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DRAFTWATCH 2012

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DRAFTWATCH 2012

So last week, as I mentioned on Monday, was filled with illness and illness and then more illness. So much that I actually forgot to write this thing up and when I did recall it, I was too sick to actually do it.

This week finds me less dead, so right there we're in better shape.

Better shape than my Jets, by the way.

I won't recap the whole week here, since by now you know it all. Manning, Tebow, Denver, Jets, Saints, Bountygate. The oddest one was the Tebow-Jets though. Nagler put it best, so read his take for full effect.

If Aaron missed one aspect of this, it's the 'Keeping up with the Jones' aspect of it. The Giants won the Super Bowl a few years back and what did the Jets do? Brought in Brett Favre for big news. The Giants won again this year. What happens? An unnecessary move to bring Tim Tebow to the Jets.

Once again the Jets win the headlines. I can't say this allows them to win a ring though. Someone I know on Facebook put it best: The Jets have a three ring circus. The Giants just have four rings.

You tell me which you want.

Moving on (because we could spend all column on this).....

I appeared on Wes Bunting's National Football Post podcast, the Draftnick Roundtable. We had a great group of guys—along with myself and Wes, you get Scott Wright of Draftcountdown.com, Dan Kadar from MockingtheDraft.com, and Jeff Roemer from BleacherReport.com.

You can check it out here.

We talk Manning to the Broncos and talk about other big free agency moves which will change the landscape of the NFL Draft.

RG3 VS LUCK
Both Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck have now had their Pro Days and both were very impressive. And yes, Luck was impressive. The problem at this time of year is that analysts start looking for reasons to dislike a prospect they used to love. For Luck, it's his arm—something that didn't bother anyone a few weeks back.

That isn't to say you couldn't make a strong case for Griffin as your number one quarterback. I've said it before, he's got more upside than Luck but is a bigger risk. Not a huge risk. But a bigger one.

Still he's easily a guy who can go number one right now. It's not because Luck faltered at Pro Day though. It's because Grinnin looks better and better every time we see him.

By the way, everyone compares Luck to Manning but I've come to believe this isn't the best comparison. For a better 'NFL guy who Luck is like' entry, you Cheeseheads may only need to look as far as your own quarterback.

In case you missed it, here is the first Draft Spotlight video, conveniently enough on Andrew Luck. I'm shooting for Griffin next week.

Kuechly Impresses
If you want a guy who impressed a ton this week, it's Boston College's inside linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Kuechly had an outstanding Pro Day (why does anyone go to the Combine anymore?) as he was run through drills by the Eagles' Mike Caldwell. The Eagles were favorites to draft Kuechly until they picked up DeMeco Ryans from the Houston Texans.

I wouldn't be shocked if they still looked at him, but now I wonder if they won't shift towards the defensive line or maybe even offensive line (though Andy Reid refuses to draft them first round most of the time).

Which makes Kuechly an intriguing target in the middle of the first for several teams. Could the Jets think about him at 16? Perhaps San Diego at 18. Cleveland at 22? Denver at 25?

Whomever gets him will have themselves one heck of an middle linebacker.

Kuechly's speed got people's attention at the Combine but scouts have been well aware of his potential before he hit the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Watching him on 'film' you can see he's not just a powerhouse, bullying his way through traffic to the ball carrier. He's a very intelligent player who gets to the gaps before the ballcarrier and gets to the play before the play gets to him.

Some have concerns about size—he's not big like many elite linebackers are—but he'll outwork just about anyone on the field and is relentless in his play.

If I can get good footage of him, he's definitely on my radar for a Draft Spotlight video.


Is Cleveland a Factory of Sadness?

I was going to ask if it was the Pit of Despair, but then I couldn't show this highly amusing video again.

I expect a Jets version of this soon. Perhaps it will come from me.

There's been a lot of talk this off-season about how undesirable it is to play in Cleveland. How free agents don't want to go there and Draft prospects would rather not as well.

Listen, I'm not saying I understand what Cleveland is doing in terms of a their overall plan to build a team. They have worked to build a defense with slow but sure results but the offense has totally been a disaster.

I've talked to some Browns fans and they feel confident that this Draft will focus heavily on offense—clearly I agree if you look at my Mocks both at Bleacher Report and in the CHTV Draft guide. Richardson and a wide receiver or Blackmon and a back like Doug Martin or Lamar Miller would be perfect.

In my opinion, as long as two of their first three picks are on offense they'll be fine.

Back to the 'reputation', if you want to call it that, of Cleveland for a minute.

