Archive for the 'NFL' Category

28
Apr
10

the WAY LATE post-draft thoughts

Sorry guys. I wish I coulda been more on top of it right after the draft, but stuff got in the way. Anyways, let’s take a look at some things I noticed during the draft, and a few thoughts.

I was really happy that I got the first 7 picks right. Kudos to me. After that, the Raiders blew me up (which I wasn’t surprised about). What I WAS surprised about was that the Raiders actually made a good pick in Rolando McClain. I’m pretty sure they run a 4-3 defense over there, which makes the MLB pretty important. And McClain is a vocal guy out on the field. He can get the job done for sure. What I didn’t understand was why they traded away their #1 tackler in Kirk Morrison. In my mind, it pretty much negated the McClain pick. I understand if they wanted him to be the starter, but you could have found a spot for Morrison instead of jutting him off for another pick. Classic Raiders right there.

CJ Spiller to the Bills??? Why, I ask? It doesn’t make sense. You’ve got 2 good running backs with Jackson and Lynch. There were so so so many more positions that needed help. Maybe they went with ‘best available player’ on their board, and went with that approach. But, that only works for a team that doesn’t have any glaring needs.

Tyson Ala-who-lu? Obviously this is the biggest reach here in the 1st round (yes, even more than Tebow), and so everyone notices this pick standing out here. But the Jags stuck to their guns, and drafted an almost completely new front seven. Time will only tell if they made the right picks. That’s all I wanted to say about it.

The middle of the first round went almost exactly how I thought it would. A few teams traded down/up but the players weren’t surprising. Anthony Davis and Bryan Bulaga flip-flopped in my mock. The Titans drafted Derrick Morgan. I thought some good picks were the Chargers moving up to get their guy in Ryan Mathews, Earl Thomas to the ‘Hawks, the 18-21 picks (Pouncey, Weatherspoon, Jackson, Gresham) I really liked the Demarius Thomas pick, and the Dez Bryant pick. No one reached too much for them and that’s a good thing.

And now, the steal of the 1st round goes to: Ozzie Newsome. The Ravens GM traded out of the first round for a 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and they ended up getting Sergio Kindle, a top-15 prospect with a late slide because of medical concerns. Well, if you can say one thing about Ozzie Newsome, it’s that he has a history of taking on guys that slide down the draft because of medical questions. Kindle is an absolute steal in the 2nd round and allows the Ravens to have some flexibility at LB. Pair him with Terrence Cody, their other 2nd-rounder, and you’ve got two 1st-rounders in the 2nd round. Unreal.

Even though they slid, Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy actually ended up in some pretty good landing spots. It may take a year to devellop McCoy, but the style of offense the Browns want to implement will suit McCoy very well. Kudos to Mike Holmgren for working the Draft and being able to select McCoy with the 85th pick, not the 39th. Jimmy Clausen is going into a great situation in Carolina. He won’t be asked to do too much, as they are primarily a running team. And running teams can carry you into the playoffs if the QB isn’t asked to do much. Look at the last 3 starting rookie QB’s to take their teams to the playoffs- Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, and Mark Sanchez. All 3 had great running games, and they weren’t asked to do too much. I think that you give Clausen every chance to be the starter, and let him battle it out with Matt Moore. Could get interesting.

And, now the one that everyone wants to know about- Tim Tebow. Yeah, he’s a first round pick and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it. He’s not an NFL QB, blah, blah blah.. I think that he’s gonna do just fine. Sure, he might be a ‘developmental’ guy or whatever, but who would you rather have as your starter in 2011- Brady Quinn, or Tim Tebow? Exactly. This guy is a winner. He’s beaten teams led by Sam Bradford, Matt Stafford, Colt McCoy and Jamarcus Russell, to name a few. The last ‘developmental’ QB to sit for a few years…? Aaron Rodgers. Ever heard of him? Give Tebow one year- and ‘you won’t see a guy working any harder to help his team win’. I think I’ve heard someone say something like that before..

Any other thoughts? Feel free to chime in. What was your favorite late-round pick? Are you mad at your team? Are you happy? Let’s talk it up

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22
Apr
10

Its The Final Mockdown

I changed my Draft Board a little. Here are my final predictions. Of course, someone is going to make a trade and screw it all up, but if there are no trades, then here is how I believe it will shake down:

