Sunday, April 27, 2008

New York Giants draft

What would the Giants ideally want to draft ?
S - Last year the Giants had a border line Pro Bowl S, and then James Butler was a below average safety. Michael Johnson last years 6th round pick shows some promise as he was a strong tackler and they did bring in an aged Sammy Knight but the Giants needed a S.
OLB - Sometimes people go crazy that when a team losses a player that they feel that team HAS to draft a player there. The Giants lost LT Luke last year and promoted from within and they lost RB Tiki and promted from within. I feel like GM Jerry Reese and I were the only ones that felt the Giants were JUST FINE. I think that Gerris Wilkerson will step in just fine into WILL LB with his speed and insticts that he showed off late in the year last year.
WR - Plax is still solid, but Toomer is getting old and dropped a lot of balls last year. Eli was looking at throwing to Plax, Shock and Toomer for much of last year because Moss and Smith were hurt. I like adding another WR to the mix.
CB - Sam Madison is getting older, Webster has been hurt, and you can never have enough good corners. Aaron Ross was a good find, but you really need 3 starting corners in the NFL today, and corner depth was a concern last year.
BPA - You are always looking for the Best Player available because the NFL is so dynamic and we operate under salary cap constraints.

RD 1 - Kenny Phillips - Miami is known for being an NFL safety factory and people compare him to Sean Taylor and Ed Reed, two pro bowlers. Not only was he probably the best safety on the board, but the fills and immediate need for the Giants. If I were Jerry Reese in that draft room, I would have picked Phillips myself. Compare to - Ed Reed
RD 2 - Terrell Thomas - Certain players have more value to certain teams. The Giants had the #1 pass rush in the NFL last year and getting a physical beat em up corner figures well with a team that will press and play man. He might not have had as much value to other teams, and he has an added bonus that he might even be able to kick out to safety as he is a physical guy. Compare to a young Troy Vincent
Rd 3- Mario Manningham - Here is a guy that could have easily been the 1st WR in the class picked. His draft stock falling was well documented, but the Giants really got 1st round talent for the end of the 3rd round price. Mario has something to prove, and he might not have ran a hot 40, but he has GAME speed. He was very productive in college, and will get the opportunities to play in a passing offense in NY opposite Plax. If Mario works out, then not only does he fill a need, but he was tremendous value at the position and could MAKE this a very good draft for the Giants. Compare to Issac Bruce
Rd 4 - Bryon Kehl - 4 year starter at BYU, was recruited by Harvard and Yale. The Giants like having "smart" linebackers. Antionio Pierce is a heady player, Zack Deossie was Ivy league, Gerris Wilkerson was a team captain who played 5 positions in college. I guess "smarts' turn into instincts and not making mental errors. It is especially important in a more complex blitzing scheme where people have to be on the same page.
Rd 5 - Jonathan Goff - I would have liked if the Giants took a OLB earlier, but taking 2 in the middle rounds seems like a good option. Along the same themes as Gerris Wilkerson and Kehl, Goff was a team captain for 2 years and the "best player on his team". The Giants went this route with Barry Coefield too as he was the best player on a not very good northwestern team. Goff did play in the SEC and was a leader. He comes from a smart family and I like Kehl, Goff and Deossie backing up at LB and playing ST.
Andre Woodson - Woodson was a player to watch coming into college football this year. He turned scouts off late in the year but did manage to beat LSU the Nat Champs. I don't like his delivery and accuracy, but in round 5 I would rather draft Woodson than say Josh Johnson who was playing against terrible competition. I guess ideally we want to pull a Matt Schaub situation where some other team likes Woodson and we eventually trade this 5th round backup for a 2nd rounder etc.
Robert Henderson - The Giants final two picks went to QB and DE which are 2 of the 4 or 5 most important positions. QB, WR, LT, DE and CB. The Giants front office obviously "gets it". Look at that draft last year, it was quietly fantastic. You aren't going to always have a wonderful draft, but if you keep getting positive risk/reward, you will have a lot more good ones than bad ones. Just look at the strong front offices of the NFL, New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Indy, Philly, " now San Diego", and the Giants. Life is a whole lot easier when you don't have to pick a QB or DE at the top of the draft every year. The Giants already have the hard positions, now they are focusing on CB, WR and needs. Jerry Reese gets an A+ from me thus far.

