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.

Advertisements

A Storm is Brewing in Buffalo

September 27, 2009

Next question!

Somebody throw me the ball!

Terrell Owens went without a catch in a game for the first time since 1997.  The future hall of famer was less than pleased once the game ended.  In his post-game press conference, he was visibly frustrated with his role in this offense, although he didn’t say that.  He’s finally become aware that the media will twist whatever he says into a controversy, so he withheld his vitriol from quarterback Trent Edwards.

When asked how he feels about his streak being broken, he said “It’s over.”

When asked about his feeling about this game, he said “We need to prepare for next week.”

When asked what was wrong with the offense, he asked “What do you think?”

When asked about his role in the offense, the plays being called, and his quarterback’s reading of the routes, he responded “I run the routes for the plays that are called”

So in short, he was a smug son-of-a-bitch (See here).  But he has to be.  God forbid he spoke his mind, he’d be splitting the locker room, causing controversy for his team and bringing the spotlight onto himself.  And of course, he’d be feuding with yet another quarterback.  But would he be wrong?

There’s no way the locker room is pleased with the way the team is run.  As disposed offensive coordinator, Turk Schonert,  implied after he was fired two weeks before the season began, the Bills run a “Pop Warner” offense.  Now Schonert wasn’t the answer, as Lee Evans and Trent Edwards approached him about concerns about the offense before he was let go.  But the fundamental offensive philosophy of the Bills is what is ruining this team.  They have a true burner in Lee Evans, a hall of fame receiver in Terrell Owens, and a decent running back in Fred Jackson (not to mention the impending return of Marshawn Lynch).  Add in a the versatile Roscoe Parrish, the Bills would seem to have plenty of weapons to have an effective offense.  Yet these resources are not being utilized to their full potential.

So would T.O. be wrong to question the philosophy of the offense?  No, because it’s extremely doubtful he’s the only one who feels that way.  And he did an admirable, if not genuine, attempt to deflect those feelings in his post-game presser.  But it’s only a matter of time before he can’t bite his lip any longer, and head coach Dick Jauron and quarterback Trent Edwards had better take cover.  They will be public enemy number one, not T.O.  As much as he’s reviled by the media for being a cancer, rarely do teammates question his work ethic.  There were reports that a majority of the Philadelphia Eagles locker room supported T.O. in his crusade on the team’s offense.  And there were plenty of players on the Dallas Cowboys who voiced their support of T.O.’s outburst against his team’s offense (and judging by Tony Romo’s performance so far, was he wrong?).  He just speaks up for everyone else on the team who won’t speak for themselves.

So watch out Buffalo, because the T.O. storm is coming and it’s all your fault.  Not because he’s a bad player or because he’s vying for media attention, but because your offense is a joke.  And he’ll tell everyone that will listen that it is a joke.  So instead of tinkering with a no-huddle offense all off-season, perhaps tinkering with a different offense was the appropriate move.  And Buffalo dropped the ball on that attempt.

It seems like forever since Buffalo had something to smile about.  Terrell Owens was supposed to be that beacon of hope.  If only Dick Jauron and Trent Edwards would open up the offense.  Sorry Buffalo, theres a storm coming and the coach is to blame.

It seems like forever since Buffalo had something to smile about. Terrell Owens was supposed to be that beacon of hope. If only Dick Jauron and Trent Edwards would open up the offense. Sorry Buffalo, there's a storm coming and the coach is to blame.


Blue Duck Must Watch List: The 2nd Week

September 19, 2009

See if you can pick em like Peyton.

See if you can pick 'em like Peyton.

Before I get to the important stuff, I just wanted to spread the word about the Blue Duck Pick ‘Em league on Yahoo fantasy.  Its just a normal office-pool type pick ’em league, and its free.  Beat the “experts” and embarrass us week in and week out.  League starts up week 3, but sign up now.  At the end of the season the winner will get an official Blue Duck T shirt.  Anyone can join.  The more the merrier.

The Group ID is: 64754, and the password is: bigblueduck.  Good Luck.

On to business:

Carebear’s Game you should watch week 2 is:

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys.

