2012 NFL Draft

NFL Draft Trade Scenarios: Minnesota Vikings

There’s been a lot of early focus on the St. Louis Rams potentially parting with the No. 2 overall pick, but perhaps the rumors should be focused on the Minnesota Vikings.

For starters, the Rams and Vikings are likely interested in the same players (Matt Kalil, Morris Claiborne, Justin Blackmon) and if the Rams trade down to No. 4 or No. 6, there’s no guarantee they’ll get the guy they covet. The Rams most glaring hole is at left tackle, and Kalil is the only true franchise left tackle available in this draft class. If the Rams were to drop to No. 4, and especially if they fell to No. 6, Kalil would likely be off the board.

On the flip side, there’s also no guarantee that the guy the Vikings want at No. 3 will be there if the Rams stay put. If the Rams select Kalil second overall, the Vikings may feel No. 3 is too early for a cornerback or receiver, and would be willing to trade down.

The Vikings also have more holes to fill overall than the Rams, who are just one year removed from nearly making the playoffs. One could argue that the Vikings simply need the extra picks more than the Rams.

Here are some potential trade scenarios:

Browns get: No. 3 pick
Vikings get: No. 4 pick, Browns 2nd-round pick

Redskins get: No. 3 pick
Vikings get: No. 6, Redskins 1st-round pick in 2013

Dolphins get: No. 3 pick
Vikings get: No. 9 pick, Dolphins 2nd-round pick, Dolphins 1st-round pick in 2013, Dolphins 3rd-round pick in 2013

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns, Dolphins, Rams, Redskins, Vikings Comments Off

So where will RGIII land?

While it comes as no surprise, Robert Griffin III has reportedly informed Baylor that he will be entering the draft.

And so begins silly season, which will feature a never ending supply of RGII rumors involving the Rams, Browns, Redskins, Seahawks, Dolphins and possibly a few others.

So let’s break down a few of the rumors before they even start…

Griffin is a top-six lock, but where will he land?

Scenario 1: Rams trade No. 2 pick to [insert QB desperate team here] - The Rams have to be ecstatic today with the news that Griffin is turning pro, which means the value of their No. 2 pick skyrockets. Ideally, the Rams create a bidding war between the Browns and another team (most likely the Redskins) and are able to pry both of Cleveland’s 1st-round picks from GM Tom Heckert. But while the Browns have the edge over anyone interested in trading up, never underestimate Daniel Snyder’s complete disregard for the value of draft picks. If Snyder gets desperate, he just may put together a package the Rams can’t refuse.

Scenario 2: Browns select Griffin at No. 4 – While this is the least dramatic scenario, it’s probably the most likely one. The Redskins have the ability to trade up, but the Rams also have incentive to stay put. The Vikings have similar needs to the Rams and if the St. Louis gets its heart set on Justin Blackmon or Matt Kalil, there’s no guarantee the Vikings won’t swoop in a take him at No. 3. That would allow Griffin to fall to No. 4, where the Browns would probably take him.

Scenario 3: Bucs trade No. 5 pick t0 [insert QB desperate team here] - If the Browns don’t want Griffin, the Redskins would lose their incentive to trade up to No. 2. And, while the Seahawks and Dolphins would be crazy to not have an interest in Griffin, the asking price will likely be too steep for them to trade up that high. However, if Cleveland passes on him at No. 4, the Bucs could initiate a bidding war between those teams interested in jumping ahead of Washington.

Scenario 4: The Redskins select Griffin at No. 6 – If all else fails, the Redskins will end Griffin’s mini fall at No. 6.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns, Rams, Redskins Comments Off

2011 Draft Grades: St. Louis Rams

This was a very strange draft for the Rams. At times it felt like Josh McDaniels, who embarrassed himself on draft day while with the Broncos, had hijacked the war room and was calling the shots. They filled some holes, but there wasn’t a lot of value in this class.

The selection of Robert Quinn seemed like a nice pick at the time, but when looking this draft class as a whole it raises some concern. Considering the reaches they made throughout the later rounds, it would be nice to say their draft class was at least anchored by a can’t-miss prospect in the 1st round. I like Quinn, but he definitely doesn’t fall into that category. He has a ton of upside, but there are obvious concerns when drafting a player who hasn’t set foot on a field in over a year.

