April 30, 2012

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Top 2012 NFL Draft Surprises

By: Anson Whaley

With this year’s NFL Draft concluded, there were, as always, plenty of surprises. Here were some of the big ones from last week’s mega event.

Browns Trade up to grab Trent Richardson: Few would argue that Richardson is a top talent in this year’s draft. He was projected by most as the top running back, so it’s difficult to lambaste Cleveland too much for this pick. But it’s what the Browns gave up that made this a bit of a head-scratcher. Cleveland was so determined to snag Richardson that they gave up 4th, 5th, and 7th round picks to move up a single spot in the trade to Minnesota. The Vikings already have Adrian Peterson, so there was little chance they would have drafted Richardson. The Browns were hedging against the possibility of another team moving up in front of them and wanted to be sure they got their man. Still, three picks was probably a bit much to move up a single spot.

Redskins Draft RGIII … and then Kirk Cousins: Talk about a fairly awkward moment. The Redskins, as expected, took Heisman winner Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 pick overall, essentially making him their franchise quarterback. Washington is without any real stability under center, so it’s safe to say that he’ll probably get his shot to start sooner rather than later. Teams are usually interested in giving a young quarterback weapons, but the Redskins did just the opposite in the third round. You could almost hear the collective ‘huh’ from fans after Washington drafted Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the third round. The move made little sense as the Redskins have more pressing needs and instead of giving Griffin a weapon to make the team better, they drafted another player at his position that probably won’t play much. It’s doubtful that Cousins will really push Griffin, but Washington appeared to be buying some insurance with this move. If Griffin doesn’t pan out, then it could be argued that this was a wise move. But until that happens, the Cousins pick warrants plenty of criticism.

 

RG3 will be joined by fellow QB Kirk Cousins in Washington this year.

Patriots Trade up to take Dont’a Hightower: Hightower was one of the elite linebackers in this draft and once the Steelers passed on him, New England moved up in the first round to take him fearing he wouldn’t last long. Hightower was a prime target of the Steelers, but once highly-rated guard David DeCastro fell to them, they couldn’t resist the opportunity to upgrade their offensive line. That opened the door for the Patriots to, in turn, upgrade their defense – one of the league’s worst last season.

Seahawks take Bruce Irvin at No. 15: This was perhaps the first big reach of the first round and one of the bigger ones in the whole draft. Irvin was a strong player for West Virginia, no doubt. But there are questions that he may not even be able to play every down in the NFL since he’s fairly one-dimensional, used mainly as a pass-rusher. Seattle could have probably traded down to secure an additional pick or two and still ended up with him if he was really the guy they wanted all along.

Mohamed Sanu gets Scammed: The story of the entire draft may have been when Sanu was prank-called by a fan claiming to be a Bengals representative, saying the team was taking him in the first round. An excited Sanu and company were then mortified when Cincinnati went with Kevin Zeitler and hilarity ensued in the Twittersphere. Ordinarily you might feel bad laughing about something like that, but the Bengals took him later in the draft so everything turned out fine. Still, imagine being told you were drafted only to find out you weren’t. Embarrassing.

April 26, 2012

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NFL Mock Draft

By: Junior

NFL Mock Drafts are never accurate, but they are incredibly fun to make and tear apart after 10 picks. Here is my mock draft attempt:

1.       Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

The pick is already in. The Colts will rebuild around their new franchise QB.

2.       Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Mike Shanahan hopes RGIII is what the Redskins need to get them into the playoffs.

The Redskins will rally around RG3 and look to him to make a playoff run in the NFC East.

3.       Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil, OT, USC

The first pick that hasn’t already been made, the Vikings give Ponder a LT to grow with.

4.       Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

The Browns cannot pass on a stud RB to help control clock in the AFC North.

5.       Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

The Bucs get the top CB in the draft, and the eventual replacement of Ronde Barber.

6.       St. Louis Rams – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Sam Bradford gets his #1 receiver for years to come.

7.       Jacksonville Jaguars – Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

Jacksonville could go in a lot of directions, but I really like what Gilmore brings to their defense.

8.       Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Miami is desperate for a QB, and I think they reach to get one with the 8th pick.

9.       Carolina Panthers – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

Panthers need help up front and Fletcher Cox is a safe player with Pro Bowl potential.

10.   Buffalo Bills – Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Kuechly would be another great addition to the Bills re-stocked defense.

11.   Kansas City Chiefs – David DeCastro, G, Stanford

Guards don’t normally go this high in the draft, but DeCastro isn’t a normal guard.

12.   Seattle Seahawks – Quinton Coples, DE, UNC

Seattle needs to be able to get to the QB and Coples can provide just that.

13.   Arizona Cardinals – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Larry Fitzgerald has faced constant double-teams since Anquan Boldin left. Floyd can change that.

14.   Dallas Cowboys – Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Barron immediately upgrades their Secondary and starts Day 1.

15.   Philadelphia Eagles – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

Andy Reid loves to build depth on his lines in the Draft. Brockers would be great in rotation.

16.   New York Jets – Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina

Rex Ryan would love having teams guess where Ingram will be lining up each play.

17.   Cincinnati Bengals – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Corner is a big need for the Bengals, and they get a stud in Kirkpatrick.

18.   San Diego Chargers – Whitney Mercilus, OLB, Illinois

Mercilus can be the rush OLB the Chargers have been missing since Shawne Merriman.

19.   Chicago Bears – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Could go WR, but with Reiff still on the board I think they try to keep Jay Cutler upright.

20.   Tennessee Titans – Cordy Glenn, G/OT, Georgia

The Titans need help at Guard and Tackle. Glenn can play either spot.

21.   Cincinnati Bengals – Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin

The Bengals are back on the clock, and fortify the interior line for Andy Dalton.

22.   Cleveland Browns – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

With Trent Richardson already selected, the Browns continue to upgrade their offensive weapons.

23.   Detroit Lions – Jonathon Martin, OT, Stanford

The Lions may look to trade down with no corners of value here. If not they have to get a Tackle.

24.   Pittsburgh Steelers – Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

With no offensive lineman to pick, the Steelers would love to add Hightower to their linebacker corps.

25.   Denver Broncos – Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

Denver has a HUGE need at DT. They get a HUGE DT in Poe.

26.   Houston Texans – Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

A big WR opposite Andre Johnson could be too good to pass up.

27.   New England Patriots – Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise St.

The Patriots need a pass rushing OLB and McClellin would be a great fit.

28.   Green Bay Packers – Doug Martin, RB, Boise St.

The Packers could easily go with either Upshaw or McClellin, but getting the #2 RB would help as well.

29.   Baltimore Ravens – Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

With Hightower gone,  Konz could be the pick, but an OLB opposite Terrell Suggs could be lethal.

30.   San Francisco 49ers – Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

Harbaugh likes tough, smash-mouth football. Konz could fortify the line for the 49ers.

31.   New England Patriots – Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame

No one thinks the Patriots make both 1st round picks, but Smith fits a need.

32.   New York Giants – Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

The Giants always go best player available. Fleener is that guy in this draft.