pass rushers were gone, Gurley was gone so the only guy they really passed on was Gordon. I bet the Browns tried to move up from 18 to get Gordon, but the Bolts outbid them (they gave up a lot). Later the Browns tried to move up for Petty and were outbid. Yikes. Anyway, Shelton at 12 was the Browns screaming Ngatagain! The weirdest trade in draft history was in 2006 when Cleveland moved down one spot to 13, trading places with division rival Baltimore. The Ravens took Haloti Ngata at 12 and the Browns, who needed a NT at the time, took the Kamerion Wimbley. So was passing on MGIII in favor of a Ngata/Wilfork talent who might not really do anything the right move? This one is hard. Iíll give the most hesitant yes in non-30+year-old-ready-to-settle-women-accepting-marriage-proposal history.
And with Duke Johnson added, passing on Gordon doesnít look as bad. Johnsonís fun to watch, and although I get burned on these small fun-to-watch types all the time, you have to like his offensive situation. They want to run the ball and their OL is very good. Heís a good receiver and his QBs have no WRs to throw to. And heís got other backs to spell him. Heís more physical than Gio and has better acceleration. He tries to break tackles but wonít at the NFL level. Heís good on the perimeter and in the open field - he just needs to get there. Joe Thomas and friends will help him do that. Good pick, heíll be a productive pro. He just has a scary body for taking hits. I think heíll be what Gio was supposed to be stats-wise.
Erving in the first is so boring and for some reason his tape didnít excite me. Itís possible that part of the lack of excitement was the fact that I was watching a center. He could go to RT, or they could wait until Mack leaves. Bleh. Itís clear to me that the Browns got screwed with the way the board played out. Any of those late-1st early-2nd WRs would have been sketchy as hell. I just canít get behind taking a RT/C who youíre going to figure out a position for on the fly at 18 overall. And itís not like heís dominant. Humphries and Cann have more upside. You can find a fine RT and/or future C later. Iíd have said YOLO and just gone with Perriman. Then Iíd have cringed for saying YOLO.
My take on Orchard is sure to enrage Browns fans even more. In the wake of Josh Gordon, I think the Browns looked to target a certain kind of player. A work-hard football junkie type. High character, a guy who was productive and played the game the ďrightĒ way and played as hard as possible. The problem with this strategy is that you miss out on quite a few better talents and you end up bumping guys up your board for things that frankly donít make that much of a difference in the pro game. Nate Orchard was a fine college player on a very good defense. He was easily one of the best edge players in the country. But that doesnít make him worth a 3rd and when you look at him closely, Iím not even sure heís worth a 5th. Will he flame out in the NFL? Most likely not, because heís a straight-up football player with top-notch skills who found a good spot after taking to coaching at Utah. But the NFL game is different from the pro game. Very different. And Orchard looks like the type of player who wonít translate into a starter. Heís not strong or fast, heís very tight for an edge guy, he weighs only 250, he doesnít have much power against the run, and a lot of his sacks were hustle sacks. Against Stanford he was credited with 3.5 sacks. You look at that and say Ďgreat, against pro tackles and a pro-style offense, he did well.í But when you really watch that tape, he didnít impress. All of his sacks were hustle sacks aside from one good bull rush against Peat. Stanfordís QB Hogan was holding onto the ball for a while on that one and WAY too long on the others. His best play was actually a Charles Tillmanish strip about 10 yards down the field. Thatís a big deal when judging his performance and impact as a college player in that game. But scouting him for the NFL, itís nothing but a footnote, if that. His 3-cone, short-shuttle, 40, vert, and BJ were all below average for a 250-pound player. And heís not strong. I really hope his college stats werenít a big factor here in Clevelandís decision. I donít know Browns, I donít know.
As for Mayle, heís tough to judge. With their WRs, heís probably the best one right now even with how raw he is. Drops are an issue, but the guy had 106 catches Ė itís not like he canít catch. Maybe he can go to Boweís eye doctor and get contacts. They wonít throw the ball enough for him to matter.
Cooper can spell Shelton on passing downs and play 3tech in Pettineís 4-3 looks. It works. Hayes Pullard stood out to me on tape making plays so I donít know why he went so late. Telfer blocks, and IEOís comeback will hopefully be glorious. Wonít happen until 2017. 3 million is 3 million but he looked so dejected lasting to the 7th and if you noticed he was actually limping. Itís sad. That prediction is out of sheer hope. Iím lukewarm on this class, but I think itís a good bet to have 3 or 4 very productive pros. They might not all be productive in Cleveland though.
PANTHERS IGNORE O-LINE, BELIEVE CAM IS ACTUALLY SUPERMAN
The Panthers took two guys without positions with their first two picks, which probably isnít smart. But letís look at the actual players before we jump to conclusions. Shaq Thompson is the Thomas Davis replacement. He can buzz the flats but heís not getting off blocks. Really, he has the upside to be the best coverage LB in the league. We know he can cover backs, but if he can cover TEs in man (didnít see him get a chance at this on tape), heíll be very valuable. I rarely knock a guy for size unless I think his frame and style make him likely to get hurt Ė Thompson needs to learn to tackle with his head up or heís going to have major issues. Heíll eat more meat and put on some muscle mass while playing specials and dime LB as a rookie. When Davis canít go anymore, heíll fill his shoes admirably. Mike Francesa, the greatest sports personality in history, hates draftniks but has connections in the league. He loves Shaq Thompson. If youíve ever listened to Mikeís show, you know heís NEVER been wrong, so thereís no way Thompsonís not a star. I too love my snowblowa.
Devin Funchess can go to hell. For some reason my brain could not process him. I took a second look and liked what I saw which angered me even more. I give up, Iím not picking anything for him. Actually, Iíll say that before his first training camp he retires to become a priest like Glenn Coffee and Mase did. Now I donít have to deal with him anymore. Itís good that the Panthers finally realize Cam is always going to throw high. So they just keep getting him 7-footers.
Daryl Williams plays RT or guard for them and is strong and nasty enough to stick and start. The rest Iím not into. Except Denzelle Goode because heís literally from Mars.
How did this team have so few draft picks? Are they still paying off the Armanti Edwards debt or something? Regardless, the O-line isnít good, I donít like their pass rush, and Roman Harper has more gray hair than Rob Ryan. The Cam Newton Super Bowl run I keep promising isnít happening this year.
TOM COUGHLIN SAYS GIANTS DRAFT MOST EXCITING IN TEN YEARS - ĎI ONLY FELL ASLEEP ONCEí
This draft wasnít deep so Iím not going to kill Reese for not getting anything worthwhile after the 2nd round. Owa isnít an NFL-caliber pass rusher and Damontre Moore is way better. Heíll be a decent role player at best. Iím going to guess that the trade-up for Landon Collins pays off. Heíll be what Kenny Phillips should have been/kind of was at times. Collins gets pegged as a box guy and idiots like me were fooled by Mark Barron so that didnít help. But Collins has more range. I just donít understand why he showed up to the combine at 228. Two years ago he flew around the field and looked like a legit FS and potential top-15 pick. Last year he was sluggish and just too big, moving too deliberate like a dime LB. Something was up, but if heís playing at 218-220 like he did in 2014, I think youíve got a pro bowl safety. Giants will get him a nutritionist and heís a quality starter and top-10 S in the league by year 3.
This draft hinges on spending the 9th overall pick on a classic bust risk. Raw talent with poor technique whoís going to struggle at a new position forced to start early. My notes on Flowers are bipolar. ďGregory destroys him with bull rush, off balanceĒ followed by ďsloppy kickslideĒ, then ďhigh effort, great motor, GREAT talentĒ and ďpatient mirror on Gregory.Ē Did he literally develop into a franchise tackle right in front of my eyes!? Heís going to have to work on that crab-like outside punch in pass pro before Jameis Winston tries to steal him. NFL O-line coaches seemed to be incredibly high on the kid. I think he loves football. Heís super talented, athletic, twitchy and gigantic. A few holds during his development, yes, but heís going to the right organization. Pro Bowler.
Iím putting my Odell Beckham sophomore stat-line prediction up here now. This kid was a RAC demon at LSU and he barely even scratched the surface in that department as a rookie and STILL broke records. The only thing that can hold him back is injury, and durability is a legit concern. So maybe this wonít happen next year, but the first time OBJ plays 16 games hereís what heíll do: 123 receptions, 2002 yards, 14 TDs. I would consider taking him first overall in fantasy football. Cue the Ďslow down the hypeí responses from people who donít watch games. This kid is beyond special.
MAJORITY MASACHIST FAN BASE FURIOUS AFTER RAIDERS FAIL TO MESS UP DRAFT
Iíve noticed a trend this year of teams drafting players very similar to veterans already on the roster. One reason is that teams look for certain prototypes for certain spots. Another is probably to have a model for young players to emulate and learn from. Justin Tuck is about as good as it gets for Mario Edwards. The number one overall recruit in the nation coming out of the high school, Edwards just lacks passion on the field and to stay in shape. His work ethic probably isnít JaMarcus-level horrible considering he did everything he had to do to be an impact player at FSU, but he definitely doesnít play up to his full potential. He just goes through the motions. Heíll probably continue to do that but heís good enough to replace Tuck and be a 4-3 LE. A solid pro is actually decent value at 35 overall despite what most think about the hit rate of draft picks. But I think there were better players on the board and he really just might not give a ****.
Clive Walfordís not dynamic or powerful enough to be THAT good in the pros. But heís got huge hands and can pretty much do everything you want. I donít see great things but heíll make some plays and can start. Average player with flashes. Marcedes Lewis-like production? I like this pick? *reads teleprompter* Iím Reggie McKenzie?
The right side of the Raiders O-Line is a mess and Iím not sure about Donald Penn anymore, but theyíre OK at RG and C. Iíd have liked to see a lineman earlier as the kid from Miami probably doesnít stick at RG.
