Archive for April, 2012

Well it is officially official: with the 1st overall pick in the 2012 draft the Colts have selected Andrew Luck. Tonight, the Colts go back on the clock with a lot of holes to fill around their new franchise QB, and Indy is in the position to provide Luck with at least one familiar face.

TE Coby Fleener and OT Jonathan Martin are still available, and following the departure of long time Colts, Dallas Clark and Ryan Diem both positions are major holes that Indianapolis needs to address. The Colts already have a young OT in Anthony Costanza who they’ve started on the left side (where Martin played at Stanford) but they shouldn’t have much trouble swinging either guy to the right side, and Luck might rest a little easier knowing that his blind side is covered. But considering the Colts lack of offensive weapons it’s hard to resist a 6’6 TE who runs a 4.5 and already has a connection with your QB.

I like Fleener over Martin, largely due to a seemingly lack luster Market for OL so far, and a pretty good talent pool, Indy could try it’s luck at the top of round 3. Of course I’m about to contradict myself entirely because there’s a guy I like above both players, and that’s Wisconsin Center Peter Konz. Jeff Saturday left a gapping hole in the center of that line when he signed with Green Bay and Konz could fill that spot for many years to come.

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If you’re a Rams fan, round one of the draft probably hurt a little. The Jags jumped up to steal Blackmon one spot ahead of you, so you trade back to 14 and watch Michael Floyd go one spot ahead. The upside is that Michael Brockers is a solid prospect to anchor the D-Line. Still though for a city craving it’s can’t miss, offensive all star it had to feel a bit like settling.

Fear not Rams fans, for you are the envy of round 2. The Rams own the 1st, 7th and 13th pick in the second round and there is a veritable bounty still to be had. The first pick seems likely to be a WR as the Rams can’t afford to miss out on their guy for a third time. Rueban Randle, (Brocker’s LSU teammate) could be a nice fit. Or there’s Alshon Jeffery of South Carolina, at one point projected as a first round pick before slipping down the charts. And how can I forget Stephen Hill, seeing how everyone else in the first round did. 6’5 and fast, cut from the same mold, and same school as Deymarius Thomas and Calvin Johnson.

Six spots later, the Rams should have at least one of the top OL lineman still on the board. (Jonathan Martin of Stanford seems like a possibility.) And then when they pick again, another 6 spots down the team should be in excellent position to pick up the best player available. (Maybe Janoris Jenkins is still on the board to fill the spot opposite Cortland Finnegan.)

Tonight, the Rams will be the proverbial kids in a candy store, and they need to come out of it with something better than a handfull of butterscotch suckers.

The Eagles have gotten serious about shopping Asante Samuel, with NFL.com reporting that his asking price has dropped to a 5th or 6th rounder. Now, with a $10 million+ salary over each of the two years remaining on his contract, that’s a pricy pick up, but I think Asante could fit perfectly with the Buccaneers.

Samuel is 31, but he’s still playing at a high level and the Bucs should still have a decent amount of cap room left over. Not to mention Samuel’s signing guards the team against the possibility that Morris Claiborne goes to Minnesota or Cleveland, and makes it an easier choice if Trent Richardson is still on the board.
I would love to see the Bucs get Samuel and then either use their #5 pick on S Mark Barron. I’m increasingly high Barron as I think he can be a valuable assest as a defensive leader, as well as a game changing playmaker over the middle.
And really this deal works out well for the Eagles to, because if you’re giving up a guy like Asante Samuel for a 5th round pick, it may as well be one in the top 5.

source article: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d82877807/comments/report-eagles-willing-to-trade-samuel-for-5th-or-6th

So, I’ve been reading over a lot of mock drafts lately and all I’ve come up with is after the first 2 picks no one seems to have any idea what’s going to happen. Will someone trade up to 3 or 4? What will the Browns do? Well, I’m going to attempt to answer those question. For each team I’m going to list 2 picks. The first will be who seems most likely to be taken. The second will be a guy I consider a fit for the team, but would be a bit of a surprise (at least to most of the analysts I’ve read)

Pick 1: Colts

Predicted: Andrew Luck

Surprise!: Robert Griffin III

Analysis: There’s no where to go but these two with number 1 pick Indy needs it’s QB of the future and while I have no doubt they take Luck, I think they’d be just as happy with Griffin.