Literally built by aliens, just like the pyramids

Literally built by aliens, just like the pyramids

This is pretty much a no brainer as the game of the week.  Giants/Cowboys is always a big game, but now that the ‘boys are opening up the giant spaceship that Jerry Jones has parked out by the Ballpark at Arlington, this matchup gets even better.

I just moved to Dallas, and the city has been abuzz for a long time over this one.  The Big D is ecstatic that they got rid of T.O., and even more excited that they get to christen the new Mecca of pro sports on Sunday.  But Dallas probably feels like a high school team that scheduled a tough opponent for homecoming.

The NFC East is probably the strongest division in football.  On any given Sunday, any one team in the east can take out any other team so this game can really go either way.  Here are a few keys.

The Giants are pretty banged up.  DT Chris Canty has been ruled out, but the Giants have some depth on the D-line, Hakeem Nicks is out, and a couple key guys in the secondary are questionable.

The secondary being shorthanded may be an issue here as Tony Romo lit up the Bucs last week for 353 yards on only 16 completions, and always seems to play well against the G-men.  Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin, and Roy Williams all had long receptions.  If the Giants can keep the passing game in check, they should take this game.

These two are friendly postgame, but Sunday should be a battle.

These two are friendly postgame, but Sunday should be a battle.

The Giant’s offense will have to rely again on that no-name receiving corps we saw last week. Eli hit 7 different targets en route to their “not as close as the score made it look” win against Washington.  The Post-Plaxico Catching Team looked good, and who knows, maybe the lack of egos from receivers makes Eli more comfortable.

Ahmad Bradshaw led the Giants in rushing with 60 yards, and look for a big game out of him.  Teams prepare for big Brandon Jacobs, and the quick and nimble Bradshaw is a huge change of pace, but quick and nimble does not necessarily mean soft, as Bradshaw’s runs more often end in refs blowing them dead, than with Bradshaw being brought to the turf.

My Prediction: Giants get lit up a few times on big passes, but control the run.  Eli has a mediocre, but effective game, and the Giants open up the 8th Wonder of the world with a 31-27 victory.

And oh yeah, what we all can’t wait for:
Seeing the look on Jerry Jones face when Jeff Feagles peppers the scoreboard throughout the billion dollar cathedral’s opening act.

Alex’s Must Watch Game of the Week:

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles

Drew Brees and New Orleans cruise into the City of Brotherly Love, riding high after a 45-27 victory over the Lions.  The Eagles were no slouch last week, beating Carolina 38-10, most likely losing QB Donovan McNabb for this week’s tilt in the process.  While we may not have McNabb under center for a big NFC matchup, this game is still must watch TV.

Drew Brees looked like he was playing a game of Madden out there last week, tossing 6 touchdowns.  This week is important, because we’ll see how he fares against one of the best passing defenses in football.  The Eagles secondary added another nail to the Jake Delhomme coffin last week, and didn’t just seize the opportunity against a bad quarterback.  Asante Samuel is a premier cornerback and Sheldon Brown is solid as well.  Another advantage for the Eagles is that they are extremely deep in the secondary (Hobbs, Hanson, Harris, Jones, and Demps).  This is the perfect test to see how unstoppable the Brees-led aerial assault really is.

With McNabb, the Eagles are a playoff team (a successful playoff team? God no).  All signs are pointing towards a Kevin Kolb-led Philadelphia offense.  My magic eight ball says “outlook not so good”, even considering the Saints D allowed 27 points to the Lions last week.

Kolb has been absolutely miserable in limited relief of McNabb.  In 45 career attempts, he has thrown ZERO touchdowns, four interceptions, fumbled three times and taken four sacks.  Newly signed Jeff Garcia knows the offense and should be available as insurance, but he can’t be expected to have his timing down with the receivers.  The Eagles need to be counting on Brian Westbrook to be Mr. Everything out there on Sunday, or else they are going to be praying that Kolb gives them something.  And I wouldn’t count on much, even with the weapons he has at his disposal.

Expect a heavy dose of Brian Westbrook against the Saints on Sunday.  Kevin Kolb doesnt offer much promise if McNabb cant play.

