New England Patriots Draft Grade

Round 1: Dominique Easley 

Easley a debatable pick

Easley a debatable pick

With their first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Patriots selected Dominique Easley from Florida. The first thing that surprised me was that the Patriots did not trade this pick to gain later picks especially in the second round. While Easley does offer versatility on the defensive line, a key in the Patriots defense, the problem is that they would have been better off with a run stopping nose tackle. Also, the value here is questionable. At best Easley was a third or fourth round pick. Why? Despite his pass rushing and play-making ability Easley has multiple red flags when it comes to health. With two ACL injuries in college already, durability is a major concern. Despite his flexibility in the Patriots defense, Easley being just on the field is a major concern in 2014. Also, with multiple late round picks, the Patriots could have picked him up much later and addressed safety position or added another play-maker on offense. A reach pick with injury concerns, this could come back to haunt New England. Grade: C –

Round 2: Jimmy Garoppolo 

Tom Brady's heir?

Tom Brady’s heir?

A great pick in terms of preparing for the future. Ryan Mallet is a great backup, but with his quick release and accuracy Garoppolo is a perfect fit for New England’s passing attack. One great thing about the Patriots is that they plan for the future. The hope is that in three or four years if Tom Brady decides to retire Geroppolo will be ready to step right in. This would be an A+ pick, except that it doesn’t help the Patriots in the present. Grade: A- 

Round 4: Bryan Stork 

Versatile backup

Versatile backup

Stork is a versatile center who can play all along the offensive line. A long-term project in terms of becoming a full-time starter his versatility makes it easy to see why the Patriots drafted him. Once again, the Patriots stretched for a player who would have been available much later. With some very good cornerbacks and tight end prop sects available, the stretch for Stork could have cost the Patriots a starter. Grade: B –

Round 4: James White 

White the right choice?

White the right choice?

After losing their leading rusher to free agency, the Patriots needed to beef up the running back position. By passing on the talented Andre Williams earlier in the round New England took White late in round four. Despite never being the full-time back at Wisconsin, White excelled as a rotational player.  He will be a nice rotational piece in the Patriots offense, but it will be hard to imagine White getting more than a handful of touches in 2014. Another reach for a player who could have been picked much later. Fills a need, but nothing more than adding to the depth chart.  Grade: C

Round 4: Cameron Fleming 

Beefing up the offensive line

Beefing up the offensive line

A steal in round four, Fleming is the best value pick for the Patriots to this point. A massive right tackle with quick feet, Fleming  is a powerful run blocker who has steadily improved in pass protection. With an offensive line starting to get long in the tooth, Fleming could push for a starting job at right tackle or inside at guard. Worse case scenario is that he will be a backup this season, but he has the upside to be a starter within three seasons for New England. Very smart player and a great football student, sounds like a Belichick kind of football player. Grade: B+

Round 6: Jon Halapio 

Threes company

Threes company

A head scratcher especially with two picks already being used on the offensive line. The offensive line maybe aging, but it’s not the biggest concern on the Patriots. Halapio is a decent run blocker, but his athleticism has been called into question. With poor pass blocking in college, it’s hard to imagine Halapio seeing action in 2014. A practice squad player at best, he could be released by Patriots before the season. Costs the Patriots a pick they could have used somewhere else. Grade: D+

Round 6: Zach Moore 

Edge rusher

Edge rusher

A division 2 standout at 6’5 and 270 pounds, Moore defiantly has the raw tools to be an effective pass rushing outside linebacker. The good news is that Belichick could use him as an effective situational pass rusher until he fully develops into an everyday player. With a great upside and a low side of being a situational pass rusher, Moore could be a dark horse for the best pick for the Patriots in this draft. Grade: B +

Round 6: Jemea Thomas 

Addressing the secondary

Addressing the secondary

Even with Darrelle Revis, you still need more than one corner. Thomas could compete with Logan Ryan as the number 2 corner, but will probably play in the slot. His flexibility to play at safety also adds versatility to the Patriots defense. At 5’9 his size does limit him, but he is an all around solid football player. No great attributes, but no major flaws wither. Could be a versatile role player in 2014. Grade: B

Round 7: Jeremy Gallon 

Finally a weapon, but too late

Finally a weapon, but too late

A small 5’7 receiver, Gallon could be used as a slot receiver in New England. With an offense that utilizes the middle field and especially the slot receiver, Gallon could be another great weapon for Brady. He will have to have a great training camp to make opening roster and could help his chances if he can show potential as a punt/kick returner. This pick does address the offense, but waiting until the last pick was a mistake by the Patriots: Grade: B 

