Thursday, April 29, 2010

NFL Draft Review - Part 2 - The AFC

Since I love the NFL Draft and fans of the blog have clamored for it, I have decided to do a full review of the NFL Draft. I will be going through different rankings.

For my team rankings, I do not include the trades that they lost to acquire other players at different times. My biases include no real way of evaluating Quarterbacks potential at the next level. Unless a guy really sucks and that is clear, I don't have strong opinions on quarterbacks, because even a shitty QB like Jake Delhomme looked decent for a few years. I also don't have strong opinions on many small school players, because I simply didn't have the time to watch enough of them to make any sort of quality analysis. Finally, I am only looking at the draft picks. Because of this, teams with lots of picks will have probably added more talent than teams that traded away picks before the draft. As long as your team traded for quality guys (and not Gaines Adams and Jay Cutler), you shouldn't worry about a low ranking.

Today, I will be breaking down the AFC teams and ranking them from best to worst.

1. Cincinnati Bengals
Picks I Love – Geno Atkins – DT – Georgia – 4th Round – A good defensive tackle that played in the SEC and was just fantastic value in round four. He’s a solid starter with upside for a whle lot more.
Dezmon Briscoe – WR – Kansas – 6th Round – A high upside receiver with great physical attributes who could be a steal or never do anything, but getting a boom or bust prospect this late is a great add.

Pick I Hate – Reginald Stephens – OG – Iowa State – 7th Round – Drafting a Cyclone is never a good idea.

Overall – I don’t know what happened, but last year the Bengals started drafting like stone cold pimps. They took a great mixture of incredibly productive college players and guys with huge upsides. This year it continued when they got a guy who could be an All-Pro tight end in the first. They followed with Carlos Dunlap who may have the most talent of any defensive end in the draft. Then they got Jordan Shipley who will be a productive pro. They take chances on guys, but if a couple of those guys work out, they’re in great shape. Outside of getting a bust in the top 10, those picks aren’t going to kill you. The Bengals come into the draft with the idea of going big or going home, and they did it Big Willie Style for the second year in a row.

2. Denver Broncos
Picks I Love – Tim Tebow – QB – Florida – 1st Round – It is very cool to hate on Tim Tebow and say that he can’t be a QB. But this ignores the facts about Tim Tebow. Tim Tebow was downgraded because of a throwing motion that he has already changed, the fact that he was a running QB, and his strong moral code. That’s nothing that I can’t get passed. He threw like 88 touchdowns with only 16 picks during college. If any other SEC QB would have done that, they’d be a top 5 pick. Since it was Tebow, he only succeeded because of his system and there is no way he can translate to the pros. I hate immeasurable qualities. I still joke about Krenzel and his intangibles. The guy made a couple solid throws late in close games, but he didn’t will his team to win. If any player in college football history has willed his team to win, and I’m not saying that it’s ever happened, the player that did it would be Tim Tebow. When you hear of draft busts, you always hear about laziness, or off the field problems that led to that person being a bust. I have never heard of a first round guy who couldn’t hack it, because the skills simply weren’t there. And that is why, even if Tebow isn’t the best passer in the world, he’s going to work hard to make sure that he maximizes what he is able to do well to help his team win games. Could you make the case that he’s kind of a douche? Yeah, but I think it’s impossible to make the case that this guy isn’t a hell of a football player.
Eric Decker – WR – Minnesota – 3rd Round – An excellent pick of a guy who just produces on the field. If his foot heals up fine, then they found themselves a guy who can be an excellent number two receiver.

Pick I Hate – Demaryius Thomas – WR – Georgia Tech – 1st Round – He’s a very gifted athlete, but I’m not sure how well that will translate. It’s tough to judge Georgia Tech offensive players because of their style of play, but I’d rather have their third round wideout over the first round one.

Overall – A very good draft. Besides the picks I loved, they also did a good job of adding talent along the offensive line, but not just linemen, interior offensive linemen. The other picks don’t jump out at you, but I can’t argue with any of them, and I definitely like that. Like the old saying goes, give a QB an Wide Receiver, he’ll throw some touchdowns, give him a running back, and he’ll win you some games, but if you give a QB an offensive line, he’ll take you to the playoffs.

