Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

2016 NFL Mock Draft

Posted: April 28, 2016 in Browns, Football
Tags: , ,

nfl-draftjpg-378f5ebfae38ab00This mock draft was done by myself and Sean Rhodes, from Phil Steele Publications. With the No. 8 Pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select….

  1. Los Angeles Rams (trade via Tennessee): Jared Goff (QB) – California
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (trade via Cleveland): Carson Wentz (QB) – North Dakota St
  3. San Diego Chargers: DeForest Buckner (DL) – Oregon
  4. Dallas Cowboys: Joey Bosa (DL) – Ohio State
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey (DB) – Florida St
  6. Baltimore Ravens: Myles Jack (LB) – UCLA
  7. San Francisco 49ers: Laremy Tunsil (OL) – Mississippi
  8. Cleveland Browns (trade via Philadelphia through Miami): Vernon Hargreaves (DB) – Florida
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ronnie Stanley (OL) – Notre Dame
  10. New York Giants: Ezekiel Elliott (RB) – Ohio State
  11. Chicago Bears: Jack Conklin (OL) – Michigan St
  12. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins (DL) – Lousiville
  13. Miami Dolphins (trade via Philadelphia): Eli Apple (DB) – Ohio State
  14. Oakland Raiders: A’Shawn Robinson (DL) – Alabama
  15. Tennessee Titans (trade via Los Angeles): Taylor Decker (OL) – Ohio State
  16. Detroit Lions: Reggie Ragland (LB) – Alabama
  17. Atlanta Falcons: Leonard Floyd (LB) – Georgia
  18. Indianapolis Colts: Darron Lee (LB) – Ohio State
  19. Buffalo Bills: Shaq Lawson (DL) – Clemson
  20. New York Jets: Paxton Lynch (QB) – Memphis
  21. Washington Redskins: Ryan Kelly (OL) – Alabama
  22. Houston Texans: Corey Coleman (WR) – Baylor
  23. Minnesota Vikings: Laquon Treadwell (WR) – Mississippi
  24. Cincinnati Bengals: Keanu Neal (DB) – Florida
  25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mackensie Alexander (CB) – Clemson
  26. Seattle Seahawks: Jarran Reed (DL) – Alabama
  27. Green Bay Packers: Andrew Billings (DL) – Baylor
  28. Kansas City Chiefs: Will Fuller (WR) – Notre Dame
  29. Arizona Cardinals: Karl Joseph (DB) – West Virginia
  30. Carolina Panthers: Robert Nkemdiche (DL) – Mississippi
  31. Denver Broncos: Chris Jones (DL) – Mississippi St

 

Note: The New England Patriots forfeited their 1st round pick due to penalties handed down from “Deflategate.”

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With news that Robert Griffin III (RGIII) was in Cleveland over the weekend, there should be a real possibility that the Browns brass would make an offer to the former No. 2 overall pick from the 2012 draft. The Browns failed in an attempt to trade up in that draft to take the Heisman Trophy winner and now have a chance to get him on their roster.

Make no mistake, RGIII can spin it. Often mistaken for a runner first, passer second, anyone who watched him play while at Baylor, knows he is a quarterback that just so happens to be able to tuck and run when the situation calls for it. Sure, he can run the zone read offense as he did when he was named the NFL rookie of the year in 2012, but that was due to the Redskins trying to take advantage of a skill set that most NFL defenses weren’t used to defending. That also is a recipe for disaster as quarterbacks shouldn’t be taking hits from defenders on nearly every play.

After winning the Heisman Trophy at Baylor of all places, scouts were salivating at RGIII’s skill set. There was some consideration (however brief) as to who would be the overall No. 1 pick, which would eventually (and rightfully so) go to Andrew Luck.

RGIII set a rookie record with a 102.4 quarterback rating, had a phenomenal 20-5 touchdown to interception ratio, and led the Redskins to their first playoff appearance since 2007. After spraining his knee late in the season, RGIII missed one game (against the Browns) before returning for the finale, but then suffered a torn ACL to the same weakened knee in an opening round playoff loss.

