Tag Archives: NFL

NFL Mid-Season Top Fives

I usually do a review at the NFL season’s midpoint.  Sometimes I’ll do a preview of things to come.  This year I thought a few random Top 5 lists might be the way to go.  So, here we go…

TOP 5 QUARTERBACKS

1. Aaron Rodgers GB – I hate putting him at #1 because I hate the Packers however you can’t argue with results.  The team is 7-0, he has thrown for 20 TDs and his QB rating is 125.

2. Tom Brady NE – Tom is always in the Top 5.  While the Pats have faltered a bit going into the midway point of the season, Tom should continue to produce with the help of WR Wes Welker and his dynamic duo at Tight End.

3. Drew Brees NO – He leads the NFL in yardage and at times makes this game look very easy.  Sunday night against the Colts was an indication of that.  He has been starting to turn the ball over a lot again but when you throw the ball 40 times a game you are going  to throw a few picks.

4. Matt Stafford DET – I am not sure he’ll be on this list by season’s end but he is on it now.  He has led his team to hard fought and come from behind victories and they’re off to their best start in several decades.  He is a bit banged up and the team is starting to look more human lately.

5. Eli Manning NYG – I have to give it up to Eli.  I am usually very critical of him but he is off to a great start.  He has only thrown 5 Ints and has a QB rating over 100.  He has taken this team on his back and made big plays all season.  As a team they are good but not great.  Eli makes them better and could guide them to a division title.

TOP 5 PLAYMAKERS

1. Aaron Rodgers GB – See above

2. Matt Forte CHI – Where would the Bears be without Matt Forte?  He has almost 700 yards rushing, 400 yards receiving and 3 TDs.  He is the Chicago Bears offense.

3. Adrian Petersen MIN – He is stuck on a terrible Minnesota team and has over 700 yards on the ground at the break.  He has held on to the ball for a change and put the ball in the endzone 8 times.

4. Calvin Johnson DET – The Autobot or Decepticon or whatever the hell he calls himself is “the stud” when it comes to receivers.  This guy makes Matt Stafford that much better.  10TDs at the break says it all.

5. Wes Welker NE / Steve Smith CAR – I was torn here so it is a tie.  Wes has been everything to Tom Brady.  He leads the NFL in receptions and 2nd in yards.  1st in yardage is Steve Smith with over 800 yards at the break.  That is quite the accomplishment for a WR on a bad team with a rookie QB.

TOP 5 BUSTS

1. Chris Johnson TEN – He has gone from the NFL’s top back to 35th in rushing yards with a 2.9 per carry average.  Tennessee is struggling this season but those numbers aren’t all their fault.

2. Sam Bradford STL – From rookie phenom to a total bust out.  He only has 3 TDs, 51% completion percentage, a QB rating of 72 and a team that hasn’t won yet.  Is it all his fault?  Hard to tell but Josh McDaniels is calling the plays.

3. Peyton Hillis CLE – This guy was supposed to be the Browns 1,500 yard battering ram.  He is more like the battered ram as he has missed time for a few different reasons, one being strep throat.  Really?  He only has 211 yards on the ground, 3.5 yards per carry and 2 TDs.

4. Andre Johnson HOU – Fair or not he is hurt again and you can’t produce from the sidelines.  When on the field he isn’t producing as he only has 25 catches for only 350 yards.  He only has 2 TDs and if Houston is going to contend they need production from Andre.

5. Josh Freeman TB – I could have gone a couple of different ways with the last pick but Josh and the Bucs were supposed to be floating to the top of the division, not the bottom.  Josh consistently misses open receivers, his mechanics are off and he has already thrown 10 interceptions.  His QB rating is a sad 73.1.

TOP 5 DEFENSES

1. Baltimore – They are only allowing 13.8 point per game.  With a team offense that has struggled all season they are keeping the Ravens in every game.  They also have 19 sacks, 13 forced fumbles and 3 TDs.

2. San Francisco – Who knew Harbaugh would have such a profound influence on the defensive side of the ball.  They are only allowing 16.2 points per game and sit a top the NFC West.  The Niners have racked up 17 sacks, 8 interceptions, 1 safety and a TD.

3. Cincinnati – The resurrection of the Bengals isn’t with their young TCU QB, it is with their stingy defense.  Like a switch the defense went from bad to good in one season.  They are only allowing 18.5 points per game, 14 sacks and under 280 total yards allowed per game.

4. New York (J) – The Jets have been and should continue to be a roller coaster team all season.  One thing that is pretty consistent is that stingy defense.  They have 18 sacks, 11 interceptions, 9 forced fumbles and 3 TDs.

5. Jacksonville – The roar is back in N.Florida.  They have only allowed 84 points with 14 sacks and 7 interceptions.

TOP 5 ON THE HOT SEAT

1. Andy Reid PHI – Many pre-season polls had the Eagles as the odds on favorites to win the NFC Championship and go to the Superbowl.  Currently they sit at 2-4 at the bottom of their division.  Can they turn things around, finish 10-6 and squeak into the playoffs?  It is possible but chances are slim.  Andy will be looking for work if they can’t manage more than 8 wins.

2. Steve Spagnola STL – He has certainly built a better defense.  It is improving but the offense has been incredibly inconsistent and riddled with injuries.  Is this unraveling Coach Josh McDaniels fault?  Partially, but if they can’t manage at least 6 wins (currently sitting at 0 wins), Steve will be let go.

3. Tony Sparano MIA – Tony is a fiery guy.  He is also a pretty good coach.  However, Miami is sitting at ZERO after playing the equally terrible Broncos to an overtime loss.  A coach needs to find a way to win a game like that.  The Phins have had chances to fix the offense and haven’t.  Perhaps this is more of a front office screw up but we know that if the GM goes, so goes the coach.  I can see that happening.

