Thursday, September 14, 2006

Oh, the Possibilities

With Matt's preview of the NFL season complete, it's time to take the predictions even further. I present to you the even less likely picks for the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Remember, not only are we predicting the order of the teams, I'm also predicting which players will come out early, Most Awkward Rookie Moments, and even a blockbuster trade in the first round! Speaking of which, here's the draft order:

1. Vikings
2. Titans
3. Browns
4. Jaguars
5. Raiders
6. 49ers
7. Texans
8. Jets
9. Bills
10. Saints
11. Giants
12. Eagles
13. Falcons
14. Ravens
15. Packers
16. Dolphins
17. Cowboys
18. Chargers
19. Lions
20. Cardinals
21. Steelers
22. Bengals
23. Buccaneers
24. Broncos
25. Rams
26. Chiefs
27. Redskins
28. Bears
29. Patriots
30. Seahawks
31. Panthers
32. Colts

Let's go to New York...

The Vikings are on the clock after a miserable 1-15 season. "Love Boat" jokes still won't die, Brad Johnson retired and Tavaris Jackson was exposed as not ready for NFL defenses, performance in the preseason notwithstanding. The team needs a new leader, a new face for the franchise, and providence has provided such a visage. Brady Quinn, everyone's All-American, unanimously sits atop draft boards around the country. Notre Dame's golden boy would be a perfect fit for a team in the heartland searching for direction.

As Roger Goodell announces Minnesota is on the clock, the football world expects him to return in record time to announce the pick. But he doesn't. Five minutes pass with no explanation. Chris Mortensen reports the Vikings are considering Adrian Peterson and Paul Posluszny, but only because he's supposed to come up with something. Ten minutes gone - five to go. Minnesota has a history of mismanaging the clock on Draft Day, but there's no way they let zeroes hit without making a selection, is there? Two minutes left. One minute. Thirty seconds...

Goodell emerges to the largest cheer ever heard at a draft, and Chris Berman jokes the Vikings will be plundering again once they sign Brady "Ain't Seen Nothing Like the Mighty" Quinn. But, as Lee Corso likes to say, not so fast, my friend.

Goodell speaks into the microphone, "There has been a trade..." and the rest is unintelligible as Madison Square Garden erupts into a confused combination of cheers, boos and idle chatter. The roar dies just enough to hear, "With the first pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select Brady Quinn, quarterback, University of Notre Dame."

Pandemonium.

Quinn cannot believe what's going on. He's elated to be the first pick - it's a dream come true - but to have it happen in a whirlwind of chaos, he's not sure what to think. From Touchdown Jesus to the Black Hole. Golden Dome to the Silver and Black. He dons his Raiders cap to confirm the transformation. He has become the real-life Anakin Skywalker, but this was not a choice. He walks to the stage and shakes hands with the commish, still in a haze. He says all the right things in his post-draft interview, but at the very end a slight smirk rides across his face. Maybe he's waited for this all along...

As the confusion dies down, Mortensen reports that the Raiders have traded their first round pick, their third rounder and next year's first round pick for the #1 slot. Al Davis wanted to bring back the glory to Raider Nation before he dies and bet the farm on Quinn. Davis poses with Quinn for the PR staff, but tells his new QB quietly, "You're a long way from South Bend, pretty boy. Time to be a man."

"The Tennessee Titans are now on the clock."

The rest of the draft will be done without the drama. We all know the '07 Draft is really only about Quinn, anyway.

2. Titans - Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
Tennessee can't pass up the easiest bet in the draft. Chris Henry and LenDale White aren't the complete package, and Peterson is. His combination of size, speed and vision takes the pressure off Tennessee's QB next year, whoever it is.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Upon going to his first karaoke bar in Nashville, Peterson realizes he doesn't know any country songs.

3. Browns - Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
Romeo Crennel is committed to building his team by dominating the line of scrimmage first and worrying about the rest later. Thomas gives Reuben Droughns a huge body to run behind and Charlie Frye will definitely be jumping for joy as Thomas' name is announced.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Kellen Winslow II stares blankly at Thomas for 60 seconds because Thomas asked Winslow to block.

