19 December 2014

Newark Airport Security: Joke Of The Week

It’s been awhile since I updated this blog, and while I’m hesitant to return here simply to bitch, moan and complain, I feel reassured that at the end of the day, that’s what most blogs are for in the first place.

This post is motivated by yet another disastrous adventure through a security line at the airport. A few years ago – seven to be exact – I posted about a joke of an experience at Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport that is of course well worth your read.

Outrageous, egregious...totally preposterous!
(Side note: Is it not PREPOSTEROUS that it’s been more than seven years since we’ve been blindly taking our shoes off at the airport, because one guy tried andfailed to light his shoes on fire mid-flight? Answer: YES. It’s preposterous and pathetic, and totally moronic – and yes, I know that sounds like JackieChiles, and I’m okay with that.)

Flash forward to Monday morning when I flew out of SFO to Newark, and security was … blissful. It turns out that SFO, like many other airports (foreshadowing alert!), is testing out something called PRE. PRE is much like CLEAR, which is a way for folks to bypass the stringent security lines and leave their shoes, belt, jacket on, keep their toiletries in their bag, etc. My understanding is that when it’s implemented, in order to qualify for PRE you need to go through some background checks, etc., just to make sure that some bad actors aren’t avoiding security checks. But, because airports aren’t really concerned with making our lives easier but instead making THEIR lives easier, one of the main motivations here is making the security lines faster for everybody – presumably they can also hire less folks to work security as this occurs.



So, SFO needs to see if PRE does, in fact, make things move faster and what kinks in the system they’d need to iron out before a complete rollout. Let’s called it PRE Beta. As a result, a few lucky folks simply get waived through without any headaches. I was shocked on Monday, and even tweeted about it:

11 May 2014

Post Draft Thoughts

Some quick thoughts after the 2014 draft that at least part of will look incredibly stupid in a frighteningly short time from now ...

  • It's definitely at least in part because I'm such a 49ers homer, but I do really like their draft a lot. That's not just because ALL the experts are telling me so, but also some of the pieces they picked up. I still would have loved to see them draft a higher prospect at WR, but I also think that a receiver corps that now has Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson as the first three wideouts, with youngsters Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington fighting for playing time sounds pretty strong. (Oh, and Vernon Davis.)
  • The only pick that caught me off guard was Carlos Hyde. I never thought the team would go running back with a high pick ... but then, I thought about it some more. Frank Gore's contract is up after this year - I'd assumed they might extend him by a year or two almost in good faith, etc. But I think this means this is indeed Gore's swan song. Starting next year, it will be Hyde and Marcus Lattimore. Even Kendall Hunter may be gone, and LaMichael James almost certainly will be. (I don't even expect LMJ to break training camp if he can be traded for ANY type of draft pick.) Hyde was projected by most to be the top running back prospect in the draft, and if Lattimore is close to what he was pre-injury, that's a great duo. If Lattimore isn't quite there, it's a great way to ensure (assuming Hyde's any good, of course) strength and continuity at a critical position. 
  • As noted, I geeked out a bit before this draft, and I was happy to see the team grab players I knew of - because so many were near the tops of their positions. Jimmie Ward (S), Marcus Martin (C), Chris Borland (ILB) and Hyde were all in the top 3-4 at their respective positions at the least. Other guys like Bruce Ellington (WR) were exciting prospects - Ellington projects much like Brandin Cooks with less polish and does provide the top shelf speed the passing game has lacked. By the way, check out Ellington after he was drafted:

I think I like this guy.
  • Finally, they took some gambles at good positions - in addition to Ward, who will play slot cornerback, they took two other CB later in the draft.  Aaron Lynch could be a lethal pass rusher or a total bust, but it only cost a 5th rounder. Brandon Thomas, Keith Reaser and Trey Millard (the last two who I'd never heard of) will all go on the PUP list, with uncertainty if any will play in 2014. This is, of course, becoming a trend with the 49ers; when roster space is limited but you have more than your fair share of picks, stashing a guy and letting him get healthy is a good strategy. Whether they'll be good or not is unknown, but however you look at this draft, remember also that the team is also getting their first looks at Marcus Lattimore, Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial
  • As far as I can tell, with the appropriate exception of quarterback, every single position on the 49ers has created real competition for the job. That cannot be anything BUT good news. They even have strong depth at inside linebacker now, even with Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman (get healthy!) there. (In addition to Borland, the team signed Shayne Skov, who oddly wasn't drafted despite being ranked above Borland in some places and certainly projected to go in around the 3rd round. I'm happy because Skov is the cousin of an old high school friend of mine but also because he seems like a good player.)