Things have gone downhill ever since.

In 2013, despite not playing a single down in the pre-season as he was still rehabbing, RGIII returned for the opener. He ended up throwing for more yards while completing over 60% of his passes on the season, but the Redskins struggled and he clearly wasn’t able to take advantage of his agility as he was less then a year removed from major knee surgery. He was deactivated for the final three games of the season with the reason being to avoid further injury.

RGIII was 100% entering the 2014 season, but suffered a dislocated left ankle in the second game of the season. After missing six games, he returned but was ineffective in three losses and was benched in favor of former Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, who was named the starter over an ineffective Kirk Cousins as Griffin rehabbed his ankle. RGIII returned after McCoy was injured for the final two games of the season, throwing for a season high 336 yards in the finale.

RGIII was in line to be the starter last year, but suffered a concussion in the second preseason game and was inactive the entire year.

A change of scenery is just what RGIII needs. We in Cleveland know about dysfunctional organizations and the Redskins are right up there with the Browns in terms of dysfunction. The Redskins are a team that is having discussions about building a moat around their stadium. I always thought moats were to keep people out, but hey, that’s the Redskins for you. Its not a crazy thought to think that Washington just didn’t know how to handle his personality. Again, the Redskins are far from a stable franchise, having won 10 or more games just once in the last 10 years (2012).

The quarterback position is a fragile one in the NFL. A guy can have all of the physical skills in the world, but it doesn’t matter one iota. Sure RGIII is a bit of a loner, but could it be because he was raised in a military family? I know first hand about that experience. It’s hard to become close with people when you are forced to move every two to three years. That said, he comes from a strong family, with high values, which is the total opposite of what the Browns have had in their locker room the last two seasons.

The Browns have hired EXTREMELY smart people to run their franchise, and I’d be willing to bet that they would do everything in their power to make sure a quarterback with franchise changing skills is comfortable. Also, it’s not as if the Browns would have to offer RGIII a huge contract. They could sign him to an incentive laden deal, where both parties win if he pans out.

By signing RGIII, the Browns then can turn their attention to drafting a player at No. 2 overall that can help them win games right away, as opposed to any of the quarterbacks that all pose major question marks as the whether or not they can even play in this league.

otto graham

After Peyton Manning announced his retirement, among the most frequent questions asked was where he ranked among the all-time greatest quarterbacks. Was he better then Joe Montana? How about Brett Favre? Is he ahead or behind of John Elway, Johnny Unitas, and Terry Bradshaw? Even current players like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees often come up in these types of discussions. I’m not here to say none of the aforementioned quarterbacks weren’t or aren’t all-timers, but one player that consistently gets left out of this discussion is perhaps the GREATEST quarterback of all-time.

Cue the ESPN “30 for 30” theme. What if I told you there was a quarterback that played ten years professionally, went to ten Championship games, winning seven of them, was a first team All-Pro selection eight times, and was a three-time league MVP? And if I asked you to name that quarterback, most wouldn’t believe those stats to be real. Most would probably think that those accolades were built in “Dynasty mode” in the Madden football video game series. Well you would be wrong.

There actually was a quarterback who did ALL of those things! No it wasn’t Montana, Unitas, Elway, Bart Starr, or Joe Namath. As a matter of fact, the quarterbacks that are always mentioned as the all-time greats don’t even come close to having all of those accolades.

Want more? This quarterback, who again, is frequently left out of the discussion for the greatest quarterback ever, led the league in passing yards five of his ten years, led the league in quarterback rating five times, had the most touchdown passes in a season three times, led the league in completion percentage four times, and his 9.0 yards per attempt ranks No. 1 all-time in NFL history! Oh yeah, I already mentioned he took his team to TEN straight championship games, winning seven of them, right?

