Posts Tagged ‘Oakland Raiders’

Eli’s Preseason Power Rankings: Week 2

Listen to this weeks OTI Podcast with NFL Official Jim Daopoulos as our guest. Available here: Episode 69

32 (32) – Oakland Raiders

If the offensive line bad been better, the Raiders could’ve had something going in the passing game. On defense, the better players made some very good plays, but the rest got picked on. The Raiders may be able to get by against the lower-to-mid-tier tams, but the better teams will pick them apart.

Could Teddy start week 1?

31 (31) – Minnesota Vikings

What a great audition for Teddy Bridgewater! He made all the right throws and capped the game off with a game-winning touchdown drive. As one of my coaches as a kid would say: “It’s a beautiful thang!”

30 (30) – Jacksonville Jaguars

One of the main things I was looking for in the Jaguars’ second preseason game was for second round pick wide receiver Marquise Lee to step up — and that’s exactly what he did. With Justin Blackmon out for the foreseeable future the young receivers will have to be a big part of the offense. Blake Bortles had another wonderful game. It’s great to see consecutive great outings from a rookie quarterback in the preseason.

29 (29) – Buffalo Bills

EJ Manuel had a down game, and the defense was chasing the ball carriers all day. The Bills still have plenty of work to do.

28 (28) – Cleveland Browns

The Browns quarterbacks, both Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel, were horrible against the Redskins. They were never on the same page as the receivers, constantly making inaccurate or off-timed passes. That surely doesn’t help the quarterback battle.

27 (27) – Tennessee Titans

Jake Locker had a bounce-back game from last week’s rusty outing. In the second preseason game Locker was more poised in the pocket and his throws were much more accurate. It seems like he just needed to get used to live football action, and it juts took him one week. Let’s see if he can keep it up next week against the Falcons.

26 (26) – Miami Dolphins

I keep waiting for the running game to start to take effect in this new offense, especially with Lamar Miller because he can hit the outside runs, but it has still yet to happen. The passing game was strong, though, and the receivers are getting open quickly due to the open zones created from the run fakes. The strong part of the Dolphins defense is the defesenive line, which was able to punish the weak Bucs offensive line, getting five sacks — three of them from starters.

25 (23) – New York Giants

The Giants offense has been looking terrible, and they’re not getting better. You want to see teams making the adjustments by the third preseason game (the Giants already played three including the Hall of Fame game). The Giants play the Jets next week, so it won’t be an easy test.

24 (24) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The offensive line didn’t give the quarterbacks a lot of time to make plays, but when they were able to get the ball out of their hands quick enough we saw just how good the big receivers can be.

Kubiak could be the perfect solution for the Ravens offense

23 (25) – Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense has been a thing of wonder under Gary Kubiak. They have the balance which keeps them effective, and it’s a perfect fit for what Joe Flacco can do. Kubiak’s offense is a run-first style, thus Joe Flacco doesn’t have to do too much taking command of everything.

22 (22) – Houston Texans

In the first preseason game Ryan Fitzpatrick was not good. In the second one he was able to lead the team and didn’t make mistakes. As for the defense, they came out forceful and hard-hitting. This is exactly how their regular season should play out.

21 (21) – Dallas Cowboys

This last preseason game was exactly what we should expect to see this season from the Cowboys; Tony Romo and the offense got things done, while the defense let the other team score a lot, forcing the offense to compensate.

20 (20) – Washington Redskins

DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon made their preseason debut for the Redskins on Monday night. With them in, and notedly facing one of the league’s best secondaries, Robert Griffin III was able to find an open receiver on nearly every passing play. So all of his weapons will definitely make things easier. What was bad about the game, though, is that the Redskins made so many little mistakes, like little things done wrong which caused turnovers and bone-headed penalties which gave away free first downs. When all of those little mistakes add up, they can be really costly is a game.

19 (19) – St. Louis Rams

The game against the Packers is exactly what we need to see from Sam Bradford to show the Rams that they should stick with him. He was completely in control of the offense and made it look easy.

18 (18) – Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons had a lot of trouble converting on third down last season, and they were just as bad in the second preseason game against the Texans. That has to be fixed for the offense to be effective again.

17 (17) – Philadelphia Eagles

Nick Foles was much better this week. He was able to hit the receiver with a perfect pass on nearly every attempt. One thing that I found interesting is that every time the Patriots put pressure on Foles (twice), he went down. Against the Bears, he panicked every time there was pressure on him. That’s just an observation right now.

16 (16) – Pittsburgh Steelers

The offense is playing much improved over last season, which is good to see in spite of the lack of weapons. On the defensive side of the ball, first round pick Ryan Shazier made his debut and he was all over the field making plays — the mark of a true Steelers linebacker.

15 (15) – New York Jets

Geno Smith had some good moments against the Bengals, but he had plenty of bad ones too. Going into his second year, you need to see improvement from Geno or else everyone will keep questioning whether or not he’s the definite starter.

14 (14) – Detroit Lions

I really like what the Lions defense can offer, but they seem to have trouble when the ball-carrier is in the open field; the pursuit isn’t collective and the first guy usually doesn’t make the tackle. Hopefully Jim Caldwell, an offensive-minded coach can realise that and focus on the necessary adjustments.

13 (13) – Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton made his preseason debut after his recovery from ankle surgery, and he didn’t look to great. He was very stiff throwing the ball, not shifting his weight, and when he did move around a little bit, he was moving a lot slower than usual. It’ll take him a little bit of time to get back in the swing of things.

12 (12) – San Diego Chargers

One thing the Chargers need to do is match their opponent’s intensity and physicality. They had a good, though test against the Seahawks, which may be asking too much, but get it done. In the regular season they can get by not being more vehement than their opponent, but that won’t work in the playoffs.

11 (11) – Chicago Bears

The Bears defense needs to get back to its more dominant ways. They had their moments against the Jaguars, but many times the linebackers in zone coverage left the cornerbacks out to dry, giving up wide open easy 10-ish-yard gains.

10 (10) – Arizona Cardinals

I was focusing on the defense in the second preseason game. What stood out to me is that when the defensive line would take too long to get to the quarterback, they would leave big running lanes in the line which allowed for big scrambles by the quarterback. That could be part in fault to the linebackers falling back too far downfield — someone has to stay in the middle. Also, the Cardinals aren’t very aggressive in blitzing, and their blitz packages aren’t dynamic at all, making it too easy for the opposing quarterback to read and get rid of the ball quickly. Playing in the defensively physically tough NFC West, I’d like to see the Cardinals find a way to put more pressure on the quarterback in other ways than simply from the defensive line.

9 (9) – Indianapolis Colts

The Colts didn’t show anything flashy or play any better in any aspect than I had expected, but they didn’t do any worse either. That’s okay for now.

8 (8) – Kansas City Chiefs

Eric Fisher is having a bit of a tough time at left tackle after the departure of Branden Albert, so they need to solidify the offensive line. Otherwise, they had a strong showing.

Levi’s stadium didnt get to see a point by the 49ers

7 (7) – San Francisco 49ers

The improved offense was very messy in the Levi Stadium grand opening. Plus, the many backups on defense who had to start in place of starters couldn’t get the job done, and you need to know that somebody can step up and help your team when a starter has to sit. You don’t want to see any of this from one of the top teams in the NFC.

6 (6) – Cincinnati Bengals

Andy Dalton continues to show why he deserves his new contract, and there seems to be no regression from the loss of their coordinators and a few impact starters sitting out.

5 (5) – New Orleans Saints

Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael has taken over play-calling duties for the preseason, and even though it seems like a big change, it really isn’t. Carmichael and Sean Payton are familiar with each other and the offense, so I wouldn’t anticipate much of a difference, if at all, in the play-calling style. We saw in the second preseason game that they had the same offensive philosophy, headlined by seam routes with Jimmy Graham in the slot. Plus, there will be a lot of influence from Drew Brees at the line.

4 (4) – Green Bay Packers

You can see how dangerous the Packers will be when Aaron Rodgers is in charge. The Packers offense should arguably be the best in the league, and they’re already going strong.

3 (3) – Seattle Seahawks

It is important for the Seahawks offense to move toward matching their defence’s prowess in order to get the team to the next level. Russell Wilson is taking more responsibility and he is excelling, plus the backup running backs were running as well and as hard as Beast Mode. It was a great game by the Seahawks offense.

2 (2) – New England Patriots

That’s right, the Patriots have something they need to work on. In Friday’s preseason game against the Eagles, the Patriots linebackers and safeties had a lot of trouble covering tight ends — every single one of them down to the backup’s backup. They have the players to fix the issue, all they have to do is work on the communication. I mean, they should know they have to focus on that. They practice against arguably the best tight end in the game.

1 (1) – Denver Broncos

The Broncos offense played against a 49ers defense which was missing a chunk of starters, and the Broncos defense played against a 49ers offense that created its own problems (rather than the Broncos defense making the plays), so I won’t evaluate either of those units this week. Instead, I want to touch on the Broncos special teams, specifically the kick-off coverage. Last year the kick-off coverage was probably the worst part of this team, and it still is now. On the opening kick-off of the 49ers game, the Broncos did a terrible job of getting between the blockers and let one of the lead blockers, who caught the kick-off, get all the way to the 36-yard line. Allowing opposing offenses to have such a short field goes a long way to determine the result of the game.

This piece was written by Eli Bookstaber. Eli is from Silver Spring, Maryland. Naturally, he is a fan of America’s real Team, the Washington Redskins. Eli is a big fan of every American sport but the NFL is his favourite. He has strong opinions on many topics and therefore started to write about them. Every week, Eli writes a NFL power rankings article for OTI and “Bookie’s Playbook” article, where he breaks down different teams’ plays, formations, etc. You can always find his opinions and his shenanigans on Twitter @Ebookstaber. He welcomes any comments and feedback.

Preseason Power Rankings: Week 1

Listen to this weeks OTI Podcast with 2 time Superbowl Champion Mark Collins as our guest. Available here: Episode 68

The Power Rankings during the preseason will work differently than in the regular season. First of all these games don’t count, so a win or a loss won’t bear any weight. Secondly, and most importantly, what I’m looking for in the preseason is how certain players, position groups, schemes, etc. will do, and this is only for the starters and backups on a specific team for a position of focus.

As always, the number in the parentheses, (), corresponds to the previous week’s ranking.

32 (32) – Oakland Raiders

The Raiders looked like a mess all around. Not a good start to the preseason. Dennis Allen is on the hot seat, so he must get things in check before the regular season.

31 (30) – Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings played a Raiders team that played horribly, so it’s tough to tell how good they actually were, but both Matt Cassell and Teddy Bridgewater were solid. I’d give round one to Cassell, but this is going to be one of the more interesting quarterback competitions.

30 (31) – Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles was very impressive in his preseason debut. That might make the Jaguars rethink this whole red-shirt idea, at least not for the entire season. They better not rush to any decisions, though.

29 (29) – Buffalo Bills

The offense was a lot better than I had anticipated; EJ Manuel was commanding and in control, Sammy Watkins looked good, and the offensive line stood their ground. However, the offensive line struggled in the red zone, specifically on the goal line.

28 (28) – Cleveland Browns

I need to see Johnny Manziel play with the first-team offense and against a first-team defense before I’ll give him the starting job, but it seems like it’s leaning that way. The offense had to settle for four field goals, evident of the fact that they needs weapons.

27 (27) – Tennessee Titans

It could have been partly due to the bad weather, but Jake Locker is a little rusty out there, not scientifically speaking, because, duh. The defense had some nice moments which was good to see.

Can Tannehill help the Dolphins get to the playoffs in 2014?

26 (26) – Miami Dolphins

The completely revamped offensive line looked better than I expected, but the running game picked up too many very short runs. Ryan Tannehill looked better in the new offense; he got the ball out of his hands quickly, which is what it’s designed to allow. I’d like to see Tannehill play more than a couple of drives a game.

25 (25) – Baltimore Ravens

Ray Rice was already playing much better than he did last season, and the offence looked much more lively. However, the cornerbacks looked lost in man coverage, committing plenty of penalties. But on the bright side, first round pick CJ Mosley looked good in his first game.

24 (22) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The offensive line was an absolute mess, which made it extremely tough for the offense to get anything done, as has been my concern. History has shown that the regular season will be brutal with a virtually invisible offensive line. Maybe the Bucs should ask division neighbour Atlanta Falcons?

23 (24) – New York Giants

As I’ve thought throughout the off-season, the secondary is the strong point of the defense, but the front seven was dominated by the Steelers, and had no impact at all. Rashad Jennings looks good in the offense, but in regard to Eli Manning and the passing game, he can excel in the quicker tempo, but the offensive line has to pick it up, or else they’ll slow things down.

22 (23) – Houston Texans

Good news: Jadeveon Clowney was awesome.

Bad news: Ryan Fitzpatrick is as unpredictable as ever, either mediocre, or bad.