4. Ken Whisenhunt ARI – Ken and coaches told the GM they were a good QB away from being a playoff contender.  Well, they traded for Kevin Kolb and they sit at the bottom of an mediocre NFC West with 1 win.  If they can’t turn it around, show some progress and end up with 6 or 7 wins, look for ownership to clean house.

5. Lovie Smith CHI – Can we ever get Lovie off of the hot seat?  I don’t think so.  There is way too much talent on this team for them to struggle like they do.  It is how they are coached.  It is the scheme.  It is the lack of adjustments, poor use of time and lack of offensive knowledge.  If they finish in 2nd and get a wildcard spot his job will be safe.  If they finish .500 or less and miss than he could get the axe.

TOP 5 TO CATCH FIRE

1. CAROLINA – Their young QB will make mistakes but he is a playmaker.  Offensively this team ranks near the top of the league and the D is improving.  Not to mention they play softies in Minnesota, Tennessee and Indy.  I look for them to finish around .500.

2. CHICAGO – Despite Lovie being on the never cooling hot seat, I think the Bears are set up for a nice run.  They get the AFC West division along with Seattle, Philly and Detroit and what they get are 7 VERY winable ball games.  The Bears should be 10-4 when they get to their XMAS Day match up with the Packers.

3. JACKSONVILLE – I can’t see them making the playoffs until Gabbert gets a better feel for the offense and the speed of the pro game.  However, the running game is good and the defense is excellent.  There are 5 or 6 very winable games on the back end of this schedule.  The Jags should make a run in this poor division but my guess is they finish about 8-8 and just a game or two back of Houston.

4. DALLAS – After a tough loss to New England, the Cowboys pounded St. Louis in response.  Statistically they are a very good and balanced football team.  They have a 5 game stretch that includes Seattle, Buffalo, Washington, Miami and Arizona.  I look for Dallas to finish with 10 or 11 wins and possibly steal this division title from NY and a struggling Philadelphia.

5. FALCONS – Atlanta struggled early on and have rebounded nicely the last two weeks with wins over improving Carolina and Detroit on the road.  Offensively they are beginning to get things on track and I feel the defense will soon follow suit.  To that add games against Indy, Tennessee and Minnesota and this Falcons team should be neck and neck with New Orleans at the end of the season.

TOP 5 DUMP TAKERS

1. DETROIT –  They started 5-0 and that is great for Detroit fans.  That hasn’t happened in a very long time.  However the feeling here is the Lions bubble is about to burst.  Detroit can’t run the football and they can’t stop the run.  Teams are starting to tee off on an already banged up Stafford.  To that add games against Tebow’s Broncos in Denver, Chicago, Carolina, Green Bay, New Orleans, San Diego and Green Bay again and you have an 8-8 season at best.

2. TENNESSEE – I had hopes for this team as a dark horse in 2011-12.  Those hopes are totally dashed with the subpar performance of Chris Johnson.  The defense was shredded for the 2nd week in a row.  They do have Indy twice but the other games are Cincy, Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa, Buffalo, New Orleans, Jacksonville and Houston. There is no way these guys see 8 wins, more like 6 or 7.

3. GREEN BAY – Now, keep in mind, when I say this I still think they are going to the playoffs.  When you start 7-0 you have nowhere to go but down.  The Packers are very good in areas and look invinsible to the media, but keep in mind they beat New Orleans, Carolina and Minnesota by only one score and perhaps got a little lucky in a couple of those games.  The Saints game was almost a gift.  While they are throwing the ball all over the field they are still having problems running the football.  This could be bad for Rodgers if teams can start bringing more consistent pressure.  On the other side of the ball they can’t seem to stop teams from passing on them.  The problem there is they still have games against Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Eli Manning, Matt Stafford (twice), Josh Freeman, Matt Cassell and perhaps a more settled in Carson Palmer.  These are some big arms against a flimsy defense.  Despite this “slump” the Pack still go 12-4 and win the division but just by the hair of Rodgers chinny chin chin.

I can’t really find a #4 or #5 so I’ll go out on a limb and say San Diego and the NY Giants could run into some issues with their 2nd half schedules.  However I don’t think they’ll “dump” but I think they will struggle a bit.  San Diego should get into the playoffs and NY might struggle to make it if Dallas gets hot.

 

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Sack Lunch

Noon on Sunday! Time for Jay’s sack lunch. Jay Cutler, come and get it!!!! BAM!!!!

The Jay Cutler the Bears traded for was only sacked 11 times in 2008 and he put up ALL WORLD numbers and went to the Pro Bowl.  Jay was sacked more than any other QB in the NFL last season and he has been sacked 11 times already in 2011.

Despite this fact some in the Chicago media (Morrisey for example) will blame it on Jay’s footwork and inability to get rid of the ball.  What?  Every QB in the NFL has about 4 seconds to get rid of the football.  There are many times Jay has about half of that time.  Are their coverage sacks? Sure.  But most times it is Jay dropping back and almost immediately getting dropped.

If the rest of the Bears foes throw aggressive blitz packages against this offensive line, especially without Carimi, they will break the single-season sack record.  Webb has been a turnstile on the left side, Williams is inconsistent and Garza and Spencer need to switch positions.  Oh, and Carimi needs to get healthy.  Until they remedy some of these situations Jay will continue to sit on his ass.

Now I didn’t even cover the other factors like a terrible game called by Mike Martz and WRs, even Sanzenbacher, dropping balls right and left.  They need more consistency out of that WR corps and they need a coordinator who is going to change things up if he realizes the existing game plan is getting his QB killed.

A successful passing game starts with the offensive line.  I watched Tom Brady sit back on his lounge chair the last two weeks, sip some Mojitos and throw for over 900 yards.  You can do that when you have protection.  When a good scheme matches that protection you are going to score a lot of points.