Pick 2: Redskins

Predicted: Robert Griffin III

Surprise!: Andrew Luck

Analysis: Like the Colts the Skins have nowhere else to go (they didn’t give up all those pick to grab Matt Kalil, no matter how good you think he is.) One way or the other Washington is getting a franchise QB

Pick 3: Vikings

Predicted: LT, Matt Kalil

Surprise!: WR, Justin Blackmon

Analysis: Kalil has been a consensus pick for awhile, personally I think the Vikes trade this pick if they get the chance, they’ve got quite a few holes and there are a lot of promising LT in this class. Even if they do keep the pick Blackmon would fill a big need at Receiver. Percy Harvin isn’t enough, and his injury history makes getting Christian Ponder some targets an even more urgent need.

Pick 4: Browns

Predicted: RB, Trent Richardson

Surprise!: WR, Michael Floyd

Analysis: So, Richardson isn’t exactly unanimous, but he’s my new favorite for the pick. I was initially a big supporter of Morris Claibourne, I still think he’s a good pick up, but I can’t help thinking Richardson is too good to pass on. He gives the Browns help as a runner, receiver and pass blocker…sort of like 3 birds with one stone. I considered making Claibourne my surprise, but that’s kind of a lame surprise, instead I’m going with Michael Floyd, he’s 6’2 he’s fast, good hands and he’s local having played his college ball at Notre Dame so you know the front office has seen him play.

Pick 5: Buccaneers

Predicted: CB, Morris Claiborne

Surprise!: S, Mark Barron

Analysis: Claiborne is the general consensus (or Richardson if he gets past the Browns) and that seems likely, but Eric Wright now on the roster, and the likelihood that Janoris Jenkins will still be on the board when they pick in the 2nd Barron provides a good option. With Tanard Jackson gone and schedule that includes Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen (not to mention an aged, but still dangerous Tony Gonzalez) twice a year Barron provides much needed help over the middle.

Pick 6: Rams

Predicted: WR, Justin Blackmon

Surprise!: LT, Jonathan Martin

Analysis: If Blackmon is available they take him, no question, no surprise. If he’s not the Rams are left with a choice. If Morris Claiborne is still available he makes sense to play opposite Cortland Finnegan, there’s also any number of other receivers available, but I could also see St. Louis making a move to upgrade the O-Line. They grab Martin at 6 let Sam Bradford breathe a little easier and pick up a new target for him in the 2nd.

Pick 7: Jaguars

Predicted: LT, Reilly Reiff

Surprise!: CB, Morris Claiborne

Analysis: There’s a lot of talk that the Jags will take a pass rusher at #7. I think that’s a huge mistake. Blaine Gabbert was scared for him life in the pocket last season. Grabbing Reiff will at least cover up his blind side, and hopefully give him time to find his new targets. In the surprise! draft Claiborne has fallen to 7 and the Jaguars add him to give them a more respectable secondary.

Pick 8: Dolphins

Predicted: QB, Ryan Tannehill

Surprise!: WR, Stephen Hill

Analysis: So, Ideally my surprise would have been Michael Floyd, but he’s off the surprise! board already so I’m going with Hill. Everyone has Tannehill pegged to the Dolphins, and honestly I like the move. Matt Moore can and should be the starter and then in a year (or even 2) Tannehill can take over (potentially with Moore moving to a back-up role if there’s nothing better out there for him) BUT the Dolphins traded Brandon Marshall, so WR is a pretty big need, and at 6’5 Hill is a pretty big guy. There are a lot of questions about how much finishing he’ll need, but I’m not worried, he’s big, he’s fast and he’s willing to put in work. The Dolphins shouldn’t mind reaching…and they can still grab Kirk Cousins in the 2nd.

Pick 9: Panthers

Predicted: DT, Jerel Worthy

Surprise!: DE, Nick Perry

Analysis: So, my prediction actually sort of doubles as a surprise. DT seems to be the popular choice, but most have Dontari Poe, or Fletcher Cox in the spot. I just happen to prefer Worthy, maybe Carolina will too. Perry is my surprise! Albeit not a stunning one, but the Panthers need pass rush help in a bad way, I think Perry helps them.

Pick 10: Bills

Predicted: LT, Jonathan Martin

Surprise!: QB, Ryan Tannehill

Analysis: Some say it will be Reiff taken here, but the consensus is that Bills need a LT for the future to lock down Ryan Fitzpatrick’s blindside. Necessary, but a bit boring. My surprise pick is Tannehill (in part because I already have 3 WR’s off the board) but also because I think the Bills could take a chance on him. Chan Gailey would love to have a WR turned QB and there’s really no solid back-up plan behind Fitzpatrick…I know it end up being a ton of money in the QB spot and a hole in the O-Line, but there will be other lineman, and Fitzpatrick seems like he could be a good guy to learn from. *For the record I also like MLB Luke Kuechly at this spot to help lock down the middle of the field for what is becoming a solid defense.

