Posted on: April 21, 2011 11:40 pm

2011 Mock Draft

Well, it's that time of the year.  I haven't been on a whole lot lately, but tradition is tradition.  This took way too much effort, but here we go.

  1. Cam Newton – I'm not really happy with this pick, but they seem in love with him. Plus, he's better than Clausen

  2. Marcell Dareus – The Broncos kept Champ Bailey, so that solves one problem (for now). Fox needs a big man in the middle, and Dareus is arguably the best player in the draft.

  3. Von Miller – This pick gives them somebody who will actually bring down the quarterback, and in addition, it might let teams allow Aaron Maybin to rush freely. Probably should be a quarterback, but hey, what do I know?

  4. A.J. Green – It wasn't that long ago that the receivers on the Bengals might have been the best group of receivers in the league. Owens is gone, Ocho is probably on his way out, and Jordan Shipley will probably never be a #1. They take the best prospect since Calvin Johnson, and they can address the QB situation later.

  5. Patrick Peterson – He's too good to let pass. Peterson could potentially be the first corner taken #1 overall, so if the Cardinals can land him, I think they pull the trigger.

  6. Robert Quinn – If Green was available, I think they'd take him, but this is probably too high for Julio Jones. They'll take the amazing pass rusher.

  7. Prince Amukamara – The 49ers had a terrible pass defense last year, and they need to address it unless they want to pick 7<sup>th</sup> next year. I had considered a QB, but they said they'd welcome back Alex Smith, and if Harbaugh is going to draft a QB he'll probably want a shot at the Andrew Luck lottery.

  8. Nick Fairley – The Titans lost Albert Haynesworth a few years ago, and KVB now plays in Detroit. Fairley might have had some issues, but he can deliver.

  9. J.J. Watt – He has good size, and the Cowboys could bolster their 3-4 end spot.

  10. Blaine Gabbert – McNabb is old. Grossman isn't the answer. Shanahan needs a QB.

  11. Aldon Smith – At 6'4” at 265, he can be the OLB for the new 3-4 in Houston. Ask Wade Phillips how much an elite pass rusher helps.

  12. Da'Quan Bowers – Ray Edwards is set to be a free agent, Jared Allen is starting to get up there, and for a team that's been built around defense for a few years, you can never have too many pass rushers.

  13. Tyron Smith – Jeff Backus should have been moved to the right side years ago, and they need somebody reliable to protect Stafford's blind side.

  14. Julio Jones – I'm not really sure that he'll be here, but if he is, I don't see how the Rams can pass him up. Sam Bradford did great as a rookie, and that was with his best receiver as Danny Amendola.

  15. Mike Pouncey – Not so much of a need, but the Dolphins can get a great offensive lineman here and address QB and RB later if they feel they need to.

  16. Ryan Kerrigan – The Jaguars seem to have busted with Derrick Harvey, and Aaron Kampman is coming back from an injury. Kerrigan's stock is increasing, and they can nail a home run here.

  17. Cameron Jordan – As a Patriots fan, this pick is probably more of a want than what I expect. In all likeliness, they'll trade down to the early 20's and pick up a second rounder. If not, they can get the heir to Richard Seymour's RE spot with the pick they received for him. He played 3-4 End for Cal, so he already knows the position.

  18. Anthony Castonzo – With the top guys for their defensive end spot gone, they can look to upgrade an offensive line that's not necessarily bad, but could stand improement.

  19. Akeem Ayers – There aren't a whole lot of top linebacker prospects available, but they've lost Antonio Pierce prior to last season and Keith Bullock can't have much left.

  20. Adrian Clayborn – The Bucs took two defensive tackles last year, and they get an edge rusher right now. Sorry Stylez G. White, which is obviously the best name in the NFL.

  21. Gabe Camiri – He's the consensus pick between a lot of the experts, and if Matt Cassel and Jamaal Charles want to pick up where they left off, fixing the line is a good place to start.

  22. Derek Sherrod – this pick ought to be the best OT available. The run game needs to improve, and the offensive line was a big part of the problem. Peyton Manning cannot continue to get hit, and when the Colts put somebody else there, he'll need a protector.

