Posted on: March 2, 2010 10:54 pm

NFL Mock Draft Version 1.0

With the scouting combine in full swing and the year's upcoming prospects working on enhancing their draft statuses, it seems like a good time to evaluate possibilities of where team might look in the first round. It is difficult to predict trades and what may change before draft date so this is just a rough idea of what direction I think every team would do if they were looking to stay at their current postion in the draft:

1.) St. Louis Rams- Sam Bradford, QB Oklahoma- Although the current thought process is that the Rams will look at one of the two dominant DTs pegged at the top of multiple Big Boards it seems more likely that Bradford will get more and more consideration as the draft approaches. Without a steady option at the position right now and with the unsuccessful history the Rams have drafting defensive lineman this pick will seem academic to Steve Spagnuolo when April arrives.

2.) Detroit Lions- Gerald McCoy, DT Oklahoma- With Bradford going to the Rams the Lions would find themselves in a postion to choose either one of the two highly rated DTs at the top of the board. I think the Lions will go with McCoy since he is the more complete player and has shown more consistency in his college career. He should also give Jim Schwartz the dominant DT he hasn't had since working with Albert Haynesworth in his tenure with the Titans.

3.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Ndamukong Suh, DT Nebraska- Although this may not be the biggest need for the Bucs Suh's value would be too much for them to pass up at number three. He may not be the prototypical tackle for the defensive system Tampa Bay runs but the physical gifts he possess could make him a playmaker wherever he ends up.

4.) Washington Redskins- Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame- I think this could be the surprise pick of the draft. The Redskins may entertain offers for anyone looking to move up to select the ND product but I think Mike Shanahan would like to turn over a new leaf in Washington and bring in his own man to lead the team. Clausen is NFL ready and could flourish under Shanahan's guidance.

5.) Kansas City Chiefs- Eric Berry, S Tennessee- Many are arguing that Berry may not be a top 5 talent but then again few defensive backs carry the same features as Berry. His abilities to make plays on the ball in the air and read the pass could make him a valued asset in new coordiantor Romeo Crennel's defense.

6.) Seattle Seahawks- Russell Okung, OT Oklahoma State- With both QBs off the board the Seahawks are left with their choice of tackles. With the retirement of Walter Jones, Okung should be able to step in and immediately fill the position left by the former Pro Bowler.

7.) Cleveland Browns- Joe Haden, CB Florida- An easy choice for the Browns who could use an upgrade at corner to help slow down the QB tandem of Palmer, Roethlisberger and Flacco the AFC North brings.

8.) Oakland Raiders- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE South Florida- The perfect risk-reward type player that Al Davis has been accustomed to selecting over recent years. Pierre-Paul has an explosive first step and the speed to be an elite playmaker but has shown maturity issues and only has one year of solid results at the college level and could be a project.

9.) Buffalo Bills- Anthony Davis, OT Rutgers- The sudden retirement of OL Brad Butler all but forces the Bills to look for help on their offensive line. Davis could step in and immediately become the bookend left tackle the Bills have lacked since parting ways with Jason Peters.

10.) Jacksonville Jaguars- Carlos Dunlap, DE Florida- The Jaguars have yet to receive consistency from former high draft picks Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves so they will likely be once again in the market for a solid pass rusher. Although Derrick Morgan is more highly rated the Jaguars may take a shot on the talented Dunlap and hope he can overcome his recurring maturity issues.

11.) Denver Broncos- Dez Bryant, WR Oklahoma State- With the uncertainty of star WR Brandon Marshall up in the air the Broncos may look to take this year's highest rated receiver and be ensured at the position in case Marshall's days run out.

12.) Miami Dolphins- Dan Williams, NT Tennessee- With Bryant gone the Dolphins first round interest will turn towards defense. This may be slightly high with Williams' current value but Jason Ferguson's best days are behind him and Miami would be well advised to find a replacement.

13.) San Francisco 49ers- Rolando McClain, ILB Alabama- The Niners have the luxury of two first round picks and may find a talent like McClain too good to pass up. With Takeo Spikes aging McClain could come in and form perhaps the most formidable pair of 3-4 ILBs the league has seen in a long time with Patrick Willis.

14.) Seattle Seahawks- Derrick Morgan, DE Georgia Tech- Although they have more significant needs Morgan's value may be too much to pass on here and could help a pass rush that is starting to fall off wiht the aging of Patrick Kerney.

15.) New York Giants- Earl Thomas, CB/S Texas- With new coordinator Perry Fewell taking over the defense, there may be a shift to the Tampa 2 defense. So the G-Men could be looking for extra secondary help to improve their coverage schemes.