  1. Rams- Sam Bradford, QB- after passing up on Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez the past 2 drafts, the Rams finally get their guy
  2. Lions- Ndamukong Suh, DT- Best player in the draft, hands down. You can’t pass him up.
  3. Bucs- Gerald McCoy, DT- consolation prize, and they are hoping he’s the next Warren Sapp
  4. Redskins- Trent Williams, OT- better suited for Shanahan’s zone-blocking schemes than Okung
  5. Chiefs- Eric Berry, S- Bulaga’s game tape has him sliding a bit, and you haven’t see another playmaking safety like this in years.
  6. Seahawks- Russell Okung, OT- will be a solid tackle, replacing Walter Jones. Could take CJ Spiller here and hope there’s an OT left at #14
  7. Browns- Joe Haden, CB- Browns will try and trade out of this pick, but if there are no biters then Haden is their guy.
  8. Raiders- Jason Paul-Pierre, DT- Freak athlete and huge potential. Sounds like an Oakland #1 pick.
  9. Bills- Dan Williams, DT- Bills will also try and trade into the middle of the 1st round, and they could also get a OT here, but with their new 3-4 defense, they need an anchor.
  10. Jags- Rolando McClain, ILB- Again, trying to trade out, but if not then they’ll go grab the best MLB in the draft
  11. Broncos- Maurkice Pouncey, C- Broncos have fallen in love with this guy leading up to Draft, Steelers will have to wait until next year to draft his identical twin brother
  12. Dolphins- Earl Thomas, S- Since Dan Williams is gone, they will try to trade back to say, the Eagles at 24, but again, if not then they will take the best defensive player
  13. 49ers- Bryan Bulaga, OT- even though not a top 5 player anymore, he’s still solid, and the 49ers will be very happy if he falls here
  14. Seahawks- CJ Spiller, RB- Again, they might try to grab him at #6, but I think they’ll end up with him. I dont think they’re going to take Clausen, they seem to be pretty sold with Whitehurst for now
  15. Giants- Mike Iupati, G- Giants need to get some youth in their offensive line, and this guy has a huge motor and a mean streak that their O-line needs.
  16. Titans- Derrick Morgan, DE- Most NFL-ready DE in the draft, and he’ll fill in nicely since KVB is gone.
  17. 49ers- Kyle Wilson, CB- it was almost Jimmy Clausen, but they want to give Alex Smith one more chance, and DB is a huge need also.
  18. Steelers- Kareem Jackson, CB- he’s been creeping up the boards, and if the Steelers don’t take a DB here I’ll be really surprised.
  19. Falcons- Brandon Graham, DE- The Falcons are looking to improve on D, and Graham gives them a hybrid-backer who should be pretty good if used correctly.
  20. Taxans- Ryan Matthews, RB- I really wanted them to take a D-back here, but only if Kyle Wilson falls to them will they do it. They need solid RB play if they want to win the AFC South this year.
  21. Bengals- Jermaine Gresham, TE- Cincy has never ever had a legitimate pass-catching TE since Carson Palmer was the starter. This could get ugly.
  22. Patriots- Dez Bryant, WR- Belicheck will have a hard time passing up on Jared Odrick here, but Randy Moss isn’t getting any younger, and the Pats have never hesitated on ‘troubled’ players.
  23. Packers- Anthony Davis, OT- The Packers can’t believe he fell this far, and in Michael Oher fashion, an OT goes with the 23rd pick.
  24. Eagles- Taylor Mays, S- if the Eagles don’t trade up for Earl Thomas, then expect Mays to go here. They can use him at Nickel to start the year.
  25. Ravens- Jared Odrick, DT/DE- Ravens can plug in this workhorse from Day One, and solidify a D-Line that will take pressure off a banged-up pass D.
  26. Cardinals- Sergio Kindle, OLB- Cards will take best available, and this is a steal at 26 if they nab him.
  27. Cowboys- Charles Brown, OT- They might also reach for Bruce Campbell if they feel he will have a higher ceiling, but the need for OT is their biggest.
  28. Chargers- Terrence Cody, DT- ‘Mount’ Cody will replace Jamal Williams for years to come.
  29. Jets- Everson Griffen, DE- What more do the Jets need? Defensive-minded Rex Ryan will get a new toy to play with here. Griffen could be huge.
  30. Vikings- Jimmy Clausen, QB- the eventual heir to the Favre throne, Clausen will probably fall this far if he falls past #17.
  31. Colts- Devin McCourty, CB- The Colts draft based on need, and they need OL and DB. Boring.
  32. Saints- Sean Weatherspoon, OLB- Saints get a steal here with the freakishly athletic Weatherspoon.

That’s it! I swear. Until after the draft anyway.

21
Apr
10

10 last minute thoughts on the Draft

The NFL Draft is Thursday, and from what I’ve been delving into lately, I’ve come up with some predictions/scenarios/thoughts on prospects, picks, and trends. So here are some of my predictions:

  • Contradicting my Mock 2.0, I believe the Lions will take Ndamukong Suh. You just can’t pass on this guy, I’m sorry. If you saw the Sports Science segment on him, he has the fastest acceleration burst out of anyone that they tested. He actually hits harder than Ray Lewis. Literally. Tested. Done. Next:
  • The Browns are going to trade down. I think that Eric Berry will get selected by the Seahawks. They aren’t going to pay #7 money for Joe Haden, who I don’t even think is the best Cornerback in the draft (I think it’s Kyle Wilson). The Browns are rebuilding, so trading down for more picks makes the most sense, especially with the value in the middle of the first round.
  • The Jaguars will also try to trade down and the Steelers might bite on this to grab someone they really want. They have 11 picks, and not 11 open spots on their roster. Since the Browns won’t trade their pick to division foe Pittsburgh, Jacksonville makes the most sense. If not then they go pass-rush, possibly Derrick Morgan or Rolando McClain.
  • Dez Bryant will not go in the top half of the draft. I think he may even slip to the Bengals or Patriots. That is, if the Raiders don’t scoop him up.
  • Someone is going to take a chance on Tim Tebow early in the 2nd round. Pay close attention to this one, kiddies. They wouldn’t have invited him to the Draft for no reason.
  • The Redskins are going to trade away Albert Haynesworth between the 1st and 2nd rounds. Haynesworth and Jason Campbell to the Raiders for their second-round pick, and a 2nd-rounder next year? Mark it down. Stranger things have happened.
  • The Ravens will do something awesome with their first round pick. They always do..
  • Michael Vick might be changing addresses over the weekend. Even though Carolina has less picks, if they don’t get the QB they want in the draft then they might try and cut a deal for him. The Eagles will probably pick up another veteran as a backup anyway. Jeff Garcia is still out there.
  • The Rams might trade away the 1st pick. Think about it. They can go about as far back as pick #5 and still be a safe bet for Bradford to fall to them. It all depends on if a team really wants Suh or McCoy that badly. This way, the Rams won’t have to pay #1 money, and still get their guy.
  • The 2nd round picks will be more interesting than the 1st round picks. Because the talent pool is so deep, and the 1st round is pretty much locked in to the same players, the 2nd round is where stuff will get really interesting. This is where teams will start to wheel and deal, jockeying for their guy to fall to them. Some of the big names to look out for in the 2nd round include Golden Tate, Colt McCoy, Tebow, Brandon Spikes, and Devin McCourty. Should be interesting.