Passing on Leonard Williams is tough to do, and you can count on two hands the non-QBs Iíd have done that for in the past 10 years. Amari Cooper is one of them. The only concern with Cooper has nothing to do with Cooper. Most top NFL WRs are taller than 6í1Ē. There are definitely analytics that suggest Cooper will have to be a rare outlier to live up to his draft cost. He will be just that. If I listed the positives of this prospect, Iíd be here all day. Since I started scouting WRs, only Calvin and Fitz compare as prospects (I wasnít doing this when Moss came out), with A.J. Green and Julio trailing (might have forgotten someone) a bit. Yes, all of those guys are over 6í3Ē. Jerry Rice wasnít though. *Gasp* I said it. With no great running game, a young QB with a good arm who will complete a lot of passes, and a lot of catch-up mode and garbage time, Amari Cooper will have a 100+ catch rookie season. Heíll build on that and finish his career 4th all-time in receiving yards. So basically I thought it was an OK pick.
STAFFORD ADMITS JUST BEING IN THE SAME STADIUM AS JAY CUTLER TWICE A YEAR MADE HIM LAZIER
This was a weak class and there werenít many guys I liked in that late-first range. Still, Detroit targeting a guard is weird. The analysts all gushed over Tomlinson but I donít see it. I saw him on the ground three times in the first 5 minutes of watching him. Moving is a struggle, he has a very heavy lower body, and it looks like heís thinking a little. That would make some sense because the dude is brilliant, but I donít want my linemen thinking. When he gets inside on a target he can move people, but I think heís going to struggle. Heís another guy who probably got a bump on boards because of non-football positives. Be careful with that.
Abdullah (insert McNeese State play here) was very good in college but Iím not sure if heís a star or just decent in the league. Heís nothing special athletically in a league with special athletes and heís really not very fast. Heís a natural runner with really outstanding vision and balance. I see the burst and the only real negative with him is the fumbling. At 54 itís a no-brainer because thereís very little bust risk and high upside. Heís going to be productive in the passing game without question. I think heís a productive back and the starter in his second year. Damn Iím not picking many bust RBs.
Alex Carter is supposed to replace Rashean Mathis when heís done and Gabe Wright will help fill in the void left by Suh. Neither are good bets to do those tasks all that well. I didnít like Mayhewís first round pick last year but I thought his middle and late stuff was good. Ebron and the rest will show their true colors this season. With this haul Iím thinking they get one real productive guy at RB and not much else.
REPORT: VIKINGS PASSED ON PARKER BECAUSE MIKE WALLACE HELD GUN TO GMíS HEAD DURING FIRST ROUND
In the above Dolphins review I touched on the Vikes passing on Bridgewaterís favorite college target with a huge need at WR. Even if Trae Waynes reaches his ceiling, passing on Parker will either be looked at as an idiotic missed opportunity or a shrewd decision to stay disciplined. My notes on Waynes were pretty much all positive and heís obviously plenty fast and long enough to translate his elite press man ability to the next level. Iím a big 3cone guy and his was bad, and there are a lot of people who arenít sold on him for various reasons, but I didnít see many negatives at all. Sure heíll get called for holding some, but thatís fine. Iíll trust my eyes and say pro bowler but Iím interested to see if Iím missing something here.
When you think about the division, Kendricks makes more sense than the other backers. Detroit, Green Bay, and Chicago are in the gun all the time and you need your LBs to be able to cover. Heís the best in the draft in coverage for sure. Good awareness and quicks in zone and I donít think there are many better options in the league to cover backs and TEs at LB. However, his tape isnít nearly as good as the talking heads and tackle numbers would lead you to believe against the run. He doesnít get off blocks at all and makes his stops way down the field. The plan is to play him at MIKE but Iím not sure he can stick there. I think heís way better as WILL but either way heís going to have value against the pass and will need good DT play in front of him to stay clean against the run. His brother was a better prospect. Vikings fans can take solace in the fact that I was way wrong about another UCLA LB last year.
T.J. Clemmings is a health risk but I liked him a lot on tape. Love it in the fourth. I know he struggled big at the Senior Bowl which is concerning but heís extremely athletic and moved people in the run game. Heís got good feet and I think he can play LT but youíd rather have him at RT. Redshirt him this year and then if his health is good he replaces Kalil or starts at RT. Good value. Meanwhile, Stefon Diggs is not very good at football and will be the next Derrick Williams, and if you donít know who that is then that should tell you something. Tyrus Thompson is large but not in charge.
I canít believe Iím about to endorse a prospect who had 1.5 sacks as a starter last year, but Danielle Hunter is one of the prettiest girls at the dance. This freak has all the traits of a stud pass rusher; he just didnít get many sacks. But when you study his tape you see another Ďthiscloseí type player, which was Mingo two years ago. 13 TFL isnít bad, itís not like heís been a massive underachiever other than sack stats, and apparently heís fine character-wise. I liked him on tape. Heís strong enough, just raw. And I think he has a really high floor. Everson Griffen put it all together once he got to the pros and I think he can help Hunter do the same. Heíll be a rotational pass rusher early and eventually a productive starter with some 10+ sack years. Give Zimmer another piece. Minnesotaís D has enough talent to be scary as hell. I was critical of Bridgewater last year and did not agree with those who thought he should be the first overall pick. The general consensus seems to be that his rookie year was good and that heís on track to be a franchise guy soon. Iíd proceed with some caution as he really was just OK and was supposed to be very pro ready, but then again that offense became a mess with Petersonís problematic parenting practices and Pattersonís regression. Iíd contend that anything less than 9+ wins and a 22/14 TD/TO ratio would be a disappointment in year 2. I didnít think heíd bust at all, but heís talked about as if he really looked like the savoir as a rookie. Hard to deny his intangibles though. He just has to get his mechanics consistently right and the deep ball accuracy will follow.
GRIGSON ADMITS REASON FOR DRAFT DAY GAFFE: ĎI LEFT IT ON AUTOPICKí
Andrew Luck continues to amaze me. Three years, three playoff appearances, getting one step closer to the Super Bowl each year. Right after losing to the Pats in the AFCCG, he goes out and tries his luck at the NBA with Chicago, finishing second in ROY voting to Andrew Wiggins. Now he gets another speedy WR to throw to in Dorsett, the second U receiver added by the Colts this offseason with Andre Johnson signed as a FA. Unlike adding Andre, Dorsett was a dumb move. I donít blast teams for not drafting for need, but thatís only if the guy they take is the best player on the board. He wasnít. Iím sure they want him for returns, but he wasnít even really good at that, soÖ Luck can make Griff Whalen look good. Dorsett making some big plays isnít out of the question, but production-wise with all of those weapons they just spent the 29th pick in the draft on a ceiling of 45 catches and 5 TDs per year for his first 2 years, right smack in the prime of Luckís Super Bowl window. He barely produced in college Ė now heís going to a team with like 5 stud options and live up to draft cost? I guess they plan to let Hilton walk, but still Ė and wait Ė why let Hilton walk? Dorsett will have his moments and flame out or move on. Interesting play that sums up my thoughts on this pick: against Louisville he came in jet motion to the boundary and didnít think heíd be thrown the ball. The QB went through his reads and had nothing so he looked at Dorsett in the flat. Dorsett made the catch, but with one problem: he was standing with his entire body and both feet out of bounds. They should have gone with Landon Collins or one of a handful of offensive lineman.
DíJoun Smith is going to get beat A LOT in the NFL. Heís talented enough to play, and competitive enough to end up on some OBJ posters and keep playing. He might stick in the league for a bit, but heís not going to be very good. He got beat constantly in man against Nebraska and Marshall. Doesnít understand leverage yet, gave up a ton of separation against mediocre WRs, not very long and heís very reactive lacking natural coverage instincts. He should be a plus special teamer but thatís probably not worth it in the second.
As for the rest, two Stanfords makes me wonder for a second about whose input is being considered. I want my players to play Ė not make personnel decisions. Thatís how you trade 15 years of Scottie Pippen away for one year of a no-defense stat-chaser who might get hurt and give nothing whatsoever in the playoffs. ďWhat is he even saying?Ē I donít know either. Josh Robinson I like. Old Frank Gore can be Fred Taylor, young Robinson can play the MJD-lite role Ė he makes up for a lack of explosion with good instincts and quicks.
I thought Grigsonís first draft was brilliant at the time, but hes been below average as a GM since 2012, aside from the Vontae Davis trade. I fear he may be holding this organization back. Pep Hamilton adjusted to his personnel admirably by letting Luck loose while dealing with a comically predictable mess at tailback. This draft could have netted them a defensive difference-maker or two AND a quality offensive lineman or two. Instead, a situational deep threat/cross-your-fingers return guy in the first round, and some questionable stuff later. There were some decent low-risk veteran signings in FA, but I think Grigsonís seat will be warmer in the near future in part because of this draft class.
RAMS SELECT MANLY RUNNER GURLEY, GM SNEAD CUTS HAIR TO AVOID CONFUSION
No opinion on Jamon Brown at guard, but Havenstein is good to go at RT right now. Then they go with two more linemen that I didnít scout, but I like that strategy because as a Headless Horseman with two very talented backs, Fisher just wants to pound the ball and talk with a deep raspy voice on the sidelines. Sean Mannionís not very good and I was surprised he went so high. I also donít/didnít like Nick Foles, so do you Rams.
But we all know who this class ultimately comes down to: Bud Sasser. Iím going to go against the grain a bit here and predict Sasser amounts to absolutely nothing as a pro. The guy I do like a bit is actually Todd Gurley, the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson according to everyone who said Trent Richardson was the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson. Donít worry; this is not T-Rich. Gurleyís speed is prodigious, his acceleration is exceptional, and his explosiveness is.. explosive? Always falls forward, can catch, he does most things at an advanced and high level, and dominated top athletes of the SEC. Underrated trait for any football player Ė phenomenal balance. Still, I wasnít blown away by his tape to be frank (drebin). A couple things I noticed Ė he bounces everything outside, heís more straight-linish than I thought, and I didnít see special lateral agility before the injury. OK. None of that matters because just look at the traits. The guy is physically and athletically from another planet. His running style reminded me of a bigger Chris Johnson with more power (but really not a huge YAC guy, just a fall forward and leg drive guy), which means I donít know exactly for his pro career. Heís pretty obviously going to be a star and it was great value at 10. Iím sure there are many internet doctors/fantasy football GMs arguing against this pick for various dumb reasons. In four years when Gurley is the 3nd best back in football behind Zeke Elliot and Bilal Powell, theyíll still think they were right to bash the pick because the Rams didnít win the Super Bowl so RBs donít matter or some stupid anecdotal point about RBs not being needed to win. Itís a great pick because he was the best player on the board. Thatís it. Value, BPA, build your team with good players. Bye, hypothetical 2010s fan who thinks RBs really arenít important because there was an odd trend of productive 2nd-round studs when they first got into fantasy football.