NFL Draft

Some picks I liked
#4 - Glen Dorsey. The Chiefs get maybe the 1st or 2nd best player in the draft at the 4 slot. This guy will control his gap and be a cog to slow down opposing rush offenses.

#15- Brandon Albert. The Chiefs addressed their D line and their O line in round 1. A right guard might not be the most important position on the field but Albert should be a very good player with lower bust-ability. Remember when the Cheifs line was dominant with Roaf and Brian Waters. Bringing in possibly a pro bowl Guard and DT should build up the lines inside.

#21 Sam Baker - This guy will help build the Falcons line. He could quietly be a very good tackle in this league.

#31 - Kenny Phillips. Call me a homer but Phillips was said to have Sean Taylors body with Ed Reeds insticts and intelligence. Miami is Safety U. The Giants had 1 real good safety last year and 1 really bad one. They lost Gibril Wilson and had nothing. Not only should Phillips be the best S in the draft, but he is filling in a gaping hole ( even if they kept Wilson they still needed another safety).

#47 - Trevor Laws - A high motor, productive guy from ND. He might never be a dominant guy, but I think there is a much better chance he is a strong player than a bust. He will be thrown into that rotation in Philly immediately.

#53 - Limas Sweed - I still remember Sweed from his sophomore year. This guy has the prototype size and he will be a strong NFL player.

Jags- Bringing in two big time DE's
Redskins - Bringing in two big time WRs
Giants - Bringing in two big time secondary guys
Patriots - Bringing in two big time linebackers

- Sometimes teams have such a need, that they target a position and go after it. Do you remember when the Giants needed a corner and they brought in Will Allen in round 1, and William James in round 3? Sometimes teams really want to make sure they "cured" their problem, and sometimes they honestly do so much scouting at a position that they are hedging their bets with players they are familiar with. In the Giants case, the 3rd round pick ended up working out better than the 1st rounder. Sometimes people question a team that keeps drafting at the same position, but sometimes it is a very logical thing to do.

#74 Dan Connor - Connor is a beast, he might have been a 3rd round pick but he will be a solid starter in this league. He is probably more athletic ( although less instict-ual) than 1st round teammate Paul Puz last year.

#78 Shawn Crable - Just look at how this guy fits into his uniform, he is a beast. Crable played in a big time program, has the height, weight and all of the measure ables and he does make his presence felt on the field. The Patriots brought in youth at LB and BB will make it work.

#82 - Dejuan Morgan - The Chiefs continue their strong draft with a guy many rated as the #1 or #2 best safety. Looking back years from now, they could end up with the best DT, RG, and S in the draft.

#86 Tom Zibikowski - Not only do I like him as a bad ass player, but he ends up with a good defensive team with good people around him that will make it work. He could be the next John Lynch, only an angrier version.

#92 - Cliff Avril - I liked how he worked out. He is a big strong guy that should be a solid SAM LB. He might not be a big flashy guy we talk about years from now, but he will be a solid starter to go in there and fight for you.

#118 - Xavier Adabi - I notice that a lot of these picks I like are on the defensive side of the ball. Adabi was at one time thought to be a late 1st rounder before the combine. The thing I like about bringing in youthful defense/speed is that they can contribute right away. QB/WR's usually take time to develop ( maybe 3 years) where as some of these linebackers can play special teams and fill in for injury this year, and maybe start next year. Houston is building up that front 7 with 1st round lineman, Ryans, and now Adibi.

