Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft (Part 1)

1- Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel - T- Texas A&M -

 For a team that went 2-14 this past season, the Chiefs are surprisingly in good shape. Yes it's true that they couldn't win games, but they weren't blown out in too many of them. They solved their two biggest problems already in head coach and quarterback. Having Andy Reid and Alex Smith in those positions is looking pretty good. Trading for Alex Smith showed everyone what they thought of Geno Smith, which could be a theme in this draft. The top of this draft has some quality defensive players as well as a few stud offensive lineman. Being that the Chiefs already have a decent defense in play that actually had several probowlers despite the 2-14 record, it seems like they are going to go the offensive line direction with this because they could really use some help protecting Alex Smith if they expect him to lead them to a playoff push and who knows what's going to happen with Branden Albert. It's a toss up between Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher. Eric Fisher might be the slightly more athletic tackle, but I can't seem to get myself to pick against the man who helped protect Johnny football this past season.

2- Jacksonville Jaguars - Dion Jordan - OLB - Oregon -

Now the Jaguars are a messed up franchise right now. All the top 5 prospects are guys they could use. They really need a quarterback and thus Geno Smith would be really tempting for them, but for some reason I think they are in the mood to give Blaine Gabbert one last chance and instead take a quarterback with their second round pick. They badly need a cornerback, but it's too early for Dee Milliner at number two. They could pick whichever offensive lineman the Chiefs don't select (Eric Fisher in this instance) as their o-line was awful last season. But I think that they are going to go defense with this pick. Sharrif Floyd would be tempting but they really could use some pass rushing because they were dead last in the league in terms of sacks and Dion Jordan is someone who could help with that. He's a versatile player that could either play outside linebacker or defensive end for the Jaguars, both of which are huge needs.

3- Oakland Raiders - Sharrif Floyd - DT - Florida -

It's easy to make the pick for a team that only has one or two major concerns. It's harder to make a pick for a team like the Raiders that are just awful and getting worse. The Raiders are so devoid of talent that they could use just about anyone. The one thing they did have going for them is a decent offensive line, so none of our top tackles will be considered here. They traded for quarterback Matt Flynn and do have Terrell Pryor as a backup, so I think Geno Smith is out of the question as well, although I think they will take a second round flyer on a quarterback because neither of those guys is proven. With no other offensive prospects at this point in the draft, defense is where they will go and honestly they just need to pick the best defensive player available at this point, which happens to be Florida DT Sharrif Floyd.

4- Philadelphia Eagles - Eric Fisher - T - Central Michigan -

The Eagles are a pretty big wild card in this draft as they could go several different ways at this point that would significantly effect how the rest of this draft goes. New head coach Chip Kelly has some pretty big decisions to make and starts right at quarterback. They've decided to keep Michael Vick, but also have Nick Foles and Dennis Dixon in the mix. I honestly doubt that Geno Smith will be added to that mix, but we'll see how high on him Chip Kelly is as he could see him as the perfect quarterback to run his offense. The Eagles have had a lot of drama in the defensive backfield as both Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominic Rodgers-Cromartie were both busts for the Eagles and you might think Dee Milliner could step in and fit that role, but the Eagles were quite active bringing in defensive backs in via free agency so I think that will be ignored for now. The Eagles do need some big help with their rush defense and pass rushing, so I think if either Dion Jordan or Sharrif Floyd fall to them, they will jump at that. If neither are available they might take good looks at both of the top defensive linemen from the state of Utah in Ziggy Ansah from BYU and Star Lotulelei from Utah, but in this particular situation they have potential number one overall pick Eric Fisher sitting here and being that they also had an awful offensive line last season, I think they will jump at the chance of getting better protection for whoever they decide to go for at quarterback this season.

5- Detroit Lions - Ziggy Ansah - DE - BYU - 

The Lions are in a pretty good position here. They aren't as bad as their draft status makes it seem. They are a decent team that had a lot of bad luck last season and thus they will get rewarded with a good draft pick. The Lions always seem to need a corner, so don't be surprised if Dee Milliner is the choice here, but  as I look at, they have more pressing issues on the line that they need to take care of. First off, Jeff Backus has retired and so they could really use one of the top left tackles in the draft. Unfortunately for them in this mock, I have Eric Fisher being taken by the Eagles and although they could and probably will take a long hard look at Lane Johnson, I think if both Joeckel and Fisher are off the board they will look to the other side of the line where they need help. Kyle Vanden Bosch got cut after a bad season and Cliff Avril got signed by the Seahawks, so they've got nothing. This is where Ziggy from BYU really helps them. Ziggy is pretty new at football, but was born to play it and was an absolute monster in his final season at BYU. The Lions will most likely keep him at defensive end, but if they wanted to he's really versatile and could even play a bit at linebacker or even defensive tackle if they needed him to.

6- Cleveland Browns - Dee Milliner - CB - Alabama - 

It's really embarrassing when you are already looking to find a replacement for your first round quarterback selected last year, not because he was awful, but because he turns 30 this year. Despite the age, I don't think the Browns have much of an interest in Geno Smith this year. And quite honestly, a lot of people keep thinking that another new quarterback will solve the Browns' problems, but it doesn't matter who plays quarterback, they will all fail if they have no one to throw the ball to. It's been a long time since the Browns have had a good receiving corps and in a tough AFC North, that's a huge problem. I really think the Browns need to look long and hard at Tavon Austin at this point, but I think it's a touch too early for him. The Browns' defense hasn't been awful, but they could use some upgrades and more depth in a few positions, although at number six most of the defenders that they could help them are also a bit of a reach. This is why I think it may benefit them to trade down a few spots. There's several teams out there that may want to jump on players such as Lane Johnson or Geno Smith, namely the Jets, Dolphins, and Chargers and that would help the Browns out a lot. However, if they choose to stay put, I think the obvious choice here is Dee Milliner. A cornerback tandem of Joe Haden and Dee Milliner could pose some serious problems for opposing offenses.