JAGS DRAFT ALL AQUA-PHOBIACS AFTER COACHES STRUGGLED TO KEEP PLAYERS OUT OF STADIUM POOL DURING HOME GAMES LAST SEASON
Sigh. I want Jacksonville to do well. I predicted big things from Blake Bortles despite literally the first thing in my notes saying ďhe was awful against Baylor in the bowl game.Ē Later wrote that he was outstanding against Penn State, yet in the middle of PSU notes ďevery ball wobbles.Ē Iím an idiot. Iím not writing with any trace of what I WANT to see anymore (someone even called me out on that last year, they could sense the biasÖ hmmmÖ). Iím writing what I see. And most drafts are not just disappointing, but VERY disappointing. Call me a flip-flopper, I donít care. Iím hopping off the Gus Bus after just two years and yes I know the line was bad and heís only a rookie, but Bortles was very bad. Yes, rookie QBs can struggle. But in todayís game, do guys really come back from THAT? If he does, Iíll be very surprised. I really, really want him to, but itís not happening, especially with that supporting cast.
Moving on to this yearís draft. I think I watched the wrong Dante Fowler Jr. games. On the ESPN draft broadcast they showed pretty much exactly what I thought Iíd be getting when I sat down to watch his tape Ė real grimy pass rush stuff. But what I studied was a very flawed, if incredibly gifted, athlete playing football. Itís not like heís Dion Jordan or anything, but he did some real oddball stuff against ECU, LSU, and Bama. Bama phenom Freshman LT Cam Robinson absolutely owned him, which puts Robinson on track for the top-5 in 2017. I saw Fowler get killed in the screen game, miss angles, be a little slow processing, show no tackling form at all, and generally just try to out-athlete everyone. And of course that works Ė the dude is an unreal athlete, as twitchy and explosive as it gets with real holy **** speed. Heís just not overly instinctive and was generally just flashy with a swim, first step, some nice pursuit flashes, but not consistent. He needs more polish and focus, and some of his pass rush moves were downright hilarious. Against ECU he literally tried to bull rush his way to the QB with his ass. He even moved the lineman back a bit. And my favorite play pretty much sums up how I feel about him: He once recovered a fumble then fumbled and recovered his own fumble. Iíd normally pick a guy like this bust, but Anthony Barr happened to me (and heís more gifted than Barr), and to his credit his motor wonít let him fail. I think they should have taken Cooper or Williams over him, but Iím not about to bet that hard against those otherworldly traits. Mild disappointment for the Jags due to inconsistency and ghost stretches but a 10-year starter in the league. He doesnít have the temperament to fail and that athleticism simply cannot be bad Ė itís that special.
Is T.J. Yeldon really that good? Itís tough because he almost went first freaking round and was never even featured in college. And itís not like Derrick Henry is a world-beater. Like all Bama backs heís going to have to adjust leaving that OL and scheme. And he walks into Jacksonvilleís atrocious OL situation. His vision looked great on tape and heís huge with great feet. But is he special? His athletic tests say no. His coaching staff didnít feature him. He fumbles a lot. Why do so many people love him? Shoelace was productive last year, and Yeldon will be this year. How much? Heíll be solid for his career.
Cann is my kind of Cordy Glennish dude. Heíll start and be solid from day one. I also liked James Sample a lot. If Cyprien is the SS, I think they view Sample as free. I actually liked his range, despite what everyone else is saying. He drove on two near picks from his deep half and QBs didnít really test him. He didnít play man, but I think heíll be the hole free safety in Bradleyís D. Very instinctive, trusts his eyes, and heís got 4.56 speed. We know heís big and can tackle too. I like it a lot. Great pick.
The internet loves Rashad Greene and Michael Bennett because theyíre recognizable. Neither will do much in the league Ė they both fell for a reason. Bennettís got a better chance to be real though. Monmouth TE Neal Sterling makes the team and becomes a beast. Heís got comparable talent to Julius Thomas. Steal. The Jags need results soon and this draft probably doesnít do it. 6 or more wins and Bradley keeps his job. 4 or less and he loses it. 5-11 heís done too. Itís going to be 5-10-1 and let the gods decide.
JOE FLACCO MOTIVATED BY ROOKIE RECEIVERíS SPEED, IMPROVES 40 TIME TO ĎNOT STATUEí
Steve Smith is one of the best players of the generation, but for some reason no young receiver has ever developed on the same team as him. Iím not blaming him, but - actually yes Iím blaming him because heís psychotic. He will either help Perriman become a monster or make him uncomfortable by berating him like he does the mailman and grocery store cashier and everyone he cross paths with on and off the field on a daily basis. Some are saying Perriman doesnít play to his timed speed which is true because thatís pretty much impossible. But heís not really allowed to with his quarterback and he absolutely does play faster than everyone else. He makes corners open up almost instantly and his QB just doesnít get him the ball when he runs by people on almost every 9. Heís also a monster size-wise. I have two issues: he fights the ball (his arms and things get in the way, just catch the ball we know you can) and heís not a RAC guy. I think the fact that Ozzie and John Harbaugh endorsed this type of player at 26 is a great sign. If a guy like him goes in the 2nd itís kind of like Ďwell why did everyone pass on him? Ė thatís not good.í When one of the best GMs in the league takes him and puts him in a strong locker room with a strong-armed veteran QB, it supports the projection. And thereís obviously a great deal of projection here. Heís not THAT raw but the pro game is going to be a little different than being 30x faster than everyone on the field at UCF. I like him there to be a No. 1 WR by his 3rd year. Itís risky but that talent is rare.
I usually like the top tight end each year more than most. I even defended the Brandon Pettigrew pick for some reason. This year is no different and I think Maxx Williams has a good chance to prove me right. First, I like him as a blocker. Adnandidit He gives effort and gets his hands inside. Some of his highlight grabs were ridiculous. And heís still very young with untapped potential. The only two things going against him are lack of real speed and no evidence of working the short game on tape. Heís going to need to develop an underneath feel to be a real receiving threat, but the opportunity is there. And the fact that the Steelers targeted him makes me like him even more. NFL coaches know he has the ability to be a plus blocker and his hands are obvious.
Buck Allen will be a good NFL back. Heís big but not powerful, but he can make guys miss and has a juke move that looks like L1 on a PS2 controller. Profiles as a zone runner with his one-cut ability and uncommon quickness. Underrated with him is his balance because no one notices because he doesnít even try to break tackles. And heís fine in the passing game. Adnandidit It would not shock me if he became the next Arian Foster, and with if the line can play like it did under Kubiak, Buck it, Iíll say heís 1000-yard productive either this year or next.
Motivated Carl Davis can be a star in an alternate universe, Lazy Carl Davis can be a JAG, ZaíDarius can be a ZAG, and nothing else excites me. Adnandidit This class will come down to Perriman because I donít know if Maxx is athletic enough to be a top-5 TE in the league. I think heíll be a taller Heath Miller type with more TDs.
DEMARCO MURRAY VOWS TO GET REVENGE, LOWERS INJURY RISK % TO 93.2 BY PLANNING TO SIT OUT ALL 2015 GAMES NOT VS. COWBOYS
Iím not big on Byron Jones, and I donít think heíll live up to that draft slot. I think they wanted Kevin Johnson there. He can play press man and has a little Cromartie in him except heís weak and a zero in the running game. Heís also going to get flagged a lot because he likes to use his hands and he got beat inside too much. Always beware the workout warrior. Especially frogs. Good news for Dallas though as they actually received a $1.6 million first-round pick gift in return for letting the NFL push Aaron Rodgers to the NFCCG. Collins will be a beast.
Every single thing about the Randy Gregory situation is odd. Can I ask a question? What the hell did he ever even do? He missed meetings with NFL teams. OK. All 32 teams passed on him Ė did he miss every single meeting? He smokes weed. OK. You know who else smokes weed? Other people. He failed a drug test at the combine. OK. So did Calvin Johnson and countless other players. Some articles insinuated that he has mental health concerns. OK. And? This is a league that literally SACRIFICIES the mental health of a player either after or during a career so they can play the game. Is it a question of motivation? Does he have a violent past? Maybe he does other drugs? Is he just extremely unreliable? I even thought for a second that some teams might think heís a suicide risk. Jay Glazer said he wouldnít touch him and that ďthere are other issues.Ē I obviously donít know much about the situation and Iím sure teams kept letting him slide for a reason, but what I do know is this Ė he played three seasons at Nebraska. There was a mysterious missed game against Iowa, but no arrests, no suspensions. He survived there without any critical mistakes as far as I know. If he fell because of a battle with a mental illness then I blame the teams and hope he makes everyone regret passing on him. On the field heís Clowney-ish without the special power and he didnít play as well this year as he did last year. That would be a normal red flag but with him itís gigantic I guess. Heís only 230ish but guys rarely fail because of size despite the old-school thinking of positional minimum requirements by GMs. A nutrition plan and pro strength regimen will get him up to where he needs to be. His hands are way stronger than people who didnít study him think. Iím going with a major steal and multiple pro bowler here but I have to admit Iím rooting for him now. I think pairing him with Lawrence gives Dallas as talented a pass rushing duo in the league. I can already see Eliís face.
Chaz Green wonít play right away with Collins now, but he could be a good swing tackle 6th man. Nothing else to comment on.
