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"…and the Oscar goes to…"
The next 5 seconds will feel like an eternity for the nominees. They know that if their name is said next they’ll be among Hollywood’s elite. They’ll instantly add a line to their legacy. They’ll forever be introduced as “Oscar Winner So-and-so.” Hoisting Oscar up in the air could not only lead to more roles and more bucks but a recent study shows it could add 4 years to an actor’s life as well. Lost in the fanfare surrounding the award is…the award. Poor Oscar never gets his story told. So before I get into my predictions for #Oscars2014, let me introduce you to Oscar.
Oscar stands at 13.5 inches tall and weighs 8.5 pounds. Interestingly enough, no one really knows where he got his name from. Most people believe the story that Academy Executive Secretary, Margaret Herrick, mentioned that the statuette looked like her “Uncle Oscar.” Even though the name is a mystery what we do know is that he’s a knight holding a large sword pointing down to the film-reel platform he is standing on. The film-reel base has 5 spokes that represent: Actors, directors, writers, producers, and technicians. The industries “unknown soldier” will be a prized possession for any of its recipients (unless your’e Merryl Streep, then you’re just another paper weight).
So, this is the first year I set out to watch all 9 Best Picture nominated films, and added Blue Jasmine to make it 10 because…you know…OCD and all. Through moments of elation and depression I’ve come to this point to give you:
Bee’s 2014 Oscar Rankings & Predictions
I’ll have you know that last year I was a perfect 5/5 in my predictions (see proof below) but this year I’m adding Supporting Actress to the mix. My confidence remains unshaken.
Before we get into the rapid fire predictions of the Top 6 categories, I want to start off by ranking the 9 Best Picture Nominations based on my overall experience watching each one. So without further adieu…here’s the list.
9. Dallas Buyers Club- The one legitimately BAD movie in the bunch. For all my Breaking Bad fans that made it past the awful first season…imagine that season made into a 2 hour movie. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t fall asleep. It is painstakingly slow and full of unlikable characters. The characters were ambitiously constructed to be both hated and understood at different moments. It just didn’t work for me.
8. The Wolf of Wall Street- Absolutely entertaining for the first hour. The next TWO HOURS were excruciating. Had the urge to walk out of this painfully drawn-out pseudo-comedy. How many wild/drunken/drugged up party scenes did we really need to see to get the point? If you haven’t seen the film yet…Jordan Belfort is a money-hungry, drug-addicted diva. Feel free to sleep for an hour and a half in the middle of the movie. You’ll thank me later.
7. Gravity- I’m sorry, I just don’t get the hype. Gravity could win Best Picture this year but I found it’s story-line to be dull. If you are watching the entire telecast of the Academy Awards tonight you may think Gravity is poised to steal the show because it will (and should) win most of the visual and technical awards. However, the depth of the story fell extremely short for me. I fell asleep for about 1/4 of the movie. Take what you will from that.
6. American Hustle- (See critique of The Wolf of Wall Street)…Good, not great. Christian Bale and Amy Adams stole the show but the film was building momentum for a finish that was far too simple to figure out. I’m usually not the guy in the room that calls the big twist ending before it happens but this one stuck out like a sore thumb.
5. Nebraska- We are now stepping into my realm of true Best Picture candidates. Sometimes a simple story, told the right way can leave you oh so satisfied. Enter Nebraska. A father and son tale from the mid-western culture mixed its purposely mundane moments with laugh-out loud ones. The simple one-track story-line of a demented father attempting to claim his (scam) prize winnings was further simplified by its visuals. An all Black and White movie is as simple as you could get.
4. Philomena- I want to adopt her as my Grandma. Like Nebraska, Philomena was a simple story-line that worked on so many different levels. Comedic value, dramatic twists, emotional attachment, moral response…etc. Successfully blended lightheartedness with thoroughly emotional storytelling. Judi Dench was phenomenal.
3. Her- Should win a few writing awards. Best Original Screenplay at least. New concept, new approach. Spike Jonze is an absolute genius for capturing the current human condition in such a profound way. The movie is oozing of allegory and juxtaposition. One cannot help but think of how 1). We as a society are married to our phones. 2). We should not be ashamed of love. Celebrate it, never let it go. I did catch myself calling certain moments absurd. Like “He’s doing what with his phone? Wait, what is going on right now?!” However, even through these I’m in awe of how Jonze used such a genius method of delivering a profound commentary.