7- Arizona Cardinals - Lane Johnson - T - Oklahoma - 

The Cardinals' offense is a complete mess and it makes me feel bad for Larry Fitzgerald because he's pretty much all they have on offense. The biggest problem is that since Kurt Warner has retired, no one has stepped up and done well at the quarterback position. Despite that, though, it is apparent that the team never had any interest in Geno Smith. Even if they hadn't traded for Carson Palmer, apparently they were content with Drew Stanton instead, so he's out of the question. With that out of the way, who they will pick is quite obvious, especially if Lane Johnson falls right to them. They had the league's worst offensive line last season as they had both most sacks allowed and fewest total rushing yards. If Lane Johnson is gone, it is most likely that they will take either Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper, depending on which guard they have higher on their board.

8- Buffalo Bills - Chance Warmack - G - Alabama - 

The Bills spent a lot of money on defense last offseason and unfortunately it didn't quite work as great as they had hoped. However, the word on the street is that this pick is going to be an offensive player, which is probably a smart move. Now the Bills did give up on Ryan Fitzpatrick this season so it's quite obvious they are in the market for a quarterback and unless they want to screw their franchise even more by putting their faith in Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson, a quarterback needs to be taken. This could be the home of Geno Smith, but apparently they don't have much interest in him and instead rumors are going around that they may select Ryan Nassib, EJ Manuel, or Matt Barkley with this pick, which I think is really stupid because there is a good chance that at least one of those three will be available when they pick in the second round and if they have their eyes on one specific one, they can trade up a few spots to the beginning of the second round or the end of the first to get him. I don't really like predicting stupidity, so I'm not going to pick that for them. Instead I think they will look at two other holes in their offense. First off, they really need a number two receiver to compliment Stevie Johnson as they lost both Donald Jones and David Nelson in the offseason, so at this point Tavon Austin is going to be extremely tempting, but I predict that they will end up going guard with this pick because they have a huge hole to fill due to Andy Levitre walking in free agency. This could be Johnathan Cooper here, but I will instead go with my gut and say Chance Warmack gets his name called.

9- New York Jets - Barkevious Mingo - OLB - LSU - 

The Jets make no sense to me and if they don't have a miraculous turnaround, they are pretty much asking for Rex Ryan to get fired at the end of the season. Heck, I thought he was gone at the end of this one, but they kept him for some reason. The Jets' biggest concern is right at quarterback where they have the huge mess of Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, and Greg McElroy. They added David Garrard to the mix this offseason because apparently they thought that would make it better. Geno Smith thus makes a ton of sense for the Jets and now that they have two first round picks, I think they can be daring enough to pick him. But not yet. They have picks 9 and 13 and no one in between those picks will take Smith so they can afford to wait. They can also package these picks up and move up in the draft if they have their eyes on someone they really want, but if they don't do that, I think the first thing they will address is their pass rush defense and Mingo is a player that would help a lot with that.

10- Tennessee Titans - Jonathan Cooper - G - North Carolina - 

There are a few players that will be picked in the top ten that the Titans would love to have fall to them, mainly players like Ziggy Ansah and Dee Milliner, but both of those players are gone in this draft, so the Titans will have to go for plan C. The Titans' rush game wasn't great this past season as Chris Johnson had nowhere to go with the terrible offensive line. The Titans were very active in free agency and did score Andy Levitre from Buffalo, so that is a huge help, but they could use even more help and grabbing Johnathan Cooper if he is still available would help sure up that offensive line and thus get CJ2K back to form. They also could use help in several spots defensively as they were able to get to the quarterback a lot, but not much else on defense as they ranked towards the bottom of the league in both rushing and passing defense, so perhaps a Star Lotulelei or Xavier Rhodes would be an option as well.

11- San Diego Chargers - Tavon Austin - WR - West Virginia -

The Chargers may need to make friends with the Cleveland Browns in this draft. The Browns could afford to move down and take a guy like Tavon Austin or Xavier Rhodes while picking up a few extra draft picks in the process. Meanwhile the Chargers desperately need a stud lineman at either guard or tackle and at this point all the players they will be looking at will be gone. If they trade up to 6 then Lane Johnson would be the perfect pick for them. If they can't pull off a trade and Johnson, Warmack, and Cooper are all gone, they will go with the next best option in selecting Tavon Austin because Phillip Rivers, in addition to desperately needing some lineman to protect him, could really use some receivers to throw to because they never really replaced Vincent Jackson. Austin is a small receiver, but is a speed demon that really knows how to catch passes and make plays.

12- Miami Dolphins - Xavier Rhodes - CB - Florida State -

The Dolphins have done a fantastic job in free agency and will be a force to be reckoned with in the AFC East, or at least in the wild card race. However, they do have a few things they need to take care of still, first being the fact that they lost Jake Long to the Rams and never replace him. At this point there are no tackles available unless they want to reach a bit for DJ Fluker. They could also make friends with the Browns and move up to number 6 and snag Lane Johnson but if they can't get a deal done, they will be content with staying at this spot and instead solve another problem, that being cornerback. There is a chance that Xavier Rhodes will be gone at this point, but if he is available, it will be the smart pick for the Dolphins.

13- New York Jets - Geno Smith - QB - West Virginia -

First off allow me to call the Jets dumb once again. I have no idea why they decided that trading the best cornerback in the league in Darrell Revis was a good idea. I suppose when he got hurt they learned that they could do well enough off with just Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson and decided to save some money. Meanwhile back in Tampa Bay, the Bucs are ecstatic. But what is done is done and now the Jets have the luxury of selecting twice in the top 15 and thus if Geno Smith is still available at 13, which I think is very likely, they will pull the trigger. That will create a domino effect that will help them decide to finally trade or release Tim Tebow and probably Greg McElroy, too. Rex Ryan will be stubborn and still start the season with Mark Sanchez, but he will buckle for a final time in New York and the Geno Smith era will begin. And maybe if the Jets find some receivers for him to throw to and a running back for him to hand the ball off to, Rex Ryan might even save his job.

14- Carolina Panthers - Star Lotulelei - DT - Utah -

If the draft happens this way, the Carolina Panthers will definitely be salivating and it won't take them long at all to make their pick. To be cliche, Star was a star at Utah and will be a star in the NFL. He was even rumored to be the number one pick for a while and at the very least would've been a top three pick, but a medical scare caused his draft stock to plummet. Meanwhile the Carolina Panthers have nothing at defensive tackle, so he will fit in perfectly here. If Star does get picked earlier, the Panthers will select the next best DT option in Sheldon Richardson or may even take a look at CB Desmond Trufant because they are in desperate need of a corner as well. Also, don't be surprised if they jump on a receiver because Steve Smith won't last forever and Cam Newton needs some people to throw the ball to.

