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Mock Something of Yourself

May 8, 2014

By Ross Mitchell

This season I’ve decided to approach this differently. Instead of just completing one round and providing my commentary on each team, I decided to go all seven rounds. That’s right! My longest, most detailed column of the year just got increased 7 times!

Noooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually the purpose of this is to try and express more information much quicker. You’ll have my unrivaled with and humor (I’m funny, take my word for it) as well as my pick-by-pick, team-by-team analysis, which in 29 years has yet to be wrong. Ever. Not once. No, you don’t need to check, just take my word for it.

You checked didn’t you? You son of a—

Anyway, here it is. It’s in the actual draft order, with Indianapolis and Washington at the end (because Indianapolis traded a first-rounder for Trent Richardson and Washington mortgaged the farm on Robert Griffin III, who will be very good this year). And I’ve also included trades. Enjoy it. Or else…

 

1. Houston Texans (2-14)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Jadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina  
2 Jimmy Garoppolo QB Eastern Illinois  
3 C.J. Fiedorowicz TE Iowa  
4 Dri Archer WR Kent State  
4 (c)        
5        
6        
6 (c)        
7        
7 (c)        

 

Clowney is the highest touted player in the draft. He comes as publisized as any player since Andrew Luck (which I guess is only two years but I digress). There are questions surrounding whether or not he tends to take plays off and whether or not he can strive in a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker. I say poppycock to all of it. That being said, I think the Texans should take Johnny Manziel. I think he’s the most dynamic offensive weapon coming out of college since Robert Griffin III (again, two years, but I’m still digressing). And look at the Texans. Two years ago they were the favorites in the AFC for the majority of the season. Last year they obviously stunk, losing 14 straight games to end the season. Not good. What was the difference? Quarterback play. Yes, with Clowney you get a potential Hall of Famer. With Manziel, in a weak AFC, you get a shot at the Super Bowl. I’m not saying Manziel is a world beater yet, and he might throw 20 picks this season, but he will also put points on the board. Houston’s defense (based on the past few years) has been outstanding. Are you telling me with moderate quarterback play they can’t unseed the Colts atop the AFC South?

 

2. and 13. St. Louis Rams (7-9)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 (2) Sammy Watkins WR Clemson (from Washington)
1 (14) Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M  
2 Jimmie Ward S Northern Illinois  
3 Lamarcus Joyner CB Florida State  
4 Marquestion Huff S Wyoming  
5        
6        
6 (c)        
7        
7 (c)        
7 (c)        

 

The big debate for the Rams appears to be whether or not they draft a quarterback to compete with and possibly replace Sam Bradford. I think the Rams do select a quarterback, but it will be in the later rounds. Bradford has been plagued by injury throughout his young NFL career. He has also been plagued by lack of talent surrounding him. The Rams have made strides in (attempting to) recreating “The Greatest Show on Turf”. But even if Bradford isn’t the next Kurt Warner, the next Isaac Bruce and Tory Holt aren’t on the roster either. A wide receiver like Watkins provides the Rams with the best non-quarterback offensive skill player in the draft. He reminds me of a young Larry Fitzgerald, only less polished, worse hands (that’s not a slight, it’s Larry Fitzgerald) and with better speed. He attacks the ball and makes plays in the open field when he gets it. With the remaining picks the Rams address needs. Jake Matthews is a book-end tackle who will help protect Bradford’s (or whomever is the quarterback in St. Louis) for the next four years. And even if Bradford isn’t the answer at QB, you now have two players that will immensely help anyone under center. On the other side of the ball, Jimmie Ward is an athletic safety who can play in the run game and surprise in the pass game. Those three players, as well as Lamarcus Joyner and Marqueston Huff round out what is already an extremely stout defense.

 

I want to point out real quick that I’m only saying a player can contribute to a team for four-to-five years. That’s because all rookie contracts run out after that time period. There is no more drafting a player with the notion that he is going to be on your team for the next decade. It just isn’t likely. If that happens so be it, but how many number one overall picks in the past ten seasons are still on the team that drafted them?

 

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M  
2 Tre Mason RB Auburn  
3 Stanley Jean-Baptiste CB Nebraska  
4 (5) Brandon Coleman WR Rutgers  
4 (14) Arthur Lynch TE Georgia (from Baltimore)
5 (4)        
5 (19)       (from Baltimore)
6        
7        

 

There is a shot that if Watkins is still on the board here that Jacksonville takes him instead of Manziel. I’ve also heard that it’s probable that the Jaguars continue to neglect the quarterback position and take Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr. Watkins somewhat makes sense. He’s a great addition to any offense. Justin Blackmon is suspended indefinitely. The Jaguars have so many holes, they might as well draft the best player. But, and I can’t stress this enough, who is going to throw the ball? Also, and this isn’t a good reason to draft any player, the Jaguars need people to go to their games. Manziel is the only player not named Clowney who is a major draw. Again, I’m not in favor of drafting a player for those reasons, as more people will come to see a good team over a polarizing player, but I live in the real world.

