San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers
Sunday, 1/4/14, 4:40 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  San Francisco -2.5
Current Betting Line:  San Francisco -2.5
Opening Total:  48
Current Total:  48
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Continue reading “NFC Wild Card Picks: San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers”

Here are five guys that will likely go today who should make their teams and nfl gamblers very happy:

1. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
– There has been little talk of him in the first round, but there really should have been. He’s a better player than Clausen in my eyes – more athletic, a better arm, more successful, and a much better leader. The arm injury in the championship game is irrelevant, and McCoy is ready to be a starting QB in this league.

2. Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama
– Though he has the skills to get picked in the first round, size issues could make him a second day bargain. Cody is massive and may not be able to control that weight, and his body may not stand up to the strain of the league. He’s a run stopping machine, though, and he shows surprising bursts of athleticism for his size. He’s not a pass rushing demon, but he’s very useful as the relatively unique type of player that he is.

3. Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
– He has good linebacking bloodlines – his cousin is Takeo Spikes. Spikes is the leader of his defense at Florida, and could take that same kind of role in the pros. He has brilliant instincts, and knows where he needs to be almost before a play happens. He doesn’t have the flashy numbers to be a first-rounder, but he looks like he could be a long term solution in a crucial position.

4. Dexter McCluster, RB, Mississippi
– This isn’t a great running back class, but McCluster could be the best of the whole group. What I love about watching him is his ability to read the line in the backfield, adjust instantly, and find the hole. He has downfield vision that is very rare. He’s also very patient, and is capable of throwing in a stutter step to wait for a hole to develop.

5. Navorro Bowman, LB, Penn State
– He comes from a linebacker factory, so his credentials are sound. Bowman is an above average linebacker in all aspects of his game except for one – against the run he is absolutely incredible. It’s like he has running back sensors in his brain – he gets to them and almost never lets them past. That, along with solid skills in other areas, will make him a nice addition to any team. There are some concerns about his behavior, but the bulk of his issues were back n 2007 when he has going through hard times, and I think they are in the past. He’s worth a GM’s nfl bet.

All NFL Draft, all the time the next three days. The title make’s today’s offering self-evident:

Guys I Love

1. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
– What’s not to like about this guy. He was brilliant from the very start at Oklahoma, and he has the look of a guy who can take that to the next level. He crushed the college football point spread at Oklahoma.  He has a good arm, he’s mobile enough without using that as a crutch, he’s incredibly smart, and he just wins. Top rated quarterbacks aren’t always successful, but Clausen will be.

Continue reading “Five First Rounders I Really Love, And Three I Don’t”

For the first time in a lot of years I am probably not going to be sitting down to watch the draft today – too many things to see and do in New York to waste six hours in front of the TV. I like watching the draft, and there are things I will miss about it, but there are also a whole bunch of things I really won’t miss at all about watching the coverage or the accompanying analysis on other channels. Here are some of them:

Continue reading “No Draft Viewing For Me”

As I have thought about the draft this year I have spent a lot of time thinking about Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree. His catch (if you don’t know what catch I am talking about then you don’t watch enough college football) is one of the most incredible things I have ever seen. Besides that, and all of his other highlight reel performances, there is a whole lot to make this guy compelling. He has the size and the hands to be an all-time great, but he doesn’t have the prototypical speed that receivers use to get away from corners. He comes from a system that was wildly productive, but his quarterback  has been disregarded to the point of irrelevance because of the gimmicky nature of that offense. The stress fracture in his foot has limited the evaluation teams have done and have created some questions and uncertainty. Despite the questions, his ridiculously impressive list of accomplishments and obvious skill have him as the top receiver on virtually every list, but there seems to be decreasing confidence in the security of his position on top as time progresses – Jeremy Maclin is rocketing up many lists.

Continue reading “Michael Crabtree: A Superstar?”

It’s always fun to look for the guys who are getting noticed in the draft process that certainly weren’t getting noticed before now – the guys who toil at obscure schools in obscure conferences. Here are five guys that are getting good buzz out of small schools this year. Telling that four of the five players on this list are corners – teams are absolutely starved for cornerbacks and the major conferences just haven’t come through with good prospects this year, so teams are looking further and further for opportunities.cause of small school corners that Dominique Rodger-Cromartie came out of Tennessee State and looks like a very legitimate pro. You may notice if you follow such things that I have left two of the bigger small school names off this list. Johnny Knox of Abilene Christian was the fastest wide receiver at the Combine, so he’s getting more than enough attention without me, and Rhett Bomar of Sam Houston State is a well known story. The former Oklahoma QB is also an idiot, and I try not to write about idiots more than I have to.

