Wednesday, January 23, 2008
6. New York Jets - If the top 5 selections go as I wrote last week the New York Jets would have no other option but to select Arkansas RB, Darren McFadden. If the only reason for selecting McFadden was to keep him away from division rival New England, I'd do it. In a two-back system that included Laurence Maroney, the Patriots backfield would be darn near unstoppable. With the Jets having Thomas Jones & then adding McFadden it would allow some pressure off of Kellen Clemens and give him time to become an actual passer, something Pennington could never get right. McFadden has all-world potential perhaps even more so than last year rookie sensation, Adrian Peterson. Generally I follow the "Ki-Jana Carter" rule of thumb, if you think he's to good to be true, he probably is. You also don't want to be that team that allows New England to rip off another 19 win season. Jets take McFadden w/ fingers crossed. (this is as high as Ohio St. linebacker/defensive end Vernon Gholston goes, an obvious improvement on defense Gholston would give them youth and athleticism. With McFadden off the board the Jets would most likely choose Gholston.)
7. New England Patriots (from 49ers) - Not Glenn Dorsey, Chris Long, or Jake Long dropping this far could get New England to keep this pick. Keith Rivers and Dan Connor won't be playing in Foxboro, the "hoodie" doesn't draft linebackers to play in his scheme, even if they are from western Pennsylvania. Animals kid, linebacker James Laurinaitis decided to play another year in Columbus, Ohio so he's out. Another Buckeye standout, CB Malcolm Jenkins also decided to stay and play out his senior campaign rather than join one of the best underclassmen classes to ever enter the draft, so he's out. The Patriots will need help in the defensive backfield due to free agency, old age, and lack of usable HGH, sorry Rodney. With Asante Samuel playing out his last year in New England and set to make "Champ Bailey" like dollars he too will be hitting the bricks. Do I think the Pats would choose THIS year to use that top 10 pick on a strong rookie DB? No. If they determine that a first round DB, either Kansas' Aqib Talib or Mike Jenkins out of South Florida is the guy they covet then most likely one or the other will be there a few picks later, allowing New England to get out of the top 10 and more importantly allowing them to not pay top 10 money for a rookie corner. Traded.
8. Baltimore Ravens - Welcome to the beltway Mr. Brohm. I'd like to assume with Brian Billick out in Baltimore, that the Kyle Boeller project will continue somewhere else, Gruden loves quarterbacks right? John Harbaugh isn't exactly in the position to start off trusting Kyle Boeller, so maybe a new quarterback is the primary need. Starting from scratch, with a quarterback he can coach up, would be ideal. Brohm is clearly one of the top 2 quarterbacks in this years NFL draft, he possesses NFL size at 6'4" and has tremendous arm strength. Brohms numbers didn't miss a beat in 2007 despite starting over with a new head coach after the departure of turncoat Bobby Petrino. His senior campaign produced a 4,000 yard passing season to go along with 30 touchdown passes. With few free agents on their roster this year it will allow the Ravens to go out and spend some money on a possible veteran o-lineman and wide out, to improve Brohms chances. The uncertainty surrounding the play of Hurricane Willis McGahee is certaintly troubling but with the offense having more of a focus on him and coach Harbaugh easing the young rookie into the NFL while still having 2006 Heisman Trophy winner, Troy Smith in Baltimore to experiment with may allow Brohm some time to be acclimated to the NFL. Widely considered the most NFL ready quarterback in the draft, Brohm has a huge upside. He lacks the poise and natural leadership of Matt Ryan but makes up for it in his god giving talents. With the #8 selection in the draft, Baltimore takes Louisville QB, Brian Brohm.