15- New Orleans Saints - Jarvis Jones - OLB - Georgia - 

A nightmare season for the Saints was almost salvaged as they ended at 7-9. Their offense had their typically firepower that could've done it, but the problem was that they almost literally had no defense. While this pick could in theory go to upgrade the tackle position, they seriously just need to take the best defensive player available as they could use help at just about every defensive position. In this situation Jarvis Jones is definitely the player that fits that bill. The man is a monster linebacker that is a top five talent, but will drop due to injury concerns and a few other minor things. So it's a bit of a risk picking him, but it could turn out to be high reward.

16- St. Louis Rams - Kenny Vaccaro - S - Texas -

The Rams have lacked a top receiver for several years now, probably since Tory Holt. Sam Bradford has only been average since he was drafted number one by the Rams and part of that problem is that he's never had much to throw to, so that really needs to be fixed in the first round because they've picked tons of receivers in the later rounds hoping that one of them would develop into a number one receiver but no one has. Danny Amendola was the closest they've come to a top receiver, but he is gone to the Patriots now leaving the Rams with nothing. If Tavon Austin falls to them, then that is the obvious pick here, but I really doubt that happens. At this point they could take Corderelle Patterson, but the thing here is they also own the 22nd pick and there will be several good receiving options for them at that point. In addition to receiver, the Rams are also starting over with safety as both Quintin Mikell and Craig Dahl are gone and have yet to be replaced. If Kenny Vaccaro is still on the board he is the top safety in the draft and unlike the receiver position, a similar stud safety won't be available at 22, so they need to put off receiver for a bit and jump on this.

Click here for picks 17 - 32

2013 NFL Mock Draft (Part 2)

Click here for picks 1-16

17- Pittsburgh Steelers - Corderelle Patterson - WR - Tennessee -

The story for the offseason thus far for the Steelers is that they have lost several key players and haven't been able to replace them as Keenan Lewis, James Harrison, Willie Colon, and Mike Wallace are all gone. The Steelers did have the top defense last year, but they still could use some replacements on that defense for Keenan Lewis and James Harrison. Also, despite how good their defense was, they were actually only middle of the pack in terms of pass rushing, so don't be surprised if they snatch a good rushing linebacker or defensive end. Personally, though, I think they need to go offense with this pick. They badly need a runningback as their running game was a huge mess last season, but it is way too early for Eddie Lacy at this point, so they will have to wait. It is, however, a perfect time to grab a wide receiver that can help replace Mike Wallace. Tavon Austin is the consensus top receiver in this draft, but afterwards there is no clear number two. The Steelers could decide to go with DeAndre Hopkins here, but my gut is that they will take Corderelle Patterson.

18- Dallas Cowboys - Sheldon Richardson - DT - Missouri -

The Cowboys really need help on defense and they have several options in the draft to choose from, depending on what falls for them. If a Xavier Rhodes, Jarvis Jones, or Kenny Vaccaro falls to them, they would be happy with either. In this specific mock, I have Sheldon Richardson is the player that I have falling a bit, so the Cowboys will snatch him away if he's there. Even if he's not there, they would still consider Sylvester Williams with this pick. They could also use a guard, but I highly doubt Chance Warmack or Johnathan Cooper will fall this far.

19- New York Giants - Bjoern Werner - DE - Florida State -

The former Super Bowl champs fell short of the playoffs this past year mainly because their defense failed to show up. Eli Manning is a good quarterback and the Giants' offense is great around him, but they can't do much if the other side of the ball isn't doing their part, so expect the Giants to attempt to remedy this. There is really a few different options the Giants could go for at this point in the draft, but if there is a solid defensive end available, that is probably their biggest need. Osi didn't do a very good job this past season and he is thus gone, so the Giants will need someone to lineup across Jason Pierre-Paul. Bjoern Werner was once considered a top five or top ten prospect as he had a monster year last year for Florida State, so this could end up being a steal in the draft yet again for the G-men.

20- Chicago Beats - DJ Fluker - T - Alabama - 

The story for the Bears seems to be the same story every year. They have a great defense, but lack a good offense and don't have much of an offensive line. Now they did part ways will all time great Brian Urlacher this offseason and so one might think they could replace him with an Alec Ogletree or a Manti Te'o, but I don't think they will go that direction. What they really need to do is do something with that offensive line and there should be someone available to help them there. It's possible DJ Fluker is gone at this point and in which case they might go for Menelik Watson, but in this mock he is available, so that is what I am betting on here.

21- Cincinnati Bengals - Menelik Watson - T - Florida State - 

The Bengals' secondary did play really well last season, but they are getting really old and could use some new fresh blood and especially they could use some help at safety as Nate Clements had to be used at safety last season when he is a corner. Clements has gone unsigned anyways and may not be back. If Kenny Vaccaro lasted this long, he would be their dream pick, but that's not going to happen. And while they could take either Eric Reid or Matt Elam with this pick, I think they will address something that is a lot more pressing and that is their offensive line. Andre Smith was really good last year, but remains unsigned and regardless if they bring him back or not, they could use help, so Menelik Watson makes sense. They do need a runningback, but they won't take Eddie Lacy. He is essentially the same type of runner as Benjarvis Green-Ellis and they need a fast speedy runner to compliment him, so they will wait till round two or three to resolve that.

22- St. Louis Rams - DeAndre Hopkins - WR - Clemson - 

Like I mentioned earlier, if the Rams don't use the 16th pick on a receiver, that is where they are going here and they will pick whoever is still available out of Corderelle Patterson and DeAndre Hopkins. Most are saying that Patterson is the better receiver which is why I have him gone at this point, but the Rams will be ecstatic with DeAndre Hopkins as he is a monster receiver in terms of production as he put of huge numbers at Clemson and he is also a freakishly good athlete, so he could be the number one receiver that the Rams are looking for. If the Rams already took a receiver with the 16th pick, they will look hard at Eddie Lacy as they need to find a successor to Steven Jackson because Darrell Richardson and Isaiah Pead may not be the answer, but in the end I think they will wait till the second round to take a runningback and instead go for a defensive player like Matt Elam or Alec Ogletree.

