ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Thursday, October 17, 2013

B1G Ultimate Expansion

Thanks to clemsonalum07 for the backbone of this map
Well there you have it.  The Big Ten has expanded into a bicameral twenty two school collegiate powerhouse.  They now own the 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, and 12 schools according to revenues generated over the last calendar year.  By building a conference built of only elite Academic and Athletic institutions, the Big Ten has developed an enormously valuable league based on revenue potential.

To effectively chart such a thing as a schools revenue potential I thought it would be interesting to see if I could create some way to quantify that.  Below is my first attempt to derive what a universities SKOHR is by evaluating their end of season sports rankings, academic standings, the size of their TV market, and current athletic revenues.  A schools' final SKOHR is reflective of the total revenue potential each school has and at this point can be considered more directional helping us derive some sort of ranking.

School Academic Football Hoops  Avg   TV Homes(m) Revenue(m)  SKOHR
Florida 54 7 7     22.7 3.3 123     0.112
Michigan 29 20 5     18.0 1.8 122     0.164
Texas 46 16 70     44.0 3.2 150     0.183
Rutgers 68 53 94     71.7 10.3 60     0.232
Penn State 46 30 126     67.3 4.1 116     0.283
North Carolina 30 43 17     30.0 2.3 75     0.348
Ohio State 56 13 4     24.3 0.9 131     0.413
Virginia 27 87 44     52.7 2.3 78     0.587
Maryland 58 101 48     69.0 3.4 61     0.665
Minnesota 68 68 29     55.0 1.7 78     0.830
Oklahoma 101 12 47     53.3 1.2 104     0.855
Georgia Tech 36 46 97     59.7 2.3 55     0.943
Kansas 106 98 3     69.0 1.4 74     1.332
Indiana 82 76 2     53.3 1.1 71     1.366
Wisconsin 41 23 12     25.3 0.38 96     1.389
Missouri 97 40 23     53.3 1.1 64     1.515
Purdue 65 71 58     64.7 1.1 66     1.781
Michigan State 72 34 10     38.7 0.5 84     1.841
Iowa 72 70 28     56.7 0.43 93     2.834
Illinois 46 126 37     69.7 0.58 77     3.120
Nebraska 101 22 110     77.7 0.42 83     4.456
Northwestern 12 21 120     51.0 3.5 NA  NA  
This is all very interesting to me but again it's all very very theoretical.  Would I love to see a Rutgers schedule look like the below?  Yes.  It would take some updates to the college football landscape but that's what SKOHRboard is here for, to help Mark Emmert and gang see the future.  You're welcome Mark.

8/31 vs. Maryland
9/7 @ Georgia Tech
9/14 vs. Ohio State
9/21 vs. UVA
9/28 @ Purdue
10/5 @ UNC
10/12 vs. Northwestern
10/19 @ Florida
10/26 vs. Arizona
11/2 Bye
11/9 @ Michigan
11/16 @ Ole Miss
11/23 vs. Michigan State
11/30 vs. Penn State
12/6 B1G Championship

Where do I sign up for that schedule? 

That's 6 away games, 7 home games, 10 B1G Eastern Conference games, 1 crossover game (Northwestern), and two out of conference BCS games (Arizona and Ole Miss).  Thirteen regular season games seems to be the way things are going anyway.  Most schools already have 12 games on the schedule and then room for their conference championship too so I think as we see conferences consolidate we'll see schedules expand to allow schools to play all teams within their division.

Not only is that expansion great for football but look at those basketball schools!  It's now definitely the best basketball conference in the country.  They'd have had 9 schools in the top 25 if it was a conference last year.  Just sayin'.  I'd imagine that the B1G season ending tournament would pit the top 8 schools from each division against one another in an amazing 16 team tourney that can rotate from Atlanta, New York, Chicago, and Dallas.  Additionally there would be 15 schools in the top 68 which means that the B1G would account for just under a quarter of all teams in the NCAA tournament!

The reason that I think this can all happen is because of that top tier quality.  That is what makes people want to watch.  It's a must see event every weekend for local fans and a guaranteed national sports matchup as well.  All of that brings advertisers which in turn brings TV Networks bidding on the rights to broadcast those can't miss games.

There you have it.  The future of the Big Ten.  The B1G.  This means I'll probably have to examine what will happen with the fallout in the other conferences as the B1G has ravaged the ACC, the SEC, and the Big 12.  

Don't forget to "like" SKOHRboard's Facebook page, follow @SKOHR on Twitter, and if you enjoyed this article please Bookmark and Share it with your friends.  You can easily do all three with the links included here, the buttons just below this, and the gadgets to the right of the page!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

SKOHRboard & Friends 2013 Mock Draft 1st Round

In the tradition of continuing a favorite feature here at SKOHRboard we are bringing back the SKOHRboard & Friends annual Mock Draft.  This is the 2nd installment on the 2013 edition which will include the entire 1st Round of the draft.  The 1st installment containing the 2nd Round can be found here.  

