Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fantasy Football Dossier 2.0

"Now see it ain't no reason for you to be out here skeezin'
'Cause it's not the season."

You know no matter how overblown fantasy sports has become (it has if you didn't know by the way), these are still really, really amazing times. With training camps open for business, and the preseason looming (which apparently will be there anyone fighting to keep those four preseason games?...not so sure about that), let me get you ready for what is to be expected when you officially hit that "Launch Draft" button and get into that draft room (still exciting even when you're just doing random ones with people who will care about that league on anywhere from a 0-100 scale).

The "Get Those QBs Early" Theory:

In building on my "Aaron Rodgers Theory" from last year, I have to tell you that you will most likely be disappointed with the QB you get after the 4th Round (I like Joe Flacco...I do...will he lead a fantasy team to a championship?...if he does, he's gonna need some major help). Here is how the ADPs (Averaged Draft Positions) are shaking up:

The Guys That You Know It's Money Time:
  1. Aaron Rodgers (11.0)
  2. Drew Brees (7.1)
  3. Tom Brady (20.1)
  4. Peyton Manning (14.5)...because Brady already had the major major injury...and it seems like this is the Bird vs. Magic of QBs...seriously didn't even want to jinx him there...these are just the facts)
The Guys That Win At Least Half Of My Matchups, But I Wish I Had One Of The First Four:
  1. Philip Rivers (36.1)
  2. Matt Schaub (33.2)
  3. Tony Romo (38.0)...I remember laughing at Romo's situation...not laughing so loudly now...even with the Dez Bryant "I'm not going to carry your pads Roy Williams because I'm going to replace you anyway" situation
  4. Joe Flacco (68.6)...Flacco I predict will be this generation's Steve McNair...on the field that is...he will win, but fantasy-wise, I don't think he's a "wow" guy.
The Guys I Am In Love With Right Now, But I Wish I Had One Of The First Four:
  1. Carson Palmer (124.5)...oh man, especially with T.O. heard me...especially with T.O. now!...they were the "darling" team last year, and expect that move to do nothing to change that...Cincy will repeat as a darling team because they're a team you can't help but end up rooting for against a big team that's not your own (seriously, you give me Bengals/Steelers? am I not rooting for a Bengals upset there?...if you're not connected by the absolutely and tremendously humongous Steeler fan base (three adjectives, I still don't feel I did them justice), you're pulling for's Ickey Woods-related I'm sure)...
  2. Chad Henne (125.8)...easiest breakout candidate
  3. Vince Young (130.2)...why are we still doubting Vince Young?...what has he ever done to not make me think he's going to make this happen
  4. Mark Sanchez (125.4)...tremendous WR depth, and he's really good
  5. Matt Ryan (99.7)...the 99.7 seems low, and even in my rankings, this is low...and yet, I can't get off of the fact that it's about right
The Guys You Drafted Because You Either Forgot To Draft A QB, Or You're Just Totally Ignoring Me:
  1. Donovan McNabb (94.4)...of all the guys in this section, this one you may be able to present some evidence that you intended to draft McNabb...I can see it...
  2. Eli Manning (91.0)
  3. Kevin Kolb (94.3)
  4. David Garrard (140.8)...he is steady though, I'll give him that
  5. Alex Smith (136.8)
  6. Matthew Stafford (133.8)...totally ripped the Lions for taking him first...I think he's good, but he's not that "franchise" guy that you put on the cover of media guides to sell tickets (this is of course if media guides still sell tickets...uh-oh, I'm having one of those "remember when" moments)...but he's a guy you can root for (the anti-Jamarcus Russell...oh!...even out of the league, he will never be able to escape the criticism...his downfall was like Ryan Leaf's demise but on HGH)
  7. Matt Cassell (170.0)
  8. Tim Tebow (170.0)...hey, if you have room, why not?...he's going to get in there somehow...
The Guys...I Mean...Seriously Bro?:
  1. Ben Roethlisberger (117.9)
  2. Matt Leinart (139.2)
  3. Sam Bradford (127.3)
The "It's All About The U" Theory:

And now for the clarification. Simply put, Miami graduates Andre Johnson (7.3) and Reggie Wayne (16.1) will be 1-2 in WR points, and I will be just in shock if that doesn't happen. That's not even close to being bold. You know what you're getting here. Also, in terms of drafting a receiver in the second round, this is it. Think about the other guys: Fitzgerald (14.0) has Leinart...uh oh. Brandon Marshall (19.0) will get numbers, but second round numbers? Aaron Rodgers/DeAngelo Williams numbers? Not so much. Randy Moss (11.4) seems like unless we literally win every game, we're going to have "Randy Moss moments"...Randy being Randy, Manny being Manny...see what I mean? However, there are four guys who potentially could make it into the bottom of the second that you really, really could make a case for, and yet I still think if any of them get drafted over that Rodgers/Williams combo, it would be a critical mistake:
  1. Miles Austin (23.2)...and he's the surest thing out of this bunch by far
  2. Roddy White (22.9)/Calvin Johnson (22.3)...I mean no disrespect to these two by looping them together, but I feel like this season will begin to both the same this the year of the explosion? Both guys are capable of literally exploding and climbing to the #2 WR overall (nobody's at Andre's level), but both could kind of slip a little bit, so it's a most likely, you're not going to have their QB starting to double-down on (unless you take a markable gamble on Matt Ryan to start for you the entire year).
  3. DeSean Jackson (26.6)...can he sustain the explosion? Kevin Kolb will be a gunner, but can he be accurate enough for DeSean to stay at such a level? I think he's a smart bet because he's got speed we have never seen at receiver...I mean like a legitimate front-line receiver and he can burn everyone.
The "If You Missed On The Top 10 Receivers, There's Plenty More Where That Came From" Theory:

It's like this: Even if you miss the first ten...even the first twenty receivers, you can still build up a nice receiving corps for yourself...let's examine this further shall we?...

The Guys Who Will Be Franchise Guys That You Perhaps Could Be In The Same Quandry Next Year With As You Are The Miles/Roddy/Calvin/DeSean Situation:
  1. Greg Jennings (30.6)...the Rodney Dangerfield of receivers...what does he have to do for some "elite" dap?...he's done it numerous times with two different QBs and everything that came with that whole thing
  2. Michael Crabtree (51.9)...even sometimes I think I deserve more money than Darrius Heyward-Bey...imagine what Crabtree was thinking?...yeah, he's this good
  3. Mike Sims-Walker (56.7)...if he was more highly touted, he could have been in the Roddy/Calvin "is this the year"...but Sims-Walker has the chance to outperform both of these guys, although I'm thinking he barely loses a head-to-head with them.
The Guys That I'm Thinking Are Great, But The Three Ahead Needed Their Own Section:
  1. Marques Colston (34.5)
  2. Sidney Rice (34.8)...without Favre, Sidney will still get decent numbers, but you know they would have really popped if he had another year with him and not likely Tarvaris Jackson
  3. Vincent Jackson (60.3)...this is all contingent on if this whole contract situation gets ironed out...I mean he could really sit out the whole season!...that's no, hopefully it all gets taken care of soon, or else we'll all be in limbo...if I take him in the sixth round, and he does ultimately sit out the whole season, I really won't feel bad...when he's in uniform, he's a top 10 receiver and a third round pick
The Guys Who Stat-Fill, But Can Be Kind Of Hit And Miss:
  1. Steve Smith, CAR (35.4)
  2. Percy Harvin (55.9)
The Guys Who Everyone Thinks Big About...I'm Thinking Not As Big:
  1. Steve Smith, NYG (35.4)...not the best receiver on his own team (more on that to come)
  2. Anquan Boldin (39.7)...I'm convinced that what Baltimore does that makes them win is completely non-Anquan Boldin related...they gotta pound it...this is why Flacco isn't in that elite class, and why Boldin will see a decrease in production...also, it's tough to be "the guy" when you haven't had to be in a while
  3. Chad Johnson (44.4)
The Guys Who Could Make It Interesting:
  1. Wes Welker (95.5) just have to believe in one thing to make sense of this..."Wes Welker can do anything Wes Welker wants to do"...he's in Chuck Norris range for me, and that's all there is to it
  2. Lee Evans (104.6)...104.6?...seriously?...we're talking about like two years ago, he was a surefire top-10 guy, and now we're supposed to forget about him?...Lee Evans: Back in the "I'm the man" saddle again...
  3. Hakeem Nicks (74.8)...played hurt all of last year and was still real good...obviously injury is a concern, but you can see him catching fire for like five, six weeks in a row...good times if you're starting him in that stretch
  4. Dez Bryant (84.7)...the only thing that can stop this is if Dallas is unable to get rid of Roy Williams, which, once Bryant does prove himself, they will be desperate to do...a Williams/Bryant combo cannot survive an entire year I'm thinking
  5. Kenny Britt (121.6)...he goes if Vince Young if it goes like it should go, he goes
The Guys Who You Should Be Like "Why Am I Getting These Guys This Late?"...Then You Go Scour The Internet For An Answer, And It Sort Of Comes, But Yet You're Still Left Kinda Wondering Why:
  1. Johnny Knox (110.6)/Devin Aromashodu (131.7)...Knox is proven, and thus far, people are latching onto that...however, this Aromashodu guy...people are talking...
  2. Malcom Floyd (124.2)...even if Jackson comes back, he's the man for four weeks, and Rivers will make it happen
  3. Chaz Schilens (129.7) doesn't matter who is throwing to him, a #1 receiver is a #1 receiver, and I feel like J-Camp may not make it through an entire year, setting up another Bruce Gradkowski renaissance, which would be a huge boost for Schilens
  4. Demaryius Thomas (136.1)/Eddie Royal (136.7) of them will be #1 in Denver...and the other will be #2...and we're talking Josh McDaniels' "hey, I can make even Kyle Orton look above average" offense
  5. Chris Chambers/Donnie Avery (both 170.0)...okay, Avery I can see because of the obvious concerns about Bradford delivering...or maybe not so much...but Chris Chambers?...come on now...Chambers is in Derrick Mason doesn't matter who is throwing to him...he's going to either crack a thousand yards, or come very close to doing so, year after year
  6. Josh Cribbs (135.0)/Dexter McCluster (170.0)...because...why not?

The "MoJoDo" Theory:

This is two-pronged theory. First, I like "MoJo" as a nickname, but when there's a "MoJoDo" potential out there, I feel like we need to tap into that. Anyway, there has been discussion about who's #1?...Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson?...see I'm thinking more like who's #2? Chris Johnson is Donnie Brasco man...just forget about it. He talks about 2,500 yards...I can't say definitively that it won't happen. He's Barry Sanders with a twist of "Prime Time" Deion. Now though, you immediately think Peterson is the #2 guy...this is where I have to tell you that MoJoDo, at this moment, is beating out AP. Jones-Drew has been on a team where he's had help (Fred Taylor) and has not had so much help (I mean Rashad Jennings is good...but he's not a 10,000 yard back like Taylor you know?). This will be the first time that Peterson has been the real main man with no backup plan in sight. Who would have ever thought that Toby Gerhart could determine who is the #2 overall player in fantasy football? In any event, Jones-Drew is still only 25 even though he's been in the league for five years. If they haven't figured him out yet, it's not going to happen this year. So, we know who's #1, 2, 3, and Ray Rice, so where do we go from here?