 

I’m against the Jaguars drafting a defensive player in the first round because they have made some good signings in the offseason to really help solidify the defensive line. The Jaguars really may have one of the most under-rated defenses in the league headed into this season. But all that means exactly nothing if they have to deal with the same ineptitude they have experienced since David Garrard left northern Florida. Yes, that’s right, a team has struggled post-David Garrard.

 

Moving on beyond the first round, Tre Mason is my second rated back (Carlos Hyde was off the board in Round Two to Cleveland), and with Maurice Jones-Drew now teaming with Darren McFadden to create the least formidable running back duo in the league, the Jaguars need someone to carry the ball (besides Toby Gerhart). Stanley Jean-Baptiste is a steal in the third round (and that will happen, good players drop because other teams draft based on need). And Brandon Coleman and Arthur Lynch provide targets for Manziel to accompany Cecil Shorts, Mercedes Lewis, and company. Jacksonville might actually be on the road to being a decent team this season. But not as quick as they are to being on the road to Los Angeles.

 

4. New York Gians (7-9)

The New York Giants Trade their 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 2015 2nd to Cleveland for their 1st and 5th.

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Taylor Lewan OT Michigan From Cleveland
3 Paul Richardson WR Colorado  
5 (5)       From Cleveland
5 (12)        
5 (c)        
6        
7        

 

Crazy right? Maybe, but the Giants have expressed interest, significant interest in getting tougher, more physical, and doing a better job of protecting Eli Manning. They also have a desire to get better in the run game (what team doesn’t). Trading up for Taylor Lewan is bold. But the Giants have already expressed their biggest concerns on the defensive side of the ball via free agency. Yes they have to give up a lot to get Lewan, but when in the history of the draft has someone picking outside the top ten not have had to give up a king’s ransom to move into the top five?

 

5. Oakland Raiders (4-12)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Khalil Mack LB Buffalo  
2 A.J. McCarron QB Alabama  
3 Bishop Sankey RB Washington  
4 Michael Schofield OT Ohio State  
6        
7 (4)        
7 (20)       From Arizona

There is a strong possibility that the Raiders elect to draft quarterback at five, but I just feel as if Manziel is their guy. With him off the board they would likely be looking to upgrade at wide receiver. Sammy Watkins is gone. Mike Evans is a possibility. But this draft is littered with talent at the wide receiver and quarterback position. What it lacks is pass-rushers, and Khalil Mack seems to be the consensus “sure thing” at the linebacker position. Oakland needs to get better on both sides of the ball. Mack gives them a dynamic pass rusher that quite honestly gives the Silver-and-Black a nastiness and identity they’ve lacked for years.

 

From their they focus on offense. You can’t convince me A.J. McCarron cannot replicate the kind of productivity as seen by the likes of Andy Dalton or Matt Schaub (fitting). And I like Andy Dalton, and there was a time when Matt Schaub was one of the better quarterbacks in the league (two years ago). Bishop Sankey is in the conversation as the best running back in the draft. Getting him in Round Three is a steal. I’m not sold on the no-headed monster of McFadden and Mojo. Honestly one year from now there is a significant chance neither of those veteran players are on the roster. Sankey has enough game-breaking speed to make an impact out of the gate.

 

6. Atlanta (4-12)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Greg Robinson OT Auburn  
2 Kony Ealy DE Missouri  
3 Jeremiah Attaochu LB Georgia Tech  
4 Cyril Richardson OG Baylor  
4 (c)        
5        
6        
7        
7 (c)        
7 (c)        

 

No one has won the NFC South two years in a row. Carolina literally lost their top four leading receivers and their bookend left tackle… Somewhere there is manufacturing plant that has run out of red flags. Why can’t Atlanta win the NFC South this season? They were on the doorstep of the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Last year, while they had their flaws, they were plagued by injury. Are you telling me adding a tackle and guard like Robinson and Richardson, respectively, and pass-rushers like Ealy and Attaochu don’t turn two significant flaws into potential areas of strength? Sure, they could still use help in the secondary, they could replace Tony Gonzalez, they’re incomplete. Name me one team that isn’t? Even Seattle has issues. Sorry, that’s just fact. There’s no such thing as a perfect team. Watch out for a healthy Falcons team this year.

