Vikings and Browns Big Winners, Bears Big Losers In Draft Awards

When we find out what teams will do in free agency, some of these awards will change.

Biggest Offensive Upgrade (this is an award you shouldn’t get too boastful of, because it probably indicates an offense that isn’t good)
1. Jacksonville (QB Blaine Gabbert, WR Cecil Shorts III).
2. Atlanta (WR Julio Jones, RB Jacquizz Rodgers).
3. Miami (RB Daniel Thomas, WR Edmond Gates).

Best Job Addressing Needs
1. Washington. Ryan Kerrigan is a hard-working player some think was taken out of position (DE being asked to stand up in Washington’s defense). He’s a dynamic, physical player who they’ll figure out how to use. They won’t lack explosiveness on offense this year, with 3rd and 6th round steals Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson (a favorite of NFL Films’ Greg Cosell).
2. Buffalo. I thought the Dareus pick was an unfortunate one. I think Dareus will be great but it’s easier to coach a defensive tackle picked later into eventually contributing to a Super Bowl-contending team than it is to find a guy like Patrick Peterson. You can’t teach closing speed, instincts, and hand-eye coordination. That said, the Bills addressed every need and could be a contender soon. I would have liked another receiver for them but they got one in last year’s draft – Marcus Easley – who could be good but hasn’t played yet.
3. Houston. So many defensive picks for a team whose offense generally only fails in big moments or because of injuries or lack of rhythm coming back from injuries.

Worst Job Addressing Needs
1. Detroit. One late-round LB, no OL, no CB, no FS. Amari Spievey + Alphonso Smith + Brandon McDonald + Lions pass protection = last place. This isn’t Madden, this isn’t two-hand touch with some friends. At some point after the second round, you have to stop taking BPA if your team has monolithic weaknesses. When you pick players for a casual game of football, you are looking at who the biggest athletes are. In the NFL, you can only play so many players at one position. Are the Lions intending Nick Fairley to drop into coverage when teams go max protect and neutralize him and Suh?
2. Arizona. Even if they aren’t the worst offensive line in football, all the other bad ones (Dallas, Denver, Buffalo, Chicago, Minnesota, Washington, Baltimore) except Detroit addressed theirs at least by the 5th round. Arizona drafted zero.
3. Chicago. No WR. No CB. Are the Bears going to convert another cornerback to wide receiver (still waiting for that Devin Hester breakout season)? Did Jerry Angelo know he could draft wide receivers, he just wasn’t allowed to trade them? The Bears didn’t get substantially better. Tim Jennings will continue his “pull on the handwarmer” technique of guarding top receivers like Jordy Nelson.

Most Predictable Draft
1. Oakland (speed).
2. Chicago (ignoring WR and CB).
3. Tampa Bay (multiple edge rushers).

Most Underrated Draft
1. Minnesota. Every other team that took a major risk did it at the expense of their needs (Detroit taking Fairley and LeShoure, Atlanta trading away picks, New England taking Ryan Mallett instead of a corner or safety which was a good pick but still neglecting a need in favor of grooming a potential star). Minnesota got destroyed by some in the media for their big risk but it was the aggressive move to fix the most important position with the only guy left they felt comfortable fixing it with. It would have been a bigger risk to trade down and try to get Ponder, but I don’t think they would have gotten him much later so that would have been a stupid risk. The lack of teams trading up for Dalton tells me that Spielman wasn’t lying when he said no one would trade with him and it also tells me that other teams wanted to trade up for Ponder because they also thought more highly of him than Dalton.
2. Kansas City. The Chiefs got offensive and defensive playmakers and a solid back-up QB in Ricky Stanzi.  OG Rodney Hudson and CB Jalil Brown were steals. Their pass rush should be upgraded now with Justin Houston and Allen Bailey.
3. (tie) Cleveland. Tom Heckert – with Holmgren – started out by beefing up the D-line (DT Phil Taylor and DE Jabaal Sheard), then took the most Boldin-esque receiver since Q himself in Greg Little.  The Browns’ last four picks featured some of the most intriguing and famous players on the board (OL Jason Pinkston is a guy some were high on, CB Buster Skrine ran a 4.29 40 at the Combine, former Stanford Cardinal FB-LB Owen Maricic, S Eric Hagg).
Seattle. Many in the media blasted the Seattle draft. They drafted for need. If they had picked up a size-speed receiver, they would have been #2 on this list.

Most Overrated Draft
1. Detroit. See above.
2. Carolina. Some in the media applauded the Panthers for making the “pick they had to make”, QB Cam Newton. I would have rolled the dice with another QB because of Matt Barkley, Case Keenum, Brandon Wheeden, and Andrew Luck next year. They should have taken Patrick Peterson.
3. Tampa Bay. It’s not that it’s bad but the way the analysts reacted was as if they got incredible value for Da’Quan Bowers when, in reality, his injury justifiably knocked him down the draft. I think that it was a great pick but it wasn’t early or late to take him and the Bucs were the non-playoff team with the fewest holes.

