Building The Perfect SuperBeast 10.0!! Hah!! Yes, I've gone from the longest-winded to the shortest, this year!!
Regarding BackDrafts & Mock OffSeasons
Greetings, Fellow FootBall Fiends, and welcome to my 9th Mock OffSeason/BackDraft, where I allow myself full licentious license to indulge in my most hallucinogenic FootBall Team-Building Fantasies!!
The premise: I hope, henceforth, as I always have, to get back to publishing Mock OffSeason + Drafts before The Draft in the future, and then follow through with these BackDrafts, afterwards. I work 7 Days/60 Hours a week, attend College, and occasionally hit the Elliptical and lift a weight or two, so I've found the going tough, in that regard.
But I am undaunted!! Indeed, I feel as if I've reached a seismic level inflection point in my life ~ in short: I've finally figured out what I want to do when I grow up ~ and having thus cleared oceans of clutter out'f my life, have recently attained a dramatically improved level of focus and efficiency...I presume nothing of the future, but I am very optimistic.
In any case: the most crucial part of that OffSeason equation, from my perspective, is this one: Now that we all know exactly what Pick every single Prospect would've had to've been drafted by, anyone who's inclined ~ though these will be only the extreme Draft fanatics!! ~ can update their Mock Drafts ~ creating a BackDraft ~ to reflect reality.
For me ~ and for most'f us, I believe ~ the purpose of Mock Drafts is of course to play Fantasy General Manager, with a mind towards hopefully looking back over the years and bragging about one's prowess...And that's why I go to this trouble: Obviously, there's no sense in bragging about drafting Player X at #55, say, in your Mock Draft, if it turns out that he got drafted at #48, say, and wasn't available to you unless you traded up. Thus: this updated version or "BackDraft."
The trouble with BackDrafts is obvious: In the real world, you can't know, beforehand, when a given prospect is going to be drafted, so it's shall we say very convenient to have the entire Draft laid out to exploit...It's obviously an enormous advantage, in that example above, to know that you need only trade up to #47 or so to get Player X, whereas in reality you would of course know nothing beyond your best analysis about when he might get drafted, were you running a War Room.
Even so: Among anyone who publishes a BackDraft ~ a lot'f us on PatsFans.com have done so, before, and I intend to get it going again ~ has that same exact advantage, therefore there is no advantage against each other: zero.
The only advantage is of course against the Team you're backdrafting, itself ~ in this case: The Patriots. And of course that advantage is balanced against the fact that the Patriots and every other team have access to information that absolutely dwarfs what we Fans have access to...Does that balance it off? Who's to say? It's all in fun, anyway!!
And so, without further ado...
I realized, in the wake of that excruciating loss in the Super Bowl, that I've been too compromising.
I've always preached that I wanted to build my Vision of a Team. After all, what's the use of playing Fantasy General Manager if you're just mimicking somebody else's Vision, even if that somebody happens to be, in the person of Bill Belichick, one of the greatest Head Coaches and one of the greatest General Managers ever? And I dare say that my approach has been consistently original...But as it finally became crystal clear that there is genuine Madness in Bill Belichick, along with his equally authentic genius, I realized that my approach was more balanced that I believe is the wisest approach.
Don't get me wrong: I am the First Disciple of The International House of Have My Cake And Eat It Too.
And I shall indeed strive aggressively to improve the entire 50 man roster, Specialists aside.
But I've always preached concentrated attack ~ like Napolean at Austerlitz or General Guderian at Sedan ~ and in retrospect, I don't believe that I'ave hitherto leaned into it as I might've. That, my friends, is about to change.
Regarding Continuity ~ "Roster Stability"
The crippling effects of The Infernal Salary Cap compel every General Manager ~ real and phantasmagorical ~ to manage professional teams very much like college teams, where talent is continuously departing and must therefore be relentlessly sought out by every means possible. I have corresponded with those who endlessly blathered on about Continuity, oblivious to this reality that the Salary Cap inflicts upon us all. Continuity is of real value, but both the tactical and the strategic landscape are in constant turmoil, and one must either drive change...or face extinction.
I am an American Infantryman ~ not active, you understand, but there are no "former" American Infantrymen.
When I served, my best Battalion Commander and his subordinates always preached "Pushing It DownField." That was a tactical philosophy, but one that applies strategically, as well: It would be wonderful if we could plan and prepare our conflagrations and have events & enemies comply with our visualizations. But it doesn't work that way.
The Fog of War disrupts all the best laid plans of mice & men.
Or as General Douglas MacArthur put it:
My thinking is this: It'd be all well and good if we had all the time in the world, as we did before The Infernal Salary Cap descended on the land and blotted out the sun, to develop players together for years and years until everyone knew everyone else's tendencies and techniques so well that they could play FootBall blindfolded...But as that's not the case, and as all teams are dealing with the same issues of syncing and developing chemistry and all that, I think that it's much smarter to develop an outrageously deep and talented coaching staff, pay them tons of money to develop the Players, and just concentrate on bringing in as many talented, intelligent, and driven Players as possible.
The Game is constantly changing and constantly evolving.
But the best and the brightest are changing and evolving with it...and don't need Years to get in sync.
And there's no sense in being super-synced in the first place, if your talent is mediocre.
Fortune favors the brave...and fortune favors those who seize the initiative.
Or in other words: Don't sit on your ass. Push it downfield. Sow confusion in The Enemy...and wreak havoc.
The great General George Patton once had a few words to share on the subject:
"Some goddamn fool once said that flanks have got to be secure. Since then sonofabitches all over the globe have been guarding their flanks. I don’t agree with that. My flanks are something for the enemy to worry about, not me.
Before he finds out where my flanks are, I’ll be cutting the bastard’s throat."
Or, if I may be so bold as to venture a second Quote ~ more concise ~ from the great General George Patton:
The Fixed Fortifications of the Maginot Line that France defended itself with in 1940 were models of Continuity. Heh.
The Patriots entered this OffSeason with no less than forty spots that could be realistically upgraded.
Each season is its own story: The team that hits the field in September is an infant.
The team that hits the field in January...is a seasoned, developed adult.
By the time the Super Bowl comes around, all players are in sync.
I say let the weak concern themselves with continuity.
First, an Observation or Three...
I'll start off by offering my unsolicited opinions on the moves that the Patriots made and didn't make ~ Planet Earth Version!!
Free Agents ~ Departures
01 ~ OT Nate "Universal" Solder. As terrifying as it is to lose a good Left Tackle in this barren market, I applaud this move!! Solder is good, but not great, and that $15.5 Million/Year contract that the Giants gave'm is a Salary Cap crippler, the kind of contract that forces teams to let go or pass on signing not one but several crucial, talented Depth Players. If I'm handing out that kind of cash, he better be a great Player, entering his prime, not a good Player who's already peaked and has openly considered retirement in recent years. The Giants are courting disaster with that contract. I say: let them.
02 ~ CB Malcolm Butler. This obviously was a fait accompli, after that horrific Super Bowl decision. Oy. But while I nominally disagree with the Super Bowl decision, I cannot disagree with the decision to let loose a guy who ~ whatever the Hell transpired ~ would tempt Mad Bill towards that decision. Whatever the X Factor was, and as dear in all'f our hearts as Malcolm Butler will always be, you simply cannot pay premium bucks against the Salary Cap in such a situation.
03 ~ SB Dion Lewis. Mixed feeling about this one, as I'm sure many'f us have. Lewis is a phenomenal SpeedBack in all three phases of the Game ~ Running, Blocking, Receiving ~ and is in'is prime. Even so: Paying $5 Million/Year, which he is certainly well worth, means not paying someone else ~ maybe 2 guys who'd improve our Depth of Talent, which is crucial during the PlayOffs, after injuries inevitably carve down the ranks ~ and HalfBacks are virtually commodities.
04 ~ OT Cameron Fleming. As barren as the Offensive Tackle Market is, I have to applaud their letting him go. I was never a fan of Fleming, and while he's grown on me, I'd rather draft and develop raw talent than pay mediocrity. In The Infernal Salary Cap Era, every dollar matters. Better to spend it on talent with potential than mediocrity without it.
05 ~ FB Danny Amendola. I love Danny, as do we all, and his place in Patriot Immortality is assured forever...But I applaud our having let'm go, too. He's a FlankerBack going on 33 and getting $6 Million a year. Better the Fish pay it.
Free Agents ~ Retentions
06 ~ OT LaAdrian Waddle. I respect this move, but I wouldn't do it. Waddle is longer on talent than on either performance or sustained health. I'd rather go with raw, talented Rookies and young, talented Veterans with better potential.
07 ~ SB Rex Burkhead. Phenomenal move. I've always been an enormous Rex Burkhead fan, and, for the money, if I'd had to choose between Burkhead and Lewis, it would've actually been an easy call. Burkhead, like Lewis, is a legitimate three way threat ~ Running, Blocking, Receiving ~ and at 5103/216, is the perfect size for an HalfBack and incredibly agile.
Free Agents ~ Signings
08 ~ LE Adrian Clayborn. Not a move I would've made, but a very good one, I think. A 2 year contract at $6 Million per is very good value for a good Lion End still in his prime who's versatile and effective against both the Run and the Pass.
09 ~ PB Jeremy Hill. A waste of time and money, I think ~ very little money, fortunately. Nothing against Hill, but I consider'm a mediocre PowerBack ~ a sluggish grinder who doesn't run, block, or catch very well.
10 ~ SE Jordan Matthews. An absolutely amazing signing. Matthews is talented, young, entering his prime, has already had success in multiple years, and is coming at a bargain basement price ~ $1 Million!!! ~ because he's coming off'f a horrific year, marred by lingering health issues that he says were the result of a faulty diagnosis. And the best thing about Jordan Matthews is that he's a very cerebral WideOut, and could rapidly become a favorite target of Tom Brady.
11 ~ OT Ulrick John. Absolutely love this move. John brings extraordinary agility and awesome intensity to the BattleField. In a world where Offensive Tackle talent is few and far between, Mad Bill managed to get an incredible athlete ~ with marginal Power, mind you!! ~ with a ferocious, focused mentality who's only 26 and entering his prime. Though his Combat Skills presumably still need work along with his Power...Well, there's this fellow, name of Dante Scarnecchia...
12 ~ BT Danny Shelton. Also not a move that I would've made, yet also a good one, I believe. Trading a presumably late 3rd Rounder for an early 5th Rounder in order to get a good, young Bear Tackle to help anchor the Defensive Line? It seems like a move that'll very possibly produce an enormous ripple effect that'll benefit the entire Defense.
13 ~ CB Jason McCourty. How in the name of Jesus Jason McCourty is only pulling down $3 Million a year is beyond me to understand. He's still a good CornerBack!! He's probably passing his prime or about to, but going on 31 isn't exactly doddering his way to retirement!! Trading back from the 6th Round to the 7th for'm was a brilliant move.
14 ~ SE Cord Patterson. Not a good Split End. He's basically a Kick Returner for whom we traded back from the 5th Round to the 6th. I'd rather have the difference between the Picks, and draft fresh legs to return Kicks.
15 ~ OT Trent Brown. Excellent, excellent move. Brown did not meet my threshold of Scouting Reports in 2015, which is to say that neither was he drafted in the first 5 Rounds, nor did I perceive his Value as justifying a 5th Round Pick...But my judgement was based on enormous questions about his Intangibles, not on his natural talent, which, including his extraordinary WingSpan, is arguably 1st Round quality...And he has proven himself, while not exactly Tom Brady, you understand, greatly improved in terms of Conditioning and Motor, though with plenty of undeveloped upside. With Coach Scarnecchia around to guide'm, Brown could develop into a premier Left Tackle, approaching his prime.
16 ~ XB Brandin Cooks. Wonderful, wonderful move. As much as I hated and detested our having surrendered a 1st Rounder for Cooks, last year, I applaud our getting rid'f'm for a 1st Rounder this year. He's an elite Talent, as I wrote in 2013, but precisely the kind of "flash" player who helps get you into the PlayOffs, but doesn't help you win them...as he proved, incontestably, with that pansy-ass jump, inside the 10, which cost us a 1st Down, and, arguably, the Super Bowl.
