Friday, April 27, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Live Blog - Day 2

7:27 PM - CMH - Colts go Stanford/Stanford with Coby Fleener in the second round.  You have to wonder if Andrew Luck had any say in that pick.  It'll be nice for Luck to have Fleener as his safety valve, but as a prospect, the guy is somewhat overrated.  Big and athletic, though, so he could see success.

7:28 - CMH - Good to see TD, Terrell Davis up there announcing the Broncos selection.  An NFL stud and legend.  6th round pick?  How could that many teams pass on the guy?

7:32 - CMH - Janoris Jenkins off the board, and it's the Rams who take the risk.  To be honest, I think Jenkins is going to get his act together in the NFL.  A kid or three can change a lot in your life, and maybe it will make him responsible and hold him accountable for his actions.  1st round talent, undraftable attitude.

7:42 - CMH - That film of Amini Silatolu was scary.  The guy was a man amongst boys.  It'll be very interesting to see how he makes the transition to the pros, coming from such a small school.  No denying the kid's an animal though.

7:44 - CMH - Glenn and Martin off the board back-to-back.  Both guys slid a bit down draft boards.  They both lack something that you want in an offensive lineman, something you can't really put your finger on.  Both are solid 2nd round picks, though.

7:59 - CMH - Great Bears pick.  Jeffrey is a stud, but they now have two problematic, but ultra-talented, receivers on their roster.  Great to see that for a team who hasn't had much at the wide receiver position in over a decade.  Boom or bust, but I'm leaning towards BOOM.

8:53 - CMH - Broncos grab Osweiler to sit behind Peyton for a couple years.  Yeah, he's tall, but he throws like an idiot.  I don't think the guy is good, and I don't think he has potential.  I'd rather have guys like Kirk Cousins and Russell Wilson, and picking Osweiler in the 2nd is a big-time reach.

8:55 - CMH - Did teams just forget that Lavonte David was still on the board this round?  How he slipped that far I'll never know, but he's an absolute stud.  The Buccaneers have gotten two immediate starters on a defense that was awful last year, so good for them.  However, I disagree with Kiper and Gruden saying they are having the best draft of anyone so far.  I didn't like the Doug Martin pick, and trading up to get him made little sense, even though he's a solid running back.

9:00 - CMH - Philly really focusing on that front seven in this draft.  I love what they are doing so far.  Best defensive tackle in the draft, a very solid inside linebacker, and a solid DE.  Are the Eagles quietly putting together the best draft so far?  I'd say so, along with the Patriots.

9:09 - CMH - 49ers now have a STABLE of runningbacks.  LaMichael James is a playmaker, simple as that.  Give him 10-12 touches a game, and he will make some plays.  I like how the 49ers are putting more weapons around Alex Smith--he will have to do even less next year to get them to the Super Bowl, just don't make mistakes.

9:15 - CMH - Casey Hayward is the man.  I loved watching him play this Fall, and I probably watched more Vanderbilt football than most, if not all.  He was great for one of the best secondaries in the country (Yeah, I said it), and I think the Packers are making a great move taking him.  He's not much in man coverage, but he hasn't been asked to cover many one-on-one.  His zone coverage skills are off the charts--and that's why the Pack fell in love with him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Live Blog- Day 1

7:12 PM- Welcome everyone to our live coverage of the first day of the NFL draft. Stay tuned here for live reactions and updates.

7:14 PM- (John Huffstetler)- We already have the first terrible trade in the books. The Cleveland Browns will move up one spot to select RB Trent Richardson. The only thing worse than taking a RB in the first round is trading up to get him. RB is the most overvalued position in the NFL, and no RB should be selected in the top 10. Richardson will now go #3 above players like Kalil, Claiborne, Blackmon, etc. with much greater value.

7:37 PM- (Kyle Huffstetler)-Couldn't agree more Jhoof the Browns trade to move up to take Richardson is awful. There is nothing special about Richardson, I probably wouldn't touch him in the first two rounds. He isn't a game changing talent that is necessary to justify drafting a RB in the top 20 these days. This seems like a pathetic attempt to get people to come out to Browns games-The franchise has zero strategic direction.

