Boy, free agency sure was fun! I’ll get to that in a moment, because there’s an obvious subject in the room that I feel like I should address:
WASHINGTON STUPIDHEADS – Due to some sort of personality conflict that may never be fully revealed, the Redskins recently fired their General Manager, Scot McLoughan. But they didn’t just fire him, they metaphorically lit him on fire and pushed him off the nosebleed seats at FedEx Field. First the team leaked that he was having family trouble, then they leaked that he was having substance abuse issues again, and then finally after making all of that as public as possible, they canned him.
Full disclosure: I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t see the benefit of it, I don’t like the taste, I do not see it as positive behavior, it is not for me. That said, some people recreationally partake in it, and there is a large industry of companies that count on people doing such a thing.
However, addiction is a very real and very scary thing. All indications were that McLoughan a) was addressing any problems that may come up and b) was doing a good job in his role as GM, forging a team that would be in playoff contention until the final game of this past season.
Bruce Allen, a former GM, the Redskins’ team president, and an entitled weirdo by many accounts, apparently also has a substance abuse issue and was being very hypocritical when it came to McLoughan.
But, here we are, and people know enough by now to know that the Redskins are the weird cousin at the family reunion and to not take what that organization says seriously, so McLoughan should bounce back relatively soon. It’s just the way they dealt with it that is silly to me.
A QB, A CLIPBOARD HOLDER, AND BROCK – Free agency didn’t have much from a quarterback standpoint. Look, if you honestly think that Mike Glennon is going to start for more than maybe a half a season, you’re fooling yourself. Mike Glennon is not the answer to a team’s quarterback problems. He’ll be wearing an earpiece on the sidelines before long. Brian Hoyer is a sensible signing in San Francisco (sorry for all the S’s) because he has experience in Kyle Shanahan’s system and can play competently until the Niners have their QB. I like it.
The question of the offseason, though, may very well be “Where were you when you read Osweiler was traded?” An amazing use by Cleveland of their large salary cap space, the Browns essentially bought a second-round pick and is going to eat much of Osweiler’s contract one way or the other (I doubt he’ll play in Cleveland). I literally laughed out loud when I read about it. Brock behaved like a little diva to his coach, and that’s sure to get you booted out of town when your coach is someone off the Parcells coaching tree. I just think it is amazing how the guy has gone from getting paid to being nearly laughed out of the league. I honestly don’t know of a team that is needy enough to sign him. Last year may have been his last hurrah.
CHAMPIONS OF THE OFF-SEASON – The Jaguars signed not one, not two, but three of their top targets when free agency started, and have significantly bolstered a defense that was already brimming with solid young talent. This puts them over the edge.
The addition of A.J. Bouye makes the Jaguars a true threat to the passing game. Both he and Jalen Ramsey are physical and high-speed corners that will achieve much.
Barry Church provides solid support at the safety position, which was a weakness last year. He did a great job in Dallas of keeping his eye on the ball while also being available to make plays.
Calais Campbell’s history with the Cardinals speaks for itself and he is most assuredly an upgrade to the Jags’ defensive line. He has the opportunity to make an impact against the suspect offensive lines of Indianapolis and Houston. He also brings good veteran leadership onto the team.
The Jags’ free agency signings have definitely led some to believe that their draft will feature offense heavily, and I tend to agree – they will likely add a running back, tight end, and offensive lineman in the draft. However, some people are saying that the Jags will draft another quarterback at #4, shocking everyone. I say that I trust in Coughlin. Depending on if Watson is gone by the time the Jaguars are on the clock, their decision could go in a couple of other ways: Leonard Fournette, or DeShaun Watson. However, I still believe the Jags will go RB and find a way to give Bortles a balanced offense to run.
ON THE CLOCK – With free agency behind us, I felt it was an important time to take another look at how the draft might shake out. I went through team by team and analyzed many players’ combine footage to bring you…
THE AARON IT OUT MOCK DRAFT, PART 2
1. BROWNS – Myles Garrett, DE – The best overall athlete in this draft and a freakish talent, if the Browns want to stop their division rivals, they need to get after their opposing quarterbacks.
2. 49ERS – Solomon Thomas, DE – This pick will determine the direction of the draft. I truly think (personal opinion here) that Lynch and Shanahan will wait another year to see if they can grab Kirk Cousins, because Brian Hoyer is a serviceable quarterback and knows Shanahan’s system very well. I thought before Jonathan Allen had an underwhelming Combine workout he would go here, but Thomas’ value has gone up – he’ll go here.
3. BEARS – DeShaun Watson, QB – It’s time to get past one of the most egregious assumptions in the NFL: that if a guy gets paid, a younger guy won’t come compete for his position. The Bears just invested in Mike Glennon, but I think it is to have a backup plan for the rookie they intend to draft. Even if Glennon hits all his escalators, he and a first-round pick won’t cost much more than Washington is paying Kirk Cousins. The Bears need a quarterback and if Glennon was truly good enough to consistently start, Jameis Winston wouldn’t have been drafted in Tampa. DeShaun Watson trades orange and purple for orange and navy.
4. JAGUARS – Dalvin Cook, RB – This is just what my gut tells me. Individuals have floated the idea of a QB here but if Watson’s not still around, I don’t see it (as I stated above). Cook’s got the explosive speed to get through holes and the still-needs-to-gel offensive line don’t have to open huge ones to get Fournette through.
5. TITANS – Marshon Lattimore, CB – Yes I know the Titans signed Logan Ryan and may go WR here but remember that they have two picks and Lattimore won’t be there when they pick again. Lattimore is really, really good in man coverage and would be a great and sensible value pick.