9. Cincinnati Bengals - I always go defensive line over linebackers (see the 07' New York Giants) Cincy is in the 17th year of needing a good defense so you go most likely to be solid here. USC, DT Sedrick Ellis occupies this spot. Here is a guy who is about as dominate as Glenn Dorsey, without the hype. Strange if you think about it, considering he played for the best college football program in the country. All reports mention Ellis as being slightly undersized . . . . . . . at 6'1 and 310. I'm just saying where I come from 6'1, 310 is NOT UNDERSIZED. Here is the bottom line on Sedrick Ellis, forget the fact that he is a man child with 29 solo tackles this year, and forget that he started for the best defense in the country, and forget that he started for them each of the last 3 seasons, don't forget this, when SC comes calling the BEST sign on. Give me Sedrick Ellis at 310 tearing it up in a 3-4 and I'll be smiling.
10. New Orleans Saints - Come on baby? Did you think you were getting out of the top 10 without seeing someone from "the U?" Waaaaaaaaaaaait. Before I tell you who I'd select if i was on the board with the #10 pick and I had the worst secondary in the NFL I need to say this:
Do you even know who is trading up into the top 10 to take New Englands pick? They want to improve their secondary and you have to guarantee them 1 of 3 guys right? Baltimore and Cincy aren't taking DB's they have bigger needs. New England is more in the market for a cover corner so New Orleans knows their guy is safe. Minnesota won't have enough to get that high so their out. If you guessed Big D, then your right. Watching Plaxico Burress run rough shot over Dallas in each of their 3 meetings is still making Jerrys' stomach churn. Who would Dallas take if they did get #7? I believe Mr. Jones already knows who he is. Leodis McKelvin, CB from . . . Troy St., last time America's team chose a guy out of Troy St it turned out fairly well, see DeMarcus Ware, and when I say fairly I mean, the guy is a beast. 2 Seasons starting for the "other" Trojans, McKelvin had over 100 solo tackles. I echo the statement from WalterFootball.com, Jacques Reeves sucks. Things go this way and NE at 22 will still be able to select from bevy of young CB's available.
BACK to New Orleans pick, where was I . . . . . . .OH YEA! "The U" With a secondary that couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag, thanks Coach Davis, the Saints need to get physical and tough. FS out of Miami, Kenny Phillips is a certified play maker . . . . following in the footsteps of Ed Reed and the late Sean Taylor, Phillips is an excellent ball hawk. Do you like 6'2" 210 pound safties with speed? I do. Several draft sites describe Kenny as aggressive and physical, just what New Orleans needs. PLEASE New Orleans take Kenny Phillips.
. . . . . . . . . 11-15 to come.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Before we move onto the Superbowl a couple things need to be said about the conference championship weekend: (and week leading up to)
In 2007, two players among many made the most significant changes, Randy Moss & Brett Favre. As we head to the Superbowl it is funny to see how some things stay the same, Randy is in the news for extra curriculars again and Brett Favre is throwing brain scratching interceptions to end the game. If only I could have made that bet, Straight cash homie, straight cash.
I never thought you were a "tough" guy if you weighed 300+ pounds and decided not to wear a long sleeve shirt under your pads in sub zero temperature. I grew up playing football in New England and if it was cold and you didn't wear a shirt underneath your pads you were a moron. Now Tom Coughlin on the other hand, opting to wear nothing but his jacket and a Giants baseball hat in a pure icebox at Lambeau, that's just bad ass. (check out the back of his lid, I think its Velcro, can someone pitch and get him a fitted?)
Last one, this goes out to Deion Sanders. In the words of Tony Soprano, "where do you get your b*lls?" For you to question whether ANYONE was sitting out a game, let alone an AFC championship game is down right INCREDIBLE. I watched you play in Atlanta, Dallas, San Francisco, and Baltimore, NEVER saw you line up and pop someone when you had the opportunity, you were the inventor of the shoulder arm tackle, the same tackle they teach kids NOT to make in pop Warner. LT has been running over people since his horned frog days and I certainly wouldn't question his game or his will to play that game. Deion, no one wanted to hear from you while you played, or now that your retired.
