NFL Mock Draft 1.0 Part 5

Sorry I couldn’t go in depth on these, schoolwork and all that, hope you can appreciate that. Draft grades coming soon.

#21 Philadelphia Eagles- Justin Jefferson WR, LSU

#22 Minnesota Vikings- Denzel Mims WR, Baylor

#23 New England Patriots- Yetur Gross-Matos DE, Penn State

#24 New Orleans Saints- Kenneth Murray LB, Oklahoma

#25 Minnesota Vikings- Jeff Gladney CB, TCU

#26 Miami Dolphins- D’Andre Swift RB, Georgia

#27 Seattle Seahawks- A.J. Epenesa DE, Iowa

#28 Baltimore Ravens- Patrick Queen LB, LSU

#29 Tennessee Titans- Josh Jones OT, Houston

#30 Green Bay Packers- Tee Higgins WR, Clemson

#31 San Francisco 49ers- Noah Igbinoghene CB, Auburn

#32 Kansas City Chiefs- Ceasar Ruiz OL, Michigan

NFL Mock Draft 1.0 Part 4

#16 Atlanta Falcons- Jedrick Wills OT, Alabama

Although there are a lot of rumors that the Falcons will be trading up, I have them drafting offensive lineman Jedrick Wills who fell a bit in this mock. He’s a very good run blocker so helping Todd Gurley run the ball with his god-awful knees would and should be a priority for the Falcons. He’s one of the top tackles and the draft’s top right tackle but can play either tackle position. One of the only possible negatives would be that he’s standing at 6’ 3” compared to Mekhi Becton’s 6’ 7” frame. Watch for the Falcons to pick earlier than this.

#17 Dallas Cowboys- C.J. Henderson CB, Florida

The Cowboys need to replace Byron Jones and C.J. Henderson is the natural fix. I’m a lot higher on Henderson and think the gap between him and Jeffery Okudah is a lot smaller than others. Henderson is a rapid corner that can be a #1 corner on any team if given the opportunity. Although he had no interceptions all season, he had a lot of deflections and played well in every game except LSU, but who wasn’t torched by Burrow? Cowboys will save a lot of money by drafting Henderson and they can spend that money on Dak Prescott’s new deal.

#18 Miami Dolphins- Javon Kinlaw DL, South Carolina

After selecting a quarterback with their first pick, Kinlaw is the best available and he is an absolute monster as shown in his workout video squatting one TON, 2,000 pounds!  Brian Flores and the Dolphins opened up the bank and spent millions of dollars on the defensive side of the ball and Kinlaw would be a stellar addition. With the stockpile of draft picks, the Dolphins are setting themselves up for success as they could add five studs in the first two rounds. The Dolphins will be one of the hardest teams to predict as they can go in any direction due to their many holes and many picks to fill those holes.

#19 Las Vegas Raiders- Kristian Fulton CB, LSU

One of the Khalil Mack picks, the Raiders should look too sure up their defensive holes after picking with an offensive mind with their own selection. Fulton starts off the rest of the corners where the likes of Kristian Fulton, Noah Igbinoghene, and Jeff Gladney, are all around the same skill level for me. I like Fulton’s ability to show up in big games and for his tackling ability. His high in tackles came against Clemson in the title game so he’s not afraid of the spotlight. With a lot of these LSU players, the scheme could be a major reason for their successes, so you always have to be careful, but in this spot, I think Fulton’s a corner with a very high ceiling but has bust potential. 

#20 Jacksonville Jaguars- Antoine Winfield Jr. S/CB, Minnesota

The Jaguars have glaring holes all over the field, so I have the Jags selecting the best available in my opinion, Antoine Winfield Jr. A lot of things will change for the Jags as the inevitable trade of Yannick Ngakoue for some draft capital. I have no idea what the market will be, so I have the Jags selecting a player that fills two needs, safety and corner. Antoine can play slot corner as well as safety and his positional flexibility will be what makes him go over Alabama’s Xavier McKinney in my opinion. The Jags are another team that could quite possibly select any position outside of long snapper, punter, and kicker with their two first round picks, hopefully they can get something with this pick they got from L.A. after trading away Pro-Bowl corner Jalen Ramsey.