I always wish the best for the Chicago Bears but if they don’t take care of this O-line situation quickly they’ll be out of the division race by mid-season and might be without their star QB even before then.  But haven’t we been talking about this for the last two years?  Aren’t the Bears over $19 million under the salary cap?  Weren’t they’re excellent O-line free agents this summer?  Hmmmmm?

So, for now, enjoy your sack lunch Mr. Cutler.  We promise to start putting more soft foods in it since you will be without teeth to chew your food.

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NFL Hotties 2011 Vol 1

It’s that time again BPD fans.  NFL’s hottest hotties are back.  Enjoy the beauties than enjoy today’s games.  Peace.  And as always, thanks for checking in.

She looks A LOT better than the team she roots for.  Not sure Kolb is your long-term solution.

Ms. Edmundson has ATL looking might fine.  Fans hope their Falcons look this good in Week 2.

Bear Down!  Whoooo!  It’s hot in herre.

I don’t know about the Dolphins being #1 but she might be.

Sexy Eagles fan.  Wow!

New Jersey babes UNITE!  Um, I meant New York.  😉

OK, if I am a Saints fan this is going to be a distraction.  I wonderfully, beautifully, hot distraction, but a distraction none the less.

Remember to prime and paint your steel!

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NFL 2011-12 Predictions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2011 NFL Draft Review

The 2011 NFL Draft has come and gone and many fans are still left wondering if their teams did any good.  With owners locking players out and no CBA there was no free agent period prior to the Draft.  It is almost impossible for the average fan to determine which players are coming back and who is a free agent.  That being said, it was hard to grade any team too harshly.  Some teams may have free agency plans that will cover their other needs.  We just don’t know and only time can tell.  All I can grade on is what these teams needed, what they got and the value of those picks.

Arizona – C+

I thought they should have grabbed Gabbert but the pick of Peterson wasn’t bad.  He is the best player in the draft and gives the Cards two shutdown CBs.  They took the tiny RB from VT in Round 2 when I thought they should have taken an O-Lineman.  They did manager to get a TE and LB in the draft although I’m not sure if they’re gonna play much next year.  Overall a good draft but not addressing OL or a QB in a QB heavy draft denies them the higher grade.

Atlanta – C-

I thought hard about giving them a D grade but I can’t as they will get some production out of the guys they got.  WR Julio Jones is a good WR but he does drop easy balls way too often.  Not to mention they had to give up 5 picks just for him.  I didn’t agree with that move at all.  He isn’t Randy Moss and even if he was I would still say 5 is too many to give up.  RB Rodgers  from Oregon State is a decent move but they moved up to get him too.  He is a 3rd down back at best and his size is a real concern.  They also had needs significant needs at TE and CB that they didn’t address.

Baltimore B+

Ravens score big.  They need a CB and get Jimmy Smith.  He isn’t Patrick Peterson but he is good and should start.  WR Torrey Smith is also a great pick.  Could end up being the best WR of this class.  They also got WR Tandon Doss later on.  He’ll be a nice Red Zone target for sure.  They added a bit on OL and DL and also added QB Tyrod Taylor who I think will develop into a solid back up QB in the NFL.

Buffalo – B

The Bills had a good draft almost on accident when DT Marcel Dareus and CB Aaron Williams fall into their laps.  Luckily they didn’t pass on either of them.  They add more DB and LB depth later in the draft.  They did miss out on a QB but I don’t think there was a good fit for them after the 2nd Round.

Carolina – B

The Panthers add a franchise QB in Cam Newton.  He is a boom or bust pick for sure and now they have to figure out what to do with Jimmy Clausen who should still develop into a solid pro QB.  They do manage to hit all areas of need on defense and OL.  They also add some guys who can help on special teams.

Chicago – B

They were so lucky in this draft.  They botched a move up in Round 1 of the Draft and still landed OL Gabe Carimi who will start at RT or LG.  With the pick they almost dealt in Round 1 they deal it in Round 2 to get DT Stephen Paea.  DB Conte will contribute on defense and special teams as will LB James Thomas.  QB Enderle could develop nicely on the bench if the Bears are smart enough to hold on to him.  They did need a tall, physical WR and didn’t come away with one.

Cincinnati – B+

The Bengals are rebuilding on the fly and are off to a very good start.  Ocho and T.O. are out the door so they take stud WR A.J. Green.  Carson Palmer demands a trade or he’ll retire.  The Bengals answer was to take QB Andy Dalton.   The added much needed depth on their lines with the selection of Moch and Boling.  They also get a late round steal in FS Sands.  This was one of the Bengals better drafts in a long time.

Cleveland – C+

The Browns had quite a few needs so it was hard for them to mess up.  With the change in coaching staffs they needed to address a very thin defensive front and they did so by taking DT Phil Taylor and DE Jabaal Sheard.  Not sure they will be upper echelon linemen, but they are an improvement.  WR Greg Little was also a good pick.   He’ll get plenty of playing time.  They failed to address some other areas of need like LB and S.  With 8 picks you should be able to cover your needs.

Dallas – C +

The Cowboys O-Line was aging and needed a jolt of youth.  That is exactly what they got with the selection of Tyron Smith.  He is a 1st Rounder in size and potential only.  Fans had better be patient with him.  LB Bruce Carter is probably their best pick.  He should make an impact on defense and special teams immediately.  I am not to sure about the DeMarco Murray pick.  They are stocked at RB already.  Perhaps a couple of the veteran have worn out their welcome.  Stay tuned.  They needed D-Line help and didn’t get it.

Denver – B+

It was tough to get this draft wrong since they had so many holes and a new defensive scheme.  LB Von Miller is a spectacular pick.  He should be great for many years to come.  However, I thought the more immediate need was on the D-Line.  S Rahim Moore brings youth and speed to an aging defensive backfield.  Good pick.  OL Orlando Franklin was a good selection and adds depth to their line.  Nate Irving and Quinton Carter were very good mid-round picks and add athletes to what was a poor defense.  They also got a much needed TE in the draft.  Lack of a starting D-Lineman keeps this from being an A draft.