#23 ~ Isaiah Wynn. A good value, I think. I rated Wynn as a Center, and believe that he'd make his best impact, there, perhaps supplanting Andrews, but I don't roll with convention when it comes to the classic Offensive Tackle Frame, and if Mad Bill and Coach Dante see Wynn as a Left Tackle, I certainly won't be the one to argue against it.
#31 ~ Sony Michel. I didn't like this move, at all. Michel is a very talented Runner, but a mediocre Blocker, mediocre Receiver, and given to coughing up the FootBall...And of course he's an HalfBack. Highly talented HalfBacks are routinely available in the middle rounds, the late rounds, and even as UFAs. Yeah. Not a fan of this Pick.
#43 to the Lions for #51 & #117. Love it. Trading Back. Love it. And I especially love it, because there was an enormous Air Pocket of Talent between the last 1st Round and the early 3rd...as there usually is. So if you can Trade Back and thus accumulate free extra Picks, it's a beautiful thing. All the better if you don't have to discount off Book Value.
#51 to the Bears for #105 and the Bears's 2019 2nd Rounder. Win!! Love it!! While I readily acknowledge and am entirely prepared to take advantage of the reality that other teams are often stupid enough to drastically discount Future Picks, generally at about a 50% discount, I do not agree that a Future Pick is worth even a dollar less than a current Pick...And as such, it seems to me that the Patriots and Bears simply swapped years ~ the Bears' Pick projects to about #51 and quite possibly better ~ in addition to which the Bears threw in a nice juicy early 4th Rounder for the privilege. Win!!
#63 & #117 to the Buccaneers for #56 ~ CF Duke Dawson. Blech. I did not like this move. I thought that Dawson was fine value for the Pick, but as a CenterFielder, not a CornerBack...And we've already got a couple of starting caliber CenterFielders. And to burn off a perfectly good 4th Rounder to Trade Up for'm? Again I say: Blech.
#105 to the Browns for #114 & #178. Love it!! More Picks!!
#114 to the Lions for the Lions's 2019 3rd Rounder. Awesome!! A 4th Rounder for a 3rd!! Beautiful!!
Alas, I haven't as yet completed my CyberScouting on the late round Picks, as yet, so I'll hold my peace!! A few comments?
A ~ I love, above all, what Mad Bill didn't do, once again: dump millions on expensive Free Agents.
B ~ I love, too, that, yet again, he managed to cover every position before The Draft, thus allowing him maximum flexibility in his decisions, and allowing him to draft always, once again, for Value, not for Need.
C ~ I've got big issues with the Michel and Dawson moves, but I was thrilled to see'm racking up all those extra Picks!!
The Master Plan, Version 9.0!!
As for how I would've done/would currently be doing things...First: Who're we getting rid of and/or reluctantly letting go?
A recap of the same names from above:
Free Agents ~ Departures
01 ~ OT Nate "Universal" Solder. Way too much Cap Space on a good Offensive Tackle who's nearing the end.
02 ~ CB Malcolm Butler. He's gone, regardless, of course.
03 ~ OT Cameron Fleming. I prefer raw talent to train over seasoned mediocrity.
04 ~ FB Danny Amendola. Love'm, but he's 33 and getting $6 Million.
Free Agents ~ Retentions
05 ~ SB Rex Burkhead. Phenomenal move. I've always been an enormous Rex Burkhead fan, and, for the money, if I had had to choose between Burkhead and Lewis, it would've actually been an easy call. Burkhead, like Lewis, is a legitimate 3 way threat ~ Running, Blocking, Receiving ~ and at 5103/216, is the perfect size for an HalfBack and incredibly agile.
06 ~ SB Dion Lewis!! I squeezed'm in, under the Cap...Nominally, anyway!! Lewis is a phenomenal SpeedBack in all three phases of the Game ~ Running, Blocking, Receiving ~ and is in'is prime!! Pay the man!!
Free Agents ~ Signings
First off: the Belichick signings that I most definitely would've signed off on:
07 ~ SE Jordan Matthews. An absolutely amazing signing. Matthews is talented, young, entering his prime, has already had success in multiple years, and is coming at a bargain basement price ~ $1 Million!!! ~ because he's coming off'f a horrific year, marred by lingering health issues that he says were the result of a faulty diagnosis. And the best thing about Jordan Matthews is that he's a very cerebral WideOut, and could rapidly become a favorite target of Tom Brady.
08 ~ OT Ulrick John. Absolutely love this move. John brings extraordinary agility and awesome intensity to the BattleField. In a world where Offensive Tackle talent is few and far between, Mad Bill managed to get an incredible athlete ~ with marginal Power, mind you!! ~ with a ferocious, focused mentality who's only 26 and entering his prime. Though his Combat Skills presumably still need work along with his Power...Well, there's this fellow, name of Dante Scarnecchia...
I would've passed on signing Hill, of course, and on Clayborn, as well. That was a solid move, but I've got my own ideas...
09 ~ YT Dontari Poe. Enough. FootBall is a game played by men, not ballerinas. Enough of this cute shit. Enough mixing and matching this and that in order to come up with clever Defenses that play really well for their talent level but can never be counted on in the Games that matter most. This past Super Bowl was only the culmination of a long process that goes back more than a decade, because everybody knows that the Patriots haven't fielded a top shelf Defense since 2004.
Enough of that shit. And I'm not even aiming for a 2004 level of Defense, either. I'm aiming to dominate. I'm aiming to destroy. And that starts up front. In The Trenches. Getting Danny Shelton was a very smart move, but screw that half-way shit, too. Shelton is a decent talent. I want Greatness at the most important position on the Defensive Line.
Dontari Poe is going on 28 in September. He's a Yeti Tackle, which means that he is enormous ~ 6033/345 with a sprawling WingSpan ~ and he is outrageously agile as well as being incredibly strong. He came out of Memphis in 2012 with raw Combat Skills and Field Vision, but he has now learned the Game, and can master it in New EngLand.
He is incredibly reliable, having played 94 out of a possible 96 Games despite working his way through painful maladies, and has emerged healthy, seasoned, entering his peak years...and at 3 Years and $27,000,000, incredibly cheap.
Poe has the capacity, especially if we surround'm with talent, as I intend to, to become the most destructive force in the entire Game. There is simply nobody his size who can like he can. He is a force of nature.
With Poe and Bear Tackle Malcolm Brown manning the middle of the Defensive Line, the most crucial part of our Defense has suddenly been transformed from a porous Liability into an enormous Strength. And I've just gotten started.
10 ~ DE Jovais Galette. Dragon End, like Chandler Jones or Rob Ninkovich. "Jovais" because I refuse to honor "Junior" as a name, because it's demeaning to the man. This is pure Hail Mary, this signing, and would be on extremely strict terms, because Galette has had multiple infractions with the Law, including one just a year ago. The only reasons why I'd highly recommend going after this guy, though, is because even though he's just turned 30, has had issues, and is currently unsigned because he had been considering retirement...he should come incredibly cheaply because he missed two full Seasons and then had just 3 Sacks, last year, he should finally now be 100%, having worked his way back from those consecutive achilles injuries...and he is one of the most explosively underrated Pass Rushers in FootBall.
So now, with rising star Trey Flowers, rapidly ascending talent Deatrich Wise, and Galette, we're suddenly kind'f deep at Dragon End, and can rotate these guys in and out, keep them fresh, and keep them explosive.
Depth of Talent along the Defensive Line, not the Legion of Boom, is what made the 2013 SeaHawks so awesome: They had no less than 7 talented Players heavily involved in the Defensive Line rotation, and by keeping them fresh, they kept them explosive, and by keeping them explosive, they kept up relentless pressure all...year...long. The Legion of Boom became famous because they reaped the rewards of what the Front Line was doing ~ and because Richard Sherman is a Prima Donna, of course. This echoed the 2004 Patriots, whose decimated Secondary survived because of our Front 7.
The Secondary often gets the accolades, but a dominant Defensive Line is what wins Championships.
11 ~ MF Navorro Bowman. MidFielder. "LineBacker", to you Earthlings. The Patriots simply don't consider MidFielders to be a vital part of Defense, anymore, which is a pretty amazing development. Dragons and Bandits ~ like Donta Hightower, who I used to incorrectly characterize as a Dragon ~ we have several of, but classic 6010/245 Pound MidFielders like Teddy Johnson or Bruschi? Ancient History. Elandon Roberts and Christian Sam are the only two on our 90 who qualify, and Roberts' size is far smaller than Johnson or Bruschi were. The Game has changed, Ladies & Laddies!!
That of course raises the question of why I would bother with Navorro Bowman. Bowman is going on 30, has been beset by a pair of horrible injuries that struck in his prime, plays a position that I've just suggested is getting phased out, and has reportedly lost enough of his agility that this erstwhile magnificent 3 Down Player is now merely a Thumper.
That may be so, but I'd prefer to find out. Bowman should finally be 100%, you see, having worked his way back through the gears from the 2nd injury last year, and history strongly suggests a very strong chance that he'll be considerably faster, coming into 2018, than he was, last year. I'm always reading about how this or that Player has "lost a step" during his recovery from a major injury, written by dolts who're presumably shocked, the next year, when he's finally 100%.
Players don't always recover back to their former selves, of course. They often do not.
But it happens a lot more often than most would have you believe.
I just think that it's distinctly possible that Navorro Bowman may have one or two peak years left in'm, despite the fact that we haven't seen his peak game in 4 full years ~ since 2013 ~ which is admittedly half a lifetime in FootBall Years. James Harrison, though, was still elite at 32, and Bowman was magnificent before the injuries derailed'm.
He's unsigned even now, so you know that he'd be dirt cheap.
Low Risk. High Potential!!
12 ~ CB Aaron Colvin. Colvin played Slot Corner for the Jaguars, last year, but he's no Slot Corner. That was the only way to get'm on the field. I gave Colvin a Beast Rank and 1st/2nd Round Grade in 2014, and after recovering from an injury that torched his 2014 campaign and then working his way up the ranks as a 4th Rounder, Colvin looks, based on his rocking second half of 2017, as if he's poised for stardom. 4 Years and $34,000,000 ain't chicken feed, but considering that some CornerBacks are getting nearly twice that, and that Colvin's 100% healthy and entering his prime, it seems to me that that contract could prove to be a spectacular bargain, when all is said and done. And bringing him in to join up with Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty would instantly transform CornerBack from a Liability with thin talent to a Strength.
13 ~ CB Delvin Breaux. Very talented, very coveted, a few years ago, and very forgotten, currently, after falling on hard times. But I would absolutely take out a flier on this highly talented CornerBack who's still in'is prime.
I'll have further moves to make during the Draft for our Defense...some major ones.
On to Offense!!
14 ~ OG Kevin Pamphile. Very raw former Defensive Lineman when he came out in 2014, but very, very talented, Pamphile predictably struggled in Tampa. But he's a classic case of unproven talent over proven mediocrity ~ or sub-mediocrity, as the Patriots and most teams tend to fill out their interior line depth with. And he's now had a few years to work his training through the gears, he's entering his prime, he's dirt cheap...And I would love to see what Dante can do with this guy.
15 ~ OG Xavier SauFilo. A very talented Offensive Guard who flamed out on Planet Hoosten after getting drafted #33 in 2014. I know that Coach Belichick prefers to sign UFA's who were 3rd Stringers on Division 47 Teams and let Coach Scarnecchia coach'm up, but I prefer some talent, if I can find it, and to let Coach Scar coach'm up. There's always the possibility that SuaFilo simply doesn't have what it takes, but he's dirt cheap, he's entering his prime years, and I'd much rather take my chances on that, than on a a Division 47 3rd Stringer, no offense to any'f those guys.