21 (21) – Dallas Cowboys

Brandon Weeden got the start in place of the recuperating Tony Romo, and he actually didn’t look that bad. However, I wouldn’t get too excited for the backup quarterback situation because the Chargers weren’t exactly game-planning against him. The big worry of the Cowboys this season is the defense, which looked very porous in the first preseason game.

20 (20) – Washington Redskins

The Redskins were running at a Patriots defensive line sans Vince Wilfork, but nonetheless the every running back who came in was ridiculously dominant. The offensive line did a good job in the running game creating holes at the point of attack, but in the passing game the pocket got smaller than it needs to be. Three of the Redskins top four wide receivers didn’t play, so we still need to get a good look at how good their passing game will be. On the defensive side of the ball, they had a little trouble tackling at times, but the pursuit is getting there (see what I did?).

19 (19) – St. Louis Rams

Sam Bradford didn’t play in the first preseason game, so I’ll leave the offense for next week when he will play, but the line was forceful, especially in the run game. The defense performed worse than expected.

18 (18) – Atlanta Falcons

The offensive line looked better in the run game than the passing game, but overall it was decent. Defensively, they were dominant at times but still not where they need to be. The penalties need to go down too, as just two years ago the Falcons were known for being the least penalised team.

Some worries for Chip Kelly after week 1 on both sides of the ball

17 (17) – Philadelphia Eagles

Nick Foles threw as many interceptions already as he did all of last season. It better not come to be a regular thing. I’m keeping a close eye on Foles and how he performs as the definite starter coming into the season. The defense was one of the worst last season, and Jay Cutler reminded us why, easily tearing them apart.

16 (16) – Pittsburgh Steelers

The running game is the new strength of the offense and did very well in the first preseason game against the Giants. Plus, the offense is look very dynamic with the threat of Dri Archer, who had an enormous catch-and-run at the start of the game. The defense still needs more tests to see where it stands.

15 (15) – New York Jets

One of the questions regarding the Jets offense was how well Chris Johnson would respond to his injury. In the little time he was on the field he showed that he still had his NFL-record speed, so no more worrying there. Regarding the quarterback battle, this will definitely be a fun one to watch. Geno Smith had a decent game, but Michael Vick looked more commanding. There are still three games for one of the to come on top.

14 (14) – Detroit Lions

They still need more practice, but it looks like Matt Stafford will be at ease in Jim Caldwell’s offense. Defensively, the Lions showed potential agains the Browns. I can see why some people are high on them this season.

13 (13) – Carolina Panthers

I don’t know if we’ll see Cam Newton in the preseason, so we won’t get a real assessment of the offense and the lack of weapons. However, Kelvin Benjamin made his case as a good option as a number one receiver, including a ridiculous touchdown catch. The huge concern with the Panthers is left tackle, which was very weak against the Bills.

12 (11) – San Diego Chargers

The Chargers were missing some starters in the secondary, so it’s still too early to evaluate last year’s biggest weakness. The Chargers passing game is very good, but the offence can get better through a stronger run game. Then comes Ryan Mathews with a fumble on the goal line. Is anybody having déjà vu?

11 (12) – Chicago Bears

The offense was really clicking already, and the defense did an excellent job putting pressure on the quarterback. I really like what I’ve seen from the Bears to kick off the preseason.

10 (10) – Arizona Cardinals

The offense was working very smoothly against the Texans, and the defense was all around the ball and making plays. It will be fun to watch the Cardinals compete in the NFC West.

9 (9) – Indianapolis Colts

The biggest struggle of the Colts last year was their run game. In the first preseason game against the Jets, the offensive line struggled to create running lanes. Granted, there were two rookies starting on that line, so more experience in the next three preseason game swill help. One thing the Colts strived in was the passing game. Andrew Luck easily found open receivers quickly throughout his short stint. The added weapons in the passing game will definitely make the offense better.

8 (8) – Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are having to deal with big losses to their secondary, and as a result, they gave up a huge gain to AJ Green in the opening drive. They’re in a division where they can’t keep up with holes in the back side of the defense, so that must be fixed in the next three games. One thing that was exciting for the Chiefs was the special teams play of DeAnthony Thomas, who I’ve touted to be just like former return man Dexter McCluster. Thomas made a huge play on a punt return to bring it back for a touchdown.

7 (7) – San Francisco 49ers

The running game was great behind Carlos Hyde, who should get plenty of playing time this season, despite the offensive line being without starting right guard Alex Boone. On defense, which will be without NaVarro Bowman, the inside linebacker vying for his spot still have to play better in coverage, where Bowman excelled.

6 (6) – Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals first team offense and especially the first team defense looked very good in the first preseason game. How good did they look? So good that backup quarterback Matt Scott couldn’t handle it.

Could Cooks be a Rookie of the year candidate?

5 (5) – New Orleans Saints

The Saints first round pick, wide receiver Brandin Cooks was electric in the first preseason game. This offense can turn out to be really hard to stop.

4 (4) – Green Bay Packers

The running game continued its excellency in the game against the Titans. With a healthy Aaron Rodgers, this offense is going to be very good this season. As for the questions on their secondary, the insanely heavy rain made an impact on the game, so I’ll focus on it next week.

3 (3) – Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks are going to have a bit of a tougher time this year with Byron Maxwell starting opposite Richard Sherman as we saw Peyton Manning complete pass after pass on Maxwell. Overall there aren’t any serious concerns, but the offensive line still needs to be more solid.

2 (2) – New England Patriots

In a game without Tom Brady the focus was on the state of the Patriots’ backup quarterbacks. Ryan Mallett looked horrific against a Redskins defense that was missing some key starters and that still has plenty of work to do, while Jimmy Garoppolo was more comfortable, throwing the team’s only touchdown.

1 (1) – Denver Broncos

You can see the difference of the offence without Eric Decker, but it isn’t a big one being that they still have Damaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, and rookie Cody Latimer. The defensive line already looked stronger than it did last year, which will help the upgraded secondary make more plays.

This piece was written by Eli Bookstaber. Eli is from Silver Spring, Maryland. Naturally, he is a fan of America’s real Team, the Washington Redskins. Eli is a big fan of every American sport but the NFL is his favourite. He has strong opinions on many topics and therefore started to write about them. Every week, Eli writes a NFL power rankings article for OTI and “Bookie’s Playbook” article, where he breaks down different teams’ plays, formations, etc. You can always find his opinions and his shenanigans on Twitter @Ebookstaber. He welcomes any comments and feedback.

Question Marks – AFC West

Listen to this weeks OTI Podcast with JJ Birden as our guest. Available here: Episode 67

As pre-season begins to wind down, the strengths and weaknesses of most teams become apparent. However, there are always more and more questions to be answered. Over the next month or so I’ll be breaking down all the main talking points for the NFL teams leading into the season, to cap off the AFC, here’s the AFC West.

Denver Broncos

Is this Peyton’s last stand?

Manning had a record breaking year in 2013

The league’s elder statesman is 38 this year. Barring the 2011 season where he was held out with a neck injury, he has started in every single game since 1998. So is he showing any signs of slowing up? The stats would seem to suggest not, he set career bests in passing yards and passing TD’s in last year’s talent-filled Broncos offense. There are whispers that this could be his last year at the pinnacle of the game, but with an offensive line strengthened by the return of stalwart Ryan Clady, there are those who believe Peyton can go on and on, and on. And on.

Will they miss Knowshon Moreno?

Moreno finished in the Top 5 fantasy running backs last year, posting over 1,000 yards and 10 TD’s on the ground. People will point to his less-than-impressive start with the Dolphins and make the point that Peyton Manning can make any running back look good, but the Broncos may miss his experience. Their current backfield has a combined 3 years playing time in the NFL, and 6 rushing TD’s between the three players. Second-year back Montee Ball is widely expected to shoulder most of the load, and Denver will be hoping their young stable can be enough of a threat to bunch up the defences for Manning.

Can they take the final step?

So just what do you get the team with the league’s best offense? Cars? Money? No, you get them DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib. The Broncos are so stacked with talent on both sides of the ball now that it looks like they’ve had all the picks in a fantasy draft. Despite that, the Broncos aren’t in too different a position from last year. They’re still likely to steamroll most teams, they still have the pieces to break records. The only thing that stopped them last season was an almighty choke in the face of the league’s most intimidating defense. If they can get their heads straight and overcome the fear, Peyton may finally get to put a ring on it.

Kansas City Chiefs

How much should Alex Smith get paid?

Now that the Bengals have worked out a performance-related deal with Andy Dalton, and Colin Kaepernick has signed a similar deal with the 49ers, all eyes are on the Chiefs and their contract-year QB. Smith will be hoping that the role he’s played in Coach Reid’s dramatic rejuvenation of the franchise will net him some extra money when it comes to putting pen to paper.  Reid targeted Smith immediately to help him rebuild, and the team gave up a fair amount to land him, but the coaches experience with developing young QB’s will mean that should worst come to the worst, the Chiefs could carry on without Smith as their main man.

Will Jamaal Charles have to do it all himself again?

Charles’ camp holdout was short-lived, and it’s easy to see why. The Chiefs were tripping over themselves to throw their star of 2013 more money. The back contributed more than a third of the team’s total offense, with almost 2,000 total yards and a huge 19 TD’s. Charles was seemingly involved in every play last year, so will his workload be any lighter this time? Beyond Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery, the receiving corps still looks thin, and Knile Davis certainly won’t be pushing Charles for playing time, the Chiefs have Anthony Fasano in at tight-end, so it seems as though Alex Smith will be looking for help from Charles more often than not again this year.

Can Andy Reid push them even further?

When the Chiefs cleared out and started fresh in January 2013, few would have predicted just how dramatic the change would have been. Reid inherited a team that had just finished the season with a miserable 2-14 record. With a few adjustments in free agency, a good draft and a lot of belief, they turned it around within a few months and started the 2013 season with 9 straight wins, before being one and done in the playoffs. With a strong defense and a productive tandem of Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles moving the ball forwards, there’s every chance the Chiefs could be even better this year.

Oakland Raiders

Can Matt Schaub bounce back from last season?

Schaub ended his 7-year stay in Houston with a resounding flop. He threw 14 INT’s to 10 TD’s, and ended up with his worst passer rating since joining the Texans. After being pulled for Case Keenum, he finds himself in new surroundings, leading a new offense, with a chance to redeem himself. While he may be being used to bridge the gap until rookie Derek Carr is ready to take the reins, Schaub won’t be short on motivation. The noise from the Raiders camp is that he has impressed coaches pre-season and settled in well. At the age of 33, it’s likely the quarterback will have limited opportunities to end his career on a high note.

Will Khalil Mack explode out of the blocks?

The Raiders made Mack the 5th rookie to be selected in the draft, and are planning on having him as the crown jewel of their defence. The linebacker has already drawn favourable comparisons with Clay Matthews from the Raiders top brass. Playing him alongside newly-acquired veterans Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley, Oakland will hope to pose much more of a threat to opposing quarterbacks this year. Mack will be thrown in at the deep end, with every expectation he’ll swim-move through blockers. (Sorry)

How much will the backfield contribute?

In his 6 seasons with the Raiders, workhorse back Darren McFadden has started just 31 of a possible 96 games. To improve upon their constantly injured main man, Oakland signed Maurice Jones-Drew from the Jaguars. While MJD himself has only managed 2 16-game seasons in his own 8-year career, that’s still 2 more than McFadden. Early signs are that MJD could walk straight into the starting role, which will take some strain off McFadden. Matt Schaub has a few decent targets in the passing game, but for the Raiders offense to be taken seriously they’ll need their backs to stay healthy enough to be productive.

San Diego Chargers

Can Keenan Allen replicate his rookie season?

Can Allen repeat last years late season performances?

Allen was nothing short of a revelation in San Diego during his rookie season. He built up a great rapport with Philip Rivers and ended up posting 71 grabs for over 1,000 yards and 8 trips to the endzone. In order to repeat this feat without the element of surprise, Allen has been working on his speed all summer. He posted big numbers without ever really having to go beyond the safeties, and if the coaches reports are to be believed, he has now added ‘deep threat’ to his already long list of talents. If Allen can replicate or better his rookie year, the Chargers could be in for a very exciting season.

How will the backfield play out?

The Chargers ran a successful backfield by committee last year, with Ryan Mathews handling the early down runs and Danny Woodhead tagging in for passing downs. The pair both posted over 1,000 yards from scrimmage, and accounted for 15 TD’s between them. This year, to keep things fresh, Donald Brown has been signed from the Colts. With 750 yards and 8 scores last year, Brown could command a fairly significant role in the Chargers running game. Whether he will take touches from one player, or borrow from both, is yet to be seen. Opposing defensive co-ordinators will have to plan for all three backs this season.

Will they keep pace in the division?

