"January and Beyond”
On this crisp Sunday; I sat on my khaki colored couch and watched playoff favorite’s advance and favorites get sent home packing. All of the playoff games were entertaining this weekend, but as a Philadelphia Eagles fan; there was a down right ominous yet hidden sadness. I tried to ignore it by engrossing myself in this weekend’s playoff festivities. Another February passes and the only bowl the Eagles are in is the Pro Bowl. How sad and disheartening it is.
I have been reading over fan-posts and “expert’s” posts on this site. It has been a while since I wrote something and I caused quite a stir the last time I did. I have been studying the NFL draft since I was 12. Yes I have been made fun of but, it is a labor of love and a sickness that has stayed with me.
Below you will see one my ever-changing mock drafts. I will offer analysis of every pick. I don’t try to predict trades either.
No. Team Player Name Position School Ht. Wt. Class
1. Colts Andrew Luck QB Stanford 6-4 235 Jr.
This pick is a no-brainer. The Peyton Manning era in Indy is morbidly coming to an end. The Polians are out and the Colts organization has brought in former Eagles front office talent Ryan Grigson. This pick is a step in the right direction for a team that is officially rebuilding.
2. Rams Matt Kalil OT USC 6-7 295 Jr.
I also like LSU blue-chip CB Morris Claiborne here. The Rams haven’t had a shutdown corner since Todd Lyht played in STL. The Rams drafted Baylor OT Jason Smith three years ago in the top 10. He has had injury problems but I don’t think they are ready to give up on him; however the health of franchise QB Sam Bradford is the most important thing. On top of that starting RT Roger Saffold has an injury plagued year. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Rams drop back and take OK St. phenom WR Justin Blackmon either.
3. Vikings Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma St. 6-1 211 Jr.
The Vikings need help at a number of positions. A lot of people have Morris Claiborne going here, but I am throwing a curve ball. The Vikings have four WR’s that are unrestricted FA’s. Percy Harvin is a wildcard as a receiver but his health is always in question. Plus, Adrian Peterson can’t keep carrying the load like he is. A big time play-maker is what young QB Christian Ponder and the Vikings need to help forget Randy Moss and strike fear into opposing coaches.
4. Browns Robert Griffin III QB Baylor 6-1 218 Jr.
Colt McCoy is a great competitor but he is limited athletically and nothing more than a stable backup. RG3 brings athleticism and excitement to a mundane and somewhat slow offense. Keep in mind that Peyton Hillis is an UFA and suffered the Madden curse this past off-season. Alabama RB Trent Richardson would be possible here as well if they wanted to wait and take someone like Nick Foles (Arizona QB) or Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M QB) with their 2nd pick in Rd 1 acquired from Atlanta last year.
5. Buccaneers Trent Richardson RB Alabama 5-11 224 Jr.
Ronde Barber is a UFA (along with two other CB’s) this coming off-season and choosing Claiborne as a replacement sounds great, in addition to that CB Aquib Talib is a constant headache off the field. Alabama RB Trent Richardson is the best choice here. There is a shortage of big time RB prospects in this years draft and Lagarette Blount and Ernest Graham are both UFA’s.
6. Redskins Morris Claiborne CB LSU 6-0 173 Jr.
Ok, here is where it gets tricky. The Redskins also have three CB’s listed as UFA’s. ILB’s London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh are both UFA’s, and Inside LB’s are a hot commodity in this year’s draft. Luke Kuechly of Boston College or OT Johnathan Martin would make a ton of sense here. Especially Martin because I am sure the Redskins are going to make a run in the 2nd rd at one the 2nd tier QB prospects, (Nick Foles AZ or Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M).
7. Jaguars Alshon Jeffrey WR S. Carolina 6-4 232 Jr.
Alshon’s speed has come into question lately but I think his performance in last months bowl game has quieted his critics. His work outs will tell the tale if he’s taken this high. The Jaguars can’t afford to walk away from this draft without a big time playmaker for young pup Blaine Gabbert to throw to.