16 ~ OT Luke Joeckel. Heh. Yeah, as'f this writing, Joeckel is still unsigned. There is of course always the possibility with any Free Agent that something else is going on that isn't being published ~ usually a health concern. That's probably not a concern, here, but it's worth noting. Joeckel played Guard for the SeaHawks, last year, after flaming out as an Offensive Tackle with the Jaguars. But when he went 2nd overall in 2013, he brought top shelf Left Tackle talent to the Field of Battle...And, yes: I much prefer to see what Coach Dante can do with highly talented Draft Busts over lowly, untalented Division 47 3rd Stringers ~ not that some'f my favorite Binkies aren't Division 47 3rd Stringers!!
17 ~ PE Austin Sefarian Jenkins. Jenkins has certainly had a troubled past, and was certainly unexceptional, last year, on a bad Jets Team...But he's a recovering Alcoholic who's already done the hardest thing ~ burning through an entire year of sobriety. The first year of just about everything is far tougher than everything that follows, and I look at his situation as being very similar to that of a guy returning from a major injury: The second year is when he really starts to pay off. The second campaign is when everything should start rocking and rolling, again. Jenkins is an extraordinarily talented Power End, entering his prime, clean and sober, and at 2 Years and $10,000,000 ~ me, I'd try to lock'm up at 3 and 15!! ~ and quite possibly about to erupt, could prove to be the steal of the century. Gronkowski Insurance on steroids, baby!!
18 ~ WB Matthew Jones. WingBack. Jones was drafted as a PowerBack, but after some success, has quickly faded to the fringe as he enters his 4th Year. When I cyberscouted'm in 2015, I noted that he'd exhibited exceptional Blocking skills and decent and improvable Receiving skills. That combination is exactly what the doctor ordered for a WingBack, a Skill Set desperately in need, but extremely hard to come by in the 21st Century. Having a guy that can crack a few skulls as a Blocker, yet offer a legitimate Receiving option, is a very rare yet crucial weapon to have. And he's dirt cheap.
19 ~ SE Cody Latimer. Split End. 1 Year at $2,500,000. Kind'f pricey for a guy who's only caught 35 Balls in 4 Years, I must admit, but I was a big fan when he came out in 2014, and believe that things are locking into place for this highly talented Draft Bust just in time for's prime. He busted the Broncos, bless him, but may at last be poised to pay off!!
20 ~ XB Bruce Ellington. SlotBack. 1 Year at $1,250,000, an incredible bargain for a young and ascending SlotBack ~ that's Julian Edleman's position, for those scoring at home ~ with tons of talent, entering his prime. He would provide both a perfect compliment to Edelman and a replacement, should injuries arise: Amendola, but younger and far cheaper.
21 ~ FB Kenny Bell. A whack job who hasn't produced worth a farthing since I praised'm to the Heavens 3 years ago, but I figure: What the Hell?? He's passionate and plays hard. He just needs to focus his energy...and talent. Dirt cheap.
22 ~ PB Cortrelle Anderson. Holy Hell. Yeah, I've read some foolish crap about Anderson. The sweet reality is that we're talking about a 27 year old PowerBack with marginal wear on'is tread who's an excellent Runner, a very strong Blocker, and an accomplished Receiver, going for $1,750,000. Again, I say unto you: Holy Hell. If I was a believer in the assinine practice of running Lead Backs into the dirt, I would be delighted to feed Anderson out there on every Snap, and would do so with every expectoration of seeing'm amass 1500 Yards on the ground and another 600-900 through the air, while routinely crushing Blitzers. He and the others will be much more effective if we rotate them in and out, but Anderson is, to put it explicitly, the kind of HalfBack who wins SuperBowls in the 4th quarter for you. I'd lock'm up for far more than a year.
23 ~ SB Benny Cunningham. But at 216 Pounds, Cunningham is really neither a SpeedBack nor a PowerBack. He's simply a HalfBack, one who runs well and catches better, can block, is entering his prime, and is dirt cheap, bless'm!! He's essentially another James White, and I don't believe that you can have too many James Whites.
24 ~ P Patrick O'Donnell. Nothing against Allen, but I've always been intrigued by O'Donnell. I'd like to take a look.
Yeah, that's quite a few Free Agents!!
There're other guys who I would've loved to've signed, but who I couldn't convince myself we could've won over, even given this being a game of Fantasy General Manager, just because of better opportunities, elsewhere.
Indeed, it's no given that any of the guys on this list would've signed, in light of other opportunities. I believe that I could've sold'm all, but I presume nothing, even when I'm playing Fantasy General Manager!!
25 ~ PE Dwayne Allen. Power End. I like Allen more than most, but it's either him or Jenkins, and that's an easy call.
26 ~ SB Michael Gillislee. SpeedBack. I like Gillislee, too, though he disappointed, but that'll teach me to sign off on signing restricted Free Agents and coughing up Draft Picks for'm!! Never liked that kind've move, in the first place.
27 ~ SE Kenny Britt. Split End. Blech. Never liked the guy.
28 ~ FB Phillip Dorsett. Flanker. A Zoomer who can't run routes. No thanks.
29 ~ CB Eric Rowe. Not a bad Player. Just a victim of numbers.
30 ~ RB Jordan Richards. RoverBack. Oy.
All of this comes in right at the Salary Cap, by the way, including trades, below: I kept track on a Spread Sheet!!
That doesn't include the signings of Gallette, Bowman, or Joeckel, but it also doesn't mention the dozen or so additional cuts to fringe guys that I didn't want to bother any reader with ~ necessitated by my signings against the 90 man limit ~ and which'd obviously clearly up offsetting cap space, though further adjustments and cuts might have to be made.
And in the real world, it is very possible that I'd let Lewis go, just to keep a few bucks in reserve, and also with a mind towards the big contracts coming due, next year, with Trey Flowers, Shaq Mason, and Malcom Brown.
But this is all just a fun exercise for a Fantasy General Manager ~ though one who actually does aspire to amass a fortune, buy the Patriots, and implement these kinds of schemes in about 20 years!! ~ so Lewis stays!!
Mad Bill did brilliantly, again, so mostly I'm just signing off on all'f'm except the Shelton and Patterson trades.
And I am adding one, as well, outbidding the Cardinals for a young CornerBack that I like:
31 ~ CB Jamar Taylor. I thought that he was a Blue Chip Bargain in 2013 who nevertheless flamed out in Miami, but who recovered remarkably well in CleveLand...before being inexplicably dumped on the Cardinals for a 2020 6th Rounder!! A 2019 6th Rounder ought to outbid the Cardinals. He's due $4,250,000 in 2018, but even though I'm only getting a 4th CornerBack for my money, I believe that the 4th Corner is a crucial component of Roster Depth. Perhaps even more importantly, Taylor has emerged as a very good and improving Corner, and is entering his prime.
32 ~ CB Jason McCourty. How in the name of Jesus Jason McCourty is only pulling down $3 Million a year is beyond me to understand. He's still a good CornerBack!! He's probably passing his prime or about to, but going on 31 isn't exactly doddering his way to retirement!! Trading back from the 6th Round to the 7th for'm was a brilliant move.
33 ~ OT Trent Brown. Excellent, excellent move. Brown did not meet my threshold of Scouting Reports in 2015, which is to say that neither was he drafted in the first 5 Rounds, nor did I perceive his Value as justifying a 5th Round Pick...But my judgement was based on enormous questions about his Intangibles, not on his natural talent, which, including his extraordinary WingSpan, is arguably 1st Round quality...And he has proven himself, while not exactly Tom Brady, you understand, greatly improved in terms of Conditioning and Motor, though with plenty of remaining upside. With Coach Scarnecchia around to guide'm, Brown could develop into a premier Left Tackle, entering his prime.
34 ~ XB Brandin Cooks. Wonderful, wonderful move. As much as I hated and detested our having surrendered a 1st Rounder for Cooks, last year, I applaud our getting rid'f'm for a 1st Rounder this year. He's an elite Talent, as I wrote in 2013, but precisely the kind of "flash" player who helps get you into the PlayOffs, but doesn't help you win them...as he proved, incontestably, with that pansy-ass jump, inside the 10, which cost us a 1st Down, and, arguably, the Super Bowl.
So after all those nutty, cap-draining and rosters-stuffing moves, we've pretty much got the entire roster covered, which means that we can draft whoever we want!! These are the Picks we're staring off with, if I've kept track correctly:
So here we go...
* Please note: All Trades are based on Trades that actually happened. They are either perfect replicas of actual Trades, or I traded more value than was traded in the actual Trades, as our trading partners obviously wouldn't mind.
* For the sake of easier reading, I'll list all the Trades at once, and then the Picks.
43 ~ #23 + #63 ~ SeaHawks ~ #18 + #248.
Those with whom I've been bandying about Draft Talk for the last several years know that I've Traded Up in the 1st Round only twice: For Justin Watt in 2011 and for Aaron Donald in 2014. I don't really like the idea of trading up, generally, preferring to amass all the Picks!! But every once in a while, I'm willing to pay a very steep price.
44 ~ #31 ~ Titans ~ #57 + #89.
Most would scream in horror and disgust at this Trade, because it discounts #31 dramatically, giving about a 20% Discount to Book Value. So what the Hell am I thinking? I'm thinking that ~ as is often the case ~ there is a gigantic air pocket, running from about #20 or so to about #60 or so, meaning that for the Picks that got drafted along that stretch, I perceive little measurable difference in value from one end to the other. Therefore, if I can Trade Back and rack up extra picks, any acquired Picks are pure gravy, regardless of what Book Value says about it. This Trade, by the way is predicated on the actual Trade of #41 for #57 and #89. I also note that a far better value for #31 would've been #52 and the 2019 Ravens Second Rounder that the Eagles got for #32, but my focus is entirely on 2018, so this was more to that purpose.
All the rest of these Trades were based on real Trades, where we are trading a Pick ~ or Picks ~ either identical to (replicating the trade that actually happened) or superior in value to that which was actually traded, the supposition being that of course our theoretical trading partners would have no problem having us outbid somebody else to give them better value.
45 ~ #43 + #143 ~ Miners ~ #59 + #74.
46 ~ #59 ~ Raiders ~ #75 + #152 + #212.
47 ~ #74 ~ Chiefs ~ #86 + #122.
48 ~ #86 ~ Packers ~ #101 + #147.
49 ~ #101 ~ Browns ~ #114 + #178.
50 ~ #147 ~ SeaHawks ~ #156 + #226.
51 ~ #152 ~ Titans ~ #162 + #215.
52 ~ #156 ~ Vikings ~ #167 + #225.
53 ~ #198 ~ Chiefs ~ #233 + #243.
54 ~ #233 ~ Colts ~ LE Henry Anderson. Lion End. I'm not sure that I like Lion Ends very much, schematically, and I know for a fact that I didn't appreciate Henry Anderson when he went in the 3rd Round in 2013, but I believe that he's a tremendous Run Defender, an impressive and underrated Pass Rusher, poised for several years of excellence, perhaps greatness, if he can get healthy and stay there, just entering his prime at going on 27, and...dirt cheap!!
18 ~ BX Leighton Vander Esch
Leighton Vander Esch ~ Bandit ~ is nothing less than a flat out SuperFreak whose like we'ave never before seen.
He's got the frame of a Lineman but the athletic agility of a Defensive Back.
He's raw in Power and Combat Skills, but he improved at supersonic speed in just one year.
He is outrageously athletically gifted...and his Drive and Intelligence are cosmic.
You can build a Defense around this guy.
You can build a Locker Room around this guy.
Hell, you can build a City around this guy.
Pay the man.
57 ~ WT Patrick Hall
A powerful, explosive, and penetrating Wolf Tackle who'd've gone Top 10 if the league wasn't run by such a bunch of pansies who've evidently never heard of Aaron Donald and therefore don't understand that a Tackle doesn't have to weigh 320 pounds to be Strong. I'm not putting Hall on the Donald's level, mind you, but he has the potential to be one of the most devastating interior Pass Rushers in the league, and he is stout in Run Defense at The Point of Attack!!
75 ~ DE Samuel Hubbard
He's got far more Agility than Power, but improving rapidly each year. Hubbard is my favorite Dragon End in this Draft. He is absolutely relentless on the Field of Battle, incredibly diagnostically acute, and clearly driven to be great. He's virtually guaranteed to exceed expectations and inspire others to do the same ~ a natural-born Leader.
