4-Team Playoff? Better Than Nothin’

It isn’t finalized yet, but everything looks good and it looks like college football actually gets to have a playoff.  4 teams may not seem like a lot, but it’s definitely better than having a computer select the national championship.  I didn’t find the LSU-Bama rematch boring because I like seeing defenses go at it, but to others it was a lullaby.  What does this 4-team playoff do?  If it were implemented last year, it would have allowed teams like Oklahoma State, who many thought were snubbed, vie for a spot in that championship game by playing either of those teams in the 1st playoff game.  Oklahoma State’s passing attack would’ve been a good match-up vs the Bama D, but who would have won?  The world may never know *cue Tootsie Pop owl*.

I really like the idea just because it opens possibilities up.  Now being a team with one loss doesn’t necessarily put you out of the National ‘ship, you just really gotta work your ass off to get there, which you’ll have to do regardless.  Maybe the NCAA just wanted the fans to shut up, but it was obviously due for a change.   I think in a few years once the revenue begins to flow in, they’ll expand it to an 8-team format.  Now that we’ve seen a playoff, will we see paid players?

Best Division In 2012

With the draft out of the way, I feel its time to make a bold prediction about which division will be the best next year.  Which Division do I think is going to be the best?  AFC North.  I liked everything their teams did in the draft, and they were already on the come up from 2011.

The Steelers helped Big Ben by giving him some big guys on the line in David DeCastro and Mike Adams.  Adams has had a few off field concerns, but so have a few of the Steelers offensive players.  They got a fast, agile RB in Chris Rainey in the 5th round.  He may help Mendenhall a bit, even if it’s only 10-15 downs a game.  Rainey has the speed to turn any play into a touch down, but is undersized and will get eaten up by linebackers like Terrell Suggs any day.  They also picked up a decent pass-catching tight end from Oregon in David Paulson.    To help on the defensive front, they picked up Alameda Ta’amu to be the anchor for that 3-4 defense and to give Casey Hampton a break at times.  Sean Spence is a smaller LB, but he was a great player at The U, and will be sure to get some time in that insane LB rotation.  He was a great tackler and had a way for finding the ball.  The Steelers have a legitimate chance at making another run to the Super Bowl.

The Ravens cemented their 3-4 defense with their 1st pick in Courtney Upshaw.  Upshaw has the potential to be a great OLB opposite of Terrell Suggs and is gonna cause havoc for years to come.  They picked up a big project in the 7th round with Deangelo Tyson.  He’s 315 pounds and could get some reps in on the line.  They also picked up a DB with their 5th round pick in Asa Jackson.  Small guy from a Division II school, but may have the speed to play slot, and definitely has the athleticism to play on the outside.  On offense, the Ravens scattered around and went for certain areas.  Bernard Pierce from Temple was a great pick in the 3rd round.  He’s a bigger guy, but has the type of speed you look for in a big guy, and will be able to give Ray Rice a few breaks while being able to make a few plays himself.  They also picked up an offensive tackle in Keleche Osemele.  At 6’5″, 330 pounds, Osemele played tackle in college, but is more suited to play guard.  They also picked up Tommy Streeter in the 6th round.  Streeter played college ball at Miami and was a great receiver at times.  He has a chance to make plays and gives Flacco a big target.

The past 2 years the Bengals have been building up, and this year I think they might be able to take it to the next level.  Out of every AFC team, I think they had the best draft, giving them the best chances down the line.  They drafted 2 great DTs in Devon Still and Brandon Thompson, and drafted a nice set of DBs in Dre Kirkpatrick and George Iloka.  Still and Thompson were both early round talents, and are big guys up front.  They can take up space and get disrupt the QB.  The fact that they’ll be competing for the same spot only gives the Bengals another advantage.  Kirkpatrick was great at Bama, and will continue to be great in Cincinnati.  Iloka is 6’4″ and can is a big target who may make QBs afraid to throw to the middle.  On the offensive side, the Bengals picked up Mohamed Sanu, Orson Charles, and Marvin Jones to help out Andy Dalton.  A.J. Green was the only legitimate producer at receiver for the Bengals last year, but Sanu could come in and get under the radar stats.  He should be a good complement to Green and the Bengals offense.  They also used another 1st round pick on an offensive lineman from Wisconsin who could possibly start from day one.  All in all, the Bengals had the best draft out of the entire AFC in my opinion, but it’ll be a few years before this group develops into a championship caliber team.

Last but not least, the Browns.  The Browns made big strides this year getting Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, and Travis Benjamin to the mix.  Richardson has the frame to be a menace at RB and is an agile bruiser-type back.  Weeden was criticized due to his age, but he’s a great QB who will challenge McCoy for the starting role.  Benjamin was an explosive player out of Miami, but his hands were always questionable.  He never did seem to like holding on to the ball, but has amazing speed.  He will be a great kick returner and will be packaged into the receiving group nicely.  They also drafted some much needed help on the offensive line with Mitchell Schwartz and Ryan Miller.  On defense, they seemed to get talent in the later rounds.  They picked up Boise State DT, Billy Wynn.  Wynn was a force at Boise State, but could be lazy at times and wouldn’t produce in some games.  To help him, they drafted John Hughes from Cincinnati.  The Ravens running attack seems to piss off a lot of the AFC North considering the talent most teams picked up in the middle.  To help D’Qwell Jackson at LB, they drafted James-Michael Johnson from Nevada, and Emmanuel Acho from Texas.  Johnson is a great tackler who can come in and contribute early.  Acho is a fast guy at LB, but is also undersized.  He could find his way into the rotation during the middle parts of the season.