Detroit – B+

Wow, wow, wow!  When they took DT Nick Fairley that was all I could say.  I thought they might take a CB or an O-Lineman.  Instead they take a dominant DT to go with their current dominant DT Suh.  They are going to beat people up.  WR Titus Young should be a nice second option and RB Mikel Leshoure and nice second option in the backfield.  They failed to add needed DB or O-Line help and that is all that keeps them from an A grade.

Green Bay – B

The Pack win the Superbowl and then have a very good draft to follow.  Almost doesn’t seem fair.  OT Derrek Sherrod is going to add much needed depth to the O-Line and develop into a full-time starter on the right side.  The WR corps is getting up there so they take WR Randall Cobb.  He is very fast and has above average hands.  He may displace one of the older veteran receivers.  DB Davon House and TE D.J. William were excellent mid-round picks.  Both should get plent of playing time.  Huge steal could be the 7th Round pick of DT Lawrence Guy.  Many projected him a 4th or 5th Round pick and he slipped.  He could develop into a very solid reserve.  They needed a RB and took Hawaii’s Alex Green.  They had better hope their rookie playoff phenom is the future because Alex is nothing more than a 3rd Down back.

Houston – B

The Texans addressed their biggest need and that was their defensive front 7.  With the change in philosophy they needed linemen and linebackers to fit the system and they got that with the selection of DE J.J. Watt and LB Brooks Reed.  They will start right away.  They’ve also had tons of issues in the defensive backfield and addressed that taking Harris, Carmichael and Keo with the next three picks.  I also liked the addition of QB Yates to develop behind Matt Schaub.  The only miss was not taking a big, bad nose tackle.

Indianpolis – B

This was the “we don’t want you to leave us via free agency Peyton Manning” draft.  How do you do that?  Well, you start by drafting stud O-Linemen, Costanzo and Ijalana, with the first two picks.  Adding DT Drake Nevis in the 3rd was solid.  They did fail to add WR depth but overall, not too bad.

Jacksonville – C+

QB David Garrard is getting old and their isn’t much behind him.  Having Mizzou stud Blaine Gabbert fall into their laps was a blessing.  Blaine will sit for a season or two behind David until he transitions into the pro game.  Good pick.  OL Will Rackley and WR Cecil Shorts are quality mid-round finds.  They should both contribute next season.  Jacksonville left a lot of areas unaddressed at the conclusion of this draft but they only had 5 picks.

Kansas City – B+

The Chiefs did very well this draft.  They addressed just about every area of need.  They reached just a little bit with WR Jon Baldwin in the 1st Round but he should be a decent player.  OL Rodney Hudson was a very good pick.  He can play guard or center.  LB Justin Houston in the 3rd Round.  Bonafide steal in this draft.  Should contribute immediately.  QB Ricky Stanzi was another good pick.  5th Rounder will develop nicely behind Matt Cassell.  Finally, DT Jerrell Powe was a great find in the 6th Round and has a great shot at making the team.

Miami – C

QB was a glaring need for this team and they didn’t address it.  Henne could develop into an OK QB but not the kind you build around.  They did however get OL Mike Pouncey.  He will be a starter from Day 1 and help the run game immensely.  They waited until the next round to get a RB and took Daniel Thomas from K.State.  He is a between the tackles pounder that will replace the departing Rickey Williams.  Not much speed to get outside however.  WR wasn’t a pressing need but they got Edmund Gates who could develop into a decent #2 receiver.

Minnesota – C

Why on earth do you select QB Christian Ponder with the #12 pick.  He was anywhere between 25-40 on most boards.  They could have easily moved down 5 to 10 spots, picked up a couple of extra picks and still taken him.  TE Kyle Rudolph was a good pick in the next round but it wasn’t a pressing need.  I thought their mid-round picks of DE Christian Ballard, DB Brandon Burton and OL DeMarcus Love were pretty good.  They could contribute next season.

New England – C+

The Pats usually get an A or B+ rating from me but not this year.  They solidified their O-Line by taking Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon.  CB Ras I Dowling was also a good pick and should contribute right away.  Taking QB Ryan Mallett was a low risk-high reward kind of pick.  He is certainly a guy that could develop into the heir apparent to Tom Brady.  However this team needed youth and speed at WR and a stud DE and didn’t get them with all the picks they had.

New Orleans – B+

The Saints certainly got better after this draft.  They needed to infuse some youth and talent in their defensive front 7 and did that with the selection of DE Cameron Jordan and LB Martez Wilson.  They will contribute right away and for a long time for this team.  The pick of RB Mark Ingram was brilliant.  They Saints are full of underachieving or injury prone backs.  They needed a durable, hard running guy who can carry the ball 20 to 25 times.  Ingram will start right away and one or two of their current group will be looking for work elsewhere.

New York (G) – B+

The Giants had needs and filled them all in this draft.  Having CB Prince Amurakara fall to 19 certainly helps.  He will contribute immediately.  DT Marvin Austin could go either way.  He may do well as the system fits his attributes but will a year off of football put him behind everyone else.  The Giants love those speedy, little WRs and took another one in Jerrell Jernigan.  He will be a slot WR and special teams contributor.  OL James Brewer will add much needed depth on the O-Line and finding LG Greg Jones in the 6th Round was a steal.  He will contribute in the LB rotation and special teams.  S Tyler Sash will also have a great chance and making the team.

New York (J) – C

Did the J-E-T-S get some good players?  Yes.  Did they address their needs?  Not necessarily.  They took DT Muhammed Wilkerson with the 1st pick and then Kenrick Ellis with the 2nd.  Perhaps they will use Wilkerson as a DE in their scheme otherwise the pick didn’t make too much sense.  I wouldn’t call taking WR Jeremy Kerley from TCU “addressing” your WR needs.  The pick of RB Bilal Green didn’t make too much sense either.  They have Green and LT.   They failed to address S, O-Line and LB.