Back to my worst nightmare, Giants/Pats for the Lombardi. I never liked the Patriots, nope never did but I've always like Kevin Faulk , FROM?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Louisiana State University. Trust me it has nothing to do with this past weekend, this guy has been the ultimate team player for this franchise since he was drafted in 1999, 46th overall. Any real Patriots fans would be able to tell you that as well, a poor mans Brian Westbrook if you will. Why has he been on my map all these years? Because the first college football playstation game I became obsessed with, used to have a player who diced up my Gator teams I'd play with, LSU RB #3. To think New England selected Andy Katzenmoyer with the pick they had at 28. Kevin Faulk is working on a near 10-year career and at the end of that whenever it may be he will have 4 Super Bowl rings, thats 3 more than his distant cousin Marshall.
If this blog seems a bit jumpy, its only because I'm just on my first glass of whisky and have yet to take the bite off of the Giants and Eli Manning actually representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. It is, what it is (quickly becoming the most overused phrase in the world) Listen, before you all start rambling on about how "GREAT" Eli has become and how he is finally telling his critics to shut up just relax for a second. Eli is the same kid who WANTED this job, he WANTED to be the Quarterback in New York, remember he forced that trade out of San Diego on draft day. Like being the Quarterback in Dallas, at Notre Dame, or of the New York football teams, criticism is part of the job, and Eli knew that going in. My hat will be the first to go off to the guy, he has done everything he could to keep his team alive in this years playoffs, he has kept the ball away from the other team and refrained from making "favreian interceptions." But it has only been a MONTH of quality football at the helm which he has been doing so. The guy wearing the plastic boot and dating supermodels, well lets just say, this ain't his first horse race.
. . . taking three advil and hoping I wake up from this nightmare called Superbowl XLI.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
2. St. Louis Rams - 10 years ago the St. Louis Rams made Buckeye left tackle, Orlando Pace, the #1 overall pick. Pace who was and has been the cornerstone of the St. Louis Rams during their Super Bowl seasons. Pace is on the down slope spending the majority of this past season on the IR. With their rushing attack unable to produce much this year due to the injuries of Pace and the rest of the offensive line it has become eminent that they need to bulk up their trenches to allow running back Stephen Jackson to have the kind of year that fantasy owners had dreamed of. This draft has that type of player, Michigans' Jake Long, at 6'7" and 305 lbs. Long is that a giant of an offensive tackle. In 2007 he was considered equal to if not better than former Wisconsin tackle and now Browns standout tackle, Joe Thomas. Long is quick and has the ability to both pass and run block with massive strength. With a perennial hall of famer their to coach Long and playing in that veteran offense he would be able to develop into the lineman that they need to support their passing game as well.
3. (subject to change) Atlanta Falcons - The Atlanta Falcons aren't locked into this spot just yet, because the Falcons, Raiders, and Chiefs all shared the same record and strength of schedule they could end up picking as low as 5th, to be determined. In the event that Bill Parcells passes on Boston College QB, Matt Ryan, he should go ahead and call Ludacris because he is headed to Hotlanta. Of the top 5 teams selecting in this years NFL Draft they are the only ones who are in desperate need of stability at the QB position. This site has well documented my man love for the BC signal caller and it is well deserved, with sub-par receivers and an anemic backfield Ryan still was able to step to the forefront of QB draft prospects and leap Louisville's Brian Brohm. The leadership that Ryan displayed this year was impressive, a new coaching staff, and new offensive system allowed Ryan to prove his intelligence and ability to learn on the job. Under 1st year head coach, Jeff Jagodzinski, Ryan developed a knack for what an NFL system and coach is like. Here is the bottom line, Atlanta needs a stable, smart and talented QB to build its franchise back up to where it was several years ago. Matt Ryan has NFL size, poise, and is clearly capable of being that guy, as one site says "They don't call him Matty Ice for nothing". Arthur Blank better just hope Parcells doesn't think Ryan is the #1 overall or Atlanta will be looking at Chris Redman behind center.