I feel like the AFC North has the potential to bring home another Super Bowl, but it won’t be a cake walk.  The Ravens and Steelers are the most likely to win a Super Bowl, but the Bengals could be a surprise front runner with the talent they acquired from the draft.  The Browns aren’t going to be Super Bowl contenders this year, but they made major strides in the long term.  The AFC North will be the division to watch for next season.

Who Had the Best Draft?

With the 253rd pick of the NFL Draft chosen, let’s take a look at which team made the smartest decisions and see who had the best draft.  I won’t go through every pick, but just teams who seemed to make some significant strides, along with the 1st three teams who picked in the draft.

The 1st pick of the draft was known before it was announced.  Andrew Luck, QB from Stanford, the best player in the draft…on paper.  Not to say he won’t be great, but with QBs it’s difficult to tell whether they will be great, and there are many examples of this.  With that being said, I think Andrew Luck will be a great player, and can potentially go down as one of the greats. It helps that he has his teammate, Coby Fleener drafted by the Colts in the 2nd round, to help him out.  Luck and Fleener have a few years under their belt together, so the chemistry is already there.  The Colts added another TE in the 3rd round with Dwayne Allen from Clemson.  Allen is a big explosive guy with nice hands.  He isn’t the greatest blocker, but I don’t think he’ll be blocking much.  The 2 Tight End sets are becoming pretty popular, and Luck actually ran a few 2 TE sets at Stanford, so this should be familiar to him.

I like what the Colts did with their 1st three picks allowing Luck to have one of his teammates and giving him another nice target in the middle of the field.

The Redskins picked Robert Griffin III with the 2nd pick of the draft.  This was a vital need for the Skins who couldn’t work with their QB’s at the time in John Beck and Rex “Mr. Hyde” Grossman.  At one point I wasn’t really a fan of RGIII being picked at #2, but he’s grown on me.  More so because I have faith in Shanahan, and seeing Cam Newton come in and strive, I feel RGIII could do the same thing.  If not, fuck it, let’s draft Kirk Cousins as a backup.  If RGIII does fail, I feel like this pick will be a great safety net for them.  Cousins makes smart plays, he just doesn’t show that he has that winning mentality.  Watching MSU games you could see that late in the 4th, but if anybody can groom this kid, I’d say it’d be Shanahan.  The other picks from the Redskins may have had you scratching your head, but don’t discredit how Shanahan runs his offense.  He’s all about zone blocking, and those are the types of lineman he goes after.  Roy Helu may break 1,000 yards if that’s who Shan puts at RB.

The Skins had a nice draft and it seems like Shan is gonna be staying a while.  I can see them trying to take the NFC East back in a few years.

The 3rd pick of the draft was Trent Richardson, taken by the Browns.  Trent is a small bulldozer from Bama and has what it takes to be great at the next level.  He’s literally dragged guys 3-5 extra yards to get a 1st down or a touchdown.  I feel like he’s going to be a great back at the next level.  He gets compared to AP, which is hard to do seeing how AP’s rookie season went.  I don’t see Trent doing that well, but I do see him being an elite back in a few years.  The Browns surprised some by taking Brandon Weeden with the 22nd pick of the first round.  Weeden was a great QB at Oklahoma State, but his age didn’t put him in the 1st round category.  The Browns didn’t care and drafted him anyway.  They probably could’ve picked him up later, but I guess they didn’t want to take any chances.  They also drafted Travis Benjamin out of Miami.  He’s a smaller guy at 5’10”, but he has the speed to be a decent slot receiver and could be a nice fit for Weeden(or McCoy).

The Browns had a lot of rebuilding to do, and I don’t think they were able to do it all this draft.  Especially being in the AFC North, where just about every team had a great draft and every team has a chance to make it to the playoffs.  Down the line this draft will help the Browns, but unless Trent Richardson gets 1,200 yards, I don’t see the Browns in the playoffs this year.

I didn’t like the Dolphins draft until they picked Lamar Miller in the 4th round.  Sorry, don’t know enough about Tannehill, except for the fact that he only started 20 games at QB in college, and that just isn’t enough to be taken at #8 to me.  But as the draft panned out, some of the Dolphins picks actually look good.  If Tannehill comes in and plays like he’s supposed to, this could be one of the Dolphins best drafts yet.  It helps that they drafted Michael Egnew from MIzzou.  At Mizzou there’s only one rule:  Pass.  Egnew played more of a receiving role, and that’s exactly what he’s gonna do in Miami.  B.J Cunningham from MSU was also a nice pickup for a 6th round pick.  He has nice hands and was a great route runner at MSU.  Could easily come in and play a slot position for the Dolphins.  Another player they drafted was Johnathan Martin from Stanford.  A great lineman who could come in and start later in the season.  Good investment to protect their 1st rounder.

