Draft Thoughts

May 17, 2014 - 2:28 pm
Irradiated by LabRat

Yeah, I know, it’s a week late and it’s more foosball. But it’s content, right?

– Hey Johnny! The good news is, you went in the first round like everyone thought you would! The bad news is you were drafted by the Cleveland Browns. Guess you’re regretting that monkey’s paw NOW, huh?

I’m actually of two minds on Johnny Manziel. On the one hand, he actually IS a good quarterback, and it seems like his teammates liked him a lot, which suggests the grumbling about his attitude might be somewhat overblown. This story also irritated me a lot: Browns owner tells Johnny Manziel to “act like a backup”, “this isn’t Hollywood”.

I mean CHRIST JOHNNY, IT’S NOT LIKE THEY SELECTED YOU IN THE FIRST ROUND OR ANYTHING. Or that the guy you’re backing up ended last season on a severe knee injury. Or that the Browns have been shuffling quarterbacks like cards trying to find one that isn’t a total bust. REIN IT IN, KID, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

On the other hand, he’s pretty much earned a lot of his haters, and he really is kind of a media whore, mostly because the media has had their tongue so far up his ass they’re giving him a prostate massage. So maybe the owner is right to be concerned that that kind of attention is distracting from football, which the whole team needs to concentrate on. I can’t help but think the Browns would be biting themselves in the butt by relegating him to indefinite backup after the preseason, though. They’re good at that.

– Michael Sam MICHAEL SAM MICHAEL SAM OMFG MICHAEL SAM. I do think it was long overdue that the NFL have an openly gay player, and I’ve mostly been optimistic about league reaction- though I do think it’s hilariously ironic that the only person to really say something nasty about it plays for San Francisco and most of the guys that said supportive things are from places like Detroit.

The media circus around him is MORE THAN A LITTLE MUCH, though. I mean seriously, an Oprah documentary? It’s pretty well counter to the message those supportive players and coaches and owners were backing- that as long as someone plays well it shouldn’t matter who they’re with off the field. That said, he mostly strikes me as a genuinely nice, hard-working kid who is very naive in handling this kind of attention, which more than a few rookie players are. I do think he needs a lot of development before he’s going to be anything all that special, but I do get the impression he can and will put his all into it. I still think NFL offensive lines will probably smush him as a DE, though. I think he could do better as an outside linebacker if he can adapt. He’s smart enough to.

I’m actually kind of interested to watch the Rams this season, though I’m not remotely a fan. I love rising underdogs, and they played the draft very intelligently. If they can keep Sam Bradford healthy, which is a big if and I’m not sure essentially marrying the dude was at all a good idea, I think they can better themselves a lot this season.

– Jadevon Clowney is either going to be an incredibly exciting player to watch or the biggest bust since Ryan Leaf. There’s absolutely no denying the dude is a freakishly gifted athlete who’s played awesomely well all his life, but I’m not so sure about his work ethic. It’s not uncommon for guys with this much sunshine stuffed up their ass to figure they’re already awesome and the coaches don’t know shit. Plus the Texans haven’t had the most serendipitous luck with draft picks.

– Speaking of work ethic, I’m looking a lot more forward to watching Teddy Bridgewater than Manziel. I don’t much like the Vikings, but I will be given they’re NFC North. He had a not so awesome pro day, but I tend to think it was just that: a bad DAY. His college career was fairly impressive, and he seems to learn from his mistakes rather than melting down from them. Given he’s a rookie and he’s GOING to fuck up, that’s a valuable trait. I’d rather have seen him go to Jacksonville, since I DO like them (remember what I said about underdogs), but Blake Bortles was hardly a bad choice there either. Hoping he doesn’t spook like a skittish horse the way Gabbert tends to.

– I have mixed feelings about the Lions draft. On the one hand Eric Ebron is a pretty amazing athlete and god knows Stafford needs more weapons than just Johnson, as great as Johnson is, on the other hand tight end was a position they were already pretty deep in whereas they had a LOT of others they really needed to shore up, like their defensive backfield and wideouts. (Although Brandon Pettigrew thinks he’s a lot better than he actually is, so maybe it’s a wiser choice than it initially looks to me.)

I love the Kyle van Noy pick, though. I think he was a bit underrated, and the Lions NEED more good linebackers than just Tulloch. They’ve got an awesome defensive line, but beyond that… not as awesome.

Travis Swanson was an interesting choice. Their offensive line definitely needs help, but a lot more in terms of tackles and another good guard than center. On the one hand, Dominic Raiola is 35, and will need a successor. On the other, he’s also remarkably durable, solid, and looks to have plenty of gas left in the tank. Maybe more a long-term investment than a short-term shoring up.