#137 - John David Booty - For a risk reward perspective, I like JDB in the 5th round more than the Vikings current starter Tavaras Jackson in round 2. I would rather have JDB in round 5, than Chad Henne in round 2, or Flacco in round 2. JDB might not have as strong as an arm as Henne or Flacco, but he has a much quicker release, and he did play big time college football with a big time college coach.

#161 - Marcus Howard - The Colts didn't have a ton of picks, but bringing in a big time SEC speedster in the 5th round is a risk that I would be willing to take when you play on that flat surface dome.

#163 - Owen Schmidtt - He broke 10 face masks. Nuff said

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NFL Trades

1) Pac Man Jones to Dallas
- There are two perfect places for an NFL trouble maker like Pac Man Jones. Dallas and the Raiders. He ends up in Dallas and will practice opposite of TO.

2) Jared Allen to Minnesota for the 17th pick of the 1st round.
- Let me start by saying that Jared Allen is a high energy player with a lot of talent. He is a guy that nobody wanted on draft day out of the big northwest, but Dick Vermiel stood up for this guy ( and was right). You can't measure his heart with a bench press or a stop watch and Allen proved his doubters wrong. I remember I believe it was the Bengals and Vikings games last year where Allen just took over. I believe he had 3 sacks and a forced fumble vs Cincy and was a one man wrecking crew. I mean if you tried to quantify his value ( not just the sacks, but the pressure) you would find that a stud DE is invaluable.

Minnesota put the pieces together a couple of years ago. I would look at the team on paper and think to myself that they had the talent, but playing in that dome etc. must just make their job a whole lot harder ( why aren't they good?). Then a couple of years ago they just put it together with Tomlin.

Minny has the two horses at DT with the Williams boys, they have young talent at LB with Greenwood and Henderson, a stud top 5 corner, and a vet ball hawk patrolling center field. Their ends actually weren't that bad vs the run either but they NEED that pass rush. They just decided to take the proven spark plug with Allen rather than taking their chances in the draft. The Vikings had such a need at DE I can't think of a team that clearly needed a DE more than them. Kudos to management for addressing that important and dire need.

3) Chad Johnson NOT to Washington for a 1st and 3rd rounder.
- I view the Chad Johnson situation to Kobe Bryant last year. What the heck are you angry about? Kobe wanted his own team ( minus shaq) and he got it. What more do you want?

Chad Johnson has the best young ( although young is relative) quarterback with Carson Palmer. CJ has a good offensive line, a pro bowl caliber WR opposite of him, and a team that has been together. The Bengals have one of the best offenses in the league, but Chad wants out? Cry me a river.

QB- Palmer already in top 5, maybe the best young QB after Manning/Brady
WR- Hoosh is probably the best second best receiver on any team and a top guy for most teams and draws coverages making CJ's life easier.
O-Line- The Bengals have had one of the better offensive lines of the past few years.
RB- Fungible, but if Rudy is healthy they are fine. If unhealthy they can bring in other talent.

The bottom line is that CJ just wants that attention/Drama that he is known for. The Bengals probably don't want to trade him because they just want it to work. If you look at the SYNERGY of that offense it is powerful. On offense you want to keep the same players together to develop that bond. Often times you can see an offense that might have had mixed results improve without adding new talent because of that synergy factor. The Bengals have had these guys together for years and can do things that other teams can't. I could go much more into detail about the passing game but just take my word for it. The Bengals just want it to gloss over like Kobe in an unhappy LA last summer. Marvin Lewis is seriously ruining a very good offense with TERRIBLE defense. If Marvin Lewis was named " Brad Childress" he would have been fired a long time ago for the piss poor performance of his specialty.

In the other corner I have the Washington DEADSKINS. I understand that you need a receiver that isn't a certified midget ( Santana Moss/Randel El) and you might THINK that CJ is worth a 1st and 3rd from a talent perspective...