Oakland – C

The Raiders are slowly turning things around but this very mediocre draft isn’t going to help them get to the next level.  I figured they would take C Stefan Wieskniewski with the 1st pick.  They guy was made to be a Raider and he should contribute right away.  CB DeMarcus VanDyke with the 81st overall pick was a bit of a mystery.  Davis loves combine guys and that is all this guy is.  His production at the college level was very pedestrian.  OL Joseph Barksdale was a good mid-round pick.  He should make the team and start at RT down the road.  DB Chimdi Chekwa and RB Taiwan Jones should make the team.  They did need a QB to develop and failed to get one.

Philadelphia – B

The Eagles did  well and addressed a lot of areas of concern.  G Danny Watkins is an earth mover and a solid pick.  He should start right away.  The Eagles defensive backfield was a bit of a mess and they may have fixed it with the picks of Jaiquawn Jarrett and Curtis Marsh.  LB Casey Matthews is a bit undersized but they said that about Dat Ngyuen and Zach Thomas.  This kid can play.  A 4th Rounder on kicker Alex Henery means David Akers will be looking for a new employer.

Pittsburgh – C+

Defensive backfield may have been a greater need the Steelers couldn’t pass up on DT Cam Heyward to shore up the D-Line.  OL Marcus Gilbert may end up being a RT but is an excellent pass protector, which Big Ben needs badly.  They take DBs Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen.  Both are decent enough to make a squad but I don’t see significant contributions from either one.  DL Chris Carter will play LB in the Steelers scheme.  He could develop into a starter but will be a reserve and special teamer for now.

San Diego – B+

The Chargers went into this draft aggressively and came out with most of their needs met.  They surprised everyone by taking DT Corey Liguet.  He is and excellent DT and may have the athletic ability to play DE in their scheme.  Marcus Gilchrist and Shareece Wright will shore up their defensive backfield.  WR Vincent Brown could be a mid-round steal.  He is a very polished player and will contribute right away.  RB Jordan Todman from UConn is a younger clone of Darren Sproles.  He should fit in just fine.

San Francisco – C

The 49ers make everyone scratch their heads when they take DE Aldon Smith with the 7th overall pick.  Gabbert was still there.  Prince Amurakara was still there.  Aldon is good and will contribute but it just seemed that he was picked 5 to 8 spots higher than he should have gone and there were other more significant needs and players to fill those needs at that pick.  They do get their QB in Colin Kaepernick.  He has great intangibles but he is a project and isn’t ready to start.  They will need a bridge QB.    They find a nice RB in the 4th Round in Kendall Hunter.  He is a bruiser like Gore and will take some of the pressure off of him.    They needed another LB and S and didn’t get one.

Seattle – D

The Seahawks are my only “under C” grade of the draft.  Not sure what they were doing here.  They shore up the O-Line with Carpenter and Moffitt which is a good thing but Carpenter wasn’t a 1st Round pick and Moffitt wasn’t a 2nd Round pick.  They certainly could have maneuvered around, picked up extra picks and still got their guys.  None of the other players are really worth mentioning and they failed to draft an heir apparent to QB Matt Hasselbeck.

St. Louis – B

The Rams did a very nice job of addressing their needs.  They took DE Robert Quinn in the the 1st Round.  He is a beast and will contribute right away.  They needed an athletic TE that can stretch the middle of the field and got one in Lance Kendricks.  They also needed more weapons for QB Bradford and got WRs Pettis and Salas.  Pettis will be a solid 3rd WR and Salas is a speedy, homerun hitter.  They did miss out on a getting a RB to develop behind Steven Jackson.

Tampa Bay – B+

The Bucs did a very nice job.  They took care of any issues on the D-Line by taking DE/LB Adrian Clayborn and DE DaQuan Bowers.  If Bowers can stay healthy, he and Clayborn will wreak havoc on that side of the ball for a long time.  LB Mason Foster is a quick, athletic player who should contribute right away.  TE Luke Stocker should give them another weapon on offense.  S Ahmad Black slipped to their pick and Round 5 and should contribute on passing downs and special teams.

Tennessee – C

QB Jake Locker at #8?  All week people were wondering if he would go in the 1st Round.  Instead he went in the 1st Round before Blaine Gabbert.  Wow!  Locker could develop into a serviceable QB but if he starts right away it is going to be a rough baptism for him.  They did redeem themselves by taking LB Ayers, DT Jurrell Casey and LB Colin McCarthy to shore up their defensive front 7.  I look for Ayers to surprise a lot of people and be a candidate for defensive rookie of the year.

Washington – B

QB was at the very top of there to-do list and didn’t come away with one.  Perhaps Shanahan has his eye on the free agent.  The Redskins next biggest need was that poor defensive line and they came away with two potential starters in Kerrigan and Jenkins.  Kerrigan is a great edge rusher and Jenkins is a force in the middle that will demand double teams.  WR Leonard Hankerson was a great value pick and should be a target for whatever guy ends up QBing this team.  WR Nile Paul from Nebraska was another great value pick in Round 5.  This big, physical WR should make the team.

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BPD Mock Draft – Rounds 1-3

The NFL ‘unofficially’ kicks off its 2011-12 season tonight with Round 1 of the NFL Draft.  This year will certainly have a different taste.  The owners have locked out the players, or have they.  Judges are ruling and not turning over the ruling but owners still won’t let them in.  Meanwhile the free agency period that usually takes place prior to the Draft has not occurred.  This should be a very unpredictable draft because of that and due to the fact there are 5 and possibly 6 QBs that grade inside the Top 50.  This means teams in need of an arm, and there are at least 10 teams in need of a QB, will be jockeying for position to get one.  Some teams with many picks, New England for example, will use that to their favor by acquiring more picks for this season and next.  All in all it should be a very interesting night and weekend.  So, even though almost all the Mock Drafts in the country will be toast by the 10th pick, I present you with the BPD 2011 Mock NFL Draft.

