205th Overall – Jeremiah Ledbetter

Jeremiah Ledbetter is a guy that must have caught Bob Quinn and his staff’s eye at the combine. Because the tape I saw was not all that impressive. Still he has the physical profile to fulfill a need as the base end in our scheme (5 technique that plays just outside the edge of the tackle and inside the tight end). Video ? Video.

 

 

Positives. Well he has violent and heavy hands which is always important to defensive line play. There were times on film he really flashed those hands and his impressive arm length (35 inches), and that will be important because the base end in our system needs to be able to set the edge while two-gapping (responsible for both the gaps on either side of the offensive tackle.) This is not an easy task, and so it requires big, mean individuals, with long arms and vicious hands. I can say that Ledbetter fits that profile.

Negatives ? Well he moved inside for Arkansas this year .. and his stats were fairly solid so it must have been a good move .. But in the film above I felt he looked a lot better at DE. At DT, he was mostly neutral – he did not win a lot or lose a lot. But when he did lose it was UGLY. OL from Auburn, TAMU and Missouri took him for a RIDE at times. While that’s bad when it happens to linebackers, it is inexcusable to happen to your interior defensive linemen. He is listed as a DT, but if you notice in my positives I refer to him solely as a DE. He just is too small to be a nose tackle and not explosive enough to be a 3-tech tackle for us inside. He got killed by double teams which is a little scary because the base end in our scheme is designed to eat double teams from the tackle and the TE without losing ground and I’m not sure if he can handle that.

Overall, I’m not expecting a ton from a pick this late. The film is meh, but the measurables point to a potentially useful rotation player. We have quite a few guys on the roster that can fit this profile however, so I’m wondering if this pick may have been better served getting a pass rusher (you know since we were 30th in sacks last season) or grabbing a power RB. So I’ll give it a C-.

 

165th Overall – Jamal Agnew

This one will be brief as I scoured the Internet and could not find any real film on Mr. Agnew. The closest I could find is this highlight film. Highlight films are not the best for evaluating a player as, naturally, it only shows a player at his best. However, I suppose it is better than nothing …..

 

Positives? Well he does look like his 4.34 40 at the combine is legit. He’s fast, twitchy and explosive. It also looks like he is willing to compete at the catch point. His college production ( 11 PBUs, 2 INTs in 2016 and 11 career INTs) backs up that assertion as well. He looks to have decent return skills and some potential use as a gunner due to his speed.

Negatives? Well he is TINY. Short w/ short arms is a bad combo. He obviously will have to play slot at this level. There is none of this on the highlights, but multiple evaluators who have seen his film, say he struggles in the trail position on routes. They also say he can struggle making tackles. To me, that is a red flag, and when combined with a guy who lacks size makes me concerned that he could be a special teams only player.

Honestly, I don’t think Agnew makes our 53- man roster. I don’t have a lot to base that on but Slay, Lawson, Tabor and Hayden are pretty much guaranteed. He would have to beat out Quandre Diggs, and Johnson Bademosi just to make the 53 and that could happen, but it probably won’t. I expect Agnew to end up on the Practice Squad for this year at least unless he proves to be too dynamic a return man in training camp to keep off the roster.

I really can’t fairly grade this. My gut tells me it’s a D pick, undersized guy that, won’t make roster, and won’t contribute. But I have no film to base that off and this is a guy that while small and at a smaller school, does at least have great speed and great college production. I guess I will give it a D+. 

You could probably talk me into a C- though ……

My Book of Rhymes

Literally by mistake today … I listened to one of my old, unfinished freestyles.

I had planned on making a collection of them and titling them “The Talented 10th”.

It was an ode to the flawed but interesting ideology espoused (but not created) by the great historical (Alpha) figure W.E.B DuBois.

I am probably not going to finish that project ever, (for a lot of reasons) so I figured I would share one of them with you all.

It’s pretty old (circa 2014) so it’s a little bit dated, but I think I still like it. I paid for the studio time so I figured that I might as well upload it and let other people hear it, right ?

So, listen:

WARNING

images

127th Overall – Michael Roberts

The irony/riddle/enigma of the Lions selection of Michael Roberts is the eerie similarity to Brandon Pettigrew, but for the EXACT opposite reason that the casual Lions fan would think. Also, I expect Roberts to be a case study in the role of fan expectations in perceived performance. 

…. Also, former Toledo RB Kareem Hunt would have been a GREAT selection, but went to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 3rd round, 1 pick after our original 3rd round slot (we traded back for Golladay) …. Just saying …. *sigh*

So Draft Breakdown only has the one video on their site, and my rule usually is to at least watch 3 games of film to form an opinion on a player. That being said, I have seen Roberts live before, and his tape is very consistent with what other “draft experts” have said, so I’m confident in my evaluation. 

