Thursday, April 25, 2013

2013 NFL Draft Blog:: First Round Complete

6:51--Minutes until the draft!! I'm so excited to see what exactly is going to happen.  I have my wife and son here with me.  I'm rocking a CM3 jersey and my son is wearing a football shirt with the number #72 (Garth Gerhart) on it.  I will cover what happens on the board with what the Packers are wanting.  All Times are central time.

6:53--It's pretty well known that the Chiefs are going to take Eric Fisher with the #1 overall pick.  He should fit in with their other #1 overall picks from recent years.
Having some issues with this working properly.  Sorry for the delays in posting.  Also having some connectivity issues at Buffalo Wild Wings.
7:06--The draft actually starts...not really a surprise that there was a delay.

7:15--Eric Fisher is officially the first pick in the draft.  Congrats Eric!!

7:17--Jaguars are on the clock.  Last few first round picks include Justin Blackmon (64 catches, 865 yards, 5 TD), Blaine Gabbert, Tyson Alualu, & Eugene Monroe.  Top ten picks each of the last four years.

7:21--First Aaron Rodgers commercial of the evening.  Pay that man already.

7:24--Here comes Goodell.  The Jaguars take Luke Joeckel.  Good pick.  Like him better than Fisher.  Blocked for both Tannehill and Manziel.  Completely functional offense.

7:25--I think we are getting ready for our first trade of the draft.  Oakland should trade down.  Need a 2nd Rounder.

7:26--This is a fun time to point out that NONE of the Raiders first round draft picks from the last 4 years are still on the team.
7:27--Mel Kiper doesn't look like he has aged in years.  Also like the synchronized clocks from both the ESPN and NFL networks.

7:29--Just want to take a moment to say that the draft is going over the speakers here at Buffalo Wild Wings, despite playoff basketball being on the tv as well.  My guess is the Raiders take Floyd if they can't trade.

7:31--Glad the Raiders got their pick in just in time.  That way we can still only make fun of the Vikings on getting skipped.

7:32--Trade with Miami.  Dolphins are going to take Johnson.  1-2-3 OT.  At least I got the trade part of this correct.  I want to see what the Raiders got from the trade.

7:34--Dolphins take Dion Jordan.  That's a surprise.  They are definitely going to be trading a 2nd rounder for Albert now.  Which means they lose a lot of picks from this move.

7:36--Chip Kelly's first pick.  This should be Lane Johnson.  Almost no production from their last few first round picks (Fletcher Cox, Danny Watkins, and Brandon Graham).

7:37--I do think that this would be a great time for the first QB to go off of the board.  Geno Smith in a read option speed offense would be great.  Learn for one year under Vick.

7:41--It is no surprise that the Eagles took a tackle here.  Lane Johnson can do a lot of different things.

7:43--Lions are probably going to go with Dee Millner or Ezekiel Ansah with the next pick.  Both are big needs.  Probably a disappointment that the OT's are gone, but not to Clay Matthews & Nick Perry.

7:45--I guess it's important to state that no matter who the Lions take, I hope that he ends up being a bust, pretty much like most of their picks.  Maybe they are going to keep Riley Reiff at Tackle instead of guard now.  Stafford & Suh have been good lately.

7:47--Hoping that the Packers might have someone trade in front of us for a quarterback or that we can just trade down right now.  QB's going early would mean someone falls.  Right now, I'm not seeing anyone fall.

7:49--Hurry up and get out there Goodell, the pick has been in for about 4 minutes.

7:50--Ezekiel Ansah goes to the Lions.  That means 3 defensive lineman in last 4 years.  Suh (2010), Fairley (2011).  Ansah is unproven.  So we really have no clue exactly what he's going to be able to do.

7:53--Don't really think it's smart for the Browns to draft Geno Smith, but everyone is talking about how it could happen.  It just means that the Browns are dumber than you would think.  Which is hard to do.

7:55--Mingo goes earlier than expected.  3 OT, and 3 Pass rushers.  Not really a surprise from what we've heard about this draft.  Deep lineman on both sides of the ball.

7:57--The Cardinals have to upgrade their offense, they were just awful last year.  I hope that they take Tyler Eifert, Arians and the Colts took Fleener early last year, they know the importance of a TE to a young QB, and the probably are going to take one later.

7:59--I also would love to see that defense with Patrick Peterson on one side, and Dee Milliner on the other.  That would be so sweet.

8:02--Jonathan Cooper to the Cardinals.  They do need to block.  They go up against Justin Smith & Aldon Smith 2x a year.  Probably a safe pick.  But I am getting pretty nervous about how this goes down for the Packers, want to see some skill players go off of the board.

8:03--Bills have drafted in the top ten for 4 years running now.  Gilmore didn't do much last season, Dareus hasn't been great, but C.J. Spiller was sweet last year, getting over 1700 yards.

8:04--Tavon Austin should be taken now that the Rams are going up to the 8th spot.  Bills traded down.

8:06--2 years ago the Rams draft Robert Quinn at 14 overall.  He had over 10 Sacks last season.  Draft facts are important.  Still probably regret getting Bradford year before rookie wage scale.

8:08--2 trades through 8 picks.  Shows that very few people actually want to move up.  Because tons of people were waiting to try to trade down.

8:09--Rams take Austin, big shocker, only it's not.  It does mean Hopkins could be available at 26, someone we are keeping our eye on.

8:10--Can't think of a better draft moment than "We Want Sapp."  J-E-T-S fans are the most interesting to watch at the draft.  Jets should probably take Dee Milliner.