7:48 PM- (Kyle Huffstetler)- Only thing that could have saved the Browns from another pathetic season is to continue to solidify the O-line (Actually nothing could have). OL, DL, LB, Qb are the most important positions and the hardest positions to fill. A weak secondary can be disguised with great play by the DL and LB. Weak WR can be overcome with a good QB, weak RB can be overcome with RB by committee and a good OL. You can't disguise a weak OL, DL, QB, and to some extent LB play. The first round should be all about stock piling OL, DL, and LB. Kalil (Although he needs to improve his run blocking) or a trade down from their original slot should have been the move.

8:33 PM- (Kyle Huffstetler)- Bucs must have been desperate to trade down and acquire some picks-They definitely didn't get enough value to move down from 5 to 7.

8:38 PM- (Kyle Huffstetler)- Hopefully Gabbert picks it up, so we can enjoy watching Blackmon.

8:38 PM- (CMH)- Dallas has to pick Claiborne here, right?

8:40 PM- (CMH)- Look for Stephon Gilmore to be picked soon.  Big drop off after him, in my opinion, at the CB position, and a lot of teams could use some cornerback help

8:45 PM- (John Huffstetler)- Jacksonville trading up for Blackmon makes no sense for their franchise. He will be a great receiver, but they have no way to utilize him until they improve their O-Line and QB positions.

8:51 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- Tannehill is destined for failure, but he won't care--did you see how hot his girlfriend is?

8:56 PM- (John Huffstetler)- Carolina selects ILB Luke Kuechly from BC- Great selection here as the Panthers address a huge need in their soft as butter defense. Their LB corps is in need of massive help and Kuechly will start from day one.

9:02 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- Fantastic pick by Panthers.  Keuchly is the best player in the draft for his position.  Not necesssarily the most valuable, but positionally the best.

9:04 PM- (Kyle Huffstetler)- Pic of Tannehill's Girlfriend

9:06 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- Poe's a workout warrior, but nothing more.  He lacks football instincts, that's why he wasn't dominant at Memphis.  He won't be much at the next level, and there's no way he should've been picked ahead of Cox, who will go 12th to the Eagles.

9:18 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- Fitzgerald was lobbying for Michael Floyd.  Michael Floyd would love playing with Larry.  Only problem--they don't have a serviceable quarterback.  I think Reiff makes more sense here, but I see them taking Floyd, instead. 

9:20 PM- (John Huffstetler)- What is with these teams without QB's drafting WR's? If no one can get a ball to the receiver, he is useless. How stupid can the Cards and Jaguars be? Build somewhere else and get a WR later!

9:24 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- Floyd's very talented, and he's been put in a situation to succeed across from Fitzgerald, but I agree with JHoof.  You need a quarterback to get them the ball, and Skelton/Kolb is not the answer.

9:30 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- And so ends the slew of DT, and one could argue that they were picked in reverse order.  I would rank them like this, though--Cox, Brockers, Poe.

9:31 PM- (John Huffstetler)- I like the Rams taking Brockers, but they really need to address the offensive line desperately in the next few picks. They have no protection at all for Sam Bradford

9:37 PM- (Kyle Huffstetler)- I hate the new draft setup. They need to go back to the Saturday, Sunday setup.

9:39 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- Typical Kyle comment.  Nothing's good enough!

9:40 PM- (John Huffstetler)- I think Bruce Irvin robber me once. Now he'll rob Seahawks fans of a draft pick.

9:43 PM- (Kyle Huffstetler)- Coples worth rolling the dice at 16...either going to be a beast or a Vernon Gholston repeat

9:46 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- Good for Coples, Finally bringing in a paycheck so he can buy his mother a razor for that armpit hair.

9:49 PM- (John Huffstetler)- Dre Kirkpatrick makes perfect sense for the Bengals. They needed a CB and he should be a terrific addition

9:56 PM- (John Huffstetler)- Melvin Ingram to the Chargers is the biggest steal so far in the draft. He is an absurd athlete (high school RB), and he can play multiple positions and special teams. SC had the #3 ranked defense last year and he is a major reason why.

9:59 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- Chargers with THE pick of the first round so far.  Melvin Ingram is a stud.

10:04 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- NE moving up to 21, and the smart move would be to take Whitney Mercilus there.  Schefter saying Chandler Jones, but I like Mercilus better.

10:05 PM- (John Huffstetler)- How do the Bears draft McClellin with stud LB LaVonte David from Nebraska still on the board? He will be another huge steal when taken, and it looks like a great team will get him. He pops on film and dominated at times for a Huskers defense who lost the likes of Suh and Amukamara over the last few years.

