New England Patriots 2012 draft

National Football League Draft

National Football League Draft (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chandler Jones DE/OLB from Syracuse University An athletic guy who has a big wingspan. He needs to work on his pass rushing moves but could develop into a great player. He could step in right away as the starter or play some significant time on sub packages so either way they have some options. He is a versatile player who can play in either defensive set but I do not see him being a “making waves” kind of production in his first year. His kind of size and athleticism does not come around all of the time so I love that the Patriots saw him still on the board and grabbed him then traded back up to get the guy they really wanted. GRADE- A

Dont’a Hightower ILB from Alabama– I do not see him being used as just an ILB but I can see him playing in different positions. I am a little surprised that he was still on the board but I am glad that Bill traded up to grab him because Baltimore would have otherwise. He is a guy who can play in the middle with Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes, but I also see him playing some time at OLB or even in coverage. He is good at blitzing up the middle but I do not think he is a pass rusher, he might contribute to that but will not be the main guy. The only thing that might hurt him is the development of Brandon Spikes, which could cut down his playing time, unless Bill has a plan to move either Mayo, Spikes or even Hightower to another LB position. GRADE- A

Tavon Wilson CB/S from Illinois- Officially labeled by NFL.com as a free safety but spent the first two seasons in college as a cornerback then converted over to a safety before the 2010 season. I do not know where he fits in the Patriots defense, whether it is as a cornerback or a safety but I do think that this pick was a head scratch especially since so many other defense backs were still on the board at the time. Defensive backs that are more known, most likely higher potential, and will most likely be in the league later. I do not get this pick and I just do not know if Tavon will be an impact player. I will trust Bill on this one I guess but the fact that they did take a DE later on in the draft kind of gets to me. They could have picked up a better, more productive DE at this pick and still picked up Wilson at 90. GRADE- D

Information on Tavon Wilson

Patriots trade 62nd pick for the 90th pick and the 163rd pick. SHOCKING. Did you really think that Bill was not going to disappoint us all and avoid drafting some players who can actually start and instead end up with a new class of practice squad members. Maybe I am being a little harsh on this move but I am just a little taken back by the second round moves that they made, especially after such a great start. First they pick up someone who MIGHT sniff the practice squad and then they trade out of the second round. Okay, so let us see where this goes and be optimistic about this. Belichick is the coach with the rings and we are the fans who are just anxious and want the Patriots to pick up everyone with a name we know but that is not going to happen. GRADE- F

Jake Bequette DE from Arkansas– This was taken from NFL.com on Bequette.

“Bequette was a strong player for Arkansas, though his productivity could be attributed more to competitiveness and intelligence than great athleticism. He stood out as a leader and high-energy player for the Razorbacks. He had the strength to rush, set the edge and hold his ground in the run game, able to battle bigger linemen and go hard until the end of the play. He is a solid tackler around the ball and consistently pursues plays from the backside. His versatility across the line makes him a good value for NFL teams, especially those running a 3-4 defense. He will likely be taken in one of the later rounds.”

His weaknesses summarized that he gets lost on double teams, not too athletic, not a factor in the passing game, does not play as fast as he could. Jake seems like a decent pick and will contribute in his own way but not sure, how often or how big that impact will be. He could compete with Jermaine Cunningham for playing time and who knows who will win that battle but either way the Patriots will get a good player out of it. GRADE- C

Something to worry about Patriots fans is that the Patriots have the fewest draft picks left with just one pick, which is 163, a 5th round pick. We always hear the same thing, the word value is thrown around, and it just gets annoying. Yeah you can trade all kinds of picks for later picks in the draft because you can get some value players… wow… great… how about players who can start and make an impact on a game that can say… I do not know… help you actually win the Super Bowl versus not being able to stop the other teams offense. Would it have been so bad if you did not have any picks after 62? Does that spell a bad draft if you only have four picks? Well it is quality not quantity, and while Hightower and Jones are quality picks the rest of the picks are not. However, let us be positive here and say that for whatever place they do not hit they can always plug-in another free agent because you still have some talented names available on the market.

