Detroit Lions Will They Find Defensive Playmakers In The NFL Draft?

The Detroit Lions need to get over the hump. And may use another team’s model of drafting players to get there.

While the NFC North team is one on the rise, the fact this organization cannot get past the Green Bay Packers and become the dominant team in the division must weigh heavy on both management and the players.

Detroit has eight draft picks this year. As a result, they could lean heavily toward defense. More importantly, they need to fill needs and depth in all three areas of defense. That is, defensive line, linebacker, and secondary. And adding more picks is not out of the question.

According to prideofdetroit.com, during that 2000 NFL Draft, a young Bob Quinn was fresh out of the University of Connecticut and a lowly player personnel assistant; the bottom of the scouting food chain. Through the course of his tenure with the Patriots, Quinn rose up through the ranks and eventually became the Director of Pro Scouting in 2012. After spending over 15 years as a scout in some capacity, Quinn became the Detroit Lions GM just over a year ago, and the return on that investment for the Lions has been fruitful in terms of talent acquisition, both through free agency and, more importantly, the draft.

Will his experience with the Patriots lead him to trade back in the first round? Hence, adding more picks for an organization that has holes to fill. Consequently, will those moves, much like the ones that Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick makes, help the Lions get past their divisional nemesis?

And more importantly, how will this team improve its defense?

Detroit lacked playmaking on defense last season, generating only 14 turnovers and finishing with the fourth fewest turnovers among all teams in 2016. Of the five teams that finished with a double-digit turnover differential in 2016, four of those teams made the playoffs, two of them went to the Super Bowl and the New England Patriots—with a +12 differential—finished the season as champions.

The Detroit Lions have eight picks this year and it’s a good bet the majority will be focused on the defensive size of the ball. There are holes on offense where quarterback Matthew Stafford could use another wide receiver to play with and depth on the offensive line. But looking at the roster right now, Detroit needs at least one addition to at every unit on the other side of the ball.

Here’s a quick look at how I see the Detroit Lions first three rounds breaking down in April.

First round: No. 21 overall – Haasan Reddick, Linebacker, Temple

Reddick would be an instant starter inside. He has good size at 6-foot-1 and 237 pounds. He is quick, running the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds.

For a team void of playmakers in defense, this makes sense. The Lions currently have just three linebackers – Tahir Whitehead, Paul Worrilow and Antwione Williams – with any real NFL game experience. They need to continue to add to the position this offseason.

If he is there, the Detroit Lions could make this move.

Second round: No. 53 overall – TreDavious White, Cornerback, LSU

He isn’t the ideal height at 5-foot-11 and 192-pounds, but White would make the secondary better in a hurry.

He was a first-team Walter Camp All-American. Likewise, White was an All-SEC selection last year (34 tackles, two INT, team-high 14 passes broken up). In a division that sees the Packers use multiple wide receiver sets and a Vikings team that will throw more this season, the pick may be the key to a better defense.

Third round: No. 85 overall – Jarron Jones, Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame

Jones recorded 45 tackles in 2016. This included 11 for a loss, two sacks, three passes batted and one forced fumble. Regardless, Jones was more active for Notre Dame than the numbers illustrate. Further, he is a disruptive defender who makes plays in the backfield in the ground game. By the same token, he puts heat on the quarterback

Jarron Jones takes up space and could be a plug and play type of guy on the Detroit Lions defense.




2017 NFL Draft: Minnesota Vikings Seven Round Mock

It’s NFL Draft season, and everyone will have their opinions on what a team should or should not do for the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia. I am going to take a look at the Minnesota Vikings, and give my opinion on who they should take in this draft.

Round 2 – Dan Feeney G, Indiana

Feeney would be a dream pick for the Minnesota Vikings in Round 2. They landed their starters at both tackle positions in free agency. Right guard is the last major weakness they have on the offensive line. He is a pro-ready prospect who the Vikings will start from day one, and hopefully many, many more Sundays after that.

