Blue Duck Mock Draft 2010

April 22, 2010

The draft represents hope for every team in the NFL. Time has shown that only a few actually capitalize.

BlueDuckSport’s annual mock draft is here.  In a draft billed as “one of the deepest in years,” every team in the NFL has hope that this year could be theirs.  Of course we know that’s not true, but let’s look how at how the BlueDuck thinks it’ll play out (in a no-trade environment of course):

  1. Sam Bradford – QB – StL
    St. Louis has more problems than every team in the NFL, including Oakland.  No offensive line, questionable receivers, a sieve for a defense, and ownership in flux.  This team needs a “face of the franchise” type player, and Bradford is the safe pick.  He’s accurate and has no character issues.  If he’s lucky, he sits Year 1 and learns while the team develops an O-Line.
  2. Ndamukong Suh – DT – Det
    There’s debate over whether they should trade down or even allow this once-in-a-generation DT go and choose an offensive tackle to protect Mathew Stafford.  Barring a pre-draft trade for Albert Haynesworth, Jim Schwartz should take Suh to clog the middle and press the QB.
  3. Gerald McCoy – DT – TB
    Since Warren Sapp left before the ’04 season, DT has been a problem.  The Bucs were able to patch the hole for a few years before the bottom fell out on this unit in 2009.  The Tampa-2 depends on creating pressure up the middle, forcing the QB to rush and allowing the defensive backfield to make a play on the ball.  That’s why McCoy is the pick at three.
  4. Trent Williams – OT – Washington
    Russell Okung may be the better player, but this is a system pick.  Everyone knows Shanahan will implement his legendary zone-blocking scheme, so getting a cornerstone left tackle that fits the system is especially important for the coach whose bread and butter is plugging in average players at RB and letting his scheme create stars.  Williams is a start in getting the ball rolling.
  5. Russell Okung – OT – KC
    Belichick deciple Scott Pioli hasn’t tipped his hand at all this off-season, but you’d have to think that if Okung is available, there’s no other choice.  Sure, Eric Berry looks like a phenom, but you can’t expect to win many games if you can’t keep the QB upright.  Choosing Okung here allows you to have bookend tackles locked up for the next decade (Branden Albert goes to RT).  Then, Kansas City can finally see what they have in Matt Cassell in Charlie Weis’ offense.
  6. Bryan Bulaga – OT – Sea
    The team needs to fill the massive shoes of HOF tackle Walter Jones, who looks doubtful to resume his career.  There are certainly mixed reviews of Bulaga, some scouts rate him in the third round because he has “short arms”.  Nevertheless, I say Seattle gambles on Bulaga who, in a worst case scenario, would the most dominant Seahawks guard since Steve Hutchinson left.
  7. Eric Berry – S – Cle
    With newly added Sheldon Brown added to Eric Wright, the top corners are above average for this rebuilding team.  In a conference with game-changing safeties like Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu, Cleveland will run to the podium to submit this pick.  Berry is unquestioned best secondary player in this draft and would go a long ways to helping remake the defense.
  8. Anthony Davis – OT – Oak
    Roll a dice with the name of players with questionable work ethics on it, because they are the Raiders cup of tea.  The only question is which future bust will Al Davis saddle his team with this year?  Every team wants their left tackle to be looking out for the quarterback, and with a history of weight fluctuations, Anthony Davis is the perfect BFF for JaMarcus Russell.  That’s not necessarily a good thing.
  9. Jimmy Clausen – QB – Buf
    Buffalo can go in a number of directions here since they have so many problems.  Many in the NFL feel that the current regime in place is just a Band-Aid until Ralph Wilson can lure a big name coach to take over, which is why I’m skeptical about whether they’d really choose a potential franchise QB this year.  Yet, I think the lure of grabbing the Golden Domer to sell some jerseys is the motivation here.
  10. Rolondo McClain – MLB – Jax
    The Jags have needs at LB, DB, and O-line, any of which could be addressed here.  There are rumors that they love C.J. Spiller, but that should just be a smokescreen with MJD already on the team.  Jacksonville isn’t good enough to have the luxury of using first round picks on a second runner.  With play-calling experience in a pro-style defense at Alabama, McClain is the steady player they need to plug the hole in the middle of the defense.

