This past weekend was packed full of draft speculation surrounding what the Browns might do with the No. 4 pick. Well, some of them are already being dismissed.
Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer reported that the Rams and Eagles were among four teams that were interested in trading up to the Browns' No. 4 pick. Then Mike Florio seemingly suggested that the Browns themselves might be releasing misinformation to advance their own agenda, which is reasonable as teams deploy more and more smokescreens with the draft drawing closer.
Furthermore, Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com cited a "high-level team source" as saying the trade report with the Eagles and Browns was "just another draft rumor" and that there's little chance the Eagles will trade up to the No. 4 pick.
The Eagles source said the team has spoken several times about numerous eventualities with the Browns as well as virtually every other team above and below them in the first round but said there isn’t a likely scenario that would have the Eagles moving up 11 spots in the first round into the No. 4 spot.
What do we make of all of this? There's not much to make. As I mentioned before, I think Florio's suggestion regarding the sources for the original report about other teams' interest in the No. 4 pick is a reasonable one. By that same token, one could make the claim that the Eagles' source isn't being entirely honest as well.
For a team to be completely, 100 percent honest at this time in April would be a bad football decision. We should view the fact that we can't foresee what the Browns are going to do as a good thing right now.
Even Peter King, who said he talked to seven "highly trustworthy NFL people," also said that no one knows what the Browns are doing with the No. 4 pick.
It's Sunday, which means another day filled with sports on the tube. Basketball is entering the final games before the playoffs, with teams jockeying for positioning. The NHL is already in the playoffs and MLB is still kicking off their young season. What's on the television in sports?
NBA Basketball: Miami Heat at New York Knicks (1:00 PM, ABC)
This could be a first-round preview for the NBA playoffs. The Miami Heat are sitting comfortably with the No. 2 seed. The New York Knicks are warming up, currently holding onto the No. 7 seed, though only 3.5 games behind the Atlantic-leading Boston Celtics. With the Orlando Magic falling apart, there's a fairly good chance that the Knicks could leap the devastated Magic by this time next week. The Heat are 2-0 against the Knicks this year, beating them by double-digits in both games.
NASCAR Racing: Camping World Truck Series Carolina 200 (1:00 PM, SPEED)
The truck series returns to Rockingham, the first NASCAR event since the Cup series left The Rock in 2004.
MLB Baseball: Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals (1:30 PM, Fox Sports Ohio)
Our beloved Cincinnati Reds have lost three-straight to the Nationals during the four-game weekend series. Can they avoid being swept? Can the $400 million offense score some runs and get on base? Mike Leake is expected to take the hill today.
MLB Baseball: Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox (1:30 PM, TBS)
After sweeping the New York Yankees to start the season, the Rays have lost four of their next five, including the first two games against the Boston Red Sox, who have lost five of their first six games to start the season. Apparently everyone is streaking.
PGA Tour: The Heritage (3:00 PM, CBS)
Carl Pettersson (-12) and Colt Knost (-11) hold the leaderboard in South Carolina during an event void of star-power.
Stanley Cup Playoff: Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers (3:00 PM, NBC)
The Flyers are holding onto a 2-0 lead after outscoring the Penguins 12-8 during the first two meetings.
Indy Racing: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (3:30 PM, NBC Sports)
With two races in the books, Indy will fire up engines on the streets of Long Beach this afternoon. If you want open-wheel racing where a tap means wrecked cars (therefore added caution) on a road-course, with much of it impassible, then this brand of racing is for you. And you said NASCAR is boring...
NBA Basketball: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers (3:30 PM, ABC)
Los Angeles has already clinched a playoff berth but the Dallas Mavericks, currently holding onto the No. 6 seed, are only three games secured for the playoffs. A losing streak could still potentially knock them out. Of course that depends on the Phoenix Suns, looking in from the outside, which probably means the Mavs are safe.
Stanley Cup Playoff: New Jersey Devils at Florida Panthers (7:30 PM, NBC Sports)
Martin Brodeur recorded his 100th postseason win during the Devils 3-2 win over the Panthers in Game One. The puck drops for Game Two drops at 7:30.
MLB Baseball: Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees (8:00 PM, ESPN)
The Angles' 3-5 start has put them 3.5 games behind the AL West leading Texas Rangers. Actually the Angels are behind every team in the AL West during this insanely young baseball season. The Yankees, on the other hand, have won four of their past five after being swept during the opening series by the Rays.
