11. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
TEAM NEEDS: Defensive End, Linebacker, O.W. (offensive weapon)
A funny thing happened to me at work the other day. In case you don’t know, I work a part time job as an “event specialist” at a wholesale club. So, basically, I hand out free food samples all day in a grocery store. It’s a pretty decent gig.
In order to get your hours, it is a must that you are good-to-great at providing customers with a friendly shopping experience, which I am. I’m great with customers. Most of the customers that shop at my store are easy going. Some of them actually want you to open up your mouth and “sell them” on the product that they are sampling. Others, however, are there just to sample some free shit.
No smile, no “hello” — these are the ones that make no qualms about it.
Most of the shoppers are just couples doing their grocery shopping for the week. And as potential buyers, it’s mostly the younger couples that are interested in what I have to say about the product that they are sampling.
Well, this past Sunday my demo was a veggie patty from Morning Star, a company specializing in vegetarian products. Surprisingly, the patty was really good. Their intent was to replicate a chicken patty, and they weren’t far off their mark.
As the story goes, it’s nearing the end of my shift and this couple (mid-40ish) approaches my cart and samples the veggie patty.
The wife seemed to be in a rush, but the husband — this guy was, hmmm … odd.
Yup, odd is an accurate description of him.
I’m far from being a judgmental person, but sometimes this requires effort on my end, particularly when I’m at work — and this is an example of “sometimes.”
So this guy, right, he samples the patty for a second time, which is cool with me because I didn’t pay for the fucking thing. All the while this guy is saying a whole bunch of bullshit that not only doesn’t make sense, but it makes him seem kind of dumb. Well, maybe not dumb, but definitely ignorant? Maybe it was both.
Anyway, this guy is a Trump supporter and felt the need to vent his political frustrations to me, of all people. He made a few half-coherent comments about more bullshit that I cared absolutely nothing about, and he could tell. Thankfully, he was reading my body language and started to end this awkward experience by walking away from my cart, mumbling more Trump nonsense as he turned the corner.
But then, just as I began to breathe a sigh of relief, his fat face reappeared and grabbed himself a third and final sample of this veggie patty as he uttered what I feel to be one of the most baffling comments ever made in my presence. With a smile on his face, he looks me in the eyes and says, “Capitalism at it’s finest,” and walks away.
Um … what?
What the fuck?
Is this dipshit referring to the fact that (a) he just ate three samples, free of charge, and had no intentions of purchasing the product from the beginning?
Or is it (b), he’s referring to the actual product itself, a vegetarian “chicken” patty that has quite possibly shocked his system with an uncanny resemblance to the real thing?
Perhaps it was the vegetarian company that he was referring to.
Strangely enough, as dude was making the comment, he raised his sample up in the air like a glass of champagne, as if he were giving a toast — so it could be all of the above. But I truly have no earthly idea what this bozo meant to say, and I’m pretty confident that he has no idea what he meant, either.
Regardless, there was nothing in our strange encounter that resembled capitalism — not in the slightest of ways. That much is clear (to me, at least).
Why the long and drawn out story, you ask? Well, I thought that this was a more interesting intro than me verbalizing my thoughts on the New Orleans Saints offseason. Maybe I was wrong. But that’s ancient history now, so lets get right into it.
What do the New Orleans Saints need in this 2017 Draft? Good News: they have two picks in round one — pick #11 & pick #32 (via the Patriots).
So, by my estimation, it’s absolutely imperative that Micky Loomis has a better strategy this year than he did in 2015, which was the last time he owned two picks in the first round (#13 ) — a first round net consisting of offensive lineman Andrus Peat (bust) and linebacker Stephone Anthony (again, bust).
With the 11th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select …
» Derrick Barnett, Defensive End, Tennessee
Here’s what I know the Saints shouldn’t do with this pick:
- They shouldn’t (and better not) draft a quarterback.
- They shouldn’t draft Miami tight end David Njoku.
- They shouldn’t draft whoever the next DB on their board is.
- They shouldn’t draft a receiver or a running back.
Now for the bad news: Micky Loomis will probably screw this up.
I get the feeling that he and Sean Payton are dead set on drafting who they hope will be Drew Brees’ eventual replacement with either first round pick (which, as of this moment, sounds like Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech).
I’m sure they would much rather wait until the 31st pick rolls around to select Mahomes (or whomever their Qb is), but that may not be a viable option for them, as Mahomes’ name keeps gaining traction amongst the evaluators — and hence, the Qb-needy teams — as we get closer to April 27.
