Wednesday, December 9, 2009

So if the 2010 Draft were held today...

There are currently three football teams sporting equally bad 1-11 records. Those three teams are:
  1. The Cleveland Browns
  2. The St. Louis Rams
  3. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The rules for breaking the tie are fairly simple: The team with the weakest schedule is the worst team, ergo they go first. At the beginning of the 2009 season, strength of schedule was computed by all of the various different agencies out there. From strongest to weakest, the schedules looked like this:
  1. Tampa Bay 5th toughest schedule in the league
  2. St. Louis 22nd toughest schedule in the league
  3. Cleveland 25th toughest schedule in the league
Ergo, if that figure stands, we should see the following order in the:
  1. Cleveland
  2. St. Louis
  3. Tampa Bay
Of course, the true strength of schedule will be assessed at the end of the year, but the positions could shake out the same. If anything, I would expect my Rams to drop down in position. Why? We hosted three undefeated teams there in one stretch this season. We have had to face both the undefeated Colts and Saints, the Vikings, the Packers, and two matches against the Cardinals. All of these are playoff teams. We still have the Titans coming.

Anybody who thinks the Rams had an easy schedule in 2009 is smoking Sherms.

For the sake of argument, let us presume that the draft order I listed above will be the draft order. What would I guess might happen on draft day? I would expect the following:
  1. Cleveland Browns: Terrance (mount) Cody NT Alabama Crimson Tide.
  2. St. Louis Rams: A quarterback (hopefully Jevan Snead Ole Miss)
  3. Tampa Bay: Ndamukong Suh, DT Nebraska Cornhuskers
So why do I think think this?

Cleveland is reeling from the loss of their best defensive player, NT Shaun Rogers. He suffered a season ending injury to his ankle and Achilles Tendon. Big men don't heal quick when a serious weight bearing limb like that is injured. I would expect the Browns to want to fortify that line anyhow. Why not get Rogers a partner in crime? Much has been written about the importance of the NT in the 3-4 defense. He is the key guy who makes it wall work. Certainly, the brutal Crimson Tide defense is predicated on Cody in the front. He makes that defense work. Having a pair of space-eaters like Rogers and Cody will only make your linebackers all the more effective.

Folks like Jason LaCanfora on the NFL Network are speculating that the Browns will seek another QB in this draft; one who will push Brady Quinn and give them a safety net. This may be, but I doubt they will do so with the absolute #1 pick. Rather, I would expect them to seek a fellow like Colt McCoy, or perhaps Sam Bradford, both of whom are likely to be available at the top the second round.

So why do I say McCoy will be around at the top of the 2nd? Because nobody projects him as a 1st round pick. The critics may be smoking Sherms, but they do not currently project him as a 1st round pick. I think he is terrific kid and better than several who will be selected in the 1st round (like Clausen). We need to remember the scouts are brain damaged. That is why there are so many busts each year.

Okay, so when several sources project Sam Bradford as the top QB in the draft, why do you say he is going to be available at the top of the 2nd? Because he suffered the atomic bomb blast of QB injuries: Damage to his passing arm. Specifically, he is going to enter the combine with a surgically repaired right shoulder. That is his throwing shoulder. Don't get me wrong, I think he is one hell of a kid. I think the world of Bradford. However, a consumer about to spend $50 million is very wary of damaged merchandise. You may be shocked to see him slide down the board on draft day. I wouldn't want to come to New York if I was Sam. Stay home and watch on TV.

What more can I say about my Rams? We have no passing game. We have no passing game because our QB play has been terrible. It is time to seek a solution.

When Tampa was a great team, they had great defense. That Tampa-Two was very similar to the Pittsburgh Steel-Curtain defense. Boat-loads of comparisons were made between Joe Greene's roll in Pittsburgh and Warren Sapp's role in Tampa. Ever since Sapp left town, that defense has been dwindling down. An effort to rebuild that defense must be made. I think a true killer like Suh, who may yet win the Heismann, would be the perfect candidate for the job.

I do not believe Tampa will select a QB in this year's draft. Most sources believe they are solidly set on Josh Freeman as their starting QB. They should be. He looks like a good kid.