I can’t wait for Thursday night at 7pm. I’ll be back after that to comment on the 1st round picks. Look out, Mel Kiper.

13
Apr
10

Trust The Tris Mock 2.0- with a vengeance

Now that we’re less than 10 days from the Draft, I feel that it’s time to update my Mock Draft. There’s been a lot of movers and shakers since Mock 1.0, so let’s do this:

1. St Louis Rams- Sam Bradford, QB Oklahoma. How much clearer have the Rams made it now that they dropped Marc Bulger, that they are going to take a QB in this draft? Then again, in 05, Aaron Rodgers was projected to go 1st overall, and he fell to 24th. Anything can happen. (Mock 1.0- Bradford)

2. Detroit Lions- Russel Okung, OT Oklahoma St. Detroit was originally a French settlement, pronounced ‘Day-Twat’ and was primarily a port city. It’s the only major US city that looks South on Canada. Oh, and they need an O-Line if they want to protect their pretty boy franchise Q, even more so than the need for a DL. (Mock 1.0- Suh)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Ndamukong Suh, DT Nebraska. That’s right, Clearwater, you’re gonna get your Suh, and his older sister too.  With Detroit looking like its gonna go with Okung the Hoss, the Bucs will get the next Warren Sapp. At least that’s what they’re hoping. (Mock 1.0- G. McCoy)

4. Washington Redskins- Trent Williams, OT Oklahoma. Is it scary how fast Trent Williams is flying up the boards? Some people have Williams ranked higher than Okung, and the Redskins know exactly what they need to do in this draft. Protect, protect, protect. (Mock 1.0- Okung)

5. Kansas City Chiefs- Bryan Bulaga, OT Iowa. No change here from my previous mock. The Chiefs must protect their investment in Matt Cassel, who was one of the most sacked QBs in the league last year. (Mock 1.0- Bulaga)

6. Seattle Seahawks- Gerald McCoy, DT Oklahoma. Here’s where McCoy stops skidding down the draft board. He won’t fall very far either way, and Seattle likes a D-Lineman now that they’ve lost a few to free agency.(Mock 1.0- trade to DEN, Dez Bryant)

7. Cleveland Browns- Eric Berry, S Tennessee. Trying to play catch-up to the rest of the teams in the AFC North isn’t going to be easy, but Holmgren & Co. have already done a pretty good job of weeding in Cleveland. Let’s see if the fruit can finally grow. This will be a step in the right direction with Berry.(Mock 1.0- Berry)

8. Oakland Raiders- Bruce Campbell, OT Maryland. Or will it be Dez Bryant? Or will it be Tim Tebow? Who knows with Al Davis anymore these days. One thing is for sure, the Raiders need an O-Line. Or do they need a D-Line? Or… (Mock 1.0- A.Davis)

9. Buffalo Bills- Anthony Davis, OT Rutgers. With a roster that resembles swiss cheese, the Bills sure have a lot of holes to fill. But Chan Gailey is an offense-minded guy and as passionate of a speech that George Edwards will make about drafting a D-Lineman, they need to complete that O-Line.  Jackson and Lynch need something to run behind. (Mock 1.0- Pierre-Paul)

10. Jacksonville Jaguars- Joe Haden, CB Florida. I think that the Jags have temporarily solved their pass rush problem with the signing of Aaron Kampman, and their next issue is trying to defend against the aerial attacks in the AFC South (Colts, Texans). They could also nab Dan Williams, who has risen fast on the boards lately. (Mock 1.0- Haden)

11. Denver Broncos- Rolando McClain, LB Alabama. The Broncos solved their problems at DT by signing Justin Bannan and Big Fat Jamal Williams, so now they look to nab the best linebacker in the draft to run their 3-4 Defense. (Mock 1.0- D.Williams)

12. Miami Dolphins-Sean Weatherspoon, LB Missouri. The Dolphins did answer their MLB questions when they signed Karlos Dansby, but Weatherspoon can play outside, and man does he have a high motor and a nose for the football. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dan Williams go here also. (Mock 1.0- Mays)

13. San Fransisco 49ers- Mike Iupati, OG Idaho. Even defensive-minded Coach Singletary knows that the offensive line needs serious help. Iupati can play at multiple positions and can help the ‘9ers reach that next level. (Mock 1.0- T.Williams)

14. Seattle Seahawks- Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame. He may not be here, in which case CJ Spiller makes the most sense, but even the trade for Charlie Whitehurst won’t stop Pete Carrol from putting his thumbprint on the Seahawks Dynasty at QB. (Mock 1.0- Clausen)

15. New York Giants- Sergio Kindle, LB Texas. With Rolando McClain long gone, the Giants still have their biggest need at LB. Kindle is a huge playmaker and has drawn comparisons to another Texas Linebacker, Brian Orapko. Should be fun watching the former teammates play against each other twice a year for a long, long time. (Mock 1.0- R.McClain)

16. Tennessee Titans- Derrick Morgan, DE Georgia Tech. The Titans would like to draft a DE here, and drafting someone that they can plug right in is key. They would love to draft Jason Pierre-Paul, but he is too much of a ‘project’ and as such could cost him in the draft. Morgan is almost a lock here to Nashville. (Mock 1.0- Morgan)

17. San Fransisco 49ers- Kyle Wilson, CB Boise State. The 49ers feel that they can win with Frank Gore and Glen Coffee, and so they pass on CJ Spiller to fill another pressing need- the press coverage need, that is. Wilson is arguably the best corner in the draft (in my opinion he is better than Haden) and the 49ers become legit with a much improved pass D. (Mock 1.0- Spiller)

