Part Two looks at NFL teams. We share some news and notes from a handful of NFL teams just ten days away from the draft.
BALTIMORE: Nearly everyone has OC Konz going to the Ravens. There is a slight chance that Konz will not be available at #30, but do not be surprised if Konz is bypassed by GM Newsome. Baltimore is looking in a different direction.
CLEVELAND: If Cleveland stays here the pick will be between CB Claiborne, RB Richardson, WR Blackmon or QB Tannehill. Even with 13 picks we would not be surprised if the Browns traded with STL at #6 or Miami at #8. We’d take Richardson or Blackmon at this point. Note that the Browns averaged just 3.7 per carry in ’11 (31st). If they take Richardson then the Browns might look at WR (Wright) or OT (Martin) at #22, but don’t rule out a trade at this spot!
Check out Bud Shaw in the Cleveland newspapers. His Sunday Sports Spin is dead on accurate about how the Browns lack a game changer, and should not be trading down in the draft. In fact, with 13 draft picks (most in the NFL), we wonder why they should trade at all? Unfortunately, GM Holmgren has earned low marks on draft day and there will be plenty of trades.
GREEN BAY: Green Bay has a whopping 12 picks in this draft. Is there any way they can use the non-compensatory selections to move UP in the draft. They do not need 12 new faces. The Packers were awarded 4 compensatory selections, picks 132 and 133 in round #4 and picks 241 and 243 in round #7.
Our take: Please be aggressive! Don’t be afraid this time around to take a highly rated CB. The needs on D are simple; CB, safety, pass rusher and run D. The needs on offense are even simpler; interior OL and rated RB if the right one is there. In the end, we hope GB drafts 9 or 10 players, moving up for draft droppers/impact, covering the key needs listed above.
JACKSONVILLE: The Jags MUST fill the top needs of #1 WR and sack help. The Jags are clearly looking for WR speed based on the wide range of prospects they’ve met with or worked out. They also seem serious about the return game with Wylie, Maze and Adams among the many they’re looking at who possess that skill. Unfortunately, our expectations are low for this draft team. We suspect some curveballs along the way, plus probably a trio of small school selections. Off the wall draftees who might hear their name called by the Jags on or after draft day include WR’s Carswell (USC), Saffold (Missouri State), Rogers (New Mexico State), Clemons (Colorado), TE Veldman (Montclair State), DE Francis (Rutgers), DT’s Cameron (Old Dominion) and Robertson (South Carolina), LB’s Nduka (Sam Houston State, book this one?) and Linam (UCF), rated or near-rated CB’s Bethel (Presby), Pellerin (Hampton) and Steed (Furman) and Safety Faulcon (another from Montclair State). We love to comment on Jacksonville in our draft review, looking forward to it every year.
KANSAS CITY: NT and QB are needs that if not filled correctly will hold KC down in the long term and perhaps even the short term. These areas, plus pass rush help must be addressed in rounds 1-3. If they do not make a play for Tannehill then perhaps QB Cousins is the right guy for this team. KC needs to do a better job in the sleeper rounds (4-7) this draft and if they stick to our draft need board and select rated talent (which can easily be accomplished in positions such as OG, WR and safety) then all will be well. Unfortunately, Scott Pioli has a track record of missing on these picks. Let’s try to help them. At OG, Kelemente would fit. At WR, guys like Jenkins and Criner would be nice 4th-5th round selections. At safety, Henry and Bethel are examples of good late round risks. Plenty of decently rated CB’s will be available as well. Let’s see if Pioli can make this draft a special one.
PHILLY: Philly figures to be trading throughout the draft, jumping up and/or down to fill draft needs as well as add picks for the 2013 draft. They looked hard at WR Floyd and NT Poe but would have to trade up to get either of them. DL Coach Washburn personally worked out DE Curry so perhaps the Eagles will make a move up from #46 to get him. They spent time with several QB’s so we could see a mid-round QB drafted. With all that said, Philly can’t really ignore OT, although they seem not to have shown much interest in OL draft prospects other than OC Ben Jones. Interesting possibilities late in the draft (and after the draft) might include RB Rainey, troubled Safety Janzen Jackson and return stud Johnson from Tulsa, who was kicked off his team last year for multiple violations. His return skill was off the charts in college.
PITTSBURGH: Mike Tomlin prefers drafting players with a “four year body of work”. Pittsburgh has not drafted an OT in round one since 1996, and the drafting of OT Gilbert in round #2 last year was their 1st such move since 2000. Don’t be surprised if a TE is drafted, perhaps one with more pass catching skill than blocking skill to emulate what other teams are doing (Egnew, Paulson).