For picks 11-21, click here.
For picks 22-32, click here.

Blue Duck Mock Draft 2010 (part III)

April 22, 2010

For picks 1-10, click here.
For picks 11-21, click here.

22. Jared Odrick – DE – NE
Let’s be honest, if the draft falls this way, New England trades down with a team who wants Earl Thomas (that’s you Philly).  But as is, the Patriots have a lot to consider here.  They can fill a pass rush need with Sergio Kindle or add another RB to their stable with Ryan Matthews.  But these are the Patriots, who build from the lines out.  The only choices here are Maurkice Pouncy, who could be groomed to take over for Dan Koppen or Stephen Neal, or Jared Odrick, the mammoth DT at Penn State.  He could set the edge opposite Ty Warren, allowing whoever plays LB to make plays on the ball.

23.  Sergio Kindle – LB – GB
Green Bay began the transition to a 3-4 defense last year and adding Kindle to rush the passer will make the transition complete.  With elite pass rushing skills and above average coverage ability, having Kindle opposite Clay Matthews makes the Packers LB needs non-existent for the next 10 years.

24.  Earl Thomas – S – Phi
This is a dream scenario for Philadelphia, which struggled to fill the void left by Brian Dawkins surprise departure last offseason.  A playmaker in the defensive backfield, Thomas will take advantage of all the pressure that Philly’s front seven creates.

25.  Demaryius Thomas – WR – Balt
Sure, trading for Anquan Boldin and resigning Derrick Mason would seem to have the Ravens set at receiver.  But neither one is a burner who can stretch the field and allow Joe Flacco to showcase his big-time arm.  Thomas is a true deep threat that will allow Boldin and Mason to work the underneath.

26.  Jerry Hughes – LB – Ari
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt knows how to shuffle linebackers to keep them pressuring the quarterback, from his time in Pittsburgh.  Joey Porter is nothing more than a stop-gap solution for the Cards and Hughes is considered a hybrid DE/LB, similar to Lamar Woodley in Pittsburgh.

27.  Charles Brown – OT – Dal
Releasing Flozell Adams created a massive hole on Tony Romo’s blindside.  The Cowboys need to draft the best tackle on the board, to compete with incumbent Doug Free.  Worst case scenario and the Cowboys have quality depth along the offensive line.

28.  Ryan Mathews – RB – SD
Best available talent meet biggest need for a Super Bowl hopeful.  Tomlinson is gone and this is Phillip River’s team now, but they still need to grind out some tough yards on the ground.  Mathews can take over one first and second down, while Darren Sproles can continue on third down and special teams.

29.  Carlos Dunlap – DE – NYJ
The biggest need for loaded Jets team is to get younger along the front seven.  Dunlap is immensely talented, but off-field concerns have many teams shying away.  Nobody has ever lumped the word “shy” with Rex Ryan before, as all off-season they’ve been acquiring character issues.  Dunlap can begin with sub-packages, rushing the passer; then he can grow into taking over Shaun Ellis’ starting spot.

30.  Maurkice Pouncey – OG – Min
When your bread and butter is running the ball with the most devastating RB the league has seen in years, you want to make sure you continue to open holes for him.  At worst, Pouncey starts at center this year.  He could be the eventual successor to Steve Hutchinson at LG.

31.  Rodger Saffold – OT – Indy
Protecting Peyton Manning is priority number one in Indianapolis.  With a questionable running game, keeping Peyton healthy is all the more important considering all the responsibility heaped on his shoulders.  Bringing the hometown kid in to compete with Charlie Johnson and Tony Ugoh should be the goal here.

32.  Sean Weatherspoon – LB – NO
Scott Fujita left in free agency, so filling his position is most important to the defending champs.  Weatherspoon is a a well-rounded athlete who, combined with Jonathan Vilma and Scott Shanle, will give Gregg Williams the mobile unit he desires.