Like last year we have assigned our friends to act the part of NFL GMs and these are their allegiances:
SKOHR - Eagles, Rams, Packers, Raiders, Dolphins, Bengals
Justin - Vikings, Cowboys, Texans, Chiefs, Ravens
Jim Mut - Seahawks, Panthers, Bears, Colts, Browns, Jets
Jeremy - Steelers, Falcons, Cardinals, Redskins, Jaguars, Patriots
Steve-O - Saints, Lions, Chargers, Buccaneers, Titans
Joel - Giants, Broncos, Bills, 49ers

We turn to Justin to kick things off this year with the 1st pick in the 2013 SKOHRboard & Friends NFL Mock Draft!

1. Kansas City - Luke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M
The Chiefs have already said that they are basically choosing between Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, and Dion Jordan with the first overall pick. We can throw Dion Jordan out because the Chiefs already have the personnel well-suited for a 3-4 defense, while they let one of their starters at tackle leave via free agency. Joeckel had a terrific career at A&M, He made the Big-12 teams in 2010 and 2011 and earned 1st Team All-America and 1st Team All-SEC in 2012, shutting down some of the top pass-rushers in the nation. Pass-blocking is paramount in an Andy Reid offense, and that is Joeckel's strength. This doesn't really see like much of a decision between the two, so I'm locking in the Chiefs for their franchise left tackle. 

2. Jacksonville - Bjoern Werner,DE FSU
The Jags need someone to get to the quarterback, so we strongly considered Jarvis Jones in this position.  However, Werner adds a nice touch of German flair that will really galvanize the fan base.  Also, he is the top DE prospect in the draft, and his time at FSU has given him plenty of local fans here in Jacksonville.  He has a very high ceiling- we are talking about an exchange student that had never played football until he was 15 developing into top talent.  His weight has varied from 275 during his breakout sophomore year to 250 in his final year at FSU, so it might take some time for him to find the best body type to last through an NFL season without losing more time to injury.  All in all, we are excited for the countless Blitzkrieg puns which will be unfortunately and incorrectly uttered (as a DE can not be the contributor of a blitz). 

3. Oakland -Shariff Floyd, DT Florida
Despite forsaking his local powerhouse Rutgers University for the likes of a much swampier locale, Floyd has proven that he has what it takes to play and dominate against the best.  Floyd is a monster coming off the edge and a perfect hybrid DT/DE prospect.  He has the speed and quickness to play on the edge and the power/bulk to play heads up as a DT. Floyd will bolster the Raiders DLine immediately.

4. Philadelphia - Dee Millner, CB Alabama
Milliner is easily the best DB prospect in this years draft and the Eagles need all the help they can get back there with the departures of their previously under-performing squad.  Milliner has been talked about as the potential #1 overall and while I don't think that will happen, I think that he makes sense here for the Eagles given the large amount of talent already in place.  I'd also like to note that it would probably be in their best interest to trade down if at all possible.

5. Detroit - Ezekiel Ansah, DE BYU
The Lions need defensive end help (among other things) with Kyle Vanden Bosch getting cut and Cliff Avril going to Seattle via free agency and Ansah is this year's version of Chandler Jones or Jason Pierre-Paul; players with little college production but great athletes who have huge upside for the NFL.  A great senior bowl week helped Ansah's stock tremendously.  Ansah is extremely fast, strong and explosive. He has the ability to beat offensive linemen with his power and speed. He possesses the potential to be a big-time impact player. If the Lions can't get any pressure on the quarterback, Aaron Rodgers is going to continue to shred their secondary, no matter who is starting back there.

6. Cleveland - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB Oregon
Cleveland Browns select Dion Jordan, DE/OLB from Oregon. The Browns strongly considered Geno Smith, but they decide to not take QB's in the 1st round in back to back years, instead giving Ray Horton a freak to help on defense. Putting him on one side and Paul Kruger on the other side, the Browns have suddenly evolved into a team that can get to the QB. He can even cover in space as well due to his speed. Cleveland is very excited that Jordan dropped to them. 

7. Arizona - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Arizona Cardinals have decided that having Kolb drop back to pass behind a weak line was not a viable strategy for the future, and in a bold off-season, have decided to change both factors rather than isolate a variable.  With Carson Palmer (or Drew Stanton, god forbid) under center, the Cardinals notch arguably the top OT to protect him.  Fisher is the top Senior in a draft class of mostly underclassmen along the line, and he capped a Third-team AA season with an impressive performance during the Senior Bowl practices.  He is likely the first of many new faces along the line, but the Cardinals war room now has to focus on how they are going to play defense without either of their safeties from last year....

8. Buffalo - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Buffalo thought long and hard about Geno Smith at this spot but ultimately decided there are too many hole in his game the warrant a top 10 pick.  They decided to fill a big need and go with the best o-lineman available in Johnson who has all-pro potential. 

9. NY Jets - Star Loutlelei, NT, Utah   
NY Jets select Star Loutlelei, NT, Utah This pick depends a lot on whether or not the Jets are able to get Tampa's 1st round pick, #13 in this draft. The Jets and Rex Ryan get their man who they hope is a future Star. Loutlelei dominated the Pac-12, and is a perfect fit in a 3-4 scheme that the Jets run, especially after losing their previous NT. Star is both fast and strong for his size, and can play in all situations. 