Round 3  – Desmond King S, Iowa

The Vikings have yet to find a suitable and reliable counterpart to Harrison Smith.  That could all change here.  While things would have to fall into place for King to slide to round 3, it is possible.  He is a fluid moving safety who can cover like paint, and also come up and lay a big hit in run support.  He’d do well in a Mike Zimmer defense.

Round 3 (from Dolphins) – Montravius Adams DT, Auburn

The Minnesota Vikings were brutal against the run a season ago, and they have yet to address this position in free agency. Adams had an up and down Senior Bowl depending on who you ask.  Still, he’s a SEC battle tested big man, who can create interior pressure and help slow down opponents’ running attacks.

Round 4  – Ethan Pocic C, LSU

Pocic is a guy who is all over the experts’ draft boards.  He is tough as nails player who can also kick over and play guard if needed.  He is too good a value to pass up in round 4 and could battle Nick Easton for the starting center job as a rookie.

Round 4 (from Dolphins) – Kareem Hunt RB, Toledo

I waited until the second pick in round four, and still landed one of the sleeper running backs in this draft. Hunt showed up at the Combine eight pounds heavier than his playing weight at Toledo. He also ran a disappointing 40 time at 4.62.  To me, it’s more important that he’s got the tape that showcases his burst and also soft hands out of the backfield.  He could end up being a hidden gem here.

Round 5 – Taywan Taylor WR, Western Kentucky

The Minnesota Vikings wanted Alshon Jeffrey but lost out, so they want to add a WR to the mix.  Taylor is a compact 5’11, who runs smooth routes and has a sure pair of mitts on him.  He could end up going higher than this, so there was value here in the 5th round.

Round 6 – Dan Skipper OT, Arkansas

The Vikings would be wise to bring in at least one offensive tackle via the Draft.  They did sign Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers, but the depth chart is still paper thin.  Skipper is a huge man who towers damn near the 7-foot mark.  His footwork could stand to improve, but hopefully, the Vikings have time to refine his tools before he’s forced to see any live action.

Round 7 – Ben Boulware LB, Clemson

Boulware is one of my favorite players in this Draft, because of the intensity he plays with.  He isn’t the biggest or most athletic guy out there, but he is a ball of energy and workhorse. It’s easy seeing Boulware start out as a special teams standout before working his way into the rotation.




David Njoku 2017 NFL Draft: Is He Set To Become The Next Great Miami Hurricane Tight End?

Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow II, Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham. While Miami (FL) is known for producing many NFL great players. Above all, it is known as “Tight End U” for a reason. Can junior David Njoku be the next one?

Njoku, a 6’4 240-pounder from Cedar Grove, New Jersey, caught 43 passes for 698 yards. He also had eight touchdowns for the Hurricanes during the 2016 season.

Thanks to its rich history of producing Super Bowl champs such as the aforementioned Shockey and All-Pro and Pro Bowl standouts such as Franks, Winslow II, Olsen, Graham—who played basketball, before converting to tight end—and current stars such as Oakland Raiders tight end Clive Walford, Miami has been a proverbial tight end factory for almost 30 years.

Thanks to his ability to flex out as a receiver and a combination of speed and agility, David Njoku could very well be a mid-to-late first round target for teams looking for a pass-catching tight end. Teams such as the hometown Miami Dolphins, home state New York Giants could be two if the teams looking to line up his services.

Despite catching 43 passes for 698 yards, Njoku scored eight touchdowns while displaying elite athleticism. Njoku may have made the argument of establishing himself as the top tight end in this year’s draft class. Thanks to running a 4.64 in the 40 and recording an impressive 37.5 inch vertical at the recent NFL Scouting Combine.

Others such as former Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, Ole Miss’ Evan Ingram, and Clemson’s Jordan Legette may also have a case. Namely, Njoku has one advantage over his rivals. That is the storied reputation and tradition of Hurricane tight ends in the NFL.

