The NFL’s Draft is about to be upon us and the excitement level I normally feel for this extravaganza is coming up shorter than Verne Troyer’s tank top. With all the drama surrounded the NFL’s lockout and courtroom proceedings, I just don’t feel that whoo hoo about the draft that I normally do. Without the ability to trade players or sign free agents, NFL teams are going to be handicapped during the draft. A plethora of teams are going to reach for quarterbacks, when they may have tried to trade for the Pheagles Kevin Kolb, or the Bungles Carson Palmer. With all that being said, I have to say that I am indeed looking forward to what my beloved Falcons do in this draft. Yes I know as a sports journalist, I am supposed to be objective, but I can’t help it. I’ve been a die hard Falcons fan for over decade. I’m also a Hawks, Braves, and Thrashers fan, although I can honestly say that I’ve seen more episodes of “Bad Girls Club” than I have hockey games. Don’t judge me, I’m married and to keep a happy home, a man can’t dominate the remote ALL THE TIME. I confess that after football season I release SOME remote control, pun intended.
There has been talk, mainly from SI’s Peter King, that the Falcons might try to trade up in order to draft A.J. Green, out of Georgia. I think that would be a terrible idea, not because I think Green will not be a great player, but because we, yes I said we because I have a Parasocial relationship with my teams (once again don’t judge me), would have to give up too much to move from the 27th spot up to the top five in order to secure Green.
Maybe if we could trade players, we could send a package that would cost a mere three picks, still a steep price but Green is worth it, but with things the way they are it would require the Falcons whole draft and maybe next year’s first rounder. If one looks at the draft trade value chart (http://www.draftcountdown.com/features/Value-Chart.php) even if the Falcons trade its entire draft to move up to the fifth spot, there would still be 500 points of value left over. It just doesn’t make sense, when we look at the debacle that was the loss to Green Bay. We need playmakers on both sides of the ball; one player is not going to fix what ails us.
We would be much better served trading out of the first all together and acquiring more picks, especially since one of the players the Falcons brass reportedly had their eye on, Justin Houston We have a Wacky Tobaccy Problem, had to get his Ludacriss on before the combine. “C’mon Son” really? (Ed Lover Face) I just don’t understand why, when he knew he was going to be tested, Houston couldn’t leave the blunts alone until after the combine. That’s dumber than a slow brained mime.
While I think we would be best served trading back in the draft, I think that we could find value at the 27th pick. I would love to see Adrian Clayborn out of Iowa, or Cameron Jordan out of Cal. There’s been a lot of talk about Cameron “Baby Ironhead” out of Ohio State, but I’m just not convinced his motor runs all the time.
The Falcons definitely need pass rush and we can get that in this draft. With two games each vs. Drew Brees and Josh Freeman, we have to be able to put pressure on the quarterback. We also need to be able defend receivers. I was physically ill watching Aaron Rodgers throw for 1,000 yards against us. Okay it wasn’t that many but it felt like it. I think we can get some good quality corners in the draft. This is another example of how the labor situation is affecting the draft. My Christmas, birthday, and father’s day would be made if the Falcons signed Nnamdi Asomugha as a free agent. I know we spent big money on Dunta Robinson last year with mixed results. To this I say, SO WHAT! We need him.
With all that being said, I would be remiss if I didn’t play sports journalist, and provide the readers with my very first mock draft. Keep in mind, I know teams will make bad picks and reach for players that they shouldn’t, and others will find gems. I will list the player that I think the team will take as well as the player I think they should take, which of course when added with a dollar, will get you a lottery ticket.
1. Carolina Panthers – The Pick: Cam Newton (Auburn) Who they should pick: Cam Newton, I know he is the most polarizing player in this draft, but I think he’s a big time baller and will be successful. I hope the Panthers don’t pick him because I don’t want my Falcons to play him twice a year.
2. Denver Broncos – The Pick: Marcell Dareus (Alabama) Who they should pick: Marcell Dareus, Dareus has the potential to be a dominate defensive tackle for a defense that was ranked dead last in the league last year.
3. Buffalo Bills – The Pick: Blaine Gabbert (Missouri) Who they should pick: A.J. Green, I know that most people feel that the Bills will take Von Miller out of Texas A&M but I think Chan Gailey desperately wants a franchise quarterback; problem is I don’t think Gabbert is a franchise quarterback. I think being one of the best QB’s in a draft doesn’t make one a franchise QB. Gabbert is the classic case of a kid who should have stayed in school. Green would be the perfect downfield pass catching threat that could help Ryan Fitzpatrick develop and help Lee Evans see more one on one coverage.