NFL Mock Draft 1.0 Part 3

#11 New York Jets- CeeDee Lamb WR, Oklahoma

The New York football Jets have been lacking a stud wide receiver for some time, and with an absolutely loaded WR class in this draft, the Jets will (likely) have their pick of the lot at #11. CeeDee Lamb is a great route runner and with his great hands, elite speed, and big play potential, Lamb has the best chance to be not just a Pro-Bowl wide receiver, but a Hall of Famer. He had over 1,000 yards his last two seasons and he looked like he couldn’t be tackled all season. Averaging 21.4 yards per catch is an absolutely insane statistic and going from catching balls from Jalen Hurts to Sam Darnold, he could flourish in the Big Apple.

#12 Las Vegas Raiders- Jordan Love QB, Utah State

The RAIDAAAAAS are on the clock now and it might be time for “Spider 2 Y Banana” Coach Gruden to have his way. Jordan Love, a pretty unknown quarterback that under preformed last year, would be the next quarterback in a series of quarterbacks that John Gruden was in love with for absolutely no reason. Some of these players like Jimmy Clausen, Brock Osweiler and many more were pegged to be Pro-Bowlers and turned out to be horrendous in the league. We all know the NFL is a quarterback dominated league but is Love good enough to pass up on people like Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III? Probably not.

#13 San Francisco 49ers- K’Lavon Chaisson DE, LSU

After trading away DeForest Buckner to the Colts, the NFC champions have the 13th pick, an absolute luxury for a title contender. After losing Emmanuel Sanders, the 49ers could be looking for his replacement, but I have them selecting the second-best defensive player in my mind, K’Lavon Chaisson. An absolute animal on the defensive line, Chaisson has the speed and athleticism to play multiple positions in the defense. With the best defense in the league, giving them another weapon in Chaisson would, and should worry the rest of the NFL.

#14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jerry Jeudy WR, Alabama

Now listen, I know that TOMpa Bay should select an offensive lineman to protect Tom but here’s my (probably flawed) logic against that. Jerry Jeudy along with CeeDee Lamb is the most electric player in this draft. He’s absolutely rapid and seemingly cannot be stopped. He will be the third receiver behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and with TE O.J. Howard, RBs Ronald Jones II and Dare Ogunbowale, and of course the GOAT Tom Brady under center, the Bucs offense will be unstoppable. I fully expect the rest of the draft to be defensive picks as that Bucs defense needs a ton of help. 

#15 Denver Broncos- Henry Ruggs III WR, Alabama

After Burrow to the Bengals, and Young to the Redskins, Ruggs III to the Broncos seems to be the next unanimous pick. After one of the best and most underrated offseasons, the Broncos are primed to make some noise this season. Courtland Sutton emerged as a Pro-bowl wide receiver and Drew Lock looks to have Locked his position as the team’s franchise quarterback, last year so giving both of them help in Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III, the Broncos might just give the Chiefs a run for their money in the AFC West. Ruggs III doesn’t have the stats that Jeudy and Lamb have however, he’s an elite deep threat due to his scorching 4.27 40-yard dash time. Watch out for the Broncos this year.

NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Part 2)

#6 Detroit Lions- Jeffery Okudah CB, Ohio State

Ahh, my beloved Detroit Lions did one of the two things we hoped they’d do. The two things all Lions fans are hoping to see is either select one of Tua/Young/Burrow, or trade down (at least once) and select one of the defensive prospects. Jeff Okudah has been mocked to the Lions for seemingly the entire draft season but picking him at pick three seems way too high. Watching him lockdown the Michigan offense in front of me at the Big House this fall, I was impressed with his play. It seems very SOL (same old lions) to trade away Pro-bowl corner Darius Slay and then draft a corner with the third overall pick. I think the Lions should draft Tua and move on from Matthew Stafford, but c’mon guys, it’s the freaking Lions.

#7 Carolina Panthers- Isaiah Simmons LB/S, Clemson

The Panthers had a complete and total overhaul this offseason bringing in new franchise QB Teddy Bridgewater, head coach Matt Rhule, and offensive coordinator Joe Brady. A notable departure that hasn’t been replaced, sorry Cam, is Luke Kuechly, and since Matt Rhule is a college coach, I have them drafting Isaiah Simmons, the perfect college do-it-all defensive weapon. Being a Michigan fan, Isaiah Simmons is exactly what Jabrill Peppers was supposed to be, so it stings to see how good he was at Clemson and I personally think the Lions are being SOL by passing him up.

