Sunday, March 18, 2007

My first Mock draft

1. JeMarcus Russell, Oakland.
Why: The standout LSU quarterback is a big guy who is known for throwing a pretty deep ball. Owner Al Davis would love for Russell to command a Raiders vertical passing threat for the next 10 years. Russell outplayed Brady Quinn head to head ( not that it mattered), and the bigger Russell is seen as a better option for a weaker offensive line. I find it interesting how there is a consensus of Russell being the better option with that line because of his size, while Quinn is a lot more mobile. I'm not very big on mobility, but I find it interested how mobility is completely left out of the debate between this years top 2 QB's. Last year all we heard about was how Vince Young added mobility over Leinart. Now Quinn isn't as mobile as VY, but nobody even mentions mobility this year for Quinn's sake.

Russell can also be the top QB selected after a big Junior year. Remember when Leinart and Quinn were both top notch Junior quarterbacks? They both went back for a senior season and had fans and scouts picking apart their game for one more year under the spotlight. After their senior seasons, they both seemed to have LOST draft stock. Russell hasn't had that "spotlight senior season" with everybody dissecting every single throw.

The other concern about Russell is that he showed up 20 pounds overweight to the combine, and numerous people have questioned his work ethic. Sure, he seems to have all the physical tools, but what's on the inside? Will he spend those extra hours watching film? Will he be the first guy to practice throwing with his receivers? If the guy was 20 pounds out of shape for the combine, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Another interesting point about Russell I saw is that the Washington Redskins were rumored to be interested in him. Errr, Mr. Snyder, didn't you guys trade away a first round pick for Jason Campbell? What's the big idea here?

2. Brady Quinn, Cleveland Browns ( trade).
Why: There are rumors that the Browns owner told his management that he wants his " Franchise Quarterback". Although that is a rumor, it is very believable. Charlie Frye has played 'ok" as a youngster, but the Browns haven't had a big time quarterback in a long time. It also seems that the Lions are showing more and more interest in Quinn ( to bully a trade). If Matt Millen were to play his cards right ( for once), he might be able to force a trade with the Lions to bring in extra draft choices. The Lions hurt everywhere, and those extra picks could help build that team up. If Quinn goes to Cleveland, he could be the poster child and Ohio grown quarterback of the Browns. We would also see Charlie Weiss ( former Pats OC) pass on Brady Quinn to Romeo Crennell ( former Pats DC).

Some people had Brady Quinn as the #1 quarterback LAST year but he came back for a senior season. Mel Kiper Jr. had him the #1 quarterback going into this year, but it seems that many people have Russell catapulting Quinn as the first quarterback selected. The knock on Brady is that he can't "win the big game". That reminds me of the Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning who also couldn't win the big one.

The interesting thing about Quinn in a recent interview was his confidence. They asked him about playing in Cleveland and he said that he would like to, and he also thinks at #3 they have the resources to be able to trade up to that top spot and draft him. Brady Quinn must not listen to the media very much, because MOST people think that Russell will be the first player selected ( then again, the media can often be out of touch with reality). I mean all of these mock drafts are just mock drafts anyway. It's not like a team is going to leak who they are really thinking about drafting.

Quinn just strikes me as a perfectionist. He looked dead serious when he was talking about being the first player picked. He has the talent, the look, and that attitude of a franchise quarterback. His interviews usually sound pretty generic and almost practiced. He sometimes gives these perfect answers that almost seem rehearsed or robotic, and then he will throw out a tiny bone of information that makes the media talk and talk and talk ( like me going on about him thinking he's the #1 player). It almost is staring to annoy me how he talks in his interviews with he boring and generic answers.

I think Quinn will be a better pro quarterback than Jemarcus Russell. Quinn seems like that perfectionist that wants to MAKE it work, while Russell is the guy that had a good junior year and shows up to the combine 20 pounds overweight. A lot of the most important aspects of a quarterback you can't see, and you can't measure. Who knows how much a guy will study that playbook when he signs a 30 million dollar contract. Who knows how seriously a guy will take his job. It's an adverse selection problem. I'd also wonder where Jemarcus Russell would be drafted NEXT year if he came back for an encore senior season and got picked apart for a year.

3. Jamaal Anderson, Detroit ( trade).
Why: I am speculating that the Browns want Brady Quinn, and that the Lions are trying to make the Browns think that they too want Quinn, or a Miami, Minnesota, or Houston can trade up. I love watching this market. Of course, I am giving Matt Millen and the Lions credit with for being able to at least somewhat manipulate the Browns. I think that the trade they pulled off for tackle George Foster and Tatum Bell will at least help rationalize that they don't HAVE to draft Joe Thomas or Adrian Peterson. They can at least plea that they are THINKING about taking Quinn. I think they already have the cards in place to force the Browns to trade up if they want him.

I have Anderson going to Detroit because Matt Millen will be crucified of he selects another receiver, and I believe head coach Rod Marrinelli ( the former D-Line coach) will want a big stud to work with on that line. Anderson is more of a Michael Strahan type that can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks AND play the run. If the Lions want to run the cover 2, they HAVE to be able to get pressure from their front 4 to be effective. Last year they had only 30 sacks and that won't cut it. The Lions go out and pick up Anderson and additional draft picks from their trade with Cleveland. Give Matt Millen some credit.

