Thursday, September 15, 2011

The 2011 Total NFL Draft (Round 2)

If we had a draft for which NFL player most resembled a female...
In case you missed Round 1, here is the link. Special thanks to Torg from Common Man and the Torg for re-tweeting the link. MY GUY!

Local sports radio in Columbus, OH can be severely hit or miss, but there is one show that is an absolute MUST LISTEN every day. From 3-6pm, Monday-Friday, “Common Man and the Torg” grace my radio and carry me through the grueling end of my workday. If you’ve never listened to them, I strongly urge you to give it a shot…I’m sure you’ll love it. To get an idea of what their show is like, just imagine a typical podcast with me and Prince…only make it about five times angrier and more inappropriate. Oh yeah, and also they mostly know what they’re talking about and they have real guests on who don’t fall under the “idiot friends” category. So basically not like the podcast at all…moving on.

One bit they do every year, prior to the start of the football season, is pick one offensive player and one defensive player they would want to start a football team with. Keep in mind, this is a long-term team. They aren’t picking for just this year, they are picking for this year and subsequent years down the road. It’s such a simple idea, but it really is an awesome topic of debate for football fans.

With that in mind, and with fantasy football drafts fresh in my memory, I can’t think of a single reason not to run with this idea. Back in the spring, Prince and I conducted an excruciatingly long mock draft prior to the 2011 NFL Draft. Since we aren’t clever enough to come up with any of our own ideas, we’ve remained in Brett Favre-like retirement ever since -- without the text messages -- but now that we have a great idea to vulture, it’s time to make our glorious comeback…only to completely and utterly ruin it with a crushing interception that will result in a devastating loss in a game we completely dominated. Wait, I’m not describing our draft anymore, am I? Sorry Prince…(not really!)

But wait, there’s more! Prince and I decided that two idiots weren’t enough! So we added Boris Diaw Time! regulars Casey Richey and Nick Laney on board, thus forming the blogging equivalent of the 2008 Detroit Lions. Aren’t you excited? I know I am…

Here are the parameters: There are 22 rounds in the draft and each position must be filled. Each person may pick the base offense (3WR, 2TE, etc.) and base defense (3-4, 4-3, 46) of their choice, though it must be a legitimate NFL base offense or defense. We are drafting as if we are starting a brand new team and importance must be placed on the future viability of this team. A player’s value for this year is important, but his long-term value is perhaps even more important. And, of course, no touching of the hair or face…AND THAT’S IT!!!

Draft Order:     1. Casey Richey
                        2. Nick Laney
                        3. Jared Prince
                        4. Jon Landrum

Note: We started this later than I hoped and the draft will be on-going throughout the season. Next year, we'll start earlier and have it done before the regular season. I'll be posting these round by round as we get them completed.

2nd Round

#5   Team Landrum – DT Ndamukong Suh

This is where things get interesting…well, except for the part where Laney thought he wasn’t allowed to take Rivers (sound of me rubbing salt in Laney’s fresh wound). The decision came down to Suh and Clay Matthews. Both are exceptionally young, both are major impact players, and both are legitimate franchise-type players to build a defense around. I went with Suh for two reasons. The first is the value of having a DT over a LB. There are very few young, impact DT’s in the league, and it is an extremely important position. Having a defensive anchor like Suh to control the run game and collapse the pocket means everything. Getting sacks off the edge is great, but having a guy who can rush straight up the middle is a major luxury. Plus, there are plenty of LB’s out there, making Suh a much better value. The second reason I took Suh is simply to make Prince angry. I don’t mind telling you that I pretty much straight up lied to Prince, telling him I was going with Matthews. Believe me, there aren’t many people out there who love Suh more than Prince, so you can imagine his excitement when he thought he was going to get him at #6. Guess what? I was going with Suh the entire time! STICK THAT, PRINCE!!!