If Gregory doesnít pan out, this Cowboys haul might look very bad. As for leaving the draft without a RB, itís not that big of a deal. People will eat up any narrative as long as its easy to talk about. Not drafting a freaking POSITION (not a player) is not a real thing to talk about. If they liked a RB over the guys they took, they would have drafted him. If they knew they were getting Collins I guess Buck Allen, Ajayi, or Cobb would have been good in the 3rd over Chaz Green. But after they took Gregory all the real impact backs were gone. And when did everyone become so worried about RB? I thought they werenít important? Losing Murray will hurt, absolutely, but how quickly we forget that he was constantly injured before last year (and even last year a little) and had the single most costly fumble of the season (and fumbles a lot). And this team has Tony Romo and Dez Bryant Ė itís not like the 2012 Vikings just gave up Adrian Peterson. NFL Network and ESPN as usual would rather dumb down the conversation to the simplest talking point rather than actually analyze specific players.
THE WALKING DEAD: DOLPHINIS PLAYERS FEAR HEAD COACH MIGHT BE ZOMBIE, REFUSE TO GET TOO CLOSE IN FEAR OF BECOMING INFECTED
First, the good. Jordan Phillips is what you want in a NT. He has a chance to be just as valuable as Danny Shelton. Sheltonís not going to get many sacks, and is he really even a better run defender than Phillips? If Phillips cares at all the answer is definitely no. You arenít going to move him if he doesnít want to be moved, so it will come down to motivation and conditioning. Iíll touch on the makeup of this Miami team later and itís not like heís in New England or Pittsburgh, but lining up next to Suh on every snap will be good for him. I think it works and heís a top NT in the league by year 3.
Bobby McCain is the nickel CB the people of Miami deserve. Heíll get better every day with Grimes as his mentor and reps against Jarvis Landry. Outstanding quickness and heís a playmaker, you just wish heíd stop guessing in man coverage. Against Ole Miss he picked off Bad Bo twice and at 5í9Ē laid out two blockers. Nice little player whose floor is specials and sub packages.
Jay Ajayi in the 5th is obviously worth it. The 5th-round is not filled with sure things and whenever you can get a guy who was usually the best player on the field that late in the draft, itís a good idea. His body is probably not going to hold up for longer than a few years, but worrying about what a guy will give you in 2018 is dumb because the NFL is a week-to-week league. If you can get 3 years of production from a 5th-round pick, and you donít know if you want to pay him because youíre still concerned with his durability, chances are heís worked out better for you in those 3 years than most other 5th-rounders. Anyway, Ajayi is pretty much good at everything, and a better all-around back than Lamar Miller. This is another one of those Ďgood performanceí evaluations where sometimes how well a guy performs distracts you from the pro projection aspect which is far more important. Creative, elusive, and can catch so heíll play 3rd downs right away over Miller. Heís pretty much above average at everything in college so heíll probably be average in the NFL. But I like the fit and opportunity so Iíll say productive early and often if healthy.
I cannot figure out DeVante Parker. Minnesota GM Rick Spielman has earned my respect the past few years and he took Waynes over him with a huge need at WR and an obvious connection to Bridgewater. Thatís slightly concerning at the very least. Parker does do some very A.J. Green things but something is missing. After reading about him I think the concerns are over his mental ability, his toughness, and his durability. On tape heís explosive and a top college performer but he just looks like he lacks polish. There is bust risk here especially considering his enigmatic young quarterback and an offense that might not demand the same attention to detail as others. Iím paranoid about DeVante Parker and think his development is tied with Tannehillís. IF he stays out of the trainerís room and IF Tannehill improves and IF he can handle the mental aspect of the pro game, then yes, Parker is a star. But I really canít get over the Vikings passing on him. To me, thatís a clear indication that Spielman simply didnít project him as a top WR so I think thereís more to him than all the gushing from the analysts would lead you to believe. I could see him flaming out or disappointing if the Dolphins go down a nightmare road, which is a distinct possibility given the defenses in the division and a possible zombie head coach. There are talent questions at some spots on defense and Parker is going to be expected to be the most explosive player on offense right away. This team started 5-3 last year but finished the season losing 3 of their last 4, giving up a ton of points in the process. The last time they played, Geno Smith put up a perfect QB rating against them. Suh will make a difference, but they arenít deep and have questions at LB and in the secondary. I could see Philbin getting fired midseason.
FALCONS PLAYERS EXPLAIN LACK OF TOUGHNESS, FOCUS Ė ĎMIKE SMITH WAS MORE BORING THAN MAYWEATHER-PACQUIAOí
Hereís my take on Beasley: At his core, he's not the aggressive defensive football player NFL teams want. Heís finesse, he's calculated, and almost too sportsmanlike in his efforts to get to opposing quarterbacks. Is that a fatal flaw? Someone told him after the early part of this season that he needed to become more of a dog because he seemed somewhat feistier late in the year. But he's not a dog. How much does he really want to eat? Pass rushers need to want to eat. T-Rex doesnít want to be fed, he wants to hunt. So can it work? Can you be not that physical and succeed as a pass rusher? With his traits and skills, I say yes and his sack artistry translates in a big way. But remember that toughness mantra this team wanted to push on Hard Knocks last year? DQ has his work cut out for him in year one.
Why were people high on Jalen Collins? Why was everyone so surprised he barely started in college? He wasnít good. Getting abused by Amari Cooper is one thing (opens hips right away on a simple slant, then proceeds to give up 30 yards AND miss the tackle at the 1 yard line in pursuit when he was in man), but he was getting beat by DeAndrew White. Heís long and athletic but stiff and panics and opens up so quickly. He needs to be in C3, which is why Quinn took him, but I donít think heís Dick Sherman. I think heíll continue to disappoint. He definitely gave his position coaches gray hair at LSU.
Grady Jarrettís a damn good football player but heís a smaller version of all those lovable quick-twitch 3-techniques who tend to bust. Still well worth it in the 5th-round and a good fit for Seattle-err Atlantaís rotational defense. His hands arenít that heavy, strength isnít great, heís not going to be as quick off the ball against pro linemen, and my Reverse Planet Theory states that guys like him have a better chance to bust because their college film came against college guards (the worst O-linemen in college ball) and when they get to the league they match up against pro guards Ė either the elite of the elite college guards OR former college tackles. Role player with some flashes maybe but if he starts heíll be a liability against the run.
Finally, Justin Hardy will be better than Harry Douglas. Hardy is weird. Thereís nothing not to like. So how does he fall to the 4th? Whatever, steal. This roster still has major flaws but I think the defense has to get better by default. I see them winning the division and Beasley making an impact early.
JOHN BROWN WINS FIRST LOCKER ROOM ARM-WRESTLING MATCH EVER
I always have an affinity for these productive small fast guys like JJ Nelson, no matter how tiny, but 156 pounds might be too small even for me. Actually, nah. His KR TD against Troy is one of the best highlights of any prospect (someone insert youtube here). The thing with him playing football is that he just doesnít get touched. How do I make sense of this? Theoretically, if a guy weighs 90 pounds, but literally does not get touched ever but instead just runs oob, scores, or falls down every time he gets the ball, how can he not be effective? I mean 4.29 isnít that fast in NFL terms I suppose. Screw this - if he makes it through camp healthy heís going to the HOF. Thatís as a kick returner Ė Arians is high if he thinks heís actually playing more than a handful WR snaps with his Emmanuel Sanders comparison. UAB had him running digs and he almost died. In Ariansí defense he probably is high though. Arians has that jazz musician swag all the other white coaches envy.
With Markus Golden, Iím sure the initial reaction is WHY DO THEY HATE REAL PASS RUSHERS!? I think in todayís get-the-ball-out-right-now NFL, the big-time pass rusher can be so easily neutralized that some teams like the Cards just donít bother with it Ė especially at the premium cost. Theyíd rather get home blitzing and pay their edge guys less money to stop the run and let the talented secondary earn sacks by covering for so long that guys like Mr. Frostee and now Golden can just hustle and be relentless. Think about their division Ė if you canít stop the run against Lynch/Wilson, Gurley/Mason and Hyde/Kaep, youíre shot. Get at those guys blitzing and use your edge guys to set the edge. Golden can definitely play that role.
As for the first-rounder, heís very talented. Love his hand placement. Some think the best overall tackle in the draft. Iím down with that. Pro Bowler in 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2023. Nice.
Finally, the Cardinals got one of the best values in the draft with David Johnson in the 3rd. He might be one of the best backs at receiving Iíve ever seen out of college. Iím not sure what other people are seeing with him with some of the most over-nitpicky negatives about vision, quickness, and hip tightness, but he runs like a monster. Yes, playing RB is not as simple as many believe it is Ė that is definitely true. But it doesnít take a coach or trained scout to see that this kid has special talent as a runner, and thatís before you get into his receiving skills or upside based on his test numbers (his 3-cone suggests heís plenty quick and when he works on the little things as a pro, watch out). Iím not surprised it was the Cardinals to notice this, as theyíve been one of the more common sense drafting franchises in the league recently. Heíll beat out Ellington by Week 3. Lead back and OROY candidate Ė 1506 total yards, 13 TDs.
So the Cardinals are scary. Definitely a Headless Horseman. Or Kneeless Horseman. Wait was it his ankle this time? Palmerís had a sad career since Kimo on that bomb in like 2006. It would be cool to see him play a meaningful playoff game.
LEVEON, STEELERS ACQUIRE BUD
I was betrayed by Jarvis Jones, a classic example of overreacting to college performance. Bud Dupree is kind of the opposite at first glance but when you watch his tape, he did do things. Itís not like he wasnít productive, heís just raw Ė but every player will adjust and learn new things when they get to the league. I think he was drafted to the best situation because the Steelers arenít going to complicate things for him. I imagine they will tell him to go after the opposing quarterback and try to tackle him. He held up against the run just fine. I see a sack artist in the making and some Pro Bowls.
Senquez Golsonís probably too tiny to be expected to tackle well as an inside corner. Heís got great ball skills, quick feet, balance, understands leverage, and can play man but heís going to give up contested catches against the monsters in the NFL. He can start and heís their best CB today.
Doran Grantís not playing man in the NFL, Holliman canít tackle, and Jesse James will never live up to Matt Spaeth.
