Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mock Draft 1.0 (16-32)

Picks 16-32

Needs: QB, ILB, WR, S
16) Breshad Perriman-WR UCF
With Kendricks gone I was tempted to put Collins here.  In the end I went with Perriman because the Texans are going to have challenges at Qb and will need as many sure handed guys on the field as they can get.  The Texans have Hopkins to stretch the D and while Perriman can do the same he will be effective on the shorter routes as well because of his solid foot work and route running.

Needs: OLB, DL, RB, C
17) Melvin Gordon-RB Wisconsin
The Chargers cant pass up the opportunity to land a RB like Gordon.  The Chargers have real needs at DE/NT/OLB and Armstead would not be a surprise here, nor would Harold.  In the end there is a need at RB and Gordon is a guaranteed day 1 impact player.

Needs: OL, ILB, DE, WR
18) Arik Armstead-DT Oregon
I wanted to put TJ Clemmings here but when you look at the off season the Chiefs had and Reid's draft history I went the other route.  The Chiefs acquired two OGs in the off season and, while in Philly, Reid drafted a defensive lineman 6 out of the 12 years they had a 1st round pick. The Chiefs have Devito and signed Vickerson but neither can be considered a difference maker.  With 6'-7" of athletic defensive end staring at him, I doubt Reid lets that get past him. I am high on Denzel Perryman and would love to see him paired with Johnson in this defense.  However, I dont think KC will be as high on him to take him here. 

Needs: Alot

19) Todd Gurley-RB UGA
 Sooo do you really need an explaination why the Browns would take Gurley? Didnt think so.  In 1 draft the Browns may make up for the picks of Phil Taylor, Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Barkevious Mingo and Johnny Manziel....or Mariota wont be ready for the NFL and Gurley will have constant issues with his knee.  Wow! It is stressful to be a Browns fan.

Needs: S, WR, CB, OG
20) Jaelen Strong-WR ASU
With Chip Kelly really taking a beating in the media over some decisions in the beginning of the league year I would expect him to keep it simple in the draft.  A glaring need is WR so he goes and gets a WR that is big and physical.  Parker might be a thought here but with Parker's preference to move at his own pace it might clash with Kelly's fast paced offense.

Needs: DL, OLB, OT, WR
21) Malcom Brown-DT Texas
The Beangals need all kinds of help along the defensive line.  They were rated as the worst pass rush by and were poorly rated versus the run.  With all the top pass rushers taken Brown might be the highest rated DL player on the Bengals board right here.  Landon Collins would be the best player available but Nelson and Iloka have played well enough for the Bengals to focus on their front line.  A surprise pick here would be Danielle Hunter, he is a big athletic DE and is my #1 4-3 DE.

Needs: CB, S, OLB, OG

22) Kevin Johnson-CB WFU
The Steelers gave up a little over 4000 yards passing last year and that has to be addressed.  Johnson is my top CB and can play press or zone coverage.  He is also a physical CB who should fit right in to the tough nosed Steeler defensive tradition.  Another name to look out for here would be Eli Harold. 

Needs: DT, RB, RT, OC

23) Landon Collins-SS BAMA
With Ihedigbo playing the holdout game, Collins falling is a windfall for the Lions.  Ighedigbo is in the last year of his contract and, according to his agent, Ihedigbo will not participate in any offseason activities until he gets a new contract.  Good luck with that James.

Needs: DT, OLB, RT, ILB

24) TJ Clemmings-OT Pitt
The Cardinals finally get the right side fixed by drafting Clemmings.  Clemmings is still raw but his upside is huge.  Jordan Phillips might be another player that the Cardinals could target.  But his questionable work ethic could make the Cardinals take a pass.

Needs: OT, WR, S, RB
25) DeVante Parker-WR Lou
The Panthers really need a LT but if Parker is still on the board here they may not pass on him.  Personally I am not high on Parker.  I feel he is pretty lazy on his route running and does not use his body well enough for someone that size.  On the flip side the Panthers drafted a WR last year who can only catch passes if he use his body to push DBs around in Benjamin.  With Parker and Benjamin as WRs the Panthers will have one of the tallest WR duos in the league.  Still not sure if that will be enough to get Carolina's offense on track.