#8 Arizona Cardinals- Mekhi Becton OT, Louisville

The next three picks are good system fits. Mekhi Becton is an absolute athletic freak and his elite speed will fit Kliff Kingsberry’s screen-heavy offensive scheme. Becton’s rare speed at the offensive-line position will complement the playstyle of Kyler Murry and will be able to let the Cardinals showcase Murray’s mobility while at the same time letting him throw the ball to new receiver DeAndre Hopkins. While not the sexiest of picks, offensive linemen are totally needed. 

#9 Jacksonville Jaguars- Derrick Brown DT, Alabama

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a defense first team so getting Derrick Brown at pick nine is an absolute steal. Jacksonville had the name “Sack-sonville” so bringing in Derrick Brown would be very on brand and fill a need on their defensive line. With the moxie and swagger of new-found starting QB, Gardner Minshew, Brown will complement that swagger because of his now legendary quote that “I just love to hit people and destroy the other dude” when asked what his favorite thing was about football was. Many people have Brown anywhere from pick #3 all the way to pick #12 in their mocks so there’s some great value for Jacksonville here.

#10 Cleveland Browns- Andrew Thomas OT, Georgia

Congrats to the 2020 Super Bowl Champion Browns! Oh wait, you’re telling me the offseason champions and a locker room full of divas and crybabies didn’t win the super bowl? Wait, they didn’t make the playoffs? They had players screaming for the other team to trade for them DURING the game against the Cardinals?! Well, it’s the Browns so what did you really expect. Andrew Thomas is the perfect pick for the Browns and who they’d probably take with the #1 pick so that’s great. He’s the best pick because he’s a traditional right tackle, and free agent signing Jack Conklin is a left tackle so that makes everything all good. The Browns need offensive linemen because of Baker Mayfield’s health and how much they run the ball with stud running back Nick Chubb.

NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Part 1)

The only source of sports for anyone in this trying time will be the NFL Draft coming up shortly. All though not a big fan of the NFL personally as the Lions have sucked that enjoyment out of me, I’m all in on the draft as I’m an avid college football fan. With a stacked WR class and an always good QB position group, this might be the most watched NFL draft ever, but what will Roger Goodell do without his hugs with the league’s new stars? Maybe not being booed into oblivion would be a good replacement. To the picks!

#1 Cincinnati Bengals- Joe Burrow QB, LSU

The other Tiger King, Joe Burrow seems all but a lock to go first overall in this years NFL draft ending the Andy Dalton Era in Cincinnati. Being drafted by his hometown team, in Ohio, first overall, looking to save a dreadful franchise, he mirrors how LeBron James was drafted in 2003. This of course means Burrow will put up great performances, the Bengals won’t do anything to help him, he will alienate his hometown and his jerseys will be burned as he takes his talents to South Beach, wins some Super Bowls only to come back and bring a championship to Cleveland, I mean Cincinnati.

#2 Washington Redskins- Chase Young DE, Ohio State

Chase Young will 100% be the first non-QB off the board barring a Laremy Tunsil-gas mask bong video leaking out just before the draft. This wouldn’t be a crazy shock as he went to Ohio State, a university nearly as famous for its crimes against humanity and NCAA violations as its academic success. Other than hypothetical character issues, Chase Young is an absolute animal and the next in a line of dominant OSU defensive ends, following in the Bosa brother’s successes.

#3 Los Angeles Chargers- Tua Tagovailoa QB, Alabama

In our first mock draft trade, I have the Lions trading down to pick #6 and the Chargers leaping over Miami to get the best player in the draft, Tua Tagovailoa. I’ve been a huge fan of Tua since his coming out party after replacing Jalen Hurts in the National Title Game. While the Chargers say that they are comfortable starting Tyrod Taylor, who are they kidding… they’re going to have to take a QB, and I think that the jump from either 6 to 2 or 3, will be worth the jump from Tua to Herbert. 

#4 New York Giants- Tristian Wirfs OT, Iowa

Going to school there are a lot of Giants fans that I get to commiserate with as both of our teams are losing seemingly every Sunday. Last year I was legitimately rolling on the floor laughing as the Giants seemingly reached for Danny Dimes at pick #6, but that turned out to be a great pick. So, now that Eli’s heir-apparent has been found, you must protect him, and Wirfs is a great offensive lineman to protect Jones and give Saquon Barkley a chance running the ball this season. 