Nevin Lawson… maybe, maybe not? He’s kinda short, but god knows he can pour on the speed, and he seems to be decent at intercepting anyway. Maybe not as much in the pros, though. I still hope Darius Slay will work out better with more development and think he can, but this is more a third question mark at corner than anything else. Chris Houston is pretty awesome but not Nightcrawler.

Caraun Reid… if there’s one thing the Lions do not lack for, it’s impressive defensive tackles. On the other hand, I cannot help but be ridiculously charmed by this guy. He seems smart as hell, actually finished his college degree and did it in the Ivies, loves singing in church choir, and whips his glasses off like Clark Kent becoming Superman on the field. And his job is basically “Hulk”. Omigawd he’s just adorable. Maybe a hedge against Fairley disappearing up his own ass?

TJ Jones… my reaction was and kinda still is “who?”. They need more depth at WR, and though Golden Tate will help, they need more. I would rather have seen them take a wideout earlier in the draft. It was seeming like they’d trade up in pick order for Sammy Watkins, which would have been awesome, but alas it was not to be. Right now he feels like another “meh, it’s a body” along with Fuller and Broyles.

Nate Freese… this guy might actually have been a late-round steal. The Lions have issues with closing, and an accurate and reliable kicker helps saving busted drives. They have kind of a curse on the position though, so we’ll see.

– Oh Jacksonville. Go home, you’re drunk. Bortles was a good grab given what an epic bust Gabbert turned out to be, though I hear mutterings they’re not going to let him start. (He’d be worse than Henne? Really? I agree Bortles needs development but c’mon!) They somehow let their freaky little power dwarf Maurice Jones-Drew get away from them when he was pretty much the one player on the team who was truly standout in the league. Lee was a great pick and Robinson might turn out to be, but the rest were iffy at best.

– I am very sad Khalil Mack went to the Raiders. I was really looking forward to watching him (MAYBE IN DETROIT??), and the Raiders and their fans are such dicks. He’s truly gone to the dark side. Or at least been press-ganged to it.

It can’t be news to any of you that I’m a huge nerd…

13 Responses to “Draft Thoughts”

  1. Nomad Says:

    Pretty solid analysis. Though I think Johnny Football has had more sunshine tongued up his hole that Clowney ever has. It’s been interesting to talk to the Jacksonville camp about their long term plans. Their draft makes a lot more sense in that light, but I still think they mishandled some of their picks. Hell, even trading first round for more picks in the lower rounds seems like a better idea to me.

  2. LabRat Says:

    Oh? If you’ve links I’d love to see! I know quite a bit less about Jacksonville than Detroit.

  3. Old NFO Says:

    Concur with all, and Clowney is going to be interesting to watch when he can’t ‘do’ everything he did at Carolina. Spurrier had to kick his ass a few times to get him to play to his potential. I’m thinking Mack is going to get more media than all the rest, and it’s going to cause a meltdown…

  4. bluntobject Says:

    I’m pretty sure the Jags are going to start Henne this year and give Bortles time to develop. (See, for example, this transcript of post-draft interviews.) I think their draft would’ve looked a lot different if they were in “win more now” mode rather than trying to build for the future.

    As a Bengals fan, I am beyond thrilled that Dennard fell to us at 24. It might take him a year or two to adjust to the NFL, but he’s going to be a great press-man corner. I’m hoping for good things out of Dre Kirkpatrick this year, too, now that he’s healthy and has a bit more experience.

    Jeremy Hill looks like a good pick, a solid change-of-pace guy to keep Gio from getting too beat up in the run-first offense I’m expecting from Hue Jackson. He seems like a pretty terrible human being from his antics at LSU, but Marvin Lewis has a good track record lately at turning people around (see e.g. Pacman Jones).

    I don’t know much about Will Clarke; gotta hit up noonkick.com and watch some WVU games. We tend to rotate our D-line a lot, so he’ll probably get some snaps, but I’m hoping Margus Hunt can step up this year and turn into a dominant edge rusher.

    Bodine’s a great pickup; we need depth between the tackles and he can play center or guard as needed.

    McCarron’s probably going to be a career backup. We did sign Jason Campbell to mentor Dalton; maybe McCarron can pick some things up from him too.

    One other guy I’m excited about is Nikita Whitlock, who we picked up as a UDFA. Dude played defensive line for Wake Forest at 5’9″ 250lbs and drew double teams. I think we’re trying to put him in at fullback; if that works out maybe we can kick gun-waving fuckknuckle Orson Charles to the curb.