16.) San Francisco 49ers- Brian Bulaga, OT Iowa- With their second selection the 49ers will still have a selection of 3 of the top tackles remaining and Bulaga, a possible top 10 talent would be too much of a steal here to pass up.

17.) Tennessee Titans- Everson Griffen, DE USC- With Jevon Kearse past his prime and Kyle Vanden Bosch on the free agen market the Titans will be in postion to look for pass rush help this offseason. The Titans may be willing to take a chance on Griffen who is projecting as either a 4-3 end or a 3-4 OLB, but is a gamble due to the uncertainty of how consistent he could be.

18.) Pittsburgh Steelers- Maurkice Pouncey, C Florida- Possibly a reach here but the Steelers badly need to improve the inside of their line to help protect Big Ben and soldify their inside running game in the physical AFC North.

19.) Atlanta Falcons- Dominique Franks, CB Oklahoma- The Falcons may be tempted to take a defensive end here but the secondary was their major defensive weakness last season and Franks could give them an upgrade in a division that features Drew Brees.

20.) Houston Texans- C.J Spiller, RB Clemson- The dream scenario for Houston this would be. If Spiller slips past the Seahawks (who are rumored to be looking at FA runningbacks at the time) he could fall all the way down to Houston who currently does not have an established starter for the upcoming season.

21.) Cincinatti Bengals- Taylor Mays, S USC- Pretty much an ideal fit here. The Bengals have a reputation of taking gambles on players whose on the field talent is questioned by some off the field incidents. Mays has the talent to play like a top pick and could team Cincinatti's other young guns in the secondary and become one of the NFL's most dangerous units.

22.) New England Patriots- Brandon Graham, DE Michigan- Has the talent to develop into a star pass rusher at OLB in Bill Belichick's defensive scheme as long as his abilities at that position check out before the draft. If not the Pats may look at Sergio Kindle to fill this need.

23.) Green Bay Packers- Trent Williams, OT Oklahoma- With both starting tackles facing free agency the Packers could add one of the top physical talents in this years class who could fill in at either tackle position.

24.) Philadelphia Eagles- Sergio Kindle, OLB Texas- The Eagles are solid on the D Line but lack playmakers at the LB position. Kindle has the ability to rush the passer as well as drop back in coverage.

25.) Baltimore Ravens- Golden Tate, WR Notre Dame- With Derrick Mason's future still unclear and the lack of playmakers the Ravens have for Joe Flacco in the passing game this pick is a given. Tate's size may be a hit to his value but his knack for creating big plays cannot be overlooked.

26.) Arizona Cardinals- Jerry Hughes, OLB TCU- After losing Bertrand Berry to free agency the Cards could be looking for a replacement. Hughes is a stretch here but fits into Arizona's system and is coming off a strong combine performance.

27.) Dallas Cowboys- Mike Iupati, G Idaho- With the uncertainty of depth at OL for Dallas the Cowboys may be looking for help. Iupati has been soaring up draft boards and could be a steal for the Cowboys here and has the potential to slide out to tackle.

28.) San Diego Chargers- Ryan Mathews, RB Fresno State- With LT released and Darren Sproles' future in question it seems obvious the Chargers are looking for a backfield overhaul. Mathews was one of the NCAA's top rushers for the bulldogs and gives the Chargers a back who they can feature for years to come.

29.) New York Jets- Damion Williams, WR USC- Although they acquired Braylon Edwards in the offseason their passing game was still a disaster and did little to help them go to the next level. Williams has played with Mark Sanchez before and gives the Jets a viable third option.

30.) Minnesota Vikings- Jonathan Dwyer, RB Georgia Tech- With Chester Taylor hitting the market and Adrian Petersen struggling to hold onto the football the Vikings may look to take Dwyer to insure their backfield. CB is the other strong possibility.

31.) Indianapolis Colts- Brian Price, DT UCLA- Although the Colts boost an impressive pass ruch from their ends, their interior linemen were not so impressive. The very underrated Price could be a gem here and help solidify the Colts rundefense.

32.) New Orleans Saints- Bruce Campbell, OT Maryland- Giving Dreww Brees a solid tackle to protect his blind side can only improve the already deadly Saints offense and propel them to a whole new level.

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: January 15, 2010 11:21 pm

Raiders and Bills give fans reason to cringe

Although there is only one official coaching vacancy at this time in the NFL, Buffalo, there will likely be two by the time this weekend is over, the second being in Oakland.

