Houston passes on taking a QB with their overall pick in favor of drafting the defensive equivalent of Andrew Luck. Jadeveon Clowney’s don’t grow on trees and when you get a chance at a pass rushing talent most compare to Julius Peppers letting him slip through your fingers in favor of QB talent that is not top ten is very risky. If Clowney wasn’t in this draft then yeah, take the QB of your choice Houston, because you guys really need a QB, but every one of them looks even riskier than perhaps they are with a talent like Clowney available.
This pick makes even more sense since they have lost DL Antonio Smith to the Raiders.
It’s popular for everyone to speculate that the Rams trade down with this pick and their recent history reinforces that idea. Maybe they do, but I think now is time to cash in and take a top five talent. Sammy Watkins fits that bill but they spent a round 1 and 3 last year and a round 2 the year before on Austin, Bailey and Quick respectively. I think they give those guys the chance this year to come into their own. Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson are definitely top five talents but the Rams spent big money last year on Jake Long and RT Joseph Barksdale is maturing very nicely. They need some depth on the OL but depth can be had in later rounds. If they do trade down it should be just one spot with Jacksonville and with the understanding that the Jags don’t take their guy…Khalil Mack. Yes they selected LB Ogletree last year in the first round but Mack is a sure a thing as Clowney is, maybe even a surer thing. He doesn’t go #1 because he’s a LB and not a DE. Imagine what Gregg Williams will do with Chris Long, Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers up front and Laurinaitis, Ogletree and Mack behind them. That’s a bunch of talent and come pick 13 the Rams should have a good selection of DB’s left to bolster their secondary.
Jacksonville re-signed Chad Henne but his two years with team have netted him 57.25 QB rating and a 24/25 TD to INT record. He isn’t the answer for anyone at QB. Teddy Bridgewater is the consensus most ready and the most talented QB in this year’s draft. Bortles has more size and a bigger arm, Manziel has more speed, elusiveness and flash but Bridgewater played in a pro offense in college and is the surest bet at QB coming into this draft.
If the Rams can put a bug in the Jags ear that Cleveland wants Bridgewater and they’re ready to trade picks with them I think Jacksonville may be forced to give up a 2nd or 3rd rounder to trade with the Rams and get their QB. If the Jags say uh-uh to that idea and the Rams really do make a trade with someone that takes Bridgewater then Jacksonville can rewind to the 2013 draft and take one of the top tackles. PFF has their OL ranked 30th which in part was due to Luke Joeckel’s season ending ankle fracture in the October game vs. the Rams. They could still use a bookend for Joeckel. Greg Robinson would make a great RT. He’s labeled as a monster at run blocking but needing some experience/coaching in his pass blocking.
Is Cleveland a little thin at the QB position? Well yes, yes they are. Is this draft a little thin at QB’s that have the talent that warrant their being chosen in the top 10 or even 20? Well yes, yes it is. Brian Hoyer only played in two full games last year but performed pretty well. In week 3 they played in Minnesota and faced a secondary that my grandmother could probably find the holes in. Hoyer’s QB rating in that game of 65.8 and his TD/INT ratio of 3/3 don’t look so good but it was only the second game he had started in his five year career which isn’t surprising considering he played behind Tom Brady his first three years and Carson Palmer in 2012. To his credit however, the Browns won and did so with a come from behind drive that saw Hoyer pass a TD to Jordon Cameron with 51 seconds remaining in the contest. His second game was at home against a Bengals team that would finish 5th in overall yards allowed, 318/gm, and 1st against the pass, 122 yards/gm, and ultimately win the division. Hoyer’s QB rating in that game was an impressive 103.9 and a TD/INT ratio of 2/0.
I think due to the lack of top talent at QB in the draft Cleveland gives Hoyer a shot this year and drafts a QB with their second 1st round pick. They made a great move in getting Ben Tate for under 4 mil/yr, they upgraded at LB with Karlos Dansby and they replaced T.J. Ward with Donte Whitner (they’ll be sorry they let Ward get away). They have maybe the best LT in the league with Joe Thomas a very good TE in the young Jordon Cameron and a true #1 WR in Josh Gordon. Sammy Watkins is still waiting to hear his name called and if the Browns pull that trigger they will have the perhaps the best one/two WR tandem in the league (Atlanta could argue that). The pick is Sammy Watkins.
Do the Raiders pull the string on a QB? After Dallas the Raiders might be the flukiest of teams when drafting so trying to predict what they do is a crapshoot at best. Oakland has a lot of needs and they have brought in defensive free agent signings DE Justin Tuck, LB Lamar Woodley, CB Tarell Brown and most notably DL Antonio Smith from the Texans. On the other side of the ball they have re-signed RB Darren McFadden and picked up the Jets RT Austin Howard who has started every game for the past two seasons. Considering they had around 60 million in cap space to work with it seems they could have done better than this. Their biggest mistake this free agent season was what they didn’t do. They didn’t franchise or outright re-sign LT Jared Veldheer. So now they have a hole at one of the most important positions in pro football. Last year it was all the rage to sign LT’s early and often but this year after watching what Seattle did in the Superbowl the defense is getting the love so far in this draft. If the Raiders draft one of the QB’s in this draft without an OL that can protect him it will be like throwing him to the wolves. The solid pick in this spot for Oakland will be either Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson and after his spectacular combine workout Robinson will be the first to go. The Raiders unpredictably make the right move and draft LT Greg Robinson.