8:12--Show us what the Rams gave up to move up already.  I just saw Bills give 1st and 3rd, Rams give up 16, 46, 78, and 222.  That was an expensive trade by the Rams.  Great move by the Bills.

8:17--Jets take Milliner.  This is going to be the man that tries to fill the Revis shoes.  Titans should definitely take Warmack or Fluker here at 10.

8:18--Titans took Britt, Derrick Morgan, Locker & Kendall Wright the last four years.  Only one defensive player.  Titans are all about making their offense go this upcoming season.  They need a lot of help.

8:20--No matter which lineman the Titans take, the Chargers will probably take the other one.  They couldn't protect Rivers at all last season.

8:21--Watching a commercial for where you are currently at, is somewhat weird.  But way to go Buffalo Wild Wings.

8:23--Manti Te'o is currently #8 on Mel Kiper's list, which if they go by his big board, which they never do, that would place him on the Steelers.  That would be weird.

8:25--I think it's really awkward hearing John Gruden state that a team needs to upgrade it's "interior offensive line." They are called Guards & Center, not that complicated.

8:26--Titans take Warmack.  Back to back Bama players.  There is a major reason they have won the last 2 BCS Titles.  Warmack is the best lineman, but hopefully we can get Barrett Jones in round 2 or 3, would love his teammate.

8:29--The pick is in for the Chargers.  Why do we have to go to commercials.  Props to @RAYROBERT9 for getting 4/10 right in this draft right now.  Hits on Fisher, Johnson, Ansah & Mingo.

8:31--D.J. Fluker, just like I had said before.  Floyd should be gone next to the Raiders, since that's who they wanted before.  Although I had read earlier that they were high on the CB from Houston.  My Mock draft from Tuesday night had Dee Milliner right, and that's it.  That's sad.

8:34--Raiders added pick 42 from their trade down earlier, meaning they get to pick in round 2.  Recovering slightly from that horrible Carson Palmer trade.  Maybe one of the worst trades I've ever seen.

8:35--Finally I see that the guy from Houston's name is D. J. Hayden.  Only took me 3 minutes to find.

8:36--I don't really eat spicy wings, but I'm trying a wing flavor called spicy garlic.  Hoping that it doesn't make me cry.  You can't cry during the draft.  Also, I'm only on my 11th wing of the night, and we are almost through 12 picks.  Feel like tonight is taking quite some time.

8:38--I just mentioned D.J. Hayden, so I want to be clear that I had mentioned it before everyone goes, what?  Highlights make it clear that is is nice to play CB in the C-USA.

8:39--Hayden is going to go up against Bowe, Demaryius Thomas, and Malcolm Floyd 2x each year.  Seems like a good selection if he is up to the challenge.

8:42--Jets are probably going to go with a defensive lineman.  Maybe Tyler Eifert.  They need help so many places.  Don't think it's Geno Smith even though that's how they are presenting it.

8:43--Sharif Floyd is still on the board.  Hard to believe at this moment.

8:47--I think Richardson is a strong pick for the Jets here.  Over 100 tackles in the SEC last year.  Big guy from Mizzou.  Unfortunately won't be able to wear #34 anymore.  Also, the Clippers/Grizzlies game should be coming up soon.

8:48--Panthers pick is already in, so of course we go to commercials.  Richardson was a DT we had seen for a long time mocked to the Panthers.  Floyd or Star would be other strong picks right here.  Eifert is a possibility.  Still hoping that people take some skill players soon.  Packers want a DT or DE.  Or at least that's what I want.

8:52--So the pick is finally announced, Panthers take Star (refuse to try to type that last name consistently).  Star was rated so high, but those concerns and not being able to play at the combine looks like it sure cost him.  Saints probably looking at Vaccaro.

8:54--Picks that would be lopsided.  We are going to put Eifert on the other side at TE from Jimmy Graham.  Taking a page out of the Patriots playbook.  (Please NO!)

8:57--Buffalo trades down and takes Nassib.  Seems like it is a real possibility at this point.  Would love to see a QB finally come off of the board.  Please happen at pick 16.

8:58--One thing about watching the draft eating out at Buffalo Wild Wings, means I don't really hear the commentary.  Not bad news, since I already know who all of these people are.

8:59--Goddell cheered at the podium, because a kid comes out on crutches with him.  See those New Yorkers have a heart.  Great pick taking Vaccarro.  Best player Texas had on their defense last year.

9:00--Almost 2 hours in, half of the players haven't been selected tonight.  Started to feel tired.  This is not good news for my messages here to stay sane.

9:04--Bills fans excited that they took EJ Manuel.  Nassib will fall far.  Biggest surprise of the night right there.  Bills draft like crazy yet again.  The fact that Bills fans are excited only shows that they haven't seen good news from their team in years.

9:06--I guess I should be thrilled that the Bills wasted that pick.  Maybe I should even send them a thank you card.  EJ Manuel top QB taken.  WOW!!!

9:07--Jarvis Jones or Ogletree to the Steelers, my guess is Jones, but he'll be on a short leash.  Drafted Santonio Holmes after a marijuana arrest, Jones had a DUI, but they'll trade him quick if he does anything dumb.  That's just how the Steelers roll.

9:11--This is the first time I noticed that the Town is under the brim of the hat.  Not terribly used to seeing that happen.  Nicely done New Era.  I believe they are in charge of those.

9:12--So we see how a horrible team drafts in the Bills and then a great team at drafting in the Steelers takes an elite talent in Jarvis Jones.