4. Oakland Raiders - Al Davis is locked into either the 3rd or 4th pick because Oakland holds the tiebreaker over Kansas City for finishing last in the AFC West. I have been very curious about this pick since it became clear Oakland would be selecting in the top 5. With Arkansas running back, Darren McFadden sitting in the green room do the Raiders think he is the next Adrian Peterson? The ability to develop a core of offensive weapons in JaMarcus Russell and McFadden may be enticing to Raiders brass. I don't believe they pull that trigger though, I believe they go surer thing and select Howie's boy, Virginia DE, Chris Long. Long is said to have tremendous quickness and the ability to play in several defensive schemes, under the tutelage of both is hall of famer father, and former Jets head coach, Al Groh, Long became a monster this past season in the ACC. If not for the play of Matt Ryan, Chris Long may have been selected as the conference player of the year. Al Davis loves this kid, he is Howies' boy and the Raiders love that type of story, especially for a kid who is worth the hype. An All-American at 6'4 and 280 pounds Chris Long is scary quick and with the retirement to defensive tackle Warren Sapp, Long will step into the Raiders defense and have an immediate impact.
5. Kansas City Chiefs - This pick is a compelling one to say the least. Where my entire preview could turn out to be completely wrong it would go something like this:
Parcells grabs Chris Long at #1 - he fits the 3-4 perfectly
St Louis couldn't not take Dorsey #2 - Carriker and Dorsey = wow
Falcons would still select Ryan #3 - Top Quarterback
Oakland goes McFadden #4 - Beast of an RB
Kansas City steals Jake Long #5 - Roaf out, Long in
This scenario isn't likely if you ask me, but it does display how EVERYTHING can change and change quickly especially when your looking for Parcells to do the obvious thing. The Chiefs could still improve their offensive line with a number of solid O-Lineman still available but they probably believe that Jake Long won't be and everyone else would be selected TOO high. You don't gamble with an undersized Vernon Gohlston DE, Ohio State, and even though it may be a little to high for him, the Chiefs have to take Boise States' Ryan Clady. The Bronco offensive tackle may be a lock if what I just wrote actually happens and Long isn't available. He isn't a top 5 selection in most years but with the Chiefs needing offensive line help desperately and still looking to salvage their run game he may be their only option. Claddy is definitely more than serviceable and has anchored the Boise St. attack for the past three years, not the overwhelming size that Jake Long has but still large and in charge. Chiefs go Clady and sign the thank you note with the Falcons and Raiders to send to the Jets, who gift wrapped their way out of the top 5 by achieving a meaningless week 17 win.
6-10 . . . .next week
Monday, January 14, 2008
The Packers spotted the Seahawks 14 points then promptly outscored them 42-6 the rest of the way. Favre wasn't afraid to throw the ball in the snow and wind at Lambeau and Ryan Grant proved that he is for real. The most impressive thing of the day wasn't the score though, in my mind the offensive line stifling the Seahawks pass rush was the difference maker. When the Giants roll into Wisconsin next week expect to see the same type of battles. I thought the Cowboys offensive line looked tired and slow in the second half after going all out the first half, the Packers offensive line just got better and quicker. While I don't think Brett can win the Super Bowl, to get them there would be almost as impressive.
I can't stand the Bolts, I don't respect them, I don't cheer for them, and I sure as shit won't back them in the AFC Championship. Shawn Merriman is no Ray Lewis and Norv Turner HAS to cost these guys 1 playoff game right? If you would have told me that Billy Volek would lead the Chargers to a game winning touchdown, I'd tell you to go sh*t in a hat. Then again I thought the Seahawks would upset the Packers and the Cowboys would roll. The Colts have just been too injured this season and as much as I would have liked to see Dungy and Manning next week in Foxboro, it just wasn't going to happen. I will say this though Tony Dungy has always been a terrific coach and I respect him alot more than I respect alot of people in the NFL.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Rose Bowl @ Pasadena, California: Ever since the Dallas Cowboys played in the 1992 Super Bowl I've wanted to watch a game in Pasadena. For years I have seen Rose Bowl contests with USC playing against a completely soft Big 10 opponent and rabid Trojan supporters cheering on the maroon and gold. The Stadium is massive and who wouldn't want to see the Rose Bowl at least once during their lifetime. I've always wondered why the NFL never went back down to So. Cal for a Super Bowl, far more fun to watch than indoors at the Super Dome, which the NFL can't seem to get enough of. Strike up the Trojan Marching Band and give me the sword!