Needs: WR, DL, S, RB

26) Carl Davis-DT Iowa
Carl Davis is a mountain of a man to plug in the midddle but still has the agility where Baltimore can try him at DE if they need to.  The Ravens have a need at WR but at this point the only WR left worthy of a 1st round pick in many scouts minds is Dorial Green-Beckham.  However, with all his baggage I expect the Ravens to stay away.

Needs: RB, DT, DE, CB

27) Jordan Phillips DT-Oklahoma
This pick doesnt look like it makes sense because Phillips is a NT and Dallas is a 4-3 team now,  right?  I like the pick because his size forces double teams and when you watch Phillips he gets penetration on passing plays frequently.  He doesnt always know how to finish the play properly but he is disruptive in the backfield.  Marinelli does well with getting his players to play hard for him and if he can get through to Phillips, he might have the steal of the draft.

Needs: OL, DT, TE, ILB

28) Jake Fisher-O/T Oregon
Denver knows its window of opportunity is almost closed but while its open they have to protect Manning.  Fisher give the Broncos flexibility with being able to play inside or out.  Last year the Broncos played mix and match with their OL configuartions and having a guy like Fisher will allow that to continue

Needs: OL, DL, ILB, RB

29)  Cameron Erving-OC FSU
Peyton Manning had his anchor in Jeff Saturday for a long time.  The Colts need to find Luck his anchor and it just might be Erving.  Erving brings strength and agility to an interior line that had been struggling.  The Colts have been slowly surrounding Luck with weapons and now its time to surround him with protection.

Needs: ILB, CB, DT, TE

30) Denzel Perryman-ILB Miami(Fl)
The rich just keep getting richer.  The Packers are in need of an ILB and they have land the 1B linebacker.  He is 1 B because I think him and Kendricks are so close in talent.  Perryman might not be the most athletic LB but he has great instincts and is a thumper.

Needs: OLB, OG, WR, TE,

31) Devin Funchess-TE Michigan
If Michigan would have left Funchess as a TE he would be rated as the #1 TE in the draft right now.  His athleticism is good for a TE and about average for a WR.  With a need for a TE opening up in New Orleans it seems like a perfect fit.

Needs: CB, DT, OG, WR,
32) Laken Tomlinson-Duke
The Patriots usually go for the best athlete they can get at such a low pick.  Tomlinson might be the most athletic OG in the draft.  I know they lost two CBs and prjecting a CB for them here is easy but when you think how Belichick can come up with game plans he may be ok with what he has.  However, if you think back to early in the year when the OL was horrible, there was obvious anger and frustration by Brady and BelichickThe Pats need to sure up the line and they start with Tomlinson.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Mock Draft 1.0 (1-15)

2015 MOCK DRAFT 1.0
PICKS 1-15
Needs: QB, DE, OL, S

1) Jameis Winston QB-FSU
Lovie Smith has to win in a hurry in Tampa Bay and Winston has the talent to step in and make a difference right away.  Smith has always been viewed as a "player's coach" and that might be key in whether the gamble on Winston's character pays off.

Needs: WR,RB,DL, OLB

2) Kevin White WR-WVU
The almost consensus pick here has been Leonard Williams.  For me this is pretty high for a 3-4 end that still has, in my opinion,  large question marks in his game.  Ken Wisenhunt had success in Arizona with an elite WR in Larry Fitzgerald and he has nowhere near that talent on the current roster.  Wright is a short yard possession receiver and Hunter has not progressed into a #1 target.  White might be the most explosive offensive player in draft and would allow Mettenberger to use his strong arm to throw up some bombs and let him go get it.

Needs: All but DT
3) Dante Fowler Jr. DE-Florida
The Jags could have almost any player drafted here and it would improve a position on their team.  Fowler is the pick because he is just as athletic as Beasley, Gregory and Ray but he is the one that is better suited to be a 4-3 DE.  The Jags' defense is closer to being a strength than the offense is and they focused on their defense in free agency.  Landing a top pass rusher would be the cherry on top of a defensive focused off season.