Laney: If I’ve learned one thing in fantasy drafts/trades, it’s to show EXTREME caution when Jon is telling you what his plans are. He always plays it close to the chest. If Bradford was #3 on your list Prince, and you really wanted Suh, why would you not take him with the 3rd pick!?!?!?!? Then you get Suh and Rivers and avoid this situation!!! In regards to the pick, I completely agree. DT is a much more important position than LB, and Suh has the look of a future HoFer, especially given the depth there is at LB and the lack of top end depth at DT. Great pick.

Prince: Well Jon, you succeeded. I’m a little upset that Suh won’t be there to anchor my D-Line (especially when you did tell me over and over again that you were going with Bradford and Matthews), but I still love him. There’s a lot of news circulating about him being a dirty player, but I don’t care. I love what he has done for Detroit’s defense. Before Suh was drafted, teams knew they would have an easy time playing Detroit. Now, they strike fear into their opponent’s offense because Suh has single-handedly given them a new identity. I should have known Landrum was going to take him. So, I got screwed over, and that’s fine. I feel like I’m the Ravens in this draft and Jon is the stupid Bears who end up defaulting on a trade. Well played Jon, you got Suh. At least I’m not complaining that I didn’t know the rules.

(Not surprisingly, Prince’s first comment had to be removed)

Casey: Oh man… the real question is, how many rounds before we can go three comments without ripping Laney? At this point I’m saying it will be at least four. As for the pick – Landrum is obviously a dirty player too, so Suh will fit right in with his team. Prince, I really don’t see too much reason to be mad or feel like you got screwed – it’s not like Jon convinced you to trade up or anything, and you still get next pick, so you can take Matthews or your pick of a top player for another position.

Landrum: Yeah Prince, don’t feel like you got screwed! It’s not like I repeatedly assured you I would take Clay Matthews or anything! Oh, wait. Anyways, great point by Casey on Suh fitting in with my team. Admittedly, I have a reputation as a cutthroat in fantasy football, and it’s well deserved. So yeah, I’ll take a player like Suh any day! Honestly, I couldn’t care less if people think he’s dirty. Actually, I love a player with an attitude like his. He literally wants to rip your head off on every play, and those are the kind of defensive players I want up front. Keep throwing QB’s, Suh…and maybe start a “Roger Goodell just fined me for the 20th time this season” fund.

#6   Team Prince – LB Clay Matthews

As much as it pains me to take a Packer, I can’t pass on Clay Matthews. I seriously can’t believe that he’s still here. When Common Man and Torg picked, along with other people who called in, Matthews was chosen more frequently than any other defensive player to start off their franchise. He’s only 25, and already has 24 sacks through his first 2 seasons(31 games). He has to be accounted for on every play, and he’s obviously great at getting pressure on the QB. Football Outsiders looked at broken tackles from last year and evaluated defensive players on how efficient they were at tackling. In their study, Clay Matthews was the only eligible player (those who made at least 50 tackles) who did not have an offensive player break away from him. Even if the study did miss a few times that he messed up, it still goes to show that Matthews is a great player. Oh, and apparently Matthews had a broken leg for the second half of the season last year. So, he’s a beast. Speaking of broken legs… Landrum, if our fake teams ever would play, I’d pull a Miami Hurricanes on you and put a bounty on Sam Bradford. We’ll see what good that 6 year difference is when Bradford has a torn ACL… which, by the way, my QB (Rivers) played on a torn ACL in the ‘07 AFC Championship game. So I guess I’m just taking guys who stupidly try to play when they are injured. That probably fits in well with me.

Casey: Can I really add anything intelligible to that? I will say that Prince is right in that this is yet another good personality fit – stupidly playing injured is definitely Prince’s forte. I seem to recall an intramural soccer game in which Prince’s ankle was the size of Mark McGwire’s head.

Landrum: Yes, Casey, that is correct. And in that soccer game, when I advised Prince to sit the remainder of the contest, he replied, “THIS IS ALL I HAVE!!!” What a sad, sad life indeed. Now look at you, Prince. Your only happiness in life is putting a bounty on my QB’s knees. I guess that’s about all you can do since you already took out my knee in real life. Just beware, if Matthews takes out Bradford’s knee, I’m instructing Suh to eat Philip Rivers…whole.

