Archive for April, 2011

2011 Draft – Day 1 Thoughts

Well, that was certainly interesting. It would seem past pick number 5, teams we determined to make mock draft authors worldwide look very silly. At least it wasnt just us…

Here are a few thoughts from last night.

The first few picks were as expected; Cam Newton, Von Miller, Marcell Dareus & A.J. Green all going very quickly. I was a little surprised to see the cardinals pass on Gabbert but they clearly decided they wanted the best player in the draft and duly picked Patrick Peterson.

From there on, all hell broke loose. The Falcons traded up to the Browns spot (giving away a second pick this year and 2 picks in 2012) to grab Julio Jones, seeing him paired with Roddy White should be quite a spectacle. The Titans took Jake Locker with the 8th pick. I had to check this again when I woke up this morning cause I still couldn’t believe it. It was particularly amusing that his highlight reel footage was him throwing an interception. All the talk is they really wanted him, but what I dont understand is why they didn’t trade back. Noone expected Locker to go that high, and this is all with Blaine Gabbert still on the board (the 49ers passed on him aswell to take Aldon Smith).

Gabbert was gone soon after though (after Tony Romo got his human shield with Dallas taking Tyron Smith), the Jaguars traded with the Redskins to take him at 10. The mental hour continued with the Vikings making Christian Ponder the 4th QB to be drafted so far this year. As our own Jamie Cutteridge put it, the only good thing about that pick is that it made the Titans taking Locker look relatively sane.

My favorite pick of the first round was the Lions taking Nick Fairley at 13. So he’ll be lining up alongside Ndamukong Suh on the Detroit D-Line this year. I think even Aaron Rogers will be scared about that, so can you imagine how Jay ‘I got sacked 52 times last year’ Cutler is feeling right now?

It was almost as you’d expect from there on. There were some other suprises,  Prince Amukamara fell all the way to the New York Giants at 19, the Saints traded with the Patriots to take Mark Ingram at 28 and Da’Quan Bowers, having been touted as a potential 1st overall pick for a while, is still on the board going into the 2nd round.

For those interested, we hit on 7/32 of our mock draft picks. However, thats including Jones at 6 & Ingram at 28 going to the wrong teams after trades. Still, we got the pick numbers right so I’m taking a gimmie on those!

Crikey, I want the season to start already.

Andy Stuart


The UKNFL 2011 Mock Draft

This is the one you’ve all been waiting for. With just hours to go till the 2011 NFL Draft, here are UKNFL’s predictions for the first round.

1 – Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton (QB) – Whilst not the most talented player in the draft, Cam has potential to be a legend. The icon, the entertainer will have lured the Panthers into his eyes by now.

2 – Denver Broncos – Marcell Dareus (DT) – Solid, dependable, basically the opposite of Tim Tebow. With madness on the offensive side of the ball, the Broncos will look for some reliability and power up front with Dareus.

3 – Buffalo Bills – Von Miller (LB) – One of the very best in this years draft. The Bills looked very shakey in the middle of the field last year. Miller will bring some much needed security on defence.

4 – Cinncinati Bengals – A.J. Green (WR) – At some point in this guys NFL career you will stand up and shout ‘A.J. THAT IS RIDICULOUS’ at your screen. With mystery surrounding Palmer and QB situation, the Bengals take a weapon for whoever is under centre.

5 – Arizona Cardinals – Blaine Gabbert (QB) – Probably the most NFL ready of the QBs in the draft, but perhaps not as exciting as Cam. Think the love child of Mark Sanchez and beige (yes, the colour). The Cardinals have obvious needs here. Larry Fitzgerald does a dance of joy.

6 – Cleveland Browns – Julio Jones (WR) – “He’s quick. I want him. I take him.” That will be the draft strategy behind whoever takes Jones. In this case, after failing to land Green, the Browns give McCoy a present.