18. Pittsburgh Steelers- Dez Bryant, WR Oklahoma St. The Steelers have a lot of picks and not a lot of roster space this year, so they may want to try and trade up to someone like Jacksonville, who could use some extra bargaining chips. But now that Santonio Holmes is gone, the Steelers are going to have to play catch-up to the Benglas and Ravens, who have vastly improved their receiving corps this offseason. Character issues may be a concern here and that could lead to a CB falling here instead. (Mock 1.0- Iupati)

19. Atlanta Falcons- Dan Williams, DT Tennessee. One thing is for sure- the Falcons need a pass rush. If Dan Williams falls this far, then watch out, this could be the steal of the draft. If he doesn’t fall, then Carlos Dunlap or Jason Pierre-Paul start to look much sexier here. (Mock 1.0- Dunlap)

20. Houston Texans- CJ Spiller, RB Clemson. A lot of uses for CJ Spiller. Kick returner now that Dunta Robinson is gone. RB now that Steve Slaton sucks.  Slot receiver since Kevin Walter always gets hurt. This guy is gonna create a lot of headaches for the AFC South’s so-so defenses. (Mock 1.0-E.Thomas)

21. Cincinatti Bengals- Jermaine Gresham, TE Oklahoma. The Bengals will most likely take the best available player here, and that could end up being Gresham. This will also give Cincy a legitimate middle-of-the-field threat who is deceptively fast for his huge size. I’m a little nervous. (Mock 1.0-Tate)

22. New England- Brandon Graham, DE/OLB Michigan. Graham will add so much to the Patriots D as long as they just let him sic the QB all game. He has the size to play DE and the speed to play OLB. The Patriots need to stay competitive on D to shut down the offensively weak AFC East. (Mock 1.0-Graham)

23. Green Bay Packers- Kareem Jackson, CB Alabama. The Pack still need an injection of youth in their O-Line, but that will have to wait. Jackson is getting a lot of hype around the league now and the Packers should bite on pass D. (Mock 1.0-B. Campbell)

24. Philadelphia Eagles- Taylor Mays, S USC. If the Eagles are known for one thing, it’s their playmakers. Taylor Mays worked extremely hard in the offseason, and his blazing time in the 40, along with obvious talent make this pick a no-brainer for Philly. OL is interesting here, too, but with a high 2nd-round pick, this can be addressed. (Mock 1.0-Weatherspoon)

25. Baltimore Ravens- Carlos Dunlap, DE Florida. The 6′-6″ freak of nature can inject some youth into the Ravens D-Line, and creates mismatches along with Haloti Ngata up front. CB is also a huge need, and Patrick Robinson could be higher on the Ravens’ board than people may think. (Mock 1.0-Gresham)

26. Arizona Cardinals- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE USF. I think that the Cards will roll the dice on this guy, which could pay off in a huge way, especially in the NFC West. Pierre-Paul has a lot of questions surrounding him coming out of college, but his athletic ability and huge potential are definitely not in question. Don’t forget that Earl Thomas is still available… (Mock 1.0-Kindle)

27. Dallas Cowboys- Earl Thomas, S Texas. The star of the Longhorns’ D becomes a star in the Big D after Jerry Jones pulls the trigger on the best D Backs in the draft. (Mock 1.0-C.Brown)

28. San Diego Chargers- Terrence Cody, DT Alabama Even though they still need RB, by the time that they draft again in the 2nd round, Cody will be long gone. And with the loss of Big Fat Jamal Williams, Cody can come in and become an instant space-eater. (Mock 1.0- Best)

29. New York Jets- Jared Odrick, DT Penn St. What else do the Jets have left to fill this offseason? They’ve made some fantastic moves to acquire some great players, and Odrick is going to serve as Rex Ryan’s new play toy. Watch out for the Jets. (Mock 1.0-Odrick)

30. Minnesota Vikings- Patrick Robinson, CB FSU. With the Vikings not needing too much, a playmaking CB is basically a nice parting gift in the back of the Draft for Minnesota. I wouldn’t be surprised if the drafted elsewhere, say, RB? But really they are a very complete team; as long as Grandpa Favre is still around, that is. (Mock 1.0-Robinson)

31. Indianapolis Colts- Maurkice Pouncey, G/C Florida. EVERYONE has him going to Indy, and so do I. The only other pressing need is CB, but all the good ones are scooped up except for Devin McCourty from Rutgers. But Pouncey will be a very nice addition. (Mock 1.0-Pouncey)

32. New Orleans Saints- Daryl Washington, LB TCU. I like the idea of Mad Scientist Sean Payton drafting Tim Tebow here, but that would just feel too warm and fuzzy. LB is a much greater need than QB/TE/RB. And look how long it took them to figure out what to do with a ‘college football superstar’ last time they drafted one in the first round. (Mock 1.0-K.Wilson)

10
Mar
10

Trust The Tris Mock Draft 1.0 (with guest mock) PT2/3

  • #11 pick: Denver Broncos

Team Needs:  DL

Tris’ Pick: Dan Williams, DT Tennessee

Comment: DTs are huge in this draft, which is good for Denver because they need a big 3-4 tackle in there.  They could also draft Rolando McClain to give Denver another 3-4 Linebacker.

Breck’s Pick: Dez Bryant, WR Oklahoma State

Comment: Brandon Marshall may be traded, but even if he isn’t the Broncos need offensive weapons and explosiveness. Bryant can provide big play making ability as well as help stretch the field. If there is a knock on this pick, it’s that Bryant is a “diva” in the Terrell Owens-Brandon Marshall mold. A defensive lineman may also strike Denver’s fancy as they look to build their 3-4 defense. Possible – Dan Williams, Rolando McClain

  • #12 pick: Miami Dolphins

Team Needs: DL,DB,WR

Tris’ Pick: Taylor Mays, S, USC

Comment: Hard to pass him up, as hard as he’s worked after college and at the combine to elevate his play. I think this might be a small reach, but it could also be a huge payoff. Since S Gibril Wilson is dumped, the Safety position is in flux and this makes the most sense for the Dolphins this year. Other possibilities include Golden Tate, WR.

