Friday, June 22, 2012

5 Teams That Could End The SEC's Championship Run



I do not think I have to tell any actual college football fan that the SEC has been absolutely dominant over the last several years. The last non-SEC champion was during the 2005 season when Texas defeated USC 41-38. Personally, I think the SEC bias was too strong last year and Oklahoma State should have had the chance to play in the championship game but that is a debate for another day. Still, there is no debating that the SEC has been nearly unstoppable over the last six years. Their reign could continue this year as well, with LSU, Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia all pre-season top 10 teams. However, there are plenty of other teams out there that think this year is their year. I have narrowed the field down to four strong contenders and one surprise contender to unseat the SEC. I will start at the most likely and work my way down.


Will Matt Barkley and the USC Trojans be hoisting the
crystal ball at the end of the 2012 season?
1. Southern California - this is not a shocking pick for the team most likely to stop the SEC's run. Matt Barkley, arguably the best quarterback in college football and possible future number one pick, returns for his senior year. Along with Barkley, USC returns two 1,000 yard receivers in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. They also bring back their 1,000 yard rusher Curtis McNeal. All four offensive weapons guarantee the Trojans offense is going to be potent in 2012. On the other side of the ball, USC returns their four leaders in interceptions in 2011, their top five tackling leaders and their top five sack leaders from the previous year.  The Trojans defense is returning players with experience at nearly every position. With experience on both sides of the ball, USC has to be the non-SEC favorites to make the championship game. Looking at their schedule, the three hardest games for the Trojans are vs Oregon, at Stanford and vs Notre Dame. If they make it to the Pac-12 championship game, the Trojans may also have to face Oregon or Stanford again. They have a tough enough out of conference and in conference schedule to make it to the BCS Championship game, if they make it out unscathed. 


2. Oklahoma Sooners - Oklahoma will go as far as Landry Jones will take them. If he has a Heisman like year, they can make it out of the Big 12 and into the National Championship game. Similar to Southern California, the Sooners will rely on their offense to carry them throughout the season. Jones lost his leading receiver Ryan Broyles to the NFL but will still have Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds who were second and third in yards last year. The Sooners will also have their top two running backs available in 2012. If Landry Jones can keep his interceptions down, the Sooners can be a dangerous team. On the defense, Oklahoma returns their top two defensive backs, two starting line backers and three defensive lineman. If the Sooners are going to make it out of the pass oriented Big 12 they will need improved play from their defensive backs. Oklahoma's out of conference schedule is easy with their hardest game coming against Notre Dame on October 27th. Despite an easy schedule out of conference, their Big 12 conference is ridiculously hard. They play Kansas State on September 22nd, Texas on October 13th, at West Virginia on November 17th, Oklahoma State on November 24th and finally at Texas Christian on December 1st. With suck a hard in conference schedule, the Sooners could be candidates for the BCS Championship game even if they lose once. I cannot wait to see how the new look Big 12 shakes out. 


3. Florida State Seminoles - Florida State was a huge disappointment in 2011. The Seminoles started the season ranked 6th in the AP poll, but by the end had lost four games, were third in the ACC's Atlantic division and were ranked 23rd. Florida State has high hopes again in 2012 as they try to return to their prominence of the 1990s. In order to get to the championship game, they will have to rely on EJ Manuel to not only stay healthy but also have a stellar season. He has plenty of receiving help this year as Rashad Greene (So), Rodney Smith (Sr), Christian Green (So), Kenny Shaw (So) and Willie Haulstead (Jr) join soon to be star Kelvin Benjamin (Fr). The 'Noles will have to rely on their passing game as it looks like they have yet to establish a number one running back. Devonta Freeman took the most carries last year but has yet to solidify the top spot for 2012. Even without an efficient run game, they should not have a problem moving the ball. On defense, Florida State returns nine starters Brandon Jenkins (DE), Bjoern Werner (DE), Everette Dawkins (DT), Anthony McCloud (DT), Christian Jones (DE), Vincent Williams (LB), Greg Reid (CB), Xavier Rhodes (CB), and Lamarcus Joyner (S) all return. The potential star on the defensive side of the ball is defensive end Brandon Jenkins who had 8.0 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss and 41 total tackles in 2011. Florida State has also been compiling great recruiting classes over the last few years and the talent is starting to hit the field. Expect a number of freshman to contribute for the Noles in 2012. Finally, another reason to consider Florida State as possible BCS champions is their schedule. Their hardest games come Sept. 22 versus Clemson, Oct. 20 at Miami, Nov. 8 at Virginia Tech, Nov 24 versus Florida and, if they make it, Dec. 1 in the ACC Championship game where they could face Virginia Tech or Miami again. 


Will the Oregon Mascot have reason to celebrate
in Eugene this year?
4. Oregon Ducks - Oregon is our first team that will not rely on a potential Heisman candidate to carry their team. The Ducks will continue to count on their speed to win them games. They have two speedsters at running back in Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas who will make Ducks' fans forget about LaMichael James. Currently, it looks like the Ducks are headed into the fall with Bryan Bennett and Marcus Mariota battling for the starting quarterback job. Bennett is a the faster player between the two but Mariota has a better pocket presence. There is no doubt that Oregon and Chip Kelly will run a no huddle, incredibly fast offense again in 2012. The defense is bringing back seven starters from last year. The two biggest question for Oregon headed into the 2012 season is whether or not the Freshman can play with poise in big games throughout the season and if they can stop Matt Barkley. Oregon's out of conference schedule may be one of the easiest in the nation as they face Arkansas State, Fresno State and Tennessee Tech. However, their Pac 12 schedule will be difficult again as they head to Southern California on November 3 and Stanford on November 17. If the Ducks win the North division of the Pac 12 they will most likely face Southern California and Matt Barkley one more time on November 30 in the Pac 12 championship game. 


5. Kansas State Wildcats - Ah, we have made it to my surprise pick for the 2012 BCS Championship game. While I think the four teams above have higher chances than the Wildcats, they are still being overlooked headed into the season. In May, ESPN created their "way too early top 25" (there is no such thing as too early) and put Kansas State at 18th. I think by the end of the season, the Wildcats will be a top 10 team. They have a number of big games that they will need to win in order to be in the hunt for the BCS Championship game but I think they have the players to win those games. 


Will Collin Klein lead the Wildcats to the BCS
Championship game and become the school's first
ever Heisman trophy winner?
To start, I believe Collin Klein can be this year's Robert Griffin III. Anyone who watched a lot of the Big 12 in 2011 should already know about Collin Klein. Last year, the Wildcats averaged 31.8 points per game for 34th best in the nation. Klein is a dual threat quarterback who is happy to run if the pocket is collapsing. In 2011, Klein ran the ball 317 times, which was the most of any quarterback in college football (75 more attempts than the closest QB). Klein ran for 1,141 yards and 27 touchdowns, along with passing for 1,918 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2011. If Klein continues to improve he could easily surpass 50 total touchdowns in 2012. The Wildcats will have to hope Klein plays like a Heisman candidate if they want to win the Big 12. Another article will be coming highlighting some darkhorse candidates for Heisman, but right now, Klein is definitely in my top 5. It is easy to throw out Matt Barkley or Landry Jones, but Collin Klein can compete for the Heisman as well.


