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The ‘What You Should Do But Won’t’ mock draft: picks 11-20

April 6, 2010

As I’m sure literally tens of you remember, we at PaP began our ‘What You Should Do But Won’t’ mock draft over the weekend, unveiling our choices for the top 10 selections in the 2010 NFL draft, caveating those choices with what we think the teams will actually do. Today, we push on down the draft order with numbers 11 through 20.

Before we do that, however, a mammoth trade hit the NFL the other day which will drastically alter which players will be selected and, indeed, what we think teams should do. Washington’s acquisition of Donovan McNabb made our initial top 10 obsolete within 24 hours (surely a new record), so we’ll quickly revise that list before pushing onward. All clear? Wonderful.

What the top 10 should now do… And what they will actually do

1. St. Louis – Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

2. Lions – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

3. Buccaneers – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

4. Redskins – Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State

Now that they have a quarterback they trust, the ‘Skins must address the left tackle position. Chris Samuels is gone, and Okung is the best offensive lineman in this draft. A physically gifted athlete, as well as a superb technician and nasty blocker, Okung starts instantly and protects the money invested in new QB Donovan McNabb.

5. Kansas City – Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa

6. Seattle – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

7. Cleveland – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee Eric Berry, S, Tennessee

Even with Clausen now available, the Browns should (and will) stick with Berry. The team is at least 2 years away from competing, and with a trio of quarterbacks already in the locker room, they should try and improve one of the NFL’s worst defenses.

8. Oakland – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida

9. Buffalo – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame

The Bills’ offensive line has been in disarray since the Jason Peters trade, and they should 100% be getting a tackle here. But new coach Chan Gailey and the ownership go with the sexier pick. The Bills have QB problems, no doubt, but Clausen’s going to get ripped to shreds behind one of football’s most porous lines.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech

So, with that aside, here’s the next 10 picks of our ‘What You Should Do But Won’t’ mock draft:

With the eleventh overall pick, the Denver Broncos should select: Joe Haden, CB, Florida

With the eleventh overall pick, the Denver Broncos will select: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

The Broncos acquired this pick from Chicago in the Cutler trade a year ago, and they should use it to fortify a defense which has been suspect the last few years, especially on the back end. Starting corners Champ Bailey and André Goodman are both 31, and in the NFL it’s only a matter of time before age on the back end starts to show up, especially when you try to play man-to-man. Haden is the best corner in the draft by a fair way, and getting him at 11 would be a steal. But we think the Broncos will make a mistake by taking the talented but troubled Bryant. Huge questions surround his work ethic and off-field behaviour, but the Broncos will go on upside and hope he can resurface as a top wideout after his NCAA suspension last year. Plus it means they can try and trade Brandon Marshall, who they’re clearly desperate to offload. However, we don’t think the cure for an unmotivated WR is drafting another one.

With the twelfth overall pick, the Miami Dolphins should select: Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas

With the twelfth overall pick, the Miami Dolphins will select: Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas

Bill Parcells is a very savvy assessor of talent, and he also has a history of drafting physical outside ‘backers. Whilst Dan Williams would make sense at nose tackle here, we think that the imposing Kindle makes a better pick. Having paid Karlos Dansby a hefty contract, getting some pass-rushers outside him is a smart play, especially given the age of Jason Taylor and the departure of serial trash-talker Joey Porter. Kindle has all the physical tools and a good football brain, both of which he’ll need in the Dolphins’ 3-4 defense.

With the thirteenth overall pick, the San Francisco 49ers should select: Joe Haden, CB, Florida

With the thirteenth overall pick, the San Francisco 49ers will select: Joe Haden, CB, Florida

If the Broncos pass on Haden as we expect, the 9ers will leap at the chance to get him. With a stout front seven lead by man/machine/monster Patrick Willis, the secondary has been a problem for San Fran for a while. In Haden they acquire a top-10 talent, a brilliant man-to-man cornerback who can start instantly at nickel, and take over opposite Nate Clements inside a year. A brilliant talent and one Mike Singletary will adore: he’s physical, strong and a worker, just what the squad needs.