The "Where Do We Go From Here?" Theory:

Once those first four backs are off the board, trust me, don't start reaching. Andre Johnson is the #5 overall player, then probably Brees and what now? Can you make a smart combo happen? Well, of course, but buyer beware to those looking for the premiere guys in the middle to late first.

The Guys Who, Okay, Not Quite What We Had In Mind, But We Can Score Some Nice Points Here:
  1. DeAngelo Williams (15.0)...yeah the whole Jonathan Stewart factor is doing nothing to deter from the fact that this guy is just a stud
  2. Michael Turner (8.2)
  3. Rashard Mendenhall (13.0)
The Guys That If You're Going To Base Your Team Around, You Might Be In Trouble:
  1. Steven Jackson (7.2)...he is trying to convince me that he's the best (or perhaps at least deserving of cracking the top four)...I don't see it happening...again...
  2. Frank Gore (7.6)...the Glen Coffee thing has gotten to me...they drafted way too good of a runner to be the "backup" feels like this is creeping towards being a time-share here
  3. Ryan Grant (19.3)
  4. Cedric Benson (21.5)
  5. Knowshon Moreno (28.2)...seriously, if any of these three are on your #1 line for running backs, it's most likely all over but the crying
The Guys Who If You Could Get As A #2 RB, Or If You're Exceptionally Fortunate, As Your RB/WR Guy, You're In Business:
  1. Ryan Mathews (28.0)...hopefully I don't "Steve Slaton" him here (for the record, when Slaton was actually given a chance, he did produce...but still, not nearly to the level that I was hoping for), but it's all about Ryan Mathews and the potential explosion that could happen there...Mathews already has the built-in fan base from Fresno, plus he has the guy to take some of the load off in Sproles...I don't see how this misses
  2. Shonn Greene (20.7)...the only thing about this is that LT will take some of his TDs away for sure
  3. LeSean McCoy (34.1)'s his first year as "the guy," and I'm totally comfortable with that
  4. Jamaal Charles (33.7)...I know all about Thomas Jones' history, and I do really like and respect the guy, but I think this situation is different because Charles can beat Jones out in training camp to be the #1, whereas Cedric Benson in Chicago, and Leon Washington with a rookie by the name of, yup, Shonn Greene in New York, could not
  5. Beanie Wells (32.7)

The Guys Who If You May Have Decided To Wait This Long To Start Drafting Running Backs, And You Have Been Drafting Wisely Up Until Now, You Can Still Make This Work:
  1. Felix Jones (52.0)...I guess he's bulked up and attempting to become less of an injury-risk and more of a "there's no way McFadden beats me in the who's the better Arkansas running back anymore" thing there
  2. Jahvid Best (66.3)
  3. C.J. Spiller (72.7)...they're both the #1 guys by default now...obviously Spiller will be pushed more by Fred Jackson and perhaps Marshawn Lynch than Best will be by Kevin Smith, but I really suggest you give Spiller a look, then a second, and perhaps maybe that curiosity carries over into a third because he will get carries, and most likely, he will be involved on special teams
  4. Justin Forsett (79.8)...he's being "challenged" by Leon Washington for carries, but Forsett will get about 75%-80% of the carries because Washington is much more of a "Kevin Faulk/Darren Sproles" guy coming out of the backfield
  5. Reggie Bush (68.5)...gone from being overrated to underrated with a ring...wonder where this takes us?
The Guys With Value Written All Over Them:
  1. LaDainian Tomlinson (92.6)...did you ever think Tomlinson would be "gettable?"...he's the #2 behind Greene in New York, but he's going to get carries, and more importantly, touchdowns...the best backup option in the league
  2. Ben Tate (92.1)/Arian Foster (98.0)/Steve Slaton (135.6)...Foster is the starter for now, but his lead in that competition is so small that you almost have to draft either Tate or Slaton in a handcuff situation...even so, we're talking 9th-10th round here
  3. Willis McGahee (132.8)...Ray Rice saved his wheels, and McGahee still has a tremendous upside
The "Greg Olsen" Theory:

Basically, this theory highlights the fact that Greg Olsen (133.8), who probably is a top 10 TE in the league, is sometimes available with the last pick of the draft. With that being said, there is going to be a rush of tight ends to come off the board right around the 4th-5th rounds, so when should you pull the trigger?

The Guys That You Can Totally Take Without Having a #2 WR Yet:
  1. Antonio Gates (44.0)...I think with the new contract and, again, that whole Vincent Jackson thing, look for Gates to ascend to the top of the fantasy TE heap
  2. Dallas Clark (38.3)
  3. Jason Witten (63.3)...he's listed as the 6th guy off the tight end board?...what?!?!...
  4. Brent Celek (58.9)...rookie QB?...we are all systems go for a Brent Celek extravaganza this year
  5. Vernon Davis (48.8)
The Guys Who You'll Be Looking At When QB, RB, RB. RB/WR, WR, WR Are Locked Up:
  1. Owen Daniels (77.0)
  2. Kellen Winslow (93.6)...Josh Freeman has to throw for some kind of yardage, and Winslow is by far their best receiving option...just that darn health thing
  3. Tony Gonzalez (59.9)...this will be his "LT season"...the "wow, you could never even think about slowing him down, but all of a sudden, he becomes mortal" season
  4. Chris Cooley (104.6)...he's an eighth round guy who, under the right tutelage (i.e. Donovan McNabb), could really do great things...and you really have no choice but to like him anyway...
The Guys Who You're Kind Of Taking A Risk On And Yet You're Probably Not:
  1. Greg Olsen (133.8)
  2. Jermaine Gresham (142.2) Gresham...he's Brandon Pettigrew but better and with a vet I guess they're really not alike at all...
  3. Dustin Keller (136.0)
  4. Zach Miller (127.6)
  5. John Carlson (139.9)...until anyone can stand up and become the go-to receiver, Carlson will continue to get touches
  6. Brandon Pettigrew (170.0)...undrafted?...yikes!...guess a lot of people are dropping the ball on that one
The Guys Who You're Really Not Sure About...But You Need A Tight End...So...You Know...:
  1. Jermichael Finley (67.0)...I have no idea how he's ranked higher than Olsen or Winslow...I think he gives you the exact same amount of security, and yet they're making you take him in the sixth round?...he's ranked higher than Owen Daniels???
  2. Visanthe Shiancoe (105.4)...much like last year, I'm convinced that if Shiancoe is starting on the reg. for your team, you have problems...he will make it happen for four games in which he gets about 75% of his stats, but outside of that, he's a non-factor
  3. Kevin Boss (137.6)
  4. Jeremy Shockey (127.0)
  5. Heath Miller (134.2)...him and Shockey I'm not even sure will a.) last even half a season, and b.) put up even noteworthy numbers in general
The "Yeah, The Jets Defense Will Be That Good" Theory:

I will say this...Jets D/ST in the fourth round is outrageous...but the fifth? can convince me. Simply put, you will be looking at a team that will rival the Baltimore team that won the Super Bowl for "best numbers defense of all time." To back me up, the Jets ADP is 65.9. Love, love them...

The Defenses You Potentially Need To Break The Bank On (i.e. draft before the 10th round):
  1. Minnesota (111.0)...this is probably the last year that the Vikings can dominate this side of the ball, plus Percy Harvin...this is my #2
  2. San Francisco (113.8)'s not so much how good they are, it's just how God-awful the division is
  3. Green Bay (100.7)
  4. Baltimore (93.3)
The Defenses That, I Swear, If You Have None Of These D's, Or The Above Ones, You Have Issues:
  1. Cincinnati (133.9)
  2. New Orleans (135.7)...these two rank above the others because they have so many different playmakers and so many different chances to cash in on fumbles, INTs, and all that good stuff
  3. Pittsburgh (112.4)
  4. Philadelphia (97.5)
  5. New England (146.2)...oh we're coming...Mayo and Spikes in the middle?...look out
  6. San Diego (145.3)
...and now, bold predictions:
  1. Sleeper Teams: AFC: Miami (Henne will be fantastic, great adds with Dansby and Marshall...make no mistake, they will be pushing around the Pats to get into the playoffs), NFC: Carolina (somehow lucked into a situation of having two young and talented QBs with something to prove (Moore and Clausen), two explosive running backs (Williams/Stewart), and one of two middle linebackers in the league this year who will put up Hall Of Fame like numbers this season (the other being Patrick Willis)...I see you Jon Beason)
  2. The Jets have perhaps the best team on paper in the AFC, but I believe that they don't have that "playoff chemistry" like they did last year. Also, they came out of nowhere last year, and now they're the hunted. I believe not only do they not make the Super Bowl, but they lose their first playoff game.
  3. Cincinnati is the team that will be lurking in the wild card stages as the #5 or #6 seed (this of course assuming the heavily favored Ravens win the division), and because of the fact that they seem to play at a much higher level when they're up against a better team, they will win a road playoff game.
  4. One or more of the following coaches will be fired before the end of the season: Mike Tomlin, Ken Whisenhunt, Gary Kubiak, Tom Coughlin...and three of them have been to Super Bowls in the last three years.
  5. MVP: Aaron Rodgers
  6. Defensive MVP: Darelle Revis (okay that's not really bold at all)
  7. ROYs: Offense: Ryan Mathews (more bold, Tim Tebow finishes 2nd), Defense: Derrick Morgan
  8. AFC Division Winners: East: Jets (#1 Seed), North: Baltimore (#3), South: Indy (#2), West: Denver (#4); Wild Cards: New England (#5), Cincinnati (#6)
  9. NFC Division Winners: East: Dallas (#2 Seed) North: Green Bay (#3), South: New Orleans (#1), West: Niners (#4); Wild Cards: Minnesota (#5), Carolina (#6)
  10. AFC Playoff Outcomes: New England over Denver, Cincy over Baltimore...Cincy over New York, New England over Indy...New England over Cincy (it took three years, but we have D leaders now, and a group of guys who have something to's not that outrageous really)
  11. NFC Playoff Outcomes: Green Bay over Carolina, 'Frisco over Minnesota...Green Bay over Dallas, New Orleans over 'Frisco...New Orleans over Green Bay
  12. Super Bowl: New Orleans over New England (even my hometown bias can't help but believe that the Saints are playing five years ahead of their time)
So, hopefully there are some things there that can help you. Also, if you're looking for some other of the theories, click back to last year's column, because it seems like a lot of those theories will also be relevant this year as well (and apparently so did ESPN The Mag, which I love, but in their recent fantasy preview, they were talking about how having back-to-back picks ("Bookends" Theory) and stacking your team with guys with all the same bye weeks ("The Bye Week" Theory) is all the rage...come on ESPN, that's so last year!). So, take care everyone. Peace.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

2010 NFL Mock Draft 4.0 (The Finale)

"I got some bucks on it, but it ain't enough on it."