9:13--49ers are on the clock after a trade with the Cowboys.  Who are we going to face the first week?  Who are you drafting?

9:14--Just seems awful to say that the 49ers & Cowboys have done a trade.  Completely horrible.  Eric Reid from LSU is now gone.  This is their replacement for Dashon Goldson.  Left to go to the Bucs.

9:16--Cowboys get 31 & 74 for the 49ers trade up.  Some good value, Cowboys have a lot of weaknesses.  Have a lot of areas that need to be fixed.  

9:18--Less commercials please, the teams are wanting to go quickly.  Giants pick is in, waiting for our rivals the Bears.  Giants take Ogletree, Bears take Eifert or Te'o.  Last minute predictions.

9:21--Justin Pugh.  3 Guards in the first 19 picks.  A draft unlike any other, the weird 2013 NFL draft.  I don't think that the selection is that strong with the value available.  Probably should have traded down.

9:22--I think the Cowboys are hoping for Menelik Watson by trading down.  Almost certain of it.

9:23--Bears on the clock, first pick in years without Lovie Smith.  I think that they are going to go on offense.  Would lean for Eifert over Te'o.

9:27--Still stunned that EJ Manuel was the top QB taken.  Waiting for someone to trade up and get another QB.  Jaguars & Cardinals both are options there.

9:28--Bears select Kyle Long G-Oregon.  Back to back Guards again!!!  4 Guards in the top 20.  I think they are aware that that offensive line has been completely miserable for years, but this pick is a reach, and no one wanted to trade up that high.

9:31--Bengals are on the clock.  I figure that this pick could be another safety, but Ogletree is a dream fall to them here.  Bengals take Ogletree.

9:32--Show Rodgers waiting in the green room.  He hated that.  He still wants revenge.  Put him back up there again.  Get him more and more motivated.  MVP=Rodgers.

9:34--3 years ago at pick 21.  The Bengals selected TE Gresham from Oklahoma.  Now they take a top TE from Notre Dame.  History repeats itself.

9:35--Falcons trade up and should be going for either Ogletree or Xavier Rhodes.  Need to improve both their pass rush and their secondary.  They keep trading up and losing valuable picks though.  They like to trade up--Julio Jones last year.

9:37--KFC, no one really cares if they ate the bones.  Your commercial is abysmal.  Or at least that is how it appears to me.

9:40--Desmond Trufant CB Washington.  Right position, wrong player.  Lots of Defensive lineman available.  Hopkins is available.  Ogletree, Sly Williams, Datone Jones.  We are getting an elite player if we don't trade down.  Thank you for drafting extra Guards in this draft.  Packers are set at guard with Lang/Sitton.  Glad we aren't wasting our pick like that.

9:42--John Gruden.  Too many issues and a year OOF for Mathieu means he will fall.  Did you not pay attention to Maurice Clarett's talent and off the field issues, when RB were still getting drafted early?  Last pick of round 3.  Expecting the same from Mathieu.

9:44--Always great respect to those who serve our nation's country.  I don't think that I could personally do that.  But respect them for serving the USA, and they deserve respect and honor.

9:45--Time to see who the Vikings want.  Probably someone that I want.  Sharrif Floyd.  Man, I almost forgot that he was still available.  Floyd is a good pickup.  Surprised he fell so far.  Many of the "top" players have fallen.  But that was expected as the draft was expected to be all sorts of lopsided.

9:47--I miss the times when there were only 5 players at the draft, because then we wouldn't have to have special on stage moments for all the players, and continue through the draft.

9:49--Got all 6 props right tonight on ESPN's "Streak for the Cash." If only there was an award for performance on that tonight.

9:52--Colts select Bjoern Werner, someone we maybe could have used, but don't think we were targeting.

9:54--Xavier Rhodes CB for Vikings also.  I feel like all of the picks in the division are being targeted at us.  Go at Rodgers with Ansah (Lions), Block Matthews & Raji with Long (Bears), Rush the pass up the middle with Floyd and a cover corner to go after James Jones with Xavier Rhodes (Vikings)

9:56--Our pick is in but we have to wait for commercials to be over.  Packers probably take Datone Jones, but would love Ogletree.  I'm pretty happy with the overall feel of how the draft fell to us.  Hopkins is still on the board, how high do we have him.  Our question will be answered soon.

10:01--Packers select Datone Jones.  Had a good feeling about this kid.  We keep going back to the Pac-12 for our top picks.  Thank you for showing him get a safety against Nebraska (my college team).  Love this pick.  19 Tackles for loss last year, 62 tackles, 5.5 Sacks.  Welcome to the Packers Datone Jones!!!

10:03--Texans probably taken Hopkins to go across from Johnson.  Maybe go with Keenan Allen.  Hopkins should be better.

10:06--Just want to give the Texans credit for drafting J.J. Watt 11th overall two years ago.  1 pick after Blaine Gabbert.  Further proof that the Jaguars are crazy, but a good pick with Joeckel.

10:08--Any reason that the NFL Network and ESPN can't go to commercial at the same time.  Hate waiting for them both to be back for any picks.  Can't really do anything about that.

10:09--Finally announcing the Texans pick.  Hopkins.  Not a shocker.  Gets a much better team by the Rams trading up to get Austin.  Does a good job of getting open.

10:10--Could very well see the Broncos taking Tank Carradine.

10:11--If the Vikings trade back up to get Manti Te'o, then I think that they are completely ridiculous.  3 first rounders??  But if they give up their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, then I would definitely be alright with that.  Less picks for them.  Crazy Vikings.

