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Archive for April, 2006

Reggie is No. 1!

April 27th, 2006 Comments off

I want to talk a bit about what other teams may do in the draft rather than the Falcons. First and foremost, I want to talk about the Houston Texans with their No. 1 selection.

Now, despite all the talk that has happened over the past two weeks, I still believe Reggie Bush will be the Texans No. 1 pick. I believe like others that most of this Mario Williams stuff is a matter of gaining some leverage on Bush in terms of contract negotiations. We see it practically ever year. A guy is considered the consensus No. 1 pick for most of the off-season, but close to draft time, his stock drops a bit and they start considering other players.

So I would guess there is a 90% chance that Bush is the Texans top selection this year. But in that slim margin that he is not their guy, I think that team is making a huge mistake. Frankly, I don’t see all the greatness in Mario Williams. To me he’s a 6-7, 290-300 pound defensive end. And as far as I know, there has only been one pass rusher that was ever considered an elite guy that weighed that much. And that was Reggie White.

In my mind, it comes down to a matter of who do you take: The Running back that compares well to Barry Sanders or the defensive end that people are hyping into a Reggie White? Williams is no Reggie White. I’m not sure Bush will be as good as Barry is, but the comparisons aren’t too far off. The player that Williams is most overtly compared with is Julius Peppers. Williams is an excellent athlete, but he’s not in the same class as Peppers. Peppers could be playing in the NBA right now. Peppers at 285 pounds, moves like a 230-pound linebacker. Peppers is the only athlete in the NFL that can outshine Michael Vick when they share the same field. Williams is not in the same realm.

The biggest knock on Williams is that he takes plays off. Well, when you weigh 300 pounds, that only becomes a bigger factor. If you want to be an elite pass rusher, the type of guy that can rack up 10 or more sacks on a consistent basis, you can’t be that big. Peppers and Shaun Ellis are the max I think you can be and achieve at that level, and both are in the low 280s. Some might point to Richard Seymour as an exception to my rule, but I would counter with the fact that Seymour is not a defensive end. Any player that plays DE in a traditional 3-4 is more akin to a 4-3 DT than a DE. Seymour has had success in the NFL because when he entered the league he was a DT versatile enough to play DE, not the other way around. I have seen little and heard little about Williams’ ability to project to the DT position. But if he continues to put on weight like I’m hearing he is (bulking up to possibly as much as 310 pounds), then that’s all he’ll ever be in the NFL: a bust as a DE that eventually becomes a decent player at DT.

Frankly, if my opinion mattered and the Houston Texans were listening, they would be absolutely stupid to not take Reggie Bush. Frankly, it makes no sense to me. If there was a few players in this draft that they should be thinking about taking over Bush, it should not be Mario Williams, but rather Vince Young, Leinart, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. If you ask me, Williams is at best the fourth best prospect in this draft. But if it were me, I’d probably put LenDale White, A.J. Hawk, and possibly Bunkley and Vernon Davis ahead of him.

I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that the Texans took Carr No. 1 in 2002 and Peppers went No. 2 that same year. In retrospect it seems pretty clear who was the better player. Had I been able to voice my opinions to them then, I would have said take Peppers. And because I was right, I feel I am responsible once again to guide the Texans down the right path.

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Falcons Draft Board

April 23rd, 2006 Comments off

From the way I understand how the war room works, NFL teams may wind up scouting 300-500 players for the upcoming draft, but their draft board will be whittled down to somewhere between 50-150 or so players that they actually want to draft.

I’m not sure how many the Falcons have or if they follow this same basic principle, but I’d guess they do. I’ve also heard that some (or perhaps most teams) really focus on a half dozen or so players per position.

I’ve done the same, picking no more than six players at positions I feel the Falcons are very likely to address. With the Falcons having six picks this year, I would be quite surprised if less than 4 players did not appear on this list.

Quarterbacks

Bruce Gradkowski, Toledo
Darrell Hackney, UAB
Erik Meyer, Eastern Washington
Drew Olson, UCLA
D.J. Shockley, Georgia

Running Backs

Brian Calhoun, Wisconsin
Maurice Drew, UCLA
Andre Hall, South Florida
Jerome Harrison, Washington State
Jerious Norwood, Mississippi State
Leon Washington, Florida State

Wide Receivers

Jason Avant, Michigan
Hank Baskett, New Mexico
Maurice Stovall, Notre Dame
Mike Hass, Oregon State
Troy Bergeron, Georgia Force AFL

