NFL Draft: From Pretender to Contender

Each the NFL draft is where bad teams can get a lot better, good teams can improve, and great teams add depth. There is tremendous pressure on teams during the draft. If you have one of the top picks it is imperative that you get a franchise player. Your fans are going to critique the pick forever unless you hit a home run. Look at the Detroit Lions. Three years in a row and four out of five years they took a wide receiver with a top 10 pick and one is on the team, one is a backup on another team,, one has been out of the league after two seasons, and the last one they hit a home run with. If you are in the middle of the first round draft then you are looking for players who can help you and may turn into superstars. At the end of the first round the teams are looking for the best player available and adding depth to there already talented team. After the first round teams look at there positional weaknesses and try to improve that. If your offensive line is bad then you draft the best available lineman. Since the NFL has become a pass happy league more and more teams are spending high draft picks on cornerbacks and safeties. Having a shut down cornerback is one of the most valuable things that you can have. It allows you to do so much more on defense. The NFL draft is a great and valuable tool to built a NFL franchise. The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970′s that won four super bowls was built through the draft. If you have a General Manager that understands the concepts of drafting players you can go from a losing team to a perennial playoff contender in a very short time.

2012 Top NFL Draft Prospects: Defensive Secondary

There are quite a few NFL teams that could use some help in the secondary. Here are a few of the top draft prospects that could end up being a star defensive back.

Dee Milliner
A defensive leader of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Dee Milliner was a key ingredient in helping his team to a collegiate championship. He has all the makings of a good defensive back. He is strong, quick, and not afraid of contact. He may even be a starter during the 2013 NFL season.

Johnthan Banks
Do not mistake Johnthan Banks’ lean frame Read the rest of this entry »

To Trade Up or Not to Trade Up

Most teams in the NFL will consider trading up for players at least at some point during the NFL draft. This year is probably not the year to trade up unless a very talented player starts to fall further than people think. There’s going to be a lot of talent available at the end of round one and at the beginning of round two. If the teams just stay where they are, they will be able to pick up some potential great players. They can keep the other draft picks that they would have used to Read the rest of this entry »

Quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III Headline 2012 Draft Class

The Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins picked first and second, respectively, in the 2012 NFL Draft. When commissioner Roger Goodell approached the podium on draft night to announce each team’s pick, there was no secret as to whose names would be called – Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck first and Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III second.

About six weeks before the draft, the Colts parted ways with superstar quarterback Peyton Manning after 14 seasons, paving the way for Luck to take over the Indianapolis offense. At roughly the same time, the Redskins traded up to land Baylor’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 overall pick. While there may not have been any suspense on draft night, both players have generated tons of excitement around the NFL. Eager fans are waiting anxiously for the day when they can turn on Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket and watch the two rookie signal callers take the field.

While both teams believe they’ve landed their franchise quarterback for years to come, there has been a lot of speculation as to which triggerman will have the more successful career.

In the short term, RGIII looks to be in a better environment for success because he’s on a team with more talent surrounding him. Luck, on the other hand, is in more of a rebuilding situation and will likely have more of a learning curve than Griffin.

At the end of the day, any football fan knows that drafting a quarterback is anything but a science. In fact, history shows that there’s about a 50/50 success-to-bust ratio when it comes to taking a quarterback in the first round. While they both possess all the tools needed to be NFL superstars, only time will reveal whether Luck and Griffin become duds or studs.

Seventh-Round Gems of the NFL Draft

Since 1994, the NFL Draft has consisted of seven rounds. Prior to 1994, a number of eventual Hall of Famers were selected in Round Seven or higher, including such legendary players as Raymond Berry, Bart Starr, Deacon Jones, George Blanda, Roger Staubach and Johnny Unitas. Since ’94 however, a number of “gems” have overcome relatively low expectations to become genuine stars.

