Monday, March 26, 2012

Thoughts on the NFL Draft, the Lions, and Everything Else Ever

From my biased perspective, this is the least interesting NFL Draft in years. Partly because the top 4 picks are pretty much locked in, but mostly because the Lions made the playoffs last year for the first time since 1999 and aren’t drafting until pick #23. So while I’m not super interested, I’m definitely not complaining.

In the past decade, the Lions have earned ten consecutive picks in the first half of the 1st round: 13th, 2nd, 1st, 15th, 2nd, 9th, 10th, 6th, 2nd, and 3rd. That’s an average pick of 6.3 in a ten-year span.

This year, drafting 23rd, the Lions will be in the second-half of the 1st round for the first time since 2000, when we drafted …. 18th overall … drumroll please … Jeff Backus, from the University of Michigan!

Sidenote: Backus has played in every Lions game since, and has officially made more money than any offensive lineman who never made a Pro Bowl. Drafted immediately after Backus were a couple of studs, Casey Hampton and Nate Clemens, but whatever.

As long as we’re on this sidenote, it’s fascinating to look back at the past ten drafts and see how glaringly apparent it is that Matt Millen had no ability whatsoever to recognize talent. None.

First, take a look at the early round picks in the post-Millen era: Stafford, Suh, Delmas, Levy, Best, Spievey … two studs and all serviceable starters. Lewand, Mayhew and Schwartz even found late-round gems like Willie Young (7th) and Sammie Lee Hill (4th). Jury’s still out on Titus, LeShoure and Fairley, but at least one of them should pan out. (My hunch: LeShoure’s a stud, Fairley’s a bum, and Titus is too small to stay healthy. Unfortunately I think the 2011 draft will end up being a disaster for Detroit.)

Side-sidenote: it’s scary how good the Steelers draft. Polamalu, Roethlisberger, Holmes, Timmons, Woodley, Mendenhall and Pouncey were early picks, and every single one of them is a stud. But more impressively, they somehow found William Gay, Jonathan Dwyer and Antonio Brown all in the 6th round!? And starting tackle Willie Colon in the 4th? Superstar Mike Wallace in the 3rd? Willie Parker, John Kuhn and Isaac Redman undrafted? What the heck …

Maybe the Steelers are on to something. Draft your LBs early, your receivers in the middle rounds, and find your running backs after the 7th round is over. Seems like a repeatable blueprint, no?

Anyway, back to the dark days of Millen. With picks in the top 40, Millen willfully choose the following players: Gosder Cherilus, Jordan Dizon, Drew Stanton (!), Ernie Sims, Daniel Bullocks, Mike Williams (the bad one), Shaun Cody, Roy Williams, Kevin Jones, Teddy Lehman, Charles Rogers, Boss Bailey, Joey Harrington, and Kalimba Edwards. Now, for the depressing part. We COULD have chosen the following stud players with those exact same picks (reverse respectively): Andre Gurode, Dwight Freeney, Andre Johnson, Lance Briggs, Jonathan Vilma, Bob Sanders, DeMarcus Ware (not to mention Aaron Rodgers!!), Lofa Tatupu, Haloti Ngata, Greg Jennings, Ray Rice, Jeff Otah, and perhaps worst of all, Lamar Woodley (48 sacks in 5 years) instead of Drew Stanton (now 3rd string behind Tim Tebow* EDIT* – now Andrew Luck’s backup).

Now, I can understand how they missed Woodley. After all, he was so hard to notice as a first-team All American at the University of Michigan!! But drafting Stanton made sense because… I mean, he was undersized, couldn’t throw very well, and injury-prone, but at least he was a local hero. It’s not like anybody else from within the state was available.

Oh speaking of Stanton being injury-prone, I’m trying to remember, who was the guy who injured Stanton in college with that bone-crushing, monstrous strip-sack? Ohhh yeah, it was none other than Lamar Woodley from the University of Michigan!! Man, it is so easy to forget about him … I also forgot about how Woodley is the only player in NFL history with multiple sacks in three straight postseason games. (And he did it in 4 straight games, one of which was the Super Bowl).