Biggest Surprises (I don’t want to call them reaches, it’s surprising who took them AND where)
1. RB Alex Green to the Packers in the 3rd.
2. WR Julio Jones to Atlanta for that many picks.
3. RB Stevan Ridley to the Patriots in the 3rd.

Greatest Steals (avoiding guys with major injury concerns)
1. The Cowboys’ WR Dwayne Harris: Round 6, Pick 176.
2. The Steelers’ DE Chris Carter: Round 5, Pick 162. The Ravens wanted him.
3. (tie) The Browns’ OL Jason Pinskston: Round 5, Pick 150.
The Bengals’ SS Robert Sands: Round 5, Pick 134.
The Broncos’ S Rahim Moore: Round 2, Pick 45. It’s not that he fell much, it’s that he’s a nearly surefire impact player mid-way through the second round.

Fantasy Matches
1. Blaine Gabbert and Dirk Koetter’s Jaguars offense. I predict that in his second year of starting, Gabbert will throw for close to 5000 yards. There are so many young weapons and – aside from Derek Cox, Tyson Alualu and an aging Mathis – their defense will have them always playing catch-up.
2. Mark Ingram and Sean Payton’s Saints offense. Mark’s underrated receiving ability will serve him good. His lack of fumbling and his ability to bust through tackles and shimmy his way for extra yardage makes me think he’ll be scoring a lot at the Superdome.
3. Julio Jones and Mike Mularkey’s Falcons offense. They’re going to score a lot of touchdowns and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jones gets more than White. I think Randall Cobb is an excellent match in Green Bay, given his work ethic and athleticism, for the Packer offense – maybe replacing Driver eventually – but the offense spreads the ball around too much for him to be a fantasy star. Jermichael Finley may have taken a hit in this draft when they picked up receiving TE D.J. Williams.

Fantasy Mismatches
1. A.J. Green and Jay Gruden’s Bengals offense. He plays in the AFC North, with a first-time coordinator, likely with a rookie quarterback and no legitimate running back. This offense will be stopped outside the red zone and will be groaning through growing pains too much for Green to have a big impact.
2. Taiwan Jones and the Raiders. The most explosive cornerback-turned-running back in the draft ends up on a team that already has two great running backs. It’s not a bad fit as much as I don’t think he’ll get carries.
3. Jonathan Baldwin and the Chiefs. Without Charlie Weis, I don’t think this offense will be as dynamic. Todd Haley struggled calling plays for Arizona (Kurt would often call them).

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4 Responses to “Vikings and Browns Big Winners, Bears Big Losers In Draft Awards”

  1. Russ Loede says:

    ‘Quizz is going to shine on 3rd downs in Atlanta.

    Don’t forget about Niles Paul in Washington – make that “three steals” for the ‘Skins.

    Seattle drafted for need? Did they draft a QB? Oh wait, they have Charlie Whitehurst…

    Cam is the real deal. Think: Panthers/Bucs connection. Turnaround coming soon. Cam-Rivera = Freeman-Raheem. They also strengthened the defensive line, so now the ‘backers can run free. Secondary always is good. OL is rock-solid. Only issue: which of the skill position players stay?

    Patriots-Solder? I thought N.E. was going to trade up to get Cam Jordan, and they pass on him at 17? They could have kept 28 and drafted Solder.

    No mention of the Saints draft? Three starters? Jordan, Ingram, Wilson. Keep an eye on their 7th rounder: Greg Romeus

    Taiwan Jones was a big-time steal. Kid’s going to team up with Jacoby Ford and do some work. McFadden-Bush-Jones run game! Raiders have something special.

    Also, Giants draft intrigued me a ton. Impressed with almost every pick.

  2. Chris Bach says:

    Cam Newton has red flags coming out of college, Josh Freeman didn’t. He couldn’t remember the name of any plays at Auburn. His footwork and mechanics are unrefined.

    I’m highly skeptical he will start throwing more touchdowns than interceptions before 8 games into his second season starting.

  3. Marshall T. says:

    Obviously you have only watched the Lions play once this year, if even that. Your assessment of the Lions draft is horrible, starting from the fact that you don’t even know who they picked. You talk about how after the second round needs must be adressed. That is what the team did, as with their only two picks after that round, they grabbed developmental guys at LB and OT. Yeah, they did take a OL named Johnny Culbreath. He adds to Jason Fox, a LT who dropped last year in the draft for injury concerns, and Corey Hilliard, who was the swing tackle and started when Gosder Cherilus got injured and played decently. Sticking on Pass blocking, the Lions were a top ten team when it came to sack rate adjusted for number of drop backs, Stafford’s injury concerns had little to do with the line, mostly to do with himself.