23- Minnesota Vikings - Desmond Trufant - CB - Washington - 

The Vikings had a real bad receiver issue last year, both in having receivers to throw the ball to and in defending opposing receivers. Naturally when you have that issue, the most logical thing to do is to get rid of the only players on the team that can do either. Yes that was sarcastic and no I don't know what the Vikings are thinking. Both Antoine Winfield and Percy Harvin are gone to the Seahawks, which means the Vikings have even bigger problems now. They started to resolve the receiver issue by signing Greg Jennings and so with this first out of two picks they have I think they will begin to solve the cornerback issue as Desmond Trufant is a great value at this point because he can easily be off the board much sooner than this.

24- Indianapolis Colts - Tank Carradine - DE - Florida State -

Andrew Luck and a surprisingly good receiving corps led the inspired Colts team through a fairly easy schedule, fighting for their head coach who was battling serious health concerns. Easily one of the best stories of this past season as they pleasantly surprised everyone watching. Now in the second year of the Andrew Luck era they will be brought back down to earth and on a more difficult schedule they will be unpleasantly surprised if they don't start building a better team around Andrew Luck and company. The Colts can use help with offensive line, runningback, defensive line, linebacker, and defensive back. With this pick, I think the smartest thing for them to do is take a defensive lineman because that might be their biggest concern and there are tons of solid options for them. Tank Carradine has been soaring up draft boards recently and will be a great fit for the Colts.

25- Minnesota Vikings - Manti Te'o - ILB - Notre Dame - 

I mentioned just barely about the Vikings needing helping on both ends of the receiving spectrum and if they take a corner at 23, they could take a receiver at 25, but I don't think they will. I waited until here to make mention that they also have a big need at inside linebacker and Manti Te'o makes too much sense for the Vikings to pass up. Now for some reason I still hear a bunch of people whining about the online dating scandal at the end of the year and how no team will want to draft him because of that. Honestly I wish that everyone still going on about that would just shut up. I'm not the only one who thinks that. Manti Te'o does as well. So can we drop it? He is still is a very good linebacker and if we are going to throw out concerns, I think those concerns need to be focused on him disappearing in the championship game along with the rest of his team and his sub-par performance at the combine. But that is why he will be taken in the late first round instead of in the early first round. He is a great value for the Vikings at 25. If he slips into the second round, someone will be getting a huge steal.

26- Green Bay Packers - Justin Hunter - WR - Tennessee - 

The Packers haven't really been very active this offseason. Instead of signing some free agents, they have focused their effort on getting a deal done for Aaron Rodgers. In the meantime they have let Greg Jennings walk and have cut ties with Charles Woodson and you would think they would try to replace one of those two. I see them spending their pick one of the top receivers in order to replace Greg Jennings. Yes it is true that they have Jordy Nelson, James Jones, and Randall Cobb, but none of those guys are a true number one and so adding Justin Hunter to that mix would help out a lot. The Packers also didn't have much of an offensive line last year as they allowed the second most sacks and so they could spend this pick on a lineman if one of them falls to them, but at this point, they are better off waiting. They could also take a look at Eddie Lacy because they don't have much of a run game either, but I also think they wait on that one as well.

27- Houston Texans - Robert Woods - WR - USC - 

The Texans don't have a ton of needs this offseason. They do need to make a few adjustments in their linebacking corps and at this point in this mock, Alec Ogletree is available and might be really tempting for them, but a bigger concern at this point is the receivers. They are set with Andre Johnson at number one and Owen Daniels at tight end doing the bulk of the work catching the football, but they seriously need a number two receiver as a threat running along with those two. Kevin Walter wasn't that great and isn't even around anymore anyways. Also, Andre Johnson, while he still has several good years left in him, reminding us last season that he isn't going to last forever and so they also need a receiver that they can eventually groom into a top receiver and so they can really benefit in taking the best receiver available because there are several receivers in this draft that will make great late first round picks and the current best one available in this draft is USC's Robert Woods.

28- Denver Broncos - Datone Jones - DE - UCLA - 

Peyton Manning did a great job of resurrecting this team and turning them into one of the best teams in the AFC and that dominance will only continue this next season as they have been very active in free agency. However, they also remember this offseason as the offseason when the faxgate, as some are calling it, happened. Elvis Dumervil wanted to come back, but was tragically cut because they were late in getting his paperwork in. So the Ravens snatched him away before the Broncos could hardly figure something out. His huge production in getting to the quarterback will be missed in Denver, so they need to do their best to try and replace him and Detone Jones might do the trick as he was pretty productive in college at UCLA.

29- New England Patriots - Sylvester Williams - DT - North Carolina - 

Losing Wes Welker was a big hit for the Patriots and on top of that, them cutting Brandon Lloyd made it so getting receiver help is a top priority. They did sign Danny Amendola, but it is apparent that they are still looking for some help based on their attempted signing of Emmanuel Sanders, whom the Steelers matched the offer sheet. If Justin Hunter or Robert Woods is available at this point that will be their pick, but this mock has neither of them available, so they will have to look elsewhere. Their secondary was a mess last season and they could use an upgrade at corner so they could take Jamar Taylor or Johnthan Banks. They could also take one of the two safeties available in Matt Elam or Eric Reid. But they also do have a need at defensive tackle and at this point it would be hard for them to pass up Sylvester Williams if he is still available because he could very well be gone much earlier in the draft.

30- Atlanta Falcons - Tyler Eifert - TE - Notre Dame -

Tony Gonzalez was really close to retiring last season, but decided to come back, which will be good for the Falcons because he somehow managed to get over 90 catches with over 900 yards last season in his late thirties, which is incredible. However, he won't last forever and so if Tyler Eifert is still available at 30, it will be really hard for them to pass him up. The Falcons could use Gonzales and Eifert in a dangerous tight end duo this year like the Patriots have done when Gronkowski and Hernandez are both healthy and when Gonzales does finally retire, Eifert can take over as the number one tight end. If Eifert is gone, however, which is very likely as he has recently been projected as high as 6 (which is way too high in my opinion), then the Falcons need to go defense with this pick. Their high powered offense propelled them to the number one seed in the regular season on the league's easiest schedule, but their defense almost cost them more than one game and on a harder schedule next season they will be doomed if they don't fix their defense.