Oh, there were other teams in the draft? ... some thoughts:
  • Don't like the Blake Bortles pick at 3. Maybe he is great, and they certainly suddenly drafted some real prospects at WR with Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson, but one thing I heard and agreed with was folks saying Jacksonville had to go with a "clean" pick - one free of a lot of risk. They needed to nail this to move the franchise forward. It's not even clear if Bortles will play much this year (though I dismiss this; three or four games of Chad Henne is about the legal limit). He could be a franchise QB, or he could be Blaine Gabbert Part Deux. 
  • I do not understand how the Carolina Panthers could leave this draft with one, extremely raw, WR and one offensive lineman, and a guard at that. Have they not seen their roster? 
  • How did the Browns, after learning that Josh Gordon might miss the season, not draft a single WR?
  • The experts seem to also agree that the St. Louis Rams did a smashing job -- and certainly, their defensive line and pass rush looks ... terrifying. Just the stuff of nightmares. But - they also made it clear that they're fully prepared to head into 2014 with Sam Bradford, tossing the ball to Tavon Austin, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt as their main wideouts. As a 49ers fan, I'm more than okay with that.
  • Didn't like what the Bills did either, even if Sammy Watkins is the next A.J. Green. I kept hearing folks saying the team is "all-in" this year but ... that's INSANE. Their team is mediocre at best, and they easily could be one of the four or five worst teams next year. And ... they traded away their first round pick next year. In a word, oy.
  • The Patriots seemed to treat this draft as preparation for the next year or two, not 2014. I wouldn't say they couldn't have patched a few current problems with a bit more urgency. 
  • Just read this ... the 49ers got two 2nd round picks in the Alex Smith trade - they've flipped those picks into Tank Carradine, Carlos Hyde, Chris Borland, Corey Lemonier and a 2015 4th round pick. Good lord, Trent Baalke, you are indeed a Draft Ninja.
     
  • Guys who I will be following because for some reason (mainly hype created by draft experts) I decided that these guys might be great fits for the 49ers, but landed elsewhere:  
  • Wide Receivers:  Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandin Cooks, Davante Adams, Donte Moncrief, Jarvis Landry, Cody Latimer, Martavis Bryant
  • Cornerbacks: Kyle Fuller, Jason Verrett, Pierre Desir, Bashaud Breeland, Antone Exum.
  • Other Defensive Players: Dominique Easley, Stephon Tuitt, Kareem Martin, Louis Nix, Jeremiah Attaochu, Lamon Barrow. 


08 May 2014

Grading My Mock Draft

On Wednesday night, I posted my thoughts on the first round of the NFL Draft, acknowledging that I really don't know much here, except what I've read. I haven't watched film, and I see only a handful of college football games each year. Still, thought it would be fun.

Hadn't thought about how to grade my own draft, until I saw this tweet from Matt Maiocco:


OK! Sounds good.

Let's have a look.




