Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 NFL Draft Big Board


1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

2. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

3. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

4. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

5. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

6. Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

7. Jonathon Martin, OT, Stanford

8. Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

9. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

10. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

11. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

12. Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

13. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

14. Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

15. Devon Still, DT, Penn State

16. Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

17. Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina

18. Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

19. Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

20. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State

21. Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

22. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

23. Micheal Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

24. Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

25. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

26. Peter Konz, OC, Wisconsin

27. Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC

28. Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

29. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

30. Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois

31. Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

32. Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

33. Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

34. Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

35. Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

36. Kevin Reddick, LB, North Carolina

37. Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

38. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia

39. Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

40. Alameda Ta'amu, NT, Washington

41. Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma

42. Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin

43. Chris Polk, RB, Washington

44. Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

45. Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall

46. Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

47. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

48. Billy Winn, DT/DE, Boise State

49. Casey Heyward, CB, Vanderbilt

50. David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

51. Kelechi Osemele, OT/OG, Iowa State

52. Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State

53. Mike Brewster, OC, Ohio State

54. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

55. Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama

56. Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis

57. Jonathon Banks, CB, Mississippi State

58. Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M

59. Markelle Martin, SS, Oklahoma State

60. Ben Jones, OC, Georgia

61. Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska

62. Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M

63. Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia

64. Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin

65. Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina

66. Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State

67. Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

68. Donta Hightower, LB, Alabama

69. Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia

70. Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana

71. Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

72. Joe Looney, OG, Wake Forest

73. LaMicheal James, RB, Oregon

74. Marcus Forston, DT, Miami

75. Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska

76. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

77. Devier Posey, WR, Ohio State

78. Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas

79. Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati

80. TJ McDonald, FS, USC

81. Orson Charles, TE, Georgia

82. Ryan Miller, OG, Colorado

83. Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma

84. Nate Potter, OT, Boise State

85. Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon

86. Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut

87. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin

88. Brandon Lindsey, DE/OLB, Pittsburgh

89. Doug Martin, RB, Boise State

90. BJ Cunningham, WR, Michigan State

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bengals A Look Ahead

The Bengals will be playing for a spot in the playoffs Sunday against Baltimore here in Cincinnati. It's simple, win and they're in! If they lose, they still may get in if the Jets and either the Broncos or Raiders lose. It has basically been a dream season. Almost every, if not every, sportswriter or talking head picked the Bengals to do nothing this season. A lot of them said the Bengals would be the worst team in the NFL and one of the favorites to land Andrew Luck in the draft. Now they control their own destiny heading into the last week of the season, who would've thought?

Not only has this dream season happened, but the Bengals are also one of the youngest teams in the NFL. At most of the key positions they are very young including a rookie QB and rookie number one WR who both look to be future pro bowlers for years to come. Add to that the top teams in the AFC North are the Steelers and Ravens and both of those teams are getting old and will need to retool here soon.

Also they've traded Carson Palmer for a 1st round pick in 2012 and a likely 2nd round pick in 2013 which could become a 1st round pick. Plus Jonathon Joseph left via free agency to the Houston Texans so the Bengals should get a 3rd round compensatory pick for losing the talented Cornerback. So that means the Bengals will have 5 picks in the first 3 rounds in 2012 and at least 4 picks in 2013 within the first 3 rounds. That's 9 picks in the first 3 rounds in the next 2 drafts.

With the young talent on this team that has already assured themselves of a winning season and all of the draft picks coming early in the next two drafts the Bengals find themselves with a window to make a Super Bowl run here in the next few years if they can do as well in these future drafts as they have in the past couple.

There are some holes still to fill so I'm going to take a look at what the roster could look like coming next season and in the future. Look at potential free agents they can sign and who they have that will be a free agent. Everyone wants Mike Brown to hire a GM, so I'll take the job and here's what I would try to do.

Lets start with the offense.

Quarterback: Obviously Andy Dalton is the man at this position. He is having one of the all time great rookie seasons and it has been overshadowed by Cam Newton putting up slightly better numbers. Dalton is the only rookie QB since the merger that has at least 8 wins and 20 TD's as a rookie. The future looks bright at Quarterback.

As far as backups go Gradkowski is servicable, but you can always look to upgrade either with a late round gem in the draft or via free agency. A couple available free agents would be Brady Quinn or Dennis Dixon. I would be interested in Dixon. I always would like to have a backup who could be dual threat and hurt you with his legs. Backups aren't as good of passers as starters, that's why they're backups. If you can get one that can hurt you with their legs, you bring a different element and can keep yourself in contention if your QB isn't out for the rest of the season.

Runningback: Cedric Benson has been okay since he's been here. It seems like he's declined each year though. I wouldn't resign him if I were calling the shots. I like what Bernard Scott brings to the table but he can't shoulder an entire season's load. Cedric Peerman has shown flashes but I'd definitely look to upgrade.