First the positives. For a converted basketball player, he is a very natural pass catcher, with soft (and HUGE) hands, and a natural ability to just find areas to get open. Also, while he does not create much separation, his incredible size allows him to still be a target for his QB. I think he will greatly aid the Lions in the Red Zone as a big target that can draw attention and provide an outlet for Stafford. This was a role that Anquan Boldin gamely filled for us last season and with his return still up in the air, Roberts provides an immediate and long term option to fill this void.  

Now for the negatives. Much like with Pettigrew, many observers very lazily assume that Roberts is a great run blocker, because of his great size for the position. However, much like in Pettigrew’s case, they would be wrong. Pettigrew fluctuated between being a poor and average blocker during his time with the Lions. I would not categorize Roberts as a poor run blocker, but it certainly is not a strength. He just does not fire off the ball with the tenacity or aggressiveness that you would think he would based on his size. He can probably handle blocking linebackers or safeties on the second level, but if you are asking him to seal the edge or block down on a defensive lineman, you are asking for trouble.  

Overall Roberts is a carbon copy of Pettigrew. They are both big, athletic TE’s that lack explosion , but still are good at getting open. People often forget that at the peak of Pettigrew’s career he was a 75 catch – 750 yard – 5 TD TE for a few seasons. His production as a pass catcher is wildly underrated by Lions fans, likely because of his draft slot. While I’m not sure if Roberts will post stat lines as good as those, he certainly could, and nonetheless will be a strong addition to the passing game. And I predict he will be much more appreciated than Pettigrew ever was. However, those thinking he will be a positive in the run game will be sadly mistaken. I would actually settle for him being an average run/pass blocker.

I give this selection a B. I would have preferred the pick of George Kittle, a guy with ELITE run blocking that would really help the Lions run game go to the next level, while also being a solid receiving option. That selection would have gotten an A+  from me. Still Roberts is a decent pick, that gives us a nice blend of TEs. So while there were better options on the board,  Roberts was a decent pick (seems to be Quinn’s signature). 

124th overall – Jalen Reeves- Maybin

Jalen … is an interesting film to evaluate. Let me just say he certainly stands out on the field. Unfortunately, that is both in a positive and a negative context. But you cannot miss him on the field, as he FLYS around. 

First, as always, the positives. Jalen is a converted safety and as you would imagine, his speed is definitely an asset. His 40 time of 4.68 doesn’t do it justice , he is a blur out there. He can run sideline to sideline and can keep players from getting to the edge. It also serves him well in coverage, whether man or zone. He has boundless energy and he’s always coming. When he hits you, you feel it. He blew up several players/plays on his film. He’s also really excellent against screens to his side (more on that later), something I owe to his ability to shed (getting blockers off of him). For an undersized guy, he is pretty adept at shedding blockers and getting to the play. 

Now, the negatives.  As I will discuss more when I discuss the Lions first round pick, the two most important traits that I look for in a linebacker are 1. Can he diagnose the play in front of him (instincts) and 2. Can he tackle ? I feel like those are critical, because really every other linebacker attribute is useless if you cant find a play and then end the play. In terms of instincts, Jalen could use some work. I get that, being he was a safety first, but sometimes he is taken so far out of the play by not recognizing what is going on in front of him. Now a lot of times, he can recover and get back into the play with his speed, but it usually leaves him off balance when he arrives …. which leads into #2.  While his instincts need work, his tackling needs a COMPLETE REBUILD. Simply put he is just an awful tackler. His technique is bad, as he often dips his head and fails to wrap up. He just throws his body into people which while sometimes causes big hits, more often causes them to bounce off of him and get more yards. Compounding that, he often plays wildly out of control. He overruns plays badly and got juked completely out of his cleats more than a few times. It’s one thing when Baker Mayfield does it to you and another when a non-descript running back from Bowling Green does it to you. Also, while he does shed well, he often has to give up ground to do so, meaning he is ceding 3-4 yards to the ball carrier in the process. And when blockers do get locked on to him, they can take him for a long ride down the field due to his size. I don’t blame that last part so much on him, as I do on Tennessee’s scheme. With a guy like him, your D-Line needs to occupy linemen. He had to deal with them on a regular basis.

So all this considered, I really did not like this pick at first. Especially when Jarrad Davis does a lot of the same things Jalen does, but with less downside.

However, as I think of Teryl Austin, and what he likes to do scheme-wise, I begin to see some upside to this pick. We used a lot of 3 and 4 safety sets last year in their nickel and dime packages (out of necessity because both our corners and linebackers were terrible) and I think that Teryl may want to recreate that, except with chess pieces better equipped for the job.