Qwest Field @ Seattle, Washington: I've mentioned it before and I'll say it again, the loudest and most exciting stadium to watch on television is in Seattle. The fans don't stop from the beginning of the game till the end, they account for numerous delay of game penalties and confusion on opposing offenses. They wear electric green and blue and are referred to as "the twelve player" because of the impact they have during the game. We forget about everything in the Pacific Northwest, after Cobain there wasn't much coming out other than Starbucks. Under the rain and mist of Qwest Field these fans root for the Seahawks and have had the opportunity to go to a Super Bowl to cheer on their team. The only NFL stadium among my top 5 is Qwest Field, if you haven't noticed it you need to.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Forget about Roger Clemens, I watched 60 Minutes on Sunday night and you know what shocked me most? Not B-12 & Lidocaine, Not the Mike Wallace cupcake interview, and certainly NOT Rogers denial of steroid use. It was the interview prior to the Clemens sit down, with John Martorano, former hit man of Whitey Bulger. 12 Years in prison for the admittance to federal prosecutors of over 21 murders, WHAT?!!??!?!?! Congress isn't bringing these guys to a hearing but they are taking Clemens, Bud Selig, and Donald Fehr down to Washington to talk about things that don't mean SH*T in comparison. This guy is a serial killer and he is walking the streets as a free man because he said "I did it" not once, not twice, but TWENTY-ONE times. The most watched segment of 60 Minutes last night was easily the Clemens segment, during a show which featured the assassination Pakistans top opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto , which has a HUGE effect on the US relations with Pakistan, AND this mobster who murdered 21 People and did 12 years in prison, yet we concentrate on a guy who never committed a crime that hurt ANYONE and who spent his life playing a GAME. I'm stepping off the soapbox, but get your priorities straight people.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Sidenote: When people say "I've been cheering for them since I was a baby" it's bullsh*t because you don't even know your own name till your like 5 and true fan loyalty only hits you when your between the ages of 8-10. Back to what I was saying . . . .
I thought that my Celtics fandom would go unrewarded and what else was I to think? Paul Pierce was aging before my eyes, Antoine had already been brought back for round 2, and the Celtics had pretty much traded or cut every draft pick they'd had since Rick Pitino. To Mention (the phrase "not to mention" needs to go, it is always followed by what you WEREN'T GOING TO MENTION) we had just suffered one of the most rediculous seasons in the history of the team, No Oden or Durant, Red passed away, and Gerald Green was the future of this team. Mike Vick was looking at a brigher future.
7 Months later the wounds on the wrists from lottery night have healed, i'm officially off the edge of the cliff, The Celtics are the BEST, yes I said BEST team in the NBA. I wrote about it after the first few weeks of the season, Spurs v. Celts Finals Preview, and I attacked Marc Stein for not giving the C's enough credit two weeks ago. Last night my point was proven, you should have been watching the C's game and not that Steelers & Jaguars crapfest.
For the first time since he has been coaching the Celtics I felt like Doc had the ability to coach, proving the point, your only as good as the players you have. Inputting Tony Allen into the lineup for the Alien known as Rondo for defensive purposes in the 4th quarter, then subsequently taking him out to allow Rondo to create on the offensive end. GREAT MOVE. Noticing that Perkins is neither quick enough on defense or smart enough on offense and leaving Glen Davis in the game, which we'll get to in a second. The Celtics are off to a 29-3 start and they have beaten Utah @ their place, Detroit @ their place, and revenged their earlier losses to Cleveland & Orlando. I don't just believe it was ALL THE PLAYERS, Doc did have something to do with this and I applaud him.
