Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I'm back! Too late for March Madness, Just in time for the NFL Draft
I know that you all have missed me so, and I apologize for I was basking in the sweet Caribbean sun and enjoying the crystal clear ocean off the western coast of Jamaica (It was awesome and if you want to ask me any questions about it my email is firstname.lastname@example.org). I have been pretty busy since returning back to reality, and since I recently drank my last bottle of Ting (fans of Fresca go here http://www.tingsoda.com/ ), I have decided it is time to talk about the draft. Sorry for missing March Madness coverage but selection Sunday was the day after I got back from Jamaica and I simply did not have enough time to research and give you guys my picks. In short, since Temple crapped out in the first round, go Nova Nation. Anyway, this year’s draft class is full of defensive and other low profile positions that many teams could benefit from.
It’s easy for the Lions to take Matthew Stafford at number one, think back to their starting quarterbacks. Currently, they have Daunte Culpepper and two Drew’s who don’t even need their last name to be stated. In ’08 they also had Jon Kitna; you know that makes you oh so jealous. Then back in ’05 they had former first round pick Joey Harrington. I think he would get picked last in a kickball team now seeing how he has progressed. So, Stafford would be the obvious pick with their history of awful quarterbacks, but what makes Stafford different than say a Joey Harrington or Ryan Leaf first round pick? Even though he is coming out of college as a Junior, Stafford has never lost a bowl game.
As a freshman in 2006, Stafford led the Bulldogs to a 31-24 win over Virginia Tech in the Chick Fil-A Bowl. He threw nine completions on 21 attempts for 129 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Sounds awful but remember the kid was 18 at the time. The next year, Stafford led the Bulldogs to a 41-10 win over probably the most overrated team in the country, Hawaii. This game was embarrassing for Colt Brennan because he was supposed to be this amazing quarterback but this game proved he was a situational quarterback and probably only a good fit in Hawaii. Again, Stafford only threw one touchdown along with an interception but he had a great defense that forced six turnovers to help them win the game. Then this past year Stafford had better numbers against Michigan State leading the Bulldogs to a 24-12 win. Stafford went 20 for 31 for 250 yards and three touchdowns. None of these numbers are outrageously high but that is perfect because think about how Matt Leinart was at USC, now think of him now…Average in college works out in the NFL. Plus his completion percentage has only increased since his freshman year not to mention his arm strength. He can make throws that you and (half of the NFL's quarterbacks) wish you could make. Also, last year he completed around 60 percent of his throws. So enjoy your time in Detroit Mr. Stafford. Think of it this way, you can’t make the team any worse.
Next up is the St. Louis Rams, and they have very similar problems to the Lions. Their quarterback situation is nearly as bad and their offensive line could be replaced by a white picket fence and be more effective. Plus they released Tory Holt this season, talk about reconstruction. Right now they are throwing the load on Steven Jackson to carry the entire team. Coach Steve Spagnuolo has stated that the offensive will revolve around Jackson, taking the heat off of current quarterback Marc Bulger. So aside from their offensive line woes, at least they have Coach Spagnuolo to revamp their defense that was ranked 28th in the league last year. The defense allowed about 155 yards rushing per game and over 200 yards passing. Now I’m no mathematician but those two variables equal disaster. So look for the Rams to pick up a lineman preferably a defensive man. Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both chose Jason Smith in their mock drafts. Smith is an offensive tackle out of Baylor that was formerly a tight end. In later rounds, look for the Rams to pick up some defensive help mainly athletic players that can keep up with Spagnuolo’s defensive scheme.
The Kansas City Chiefs have it rough this season too. Their season depends on the play of former New England quarterback Matt Cassel. This was a risky move for the Chiefs to make but could play out very well. Think about some former backup quarterbacks who played well after the star quarterback was either out or done in their career...Montana-Young….umm and Montana-Young? I mean the Eagles were lucky in 2002 when Koy Detmer and mainly A.J. Feeley led the team to a 5-1 record to end the season. Also, David Garrard seemed like he was going to be clutch but was kind of disappointing last year and could have a similar year this year. So I’m pretty pumped to see how Cassel does. As for their draft, they need help on both sides of the ball, but with the acquisition of Cassel I feel as though the team is trying to get their offensive help through trades and free agency, so they may pick up some defensive help in the draft. They let up nearly 160 yards rushing per game so they too may want to get someone that will help in the box. Depending who is out there they may want to go defensive tackle or linebacker and since they also signed Mike Vrabel they may want to get a linebacker to learn from the former Patriots great. Aaron Curry from Wake Forest is ranked as the best player according to Scouts Inc. based on his combine workouts.
It’s no surprise saying that the next team needs plenty of help as well; I mean these are the teams that were the worst last year so get ready for some repetitiveness. The Seattle Seahawks gave up about six points more than they scored last year. And while their offense struggled I think that they need to pump their defense up. Their rushing defense was pretty bad but not nearly as bad as their secondary, giving up 25 touchdowns via the pass. If they could find an outstanding rookie corner like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie that would be perfect, but the draft is lacking in that department this year. So look for some sort of lineman as their pick. Either offensive or defensive although I think it should be the latter, like DT B.J. Raji from Boston College or DE Brian Orakpo from Texas.
Lastly for today is the Cleveland Browns. I really think Brady Quinn should be their starting quarterback from the get go. Maybe it is because I am a Notre Dame fan or because I think Derek Anderson is not worth all of the Ting in the Caribbean (golly I miss it). But anyway, as for their draft, I really think they should go for quite possibly the best athlete in the draft, Michael Crabtree. At 6’3 215 pounds Crabtree would be a great receiver to have. While the stress fracture he had that didn’t allow him to participate in the NFL combine may make some buyers beware, I believe that he will be in tip top shape come training camp. He has been timed with a 4.54 forty according to nfldraftscout.com and I believe his combination of size and speed will make him a perfect fit in Cleveland. Plus, if Donte Stallworth gets in any trouble from his alleged vehicular homicide, the Browns would be desperate for a solid backside WR. Just imagine…Braylon Edwards to your right and Crabtree to your left…yikes that is scary no matter who their quarterback is.
Well, there you have it. I believe those are the best moves that the first five teams can make on April 25th. Next on the clock, the Bengals, Raiders, Jaguars, Packers, and Niners.