Hey there. Well, it's 6:40 on draft night...I can't control myself man. So, so excited. Couple this with going to the Bruins and arguably one of their greatest games of all time, and I am in sports euphoric overdrive. So, as mentioned before, it's getting close to draft time, so here's a quick first round mock with a few notes. Hope this makes sense, and thanks again for taking the time to give it a look...

  1. St. Louis- Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
  2. Detroit- Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
  3. Tampa Bay- Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
  4. Washington- Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma: Ahh yes, the first "shock." It looks like Williams and his athleticism win out over Okung's overall ability.
  5. Kansas City- Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State: Lot of "Oklahoma's" on the top of the board. Anyway, if Okung is here, I can't see any way of the Chiefs not going down this avenue.
  6. Seattle- C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: The Seahawks cannot wait until their second first-rounder to take Spiller because of Buffalo at #9 and San Fran at #13.
  7. Cleveland- Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: Much like KC, if Berry falls to Holmgren and Co. at #7, I really think there is no way they don't take arguably the most pro-ready prospect in the draft.
  8. Oakland- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida: Sticking with my guns, but watch out for Anthony Davis, who has had one of the more schizophrenic pre-drafts in recent memory (went from top 5 to out of the first round to the 20s, and now believable to be in the top 10).
  9. Buffalo- Brian Bulaga, OT, Iowa: Clausen is out there, but the Bills desperately need the franchise tackle. They might go Dan Williams here as well, but in any event, the trenches take top billing.
  10. Jacksonville- Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
  11. Denver- Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: Call it a hunch, but I feel like the Broncos pass on Dez Bryant here, then trade back into the first round (with potentially, gulp, the Pats) and draft DeMaryius Thomas, who will become a lightning rod for teams wanting to move up to get him.
  12. Miami- Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
  13. San Francisco- Joe Haden, CB, Florida
  14. Seattle- Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
  15. New York Giants- Earl Thomas, S, Texas: Watch out for Sean Weatherspoon here as well.
  16. Tennessee- Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
  17. San Francisco- Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: It will be shocking if the Niners don't go with a corner, OT, or RB with their first rounders.
  18. Pittsburgh- Maurkice Pouncey, C/OG, Florida: And I've officially been swayed to the opinion that Pouncey goes off the board before Iupati...but I will not sway from the fact that I believe Iupati makes the bigger impact long term.
  19. Atlanta- Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan
  20. Houston- Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State: He would be the perfect compliment to Steve Slaton. Matthews is a banger, Slaton more of a finesse guy...that seems to be a winning combination nowadays.
  21. Cincinnati- Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
  22. New England- Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas: Won't be surprised if it's Dez Bryant or DeMaryius Thomas here, but I'm not sure how much emphasis the Pats are going to put on finding a receiver in the first round. So, I elected to go the safe route here...again though, receiver is an absolute possibility here (wow this is really getting me amped up!).
  23. Green Bay- Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: There is no way Iupati or Pouncey make it past Green Bay here.
  24. Philadelphia- Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama: The corner list went from Haden-Wilson-Robinson-McCourty-Jackson to Haden-Wilson-Jackson-McCourty-Robinson in a week...that's what makes this process so great. Anyway, with both the interior linemen gone, corner becomes the glaring need.
  25. Baltimore- DeMaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech: I find it unlikely Thomas drops this far. The Ravens will also be looking to move up...perhaps with the Pats, which worked out fairly well last year (traded up to the Pats' pick and took Michael Oher...although they did trade up with the Pats back in the day and took Kyle Boller, so it can be a slippery slope at times.
  26. Arizona- Sean Weatherspoon, ILB/OLB, Missouri
  27. Dallas- Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State: Don't know if Bryant gets this far as well, but if he does, he's not getting past Dallas...this is almost too easy, which frightens me to a degree.
  28. San Diego- Terrance Cody, DT, Alabama
  29. New York Jets- Jared Odrick, DE/DT, Penn State: I am scared out of my mind that the Jets trade up and get Eric's a very real possibility.
  30. Minnesota- Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers: Kiper's final mock has Tebow's now a reality that Tebow-mania could fire up at the end of the first and not at the start of tomorrow like I was envisioning.
  31. Indianapolis- Rodger Saffold, OT/OG, Indiana
  32. New Orleans- Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU
Again, thanks for reading. I hope everyone enjoys the draft at least partially as much as I know I will (unless the Pats trade out of the first round...I will not be too thrilled about that). Take care everyone. Peace.


Thursday, April 08, 2010

2010 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

"And you've got ventriloquists."