As far as the draft goes, I'm usually against taking a RB in the first round. However if somehow Trent Richardson is still available I would take him in a second. If he starts to fall I would even consider moving up a couple spots to get him, I think he's that special of a player and will be a back like Adrian Peterson. That's how highly I think of him. If you could get AP in his rookie year you bet you would use that 1st round pick on him, especially if you have 2 picks. It's unlikely Richardson falls that far, but I've seen a couple mocks that have him that low and you never know teams don't value RB's like they used to. There are other quality backs that can be had in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Some names such as Lamar Miller from Miami or Chris Polk from Washington come to mind.

Free Agents include Matt Forte, maybe dreaming but he's been feuding with the Bears about a contract. If they don't franchise tag him and Mike Brown is willing to pony up some big cash then maybe it will happen. Mike Tolbert or Micheal Bush may be some more realistic options. I really like the thought of Bush as he's a big back that would be a good fit in the AFC North. Others: Peyton Hillis, Tim Hightower, and Chester Taylor.

Wide Receiver: AJ Green is the man. He may be the best WR in the NFL within a couple of years. As early as going into next season I would say he is definitely top 5 and arguably top 3. With Andre Johnson battling injuries I'd go Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, then AJ Green and Andre Johnson. After Green is where there are some questions.

I think they are set in the slot. I really like Andrew Hawkins quickness and between he and Jordan Shipley the slot is taken care of. The number two spot belongs to Jerome Simpson right now and while he has shown flashes and is a freak athletically, he is inconsistent. He got alligator arms in the first Pittsburgh game and gave up the game losing interception. He has disappeared in games if he doesn't get involved early. It's taken him 4 years to "get it" and get on the field. Also there is the trouble with the weed being sent to his house. I'd like to see the number two WR upgraded and take some heat off of Green. They do have Gresham at TE to do some of that.

As far as the draft goes they aren't likely to use a 1st round pick on a WR. If Alshon Jeffrey is still on the board when they pick I would consider taking him if it was me. He may be the most talented WR in this draft. He definitely has top ten ability. His numbers have been down this year but the QB play has been terrible at South Carolina. Adding Jeffrey would give the Bengals two stud, talented, number one WR's and that would be impossible for defenses to cover, especially with Gresham and the slot guys in the middle. Actually yeah if Jeffrey is there when the Bengals are on the clock I'd have to pull the trigger on that. Especially having the two first round picks, I wouldn't do it otherwise. Having two WR's like that and Dalton at QB could give you the best offense in the NFL.

Free Agents at Wide Receiver, the position is loaded in next year's class of free agents. You have Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker, Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston, Steve Johnson, and Brandon Lloyd are the big names. Now most of these will be resigned but I bet one or two will be available. That's unrealistic though as you would have to outbid other teams to get them. However the Bengals future looks bright so players won't just say no to the Bengals no matter what like in the past. If Mike Brown is willing to pay, players will come here because the Bengals have a window where they could win a championship. There's also players that would be decent number two's in Mario Manningham or Robert Meachem. Two names that intrigue me are Pierre Garcon and Ted Ginn. Ginn is a burner who will stretch the field opening things up for AJ Green, Gresham, Hawkins, and Shipley. With Ginn defenses will have to keep at least one Safety deep or he will beat them over the top.

Offensive Line: The offensive line has been decent, but some upgrades can definitely be made as they fell apart at the end of the first Baltimore game. They had 1st and goal on the 5 and Dalton didn't have time to throw on any downs. Whitworth is one of the best Left Tackles in the league and he'll stay there. At Left Guard, Livings has to go. He gets penalties all the time and gets beat all the time. Center Kyle Cook is a solid player and he will remain the Center. Right Guard Bobbie Williams has been a good player here for years. He is old though and I don't think his contract will be extended. They have Boling waiting in the wings to replace Williams. At Right Tackle Andre Smith has improved ten fold this year, he had trouble with Sheard in Cleveland but he'll be the RT for years.

In the draft there is a stud Guard, David DeCastro and he could be an option in the first round. If Cordy Glenn is there in the 2nd round he could be the pick there as well depending on how the draft falls. Another option is to take a bigger Tackle in the 2nd or 3rd round and move him to Guard. I like this line of thinking as Tackles are usually more athletic and you can get a 3rd Round Tackle that likely has the athleticism of a 1st round Guard.

In free agency Guards usually can be had relatively inexpensive. Carl Nicks from New Orleans is probably the best option of all the free agent Guards. If the Bengals could get him or someone comparable, that would open up an early round draft pick for another position. Or the pick would be for depth, something you always need along both lines of scrimmage. Winning football starts up front and the more good lineman you have the more consistently you'll win.

Defensive Line: The Defensive Line has been excellent this year. They have played with an 8 man rotation and that has kept them fresh and healthy for the most part. It starts with the pass rushing of Carlos Dunlap. Things fell off a bit when he was out with a hamstring injury, but when he's in there he's been all over the QB's. Geno Atkins should have made the pro bowl as he led all DT's with 8 sacks so far this season. If he keeps up his play he will make the trip to Hawaii several times.