10:13--Side note Memphis and the Clippers with a score of 47-39 at the half.  That is definitely some Memphis basketball.  They play some ugly games.

10:14--So right now the end of the first round is Rams, Cowboys, and Ravens.  Just to be clear, the Cowboys were not in the Super Bowl last year.

10:15--So the Broncos take Sylvester Williams.  Another UNC player going in the first round.  Seems like it happens all of the time, but they are never a successful college team.  So much talent, but almost no wins.

10:17--Sly Williams wouldn't have been a bad pick for us.  But he is 24.  Glad we didn't go with him just because we can get more years from Datone.

10:18--Vikings have officially traded back in with the Patriots.  Can't hardly believe it.  It isn't a good move.  You don't waste that many draft picks, if that is what they did.  If you really like Te'o that much, take him at 23 or 25.

10:19--I guess I should be happy the Vikings are doing this, it just goes against my entire draft philosophy as a Packer fan.  Trade down and get more picks.  Acquire more talent.  Vikings give up 52, 83, 102, 229.  Just to get Pick number 29.  2, 3, 4, and 7th rounders.  See you again in round 5.

10:21--Just want to give a shoutout and some prayers to the people in Boston having gone through that recent tragedy.  Patriots are not an organization I like, I don't even like any Boston teams, but no city or people should have to go through anything like that.

10:24--As an OKC resident that had the 18 year bombing anniversary just 6 days ago.  I will not complain about seeing #BostonStrong on the television.  Even though I have complained about delays with presenting draft picks tonight.

10:26--Joe Andruzzi the former Patriot announces a Vikings pick.  This is completely fine with me still.  Good presentation.  Play some Sweet Caroline.  All good.  Can't make any complaints about that.

10:29--Cordarrelle Patterson and not Manti Te'o.  Vikings need a WR.  Still giving up too many picks for one player.  If the Vikings bite this year.  They will at least get a good QB in next year's draft.

10:33--Only 3 picks left.  That is a good sign since my energy level is dropping.  Rams get to make their 2nd pick of this round.  If safety is a need for them, take Cyprien from FIU.  That would be a strong pick.

10:34--Hoping that Arizona trades up with Baltimore to select Geno Smith from under the Jaguars.  Would be a fun way to end round 1.

10:35--Ran into some people from Milwaukee tonight.  Loads of fun to meet them.  They had a little boy just like I did.  Talked to me because I'm a Packers fan.  That's just how Packer nation rolls.

10:36--Rams take Alec Ogletree.  Another player that fell further than expected.  I think that the Rams have had a strong draft tonight.  Austin and Ogletree are going to do well together.  I think this means that the Cowboys select Menelik Watson.  Protect Romo.

10:39--I see that Matt Hasslebeck says he played with Andruzzi on the Packers.  Packers have to represent all the time.  With so many lineman going in round 1.  There might not be as much demand in round 2.  Projected Packers picks for round 2 are John Jenkins-NT Georgia.  Eddie Lacy or Giovanni Bernard RB.

10:41--See Rodgers is tweeting about Geno hanging in there.  "Good things come to those who wait."  Love having him as our QB.  Again, Pay the man.

10:42--Cowboys only get 31 & 74 for 18.  Seems like they got ripped off by the 49ers.  Travis Frederick Center from Wisconsin.  Cowboys had to be thinking Center when they took that trade. Still seems like a reach to me.  But that's because I'm not big on drafting Centers early.

10:44--Ravens take Matt Elam-S Florida.  Good pick by the Ravens, which is exactly what you would expect.

10:45--It's been fun ya'll, but I'm out of here.  Time for me to head out so that I can get up and go to work in the morning.  I've had a lot of fun doing this.  Hope that you all enjoy reading it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

2013 First Round NFL Mock Draft

By: Matt Bove

This is one of the hardest mock drafts I have ever had to do. For what it is worth, the mock draft I posted on this site last season won the Predict The Pick Contest, so don't expect it to be any good this year :).

1. Chiefs- Eric Fischer OT Central Michigan- Been announced

2. Jaguars- Dion Jordan OLB Oregon- I think the Jaguars taking Fischer here is a smokescreen. Eugene Monroe is one of the few good players they have and it makes no sense to take a RT in the top 5.

3. Raiders- Luke Joeckel OT Texas A&M- Joeckel will be the pick here, what team picks him is the question

4. Eagles- Lane Johnson LT Oklahoma Johnson is the perfect athlete for Chip Kelly's offense.

5. Lions- Ezekiel Ansah DE BYU- Lions get a replacement for Kyle Vanden Bosch

6. Browns- Barkevious Mingo OLB LSU- The Browns are reportedly hot on Mingo.

7. Cardinals-Star Lotulelei DT Utah- Best player available for the Cardinals

8. Bills- Ryan Nassib QB Syracuse- A terrible pick, but it sounds like the Bills are desperate for a QB and want Nassib.

9. Jets- Tavon Austin WR West Virginia- The Jets need playmakers

10. Titans- Sharif Floyd DT Florida- Titans pick up a good value in Floyd

11. Chargers- Chance Warmack- Chargers offensive line was a disaster last season.

12. Dolphins- Jonathan Cooper G North Carolina- Cooper is on the rise and there is talk of him going ahead of Warmack.

13. Jets- Dee Milliner CB Alabama- Milliner falls here because of medical concerns and Rex Ryan loves corners.

14. Panthers- Sheldon Richardson DT Missouri- The Panthers need to improve up the middle and Richardson is a good value.

15. Saints- Kenny Vaccaro S Texas- The Saints need to upgrade their secondary and Vaccaro is the best safety in the draft.

