NFL Draft Order if the Season Ended Today

NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein gives top needs for each team in the order that they would draft if the season ended today. His analysis of the Bears needs at number 15 overall is puzzling:

“Top need: Pass rusher

“Other needs: Quarterback, cornerback, left tackle, wide receiver ”

Analysis: Chicago has had improved play from Jay Cutler as the season progressed, but after 10 years, he is who he is. The question for Chicago is where it will prioritize quarterback this year — or if it does at all. Wide receiver opposite Alshon Jeffery could be addressed within the first three rounds, but finding a pass rusher should be the Bears’ top priority.”

I’ll leave the Cutler criticism for others to comment upon. But a wide receiver opposite Jeffery? Has last year’s first round draft pick, Kevin White, been kidnapped or something?  Because otherwise, I can’t imagine what Zierlein is thinking.

I also find the need for a left tackle to be off base. Even if you think that Charles Leno doesn’t have a future there – and I think the Bears would disagree – the team still has both Jermon Bushrod and Kyle Long to fill that void. If anything, they have a glut at the position.

This was a mighty sloppy evaluation that obviously wasn’t very well thought out. It’s a living, breathing example of why NFL fans need to be careful about who they listen to when it comes to analysis of any part of the game. Far too frequently, we accept opinions like this without questioning who the analyst is or where they are coming from.

It’s true that if general manager Ryan Pace sees a quarterback that he likes, he has to take him. And the Bears do have a big need at offensive guard, something that somehow got past Zierlein. But otherwise I can’t imagine prioritizing anything other than defense in this draft.

Johnny Manziel Gets More Chances. Too Many.

Chris Mortenson at ESPN reports that Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel will be returning to the starting lineup after a hiatus directly related to a visit to the clubs while the team was on bye a couple weeks ago:

Johnny Manziel
Johnny Manziel

The Browns obviously feel like they need to know what they have in Manziel. I would argue that they already know – a con man with low character that is unlikely to do what it takes to succeed in the NFL.

Manziel obviously promised the team he was going to lay low over the bye week before almost immediately being photographed holding a bottle of champaign in a club. This would be after his mea culpa over the off-season where he entered rehab and after which he promised to stay out of the clubs. He was photographed partying in a club after that, too.

The whole incident reminds me of former Bears first roud draft pick Cedric Benson. Benson was arrested on his boat. Upon talking to then head coach Lovie Smith about it, Smith obviously told him that the organization would stand by him if he laid low. The next thing you know, Benson is pulled over at 2 o’clock in the morning and charged with a DUI. At that point, it doesn’t matter if you are guilty or not. You were out at two or three in the morning after promising you wouldn’t let it happen.

The Browns are obviously being more lenient with Manziel, giving him both a third and a fourth chance. Which is bad for both them and him. Benson left the Bears to perform well here and there in Cincinnati and Green Bay. But to no one’s surprise, it didn’t last and despite his obvious talent, he’s no longer in the league. And for good reason. Manziel is headed in the same direction, arguably at a faster pace.

Alshon Jeffery as a True Number One Wide Receiver? It’s Going to Be Interesting to Find Out.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune on how the 49ers were handling Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery Sunday:

“[San Francisco nickel cornerback Jimmie] Ward said the 49ers didn’t have anything special for Alshon Jeffery in terms of coverage other than the fact that he was to be double teamed in the red zone. Jeffery had 85 yards receiving but caught only four passes.”

Aishon_jeffreySince returning from injury to re-enter the starting lineup, I would call Jeffery productive but not outstanding at 11 catches for 175 yards. This is something to keep an eye on. If Jeffery isn’t dominating despite seeing nothing out of the ordinary in terms of coverage, you have to wonder if he’s really a number one receiver. If you are Jeffery, the worse news is that teams aren’t doing anything special to stop you despite the fact that you are surrounded by mediocre talent at the other wide receiver positions. That means other teams don’t view you as a true number one wide receiver either.

I still claim that the right thing to do is to franchise Jeffery and negotiate for a long-term contract. But I’m starting to wonder what he’s going to get on the open market should he find his way there.