But in Stanton’s defense, he was MVP of the Senior Bowl in 2007, when the North beat the South 27-0! Who could ever forget that classic contest. Now I remember why we drafted Drew Stanton.

But as for the rest of these terrible top 40 picks, I have no explanation. I know you can’t get them all right, but how do you epically fail on 14 out of 15 picks? The only pick Matt Millen made that didn’t suck was Calvin Johnson, and my son would have been smart enough to make that pick three years before he was conceived.

Imagine, for a moment, that Detroit had never hired Matt Millen, and the person in his stead had picked only half of the top 40 picks with intelligence. Let’s say we still chose Harrington but were smart enough to dump him early. We could have built a team around Aaron Rodgers and Andre Johnson, Haloti Ngata and DeMarcus Ware, with Ray Rice in the backfield and Briggs, Woodley and Vilma as the linebackers. Wouldn’t that team win 5 straight Super Bowls?

(Well, no, that team would get screwed trying to pay all those guys … but still…)

All this to say … drafting matters. And even though Detroit is picking 23rd this year, instead of our average position of 6th, it still matters. Guys picked between 20 and 25 over the past five years include studs Dwayne Bowe, Jon Beason, Chris Johnson, Clay Matthews, and Brian Bulaga … whereas total duds such as Jason Smith, Tyson Jackson, Aaron Curry, Andre Smith, Glenn Dorsey, Vernon Gholston, Gaines Adams (RIP), Levi Brown, and of course Jamarcus Russell have gone in the top 6 over the same period of time.

And this isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s extremely historic.

1989 - Andre Rison (pick #22) made 5 Pro Bowls, Tony Mandarich (pick #2) made none.

1995 – Ty Law (pick #23) made 5 Pro Bowls, Ki-Jina Carter (pick #1) made none.

1998 – a couple of Hall of Famers went in the 20s – Randy Moss (#21) and Alan Faneca (#26), while Andre Wadsworth was taken 3rd.

Heck, Dan Marino went 27th overall, after quarterbacks named Blackledge and O’Brien.

Historic data shows us that scouts don’t have a clue what they’re doing. Not even Mel Kiper really knows. Back in 2007, Kiper compared JaMarcus Russell to John Elway and said it was smart to pick him instead of Calvin Johnson. How does this stuff happen?

Yet somehow, there are teams that never miss a pick (Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New Orleans in recent years), and there are teams that ALWAYS miss their pick (Cleveland, KC, the entire NFC West). Detroit has quickly morphed from the latter to the former, and they need to keep that streak alive, despite picking 23rd. I believe that 2011 will prove to be a bad draft for the Lions, and if 2012 is also less than prosperous, it’s going to set back the franchise several years, and potentially cripple the potential of our Stafford-Calvin-Suh nucleus. I know this sounds like an overstatement, but we absolutely, unequivocally cannot afford to waste the 23rd pick on somebody who gets cut in 2 years.

Conversely, teams picking in the top 5 better make sure they do their research and don’t end up with the next Charles Rogers. But chances are, somebody will.

Teams are learning though. Franchises are probably doubling and tripling their budgets when it comes to scouting. Back in 2002, 8 of the top 10 picks ended up being nobody. Last year, all the teams in the top 5 nailed their picks. 4 of the top 5 made the Pro Bowl as rookies, and Von Miller is already one of the best players in the league at his position. A year ago today, Miller was considered a prospect to be drafted in the 20-25 range, but somehow all the scouts figured things out before the draft and he went #2. Ten years ago, he probably would have slipped under the radar, been passed on by stupid teams like Detroit, and gone to, I don’t know, Pittsburgh at pick 31.