 

7. Tampa Bay (4-12)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Mike Evans WR Texas A&M  
2 Timmy Jerrigan DT Florida State  
4 Dakota Dozier OG Furman  
5        
7        

 

Best move the Bucs made in the off-season was firing Greg Schiano. I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me why they hired him. You know he won as many major bowl games as I did while at Rutgers?

 

At least the Bucs got it right this time. Lovie Smith is a good if not great head coach. Is he perfect? No, is any coach? Does he have his flaws? Yes, what coach doesn’t? An offensive coordinator who understands the modern day NFL offense will be crucial in Tampa Bay’s success (I’d avoid filling the position with guys who have the first name Mike), as will adding offensive play-makers that will enable the Bucs to go toe-to-toe with the likes of New Orleans and Atlanta if need be. Ironically I think the Bucs should (and will) select a guy named Mike. Mike Evans has drawn numerous comparisons to Vincent Jackson. Oh, Vincent Jackson is already on the team. Nice. With Josh McCown now under center, Tampa Bay would be wise to try and replicate the conditions in which McCown revitalized his career. That’s give him two gigantic receivers and a solid running game. Jackson and Evans enable that.

 

And finally the Bucs take Timmy Jerrigan in Round Two. Someone has to fall. Failing his drug test at the NFL Combine won’t help Jerrigan’s cause in the draft. But pairing him next to Gerald McCoy? That’s a nasty interior defensive line. And Lovie loves his 3-technique defensive tackles.

 

8. Minnesota (5-10-1)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Derek Carr QB Fresno State  
2 Xavier Su’a-Filo OG UCLA  
3 (8) Kareem Martin DE North Carolina  
3 (32) Ross Cockrell CB Duke From Seattle
4 Devin Street WR Pittsburgh  
5        
6        
7        

 

I’m not a big believer that teams will wait to draft a quarterback. Just tell me what sense that makes? Tell me how that isn’t just a huge contradiction to the two most prevelant themes from this past season that A) this is a quarterback driven league and B) this is an extremely talented quarterback class? Clearly the Vikings are not sold on Christian Ponder (apparently he was expected to be a finished product from the moment he stepped into the training facility). Clearly Matt Cassel is not the long-term answer. Clearly a new head coach is going to want to draft a guy that he and offensive coordinator Norv Tuner can groom. Why, oh why on Earth would they wait to draft a quarterback? What if they wait and the guy they want isn’t there?

 

Now the debate is why would I have the Vikings select Derek Carr over Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater? The answer is John Gruden. The answer is game film. The answer is the eye test. If you watch “Gruden’s QB Camp”, one of the few Draft/ESPN shows worth tuning into on a day-by-day basis you already know what I’m going to say. After watching him play, Gruden asked why Carr wasn’t being considered as the top overall pick. I know John Gruden loves everyone, but that was the only player he endorsed to that magnitude. And watching Carr, the guy shredded everyone he played. Sure you can question the talent he played against, but you can’t deny the physical tools. Also, listen to Carr explain his offensive line’s blocking schemes, listen to how he teaches a group of receivers he has never worked with before his hand signals in about 90 seconds, listen to his general understanding of the game of football. It’s so impressive. And also, he’s not his brother. So throw that notion out of the window.

 

9. Buffalo Bills (6-10)

Round Name Position School Notes
1 Eric Ebron TE North Carolina  
2 Morgan Moses OT Virginia  
3 Ed Reynolds S Stanford  
4 Taylor Hart DE Oregon  
5        
6        
7        

 

The Bills are on the verge of potentially unearthing something unique, something special. They currently have two really good running backs in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. They have three good receivers in Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, and the newly acquired Mike Williams. Lots of complementary pieces. Lots of “good-not-great”. They have a young quarterback that shows promise and a defense that has its flaws but will win you more games than it will lose. And they have an offensive line that is one piece away from being great. Now add Ebron to the mix. Add a Tight End that has the potential to open up space on the outside an enable the wide receivers to face one-on-one coverage. Add a player that has the potential to be the next in a long line of tight ends that seem to be changing the game. From an offensive skill position standpoint, who does that remind you of? To me that screams New Orleans and New England.

 

Hold on. I’m not saying that Buffalo is on the level of those offenses, but they are on their way, especially if they add Ebron. And why not? Is that not the next step in offensive evolution? Everyone is so focused on adding big cornerbacks to combat the big wide receivers everyone is drafting now. Everyone is willing to sacrifice pass coverage ability at the linebacker position in order to rush the quarterback more effectively. Isn’t the logical step to then counter the counter by loading up the middle of the field? Buffalo man…more than just wings and Patrick Kane. Lastly, Ralph Wilson wasn’t just great for the game. He was great for the planet. Rest in Peace.