I can see the free agency issue. Until the team is winning, it's going to be tough. Perhaps Holmgren and Shurmur aren't doing a great job enticing players. Or perhaps they just aren't focused on it, choosing to build home grown talent. Remember, Holmgren coached the Packers and the Packers don't play the free agency game.

It's not a stretch to think they just don't care about chasing the latest and greatest players—or more to the point, the next big over-signing.

As far as the agents saying their prospects don't want to play there—I think it's more that the agents don't want their players in Cleveland for any number of reasons.

Maybe they are worried they can't make as much in marketing in Cleveland. Maybe they don't believe in the way Cleveland is building a team.

Agents never say anything without an agenda. We know this. Every word is calculated. What their motives are is beyond me—personally in the extremely unlikely event one of my kids becomes a pro athlete, I'm going to say they should be happy if they get picked by anyone, even moreso in the first round of a draft.

Is it possible three pro prospects don't want to play in Cleveland? Absolutely. This is a struggling franchise in a market that might be viewed as limited in terms of secondary revenue streams.

Plus—and unfair though this is, it's out there—the perception is that this is a franchise that cannot win.

It's a vicious circle. Cleveland can't win, so players aren't thrilled to go there but without good players, Cleveland won't win.

Really, this is why the Draft exists. If a team drafts well, eventually it starts winning and the perception that the franchise is a bad place to be changes.

For a recent example, see Detroit and slowly but surely, Buffalo. It's going to take time.

Meanwhile it's rough being Cleveland. This is a city which got robbed by Baltimore, kicked by LeBron and now this.

It sucks. Having been a Jets/Islanders/Mets fan at various times in my life, I can sympathize.

I can only say that it makes the eventual victories all the sweeter though. So Cleveland, hang in there!

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (8) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackersRS's picture

Very good take, and I'm not sure if I offer my condolences or congratulate you about the Tebow, though I believe it's the former, but just want to clarify that, during Holmgren's tenure, the Packers were a major FA dealer, signing White, Jackson, Beebe, Howard, Rison, Robinson, Jones, Dotson, Brown and Winters (and I'm probably missing someone), all through FA.

Doesn't mean he's not changing it in Cleveland. But it hasn't been his MO, building through the draft.

andrewgarda's picture

WELL CRAP. There goes that theory.

Hopefully for Cleveland, he has a plan.

Condolences accepted.

PackersRS's picture

Honestly, Holmgren IMO has not been very good as a GM. His best tenure in SEA was when he had TT in his side, after that, when he assumed a more prominent role, he got overwhelmed and they started to decline.

The line of thought was that focusing solely on GM duties would help him, but maybe he's not GM material after all. He has done some head scratching moves...

Don Hutson's picture

At some point in his career, MHs head got way bigger than his capability. He's sort of been on a gradual downward arch since winning his one and only SB, at least in terms of achievements, though he did well enough in Sea to catapult to Cleve. I wonder when Holmgren Way in GB will be renamed Thompson Trail?

MarkinMadison's picture

Agree with everything that RS said re Holmgren. The Cleveland video is priceless. The closing line is the beer chaser. I really thought that Cleveland would be a serious player for Matt Flynn. Their biggest problem on offense is that they have never found a QB, and they just keep rolling through them.

redlights's picture

I think Mccoy is adequate as thier QB until they get the rest of their team put together.

Seems to me that head coach and GM are two very different job descriptions, and possibly personalities. Holmgren was a good coach.

eVade's picture

The 'factory of sadness' tag line seemed to work so well in Cleveland because it brings up connotations of the rust belt. It just seemed to fit so well.

For the meadowlands, you'd have to use something associated with its purported past as a burial ground or the high concentration of petroleum (and other toxic chemicals) manufacturing around it. If you could combine the two in a short phrase you'd have a winner.

As for Luck and Rodgers, it seems that Luck is an even better athlete than Aaron was at the time he came out. Is that observation wrong?

Don Hutson's picture

I've been to Cleveland once, though driven thru it on numerous occasions. The one occasion where it was a destination was a conference I attended as a graduate student back in the late 70s. There was a stationwagon of us driven by our major professor. He was a late sixty year-old irracible maverick genius who grew-up in Zanesville, OH. I remember a lot from him, but the only comment I recall his making about Cleveland. "If God wanted to give the world an enema, he'd stick-it in Cleveland". That about says it all when it comes to the Browns. Imagine calling the Chicago team the Chicago Hallases, or the GreenBay team the Green Bay Lambeaus! Heck the Cleveland Catfish would be a better name. At least Toledo had the Mud Hens. Too bad the good folks of Cleveland deserve better, at least they have the R&R HOF.

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