Saturday, January 5, 2013

Way to Early 2013 NFL Mock Draft Part 2: Selections 11-20

Selections from previous posting:

1. Chiefs:  Damontre Moore DE Texas A&M
2. Jaguars:  Luke Joeckel OT Texas A&M
3. Raiders:  Jarvis Jones OLB Georgia
4. Eagles:  Taylor Lewan OT Michigan
5. Lions:  Manti Te'o ILB Notre Dame
6. Browns:  Chance Warmack OG Alabama
7. Cardinals:  Star Lotulelei DT Utah
8. Bills:  Bjoern Werner DE Florida St.
9. Jets:  Geno Smith QB West Virginia
10. Titans:  Johnathan Hankins DT Ohio St.

Continuation of the way to early 2013 Mock Draft; I will post picks 21-32 as the draft order becomes known.
11.    Chargers
Needs:  OL, WR, ILB, CB
The Pick:  Alec Ogeltree ILB Georgia
The Why:  The Chargers have not utilized one of their top 3 picks on an offensive player since the selection of Ryan Matthews in the 1st round of the 2010 draft and whomever the new GM/Coach happens to be must stop the offensive slide.  However, at this point in the draft the top 3 linemen are off the board and the top WR’s can be had at the end of the 1st or at the start of the 2nd round.  San Diego goes with the player who best fits their 3-4 scheme.  Ogeltree takes over for Spikes immediately and with Donald Butler, forms a lethal tandem in the middle.  Milliner could be the choice; depending upon the new regime’s evaluation of 2011 2nd round pick Marcus Gilchrist and the two incumbent starters at CB.
12.    Dolphins
Needs:  CB, RB, Resign Jake Long
The Pick:  Dee Milliner
The Why:  No team has more salary cap flexibility in the 2012 off season which should allow management to resign OT Jake Long to an extension and team him with 2012 2nd rounder Jonathan Martin as bookend OT’s for the next 5 years.  Even if Miami is able to resign number one CB Sean Smith it is still a position of need; especially in the pass-happy AFC East.  Milliner is the most accomplished player at a position of need.  If Jake Long bolts, who will fill up Miami’s nearly $40 million in salary cap space?

13.   Buccaneers
Needs:  CB, OT, TE, Pass Rush
The Pick:  Johnthan (correct spelling) Banks CB Mississippi St.
The Why:  Tampa possessed the number 1 defense in the league against the run at just over 82 yards per game, but still ended up with allowing the 29th most yards from scrimmage because they also allowed a league worst 297 yards per game through the air.  The Bucs need help in a bad way with an improved pass rush and/or improved play from the CB position.  Mingo could be a possibility because of perceived value at number 13, but he doesn’t seem to fit with Tampa’s front 7.

14.   Panthers
Needs:  S, Pass Rush, CB, WR
The Pick:  Barkevious Mingo DE LSU
The Why:  Carolina has made a habit of wasting high draft choices on players that aren’t very good; Everette Brown, Jeff Otah, Sherrod Martin, Jimmy Clausen, and Terrell McClain were all high selections made since 2008 and all are already with other teams or playing a very insignificant role for the Panthers.  If not for Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly the last two years the Panthers would be devoid of any draft success over the past 5 seasons (RT Byron Bell was an undrafted FA).  Instead of firing Ron Riviera why not fire whoever was making the draft selections from 2008 through 2011.  Carolina continues their run of underwhelming draft selections by taking perceived value pick Barkevious Mingo out of LSU.  He is highly regarded but I am a Chiefs fan and am sick and tired of overrated LSU defensive players.  Pass rusher is not a position of need but I still think the ‘perceived’ value will be too much for
Carolina to pass up even with Vaccaro still on the board.

15.   Saints
Needs:  Any warm bodies that can play defense
The Pick:  Dion Jordan DE Oregon
The Why:  New Orleans goes with the top rated defensive player left on their board.  Any position, as long as he plays defense.  Could be Sylvester Williams but I think they go more of the pass rush route and take the tall edge rusher out of Oregon.