If Kansas State is going to make a run towards winning the Big 12, this might be their only year. Collin Klein is a senior. Their top running back, John Hubert is a Junior. Their top two receivers, Chris Harper (Sr) and Tramaine Thompson (Jr) are finishing their collegiate careers as well. Overall, the Wildcats return nine starters to the offensive side of the ball. They have a similar story on the other side with seven returning to defense. Cornerback Nigel Malone, returns for his senior year after leading the team with seven interceptions in 2011. Their top two sack leaders in Meshak Williams (7 sacks) and Adam Davis (4 sacks) also return for their senior years. Their defense will be improved again this year so many players returning. Experience will lead this team on both sides of the ball as they try to capture their first Big 12 Championship since 2003. 


Being in the Big 12, the Wildcats have a tough in conference schedule and have added Miami on September 8 to bolster their out of conference schedule. In the Big 12, K-State has to visit Oklahoma on Sept. 22, West Virginia on Oct. 20, Oklahoma State on Nov. 3, TCU on Nov. 10 and end their season by visiting Texas on Dec. 1. If Klein plays up to his potential, Kansas State could be a hard team to stop and run through the Big 12. This conference will definitely be one of the more interesting to watch this season. Conference previews will come throughout the summer. 


Notable others who could make it: West Virginia, Michigan, TCU, Wisconsin and Clemson. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fantasy 2012 - The Great Quarterback Debate

Will Aaron Rodgers Lead Leagues in Fantasy
Points Again in 2012?


Where and when do you draft your fantasy quarterback (especially your #1 if you are in a two quarterback league). This is a debate I have with myself almost every year before entering my fantasy draft. Over the last two seasons, quarterbacks have put up amazing fantasy numbers. In fact, unless you have a completely custom scoring standard, last year's scoring leader was either Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers depending on your league. Here is a look at my fantasy league from last year. To start, I will give you guys the scoring categories for quarterbacks:
  • Every 25 passing yards was worth 1 point 
  • Every interception throw was worth negative 3 points 
  • Every touchdown thrown was worth 4 points 
  • Every 300-399 yards thrown was worth 3 points 
  • Every 400+ yards thrown was worth 5 points 
  • Every rushing touchdown was worth 8 points 
Furthermore, I want to provide you with the top five fantasy scorers in my league and where they were drafted in parentheses. You will notice that all five are quarterbacks:
  • Aaron Rodgers had 411 fantasy points (8th overall - 1st round) 
  • Drew Brees had 407 fantasy points (11th overall - 2nd round) 
  • Tom Brady had 383 fantasy points (10th overall - 1st round) 
  • Cam Newton had 372 fantasy points (98th overall - 10th round) 
  • Matthew Stafford had 341 fantasy points (61st overall - 7th round) 
Normally, the argument is you should select a running back in the first round and possibly even in the second as well. I want to take a look at the top five running backs in my league last year. You will notice I have added their overall draft selection as well:
  • Ray Rice had 333 fantasy points (7th overall - 1st round) 
  • LeSean McCoy had 328 fantasy points (9th overall - 1st round) 
  • Maurice Jones-Drew had 289 fantasy points (12th overall - 2nd round) 
  • Arian Foster had 289 fantasy points (3rd overall - 1st round) 
  • Marshawn Lynch had 247 fantasy points (108th overall - 11th round)

Is taking an elite back like Ray Rice a smart
decision? He lead all runningbacks in
fantasy points in 2011.
Last year's fantasy leaders seem to show that grabbing either a quarterback or a running back in the first round or early second is a smart choice but I tend to disagree. The top running back was selected 7th overall. The top quarterback was taken a pick later but scored 78 more points throughout the season. Aaron Rodgers only had one week with less than twenty fantasy points (week 14 against Oakland). He also had four weeks over thirty points (weeks four, nine, thirteen and sixteen). Finally, Rodgers also scored 53 points week four against Denver.

Ray Rice's numbers were lower overall and a lot less consistent. He scored under twenty points eight weeks of the season (weeks two, three, six, seven, nine, ten, twelve and fifteen). His season high was thirty-eight points which came in week seventeen, well after fantasy playoffs had ended. LeSean McCoy's number were a bit more consistent but still not the same compared to Rodgers. McCoy scored under twenty points seven weeks out of the season (weeks four, five, nine, ten, eleven, twelve and sixteen). 

Another argument for drafting a quarterback earlier than later is the offensive systems of a number of teams. Green Bay, Detroit, New Orleans and New England all rely heavily on the pass. You know these teams, and their quarterbacks, are going to deliver several big games throughout the year. When hitting on all cylinders, these teams can easily go over 300 passing yards. For example, Aaron Rodgers broke 300 passing yards in eight games last year. In addition, Drew Brees hit the 300 yard plateau thirteen times in 2011.

Drew Brees threw for over 300 yards thirteen
times throughout the 2011 season
A majority of leagues award extra points for throwing for more than 300 yards. Leagues often also give points if a running back rushes for 100 or more yards. Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy went over 100 yards six times last year. In my league, if you drafted Drew Brees over either of these backs, you would have received 21 "bonus" points throughout the season as Brees often threw for over 300 yards.

The next reason I normally choose a quarterback over a running back is because of the quarterback's role. In a pass happy offense such as Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers is easily going to throw the ball thirty times. In 2011, Rodgers attempted thirty or more passes in 12 games. The numbers for Drew Brees are even more staggering. He threw thirty or more passes in all sixteen games. Furthermore, Brees broke forty attempts in nine games last year. In offenses that rely on the pass, quarterbacks are going to throw the ball often and as a result rack up the fantasy points. A top running back is only going to rush twenty times a game. Ray Rice ran twenty times or more, eight times in 2011. More opportunities to move the ball (in this case with the quarterback) lead to more chances to score fantasy points.

Conclusion: With the pass oriented offenses of the NFL, I am likely to select an elite quarterback in the first round of my fantasy football draft.




Sunday, June 17, 2012

2012's Top Five Fantasy Football Busts



It is never to early to talk about fantasy football! I decided to take some time off from the blog because I have found there is not much to talk about without football around. I believe, from here on out this blog will mainly be an NFL, College, and Fantasy Football blog. Of course I will pepper in the occasional post about another sport (probably college basketball) I will focus on football. 


Despite planning on dominating my fantasy football league this year, I will take the time to give my competition (and the rest of you) a few tips for the 2012 fantasy football season. All five of the players below are within the top 50 fantasy football players for 2012. While these five players may not be "busts" or the type of player who completely destroy your team (think Chris Johnson in 2011), they will, in my opinion, not live up to their hype. I tried to make sure I selected a variety of players, instead of five running backs. I have included three running backs, a wide receiver and a quarterback. 