 

10. Detroit Lions (7-9)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Ha Ha Clinton-Dix S Alabama  
2 (13) Davante Adams WR Fresno State  
2 (24) Jace Amaro TE Texas Tech From San Fran via KC
2 (29) DeQuan Jones DT Penn State From San Francisco
3 Pierre Desir CB Lindenwood  
4 Jack Mewhort OT Ohio State  
4 (c)        
6        
7        

 

So in case you’re wondering why Detroit has three second-round picks, I have the Lions trading Ndamukong Suh for San Francisco’s two second-rounders. “There’s no way that will happen!” “You’re crazy!” Both possibly true, but I think we forget that mock drafts are an exercise which examine the possibilities more than the probabilities. And as much as we think that we “know”, in truth it’s we “think”. So, I think this would make sense for the Lions. They’re trying to create a new image for themselves in the post-Jim Schwartz era. Detroit has been associated with thugary and boneheadedness (neither are actual words) the past few season, and Suh has been at the center of that. How much of that is warranted? Probably less than is perceived. But there is a very real dilemma here for the Lions. Suh’s contract expires after this season. You’re already paying Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson roughly one-fifth of your salary cap. Suh will probably demand $8-$10 million per season. Can the lions really afford to keep him? The trade also makes sense for the 49ers. They have been stockpiling picks since Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach. And while they already have one of the most imposing defensive lines in the league, can you image the havoc they will reek if Suh is paired with Justin and Aldon Smith? Even if it is for one season, it might be the piece they need to get past Seattle and return to the Super Bowl.

 

With that trade being made, look at the Lions draft. Your secondary goes from a liability to one of the more promising ones in the league, you replace Suh with DeQuan Jones, who granted may not be productive but can certainly be a force in the trenches, and you add two weapons in Adams and Amaro that quite honestly have the potential to make the Lions the most formidable offense in the whole league. Jack Mewhort is good depth at offensive tackle as well. Suddenly the Lions are positioned for years to come as one of the deepest, most talented groups on both sides of the ball.

 

11. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)

The Dallas Cowboys Trade their 1st, 3rd, and 5th Round Pick to Tennessee for their 1st Round Pick

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Aaron Donald DT Pittsburgh From Tennessee
2 Marcus Smith DE Louisville  
4 Ahmad Dixon S Baylor  
6        
7 (14)       From Chicago
7 (16)        
7 (c)        
7 (c)        
7 (c)        

 

There is no way the Cowboys draft Johnny Manziel. A) He won’t be there. B) It makes no sense. C) Jerry Jones didn’t even say he plans on drafting Manziel. He could not have endorsed Tony Romo any more if he pulled down his pants and revealed a tattoo of Tony Romo on his calf. And yes I suppose he could roll his pant leg up to show a tattoo on his calf but where is the drama/homoeroticism in that? That’s right, the 2014 NFL Draft, now with 100% more homoeroticism.

 

Lots of mock drafts have the Bears selecting Aaron Donald at 14. I think that would be great for the Bears and is a completely logical suggestion. I just don’t think there is any way he makes it that far. Jerry Jones has a knack for being aggressive on draft day. Donald has a been a player they have been targeting and a player that they have been raving about and that they do need. I know the Cowboys signed Henry Melton. Knowing how hard Melton works, I have every confidence he will bounce back from his torn ACL. But with Rod Marinelli as the defensive line coach/defensive coordinator, with his desire to have numerous pass-rushers on the interior of the defensive line as well as his track-record for developing talent into the league’s elite pass rushers, with the sad display of defense the Cowboys presented to the world last season, adding Donald not only gives Dallas the top rated defensive tackle in the Draft, but has the potential to give Dallas as good a pairing at the position as we can find.

