Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The 2011 Total NFL Draft (Round 1)

Which team will inherit Aaron Rodgers and his championship belt?
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.

Opening Comments:

Jon:  Gentlemen, welcome to “The Total NFL Draft!” It’s wonderful to be drafting with you once again…I say that since this project will likely take us the better part of a decade to finish, meaning we will have done countless fantasy drafts prior to its completion. As a result, Aaron Rodgers will have likely retired shortly before Casey officially made him the first overall pick (you are doing that, right Casey?). Not surprisingly, Brett Favre is still attempting his ridiculous comebacks and he’s managed to outlive Rodgers’ career by several years.  Anyways, I’d like to assure you all that the draft order was totally random, as is evidenced by me drafting last…which I am not happy about. Obviously. Sadly, there is no official scoring system to determine who “won” our draft. Therefore, I’d like to announce that the owner/operator of Boris Diaw Time! will make an arbitrary ruling on the victor of this proceeding. Don’t worry; I’m sure he will be completely objective.

Prince:  Alright Jon, so I guess you are making it clear to everyone that even if you end up with a team consisting of Rex Grossman, Marion Barber, and Takeo Spikes; somehow you’ll still end up being the “winner.” This should go well. Also, I think it’s funny you wrote that you just have your idiot friends on the podcast, because all last week, when Torg was on vacation, that’s exactly what Common Man did. He even tweeted “I’ve decided I’m just bringing on all my friends and screwing off.” Sounds exactly like what we do! Anyway, only 22 rounds? I thought we were building a whole team. Looks like I won’t be able to get to my sleeper picks of  long snappers and punters...Also, can we get through one post on BDT! without you bringing up the Favre interception? Just one?

Laney:  First, I would like to thank my parents for always believing in me. I would not have made it to these great heights without your support. Second, I would like to thank myself. Without myself, I would be beside myself. Third, I would like to thank the National Football League, without which this would not be possible. Cuatro, I would like to thank BW3’s, whose spectacular food and shoddy service have been my companion through many a Sunday. I would not have this considerable amount of football knowledge without you. Fizzifth, my fans. LITTLE TASTE OF MY VICTORY SPEECH THERE, YOU NANCY MEN!

Casey:  Uh…you guys do realize that I am about to do my first fantasy anything tomorrow night, right? Just checking. I mean, I get it, we’re like the 2008 Detroit Lions and all, but if that’s the case, then I’m the back-up kicker who never got to play. Well, thanks for letting me play this time, gentlemen! Jon, I have trouble believing that this was totally random, since you gave me the #1 overall pick and then basically tell me who I should pick. I just hope the three of you aren’t placing bets behind my back on what dumb picks you can get me to make. Because I’ll do it! Here we go…

1st Round

#1   Team Casey – QB Aaron Rodgers

I’m really tempted to pick Patrick Willis here, just to anger Laney since he apparently wants to be married to him – plus I’m a Niners fan! Wait a second, I’m a Niners fan… they suck… hmm, maybe I won’t pick Patrick Willis after all. Who won the Super Bowl last year again? Who was the MVP of that Super Bowl? Okay, I’m picking Aaron Rodgers. Oh, and by the way: GO CAL! GOLDEN BEARS FOR LIFE, BABY! I’M SO PROUD OF YOU, AARON! KEEP IT GOING FOR ME. PLEEEEEASE!!!

Laney:  Reach. Clearly Mark Sanchez should have been the #1 pick. Let’s face it guys, his unwavering commitment to convincing the general public that he is a leader is quite admirable. Add to that his winning smile, and that clearly puts him at the top. I certainly will have a lot to think about with the next pick!

Prince:  Yeah Casey, I guess it would have been awkward for you to take anyone other than Rodgers since, for some reason, Landrum already announced it in his opening comment. I’m kind of surprised you didn’t do it just to try and give him a stroke though. It’s the right pick to make, so unfortunately, I can’t make fun of you this time. Although, Laney, I am now looking forward to you taking Sanchez #2, which you will probably describe as the “steal of the draft.” Please make this happen. At least you and Sanchez have something in common...neither of you are good NFL QBs and you’ve both wanted to punch Rex Ryan.