With the fourteenth overall pick, the Seattle Seahawks should select: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

With the fourteenth overall pick, the Seattle Seahawks will select: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

Well, the player Seattle should select at #6 actually falls to them in this mock, how lucky. We are still adamant that Williams should absolutely be the pick at 6 since there are a lot of teams that need tackles from 7 through 13, but here they get a left tackle to replace Walter Jones, protect Matt Hasselbeck/Charlie Whitehurst and pave the way for Spiller. If it goes like this, Seattle would be ecstatic.

With the fifteenth overall pick, the New York Giants should select: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri

With the fifteenth overall pick, the New York Giants will select: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri

Whilst the agile, hostile, versatile Texas safety Earl Thomas will be a tempting pick here, the Giants need help at the linebacker spot too much to pass on the vocal Weatherspoon. A rock in Mizzou’s defense, Weatherspoon is very capable at both outside and inside linebacker; he’s quick and can cover as well as thump between the tackles. With the departure of Antonio Pierce there’s an enormous hole in the centre of the G-men’s defense. The Giants have drafted brilliantly the last few years, and Weatherspoon adds to this impressive list of picks.

With the sixteenth overall pick, the Tennessee Titans should select: Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan

With the sixteenth overall pick, the Tennessee Titans will select: Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan

Tennessee has huge holes at both defensive end and outside linebacker, and Brandon Graham is capable of playing in both positions. A relentless pass-rusher and a strong tackler, Graham has a lot of starting experience and can plug a big hole for the Titans after the departures of Keith Bulluck, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse. Jeff Fisher’s a defensive guy, and will recognise both the holes in Tennessee’s D and the talent of Graham to snap him up at 16.

With the seventeenth overall pick, the San Francisco 49ers should select: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers

With the seventeenth overall pick, the San Francisco 49ers will select: Mike Iupati, G, Idaho

With the selection of Haden, the ‘9ers can feel better about their defense. Singletary’s a tough guy coach and will go with the powerful Iupati instead of the superior Davis. Whilst the Rutgers product has a few off-field problems, he’s a fine tackle who could start opposite Joe Staley. Everyone’s projecting Iupati as a possible tackle, but during the Senior Bowl he looked  uncomfortable there, so they’ll reach for him as a guard instead.

With the eighteenth overall pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers should select: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

With the eighteenth overall pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers will select: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

Mike Tomlin has been a pretty good drafter since his arrival in the Steel City, and here he’ll look for a solid, unspectacular pick. However, for once, it’s not the right call. He’ll believe that with Casey Hampton’s weight problems and age, Williams is the heir apparent. But nose tackles play a long time in this league: look at Sam Adams, Kelly Gregg and Jamal Williams. Kyle Wilson is a superb corner who would shore up a secondary which has been far from Steeler-like in recent years. A gifted cover man with passion and drive (not to mention a badass tour bus), Wilson has been touted as close to Haden in talent, so should be (though won’t) be the pick.

With the nineteenth overall pick, the Atlanta Falcons should select: Earl Thomas, S, Texas

With the nineteenth overall pick, the Atlanta Falcons will select: Earl Thomas, S, Texas

If all of the top defensive ends have gone as we predict, then the Falcons will go with Thomas, the excellent former Longhorn (we think they should take Thomas even if a top DE is still on the board). He’s got cover skills which enable you to stay in base defense more often, and has all the physical tools needed for an NFL safety. After acquiring Dunta Robinson, the cornerback position has been solidified, and now safety can be addressed. In a division with Drew Brees in it, you better be able to defend the pass.

With the twentieth overall pick, the Houston Texans should select: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

With the twentieth overall pick, the Houston Texans will select: Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State

The Texans traded Robinson to the Falcons (as mentioned above) and they desperately need to replace him. Wilson would be a great selection, but Gary Kubiak is an offensive guy and will choose the powerful running back out of Fresno State. Although he would be an excellent compliment to speedy Steve Slaton, RB is a secondary need compared to corner, and the pick absolutely should be Kyle Wilson. Unfortunately, it won’t be and glamour will once again win out.

So that’s us all the way down to number 20, return to us in a few days for the final chapter of the ‘What You Should Do But Won’t’ mock draft!

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The ‘What You Should Do But Won’t’ mock draft, picks 1-10

April 4, 2010

Welcome one and all to the first 10 picks of the Play Action Post ‘What You Should Do But Won’t’ mock draft 2010! What does this slightly too-long and not-very-catchy title mean exactly? Well, those of you with stellar memories may well remember our piece on the horrors of bad drafting (and helpful tips on how to succeed) last year, and with this new decade will no doubt come some more horrendous front office mistakes which we can all look back on and laugh at (probably mostly to do with Al Davis).