  • Jadeveon Clowney, DE - Houston Texans, or someone who trades up for Clowney. The only real no-brainer of the draft - Clowney is a physical freak, and I'd actually love to see what the Houston defense could do pairing him with J.J. Watt. Candidates to trade up for him are potentially countless, but Atlanta is the most discussed option and he'd be great there as well. If the Texans do trade down, they could get a huge haul of picks. SCORE: 3 - Right slot, team and taken in the first round.
  • Greg Robinson, OT - St. Louis Rams. If Clowney doesn't fall in their laps, and he won't, they're going to end up keeping this pick. While as a 49ers fan, I'd be more alarmed by a Sammy Watkins or even Johnny Manziel, I don't buy it. I think with Johnny Football they are trying to drum up interest in a trade, and while Watkins is tempting, this WR rich draft means they can get someone very good later, even down at 13. Instead, they'll take a guy who many say is the best offensive tackle prospect in the last 5-10 years. SCORE: 3 - Right slot, team and taken in the first round. Man, I'm GREAT at this!
  • Sammy Watkins, WR - Jacksonville Jaguars. Here's where I could start getting things wrong - I think Watkins is critical because the Jags don't have a stud in their offense ANYWHERE. Justin Blackmon is not being counted on to even play in 2014, and Watkins is an elite WR prospect. Who will throw to him? My guess is in the second or third round, the Jags look for someone like Jimmy Garaffalo or Zach Mettenberger. Alternatively, the Jags will take Khalil Mack here and find a lesser receiver in round 2 or 3.  SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Bills. The Jags went way off the "chalk," selecting Blake Bortles ... didn't see that coming. In my defense, NFL Draft expert Daniel Jeremiah didn't either:
  • Johnny Manziel, QB - Cleveland Browns. I wouldn't have said this until recently, but it's just started to make much more sense. It's one of the best possible landing places for him in my opinion - Cleveland has a strong defense, a very good offensive line and a promising receiver corps (including TE Jordan Cameron and WR Josh Gordon) that should only improve with a WR pick at either #26 or in the second round.  (Note - if they aren't in love with Johnny Football, as noted below at 26, a better move is for them to take Mike Evans here, then Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr at 26...)  SCORE: 2 - Wrong slot but right team (!) and taken in the first round. Fun the way this ended up playing out. 
  • Khalil Mack, LB - Oakland Raiders OR Atlanta Falcons. Here's what I think - either Mack is going to fall into Oakland's lap, or Atlanta will swap pick #6 for the rights to get potentially the best pass rusher in the draft. If I'm the Raiders, I do that and grab the pick below and take an extra, say, 3rd round pick? The Raiders need help EVERYWHERE.  Since the trade didn't happen ... SCORE: 3 - Right slot, team and taken in the first round.  
  • Jake Matthews, OT - Atlanta Falcons OR Oakland Raiders. If the Falcons don't make the trade for Mack, they'll stand pat and get Matthews, who everyone projects as the "safest" pick in the draft, and a potential lockdown stud at OT for years. The Falcons need help on both of their lines, and I think Matthews is a better choice for them, honestly. But I do hear that they are eager to grab either Clowney or Mack, so the trade could happen. Alternatively, the Raiders get Matthews and begin to get serious about rebuilding. Since the trade didn't happen ... SCORE: 3 - Right slot, team and taken in the first round. 
  • Mike Evans, WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This seemed to be a no-brainer after they traded Mike Williams to the Bills earlier this year - Evans is a maniac receiver with a gigantic catch radius and pairing him with Vincent Jackson would build a great WR corps of two huge targets. Recently, some folks are suggesting Evans goes even earlier, perhaps to Cleveland at 4 or by someone trading up. Other folks are looking at defense like Aaron Donald at NT. I'm sticking with Evans as it just seems to make plain sense. SCORE: 3 - Right slot, team and taken in the first round. 
  • Blake Bortles, QB  - Minnesota Vikings. This is the first pick I wouldn't like - it seems far from clear that Bortles is going to be able to live up to his large potential, though Norv Turner would be a great candidate to teach him. They could also go linebacker, or safety, but if they do believe in Bortles, they have to take him here or risk losing him. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot and team, but taken in the first round. In fact, by going at 3 without another QB going until #22, it seems a bit crazy where the Jags took him. Didn't see that happening at all. But I DID like the Vikings draft, taking Anthony Barr here, then trading for Teddy Bridgewater at the end of the draft.   
  • Eric Ebron, TE - Buffalo Bills. They could go for offensive line with Taylor Lewan, but I think they try to give E.J. Manuel another target, in addition to Mike Williams who they acquired via trade. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Lions at 10. He did go the VERY next pick to the Lions...do I get credit here? Anyone?
  • Darqueze Dennard, CB -- Detroit Lions. I had them picking Justin Gilbert, but it's possible they'll take the more well rounded, local kid they probably know pretty well. By the way, we've officially entered the part of the draft I think the 49ers could trade up to.  SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round, much later by the Bengals . 
  • Justin Gilbert, CB -- Tennessee Titans. I think the Titans could go a few different ways, including safety with Ha Ha Clinton Dix, but they did lose a big CB in the offseason and Gilbert should fill that gap nicely, though Kyle Fuller is getting similar hype in recent days.
