Monday, April 20, 2009

The Draft Buzz...

Greetings, G-Force.

Yes, I am a football nerd. And, yes, therefore, the NFL Draft is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Admittedly, I’m a total amateur, but nonetheless, I like to scout college players during the season to project their NFL careers. Often times, I’m wrong. Dead wrong. However, on occasion, I put Kiper & McShay to shame. At one time, I thought Ben Troupe would be a Pro Bowl TE. He has been FAR from it, but I’d still argue that, in some way, he was a victim of circumstance and landed in an offensively deficient program that did not utilize his skills to full capacity. I try to forget those predictions. Instead, I remember the ones in which I predicted that Steve Slaton would be among the elite or that I listed Chevis Jackson among the best of last year’s CB’s…definitely ahead of Patrick Lee. I also stand by the prediction that Brian Brohm does not translate into a legitimate NFL QB. On the last two points, I hope I end up dead wrong. Thus far, I’m spot on. Regardless, if I’m wrong, I can still write this silly blog with no worries. If Ted Thompson is wrong this weekend, he could end up looking for employment post the 2009 NFL Season.

Sadly, due to minimal free time and computer access, I will not be able to go as deep into the draft as I’d like via the blog. However, I would not be doing this blog justice if I did not apply some final draft thoughts. So here goes:

I argue that this years NFL Draft could determine the legacy of Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy. We have 5 of the top 109 selections in a draft where there will not be all that much of a difference between pick 20 and pick 120. How much better will Darius Butler be than Victor Harris? What about Vontae Davis and Mike Mickens? DJ Moore or Asher Allen? Hell, I’d prefer Allen!

Look at DT, Sen’Derrick Marks, Jarron Gilbert, and Fili Maola are projected as 2nd to 3rd rounders, but I’d rather have Myron Pryor in the 4th to 5th. Evander Hood is viewed as a potential 1st round talent. I’d put Pryor in the same breath as Hood.

It becomes really interesting when you look at the 3-4 OLB players. How much better is Sintim than Follett? One could argue that Follett may end up as a better pro player than Brian Cushing, if Follett ends us in a 3-4 and he can put on 10lbs. Follett can play every down! Can Clay Matthews or Brian Cushing? Can Aaron Maybin? Can Everette Brown? Yet, I’m convinced that with 10lbs, Follett can be an every down player. Matthews, Cushing, Maybin, & Brown are all considered top 25 picks. Follett is viewed as a 4th rounder. To me, Follett defines ‘roid rage. I’ll take him in Round 3.

At TE, Bear Pascoe can be had in the 5th round? Yet, he might be the best in-line blocker in the draft. He has soft hands. He can catch the ball in traffic. And, the first man almost never brings him down by himself. He might be a possession TE, but look at what Chmura, Bavaro & Christensen did for their teams. Or, on a much smaller scale, look at what Kevin Boss did for Eli. Pascoe will help on 3rd and 1 goal line situations. This is a no-brainer. I like Ingram, Beckum, and Coffman, but none of the 3 can block. They’re all pass catchers. They’re also considered 2nd to 3rd rounders.

Round 1: I assume that there is no chance that these guys are available: Stafford, Curry, J. Smith, and Monroe. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Going into the season, the Packers need a defense with a “No Surrender. No Retreat.” mentality. This attitude has to be established through the draft. I understand we have pains at Right Tackle. In my mind, we can figure that one out later. Think Bruce Wilkerson.

Breaking it down to the simplest, I would be stoked if we selected one of the following:
- BJ Raji: We need help at DT. Pickett broke down last year. There is a mammoth difference between Raji and every other DT in the draft, with the exception of Peria Jerry.
- Malcolm Jenkins: From the sounds of it, he’s dropping FAST due to his 40 time. This does not concern me all that much. He’s a football player and plays fast on the field. We might be able to slide down a couple of spots and still get him.
- Michael Crabtree: If he falls to us, this has to be the pick. He’s far too talented to let him pass us by. The last time we let a premier WR fall past us was in 1998 when we selected Vonnie Holliday over Randy Moss. We all know how that one ended up.