Peyton Manning is a Bronco, Tebow is a Jet, Flynn is in Seattle, even Miami and Jacksonville have signed David Garrard and Chad Henne. A lot of teams are locking down their top two signal callers and the pickings are getting slim for the guys left on the outside. But even so there are two talented teams with injury prone starters who should be looking for a solid back-up.

Philadelphia gave Vince Young his walking papers, and I have to be honest, I think Young is the best QB still on the market. Don’t get me wrong he looked bad last year, and I’m not suggesting a reunion. But, I do think Vince Young’s agent ought to put in a call to Oakland’s front office. The 6’5 scrambler has a big arm, making him capable of taking full advantage of Oakland’s speedy young receiving core. Young has expressed a desire to play in Texas, but I can’t see that move making a lot of sense for the Texans as T.J. Yates proved himself to be at least worthy of the back-up spot with his fill-in play late last year.

Meanwhile I think Philly could be wise to take a look at Young’s opposing QB in the 2006 Rose Bowl, Matt Leinart. Leinart looked poised for a possible break out before the Matt Schaub injury, but ended up injured himself before he could make an impact. I’ll be completely honest I’m basing my recommendation of Leinart to Philly solely on the Eagles need for another QB and Leinart being a lefty QB who I think still has a lot to contribute. Obviously, he’s not a scrambler, but I have to think having another lefty to back up Vick simplifies things if he goes down.

St. Louis actually might not be bad for Leinart either. (I don’t think Fisher has any desire to have Vince on his team again) I see it being less ideal as they would have to take on a mentor-type role to Sam Bradford and I don’t know that Leinart is willing (or capable) of filling such a spot, but after last season the Rams proved they could sure use some depth behind Bradford.

With the entire football world in upheaval over the recent release of the Gregg Williams audio, it fell to ESPN analyst and former Patriots linebacker, Teddy Bruschi, to actually offer some perspective. Bruschi was asked about the audio and some of the things Williams said on the tape about targeting certain players on the 49ers and his thoughts. Bruschi wasn’t appalled, he didn’t call for Greg Williams head, he addressed the issue at hand which is a lot of what Williams was telling his players were things he’d heard all his life from coaches. Defensive players are encouraged to hit guys “in the mouth” or right up under the chin strap and drive them down and make them not want to get back up. This is the mentality a lot of defensive coaches take and it’s just not applicable anymore with the new rules put in place to protect players the entire head area is completely off limits. Coaches need to adapt the way they speak and teach their players to fit in line with the new guidelines.

Bruschi did say that Williams went too far in talking about wanting to give Kyle Williams another concussion and attacking Michael Crabtree’s ACL. There’s a silent agreement among players, he said that you don’t take away a guys legs because if he can’t move the way he used to it threatens their careers and their livelihood.

This has just been a quick appreciation post for Bruschi who is consistently my favorite player turned analyst. I’ve pretty much just paraphrased his thoughts without adding much of my own opinion as I found his take refreshing. The NFL is a physical game, and as a defensive player you have to want to hurt the other guy…to an extent of course. But you can’t have a defensive coordinator trying to fire up his team saying “Go out there and hit them with a reasonable amount of force to keep from getting fined!” but neither should you tell players specific areas to injure with the implication that they will be rewarded for causing lasting injuries. In other words you need to be able to lay a guy out without the intention of shortening his career.

(source: Sportcenter)

There’s been talk…though it seems to have slowed a bit, as to whether the Indianapolis Colts might decide to hang the hat of their rebuilding franchise on Robert Griffin III over the presumed favorite Andrew Luck. To be honest…I kind of think they should. No disrespect to Andrew Luck, but the most NFL ready QB since Peyton Manning doesn’t excite…which is pretty much how I felt about Peton Manning. Great football player, from every indication a great guy, but just doesn’t do much for me. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Luck, (which is a great last name to have on a jersey) and I hope he does well at the next level. The problem is everyone else is already so convinced he will succeed there’s not much excitement to it. When Sam Bradford went to the Rams there were questions about his ability to switch from the spread to pro style, when Cam Newton went to the Panthers he had similar questions about his ability to adapt to the NFL and throw from the pocket, these are the questions Griffin faces and that’s why I’m looking forward to seeing him more; he has something to prove.

The bottom line here is Robert Griffin hit the nail on the head in his talk with Jon Gruden on ESPN’s QB Camp. There are two number 1 draft picks this year.