The same can be said for Deshaun Watson, Mitch[ell] Trubisky, and Davis Webb, leaving the staffers in the Saints war room in quite the dilemma. Do they roll the dice and wait on a potential Brees replacement, or do they take action and pounce on him while they can with pick #11? Perhaps they take a page out of the 2008 Baltimore Ravens playbook and move back a handful of spots, with the plan of landing their Qb in the late teens, say from #11 to #18 (Titans), #19 (Bucs) or #20 (Broncos).
Who really knows? Only Micky Loomis and Sean Payton, I assume.
I know what I would do if were in Micky Loomis’ shoes: Draft two players that can help me win now, while Drew Brees is still my quarterback — and while he’s still elite.
12. CLEVELAND BROWNS (from Philadelphia)
TEAM NEEDS: Quarterback, Cornerback, Safety
The selection of Myles Garrett at #1 overall scratches “pass rusher” off the list of needs for the Brownies in their war room.
But now, with seemingly any and all Qb prospects available to them with this pick, do the Cleveland decision makers scratch their quarterback itch here, or do they stay true to their board and draft the best player available to them?
And yes, that was an assumption there — the assumption being the best player available on the their board isn’t a quarterback. So how about I retract that statement and assume nothing? Let’s assume nothing with this pick, because this Browns organization has a draft board that’s built more like an equation using algorithms coded in data that you and I don’t understand, and don’t care to want to understand.
Moneball tactics or not, this Browns defense needs the most help of the three units on the team (offense, defense, and special teams).
And with the 12th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select …
» Jabrill Peppers, Safety, Michigan
This was an easy one for me. If I’m removing myself from their line of thinking, this is the direction that I would go with the pick, and it makes all of the sense in the world.
The Cleveland Browns two starting safeties, as of this moment, are Ed Reynolds and Ibraheim Campbell … yeah, exactly. Talk about a couple of boner-killers. And Cleveland fans deserve rock-hard boners at this point, given everything that they’ve been put through. Few men from this draft class can inspire erections in other men quite the way Jabrill Peppers can. (And I mean that in a total non-sexual way, in a similar fashion to how Tom Brady inspires erections. I’m a heterosexual male, but watching Tom Brady throw touchdown passes makes my schwantz rise from 6 to 12 on my “I’m not gay but I’d do anal with Tom Brady” football erection clock.)
Peppers is not the best safety prospect in his class, but he’s tied with Malik Hooker for my favorite (Peppers was my fav, but Hooker recently caught up).
I do not like comparing college prospects to NFL Hall of Famers, but if the shoe fits, wear it. And from my point of view, Jabrill Peppers fits into a Brian Dawkins cleat as snug as a bug — and that’s not hyperbole.
Fans, hacks, and evaluators alike point to Peppers’ single lonely career interception as a red flag in his profile — not me. I actually watched Peppers on film. I studied him closely, looking for potential coverage flaws in his game. What I saw was an uber-athlete who’s instincts and wide-ranging abilities allowed him to play with a certain type of unpredictability that I haven’t really seen since Brian Dawkins.
What I saw in Peppers was a defender that opposing quarterbacks shied away from; a defender that moved all around in the pre-snap phase with the intent of causing confusion in linemen and quarterbacks, jumping in and out of gaps, sliding from one end of the line of scrimmage to the other. Quarterbacks wanted nothing to do with Jabrill Peppers, and offensive lineman seemed mostly unaware of which direction he was coming from let alone where he would ultimately end up.
Jabrill Peppers fits this new Gregg Williams defense as snug as he does a Brian Dawkins pro comparison. Williams will use him exactly how he should be used. Jabrill Peppers’ fiery leadership and on-field intensity will raise the hair on the arms of the fans, as well as the lead in their pants. He’s the definition of an alpha dog, and his versatility on defense and special teams cannot be overlooked.
Hopefully, Paul DePodesta’s algorithms account for non-sexual football boners, if so, the Dawg Pound is in for some excitement. Viagra? Check!
13. ARIZONA CARDINALS
TEAM NEEDS: Offensive line, Quarterback, Cornerback
The nationwide discussion on the Arizona Cardinals seems to be split in half. One half believes that the team was never as good over the last two or three years as their record indicates. The other half believes that the Cardinals were a championship caliber team that ran into some bad luck along the way.
It’s either you believe or you don’t believe.
As for me, well, I’m a believer — but I’m not naive.
I understand that there is a talented but aging group of players in the confines of University of Phoenix Stadium; but a championship group nonetheless.
Just a small breeze through a window indicates that the window is open — even if it’s only cracked — therefore, Steve Keim and crew need to capitalize on this draft in order to reach their goal of hoisting a Lombardi trophy.
