Tanaka is amazing! Everything he was hyped up to be and
more. This guy just never ever loses. 24-0 last year in Japan and now 6-0 to
start his MLB career. Single handedly carrying the Yankees pitching staff right
now. I get why everyone was extremely skeptical going into it. Dish out $155
million over 7 years to a guy who has only pitched in Japan and could end up
being the next Kei Igawa will worry anyone. Tanaka has quickly shut those
critics up. He is the first Yankees pitcher to being his career 6-0 since
Whitey Ford started 9-0, and he was arguably the greatest Yankees starting
pitcher ever. He strikes guys out, goes deep into games, and has incredible
composure on the mound. Cashman hit it big time so far with this signing. The best
part is that Tanaka is only (supposedly) 25! I am excited to see where his
career goes from here. Everything indicates he is well on his way to having a
fantastic Major League career and becoming a future Yankee great. Oh, and he
might never ever lose.
Game 7, of course. Before the series I thought the experienced Bruins would clinch on the road in 6, but I was wrong. They looked like crap the other night. BUT if there is one thing to be happy about... clearly momentum in this series doesn't carry over from game to game. For example, the Bruins destroyed the Habs in Game 5 and looked like shit in Game 6. So throw away what happened on Monday night, it's done and in the past.
The Bruins have now played a Game 7 in an NHL record 7 straight years. Insane. Here they are in backwards order with the defining picture of each game to me.
2013 Round 1 vs Toronto- Bruins win 4-3 in OT
The Bruins completed one of the best comebacks in NHL history, scoring three times in the 3rd and "Bergeron! Bergeron!" scored in OT to seal the series. Unreal win and really showed the resiliency of this group being down in the 3rd at home in Game 7 and coming back to win the game. No quit.
2012 Round 1 vs Washington- Bruins lose 3-2 in OT
Home loss in OT to the Caps. Bad line change 3 min into OT and Joel Ward beat Thomas to end the defending champs season. Deflation City.
2011 Cup Final @ Vancouver- Bruins win 4-0
Maybe the best game in team history. 4-0 win. Bergy and Marchand scored twice. Thomas stands tall. Pictured is Bergeron's second goal, it was shorthanded and he scored from laying down.
2011 ECF vs Tampa Bay- Bruins win 1-0
Another candidate for best game in team history. Unbelievably tight game. 0 penalties. 1-0 win from a beautiful play made by Ference, Krejci and finished by Horton. Another gem from Thomas.
2011 Round 1 vs Montreal- Bruins win 3-2
PK Subban scores late to send in the 3rd to send the game to OT, Horton buries a long slapper for the series win. I will never, ever forget this moment.
2010 Round 2 vs Philly- Bruins lose 4-3
May 14th. Up 3-0 in the game, blew that lead and lost the series 4-3 after being up 3 games to 0. Very dark memory. Had to be carried home from the bar and placed in bed by my friend Campbell.
2009 Round 1 vs Carolina- Bruins lose 3-2
One of the most brutal feelings I've ever had. I was SO emotionally invested in this team. Scott Walker, public enemy #1, scores the OT game winner against Thomas. On May 14th.
2008 Round 1 vs Montreal- Bruins lose 5-0
After what I consider "The game that turned the entire franchise around (Game 6 in Boston)", the Bruins comeback against the #1 seed Canadiens falls way short in a 5-0 loss on the road. It was really a 3-0 game and the Habs scored 2 very late.
So anyway, the point here is this Bruins team has a TON of Game 7 experience, which is what most people say is a determining factor. Chara, Bergeron, Lucic, and Krejci were on every one of those teams.
I also decided to ask a ton of hockey fans what they thought about the game tonight. Here are the "poll" results. I got 59 answers back in time.
Out of the 59 people, 45 are Bruins fans, while 14 people are fans of other teams. No Montreal fans were included in this poll.
Editors Note: I messed this up. I'll fix it when I can. Those #s in the pie chart aren't supposed to be %s. 53 out of 59 people picked the Bruins. 6 out of 59 picked Montreal. The pie chart is accurate. 89.9% of the people who answered picked the Bruins.
The most interesting thing about these results is the unwavering confidence in David Krejci. He hasn't played great this playoff season, but did look better in Game 6. I like the pick, I think he plays well tonight and probably scores or sets up a pretty goal.
Also, out of the 14 non-Bruins fans, 11 of them still picked the Bruins. The average scores for each team with these predictions was Bruins 3.2 to Montreal 1.7. The score "Bruins 4 Montreal 2" led the way being predicted 14 times.