89 ~ YT Harrison Phillips
Absolutely love this kid. Yeti Tackle. Power but dubious Agility. Awesome Combat Skills, Field Vision, and Processing Speed, though, and a magnificent Motor. Phillips is the kind of Trench Gorilla who sets a furious tone and gets the entire Defense playing at a higher level, all day, every day. Phillips is the kind of guy who changes a locker room's culture.
114 ~ WT Maurice Hurst
1st Round Talent whose stock plummeted because of health concerns!!
122 ~ GB Shaquem Griffin
1st Round Talent whose stock plummeted because of health concerns!! Griffin, amusingly to me, is probably considered a bit of a charity case and one of Coach Carroll's ~ Seattle took'm at #141 ~ eccentric Picks. Maybe a Special Teamer, if he's lucky...Not by me, he isn't. I see Griffin as a savage, an inspirational Leader, a Starter, and a Play Maker.
162 ~ BT Timothy Settle
Bear Tackle. A very stout Run Defender and highly underrated Pass Rusher who should've gone way earlier!!
167 ~ QB Michael White
I have a far higher grade on this guy than the Market does. Raw in many ways, and would have to learn how to play as actual QuarterBack, after years in Spread Offenses, but exhibits a startling propensity to work progressions, check down when needed, and spread the ball around, all'f which speaks to Processing Speed. And, unlike the vast majority of my beloved Processing Speed Binkies with noodle arms, White can actually sling it!! There is serious potential, here.
178 ~ YT Foley Fatukasi
Raw, but with top shelf Power, some Agility, an absolutely awesome Frame, and a tremendous Motor.
212 ~ Binkie To Be Named Later
215 ~ Binkie To Be Named Later
219 ~ Binkie To Be Named Later
225 ~ Binkie To Be Named Later
226 ~ Binkie To Be Named Later
243 ~ Binkie To Be Named Later
248 ~ Binkie To Be Named Later
Assorted Potential Binkies
QB Luis Perez
OT Desmond Harrison ~ he's a definite. Supremely talented, potential All Pro Left Tackle. Oh...There may be some concerns.
MF Tegray Scales
GB Asantay Brown
CB Keion Crossen
CB Grant Haley
XB Riley McCarron
XB Braxton Berrios
Obviously, my intention to focus fanatically on not only strengthening the Defense but transforming it.
And I wasn't aiming for 2004 levels of Patriots Defenses.
I was aiming far higher.
How's The Team Look??
Tom Brady ~ Greatest Of All Time. That fanatically focused QuarterBack, improving every Year, a dedicated and appreciative teammate, and one who torches about $15,000,000 or so a Year ~ what do you think that Brady would haul in, if he were a Free Agent?? ~ just to create Cap Space and give his team a better chance to win the Super Bowl. He'll do.
Michael White ~ Raw, but with All Pro Potential.
Luis Perez ~ Raw, unknown Potential.
Brian Hoyer ~ Solid Auxiliary.
David Andrews ~ Solid Starter.
Right Guard ~ Shaq Mason ~ Young, Impressive, and improving as he approaches his prime.
Left Guard ~ Joseph Tuney ~ Young, Effective, and improving.
Guard ~ Xavier SauFilo ~ Young, with a lousy resume as a Starter, but highly talented. Dante.
Guard ~ Kevin Pamphile ~ Young and raw, but highly talented. Dante.
Tremendous Depth of Talent.
Left Tackle ~ Trent Brown ~ Young, decent skills, phenomenal WingSpan, solid Starter, approaching his Prime.
Right Tackle ~ Marcus Cannon ~ Young, Impressive, and in his Prime.
Tackle ~ Desmond Harrison ~ Haven't written'm up, yet, but supremely talented despite his long list of Red Flags. By drafting him rather'n bidding against 31 team in UFA Land, we get First Dibs. If he's an irretrievable Ass, then by all means: Let's cut'm loose with no material cost...But if he's salvageable, he could become one'f the all-time Draft Steals.
Tackle ~ Luke Joeckel ~ Young, with a lousy resume as a Starter, but highly talented. Dante.
Tackle ~ Ulrick John ~ Young and raw, but highly talented. Dante.
With a very young Line getting better as they develop, despite the loss of Solder, for whom Brown should be a very sufficient replacement, and with vastly improved Depth of Talent, this could become an enormous Asset.
Rob Gronkowski ~ The Best Ever, and now that he's all pliable and stuff, he might be around in January!!
Austin Sefarian Jenkins ~ Actually the most potentially dynamic #2 Power End we've had.
Troy Niklas ~ A moderately talented, young Reserve.
Will Tye ~ Ditto. He's seasoned, as well.
This should be a seismic Asset. Being able to send both'f'm out there on any Snap would give us unprecedented Hybrid Possibilities ~ Run/Pass Options ~ where we can dominate in Blocking or be unmatchable as Receivers.
Matthew Jones ~ A very variable X Factor who can Run Block, Run, or Receive effectively.
Jordan Matthews ~ Good, young, smart, and talented.
Cody Latimer ~ Raw, but with top shelf Talent.
Julian Edelman ~ The best in the business, but he shouldn't really be 100% until 2019.
Christopher Hogan ~ Ascending Warrior, approaching his Prime.
Malcolm Mitchell ~ Young, effective, and improving.
Kenny Bell ~ Young, talented, and unproven.
Bruce Ellington ~ Young, talented, and unproven.
With Power End fielding 2 Starters, WideOuts needs only 2, as well.
That being the case, we have terrific Depth of Talent.
Cortrelle Anderson ~ An excellent PowerBack, in his Prime, with 3 or 4 strong Years left in'm at a minimum, as he's seen a minimum of wear and tear. He Runs, Blocks, and Receives well. An outstanding weapon to have.
Brandon Bolden ~ Allegedly the most average PowerBack in all the land...but scrappy and reliable at all times.
Dion Lewis ~ Short, but powerful. Explosive outside, strong inside, a solid Blocker and exceptional Receiver. One of the best.
Rex Burkhead ~ Dangerous in all 4 aspects of the Game, young, improving, and approaching his Prime!!
James White ~ An impressive Runner and an awesome Receiver. Sensational in The Clutch.
Benny Cunningham ~ Young, runs well, catches well, blocks OK. Talented & versatile.
Awesome Depth of Talent at this crucial position.
Core Defensive Line ~ Bears, Wolves, Lions, and Yetti
YT ~ Dontari Poe ~ SuperBeast, in his Prime.
BT ~ Malcom Brown ~ Warrior, approaching his Prime.
WT ~ Patrick Hall ~ Rookie. Potential SuperBeast.
YT ~ Harrison Phillips ~ Rookie. Potential Beast.
WT ~ Maurice Hurst ~ Rookie. Potential SuperBeast.
YT ~ Foley Fatukasi ~ Rookie. Potential Beast.
BT ~ Timothy Settle ~ Rookie. Potential Beast.
LE ~ Henry Anderson ~ Ascending Warrior.
Options!! I want...options.
Needless to say, this is where the focus of my Master Plan is: Overload the defensive Front Lines with an overwhelming level of talent ~ with an searing emphasis on Prospects who are absolutely loaded with Intelligence and Drive ~ hire all the best Defensive Coaches in all the land who don't mind getting paid exorbitantly bloated salaries in return for their considerable expertise and hard work, and develop 2, 3, and 4 man Fronts of various configurations to terrify and annihilate our Foes.
The idea would be that Poe, Brown, and Anderson get most of the Snaps at the beginning of the Year, but that the others are expected to develop...and that by December, we would expect to have 8 Warrior Savages rotating in and out, playing at increasingly effective and disruptive levels, and mauling their way to Glory as the rest of the Defense benefits!!
Hybrids ~ Dragons
Trey Flowers ~ Ascending Star.
Deatrich Wise ~ Young, Effective, and rapidly improving.
Jovais Gallette ~ X Factor who could certainly flame right out, but poised for a potentially extraordinary 2 or 3 Years.
Samuel Hubbard ~ Rookie, but with tremendous Potential as a Player and as a Leader.
Bandits & MidFielders
BX ~ Donta HighTower ~ Brittle but brilliant, a Beast in'is Prime.
BX ~ Leighton Vander Esch ~ Rookie, but with the Potential for historic Greatness.
BX ~ Kyle Van Noy ~ Young, Effective, and improving.
BX ~ Marquis Flowers ~ Young, raw, but with Potential.
MF ~ Navarro Bowman ~ SuperStar, recovered from injuries, possibly past his peak...but possibly not.
Gryphons & RoverBacks
GB ~ Shaquem Griffin ~ Rookie, but with exceptional Potential.
RB ~ Patrick Chung ~ Impressive and still in his Prime, though poised to pass it.
Devin McCourty ~ Warrior in his Prime.
Duron Harmon ~ Solid Starter in his Prime.
Stephon Gilmore ~ Beast in his Prime.
Aaron Colvin ~ Ascending Warrior with Beast Potential, approaching his Prime.
Jamar Taylor ~ Effective Starter. Warrior Potential. Young and improving.
Jason McCourty ~ Effective Veteran, still near his Prime.
Devlin Breax ~ Beast level talent. Is he healthy?
Strong Depth of Talent at every position, Greatness at QuarterBack, Power End, and HalfBack, plenty of Talent and Depth at WideOut, and despite one question ~ Left Tackle ~ on the Offensive Line, an ascending Line.
All in all: Poised, once again, to terrorize. If Left Tackle is good, we're virtually unstoppable.
The Plan is simple: Develop the best Coaching Staff, by far, that anyone's ever seen, by getting all the best coaching talent in the world who value being part of something extraordinary, paying them what they're actually worth ~ that is: far more than Coaches tend to get paid ~ and set them to work in developing this historically deep and talented crew.
Between Talent, Intelligence, Drive, incredible Depth of Talent, and historically unprecedented Depth of Coaching, develop not the best Defense of the Salary Cap Era, but of any Era: A Front 6 ~ or 5, or 7, or 4, depending on things!! ~ of such unprecedented Depth of Talent and Depth of Coaching as to wreak Havoc at an historic level.
A Secondary locked and loaded to take full advantage and shut all Offenses down.
The Idea would be to take the World by storm in 2018, finishing in a frenetic frenzy that annihilates all Offenses.
The Defense thence to develop further, to an unprecedented level of Mayhem in 2019, while the world shakes and quakes.
Ascending towards its peak in 2020, the D would lead the way to the world's first Super Bowl 3 Peat.
And then...it would hit its prime.
Big Picture ~ Long Term Plan
Meanwhile, we've got Tom Brady...and if he ever ages?
I'm sure we'll come up with something.
This is of course being posted well beyond the actual Draft, and at The Worst Possible Moment: At the Break of Camp, when Fans are at their collective Peak of Fidelity to The Moves that their Team actually made...
And this, hilariously, is not my Final Version, as I'ave many Prospects lef to peruse...
But of course my Purpose is merely to Get It On The Record.
Any Mock Draft ~ even a Back Draft ~ must in practical terms be discounted if it comes after the Draft, as my BackDrafts do.
But I believe that more Value is gained than is lost...for Mock Drafts are riddled with Picks picked hopefully, but proven to be far too optimistic in terms of when the Prospect would've actually been available to Draft!!
BackDrafts, on the other hand, score 100% in drafting Prospects that would've actually been available at those Spots, yes?
As always, please allow me to acknowledge that everything that follows ~ particularly the order in which Prospects were drafted ~ benefits from 100% Crystal Clear HindSight...but is written with none of Mad Bill's Insider Knowledge!!
Regarding Continuity ~ "Roster Stability"
The Crippling Effects of The Infernal Salary Cap compel every General Manager ~ real and Phantasmagorical ~ to manage Professional Teams very much like College Teams, where Talent is continuously departing and must therefore be relentlessly sought out by every means possible. I have corresponded with those who endlessly blathered on about Continuity, oblivious to this Reality that the Salary Cap inflicts upon us all. Continuity is of real Value, but both the Tactical and the Strategic LandScape are in constant Turmoil, and one must either drive Change...or face Extinction.