The quarterback I’m referring to is none other than Otto Graham. Unfortunately, because the NFL wants its fans to believe that football didn’t exist before the advent of the Super Bowl, his name hardly gets a mention. And most media members who draw up these lists, fail to take the time to do some actual research, leaving Graham as an afterthought.

Of course, when the next all-timer retires, the lists will come out again naming the best of all-time, and again, these lists will remain a joke as long as one name doesn’t appear on them. Otto Graham.

browns helmet

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Many clueless Cleveland media members as well as fans think the Browns should take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick in the upcoming NFL draft. The problem is there isn’t a franchise quarterback available in this years draft and by taking a quarterback at this spot, the Browns will again be reaching, just like they did when they took the undersized frat boy in 2014, Brandon Weeden in 2012, Brady Quinn in 2007, and Tim Couch in 1999. No matter how many years certain media members have covered this team, some just aren’t smart enough to realize this. Just like Tony Grossi from ESPN Cleveland. Here he is spitting his pitiful rhetoric.

http://espn.go.com/espnradio/playPopup?id=14870258

Here’s one from Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto.  Another clueless observation, but at least he is smart enough to agree with me about Joey Bosa.

http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/index.ssf/2016/02/cleveland_browns_should_pass_o_1.html

The Browns decision makers are Harvard educated, but let me tell you this. It doesn’t take a Harvard education to know that there are so many holes on the roster, the smart thing to do would be to trade down and accumulate talent. I know that’s not what Browns fans want to hear, but take your emotion out of the thought process, and you will realize that’s the best route to take.

I know that Josh McCown is not the long term solution for the Browns, but did you know that in the games he started & finished, the Browns averaged 25.8 ppg, which would’ve ranked No. 8 in the NFL? That goes to show what a veteran quarterback that understands the game can bring. Oh yeah, the games that the undersized frat boy started & finished, the Browns averaged 16.2 ppg, which would’ve ranked No. 31 in the league. If the Browns do select a quarterback in the draft (hopefully later on), the offense can still be well above average under McCown, who will also double as a phenomenal mentor to the future starter.

The main issue with the Browns is their defense, and that is the side of the ball that they should focus on in the draft. They finished No. 29 in the league, allowing 27.0 ppg. Oakland had their highest offensive yard output of the season against them. Both the Cardinals and Broncos had their 3rd most yards gained on the season, while the Titans & Chargers had their 4th best offensive yard output against them. In all, seven of the Browns 16 opponents had top 5 offensive yardage performances against the Browns.

Let me say, I’m a HUGE Ohio State Buckeye fan. That said, I also keep it real. If not a quarterback, the other player that mostly comes up at No. 2 for the Browns is Joey Bosa. This would be another reach of a pick. Bosa is a 265 pound defensive end. That’s great for a team that runs a 4-3 defense. The Browns, however, run a 3-4 that utilizes defensive ends that are closer to 300 pounds. Bosa would have to play outside linebacker, a position he never played in college and it would make no sense to use the No. 2 overall pick on a player that the Browns would have to move to a new position. A pick that high needs to contribute right away and Bosa would be learning a new position that he might never even excel at. If the Browns ran a 4-3 defense, I would like them to take him in a heartbeat, but he just doesn’t fit into their scheme.

Let me tell you why bad NFL teams/organizations struggle. They reach for players based on need in the draft, instead of choosing the best player available. Good to great teams that are only a piece or two away can get away with reaching, but bad teams that need help at multiple positions/units would be better served at improving their overall roster. Time and time again, however, teams like the Browns draft based on need, often times reaching for a player that isn’t as good as many still on the board, and time and time again, the results are poor & regimes are turned over once every two to three years. It’s mindboggling that NFL General Managers haven’t figured out this simple concept.