As far as the draft goes, like I've said you can never have too many good players up front. Injuries happen to lineman all the time. That said, I doubt an early pick is used on a D lineman unless there's someone there that they feel is can't miss and is too good of a value to pass on. The Bengals have a good team and they don't have to take any position in the first round based on need they can take the best player on their board. If someone like DE Melvin Ingram happens to fall to them they could pull the trigger and give themselves two stud DE's to rush the passer.

In free agency I don't really see the Bengals spending big dollars to bring in someone on the line. They could use a big fat run stuffer to go next to Peko on running downs. Jonathon Fanene is a free agent after this season and they need to make sure they get him resigned. His versatility is huge for this line. Antonio Garay from San Diego is a free agent Nose Tackle. If they could get him in here for the right price that line would be almost impossible to run against.

Linebackers: I like what the additions of Thomas Howard and Manny Lawson have meant to this team. I would like to see them brought back. This isn't exactly a strong position group, but it's not weak either. Keith Rivers hasn't lived up to his top ten draft status. Maualuga needs to improve on his angles since taking over at middle LB.

A mid round draft pick could be in order to help with some role players at LB. Dontay Moch may be ready to contribute next season. He has excellent speed and could be huge on passing downs at the SAM LB spot across from Brandon Johnson. Maybe some depth could be added at the outside LB spots for run support. There aren't really any free agents that fit the Bengals 4-3 defense that should be brought in.

Secondary: The secondary has struggled since Leon Hall went down with the achilles injury. It's starting to play better now that Adam Jones is healthy. Nate Clements has been a good addition, and although he's aging a bit he brings good veteran leadership. At Safety Reggie Nelson is having a breakout season and finally living up to the hype of his first round draft status. Chris Crocker has been solid for a couple years, but is getting old and an upgrade could be in order.

As far as the draft goes, most think the Bengals will take a CB maybe Janoris Jenkins or Dre Kirkpatrick with one of their first round picks. If they do and retain Jones and Clements they may have the best group of CB's 1 thru 4 in the NFL. However, they do not have to take a CB in the first round. This draft class is absolutely loaded at CB and good ones can be had into the second and third rounds. When a certain position is loaded with talent teams tend to pass on that position sometimes thinking they can land a quality player later in the draft and they focus on another position of need instead.

Brent Grimes, Tracy Porter, and Brandon Carr are some quality free agents that would be in the price range that Mike Brown would be willing to pay. If the Bengals can retain their own and land one of these three then they definitely can wait in the draft on a CB if they choose. That will basically open up their draft to take whoever they think is the best player overall with each pick. That would be a huge thing because for the first time since I can remember the Bengals will be drafting players for depth, not because they have to have that player to fill a need. If they can do that, that's when they can focus on building a championship team because they will be able to get the best player available and not just someone they need.

Friday, December 23, 2011

2012 NFL Mock Draft


1. indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

This is an interesting pick. Everyone knows the Colts have a legend at QB in Peyton Manning. It would be a tough blow to the fans to see Manning playing for someone else. That said, Luck has an entire career ahead of him and Manning has a few years left. If you're GM, Bill Polian you have to think long term about what is best for the franchise. It'd be tough to see Manning go, but ask Green Bay fans how trading Brett Favre turned out. Best case scenario is you can get Luck to sit behind Manning for a year, and convince Manning to be a mentor to Andrew Luck.

2. St. Louis Rams- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

This is a tough call because there will likely be new leadership in St. Louis next season. The Rams need an Offensive Tackle, but they have spent high draft choices on the position quite a bit in the past few years. They also need to get Sam Bradford a legit number one WR. Brandon Lloyd is decent, but he isn't nearly as talented as Justin Blackmon.

3. Minnesota Vikings- Matt Kalil, OT, USC

The Vikings need some help up front on offense and Kalil also happens to be the top player on the board. I'm a firm believer in taking the best player that fits your team, especially when you are picking this high. When you draft a player you are drafting him for several years and he might not be at a position of need right now but needs change on a team from year to year. This pick would help with young QB Christian Ponder giving him security on his blind side. Also Adrian Peterson, the best player on the Vikings, would benefit from this pick.

4. Cleveland Browns- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Cleveland will be hoping Justin Blackmon lasts to their pick but I think he goes to the Rams. They really need help at WR, but there isn't another WR worthy of a top 5 pick. I'm not a huge fan of RB's going this high, but Richardson is a special talent and reminds me a lot of Adrian Peterson. Peyton Hillis will not be back in Cleveland after the strep throat thing and the contract disputes.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars- Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

The Jaguars brought in Aaron Kampman to be their "stud" pass rusher a few years ago and he blew his knee out in the first training camp in Jacksonville. They still haven't been able to find a guy to pass rush. When you are in a division with the pass happy Colts and have a good passing team in the Texans you need to be able to get after the QB.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Ronde Barber is at the end of his career and Aqib Talib may be in jail next season. Claiborne is the top CB in this draft even though he's probably the 2nd best CB on his own college team. LSU keeps churning out top CB after top CB.

