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I often times will eschew starting off my annual draft coverage with a Mock Draft because I feel I need to more fully analyze the positions so that my loyal readership will have a thorough understanding of why their team is wasting a pick on Devon Still.

Because if nothing else, my thousands of blog and twitter followers know one thing – this is the only blog on the entire World Wide Web to get all the key information you need to know.  Justin Blackmon plays the drums…Joe Haluhuni’s nickname is “The Tank”…Michael Smith has 5 sisters…Eddie Pleasant was once less than satisfied after receiving a double chai latte (instead of a Cafe Americano) at the Eugene Starbucks on campus and that Nigel Bradham once killed an alligator with his bare hands, skinned and fried it over an open flame, in the process saving (and feeding) a family of four from Illinois who were vacationing in the Everglades.  On the down side, he has high-hips.

But as always, the draft has snuck up on me the way Helen Hunt sneaked into America’s heart shortly after the debut episode of “Mad About You.” With an obnoxious voice and a penchant to overact in lieu of true comedy chops.  But like Paul Reiser, that won’t stop me from having a solid 10 year run (if not more).

So I’ll piece together what I can in the coming days but here’s the 1,238,302th mock draft of 2012 – but this is the only one that counts…as well as Gil Brandt’s but very few people listen to NFL Radio.

1. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford.
Can Indy get Lucky twice with Peyton 2.0? As long as rumors of crystal meth addiction are nothing more than vicious slander from this site, the answer is probably so.

2. WASHINGTON REDSKINS – Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Hard not to like this Baylor graduate, but Cam Newton’s success could make expectations unrealistic and going to the dysfunctional Redskins isn’t likely to help much.

3. MINNESOTA VIKINGS – Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Rumors of the Vikings trading this pick likely won’t come true because it’s the Vikings and they have a hard enough time drafting players on time little pull off a trade.  Listen, forget the 30 reps or projected LT stalwart status – he blocked 5 kicks in college!  That’s just 5 more than BK blocked shots during his barnstorming summer basketball tour of ’93.

4. CLEVELAND BROWNS – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Cleveland won’t draft Ryan Tannehill here for no particular reason other than the fact that Michael Holmgrem just won’t.  While it’s not hard to see Richardson as effective in the NFL with flashes, it’s harder to see him as a superstar in the show.  I thought it was right when initially he was projected between 15-20.  But as his draft status grows it seems like he may be overdrafted.

5. TAMPA BAY BUCANEERS – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Even if Cleveland doesn’t draft Richardson, I think Tampa Bay goes CB.  They have no corners left…Ronde Barber’s may go to safety and Aqib Talib is in prison.  But on the plus side, he’ll probably be able to finish his degree now.  So what if Claiborne scored a 5 on his wunderlik.  What do you expect from a General Studies major at Louisiana State.  What classes could that possibly consist of?  I’m assuming ball-room dance, a work-study at the Marine Biology lab, and a couple pass/fail Gerontology classes.  Rick Perry just got a 3 on his wunderlik and look at how well he’s done in life.  My bigger concern would be that he’s good but won’t be a shut-down corner in the NFL.

6. ST. LOUIS RAMS – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahome State
Recent hubalub has the Rams passing on Blackmon and going with MSU’s Fletcher Cox, but the recent signing of Kendall Lawford and Trevor Laws makes me think that the Rams are going Blackmon so he can give Sam Bradford a sleek target to underthrow.  Blackmon has silly-talent.  The two-time Belitnikoff winner got into a minor scrub off-the-field recently but as soon as he realizes that Dez Bryant is a clown that he needs not to emulate, he should be just fine.

7. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
It’s just possible that if ownership was crazy enough to try and trade for Tim Tebow, maybe they’d draft Ryan Tannehill.  But they already invested into one 1-year starter that didn’t pan out in Blaine Gabbert, they couldn’t possibly go for another two-years in a row, could they?  It’d be great theater if they did, but instead I think you have to try and do the best you can to give Gabbert as much assistance as possible.  He was so girly in the pocket last year and with Michael Floyd too big a risk why not grab the big oaf from Iowa City.  Sure with short 33″ arms you’d like to think the Rilester could do more than 23 reps but he comes from an offensive line factory that if nothing else means he could settle into right tackle spot.  Even if he’s mediocre that makes him much better protection than incumbent Guy Whimper can provide.

8. MIAMI DOLPHINS – Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
There’s a part of me that feels the Dolphins aren’t on the Tannehill bandwagon and if that’s true than maybe they take a chance on Michael Floyd here and hope either Matt Moore or David Garrard can find him.  Or they ignore their offensive needs and go with talent in Melvin Ingram or Quinton Coples.  But I imagine if he’s around the Fins have no choice.  It is CRAZY that Tannehill is going in the first round at all, little Top 10.  It’s not that he’s an ex-receiver (BK was once a waiter before mastering the cliche’s of reality TV) it’s that he wasn’t that efficient in a pass-happy conference.  He strikes me as a classic combine/workout wonder that will struggle when in a game at this level.  Like my disappointment after sleeping with Megan Fox.  I should have just ignored the peer pressure and hid the sock with Tilda Swinton again.

9. CAROLINA PANTHERS – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Christmas comes early for Ron Rivera, if not Cam Newton, as this non-graduate from the academic powerhouse that isn’t Mississippi State arrives in Charlotte.  My feeling is that Cox still has room to grow – physically and as a player.  If he does, he could be that rare combination of stability and play-making ability on the inside.

10. BUFFALO BILLS – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
There’s a lot of different directions Buffalo can go in, but with owner Ralph Wilson close to passing to the other side, the Bills will take some chances.  This usually doesn’t turn out well – like when dying Washington Wizard owner Abe Pollan said he was all in and GM Ernie Grunweld interpreted that to mean he should trade a 1st round draft pick for Randy Foye.  That’s like trying to make a name at your senior prom by bringing Dahlia Denyle.  Either get Amia Miley or stay the course.  Like Denyle’s crippling addiction to opiates, the talented Floyd is an unfulfilled problem waiting for jail.  Here’s the thing: WR’s are a moody, whiny, self-important lot.  One drunken incident is “immaturity”; three is “stupidity”. Floyd also lacks explosiveness – like an alcoholic Vincent Jackson. On the plus side, if his football career doesn’t work out there is a crying need in Buffalo for Sociologists, which luckily enough for Michael is what he majored in.

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11. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
The Chiefs have sort of become to the NFL what “Castle” is to prime-time network TV.  Neither is particularly interesting but the Chiefs seem to manage to be moderately competitive and “Castle” brings in enough of a rating to hang around.  However, at least the Chiefs made some progress in the off-season…”Castle” is a lost cause.  Theoretically, the one glaring hole right now is Nose Tackle, which neither Brockers nor the other possible pick, Donateri Poe from Memphis, is and you could make a claim that Poe projects better in that role.  Poe was a combine superstar.  His 44 reps forced BK to change his pants, and the 4.56 20-yd shuttle and 4.98 40-dash are pretty sweet too.  But Poe was not a performer in college against mid-level competition.  Brockers was also inconsistent and didn’t lift at the combine but he had his moments at LSU and really only played one-year before leaving LSU early (although he only attended 2 General Studies classes while in Baton Rouge and one was a work-study mowing Les Miles’ lawn).  Romeo Crennel likes to think of himself as a guru of two things – Defense and Jelly Donuts.  And Brockers is really good at eating jelly donuts.  His ceiling seems much higher than Poe and my guess is KC takes the plunge.

12. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina
The so-called “experts” feel that the Seahawks have to get a pass-rushing defensive end and if Quentin Coples from UNC is still here Pete Carroll and friends will be tempted to jump on the full-of-potential “Q”.  In addition, Melvin Ingram was surprisingly un-impactful in the Senior Bowl.  But Ingram is coming off a much better senior-season against generally tougher competition than Coples (10 Sacks, 15 Tackles for a loss) and since he can play both end and OLB (where Seattle is playing Leroy Hill on far too many downs) Ingram seemingly makes a better pick.  With all of that said, I actually like USC’s Nick Perry in the long-run better than Coples or Ingram – who despite all his skill sometimes relys too much on the same moves figuring his skills will overcome work – like Philip Seymour Hoffman in Pirate Radio. But Perry would be considered a reach at 12 and if Carroll drafts a USC guy and it doesn’t work out everyone’s is going to make fun of him and it could shatter Carroll’s fragile sense of self.

13. ARIZONA CARDINALS – Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
Many times, BK has had his heart-broken.  Going to the Senior Prom with Kristen Gallagher; Not Having “Floatation Marks” accepted to the SlamDance film festival; Dave Meggett being accused of sexual misconduct; Esera Tuaolo not being accused of sexual misconduct; Jerrel Jernigan.  But the Cardinals drafting the tackle machine that is the middle son of Eileen and Tom Kuechly may top them all.  For the past 3 months BK has been furiously trying to contact Jerry Reese and offer a variety of packages the Giants could offer to trade up for the Kook so his 4.58 40-dash, 27 reps and 6.92 3-cone could find a home in Met Life Stadium.  But all that resulted in is (another) restraining order for BK and the Cardinals deciding to resist the temptation to draft Coples, Stanford OG David DeCastro, or Baylor wideout Kendall Wright and instead settle in on the former high-school Lacrosse player.  I can’t say I’m as high on Kuechly as he looks more like a solid pro than redefining force in the middle and I’m not sure ‘bama’s Donte Highsmith doesn’t have the potential (key word “potential”) to become a better player.  But with that said, Luke grades out as the highest linebacker in the draft and won’t slip further than this.

14. DALLAS COWBOYS – Quentin Coples, DE, North Carolina

Alabama corner Dre Kirkpatrick or Stanford’s DeCastro make more sense, but Jerry Jones will be entranced by Coples’ skills the same way he was entranced by Algerian stripper “Sterling” at Baby Dolls back in ’98 which is what led to his atrocious plastic surgery.  Plus, the Cowboys can’t beat the Giants so they’ll probably figure why not join ’em and in Coples he probably sees a Jason Pierre-Paul like talent.  Too bad Jason Pierre-Paul knows nothing but work while Cople’s will know nothing but the fact that Baby Doll’s has all-night 2-for-1 dance specials on Tuesdays.  Some notes on Coples – he had 2.5 less sacks his Senior Season than Junior year and refused to switched to DT from DE because he felt increasing his draft stock was more important than making the team better.  Than again, moving him to DT was a pretty stupid idea.  So is the Cowboys drafting Coples but Jerry Jones is the dumbest Owner-cum-GM in the league (although he’s also the smartest but that’s just a technicality).

15. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
Lots of different ways these lost souls in the lost city of cheese steaks and misery could go. Kirkpatrick and DeCastro might be the best players on the board at this point and you could justify those picks and Poe could go here too.  But I think the Eagles go more immediate need and unless they think big Bulldog Kordy Glenn projects as an OLT (which he did play surprisingly well in the Senior Bowl) I think they go with Barron who’s far less of a reach at 15.  There were some questions about his athleticism and the hernia surgery he had in the off-season that prevented him from working out at the combines didn’t help.  In addition, there’s some thought that Barron’s skill sets make him uniquely “unqualified” to play the modern day strong-safety position which often times requires covering slot receivers.  Thus he’s just the kind of misguided, silly pick the Eagles would make.

16. NEW YORK JETS –  Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama
Well the Jets are just an abortion waiting to happen in 2012, huh?  Which makes it ironic they traded for Tim Tebow.  And considering that offense was their biggest problem, drafting a good ROT like Kordy Glenn or a wide-receiver who isn’t a complete asshole such as Kendall Wright would make a lot of sense.  But since this is likely to be Rex Ryan’s last year after the Jets limp home to a 3-13 finish, my guess is he tries to go with what he knows best and drafts defense.  Not a bad choice in Upshaw, who disappointed me in  ‘bama’s first meeting against LSU but than emerged necessarily in the national championship game.  His 8.5 sacks is impressive for how UA played defense and for that conference although at times I questioned exactly what his physicals were as all he did at the combines was an average 22 reps.  But he ran well at his Pro-Day and he strikes me as an end who occasionally stands in pass-rushing situations.  None of this matters though.  Even if Upshaw turns into a player, the Jets are cooked.

17. CINCINNATI BENGALS – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The temptation to go with Dre’ Kirkpatrick will be great for Mike Brown.  But I’m just going to assume their draft board is all jacked up anyway so the choice will be between two players to improve an offense that needs some improvement – DeCastro vs. Wright.  Current Bengal receiver Jerome Simpson was arrested for drug possession this off-season which could mean they go with DeCastro as Cincy usually looks at such transgressions as a positive.  But Andy Dalton went to a school in Texas and Wright went to a school in Texas and and if Wright can combine with last year’s #1 A.J. Green than it’s possible the Bengals could have a lethal tandem.  Wright lit it up as RGIII’s favorite target last  year catching over 100 balls for over 1500 yards and 13 TD’s and his sub 4.5 40’s at his Pro Day also seems to have set scouts at ease after this drowsy 4.61 the combines.  I like Wright and think he’ll make  an impact and I’m always 100% correct on my wide receiver predictions.

18. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – David DeCastro, OG, Standford.
San Diego really has needs on the offensive line and there are two players from Stanford in Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro who could both play immediately.  But pass defense was pitiful for the Chargers too last year meaning that Nick Perry or Marcellius Whitney will be tempting in an attempt to provide a pass rush and Kirkpatrick is a possibility here too.  Ultimately, though, DeCastro will rate as the best player on the board even if he does play a less “impact” position than the others.  So the sharp-minded DeCastro will bring his deft trapping and 34 reps to QualComm where he should help add anywhere from 0.1 to 0.11 yards a carry for Ryan Mathews.

19. CHICAGO BEARS – Johnathan Martin, OT, Stanford.
Chicago has to finally do something about that offensive line, don’t they?  You could justify a guard or tackle here, which makes me think Kordy Glenn is your safest pick and I think he’s a better player than Martin.  But again if you don’t buy Glenn as a LT and if you have a QB who’s ended his last two seasons on the sidelines with an injury than you have to go LT if you think Martin is comparable to Glenn.  The Brainiac from North Hollywood went to Harvard-Westlake in L.A. I once tutored a kid from Harvard-Westlake in Math. He got a 1580 on the SAT’s.  In a similar vein, Johnathan Martin did a womanly 20 reps at the combines but he has a complete understanding of how invisible numbers work.

20. TENNESSEE TITANS – Nick Perry, DE, USC
The Titans are a funny team.  And by funny, I mean boring.  They don’t really have any blatant holes but they don’t have any outstanding strengths either with the possible exceptions of Wide Receiver and Running Back if Kenny Britt and Chris Johnson both bounce back.  Kind of like U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  Before the signing of Steve Hutchinson, I would have put Kordy Glenn in this spot but now I think they go for pass rush and since they need defensive lineman more than OLB’s, I say the pick here is Perry over Whitney (as well as raw to the touch Andre Branch from Clemson).  Perry’s got some real upside if in the right environment.  He’d be great with the Giants – we’ll see if Tennessee knows how to use the man who as a junior in 2011 led the Pac-10 in sacks with a half over 9.  Then again, the Pac-10 kinda blew last year.  Still, he did a 38.5 vert.  38.5!  I haven’t seen that kind of explosion since BK’s lost his virginity to a Hong Kong hooker back in ’96.

21. CINCINNATI BENGAS – Kordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
Kordy Glenn was THE BEST Offensive Lineman at this year’s Senior Bowl.  Now that doesn’t mean he’s the best OL in the draft but it was an eye-opener and probably moved the guy up from an early 2 to someone who could get drafted in the Top 20.   The Bengals could go DeCastro at 17 and likely still get Wright at 21 but again that Bengals draft room will start to get confused sometime shortly after the 2nd pick.  Glenn wasn’t great at the combines, but I can live with his 31 reps and his 5-flat 20-shut is fine for a guard, which is where he will play with the Natti. The winner of the Green-Sands Football Scholarship shows he’s got a head on his shoulders (even though I have no ideawhat the Green-Sands Football Scholarship is) and his 50-starts shows durability (and possibly early onset dementia).  Still, my guess is Glenn and DeCastro both will make bigger impacts as guards this year than any OT other than Kalil will.

22. CLEVELAND – Dre’ Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
There are three (3) ways to look at the Browns 2nd pick in the First Round.  They could continue to try to give Colt McCoy’s offensive toys (can you say “Stephen Hill”…neither can I) or at least protection to spare him another ‘cussion (maybe that pot head Mike Adams?).  They could also go defense and corner is a need.  The third way to look at this is that Cleveland is a dying city with an overrated President in Mike Holmgrem and they haven’t yet paid the devil back for all of those Otto Graham championships back in the ’50’s.  I’m not as high on the cock-sure Kirkpatrick and his misleading Irish name.  How hard is it to be a shut-down corner in a conference where half the teams grind the ball out in boring option attacks?  Heck, even BK managed to be a shut-down corner in the Holmdel Park touch football game in ’90 because QB Shawn Esposito wouldn’t pass.  Who could blame him, with those steel-toed boots he was wearing.  But Patty Kirkpatrick ran a respectable 4.51 40 at the combines with the requisite amount of burst on the vert and he probably will be the highest rated player on the board at this point so the Browns will sort of half to take him.

23. DETROIT LIONS – Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Detroit was one of those rare “fashionable” pre-season picks last year that actually came through, with their first playoff appearance since the James K. Polk administration and watching them play was almost as exciting as the firebrand Polk, best known for bad skin and being infertile.  Tackle is the obvious need here, and before his trip to Coachella, I might have leaned towards Ohio State behemoth Mike Adams.  They could also go with the CB Stephen Gilmore, who might be the highest rated player on the board but that would be B-O-R-I-N-G.  So, I think the choice is between the speedy Stephen Hill (that’s right – another big-time weapon for Matty Staff) or Peter Konz.  And I say the statement that will be screamed throughout Detroit, other than “Put that gun down” will be “Why not Konz?” This communication arts Badger would be a sure first rounder if it wasn’t for a series of injury issues – blood clots, dislocated ankles, depression after the final season of “The Wire.” But take that away, and the Konzinator has first round talent and quite frankly Stafford-on-Avon needs a better ass then aging Dominic Raiola to stick his precious hands under.

24. PITTSBURGH STEELERS – Whitney Mercilius, OLB, Illinois
The obvious answer is Offensive Line.  But Mike Adams’ indiscretions may make him undraftable in the first.  I also think a bunch of different running backs (Martin, Wilson, Miller) could be justified and certainly the Memphis workout wunderkind Dontari Poe would make all sorts of sense from a need standpoint with elderly Casey Hampton coming off ACL surgery and already laying down an initial downpayment on a CCRC in Lebanon.  Yet Whitney is rising faster than BK after a trip to a Tijuana strip brothel  and with the Steelers linebackers aging quicker than the Trader Joe’s 100% Whole Grain bread mixed with flax seed and A1 that I bought 3 weeks ago, my instinct tells me if he’s on the board Coach T won’t be able to pass on him.  He seemingly came out of nowhere to record 16 sacks in the Big Ten as a junior and his Haitian heritage will have some comparing him to Hall-of-Fame shoe-in Jason Pierre-Paul.  His 4.38 shut wasn’t anything to sneeze about either and don’t overlook that he kept on the straight in narrow by getting a 3.0 G.P.A. in high-school while under the ever watchful eye of coach Bob Sax.  I only achieved a 2.8 under the less than watchful eye of Ed Reckage but I did do the short shut in 4.12.

25. DENVER BRONCOS – Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
Picking higher ranked players like Poe or Gilmore might make more sense and certainly would fill some needs.  But you don’t hoist your team’s future on the crippling neck of a 35-year-old quarterback and not give him toys to play with.  Sure, Peyton negotiated an all you can visit pass at Kitty’s East on Colfax when he signed with the Broncos and his commercials with Elway promoting Ford Broncos should be HEE-friggin-LARIOUS.  But I think the Broncos are too tempted by the college Bronco Martin.  There is seemingly nothing the Muscle Hamster can’t do.  In college, he was an effective runner, receiver, blocker and returner and showed all of those skills at the Senior Bowl.  Then at the combines, he shined, clocking in a 4.55 40 (an unofficially a 4.46), bursting 35″ on the Vert and a RB impressive 28 reps.  So with so much defensive talent on the board, I think Denver goes “O”.