Every blogger in the known universe has a mock draft, but we thought it’d be more fun to do a mock draft of what we think each team should do, followed by what they actually will do. With a fairly deep draft class in a number of useful areas (Offensive tackle, D-line, cornerback), it should be a bumper year for ignoring your draft board and grabbing an overrated prospect or someone the fans want. Nowhere in the world are there more false promises than in the NFL Draft’s top 10 picks, so without further ado, here’s how we see our sanctimonious first ten picks panning out.

With the first overall pick, the St. Louis Rams should select: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State

With the first overall pick, the St. Louis Rams will select: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

The Rams have been in dire straits for the best part of a decade, and any team that rebuilds their squad properly (case in point: Miami Dolphins) starts on the O-line. Yes, the Rams’ QBs are shocking, but when they inevitably draft Sam Bradford he’s going to spend the entire year on his back. Not only would the pick of Okung solidify pass protection, but would let the Rams only actual playmaker – Steven Jackson – run behind some real-life blocking for a change! Woo-hoo indeed. Whilst a D-tackle would make some sense, especially given coach Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive background, St. Louis has spent first-round picks on Chris Long and Adam Carriker in recent years, so it might be a stretch to take yet another D-lineman. Okung is a complete tackle, comfortably the best in this draft, and he’d be a big boost for the Rams’ offense. Of course, they won’t take him, instead going for a new ‘face of the franchise’: bad news for them, that face is about to take one hell of a pounding.

With the second overall pick, the Detroit Lions should select: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

With the second overall pick, the Detroit Lions will select: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

Holy Moly! The second pick and we’ve got a reasonable scenario (can this be true?). The new regime in Detroit made its glamour pick last year (NB to Rams: Lions picked a QB 1st overall last year, they’re only picking 2nd the year after), and now will make a sensible one to solidify a position of need. The last time the Lions had a defense was, we’re told, sometime in the 1950s, and they’ve been getting gouged by the NFC North for years without a stout D-tackle. Suh is, for many, the best player in the draft, and will clog up the middle against the likes of A.Peterson, C.Taylor and M.Forte. Jim Schwartz worked wonders with Albert Haynesworth in Tennessee, and he’ll make the PaP-approved pick come April 22nd.

With the third overall pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should select: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

With the third overall pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

Surely not? Another sensible pick that looks like happening (don’t worry the Redskins pick next), and another D-tackle comes off the board. Raheem Morris is a defensively-minded coach, and is bringing the Tampa 2 back to Tampa. For this, they need an ‘upfield penetrator’ (surely the most innuendo-laden phrase in the NFL lexicon) in the interior defensive line, and McCoy fits the mould. The Bucs also chose a QB in round one in ’09 (NB to Rams: the Bucs chose a QB, are now picking higher in the draft than last year), and now need to make a selection to improve a porous defense. McCoy should, and probably will, be an excellent choice.

With the fourth overall pick, the Washington Redskins should select: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State

With the fourth overall pick, the Washington Redskins will select: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame (or trade the farm to move to no.1 for Sam Bradford)

Just when you thought it was all getting a bit sensible, it’s Dan Snyder to the rescue. The ‘Skins are in DIRE need of offensive linemen, but as usual they’ll make the glamour pick instead of the sensible one. It’s clear the front office hates Jason Campbell (NB to Rams: a first round QB), so he’s on a short leash. Clausen is a polished QB no doubt, but like Bradford is about to spend a lot of time in the ice bath. Chris Samuels’ retirement leaves a gaping void at left tackle, which Okung would fill, but Snyder loves big names (see Haynesworth, DeAngelo Hall, Adam Archuleta et al), so Clausen goes to Washington.

With the fifth overall pick, the Kansas City Chiefs should select: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State

With the fifth overall pick, the Kansas City Chiefs will select: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State

Scott Pioli’s a clever guy. He masterminded the Patriots’ dynasty, drafted Tom Brady and traded for Wes Welker and Randy Moss. So it should come as no surprise that he makes a solid pick at number five. Okung is an excellent tackle prospect, and by picking him the Chiefs can move Branden Albert to guard and Brian Waters to center: instantly, Matt Cassel gets a lot more help and the Chiefs step towards recreating what was once the best O-line in all of football.

