Saturday, April 30, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Rounds Two & Three

Rounds two and three in the bag, which threw up some surprises. I won't go into the details of all the trades as there were quite a few. In fact, let's crack on.

Round Two:

33. New England Patriots select; Ras-I Dowling, CB.
Despite sounding suspiciously like a character out of a Batman movie, Ras-I Dowling is a good pick. Good in coverage and physical (which means he can play special teams) Dowling will make a perfect compliment to Devin McCourty.

34. Buffalo Bills select; Aaron Williams, CB.
Overall very solid and well rounded corner, this is a great pick by the Bills. This is precisely the sort of thing they need. This is shaping up to be a good draft in Buffalo.

35. Cincinnati Bengals select; Andy Dalton, QB.
What? Looks like the Bengals are either sure that Palmer is headed out the door, or at least highly suspect it. I'm surprised actually. Ryan Mallett was still on the board and normally the Bengals aren't afraid of taking a player who has a few character concerns. Maybe they're learning? I think Dalton went a little early but the run on QB's put paid to that. I need to see more Dalton tape before I commit, but all that I've seen so far suggests that with a bit of work he'll be ok. I just hope this pick doesn't persuade doesn't the 49ers to do something stupid...

36. San Francisco 49ers select; Colin Kaepernick, QB.
... Oh you dicks! After all that good work yesterday with Aldon Smith? I really have zero faith in Kaepernick. He's another Cam Newton, a running back who occasionally throws the ball. If someone builds and offense around him and his skills then that's fine. It worked for Auburn with Newton. But trying to force a guy like Kaepernick into a pro offense usually doesn't work very well. God damnit!!!

37. Cleveland Browns select; Jabaal Sheard, DE/OLB.
Pick! The combination of athletic ability and technique will see Sheard through well. This is a great pick by the Browns and could be the kick start that their defense needs.

38. Arizona Cardinals select; Ryan Williams, RB.
Ken Whisenhunt is out to build a Cardinals O in the mold of his old Steelers by the looks of it. Couple Williams with Beanie Wells and you have a great pair of tough runners, who may not be the most dynamic in the world but they're going to run people over on the way to the end zone.

39. Tennessee Titans select; Akeem Ayers, LB.
Everybody loves Akeem, or at least did coming into this thing. Personally I think he's no way a second round pick, or even a third, fourth or fifth. That said, I'm still betting on the football gods to screw me over and hand Ayers 20+ sacks this season.

40. Dallas Cowboys select; Bruce Carter, LB.
As a tackler you have to appreciate Carter. But his pass coverage is nothing special at all and that's probably more of what Dallas needed. Can't say I like this pick.

41. Washington Redskins select; Jarvis Jenkins, DL.
Jenkins is one of those who I've missed out on so far so I can't add anything to this.

42. Houston Texans select; Brooks Reed, DL.
Another one that I need to go back and have a better look at later. Works hard, but suspicion that sacks come more through luck than judgement, though I except that hard work can often put you in a position to essentially "make your own luck".

43. Minnesota Vikings select; Kyle Rudolph, TE.
Captain Drop-tastic. Enjoy that pick.

44. Detroit Lions select; Titus Young, WR.
A little cocky, but as I've said before that's not necessarily a bad thing. Has lots of talent to bring to the Lions offense and will make a great compliment to Calvin Johnson. The Lions offense just got a heck of a lot more dangerous.

45. Denver Broncos select; Rahim Moore, S.
Playmaker for the Bronocs secondary. Might tally himself a few picks playing against teams like the Raiders and the Chiefs.

46. Denver Broncos select; Orlando Franklin, OG.
Excellent guard. Brings a lot to the table to be honest. Should help make a good offense even better. Can't argue with this pick.

47. St. Louis Rams select; Lance Kendricks, TE.
You know what they say about tight ends being a quarterbacks best friend. Well the Rams just picked up a new best friend for Sam Bradford. One of my top rated tight ends, easily out shines Rudolph with his versatility.

48. Oakland Raiders select; Stefen Wisniewski, OL.
I can see already I'm going to enjoy typing that name out through out the season, providing we have one (more on that later). The trouble with Stefen (ah-ha!) is that his pass blocking is good, but his run blocking is bad, which doesn't bode well for a team that will want to make use of a fairly solid ground game from last year.

49. Indianapolis Colts select; Ben Ijalana, OL.
Run of the mill tackle. Nothing special. Peyton Manning will make sure he ends up looking like a great pick.

50. San Diego Chargers select; Marcus Gilchrist, DB.
Range is good, but tackling and instincts leave a lot to be desired. Not that it really matters on the Chargers D which was number 1 ranked overall last year in the Regular season.