2. Captain Phillips- Riveting from start to finish. The film knew where it wanted its audience to spend their time and took to the sea quickly. From conquest to ransom to rescue the story was strong but the actors were stronger. It’s an absolute travesty that Tom Hanks isn’t nominated. Barkhad Abdi (Somalian pirate) is a well-deserved nominee for Supporting Actor. These two made the film what it is. If you’re a hostage movies fan, Captain Phillips is as good as it gets.
…and the Oscar goes to…
1. 12 Years a Slave- It tore down the veil that hid the true embarrassment slavery was in America. The subject matter justified the chilling, hard-to-watch portrayal of slave treatment. I could feel my emotions stirring up throughout the film until finally the last scene let them loose. The final scene will be etched in film history. A beautifully written, genuine display of redemption.
Now for the predictions:
Will Win & Hope Wins: 12 Years a Slave.
BEST LEAD ACTOR:
Will Win: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Again, I wasn’t a fan of the movie. Ron Woodroof made Matthew McConaughey, not the other way around. Will give him a nod for losing all that weight though.
Hope Wins: Chiwetel Ejofor (Pronounced CHEW-it-tell EDGY-o-for) (12 Years a Slave)
BEST LEAD ACTRESS:
Will Win: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
She had so many layers to her character and played them all flawlessly. Really complicated role to play.
Hope Wins: Judi Dench (Philomena)
I felt so connected to her in Philomena. She brought innocence, lightheartedness, and stubbornness all together for her role as Philomena. Loved the film, so naturally loved her as the title character.
Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
It couldn’t be done…until it was. Cuaron brought us to space and did it in spectacular fashion. Not many directors even dream of a project like this.
Hope Wins: Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
Opened our eyes to the realities of slavery. Didn’t hold back and drew out scenes to drive home the truth.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Will Win: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Tough to argue with a transgender, prostitute, AIDS patient.
Hope Wins: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Body language spoke volumes of his dilemmas. You were convinced that he was a pirate, not by his choosing but by necessity. Great portrayal for a new actor.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Will Win & Hope Wins: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Responsible for many of the most moving scenes in this epic tale.
There you have it. Enjoy the Oscars tonight!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Let me start off by saying that my knowledge of the Superman story is average at best. So, the Man of Steel film was both a refresher course and learning experience for me at different moments. To sum it up: I was thoroughly fascinated! The film married destruction and dialog extremely well and I felt a sense of empathy for the maturing Clark Kent.
With that said, what captivated me above all was the seemingly overt parallels between Clark Kent/Superman and Jesus. Stop me when you’ve had enough comparisons…
The list goes on but what I really took away from the film was the maturation of our protagonist, the patient faith of our savior, and the HOPE we have in HIM.
The growth of young Clark Kent, in eventually coming to a realization of his purpose, paints a picture of an adolescent Jesus and gives insight into the “Lost Years of Christ.” The Bible, as great a library of books as it is, does not mention what happens in the life of Jesus during the years of 12-30. Our mind’s eye is left to wonder what happened in those 18 years.
Personally, I take Luke 2:52 to be the summary of those 18 years:
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Jesus kept growing. Physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. His daily connection with His Heavenly Father brought Him closer and closer to a divine understanding of purpose. Much like the young Clark Kent, I can imagine a young Jesus being an outcast among other children. I can imagine there being times in His teen years when he would have been tempted to retaliate towards synagogue scoffers but mustered up the courage to turn the other cheek. Even at the age of 33 at the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ cried out for “this cup to pass” from Him. Pleading that if there was any other way to save humanity, He’d want His Father to take that other way. The struggle was real and it lasted far longer than Calvary.
Awaiting His Time— His Leap of Faith
Deus Absconditus- Latin for ‘Hidden God.’ Scholars argue that if God existed and was perfectly loving and good, He would reveal Himself more clearly and disallow bad things from happening to good people.