16.   Rams
Needs:  OL, TE, WR, RB, S
The Pick:  Jonathan Cooper OG North Carolina
The Why: 52; the number of sacks given up by the Rams during the 2012 season.  Get Bradford some protection and perhaps you will find that some of the weapons are better than they currently appear.  The Rams have excellent talent on the defensive side of the ball, especially at the CB position with two rookies; Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson, who should only get better in 2013.  If St. Louis really wants to make a splash this off season they could sign Jake Long away from the Dolphins which would allow them to move Saffold over to RT to replace the Barry Richardson Super Highway (express lanes to the QB).

17.   Steelers
Needs:  RB, ILB, CB, WR, QB Youth
The Pick:  Kenny Vaccaro S Texas
The Why:  Ryan Clark is getting up in years and Troy Polamalu spends more time in the training room than on the field these days.  The rest of the Steelers top rated defense has young depth poised to fill in for the other aging stars.  Brett Keisel has Cameron Heyward and James Harrison has Jason Worilds, so it must be time to draft the future of the Steelers secondary.  Most assume the Steelers still need help along the offensive line, but the lack of production in 2012 was mostly due to injury.  David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert both spent significant time in the training room.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Steelers add OL depth in the later rounds but it should not be the 1st round priority.  WR Mike Wallace has most likely played his last game in Pittsburgh, but the top WR’s in this draft will still be available in the 2nd round.  It will be interesting to see if Pittsburgh retains Alameda Ta’amu after his infamous night of felonies early in the season.  If not, a future replacement for Casey Hampton could be on the menu.

18.   Cowboys
Needs:  DL, OL, S, RB
The Pick:  Johnathan Jenkins DT Georgia
The Why:  The Cowboys need to upgrade their run defense in order to match the Redskins new zone-read running game lead by RGIII and Alfred Morris.  Jenkins possesses circus size, which seems to be what attracts Al Davis…err Jerry Jones’s attention.  DT Sylvester Williams may be the better pick at this point because of the likelihood that Jenkins becomes only a 2 down player, but Jones will go with the player with the more imposing measurable.  Dallas actually possesses one of the best LB corps in the league, with Anthony Spencer, Demarcus Ware, Bruce Carter, Sean Lee, and Dan Conner.  They just need improved luck in the injury department to make a marked improvement in their defensive measurables in 2013.

19.   Giants
Needs:  CB, OL, TE, Injury free pass rushers
The Pick:  Logan Ryan CB Rutgers
The Why:  CB Terrell Thomas hasn’t played a down since 2010 and NY’s defense needs to reload their secondary to allow their electric front 4 to get back to work.  Ryan may look like a reach at number 19 but NY must invest in their defense if they wish to make a return to the playoffs in 2013.  In the past the Giants relied upon intense pressure on the QB and still managed a respectable 33 sacks in 2012, but those sorts of sack totals are not sufficient with NY’s current secondary personnel. 

20.   Bears
Needs:  OL, LB, CB youth
The Pick:  Eric Fisher OT Central Michigan
The Why:  An absolute no-brainer.  Chicago finally possesses high quality receivers and backs but have been unable to keep Jay Cutler upright and out of the training room.  Fisher is the 3rd OT off the board and could be passed over for fellow OT Jake Matthews out of Texas A&M if Chicago is skeptical of Fisher’s level of competition at Central Michigan.  If the Bears are able to lure Jake Long to the Windy City an offensive lineman could still be the primary 1st round target, although an aging LB corp could use reinforcement as well.

Top Players still Available:
Sylvester Williams DT North Carolina
Sam Montgomery DE LSU
Ezekiel Ansah DE BYU
Sheldon Richardson DT Missouri
Corey Lemonier DE Auburn
Kawann Short DT Purdue
Keenan Allen WR California
Zach Ertz TE Stanford
Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame
Matt Barkley QB USC

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Early 2013 NFL Mock Draft Picks 1-10

**update** Taylor Lewan, OT from Michigan, and a player I currently have being drafted in the top 5, announced on 9/9 that he will be returning to Michigan for his senior year. I guess that's why it's called the 'early' mock draft.