26. HOUSTON TEXANS – Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Stephen Hill is hot.  I mean red-hot.  Frank’s Red Hot Sauce Hot.  And not just because he burned his hand while heating up a cup of Yerba Mate tea infused with Mint this morning.  The 6-4, 215lbs. Hill only caught 28 balls in Georgia Tech’s run-oriented offense (albeit for over 800 yards) and receivers who can block downfield don’t usually create good YouTube fodder.  But Hill was one of the stars in Indy, clocking in  a white-hot 4.36, exploding a 39.5″ vert and stretching himself to a 133″ broad.  In fact, his long jump at the combines was so good it would have placed him 9th at the Olympic Games.  NINTH!  Not even Victor Cruz could do that.  Well, wait, Victor Cruz can do anything but why bother, with his off-season apparel company that he operates out of his apartment doing so well.  Hill seems like a good teammate too, but BK is sour on him.  “Won’t pan out,” screeches BK while munching on a Chicken Breast sandwich smeared with Gu on a Kaiser Roll. “You can’t just suddenly become a player.” But I say – SI SE PUEDE – which I believe translates to “Give Barack Obama money” but I’m not sure.  I like Hill and think he’ll become Matt Schaub’s 3rd favorite receiver up until Schaub gets hurt and is lost for the season in Week 4.

27. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – Stephen Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Like Whitney and Hill, Gilmore is climbing fast and BK predicts a Top 10 selection. But BK also picked a win for Voila Davis as Best Actress at last year’s Oscar’s, but that was primarily to piss off his mom.  Still, this seems like a gift for Belichek and the boys if he somehow does last to this position.  Gilmore’s 4.4-40 was only outshined at the combines by sub 4.00 20-shut.  He’s considered to be a smart kid who understands the defensive side of the football like a coach, but then again he played for Steve Spurrier so that’s not a high hurdle to leap.  Honestly, the odds of Gilmore slipping behind Kirkpatrick or lasting until the late first seem highly unlikely but I’m not re-doing my draft board so let’s just leave him here and move on.

28. GREEN BAY PACKERS – Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
While I think the Pack may be tempted to draft a Running Back, there’s enough post-Richardson depth that’s likely to be around in the Late 2nd that they have to do something to improve that pourous D and creating a pass rush would be a good place to start.  At this point, it would seemingly be a choice between Clemson’s Andre Branch and the ‘cuse’s Jones. There’s  a  lot to like about Jones, including his 35″ wingspan paired with a black-belt in martial arts and the fact that his brother is a fighter in the UFC.  There’s also reason to be cautious, coming off a knee injury and being less dominant than one would expect playing in the Big East.  Still, if Jones has his health than this pick could be stealth.

29. BALTIMORE RAVENS – Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
Vinny Curry has “Raven” written all over him.  His sister Shawanda was an avid Poe fan and had it plastered to his left ass cheek – against father Vinny, Sr. wishes I might add – when he was just 7.  Curry projected to be a 2nd rounder and a wrist injury seemed to seal that fate heading into the combines.  But a fantastic Pro Day highlighted by a sub-4.7 40-dash and the fact that he was an impact player in the MAC make him a high 2nd rounder at worst.  And the fact that he’s considered a leader and, similarly to Gilmore, a defensive-savant make him a perfect fit as a late-round steal for a team that breathes D.

30. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
Although I think it’s possible if DeCastro slips, the 49ers could try to make a trade up for him, the more likely selection is Zeitler.  In fact, this seems to be the most likely to occur pick after Luck and RG3.  The big Zeit’s is no speed demon and a little slow on quickness too but who cares, he’s a guard.  The 3-year starter weight in at over 3 bills and had 142 knockdown blocks – which is indicative of nothing.  However his 32 reps is borderline Petrus-like and there’s no reason not to believe he won’t be perfectly adequate – just like the San Francsico Museum of Art, the San Francisco Giants and the San Francsico Airport.  Actually, I’m lying – that airport is not acceptable – delays every morning.

31. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – Donteri Poe, DT, Memphis
With two picks, New England probably trades this one.  They could also go with a Running Back like Lamar Miller out of Miami who seems like just the sort of project that gets Bill Belichek to go all Bonnie Bernstein on you.  And Branch could fit here too.  But if Poe is on the board, that’s a lot of talent for the Pats to pass on and playing behind Vince Wilfork for a year is just the kind of apprenticeship he needs so Belichek can trade or cut Wilfork in 2013.  The stats on Poe at Memphis (where he left as a junior) were okay as he played significant snaps all 3 years.  However, it was his combine results – including a sub 5.0 40-dash and an absolutely Chris Lee-like 44 reps that catapulted the 346-lbs. Poe into the first round.  However, his stock seems to be slipping a bit as many wonder if he has an NFL motor although he’ll no doubt buy a souped-up pick-up with his signing bonus.  He likely goes earlier than this – but there’s no way he goes later.

32. NEW YORK GIANTS – Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
So many ways the Giants could go here…TE Cody Fleener from Stanford, DT Jenel Worthy from Michigan State, DT Kendell Reyes from UConn, RB Robert Wilson from Virginia Tech.  Even Mike Adams if he hasn’t completely blown it.  But I think the Giants go with Hightower.  The re-signing of Chase Blackburn means he doesn’t have to start right away and he has big-time potential and projects as a MLB.  He was ‘bama’s best defensive player in the first LSU meeting while playing his role in ‘bama’s inspired National Championship romp.  He’s fast, strong and plays big.  I like this pick for the G-Men.

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The first and final pre-season podcast focusing on the 2011 New York Giants.

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The Giants wrapped up their final roster yesterday and added six (6) previously cut players to their practice squad.

If one looks at my blog post from a few weeks ago, they’ll see that my roster selections were 113% correct for the 32nd straight year (I admit in ’78 I thought Doug Kotar wouldn’t be able to make it so I got one wrong that year).  Kotar was diagnosed with cancer during his career and sadly died in 1983 of a brain tumor.  In the spirit of Kotar it was nice if not downright inspiring to see Mark Herzlich nab a spot on the roster after his own cancer fight and what was best is that the B.C. product deserved it.  He played really well and was among a slew of Giants rookie linebackers to make the squad on a team that was in need of an influx of new blood at that position.

So let’s take an analysis of the 2012 New York Super Bowl Bound Football Giants.

QUARTERBACKS

The battle here of course was for the back-up job and a bad back, a case of strep throat and a scandalous campaign donation to Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign (or was that Jeff Feagles) handed the job to David Carr, who the Giants probably wanted to give the job to anyway. It’s interesting that Rosenfels was placed on IR (putting him out for the year) as opposed to just coming up with an injury settlement and waiving him where he’d have a chance to sign on with another team.  Last I heard Strep Throat is not a season ending injury, unless your Max Hardcore starlett Catalina.  She runs a day care in Calabasas now.  Watching Carr play he gives me more confidence than Rosenfels (I have no idea why) but his slinging throwing motion keeps getting lower and lower.  People say Vince Young has a side-arm delivery but Young is positively Elway-like compared to Carr.  Kent Tekulve had a higher release point than Carr….but he wasn’t nearly as good-looking.

I always find it fascinating when every year Giants fans post notes about how they thought the young QB would make it as a 3rd Stringer.  The young QB for the Giants NEVER makes it.  Ask Andre Woodson and Rhett Bomar.  And unlike Woodson, Bomar wasn’t truly awful. And neither was Ryan Perriloux, the LSU problem child.  Ryan didn’t play much but he actually looked better than I would have thought and certainly showed some comfort in a pro-set that I think few would have anticipated after watching him at LSU (or Jacksonville State I assume if anyone actually ever saw him play there).  So I was glad he made the practice squad because he does have some upside.  It’ll be fun watching him next pre-season before the Giants cut him again.

Of course all these players are likely going to be an afterthought as what Giant fans really will be focusing on this year is hoping Eli Manning throws less interceptions…and fumbles less…and keeps doing those Oreo commercials with his quickly aging brother and the Williams’ sisters.

RUNNING BACKS

With Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs assured of spots it was nice to see Jacobs get tossed from the Jets pre-season game just to remind us what an a destructive hot head the Big Saluki can be when he puts his mind to it.  At least he managed to hang onto his helmet.  It was assumed that D.J. Ware would make the team and he played well enough to earn another spot and I believe (as does BK) that Ware could be a bigger part of the offense and be effective while giving Bradshaw and Jacobs a little more rest.  But that probably won’t happen.  The real comer here turned out to be Da’rel Scott, the speedy late round pick out of Maryland.  He had two monster runs during the pre-season and to his credit absolutely earned his spot on the team.

Most probably felt coming into pre-season that Da’rel was practice squad bound but instead that honor went to Andre Brown, who under normal circumstances probably played well enough to make a spot.  Brown’s just a tough luck guy, from his injury in ’09 to the 2nd year in a row getting cut by the Giants even though he didn’t perform poorly.  I’d say there’s a decent chance Brown finds his way onto the Giants sometime within the first 6 weeks of the season or he’ll end up signing with another team.  Much to BK’s disappointment, Charles Scott never really got a fair chance primarily lining up as the team’s 3rd fullback and was cut.  This is yet another time when BK predicted greatness and it turned out less than that (I don’t want to have to bring up his championing of The Bogmen back in mid-90’s).

Henry Hynoski wasn’t great in the pre-season but as the only pure fullback in camp he would have had to have been terrible not make the team and he wasn’t that.  But he wasn’t great either which is why the Tight End-depleted G-Men will inevitably start hybrid Ten Toes Pascoe at FB to open the season.