BlueDuck’s Draft Experts Under Review

April 12, 2010

BlueDuckSports resident Draft experts, Alex and Andy, provided their take on the 2009 NFL Draft last year ( Picks 1-10, 11-21, 22-32).  In preparation for next week’s NFL Draft, let’s take a look back on their success rate and how they stacked up against the mainstream “experts”:

Player pick accuracy (expert accuracy as reported by TheBigLead):

Mike Mayock (NFL Network): 10-32
Mel Kiper: 9-32
National Football Post: 9-32
Andy: 8-32
Don Banks (SI): 7-32
The kid who claimed to have beaten Kiper in year’s past: 7-32
Alex: 6-32
Todd McShay 6-32
Peter King 6-32

Not too bad for a couple of schmucks from CT.  Especially considering that BlueDuck’s mock took place during the first week of April (3 weeks before the official draft) and the “experts” mocks were their final mocks made only days before the draft.  No doubt we’d have done better if we waited to conduct our draft immediately before.

An interesting note, out of the 32 picks in the first round, we were extremely accurate with picking the correct position a team would pick, regardless of the exact player.  In this regard, Alex got 14-32 correct, while Andy got 11-32 correct.  Using this way of looking at it might make up for the fact that trades were made and the near-draft hype of some players (like DHB to Oakland) weren’t taken into account when our choices were made three weeks early.

Check back later in the week for BlueDuck’s annual Mock Draft and see if we can beat the “experts”.

Somewhere, Jersey Shore castmembers swoon for a blowout like that when they're 50 years old.

Bye-bye Dre Bly

October 12, 2009
Hey Dre, come here!  Cannot play with them. Cannot win with them. Cannot coach with them. Cant do it. I want winners. I want people that want to win.

"Hey Dre, come here! Cannot play with them. Cannot win with them. Cannot coach with them. Can't do it. I want winners. I want people that want to win."

There is no way that Dre Bly is allowed to walk out of practice on Tuesday without an extra orifice in his backside and an article of footwear lodged in his existing one.  Not as long as Mike Singletary is the coach in San Francisco.  The interception/showboat/fumble was embarrassing and completely unacceptable.  For those unfamiliar with the play, let me take you back:

Third quarter, Falcons driving downfield at the start of the half.  Niners losing 35-10 at the time.  Bly picked a Matt Ryan pass intended for Roddy White at his own 10 yard line.  He then proceeded to sprint up field with the ball.  But that’s when things went awry.  By the time he reached his own 20 yard line (only 10 yards after making the pick) he puts a hand behind his head and high steps, all while carrying the football like a loaf of bread.  He was instantly caught from behind by Roddy White, who stripped him of the ball and allowed the Falcons to recover in San Francisco territory. 

Dre Bly mightve showboated himself out of a job in San Francisco.

Dre Bly might've showboated himself out of a job in San Francisco.

There’s no way that Singletary saw that play as it happened, because there is no way on Earth that Bly would’ve been able to make it to the locker room under his own power after his coach was done with him.  This is the coach that will get in anyone’s face, sent Vernon Davis to the locker room last year for not contesting an overthrown pass, and will openly jaw with any opposing player near his sideline.  He’s not going to stand for a play like this.  Nobody should and it certainly won’t be Samurai Mike. 

The worst part is that the team was down 25 points at the time and needed a momentum swing badly.  The pick would’ve helped.  A veteran player, like Dre Bly, would’ve realized this and used some of the wisdom he’s gathered in 11 years in the NFL and tucked the ball while running straight up field.  Instead, the cocky and selfish Bly went Primetime nowhere near the end zone and cost his team a shot at rallying.  His gaffe allowed the Falcons to recover and convert a field goal, extending their lead to four touchdowns in the third quarter.

As if the play itself isn’t bad enough, Bly cockily replied after the game, “Like I say, I’m going to be me.  That’s who I’ve been my whole life, that’s who I was in college. I have fun. Dre’s going to be Dre.”  Mike Singletary certainly won’t stand for selfish players who put themselves ahead of the team.  Not only did he make the mistake, he showed no remorse for his misdoing.  Reverend Mike isn’t going to be very forgiving of that.  It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Bly, whose on his third team in four years, get benched or even cut for his transgressions.  They are completely counterproductive to the mission that the Niners are on.  Playoff teams don’t make those careless mistakes.  Most rookies wouldn’t make those careless mistakes.  Veteran players absolutely shouldn’t make those mistakes.  It could be time for bye-bye for Dre Bly.

