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Mocking the real world

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 11, 2011 – 7:01 pm

Paul Perillo must have been hit in the head by one of the many line drives surrendered by the Red Sox starters this season.

(With the Patriots Day game a week from Monday morning, the cry now is “One if by Lester, Two if  by Beckett and lights out if anybody else.”)

Perillo is one of the stalwarts of Patriots.com who asked me to participate in the Web site’s 2011 Writers Mock Draft. I’d rather write a mock draft than be in one. In fact, I’d rather get my teeth cleaned, or get a flat tire, or take a drop out of the water at the 14th at Lindale.

You can’t win in a mock draft because it’s all guesswork, but Perillo was nice enough to invite me in and, let’s face it, I’m going to need him in the next week or so when the Bengals.com Mock Media Draft tries to get to the 35th pick in what will no doubt be a festival of phone tag and e-mail angst.

Go to Patriots.com and the first three picks are familiar ones here because they’re the same ones I got last week from Darin Gantt of The Rock Hill Herald and Mike Klis of The Denver Post with Cam Newton and Von Miller, respectively for the Panthers and Broncos. Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News gave me Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus at No. 3 for the Bills, just like Chris Brown of Buffalobills.com gave Perillo.

OK, so I may be throwing darts here but the Bengals need a QB badly just to line up and who says there is going to be one left at No. 35 that can take an Opening Day snap? Of course, none of them are a very good Opening Day answer, but it is what it is. Like I told Perillo, I’ll take Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert but that doesn’t mean Carson Palmer is getting traded.

But maybe someone will be there at No. 35 if the Bengals go elsewhere at No. 4.

According to the Pats’ Mock, only three quarterbacks will be gone in the 32 picks of the first round in Newton, Gabbert and Jake Locker to Seattle, taken No. 25 by ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. That would leave folks like Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett (too flighty?), TCU’s Andy Dalton (not enough arm strength?), Florida State’s Christian Ponder (too brittle?) and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick (too raw?).

But however many quarterbacks go in the first round, add one because no doubt Perillo’s man Bill Belichick is waving that 33rd pick around like a coupon book. Figure that pick gets traded to a team that missed a QB in the first round. Like Arizona, Minnesota, Tennessee, Washington just to name a few. Or what if Buffalo, picking behind the Bengals in the second, wants to move up?

So that’s four QBs by No. 34.

And before that, what if somebody reaches in the mid to late first like Miami (No. 15), or San Francisco (No. 20), or somebody like the Cards or Redskins trades down into the first?

It could get thin in a hurry at QB.

There is one school of thought that says there are so many questions about the quarterbacks that teams aren’t going to move up to get one. That they’ll just sit there and take what comes because they don’t want to give up a second-rounder or third-rounder for a gamble pick. One working stat is that 55 percent of the NFL’s starters are taken in the top three rounds.

This is where not having free agency and a lockout before the draft fouls you up. You’d have a pretty good grip on what teams are going to do at quarterback because they already would have signed the veterans so they could get in and learn the playbook as soon as possible.

Finally.

The real world is as daffy as a sportswriters Mock.


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Trade up would be historic as QB talk heats

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 4, 2011 – 4:20 pm

The Bengals and draftable quarterbacks are going to be linked heavily this week, given Ryan Mallett’s visit on Friday and this week’s private workout of Cam Newton in Auburn.

With Bengals coaches and scouts not off the road until later in the week, it looks like there isn’t going to be a full-blown discussion or debate for at least a few more days. So the notions they are clearing the decks to draft Mallett at No. 35 or Newton or Blaine Glabbert at No. 4 seem to be a bit premature. A big part of the Mallett discussion is going to be about the so-called intangibles and that’s going to take a little longer to break down and get a consensus than making a call on a guy’s arm, which by all accounts is terrific.

The presumption seems to be since the Bengals have gambled on risks before (Odell Thurman, Chris Henry, Andre Smith) they’ll do it again. But those guys didn’t play quarterback, either.

The intriguing question is if the Bengals don’t draft a QB at No. 4. Would they be willing to trade up into the first round or to even trade with the Patriots to jump two slots into the second round’s top spot for Mallett?

History would tell you no. Not even for a quarterback.

They’ve only traded up twice, according to the media guide: In 1995 they traded the fifth pick and their second-round pick to Carolina for the right to draft Penn State running back Ki-Jana Carter No. 1. In the 2002 third round, they again hit up the Panthers for their third-round pick (No. 67) for the Bengals’ third-round pick (73) and a fifth-rounder.

Knowing the Lions were also looking for a tight end at No. 68 and that TCU’s Matt Schobel was the last one on the board that could come in and be a factor, the Bengals were desperate to get in front of Detroit because they had virtually no other tight end on the roster.

Now, could they be that desperate at No. 35 for a QB?

It would be historic.


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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 9 Comments »

A trade you can actually make

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on March 17, 2011 – 4:10 pm

We’ve been talking about the wrong trade here.

How about one the Bengals can actually make during the lockout?

Trade the fourth pick.

They can’t talk to players. They can’t talk to player agents. They can’t even talk to their literary agents. To borrow a line from the Five Man Electrical Band’s 1970s classic “Signs,” “You ain’t supposed to be here.”

But they can talk to other teams. But they can trade draft picks.

Trade the fourth pick.

It sounds like there is going to be no consensus quarterback there at No. 4. In that case, Trade the pick. Heck, give it away if you have to.  Unload it before the flame gets any lower. OK, OK, just make sure you get a fourth-rounder. But don’t pick hairs, just trade.

There are only two top 10 QBs out there. Arizona wants a QB at 5? San Fran wants one at No. 7?  Tennessee at 8? Washington at 10?

Trade the pick.

Wage scale or no wage scale, the fourth pick is still going to be a huge number. There still may be some room for the first-rounder to negotiate, so if there is one training camp the rookie quarterback would seem to have the leverage in contract talks, it’s this one. And there are some tough agents at the top.

 Tom Condon’s group represents Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert and Georgia receiver A.J. Green, and those have proven to be tough negotiations for the Bengals. In ’05, No. 1 pick David Pollack held out for three weeks. A quarterback holdout like that (or any position, really,) in what looks to be a truncated offseason would be devastating.

See Smith, Akili, 1999.

The lower the pick, the less chance of a stalemate.

Trade the pick.

The draft selection points would no doubt give you at least a third-rounder and maybe even a second, depending how far they went down in the first. But the fourth pick is so unattractive, take the fourth-rounder if you have to.

Don’t get me wrong. You’ll get a very talented position player at No. 4. But in this draft, which is deep  but lacks the marquee players, the difference between what you get at Nos. 4 or 8 or 10  or even 15  and 16, home of Jacksonville and Oakland, respectively, (two other teams that can use a QB), is looking to be pretty small.

(The Jags head coach and OC, along with the Titans head coach, GM and OC were on hand for Gabbert’s workout Thursday.)

  Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones and Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara aren’t rated that far behind Green and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley could be hanging around and is he that far off Alabama’s Marcell Dareus? And if you go down far enough, you’ll be staring at the best running back in the draft in Alabama’s Mark Ingram.

Trade the pick.

But the reason(s) to do it is to get the extra pick or picks. This draft is supposed to be stocked in rounds three through five, great places to get a safety, guard, running back, or blocking tight end.

Trade the pick.

And the longer you wait the better. Get through the Pro Days, the private workouts, the team visits, and it’s just like a soap opera any day of the week. Somebody is going to fall in love with one of those top five guys.

Trade the pick.

And it’s a trade that can actually be done.

We’ve been talking the wrong one.


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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 26 Comments »