A move as big as Donovan McNabb to the Redskins garners an updated mock draft ( the division Philly?...really?). Also, we've experienced some movers and shakers in the past couple of weeks, meaning there has been some movement up and down the board. Here is a full two-round mock draft:
  1. St. Louis- Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: I kind of just wish they would do the contract now and get it over with. They are locked into Bradford whether they like it or not (apparently they like it though). This is kind of looking similar to the '07 Draft, where Oakland, despite needing everything, were basically locked into JaMarcus Russell at the top. The Rams no longer have a choice, and they pretty much did it to themselves here.
  2. Detroit- Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska: One quick note: I successfully mastered the spelling of Suh's first name, thus crossing off a major goal of April I had (April Goals: Suh's first name, getting work off for the Draft, and walking over the Longfellow and Harvard bridges in one trip...3 for 3 (the bridges connect Cambridge to Boston...the Harvard Bridge is how you get to...MIT? I know, weird)). Okung probably should be the guy here, but the Lions actually have some pieces in place with their line, while on the defensive side, they have nothing.
  3. Tampa Bay- Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma: I think the most bold move any prognosticator could make right now is having someone other than McCoy here. He may be edging Suh for the #1 player this year.
  4. Washington- Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State: Again, this will be the tipping point of the draft potentially. If Okung drops to them at #4, the 'Skins will have completed one of the most drastic turnarounds in recent memory. With McNabb and the three-headed, slightly over the hill, running back monster, Okung provides them Chris Samuels 2.0, which they desperately need. If Okung is not here, they either reach for Bulaga, or trade down and hope they get Bulaga later on or Trent Williams.
  5. Kansas City- Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: What kind of baffles me is the talk that giving Berry, a safety, top 5 money may not be financially responsible. So despite everyone...literally everyone saying that Berry will be "Ed Reed-like," he wouldn't be worth the money? If Berry isn't worth the money, then no one is worth the money (actually they probably aren't worth the money they will get, but you can blame the NFL for that).
  6. Seattle- Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma: Williams has been riding a steady momentum train, and the hope for him is that he can somehow keep it up for another two weeks. You never know though. Something may get out about him, and it's all over. I'm not saying that will happen, but sometimes, peaking too early can be detrimental.
  7. Cleveland- Joe Haden, CB, Florida: You will be able to find about seven to eight different guys who are going here to the Browns, which means that they, along with Washington, are the two teams most likely to trade out of the top 10. I really feel like, in this scenario, Cleveland will have offers coming in from teams like Buffalo and San Francisco looking to move up for Bulaga. The Browns need so much that if they trade down, remain in the top 15, and pick up some additional picks, that would be the best scenario for them. Otherwise, they take the best corner in the draft...not bad.
  8. Oakland- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida: I remain true here because if I peg Al Davis' pick, the rest is completely in-circumstantial. Pierre-Paul, when looking at what he did at the combine, is probably at the top of the "athletically gifted" list (Pierre-Paul, Bruce Campbell, Derrick Morgan, Taylor Mays), and that's just the way it goes in Oakland.
  9. Buffalo- Brian Bulaga, OT, Iowa: If Bulaga and Williams go in the top 8, then I have Clausen going here. However, I can't see them standing pat and let the three best offensive tackles all go off the board without making serious overtones about moving into the top 7 at least to grab one of the two. QB is a need of sorts considering the dependability they have with their current QB crop (they have none), but the need for "the franchise tackle" is #1.
  10. Jacksonville- Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: I keep coming back to my Mike Peterson reference about the Jags' defense, but it's so true. They need someone they can rely on calling the plays in the middle. McClain is probably the #1 "guy who can be a rookie, yet become a team leader quickly" prospect. Also, call me crazy, but when a middle linebacker projects in the top 10, doesn't that usually work out? (Last five middle linebackers selected in the top 10 or a pick or two after: Jerod Mayo, Patrick Willis (#11), A.J. Hawk, Ernie Sims, Jonathan Vilma (#12)...yeah that works out).
  11. Denver- Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: I looked over a few options here (even Jimmy Clausen...are you really sold on Kyle Orton starting for this team for the next decade?), but Morgan has to be the most intriguing of those options here. You have him and Dumervil coming off the edges, and good night. Kiper threw out Earl Thomas here...that actually has some merit as well.
  12. Miami- Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: So 10-12 I'm status quo on.Williams is the best pure nose tackle in the draft, and while I believe Suh and McCoy when they say they can play five-technique and be the NT in a 3-4 scheme, I think Williams projects as that Vince Wilfork-type, the prototypical guy in the middle of a three down-lineman set.
  13. San Francisco- Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State: The Niners could wait on Wilson until they pick again at #17, but here's the thing: With Tennessee looming at #16, they are going to take the best available non-running back, which would likely be Wilson. San Fran has a pressing need at corner, and if Joe Haden does fall here, it will be a no-brainer, but with Haden gone, I think Wilson garners a top 15 pick simply because he can do it all. He may even have better cover skills than Haden.
  14. Seattle- Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame: This pick reminds me of the '07 Draft when Miami was on the clock and Brady Quinn was still out there. The Dolphins literally had no QB (although they got Trent Green shortly there afterward), and Quinn, who some people had going as high as #3 that year to Cleveland, was still there. The Dolphins pulled a shocker and went with Ted Ginn, which led to a Quinn free-fall almost out of the first round (was picked at #20 by, yes, Cleveland). If the Seahawks don't take Clausen here, he may not hear his name called until the end of the first round. All things considered, I think Clausen is more "pro-ready" right now than Quinn was, and Pete Carroll is obviously familiar with Clausen's capabilities having played against him at Southern Cal (side note: the last time a Pete Carroll-led team has two first round picks, it was his last year in the NFL with the Pats in '99; they took Damien Woody and, yes, the immortal Andy Katzenmoyer).
  15. New York Giants- Earl Thomas, S, Texas: The consensus is this: The Giants want Rolando McClain bad, and may consider moving to get him if they don't think he falls to them at #15. If they don't, and he's gone, Thomas is the best defensive player available by far in this scenario. The Giants need inside linebacking help, but they are also in desperate need of safety help, particularly a free safety.
  16. Tennessee- Everson Griffen, DE, Southern Cal: This was tough because the three guys I think the Titans would really like to have (Pierre-Paul, Morgan, Wilson) are all gone. Griffen is on the rise. He was impressive at the combine, and did nothing to damper that at his pro day...actually, it was his pro day that elevated him from 1st/2nd rounder to surefire top 20 status.
  17. San Francisco- C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: Again, depending on how the draft funnels out, the Niners may flip-flop and take Spiller at #13 to avoid a possible Spiller to Seattle situation at #14. So, it will be interesting to see how long they wait to pull the trigger on Spiller, who would be an obvious upgrade to their offense, and would also take some of the load off of Frank Gore, who has to be kind of wearing down considering he has literally and figuratively carried that offense for the last four or five years.
  18. Pittsburgh- Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: The sentiments are that Maurkice Pouncey is now the #1 interior offensive lineman, but I'm totally convinced that if Iupati falls to the Steelers at #18, it won't matter what anyone says because this guy is absolutely perfect in Pittsburgh...he's got the Steeler mentality in that he plays physical and with a mean streak.
  19. Atlanta- Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan: As tempting as a Roddy White/Dez Bryant combo might be, the Falcons do need someone else besides John Abraham who can rush the passer (T-26 in sacks). Graham has become the best "pure" outside linebacker in the draft. This has been an interesting progression for me. At first, I was dead set against the Pats taking him, but if Graham does fall to #22, I will have absolutely no problem if they scoop him up. However, I think the Falcons jump the gun on them.
  20. Houston- Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State: The Texans would love to see either C.J. Spiller or Kyle Wilson fall to them here. Again though, I'm feeling both are going to be gone in the top 15, so unless the Texans plan on moving up the board, they are going to have to go corner here as a "need" pick and not so much "value." It's a race for #3, with Robinson in front, Devin McCourty in second, and Kareem Jackson gaining momentum in a close third. Take this into consideration as well: As long as they're reaching for a corner, they may reach for a runner as well and take Ryan Matthews here.
  21. Cincinnati- Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma: The feeling here is that Gresham was the pick all along, but Taylor Mays' name is continuing to come up in discussions going here at #21. I think Mays is a beast, but the Bengals need offense quick. Their defense isn't the greatest, but in thinking about Cincy, they are a team that is driven by the offense (which is weird with Marvin Lewis in charge and what not), so upgrading that unit probably has a little more prevalence than taking someone to sure up the defensive backfield. This one I'm not completely sold on though.
  22. New England- Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State: As if a bolt of lightning hit me, I have to say that right now, this would be the smartest pick the Pats could make. Think about this: It's clear that the #1 need for New England is a pass rusher off the edge. However, there are bountiful amounts of prospects that fit that mold. As I'm sitting here looking at receivers, I see three guys having major impacts (Bryant, DeMaryius Thomas, Golden Tate) and a few more who are on the second tier (Eric Decker, Jordan Shipley, Arrelious Benn). In some evaluations, Bryant is listed as a top five prospect, so if he were to fall this far because of an overblown meeting with Deion Sanders, and with Randy Moss more than likely to be done in New England after this year, Bryant makes way too much sense.
  23. Green Bay- Charles Brown, OT, Southern Cal: It's looking better and better if you're a team at the end of the first round and you are looking for offensive line prospects. The next three coming off the board I all had going somewhere in the top 15 in my previous mock drafts. Lots of enticing names here, but Brown seems to be the most stable pick in terms of a lineman.
  24. Philadelphia- Maurkice Pouncey, OG, Florida: Corner is the obvious choice here, but with Haden and Wilson gone, I feel like the next few corners should be high-to-mid second rounders. The Eagles pick again at #37, so they can wait to snag either McCourty or Jackson. Pouncey would be the best available player at this point. Again, some have him higher than Iupati, so if he somehow gets down here to #24, I have to think the Eagles would give him serious consideration (note: Pouncey is becoming one of those "hey, we should probably move up before teams X & Y and take him", so don't be surprised if he ends up going in the 15-20 range)
  25. Baltimore- Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech: Offense seems to be the consensus choice for the Ravens, and it looks to be either Jermaine Gresham or a receiver. With Gresham off the board, it now comes down to who Baltimore likes better, Thomas or Golden Tate. I give Thomas the slight edge based on how big he is (6'3 compared to Tate at 5'10) and the raw upside he brings to the table. Tate is much more polished, but Thomas has been talked about in the same breath as Dez Bryant in terms of being a top 15 talent, while Tate has continually been talked about as a late first, early second (quick side note: Baltimore is +1700 to win the Super Bowl next year, basically meaning if you bet $10 and they win, you get $170 back...I'm just throwing that out there).
  26. Arizona- Sean Weatherspoon, ILB, Missouri: Wow, the Cardinals need everything. This team could really tank this year if the NFC West gets even slightly better (to me, the Niners are almost a lock to win that division). They lose Dansby to Miami...that wasn't too bright. So now, they need something in the middle, and while I had the Cards' going OLB here, I think Weatherspoon is of the Rolando McClain type who can step in from day one, start getting support and praise from his teammates immediately, and have a nice impact wherever he ends up.
  27. Dallas- Taylor Mays, S, Southern Cal: I think they really want Pouncey to fall this far, but if Dallas stays put here, and Mays is still available, it's a total win-win. First, the Cowboys get a guy to replace Ken Hamlin, and Mays may pan out better than Hamlin. Mays ends up on a team that is favored to win the NFC next year and could make a run for the Super Bowl, plus he will play on the biggest stage in the NFL after just playing on the biggest stage in college (Southern Cal could be in line for a whopping tail-spin with Lane Kiffin as their coach...even Trojan fans have to feel icky after Kiffin's about-face on Tennessee to return to SoCal).
  28. San Diego- Ryan Matthews, RB, San Diego State: This will come down to two guys: Matthews and Terrance Cody. They need both positions badly, but I feel like Matthews is the pick here considering a.) there's no way he comes around to them at #40, and if you're drafting a running back this year, the immediate dividends are going to come from Spiller and Matthews, and b.) while the need for a run-stuffer like Cody is high, big DTs will be there at #40 if Cody isn't. The Chargers are absolutely desperate for a runner who can handle the majority of the carries, because while I love Darren Sproles, he would get killed if he attempted 300 carries in a season. To better utilize Sproles, Matthews would take on a bulk of the workload so Sproles can continue to flourish as the change-of-pace back and someone who can receive out of the backfield.
  29. New York Jets- Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: This is a two-prong pick because we are still waiting on whether Jason Taylor will end up in Jersey. If Taylor does come on board, the need will shift from a pass rush to run support, enter Odrick, who can play both DT and DE (although he likely projects better as a 4-3 DT and not a NT in a 3-4). If the Jets do not sign Taylor, I feel like it will be between Odrick, Sergio Kindle, and Jerry Hughes.
  30. Minnesota- Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers: While I believe that Brian Price would be a great fit in Minnesota, the fact remains that taking him would basically be a luxury..."insurance" if you will. McCourty would be a starter from his first game as a rookie, so you have to wonder how much the present value of a player will offset the future value (speaking of future, people still have Tebow going here).
  31. Indianapolis- Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas: I will be amazed if Kindle gets this far, but he's an example of a guy who is already in the clubhouse with absolutely nothing to prove, but what happens is that those established players, the "rocks," get swept under the rug due to someone else's amazing pro day or Combine workouts. While Kindle may not become a Hall of Famer, he will definitely make an immediate impact, and, again, he has not wavered any in terms of his ability, meaning that you can rely on him still going strong five years from now.
  32. New Orleans- Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU: Again, it can't get much better than this for the Saints. Win a Super Bowl, then get a top 20 guy at the end of the first is good.
Second Round

33. St. Louis- Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: What's fantastic about really, really bad teams going through the draft process is that they really can't lose. They probably need everything, so just keep drafting the best available player, and if they don't work out, that's okay, because at the time, everyone thought they would. You have a guy here in Davis who I had slotted in the top 5 about a month ago based on his total freakish upside. Now, those good old "character issues" have taken a massive hit to Davis' draft stock. The Rams get a guy who could be an Orlando Pace kind of tackle, or he busts, they stink, and they do it all over again.

34. Detroit- Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida: Dunlap's "questionable motor" sees him fall out of the first round and right to Detroit, who is in need of an impact pass rusher.

35. Tampa Bay- Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame: Basically, I can see the top five to six picks in this round all being made by teams trying to trade up. Still though, I hope at least these three (STL, DET, TB) stay here at the top because they all need some kind of spark.

36. Kansas City- Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona: KC's offense looked dreadful last year outside of Jamaal Charles, but with Charles and now Thomas Jones in the backfield, look for the Chiefs to start thinking about pass options for Matt Cassel. Also, while Gronkowski likely won't be the next Tony Gonzalez, you can at least tell the fans "hey, we're trying."

37. Philadelphia- Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama: I believe Philly will be able to make the gamble pay off, but the only question will be who of the last five top corners will be here. Jackson could potentially sneak into the first, leaving McCourty dangling...that might be even more scary than if Jackson slipped into the second. For some reason, I can see someone moving up to get McCourty, but Jackson I can see getting through those first four picks.

38. Cleveland- Terrance Cody, DT, Alabama: Everyone seems to be thinking the Browns go QB...I don't know why they would start to spend high draft picks on a QB when a.) it hasn't worked in the recent past, and b.) I feel like Jake Delhomme may actually work out in Cleveland. He's a passionate guy, they're a passionate fan base...he has two or three really good games, which he's absolutely capable of given of how sneaky this Browns offense will start off being, he might be okay. You have Cribbs, Massaquoi, Robiskie, and a scary underrated Chansi Stuckey, coupled with James Harrison, who could emerge as a top 5-10 RB in the league this year. Cody can easily slide in place of Shaun Rogers, who seems like while he has technically been playing, his career was over like three years ago.

39. Oakland- Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland: Do you believe Raider Nation? Al Davis could potentially pass on Campbell at #8, and yet may wind up taking him 30 picks later in the second round. This would be monumental. Oakland brings back two major athletes who seem to be pointing more towards "boom" than "bust."

40. San Diego- Brian Price, DT, UCLA: Again, not Cody, but Price actually fits more of the Jamal Williams mold; the athletic defensive tackle. It seemed like Williams, when healthy, was thriving in that defense, so this is a really nice fit for Price.

41. Buffalo- Colt McCoy, QB, Texas: This is why I don't think the Bills necessarily have to go QB at #9. McCoy, Pike, LeFevour, and Tebow will all be around here, and who knows, maybe McCoy becomes franchise material?

42. Tampa Bay- Rodger Saffold, OG, Indiana: Along with the Pats, the Bucs, Chiefs and Niners have got to cash in this year, with all four having three picks inside the top 50. The Bucs need help all over the line, so going with the best line prospect here makes sense.

43. Miami- Damian Williams, WR, Southern Cal: I like the Ginn/Camarillo/Bess trio, but health concerns, especially with Camarillo, are starting to take their toll on those Wildcat-happy Dolphins. Rest assured though, the Wildcat will still be used, but I see Miami really relying more on Chad Henne's arm this year, as they think they have found something in him.