I am sure all five of these players will play like superstars and prove me wrong. I will be back in the upcoming days with five players who I think could carry you to the fantasy football playoffs or help win your league. 


1. Maurice Jones-Drew - Running Back - Jacksonville Jaguars - Call me superstitious but there is no way I am falling for this again. Ask those who drafted Chris Johnson last year how  picking a player who holds out worked for them. MJD wants a new contract and is willing to sit out to get one. Gene Smith, the general manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars has already come out and said they will not give into Jones-Drew's demands. I know MJD had the most rushing yards in the NFL last year but his touchdowns were abysmal. ESPN currently has Jones-Drew ranked 6th overall. There is no way I can justify spending my first round pick on MJD. Furthermore, nothing excites me about Blaine Gabbert. I love a team that relies on their running back when I am picking my back, but I also want a team that can actually throw the ball. Jacksonville was dead last in passing last year. Jones-Drew is going to get you rushing yards, but I have to wonder if with such an inept offense he is going to get into the end zone. There are a number of other first round players I would take over Jones-Drew. Unless he somehow slips to the late first, I will stay away from Jones-Drew this year. 


2. Matt Forte - Running Back - Chicago Bears - Stop me if this sounds familiar, a young player has an amazing season, wants a new contract, does not get contract and threatens to hold out. It happens nearly every off-season and could happen again this year with Jones-Drew and, possibly, Matt Forte. If Matt Forte skips workouts, mini-camp and even the pre-season, he could turn into this year's Chris Johnson (alongside MJD). Furthermore, the Bears brought in Michael Bush this off-season who could take away some of Forte's touchdowns. As much as I love my running back piling up rushing yards, I also want touchdowns. If Chicago is going to rely on Bush in the redzone than picking Forte in the first two rounds is pointless. I could buy into the idea that Chicago's offense will be more potent this year with the additions of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. However, if Jay Cutler is going to start throwing the ball more, will Matt Forte still get into the endzone? 


3. Reggie Bush - Running Back - Miami Dolphins - Quick, how many seasons has Reggie Bush ran for more than 1,000 yards? Once! Prior to last year, Bush had never gone over 600 rushing yards. Couple that with the fact that he only had six rushing touchdowns last year and I will be staying away from Reggie in 2012. ESPN has him ranked 42nd for the upcoming season. I do no think I would draft Bush within the top ten rounds. He cannot be relied upon and the Dolphins offense is, well, a joke. I personally think the Dolphins will compete for the worst record in the NFL this year. That cannot mean good fantasy numbers for Reggie Bush. In case you were wondering, other players below Bush in the top 50 that I would pick before him include Dwayne Bowe, Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston (if Brees is back), Miles Austin, Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Demaryius Thomas. How Reggie Bush can be ranked this high is beyond me. Maybe someone knows more than I know but there is no way I would rely on Bush to be my number two running back this year. 


4. Greg Jennings - Wide Receiver - Green Bay Packers - I have a hard time picking wide receivers in the early rounds of the draft. I would rather have an elite quarterback or running back than an elite wide receiver. I would also argue that there are better wide receivers than Greg Jennings. I love the fact that he plays in a pass happy offense but the Packers also like to spread the ball around a lot. Last year, Jennings went over 100 yards three times. He still had a great season, but again, the Packers throw to everyone. One week Greg Jennings is going to be the star, the next Jordy Nelson is going to go off. I cannot waste a second round pick on a player who is not going to be my "superstar" type of player. I want my second round player to consistently give me points and that is something I cannot rely on with Jennings. I like the offense. Like the player. But cannot spend a second round pick on him. 


5. Michael Vick - Quarterback - Philadelphia Eagles - Maybe it is the fact that Vick has been injured the last two years. Maybe it is because LeSean McCoy is a beast. Maybe is is because ESPN has Vick ranked 17th overall, but I am not buying into Vick this year. He has the potential to be superstar and could win you your entire league. However, he could also be injured by week 5 and have you searching for a backup. I want my second/third round players to stick around the entire season. I also want my players there when the playoffs come around. Vick played in weeks 14, 15, 16 and 17 last year. If your playoffs start in week 13 or before, you were without your number one quarterback. By having the ability to grab a few rushing touchdowns, Vick has the potential to be a top 5 fantasy quarterback. However, he is also a high injury risk and could be out fairly early, sending your season into the toilet before you know it. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Bored Supremacy: Why The NBA Playoffs Are Putting Me To Sleep


I was hoping to wait until the end of the first round of the NBA Playoffs before writing this, but I could not hold out any longer. Normally, I watch the NBA Playoffs. Most of the time I down right enjoy the NBA Playoffs. But this year they have frankly been unwatchable. The 2012 playoffs are showing me why the NBA's ratings make the game America's fifth favorite sport (behind NFL, college football, college basketball and baseball). While I know television ratings are not everything, they can be used as a gauge for how many people want to watch the sport. 


Maybe the games will get better as the playoffs continue. Maybe there are a few elite teams and the rest are mediocre. Maybe I am just too used to basketball games that are actually entertaining. Maybe it is because the NHL playoffs have had umpteenth overtime games or games that were decided by one goal. The NBA needs to improve their playoff games before no one is watching. Let's take a look at 2012's games:


#1 San Antonio vs #8 Utah

  • San Antonio won game one 106 to 91. The Spurs also won game two 114-83. In two games, the average margin of victory is 23 points. How can the NBA expect me to watch the game when it is over by halftime?
#2 Oklahoma City vs #7 Dallas
  • This series has actually been one of the only watchable series so far but that is only because each team has made a come back in the first two games of the series. The third game was another blowout 95-79. Average margin of victory: 6.7 points
#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs #6 Denver
  • The first game was another amazing blowout while the second was a bit closer. Average margin of victory: 9.5 points. However, you have to wonder if Metta World Peace was able to play if the Lakers would be winning by more.
#4 Memphis vs #5 Los Angeles Clippers
  • This series looks deceptive because the Clippers came back from 27 down to win game one. When you take that into account, the series is not as close as it looks. This is another series that has been exciting to watch. Average margin of victory: 4 points.
#1 Chicago vs #8 Philadelphia
  • Another series that would be different if everyone was healthy. Derrick Rose gets hurt in game one and now the series may have a different outcome. Neither of the games have been that close. Game one was 103-91 and game two was 109-92. Average margin of victory: 14.5 points
#2 Miami vs #7 New York
  • Three games. Three opportunities for me to fall asleep. Miami has been in cruise control the entire time. Winning all three games. Game one was 100-67. Game two, 104-94 and game three, 87-70. Average margin of victory: 20 points.
#3 Indianapolis vs #6 Orlando
  • Again injuries are impacting another series. You have to wonder how the games would end if Dwight Howard was not out for the season. Game 1, 81-77, game 2, 93-78 and game 3, 97-74. Average margin of victory: 14 points.
#4 Atlanta vs #5 Boston 
  • This series has been closer than other games but you should expect a 4-5 series to be closer than the rest. Game 1 ended 83-74 while game 2 came to a close at 87-80. Average margin of victory: 8 points
Overall average margin of victory: 12.46 points

By now you are probably asking what all of these numbers mean and what will they be compared to? Well let's take a look at the 2012 Final Four. Now before I begin I know I am comparing a handful of games to four games, but it is an easy comparison for now. 