ROUND 1 

Pick       Team                        Player                        Position       School

1               Carolina                Cam Newton            QB             Auburn

2               Denver                  Marcel Dareus        DT            Alabama

3               Buffalo                    Von Miller              LB            Texas

4               Cincinnati            A.J. Green               WR            Georgia

5               Arizona                  Blaine Gabbert       QB            Missouri

6               Cleveland            Nick Fairley            DT            Auburn

7               San Francisco            Patrick Peterson            CB            LSU

8               Tennessee            Robert Quinn            DE            UNC

9               Dallas                  Anthony Castonzo      OT            BC

10           Washington            J.J. Watt              DE            Wisconsin

11           Houston                  Prince Amukamara      CB            Nebraska

12           Minnesota            Jake Locker           QB            Washington

13           Detroit                  Tyron Smith            OT            USC

14           St. Louis                  Julio Jones           WR            Oklahoma

15           Miami                  Mike Pouncey            G            Florida

16           Jacksonville            Ryan Kerrigan       DE            Purdue     

17           New England (oak)      Aldon Smith    DE/LB      Missouri

18           San Diego            Da’Quan Bowers       DE            Clemson

19           NY Giants            Akeem Ayers            LB            UCLA

20           Tampa Bay            Adrian Clayborn    DE            Iowa

21           Kansas City            Nate Solder               OT            Colorado

22           Indianapolis            Gabe Carimi          OT            Wisconsin

23           Philadelphia            Jimmy Smith         CB            Colorado

24           New Orleans            Cameron Jordan     DE            California

25           Seattle                  Derrick Sherrod          OT            Miss. State

26           Baltimore            Muhammed Wilkerson      DT            Temple     

27           Atlanta                  Cam Heyward            DE            Ohio State

28           New England            Mark Ingram       RB            Alabama

29           Chicago                  Corey Liuget              DT            Illinois

30           NY Jets                  Phil Taylor                  DT            Baylor

31           Pittsburgh            Brandon Harris      CB            Miami (FL)

32           Green Bay            Mikel LeShoure        RB            Illinois

 

ROUND 2

 Pick                  Team                         Player                     Position        School

1               New England (Car)      Torrey Smith      WR       Maryland

2               Buffalo                   Ryan Mallett                  QB         Arkansas

3               Cincinnati             Rahim Moore               S            UCLA

4               Denver                    Brooks Reed                 LB            Arizona

5               Cleveland             Aaron Williams            CB        Texas A&M

6               Arizona                   Justin Houston          LB            Georgia

7               Tennesee            Colin Kaepernick           QB            Nevada

8               Dallas                  Curtis Brown                  CB            Texas

9               Washington            Christian Ponder    QB            FSU

10           Houston                  Jabaal Sheard             DE            Pitt

11           Minnesota            Quinton Carter             S           Oklahoma

12           Detroit                  Jerrel Jernigan             WR            Troy

13           San Francisco            Andy Dalton          QB            TCU

14           Denver (mia)            Ryan Williams        RB            V. Tech

15           St. Louis                  Jordan Todman          RB            U Conn

16           Oakland                  Stefan Wiesniewski   G/C         Penn State

17           Jacksonville            Martez Wilson           LB            Illinois

18           San Diego            DeAndre McDaniel        S            Clemson

19           Tampa Bay            Jason Pinkston            OT            Pitt     

20           NY Giants            Davon House                  CB            N.M. St.

21           Indianapolis            Leonard Hankerson   WR         Miami

22           Philadelphia            Christian Ballard      DE            Iowa

23           Kansas City            Kenrick Ellis                DT            Hampton

24           New Orleans            Stephen Paea            DT            Oregon St.

25           Seattle                  James Carpenter            OT            Alabama

26           Baltimore            Johnny Patrick               CB        Louisville     

27           Atlanta                  Kyle Rudolph                TE         Notre Dame

28           New England            Marcus Cannon      OT            TCU

29           San Diego (nyj)            Bruce Carter        LB            UNC

30           Chicago                  Jon Baldwin                  WR            Pitt

31           Pittsburgh            Danny Watkins            G            Baylor

32           Green Bay            Allen Bailey                    DE            Miami

 

ROUND 3

Pick        Team                    Player                         Position          School

1               Carolina                  Ras I Dowling            CB            Virginia

2               Cincinnati             Marvin Austin          DT            UNC

3               Denver                  Luke Stocker            TE            Tennessee

4               Buffalo                  Sam Acho                  DE            Texas

5               Arizona                   Rodney Hudson     G/C            Florida

6               Cleveland             Quan Sturdivant     LB            UNC

7               Dallas                  Jaiquawn Jarrett        S            Temple

8               New Orleans (was)    DeMarco Murray    RB    Oklahoma

9               Houston                  Titus Young             WR          Boise State

10           New England (min)      Drake Nevis      DT            LSU

11           Detroit                  Daniel Thomas            RB            Kansas St.

12           San Francisco         Brandon Burton     CB            Utah

13           Tennessee            Greg Jones                  LB            Michigan St.

14           St. Louis                  Ahmad Black              S            Florida

15           Miami                  Ricky Stanzi                  QB            Iowa

16           Jacksonville            Terrence Tolliver     WR          LSU

17           Oakland                  D.J. Williams            TE            Arkansas

18           San Diego            Tandon Doss            WR            Indiana

19           NY Giants            Joseph Barksdale     OT            LSU

20           Tampa Bay            Clint Boling               G            Georgia

21           Philadelphia            Chimdi Chekwa    CB            Ohio State

22           Kansas City            Greg Little                 WR            UNC

23           Indianapolis            Tyler Sash                S            Iowa

24           New Orleans            Colin McCarthy      LB            Miami

25           San Diego (sea)      Dontay Moch           LB            Nevada

26           Baltimore            DeMarcus Love            OT            Arkansas

27           Atlanta                  Jacquizz Rodgers         RB            Oregon St.

28           New England            Chris Carter             LB            Fresno St.

29           Chicago                  Orlando Franklin      OT/G            Miami

30           NY Jets                  Randall Cobb               WR          Kentucky

31           Pittsburgh            James Brewer            OT           Indiana

32           Green Bay            Cecil Shorts                  WR            Mt. Union

 