4. Jaguars - Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State
Jacksonville really wanted to pull the trigger and take Michael Bush, but they couldn't justify using such a high pick on someone who spent the year injured. They entertained notions of trading down, but instead went with solidifying their linebacker corps. Posluszny will be a leader on that defense for years.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Posulszny, with only the best intentions at heart, tries to start a charity that gives children heavy coats before the winter.

5. Vikings - Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville
The Vikes get their NFL ready quarterback anyway. Brohm has the same physical tools as Quinn without the name recognition. We'll see if he can handle the pressure of being "The Guy Minnesota Traded Brady Quinn For."
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Brohm, not knowing that a "hotdish" is a food item, refuses to touch one unless the fan offering it puts it down on the table.

6. 49ers - Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
The Niners are getting a foundation on offense with Alex Smith and Frank Gore, so it's time to focus on the other side of the ball. Losing LB Julian Peterson last offseason left them without a player who could disrupt an entire offense. Adams is capable of picking up where Peterson left off.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Uhhh, how about Adams going from small-town South Carolina to San Francisco?

7. Texans - Justin Blalock, OT, Texas
This is the year the Texans finally get it and shore up their woeful offensive line. Blalock is a mauler who can open up huge holes for Reggie Bush...oh, wait, that's right, they didn't draft him. Well, David Carr will still be happy to hear he'll only get sacked three times every game now.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Upon moving into his new house in Houston, Blalock finds Carr, Carr's family and Carr's insurance agent in the driveway waiting for him with food and offers to set him up with their nice female friends.

8. Jets - Kenny Irons, RB, Auburn
Curtis Martin's retirement left the Jets without an everydown back. Irons can step right in as the starter - he's fast but strong enough between the tackles to handle the workload. Glaring weakness, meet player with exceptional talent. This is how the draft is supposed to work.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: At a reception with Jets legends, Irons is backed into a corner by a drunk Joe Namath, who yells "Roll Tide!" for a good 15 minutes before anyone notices and eventually drags Namath out of the party.

9. Bills - Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
The most physically ready wideout lands on a team desperate for playmakers. J.P. Losman may not be the long-term solution at QB, but even Peyton Manning would have a hard time with Buffalo's current receiving corps. Johnson is 6'5'' with blazing speed and tremendous agility. He'll make Buffalo's QB, whoever he is, look good.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Pretty much whenever he sees snow.

10. Saints - Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC
Hardly a slouch himself, Jarrett will make for an excellent compliment to Joe Horn and can slide in at the #1 receiver spot when Horn's skills begin to erode. Jarrett is a polished receiver after working in USC's pro-style offense for three years and can contribute immediately.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Jarrett arrives to practice 90 minutes early because he assumed all traffic was like Los Angeles.

11. Giants - Marcus Thomas, DT, Florida
The G-Men have a great pair of DEs in Strahan and Osi, but they need someone to stuff the run on the inside. Thomas will eat up space and command double teams, giving the end rushers more opportunities to make big plays.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Thomas gets confused when the drills change over and ends up on the Jets' side of the Meadowlands for practice.

12. Eagles - Rufus Alexander, LB, Oklahoma
The Eagles' D, while solid, could use an upgrade at OLB. Alexander can fly from sideline to sideline dragging down the ballcarrier. His speed will also help Jim Johnson's blitz-heavy defensive schemes.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: In an attempt to be friendly to his new cohabitants, Alexander smiles and waves at passersby. He's in Philly, so you can guess how well that goes over.

13. Falcons - LaRon Landry, FS, LSU
After shoring up the two corner positions, Atlanta can turn to safety in its quest to make its defense impenetrable. Landry can come up to stop the run or step back in coverage. He has great instincts and would have been a first-rounder if he had come out last year. The extra year of seasoning in the SEC will make him that much smarter and ready to step in from the first snap.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Landry somehow picks the same fake name to use at a hotel as QB Michael Vick.

14. Ravens - Ted Ginn, WR/PR, Ohio State
The speedy Ginn gives Baltimore a deep threat they currently don't possess. He can stretch the field and open up the running game - unless the opposing defense is willing to let him run behind the coverage and burn them all en route to the endzone, of course. Ginn is also a very accomplished punt returner who will shorten the field for the Ravens offense more times than not.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Ginn scores on his first play in training camp and points his finger at Ray Lewis for 0.004 seconds before realizing what he just did.