3. New England Patriots
Pick I Love – Brandon Spikes – ILB – Florida – 2nd Round – Spikes was a big time leader for the Florida defense and he was consistently productive on Saturdays. Yes, he doesn’t have great straight line speed, but just about every middle linebacker doesn’t have that, because it doesn’t matter for a middle linebacker. As long as he stays healthy, he’ll be a huge asset to the Patriots defense.

Pick I Hate – Zoltan Mesko – P – Michigan – 5th Round – Somebody who kicks the ball should never be drafted this high, and probably doesn’t need to be drafted at all.

Overall – I’ll admit that loving Spikes was a little bit of a reach, but the Patriots just had consistently solid picks throughout this draft. They loaded up on tight ends with Gronkowski and Hernandez. They got help in the secondary with Devin McCourty. They also added a guy that many think can be a playmaker with Taylor Price. Late in the draft, they focused on adding linemen on both sides of the ball, and since New England has traditionally done well doing that, they should have a very productive draft.

4. Miami Dolphins
Pick I Love – AJ Edds – OLB – Iowa – 4th Round – This is the guy that I believe will be the best pro linebacker from Iowa this past season. His role in the Iowa defense is not a glamour role at all as his job is often to contain and make sure nothing gets outside and also covering tight ends and slot receivers. He didn’t put up big numbers, but he was a guy who was always in the right place at the right time. He was very impressive during Senior Bowl week, and I don’t think the Dolphins got any less than a starting linebacker which is great in the fourth round.

Pick I Hate – Nothing I hate with their draft.

Overall – The Dolphins did a great job of drafting productive college players. Jared Odrick was a good pick at the end of round one. They followed up with Koa Misi who will have to transition to linebacker from defensive end, but doing that in the 3-4 shouldn’t be an issue. Then they got John Jerry to help beef up their offensive line. They didn’t get glamour position guys, but they got a bunch of guys that you can put in the trenches and go to war with which will definitely make this a better Dolphins team in 2010.

5. Kansas City Chiefs
Pick I Love – Eric Berry – S – Tennessee – 1st Round – They got a guy who was the second surest thing in the draft at number five and you really can’t fault a pick like that. He’s able to play in the box as well as handle the slot receiver. There’s no weaknesses in his game, and there is no reason he can’t become an impact safety.

Pick I Hate – Javier Arenas – CB – Alabama – 2nd Round – Arenas just doesn’t strike me as a second round pick, because he isn’t the fastest guy, and he is small for the position. He wasn’t the best cornerback on his own team which means he was lining up against 2nd and 3rd receivers last year, so the fact that he was able to make some plays loses its luster when you realize that fact. I think he could be a good nickel corner, but the second round is too early for that type of player.

Overall – This was a solid draft as I liked most of their picks. Dexter McCluster is a guy who was always a matchup problem for teams and was constantly making plays out of the backfield. They picked up a solid offensive lineman in Asamoah out of Illinois. Then they took Tony Moeaki who almost made my hate list. He is definitely one of the three most talented tight ends in this draft, but health is too big of a concern to really be high on this pick. If he stays healthy, the pick looks great, but he has never made it through a college season healthy. Why he would be able to do it during a longer, more strenuous season just doesn’t make sense to me.

6. Cleveland Browns
Pick I Love – Joe Haden – CB – Florida – 1st Round – Haden is a guy who did nothing but produce in college at a big time program, but since he wasn’t quite as fast in a straight line as people would have liked, many dropped them on their board. Kudos to the Browns for believing in game tape as opposed to how he does in shorts and a t-shirt. Haden has the best track record of any corner in the draft, and therefore he deserved to be the first corner taken.

Pick I Hate – Montario Hardesty – RB – Tennessee – 2nd Round – I don’t know how scouts convinced themselves that this guy was a legit back, because it rarely showed in any games. The Tennessee offense was bad all year, and it was merely bad because the passing game somewhat carried it to that level. Hardesty wasn’t good in college so I don’t see him being good in the pros.

Overall – Lots of things to like about what the Browns did. Colt McCoy falling to them in the third round is good value. I also like what they did with their late picks. I think Asante from Nebraska can be at least a good special teams player and backup. Also, their final picks were high upside guys in Carlton Mitchell and Clifton Geathers which is what I wish more teams tried to do in their final rounds.