1.        Chiefs

Needs:  QB, DL, CB, TE, S

Ideal Draft Scenario:  Trade the 1st overall pick to a team selecting somewhere between the 8th and 12th picks in the first round AND who also has a 2nd round pick at approximately the same spot.  This would allow the Chiefs to select someone like Georgia LB Alec Ogeltree in a more appropriate location in the 1st round and maintain their full complement of draft picks; all while providing the ammunition (an additional high 2nd round pick) to go after someone like Kirk Cousins, Ryan Mallett, or Matt Flynn to fill the void at QB.  If KC is unable to find value in a trade then they simply take the top rated player on the board. 

Pick:  Damontre Moore OLB/DE Texas A&M

The Why:  Moore has played both OLB and DE in college and is a full three years younger than fellow pass rusher Jarvis Jones.  If KC is able to resign free agent to be Branden Albert they will have little need for someone like Joeckel.  Star Lotulelei could be another choice at number 1 but I don’t see KC using consecutive 1st round picks on defensive tackles unless the new coach wants to switch back to a 4-3 defensive front.

    2.        Jaguars

Needs:  QB, OL, Pass Rush

Pick:  Luke Joeckel OT Texas A&M

The Why:  If a sane person were running the Jags they would be KC’s biggest competition for a player like Kirk Cousins, but it sounds as though management is going to go for the top in Jersey sales by bringing in Tim Tebow.  Jax has actually accumulated a fair amount of skill position talent, with Blackmon, Shorts, Robinson, Shipley and Lewis to catch the ball, but their QB’s were sacked 50 times last year.  They go with the top O-Lineman on the board.

3.        Raiders

Needs:  WR, Pass Rush, RB, Defensive Secondary

Pick:  Jarvis Jones OLB Georgia

The Why:  The Raiders need a pass rush, and while I see Jones as being seriously flawed as a player because of his age and injury history, the selection of Jones does fill a need with what the public perceives as a can’t miss pass rusher.  If there is a WR that really turns heads during the Senior Bowl or Combine I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raiders jump at the chance to upgrade their WR corps.

4.       Eagles

Needs:  OL, OL, OL, Defensive Line

Pick:  Taylor Lewan OT Michigan

The Why:  The Eagles offensive line has been absolutely atrocious because of injury and poor talent evaluation.  They possess a fine collection of skill position players on both offense and defense but they are the poster child for losing games up front.  You don’t have to have the best offensive line in the NFL but you do need to be able to keep your QB off the injury report on a consistent basis.  Chance Warmack, G from Alabama could also be a possibility but quality guards can be found in later rounds at a much cheaper price.

5.       Lions

Needs:  OL, Secondary, LB depth

Pick:  Manti Te’o LB Notre Dame

The Why:  The top two offensive tackles have already come off the board and adding a high character stud to your defense is never a bad idea.  Te’o brings leadership and maturity to a unit that lacks both.  If Michigan native Taylor Lewan (OT Michigan) is still available when the Lion’s get on the clock I would expect them to jump at the chance to improve their pass protection.

6.       Browns

Needs:  OG, Safety, OLB, QB depth

Pick:  Chance Warmack OG Alabama

The Why:  The Browns made significant upgrades to the RB and WR positions over the last few drafts and now it is time to help those position groups out by drafting the best player left of the board who also happens to fill a need.  Trent Richardson will find the running a little easier with Joe Thomas and Chance Warmack manning the left side of the offensive line.

7.       Cardinals

Needs:  QB, OT, OG, TE

Pick:  Star Lotulelei DT Utah

The Why:  The new coach won’t wish to tie his future to the selection of a QB when none is worthy of the pick.  Arizona will add to what is already strength and select Lotulelei, who many consider the top player available. 