Jon:  I think we’ve all wanted to punch Rex Ryan at some point, but we’ve all been too afraid to lose our hands in the process. Question, if you tried to kick Rex, would he let you? I’m thinking yes. Anyways, why am I catching flack for ‘announcing’ Casey’s pick. How could you not pick Rodgers?! You’ll all pay! Except you, Laney. If you pick Sanchez, I promise I’ll let you off the hook. Also, I’d love to talk fantasy football trades with you…like, right now.

Casey:  Jon, I think you need to go ahead and put an auto-veto on all trades involving Laney right now. Although, I had totally forgotten about the wanting to punch Rex incident. So… is it too late for me to change my pick? Nah, forget it –I couldn’t live with myself if I changed my pick from a Cal guy to one of USC’s classic pretty-boy QBs.

#2   Team Laney – CB Darrelle Revis

Speaking of Rex Ryan, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Revis Island! With Revis, I get the best CB in the league, essentially negating the other teams’ WR pick. Some feel you have to go QB early in these drafts, but I felt that CB had the widest margin of talent between the #1 and #2 players. Revis is an exceptional cover corner who will lock down his side of the field.

Prince:  Wow, I’m actually shocked you went with Revis this high. It’s not that Revis isn’t good, I just wouldn’t want to start my franchise with him. Maybe there is a dropoff between the #1 and #2 CB, but what do you think the difference will be between the #3 and #4 QB...because I guess that’s what you’ll be looking at. At least your QB won’t have to throw against Revis, because it would probably be a pick every time. I guess you did set yourself up to go with Sanchez later though, since he never has to go against Revis in a real game. Now it all makes sense.

Jon:  Prince, I’m so happy you took this stance! I couldn’t have said it better myself…though I guess I’m obligated to try. Let me just get this straight for everyone – you’re not willing to compromise at CB, but you’re more than happy to compromise at QB, the most important position (by far) on the field? Interesting strategy. It wouldn’t be so bad if the margin of talent was as big as you say, but according to Football Outsiders, Revis ranked #1 in success rate by only 4%...and he would have finished 2nd if Asante Samuel had been targeted 4 more times. But good luck with your franchise CB and thanks for the free QB! I’ll just do like everyone else and scheme away from the CB…because it’s actually pretty easy to do.

Casey:  Yeah, not that I can add anything intelligent to what the others have already said, but I have always assumed that CB is a somewhat expendable position on the field. Look, you can point to any team with holes and say that position is important for them, but what is one amazing CB going to do for you when you’re building a franchise? You’ll still need a good one on the other side, otherwise the offense will just pick on that side the whole game! Sorry to team up Laney, but between Revis and Sanchez you’re well on your way to a team that looks like the Jets – that is, not in a Super Bowl.

Laney:  I made the pick under the assumption my top player wasn’t available. Can’t change it apparently, so I have to live with it. It’s hard to really defend my position on this as I thought it was significantly different from what it is.

#3   Team Prince – QB Philip Rivers

So, in my mind, there were 3 QB’s I would be willing to start a franchise with. I figured 2 of them would already be gone, making this selection pretty easy for me. After Revis went, though, it made this very tough. I really considered taking a different position and letting Landrum take whichever QB he wanted, leaving the 3rd to me, but after killing Laney for not grabbing a QB, I figured I should take Rivers. Football Outsiders has Rivers as the 3rd ranked QB behind Brady and Manning, so I think he’s great start to my franchise. Rivers is only 29 and should have plenty of quality years left, which is why I went with him over Brady and Manning.