I am an American Infantryman ~ not Active, mind you, but there are no "former" American Infantrymen. When I Served, my best Battalion Commander and his Subordinates always preached "Pushing It DownField." That was a Tactical Philosophy, but one that applies Strategically, as well: It would be wonderful if we could plan and prepare our Conflagrations and have Events & Enemies comply with our Visualizations. But it doesn't work that way.
The Fog of War disrupts all The Best Laid Plans of Mice & Men.
Or as General Douglas MacArthur put it:
Or, if I may be so bold as to venture a second Quote, this one from the great General George Patton:
The Fixed Fortifications of the Maginot Line that France defended itself with in 1940 were models of Continuity. Heh.
The Patriots entered this OffSeason with no less than forty Spots that could be realistically upgraded.
Each Season is its own Story: The Team that hits the Field in September is an Infant.
The Team that hits the Field in January...is a seasoned, developed Man.
I say let the Weak concern themselves with Continuity.
First, an Observation or Three...
01 ~ I absolutely hated the Brandin Cooks Trade. For one thing: He's a SlotBack. Julian Edelman is arguably the greatest SlotBack on the Planet when it matters ~ in the Winter ~ and while I'm an huge Fan of doubling down on Players whose composite Talents can provide a diabolically dramatic Advantage...I don't consider SlotBack that kind of Role.
2nd, this is a guy who squawked about not getting enough Targets after an enormous Win, when the Saints were fighting for their Lives. FootBall is a Team Sport, the last I heard, and I've got absolutely no use for the kind of Player who puts himself before the Team...And I could've sworn that Coach Belichick felt exactly the same way!!
3rd, we have, what with Christopher Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, and, should Mad Bill have taken a Chance, Michael Floyd, an extraordinary Crew of young, talented, potential Stars...whose Development is going to be crippled by having Brandin Cooks around, gobbling up Practice Reps all Year long. What an incredibly foolish, asinine Mistake.
4th, and above all the others: What in Hell was Mad Bill thinking of, trading a 1st Round Draft Pick and giving up additional Draft Value by swapping a 3rd for a 4th, for a young Veteran who's gonna soak up at least $10,000,000 a Year out'f the Salary Cap in the very near Future, unless Mad Bill simply cuts'm loose??? That's how Dynasties are destroyed.
Hey, I gave Cooks a Top 10/SuperBeast Grade & Rank a few Years ago, when he was rated as a borderline 3rd Rounder, and he and the Saints have proven all'f us correct...But to make this Move??? Horrible, horrible Trade.
02 ~ Malcolm Butler. I've always been concerned that Butler ~ who is built like a Slot Corner, after all ~ might not hold up to the Rigors of playing as a Boundary Corner forever...But the time to Cut Bait with such High Risk Players is usually when they're up for their third Contract, not their second. Butler is entering the Prime of his Career. Pay the man.
03 ~ Stephon Gilmore. An excellent Move. I do not approve of paying Top Dollar for CornerBacks, because I find their Value tends to be overrated, as I see things, relative to the Trench Gorillas, in who I am always happy to invest...But this is an unusual OffSeason, in that the Salary Cap is lurching violently upward...and so, consequently, is the Salary Floor.
If you've got to spend a few Bucks to meet Minimums, it might's well be on Top Shelf Players entering their Primes...and Stephon Gilmore, who I gave a 1st Round Grade to, back in 2012, is most definitely that.
04 ~ Dwayne Allen. Oh, boy. It's not the kind of Move that I necessarily would've made, but it's one that I definitely applaud. Allen's Contract may horrify many, and I can't blame'm. But I value Players differently than most. Allen hasn't racked up much Yardage in his Time, but he hasn't been deployed to do so, nor do I think that he ought to be.
Allen is a Tight End ~ not a Flex End like Aaron Hernandez but a classic Tight End like Rob Gronkowski ~ who possesses a remarkably compact Frame that is built to last...and the Power and Motor with plenty of Agility to develop into one'f the best Tight Ends in the Game, a bruising Blocker and a reliable and formidable Receiving Weapon.
And he's entering his Prime, tied up for all'f it.
His ostensibly Bloated Salary may in short order get revealed to be the startling Bargain that it already actually is.
05 ~ Martellus Bennett. Consequently, cutting loose Bennett, who looks like he's wearing out, is looking smart.
06 ~ Donta HighTower. Oh, Boy. I dunno...He's entering his Prime, and he's a great Leader with an extraordinary Mind and an excellent Motor...But he's got a Dragon's Frame, being asked to play MidFielder...That ain't natural, and I simply don't know how long he's gonna last. He's already missed a lot of Snaps, and I don't see that situation improving.
07 ~ Alan Branch. Terrific Deal. Branch is 32, so there's Risk, but he's been phenomenal, the last 3 Years, in a Rotational Role, and makes the other 10 Players far, far better, when he's out there, crushing the Trenches.
08 ~ Kony Ealy. Good Trade. Moving back from 64 to 72 for a 1 Year Flyer on Ealy? Not, again, what I would've done, but not a Trade that I'll squawk about. Ealy has some Talent, and it's a cheap Flyer that could pay off Big.
09 ~ Rex BurkHead. Magnificent Move. I split HalfBacks into SpeedBacks and PowerBackss because it's asinine not to, but BurkHead actually lies at that beautiful Confluence of Skill Sets where you could label'm as either...and where he exhibits the very best Aspects of both: Speed, Fluidity, and Power...and awesome Intelligence and Drive!!
Rex BurkHead is a Top Shelf Talent, capable of racking up 2000 Yards a Year as a Lead Back, were the Patriots foolish enough to take that approach...and we've got'm at classic Bargain Basement Pricing!! Woot!!
10 ~ Lawrence Guy. Not a bad Signing at all at 3.3 or so a Year...but it doesn't get me all Hot & Bothered.
But enough Commentary on what Bill The Mad (Genius) did. Onward with my Twisted Vision!!
To Begin: The Purge!!
01 ~ Let LeGarrette Blount find Greener Pastures. A poor Blocker, poor Receiver, a PowerBack with mediocre Power who was remarkably agile for a big guy, but who couldn't Move The Chains when it mattered, and a Bad Seed. He was gentlemanly here in New EngLand, but I'll never forget his abandoning his TeamMates in PittsBurgh.
02 ~ Jabaal Sheard. He's worth the Money, but there're better Options.
03 ~ Duron Harmon. Most Average CenterFielder in the Game. Far better Options are available for only a few Bucks more.
04 ~ Logan Ryan. This one stings, because I was one'f the few remaining Souls declaring Confidence in Logan Ryan two Years ago when he was almost universally scorned...And I hope he has a great Career. But while I believe that he is actually worth the $10,000,000/Year that he got on The Market, Greatness in The Era of The Infernal Salary cap is not attained by paying Fair Market Value to everyone possible, of course, and this is one of those Tough Decisions.
I believe that I've remembered the only major Divestitures I'd make.
01 ~ OC Steven Wisniewski. 3 Years/$9,000,000 + $6,000,000 possible Incentives. Wisniewski is a solid Guard and an excellent Center, and his inexplicably low Market is something that we should absolutely pounce on. Just an absolutely amazing Value: He's Agile, Strong, very Smart, in the Prime of'is Career and Dirt Cheap. Pounce on'm. David Andrews needs to be upgraded. He's not horrible, but for about the same Money, Wisniewski is a massive UpGrade.
02 ~ OT Ricky Wagner. 5 Years/$47,500,000. I'm a huge Fan of Wagner, who the Ravens brilliantly stole in the 5th Round of the 2013 Draft and then foolishly let go this OffSeason, just as he's hitting his Prime. He's brings an excellent combination of Power, Agility, and WingSpan. This makes'm the Game's top-paid Right Tackle, and he's worth it. And obviously this Signing means that I intend to trade Marcus Cannon. Cannon enjoyed a spectacular BreakOut 2016 Campaign, and the huge Extension that the Team gave'm in November indicates that they believe in'm. I'm loath to Disagree with Dante Scarnecchia, and won't do so, but I believe that Wagner'd be an enormous UpGrade.
Yeah...Did I mention that I believe in investing heavily in the Offensive Line??
03 ~ WB Kyle Juszczyk. 4 Years/$21,000.000. Once an enormous Proponent of Tight Ends and Flex Ends, I have come to perceive Flex Ends as suspiciously indicative of Offenses that can't Move The Chains when it matters, and Tight Ends as being either one-dimensional, or ~ if they're featured in the Passing Game, as Rob Gronkowski is ~ as being highly susceptible to Injuries. Consequently, I'ave evolved, philosophically, towards building an Offense around Players who provide both the Blocking Prowess that Tight Ends do and Flex Ends don't, combined with a far more Compact Frame, thus dramatically improving their Chances of reducing the frequency of Injuries crippling our Team: WingBacks.
Kyle Juszczyk, I believe, is a vastly underrated Offensive Threat in the Passing Game and an excellent Blocker. Perhaps far more importantly, though: His Presence on the Field would give absolutely nothing away, tactically, as he can RunBlock, PassBlock, Split Out in a Spread, or fake the Block only to slip DownField, catch the Ball, and rack it up.
He's entering the Prime of'is Career ~ 2nd Contract ~ and is spectacularly underpaid.
04 ~ WB Lance Kendricks. 4 Years/$10,000,000 plus Incentives. He actually signed for 2 and 4, but I want to wrap this guy up. Lance Kendricks is a Starting Quality WingBack who's been miscast as a Flex End for several Years. He brings exceptional Agility and Field Vision and tenacious Blocking to the Field of Battle, and is, yes, entering his Prime.
He is Dirt Cheap, and would enable us to seamlessly drop into my beloved Double WingBack Attack any that Gronkowski needs a break or misses Time, and the tactical Possibilities with him and Juszczyk out there'd be vast.
05 ~ SB Tyrannosaurus Rex Burkhead. 3 Years/$10,000,000. There's no way in Hell I settle for the 1 Year Contract that the Patriots accepted, if I can help it. I'm philosophically opposed to 1 Back BackFields, but if we were stupid enough to run this guy ragged, he'd have genuine 2000 Yard Potential. His Speed, Power, and Receiving Prowess is that.
Heh. I see that I originally listed'm as a PowerBack!! At 216, you really are an Hybrid.
Seriously, though: Mad Bill's bringing'm in was brilliant.
06 ~ BT Zachary Mangy Kerr. 3 Years/$5,000,000. 2 Years/$3,000,000 is what he signed for, but I want to wrap'm up. Bear Tackle. Very raw but very talented when he was inexplicably not drafted in 2014, Kerr has been growing into his tremendous Frame and mastering his Game. He's entering the Prime of his Career ~ notice a Theme, here?? ~ and would have the Potential to vastly outperform his Contract as the Wilforkian Heart of our Defense.
07 ~ WT Will Sutton. 3 Years/$7,500,000 on Team Option, basically 1 Year/$750,000. Sutton seems to get screwed over by Circumstance everywhere he goes, but I believe that there is a lot of Talent, there, and that if he can actually get put in a Position to succeed for a Change, he just might do so!! He's available Super Dirt Cheap at 1/690K.
08 ~ DE Datone Jones. Formerly what I call a Lion, Jones dropped 16 Pounds to register at 270 when the Packers flipped him to what you Earthlings call "Outside LineBacker", and even though he only closed 1 Sack, his Pressure Production increased substantially. Yet after 3 only moderately effective Years and that 4th as a 1st Rounder, Jones is reasonably considered a Bust and scored only a 1 Year/$3,750,000 + Incentives Deal with the Vikings. Me, I'd look to negotiate something more substantial, like a 3 Year/$13,500,000 + Incentives Deal. That's more'f a Win/Win.