I like the Dolphins draft this year, but there’s only one downside:  If Tannehill isn’t the guy you want him to be, then this was a wasted draft.  They’ve tried for years to replace Marino, and nothing seems to help.  The only way to replace Marino is to win a Super Bowl.  That’s a lot of pressure to have, especially being a 1st round pick too.

The Bills draft seemed to be coming together when they got to pick Cordy Glenn in the 2nd round.  Cordy dominated some of the best edge rushers at the Combine, and consistently played against top talent in the SEC.  They do have to play against the Jets and Patriots twice a year, so Oline is always a must.  When you play the Patriots twice a year, there’s no such thing as having too many good defensive backs.  That’s what the Bills are looking for in their 1st pick, Stephon Gilmore.  Gilmore is a great cover man with nice speed who has what it takes to be a great corner in the NFL.  They picked another DB with a 4th round pick in Ron Brooks from LSU.  He’s a small guy so I don’t see him being able to consistently battle with some of the bigger receivers, but he would do best as a dime back. With their acquisition of Mario Williams in the offseason, it’s hard to think that the Bills won’t be a better team next season.

I really liked the Bills draft this year.  Not only did they get one great lineman in Cordy Glenn, but they also got Zebrie Sanders from Florida State.  Sanders can fill in at either tackle spot as he did at FSU, and could see some early playing time this season.  I feel like they might be able to make a wildcard, but it all depends on the play of Fitzpatrick.

Next on the list is the Eagles who went straight defense with their 1st three picks and are looking to make a move for the NFC East’s top spot again.  Their 1st pick was Fletcher Cox, a DT from Mississippi State.  This guy can really play.  At 298 pounds, he’s going to come in and play a position that the Eagles have struggled to find.  He’s a serious player off the line of scrimmage and will make QBs eat turf.  Their 2nd pick was Mychal Kendricks, LB from Cal.  This guy is incredibly fast.  He is great at covering and can pursue some of the faster RBs due to his speed.  He has a good chance to move outside since they have Demeco Ryans.  Their 3rd pick was Vinny Curry from Marshall.  Another great pass rusher with great off the line speed.  Not the fastest player, but will be a great pass rusher for the Eagles.  If those weren’t enough, they picked up Brandon Boykin with their 5th pick, who’s a great DB from Georgia.  He’s small, so he’d probably play dime back, but he’s a great instinctual player who can stick with fast receivers.

The Eagles had a superb draft this year.  They’re offense is pretty good with all that speed they have.  They got a few offensive lineman to help out McCoy, and these defenders are just overwhelming.  I don’t know if the NFC East is ready for them or not.

The Bengals were another team who a standout draft.  Dre Kirkpatrick, Devon Still, Brandon Thompson, and George Iloka on defense all seem to have promising futures.  Kirkpatrick and Iloka in the secondary could prove deadly for their AFC North rivals.  Still and Thompson are both great picks when you have to play Ray Rice and the Ravens twice a year.  They both can take up space and get to the QB in the backfield.  On the offensive side of the ball, the Bengals picked up Mohamed Sanu,  Marvin Jones, and Kevin Zeitler.  Zeitler is gonna provide some nice protection for Dalton to allow him the time to make throws.  Sanu and Jones are going to make the passing attack of the Bengals better.  While Jerome Simpson’s front flip was amazing, Goodell is probably going to give him a 3-game suspension, so either of these guys could make an immediate impact.  Sanu is an underneath type guy.  He’s not used to taking deep routes and prefers 8-15 yard routes.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but don’t look to him to make the long ball play.  Jones is a guy with great hands, but his speed to get away from defensive backs isn’t the greatest.

I loved what the Bengals did this year.  They really have what it takes to sit atop the AFC North this year.  They basically drafted everything they needed and more.  They picked up some nice depth and could be one of the breakout teams of the season this year.

Patriots had the best 1st round of the draft and picked up a gem in the 7th round.  Their offense was one of the best offenses in the NFL, if not the best.  Their defense was horrible though, but they definitely addressed that with this draft.  Their 1st pick was Chandler Jones from Syracuse.  Jones is a great pass rusher and may play a hybrid in Belichick’s system.  Could come in and make immediate impact.  Their 2nd pick was the one that made me gasp.  Dont’a Hightower from Bama.  This guy is strong, agile, and explosive.  He can make plays and find the ball.  He’s a force to reckon with and I can see him being a playmaker in a few years.  In the 7th round, the Patriots took a risk and picked up Alfonzo Dennard from Nebraska.  He’s a great cornerback, considered to go by the 2nd round, but he punched a cop.  It was a risk, but if it pays off, Belichick may have another Super Bowl under his belt.

I really liked the Patriots draft, due to the talent they already have.  The powerhouses of the AFC all seemed to draft well this year, so it’ll still be a hard path to February, but the Patriots seem to have the best chance to make it there.