With the sixth overall pick, the Seattle Seahawks should select: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa

With the sixth overall pick, the Seattle Seahawks should select: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

The Seahawks’ improbable slide has continued to worsen the last few years. Walter Jones is at the end of his career and injury prone, and his absence means that Matt Hasselbeck gets smacked around like a nerd in gym class. Bulaga is a polished technician who can start straightaway if called upon. Unfortunately, Pete Carroll used to coach Reggie Bush. Spiller is definitely the best RB in this class, and has a similar skill set to Bush (speed, elusiveness, return ability), so we think the new coach in Seattle convinces the front office and reaches for a home-run hitter, when what the ‘Hawks really need is protection for their pitcher.

With the seventh overall pick, the Cleveland Browns should select: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee

With the seventh overall pick, the Cleveland Browns will select: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee

Thank God for Mike Holmgren, eh Browns fans? A man who knows his stuff and makes sensible choices. Berry is for our money the best overall prospect in the 2010 draft, so the idea of getting him at seven must seem too good to be true. The Chiefs might nab him, but if not, Holmgren makes a great selection to shore up what’s got to be one of the worst secondaries we’ve seen in years.

With the eighth overall pick, the Oakland Raiders should select: ANY OFFENSIVE LINEMAN

With the eighth overall pick, the Oakland Raiders will select: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida

Raider Nation must be crying into their facepaint at this notion, but it seems like a depressingly plausible choice. We all know that Oakland just drafts athletes who have track speed but no track record, and Pierre-Paul is the most freakish specimen this year. A physically imposing edge rusher with oodles of speed (and backflipping skills), he fits the Raiders’ draft ‘scheme’ of grabbing a bust candidate (NB to Rams: JaMarcus Russell went no.1 overall to Oakland, has not panned out at all) who’s really athletic. OT Bruce Campbell is a possibility because he’s a height-weight-speed guy, but Pierre-Paul is such an Al Davis pick that it’s impossible to avoid it.

With the ninth overall pick, the Buffalo Bills should select: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa

With the ninth overall pick, the Buffalo Bills will select: They’ll try to trade this for Donovan McNabb, or take an O-tackle if they keep it.

The Bills, you will probably recall, foolishly traded their left tackle to Philadelphia for a pittance last year. Now, Buffalo’s in the hunt for Philly’s QB Donovan McNabb, and they’ll do their darndest to trade for him, probably using this pick as bait. The Bills do definitely need an answer at QB (NB to Rams: J.P. Losman was a first-rounder. Enough said), but their offensive line is truly dire. If they keep the selection, we firmly believe they’ll replace Jason Peters and won’t make the mistake they did last year, passing on Michael Oher to draft, erm, Aaron Maybin. However, don’t be shocked if the Iggles end up picking here instead. The wildcard is if they don’t get McNabb and Clausen slides; new coach Chan Gailey would force the Clausen pick in that hypothetical.

With the tenth overall pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars should select: Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama

With the tenth overall pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars will select: Derrick Harvey Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech

The Jags are probably in the top five worst drafters in the NFL. Among their first round misfires: Matt Jones, Reggie Williams and Byron Leftwich. Last year’s no.8 selection, DE Derrick Harvey, already looks bust-tacular, and the Jags will no doubt have to waste another pick on the D-line. We think they should take McClain, a thumping middle linebacker who can lead and replace the void left by Mike Peterson’s acrimonious departure. Morgan isn’t a horrible pick, but quite possibly another in a long line of bad Jags decisions. Only time will tell.

So there it is, hit us back in a couple of days for the next ten picks in the Play Action Post 2010 ‘What You Should Do But Won’t’ NFL Mock Draft.

Tennessee off the mark: Who’d have thought 1-6 could sound so sweet?

November 2, 2009

So it’s now week 8 of the NFL season (I know, going way too fast), and last year’s best regular-season team, your author’s beloved Tennessee Titans, have finally won their first game at home to Jacksonville yesterday. After the Steelers edged the Titans in the season’s first game, the Texans, Jaguars, Colts, Jets and Patriots have all felled the T’s, and such was the chagrin of the ownership that there were questions surrounding Jeff Fisher’s job security and if Vince Young would ever get a second shot at leading the team.

He's back, baby!