31- San Francisco 49ers - Matt Elam - S - Florida -

Rumor is that the 49ers want to move up in the draft and with a ton of picks and not a ton of needs, they definitely have the ammunition to do so. Rumor is that they are eyeing Kenny Vaccaro from Texas to help them with their safety problems. Trades in the NFL draft always happen but I hate predicting them because they are really too unpredictable, so I will make the Niners pick as if they don't move up, which if they don't they will have to settle with the second or third best safety. In this case Matt Elam is still available, even though he may be gone almost ten picks sooner. The Niners are in desperate need of a safety because they lost pro-bowl safety Dashon Goldson to the Buccaneers via free agency.

32- Baltimore Ravens - Alec Ogletree - ILB - Georgia - 

You wouldn't think a super bowl champion team would have so much work to do in the offseason, but the Ravens definitely do as it seems they lost half their team to either retirement or free agency. They have done good in building up a new team in free agency, although they have been somewhat limited financially because they rewarded Joe Flacco with a huge contract, so they need to score big time in this draft. I think finding a receiver will be a need as they essentially donated Anquan Boldin to the 49ers. However, they also have a huge need at inside linebacker because Ray Lewis retired and Dannell Ellerbe was lost via free agency. Newly signed Rolando McClain has already gotten himself into trouble, so that signing may have been useless. Moral of the story is if Alec Ogletree falls into their laps they may have a hard time passing him up. He should go a lot earlier than 32, but there is a chance he falls because some teams will be worried about his character issues. If he does get taken earlier, they may take a chance with Keenan Allen or if Justin Hunter or Robert Woods falls they make take advantage of that.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Oblivion Review

At the end of last year, the Mayan calendar ended. There was a lot of people that thought this meant the world was going to end. And while this past week's tragedy in Boston proved once again that we have a lot of messed up people in this world, nevertheless the world is still here and yet another end of world prophesy turned out to be a false alarm. Why do I bring that up? Well, the Mayan calendar didn't end the world, but what it did do was inspire a lot of filmmakers to make end of the world or post apocalyptic movies. Already this year we have had Warm Bodies start this fad off. And if you count The Croods, that's two (in the Croods, the movie is about a caveman family whose former world is ending, so it kinda fits in). March also brought us two take over the White House movies (Olympus Has Fallen and GI Joe: Retaliation), which is also kinda similar, so we definitely have a huge theme in Hollywood this year and these style of movies have only begun as there is quite the slate of them later on. If we narrow this field down strictly to sci-fi post-apocalyptic and avoid for a second the zombie apocalypse, end of the world comedies, and white house takeovers, we have three major movies this year. Number one is Oblivion, number two is After Earth, and number three is Elysium. While Will Smith and Matt Damon will get there spotlight with After Earth and Elysium respectively later this year (May and August), right now it is time to talk about Tom Cruise's Oblivion.

Oblivion is a movie that I didn't go in with extremely high expectations as oftentimes these post-apocalyptic movies all seem to be pretty much the same movie. However, I did go in expecting to have a good time because it seemed like a fun action sci-fi movie and I do enjoy Tom Cruise as an actor, especially in his recent movie Jack Reacher. What happened, though, is I was thrown off quite a bit as this movie had a several intriguing twists to it and I also found my self rather enjoying the movie. What is it about? Ummm... well. As Tom Cruise's character explains early in the movie, we are 60 years into the future. There was a big war in which aliens attacked the earth. The humans won, but most of the planet was destroyed and so humans had to evacuate. Jack and Victoria (Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough) are currently there essentially stationed as maintenance workers for the droids that are left behind. That right there is just scratching the surface in the movie, but yet I'm not going to go any further. Something happens with one of them and then that one finds another thing and a certain chain of events leads up to something else then a certain thing happens that makes you confused and blown away at the same time and sometime along those lines we somehow meet Morgan Freeman's and Olga Kurylenko's characters (the trailer and advertising give that away...) and then you think it's about to end but it just keeps going and more things happen and now as you are reading this you are just confused as I ramble on about vagueness and confusion. Moral of the story is that this is one of those movies that you really need to go into knowing as little as possible in order to get the complete experience. So don't let your friends spoil it and don't read into it too much before you go see it.

Let me now go away from that plotline and talk about specific elements of the movie. First off the score of the movie completely blew me away. I loved it! It made the movie seem extremely intense and interesting, even when Jack and Victoria are awkwardly making out while skinny-dipping in their pool (not much seen in terms of nudity). The movie was also a visual masterpiece. The destroyed earth looked fantastic and the futuristic flying machines, droids, and motorcycles looked fantastic and there were a lot of fun and smart action scenes. This was not a comedy, but there were a couple elements of humor subtly thrown in that were brilliant. I mean when you are flying around on earth all day alone, wouldn't you totally want a bobble-head of yourself to talk to? Also, the acting in the movie by everyone I thought was great. Tom Cruise was fantastic as always and so were Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, and Morgan Freeman. This was just a well casted movie. Now jumping back into vagueness for a bit, there was a lot of people that had complaints about the ending as well as plot holes throughout. First off, this movie does end up leaving a bunch of things open to interpretation and lets you fill in the gaps with your own imagination and I really liked that. If you need to have every single detail about everything that is happening spelled out to you, well you may not like this movie. Also if you think about the logistics of some of the things that happen, you may find the movie really dumb, but come on guys. This is a science-fiction movie, with emphasis on the FICTION part of that. All the details about the aliens and what they do and whatnot aren't necessarily supposed to make perfect sense according to real-life scientific discoveries. And if you are complaining about such small details like why is Morgan Freeman's character wearing black sunglasses the whole movie while no one else is or how did he come across a cigar after 60 years, then you really need to get a life as that is just pulling at straws in finding fault with this movie.

