Tuesday, April 26, 2011
It's NFL Draft Time!
Trying to forecast the NFL Player Draft has become an interesting hobby for me over the years. I hate to admit how much time goes into this frustrating process that’s based upon the initial thought of “Who is my team going to get in the Draft?”
Unless your team is selecting number one in the first round, a dubious distinction “earned” by ending up with the worst record during the previous season, you’ve got to try and figure out who several of the other teams are going to take in order to have a look at the players still available by the time your team picks. The key to that process is based on what the top needs each team has. In other words, team X gave up more touchdown passes than any other team in the league so that team needs to overhaul their defensive backfield (most likely the cornerbacks) and possibly the players that pressure the opposing quarterback (defensive ends and outside linebackers). Team Y will probably have a completely different set of needs. Every team prioritizes their personnel needs in preparation for the draft. They pay a lot of people a lot of money in this process.
The next element in all of this is the quality of the players available coming out of college and if you think a lot of money was spent on determining the team needs, its nothing compared to the cost of this procedure. The young players are literally examined from every vantage point possible. Imagine you’re a personnel manager for a multi-billion dollar business and you’ve been empowered to select a young hotshot executive that’s going to cost your company millions of dollars whether the person pans out on the job or not… There are a fair number of young players that collect a lot of money and never live up to expectations on one hand while others, not highly thought of, end up being Hall of Fame performers. I guess what I’m saying is this draft process, for all the time, effort and money thrown at it, is an inexact process at best or a crap shot in the least.
So you’ve got team needs and a group of collegiate players available to fill those needs and a group of 32 teams that have “experts” who sit down together and wade through this draft selection process with millions of dollars on the line.
Then you throw in a wild card rarely seen. The 2011 NFL season is essentially on hold due to labor/ownership problems. The last collective bargaining agreement between the players' union and the NFL owners, which ended up being a boon to the players and a thorn in the side of the owners, ended in March. The two sides have been having a contentious time attempting to hammer out a new agreement that literally pits millionaires against billionaires ever since. As it stands today the Federal court system has entered the fray attempting to force an end to the situation (another example of where our government has become involved in matters better left to the private sector). Normally there is a trading and free agency period prior to the draft where teams and established players bargain with other teams for player services. A team’s success landing free agents or trading for players then dictates what other team needs must be addressed through the collegiate player draft. The 2011 draft doesn’t enjoy that luxury…
To add to the mystic of determining who gets who through the draft, and this really throws a wrench in the works, there are normally several draft pick trades between the teams. For example, in the last two years’ drafts there were 10 and 12 trades in just the first round in 2010 and 2009 respectively! And the trading continues on down through the draft.
The teams with the previous season’s worst records pick first in the draft. The reasons these teams get to pick first usually boil down to the lack of a top quarterback, unquestionably the most important player to a football team’s success. Those struggling teams also usually end up firing the head coach and his staff. So in 2011 there are 7 teams with new head coaches and 10 teams that list quarterback as their number one area of need. Here again, normally many of these teams fill their quarterback need through free agency or trades for established signal callers. That won’t be the case this year. The pressure to obtain a quarterback through the collegiate draft has taken a quantum leap as a result.
This Thursday evening, the first round of the NFL Draft will be held followed on Friday evening by rounds two and three. Saturday will feature the remaining four rounds.
So, for all you NFL football fans out there, here’s Dwindy1’s 2011 draft prognostication (with QBs highlighted in red and w/o any unknown trades ):
The Carolina Panthers are on the clock…
1. QB Cam Newton, Auburn.
2. Denver Broncos – DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama.
3. Buffalo Bills – OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M.
4. Cincinnati Bengals – WR A.J. Green, Georgia.
5. Arizona Cardinals – CB Patrick Peterson, LSU.
6. Cleveland Browns – DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina.
7. San Francisco 49ers – CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska.
8. Tennessee Titans – DT Nick Fairley, Auburn.
9. Dallas Cowboys – OT Tyron Smith, USC.
10. Washington Redskins – WR Julio Jones, Alabama.
11. Houston Texans – DE Cameron Jordan, California.
12. Minnesota Vikings – QB Blain Gabbert, Missouri.
13. Detroit Lions – OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College.
14. St. Louis Rams – DT Corey Liuget, Illinois.
15. Miami Dolphins – OG Mike Pouncey, Florida.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars – DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue.
17. New England Patriots (from Oakland) – DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin.
18. San Diego Chargers – DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa.
19. New York Giants – OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson.
21. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Nate Solder, Colorado.
22. Indianapolis Colts – OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State.
23. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Brandon Harris, Miami (FL).
24. New Orleans Saints – RB Mark Ingram, Alabama.
25. Seattle Seahawks – QB Jake Locker, Washington.
26. Baltimore Ravens – CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado.
27. Atlanta Falcons – DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State.
28. New England Patriots – OLB Aldon Smith, Missouri.
29. Chicago Bears – OG/C Rodney Hudson, Florida State.
30. New York Jets – OLB/DE Justin Houston, Georgia.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Aaron Williams, Texas.
And, as the reigning NFL champion, the Green Bay Packers get the last pick of the first round…
32. DE Christian Ballard, Iowa.
So I’ve only got 3 quarterbacks taken in the first round. What are those other 7 teams going to do?
Here are the picks for each team (presented alphabetically with any QB picks highlighted in red) in rounds two and three under the above circumstances:
Arizona Cardinals – 38. QB Andy Dalton, TCU & 69. OG DeMarcus Love, Arkansas.
Atlanta Falcons – 59. WR Austin Pettis, Boise State & 91. TE Virgil Green, Nevada.
Baltimore Ravens – 58. WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky & 90. ILB Colin McCarthy, Miami (FL).