#5 Miami Dolphins- Justin Herbert QB, Oregon

After slamming their coffee tables and screaming over their team zoom meeting, the Miami Dolphins will go for Justin Herbert. I really think they should wait for next year’s prized possession in Trevor Lawrence and go another year with Rosen/Fitzpatrick, but I think they will go for Herbert. Justin was a victim of a rare occurrence, the draft stock regression by returning to Oregon last year. I don’t have much positive to say about Herbert, but he looked to be a good running QB the 2020 Rose Bowl vs. Wisconsin, but apparently that was one of the only times he ran so go figure. With a completely retooled roster, the Dolphins could make some real noise next season in a weakened AFC East.

Dolphins Above 0.500 Next Season?

The Miami Dolphins are going to see improvement in the 2020-2021 NFL season. The Dolphins ended the season 5-11, which seems relatively bad at a 31.25 winning percentage, but showed extreme improvement over the course of the season. Week one against the Baltimore Ravens was a dreadful sight, Lamar Jackson and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown steamrolled the Fins 59 -10. Weeks two and three were even worse with, second year, Josh Rosen starting at quarterback. The Dolphins looked like possibly one of the worst teams in NFL history, statistically. Things changed though as Week six came along. Two of the worst teams in the NFL squared up in the Sunshine State, both winless.

The Turnaround

The Washington Redskins were favored by six points and they did not even have a win on their stat sheet! The game started as any game looked this season for the Dolphins… pitiful. Rosen and the offense seemed hopeless until Head Coach Brian Flores made a change at quarterback. Flores decided to bench Rosen and in replace, 37-year-old Harvard veteran, Ryan Fitzpatrick started the 4th quarter for the Dolphins. Things looked different in the 4th quarter, the Dolphins began to move the ball downfield and with Fitzpatrick under center, the Fins led a comeback and scored a possible game tying touchdown with six seconds left, they would attempt to win the game with a two point conversion try but failed. Even though Miami ended up with a loss in the stat book, it was the first time they showed some fight. 

From that game on, the Dolphins began to be competitive with teams and in their Week 9 divisional matchup against the New York Jets, Coach Flores upset former Dolphins Coach Adam Gase 26-18. The following week Coach Flores carried the Dolphins to another upset win, but this time the Fish went on the road and beat the Indianapolis Colts. It seemed too good to be true, I couldn’t believe that the Dolphins were not the worst team in the league. Flores and Fitzpatrick would lead the Dolphins a few weeks later to a come from behind victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, where Fitzpatrick entered Fitzmagic mode and put on a show. The Dolphins would top the season off on a high note when the last week of the season came along. The New England Patriots were 16.5-point favorites, home, playing for home field advantage, and were the far superior team in every category, but sometimes things just happen. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Devantae Parker, the whole defense, and Coach Flores did the unthinkable. Tom Brady’s kryptonite struck again, and the Fins stunned the six-time Super Bowl Champion. Even former Patriot, Eric Rowe, intercepted Brady and took it to the house. This was, 42-year-old, Tom Brady’s first ever career pick six against the Dolphins. 

The Future

The Fins showed incredible perseverance over the course of the season and Coach Brian Flores deserved a nomination for the Coach of the Year Award because leading that poor team to five wins is extremely impressive. With 3 first round and two second draft picks this upcoming draft, I see tremendous upside coming, especially with Coach Flores at the helm. The possibility of, Alabama star quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa could be a huge addition to the Dolphins offense. In addition, the Dolphins are looking into the drafting a running back, which is highly needed when Ryan Fitzpatrick is your best rusher on the season. Mock drafts have shown possibilities of drafting running back D’Andre Swift out of Georgia. This team stills needs a lot help and has a lot of work to do, but the potential and want to be successful is there. Watching those games throughout the season were difficult but you could start to see the desire and drive to win evolve as the weeks went along and the coaching staff settled in. With a team as weak as that, the coaching staff had to adjust so much against other teams to protect their several weaknesses, that were constantly getting exploited by every opponent’s offense and defense, but Coach Flores never gave up. He continued to work with this team, trying his best to win games and giving it all he had. The future is bright for the Fish under Coach Flores.

Michael Kneuer

State of the Union: Detroit Sports Edition

Photo by Chris Smith on Pexels.com

Last calendar year Detroit professional teams combined for 226 lost games, the most of any city in history. What exactly has gone wrong? How can the once mighty Detroit things around? Here’s the State of the Union, Detroit sports edition.