  23. Corey Liuget – The Eagles might want an offensive lineman, but they can get the DT to improve their trenches here.

  24. Muhammed Wilkerson – Shaun Rogers is 32 and one McDonald's value meal away from a heart attack. Plus, the Saints don't have an overwhelming number of needs. A lot of people think Bowers is available here, but I just don't see it.

  25. Jake Locker – Matt Hasselbeck is long past his prime, and I don't believe in Jes...I mean, Charlie Whitehurst. Carroll can get a hometown talent.

  26. Jimmy Smith – The Ravens need a cornerback who can stay on the field and not get lit up. He has character issues? Pretty confident Grandpa Ray will take care of that.

  27. Kyle Rudolph – Tony Gonzalez is going to hang it up in the case of a lockout, which means he probably only has one year left if he plays. Roddy White is a stud at WR, but Matty Ice needs another target.

  28. Mark Ingram – I've been the biggest fan of Mark Ingram coming out of college for a while (although I'm secretly hoping Belichick man's up and trades 17 and a first next year for a high enough spot to get AJ) , and Saban and Belichick know each other well. Plus, Ingram is currently visiting NE, who hasn't had a consistent RB since Dillon.

  29. Nate Solder – I really expect this pick to be the best Tackle available. Just a hunch.

  30. Cameron Hayward – The Vernon Gholston thing doesn't seem to be working out, and the Jets don't have too many positions of need.

  31. Aaron Williams – Jordy Nelson, 9 catches for 140. Greg Jennings, 4 catches 2 Tds. Tell me they don't need a shut down corner.

  32. Brooks Reed – I really had no idea for this one, but the Packers don't have too many areas of concern. The run game was nonexistent for much of the year, but between Jennings, Nelson, and the returning Donald Lee, the passing game can carry this team. And they get Ryan Grant back. I had considered a CB to fill in when Woodson retires, but Sam Shields and Tramon Williams looked good last year.

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: September 4, 2008 3:05 am

K-Day is upon us.

In less than eighteen hours, the NFL regular season will begin.  I can honestly say I've been waiting for this moment since the day after the Super Bowl back in February.  I've been trying to stay caught up with all the news and transactions, as well as playing a lot of Madden to set the mood, but nothing is as satisfying as that opening kick off. 

With only a few days before the majority of the games are being played, there are still various questions around the league that have different people coming up with a wide variety of answers.

- Both Quarterbacks 1 and 1A look to start their respective games.  How will they do?
- How will Brett Favre play?
- Will the Eli Manning we see tonight against the Redskins be Eli from Week 17 on or the Eli we saw playing at home during the regular season?  Also, can the Giants win in New York?
- Injuries abroad.  Shawne Merriman.  Chad Ocho Cinco (what a stupid name).  Jason TaylorWillis McGahee.  A hundred other guys.  Can they heal in time to make an impact?
- Darren McFaddenJonathan StewartMatt RyanJake Long.  Who will be this year's Adrian Peterson or Joe Thomas?

It's hard to really know anything at this time.  We haven't really seen much of anything, and everyone knows the preseason is next to worthless, with the guys you really care about either not playing or giving it only a half-assed effort.  It will be an interesting year this year - that much is for sure. 

Now, I'll attempt to answer some of these questions (at least give my opinion).

First of all, Colts fans and fellow Pats fans have nothing to worry about.  Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are the two best quarterbacks in the league.  Minor injuries that kept them out of preseason will not change that.  They will both start Week One.  Brady should have a field day with the Chiefs, including Brandon Flowers, the only rookie cornerback starting to begin the season.  Peyton Manning figures to have a slightly tougher game, playing the Bears, who generally offer a tough defense.  Thankfully for fans of both teams, both quarterbacks will be playing on their home fields (Manning makes his first start in the new dome...how will that come into play?).

Next question.  It's Brett Favre.  Look up every career passing record in existence.  Brett Favre owns it.  He'll make it work.