10:10 PM- (John Huffstetler)- Tenn could have gone Defensive End, but the Kendall Wright pick makes sense to complete and offense with a terrific line, an established rb, and a young QB in Locker that is obviously a future star.

10:14 PM- (John Huffstetler)- Wow, Browns having the WORST DRAFT EVER!! Weeden? Enjoy 5 more years of mediocrity Browns fans. I feel bad for you guys.

10:17 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- I like Weeden, but he has to be great right away for this pick to work out.  He won't have Justin Blackmon to throw to in Cleveland, and there will be no learning curve.  Looks like another QB destined to fail, but I think he's more talented than Tannehill (rightfully so for a 47 year old).

10:21 PM- (John Huffstetler)- Another terrific pick by the Steelers. Easy to be successful when every one of your decisions makes perfect sense. DeCastro is a great pick and could start day one

10:23 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- Lions with a great pick.  Reiff is a big-time Big 10 offensive lineman.  Feed him and watch him work hard, and that pick will pay off.  As Mike Huff said, anytime you pick a Big 10 o-lineman, it's a safe bet.

10:24 PM- (John Huffstetler)- Nice move by the Pats moving up to take Donta Hightower. On a team of stud NFL-caliber players, he popped the most during games. He was also their defensive leader emotionally.

10:26 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- This isn't your usual Patriots draft, and I love what they are doing.  They could be having the best draft of anyone, picking up two guys who can start right away on their front seven. 

10:29 PM- (John Huffstetler)- Mercilus makes perfect sense for the Texans and he will be a perfect player to replace Mario Williams. Notice how these teams picking late in the draft (playoff teams) continue to draft defensive front seven and offensive line players.

10:34 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- Still some good offensive linemen left for these late first round picks.  Look for the Ravens to grab one of them very soon.

10:42 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- Vikings should take another offensive lineman here.  That'd be the only sensible reason for trading up.

10:43 PM- (John Huffstetler)- I think they need some LB help as well. I cold see the Vikings taking my boy LaVonte David here.

10:47 PM- (Chris Huffstetler)- Not sure why the Vikes traded up to make that pick, but the pick makes sense.  Their Cover 2 defense last year was hard to watch--multiple quarterbacks, including Tebow, had career days against them.  This will help out a defense that was very vulnerable against the deep ball.

10:48 PM- (Kyle Huffstetler)- Of course GB drafts perry. I love him. Absolute freak potential. Could also be a bust but he is a physical freak. He is up to 270. He's gonna be a machine.

10:52 PM- (John Huffstetler)- AJ Jenkins to SF makes sense, but why not take a shot on a big, physical freak like Alshon Jeffrey here if you're looking WR. Jenkins is a solid receiver, but Jeffrey's ceiling is infinitely higher. Plus, Moss will be in camp to school him on being a big physical NFL receiver.

10:57 PM- (John Huffstetler)- Doug Martin could be an ok RB, but why move up to take him when several equal RB's are still left and will be taken later? Stop reaching for RB's bad teams!!

11:05 PM- (John Huffstetler)- David Wilson blows Doug Martin away and can contribute on Special Teams. Giants need a RB with Bradshaw's injury concerns and Jacobs' departure. Makes perfect sense for them.

11:08 PM- That will do it for our live blog of the NFL Draft for Day One. Stay tuned for continuing coverage throughout the weekend.

Please follow us on Twitter @11on11sports

Monday, April 23, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft

Every year I make tons of mock drafts only to find out on draft day that it was primarily a large waste of time. These things are just too difficult to predict. There's always a couple picks (exhibit A, Aldon Smith) that come out of nowhere and usually we see 5-7 trades in the first round alone. I'd say it's more likely that someone would correctly pick every game in the NCAA tournament three years in a row before someone correctly picked the first round of one NFL draft.

That said, mock drafts are still great because you can make bets with friends, learn about the top prospects, see which teams are in good or bad positions, and narrow down those four or five guys that your team is probably targeting.

So here's a (hopefully) interesting look at the first round of the draft that begins this Thursday night.

1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford - I don't think I need to say too much about this one. He's the best quarterback I've ever seen and will be one of the next faces of the NFL.