I think they will use him a lot in the nickel. Now, and hear me out, that seems very unconventional when you consider we just drafted two corners and signed DJ Hayden (TO A FIVE MILLION/YR CONTRACT – BLEH !) so why would we use a LB in that role ?

Well it would only be against certain looks and against certain packages, but out in space a lot of the negatives in Jalen’s game are erased. He can play outside in , and he won’t have to deal with being engulfed by linemen. He’s more of an oversized safety, than an undersized LB and I think in that role he can thrive. Of course they will likely also be grooming him to be a nickel LB, so they can throw him and Davis out there and we never have to see Tahir Whitehead on 3rd down again. But a big nickel package with him covering a flex TE or a RB or a jumbo receiver could be a great way to use Jalen’s best skills while minimizing his weaknesses. That’s a whole lot of projecting, but I’m trying to be optimistic here !  

So overall, Maybin-Reeves is a twitchy, fast linebacker, that struggles with instincts and tackling, and also just had  a major shoulder injury. His selection means the Miles Killibrew nickel experiment is probably over, and he will focus on SS full-time. I’m also very intrigued/scared at the prospect of Jalen on Special Teams as he will fly down the field, but also likely miss a ton of tackles until his technique improves. Strangely though, he seemed to tackle better in space than in a booth, so hopefully that translates to ST as well. 

On face value, I would give this pick a D …. But because I have faith in Teryl Austin I will upgrade it to a C-. With glaring holes at both base end and 3-tech, I would have liked to see us go in that direction, rather than taking a project LB with health concerns. But I think Austin will find a useful way to deploy Jalen when it is all said and done. 

What do you think ? Share in the comments ! 

96th overall – Kenny Golladay

First off let me say that if this kid pans out, he’s got a badass nickname already waiting to be unleashed from his surname. 

Also, while watching Golladay’s film … That Northern Illinois QB is tough as nails and accurate. IDK if he has NFL talent but he could play for me any day. 

Anywho, Golladay is being panned by most “draft experts” as a huge reach in the 3rd round, as he would have been available in the 5th or 6th round. Unlike the Teez Tabor pick, I tend to agree, as he has some strong traits, but enough holes that I would have held off until later or selected a superior prospect at this pick. 

I do understand the desire to grab a big receiver here though. Too many times last season the Lions would get within the 5 yard line and have to rely on shovel passes, or option routes to get the ball into the end zone, due to no running game, and no big receiver they could lob the ball up to. They tried Ebron in this role, and it was .. “less than successful”.

Lets take a look at Golladay. (Thanks to the folks at NFL Draft Breakdown for the video!) 

 

First the positives. He’s a big, long kid at 6’4 with 36 inch arms and he definitely plays at the 4.5 speed he tested at the combine. He’s plenty fast for his size and he can eat up cushions pretty quickly. His hands seem pretty solid, as I didn’t see him record a drop in the film I watched, although he does not always high point the football, and as a result plays a little bit smaller than his frame. He’s got the ability to pick up some YAC (yards after the catch) as well. He was plenty productive in his collegiate career as well, culminating in back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons to end his career. That’s the type of production you want to see out of kids that are playing in the MAC and trying to translate into the NFL.

Now on the negatives. Well the first one I noticed is that he has a very limited route tree. Pretty much go routes, and hitches, with an occasional dig. I think the reason that was the case, is the few times he did run a more complex route, he got little to no separation from the DBs. He lived on a diet of running by slower MAC corners, and then when they gave him 8-10 yard cushions, he would eat that up with the 5 and 10 yard hitch. I don’t see that translating to the NFL. While he is plenty fast for his size, he’s not a burner, and corners in the NFL will feel comfortable pressing him and running with him. Not expecting him to be a Corey Davis route maven, but seeing some more route versatility would have been nice. 

Also I didn’t like how if the ball wasn’t coming his way, or if it was a run play , half of the time he did not put much effort into the play. What’s doubly frustrating, is that when he did block, he actually was fairly decent. I’m sure the Lions will coach him up on running his routes harder, but he does not look to have the mentality of a guy that like to mix it up in the run game.  Maybe they will coach that into him as well. IDK. 

I also would have liked to see more film of him making plays at the goal line, since I envision that is a big reason the Lions selected him. And it would have been nice to have seen him make more of an impact in their game against Western Michigan. He did have a couple big catches, but he was invisible most of the day against the best team NIU played all season. More troubling is the fact that Western’s corners didn’t seem to have that tough a time of keeping him from getting open.