Overall, this is a fun and entertaining science-fiction movie that I think is well worth your time and money. It will throw you for a curve and keep your attention the whole time. No, you won't walk out of the theater with your mind completely blown like in such movies as Inception or The Prestige. And once you sort out in your mind what exactly happened, you won't necessarily think this is smartest or best movie ever made, but I really had a lot of fun with it and I think you will too. I give Oblivion an 8 out of 10.

Friday, April 19, 2013

2013 NBA Playoff Predictions - First Round

Western Conference

#1- Oklahoma City Thunder vs #8- Houston Rockets -

The first round of the Western Conference has some great match-ups in store for us and even though the 1 vs 8 is usually a boring and quick match-up, but thus is not the case this time as James Harden and his Rockets visit his old Thunder team. Not too often in the world of sports do you get a situation where a major trade happens that benefits both sides, but thus has actually been the case with the Thunder and the Rockets. The Thunder just didn't have the money and the room for three all stars on their team, so they traded their third option in Harden to the Rockets. As we saw, the Thunder remained fairly unaffected as they have grabbed the top seed in the West and Harden finally got the opportunity to start and be the main option on a team. Now the Rockets have had a habit recently of unloading their roster and in getting Harden they completely started over and plan to build around him. Was it smart to let both Dragic and Lowry leave, replace them with Lin, then trade the rest of their team along with a bunch of draft picks for Harden? Well, that's debatable, but lucky for them it worked out. Harden is a stud and now if the Rockets get a few more pieces around him, they can be a contending team in the future. The Rockets had a chance in the playoffs to surprise people had Wednesday night worked out for them and they had ended with the 6th or 7th seed, but unfortunately they got stuck in the 8th seed and although it's fun to see Harden playing his old team in the playoffs and it would be great to see Harden knock out his old team, this is still going to be your normal typical 1 vs 8 quick match-up. The Rockets just aren't quite there yet and the Thunder too much for them.

Prediction: Thunder 4-1

#2- San Antonio Spurs vs #7- Los Angeles Lakers - 

They did it. After probably one of the most drama filled seasons in recent Laker history, the Lakers avoided being labeled as one of the most disappointing teams in NBA history. Yes it is true that they still will be considered a disappointing team, missing the playoffs would've made it a lot worse. Thanks to the Jazz chocking Wednesday night they officially made it in on the last day of the regular season and a close overtime victory over the Rockets won them the right to NOT play the Thunder as they would've most likely gotten swept. It was really devastating for Laker fans watching Kobe go down and while some that was going to be the death of this team, they actually played inspired ball and won out. And it was interesting as I was watching. I saw what life after Kobe would be like for the Lakers and it looks like things be fine. But how will they fare in the playoffs with him gone? Can Dwight Howard carry this team? Well, I think they are going to give the Spurs, a team that they actually just beat this past Sunday without Kobe, a run for their money. I think this is the one match-up in the first round with the biggest chance for an upset (not counting the  4 vs 5 match-ups), but I think the Kobe-less Lakers will run out of steam in the end while the Spurs advance.

Prediction: Spurs 4-2

#3- Denver Nuggets vs #6- Golden State Warriors -

The Carmelo Anthony era in Denver seems so long ago and it's amazing how much better they have been without him. When you look at this Nuggets team, you don't necessarily see one superstar player and a bunch of role players, but rather you see a group of good players that play really good together that have a great head coach that makes all the difference. This time last year no one would've expected the Warriors to be where they are. They have consistently been a team that has had good players but have underperformed as a team. Not this year, though. Mark Jackson has got this team going and with the roster they have, they could also be a dangerous team in the future. The Nuggets and Warriors match-up features two high powered offenses and we will most likely be favored with several high scoring games. The difference in this series will be the Nuggets ridiculous home court advantage. They've only lost three games at home this season and while the Warriors might sneak out a game or two at there place, the Nuggets won't lose at home this series and that will carry them to a win in a series that will be very fun to watch.

Prediction: Nuggets 4-2

#4- Los Angeles Clippers vs #5- Memphis Grizzlies -

This match-up is probably the most difficult to predict. The Clippers are now, at least currently, the kings of Los Angeles with the drama and disappointment that have surrounded the Lakers this season. This is a Clippers team that I fully expect to make a trip to the NBA finals some time in the not so distant future, but the big problem is that the West is just so competitive right now. To give you an idea of how great the competition is, Miami in the East do own the best record in the NBA, but the top five teams in the west all have a better record than the second place Knicks in the East. The Clippers and the Grizzlies both have 56 wins this season and in most seasons, 56 wins is good for 2nd or 3rd in the West, but not so this time. 56 wins for the Grizzlies was only good for 5th place, which is insane. Because of this, it's been a while since I've seen a 4 vs 5 match-up of this magnitude with two 56 win teams fighting it out. Who's going to win? I have no idea. I wouldn't be surprised to see either of these teams win. And I also wouldn't be surprised to see either of these teams to knock off the Thunder in the next round. Almost by coin flip I am going to give the Clippers the edge.

Prediction: Clippers 4-3

Eastern Conference

#1- Miami Heat vs #8- Milwaukee Bucks - 

While the West is looking like one big huge fun mess that will be totally awesome to watch, I think the East will be less entertaining. And by that I mean we have the Miami Heat as the huge favorites and seven teams that don't even have much of a chance to knock them off. Also, the New York Knicks, who hold the second best record in the East would be in 6th place in the West. The Celtics and Bucks, who hold the 7th and 8th seeds, would be 11th and 12th in the West respectively, while the 5th place Bulls and 6th place Hawks would also be out of the playoffs in the West. Speaking of those Bucks, they are the one team in the playoffs with a losing record as they made it into the playoffs with only 38 wins, three games below .500. Meanwhile, the Heat went on a 26 game winning streak late in the season and ended with a 66 win season. That's almost 30 more wins then the Bucks. The Bucks don't stand a chance and even one win for them in the series would be a huge shocker.