WIDE RECEIVERS

The injury and eventual departure of Steve Smith meant that Mario Manningham would be the undeniable starter alongside 2012 Pro Bowl selection Hakeem Nicks.  The battle would be (and really still is) for the 3rd WR position.  Despite a sloppy game on specials Devin Thomas made the squad and joins Domenick Hixon and Victor Cruz as 3rd wide receiver options.  Hixon and Thomas will also spend some time battling for the kick return position.  The Giants 2012 draft class is quicky going down an infamy.  A broken foot postponing the debut of 1st round pick Prince Amakamura, a season-ending injury to 2nd round pick Marvin Austin and then there’s the tale of Jerrel Jernigan.  Let’s be honest, the only reason Mark Clayton isn’t on this team is because the Giants spent a 3rd rounder on Jernigan. If he’s a free-agent or even a late-round pick Jernigan is practice squad bound if not cut altogether.  But the savvy vet Clayton is let go and Jernigan gets a chance but my guess is he doesn’t see the field much in ’11.  Ramses Barden starts the year on the PUP and whether or not he’s given a chance to be a factor this year will probably depend on what Hixon, Cruz and/or Thomas do when on the field.

TIGHT ENDS

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more questionable set of tight ends on a NFL roster this year than the Giants of the Meadowlands.  Travis Beckum falls into the starting position, but he doesn’t block well, hasn’t proven he can run the seam pass that basically was Kevin Boss’ bread and honey with banana and flax and has never really created the mismatches with linebackers that he was supposed to when he came into the league from Wisconsin as an undersized Tight End.  But with Bear Pascoe playing fullback (and let’s face it, his hands aren’t so strong) Beckum will be backed-up by gigantic Jake Ballard, who has very limited NFL playing experience.  Yet apparently he was considered a better option than 270-pound free-agent Daniel Coates which doesn’t say much for Coates.  Christian Hopkins was signed on to the practice squad but you almost get the feeling that placement was more out of desperation than a true belief that Hopkins is possessed by a pool of potential.  Perhaps the Giants will take a chance on recently cut Cornelius Ingram or Desmond Clark, but who knows if that would be any better.


OFFENSIVE LINE

The Giants revamped Offensive Line was a mixed bag this pre-season.  Since you can basically throw out the 4th pre-season game because no one played, the Giants had one very good offensive game (Chicago) and two pretty bad ones (Carolina and the Jets).  The line wasn’t terrible though.  The Giants ran the ball generally well and Eli managed to go the entire pre-season without blood gushing from his forehead so that’s one way to judge progress.

Will Beatty played well enough that the battle for the LT job with Stacy Andrews never really materialized with Andrews tucked neatly in as his back-up.  Fourth-rounder James Brewer didn’t show much but similarly to Jernigan was going to make the team regardless which means it’s possible none of the first 4 draft picks for the Giants this year will have any impact.

There was some disconnect between Eli and David Bass this pre-season but it should be fine as will all the guards on the squad (Snee, Diehl, Boothe, Petrus) and RT Kareem MacKenzie.  What’s interesting is the cutting of Chris White, a back-up center who saw significant action in the pre-season.  With Adam Koets on the PUP and the cutting of Jim Cordle (who Coughlin called an “outstanding young guy” which is nice considering in 2 pre-seasons he received no significant playing time) the Giants will go into the season without a proven back-up center.  If Bass goes down, the Giants will have to move Snee or Petrus to the middle.  Giants fan should hope that scenario doesn’t occur.

DEFENSIVE LINE

The 2009 Giants defense was truly historically bad.  The 2010 Giants D was better although faded badly at the end of the year.  Unfortunately, like Amy Fisher trying to pick-up the pieces of her life again, the Giants ability to improve on the defensive side of the ball in 2011 may be greatly inhibited by injuries (as well as addiciton to alcohol and prescription pain killers).

On the defensive line, one will only hope that Osi Umenyiori comes back from a pre-season off to regain the form that made him a pass-rushing force in 2011 (although being a little more stout on the run would be nice). However the emergence of Jason Pierre-Paul and the return of Mathias Kiwanuka (who will be jumping back and forth between OLB and DE) should help hold the fort down if it takes time for Osi to round into shape.

The biggest concern will be in the interior, where their best DT from 2010 Barry Cofield jumped ship to go the Redskins (because Barry loves pain…he’s actually relocating his Dominatrix Mistress Amy to DC because playing in the Cock and Ball Torture that is Dan Snyder’s Washington Redskins apparently isn’t enough) and 2nd round pick Marvin Austin will spend his time rehabbing with Terrell Thomas and taking money advice from Sage Rosenfels on the IR.  So basically a collection of journeyman – Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard, and recently signed ex-1st rounder Jimmy Kennedy – will join future journeyman Linval Joseph in what could be a real weak point for the Giants unless someone turns out to be a lot better than anticipated.

Dave Tollefson continues to find a way to make the squad, which was bad news for Alex Hall and Ayanaga “Don’t Call Me Hal” Okpokuwuruk, both of whom made impact at various times in the pre-season. Interestingly the Giants chose to keep less impressive pre-season performers – Justin Trattou and Dwayne Hendricks – on the practice squad. Hendricks was, like Hopkins, a move made more out of a desperate need for depth than anything else.  But why Trattou?  It’s like the time BK chose to have a mid-life crisis at the age of 30 and bought a porsche.  Why would you do that?  The parts alone make cost of ownership prohibitive. That’s why I drive a Schwinn.

The fact that Jimmy Kennedy, who was in camp about as long Men Without Hats was popular, beat out Gabe Watson for a spot doesn’t speak much for the once promising Watson.  But it did seem that Watson had a unique ability to find himself on the receiving end of pancake blocks this pre-season so I can’t say his dismissal was surprising.

LINEBACKERS

All hail the rooks! Welcome aboard Greg Jones, Jacquian Williams, Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich.  All four players deserved to make the roster and it was good to see the Giants reward performance.  In a strange way Clint Sintim’s injury made keeping all four easier.  The cutting of Phillip Dillard would have been a surprise had you predicted it at the start of the pre-season but not after watching him play.  It wasn’t that Dillard was terrible, he wasn’t.  He wasn’t a terrible draft pick in the 4th last year.  He wasn’t terrible at the University of Nebraska.  But he’s one of these guys who’s always going to be replaceable because he’ll never start in the league and he’ll never be good enough to have a coaching staff keep him over a better performer.  Like Peter Scolari.

The starters will be Michael Boley, Jonathan Goff and the converted (again) Kiwanuka.  But my prediction is the end of the year starters will be Greg Jones manning the middle alongside Boley and probably Herzlich.

Zak DeOssie is no longer even listed as a linebacker but rather just “Long Snapper.” I don’t know how I’d feel about that if I was Zak.  It’s kind of like being listed as just a “fluffer.” Or just the “bass player” for Van Halen. Of just “Vice President Biden.” But when in doubt, two of those three could step into the job if asked to…and so Zak could play middle linebacker if absolutely necessary, but I can’t imagine a scenario where that would occur.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Well, the injury issues with Terrell Thomas and Prince Amakamura (who is on the active roster although out until October) have been well-discussed.  So let’s focus on who is ready to play.

The starters will be Corey Webster and Aaron Ross as the corners and Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips patrolling the deep middle as safeties.  Deion Grant will often be brought in as a 5th DB and truthfully that’s better than average.  It’s the lack of depth where lay the concern.

Late signee veteran Brian Williams and sometimes good, sometimes not so good Michael Coe basically become the back-up corners by default as none of the other (healthy) corners in camp did anything to show they belonged on a NFL roster.

6th Rounder Tyler Sash was okay and Darrick Martin apparently had a good enough game against the Pats to make the team as a 10th defensive back.

KICKERS AND PUNTERS

Let’s face it, Lawrence Tynes is no Raul Allegre (other than the fact that they both get hurt a lot).  So when Rhys Lloyd came into camp for an injured Tynes many a Giant fan hoped the healthy-eating Lloyd could kick Tynes out of a job.  But anyone who saw either the Jets or Pats pre-season game know that wasn’ t going to happen.  So now we have a mediocre professional kicker coming off a thigh injury and four-weeks of inaction opening the season.  Everything’s turning up Giants this year.

The fiercest battle in camp was for punter where ex-Jet vet Steve Weatherford beat out last year’s rookie disaster Matt Dodge.  Dodge did kick better this pre-season, but ultimately Weatherford is just the safest vet.  Apparently Dodge wasn’t that upset about being cut.  He just downed a Whey Protein and Creatine shake and hit Gold’s gym for 2-hours to work on some lat fly’s.

As for Weatherford, he’s not exciting but he’s solid and should create less stress for the Giants, which should be a relief since based on this pre-season the Giants may be punting a lot.

FINAL ROSTER THOUGHTS

This is the most uncertain Giants team heading into the season since Coughlin’s fist year as coach in 2004.  The Giants just seem flat below average at Tight End, Interior Defensive Line and Linebacker and have become suddenly very thin at receiver and cornerback.  However, they have a good quarterback, playmakers at wide receiver and defensive end and an excellent set of running backs.

So how will the Giants fare in 2011?  Stay tuned for the next podcast when BK and I discuss just that.

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I’d been meaning to write this blog post forever.  Before the Giants pre-season game against the Carolina Panthers.  Before the Giants pre-season game against the Chicago Bears.  Before Terrell Thomas’ injury.  Before Hurricane (make that Tropical Storm) Irene flooded the Jersey Shore.  But one needs to understand that I have a thriving business, an active social calendar, a pregnant wife and…who am I kidding, you don’t care.  My throngs of loyal readers need my blog posts the way a gambler needs a blackjack table, the way an addict needs Oxycontin, the way Jennifer Love Hewitt needs men to dump her.  They can’t get enough.  For example, take this email I received last week from delossantos4u@rocketmail.com: “Shit for Brains.   All Praise Jehovah, you’re blasphemous posts have stopped.  I need to read another example of your juvenile rambling like I need an anvil up my ass.  Fuck you cocksucker.  Cordially yours, Susie.”  I emailed Susie back, thanked her for the correspondence, reassured her this long-awaited blog post was coming and then told her she used the wrong “you’re” (it should be “your”).