Arguably the team with the brightest future has to be the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons, a win-now team with a record of 19-38 and is currently three games out of the playoffs. Although a large majority of the losses and struggles are due to the injuries to Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson, and Luke Kennard. The reason that the Pistons might have the brightest future is due to the emergence of rookie Sekou Doumbouya, and the shrewd moves made by Piston’s GM Ed Stefanski. Sekou Doumbouya wasn’t supposed to be making this much of an impact at this stage of his career but injuries to members of the Pistons frontcourt resulted in him getting minutes. Sekou’s first game he started was against the Los Angeles Clippers where he was tasked with guarding Kawhi Leonard. Here Pistons fans saw the defensive hustle and energy that reminded us of players like Tayshaun Prince and Dennis Rodman. Sekou’s monster dunk over Tristan Thompson and his 24-point game against the Celtics put the rest of the NBA on alert. With a young core of Bruce Brown, Sekou Doumbouya, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Christian Wood, and Luke Kennard, the Pistons could tank the rest of this season and retool around Blake Griffin and our top lottery pick.

“With the third pick in the 2020 NFL Draft the Detroit Lions select Tua Tagovailoa, Quarterback, Alabama.” The things I would do to hear those words. I understand that when you think of the Lions, you think Matthew Stafford and the entire franchise has been molded around him, but you can’t pass up on a generational talent such as Tua.  But who has faith in Bob Quinn and the “Same Old Lions?” Not me for sure. Obviously, the Lions will not take Tua Tagovailoa as that would be the smartest thing to do. The other option that would be acceptable to me would be to trade the third pick for multiple picks to whoever wants Tua at pick No. 3. The most likely outcome would be for the Lions to draft Jeffery Okudah, CB from OSU, a solid player but someone the Lions shouldn’t draft at the top of the draft. If the Lions were to draft Tua, he could fully recover for a season behind Stafford allowing him to come in next season prepared and fully healthy. Hopefully then Kerryon Johnson, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and the other offensive weapons on the. If Matt Patricia can get the defense to match Stafford’s MVP level play earlier in the season, maybe then the Lions could get to the playoffs, and maybe even a playoff win, for the first time since 1991.

The third of the four teams based on future success is the Red Wings. The once mighty Red Wings who went a quarter century straight of playoff hockey, made Detroit known worldwide as “Hockeytown”, and holds the third most Stanley Cups of all time, has now been re-named the “Dead Wings.” At the all-Star break, the Red Wings are in last place in the NHL, 13 points behind the Los Angeles Kings, they have a -96 goal differential, and have only won 14 games out of the 58 that they have played in. After falling in the lottery last season and not being able to draft Jack Hughes, Steve Yzerman agreed to become the next GM of the Wings. Yzerman has a tough task due to Ken Holland sacrificing the future of the franchise to keep up the 25-year playoff streak. After turning around Tampa Bay, Yzerman’s hire was the highlight of last year’s season, which is pretty pathetic. Yzerman has started off his tenure in Detroit’s front office well as he’s off to a great start by drafting Moritz Seider, and trading for Robby Fabbri. Seider has been playing incredibly well as he has two goals and thirteen assists in 36 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins. It surprised many when the Wings drafted Seider as he was projected to go in the 10-19th pick range, but he’s seemingly checking many boxes. Once a first-round pick, Robby Fabbri was acquired from the St. Louis Blues in November in exchange for Jacob de la Rose. Fabbri was struggling in St. Louis but has started to become the player that he supposed to be scoring ten times and assisting thirteen times so far this season, eight goals and six assists of his career highs in each category. Fabbri adds to a young core that paired with Yzerman’s front office skills, could result in a new Red Wings dynasty.

Finally, there is the Tigers, a team with no hope for the seeable future. The Tigers are coming off one of the worst seasons in the history of baseball with a record of 47-114. The Tigers also had a run differential of -333, one of the worst in history as well. For all the MLB fanatics out there, you know how hard it is to break records, but the 2019 Tigers broke two records. Those records were most home losses, 59, tying the 1939 St. Louis Browns, having a run differential of -221 at home breaking the record of -215 set in 1883 by the Philadelphia Phillies. The worst part of the Tigers though is all of the former players winning World Series’ with other teams, this year of course being Anibal Sanchez, Fernando Rodney, and Max Scherzer with the Washington Nationals. The death of beloved owner Mike Illich has led to the slow-down of the Tigers’ successes and a slashing of one of the league’s highest payrolls. However with prospects like Casey Mize, Riley Greene, Tarik Skubal, who are among the MLB’s top 100 prospects, the Tigers could possibly turn it all around in the near future.