(Sidenote again – not to congratulate myself, but three months before the 2011 draft I was rooting for the Lions to take Von Miller, before he skyrocketed up draft boards from 25 to 2. I somehow knew more than the scouts, because as I’ve said all along, the only thing you need to evaluate talent is Youtube.)

So all that to say, here is my comprehensive report of the top prospects in the 2012 Draft, my thoughts on who the Lions should pick, who they will pick, and everything else.

First, let’s quickly run through the top 4 picks.

Indy will take Luck. No-brainer, and 99% bust-proof.

Washington will trade up and take Griffin. Risky , and a 50-50 bust. Also very costly in terms of future #1 picks. But with great risk comes the possibility of huge reward.

Minnesota will take Matt Kalil. This is 99% likely to happen, unless Miami really wants to trade up and leapfrog Cleveland for QB Ryan Tannehill. However, that won’t happen, because Tannehill isn’t half the prospect Griffin is, plus Minnesota wants Kalil bad enough that they would ask for two 1st round picks and Miami won’t be willing to give that up.

So Minnesota takes Kalil (great pick, no-brainer, 95% bust-proof), and then Cleveland takes Ryan Tannehill, who is the Blaine Gabbert of 2012. Not a great college career, but he has NFL size and appears intelligent. This is a terrible pick, but Cleveland, just like Jacksonville last year, is in dire need of a change at QB.

Tannehill is 40% bust, 40% adequate backup, and 10% adequate starter. He only has a 10% chance of being a franchise quarterback, and that’s being generous. Cleveland would be very smart to spend this pick on the best player available (BPA as it’s called), which is Trent Richardson or Morris Claiborne.

Texas A&M was one of the most pass-heavy offenses last year, and as a result Tannehill attempted the 6th most passes in the NCAA. (Way more than Luck, Barkley, or Griffin). However he finished just 16th in TDs, and threw more INTs than pretty much anybody, with a below average completion percentage. He scrambles a lot but isn’t particularly fast, fumbles a lot with notoriously small hands, and struggles with accuracy. Yikes.

His strengths are, well, the same as every QB who is stupidly picked in the first round: he’s tall, has a strong arm, and can throw for lots of yards in garbage time (think John Navarre). A&M was 7-6 last year against a mediocre schedule, and went 1-5 against teams that finished in the top 25. His best games were played against Kansas (who went 2-10) and Southern Methodist University (ranked #3 among U.S. Colleges for ‘Most Conservative Students’).

So you may be thinking, how the heck is this guy considered the #4 pick overall??? Well, I’m not really sure either. The only guess I have is that scouts are putting a lot of faith in Tannehill’s performance against Baylor, when he outdueled Griffin with 6 TDs and 415 yards. But that was just one game. The rest of Tannehill’s career is nothing special.

So that’s your top 4. Two studs, and two iffy quarterbacks. Sounds about right.

The intrigue heats up at pick 5, where Tampa has lots of needs and lots of BPA options. Richardson makes plenty of sense, especially with Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks now on the offense. That would make Josh Freeman’s life pretty easy. Addressing the defense also makes sense. Corners Ronde Barber (retirement) and Aqib Talib (prison) will both likely be gone next season, so LSU stud Morris Claiborne could be the pick. Unlike everyone else in the top 5, Tampa is keeping their choice a secret.

According to, most of the fans want Claiborne. They are pretty happy with LeGarrette Blount and not astute enough to realize how good Richardson will make them.

The sixth pick belongs to St. Louis (from Washington), and they’ve got to be looking at WR Justin Blackmon now that Brandon Lloyd is gone. But I wouldn’t call it a no-brainer. Jeff Fisher is now running things, and he’s never gone with the obvious. First off, Fisher loves to build around defense, and the Rams have huge needs on that end. If Claiborne’s available, he might be the pick, otherwise CB Dre Kirkpatrick, LB Luke Kuechly, or DE Melvin Ingram are all options. Then there’s a couple of tackles in Jonathan Martin and Riley Reiff, and maybe even a receiver other than Blackmon, which could be Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd.

