Admittedly, last years Draft Scenarios & Prediction
was much easier to do. It doesn?t help that this year, I am not as prepared as I was last year by this point. Nevertheless I promised I do one for this year.
Last year was much simpler because we basically had clearly defined holes, and the draft value followed suit nicely where we plugged and chugged and ended up with a solid draft. Granted our picking position in each round was optimal allowing us to have steals in every single round. This year is much different. The holes are no longer holes. Our dilemma now is going into an uncertain draft and a bad picking spot with no way of knowing how our team is going to be upgraded until it?s actually over and done. Anyway, since we can?t clearly define the needs we will approach this with a mindset of which positions can be upgraded. What is unique is that we can actually upgrade from the top down. Normally you would replace the lower parts of the depth chart. In our case we have certain positions where the starter can be supplanted completely off the team. You will understand what I mean in a moment in a few of the positions. But lets go position by position and see how the draft can affect each area.
As it stands, we have Joey Harrington
as the starter, Jeff Garcia
as the veteran backup. The third string position is being reserved for a young QB to groom. While Curt Anes
or Jason Fife
may fill this position if we don?t draft a QB, it is likely that we will
draft a rookie QB for long term insurance.
We have Charles Rogers
and Roy Williams
as our starting duo. In a three wide set, Az Hakim
is the slot. We recently added Kevin Johnson
who fills the need as an elder statesman. The veteran that can produce, which Tai Streets was supposedly supposed to fill. Rounding it out we have Scottie Vines
and David Kircus
. Eddie Drummond
is on the roster as a receiver but is our primary returner. With the exceptions of Rogers, Williams, and Drummond, no receiver is safe from the chopping block. If the opportunity presents itself, we can add a receiver from virtually any round, because of the concern for a healthy corps of receivers.
The starting line seems to be set. LT: Jeff Backus, LG: Rick DeMulling, C: Dominic Raiola, RG: Damien Woody, RT: Kelly Butler. Rounding out the backups are Victor Rogers as a Tackle, and David Loverne as a guard. I?m not sure if we get Kossier or not, but the other utility backup will either be Kossier or Joyce. Looks like Joyce will be gone. Regardless, we need depth on the line since I see us carrying 9 offensive lineman, meaning there will be one vacant spot for a rookie or a June 1st cut.
We are basically set with Marcus Pollard
and Casey Fitzsimmons
. However, if the opportunity to get great value for a tight end in such a weak class presents itself? consider it done. I can think of maybe Heath Miller
dropping to our second round pick as one drastic example. Much like the way Kevin Jones found his way to the bottom of the first last year.
We are set with Kevin Jones
as the feature back. Artose Pinner
can be a solid backup. Bryson
is the incumbent third down back. I see his position as being upgradeable through the draft. Schlesinger
is a fixture at fullback, with either Stephen Trejo
or Paul Smith
fighting for the last back up spot. I see no full back in this draft that can be an upgrade to Sledge.
Being the strength of our defense, anything more will be gravy. We may use our first or second rounder on a Defensive End, as that presents optimal value much the way last years first round was Receiver and second round was linebacker. We can draft a fallen defensive Tackle to be in the mix to take over for Big Daddy, but next years class looks much more promising.
Another strength of our defense. However the fact that Holmes is towards the end of his career makes for intriguing ways to address this impending need. We may add a new middle keeping Teddy on the weakside, or we can add an weakside backer and move Teddy to the middle just like what he was drafted for.
The strong side was taken care of by adding Kennoy Kennedy
. Bracy Walker
will back him up. The free side is tentatively Brock Marion
and Terrance Holt
. In a relatively weak class of safeties, if the right one falls to us, we can address the free safety position. (Reads Brodney Pool in the 2nd).
When healthy, our corners can be pretty formidable. Bly
are the starting duo. There is much anticipation for what Keith Smith
can eventually turn into. And we have Goodman
, and Babers
that round out a decent group of backup corners. This can be addressed though, because like at receiver, it?s a pretty common occurrence to go through corners like tissue. And like receiver, because of the undefined needs of the team, we can get a corner basically anyway in the draft.