 

12. and 23. Cleveland Browns (4-12)

Cleveland Trades their 1st (24th Overall, from Indianapolis) and 3rd Round Picks to Kansas City for their 1st Round Pick

 

Round Player Position School Notes
1 (12) Anthony Barr LB UCLA From New York Giants
1 (23) Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville From Kansas City
2 (3) Carlos Hyde RB Ohio State  
2 (11) Allen Robinson WR Penn State From New York Giants
3 (25) Ricardo Allen CB Purdue From San Diego
4 Ed Reynolds S Stanford From New York Giants
6        
7        

 

The main reason I think the Browns would trade down is because Sammy Watkins and Johnny Manziel are off the board. Cleveland has expressed interest in Manziel but were cautious about taking him in the top-five. If Sammy Watkins is available I think they’d jump at the chance to get him, but I have Watkins going to the Rams. Trading back, especially for what the Giants offered (in my mind) allows the Browns to add a lot of young talent at their areas of need. A lot of elite talent. Anthony Barr could add another dimension to an already formidable pass-rush on a generally understated, underrated Cleveland defense. Teddy Bridgewater, despite his freefall, could still be the best quarterback taken in this draft. To me, it doesn’t make much sense why so many teams have so may issues with his workout. Now, he’s a maroon for not wearing his gloves during his private workout, something he did for virtually every collegiate game he played in. But the guy beat Florida when no one gave them a chance to stay within 20 points, and has over 30 game tapes of him shredding opposing defenses. Are we really throwing all that out because he looked bad in shorts and a T-shirt?

 

Carlos Hyde is my top-rated running back. I like the Ben Tate signing, but Hyde I think is LeSean McCoy in the making. He’s strong and shifty and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He and Tate would suddenly give Cleveland a threat out of a backfield that was woeful for the majority of last season. And while everyone is so keen on the Browns adding a wide receiver in the top-five, why not Allen Robinson, who could be a carbon copy of 2013 breakout star Josh Gordon?

 

14. Chicago Bears (8-8)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Calvin Pryor S Louisville  
2 Dominique Easley DT Florida  
3 Will Sutton DT Arizona State  
4 Walt Aikens CB Liberty  
5        
6 (7)       From Tampa Bay
6 (15)        

 

Phil Emery is a master of deception. I don’t know who the Bears are going to take. You don’t either. There is a large chance Phil Emery doesn’t know who Phil Emery is going to take. Not because he’s inept or because he doesn’t know, but because that’s the way he planned it. I think it’s entirely possible the draft card he writes the draft pick’s name on doesn’t know who Emery is going to take. And not because the it’s an inanimate object. Because Phil Emery is that good. Because he’s that good.

 

I’m guessing the Bears focus on defense (or the random white guy from the western time zone that’s still on the board, which means Joel Bitonio, Scott Crichton, Jake Murphy, Trent Murphy, or Weston Richburg). I’m guessing they prioritize, or “Pyror-itize”, safety, but will draft Donald if he’s there. That’s what conventional wisdom says. Again, it’s Phil Emery, so throw conventional wisdom out the door. Also there’s a 100% certainty the Chicago Sun-Times’ headline will be “Bears Pryor-itize at Safety” if they do in fact select Pyror. Lets just hope he’s better than…Mark Prior. I’m so sorry.

 

In the second and third rounds I have the Bears selecting back-to-back defensive tackles. It’s a strategy they used before in 2004 when they drafted Tommie Harris and Terry “Tank” Johnson. Both turned out to be good players, though they both had their careers cut short for various reasons. Dominique Easley does have an injury red flag, so there is a health concern, but I think he’s going to be a very good, explosive player, regardless of what team he plays for (unless it’s the Packers, Vikings, or Lions). And if I’m wrong about Easley, I don’t think I’m wrong about Sutton, who I think has the ability to be taken in the early second round.

 

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Odell Beckham Jr. WR LSU  
2 Keith McGill CB Utah  
3 (c) Max Bullough LB Michigan State  
4 Ego Ferguson DT LSU  
5        
5 (c)        
6        
6 (c)        
7        

 

After a wretched start to the 2013 season, Pittsburgh was a missed San Diego field goal away from making the playoffs. And actually San Diego did miss that field goal but…well, yeah… For the second consecutive season the starting wide receiver opposite Antonio Brown, who as it turns out is awesome, has departed for another AFC team. The defense is a year older, as is Ben Roethlisberger, who turned out one of the more productive seasons in his career. And it was actually productive, and not the media enforced “Tom Brady productive”, meaning everyone in front of a camera went out of their way to say, “You know, Tom Brady is actually having one of the better/more productive years of his career” when reality said otherwise.

 

I think the Steelers are once again contender in the division, as long as they can add a productive receiver opposite Brown. Odell Beckham Jr. is rising up draft charts, so there is a small chance he’s gone by this point, but I don’t see that happening. Keith McGill is a legit 6’3” and has the potential to match up against the bigger wideouts in the NFL. The Steelers then add two more pieces to the defense, Max Bullough, who had off-the-field issues that cost him an opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl, and Ego Ferguson, who has never missed a meal. Ego Ferguson gives the Steelers a nose tackle that can command two gaps (he’s fat) and requires a double-team on running downs (very fat). Max Bullough for some reason is rumored to go undrafted. If that is due to his off-the-field issues, then okay, but I don’t know what they are and I haven’t heard anything about him being in any legal trouble. I think he’s a strong pick in any round past the second and is talented enough to “reach” for, should a team need an inside linebacker.