With other teams seemingly unlikely to test the waters for a new coach this season this leaves just these two options for up and coming coordinators looking for a shot and previously polished head coaches looking for another chance.

Sounds like these guys shouldn't quit their day jobs.

Understandably coaching in the NFL is regarded as a cherished opportunity since there are only 32 of these jobs to go around but out of all the openings to come up these could be the least desirable jobs for anyone to take a chance on.

The Raiders have not yet fired head coach Tom Cable but it is expected to happen within days. Al Davis is one of a few souls left to have optimistic beliefs regarding QB JaMarcus Russell who spent the end of the season being benched to give way to career backups such as Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye. If that doesn't cry bust then what else will? But this is Al Davis who goes through coaches like firewood and rules his team like a czar unwilling to bend on his philosophy.

Since Bill Callahan last took the Raiders to the playoffs and the Super Bowl in 2002 the Raiders have dropped like a sack of dirt. Going through names like Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin and more than likely soon to include Tom Cable the Raiders have went from being an AFC powerhouse to being an embarassment to the AFC and the city of Oakland. The Raiders have not only been missing from the postseason since the 2002 season but have not even had a sniff with their best record since then being 5-11.

So onto finding the new man in Oakland and this year it doesn't look good. It's gotta be tough enough to find someone willing to work under Al Davis who is set in his ways and has a reputation for firing coaches who can't get the Oakland puzzle solved in short periods of time, but now there's the speculation that whoever comes in will have to try and fix the woes of QB Jamarcus Russell who still hasn't lived up to being a first overall pick and will probably not be given long to do it. Rob Ryan has thrown his name into the ring citing his bloodlines and that he would be a nice fit having past ties with the organization. But with Al Davis still holding the reins John Madden probably wouldn't be able to move them forward.

As bad as Oakland has been over the past 7 seasons at least they have been to the postseason in this decade which can't be said for the Buffalo Bills.

Since the Music City Miracle and the Wade Phillips era the Bills have failed to make the playoffs once. Hiring everyone from Gregg Williams to Dick Jauron the Bills have not found a steady coach to bring the team to the next level. Not only that but since Jim Kelly's retirement the only QB who had moderate success was Doug Flutie.

But the Bills true problem has been upper management. And as much respect as owner Ralph Wilson commands the problems all start with him. In this decade he has let men like Tom Donahoe, legendary head coach Marv Levy and Russ Brandon run the organization right into the ground from the front office. Donahoe seemed like a good hire in 2001 coming over from the Pittsburgh Steelers but did not pan out. Following him was Marv Levy who proved that just because you were a great coach doesn't mean personnel is your calling. Russ Brandon is the Bills marketing guru but is not a football guy.

Buddy Nix is now at the helm but should Bills fans really expect change. A few months ago Bills were chasing around the Mike Shanahans of the world but was that even for real.

You want the truth...Bills fans are being cheated plain and simple. This is not Ralph C. Wilson trying to turn a franchise around...this is him and Bills CEO Russ Brandon saying "We're trying," but not meaning it. But the facts show that Wilson has never looked to big names to fix the organization and mark my words will not be getting one as long as he's around. Heck, look at the Buddy Nix was an in house guy, not a big name. If anything he just wanted to name a GM to cool some heat from the fans and the media. And since he's been hired nothing's happened. John Guy and Tom Modrak, two of Tom Donahoe's front office hires who have survived a decade where they have been viewed as major disappointments, are still employed, which tells you that Nix may not really be in charge. Also, Buffalo has been without a coach for a few weeks now and only have one interested candidate who has been interviewed and not committed to another job elsewhere, Leslie Frazier.

I don't know who will ultimately become the Buffalo Bills next head coach but Bills fans should not get excited because the winds of change don't seem to be blowing through Orchard Park. Wilson and Brandon have been able to sucker fans into buying tickets and merchandise by feigning interest in big name coaches and bringing in guys like Drew Bledsoe and Terrell Owens to get people's attention off the poor performance of the team.

And the sad part is that after a whole decade of losing their gimmick is still working...
Posted on: January 11, 2010 2:25 pm

Rams first overall pick will dictate 2010 draft

Although the 2010 NFL Entry Draft is still months away and we are in the midst of the playoffs there is already some buzz starting to come about regarding who the best players available are and who is looking at who for the top 10 picks and beyond.

The one thing that I think is being overlooked and will probably be mentioned a lot more after the playoffs is the importance of the Rams pick at number one.