Overall Grade: C2005-tom-brady-bill-belichick

This was a very uncharacteristic draft for the Patriots. With no trading down to accumulate additional picks, the Patriots stood pat in 2014. Unfortunately, they stretched in the early rounds for players and while they did get some great value picks late and the Patriots have the tendency to draft a questionable player who turns into a star, this draft has more questions than answers. If anything, the late round picks have more upside then the early picks. The other problem is that this team did not address all of their needs. They ignored the tight end position, which has been devastated over the past two seasons and safety. With the importance of both these positions for what the Patriots like to do, completely ignoring both of these positions came as a big surprise. Finally, while they did shore up the future at quarterback, they did not help their current quarterback. Can the Patriots give Brady some weapons? With the lack of tight ends and wide receivers, it was a shock that the Patriots waited until round seven to get Brady a target. Round 7! If the Patriots want to win another Super Bowl, surround Brady with weapons. Tom Brady can make average players into good players, but he needs elite play-makers to make New England a Super Bowl contender. Take a note from Denver, give your quarterback some weapons. With a great group of receivers and tight ends in this draft, the Patriots missed the boat. The Patriots are still a playoff team, but with this poor draft they are not a true Super Bowl Contender.

 

 

 

 

Overlooked: AJ Mccarron not being taken seriously

Despite his college success, Mccarron is still not a top QB in this class

Despite his college success, Mccarron is still not a top QB in this class

The NFL Draft has become a game of numbers. With more intervals and statistics than ever, it creates an overload of information when trying to judge these college players. Heck, it’s come to the point where we are asking ridiculous questions about every asset of a player’s life. Before we know it a players draft stock could plummet just because he had a cough at the combine. However, one stat that constantly gets overlooked is the most important one, winning.

In a sea of statistics bombarding every draft analyst ranging from bench presses, to forty yard dashes, and even mental tests, we forget that at the end of the day isn’t it all about winning? If it was all about the stats shouldn’t MIT professors be judging these players rather than NFL scouts? How is it that the winningest quarterback in the Draft class is not being taken seriously?

Lost in the three-horse quarterback race of Bortles, Manziel, and Bridgewater, most people have written off Alabama’s Aj Mccarron as a franchise quarterback. On pretty much every website, TV program, and draft special I have researched Mccarron isn’t even considered in the top 5 of this quarterback draft class. Blasphemous I say! If he falls to a team in the second round, he could be the steal of the 2014 Draft. Imagine if the Texans not only draft Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick but also get a great quarterback like Mccarron in the top of round 2. Houston could be back in the playoffs if they were able to pull that off.

There is no question that Mccarron is a winner

There is no question that Mccarron is a winner

Why is Mccarron getting overlooked? He’s won two national championships as a starter and had the best record of  any starter throughout his duration in college. In his career he has thrown for 77 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and thrown over 9,000 yards. Despite this, he still has little to no respect. Heck people know him more for his girlfriend, Katherine Webb, then his football career. People will say it’s because of the talent around him that made Mccarron successful, which is true that he had the most talented team in college. However, he also had to live with the highest expectations in college football. Did any other quarterback have that much pressure? Despite a 11-2 record in his senior year, a season which most programs would die for, was a complete failure by Alabama standards. If anything being able to perform under that pressure and unreasonable expectations should make NFL executives want him even more.

When studying Mccarron I compare his college career to that of a future Hall of Famer, Tom Brady. Now by no stretch of the imagination am I saying that Mccarron will be the next Tom Brady or a Hall of Famer, but both were in similar situations when drafted. Both were vastly underrated prospects, Brady was the seventh quarterback selected and Mccarron sits as the sixth or seventh quarterback on most draft boards. Brady and Mccarron were considered game managers with little room for improvement. However, the one thing both of them did in their college career was win. If put in the right system, Mccarron could be a day 1 starter and could be a solid starter in this league. Who knows? In time he could become one of the top starters in the league. Maybe ten years from now we will look back at this draft and say man, how did all of those quarterbacks go before Mccarron? He may not be the most gifted quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft, but the one thing that AJ Mccarron has proven is he is a winner.  And isn’t winning everything?

New Carr Smell: Derek Carr not getting attention he deserves

Carr is revving his engines for the NFL.

Carr is revving his engines for the NFL.