He's back, and turnover-free!

Yesterday, at least, we got the answer to one of those conundrums. Young came in and started his first game since opening day 2008, finishing with an unspectacular but nonetheless efficient statline of  15 of 18 passing for 125 yards and 1 touchdown to Nate Washington. However, the main positive for many Titans fans is that VY (and indeed the team as a whole) didn’t turn the football over. Not once. This is a huge change from a squad who were tied for the league lead in giveaways going into yesterday’s game with 18 in just six games.

Now, rather than bragging about how we at PaP foresaw a second chance for Young months ago, we should not be so bold. Obviously, this is only one game in a long season, and who knows if Young will continue to be efficient, improve or take a downward spiral.

More importantly, the pass defense, which has been the worst in the NFL all year long, finally had a good day, holding David Garrard (who shredded Tennessee for 300+ yards and three scores in the first game) to just 139 pass yards and picking him off twice. The return of Pro Bowl cornerback Cortland Finnegan had a marked impact on the team, and surely rookie D-coordinator Chuck Cecil was delighted to see an improvement in what has been the team’s worst area by far this season.

Chris Johnson: can high-step faster than most people can run.

However, there are still problems to fix for Tennessee. Without Chris Johnson’s frankly obscene game on the ground – 228 yards and two TDs for those keeping score at home – this would have been a much tighter affair, and the fact that Maurice Jones-Drew gained a monstrous 177 yards on just eight carries will certainly keep Cecil up at night this week.

It was a very good thing that Johnson played so well, because it made Young’s job a lot easier and meant that he could settle back into the starting role rather than having to try and win the game on his own. But Tennessee has to prepare for the games where they can’t dominate on the ground and have to lean on Young more; only time will tell how the former Texas star will handle the likes of Indianapolis, San Diego and Arizona down the stretch.

For now though, I’m sure Titans fans worldwide (including yours truly) will simply be delighted to no longer be the worst team in the league. And who knows, maybe Tennessee won’t have a pick in the top five come the 2010 draft. We can but hope!

Walk Before You Can Run: The Redskins Improve (A Bit) In The Air

September 16, 2009
Equalled his 2008 TD total in week 1.

Equalled his 2008 TD total in week 1.

The bad news is that Washington’s aerial attack wasn’t good enough to win their first meaningful game of 2009. While the defense bottled up the Giants run game, Eli Manning did just enough through the air and the Redskins running backs underperformed just enough that New York could hang on to win 23-17.

The good news? While it was by no means a flawless performance – mistakes included a lazy interception, a missed third down and the decisive strip-fumble-return-td from Osi Umeniyora – Washington’s passing was a lot better than last year.

Unusually for the Redskins, most of their bright spots in the game in fact came through the air. QB Jason Campbell finished 19 of 26 (73% completion), looking poised and strong armed for much of the game. Just as crucially, he didn’t spend the whole time on his back.
Read more…

Intuition or idiocy? Predictions for Week One

September 12, 2009

So the NFL season has officially begun, with your author’s beloved Titans falling in OT to the reigning champ Steelers 13-10.

Obviously, each NFL season has its quirks and surprises: last year the Dolphins and Falcons shocked everyone by rebounding from a sucky ’07 to make the playoffs, for example. Thus, predicting the results of the first week’s games would seem an impossible exercise. But not at PaP. We think ourselves savvy enough to predict an entire week’s matchups correctly.

And it is with this idea in mind that we introduce our first round of Intuition or Idiocy predictions, wherein we will try and correctly guess each game’s result. Now, NFL scoring makes exact predictions a mite tricker than, say, soccer forecasts, so we’ll simply give you the winner and a points differential to follow, plus a few tidbits of (probably hokey) information.

In addition, each week we will choose the BORE (Brain-numbingly Obvious REsult) game of the week and the YAWN (Yeah, All We Need) low-scoring matchup of the week, as well as the AWE (Amazing Weekly End-result) shock result of the week. As regular readers will know, we are masters of the acronym, so hopefully this latest batch will live up to expectations.

The Predictions

BORE game of the week, sponsored by John Beck’s Mormon Childhood: Buffalo @ New England

The first week normally offers a lot of surprises, but not here. The Bills are in disarray, without a good left tackle, a(nother) brand new O-coordinator and an anemic preseason offensive display. By contrast, New England looked fierce and have a point to prove. Brady has just sired a child – no doubt also a future Hall-of-Famer – so he’ll enjoy playing with Buffalo’s defense like a kiddie rattle.