09 ~ DE Devin Taylor. 3 Years/$7,500,000 + Incentives. What he actually got was 1 Year/$775,000, but I want to lock'm up!! Taylor will perhaps always be a better Athlete than FootBall Player, but he brings a sensational combination of Speed and WingSpan to the Field of Battle, and he evidently has at least a Clue as to how to play FootBall, as he managed to tally 7 Sacks on 550 Snaps in 2015 ~ that's a Pro Bowl Rate ~ before sliding into Mediocrity as a Starter, last Year. There is enormous untapped Impact Potential, here, if our Coaching Staff can help'm find the way to unleash it.
10 ~ MF Daryl Washington. Minimal, but you can be damned sure that I'd insist on keeping the Option to tie'm up Cheaply, as with all these Deals. He's turned 30, hasn't played since 2013, and has 1 Domestic Abuse Citation along with all the Booze, so he'd obviously be on a Hair Trigger Deal. But his Talent is magnificent, and I believe in Hope.
11 ~ RB Johnathan Cyprien. 4 Years/$25,000,000. Ascending Potential Star, just entering his Prime. He's a Late Bloomer for whom it all started clicking in 2016. A Beast against the Run, and better in Coverage than perceived.
12 ~ RB Dayario Swearinger. 3 Years/$13,500,000. Nominally a CenterFielder, but very much a Hard Hitter with a Rover's Mentality, and, like Cyprien, a Later Bloomer who improved substantially in 2016 and is entering his Prime.
13 ~ CB Stephon Gilmore. Not my kind of Move, but he's a Top Shelf Corner entering his Prime. I love it.
Regarding our guys...
14 ~ Extend CB Malcolm Butler if he's reasonable, but let'm flirt with the Saints if he isn't. But make it clear to him that we'd love to have'm back. I'm not privy to what passed, but quite possibly all of that Drama was unnecessary. I say that we look to extend'm and pay'm in'is Prime. When it's time for the 3rd Contract, though, it might be time to part ways. Smaller CornerBacks tend to wear down faster and peak earlier. But lock'm up in'is Prime?? Absolutely.
15 ~ DE Donta HighTower. I'm concerned about HighTower's enormous Size as a MidFielder much as I am about Butler's tiny Size as a CornerBack: His Long Term Health. Indeed, he's missed Time in each'f the last 3 Years, and I must admit that I'm a bit concerned about his 2nd Contract, much less his 3rd. But he's an integral part of this Team. I'd risk it.
Some Reserves with Potential to be much more...
16 ~ OG Amini Silatolu. Minimum. A former 2nd Rounder who I've always been very high on, Silatolu's a Long Shot to start, as he's injury-riddled and has blown out both ACL's. However, he brings a rare and excellent combination of Power and Agility, which means that he could excel at either Right Guard or Left, and now that he's had an entire Year off, it's not impossible that not only his ACL's will be 100%, as they should be, but that the rest has restored all of his Health. Additionally, if he's a Swing Reserve, as I foresee, the lack of Wear & Tear should help'm sustain his Health.
17 ~ SE Mitchell Mathews. Minimum. Tremendous Height/Agility Combo.
18 ~ MF Christian Jones. Being a Heathen, I don't necessarily cotton to Christians, but this one's always been a Favorite.
19 ~ MF Jordan Tripp. Always been intrigued.
20 ~ MF Jelani Jenkins. Tremendous Coverage MidFielder and all right in Run Defense. Looked bad, last Year, playing through Pain, and comes at The Minimum, astonishing for a MidFielder good enough to start and excel.
21 ~ MF Michael Mauti. Yeah, I'm a Sucker for MidFielders. Mauti's always interested me, and the fact that he's perhaps finally put his Problem ~ an Ulcer ~ behind'm leads me to speculate that his best Year may be Dead Ahead.
X ~ MFC Michael Nolan. Nolan is an utterly brilliant Coach who's made spectacular Impacts in several Stops, clearly one of the best FootBall Minds in the Game, yet has to go scraping for a Job. I'd hire'm and pay'm a Ransom. Mad Bill appreciates Brilliance, and would gain a tremendous Collaborator and Coordinator.
And, then....Pre-Draft Trades!!
01 ~ 2018 7th Rounder to the Jaguars for DE Christopher Smith, beating the Bengals' conditional 2018 Draft Pick Trade. Smith hasn't done much at all since the Jaguars drafted'm int the 5th Round back in 2014, but his Squat, Beefy Frame, lengthy WingSpan, and Raw Power and Agility are too much for me to ignore at such a crucial Position.
02 ~ RB Patrick Chung to the CowBoys for #246. I like Chung, but he's a Veteran, about to hit 30, poised for a Decline, and was never a dominant Player. And there're such Ascending Talents at RoverBack on The Market that it feels like Time to Make a Move!! I hope that I don't offend anyone by suggesting such a low Return on his Contract and Services, but the Reality of the Salary Cap Era is that you're not just trading Capital for a Player: You're also trading the Capacity to sign someone else for his Salary Cap FootPrint, so what you're really acquiring is the Difference, hence the 7th Rounder.
03 ~ Sign SB Michael Gillislee off the Bills for #163. I'm tagging Gillislee as a SpeedBack because I generally do so with HalfBacks under 220 Pounds, and it'd feel silly even for me to create a third HalfBack Category, but, having said that, I'm going on The Record to say that I believe that Gillislee's 216 Pounds ~ the same Weight as Rex Burkhead ~ is what I consider to be the unchallenged Sweet Spot for HalfBacks: Those guys often have just enough Beef to play effectively Between The Tackles while also being light enough to play effectively Outside The Tackles. And indeed I believe that Gillislee exhibits an extraordinary Fusion of Power and Agility, highly underrated Pass Catching Skills, and awesome Blocking Skills. I'm reading that he's likely to take on Blount's Short Yardage Role, and indeed I consider him to be a spectacular UpGrade in that regard, but I believe that, far from being a "BackUp" level Talent ~ frankly, I reject the entire concept of "BackUp" Backs, as I believe Rotations are the only way to go ~ that this is a guy, given the Snaps, entirely capable of racking up 1500 Yards on the Ground on 4.8 YPC, and another 500 through the Air. I shit you not.
04 ~ Right. So, having signed one who I consider a potentially vastly superior Right Tackle in Free Agency, my Next Move is to trade Marcus Cannon, and while there'd be several Bidders for the Services of a guy who appears to've Broken Out in Coach Scarnecchia's Scheme as he heads into his Prime at a Nice Value, I'm thinking that the Best Match would be Beefalo, desperately in need of a Right Tackle, and indeed having already ~ retroactively ~ proven that they'd've been willing to pay a hefty price indeed to acquire the Services of a Prospect who might Fill the Bill...Well, my Thinking is that they'd've been very happy to pay that exact Price ~ and a sliver more ~ for a young, established Veteran, heading into his Prime, playing for a Bargain Contract: OT Marcus Cannon to Beefalo for #75, #149, #156...and WB Nicklaus O'Leary!!
05 ~ The Big One. I like Jimmy Garrapolo very much, but not so much more than what he can ~ speculatively ~ fetch in a Trade, one Year before he commands a $20,000,000 Salary, contrasted with the admittedly utterly unknown Shelf Life of Tom Brady's Greatness, but also contrasted with the Possibilities of who else is currently out there and might yet develop, to pass on what might be a very bountiful King's Ransom!! Pure Speculation, but: QB Jimmy Garappolo to the CleveLand Browns for #12, #65, #108, and #175...And, yes: Maybe we could've gotten #33, as well, or their 2018 1st Rounder...or both!! Or far less...Who knows??? I'm just trying to be reasonable in the light of Vast and sprawling Possibilities!!
Draft Day Trades!!
Those'f you who've read my Prattle before know that I go ApeShit on Draft Day Trades.
There're very few Trade Down Scenarios that I reject.
But I'm also always looking to Move Up.
The Draft ain't no Crap Shoot, not if you do your Research and have an Eye for Talent and Good Judgement...I flatter myself that I have all'f that, so I try ~ theoretically ~ to amass as many Picks as possible, as long as I'm getting Good Value in Trades, of course, because I want to pick off as many of my Binkies as I can, given the Chance to!!
To spare The Reader an excess of SideNotes: All of the following Trades either actually happened, and with the other guy getting a lesser Pick than I ended up ~ theoretically ~ trading to'm, or were very reasonable Equivalents.
In other Words: I didn't go on any Flights of Fancy with these theoretical Trades.
They were either perfectly equitable to Trades that actually happened, with Teams that actually made them...or they actually offered Better Value than the Teams that made the Trades received, in the Trades that actually happened.
Once more and With Feeling: Every one of these Trades was based on what actually happened:
#12 to Planet Hoosten for #25, #57, #130, and #169!!
In Reality, Planet Hoosten gave up #25 and their 2018 1st Rounder.
#96 + #108 to the Cardinals for #77!!
#103 + #131 to the Lions for #85!!
#77 + #149 to the Jets for #70!!
All based off'f Real Trades.
#137 to the Chiefs for #170 + #180!!
#183 to the Giants for #207 + #241!!
#207 to the Titans for #217 + #227!!
All directly based off'f Real Trades, with the last one exact, and the first 3 giving up a Premium on what actually happened!!
I've actually now amassed 3 more Picks than I'm gonna deploy right now...but that's because I've only got all the way through the Offensive Tackles, and'll probably pick up more than 3 Binkies in the weeks ahead!!
25 BX Trent Watt
SuperBeast ~ Top 10 Grade!!
32 CB Kevin King
SuperBeast ~ Top 10 Grade!!
57 OG Dion Dawkins
Beast ~ 1st/2nd Round Grade!!
64 CB Ahkello Witherspoon
SuperBeast ~ Top 10 Grade!!
65 FB Cooper Kupp
SuperBeast ~ Top 10 Grade!!
70 FB Taywan Taylor
Beast ~ 1st Round Grade!!
75 FB Carlos Henderson
SuperBeast ~ Top 10 Grade!!
85 PB Kareem Hunt
Beast ~ 1st Round Grade!!
130 DE Deatrich Wise
No Report, Yet, but based on my Notes, this seems a likely Binky!!
156 OT Roderick Johnson
Hail Mary ~ 3rd Round Grade!!
169 QB Nathan Peterman
Beast ~ 1st Round Grade!!
170 CB Brian Allen
No Report, Yet, but based on my Notes, this seems a likely Binky!!
175 OT Jylan Ware
Warrior ~ 2nd/3rd Round Grade!!
180 SE Noah Brown
Beast ~ 1st Round Grade!!
217 OC Aviante Collins
Hail Mary ~ 3rd Round Grade!!
227 OT Maximilian Rich
Hail Mary ~ 3rd/4th Round Grade!!
...And of course there're 5 More Picks to come...more'r less!!
Obviously, if I could snag 5 SuperBeasts ~ Top 10 Grade and 6 Beasts ~ 1st or 1st/2nd Round Grades ~ I'd be pretty happy.
Of course: We're just talking about the Prospects's Prospects...There're always many FlameOuts.
How's The Team Look??
Trading Jimmy Garappolo is obviously a DownGrade, but I have just about the same Trajectory ~ Prospective Value ~ for Nathan Peterman. Peterman's very cerebral, very cool, and athletically underrated, I believe. He is stacked with the Processing Speed, Pocket Poise, Field Vision, and Diagnostic Acuity that it takes to succeed at the next level.
He's the kind of QB that doesn't dazzle you...but Moves The Chains consistently and well...and when it matters.
Dramatic UpGrade, going from David Andrews to Steven Wisniewski.
My Man Shaq Mason is also a very strong Candidate/SwingMan.
Aviante Collins? A highly talented Taxi Squad guy.
Big Fan of Ascending Warrior Joseph Thuney at Left Guard.
And I believe that Dion Dawkins has sensational Potential at Right Guard.
Mason, too, has tremendous Potential as a Right Guard. Optimally, I'd love to see Dawkins win the starting Right Guard gig with Mason and Amini Silatolu winning the Interior Reserve jobs, though Jamil Douglas has Reserve Potential.
Nate "Universal" Solder isn't my kind of Left Tackle ~ too tall ~ but he's effective.