Expect a heavy dose of Brian Westbrook against the Saints on Sunday. Kevin Kolb doesn't offer much promise if McNabb can't play.

Bottom line:  This game is more about seeing the Drew Brees Show versus the Mighty Eagles Secondary than anything else.  I don’t care who wins or loses, or about the final score for that matter.  I just want to see the battle between an unstoppable force (Brees) versus an immovable object (Asante Samuel and Co.).

For me, I’d love to see Garcia come in and light things up, just to add more pressure to McNabb’s shoulders.  He’s got the inevitable Michael Vick threat one week away already, and I think it would be all the more amusing to see Garcia throw his hat into the ring of possible QB contenders.  He was already a fan favorite in 2006, and McNabb has never seemed to have the fans behind him in Philly.  I want to see how the three-headed quarterback headache turns out if Garcia has a good game.  Maybe the stress will cause Andy Reid to stop eating, something the rest of the starving world will appreciate, as well as his cardiologist.

My prediction is that the Eagles defense will give Brees his toughest test he will see all year, but it won’t be enough to overcome the Kevin Kolb doom that is sure to ensue.  Brees will toss a couple touchdowns and Brian Westbrook will put on a show, but the Saints will pull it out, 24-17.

At Press Time, Andy was seen sitting at Gung Ho, yelling at Jimmy about how the Pats are “a better version of the unstoppable 2007 team.”  Maybe he’ll get a must watch up before the games Sunday.  We shall see.


Giants @ Cowboys – A Fantasy Perspective

September 18, 2009
The Cowboys have beaten the Giants 4 out of the last 5 meetings.  Well have to see if Dallas passing attack is for real or if the Giants front 7 can get to Romo first.

The Cowboys have beaten the Giants 4 out of the last 5 regular season meetings. We'll have to see if Dallas' passing attack is for real or if the Giants front 7 can get to Romo first.

Last week started another great NFL season and it offered everything we’ve been waiting 9 months to see.  We had blowouts, tight games, stunning individual performances and great team efforts.  The Broncos even gave us a thrilling end to a tight game, when Brandon Stokley came away with a tipped pass at the end to score the game winning TD.  The Jets introduced themselves as possible contenders, behind solid play from rookie Mark Sanchez and a stout defense.  This weekend promises to offer more excitement, so let’s take a look at one interesting game – from A Fantasy Perspective.

The Giants travel to Big D to open Jerry Jones behemoth of a stadium, this Sunday in Arlington.  Over/under on punts that hit the board: 1.5 for Jeff Feagles.  I’m almost certain that the Cowboys Mat McBriar is under strict orders from the man upstairs to avoid the massive scoreboard at all costs, punishable by death.  But the new stadium and 60 yard HD screen at Cowboys stadium isn’t the only reason to tune into this game, as it also offers some important fantasy insight as well.

Must Start:

Barber should be used to quite a bit, in an attempt to stifle the Giants pass rush.

Barber should be used quite a bit, in an attempt to stifle the Giants pass rush.

Marion Barber (RB) Dal – Barber was quite productive last week (14 car, 79 yds, 1 td, 5.6 yd/car) against Tampa Bay.  Talks of him sharing the ball with Felix Jones (six) and even Tashard Choice (two) are a bit overblown at the moment, as they were nothing near a committee last week.  Given how productive Barber was, it’s a great sign that he’s finally healthy.  This week, he faces a big time defense in New York.  Everyone knows about the Giants pass rush, which is why I think Barber is a good play.  He can grind out the tough yards between the tackles and Jason Garrett is going to have to slow the game down a bit to keep some of the pressure off of Tony Romo.  Not only is Barber a supreme goal line back, he can also catch the ball when Romo needs to check down due to pressure.

Roy Williams (WR) Dal – Roy Williams showed he can be the explosive receiver Jerry Jones gave up a ton in draft picks to get from Detroit last year.  He only caught 3 balls last week, but went for 86 yards and a score.  The New York secondary is not healthy at all; last week they started the day with only 6 defensive backs active.  You’ve got to know that besides Witten (who’s always a must-start in Romo land), Williams is going to be a very big target this week.  He can catch the underneath stuff, but he can also go over the top for the big play.  If Romo has time to throw, watch for him to look Williams way a lot this week.