New England by a lot 21+.

YAWN game of the week, sponsored by the Cincinnatti Police Department: St. Louis @ Seattle

Both these teams were incredibad last year, and both figure to be finding their stride. Both have new head coaches and new systems, so this will be a barometer game where the Rams and ‘Hawks start to fully grasp a new style of play. Boooooooring.

Seattle by 7+.

AWE game of the week, sponsored by Joe Flacco’s Eyebrows: San Diego @ Oakland

OK bear with me on this. We are not a blog who thinks the Raiders team-build well. Between stupid draft picks and coaches punching coaches, they’re not a team many like in ’09. However, the Bolts are usually very slow out of the gate and the Raiders are going to run the ball like nobody’s business, so I’m going with the Silver ‘n’ Black to pull one out of the bag here and shock everyone.

Raiders by 3.

The leftovers, sponsored by The Undrafted Rookie Association:

Miami @ Atlanta: Last year’s 2 surprise teams meet in Week One. Miami will look to recreate last year’s Cinderella run, but it won’t start here. The Dirty Birds’ offensive quartet of Ryan, Turner, White and Gonzalez will be too much for any Wildcat to overcome. Atlanta by 10.

Cassel: Brown trousers not in shot.

Philadelphia @ Carolina: The Panthers inexplicably gave Jake ‘6 turnover’ Delhomme the kind of moon-on-a-stick contract usually reserved for overrated free-agents in Washington, and Philly are this year’s chic Super Bowl pick. Philly to edge it in a minor shootout. Philadelphia by 10.

Minnesota @ Cleveland: The Brett Favre inevitable failure of a season Show starts here, and chances are it’ll start well. With the Williams Wall to play at least this game, don’t expect much from the Browns; they won’t be able to run it and Brady Quinn didn’t exactly set the world on fire in preseason. Minnesota by 14.

New York Jets @ Houston: Rex Ryan’s first game in charge, but don’t expect a win. With Glass-Bones Schaub healthy enough to start, the Texans have a good defense and the unstoppable Andre Johnson. That will be enough to squeak out a W here. Houston by 3.

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis: After stinking it up last year, the Jags get the joys of playing Peyton Manning in Week One. New coaching staff or not, Manning is still Manning, and expect him to tear it up with TDs to Wayne, Clark et al. Jags will put up a fight, but it’s Indy’s to lose. Indianapolis by 10.

Detroit @ New Orleans: So obvious it almost eeked New England for the BORE game, the Saints are going to run amok against a Lions D that was horrible last year. Jim Schwartz is a defensive mastermind, but this job will take time. Expect Drew Brees to show Matt Stafford how it’s done. New Orleans by 21+.

Tony Romos calendar is just twelve Septembers.

Tony Romo's calendar is just twelve Septembers.

Dallas @ Tampa Bay: The Bucs seem to have no idea what’s going on these days, changing starting QBs and RBs at will, and the ‘Boys should win this one. Plus, it’s September so Romo will actually be good. Dallas by 14.

San Francisco @ Arizona: The Niners are in transition, and the Cards are coming off one of the best offensive years outside of New Orleans. Fitzgerald to dominate, Arizona to walk it. Arizona by 17.

Washington @ New York Giants: Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell need the ‘Skins to do well this year to keep their jobs. However, a tough Week One matchup won’t help. Even without Burress and Ward, the Giants’ steady offense and brutal defense will be too much here. New York by 10.

Chicago @ Green Bay: Big early pace-setter in the NFC North here, with Da Bears on the shoulders of Forte and Cutler against the Pack on the shoulders of a 3-4 defense and Aaron Rodgers. I like the latter here, the Pack to win it in a physical affair with a big day for Rodgers to banish any lingering Favre memories. Green Bay by 13.

We’ll be keeping track of our overall prediction record as the season progresses, so check back next week for new predictions and to see how badly we messed these ones up.

The Five Easiest/Best Jobs in the NFL

August 12, 2009

So we all know that playing in the NFL is a privilege without compare. Boatloads of cash, worldwide fame and you’re getting paid to play in a brilliant sport. But what are the honest-to-God best jobs to have in the NFL? Sure, being Tom Brady or Adrian Peterson must be great, but surely it’s more fun to do precious little and still be an NFL employee?