The Giants off-season got off on the wrong foot from the get go.  I distinctly remember sitting in front of my Panasonic 40-incher watching ESPN when John Clayton came onto the screen.  As usual, my heart went aflutter.  We were about 2 days from the end of the lockout and he spoke about which team would be most behind the 8-ball under the new CBA and wouldn’t you know who he mentioned first – The New York Super Bowl Bound Football Giants. 11+ over the cap.  I felt like Paul Newman when he gets hustled by Forest Whitaker in The Color of Money.  It’s in the way that you use it, baby, and I felt like a now deceased purveyor of quality low-fat salad dressings and canned dog food.  How did the Giants management get caught so flat-footed?  Why did we sign Chris Canty to all that money? How did it take that long for Newman to get an Oscar?

So the Giants cut three offensive linemen – Shaun O’Hara, Rich Seubert and Shawn Michaels, who for some reason didn’t want to re-structure his contract.  Like there’s a huge market for manic-depressive offensive linemen who haven’t started in 3 years.  This was the biggest mistake in judgement since BK passed up on going to Subway off a highway exit near Fresno becuase he thought he could find something better.  Six exits later, he had to settle for a Sardine and Potato Bug Panini from the Jack in the Box.  It was either that or the Teriyaki Bowl and you’ve all read the Snoops on the Jack in the Box Teriyaki Bowl.

The issue wasn’t so much that the 3 players cut were going to be reserving their 2012 tickets to Miami for the Pro Bowl (although Seubert played well last year) but this shuffle would result in a new ass for QB Eli Manning to stick his hands under and only slightly less disturbing would require the introduction of William Beatty, the talented but hardly confidence-inducing 3rd year pro from UConn, to protect Manning’s blind side.  You may not have realized this, but Eli’s not the best at anticpating weakside pressure.

Of course those depatures pailed in comparison with the Osi Unemyiora drama.  Osi claims that GM Jerry Reese promised he’d re-nag his contract if Osi played at a certain level.  What this level was or how it would be measured by was apparently never discussed nor was this agreement ever codified on paper.  It’s like the pre-nup with my ex-wife.  She said she’d be able to sleep around if I didn’t perform at a certain level.  I assume she meant we were going to go by the “Play-60” standard famously established during the 2006 Arianne Jollee Gang Bang Video “All I need is 60 from 60”.  But apparently “Play-60” refers to minutes not seconds and apparently also refers to getting kids to go outside and play for at least 60 minutes and was unrelated to the Jollee opus.  Or so said the mediator.

Osi demanded a trade but the Giants demanded on a 1st or 2nd round draft pick in return.  That’s like Julie Benz turning down a supporting role on the new ABC series “Pan Am” because she’s holding out to get the Catwoman role.  I know Benz is the centerpiece around the mind-numblingly satisfying season finale of Dexter, Season 4 but she’s no Hathaway. And Hathaway’s no Pfeifer.  And Pfeifer’s no Kitt.  And Kitt was no Julie Newmar.  But it seems to me as if the suave Umenyiori is doing just fine for himself Thank You Very Much.

So first Osi holds out.  Then he shows up to camp but doesn’t play.  Then right before he says he will play it turns out he can’t because he needs surgery and will be out the rest of the pre-season.  It was like the time BK got pinned in less than a minute in the first round of the NJSSFW Playoffs.  That was a Play-15.  He claimed illness, but I wanted to know where was the heart.  Osi’s a good player.  He’s a very good pass rusher.  But I sort of felt despite the big sack and fumble numbers last year he wasn’t irreplaceable, especially with the maturity of Jason Pierre-Paul and the return of Mathias Kiwanuka.  It’s just that it was more turmoil for a team that didn’t need it.

The rest of the off-season was also a hodgepodge of disappointment with little to cheer us up, other than the Ahmad Bradshaw re-sign.  We lose Kevin Boss – again in and of itself not an unrecoverable loss – but the guy we end up trying to replace him with retires after one day because he decides he has familly issues and would rather work as a stocker at Petco than go through Giants camp.  And it wasn’t like Ben Patrick was a particularly inspired choice to replace The Big Concussion anyway.  We brought in Daniel Coates to take his place and he’s a lot like former Patriots star tight end Ben Coates – in the sense that they have the same last name.  In every other way, Daniel Coates is much much worse.

The draft class performance hasn’t been particularly noteworthy either, with the exception of Greg Jones and some spark if nothing else from Marvin Austin.  The Prince held out, practiced a day and then broke his foot.  And BK’s favorite Jernell Jernigan through two pre-season games has been…oh what’s the word…let me see, oh that’s right – TERRIBLE. BK doesn’t want to hear it but it seems like we may have replaced Sinorice Moss with Sinorice Moss.

The Giants were atrocious during the first pre-season game in Carolina, a team that looks to be every bit as inept this year as last.  Take away Pierre-Paul and there was nothing to be excited about in the game and let me tell you the Panthers local broadcast of that game – which is was NFL Network showed – was terrible too.  Graphics straight out of 1997, questionable direction and camera work on punts and an announcing team that can be described as…oh what’s the word…let me see, oh that’s right – Jernell Jernigan like.

And then we had the Bears game and that seemed like just what the doctor ordered.  The Bears helped the Giants get well during the regular season last year and they were primed to do the same in the 2nd pre-season game.  Nothing like the site of Lovie Smith on the sideline and Jay Cutler, who despite that ESPN The Magazine Puff Piece is still as big a prick as ever, to give an opposing team confidence.  I mean look at the Bears this year…really look at them and then the rest of the division.  They have 6-10 written all over them.

And if it wasn’t for one play in the final minute of the first half that’s exactly what Chicago’s softest sports franchise would have provided the G-Men.  Solid Offense, Solid Defense, Spectacular Specials and a door slammed shut to end the misery section of this pre-season.  But the injury of Terrell Thomas was devastating.  I don’t want to overstate injuries.  I think we can recover from injuries to Osi or Ramses Barden and we’re likely better without Lawrence Tynes.  I think the O-Line will be serviceable, but Thomas’ injury now leaves us with inconsistent Corey Webster and Aaron Ross and his paper maiche hammy’s.  With the exception of Justin Tuck, there is not one player on the defensive side of the ball the Giants could have afforded to lose less.

But let’s face it, the real reason the Giants off-season has been so sad is not merely their internal travails, but what the hard to stomach Eagles have done.  After signing Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins (not to mention more sizzle than steak signees Vince Young and Ronnie Brown), the cheap hit artists from Cheese Steak USA took Steve Smith away from the Giants.  Maybe the Giants dragged their feet…maybe the Eagles made him an offer he couldn’t refuse…or maybe Smith just wanted to leave Coach C, Eli and the rest.  But for whatever reason, it seemed as if re-signing Smith was a fait accompli and then he goes not to the Texans or Titans or even the Jets…but to the Eagles.  It’s as if the Eagles did this just to spite the Giants and the G-Men management seemed more bewildered than this cat.

Luckily for the Giants, the Eagles can’t get out of their own way.  Vince Young called the Eagles the “Dream Team” which is pretty ballsy from a guy who won’t play, quit on his former team twice and was once put on a suicide watch.  And while it’s hard to believe Nnamdi won’t be great, the rest of the signings won’t make the Eagles that much better.  Babin is a journeyman coming off a couple flash in the pan years, Jenkins is good not great and that offensive line is terrible.  I mean the Eagles first-round draft pick is 3 years away from applying for Medicare. Finally, we all know Andy Reid can’t win the big one.

It doesn’t seem it can get any worse for the G-Men, who have had glimpses of hope – Devin Thomas looks like a special teams maven, Dominick Hixon may solidify the 3rd receiver position and the Giants rookie linebackers Jones, Herzlich, Williams and Payslinger all look good putting the likes of Clint Sintim and Phillip Dillard from being sure-fire roster spots to fighting for their roster lives.  And there’s J-P-P.

So now the Giants play the Jets on Monday, which has become a depressing game since this is the first time I can remember where the Jets had really proven themselves undebatably as the better New York area team heading into the season.  But at this point, there’s no place for the Giants to go but up this pre-sesaon. Let’s just hope win-or-lose Monday night, the Giants stay healthy and just for our sense of self it would be nice if Plax didn’t have a big a game either.

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That time of year has come again. We can all smell it as clear as we can smell the Wild Boar bacon sizzling off the grill at Little Dom’s in Los Feliz while a wayward hipster in his mid-30’s sits outside with his woe-begotten mom and asks her for money…again.  Tyler Carroll lives with a pot dealer whose business fell off 5 years ago when he became mildly addicted to crystal meth and one wonders when he asks his mother Carol Carroll for another $5000-  and this will be it because he knows someone who’s an intern at the Jimmy Kimmel show and he feels he’s got an “in” –  if either of them actually believes this is true.  They both know he stopped trying long ago and he will not be successful in his quest.  In the football business we call that the “Jim Cordle.”

I can’t make it more clear than that and I know you all know where I’m going with this – it’s time for my annual prediction of who will make the final 53 for the New York Super Bowl Bound Football Giants.  We had to wait a bit as so many rosters are still being worked out throughout the league and uncertainty is most certainly a factor with the G-Men as well.  Kevin Boss and Steve Smith remain unsigned, drama continues to swirl around Osi Unemyiori and Barry Mankowitz, long time milk dud and red vine vendor in sections 38B through 47A may not be able to start the season due to hip replacement surgery and a mild addiction to crystal meth.  Still, I’ve never been one scared to take a risk.  Back in ’94 I voted for Republican Joe Rogers over Democrat Diana Degette in the heavily liberal leaning Cap Hill district of Denver and I’m not even a registered Republican.  But I took that chance because I could sense a winner and as 39% of the voters would confirm I was clearly right.

So write this smack down in pen…below is who the 53 final players will be for the Giants when camp breaks.