8.       Bills

Needs:  WR, TE, OG, LB, QB

Pick: Bjoern Werner DE Florida St.

The Why:  This draft is weak in the areas the Bills need, especially at WR and QB.  Ogeltree could be a possibility here but Werner’s draft grade and personal makeup make him the pick for Buffalo/Toronto at number 8.

9.       Jets

Needs:  QB, WR, OG, RT, Pass Rush

Pick:  Geno Smith QB West Virginia

The Why:  The Jets are short-sighted and when you combine that with stupidity you end up with a QB who was selected about 30 picks before he should have been.  Heck, the Jets may be the ideal team for KC to trade the 1st pick because they don’t value draft picks and continually attempt to win the press conference instead of the AFC East.  Please show some patience and don’t go reaching for need in the top 10 of the draft.

10.   Titans

Needs:  OL, TE, secondary depth, DT

Pick:  Johnathan Hankins DT Ohio State

The Why:  This draft is deep in defensive lineman, so why fight it; select the highest rated guy on the board to help build your defense since you play in a division with Houston and Indy.  It’s best to get some horses to compete with Andrew Luck in a year devoid of any Andrew Luck’s in the draft.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We Have a Playoff: Little Will Change

The leaders of College Football have finally decided to implement a 4-team playoff system after the 2014 season. While most will be celebrating this new (and overdue) phenomenon, my thought is: What's the point? Would a 4-team playoff have resulted in the crowning of a different National Champion over the last few years? Are we simply adding another game and millions of dollars in revenue to the leviathan that is college football with not real change in result?

It is my understanding that starting in 2014 a selection committee will select the 4 teams that will participate in the playoff and will take strength of schedule and conference championships into account. That is not to say you must win your conference to participate in the playoff, nor should you, because the goal should be to reward the best teams with the best post season opportunities and not to protect the financial fiefdoms the major conferences have carved out for themselves.

So, I go back to my first question, would a 4-team playoff have really changed any of the actual national championships since 2009? All rankings are from the final BCS standings after the conference championships have been played and the eventual champion is marked with a *. I am using the BCS rankings because they take strength of schedule into account and appear to most accurately reflect how a selection committee would go about its business. 2009 may seem a tad arbitrary as a starting point, but I was unable to watch a significant amount of college football from 2003-2008 because I was in the Army stationed overseas and will not attempt to recreate my memory from highlight shows and newspapers.




Oklahoma St.


Except for fans of the OSU Cowboys, pretty much the entire country is in total agreement that Alabama was the best team in 2011. They lost only 1 game, to the eventual 2nd ranked team in the country and later annihilated that team in the BCS Championship Game. Okie St. lost to lowly Iowa St, not because of a plane crash that killed members of the women's basketball team, but simply because they had a less talented team than both LSU and Alabama as evidenced by the 2012 NFL Draft. 8 players were selected from Alabama, including 5 of the top 35 selections while Okie St had only 3 players picked in total. In total, LSU would beat Stanford and Alabama would defeat OSU, giving us the exact same championship game and champion.






2010 was rare in college football. There were exactly 2 elite teams, once strength of schedule was taken into account, which deserved a chance at the national championship. Cam Newton and Auburn were not going to be defeated, end of story. All the whining about TCU and Boise St. was simply noise from sports writers and TV personalities with an axe to grind. Playing 2 difficult games early in the season is not the same thing as playing an elite conference schedule with legitimate teams every week later in the season. Sorry TCU and Boise. You're undefeated records are seriously flawed and do not pass the muster of hindsight. None of those teams were an actual juggernaut loaded with NFL caliber talent. They were high quality teams that fattened their records up on patsies and then wanted a seat at the party. What would the argument be if a big name school like Notre Dame played a TCU or Boise strength schedule and went undefeated? There would be howling and moaning to no end! Everyone likes the little guy, but the little guy gets creamed when he has to play a real schedule.