Breck’s Pick: Dan Williams, DT Tennessee

Comment: This pick was a slam dunk a few weeks ago with Rolando McClain being the selection. Miami went another direction and signed ILB Karlos Dansby to pair with Channing Crowder. This frees the Dolphins to pick the best 3-4 NT in the draft in Dan Williams. He is perfect for the 3-4 and many teams would love to draft him. Incumbent NT Jason Ferguson is old and could mentor Williams to help dominate Parcell’s system.

  • #13 pick: San Fransisco 49ers

Team Needs: DB, OL

Tris’ Pick: Trent Williams, OT Oklahoma

Comment: Give Alex Smith an extra 0.5 seconds to throw, and the 49ers are going to win the division. Simple as that.

Breck’s Pick: Trent Williams, OT Oklahoma

Comment: The 49ers need offensive line help, and luckily at this point they find a guy who can easily step in at RT, moving Joe Staley to LT, helping to solidify a line constantly in flux. Williams will bring a consistent effort day in day out. A play maker in the defensive backfield or on offense could also fit here, but the O-line is the main concern.

  • #14 pick: Seattle Seahawks

Team Needs: RB,QB

Tris’ Pick: Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame

Comment: If they trade out the #6 pick, look for the hawks to pluck their QB of the future right here to pair with Marshall down the road. They could also draft CJ Spiller here for some offensive explosion.

Breck’s Pick: Brian Bulaga, OT Iowa

Comment: After passing on OT with their first selection, the Seahawks get their replacement for LT Walter Jones. Big and physical with a solid mean streak, Bulaga should fit well with the zone-blocking scheme in place in Seattle. Pete Carroll starts his Seattle career off with 2 solid picks.

  • #15 pick: New York Giants

Team Needs: LB

Tris’ Pick: Rolando McClain, ILB Alabama

Comment:  Yes, the Giants dropped Antonio Pierce and Giants Nation was sad. But McClain is a beast. It won’t take long for fans to forget Pierce and this defense gets some much-needed youth.

Breck’s Pick:Rolando McClain, ILB Alabama

Comment: Releasing MLB Antonio Pierce left a gaping hole in the middle of their defense. The Dolphins beat them to Dansby, so why not go with the best inside linebacker in the draft.

  • #16 pick: Tennessee Titans

Team Needs: DL,DB

Tris’ Pick: Derrick Morgan, DE Georgia Tech

Comment: There’s a big hole here in Nashville now that Vanden-Bosch is gone. Derrick Morgan will help make that transition a lot better. Other possible selections include Carlos Dunlap and Jared Odrick.

Breck’s Pick: Derrick Morgan, DE Georgia Tech

Comment: The Titans are great at finding defensive line talent and Morgan is no exception. Jeff Fisher is going to love Morgan’s high motor and physical gifts. Makes losing Kyle Vanden Bosch much easier.

  • #17 Pick: San Fransisco 49ers

Team Needs: DB,OL

Tris’ Pick: CJ Spiller, RB Clemson

Comment: What a steal here if Spiller doesn’t get scooped up before this pick. He can provide a great change-of-pace for the grinder Frank Gore. CB Kyle Wilson could also land here, and that would be a solid value pick as well.

Breck’s Pick: C.J. Spiller, RB Clemson

Comment: A safety like Taylor Mays or Earl Thomas might be better, but having an explosive RB to compliment Frank Gore may be just as important. Don’t forget the 49ers have always had a dreadful return game and Spiller is electric in that area.

  • #18 pick: Pittsburgh Steelers

Team Needs: CB, OL

Tris’ Pick: Mike Iupati, G/T Idaho

Comment: OL problems for the Steelers all year led to Big Ben on his back half of the time. The other half of the time Ben was out partying.

Breck’s Pick: Taylor Mays, S Southern California

Comment: Show me a team more dependant on one defensive player than the Steelers are with Troy Polamalu. They need another play maker in the secondary to alleviate the pressure on Polamalu. With Ryan Clark most likely leaving, Mays is a perfect fit of size and speed.

disclaimer: same as before, this was before steelers signed 2 safeties

  • #19 pick: Atlanta Flacons

Team Needs: DE,OLB

Tris’ Pick: Carlos Dunlap, DE Florida

Comment: With the signing of CB Dunta Robinson, look for the Flacons to help out their pass rush. This will become a young defense with nowhere to go but up.

Breck’s Pick: Brandon Graham, DE Michigan

Comment: The Falcons had 2 major needs going into the draft, DE and CB. They were able to sign CB Dunta Robinson through FA, so finding an edge rusher becomes the prime concern. Graham was incredibly productive at Michigan and will learn from DE John Abraham as he gets older.

  • #20 pick: Houston Texans

Team Needs: DB

Tris’ Pick: Earl Thomas, S Texas

Comment: Bye, bye Dunta Robinson, hello Earl Thomas. Texas sure knows how to take care of their own, don’t they? Thomas fits right into what the Texans need- a playmaker.

Breck’s Pick: Earl Thomas, S Texas

Comment: Lineman are more likely of a pick here, but I cannot dismiss the Texans need for a ball hawking play maker in the secondary. Thomas showed a nose for the ball at Texas and is an immediate upgrade in Houston.

  • #21 pick: Cincinnati Bengals

Team Needs: WR,DL

Tris’ Pick: Golden Tate, WR Notre Dame

Comment: Scary potential here to give the Bengals a young, hot receiver who does it all. Could be this year’s Percy Harvin.

Breck’s Pick: Carlos Dunlap, DE Florida

Comment: There are so many directions the Bengals could go with this pick, but after only registering 17 sacks last season, they need more of a pass rush. Dunlap is talented, but he has character flags, but since when has that ever stopped the Bengals.