15. Packers - Quentin Moses, DE, Georgia
KGB needs a playmate on the other end of the D-line, similar to a Strahan/Osi situation. Moses can help Green Bay with his agility and relentless pursuit of the quarterback. Look for A.J. Hawk's tackles to skyrocket with all the double teams opposing offensive lines will need to employ to stop the Pack's new end.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Moses goes out in Green Bay looking for the hot clubs.

16. Dolphins - Sam Baker, OT, USC
Baker is a very intelligent player who won't be overwhelmed by NFL offensive schemes. He'll probably start at RT but could move to LT with experience; either way, the Dolphins pass protection has gotten a significant upgrade.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: After one too many requests by one of his hangers-on, Baker yells, "I told you! Ricky Williams doesn't play here any more! I can't hook you up!" in earshot of Nick Saban.

17. Cowboys - Drew Stanton, QB, Michigan State
Dallas just can't get enough of QBs named Drew. This newer model is slightly more agile than Bledsoe (but then again so are my dead ancestors) with just as powerful an arm. He doesn't have the polish of Quinn or Brohm, so I'd recommend the Carson Palmer Treatment and sit him for a year before bringing him into the spotlight. If given the opportunity to fully digest the offense in a stress-free environment he should shine.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Stanton runs onto the field after hearing Parcells bark out, "Drew, let's take it to 'em." The Cowboys suffer a penalty for too many men on the field.

18. Chargers - Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
San Diego has done it again. They've patiently bided their time until a defensive standout fell into their laps. Carriker is a beast who can either muscle his way through a blocker or use his speed to run around him. Combining him with Shawne Merriman equals long days for AFC West quarterbacks for the foreseeable future.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Carriker tries to surf.

19. Lions - Brandon Meriwether, SS, Miami
The Lions failed in the efforts to create a devastating passing attack, so they might as well try to take away everyone else's vertical game. At the very least the addition of Meriwether will make receivers think twice about running across the middle. I'll go out on a limb and say this will be a safer pick than Charles Rogers.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: After scanning the 'scenery' at a club in downtown Detroit, Meriwether asks the vets, "So when do the hot chicks show up?"

20. Cardinals - Patrick Willis, LB, Mississippi
After the tragic death of Pat Tillman, Arizona's defense has gone without a leader. Carlos Rogers and Karlos Dansby are fine players, but neither is the type to rally the unit. Willis played the majority of his junior year with a cast and multiple injuries. He can provide the leadership that will inspire the rest of the defense and raise its level of play overall.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Before a game, Willis recounts the previous evening to the rest of the locker room, including an episode in which he rebuffed Paris Hilton's advances claiming he'd "catch something just from standing next to her."

21. Steelers - Jeff Samardzija, WR, Notre Dame
Few players shot up the draft boards last season like "The Shark." He's always been a natural athlete (signed with the Cubs, as many of you know), but under Weis he's learned the nuances of route running. As loved as Hines Ward is in Pittsburgh, he can't make all the catches. Besides, can't you see Pittsburgh falling in love with someone with a nickname like "The Shark?" If anything else, he and Polamalu can have a contest to see who can have the longest hair.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Samardzija goes on to pitch for the Cubs, and is slated to start against the Pirates the day before a Steelers game.

22. Bengals - Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC
The offense is stacked, but the defense doesn't scare quite enough. Fearmongering begins up front, and the down lineman have done little in that department. Yes, even my alma mater's Justin Smith isn't living up to his responsibilities as the #4 draft pick from 2001. That could change if he had Jackson lining up opposite him, though. Jackson has been referred to as "Mr. Mayhem" for his boundless energy and ability to blow up plays. That spark could be what sends Cincinnati's defense into the ranks of the elite.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Jackson is found out after he tries to fit in with the rest of the defense by telling fake stories about his time in jail.

23. Buccaneers - Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
The Bucs did a lot of work in last year's draft to shore up the offensive line with Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood, but the work's not done. Brown can play either side, but right now operates the LT spot. He might need to move to RT in the future to protect lefty Chris Simms' blind spot. Meanwhile, Cadillac starts to think the last weekend in April is better than Christmas.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Brown buys snowblowers as gifts for all the veteran offensive linemen.