After finishing 1-15 this season and struggling mightily at most aspects of the game the Rams are in a position to do many things with the first pick. Some of the options could be:

Ndamukong Suh: Right now it looks like Suh is easily the best player available for the draft. Watching the Big 12 Championship game versus Texas pretty much locked that up for him and with the way he plays he can instantly upgrade any defensive unit in the league if he brings the same intensity that he did as a Husker. The Rams have many glaring needs but passing up a player as highly rated as Suh would be very difficult.

Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen: Perhaps the biggest question mark for the Rams headed into this offseason is who is going to play QB for them next season. Marc Bulger's best days may be behind him and I don't think Kyle Boller or Keith Null is the long term answer. The free agent market for top quarterbacks is pretty slim so they may try and follow the Lions of last season and take a franchise passer with the first pick.

Trade down: With all of the holes the Rams have to fill I believe they will be looking to trade down with a team that really wants Ndamukong Suh or one of the two quarterbacks. In doing so, they could stockpile a good number of picks and maybe land a WR (Dez Bryant, Arrelious Benn, Golden Tate) to lead a very subpar corps, a tackle (Russell Okung, Anthony Davis) to solidify the offensive line or a playmaker of the defensive side of the ball (Eric Berry, Rolando McClain, Gerald McCoy) to toughen up Steve Spagnoulo's defense. However, the market for teams looking to trade to the first pick and pay an unproven player a behemoth contract is usually very very thin.

Whichever route St. Louis chooses they have the ball in their court. Right now I can't imagine how the few teams with picks right behind them can plan who to take when the Rams have so many options. But their pick will affect how other teams must approach their drafts and the overall direction of the 2010 draft.

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: December 22, 2009 6:32 pm

The Shanahan Sweepstakes is on

Former Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan has already become one of the hottest commodities this season.

And we're not even through the regular season.

The former Super Bowl winning head coach has already been mentioned as in discussions with three teams and is probably on the mind of several others.

After surprisingly being canned by the Broncos at the end of last season for a disappointing 8-8 finish that had the Broncos ousted by the Chargers for the AFC West in the final regular season game.

Despite missing the playoffs last season Shanahan is still one of the most decorated coaches in the game and it can be argued that letting him go could have been a mistake (although new coach Josh McDaniel's appears to have things looking up).

Anyway the market for a polished coach like Shanahan isn't taking long to appear. The Buffalo Bills were the first team to approach him shortly after relieving former head coach Dick Jauron after an immensely disappointing start. Interim head coach Perry Fewell brings a fire that Jauron lacked but is trying to coach an injury plagued by injuries and doesn't seem in line to win the job. Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. is reportedly willing to pay top dollar for a proven winning head coach and it appears that Shanahan tops that list. Although Shanahan has met with Bills officials and has been quoted saying that Bills Chief Operation Executive Russ Brandon was well prepared and gave him something to think about this just seems way to unlikely. The Bills have far too many question marks that would need resolving for a guy like Shanahan to be interested, mainly not having a franchise QB. Although the Bills are offering total control of football operations as well, it is unlikely Shanahan will want to spend a large chunk of time trying to undo over a decade of bad decisions.

The team we are currently hearing the most Shanahan related hype from is the Washington Redskins. It is crystal clear that the Jim Zorn era is going to be over, who made the wrong kind of statement with his fake field goal attempt in last night's meltdown versus the Giants. There is no doubt owner Daniel Snyder loves to spend money on toys for his team so Shanahan would likely get a fat contract and has the owner behind him who would likely buy whatever talent he wants around for him. But again there is another team with the QB situation in flux and no clear answer. Jason Campbell has worn out his welcome, Todd Collins is over the hill and Chase Daniel's abilities are unknown. Plus Shanahan and runningback Clinton Portis have a bad history dating back to their days together in Denver that may also stir up some trouble. But the tools at his fingertips could be too much to pass up.

The latest team rumored in the mix is the Houston Texans, who unlike the previous two teams, have a QB. Matt Shaub is having a sensational team and has developed a dangerous combination with perhaps the NFL's best receiver in Andre Johnson. The big selling point that the Texans may be able to use is that they have Shanahan's son, Kyle, as their offensive coordinator. Current coach Gary Kubiak has the Texans competing but can't get this talent-laden squad to the playoffs. If the Texans can't make a late season push into the postseason the fat lady may sing on Kubiak. The Texans main problems are a weak running game with no clear choice of back and inconsistency. If this job opens up, this could be a nice fit for Shanahan.

Other possibilities could be the Cowboys if Wade Phillips fails to make a deep playoff run, Chicago who has had an absolutely disastrous season or maybe even Tampa Bay whose rookie head coach has fired both of his coordinators and has the Bucs plummeting back in time.