Ricky Wagner I of course believe to be an Ascending Star at Right Tackle.
Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle are serviceable Reserves, while Antonio Garcia and Conor McDermott are decent Prospects, but I want far better Potential than any'f'm, and I believe that Jylan Ware, Roderick Johnson, and Maximilan Rich all bring tremendous Potential. Rich is raw, so we'd likely be able to stash'm on the Taxi Squad.
Our Depth of Talent there would be flat out amazing.
Tremendous Improvement, with UpGrades at Center, Right Guard, and Right Tackle, and overall Depth!!
Big Step Back, just the way I want it, with Injury-prone Towers being phased out by compact, resilient WingBacks!! Rob Gronkowski would be the only Tight End that I'd carry, and I wouldn't carry any Flex Ends at all.
Yes, I no longer carry Flex Ends, but must give Props to Mad Bill for the phenomenal Trade for James O'Shaughnessy!!
Spectacular UpGrade, of course, with Kyle Juszczyk and Lance Kendricks tearing things up, and James Develin might well prove to be an excellent Reserve. My Idea would be to see that Juszczyk and Kendricks get a Ton of Snaps, thus allowing Gronkowksi to get regular Breathers, including a lot of Double WingBack Attack Formations!!
And Nicklaus O'Leary is my X Factor, though I seem to be the only Soul high on'm!!
We carry none, nor did we, since that Tampa Bay guy from the Mankins Trade got kicked loose.
An ancillary Gig on this Team, which Values Fluidity, wisely, over Size. Floyd is gone, and that is well done.
Noah Brown is a Project with Potential. Could be a Taxi Squad Guy.
Christopher Hogan is a remarkable and phenomenal Story.
He cannot get too many Snaps.
Vastly upgraded, with Cooper Kupp, Taywan Taylor, and Carlos Henderson being added, in order of Selection, but quite possibly in reverse order of UpSide/Speed to Impact. In any case, I'm very high on all 3, and wouldn't've dreamed of amassing so much Talent at one particular Position, except that the Law of Supply and Demand opened up these spectacular Opportunities to get Top 10 Talent Dirt Cheap, and I'm damned if I'm gonna pass that up!!
With Julian EdelPerson and Danny Amendola Rock&Rolla already around, we hardly needed that many additions, but I'm the kind of guy who believes in OverLoading when Opportunity knocks ~ with a Mind towards letting our Foes frantically try to figure out how to deal with us!! Injuries happen, and one can never possess too much Depth of Talent.
And Malcolm Mitchell may very well turn out to be the greatest of this entire Crew!!
With Julian EdelPerson to lead the way, the ascending Talents of Christopher Hogan + Malcolm Mitchell, and the rather remarkable Danny Amendola around, it was ~ with all due Respect to Brother Bill Belichick ~ asinine to add Brandin Cooks, much less give up a 1st Rounder form. He'll just get in way of ~ and potentially cripple ~ the Development of potential Stars in Hogan and Mitchell, whereas adding these 3 Top Shelf Talents would allow those 2 to develop and flourish while developing these 3...and thus develop the deepest, cheapest WideOut Corp in History!!
LaGarrette Blount was technically a PowerBack ~ you can't call a 250 or whatever Pounder a SpeedBack, right?? ~ but had Shit for Power when it mattered: Gaining 2 or 3 Yards on his own against Strong Fronts when we needed it.
Kareem Hunt, on the other hand, has a bit'f that kind of Power...even 40 Pounds lighter!!
Oh...And he can catch the Ball...and Block...and is therefore 1000 Time more effective as a PowerBack!!
Brandon Bolden is almost certainly on the outside looking in, but I've always like his Catch/Run Versatility.
With Dion Lewis, James White, and Darryl Foster already here, I'm ecstatic to add Rex Burkhead and Michael Gillislee!!
These are 5 supremely talented SpeedBacks as effective in the Passing Game, all f'ive'f'm, as in the Running Game, and in BurkHead's and Gillislee's particular cases, with enough Power to run Inside The Tackles, too!!
I have no Idea how we're gonna keep all 5...But as Problems go, that'll do just fine!!
The most dynamic and explosive HalfBacks are those who weigh in at about 216, which is in that murky region in between
SpeedBack and PowerBack ~ Jay Ajayi, baby!! ~ and who therefore might very well produced enough Power to excel Between The Tackles and enough Speed to excel Outside The Tackles...But pure SpeedBacks, if they offer a genuine Pass/Run Hybrid Threat, are also very valuable...Well, every one of these 6 offers that genuine Hybrid Threat, and Burkhead, Hunt, and Gillislee all offer genuine Power and Speed...This Crew is dramatically UpGraded!!
Core Defensive Line ~ Bears, Wolves, Lions, and Yetti
Our Core, Thank Jesus, doesn't actually look so bad, as BT Malcolm Brown and YT Alan Branch are returning, both here and in Real Life...and in my Version of Reality, we're actually adding BT Zachary Kerr and WT Will Sutton, both'm whom offer tremendous, young Talent that might very well get developed and unleashed in the right Setting!!
Hybrids ~ Dragons & Bandits
Here, we have of course gotten gutted, with DE Chandler Jones, our #1, having been traded away a Year ago, with Bandit Jamie Collins haven been inexplicably ~ and oh by the way: brilliantly ~ given away in MidSeason ~ Mid-Championship Season, for those'f you scoring at Home!! ~ and with the additional defections of Jabaal Sheard, Christopher Long, and, just today, Rob Ninkovich, it's fair to say that we've lost more Hybrid FirePower in 18 Months than most Teams dream of having on their entire Roster...Our Hybrid Depth has been gutted...Fortunately, Fanatical Yankee is relentlessly striving to build and develop Depth of Talent, for he presumes Nothing of the Future...And around Trey Flowers, who I mocked to us in 2014, thank you, and Donta HighTower, who is currently described as a MidFielder, but who has no earthly place, there, as his multitudinous Injuries, which'll very likely only escalate as he grows older, playing way out'f Position, will attest, I have theoretically brought in young, ascending DE's Datone Jones and Devin Taylor, both entering their Primes, and drafted DE Deatrich Wise ~ well done, Coach Bill!! ~ and, above all: Bandit Trent Watt, who oozes Greatness. And Christopher Smith brings a very intriguing Frame/Power/Agility Combination to the Field of Battle!!
MidFielders & Bandits
They way that I've ~ theoretically done it, we are of course outrageously overloaded with MidFielders...and that's just the way I like it!! I've always been an enormous Fan of Shea McClellin, and believe that his best FootBall is dead ahead. I'm intrigued by Kyle Van Noy, as well, and believe that both have exceptional starting Potential.
Elandon Roberts is a bit linear for my Tastes, but I really like this explosive kid. I would've liked to've brought back my man Barkevious Mingo, but there were other MidFielders out there that I liked even more, so there's no way that I would've matched what Indy gave'm, nor would he likely have come back even if I ~ theoretically ~ did!!
A big part of the whole Idea of Mock Drafts ~ or Full Service BackDrafts!! ~ is to match Wits with one's Team's Management, of course, and I love to do so...But I must give particularly amazed Props to Mad Bill for acquiring the likes of McClellin, Roberts, Van Noy, Mingo, and Jonathan Bostic for practically nothing over the last couple of Years!! Amazing.
To McClellin, Van Noy, and Roberts, I would be adding Daryl Washington, Christian Jones, Jordan Tripp, Jelani Jenkins, and Michael Mauti, with the Idea being that the last 6 are competing for 2 or 3 Spots, with any'm having a legitimate Opportunity to win a spot and earn Snaps. If Washington in particular were to work out, our Defense would improve dramatically, and in any case these moves would improve our Depth of Talent dramatically.
I guess I say that a lot, huh? But of course that's the Goal!!
A big Change, of course, trading Patrick Chung and signing Jonathan Cyprien. Obviously, I believe that it's an UpGrade, and potentially a substantial one, with Chung hitting 30 and Cyprien hitting his Prime.
In Reserve, I'd be looking at Nathaniel Ebner and Jordan Richards ~ yet another tragic 2nd Round Defensive Back Pick, Oy!! ~ duking it out. But then Dayario Swearinger is a hybrid Rover/CenterFielder.
Devin McCourty returns, to our general Rejoicing, and Swearinger as his hard-hitting Reserve, replacing Duron Harmon.
With both Cyprien and Swearinger, I believe that our Secondary would be substantially improved.
Much as I loved and continue to love Logan Ryan, and loathe as I am to expend Big Money at CornerBack, I believe that it is sometimes wise to do so, and I believe that signing Stephon Gilmore for Big Bucks as he enters his Prime was the Right Move. With him and Malcolm Butler both entering their Prime, taking on the best 2 WideOuts, and with the additional Benefit of being able to mix and match between the two, with Butler talking the Spry Fly and Gilmore taking the Towering Beast, the compound effect on the rest of the Defense's ability to implement all sorts of disruptive Tactics increases exponentially ~ the compound effect being far greater than if one or the other played on different Teams.
Likewise, piggybacking on Mad Bill's MasterStroke, I would not sit idly by and assume that Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones, and Justin Coleman would suffice as Reserves ~ though they bring considerable Potential, themselves!!
The 2017 Draft being festooned as it was with cheap yet highly talented young Corners, I would've dipped into that crowded Sea of Corners not once, not twice, but 3 Times, bringing in Kevin King, Ahkello Witherspoon, and ~ unless I change my mind, later!! ~ Brian Allen!! You can never have too much Depth of Talent at CornerBack, I've heard, and once King and Witherspoon get Operational, you'll be looking at the most dynamic Top 4 Corner Cartel in the Galaxy!!
That's my Team, SuperBeast 8.0, albeit with Updates to come by the end of August!!
08/06/17 Addendum: I'm going to append this to SuperBeast, Version 8.0: Sign Terrell Pryor!!
He took 1 Year with the RedSkins for $6,000,000 plus Incentives. I think that I could've got'm ~ I'm a very charming Fellow, you know!! ~ to latch on for 4 Years and $30,000,000, which is about half of what I believe he'll prove to be worth!!
Pryor is really a Flex End, not a Split End, at 6045/240...but at a 442 40, he can play Split End or Flanker all day long. He is a physical and cerebral Freak, He is driven, and my Money is on him erupting, and becoming one'f the most destructive WideOut in all the Land!! He just turned 28, he's entering his Prime, and he's got very little Wear on'is Tires!!
I'll work out the Details, later, which'll almost certainly involve reconfiguring Version 8.0 to back off'f drafting all those Flankers ~ for a guy who doesn't place too much Value on WideOuts, I'm currently tracking to have 7 Uncuttables plus Amendola!! ~ which in turn'd allow me to draft Offensive Guard Dorian Johnson!!
I'll get straight to it: I believe that there's a very strong Chance that we're about to witness a Blow Out.
Call me Crazy, but I predicted one 3 Years ago. I, and I alone, predicted, on the Record, that the 3 Point UnderDog SeaHawks would destroy the high-flying Broncos..and the SeaHawks annihilated them!!
The Falcons, too, are 3 Point UnderDogs...But for them I do not foresee a similar outcome.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
I'm hearing and reading all sorts of different accounts of what the results have been, historically, when the #1 Offense has met the #1 Defense in the Super Bowl. First off, please allow me to clarify that "#1 Defense" has always only meant one thing: The Defense that gave up the least Points. Only an Idiot believes that Yards trump Points.
And the Record, since the Merger of the Leagues in 1970, is that the #1 Offense has met the #1 Defense exactly 5 Times... and that the results have been the the #1 Defense has prevailed, 4 times out of 5.
That just begins to tell the Story, though.
The one Time that the #1 Defense failed was in 1989, when the Broncos's #1 Defense got shellacked, 55-10, by the #1 Miners Offense...and the #3 Miners Defense. And that's the thing: In 1989, the NFC was still dominant over the AFC. The Miners's Defense had earned its #3 Rating against PowerHouses like the Giants, RedSkins, Eagles, Bears, Saints, Vikings, and Rams...a Murderer's Row of prolific Team that would've run roughshod over AFC Defenses.