24. Broncos - Michael Bush, RB, Louisville
If there's one person in the NFL who thinks he can take a RB and make him a star, it's Mike Shanahan. Denver's coach won't care about the injury; he'll just see what Bush was beforehand - an everydown back that the Broncos haven't had in years. No more Bell on Bell action, just one reclamation project to run for 1,600 yards a year.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Bush scores a TD in the preseason and tries the Mile High Salute, only to inadvertently poke one of his offensive linemen in the eye.

25. Rams - Greg Olsen, TE, Miami
The U has been referred to as a linebacker factory and a runningback factory, but maybe it's time to think of it as a tight end factory, too. Olsen is merely the latest 6'5'' athletic TE with pass-catching ability, and Linehan won't be able to resist giving Bulger a safety net when Bruce and Holt are covered like flies on...well, you know.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Upon his first visit to St. Louis, Olsen remarks, "Oh, I thought the Arch was in Kansas City."

26. Chiefs - Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
Does anyone else wonder how Trent Green threw for 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons? Who did he throw to? Rice will provide the answer in the years to come, whether it's Green or Brodie Croyle at the helm. Rice probably would have gone higher if he came with more publicity, but he'll get his due soon enough. He's big and fast, and with a little more polish he'll make more than a couple Pro Bowls.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: After a trip to Gates, remarks, "The barbecue is better down South."

27. Redskins - Quinn Pitcock, DT, Ohio State
Not all important acquisitions have to be made through free agency, Mr. Snyder. Pitcock is very quick for a DT and can help not only in stopping the run but in the pass rush as well. The 'Skins need to get better up the middle and Pitcock is as good a starting point as any.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Pitcock can't help but laugh as he meets Dan Snyder for the first time and sees just how short he is.

28. Bears - Tom Zbikowski, FS, Notre Dame
I can see the reaction from Packers fans now... "Yes, this is exactly what the Bears need: a hard-hitting FS with a mohawk to improve the only possible weak link on their defense." Zbikowski is the yin to Brady Quinn's golden boy yang, and the Soldier Field faithful will quickly embrace him as yet another Monster of the Midway.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Let's see, a Polish guy from Notre Dame playing in Chicago...nope, I've got nothing here. He'll be right at home from Day 1.

29. Patriots - Marcus McCauley, CB, Fresno State
I think everyone agrees the Pats' secondary could use an overhaul. McCauley is the kind of unheralded player Belichick loves to groom into the next unassuming assassin for New England. McCauley's great instincts will lead to an immediate starting role...or the fact that the Patriots have been letting season ticket holders play corner. Either one.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: During the Patriots' bye week, McCauley gets to the film room three hours early because he forgot that the early game was at 1, not the late game.

30. Seahawks - Jason Hill, WR, Washington State
Matt Hasselback should be commended for his performance as Seattle's field general despite underachieving talent at wideout. His reward? A 6'4'' receiver with great hands who'll make everyone forget all those dropped balls of seasons past.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Hill walks into a Seattle bar during the Apple Cup wearing all his old Wazzu gear.

31. Panthers - Matt Spaeth, TE, Minnesota
Seeing as how Carolina's D is about as stacked as you can ask for in a league with such a tight salary cap, the Panthers have no choice but to look to the other side of the ball. Luckily, Spaeth is not exactly an exercise in compromise. He can block for DeAngelo Williams or run routes with equal aplomb. Is he the final piece of the Super Bowl puzzle?
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Spaeth goes to a NASCAR race with Jake Delhomme. Enough said.

32. Colts - Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
Indianapolis did so well drafting Marlon Jackson, so why not take his protégé? Hall can begin his NFL career as a nickel cover man while learning Tony Dungy's defense. With better footwork he can be a solid cover man in the pros.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Before practice he makes a bet that the offense won't score all day, and if they do, each defensive player has to buy an offensive player a Hummer.

And that's how it'll happen.

1 comment:

dyoung said...

I love the site Matt & Jason, but I have a feeling that both of you might be wrong about the Vikings being the worst team in the league. I think you need to move one state east because Brett Favre's farewell tour probably won't fare too well...