QUARTERBACK

This isn’t about Eli.  We’ll have plenty of time to talk about the fleet footed, steady armed, wise decision-making ex-Super Bowl MVP from Ole Miss throughout the season.  The battle here is for the back-up QB.    Last season the Giants brought in the former Colt Jim Sorgi to be the back-up after David Carr, the #2 QB in 2008 and ’09, decided to battle Alex Smith for the starters job in San Francisco.  That worked out well for both – Sorgi suffered a season-ending injury in the first pre-season game while Carr ended the season as the 49ers third-stringer and was released in the off-season.  Last pre-season 2009 draft pick Rhett Bhomer took the majority of the snaps for the G-Men and was rewarded by being cut when the Giants traded for veteran back-up and future money lender Sage Rosenfels.  And it was assumed Rosenfels would be the back-up again this year but Jerry Reese fooled us again by re-signing Carr.  Prior to that the only question was would ex-LSU problem child Ryan Perrilloux actually see any snaps as a quarterback this pre-season.  Now we have a battle between the underachieving Carr and the overachieving Rosenfels.  And the winner?  I think Carr simply because the Giants are at the cap and Carr comes in at a cheaper price.  Since Manning hasn’t missed a game since taking over as the starter mid-way through the ’04 season it’s not likely either will play so why not save the $$ and go with Carr.  The only way I see Rosenfels making it is if Carr plays just awfully during camp and in the preseason.  Let’s not kid ourselves, that’s completely possible.  But we’re going to assume Carr’s able to make his throws against 2nd teamers and makes the squad.

RUNNING BACKS

The re-signing of Ahmed Bradshaw was a giant WHEW for Giants fans who had visions of Bradshaw heading elsewhere and the Giants desperately signing Ronnie Brown in response.  But Bradshaw is back and the Eagles signed Brown- what a bunch of jackasses in Philly.  But that’s a topic we can talk about any day.  With Bradshaw back and Brandon Jacobs coming off a rejuvenated 2nd half in 2010 the question is who will the back-ups be.  D.J. Ware has been a pre-season marvel the last few seasons but injuries and lack of time have given him limited chances in any real games.  Still, Ware seems like a cinch as the third back especially since he gives you a solid if unspectacular back-up option as a kick returner too.  I predict the Giants surprise and keep 4 half backs which gives us a 3-way battle between Andre Brown of NC State, Charles Scott of LSU and this year’s late round pick Da’rel Scott from Maryland.  BK loves the hard running Scott and feels he’s a rough, salty, muscled, well-hung diamond who can be smoothed over into a guy who can pound the hole.  BK can go on about Scott for hours and the homo-erotic overtones are disarming.  Brown seemed like a shoe-in in ’09 when he was drafted but got hurt at the beginning of camp.  He had moments last pre-season but was clearly outplayed by Ware and the Giants didn’t want to carry a 4th HB.  As for Da’rel Scott, I’m all for apostrophe’s in the middle of your first name but I have a problem with a guy who peaked as a freshman in college.  What Brown and D.Scott bring to the table is – at least in theory – the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.  But honestly, how hard is that?  As long as your name isn’t Brandon, Madison or Bear anyone can do it.  My guess is this will be Brandon Jacobs’ last year in blue and if the salty Cajun Charles Scott performs well in camp I’m giving him the 4th spot and possible BJ heir apparent in ’12.

Madison Hedgecock, who did little of anything last year, is gone and the Giants seem to be committed to 260-pound Pitt Panther rookie Henry Hynoski as their full-back and I’m fine with that…I guess.  I assume you’ll see a lot of Ten Toes Pascoe lining up in the FB spot but who knows maybe Hynoski will be the next coming of Charles Way – or the first coming of Henry Hynoski.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Last year it seemed the Giants were so deep at receiver we couldn’t possibly keep Sinorice Moss on the roster. Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Dominick Hixon, the inevitable emergence of man-child Ramses Barden and the spectacular UMass product Victor Cruz.  Now, all of the sudden just a year later questions abound and the Giants seem so slim that they even considered re-signing jailbird Plaxico Burress.  Smith is unsigned and injured, Hixon is coming off an injury after missing the entire year, Barden is looking bustier than Stacy Collerette in the 8th grade and Cruz ended up on the IR.  So while the Giants starters will be set with Nicks and Manningham, the 3rd receiver spot is wide open.  Even if Smith is re-signed he probably starts the season on the PUP. Barden will get first shot at the #3 but I have a feeling this is all she wrote for the Cal Poly SLO product.  I just don’t see a spark and him starting camp on the PUP ain’t helping his cause any.  Cruz probably gets the next try and I don’t know, maybe he pulls it off.  Then it probably goes to Hixon, although the Giants would love 3rd round rook Jerrel Jernigan to emerge.  Other guys who could fit in the mix include returning vet Michael Clayton, long since passed his productive receiving years, vet Devin Thomas, returner bust Darius Reynaud and Duke Calhoun, the other surprise receiver to make it out of camp last year who was so terrible that after just a few downs he was replaced by free-agents Clayton and Derek Hagen.  There are a few other wide-outs on the roster and the name that caught my attention was Todd Watkins from Grossmont J.C.  I know nothing about him but I once had a date with a 40-year-old woman while attending SDSU and we saw The Flinstones at the Grossmont Movie Theaters.  The date was terrible.  At the end of the night I asked her if she wanted to see me again.  I didn’t really want to, I just felt obligated to ask.  She said to me “Well, like I said, I really like physically bigger guys.” Then why did you agree to go out with me?  That’s $6 for a movie ticket I will not get back!  At least there’s addition by subtraction as Moss is finally gone.  Anyway, my guess is Barden gets cut and we end up with 6 receivers – Nicks, Manningham, Cruz, Hixon, and Jernigan with Smith re-signed but out for the first 6 weeks of he season.

TIGHT ENDS

The question was what will become of The Big Concussion.  Kevin Boss was unsigned and I was sure some team like the Cardinals or the Jags or the Seahawks would sign him but it ended up being the Raiders – which makes sense for numerous reasons. I don’t understand why it took so long. KB is good for one catch a game and is close to being an effective blocker.  Word is the Giants brought in vet Ben Patrick to take over for Boss.  You have to assume Travis Beckum makes the squad although he hasn’t done much, can’t block and it’s not completely inconceivable the Giants give up on him.  Ten Toes Pascoe performed with heart – if not always skill – last season primarily playing an H-Back like role.  I assume they keep Pascoe as the de facto full back and our man Hynoski lands on the practice squad.  Or they keep both.  Or they just cut Pascoe.  It’s a fascinating scenario, like creating a show about a cancer-stricken science teacher who ends up dealing crystal meth.  Why does Kevin Boss keep bringing up crystal meth? Anything to soothe the constant headaches.  The Giants have two other TE’s on the roster – Christian Hopkins and Jake Ballard.  Neither will make the final 53.

OFFENSIVE LINE

The times, they are a changing.  Don’t believe me, just ask Lady Gaga, who wrote that song while painting her toe-nails in her Brooklyn apartment after sending out a Tweet to her Little Monsters to Express Themselves before heading out to the Newport Folk Festival and shocking the non-Monsters by performing in red spandex with purple pointed tits and, most shockingly, taking it all acoustic.  What was it…four years the Giants O-Line was Diehl, Snee, O’Hara, Seubert, MacKenzie?  That changed when the Giants first moves after the lockout ended was to cut the ex-Scarlett Night O’Hara and his faulty-backed side kick Seubert (not to mention former Eagles manic-depressive Shawn Andrews).  O’Hara was injured for parts of last year and didn’t play very well when we was in the line-up so his dismissal was no surprise.  But Seubert’s cut was. Seubert played well at center while O’Hara was out and after the Adam Koets experience exploded like a guitar on stage.  But his back was traction waiting to happen and I guess it did make some sense salary cap wise but still I hated to see the big Lithuanian go and its created an interesting scenario for the G-Men.  MacKenzie and Snee stay put, but the hope now is that the Giants can move Diehl inside to guard and that ex-49 David Baas can make the transition from guard to center.  I imagine he can and Diehl will be a stronger guard than LT but this is all hindering on either talented but still raw William Beatty taking over at LT (or journmeyman Stacy Andrews).  It’s a bit of a scary proposition since if neither swing it than the Giants would be forced to put Diehl back outside and plug the intellectual and mind-numbingly large-assed Kevin Boothe at guard.  Regardless of how the starting group looks, you figure the Giants will keep 9 OLinemen and 7 of those spots are taken up by the aforementioned.So the roster battle is for those final 2 spots.  Someone has to be the back-up center and it looks like the Giants have given up on the granola-eating Koets for that job as he’s listed at tackle this year.  Koets was a bad reach pick as a tackle out of Oregon State 5 years ago and then he was hidden as a back-up center until exposed last year.  If 2nd-year strong man Mitch Petrus plays a little center this pre-season and pulls it off that could be all she wrote for Koets.  The only other pure center on the roster is wide-based Jim Cordle –  a long shot – although there are a host of other guards on the roster who coaches could try to slide over.  The 9th spot seemingly will be handed to the Koets-like 4th round reach OT James Brewer from Indiana.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Like receiver this position seemed like an embarrassment of riches at the start of last pre-season.  So rich, in fact, that the Giants cut Super Bowl hero (and ace long-snapper) Jay Alford.  But the departure of their top Defensive Tackle Barry Cofield (a FA signing with the Skins), Mathias Kiwanuke’s injury, the 2010 ineffectiveness of Rocky Bernard and Linval Joseph and the drama surrounding Osi U make this year’s DL progress interesting.  Still, if Osi stays (and Jerry Reese says he will) than there may not be many battles here for the 8 spots – Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiori, Mathias Kiwanuka and athletic freak Jason Pierre-Paul at end and Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, Rocky Bernard and 2nd round UNC trouble child Marvin Austin at tackle.   The one big piece of bologna who could sneak into the mix is 340lbs. vet Gabe Watson who’s more nose tackle then an interior player in a 4-3 set but hey that didn’t stop the Giants from spending a 2nd round pick on  Joseph and look how well that’s turning out.  If the Giants keep 10 linemen, I say 2010 late round reach Adrian Tracy from the charming college William & Mary gets a chance to develop as a situational pass rusher if he shows anything in camp.  The only other lineman who could crack the group is 5-year vet Dave Tollefson and his West Hollywood arm band tattoo.  Tollefson has been luckier than BK at a Mexican strip club after he gives a 19-year-old girl $400 and his surprising ability on specials keeps him in the mix but let’s be honest – he’s not that good on specials.  He just looks good in a fairly sorry group.  My guess is the clock strikes 12, the glass slipper breaks, Harry Potter grows up and Dave Tollefson moves on to a career in construction.