Buffalo Bills – 34. QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas & 68. OG Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh.
Carolina Panthers – 65. DT Phil Taylor, Baylor & 97. SS Ahmad Black, Florida.
Chicago Bears – 62. OT Marcus Cannon, TCU & 93. DE Allen Bailey, Miami (FL).
Cincinnati Bengals – 35. QB Christian Ponder, Florida State & 66. RB DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma.
Cleveland Browns – 37. OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA & 70. WR Vincent Brown, San Diego State.
Dallas Cowboys – 40. FS Rahim Moore, UCLA & 71. CB Curtis Brown, Texas.
Denver Broncos – 36. TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame, 46. DE Jabaal Sheard, Pittsburgh & 67. CB Brandon Burton, Utah.
Detroit Lions – 44. OLB Bruce Carter, North Carolina & 75. RB Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State.
Green Bay Packers – 64. RB Daniel Thomas, Kansas State & 96. WR Greg Little, North Carolina.
Houston Texans – 42. DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State & 73. CB Ras-I Dowling, Virginia.
Indianapolis Colts – 53. WR Torrey Smith, Maryland & 87. SS Tyler Sash, Iowa.
Jacksonville Jaguars – 49. SS DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson & 80. DT Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson.
Kansas City Chiefs – 55. WR Jerrel Jernigan, Troy & 86. ILB Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina.
Miami Dolphins – 79. RB Shane Vereen, California.
Minnesota Vikings – 43. DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple.
New England Patriots – 33. C Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State, 60. RB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech, 74. FS Quinton Carter, Oklahoma & 92. QB Ricky Stanzi, Iowa.
New Orleans Saints – 56. OLB Dontay Moch, Nevada, 72. DT Jurrell Casey, USC & 88. ILB Casey Matthews, Oregon.
New York Giants – 52. DT Drake Nevis, LSU & 83. ILB Greg Jones, Michigan State.
New York Jets – 94. DT Kendrick Ellis, Hampton.
Oakland Raiders – 48. OG Danny Watkins, Baylor & 81. CB Johnny Patrick, Louisville.
Philadelphia Eagles – 54. OT Benjamin Ijalana, Villanova & 85. RB Taiwan Jones, Eastern Washington.
Pittsburgh Steelers – 63. OT James Carpenter, Alabama & 95. RB Jordan Todman, Connecticut.
San Diego Chargers – 50. WR Jonathon Baldwin, Pittsburgh, 61. ILB Martez Wilson, Illinois, 82. OLB Mark Herzlich, Boston College & 89. Clint Boling, Georgia.
San Francisco 49ers – 45. WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami (FL) & 76. OLB Sam Acho, Texas.
Seattle Seahawks – 57. DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina.
St. Louis Rams – 47. WR Titus Young, Boise State & 78. TE Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 51. CB Davon House, New Mexico State & 84. OT Orlando Franklin, Miami (FL).
Tennessee Titans – 39. QB Colin Kaepernick, Nevada & 77. TE Luke Stocker, Tennessee.
Washington Redskins – 41. RB Mikel LeShoure, Illinois.
Four more top ranked quarterbacks go in the second round and New England, enjoying the luxury of 6 picks in the first three rounds, picks up another QB late in the third round for back-up purposes to three time Superbowl Champion Tom Brady.
That's 8 quarterbacks in 97 picks...
The other teams with a quarterback at the top of their needs list (Jacksonville, Miami and San Francisco) will either stay the course with their current QBs or wade into the trade/free agency markets if and when the labor dispute comes to an end.
Have you got any questions? I’ll try to give you my reasoning if you do.
Well, as usual, there were several surprises in the 1st round not the least of which was the lower amount of trades as compared to other years. Not having established player personnel available to sweeten the trade pot due to the ongoing labor unrest was undoubtedly a primary reason...
The biggest surprise came when Atlanta moved up to the 6th selection to take WR Julio Jones while trading away 5 picks (3 in 2011 and 2 in 2012). Included among those picks was their no. 1 pick in next year's draft. Time will tell, but that's a pretty steep price unless young Julio is directly responsible for winning the Super Bowl in the next few years... I think Mike Holmgren and the Cleveland Browns came out smelling like a rose!
Probably the second biggest surprise concerned the Vikings using the 12th pick of the draft to reach for Florida State's QB Christian Ponder. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The Vikes being WAY down my list of favorite teams, I'm happy that someone in their personnel selection process made the pick.
Finally, there were a couple of things that came down due to teams waiting for the last possible moment on the clock before making their picks. First the Seattle Seahawks waited and waited, hoping to trade out of the 25th
pick, but no call came through. So they finally jumped up and selected who I had rated as the 9th best offensive tackle (James Carpenter out of Alabama) while leaving my 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th rated tackles on the board... This for a guy to play right tackle opposite left tackle Russell Okung their first pick of the 2010 draft. Maybe the guy will pan out but it sure looked like they were sure they had a trade and their plan B wasn't very well thought out...
Then Baltimore waited and waited on their pick at number 26 for the same reason, hoping for a trade. It made me wonder if the same team was the potential trading partner with both of these teams and they were both left standing at the alter... Baltimore actually ran out of time so Kansas City jumped up and made their selection taking the 26th pick away from the Ravens. At least Baltimore knew who they wanted and the poor timing didn't hurt them in that respect as they selected CB Jimmy Smith, a problem child out of Colorado, but here again, it made me wonder. Then New Orleans pulled the trigger with the New England Patriots for the 28th pick in order to take RB Mark Ingram out of Alabama. It must have been New Orleans in the background with both Seattle and Baltimore... I'd think twice about dealing with the Saints down the road...
Well, on to the 2nd and 3rd rounds tonight!