This is the problem young Clark faces throughout the film. He grows up with an earthly father that believes with all his heart that Clark must hide his powers because the human race would not receive him well. Whether it is saving a sinking bus or retaliating towards bullies, Clark must be patient. Even to the point of seeing his own father die, Clark waits for the right time to reveal himself.
It is easy to imagine that the 18 “lost years” of Jesus may have been similarly trying for Him. Even after the biblical account picks back up in His 30’s, Jesus is still waiting for “His time” to be revealed. When His mother, Mary, asks Him to create more wine at the wedding, He says to her, “Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4 NIV). Again in John 7:6, He tells His disciples, “My time is not yet here.” All the while, Jesus is still performing miracles from time to time, yet He believes His time to be revealed has yet to come. It is not until Gethsemane and His subsequent arrest does Jesus become revealed. In fact, He tells His disciples right before Gethsemane that his “appointed time is near.” (Mat. 26:18) Finally, in Matt. 26: 45 just before being betrayed by Judas, Christ says “Look, the hour has come…”
Jesus’s Gethsemane experience is similar to Clark Kent’s experience at the church. A conversation with a spiritual “father” seeking out instruction and reassurance before His revelation and arrest. In fact, we see a shot of Clark Kent talking to the priest with the above image of Jesus praying at Gethsemane in the background. The dilemma Clark brings to the priest is whether or not he should trust humans to receive him. To which the priest responds, “Sometimes, you must take a leap of faith. Trust will follow.” Re-read Matthew 26:36-46. You’ll find a troubled Savior that is showing His human side. Yet, He took a leap of faith! He found his closest friends sleeping when he needed them most and yet He trusted them. He trusted His “Heavenly Father’s” instruction to be the bridge between humanity and divinity. He trusted that those he was ransomed for would believe and trust Him. Superman may be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound but it was the leap of faith he made for humanity that is most marvelous.
Our Only HOPE
Zach Snyder, the director of Man of Steel, shared a trivia nugget in a recent interview. He said a survey was taken to determine what was the most recognizable symbol in the entire world. The results showed that the “S on the Chest” representing Superman was #2, only behind the Cross representing Christ.
Like many of you, I learned from the film that the “S” on his chest is not an “S” at all. It is a Kryptonian symbol representing the House of El and it carries the meaning of “Hope.” Superman was the only hope for humanity. His earthly father told him: “Somewhere out there you have sent another father. He sent you here for a reason.” That “heavenly father,” Jor-El, encourages his son on the spaceship right before his final duel with Zod saying, “You can save her [Lois]; you can save them all.” Superman leaves the spaceship with his arms wide and feet together, resembling the form of a crucifix:
In the same way, Jesus is the HOPE for Salvation! The apostle Paul calls Jesus “our hope” (1Timothy 1:1) and the “hope of glory” (Col 1:27). Like Superman, Christ’s life is summed up in the words of Jor-El: “You will give the people of earth an ideal to strive towards. They’ll race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you…In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.” The savior provides hope of a better life. With Superman it is the hope that he will make earth a better place. With Christ it is the hope that he will make us into better people.
It is not just in reaping the rewards that humanity’s role resides. Like Lois Lane believing in Superman, so too does Christ HOPE you believe in Him.
Superman is seen standing at the focal point of the World Engine’s beam. It is attempting to increase the gravitational pull onto the earth so that Kryptonians can take over. So you could say the “weight of the world was on his shoulders.” The Son of El, the ransomed savior, yells out a cry for strength and flies through the blast beam, reaches the World Engine and breaks it to shreds.
A burden unbearable, a life undesirable, a trust unwarranted…and HE DID IT JUST FOR YOU! The savior asks but one thing in return: BELIEVE.
Now may the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace in BELIEVING, so that you will abound in HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
When the name ‘Brett Favre’ comes up at a dinner party I usually go into auto-pilot with my Top 3 Fun Fact Favre Trivia Questions.
Question 1. Brett Favre holds the record for career interceptions thrown. Who is credited with the interception that put Brett Favre at #1?
Answer: Sean Taylor
Question 2. Who did Brett Favre throw his first completion to as a Green Bay Packer?
