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It’s been mostly a week of quarterbacks when talking about the Steelers and Broncos – one a veteran who is a master at extending the play, but is hobbled while recovering from an ankle injury; the other a young buck who helped his team win their division, but is struggling as of late and overall ability is in question.
31-year old QB Michael Vick will be returning to the scene of the crime this weekend as his Eagles are heading to Atlanta to deal with the Falcons on Sunday Night Football. Vick played his first six years in the NFL with the Falcons. He was quickly replaced by Matt Ryan as the starting QB, while he was in the pokey. Vick wasn’t very accurate in the season opener for the Eagles as he only completed 14 of 32 passes (43.8%) for 187 yards with 2 TD passes and 0 INTs (83.7 QB Rating). Vick also carried the ball 11 times for 97 yards (8.8 ypc) against the Rams last week. The Eagles are going to need Vick to be in the right frame of mind this weekend if they are going to beat the Falcons in the Georgia Dome. The crowd is going to be live in Atlanta.
Mike Rodak recaps the Patriots’ nine selections in this year’s draft.
* Round 1, 17th overall — OT Nate Solder (Colorado)
* Round 2, 33rd overall — CB Ras-I Dowling (Virginia)
* Round 2, 56th overall — RB Shane Vereen (California)
* Round 3, 73rd overall — RB Stevan Ridley (LSU)
* Round 3, 74th overall — QB Ryan Mallett (Arkansas)
* Round 5, 138th overall — OL Marcus Cannon (TCU)
* Round 5, 159th overall — TE Lee Smith (Marshall)
* Round 6, 194th overall — OLB/DE Markell Carter (Central Arkansas)
* Round 7, 219th overall — CB/S/ST Malcolm Williams (TCU)
Bill Belichick addresses the media following the final day of the Draft.
We’ve got another one in the books here. We started off the day kind of waiting through that fourth round. When Marcus Cannon was on the board there in the fifth, we felt like that was a good value for that pick. He’s a very highly-rated player and obviously we felt comfortable enough to take him at that point, so that was that. Lee Smith was an outstanding blocker at Marshall. Actually, I crossed paths with his father when I was at Cleveland the first season there. We finished up with Markell [Carter] who has had a very productive career at a smaller school. And then of course, Malcolm [Williams], a fast, physical back that has been very productive in the kicking game. That’s where we’re at. Now we’re kind of in a different mode for right now. We’ll see how all that works out. This is one step in the team building process. I’m sure there will be others to come, but maybe not for a while. We’ll just have to wait and see.
The Eagles need to beef up the offensive line, defensive line and the secondary in this weekend’s NFL Draft. With that in mind here are the players I had the Eagles picking in my mock draft:
1st round (#23 overall) – Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
2nd round (#54 overall) – Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (FL)
3rd round (#85 overall) – Stephen Schilling, OG, Michigan
4th round (#104 overall) – Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson
5th round (#149 overall) – Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech
5th round (#153 overall) – Josh Thomas, CB, Buffalo
7th round (#227 overall) – D.J. Smith, OLB, Appalachian State
7th round (#237 overall) – Jamie Harper, RB, Clemson
7th round (#240 overall) – K.J. Black, QB, Prarie View A&M
The Eagles would be excited if they got these players. I see three players likely being starters in Carimi, Harris and Schilling in 2011.
21-year old rookie center Maurkice Pouncey has a fracture in his ankle and he’s not likely to play in the Super Bowl. This could really hurt the Steelers this weekend. Pouncey made it to the Pro Bowl as a rookie as he started all 16 games for the Steelers and the first two playoff games. Replacing Pouncey will be 24-year old Doug Legursky. Legursky played in 16 games (4 starts) for the Steelers this year. He has played in 24 games (4 starts) in his first two years in the NFL. The Steelers need Legursky to step up because he’s going to be lined up against the mammoth 6’2″, 337 pound B.J. Raji who is one of the best NTs in the NFL. If Raji is getting into the backfield a lot in this game, the Steelers are in deep trouble. They need Legursky to step up this Sunday.
The New England Patriots’ draft day dealings of the past have left them with 6 of the first 92 picks in next weekend’s NFL Draft. They will surely look to deal down to get more picks, which is a Bill Belichick specialty. I would suggest that the Patriots stay pat in the first three rounds because they will be able to fill a lot of holes where they are picking. Here’s a look at how I saw the Patriots doing in my mock draft:
1st round (#17 overall) – Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
1st round (#28 overall) – Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
2nd round (#33 overall) – Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
2nd round (#60 overall) – James Carpenter, OT, Alabama
3rd round (#74 overall) – Titus Young, WR, Boise State
3rd round (#92 overall) – Lawrence Wilson, OLB, Connecticut
4th round (#125 overall) – Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut
5th round (#159 overall) – Bryan Browning, OG, Ohio State
6th round (#193 overall) – Jonas Mouton, OLB, Michigan
The Patriots had almost no pass rush last year. Adding Kerrigan, Houston and Wilson could change that early next year. The Patriots would also nab a nice RB in Leshoure and a couple linemen to protect Tom Brady. All in all, this would be a very nice haul for the Patriots.
The Pittsburgh Steelers generally like to draft the best player available regardless of position but they likely won’t have that luxury this year. With Ben Roethlisberger getting older, he can’t keep getting hit like a pinata or his career will be cut short. Look for the Steelers to draft offensive linemen very high in this draft. The Steelers also have needs at corner, running back and inside linebacker and they will be looking to add players there. This is how I see the Steelers’ draft going as here are the players I had them getting in my mock draft:
1st round (#31 overall) – Danny Watkins, G, Baylor
2nd round (#63 overall) – Orlando Franklin, T, Miami (FL)
3rd round (#95 overall) – Shareece Wright, CB, USC
4th round (#128 overall) – Shane Vereen, RB, California
5th round (#162 overall) – Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse
6th round (#196 overall) – Orie Lemon, ILB, Oklahoma State
7th round (#232 overall) – Devin Torrence, CB, Ohio State
If the Steelers’ draft goes like I project it to, the team is going to be even better than they were last year when they lost the Super Bowl.
The Dallas Cowboys are likely going to draft the best player available next weekend with an eye towards both 2011 and the future. Here is who I saw the Cowboys nabbing in my mock draft”
1st round (#9 overall) – Cameron Jordan, DE, California
2nd round (#40 overall) – Ryan Mallet, QB, Arkansas
3rd round (#71 overall) – Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
4th round (#110 overall) – Ross Holman, OLB, Ohio State
5th round (#143 overall) – Lee Ziemba, OT, Auburn
6th round (#176 overall) – Cedric Thornton, DT, Central Arkansas
7th round (#220 overall) – Shiloh Keo, S, Idaho
7th round (#252 overall) – Kyle Adams, TE, Purdue
Cameron Jordan and Curtis Brown would be able to help the Cowboys right away in 2011. Ryan Mallet would be too tempting for Jerry Jones if he’s still on the board. That’s because they both went to Arkansas and the Cowboys might not believe in Stephen McGee as the QB of the future.