To Auburn. In 2013 against A&M, Sammie Coates caught a hitch, squared up with the CB, and broke his tackle by literally grabbing him by his chest plate and throwing him into the turf as hard as Gronk spiking a football. There are a lot of question marks here and he looked way better in 2013 than 2014. While the hands donít worry me that much, two knee injuries and the Pats passing on him at 64 after heavy interest give me some pause. Pause. Pause. Pause. Pause. Four pause to be exact. Like a puppy. Heíll be a contributor but nothing special. I just donít see him getting in and out of breaks quick enough to get separation. Better than Wheaton though and I envision some meaningful playoff catches.
The Steelers have at least two starters in this class, and potential above average ones. And it looks like last yearís class has three starters. Theyíve been doing this for years. The truth is that most teams draft good players. Some are better than others, sure, and the Steelers are probably above average at drafting. But in terms of developing those drafted players, thereís no better franchise in pro football than Pittsburgh.
PEYTON MANNING ANNOUNCES PASSING ACADEMY WILL FEATURE MORE HAND-OFF DRILLS
So Randy Gregory is a pariah and ďtoo stupidĒ for failing a combine drug test, but Shane Ray is just a good kid who made a mistake for speeding with weed on him two days before the draft? Interesting. Rayís turf toe explains his horrible 3cone, but watching the tape I didnít think his COD skills were that great anyway. The entire world seems to love this kidís game but I really wasnít that impressed. Heís not long, heís straight-linish, he made a lot of plays rushing against guards, and I donít see the bend. Heís got flashes of brilliance I suppose, but thatís usually when he gets the snap count down. He got a lot of hustle sacks, a lot of 2nd-half sacks, and garbage time sacks in obvious passing situations. I do know how nit-picky I sound, but I donít view him as a big-time speed rusher right now so is that inside arm-over going to actually work? Screw this, Iím still mad about the Gregory double-standard so put me down for Shane Ray as a bust. Actually I canít do that because his motor is too good. Disappointment with some flashes works better.
The Broncos made a lot of big moves last offseason and actually improved the talent level of the roster in a big way. They uncovered a gem in C.J. Anderson and still have Cody Latimer waiting to be better than Eric Decker. It was no secret what happened to them and it had nothing to do with the roster which was probably top-3 talent-wise in the league. Manningís arm just died. And this class fills out that already stellar roster with role players not asked to do too much. They added another pass rusher and two OL to compete for starting jobs. Garcia should start right away at C. The Ohio State TE is a Peyton-type player, the 2-gapping NT fills a role, 2 CBs for specials and sub packages and a smart ball boy/arm donor for Peyton in the Northwestern QB. I picked Ray to bust, but Iím an idiot. They stick to a plan and do well for the most part under Elway. Will this role player-filled draft class pay off this year? Manning���s arm will decide the teamís fate and I wouldnít be shocked if he suffers an Ďinjuryí and shuts it down at some point. No one wants to see a neutered Peyton. If the torn quad really was what zapped his arm strength and it returns, this team should win 12+ games and beat the Pats in the playoffs.
TEXANS ADD STRONG, JOHNSON; WANT MORE PENETRATION
Kevin Johnsonís good to go as a Kareem Jackson-type steady zone corner. He drives on the football. Love him in cover 3. Just donít ask him to tackle, but they have a guy for that on the D-Line.
McKinney is slow and just a thumper. Not exciting and canít cover and was protected pretty good. Productive as a rookie starter but he wonít be a world beater. Might rack up stats though.
My attitude with Jaelen Strong in the 3rd is why not? It wasnít a great class and you get a guy with those measurables and production, fitting a need across from Nuke Hopkins. Good pick. Strong abused USC (Pullard should have called for a fair catch!) and is a less natural Alshon Jeffrey. Heís a little tight and his hands arenít great but everything else makes him at least a 2nd round value. Heís got number one receiver upside. His growth might be stunted a bit going to a Headless Horseman, but again, why not?
Mumphery no, Rashard Cliett yes. Heíll stick in the league with good speed and high character. Bring him in for McKinney on 3rd-down and let him run on specials. Steal. Covingtonís got a chance to be a 5-tech if his knee returns to form and he plays low more consistently.
This team has one of the best young head coaches in the game and loads of talent. The QB situation isnít as horrible as some of the other Headless Horsemen, but the trick is figuring out which guy gives them the best chance to win. I donít think itís Hoyer, but Mallett and Savage have to prove something first. Clowney could be one of the biggest busts in history if injuries persist like some think. The year they suit him up with Watt for 16 games will be epic. I just hope it happens.
CHIP KELLY ADMITS BOREDOM DRIVING FORCE IN MOST TRANSACTIONS
So if Tyler Lockett and Nelson Agholor switched places, Lockett would be just as productive as Agholorís about to be. Not hating, just saying. Itís sort of impossible not to like Agholorís tape but sometimes guys like him bust. Not in Chip-a-delphia where even Riley Cooper looked serviceable. One of the analysts said heís a better prospect than Maclin was. No. Heís a performance vs. traits case. Iím not sure if heís winning outside that much because heís skinny as hell and doesnít high-point the ball or catch in traffic. I donít really think heís that hard to cover. Iíve seen him body catch a lot and get caught from behind. Heís fine, but not that high. Disappointing career and I question durability (unfairly). Give me more Josh Huff.
Eric Rowe is Malcolm Jenkins, and another case of a team drafting a player in the same mold of a veteran already on the roster. Heís too long-legged and upright to be a No. 1 CB. I think he makes the move to S in a year or two. I saw him get beat deep and to the inside plenty of times. Cover 3 heíll be OK I guess so theyíll think it works there, but heís destined to be an average pro safety. I actually like JaCorey Shepherd better as a pro corner. He plays faster than his 40 and is just a playmaker with good instincts and balance. Fire him up at LCB after they move Rowe to S. Taking the slot corner from K-State is weird when they have two stud slot corners already, but he runs 4.44 so itís specials. And Jordan Hicks is a coverage sub-package LB who can play specials also.
So I donít think this draft class is going to be great, and the history of coaches who also play GM is just flat-out bad. I donít think Chip bucks the trend. The good news is that heís a terrific offensive coach that doesnít need elite talent to score points. Looking ahead to this year, Byron Maxwell is not going to live up to that contract. He gets beat way more than people realize and wonít have any of the benefits he had in Seattle obviously (where despite the PFF stats, he wasnít THAT good). But it all comes down to Sam Bradford. Kelly either doesnít care about the injury-prone label and trusts that his run-heavy and quick-read attack will help keep Bradford healthy OR he acquired him as a bargaining chip and it just didnít work out. By admitting after the draft that he did indeed, as he put it, Ďdrive through the Mariota neighborhoodí he confirmed that dealing Bradford was at least a possibility. Either way, it will be fascinating to see that offense. They should be top-3 in rushing this year and dealing McCoy was a good move. He didnít fit what Kelly wants from his backs on the field and was sure to decline and be annoying off it and in the locker room.
SEAN PAYTON PUTS BOUNTY ON ROB RYAN, NO SAINT DEFENDER ABLE TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Peatís feet are elite. Really though. Heís not incredibly strong but in terms of size-to-technique ratio his pass protection is possibly the best Iíve ever seen from a draft prospect. I think heís a franchise left tackle but he might struggle early in the running game. Still has upside even if he does.
I usually overrate Clemson players but Iím not high on Stephone Anthony at all. He can make plays but his recognition is slow and heís not really taking on blocks. I mean none of this off-ball LBs are taking on blocks anymore I guess. Heís more sideline to sideline and against Gurley he couldnít ever get there because heís guessing. In Rob Ryanís 3-4 he can play inside and be clean, and I think heís fine in coverage as a stud athlete, but I donít think he lives up to that premium draft slot.
Kikaha is just a speed rusher with limited power and no counter moves. I donít think heíll be that hard to block in the NFL. Heís a little tight but knows how to use his hands. And heís a medical risk. Way too rich for me at 44 overall. Situational rusher who wonít make much of an impact.
P.J. Williams can learn from Brandon Browner Ė heís very similar. But I think heís best suited as a safety. Theyíll try to work with him because even though heís fast he got beat a lot. He plays high. As a safety heís pretty much a stud who can play TEs but they invested a lot of money in Byrd and spent a 1 on Vaccaro. So itís become Browner or bust. Iíll go with Browner. Heíll stick in the league and be good, eventually switching positions and having his best years as a starting safety.
Iím not as high on Grayson as some, but Payton hasnít had a talented QB other than Brees since heís been in New Orleans. The kid fell apart against Utah but was comfortably the best player on the field against weaker competition. Worth it to look at tools, but not in the 3rd-round. Iím not sure if the Saints want to commit to rebuilding yet. They seem to want to both rebuild and contend, and that lack of direction is sure to bite them in the ass. Sean Payton is 51 but heís been there for a long time so does he want to coach there past Brees? Trading Brees might be in the best interest of the franchise. At some point in the near future, heís going to be the third or fourth best starting QB in that division. Colston will be done soon and there were clearly issues in the locker room last year. Iím getting very dark here, but the truth is that only 12 teams make the playoffs every year, so the majority of NFL teams disappoint their fans. The defense didnít really get better talent-wise, and Kyle Wilson is slated to play a role. It could be another frustrating year. Brees to the Jets for a 2016 1st and Muhammad Wilkerson works tomorrow. Anything less than a playoff berth means they should re-visit his trade value next offseason.
NINERS ADD COSA NOSTRA ĎMAKINGí CEREMONY TO ROOKIE ORIENTATION TO DISCOURAGE EARLY RETIREMENT
Remember how many people blasted the media for fabricating stories about the 49ers front-office power struggle? When Jay Glazer reports something itís probably true. ďThe MediaĒ isnít one big building in which reporters, columnists, and TV personalities gather together to think of ways to spin things in the most devious ways possible. Some people think itís like the offices in the Sportscenter commercials. There are instances of people making things up for attention and clicks, but most reports are founded in some level of truth regardless of what players and coaches might deny. I cringe when I read ďblame journalismĒ or ďjournalism is deadĒ as if some 17-year-old on the internet has years of experience in the field to make that claim. Thereís a lot of bad information out there, but there are plenty of Adam Schefters and Jay Glazers in other fields. Find them. Stop reading reports about Incarcerated Bob tweets and giving your attention to the same networks and beat reporters you constantly ***** about. If you blame ďThe MediaĒ for anything, find new media or evaluate how you pick your sources. The truth is that some people enjoy complaining.