7. Washington Redskins- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Griffin's value has skyrocketed this season. Mike Shanahan is not going to go through another season with Rex Grossman or John Beck at QB. He knows as well as anyone that you need a good QB to win in the NFL. With the success of Tebow and Cam Newton this year, QB's like Griffin will be looked at more favorably.

8. Miami Dolphins- Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

With Matt Barkley going back to school, Jones now has a legit shot to be a top ten QB. Matt Moore has played well lately, but there will be a new QB in Miami next season. If they don't go out and get a veteran look for them to draft one in the first round.

9. Carolina Panthers- Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina

Cam Newton looks like a rising star in the NFL and the Panthers are going to do everything they can to showcase him and give him a chance to be a pro bowl QB. That includes getting him another threat at WR. Steve Smith has wanted another legit WR for years and they get one here with Jeffrey who could be the most talented WR in this class.

10. Buffalo Bills- Jonathon Martin, OT, Stanford

I can't believe how bad the Bills have fallen off since having that great start this season. They just extended Ryan Fitzpatrick and if he's going to be their guy they have to get him some protection, especially on the left side of that line. It has been a problem for years. They also need some playmakers at WR other than Steve Johnson.

11. Philadelphia Eagles- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Unbelievably the Eagles need a CB, but after spending all that money at the position this past off season they won't draft one in the 1st round. Especially when you think this CB class is loaded and good ones can be had later on. The Eagles need that hard nosed playmaker in the middle of that defense. Kuechly can step right in and be a leader and is one of the most pro ready players in this draft.

12. Kansas City Chiefs- Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

The Chiefs have Tamba Hali to rush the passer and that is it. These tweener types used to not go until at least the 2nd round, but with more teams going to the 3-4 they are going earlier in drafts and Scott Pioli will realize this. His old boss, Bill Belicheck still won't take one in the first.

13. Arizona Cardinals- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

The Cardinals have two OT's that are over paid and under perfoming. They can get rid of at least one of them by taking Reiff, the last of the three elite Tackles, and suring up one of the Tackle spots with a cheaper, better option.

14. Tennessee Titans- Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State

The Titans have needed an upgrade at basically every LB spot for years. The last good LB they had was Keith Bullock. Burfict is a guy who plays like his hair is on fire and can make plays sideline to sideline.

15. San Diego Chargers- Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State

The Chargers have needed an upgrade at rush LB since they made Shawn Merriman stop taking steroids. They drafted Larry English in the first round and he's been a bust. Jenkins should provide them with the pass rush they need.

16. Seattle Seahawks- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

People would say this is a major reach, but everyone remembers what happened in this year's draft with the QB's going so high. Plus Seattle passed on Andy Dalton in last year's draft and I think they are kicking themselves for that and won't want to make the same mistake again.

17. New York Giants- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

The Giants are thin in the secondary and had to start the season with guys they brought in off the street. This despite taking a CB in the first round, Prince Amukamara, who was a steal for them. Add the Giants to the list of teams with a duo of first round CB's.

18. Cincinnati Bengals- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

The secondary has been a problem spot for the Bengals since Leon Hall went down with an achilles injury. Jenkins may be the most talented CB in this draft, he started at Florida, on a national championship team, as a true freshman. He got kicked out of Florida for arrests for Marijuana, so I can see the jokes now if the Bengals take him. Arrest or not, Jenkins is super talented and would give the Bengals a major boost in pass coverage. With how well the D line has been playing, if you have a group of CB's with Hall, Jenkins, Jones, and Clements the defense will be awfully tough.

19. Chicago Bears- Mike Brewster, OC, Ohio State

The Bears offensive line has struggled for quite a few years now. The best piece of that line was Olin Kruetz who left for the Saints via free agency then retired. Teams are taking Centers higher in drafts because the results are there to see that teams with good Centers are usually among the best offensive lines in the NFL. Look at the difference on the Bengals line when Giuchec was here and then when Kyle Cook took over.

20. Dallas Cowboys- Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

Dallas is thin at CB, like their division rival the Giants. Terrance Newman is getting old and losing some of that world class speed and Mike Jenkins is afraid to tackle anyone. They have also been decimated by injury. The Cowboys need to take advantage of this deep class of CB's.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

Both Nate Livings and Bobbie Williams are set to become free agents after the season. Livings isn't that good and Williams is getting old. They have Boling to replace one of them or Anthony Collins. DeCastro is the best interior lineman in this class and I would love this pick. I'm a huge fan of using early picks on one line or the other. I'm a firm believer in winning football starts up front no matter if it's pee wee or the NFL.