2009 might have been the only season to see a different result, but not from Cincinnati or TCU. If Colt McCoy doesn't get hurt on the opening drive of the national championship game against Alabama we might have seen a very different game. Not to say that Texas would have won, but McCoy was uniquely important to his team and after he got hurt the Horns had little in the way of a backup plan to combat the Crimson Tide's stout defensive unit. The Bearcats and Horned Frogs would have been little more than fodder for the top 2 teams. They were both quality squads, but they played in 2 of the worst conferences in the FBS.

So, that is three seasons and from my perspective, the BCS got it right each time. The best team was the winner of the national championship. Arguments from the Oklahoma St's of the world are filled with technicalities like, Alabama didn't even win their own conference, how can they play for the championship? Well, they were better and their only loss was a close game to the top ranked team in the country. Get over it, your team wasn't as good as Alabama, at least now; Alabama will get the opportunity to prove it to you.  This new playoff system will not have much of an effect on who is crowned national champion, it justs moves the argument from January to early December as everyone will put arguments forward for how the selection committee should do its job.

If teams outside of the SEC want to complain about how the national champion has been decided they should make the argument that bowl games are always played in nice hot weather which provides a distinct advantage to the southern schools. I have no doubt the Ohio St's and Oregon's of the world would fare much better in future playoff games if Alabama and LSU were brought out of the comfort of the south and into the Chilly confines of northern outdoor stadiums in the middle of January.

Let me hear the chant, no more southern monopoly on bowl games! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Royals have the Cash to Succeed in 2013

The Royals will not be making a postseason appearance in 2012; their fans have had their dreams crushed for yet another season before the summer has even started. Not to fret, KC has all the resources to make a run in 2013. A few stars are aligning which will allow the team to acquire two top-of-the-rotation starting pitchers to combine with their young and talented offense.  A much better group of starting pitchers will be coming available via free agency in 2013 which should allow KC to bolster its starting rotation.  Now, about those stars that are aligning:

1.      The Royals spent almost $19 million on the acquisition of amateur talent in 2011; now the new CBA limits the total spending on the amateur draft and Latin America to approximately $11 million per season. While this puts a dent in the manner in which the GMDM has assembled an envious amount of minor league talent, it will still come down to scouting and drafting the right players, something this organization has done well since 2007.  +$8 million in the bank.

2.      At this point, only 6 Royals players are signed to above league minimum contracts for 2013.  They are:

Contract Players
Billy Butler
Jeff Francoeur
Alex Gordon
Joakim Soria
Bruce Chen
Alcides Escobar
Salvador Perez
Total Dollars:

(Soria’s total is a buyout; he would earn around $8 million if retained)

3.      In addition to the players under contract, the team also has (potentially) 6 players eligible for arbitration.  Here is a list of those players along with what they would expect to make on a one-year deal with the club (the Royals have never actually gone to arbitration with a player since Dayton Moore has been the GM):

Arbitration Players
Luke Hochevar
Felipe Paulino
Chris Getz
Jose Mijares
Brayan Pena
Mitch Maier
Total Dollars:

At this point, it is unlikely Hochevar would be retained at anything close to $4 million, and Getz, Pena, and Maier could be replaced by league-minimum wage earners Giavotella, Pina, and Dyson to garner significant savings among the bench players.

4.      At the start of 2013, as many as 15 players on the 25-man roster could be making the league-minimum salary.  This group comprises 3/5 of the infield, 6/7 of the bullpen, 1/5 of the starting pitching staff and the entire 4 player bench:

Minimum Salary Players
Eric Hosmer
Mike Moustakas
Lorenzo Cain
Johnny Giavotella
Jarrod Dyson
Wil Myers
Manny Pina
Irving Falu
Danny Duffy
Aaron Crow
Greg Holland
Tim Collins
Kelvin Herrera
Everett Teaford
Louis Coleman
Total Dollars:

Crow is listed with the minimum salary players even though he signed a Major League deal when he was drafted and was paid $1.6 million in 2012, but his deal is up after the 2012 season and he is not yet arbitration eligible.