The AFC West was the league’s most successful division last year, with the Broncos (13-3), Chiefs (11-5) and Chargers (9-7) all making the playoffs. With the Broncos expected to be just as prolific, and the Chiefs also looking to be there or thereabouts, the Chargers will need to be on top form to keep up. They certainly have the players to do it, Rivers goes from strength to strength, Keenan Allen is a big threat along with Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Brown in the passing game. The backfield is crowded yet talented, and Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green offer plenty at tight-end. On the other side of the ball Manti Te’o is looking for a big second year, and Brandon Flowers has been added to an already stacked defense.

I hope you enjoyed the article, as always I’m open to your thoughts and queries on Twitter. If you haven’t already, check out the AFC East, AFC North and AFC South editions of Question Marks. Stay tuned to Overtime Ireland for more questions, amazing podcasts, and insightful articles!

This OTI piece was written by Mike Flynn. Mike is from Bedford, England. A huge fan of the most popular team in Philadelphia, the Eagles, but he honestly says he has never booed at Santa. He’s always looking for more people to chat NFL with, and you can find him on Twitter @Flynny403 !

OTI Pre-Preseason NFL Power Rankings

Listen to this weeks OTI Podcast with Rhett Lewis & George O Leary as our guests. Available here: Episode 65

It’s that time of the year again. The next chapter of the NFL is right around the corner, and, in the midst of a long off-season, we’ve all had nothing to do but rank teams based on how they look on paper. What better way to do that than power rankings? Just like last year, I’ll be concocting the Overtime Ireland Weekly Power Rankings. Additionally, get an early start preseason power rankings, kicking everything off with my pre-preseason power rankings. We’ll break it down over 2 posts. I hope I didn’t get you sick of the phrase “power rankings”, because here we go!

Shuab was the big free agant arrival in Oakland. Can he bounce back from last seasons poor performances?

32 – Oakland Raiders

The Raiders made a very smart move trading for Matt Schaub to mentor Derek Carr until he’s ready to handle the starting quarterback job. Aside from that, that Raiders’ off-season strategy disgusted me. They had $69M in cap space to start to start building up their team, but failed to keep their most important players, Jared Veldheer and Lamarr Houston, and missed on Roger Saffold and DeSean Jackson. Instead they had to settle for some second-tier free agents. Hopefully, with all the cap space they’ll have again next off-season they can haul in some key players to get this team back on the up. However, it may be too late for Dennis Allen who failed to communicate with general manager Reggie McKenzie that he is on the hot seat.

31 – Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are still a ways away from begin where they need to be, but they’re on their way there. They’re starting to put some solid pieces in place to be with the franchise for years to come, and frankly, they’d be silly to fire head coach Gus Bradley at any point in the next few years. This team needs time to develop and Bradley is an excellent coach with the passion and influence it takes to make this team work.

30 – Minnesota Vikings

Another new start is effectuating. With an exciting star-in-the-making in Cordarrelle Patterson and a possible franchise quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, the future of this team is starting to look bright. Plus, the Vikings landed arguably the hottest head coaching candidate in Mike Zimmer, who is starting to put together some nice pieces on defense. However, that bright future likely isn’t coming this season.

29 – Buffalo Bills

The Bills lost a couple of key components on defense — Jairus Byrd (free agency) and Kiko Alonso (ACL injury). With that in mind, the offense will have to step up to compensate for the lost effectiveness of the solid defense. That’s where Sammy Watkins comes in; if he and EJ Manuel can get on the same page quickly, they came make great things happen. Additionally, a healthy backfield will go a long way to help relieve the pressure off of Manuel and the coverage off of Watkins.

28 – Cleveland Browns

The Browns defense is one of the league’s most underrated units, filled with young talent across the board with the occasional veteran leader. I’m sure new head coach, and former defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine will help them see their potential. Their offensive line is pretty solid too. Okay, I’ll get to what you really want to hear about — the quarterback position. Personally, I think they should give Brian Hoyer a shot to make things work before they move on to Johnny Manziel, which inevitably will come some time this season or before the next season at the latest, and let him learn before hitting the field. God knows Manziel didn’t do much learning in college (cue rave music). If only Josh Gordon didn’t stay out of trouble the Browns would’ve had a very nice thing going.

27 – Tennessee Titans

The Titans made an excellent decision hiring Ken Wisenhunt as their new head coach. The offense looks very solid on paper; they have a strong offensive line — one of the best in the league, a couple of young wide receivers with great potential, and the best running back coming out of this year’s Draft. With a healthy Jake Locker, Wisenhunt should have a field day this season.

26 – Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have the potential to have a really strong offense this year, run by new offensive coordinator and former Chip Kelly underling, Bill Lazor. Lazor will run a fast pace spread offense similar to what was run in Philadelphia last season, in which Primary offensive weapon Mike Wallace should excel. However, the offensive line has been rebuilt after last season’s debacle and the running game is far from stable due to Knowshon Moreno’s injury issues and Lamar Miller’s inconsistency. How well can the offense work if the only sure thing is Ryan Tannehill and the passing game? We saw how much a bad offensive line doomed them last season.

25 – Baltimore Ravens

The only real concern I have about the Ravens offense is at running back. Ray Rice had a terrible season last year and is facing a suspension, Bernard Pierce has had his fair share of injuries in his short career, and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro didn’t waste any time to have a run-in with the law as an NFL player. The defense is the real concern. Their key players, like Ladarius Webb have to stay healthy. Plus, they don’t have so much depth anywhere. The defense is not much like the championship team. To pile on these issues, John Harbaugh is [rightfully] furious about the numerous off-the-field issues, which could create a little rift in the locker room. Hopefully this team doesn’t fall apart, because they do have potential.

24 – New York Giants

The Giants made some nice moves to improve their secondary by signing Walter Thurmond and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, which easily gives the Giants the best secondary in the division, as I’ve said multiple times, and their receiving core by drafting Odell Beckham. However, the offensive line still needs work, especially after the retirement of future team legend Chris Snee, and their defensive front seven is still looking ugly. It’s tough to evaluate the prospects of this team for this season, but it’s easy to say they’ll be better than last season.

23 – Houston Texans

The Texans had one big need heading into this season — quarterback. They took Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick, which was the right choice, but failed to pull the trigger on a quarterback until much later in the Draft. Right now Ryan Fitzpatrick is their starting quarterback, but he’s only a short-term option. He’s a very solid backup, but as a starter, he’s an 8-8 guy, 9-7 tops with the defense the Texans have in place.

New Bucs coach Lovie Smith

22 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers defense should look a lot better under Lovie Smith’s control, who had numerous successful years in Chicago, notoriously on defense. I was worried about the offense in the early stages of the off-season, but after lobbying a while (unofficially) for the Bucs to draft Mike Evans, their offense doesn’t look so bad after all. However, with the departures of starting left tackle Donald Penn and starting guard Davin Joseph, their offensive line is looking very questionable. Moreover, it is unclear how long Josh McCown will be the starting quarterback before Mike Glennon steps in permanently. A bad offensive line and inconsistency and quarterback is a suicidal combination.

21 – Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are set to have their third different play-caller in three years. This time, Scott Linehan will try to keep the league’s most insecure position behind the Browns’ head coaching job. The Cowboys definitely have plenty of other questions heading into the preseason: can Brandon “The Bum” Weeden handle things if Tony Romo goes down with an injury? Can the defense really not be worse than last year’s record-setting lowliness without the man in the middle (Sean Lee)? It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cowboys finish last in the division for the first time since the Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodson days in 2002.

20 – Washington Redskins

The Redskins’ big offensive additions should make their passing game deadly, especially against the rest of the division, which has two of the worst defenses in the league. The defense could post good sack numbers with the additions of Jason Hatcher, who’s coming off of a career-high 11-sack season, and Trent Murphy, last year’s sack leader in college football, alongside Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. However, the secondary still isn’t much improved, which is worrisome. On the bright side of things, they have the luxury of a first-round pick again, but they should be more toward the other side of the spectrum — fighting for a playoff spot.

19 – St. Louis Rams

The Rams have built up enough talent on offense and defense, including the best defensive line in the league, to start being a serious team. But this is all contingent on Sam Bradford staying healthy, or else the Rams will have to start looking elsewhere for a new starting quarterback.

18 – Atlanta Falcons

Last season was a joke. But with newly added talent and beef to the offensive and defensive lines, plus health at wide receiver and running back, the Falcons should be back on track to the playoff race. However, there still is concern regarding their secondary. Aside from Desmond Trufant, who has the potential to be one of the best cornerbacks in the league and is already making quick strides in toward that direction, there is plenty of youth and unfamiliarity, which can lead to dreadful results at times.

17 – Philadelphia Eagles

Nick Foles had a monster season last year, posting a stat-line of 27 touchdowns, a mere 2 interceptions, and an astounding 119.2 quarterback rating. However, it is [more than] highly unlikely that he can repeat such a nearly flawless run, especially without number one receiver DeSean Jackson. Furthermore, the Eagles didn’t improve upon their vastly bottom-of-the-league secondary. It will be much more difficult for them to win the division in consecutive years under second-year head coach Chip Kelly, but then again, this is the NFC East; it doesn’t take much to win the division crown.

Check back Friday for 16-1 of my power rankings.

This piece was written by Eli Bookstaber. Eli is from Silver Spring, Maryland. Naturally, he is a fan of America’s real Team, the Washington Redskins. Eli is a big fan of every American sport but the NFL is his favourite. He has strong opinions on many topics and therefore started to write about them. Every week, Eli writes a NFL power rankings article for OTI and “Bookie’s Playbook” article, where he breaks down different teams’ plays, formations, etc. You can always find his opinions and his shenanigans on Twitter @Ebookstaber. He welcomes any comments and feedback.

 

Listen to this weeks OTI Podcast with Rhett Lewis & George O Leary as our guests. Available here: Episode 65

Five impact rookies to watch in 2014

Some rookie players coming into the NFL having to fight for their starting job or with a long way to come physically before they can be considered ‘NFL-ready’ football players, whereas others may immediately become a focal point for their team. They may walk into the starting job as there is no competition or because their talent level holds them supreme over their teammates.

Some notable exceptions from this list include Jadeveon Clowney, no doubt a player at the peak of physical performance but will not be the focal point of his defence with J.J Watt still with the Texans.

The following are my choices as the top five players (in no particular order) ready to make an immediate impact at the professional level:

  1. Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders, OLB

Raiders 1st round pick:Khalil Mack

Khalil Mack is a defensive beast, and the 5th overall pick will become an immediate integral cog in the Oakland defence. The Raiders are historically a hard-hitting, powerful and tough defence which play with high tenacity to strike fear into opposing offenses, Khalil Mack’s introduction will go some way to bringing the Raiders back to that sort of level. Within his rookie season he should become the star of this team’s defence and will no doubt record a decent record of sacks with his ability to chase down the quarterback with supreme strength and speed. Mack could become a dominant NFL defender for years to come, eventually defining the Oakland Raiders franchise.

  1. Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams, DT

Donald was far and away the top defensive tackle heading into the NFL draft following an impressive at the NFL draft, 4.68 in the 40-yard draft was eyecatching for a player at his position, and 35 bench press reps also displayed his strength, this skillset led the Rams to draft Donald with the 13th pick. Donald will join possibly the best defensive line in the league and this will give him more opportunities to shine as teams focus on game planning for the talent around him. Expect an impact similar to that of Ndamukong Suh in his rookie year, with comparable athletic abilities to the pro-bowler.

  1. Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans, RB

Bishop Sankey was the first running back selected in the NFL draft, but this event occurred the latest it ever had in the NFL draft, as the league continues to transition towards pass-first orientation. This would suggest Sankey lacks the abilities to be an immediate impact player in the NFl, well, think again. Sankey is a quick, but decent sized running-back and will benefit from the departure of Chris Johnson, meaning Sankey should walk straight into the starting job with the Titans with no real competition. He was a feature back in college and will probably be asked to take a large proportion of the carries in Tennessee, behind a very strong offensive line that should give Bishop some open running lanes. Sankey has all the foundations for a strong rookie season.

  1. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers, WR

Cam Newton will be delighted to get a target like Benjamin

Kelvin Benjamin makes this list due to the fact he is the only real viable receiver that Cam Newton has to throw the ball to in this offense, following the Panthers cornerstone Steve Smith leaving for the Ravens. At 6’5″ and 240 pounds he is huge for a receiver, and almost every cornerback in the NFL will be unable to match him for size and for a big guy Benjamin is no slouch either. Benjamin didn’t show consistent production in college for only one year, he didn’t make my top-five receivers list but the team and situation he has landed in will see Benjamin impact the league from the get-go as Cam Newton simply has nowhere else to go with the ball.

  1. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills, WR

There is no doubt that Watkins is the top-wide receiver entering the NFL with this draft class but there is doubt whether he will be able to have an immediate impact with the Bills and their lack of established NFL quarterback. But a player with immense talent like that of Watkins will have no struggles in making an impact, if the Bills get the ball in Watkins’ hands then he will make plays, he is that kind of player. The ex-Clemson man has been taking reps with the first-team so far and will be expected to lead the receiving corps for the Bills by the end of the season, comparisons have been made between the greats of the game and Watkins, look for him to fulfil these very high expectations at the next level. After all, some people did have Sammy Watkins as the number one player in this draft class.

