Saturday, March 19, 2011

Time to get serious about the draft


I’ve had a lot of things on plate lately, metaphorically, but not literally. This busy-state has kept me from writing about the NFL Draft as much as I would normally. The inspiration to write hasn’t been stimulated much by the talent-level in this draft.

Let me level with you folks out there: 2011 cannot compare to 2010. This draft class is way below the draft class of 2010. 2010 was one of those rare moments when a full crop of great players arrived. Many experts described 2010 as the best draft year since the legendary class of 1983. 2011 is nothing special. The crop of 2011 is basically a run-of-the-mill bunch. Even that statement might give these guys too much credit.

Still, good-crop, bad-crop, or mediocre crop, it’s time to get serious about this draft. Let me begin my series with a quick summary of my thoughts about

My General Conclusions about the 2011 Draft

1. The class of 2011 is nowhere near as good as the crop of 2010.

2. This is particularly bad Quarterback class. None of these guys are strong enough to carry the weight of Sam Bradford’s jockstrap. I think the top two ranked QB in 2011 would have been a 2nd rounders in 2010. These guys are destined to become over-bought, over-priced disappointments. That’s the best-case scenario. Of all these guys, the only kid I really like is Jake Locker. I especially like the fact that I can have him in the 2nd round. He’s a good bargain at that price.

3. This is an atrocious year for offensive linemen. Only Mike Pouncey is worthy of being selected in the first round. Several more will probably be taken in the 1st round due scarcity-inflation, but this is not a good thing. Many of these guys will become over-bought, over-priced disappointments. Just remember Mike Mayock’s key term: heavy-legged waist-benders with little upper-body strength. They’re generally on the skinny side also. If you want a good offensive lineman, you better get Mike Pouncey in the 1st round. Mike could be an alternative for the Rams at the #14 slot.

4. This is a very bad year for tight ends. Not a single one is expected to go in the 1st round. We’ll see if any happen to go in the 2nd round. If I was going to take one, it might be Jordan Cameron (not to be confused with Cameron Jordan of Cal Berkeley) of the USC Trojans later on in the 4th or 5th round.

5. This is a bad year for running backs. I see only one young man in this draft (Mark Ingram) who should have a career of significance in the NFL. I don’t see many others who will become factors in the NFL. None of these guys are home-run hitters or game changers like C.J. Spiller, Jahvid Best, or even (my favorite) Dexter McCluster. A little schmoe named Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State) is the most elusive guy in this class, but I see him as a situational specialist. Kendall might be a 3rd rounder.

6. This is a pretty good year for Wide Receivers, and better than 2010. This is one of the few bright spots in the class of 2011. There could be two or three deadly receivers: B.J. Green, Julio Jones, and Leonard Hankerson. Both B.J. Green and Julio Jones compare well with Dez Bryant of the 2010 draft. They are better than Demaryius Thomas. This is a very good year to be in need of a Receiver.

7. This is a good year for defensive linemen. It’s a better year for defensive ends than defensive tackles. By no means is this class as good as last year’s crop. None of these guys are as good as Gerald McCoy. None of them are strong enough to carry the weight of Ndamukong Suh’s jockstrap. Still, if you need some defensive line help, you should be able to find some this year.

8. The Linebackers in this crop are pretty good. Last year, Rolando McClain (Raiders) was the first LB off the board followed by Sean Weatherspoon (Falcons). I think it is safe to say both of those guys were disappointing. I think Von Miller is far better than either of these two. I would be willing to argue that my fellow Bruin Akeem Ayers is better also. Akeem Ayers just might be an alternative for the Rams at #14.

9. The corners in this year’s crop are better than last year’s, but this is mostly because of Patrick Peterson, and the weakness of last year’s crop. I’m not too sweet on this crop. If you need one, you better go up top and get the big-dog.

10. The safeties in this year’s crop are not very close to those of 2010. Eric Berry and Earl Thomas were both vastly superior to this year’s crop. Still, I like Rahim Moore of UCLA and DeAndre McDaniel of Clemson in 2nd round of this draft. In the 2nd round, I think they can both deliver good value.

11. Marcell Dareus is probably the best over-all athlete in this draft. After him, the prospects at DT fall-off rapidly. Nick Fairley is the second coming of Ohio State’s Dan “Big Daddy” Wilkinson. Big Daddy was a Bengal bust back in 1994.

12. Von Miller & Patrick Peterson are in a dead-heat for the 2nd overall athlete sweepstakes. I am going to lean towards Von Miller because my Rams are need of a Linebacker, and I like what I see. Still, there is very little chance my team might get a crack at Von Miller, even if they trade up.

13. B.J. Green is the #4 guy on my board. It gets very messy after that.

Summary for Ram fans

I see three potential players the Rams might look at for the #14 pick:

  1. Julio Jones, WR Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Mike Pouncey, G/C Florida Gators
  3. Akeem Ayers, OLB UCLA Bruins

In the second round, I think we are looking for Leonard Hankerson (WR Miami Hurricanes) or Rahim Moore (FS UCLA Bruins)