When the Houston Texans began their journey into the NFL, they had the number one pick in the 2002 Draft. With that pick the Texans took a quarterback named Carr to build their franchise around. Now, twelve years later, they have the same opportunity once again.

While his brother maybe considered a bust, you cannot sell Derek Carr short because of his brother’s NFL career. The main reason for his brother’s so-called lack of success because he was on an expansion franchise with no talent around him. He was destined to fail. With the Draft approaching we’ve all heard about Bortles, Bridgewater, and Manziel, but not about Carr. He has the build at 6’3 and 220 pounds that scouts are looking for with a great arm. True his competition wasn’t great, but it’s not that far removed from Bridgewater and Bortles in the AAC.

What about his production? Scouts will credit Carr’s success to the spread offense at Fresno State, but he still threw for over 5000 yards in his senior campaign. With 50 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, Carr had incredible production. Throughout his career Carr has thrown for over 12,000 yards, 113 touchdowns, and only 24 interceptions. With a great arm, build, and production it is a head scratcher why Carr is not considered one of the best quarterbacks in this draft.

While many have Blake Bortles as the number one pick, Carr should also

A dark horse in the Draft

A dark horse in the Draft

be included in that conversation. If he lasts past the first five picks, Carr could be the steal of the draft. Despite talented sleepers like AJ McCarron in this quarterback class, still Carr could be the diamond in the rough for a franchise that needs a quarterback. He maybe discounted because of his brothers NFL career, which is a huge mistake. Despite the critics if a team like the Browns or Vikings were to draft Carr, he could finally be the franchise quarterback those franchises have been looking for. Either way, Carr is revving his engines for his NFL opportunity. Who do you think will be the best quarterback from this draft class? Take our poll below! 

 

New York Jets Mock Draft (2.0) Post Combine

  • Round 1: Odell Beckham Jr. WR LSUdt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls

While I would like to see the Jets take Eric Ebron from North Carolina with the first pick, with his great combine it looks like he will be off the board as a top 15 pick. If Ebron is here, he should be the pick, but I don’t see that happening. I also don’t see the top three receivers on the board at this point either, but there is still some great receivers available. While he may lack great size, Beckham makes up for it with a great ability to get open and soft hands. He is a guy that can do a lot of damage in space and can stretch the field with a 4.43 40 that he ran at the combine. Think of him as a Cecil Shorts or Desean Jackson, not a big target, but a receiver that needs to get touches in a game. If Geno Smith is going to develop the Jets need to give him some play-making receivers and Beckham would be a nice fit.

  • Round 2: Allen Robinson WR Penn St.

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Surprised the Jets would take back to back receivers? Don’t be. It’s no secret that this is a position the Jets need to upgrade either throughout the Draft or free agency. With the rumors of Holmes and Hill on the chopping block, The Jets will have holes to fill. After picking Beckham for his speed in round one, it’s time for the Jets to get a big bodied receiver in Robinson. While he had a lackluster combine running a 4.60 40, he would still be a great value pick in round 2. While he may not have great speed, he has great hands and would be a great possession receiver. His 6’2 size and 39 inch vertical make him a third and red zone threat the Jets have desperately been lacking.

  • Round 3: Troy Niklas TE Notre Dame

nba_a_troy_kh_576x324While the wide receivers had a great combine, tight ends not named Eric Ebron struggled. With the tight ends falling in this draft the Jets may luck out in the top of the third round by getting a second round tight end in Niklas. While he won’t be an explosive tight end, he is a guy that can run across the middle and make catches. What makes him really special is that he is one of if not the best blocking tight end in this class. Given that the Jets love to run the ball so much, a tight end that can catch and block only seems to good to be true.

  • Round 3: Terrence Brooks: FS Florida St.

46While the offense could always use another weapon here, you know Rex Ryan will need some help on defense. Brooks ran a great 4.42 40 at the combine and shows very good range in the secondary. While he may not be one of the elite safeties in this draft, he projects as a player whose range and ability to play physical man coverage fits right into Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme. A starter from day one who could help the Jets woeful secondary.

  • Round 4: Ross Cockrell: CB Duke 28fpz1x4084-640x426

It’s no secret Rex Ryan loves to collect cornerbacks in the Draft. With the Antonio Cromartie contract situation still up in the air, it would be wise to add some depth. While he may not have the best speed, Cockrell has that size at 6’0 that the NFL is looking for in cornerbacks. Idzik had success drafting big physical corners late in the Draft in Seattle, so maybe Cockrell will be on the radar. He may struggle in zone coverage, but he is very good in man to man coverage, which the Jets utilize the most. This could be an intriguing pick who could be a solid corner in the NFL one day.

