Saturday, April 17, 2010

4/17: My 2010 NFL Draft Spectacular

One week from now we will be wrapping up the 2010 NFL Draft. So here's my preview spectacular.

NFL Draft vs Fantasy Football Draft

Which is better, the NFL Draft or your fantasy football draft?
This is actually question for anyone who looks forward to fantasy football. Both events are looked forward to all year, and both are usually are a reason to congregate and consume tasty adult beverages in mass quantity. Here's my breakdown of each aspect to get a good idea of which is truly the best.

NFL Draft- In the old format it lasted 2 days (Sat & Sun)  and included 7 rounds, but this year it will last three days (Thu, Fri & Sat). The reason is that even the late round has a time limit of 5 minutes, totally unimaginable to fantasy football where picks have to move quicker.
Fantasy drafts- Usually completed in 3 hours or so and have over 10 rounds. Last year the draft I participated in had 17 rounds for the 10 teams.
Advantage: Fantasy draft, because everybody hates the lag between picks in the NFL Draft.

In-Draft Analysis
NFL Draft- Broken down as it happens by crews of ESPN and the NFL Network. ESPN usually has Chris Berman leading the coverage and they feature Mel "The Hair" Kiper, Jr engaging in shouting matches with Todd McShay. NFL Network has Rich Eisen lead coverage with Mike Mayock single-handedly providing the Kiper/McShay role of an evaluator.
Fantasy drafts- Broken down by your buddies as they snicker that you reached for Matt Ryan in the 5th round (8th QB) when Matt Schaub was still on the board. Ok, so that was me, but honestly it seemed smart at the time.
Advantage: NFL Draft, because I honestly enjoy Kiper and McShay throwing chairs at each other. Worth noting I'd give late round analysis advantage to fantasy drafts as ESPN & NFLN are still discussion first round during last three rounds.

In-Draft Alcohol Consumption
NFL Draft- We are all at home watching the draft, and there are some great NFL Draft drinking games at there: This one from 2008 would get your drunk in 15 minutes off the first three rules -> link. Here's an update for 2010 -> link.
Fantasy draft- You drink, but now you have to drink and make picks in the draft. This should be an added challenge for consideration of the NFL Draft. Impose drinking game rules in the war rooms. I think we can all assume this was what Jerry Jones was thinking when he did some testing of this rule recently.
Advantage- Fantasy draft, because it's more fun when alcohol makes some guy call out "Tom Brady!" in round 11.

"What the hell was that?" Factor
NFL Draft- Two words: Oakland Raiders.
Fantasy drafts- You know the guy I'm talking about, last year for my league we had a guy with the team name "BUD LITE BROWNS". He took 3 QBs: Peyton Manning in the 1st round, Jay Cutler in the 4th round, and Mark Sanchez in the 16th round. We played in a 1 QB format. He also took Sammy Morris in the 13th round when the following were all still available: Ahmad Bradshaw, Leon Washington, LeSean McCoy, Willis McGahee, Chester Taylor, and Laurence Maroney (who was ahead of Morris on the same team's depth chart).
Advantage: NFL Draft, because taking JaMarcus Russell 1st & Darrius Heyward-Bey 7th is still crazier.

Winner: Fantasy draft, but not by much.

Jaguars Draft Discussion

Jacksonville picks 10th in the draft due to a poor finish to the 2009 season. Here are the most likely choices for the Jaguars at this pick:

Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama: I hear a lot that he is a someone the Jags like, but it is doubtful he's be at the top of the value board at 10. Remember, Jags now believe in BAP (best available player) in draft strategy. In college he was a leader and a big time player for the Crimson Tide. Another question is if he fits the scheme in Jacksonville.

Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: It is doubtful he is still on the board at this point, but if he is I think back flips would be appropriate on my part. He's got the potential to be the next Ed Reed. Could be the best player in the draft, depending on your evaluation. It would be hard to not like him if he's there.

Earl Thomas, S, Texas: Some rank him higher than Berry at safety, Mike Mayock of NFL Network is one, and he appears to have a lot of potential. The reason he's been moving up the charts is that he showed in his combine that he has better movement and ability to turn than expected. He might be better than Berry with less hype.

Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: Instant improvement to the pass rush, but the hesitation is whether or not he can effectively stop the run. Keep in mind Jags could still use more help in the pass rush. I like improving the defense here, especially the horrendous pass rush from 2009.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: This is an intriguing thought, because Jacksonville has invested much money and PR making Maurice Jones-Drew the face of the franchise. This would be a lot to pay your 2nd running back. I'm inclined to think this would be a bad idea, but it's very possible he will be the best available player.

Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame: Clausen is likely to get the most interest from a live drama standpoint. He could go in the Top 10 or he could fall to the mid-20's. There is a great degree of debate as to his abilities. He played in a pro-style offense in college and got better each year. Still there is some hesitation regarding him that is hard to pinpoint. I'm not particularly high on him, but I've been wrong before and all.

