NFL Draft

LA Rams acquire first overall pick from Titans

Talk about respect.

Making a trade for the first overall pick in the NFL Draft is usually the biggest news in the sports world. But, the Rams even held off announcing the move until they deemed fit.

What could possibly be more important than announcing Los Angeles had just acquired the first overall pick?

Well, Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher was quoted as saying “the night belonged to Kobe”.

Respect.

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, let’s break down the momentous move.

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The Titans received picks number 15 (1st), 43 (2nd), 45 (2nd), 76 (3rd), and 2017 1st and 3rd rounders. They already hold the 33rd overall pick (second pick in 2nd round), and 64th (first in 3rd round). The Rams received the first overall pick, pick 113 (4th), and 177 (6th).

The Titans now own six of the first 76 picks in the 2016 NFL Draft, enough ammo to rebuild any franchise let alone one with a few solid building blocks already in place. Namely, a (potential) franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota.

We knew Tennessee wasn’t in love with consensus top pick OT Laremy Tunsil, but that wasn’t enough to pull the trigger just yet. New GM Jon Robinson played his cards just right, and optimized the return for a position he didn’t need to be in. Word is they like the next set of best available OL, and taking Tunsil at number one didn’t necessarily optimize their needs. The Titans and Jack Conklin apparently have mutual admiration, news that surfaced yesterday sparking trade talk among fans and media alike.

When asked if any NFL Head Coaches have made an impact on him through the draft process he responded with “One [NFL head coach] that’s really stood out to me is Mike Mularkey. I really liked him because I see a lot of similarities between him and [Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio]. That really intrigues me because that is somebody that I trust and thrived under.”

While there it’s no sure thing that the Titans draft an offensive-lineman, their strategy was spot on. More importantly than the 15th overall pick, is perhaps the three second-rounders they now own. The 2016 draft is the kind you want to own a plethora of early to mid-round picks. A number of potential stars will be plucked between numbers 32 and 98.

A young running back to groom behind Demarco Murray, a talented wide receiver to pair with the developing Dorial Green-Beckham, and an athletic tight-end are all needs on the offensive side of the ball. While a youth infusion is needed on defense, as their linebacking core and secondary could use a serious upgrade after letting a few veterans go via free agency.

The Rams logic was simple. Get a franchise quarterback, now!

I’ve heard whispers that projected number two overall pick Carson Wentz will now go one, but I think Cal’s Jeff Goff will be the man.

Goff was the consensus top QB all season long, and the only reason Wentz name has been glued to the Browns is because new Head Coach Hue Jackson is enamored by the North Dakota State QB. He’s a great fit in Cleveland, as the more steady, blue-collar type. If in fact, the Browns opt to select him at number two, he would become the highest-drafted non-FBS quarterback in NFL history.

In my opinion the hometown Goff is a perfect fit for the Rams, as his gunslinger style is made for the lovely people of California. The fans will be able to deal with his growing pains, and by handing the ball off to Todd Gurley the team can limit his responsibilities early-on.  A luxury the Cleveland Browns certainly do not possess.

No matter who goes where, the draft process has been especially exciting this year and it can only get better the closer we inch to draft day.

Posted in NFL

NFL Mock Draft

The NFL Draft is now just 25 days away, so it’s about time I post my first NFL mock draft. This edition has no trades, and as always, there will be changes going forward.

If you’re wondering why there’s only 31 picks this year, no I did not forget one, but you will recall there was this big thing about deflated footballs a while ago. So, the Patriots will be forfeiting their first-round pick for breaking the league rules (again…).

Let’s take a look at my NFL mock draft, edition numero uno.

Speaking of uno, Laremy Tunsil holds it down at the number one spot. The Ole Miss Tackle had a terrific showing at his pro day, and will help solidify a Titans front-five that will ground and pound with new lead back DeMarco Murray all day.

Carson Wentz has been linked to Hue Jackson for months, but don’t count Goff out just yet. All season long he was the consensus number one quarterback, and now the small school Carson Wentz has jumped the more polished Cal product.

Arguable top overall prospect Jalen Ramsey slides to three because he’s a DB. The Chargers have the young and talented Jason Verrett at corner, but lost long-time leader and safety Eric Weddle. Ramsey will immediately improve the defense, wherever it is the Chargers will be playing in 2016.

  • My entire NFL Mock Draft

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Important Note

LA Rams – Taking Paxton Lynch at 15 seems crazy, but no other position will impact this franchise as much as a quarterback.

Even one who’s not necessarily ready for the pro game.