Needs: DE, WR, RT, ILB, DB
4) Vic Beasley OLB-Clemson
With White off the board and the Raiders' tendency to fall in love with H/W/S guys, Beasley is the next freak athlete in line. Beasley showed his athleticism on tape all year and really put on a show at the combine.  I am not as high on Beasley as most but the Raiders are desperate for a pass rush and they can't pass up the chance to pair up two freak athletes in Beasley and Mack.

Needs: RT, CB, ILB, CB
5) Leonard Williams DT-USC
The pick may be strange because Washington made some moves to shore up the defensive line in free agency. However, this would be a best player available situation that Washington cannot pass up.  Getting Williams at #5 while some rate him as a #1 draft choice is a better scenario than trying to fill a need by reaching. 

Needs: QB, OLB, OL, RB

6) Shane Ray DE-Mizzou
With Calvin Pace in his mid 30s and the contracts of Wilkerson, Coples and Richardson set to expire soon the Jets need to reload the talent on the front 7. Ray is the most explosive player off the snap of any player in the draft and should have plenty of time to get after the QB with the revamped secondary locking things down behind him.

Needs: QB, WR,OLB, RT, S
7) Randy Gregory DE-Nebraska
The Bears have concentrated their efforts on trying to get players on the defensive line that fit their new 3-4 defensive scheme.  The OLB is a position that they still have square peg-round hole players that they will be trying to plug in despite a lack of experience at the position.  Gregory can help in passing situations if anyone struggles transitioning to the 3-4 and he provides insurance for when the Bears inevitably cut Jared Allen after the 2015 season.  The Bears have shown they will not aviod a player with questionable character, so this may be a perfect match.

Needs: DE, OL, RB, S, LB
8) Bud Dupree DE/OLB-Kentucky
The Falcons have an obvious need at DE and judging by their meeting list the Falcons are planning on addressing it.  The Falcons have met with Beasley, Fowler Jr and Ray twice this off season and Dupree once.  With all the top rushers getting snapped up early the Falcons have to react quick and get one of them. Yes, this is where the fantasy football players yell "REACH, REACH!"

Needs: S, OL, DL, LB
9) La'el Collins-OT LSU
Giants go with offense over defense in the 1st round.  Tom Coughlin loves to run the ball and he has not seen a solid run game in a while. rated the Giants as near the bottom in run offense and run blocking.  Having Betty and Collins bookend the line should turn that around next season. 

Needs: OL, WR, OLB, S
10) Amari Cooper-WR Bama
The Rams should run to turn their card in if Cooper is still around at this slot.  Although the Rams have focused all efforts on their DL and completely forgot about the OL, Cooper is too good of a talent to pass up for an offensive lineman.  The Rams finally gave up on the injury prone Bradford and got a solid QB in Foles.  However, he doesn't have much to work with.  Tavon Austin has been a disappointment and when Kenny Britt is your best WR you have to know you are in trouble.  If I were the Rams I would lock up Cooper and target Rob Havenstein in Rd2 to help the OL.

Needs: RB, OL, ILB, WR
11) Brandon Scherff-OT Iowa
The Vikings have a real dilemma going on with AP and it probably wont be solved prior to the draft.  This leaves them with the guessing game of either preparing for life without him or presume he will be with the team.  They could go with Gurley or Gordon here but I think the pick has to be Scherff.  Scherff can play inside if needed or play on the outside if Kalil struggles againAlso, improving the OL will help the run game with or without AP.

Needs: All but OL, ILB, DBs
12)  Marcus Mariota-QB Oregon
The Browns get their man and didnt have to move up to get him.  The Browns' offensive side of the ball is in chaos after Manziel and Gordon both had some "issues" during last season.  Luckily the Browns have one of the better OL in the game, which should help with any growing pains with the young QB and other young skill players.  The Browns still must land a WR to help because Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline are not the answer.