Personally, I agree with most of you that the Bruins will find a way to win this game. They know what's at stake. They've been on both sides of losing and winning these games, and frankly I just think this team is too good not to advance. I didn't include myself in the results above, and I will predict:
Bruins win 3-1 with Lucic scoring the GWG in the 3rd period. The B's team motto is "Whatever it takes"... and I think they come through tonight. They will do whatever it takes to win. Our goaltending and coaching is decisively better. Lets. Go. B's!
As expected, the series was close in the beginning but over the course of the 5 games played the Broons have really risen above the Habs. The Game 5 win was the most convincing for either team of the series, and frankly if I’m a Montreal fan I feel realllllll nervous right now. You’re about to get eliminated AGAIN by your division rivals. Make no mistake if Montreal loses tonight there will be a riot and the fans will demand that everyone in the front offices gets fired.
The only reason this wasn't a sweep: the posts behind Carey Price.
It’s clear that Tuukka Rask is the key to this series. Lately he has been “on” and very good… and Montreal has had very few chances to score. They know it. We know it. Everyone knows it. In fact, just watching the game on Saturday night it was clear the Canadien’s gameplan was to make Rask uncomfortable. It didn’t work. Rask has had superb rebound control in the past 3 games. Just gobbling up every puck. No second chances for Montreal. They kept diving in to him and trying to fall on or near him. Typical Montreal, trying to win the game doing everything but actually playing hockey. Thankfully the refs were/are watching for this.
Montreal, by the way, can’t beat the Bruins straight up. Just can’t do it. Not as good at hockey. Over the 5 games thus far, Montreal has just 4 non PP, non empty net goals. That means when the teams are playing 5 on 5 the Canadiens have been getting their asses kicked. Yes, in Game 3 da Broons gave up those 2 breakaway goals and those obv. count for something… but if you’re Montreal and counting on breakaways to score… good luck with that. Aint finna happen tonight. Claude may or may not explode if the Bruins give up a breakaway tonight.
As for the B’s…. just keep rolling along and like Bergy says “Do your job!” That’s all that needs to happen for the Bruins to win tonight. Do your job. What EXACTLY does that mean?
Lucic- Keep your feet moving and hit people
Krejci- Maybe take a SOG? USE the space your lineys provide
Iggy- STOP hitting the post. Play heavy
Bergy- Win faceoffs and get the hell back
Marchand- Don’t take another stupid penalty. Refs are looking for it
Smith- Keep grinding and putting away the chances you get
Soderberg- Stay hungry. Shoot the puck more
Eriksson- Keep winning board battles
Fraser- Keep your game simple and conservative
Paille- Create space & matchup problems with your speed
Thornton- Hit people
Campbell- Win faceoffs and get the hell back
Chara- Stay the hell back and play D. Don’t need you to score anymore
Boychuk- Hit people
Miller- Hit people
Krug- Stay instinctual in the offensive end zone but be careful breaking it out
Hamilton- Same as Krug. Play conservative on the back end and aggressive on offense
Bartkowski- Keep both hands on your stick and stop taking penalties
Rask- Continue to control rebounds
Pretty simple right? I can almost guarantee that is the Broons lose tonight, it will be because multiple people did NOT do the specific jobs I just listed. We’ll see what happens.
The only other thing that’s shady about tonight is that the Broons have had a gross history under Claude of trying to close out teams on the road:
2010 Round 1- Couldn’t close out the Sabres in Buffalo in Game 5 on the road
2010 Round 2- Couldn’t close out the Flyers in Philly in Game 4 or 6 on the road
2011 Round 1- Couldn’t close out the Canadiens in Montreal in Game 6 on the road
2011 Round 3- Couldn’t close out the Lightening in Tampa Bay in Game 6 on the road
2011 Round 4- Eliminated the Canucks in Vancouver in Game 7 on the road for the Cup
2013 Round 1- Couldn’t close out the Leafs in Toronto in Game 6 on the road
2013 Round 2- Couldn’t close out the Rangers in NY in Game 4 on the road
Soooooooo if you’re keeping track at home that’s 1-6 in close out games on the road under Claude. Ouch.