In closing, I understand why the Lions made this pick, and he has the traits and the collegiate production to make this a good selection. Still I would have preferred Josh Reynolds (TAMU) , Amara Darboh (MICH) or Mack Hollins (UNC) among others. They all had similar or better traits and production, and were vastly better at blocking, route running, catching the ball and ST (special teams) play (especially Hollins, he’s going to be a Pro Bowler on ST if nothing else !)   He’s definitely a project and one I’m sure that the Lions scouting department feels good about, but a project nonetheless. I don’t like projects with a premium pick unless you think they have big upside, and even if Golladay pans out I don’t see him as anything more than a solid #2 or #3 receiver. 

I give it a D+. Much better players at this pick and if you really wanted him you could have gotten him 2 rounds later. 

Nyan’s Lions Draft Grades

I promise you (no I don’t) that this blog won’t be all about sports. 

But it’s still the afterglow of My Sports Christmas , and everybody else is doing them so – why not ?!? 

A few notes: 

I’m WELL aware that nobody really knows how good these picks or players is. This could be a HOF class or a class that gets several individuals fired. We have NO idea. But do we have any real idea about anything before it actually happens? How many times have teams that looked absolutely stacked faltered when the games were actually played? How many teams that looked terrible on paper were actually competitive ? But picking and prognosticating is what we do as fans. That’s what gets us through the long months between games. I always find it funny how draft grades are shunned, but people love reviewing FA signings which have pretty much the same rate of busting.  

Secondly, I’m also aware that NFL front offices have hordes more information about prospects that are not accessible to the public. NFL teams are REALLY detailed and get a ton of information, not just about your health , but about your personality and study habits. I remember the Raiders and Rams front offices sending questionnaires to my HS football coach (RIP Coach Hill)  and some of the teachers at Renaissance High School about Ronald Bartell (who went on to be the 50th pick of the Draft and after a solid NFL career now owns a delicious restaurant in Detroit – Kuzzo’s – go visit and support black businesses !). So I’m aware that when I grade I don’t have ALL the information. So take it with that grain of salt I guess.

Third, I try to follow the unwritten scouting guide of evaluating at least 3 games of film for a prospect. I will probably only post two games worth of film in my posts though to allow you to make your own judgments. NFL Draft Breakdown is an awesome site for making it so easy to see prospects in game situations and not have to rely on lowlights and highlights.

Fourth, I hate people who act like you can’t evaluate film because you don’t work for a professional or collegiate football team. These people suffer from a logical fallacy known as Authority Bias  . In this age of free information, and Internet access, literally anyone that wants to put the time into learning how to grade film can do so. Now I’m not saying you can become expert level while sitting at your computer. Or that your authority holds more weight than someone employed by an NFL team. But there is certainly enough information about technique, traits, and scheme out there for you to formulate logical, and reasonable opinions on players based on watching film. You don’t have to graduate from Harvard Business school to have an opinion about the stock market. The same holds true for football.

Finally, as you can probably tell, I care a lot about football and take the time to do research and form measured and articulate opinions about such. I would be a scout … except the life of a scout kinda sucks.  I do ask that if you debate with me, at least be accurate. Or attempt to be. Don’t come at me with Madden logic, bro.

P.S. …. don’t attribute something to a “scheme” or  ask that people “trust the process” unless you know and can articulate what that scheme or process is. Please.

Or don’t. It’s the Internet, I can’t reasonably expect anyone to do what I say lol.

I’m going to start with our 3rd round pick and work through the end and then circle back to the first two as they will be part of a larger discussion I want to have with my fellow Lions fans about Bob “B-” Quinn.

 See ya. 

Nyan’s 2017 Mock Draft (#1-10)

As promised , a look into my mock draft world. Only going to share the top 10 picks, mainly because I wrote a lot more about each selection than I intended to.

I suppose I fancy myself a pseudo-scout. I would never probably become an actual scout because they make so little in money and spend so much time away from their families. But I think I would be a pretty good one with a little more formalized training.

If you don’t understand some of the terminology that is OK. I think I will spend some time in the future clarifying what some of those things are, when I do talk sports. one clarification i will make clear is that i dont beleive in traditional designations like deensive end or tackle. Because teams have multiple fronts, I designate anyone that would play on the edge (4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB) as an edge and anyone who plays inside ( 3-4 DE or 4-3 DT) as a defensive interior (DI).

Anywho,  here is my mock. There is a STRONG chance it is completely and totally wrong. But that’s not the point.

  1. CLE – Myles Garrett, EDGE – Texas A&M

This is a no-brainer pick despite Cleveland’s attempts to over think. Pass rushers are probably the 3rd most important position in the modern era of football (after QB and LT) and while the Browns tried to fill this void last year with Nate Orchard and Emmanuel Ogbah, neither is the prospect that Garrett is. Garrett wins with speed and with power and is ferocious against both the pass and the rush. He and Ogbah provide a high ceiling pair of rush ends that can wreak havoc on an opposing backfield for years to come.