I don’t have a prediction for this pick other than that it will surprise me. Let’s go out on a limb and say DT Dontari Poe from Memphis. He is flying up draft boards, fills a huge need, and gives Fisher the Haynesworth-esque player he likes to build around.

Jacksonville is sitting at #7. They missed their chance to trade for Tebow, and are stuck with Blaine Gabbert, who just had one of the worst rookie seasons ever, even worse than Stafford’s. They got Chad Henne as a backup. In other words, this is a throwaway season for the team destined to move to Los Angeles.

In the past few years, Jags’ GM Gene Smith has gone for the shock-and-awe approach, taking 3rd round prospects like Tyson Alualu with top 10 picks. That hasn’t worked out too well, believe it or not. Maurice Jones-Drew is the only good player on Jacksonville’s offense, but the defense is actually respectable, with underrated LBs Paul Posluszny and Daryl Smith and a decent pass rusher in Jeremy Mincey.

Blackmon makes sense for Jacksonville, because Gabbert needs a top-tier receiver to have any chance to succeed. But they just immensely overpaid Laurent Robinson to be that receiver. Will they take the Millen approach of ‘Live and Die By Iffy Receivers’?

They also need to protect Gabbert, but just spent a #8 pick on a left tackle in 2009 and won’t give up on Eugene Monroe yet. If it has taken the Lions 11 years to give up on Backus, it should take Jacksonville at least 3 years to give up on their guy.

They could address the secondary, especially if Claiborne falls to them. But this pick probably has to be on offense, simply to give Gabbert a chance. And because of the new owner and the desire to make a splashy, unpredictable move, I think Jacksonville does something totally off the charts and picks either Michael Floyd, Richardson if he’s available, or a guard, which would be David DeCastro from Stanford. Guards rarely go this early, but he’s one of the best guard prospects in many years, and could bolster the running game like crazy.

So, to recap my mock of the first 7 picks,

  1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford - Colts
  2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor – Redskins
  3. Matt Kalil, LT, USC – Vikings
  4. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M – Browns
  5. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU – Bucs
  6. Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis – Rams
  7. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford – Jaguars

If you’ve looked at many mock drafts, you’ve probably seen Poe and DeCastro going in the 10-20 range, so you might think I’m nuts. But in recent NFL Draft history, nothing goes as expected. Last year, we thought we had an easy top 10, but Prince Amukamara fell to the 19th pick, Fairley fell to 14, and Jake Locker jumped from the 30s to 8. Everyone thought Ryan Kerrigan would go five picks before J.J. Watt, but the opposite happened.

The reason is, NFL teams keep their draft boards totally secret, with the only exception being Buffalo, who always telegraphs their pick. Coaches will outwardly rave about certain players, even invite them for private workout sessions, just to send smoke signals and try to trick other teams into believing they want prospect X when they’re really hoping to snag prospect Q.

Last year, all Jim Schwartz did was talk about Amukamara and all the great left tackles. He waxed and waned about Carimi and Castonzo and Solder. But when all those players were available, he took a stinkin DT. Maybe not a smart move in hindsight, but a calculated move he knew he wanted to take. Every coach does that, except the really stupid ones. Hopefully, those guys have somebody in the organization who is willing to speak up and say “No, that guy’s a bum.” But perennially terrible teams do not have such a person, and that’s why the Charlotte Bobcats always suck; everyone is afraid to second-guess Michael Jordan so they let him make amazing decisions like drafting Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison. I digress.

Usually, the secretiveness and trickery is because of 2nd and 3rd round prospects. If Detroit really likes a CB who they think they can get in the 3rd round (like Spievey in 2010), they will go on and on and on publicly about CBs Devin McCourty and Kyle Wilson, but then take Jahvid instead, while waiting for Spievey to fall into their laps later. Again, that move hasn’t panned out quite yet, but it was at least calculated.