I’m still taking the Bruins tonight. Too strong, too much better at hockey, and they found out what it takes to beat Montreal: patience and discipline. Did you guys see PK smoke Lucic in the back of the head on the side boards? Or duck under Lucic’s hit in the first period? Or wrap his legs around a Broons stick to try and draw a call? Yea well the Broons figured out that they can punish that clown in the regular season for his antics. They figured out all they need to do is play hockey to beat the Habs. If the Bruins play hockey tonight, they are going to win. This team has played in a disgusting amount of Game 7s in the past 4 years and they know it’s a crapshoot if it gets there. I think the veteran team will close out the series tonight playing as if it was THEM facing elimination. In Tuukka I trust baby.
I know Marty through Wilson, they went to High School together. Marty went to University of Illinois (Class of '09) and now lives in Chicago with his fiance and his dog. He's a Patriots fan.
Before we get into the mock draft selections, I can't help but post this great graphic I found. It shows the difference in potential money for players drafted high in the first round vs players who fall, with the big drop off being the start of the 2nd round. This is based on last year's draft picks and the contracts they signed.
And here we go...
1. Houston Texans- Jadaveon Clowney, DT, South Carolina
The Texans essentially have 3 options with the top pick. The first (and one that I think they will ultimately go with) is selecting Clowney to play opposite JJ Watt. Watt is just 25 and Clowney recently turned 21, which means you're looking at 10 years of havoc to opposing QBs (division rival Andrew Luck) with this dynamic duo. Clowney likely would have gone #1 overall LAST year if he came out. That's how good this guy is. A rare, once in a generation talent. The last time a DE went #1 overall was to the Texans in 2006 when they took Mario Williams...and make no mistake they took Williams back then as answer to Peyton Manning. THAT ended up being a good pick, and Williams wasn't near the prospect that Clowney is. After posting the fastest 40 time for all defensive lineman the combine, USA Today labeled Clowney ""by far the most freakish physical specimen in this draft."
The second option for the Texans, and one I truly believe is still on the table as of this writing, is selecting a franchise QB. Schaub is out, finally. Ryan Fitzpatrick, TJ Yates, and Case Keenum are the QBs on the roster right now... a position that clearly needs to be addressed. However, there isn't one stand out prospect that is forcing the Texans to go QB. There's no Andrew Luck or RG3 this year. There are handful of QBs that might be good and one of them will fall to the Texans at pick #33 so I would assume they pass on the QB at #1 and QB whisperer, new head coach Bill O'Bryan, can take his pick of the litter with the first selection in the 2nd round.
The last option is to trade down and out of this pick. The Atlanta Falcons have expressed interest, but it seems as if a deal will not get done. I can imagine the Texans would be looking for the same return the Rams got for trading the #2 pick to the Skins in 2012. The Redskins acquired the pick by giving the Rams four high-value draft picks over three years: their No. 6 overall pick in 2012, their second-round pick in 2012, and their first-round picks in 2013 and 2014. While they got their guy in RG3... basically everyone thinks this was an awful deal and too much to give up.
Ultimately, the Texans are going to play it "safe", as they should. Draft the generational freak and worry about QB later. Don't forget franchise QBs like Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton, and Nick Foles were all picked later in the Draft (Not to mention Brees, Brady, Rodgers. Different situation though.) PLUS the Texans owner, Bob McNair, is a graduate of University of South Carolina, Clowney's ala mater. At this point if the Texans don't pick Clowney they are over-thinking it. (Brown)
2. St. Louis Rams- Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
I feel like the Rams could do a few things with this pick. They could get Bradford another weapon in Sammy Watkins, or even trade down and keep adding more picks. In the end, I think they go with the best OT in the draft in Greg Robinson. Despite Watkins being a stud receiver, this draft is very deep at WR and they can afford to wait a pick or two until they take one. If they are going to stick with Bradford at QB, they need to make sure he stays healthy and on his feet, and this pick will help ensure that. (JET) 3. Jacksonville Jaguars-Kahlil Mack, DE/LB, Buffalo The Jaguars hired Gus Bradley to build a team from the defensive side first. With this in mind, the Jaguars defense needs playmakers if they are going to try to model themselves after the Seahawks. Two years ago the Seahawks grabbed Bruce Irvin in the first round to be a difference making pass rusher. Khalil Mack is an athlete that can hopefully become the focal point of this defense for years to come. If Mack goes #2 to the Rams, Sammy Watkins could be the guy. I think they pass on a QB, even though Blake Bortles makes a lot of sense. Keep the Central Florida QB in Florida to help sell a few extra tickets. Then again, we know they do not care about that or they would have brought Tim Tebow in. (Wilson)
4. Cleveland Browns- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M This pick just makes too much sense for on and off the field reasons. Off the field, Manziel brings the Browns a potential face of the franchise that hasn't been had in years. And the potential for the biggest Cleveland athlete post-LBJ, although Kyrie Irving is getting there. On the field, Manziel is a game changer. He takes chances yes, but sometimes you need to take chances in order to turn a potential loss into that W. And let's be honest, someone has to be able to get Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron the ball reliably and Johnny Football is that guy. The Browns have the extra flexibility in taking a risk here due to the extra pick acquired from the Colts later in the first round. It also takes a bit of pressure off the need to start Manziel from day 1. Sit him behind Hoyer to start the year or give Manziel a chance to win the job in training camp. The Browns have a good young nucleus both offensively and defensively and this will further add to it. (Marty)
5. Oakland Raiders- Sammy Watkins, WR Clemson
I'm not even sure how this happened so quickly but there's no way Sammy Watkins is avail at pick #5 on Thursday night. Might be the easiest pick I've ever mocked... The Raiders need a #1 WR and Sammy Watkins is stud. The Raiders can address QB later but cant pass on Watkins.