I’d also be fine if we selected one of these guys:
- Jeremy Maclin: He possesses true playmaking ability. Whether it’s on special teams or as a receiver, he’s a threat to take it to the house.
- Andre Smith: You cannot argue with his film. The offseason jargon concerns me, but we do have issues at RT and if Thompson feels that this is the biggest area of need, I would understand the pick. Not my ideal choice, but I’ll be OK with it.
- Michael Oher: He’s supposedly flying up the charts. While Andre Smith has dropped, Oher has skyrocketed.
- Brian Orakpo: I think he is the best pure pass-rusher in the draft. Is he an every down player? In a 3-4 defense, I’m not positive that he fits the bill. Regardless, I’d appreciate the selection. We need to attack the QB.

I do not want Everette Brown or Aaron Maybin with our 1st round selection.

I’d be ecstatic if we traded down. Are the Broncos an option for their #’s 12 and 48. Sanchez could be available at 9. If so, let’s get down! If we were to trade down to the 16-22 range, Peria Jerry is a great option at DT. Robert Ayers is also someone to consider.

But, from all that I read & hear, it appears that the Packers will select Tyson Jackson. He’s viewed as the best 3-4 DE in the draft. One should note that he played in a 4-3 for the better part of his college career. It’s funny as I found some old chicken scratch that I had compiled over the last 3 years. Early last year, I wrote the following: “Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU, pass rusher.” To me, he’s disappointed as he’s aged. At one point, I looked at him as though he was dominant at the point of attack. Physical. Full of desire. Aggressive. But, last year, I was disappointed in his play. He was banged up and, in my mind, lazy at times. As a sophomore, he had 10 sacks. As a junior and a senior, he combined for 8.5 sacks. Why the decline? Is it the Glenn Dorsey factor? Any way, he’s 6-4 1/8 and 296lbs. He can add weight. We need bodies on the DL. He’s dreaded. Hence, we fit. I’m not over the top enamored with him, but I’d like the pick – especially if we drafted a 3-4 OLB to play next to him in the 2nd round.

Round 2: If Michael Johnson is there, draft him! The major knock on Johnson is his desire – he takes plays off. Isn’t that why we brought Kevin Greene into our program? Johnson has Pro-Bowl talent. He has a little Jason Taylor in him. If Greene cannot bring this out of Johnson – who could? Plus, we got rid of our #93 this offseason, so the jersey number has opened up for him. He may have to battle Tyson Jackson for it, but that’d be fun competition. I can picture it now – Jackson at #93, Johnson at #90. Lined up right next to each other. Anchors of the right side of our defense for the next decade. Bringing attitude. This is an immediate solution to all of our pains on the right side of our defensive line!

If Johnson is gone, I’d be interested in the following: Sean Smith, Lawrence Sidbury, Larry English, Vontae Davis, Connor Barwin, LeSean McCoy, Percy Harvin, Ron Brace, and Clint Sintim.

I’d be OK with the following: Shonn Greene, Rashad Johnson, Donald Brown, Brian Robiskie, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Darius Butler, Patrick White, and Alex Magee. In some of these guys cases, it is probably too early to draft them, but I still think they are good football players. In others, they most likely won’t be available.

As 2nd round picks, I don’t want: Jared Cook, Cornelius Ingram, Shawn Nelson, Jarron Gilbert, Chris Wells, Mohammad Massoquai, Derrick Williams, Louis Delmas, Alphonso Smith (though he can play, he’s too small to cover the likes of Calvin Johnson), William Moore, Ziggy Hood, James Laurinaitis, or Patrick Chung. It’s not that I don’t like some of these guys, it’s just that I don’t think they fit into what we’re trying to construct at this point of the draft. If we can get one of these guys in a later round, I’d consider it. Of this list, the only guy I have ZERO interest in is Derrick Williams.

Round 3: Zach Follett, ‘nuff said.

I also think that the 3rd round is a great spot to add a CB. I’d look into Victor Harris, Mike Mickens, Sherrod Martin, Asher Allen and Coye Francies. I also see value in Keenan LewisAgain, I don’t want DJ Moore. I’m not overly stoked about Kevin Barnes.

***Let me pound my chest for a bit – I see in a lot of places that Bradley Fletcher, CB, Iowa is listed as a 3rd or 4th round pick. Remember that you heard of him HERE – yes, in this blog – FIRST. His name was not listed on or at You heard his name right here – If, that is, you were paying attention. I would not select him above Harris, Mickens or Allen. Martin and Francies are getting a lot of publicity in Miami newspapers, but this might be too early to draft either of them.***

Round 4: I’d like Javon Ringer at this pick – if he’s available. But, this is probably a good time to select a DT. I’m still committed to Myron Pryor at this point. If you are to start looking into small division prospects, this is a time to look at Sammie Lee Hill. Others to consider are Ricky Jean-Francois, Clinton McDonald or Terrance Taylor. Other than Pryor, Taylor impresses me the most because I think he has a ton of upside if he is motivated.