51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select; Da'Quan Bowers, DE.
There was quite a stink up over Bowers because his knee is the subject of much intrigue. Particularly amusing was listening to Rich Eisen whine about why Bowers hadn't been taken already, despite Mike Mayock, Fran Charles and Brian Billick repeatedly telling him it was due to concerns over the injury. Anyway, somebody ultimately bit, and it was the Buccaneers. Good luck with that. Apparently he'll have to be managed closely through training camp and to be honest I don't rate Bowers all that highly. He has some talent when you get him out in the open, but get a block him and 99/100 times it's over.

52. New York Giants select; Marvin Austin, DL.
I'm still not sure about Austin, who's missed an entire year of football. Will he walk back onto the field and resume business as usual? He was superb in 2009, but that was a long time ago. At least he's landed in the best possible spot, with a strong Head Coach, talented D-coordinator, and plenty of good role models around him.

53. Chicago Bears select; Stephen Paea, DL.
Would have happily taken Paea in the first. This is another great addition to a defense that has been building since free agency last year. Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije on the outside, plus this beast up the middle means the Bears are going to be fielding a tough D-line.

54. Philadelphia Eagles select; Jaiquawn Jarrett, S.
"Scrabble" as I shall forever nickname him. Excellent safety fills a perfect role for the Eagles. Good pick.

55. Kansas City Chiefs select; Rodney Hudson, OG.
I've gone a little colder on Hudson recently, but I think it's just a case of being too nit picky. Overall I think Hudson is a solid guard.

56. New England Patriots select; Shane Vereen, RB.
Great pick. Vereen has the speed and agility to really add a change of pace to the Patriots offense. Like it.

57. Detroit Lions select; Mikel Leshoure, RB.
Leshoure is basically a complete all around back who should excel at this new level. Question mark over how many carries he'll get what with Kevin Smith and Jahvid Best currently leading the way in Detroit, but maybe that's Jim Schwartz's master plan, to run the ball more, take the pressure off Stafford and play solid D.

58. Baltimore Ravens select; Torrey Smith, WR.
For me, one of the best receivers in this draft. Very consistent from play to play, a great route technician, and I feel he'll cope much better than his peers with the transition to the higher level. At times he plays like a veteran receiver. And it fills a big position issue for the Ravens. Excellent pick.

59. Cleveland Browns select; Greg Little, WR.
A talented wide receiver, but I can see trouble ahead. Can't help finishing plays with a bit of smack talk or some insult or gesture. Which reminds me a lot of a young Terrell Owens. That's a double edged sword if ever there was one. Probably a little more physical than T-O and may yet pan out to be a great receiver.

60. Houston Texans select; Brandon Harris, CB.
Excellent all round corner. Just the recipe that the Texans needed. Made all the more fun if he succeeds because former Texans GM Charley Casserly derided him as being nothing more than a fourth string corner.

61. San Diego Chargers select; Jonas Mouton, LB.
Can run at times, but largely a non factor from my recollection. Not a fan of this pick.

62. Miami Dolphins select; Daniel Thomas, RB.
A weird player. Physically he doesn't bring much to the table, but just has an uncanny knack of finding holes and working his way through.

63. Pittsburgh Steelers select; Marcus Gilbert, OL.
Anyone would think that the Steelers have an O-linemen on their team who they're really happy about who used to play at Florida... I hate Gilbert. O-line hasn't exactly been the Steelers forte in recent years and it looks like it might stay that way.

64. Green Bay Packers select; Randall Cobb, WR.
Cobb is a smart, talented receiver. I pondered that if he was tied together with a good QB he could go on to great things. Well, he's got Aaron Rodgers which is a pretty good start. The Packers meanwhile get another weapon to play opposite Jennings. Obviously they're not that keen on bringing back their free agents at that position. Nor will they need to by the looks of it.

Round Three:

65. Carolina Panthers select; Terrell McClain, DL.
Impressive speed and agility for a big guy. He should benefit from the overall quality of the Panthers D-line.

66. Cincinnati Bengals select; Dontay Moch, DE.
Technically a D-linemen, but I can't see him having the strength to pull it off. He has speed, but once tackles get their hands on him I think he'll struggle.

67. Denver Broncos select; Nate Irving, LB.
Speed is a question mark, but tackling and instincts very good. Given the issues the Broncos have had with their linebackers, this should be a welcome addition. The Broncos are really pulling out the stops to mold together the base of a good defense in this draft.

68. Buffalo Bills select; Kelvin Sheppard, LB.
Honestly, no idea. Haven't seen more than a few snaps.

69. Arizona Cardinals select; Robert Housler, TE.
Not a bad overall tight end, but a little underwhelming. Everything is just, ok.

70. Kansas City Chiefs select; Justin Houston, OLB.
Needs to work on his technique against the run, but he provides buckets of speed to line up opposite Tamba Hali. Could become a deadly duo in short order.

71. Dallas Cowboys select; DeMarco Murray, RB.
Excellent back, really good. But I have to ask this question; why? The Cowboys have more running backs than Gods fantasy team. Why invest in yet another that they're not going to use because they only run the ball about ten times per game?