Watkins is a special player. He has the potential to be a dominant NFL WR... and he's under 6' 1" tall. It's been well documented that short WRs have a problem reaching the "elite" level at this position, but this guy has a chance to break the mold. He's a burner- 4.43 40 yard time- and a playmaker. When the ball is in his hands he looks like Percy Harvin. When he is battling for a ball in the air he looks like Anquan Bolden. He's very strong and very tough. An electric player that will change whatever offense he joins in the NFL. If Watkins was 3 inches taller he would be my pick at #2 overall. (Brown) 6. Atlanta Falcons- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Possible chance that the Falcons can strike a deal to move up to the top spot for Clowney, but in this scenario they bolster their O-line with the next best tackle in the draft. They definitely need help with their pass rush but they also need to protect Matt Ryan. He was sacked 44 times last season, 16 more times than his previous high. They need to get that number down if he is going to return to Matty Ice form. (JET) 7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M I think the Buccaneers grab another big receiver here. The Bucs signed Josh McCown this offseason coming off of a successful run as the Bears quarterback last year. One of the reasons McCown was successful was the fact that he had two big receivers, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, to catch the ball. In Tampa, they already have Vincent Jackson in place, so why not bring in Vincent Jackson 2.0 with Mike Evans? If Watkins is somehow still on the board, I'd guess they would take him first, but if both wideouts are gone I think they trade back. Some people like a QB here (and it makes sense), but with the signing of McCown and a young backup in Glennon, they will likely wait on the position. (Wilson)
EDITORS NOTE: 3 Texas A&M guys in the first 7 picks? DOMINATED!!!!!
8. Minnesota Vikings- Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt
I would not define this pick as being the sexy option due to his last name not being Bortles. That said, it fills a major need on the D line that lost a lot of punch with Jared Allen leaving. Donald is a monster both with speed and size and the Outland trophy winner. I mean 4.68 40 for a 285 lber?!? And 35 bench reps?! Animal. In a division with some great QBs and backs, his penetration will be key to the Vikings' defensive success. With a defensive minded head coach, it makes a lot of sense and leaves the potential for taking a QB later in the draft. (Marty) 9. Buffalo Bills- Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame Tough mock for the Bills thus far. They NEED a WR. With Watkins and Evans off the board, though, I'm guessing they take an Offensive lineman which is also a glaring need. This mock already has the 2 best guys gone at #9 (Robinson, Mathews) so the pick here is either Taylor Lewan from Michigan or Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin. Consensus opinion is that Lewan is a better prospect, BUT Bills beat reporter Joe Buscaglia thinks the Bills are high on Martin, and there's a rumor going around that Martin is being seriously considered by "a couple" teams in the top 10. The Bills scouting dept loves this 2 year captain and 4 year starter from the Fighting Irish so he's the pick. PS- Buffalo sucks. (Brown)
10. Detroit Lions- Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State So many things the Lions can do here. I recently read they might be interested in trading up for Mike Evans to pair alongside Calvin Johnson. They could also draft TE Eric Ebron or WR Odell Beckham Jr.. I think they ultimately pass on Ebron as they like what they have in Fauria and for some reason re-signed Pettigrew in the offseason. Also pass on receiver here with the WR depth this draft, and the addition of Golden Tate. This leaves them with their biggest need at defensive back. They have the decision of Gilbert or Dennard, but I think they lean with the playmaker in Gilbert who led the Big 12 in interceptions, 2 of which he returned for TDs. He also can become an elite kick returner as he returned 6 for TDs in his college career, one shy of the NCAA record. Also, this keeps Ebron and Beckham Jr. available one more pick closer to my Jets. (JET)