The Bengals haven't used a high draft pick on an interior offensive lineman since taking Steinbach in the 2nd round. Getting DeCastro to solidify the line would give the Bengals a chance to have one of the better offenses in the NFL for years to come. They are loaded with young skill players and have what looks to be a promising young QB in Andy Dalton. This offense along with a strong defense with a secondary with improved depth would give the Bengals a window to make a Super Bowl run. Especially having at least nine picks within the first 3 rounds of the next two drafts.

22. New York Jets- Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington

Good Nose Tackles are very hard to find. The Jets defense was dominant a few years ago when they had Kris Jenkins starting in the middle up front. He's since been on the IR most of the time and the defense hasn't been the same since.

23. Denver Broncos- Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

John Fox is a defensive coach who loves to run the football. I don't think he's a huge fan of Moreno and McGahee is getting too old to play RB in the NFL. Miller is the best available RB and Fox doesn't shy away from taking RB's in the first.

24. Cleveland Browns- Micheal Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

The Browns have two picks in the first round because they passed on Julio Jones this year and got a group of picks in return from Atlanta. While most agree that was a good trade for the Browns they still don't have a legit threat at WR. They have to get a WR with one of the two first round picks. They still don't know what they have at QB with Colt McCoy, but you can't give McCoy an honest evaluation if he doesn't have any weapons on offense to work with.

25. Detroit Lions- Peter Konz, OC, Wisconsin

The Lions need some offensive line help. This is the first year that Stafford hasn't gotten injured. If the Lions want this to continue they need to get him some protection. Center is the weakest spot and in my opinion also the most important spot on the line. Yes, even more important than Left Tackle. The Center makes the line calls and pressure up the middle is the most disruptive to a QB.

26. Houston Texans- Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

Broyles is undervalued because of his size. Look how much Oklahoma has struggled since Broyles went out. Broyles has excellent speed, hands, a vertical, and ability to get seperation. He would be a perfect compliment to Andre Johnson and his return ability adds to his value.

27. Baltimore Ravens- Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

Ray Lewis has had a hall of fame career. He is also still playing at a high level. Lewis can't play forever though and Manti could be his heir apparent as the leader in the middle of that defense. He could play inside next to Lewis until Ray decides to hang up his cleats and then take over.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Barrett Jones, OT, Alabama

If Jones declares his value will shoot up because he has the versatility to play about anywhere on the offensive line. The Steelers have had holes all over their offensive line for years. Really I'm suprised they've won as much as they have with the problems on that line. That just proves that defense wins championships is true.

29. New England Patriots- Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

The Pats traded Richard Seymour to the Raiders a couple years ago and have been looking for a replacement every since. With the explosive offense they have run by Tom Brady, if they can get just an average pass rush and make their defense middle of the pack they'll probably be favorites to win the Super Bowl.

30. San Francisco 49ers- Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin

The Niners have a good defense and running game which is a formula for success in football. However if they wanna make a run at winning a Super Bowl they're going to need some more playmakers at WR. Braylon Edwards isn't going to cut it, and Crabtree hasn't lived up to his hype at all.

31. New England Patriots- Vinny Currey, DE/OLB, Marshall

If the Pats can land Ingram to put at DE and Currey to come off the edge at OLB they will significantly upgrade their pass rush and the entire defense. I think this is the year NE actually uses both their first round picks.

32. Green Bay Packers- Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

I've been mocking a Tackle to the Packers for months now. This was when it looked like they didn't have any holes. Now with all the injuries on the offensive line they suddenly look beatable and lost to KC last weekend. Also when you have a QB the caliber of Aaron Rodgers spending a high pick on an offensive lineman is a good idea and should be done as much as possible. If you keep Rodgers protected he stays healthy and if he has time he will pick defenses apart and win you more Super Bowls.

2nd Round

33. Indianapolis Colts- Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn State

Teams have been able to run on the Colts for years. It didn't show as much because Manning had them a lead and teams were forced to throw. Now it's time for them to become a more well rounded team.

34. Minnesota Vikings- Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia Tech

The CB play in Minnesota has been awful this year. Teams have thrown all over the Vikings. Minnifield is a 1st round talent, but because this class is loaded with CB's he may fall to the 2nd round.

35. St. Louis Rams- Kelechi Osemele, OT/OG, Iowa State

It's amazing the Rams still need help at Tackle being they've taken 3 of them early in the past few years, including one a 2nd overall pick with arms that are too short and he needs to be moved to Guard. You would think with all the money spent on scouting and on these teams in general someone would've noticed that before drafting him 2nd overall.

36. Cleveland Browns- Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

This is the Browns 3rd pick within the first 36 picks. Brown is the best player left on the board if he falls this far. With all these high picks Cleveland has to take the best player available as much as possible as they've been bad for years and need to add the best talent they can.

37. Jacksonville Jaguars- Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

The Jags took Reggie Nelson in the first round and whiffed on him a few years ago, even though he's playing well in Cincinnati. They've still been struggling at Safety and here can get Barron who could easily go in the first round.