With the 13th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals select …
» Forrest Lamp, Guard, Western Kentucky
This is the player that I would select if I were the Arizona Cardinals general manager. It’s a no-brainer from where I’m sitting.
In starters Jared Veldheer (left tackle) and Mike Iupati (left guard), the Cardinals have two talented but injury-prone veterans manning Carson Palmer’s left side. Here’s the catch: the Cardinals have out clauses in both player’s contracts that can protect Arizona’s 2018 cap figure. Both players will be turning 30 by the start of the 2018 season, and one could make the argument that neither player has lived up to expectations.
This is not my thesis, these are just the facts in my decision-making process.
If the Arizona Cardinals brain trust believes their team still has a legitimate chance at competing for a Super Bowl title this year, then they need to address the offensive line early in the draft, as Carson Palmer must remain upright for the entirety of the season.
Forrest Lamp is simply waaaay too good of a prospect to pass on if your name is Steve Keim. He’ll be available at #13 and fills a major need for their club.
Lamp reminds me of Baltimore’s All-Pro right guard, the great Marshall Yanda. He’s a plug-n-play starter come day one, with the ability to play a multitude of positions across the line if needed. He also provides the Cards with much needed depth.
It would be foolish to see Keim select a quarterback here, and although a receiver — let’s say Mike Williams — would help them in the long-term, it hurts them in the short-term, as he would be competing for reps with talented and experienced players ahead of him on the depth chart. Aside from that, Bruce Arians runs a complicated offense, and he’s know for being demanding with 1st year players.
There will be other opportunities for Steve Keim to address the quarterback and receiver positions in the draft, so let’s turn in the card right now: Forrest Lamp.
14. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (from Minnesota)
TEAM NEEDS: Cornerback, Running Back, Linebacker
As a city kid that was born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, mostly everyone that I know and love are huge Eagles fans, and that includes my best friend Bob.
Bob and I have been friends for 13 years now, with our love of NFL football and our poop humor being the catalyst of our longevity.
Not everyone can appreciate shit humor, but Bob and I are different.
Just the other day I was taking a glorious dump in the work bathroom, so I decided to send good old Nobby Bobby a text. I told him how awesome it is to drop a 5-star deuce while on the clock at work — both true and funny at the same time. Bob proceeded to tell me that he once took a dump at work while eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream … classic Bob!
It’s the unspoken “I love you, man” moments like this that bond us for life. It’s one of the things that I like most about Bob: he never lets me down. And he’s been waiting to read my take on the Eagles draft for weeks now, so I don’t want to let him down, either … here we go.
With the 14th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select …
» Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Florida State
I’ve been back and forth on the idea of the Eagles selecting a running back in the first round, particularly with Dalvin Cook. Why? The 2017 running back class is stacked deep with talent, so I figured the Eagles would be better served waiting to select a running back — say with their 2nd or 3rd round pick.
Like I said, though — back and forth.
If the draft plays itself out in similar fashion to my model, then Cook is too talented to pass on if you are Howie Roseman. Rumors in Philadelphia are still circling that it’s just a matter of time before Ryan Mathews is either traded or cut — a move that could come to fruition during the weekend of the draft.
Either way, Mathews is not in the Eagles long-term plans, so the drafting of Dalvin Cook just makes a whole lot of sense from where I’m sitting.
Every Eagles fan considers themselves to be great evaluators of talent — and most of them aren’t — therefore I would guess the fanbase would be happier to see the Birds select the best available cornerback here at #14, being that the Eagles secondary is thin and lacking a true cover corner thats capable of contending with #1 wide-outs.
And as deep as the running back class is this year, the cornerback class may be deeper. Although I believe that Christian McCaffery grades out to be Cook’s equal, Howie Roseman and crew may disagree. They could have Cook rated that much higher than the next closest Back on their board, propelling them to turn in the card with Cook’s name in a hurry — especially if they don’t see a distinguishable Db in the cornerback grouping (beyond Marshon Lattimore) available with this pick, which is the more than likely scenario here.
Some evaluators have Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster linked to the Eagles at 14, something that I feel would be a terrible mistake. Others have the Eagles going the receiver route, with Mike Williams, John Ross or Corey Davis as potential selections here — again, another potential mistake.
Many of these same evaluators suggest that Dalvin Cook isn’t a Back that you can build your offense around, that his smallish frame couldn’t withstand the daily rigors of life as an every down NFL running back. Something that I strongly disagree with.
I hear some evaluators say that Cook is more of a dancer than a pounder … uh, yeah! No shit? That kind of pisses me off, though, as the great running backs tend to have both qualities in their game. Dalvin Cook does.