6. JETS – Mitch(ell) Trubisky, QB – NFL reporter Benjamin Allbright has said this is a good connection and I think it’s why the Jets haven’t broken the bank to sign Cutler or deal for Osweiler – they know who they’re going to get, and they figure pretty heavily that he will be there at 6.
7. CHARGERS – Malik Hooker, S – Gus Bradley needs a safety to help his ineffective defensive scheme work, so that is why I think the Chargers target Hooker here. He has great speed and does a great job of keeping an eye on the ball.
8. PANTHERS – Leonard Fournette, RB – Another one that’s not going to change, if you ask me. The Panthers need some game-changing help at RB to take some pressure off of Cam Newton and let him focus on dropping back and passing with play-action. Fournette will do well behind the Panthers’ offensive line.
9. BENGALS – Corey Davis, WR – A.J. Green needs a partner, and Sanu isn’t coming back to Cincy. Sanu’s absence has been felt, though, and Davis, a pretty obvious top WR in this draft, can help open up the Bengals’ offense and take some of the focus off of Green.
10. BILLS – Jonathan Allen, DE – This is a no-brainer for a new Bills regime. They could use a wide receiver to pair with Sammy Watkins but I think they can’t ignore the impact Allen could have on the defensive side of the ball, pressuring Brady and Tannehill twice a year. He had a rough combine but I don’t think it knocked him too far down.
11. SAINTS – Derek Barnett, DE – The Saints definitely need help with rush off the edge and I liked this pick when I saw Prisco make it. Barnett could provide that immediately and also has the speed New Orleans needs to get to the mobile QBs they face.
12. BROWNS – DeShone Kizer, QB – I’ve said this since my first mock and I still believe it: the Browns can cash out with a quarterback and a stud defensive player in this draft, and if they miss on either pick they will be ridiculed. Kizer’s stock rose thanks to the Combine and I like him as a fit in this system.
13. CARDINALS – Marlon Humphrey, CB – Patrick Peterson needs a partner. Sorry to be so alliterative, but there is a whole half of the field that Peterson can’t cover – this would definitely help out with that.
14. COLTS – Jamal Adams, S – As much as the offensive line has been a deficiency for the Colts, the defense has been just as bad, and they need a young guy to help out in the middle and backfield. Adams has the talent to do it.
15. EAGLES – Garett Bolles, OT – Draft a young QB, then keep him upright. A good philosphy.
16. RAVENS – John Ross, WR – The Ravens still need someone to replace Steve Smith. Ross is a great candidate.
17. REDSKINS – Reuben Foster, LB – I don’t see any reason to change this pick from the last time I did a mock – the ‘Skins, despite being completely dysfunctional, know they need help on defense, especially in the immediate secondary.
18. TITANS – Mike Williams, WR – This Clemson product doesn’t run the best but that can be worked on; he is a big target with good hands and can give Mariota a good downfield target.
19. BUCCANEERS – O.J. Howard, TE – I had Njoku here last time but Howard seems to be the better consensus prospect.
20. BRONCOS – Christian McCaffrey, RB – The Broncos need some help at RB to take the pressure off of Siemian or Lynch and I think this move is just plain logical.
21. LIONS – Jabril Peppers, S – Hometown boy goes to hometown team and gives the defense a boost. A no-brainer.
22. DOLPHINS – Forrest Lamp, OL – The ‘Fins are moving Laremy Tunsil to LT this season and need someone to replace him on the interior of the line. This is a great spot for Lamp to land, and he did a great job showing his skills at the combine.
23. GIANTS – Cam Robinson, OT – The Giants really, really, really need help on the line to give Eli enough time to throw to Odell and Brandon. Really. So they should draft an offensive lineman, is what I’m saying.
24. RAIDERS – Malik McDowell, DT – I still like this pick. I don’t think Jack Del Rio will have any problem whatsoever upgrading his d-line.
25. TEXANS – Patrick Mahomes, QB – The most obvious need for the Texans is at quarterback. After unceremoniously jettisoning the Broxperiment, I don’t think Tom Savage is the long-term answer. Even if the team obtains Tony Romo, the need for a franchise QB is plain. Mahomes is raw but has a lot of upside.
26. SEAHAWKS – Ryan Ramczyk, OT – The Seahawks let Russell Okung walk in free agency and you and I know that Luke Joeckel is not the answer to replace him. Ramczyk has the ability to protect Russell Wilson for a long time.
27. CHIEFS – Zach Cunningham, LB – Derrick Johnson is recovering from an achilles injury and I realize the Chiefs invested a lot of money in Eric Berry, but Cunningham has solid talent who can definitely make plays.
28. COWBOYS – Taco Charlton, DE – A big end who is very fast off the line, and can make powerful plays at the snap, this guy seems to be right up Jerry Jones’ alley.
29. PACKERS – Teez Tabor, CB – I see this being too much of a need for the Packers. Davon House provides intermediate and decent coverage but isn’t an elite-level (or first round level) player to go alongside Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. I think Tabor makes sense here.
30. STEELERS – T.J. Watt, DE/OLB – The Steelers need the next generation of “Polamalu” on their defense and Watt provides them with that opportunity.
31. FALCONS – Carl Lawson, DE – Did you watch the Super Bowl? Did you notice that the Falcons were unable to provide any sort of consistent pass rush against Brady and allow him to lead an unprecedented comeback to win the championship? Then you should understand why they need a solid defensive end, badly.
32. SAINTS – Nathan Peterman, QB – The Saints will use the capital from the trade they made with New England to draft the successor to Drew Brees. Again, as I stated with my Watson pick, the two can co-exist, and Brees showed the ability to co-exist with another potential franchise QB back in San Diego. Peterman offers the most upside of the quarterbacks left on the board.