The writer of this article is Mr Rob Milne, an Aspiring Journalist with a great interest in American sport. He is a Arizona Cardinals fan and you can find him on twitter Rob Milne @Robathon_ 

NFL Draft Review: AFC West

Listen to this weeks OTI Podcast with Matt Money Smith as our guest. Available here:EP62

Denver Broncos

The Broncos don’t have too much work to do to make it back to the Super Bowl. The weakest part if their team is easily their secondary, which has let plenty of teams force Peyton Manning and the offense to have to score 30 points to win. In addition to their two big free agent additions to their secondary, the Broncos drafted cornerback Bradley Roby with their first round pick. Roby, opposite Aqib Talib, will make it tough for quarterbacks to get the ball to their number two receivers due to his great ball skills and physical play. The Broncos lost their number two outside receiver Eric Decker to the Jets in free agency, and despite their depth at the position, they didn’t have anyone on the roster who could fill that void. Wes Welker is an indisputable slot receiver and Emmanuel Sanders just has good speed without the physicality and size to excel outside the numbers. He is best suited for the slot, where he played in Pittsburgh. Second round pick Cody Latimer has that size, plus he is a former basketball standout, which seems to be the most important part of a receiver’s résumé these days. After the departure of middle linebacker Wesley Woodyard, fifth round pick Lamin Barrow will have a decent shot at earning the starting position. Barrow is athletic and moves well, but he’ll have to make a big impact on the coaches to be more than a special teamer to start out his career. The good thing is that Barrow is very smart and was a highly respected captain at LSU, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he did make a quick, strong impression. The Broncos could use an upgrade at right tackle. Right now Chris Clark is penciled in as the starter, but they drafted Michael Schofield, who is right now slated as the backup right tackle, in the third round. Schofield is a natural right tackle with plenty of experience playing at the position in college and also has the versatility to play inside. He is a good run blocker and is a fiery competitor, so he will give Clark a run for his money.

Division Impact

It’s very tough to imagine the Broncos not winning the AFC West again given the big weaknesses with the Chiefs and Chargers. The additions they made in the Draft should really help their chances to make another big run in the playoffs, but the clock is ticking.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs bolstered their already dominant pass rush with the addition of first round pick Dee Ford. I don’t know exactly where he’ll fit in on that defense because Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are already the starting outside linebackers, but Ford has great burst off the line and has a high-motor to make an impact whenever he is on the field. Drafting running back De’Anthony Thomas in the fourth round is a little surprising to me. The Chiefs already have Knile Davis as their backup running back, and he is expected to get more playing time this year after playing well when he got his chances. Not to mention Jamaal Charles will be on the field as much as possible, being the teams leading rusher and receiver last season. The only thing that makes sense to me is that Thomas is very similar to Dexter McCluster, who led the team in free agency, and can be that same utility player. He can play wide receiver in the slot and is great at returning kicks. It’s a little bit uncanny, actually, how clone-like they are. Offensive lineman who went to Tennessee don’t have the best reputation in the NFL, but guard Zach Fulton has impressive physicality and is a mauler on the line. If he can refine his football skills, it will be very interesting to see how he may develop down the line. The Chiefs made a nice addition by signing free safety Daniel Sorenson as an undrafted free agent. HE has excellent range and has always been an overachiever. Both starting safety spots are already taken, but I’d keep an eye on Sorenson.

Division Impact

The Chiefs are still very weak at wide receiver and I’m not so sure how their offensive line will be able to handle things without Branden Albert there. Now it’s time for last year’s first overall pick Eric Fisher to shine at left tackle. For one thing, at least their defense can keep them in games plus more, and you can never go wrong giving the ball to Jamaal Charles. Furthermore, Andy Reid can make things work on offense that don’t seem viable.

San Diego Chargers

The Chargers did excellent on their first three choices. They had a glaring need at cornerback, which made it a palpable choice to take their highest-rated one in the first round — Jason Verrett. Verrett is a very tough, fast, and athletic player who will definitely make a big impact in the secondary. The Chargers’ second round pick, Jeremiah Attaochu, is a speedy rush linebacker with outstanding pass rush skills and athleticism. The only thing he needs to work on is his strength, which will come after a few years of working out and getting used to playing in the NFL. The Chargers badly needed help at pash rush, and Attaochu should provide a good base opposite Dwight Freeney. Attaochu is a steal at the 18th pick of the second round. The Chargers are still fixing up their offensive line, and the right guard starting spot is wide open for the taking. Third round pick Chris Watt should have a good shot at winning that job. He has the good fundamentals and is physical and competitive. That rounds out a perfect job at the top half of the Draft.

Division Impact 

The Chargers offense was outstanding last year, which helped propel them into a wild card spot. However, their defense was the death of them. The focus of their draft was obviously on that side of the ball. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t make a strong push for the playoffs again this year and even be a threat in the first round.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders also did a very good job drafting for need while still getting very quality players at their positions. They started of by selecting outside linebacker and pass rush specialist Khalil Mack, who was good enough to even be the first overall selection. Mack is out there to simply destroy the quarterback and has all the tools to do so. You can expect a 10-sack season from him consistently. In the second round, the Raiders got their franchise quarterback. They’ve been searching for the right guy for a while, and being one of my favourite quarterbacks in the Draft, I’m excited to see where he gets. However, he may not start right away so he has time to develop and not land in the same situation as his brother David, who got scared from a worse than terrible offensive line. Speaking of which, the Raiders need serious help on the offensive line, and after letting starting left tackle Jared Veldheer walk in free agency and failing to sign versatile offensive lineman Roger Saffold due to a “failed physical”, (what a story that was!) they drafted Gabe Jackson, my third highest rated guard, in the third round. Jackson will give you solid consistency in both the passing game and run game for a long time. He’s a great player to build your offensive line around. The Raiders’ fourth round pick was one of my favourite players in the Draft, cornerback Keith McGill. McGill is a very tall cornerback, standing at 6’3”, which is the excellent size everyone want in a defensive back nowadays. He is also athletic and has great press skills, though he doesn’t always utilise them. If DJ Hayden plays to his potential, he and McGill could make a very nice tandem in the secondary. The Raiders drafted another cornerback in the seventh round, Travis Carrie, who has great physicality, tackling ability and ball skills, which are vital at nickelback. The Raiders did an excellent job being able to get him so late in the Draft. I could’ve seen him going in the fourth or fifth round, but his two previous shoulder injuries shied many teams away.

Division Impact 

On paper, including their many free agent acquisitions, the Raiders look a lot better, especially defensively. We don’t know exactly what Matt Schaub will give the Raiders: last year’s pick-six-apalooza or the previous years’ quality regular season play. But one is for sure, that Schaub was holding the Texans back from making a strong playoff run when they were a very good team. I don’t see the Raiders making a strong enough push for a wild card spot, let alone the division, until Carr is ready. And maybe even a year or two later. But don’t get me wrong, the Raiders are a much improved team over last year, including Matt Schaub.

This piece was written by Eli Bookstaber. Eli is from Silver Spring, Maryland. Naturally, he is a fan of America’s real Team, the Washington Redskins. Eli is a big fan of every American sport but the NFL is his favourite. He has strong opinions on many topics and therefore started to write about them. Every week, Eli writes a NFL power rankings article for OTI and “Bookie’s Playbook” article, where he breaks down different teams’ plays, formations, etc. You can always find his opinions and his shenanigans on Twitter @Ebookstaber. He welcomes any comments and feedback.

OTI Mailbag #17: Teddy Bridgewater, and Position Depth

Got a question you want answered in the OTI mailbag? Send it to us on twitter @overtimeireland or to otimailbag@gmail.com & the best will get answered!

With Teddy Bridgewaters Pro Day being the main reason for his projected fall in the Draft, what do you think of the analysis of his game tape?

Colm Kelly

Where will Teddy end up?

Teddy Bridgewater is highly touted for his high completion percentage, but he didn’t perform so well in that matter in his Pro Day, where his passes were going all over the place. As a result, his draft stock has been plummeting ever since. Pro Days don’t really tell us how good a quarterback someone is. It’s all a choreographed routine without any decision making. JaMarcus Russell had an unbelievable Pro Day, but look how he turned out. On the flip side, Drew Brees had a terrible combine like Bridgewater’s. Now he’s one of the top three quarterbacks in the league. Also, Bridgewater usually wears a glove on his throwing hand when he plays, but on his Pro Day he didn’t. Maybe that caused his throws to be off-target, maybe it didn’t. But let’s leave that alone for now to talk about a more important argument: his accuracy. First let’s discuss what type of passes he threw. Meaning, how many of his throws were screens, 1-5 yards, 6-10 yards, 11-20 yards, and 20+ yards. Only just under 10% of Bridgewater’s passes were screens, and the average is 22%. However, 58% of his passes were between 1-10 yards (33% 1-5, 25% 6-10). The average passes for a quarterback in that range is only 42% (26% 1-5, 16% 6-10), so you can see why Bridgewater’s completion percentage was so high if he wasn’t throwing the deep ball so often. Furthermore, I’ll tell you his completion rate in those zones (not including drops). He completed almost 98% of his screens, 88% of passes 1-5 yards, 81% of passes 6-10 yards, then it drops down to 68% of passes 11-20 yards, and another drop to 51% of passes 20+ yards. Bridgewater, is just ahead of  the average on the three shorter zones and just below average on the two deeper zones. Now you can see that he not only attempts much more short passes, but he also thrives much more on them, with a big drop off in success on deep passes. That makes his average completion rate not including drops 78%, while the average id 75%, so he’s still ahead of the curve. I hope I didn’t get you too down on Bridgewater, because here’s something he does really well: completing passes under pressure and while being blitzed. While under pressure, meaning, when he has to move off his spot or get rid of the ball quicker than anticipated, Bridgewater completes 63% of his passes when under pressure and 80% whilst not under pressure. That stat may not look so good without any reference. Compared to the other three top quarterbacks in this draft, Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, and Johnny Manziel, Bridgewater is way ahead of Carr, just ahead of Mazniel, and right with Bortles. Now for when he is getting blitzed, Bridgewater completes 77% of his passes, and whilst not being blitzed by those trying to feed him dirt, he completes 78% of his passes. That seems fantastic, right? Indeed it is! Bridgewater is 6%-8% ahead of his counterparts in that matter. I’ll give you one more interesting stat that I found to take into consideration: his adjusted completion rate from the effect of his offensive system. What I mean by that is to see how much Bridgewater’s completion rate would change if he were in a regular system, which wouldn’t create easy opportunities for him. Again, this doesn’t include drops. So, if Bridgewater were in a generic system, his completion rate would be just over 1% higher. You’re probably thinking, “big deal!” Well, it may not really be such a big deal, but it leaves open the fact that wherever he ends up in the NFL he could be in a system that is generic, and he’d actually be better at deep balls than his stats currently show. The opposite could also happen, but I like to be optimistic :).

A lot of people have said that this draft is deeper than usual, but Ive also heard that some position are still fairly thin. So how thin or deep, exactly, is every position in this years draft?

Terry Hugh

Alright, here’s the lowdown.

The quarterback position is very good this year. You can get an instant starter in the first and second rounds, and also a few promising guys in the mid-rounds, but they’ll need some grooming. However, there are no sure-fire guys like an Andrew Luck or RG3 this year.

The running back position has deteriorated in the past few years, but there are still a handful of quality backs in this draft with some guys you can pick up in the mid or even later rounds who can contribute.

The wide receiver position is very deep in this draft. There are 10-or-so guys who can be big contributors immediately. What I really like about this year’s receiver class is that there are a another 15-or-so guys who can fill a smaller role, like a slot receiver, a big receiver, a deep ball receiver, and a chain-mover.

One of the most talked about positions in this draft is the offensive line. There are a handful of star left tackles, including Zach Martin, who can play all five positions on the line, which is a great asset. You can also find guys who can be plugged in at right tackle and hold down the fort or be a reliable backup. There are a bunch of solid guards, but Xavier Su’a-Filo sets himself apart from the rest of the group. There aren’t too many centres who I like, but you can always kick in a guard.

Tight end is one of the thin positions in this draft. Eric Ebron will be a star. After him there a a few guys who can start, but after them there’s a huge dip in talent.

On the defensive side of the line there are also a lot of solid pass rushers, including plenty of situational guys or scheme-fit players.

There are a few good and lot of okay linebackers but the position is overall average in this draft.

The cornerback depth is similar to the receivers in this draft. There are a bunch of day-one starters, plus a bunch of nickelbacks. What’s great about this cornerback class is that there are a lot of guys who can press at the line.

I’m really upset over this year’s safety class. There are only a couple of instant starters, then only a handful of decent guys. After that, the quality takes a huge plummet.

Got a question you want answered in the OTI mailbag? Send it to us on twitter @overtimeireland or to otimailbag@gmail.com & the best will get answered!