  5. Bleddyn45 Says:

    As a resident and fan of Jacksonville, the thing you have to understand about this team is that we are recovering from about five or six years of terrible personnel decision-making and coaching. Everyone talks about Gabbert being a bust, but the truth is that we busted him. Our interior offensive line has been made of wet newspaper for years now, and we set a brand new rookie behind them to get the absolute crap kicked out of him for a full season. Now, if you watch him play his first instinct is always to scramble even before pressure is apparent, because we trained him that the o-line will not ever hold. This is the real reason we probably won’t see Bortles for at least a few games, not because Henne is better, but we need to pressure test the upgrades we got for the o-line and we don’t care if Henne gets beat up. Of course, after training camp and preseason they could just as easily say it’s good and throw him in there, but I doubt it.
    I’ve seen a lot of people hate on the Brandon Linder (G) pick in round 3 without recognizing 2 things; 1) the crazy run on guards in rounds 1&2(and early 3rd) leaving no real elite choices on the table, and more importantly 2) Jedd Fisch our offensive coordinator coached Linder at UM before he came here. We desperately need some solid guys to build decent depth for the o-line, and that’s what his role will be.(To put this in perspective, we currently have 4 other players on our roster who play at the guard spots, two were UFA’s, one was a fourth rounder from Indy who has been cut from our main roster onto the practice squad twice before, and the other is Zane Beadles from Denver who we signed in the offseason.)
    Mojo leaving is sort of bittersweet. The problem is that he’s getting old for a back and he wanted crazy person money for this new contract. He’s always had a chip on his shoulder since he came into the league, and it’s only gotten worse as time went on.

  6. Nomad Says:

    I don’t have links, I talk to one of the player’s parents. Amazing what you can learn.

  7. LabRat Says:

    Thanks for the intel, Bleddyn. Between what you said and what Nomad said their mindset now makes a lot more sense; rebuild from the ground up, and take some lessons learned, rather than lunge around frantically looking for a magic bullet.

    What you said about Gabbert also makes sense… I have similar complaints about Detroit’s O-line. Raiola is good and Warford will be, but they’ve let Stafford get eaten alive way more than they should have. Instead of getting spooky he got risky- he throws fast and hard and gets damn near as many interceptions as he does spectacular throws as a result. Which is one reason I like watching him, actually. Good offensive linemen are usually thin on the ground; once more shook out of the trees this year, everyone was eager to snap them up.

    As much as I enjoy watching MJD, since he reminds me of Pratchett’s dwarfs (they’re short but that just means they’re swinging that battleaxe at your knees), the lifespan of running backs is indeed usually short, though he doesn’t seem to have lost all that many steps yet. I sort of wonder if Ndamukong Suh is going to be in that place about eight years from now. In either case I’d enjoy watching Jacksonville have a good season for a change almost as much as I’d enjoy watching Detroit do so. Almost.

    Blunt- I know just enough about the Bengals to get about half of what you’re saying. Half. :)

  8. Robert Says:

    Jesus…when you pick up a new hobby, you really go all-in, don’t you. 😛

  9. LabRat Says:

    In an Aristotlean sense, it’s me acting according to my nature. 😉

  10. Bleddyn45 Says:

    Yeah, Mojo should still have at least three or four good seasons left in him, I personally wonder if letting him go now was more about him not fitting well with the new coaching direction. Gus Bradley is a relentlessly optimistic guy who focuses a lot on team attitude, leadership and looking to the future, and MJD is the guy who picked his number (32) because that’s how many teams passed on drafting him in the first round before we took him in the second. I think he uses it to fuel his play, but I very much doubt that Gus wants that kind of attitude to be the face of his team.

  11. Kristophr Says:

    So when do you start a fantasy league?

    ( ducks )

  12. LabRat Says:

    Fantasy Football seems way more byzantine than Dungeons and Dragons. No thanks!

    Quite possibly right, Bleddyn. It’d also fit in with the overall theme of rebuilding the team from the ground up rather than grabbing or keeping players that are/could be stars NOW. In that case I’ll expect them to be doing noticeably better two seasons from now instead of this one.

  13. Jon Says:

    The Draft for me was a success because a bunch of guys from my College team that I watch religiously (FCS – NDSU Bison) (Hey, I live in the same town, and football is a game that is so much better watched in person – it doesn’t hurt that NDSU is doing its best to make the FCS its bitch) got a fair number of guys contracts. Big Billy Turner went to the Dolphins in the third round and has a pretty decent shot of playing for a starting position. Brock Jensen (Winningest quarterback in FCS history) got a Free Agent gig with the Dolphins. I don’t expect him to play anytime soon, but the Dolphins have been suffering from leadership issues so who knows. The man knows how to win, and how to lead. We’ll see if he’s actually NFL material though.

    Then there’s Marcus Williams – hell of a corner back, he got a free agent deal with the Texans. Though if he doesn’t learn to actually tackle better I don’t expect that to go anywhere. And there was one other guy who picked up a job too, but I forget his name.

    Not bad for a little school out in the middle of nowhere 😀