The 1994 Draft produced Atlanta RB Jamal Anderson, who went on to lead the NFC in rushing in 1998 as well as leading the Falcons to their only Super Bowl appearancethe same season. The 1999 Draft produced WR Donald Driver, who went on to become one of Brett Favre’s favorite targets in Green Bay. Marques Colston of the New Orleans Saints was almost an afterthought in the 2006 Draft, but he set an NFL record by catching 168 passes in his first two seasons. PK Ryan Succop was not only a seventh-round pick in 2009, but was the very last pick, earning the title, “Mr. Irrelevant.” Succop has since become one of the league’s most consistent kickers, tying an NFL record for FG by a rookie. New York Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw, a seventh-round pick in 2007, was expected to be a return specialist, but has since become the Giants featured back, gaining 1,235 yards and scoring 8 touchdowns in 2010.

Beginnings of a Dynasty: NFL Draft Successes

NFL Draft success stories, listed by year:

Joe Montana (49ers, 1979): Players selected in the 3rd round with the 82nd pick aren’t expected to become NFL legends. Yet Montana did just that, leading the 49ers dynasty of the 80s to a 4-0 record in Super Bowl appearances. Joe Cool defined the QB position for a generation.

John Elway (1983, Baltimore Colts): Baltimore’s number one draft choice refused to play for the team and demanded a trade. Hewas dealt to Denver, where the QB helped establish a dynasty while leading the Broncos to 5 Super Bowl berths and 2 championships.

Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts, 1998): The overall first round pick arrived with high expectations, and has exceeded them. During his career, Manning has propelled the Colts from a mediocre franchise into a perennial playoff threat. Does any other quarterback mean as much to their team’s success as Manning?

Tom Brady (2000, Patriots): Drafted in the 6th round with the 199th pick, few could imagine the QB would go on to have one of the most storied careers in NFL history. Brady has won 3 Super Bowls and led the Patriots to the league’s first-ever 16-0 regular season in 2007. Not even Hollywood could buy it.

Building a Contender through the NFL Draft

Building a contender through the NFL draft may seem like a simple task given the enormous amount of talent available every season, but in reality the art of selecting a successful professional football player is a skill possessed by few. For every rookie that becomes a Pro Bowl caliber player there are a hundred that are out of the NFL very quickly. So what are the necessary steps to building a contender through the NFL draft? It all begins and endswith talent assessment in the front office of a specific NFL team.

When examining the NFL teams that have successfully built dynasties that contend for championships every season, a common theme is present – they each have the desire to select the best athlete available regardless of position. While certain position needs are always in demand, building a contender through the NFL draft requires a long range plan on how each draft selection will be groomed and utilized. Winners in the NFL allow players the necessary time to develop, perennial losers in the NFL throw rookies immediately into the fray.

Those desirous of building a contender through the NFL draft need look no further than the draft practices of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens to find valid tutorials.

2012 Top NFL Draft Prospects: Offensive Lineman

The offensive line often contains the unsung heroes of the NFL. Here are some top draft prospects for 2012:

Mike Adams, Ohio State (OT): At 6-foot-8, 310 pounds, he has the necessary athleticism and ability to dominate on the field, but has yet to fulfill his potential. If Adams improves his technique and develops a strong desire to succeed, he could become a high draft pick.

Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State (OT): His nimble feet and long arms allow him toward off speed rushers. At 6-foot-6, 320 lbs, Adcock has size and athleticism, but needs to build his strength and play through his blocks if he wants his draft stock to rise.

Cordy Glenn, Georgia (OG): With his 6-foot-5, 345 lb frame, he’s massive enough to blast open holes. Although Glenn plays OT for the Bulldogs, he’s seen as a guard at the next level. His quickness and strength are offset by sloppy technique and inconsistency.

Bobby Massie, Ole Miss (OT): Tends to work best as a strong side run blocker, and is expected to play RT in the NFL. To excel, he must improve his pass protection skills. At 6-foot-6 and 325 lbs, Massie is strong enough to be a firm 2nd round pick.