5.      Totals:  The above 27 players + Soria’s buyout come to a grand total of $52,525,000 in total salary.  Obviously, the team cannot carry 27 players on the active roster, so some cuts are going to be made.  Let’s start trimming the fat, shall we?


1.      Luke Hochevar:  If he continues on his abysmal track in 2012, the Royals will have no choice but to cut bait and save the $4 million + he would be due in 2012.  At this point, it would take a miraculous turn of events for the retention of Hochevar to be anything less than robbery.

2.      Brayan Pena: I like Pena, he has a great attitude, and has shown marked improvement in his time with the team, but he will be 31 years old next season and it simply doesn’t make sense to pay your backup catcher more than your starter while an equivalent player (Pina) can play for half the price. +$600k

3.      Mitch Maier:  The longest tenured Royal could be out in 2013.  He will be in his second season of arbitration and will start to get expensive.  This team cannot afford the luxury of paying $1 million+ to a replacement level player with zero chance of accruing more than 150 AB’s.  +$600k

4.      Chris Getz:  Whatever Chris wants he does not Getz.  Getz is a below average hitter with zero power.  If Giavotella is able to hit at all the rest of 2012, Getz should be non-tendered after the season.  Kind of off topic, but the Royals should be considered the winners in the Chris Getz for Mark Teahen trade.  Good old Mark is out of baseball and Getz is still bunting his way into our hearts…. +$600k

5.      Joakim Soria:  If Soria is able to come back and be the dominant reliever that we all know and love, then picking up his $8 million option might still be a luxury this team cannot afford while the team has a plethora of high quality bullpen arms.  +$7.5 million

These combined moves would save the Royals approximately $13,300,000 in payroll in 2013; 23 players are now on my 2012 Royals active roster with a grand total of $45,525,000 in payroll. 

6.      Let’s take a look how my 2013 Royal’s roster breaks down by salary:

Position Players
Wil Myers

$32 million for an entire offense is pretty cheap, especially when you consider that Francoeur will be a free-agent in 2014, which will result in a net gain of $6.5 million if he is replaced by Wil Myers.  Only Eric Hosmer will be arbitration eligible in 2014, so the Royals have done an excellent job of controlling their position player costs over the next 3-4 seasons.

$18-20 Mil
$12-14 Mil
Kelvin Herrera
Louis Coleman
Everett Teaford
Pitching Total:
Total Team:
W/1&2 Starter:

Young players don’t cost very much, and the Royal’s reliance on youth in the bullpen should allow them to go out and fill those top two spots in the rotation with high-quality players.  Three years ago, the team had a payroll near $75 million, while they were spending nearly $20 million in the draft and Latin America.  I don’t see the Royals giving out any 10-year deals, but they do have somewhere in the neighborhood of $30-50 million in order to bolster their rotation, bullpen, and bench and still stay within previous salary parameters.  Theoretically, shouldn’t the new rules regarding amateur compensation allow the Royals to invest $8-10 million more into the big league club without risking the owner’s profits?
If the team were to add a Zack Greinke at 4 years $72 million (similar to Jeff Weaver’s deal) and Anibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson 4 years $50 million KC would still have a total team salary under $80 million with the opportunity to be under $70 million in 2014 after the contracts of Bruce Chen and Jeff Francoeur expire.  Here is a list of pitchers who are scheduled to be available in free agency in 2013:

Zack Greinke
Shaun Marcum
Kyle Lohse
Edwin Jackson
Brandon McCarthy
Anibal Sanchez
Cole Hamels
Hiroki Kuroda
Colby Lewis
Jake Peavy
Ryan Dempster
Jeremy Guthrie
Mike Adams
Brandon League

Please KC, just pick two, preferably from the top and commence winning with an $80 million payroll.