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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lockout "still lifted"; Newton

Judge Nelson put the players ahead of the NFL again, lifting the lockout essentially permanently (it's much less likely the lockout restarts on appeal). What does it mean? Nothing, yet. Rules on the league year will come, then the league year itself. All will happen after the draft unless the various sides all agree on things like player trades, and they haven't agreed on much in years.

Night before the draft now, 21 hours until the pick.

Everyone keeps saying the pick is Cam Newton. I've made myself clear, both in the past and this year, that QBs aren't magically the top player taken every year because they're the best players. In this case I don't even know that Newton is top 15, and plenty of scouts agree.

But, it looks like impending doom - a running QB in a timing system; an inaccurate QB in a system that requires accuracy. An offense that will probably have to adjust to one player's strengths to make all other players' skills a variable.

It can work, but it will take a lot of things to fall into place. And I doubt it does, at this point, but I don't doubt we'll take him.

There are other picks, and while I had grand thoughts of putting together players to watch at the top of the 3rd and 4th, the picks that will have to matter if we're picking a fucking project QB, I haven't done so.

So quick thoughts - at 65, I'd really love a DT. Need a DT. Kenrick Ellis and Jerrell Powe are intriguing big men, but makes more sense to go with a Jarvis Jenkins or similar 300 lb guy, instead of 340. Unlike Marcell Dareus, prospects at the top of 3 probably won't be able to do everything well, though, so the player has to be a run stopper anyway.

Alternately, a TE makes sense - Rob Housler has the huge athleticism but is raw; Lance Kendricks makes sense a round later if they feel OK about his routes, or if they want more raw athleticism, Jordan Cameron. They do have their yearly Gamecock pick to make, so that could be Weslye Saunders.

One of the top 100 picks will inevitably be a cornerback - Aaron Williams, Marcus Gilchrist make sense to fight for nickel to start, and then be starting zone guys. Toughness, instinct more than anything.

If anything outside those three spots made the top 3 non-Newton picks, I'd call OL. WR is a need, but needs a vet. OL has veterans, WR doesn't. And OL makes sense in any and every draft. Florida's Marcus Gilbert keeps jumping out at me, more than the others likely available.

But, it's fairly rare that guys I lock onto pre-draft are picks. Right about this time every year, fans get heartbroken in April and fall in love in September. It's part of the process. Expect trades - Hurney averages about 1.5 trades per draft - and likely a bit of a move toward smarter players with a little less upside.
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