Question 3. Who did Brett Favre throw his first completion to as a Green Bay Packer other than himself?
Answer: Sanjay Beach, a rare NFL player of Indian descent.
After preparing for this Mock Draft, I stumbled upon my new Brett Favre related trivia to add to my bank.
Question 4. Who tipped the pass that allowed Brett Favre to complete his very first pass as a Packer to himself?
Answer: Ray Seals, a rare NFL player WHO DID NOT GO TO COLLEGE!
That’s right boys and girls, you do not need to go to college in order to be eligible for the NFL draft. However, you must be three years removed from High School. How I stumbled upon this info you ask? Like any “normal” person who has immersed themselves in YouTube highlights, mock drafts, and player profiles over the last two months, I naturally hit that epiphany point at 1am where I said “Self, you can make it to the NFL! You’ve got the know how. You’re 5’11”, 200 lbs; that’s average for WRs, CBs, and Safeties. You should Google ‘Becoming eligible for the NFL.’” Around this time I usually wake up from this fantasy. The mind and spirit are willing but the flesh is…..well…… fat.
Talking about the aforementioned immersion into everything NFL Draft related, I took a gander into the 2007, 2008, and 2009 1st round draft classes. This is a very raw use of statistics but I compiled their data and averaged out the results to give you a snapshot of what to expect in the 2013 NFL Draft. Ready?
9……. Pro Bowlers
6……. Veterans/starters who have been with their drafted team since they were drafted
5……. Out of football
12……. Playing for at least their second team
So you’ve got nearly a 50/50 shot in the 1st round to hit or miss. So take aim, fire, and hope that your team gets a Manning and not a Leaf.
Now that the longest intro in Mock Draft history is over with…let’s get into the mocking.
2012 NFL Mock Draft
1. Kansas City Chiefs- OT Eric Fisher
NFL Comparison: Joe Staley
Not since 2008 have we seen a non-QB go #1 overall. That will change this year. The Kansas City Chiefs are currently in heated talks with the Miami Dolphins to ship their current LT Brandon Albert to them. Andy Reid has to protect Alex Smith somehow for this franchise to get out of the cellar of the AFC West.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars- QB Geno Smith
NFL Comparison: Donovan McNabb
New Coach, new GM, new logo…why not new QB. Makes the most sense for me. A franchise under new management from the top down needs a new face. This move sells tickets, period. I’m not a believer in Geno Smith but with the success of Russell Wilson (Head Coach Gus Bradley is coming from Seattle), Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III getting a mobile dual-threat QB will be an easy sell.
3. Oakland Raiders- ***TRADE***
San Diego Chargers- OT Luke Joeckel
NFL Comparison: D’Brickashaw Ferguson
If the Eric Fisher and Joeckel do not go 1 and 2 then you better believe Oakland is going to have some buyers. I realize this trade is within the division but each party has something the other wants. Oakland is without a 2nd round pick and San Diego has one ready to trade. San Diego may be the team most interested in drafting an OT so they have to jump Philly and Detroit in order to do it.
Oh by the way, the Chargers are destined to win the Super Bowl. The team that played the home opener in Philadelphia each of the last four years has gone on to win the Super Bowl. Also, a team that lost to the Redskins during the year also won the Super Bowl in that same time. Both work in San Diego’s favor this year. Don’t laugh…it could happen…
4. Philadelphia Eagles- DE/OLB Dion Jordan
NFL Comparison: Jason Taylor
People have been mocking all kinds of stuff for Philly but I think this has been the pick all along if he falls. Chip Kelly coached Jordan in Oregon and knows what he’s getting from the best pass rusher in this year’s class.
5. Detroit Lions- DE/OLB Ezekiel Ansah
NFL Comparison: Poor man’s Jason Pierre Paul
Lost Cliff Avril and KVB. Coach Schwartz and his staff coached Ansah in the Senior Bowl and raved about his ability and potential. Fills a need, even though I think Ansah is a bust waiting to happen.
6. Cleveland Browns- CB Dee Milliner
NFL Comparison: Joe Haden
The thought of pairing him with Joe Haden is too tempting to pass up. Sure there have been questions about his health recently but, GM Michael Lombardi will make sure to get all those “Red Flags” answered and select the best CB this draft can offer.