Prediction: Miami 4-0

#2- New York Knicks vs #7- Boston Celtics - 

In previous years, this might've been a more interesting match-up, but let's be honest. Age has caught up with this Boston team and unlike the Spurs, they haven't been able to reload yet with enough young talent to keep this team afloat. Now my hearts and prayers go out to the people and the city of Boston and I hope that leads to a win or two when these two teams play in Boston. Now as I said, the Knicks would only be the 6 seed if they were in the west, but 54 wins is still pretty good and are much better than Boston's 41 wins. Carmelo Anthony has had an awful track record in the playoffs, but this should be one of the few times that he makes it past the first round.

Prediction: Knicks 4-2

#3- Indiana Pacers vs #6- Atlanta Hawks - 

Out of all the first round match-ups in both the East and the West, this is the series that will probably get the least amount of attention. The Pacers are actually a pretty good team that will probably be a team that will stick around in the Eastern Conference race in the next several years. Despite being the third best team in the East, they actually have the second worst offense in the East and only one additional team in the West have a worse offense. How do they do you ask? Well, the answer is the league's second best defense as they have only allowed an average of 90.7 points per game. The Hawks, meanwhile, are one of the more confusing NBA teams in the playoffs right now as it seems like they have a different starting lineup every night. They've been inconsistent all season long and unlike the Pacers, their future is a huge question mark and they are one of the four teams in the East that wouldn't even be in the playoffs if they took their 44 win season to the Western conference. I don't see them being able to get passed the Pacers' defense in this.

Prediction: Pacers 4-1

#4- Brooklyn Nets vs #5- Chicago Bulls - 

Last but certainly not least, we have a normal 4 vs 5 match-up as we have the newcomer to the Eastern Conference playoffs in the Brooklyn Nets facing off against the veteran Eastern Conference playoff team in the Chicago Bulls. I say normal 4 vs 5 match-up because I am comparing to the 4 vs 5 match-up in the West with two 56 win teams facing each other in the Clippers and Grizzlies. The Nets ended the season with 49 wins while the Bulls ended with 44. Now a healthy Bulls team is a dangerous Bulls team, but that has been the huge problem this season. Once one player gets back from injury another one gets hurt. And they haven't had their star player Derek Rose all season. The Nets on the other hand at one point looked like they were going to be the second best team in the East and I think they are a team that can do some damage in the future. Neither the Nets or the Bulls are going to have much of a chance against the Heat in the next round. Now you will immediately point out that the Bulls are the ones that ended the Heat's winning streak and that is true. They could possibly win another game against the Heat, but they won't a 7 game series. Now I think this Nets and Bulls series will be really close and I actually look at that Bulls vs Heat game to determine this match-up. Regardless of how hurt they are, I think they can pull it together enough to knock off the inexperienced Nets in a close series.

Prediction: Bulls 4-3

Quick Glance into Future Rounds

Conference Semi-Finals:

#1- Oklahoma City Thunder vs #4- Los Angeles Clippers
        Thunder win 4-2
#2- San Antonio Spurs vs #3- Denver Nuggets
        Nuggets win 4-3
#1- Miami Heat vs #5- Chicago Bulls
        Heat win 4-1
#2- New York Knicks vs #3- Indiana Pacers
        Knicks win 4-2

Conference Finals:

#1- Oklahoma City Thunder vs #3- Denver Nuggets 
        Nuggets win 4-3
#1- Miami Heat vs #2- New York Knicks
        Heat win 4-0

NBA Finals:

#1- Miami Heat vs #3- Denver Nuggets
        Heat win 4-2


Friday, April 12, 2013

42 Review

42? There's a movie called 42? What the heck is it about and why do they call it 42? If you are a casual movie goer that never watches ESPN (the movie was smartly advertised on ton there), you may be asking these questions. Allow me to answer. Yes there is a movie that just came out called 42 and no it is not explaining how the number 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. In fact, it is a movie about baseball legend Jackie Robinson. 42 was his jersey number. It's a pretty big deal in the baseball world in that the number is retired throughout MLB in honor of him. In fact it's the only jersey number out of all four major US sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) to be retired in this manor. Also there is one day in the season where all players will wear the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. So yeah. It's a pretty important number and thus naming the movie 42 makes a lot of sense, despite it's ambiguity towards the casual fan. Personally I think it would've been better to add a subtitle like "42: The Legend of Jackie Robinson" or something like that, but they didn't. Oh well.

I myself am a pretty big sports fan, if you couldn't tell by that first paragraph, so I will definitely enjoy a good sports movie. However, it is my opinion that if you are going to make a sports movie that is based on true events (which is most of them except for the occasional Space Jam or Airbud type of movie), there are two major guidelines you should follow. First, make sure your sports story is unique and special. I don't need a sports movie for every team that won a championship, especially when I enjoyed it perfectly fine watching it happen in real life. Second, once you have your unique and special subject matter, stick to what actually happened historically as much as you can. Sports movies that are Hollywoodized too much are actually kinda lame once you hear what they did. I'll give you two examples of fairly popular movies that disappointed me a bit because they veered from these guidelines too much. First is Moneyball. In that movie they made Billy Beane look like a revolutionary character in baseball history by coming up with the idea of sabermetrics. Well, uh, it wasn't quite that way. Sabermetrics was a commonly known principle and was in fact taught to by Beane by his predecessor to the A's general manager position Sandy Alderson. Also Jonah Hill's character in the movie is fictionalized because the real person in history didn't like the way the movie was portraying him. Both of those facts made me feel that the story of Moneyball was nothing unique or special. My second movie example is Blindside. I did enjoy that movie, but the fact that the real Michael Oher, who the movie based on, didn't like the way they portrayed him in the movie puts a sour tone to it. They made him seem like this big, dumb, fat guy that had never heard of football before when in fact he was actually a bright kid in school who had played football for multiple years already when the family took him in. Too Hollywoodized.

With that long preface out of the way, I will start off my actual critique of the movie 42 by praising the fact that it follows these guidelines. First off, it is a very unique and special story. Jackie Robinson was the first black player to make it into the MLB since the 1880's. The timing of that was very important in that it was in the 1940's right before the huge civil rights movement, so not only was Jackie a big figure in baseball who had a stellar career, his courage and bravery in what he went through and accomplished was a very influential in American history with the Civil Rights movement. Every one of us, especially the blacks in America, owe him a huge thank you for what he did. The movie, despite the imperfections in it, did do a fantastic job of portraying this as the movie is centered mainly on that first year with the Dodgers, emphasizing all the ridicule he went through and how he overcame it. You will definitely leave this movie inspired by what he did. Secondly, 42 did a very good job of being true to the history of Jackie Robinson as some of the dialogue was even directly quoted from things that were really said.