Joe Haden, CB, Florida: Being a Gator is a big plus for the marketing side, but there are concerns. I think he'd be ok, but I'm also highly suspicious that the treatment he has gotten from Jags front office personnel is to make good with the locals. I don't expect them to take him.

Offensive lineman who drops: If one of the OL than we expect to go Top 10 drops then Jacksonville might be in a position to further improve their offensive line, which was a big area of weakness two years ago with improvement last year. The argument against it is they took OL in 1st & 2nd round last year, but that's not a good reason to avoid further strengthening the unit and getting it younger. The Jets worked wonders with multiple 1st rd OL.

Trade down: This isn't so much a choice as a possibility. It would be the best thing for the Jaguars, as they could get more players in a draft considered to be loaded with talent.

For further info look at these great sources of information regarding the Jags in the draft:
Florida Times-Union
Big Cat Country
Jaguars Official Site

My Mock Draft
I did a mock draft, because everybody ends up wrong. Here it is, bash it!

1. St Louis Rams
Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
We all know it now, but unless the trade down this is where they're going

2. Detroit Lions
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
I think he is the best player in the draft, only going 2nd because he's not a QB

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Most seem to reinforce this, but they need to improve everywhere and he's the best available

4. Washington Redskins
Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Not a fan of drafting for need, but they need OL badly and he's also damn good

5. Kansas City Chiefs
Bryan Baluga, OT, Iowa
There are concerns, but their OL needs help and he is evaluated well (most likely to drop out of Top 10)

6. Seattle Seahawks
Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
This is where you have to take the best player possibly in the entire draft, a steal

7. Cleveland Browns
C.J., Spiller, RB, Clemson
They need a lot of things, but at running back they could play Spiller Day 1

8. Oakland Raiders
Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Honestly you'd be better off with dartboard, but I'll go with logic (probably bad decision)

9. Buffalo Bills
Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
I think if he doesn't go hear then he will tumble, but they need him even if their OL sucks

10. Jacksonville Jaguars
Earl Thomas, S, Texas
Like I said, I like him, and he may be the best safety in the draft

11. Denver Broncos
Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
This is tricky, but I think the character issues with Bryant are manageable and he's too talented to pass

12. Miami Dolphins
Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Pass defense needs to improve more than anything, that's his strength

13. San Francisco 49ers
Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Serious need in their secondary, he's made plays versus top competition

14. Seattle Seahawks
Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
They took Berry first precisely because they could get OT later

15. New York Giants
Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
I think getting him here is a steal, very high on this guy

16. Tennessee Titans
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
We all know their pass rush needs help post-Haynesworth, here it comes with 1-yr wonder

17. San Francisco
Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
Another guy I think is a steal at this point in the draft, like his abilities on the pro level

18. Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho
I get wishy-washy here thinking Pouncey might be a better pick, but OL needed in a bad way

19. Atlanta Falcons
Brandon Graham, LB, Michigan
I think Mike Smith wants to improve his defense in the worst way, especially when facing Brees twice a season

20. Houston Texas
Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State
I will call it now, I think he will end up the best RB from this draft

21. Cincinnati Bengals
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
Big risk here since he's a receiver from an option offense, but Bengals take risks in the draft for the upside

22. New England Patriots
Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
Their video game offense could use a better TE, and here he is sitting on the board at 22

23. Green Bay Packers
Maurkice Pouncey, C/OG, Florida
Another team where need exceeds all else, need to protect their franchise QB

24. Philadelphia Eagles
Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
Eagles don't have to go far to drive him to the facility, recent secondary departures necessitate this pick

25. Baltimore Ravens
Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois
A lot of raw talent, Zook doesn't polish players well, but the Boldin pick-up isn't gonna stop this selection

26. Arizona Cardinals
Brian Price, DT, UCLA
He seems to be falling in some mocks that I'm seeing, but I still like him

27. Dallas Cowboys
Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
They need help at OL, he needs work (ex: Gil Brandt says "He looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.")

28. San Diego Chargers
Jahvid Best, RB, California
LT has moved on, this local product could improve the running game

29. New York Jets
Jerry Hughes, LB/DE, Texas Christian
Made a last minute change here, this is one of their few needs

30. Minnesota Vikings
Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
This is their glaring area of need, secondary, and at the end of the draft are teams that can draft for need

31. Indianapolis Colts
Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana
Strange pick, but Colts keep it close to the vest and get value every time

32. New Orleans Saints
Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
He could be top CB in the draft, I think he'll fall due to competition, but he's legit and a steal here

Some guys I have falling out of first round: Taylor Mays, Everson Griffen, Sean Weatherspoon, Jared Odrick, Terrance Cody, Sergio Kindle, Charles Brown

With that all said, I'm completely full of shit and likely to be wrong on everything.

and now your moment of zen...