    TRADE ALERT! To me, this is the prime team for the 49ers to trade with to get up high enough to get WR Odell Beckham, Jr. I'd LOVE to see this as I think he could force the team to play more 3 WR sets this year, and provide huge insurance in case it's too expensive to re-sign Michael Crabtree. The 49ers have the Titans 3rd round pick this year - why not send it back and a 2nd round pick (we'll still have one left) along with pick #30 to get OBJ? PLEASE MAKE IT SO PLEASE MAKE IT SO PLEASE MAKE IT SO.  SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Browns at 9. The trade didn't happen either, obviously - though I've come around on the 49ers pick (below), I do miss the OBJ opportunity.  
  • Aaron Donald, DT - New York Giants. Offensive line is a solid choice here too, with Taylor Lewan and Zack Martin still available, but nobody has soared more in the pre-draft period than Donald. He may not even be available here, but he is compared to Geno Atkins, meaning he could really plug up the middle of that defensive line, a key need.  SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Rams at 13. Don't really get why the Giants would take ODB when he is, in essence a Victor Cruz type player ... think Donald was much better fit. But, ODB would have gone next to the Rams, I suspect. 
  • Ha Ha Clinton Dix, S - St. Louis Rams. The Rams shore up their defensive backfield with the top-rated safety in the draft. I should admit that I'm projecting a divisional opponent to take less scary picks than they otherwise could - but with two first rounders they potentially lock down two of the most important positions in football, LT and FS. They need help at safety badly enough that if Clinton-Dix goes earlier (to the Lions or Titans, potentially) that they'd go for Calvin Pryor. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Packers at 21. HHCD sort of slipped tonight,  
  • Calvin Pryor, S - Chicago Bears. I think I saw Aaron Donald going to the Bears in every mock draft for months, but now it seems a long-shot that Donald would still be around. Instead they'll shore up safety with Pryor, who is a big hitter and fills a critical need.  TRADE ALERT! This is another potential trade target for the 49ers if WR Odell Beckham, Jr.  is still on the board (they are linked, potentially, to the Giants or Rams at 12 and 13). It would make sense for the Bears to grab an extra 3rd or 2nd round pick, and still get a Defensive Tackle like Stephon Tuitt, Ra'Shede Hageman or Timmy Jernagin along with the extra picks. The Steelers at 15 have also been heavily linked to OBJ and I could easily see the Cowboys ignoring their woeful defense so if the 49ers really want OBJ, they have to trade up here to ensure it happens. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Jets at 18. The Bears instead took Kyle Fuller, which is a nice pick and a player I wanted for the 49ers. 
  • Odell Beckham, Jr - Pittsburgh Steelers. See what I mean? In my non-trade scenario, the Steelers get one of the most dynamic receivers in the draft, a guy with great hands, route running and kick return ability. This would make me sad, but I think Steelers fans very happy. Alternately, they still focus on CB with Kyle Fuller, or even go LB with C.J. Mosely. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Giants at 12. They did end up going LB, but instead went for Ryan Shazier. 
  • Anthony Barr, LB - Dallas Cowboys. Man, who the hell knows with these guys - the fact that Taylor Lewan is still on the board means they could go with that or a trade up could happen to get him, but instead I have the Cowboys getting a raw, potentially lethal pass rusher to make up for the fact that they inexplicably let Demarcus Ware walk away to the Broncos. Geez, the Cowboys are stupid. (And I love it.) Barr has only played defense for two years but has been a sack artist in the Pac-12. He's high enough risk, too, that if he flames out it will feel like a very Dallas pick. Perfect. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Vikings at 9. High risk pick by the Vikings there, but I definitely trust Mike Zimmer to leverage his skill more than the Cowboys.
  • Taylor Lewan, OT - Baltimore Ravens. This is perhaps the biggest "drop" in what I'm listing here and what most of the mock drafts I've seen have had. Who the hell knows? But here I think the Ravens leap at the chance to heal up their offensive line with Lewan, a huge physical beast who tore up the combine. Has some potential character issues, but I would think the Ravens could tolerate and work with that just fine. TRADE ALERT! Again, a ripe trade target for the 49ers - Harbaughs working together! This would be a fine place to trade up for another WR, or of course Beckham if he drops. If he's gone, I'd love to see WR Brandin Cooks taken here, with potential other target WR Marquis Lee. It seems less likely that they'd trade up for CB this high, but Kyle Fuller won't last much longer if that's a guy they want. Last year, the 49ers traded up almost to this exact spot and it only cost them their 3rd round pick. If they could do this for the Titans 3rd round pick, almost 20 picks earlier, I'd be tickled. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Titans at 11. The Ravens instead took C.J. Mosely who everyone instantly labelled as a "perfect Ravens player" so there you go.
  • Brandin Cooks, WR  - New York Jets. Cause ... yeah, if the 49ers don't get Cooks, here's where he almost assuredly goes. Pairing Cooks with Eric Decker gives either Geno Smith or Michael Vick (OK, Vick) along with Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory at RB...all of a sudden, the Jets offense seems a bit spicy. I could see them also going with Marquis Lee if the 49ers or someone else pounces on Cooks, or going with Kyle Fuller at CB. The latter seems unlikely as they just drafted Dee Milliner last year in the 1st round, but that hasn't solved the problem. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Saints at 20. Really bummed that the Jets passed here, but the 49ers didn't want to trade up for him. Others had concerns he was too small but I can't wait to watch Cooks in New Orleans. 