 

16. Tennessee Titans (7-9)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma State From Dallas
2 Zack Mettenberger QB LSU  
3 Andre Williams RB Boston College From Dallas
4 Ed Stinson DE Alabama  
5 (11)        
5 (18)       From Dallas
6        
7        

 

Well…the Titans. Last year they… And this year they… Uh… They’re really good at… And their biggest area of concern is…

 

Does anyone know anything about the Titans? Does anyone know how many pieces away they are from being contenders? Because the AFC South isn’t that good. But after firing their head coach and brining in Ken Whisenhunt, the Titans have let their All-Pro running back go to Tampa Bay and the face of their franchise (Chris Johnson) sign with the New York Jets. So…the Titans.

 

They do have a really good offensive line. Kendall Wright showed big signs of improvement. And…and…ugh. Drafting Justin Gilbert does give Tennessee a weapon on the defensive side of the ball. He’s a playmaker, pure and simple. Zack Mettenberger might not be a popular pick in Round Two, but he’s a big quarterback with a reliable arm and a fairly good head on his shoulders. Does he need to get better across the board? Yes, but isn’t that the goal for every player at every position in every sport? The knee is a bit concerning, but when watching him workout that appears to be a non-issue, at least for the time being. Besides, while the game is changing and mobile quarterback are proving they are more than en vogue, last I checked pure pocket passers such as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, and Eli Manning were still getting it done in the NFL. And at a high level. Lastly, I really like Andre Williams. He’s a bruising running back who can be a bulldozer on first and second down. He may not be a “three down back”, but if he’s getting you four yards on first and second down, I’d say he’s doing his job. For comparison’s sake, he reminds me of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, or even speedier version of Bam Morris. Hey, a Bam Morris reference!

 

The Titans did lose their owner Bud Adams who, like Ralph Wilson, Jr., helped found the American Football League. And like Ralph Wilson, Jr., Bud Adams will be missed.

 

17. Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Zack Martin OT Notre Dame  
2 Deone Bucannon S Washington State  
3 Jared Abbrederis WR Wisconsin  
3 (c) Marcus Martin C USC  
4 (c)        
4 (c)        
5 (c)        
6        

 

Joe Flacco made $20,000,000 last season. That’s roughly what I made. Give or take a few $10 million. Did he earn it? Earn is such an abstract word. But the answer is still no. He threw more picks than Joakim Noah did for Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin. He threw more picks than “Free Give Away Day” at Fender Guitar company. He threw more picks than Barbra Streisand at a booger eating contest. Not that she eats boogers. He threw more picks than Eli Manning. Oh he didn’t? Ouch.

 

Baltimore already helped Flacco by signing Steve Smith (formerly of the Carolina Panthers). Now he has two outrageously fast wide receivers in Smith and…Torrey Smith. Hmm., that could be problematic. The next, at least in my opinion, the Ravens should target offensive line help. Michael Oher is gone to Tennessee. The top three offensive linemen prospects (Matthews, Robinson, and Lewan) are off the board. The prudent choice here would be to draft Zach Martin. Lots of people rave about his versatility, citing his ability to play all five offensive line positions. To me that’s not a good reason to draft an offensive lineman, or any player, in the first round. To me, when you draft a guy in the first round, you should have a gameplan for him. You should have an idea how you’re going to develop them. Yes, the Draft, and the NFL is an imperfect science. But to draft a guy without an idea how he is going to fit your roster is somewhat short-sided. Now don’t get me wrong, Martin’s versatility is a good thing. But to me, at this stage of his career, Martin should be focused on protecting Flacco at the right tackle position.

 

And I know 100% for a fact that Ozzie Newsome knows what he’s doing better than I do. Quickly, Deone Bucannon is a player I feel is flying under the radar in terms of talent and productivity and Jared Abbrederis could be a nice complement to the down-the-field burners (Smith and Smith).

 

18. New York Jets (8-8)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Brandin Cooks WR Oregon State  
2 Joel Bitonio OG Nevada  
3 (5) Troy Niklas TE Notre Dame From Tampa Bay
3 Shayne Skov LB Stanford  
4 Vinnie Sunseri S Alabama  
4 (c)        
5        
6        
6 (c)        
6 (c)        
6 (c)        
7        

 

Okay…the Jets aren’t drafting twelve players. They have to make at some point. I’m just saying, 12 players is a lot to select and considering a handful of them might not even make the team…I’m just saying.