7. New York Jets
Pick I Love – Kyle Wilson – CB – Boise State – 1st Round – There are two things that I love more than anything else and that is offensive linemen and cornerbacks. They are the building blocks of any great Madden franchise and they’re also pretty damn nifty to have around in real life. Some had Wilson rated as the top corner in the draft. I have a hard time putting him ahead of Joe Haden due to the discrepancies in competition that they faced, but he has all the tools to be an impact corner in the pros.

Pick I Hate – They only had four picks, so it’s hard to pick one to hate.

Overall – They only had four picks and they did pretty damn awesome with them. They picked up a guard in the second round who could come in and immediately replace the highly overrated Alan Faneca. Then they got Joe McKnight to give them a change of pace back and he will be a great complement to Shonn Greene. Finally, they got a fullback, and all fullbacks are badass.

8. Baltimore Ravens
Pick I Love – Terrence Cody – DT – Alabama – 2nd Round – A lot of people were worried about Cody because of “weight issues.” He’s going to play nose guard, being a fatass is not a bad thing at that position, his weight is an asset, not an issue. Do I expect him to have a long, illustrious career? No, but he doesn’t need to. If he plugs up the middle of the of the line for 5 years, this is a successful pick.

Pick I Hate – Dennis Pitta – TE – BYU – 4th Round – This draft was loaded in tight ends, and I thought there were a lot more impressive guys out there.

Overall – A solid draft, but nothing spectacular. Some people really like Sergio Kindle, but I’m not a big fan of his. The Ravens have a history of drafting well, so he might turn out better than I expect. I also like Ed Dickson out of Oregon, which makes the Pitta pick less harmful. Getting Cody is huge (pun intended), and that’s the important thing.

9. Indianapolis Colts
Pick I Love – Jerry Hughes – LB – TCU – 1st Round – A really good edge rusher on a team that was carried by their linebackers on one of the best defenses in the nation. I think he’ll provide excellent value for the Colts as he fits into their scheme of having fast linebackers making plays all over the field. This is just an excellent fit for the Colts.

Pick I hate – Pat Angerer – LB – Iowa – 2nd Round – I wish I didn’t have to do this, especially after he told an Indy radio show that for his first NFL contract, he’d play for “Coors Light and flannels.” The bottom line is that Abdul Hodge is a serviceable backup in the NFL, and he was a much better linebacker at Iowa than Pat Angerer. The Hawkeyes run a system where the inside linebacker is set up to make a lot of plays and basically look pretty good. Even Mike Klinkenborg had a lot of tackles when he was in the middle. I hope that hating this pick makes me look stupid in a few years.

Overall – Outside of their first two picks, I don’t have strong opinions on the players taken. I like that the added a guard, but I would have liked to see them more aggressively pursue offensive linemen in this draft. But the Colts turn undrafted guys into pro bowlers, so it’s hard to argue with their method.

10. Oakland Raiders
Pick I Love – Bruce Campbell – OT – Maryland – 4th Round – When he’s not out killing zombies, he’s a pretty athletic offensive tackle. There were rumors he’d go in the first to the Raiders, but I’m ecstatic that he ended up with the Raiders eventually. The guy did amazing at the combine, and it actually hurt his draft status because everybody blew it out of proportion and determined that he must be a bust. He’s not perfect, but he is talented, so this is a very good fourth round pick.

Pick I Hate – Rolando McClain – MLB – Alabama – 1st Round – I think that McClain will be a good pro, but not a great one. He was surrounded by a lot of talent, and I just don’t think he has the ceiling to be taken this high in the draft.

Overall – This is actually a pretty solid draft for the Raiders. They built up their lines with their second, third, and fourth picks which is always a good idea. They got Jacoby Ford who is an athletic wideout, and then they also added two cornerbacks late in the draft. They did a good job of adding guys who will fight in the trenches instead of being glamour boys and gaining 50 pounds of fat after signing their rookie contract, not that I’m going to mention names Mr. Russell.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pick I Love – Jonathan Dwyer – RB – Georgia Tech – 6th Round – A very productive running back who can pound the ball up the middle with a good size/speed combination. This is a guy that was hurt by playing for Georgia Tech, but he was the guy who had to pound the ball up the middle which I think can translate to the next level.

