Movin’ the Chains Mock Draft #1

We all have our favorite sources for NFL Draft content on the web. NFL Network, in addition to their coverage of the Senior Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine, and prospect Pro Days, has catnip for draftniks (how’s that for an awkward phrase?) in the form of their daily “Path to the Draft” show. Of course, in print, the best draft publication on the planet is Ourlads Guide to the NFL Draft, and our paid Members can get their guide for free this year.

Movin_the_Chains_2015_NFL_DraftHere at PowerHouse, we have SiriusXM NFL Radio on pretty much all the time, and their best show, hands down, is “Movin’ the Chains,” with former NFL personnel man Pat Kirwan and former journeyman (in case he reads this) QB Jim Miller. Every year, they do a series of mock drafts in a format where they take turns.

If you’ve never done a mock draft in this format, it’s an eye-opening exercise that exposes you to other ways of thinking and eliminates that tendency we all have to slot guys where we think they are a best fit.

The truth is, the 32 real-life NFL General Managers are each making one vitally important decision for their team, and not trying to make their contribution to a first round that looks elegant, neat, and well thought out. When you draft with a friend doing half the picks, you’re forced to stay focused only on the team you’re picking for at the moment, those coming after you be damned.

Here are the results of their first mock draft of 2015, broken into three segments, which is how they did it on their show on Friday, March 27th:

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More Player Trades than Usual?

NFL_Draft_Trades_Adrian_PetersonEarlier this week, I had an interesting email exchange with Shane Johnson – one of the guys here at PowerHouse who does a lot of great work for us. You will hear a lot more from Shane in the coming weeks…

The topic was Shane’s speculation that the way the NFL Draft might fall could lead to teams having a “best available” in front of them who is at a position that is not a need, and in that case, might we see veteran players traded during the Draft, potentially including Adrian Peterson, to clear cap space and open a path for the draftees.

I thought the conversation was interesting enough to turn into a blog post, so here it is…

SHANE:

Hey, Chris. A couple of weeks ago I read where an NFL GM was quoted as saying that there are no more than 15 true 1st rounders in this year’s draft. When I read that I felt like he was probably correct.

A few hours ago I was able to run the mock draft while selecting for each team manually based on the needs. In some situations there was not a player that I felt was good enough to meet their needs in the first round. The next best thing was to select the best player available for that team. But, when attempting to do this, I ran into situations where the best available player would be sitting the bench due to the talent the team already has at that position.

From what I have discovered this draft is going to be a very unique one. If you are in the top 10, things will work out for teams quite well. But after that it becomes very difficult. I think we are going to see more trades than we normally would but not in the way that we tend to see draft day trades executed.

The first team I ran into that had needs that could be filled in the next couple of rounds was Minnesota. The best player I thought was left on the board was Melvin Gordon. But with AP in the backfield what do they do?

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2015 NFL Draft | Partnership with Ourlads!

Ourlads-Guide-to-the-NFL-Draft-logoWe have big news today! Like, really big.

Here at PowerHouse, we often say our iGMTM game is “The most realistic simulation of being an NFL General Manager on the planet. Period.” Well, if that’s true (and it is,) Ourlads Guide to the NFL Draft is the most intelligent, unbiased, and professional NFL Draft prospects guide on the planet… exclamation point!

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NFL Calendar Updated

For-Investors-Calendar-Pages

NFL General Managers have a job that never ends. But, their focus does shift to different activities at different times during the year, as dictated by the NFL’s calendar. At PowerHouseGM.com, we keep an up-to-date calendar of the NFL’s business schedule, not just the schedule for games. We updated that calendar today with key dates through July, and you can view it here.

The updates we just added were based on communications from the NFL, and here’s the document that we used:

FOR USE AS DESIRED

12/17/14

http://twitter.com/345

2014-2015 NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE IMPORTANT DATES

– DATES SUBJECT TO CHANGE –

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NFL GM Game: PowerHouse is Growing

2014-NFL-Kickoff

The 2014 NFL season is off to a fast start, and PowerHouse is starting fast as well. We’ve made a ton of improvements to our site and iGMTM, our NFL General Manager game, and those will only continue throughout the 2014 season and beyond. Here’s a glimpse at what we’ve already done and what we’ll be doing in the near future…

First, we’ve made a long overdue change to our site by placing our standard header on all of our pages, both content pages, like this blog posting, and our iGMTM game pages. You can now access the entire site in one way from any page using one menu structure, and you’ll see your login status wherever you are. It looks like this:

PowerHouse-Site-Standard-Menu-and-Header-with-Logos

Putting our header on every site page is just one of the steps we have taken to make the site more standardized and user-friendly with one consistent look and feel. Another is the re-formatting of our NFL GM sim game pages with larger fonts. You can put the reading glasses away!