I used to get fired up when analysts like Cris Collinsworth would pound hyperbole over our heads when describing Marshawn Lynch’s running style.
“Marshawn Lynch is such a physical back” … “Marshawn Lynch looks to seek punishment whenever he touches the ball” … you know — shit like that.
This clip is a classic example of a Marshawn Lynch highlight. First he jukes the big guys, then he finishes the run with power, once the small guys reach him. Marshawn Lynch was both a power and a finesse runner. So was Adrian Peterson. These are facts.
Well, I feel the same way about Dalvin Cook.
Cook kind of reminds me of Jamaal Charles: A high-cut, 3-down Back with a gifted blend of patience, vision, burst and toughness. You may never see Cook lower his shoulder and Madden-truck a safety at the boundary, but believe me he can. And he has. But he’s smart. He picks and chooses his battles wisely.
If I had to best describe Dalvin Cook on the field, then I’d say that he’s a blend of Jamaal Charles and Tiki Barber — more Barber, though, as Cook lacks the elite finish speed that Charles had in his prime. Cook does have breakaway speed, just not of the Olympic type. Regardless, Dalvin Cook is a special talent.
Cook is a complete back. He’s capable of taking over a game. He’s dynamic. He can motion into the slot and create mismatches with his soft hands and his panoramic spacial awareness. He runs smooth and crisp routes for a running back (the basic routes, nothing too fancy) and fits perfectly in Doug Pederson’s west coast system, adding another dimension to a potentially dangerous 2017 Eagles offense.
The Philadelphia Eagles offensive line is deep and talented. The group dealt with the injury bug last year, as well as a Lane Johnson suspension. But they played admirably, with a couple of rookies stepping up and showing promise. When everything was right for them, the Eagles ran the ball at will, which greatly benefitted Carson Wentz’ development — but now is the time for a reboot.
With Dalvin Cook, Wendall Smallwood, and Darren Sproles, the Eagles offense could really take off in 2017, especially with the free agency reboot of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith at the wide receiver position.
Don’t overthink this Howie, just turn in the card with Dalvin Cook’s name on it.
15. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
TEAM NEEDS: Pass Rushers, Cornerbacks, Running Back
Rumor has it that Colts new general manager Chris Ballard wouldn’t mind moving out of this spot if he could acquire more picks in the process. It’s nearly impossible to discern all of the draft’s disinformation from the real clues, but this one speaks to me.
I believe that Ballard is telling the truth, and it all but surely has to do with the players that he believes will be available to him at this point in the draft. However, I’m currently under the gun, with no time to play around with “possibilities” and “rumors.” I’ll be working under the assumption that the Colts stay put here.
With the 15th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select …
» Hasaan Reddick, D-End/Linebacker, Temple
Ah ha … fooled you, didn’t I? I told you that I will not assume anything — and I’m staying true to that notion.
I believe that Ballard will find a trade partner, perhaps with the Buccaneers at #19 (who have expressed heavy interest in University of Washington safety, Budda Baker), collecting an extra pick in the process of moving down 4 spots.
Despite the free agent signing of Jamaal Sheard, Ballard needs to continue to infuse this Colts defense with pass rushing talent. Ballard himself has gone on record saying such. Luckily, Hasaan Reddick’s most special gift in his scouting profile is his ability to get to the quarterback. In fact, I believe that Reddick is the most explosive pass rusher in this year’s class, which is why this pick just makes a whole lot of sense to me.
With Reddick, the Indianapolis Colts are getting Von Miller lite — a rusher that brings special speed and agility around the edge, who also has the instincts to get to the quarterback (and to get him on the ground). Yeah, the argument could me made for UCLA’s Takkarist McKinnley, who is an explosive pass rusher in his own right. But I like Reddick because he’s special, and I don’t think that McKinnley is.
16. BALTIMORE RAVENS
TEAM NEEDS: Wide Receiver, Pass Rusher, Cornerback
Alright — its time for rapid fire! I want to finish up with teams 16–20 in a hurry so I don’t experience burnt out. Let’s go.
With the 16th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select …
» Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Clemson
This pick here is an absolute no-brainer. The Ravens need a big, physical receiver like Williams that can make contested catches on 50/50 balls. I liken Mike Williams to Alshon Jeffery. Both are nearly the same size and have the same types of attributes in their scouting profiles. I’m not sure if Williams will be around at this point on April 27 when the Ravens are up to bat, but he is here.