Laney:  Really Prince!?!? You have to take a shot at me after I had zero to do with that Suh ordeal. Right, you sure didn’t complain that you were not aware of the rules. You just pigeon-holed yourself into a lose-lose situation. At least I had the crutch of thinking I wasn’t able to take the player, you just shafted yourself for no reason!! In relation to the pick, Matthews is incredibly dominant and a game changer. He has everything you could ask for out of an OLB. With the talent available at OLB, I’m not sure I would have went linebacker this early, but at the end of the day (ESPN NFL commentator quote!) he has the talent to win multiple National Football League Defensive Most Valuable Player (yes I really had to write that all out) awards.

Prince: Yes!! That’s the exact game I was referring to when I mentioned me playing injured. After already injuring my ankle many times before that, and still playing, I wasn’t ever going to run right again anyway. As Landrum pointed out, I do have some experience taking out his knee, so it shouldn’t be hard for me to pass along that knowledge to Matthews. Laney, thanks for at least commenting about my pick (unlike Casey and Landrum), but I could argue that the whole ordeal can be traced back to the Revis pick. I guess if the lose-lose situation leaves me with Rivers and Matthews, then I’ll just have to accept that, since I love Rivers, and Matthews is considered one of the best (some say THE best) young players in the game.
#7   Team Laney – MLB Patrick Willis
Oh man, I’m incredibly excited to make this pick! When asked by ESPN who would be the one to replace him as the most dominant LB in the game, Ray Lewis responded, unsurprisingly, with Patrick Willis. He described him as such: "I just love the way he plays the game. He plays the game with a fire. He reminds me of myself – a lot, a lot, a lot." If there is a better ringing endorsement than 3x “a lot,” I certainly am not aware of it!! Willis has made the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons. During the 2011 season he was named to the AP All-Pro team as well as being named Linebacker of the Year for the third time in his career and the second year in a row by the NFL Alumni Association. His best endorsement comes from the writers who profiled the best 10 players at their position. The 10 writers not only voted Willis as their top MLB, they also voted him best overall LB. He won that category by a VERY healthy 8 point margin.

Casey: Let me wipe away the tears first, as I see the only 49er in this draft just slip past my grip… okay, now I’m ready. Considering you are the only one of us left without a QB, I guess it makes sense for you to hold off for a while and stock up on quality defenders. And while I think there’s a pretty long list of guys who you could have taken here at about the same value, who am I to argue with Ray Lewis? Then again, he could be saying that this is Rex Grossman’s year to come back (as a QB, not a lineman!), and I still wouldn’t want to argue with him…

Landrum: Casey, is that because you respect Ray Lewis’ opinions so much, or because he will kill you if you disagree with him? Like, literally kill you. Dead. Anyway, at the risk of losing my life, I’ll say that I’m slightly dubious of taking a MLB this early. That position seems to be loaded with young, franchise type players. Willis, of course, is the best of that group, but I see more value in a stud DT like Haloti Ngata or a franchise LT like Jake Long. Now that I think of it, Laney, you really didn’t think this Willis pick through very well. After hearing about the bounty Prince has put on Sam Bradford’s knees, you should have immediately invested in the best offensive line possible. After he’s done with Bradford, you know he’ll be gunning for you!

Prince: Uh oh, maybe I started a LB run (probably not). Either way, Patrick Willis is a game changer and I’m assuming that Laney didn’t think that he would make it past Casey. After I missed out on Suh, I think it became very obvious that if you want a guy you should just go ahead and take him. You can’t really argue with Ray Lewis’ comments, but I just wish that he would have compared Willis to someone other than himself. We don’t need another crazy MLB out there taking out people. Plus, it would be horrible for Laney (and Casey since he’s still actually on the 49ers) if Willis ended up in jail. Don’t worry about your QB Laney, I won’t send Matthews after his knees. Actually, we should team up so Willis and Matthews can hit Bradford at the same time.