I’ll update this again when they make their final selection but most likely the player won’t be any good so does it matter, I think not. Who will the pick be? A new practice squad member or bench guy.

*UPDATE*  4/29

Nate Ebner DB from Ohio State- A kid who will come in and contribute on special teams right away. Not a bad pick at all, a nice depth move for the Patriots and considering the injury problems they have had in the past at both CB and S this is a good pick up. Bad part about the pick is not sure he will be anything more than a special teams guy. GRADE- C

Alfonzo Dennard CB from Nebraska- This was a high risk-high reward pick for the Patriots. Dennard could have gone a lot earlier in the draft. He was once considered an early round pick until performance and bad decisions pushed him down the board. At that point in the draft, in the seventh round, if you miss it’s not a huge deal but if you hit you’re a genius and Dennard could be a hidden gem if he can get his act together. If anyone can do it it’s Bill Belichick and that core group that they have and leaders like Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork and Tom Brady to show him. I have to say that I did really like this pick from the Patriots. He is shorter and can get blocked by more physical receivers but will also try to be involved in the play which is good, and according to the breakdown at NFL.com, is NFL-ready which is good for a seventh rounder. Now it is just up to Dennard to get his act together or he’ll be a newcomer with WWE or the CFL. GRADE- B

Jeremy Ebert WR from Northwestern- Could eventually be the replacement/competition for Julian Edelman as a slot receiever and special teams player. The fact that he came on strong his last two seasons at Northwestern tells me that he will get better with time and will learn the system eventually. He’ll most likely be a practice squad guy since they have a lot of receivers on the roster but still a decent pick for that late in the draft. GRADE- C

Overall- A very good draft for the New England Patriots as they were primarily defensive oriented which is an area that needed to be addressed. Not that I put a lot of stock into the grades on NFL.com, because it is based on others opinions at the combine and pro days and if you don’t go then you have a low-grade but aren’t neccessarily a bad player. However, the player with the highest grade according to NFL.com is actually seventh round pick Alfonzo Dennard at 85.7 then Dont’a Hightower at 85 and the lowest being both Nate Ebner and Jeremy Ebert who didn’t have grades at all. Again, doesn’t really mean much but I thought it was a little interesting. Why didn’t I like the Tavon Wilson pick? Well because I see him as a blend in kind of player which means that he won’t do anything great but most likely won’t do anything bad either but I don’t think you use a second round pick on that kind of player. Hey, if I’m wrong, that’s awesome and I’m more than happy to be wrong on this one but I see him as a guy who you can forget is even playing just because he won’t stand out positively or negatively. He had a private workout with Bill and the Patriots however and seven other teams worked him out so teams had a different grade on him then the scouts and analysts did so I do trust Bill but I’m not going to be surprised if he is not on the team in a few years.

 

NFL should inflict harsh penalties against ‘BountyGate’

Gregg Williams at the 2010 commencement ceremo...

Image via Wikipedia

In case you live under a rock, you know that the New Orleans Saints and Gregg Williams, ex-defensive coordinator for them and now with the St. Louis Rams, have come under a spotlight because of a bounty system. A system that rewarded players for hurting other players and knocking them out of the game and paid them for it, a bonus check. The NFL must come down hard on Gregg Williams for this, especially if he had such a program in place when employed for other teams. Let’s get this straight, this isn’t about just hard hits, or bang-bang plays, it’s about hurting someone on purpose and being rewarded for doing so. How can it be seen any other way really? I understand that hard hits happen in the NFL, will continue to happen and I wouldn’t want it any other way but when it comes to taking people out… that’s wrong.

Think of it this way and maybe you can see it in a different way. Did Bernard Pollard get a “bounty check” for taking out Tom Brady in 2008? Was it bigger because it was a season ending injury? Did Kerry Rhodes and Eric Smith get a “bounty check” for taking out Anquan Boldin, then with the Arizona Cardinals? How about Philip Daniels and his wrenching of Peyton Manning’s neck back in 2006, what did he get for that? Does it matter that those actions most likely changed Peyton Manning’s life and career? What about Kimo von Oelhoffen and his hit on Carson Palmer in the playoffs? These are just a few instances that I can think of and if these players got what I call, a “bounty check” for what they did that’s just wrong and shouldn’t be in the NFL or any sport.