That’s why the teams that draft well in the 2nd-4th rounds are always the best; they know who they want, they don’t make rash decisions, they stick to their plan and, if they’ve done their research well, it works.

The contrary strategy is called Millenism. That’s where you take a tall receiver with off-field problems in the top 10, then after that you just pick random defensive guys with cool names. For example,

“His name is Boss? How can he not be awesome?”

“I had a Teddy bear once. Let’s take Lehman!”

So… back to the board. At #8 is Miami, a huge wildcard. They have swung and missed at just about everybody this offseason (Manning, Flynn, Jeff Fisher), while trading Brandon Marshall for squat. They won’t get Tebow or Tannehill. Right now it’s Matt Moore or David Garrard, with the best receiver being Davonne Bess.

So what does Miami do? Scrap the season and shoot for the #1 pick next year? Unfortunately, you can’t do that and expect to make any money or keep any fans, especially with a new head coach. They need to at least pretend to try. But if you can’t score any points, you can’t win.

It’s a shame, because Miami has the makings of a great defense. Vontae Davis, Cameron Wake, and Karlos Dansby are three studs, plus they just re-signed stud DT Paul Soliai and added a solid #2 corner in Richard Marshall from Arizona. In reality, Miami might have the best all-around defense in the NFL. Though they ranked just 15th in yards and 6th in points, they were hampered by their mediocre offense and bad turnover margin putting them in bad positions all year long.

Miami also has two exceptional offensive linemen in Jake Long and Mike Pouncey. In truth, if Peyton Manning was up for the challenge that is the AFC East, he should have gone to Miami – a much better team than Denver.

So the question is, does Miami keep bolstering the defense so that whoever their 2013 quarterback is (Barkley perhaps) has a great team around him? Or do they give Matt Moore a real chance by drafting a skill position player? New head coach Joe Philbin (remember the Packers coordinator who’s son died during the playoffs?) is an offensive guru who desperately wants a new quarterback to build around. But assuming Tannehill goes to Cleveland, I can’t imagine Miami reaching to draft the next quarterback on their board, presumably Brandon Weeden from Oklahoma State. It’s possible Miami will trade back and try to get Weeden in the late 1st round. It all depends on who is left available. They don’t need to upgrade the offensive line or secondary very much. If Richardson or Blackmon falls, that’ll probably be the pick. Richardson would make a great complement to weenie Reggie Bush.

After Miami is Carolina, who has needs pretty much everywhere. They just signed Mike Tolbert for 4 years, which was curious with DeAngelo and Stewart already clogging up cap space. The assumption is they’ll trade to trade somebody, but nobody wants DeAngelo’s huge contract, and nobody wants Stewart’s injuries. But heck, with Cam Newton, a great O-line and three running backs, maybe they will run the Wishbone Formation and omit the passing plays from the playbook.

Defensively, Carolina needs lots of help. DT and CB are the biggest needs. If Claiborne and Poe are gone, they may opt for Kirkpatrick or a DT such as Devon Still or Fletcher Cox. There will be plenty of solid offensive lineman available, but Ron Rivera is a defensive guy and didn’t get the chance to rebuild his defense at all last year. Carolina had only one pick in the top 65, and used it on Cam Newton, which turned out to be very much the right choice.

Even though he doesn’t fill the biggest need, I think Carolina takes the defensive BPA on their board, Luke Kuechly.

Speaking of Kuechly, he’s kind of the chic prospect this year. A white dude who looks kind of like Rudy. He’s a chase-and-tackle middle linebacker who relies on technique more than speed. He had an amazing Combine and appeared intelligent with his interviews and Wonderlic. But I’m not sold on him at all. I just watched a 4 minute highlight video where all he did was drag runners out of bounds. It takes him longer to complete a tackle than anybody I’ve ever seen. We’ll see if my 4-minute scouting report ends up being accurate at the NFL level, but it almost always does. Bad pick Carolina.