Speaking of AFC powerhouses, the Steelers had one of the most underrated drafts.  They stockpiled on their biggest need at offensive line, and got some of the best lineman in David DeCastro and Mike Adams.  Two of the best lineman in the draft  They also drafted Chris Rainey from Florida.  Rainey isn’t an every down guy, but damn is he fast.  He’s a small guy, but can catch the ball and is a great returner.  The Steelers also picked up a backup for Casey Hampton in Alameda Ta’amu.  Ta’amu is a big guy who can take up space just like Hampton did, but he may be too big and need to lose some weight to play effectively in the NFL.  They also drafted Sean Spence from Miami.  He’s an undersized LB, but he’s a great player.  Has the potential to be like London Fletcher for the Redskins.

The Steelers had a great draft and are trying to keep Ben safe enough to stay healthy and win another Super Bowl.

So who had the best draft?  I think the Eagles take that title.  With an explosive offense, they focused on defense and did a great job. They could take the title in the NFC East and make the Super Bowl in a few years with the talent they drafted.  Eagles have one of the most talented teams in the NFL, and even better for them is that it’s full of young players.  Andy Reid could be wearing a ring very soon if the organization keeps this up.

Any teams I missed?  Don’t feel a team deserved one of these spots?  Tell us in the comments!

Steals From the 4th and 5th Rounds of the NFL Draft

Well to kick off the steals, the Dolphins traded up the 2nd pick to pick arguably the best player left in Lamar Miller from the U.  Miller is a great prospect and was considered to be drafted late in the 1st round.  Watching Miller play at Miami was insane due to his speed and how quick he can change directions.  He had blazing speed and nice size at 212 pounds.  He can get between blocks, and when he does he can take it all the way.  Only thing that hindered his stock with scouts was that he only had one real year of tape.  Hopefully he and Tannehill can make some noise for the Dolphins this year.

Even with picking RGIII with the 2nd pick of the 1st round, the Redskins decided to draft Kirk Cousins from Michigan State.  Cousins is a great QB who could work wonders with a coach like Shanahan.  They also cut John Beck which opens the depth chart up a bit more for Cousins.  Grossman is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when it comes to being a QB, and he’s more of Mr. Hyde than anything.  I’m gonna go on a limb and make a bold prediction, but the starter in 5 years is gonna be Kirk Cousins.

Panthers drafted Joe Adams from Arkansas, giving Cam another speedy receiver.  I really like this pick due to how he could work out with Cam Newton and Steve Smith .  He can get open deep, and can get away from corners underneath.  His only problem would be trying to catch the ball in traffic due to his height.  Should work out well for Rivera and the Panthers.  Carolina also drafted Josh Norman from Coastal Carolina.  While Norman isn’t the fastest cornerback, he can cover well and has great athleticism.  Being in a division with pass happy offenses like the Saints and Falcons, a DB is never a bad choice.  Good pickup for the Panthers in the 5th round.

Steelers got a big nose tackle in Alameda Ta’amu.  Was said to be non valuable to 4-3 teams due to his lack of pass rushing ability, but ate up space so would fit a 3-4 perfectly.  Who better to be coached by than Dick Lebeau?  Not only did the Steelers get Ta’amu, but they also drafted Chris Rainey, the speedy running back from Florida.  He’s a small, fast, agile guy who can outrun defenders, even at the next level.  He doesn’t have what it takes to be an every down back, but used sparingly could prove deadly.

Vikings drafted Arkansas receiving duo Jarius Wright and Greg Childs.  Wright is a small guy, most likely to be used in the slot and to take some reps from Harvin to give him a break.  Childs is the opposite in the fact that he’s 6’3″ and suffered a torn patella tendon in 2010 making it difficult for him to give 100% running routes.  Solid 4th round picks for the Vikings who needed to give Ponder a few more targets.

Texans drafted Jared Crick, DT from Nebraska.  Crick missed most of his senior season due to a torn pectoral, but Wade Phillips didn’t want to pass this one up.  This is Phillips type of player for his hybrid style 3-4, and Crick could fit in perfectly.  Good pickup for the Texans late in the 4th.

Eagles did it again.  For the 4th time in 5 rounds, Eagles drafted for the defensive side of the ball, picking Brandon Boykin from Georgia.  Boykin was a great defensive back at Georgia, but could struggle to stay with some of the more physical receivers in the league.  At 5’9″, I don’t expect to see him guarding the likes of Calvin Johnson  or Hakeem Nicks, could make for a promising cornerback, and a great return man to give Jackson and Maclin some breaks.

Packers didn’t like their defense played all year, and it shows with this draft.  Packers drafted Terrell Manning from NC State.  Manning was a good edge rusher in college, but at 240 pounds, it’ll be difficult for him to do the same thing vs NFL linemen.  Luckily for him, he has Dom Capers as a defensive coordinator who will be able to find some place for him.  He has a nice burst off the edge, but doesn’t display the same prowess vs the run.  Should be nice to see how revamped the Packers defense is next year.

A lot of great players drafted in the 4th and 5th rounds who could come in and make immediate impact for their teams next season.  Have any players you feel were sleepers?  Comment and tell us who you think!