11. Tennessee Titans- Blake Bortles, QB, UCF There has been a lot of talk about how Ken Whisenhunt is not interested in bringing in a new guy to be the quarterback in Tennessee, but it is difficult to ignore the numbers. Jake Locker has never played in more than 11 games in three NFL seasons and his playing style does not indicate he will be getting any healthier. With Locker in place, Whisenhunt could draft Bortles, and let him sit a few games before he needs to be thrown into the fire. He would also have Charlie Whitehurst (who played for Whisenhunt before) to mentor him during the games. Personally, I don't think Bortles falls this far anyway (rookie Mock Drafter Matty El blew the 8th pick). If he does, someone might trade into this spot to grab him, but I think the Titans would like the value if he is on the board. I think the Titans could also look at Anthony Barr here, or potentially trade back a few picks with the idea that they can get a corner like Dennard or Fuller later in the first, plus a QB in Round 2. (Wilson) 12. New York Giants-Eric Ebron, TE, UNC
Unfortunately for the other NY football team, the Giants have Ebron fall into their lap. This couldn't be a more perfect fit for them. The Giants need for a TE couldn't be more glaring. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson, their 2 TEs on the roster combined for 3 catches last season. They couldn't keep Martellus Bennett a couple seasons ago and Brandon Meyers didn't work out as planned last season. This is a much needed offensive weapon with the departure of Hakeem Nicks, and will help Eli have a bounce back season. Giants fans can stop complaining about making boring draft picks as they seem to do each year. (JET)
13. St. Louis Rams- Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, S, Alabama
The Rams addressed their #1 need- O Line help with the second pick in this mock- so with the 13th pick I would expect Jeff Fischer to solidify the back end of his defense with Ha-Ha. The Rams defensive front looks strong- Chris Long and Robert Quinn are one of the leagues' top pass rushing duos. With the addition of some talent in the backfield this could rapidly develop in to a top tier defense in the league. Clinton-Dix is a big guy who can cover, tackle, and hit. He should be able to cover tight ends fairly well, which is important in today's NFL. (Brown) 14. Chicago Bears- Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Aaron Rodgers bombing it over the top to Randall Cobb to end the Bear's season is the only explanation you for why the Bears will go safety. They are in a division with Rodgers and Stafford and simply don't have what it takes as is to not get beat deep. The Bears are going to put up a lot of points on offense due to all their weapons and could be in for a lot of shoot outs. Bears had some pluses and minuses in the front 7 but in my opinion, won't get enough pressure on opposing QBs to mask weaknesses in the secondary. If Ha Ha makes it here, I can also see that pick making sense. Props to the Bears last year for addressing the O line, allowing them to shift their focus elsewhere this year. (Marty) 15. Pittsburgh Steelers-Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
The Steelers are typically good at drafting for a combination of need and best player on the board. They could really use a corner or defensive end here, but Odell Beckham presents a greater value. Emmanuel Sanders is gone and they replaced him with Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey - not exactly an upgrade. Ben Roethlisberger needs playmakers and Beckham would give them one. If they decide that Antonio Brown is enough, they will look at Darqueze Dennard and Kyle Fuller. If Pryor or Dix makes it to the Steelers, I think they are great fits too. Don't sleep on Taylor Lewan if he somhow falls this far. (Wilson) 16. Dallas Cowboys-Timmy Jernigan, NT, Florida State
Tim has been linked to Dallas to fill a major hole on their D line based on the front 7 departure of Demarcus Ware. He had 9 tackles in the Championship game despite being sick and gets to guys in the backfield. Everything is bigger in Texas and he fits the bill. With only one season as a starter, the first round may be a reach and he very well could slip to the Cowboys in the second. But what Jerry wants, he is never afraid to go get after "reaching" in the eyes of many to take a center that many considered a 3rd rounder at best. He needs to keep himself in shape to stay on the field, but I see it being a good fit in a position of need. (Marty)