So who should the Browns draft if they keep the No. 2 pick? I’d go with either cornerback Jalen Ramsey from Florida State or inside linebacker Myles Jack from UCLA. The Browns missed badly on Justin Gilbert two years ago, and still need a consistent player opposite Joe Haden, and Ramsey maybe the best overall player in the draft. All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack was available for the Browns in 2014, but they chose instead to trade down and ended up with one of their worst top 10 picks in franchise history. Jack definitely has All-Pro level talent and also plays a position the Browns desperately need a playmaker at.

The next big “season” in the NFL off-season is the free agent signing period. While the Browns, like every other team will no doubt add players to their roster, there is no need to spend major money and earn the good graces of many unknowledgeable media members. Teams that end up making huge news during this period, don’t end up making news at the end of the season, unless it’s that they are firing their head coach and/or general manager.

Ok, back to quarterbacks. There’s one in this years draft that intrigues me. His name? Kevin Hogan from Stanford. He’s big and surprisingly mobile for his size and extremely smart. Stanford runs a pro-style offense and Hogan could be ready after a year on the bench. He could last until the third round and if he does, I wouldn’t be mad at the Browns for taking him.

1. The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the NBA Finals for the second time in team history and I’ve got one piece of advice for everyone out there. Enjoy it! No matter the outcome. Enjoy it! Sure I want to see them bring a championship to my city, but in the process of doing so, I’m going to soak in the entire atmosphere that being in the Finals bring. Most of you aren’t going to pay the steep price for playoff tickets (myself included) so do what I’m going to do. Buy a $5 ticket and go watch one of the road games at the Q with 20,000 other fans. While you won’t actually ‘be’ at the game, it’ll create a memory that you won’t forget. And it’s much more affordable!

2. Speaking of the Cavaliers, you know it’s a good thing when President Lincoln is also #AllinCle

3. I shared a video about Cavalier’s center Timofey Mozgov in an earlier blog and now here is a video about JR Smith. Grab a cigar and some cognac.

 

4. The MLB All-Star game is six weeks away and there are two Cleveland Indian position players that are worthy of All-Star consideration.

Second Baseman Jason Kipnis is coming off one of the greatest months in not just team history, but also MLB history and his .340 batting average is second best in the entire American League. He is in the top 10 in the AL in the following categories: Hits (2nd), runs (4th), doubles (3rd), triples (2nd), total bases (4th), on base % (4th), slugging % (9th) and OPS (6th). When it comes to the All-Star voting, however, Kipnis ranks a distant 4th, over 1.5 million votes behind the leader, Jose Altuve, of the Houston Astros.

Left fielder Michael Brantley, who finished third in last years MVP voting, is hitting .302, fifth best among AL outfielders. He is in the top 10 among outfielders in the following categories: Hits (5th), doubles (1st), RBI (4th), walks (4th), on base % (4th), slugging % (7th), and OPS (5th). Brantley is currently 7th in the All-Star voting  among outfielders, over 1 million votes behind 3rd place Alex Gordon of the Royals.

Do what I did and vote for these two as they both deserve to be on the team.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2015/ballot.jsp?tcid=ASG15_mlb_leftrailpromo

5. Speaking of the Tribe, remember when I said that reigning Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber would be just fine? Over his last four starts, Kluber is 3-0 with 50 strikeouts and  miniscule 1.41 ERA. He’s looking every bit like the Cy Young winner that we saw last season.

6. I recently heard there is a remake of one of my all time favorite movies, ‘Point Break.’  No, I’m not joking. Patrick Swayze has to be turning in his grave over this one. Why redo a movie that was already a classic and featured an ex Ohio State quarterback turned FBI agent chasing a group of bank robbing surfers? Like the Red Hot Chili Peppers Anthony Kiedis says in this scene, “That would be a waste of time.”

 

7. The latest addition to my guilty pleasure.

breds

8. I’m still a beginning smoker but I’m really enjoying it. The latest thing I smoked was St. Louis style ribs. The difference between these and baby backs are the St Louis style has more fat, which provides more flavor. I used apple wood to smoke and they turned out pretty good. I went 5 hours at 250 degrees, which was just a little too long, so I’m going to shorten them up next time.

ribs

9. Okay, back to sports. The College football season is less than 100 days away and the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this season according to the Vegas odds is Ohio State Buckeye running back Ezekiel Elliot. He’s even got his own hype video. Check it out.