Atlanta has made some good moves in free agency with what little cap space they had. They re-signed their DT’s Jason Babineaux and Corey Peters. Babineaux is 32 and still a good run stuffer but not so much a pass rusher due to age. Peters is younger at 25 and coming off an improving year but he suffered a torn Achilles in week 16 and has 4-6 months of rehab before he can play. In free agency the Falcons picked up a good DT in Paul Soliai from Miami and DE/DT Tyson Jackson from KC. We here at DN should be familiar with Soliai because before signing Linval Joseph, HOO-HA, we were interested in him. He is a very good signing by the Falcons. Jackson isn’t much of a pass rusher but he is effective against the run. Offensively the OL which PFF ranked as 31st last year will be getting a boost from the signing of G Jon Asamoah and their 6 year 41 million dollar OT Sam Baker will be back from the season ending injury he suffered last November. Also they have re-signed starter C Joe Hawley who is average and back-up OT Mike Johnson as well as signing away G Gabe Carimi from the Bucs and reuniting him with his former line coach Mike Tice. All that said, this line is still not even average. Sam Baker wasn’t playing up to his contract at LT before his injury so maybe they move him to RT and invest in a LT that many believe to be better than both Fischer and Joeckel who went one and two in last year’s draft. Jake Matthews was the consensus best LT until Greg Robinson lit up the combine with his workout. Atlanta has a pro bowl caliber QB and keeping him upright, healthy and passing the rock to his pro bowl WR’s should be at the top of the list for the Falcons.
Once again those QB’s waiting in the back room at Radio City Music Hall will have to wait a little longer. Lovie reached out and signed Josh McCown from his old team da Bears and promptly named him the starter. Glennon was pretty good in his rookie year with an 83.9 QB rating and a 19/9 TD/INT ratio. While neither is Tom Brady just half of one of them is as good as say…Christian Ponder. (couldn’t help myself) PFF has their OL rated # 14 for last year and with the addition of C/G Evan Dietrich-Smith from the Puckers and up and coming OT Anthony Collins from the Bengals it should be even better. They signed a good blocking TE (which Lovie wanted) in Brandon Myers away from the Giants and they have also upgraded their defense with the signings of CB Alterraun Verner, DE Michael Johnson and DT Clinton McDonald. The Bucs could use someone across from Vincent Jackson but great all around guy Leslie Frazier has mentioned the need to upgrade the ILB position. Mason Foster isn’t good in coverage and that won’t fly in a cover 2 scheme. Lovie Smith might be looking for his next Brian Urlacher and he just might find him in C.J. Mosley. If he can stay healthy this would be a great pick for Tampa Bay.
And now (finally) we come to our beloved Vikings. What to do, what to do. BPA? Which would be…Evans, Lewan, Barr, Ebron, Ealy, Clinton-Dix, Donald, Jernigan, Pryor, Gilbert, Nix or Dennard? Our needs after some pretty good free agency signings seem to be QB (obviously), LB and DB. Out of the BPA’s I listed that includes Barr, Clinton-Dix, Pryor, Gilbert and Dennard as well as Norv’s choice of QBs. My choice of the listed players would be Dennard. My more better choice would be to find someone to trade with but who would trade up to get one of those guys? I think it’s more than possible that we could trade 1st round picks with the Jets who could really use someone to catch the ball (Evans or Ebron) and get their 4th round pick they obtained from Tampa Bay in the Revis deal. It’s a pretty low price but we would still have our choice of QB’s assuming no one jumps ahead of us and another early 4th rounder. So at pick 18 we take a QB that fits Norv’s system, David Carr. Manziel doesn’t fit and I believe Carr is better than Bortles. At number 40 I love the guard out of UCLA Xavier Su’a-Filo. He is the kind of beasty nasty O-lineman we need to both pave the way for AD and protect our QB’s so they can throw at will against 8 in the box. If he is gone then Gabe Jackson out of Mississippi State is my second choice at 40. At 72 OLB Kyle Van Noy out of BYU would be my pick. He is solid against the run, a good blitzer and is also very good at pass coverage. I hope he is there at 72. At 96 and 100 (the Jets 4th rounder) we can address our CB need with E.J. Gaines (Missouri) and Pierre Desir (LIndenwood). We still have our 4th rounder at 104 and I would like to see us take ILB Max Bullough from Mich. St. if he is available. After that I don’t know except that since I have lived in Wyoming since 1980 I want us to take a late round flyer on QB Brett Smith.