Stanley Cup Playoff: Vancouver Canucks at Los Angeles Kings (10:30 PM, NBC Sports)
The Kings have won comfortable 4-2 in game one and two in the first round.
As we've discussed the Jacksonville Jaguars can go a lot of different ways in the 2012 NFL Draft. There are plenty of spots on offense the team could go, but there still are a few big holes on defense. With the eye injury to defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, his status for the 2012 season is still kind of up in the air, so the defensive tackle position might be of small concern.
There is a player in the draft who's name seems to keep popping up as a potential Top 10 pick, and that's defensive lineman from Mississippi State Fletcher Cox. I call him "defensive lineman" and not defensive tackle because there is a wide belief that Cox could be a left end in a 43 defense if he sheds a little bit of weight, because he's very explosive off the snap and shows good pass rushing ability from inside and out. Some have even called him the "non-scary version of Quinton Coples."The cut up I'm going to break down for Cox today is his match up with Alabama from the 2011 season. Cox matches up often with Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones, who has started all over the offensive line and will likely be a high pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. As always, the cut up is courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com.
On the second play of the game, Cox is lined up over the right guard and right off the snap you can see how quick he is. He blows right past the interior lineman and gets into the backfield, disrupting the run and helping stop it for a loss.
On the very next play, Cox shows why some teams like his versatility and his ability to play the left end position at the next level. Cox explodes off the snap of the ball getting right into the right tackle, then easily rips away and comes inside, but gets dragged down by the right tackle. Probably could have been a holding call, but Cox beat the lineman off the snap and began to collapse the pocket forcing the Alabama quarterback to dump off the football.
The next handful of plays are Cox matching up against some running plays and you can see he does a nice job of holding the point and getting into the backfield to disrupt the flow of the running play. On one play, Cox even splits the double team of the Alabama offensive line forcing Trent Richardson to pick a new lane.
As mentioned, you can see in the games that Cox is an explosive athlete and this was reaffirmed at the NFL Combine where the defensive lineman came in at 6'4" and 298 pounds with a massive wing span and big hands. Cox clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.79 seconds officially, which is fantastic for a player of his size.
The biggest down fall on Cox is that he's not really a technician and could use some coaching how to shed blocks and utilize rip moves. He will at times try to rely too much on his athleticism, which works against most players in the NCAA, but as you can see in some of the plays when he goes against more talented offensive lineman he can get washed out of a play. This isn't because Cox can't handle the lineman, but it's because he just tries to run by or power past them, rather than using a move to get by.
Cox is a player I think will wind up going somewhere in the Top 15 and could go as high as No. 6 overall if the St. Louis Rams don't decide to take a wide receiver. He's someone I think will be high on the Jaguars draft board if they're stuck at the No. 7 overall pick or even if they slide down a few spots.
Joe ReedyPer league source, the Bengals had former Steelers receiver Limas Sweed in for a workout Friday. Sweed missed 2010 ... http://t.co/4nHD8r93 12 hours ago via Sulia · Reply · Retweet · Favorite · powered by @socialditto
A productive receiver for the Texas Longhorns, Limas Sneed was selected in the second-round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers despite injury concerns - a problem which has plagued his professional career as well. He missed the 2010 season with an Achilles injury and was waived prior to the 2011 season. In his three year career, Limas Sweed has only seven receptions.
Should Sweed sign, the Bengals are continuing their trend this offseason of signing unrealized talent. Already signing former first round picks Derrick Harvey and Jamaal Anderson, Cincinnati would again hope to find value in a talented, yet disregarded, player.
Football Outsiders does a nice job making readers aware of statistics that they did not previously know. Their latest statistical analysis comes in the form of broken tackles. The Football Outsiders define a "broken tackle" as, the ball carrier escaping from the grasp of the defender, or the ball carrier juking out a defensive player that was in good position to make a tackle. Many would likely not be surprised that the Bengals were tied for third to last in percentage of plays with a broken tackle last season.