10
Mar
10

Trust The Tris Mock Draft 1.0 (with guest mock) PT1/3

In my last blog, I predicted that a lot of teams will be trimming their rosters of high-salary players in this uncapped year. I was right. So far, big salary guys such as QB Jake Delhomme, CB Lito Sheppard, DT Jamal Williams, DE Charles Grant, and the Redskins’ B-team have been cut. Who knows where and when any other big names will get the axe coming up, but my bet is this phenomenon will continue well into Free Agency.

I like what the Bears have been doing so far  in Free Agency. They have no 1st or 2nd round picks, so they needed to open up the wallet. So far, they have signed DE Julius Peppers to a 6-year deal, RB Chester Taylor (there goes my LT prediction), and TE Brandon Manumaleuna. More to come, I’m sure. The next few weeks in Free Agency will certainly re-shape the Draft projections, so this will definitely be interesting to watch.

On Thursday, April 22 at 7:30pm, I will be sitting in front of a tv somewhere, beer(s) in hand and wings in belly, to witness possibly the most exciting spectacle of the NFL offseason. No, I’m not talking about the Brett Favre retirement press conference. I’m talking about the NFL Draft baby!! It’s as intense as a playoff game. It’s where teams can create a dynasty or destroy themselves. It’s a war zone. I love the NFL Draft.

Now that the NFL Combine has come and gone, I think it’s an appropriate time to post a mock draft. There were a lot of guys who helped their draft stock at the combine. USC Safety Taylor Mays solidified himself as a workhorse speedy 1st round pick. CJ Spiller looks like the next Chris Johnson, and Golden Tate became a top-2 wideout pick. I am so excited about the Draft that I even enjoyed watching the combine itself. I’ve asked Breck to do a side-by-side mock draft with me (complete with commentary). I’d like to think that we’re kind of like Kiper and McShay. I’m Kiper though.

After Free Agency cools down and after all of the Pro Days leading up to the Draft, I’ll do another mock and have a clearer picture of everything. But for now, I give you the TrustTheTris Mock 1.0:

  • #1 pick: St. Louis Rams

Team Needs:  Everything

Tris’ Pick: Sam Bradford, QB Oklahoma

Comment: Get the franchise guy now, build around him later (an exception to my usual rule here).  Suh and McCoy would also provide a huge stop-gap in the Rams porous run-D, and they could look for a QB with the first pick in the 2nd round. They also have 18 hours or so to wheel and deal that 2nd pick (hello, Donovan McNabb!!)

Breck’s Pick: Sam Bradford, QB Oklahoma

Comment: Here is the #1 rule of the NFL Draft, If you do not have a franchise quarterback and one is available, you take it, period….The sexier picks are the 2 top defensive tackles in Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, but winning
starts with the quarterback position. Questions about Bradford’s
shoulder will follow him around until he proves he is healthy.
Possible – Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy

  • #2 pick: Detroit Lions

Team Needs: OL, DL, DB

Tris’ Pick: Ndamukong Suh, DT Nebraska

Comment: High-character player who will be a wrecking ball in the NFL. Jim Shwartz loves his defense- look at him pulling a Rex Ryan and getting KVB at midnight friday.. Put big boy Suh on the line, and the Lions are gonna move out of the top 10 in the 2011 Draft

Breck’s Pick: Gerald McCoy, DT Oklahoma

Comment: The Lions made an early splash in free agency signing DE Kyle VandenBosch and trading for DT Corey Williams. The 2 primary needs of this team are D-line and Offensive tackle. OT Russell Okung would be a solid fit here, allowing current OT Jeff Backus to slide to OG. However, coach Jim Schwartz is a defensive guy and the Lions were one of the worst defensive teams last season. Possible – Ndamukong Suh, Russell Okung

  • #3 pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Needs: Everything except QB

Tris’ Pick: Gerald McCoy, DT Oklahoma

Comment: Flip of coin here with McCoy and Suh, either way Bucs will take best available between two

Breck’s Pick: Ndamukong Suh, DT Nebraska

Comment: The Bucs are dancing in the streets as they get their first dominate DL since Warren Sapp. Suh is a big, strong physical DT with a nose for the ball. Their needs are DL and DB so S Eric Berry may also be a fit, but you don’t pass up a chance at a run-stuffing DT. Possible –  Eric Berry

  • #4 pick: Washington Redskins

Needs: OL, RB, WR

Tris’ Pick: Russel Okung, OT

Comment: I don’t think that Shannahan is going to pick a QB here when he can have the best OT in the draft and they recently re-signed J. Campbell to a 3-year extension. It will also be hard to pass up on Eric Berry.

Breck’s Pick: Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame

Comment: Mike Shannahan is an offensive minded guy, and I believe he doesn’t see Jason Campbell as his future QB. Clausen probably has the best intangibles of any QB in this draft. He is tall, strong armed and accurate. His last season at Notre Dame Clausen carried his team since he didn’t have a running game or a solid defense. OT Russell Okung should also be considered for this spot since the Redskins offensive line lost LT Chris Samuels, but like I said Shannahan is an offensive coach. Possible – Russell Okung, Eric Berry

  • #5 pick: Kansas City Chiefs

Team Needs: OL, DB, TE

Tris’ Pick: Brian Bulaga, OT Iowa

Comment: GM Paoli knows he needs to build his trenches to help out Cassel. OT is just what the Chiefs need in the 1st round.