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2011 NFL Draft – Team-by-Team Analysis

Arizona – Team Needs (LB, G, QB)

The Cards are desperate for an energetic, pass rushing LB and Von Miller fits the bill.  If Von Miller is off the board they may target QBs Gabbert or Newton.  The Cards could go inside in R2 taking LB Martez Wilson.  G Danny Watkins is also a possibility.

Atlanta – Team Needs (DE, TE, WR)

The Falcons would like the best DE on the board and that could be Cam Heyward or J.J. Watt.  If they’re gone TE Kyle Rudolph could be tempting.  They need to add depth to the WR corps so they could take WR Randall Cobb or TE Luke Stocker if they don’t land Kyle in R1.

Baltimore – Team Needs (CB, DE, DT, WR)

CB Jimmy Smith will be the only CB worth taking at the Raven R1 pick.  They could end up taking the best player available in R2 and that could be DE Christian Ballard or WR Titus Young.

Buffalo – Team Needs (DE, QB, LB)

It will be tempting to select a QB with this pick but they have to address the defensive line.  DE Robert Quinn would immediately make that unit better.  They should stay defense in R2 going after LB Akeem Ayers in R2.

Carolina – Team Needs (QB, DT, CB, TE)

The Panthers need a lot so it will be tempting to trade down if they can.  If they stay with the pick they will take either QB Cam Newton or DT Marcel Dareus.  If they pass on QB in R1 they will almost certainly consider QB Ponder or Locker if available.  If not they’ll consider TE Rudolph or a CB like Jimmy Smith or Brandon Harris.

Chicago – Team Needs (OT, G, DT, WR)

If they stay at their pick they’ll target DT Corey Liuget or Stephan Paea.  In R2 they’ll take an OT like Marcus Cannon or Jason Pinkston.  If their isn’t an OT or G worth taking tall WR Jonathan Baldwin should be available.

Cincinnati – Team Needs (WR, QB, S, RB)

One of the few picks I’m pretty certain of is the Bengals taking WR A.J. Green as Ocho and T.O. get ready to depart.  The Bengals will almost certainly look at QBs Locker, Mallett or Dalton in R2 as Palmer also has a foot out the door.

Cleveland – Team Needs (DE, DT, WR, CB)

DE DaQuan Bowers should be the pick but he could slide due to knee issues.  If that’s the case they’ll consider WR Julio Jones.  If they don’t take Jones in R1 they will look at a WR like Torrey Smith in R2.

Dallas – Team Needs (S, CB, OL, QB)

The Cowboys have several needs but the most pressing might be in the defensive backfield.  CB Prince Amukamara should be available for them in R1.  The Cowboys will take the best available in R2 and that could be S Rahim Moore or OT James Carpenter.

Denver – Team Needs (DT, DE, S, LB)

Defense is the theme and getting a dominate interior defensive lineman is the priority.  DT Dareus or Fairley is the pick at #2.  They have 2 second round picks and with that they should take best defenders available.  S Quinton Carter and OLB Akeem Ayers are likely targets.

Detroit – Team Needs (OLB, RB, WR)

OT isn’t a pressing need but if OT Anthony Costanzo is the best on the board at the time they may take him.  They could trade down too.  In the 2nd Round they will target someone like LB Brooks Reed.

Green Bay – Team Needs (RB, OT, DE, Return Specialist)

Despite winning a championship this team does have needs.  They aren’t very deep and need to use this draft to fill the holes.  If RB Mikel LeShoure is on the board it would be a very smart pick.  In the 2nd Round they will target players like OT Jason Pinkston or CB Davon House.

Houston – Team Needs (DE, LB, CB)

Houston is another team that needs defense, defense and more defense.  Come their pick in Round 1 they may just take the best defender on the board and that could be DE Cameron Jordan or CB Prince Amukamara.  If they miss on the Prince in Round 1, CB will become a priority in the 2nd Round where they’ll look at guys like CB Aaron Williams or Curtis Brown.

Indianapolis – Team Needs (OT, WR, S, CB)

This is a team that is beginning to slide a bit and have quite a few holes to fill.  Protecting their aging QB is a priority and in the 1st Round they’ll target OT Gabe Carimi or Derrek Sherrod.  In Round 2 they’ll take a WR to add depth to their corps.  WR Randall Cobb or Titus Young should be available.

Jacksonville – Team Needs (S, DE, CB, OLB)

The Jags need to rebuild their defense.  They need a pass rushing DE or LB and will target one in Round 1 with the selection of either Aldon Smith or Adrian Clayborn.  They will take a defender in Round 2 as well.  They’ll target S Rahim Moore or LB Justin Houston.

Kansas City – Team Needs (OT, G, WR, DT)

The Chiefs would love to add a road grading NT to their defensive line and if Phil Taylor is available he should be the guy.  However there are a few other big boys later in the draft that might fill the spot so they could take an OT like Nate Solder instead.  In the 2nd Round they will look OL again and take someone like G/C Rodney Hudson.