Other hits like the Dunta Robinson-DeSean Jackson, the hit Kurt Warner took in the 2009 playoffs and some others… those will happen and those are different. How are they different? Well, they are football plays and will happen and can happen at any given moment in any game but someone going out of there way to hurt someone because they’ll get paid extra for it, that’s the difference. If you fall during a foot race then it’s just something that can happen but if someone is paid to push you over, that’s different.

I am not sure what the penalties will be but considering how much Williams has lied I don’t see it ending well for him and serves him right. You know you can have a performance incentives plan and base it on getting interceptions, sacks or breaking up a big play… no one is getting hurt in those, at least not intentionally. Personally, if he was to be fired from the Rams or banned from the game it’d be harsh but you can’t go lightly on him just because other teams do it and he was caught. The NFL has to make a statement to other teams that, ‘if you have this kind of plan in place, end it now.’ From what I’ve read, the NFL is now going to investigate the Washington Redskins since Gregg Williams spent time with them, next maybe the Tennessee Titans and his time with them. Matt Bowen, former Redskins safety, did mention such a program existed when Williams was there as Defensive Coordinator. Williams also spent time with Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills (where he was the Head Coach), and Jacksonville Jaguars. This isn’t just on Gregg Williams though; current General Manager of the New Orleans Saints Mickey Loomis also knew about the program and lied about it but so far, his job seems to be safe.

In addition, just to throw in that this is much worse than SpyGate. You can spy all you want but the players still have to go out and execute and make the plays. You can argue that in most cases the other team knows what you’re going to do just by watching all the film that they do and still usually can’t stop you. As if teams had no idea this season, that Tom Brady, in crunch time, was going to pass it to Rob Gronkowski or Wes Welker. Bottomline is that this is wrong, not just in sports but in life. You should never intentionally hurt someone, it’s immoral and against the law, and to pay someone to do it… that’s low. It will be interesting to see what kind of penalty they give out and something tells me it will be a harsh one.

Does the new CBA need to introduce a new NBA?

Photo of game between Boston Celtics and Miami...

Image via Wikipedia

 

 

The NBA games have become hard to watch and just like the MLB you can pretty accurately predict who will win it all and who will have a tough time. The new Big 3 in Miami just proves the point that small market teams will always have a disadvantage unless this new CBA changes that. What in my eyes makes the NFL so much better than the NBA? It’s because I feel that anything can happen, a small market team can win the Super Bowl and a big market team can go 0-16 cause it’s more equal and more difficult really to get an all-star cast all on one roster. The NBA needs competitiveness so that it creates a stir and creates more change and the feeling that if you don’t watch, you actually might miss something. Instead of now where you can predict that the NBA Finals would probably be Heat Vs Lakers but wouldn’t it be more interesting if it could be any team. You could argue that the smaller market teams could play at the top of their game and come out on top but really, when you have all-star casts running to bigger markets to “play together” it seems unlikely and honestly not appealing. I’m a huge Celtics fan, but I do think it would be nice if for once it’d be more equal, can you imagine if it was a 76ers Vs Grizzles, I know sounds like a yawn fest but with the talent spread out equally who knows who could on those teams.

I find it sad that typically a player does not finish with the team that drafted him, that 5-6 teams dominate the league always, that it seems there is always a high turn over for owners and that means that teams could be moved rather easily, and that the all-star weekend means nothing cause it’s typically Heat/Celtics Vs Lakers/Spurs… it gets boring. A more competitive league means it will be more entertaining and less predictable, which means for me as a Celtics fan that after the Big 3 era I don’t have to worry about another 10 year drought. It could still happen but the likely hood, I believe, goes down if the talent is spread out and it’s more of a competitive league. What NFL fan isn’t happy that finally the Lions and Bills are legit threats? That the Eagles tried to do it the NBA-way and have failed so far? A big market team like the Cowboys can stink? It’s fun to watch the NFL, not so much with the NBA. Take notice Stern cause this is a more important decision than you may know, or maybe you do. A high-octane league with all-stars teaming up in 3’s to join one team may offer more ratings, when and if they actually face each other, but what of those other smaller teams? Who is watching them? Maybe you can hope that by all those big names joining forces will open doors for players on smaller teams to reach that level and soon every team will have multiple all-stars on them, hm, maybe.