4. Cincinnati Bengals – The Pick: A.J. Green (Georgia) Who they should pick: A.J. Green, Green is hands down the best pass catcher in the draft, and he may be enough to dissuade Carson Palmer from retiring, although I can’t for the life of me figure out why the Bungles are trying to keep a guy who obviously doesn’t want to play for them anymore, but hey that’s why they’re the Bungles.
5. Arizona Cardinals – The Pick: Von Miller (Texas A&M) Who they should pick: Von Miller, The Cardinals are rumored to be enamored with Gabbert but seeing as how I have him going to #3 to the Bills, the Cardinals will take the best pass rushing linebacker in the draft, who will be a perfect fit for the Cardinals 3-4 defense.
6. Cleveland Browns – TRADE Mike Holmgren is in charge in Cleveland and he is an extremely smart GM so with the player he truly wants being gone, Green, and knowing he can get more value with extra picks he trades down with the Washington Redskins to 10. The Redskins then take Andy Dalton (TCU) because Dan Snyder likes to make a splash and he hates having multiple draft picks.
7. San Francisco 49ers – The Pick: Patrick Peterson (LSU) Who they should pick: Patrick Peterson, many people feel that Peterson is the best overall player in the draft and San Fran needs to upgrade the 24th rank pass defense in the league. Peterson would do just that.
8. Tennessee Titans – The Pick: Nick Fairley (Auburn) Who they should pick: Nick Fairley, as much as Fat Albert has been a disaster in Washington, the Titans have not been the same team without him. Tennessee needs a dominate pass rusher and Fairley is that. A lot of people think Fairley takes plays off, and is kind of dirty. Well I watched every Auburn game last year and all I saw was him constantly smashing quarterbacks like the Hulk, and as for dirty, D-Lineman aren’t supposed to be nice guys.
9. Dallas Cowboys – TRADE Jerry Jones needs to upgrade a pass defense that was more porous than a colander, however, he also knows that trading down will afford him the opportunity to acquire more playmakers, and Jerry loves playmakers. The Rams covet a dynamic wide receiver to team up with Sam Bradford and take the load off of Steven Jackson so they trade up to take Julio Jones before the Browns can take him at 10.
10. Cleveland Browns (from Washington) – The Pick: Tyron Smith (USC) Who they should pick: Tyron Smith, With both the receivers that Holmgren wants gone, he makes the safe pick and takes Smith, the best offensive tackle in the draft and guy who can protect his young quarterback for the next decade.
11. Houston Texans – The Pick: Robert Quinn (UNC) Who they should pick: Robert Quinn, to say that the Texans’ defense was anemic, would be a massive understatement. While I would not put it past the Texans’ brass to trade up in order to take one of the top two corners, I think they stay put and take Quinn, who might have been a top five pick had he not been suspended by the NCAA for the entire season.
12. Minnesota Vikings – The Pick: Ryan Mallett (Arkansas) Who they should pick: Anthony Castonzo, the Vikings are one of the teams that will reach for a quarterback because of a need and because of an inability to trade for a veteran quarterback. Castonzo is a safe pick but Ziggy Wolf catered to Brett Favre for two years so I don’t believe in his decision making.
13. Detroit Lions – The Pick: Anthony Castonzo, Who they should pick: Anthony Castonzo, if Castonzo is available the Lions should take less than two second to get this pick to Roger Goddell. The Lions need to keep Matthew Stafford upright, and Castonzo could go a long way towards making that happen.
14. Dallas Cowboys (from St. Louis) – The Pick: Jimmy Smith (Colorado) Who they should pick: Mike Pouncey (F.U.F.) Jerry Jones loves talent and Jimmy Smith possesses a great deal of that. Jones also has no problem taking on guys with checkered pasts, Smith also has that. While the Cowboys do need to upgrade the pass defense, Tony Romo also gets hit way too much, so the safe pick would be Pouncey who could start at guard for the next 10 years, but Jerry Jones doesn’t make safe picks.
15. Miami Dolphins – The Pick: Mike Pouncey (F.U.F) Who they should pick: Mike Pouncey, I hate the University of Florida, hence the F in front, but that being said Pouncey is a beast and would be ready from day one to start at the guard position.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Pick: Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) Who they should pick: Jake Locker, Jack Del Rio knows he needs to win now so he can’t afford to take a project quarterback and wait for him to develop. Derrick Harvey and has not got it done and the Jags play in the same division with Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub, pass rush is a necessity so the Jags try once again to upgrade the D-Line.