7. Arizona Cardinals- OT Lane Johnson
NFL Comparison: Trent Williams
Part of me wants to go with my gut and select QB Matt Barkley here. He’s my favorite QB in the draft. Yeah they have Carson Palmer and they had a press conference and all welcoming him but Head Coach Bruce Arians is familiar with the impact of a rookie QB after seeing what Andrew Luck did in Indy. However, with the offensive line that gave up the most sacks in the NFL last year it makes a lot of sense to keep it safe and let Palmer have that half second extra to just lob the ball near Larry Fitzgerald.
8. Buffalo Bills- QB Ryan Nassib
NFL Comparison: Andy Dalton
They are going QB. Kevin Kolb was not brought in to be the starter by any stretch of the imagination. He’ll compete but that’s about it. Word on the street is that the Bills love Nassib, that’ll be the pick.
9. New York Jets- WR Tavon Austin
NFL Comparison: DeSean Jackson
After trading away the face of the franchise how do you win back your fanbase? Get the most dynamic, explosive player in the entire class! Tavon Austin is a flat-out stud and we knew that even before he blew up the Combine and Pro Day. Sanchez is not the answer and look for the Jets to go QB in the 2nd round but with 2 first round picks after the Revis trade the Jets will take the highlight first and the need second.
10. Tennessee Titans- DT Sharrif Floyd
NFL Comparison: Geno Atkins
BPA….Best player available will be the move for Tennessee. Chance Warmack is the overwhelming choice here but after splashing with the Andy Levitre in free agency spending a Top 10 pick on another guard may be overkill.
11. Oakland Raiders- QB Matt Barkley
NFL Comparison: Matt Schaub
From one USC Trojan QB to another one. With an additional pick in the second now Oakland fill its defensive line holes then. Dennis Allen needs to buy himself another 2 years. Best way to do that is to give the fanbase hope with a rookie QB. Poor Matt Flynn just can’t catch a break but don’t feel bad he’s signed on to be Matt Damon’s stunt double for life.
12. Miami Dolphins- CB Xavier Rhodes
NFL Comparison: Dre Kirkpatrick
Guarantee this will be DJ Fluker if the Dolphins don’t get Albert or trade up for one of the top 3 OTs. I’m assuming one if those scenarios happens. Florida State CB stays in his state and fits a need at CB after the Dolphins lost Sean Smith in Free Agency.
13. New York Jets (from Tampa Bay)- OLB/DE Barkevious Mingo
NFL Comparison: Bruce Irvin
Sometimes the obvious pick is the right one. He’s a Rex Ryan off the edge rusher. I think he’s got bust written all over his small frame but the Jets seem to have fallen for him. BTW I would not be surprised if San Francisco comes knocking on John Idzik’s door for this pick to get Sheldon Richardson.
14. Carolina Panthers- DT Sheldon Richardson
NFL Comparison: Poor man’s JJ Watt
Too man holes, not enough picks to fill them. So, Ron Rivera will choose to fill his b-hole. Defensive Tackle taking up the B-Gap that is. Richardson is a better prospect than Star in my mind and can play the DE in 3-4 packages or the DT in a 4-3.
15. New Orleans Saints- OLB Jarvis Jones
NFL Comparison: Von Miller
What better way to get back from Bounty Gate then to get a Bounty Hunter himself. Jarvis Jones was a consensus Top 5 pick in January but a spinal issue and a slow 40 (4.9s) dropped his stock. Sean Payton will see his value and take him here. Also, with Jarvis Jones you get his Subway endorsement and ginormous sandwich replica of him. That’s 1,000 raisens for the dreadlocks.
16. St. Louis Rams- S Kenny Vaccaro
NFL Comparison: Malcolm Jenkins
He’s the best safety in a class that is deep at the position. The Rams have one of the best CB duos in the NFL with Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins… but just empty space behind them. Vaccaro is a Day 1 starter.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers- WR Corderrelle Patterson
NFL Comparison: Roddy White
Jarvis Jones is the perfect fit here with the loss of James Harrison. However, he’s off the board and the Steelers also lost their #1 WR in Mike Wallace. Look for Big Ben to get a new toy with this first pick. Patterson is not my favorite WR but he is way to intriguing to pass up.