Pick I Hate – Emmanuel Sanders – WR – SMU – 3rd Round – This is just picking a guy to hate really, but I feel I need to do that for the Steelers. Basically, he’s more athletic, but not nearly as productive as Freddie Barnes who didn’t get drafted. There isn’t a huge discrepancy in talent that these guys played against, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see if his athleticism makes him that much better of a prospect.

Overall – I really liked them taking Pouncey in the first round, and they spent another pick later in the draft on their interior line. Outside of that, they loaded up on linebackers and defensive ends, but I can’t say that I loved any of those picks. If a couple of them pan out, this could turn out to be a very good draft for the Steelers. Right now, I’m not overly impressed with it.

12. San Diego Chargers
Pick I Love – Ryan Mathews – RB – Fresno State – 1st Round – Although I thought it may have been a little high for Mathews. The Chargers are a team that is a piece or two away from winning a championship, and if Mathews is that missing piece, then they needed to do anything and everything in their power to acquire him. They did that, so you have to give them credit for it.

Pick I Hate – Jonathan Crompton – QB – Tennessee – 5th Round – Yeah, I have stated that I have no business judging quarterbacks, but this guy got drafted because he got a ton of hype for not being invited to the combine. I don’t see how the combine not inviting him makes him a better player.

Overall – They got Mathews, but they better hope he’s damn good, because the rest of their draft isn’t even worth talking about.

13. Houston Texans
Pick I Love – None

Pick I Hate – None.

Overall – The most boring draft out there. I don’t hate who they got, but I don’t love who they got. I don’t really dislike who they got, but I don’t really like who they got. I got nothing.

14. Buffalo Bills
Pick I Love – Kyle Calloway – OT – Iowa – 7th Round – This is no shocker since I love Iowa guys, but getting a guy of Calloway’s quality in the 7th is a very good pick for the Bills. He might be able to not kill you at right tackle, but if he’s going up against speed rushers, I would probably rather have him moved inside to guard like the Hawkeyes did with him against Georgia Tech. He’s not a pro bowler, but he’s a guy who could be a decent starter and that’s great value in the final round.

Pick I Hate – None, but it’s close.

Overall – I’m very close to hating the CJ Spiller pick. Their offensive line is atrocious, and they didn’t do anything to help that position out with their first four picks. They needed to get better up front, and they gave up that opportunity to get a luxury pick. Running backs like Spiller are not necessities, they’re luxuries. Somebody told me he could be the next Reggie Bush, and my initial thought was, “How is that a good thing?” Spiller played in the ACC which sucked ass this year, so I’m not 100% sold on him translating well to the pros. They had a lot of picks, and early picks, so seeing them this low is pathetic.

15. Tennessee Titans
Pick I Love – Myron Rolle – S – Florida State – 6th Round – Myron Rolle, how stupid it was for you to be smart. He would have been better off drinking and driving or tearing his ACL, but the audacity of this man to pursue a once in a lifetime opportunity to become a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. And because of this, people forgot that he was actually a pretty damn good football player. Was he Eric Berry? No, but this is a guy who could play the game and impressed everyone with how he hadn’t lost a step when he came back to football. I understand him not going in the first, even not going in the second or third, because the uncertainty of him coming back to football should hurt him some. But people passing on him in the fourth and fifth rounds were taking blatantly inferior players at that point. This is the definition of a pick that I love.

Pick I Hate – Derrick Morgan – DE – Georgia Tech – 1st Round – Good God, he better hope he just had a really bad bowl game, because if he’s always that bad against good linemen, this guy is completely fucked. Not only did he provide no pass rush for the Yellow Jackets, Iowa’s two best runs, including the game clincher, went right at him. This was not the safest pick, this was just a low ceiling pick.

Overall – Outside of Myron Rolle, not much to like here. There’s some guys that I don’t know much about who could contribute, but nothing that stands out for me.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars

Pick I Love – They loved small school guys, but there are none of them that I know enough about to endorse.

Pick I Hate – Tyson Alualu – DL – California – 1st Round – I don’t mind Alualu as a player, but he does not have the impact talent to make him the tenth pick in the draft.

Overall – The Jaguars are going to suck this year. Nothing more needs to be stated.

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