Moving on a bit more, 42, despite scoring big in what I previously mentioned, did have a few flaws. Yes, it did pick a good subject matter and yes, it was historically accurate, but the execution in my mind was a bit poor. The music in the movie was fantastic and added a lot when it was used, but in my opinion it was underused as several scenes from the beginning and middle especially could've used more music to help set the tone of the movie better. The flow of the movie wasn't too good as it seemed to just jump from scene to scene at times. The script wasn't that great at times and some of the acting wasn't particularly done too well. Note the keyword "some" in that last sentence in terms of the acting because I do have to praise Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman for their performances as Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson. Jumping back to Moneyball, if Brad Pitt was able to earn an Oscar nomination for his role in the movie (and it was good - don't get me wrong), then Harrison Ford definitely deserves an Oscar nomination for his role as he was just so fantastic! Also I really liked how they used fairly unknown Chadwick Boseman to play Jackie himself. He did a great job as well and for the rest of his career he will be known as Jackie Robinson just like Harrison Ford is known as Han Solo or Indiana Jones.

Overall, I'd say this is an above average baseball movie. Is it the best sports movie of all time? Definitely not. In fact, ten years from now when you are listing off all your favorite sports movies, you will most likely not have this one among you list of favorites, but it is definitely worth giving a shot, especially if you are a fan of baseball because you will really appreciate what Jackie Robinson did for your sport and for America. I give 42 a 7 out of 10.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Jurassic Park 3D Review

Jurassic Park is one of my all time favorite movies for many reasons. I don't really need to go too in depth about why since it is 20 years old and most people reading this will have already seen the movie. If you haven't seen this movie, then what you need to do is stop reading this review right now and go find a copy and watch it. Everyone as a kid loved dinosaurs and even though as an adult you don't always proclaim that love from the rooftops no one ever actually loses that love. And we all know that we have the dream that one day we can see a dinosaur. If a time machine were invented, that's the first thing that we all would do. Go back and visit the dinosaurs. What made Michael Crichton a literary genius is that he brought everyone's dreams to life with his Jurassic Park books. Now granted he's definitely not the only one to do so, but if you think dinosaur book, Jurassic Park will definitely be the first book you think of. Now the movies don't exactly follow the books too well, especially when you get to the second one where really the only similarity between the two is that they both are titled The Lost World. And Jurassic Park III compared to the book? Well, there wasn't a third book, so that's that. But none of that matters in this case. Jurassic Park doesn't lose any points for not following the book too well because it brought these real life dinosaurs that we all love to the big screen in quite the epic way.

It's almost hard to believe that the movie is now 20 years old, especially when you realize how amazing the special effects in this movie are. I mean the 80's weren't exactly known for their great effects and even when you get to the early 90's where Jurassic Park belongs oftentimes the effects aren't that great, but Jurassic Park was way ahead of it's time. The CGI dinosaurs in this movie are so good that they are better than a lot of the CGI creatures in movies made in the last couple years, so that there is the definition of standing the test of time. The dinosaurs look real. Add all that to the fact that you have Steven Spielberg helming the movie with John Williams on the music and you have near perfection in Jurassic Park. Being that I was four years old when the movie came out, I never experienced it in theaters, so there was no way that I was going to miss this chance to see it in theaters.

Now if you know me at all or have read my reviews, you'll know that I am not a fan of 3D. I mean I don't hate it. I just normally don't see the point of it because most of the movies I have seen in 3D I have enjoyed equally as much in 2D, so why pay the extra two or three dollars per ticket to see it in 3D? Plus a lot of the movies that are in 3D don't put hardly any effort into it and so you get gypped because you payed extra money for something worthless. And the recent 3D re-releases just never seemed to have a point in the first place. Phantom Menace in 3D? Not that interested. Titanic in 3D? Why? So guys can see Kate Winslet naked in 3D? Or see people fall out of the ship in 3D? Not interested at all. But Jurassic Park was much different. Dinosaurs in 3D? Heck yeah!!! But not just that, dinosaurs chasing people, scaring people, and eating people in 3D? Sign me up! With all the dinosaur jump scenes, that just seems like what 3D is made for.

How did it turn out for me? Oh my freaking awesome. Much better than I even thought. The 3D was actually super impressive. I've never seen a movie that did it so well and to think that this was a post-converted 3D movie was even more impressive. Forget about the dinosaurs for a second, even the first half of the movie where it's just the humans walking around talking to each, setting up for the dinosaur scenes later in the movie, was impressive. If every movie spent this much time and effort making the 3D look this good, I might actually enjoy 3D movies. From now on, this is the comparison. If your 3D isn't as good as Jurassic Park's 3D, you didn't do your job right. Now enter dinosaurs. This is where things got awesome and actually kinda scary. The 3D was so good that it felt like you were in Jurassic Park, like the actual park in the movie and when everything goes helter-skelter and the T-Rexes and Velociraptors start chasing you, it's terrifying. I was scared for my life because I was really being chased by a real life dinosaur. I wasn't going to make it out of the theater. They were going to eat me. When the kids were hiding from the raptors in the end, I was hiding with them and when there was a jump scene in the movie it got me. Every time. Even when the car is falling out of the tree and the guy and kid are frantically climbing down to avoid getting smashed, I was climbing down with them and scared for my life because I was actually about to be smashed by a really heavy jeep. Yikes! Ok, am I being a little over dramatic? Probably. But the moral of the story is that it really fantastic.

Then it was over. I made it out alive. I did not get eaten by a dinosaur or smashed by a jeep. But upon exiting the theater I came to the realization that I just had one of the best theatrical experiences of my life. No joke. Jurassic Park 3D is definitely a 10 out of 10 experience. So if you are a Jurassic Park fan like myself, go. And go as soon as you can because this opportunity will only be around for a couple of weeks. I don't often recommend movies as must sees, but Jurassic Park in 3D is definitely a must see. Don't miss it!