Eli Manning has progressed as a quarterback, but don't expect him to be able to be called elite just yet.  He still has a lot of work to be on that top tier of quarterbacks (I put four guys there currently....Romo being the fourth, behind Brady, Big Manning, and Favre, of course).  I don't expect the Giants to return to the playoffs this year, but they do have the potential to do so.  Don't blame Eli though - blame the fact their two best defensive players are gone (and if there is any doubt how important those two guys were to the championship, you clearly didn't watch the Super Bowl).  For the second year in a row, the Giants open up with a loss.

Shawne Merriman will not be the dominant pass rusher he's used to being.  After totaling nearly 40 sacks in only three years in the league, I expect him to fail to reach double digit sacks for the first time in his career.  Chad Eight Five will be a solid receiver; however, he will not be the tops in any statistical category and his production should drop a bit.  I expect Jason Taylor to return to his 2006 Defensive Player of the Year form, or at least close to it.  McGahee should be able to rebound, but look for Ray Rice to make a big debut with Willis trying to heal some.

I've already stated many times that Matt Ryan will get the Ravens to 6 - 10.  Not outstanding, but a big jump from where they were last year (when you take into consideration he's only played in four NFL games).   Jonathan Stewart will haul in Rookie of the Year honors.  Darren McFadden makes it interesting, but he just doesn't have the supporting cast of Stewart.  Defensively, my new favorite young guy Jerod Mayo hauls in the defensive honors (he was one of the few bright spots for the Patriots this preseason).  As far as last year's guys, expect Peterson to challenge Tomlinson for the best back title - "All Day" has already stated his goal for every year, not just this year, is 2,000 yards and there's little reason to think it's not a realistic possibility to at least come close.  Oh, and that Patrick Willis kid should do well in San Francisco again.  Not enough to be Defensive Player of the Year (I actually am giving that to Champ Bailey), but someone might give him consideration.

Also, I hate to throw too many predictions out regarding MVP's and stats and wins...but I will go out on a limb and say an NFC South team will be in the NFC Championship.  Will they win?  ....I haven't decided yet.  I also haven't decided which of the three it will be.  I'm leaning towards Tampa Bay, although a lot of experts seem pretty high on the Saints.  As a former Purdue student, I love Drew Brees.  However, before they can dethrone the reigning champions, Reggie Bush needs to develop, Jeremy Shockey needs to calm down, and the defense needs to step up.

On a side note, I'm very tired from battling The Bong Show and peytonsPIA in all things Patriots/Colts related.  Can I get some of the fellow members of Patriots nation to step up and fill in for me?  I'm doing a good job of holding down the fort, but I'm seeing a lot of weak arguments from "so-called" fans.  Am I the only one who can do research?  There's plenty of places to get great pieces of information about players, teams, and games.  Use it.
Posted on: August 25, 2008 11:49 pm

Red Sox/Yankees - Israelis/Palestinians?

IMDb offers this summary for Green Street Hooligans, a 2005 movie starring Elijah Wood.

Unjustly expelled from Harvard when a stash of cocaine is found in his possession, Matt moves to London to live with his sister and her husband Steve (Marc Warren.) He is quickly introduced to Steve's chirpy, cock-sure younger brother Pete (Charlie Hunnam.) Initially, Pete is reluctant to get acquainted with Matt and allow him to tread around the capital city with him because he may be seen by others as an 'outsider', but after a heavy drinking session with him and his mates he quickly changes his opinion of him. On the way back from a football match, Matt is viciously accosted by a gang of Birmingham City thugs, until Pete and his friends step in and save him. It is from here that Matt learns the truth about Pete and his friends- they are football hooligans, operating the GSE (Green Street Elite) 'firm.' Initially afraid of the violence, Matt soon ends up becoming as desensitized to it as his new found friends- but as events roll on, suspicion, shocking revelations and unsettled scores combine to a devastating climax where London's most fierce football rivals- Millwall and West Ham United- are set to go head to head.

During a talk about the Millwall/West Ham rivalry, Matt (an avid Red Sox fan) relates their hatred for each other to that of the Sox and the Yankees. Pete, with vast knowledge of the violence between firms, explains it's more like the fighting between Israel and Palestine.

For those unfamiliar, the two have been fighting for over sixty years. Thousands are injured each year, resulting in hundreds of deaths annually.