We here at PaP are going to look at the best jobs in the NFL whose rewards are huge but don’t require much effort, and we’re starting in Indianapolis.

Jim Sorgi

This is perhaps the cushiest job in all of sports. Jim Sorgi, we salute you. You’re backing up a future hall-of-fame QB in Peyton Manning, you’ve got a Super Bowl ring, the coaching staff loves you and you’ve become a worldwide synonym for ‘backup’. Plus, in your (admittedly very limited) playing time, you’ve notched up a career TD-INT ratio of 6-1.

Sorgi has the greatest of all NFL jobs because he gets to hang out with P.Manning and plays for a team with a shit-hot receiving corps. When he does play, he has one of the league’s best organizations cheering him on and no pressure whatsoever. His 2007 contract extension paid him a princely $53,000 per game, and Sorgi, despite never having played a meaningful amount of time, has become a millionaire whilst in the NFL after being a college star at Wisconsin.

If he ever gets to start, his ‘best job in the NFL’ status will be lost, but Jim, we’ll still love ya for your brilliant stint as the best clipboard-holder in all of sports.

Arizona WR Coach John McNulty: lucky bastard.

Arizona WR Coach John McNulty: lucky bastard.

John McNulty

You probably won’t recognize the name John McNulty. You probably won’t even recognize his face. But he has got one of the great NFL jobs. He’s the Wide Receivers coach for the Arizona Cardinals.

Oh yes. He’s the guy who gets to stand on the sideline watching Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin (and now Steve Breaston too) tear defensive backfields apart whilst saying “I taught them that”.

Obviously, the guy’s got some skills as he’s turned Breaston into a 1000-yard receiver, but coaching Fitzgerald and Boldin must be like fishing with dynamite.

“Hey Larry, keep being the best receiver in the league would you? Thanks, keep it up. And Anquan? Continue to physically punish cornerbacks and be one of the premier pass-catchers in the NFL. Got that? Good.”

You’re trying to tell me that this isn’t a sweet gig? McNulty mentors the best WR tandem in the league and enjoyed a Cinderella playoff run last year. Plus, as long as Larry and Anquan keep putting up numbers, he’s got tenure for sure.

John McNulty, many congratulations sir.

Martin Mayhew

Mayhew, seen here on the left, is the new General Manager for the Detroit Lions. Yes, the same Lions who just finished 0-16 and have one of the longest championship droughts in professional football.

So why is this one of the best jobs in the league? Because you’re following on from Matt Millen, a.k.a. perhaps the most unbelievably inept front-office guy in the history of the NFL. If you can SOMEHOW manage to be worse than a guy who drafted Charles Rogers with the second overall pick, you have to be ridiculously bad at your job.

Mayhew has inherited the worst team in the NFL, sure, but he’s got a minimum of two seasons to turn it around, during which time he can pretty much do whatever he wants, knowing that things can’t get worse.

A team where nothing more can really go wrong, the absolute support of a huge fanbase and two years’ job security? Sounds like an awesome job to me.

Al Davis

Al Davis, looking a bit corpse-y.

Al Davis, looking a bit corpse-y.

Al Davis has got a job that most could only dream of. He owns and is heavily involved with an NFL team to which he has brought four championships (one AFL, three NFL). His draft practice is the most widely criticized in all of sports, yet because he OWNS the team, he can do (and does) whatever he damn well pleases.

Davis will die before he leaves the Raiders’ front office, and despite the team’s recent suckiness, he’s still got a huge amount of fan support not to mention a heckuva lot of clout with his fellow owners and the league itself.

Still regarded as one of the league’s most powerful owners, as well as one of the most hands-on, Davis has got a team that he’ll never sell and he can treat as pretty much his personal plaything.

Davis can be as crazy as he wants and he’ll never get fired, and if he feels upset, he can go and cry into his three Lombardi trophies. Pretty sweet.

Larry Izzo

Larry Izzo has never really been a consistent starter at the linebacker position, spending most of his career as a special teamer and playing for three different NFL teams in his ten-plus seasons.

So far, not great right? But oh, did we mention he played for the Patriots from 2001-08, earning three championship rings in the process? Yeah, that was OK.