8. Panthers Michael Brockers DT LSU 6-6 306 3rd yr. So.
The Panthers were 25th in opponents rushing yards and has a gaping whole in the middle of their DL. Names like Frank Kearse and Jason Shirley (starting DT’s) don’t scare anyone into not running right at the Panthers. They need good quality DT’s to help keep offensive lineman of LB’s like Jon Beason and leading tackler James Anderson. Brockers brings youth and is a menace to interior lineman. He’s a big boy and hes only adding to a stacked class of quality DT’s.
9. Dolphins Johnathan Martin OT Stanford 6-6 304 Jr.
One of the biggest teams to breathe a sigh of discontent when Matt Barkley (USC) and Landy Jones (OK) returned to school was Miami. Like the Redskins they will have to make a run at Nick Foles or Ryan Tannehill. None the less, protecting their future QB is important. Besides Jake Long at LT the right side of the OL is a mess. Vernon Carey needs to be moved to guard and seems to be injured at least once a year. A player like Martin makes great sense. If you wanna see what I mean, put on the Eagles game from this year. The Eagles DL made back up OT Nate Garner look silly, and Marc Columbo? *On a side note, Packers UFA incumbent QB Matt Flynn should eye Miami as a good landing spot.
10. Bills Riley Reiff OT Iowa 6-6 300 Jr.
Ever since the Bills whiffed on hulking Texas OT Mike Williams years ago, they have shied away from drafting linemen high, but I think that is about to change. Keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick upright and opening holes for new found star Fred Jackson is a priority. I also like 34 OLB Courtney Upshaw (Alabama) or ILB Luke Kuechly (Boston College) here.
11. Chiefs Mark Barron SS Alabama 6-1 223 Sr.
Curveball! I know, I know, slight reach. But ever since the Chiefs reached for DE Tyson Jackson (LSU) years ago I expect anything from them. Eric Berry has been taking a beating in the defensive backfield and can’t do it all on his own. The Chiefs have needs on the OL but also have 3 safeties that are listed as UFA’s. One is former starting SS (and coverage liability) Jon McGraw. Safeties are a hot commodity in the years draft and Barron won’t be around when their next pick comes.
12. Seahawks Quinton Coples DE North Carolina 6-6 272 Sr.
Pete Carroll will be thrilled to see a top five talent on the board when he picks. Aging Raheem Brock and DT playing DE Red Bryant are UFA’s. Also I do like CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama) or ILB Luke Keachly (Boston College) here.
13. Cardinals David DeCastro OG Stanford 6-4 313 Jr.
The Cardinals have big holes on defense but I am putting DeCastro here because they spent a 2nd rd pick on Kevin Kolb; and him being on his back and running for his life is a big problem. When the Cardinals pick in the 3rd the dropoff in talent is tremendous. I like Dre Kirkpatrick here as well to help fill the void at CB.
14. Cowboys Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama 6-1 271 Sr.
The Cowboys have needs along the OL and DL, but they have three LB’s that are UFA’s. Luke Kuechly is also a big possibility here.
15. Eagles Luke Kuechly ILB/OLB Boston College 6-2 235 Jr.
Alright, alright. I prey to the football gods the Eagles don’t screw this pick up, but everything you see above has to happen in order for him to land here. I would advise trading up and forfeiting one of their two 2nd rd picks to get him. The teams in front of them all have needs at LB and would love to add a player the caliber of Keachly. Another question? Kuechly does land in Eagle green, I look for him to move outside. Jamar Chaney is proving more and more every week he can handle the middle and has become a leader on a defense lacking them. Don’t even ask me about Vontaze Burfict (ILB Arizona St.). He needs to keep his nose and brain clear for more than a year at a time to warrant a pick this early.
I also have been hearing clamoring about taking Alabama ILB Donte Hightower. He is not the athlete that Rolando McClain was coming out of Alabama. He needs to work in a 3-4 where his lack of speed and sudden quickness can be covered up. He also had a tremendous supporting cast around him. In addition to that, he has not been the same since injuring his knee two years ago.
Keep in mind, the Eagles have three DT’s that are UFA’s and two DE’s as well. Mike Patterson is also having off season brain surgery, so who knows what condition he will be in, in time for training camp. Hold your breath “Bird Phans” because Devon Still (DT PSU) or Fletcher Cox (DT Miss. St.) are big time possibilities here.
16-32 picks to come!
Forgive me for any typos its late.