I believe that Stern knows what he is doing, he is a smart man and hopefully can make this more fun to watch and not so dominated by the refs. The lock outs that have happened under his reign will tarnish his legacy but the outcome of this one I think will define just how much of an impact it makes, it could be a little side note or it could be the main story. It is not easy to run a league I could imagine and I would not want to be in the shoes of either of the commissioners but I can share my opinion on how to improve them, interjecting a fans point of view. So does the new CBA need to introduce a new NBA? Yes, unless it wants the ratings to stay the same as it is now, maybe even decline a little. Hey, I could be wrong but I think a competitive NBA is a good NBA.

Tim Tebow is the next Tom Brady?!

Tim Tebow

Image via Wikipedia

Tim Tebow, drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 1st round of the 2010 NFL draft by Josh McDaniels. I think the one thing I took from that move by McDaniels is his thoughts about whether Orton can run his offense. Is Tebow, who is now starting over Orton when Fox saw what Josh did, the next Tom Brady? Please! Absolutely not. He does not have the accuracy nor the consistency or a team that will back him if he has a bad performance. I think that Tebow has some potential to become a decent Quarterback in the NFL but I’m not sure he is a Franchise Quarterback. If you use smoke and mirrors and have shorter routes by the wide receivers and yeah that hurts them but Tebow is a young Quarterback who has some issues throwing the deep ball. He can scramble, energize the offense, is becoming known as a 4th quarter Quarterback, throw the short routes and maybe some medium ones and from what I have seen will protect the ball. Look at what the 49ers are doing with Alex Smith. Instead of trying to mold him into someone he just simply is not, they decided to use what skills he possesses to their advantage and simplified the offense and are now winning.

What will happen to Tebow next season? This is all based on what he does this season and how much time Denver gives him. If they have passed on Kyle Orton and have determined that Kyle is not the future for them then I see them just going with Tebow for the rest of the season cause you spent a 1st rounder on the kid so you should just see what he can do. Maybe if you see that he can’t play Quarterback full-time then you move him to a different position and use Tim as a wildcat type QB. I don’t read much into what ESPN and others have said and I am waiting to see what he does on the field and if he progresses from week to week simply because they have been wrong before.

Tim Tebow will not be the next Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana or Steve Young. I see him, if he can get his accuracy to at least a respectable level, reading the defense better and making adjustments, being a Jason Campbell, Chad Pennington, Jon Kitna, Trent Dilfer, Kordell Stewart. Which is a Quarterback who can run your team, can win you games and even get you to the playoffs but probably won’t get you a ring and needs a very good defense. Anything can happen in the NFL however and who knows who Tebow will eventually become… maybe an above average QB, maybe a Game Managing QB, maybe a bust, maybe a Tight End or Wide Receiver. The Broncos don’t have anything to lose by playing him for the rest of the season cause I didn’t think they’d make the playoffs anyway and figured that Kyle was not in the plans for Fox or Elway.

 

Bottom line is that Tim Tebow has a lot to learn in order to become a viable NFL Quarterback and I do think that most of that comes with more playing time but I do not see him being elite nor will his throwing motion completely change. He might be best suited to switch his position or becoming a hybrid player. That is one thing that no player has perfected which names like Kordell Stewart, Brad Smith and some others have tried but no one has made it as dangerous as Tebow could.

What can EA sports do to Madden 13?

Madden NFL 11

Image via Wikipedia

What is the difference between sport video games and other video games? Well, for one, the one that is relevant to my point, is that they usually do not come out annually. This is why, I think, some sport games are mediocre but yet we still all buy them in hopes that it will be better than the earlier version. Most of the time some things do improve but in the end the complaints always outweigh the satisfied. Being a fan of the Madden NFL franchise and NBA2K I know this quite well, I however usually do not complain because after all it is a video game for me, just a way of entertainment and has nothing to do with my career or life path but yet I still had this idea that might, might just change the sport video game industry for a long time and thought I’d share it.