Lance Kendricks was one of the biggest reaches of the draft – and I say that even though he was my second-rated tight end. There was a huge dropoff at the position once Kyle Rudolph came off the board, but the Rams waited just four picks to take Kendricks. If they were dead set on taking a tight end, why not trade up a few slots for Rudolph? Kendricks fills a glaring hole, and may start as a rookie, but it won’t change the fact that much better prospects were still on the board. It’s also worth noting that in 2009 McDaniels reached for tight end Richard Quinn. In two seasons in Denver, Quinn caught one pass.

I have similar criticism of the selections of Austin Pettis and Greg Salas. Both add some much needed depth, but both were reaches. And to make matters worse, they’re both very similar players. Pettis and Salas are possession receivers who can excel in the Rams system, but it will be tough to get both players the football on a consistent basis. And it doesn’t help that Brandon Gibson fills a very similar role among the receivers already on the offense. The Rams needed to bring in someone who could stretch the field and potentially be a red-zone threat, and I don’t see either Pettis or Salas filling those voids.

Jermale Hines was a slight reach in the 5th round, but he adds depth to a shallow secondary and should contribute immediately on special teams. Depending on how they address the secondary in free agency, there’s an outside shot that he wins the starting strong safety job.

Mikail Baker was used primarily as a kick returner at Baylor, and will probably be given an opportunity to earn that job in St. Louis. If he doesn’t, however, he’ll have a difficult time keeping a roster spot.

I like Jabara Williams as a sleeper prospect at linebacker. The Rams don’t have a ton of talent at the position aside from James Laurinatis, so he’ll be given a serious look in training camp. It’s tough to predict much playing time for a 7th-round pick, but Williams will at least have an opportunity to prove himself in St. Louis.

Like Hines, Jonathan Lewis has limited upside but adds depth at safety. I expect the Rams to address the position in free agency, but it was wise for them to bring in some rookies as an insurance policy. In the 7th round Lewis had decent value and could contribute as backup at free safety.

Overall, the Rams landed two potential starters – Quinn and Kendricks – and a few others who may contribute. Normally, that constitutes a solid draft. However, you have to consider the talent that Rams passed over early in this draft. The selection of Kendricks is the one that will be heavily scrutinized over the next couple years if he doesn’t work out. They had an opportunity to move up just four slots to land Kyle Rudolph. Additionally, the next two players off the board – Stefen Wisniewski and Ben Ijalana – could have filled a hole at right guard. Only time will tell if the Rams made the smart choice, but it doesn’t look promising.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2011, Rams Comments Off

Cameron Jordan to the St. Louis Rams?

While we all assume the Rams are interested in a receiver (most likely Julio Jones) in the 1st round, they really haven’t tipped their hand yet about their intentions.

Personally, I believe Jones will be off the board which will force the Rams to look in a different direction.

Jordan would be a great fit in St. Louis

Considering the wealth of defensive lineman with top-15 grades, it would seem logical that the Rams would target one at No. 14. I currently have them selecting Muhammad Wilkerson in my latest mock draft.

Another possibility which is flying under the radar is Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan. I have Jordan rated as the 4th overall player in this draft class and, while the consensus is that he’s in the 10-20 range, I have feeling I’m not the only one extremely high on him.

The Rams have reportedly schedule a visit with Jordan, one of the few sure-fire 1st-round picks they have been linked to this offseason. There’s no reason for them to feign an interest in Jordan, which leads me to believe they’re genuinely considering him in the 1st round.

While defensive end isn’t a glaring need, it’s possible that they are one of the teams that view him as a top-10 talent. Additionally, he seems to fit their scheme perfectly. In the Billy Devaney era the Rams have targeted true three-down lineman (like Jordan), as opposed to guys who are more pure pass rushers (such as Aldon Smith).