2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis) - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor - This is another no-brainer. Perfect fit for Shanahan's scheme and brings the star power that this franchise desperately needs.

3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil, OT, USC - I think that the Vikings front office will be torn between Kalil and Morris Claiborne. Claiborne is the better prospect in my book, but I think at the end of the day the Vikings will have to take Kalil to help out both Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson. This team is rebuilding, and a franchise left tackle is a must.

4. Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama - I think that the Browns will be intrigued by both Claiborne and Justin Blackmon, but this team needs playmakers more than another shutdown corner and it's a deep receiver class. The running back position is becoming less and less important in today's NFL, but Richardson is an elite talent who should have eight Pro Bowl caliber years in him. To me, the Browns have to take him.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU - Bucs fans are probably praying for Richardson to slip past the Browns, as he could make them one of the scariest offenses in the NFL, but Claiborne is still a great pick. Aqib Talib is talented but unreliable and Ronde Barber is on his last legs. Claiborne projects as a true shutdown corner at the next level.

6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) - TRADED to the Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M - The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that Miami has to take Tannehill. This franchise is in desperate need of a legitimate quarterback, and Tannehill can be that guy if he's handled correctly. That's a big if, and sixth overall is a lofty pick for guy who can't step in and play right away, but if the Dolphins believe he can be their guy one or two years down the road then it's undoubtedly worth it. Miami already has the guy who developed Tannehill in offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, so I can really see this working. They just have to go about it the way that Tennessee did with Jake Locker, not the way Jacksonville did it with Blaine Gabbert. For St. Louis, this trade makes sense because they need a big time playmaker for Sam Bradford, and two are currently still available.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State - The Jaguars could use help along the defensive line and in the secondary, but they also need to give Gabbert every chance to succeed, and he can't do that with no one to throw to. Justin Blackmon doesn't have elite physical tools, but he's a big time gamer with good intangibles. I think this is a perfect fit for Jacksonville.

8. St. Louis Rams (from Miami) - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame - Right now Sam Bradford is playing chess with checkers pieces. He wants to play quarterback like Tom Brady. He wants to beat you by recognizing the match ups and carving you up with his deadly accuracy. The problem is you can't play that way if you don't have anyone the defense is afraid of. Floyd brings that presence. He has elite physical tools and to me looks a lot like Larry Fitzgerald coming out of Pittsburgh.

9. Carolina Panthers - Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State - This one's a no brainer to me. Cox is an elite 4-3 defensive tackle prospect and is exactly what the Panthers defense was missing last season.

10. Buffalo Bills - TRADED to the Philadelphia Eagles - Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis - The Eagles traditionally shy away from the boom or bust prospects in favor of high motor, high character guys, but GM Howie Roseman said something last week that to me was very telling. He said that the addition of former Texans team captain DeMeco Ryans would allow them more flexibility in the character and hustle department, as Ryans is a passionate leader who demands 100% effort from his players. This opens the door for a guy like Poe, who could be Jim Washburn's new Albert Haynesworth in the Eagles wide nine technique. For the Bills, this allows them to grab more picks and offensive line help at a more reasonable draft spot.

11. Kansas City Chiefs - David DeCastro, G, Stanford - I could really see the Chiefs making a play for Ryan Tannehill, but in this scenario the Dolphins trade up to guarantee they get their guy. If that's the case, I think DeCastro is a perfect fit for Kansas City. He would complete an extremely formidable offensive line and would allow them to get back to running the football with a healthy Jamaal Charles.

12. Seattle Seahawks - Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College - Defensive end is a huge need, but I can't see Pete Carroll passing on Kuechly. He's seen what a dominant linebacker can do for a team in his USC years, and Kuechly is the best player available.

13. Arizona Cardinals - Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa - The Cardinals have to do everything they can to give Kevin Kolb a chance to be their guy, and the top priority should be giving him a competent offensive line. Reiff would step in right away at right tackle, which is their biggest position of need.

14. Dallas Cowboys - Melvin Ingram, DE, USC - Many experts seem convinced that the Cowboys are locked into taking Alabama safety Mark Barron, and while safety is an area of need I think getting another pass rusher opposite DeMarcus Ware is just as important. Ingram could become an elite pass rusher at the next level, and could severely help them chase down Eli Manning, Michael Vick, and Robert Griffin III over the next couple of years.