17. Baltimore Ravens- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon St.
Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome is known for drafting the best player left on the board, mostly ignoring the current need for his team. If they stick to that plan, and the draft goes according to this mock, Taylor Lewan could be the pick. BUT something tells me the Ravens are looking to do something more exciting this year. The glaring difference between the Ravens and the best teams in the AFC (Broncos, Pats, Colts, Bengals) is their lack of explosiveness on offense. Ray Rice is getting old and beating up chicks. Bernard Pierce is a good back but isn't electric like Gio Bernard. Torrey Smith is a good WR, but he's a deep ball guy. Great for taking the top off the defense, but the Ravens offense was exposed last year when Pitta went down and they had no intermediate or short passing game. They did add Steve Smith in the off-season to play opposite of Torrey, but they still don't have that "X" factor/ Swiss Army knife guy they need to keep up with those other offenses in the AFC. Enter Brandin Cooks. The reigning Biletnikof Award winner. Fast, exciting, can play both the slot and on the outside. Think Randall Cobb/Tavon Austin hybrid. With the addition of this type of weapon, Joe Flacco can possibly start putting up numbers that match what would be expected from a $20 Million QB. (Brown) 18. New York Jets- Darqueze Dennard, CB
Whatever. I want a WR here or Ebron at TE. With Watkins, Evans, Beckham, Cooks, and Ebron gone, they go to their weakest spot at DB and get Dennard to line up opposite one of last years 1st rounders, Milliner. There will be a lot of Jets fan out there that will be happy with this pick, that want to keep building the defense. Sure, it is a great pick, Dennard is a stud. He was the first consensus All-American and Thorpe Award winner in MSU history. With all those WRs gone, it probably is the right pick. I will be happy about it once he proves he is good, but until that happens, I'll just be a bitter Jets fan that had all the offensive weapons I wanted them to draft get taken right before their pick. I do think it would be too early to take Marqise Lee and I am not sold on Kelvin Benjamin working for the Jets. They will need to take a WR in the 2nd round or at least Jace Amaro at TE. I do think there is a possibility they could trade up in the first round to get a guy like Mike Evans. I am in full support of a move like this. They have the most picks in the draft at 12 so they certainly can make this work. I guess time will tell what the Jets end up doing or what falls to them. I just hope if one of those WR's are there at 18, the Jets make the right choice and go offense over defense. Ok, I am done rambling. I have full confidence that Idzik won't add to this video: (JET)
19. Miami Dolphins- CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama This pick doesn't fill the largest hole on the offensive line, but I don't see a ton of value with the remaining players and with what came off the board before here. Mosley draws rave reviews about his work ethic and instincts on the field. He is good against the run and pass and can be a QB for the Dolphins on D for years to come. Add that to his reputation as a winner and the fact that Mosley is regarded by many to be a top 15-17 pick, and this could be considered a steal for the Dolphins and leaves the window open to go offensive line the next few rounds. (Marty) 20. Arizona Cardinals- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Steve Keim, GM of the Cardinals- "Our philosophy has always been 'best player available' and it will stay that way, and that's how we'll draft."
The Cardinals have a lot of "needs"- QB, Linebacker, O-Line, DB- so this pick could go in any direction. QB Derek Carr from Fresno State is available- he could be the pick here. Current signal-caller Carson Palmer said recently he wouldn't be surprised if the Cards went after a QB early in this draft, but if Barr drops to 20 then they almost have to take him. John Abraham was their only consistent LB last year, and he's 35 years old. Barr is big (6-5, 225) and fast (4.44 forty yard dash.) As a rookie he will probably just be a situational pass rusher but as he develops you could be looking at the next DeMarcus Ware. (Brown)
21. Green Bay Packers- Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan
Lewan will not fall this far. I don't know how he is here, but he is. If he is on the board, the Packers will draft him. We won't be able to prove that since this won't happen, but I'll take the wrong pick to stop the insanity of Lewan falling this far. It is not their number one need, but Ted Thompson has been able to avoid signing free agents by making sure that he drafts the best available players (read: Aaron Rodgers). The more pressing need is adding speed to the defense. The Packers have been linked to CJ Mosley, but rookie mock drafter Matty El messed that one up too. The corners are strong, so my guess is a run stopping linebacker or safety is in the cards. I don't think they will reach if Dix and Pryor are off the board, which could mean Ryan Shazier if Mosley is gone. I'm not crazy about Shazier, but Ted Thompson has done a nice job building the team - in Ted I trust. Some mock drafters have said Jace Amaro - I really hope not, but again - in Ted I trust. On a separate note, I really want the Packers to get Marqise Lee. They have no need for him, but I like him a lot. Sleeper watch - if the quarterbacks fall in the draft, don't be surprised if Thompson grabs a backup for Rodgers. It was brutal watching Harrell and Flynn last year. (Wilson)