  • Zack Martin, OT - Miami Dolphins. You may have heard that the Dolphins have some issues at offensive line...yeah. If Martin somehow is already gone, I think they still go here, with Morgan Moses, Cyrus Kouandijo, etc. TRADE ALERT! I think a 49ers trade up for CB help is supposed to happen about five picks from now, but as you see below, I have Kyle Fuller going in the next pick. If the 49ers trade up, they'll need to come up pretty high to get Fuller, Jason Verrett or Bradley Roby, the last of which I'm not nearly as excited about. I think this is lower probability, but ... ya never know. I think it would be a 3rd round pick and not much more to swap this with #30. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Cowboys at 16. The Dolphins still went for OT, but went off the board with Ja'Waun James with a few other 'name' tackles on the board. 
  • Kyle Fuller, CB -- Arizona Cardinals. One of the harder choices - I actually think that Teddy Bridgewater is a far better long-term choice (others project Derek Carr as more of a fit for HC Bruce Arians), and Ryan Shazier at LB would be a great fit as well. Instead, the Cardinals make an already strong secondary an absolute terror. Oh, joy. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Bears at 14. The Cardinals traded down, then took Deone Bucannon who, I should mention I had in my first draft of this nonsense. 
  • C.J. Mosely, LB - Green Bay Packers. I think this is considered a plunge from where he otherwise could be (and Shazier is likely to be off the board too, though I can't figure out where). Mosely is a great presence at ILB and one of the bigger needs of the team. A great fit.  SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Ravens at 17. The Packers instead got Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. 
  • Bradley Roby, CB - Philadelphia Eagles. I don't really buy that WR is such a huge need for the Eagles - yes, they let DeSean Jackson walk away, but there are still plenty of receivers available next round and they did everything last year without a single down from Jeremy Maclin. Roby fills a bigger immediate need at CB. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Denver at 31. 
  • Marqise Lee, WR - Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs need more weapons and Lee fits the bill and could be a huge steal here. There's rumors that they might take a QB and ... well, Teddy Bridgewater is still available...?  SCORE: 0 - Lee was NOT drafted in the first round. I think I'm okay with this, but nervous that the 49ers may have missed out on him.
  • Ryan Shazier, LB - Cincinnati Bengals. A hugely talented defense gets better and helps fill the loss of Michael Johnson in free agency from a pass rush perspective. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Steelers at 15. 
  • Jason Verrett, CB - San Diego Chargers. Would love to see Verrett as a 49er, but if that doesn't happen, he's going to be a Charger I think - they need big help at DB. SCORE: 3 - Right slot, team and taken in the first round. I'm back, baby!
  • Morgan Moses, OT - Cleveland Browns. I don't like this pick, it's not really needed but I do have them picking Manziel earlier. The better choice is potentially instead for them to go with Sammy Watkins (if he's still available) or even Mike Evans at #4, and taking Teddy Bridgewater here. My guess is that at this point, some folks who passed on QB in the top of this round might be trading back up into this round for Bridgewater and Derek Carr. SCORE: 0 - Moses was NOT drafted in the first round. This is the pick the Browns traded up to get Johnny Football, while also snaring Justin Gilbert earlier.
  • Kelvin Benjamin, WR - New Orleans Saints. I think they'd really benefit from a speed receiver like Cooks or Lee, but here they grab a freakishly tall player who has, at least, the receiving potential to replace Jimmy Graham if he leaves after 2014. SCORE: 1 - Wrong slot,  wrong team, but taken in the first round by the Panthers at 28. Just one pick away! The Saints traded up and grabbed Brandin Cooks... 
  • Cyrus Kouandijo, OT - Carolina Panthers. The Panthers receiving corps is admittedly laughable right now - but their offensive line is even worse. Key personnel left in free agency and retirement, and they can wait until Round 2 to focus on WR. SCORE: 0 - Kouandijo was NOT drafted in the first round.  The Panthers instead gambled on Kelvin Benjamin. the offensive line is a much bigger problem though. 
  • Ra'Shede Hageman, DT - New England Patriots. I could also see them going for Jace Amaro or Austin Sefarian-Jenkins at TE, but instead I have them taking a super talented if uneven DT who could be a major draft steal - similarly, Tim Jernagin is a ripe target for the Patriots. TRADE ALERT! One school of thought - okay, mine - BUT I LOVE IT - would be if the 49ers don't trade up at all, and some receivers and defensive backs somehow fall, they could swap both 2nd rounders with the Patriots for this pick and take some combination of Roby/Verrett/Fuller and maybe Brandin Cooks. If that could happen, Baalke wins the world. SCORE: 0 - Hageman was NOT drafted in the first round. 
  • Stephon Tuitt, DE - San Francisco 49ers. This pick is evidence, to me, that the 49ers need to trade up. DE is a need, somewhat, with Justin Smith getting older - but with Tank Carradine, the 49ers essentially have a first round pick this year already. There's just no elite CB or WR left on the board here, though the 49ers could grab Cody Latimer or potentially Davante Adams here.  SCORE: 0 - Tuitt was NOT drafted in the first round. My 49ers instead took Jimmie Ward, who can play all safety and cornerback positions, and will start likely at the slot corner next year. I've grown to like this a lot, though I was very deflated at the moment of the draft.
  • Timmy Jernagin, DT - Denver Broncos. Solidifying the defensive line here is one way to go, another would be offensive line with Joel Bitonio or Xavier Sua'Filo. SCORE: 0 - Jernagin was NOT drafted in the first round. 
  • Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, TE - Seattle Seahawks. One of the few gaps on the offense here is at TE, and ASJ would make it a real physical threat here that could add a major wrinkle to the offense. The Seahawks only have six picks in this draft, so they are also a contender to trade down here if someone wants to trade up for a QB like Bridgewater, Carr or others. SCORE: 1 - While ASJ was not drafted, I'm granting myself a point for the trade out for Bridgewater by the Vikings. 