LINEBACKERS

It is hard to imagine how the Giants linebacking corps – home of Sam Huff, Brad Van Pelt, Harry Carson, Carl Banks, Lawrence Taylor, Jessie Armstead, Brian Kelly – has been so diminished that Giant fans are reminiscing about the days when Corey Widmer patrolled the middle. Sure Michael Boley is a nice player, but not a playmaker and he’s the best LB the Giants have by far.  Jonathan Goff was handed the Middle Linebacker job (and will be again this  year) and he was good for like one decent tackle a game.  The man is a Vandy grad which means he’s a genius.  Don’t believe me?  He’s managed to become the starting middle linebacker for the New York Giants despite the fact that no one knows for sure if he can really play.  The 3rd starting linebacker was Keith Bullock who was so far past his prime he basically did the Luc Longley – he would start and after a few plays be replaced and that was pretty much the last you saw of him. This year, the Giants will replace Bullock with Virginia’s Clint Sintim and really who knows.  He did nothing as a designated speed rusher last year but he was undersized.  Perhaps he might emerge this year and honestly what other choice do the G-Men really have.  Special teamer Zak DeOssie, 2010 rookie dud Phillip Dillard and this year’s 6th round pick Greg Jones, an All-American from Michigan State coming off a poor post-season and combine, are all shoe-ins for the next 3 spots. If they keep a 7th backer (and Tracy could also fill that role) the press will focus on cancer-survivor Mark Herzlich, but one wonders if his UFL physicals will translate to NFL success (or even NFL good-enough to be on a practice squad) and it’s just as possible other camp invitees like FSU’s Kenny Ingram (who played decently last pre-season) or Oregon’s Spencer Payslinger,who will go into businses with Rosenfels when his career is over, could also sneak onto the final 53 if they show some sizzle on specials.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

The Giants went value in the 1st round of this year draft by picking Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara and I was all for it.  I mean the guy was picked to go as high as 7th in some mocks and he landed at pick 19? You can never have too many good DB’s in this man’s NFL and I liked the pick right up until the Prince held out and then broke his foot on his 2nd day of practice.  Now all of the sudden Anthony Costanzo is looking better.  But what’s done is done and with inconsistent but more good than bad Corey Webster and rising star Terrelle Thomas, along with oft-injured ex-1st rounder Aaron “Hammy and Swiss” Ross mean the Giants should still be fine at CB even if the Prince’s development is delayed.  Deion Grant was a big play guy for the Giants last year and his departure has BK worried, espeically since he felt both Kenny Phillips and Antrelle Rolle underperformed last year.  But I told BK to sit down, have a turkey polish sausage and wash it down with a Trader Jose’s lager and relax.  Neither player was bad last year and this will be Phillips 2nd full year after his injury and Rolle’s 2nd year in Perry Fewell’s system and I think they’ll both be quite good this year,but depth is a concern as Michael Johnson is gone too.  A host of not particularly established 2nd, 3rd and 4th year players will round out the field and it’s a blind hat grab to which of the following will round the roster out:  Michael Coe, Joe Burnett, Bob Stoops illegally recruited Brian Jackson and the guy I like Stillman’s own sub-6 footer Brian Witherspoon. Iowa free-agent rookie Tyler Sash could also find himself in the mix.

SPECIAL TEAMS

In life, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  You go to Madrid to see the Mutua Madrid Open.  You hit a bar.  Across the bar you see Ana Ivanovic drowning her sorrows after a 2nd-round loss to Irina-Camelia Begu.  You go over to her, you offer her some black tar heroin, tell her your Novak Djokovic’s estranged brother and you take her back to your hostel and make sweet love.  You Win. Later that year you go to the Western & Southern Open in Cincy. Ivanovic pulled out.  You’re staying at a Super 8.  You have too much to drink plus you’ve developed a mild addiction to Crystal Meth.  You see Magdelena Rybarikova across a bar celebrating her victory over Irin-Carmelia Begu.  You approach her but she shoots you down because she feels good about herself and you smell like clay.  So you end up going home with Akgul Ammanmuradova, who didn’t even qualify for the tourney, and she ends up robbing you and you’re not even sure if intercourse occurred and if it did you’re not that happy about it because it was with Akgul Ammanmuradova.  You Lose.

The parallel is undeniable.  There are inevitable clips that will last in football lore that show the Giants winning – Jim Burt knocking out Joe Montana while LT returns his pass and takes it to the house; LT going 97 on Thanksgiving Day against the Lions; Phil McConkey grabbing a deflected pass for a TD in the Super Bowl; Mark Bavaro dragging 184 49ers and their fans down the field field for 15 extra yards; Scott Norwood missing a field goal; Eli to Tyree…and then Eli to Plax.  And then there are those clips that will last forever which we lose.  Joe Piscarcek muffing a hand-off to Larry Czonka creating a Herm Edwards score in the “Miracle at the Meadowlands” and then the play in which just two names need be mentioned – Jackson and Dodge.  Giant fans are going to be stuck with that motherfucking replay for the rest of our lives.

That kick signified what was a miserable season for the rookie Dodge, who was handed the job last year and rewarded the Giants with a handful of howitzers, biceps the size of Ed Hochli, and some of the worst punting since the Rodney Williams years.  The most interesting camp battle likely will be the punting competition between ex-Jet Steve Weatherford and Dodge and the smart money says Weatherford.  He’s a lot safer and knows the winds of the new Meadowlands.  Vegas odds have Dodge as a 24-1 underdog to win the job.  They also list BK at 15,000-1 to finish a feature length script in the next 5 years but even money to lose his temper within 5 minutes of reading this.

Amidst the punting woes, oft-criticized Lawrence Tynes was quite solid last year and has no real competition in camp.  Hixon will likely be given the kick-off and punt duties although it will be fun to see if Coach C gives Jernigan some opportunities to return in the pre-season.

FINAL ROSTER

So here it is….the Giants final 53 when pre-season ends:

QB – Eli Manning, David Carr

RB – Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Danny Ware, Charles Scott

FB – Henry Hynoski

WR -Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan, Mark Clayton/Steve Smith (PUP)

TE – Travis Beckum, Bear Pascoe, Ben Patrick

OL – Kareem MacKenzie, David Diehl, David Baase, Chris Snee, William Beatty, Stacy Andrews, Kevin Boothe, Mitch Petrus, James Brewer

DL – Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiori, Mathias Kiwanuka, Jason Pierre-Paul, Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, Marvin Austin, Rocky Bernard, Gabe Watson, Adrian Tracy

LB – Michael Boley, Jonathan Goff, Clint Sintim, Phillip Dillard, Zak DeOssie, Greg Jones, Mark Herzlich

DB – Terrell Thomas, Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, Prince Akamanura, Antrelle Rolle, Kenny Phillips, Michael Coe, Brian Jackson, Brian Witherspoon

P – Steve Weatherford

K – Lawrence Tynes

PRACTICE SQUAD:

  1. Ibrihim Abdulai, DT
  2.  Brant Clouser, C
  3. Jarriel King, OT
  4. Tyler Sash, S
  5. Free-Agent TBD

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Last night’s NFL Draft was gripping television to watch – especially if you TiVo’d the coverage on NFL Network so you could fast forward every time Michael Irvin opened his mouth.

The first 3 picks offered no surprises, but when sharp-dressed, gentle-tongued Gerald McCoy begin crying uncontrollably after being drafted 3rd overall by the Tampa Bay Bucs it proved two things – he’s too soft to be a great player in this league and that he’s going to fall in love with every stripper who gives him a lap dance at Mons Venus.

After that the surprises went from mild (Williams over Okung at 4; Berry over Okung at 5) to the wild (Cal’s DT Tyson Alualu going at 10 to the Jags – NICE CALL AND NICER SUIT MIKE MAYOCK!; San Diego trading up to 12 for Ryan Mathews – was he really going to go that high?) to the strange (San Francisco trading up 2 spots to draft high-ceiling, low-work ethic Anthony Davis when neither of the 2 teams they jumped ahead of – Denver and Miami – would seemingly have any intention of drafting him).

But of course the biggest story was that of Tim Tebow, once again managing to steal the spotlight away from Sam Bradford and Joe Haden and Dez Bryant and even future All-time NFL Sack King Jason Pierre-Paul.

Apparently Denver Bronco coach Josh McDaniel was so hot for Tim Tebow that he couldn’t wait any longer and had to trade up to the 25th pick to grab him.  This led to Tim Tebow whipping out the Bronco cap he’d already bought because he heard a message from God (or more accurately, a text message from McDaniel the day before saying they were going to draft him) and then having another one of those “Ah Shucks, I’m gonna work so gosh darn hard” interviews that made BK call him charming, CK1 call him cute and SK47 vomit on BK’s shirt.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Clausen has to be watching all of this and saying to himself, “Tim Tebow is such a douche.”  Then again, Clausen calling Tebow a douche is a little bit like John Edwards calling Sarah Palin unfaithful and hypocritical.  We haven’t seen a slip like this since Lindsey Lohan’s nipple peaked out of her loose-fitting Old Navy top while she stumbled out of the West Hollywood apartment of the valet she just fucked back in ’04…and ’05..and 06…and ’07 and…okay, you get the joke.

In fact last night Lindsey was so messed up she missed the draft which is a shame because she’s a big Brandon Graham supporter and had him going to the Eagles in her mock.

When a player who was thrown off his team and forgot to bring in his shoes to his own pro day is drafted before you – well then you’ve got problems.  It should teach a lesson to all you young Quarterbacks out there.  If you want to be drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft, try to avoid the Ryan Leaf and Cade McNown comparisons.

Still Bryant was probably a victim and of the Santonio Holmes/Brandon Marshall nonsense this off-season and if Clausen’s maturity and attitude was that much in question then the Roethlisberger troubles this year probably didn’t help him much either.

So before we take a look at what to expect on Day 2 of the draft, let’s analyze Day 1.

SURPRISES BIG AND SMALL

The rumors were pretty strong that Washington was leaning towards Trent Willams over Russell Okung and as I predicted KC went with Eric Berry over an offensive lineman (I also predicted Derrick Morgan would go 4th and Jimmy Clausen would go 9th so I think I proved myself to be pretty much spot on all night).