Draft picks aren't just good because you get a player into YOUR system and get to use him for a whole career ( or until you drop/trade him). Draft picks are good because you get hungry young talent for a CHEAP price. I understand this is over simplified because guys at the top of the draft get paid huge signing bonuses and are unproven but the Redskins 1st and 3rd round picks don't fall into this example. It isn't so much CJ's age or talent that bother me, it is the fact that the Redskins will have to shell out a HELL OF A LOT OF MONEY and they are about the least fiscally responsible team out there. Then they wonder why they couldn't keep Antoinio Pierce, Ryan Clark, Derick Dockery, Robert Royal etc. etc. etc. It is because they were out overpaying the Adam Archuletas of the world. I see that sometimes a leopard never losses its stripes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

NFL draft & more

The draft and more...

Jake Long to Miami with 30 Mil guaranteed? I can't blame Miami for bringing in Jake Long because watching him work out he looked very similar on a physical level to Joe Thomas from last year and Marcus Mcneil two years ago ( who I was raving was an absolute steal where he was drafted). Mcneil fell in the draft from injury concerns but ended up playing through his rookie year without giving up a sack! You could have made a strong argument that Marcus Mcneil he was the best player at his key position as a rookie. My point is that I am obviously high on Mcneil and Thomas and Long is that caliber of physical talent. Just go back to the scouting combine and you see his size, agility, strength and notice that he is just flat out physically much more impressive than ALL of the other lineman ( like Thomas and Mcneil in the past). The thing that gets me is not the bench press or anything like that, but when you see these tall/long lineman move their feet side to side horizontally you just get to see that these guys aren't big fat 300 pound guys, but they are more athletic guys that are just BIGGER. They are fluid and don't move like 315 pound guys and are extremely rare human beings. I'd also like to note that Long is good talking and in front of the camera ( I know that isn't super important but it is a bonus for a #1 draft pick).

Here are some of my draft calls revisited...
Last year I 100% liked Brady Quinn more than Jemarcus Russell.
How does it look now? Well the jury is still out on this one, and I am still confident that Quinn will be a better pro quarterback than Russell.
- Russell was praised for "out-dueling" Quinn in the Louisiana Super dome bowl game, but Russell's LSU Tigers won the BCS national title the year AFTER he left. You could easily argue that J. Russell in 07 had more talent than M. Flynn ( damon) in 08'. Russell had two first round wide receivers ( D.Bowe was nasty & C. Davis) and Leron Laundry. Marr Flynn still had E. Doucet, but Russell had 3 first round caliber WR's.
- Beating up on Brady Quinn's Irish isn't as impressive anymore is it? To me the amazing part is that Quinn got that team into the 3rd place game in the first place. People wanted to question his " big game" ability, well the Irish couldn't even beat average teams this year, but you want to punish Quinn for losing to maybe the most talented team?
- People were drooling over Russells big size and arm, but what about his work ethic? The guy is rumored to be 290 pounds now and held out the entire first month of the season. Not training camp, Russell held out the entire first month of the season! Jeff George had a rocket arm but throwing fast balls doesn't matter when they are directly into the arms of the other team! At 290 pounds I didn't know Jared Lorenzon had a twin brother with Jemarcus Russell. Maybe they should all talk to Jared from Subway.

Reggie Bush vs Mario Williams.
Once again I went against the grain and went with Mario ( correct). I was comparing a stud DE ( Julious Peppers) against a talented hybrid RB ( Bryon Westbrook). I think Westbrook is an outstanding RB, but RB's have shorter careers, are rather interchangeable, and aren't worth as much as stud DE's. Julious Peppers made more money and is a more valued chess piece than Bryon Westbrook.
- Now Mario got off to a slow start ( in his defense he did come out as a junior), but people believe in him now.
- Reggie Bush doesn't even LOOK like a Bryon Westbrook thus far. Maybe a Poor Man's Bryon Westbrook. I was just sick and tired of the hype " the greatest back in his generation blah blah blah, Gale Sayers, blah blah blah". Adrian Peterson is that guy and came a year later.