Trent Baalke seems to rob someone blind every year. The problem is that he hasnít done too well with all those extra picks. Jimmie Ward was hurt (he was smallÖ) but even if/when he comes back firing, the fact they probably could have traded up for a sick receiver last year or at least taken one of the many very good ones with one of their 27 picks is hard to stomach. This year his trade victim was San Diego, and they still got their guy in Arik Armstead. Heís a classic bust risk as a guy who plays too slow with no purpose or passion, but the real problem is just that he plays too high. Strong and gigantic will translate. And his head coach specializes in D-Line. Itís not like Armstead didnít make an impact. I think heís a big hit there. Heís as naturally powerful as they come. The type to take a spear to chest and get up to gauge someoneís eyes out.
I found some Samford tape and liked the 2nd-round safety a lot. Tartt will pop you. Heís a H/W/S specimen with upside who can tackle and run, and he doesnít panic. Teams definitely liked what they saw from him in workouts and I think he has range. He fits in as a top special teamer right now, but I think heíll take over for Bethea soon. I think heíll be better than Eric Reid.
Eli Harold has what you want; heís just too damn weak. Needs to get stronger. This team got the most out of Aaron Lynch and turned Aldon Smith into a superstar. I think you *could* get a starter and double-digit sack guy here. I think you *do* get a situational non-impact guy who struggles.
Finally, part of me wants to pick Blake Bell to be the best TE out of this draft. That part of me just died. Heís going to run some people over at H-Back. Itís just a question of when Ė preseason 4th quarters or Week 17 against the Seahawks? The rest are all JAGs except Smelter who would have been a 2nd or 3rd-rounder if he didnít tear his ACL. He smelts my heart and is one of my favorite receivers in the draft. I donít understand how Georgia Tech gets talented receivers to go there. As for the pick that Bryan Angerered many Niners fans, I have no oPinion on the punter in the 5th. Maybe he can pin teams deep in their own end. Iím opin to it if heís that good.
BILL BELICHICK DRAFTS LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLíS JUNIOR VARSITY BACKUP SAFETY IN 2ND ROUND, CITES SAT PRACTICE TEST SCORE AS DECIDING FACTOR
My quick take on deflategate is this: Brady and Manning complained about the not being able to prepare their own footballs, basically helped the league create the current rules, and Brady broke those rules. Itís manipulating the equipment. Did it make a big difference? No. Does it take anything away from what heís done? No. But he broke the rules plain and simple and there has to be a standard for equipment rules. You canít just mess with stuff on the field and just get fined. Iíd give him at least two games but would be OK with more. If a team somehow manipulated the oppositionís footballs to make them slippery, and their opponent lost 5 fumbles, theyíd deserve a punishment, right? You canít mess with the equipment. Iím not sure why Pats fans even bother worrying about this after they just won the freaking Super Bowl. Just take the punishment for breaking a rule and move on. Jimmy G is handsomer than Brady anyway.
Someone tell NFL Network that Malcom ďNo LĒ Brown does not play RB. They showed the wrong guyís highlights. I ask this every year Ė why is draft coverage so stupid? Is it really that hard to show the top three highlights of a playerís career from an angle where you can actually see what heís doing? These close-up shots and combine clips are so pointless. And player interviews are awkward and uninteresting. I get that itís not the easiest event for production people, but just show some damn football please. As for Brown, heís a possible Reverse Planet Theory victim but I do like his game. Heís kind of inconsistent and sometimes looks plain solid which is fine at 32 I guess, but then heíll flash and shoot a gap for a TFL. They love versatility and he has the ability to two-gap or play the 1 or 3 technique in a 1-gap scheme. He can play the run but needs to consistently stay low. And heíll push the pocket a little. I think his floor is pretty high and he does have top-10 DT potential.
It wouldnít be the NFL draft if Bill Belichick wasnít taking a projected 6th-round safety in the 2nd. Heís not that bad but itís a head-scratcher. My guess is that they wanted a SS and he was the only one on their board who had the pre-requisite intelligence they need at that position. There were better players on the board though. Grissom is versatile and smart and can play special teams so itís very New England in the 3rd. But this is all just weird. They literally won the Super Bowl because of a defensive backís play in man coverage and were able to do everything they wanted on D because of two very good CB additions. After losing both, they have well below average corners. I suppose the plan is to keep changing up the defensive philosophy so no one can catch on year-to-year or game-to-game? There were a ton of decent CBs available all throughout the draft, but I guess they feel they can get by with guys like Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain. Their pass defense might be pretty bad next year. Although whoís going to really capitalize on that in their division? Fitzpatrick, Matt Cassel, and Tannehill?
The Pats also declined to add any offensive playmakers other than Gardner as a UDFA. I like adding O-line (Shaq Mason will be better than Tre Jackson) and they should be able to run the ball, but why not just take a talented back somewhere? How about a guy like Smelter at WR instead a freaking long-snapper in the 5th round? Is it really too risky to wait until the 6th for him? Itís just odd and must be frustrating for Pats fans. Like what would be so terribly wrong with passing on a special teamer/role player and taking David Johnson, Tevin Coleman, or Duke Johnson in the 2nd/3rd? Itís funny because we all know the Pats would NEVER do that. Why? Itís not like these Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson head-scratchers usually work out. Hell, theyíve drafted 9000 DBs in the past 5 years and the SB-winning play was made by an UDFA. Just take a fun skill guy once. We know youíre scarred from Chad Jackson but itís your fault for taking Dobson for no reason. And the murderer. What even made Ridley worth it? And Vereen, who kinda sucked Ė I donít care what anyone says. Vereen pisses me off more than anyone. He was an OK role player I guess but had some really disappointing moments. Then he has the freaking game of his life in the Super Bowl. COME ON. OK Iím done questioning the strategies of a man whoís won 4 SBs to my .00001 (helped with crowd noise for the opening safety against Denver two years ago at MetLife).
ANDY REID EXCITED BY MARCUS PETERS PICK - ĎI PURRED LIKED A WALRUSí
Marcus Peters has star qualities and I trust Andy Reidís judgment taking a chance on him. The fact that he was still considered a first-rounder by most teams makes me think the heíll work towards the money in the NFL. Sarkisian recommended him apparently so itís not like he canít work with any coach. And Reid is a beloved papa walrus playerís coach. Plus, Peters shows passion on the field Ė Iíd rather have an emotional headcase who cares and misses a game or two from getting suspended in Week 2 of 2016 for headbutting Cody Latimer than an unmotivated guy who wonít get suspended but will play with inconsistent effort every week. He has the ideal temperament, confidence, and short memory of a top CB. I donít think heís elite though and Iím really confused as to why all the analysts kept saying he dominated Jaelen Strong. His balance isnít great so heís going to get beat and heís a little grabby down the field. Regardless, he has the most coveted skill of a CB in his ability to play man and heís got size and athleticism. Part of me thinks he actually projects a little better than Trae Waynes because the NFL is more about doing your own thing sometimes and Peters is that guy more than Waynes. Weíll see him in some Pro Bowls despite a couple of suspensions.
Mitch Morse starts at C from day one and has a very good career, with his only real issues coming against bigger NTs. He can climb the track and get to the second level and heís tough and smart. Heíll be a Chiefs captain in no time.
Before I get to Conley, I was thinking about something the other day. What the hell is up with UGA? They churn out terrific pro prospects every single year, they usually have adequate-to-good QB play, and yet they never come close to winning anything ever. Iím sure they have some four or five star QBs already on campus so Iím calling Richt out. Ride Chubbís Heisman campaign to the Final Four at least this year. As for Conley, we sometimes hear that a college underachiever has a chance to be Ďa better player as a pro than he was in college.í Realistically, how often does this happen? If you arenít one of the top players on the field in four years on campus, why would you all of the sudden step your game up so far against tougher competition? Conley canít do anything that well except run very fast. I could see him getting behind the defense a few times but that wonít matter because his QB is Alex Smith. No thanks.
I liked Steven Nelson a lot but heís got some of that Nate Orchard tape Ė really strong college player who does everything you want to see but doesnít flash what translates to the next level. Worth a top 100 pick to see if he can play man a little. In zone heís very good. He plays like heís thinking too much though. Didnít miss a tackle all year so you like that for a slot corner as the force defender. It works for me but heís not the Gary Payton CB I originally thought he was.
Finally, if youíre looking for the next athletic TE sleeper, James OíShaughnessy might be it. He caught 29 passes last year and 9 went for TDs. His QB at Illinois State, Trey Roberson, is a guy B1G fans might remember. Fun player but also the reason he only caught 29.
In terms of talent and projected production this class is up there. Conleyís the only pick I have a real issue with.
BREAKING: INVESTIGATION REVEALS CYBER DEATH THREATS TO E.J. MANUEL CAME FROM PRE-EMPTIVELY DISGRUNTLED NEW TEAMMATE PERCY HARVIN, NOT SHELTERED BUFFALONIANS
I donít read draft grades articles anymore but Iím sure everyone wrote about the Bills trading their first for Watkins and somehow connected that to not having a QB. If the Bills still had their first it wouldnít have netted them anything close to a franchise QB. Bill Barnwell wrote an article about why itís not wise to trade up. I think its fine when itís for the right player. Teams have traded up for dumb players in recent years. Julio and Watkins were worth it. Trading up using a future first is betting on your own team. That takes moxie. Moxie is good. Unless your team sucks. Then you shouldnít have had any moxie in the first place.
Ronald Darbyís eyes are not married to his feet. You play DB with your eyes and your feet have to be able to react at the same time. Itís like someone who reads slow. You canít read people slow and play CB. He got beat like a drum by Dorsett, heís not very quick, heís too high, and he struggles to locate the ball. Maybe Rex wanted someone to remind him of Kyle Wilson.