44. New England- Tim Tebow, QB, Florida: I think for my final installment of the mock draft, I'm going to be really 50/50 on whether Tebow to the Pats is legit. To me, it makes too much sense, and when have the Pats gone according to plan on draft day? Still, I can't emphasize the fact that Tebow will do everything short of killing a man (because I think that's one of those commandments...maybe like #4 or 5) to succeed in the NFL. The Pats are lying to themselves if they think Brian Hoyer is going to be the face of the franchise.

45. Denver- Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois: The Brandon Marshall situation is still up in the air, so the Broncos are going to have to play this one like he's gone already, and if Marshall ends up staying, they have a nice young receiver nucleus in Marshall, Benn, and Eddie Royal.

46. New York Giants- Sean Lee, ILB, Penn State: This is a guy that could really prosper under Tom Coughlin. Lee has a very workman-like attitude when he's on the field, and the Giants, unless they address this need in the first round at #15, have to take someone who can play the inside in the first two rounds.

47. New England- Ricky Sapp, OLB, Clemson: Hard to believe, but I'm actually hoping the Pats get one of the two top Clemson prospects (both would be great too). In these four picks inside the top 60, if the Pats do not at least attempt to beef up their pass rush, they automatically do no better than a "B" grade.

48. Carolina- Mardy Gilliard, WR, Cincinnati: The Panthers seem to have a knack for taking guys who not only play their own position well, but can also add to the special teams realm as well (Steve Smith, Chris Gamble).

49. San Francisco- Tyson Alualu, DT, California: This guy is on the rise, and it's not just because he has an awesome name. Much like Jared Odrick, who will be long gone by this point, Alualu can play both end and tackle, and it's all about versatility nowadays.

50. Kansas City- Vladimir Ducasse, OG, UMass: Like the Bucs, the Chiefs basically just need to draft anyone who could play any position on the line. Look for them to also be "best available player" shopping as well.

51. Houston- Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech: There was a time where I had Dwyer ranked higher than Matthews. Dwyer represents the last "true" runner who will have the chance to compete for a starting job in the 2010 season. The only question is his size, but that "negative" has been overcome before.

52. Pittsburgh- Brandon Ghee, CB, Wake Forest: In thinking about this pick, I couldn't help but think back to the first round...could the Steelers possibly bypass Iupati and Pouncey and go for a corner at #18? It is possible, especially if Kyle Wilson slides to them. However, in this scenario, the Steelers will still be looking for someone to play opposite of Ike Taylor.

53. New England- Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida: I look at Alge Crumpler and I think "if we had gotten this guy five years ago, he could be the #1, and we wouldn't have to worry about a receiving option at TE." With Crumpler basically relegated to the Chris Baker block first, receive second role, the Pats should really give strong consideration to Hernandez, who would be the Pats' version of Dustin Keller.

54. Cincinnati- Chad Jones, S, LSU: The Bengals will address their need for safety, it's just a question of will they go with Mays in the first round, or wait until #54 and take either Jones or Nate Allen.

55. Philadelphia- Daryl Washington, OLB, TCU: A lot of people have the Eagles going QB in the second round. I'm thinking that there could be nothing worse than to waver the confidence of a newly minted QB (Kevin Kolb), who already has enough competition as it is (Vick...believe it) than to spend a high pick on a QB. So, the Eagles should probably wait and think about a guy like LeFevour in the third or fourth rounds and really continue to focus on things they don't have, like the fact that they only have three OLBs on their roster right now.

56. Green Bay- Chris Cook, CB, Virginia: The pundits are off and on about Cook, but when it comes time to be on the clock, it's going to be hard to overlook Cook at 6'2 being by far the tallest corner, especially in a division with Calvin Johnson and, yes, my man, Sidney Rice (if I don't have him on my fantasy team this year, I'll be so steamed!).

57. Baltimore- Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami: While grabbing Gresham in the first round may be the ideal choice, Ozzie Newsome has to know that the so-called "second tier" of TEs is actually quite good, with Graham, Gronkowski, Hernandez, Ed Dickson, Dorin Dickerson, and Dennis Pitta all projecting very well. Graham is a basketball player turned football these guys at tight end. Playing power forward is basically like playing tight end without the three-second violations.

58. Arizona- Jared Veldheer, OT, Hillside: I mean Matt Leinart is going to get destroyed anyway, but just like the Chiefs drafting a tight end, you can at least say you tried to do are the Cardinals in trouble this year.

59. Dallas- Cam Thomas, DT, North Carolina: This is one of those guys that I see, and I instantly think he's a Cowboy. I don't know what it is, but when you see these big, athletic linemen who already have that mean look to them, they somehow always end up in Big D.

60. Seattle- Jahvid Best, RB, California: If Seattle cannot get Spiller or Matthews, they are looking at Best or Dwyer as being the "transition" backs. Anthony Forsett could prove everyone wrong and be that #1 guy, but ideally, Seattle will be looking for insurance in case that does not pan out.

61. New York Jets- Navorro Bowman, OLB, Penn State: Bowman slightly edged out Eric Norwood here based on value, and the fact that it would make me sick to my stomach if another guy I really liked ended up on the Jets (see: Curtis Martin, Jonathan Vilma, Thomas Jones, Jericho Cotchery, Nick Mangold, Darelle Revis, Dustin Keller).

62. Minnesota- Dexter McCluster, RB, Ole Miss: After what Percy Harvin did for them last year, let's just say that whole "multi-dimensional" offensive player would be welcomed here. If the Vikings don't get a legit #2 runner, they are really going to be feeling the loss of Chester Taylor, as if it wasn't big enough already.

63. Indianapolis- Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State: This is clearly a need for the Colts with Marlin Jackson gone. There are a number of corners who could sneak their way up into the bottom of the second round (Jerome Murphy, Dominique Franks), but Cox has been pretty steady in terms of receiving a second round grade throughout this draft process.

64. New Orleans- Nate Allen, S, South Florida: Darren Sharper wants to come back to the Saints, but he's not going to be taking the veteran minimum to do so. So, this leaves somewhat of a gaping hole in the Saints' secondary. Allen probably won't be able to hit the Sharper-level, but he will at least be serviceable until the Saints can figure out how they will be able to solve their free safety situation.

So there is the third installment. I'm hoping to get one up right before the draft goes off (Thursday, April 22nd at 7:30 if you weren't aware) because there will be a lot more information about players and the directions teams are leaning in the days and hours right before the first pick is announced. I think what I will try and do is make a final first round mock, then wait until after the first round on Thursday and make a new second round mock on that Friday before coverage starts up again (rounds 2-3 are set to commence at 6:00 on Friday). Again, this would be the ideal situation to this point, I'm just hoping to not be working during the first round. Hope everyone is well out there. Take care. Peace.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fantasy Baseball Dossier 3.0

"Showing you the way, leaving no doubt."

I'm more excited for fantasy baseball than I was for fantasy football...there's something you don't hear every day. However, I feel like the pool of players and the overall depth of really good young players has me giddy for Opening Day. Let's not waste any time and get into the theories I'm tossing around:

The Pay For Saves Theory:

Fantasy pundits have long shot down the whole notion of drafting closers in the early rounds because closers will be available once the season starts, and there are injury concerns, and blah blah blah. The fact is this: Right now, there are five legit closers who not only will help you with saves, but also ERA, WHIP, and Ks...
  1. Joakim Soria, KC- By far the best closer in baseball right now. He's young, lights out, and has no competition whatsoever...even Jonathan Papelbon will be pushed on by Daniel Bard. Speaking of which...
  2. Jonathan Papelbon, BOS- Ended '09 on probably the most negative note of his you honestly think he is going to let his reputation be completely besmirched due to one bad outing? I think he pitches with a giant chip on his shoulder (that, and wanting a long-term contract)
  3. Mariano Rivera, NYY- Wasn't he supposed to fade like five years ago...right after the '04 debacle? Well, here we are, and if you have a lead, you gotta go to Mo.
  4. Jonathan Broxton, LAD- Despite playing for LA, I'm not hearing a lot of "Broxton is a shut-down guy" like I thought I would be. He hasn't even come close to hitting his ceiling, and while LA may have somewhat of a down year (lack of starting pitching, but more so playing in probably the toughest division in baseball), Broxton will get at least 40 saves...and speaking of the NL West...
  5. Brian Wilson, SF- With Joe Nathan on the shelf, it leaves the door wide open for another closer to slip into the top 5. Enter Wilson. He's playing on a team that could make huge noise down the stretch, and more than likely will win 90 games. However, they don't have a ton of pop in their lineup, so the pitching will have a lot to do with their success. Wilson is as solid as they come, and due to his, and the Giants' still collective "under the radar" status, he will be able to continue to produce under somewhat anonymity.
My thinking is this: Why chance waiting for a closer to crop up when you can get a sure thing now? Drafting any one of these guys in the first six to seven rounds is a sound investment. After those five, you're looking at Brian Fuentes and, surprisingly, Andrew Bailey from Oakland being the only other "reliable" guys left. So this year, with question marks abound at the closer position, it may be wise to pick up a couple of the elite ones to assure some production there.

The Evan Longoria/Justin Upton Corollary:

In 2008, Evan Longoria barely played any time in the majors, and yet once he was about to be arbitration-ready, the Rays signed him to a six-year deal, with an option that could push it to nine years and $45 million. Justin Upton had a breakout year last year, and just received a six year deal worth a little over $50 million. Now while Longoria received his deal after just a couple of games, and Upton received his deal after almost a full season, I'm still thinking that Upton will be on the Longoria track of being really young, talented, rich, and having long-term stability. I'm not sure if we've seen the best of Upton yet, and he almost went for 25/25 in 138 games last year. He's a .300 hitter with everything...if you take him or Longoria at the end of the first round, rest assured that you will be seeing monster production that would justify a first round selection.

The Stockpiling of Young Arms Theory:

Here is something you can do once you start hitting the double-digit numbered rounds (or even before with guys like Lincecum, Grienke, Johnson, and Hanson). Let's use some #'s here to drive home how easy it actually is to build the second half of your pitching staff. Here are the pitchers you really need to keep an eye on come the 10th-11th rounds (average draft position in parentheses)
  1. Clayton Kershaw (111.1)
  2. Chad Billingsley (133.6)
  3. Jair Jurrjens (134.9)
  4. David Price (170.4)
  5. Clay Buchholz (170.9)
  6. Rick Porcello (186.0)
  7. Stephen Strasburg (200.5)
  8. Jonathan Sanchez (202.6)
  9. Aroldis Chapman (210.9)
  10. Brian Matusz (219.1)
A few things to note. First, Strasburg and Chapman have perhaps the biggest upside of anyone on this list, but they most likely will start off in the minors. Still, if you have space on your bench, those are two guys you absolutely want to keep around. Besides those two, you're almost guaranteed 15 wins, and in some cases (Kershaw and Sanchez most notably), close to 200 Ks. The reason I bring this up is that there is going to be options in the middle-to-late rounds that could really be beneficial to your staff, and that you don't necessarily have to break the bank to get an effective pitching group.