16. Rams- Alec Ogletree ILB Georgia- The Rams need help at LB and Jeff Fischer is not afraid of character risks.

17. Steelers- Jarvis Jones OLB Georgia- The Steelers get a steal in Jones to replace James Harrison.

18. Cowboys- D.J. Fluker OT Alabama- There is talk of Fluker going higher but not a lot of landing spots in the teens for him.

19. Giants- Tank Carradine DE Florida State- The Giants always want pass rushers and Justin Tuck looked like he was getting old last season.

20. Bears- Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame- Eifert would cause huge matchup problems up the seam with teams focusing on Brandon Marshall.

21. Bengals- Eric Reid S LSU- The Bengals like big school prospects so they go with Reid over Jonathan Cyprien.

22. Rams- DeAndre Hopkins WR Clemson- Sam Bradford needs playmakers to help him.

23. Vikings- Sylvester Williams DT North Carolina- All key contributors to the Vikins defensive line are free agents next year.

24. Colts- D.J. Hayden CB Houston- Hayden is one of the big risers of the draft right now.

25. Vikings- Manti Te'o MLB Notre Dame- The Vikings' interest in Te'o has been one of the worst kept secrets of the draft.

26. Packers- Datone Jones DE UCLA- The Packers are thrilled to have Jones fall in their laps to help their defensive line.

27. Texans- Justin Hunter WR Tennessee- The Texans need a wide receiver opposite Andre Johnson and Hunter has had a lot of first round buzz surrounding him.

28. Broncos- Bjoern Werner DE Florida St.- With Elvis Dumervill gone the Broncos need somebody opposite Von Miller.

29. Patriots- Xavier Rhodes CB Florida St.- Rhodes falls all the way to the Patriots and they need secondary help.

30. Falcons- Desmond Trufant CB Washington- The Falcons need a CB in a big way and Trufant is good value.

31. 49ers- Jonathan Cyprien S FIU- A replacement for Dashon Goldson.

32. Ravens- Arthur Brown ILB Kansas State- A replacement for Ray Lewis.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Packers Draft Pick Possibilities at #26

By: Matt Bove

It will be really hard to nail the Packers pick this year, as this draft will be so unpredictable and the Packers have many needs, but not a huge glaring one. These are the players I think have the best chance of being selected by the Packers at #26 if they do not trade the pick. I would imagine that the Packers would loved to trade down in this draft, although the majority of teams would like to as well, which will make it hard.

1. Datone Jones DE UCLA- The Packers biggest need is the defensive line and Jones would provide immediate help there. He is a powerful five-technique player who played in the 3-4 at UCLA. Jones had a stellar season last year notching six sacks and 17.5 tackles for losses, while earning all-conference honors. His strengths are his long arms and his bulk. He is great at using his hands when pass rushing and has shown an array of pass rushing moves, along with an impressive bull rush. Also, Jones is quick for his size. At only 284 pounds, Jones will need to bulk up a little to handle base 3-4 defensive end responsibilities, but that should not be a big issue. The big question is whether Jones will be there at #26 for the Packers or not. The Colts at #24 might present a problem there.

2. Matt Elam S Florida- The Packers want to get more physical and Elam, despite being only 5'10", would certainly help that. Elam is a violent and explosive wrecking ball at safety. He is at his best around the line of scrimmage making plays against the run, blitzing and packing a punch with his hits. Showed a good ability to cover slot wide receivers, but covering big tight ends might be an issue for him due to his size. Elam also played some deep single high safety to show his versatility at Florida and has the speed to be able to do that. Sometimes, he is overaggressive and gets burned deep. He would be a perfect compliment to Morgan Burnett, who would be able to handle the deep coverage at free safety, giving Elam the ability to make plays at the line of scrimmage.

3. Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame- I would not expect Eifert to be available at #26 for the Packers, but if he is Ted Thompson would have a tough time passing him up, as he is far and away the best tight end prospect in this class. Eifert fits the mold of what the position is becoming in the NFL perfectly. He can line up as an outside receiver  slot receiver or tight end, so he is extremely versatile. Eifert is just a beast at 6'6" and 250 pounds, and he ran a 4.65 40 yard dash and had a 35.50" vertical leap. Possess extremely strong hands and made amazing catches in traffic at Notre Dame. Very fluid and smooth as a route runner and will stretch the field vertically with his great speed for a tight end. Great at jump balls and will just go up and snatch the ball out of the air with those strong hands. He is great at a gaining position for those passes and making adjustments in mid-air. Eifert is a willing blocker and improved greatly in that area during his senior season at Notre Dame, even though he still has room to grow in that area.

4. Eric Reid S LSU- Reid has elite size at 6'1" and 213 pounds. Just a prototype frame for a safety. He has elite athleticism and is another hard hitting safety that would add physicality to the Packers defense. Has great read-and-react ability and great closing speed. Reid can play in the box or deep in center field. Plays downhill and will lay huge hits on receivers. Reid's aggressiveness is great, but it will need to be toned down in the NFL, as it often burned him at LSU. He had a few too many coverage breakdown and can be a little stiff in coverage.