Now I know that I will be ignored and no one of import will actually read this but still I will write it. Okay, so to my idea before you all fall asleep or bash me for drawing this out. How about they stop putting out a new product every year. It seems to me that when the game comes out they spend the next 2 months, probably tops, fixing this addition but then a department from the creators has already started penning ideas for next year… moving on from the one that is still new on the shelves. I think that is the problem and will go on for some time until they have this epiphany. You want a quality game like say Batman Arkham Asylum or something like that? Then the companies, EA, 2K Sports, whoever should do this… spend a few years… improving on the earlier version. Instead of Madden NFL 13, skip over it and spend more time on 14 and I believe that if they do it that way they will have time to discuss key issues and put out a great video game. NBA2K11 was a unique situation but still had its flaws.

EA has already thought of this idea and maybe don’t know it, with NBA Elite and I think it could be a great idea because putting out a new product every single year makes it hard to discuss issues and still have it out on time. I think that if they put as much into Madden 12 as they wanted to we wouldn’t have even seen it until maybe October but they had to rush it so it could hit the shelves by the start of Week 1. So with my idea what happens with Madden 12 next season? Well they simply update the rosters and make minor improvements on the game with roster updates and patches and then can put out a great product with Madden 14 or whatever they want to call it. I came to this idea because I figured that most of the issues that were noticed in Madden 11 and 12 will probably be addressed in 13. Look at how long it took them to update, change and even make improvement to Franchise Mode and Superstar Mode, so with that said how many of you would want them skip over 13 and just focus on a very much improved 14? I would think with almost two years of time to spend on it, they’d make it the best Madden game ever made. Who knows what kind of game they could put out when given such time to work on it. This years Madden is definitely better than the last but still has its fair share of problems.

In some cases it seems to rain a lot, LB’s make better catches than WR’s, no matter what logic CPU computers use it’s still easy to build a better team than them, DL players when you’re them anyway seem to fall easily, and so I have a few add-on suggestions to them. I will admit that the logic has definitely improved versus the earlier years but still has a little ways to go.

Players should have an option for a second position, add more logos to making a created team… even current team logos and old logos, if a player has a potential of D or F and has a lower rating than 40 they should be automatically cut, players should not be eliminated from the game during roster updates. Also on created teams you should have more options for colors, uniforms, and like I mentioned more logos.

Just some ideas from a player, I do firmly believe however that coming out with a Madden game every other year would improve the game, like I said, because they’d have more time to make a better product overall and be able to update all the modes they want instead of just improving a few and then working on others in the next years. If not then maybe just delaying it once and working for an extra year will get things started.You look at what I think made the NBA 2K series get over the hump and become a great game to play is that they improved the offline gameplay and modes and then some of the other holes didn’t show up so much. Does it still have problems? Yes, but did you see the grade IGN.com gave NBA 2k11? NBA 2k12? That’s the potential Madden has if it just improves the gameplay. They made some REAL good first steps with this past Madden but understand that it may be until the release of Madden 13 that we see what they were really trying to do, so again my point, why not delay it? I know, crazy, but so many other players on boards have said that they won’t be playing Madden anymore.

I give Madden NFL 12 a solid 7.5 out of 10. but what will Madden 13 be? Can Madden NFL be a 9? I think so. Some of the mentioned issues have been fixed in a patch but it still has some annoying holes. One of them being that most of the players must spend some time adjusting the sliders so that the game is playable for them and you can get realistic stats on both offense and defense. Franchise Mode, for all the improvements it has opened up some new problems and pointed out a fact, to me anyway. The new problem is the free agency bid system, it was a nice idea but it’s not working really. Important though, for those who do not know, you can view the free agents before you even begin bidding in Player Management. I have found out though that Franchise Mode is not supposed to be played, but simmed. I enjoy playing the games, however it is time-consuming but fun but with the slider issues it becomes annoying. I think Madden has a chance to be a 9 but it has ways to go.