Offensive Linemen

Rashad Butler, Miami (FL)
Daryn Colledge, Boise State
Ryan Cook, New Mexico
Paul McQuistan, Weber State
Mark Setterstrom, Minnesota

Defensive Linemen

Elvis Dumervil, Louisville
Chris Gocong, Cal Poly
Tamba Hali, Penn State
Parys Haralson, Tennessee
Julian Jenkins, Stanford
Babatunde Oshinowo, Stanford

Cornerbacks

Richard Marshall, Fresno State
Will Blackmon, Boston College
Kelly Jennings, Miami (FL)
Dee Webb, Florida
Ashton Youboty, Ohio State
Alan Zemaitis, Penn State

Safeties

Daniel Bullocks, Nebraska
Roman Harper, Alabama
Danieal Manning, Abilene Christian
Charlie Peprah, Alabama
Anthony Smith, Syracuse
Calvin Lowry, Penn State

I won’t try to predict when and where the Falcons may try to take these guys, but most of them are considered by most to be players that are likely to go after round two and before round seven.

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Best and Worst Time of the Year

April 11th, 2006 Comments off

Any and everybody that is a true football fan loves the NFL Draft. When you take a step back and look at the draft though, sitting there and watching it for hours upon hours is really odd. I’m sure, most fans don’t tune in for the entire thing, but I did so last year, watching about 90% of ESPN’s coverage.

Part of that reason is because of my involvement at other websites that deal with the draft, but the rest of it is inexplicable. There is just something about the draft that has me glued to the television. I’m very glad that the NFL Network will be covering the event in its entirety this year. It will give me an opportunity to avoid Mel Kiper and ESPN, who have had a monopoly on the event seemingly forever. I’m looking for too Rich Eisen’s corny jokes, and getting mad at Mike Mayock and his continued lack of respect for that man that is Matt Leinart.

Most people don’t watch the entire draft because it is in fact incredibly boring. Most fans would say that they need to signfiicantly cut down the time limit on draft picks, perhaps allowing 10 minutes in the first round, and 5 minutes the rest of the way. It would definitely make it go smoother, but I would say that there are the rare occasions when a team really does need the full 15 minutes. The Vikings in recent drafts, have even needed 20 minutes to make a decision.

What’s so great about draft day, is that everybody has high hopes going into that Saturday. For fans of bad teams, they think maybe they’ll be able to get 1 or 2 players that could really be an impact this year. For other teams, it’s more about which players are going to be the stars of your teams in future years. But I’ve found that by the end of the whole thing, the vast majority of fans are upset with their team’s picks.

My fellow Falcon fans aren’t any different. It’s been different since McKay came here, and there hasn’t been a ton of fans arguing about bad picks like it was during the Reeves Era. I recall particularly about 80-90% of fans were very upset when the Falcons chose Alge Crumpler in 2001. Most fans were looking for a wideout. I among them, wanted the team to get Chad Johnson. But I was also in the minority that thought Crumpler was a good pick and would turn into a Pro Bowl player, so I wasn’t too upset with passing on Johnson or another receiver at the time. It seems that pick turned out pretty good and was one of the best ones of the Reeves Era. It’s been my experience that the initial reaction tends to be negative from the fans. It’s probably because we all think were draft gurus, due to all the information that floods us via the internet about the draft.

But perhaps the worst thing about the draft is what follows. It’s really a dead time for football fans. You have about a week’s worth of high following the draft (but only if you think your team did a good job), and then you have basically nothing to look forward to NFL-wise until August. Sure, you get some June cap cuts. But it’s usually only 3 or 4 big names, and usually only a 1 or 2 teams really interested in each, so it’s doubtful it’s going to get you too excited as a fan.

It means we’re stuck with baseball. And I hate beginning of the season baseball. It’s meaningless if you ask me. The talking heads get really excited about a team winning 5 straight in April, and it’s practically meaningless when it comes to September and October. Baseball really doesn’t seem to pick up to me until July.

You also have the end of the NBA season, but the playoffs in the NBA aren’t that exciting as NFL playoffs because they have so many more teams. In a given year, you’ll probably only have 5 or 6 teams that really are championship caliber teams. The other 10 or so teams are just pretenders and their best hope is to win 2 games in the second round. Reducing the number of playoff teams per conference to 4 would be crazy, but would definitely make the NBA playoffs way more exciting.

I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the number of suicides among American males is highest in the months of May, June, and July. But at least those three months of boredom present you with a reason to actually get off the couch or from in front of the computer and do something with your life. It’s probably why all the blockbuster summer movies come out in those months, because they know they don’t have to compete with football for people’s attention on weekends.

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