To make space for the larger fonts, we moved the team information on game pages to the top:

PowerHouse-Team-Info-Relocation

Another change we made recently was to PowerHouseGM.com’s site Forum. We upgraded to the latest version of the forum software, which includes new features like the ability to upload images. Along with the upgrade, we resolved some long-standing issues, like trouble with uploading personal avatars and an inconsistent login/logout process from the Forum pages (we put our site standard header there, too!)

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2014 Hall of Fame Class Serves as a Reminder of Approaches to Building Winners in the NFL

Seven Inductees, Seven Paths to Greatness

 

Derrick-Brooks-Pro-Football-Hall-of-FameThe NFL is a star-driven league.

Yes, obscure players and career journeymen can leap to prominence at any time, like Chase Blackburn in SB XLVI. Blackburn, a seven-year NFL journeyman, was about to begin a second career as a math teacher in Ohio in 2011 before the Giants called mid-season to bring him back due to injuries to linebackers Michael Boley and Mark Herzlich.

Two months later, he intercepted Tom Brady 50 yards downfield in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl in a (the?) pivotal play in the Giants’ 21-17 upset win.

But Blackburn’s case is the exception, not the rule. Even the most successful NFL teams are made up mostly of mediocre players – journeymen, developmental young players, backups whose primary contributions come on special teams, and players who general managers and coaches intend to replace as soon as a better option exists.

What makes the most successful teams stand above the others is 1) having a “franchise” quarterback and 2) having elite players – real difference-makers – at as many other positions as possible.

The ultimate measure of “elite” is induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This past weekend, seven new members joined the Hall, swelling its population to 287. Each of these players took a different path to NFL immortality, but each provides a lesson on how a successful NFL General Manager can find cornerstone players to put a top team on the field.

 

Heart of a Lion

 

LB Derrick Brooks – R1/28, 1995 NFL Draft. Brooks, though only 6’0”, never missed a game in 14 NFL seasons, and started every game in his career after the first three. He was a tackling machine and an 11-time Pro Bowler. The Bucs’ defense during his heyday had stars at all three levels of the defense, with Warren Sapp at DT, Brooks at MLB, and Jonathan Lynch at safety.

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The Last 2014 NFL Mock Draft You’ll Ever Need

NFL-Mock-Draft-2014-stageI love mock drafts. There, I admitted it. The definition of a “guilty pleasure” (according to Google,) is “something… that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.” If that doesn’t describe mock drafts, I don’t know what does.

It’s one thing to do a mock on your own, but it’s an entirely different experience to involve others, either one or two other friends or a large group where each participant drafts for one or more teams.

My good friend Dave Johnson and I have been doing a mock draft a few days before the NFL Draft for years. This year we skipped the inefficiencies of email and used Facebook chat to do it, resulting in a more real-time experience and an overall good time.

We had so much fun, in fact, that I’m posting it to our blog, nearly a month after the actual NFL Draft, possibly making this officially the last 2014 NFL Mock Draft on the internet.

So, without further ado…

 

Pick Team Comments (unedited from our chat)

1

hou Chris: You hear that idiot Justin Blackmon is probably done (drugs)? This per Ian Rappaport. If true, what a complete jackass.

I’ve got the odd-numbered picks this time, so I’ll get this party started in the least surprising possible fashion: Jadeveon Clowney is a Texan.

[Actual pick: DE Jadeveon Clowney]

2

stl Dave: I hadn’t seen the thing on Blackmon. What a waste. StL is happy enough with Barksdale, their biggest OL needs are inside he tackles! where they can get high caliber help later. They need to bring pressure, either with a pass rusher or an elite WR who can bring the game to the other guy. They’re going for the pass disrupter, Kahlil Mack.

Jeez…autocorrect is less helpful than it thinks it is. That should have been a simple, unexcited “inside the tackles.”

[Actual pick: OT Greg Robinson]

3

jax Chris: Rumors on Twitter are about as reliable as Charlie Sheen on location in Amsterdam, but whether the Blackmon story is true or not, the Jags are going to jump at the chance to add Sammy Watkins to their roster. He’s one of three players in this draft I consider worthy of being taken first overall in any draft.

[Actual pick: QB Blake Bortles]

4

cle Dave: Cle talks trade with three teams looking to jump up for Robinson, but ultimately none offer the premium they need to justify not just grabbing their QB here. Derek Carr is now a Brown.

[Actual pick: the Bills did offer the premium to jump up, but it was for WR Sammy Watkins, not Robinson]

5

oak Chris: And with that pick, the last of my top-rated guys is gone. The Raiders would have given him very serious consideration right here. Their phone is ringing off the hook with teams looking to move up to get a tackle, but, alas, this is a no-trade mock.