17. New England Patriots – TRADE Bill Bilicheat always trades, I just know who the trade partner is yet. So I’ll just pencil him as trading this pick, because history says he will.
18. San Diego Chargers – The Pick: Cameron Jordan (Cal) Who they should pick, Cameron Jordan, the Chargers simply take the best player available and Jordan would be that.
19. New York Giants – The Pick: Mark Ingram Who they should pick, Mark Ingram, the Giants need a back that can carry the ball 20 plus times a game. The running back by committee approach has underachieved the last few years and Mark Ingram would be an instant upgrade.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Pick: Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin) Who they should pick: Gabe Carimi, many people have the Bucs going defense here, but I think that’s only because the Bucs have been known for defense for the last decade. Josh Freeman is a franchise quarterback so it just makes sense to take an offensive tackle to keep defensive ends off the face of the franchise.
21. Kansas City Chiefs – The Pick: Akeem Ayers (UCLA) Who they should pick: Akeem Ayers, the Chiefs were a surprise division winner last year and have a young nucleus to build around. Ayers would be a perfect pick for the 3-4 defense Kansas City runs, and despite a disappointing 40 time at the combine, Ayers is a good value pick here.
22. Indianapolis Colts – The Pick: Nate Solder (Colorado) Who they should pick: Nate Solder, Peyton Manning isn’t getting any younger and neither are his offensive linemen. The Colts need to keep Manning’s jersey clean in order to win. Solder is the best O-Lineman available and makes perfect sense here.
23. Philadelphia Pheagles – The Pick: Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson) Who they should pick: Don’t care, I hate the Pheagles! At the end of the season many people had Bowers as a top 3 pick but with rumors of a bad knee his stock has dropped faster than Enron’s and at 23 he’s too much of a value to pass up, but I hope Philly does, because I hate the Pheagles.
24. New Orleans Saints – The Pick: Cameron Heyward (Ohio State) Who they should pick: See Pheagles, the only team that I might actually hate as much or more than F.U.F is the New Orleans Saints, so I hope whomever the pick is fails miserably, that being said, the Saints need to improve its pass rush and “Baby Ironhead” would be a sentimental pick for the Saints faithful seeing as the original Ironhead was a fan favorite in New Orleans.
25. Seattle Seahawks – The Pick: Jake Locker (Washington) Who they should pick: Jake Locker, the Seahawks need to groom a replacement for Matt Hasselbeck who gets hurt more than he plays, it seems. The hometown hero would be a perfect fit in Seattle.
26. Baltimore Ravens – The Pick: Brandon Harris (Miami) Who they should pick: Danny Watkins (Baylor), as good as the Ravens defense has been, the cornerback position has been a weakness for some time, so the Ravens upgrade with Harris. I think Watkins makes more sense because this is now Joe Flacco’s team, and with a running back like Ray Rice, Watkins could start at guard and protect the franchise as well as open holes for Rice.
27. Atlanta Falcons –TRADE- This is my wish, and since it’s my mock draft I’m doing it the way I want. The Falcons trade out of the first round with the Arizona Cardinals and Arizona takes Christian Ponder (FSU), getting the quarterback that might keep Larry Fitzgerald in the desert for years to come.
28. New England Patriots – The Pick: Derek Sherrod (Mississippi) Who they should pick: Derek Sherrod, Bill Belicheat knows that his O-Line isn’t getting any younger, and with OT Matt Light being a free agent, Belicheat actually uses this pick to get a guy who can protect the face of the franchise, Tom Brady.
29. Chicago Bears – The Pick: Danny Watkins (Baylor) Who they should pick: Danny Watkins, quite simply the Bears offensive line is terrible, and regardless of how one feels about Jay Cutler, he needs to get a lot less in order for the Bears to have any success.
30. New York Jets – The Pick: Titus Young (Boise St.) Who they should pick: Not sure, the Jets don’t have many holes and are one of the few teams that can reach a little bit for a wide receiver, with speed and great hands, plus with both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards both being free agents, Young would provide insurance if one or both don’t resign.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Pick: Aaron Williams (Texas) Who they should pick: Aaron Williams, the Steelers defense, much like the rival Ravens’ defense, was good enough to cover up the deficiencies of the cornerbacks, until Aaron Rodgers exploited them in the Super Bowl. Williams could go a long way towards solving that problem.
32. Green Bay Packers –The Pick: Who cares? I’m still mad that they beat my Falcons like Chris Brown on date night, so I’m protesting by not picking for them. I’m sure Green Bay fans feelings are hurt (sarcasm ensues).