John Miller doesnít have good balance and I absolutely hated watching him because for some reason he kept switching sides. Thanks Louisville. Karlos Williams takes an hour to cut or build up speed. He runs like an idiot and way too upright. Heís hesitant to hit the hole and looks like Darren McFadden with no confidence, so basically Darren McFadden after Arkansas.
Finally, WR Dezmin Lewis is a back-shoulder guy red-zone guy to watch. You know when CBS goes to a gamebreak and you see the Bills turf and it looks like a college stadium about to erupt with an unranked team pulling off an upset? And itís always some incredibly stupid WR like T.J. Graham or David Nelson making a game-winning play for them. Yeah, thatís going to be Dezmin Lewis.
RIVERS ĎECSTATICí FOR BEST BACK SINCE LT, WHINES ABOUT PARKING TICKET ON MINI-VAN
No prospect was more frustrating to evaluate than Melvin Gordon. (Except Devin Funchess. Screw Devin Funchess.) Trying to predict Gordonís career made me consider deleting this entire thing. There is a laundry list of concerns with Gordonís pro outlook. He fumbles, heís below average for passing downs, he ran through some enormously unrealistic holes, and heís a home run back who gets stuffed for a yard or less on 19.2% of his carries while also getting caught from behind on his long runs. When I watched him as a fan I liked his style and thought Jamaal Charles, then he ran the 4.52 and I raised my eyebrows, then when I studied his tape he did really look like a 4.5 guy. Hereís Performance vs. Traits. What traits does Melvin Gordon really have that make him a special back worth the 15th overall pick in the draft? Burst, balance, elusiveness in the open field, creativity, following his blocks. I guess itís that burstÖ
Look, the only reason Iím even saying this name is because it will help me get my point across. I donít think the two players are all that similar but the situations are. A historically productive player with fine athletic traits doesnít bust in the league unless he wants to. Trent Richardson ballooned up to like 250 and lost all quickness. He didnít adjust to the new blocking schemes or the smaller, quicker, creases and lost all confidence. Gordon is going to have to adjust his style and get used to playing behind a line that wonít dominate in a league where the type of open space he saw at Wiscy is as rare as a condom in Philip Riversí wallet. But what made Richardson special? *Thinking* What makes Gordon special? *Sweating* The problem I have is that the real answer for both might just be production.
What it boils down to for me is that my job is not on the line. Melvin Gordon makes running the ball look fun. Football is fun. This should be fun. ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?! I wonít go OROY, but he wonít be the megabust no one saw coming that I would love to predict one of these years. Give him the career Cadillac Williams was supposed to have. Starter and productive, but not overly special. Heíll catch passes, but not right away. Eh, his burst DOES make him somewhat special.
What's your name? Denzel Perryman! What you do? Don't marry 'em. Perrymanís a starter but get out of here with the Big Beas comparisons. Craig Magerís good enough to get some spot starts down the line. Darius Philon doesnít fit their defense other than an interior pass-rush specialist right now but heís got wondrous upside and the best get-off of any DT in this class. And if Kyle Emmanuel of FCS Champion North Dakota State had longer arms Iíd pick him to build off his 19.5-sack Senior year. Heís worth a shot at least.
I like the way Tom Telesco operates. I was extremely high on Verrett last year and he was very good until the injury as the durability/size concerns proved to be warranted, at least for his first year. All I kept thinking was how easily Seattle would have won the SB if he was in the game instead of Tharold Simon. Attaochu is going to be fine. This class feels like last yearís in that he values best-player-on-the-field high-volume impact guys with upside, which sounds obvious yet many GMs donít do it. The roster still has a long way to go and at some point heís going to have to find a QB. I didnít really hate any of their picks but itís tough to not come away with any linemen or receivers. Jaelen Strong or A.J. Cann would have made sense in the 2nd. They might be picking high again next year.
NEW JETS GM WELCOMES GENO SMITH WITH OPEN ARMS, ATTEMPTS TO SQUEEZE HIM TO DEATH
Leonard Williams (#2 on my board) falling to 6 is either a complete disgrace or an indication that teams werenít thrilled with his medical outlook. I canít comment on that but itís something to file away because thereís absolutely no way this monster should have been there for the Jets. There was some inane commentary on his lack of sacks, but studying his tape for five minutes shows that he has elite interior pass rush potential. I saw him get three QB pressures in a row against ASU and Nebraska started double and triple teaming him on passing plays. He tosses 330-pound guards and uses his hands well. The biggest problem with his pass-rushing is that he canít decide HOW he wants to get there. Once itís his profession heíll focus on certain moves and be dominant. The only thing he needs to work on is his initial quickness and first step. To Leonard Williams, offensive linemen are peasant annoyances, and itís a question of when and how heíll blow past them or get rid of them Ė not if. Heíll get to Suhís level if he stays healthy. And if anyone is questioning the pick because they have three other good DT types Ė first, Williams can play outside a little, and second, there has never been a football coach in the history of the sport who thought to himself, ďGee, we have a problem. We have too many good defensive linemen.Ē
Williams is great but Devin Smith will make it three bad 2nd-round picks in a row. He can carve out a deep-threat role I guess but I really donít even like the way he catches the ball. Heís going to get jammed up and it will be hard to blow by people without the giant speed advantage and teams focusing on an elite running attack like he had at tOSU. And he doesnít really fit this Jets team. They want to develop him Iím sure but you might have Robert Meachem at best. And thatís assuming they get Drew Brees. So go get Drew Brees.
Bowles has great cover guys, a beastly interior, and is going to blitz, so like the Cards with Markus Golden, he doesnít need his edge rushers to be dynamic. Lorenzo Mauldin is not the most athletic or fast player, but heís strong at the POA and plays hard. You have to root for him after growing up in 16 different foster homes, and you want a guy like that in your building. The 3rd is rich because heís not going to rush the passer at all but setting the edge heíll be fine. Let the underachiever Coples leave and fill the roster with guys like this. Mikey Mac is going to be a hell of a GM. Unfortunately, no matter how well he builds the roster, his career will be defined by whether or not he can find a QB. Good luck.
Since Iíve been doing this, there has only been one middle-to-late-round QB who I didnít like that proved me wrong. And Nick Foles is probably the least impressive pro QB in history to ever go 20/1 TD/INT. Still, 4th-round picks arenít as valuable as most think, and taking a chance on Bryce Petty is absolutely worth it, just like Tom Savage was last year for Houston. Unfortunately, I canít predict good things as a pro. The bottom line is that he needs a lot of work, and despite the stats, the tape just isnít good and thatís in an offense that maximizes his chances to look good. He lacks anticipation, throws off balance, and missed 5 deep balls in a row @ WVU. The tools are all there and as a late-round developmental guy heís worth the pick.
Jets fans who were just glad Idzik was fired now cannot contain their giddiness. Mikey Mac gave up nothing for Marshall, brought back Revis and Cro, and nailed his first draft pick. Iíd have liked an offensive linemen over Smith, but thereís reason for optimism. Although this is coming from someone who annually predicts good things from the Jets, so take it with a grain of bath salt.
NFL TEAM FIRES SCOUTING STAFF TO SAVE MONEY, SELECT NAMES COACHES SAW ON ESPN
Iím sorry I posted my draft review late this year, but I was dealing with an injury. You see, my cousin was using my computer and he actually navigated so deep into the interwebz that he got stuck in a youtube. So I heroically jumped into the screen and saved him but unfortunately broke my ankle in the process. The good news is that my cousin found a website deep in the internet that shows the future. The only thing he learned on it was that Josh Shaw will take over for Reggie Nelson at FS in 2016 and intercept 4 passes.
The draft is more of a crapshoot than people realize, so when youíre trying to fill a need and feel you must get better at a spot, doubling up on a position is a good strategy. It worked GREAT for the Redskins when they took WR Devin Thomas and WR Malcolm Kelly. Itís better practice along the OL because you can play both guys at the same time. Ogbuehi is good. I like him but wasnít overly impressed. Definitely has pro LT traits which makes him valuable. I wasnít huge on Fisher because he doesnít look dominant enough, but athleticism is where itís at for a team that wants to run a lot of zone stuff. Iíd have preferred a more powerful run blocker because they shouldnít want to throw it 40 times a game, but he can play LT too. When you spend two high picks on guys who can play LT, chance are you will have a quality LT. And they wonít need one until next year unless Whitworth sabotages natural order. Ogbuehi can get completely healthy and Fisher can hit the weight room and if either is ready right away they can play guard or RT.
The Bengals should stop trying to make TE happen and just play 3 receivers and 2 tailbacks all the time. Or 2 receivers, 1 tailback and Rex Burkhead for intimidation. Kroft isnít anything and drafting for need in the 3rd round is a big no-no. There were better players on the board. Like Paul Dawson. One of the draft broadcasts kept repeating the same line from Gary Patterson describing Dawson as a knucklehead. So naturally his best fit is alongside Vontaze Burfict. Dawson is Robert Durst as a tackler and his instincts are ghostly. He always finds the ball, which is a positive for LBs according to a recent 14 million dollar analytics study conducted by Shad Khanís mustache. Iím scarred a bit from jumping on the Arthur Brown train (the internet was way off there), but I think Dawsonís better and my instincts tell me to trust my instincts about his instincts. The key for him is staying on the field. Solution: tell him he canít leave the facility. Heíll never be late for meetings and there will be no chance for off-field issues because heíll never be off-field. If his head is really made of knuckles, heíll fall for it. Foolproof plan. Youíre welcome coach Lewis.
As usual, I like the Bengals draft. They donít overthink things and generally take higher ranked prospects on various media lists. And generally those players are better than most of the head-scratchers. Give a look at Alford returning kicks, Ozumahís going to be better than Kroft, and Derron Smithís good value as a guy who fell because of recent surgery and height.