They were practically running a wildcat offense based off the threat of a permanent option call to Tavon Austin on the reverse, or a run up the middle by Todd Gurley. The faith shown in their QB’s down the stretch was as minimal as I’ve ever witnessed in the NFL, and I think that’s more telling than anything. When the coaching staff was forced to put Foles or Keenum in a passing situation where they needed to make the play, they failed miserably… Time and time again.

Maybe the Rams trade up and snatch Goff so he can stay in Cali, but without a trade scenario in this mock I’m improving their chances of winning games by upgrading the most important position on the team.

Denver Broncos – With Colin Kaepernick apparently just a matter of a “few dollars’ away from joining the Broncos, a QB was no longer coveted in the first round. Denver takes advantage of the DL depth in this draft and snatches a nice value at 31. Spence could go much higher, but questions about his speed (4.8 combine) and character are a legitimate concern.

Feel free to comment if you have any suggestions, or even your own NFL Mock Draft to share!

 

Posted in NFL

NFL Combine: Winners

The NFL combine has come and gone, so toss out those pre-combine mock drafts and reconsider life as we know it. Every year mock drafts are completely re-written post combine due to both great, and disappointing performances from the hopeful athletes.

Every year players get lumped into various categories. Two of the major ones would be workout warriors, and “football players”. Ideally you find a nice balance of the two and feel safer projecting them at the next level.

Here is a list of good football players who had nice workouts to boot, they will surely be at the least, solid pros in the NFL.

Winners

QB Carson Wentz – Showed off his ability to make all the throws – with a ton of zip to boot. As one anonymous NFL scout said  “This guy’s unique. He’s just different. And obviously, he’s 6-5, 230, and can spin it like a mother.”

He ran an impressive 4.77 in the 40-yard dash, real nice for a 6’5 230 lb QB (2nd at the position), and also put up a 3-cone drill of 6.86 seconds, one of only four quarterbacks to accomplish it in under 7 seconds. He will most likely go number 2 overall to Cleveland.

QB Jeff Goff – Put on a passing clinic for everyone in attendance. Wentz may have the better measurables, but many believe Goff is the better thrower. Played at Cal, so he’s seen the bright lights and pressure that comes with the position. Certainly a top 10 pick, and while the Browns like their man, Goff could be the better player down the line. The right fit in the NFL could turn him from a potential serviceable starter to a perennial Pro-Bowler.

WR Braxton Miller – While fans may have felt let down by his 40 time at the NFL Combine, his 60-yard shuttle, 20-yard shuttle, 3-cone drill results were among the elite. His performance confirmed what we saw on on film and why we believe he can make the transition to wide receiver, when so many before him haven’t.

Aside from his competitive drive, he has outstanding feet and explosion in those legs.  He will be a fine route runner once he learns the nuances of the position by translating those skills into separation from DBs at the top of his routes. Get the ball in his hands around the short to intermediate areas and he will find success in the NFL. Update* He ran a 4.33 at his pro day.

BraxtonMillerfanpicks

 

Posted in CFB, NFL

NFL Combine Day 2

Day 2 of the NFL Combine has come and gone, and as usual there was drama and excitement of all kinds. Even a couple of staff members got into it.

The athletes had their ups and downs, notably a major down for Ohio State QB Cardale Jones who pulled his hamstring and is done for the remainder of the combine. Christian Hackenberg was terribly inaccurate during his throwing session, but did run a respectable 4.78 40-yard dash. Positively, Jeff Goff had a fantastic day throwing, as did Carson Wentz. Wentz also ran an impressive 4.77 40-yard dash, when you consider he measured in at 6’5 237 lbs. The latter two are considered the classes top QBs and probably top 10 picks.

The Wide Receivers…

The wide outs ran their 40’s today, and we had some surprises. Mike Mayock says this is the slowest group of WR’s we’ve maybe ever seen, and they are all “quicker than fast”. Laquon Treadwell didn’t run, but is still considered the top player at his position.

Here is the Top 10…plus the next two since they are very notable names.

Top10WR40s

Braxton Miller was probably Day 2 of the combine’s biggest surprise. While folks are still high on him, the Buckeyes converted QB was expected to run somewhere in the 4.3 range. His 4.5 flat (best) was disappointing to say the least. There was claims he ran a 4.36 as a QB for Ohio State, so after training so long as a wide receiver he would be even faster. That wasn’t the case, but his physicality and quickness are what make him a good WR anyway. He can be an NFL team’s number 2 WR one day soon. I see many first-down conversions in the future for this converted competitor.

Notre Dame’s Will Fuller unsurprisingly was among the events top performers. Impressively, he finished at the top medal standings.

TCU’s Josh Doctson is in the discussion as a top 3 pick at his position. His 40 time will definitely lower his draft stock, and now is a mid-to-late first round pick at best.

Posted in CFB, NFL