  • Round 5: De’Anthony Thomas: OW Oregon

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It’s no question that the Jets need offensive weapons and there maybe limitless possibilities in terms of utilizing De’Anthony Thomas. While his 40 was 4.50, there is no question no player in college football was more dangerous in space then Thomas. With X factors like Percy Harvin in the league, the Jets should take a shot on Thomas. Best case scenario is he becomes an offensive weapon that can lineup at running back or receiver and can break off big plays. Worst case scenario is he becomes an explosive return man, another position the Jets are looking to upgrade.

  • Round 6: Aaron Lynch DE USF

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While the Jets certainly don’t need  another defensive end, Lynch is too enticing to pass up. at 6-6 250, he could be a great piece on defensive being able to play the stand up 3-4 outside backer or with his hand in the dirt. While his motor is a question, at this point this kind of athlete is too good to pass up. With a similar build and style to Quinton Coples, and with Coples beginning to turn the corner at linebacker, the possibility of both these pass rushers opposite one another on the Jets defense could be a nightmare for opposing offenses. There are risks here, but this is one risk the Jets should take.

  • Round 7: Tyler Larsen C Utah St.1147653

While Nick Mangold has been a great center for the Jets, last season he started to show some regression. The Jets should maybe start to groom a replacement for Mangold and Larsen is a perfect fit. He’s a versatile lineman that could provide depth at guard and center. A powerful blocker that can punish in the running game who is very comfortable snapping and pass blocking. While Mangold could rebound, this would be a smart investment to have a solid backup option just in case.

Do you agree you disagree? Who do you think the Jets should draft? Like and comment below.

Why Johnny Manziel will be pick #1 in the NFL Draft

Johnny Football will be the first player off the board

Johnny Football will be the first player off the board

And with the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Houston Texans select…. Johnny Manziel, quarterback, Texas A&M. Even though the draft is months away I believe that the number one pick in the draft is set. While some experts may think the Houston Texans will take Jadeveon Clowney or Terry Bridgewater with the number one pick, I strongly believe that the Texans will take Johnny Football to be their franchise quarterback.

Since their inauguration into the NFL back in 2002, the Texans have never had a true franchise quarterback. David Carr was a flop, and while Matt Schaub did have some nice moments, turnovers and injuries prevented him from being the Texans’ franchise quarterback. Back in 2007, the Texans were in a similar predicament. In that Draft, they selected Mario Williams with the number one overall pick over Texas’ quarterback Vince Young. While in hindsight this was the right move, I believe that there is still some regret within the organization that they did not draft Vince Young. Now, in 2014 the Texans may have hit the jackpot.

Johnny Manziel has electrified fans at College Station and is now taking his talents to the big stage. While Terry Bridgewater may be the highest rated quarterback by draft experts, Johnny Manziel is not far behind. While Manziel is widely known for his off the field shenanigans, the Texans should and probably will roll the dice on him. Sure he has his baggage, such as partying a little to hard at A&M, but Manziel is a playmaker and a Heisman trophy winner. The Texans need a playmaker who can get the ball into the hands of their dangerous receivers and revitalize this offense. With his arm and leagues, the Texans probably believe he can do just that.

Drafting Manziel goes far beyond just the football field. The Houston Texans need an icon. What would be better than a quarterback from Texas? He was born in Texas and helped make A&M a top program. Fans would love the pick because he is their player, a fellow Texan. In a state that is football crazy wouldn’t it be nice to have an NFL quarterback with a Texan as the quarterback. Sounds like a dream to me. Not to mention it makes sense from the financial stand point. Can you imagine how many more tickets and jerseys the Texans will sell if Manziel heads to Houston?

With Manziel in Houston, the Texans could be a playoff contender next season. They’re in a weak division, and despot their record have a roster filled with talent. If it wasn’t for the god awful quarterback play, this team would be far away from the number one overall pick. Sure many things can change before the combined, but Manziel to the Texans makes too much sense. It is his home state, A&M fans are close, he’s talented, and he’s a quarterback! Sure the Texans may trade out of one or go in a different direction, but if they pass on Manziel, it could be a move that this franchise will regret. Both financially and in the win column.

What do you think the Texans should do? Take our poll and comment below!