22. Philadelphia Eagles- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida St.
Eagles need a WR to replace DeSean Jackson. Kelvin Benjamin isn't quite the same player DJax is. Benjamin is a physical beast at 6'5 240 pounds. He will be a big time red zone threat and will have favorable matchups against shorter defensive backs. I think he has some skills polishing to do, but under a guy like Chip Kelly I think he can definitely develop quickly (JET)
23. Kansas City Chiefs- Marqis Lee, WR, USC
Seeing Lee available has to thrill Andy Reid as he seemed a no brainer to Chip Kelly due to their WR need and his knowledge of USC during his time at Oregon. Outside of an overpaid Dwayne Bowe and a pesky Donnie Avery, the receiving core is not much to write home about. My loyalty to the Illini has me wanting AJ Jenkins to break out and not be an ultimate bust, but I just don't think it will happen. It was well intentioned by the Chiefs to trade their bust, Jonathan Baldwin, to the Niners for their bust. Expectations of Lee were huge this year after a mega Sophomore season that had him cleaning up in award season, but with Matt Barkley gone, coaching turmoil, and some injuries, there was a step back, possibly through no true fault of his own. He isn't the tallest guy in the world (6'0") and isn't the quickest (4.5 speed) but he can flat out run routes and is flashy on tape. He would make an immediate impact for the Chiefs, even if his stats won't truly reflect it being in a run first offense run by Alex Smith. If he pans out, it could have the Chiefs re-evaluating keeping Bowe (and his cap number) on the roster going forward. (Marty) 24. Cincinnati Bengals- Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
When your corners are Terence Newman and Pacman Jones, you are playing with fire. Newman is 35, while Jones is 30, so they could use a little youth here. The offense was actually pretty exciting with AJ Green and Giovanni Bernard. I think they could use a stronger complement to Green as a receiver than Marvin Jones, but I don't think it is their priority. If Morgan Moses falls this far, he will definitely be on the radar, but Kyle Fuller is a nice find here. Cornerback is a priority because you do not want Andy Dalton getting in shootouts if you can avoid it. If Fuller is gone and Moses is available, they may flip their priorities before going to Jason Verrett, but Fuller is the guy here. (Wilson)
25. San Diego Chargers- Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
The Chargers biggest need lies in the secondary... they had one of the worst secondaries in 2013 and CB's Derek Cox & Johnny Patrick have departed. Verrett is undersized at 5' 10" 189lbs, but he's a ferocious cover corner and if he was 3 inches taller, he would be a top 15 pick. After watching some tape on Verrett, you can tell he's an "all out" player. Flies around making big hits and blocks on running plays. Takes pride in his ability on Special Teams. Some NFL GMs will take any CB under 6 feet completely off their board, so Verrett could fall and be a very good pick late in the first. Just as a reminder, here are the best corners from 2013 and their height:
As you can see, being 5' 10" doesn't seem to be a problem at the top of the talent pool and Verrett could very well be on this list in a couple years. (Brown)
26. Cleveland Browns-Cody Latmier, WR, Indiana What a great trade by the Browns dumping pathetic T-Rich and getting a first rounder from the Colts. Since they took their QB of the future in Manziel with their first pick, they grab a weapon for him to go alongside Gordon and Cameron. Pair all that with Ben Tate being added to the backfield and an already very solid Defense, things should turn around quickly in Cleveland. Here's hoping that happens, because that place is just downright depressing. (JET) 27. New Orleans Saints- Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
I will caution, that some off the field issues with Roby have me a bit worried. Can't trust those Buckeyes. But when thinking about pure talent, Roby would be a great fit across from Keenan Lewis and will have a great role model to start his career with newly acquired Champ Bailey. That helps me overlook the off the field stuff a bit and puts my mind at ease. Throw in secondary mate Kenny Vaccaro and it will have the likes of Matt Ryan and Cam Newton (not that he has anyone to throw to) second guessing who they can safely throw to. He is quick, has good instincts, and put on a pretty impressive Combine following up a somewhat disappointing year in Columbus. He will make for a solid #2 corner for a much improved 2013 defense. He also returned a pick for a score almost 70 yards against my Illini this year :( (Marty) 28. Carolina Panthers-Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia Once again, I don't know if Moses will actually be available here, but he is a great find if he is. Jordan Gross retired and let's face it, Carolina' offensive success depends on their ability to protect Cam Newton. If they can add a difference making lineman in the first round, it can mask some of the problems they have at wide receiver. The wide receivers are so bad in Carolina that I believe they were in New York scouting Jeremy "Ten Hands" Tannenbaum last week. If Marqise Lee, Kelvin Benjamin, or Cody Latimer fall this far, they will all be in play. Since all those guys are gone, the remaining choice outside of Moses would probably be Jordan Matthews. (Wilson)