    Secondly, when it comes to the secondary, Amari Spievey isn’t a FS, the Lions don’t even use a system that has a free and strong saftey, just left and right. Giving up on a third round pick who made a late transition to a new position and show some good flashes during the year is no way to draft. What you do is bolster that position with a veteran, as they did when they got Erik Coleman before the lockout. On to Alphonso Smith, he had one really bad game, some pretty good ones, and mostly some average games. The fact is he played out of position, making a better nickle corner than starter. Beyond Brandon McDonald, a player no one should feel comfortable commenting on as he has battled injury, the Lions also like Aaron Berry, who Gunther Cunningham fell in love with before training camp last year. He was lost for the year in the first game. If the team can re-sign Houston, the Lions will have only one hole to fill in that secondary.

    My final point goes to your attacking of the Leshore pick. The Lion’s needed a number 2 RB. Kevin Smith has essentially been given his walking papers, Maurice Morris is nearly 32, and Aaron Brown can’t tell the difference between a playbook and a phonebook. Beyond this, the Lions need a back who can carry the load if Jahvid Best gets hurt again. Leshore fills this need.

    I understand if you aren’t a big fan of Fairley over a CB or LB for the Lions. It really presses the drafting style of the mock drafter. You think needs are most important, Mayhew goes with BPA. It is fine that you don’t like the style of drafting, but trying to rip a draft when you are ignorant to the team you are ripping is just bad analysis.

  4. Chris Bach says:

    Thanks for the reply. I watched at least a quarter of seven different Detroit Lions games last year.

    You do realize that multiple sites had both of the Vikings OL picks graded higher than what they were taken and didn’t even have Culbreath rated at all? We don’t know how these guys will pan out but he was a 7th round pick. It was hardly addressing need. The reason I didn’t mention him is because it happened so late in the draft, I thought the Lions had finished picking when I wrote it.

    The fact is, Erik Coleman was benched last year in Atlanta. You’re getting the back-up from a mediocre pass defense.

    Re-read what you are saying. You have faith in the evaluation of Berry. That’s great. Any fan should have some degree of faith in your team’s staff, or else the team would be so mind-numbingly bad that it couldn’t inspire the enthusiasm to pick up the pen or phone nor inspire you to type your keyboard. But Berry is still a “hope”. This team’s secondary wasn’t just a little bad. The only thing that kept teams from throwing on it more was that they had such success running the ball on them. After the Lions beat the Bucs, Raheem Morris said he thought they should have used Josh Freeman against the secondary more. But, here’s where you are possibly treading into biased waters: you just said re-signing Chris Houston fills a hole. Re-signing him doesn’t fill a hole, it just perpetuates one.

    I’m all about BPA in the first two rounds. Jimmy Smith, Prince Amukamara, Anthony Castonzo, Christian Ponder and Corey Liuget were all higher on my board than the DT Detroit took.

    I actually wrote in this article “at some point after the second round, you gotta stop taking BPA”. The Lions traded up from the third to get Leshoure, but it was their third pick of the day and makes it inexcusable. Leshoure was a great talent, but it’s not like he was going to be in the division. I think it would have made more sense to get Jordan Todman, Delone Carter, or Bilal Powell. When you get a good offensive line, it’s amazing what backs can do behind it – even Kevin Smith, Stefan Logan and Aaron Brown.

    Here are the facts:
    The Lions won one game against a playoff team last year, and it was a four-point win when Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers was hurt and Matt Flynn had to come in cold off the bench.

    The Lions were 19th in points allowed. They got Jay Cutler in his first game in the Martz offense, Vick in his first start as an Eagle, McNabb when he was hurt, Grossman when he was cold off the bench, Kitna in his fourth start as a Cowboy, one of the league’s worst offensive lines in the Bills, two shots at one of the league’s worst offensive lines the Bears, rookie Joe Webb in his second start as a Viking and Chad Henne – the worst starting quarterback from last year not named Derek Anderson.

    Their secondary was STILL 21st in net yards per pass attempt and 19th in interceptions. The stats get a lot worse when you dig deeper. They got two interceptions against Aaron Rodgers the first time they played him. Those were some bad throws but I’ll give them credit, they made the plays. Rodgers’ INT in the second game should have been a catch by Greg Jennings. Otherwise, they did below mediocre the other two times they played good-to-great quarterbacks from 2010: Mark Sanchez (22-39, 336 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 rush TD) Josh Freeman (21-32, 251 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT), and Tom Brady (21-27, 341, 4 TD, 0 INT).

    The defense allowed under 19 points just three times, all against quarterbacks who had never played before last season: Sam Bradford’s Rams, Joe Webb’s Vikings and Matt Flynn’s Packers.

    Justify their draft-away-from-need strategy in your mind. Believe that it was good. Maybe it will pan out. My award was “Worst Job Addressing Needs”. I actually designed the award to avoid criticizing the exact players they took. But don’t accuse me of not doing my homework.

    In your defense, I was high on Alphonso Smith coming out of college and I still think he could turn into a good player. I also think the Titus Young pick was excusable as he was BPA when they took him in the 2nd.