According to Football Outsiders, the Bengals ran 1004 offensive plays last season. They had only 37 plays with a broken tackle, resulting in only 39 broken tackles total. That ends up as only 3.7 percent of plays resulting in a broken tackle for the Bengals. The team with the best broken tackle percentage was the Philadelphia Eagles, with 8.4 percent. This was in large part to quarterback Michael Vick tying Tim Tebow for the league lead in most broken tackles by a quarterback, with 22. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy also had the most broken tackles by a running back, with 50.There were only two teams that trailed the Bengals in broken tackle percentage last season. They were the NewYork Jets (3.3) and the St. Louis Rams (2.9). One of the main reasons for the Bengals being near the bottom was the lack of broken tackles by running back Cedric Benson. Benson finished fourth to last in broken tackle percentage. He had 273 carries, with 10 broken tackles. This resulted in a 3.5 percentage of broken tackles. The only backs that trailed Benson in that statistic last season were Peyton Hills, Danny Woodhead, and Thomas Jones. This was a drastic change from 2010 for Benson, who had 30 broken tackles that season, and an 8.6 percentage rate.
In 2010, new Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis finished fifth to last in broken tackle percentage, with a 4.1 percentage rate. This is not surprising, as Green-Ellis is not known as a back likely to break many tackles. If the Bengals want to improve on their broken tackle rate from last season, they will likely need to draft a shifty back in the first three rounds. Some possibilities could be Miami (FL) running back Lamar Miller, Virginia Tech's David Wilson, Oregon's LaMichael James, and Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead. Many of these running backs could follow in the footsteps of Falcon's back Jacquizz Rodgers, who lead rookies with 19 broken tackles. He did this while getting only 78 touches.
Over the last two months, a sizable chunk of our draft discussion has centered around the tight end position, and Stanford TE Coby Fleener in particular. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has shown a proclivity for using three tight end sets and his history with Fleener makes it a logical conclusion to assume the team will try and grab him at No. 30.
However, given some of the depth needs the 49ers currently have, it makes some sense for the 49ers to potentially wait into the later rounds. Coby Fleener is the number one option in positional rankings, with a fairly sizable gap between him and the next group, including Orson Charles and Dwayne Allen.
Earlier this week, I put together a post about potential tight end Andre Hardy. The Cal State-Fullerton basketball product is looking to follow in the footsteps of star tight end Antonio Gates in jumping from college basketball to the NFL in spite of no playing time since high school. There will be an opportunity for Bay area football fans to watch Hardy, but it will be in Oakland, not San Francisco. Due to his basketball playing nature, Hardy was allowed to sign with any team before the draft gets going in two weeks.
Mike Mayock put together a rundown of three members of the tight end class of 2012 for Philly.com (he lives near there). Fleener tops his list, but he pointed to the common issue of Fleener's blocking ability. He thinks Fleener needs to get bigger and stronger, which he thinks should be able to happen at the next level.
After discussing Fleener, he pointed to a riser in James Hanna (Oklahoma) and a sleeper in Rhett Ellison (USC). Hanna appears to be a pure receiving tight end who would be brought in to add to the vertical threat as opposed to be down close to the line:
"He doesn't block anybody, but when you're talking about a 252-pound kid who can run a 4.45, that's rare ... I think he's going to go in the fourth round, and I think it's going to be somebody who's going to say, ‘I know he's not a blocker. But we've already got a blocking tight end. He's going to be more of a move guy that we're going to develop.' If you're a team that already has a base-blocking tight end and you're looking for a vertical threat to pair with him, this is the kind of kid you draft."
On the other hand, Mayock views Ellison as a more dynamic tight end. He describes Ellison as a "fullback/h-back tight end." Delanie Walker is approaching free agency after 2012 and it remains to be seen if he will be back in San Francisco. Nate Byham will get plenty of opportunities to compete for the third tight end position, but given his draft position, his presence likely will not prevent the team from looking for more options in the draft.
Here's what Mayock had to say about Ellison:
"I really like this kid. He's a fullback/h-back tight end. He was a point-of-attack guy at USC. It didn't matter where they lined him up, he was the point of the football. He blocked. He caught the ball. He ran a little bit. He can run short and intermediate routes. He reminds me a little bit of the kid out of Pitt that ended up with the Giants last year, \[Henry\] Hynoski ... "
I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few individual Falcon records that are within the reach of some of the team's current players in 2012. It's pretty self-explanatory, so I won't spend a lot of time on preamble, except to say that it's truly impressive how many current Falcons could tie, break or even shatter records within the next few seasons.