Round 5: Bear Pascoe! The Packers are drafting the Bear!

Round 6: If Brandon Tate is available, this has to be the guy. But, chances are that someone will grab him before this. So, I’m turning to a LB. Robert Francois, Willie Williams or Tyrell Sales are all options. Francois comes from BC. Remember that BC was coached by Jeff Jagodzinski who comes from McCarthy’s system. You know that he’s familiar with the Green Bay Way. Francois is a special teams wedge buster. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy who simply loves to play football. On the contrary, Williams & Sales are tremendous athletes with all the skills in the world. However, these guys can’t keep themselves on the field. Williams was once the prized possession of the “U.” Now, he’s looking for a chance at redemption. Sales arrived at Penn State – full of optimism, full of promise. As he began to realize his potential, the problems came. He could be a late round gem – if he can stay out of trouble. Another trouble guy that might find his way around this slot is Jaison Williams.

Round 6: Arian Foster is a name to consider. If the guy could hang onto the ball, he’d be a 2nd round pick. Problem is that he loses focus and becomes lackadaisical. Who better to learn from than Edgar? Foster has the talent to be an NFL starter. I’d also look at another DE, such as Jeremy Navarre. He’s a big body who would add competition. If the move is to add a DE, other names to look at are George Hypolite and Will Johnson. Both spent time at DT in college, but could transition to a DE spot in the 3-4. You also can’t hate on Terrill Byrd’s production from the DT spot. Guy can simply get into the offensive backfield. Brandon Underwood at CB is also a solid value pick at this spot.

Round 7: I’m taking a shot at a small school playmaker. Names that interest me are Josh Vaughan, Dudley Guice, Greg Toler, Don Carey, Vaughn Martin, Jason Williams, Johnny Knox or Rashad Jennings. Someone who performed at peak levels against lower competition. All might end up as lower division gems at the next level. Think Ahmad Bradshaw, Marques Colston.

Here’s a list of guys that I’ll be watching in rounds 5-7 (some may end up as 4th rounders, but, oh well):

RB: Josh Vaughan, Arian Foster, Ian Johnson, James Davis, Rashad Jennings, Mike Goodson (solid 3rd down back), Devin Moore, Gartrell Johnson, and Javarris Williams.

WR: Johnny Knox, Dudley Guice, Brandon Tate, Kenny McKinley, Patrick Turner, Jamarko Simmons, Michael Jones, and Jaison Williams.

TE: John Nalborne, Jared Bronson, Dan Gronkowski, Brandon Myers, David Johnson, and Brandon Ledbetter. All seem to be low round picks who have the ability to be blocking TE’s and possession receivers.

FB: Brannan Southerland

DE: David Veikune, Philip Hunt (probably 4th round), Mitch King (probably 4th round), Jeremy Navarre, Will Johnson, Zach Potter, and George Hypolite.

DT: Vaughn Martin, Marlon Favorite, Terrill Byrd, and Demonte Bolden.

ILB: Scott McKillop, Ronnie Palmer

OLB: Robert Francois, Jason Williams, Kaluka Maiava, Brandon Williams, Willie VanDeSkees, Ian Campbell, Kirston Pittman, Brian Toal, Tyrell Sales, Willie Williams.

CB: Brandon Underwood, Don Carey, Greg Toler, DeAngelo Smith, London Fryar, Jacob Lacey and DeAndre Wright

S: David Bruton (probably 4th round), Chris Clemons (4th round), Derek Pegues (4th round), Troy Nolan, Otis Wiley, Kevin Ellison, Lendy Holmes, Terence Moore, and Keith Fitzhugh.

I’m hoping to provide light thoughts on each of these guys before draft day…if time permits.

Any way, this draft could depend on Mark Sanchez. Let’s hope he’s available at #9. This will provide options and the ability for Ted Thompson to work his draft day trading magic. An ideal scenario:

1.) Lions – Stafford
2.) Rams – J Smith
3.) Chiefs – Curry
4.) Seahawks – Monroe
5.) Browns – Orakpo
6.) Bengals – A Smith
7.) Raiders – Crabtree
8.) Jaguars – Maclin
9.) Packers!!!