Back to 2008
Jake Long - Physically reminds me of Joe Thomas & Marcus Mcneil, two guys that were able to step right into the NFL and play at a high level at a key position.
Vernon Gholston - Chris Long is getting more talk/press than Gholston, but Gholston is an absolute beast. I think he could be a pro bowler as a 3-4 OLB or a 4-3 DE. I think VG or Long could go to the Rams #2, and neither should slip past NE. VG on NE just scares me having that aged but smart LB core to mentor him. I think a lot of what the Rams do depend on Adam Carriker ( a guy who was very successful last year but got little press). I think Carriker was a better pro than Okoye in Houston who did get a lot of press. Okoye might be quicker, but Carriker was excellent at gap control. He was strong at the inital punch, holding his ground, and then trying to make a play. Carriker could play DT or DE and if the Rams want to pair him with Laundry/Ellis at DT or Long/Gholston on the outside they should have a strong young line.
Fred Davis - He might not be some super physical player ( like Winslow), but he has solid hands and does what he is supposed to do. Maybe like a Chris Cooley only with more upside or a poor man's Antonio Gates.

Chad Henne - He reminds me of Drew Bledsoe at the end of his career. He holds onto the ball way to long, has a slow release, and even gets flustered at times. His lack of mobility doesn't bother me because he has good size, but he is going to get killed unless he does something about his slower release and slower reads. He does have a strong arm, but a guy to compare Henne to might be a Patrick Ramsey ( nothing to get super excited about).
Mike Hart - Here I am picking on Michigan guys. I understand that everybody loves Mike Hart's interview and intangibles etc., but I don't like his physical skill set. Hart had a good team around him and a good situation, but if he were playing for say TCU, would people even know who he is? He has a great interview, great name, great hart, but I am not super excited over him. It sort of reminds me of Darious Walker last year.
Darren Mcfadden - It is not that I don't like Mcfadden, it is just I don't think he is worth anywhere near the #4 pick the Raiders are looking at. I REPEAT, HE WILL NOT BE ADRIAN PETERSON PART 2. Sure he is fast, but that the lone reason won AD is good. Mcfadden more reminds me of a Slick Willie Parker. Willie Parker is super fast, not a strong lower body or tackle breaker, but a solid RB. In fact he could make some pro bowls here and there depending on the players surrounding him, but is he worth the 4th pick in the draft? Willie wasn't even drafted. If I have the choice between a Vernon Gholston or a Darren Mcfadden, it isn't even a choice in my opinion.

Other comparisons
Chris Long - Aaron Kampman or Kyle VandenBosh. Originally I thought to compare Chris Long to Aaron Kampman, a hard working determined but maybe not physically overbearing player. People also like to compare Patrick Kearney ( although he is a beast). VandenBosh is maybe a better comparison than Kampman because I perceive Vandenbosh to be more of a beast than Kampman. I'd throw Chris Long in this group of pro bowl players, but he is NOT just a hard working guy. Chris Long is a beast and there are no doubts about it. That is why I'd probably compare him more to Kyle Vandenbosh.
Matt Ryan - I don't think Matt Ryan is that #1 franchise QB that is taken at the top of the draft. I'd compare him more to an Alex Smith at this point. I will have to be honest and say that I wasn't even that high on him until I just liked something about him in workouts. I certainly wouldn't put odds on him becoming the next Carson Palmer, but I don't think he will be the next David Carr either. Out of the recent first round picks I'd say his career would most likely resemble Alex Smith from a progression stand point but who knows.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Patriot way