72. New Orleans Saints select; Martez Wilson, LB.
I think the Saints were hoping they would get a pass rushing beast. Wilson is anything but.

73. New England Patriots select; Stevan Ridley, RB.

74. New England Patriots select; Ryan Mallett, QB.
Now here is a name I recognise. It seems a little odd but you have to remember a few things, such as Brady getting older and more injury prone, and the possibility of Belichick developing Mallett, showing him off in his shiny offense, then flogging him to the Raiders in two years time for a hoard of picks. Very surprised that Mallett fell though. Easily the best QB in this class, character concerns be damned. Bloody 49ers.

75. Seattle Seahawks select; John Moffitt, OG.
A great pick, good value for where they got him. Should especially help their rushing attack which became a focus later in the year in 2010.

76. Jacksonville Jaguars select; William Rackley, OL.
Couldn't find any film.

77. Tennessee Titans select; Jurrell Casey, DL.
I have to say it now but by my assessment, and I admit that I am a mere blogging goon, the Titans are having a crapper of a draft. Really bad. I got bored watching Casey's film because he did nothing and never remotely looked like he would.

78. St. Louis Rams select; Austin Pettis, WR.
As a catcher Pettis is very good, but I don't see many explosive plays on the board for him. More of a red zone guy perhaps. Still, another tool for Bradford to work with.

79. Washington Redskins select; Leonard Hankerson, WR.
Lot of respect for Hankerson. Great wide out who should make the Redskins a better offense, no matter who plays at the quarterback position.

80. San Francisco 49ers select; Chris Culliver, DB.
One of the many safeties I didn't get a decent look at. I just have this bad feeling.

81. Oakland Raiders select; DeMarcus Van Dyke, DB.
Surprise, surprise. Chosen for his speed no doubt, but lacks any form of physical presence on the field.

82. San Diego Chargers select; Vincent Brown, WR.
Great hands coupled with great route running equals another great weapon for the Chargers. Their passing game just got even more frightening, if that's even possible.

83. New York Giants select; Jerrel Jernigan, WR.
Very sound, very complete receiver. I have to question why the Giants went this way though. They have far more pressing needs, like linebacker for a start. Their depth chart is loaded with good receiving talent already. Ah well, just got a little better.

84. Tampa Bay Buccanners select; Mason Foster, LB.
Tackles well, but pass coverage is not much use, which could be problematic playing in the Buc's 4-3 scheme.

85. Baltimore Ravens select; Jah Reid, OT.
Reid is an excellent prospect who should help the Ravens shore up a line that has not pulled its weight lately. Drop him straight in at right tackle and away you go.

86. Kansas City Chiefs select; Allen Bailey, DL.
Quick, but a lot left to be desired technique wise. With guys like Christian Ballard still on the board I can't say I like this pick much.

87. Indianapolis Colts select; Drake Nevis, DT.
I have Nevis pegged as potentially being the B.J. Raji of this group. Quick, powerful, great use of the hands. Fitting into the middle of that D-line with Freeney and Mathis will make them better as he brings the heat up the middle.

88. New Orleans Saints select; Johnny Patrick, CB.
Excellent corner with plenty of potential still left in him for development. Put that alongside Tracey Porter and Jabari Greer and you have the makings of a great nickel package.

89. San Diego Chargers select; Shareece Wright, CB.
Not a bad little corner right there. That defense is a good fit.

90. Philadelphia Eagles select; Curtis Marsh, CB.
Pass coverage is ok. The Eagles do need help in the secondary.

91. Atlanta Falcons select; Akeem Dent, LB.
Haven't seen any film, can't comment.

92. Oakland Raiders select; Joseph Barksdale, OL.
Good run blocking, rubbish pass blocking, which for a tackle should be considered a significant problem.

93. Chicago Bears select; Chris Conte, S.
No film, no comment. Yet.

94. New York Jets select; Kenrick Ellis, DL.
Same as above.

95. Pittsburgh Steelers select; Curtis Brown, DB.
Haven't seen any film yet, but impressive in the drills at the combine for what that's worth.

96. Green Bay Packers select; Alex Green, RB.
Another "no filmer". Of all the bloody players I've watched, and now four in five picks that I haven't seen.

97. (compensatory) Carolina Panthers select; Sione Fua, DL.
Five out of six? Now you're just taking the piss.

Now earlier I mentioned about "if" we get football this season, because in case you didn't know, the lockout is back on again after an appeal by the NFL. They've been granted a temporary stay pending a more permanent decision on their appeal, which means that teams will be locking players out of their facilities once more.

Honestly, yes it is starting to get very tiresome. I was on the owners side to start with but now I'm starting to begrudge both parties. But still, I look at it this way; as a fan, it's in my long term interest and bizarrely the long term interest of about 60% or more of the current players to see the owners win, so anything that helps that should be seen as a bonus.

It's a messed up world when most of the less well off players in the NFL are relying on an ownership win to serve their best cause.

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