18. Dallas Cowboys- G Chance Warmack
NFL Comparison: Ben Grubbs
Taking a Chance on Chance (My apologies…it had to be done). The Cowgirls would be thanking their lucky stars if Warmack falls to them. Not only is he one of the best lineman in the draft but he could be a Top 5 overall player but the value of guards is under-appreciated.
19. New York Giants- ILB Alec Ogletree
NFL Comparison: Sean Weatherspoon
The Giant Way would suggest they go with Damontre Moore or Tank Carradine here as they are the best D-Lineman available. However, Coughlin realizes that he’s got a glaring hole at MLB. Ogletree is as Boom/Bust as they come and I’m leaning towards Bust but the Giants have to make a play at LB in order to stay competitive in the NFC East.
20. Chicago Bears- ILB Manti Te’o
NFL Comparison: James Laurinaitis
After losing their stalwart, face of the franchise, Brian Urlacher, the Chicago Bears will be in the market for his replacement. Minnesota will try to leapfrog the Bears to get him with his close friend Harrison Smith and 5 Notre Dame guys on the Vikings. Manti has the instincts and ability to make it in the league. Plus, you get a two for one deal with him. Lennay Kakua his imaginary friend comes as a bonus.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- S Johnathan Cyprien
NFL Comparison: Brian Dawkins
This is my guy. A lot of teams are hoping he makes it to the bottom of the first or the beginning of the second. Cyprien can do it all and will force out an aging Reggie Nelson or compete for Taylor Mays’ job.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)- WR Keenan Allen
NFL Comparison: Anquan Boldin
Brian Quick, Austin Pettis, and Chris Givens. This is St. Louis’s receiving corps. Bradford needs some weapons. Keenan Allen seems to be the toughest receiver to bring down in the draft. Coming away with Vaccaro and Allen is not too shabby at all for Jeff Fisher.
23. Minnesota Vikings- WR DeAndre Hopkins
NFL Comparison: Greg Jennings
The Vikings will be looking to move up and get Manti Te’o but if that falls through then look for them to add a weapon for Christian Ponder. Asking AP to run for over 2,000 for them to make the playoffs again is wishful thinking. Greg Jennings is there but he’s no guarantee for production.
24. Indianapolis Colts- CB DJ Hayden
NFL Comparison: Asante Samuel
In contrast, DJ Hayden is my favorite CB in the draft. He fits the Pagano mold perfectly for a CB. Colts could go any number of directions here but Hayden’s intrigue would be too much to pass up.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle)- DT Sylvester Williams
NFL Comparison: Jonathan Babineaux
Remember when it was Pat and Kevin Williams filling up all the inside run lanes. Well Kevin is still there but he’s aging. Jared Allen and Brian Robison would be benefited by the addition of this hole stuffer.
26. Green Bay Packers- DT Star Lotulelei
NFL Comparison: Poor man’s Haloti Ngata
Unexpected turn here but the Packers will take the BPA (Best Player Available). Some health concerns for Star but they can plug and play him anywhere on that D-Line if he’s healthy. Good risk/reward player here.
27. Houston Texans- WR Justin Hunter
NFL Comparison: Malcom Floyd
The Texans are going wideout. Hunter is the best available and looks like what they had once hoped Jacoby Jones would become for them, a compliment to Andre Johnson.
28. Denver Broncos- DE Tank Carradine
NFL Comparison: Osi Umenyiora
The Elvis Dumervil fail will haunt the Broncos until they make it right on draft night. Tank could be a Top 15 guy from what I’ve seen but he’s coming off an injury. Broncos led the league in sacks last year and hope to keep that pace up with D-Line depth.
29. New England Patriots- G Jonathan Cooper
NFL Comparison: Logan Mankins
Run to the podium with this one. Again, guards are under-appreciated. Cooper and Warmack may be the best we’ve seen in a while. He’s a mauler type and the Patriot Way is to take the best players available. No doubt that is Cooper here.