This would allow options. Raji, Jenkins, Jackson would all be available. But, the best option would be to slide down and add another pick or two inside the top 120. If we could end up with 7 of the top 120, we’d be in position to WIN THE DRAFT! Right now, we have 5 of them.

So, since Sanchez is a Mexican. I’m having a theme party at my place on Saturday night. It’s the Mexican-Wisconsin party. Mexican Food. Mexican Beer. Tequila. WI cheese. WI beer. And hopefully, some Mexican luck. Vargas, got any pull, bro?

Hey Ted, Make It Happen!

Time to Roll, Baby!

Talkin’ S-Mac.


Stack said...

The 2009 NFL Draft is nearly upon us. I have been researching pony kegs of local micros. I have been clipping coupons to buy shrimp in bulk. I am testing my phone in every corner of the house and charging it nightly. I am warning females and family that I will be inaccessible on many levels. I have been looking up Gary Reasons highlights on YouTube...

Here they are by the way...and get this, it's his kid auditioning to be an intern. Tremendous video. Remember this game as a kid, such a throwback, and what an LB corps...don't miss Gary sneaking the punt at 3 minutes, don't miss the killer bio shot at 4:40 and don't miss the goal line stand at 4:57. It's unhealthy how many times I've watched this...

Suffice to say, I'm into this. Football is king. Period. And for the eye-rollers out there, look, I'm ready to puke from all the personal footage of Mark Sanchez too. Seems like a great kid, but enough. The whole format, the first two rounds...I have to work Saturday and I'm not even concerned with missing that portion of the draft. High drama, to be sure, but looking forward to the mining in the later rounds.

Information is spewing about. At this point, you don't know what to believe. Tyson Jackson to Kansas City, Sanchez to Seattle, Raji to Cleveland. I have also heard that Jacksonville's #8 is a target for a potential Sanchez trade. I have a sinking feeling in my stomach that Raji will not see number nine. The guy closes so well. I miss you already.

Let me pose a scenario:

1. Stafford / Lions
2. Smith / Rams
3. Jackson / K.C.
-remember Pioli drafted Seymour, but he signed Vrabel as a FA.
4. Sanchez / Seattle
-his value could land him here for Seattle or someone else.
5. Raji / Cleveland.
-best player available. and he fits.
6. Smith / Cincy
-seems so likely
7. Crabtree / Oakland
8. Maclin / Jax
9. ... / Pack

It's possible Raji slides to us. It's possible we draft Tyson Jackson or Andre Smith. A year ago Keith Rivers was taken #9, could we see Aaron Curry?

I don't know, I'm just a hack. I do know this though; if you had asked me one year ago if I would take Malcolm Jenkins with my first round pick, I would have heartily said yes. I want Raji. However, if the above scenario plays out, with both Raji and Tyson Jackson off the board, I am not sure I would feel comfortable moving off the nine spot risking Jenkins.

I see Jackson as stiff. Not saying I wouldn't take him, but he just looks stiff to me. Confused a bit by the universal praise he seems to be garnering as of late. Again, I'm an outsider.

If we're left to choose without a top DL, for me it has to be Jenkins or an LB. Jenkins I would take at nine. For an LB, I would move down. I think, flatly stated, Jenkins brings the most potential impact. Great addition to a great environment. Arguably the best football player available.

The LBs are a good crop. If Curry falls, I'd be interested. Never thought we'd lay a hand on him. Who knows. After that, it's Orakpo for me. I like Orakpo for what he is, but do worry about him in coverage. Smart enough guy to learn, but you just don't see the instinct in coverage. Maybin, I think, has this spatial instinct, but I don't care for him. Plays a little high for me. Great build, tremendous body type. Just doesn't seem to have his power behind him, which I think will get him blown off his angle in the pros.

Macho Harris can explode off the surface. Have seen that from him. Felt the same way about Patrick Lee last year. Guy could just explode off of the spot. Still believe in Lee and think his coverage was excellent. Made some mistakes, not a tackling heavyweight, but I think he's going to be a player. Always have. I ride with P. Lee.

Not impressed with Veiekune. Have put undue attention on him in watching Hawaii games. Not impressed.

I think 2:9 is where we take our OLB. None of them are good enough for #9. It's a deep class of good players at the position. We stand to get great value here because of it.