10. Tennessee - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Players like Chance Warmack are to blame for the argument, could Alabama beat an NFL team.  Warmack was a man amongst boys in nearly every game he played over the last couple of seasons. He's built like a house, wears his jersey too small to reveal his gut and is able to engage linebackers in the running game before they even know what to do with themselves.  Pound for pound, he may be the best prospect in this draft class.  Warmack is every bit worth a top 10 pick. After watching most of his games last year, it's clear that he has the potential to be a difference-maker on the interior of the offensive line. In a day and age when teams are bringing more and more pressure up the middle, Warmack's awareness and athleticism will be coveted on draft day.  Roll Tide.

11. San Diego - Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Spine issues?  Speed concerns?  Who cares, this guy had dominated the SEC for a combined 28 sacks over the last 2 seasons.  Despite being double teamed nearly every play, this guy led the nation in sacks, tackles for a loss and forced fumbles.  As one scout put it; "Jarvis Jones is a heat seaking missle that tracks down ball carriers regardless of where they are on the field".  Jones should be able to play and possibly start week 1 THIS year.  He is a top 3 talent and the Titans are excited to see his line dancing skills in downtown Nashville for years to come.

12. Miami - Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC
Cooper is downright explosive.  What's even more impressive is that he's an explosive 300lb man.  Cooper than easily slid into pass protection, work off of stunts, pick up blitzers and get to the 2nd level.  He's the kind of guy who will help fill in the massive hole left by Jake Long and help protect Ryan Tannehill for years to come.

13. Tampa Bay-Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Very good all around CB who will unfortunately not be taken here because this pick was traded to the Jets for a holdout machine named Darelle Revis.  

14. Carolina  -Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Cam Newton needs a weapon to grow old with, as Steve Smith is heading toward the end of his career and the Panthers have no weapons to groom under him. Austin steps in right away as the heir apparent and Smith takes him under his wing. Austin is a playmaker, and with the NFL gravitating more toward spread offenses, the speedy Austin combined with Cam helps give them a new dynamic for the future. If Austin is not there, they more than likely take the top corner available. 

15. New Orleans - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Tennessee
The Saints have to go with a defensive stud here right?  WRONG!!!! Sean Payton is back and he wants nothing more than to drop 45 points a game this year.  The Saints defense can stop about as much as the city's levee system does and Sean Payton could care less.  As long as Drew Brees can put up 40 points a game, Payton believes he can win.  In Patterson they get a 6'2 speedster that can stretch the field every play.  C'mon, do you think opposing defenses are really afraid of Colston, Henderson and Moore?  Outside of Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles, Brees has few reliable options.  Patterson can also return kicks, which should save Sproles a few hits a week.

16. St Louis - Kenny Vacarro, S, Texas
Before really digging into this I thought Tavon Austin would be an amazing choice for the Rams.  They could take advantage of Bradford's ability to make the quick short throws and get a guy who can turn a 5 yard catch into a 60 yard TD.  Unfortunately he is already off the board here.  Vaccaro however, is the class of this year's Safety group and will immediately step into a starting role for the Rams.  After checking their website it would appear that the Rams currently have 2 total safeties on their roster, that's one free safety and one strong safety.  While nobody uses a 1st round pick for depth, it's clear the Rams need some serious help on the backend and Vaccaro will provide a huge upgrade in talent to that position group.

17. Pittsburgh - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Expletive tirade about Vacarro being taken here has been removed due to SKOHRboard's family friendly nature.  Richardson is settled for by the Steelers front office.

18. Dallas - Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Cowboys offensive line is a huge weakness, but the Cowboys don't feel confident enough in DJ Fluker to make a commitment to replace Doug Free with a first round pick. Kenny Vaccaro and Sheldon Richardson were coveted, but each has already fallen off the board. With the Cowboys defense making the switch from 3-4 to 4-3 under, Dallas needs to find a pass-rushing end with speed around the edge. The 4-3 under is perfect for Mingo, and the Dallas defense sorely needs his talents to improve upon their woeful sack totals last year. Mingo is arguably the best athlete in this class, and he could always be asked to play with his hand in the grass one series and then drop into pass coverage the next. He'll probably have to put on a bit more weight, but his presence will give offenses fits when they try to figure out how to stop him and Demarcus Ware. He is a threat to lead the league in sacks if he gets the opportunity to play right away.

19. NY Giants - Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
The Giants have a number of different directions they can go here but they always follow the best available philosophy in the draft and this year will be no different.  Ogletree is a sideline to sideline Lb that can come in and make an immediate impact.  In the scenario the giants not only grab the best player available but also fill a huge need. 

20. Chicago - DJ Fluker, T, Alabama
The Bears already signed Bushrod to play left tackle and signed Matt Slausen to play guard. They draft Fluker to play immediately as well at the other guard. All of the sudden, the Bears have a formidable offensive line to protect Cutler. Fluker is a giant which is why he gets two pictures because look at that guy. Jay Cutler will have to find a new excuse as to why he only has 1 playoff win after this one. 