Miami – Team Needs (QB, RB, WR, G, C)

RB Mark Ingram tends to be the popular selection as the Phins will more than likely say goodbye to Rickey Williams.  However they have had issues on their offensive line and G Mike Pouncey would be a solution.  In Round 2 they will look at WR Tandon Doss or G Clint Boling if they don’t take Pouncey in R1.  They do need a QB too but they may wait until the mid-rounds.

Minnesota – Team Needs (S, DE, QB, WR)

A few weeks ago I would have said DE Cam Jordan or J.J. Watt.  However Ponder and Locker have been shooting up the draft boards and may not be their for them in Round 2.  Should be an interesting pick.  If they miss out on a QB in the 1st Round they’ll look at Dalton in Round 2.

New England – Team Needs (OLB, OL, QB, WR)

The rich get richer and the Patriots will add 6 guys in the first 92 picks.  I look for them to move one or two of them and add more picks next season.  In the 1st Round they will look at a pass rusher like Clayborn or Aldon Smith.  With the additional picks they will will at guys like LB Akeem Ayers, OT Derrek Sherrod, WR Torrey Smith and a QB like Colin Kaepernick is also a possibility.

New Orleans – Team Needs (RB, LB, DE, DT, S)

The Saints have some holes and they need to fill them in the draft and free agency if they are to remain competitive in a tough NFC South.  A DE like Ryan Kerrigan or J.J. Watt will be targeted in Round 1.  They will then turn their attention to the defensive backfield in the 2nd Round taking CB Ras I Dowling or S Quinton Carter.

New York G – Team Needs (OL, CB, LB)

Protection of QB Eli Manning is the priority and it should be, always.  OT Tyron Smith or Nate Solder is the likely pick.  CB Davon House or Johnny Patrick could be the target in the 2nd Round.  LB Quan Sturdivant is also a possibility.

New York J – Team Needs (OT, OLB, DE, WR)

The Jets needs are mostly depth needs.  They need a more consistent effort from the front seven and a DE or LB will be the 1st Round pick.  LB Akeem Anyers or DE Jabaal Sheard will be targeted in Round 1.  OT will be the focus in Round 2 and the pick will be Joseph Barksdale or James Brewer.

Oakland – Team Needs (CB, G, C, TE)

The Raiders are finally starting to look like a legitimate football team again.  If they do well in this draft the playoffs aren’t too far away.  The problem with that is they have no 1st Rounder.  C/G Stefan Wiesniewski would be a great 2nd Round selection and TE D.J. Williams might slide to them in Round 3.

Philadelphia – Team Needs (OT, DE, CB)

The Eagles need to score big at a couple of positions.  Lucky for them the rush on QBs could benefit them and their needs.  DE Ryan Kerrigan could be their for them in Round 1 and CB Jimmy Smith almost certainly will.  Depending how Round 1 goes CB Ras I Dowling or DE Christian Ballard will be the targets in Round 2.

Pittsburgh – Team Needs (CB, DE, DT, G)

The runner ups in 2010-11 are in desperate need of help at the CB position.  Lucky for the Steelers CB Brandon Harris Should be sitting pretty for them in the 1st Round.  They also need a big presence in the middle of the defensive line and small school stud DT Kenrick Ellis should be the guy in Round 2.

St. Louis – Team Needs (RB, S, WR)

The Rams and their young, stud QB are a team on the rise.  With a new offensive game plan in the works WR Julio Jones is the likely pick in the 1st Round.  In the 2nd Round they either go depth at RB with the pick of Ryan Williams or they take a much needed safety in Rahim Moore.

San Diego – Team Needs (DE, LB, S)

The Bolts need to infuse some youth and speed into the defensive front 7.  In the 1st Round they will look hard at LB Adrian Clayborn and DE Aldon Smith.  In the 2nd Round they have 2 picks.  They’ll target S Quinton Carter, LB Justin Houston, LB Quan Sturdivant and possibly DE/LB Sam Acho.

San Francisco – Team Needs (QB, LB, CB)

This is the team that could shake up the whole draft.  The Niners could go a couple of different directions.  They could, and probably will take the best player available and that would be CB Patrick Peterson.  They could take a much needed QB and Jake Locker, someone Harbaugh is very familiar with, could be the QB they take.  They could also slide down a bit and add picks.  If they take Peterson the Niners will target QB Dalton or Kaepernick in Round 2.

Seattle – Team Needs (QB, OL, DE)

What a surprise, another team that needs a QB.  Lucky for the Hawks it isn’t as pressing a situation as some other teams in the league.  For that reason they’ll bluff taking a QB and more than likely end up with DE Cameron Heyward or Ryan Kerrigan.  In the 2nd Round they’ll take the best offensive lineman available and that could be Marcus Cannon or Jason Pinkston.

Tampa Bay – Team Needs (DE, LB, OL)

The Bucs are a good team but they do have some holes to plug on their lines.  DE J.J. Watt or Aldon Smith could be the pick in the 1st Round.  The Bucs would love for Justin Houston or Quan Sturdivant to be there for them in Round 2.  If they’re gone, OT James Carpenter should be there for them.

Tennessee – Team Needs (QB, DE, LB, WR)

QB is certainly a need for the Titans but I just don’t see Gabbert or Newton falling to them.  They may end up taking DE Bowers or Jordan if the QB they want isn’t there.  The Titans could get lucky in the 2nd Round and have QB Ryan Mallett slip to them.  If he’s gone they go WR Leonard Hankerson or Torrey Smith and look at QB a bit later in the Draft.

Washington – Team Needs (QB, DT, DE, LB)

If Newton or Gabbert slip the Skins will jump on either of them.  I don’t anticipate that so they probably take the best DL available.  The 1st Round pick will probably be DE Da’Quan Bowers or Cam Jordan.  QB Christian Ponder is a possible 2nd Round pick if he slips out of the 1st Round.  More than likely they will address the void in the middle of the d-line with DT Phil Taylor.

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