 

10. Speaking of college football, we recently wrapped up the 2015 Phil Steele College Football Preview magazine, AKA the college football bible. That also means we’ve released our pre-season All-American teams. Notre Dame led the way with three 1st team All-Americans. To see the entire four team list click the link below.

http://philsteele.com/All_Conference/2015/2015%20Preseason/All-American.html

11. Floyd Mayweather is expected to return to the ring in September and many are wondering who his next opponent or vitctim will be. There has been plenty of talk about England’s Amir Khan getting the next shot at the pound for pound king but after his lackluster performance last week against Chris Algieri, he’ll likely be removed from the discussion. Why not give Miguel Cotto, who fights this weekend on HBO, a rematch? He gave Mayweather a good fight when the two shared the ring in 2012. Here’s his greatest hits for those that aren’t aware of what he brings to the table.

 

12. I haven’t written since the NFL draft took place and heading into the draft I was worried about the incompetence that the Cleveland Browns were likely going to show. Well I was relieved during the first round as I turned to my cousin and brother-in-law, who were with me at the Cleveland Convention Center for the draft party, and told them that this draft proves the team is trying to win games and not sell jersey’s like last season. I think the Browns hit a home run with this draft and will start seeing immediate dividends on the field.

13. Speaking of the Browns, the odds in Vegas have the Browns over/under at 6 1/2 wins. The Browns will win more than six games this season. Those that know me know first hand that I am not a homer in any way, shape, or form so for me to come out and write this is a change in the way that I’ve thought about my hometown team for some time. They won seven games last season, have improved every position group on the roster, and competed with every team in their division last year. Yes, I know the schedule is tougher, but splitting with our division isn’t out of the question and the Browns should be able to beat teams qb’d by the Geno Smith (Jets) and Marcus Mariota/Zach Mettenberger (Titans) while also getting past the 49ers at home in December. That’s seven wins right there.

2015-schedule-announce_web

Last week after the NFL released the schedule for the Cleveland Browns, I did a quick analysis on each game. click the link below to see how I project the Browns to do.

http://vocerolatinonews.com/the-way-too-early-schedule-game/

 

The same week that the Cleveland Browns made it into the national news for the wrong reasons once again this offseason, I received an email to deposit money for 2015 season tickets!?! I’m serious. I can’t make this up.

ssn tix

This after CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora wrote a  piece suggesting Browns owner Jimmy Haslam trading the franchise for the Tennessee Titans:

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/writer/jason-la-canfora/25119985/titans-sale-getting-closer-but-dont-rule-out-haslam-swapping-browns

There was a positive story as well, however. After the local and national ridicule the club garnered following the logo and helmet color change (or lack thereof), safety Donte Whitner was chosen to participate in a Nike photo shoot promoting the new uniforms the team will debut this season. Sworn to secrecy about specific details of the changes, Whitner did throw us a couple of bones.

It’s nearly April which means the most exciting time of the year for Browns fans is approaching. That’s right. The NFL draft! We now know where the Browns will be drafting in each round as well as the league announced the draft order this week. Of course it’s expected that the Browns will lose at least one of their mid round picks due to the incompetence of their GM Ray Farmer, who was texting coaches during games and was caught when former OC Kyle Shanahan most likely turned whistleblower. Anyhow, here are the picks as they stand as of right now:

http://www.clevelandbrowns.com/news/article-5/Official-2015-NFL-Draft-order-unveiled-See-where-Browns-will-make-their-10-picks/4626bc3b-eb5a-40cd-85f4-597e72232abe

nfl_a_joshnn_cr_600x400Now I know the prospect of Josh McCown as the Browns starting quarterback doesn’t sound exciting at all, but in all honesty this dude is hard to not root for. He is extremely intelligent and will put the team needs before any of his personal goals, even if that means being a teacher to Johnny Manziel (If the entitled frat boy makes it to the playing field). McCown was interviewed on ESPN Cleveland by Tony Rizzo Wednesday and came across as a genuine, all class individual. If you missed the interview, do yourself a favor and take a listen to the guy that will most likely start the season as your starting quarterback:

http://www.stationcaster.com/player_skinned.php?s=70&c=476&f=4175803

 