The rumors are that the coaching staff prefers Garrett, but the owner and front office want a QB. Which QB is still a mystery as they have been linked to Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes.  I can see traits in all three that would appeal to the Browns very data driven front office.  However, I think they utilize their other pick in the first round plus their remaining draft capital to trade up (foreshadow) and get the QB they want.

Confidence Meter – 9/10 (Teams go crazy over QBs sometimes)

Could also be – Mitch Trubisky, QB – North Carolina

Dark horse – DeShaun Watson, QB – Clemson

2. SF – Solomon Thomas – DI – Stanford

San Francisco is one of the harder teams to peg in this draft as they have a lot of conflicts from typical teams. Yes they have a new regime in John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, which would mormally suggest them targeting a QB they can build around. However, both signed 6 year contracts so there is a degree of flexibility that most new regimes don’t have. They can afford to be patient and wait until next year when truly, truly elite QB prospects will be available, namely Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen. I’ve been hearing rumors about Leonard Fournette, but he doesn’t really fit Kyle Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme carried on by his father, and that he used with aplomb in Atlanta last season with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. They could target a safety, but have moved Jimmie Ward to FS and Eric Reid will shift to SS, where he likely will be a better fit. Plus Jaquiski Tartt, the incumbent SS is a pretty solid player as well. They could target a corner, but Robert Saleh comes from the Pete Carroll coaching tree. If Saleh follows in Carroll’s mold, he’s not likely to prioritize drafting an elite man to man corner high in the draft, but will likely target a longer corner, later in the draft that is adept at press coverage and can play quarters. This is too high for any LB besides Reuben Foster, and he has too many question marks. So if the 49ers are not able to trade out of this slot (which I suspect is their preferred option) , I think it comes down to Solomon Thomas vs. Jonathan Allen. While I like both prospects, I think the pick has to be Thomas. In addition to outstanding production at Stanford, he had an amazing combine and his athleticism really wowed everyone in attendance. More-so, in reviewing his film, he has outstanding short area quickness and power. His hand use isn’t quite on Allen’s level, but it’s pretty good in its own right. I think athletically he could play the 5 technique in Saleh’s 4-3 over defense, but he would be even better if they let him gain about 10 lbs and play at the 3-technique, wreaking havoc in the interior. I think Thomas is actually even good enough to play the 0 tech in certain, limited situations. That’s just how good he is.

Confidence Meter – 2/10 – Not only do I not know if the 49ers will hold onto this pick, there is some duplication between Thomas’ skills and their last two first round picks (DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead).

Could also be – Leonard Fournette, RB – LSU  is the most recent rumor going around the Draft community and he would make sense if they just think he has transcendent talent that will shine regardless of scheme. Plus I must admit that the assumption he can’t run zone just because LSU did not run a ton of it does not mean he is not capable of it. Plus even if they had run it , their offensive line was AWFUL last year so it would not have told us much.

Dark horse – Christian McCaffrey, RB – Stanford – he has shown the ability to be proficient in both zone and power schemes, and his elite agility and vision would probably thrive under Shanahan. He also can catch the ball in a variety of ways, be it out of the backfield, in the slot or on the outside, and wold be a huge chess piece for Shanahan’s offense. Also, shout out to Stanford having two guys in consideration for the #2 pick in the draft !

3. CHI – DeShaun Watson – QB – Clemson

I have grown increasingly more confident in this one although I am uncertain if I agree with it. GM Ryan Pace came out today and said that they have three players on their board and will likely be taking one of the three (barring a trade down of course). I’m sure Myles Garrett is at the top of their board, and then I think it is between Solomon Thomas and DeShaun Watson for 2 or 3. One Bears insider has been pretty adamant that the pick will be Watson. Another is pretty certain that they like Watson but will likely not take him this high. I lean more to the first report just due to the Bears very thoroughly working out all of the QBs prior to the draft and Ryan Pace’s self-proclaimed emphasis on intangibles. To draft Watson and let him sit behind Glennon for a year or two, before  unleashing him on the NFL is I think what their ultimate plan is. I like Watson as a QB but I think there are too many flaws in his game for him to be a slam dunk choice over a Jonathan Allen, who would really spice up their interior pass rush. He has a good arm and solid accuracy, but his mechanics are inconsistent at times, and he played in a spread offense that did not really prepare him for this level. That being said, he has exhibited some tape of being able to make full read progressions, is a strong runner, and has a strong mental makeup. He’s mentally tough and thrives in pressure. You have to be to break the Clemson curse. And he did so against Alabama. He could conceivably had done it twice if Clemson’s safeties had not busted coverage three times against Alabama in 2016. And you know what … After writing this post I think I have talked myself into this being a pretty good damn pick!