5. Jonathan Cyprien S FIU- Ted Thompson has not been afraid to pick small school safeties in the past, and
Cyprien certainly fits that bill. He has been rising up draft boards ever since the Senior Bowl with good reason. He has great versatility, as Cyprien has a great combination of physicality and athleticism, so he can play at either strong or free safety. The Packers should like that because they like to use both safety positions interchangeably. Has sideline to sideline range and is aggressive in hitting people at line of scrimmage. Like Elam and Reid, Cyprien loves to hit people and would bring some much needed physicality to the defense. He is a very vocal player on the field and brings great passion to the game. Concerns are about his level of competition and his straight line speed.

6. D.J. Fluker OT Alabama- Fluker is projected at right tackle in the NFL so Bryan Bulaga would have to move over to the left side if Fluker were drafted. However, I would be pretty surprised if Fluker was still around at #26. A massive human at 6'5" 339 pounds, he would immediately upgrade the Packers run game. His size and power make him an outstanding run blocker, but there are questions about whether Fluker will be able to handle the athletic speed rushers in the NFL, which is why him having to play guard is not out of the question. Fluker would be a different kind of lineman than the Packers have right now, and if he can hold up in pass protection he would be great for them. However, considering how much the Packers pass the ball, Fluker would be a big risk for them.

7. Eddie Lacy RB Alabama- Lacy is falling down draft boards due to an awful workout, but he still has great film. Lacy is a player who the Packers probably would not take at #26, but only if they traded down into the second round, which is a distinct possibility. Lacy would bring the physicality that the Packers have been lacking at running back for awhile now. He is a great between the tackles runner and would solve a lot of Green Bay's 3rd-and-short woes. Certainly not one of the more elusive running backs you will ever see, but he is a bull running through tackles and has enough elusiveness to get by with that. His one trademark elusive move is his spin move, which he made tacklers in college look foolish on. Lacy will always fall forward and has great balance.  Also, he has only 355 career carries in college, while a lot of the other running backs in this draft were way overworked in college.

8. Jesse Williams DL Alabama- At 6'4" 323 pounds Williams is another massive player from Alabama. He is as strong as an ox, as his 600 pound bench press would indicate. Williams, Raji, and Pickett would give the Packers a gigantic line to play against the run, and they could matchup up well against huge offensive lines like San Francisco for example. His game is build around his power and he will be able take on double teams with ease. Will battle and hustle on every play. The problem with Williams is that he provides next to nothing against the pass, and in today's NFL he might not be worth a first round pick because of it.

9. Alec Ogletree ILB Georgia- Inside linebacker is not a huge need for the Packers, but injury concerns with Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith make it not impossible for the Packers to use a first round pick on one, although that player would have to be rated well above everybody else available. Ogletree is an extremely talented player who comes with major off the field issues. A former safety, Ogletree has outstanding athleticism and the ability to make plays sideline to sideline. Very good in coverage and does not shy away from making the big hit. Struggles to take on and get off of blocks, which might make him a better 4-3 OLB than a 3-4 ILB, although he is a very good blitzer from the inside spot.

10. Arthur Brown ILB Kansas State- Like Ogletree, Brown would have to be by far the best player available for the Packers to take him at #26 with their depth at ILB. Brown is on the small side at 6'1" and 241 pounds, but he makes up for it with his instincts. Is great at diagnosing plays quickly and not taking false steps. Has great athleticism and fluidity in coverage. Also, Brown is very adept at timing his blitzes. Might have a tough time playing inside in the NFL due to his lack of size.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Packers and Clay Matthew Agree On Extension

By: Matt Bove

After weeks of speculation, the Packers have signed one of their two superstars to a mega contract.

According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein, the Packers and linebacker Clay Matthews have reached an agreement on a five-year extension worth $66 million, which will make Matthews the highest paid linebacker in the league, surpassing Demarcus Ware. Matthews tweeted out a photo of himself signing the contract extension with the team.

"Trivial amongst the most recent trivial news, but happy to continue my career in Green Bay." Matthews wrote.

The Packers traded up to the 26th overall pick to select Matthews out of Southern California in the 2009 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Packers, Matthews has 42.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles and four interceptions.

"Clay has been a productive member of our team and we are pleased to be able to come to an agreement that will extend his Packers career," Packers GM Ted Thompson told Tom Silverstein.

Matthews was heading into the final year of his rookie deal and was scheduled to make $.373 million, so the Packers urgently needed to sign him long term to avoid having him hit the open market. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will likely be next to sign a mega deal that makes him the highest paid player in NFL history.

This five-year extension is in addition to the year remaining on Matthews' original deal, which means that Matthews is now signed through the 2018 season.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

2013 NFL Draft OLB Rankings

By: Matt Bove
With only Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, and Dezman Moses on the roster outside linebacker depth will be a thing needs to address in the upcoming 2013 NFL Draft. I think the top three of Matthews, Perry and Moses are solid, but obviously the Packers need some more depth.

Perry's development as a pass rusher opposite Matthews is one the biggest keys for the upcoming season. Perry had two sacks in four games last year and, he was really starting to come on before a wrist injury ended his season. Also, he was very good at setting the edge in the run game. I think with another year to learn the position Perry will take a step forward towards becoming a very good outside linebacker.