Round 2 Recap

  1.   Rams picked Brian Quick, WR from Appalachian St.  The best FCS WR prospect in the draft stands 6’3″ and ran a 4.5 at the 40.  Not who I  expected the Rams to get, but Quick could be just what the Rams were looking for.
  2.  Colts picked Coby Fleener, TE out of Stanford.  Has previous chemistry with Luck, so should work out well for the Colts.
  3. Ravens picked up Courtney Upshaw to play 3-4 OLB.  This was a great pick for them seeing as Upshaw had 1st round talent, just was never picked up.
  4. Broncos picked Derek Wolfe, DT out of Cincinnati.  This was actually a great pick for them.  He has a great motor, and can get in the backfield to disrupt the QB.
  5. Browns pick Marshall Schwartz, OL out of Cal.  Physical guy, great blocker.  Not a bad pick, but may fit the system better than those they passed up.
  6. Jags picked Andre Branch, DE from Clemson.  He’s more of an edge rusher due to being a smaller guy, but he’s quick and can get in the backfield in a flash.
  7. Rams second pick of the 2nd round was Janoris Jenkins, CB from North Alabama.  Great pick with the free agency pickup of Cortland Finnegan.
  8. Panthers picked Amini Silatolu, OL from Midwestern St.  Everyone he played against was significantly smaller than him.  He has nice size, and will probably play guard in Carolina.
  9. Bills picked Cordy Glenn, OL from Georgia.  Great pick for the Bills in the 2nd round. Glenn was easily 1st round talent, but teams just didn’t pick him up.  Bills needed to go Oline, and this was a great pick for them.
  10. Dolphins picked Johnathan Martin, OL from Stanford.  Great pickup for the Oline, not that great a pickup for Tannehill.  Hopefully their two 3rd rounders make up for it.
  11. Jets traded the Seahawks to get this pick, and they picked Stephen Hill, WR from Georgia Tech.  His total career receptions at GT was 49.  49 receptions over three years.  He’s a fast, tall receiver, but he doesn’t have the best of hands.  Spent three years blocking in the flexbone scheme, and that was what the Jets were looking for.  Guess it’s easier to teach how to catch than it is to teach how to block.
  12. Chiefs picked Jeff Allen, OL from Illinois.  Not a bad pick, but there were still great linemen on the board.  He can play most positions on the line, except center.  Promising pick, but without a specific set of skills for a certain position, he could get exploited by defenses.
  13. Bears traded the Cowboys to get this pick, and picked Alshon Jeffery, WR from South Carolina.  Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery with Jay Cutler.  Not a bad pick, but Jeffery is far from being a speedy receiver and will rely more on his size.  Not a bad receiving duo for the Bears
  14. Eagles picked Mychal Kendricks, LB from Cal.  Kendricks is a speed demon.  Not to mention the Eagles also acquired Demeco Ryans in free agency.
  15. Seahawks picked Bobby Wagner, LB from Utah State.  This is one of those Pete Carroll picks.  He’s somewhat undersized at MLB, but Carroll will find a use for him.
  16. Patriots picked Tavon Wilson, DB from Illinois.  The Illinois defenders seem to be getting a lot of hype this year.  Former D-Coordinator Vic Koenning seems to have the right system down for the NFL, teaching his players what to do and what not to do.  Wilson is a great pick for the Patriots who have a sub-par secondary.
  17. Chargers picked Kendall Reyes, DT from Connecticut.  Reyes is a big guy who can take up space on the line which is why the Chargers picked him.  Good pickup for the Chargers.
  18. Rams third pick of the 2nd round, they chose Isaiah Pead, RB from Cincinnati.    Some of my only film that I saw live on Pead was from the Senior Bowl, and boy was he good.  He wasn’t a standout player, but he’s a great role player.  Good pick for the Rams to basically revamp their entire team by giving up their 2nd pick of the draft.
  19. Packers traded the Cardinals and picked Jerel Worthy, DT from Michigan State.  Worthy is a great player and a great pickup for the Packers who had defensive woes last year.  At 305 pounds, he would normally play nose tackle, but with BJ Raji there, I see him playing DE.
  20. Titans picked Zach Brown, LB from North Carolina.  One of the fastest LBs in the draft.  1st round talent, but never put forth the effort it took to be elite in college, but his athleticism allowed him to make plays.  If he can work on his motor, this could be a great pick for the Titans.
  21. Bengals picked Devon Still, DT out of Penn St.  One of the best DTs in the draft taken in the late 2nd round.  He’s never been a sack machine, but he’s always taken up space and been able to disrupt the passer.  Great pick for the Bengals who are looking to take over the AFC North this year.
  22. Lions picked Ryan Broyles, WR out of Oklahoma.  They actually needed a WR, even with the future Hall of Famer, Calvin Johnson.  This wasn’t a bad pick, but Broyles will play slot and is coming off of an ACL tear.  He’s still fast, but can he change direction with that ACL?
  23. Falcons picked Peter Konz, OL from Wisconsin.  Only thing to worry about from Konz is he never got to play an entire season due to injury.  Wisconsin seems to be breeding Olinemen these days.  Konz was a great pick for the Falcons who have a great offense, only making them better.
  24. Steelers picked Mike Adams, OL from Ohio State.  Great pick when you add in DeCastro in the 1st round.  Steelers are trying to revamp their one big weak spot, and they’re doing it with 1st round talent.
  25. Broncos picked Brock Osweiler, QB from Arizona State.  Elway got Peyton, I’m not gonna argue with his picks.  Obvious backup, and who better to teach him than one of the best?  Good pick for looking toward the future for the Broncos.
  26. Buccaneers traded the Texans and picked up Lavonte David, LB from Nebraska.  David is a great pick for the Bucs.  While he is a smaller LB, he’s incredibly fast and stuffs running backs trying to get through the middle.  When linemen start to engage him, however, he starts to become somewhat obsolete.  Great pick for the Bucs who are looking to overcome their dismal 2011 season.
  27. Eagles picked Vinny Curry, DE from Marshall.  Whoa.  They’re not fucking around this year.  Eli, RGIII, and Romo better watch out.  Straight defense with the Eagles 3rd pick in the draft, second of round 2.  Curry is a good DE who is great at rushing the passer.  Only downside is that when engaged, has a very difficult time getting back in the game.  Good pick for the Eagles, looking to wreak havoc on D in the NFC East.
  28. Ravens picked Kelechi Osemele, OL from Iowa State. At 6’5″, 333 pounds, Osemele is a force to be reckoned with.  He’s a strong, explosive blocker, but still needs some coaching to be elite at the next level.  Played tackle in college, but due to footwork will have to transition to being a guard.  Good pick by the Ravens who continue to improve their running attack.
  29. 49ers picked Lamichael James, RB from Oregon.  James wasn’t the best RB in the draft, but this seems like it could be a great fit for him.  He can catch to bail out Alex Smith at times, and is fast as any back and can get down the field quickly.  I can see James playing a role similar to Darren Sproles.
  30. Packers traded the Patriots and picked Casey Hayward, DB from Vanderbilt.  This guy played in the SEC, and is considered one of the top corners.  One thing you should never discredit is a defender from the SEC, regardless of what team he’s from.  Hayward has the speed and may make an immediate impact.
  31. Last but damn sure not least with this pick, Giants picked Randle Rueben, WR from LSU.  This guy is an incredible athlete and will be working with Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.  He is somewhat of a work in progress due to his horrible QBs down in Baton Rouge.  Now he gets to work with a Manning that has two Super Bowl rings(even if you wanna be around the guy with 1), and hopefully he doesn’t disappoint.  This was a great pick for the Giants, and a great way to close out the 2nd round.