Confidence Meter – 6/10. It could get hairy if Thomas is on the board.

Could also be – Solomon Thomas, DI  – Stanford. While elite QB > elite DL , elite DL > above average QB. I like Watson, but I’m still not entirely sold he’s an elite QB. I’m pretty sold on Thomas. In this scenario, Thomas is off the board, but if he is not … That could be a tough decision for Pace and Fox.

Dark horse – Mitch Trubisky, QB – North Carolina – There are some rumblings that Trubisky is really the QB that Pace has his eye on. We will see …

4. JAX – Leonard Fournette, RB – LSU

I have whittled this down to one of 4 picks.  Team President Tom Coughlin’s SB winning New York Giant teams were built on dominant defensive lines with multiple waves of defenders who can rush the passer. That is how they were able to beat the GOAT Tom Brady in the SB two times, something no other team has accomplished even once. Based on that it would seem like this should come down to the aforementioned Jonathan Allen or Tennessee DE Derek Barnett. Those are the two best pass rushers (minus Garrett) in this draft in my opinion and they fit the scheme that the Jags will run (a 4-3 under. their DC is another one from the Pete Carroll coaching tree). However, the Jags have invested HEAVILY in their defensive line over the last 2 years. Malik Jackson and Calais Campbell got huge deals, they gave starter money to Abry Jones and they used premium picks on Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue. Unless Wash changes the defense (and I don’t expect that to happen as Campbell has already said he will be playing more DE in Jacksonville than he did in Arizona) , there just won’t be the snaps available for another pass rusher. More likely they add to their war chest later in the draft, as this is a deep draft for D linemen. So then it comes down to two athletic marvels. Leonard Fournette or Alabama TE OJ Howard. I think they would be comfortable taking either in this slot. They tried to get Bortles an elite TE already with the failed Julius Thomas signing two years ago. They also busted at RB giving Chris Ivory a big deal and drafting TJ Yeldon. It’s conceivable they could take OJ Howard here and maybe go Joe Mixon in the second round (I think I would probably go that route myself). But instead, I think the pick will be Fournette. He has an unreal combination of power and speed and would greatly enhance their offense. There are some rumors they may take a QB here, but I just can’t see that happening. Owner Shad Khan gave new head coach Doug Marrone a 3 year deal, and installed Coughlin as final decision maker over incumbent GM Dave Caldwell. Everybody is on a short leash and they do not have time to wait on a QB.

Confidence Meter – 6/10. They don’t have a GLARING need and there are a couple of players that may be around the same value on their board.

Could also be – OJ Howard, TE  – Alabama. OJ is a rare TE prospect athletically too and TE is a need spot. They could grab a Mixon in round 2, and that would be a truly dangerous team, provided Bortles gets it together.

Dark horse – Derek Barnett – Coughlin REALLY loves pass rushers. And while the expectation is that Myles Garrett will be the best pass rusher from this draft one day, the best one right now is hands down Barnett.

5. TEN – (trades to NO for pick #12 and #42) – Derek Barnett, EDGE – Tennessee

I’m not scared to predict a trade!  I think this makes a ton of sense. The Saints BADLY need a guy to rush the passer opposite of Cameron Jordan. They could sit at 11 and hope that either Barnett or Taco Charlton falls to them, but I think they make a move and get the best pass rusher they can. Drew Brees only has so much longer to play and they seem to be serious about stocking this defense up. If they sit at 11, I think they lose their opportunity to get either player. Plus Charlton is already similar to Cam Jordan’s style … Barnett wins with ELITE hands and an ELITE bend around the corner, two things that are crucial to being a great rusher. He did not test well at the combine or his pro day due to illness and injury, respectively, but he’s a solid athlete going back to his HS days. His technique and bend/agility will ensure that he wins at the next level. The ridiculous numbers he has put up in the SEC the last three years also vouches for him. TEN could stay at 5 and I’m hearing they like Mike Williams there but I feel like they could get him at 11. I think they could also get John Ross there who I think is a better fit for them than Williams anyway. Also it would be tough I think to pass on Marshon Lattimore or Jonathan Allen, but I think picking up a 2nd round pick in such a deep draft (they traded theirs to CLE) would be worth it.

Confidence Meter: 5/10 – That’s actually pretty high considering I’m predicting a team will trade up and who they will pick. I just think it’s an awesome match of value and need.

Could also be: Mike Williams, WR – Clemson. The TEN GM Jon Robinson drafted Mike Evans in TB and these two share some similar traits. So the interest in selecting him makes sense. I am still skeptical though.

Dark horse: Marshon Lattimore, CB Ohio State. Tennessee has a need at corner and while this is a deep draft, Lattimore is almost universally considered the cream of the crop.