They brought in Donald Penn as a 2-year stopgap solution at LT after the Saffold/Veldheer fiasco, and they’re paying him $5M a year. To heck with that. I’ll grab a guy who will be their LT for years to come, Greg Robinson, and figure out who to play where later.

[Actual pick: OLB Kahlil Mack]

6

atl Dave: Atl is frustrated they were unable to complete a trade up for any of the three guys in this draft they really covet, Clowney, Mack or Robinson. They somewhat petulantly wait the full ten minutes to turn in the Jake Matthews card, despite knowing from the outset he was their fallback pick if all three higher rated guys were gone. Considering they called nearly every team to try and work out trade combos ahead of time, pretty much everybody knows they’re just stalling here, and the consensus is its kind of a dick move.

[Actual pick: OT Jake Matthews]

7

tb Chris: The Bucs just gave Anthony Collins $30M to replace Donald Penn at LT, and they like the young ‘uns at RT, so they’re not really in the Lewan market. The key to the Tampa 2 is getting pressure from your front four, and they signed Michael Johnson away from Cincy to improve that area. You can never have enough pass rushers, though, and there’s a good one sitting there for them right now: Anthony Barr.

[Actual pick: WR Mike Evans]

8

min Dave: The Vikings are giddy their top QB is still there, they very happily bring in Teddy Bridgewater. Yes, he’ll be the face of the franchise.

[Actual pick: traded down one spot with the Browns (originally Buffalo’s pick,) who took CB Justin Gilbert]

9

buf Chris: I would have gone QB there, too, but a different QB. Bridgewater is one of the most confusing NFL Draft prospects to me this year. He played so well, but everything has gone wrong since the season ended.

But that’s the Vikings’ problem now. The Bills are set with Cordy Glenn at LT (who is also on one of my iGM teams, thank you very much,) but the rest of the line was pretty bad last year. With the last of the “big three” tackles still on the board, they’ll snare Taylor Lewan right here.

[Actual pick: after Cle traded this pick to Minny to move up one spot, the Vikes took DE Anthony Barr]

10

det Dave: Detroit’s phone is ringing off the hook here as the mid-R1 teams with very specific needs/prospect ideas try and get their guy. The Jets, Mia, Pit and Bal are all vying for Ebron, the Bears and Cowboys trying to leapfrog the Giants for Donald…lot of pick chart value to be had here for the Leos in a trade down. They’d be happy with either ‘bama defender, are going with the guy they think will be an elite 3-down playmaker in C.J. Mosley.

[Actual pick: TE Eric Ebron]

 

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2014 NFL Draft Prospects: Quarterbacks

2014-NFL-Draft-Prospects-Zach-MettenbergerThough I would never consider myself an expert in the art of scouting NFL Draft prospects for the NFL, I am coming to the conclusion that projecting how quarterbacks translate to the game played on Sundays is nothing more than a crapshoot.

As we all know, the offensive system an NFL team employs will make particular quarterbacks rank much higher or lower than other teams may project. Over the last several months I have combed through more than 500 videos of 30-plus college players hoping to find the next Tom Brady or Russell Wilson. Nearly all “highlight” videos I came across were not viewed. Avoiding these is very important in keeping the players true ability in perspective.

Within the many hours of study, I began to feel that Bridgewater, Manziel, and Bortles (“BMB”) may not be the best 3 in the draft in my opinion. In fact, I only have one them in my top 5. Every time I viewed one of them, I came away underwhelmed regardless of the competition.

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NFL Mock Draft by Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller

NFL-Mock-Draft-2014-Pat-Kirwan-Jim-Miller

On Friday, March 28th, Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller, hosts of the “Movin’ the Chains” show on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio channel, held their second mock draft of the season.

As an aside, if you don’t listen to this channel in general and this show in particular, you’re missing out. I rarely turn it off.

Jim made the odd-numbered picks and Pat made the even-numbered picks. I have participated in mock drafts like this, and doing them with someone else definitely adds a unique perspective. We also will once again run a group mock draft in our Forum, as we did last year.

 

Picks 1 through 10

 

  1. Jim started things off by sending Blake Bortles to the Texans.
  2. Pat traded the Rams’ pick down to the #6 spot with Atlanta, and chose Jadeveon Clowney for the Facons, ultimately turning Osi Umenyiora into a role-player instead of a starter.
  3. Jim considered trading with Dallas, but the Jaguars did not want to go down that far. The Jaguars took the most polarizing player in this draft, Johnny Manziel.
  4. Pat took the electrifying Sammy Watkins, in my opinion the best prospect in this draft, to be a gamebreaker opposite Josh Gordon, saying a QB will come later.
  5. Jim chose Teddy Bridgewater for the Raiders, believing that QB is still a need for them even after the trade for Matt Schaub. Note that Miller, a long-time NFL QB, took a QB with each of his first three picks. He believes in this year’s crop a lot more than I do!
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