*Speaking of prospects who don’t impress me on Youtube, my new nickname for RG3 is Robert ‘The Bubble Screen’ Griffin. Seriously, less than half of his passes travel more than 2 yards past the line of scrimmage. Not sure how well that will work in the NFL, but it sure is effective against Rice University.

The next team up at pick #10 is Buffalo, who just gave Mario Williams a record-breaking $100 million and 6 years. The only thing I don’t like about that deal is his injury-history, but I’m not overly concerned. Adding Mario to a defensive line that already had Pro Bowl DT Kyle Williams and stud-in-the-making Marcell Dareus gives Buffalo the best defensive line in the NFL, hands out. Then, a few days later they added DE Mark Anderson to play the other DE spot in Dave Wandstedt’s new 4-3 defense.

If you thought having two Steve Smiths and two Roy Williamses was confusing, we’re about to see a new and improved Williams Wall.

With Nick Barnett at MLB, studs Jarius Byrd and Terrence McGee in the secondary, and an elite defensive line, there’s no reason to think Buffalo can’t win 10 games just with their defense and running game. Keep in mind - their schedule features the two worst divisions in football (NFC West, AFC South), two games against Miami, and bonus games against Cleveland and KC. That’s 10 games in which Buffalo could be favored. Just saying, this is your darkhorse team. You heard it here first.

As I mentioned earlier, Buffalo always telegraphs their pick. They did a better job last year, but there wasn’t too much intrigue with the #3 pick. It was either Dareus or Miller. This year, they haven’t been too vocal yet, but give it time and Chan Gailey will reveal their plans. If I had to make a hunch, I’d say they want to give Ryan Fitzpatrick the best chance of succeeding this year, not next year. I think Buffalo is ready to start winning now, as they proved by drowning Mario Williams in cash. So I think the pick is a receiver, not a left tackle, which would make more sense if they were in rebuilding mode. So I’ll say Justin Blackmon falls to #10. He was considered the #2 pick not very long ago. Good deal for Buffalo, pairing him with Steve Johnson.

At picks #11, #12 and #13 are three wretched teams with dismal quarterback situations: the Chiefs, Seahawks and Cardinals.

KC went into 2011 with high hopes and lost Charles, Berry, Moeaki and practically every other decent player within the first two weeks, then freefell to 7-9 behind Tyler Palko and eventually Kyle Orton, who is now with the Cowboys. For 2012, they have to hope that Matt Cassel doesn’t continue to suck, that Jamaal Charles comes back from the ACL, and that the NFL restructures the divisions so they don’t have to deal with both Rivers and Peyton Manning.

Seattle also went 7-9, but won 5 out of 6 late in the season when Marshawn Lynch became possessed. Tavaris Jackson was predictably erratic while showing flashes of decency, and Charlie Whitehurst didn’t pan out whatsoever; he was actually traded back to San Diego in exchange for a bag of garbanzo beans. Going into 2012, Seattle needs help everywhere, on both sides of the ball. Matt Flynn can succeed on a talented team like LSU or Green Bay, but nobody’s ever seen him play with Golden Tate as his best receiver. Flynn’s 2012 should be very 2011 Kevin Kolb-ish, but without as much physical talent and without Larry Fitzgerald.

Speaking of the Cards, they somehow went 8-8 despite a 1-6 start and 8 games started by Fordham College alum, John Skelton. Despite having arguably the league’s worst offensive line and virtually no pass rush, they somehow pieced together a .500 season thanks to only three factors: a super easy schedule, a stud receiver, and a stud cornerback/kick returner. Their division is still cake, but they now get the two toughest divisions (NFC North, AFC East) plus bonus games against Philly and Atlanta. I could see them improving as a team and yet only winning 6 games this year. They were definitely the worst 8-8 team in history.