This piece was written by Eli Bookstaber. Eli is from Silver Spring, Maryland. Naturally, he is a fan of America’s real Team, the Washington Redskins. Eli is a big fan of every American sport but the NFL is his favourite. He has strong opinions on many topics and therefore started to write about them. Every week, Eli writes a NFL power rankings article for OTI and “Bookie’s Playbook” article, where he breaks down different teams’ plays, formations, etc. You can always find his opinions and his shenanigans on Twitter @Ebookstaber. He welcomes any comments and feedback.

The Brod View: NFL Mock Draft #4

It’s Almost Time!

IT’S FINALLY HERE! In just a few days Radio City Hall in New York City will be host to the 2014 NFL Draft, and I, for one, am eagerly anticipating what should be an exciting draft this year. And therefore in this edition of The Brod View, I have come up with my final mock draft. And there have been some significant changes since my last mock draft… and guess what I have even come up with a second round for you too.

Oh and it’s all change too. There are still three quarterbacks in the first round but one of the original three has dropped down the order to round two. There are also two new entrants to the top ten here—which sees Gilbert and Barr drop down in to the top twenty picks. There is so much talent to be picked up in this draft and it was difficult choosing which player would be best suited where. But as with all mock drafts it’s a guessing game.

Anyway, typical mock draft rules apply here with no trades being included. I have provided analysis for all of the first round, unlike the top ten here and then will list my second round picks.

THE FIRST ROUND

1              Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney (DE) (No Change) There has been talking of Houston trading down or deciding to select Manziel or Bortles, but I cannot envisage anyone but Clowney going here.

2              St Louis Rams: Greg Robinson (OT) (Up 4) If the Rams are unable to trade down or up here then I expect them to select an offensive lineman. Expect Robinson or Matthews to go here.

3              Jacksonville Jaguars: Khalil Mack (Up 2) Again it is going to be a close call between Mack or Manziel but I have a feeling that with Bradley’s defensive mindset, Mack looks the more likely option here.

4              Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel (Down 1) For a long time I expected Watkins to go here. Yet I think Cleveland might stick with the original back office’s plan of going for Manziel and that all the talk of them not being fond of him was just a smokescreen.

5              Oakland Raiders: Sammy Watkins (Down 1) Oakland have a lot of holes to fill and receiver is one of them. I am intrigued by who they will select here because they could go for Bortles, Matthews or even Mack if he is still available.

6              Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews (OT) (Down 4) “It is boring to select offensive lineman, but undoubtedly Matthews is a top tier talent that Atlanta need.” – I will keep saying it over and over again. They could, however, trade up for Clowney, if he is still available after Houston have selected.

7              Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans (WR) (No Change) Tampa definitely need a new receiver since the departure of Mike Williams to Buffalo. They could also QB here, in which case they might select Bridgewater.

8              Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles (QB) (No Change) Bortles or Bridgewater? That is the question here. I feel that many scouts are low on Bridgewater after a bad combine and pro day and that will mean Minnesota selecting Bortles.

9              Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron (TE) (Up 3) I have a feeling that the Bills will be looking to improve EJ Manuel’s options and Ebron will be a huge gain for a struggling franchise.

10           Detroit Lions: Aaron Donald (DT) (Up 6) Whilst I used to think that they will go for a corner at no 10, a lot of experts believe that Donald could be brought in to a 4-3 defense alongside Suh. Also, Detroit are apparently looking to trade Suh, but that may merely be just a rumour.

11           Tennessee Titans: Justin Gilbert (CB) (Down 1) I think the Titans will be looking to improve the backfield and therefore they will either select Gilbert (who I thought would have gone to Detroit until recently) or a safety such as Clinton Dix or Pryor.

12           New York Giants: Zack Martin (OG) (Up 7) The Giants have a lot of holes in their offense, none more so than their offensive line. They seem pretty high on Martin right now and not Lewan.

13           St Louis Rams: Ha Ha Clinton Dix (FS) (Down 2) With the Titans selecting Gilbert in my mock draft, this means that Clinton Dix will become available to them and therefore they will probably select him over Calvin Pryor.

14           Chicago Bears: Calvin Pryor (FS) (Down 1) For a long time I thought Chicago will go for Jernigan at NT. Yet with Pryor being available, and the need to improve at the safety position, I reckon Jernigan could go down the board.

15           Pittsburgh Steelers: Darqueze Dennard (CB) (No Change) I think Pittsburgh will go for a corner here just out of sheer need, and the fact that Dennard is pretty talented.

16           Dallas Cowboys: Anthony Barr (LB) (Down 7) Barr should be a top ten talent but I reckon he could slip further down the board than expected. The only thing that could prevent this from happening is if the Giants select him in my opinion. He could also slip further down the board if Dallas fill a need by selecting Jernigan.

17           Baltimore Ravens: Taylor Lewan (OT) (No Change) Lewan could potentially cause trouble. On the other hand he is more talented than fellow offensive lineman Zack Martin. It will be one of those players the Ravens will select because they desperately need to fix their O-line.

18           New York Jets: Marqise Lee (WR) (No Change) Lee is the “best of the rest” when it comes to the receiving corps in this draft. Jets could trade up to get Evans or even Watkins, but with this being a WR-heavy draft, I think they will settle for Lee here.

19           Miami Dolphins: Cyrus Kouandijo (OT) (UP ROUND) Miami will go for someone that can start in their O-line. The question is who will they pick? And that’s difficult to answer, but I hav gone for Kouandijo, because everybody seems high on him right now.

20           Arizona Cardinals: Derek Carr (QB) (UP ROUND) I have a fear that they will blow this pick unnecessarily on a QB that will not be good enough to start week one—especially when Bridgewater is available. Arizona may even trade down just to get Carr. Bottom line: Not a first round talent.

21           Green Bay Packers: CJ Mosley (LB) (No Change) I am convinced that the Packers will pick the uber-talented, and massively undervalued Mosley. Can you imagine a linebacker corps of Matthews, Hawk, Mosley? They will destroy offenses.

22           Philadelphia Eagles: Odell Beckham Jr (WR) (Up 1) They will either had to their offensive options, especially with the injury-prone Maclin replacing Jackson as no 1. receiver, or they will go for a corner. Kelly likes his offense, therefore Beckham will be an ideal fit for the Eagles

23           Kansas City Chiefs: Brandin Cooks (WR) (Up 4) I think Kansas City could pick up two receivers in the draft here, such is their need for offensive options. Brandin Cooks could be one of many recievers that end up at Arrowhead.

24           Cincinnati Bengals: Bradley Roby (CB) (Down 4) A stronger defense is what Cincinnati require to elevate themselves from pretenders to contenders. Bradley Roby could be a steal at 24, because despite his transgressions off the field, he can definitely play football.

25           San Diego Chargers: Kyle Fuller (CB) (No Change) Fuller could be drafted higher than here, so it would not surprise me if they get someone different at corner. One thing that has gone unnoticed is that this a corner-heavy draft too. San Diego will pick one up here and they will get someone with good value.

26           Cleveland Browns: Kelvin Benjamin (WR) (Down 4) If the Browns go with Manziel here, then they will definitely go for a receiver here—which I think will be Benjamin in this instance. If not, they will draft Watkins at 4 and then Bridgewater at 26.

27           New Orleans Saints: Dee Ford (DE) (UP ROUND) Like some other franchises, it’s not a question of which position but which player. They need to improve their pass-rush a bit more and I think the Saints will select Ford over Ealy.

28           Carolina Panthers: Morgan Moses (OT) (Up 4) Panthers need a receiver desperately. Therefore I am surprised that they could be opting for an offensive lineman instead. Maybe they will trade down, or maybe they are desperate to protect Newton’s blindside.

29           New England Patriots: Ra’Shede Hageman (DT) (No Change) Hageman has huge potential but could be a troublesome player off the field. Step forward Bill Belichick and we could have a new Wilfork.

30           San Francisco 49ers: Jason Verrett (CB) (No Change) The only downside to Verrett is the fact that he is smaller than the typical corner, which could mean he will slip into the second round. That’s unlikely to happen in my opinion and I think the 49ers will pick him up before he slips down further.

31           Denver Broncos: Ryan Shazier (LB) (UP ROUND) NFL scouts are high on Shazier’s ability right now. Broncos may not select him as they might go for Su’a Filo to fix up their O-line, but I think Elway will go defense heavy in the draft, following from their free agency acquisitions.

32           Seattle Seahawks: Joel Bitonio (OT) (UP ROUND) There are a lot of suggestions that Seattle will either go OT or WR in the draft. I reckon they will select Bitonio here and that will allow Wilson even more time to come up with some dynamic offensive plays.

SECOND ROUND PICKS

Pick Team Name Pos Change
33 Houston Texans Teddy Bridgewater QB Down 7
34 Washington Redskins Louis Nix NT Down 10
35 Cleveland Browns Carlos Hyde RB ROUND 2
36 Oakland Raiders Timmy Jernigan NT Down 22
37 Atlanta Falcons Kony Ealy DE ROUND 2
38 Tampa Bay Buccaneers AJ McCarron QB ROUND 2
39 Jacksonville Jaguars Tom Savage QB ROUND 2
40 Minnesota Vikings DeMarcus Lawrence DE ROUND 2
41 Buffalo Bills Kyle Van Noy LB ROUND 2
42 Tennesse Titans Jeremy Hill RB ROUND 2
43 New York Giants Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE ROUND 2
44 St Louis Rams Davante Adams WR Down 16
45 Detroit Lions Scott Crichton DE ROUND 2
46 Pittsburgh Steelers Stephon Tuitt DT ROUND 2
47 Dallas Cowboys Will Sutton DT ROUND 2
48 Baltimore Ravens JuWuan James OT ROUND 2
49 New York Jets Lamarcus Joyner CB ROUND 2
50 Miami Dolphins Xavier Su’a Filo OG Down 19
51 Chicago Bears Pierre Desir CB ROUND 2
52 Arizona Cardinals Cody Latimer WR ROUND 2
53 Green Bay Packers Jace Amaro TE ROUND 2
54 Phildelphia Eagles Jeremiah Attaochu LB ROUND 2
55 Cincinnati Bengals Marcus Martin C ROUND 2
56 San Francisco 49ers Donte Moncrief WR ROUND 2
57 San Diego Chargers Weston Richburg C ROUND 2
58 New Orleans Saints Allen Robinson WR ROUND 2
59 Indianapolis Colts Deone Bucannon SS ROUND 2
60 Carolina Panthers Paul Richardson WR ROUND 2
61 San Francisco 49ers Keith McGill CB ROUND 2
62 New England Patriots Troy Niklas TE ROUND 2
63 Denver Broncos Jarvis Landry WR ROUND 2
64 Seattle Seahawks Carl Bradford LB ROUND 2

 

This piece was written by Broderick Sutherland. Broderick is from Bath, UK and he is a massive New York Giants fan. He has recently started a blog that covers a variety of sports called Armchair Analyst. Follow him @BrodSutherland. And visit armchairanalystblog.wordpress.com

NFL Draft – 2014:Flynn’s First Round Complete Breakdown

Don’t call it a mock draft.

May 8th

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve combed through fan forums, team websites and mock drafts to try and piece together the important information on every pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Below I’ve listed each pick, along with the team situation, taken from beat writers and other local media. I’ve then summarised the picks of each of NFL.com’s 8 mock drafters, the general thoughts from fan comments, and various other tidbits of information. I’ve taken everything I’ve read and tried to narrow down which players I think each team will pick, based on the information available. (All correct as of 25/4)

Of course, as it’s the draft, anything could happen, which is why instead of giving my own opinion (too much), I’ve cobbled together everybody else’s.

Enjoy!

Pick 1 – Houston Texans

The big picture:

Will the Texans run to the podium for Clowney?

Jadeveon Clowney seems to be the consensus pick among Texans writers, according to their website. Their latest Mock Draft survey, which polls all the beat writers and other Texans media, has 20 of 35 analysts going for him. Blake Bortles is the clear second favourite in the poll, with 11 of 35 votes.

What the mock drafts say:

6 of 8 pundits have the Texans taking Clowney at number 1, with the other 2 going for Bortles.

What the fans want:

Looking through the Facebook comments on their draft survey, most fans seem to want to take Clowney first, and address their much bigger QB need in the second round. A few would like to trade down and still take a QB in the first round, with Johnny Manziel’s name cropping up a couple of times, but this seems to be the minority opinion.

Likely pick: Jadeveon Clowney

The Texans don’t have a pressing need on the defensive line, but they would be happy to address their other issues further down the draft. Clowney is being touted as the best player in the draft, and he would be very hard to pass on. The player himself has also stated he would love to work with JJ Watt. 

Pick 2 – St. Louis Rams

The big picture:

There is a lot of talk of a potential trade for this pick, as the Rams will pick again at 13. This has been played down by the organisation so far. Should they stay at No.2, a Rams beat writer has suggested that Sammy Watkins is the guy the fans would want. However, the offensive line is the main area to address, assuming Clowney is off the board. This brings the likes of Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews into play. All signs from the club and writers are that they would pass on Watkins and take an offensive tackle at 2.