  • TOTAL SCORE: 39 - out of a possible 96. NOT great, but altogether not horrible either for a random dart. I'll take it. 

    07 May 2014

    Draft Thoughts, 2014

    I haven't posted here in forever, and that seems unlikely to change, but thought I would jot down my thoughts on the eve of the NFL Draft, and then (hopefully) come back and see how off-base I am. Of course, one can never predict trades, and honestly I don't really know what the fuck I'm talking about with this stuff, so I'm not expecting great success.

    But for whatever reason, I've been even more into the draft process this year, and think I have a sense for at least how folks think of many of the top players, if not whether they will be good players or draft picks. But let's give it a whirl.



    1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE - Houston Texans, or someone who trades up for Clowney. The only real no-brainer of the draft - Clowney is a physical freak, and I'd actually love to see what the Houston defense could do pairing him with J.J. Watt. Candidates to trade up for him are potentially countless, but Atlanta is the most discussed option and he'd be great there as well. If the Texans do trade down, they could get a huge haul of picks.
    2. Greg Robinson, OT - St. Louis Rams. If Clowney doesn't fall in their laps, and he won't, they're going to end up keeping this pick. While as a 49ers fan, I'd be more alarmed by a Sammy Watkins or even Johnny Manziel, I don't buy it. I think with Johnny Football they are trying to drum up interest in a trade, and while Watkins is tempting, this WR rich draft means they can get someone very good later, even down at 13. Instead, they'll take a guy who many say is the best offensive tackle prospect in the last 5-10 years.
    3. Sammy Watkins, WR - Jacksonville Jaguars. Here's where I could start getting things wrong - I think Watkins is critical because the Jags don't have a stud in their offense ANYWHERE. Justin Blackmon is not being counted on to even play in 2014, and Watkins is an elite WR prospect. Who will throw to him? My guess is in the second or third round, the Jags look for someone like Jimmy Garaffalo or Zach Mettenberger. Alternatively, the Jags will take Khalil Mack here and find a lesser receiver in round 2 or 3. 
    4. Johnny Manziel, QB - Cleveland Browns. I wouldn't have said this until recently, but it's just started to make much more sense. It's one of the best possible landing places for him in my opinion - Cleveland has a strong defense, a very good offensive line and a promising receiver corps (including TE Jordan Cameron and WR Josh Gordon) that should only improve with a WR pick at either #26 or in the second round.  (Note - if they aren't in love with Johnny Football, as noted below at 26, a better move is for them to take Mike Evans here, then Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr at 26...)
    5. Khalil Mack, LB - Oakland Raiders OR Atlanta Falcons. Here's what I think - either Mack is going to fall into Oakland's lap, or Atlanta will swap pick #6 for the rights to get potentially the best pass rusher in the draft. If I'm the Raiders, I do that and grab the pick below and take an extra, say, 3rd round pick? The Raiders need help EVERYWHERE. 
    6. Jake Matthews, OT - Atlanta Falcons OR Oakland Raiders. If the Falcons don't make the trade for Mack, they'll stand pat and get Matthews, who everyone projects as the "safest" pick in the draft, and a potential lockdown stud at OT for years. The Falcons need help on both of their lines, and I think Matthews is a better choice for them, honestly. But I do hear that they are eager to grab either Clowney or Mack, so the trade could happen. Alternatively, the Raiders get Matthews and begin to get serious about rebuilding.
    7. Mike Evans, WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This seemed to be a no-brainer after they traded Mike Williams to the Bills earlier this year - Evans is a maniac receiver with a gigantic catch radius and pairing him with Vincent Jackson would build a great WR corps of two huge targets. Recently, some folks are suggesting Evans goes even earlier, perhaps to Cleveland at 4 or by someone trading up. Other folks are looking at defense like Aaron Donald at NT. I'm sticking with Evans as it just seems to make plain sense.
    8. Blake Bortles, QB  - Minnesota Vikings. This is the first pick I wouldn't like - it seems far from clear that Bortles is going to be able to live up to his large potential, though Norv Turner would be a great candidate to teach him. They could also go linebacker, or safety, but if they do believe in Bortles, they have to take him here or risk losing him. 
    9. Eric Ebron, TE - Buffalo Bills. They could go for offensive line with Taylor Lewan, but I think they try to give E.J. Manuel another target, in addition to Mike Williams who they acquired via trade. 
    10. Darqueze Dennard, CB -- Detroit Lions. I had them picking Justin Gilbert, but it's possible they'll take the more well rounded, local kid they probably know pretty well. By the way, we've officially entered the part of the draft I think the 49ers could trade up to. 
    11. Justin Gilbert, CB -- Tennessee Titans. I think the Titans could go a few different ways, including safety with Ha Ha Clinton Dix, but they did lose a big CB in the offseason and Gilbert should fill that gap nicely, though Kyle Fuller is getting similar hype in recent days.
      TRADE ALERT! To me, this is the prime team for the 49ers to trade with to get up high enough to get WR Odell Beckham, Jr. I'd LOVE to see this as I think he could force the team to play more 3 WR sets this year, and provide huge insurance in case it's too expensive to re-sign Michael Crabtree. The 49ers have the Titans 3rd round pick this year - why not send it back and a 2nd round pick (we'll still have one left) along with pick #30 to get OBJ? PLEASE MAKE IT SO PLEASE MAKE IT SO PLEASE MAKE IT SO.
    12. Aaron Donald, DT - New York Giants. Offensive line is a solid choice here too, with Taylor Lewan and Zack Martin still available, but nobody has soared more in the pre-draft period than Donald. He may not even be available here, but he is compared to Geno Atkins, meaning he could really plug up the middle of that defensive line, a key need. 
    13. Ha Ha Clinton Dix, S - St. Louis Rams. The Rams shore up their defensive backfield with the top-rated safety in the draft. I should admit that I'm projecting a divisional opponent to take less scary picks than they otherwise could - but with two first rounders they potentially lock down two of the most important positions in football, LT and FS. They need help at safety badly enough that if Clinton-Dix goes earlier (to the Lions or Titans, potentially) that they'd go for Calvin Pryor.
    14. Calvin Pryor, S - Chicago Bears. I think I saw Aaron Donald going to the Bears in every mock draft for months, but now it seems a long-shot that Donald would still be around. Instead they'll shore up safety with Pryor, who is a big hitter and fills a critical need.  TRADE ALERT! This is another potential trade target for the 49ers if WR Odell Beckham, Jr.  is still on the board (they are linked, potentially, to the Giants or Rams at 12 and 13). It would make sense for the Bears to grab an extra 3rd or 2nd round pick, and still get a Defensive Tackle like Stephon Tuitt, Ra'Shede Hageman or Timmy Jernagin along with the extra picks. The Steelers at 15 have also been heavily linked to OBJ and I could easily see the Cowboys ignoring their woeful defense so if the 49ers really want OBJ, they have to trade up here to ensure it happens.