21. Cincinnatti - Manelik Watson, OL, FSU
Cincinnati has a few needs that they are probably looking at here.  I imagine they liked Tavon Austin quite a bit to pair with Green and Sanu. Vaccaro was probably high on their list as well.  Alec Ogletree was appealing until we realized that he'd already been taken.  The Bengals have selected Manelik Watson.  Watson is somewhat new to the game but he is a physical freak and a very hard worker.  With another year of football focused weight lifting especially at the NFL level he should be a stalwart on the offensive line for the Bengals. 

22. St. Louis - Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
The Rams need some weapons, a weapon, something.  Bradford has proven to be an effective quarterback when he can hit guys on quick timing routes.  In order to make those successful  he'll need WRs who can get some separation but most importantly, catch the ball in traffic. If there is one thing that Keenan Allen may hold above all other WRs in this draft is his ability to catch the ball.  He is widely regarded with having some of the best hands in the draft and that includes making the difficult catches.  While he isn't a burner, his hands and route running ability more than make up for it and he'll prove to be a 1st down machine for the Rams.

23. Minnesota - Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
The Vikings traded away one of the most electric players in the league this offseason, but they also let their starting middle linebacker walk. While receiver must be addressed, the Mike is even more of a priority based on true difference-makers at the position. In the Tampa 2 Over defense that the Vikings use, a three-down backer that can cover a deep and wide field is essential. He needs to be able to read each play for run-pass and then react to the slot: if that receiver runs a vertical, the mike has to be able to drop deep in the zone; if there is an under pattern, he'll have to close fast to limit yards after catch. While other linebackers might be considered "elite" options, they aren't a fit for the Vikings style of play. Brown, however, has tremendous speed for his weight, great hip movement and backpedal, and one of the best combos of agility and speed in this draft class. His tackling might be the best in the linebacker class, and his sideline-to-sideline range is fantastic. He might be considered short for his position, but he is as heavy as some of the other backers in the draft. He will be a Day 1 starter and a fixture at the position.

24. Indianapolis - Xavier Rhodes, CB, FSU
The Colts select Xavier Rhodes, CB, FSU. The Colts still need another cornerback to pair with Vontae Davis and Darius Butler. Rhodes is a big corner, in the mold of the Seahawks cornerbacks, and has speed to back up his size by running a 4.43 40 at the combine. He was a 3 year starter for FSU and will match up well with bigger NFL WRs.

25. Minnesota - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
The Vikings signed Greg Jennings after trading Percy Harvin away, but they still have one of the worst receiving corps in the league. At 6'4 and 196 pounds, Hunter has excellent size at the position. He is a savvy route runner and excels at reading coverage, plus he has good straight-line speed (4.44 40), especially for a guy his size. Hunter suffered a 2011 ACL tear, but he is back up to full speed now. He can use his size to beat press coverage, and he can track the ball and go up and get it at the high point easily. He can already play two receiver positions, so with Jarius Wright in the slot and Jennings and Hunter able to play both positions, the Vikings passing attack might not be terrible. We will still likely grab another WR later in the draft, since Greg Childs is still injured. 

26. Green Bay - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The Packers would love to upgrade their interior OL or their DE situation here but the value of grabbing Eifert here was too good to pass up.  He and Finley represent an ultra dynamic set of TEs that will cause matchup nightmares for defenses.  With Jennings leaving in Free Agency, there will even be some more passes to go around to keep the mercurial Finley happy with his touches.

27. Houston - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Texans have one if the best running backs in the game, a few of the best sack artists in the game, and one of the most talented receivers in the game. So why can't they get over the hump and make a deep run in the playoffs? As much as I wanted to pull the trigger on Geno Smith here because I have no confidence in Matt Schaub, I have even less confidence in the guys behind Andre Johnson. Hopkins has great separation skills, sharp route-running, and extreme quickness in and out of his breaks. He can move well with the ball in his hands. He can pretty much do anything that you want a receiver to do, which the Texans haven't been able to say about their #2 in a long time.

28. Denver - Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
The Broncos have few needs at this point but RB is by far the most glaring.  Lacy is a powerful runner with great instincts.  His running style is a perfect fit for Mannings offense and gives the Bronocos much needed stability at the position.

29. New England - DJ Hayden, CB, Houston
The Patriots don't really have a ton of needs on the offensive end, so they'll continue to target the defense. Alonzo Dennard was a 7th round pick that assumed the starting corner role last year, and while that was very pleasant, the Patriots need to add depth at the position. Hayden is a juco kid that played his college ball at a smaller school, but he showed some great instincts and ball skills at the D-1 level. New England will likely be protecting the lead late in games more often then not, so it always makes sense to load up on quality options in the secondary. 

30. Atlanta - Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
Atlanta has been very active trying to build the strongest team possible to make a run at the Super Bowl, and with Tony Gonzalez returning for one last year, there are few holes left to fill. Corner and defensive end are really the only two needs I can see, and the war room was torn between Tank Carradine, Datone Jones, and Jamar Taylor. In the end, Taylor's size, speed, character, and work ethic make him a perfect fit for a team looking for the final piece to the puzzle. He is physical, athletic, and instinctive. 