Tennessee Titans QB Controversy… Not so Fast

October 6, 2009
Kerry Collins taking a beating in the media, pretty much the story of his career.

Kerry Collins taking a beating in the media, pretty much the story of his career.

The Tennessee Titans were pummeled on Sunday.  Playing against the 1-2 Jacksonville Jaguars, the Titan’s defense was torched for 305 yards through the air and 137 yards on the ground.  Jeff Fisher’s offense was anemic, and the result was a 20 point loss, an 0-4 team, and a Tennessee franchise that is searching for answers.

Another Madden curse victim

Another Madden curse victim

It is pretty common for the blame to shift directly on the quarterback in situations like this.  Especially when said QB is not the guy originally intended to be under center.  The Vince Young experiment did not fail miserably, but he went off his rocker, and Kerry Collins has filled in quite admirably.  Now the fans and media are looking for a change.

Since taking over for Young last year, Collins has been more of a “game manager” than the prototypical passer that he was in the past.  Last season, en route to a 12-3 year, Collins averaged 167 yards per game passing.  His career average is around 210 yds/g.  This year the Titans have tried to throw the ball much more.  In fact, Collins is on pace to throw 200 more passes than last season, and his stats have suffered along with the Titans.

Collins threw 7 picks all of last season.  After 4 games he has thrown 6.  His completition percentage is about the same, but his aforementioned yds/g have increased by 40 yds.  This is pretty much the same offense the Titans had last year, yet they are trying to do it a different way.

Lendale lost 30 pounds by giving up Tequila, Titans fans wish hed start drinking again.

Lendale lost 30 pounds by giving up Tequila, Titans fans wish he'd start drinking again.

Tennessee has the leading rusher in the NFL in Chris Johnson with 434 yards, but Johnson has only put the ball in the endzone twice this season (both in a 197 yd performance in a loss to the Texans).  This was not an issue last year when Johnson got in nine times, but shared a redzone load with Lendale White who ended up with 15 TD’s in 200 rushing attempts.  White is on pace for less than 100 carries this season.

Another factor to look at is the Titan’s defense.  They are 24th in total defense through 4 games after being 7th last year.  More glaring is the weakness in the pass defense, after giving up less than 200 yds/game through the air in 2008, they are giving up 282 this year.  That is tied for last in the NFL.  The rush defense has been quite good, but this is a team giving up 27 points per game, and that is hard to overcome.

Up until this week, the Titans seemed like a team that was just going to play to the level of it’s opponents all season and find ways to lose.  An OT loss to Pittsburgh, a 3 point loss to the Texans, and a 7 point loss to the Jets followed that formula.  The 20 point loss to the Jaguars did not.

Vince Young may be a good change of pace, but looking at his numbers they are pretty similar to Collins’ this season, and Collins is playing poorly.  Young does add that athletic dimension that could spark the offense, but he also has 10 more picks in his career than TD’s and a career passer rating lower than Kerry Collins rating on the 2009 season.

Jeff Fishers mustache never disappoints, his 09 defense on the other hand...

Jeff Fisher's mustache never disappoints, his '09 defense on the other hand...

Jeff Fisher has said he will stick by Kerry Collins and at this point, that is the right call.  If the defense starts playing well, and the offense cannot win games, that is when the switch should be made.

The Titans have some work to do, but their defense is putting them in holes early.  Fisher just has to remember that the Titans won when they were a team of run-first, Kerry later.

Blue Duck Sports – Week 5 NFL Betting Guide

October 6, 2009

Blue Duck Sports – Week 5 NFL Betting Guide

Last weeks picks made me feel like Roy Williams being left out to dry on a high pass from Tony Romo.  Very hurt and a little confused.

Last weeks picks made me feel like Roy Williams being left out to dry on a high pass from Tony Romo. Very hurt and a little confused.

Okay, so last week was an awful week for picks.  Don’t lose faith.  Gambling addicts would offer you the term “variance” and move on.  I simply will say, it was a strange weekend, and I got unlucky (“if there was no luck involved I’d win every time!”).
What have I learned?

– While a teams defense may be awful, never EVER expect the Raiders to at least score a touchdown.

– The Titans really suck.  It’s not a fluke.