Breck’s Pick: Russell Okung, OT Oklahoma State

Comment:Prototypical LT, strong, quick feet, intelligent. Okung will bring a mean streak to the Chiefs that’s been missing since LT Willie Roaf retired. Essentially the Chiefs knock out 2 holes on the offensive line with this pick as Okung’s pick allows OT Branden Albert to move back to OG where he excelled at Virginia. The only other conceivable pick for them at this point is S Eric Berry or OT Anthony Davis if Okung is already taken. Possible – Eric Berry

  • #6 pick: Seatlle Seahawks

Team Needs: RB,QB

Tris’ Pick: TRADE with DEN for Brandon Marshall. DEN selects Dez Bryant, WR Oklahoma State

Comment: I believe that Seattle is going to make an offer to Brandon Marshall, and in doing so, Denver will more than likely let him go, especially if they can go get Dez Bryant, a Marshall-type receiver without the bad blood that has brooded in Denver. If Seattle retains this pick, I believe they will draft CJ Spiller, RB Clemson.

Breck’s Pick:Eric Berry, S Tennessee

Comment: This pick could possibly be moved to Denver in a Brandon Marshall trade, but assuming the Seahawks keep it they will need a replacement for longtime stud LT Walter Jones. However, with OT being fairly deep, they could get one with thier next pick at #14. A game changing safety is hard to find. That is what Berry is, the next Ed Reed. Possible – Brian Bulaga, Anthony Davis

  • #7 pick: Cleveland Browns

Team Needs: DB,WR

Tris’ Pick: Eric Berry, S Tennessee

Comment: Holmgren & Co will be licking their chops if Berry falls this far. An NFL-ready Safety, Berry brings a physicality and gameplay style similar to Ed Reed. And to be competitive in the AFC North, you need to bring your D.

Breck’s Pick: Joe Haden, CB Florida

Comment: Cleveland is still looking for a QB, but Bradford and Clausen will both be gone by this pick. The Browns secondary gives up too many big plays, so a solid DB should fit their needs. Too much is being said about Haden’s poor 40-dash time, but most experts agree tape does not lie and Haden showed a ton of talent and play making ability at Florida. Possible – Dez Bryant

  • #8 pick: Oakland Raiders

Team Needs: OL,WR,QB

Tris’ Pick: Anthony Davis, OT Rutgers

Comment: For the love of god, Al Davis, please read this and do not take Dez Bryant if he’s still there! The Raiders are a team who’s philosophy is stretching the field with speed. Well, you need to give the QB some more time to throw if you want to stretch the field. Unless that QB is Jamarcus Russell and then it doesn’t matter what you do. The Raiders are the worst run organization in professional sports. Move to LA already!

Breck’s Pick: Bruce Campbell, OT Maryland

Comment: Al Davis does it again. The biggest freak athlete at the combine, Campbell is a physical specimen and that’s all Davis seems to care about. On the bright side it fits Oakland’s need for an OT, but there are far more polished and ready OT still available like Anthony Davis and Brian Bulaga. The Raiders value speed and athleticism, so another “work-out warrior” in DE Jason Pierre-Paul may also appeal to them. Possible – Jason Pierre-Paul, Anthony Davis

  • #9 pick: Buffalo Bills

Team Needs: Everything

Tris’ Pick: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE South Florida

Comment: Solid, athletic, all-around DE should help Bills poor run-D. They could also go with OT Trent Williams. The Bills have a lot of holes to fill, and they will probably be drafting from the front of the pack for a few more years. They can go a lot of different ways with this pick, and trading back for more picks might also be a good strategy here.

Breck’s Pick: Anthony Davis, OT Rutgers

Comment:Let’s face it, the Bills offensive line was decimated by injury and could never gel long enough to keep the pressure off whoever the teams quarterback was. The O-line is a major concern and Davis can easily step in and play either tackle position. It helps that he is a local guy from New Jersey. I wouldn’t overlook a defensive player with this pick because of Buffalo’s switch to the 3-4 defense, but in order to win, you must protect your quarterback. Possible – Brian Bulaga, Dan Williams

  • #10 Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars

Team Needs: DB,WR,OL

Tris’ Pick: Joe Haden, CB Florida

Comment: The Florida boy should come in and excite the fans. He can also start his rookie season and make an immediate impact on defense. With the signing of Aaron Kampman at DE, the Jags can focus on beefing up their D-backs even more. Let’s not forget who they have to play twice a year.. Pass Defense is a must to be competitive in the AFC South.

Breck’s Pick: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE South Florida

disclaimer: Breck sent me this before Kampman was signed

Comment: The Jaguars need a lot of help. They rank near the bottom of the league in sacks the last few seasons so a pass rusher is of prime concern. Pierre-Paul is a freak athlete, but is incredibly raw and his production at South Florida was inconsistent. Even so, the Jags need someone who is fast of the line and can get to the quarterback. Possible – Derrick Morgan

26
Feb
10

Free Agency, the Salary Cap, and the Draft

For the next 50-something days, all I will be thinking about is the NFL Draft and everything leading up to it. Free Agency, the NFL Combine, trades (!?!?), and other signings, teams jockeying for players in a very different offseason than we have ever seen before. This year is going to be an uncapped season, which means that teams basically have free reign over their payrolls. In the upcoming months you will see teams doing anything that they see fit to modify their rosters, financially speaking. This could include humongous signings or extreme fat-trimming of overpaid players, and we will probably see more of the latter.

I’m predicting a lot of teams to cut players that are, or were until this offseason, big salary cap fat cats (see Westbrook, Brian). I think that there will be more of this to come. Free Agents this offseason should not be expecting much of an increase in salaries from previous years- there just isn’t the willingness to shell out huge paychecks in an uncapped year.

Who knows what will happen after the CBA talks continue, but something’s gotta give between the players ass’n and the owners. Owners are scared of their franchises folding and players want more benefits and better money guarantees. I can see both sides of this argument, and I actually tend to side with the owners a little bit. Granted, I am completely for giving players better benefits, especially post-football. Something needs to be done about providing medical care for banged up, retirees from the NFL.