Since they spend a first round pick on Perry last year and have Matthews, the Packers are unlikely to draft an outside linebacker early in the draft, but they will be looking for depth later on. The draft will probably work out there will not be an outside linebacker worth taking for the Packers at pick 26 anyways. Here are my top 10 outside linebackers for the 2013 NFL Draft. (3-4 OLB's only as that is what the Packers run)

1. Dion Jordan- Oregon
    Height: 6'6"
    Weight: 243
Jordan is an absolute freak who is in contention to go number two overall to Jacksonville. Jordan played at defensive end, outside linebacker and even cover slot receivers at Oregon. His length, size, speed and athleticism make him a rare breed. Rushing the passer, Jordan is an explosive edge rusher with a quick first step and turns the corner well. He will need to get stronger to add some power and counter moves, but his speed rush should be lethal right away. Against the run, Jordan's long arms helped him extend and disengage blockers. However, you cannot rely on that in the NFL against lead blockers, so he will need to improve his strength. Jordan also shows no lack of effort, as he has a high motor and made plays on coming from the backside. In coverage he is extremely fluid with loose hips. Jordan's athleticism and versatility makes him the easy choice for my number one outside linebacker.

2. Jarvis Jones- Georgia
    Height: 6'3"
    Weight 241
Jones was extremely productive at Georgia last season with 85 tackles, 14.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles. However, his spinal stenosis diagnosis has scared some teams off. Like Jordan, Jones is an explosive athlete and playmaker off the edge. Jones is a more polished pass rusher than Jordan at this point, but Jordan's versatility Jones' injury concerns puts Jordan over him. Watching him at Georgia, he was an animal and had a non-stop motor. Jones was very effective in stunts and twists at Georgia as well as rushing from the edge. In the run game, unlike Jordan, Jones has short arms so he has trouble getting off blocks and needs to improve his strength.

3. Damontre Moore- Texas A&M
    Height: 6'4"
    Weight: 250
Moore was a consensus Top 10 pick before the Combine, but his stock has been dropping ever since. He only did 12 bench reps and only ran a 4.95 40-yard-dash at the Combine. However, Moore is a classic example of people making to many conclusions about him in gym shorts rather than watching the tape. He was very productive at Texas A&M last season with 85 tackles and 12.5 sacks. Moore is more than just a speed rusher rushing the passer, although he did show enough speed to win off the edge because of his impressive quick first step. He used an array of pass rushing moves, including a nice spin move, a powerful bull-rush, and the ability to rush the inside. This makes him the most complete pass rusher in the draft at this point. Against the run, Moore has the strength and power to hold up against blockers and can disengage blockers very well. He will fall in the draft because of his combine numbers, but teams may live to regret that.

4. Barkevious Mingo- LSU
    Height: 6'4"
    Weight: 240
Mingo is a very raw player who relied solely on his athleticism at LSU. Learning how to play 3-4 OLB could be a challenge for him. Mingo, like Bruce Irvin last season, will not be able to play on running downs early on, as he still has to get a lot stronger and improve his technique. Mingo has a lean and athletic frame and possess elite speed of the edge. His acceleration end explosiveness are unmatched in this draft. Unfortunately , he doesn't have many other moves yet other than just using his speed.

5. Jamie Collins- Southern Miss
    Height: 6'4"
    Weight: 250
There is a big drop off from Mingo to Collins, as this year's 3-4 outside linebacker is pretty top heavy. Collins had a great year last year for Southern Miss, as he had 92 tackles and 10 sacks. He was a beast at the Combine, including an incredible 41.5" vertical jump. However, he is more of a freak athlete than a polished player at this point and his motor was inconsistent at Southern Miss. He is a project, but has the potential to develop into a very good player. He is very explosive and has good closing speed, but his pass rushing package is limited at this point.

6. Corey Lemonier- Auburn
     Height: 6'3"
     Weight: 255
Lemonier will have some issues converting to a 3-4 outside linebacker due to his lack lack of fluidity in changing direction in open space. As a pass rusher, he uses a good mix of speed and power to get to the quarterback. He ran a 4.6 40-yard dash at the Combine, which will intrigue teams. He is a big hitter who looks for the knockout blow a lot. He will just be a situational pass rusher early on.

7. Trevardo Williams- Connecticut
    Height: 6'1"
    Weight: 241
At this point Williams is strictly a pass rusher, as you do not know whether he can drop into coverage or whether he has the strength to play the run. He is an explosive athlete with a quick first step and is great at jumping snap counts. However, due to his strength and size limitations he is just a pure speed rusher with no power moves.

8. Chase Thomas- Stanford
    Height: 6'3"
    Weight: 244
Thomas is unlike most of the guys listed so far, as he is a limited athlete. He is great against the run and just plays the game relentlessly. He has a very high football IQ and is just a very active player. He isn't much of a pure pass rusher with speed off the edge, but he was able to pressure the quarterback through stunts and blitzes.

9. Brandon Jenkins- Florida State
    Height: 6'3"
    Weight: 251
Jenkins suffered a LisFranc injury in Florida State's first game, but he declared for the draft anyways. Jenkins is another speed rusher off the edge, but lacks the bulk and the strength to play the run well. A fairly common theme in this year's class.