30. Atlanta Falcons- CB Tyrann Mathieu
NFL Comparison: Ronde Barber
The party must go on! He’s a headcase and undersized but he can flat-out play. There is no quit, no backing down from this mighty Honey Badger. A Heisman finalist with his level of instincts cannot be overlooked very long. It’s between him and Desmond Trufant here and I think Lord Tyrann’s upside wins out.
31. San Francisco 49ers- TE Tyler Eifert
NFL Comparison: Jimmy Graham
Steal of the draft wherever he goes. If Cyprien is my guy on defense, Eifert is my guy on offense. I think he’s the best receiver in the draft and he plays tight end. Jimmy Graham type production if he goes to the right place. The Jets may snatch him up early if not he could fall far. Harbaugh coached him in Stanford so there could be some moving up from San Fran to get him.
32. Baltimore Ravens- OT DJ Fluker
NFL Comparison: Andre Smith
This will most likely be a trade down for a team looking to take a tackle or Bjoern Werner. If Baltimore chooses to stay here then a natural RT in Fluker would be perfect. Kelechi Osemele wants to stay at LG and McKinnie is no guarantee to return. Menelik Watson and Matt Elam are other options here.
Well….there you have it. The 1st round is in the books. I would be remiss if I didn’t give my Redskins fans something to chew on so here’s my prediction for every Redskins pick in the draft (Don’t worry its just names).
Round 2- CB Robert Alford
Round 3- S Shamarko Thomas
Round 4- LB Keith Pough
Round 5- WR Josh Boyce
Round 5- OT Reid Fragel
Round 6- RB Rex Burkhead
Round 7- S Dominick Reyes
CHRISTMAS DAY IS HERE! ENJOY THE DRAFT FOOTBALL FANS!
The 50 days of NFL Christmas kicks off at midnight this Saturday! Each team has their list and they’re checking it twice. With a CB here, and a slot Receiver there, here a Face, there a Face, everywhere a New Face. Over these next 50 days your favorite team will look vastly different than you last remember it. NFL Free Agency kicks off the festivities and runs through the Rookie Draft at the end of April.
The NFL is celebrating its 20th Anniversary of the modern Free Agency Era. For all you traditionalists, the appropriate gift is China… and in a sense, the NFL would welcome that gift as the NFL currently ranks 20th in popularity among sports in China, currently below Formula 1 and sailing. (CSM Media Research 2012)…yeah I dropped an APA style in-paragraph citation on you!
In 1993 Free Agency forever changed the game but before that there existed a lesser known attempt at Free Agency in 1989 known as…..WAIT FOR IT……WAIT FOR IT………….
*****PLAN B FREE AGENCY*****
Essentially a variation of what we now call a Restricted Free Agent, Plan B Free Agency stated the following:
(Plan B) allows each team to retain limited rights to 37 players each season. A protected player is unable to sign with other teams without giving his old team the first chance to sign him or forcing his new club to compensate his old club if he goes elsewhere.
To make a long story short, the plan resulted in 8 lost antitrust lawsuits that cost the NFL significantly for damages. However, it is still interesting to see that almost 25 years ago we still hold on to a piece (RFA) of what was initially suggested. A post of its very own could be dedicated to comparing the positive (ie league parity) and negative (ie player disloyalty) effects of Free Agency. You may have to check back this time next year for that one.
Today we are setting our sights on what the Washington Redskins should do in Free Agency 2013. Gone are the days that the 50 days of NFL Christmas provided Skins fans with daily lumps of coal like Jeff George, Antwaan Randle El, Dana Stubbafield, Adam Archuleta, Brandon Lloyd, and Albert HaynesWORTHLESS. Instead the Shanahan regime has changed the focus to building from the Draft, and if 2012 was any indication, the scouts and staff seem to know what they were doing. NFC East Champs that scored most of its points with a Rookie QB, Rookie RB, and Rookie Kicker. However, key acquisitions of WR Pierre Garcon and WR Josh Morgan helped the cause. This year the Redskins enter the Free Agency Season in one of its worst salary cap situations. The $18 million penalty is crippling but I still believe there is a course of action available that will set the franchise up for a efficient and productive NFL Draft next month.