The Patriot Way
I am so damn sick of hearing about the Patriots and their pompous know it all Boston fans. Here are my complains.
They argue that you shouldn't cheer for the Patriots because they ( were) the underdogs, or because they have Tom Brady, but because they have a morally superior team. They say that they don't have any thugs. They say that they have a team of unselfish, hard working, fan favorite, players who just want to win.
The Patriot fans are quick to point out when their GM makes a good signing, trade, or when a guy signs for below market value. When they let a popular guy go they argue that it was a genius cost saving move. No matter what Scott Pioli does, their fans argue that it was a GENIUS move and if only the other 30 idiot GM's had half the brains that those teams would be good too. It gets old fast.
Then the " greatest team ever" losses the super bowl to the " worst super bowl team ever". The fans are in disbelief, they argue a few " bad calls" and still bash the Giants. It's not like the Patriots never benefited from a few lucky calls ( the tuck rule against the Raiders). It is a cheesy complaint to a team that was outmatched.
The Patriots get caught cheating and the Pats fans defend the Pats. They argue that " everybody does it". They taped signals, practices and all kinds of crap. A couple of years ago they were 14 point favorites to a crappy Miami Dolphins team and after the Patriots lost the game they argued that the Dolphins were stealing signals. Why would the Patriots be so conscience and how would they know?
Finally, a few Patriots get busted by the cops after the Super Bowl( including Kevin Faulk). Ohhhh, but they have a morally superior team. Randy Moss is the type of player that the Patriots say they don't have, but they LOVE the guy. Brandon Merriweather is the guy that was firing gun shots in Miami a couple of years ago, and swinging his helmet like a weapon on an embarrassing nationally televised brawl.
Rodney Harrison is also known as the dirtiest player in the NFL. Every year he is at the top of the list for the cheapest shots. Go back and look at the Pats.Giants week 17 game. Rodney cracked Amani Toomer about 2 full seconds after the play was dead. I can't believe they didn't call a penalty. Then you know what the Pats do after the game? Rodney "cheap shot" Harrison goes to the media with a big smile and eats that humble pie. He talks about how good the competition was blah blah blah with that big smile of his.
If you really want to get picky what about Brady pumping out kids outside of wedlock? What would the reaction be if Terrel Owens was making babies outside of wedlock? Would that be OK? Would Patriots fans get a chuckle out of TO making babies the way they do with Brady and the latest model he knocks up? Ohhhhh, but the Patriots are a moral team that stays out of trouble, and doesn't have trouble makers. You should root for them because they are the " good guys". It gets old.
The Patriots fans only see the Pats in their own biased glasses and it is getting real old fast. They cheated, they have cheap shot artists, they have people with criminal records, and they have people who fired guns and they haven't won a super bowl in 3 years.

NFL Trouble makers

Mike Vick
Pacman Jones
Chris Henry

My take is that Mike Vick will never play in the NFL. He is a PR nightmare with the dogs and by the time he takes off that orange jump suit he won't have that only competitive advantage he had (speed). Just think of some team signing him and having their fans protest the former quarterback. Mike Vick isn't the team player kind of guy that will ever want to be a backup, and he really isn't better than that. No team is going to invest big money into him, and he is too lazy to work hard and make himself a better player. He is done to the NFL and his career will go down as a joke. People will always argue " what could have been". I was against Vick since day one and I hate to say I told you so.

Pacman Jones is the most talented of these three. He also probably has the worst rap sheet. The guy has been involved with police over 10 times and spanning through his HS, college, and pro days. I think there are many worse things in life than getting caught smoking weed, but beating a guy with a pool stick in West Virginia in a bar fight, and then a night in Vegas almost killing a bouncer is WAY past the line. " Making it rain" and a paralysed security guard is horrible but sadly some team needing corner help will give him a 12th " second chance".

Chris Henry has been getting arrested over and over. He is probably the best citizen of the three, but I think his career is over too. HE is one of the main reasons why the Bengals were trying to draft " character guys". Chris is no model citizen but he kept getting in trouble over and over again and is somewhat of a scapegoat. I think he will be black balled from the league but there is a slight chance some team needing WR help brings him in on a short leash.

Vick = Done
Pac Man = some team will give him a 12th second chance
Chris Henry = done ( Mayyyyyyybe some team gives him a 2nd chance and a short leash).

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