Saturday, February 25, 2012

Back to the combine! It's better than Christmas!

Last Thursday night's NFL Total Access was our first broadcast from combine in Indianapolis.  That is a significant significator.  It's the official start of the NFL draft season.  It's the unofficial start of the NFL business season also.

Love it!

I was pretty excited when I saw that the gang had been fully reassembled:  Mike Mayock, Charley Casserly, Charles Davis, Mike Lombardi, et al.  We'll be seeing Bucky Brooks and Corey Chavis soon also, I am sure.  I had heard rumors that Charley Casserly had signed exclusively with CBS Sports, and I was worried we wouldn't be seeing him on the NFL Network this year.  It is a good thing that rumor was false.  It wouldn't be the same without him.

It is so damn good to see you guys again!  You have no idea.  I was going to blog on this subject Thursday night, but I was a little preoccupied with prep for my next surgery on Feb 28, and a number of other mundane household subjects.

Sometimes I get a good feeling.  I get a feeling that I never, never, never had before.  I gotta feeling that this is going to be a really good draft.  The crop looks bountiful.  The crop looks good.  I am confident that we have some franchise changing players scattered across the top of this draft.  I am sure some of these kids will make it to the Hall of Fame.  It won't surprise me when they do.

Last year I complained bitterly about the poor quality of the seniors, the QBs and the offensive linemen.  I didn't like the Linebackers either.  Von Miller was the sole exception, and one of the three most exciting players in the Draft last year.

2011 was a poor draft year.  This is not the case in 2012.  This is a PH PHAT draft class.  The prospects look damn good to me thus far.  I am excited.

Speaking of Charley, he had the first Mock draft of the combine last night, and I think he pretty well nailed it.  Charley's list looked like this

  1. Colts:  Andrew Luck QB Stanford
  2. Browns (from Rams):  Robert Griffin III QB Baylor
  3. Vikings:  Matt Kalil OLT USC 
  4. Rams (from Browns): Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State
  5. Bucs:  Trent Richardson RB Alabama
  6. Redskins:  Morris Claiborne CB LSU
  7. Jaguars: Quinton Coples DE UNC
  8. Dolphins:  Riley Reiff OT Iowa
  9. Panthers:  Michael Brockers DT LSU
  10. Bills:  Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama
Most of the others felt he nailed it too.  The most critical critique came from Coach Brian Billick, who said "Charley's got 9 out of the top 10 players, and 6 in the right spot, so he's only wrong by 4.  That's pretty good!"

I would say it's probably a little more accurate than that.   What are the points of disputation here?  I think they are as follows:
  1. The Redskins won't take Morris Claiborne
  2. The Bucs will take Morris Claiborne one spot earlier
  3. The Bucs won't take Trent Richardson. They already have a damn good power-back in LeGarrette Blount.
  4. The Redskins won't go quietly into the good night without a QB in this draft.  Rumor has it that they are adamant about getting Robert Griffin III.  Charley is presuming the Rams will chose to drop back just a couple of steps to gain some extra picks and still get our man (Justin Blackmon) a little bit cheaper.  I think that's a pretty good guess.  I can't see our team passing on some extra picks, but we won't want to lose Justin Blackmon either.  Most believe we would be reaching for him at the #2 pick, based on our critical need.  This is probably and accurate assessment of the situation.
  5. It is questionable whether the Dolphins would take another tackle so high in the draft when they already have the best OLT in all of football.  Riley Reiff would be relegated to right tackle duties, and generally, you don't take a right tackle so high.  Charley has said this himself.  I do understand the logic, though. Riley Reiff would seem to be the perfect bookend companion and counterpart to Jake Long.  If you get Peyton Manning in Miami, you might want to make this pick.  It will be a very tempting choice if Manning comes to town.
  6. Some would dispute the Bills taking Courtney Upshaw, but the more I think about it, the more I think it is the perfect fit.  The Bills play a 3-4 defense and they need a pass-rushing elephant linebacker.  There is none better in 2012 draft than Courtney Upshaw.  He is an ideal choice for their needs and scheme.  Call me foolish, call me irresponsible, call me a dreamer, but I think he would go great with Marcell Dareus.  Wait... hasn't that been tried?  Did that workout once before?
  7. Many of us are still questioning whether Trent Richardson will wind up going so high in the draft.  It's not that he's unworthy of the pick, he is a very worthy dude, but rather the fact that the RB position is so deeply deprecated in the modern NFL.  Most GMs just don't believe that you take an RB so high in the draft.  As always, it will only take one GM to make it happen, tho.
I look forward to many more of these blog posts as the Draft season continues.