Semifinal #1 Kentucky vs Louisville - 69-61 - Margin of victory: 8 points
Semifinal #2 Ohio State vs Kansas - 64-62 - Margin of victory: 2 points
Championship game Kentucky vs Kansas - 67-59 - Margin of victory: 8 points

Overall average margin of victory: 6 points 

Again, this is quite a smaller sample size but I think it would be hard to find someone that would tell you the 2012 NBA Playoffs have been exciting. Sure, a game or two have been fun to watch, but outside of those, the playoffs have been boring. What is to keep me from changing the channel? I like sports because even if you do not have a team to root for you are more times than not entertained. Close games where teams go back and forth are exciting. Games where one team is up by twenty points at halftime make me want to run to watch something else. 

Ultimately, I am rooting for an Oklahoma City vs Miami Finals because I think it could yield close games but until then it is hard for me to give reasons as to why you should watch the NBA playoffs. Until the games get a little closer, 2012 will have the NBA Playoffs starring in the Bored Supremacy. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grading The 2012 NFL Draft: NFC East


By: Ray Beamesderfer

The NFC East brought in as much talent as any division in football over the weekend, with all four teams having very solid draft. We saw Washington bring in what they hope is their next franchise quarterback, and Dallas and Philadelphia counter that with defensive players. We also saw the world champion New York Giants continue to build on their success from last year.

New York Giants: Despite picking last in every round, the Giants found great value with basically all of their players. They upgrade the runningback position with David Wilson, just weeks after losing Brandon Jacobs to San Francisco. Then they come back the next night and upgrade their wide receiver position with Rueben Randle after losing Mario Manninham to the 49ers as well. Jayron Hosely is also considered very good value in the third. The Giants get my top grade in the division simply because they strong got stronger in 2012. Grade = A

Philadelphia: Not really a surprise that the Eagles are having a good offseason, Andy Reid usually nails that part of it. After whiffing on Brandon Graham in 2010, they once again trade up for a defensive lineman this time in Fletcher Cox. He immediately will start for Philly, and give them perhaps the best pass rushing defensive line in the NFL. On Friday they decided Demeco Ryans wasn't enough at linebacker so they added Cal speedster Mychael Kendricks. If you needed anymore proof they have given up on Graham, with their next 2nd round selection they took high motor sack artist Vinny Curry. I didn't completely agree with taking Nick Foles in the 3rd, but with their recent success of grooming quarterbacks and trading them for twice as much who am I to argue? Grade = A- 

Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones once again made his team noticed on draft night, and traded his 2nd round selection to move up for Morris Claiborne who many consider the top defensive player in the draft. I loved the move for Dallas, and hated it for St. Louis. The rest of their draft was fairly lack luster, but the fact that they were so willing to fill the hole that cost them a bunch of games last year gives them the third highest grade in the NFC West. Grade = B-

Washington Redskins: If you're a big RG3 fan you will probably disagree with this assessment. I do think he's the second best quarterback in the class, but I just don't see him as an all pro or Superbowl winning quarterback which is clearly what the Redskins had in mind when they traded three 1st round picks, and a 2nd this year. The draft got worse in my opinion when they took quarterback Kirk Cousins with their fourth round selection. Guard Josh LeRibeus will probably find himself starting early in his career, But I feel the Redskins walked away from the 2012 draft with just one useful player in Robert Griffin, and even he was overpaid for. Grade = C

Grading The 2012 NFL Draft: AFC West




Tebow mania swept the AFC West in 2011 as the Broncos not only won the division but beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round. Tebow mania is now replaced with Manning Mania as the Broncos signed the future hall of famer this off-season. This division also features a team that did not have a draft pick until the compensatory picks of the third round in the Oakland Raiders. Let's take a look at how the AFC West did in the 2012 draft:


Denver Broncos - The Broncos traded out of the first round in order to pick up a few more picks. Then when  with their first pick in the second round they reached for defensive tackle Derek Wolfe out of Cincinnati. While Wolfe will become a starter, the Broncos passed on a number of other talented players in order to take Wolfe. With their next pick the Broncos selected Brock Osweiler out of Arizona State. Denver is hoping that sitting behind Peyton Manning will help Osweiler become a star. However, with the past injuries of Manning, Osweiler may be a starter sooner rather than later. The only other Denver pick that should impact the team is third round pick Ronnie Hillman out of San Diego State. He will be able to provide Denver with an option for screens. Grade: C+


Kansas City Chiefs - Too many Chiefs fans seemed to be angry at the direction their front office went in 2012. Instead of drafting a quarterback, Kansas City went defense early with Dontari Poe and then tried to build up their offensive lines in the second and third rounds with Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson. It looks like Kansas City is content with Matt Cassel and want to try to protect him. The Chiefs are also smart to build the o-line because they can play on their strength which is their run game with Jamaal Charles and now Peyton Hillis. Kansas City added a few potential steals at wide receiver in Devon Wylie (4th round) and Junior Hemingway (7th round). DeQuan Menzie is another potential starter that the Chiefs were able to add in the fifth round. Overall, Kansas City had a good draft. Grade: B


Oakland Raiders - The Raiders traded away most of their draft picks for 2012. However, they were still able to add a few surprise picks. Their late third round pick Tony Bergstrom could become a starting guard for Oakland and I think a lot of teams are going to be upset that they passed on Juron Criner who was selected by the Raiders in the fifth round. Jack Crawford (5th round) could become a situational pass rusher in 2012. It is hard to discuss a lot of the Raiders picks as they only had six and none of them were before the late third round. This draft could be a complete miss for the Raiders but in the end, I think they get two starters (Bergstrom and Criner). Grade: B-


San Diego Chargers - The Chargers did a good job drafting in the early rounds of the 2012 draft. Melvin Ingram is a versatile defensive player who could start at defensive end or outside linebacker. He will most likely be the Chargers outside linebacker as they play a 3-4 defense. It looks like San Diego is hoping Kendell Reyes out of Connecticut will be the starting nose tackle to begin the season. Safety Brandon Taylor out of LSU, tight end Ladarius Green out of Louisiana-Lafayette and guard Johnnie Troutman out of Penn State could all become starters for San Diego in 2012. Green has the best potential of these three players and should flourish behind Antonio Gates in San Diego. Grade: B+

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Grading The 2012 NFL Draft: AFC South