I mentioned a top down approach to upgrading. What did I mean by this? It basically means we can actually cut starters to make room for rookies and the other youth already on the team. Players in danger of being cut are Brock Marion
if we happen to land Brodney Pool
, Earl Holmes
if we land a linebacker like Derrick Johnson
or Channing Crowder
, and Az Hakim
if we draft another high round receiver like Mark Clayton
, Braylon Edwards
or Mike Williams
. Remember the key to this draft is to go into it with an open mind and deciding on who would make the biggest impact on our team from the remaining left on the board. And so without further ado, I present you my picks.
Round 1: Derrick Johnson LB Texas
He is the biggest play maker in the draft with Derrick Brooks like potential. He?s a jack of all trades linebacker who can equally wreak havoc in the back field, and play coverage like a defensive back. He can ideally fit into Detroit?s scheme with our big tackles up front occupying the offensive lineman allowing DJ and the rest of our speedy linebackers to roam around and just make plays. Other defensive player warranting merit are Antrel Rolle
and PacMan Jones
. The only defensive end who is talented enough to warrant the pick is Erasmus James
but he is an injury concern. We could also reach a little for David Pollack
. Don?t be close-minded to the offensive prospects though. If one of the QB?s Alex Smith
, Aaron Rodgers
, or Receivers Braylon Edwards
or Mike Williams
falls, and the defensive targets are all gone? you have to seriously consider going with the big time offensive impact player.
Round 2: Matt Roth DE Iowa
There are a lot of mid first round talent defensive end prospects available. It is likely that someone is going to fall. Among the candidates besides Roth are Justin Tuck
, Dan Cody
, Demarcus Ware[/b] and a long shot David Pollack
. Someone is bound to fall. I have a feeling Roth will be the odd man out. This is the guy that had to go up against Robert Gallery in practice everyday. He?s a tenacious end who has every bit the motor of the other ends. Other candidates available could be guys like Brodney Pool
or Heath Miller
if we prove to be so fortunate. If we don?t land DJ, we can go for Channing Crowder
here. Like Defensive End there may be a corner worth taking like Cory Webster
or Marlin Jackson
. And offensive lineman like Marcus Johnson
, Khalif Barnes
, and Chris Spencer
would be great value picks here.
Round 3: Wesley Britt OT Alabama
Much the way Butler was insurance for McDougle leaving, Britt is insurance for Backus
. Britt is basically a better equipped Backus, with longer arms. Besides, if renegotiations get too expensive with the former first round pick, we?ll make do with this third rounder. Britt is a finesse pass protector who towers at 6?7? and uses sound technique at neutralizing pass rushers. Get him in the weight room and make this kid stronger and he can become a gem. Other solid utility linemen that could make the free fall to the third round are Logan Mankins
who can play either guard or tackle, and the nasty mauler whose stock has taken a hit Elton Brown
. Donte Nicholson
can be taken here to play Free safety for us.
Round 4: Andrew Walter QB Arizona State
If healthy he probably would have been the first Quarterback off the board, and the first overall pick period in this draft. Thanks to the lofty climb from injury, and less than spectacular weapons he now can make the free fall to the second day. Either way, he still was a winner at 9-3 his senior season. You like his poise, leadership and swagger along with his prototypical size at 6?6, 233 lbs. He has a stronger arm than the top prospects and an even quicker release. He won?t see a down in the NFL this year, so he will make a great development for the future if the Joey Harrington project fails. Other late round QB?s I like are Stefan Lefors
and Kyle Orton
. Still despite who we draft this year and if Joey fails, we?ll probably draft another QB next year anyway for open competition. I also like Roscoe Parrish
Round 6: Jamaal Brimmer S UNLV
He?s slow, if you look at his pedestrian 40 times. Regardless, he was a playmaker. And being the Mountain West defensive player of the year for 2 years running is a testament to him making plays. His instincts are first round quality, with a nose for where the ball is much like DJ. If he ran his 40 yard dash 2 tenths of a second faster he would be a 1st rounder. I want his play making skills on our team. Defensive Tackle Antaaj Hawthorne
failed a drug test and went from 1st round, 2nd round consideration to day 2. Now is a good time to take him and give him a second chance. He?d be a steal here. And he would make a wonderful linemate for Big Baby as another big athletic tackle.