29. New England Patriots- Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
Belichick is going to draft the best defensive player on the board with this pick, unless he decides to "Man Up & Move Up" to get a high impact player he thinks can make a difference right away. According to this mock, the 3 guys I could see the Pats drafting at this point in the draft are Ra'Shede Hageman (DE/DT, Minnesota), Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame), and they guy I mocked them to pick, strong safety Jimmie Ward. All 3 players would fit nicely in the Pats scheme, but Belichick's love for drafting defensive backs will overcome him if Ward is still available at pick 29. Although Ward's attitude isn't the greatest, his ability to tackle in the open field and effectiveness vs. the run make him a worthy gamble. The attitude thing usually isn't a problem in New England, and it's well documented that some of the best DBs in the league play with swagger like Ward. A lot of people think Ward should be in the conversation with Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor, but his lack of size drops him. Still, Ward is so good at tackling and man-coverage, I can see Belichick making him a slot corner option for the Pats. Current slot corner Kyle Arrington signed an escalating contract last year, so it's likely the Pats will be looking to cut him before the end of his contract anyway. NFLDdraftScout.com's Rob Rang said Ward was the Senior Bowl's most impressive pass defender. NFL Insider Pat Kirwin said one NFL coach told him that Ward was his favorite DB in the draft because he can play safety or corner and he hits. I've seen mocks where Ward goes off as early as #17 and as late as #54. We'll see where he ends up but I would be happy and satisfied if the Pats took the chance and snagged him. (Brown)
30. San Francisco 49ers- Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
This is a great value pick here and would work great on their defensive line. I think they would ideally target a DB or WR at this spot, but in this mock draft, the players they would look to draft are taken. Look for them to be a candidate to trade up in the 1st round to snag one of the WR's or DB's and if not they could trade back into the 2nd round and stock up on more late picks. (JET) 31. Denver Broncos-Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA
He would easily be the number one pick in a name draft, but falls to #31 in the actual mock. What do you ask does a record breaking offense need? O line depth, that is what. It took one play in the Super Bowl against a ferocious defense for this to be exploited. He was highly touted coming into UCLA, becoming the first true freshman in school history to start their first game on campus. He was a three year starter and multiple year captain for the Bruins. His body isn't nearly as impressive as mine and some scouts knock his stubby T REX arms, but he is highly productive and keeping Peyton upright should be the Broncos #1 draft priority. He has played both blind side tackle and guard, but guard is the best position for him going forward. It is worth noting he was voted top offensive lineman from his conference defensive lineman peers and was voted offensive MVP for the Bruins. The same offense that had Brett Hundley, who many consider an early favorite for a top draft pick next season. (Marty)
32. Seattle Seahawks-Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
The Champs are well-rounded; that's why they are the champs. There are some positions of need, though. Seattle loves stockpiling pass rushers and there are some decent ones available here like Kony Ealy and Dee Ford. Seattle also loves having Russell Wilson as their starting quarterback and part of that is keeping him protected. Breno Giacominni started way too often for them last year and he could not cut it on a fairly weak Green Bay Packers offensive line - they need an alternative. So for that reason, the Seahawks grab James who looks to be a nice fit at right tackle. Scouts say he is ready to play now, which is Seattle's priority since they are trying to win now. The Seahawks could also use a receiver, but the top options are off the board at this point. Jordan Matthews and Bruce Ellington are in play here, especially given the health risk of Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, but this offense revolves around Marshawn Lynch anyway. Something tells me Marshawn wouldn't mind an extra yard before contact, so why not help him out as well with a lineman like James. (Wilson)
That ends this year's mock draft. No Bridgewater, Shazier, Nix, Carr, Kouandjio, Ford, LAWRENCE, Robinson, Ealy, or Tuitt. The 4 of us will be live tweeting the draft using #OttomanDraft (Don't ask.) Follow that hashtag for fiery hot takes.
I would be a fringe Boise State fan if I didn't mention DeMarcus Lawrence, who left BSU early to enter the draft. He's going to go late first or more likely, early second round. He's a beast.