The Joe Haden pick at 7 by Cleveland was a mild surprise.  Still if Holmgren didn’t like Clausen and lost out on Berry then a defensive back made sense – so if you have Haden rated higher on your board than Earl Thomas – go for it.

Rolando McClain at 8 was a good pick by the Raiders and allowed us the avoid the annual “Let’s Bash Al Davis” talk at the draft – at least for one day.  It did break the heart of Giants fans, but BK had already braced himself for this inevitability.  Like the time freshman Kimberly Laundau rejected his creepy advances to go out on a date with him.  After she avoided him like teams avoid Notre Dame quarterbacks with attitude, BK had already mentally braced himself that he’d have no date to the Senior Prom.

I love the Bills pick of Spiller even though they still don’t have a QB because really if you’re the Bills what position don’t you need an upgrade from.  The next 3 picks were a bit bizarre – no one had Alaulu rated that high (except the Jags apparently) and then that trade up for Davis which seemed unnecessary followed by the huge move up for Mathews by the Chargers.  Even if they were concerned Seattle would nab him, was he really worth that much draft bling?

Derrick Morgan’s fall was unexpected.  Tennessee supposedly really wanted Graham or Pierre-Paul, but the Georgia Tech outside rusher doesn’t seem like such a bad consolation prize.  And my prediction of the Bulaga fall was right on the money (or at least right on the loose change).

The Cowboys trading up for Dez Bryant wasn’t a huge surprise at that point and it’s likely the Ravens would have nabbed him with the next pick which is interesting if you think about it.  Here Jerry Jones rips Tim Tebow while drinking.  Then he trades up for Bryant – the guy the Ravens probably wanted – allowing the Ravens to trade their pick to the Broncos who take – Tim Tebow.

That’ll be a great story, espcially when both are out of the league by 2014.

You couldn’t really say wide receiver was a need position for the Cowboys, but it’s not like Austin, Crayton and Williams are spectacular so I guess why not.  Still, matching Bryant with Roy Williams – a high-talent, inconsistent player from the Big 12 with questionable work ethic and heart – seems like bad karma.

Then again, karma’s a bitch when you’re in Dallas.

The Dan Williams slip to the Cards at 26 was a mild surprise but overweight guys with reputations of not working that hard don’t seem to get as far as they used to – unless your John Goodman…or Anthony Davis.  However, landing in Arizona may not be the best move for Big Dan as the Cards have been known as the place where defensive lineman go to die.

Interestingly enough, Goodman clocked in a 40 .04 seconds faster than Williams at his Pro Day in that scene.

Finally, I liked all three (3) of the last picks of the draft.  Best to Detroit, Hughes to Indianapolis and Robinson to the Saints.  It’s the best last 3 picks of the draft since…well, Britt, Wells, Hood might turn out all right from last year.

BK-o-METER

Derrick Morgan!  Sean Weatherspoon!  Not Dan Williams!!!.  Those were the calls emanating from BK as the wheels kept turning in his head.  With McClain and Graham off the board (and my refusal to allow him to mention Dez Bryant any longer) BK thought the Giants were going Morgan. “But do we need an end?  I don’t know,” wondered BK allowed.  “What’s an end” chimed in CK1.  “You’re going to see the end of my first upside your head bitch if you don’t shut the fuck up!” yelped out BK in an angry retort.  “Okay, let me just get some more apricots for the mole tacos” and away CK1 went while the Tracinator simply said “Ooooh, child, I can’t go for that, I got fat on my back.”  When thing settled down and BK unpaused the draft and the Giants landed Pierre-Paul, BK was unsure of what to think.   Enthralled by his talent, wary of his experience, unsure of the need.  Like BK’s early fascination with Sam Rockwell, he didn’t know what to make until he saw confessions of “A Dangerous Mind.” It was at that point that he knew Rockwell was a genius and I knew BK was an idiot.  When the NFL Network showed the now legendary Pierre-Paul’s back flips BK stated “That shows me he can do a good spin move”, CK1 stated “That shows me he’s a quick cummer in bed” and SK47 looked up from her weary slumber and simply stated, “They should’ve taken Hughes” and then vomited on BK’s shirt a second time.

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Well, I have run out of time.  With my mock draft due by noon tomorrow, its time to wrap up these final 3 positions in one blog post.  As BK might say, “It’s time to bring in the VO with the CG so let me have some of the PCP.”  Because BK has a very serious substance abuse problem and can get violent.

So without further adieu, let’s give it a roll:

TIGHT ENDS

Tight Ends, which less than a decade ago were basically being relegated to glorified fullbacks (blockers and outlets in the passing game) have re-emerged recently as legitimate pass threats in more offenses than I can shake a stick at.  This is because I don’t currently have a stick.

Perhaps this is a credit to players like Tony Gonzalez, Jeremy Shockey, Todd Heap & Antonio Gates who made offensive coordinators run plays for them.  Drafted Tight Ends have been pretty impressive recently – look at how many are major cogs in their offensive engines and I’m not even including last year’s only 1st round pick Brandon Pettigrew.

2008 – Dustin Keller (1st, Jets); John Carlson (2nd, Seahawks)
2007 – Greg Olson (1st, Bears); Zach Miller (2nd, Raiders); Kevin Boss (5th Giants); Brent Celek (5th, Eagles).
2006 – Vernon Davis (1st, 49ers); Owen Daniels (4th, Texans)

Let’s take a look at this year’s TOP 3 TIGHT ENDS.

Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma
Probably the only TE going in the first round despite missing all of 2009.  The stove is getting hot around Gresham.  Solid all around physicals, he’s huge and looks healthy.  He’s a top 15 pick if he doesn’t miss his senior season.

Dennis Pitta, BYU
Really impressive combine numbers – I get excited when I see a 4.17 shuttle time.  I also get excited when I see a Hot Dog on a Stick.

Dorin Dickerson, Pittsburgh
A little undersized, but fast at 4.4 in the 40, he can jump through the roof, and a 6.96 3-cone-drill says one thing to me…SEAM PASS!  Granted, he had virtually no production in college and has switched around positions a lot, but I know another feller with a similar name who had a similar beginning – and that guys alright with me.

FULLBACKS

One word.

If you want to make it in this league as a fullback…you need them.  Some nice pumps don’t hurt either.

Don’t believe me, ask Madison Hedgecock.

The next position to re-emerge as relevant in NFL offenses will be fullback.  When was the last time a fullback really had an all-around impact on his team – Roger Craig?  Where have you gone Ron Springs.  Fullbacks are usually asked nowadays to just block.  I mean honestly, when you have to vote for Pro Bowl players do you recognize the name of any of the fullbacks other than an odd player here or there?  Pure fullbacks are less likely to get drafted than a kicker or punter these days and the following TOP 3 FULLBACKS are as likely to go undrafted as they are land a spot in Round 6 or 7.

John Conner, Kentucky
He’s a little graded down because of his 5’11 1/2 height and an injury history, but he’s got a nice variety of skills and would be a worthwhile pick in 6 or 7.  BK-o-Meter likes him too because he’s a little undersized but unlike BK, has crafty footwork.

Rashawn Jackson, Virginia
Along with Connor, the only other FB invited to the combines.  Not a lot to dislike here, not a lot to like.  Probably will get drafted but I wouldn’t spend a pick here just because there’s too much depth at other positions.

Cory Jackson, Maryland
Could be a steal as an UFA because he’s got good overall skills, leadership ability and tough as nails.

KICKERS & PUNTERS

Most teams either like their kicker or believe their as likely to find a kicker as a free-agent as they are to draft one.  And if you do spend a draft pick on a kicker or punter, it’s assumed that at the very least he’s going to have a chance to win a job or you’ve really wasted a pick because you’re not going to stash him away on the practice squad.

No kicker has been drafted above the 5th round since 2006.  In fact, only 5 kickers have been drafted in the first or second round in the last 30 years – the disappointing Mike Nugent (2nd in 2005, Jets); chubby Sebastien Janikowski (1st in 2000, Raiders); iron-man Jason Hansen (2nd in 1992, Lions), Chip Lohmiller (2nd in 1988, Redskins) and the epic bust that was UCLA’s John Lee (2nd in 1986, Cardinals).

Punters are respected even less by NFL executives come draft day.  Since the Saints infamous selection of Russell Erxleben with the 11th overall pick in 1979, only 2 punters have been selected as high as the 2nd round.  The excellent Rohn Stark (2nd in 1982, Colts) and the line-drive kicking Todd Sauerbrun (2nd in 1985, Bears).

Truth is, there doesn’t seem to be a kicker or punter in the 2010 crop of draftees who looks likely to be selected.  East Carolina Punter Matt Dodge seems to have the best chance to make it in the league and even that shot is long.  Bama’s Leigh Tiffin will get invited to a camp somewhere with Ohio State’s Aaron Pettrey the only other kicker even getting any sniff of buzz.

So instead of ranking players who aren’t going to get drafted, let’s hear from Virginia Tech Brent Bowden and his love of guitar.

BK-o-METER

BK is hot on the trail of a kicker and has gone to every pawn shop and soccer game he can find in his search.  His wife CK1 also has the kicker jones.  It’s because they cannot take the inconsistent Lawrence Tynes of the Giants any longer.  “I hate him.  I hate him.  I hate him,” screams CK1 every time I’m over at Villa de Sage to watch a Giants game with her and BK.  “Hey, I’m still in the room,” I respond (ba-dum-bum).   It’s an emotional response equivalent to those at a tea-party gathering threatening Iowa Senator Charles Grassley.  Grassley folded on health care and looks like a pussy but BK and CK1 ain’t folding on a kicker this year.  “Leigh Tiffin, I’ll take him…Matt Bosher, he’s mine.”  BK still felt one of the late round picks Giants GM Jerry Reese flushed down the toilet on DB’s who couldn’t play last year could have been spent on Wisconsin’s Taylor Mehlhaff.  “With a name like Mehlhaff, he has to be good.”  When I mentioned that Mehlhaff was part Scottish too, just like Tynes, BK responded “Hey, I’ve got nothing against the Scots.  I like Scottish eggs…I just wish they wouldn’t put that Dirty Jew Salmon Lox on them.”

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