What the mock drafts say:

7 of 8 pundits have the Rams taking an Offensive Tackle with their No.2 pick; it’s a toss-up as to which one, with 4 votes for Robinson and 3 for Matthews.

What the fans want:

The main consensus on the Rams draft forum on their website seems to be that the O-line is the most pressing need. If (big if) they don’t end up trading the second pick, they are happy to take an OT there, with seemingly no real preference for which one.

Likely pick: Greg Robinson/Jake Matthews

Both of these guys would fit the bill for the Rams at 2 and the media, analysts and fans all seem to agree that the offensive line is in need of a lot of work, the top 3 tackles are all expected to be off the board by the time the Rams get back on the clock at number 13.

Pick 3 – Jacksonville Jaguars

The big picture:

The Jags website’s Chief Writer has plumped for Khalil Mack at 3 in his mock draft, speaking of the Jags need for a playmaker and a pass-rusher, which are both qualities Mack has. Sammy Watkins is another name he mentions as making sense at 3. Jacksonville are mostly in need of a big playmaker to lift the team both physically and in spirit.

What the mock drafts say:

4 of 8 analysts have matched up Khalil Mack to the Jags, with the remaining guys going for either Jadeveon Clowney (1 vote) or Johnny Manziel (3 votes). This means 5 of 8 agree that a pass-rusher will be heading to Jacksonville.

What the fans want:

The three names mentioned at the top of the Jags readers mock on the team website are Mack, Watkins and Manziel. The most vocal support was for the two former names, Mack eventually edging out Watkins as the most popular pick.

Likely pick: Khalil Mack

The Jags don’t seem to be considering trading at all, they need to add more talent, and pass-rush seems to be the most pressing need for them. Although they could throw a curveball and pick up Manziel or Watkins, Mack seems to have the backing of writers, analysts and fans alike.

Pick 4 – Cleveland Browns

The big picture:

Cleveland are looking for their franchise quarterback in this draft. Coach Pettine has already said they might even pick two. The Browns beat writer has plumped for Derek Carr, explaining that the Raiders also have their eye on him, so if the Browns want to take him; it has to be at 4.

What the mock drafts say:

The NFL analysts have gone in a completely different direction here, with only one of them selecting a QB. 7 of 8 expect the Browns to wait on a QB and address a different need at number 4, by drafting Sammy Watkins.

What the fans want:

The general feeling among Browns fans is that they need a QB and a WR in the first round. If they take a QB first, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles are the names most mentioned. If they go WR first Sammy Watkins is the choice early on, with Derek Carr and Johnny Manziel mentioned for their pick at no.26.

Likely pick: Blake Bortles/Sammy Watkins

With the draft looking fairly deep at both quarterback and wide receiver, this decision could well come down to whether the Browns want to get their man early and not risk the Raiders stealing him away. With Nate Burleson and Josh Gordon already on the roster, a quarterback would be the sensible choice here. Watkins would give whoever the Browns start at QB another nice weapon to play with.

Pick 5 – Oakland Raiders

The big picture:

The hot topic surrounding Oakland’s No.5 pick is whether or not Matt Schaub will be their guy for the next few years. Some writers have questioned how effective he’ll be, and, of course, Johnny Manziel has been mentioned as possibly a better solution. Others have said the Raiders simply can’t afford to take a QB with pick 5, and have touted Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews and Sammy Watkins as better filling the Raiders positions of need. It’s worth noting that the entire Raiders coaching staff watched Derek Carr at his pro day, and are believed to be very interested in him.

What the mock drafts say:

3 of 8 analysts expect the Raiders to pull the trigger on a quarterback at 5 (Manziel or Blake Bortles), with another 3 plumping for the best Offensive Tackle available, be it Matthews or Robinson. Watkins and Khalil Mack are also mentioned.

What the fans want:

Most fans seem to be happy to use their early first-rounder on an impact player like Watkins or Manziel. Many believe the Raiders won’t use a pick this early on Derek Carr, and may well trade down to get him instead.

Likely pick: (TRADE DOWN) Derek Carr

This one rests mainly with what the Browns do with their pick. If they do follow through with their threat and take Carr off the board, the Raiders will give the fans a boost by drafting an exciting offensive playmaker. If Carr is still on the board here however, expect Oakland to look to trade down a few spots and pick him up. This is a prime spot for a team to trade up and take Watkins.

Pick 6 – Atlanta Falcons

The big picture:

Offensive line and pass-rush are the team’s two biggest needs, according to a blogger on the Falcons website. Tight end and safety are also positions mentioned, but the general feeling is that the first two rounds of Atlanta’s draft will be spent filling the biggest gaps.

What the mock drafts say:

Fitting this pattern, 7 of 8 analysts have picked an offensive tackle at 6 for the Falcons, with votes going to each of Taylor Lewan, Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson.

What the fans want:

According to a fan poll on the team website, Jadeveon Clowney (30%) and Khalil Mack (29%) head the way as fan favourites for the sixth pick. Behind these are Jake Matthews (23%) and Greg Robinson (14%).

Likely pick: Jake Matthews/Greg Robinson

This one seems fairly clear-cut. Clowney and Mack will likely be off the board by this point, leaving Atlanta to take whichever of the top 2 tackles remaining is left.

Pick 7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The big picture:

The Bucs inside man on the team website feels the team will target a wide receiver in the first round. He notes that they have addressed a lot of needs through free agency this year, and with the cap headroom getting ever smaller, they need to use the draft to good effect. There is a possibility they could trade down, with Brandin Cooks being the man in that scenario. If they stay at No.7 however, Mike Evans would most likely be the pick.

What the mock drafts say:

7 of 8 NFL analysts have gone for either Mike Evans (5 votes) or 3rd rated OT Taylor Lewan (2 votes) as the Bucs pick at 7. The Bucs have been working out all the top QB prospects, but it does seem more likely they will target a receiver with their early pick.

What the fans want:

The consensus among fans is that the team needs to draft a replacement for the traded Mike Williams, somebody to start opposite Vincent Jackson. Cooks, Evans and Sammy Watkins are the names which crop up most frequently in fan discussion.

Likely pick: Mike Evans/Sammy Watkins

If the Bucs are unable to find a deal to their liking to trade down, Mike Evans will probably be the 7th player picked in the draft. This is of course assuming that another team has taken Watkins in the top 6, which is by no means guaranteed. If he is still on the board, it’s unlikely the Bucs will let Watkins fall any further.

Pick 8 – Minnesota Vikings

The big picture:

As with the Browns at 4, the questions answered by the Vikings writer on the team website seem to be not whether the Vikings will take a QB at 8, but which one they will take. All the buzz is currently centred on Johnny Manziel, who seems to be the target for now. The writer says it is unlikely Minnesota will try and trade up for him, but the interest is definitely there.

What the mock drafts say:

Will the Vikings go for former Heisman winner Manziel?

4 of 8 analysts on NFL.com have got the Vikings taking the best QB available in this spot, whether it is Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater or Manziel. Two more have plumped for Khalil Mack, who would be the best player available on their boards. The remaining two have also gone for a linebacker.

What the fans want:

The feeling from Vikings fans on their team website is that they must draft one of the top QB prospects, and will likely claim one with the eighth pick. Should Manziel still be here, he is the fan favourite. If not, the feeling is they will go with the best player available, or possibly trade down.

Likely pick: Johnny Manziel

A franchise quarterback is the most pressing need for the Vikings in this draft, and if Johnny Football is still on the board, you can fully expect Minnesota to finally give him a home. If he’s already gone, then Bortles or Bridgewater should fill the gap. If all 3 are unavailable, the Vikes will take whoever is the best player still on the board.

Pick 9 – Buffalo Bills

The big picture:

The Bills beat writer believes they could go one of two ways with their first-round draft pick. They could either pick up an explosive WR or TE for EJ Manuel to work with, or a bruising offensive lineman to help them with the running game. If Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews are gone, Taylor Lewan would be the pick in that scenario. As for weapons, look for the likes of Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and TE Eric Ebron to be in the conversation.

What the mock drafts say:

3 of 8 of the NFL analysts believe the Bills may look for help at linebacker with their early pick. With another four believing they will add either Evans or Ebron.

What the fans want:

According to a fan poll on the Bills website, an overwhelming majority (74%) of the fans would like to see the Bills draft an offensive tackle with the 9th pick. The majority of fans see this as the clearest position of need.

Likely pick: Taylor Lewan

Taking the opinions of the beat writer and the fans into account, the offensive line is a big need for Buffalo. As Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews are likely to be gone, the Bills could well make Lewan the third tackle selected in the top 10.

Pick 10 – Detroit Lions

The big picture:

A writer for the Detroit News feels the Lions will keep all options open with their pick here. They will consider all positions apart from QB in the first round. The Lions VP of playing personnel has said the team are looking for ‘closers’, and players with ‘integrity’ and a ‘high-motor’. They want somebody who will walk straight into the team with their first pick. This could involve trading up for Jadeveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins or Khalil Mack. The writer feels that if the Lions were to take a defensive back, they would trade down for one.

What the mock drafts say:

 4 of the 8 analysts think the Lions will look to bolster their defense with either Justin Gilbert or Ha-Ha Clinton Dix here. Three of the others have gone for players on the offensive side of the ball.

What the fans want:

If the Lions stay at number 10, linebacker Anthony Barr and Gilbert are the two players with the most buzz from the fans. The team doesn’t have many pressing needs, but they feel outside linebacker is a position that needs some work.

Likely pick: Anthony Barr

This pick could go anywhere, with no obvious gaping hole for Detroit to fill; they could trade up and take one of the drafts biggest names, or trade down and take a defensive back later in the round. Assuming they stay at 10, all the biggest names should be off the board, and it feels like a bit of a reach for them to take a defensive back this early on. If they stick at 10, look for Barr to be their man.

Pick 11 – Tennessee Titans

Is it time to move on from Jake Locker?

The big picture:

The general consensus around the Titans media is that they will take a ‘best player available’ approach to their first-round pick. Having filled a lot of needs already in free agency, they are taking a loose approach here. After losing Chris Johnson and Alterraun Verner, Coach Whisenhunt has identified running back and cornerback as needs, but not necessarily ones he will look to fill in the first round.

What the mock drafts say:

5 of 8 pundits on NFL.com have the Titans selecting either Anthony Barr or Justin Gilbert with the 11th pick. The feeling seems to be that the Lions could take one of these players, and the Titans would take the other.

What the fans want:

A lot of the chatter on the Tennessee message boards is centred on whether they will stick with Jake Locker at quarterback. He’s coming into the final year of his contract, and it’s looking more and more likely that a couple of the top QB prospects in this draft could slide out of the top 10. The feeling is that if nobody has claimed Teddy Bridgewater by the time the Titans pick, it would be very difficult for them to pass him up. Quarterbacks aside, the fans want a pass-rusher.

Likely pick: Justin Gilbert/Teddy Bridgewater

This is by no means a clear-cut decision, and a lot would depend on who goes in the top 10 picks. Coach Whisenhunt has said he doesn’t expect to draft an RB or CB with his first pick, but that could just be smoke and mirrors. If they stick with their ‘best player available’ strategy, Justin Gilbert would fit the bill as well as filling a need. Don’t be too shocked if they do take one of the top QB’s off the board, though.

Pick 12 – New York Giants

The big picture:

The Giants chief writer on their website believes that they are very likely to add more offensive players before the season begins. He speaks highly of Eric Ebron, who seems to be the generally accepted main target for the Giants come draft day. The writer seems confident in the new offensive line, running backs and wide receivers, which leaves tight end as the only gap to fill in the offense.

What the mock drafts say:

The 8 NFL analysts have chosen 7 different players between them to go to the Giants. The only player voted for twice is linebacker CJ Mosley.

What the fans want:

A lot of fans would like to see another offensive weapon added with the Giants first pick. Eric Ebron and Mike Evans are the names most mentioned. Some have concerns over whether Jason Pierre-Paul has fully recovered from his injury, and would like to see the defensive line beefed up early on instead.

Likely pick: Eric Ebron

Tight end would appear to be the biggest gap on a team which has good players in most positions. Ebron would plug the gap in the offense and provide Eli Manning with a big target to hit next season.

Pick 13 – St. Louis Rams

The big picture:

What the Rams do with their second pick in the first round will depend a lot on what they do with the first pick. If they have taken an offensive lineman, as suggested, then they could look at a wide receiver like Marqise Lee with this one. Other areas that have been suggested are safety and cornerback. If the Rams take Sammy Watkins at 2, and one of the top 3 tackles are still on the board here, they may decide to fill that need.

What the mock drafts say:

6 of 8 NFL analysts have the Rams selecting a defensive back with the 13th pick, four of them naming safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

What the fans want:

The feeling from the forums is that after fixing the offensive line, the Rams need to take a good safety. Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor are ranked as the top 2 safeties in the draft.