A division once dominated by the Indianapolis Colts, had a new division winner in 2012. The Houston Texans rode their top five defense to a wild card win over the Bengals, before losing to the Baltimore Ravens in the division round. The division had two top ten picks and landed the coveted Andrew Luck. Let's take a look at each team:


Houston Texans - The Texans added a good defensive end in Whitney Mercilus in the first round before not having another pick until the third round. Houston tried to improve their interior offensive line in the third and fourth round with Brandon Brooks and Ben Jones. They also tried to improve their offense by adding two wide receivers in DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin. Both players could turn into number three receivers. The Texans are obviously excited by both players as they are now shopping Jacoby Jones. They may have got a late round steal in Nebraska's Jared Crick. Houston is obviously trying to continue to build their defense in hopes that it will bring them a championship. Grade: B


Indianapolis Colts - Plenty of people are going to argue that the Colts had a great draft because they got Andrew Luck. However, they did have the first overall pick so they did not really make a smart pick with Luck. I think the later rounds is where the grade should come from and the Colts missed in the later rounds. Indianapolis seemed to only draft offensive players. I think Coby Fleener can be a star but why they would take another tight end only a round later is beyond me. T.Y. Hilton is an interesting prospect and could become a decent number two receiver but beyond that I do not think the Colts added many starters. They also ignored their defense. One that was sub par all year long. I think the Colts will be drafting in the top 10 next year and will be looking to draft defense throughout. Grade: B-


Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jacksonville Jaguars were definitely a confusing team in the draft. They had to be the laughing stock of Saturday as they drafted a punter in the third round. Even if he is a top punter, he will not be on the field enough to make a difference. However, the Jags started the draft off on a high note. They actually gave Blaine Gabbert a play maker in Justin Blackmon and helped the defense out by drafting Andre Branch. After those two picks it seems like the Jaguars let a child make the picks for them. Jacksonville fans have to be hoping that they did not miss with their first two picks. Grade: C


Tennessee Titans - The Titans tried to add a weapon for Jake Locker in the first round with Kendall Wright. I am not sold on Wright as an NFL wide receiver but at the least he gives Tennessee a vertical threat. Zach Brown is definitely an athletic but not much of a hard hitter. He should be a good linebacker but nothing special. The Titans failed to address their needs for a cornerback until the fourth round. Coty Sensabaugh could be decent cornerback but I thought Tennessee should have addressed this need earlier in the draft. Overall, I think the Titans added two starters, zero stars and a whole lot of depth. Grade: C

Grading the NFL Draft: AFC North


With the AFC East complete, I turn my attention North. Last season, the AFC North had three teams make the playoffs. With a successful 2012 draft, the AFC North looks to continue their success and send three teams back to the playoffs. Let's take a look at each team's draft and assign them a grade:

Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens absolutely knocked it out of the park with their first three picks. No one would have foreseen Courtney Upshaw falling to the second round, but he did and the Ravens got a first round talent, with the third pick of the second round. With their second pick in the second round the Ravens added Kelechi Osemele, who happens to have one of the best names in the draft (so great, I may have to name my first born Kelechi). He should start at guard this year for the Ravens and could be moved to right tackle before the year ends. Their third round pick of Bernard Pierce should help keep Ray Rice healthy by giving him some plays off. Sixth round pick Tommy Streeter could be a late round steal as he has some great speed and hands. The rest of their draft seems devoid of starters but that may change by the end of the year. Grade: B



Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals had one of, if not, the best draft of every team in the NFL. They also had a hilarious draft. Cincinnati actually drafted based on a pattern. Defense, then offense. They did this for every pick from the first round to the sixth round. I do not know if this was just coincidence, but it is hilarious nonetheless. Their first six players could all become starters by the beginning of the season. Dre Kirkpatrick (1st round), and Kevin Zeitler (2nd round) will definitely be contributing throughout the year. Kirkpatrick is an interesting prospect as some saw him as the second best back in the draft. Kirkpatrick is a hard hitting corner back who should help the Bengals as they face Big Ben, Joe Flacco and Brandon Weeden (assuming he starts). Devon Still (round 2) and Brandon Thompson (round 3) should compete for a starting defensive tackle job and both could be starting in the middle of the line for Cincinnati by week one. Mohamed Sanu and Orson Charles will give Andy Dalton more offensive weapons. While I am not too high on Sanu, grabbing him in the third round could certainly be a steal. It is hard to find a bad pick anywhere in the Bengals' draft. Grade: A+


Cleveland Browns: I think the Browns hit with their first three picks. Trent Richardson is going to be a star in this league and Brandon Weeden, while older, is certainly capable of starting in the NFL. Mitchell Schwartz will be able to protect Weeden or any other Browns quarterback for a long time. However, after the first two rounds it is hard to find anyone that may start for the Browns. Inside Linebacker James-Michael Johnson (never trust a man with two first names), and Billy Wynn are intriguing prospects who should compete for a starting job but do not stand out as anything too special. Ryan Miller and Emmanuel Acho are interesting but will most likely only become depth players. The rest of the Browns draft is nothing special. Grade: B-


Pittsburgh Steelers: Ah, yes one of the other teams that the media loves to gush over. I thought it was hilarious when ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi said "they don't have backups, they have starters-in-waiting". Not only is Bruschi one of the worst analysts on television but he obviously does not watch the Steelers. Pittsburgh hit on their first four picks, but looked to stop caring about the draft after that. David DeCastro falling to them in the first round may have been one of the luckiest moments of the draft. If Mike Adams can stay away from the marijuana (and Big Ben), he could be a starting tackle for the Steelers. Sean Spence and Alameda Ta'amu will most likely not start next year but could start if someone gets injured or they have a good pre-season. I think it is interesting that the Steelers did not address the inside linebacker position at all during this draft as they released James Farrior and are now relying on Lawrence Timmons. I think the Steelers got three starters out of this draft. Grade: B

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Grading The Draft: AFC East



The 2012 NFL Draft is over and teams are scrambling to sign undrafted free agents. Mr. Irrelevant (Chandler Harnish out of N. Illinois) has been named. Now it is time for me to start grading the draft for each team. I will start with the AFC East because it has the Buffalo Bills. Let's start right there:

Buffalo Bills: Initially I did not like the first round pick. I would have been happier with the Bills drafting Michael Floyd. I still think I would have been happier with Floyd on Buffalo, but I understand the need for Gilmore. He's a physical back who should be able to come in and start from day one. In the second round they got an absolute steal in Cordy Glenn. He is versatile and will most likely start the year at tackle (most likely left, but could be right). Zebrie Sanders and Tank Carder in the fifth round is absolute steals. Sanders could be the starting right tackle by the start of the season and Carder could pressure Sheppard for the starting position. I do not like TJ Graham that much because I feel like he could have been drafted later. Overall, the Bills addressed two major needs in corner back and offensive line help. Their grade goes up because they were able to get lucky with Sanders and Carder in the 5th, along with Cordy Glenn in the 2nd. However, they did not address the backup quarterback need and may have not of addressed the wide receiver position : Grade: A-