    15. Odell Beckham, Jr - Pittsburgh Steelers. See what I mean? In my non-trade scenario, the Steelers get one of the most dynamic receivers in the draft, a guy with great hands, route running and kick return ability. This would make me sad, but I think Steelers fans very happy. Alternately, they still focus on CB with Kyle Fuller, or even go LB with C.J. Mosely.
    16. Anthony Barr, LB - Dallas Cowboys. Man, who the hell knows with these guys - the fact that Taylor Lewan is still on the board means they could go with that or a trade up could happen to get him, but instead I have the Cowboys getting a raw, potentially lethal pass rusher to make up for the fact that they inexplicably let Demarcus Ware walk away to the Broncos. Geez, the Cowboys are stupid. (And I love it.) Barr has only played defense for two years but has been a sack artist in the Pac-12. He's high enough risk, too, that if he flames out it will feel like a very Dallas pick. Perfect.
    17. Taylor Lewan, OT - Baltimore Ravens. This is perhaps the biggest "drop" in what I'm listing here and what most of the mock drafts I've seen have had. Who the hell knows? But here I think the Ravens leap at the chance to heal up their offensive line with Lewan, a huge physical beast who tore up the combine. Has some potential character issues, but I would think the Ravens could tolerate and work with that just fine. TRADE ALERT! Again, a ripe trade target for the 49ers - Harbaughs working together! This would be a fine place to trade up for another WR, or of course Beckham if he drops. If he's gone, I'd love to see WR Brandin Cooks taken here, with potential other target WR Marquis Lee. It seems less likely that they'd trade up for CB this high, but Kyle Fuller won't last much longer if that's a guy they want. Last year, the 49ers traded up almost to this exact spot and it only cost them their 3rd round pick. If they could do this for the Titans 3rd round pick, almost 20 picks earlier, I'd be tickled.
    18. Brandin Cooks, WR  - New York Jets. Cause ... yeah, if the 49ers don't get Cooks, here's where he almost assuredly goes. Pairing Cooks with Eric Decker gives either Geno Smith or Michael Vick (OK, Vick) along with Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory at RB...all of a sudden, the Jets offense seems a bit spicy. I could see them also going with Marquis Lee if the 49ers or someone else pounces on Cooks, or going with Kyle Fuller at CB. The latter seems unlikely as they just drafted Dee Milliner last year in the 1st round, but that hasn't solved the problem.
    19. Zack Martin, OT - Miami Dolphins. You may have heard that the Dolphins have some issues at offensive line...yeah. If Martin somehow is already gone, I think they still go here, with Morgan Moses, Cyrus Kouandijo, etc. TRADE ALERT! I think a 49ers trade up for CB help is supposed to happen about five picks from now, but as you see below, I have Kyle Fuller going in the next pick. If the 49ers trade up, they'll need to come up pretty high to get Fuller, Jason Verrett or Bradley Roby, the last of which I'm not nearly as excited about. I think this is lower probability, but ... ya never know. I think it would be a 3rd round pick and not much more to swap this with #30. 
    20. Kyle Fuller, CB -- Arizona Cardinals. One of the harder choices - I actually think that Teddy Bridgewater is a far better long-term choice (others project Derek Carr as more of a fit for HC Bruce Arians), and Ryan Shazier at LB would be a great fit as well. Instead, the Cardinals make an already strong secondary an absolute terror. Oh, joy.
    21. C.J. Mosely, LB - Green Bay Packers. I think this is considered a plunge from where he otherwise could be (and Shazier is likely to be off the board too, though I can't figure out where). Mosely is a great presence at ILB and one of the bigger needs of the team. A great fit.
    22. Bradley Roby, CB - Philadelphia Eagles. I don't really buy that WR is such a huge need for the Eagles - yes, they let DeSean Jackson walk away, but there are still plenty of receivers available next round and they did everything last year without a single down from Jeremy Maclin. Roby fills a bigger immediate need at CB.
    23. Marqise Lee, WR - Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs need more weapons and Lee fits the bill and could be a huge steal here. There's rumors that they might take a QB and ... well, Teddy Bridgewater is still available...? 
    24. Ryan Shazier, LB - Cincinnati Bengals. A hugely talented defense gets better and helps fill the loss of Michael Johnson in free agency from a pass rush perspective. 
    25. Jason Verrett, CB - San Diego Chargers. Would love to see Verrett as a 49er, but if that doesn't happen, he's going to be a Charger I think - they need big help at DB.
    26. Morgan Moses, OT - Cleveland Browns. I don't like this pick, it's not really needed but I do have them picking Manziel earlier. The better choice is potentially instead for them to go with Sammy Watkins (if he's still available) or even Mike Evans at #4, and taking Teddy Bridgewater here. My guess is that at this point, some folks who passed on QB in the top of this round might be trading back up into this round for Bridgewater and Derek Carr. 
    27. Kelvin Benjamin, WR - New Orleans Saints. I think they'd really benefit from a speed receiver like Cooks or Lee, but here they grab a freakishly tall player who has, at least, the receiving potential to replace Jimmy Graham if he leaves after 2014.
    28. Cyrus Kouandijo, OT - Carolina Panthers. The Panthers receiving corps is admittedly laughable right now - but their offensive line is even worse. Key personnel left in free agency and retirement, and they can wait until Round 2 to focus on WR.
    29. Ra'Shede Hageman, DT - New England Patriots. I could also see them going for Jace Amaro or Austin Sefarian-Jenkins at TE, but instead I have them taking a super talented if uneven DT who could be a major draft steal - similarly, Tim Jernagin is a ripe target for the Patriots. TRADE ALERT! One school of thought - okay, mine - BUT I LOVE IT - would be if the 49ers don't trade up at all, and some receivers and defensive backs somehow fall, they could swap both 2nd rounders with the Patriots for this pick and take some combination of Roby/Verrett/Fuller and maybe Brandin Cooks. If that could happen, Baalke wins the world.
    30. Stephon Tuitt, DE - San Francisco 49ers. This pick is evidence, to me, that the 49ers need to trade up. DE is a need, somewhat, with Justin Smith getting older - but with Tank Carradine, the 49ers essentially have a first round pick this year already. There's just no elite CB or WR left on the board here, though the 49ers could grab Cody Latimer or potentially Davante Adams here. 
    31. Timmy Jernagin, DT - Denver Broncos. Solidifying the defensive line here is one way to go, another would be offensive line with Joel Bitonio or Xavier Sua'Filo.
    32. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, TE - Seattle Seahawks. One of the few gaps on the offense here is at TE, and ASJ would make it a real physical threat here that could add a major wrinkle to the offense. The Seahawks only have six picks in this draft, so they are also a contender to trade down here if someone wants to trade up for a QB like Bridgewater, Carr or others.