The Sneak In Jason Heyward Early In An Auction Draft Theory:

I, along with a great many I'm feeling, are intrigued with auction drafts. People have been doing these for years, but not since like two years ago has a platform, like ESPN (yeah I want to write for them, big woop, wanna fight about it?), brought it to the masses in a somewhat controlled environment. I love them actually. If you want to shoot the moon and get Pujols, Han-Ram, and A-Rod, you can absolutely make that happen. I think snake drafts create parity, while auction drafts create "chaotic parity." It's like "hey, so and so is in 5th place...but he has the top 5 guys in all of baseball, so I'm kind of concerned he'll sneak up on me via a trade or just them dominating." Very interesting indeed. So, getting to my original point. I've done a few of these, and what I'm noticing is that once you go through spring training, and the younger guys are just killing it, there's only so long when they will be "unknown" to the vast majority. Heyward is my prime example because I wanted him really bad back when the drafts were just kicking off...and now I'm feeling like a lot more people are sharing my enthusiasm about him. Anyway, the reason I'm thinking this might work is that in the beginning of these drafts, everyone starts off with the same amount of money. Obviously, as the picks progress, the financial disparity will become a lot clearer, and once you really get down to the nitty gritty, I've noticed there's always one or two guys who have "out-foxed" us all by waiting until everyone had no money, then dominating the sleepers towards the end of the draft. I do not like these people because, quite frankly, they're much more cleaver than I am...and I'll be damned if I'm out-cleavered. When you nominate a guy like Heyward early, you make people think a lot more about their long term answers than their immediates. The first few picks are not meant to be the sleepers, they are reserved for the stars. So, people will think stars...yet sneak Heyward in early, get him for five bucks, and it's a done deal. You wait too long, he'll go $10 easy. So, Heyward, or any major sleeper (outside of Strasburg, because he will start a bidding war regardless of where he goes) you want, throw them out super early...I feel like this is a winner, and hopefully this one is too (and...


The After You Get Your Major Sleeper, Nominate Everyone You Hate Or Think Is Wildly Overpriced Theory:

This is just human nature to me...that's what I tell them. Anyway, have everyone fill their spots and spend their money on guys you don't want whatsoever. Sure, in the later rounds, once everyone's money gets low, and they only have to fill two positions, this won't work, and you'll end up with a guy you don't want. However, in the first round of every draft, it's always Derek Jeter. I was going to call this "The Derek Jeter Theory," but I want to include everyone in this...even those despicable Yankee fans (gotcha!). So, even though Jeter is a fantastic player (miraculously by the way, simple physics point to him also declining five years ago), it is against ever fiber of my being to have him on my team. I can't...I won't. Think about it like this...if you're a giant Imperial Force backer, despite Boba Fett being everything that represents everything in the Star Wars Universe, you can't have him on your team...but you can have a figurine of him, or a '95 Jeter rookie card...signed (and authenticated!). So, get all those guys you can't stand out there right away, eat into other budgets, and, hopefully, you get street value on your guys and not new Natick Mall prices (whoooaaaa I so did!).

The Down On Philly Theory:

I'm not down on the team's production as a whole, but I'm down on everyone's individual stats. There is a chance that almost everyone in that lineup and coming off the mound had peak years in the last year or two. It's almost like there is no room for any up-kick in their numbers. Think about it...Utley, Howard, Rollins, Ibanez, long can they keep this up for? Same goes on the mound. Halladay, Hamels, and Lidge...I'm pretty sure we've seen the best from them as well. While I'm not saying that these guys will not have good numbers, it is completely unreasonable to expect that they all come through like they have been doing. If two guys could possibly make a rise, it will be Werth and Victorino...we may not have seen the best from them. Again, all of these guys are pretty solid, but for the most part, I can't see any of them hitting their lofty projections.

So there are a few theories to start off with. Next, here are the top ten players at each position, along with their ADP so you can kind of tell when each will be coming off the board:

  1. Joe Mauer (C/DH), MIN (12.6)
  2. Victor Martinez (C/1B), BOS (47.4)
  3. Matt Wieters, BAL (89.4)
  4. Brian McCann, ATL (43.9)
  5. Miguel Montero, ARI (143.0)
  6. Russell Martin, LAD (211.8)
  7. Ryan Doumit, PIT (188.1)
  8. Mike Napoli, LAA (213.5)
  9. Jorge Posada, NYY (145.5)
  10. Yadier Molina, STL (182.6)
Sleepers: Buster Posey, SF (260.0); Carlos Santana, CLE (260.0)

First Basemen:
  1. Albert Pujols, STL (1.1)
  2. Prince Fielder, MIL (7.2)
  3. Mark Teixeira, NYY (10.6)
  4. Miguel Cabrera, DET (11.8)
  5. Ryan Howard, PHI (13.2)
  6. Joey Votto, CIN (41.4)
  7. Adrian Gonzalez, SD (27.9)
  8. Kendry Morales, LAA (59.8)
  9. Derrek Lee, CHC (80.7)
  10. Justin Morneau, MIN (47.7)
Sleepers: Chris Davis, TEX (145.5); Garrett Jones (1B/OF), PIT (207.1); Justin Smoak, TEX (260.0)

Second Basemen:
  1. Chase Utley, PHI (5.9)
  2. Brian Roberts, BAL (42.4)
  3. Ian Kinsler, TEX (24.2)
  4. Dustin Pedroia, BOS (32.4)
  5. Robinson Cano, NYY (32.3)
  6. Ben Zobrist (2B/RF), TB (64.2)
  7. Aaron Hill, TOR (73.2)
  8. Brandon Phillips, CIN (44.5)
  9. Dan Uggla, FLA (111.2)
  10. Placido Polanco, PHI (186.7)
Sleepers: Casey McGehee (2B/3B), MIL (216.1); Scott Sizemore, DET (221.5)

Third Basemen:
  1. Alex Rodriguez, NYY (3.2)
  2. Evan Longoria, TB (13.4)
  3. Pablo Sandoval (3B/1B), SF (34.9)
  4. Ryan Zimmerman, WSH (32.9)
  5. David Wright, NYM (15.1)
  6. Kevin Youkilis (3B/1B), BOS (38.6)
  7. Gordon Beckham (3B/2B), CWS (87.6)
  8. Mark Reynolds, ARI (45.5)
  9. Chone Figgins, SEA (72.5)
  10. Aramis Ramirez, CHC (56.0)
Sleepers: Jorge Cantu (3B/1B), FLA (159.8); Kevin Kouzmanoff, OAK (236.3); Pedro Alvarez, PIT (260.0)

  1. Hanley Ramirez, FLA (2.4)
  2. Troy Tulowitzki, COL (20.8)
  3. Derek Jeter, NYY (25.4)
  4. Elvis Andrus, TEX (94.8)
  5. Jimmy Rollins, PHI (28.6)
  6. Yunel Escobar, ATL (132.2)
  7. Stephen Drew, ARI (110.1)
  8. Alcides Escobar, MIL (175.7)
  9. Erick Aybar, LAA (155.1)
  10. Alexei Ramirez, CWS (130.4)
Sleepers: Everth Cabrera, SD (222.5); Ryan Theriot, CHC (207.7)

Outfielders (overall OF rank by name):

Left Field:
  1. Ryan Braun (1), MIL (4.6)
  2. Carl Crawford (5), TB (10.8)
  3. Matt Holliday (7), STL (21.3)
  4. Jason Bay (9), NYM (45.4)
  5. Adam Lind (LF/DH) (10), TOR (42.9)
  6. Johnny Damon (17), DET (96.1)
  7. Carlos Quentin (18), CWS (99.5)
  8. Manny Ramirez (22), LAD (85.1)
  9. Carlos Lee (24), HOU (56.9)
  10. Raul Ibanez (26), PHI (103.7)
Sleepers: Nolan Reimold, BAL (155.3); Matt LaPorta (LF/1B), CLE (225.5)

Center Field:
  1. Matt Kemp (3), LAD (8.8)
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury (CF/LF) (4), BOS (20.8)
  3. Grady Sizemore, (8) CLE (31.7)
  4. B.J. Upton (11), TB (48.6)
  5. Adam Jones (13), BAL (69.8)
  6. Shane Victorino (16), PHI (76.0)
  7. Curtis Granderson (19), NYY (57.0)
  8. Andrew McCutchen (23), PIT (87.1)
  9. Carlos Beltran (25), NYM (116.4)
  10. Franklin Guiterrez (27), SEA (158.4)
Sleepers: Cody Ross (CF/RF), FLA (200.9); Drew Stubbs, CIN (260.0)

Right Field:
  1. Juston Upton (2), ARI (18.3)
  2. Jayson Werth (6), PHI (42.4)
  3. Ichiro Suzuki (12), SEA (28.0)
  4. Nelson Cruz (14), TEX (65.4)
  5. Nick Markakis (15), BAL (62.3)
  6. Shin-Soo Choo (RF/LF) (20), CLE (75.8)
  7. Jason Heyward (21), ATL (164.9)
  8. Andre Ethier (28), LAD (59.0)
  9. Jay Bruce (29), CIN (105.6)
  10. Jason Kubel (LF/RF/DH) (30), MIN (134.2)
Sleepers: Kyle Blanks, SD (220.7), Elijah Dukes (260.0)


Starting Pitchers:
  1. Tim Lincecum (1), SF (9.7)
  2. Felix Hernandez (2), SEA (19.6)
  3. CC Sabathia (3), NYY (21.9)
  4. Zack Grienke (4), KC (25.5)
  5. Roy Halladay (5), PHI (12.7)
  6. Jon Lester (6), BOS (39.5)
  7. Johan Santana (8), NYM (51.1)
  8. Dan Haren (10), ARI (32.8)
  9. Josh Johnson (11), FLA (75.1)
  10. Cliff Lee (14), SEA (43.7)
  11. Yovani Gallardo (15), MIL (65.0)
  12. Chris Carpenter (16), STL (54.9)
  13. Adam Wainwright (17), STL (43.9)
  14. Justin Verlander (18), DET (44.3)
  15. Clayton Kershaw (21), LAD (111.2)
  16. Tommy Hanson (22), ATL (76.3)
  17. Brandon Webb (23), ARI (89.0)
  18. Josh Beckett (26), BOS (67.0)
  19. Jair Jurrjens (27), ATL (135.0)
  20. Jake Peavy (28), CWS (99.7)
  21. Wandy Rodriguez (29), HOU (108.5)
  22. Javier Vazquez (31), NYY (69.2)
  23. Chad Billingsley (32), LAD (133.6)
  24. Matt Cain (34), SF (91.9)
  25. Ubaldo Jimenez (35) (97.6)
  26. Ricky Nolasco (36), FLA (91.1)
  27. Clay Buchholz (37), BOS (171.1)
  28. Matt Garza (38), TB (138.8)
  29. David Price (39), TB (170.4)
  30. Cole Hamels (40), PHI (93.8)
Sleepers: Rick Porcello, DET (186.0); Jonathan Sanchez, SF (202.5); Aroldis Chapman, CIN (211.0); Brian Matusz, BAL (218.9)

Relief Pitchers:
  1. Joakim Soria (7), KC (86.0)
  2. Jonathan Papelbon (9), BOS (77.2)
  3. Mariano Rivera (12). NYY (56.9)
  4. Jonathan Broxton (13), LAD (59.9)
  5. Brian Wilson (19), SF (119.9)
  6. Brian Fuentes (20), LAA (158.5)
  7. Andrew Bailey (24), OAK (103.5)
  8. Francisco Rodriguez (25), NYM (86.4)
  9. Heath Bell (30), SD (105.8)
  10. Francisco Cordero (33) (109.8)
Sleepers: David Aardsma, SEA (179.2), Neftali Feliz, TEX (222.1)

Designated Hitters:
  1. David Ortiz, BOS (168.6)
  2. Hideki Matsui, LAA (173.6)
  3. Vladimir Guerrero, TEX (157.3)
  4. Jim Thome, MIN (260.0)
  5. Andruw Jones, CWS (260.0)
  6. Ken Griffey, Jr., SEA (260.0)
  7. Travis Hafner, CLE (260.0)
  8. Pat Burrell, TB (260.0)
  9. Mike Sweeney, SEA (260.0)
  10. Mike Jacobs, NYM (260.0)

So, we have the position ranks in place. Now, I'm going to show you what my ideal roster is looking like based on ADP, position eligibility, and the roster size based on ESPN's game (hypothetical round taken in parentheses)...