Miami Dolphins: I am not sure what to make of the Dolphins draft. As a Bills fan, Ryan Tannehill sort of scares me. He is athletic and has one heck of an arm. Jonathan Martin should help their offensive line and keep the rookie quarterback on his feet. They may have secured a steal in Lamar Miller who, because of his speed, could be a home run threat from day one. Michael Egnew cannot block but is a great athlete with amazing hands. Oliver Vernon should be a situational pass rusher that could develop into a starter. B.J. Cunningham could become a perfect number two receiver by the time the season starts. However, they did not really address the receiver need. This grade will depend on Ryan Tannehill but for now : Grade: B-


New York Jets: The Jets looked to be having a great draft in the beginning two days but fell apart on day three. I really like Quinton Coples. Him and Muhammad Wilkerson could become a force to deal with in the AFC East. Stephen Hill was seen by many as a first round pick and could become the number two receiver the Jets are looking for. However, the rest of their picks seemed like they were reaching more than getting value. They passed on some talent in the third round and did not have picks again until the sixth. The draft started bright, but faded in the end. Grade: C+


New England Patriots: Ugh where to start with the New England Patriots. It happens every year, the Patriots select players and the analysts gush over how great their picks were and how smart the Patriots are to have drafted them. And guess what, it happened again this year and still the Patriots did nothing special. Chandler Jones is a one trick pony. I watched him for four years at Syracuse and was never as impressed as the analysts seemed to be. However, he did go to New England so of course they were impressed. I do like Dont'a Hightower. I think he will flourish alongside Jerod Mayo. Their second round safety was a head scratcher. After that, their only stand out was Alfonzo Dennard and he has been in nothing but trouble since the off-season began. I can almost guarantee the media will give the Patriots a high grade, most likely a B+ or even A- but I do not think they did as good as most. I will be writing an article on the gushing of the media over the New England Patriots soon as I think all of their moving on around on draft day actually is costing them more than they think. I think Dont'a Hightower will be the only one from this draft that sticks around:  Grade: B-

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Which Direction I Want The Buffalo Bills To Go In Round Two



I will admit, I am and was none too happy about the Buffalo Bills first round pick. I think the team has bigger needs elsewhere and could have got a capable corner back in the second, third or fourth rounds. Furthermore, I do not think Gilmore is an elite player and normally at #10 you are looking for an elite player. I believe Buffalo would have been better off, trading down to get more picks (as they could have drafted Gilmore later) or drafting Michael Floyd. I understand the reasoning if you feel that Gilmore is an elite corner, but I do not think that about him. I think he will struggle with the more physical receivers of the NFL but hopefully I am pleasantly surprised. 


I cannot fix the first round pick, but I can certainly give my advice for the second round. I think Buffalo will be looking in two areas, wide receiver or offensive tackle. This is all confirmed after Buddy Nix announced the team wants to add a receiver and tackle still. Luckily for the Bills there is still plenty of talent in either position. Cordy Glenn, Jonathan Martin, Mike Adams, Bobby Massie, Zebrie Sanders and Mitchell Schwartz are all capable tackles. Some are better than others but may not be available at #41. Buffalo could also look at Stephen Hill, Reuben Randle, Alshon Jefferey, Brian Quick, Mohamaed Sanu, Juron Criner or Nick Toon. All seven are capable of becoming #2 wide receivers. 


I think Buffalo should hope one of the top remaining offensive lineman drops to them at #41, or trade up a few spots to secure them (unlikely knowing Buddy Nix). The receivers are still deep and there will definitely be one there in the third round. They could shock a lot of people and look to draft a linebacker like Zach Brown, Lavonte David, Ronnell Lewis, Sean Spence, or Mychal Kendricks or even Tight End, Coby Fleener. However, here are the three smartest choices at #41:

1. Cordy Glenn - Offensive Tackle - Georgia - The Bills have to hope Glenn can fall to them. He is capable of playing guard and tackle, which would provide depth at a number of positions on the offensive line. Glenn is ranked as a first round talent and would be an absolute steal at the forty  first pick.



2. Stephen Hill - Wide Receiver - Georgia Tech - Another player who was ranked by most as a first round talent but slipped into the second round. Hill will most likely be gone by the time the Bills pick but if he is not they should not hesitate to pull the trigger.


3. Jonathan Martin - Offensive Tackle - Stanford - As mentioned, the offensive tackle position is not very deep in this draft. It would make sense for the Bills to fill that position in the second round and look to fill the other needs later. Martin is another player who shocked many by slipping. He has first round talent and would be another steal at forty one.


Honorable Mention: Coby Fleener - Tight End - Stanford

Best Players Still Available In The NFL Draft





There are still plenty of players who could become stars left for the taking in the NFL Draft. The second round starts tomorrow at 7pm on ESPN and teams will still be looking to add starters for the 2012 season. Here are some of the best available players:

Coby Fleener - Tight End - Stanford

Cordy Glenn - Offensive Tackle - Georgia
Courtney Upshaw - Defensive End/Outside Linebacker - Alabama
Andre Branch - Defensive End - Clemson
Peter Konz - Center - Wisconsin
Stephen Hill - Wide Receiver - Georgia Tech
Bobby Massie - Offensive Tackle - Ole Miss
Jerel Worthy - Defensive Tackle - Michigan State
Reuben Randle - Wide Receiver - Louisiana State University
Chris Polk - Running Back - Washington
Alshon Jeffery - Wide Receiver - South Carolina

Second Round Mock Draft - 3 Hours Left

It is draft day! That can only mean one thing, mock drafts! Here is my first round mock from the other day:

1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck - Quarterback - Stanford
2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III - Quarterback - Baylor
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil - Offensive Tackle - Southern California
4. Cleveland Browns - Ryan Tannehill - Quarterback - Texas A&M
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Trent Richardson - Running back - Alabama
6. Saint Louis Rams - Morris Claiborne - Corner back - Louisiana State University
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Justin Blackmon - Wide Receiver - Oklahoma State University
8. Miami Dolphins - Quinton Coples - Defensive End - North Carolina 
9. Carolina Panthers - Dontari Poe - Nose Tackle - Memphis
10. Buffalo Bills - Michael Floyd - Wide Receiver - Notre Dame
11. Kansas City Chiefs - David DeCastro - Offensive Guard - Stanford
12. Seattle Seahawks - Melvin Ingram - Defensive End - South Carolina
13. Arizona Cardinals - Cordy Glenn - Offensive Tackle - Georgia 
14. Dallas Cowboys - Stephon Gilmore - Corner back - South Carolina
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Fletcher Cox - Defensive Tackle - Mississippi State 
16. New York Jets - Mark Barron - Safety - Alabama 
17. Cincinnati Bengals - Dre Kirkpatrick - Corner back - Alabama
18. San Diego Chargers - Nick Perry - Defensive End - Southern California
19. Chicago Bears - Stephen Hill - Wide Receiver - Georgia Tech
20. Tennessee Titans - Courtney Upshaw - Defensive End - Alabama
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Reuben Randle - Wide Receiver - Louisiana State University
22. Cleveland Browns - Riley Reiff - Offensive Tackle - Iowa
23. Detroit Lions - Janoris Jenkins - Corner back - North Alabama
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Luke Kuechly - Inside Linebacker - Notre Dame
25. Denver Broncos - Michael Brockers - Defensive Tackle - Louisiana State University
26. Houston Texans - Coby Fleener - Tight End - Stanford
27. New England Patriots - Kendall Wright - Wide Receiver - Baylor
28. Green Bay Packers - Andre Branch - Defensive End - Clemson
29. Baltimore Ravens - Peter Konz - Center - Wisconsin
30. San Francisco 49ers - Jerel Worthy - Defensive Tackle - Michigan State
31. New England Patriots - Whitney Mercilus - Outside Linebacker/Defensive End - Illinois
32. New York Giants - Kevin Zeitler - Offensive Guard - Wisconsin

Now for my second round:

1. Saint Louis Rams - Harris Smith - Strong Safety - Notre Dame
2. Indianapolis Colts - Jonathan Martin - Offensive Tackle - Stanford
3. Minnesota Vikings - Alshon Jeffrey - Wide Receiver - South Carolina
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Shea McClellin - Outside Linebacker - Boise State
5. Cleveland Browns - Chandler Jones - Defensive End - Syracuse
6. Jacksonville Jaguars - Andre Branch - Defensive End - Clemson
7. Saint Louis Rams - Amini Silatolu - Offensive Guard - Midwestern State
8. Carolina Panthers - Brandon Boykin - Corner back - Georgia
9. Buffalo Bills - Bobby Massie - Offensive Tackle - Ole Miss
10. Miami Dolphins - Chris Givens - Wide Receiver - Wake Forrest
11. Seattle Seahawks - Bobby Wagner - Outside Linebacker - Utah State
12. Kansas Chiefs - Devon Still - Defensive Tackle - Penn State
13. Dallas Cowboys - Brandon Brooks - Offensive Guard - Miami (OH)
14. Philadelphia Eagles - Mychal Kendricks - Inside Linebacker - California
15. New York Jets - Mike Adams - Offensive Tackle - Ohio State
16. New England Patriots - Jeff Allen - Offensive Tackle - Illinois
17. San Diego Chargers -  AJ Jenkins - Wide Receiver - Illinois
18. Chicago Bears - Bruce Irvin - Outside Linebacker - West Virginia
19. Philadelphia Eagles - Lavonte David - Outside Linebacker - Nebraska
20. Tennessee Titans - Josh Robinson - Corner back - Central Florida
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Doug Martin - Running back - Boise State
22. Detroit Lions - David Wilson - Running back - Virginia Tech
23. Atlanta Falcons - Vinny Curry - Defensive End - Marshall
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kelechi Osemele - Offensive Tackle - Iowa State
25. Denver Broncos - Trumaine Johnson - Corner back - Montana
26. Houston Texans - Kendall Reyes - Defensive Tackle - Connecticut
27. Green Bay Packers  - Mitchell Schwartz - Offensive Tackle - California
28. Baltimore Ravens - Brian Quick - Wide Receiver - Appalachian State
29. San Francisco 49ers - Mohamed Sanu - Wide Receiver - Rutgers
30. New England Patriots - George Iloka - Free Safety - Boise State
31. New York Giants -  Jamell Fleming - Corner Back - Oklahoma

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Third Mock Draft: One Day To Go




With just over two days left until the 2012 NFL Draft gets underway, I look to create at least one more mock draft. My last draft involved one trade but I think this time around there will be no trades. I may get through the second round today depending on how much time I have. Here is my first round mock:


1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck - Quarterback - Stanford
2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III - Quarterback - Baylor
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil - Offensive Tackle - Southern California
4. Cleveland Browns - Ryan Tannehill - Quarterback - Texas A&M
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Trent Richardson - Running back - Alabama
6. Saint Louis Rams - Morris Claiborne - Corner back - Louisiana State University
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Justin Blackmon - Wide Receiver - Oklahoma State University
8. Miami Dolphins - Quinton Coples - Defensive End - North Carolina 
9. Carolina Panthers - Dontari Poe - Nose Tackle - Memphis
10. Buffalo Bills - Michael Floyd - Wide Receiver - Notre Dame
11. Kansas City Chiefs - David DeCastro - Offensive Guard - Stanford
12. Seattle Seahawks - Melvin Ingram - Defensive End - South Carolina
13. Arizona Cardinals - Cordy Glenn - Offensive Tackle - Georgia 
14. Dallas Cowboys - Stephon Gilmore - Corner back - South Carolina
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Fletcher Cox - Defensive Tackle - Mississippi State 
16. New York Jets - Mark Barron - Safety - Alabama 
17. Cincinnati Bengals - Dre Kirkpatrick - Corner back - Alabama
18. San Diego Chargers - Nick Perry - Defensive End - Southern California
19. Chicago Bears - Stephen Hill - Wide Receiver - Georgia Tech
20. Tennessee Titans - Courtney Upshaw - Defensive End - Alabama
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Reuben Randle - Wide Receiver - Louisiana State University
22. Cleveland Browns - Riley Reiff - Offensive Tackle - Iowa
23. Detroit Lions - Janoris Jenkins - Corner back - North Alabama
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Luke Kuechly - Inside Linebacker - Notre Dame
25. Denver Broncos - Michael Brockers - Defensive Tackle - Louisiana State University
26. Houston Texans - Coby Fleener - Tight End - Stanford
27. New England Patriots - Kendall Wright - Wide Receiver - Baylor
28. Green Bay Packers - Andre Branch - Defensive End - Clemson
29. Baltimore Ravens - Peter Konz - Center - Wisconsin
30. San Francisco 49ers - Jerel Worthy - Defensive Tackle - Michigan State
31. New England Patriots - Whitney Mercilus - Outside Linebacker/Defensive End - Illinois
32. New York Giants - Kevin Zeitler - Offensive Guard - Wisconsin

On The Clock: Buffalo Bills


By: Ray Beamesderfer

An early Cinderella story in 2011, the Bills quickly faded in the second half of the season when injuries and poor quarterback play struck the team. Injuries to Fred Jackson, George Wilson, and Kyle Williams certainly didn't help matters, but Buffalo's main concern was the worst starting OLB duo in the league in Chris Kelsay and Spencer Johnson. Johnson is a converted DT, while "fan-favorite" Kelsay is a mediocre LDE at best who was asked to be the Bills primary pass rusher. As a result, opposing quarterbacks had all day to throw, and running backs found it very easy to run to the outside.