How do you think your team did in the 2nd round, or in Day 2 as a whole?

Day 2 Predictions

While Day 1 made headlines with teams trading picks, Day 2 would most likely make headlines when guys like Cordy Glenn fall lower than expected, or having a guy like Upshaw go to some dominate 3-4 scheme, a la 3rd pick of the 2nd round(Ravens).  both of these are just guesses which I doubt will actually happen, the 2nd and 3rd rounds are usually much more interesting to me.  

What I actually think could happen:

Rams are going to get Cordy Glenn with the first pick.  They need an O-line for Bradford, cause I don’t think he likes being sacked 50+ times.  Glenn played at UGA and can play guard or tackle.  He was a force at the combine, going up against guys like Melvin Ingram, Courtney Upshaw, and Quinton Coples.  He is first round talent and the Rams have two more 2nd round picks, so this could be one of those best player available picks, but still ties into team needs.  Rams have a plethora of options to choose from with three 2nd rounders, two of which are in the top 10 picks.  I could see them getting another target for Bradford as well.  They picked up Steve Smith in the offseason, and I could see them going for a guy like Stephen Hill.  Problem is, Hill didn’t produce that well at Georgia Tech due to their option offense, so whenever Hill got the ball, it was most likely an option fake and he had the opposition beat.  Does this mean he’s bad because he played in a flexbone scheme?  No, but it means there’s some risk involved with taking him, but his combine shot him up on most boards.  Hill could be a nice addition to the Rams offense, as he stands around 6’3 or 6’4, and has decent speed.

The Colts seem to have a lot of rebuilding to do.  Switching to the 3-4 with Pagano will make a difference in how they draft, but are they going to go defense this early, or are they going to try to put Luck with some young weapons?  Guys like Alshon Jeffrey from South Carolina is still on the board with his 6’4 frame, along with Reuben Randle from LSU at 6’4.  While both of these players are great, I can’t help but wonder whether or not the Colts pick how you could pass up one of Luck’s targets at Stanford in Coby Fleener.  Considered one of the best TE’s in the draft, Fleener led Stanford in receiving touchdowns last year with 10.  The Colts lost one of the best TE’s in Dallas Clark, and it only seems right you give get you guys who have great chemistry together.  The only worry would be that if Luck is a bust, will Fleener be a bust?  Only time can tell, but I don’t see the Colts going anything but offense here.

Ravens are gonna go with Konz.  Why else trade back?  Konz is the best center in the draft, and the Ravens are gonna look to keep their running attack going.  They also have two 2nd rounders, and could take a WR late in the round.  If Mohammed Sanu is still there, I’d pick him up.  They could also go for a Ray replacement and try to get a guy like Zach Brown from UNC.  While he plays OLB in a 4-3 scheme, I can see him moving to ILB in a 3-4 and wreaking havoc.  He’s just incredibly fast and can make plays, but he won’t be available by the time the 28th pick comes around, so if they were like to get him, they’d use their 3rd pick in the 2nd round, eliminating Konz from the picture.  Could this happen?