The "Dream Team"

C- Matt Wieters (9th)
1B- Prince Fielder (1st)
2B- Dan Uggla (14th)
3B- Evan Longoria (2nd)
SS- Elvis Andrus (11th)
1B/3B- Joey Votto (5th)
2B/SS- Alcides Escobar (19th)
OF- Jacoby Ellsbury (3rd)
OF- Jayson Werth (4th)
OF- Shane Victorino (8th)
OF- Jason Heyward (15th)
OF- Kyle Blanks (23rd)
UTIL- Gordon Beckham (10th)
BN- Matt LaPorta (25th)

P- Joakim Soria (6th)
P- Josh Johnson (7th)
P- Clayton Kershaw (12th)
P- Brian Wilson (13th)
P- Brian Fuentes (16th)
P- Clay Buchholz (17th)
P- David Price (18th)
P- Rick Porcello (20th)
P- Brian Matusz (22nd)
BN- Stephen Strasburg (21st)
BN- Aroldis Chapman (24th)

Sure, there are some stretches here, but all and all, very realistic...and very potent as well. You have to center your offense around a "bopper" in my opinion. Having a guy you know will go for 40/100 is a must, which is why Prince Fielder is pretty much my first round pick in every single draft (this is of course assuming that Pujols, Hanley, and Braun are off the board). The power continues with Longoria, Werth, Votto, and Uggla. From those four, I'm relying on three of them going for at least 30 homers. I then go to the next extreme and go for the real, real fast guys. Jacoby, Victorino, Andrus, and Escobar will all hover around 35 steals, with Jacoby and Andrus going for 50 or more. I'm feeling like all the speed and power that I've collected will hedge my bet on future production (Wieters, Heyward, Beckham, Blanks, and LaPorta). The reason I continue to be so huge on Heyward is that the Braves will have to score runs somehow, and outside of McCann and McClouth, there really isn't a whole lot going on there. He's going to start on Opening Day as well, so you won't have to worry about whether or not he'll play this year...oh, he'll play. In regards to Wieters and Beckham, they have already made impacts in the majors, so expecting both to have breakout years seems to make sense. Beckham is an extremely attractive option once we get about two weeks into the season. Right now, he's only eligible at third, but he is slated to be the White Sox' starting second baseman, meaning he will gain eligibility at both third and second, a very rare combo.

Next, the pitching staff. You need an "ace," and what happens is that you have four guys that fit that mold this year (Lincecum, Hernandez, Sabathia, Grienke), but you also have a few guys down the line that fill a similar need (Johnson, Carpenter, Verlander, Gallardo), so as long as you're able to get in on either an ace or a pseudo-ace, you have a nice jump off point. As I mentioned in my "pay for saves" theory, there are five closers you have to have. Ideally, you want two, which is what I came up with here. It's breaking down in a snake draft that Soria and Wilson are the two I'm ending up with. The rest of the staff rounds out something like this: really, really young starting pitchers. There are, in my opinion, the "Super Seven" young starters, and if I have the team go this way, I'll get them all, which is nuts. Kershaw is fifteen W's and 200 Ks in the bank. He's by far the biggest non-risk of the bunch. Then, there is the middle ground with Clay, Price, and Porcello. These are guys who will get 12-14 Ws and 150 Ks, totally solid, no questions asked. Then, there's the big risk, big reward guys. Matusz is the #2 behind Millwood in Baltimore. With the O's poised to finish around .500, I'm thinking Matusz going for 14-16 wins is not out of the question. The two on my bench, Strasburg and Chapman, are even bigger risks because both likely will not be in the majors at the start of the season. However, upon entry, they may come with Valenzuela-like numbers once they are in their respective rotations...that's how good both of them are right now. The first time through each team's lineups they will face, they're probably going to be super-dominant, and if the other teams do get wiser on either of them, it will be at the tail-end of the season, meaning the damage would have been done long before that point. You absolutely need a second pitch in the majors, but for young pitchers in their first go-around, speed kills.

So, there are a few of my thoughts on the world of fantasy baseball. Thanks for getting all the way through it, and if you decided to skip down through all of it just to see how I would wrap things up, you are also to be thanked. Take care everyone. Peace.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2010 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

"When I step into the light, my eyes searching widely."

Yeah Big Red.

Welcome to the surprising NFL turn to March Madness here. For what it's The tournament has been amazing. So, here's why I'm going NFL and mock draft here. I feel like I can slip this in at a brief conscience-of-football that I'm having. Let's dive right in.