It's been a hell of an era.
Here's a short list of some of the more interesting records for the year ahead.
Call 911. I repeat, call 911!
"911, do you have an emergency?"
"Yes, I'd like to file a missing persons report."
Who is missing? How about every single sports writer in the 49ers realm. I don't blame them. This is their last good rest before a week and a half of hell. As for me, I'm sitting inside, wishing I was outside in the beautiful autumn sun. I'm like a child on a rainy day, staring out the window. The birds look as confused as I do. I guess all the sports writers are out enjoying the weather... Oh, wait, I'm not in the Bay Area.
And that's what we're left with on a very, very slow news day...talking about the weather. How is it there?
Excellent article today from BASG. It's about Randy Moss and 'older' receivers and their production and comes with free charts for the first 10,000 viewers. Many receivers have had good to great years at his age, but were they coming off of a two year stretch where they were cut by multiple teams, then sat out a year. Me thinks not. What to expect from Randy...I think he'll give us an added element in the red zone that we've been missing and teams will have to account for him down there. Decoy? Savior? | Randy Moss and older receivers. (BASG)
The rumor has been floating around for a bit, but Matt Barrows has decided to put it in official article form. The 49ers will plan to bid for Super Bowl L. It's generally what happens when you build a billion dollar stadium in the League, so it's no surprise. Last time we had a Super Bowl in the Bay was the Stanford one in '85, which we, of course, won. | Santa Clara to bid on Super Bowl L. (Barrows)
Ninjames has an article. That's right, we don't have him frozen in carbon, like Han Solo, only to thaw him out to do the occasional Nuggets. He writes other articles, too. This one is about why we should draft someone for the D-Line. He makes a darn good argument. We do need some depth and we need someone who will eventually take over for Justin Smith. | Why we should draft a DL. (Bay Area SB Nation)
Now here's a video on a prospect the 49ers might actually draft. Baylor WR Kendall Wright looks good and if he's around at #30...It's a big 'if', but...As they say, "If ifs and buts were grains and nuts we'd all have a bowl of granola." | 49 in 49: Kendall Wright. (49ers.com)
Hmm...this is awkward. So what do we do now? I feel like I have a lot more to write, and you probably feel like you have a lot more to read. How about a topic for discussion? What about Randy Moss? What can we expect from him? What if he turns into Chris 'he only catches touchdowns' Carter? That wouldn't be too bad, now would it? Anyone else?
Being a Sheep
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The votes are in, and after 163 votes our DBN Big Board slots 21-25 are as follows:
21. Mike Adams--300 total points
22. Dre Kirkpatrick--201 total points
23. Mark Barron--187 total points
24. Nick Perry--163 total points
25. Dont'a Hightower--160 total points
On to the 26-30 slots!
1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
3. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
5. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
6. Matt Kalil, OT, USC
7. Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
8. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
9. Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
10. Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
11. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
12. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
13. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
14. Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
15. Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
16. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
17. Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
18. Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
19. Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia
20. Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
21. Mike Adams, OT, The Ohio State University
22. Dre Kirkpatrick, DB, Alabama
23. Mark Barron, S, Alabama
24. Nick Perry, DE, USC
25. Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Rank the top five available players. Take talent, value, need, and character into account if you think the Browns should take these things in to account when drafting. If you always want the best player available simply rank the top 5 players available.
Players will receive 5 points for every first place vote, 4 for every second place, and so on. They will receive 0 points if they are unranked. Total points from all ballots will be added, and the 5 players with the most votes will be taken out of the pool of available players and put up on the big board.
This is not a mock draft.
Don't predict what will happen
Don't think about other teams
Don't worry about who is available. Assume everyone you can vote for is available. (I will take players out of the vote-able pool once we put them on the board)
Just rank your guys in the order you would like to see them drafted by the Browns.
Please vote only once.
Using the Scouts Inc. rankings (yes, I am aware of how much you hate Todd McShay) I will compile a pool of 25 draft eligible players. We will take a poll and rank players five at a time. New polls will happen every two days or so until the draft.
If there are players you think I should include in the draft-eligible pool--especially if they aren't coming up in McShay's rankings, let me know and I will put them in for the next poll. Thanks for voting!