Without having a 1st round pick, Denver is probably going to look to at defense.  They filled their biggest need during the offseason in getting Peyton Manning, but after a year off, will Peyton still be Peyton?  If he is, as a Chiefs fan, I’m screwed, but divisional games are always hectic in the AFC West.  I could see them getting Brandon Thompson from Clemson to fill a void at DT.  He’s a big guy, can take up space in the middle and stop the run, but will they get him?  With all of the talent on the board this early into the draft, who’s to say that they won’t pick the best player available on offense to give Peyton some help?  Whether it be a receiver or a linemen, they may spend their second 2nd round pick on an offensive player, but I fee like for their first pick they’re going to go with a defensive player.  Janoris Jenkins?  Could happen, even with the acquisition of former Saint, Tracy Porter.

After trading up to get Weeden and Richardson in the first round, the Browns may want an O-line.  This actually seems unlikely, but so did a 28-year-old QB being a first rounder.  Richardson at Bama was a force to be reckoned with, and Weeden is a great QB, the only downside was his age, which the Browns didn’t seem to care about.  They’ll want to protect their investments and build up an offense in the process.  Are the Browns going the SB this year?  highly doubtful, especially with their division, but they’re looking towards the future so a lineman may be in their future.  On the other hand, they have somewhat of a weak secondary and could use some help there.  Sadly, there aren’t any safeties worthy of being drafted this early that weren’t already drafted, but there are some corner backs still available.  Jayron Hosley from Virginia Tech is still up there, along with Alfonzo Dennard from Nebraska.  Jenkins was considered first round talent, but his attitude seemed to stop some teams from drafting him, but any of the first 4 picks could draft him just to have another DB out there.  Hosley led Tech in interceptions last year if I remember correctly, and Alfonzo was great at Nebraska.  Best bet for the Browns?  use their 2nd round pick on a linemen, and their 3rd round pick on a decent corner.

Jacksonville picked up receiver Justin Blackmon with their first pick.  Gabbert’s first year at QB didn’t go so well, so getting Blackmon was a good pickup.  Their O-line isn’t bad, but it could still be improved.  The thing of importance for the Jags is most likely the pass rush.  Aaron Kampman seemed like a great pickup a few years ago from the Packers, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy.  Fortunately, for the Jags, this year’s draft was lined up with pass rushers, and there are still multiple available.  Andre Branch from Clemson is one person the Jags may look at picking up.  He’s agile, can make plays, and loves seeing the QB eat turf.  Branch is a viable option for the Jags with the sixth pick in the 2nd round.

Panthers 1st round pick was a great one in Luke Keuchly out of Boston College.  The kid just has a nose for where the ball is, and could make an immediate impact on the field.  The Panthers may get another receiver for Cam to go to, or they’ll try to get a pass rusher opposite of Charles Johnson.  Seeing as they went defense in the first round, it seems as if they may get a receiver with their 2nd round pick.  I could see them getting Dwayne Allen from Clemson if he’s still on the board.  Around 6’4 with great hands and speed, Allen could be just what the Panthers are looking for with Cam Newton.  Without a 3rd round pick, the Panthers are going to look to getting guys who can come in and get some playing time to try to reclaim the NFC South.

The Bills are slowly on the come up, picking up Mario Williams in the offseason, and Stephon Gilmore in the 1st round.  I don’t think they’ll look for anything but an offensive lineman here.  Johnathan Martin from Stanford, Bobby Massie from Ole Miss, and Mike Adams from OSU are all viable picks for the Bills at this stage.  Ryan Fitzpatrick showed glimpses of greatness last season, and will need an offensive line to keep moving forward.

Last but not least, the Dolphins.  With their first round pick, they drafted WR QB Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M.  They needed a QB, and Tannehill has shown scouts that he has what it takes to play QB at the NFL level, but I didn’t watch enough Texas A&M games to actually know whether or not he’s top-10 worthy.  Not only did they draft a QB in the 1st round, but they traded away Brandon Marshall to the Bears–for two 3rd round picks!!  What’s a QB if he doesn’t have anyone to throw to?  Not saying the Dolphins don’t have any receivers, but it’s going to be difficult going against defenses like Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick twice a year if you can’t throw the ball.  They also reverted back to the 4-3 defense, and will need someone to play opposite of Wake.  They may have backed themselves into a corner that they won’t be able to get out of this year, but anything can happen in the NFL.

Patriots = Hope Crushers

While watching the NFL Draft, I was looking forward to see who ended up where.  One thing I couldn’t stand was seeing the Patriots get TWO first round draft picks.  Now do I hate the Patriots?  Of course I do.  However I have incredible respect for Belichick and Brady, they’re just too good to the point where you start hating them for it, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Their first pick was one they acquired from the Bengals with the 21st selection.  They pick Chandler Jones, the defensive end from Syracuse.  Luckily I had seen him play a few times this year, and he’s not bad.  Granted, I don’t have all the film the Patriots staff has, but normally their picks are guys you overlook until you seem them on gameday.  This wasn’t what crushed my hopes.  Four freaking picks later, guess who’s picking?  “Patriots have acquired the 25th pick in the draft from the Denver Broncos.”  At this moment I feel like I’m gonna be emotionally queasy.  Did you see what these guys did last year?  Brady with some tight ends damn near gets them another ring.  Now they draft Dont’a Hightower out of Bama.  Anybody who watches college football has seen this guy play, and know what he’s capable of, and who gets him?  That evil genius of a man who goes against the grain and doesn’t allow EA to use his likeness in their game, that’s who.  We’re not even in the 2nd round of the draft and I’m already feeling some form of despair.  Normally this doesn’t happen until training camp starts, but Belichick seems to have bad plans for the AFC this year.