– The Packers are not as good as everyone expected them to be.

– The Vikings are better than everyone expected them to be.

– The Chargers are a 2nd half team, but my god their defense is absolutely pathetic.  Merriman needs to take a few games off because he is embarassing himself.

So as we hit the 2nd quarter of the season things are starting to become a little clearer.

The Good/Elite teams are becoming clear:
Pats, Jets, Ravens, Colts, Giants, Viking, Saints.
There are quite a few mediocre teams and still some teams we are unsure of:
Bears, 49ers, Falcons, Eagles, Steelers.
Anyways, looking for a big rebound this week, though there are a LOT of favorites, and that’s dangerous.

Last Week: 3-9-1   Locks: 1-1    Season: 32-28-1  Season Locks: 4-3

Cowboys -9 vs Chiefs
The Chiefs have lost by 14 to the Ravens, 20 to the Eagles, and 11 to the Giants.  The Cowboys are not very good but they are usually able to beat up on weaker teams, having won by 13 vs the Bucs and 14 vs the Panthers.

Panthers -3.5 vs Redskins
The Redskins are the most under appreciated bad team in the league.  They are being over shadowed by the Chiefs, Raiders, Lions, Browns, Bucs, and the Rams.  The Redskins were able to beat the Rams by 2 (at home), lose by 5 to the Lions on the road, and squeak 3 by the Bucs at home.   They find themselves on the road against a team just on the cusp of being really bad.  The Panthers should be able to take care of business.

Giants -16 vs Raiders
This is a huge spread to gamble on, but the Raiders are awful, and the Giants are arguably the best team in the NFL.  Jamarcus Russell couldn’t score a touchdown against one of the worst defenses in the NFL last week (houston), I have faith that the Giants can make a win a blow out like they should be.

I guess having a strong arm ISN'T the key to be a good quarterback.  Take notes Al davis.

I guess having a strong arm ISN'T the key to being a good quarterback. Take notes Al davis.

Bengals vs Ravens OVER 42
The Bengals have combined with their opponents to score 55, 43, and 43 in the last 3 games.  While the Ravens have put up 62, 57, 37, and 48.  The smart money on this one is laying it on the over.

Browns +6 vs Bills
It’s tough to bet on the Bills at this point who have been proving that firing an offensive coordinator ~10 days before the start of the season is an awful idea.  I believe the Bills will win by a field goal as I know Eric Mangini is more than capable of putting together an 0-16 season.

Mangenius or King of Queens??

Mangenius or King of Queens??

Steelers -10.5 vs Lions
The Steelers have pulled off  a victory and 2 losses of 3 in the first 3 games, until last week when they embarassed a sad Chargers defense by 10 points.  The Lions have lost by 18 ,14, and 24, and snuck in a win over the Redskins.  The Lions have been historically good against the spread in the last 10 games when underdogs by 10+ with an 8-2 record in that time.  I’ll forego history on this one and go with the current trends.

49ers -2.5 vs Falcons
The 49ers are better than expected and this defense is thriving off the kick in the ass that Mike Singletary gave them.  The Falcons are good (and have been my pick for getting to the superbowl in the NFC) but I’m not sure they are good enough on defense to win this game.

Cardinals -5.5 vs Texans
Kurt Warner should have his way with the still porous Texans defense.  I think both teams suck, so it’s tough take either by more than a field goal, but I’ll trust in the grocery bagger this week.

Patriots -3 vs Broncos
Josh Mcdaniels will obviously know the ins and outs of the Patriots plays, but so will Bill Belichek.  If I had to choose which one that plays an advantage too, I’ll take the future hall of famer.  In addition to the obvious coaching advantage the Patriots are just flat out more talented than the Broncos, whose defense will face its first real test of the season against a Patriots offense starting to come together.

Bucs vs Eagles
No spread for this game yet.  I’d take the Eagles -8.5 with or without Mcnabb.

Jags vs Seahawks
No spread on this either.  Hasselbeck might be back this week, and that makes this a tough game to call.  The Jags showed life last week, and with no Hasselbeck I would be inclined to take the Jags -3.  I’ll update this and the Eagles game if a line becomes available.

Locks of the week:
Colts -3.5 vs Titans
The Jaguars blew out the Titans by 20 last week.
That’s really all you need to know.