Steve Smith (WR) NYG – He sure looked like New York’s number one last week.  He finished with 6 catches for 80 yards as Eli Manning’s security blanket.  He’s not afraid to go across the middle and always makes the tough catch for the Giants.  Eli’s obviously looking for him on third down, as Smith is playing a role similar to Welker’s in New England.  In PPC leagues, Smith should be owned and started in most leagues.  He’s not a big yardage guy, so in leagues that value that, he’s not what you’re looking for.

Worth a Shot:

Brandon Jacobs + Ahmad Bradhaw (RB) NYG – The Bucs were able to gash the Dallas defense for 174 yards last week by a combo platter featuring the oft-catastrophically injured Cadillac Williams and former Giant Derrick Ward.  The Giants duo is vastly more talented than Tampa Bay’s, so I’d consider starting both Jacobs and his change-of-pace, Ahmad Bradshaw.  Jacobs has had moderate success vs Dallas in his past three games against them (17 car/177 yd,/1 td, 14/54/1, 24/95/0) and is always a threat to score in any game that he’s healthy enough to play.  Bradshaw is the better play, as he had a big game last week and is a threat in the passing game.  When the ball is in his hands, he has the chance to make something special happen with his supreme speed.  He’s filling the role that Ward had in New York last year and he’s much more talented than Ward ever was.  I can see him seeing more time on the field this week as the Dallas defense hounds Eli all day.

Sure T.O. and Jessica Simpson are gone, but is all the drama in Big D?

Sure T.O. and Jessica Simpson are gone, but did all the drama in Big D go with them?

Tony Romo (QB) Dal – Not because he put up a career high last week against a Tampa Bay secondary in disarray, not because he’s “more comfortable” without T.O. on the team, and not because I think he’s a particularly good quarterback.  He’s not on all accounts.  The Giants pass rush is worth the hype (Osi + Tuck? Scary) but if Romo is upright long enough to throw the ball, I see Jason Garrett wanting to attack the beat-up Giants secondary.

Guys I’m Avoiding:

Dallas receivers not named Williams/Witten – Sure, Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin had big games last week, but it was against Tampa Bay.  Crayton was targeted 6 times to Austin’s 2, but Dallas doesn’t know who their number 2 is.  Crayton is atop the depth chart currently, but they really like Austin’s big-play ability.  While I love to gamble, I don’t like to risk fantasy points playing roulette on who might be the guy this week.

New York receivers not named Smith – I like Manningham, a lot.  But he saw only 4 targets, posting 3 receptions for 58 yards (30 came on one play he extended himself).  Hixon starts, but only saw 3 balls thrown his way in week one.  Hakeem Nicks looked real good, but he’s out with an ankle injury.  Just as in Dallas, I wouldn’t gamble on who might be number 2 in New York.

Eli Manning (QB) NYG – In their last 3 meetings, Manning hasn’t eclipsed even 200 yards per game.  He’s never been an accurate passer (last year was his career high at 60%) and the Giants aren’t volume passers.  That’s an equation for fantasy failure if you ask me.  He makes just as many mistakes as everyone else, but he doesn’t pass enough to make up for them.  While he was fine last week, this week he’ll face a good defense in a rabid atmosphere.  He’s easily flustered, so I’d make other arrangements this week.

As with most NFC East face-offs, this should be a good game.  These teams battle hard, and while Dallas has won 4 out of the last 5 regular season matchups, these games are always entertaining.  Division rivals, a little uncertainty at the wide receiver positions, punts hitting the scoreboard and drama queens at QB,  this game should be a good one.  Add Fox’s showcasing of the stadium and the flash and flair of a Jerry Jones event, I’m sure well be treated to something great.


Terrell Owens, you have a friend in me

April 8, 2009

A true star

A true star

 

Last month the infamous T.O. was unceremoniously released from the Dallas Cowboys after 3 seasons. He wasn’t released due to lack of production. T.O. produced 38 touchdowns. He had 235 receptions. He also played in 47 out of a possible 48 regular season games. In his final year in Dallas he had 69 receptions for 1052 yards. He didn’t suffer any career threatening injury, and yet he was released. Did the Cowboys mistakingly send the notice to Terrell when it was meant for Patrick Crayton? Unfortunately, no.