We've got two picks in the third. I am in full concord with Zach Follett. I don't need a different take cause I don't want a different take. Follett. Green Bay.

With the second pick in the third, I'm hoping Bruton is available. Nice athleticism, heady, will get better. Place him among the pimps. Special teams stud contributor.

Ricky Jean-Francois interests me, played the end and then moved inside. Think he will develop really well. Might prefer to take him late as opposed to Jackson early. Is it possible Jean-Francois has the greater upside?

Terrance Taylor, when will my obsession with you end?

I like Pryor for all the reasons mentioned. Makes plays late. Gets the ball out. Hypolite has shown up when I've been watching. We need to give Vaughn Martin a shot.

Give Jeff MacPherson a FA contract if you're worried about FB.

Looking forward to the weekend. Hopefully the Bears blow it.


Talkin' S-Mac said...

Stack, good stuff.

Quick thoughts on David Veikune...I never saw him play at Hawaii. I saw him at the Combine and he did not overly impress me. But, this video is what encouraged me:

I like his side to side agility. I like how he ends the video dropping in coverage enough so that it piqued my interest. Could he possibly play the OLB spot in a 3-4? Also, in every picture that I have ever seen of him, he looks like a mass murderer. Our defense needs a little attitude.

Oh, how can I forget two guys that impressed me in Oregon State's victory over USC. Brandon Hughes was the MAN that day. Especially on crossing routes in the 1st half. Undersized. Tackles high. But, plays with a big heart. Worth considering late.

Also have to look into Keenan Lewis. Due to his size, he'll get a better look than Hughes. Definitely will get drafted higher. But, I'm not convinced he's the better player. Hughes is smaller, but tougher and a better tackler. Both turn and see the ball in the air. Lewis is better at winning jump balls, but Hughes will knock them away. During the season, I gave a pretty decent take on Hughes. But, guy is not afraid and worth considering as an undrafted FA or late round pick.

Look into Western Illinois' Jason Williams.

Also check out Johnny Knox. Could he be the next Wes Welker?

I am interested in Tyson Jackson b/c there is not another guy his size in the draft and the Packers don't seem interested in Vonnie Holliday. Jeremy Navarre is big, but I don't know much about him.

Taurus Johnson showed promise at South Florida, but was extremely inconsistent.

Totally get your buzz on Malcolm Jenkins. Plus, he wore #2 in college. Guy has such style. Such grace. He'd be sweet! And, yes, last year we drooled over the prospects of seeing him in Green & Gold.

My final mock draft is:

1.) Tyson Jackson. The Packers need big bodies. I'm not convinced that Raji will be available. I don't think Thompson will draft a CB in the 1st round. We need to become more physical at the line of scrimmage.

2.) Michael Johnson. It has to happen. It has to. If I could have one wish from this weekend, it'd be to have MJ. Give me #93. The rest will take care of itself.

3a.) Zach Follett. The OLB position is the most vital spot in a 3-4 defense. Time to load up. Follett fits.

3b.) Javon Ringer. I'm not convinced that B-Jack has the ability. Lumpkin & Wynn have failed to stay healthy. Ringer has home run potential. He'd be a terrific 3rd down back. Plays a lot faster than he timed.

4.) Asher Allen. Pimp with a limp. He also wore #2 in college. He's undersized, but he took away a side of the field. Literally. Teams feared him. Thompson won't draft him because he's not even 5-10, but I like his game.

5.) Bear Pascoe. Every time I try to think of putting someone else's name in the spot, I ask myself, "Why?"

6a.) Robert Francois. We need LB's. This guy wants it. It's his dream to be an NFL LB. Worth a pick.

6b.) Michael Jones. When Georgia play Arizona State at ASU this year, Jones was the only guy that seemed like he belonged for the Sun Devils. He caught my eye. In fact, he got me out of my chair during one stretch. Thompson loves WR's. Jones is an athlete. He's got the size to create mismatches.

7.) I can't believe that Terrill Byrd is not drawing more attention. Over the last two years he has 27 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He was an integral figure in the middle of the Bearcats defense. He dominated the Orange Bowl. Yet, he gets little interest from anyone. Worth a late look.

2 more sleeps!

Stack said...

I need twelve seconds of your time. I need all of you to view this. It's the Raji/Matthews press conference. Bring the video to the 5:10 mark and watch Raji's face.

I will have dreams of Raji making those faces at Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Jay Cutler, and, I'm not going to say it...

Stack said...
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