Will David Njoku’s athletic skills and raw talent end up translating well to the NFL? If so, they will add his name to that elite fraternity. That is that fraternity of NFL tight ends to come from “The U”.




Los Angeles Rams: Creating an offense key to 2017 Draft

The Los Angeles Rams are a team on the rise. They have a young head coach, a young QB, and a strong defense. The Rams need to focus their 2017 NFL Draft on offense. If they are able to begin transforming the offense, they can be a formidable opponent. Here are a few pieces to place in their offense.

Round One – No Pick

The Rams traded the picks to the Tennessee Titans as part of the deal to acquire the 2016 #1 overall pick.

Round Two – Pick 37

Taylor Moton – Guard (Western Michigan) 6’5” 319lbs

Moton is a massive individual. This includes his arm length and big hands. In fact, bull rushers will not bully him. Moton, for the same reason, is a tremendous drive blocker. His addition would have a tremendous impact on an offensive line in need of help. Furthermore, he would bring a renewed focus to a lacking running game for the Los Angeles Rams.

The acquisition of Taylor Moton would come with some work. He lacks in footwork and punch for a guard. Without the proper techniques, he would be limited to being included in power packages only. This may be fine as a rookie. However, if the Rams want to fix their line for the future they will need to address these issues.

Round Three – Pick 69

Chris Godwin – WR (Penn State) 6’1” 209lbs

Godwin is quietly making a name for himself. He has done nothing but help Penn State over the past three years. The Rams hope he could do that for him. The speedy, but big WR would help make Jared Goff happy. Godwin ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 sec. He would also be a great target in the red zone.

Round Four – Pick 112

Kevin King – CB (Washington) 6’3” 200lbs

King has tremendous size to play the CB position. This allows him to stack up well against bigger WRs. For this reason, he would work well in Wade Phillips defensive system. Similarly, he has tremendous ball skills. He had six career INTs and has only allowed one TD in the last 100+ targets. In addition, his size does not hinder him in the slot either.

The Los Angeles Rams would have to work on King’s feet. They are very slow in press coverage. This allows receivers to be able to shoot right past. His lack of footwork places him in the trail position. He does not have the speed to play catch up if beat.

Round Four – Pick 141

Jalen Reeves-Mabin – LB (Tennessee) 6’0” 230lbs

Reeves-Mabin is a strong downhill player. Therefore, you will always find him around the football. Nevertheless, he rarely over-runs the play. Moreover, he has very good cover skills. As a matter of fact, Reeves-Mabin can run well for a linebacker. This also allows him to be able to stay on the field in passing situations.

The Los Angeles Rams may have to use Jalen Reeves-Mabin in passing situations only. Presently, he lacks some of the size and power to stop runners in their tracks. In fact, If met in the hole he may lose that battle.

He has a marked injury history that could be a concern.

The Los Angeles Rams can make marked improvements with a solid draft. They are still a couple of years away from a return to the playoffs. Consequently, the previous regime left them that way.

Whom do you think the Los Angeles Rams should draft? You can leave your comments below.

Follow Sean on Twitter @NFLINSC, Instagram – @NFLINSC, Snap Chat – @NFLINSC

 

 

 




New York Jets: Three round mock draft for 2017 – Do they take a QB?

It seems that the New York Jets are poised for a successful 2017 season. After going 5-11 during the 2016 season, they purged the roster. They would end up cutting ties with several players including Ryan Fitzpatrick, Darrelle Revis, and Nick Mangold. There were people within the New York sports market who were saying that the Jets need to hit a home run and do very well in both free agency and the draft. If I were the Jets GM, I would look to get these players.

Round 1, Pick 6

Malik Hooker (Safety from Ohio State)

I have gone on the record for the last few months in saying that the New York Jets should not go for a QB in this spot. I am aware that guys like Watson will be available here, but I wouldn’t go for any of them. The Jets have too many holes to fill and should look at other positions to fill before they worry about the QB position. In comes Malik Hooker, who has drawn comparisons to former Ravens great Ed Reed. He ranked third in interceptions with seven last season for the Buckeyes and has a lot of speed that could cause problems for receivers in the NFL. The Jets need a playmaker and Hooker can fill that void.