T.O. is still a big time receiver with years left to play at a high level. He has been cut by 2 teams in the last 5 years. He has not been arrested during his time in the league. There are no off the field legal issues. In fact, T.O. is a big mommas boy, and very family oriented. Yet he is called a cancer in the locker room.

That label of being a “cancer” has been unfairly thrust upon him. This man has brought teams to levels they would not have reached without him, and he is named the problem? Something isn’t right. While everyone else will have you believe that T.O. is the devil reincarnate I’m going to bring you the truth.

In order to find that truth, you don’t need to look very far. The problem has not been T.O. He wants the ball, that much is known, but why is that a problem? He gives his team the best chance to win with the ball in his hands because he is not afraid of making the big play. He is not afraid to carry the weight of a team on his shoulders. The problem has been the quarterbacks he plays with, who are afraid of carrying that weight. Both Donovan Mcnabb and Tony Romo have fragile egos which have been documented in one way or another.

For Mcnabb, look no further than the Superbowl vs. the New England Patriots. The same Superbowl that Terrell Owens fought back from a broken leg, against doctors recommendations, to play in and help his team. But I digress, the part of that game that I am talking about is when Mcnabb was in the huddle calling plays, and vomited on the field. A professional football player puking on the field is generally sad in it’s own right. However, a professional football player, who happens to be the qb of a team enthralled in the biggest game of their careers, that is downright pathetic. He couldn’t handle the pressure, and he folded.

Always a brides maid and never the bride
Always a brides maid and never the bride

Mcnabb enjoyed the best season of his career with a wide receiver that is a “cancer” in the locker room. During the 2004 season, which was Terrell’s only full season with the Eagles, Mcnabb completed 5.1 percent more of his passes than his career average. Relative to his pass attempts he held a 2.1% better td to pass ratio than his career average. He also threw 6 more touchdowns that season than his next best season. Oh, did I mention they reached the Superbowl? Quite the cancerous effect T.O. had on his stats.

Let’s move on to Romo. Tony Romo has to be somewhere at the top of my “most over-rated QB’s” list. Above even the ridiculously average Eli Manning. Tony Romo has had the distinct pleasure of playing alongside Mr. Owens for the duration of his career as a starter. I do look forward to seeing him struggle mightily without T.O. to bail him out on his poor throws, or having T.O. wide open due to his crisp route running and ability to get off the line.

With the Cowboys down 21-20 to the Seahawks with 1:19 left in the ’07 playoffs, the Cowboys had driven themselves into easy field goal range. The snap came and the rest is history. Romo took a perfect snap and couldn’t hold onto it. Sealing the Cowboys fate that year. To be fair, Romo admitted responsibilty for the loss but he still blew it. He couldn’t handle the pressure and he folded.

Who would have guessed Tony Romo isn't good with balls?  Not me.
Who would have guessed Tony Romo isn’t good with balls? Not me.

Romo has since continued to wilt under big game pressure. I can’t imagine there is a single Cowboys fan that doesn’t cringe everytime their team needs a big play to save a game, and they wait for a snap to Romo. Rarely do those opportunities result in anything other than a strip fumble, an interception, or a fumbled snap.

Mcnabb has done nothing since the days of Terrell Owens to dispel his critics who question his toughness and ability. His stats have suffered since the days of T.O. He has even been benched this past season due to his struggles, and there was speculation he was going to be traded at the end of the year.

These quarterbacks needed T.O. They needed him to be a scapegoat for their own lack of mental toughness. They needed someone to blame when things didn’t go right. There was no one better to blame for their own problems, then the loudmouthed yet ultra talented Terrell Owens. Now both have been and will be exposed as creampuffs who ultimately struggle with their duties of leading their teams to playoff success.

Here’s hoping Trent Edwards lets T.O. be T.O. and lead his quarterbacking career to unbelievable levels. Or he’ll just become another QB who played the blame game, and pushed away perhaps the best wide receiver to ever play the game, and sank his own career