31. San Francisco - Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC
The 49ners have one of the most talented rosters in the league with few holes.  So they add great rotational depth here in a talented DT from the Tar Heels. They do have to provide their qb with more weapons at some point in the draft but the 49ners like to build from the inside out.

32. Baltimore - Matt Elam, S, Florida
How do you replace a legend? How do you replace two?!? That's the question the ravens have to face with the loss of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. Asking a rookie to do that is cruel, but Matt Elam possesses the skill-set and toughness to erase the gaping hole that Reed's departure opened up. His style of play and his attitude already has a Raven feel to him. He covers a huge area of field, can play the run well, and he has a chip on his shoulder every time he lines up. 

Don't forget to "like" SKOHRboard's Facebook page, follow @SKOHR on Twitter, and if you enjoyed this article please Bookmark and Share it with your friends.  You can easily do all three with the links included here, the buttons just below this, and the gadgets to the right of the page!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

SKOHRboard & Friends 2013 2nd Round Mock Draft

As you are well aware, the NFL draft kicks off tomorrow night at 8pm Eastern.  As tradition goes, we here at SKOHRboard like to have an annual mock draft where several of our FOBs (friends of the blog) put on their respective GM hats and give it a go with our own Draft.  We've assigned teams to friends the same way we did it last year.

SKOHR - Eagles, Rams, Packers, Raiders, Dolphins, Bengals
Justin - Vikings, Cowboys, Texans, Chiefs, Ravens
Jim Mut - Seahawks, Panthers, Bears, Colts, Browns, Jets
Jeremy - Steelers, Falcons, Cardinals, Redskins, Jaguars, Patriots
Steve-O - Saints, Lions, Chargers, Buccaneers, Titans
Joel - Giants, Broncos, Bills, 49ers

We'll kick things off with Round 2 this year as we have actually completed the draft but wanted to roll out our selections with Round 1 being disclosed on the morning of the draft.  So without further adieu, here is the 2nd Round of the 2013 SKOHRboard & Friends Mock Draft

Rd 2
1(33). Jacksonville - Geno Smith, QB WVU
Wow, talk about a slide. No quarterbacks go in the first round, and the Jags get the dream scenario of selecting their top pass rusher and top quarterback with their first two picks. Chad Henne looked fantastic with his mustache, and he played very well down the stretch, but the Jags need an upgrade at quarterback. The Jaguars sent their entire front office, including the team president, to Geno Smith's Pro Day. Nearly everyone who had something to do with the drafting of Blaine Gabbert has been jettisoned from the team, and any time a new head coach is in town, the chance of hitching his wagon to a new QB is increased. Meanwhile, the new GM in town has a history of building around quarterbacks, opting for Peyton Manning while in the front office at Indy and then recommending Matt Ryan while Director of Scouting in Atlanta. Smith struggled with inconsistency down the stetch, but he put up ridiculous numbers in the first half of the season. He has all the tools to be a successful quarterback: high accuracy, high football IQ, composure under pressure, and devotion to film study. It's unfortunate that the Jags have to devote another high pick on a QB when they have so many other holes to fill in the roster, but Smith in the 2nd round is too good of a value to pass up.

2(34). San Francisco - John Cyprien, S, FIU
The 49ers would have loved to give their offense another weapon but with all of the top notch wrs gone they continue to solidify one of the best defenses in the league.  Cyprien is a big play making safety with good range and can do it all.  He can have immediate impact in the back end of their D

3(35). Philadelphia - Johnathan Jenkins, NT, Georgia
The Eagles have lots of talent but they need to figure out what talent works and what doesn't.  Moving to a 3-4 hybrid defense means they could need to fill some gaps on that side of the ball and there is no bigger gap than NT.  Philling that gap will now be the responsibility of maybe the largest man in this year's draft Johnathan Jenkins.  Jenkins is a surprisingly athletic man who just happens to be about 6'4" and 340 lbs.  The Eagles literally had Zach Ertz typed in but pulled back the card and changed it to Jenkins before hitting submit.  There is much greater depth at TE in this year's draft and Jenkins represents probably the top NT candidate.

4(36). Detroit - Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi
Lucky for this kid, he is better at football than his mom was at spelling (no "a" in Johnthan?).  The Lions secondary was one of the worst in the league last year. I know there are some knocks on Banks because he ran a low 40 time at the combine, but football isn't won with 40 times. It's won with ability, and this kid has it. He is a physical corner that will press and disrupt routes, allowing the Lions interior pass rush to collapse the pocket, which they need to do better if they have any hopes of winning their division in the near future.  Hopefully the addition of Banks and Ansah will make Aaron Rodgers life a little more difficult at least twice a year.

5(37). Cincinnati - Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Manti had quite an interesting last few months with regard to his girlfriend that never was.  Despite being absolutely dominated by Alabama in the National Championship game, Manti showed solid LB skills for years before that.  While he isn't a speed demon, he can make plays and that's just what Cincy needs.