7 – San Francisco 49ers – Patrick Peterson (CB) – Arguably the best player in the draft this year, he will start from day one and could be one of the leagues best from the offset. The 49ers dire need for a secondary makes this pick all but a lock.

8 – Tennessee Titans – Nick Fairley (DT) – A vicious defensive tackle with an eye for the quarterback and a bit of ruthless streak. While his draft stock has fallen, Fairley is still sure to go in the top 10, and Tennessee will be very happy to fill the Albert Haynesworth shaped hole.

9 – Dallas Cowboys – Tyron Smith (OT) – Tyron, you have only one job: Keep Tony Romo alive this year. No biggie.  If you can do it, you’ll probably go to the Pro Bowl.

10 – Washington Redskins – Jake Locker (QB) – He’s got accuracy issues. But the Redskins have issues when it comes to not alienating their best quarterback. Locker is taken purely on the basis of not being Rex Grossman.

11 – Houston Texans – Aldon Smith (DE) – Unspectacular, but the Texans cannot afford to go high risk. They need to sort out their defence and putting another end opposite Mario Williams will suit. With Wade Smith’s new 3-4 scheme, they take Smith with his versatility in mind.

12 – Minnesota Vikings – Robert Quinn (DE) – It is likely that health concerns cause Quinn to drop this low. A premier pass rusher, the Vikings will be delighted to have 2 top class ends to bring the spark back to a defence that struggled last year.

13 – Detroit Lions – Prince Amukamara (CB) – Amukamara is yet another player in this years draft who should improve his team from the first game of the season.  The Lions will hope to continue the first round success they have found over the past few years.

14 –  St Louis Rams – Da’Quan Bowers (DE) – A knee injury has caused his draft stock to plummet (He was tipped as the 1st overall pick for a while) and it could turn out to be a blessing for the Rams. If he falls this far the Rams jump on the chance to vastly improve their D-line.

15 – Miami Dolphins – Mike Pouncey (OL) – He’s not a running back, he’s not quite as good as his brother, but he’ll give the Dolphins some much needed strength on the O-line and protection for their non-existent QB.

16 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Cameron Jordon (DE) – The Jaguars go defensive end with their top pick for the 2nd year in succession, but in reality Jordan can play anywhere across the D-line, and this should be a boost for a lacklustre defence.

17 – New England Patriots – Anthony Castanzo (OL) – With no deal in place for Logan Mankins the Pats bulk up their offensive line to protect both Brady and his perfect hair.

18 – San Diego Chargers – J.J. Watt (DE) – The Chargers have one of the better defences in the league, but they will welcome Watt’s toughness on an unspectacular defensive line.

19 – New York Giants – Gabe Carimi (OL) – Carimi ought to help give Eli Manning a little bit more time in the pocket (to pick out opposing players)  and allow their already powerful running game to flourish.

20 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ryan Kerrigan (LB/DE) – Kerrigan has the ability to get after opposing QBs from either end, but is versatile enough to fit in as a linebacker which is also a need in Tampa Bay.

21 – Kansas City Chiefs – Akeem Ayers (LB) – Ayers will add some much needed speed off the edge for the Chiefs. He won’t be the greatest run defender, but his athleticism could cause problems for opposing quarterbacks from first game of the season.

22 – Indianapolis Colts – Nate Solder (OL) – Nate Solder has the coolest name in the draft and is a perfect fit for the Colts whose offensive line took a beating last year.

23 – Philadelphia Eagles – Jimmy Smith (CB) – In comparison Jimmy Smith’s name is boring, but will give the Eagles some much needed help at Cornerback where Ellis Hobbs is unlikely to return after his injury. Smith is clearly very talented but there are concerns over his character. Step forward the Eagles clinic of Philadelphia. (President: Mr M. Vick).

24 – New Orleans Saints – Justin Houston (LB/DE)– A versatile edge rusher, Houston may be a long term project in New Orlenas, but could form a very strong partnership with Jonathan Vilma.

