I’m not gonna lie–I’m an opinionated cat. Quite often, I’m an opinionated cat who sees things differently than the mainstream crowd. I’ll admit that.
Still, I do have pretty good credentials when it comes being an NFL Draft prognosticator. Yesterday, Zach even urged me to remind everybody of how high I was on Dwayne Bowe last year. And then there were some super sleepers I called correctly while writing for Real Football 365, Kevin Boss for instance. Justin Harrell, who the book is still open on, was my favorite player last year, so I’m not perfect. All I’m saying is that I’m willing to step outside the box and have pretty decent intuition.
All I’m asking, Chiefs fans, is that you just give me a shot here and drop your guard and biases long enough to consider my recommendations.
Here are the players I covet heading into Saturday’s draft, just over 48 hours away:
QB Matt Ryan, B.C.
As you all know, this is my guy. And I know that he’s not most of your guys’ guy. In fact, there’s probably still more support for Dubya among Chiefs fans than there is for Matt Ryan. As Herm Edwards says, that’s OK.
First, I want to tackle this notion that there are more pressing needs than quarterback in the NFL. Ridiculous. Asinine. Bizarre. No offense, but I am just shocked that so many fans have this opinion. It’s like saying the CEO isn’t the most crucial part of a business, or that the head isn’t the most important part of the body. It just makes no sense to me, especially on the heels of three first-round QBs in a row winning it all.
Next, yep, Brodie Croyle. You want a leader and a winner in a QB. I wouldn’t follow Brodie into a USC sorority house. I wouldn’t follow Brodie into Best Buy if it included an unlimited shopping spree. The dude is not a leader. He’s just not. Meanwhile, you see Ryan play and do interviews and you see visions of other great quarterbacks. Manning. Brady. Palmer. He’s got what they’ve got. 32 on the Wonderlic. 27-6 as a starter at B.C. The size and toughness Brodie sorely lacks. He’s got it all. Right now the situation is a little like The Lord of the Rings. Brodie Croyle is nothing more than a steward, folks–we need ourselves a king, and in the worst possible way. All we have now is a part-time, injury-riddled steward.
As for the interceptions I hear about every 1.67 seconds (believe me, I’m annoyed), he played in possibly the most predictable offense in the country and still led his team to become the fourth best passing attack in the NCAA. I think people are overstating his interception issues. I’d rather have an 11-3 QB who’s more INT prone (Ryan) than a 6-6 one (Brohm) who can’t lead his squad to victories.
All I’m asking is for you to give the guy a chance. Or don’t. I could care less. History will be kind to me on this one.
QB Joe Flacco, Delaware
No need for as long of a spiel here, because I think we all like him. He’s big, smart, has a canon arm and swagger for days. Problem is he played against inferior competition in college. Also, I think part of why Chiefs fans like him so much is because they’ve talked themselves into thinking they can get a player as good as Ryan a round later. Yeah, I’m just not sure about that. Regardless, I’m high on Flacco.
QB Josh Johnson, San Diego
If for some reason we are more sold on Brodie than I think we are–and definitely more than we should be–this would be a great option. We could even reach a tad early in round three to make sure we got him. Speed Racer wheels, amazing accuracy (43 TDs, 1 INT), good size (6’3″), 24 on the Wonderlic…I prefer him to the two underachievers, aka Brian Brohm and Chad Henne, big time. Still, J.J. is definitely a project. Think Casey Printers on steroids.
QB Kevin O’Connell, San Diego State
I don’t know much about him, but by Saturday I may actually prefer him to Johnson. He’s still a little under the radar, but the ex-S.D. Stater could wind up being Aztec gold. He’s fast (4.6 40), got hops (31-inch vert) and absolutely torched opponents last season in the Mountain West. He’s really starting to rise right now. It might be too late, though, and we could be smart to take advantage and pounce with our third third or our fourth. I don’t know a ton about him, but I’m starting to warm up to the kid.
RB Jonathan Stewart, Oregon
He might not end up being quite as explosive or exciting as Darren McFadden, but he very well could end up being this draft’s best pure rusher. If he was there at 17 and there wasn’t anybody left we coveted, I would definitely take a long look at him. Remember how everybody moaned and groaned when we picked L.J. even though we had Priest Holmes? The best-player-available strategy works, folks.
WR James Hardy, Indiana
For the life of me I don’t know why any receiver outside of DeSean Jackson is ranked above this guy. The possibility of getting him at No. 35 is tantalizing to say the least. 6’6″ and he runs a 4.4 40. I don’t ever want to read or hear the words Mario Manningham again.
WR Jordy Nelson, K-State
We’ve already raved, and raved, and raved…and then some about our guy Jordy. The point I want to make here is that with our plethora of picks (13 total, six in the top 82), I would be totally willing for us to trade into round two and snag him. He is the perfect No. 2 WR. Say hello to the next out-of-nowhere guy, a la T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Wes Welker.
OT Chris Williams, Vanderbilt
I just want to start singing, “I like the way you move, duh, duh, duh.” Great frame and athleticism, incredible feet. He has the potential to be the very best pass-blocking left tackle in this draft. He seriously could go to the Broncos, too, but I’m reading that they might go with a back. I’m also reading that with Branden Albert moving up, Williams could be there at No. 17. I’d much rather go with a legitimate LT prospect 12 picks later, wouldn’t you? We just can’t be sure that Albert is a LT at this juncture, and you can’t pick a guard in the top five. That’s like winning a sweepstakes for any car you want and picking a Honda Accord. Nice ride, but…yeah…you get it.
OT Sam Baker, USC
As one scout said, he’s a ten-year starter at right tackle. In the late first or early second I will take that with no hesitation whatsoever. If he had been more healthy last year he would have been a top-20 pick. The kid’s got great instincts, the kind of feel for the game that you can’t teach.
DE Quentin Groves, Auburn
Saw this monster absolutely obliterate my Wildcats last year. Plus, his measurables are not far off from Vernon Gholsten‘s. Blazing 4.53 40. 30 reps of 225. 30-inch hops. Oh yeah, what about his heart? Well, that was an outpatient procedure that didn’t even cause him to stop working out for teams. I understand that it’s a heart issue, and that’s scary. But as someone who grew up the son of a heart doc, I assure you that this (WPW syndrome, which is almost always cured with a minor preliminary operation) doesn’t appear to even really be an issue. The only reference to heart we should be making when it comes to Groves is how much heart he plays with. Because of the operation we might be able to get a top-ten player with the No. 35 overall pick. I like him every bit as much as Chris Long. Seriously.
CB Antoine Cason, Arizona
4.4 40. Four-year all-conference guy in the Pac-10. He’s got decent size. He’s perfect for the Cover 2 scheme. If he somehow slips into round three, which is possible, he’d be a steal. I have no clue why he’s slipping so much. Really, I don’t.
CB Chevis Jackson, LSU
As you know, he’s been one of my boys for some time. He’s pretty big, and while not the fastest corner out there, he’s a sticky coverage guy–you can’t shake him. He has great intuition and instincts. He’s really the prototypical Herm corner, and he’ll be there in round three. We should do ourselves a favor and take him at that spot, especially with three thirds.
FS Ron Girault, Fresno State
Started 40 games. Ran a 4.46 40. 40-inch hops. Benched 225 25 times. He wasn’t invited to the Combine, so he’s not a name commodity right now, but he’ll be one of the best safeties in a weak class. He can be had in the late rounds and would be a great insurance policy to Jarrad Page, who I’ve soured on a bit. The biggest drawback is that he’s only 5’9″.
Let us know your “Draft Apples,” Chiefs fans!