6(38). Arizona - Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
After getting their starting LT in the first the Cardinals get their Qb of the future to learn behind Carson Palmer for a year or two. Nassib has the strong arm needed to execute new coach Bruce Arian's offense and is a nice building block for the future

7(39). NY Jets - EJ Manual, QB, FSU
The Jets need a QB for the future and Rex Ryan believes that maybe Manuel will buy him some more time with the franchise. The Jets want to get back to their running ways, and Manuel will help them evolve into the new, spreading offense that the NFL is becoming. He is going to need a year to learn behind Sanchez, Garrard & Co, but Manuel will help make that offense explosive in the future.

8(40). Tennessee - Blidi Wreh Wilson, CB, Connecticut
Wreh-Wilson has the size scouts covet at the cornerback position. He's not the fastest corner but is physical enough to jam receivers and knock them off their routes.

9(41). Buffalo - Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
The Bills are in need of a weapon that can threaten the seem of a defense and Ertz is just that.  He isn't much of a blocker but in this day an age what TE is in the NFL.

10(42) Miami - Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
Miami continues to focus on protecting Tannehill.  Adding Pugh to their OLine will give them the quality along the front to keep Tannehill in his comfort zone and let him grow into a quality starter.  This is similar to what the 49ers did three years ago when they took Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati one after the other in the first round.

11(43). Tampa Bay - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
No comment from Steve-O

12(44). Carolina - Datone Jones, OLB, UCLA
Carolina needs help on defense, and Jones can help immediately. He is strong and physical at the line of scrimmage, which will help Carolina's weak defensive line. He is not the best pass rusher, but will help Carolina's run defense tremendously.

13(45). San Diego - Robert Woods, WR, USC
No comment from Steve-O

14(46). St. Louis - Giovani Bernard, RB, UNC
Giovani is potentially the best back in this draft when you consider that Eddie Lacy is significantly overrated.  In light of that bombshell it's fair to say that the RB needy Rams are getting quite a steal here in Bernard, a back who can do it all.

15(47). Dallas - Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
Oh my goodness, the Cowboys are finally on the clock! With the 47th pick in the draft, Dallas addresses their woeful offensive line and selects Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky.

Tyron Smith is good and Ryan Cook is decent, but the rest of the Dallas offensive line is replacement level at best. We could have addressed safety or wide receiver here, but the next few picks in this draft have to be targeted at rebuilding this embarrassing line. Warford never allowed a sack in 2012 playing in the SEC, neutralizing three first-round-caliber defensive tackles in Missouri's Sheldon Richardson, Florida's Sharrif Floyd and Georgia's John Jenkins. He can take on powerful bull-rushing tackles and speedy gap-shooting tackles, and he is an absolute road grader in the running game. Dallas needs Warford if they have any hope of generating a run game this year.

16(48). Pittsburgh - Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
No comment from Steve-O.

17(49). NY Giants - Corey Lemonier, OLB, Auburn
Giants continue to solidify their defense by adding pass rushing depth.  With the loss of Osi they are left very thin in what use to be their greatest strength.

18(50). Chicago - Tank Carridine, DE, FSU
Tank is coming off major knee surgery, but already is running a 4.75 40 for a defensive end. Chicago will let him rehab as needed and once he is ready, they will plug him in on 3rd downs opposite Julius Peppers and let him try to get to the qb.

19(51). Washington - Eric Reid, S, LSU
Washington was flat out awful against the pass last year and lost games because of it.  If they can start filling out their secondary and get some of their pass rushers back from injury they have a chance to see their record make a serious jump.  Reid has all the athleticism you need out of a Free Safety and playing in LSU's defense gave him a chance to showcase that ability.  He doesn't consistently play up to that talent but I'd rather take a guy with a higher ceiling at a position like this and let him earn it.

20(52). Minnesota - Kawaan Short, DT, Purdue
The Vikings defense only works with a quick 3-technique defensive tackle capable of disrupting the strong side at the line of scrimmage and a space-eater 1-technique defensive tackle that can take on double teams. Kevin Williams is getting up there in age for the 3-technique spot, and Letroy Guion is mediocre at best as the 1. The question is do the Vikings address the 3 with the speedy Short or the 1 with mammoth Jesse Williams from Alabama? Despite taking Christian Ballard from Iowa not too long ago, the Vikings will instead address Williams's successor, taking the disruptive Short for his ability to play on all three downs. He is strong rushing the passer and stopping the run, using his quickness to shoot the gaps, his club move to rock the blocker back, and his swim/spin moves in his bull rush to cross up flat-footed lineman. He seems to struggle with conditioning so I'm guessing he will start off as a rotational lineman rather than a full-time starter. Still, he should make an immediate impact on the team and will continue to make the defensive line a strength for the Vikings.

No more picks for the Vikings in our mock, but rest assured that had this continued, receiver would have been addressed once more (Quinton Patton is a Justin favorite), and a big 1-technique would also have been scooped up. Oh and I'd grab a safety to play across from Harrison Smith. Plus we'd go after corners, since you can never have enough talented corners.

21(53). Cincinnati - DJ Swearinger, S, South Carolina
The Bengals have had a revolving door at Safety lately and even turned to Taylor Mays after his flash in the pan career in San Francisco with mixed results.  To bolster their secondary, the Bengals will add Swearinger to the mix and hope that two of the Swearinger, Mays, and Nelson trio stand out.  Swearinger is the opposite of Mays in that he is not the physical freak athlete but rather a sound technician who should hopefully prove to be more consistent in the right system.