As for the draft picks, I’d say Chiefs take Ingram to pair him with Tamba Hali and attempt to establish a dominant pass rush, the Seahawks take Kirkpatrick and try to salvage an maladroit secondary, and Cardinals decide between Martin and Reiff, both of whom are falling down the Big Board after unimpressive showings at the Combine / Pro Days. We might even see the next OT (Mike Adams from Ohio State) move ahead of those guys before April.

Which brings us to the always-intriguing Cowboys, who have finally shored up the edges of the offensive line and definitely don’t need to add any more skill position players. I LOVE DeMarco Murray - the Breakout Player of 2012 - and think he’ll open up the game tremendously for Romo, Austin, Bryant and Witten. That offense, at least on paper, should be one of the league’s best.

But the defense needs plenty of help, especially in the secondary. Last year, Dallas had the opportunity to take Amukamara, but passed on him for OT Tyron Smith. This year, they’ll have a choice between Mark Barron and Jenkins, and I’m 80% sure they’ll take one of them. The other 20% could be David DeCastro if he’s still available, or a 3-4 DE, such as Fletcher Cox or Devin Still.

After Dallas is another disappointing NFC East team, the Eagles.

Remember last offseason, when Philly brought in Asomugha & the All Stars, which prompted Dallas’s D-coordinator to talk about “kicking their asses,” which led to Rex Grossman guaranteeing that the Redskins would actually be the ones to win the division, which led to the only NFC East team that didn’t talk trash in August winning the Super Bowl? Funny how that happens.

Philly’s pick has to be somebody who can play defense in the middle of the field. A DT, a linebacker, a safety. Their defensive struggles in the ‘wide nine’ were well documented. If Kuechly or Barron or Poe is available, they’ll all be good options.

*Quick word on Mark Barron – I absolutely love this guy. Hard-hitting, super instinctive, can actually defend the pass. Basically a bigger, smarter, stronger, faster version of Louis Delmas, only with much better coverage skills.

The Crimson Tide defense could see as many as five players drafted in the first round, and while Upshaw and Kirkpatrick get most of the attention, Barron might end up being the best pro. If he falls to 23, I would love to see Detroit employ their BPA strategy and take him; I’m sure plenty of fans would groan at the uselessness of another safety, but it would allow Delmas to play weakside safety and it would allow Spievey to move back to corner, plus it would be like adding another excellent linebacker on running plays. Barron is going to be a stud. Mark my words: Eric Berry and Mark Barron will be the Reed and Polamalu of the next generation.

If Dallas doesn’t take Barron, Philly probably will. If not, they’ll be happy with Fletcher Cox from Mississippi State. He actually reminds me a little bit of Suh, but less physically imposing and without the psychotic, amazing desire to destroy people.

Next is the Jets, who just infuriate me. It’s fine if you want to trade for Tebow, but don’t insult my intelligence by saying “it was a football move.” Clearly, it was a media move. It was a Rex Ryan Ego move. It was a teenage girl saying to her friends “Does this shirt look cute on me?” Come on.

Speaking of insults to my intelligence, how about the Grand Rapids Press putting up billboards for their website, saying “The Press isn’t going anywhere. It’s going everywhere.” Yeah, kind of like the phonograph and the horsedrawn carriage. Seriously, if it hadn’t taken them a decade to figure out that newspapers are obsolete, they might have a chance. In a related story, Kodak is bankrupt because it took them too long to adjust to the digital camera. True story.

Anyway, rest of the NFL draft thoughts later … the latest rumor is that Detroit is interested in Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin...


  1. Solid thoughts - i'm interested in the rest of the NFL thoughts.

    I disagree with one thing though - I don't think Cleveland is giving up on Colt McCoy yet. Of course it's the right thing to do - Colt isn't a starting QB. But Cleveland isn't going to do the smart thing, so they're going to hang onto him and not take Tannehill (which in and of itself is a smart play, as you highlighted about Tannehill). Wait, now I'm confused - will cleveland be stupid by sticking with McCoy (and taking blackmon?) or be stupid by taking Tannehill?

  2. I think the answer is yes, Cleveland is stupid.