Current Cap Figure: ~$3 Million OVER the Cap
Goal Cap Figure: ~$15 UNDER the Cap
Step 1. Release DeAngelo Hall or force him to take a paycut.
My mind tells me we have to release him because far too often he has been the goat of blown coverages. But my heart wants him here. I can tell he loves the game and he loves being in Washington. As a fan you love to hear passion in players’ voices and I get that from D. Hall. However, he enters this offseason as the player that holds the highest cap number this year on the current roster. Cutting him would free up around $8 million. That number would make him the 7th highest paid CB in the NFL! For his lack of production, that cap number is absurd and even he knows it. In his 11th year I could justify the team paying him around $3 million making him a Top 25 CB but $8 Million is well beyond his worth.
Step 2. Release Santana Moss and Adam Carriker
Listen, last year Santana proved everyone wrong by exceeding expectations with his production. He led the team in TDs and he was constantly RG3’s go-to-guy on key 3rd downs. Then again, Jabar Gaffney led almost every receiving category the year before and he was still shown the door. Moss will enter the 2013 season at the age of 34 and more importantly he is carrying a $4.5 million figure. His route running and knowledge of spacing makes him useful but the offense needs more explosiveness down in the slot. It will be a sad day to see him go but we moved on when Champ was traded and when Portis and Cooley were cut, we’ll move on from Tana Man too.
Similarly, it will be tough to let go of Adam Carriker. BigPoppaPump did not play this past year due to injury but he is a locker room guy. Unlike Santana, I think Carriker can actually be on the 2nd team and rotate in on the D-Line and be of impact. However, he is coming off injury and he is carrying a $4 million figure. Not much to argue with here. Seems like a likely cut. If not, they must believe he’ll be healthy and can provide versatility on the D-Line.
At this point we are at about $8 - $13 million UNDER the Cap.
Step 3. Restructure Trent Williams
Not much explanation here, Trent will account for just under $8 million. Restructuring his contract will convert that number to $3.6 million. Makes Trent look good and he gets his money up front. If DeAngelo is cut the roster cuts and restructuring is done, if not then guys like Coefield and Bowen may also have to restructure to get to $15 million.
Now to enter the Meat Market and spend this change…
Here’s my target list in order of how big the hole is:
Free Safety & Strong Safety
The two safeties the Skins brought in last year to start were Tanard Jackson and Brandon Meriweather. Jackson served an entire year’s suspension and Meriweather was oft-injured. Both are still under contract and exploring their capabilities could be an option. Additionally, the Skins will get rookie Safety Jordan Bernsteine back from pre-season injury last year. However, I think the Skins should address both safety spots through this year’s draft. The 51st pick should be a safety and another value pick later.
Veteran options: Pat Chung (New England) and Corey Lynch (San Diego)
Dream Scenario- Sean Smith (Miami)- Love what he brings in size and athleticism. Would instantly be the #1 CB on this team. Comes at a high price tag though, so this option is all but shot. Worth dreaming though.
Dream Scenario: Eric Winston (Kansas City)- The recently released tackle quietly produced a solid season but penalties were his demise. Kyle had Winston in Houston who ran a similar Zone Blocking scheme. Nasty and expressive, he’ll take a bullet for RG3.
Dream Scenario: Jared Cook (Tennessee)- Fred Davis 2.0. Another underutilized guy with above the roof potential. Cook can kill two birds with one stone, playing the role of a slot-seam route receiver at times. Not a great blocker but we can always plug Logan in for that.
Dream Scenario: DRAFT!!!
Well, there you have it! I will say this…I think the Skins should explore all options towards keeping Lorenzo Alexander, not just for his impact on special teams which is quite special, but he provides great versatility and depth in the Linebacking corps. Also, they need to put in the effort towards signing a legitimate Punter. Yeah…I said Punter! Field position, field position, field position! Very underrated aspect of the game. The Punter we sign should also be able to take kickoff duties away from Kai because he showed that he can’t cut it in that department.
I, for one, cannot wait for the NFL’s version of March Madness to get rolling. I hope we can fill all our holes with more than just stopgaps but above it all…please Shanahan, Bruce Almighty, AJ Smith, and Mr. Snyder….DO NOT OVERPAY!
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