Ultimately I probably will not match the Rams up with Jordan in my final mock draft, but I won’t be at all shocked if he becomes their selection on draft day.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Rams 1 Comment

5 teams most likely to trade down on draft day

5. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings need a quarterback, but the 12th pick is too early to reach for Locker or Mallett. To make matters worse, the 43rd pick may be too late to land either of those two, and possibly too late for Ponder as well. They may try to trade down to the late 1st-round in order to land a quarterback in a reasonable draft slot.

4. Carolina Panthers
There isn’t an obvious choice at No. 1 this year and the Panthers could get a similar player at a cheaper price if they trade down. If they can convince a team like the Bills or Bengals to trade up for a quarterback, the Panthers would gladly move down.

3. New England Patriots
The Patriots are a candidate here because, well, they always trade down. A great defensive lineman is likely to be on the board at No. 17 and the Patriots can probably find a trading partner. They may be able to pick up an additional 1st-round pick in the 2012 draft, continuing the cycle which Bill Belichick has mastered.

2. St. Louis Rams
If A.J. Green and Julio Jones are off the board the Rams will immediately begin shopping the 14th pick. There isn’t another receiver worthy of a top-15 pick and there isn’t anyone else that fills a glaring hole. The smart move would be to move down and possibly consider Jonathan Baldwin later in the round.

1. Detroit Lions
The Lions want a cornerback or a linebacker and there may not be anyone worthy of the 13th pick on the board at either position.  Unless Prince Amukamara or Von Miller somehow falls, the Lions will try hard to trade back. When they do, Akeem Ayers and Jimmy Smith could become targets.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Lions, Panthers, Patriots, Rams, Vikings Comments Off

Will Rackley drawing interest from nine teams

Rackley is one of the top small-school prospects

According to Josh Buchanan of JBScouting.com Lehigh offensive lineman Will Rackley is lining up a number of visits and private workouts.

He’ll be one of the busiest prospects over the next month, as he meets with the Browns, Cowboys, Rams, Chiefs, Dolphins, Lions, Jaguars, Patriots and Jets.

Rackley played left tackle in college but is probably best suited for guard at the next level. That said, his potential versatility certainly gives his stock an extra boost.

Based on the amount of interest in Rackley he is starting to look like a pretty safe bet to go in the first three rounds. A team like the Cleveland Browns, who could use help at both right guard and right tackle would be a good fit. The St. Louis Rams, who desperately need to upgrade their interior line would also make sense.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Browns, Chiefs, Cowboys, Dolphins, Jaguars, Jets, Lions, Patriots, Rams Comments Off

Draft Needs: St. Louis Rams

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the St. Louis Rams [full archive here].

Season Recap – Rookie QB Sam Bradford helped lead the Rams to their best season since 2006, as they finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs by one game. Steve Spagnuolo’s philosophies are beginning to take shape and now that Bradford is under center, expect the Rams to be a contender in the NFC West.

Needs:
1. Defensive Line
– With the Giants, “Spags” had a plethora of D-lineman and would rotate them throughout the game causing many miss matches. The Rams don’t have the same type of personnel, so adding more pieces the D-line will be a priority this offseason. Chris Long is set at one end spot, but the Rams need to get someone across from him. With the strength of the defensive line class, the Rams can grab a starter (or two) in the first two rounds. Read more

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Draft Needs - 2011, Rams Comments Off

Rams interested in trading down

Rams GM Billy Daveney has stated that he and his staff are already discussing the possibility of trading down on draft day.

It makes perfect sense and is probably their dream scenario unless Julio Jones is on the board.

The Rams only glaring need is a wide receiver, but only Jones and A.J. Green are likely to get top 15 grades from many teams. However, there could be two or three receivers – Torrey Smith, Jon Baldwin and Titus Young – worthy of a late 1st-round selection.

In addition to receiver, two other primary areas of need in St. Louis – outside linebacker and cornerback – are lacking mid-1st-round talent, making the move even more likely. In a situation where Jones, Akeem Ayers, Prince Amukamara and Jimmy Smith are all off the board, the Rams may be forced to trade down or settle for someone at a position that doesn’t fill a hole.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Rams Comments Off

32 reasons why no one in the NFL should want Moss

Cardinals – Need a lot more than one aging receiver to fix their quarterback situation.

Falcons – Why mess up a good thing between Matt Ryan and Roddy White?