Round 2, Pick 39

Antonio Garcia (Offensive Tackle from Troy)

As the New York Jets have been getting rid of players this offseason, the offensive linemen have taken the biggest hit. The Jets have parted ways with Ryan Clady and Breno Giacomini, two key guys on the offensive line. If Antonio Garcia is still on the board at that point, I would be foolish not to take him if I were the Jets. They need help on that offensive line and Garcia didn’t allow a sack on 900 consecutive snaps while at Troy.

Round 3, Pick 70

Quincy Wilson (Cornerback from Florida State)

The New York Jets lost Darelle Revis in the offseason and Buster Skrine has not played to his full potential since he was drafted. If the Jets were to take Wilson with this pick, they would be taking someone who is proven on the field. He could also help bolster the defense right off the back. In fact. the Jets secondary allowed the fourth most passing touchdowns and came away with the second fewest interceptions. Consequently, both areas could get help with Wilson.

I would like to make one note. Presently, I don’t have the Jets taking a QB in my mock draft for one reason. At this point, heir current QB core is Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty. Yes, that doesn’t scream a successful 2017 season but I don’t know what Hackenberg or Petty are truly like. We did get a small glimpse of Petty in 2016, but nothing that changes my views on this team.




Los Angeles Chargers: Will The Three-Round Mock Draft Produce Instant Starters?

The Los Angeles Chargers should send Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson a big thank you card.

By signing Logan Ryan and Johnathan Cyprien, the Titans could very well look elsewhere in the NFL draft. They may shy away from secondary help. By doing that, Los Angeles has an opportunity to take the first safety off the board with the seventh pick in the NFL draft.

The Los Angeles Chargers have a new home and a new head coach. There is a chance to come out of the gate in a new stadium and prove they are better than 2016 would indicate. It all starts with Philip Rivers and continues with new head coach Mike Lynn. If both find chemistry early and often, this could be an exciting year for the former team from San Diego. Man, I hate saying that.

Rivers isn’t getting any younger, but he is still amongst the best signal callers in the NFL. Expect more of the same in new surroundings. Despite the fact that he asked for a trade to San Francisco once the 2016 season ended, he is firmly entrenched as the team’s leader. Rivers will continue to do so until the skills begin to erode.

For the Chargers to do anything this year, they must focus on getting better on stopping their opponents.

The Los Angeles Chargers have seven picks in this year’s draft. Presently they have needs in the secondary, on the offense of line, and depth at various positions. Like I said earlier this is the kind of draft that this team could improve with fairly quickly.

The biggest decision they have to make is which safety to choose at the number seven position. Each player, Jamal Adams or Malik Hooker, would make the Los Angeles secondary better instantaneously. I don’t see them going in any other direction. There has been some talk that may surprise everybody. Ultimately they may grab a quarterback, namely Deshaun Watson I just don’t see it happening. Rivers is still way too talented. Furthermore, he has plenty of miles left in the tank to get this team to the playoffs in the next year or so.

Here’s a look at my three-round NFL mock draft for the Los Angeles Chargers. And yes, it’s still difficult to say.

Round 1, Pick 7 – Jamal Adams, Defensive Back, LSU

I have heard through the grapevine, that Adams is as close to a sure thing is anybody in this draft. That said, the Los Angeles Chargers need more playmakers on defense, and after taking Joey Bosa last year with a third pick, this team goes back to the well and grabs another defensive star.

Adams is a hard and a vicious hitter. As well as being as close to a linebacker in the secondary as you will find. In fact, he is as much of a  steal with a seventh pick as there ever was one. Moreover, his presence will help the Chargers improve a defense that has been good over the past few years, and will get better in a hurry.