38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

The Bucs could very well go CB in the first two rounds in next year's draft. Ronde Barber may retire and Talib may go to jail. If that happens they go from two good starting CB's to zero and have to completely reload. In a division with Brees, Ryan, and Newton it could be tough starting two rookie CB's.

39. Washington Redskins- Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M

The Redskins actually have a lot of pieces in place, but when you have bad QB play it's tough to overcome that. Also if they take a QB in the first round they are lacking weapons at WR and will need to add to that position early in next year's draft.

40. Miami Dolphins- Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

If the Dolphins land a 1st round rookie QB this would be a good pick. A rookie QB's best friend, other than a good running game, is a good pass catching TE. Allen is the best in this draft and Jones could develop a rapport with him for years.

41. Carolina Panthers- Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

Teams have thrown the ball all over the Panthers this year. If their defense could slow teams down at all they may have close to a .500 record. You can go about fixing this two ways, add to the pass rush or cover CB's.

42. Buffalo Bills- Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma

The Bills have been transitioning from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense over the past two seasons. They had an early 1st round pick in Aaron Maybin as a pass rusher, but he doesn't fit their new system and they need to add new personnel to fit their defense.

43. Philadelphia Eagles- Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

Andy Reid loves to draft offensive lineman early and often and here it fits a need and is the best player available. Glenn can play across from Danny Watkins and give the Eagles one of the best young Guard tandems in the NFL, turning what was a huge weakness a year ago into a strength.

44. Kansas City Chiefs- Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama

Todd Haley has been fired so I don't know what defense the Chiefs will run next season. If they keep Romeo Cronnell around they will keep the 3-4 and will need a legit nose tackle.

45. Philadelphia Eagles- Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

Teams have run right up the gut on the Eagles all season. Some people are blaming that wide nine defense they run. I blame it on them being soft up the middle. If they add Kuechly and Thompson that'll be a huge step in fixing that.

46. Tennessee Titans- Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon

The Titans should take advantage of this loaded class of CB's because they have needed an upgrade across from Cortland Finnegan for years.

47. San Diego Chargers- Casey Heyward, CB, Vanderbilt

Quinton Jammer is in his thirties and after trading Cromartie they've needed to add another CB for the last two years. In other years Heyward could be a fringe 1st/2nd round pick.

48. Seattle Seahawks- Kevin Reddick, LB, North Carolina

Seattle just traded Aaron Currey to SF for a low draft pick. What happened there? Wasn't Currey supposed to be the safest, surest pick in the draft his year coming out. Anyway Seattle now needs a SAM LB.

49. New York Giants- Donta Hightower, LB, Alabama

The Giants current middle LB, Chase Blackburn, is a free agent after this season. He needs to be upgraded anyways as do the other LB spots on the Giants.

50. New England Patriots- Billy Winn, DT/DE, Boise State

Bill Belicheck likes to take the best player available and Winn would likely be that this late in the draft. This would also give the Pats good young depth at DE with the additions of Winn and Ingram. You could even play Currey there if you had to.

51. Chicago Bears- Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State

I wouldn't be suprised if the Bears took offensive lineman with their first four picks in this draft. They've needed upgrades across the line for years. It's showing this year with Cutler out and he's been the most sacked the past two seasons.

52. Dallas Cowboys- Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis

This draft has 3 Nose Tackles that could go in the first two rounds which is rare. The Cowboys are set at NT, but you could always use depth as you are just an injury away from struggling at a position it's hard to find a replacement. With guys that big injuries can happen easily.

53. Cincinnati Bengals- Chris Polk, RB, Washington

The Bengals had some luck getting a RB in the 2nd round from Washington one other time, Corey Dillon. Cedric Benson is okay, but he's getting old for a RB and with a good run blocking line is averaging less than 4 yards a carry which isn't very good. Polk is a big power guy that has the speed to break off the long run. Adding someone like Polk to an already talented young offense will just make them that much more explosive. If the draft plays out like this for the Bengals a Super Bowl run could be in order soon. It's exciting to say that as a long suffering Bengals fan.

54. New York Jets- Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

This pick sends a message to Mark Sanchez that you better pick your game up. Rex Ryan wants to win it all, anything less is unacceptable. That's not gonna happen with Sanchez at QB. I think Rex is going to explore some options at the end of the season, especially if the Bengals get in the playoffs over the Jets.

55. Denver Broncos- Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M

Champ Bailey can't play forever right? He's getting old and injured more often every year. The Broncos will likely add a CB early for depth at least.

56. Atlanta Falcons- Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma

I thought the Falcons should have taken a DE instead of trading up for Julio Jones this year's draft. In thier playoff game against Green Bay, Abraham looked exhausted as he's all they have in terms of pass rush.

57. Detroit Lions- Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia

I'm sure the Lions will like picking lower for once and not having to pay these rookies an arm and a leg. The Lions need to go O line in the first, then secondary in the 2nd, then back to the O line in the 3rd, and you get the picture, O line and secondary!