Laney: Indeed friends, I had a giant fear of Casey taking him with one of his next two picks. Casey, I apologize for taking the only 49er that would fit into a draft like this, but rest assured, I love me some Patty Willis. Jon, you make a good point about DT and OL, but the fact that Casey had two consecutive picks upcoming and the fact that I felt he was the best young player available combined to force my hand (my sizeable man love aside). Prince is very much right, he is a game changer. He has no weakness as far as I’m concerned. He is equally dominant in both the passing and running games. Overall, I’m feeling great about my young defense! Here follows my attempt at the defense for the Revis pick. I was initially being fussy about misunderstanding the rules (which is my fault, but who wants to admit they are wrong!?!?) and didn’t attempt one. I have since brought my toys back to the sand box:

“My Revised ‘What the heck, why don’t I have a go at it?’ Revis defense”: As I said originally my goal going into this was to pick players that had the highest drop off from each player. The one that jumped out the most was Revis. I can get a QB later down the road. Given Rivers’ age, it’s not as big a blow to miss out on him. As far as Bradford goes, initially I had Matt Ryan ranked relatively close to him so it didn’t make sense to go QB here. In my eyes, there wasn’t as big a gap in the value between the two, so it didn’t constitute a first round selection. The CB’s that would make the most sense in a draft like this, after Revis, are Johnathan Joseph and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Asante Samuel and Charles Woodson are all on the wrong side of 30. Also, Revis finished 3rd in the Scouts Inc top 200 player ratings. So overall, yes I didn’t take a QB. I took the route of pursuing the most value early.

#8   Team Casey – LT Jake Long

Believe me, it is with extreme difficulty that I pass on a guy named D’Brickashaw. But I had to do it. I think either Long or the Browns’ Joe Thomas make the most sense here, as they have both have had a few years to demonstrate their skills while only being 26 years old. Bottom line: I gotta protect my QB, so I figured I’d grab this guy while he’s still out there, and I have another pick coming anyway. And by the way, I’m not too worried about Willis – I wan’t even sure if I would pick him here! I do think there are plenty of LB’s out there. Heads-up, Aldon Smith! (Just kidding… maybe.)

Landrum: Don’t you dare lie, Casey! You know you were taking Patrick Willis if he was available! You can’t help yourself! Anyways, I love, love, love this pick. The general consensus is that Long is the best LT in football, and I tend to agree. Going back to my previous premise, I think it’s wise for you to protect Rodgers from Prince’s unethical bounties. You know he’s a Vikings fan, right? You don’t think he’ll be gunning for Rodgers’ knees as well?

Prince: Well, I can’t say that I’m surprised by this pick or that Landrum loves it, because he brought up Long in his comment for Laney’s pick. I guess that makes you 2 for 2 on calling Casey’s picks, Landrum. I do really like Long though, and he’s a huge building block for your team. Long plays on the left side of the line and Matthews will be coming through the right side, so don’t just assume that this will stop Matthews from going after Rogers.

Laney: Well, if worse comes to worst and breaking legs doesn’t work, he’s a Vikings fan, so he has the knowledge/ability to collapse a stadium on you! In regards to Jake Long…great pick. I’m of the opinion that a great LT is just about as important as your QB. Long has been amazing since coming into the National Football League. I think the large win swing that culminated in a playoff trip the year he was drafted could be largely attributed to his dominance on that left side. As a former Michigan player (and someone who loves Joe Thomas), it pains me to say he has established himself as the best LT in the league. 

Casey: Wait… Laney, you played football for Michigan?!? How have I known you for over a year and not heard about that at some point? Or were you saying that Jake Long is someone who loves Joe Thomas? Either way I put it together, I’m having trouble picturing it. Anyway, not much for me to respond to here since no one’s ripping on me (yet)… which is a perfect segue to my next pick!

1 comment:

  1. LOL what a picture of Clay Matthews! That would not be out of place in a Herbal Essences commercial.