25 – Seattle Seahawks – Ryan Mallett (QB) – The cliché surrounding Mallett is that he has a big arm. He might not be a first round talent, but the Seahawks will reach for him as the long-term replacement for Matt Hasselbeck, knowing he may not be there at this stage in the second round.

26 – Baltimore Ravens –  Torrey Smith (WR) – The Ravens current crop of receivers are ageing. Smith has all the right measurables and could prove to be the reliable downfield threat to go with Joe Flacco’s big arm.

27 – Atlanta Falcons – Correy Liuget (DT) – Liuget causes penetration against both the run and the pass and will complement the Falcon’s pressure from the edge that comes from John Abraham.

28 – New England Patriots – Mark Ingram (RB) – Ingram is the best running back in the draft, but it’s a show of the lack of backfield talent that he goes this late. Even so, in the right system Ingram could flourish. Many have compared his style to Emmitt Smith, the all time leading rusher. Not a bad note to have next to your name.

29 – Chicago Bears – Derek Sharrod (OT) – Jay Cutler is not unfamiliar with the feeling of being sacked. He went down 52 times last year, and the Bears will pray that Sherrod can bring him some much needed blindside protection.

30 – New York Jets – Muhammed Wilkerson (DE) – With Shaun Ellis an aging free agent the Jets opt for some help at defensive end and take Wilkerson who has emerged from under the radar to be a credible first round pick.

31 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Brandon Harris (CB) -Raw but talented would be the best way to describe Harris. He has the skill-set to be a starter in Pittsburgh but they may have to be patient with him.

32 – Green Bay Packers – Marvin Austin (LB/DE) – Austin was suspended last year but wowed at his pro-day and may flourish in a winning, settled side, whilst the Packers need some help on the edge.

So there you have it. Get the beer & snacks in and enjoy the draft. We’ll be keeping you updated live through twitter, @UKNFL, so come join us!

Jamie Cutteridge & Andy Stuart

We’re off to Wembley…maybe!

A few things over the last week or so have given some reason for optimism regarding the NFL season this year. The schedules have been released, and with them the annual NFL International series game has been announced! Now, of course this all depends on if the season actually happens.

The following popped up in our inbox a few days ago:

“The NFL’s International Series of regular-season games is set to return to the United Kingdom in 2011 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Chicago Bears, the NFL announced today.”

“The game will be played on Sunday, October 23 at Wembley Stadium in London at 6:00 p.m. local time (1:00 p.m. ET). “

“Our past four games in London have demonstrated the tremendous passion for NFL football that exists in the UK,” said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL.  “We hope by staging another extraordinary game at Wembley that we can continue to grow our existing fan base and attract even more new fans.”

And what happens if no CBA deal is done? Well they were kind enough to tell us that too:

“Should the current NFL labour situation be unresolved by August 1, the game will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.” 

It all sounds pretty ace! A few years ago this might have been a slightly more, shall we say, uninspiring fixture. However, this season (when it happens, remember: optimism, folks) it could be really very good. 

Plenty of reason for excitement & ‘lolz’, Jay Cutler & Co. of course have the potential to provide both in pretty large doses. The Buccaneers meanwhile are one of the most exciting young teams in the NFL. Raheem Morris won the NFLUK Coach of the Year award, and with players like Josh Freeman, LeGarret Blount & Mike Williams they should improve on their impressive 10-6 achieved in 2010. 

Here at UKNFL we’re looking forward to this game. A lot. We’re expecting to be at Wembley on October the 23rd, and if you live anywhere in the UK, we really recommend you register interest and try to grab a few tickets. If you keep an eye on there will be an opportunity to apply for tickets, that way you’ll stand a better chance of getting some when they are eventually released for sale.

We’ll leave you with that taster for now. Keep praying the season happens, Bears – Buccs seems to good to miss!

Andy Stuart