Am I being a somewhat dramatic about this situation?  Last time Pats picked twice in the 1st round(2004; Vince Wilfork & Ben Watson), they won the Super Bowl that year.  That’s some of the worst logic ever, though, so yes, I am being somewhat over dramatic.

Strategy vs Rating?

Seems to be an age-old question in sports games:  Strategy vs rating?  Some people say that ratings go into developing a strategy, and while this is true, they are still two completely different aspects of how you look at the game.  First just some background as to what strategy and ratings are.

What is strategy?  According to Merriam-Webster, strategy is “the art of devising or employing plans or stratagems toward a goal.”  Why did I give you the definition of strategy?  Because there is more than one strategy you can employ at a time, which is something you should never forget.

What is a rating?  No need for a formal definition here, a rating in NCAA is how the players rank best to worst.  Now there are multiple ratings in NCAA, but we’re going to focus on the overall rating.  Why?  Because the other ratings that go into determining your overall, are the ratings that go into devising a strategy.

In NCAA, the answer is pretty simple: Strategy over ratings any day of the week.  Sorry guys, but ratings just don’t cut it the same way a strategy can.  Now I am in no way saying I could use UL Lafayette(no offense) and beat someone using Bama.  While it could happen against someone with no prior knowledge or use of a gaming controller, I don’t see it happening because Bama is too good.  You need to have a balance of ratings along with strategy, therefore letting certain specific ratings effect how you play.  Having a QB with a good arm along with a tall WR with good CIT(Catch in Traffic) and Catch ratings, you could work on user catching and make plays down field.  A fast QB with decent accuracy and one of those small agile HBs, and you could have yourself a nice option attack mixed with some quick screens to really piss someone off, including me.

Just some quick pointers to think about:

  • If you’re going to be passing, make sure you try to center something around your QB.  Having four tall, fast receivers is great, but when you don’t have a QB who can get the ball to them, what does it matter?
  • Offensive line is important, don’t overlook it.
  • Receivers REALLY need to know how to catch.

What To Look For In NCAA 13

NCAA 13 is only a few months around the corner.  Now, while it isn’t as popular as its EA Sports counterpart, Madden, NCAA is still an awesome game.  What Madden lacks in gameplay and originality, NCAA makes up for.  Now don’t get offended, I like Madden too, but in my opinion, NCAA is just a far better game.  Ever since the Next-gen switch, the NCAA development team has seemed to use their time wisely.  This may be one of the first years I don’t play Madden due to the blunder that was Madden 12.

With that mini rant out of the way, here’s just some of what EA has released about the upcoming NCAA 13:

  • 400+ new catching animations
  • All new passing trajectories.  Possibly one of my favorite new features as more of a passer than a runner.  I always wanted to be able to put it where my receiver could make a play, or no play would be made.  Sadly, that didn’t always happen, resulting in more interceptions than I would have liked, but I chalk it up as learning experience. With the addition of trajectories, now you’re able to put the ball in the best place for your receiver to make a play.
  • New audio from actual team crowds allowing you to experience the gridiron like never before.  24 new school chants added.  Teams include: Florida State, Oregon State, WVU, Boise St., UGA, Pitt, Penn St., and Notre Dame just to name a few.
  •  New Progressive Lighting.  Are you one of those people who notices that even after halftime, the lighting looks no different?  Not anymore, the new progressive lighting allows for actual time lapse after each play.
  • New Defensive AI system, which is probably the best new feature so far.   In previous years, DB’s would basically run stride for stride with your receiver, not look at the QB, know when the ball was thrown, and would easily be able to make a play that was 10-15 yards away.  With the new defensive AI, the NCAA Dev. team hopes to change that with their new Read & React system.  Basically, the defender has to see the ball to make a play on it, giving more significance to defender ratings other than the speedbig hit, and  tackle ratings.  This means that you’ll actually be able to use a playaction pass without worrying about being eaten up on 2nd & 2 by a blitz, and having every blitzer go straight for the QB.  Pump fakes have also been revamped and can prove deadly when used at the right time.
  • Disguised coverage.  Something that was on the PS2/XBOX version of Madden and NCAA was the ability to play zone, but have your DB line up on his corresponding receiver.  That has returned, and for the first time, is on Next-gen.

These are just a few of the features that EA has released so far, but what great features they are.  This makes for a more tactical and strategic game of NCAA, which most of us will like.  As the QB, you’ll actually have to read the defense and make plays depending on what you’re opponent does and how he likes to play.  NCAA seems to step it up every year, and this year is no different.  NCAA 13 is released on July 10th, Pre-Order it NOW

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