Ranking duly noted, but the Miners fielded the better Defense, that day. And it showed.
What I'd like to know...Is how many Times the #1 Offense has gone up against the #1 Defense...while also fielding the #27 Defense going up against the #3 Offense?? For that, Ladies & Laddies, is what the Falcons are going to do.
I'm not looking at such a narrow Scope, of course.
But we are looking at Great Offense + Great Defense Versus Great Offense + Awful Defense.
The 1984 Fish actually fielded a good Defense going into the Super Bowl, which happens to be on that list of 5 that I linked above, and which fielded Joe Montana's Miners versus Dan Marino's Fish ~ the #1 Defense + #2 Offense Versus the #7 Defense + #1 Offense...and although the Fish were supposed to be phenomenal and although Marino had just set a TouchDown Record and was supposed to revolutionize the Game...the Miners demolished them, 38-16.
Perhaps more compelling examples of what I'm trying to say are provided for by Super Bowls where Teams with Top Shelf Offenses and Defenses went against Teams with Top Shelf Offenses...but rather mediocre Defenses.
I humbly offer you 3 such examples:
Giants ~ #8 Offense + #2 Defense
Broncos ~ #6 Offense + #15 Defense
Giants ~ 39
Broncos ~ 20
CowBoys ~ #2 Offense + #5 Defense
Beefalo ~ #3 Offense + #14 Defense
CowBoys ~ 52
Beefalo ~ 17
And of course...
SeaHawks ~ #9 Offense + #1 Defense
Broncos ~ #1 Offense + #22 Defense
SeaHawks ~ 43
Broncos ~ 8
That's an average Margin of Victory of 30 Points, Ladies & Laddies. And it wasn't luck.
When you can stop the other Team, but the other Team can't stop you...you have a recipe for a Slaughter.
And, for what it's worth: I came up with this Score before I researched those:
Patriots ~ #3 Offense + #1 Defense
Falcons ~ #1 Offense + #27 Defense
Patriots ~ 45
Falcons ~ 17
So Let It Be Written.
* By the way: Bovada ~ who is not paying me to mention this but ought to!! pays off 9-1 if you lay 21.5 Points.
I'll fill this out later, hopefully tonight. Right now, I'm just going with Bare Bones...
But for now I just want to get the Trades and Picks in for The Record on Opening Day morning, before the Patriots's Season officially starts against the Cardinals. It's been an outrageously intense 15 Months.
What follows are based on 99% Fact and 1% Speculation, as every Trade described here pretty much happened:
Jones to the Cardinals for OF Jon Cooper and #62!!
#128 to the Bears for #205 and TE Martellus Bennett!!
The Miners traded for #28 to get ahead of the Cardinals, so the Bounty that they paid would of course be 99% applicable to us, drafting right ahead of the Miners in a World where an Owner with Testicular Foritude was running the Ship.
#29 & #251 to the Cardinals for #38, #106, and #179!!
The Fish paid this, and even though they're back a Spot x2, it'll do!! #38 to the Fish for #43 & #108!!
The Freight for #48 is good enough for me!! #48 to the Packers for #58, #126, and #249!!
The Freight for #59 is good enough for me!! #58 to Tampa for #75 and #107!!
Just like it happened…though at a slight Discount!! #61 to the Saints for #79 and #113!!
The Freight for #100 is good enough for me!! #97 to the Raiders for #115 and #155!!
Just like it happened…though at a slight Discount!! #113 to the Bears for #118 and #207!!
62 OG Joseph Thuney
75 OG Isaac Seumalo
79 OT LeRaven Clark
92 DE Charles Tapper
106 FB Malcolm Mitchell
107 LE David Onyemata
108 SE Tajae Sharpe
115 PB Jonathan Williams
118 SC Trey Caldwell
126 GB Jatavis Brown
155 SE Moritz Boehringer
179 TE David Morgan
196 RB Kavon Frazier
205 PB Dwayne Washington
207 MF Scooby Wright
209 MF Joseph Walker
215 OT Dominique Robertson
222 SB Byron Marshall
243 SB Darryl Foster
249 SB Keith Marshall
Deferred 2017th 5th Rounder for Barkevious Mingo? Absolutely. Not a big fan of Bandits, but a Fan of Mingo's.
Never would've let Hicks go. He was a Binky of mine.
Never would've signed Pork Chop. Hell, no.
Christopher Hogan has flat out magnificent Potential. Phenomenal Pick Up, Mad Bill!!
Martellus Bennett is a Jack Ass, to put it kindly...But getting him for Scraps was the Trade of the Century. Nobody has ever fielded the Double Dirty Dog Elite Tight End Power that we're prepared to Field...The potential Tactical and Strategic Advantages are incalculable. Aaron Hernandez was an entirely different kind of Player than Bennett.
Shae McClellin was a phenomenal Pick Up. Phenomenal.
I hope to liberate enough Time to flesh these bits out dramatically, tonight, but the important thing to me was to get this out ~ noting that I prefer, ultimately, to get these out by Memorial Day each Year, mind you ~ before the Season kicked off.
Yeah...It's been a very intensive 15 Months.
Philosophically, I've long since forgone the necessity for choosing one guy over another.
I have, for instance, little desire to resolve for myself which of the Dynasties that've flourished over the Years stands above the others: I am content to put the Bears of the 40's, the Browns of the 50's, the Packers of the 60's, the Steelers of the 70's, the Miners of the 80's, the CowBoys of the 90's, and of course our Patriots of Current Day in the same elite Tier...though the Patriots make it increasingly difficult to do so!!
As such, I feel no imperative to choose between Brady and Manning. I would be quite content to describe them as sharing space on the same elite level...except that I simply don't believe this to be the case.
Most of us are not mathematically inclined, yet recognize the value of mathematics ~ stats ~ in supporting Arguments. I myself am intensely mathematically inclined, yet conversely am far less inclined to argue with statistics in FootBall matters. I do not believe that Brady's 4 Super Bowls versus Manning's 0 ~ I consider his 2006 "Championship" utterly forfeit due to FaceGuardingGate ~ settle the matter any more decisively than Manning's gaudy TouchDown and Yardage stats: Nobody's putting Terry Bradshaw out there.
I don't believe that there is a statistic or a Formula or indeed any combination of tangible things that you can point to about which you can say that it proves beyond a reasonable doubt that one or the other is better.
And I'm perfectly fine with that.
And yet, I believe that one is decisively better than the other.
I cannot point to one incident to support my Belief.
I can only say this: When The Chips Are Down ~ when The Only Games That Really Matter are being played ~ there is absolutely no question who I want steering my Ship: Tom Brady.
And it's not even close.
As a Transcendentalist, I am forever examining and challenging my own Motivations and Thought Processes, and have done so extensively on this matter, all the way back to 2001, back before the Debate had its Beginning. I have of course asked myself if I was merely being an Homer to prefer Brady.
I am eminently fallible, but I don't believe that that is the case.
My application of the Electronic Term "Processing Speed" to FootBall not only dates back to the Brady versus Manning Debate: It was produced by the Brady versus Manning Debate.
A Player's Processing Speed ~ his ability to effectively Rapidly Read & React in a Tactical Environment ~ can of course only be inferred by watching him In Battle. It simply cannot be measured.
That of course makes it difficult both to assess and to employ as an Argument.
But it is, I believe, precisely what separates Brady from Manning.
Indeed, I believe it puts Brady far above Manning.
And I believe that is always has.
It was 2004 when the application of the term ~ Processing Speed ~ broke upon me in an Epiphany, and all I had seen suddenly clicked into place and made sense. 2004, we all recall, was in many ways the height of intensity of this Debate ~ Brady winning his 3rd Championship while Manning broke Marino's Record.
The big Argument against Brady, of course, was that he was but a Game Manager!!
Manning was of course put forth by his BallWashing Legions as a SuperStar held back by mediocre Defenses, while Brady was a mere Game Manager who road the back of great Defenses to Championships.
Indeed, there were and perhaps remain many fair-minded Patriot Fans who consider that to be the case.
But Manning has benefited with several Top 10 Defenses over the last Decade:
More to the point, though, though it's admittedly, once again, not something you can quantify:
When Manning's out there, I feel that he's a dangerous Foe, yes...But I don't now, nor have I ever, and this is going all the way back to 2004, to 2003, and indeed to 2001 when we first humilated'm, sensed that Confidence, that sense of Invincibility that I have always sensed in Tom Brady.
I don't believe that that's Wishful Thinking on my part.
It's in the Body Language.
Manning is a phenomenal QuarterBack...But I've always felt ~ always sensed ~ that he's just a little bit nervous, out there: That he's always only one unexpected defensive wrinkle away from Panic.
I never get that sense.
That guy's Body Language always gives me the Idea that there isn't any Scenario that he isn't ready for.
That guy always give me the sense that he knows what's about to happen before it happens.
That's not the case, of course: FootBall is a Chess Match and there are literally dozens of Moves possible on any given Snap: One rarely actually knows what the other Team is going to do.
But there isn't a QuarterBack in the Game better prepared for anything than Tom Brady.
Nor, I believe, having watched him and others In Battle for 15 magnificent Years, is there a QuarterBack who reads and reacts to the Tactical LandScape more rapidly and effectively...or with such deadly Precision.
And when you watch him...you know that he knows that.
Brady versus Manning?
There is a reason why Manning has failed so many Times over the Years once the Live Bullets started flying after New Years Day when The Only Games That Really Matter are played. Yes.
Put Manning in a Class Room in front of a ChalkBoard with Brady, and they are competitive: Manning is a Student of the Game who prepares as well as anyone...except perhaps Brady.
But send'm into Battle in January when Defensive Coordinators empty their Bags of Tricks, forcing Manning to Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome ~ to Rapidly Read and React in a Tactical Environment??
One and Done, baby.
He's simply not in Brady's League.
Yeah, it's a Dream Come True: The way the SeaHawks worked something like 7 Guys as a Crew in 2013 ~ rotating'm in and out and keeping everyone fresh and Explosive ~ was how I've always dreamed of doing things.
The Fact that Mad Bill is so intensely focused on Excellence with evidently no regard at all to How He's Been Doing Things ~ to the extent that he can beat a Team in The Greatest Super Bowl Ever Played and yet learn from them...is perhaps the most defining Testimony to his Greatness that there is.
He has to a great extent adopted the Platoon approach to the Defensive Front Line that his estimable Foes had deployed to such extraordinary Advantage in building a Championship Season and annihilating the Donkeys in 2013...and it is indeed a Joy to Behold that The Greatest Student of this Great Game ~ That's Mad Bill Belichick ~ has once again improvised, adapted, and overcome, to the tremendous Benefit of his Team...and his devoted Fans!!
01 ~ Begin the Season with a Chance to win Back to Back Championships, we did.
02 ~ A deep and talented Team with High Hopes and Expectorations, we had.
03 ~ Start off with a long string of Victories, we did.
04 ~ Super Bowl Favorites, we became.
05 ~ Yet then...beset by Injuries, we were.
06 ~ Got blown out by the Steelers, we did.
07 ~ Shit themselves, many Fans did, mm-mhh!!
08 ~ Went over to the Lame Side, they did.
09 ~ Forget who they were rooting for, they did.
Fear is the path to The Dark Side.
Fear leads to Anger.
Anger leads to Hate.
Hate leads to suffering.
10 ~ Sucks, suffering does.
Win, the Patriots will.
Ass, they will kick.
Forget it not.
Though I suspect that many would disagree with me on this, I don't believe that the Patriots are a Team of 53 Robots who Mad Bill has imposed his Will on, in terms of Keep Your PieHole Shut and Do Your Job.
What I mean to say is: I don't believe that he's reigning them in so much as constantly seeking to gather 53 guys so inclined by their own Natures: Guys who are passionate but focused, who understand the destructive potential of running their mouths ~ or Tweets ~ in Public, and are too focused on Winning to do so.
A Team of 53 Individuals focused on each other ~ on the Team.
All For One and One For All, By God.
And that's why I love this Team.
What a Privilege to root for'm.