Likely pick: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

While not the most glamorous picks, if the Rams take an offensive tackle at 2, and throw in one of the top safeties here, they will be filling their needs in the first round. Clinton-Dix is likely to be available here, whereas the top tackles in the draft could be gone.

Pick 14 – Chicago Bears

The big picture:

The Bears defense has gone from one of the most fearsome units in the NFL to one of the most non-existent in a short space of time. They’ve added a couple of edge-rushers in free agency, and the feeling is they could look to draft a top defensive tackle to complement them, or strengthen the backfield, where they missed tackles left and right last season. This is likely to be a defensive draft for Chicago.

What the mock drafts say:

6 of 8 NFL analysts have the Bears taking a defensive tackle in the first round, with Aaron Donald and Timmy Jernigan mentioned. The other 2 have gone for defensive backs (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Justin Gilbert)

What the fans want:

Bears fans on their Facebook page generally agree that they need to pick up defensive players in the first few rounds. They are also after a backup QB with question marks over the long-term fitness of Jay Cutler. When it comes to who they should pick at No. 14, Donald appears to be the fan favourite.

Likely pick: Aaron Donald

Despite signing Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston in free agency, the Bears still need to strengthen what was a poor pass-rushing unit last season. You can expect them to take an interior defensive lineman at some point in the first 2 rounds, and Donald is currently the top prospect in that position for many people.

Pick 15 – Pittsburgh Steelers

The big picture:

Pittsburgh are on the lookout for two things first and foremost in this draft; a big, physical wide receiver, and a cornerback. The draft is deep at the wide receiver position, so the Steelers may wait until a later round to fill that need, and take a cornerback first.

What the mock drafts say:

7 of 8 pundits have the Steelers drafting a cornerback in Round 1, with five of them plumping for Darqueze Dennard.

What the fans want:

The agreement among Steelers fans is that they will take a cornerback in the first round. They see a likely situation of somebody like Dennard coming in and learning the ropes from Ike Taylor. The other positions of note on the forums are wide receiver and offensive tackle.

Likely pick: Darqueze Dennard

It’s difficult to argue with the majority opinion on this one. With the draft being flush with receivers, and the top 3 tackles likely to be long gone by this point, a cornerback would be the sensible choice for Pittsburgh’s first pick.

Pick 16 – Dallas Cowboys

The big picture:

From reading a few blog posts from Cowboy’s writers on their website, the feeling is Dallas need defensive help from this draft. While many stick to the idea of a ‘best player available’ selection, unless somebody like OT Taylor Lewan is still available, it’s likely to be a defensive player. With that in mind, look for the best defensive player available to go off the board here. There is also a possibility they will look to trade down if there is a big offensive player still on the board that another team is desperate for.

What the mock drafts say:

All 8 analysts have the Cowboys beefing up their defense at a range of positions, with 3 votes for safety Calvin Pryor, 2 for linebacker Anthony Barr, and 2 for defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

What the fans want:

Most fans echo the sentiments of the writers and analysts, pointing out that the defense needs the most work, but if somebody like Johnny Manziel or Mike Evans is available, they cannot be ignored. A lot of fans would like to see a defensive lineman or a safety drafted first and foremost.

Likely pick: Calvin Pryor/Aaron Donald

If the Bears pass on Donald at 14, it’s unlikely he’ll get past Dallas here. If he is no longer available, Calvin Pryor would fit the bill to round off the first half of the first round. If no standout defensive players are available, expect Dallas to try and trade down.

Pick 17 – Baltimore Ravens

The big picture:

A Ravens Staff Writer on the team’s website says that Baltimore have addressed their most pressing needs already this offseason, and they can be flexible with their first pick in the draft. The only areas he singles out as still having gaps are the offensive line and the secondary.

What the mock drafts say:

The analysts seem to agree with this line of thought, with no strong agreement on any position. There are three votes for safety Calvin Pryor, two for tight end Eric Ebron, two for offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, and one for nose tackle Timmy Jernigan.

What the fans want:

A fan poll on the Ravens website is weighted towards the safety (36%) and offensive tackle (33%) positions. Pryor is the only recurring name on fans minds, with others suggesting Baltimore will trade down unless a big name slides their way.

Likely pick: Zack Martin/Calvin Pryor

If Pryor is still on the board, the Ravens are likely to snap him up. Should he be gone however, and they stay at 17, OT Martin may be their guy. The drop in class from the top 3 OT’s to the next string is smaller than the drop in talent after the top 2 safeties have gone. This could point to the Ravens taking an OT first.

Pick 18 – New York Jets

The big picture:

WR is a need for Jets. Beckham could fit that need.

The Jets have added to their offense with a few high-profile moves in free agency, bringing in Mike Vick, Eric Decker and Chris Johnson. While this has filled a few gaps, the impression from the writers is that the Jets still need to draft another wide receiver, with current No. 2 Jeremy Kerley seen as a slot receiver. They could also use some help in the secondary, to strengthen what was a below-par pass defense last season.

What the mock drafts say:

5 of 8 NFL pundits believe the Jets will draft a receiver in the first round, with Odell Beckham Jr, Marqise Lee and Brandin Cooks all mentioned.

What the fans want:

According to a poll on the Jets website, almost half (49%) of fans would like to see the Jets pick up a wide receiver with the 18th pick. The next highest positions are cornerback (28%) and tight end (13%).

Likely pick: Odell Beckham Jr.

In truth, any of the above named receivers could equally be picked by the Jets here, depending which one they rank the highest. Beckham Jr. has worked previously with the Jets special teams co-ordinator, which could help tip the balance his way.

Pick 19 – Miami Dolphins

The big picture:

The Dolphins two biggest needs heading into the draft are on the offensive line, and the run-stuffing game. The line is the biggest need, according to a blogger on the team website. Miami could, like most teams in the second half of the draft, look to trade down and acquire more picks.

What the mock drafts say:

6 of 8 analysts have the Dolphins selecting an offensive lineman with the 19th pick, with four of them naming Zack Martin. CB Bradley Roby and LB CJ Mosley are also mentioned.

What the fans want:

A lot of fans would like to see Miami pick up a lineman or two in later rounds, and instead draft a prominent run-stuffer, usually in the form of Mosley. The feeling is that with the other teams in the division featuring run-heavy offenses, having a quality linebacker to stop them is top priority for their first round pick.

Likely pick: CJ Mosley/Zack Martin

If Martin is still available, the Dolphins aren’t likely to let him go much further. Mosley would be a crowd-pleaser, and fit into a defense that needs to be tough on the ground next season.

Pick 20 – Arizona Cardinals

The big picture:

According to a writer on the Cardinals website, one of their top needs for the future is a pass-rushing linebacker, with John Abraham coming into the last year of his contract. Anthony Barr, Ryan Shazier and Dee Ford are mentioned as distinct possibilities for the No. 20 pick. Safety is another position they could look at, with Calvin Pryor being the more likely of the top 2 guys to be available.

What the mock drafts say:

The NFL analysts believe Arizona will take a ‘best player available’ approach, two have selected a QB, two a DE, two a CB, one LB, and one an OT.

What the fans want:

There is vocal support for Ryan Shazier on the Cardinals message boards, but the fans also seem to agree that if any of the Top 3 QB’s should fall to them, they should snap him up.

Likely pick: Ryan Shazier

Shazier would be a good fit for the Cardinals as a young linebacker who can learn plenty from Abraham in his rookie year, then go on to give the Cardinals a good few years afterwards.

Pick 21 – Green Bay Packers

The big picture:

Safety is the biggest concern for the Packers right now. The buzz around the blogs on the website is that this position has to be foremost in the draft, but not necessarily first. The drop off in talent after Clinton-Dix and Pryor may mean that the Packers go with a simple best available strategy in the first round.

What the mock drafts say:

3 of 8 pundits have the Packers taking CJ Mosley with their first pick. Another three have gone for TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, with lingering questions over the health of Jermichael Finley.

What the fans want:

A lot of fans are eager to grab a safety in the first round, although the bloggers argue that anyone other than the top 2 would be a big reach to take at No.21. Other than safety, linebacker and defensive lineman are the positions fans would most like to see filled in the first round.

Likely pick: Austin Seferian-Jenkins/Timmy Jernigan

Assuming the top safeties and linebackers are off limits at this point, and barring a big reach for safety Jimmie Ward, either of these players would make sense for Green Bay.

Pick 22 – Philadelphia Eagles

The big picture:

The Eagles need to strengthen in two positions initially in this draft, in the secondary, and most notably, at wide receiver. The loss of both DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant leaves only Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, recovering from a big injury, as clear starters for Philly. On the defensive side, the front 7 is certainly serviceable, but the Eagles struggled to keep teams from throwing over the top of them last season.

What the mock drafts say:

5 of 8 analysts have gone for a wide receiver here, with two more expecting the Eagles to take a cornerback. WR Kelvin Benjamin is the only player with multiple votes.

What the fans want:

Aside from the top safeties, who should be long gone by now, the main names on the lips of Eagles fans are Benjamin, Marqise Lee, Odell Beckham and Bradley Roby. The feeling is most fans would like to see a replacement for Jackson drafted, preferably a tall, physical receiver to give Nick Foles a target in the redzone.

Likely pick: Kelvin Benjamin/Bradley Roby

Benjamin has a lot of qualities that the Eagles need in a receiver. They may even pick up more receivers later in the draft, with plenty of bodies required to run Coach Kelly’s famously up-tempo offense. If they decide to wait on a receiver, Bradley Roby could be the guy to help out the secondary.

Pick 23 – Kansas City Chiefs

The big picture:

With Jamaal Charles carrying the majority of the offense himself last season, the Chiefs will look to supplement him through this draft. With regards to the first round, there is a good chance they could take a wide receiver, should there be a strong enough one left on the board. The offensive line also needs work, along with a few spots on the defense.

Marquise Lee

What the mock drafts say:

7 of 8 votes from analysts went to the best wide receiver available, with Odell Beckham, Marqise Lee and Brandin Cooks all mentioned.

What the fans want:

A lot of Chiefs fans advocate bringing in another set of hands to play opposite Dwayne Bowe on the outside, to take some of the workload and defensive attention away from Jamaal Charles. Most of the receivers projected to go in the first round have support, but Cooks seems to have the slight edge in their preference.

Likely pick: Marqise Lee

The general feeling is that the Chiefs will go after the best receiver available in this spot, unless a blockbuster defensive player or offensive lineman slides this far into the round.

Pick 24 – Cincinatti Bengals

The big picture:

Cincinatti are still looking to add a pass-rusher, according to an editor on the team’s website. After losing Michael Johnson in free agency, the defensive line needs another piece adding to it. While the Bengals don’t have any urgent needs for a day one starter in the draft, they may well look to shore up a few positions and add depth. They are also on the lookout for a backup to Andy Dalton.

What the mock drafts say:

5 of 8 pundits see the Bengals drafting a cornerback, with four votes for Bradley Roby. The other three also predict Cincinatti drafting defensively in the first round, with a strong front 7 being all-important in the division.

What the fans want:

Fans on the Bengals forum have picked out cornerback and both lines as areas to strengthen in the draft. As far as names for their first-round pick go, Ra’Shede Hageman, Kony Ealy and Bradley Roby lead the way.

Likely pick: Kony Ealy/Bradley Roby

The most important thing surrounding the Bengals late first-rounder is that nobody wants them to reach for a lower ranked player, as they have no pressing needs. Look for them to draft defensively, either at cornerback, or by adding mass to the front 7.

Pick 25 – San Diego Chargers

The big picture:

The biggest sore spot for the Chargers going into the draft is at cornerback. This is the position that has been picked out most often by fans, writers and analysts alike. San Diego could also use more pass-rushers, either on the line or at linebacker.

What the mock drafts say:

The analysts are split on this one, with four selecting cornerback Kyle Fuller, and another three going for a pass-rush threat. The remaining pundit has gone for wide receiver Marqise Lee.

What the fans want:

Kyle Fuller and Jason Verrett dominate the majority of chatter amongst Chargers fans. The consensus is they want to draft a defensive player who will start straight away with their first round pick. There is also support for defensive tackle Louis Nix.

Likely pick: Kyle Fuller

The Chargers could kill two birds with one stone here, with Fuller being touted as a very good cornerback who can also blitz well. Like the Bengals before them, expect San Diego to go defense with pick 25.

Pick 26 – Cleveland Browns

The big picture:

The Browns second pick of the first round will of course depend heavily on what they do with the first. If they decide to pass on a quarterback, they will almost certainly take one here, with Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr looking likely to slide to the lower end of the first round. If the Browns have already filled the need under centre, they could look to draft a wide receiver should there be any big names left on the board here.

What the mock drafts say:

Could Carr be the QB answer for the Browns?

All 8 NFL analysts believe the Browns will wait on a quarterback early on and pick one up here, be it Bridgewater, Carr or even Manziel.