 

I looked it up and it turns out the Jets did in fact have an offensive unit last season. No really, it’s true. Granted they only scored 290 (as a team, so some of that could be defensive), it did exist. This year however, the Jets actually made some nice offseason offensive moves, picking up Michael Vick form the Eagles (possibly in a backup role), Eric Decker from the Broncos, Chris “CJ2K” Johnson from the Titans, and Breno Giacomini from the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Jets are on the verge of- No, I won’t say it.

 

Brandin Cooks ran a 4.33 40-yard dash time at the combine. There is the old adage that the 40-yard dash time is overrated. I say it’s over valued. It is a good metric to determine just how fast a player is, but I wouldn’t necessarily value it over on-the-field productivity. It’s a good tool to use, just not the end-all-be-all of metrics. Getting back to Cooks however, a 4.33 40-yard dash should not be taken lightly. Being the fastest player at the combine should not be taken lightly. Putting him opposite of Eric Decker gives the Jets both a down-the-field and underneath element to their passing game. Adding tight end Troy Niklas only expands those options. Geno Smith was up-and-down last season, but it’s far too soon to determine what kind of quarterback he is. My guess, by adding these offensive players, you’re only going to increase the likelihood of success.

 

19. Miami Dolphins (8-8)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State  
2 Jeremy Hill RB LSU  
3 Laurent Duvernay-Tardif OT McGill  
4 Ka’Deem Carey RB Arizona  
5        
6        
7        

 

Let’s talk about what happened on the field. The Dolphins somehow managed to be in playoff contention going into the last week of the season and blew it. Now let’s talk about the Jonathan Martin crisis and how Miami wet, soiled, and burned the proverbial bed.

 

Richie Incognito is one man. I’m not excusing what he did. But he’s one man. I think I might have a bigger issue with the rest of the locker room for embracing Incognito as the wrongfully accused, for embracing him as the victim. Lets make one thing clear, Jonathan Martin is the victim here. Jonathan Martin was the one who had to endure the bullying and harassment and the ridicule of what is supposed to be an environment that’s building toward unity or at the very least the same goal. It’s an imperfect world we live in. I’m not ignorant to that. Bullying happens. I’m of the mindset that sometimes you have to be bullied, especially by your friends, to learn more about yourself as a person and gain a better understanding of what you perceive to be wrong and right. But when the other 51 players not named Martin or Incognito fail to recognize that this was way beyond someone being picked-on or someone being bullied, then there is something fundamentally wrong with the institution.

 

And I’m not the biggest Joe Philbin fan in the world, but I do not blame him for this. This is on the players and the coaches directly involved. From what I gather, Philbin had no idea this was going on. Yes, he is responsible for the team as a whole, but anyone who has ever been in a management position, with a workforce this size, knows that’s impossible. This was a failure on the players behalf.

 

I only hope Michael Sam, who is actually gay, a group of people who the Dolphins players don’t seem to embrace, doesn’t get drafted by this (dis)organization.

 

20. Arizona Cardinals (10-6)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Blake Bortles QB UCF  
2 Terrence Brooks S Florida State  
3 David Yankey OG Stanford  
4 Terrance West RB Towson  
5        
6        

 

So the Cardinals were awesome and beat the Seahawks in Seattle and didn’t make the playoffs. Probably should be on the lookout for them during the upcoming season. Is Bruce Areans considered to be among the best coaches in the league? I’m saying he is or isn’t, I’m saying he should be. That was a legitimate question because to me, after what he did during the Chuck Pagano Liuekemia crisis, and what he did with the Cardinals last season, might be the most impressive job any coach has had in the NFL in the past ten season with the exception of Mike Tomlin winning the Super Bowl and losing the Super Bowl in consecutive seasons. Is he not the Tom Thibendeau of the NFL? Maybe he can coach the Knicks and/or Lakers?

 

Carson Palmer has gone on the record saying he has no problem with the Cardinals drafting a quarterback in this year’s draft, a.k.a. his successor. Classy move by a veteran quarterback. Palmer also cleaned up his game significantly last season. Yes he threw his standard 20+ interceptions, but he brought life into an Arizona offense that was near-dead due to the likes of Kevin Kolb and Jonathan Skelton’s ineffectiveness. He also recognizes that he won’t be around forever. So does the Cardinals’ front office. Bortles reminds a lot of people of Ben Roethlisberger. I like the comparison, but I would also say he is a more mobile Carson Palmer. Fitting is it not? Bruce “The Real Deal” Areans (I don’t know why I called him that) likes his big, strong-armed quarterbacks, his prototypical pocket passers. If Bortles is there at 20, the Cardinals would have a hard time passing on him. They also round out the defense with Terrence Brooks, another safety in what I feel is an underrated position in this year’s draft, and David Yankey, who joins last year’s first round pick, Jonathan Cooper, lining as two promising young guards on a quickly improving offensive line.