4. Calvin Johnson, Tampa Bay
Why: Because Gruden will send in the Johnson - Tampa card as soon as the Lions draft Anderson. We won't have to wait 15 minutes for the Bucs to draft the best receiver in the draft, and the player that many consider the best overall player in the draft. He gives the Bucs that dominant, big wide out who can be a standout player in that West coast offense.

The Johnson tale is growing. He ran a 4.3 in somebody else's shoes ( actually a quarterback). He's big, fast, has excellent hands and put up good numbers at GT with Reggie freaking Ball as his quarterback. He sort of reminds you of T.O with that blend of size,speed, hands, only Calvin Johnson is a great guy. He didn't even have to work out at his Georgia Tech pro day but he wanted to work out so that scouts would come and see some of his teammates (to noticed.)

5. Joe Thomas, Arizona
Why: Remember when people said the Colts would be screwed when Edge took his 2,000 yards of offense to the desert? People said that Edge was the MVP of the Colts, and not Peyton Manning? Edge goes from a top notch RB in Indy, to a forgotten man in Arizona. I think people are beginning to realize that the offensive line might have something to do with the running backs performance. Not only did Edge not really have any holes to run through, but Warner started out the year as a sack dummy for opposing teams. Now maybe people will realize that the Quarterback can also help the offensive line ( by getting rid of the ball quicker, and good pocket awareness). The threat of the pass ( Leinart) also helped the run some. Tony Romo and Matt Leinart made their whole offenses better because they got rid of the ball quicker, which gave the threat of the pass, and even helped out the run game. All in all, offensive players actually feed off each other, but it all starts up front with the line. If the Cards brought in an offensive head coach, and Russ Grimm, I would expect them to diagnose the problem of that offense as the line, and address it.

I have to laugh because I saw a guy on the NFL network saying the Cards should draft Adrian Peterson because Edge is getting old and he wasn't as productive? Do you understand WHY he wasn't productive ( the line dummy). Do you understand that he just signed a fat contract and that they don't want to invest even MORE money into that "fungible" position? I almost threw the remote at the TV. With the loss of Lenard Davis, I can see the Cards drafting Thomas and trying to improve that line. Thomas is more athletic than the mauler Davis who might be better suited as a run blocking guard.

6. Gaines Adams, Washington Redskins
Why: The Redskins had the worst pass rush in the league last year, and they are missing that edge rush. Even two years ago they got away with creative blitzes, but that can only be so effective. Andre Carter isn't a bad player, but he isn't that answer by himself. The Skins need a pass rush more than life itself. The lack of pass rush has exposed their corners and linebackers ( which they addressed). The Redskins HAVE to bring in a pass rusher. They can't flirt with trading up for Calving Johnson to an already overpaid WR Core, or talk about trading up to get Jemarcus Russell ( with what draft picks?). A good defensive end wouldn't just help their pass rush, but help their line against the run as well. Even if Adams is just a situational pass rusher as a rookie, the Skins have to address the impact DE position that is a gaping hole on their roster.

7. Adrian Peterson, Buffalo ( trade with Minnesota)
Why: The Bills need a running back and Peterson has fallen far enough. This would be the second trade of my first round, which is unlikely but not impossible. The Vikings needs are a QB, WR, or DE, but with Russell, Quinn, Johnson, Adams, Anderson gone I think they move down to get extra picks. Buffalo has some extra ammo from their Mcgahee trade and I think this trade could help both parties. I don't think Buffalo would trade up into the top 5 picks for Peterson, but if he starts to fall to 7, 8 or 9, they won't have to give up as much in a trade. The player Peterson reminds you of is Eric Dickerson with that up right running style.

8. Alan Branch, Houston
Why: To Improve that defense. Last year Houston bypassed Reggie Bush to bring in a stud end to help improve their defense. They felt that to win their division, they have to face the Colts and their not going to outscore them. They bring in a man child defensive end and now they have the opportunity to pair him with the top Defensive Tackle in the draft. The key to building a defense, is up front, and the Texans have the opportunity to have two stud defensive lineman along side each other. If the Texans didn't take Bush last year, I think that they would have the will power to select the top defensive player on the board THIS year that would improve that defense. If Williams, Branch and Ryans develop some, the Texans can have 3 very nice and young players in their front 7.

9. Amboi Okoye, Miami
Why: Sometimes teams draft based on need, but sometimes they draft to protect their strengths. Miami NEEDS better quarterback play and offensive line play, but their defense is their strength. With Keith Traylor, Vonnie Holliday, and Jeff Zgonina aging, you could argue that they will NEED another Defensive tackle too. Miami's defense was their strength and they could intend to keep it that way. There are also rumors that they are very impressed with Okoye. Instead of trying to improve a weaker offense, the Fins could try and solidify their strength and add a character player to the mix.

10. Leron Laundry, Atlanta
Why: Laywer Milloy is 33 years old and the Falcons could add a Sean Taylor-like play maker to the secondary. Laundry has cornerback speed, Linebacker hits, and plays safety. He reminds you of a Sean Taylor type play maker. I really feel that he will be an NFL super star.

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