Spraying champagne while floating on a blow up swan sounds like fun for a 22 year old doesn’t it? Of course it does. I mean, who wouldn’t call that a fun day? Jokes aside, for a guy that was angry about being passed up until the 22nd pick of the draft, Johnny Manziel sure is acting like that really didn’t bother him after all.

The apologists say, “He’s just doing what any young guy would be doing.” Really? Is Manziel the only 22 year old that was drafted into the NFL last month? I don’t think so.

Then there’s this one. “We are seeing Johnny doing these things because the camera’s follow him around.” Let me be the whistleblower here for all the naïve people that believe this nonsense. The reason why Manziel gets the attention he’s receiving is because he’s putting himself in the position to allow it to happen. If any of the other top quarterbacks in the league were acting in the same manner as “Johnny Football” their faces would be all over the internet and news outlets everywhere as well. The fact of the matter is, the other quarterbacks AREN’T doing the things that Manziel is doing, therefore the cameras AREN’T following them.

For the record I have no problem with players going out and having a good time. I’m all for it. When Josh Gordon or Joe Haden are partying on W. 6th St in the Warehouse district it’s not a big deal. Want to know why? Because they’re not quarterbacks!

Quarterbacks are treated differently than other players in the NFL, as they should be. They’re a rare breed. A top notch QB can be all the difference between a contender and a pretender. They’re supposed to be boring off the football field. We don’t want a quarterback that is getting headlines nationally every week for doing things away from the game. There are four top level QB’s in the league (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers). When is the last time we’ve seen any of them acting in the same manner that Manziel does? I’ll answer that for you. Never.

To put it simplistically, Manziel needs to grow up and start acting like he wants to be a starting quarterback in the NFL and not the president of a college fraternity. Enough of the money signs. Enough of the poppin’ bottles. Enough of traveling coast to coast every weekend when his team is in the middle of their off-season workouts.

Manziel wanting to blow off some steam after a rigorous season just finishing up would be understandable, but to do so in the middle of off-season workouts? That just adds to the immaturity he’s shown since winning the Heisman Trophy after his redshirt freshman year. It hasn’t even been a year since he was kicked out of the Manning Passing academy. Or how about how he had to broadcast to the world how he couldn’t wait to leave College Station because of a parking ticket he received.

Head coach Mike Pettine and General Manager Ray Farmer should have a heart to heart with Manziel or he’s just going to be another “bust” that had the talent, but threw it away because his mind wasn’t sturdy enough.

Before I get to my selections for today, a quick recap on how I did yesterday.

I’m happy to say my top selection, Florida State, covered by 24.5 points as they dominated Wake Forest 52-0. Florida not only covered as 3 point dogs, but they were an outright upset winner covering by 20 pts in their 37-20 win over Tennessee! While Ohio State did get the win over Cal, they failed to cover the 17 point spread. Still a positive 2-1 day.

Which leads me to my pro picks for today:

Eagles -2.5 over the Ravens

Jets +5.5 over the Steelers

A quick review from yesterday shows I went 1-1-1 on my college plays. Arizona State crushed Illinois as my top play for an easy cover. Uconn rallied to get a 4th quarter TD to get the push (although some may have had 3.5 (my dad, lol) which means Uconn was a winner). Michigan State thoroughly dominated Central Michigan so that was a clear loss.

Which leads me to today:

Packers -4.5 over 49ers

Buccaneers +2.5 over Panthers