Continue reading “The Search For The Obscure”

I won’t bore you with a complete mock draft, because the more picks a person makes the more variables, and the more chance they are really, really wrong. I will tackle the top ten picks, though. I think there will be some trade action in the top ten, but none has happened as I write this, so I won’t try to guess what might happen. I’ll also resist the temptation to go with what I think teams should do, and instead will try to go with what I think teams will do. For example, I think the Jags will pick Mark Sanchez if he is available, but I really, really don’t think that they should.

1. Detroit – Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
– Anyone is okay for the Lions as long as it isn’t a wide receiver. That would just be bad karma. I’m not convinced that Stafford is a franchise QB, but the Lions seem to think he is. At the very least, he can’t be any worse than Joey Harrington.

2. St. Louis – Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
– The Rams have all sorts of needs, but they need a tackle now that Orlando Pace has moved on.Smith and Eugene Monroe are neck and neck and either could go here, but Smith seems to have a bit more momentum at this point.

3. Kansas City – Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
– No team in history has ever registered fewer sacks in a season than the Chiefs did last year. Curry is a versatile defensive player who can make life uncomfortable for opposing quarterbacks. He’s by far the best defensive player on the board, so this is a no-brainer.

4. Seattle – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
– They need to protect Hasselbeck and his eventual replacement, so this makes sense. I could have seen them picking a QB here if one was worthy, but I don’t think they are convinced enough about Sanchez to pay him this kind of money.

5. Cleveland – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
– Eric Mangini is far from a genius, but he could look like one if he makes this pick and then does the right thing by keeping Braylon Edwards around. Those two could combine to be a truly terrifying duo, regardless of who is throwing to them.

6. Cincinnati – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
– So much for Smith’s freefall. He hasn’t been impressive at all since the season ended, but the game time tells a different story. Smith needs to protect the fragile Carson Palmer, and Smith is the best remaining. The Bengals aren’t afraid of bad attitudes, either.

7. Oakland – Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
– This probably isn’t Oakland’s biggest need. Bran Orakpo would make more sense in a lot of ways. I just can’t see Al Davis passing on a big, fast, impressive receiver like this. He’s a sucker for them, and he hasn’t had one in a while.

8. Jacksonville – Mark Sanchez, QB, Jacksonville
– I hope I’m wrong here – I would much rather see Sanchez fall to San Francisco, Denver, or Washington and see the Jags fill one of their other big needs.

9. Green Bay – Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
– The Packers could really use offensive line help, but they can get that later just as well as they can here unless one of the top tackles drop.Otherwise, they could use someone to anchor their defensive line, and I like Maybin better than B.J. Raji in terms of the upside and the amble involved. Besides, a DE is more interesting than a DT.

10. San Francisco – Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
– The Niners would leap at either of the top two QBs if they fell down here, and I can see scenarios where Stafford might. If not then I look for them to address their pass rush, and Ayers has been climbing boards quickly since the end of the season.

I’m no NFL general manager or scout, and I don’t have access to a tiny fraction of the data that they do. That doesn’t stop me from getting hunches about players in the draft, though. I can’t pretend to be always accurate, but I have my moments both good and bad – I had a strong sense that Robert Gallery wasn’t going to pan out, but I thought the same about Matt Ryan. My hunches are imprecise science, but then so is the draft. At the very least I have about the same track record this year as the Lions. Better, even – I wasn’t fooled by Joey Harrington. Here’s a look at four likely first rounders this year who I just can’t seem to warm up to:

Matthew Stafford
– Let’s start right at the top. I know Stafford has all the measurables, and that scouts have been drooling over him since before the season. I just can’t reconcile what everyone says with what I have seen when I have watched Georgia play. He can be extremely impressive at times, but he can also look rattled and out of his element. I think back most to the Georgia Tech game. The Bulldogs should have won very easily, but the Tech clearly got into Stafford’s head and rattled him. That was just one example of what I feel about Stafford – some guys can get more out of their team than they should be able to. Stafford never seemed able to get his team to live up to its massive potential.

Continue reading “Guys I Wouldn’t Draft”

This is not a very interesting draft year when it comes to quarterbacks, Matthew Stafford is the clear leader, but he’s far from a lock, and he probably would only have been third or fourth to go last year. Mark Sanchez has his backers, and he has obvious skills, but just one year of real experience raises questions for him. Josh Freeman has risen up to become the clear third choice, and he’s physically impressive, but Kansas State was far from a powerhouse under his watch, and questions about his leadership and intelligence are right below the surface. Any one of those three guys could turn into a very good NFL quarterback, but it’s not too hard to imagine any of them as disappointing flops, either. Things don’t get that much more positive further down the list of quarterbacks, either. Still, we all know the stories of guys who are drafted late and with few expectations and turn into serviceable players. Or better in the obvious case of Tom Brady. With that in mind, here’s a look at three quarterbacks who could be the next big bargain:

Continue reading “Potential QB Bargains”

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