(Also, I want to apologize for anyone who likes or knows Everson Griffen, the defensive end from Southern Cal, as I egregiously omitted his name from the top 10 D-Ends in my first draft column. Really missed that one...oh well...hopefully this will be some kind of retribution here...)
  1. St. Louis- Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: I can't see this changing. It seems like from what the words have been out of St. Louis and Rams' people, this is their guy. Again...they have got to draft a QB in the top 5 at some points...if anything, just to kick the tires on the idea of finding a franchise QB, especially now that the Arena League is done...I mean, there goes that avenue.
  2. Detroit- Russell Okung, OT, Detroit: This is funny...I feel like the Lions are in the same boat as the Rams are. They almost have to draft a franchise, or at least they will hope be a franchise, player at left tackle. Their QBs, despite having numerous first round WRs on one team at any given point in the last five years (sure, some didn't work out...but they were there) have been getting destroyed because they have no line. I thought Suh here automatically because he's my #1 this year, meaning he should probably go at least #2. I'm also feeling that the perception that the Lions seemingly were locked into getting either Suh or Warren here have started to fade off.
  3. Tampa Bay- Gerard Warren, DT, Oklahoma: I think that Warren is the Bucs' guy even if Suh drops to them. I think they have Warren #1 on their board. Warren represents a more raw side, something that jives well in Tampa. The feeling is they have to find Warren Sapp here if they go DT, as invariably, those will be the comparisons. I feel like Warren represents Sapp more than Suh.
  4. Washington-...Okay, I'm going to have to break this into two parts, as if all this goes according to said plan, you now have two guys (Suh, Eric Berry) who are absolutely worth not only trading into the top 5 for, but also worth the ridiculous amount of money they will have to drop to sign him. So, possible trading partners include, ugh, the Jets because they're wild on draft day, and always do whatever it takes to get their guy. who I'm suspecting is Berry to replace Kerry Rhodes...also, with all the Ed Reed comparisons, Rex Ryan's at least trying to get the next best thing. Then, there's Buffalo, who, so desperate for a QB they are, could potentially take Jimmy Clausen here to block a possible Seattle pick at #6...speaking of the Seahawks...they have two first rounders, and while it would ludicrous to expect them to trade both to move up, they will at least be able to keep one of them when trading up to the top 5 (most likely #14), so they are in a flexible position. Suh is the wild card simply because there is an inkling of voices getting out saying that, despite the amazing numbers and production, he won't work out. I can't say I'm one of them yet, but it's not totally ill-conceived it seems. Miami I think is in the most desperate need for a D-Tackle this close to the 'Skins pick, but you have to wonder if they are looking for a run stuffer to play in the 3-4...honestly, I think he would do amazing things in Miami. You need athletes to play in that sun...him and Jason Taylor, even though Taylor is getting up can't argue that it is at least somewhat intriguing. So, here's the answer: The 'Skins have to get out of this pick, get at least two more high draft picks in addition to the first-rounder they surely will receive, and re-build. However, if Washington ops to stay here, they're going Brian Bulaga, OT, Iowa simply because Shanahan knows that without line help, his offense won't work. Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson?...hey...maybe it works. I really didn't like it the first time when it was called Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. I'm believing NFL teams thinking this guy could be like Okung...the "10 Year Plan" left tackle.
  5. Kansas City- Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: The Chiefs desperately need a tackle, but once Bulaga is gone (by the way, also put him with Berry and Suh as "the guys to move into the top 5 for"). Berry has the biggest "known" upside (generally, when you think a safety is going to do something in the league, he does something in the league), and he couldn't be the worse consolation prize right?
  6. Seattle- Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska: It's inconceivable he drops this far without someone trading up to, maybe even here, to take him. However, if you think it's far-fetched Seattle goes D-Tackle over QB here, their DTs on the roster are Red Bryant, Colin Cole, Brandon Mebane, and Craig Terrell...and no one's mentioned the Seahawks being a player for one of the top two DTs? I had to look that up on two sites just to make sure the first one was right!
  7. Cleveland- Joe Haden, CB, Florida: Haden is back in the saddle again now that he ran much better at his pro day, and with that, "garnering" a top 10 pick, despite the fact that he was worth it beforehand.
  8. Oakland- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida: I had Bruce Campbell here, and was almost completely sold that the freakishly athletic OT would go to the guy who loves athletes...but then it struck me...Al Davis not only like athletes, he likes the athletes you don't expect him to draft (last year, Jeremy Maclin is who everyone thought Oakland would go with because he did extremely well at the Combine, and yet they ended up taking Darrius Heyward-Bey, which caught everyone by surprise). I think the need to be unpredictable is almost as high as the need for speed. Everyone has Campbell here because he was so outstanding at the Combine, that you know Al was loving it...but not everyone thinks he'll take him...I think he has to go at least somewhat off the reservation here. Taylor Mays is a huge sleeper here.
  9. Buffalo- Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame: The Bills' rep in New York will be knocking over small children to make this one. The Bills want either Okung or Bulaga, but I believe there is too much interest, and they'll get shut out. The Bills so much wanted Trent Edwards to be the man, but it seems like the thinking is that he may only be a 8-9 game guy...the momentum QB (the Bruce Gradkowski). Trent Williams may end up slipping into the top 10, but I suspect the Bills will be on the move looking for Bulaga or Clausen (if they believe he will go before here).
  10. Jacksonville- Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: I think the character issues plague Dez Bryant, because he probably should go here, but thinking about the Jags...receivers seem to kind of work so long as they are not overly hyped (Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell, Ernest Wilford, Mike help me God, Mike Sims-Walker!). McClain is exactly what they need...the guy they could never find to replace Mike Peterson...the man in the middle.
  11. Denver- Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: Okay, same as the Jags through the first two commas...and...wait for it...but thinking about the Broncos, questionable-character receivers seem to be kind of out of style in Denver...knowing this, does Josh McDaniels really tap Bryant here? I keep thinking Morgan is probably the best overall athlete in this draft. He's Julius Peppers but 21.
  12. Miami- Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: This one, however, I'm completely unconvinced about switching. Williams is that run-stuffer the Dolphins need, and despite what may become a fever-pitched wanting of Ndamukong Suh, Williams is reminiscent of Vince Wilfork, and the Dolphins really wanted Wilfork to leave New England this year not only to not face him, but to sign him.
  13. San Francisco- Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma: Again, there seems to be a growing consensus that Williams is top 10 bound, it's just a matter of who is willing to move up to get him, or if someone who's already there takes him. I think the Niners have to go tackle with one of these, whether it be Williams here, trading up to get Williams, or waiting until #17 to get Charles Brown.
  14. Seattle- Charles Brown, OT, Southern Cal: This is why I think the Niners have to go tackle at #13, because more than likely, Williams is off the board by 13, and Brown will be the only guy left who has a somewhat top 15 grade...if the Niners think they can pass on Brown, and expect Pete Carroll to not give him serious consideration here, they're nuts.
  15. New York Giants- Sean Weatherspoon, ILB, Missouri: I think Weatherspoon's leadership abilities will be brought more to the fore-front come draft day, as will Rolando McClain's, which is why he won't be here. Weatherspoon is "McClain Lite" for the sake of this arguement...I'm not saying he won't have a fine career, but all things considered, about 90-95% of teams are taking McClain over Weatherspoon.
  16. Tennessee- Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State: I'm now convinced Wilson is on Haden's level. I know that Haden right now is better, but once they both hit the pros, my feeling now is that Wilson has as much, if not, more impact than Haden. Shocking, I know.
  17. San Francisco- Earl Thomas, S, Texas: If the Niners come home with a tackle and a hard-hitting safety in the first round, they automatically get at least a B+ for their overall draft grade.
  18. Pittsburgh- Mike Iupati, G, Idaho: Bruce Campbell was originally my mortal lock of the first round...this is now by mortal lock.
  19. Atlanta- Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State: If he's not off the board via someone trading up to get him (Dallas comes to mind), Bryant going to Atlanta is arguably the most fascinating of all his potential destinations. Michael Jenkins obviously has not lived up to his lofty expectations...with Matty Ice behind center, Roddy White on one side, Bryant on the other, Gonzalez up the's pretty much all there is to that.
  20. Houston- Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State: I can't help but feel that the loss of the University of South Carolina's own Dunta Robinson (6 years, $57 million, 100% guaranteed satisfaction going to the Falcons) will cause the Texans to overcompensate, and perhaps reach for a corner here (also, remember how outstanding each of their defensive first rounders have been, including...the University of South Carolina's own Dunta Robinson! (we had a tough basketball season, sorry if I'm holding onto some pride here).
  21. Cincinnati- Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma: The pressure to get Palmer something over the middle will become almost unbearable for Marvin Lewis, as, although he may want to go on a risk and draft Mays here, he has to realize that all his "high risk, high reward" guys have flamed out, and Gresham, despite the knee injury, is safe here.
  22. New England- Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan: I'm warming to Graham, but I'm still not convinced he's the guy. Come draft day, I may change, but right now, if you tell me Graham or Sergio Kindle, I'm going nuts about Kindle. Maybe that's me, but Kindle seems to simply be better right now...but we're a system team, and if Graham fits the system, then so be it...ERIC NORWOOD! That's it...draft Norwood...give me something as a USC alum I can root for on my hometown team (I may be wrong about this, because I don't have both research teams or the time for this...I'm pretty sure we haven't had anyone from Carolina since the first Super Bowl appearance when I was 1...come on Bill!)
  23. Green Bay- Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: Wow. Davis went from the #1 tackle and almost a sure-fire top 5 pick...but again..."character issues." They are plaguing some guys right now (Dez, Davis, Aaron Hernandez to name three). The Packers may be able to work this guy in, as they really have to address this need before anything else.
  24. Philadelphia- Taylor Mays, S, Southern Cal: Very likely Mays gets scooped up before this just based on the fact that he's a physical beast. The Eagles let Brian Dawkins somehow meander off to Denver, and they've obviously been reeling since then. Mays' upside could have Eagles fans excited about their secondary once again.
  25. Baltimore- Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida: Dunlap slips this far because of "questionable motor," which, if you're the Ravens, you have to believe won't slide with Ray Lewis still maybe they take a chance here.
  26. Arizona- Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas: I had Jerry Hughes here, and I'm not entirely convinced he won't be the guy, but I have Kindle ahead of Hughes in terms of his draft stock...potential though, they're about dead even.
  27. Dallas- Maurkice Pouncey, G, Florida: Upgrading their line makes way too much sense. Pouncey and Iupati are the two interior linemen who not only will go in the first round, but will have every opportunity to start right away (although, as I mentioned in my last draft column, Iupati is ready to go right now, while you may experience a few more growing pains with Pouncey).
  28. San Diego- C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: Before anyone says anything, I am fully aware Spiller won't be here, but if we're doing this without trades, I honestly believe that no one else from picks 10-30 has their biggest, or even second biggest need be a running back. Meanwhile, the Chargers have either a runner or a nose tackle being by far and away their biggest needs. Having said that, Spiller will likely be gone...I have Ryan Matthews or Terrance Cody here. I think Cody did enough at his pro day to be a late first-rounder, while I thought all along that this kid can be motivated into being great, and thus spending a first round pick on Cody was not so far-fetched.
  29. New York Jets- Jared Odrick, LB, Penn State: Again, this could be Hughes, but I feel like Odrick is more of Rex Ryan's kind of guy than Hughes simply because of how he played in the rough and tough Big 10.
  30. Minnesota- Brian Price, DT, UCLA: Sticking with Price here because he had a giant upside, and again, the Williams' will be split either this year or next, meaning they are going to need someone to at least attempt to fill in.
  31. Indianapolis- Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers: They want to see either Iupati or Pouncey fall to them here, but both of those guys I could absolutely see someone trading into the top 25 to take. It's not like taking McCourty will be a loss. They just lost Marlin Jackson, so corner is a need.
  32. New Orleans- Jerry Hughes, LB, TCU: Another guy I can't see lasting this long, but if you're the Saints, you have got to be thinking edge rusher here, regardless of who is available. They may get lucky and have a top 15 guy like Kindle or Hughes fall to them here, but even a guy like, yes, Eric Norwood, or Daryl Washington, another TCU guy. In any're the champs...this is what it's all about. Going last in the first round, with the entire time you're on the clock being a trip down memory lane through the playoffs, and into that Super Bowl win...cherish it...sometimes things you thought may become common ground do not end up in such fashion (see: my current situation).
Okay, no second round here. However, the second round may officially become "The Tebow Round" if he does happen to slip out of the first round. Teams will be jockeying for position to get high up in the second to take him, so teams like St. Louis (already set with QB thanks to Bradford) and Detroit (Stafford) may be in valuable position. The 'Skins may take him, so my feeling is that, if you want him, you'll have to trade with either the Rams, Lions, or Bucs. Tebow in New England makes too much sense. I'm pretty sure most people up here are kind of lukewarm on Tebow based on his off-the-field hoopla (mainly dealing with that Jesus fellow...not saying we're not religious...but we're not "all up in your face" religious...does that make any sense?). Tebow's a winner, and he seems to be hell-bent on making it at the next level. We have three more good years of Tom, and then...we're screwed. I'm not saying Tebow is going to be at a Brady level once he starts at QB, but right now, he is by far the best backup plan that will be available probably in the next five years. I used to hate Tebow, but it's like I used to hate Mariano seemed like they were both one-trick ponies (Tebow running up the middle, Rivera with the cut fastball), but now I'm understanding that, if it works, who cares? If you told Dolphins fans before the Pats game two years ago "hey, we're going to have Ronnie Brown lined up at QB, split out Chad Pennington, and put Ricky Williams in motion all game, but we're going to kick their asses," they wouldn't have taken it? I think it's bliss when it happens on your team, but when you play against them, you try and downgrade the accomplishments based on the fact that it is the same thing over and over again...and yet you can't stop it. So, I'm huge on Tebow.

The other picks the Pats have need to be spent on WR, TE, or just a general athlete. If you go receiver, it's got to be Demaryius Thomas from GA Tech if he happens to drop to them. So much raw upside, so little tape on's a big risk, but consider they are anticipating Brandon Tate to try and come back, they will at least have some depth in case Thomas doesn't pan out...but I just can't see that happening. The TE to me comes down to Aaron Hernandez and Jimmy Graham. They have tried to have the burly, Ben Coates-type, but that has really not paid any dividends (Daniel Graham was here...allegedly, and Ben Watson's greatest accomplishment was running down Champ Bailey in that playoff game...which I'm still convinced was a touchback and not a touchdown, but I digress). So, perhaps changing philosophies would make a positive impact. In fact, overall, they need a change, which is what I think their draft needs to be all about...change. I feel like the Pats were ahead of their time about five years ago, but have allowed the rest of the league to catch up with them, and now are relegated to perhaps getting out of maybe one round of the playoffs before getting bounced. I'm not saying four draft picks will turn everything around, but if they hit on three of them, they will be looking at five years at least where they will be an 11+ win team.

Here's a list of guys the Pats need to consider at #'s 44, 47, and 53:
  • Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
  • Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan
  • Jordan Shipley, WR, Texas
  • Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
  • Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
  • Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota
  • Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami
  • Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida
  • Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona
  • Dexter McCluster, RB, Ole Miss
  • Ricky Sapp, DE, Clemson
  • Eric Norwood, OLB, South Carolina
  • Daryl Washington, OLB, TCU
  • Navorro Bowman, OLB, Penn State
  • Sean Lee, ILB, Penn State
  • Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida
So, the draft is now under a month away, and the general conception has now started to come out basically the same as what I've been thinking all along...this is the biggest draft in at least ten years for the Pats. If they don't cash in this year, it may never end, but if they can get some guys who can make both immediate and long-term impacts, then New England may be set up for five, ten years to come.

There will be at least one more mock on the way before the actual draft begins. Next up, Fantasy Baseball Dossier 3.0. Until then, take care everyone. Peace.