Ravens – No room with Boldin, Mason and Housh. Moss would pout, ruin chemistry.

Bills – Ryan Fitzpatrick has been pleasantly surprising. Don’t mess with a good thing.

Panthers – Think Moss will be a good soldier on a team competing for the No. 1 pick?

Bears – Lovie and Martz have their hands full already with Jay Cutler in the locker room.

Bengals – T.O.  and Moss in the same locker room? No thanks.

Browns – If Mangini can’t get along with Braylon Edwards, how would Moss fit in?

Cowboys – The last thing they need is another distraction.

Broncos – Do you really think McDaniels will get along with Moss better than Marshall?

Lions – Can you picture Moss accepting role as a No. 2 receiver on a 2-5 team?

Packers – Chemistry on offense seems to be great. Don’t mess it up.

Texans – See above.

Colts – Manning prefers his no-name receivers. And it works just fine for him.

Jaguars – Last place Jags aren’t going anywhere. Don’t waste the money.

Chiefs – Already hold a big lead in a weak division. Why mess with what’s working?

Dolphins – Marshall and Moss is too much ego for any coaching staff to handle.

Vikings – Been there. Done that.

Patriots – Been there. Done that.

Saints – Brees seems to be doing o.k. for himself without an elite receiver.

Giants – Can you picture Moss backing up Nicks and Smith?

Jets – I think they’ve learned their lesson with Braylon Edwards.

Raiders – Been there. Done that.

Eagles – Been there. Done that.

Steelers – After trading Holmes, adding Moss would be a step backwards.

Chargers – Vincent Jackson is back.

49ers – Can you picture Moss being happy in last place in the worst division?

Seahawks – The last thing Mike Williams needs right now is a bad influence.

Rams – Last thing this young, overachieving team needs is a bad influence like Moss.

Bucs – See above.

Titans – Kenny Britt has enough issues to overcome without Moss influencing him.

Redskins – McNabb and T.O. didn’t work. Why would it work with Moss?

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 49ers, Bears, Bengals, Bills, Broncos, Browns, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs, Colts, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Giants, Jaguars, Jets, Lions, Packers, Panthers, Patriots, Raiders, Rams, Ravens, Redskins, Saints, Seahawks, Steelers, Texans, Titans, Vikings 1 Comment

NFL Rookie Rankings – Through Week 6

OFFENSE
1.
Sam Bradford, Rams
Compared to other quarterbacks in the league Bradford’s numbers are mediocre at best. But for a rookie, he has more than lived up to expectations.

2. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
Hernandez was expected to take on a more prominent role in the passing game due to the departure of Moss and he stepped with with six receptions against the Ravens.

3. Jahvid Best, Lions
Best falls down the board as he continues to remain unproductive running the ball. He’s still a weapon as a receiver, but he hasn’t looked like a complete player lately.

4. Mike Williams, Bucs
Williams has clearly stepped up as the Bucs top receiver. He’s been targeted 40 times by Josh Freeman, 16 more than other other wide receiver on the team.

5. Chris Ivory, Saints
He’s only started two games, but it’s impossible to ignore Ivory’s 158-yard breakout performances against the Bucs.

DEFENSE
1.Koa Misi, Dolphins
Misi regains the top spot after record a sack and two pressures for the second straight game. The Dolphins pass rush has noticeably improved since he joined the starting lineup in Week 3.

2. Nate Allen, Eagles
Allen losses his stop atop the rankings after a rough week against the Falcons in which he got burned for a touchdown.

3. Earl Thomas, Seahawks
Thomas played a key role in keeping the Bears passing attack in check. He isn’t as well rounded as Allen, but he’s is emerging as an elite safety in coverage.

4. Ndamukong Suh, Lions
Suh is a one-dimensional player at this point in his career, but he does that one thing very well. He’s arguably the most dominant pass-rushing interior lineman in the league, not just among rookies.

5. Lamarr Houston, Raiders
Houston doesn’t have the sack totals to get much attention, but he’s been quietly consistent and effective as a pass rusher all season.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Buccaneers, Dolphins, Eagles, Lions, Patriots, Raiders, Rams, Saints, Seahawks Comments Off