Round 7: Chad Owens WR Hawaii
I guess a late round Hawaii player in my picks is going to be an annual thing. Anyway Chad Owens is another play maker who is a mismatch for anyone with his explosion. He lacks a top gear and a couple of inches from being an average height receiver. But if the ball is in his hands, he?s going to do something with it. He would also make the perfect backup to Drummond being the electrifying returner he was in college.
I?ve already talked about Trading Up
. Trading Down is another matter which will be much more difficult to do since every other team in the draft is trying to trade down as well. It seems less feasible but if it can be done and we move down in the first round then we can target better value for a defensive end like Pollack
. I also like Mark Clayton
a lot and think he would fit in as a different type of weapon in our offense. I would drop Az Hakim and make Clayton our slot receiver. So let?s say we get a trade down scenario if someone is dumb enough to take it:
Round 1: Mark Clayton WR Oklahoma
Pound for pound the most talented receiver in the draft.
Round 2a: Justin Tuck DE Notre Dame
Arguably the most athletic pass rusher.
Round 2b: Marcus Johnson OT Mississippi
Could have the nastiest streak of all offensive linemen in this draft.
Round 3: Cory Webster CB LSU
What a difference a year makes. Last year he was a first round lock.
Round 4: Kirk Morrison ILB SDSU
Another talented playmaker who?s not so spectacular workouts hurt his stock.
Round 6: Atiyah Ellison DT Missouri
Big and athletic.
Round 7: Timmy Chang QB Hawaii
NCAA?s most prolific passer
Even if we don?t trade anything, this at least shows the versatility of this draft and how we can go in a completely different direction depending on how it all plays out. The key is to go with an open mind in each round, and making the best decision to take the best player at each picking spot.
In reality, I don?t want to predict this draft because of it?s volatile nature. The uncertainty in this draft seems unprecedented. Despite all the intensive scouting and research put in, it has done nothing to help us sort it out like in previous years. Anyway, there have been whispers, and taking these into account, I will attempt to make a prediction based on the news we here.
1. Antrel Rolle CB Miami
2. Brodney Poole FS Oklahoma
ally the first two rounds are for wrapping up the secondary. Rolle eventually supplants Bryant, and Poole takes over Marions job. That way, our secondary is infused with youth and talent.
3. Chris Spencer C Ole Miss
Spencer is solid versatile lineman. Sporting News calls him the best offensive lineman in the entire draft. That may be a stretch, but he can fall to us in the third if a lot of receivers are taken in the second round. And the Lions loved him enough to bring him in for a visit.
4. Alex Smith TE Stanford
He hurt his stock at the combine with his inability to catch the ball. Might?ve been nerves, but come game time he?s a decent balanced TE. He also was brought in to visit the facilities.
6. Vincent Jackson WR Northern Colorado
Big time target who is blazing for his size who is 6?5 and can run a 4.46 40 yard dash. He?s pretty raw though and comes from a weak division. I doubt he makes the fall to the sixth round because someone?s going to pull the trigger early.
7. Matt Sinclair LB Illinois
The Lions brought him in as well. He?s another heady linebacker, with great instincts who led his team and the conference in tackles. He?s a real student of the game, and loves game film.
Remember, to keep an open mind. Matt Millen has shown great prowess in the whole draft process the last two years, and we can likely expect another great draft this year, despite the foggy uncertainty that is the 2005 NFL draft.
Are you pumped?