Jon:  You know Prince, it’s kinda hard to rip on you when you make a logical pick like that. I really don’t appreciate it. For what it’s worth, I’d take Bradford over Rivers at this point. I’ll save that argument for later though (guess who I’m picking???). Really though, you can’t go wrong with Philip Rivers. In all honesty, I think Rivers, at this point, might be one of the most underrated QB’s in history. Through his first five years of starting, he’s been as good as nearly anyone in history. The only real knock he gets is his lack of playoff success, and, as I’ve talked about before, I think that’s a crock. My only concern with Rivers is that he turns 30 in December. Fact is, he doesn’t have the greatest arm strength, so any significant decline in his throwing ability could be fatal. You probably have another 5 years of dominant play, but I’m not sure if you get any more than that.

Casey:  Jon, you’re absolutely right, and we all know that this is all because Norv has done what only Norv could do! Somehow he’s helped one of the great QBs of our generation garner an underrated reputation… all because Norv can’t coach. Prince, I like this pick, but I have to say I like your point about letting Jon pick the QB and getting your pick of another playmaker, and I think you should have gone with it. But if you really felt strongly about Rivers over Bradford, then this is a solid move. (P.S. it’s a day later and I’m still laughing about the Laney thing above!)

Laney:  You’re welcome, Prince…

Prince:  Thanks Laney. I know Bradford could end up being better than Rivers, but I wanted to go with a more established player at QB. It was tough to choose between the two, but I had Rivers on my fantasy team last year, so I followed him pretty closely…and he's amazing.

#4   Team Landrum – QB Sam Bradford

You guys can’t even comprehend how excited I am to land Bradford all the way down at #4! (Special thanks to Laney!) Look, Prince, I understand where you’re coming from on Rivers. If I was just picking for the next 2 or 3 years, I’d definitely take Rivers over Bradford. But we’re building a franchise, and I have to think about the long haul…and Bradford is 6 full years younger than Rivers! 6 years! That’s a long time! I’m sure one of you guys is going to point out that Bradford’s QB rating was under 80, but that doesn’t tell the story. Bradford singlehandedly lifted a 1 win Rams team to 7 wins and a near division championship. He threw for over 3500 yards, had a positive TD-INT ratio, and had a 6 game stretch in the middle of the season where he posted an impressive 11-1 TD-INT ratio. Oh yeah, AND HE HAD NOBODY ON HIS TEAM!!! I’m being totally honest when I say that I believe Aaron Rodgers and Sam Bradford will own this league for the next decade or so.

Casey:  Wow! A decade! Rodgers will be very fortunate if he’s still dominating at age 37, but I get your point. Anyway, as you’ve heard me say many, many times, I sincerely hope you’re wrong about Bradford. I am just now recovering from Kurt Warner’s decade-long dictatorship over my division. But I have a feeling you’re right. Please excuse me while I go cry myself to sleep watching old film of Steve Young throwing to Jerry Rice.

Laney:  Sam Bradford has a world of potential. After a number of conversations with Jon, and looking up some of the stats myself, I have to agree with him. 6 years is a HUGE age difference and if there isn’t that large of a potential gap, you have to opt for the younger of the two. I have one major problem with this pick. Let’s face the fact that Sam Bradford coasted through last year on the coat tails of one Danny Amendola. You can’t replace talent like Amendola. He is Fred Biletnikoff, only 5-8 inches shorter and significantly less talented. I just worry for Bradford if there ever comes a day that he is without such a talent.

Prince:  Bradford was obviously my number 3 QB, so I love this pick. Hopefully, for your fake team, he can keep learning and improving because he has the potential to be great. Not much else I can say. 

Landrum:  Don’t you worry Prince; I’ll teach him everything I know! Given my tremendous track record of success on Madden, I don’t see any way that Bradford doesn’t become the greatest QB of all time.


Again, we are continuing work on this project. I have several more rounds ready to post, and I'll be doing that systematically throughout the rest of this week and next. We'd certainly love to hear who you would start your NFL franchise with!

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