58. Houston Texans- TJ McDonald, FS, USC

The Texans defense is much improved with Wade Phillips calling the defense. However they went into this season undermanned in the secondary. They did add Jonathon Joseph, but they still need Safety help.

59. Baltimore Ravens- Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

Ozzie Newsome is a big proponent of taking the best player available and that would be Sanu at this point. He's a physical WR like Boldin who has been hurt a lot lately and would be good insurance to have behind Boldin and Torrey Smith.

60. Pittsburgh Steelers- Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

Sanders is a smaller, more athletic offensive lineman which you would think wouldn't fit the Steelers smash mouth style of offense. Except the Steelers don't run that type of offense anymore they throw the ball a ton.

61. New Orleans Saints- Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

Worthy would be a good compliment next to Sedric Ellis on the interior of the Saints defensive line. Ellis is more athletic and gets after the passer while Worthy can get after the passer but is better at playing the run.

62. San Francisco 49ers- Ray Ray Armstrong, SS, Miami

The Niners took Taylor Mays in the 2nd round in last year's draft and gave up on him quick. They still need to upgrade at the position, and if it doesn't work out they can always trade him to the Bengals for a 7th rounder.

63. New England Patriots- DeVier Posey, WR, Ohio State

Everyone knows the Pats have a good offense, but they are flawed as they don't really have a deep threat. Bringing in Posey would give them that. Also people in New England that want memorabilia just find a good tattoo artist and you can get a jersey or whatever.

64. Green Bay Packers- LaMicheal James, RB, Oregon

James would be a good fit in the Packers explosive offense. Can you imagine him as a check down option, with all of those talented WR's he'd get the ball in space a lot and would be dangerous.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bengals Team Draft Needs in 2012

I was listening to talk radio today and someone called in and asked Chick Ludwig which way he thinks the Bengals will go in the draft next year. That got me thinking about what the Bengals have missed the most this season.

Obviously this is a very young team and the future looks bright. It looks as if this may be the Bengals division in the very near future with all the young talent and the Ravens and Steelers getting old. They have a lot of good young players at most of the key positions.

I'd say they definitely need to take a Cornerback within the first two rounds next year. We've all seen what has happened to the secondary with Leon Hall out for the season. I like Adam Jones and think he has played well. I also like the veteran leadership Nate Clements brings and would like to see both of them return. That said I think they would both be better served as the 3rd and 4th CB's. I'd like to see them land Janoris Jenkins or Dre Kirkpatrick in the first round with one of their two picks.

Also they have to get a Guard or two early in next year's draft. This however doesn't have to be in the first round. It would be nice to get someone like DeCastro, but they'd have to spend a first round pick to do so. Another route would be to get a 2nd or 3rd round Tackle that is over sized and has the versatility to play Guard. It seems like you can get better athletes that play Tackle vs. ones that play Guard. Someone like Barrett Jones comes to mind. This gives them someone that could fill in at Tackle in case of injury or the flexibility to move Whit or Andre Smith inside. I know that I don't want to see Nate Livings as the opening day starter for the Bengals next year and Bobbie Williams is old and may be done after this season. They did land a steal with Boling in the 5th round and he could be Williams replacement.

Also Carlos Dunlap has been out 4 of the last 5 weeks. It's no coincidence the Bengals have lost 4 of their last 5 games. Dunlap is an elite pass rusher. The problem is he's the only elite pass rusher the Bengals have. Everyone else is better when Dunlap is in there because he draws so much attention. If the Bengals have a chance to land an elite pass rusher in the first round I think they should do so. Elite pass rushers don't grow on trees and they are hard to come by. If the Bengals could get someone as good as Dunlap across from him their defense would go from good to great. That would be especially true if they get a first round CB and Leon Hall back next year. With one of the best pass rushes in the NFL and solid group of 4 good CB's they would be very tough to throw against in a league where everyone is pass happy. If you add that too a young offense that looks like it will be explosive you have a Super Bowl contender.

As much as I like Cedric Benson he's an average RB at best. Scott averages more yards per carry than Benson. The line is built to run block and he still averages less than 4 yards per carry. The only one I would even consider spending a first round pick on is Trent Richardson. He could be special like Adrian Peterson. Other than that I am not a fan of using a first round pick on a RB at all.

Like I said the future looks bright and if the Bengals can hit on these next couple of drafts they are in prime position to make a Super Bowl run and I think Marvin Lewis knows this. That's why he seems much happier these days, even with the current losing streak. It hasn't been about this season this is just all icing on the cake. The Bengals have 5 picks in the first 3 rounds in next year's draft. 2 picks in the first round, 1 pick in the second round, and 2 picks in the third round. I'm assuming they get a third round pick for Jonathon Joseph leaving in free agency. Also it looks like in 2013 they will have an additional second round pick. It could be a first rounder, but I doubt Carson Palmer is leading Oakland or anyone to the AFC Championship game. That's 9 picks in the first 3 rounds of the next two drafts. With all the pieces the Bengals have in place these picks will mainly be for depth and that's why I say the Bengals are in prime position to make it back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1989.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ohio State Football Recruiting

The Buckeyes have had a tough year to say the least. This past season looked like a season when John Cooper was coaching. They need a win over Florida in the Gator Bowl to avoid their first losing season in 12 years. Buckeye fans aren't used to this they've been dominating basically since Tressel was hired.