Izzo played for the dynasty of the 2000s and earned his three rings whilst only having to play a maximum of about ten plays of every game! The Pats were a dominant force and Izzo got to enjoy all their success while spending minimal time on the field.

In addition, Izzo has been to the Pro Bowl three times as a special teamer, visiting Hawaii in ’00, ’02 and ’04. He was beloved by the Pats’ front office and was only let go years after they had cemented themselves as the best team of the last decade. Now, I know special teams is a dangerous craft which yields a lot of injuries, but Izzo, who now plays for the Jets, managed to get the best of all these jobs.

He played under the best coach of recent times and despite playing a small percentage of every game’s plays has the terms ‘three-time Pro Bowler’ and ‘three-time NFL champ’ on his resume. If that’s not an amazing job, I don’t know what is.

The Future or the Past? Vince Young’s NFL career in the balance

July 30, 2009
Young during his astonishing career at UT.

Young during his astonishing career at UT.

Vince Young has been the main focus of the Titans’ offseason as far as media coverage goes, despite not having played a single snap for Tennessee since Week One of the ’08 season. The combination of a knee injury, a troubled personal mindset and a ‘first round bust’ tag have ignited the media sparks under Young, who now enters his fourth NFL season under more scrutiny than perhaps any other player.

After his dynamic, thrilling rookie campaign where he led the Titans to the playoffs and won Rookie of the Year honours, hopes were high for the former Longhorn, but 2007’s statistical struggles (9 TDs to 17 INTs) were compounded by 2008’s personal ones, and Titans fans like your esteemed author find themselves altogether bemused by the situation. So the question becomes: what are the chances of Young ever playing again in Nashville, or even in the NFL?

First off, the bad. In his NFL career to this point, Young has a QB rating of 68.8 and has thrown ten more interceptions than TDs in his first three years. The last time he was Tennessee’s starter in ’07 he took a massive step back in overall production from his rookie season, accounting for seven fewer total touchdowns his second year than in his first.

Some blame this on the infamous Madden cover curse and others simply on a sophomore slump. However, before Young had a chance to disprove his critics, they only grew louder in his head as he was booed in his first start of ’08 against Jacksonville, then injured his knee before watching Kerry Collins lead the Titans to the NFL’s best record and a division title. Many questioned Young’s mental toughness and even his actual talent level, accusing him of plateauing and never being able to become an NFL-level quarterback.

Then, just after Jeff Fisher asked another formerly unpolished Titans QB, Steve McNair, to tutor Young in the offseason (Young having had a strong relationship with McNair for nearly a decade), McNair was tragically shot and killed. A huge personal loss to Young as well as a professional one, this only fuelled critics to nail the coffin lid closed on Young’s NFL career.

However, despite his obvious struggles thus far, it’s not all bad news for Young. Jeff Fisher and the Titans front office have repeatedly referred to him as ‘the future of this team’ or ‘our future quarterback’, showing that they are still behind VY going forward. Jeff Fisher is not known for patently lying to press cameras or his own players, so it seems that the veteran coach believes Young has an NFL future, and one in Tennessee at that.

Also a positive is VY’s attitude since the end of last year. Young’s work ethic this offseason has been second to none, studying film and working out at the team’s facility way before even OTAs began, and he seems to want to prove his doubters wrong as the 2009 season rears its head. He knows that Kerry Collins will start the year off barring injury, but given Collins’ age and the inconsistency that has plagued his entire career Young has a legitimate shot of seeing the field this season.

VY at the Pro Bowl: a sight many Titans fans would like to see again someday.

VY at the Pro Bowl: a sight many Titans fans would like to see again someday.

This is where even the negatives could improve Young’s future play, as he has had time to reconsider his situation in the NFL and with the Titans. He now knows that he has to be better than ever to win back not just the fans but the locker-room too. He wants to be a leader on this team, and his work ethic thus far suggests that he’s going the right way about it.

Historically, Young has always played his best with a chip on his shoulder. Everyone said that Texas would never beat USC in the Rose Bowl: they did, as Young almost single-handedly demolished the Trojans’ D. Everyone said that Matt Leinart would get drafted first: he didn’t, and Young went on to show how special he could be with a memorable rookie year.

Now the criticisms are raging louder than ever, and if history is to be noted, Young could come out the other side better and more focused than ever before. That’s by no means a certainty, but it’s something pertinent to consider before slamming VY’s NFL case shut for good.