Round 2, Pick 38 – Roderick Johnson, Offensive Tackle, FSU

Johnson was Florida State’s best offense of linemen in 2016 and figures to be an anchor on the Chargers line potentially for the next decade.

He was instrumental in opening holes for Dalvin Cook and has shown versatility. Similarly, he has the ability to play at both tackle spots. As a result, I like the fact that he has quick feet. Above all, he has a mean streak which will benefit him playing in the AFC West.

Los Angeles must get tougher up front if it wants to protect Phillips and open more holes from Melvin Gordon.

Round 3, Pick 71 – JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

Nice size at 6-foot-1. Therefore, I am actually surprised he didn’t do more in the Trojans offense this year. If he can become a solid No. 2 threat for the Chargers, then this becomes one of the better picks in the NFL draft.

He could also be beneficial in Los Angeles’s return game.

One thing Smith-Schuster must do on the next level is find consistency so he becomes a go-to threat opposite Keenan Allen.




Arizona Cardinals: Defense Reigns Supreme In Four-Round Mock Draft

The Arizona Cardinals took in Texas Tech quarterback Pat Mahomes’ workout.

Per a report on arizonasports.com, as much as the Arizona Cardinals might want to find a quarterback of the future in the first round 2017 NFL Draft, there are more immediate needs that could be addressed.

And if Arizona goes another direction at No. 13 overall, general manager Steve Keim might have no choice but to find his future signal-caller later on in the draft.

The future may be now for these Cardinals as starter Carson Palmer may not be part of the team’s future sooner rather than later. While I have Mahomes as a second round pick headed to Kansas City, it does not mean this team isn’t considering other signal callers to make the desert their home.

What will the Arizona Cardinals do? Before the 2016 season, there was talk about Bruce Arians’ team would challenge for a Super Bowl berth but this was a team was anything but a playoff contender.

While David Johnson emerged as one of the best runners in the league and the secondary is still blessed to have Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu in the secondary. There is still a foundation for Arians and his staff to build, but this is a team with holes to fill.

With the majority of the Cardinals’ needs on defense, there could still be a surprise or two in this draft on the offensive side of the ball. And it would not surprise me if this team takes a quarterback to groom as their future signal caller.

Here’s a look at the first four rounds of the Arizona Cardinals draft.

First round: 13th pick overall – Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama

The best linebacker prospect in this draft and yet another linebacker to come out of Alabama.

How will the incident at the Combine affect his draft status?

The Cincinnati Bengals or Buffalo Bills could look his way. However, if he is on the board, the Cardinals should jump all over him. At 6-foot and 229 pounds, he is fast enough to cover tight ends underneath or take on a running back coming up the middle.

Second round: 13th pick, 45 overall – Teez Tabor, Cornerback, Florida

Tabor says he is the best cornerback in the draft, but his workout at the Combine says otherwise.

A big talker who backed it up in Gainesville. He could rise after his Pro Day, but he is a fringe first round pick.

Tabor is a solid hitter and can become a cover corner as part of the rotation. With Peterson and Mathieu on board, this could the best secondary in the NFL.

Third round: 13th pick, 77 overall – Nathan Peterman, Quarterback, Pittsburgh

I like Peterman and have watched him play since his high school days here in Jacksonville.

He was impressive in postseason all-star games.

Peterman played in a pro-style offense at Pitt after his days at Tennessee. At 6-foot-2 and 222, there is a bit of concern on him taking a beating in the NFL. He is comfortable in the pocket or on the move. He will take a year to learn and could challenge for the starting role in 2018.

Fourth round: 13th pick, 109 overall – Jalen Myrick, Cornerback, Minnesota

If he had better size (5-foot-9) he could have been a fringe first round talent. But Myrick plays the game with intensity.

Two-time All Big-Ten Honorable Mention defensive back (2015-16) has long arms (32. 5 inches). Despite being his height, Myrick has the second longest arms out of any defensive invited to the East-West Shrine Game.

He could be a valuable commodity on special teams. Myrick will also fit right into the secondary rotation as possibly a nickel back.