* Keep in mind there was bets being placed on what day of the week he was going to be fired just a year ago.
Last night, after months of ripping the size of Glen Davis, and how he would be out of the league in two years, I was again proved wrong. He did the #1 thing that I WISH big men in basketball would do from the time they were 5 years old till the time they retired from the nba, DON'T PUT THE BALL ON THE FLOOR. Davis worked on Detroit for the entire fourth quarter, scored the game high 20 points, 16 of them in the final frame. He made key rebounds, passed the ball, hit free throws, the only thing he didn't do was punch Rasheed Wallace in the face (secretly my dream). It is the efforts of players like Glen Davis, Eddie House, and James Posey along with Rondo that will allow this team to become a "Championship" team. Like with San Antonio, you know what Duncan, Parker, and Ginobli will give you, what will the "other" guys give you. Ask Michael Jordan if he could have won those championships without Steve Kerr, Craig Hodges, Bill Cartwright, and B.J. Armstrong.
Friday, January 4, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
No 'Dropping Knowledge' this week, unfortunately I spent entirely to much time watching bowl games, drinking champagne, and ripping my hair out watching the Cowboys, I know your all very depressed about that. I'm prepared to deliver you my picks for WILD CARD WEEKEND, but I should warn you that without the help of Tim Donaghy my picks have gone from almost never right to, never right. For example, Hawaii got thumped by Georgia, Michigan railroaded Florida, and West Virginia slapped Bob Stoops in the mouth. If I was a betting man I'd be down approximately $250 over the past 3 days, and guess what I am? TO THE PICKS . . .
Jacksonville @ Heinz Field against the team formerly known as the Pittsburgh Steelers. Taylor and Jones-Drew are primed for the playoffs, Jacksonville just beat Pittsburgh in the snow when they had Willie Parker, and everyone in the world is picking Jacksonville to be "THAT TEAM" this playoffs. So I'm picking Pittsburgh, why? Because everything points to the home team getting a 1 and done, Big Ben is the proverbial playoff quarterback, and if they win I can actually brag about it. If the Jags win, everyone just says I picked em' too. No numbers involved in it, no logic, and certainly no proof. G-G-G-Go Steelers, that was tough getting out.
San Diego against Tennessee Vince Young or no Vince Young when it takes you 4 quarters to defeat Jim Sorgi and the entire practice team of the Colts your not going very far. New England is licking their chops at the thought of playing the Chargers again in the postseason, so sure as sh*t that will happen. Chargers in a rout too much LT for the Titans, not even Phillip Rivers on a bad day could screw this one up.
Skins @ Starbucks Headquarters, Seattle is a sleeper, that's because it rains half of the year there and it puts you to sleep. I am letting it be known, as a Cowboys fan I am deathly scared of this Redskins team. The defense has turned it on in the month of December, Clinton Portis is playing like he played with Denver and that run through Roy Williams last week proved it. Seattle can't run the ball and they have completely given up on it, I'm not being a jerk when I say it but if Sean Taylor was playing this game I'd be scared to be Deion Branch. Todd Collins makes no mistakes then Washington upsets the Seahawks.
*GAME OF THE WEEKEND*
Football Giants v. Tampa Bay Eli drives me absolutely crazy and if I was a Giants fan I would have already taken him out. He gets his receivers nearly decapitated every time he throws over the middle and Plaxico Burress is always 1 play away from getting jacked up. Home field advantage means nothing in this game because I'm sure the G-Men don't mind playing in 60 degree weather in Tampa Bay. If Brandon Jacobs runs the ball against Tampa the way he did against New England the Giants roll. Key Factor: Jeff Garcia, he can get the ball to those veteran receivers and they have a solid defense. Expect Garcia to play huge, in a loss.
*Since I am the Isiah Thomas of the sportsbook, everything I touch turns to sh*t, you can now go ahead and put money on Tampa, Seattle, Tennessee, and Jacksonville.