JAY CUTLERíS LEVEL OF CARE DROPS FROM ĎDONíTí TO ĎREALLY DONíTí
Daniel Jeremiah had Kevin White ranked No. 2 overall on his board behind Leonard Williams. In the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel draft preview, a scout said ďthere is not one thing wrong with Kevin White.Ē That is true. Thereís nothing wrong with him. But has anyone thought to ask the question Ė is there anything right with him? If youíve read this far, you may realize I have nothing interesting whatsoever to say about Kevin White. Heís good at football. I wanted to pick him to bust just to do it, but then I watched the Bama game again and questioned the meaning of my existence. Heís not Julio Jones or Fitz, and heís going to a pretty bad situation for stardom. Iíve never seen him play in the snow? He struggled with drops and confidence in 2013 and Jay Cutler is the last human being on earth to inspire confidence? He only ran 9s, slants, shallows, and screens and wonít run great routes? Öin the snow? OK fine heís a star.
Eddie Goldman is slow off the ball but he can play against double teams and take up space. He can play that role well and they needed a NT. Hroniss Grasu is quick but not strong and itís hard to see what he can really do in that offense. I didnít like him much so Iíll say a below average starter at C. They took Langford to give Forte a blow on third downs, but he doesnít have the balance you want in a top back. Heís a solid number two with Carey limited athletically.
Amos is supposed to profile as a deep safety but he played closer to the LOS and in the slot at PSU. Very athletic player but I donít understand that. Iíll chalk it up to them wanting him to be active against spread runs with athletic QBs. He has a chance to start because the Bears safeties have been preposterous.
Intriguing 7th-round TCU mammoth OL Tayo Fabuluje was a fabulujous pick late. All he needs to do is lose 20 pounds and be less lazy on the field. Someone just needs to ask him if he wants tens of millions of dollars. I think heís starting at guard for someone within in 3 years.
SEAHAWKS PASS ON FIRST ROUND, SECOND DOWN, DECENCY
Frank Clark on the field is fine. But Frank Clark, while drunk, punched a woman. The Seahawks deserve harsh criticism for this pick and their most-likely blind and/or dishonest explanation. Seahawks fans were quick to point out that PCJS hired an ex-FBI agent to investigate the situation. It turns out that either that guy wasnít exactly Jimmy McNulty or PCJS simply donít care that Clark hit a woman. Adrian Peterson abused his child, Greg Hardy threw his girlfriend onto a bunch of loaded guns, and Ray Rice hit his wife on camera. There are some who think what Peterson did is OK because of ďcultureĒ or something. ďIt happened to me and I turned out OK!Ē Yes, you turned out just wonderful. You grew up to be a child abuser yourselfÖ
Iím not quite sure what the majority of fans think about these separate situations. Ray Rice wonít be signed for a few reasons, but the most damning to his chances is that heís not that good anymore. Is there an outrage with Hardy? I donít think there is with Peterson. All Iíll say about Frank Clark is this: There are millions of avid NFL fans, defined as those who view football content every day. If you are one of those fans and choose to watch the league as entertainment only with the attitude of ďI donít care what players do off the fieldĒ then good for you, and by all means own that and enjoy the product. Judge Frank Clark and Greg Hardy as football players and root your tail off for Adrian Peterson. Itís a lot easier to be a fan that way. But if you arenít that fan, and youíre someone who cares about such things as Greg Hardyís off-field transgressions - you have to be consistent. If you think Adrian Peterson deserves a second chance then Frank Clark deserves that second chance too. And donít try to point out the differences and minimize the child abuse. Petersonís transgressions are not a parenting style. Not today with what we know. We are too advanced as a society to accept any rationalization of his actions as any less of a disgrace than the cases with women. Thereís a third type of fan, one who will change his rooting patterns based what he knows about the people. For example, many dislike Pete Carroll because he either knowingly or unknowingly allowed Reggie Bush to accept housing at USC and then bolted like a snake when the opportunity of a lifetime came available in Seattle. He took a dream job and is hated for it. I will say this Ė those who think Carroll really isnít a good guy finally got some tangible ammunition with his endorsement of Clark.
It is imperative that we judge each situation individually in all things. This is a core belief of mine. So why am I placing all of these transgressions under the same umbrella? Because all are below the threshold of behavior from a player who deserves to play in the NFL. Roger Goodell has a lot of power and to say he sometimes makes mistakes in how he yields that power is an understatement. But in these instances, he has a chance to actually use it for whatís right. Playing in the NFL is not a human right, itís a privilege. Many future pro athletes spend their formative years without hearing the word no, as entitled and spoiled as a Super Sweet 16 character. Most donít care about suspensions and reprimands and hollow punishments. This is clear. What theyíll respond to is strong action and TAKING AWAY FOOTBALL. Goodell has the power to do just that. Use it. I propose that clear standards of behavior are set and a new rule enforced is clear as day: Any player found BY THE LEAGUE to have breached the personal conduct policy, is subject to be banned from the league for life depending on the severity of the violation. In other words, DV, child abuse, rape - just kick them out. Clark, Hardy, Peterson, Rice Ė just kick them all out. The league will do fine without them and thatís the only way theyíll truly learn. Itís the only way the star in high school might not feel invincible. I donít even blame him for feeling that way now Ė he sees how pro and college stars are treated and it confirms to him that athletes like him ARE indeed invincible. Playing the greatest game in the world in front of millions of people, living the life of fame, money, and perks is not a right because youíre talented. I understand how many issues and appeals and Bla Bla Bla Bob Loblaw lawyers this stringent policy would face, but the point isnít to for me to lay out the exact plan. Thatís not my job. The point is simply that these guys just shouldnít be in the league. Figure out a way to make that happen. Thereís plenty of gray area, and surely there would be very difficult and controversial rulings. But we have those in the current system anyway. And in these recent cases, itís pretty clear that these guys committed acts that deserve to be punished severely. When itís THIS clear, kick them out. These are all clear. Donít worry about the legal process, itís your league. Ask yourself this: why should these guys play? Why should the league put fans in an uncomfortable position where some fans are literally online defending these actions? I absolutely believe in second chances - in life - after serving a just punishment. But you shouldnít get a second chance in the NFL. When pro players do these types of exceedingly bad things, the lack of accountability is highlighted and almost celebrated when they return to the field. We teach young people that actions have consequences, and too many times those consequences are a joke. It should be OK to make mistakes. But all mistakes are not equal. It shouldnít be OK to be welcomed back with open arms after THESE types of mistakes. Itís just wrong. In this league, if you hit a woman or child, or kill or rape someone, why should the other players, owners, coaches, commissioner, or most importantly, we as the consumers who make the league go, want these guys featured in our sport? Because theyíre good at football? There are plenty of good football players in the world who donít commit violent crimes. What did Vikings fans do last year without Peterson? Fold up and die? No, they watched and rooted and have plenty of good players to look forward to. I respect your opinion if you think guys should be given second chances in the league or if you donít care what players do off the field. And I recognize that the reality is that the league will never adopt a banned-for-life policy. I think it should and if it means I have to watch Jerrick McKinnon fumble away the 2016 NFCCG and Cassius Marsh clumsily rough the passer in Super Bowl 52, Iíll take comfort in the fact that at least they could follow a code of basic human decency.
So I didnít like the Clark pick even though heís probably going to be a good player. They should have given up a couple of picks to move up and secure Gregory. To think, Gregory was the most controversial 2nd-round edge rusher for 2 whole picks!
Iíll slip off my self-righteous soapbox and get into a trade that sent four players for one with Tyler Lockett heading to the NFC Champs. When a guy with Lockettís measurables ends up as a great pro, that player usually had the type of college career Lockett did (coughAntonioBrowncough). For all thatís involved in the scouting process, H/W/S and all that, some people are just very good at football. The Seahawks keep repeating that they drafted him first and foremost as a return specialist. The reasoning here is obvious: this is a Super Bowl-quality team and a play here or there on special teams could be the difference so itís absolutely worth it to Lock up the top return man in the draft, even if it costs a high-ish pick. As a receiver, I donít know. His hands really arenít great and heís going to get beat up. Plus, the situation isnít ideal for a high-volume slot guy and they rotate their receivers. Is he winning on the outside? No Seattle receiver is going to catch 85 passes, including Jimmy Graham. For his personal career, heíd have been better off going to a team that throws it 40 times a game. Heíll do the Golden Tate Ė make plays for three years and earn a big payday from another team on his second contract. The Colts will probably be in the market for a sub-6-foot speed receiver because they need five of them on the roster at all times.
My evaluation of the rest of the draft is just doused in bias, so I wonít even bother. GWacham all become stars. Two Cable O-linemen that I like and Tye Smith is not Tye Hill so thatís a great start for him. I donít want Tharold Simon ever playing outside again. So I guess I want his parents to ground him.
RGIII NOT ON SPEAKING TERMS WITH JAY GRUDEN AFTER RUMORS OF ĎMEANí SNAPCHAT MESSAGE
This draft class comes down to one question: is the actor who played Carcetti now officially considered Littlefinger? Hmmm.
Iíll be honest; Iím running out of steam here. The Redskins are a dumb team anyway. Scherrfís great if thatís all you need. But you canít take him over Leonard Williams. Still, heís got great feet and hands. And heís powerful and nimble everywhere. Arms arenít long enough for LT, but Iím fine taking a RT high (just not over Williams). I donít remember what I thought of his face but itís probably ugly. Some people love Preston Smith but he did a lot of damage against guards inside and heís pretty slow off the ball. Great movement skills for his size and build, but I donít see a big-time sack guy. He can start and play the run well. Itís good.
They want Matt Jones to pass protect and be the third-down back. Itís weird. Iím not really into that so high but I suppose Morris will get most of the work anyway. I think Spait sticks because they have size to protect him up front. Nothing else stands out.
This team has major issues. Jay Gruden didnít have enough draft picks to go QB last year and there were no QBs this year. His job is in RGIIIís hands whether he likes it or not. The top five passing performances last year for the Skins by yardage: 1) Cousins: 427. 2) McCoy: 392. 3) Cousins: 354. 4) RGIII: 336 in a 44-17 blowout loss. 5) McCoy: 299.
THANKS FOR READINGÖ just your teamís blurb.
"I'm Ko Simpson!"
- Ko Simpson