What the fans want:

The general feeling among Browns fans is that they need a QB and a WR in the first round. If they take a QB first, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles are the names most mentioned. If they go WR first Sammy Watkins is the choice early on, with Derek Carr and Johnny Manziel mentioned for their pick at no.26.

Likely pick: Derek Carr/Brandin Cooks

Whichever position the Browns pick at 4, it’s almost certain they will take the other here. With the draft deep at both positions, it’s difficult to predict which way round they will go. If the Raiders do trade down and pick up Carr, Bridgewater may still be available here. Cooks and Marqise Lee are the most likely receivers to be available this late in the round.

Pick 27 – New Orleans Saints

The big picture:

A lot of the Saints buzz seems to be around helping Drew Brees, both by beefing up his protection and giving him more targets to shoot at. Cornerback is another area New Orleans will be hoping to improve, along with the defensive line, but many big players at these positions are projected to be gone by the time the Saints pick.

What the mock drafts say:

4 of 8 analysts have the Saints picking a defensive lineman in round 1, with another three going for a wide receiver. Dee Ford and Brandin Cooks are the players with multiple votes (two each).

What the fans want:

Most fans would like to see a wide receiver drafted early, followed by defensive help in the second or third round. Odell Beckham has a vocal backing on the Saints website, although he is likely to be off the board.

Likely pick: Brandin Cooks/Jason Verrett

Taking wide receiver and cornerback as their two biggest needs, either of these players would fit for New Orleans. Cooks could still be available here, and Verrett is a cover corner which the Saints are coveting early on in the draft.

Pick 28 – Carolina Panthers

The big picture:

Similarly to New Orleans before them, the Panthers are looking for help for their quarterback. Offensive line and wide receiver have been pegged as their two biggest needs, perhaps unsurprisingly given the talent they have on the defense. The main question is whether there will be any projected first-round receivers left, or whether they will choose to begin the second wave of O-linemen.

What the mock drafts say:

7 of 8 analysts project Carolina taking a wide receiver with the first pick. Brandin Cooks and Odell Beckham get multiple votes, with Marqise Lee and Davante Adams also mentioned.

What the fans want:

Panthers fans are fairly split on which position to take first. The general opinion is that the receivers available at the back end of the first round would be more valuable than the linemen after the Top 3 are taken. They don’t rule out taking a lineman here though, with Cyrus Kouandjio and Morgan Moses receiving healthy backing.

Likely pick: Cyrus Kouandjio/Brandin Cooks

This is the third team in a row that could have an eye on Cooks, so don’t expect him to go any lower than this. While taking Kouandjio would be a bit of a reach here, it would still be less of a reach than going for any of the receivers outside the bigger names. Should Cooks, Lee or Beckham still be available however, Carolina will take a long hard look at them.

Pick 29 – New England Patriots

The big picture:

New England are in need of pass-rushers and a new TE, after the Aaron Hernandez debacle. The depth behind Rob Gronkowski is pretty slim. The writers on the Patriots website feel the team will go in one of these directions with their first-round pick. Ra’Shede Hageman, Kony Ealy, Dee Ford and Louis Nix feature as defensive names, Jace Amaro, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and even a converted Kelvin Benjamin are in the discussion at tight end.

What the mock drafts say:

All 8 of the NFL pundits believe the Pats will draft somewhere along the defensive line, with Hageman, Ford, Nix and Stephon Tuitt all receiving mentions.

What the fans want:

The feeling among fans discussing the draft is that there is more depth overall for pass-rushers than there is for tight ends. A large portion of them would rather fill their tight end need straight away then take pass-rushers later in the draft. Kelvin Benjamin is being hotly debated over for pick 29, should he still be on the board.

Likely pick: Ra’Shede Hageman

You could make a case for all the above names being taken, but the feeling is that the Pats need for pass-rushers outweighs the tight end problem. They may take more than one player for their front 7 in this draft, so don’t be too shocked if they open with one.

Pick 30 – San Francisco 49ers

The big picture:

The 49ers have 6 picks in the top 100 in this draft, which makes them a prime candidate to move up in the first round. They’re on the lookout for a cornerback and a wide receiver, which means they could be in the market to move up high in the first round and look at Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans. If they stick at 30 and no first-round receivers are left, they will likely take a cornerback.

What the mock drafts say:

5 of 8 pundits have the 49ers pegged to take a cornerback if they stay in this spot. The other 3 have gone for front 7 players, which means all 8 say the Niners will go defensive if they stick with the 30th pick.

What the fans want:

Most fans advocate trading up for either Watkins or Evans, believing the team can package enough picks to make a trade work. If they stay put, fans would like to see Kelvin Benjamin in red and gold this season.

Likely pick: (TRADE UP – Sammy Watkins/Mike Evans)

It’s difficult to ignore the number of picks San Fran have, and many would argue the most sensible thing to do, in a draft of depth, is to use a couple of picks to move up and grab a true blockbuster talent. Keep a very close eye on the 49ers early on in the evening. If they don’t trade up, look for Kyle Fuller or Jason Verrett to be the guy.

Pick 31 – Denver Broncos

The big picture:

Last season didn’t quite manage the fairytale ending Broncos fans would have been hoping for, and their challenge this offseason has been to find the last few pieces to make the final step. With the clock ticking on Peyton Manning, they need to find players that will allow them to win sooner rather than later. After a very busy free agency, the main positions to address in the draft for Denver are in the secondary and the offensive line.

What the mock drafts say:

5 of 8 pundits expect Denver to bolster their offensive line with the 31st pick, Xavier Sua-Filo is the man with the most votes. Ryan Shazier, Kony Ealy and Jason Verrett are mentioned as possible defensive options.

What the fans want:

Broncos fans feel this will be a defensive draft, with the wealth of talent available on the offense. Many think Denver will draft a cornerback in either the first or second round, and will add to the offensive line later on.

Likely pick: Xavier Su’a-Filo/Jason Verrett

The Broncos are coveting a good cornerback to provide both depth and competition in the position, but with a lot of good linemen still expected to be available, they may decide to fill that need first.

Pick 32 – Seattle Seahawks

The big picture:

Last season’s champions have a tough task on their hands as they aim to be the first team to win back-to-back Superbowls. The no-nonsense defense that saw them through last season doesn’t throw up too many concerns, so Seattle may well look to bolster the offensive side of the ball with the final pick of the first round. Tight end and offensive line have been earmarked as needs by the writers and bloggers.

What the mock drafts say:

6 of 8 mock drafters have an offensive lineman joining the current champs, with the other two naming Ra’Shede Hageman and Kelvin Benjamin.

What the fans want:

A lot of Seahawks fans are backing a wide receiver for their first-round pick, with a lot of their current crop heading towards the end of their contracts. There is a lot of support on the fan forums for WR Cody Latimer, who hasn’t been given much press so far.

Likely pick: Xavier Su’a-Filo

There should be a wealth of good receivers still available later in the draft for Seattle to pick up, so an offensive lineman would make sense for them with No. 32. Expect them to draft one position or the other depending on who is still around at the end of the round.

So that’s one version of how things could shake out. You’ll find that every man and his dog has an opinion to give when it comes to this, and nobody ever knows which will be right. Draft boards are one of the most closely-guarded secrets in the NFL. Enjoy the draft, and I hope your team picks all future pro-bowlers!

This OTI piece was written by Mike Flynn. Mike is from Bedford, England. A huge fan of the most popular team in Philadelphia, the Eagles, but he honestly says he has never booed at Santa. He’s always looking for more people to chat NFL with, and you can find him on Twitter @Flynny403!

 

The Brod View: NFL Mock Draft #3

All will be revealed May 8th in NYC

May 8 is rapidly approaching as many teams are finalising their draft boards. Yet here on The Brod View, the draft board has once again changed quite significantly. Nobody has dropped out of my top ten, but within that top ten there are seven changes in order of selection. I think what my mock draft has accomplished is basically stating the obvious: It’s too unpredictable!

Anyway, typical mock draft rules apply here with no trades being included. Also, I am only giving analysis to my top ten, and then I will feature the other 22 picks of the draft in a list for you to discuss.

You can read my last mock draft click here

With the 1st pick in the 2014 draft…….

THE TOP TEN

1              Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney (DE) (No Change) I don’t think there can possibly be anything else left to discuss about this young man. He is the top talent of the draft according to many and he should be drafted accordingly. There could be a couple of QBs that could dethrone him on draft day in the form of Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles, but I highly doubt that will happen.

2              St Louis Rams: Jake Matthews (OT) (Up 4) Again, not much can be said other than St Louis are likely to trade down. In the scenario they don’t though, we have seen a swap on who is the number one offensive lineman of the draft – paralleling last year’s draft. Some pundits believe that Matthews might be better than Greg Robinson, who previously occupied this position. Furthermore, and off tangent to the OT discussion, if St Louis doesn’t negotiate a trade, they could be very tempted to draft Sammy Watkins.

3              Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel (QB) (Up 5) Here’s Johnny! I am not fully certain that Manziel will be drafted in as the top QB, let alone at number three in the draft, but many believe that he is heading to Florida. Coach Gus Bradley is a defense-minded head coach and therefore I used to think the Jags will draft Khalil Mack. Yet the franchise is begging for a quarterback or someone with star power that can catapult their popularity. This is a business move, not a football move.

4              Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins (WR) (No Change) Like Clowney, everything that has been said about Watkins has already been regurgitated many times before. The same applies to Cleveland’s strategy as they will aim to draft a QB with pick 26 and then a running back in the second round. Obvious and boring, the only thing that could jeopardise the Browns’ draft is if Watkins is selected by the Rams and that the top four QBs will go before their next pick.

5              Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack (LB) (Down 2) Sorry to blaspheme but the phrase “God only knows” is the only thing apt that can be said when it comes to this organisation. Until recently I felt certain that the Raiders would draft Blake Bortles but then they signed Matt Schaub. And with everything this organisation has said as well as the money invested in the failed QB from Houston, then I see them drafting Mack – the top available talent. This is usually a good thing but Oakland really need to cater to team needs throughout this draft.

6              Atlanta Falcons: Greg Robinson (OT) (Down 4) “It is boring to select offensive lineman, but undoubtedly Matthews is a top tier talent that Atlanta need.” – That’s what I said last time and all you need to do is just replace Matthews with Robinson. Either way, the Falcons will leave May 8 with a top O-Line talent. Unexciting but necessary.

7              Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans (WR) (Up 2) With Mike Williams departing the franchise via a trade, the Buccaneers will be looking to add some offensive weapons. Every pundit that I have read believes that the Bucs will pick Evans but I reckon they could be up for trading down considering this is a receiver heavy draft.

8              Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles (QB) (Down 3) Minnesota could either select Bortles or Bridgewater at this point. I have only gone for Bortles in this scenario because I believe that he will be considered the second best QB in this draft. With the Raiders going for Mack in my scenario— it does lead to Minnesota having several options here when it comes to filling an empty place in their depth chart.

9              Buffalo Bills: Anthony Barr (LB) (Down 2) With Mike Evans moving up in the draft order, the Bills could either select a tight end or a SAM LB. I reckon they will look to strengthen up their linebackers and Barr will be an excellent addition to their ranks.

10           Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert (CB) (No Change) They need a corner back. They will get a corner back. They will end up with the top corner back. End of that discussion.

THE REST OF THE PICKS

11 Tennesse Titans Ha Ha Clinton Dix S Up 2
12 New York Giants Eric Ebron TE No Change
13 St Louis Rams Calvin Pryor S Up 2
14 Chicago Bears Timmy Jernigan NT No Change
15 Pittsburgh Steelers Darqueze Dennard CB Down 4
16 Dallas Cowboys Aaron Donald DT No Change
17 Baltimore Ravens Taylor Lewan OT Up Round
18 New York Jets Marqise Lee WR No Change
19 Miami Dolphins Zack Martin OT Down 2
20 Arizona Cardinals Bradley Roby CB No Change
21 Green Bay Packers CJ Mosley LB No Change
22 Phildelphia Eagles Kelvin Benjamin WR Up 10
23 Kansas City Chiefs Odell Beckham WR No Change
24 Cincinnati Bengals Louis Nix NT Up 1
25 San Diego Chargers Kyle Fuller CB Down 3
26 Cleveland Browns Teddy Bridgewater QB No Change
27 New Orleans Saints Brandin Cooks WR Up 1
28 Carolina Panthers Davante Adams WR Up Round
29 New England Patriots Ra’Shede Hageman DE Up Round
30 San Francisco 49ers Jason Verrett CB No Change
31 Denver Broncos Xavier Su’a Filo OG Down 12
32 Seattle Seahawks Morgan Moses OT Up Round

 

This piece was written by Broderick Sutherland. Broderick is from Bath, UK and he is a massive New York Giants fan. He has recently started a blog that covers a variety of sports called Armchair Analyst. Follow him @BrodSutherland. And visit armchairanalystblog.wordpress.com