However that shouldn't be a problem this season, as the Bills had one of the better off seasons in the league. They signed former #1 overall pick Mario Williams, and Mark Anderson who is coming off of a stellar 10 sack season. That's not to say the Bills don't have their fair share of holes still. They have no one across from Stevie Johnson, and with the departure of left tackle Demetress Bell, they only have 2011 fourth round pick Chris Hairston to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick's blind side. 

1. Stephon Gilmore - Cornerback - 
South Carolina
Gilmore has went from relative unknown in a very strong corner class, to almost a sure fire top 15 pick in a matter of two months. It's often wise to be weary of late risers, but I believe Gilmore is the real deal, and it's not hard to see why he's probably the hottest prospect going right now. He's a three year starter in the SEC so you know he has played top competition, a former quarterback so you know he's smart, and absolutely no injury history so you know he's durable. Then you watch him play and you see a kid with long arms, who is very physical while smooth in coverage. I usually hate comparing guys who went to the same school, but Gilmore reminds me a lot of former Gamecock standout Jonathan Joseph who was a draft day sleeper and has turned into one of the very best corners in the league. 

2. Cordy Glenn - Offensive Tackle - Georgia
Another option for the Bills who has been steadily climbing draft boards since the combine is CordY Glenn. He showed great athleticism in Indy, and despite some experts thinking he is more of a guard in the NFL, I believe Buddy Nix is seriously considering this young man as the LT of the future. He started a lot of game in the SEC, which automatically catching Buddy's eye, but I also think he compares quite favorably to former San Diego left tackle Marcus Mcneil. Nix saw plenty of Mcneil during his time as Assistant GM with the Chargers. 

3. Michael Floyd - Wide Receiver - Notre Dame
In my opinion this is as low as Floyd will drop in this draft. He didn't make an official visit to Buffalo, but if he falls past Jacksonville at 7 and Carolina at 9, I do not think there is any way the Bills pass on a guy that big and that fast. They could use a compliment to Stevie Johnson and could give Ryan Fitzpatrick another offensive weapon. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Why I Love The NFL Draft & You Should Too







Have you noticed that I enjoy to write about the NFL Draft? If this is your first visit to my blog, welcome, stay around a while, maybe post a comment or two and it is nice to have you here. For everyone else, I am sure you have noticed by now that I love the NFL Draft. Maybe it is because I spend most of my fall Saturdays watching college football. Maybe it is because I want to see my team (Buffalo) try to build to the future. Maybe it is because I like to see the Jets fans constantly boo their draft pick. Maybe I like to see Todd McShay and Mel Kiper bicker back and forth like teenage girls. Or, maybe it is because I am a tad bit insane and love to put myself through three straight days of football talk. Whichever reason suits you, I can guarantee you one thing, it is going to be the last time you get this much football talk until college football starts in August.


The NFL Draft can be an exciting event to watch. Normally, what I like to do is turn the draft on, wait for the noise they make when a pick is in and then watch the pick. Then I proceed to listen to the analysts tell me stuff I already know about the prospects and then tell them why they are right or wrong. This generally lasts for a minute and then I go back to whatever I was doing (often homework) until the next pick is in. Furthermore, as an avid fan of college football I know a lot about these prospects. It is fun to watch players go from first year players in college, to the NFL. 


For those of you who are not insane enough to argue with the television or do not know that much about prospects there is still room for excitement with the NFL Draft. Even if you only watch the draft for the pick your team makes, it can still be fun to watch. Sometimes I learn a thing or two about prospects my team drafts. You can also learn how a player drafted will improve your team or perhaps your team's rivals. 


ESPN and the NFL Network will also stop showing players receiving phone calls before they are drafted so the pick will be a complete surprise.


Finally, if you know enough about the prospects in the draft you could make your own first round mock draft and figure out how many you got right and wrong. 


I hope you take a few minutes to catch the NFL Draft this year. Remember, it starts this Thursday, April 26th at 8pm. My next mock draft will come sometime tomorrow so be on the look out for that as well. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

On The Clock: Carolina Panthers




By: Ray Beamesderfer




The Panthers went from being the worst team in 2011, to being one of the more exciting teams to watch in 2012. That is due in large part to Cam Newton, Carolina's 1st overall selection from last year's draft. Despite his critics, Newton has been successful since day one, while revitalizing the Panther's potent run game, and breathing life back into receiver Steve Smith's career, who enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career. The reason the Panthers pick in the top ten once again is because they provide one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Last year they could not get after the quarterback or stop the run and the secondary struggled to turn the ball over to offense. 


Carolina was 20th in the NFL with 14 interceptions, 25th in the NFL with 31 sacks, 26th in the NFL allowing 389.8 yards per game and 27th in the NFL giving up 25.4 points per game.


Unfortunately for Panther's fans, many of the needs that presented themselves during the 2011 season, were not remedied during the off-season. In fact the Panther's had an incredibly quiet offseason, clearly looking to the draft to fill the holes with young stars. They could start the draft by looking to add a defensive player in: 


1. Fletcher Cox - Defensive Tackle - Mississippi St.
Depsite selecting two defensive tackles in the third round last year, the Panthers clearly still need help on the interior of the line. Cox has been rising up draft boards for the last month, and would clearly start right away. If the Panthers feel confident in Greg Hardy starting at defensive end, I believe Cox is their number one choice. He would be an anchor against the run game, but I also believe he has the athleticism to provide interior pass rush, and flush opposing quarterbacks outside of the pocket into the waiting arms of Charles Johnson and the aforementioned Hardy. 


2. Melvin Ingram - Defensive End - South Carolina
Most experts seem to think if the Panthers are interested in upgrading their pass rush, they will look to the hometown kid Quinton Coples. However I have a feeling they will migrate south and find their defensive end in Melvin Ingram. Ingram has been dismissed by some as a top 10 prospect because of his short arms, but you cannot deny his versatility or his obvious ability to get after the quarterback. Ingram has racked up 19 sacks while playing in the SEC the last two seasons, so consistency or production is not an issue with this guy. This may not be the most popular pick, but I feel Melvin Ingram is a definite sleeper to watch for this season, and we've definitely seen crazier things happen. 


3. Michael Floyd - Wide Receiver - Notre Dame
As mentioned before the combination of Steve Smith and Cam Newton was quite deadly for the Panthers a season ago. The problem was when Newton got in trouble, he didn't have that tall lengthy receiver to bail him out, and he would often times throw silly interceptions as a result. Floyd fixes that problem, and is great value if he were to fall to nine. The South Bend youngster might be a top five talent in this draft, and some argue he is better than Oklahoma State standout, and consensus number one receiver Justin Blackmon. The problem with Floyd is he has past issues with alcohol, and some wonder about his ability against the better corners in the country. Still, Floyd showed at the combine he not only is very tall, but very fast. With Smith age, and the Panthers needing an immediate contributor at wide out, Floyd is a very real possibility.