Obviously, a sports rivalry in baseball doesn't generate those kind of atrocities. Not even the hatred between one firm and its rivalry could cause hundreds of deaths a year. However, why do games have to provoke any sort of hatred or violence? Maybe I'm being a bit naive here, but dammit, can't we all just get along?

Obviously, there's always going to be rivalries. I'll be honest - they make good games great, and great games legendary. The Red Sox and the Yankees met the first time back in 1901. They've played each other 1,771 times. The Yankees own the lead 993 - 778 (are my Sox really that far behind?!), thanks to what Red Sox fans have dubbed "The Curse". Year in and year out, it always seems like one of the two is a shoe - in to take the AL East and both are popular picks to make playoff runs the past few years.

How about the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears? Two of the most historic teams in the NFL, and they always produce great games. Last year, the Packers lost three games - two of the losses coming against Chicago (who only manged five other wins).

New England and the Colts? It's almost always the biggest regular season game in the NFL, with the two powerhouses colliding. Last year was one of the best meetings between the two, with the 2006 AFC Championship game being perhaps the best game of football I've ever seen.

How about the Lakers and the Celtics? The rivalry was revisited this past year, when the Celtics went from one of the worst teams in NBA to the best. The Lakers had the league's best player in Kobe Bryant. A legendary player vs a legendary team. It's almost as good as the games between the two teams from the 80s.

In college, how about Alabama and Auburn? Duke and North Carolina? One of the most famous rivalries ever between Michigan and Ohio State?

Obviously, we can't eliminate the rivalries. Even if we broke up the current competitions, new ones would form between the powerhouses that fans empty their wallets to see and the teams that just play frequently. Plus, why would we want to remove that history? We wouldn't, of course. It'd be madness.

However, why can't we get rid of the anger? The hatred? That sour feeling you get when you see a guy walk into the restaurant wearing a jersey from the other team? In 2000, Lakers fans started bonfires and then riots following a victory over the Pacers. They destroyed people's vehicles and other possessions. There was a brawl in 2004 between Pistons and Pacers fans. How about the competitors? Tonya Harding had her significant other assault Nancy Kerrigan to prevent her from competing. This year, a Taekwando Champion kicked a referee in the head.

Those are bad. Stupid. No reason for that.

There's a video on Youtube of a Raiders fan punching a Chargers fan just because the Chargers were winning and their fans were celebrating. Sure, it's a big stupid to taunt Raiders fans in the Black Hole, but perhaps beating him is a bit extreme. Later in the video, you see the Raiders fan pull out what appears to be a small pocket knife and stab the Chargers fan in the shoulder area. That's despicable.

It's inexcusable.

It's inhumane.

There's simply no reason for that kind of behavior. Obviously, that's not a common occurrence. I don't need to worry if I'm going to be killed when I go to a football game at Purdue. However, why should there be any conflict between me and fans of the other teams? Should I yell insults at them for wearing an Indiana University jersey? Should they throw their beer cups at me, because I like black and gold instead of red and white? Should I be unable to have a conversation or debate, without insulting them or attacking their opinion, with someone, just because my team eliminates their team from the playoffs or their quarterback throws more touchdowns than mine?

We're supposed to be adults. We're supposed to be good examples. We're supposed to be people who make good decisions and are able to live with the results. We're supposed to do the right thing. We're not supposed to beat, bruise, insult, attack, assault, humiliate, haze, torment, taunt, disrespect, or disgrace other people or teams.

It doesn't change the outcome of a game - beating someone into submission isn't going to make your team the winner.
It doesn't change statistics - calling your point guard an ass or making fun of your running back's appearance isn't going to take away a touchdown or a three pointer.
It doesn't change champions - your beef with me doesn't change the fact I like the guys with a trophy.

All it does it diminish something great, something we love. It takes away the best part of what we have.

There's enough hatred and violence and impurities in the world. We're fighting a war in the Middle East on terror. Russia invaded Georgia. Israel and Palestine continue to fight. There's enough atrocities going on in the world right now.

Let's keep the game pure so we have something we can be proud of.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com