 

21. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Louis Nix III DT Notre Dame  
2 Jordan Matthews WR Vanderbilt  
3 Dion Bailey S USC  
3 (c) Jake Murphy TE Utah  
4 Preston Brown LB Louisville  
5        
5 (c)        
6        
7        

 

B.J. Raji has as many sacks in the past two seasons as Aaron Rodgers. Not what I would call productive. At least he’s got the best State Farm commercial that doesn’t involve the Super Fans of all time.

 

Now I know everyone will be quick to anoint either the Packers or Lions as the King(s) of the (NFC) North (thanks Reddit!). But the Packers have serious holes they need to fill first. They still have the best player in the game in Aaron Rodgers, who is good for 7 wins by himself, but they need help at wide receiver and tight end. They need to sure-up a defense that has been on barrowed time (if any time) since the 2011 Super Bowl. They need to admit that the Chicago Bears are just a better franchise. That’s right Wisconsin I said it! I said it I said it!

 

Nix III makes sense to me because you can play him at nose tackle. He can also play 3-technique is a base 4-3 or Cover 2 defense, but he’s got the speed and explosiveness to manage the A-Gap. Raji has not been good the past few seasons. That’s not a slight or me being a Bears fan, that’s just fact. On the offensive side of the ball, Jordan Matthews is a popular pick to sneak into the late first round. I don’t think he will, and I think the Packers get a really good pick with him in Round Two. Finally, Minnesota, will you please not screw the Bears when you play the Packers at home this season? I felt that was necessary to say.

 

22. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Cody Latimer WR Indiana  
2 Stephon Tuitt DT Notre Dame  
3 Weston Richburg C Colorado State  
4        
5        
7        

 

Why was DeSean Jackson released? Because he grew up in the hood? Well that seems as racist as what Riley Cooper said last season before training camp, and in my opinion, it’s more harmful. Does anyone running the Eagles know what Economic Discrimination is? They might want to look it up. Using a racial slur as a weapon is stupid, ignorant, and wrong. But it’s not worse than taking away someone’s paycheck.

 

So now you take away a player that Kevin Kolb Nick Foles gelled with, who is coming off his best season as a pro, and allowed him to go to a division rival. That doesn’t seem like it worked out. Oh, and Riley Cooper, who was caught on camera dropping a racial slur, was given a new five-year contract. Hmm. It’s a good thing the Eagles are good, because this is really bad. On second thought, no, none of this is good.

 

24. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5)

Round Player Position School Notes
1 Bradley Roby CB Ohio State  
2 Tom Savage QB Pittsburgh From New England
3 Trent Murphy DE Stanford  
4 (23)        
4 (30)       From New England
5        
6        
6 (c)        
7        
7 (c)        

 

I have Cincinnati trading with New England, allowing New England to move up in the second round to draft a much needed wide receiver. In return, the Bengals move back a few spots and get an extra Fourth Round pick. Fair deal for everyone.

 

Now what they do with that pick is draft Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage. Let me clarify, I like Dalton, this isn’t a knock on him, it’s bringing in a talented quarterback to back him up and also the real possibility of Dalton not resigning in Cincinnati. Dalton lit the world on fire for a large part of the season in 2013. He struggled at times, but he’s still a young quarterback. And he’s getting better. And he wins. And A.J. Green loves him. The only reason they Bengals would not resign Dalton, and this is a reality, is price. But the Ginger Slinger is a good quarterback, one you can win with.

 

Bradley Roby is maybe the most athletic cornerback in the draft. He had a bad first half of 2013 season at Ohio State, only in the sense that he was very, very good and not dominant like he was in 2012. But he did return to dominance after the Wisconsin game. And Trent Murphy is a high motor player that probably will be great against the run and effective in the pass-rush game.

 

25. San Diego Chargers (9-7): Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

26. Kansas City Chiefs (from Cleveland) (11-5): Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

27. New Orleans Saints (11-5): C.J. Mosley, Alabama

28. Carolina Panthers (12-4): Marqise Lee, WR, USC

29. New England Patriots (12-4): Dee Ford, LB, Auburn

30. San Francisco 49ers (12-4): Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

31. Denver Broncos (13-3): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

32. Seattle Seahawks (13-3): Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

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