10. Sean Porter- Texas A&M
      Height: 6'1"
      Weight: 231
Porter is a versatile player who possess a very nice frame. He is very fluid in space and showed ability to rush from the inside and outside. Needs to play more physically. Porter isn't special at anything but solid in a lot of areas.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Packers Draft Possibilities: Offensive Line

Count me as one of the many people who think who desperately need help on our offensive line.  I do like Bulaga as our RT, but when we drafted him I figured he would end up going to LT, but he's done so well on the right side I think that the Packers and TT might be hesitant to move him somewhere else and shake his confidence.  I also think that we are strong at Guard with Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang.  Lang needs to be able to stay at guard because our depth behind that is weak, and Lang is not a strong offensive tackle.  After that we come to a whole bunch of question marks.  Last year our other starters on the line were LT-Marshall Newhouse, and C-Jeff Saturday.  Saturday is no longer on the team with us.  That's not necessarily a complaint, because he was awful last year and was benched at the end of the year, a pro bowl nod, because no one knows any Centers, but he was bad.  Newhouse is not a starting LT in the NFL.  He simply has not moved well enough for us to continue thinking he is a long term solution at LT, and should not start there for the 2013 season.  Last year in the game against the Seahawks alone, we gave up 8 sacks.  4 to Chris Clemons, 2 a piece to Bruce Irvin & Brandon Mebane.  Putting the fail mary aside, we should not give up 8 sacks in a game, and that really hurt our chances.  Our other offensive lineman include the following: Don Barclay, Andrew Datko, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Garth Gerhart, Joe Gibbs, Kevin Hughes, Derek Sherrod, and Greg Van Roten.  Barclay started four games for us last year and was relatively decent, but not up to the standards we would hope to achieve on our line.  He also had 2 postseason starts.  Datko was on the practice squad all of last year, if he's an improvement I'll take him on the team this year.  EDS is a player that the Packers will keep because we like to rotate him in and out offensively and can play Guard and Center.  Gerhart was on the Browns practice squad last season and was signed in January.  Signed Gibbs from the UFL last season to the practice squad.  Hughes was a practice squad player for the Chargers (2012) and Rams (2011).  Then we have the enigma that is Derek Sherrod.  As a rookie he came in and started to play LT and develop his skills because of an injury to Clifton.  Broke his leg against Kansas City, hasn't been back healthy since.  And that was from December 2011, tough to count on him back 100% to start this fall.  Then there is Greg Van Roten, who played some but didn't start a game in our wacky offensive line that we had this past season.  Since free agency is basically picked clean.  Let's look at who the Packers might have as options in the draft.

First, I'm fairly certain that all of the major offensive lineman that I would love are going to be gone at pick 26, and I don't think Ted Thompson will trade up for Joeckel, Fisher, Johnson, Warmack, or Cooper.  Fluker is probably off of the board too.  So that means the best players at the position will already be gone, the same as when we drafted Bulaga (24), and Newhouse (32), both in the first round.

As of right now.  The only person who has us taking an offensive lineman in the first round is Charlie Campbell who works over at Walter football.  That pick would be used to draft Menelik Watson (OT Florida State, 6'5" 310 lbs, 34" arm).  As you can tell, his size is quite impressive.  This sounds like someone who should be off of the board before we pick, but the problem is that he has very little football experience.  He has played two seasons, 1 at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and then at Florida State, where he started 12 games as a right tackle.  The only reason I would accept drafting Watson is if we are playing Bulaga at LT, because he has much more experience, and playing Barclay at RT while Watson learns the position.  Those are some risky moves when you can get someone to play immediately with the first round pick.  Watson is also 24, which means that he will not have as much time in the league as someone who is younger.  He doesn't particularly blow me away, and the only way I think we will draft him is if we trade down into round two and get another pick from early this draft.

Next up is Barrett Jones from Alabama, a 2nd round option as listed by Rob Warner over at  Jones is coming off of a lisfranc injury from this past season.  He won the Rimington trophy (Best Center) in 2012, and the Outland trophy (Best Interior Lineman) in 2011.  He is 6'4", 306 lbs.  Because of the injury Jones did not participate at the combine.  He is smart, finished his degree at Alabama in accounting in just 3 years.  Also, one thing that the NFL draft profile for his does is compare him to Daryn Colledge.  He could be a long time Center for us, which would be amazing, but I think his injury probably projects him into lower rounds, as he has prior medical issues as well.  I don't want to use a 2nd rounder on him, but would be fine with 3rd or 4th, because of those issues.  Last time the Packers drafted a Center, we drafted Scott Wells in the 7th round of the 2004 NFL draft.  I hope we get Barrett, but we won't take him too early.

Later round potential:

Brian Schwenke C-Cal 6'3" 314 lbs.  Currently seen as a fourth rounder over at Walter Football by Walter himself.  One issue that we could potentially have with Brian is he is a true Center, and doesn't give us multiple options like Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson have done with their offensive lineman lately.  But the Packers have had issues at Center, so Schwenke in the 4th round could be a major solution.  My favorite thing from the combine drills is that he had a great 3 cone drill, putting up a time of 7.31.

Khaled Holmes C-USC 6'4" 305 lbs.  Not a whole lot out there on this kid.  Started on the interior for the past 3 seasons on the offensive line.  He was a finalist for the Rimington (Barrett Jones won) and played at Center at USC for the past two years.  He was hurt (strained pectoral muscle) doing the bench press for the combine.  I'm not terribly sold on him when there are better options, but projected to be a 4th-5th rounder at this time.

Brian Winters G-Kent State 6'4" 315 lbs.  He played LT in college, but because of short arms is expected to make the move inside.  That means he should be more athletic, and at his pro day he did spend some time under center also.  Winters also strained a pectoral muscle at the combine.  Apparently the Steelers, Giants & Ravens all sent coaches to his pro day.

I'll be completely honest, if it was up to me, we would draft Barrett Jones, even if it involves moving around to get him.  Jones has good size, played multiple positions in college, and if the only question mark is medical history, then I can deal with that.  I'm just not sold on some of the later prospects, especially since the Packers shy away from guys who can only do one thing.  But like I was saying earlier, we definitely need to do something to improve.