    There's the wild dart ... I'll try to come back after Thursday night to see how atrocious I did...


    18 February 2014

    Good Taste, Prez.

    I have always appreciated that President Obama cites MY favorite show (and many others), The Wire, as his own favorite and apparently that extends to other favorites of mine. President Obama recently requested screeners of Game of Thrones and my newest favorite show, True Detective. That was amusing, I guess, but then, imagine actress Alexandra Daddario (from True Detective)'s perspective on this:



    Yep.

    26 November 2013

    Rain On Your Wedding Day

    Rain on Your Wedding DayRain on Your Wedding Day by Curtis Edmonds
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Curtis Edmonds has written an absolutely satisfying debut novel here. Will Morse, an ex-NFL player, has retreated to a mountain cabin, to put some physical distance between his memories and as a form of self-penance. When his daughter shows up with her fiancee, as well as a woman named Dot, Will is forced to make some choices about whether he wants to stare down his demons, and what that will mean. In its premise, "Rain on Your Wedding Day" reminded me of Per Petterson's wonderful "Out Stealing Horses," and though the books are quite different, I enjoyed this almost as much as that master work. If I had any complaints, it would be that as a diehard NFL fan, I would have liked a bit more details about that part of Will's background, and maybe a fuller expansion of his relationship with Dot. These are mere requests for 'more' as I absolutely enjoyed this story, the tone, the characters and the size of the story as well. This is Curtis Edmonds' first novel; let's hope there are many more to come.

    View all my reviews