But one thing I would LOVE to see is a ROOKIE CAP!!!! For the love of God, some of these players are coming in, getting drafted high in the 1st round, and getting paid MORE than a proven veteran. I think that there should be a 3-year performance contract for rookies, and THEN you can get paid the big bucks. Too many 1st rounders have come in, gotten paid millions and millions of dollars, and what have they to show for it? In 2007, Jamarcus Russell was signed to a bigger contract than Peyton Manning had at the time. Even if he doesn’t play another snap, ever, he’s due to make $40 mil by the end of his 6-year contract. And this is just one, albeit one of the biggest, of the reasons why the NFL needs a rookie cap. Please, please take a memo from the NBA and do this.

Anyway, those are my rantings about that. I promised some answers, I know you guys have a lot of questions. I feel like John Locke right now (or whoever that guy is now).

The LT/WBrook dillemma.

I’ll start with LT because I think he has the best chance of being signed first out of these two. Sure, there are concerns now that LT has lost a step or two, but I think that he can still be an impact player in the NFL, even if his role on a team isn’t what he has been used to throughout his HOF career. Let’s assume he’s good for around 10 TDs and, say, 600 yards. Mostly a short-yardage guy. Pretty much a complimentary, change-of-pace guy.  So, where would the best fit for LT be? Let’s try and dissect this and come away with a few landing spots. Tomlinson says he wants to play for a contender with an elite QB. Narrowing down the prospective suitors to more than half of the league on that one.. So, now we take a look at teams who are 10 extra TDs away from either the playoffs or the Super Bowl, who may need help at RB. I can come up with only a few, so I’ll give you my top 3, in no particular order:

  • Chicago

The reason I like the Bears as a landing spot for LT is because they fit the bill for LTs requirements. I really do believe in Cutler as a good, if not great, QB. What hurt the team the most last year was the sophomore stinker  Matt Forte. His lack of production allowed defenses to focus more on pass protection against the Bears last year, and Cutler was merely a victim. As a complimentary back, Tomlinson would give the Bears a really good 1-2 punch along with Forte. In a competitive NFC North, the Bears plan to pull out the wallet in Free Agency this spring. This signing just makes sense.

  • New England

Elite QB. Super Bowl contenders. Dismal running attack. With the Jets knocking at the Pats’ back door to take over the division for good, look to see ol’ half-sleeves make a move or two this offseason. Ass-chin Brady can’t do everything himself anymore.

  • New Orleans

For the feel good, sexy landing spot and to reunite LT with Brees once more. This is the least likely of the three that I have chosen. The backfield may be a little too crowded, but as Drew Brees said, there have been crazier things happen. And for surprise mystery team pick number 4:

  • Houston

Same idea here as Chi Town: Great QB in Shaub, would be a good 1-2 punch with Steve Slaton, but are the Texans willing to shell out the bills? I think that LT will land somewhere near the beginning of free agency, so this will be an interesting one to watch unfold.

Side Note: The Chargers are not going to re-sign Darren Sproles, whom they put the franchise tag on after the 2008 season. I think this is a BIG mistake and I’ll explain later.

As for Westbrook, I think that he may have a steeper hill to climb than LT. Durability concerns are a huge red flag.  So is the amount of money he’s going to want. This will most certainly drive away some teams. But I do believe that if a team does give him a chance, AND he stays healthy, he could be the steal of free agency this offseason. Does no one remember that just a year ago, Westbrook was a top ten running back? I think that he would settle for the first team that takes him, however. I also think that that would be a smart decision. Unfortunately, I see Westbrook becoming a mid-season injury replacement, which is ironic. He’s one more concussion away from retirement, and I think that teams know this.

I know that you guys want me to predict who’s gonna go where, and I will offer my two cents now, and I’ll probably keep updating my thoughts as we get closer to the draft. But I’ll answer the questions I got right now (with my initial thoughts)

Q: Where do you think Eric Berry will end up?

A: Berry WILL be a top-ten pick. Right now, I think WAS or TB could really use him. Redskins are keeping Campbell, there’s no way they draft a QB in the first round. When Campbell’s on, he’s on. I think Shanahan is gonna do a great job with the reins out of Snyder’s hands now. The skins have a good, young rising safety in Horton, and tandem that with Eric Berry, and watch out.

Q: Will Tebow 2.0 find draft-day success?

A: In a word, Yes. The back 1/2 of the draft isn’t gonna be looking for a QB, so I think someone in the top 16 can afford to wait until the 2nd round to draft him. The level of sportsmanship, competitiveness, and work ethic is enough to be worthy of a pick. Think about Tebow in a big market like LA in 5 years when Jacksonville finally moves.  Fortunately for Tebow, the NFL is becoming a shotgun-formation league. His delivery will be tested at his pro day. But no one questions his intangibles, his ‘immeasurables’. I really am rooting for this guy- I think that he’s such a positive role model and likable figure and nothing bad can come out of a team selecting him in the 2nd round.

Q: There are rumors going around of Sam Bradford possibly going #1 to the Rams. Thoughts??

A: I like it. Every once in a blue moon, a draft comes along where the number one need of a last place team really IS the QB position. Now, for those of you who don’t know me, I am a firm believer in building a team from the trenches and then out. A good offense starts with a good O-Line. A good defense starts with a good D-line. But in this draft, a funny thing happened. This draft is going to be historical for producing the most amount of quality players in recent history. This draft is so incredibly deep at almost every position. I think that Bradford has the size (6-4, 232) and strength to be a great QB for a long time- much more so than the other QBs. Don’t get me wrong- I think that the other top tiered QBs in the Draft will have successful careers as well, but I do think that you go get Bradford number 1. If not Bradford, then it’s obviously one of the two DTs. And you cross your fingers for Tony Pike in round 2. But, since all other positions are so deep, I dont think that you pass up on your franchise guy now. He won’t be there in round 2. Go get Bradford.

I think that’s enough for now. Keep the questions coming in. I’ll address some of the loose ends I left above next time.