Things are looking good for Mike Shanahan...
Posted on: November 19, 2009 3:59 pm

Russell officially labeled as bust

It's a shame when something like this happens. When a professional sports team plunks down millions and millions on a guy as the first overall pick of an entry draft to be the cornerstone of their team and it falls flat it really is just a travesty.

Add JaMarcus Russell to that list.

Although his career is not entirely over yet, all signs point to Russell's time in Oakland gasping for air.

In his third season with Oakland, Russell has a lowly QB rating of 65.5 for his career and has become infamous for having completed only 51.6 percent of his passed, including only 46.8 this season. After an effort of only 8-23 for 64 yards last Sunday vs. a weak Kansas City team the Raiders have decided to give Bruce Gradkowski a shot this week and possibly a look for the rest of this season.

Throughout his time thus far in Oakland, Russell has yet to show any spark or sign of interest. He has been cited on occasion as being lazy and not willing to put forth the effort necessary to be a success. To his defense, yeah the Oakland front office hasn't made much of an effort to surround him with viable receivers but still Russell shows very little of what a team looks for in a franchise QB.

Barring some sort of miracuolous turnaround, this brings yet another question to the Raiders in the who?

They could go back into the draft and look at one of many choices such as Jimmy Clausen, Jake Locker, or Sam Bradford. This seems like the logical choice but since when have the Raiders made the logical choice.

They could also look around the league for a solution. Some possible options could be Derek Anderson, Trent Edwards, Micahel Vick, and Chad Pennington.

But this is a situation Raider's fans have dreaded for the past 3 seasons.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 18, 2009 10:08 am

Jauron's firing leaves Bills with question marks

After approximately 3 and a half seasons, Dick Jauron is out as head coach of the Buffalo Bills.

The news came yesterday from owner Ralph C Wilson Jr. himself, who stressed that although this was a difficult decision the move needed to be made. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has been named the interim head coach and he brings along a simple, yet clear message. The Bills need to "play like hell and win."

Fewell has been relatively successful as the Bills DC. Yes the Bills rank dead last in rush defense but Fewell has coached a defense plagued by injuries to key starters throughou the season and his defense has kept the Bills within one score of opponents in every came excluding their week 4 meltdown at Miami.

The problem has clearly been with offense and Fewell has said he can change little with the offense with the current personnel in place.

So the question now is where do the Bills look in 2010? The franchise is in need of several new pieces, including most importantly a true franchise passer and a new head coach.

The QB situation has been a constant since the departure of Jim Kelly in the 90s. They have gone through a long list of QBs including names such as Drew Bledsoe, Rob Johnson, Todd Collins, J.P Losman and Doug Flutie. Trent Edwards doesn't seem like the answer and backup Ryan Fitzpatrick has been cited by opponents (mainly Texans LB DeMeco Ryans) as preictable and easy to read. With several big names coming up in this loaded draft class this seems like a good year to choose one in the first round or perhaps sign a veteran such as Jeff Garcia and maybe draft a QB with a later pick and spend maybe 2 seasons developing him.

With the coaching position the Bills front office has had a history of looking at up and coming coordinators or coaches with the lower pricetag. Although there are several big names out there I would be shocked if they went after a Holmgren or a Shanahan, especially since they will still owe Dick Jauron the amount of his remaining contract. Unless he finishes off with a bang, I doubt Perry Fewell will be back. Some more realistic possibilities could be Jim Haslett who has a history as a player in Buffalo and as an assistant at the University at Buffalo, or some of the more respected coordinators such as Leslie Frazier, Mike Nolan or Paul Pasqualoni.

But at least Bills fans finally got their wish and Dick Jauron is out of Buffalo.
Category: NFL
Posted on: November 16, 2009 9:56 am

Vols should have players sit

Three Tennessee Vol players are being faced with counts of armed robbery and yet there are still voices out there convinced these players should be allowed to participate in team activities.

Although Lane Kiffin has determined that until he can obtain all the facts they will not participate I find it hard to envision a situation under which they should be allowed to compete.

Armed robbery concerning anyone outside of sports and celebrities is viewed as a serious offense. People usually end up sentenced for a good chunk of jail time and are subject to fines and other legal action.

If after conducting his own "investigation" if you will Kiffin allows wide receiver Nu'Keese Richardson, safety Janzen Jackson and defensive back Mike Edwards to re-enter into team activities one could argue it could put yet another stain on the confusing legacy Lane Kiffin is writing for himself with Tennessee.

Category: NCAAF
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