6. NYJ – (trades with Sheldon Richardson to CLE for picks #12 , #52 and #108) Mitch Trubisky, QB – North Carolina

Two trades in a row, yeah I’m gutsy! This one just seems like it has to happen. The Jets have made no bones about wanting to move out of this slot. The Browns really like Trubisky and I don’t think they trust he falls to them at 12. Match made ! I also think that Cleveland is the perfect match for a player like Sheldon Richardson looking for a fresh start. They have more than enough cap space to absorb his $8 million salary. I use him because I have heard the Jets are trying to get a ransom for this pick while the Browns are trying to go by the Draft Value Chart. This is a nice way for them to bridge their differences.

On the field, Trubisky has all the tools to be a great QB. Strong arm, very accurate, throws with touch and anticipation, makes full read progressions. What scares you about him is that he only has the one year as a starter under his belt. Many a player has impressed their first time through only to regress as teams get more film on them. You have to gamble with him that he is on an upward trajectory.

Confidence meter: 7/10. I don’t know if it will be the Browns trading up, another team trading up or the Jets themselves taking him, 6 just seems right for Mitch.

Could also be: Jamal Adams, S LSU. They reportedly are very high on him and he could have a huge impact from Day 1 for their secondary.

Dark horse: Marshon Lattimore, CB Ohio State. Same reason for Adams, and Jets coach Todd Bowles loves having corners who can play press man.

7. LAC – Marshon Lattimore, CB – Ohio State

Gus Bradley is the new DC in LA and he loves big physical press corners (Carroll coaching tree again). Lattimore can give you that and more on the outside. He also brings size to a smallish core of corners which is important for battling against Demaryius Thomas, Michael Crabtree, or Travis Kelce – 6x a year. Most mocks have Lattimore’s teammate Malik Hooker slotted here. I think that’s definitely possible, but I think there are a number of safeties who can play that deep FS role later in the draft. Teric Thompson in the 3rd or Justin Evans in the 2nd could plug those holes. But I just cannot see the Chargers passing on the draft’s consensus #1 corner.

Confidence meter: 5/10. Tons of possibilities with this pick as new coach Anthony Lynn and GM Todd Telasco try to make an impact first selection together.

Could also be: Malik Hooker, S Ohio State. I mean his film is carbon copy for Bradley’s protege Earl Thomas. I don’t think he is as good as Thomas though.

Dark horse: Jonathan Allen. Sounds like Joey Bosa will be rushing more from the outside this season and they could use interior disruption since Corey Liuget has basically  quit since getting his big deal.

8. CAR – Christian McCaffrey RB – Stanford  

The Panthers love to run the ball and need a complement to Cam Newton. McCaffrey has experience running in a lot of schemes but especially in the power scheme the Panthers run. He also provides a big time receiving option to help Cam Newton move the chains underneath. He has the ability to carry the ball 30 times a game, and also the ability to complement the current incumbent Jonathan Stewart by providing versatility to the offense. If the board falls like it has, there’s no way they pass on Christian. The recent scuttle is that he may not even make it to 8.

Confidence meter: 9/10 UNLESS Fournette or Barnett are available here too. Then my confidence falls to a 4/10.

Could also be: Derek Barnett. If the Saints don’t trade up for him this is where I think Barnett may end up.

Dark horse: Jonathan Allen. #REDUNDANT. Panthers highly value defensive linemen. They currently have 5 former 1st round picks on their DL.

9. CIN – Jonathan Allen, DI – Alabama

If this happens Marvin Lewis and the Bengals will run to the podium so fast. I’m imagining Geno Atkins having an interior disruptor this good next to him and wondering how teams plan on moving the football against Cincy. Allen just consistently wins with his hands. He should thrive playing next to Atkins inside.

Confidence meter: 7/10. Just not sure Allen falls this far. There are concerns about his health but he is just so very productive. I do think he was slightly overhyped in the beginning of the draft process but now I think his below average combine has made teams overreact in the other direction.

Could also be: Taco Charlton, EDGE – Michigan. The Bengals have one of the worst collections of defensive ends in the NFL. They could opt to go Taco instead, a player who is only scraping the surface of his potential and would instantly be their best edge rusher.

Dark horse: Jamal Adams. Somehow he is still available in my mock and he is by far the best player available.

10. BUF – Reuben Foster, LB – Alabama

New coach Sean McDermott comes from Carolina where their scheme was predicated on smart zone corners playing heavy Cover 3 with safety support and fast rangy LBs who could fly all over the field. Hence why the Panthers used 3 first round selections on LBs when the rest of the NFL was devaluing their roles at this level. Reuben Foster fits that mold. He has a lot of Patrick Willis and Luke Kuechly to his game. There are some of-the field and health concerns, but he is such an elite prospect at this position I think the Bills overlook those concerns and grab him.