15. Buffalo Bills (from Philadelphia) - Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford - Left tackle became the biggest area of need for the Bills after losing Demetress Bell in free agency, and Martin is a guy that could step in and man the position from day one.

16. New York Jets - Quinton Coples, DE, UNC - The Jets desperately need some pass rush, and they never shy away from the sexy pick. Coples has some character concerns but is a tremendous talent and could be a huge steal for the Jets here.

17. Cincinnati Bengals - Stephon Gilmore, CB, USC - The Bengals really felt the absence of Jonathan Joseph last year, and Gilmore is a top notch prospect that could help fill the void. Gilmore's a better prospect than this draft slot, but I just don't see corner as a huge need in the top half of the draft this year, and couldn't find a team willing to trade up. Gilmore's a steal for the Bengals here.

18. San Diego Chargers - TRADED to the New England Patriots - Mark Barron, S, Alabama - At some point, the Patriots need to stop trading back and collecting picks and start using those picks to trade up for impact players. Mark Barron is exactly what the Patriots defense needs, and would allow Devin McCourtey to focus on just being a shutdown corner.

19. Chicago Bears - Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse - The Bears could use some help along the offensive line, but another capable edge rusher opposite Julius Peppers would make this defense terrifying.

20. Tennessee Titans - Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois - The Titans had virtually no pass rush last year. They need to find an edge rusher in the first two rounds and Mercilus is good value here.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor - This is a luxury pick, and while the Bengals could use some help along the defensive line, I can't see them passing on Wright here. He gives them an elite receiving corps and could help prevent a sophomore slump from Andy Dalton.

22. Cleveland Browns - TRADED to the Denver Broncos - Michael Brockers, DT, LSU - Brockers is very talented but I see him falling into the twenties because of character concerns and his lack of elite pass rushing ability from the inside. He's a perfect fit for Denver, though, and could step in and start right away to replace Broderick Bunkley, who left for the Saints in free agency.

23. Detroit Lions - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama - The Lions have needed corner help for what seems like a decade, and they get great value here. Kirkpatrick is a big, physical corner who can disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage and would allow the Lions' elite defensive line more time to get to the quarterback.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama - This is an absolutely perfect fit, as Hightower could step in from day one and start at a huge position of need for the Steelers.

25. Cleveland Browns (from Denver) - Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech - This is why I can't see the Browns taking Justin Blackmon. They can take Richardson, and allow another receiver from this extremely deep class to fall to them with their next pick.

26. Houston Texans - Rueben Randle, WR, LSU - The Texans don't have many needs, and another threat opposite Andre Johnson could do wonders for their offense. Randle's a speedy downfield threat who would perfectly fit that mold as the Texans chase a championship.

27. San Diego Chargers (from New England) - Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia - The Chargers need help at right tackle, and Glenn could step in right away and play. Glenn is a monster of a tackle at 6'5", 345 pounds, and could help keep Phillip Rivers upright as well as open up holes for the emerging Ryan Matthews.

28. Green Bay Packers - Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama - Clay Matthews had a disappointing year last year due to a regression along the Packers defensive line as well as a lack of pass rush presence opposite him. Upshaw could step in right away and help out with the second part of that problem. In case you weren't counting, that's four Alabama defenseman already off the board. That team was incredible.

29. Baltimore Ravens - TRADED to the Cleveland Browns - Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State - And so completes the sexiest draft in NFL history. The Browns completely revamp their offense with Richardson, Hill, and now Weeden. If this guy was turning 24 in September instead of 29, he'd be in the top ten ahead of Tannehill. I love Weeden and I love this fit, as he could come in and run the show right away with two new fancy weapons to play with.

30. San Fransisco 49ers - Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State - The 49ers don't have many needs, and this guy will be under-drafted because of this great defensive tackle class. In other words, he's very "worthy" of this pick. Justin Smith is getting older, and Worthy would just add another solid piece to this scary defense.

31. New England Patriots - Shea McClellin, LB, Boise State - I could see the Patriots trading down to make up for their trade up earlier, but they need pass rush help and I could see Belichick falling in love with McClellin. He's a high motor guy who gives it all on every snap, and could immediately improve the Pats at linebacker.

32. New York Giants - Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State - Adams has been downgraded because of character concerns, but he's extremely talented and the Giants might feel as if their veteran locker room could keep him focused. They need help at tackle and Adams could be plugged immediately into their lineup.