22(54). Miami - Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Williams has the ability to play any of the three front positions for the Dolphins.  While he isn't known for his pass rush skills he is more than capable of taking up multiple defenders to allow the edge rushers to get after opposing QBs.  Williams has some work to do in order to refine his technique but he has all the physical tools.  He can be used on a rotational basis for at least a year while he learns and has the potential to turn into a real monster along the front for the Dolphins.

23(55). Green Bay - Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
Hunt is a physical beast who exploded at the Combine to record a 4.60 forty yard dash, a 34' vertical, and 38 bench press reps at 225 lbs while measuring in at 6'8" 280lbs.  Hunt is a former shot put and discuss Jr. World Champion which is why he will come to Green Bay fairly raw despite being 26 years old.  His upside is tremendous and if he can put it together in Green Bay can become a real impact player.

24(57). Seattle - Kyle Long, OT, Oregon
The Seahawks have waited a Long (pun intended) time for their first pick in the 2013 draft after trading for Percy Harvin. Long is the son of Howie and brother of Chris, so he has great genes and is supposedly the best athlete in the family per Howie and Chris. The Seahawks have a need at the guard position and can always use more depth, and Kyle will probably start immediately on the right side of the line.

25(58). Houston - Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
The Texans have a definite need at receiver, but with Brian Cushing coming off a torn
ACL and not much behind him, the team badly needs to strengthen the middle of the defense. Minter is a tackling machine capable of shedding blocks and getting deep in passing lanes. He is phenomenal against the run. Minter plays fast and physical and would greatly improve the Houston defense.

There were a few receivers considered here, too (Patton, Swope, etc) but Minter was too good to pass on.

26(59). Denver - Tyrann Matthieu, CB, LSU
This player comes with a lot of off the field baggage and hasn't played football in a year because of it but he has a nose for the ball and is a play maker.  Two things the Jerry Reese and the Giants value greatly.

27(60). New England - Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
The Patriots are going to be bringing back an offense that is missing both Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd. The New England offense requires a smart receiver that knows how to run every route in the route tree. They brought in a bunch of new guys this year in Danny Amendola, Donald Jones, and a few other scraps, but they could really use a polished route-runner that can play all over and do everything asked of him. Patton is aggressive with the ball in the air and goes up and gets it in a way that compares to Anquon Boldin. Likewise, his route-running is precise, comparable to Reggie Wayne. Lastly, he is used to being a volume receiver while at La Tech, so he could easily be asked to fill the role of Wes Welker if they prefer to use him inside rather than outside. He doesn't have track speed, but he knows how to use his body to create separation.

28(61). Atlanta - Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State
Atlanta gets much needed help at a position of need from a very good player who can fly.

29(62). San Francisco - Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Frank Gore is still productive but not getting any younger and the younger rbs behind him aren't true work horses.  Franklin has great vision balance and straight line speed.

30(63). Baltimore - Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
The ravens lost Anquon Boldin and have Joe Flacco a ton of money, so they will need to reinvest in some weapons. Williams has good height, decent speed, and good hands and route-running ability. He should be able to rotate in to start the season and become a good contributor fairly quickly.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

B1G Western Expansion

This is part two of my Big Ten expansion series in which I examine what schools would be best for Jim Delany to focus on as he looks to expand the footprint of the conference.  We are using several criteria to determine what schools make the best acquisition targets.  First we've narrowed our list of potential schools geographically based on Ohio State President's comments stating that they are focused on schools in the southeast and midwest.  

Now that we have already decided on the Eastern expansion it's time to focus on what midwestern based schools are most appealing in terms of Academic standing, TV Market, and contiguous location based on current B1G footprint.  

Here are the AAU schools in the MidWest:
University of Arizona
University of Colorado
Iowa State University
University of Kansas
University of Missouri
University of Texas
Texas A&M University
Rice University

We already examined the biggest TV markets so lets just look at how big the markets are for each of the above schools.

School DMAs Million Homes
Texas Austin, Dallas 3.2
Texas A&M Waco, Dallas 2.9
Arizona Phoenix, Tucson 2.2
Rice Houston 2.2
Colorado Denver 1.6
Kansas Wichita, Kansas City 1.4
Missouri Columbia, Kansas City 1.1
Iowa State Ames 0.4

Oh, Texas?  That seems like it would be a pretty big deal.  It would be a huge deal and if any other conference could even think of adding Texas it would be the Big Ten.  The Big 12 already seems to be on somewhat shaky ground having lost Colorado, Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Missouri in the past few years.  Not to mention the Big Ten openly wondering about the potential to add Texas two years ago when Nebraska joined.  

Let's just go crazy for a minute and assume that Florida, UNC, Georgia Tech, and UVA joined out east.  If Texas doubts the long term viability of the Big 12 at all, they have to feel pretty good about the Big Ten given that stable of elite schools.  If they should pull the trigger and jump into the Big Ten I think the rest of the dominoes fall their way as well.

Looking at the above list of schools, while trying to avoid duplicating TV markets and staying contiguous the path to connect Texas to the existing footprint becomes pretty clear.  Nebraska shares borders with Kansas and Missouri so either of those would do.  However, we run into an issue where there are no schools connecting states between Texas and those two.  