Confidence meter: 6/10. There are rumors they may trade up for a QB. I don’t believe them but the rumors exist.

Could also be: Mike Williams, WR- Clemson or John Ross, WR – Washington. Two receivers who both win downfield, which is what Tyrod Taylor excels at, the deep ball. They just win in different ways .. Ross with quick feet, shifty routes and blazing speed; Williams with size , strength and the leaping ability to high point the football.

Dark horse: Marlon Humphrey, CB – Alabama. He has been kind of lost in the CB shuffle but at one point the draft community considered him a Top 10 lock. It’s not like he did anything wrong since then as he had an excellent combine. He has all the measurables and really excels in zone coverage, which I expect the Bills to use heavily, bringing over the Panthers defensive system.

So that is about it … let’s see how everything turns out in approximately 22 hours !

My Sports Christmas

We live in a society that is decidedly sports-centric. So it is not particularly notable that I consider myself a huge sports fan. You could even argue that it is a decidedly inaccurate portrayal as there are a wide variety of sports … yet I really only intensely follow basketball and football. However, this is my blog … so don’t argue with me.

 (actually, please do – I jest) 

For many sports fans, the pinnacle is when the championship is decided. World Series. Stanley Cup and NBA Finals. CFB Playoffs. March Madness. THE Super Bowl.

I too enjoy most of those events (not really into the Cup unless the Red Wings are playing), but there is one event that stands head and shoulders above them all for me. And not a single trophy will be handed out at its completion. 

It is the NFL Draft. And the 2017 one is approximately 44  hours away from starting. 

I have always been most fascinated by how teams are put together. Don’t get me wrong, I love Xs and Os, and great playmakers making plays on the field. But I just have a weird affinity for how an NFL front office constructs its roster. It’s a perfect marriage of understanding the philosophy and scheme of the coaching staff, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the current roster, navigating the constraints of the salary cap, and balancing the long-term viability of your roster with the opportunity to compete and win the very next season. The crux of this entire enterprise is the Draft. 

The Draft is such a human experience. Despite the months of planning and the acres of data, decisions still must be made, the ramifications of which will linger for years. Teams negotiate with each other in their attempts to maneuver around and get the pieces they want at the appropriate value. Lies and “smokescreens” are spread through the media to help push down players that teams want. Interest in other players is trumped-up falsely in the hopes of enticing other teams to bite early and guaranteeing the players that are coveted fall to them. Teams weigh best player available versus most pressing need on the team. As of this writing, the Cleveland Browns are reportedly still trying to decide whether or not to take the consensus best player in the Draft or to take the best Quarterback in the Draft. Which should they take ? Which is more valuable ? Which is more important ? Are those answers different ?

There are millions of those questions and more that make the Draft totally exciting and quite an experience. It is an exciting time for fans all across the NFL as hope springs eternal as each team heads home on Saturday afternoon with their haul of new young talent in tow. I follow the Draft heavily (but nowhere near as heavily as many in the Draft Community). I break down film, I rank players, I read scouting reports. I check the most accurate sources (re: not mainstream sports media, they are usually very slow or inaccurate)  and get tons of insider info and data about prospects and teams. I make my mock drafts, and then revise them over and over. I know that my mock draft will almost assuredly be very wrong. But it’s still fun to do. It’s an exercise in deduction, and analysis and LOGIC (I knew I would be able to tie that in one of these days just did not think it would be in the first content post). So I will share with you guys my mock draft shortly (in the next 24-36 hours) and see what you think about it. If you are a fellow Draftnik, share yours as well and lets compare. 

I promise this won’t be a sports blog (no I don’t) , but it’s a Nyan blog… And if you know anything about me then you would have been shocked if my first post was about anything other than that. 

……….

………..

(It’s kind of hard to find a witty, but not corny way to end this ….)

 

Bye .

 

 

 

Wut ?

Provocative title ?  Check.

I’m not sure what exactly I’m going to write about on this here blog.  Which is why it took me a while to start it.

Thought about re-hashing my old blog “Triangle Offense”. It was an ode to the offensive system made famous by Phil Jackson and Tex Winters that capitalized on geometric-styled spacing. In the case of my blog, the triangle referenced the three topics that dominated my thoughts at the time: music, sports and some amalgamation of  relationships/sex/dating/courting/Netflix-and-chill.

But then I was like “nah.”

I like writing though. And I like writing about a lot of topics. So I think it would be silly to box myself in as I try to re-invent my narrative presence here on the Internet. So we’ll see what this blog develops into. It’s probably going to be dope.