Jets -2 vs Dolphins
Look for the dirty Sanchez to have a rebound game for the Jets.  The Dolphins should struggle to move the ball on the ground vs the Jets defense.  Forcing the game onto Henne’s arm which is not a good idea with the swarming Jets D.

Blue Duck Sports – Week 4 NFL Betting Guide

September 30, 2009

Last week wasn’t the greatest, but continues to be profitable as my “locks” made a come back.

Looking for a strong showing this week, and there appear to be a lot of “solid” bets to make.  Tread carefully of course because you are useless to me if you can’t afford internet service anymore and your PC gets repo’d.  Play it safe and play all of my picks…it’s been working so far.

Have you heard?  Brett Favre has still got it I swear!

Have you heard? Brett Favre has still got it I swear!

Last week: 9-7  Locks: 2-0        Season: 29-19   Season Locks: 3-2

Raiders vs Texans Over 42

The Texans have the ability to put points on the board.  Admittedly, the Raiders defense is under rated but I see Schaub and company putting up 30 on the Raiders.  Jamarcus Russell should be able to hand the ball off enough to his talented backfield to cover the rest of the over.

Patriots -1.5 vs Ravens

Tough game to pick.  Ravens defense is not as good as it has been, but all eyes will continue to be on Brady to see if he can get it back together for a solid game.  The Patriots defense has been a bright spot and should give the offense time to get going.  This will be a statement game for the Patriots, against a team many are already proclaiming to be the best in the NFL.

Giants -9 vs Chiefs

Giants will control the game and the clock and rattle Cassel whenever they please.  Large spread but look for the Giants D to continue their dominant streak.

Buccaneers +7 vs Redskins

Both teams are absolutely terrible, and the Redskins should come out fired up after being embarrassed by the Lions last week.  If the Bucs can keep it close in the first half, they could very well win this game outright.

Bengals -5.5 vs Browns

The Browns are my vote for worst team in the league.  Not only do they lack talent, but they hate their coach.  Absolute disaster.  The Bengals have been a pleasant surprise and should roll here.

Jets vs Saints OVER 45

Tough game to pick with the line so I’ll take the over.  It’s a big over to hit, but I’m still not sold on the Jets defense.  Drew Brees should be able to find time and put together a good game.  On the other side of the field Mark Sanchez has shown a lot of poise and should also be able to keep his team in the game.

Bills -2 vs Dolphins

While the Dolphins were never really about who played quarterback, and relied heavily on the run game and gimmick plays (wildcat).  The loss of Pennington will hurt a bit.  He was a very efficient quarterback and didn’t make costly mistakes.  Not sure if Henne can provide the same.  I just hope this game isn’t on TV.

Rams +9.5 vs 49ers

49ers will be without Frank Gore, it won’t slow them down all that much, but look for the Rams to control the game on the ground and keep this one close.

Cowboys -3 vs Broncos

The Broncos are over rated.  Don’t get me wrong with this, but the Cowboys DO play in a tough division.  They still have the offense to put up big points even with a backfield that is in pain.  They should be able to handle this one.

Chargers +6.5 vs Steelers

The Steelers are reeling, and may not be as good as we thought they were.  The Chargers defense continues to be suspect, but their offense is able to score from anywhere on the field, while the Steelers are not.  If the Steelers cannot get a running game together the Chargers will be able to keep this close.

Packers +3.5 vs Vikings

Everyone will be watching this game.  Brett Favre vs his old team.  Favre now playing for their bitter division Rivals.  The Vikings are good, and the Packers haven’t shown too much, but Aaron Rodgers should be able to carry his team to victory here.
Really, I just like the whole emotional factor that Green Bay should be running on.  I love that stuff.

Lock of the week:

How can I not love this guy??

How can I not love this guy??

Lions vs Bears OVER 39

Everyone knows I hate Jay Cutler, but he may become a fixture in my lock section. Neither teams defense is very good, and both offenses are developing.  Look for both teams to put up 40+ combined.

Titans -3 vs Jaguars

Both teams are very good rushing teams, but I’ll give the edge to the Titans in the passing game and on defense, enough so that they should cover the 3 points.