17. WASHINGTON REDSKINS
TEAM NEEDS: Defensive Line, (M) Linebacker, Cornerback
I’m not sure how to feel about the Redskins offseason. In one hand, they had an in-house fire to deal with, and they did. Terminating the GM was the Skins attempt to put the fire out … but then there was a gust of wind when an “unnamed team official” chirped to the media about Scot McCloughan’s (their former, but now unemployed GM) alcohol dependency issue, causing the flames to ignite — yet again.
Washington did a fine job of replacing receivers Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in free agency by adding Terrell Pryor and Brian Quick into the fold. The foundation of the team is good in D.C., but there are some cracks in the drywall that are in need of repairing, particularly at defensive line and middle linebacker.
With the 17th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select …
» Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson
It’s only the 5th of April, so we won’t really know which quarterback(s) — if any at all — will go in round 1 of the draft. If I had to make a bet right here and right now, then I’d put my cash on Deshaun Watson being the 1st Qb to come off the board in the first round. I don’t know if he’ll be here when the Redskins are selecting, but they’d be foolish to pass on him if was — if they believe that he’s their guy.
Now, I know what you’re thinking — they should just sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term extension, right? I agree. But they won’t, and the reason why is very simple: money.
Kirk’s camp is asking for too much, and the Redskins obviously don’t value Kirk the way that he and his agent do. And I get it. At the end of the day, the NFL is a cutthroat business, plain and simple. Watson will have zero pressure to perform in his rookie season, while Kirk’s 2017 season resembles a liter of soda with a mentos dropped inside.
Regardless, it’s clear that the decision makers in Washington feel that Kirk Cousins is expendable. Even if that’s only true to a certain degree, it’s a transparent factor in their situation, therefore, the Redskins staff must be willing to hedge their bets when push comes to shove on Day 1 of the draft.
18. TENNESSEE TITANS
TEAM NEEDS: Guard, (M) Linebacker, Receiver
This is the second of two 1st round picks for the Titans, so I’m just gonna dive right in.
With the 18th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select …
» Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama
Although my gut instinct tells me that Reuben Foster hurt his draft stock by throwing a hissy-fit at the NFL Combine in February, and I believe that Foster could slide out of the first round, I’m unimaginative at the current moment. The magic just isn’t there. Here you go, Music City … Reuben Foster is now yours.
19. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
TEAM NEEDS: Pass Rusher, Safety, Cornerback
I like what the Bucs accomplished in free agency.
DeSean Jackson is the perfect compliment to Mike Evans, Chris Baker provides that Tampa defense with much needed size and power in the middle of their defense, and the J.J. Wilcox signing was quiet and underrated.
But the Bucs still need to come away with a few impact players from this year’s draft class in order to complete their offseason.
With the 19th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select …
» Budda Baker, Safety, Washington
I suggested earlier that the Bucs may be targeting Baker and could be in the market to move up and get him — and cudos to them if they can swing it.
Either way, I see Budda Baker as the sleeper pick that NONE of the experts are seeing. He’s a first round pick all day in my book, and I believe that a lot of teams in this area of the draft agree with that statement — the Bucs included.
Baker’s versatility is exactly what today’s NFL is all about on defense. He’s a combination of Tyrann Mathieu and Troy Palamalu — a safety that can come down in the box and mix it up versus the run as well as line up versus a slot receiver and mirror him in coverage — and I don’t see Baker being overlooked in the backend of the first round, especially by teams in need of a playmaking safety.
20. DENVER BRONCOS
TEAM NEEDS: Left Tackle, (M) Linebacker, D-line
The Broncos went from a veteran club that cashed in on Super Bowl title to a young club with a 1st time head coach that will try like hell to get the best out of them.
But in order for Vance Joseph to do just that, John Elway needs to work his magic in the war room on Day 1 of the draft.
With the 20th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select …
» Ryan Ramczyk, Tackle, Wisconsin
Although I do not believe that Ramczyk will be available here at #20 when Denver is on the clock, I do believe that John Elway will do whatever it takes to find a trade partner and move up the board to assure the selection of Ramczyk.
This is an unusual case here with Ryan Ramczyk, as he would surely be a top-10 pick if not for recent shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.
Having only one year of film to evaluate does not help his case, either.
As for the Broncos, this move is another no-brainer from where I’m sitting. The Denver O-line has a glaring hole at left tackle, and Ryan Ramczyk is the only prospect in the draft that could fill it, in my opinion.
Well, that’s it for Part Three of this four-part series. I’ll be working on Part Four with the hopes of publishing in the next couple of days (give or take).
Don’t forget to click on the love button if you enjoyed reading this.
Also, do me a favor and share this with your buddies via email or social media platforms. The “share” icon on the floating sidebar is easy to use, I promise.