Needs: OLB, OG, TE, DL
13) Danny Shelton-DT Washington
 The Saints had a very interesting off season to say the least.  Many people think they have to go after a WR early because they lost Stills and Graham.  I disagree, the Saints spread the ball out so much that they can get by with effective role players.  The other side of the ball was a mess and ranked near the bottom in all defensive categories.  With all the top rush OLBs off the board the Saints go after Shelton because he is a good value here and he can help in two other ways.  He will plug up the middle versus the run and has the pass rush skills to help a lacking pass rush.

Needs: CB, G/C, S, LB
 14) Trae Waynes-CB Michigan St
The Dolphins have a solid CB in Brent Grimes but he is undersized and may not be fast enough to stay with elite speed WRs.  On the other side of Grimes they really don't have much. Waynes can play up in coverage or in zone, which is perfect for Kevin Coyle's multiple look defense.  I have seen Peters mocked here but I think he is more suited for a zone defense and will struggle if he is asked to play heavy man defense.

Needs: ILB, DL, OG, CB

15) Eric Kendricks-ILB UCLA
 The 49ers had two surprise retirements at the ILB position this off season and that turned the position from stacked to deficient.  Adding Kendricks will put an instinctual and athletic LB right back on the field.  Kendricks' high character should also help the 49ers start to rebuild their public image after the negative attention they got for Ray McDonald and Aldon Smith.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Dilemma of Being #1

  For most of us if we are #1 we feel good about it.  It usually means we are 1st in line for something we really want or we are a top performer at our craft.  For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers #1 has a whole different meaning.  As we all know being #1 in the NFL Draft is never a good thing but more importantly it means the beginning of a new era in Buccaneer football history.  Whether its for the good or bad remains to be seen.  Coming off a year where the NFL was in the public eye for all the wrong reasons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are faced with the increasingly difficult choice of talent vs character in the #1 draft slot.

  It comes as a cruel twist of faith for the Buccaneers that the only player in the draft whose talent truly justifies a #1 pick also has some of the biggest character concerns of anyone in the draft.  That player is of course Jameis Winston.  Winston comes with a laundry list of off the field issues that range from being accused of rape to causing disturbances on campus.  These incidents alone would be enough to scare off a team.  For me, when you combine these incidents with what I have seen on tape would definitely cause me to consider alternatives at the #1 choice.  On tape Winston is the hands down and unquestioned leader of the team.  It is the interactions with his coach that leave you wondering if he can handle authority figures in the NFL.  I saw multiple instances of Winston being very animated and having heated "conversations" with his coach during games.  This was on full display in the Rose Bowl when Winston fell and fumbled the ball in the 3rd quarter.  This led to the sideline exchange between the two that many media outlets reported on after the game.
I know it is not uncommon for there to be heated exchanges between QBs and their coaches, on any level.  However, the fact that it happened in multiple games; Florida, Georgia Tech, Oregon and Miami; and only after Winston made a mistake is troubling to me.  It leads me to believe he has trouble being held accountable or having an authority figure reprimand him.  Combine his history of transgressions and "heated conversations" with his coach and I would think it makes him a tough selection for most teams.  However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be the exception.

  A team needs to have a strong leadership foundation already established in order to make a risky move and select a player with major character issues. The Buccaneers' "X" factor is Lovie Smith.  Being from Chicago I saw first hand how his players reacted to him.  Smith definitely showed he is a leader of men and his players would constantly give max effort on the field. Smith was able to squeeze every ounce of talent out of his players and led a team quarterbacked by Rex Grossman to the Super Bowl.  When he was fired players said he was a coach that treated everyone with respect and didnt need to yell and swear to get players to perform.  If Winston in fact does have an issue with authority Smith's coaching style may be a perfect fit.  While Fisher is a good coach he is fiery at times. While I cant remember a time I have ever seen Lovie Smith get angry or even overly excited.  Despite the amount of respect Smith received he was not able to get through to all his players and there were multiple instances of players getting arrested under Smith's watch.  Trying to get players to conduct themselves properly will never be an exact science and there will always be bad apples, having Lovie Smith to  guide them is a good start.  I expect the Buccaneers to draft Winston #1 and Smith will be able to make the Winston gamble a successful one.