They've also had a tough year on the recruiting trail. ESPN didn't even have them ranked in the top 25 and Rivals had them at 16. The Buckeyes are used to having recruiting classes in the top ten every year.

Then they hired Urban Meyer and there has been a huge buzz every since. It already feels like Ohio State is back on top of the Big Ten and a national championship contender. Recruiting has done a 180. They currently still only have one player committed in the ESPN top 150, but it looks like several more are on the way. There have been numerous players ranked in the top 150 who now have the Buckeyes either in their top 5 or at the top of the list. These aren't just players from Ohio either they are the best players in the country.

Noah Spence is a top 5 recruit from Pennsylvania who plays defensive end and says the Buckeyes are now on the top of his list. He is going to Ohio State for a visit on December 17th and I wouldn't be suprised if Urban Meyer gets a verbal commitment from him before he leaves. This would give the Buckeyes two DE's ranked in the top 50 overall players and a serious pass rush.

There are now 10 high school players that are either rumored to be interested, have talked to Meyer, or scheduled an official visit to Ohio State. All ten of these players are in the ESPN top 150 and the lowest ranked of them is 104th. Two of these players are ranked in the top 10. These are besides verbal commits Washington and Dunn. Of these 10 players it looks like the Buckeyes are the favorites now to land at least five of them and they have a good shot at most. A couple are long shots.

What a blow this would be to Michigan who thought they were going to have the best recruiting class in the Big Ten by far. This also coming off a year in which they beat a down Ohio State team. I wonder what their fans are thinking. Just a month ago they thought they were a better team and had a recruiting class head and shoulders above an Ohio State team on probation. Now Meyer enters the mix and it's looking like the buzz is going to land Meyer a recruiting class that's even better than Michigans or anyone else in the Big Ten.

This has to be a blow for the Maize and Blue. They know that Meyer is going to out recruit them every year. Especially if he can come in this late and pull a recruiting class that is better than the one they have worked all year on. Just think what the 2013 class will be like when Meyer has a full year to recruit. Sorry Michigan fans it's looking like it's going to be another decade of going 2-8 or worse against Ohio State. If this keeps up that overall record that Michigan built a big lead with in the late 1800's and early 1900's is going to disappear before you know it and then you won't have any claim that Michigan is a better team than Ohio State.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

One year Michigan, one year is all your getting to beat the Buckeyes. One year to come into Ohio and tell recruits that there was an unstable situation at Ohio State. One year to think things are looking better for the Wolverines than for the Buckeyes. One year of bragging rights.

Even in that year for bragging rights, Ohio State fans don't really care. Urban Meyer has now been hired at the Ohio State University and about everyone in the nation knows that Ohio State is going to continue to dominate the Big Ten. Meyer is one of two elite coaches in college football and will have the Buckeyes back on top in no time. The Buckeyes have better players and now have a better coach once again and it's not even close.

I have a friend that is a Michigan fan and last Saturday he said to me that Hoke will be able to keep up with Meyer. I doubt even he really believes that statement. Meyer has two national championships, Hoke really hasn't done anything at any major school on a high level. High school kids that are prospective college players know the name Urban Meyer. Brady Hoke isn't a household name.

The Urban effect is already starting to show itself. A four star WR from Florida switched his verbal commitment from Miami to Ohio State and the top recruit in Pennsylvania said that the Buckeyes are now on the top of his list. It also looks like the Buckeyes are going to land two recruits that are in the top ten in the nation. This has all happened and Meyer hasn't even been the coach for a week yet. The Buckeyes have always landed most of the top players in Ohio, now they are going to get the top players from all over the country.

Before Meyer had the Buckeyes with the 16th ranked recruiting class and ESPN not in the top 25. By the time signing day gets here I bet they will be a top ten class. All of this and the real effect won't happen until the 2013 class is signed is what most national pundits are saying. Meyer never had a class ranked lower than 5th while he was at Florida and I expect the results to be close to the same at Ohio State.

Right now in college football the Big Ten is nowhere near as good as the SEC. Meyer is going to get players to Ohio State that were as good as they were in Florida and the spells trouble for the rest of the Big Ten. The Buckeyes may win the Big Ten as early as next season and by 2013 they are going to start dominating. You can call me a homer or whatever, but I expect many undefeated seasons in the Big Ten in the coming years. So you better enjoy it while you can Michigan fans because you only get one year!