Here is where we make another big leap to add Oklahoma.  They would be the only non-AAU school the Big Ten would look at.  Oklahoma has very good athletics programs and are currently ranked #101 undergrad institution in the US by US News and World Report.  Given their long standing rivalry with Texas and more than adequate athletics programs I think they would be the final school to get tapped.

School DMAs Million Homes
Oklahoma Norman, Tulsa 1.2

That is how we get to the situation where the Big Ten adds Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri.  That is another outstanding haul for Commissioner Delany.  The diagram above illustrates what the Big Ten's new Western Conference will look like.  Next up in this series I'll evaluate the entire 22 school B1G with two full divisions of 11 institutions.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

B1G Eastern Expansion

Now for part two of our look at the B1G's expansion I'd like to explore potential schools that Jim Delany would like to incorporate into the conference from the Southeastern US.  When you think B1G, think large market, and think AAU in the southeast there are a few Universities that Delany must have his eye on. 

Here is the list of AAU colleges in the Southeast.
  • University of Florida
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Virginia
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Tulane University
  • Vanderbilt University
Those are very clearly some top academic institutions so we've met that requirement right off the bat.  You'll remember from the last article about this I mentioned that the three requirements were.

1.       Large TV market
2.       AAU status (top academic institution)
3.       Contiguous State from the existing B1G footprint

Now let's look at some of the top TV markets

RankDMATV Homes
1New York7,387,810
2Los Angeles5,569,780
5Dallas Ft. Worth2,571,310
6San Francisco2,506,510
21St. Louis1,253,920
22Portland, OR1,190,010
24Raleigh Durham1,143,420
28San Diego1,077,600
30Hartford, New Haven1,006,280

Finally we'll need to see what cities are also part of a contiguous footprint to the current Big Ten or will need to keep that in mind as we expand the conference.  So out of that list of TV markets let's see what schools are in or near the Top 30 DMAs that are also in the Southeast.  All of them make the list but Tulane in New Orleans, which was actually surprising to me.  However, here is the list of what size DMA each school sits in.  Some are lucky enough to straddle more than one and thus bump up their ranking.

SchoolDMAMillion Homes
Johns HopkinsWashington & Baltimore3.4
FloridaTampa & Orlando3.3
DukeRaleigh & Orlando2.3
VirginiaWashington  2.3
North CarolinaRaleigh & Charlotte2.3
Georgia TechAtlanta2.3
Vanderbilt Nashville1
TulaneNew OrleansNA

While it's hard to say Johns Hopkins really carries both Baltimore and Washington it is essentially in both DMAs.  However, so is the University of Maryland which the Big Ten just acquired so I doubt they'd be looking to sign another school in that market thus duplicating efforts and creating redundancy.  That's not the sign of a well run business.

Just by looking at that diagram it would make sense to say that Florida, Duke or UNC, Georgia Tech, and maybe Virginia would be the top choices for the Big Ten.  I say "maybe" Virginia only because Maryland already fills up a lot of the Washington market if they are successful so they wouldn't be nearly as major of a win as the other schools who are more alone in their markets.

There are rumors that UNC has been reluctant to leave the ACC.  However I’d suggest that if Delany can get Florida out of the SEC then he would be able to get UNC to leave the ACC, skip the SEC’s inevitable invite, and head right for the B1G too.  To me, Florida is the lynch pin.  Delany wants to go big and there aren't many bigger than Florida.  (Actually there are only three bigger, Texas, Ohio State, and Alabama).  So if Delany takes UNC and Florida that leaves two teams in the East.  For the sake of contiguity it looks like the additions of Virginia and Georgia Tech would lead the Big Ten right down the East Coast.  

People might say that Georgia Tech doesn't carry Atlanta but I feel like Delany views the B1G as somewhat of a Kingmaker.  Meaning that if he should bless Georgia Tech with an invite to the B1G, then with the uplift in competition, the big name teams rolling through, the increase in cash flows and potentially improved on- field product, then it’s only a matter of time until the ramblin’ wreck is the hottest ticket in town.  My guess is that he feels the same way about all of these acquisitions.  Rutgers might be a small draw (although it is the largest draw of all college teams) in the NYC market compared to Ohio State in Columbus but if you imagine an uptick of even a few percentage points, that is an enormous market to be captured.  I’d bank that Delany thinks just like I do in my belief that joining the B1G makes Rutgers even more competitive and that uptick in market share is extremely likely.  Watch out if they outperform expectations on the field and they can tap into both the #1 NYC and the #4 Philadelphia TV markets, that's 10.3 million homes!

By the process I've outlined above it stands to me that if the Big Ten should decide to expand it would look to UVA, UNC, Georgia Tech, and the University of Florida to become members.  Not a bad haul for just the first leg of the journey!  Just check out that Eastern Conference map at the top of the post!

Now that we have identified four potential Universities that move the B1G’s reach further into the Southeast per Mr. Gee’s comments, we have to look to the Midwest for the others. That's for next time though, so check out our next post in the series with a few more surprises.

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