5 Thoughts Before The NFL Draft

Here are 5 thoughts I have about the NFL draft and situations that could affect the draft before it starts on April 30:

  1. QBs are drafted #1 and #2 overall.

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State, and Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon, are going 1 and 2 overall respectively in this year’s draft. They are the two top players at the most important position on the football field and there doesn’t seem to be that much of a drop off in talent from one to the other. Certain analysts and scouts are even putting Mariota ahead of Winston. I’m fairly confident this is what will happen with the first two picks. The only question is who will draft Mariota second overall? That leads me to…

  1. The Titans trade out of the #2 pick.

The coaching staff has been supporting current QB Zach Mettenberger and saying he’s their guy. Well, I’m not sure how strong they will stay in their stance once the phones start ringing with trade offers when they’re on the clock on April 30. Maybe the second guess their current QB and their willingness to actually pull the trigger on a trade because the offers they are getting make them think Mariota might actually be the way to go. Who knows? I think they have their minds made up and already have trade offers on the table should Mariota not go #1 overall. They will see what else comes in during their allotted time on the clock and then they will trade the pick. Maybe the Browns move up, maybe they get Bradford from the Eagles, maybe the Bears or Jets make an unexpected move – I don’t know who it will be, but Mariota won’t be a member of the Titans.

  1. The Chargers do not trade Phillip Rivers and move up in the draft.

I’ve thought about this one and even had a conversation about the opposite point of view, so this could possibly happen, but I’m predicting it doesn’t. The question is if the Chargers really think they can content with Rivers at the helm or if they think he’s starting to get old and want to suffer growing pains with a new young QB this year so they’re better equipped for next year (2016). Which would also mean division rival Denver wouldn’t be starting QB Peyton Manning anymore and likely give the Chargers a better chance to win the division. I think Rivers has shown he can still play and a former teammate (Ladanian Tomlinson) saying Rivers is frustrated is a second-hand account that I’m not sure will have any impact on what the Chargers plan to do. Also, they can draft the third best QB in the second or third round to learn for a year or two while Rivers handles the load. Not a bad option.

  1. The Vikings do not trade Adrian Peterson and pass on RB in the first round.

As some analysts have been saying, AP’s contract is just so large for a RB turning 30 years old that there aren’t many teams out there willing to take that contract and risk. Cowboys have been named as the main team that might trade for him…until this new just broke today from Adam Schefter: “Cowboys’ EVP/COO Stephen Jones told 105.3 in Dallas: “I don’t see us using any picks to trade for veteran players.’” With that said, you might as well take the Cowboys off the table. The Raiders have supposedly shown interest and have the cap room to make it happen, but would they be willing to part with the #4 overall pick in the draft? I’m guessing not, even if it does sounds like something the Raiders would do. Will a second and fourth round pick do it for the Vikings? I’m not so sure. The Vikings have been standing strong saying they’re not very interested in trading AP. So unless they get a killer offer from the Raiders or another team that could afford him like the Jaguars, I don’t think it happens.

  1. If Todd Gurley, RB Georgia, is still available at #23, the Lions take him.

Of course I’m going to talk about the Lions, I’m a huge fan! Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part, but if teams shy away from Gurley due to his knee injury, the Lions should scoop him up late in the first round. Joique Bell and Theo Riddick can handle the load while Gurley returns to form. Then after the first 4-5 games in 2015, Gurley should be 100% and ready to run wild for the Lions. Now I understand that he’s being mock drafted to the Texans and other teams in front of the Lions in the first round, and if he’s not there, the best DT or OT on the board will be perfect for this team.

Those are my 5 quick thoughts before the draft starts. We’ll see how close I am to being correct on April 30. I did a mock draft last year of the entire first round. I was WAY off, but it was fun to look back on. I’m guessing this will be just as fun to look back on in 2 week and a year from now. Time will tell.

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NFL Draft Simulator = Fun For Fans

The NFL Draft is coming up at the end of the month. As lucky as I am, it starts on my birthday. It’s a time of hope for the new season as each team picks a few players from the college ranks to help fortify last year’s weaknesses. Some people love the draft, others hate it. As a Lions fan, it’s usually all I have to look forward to since they have been perennially bad as a team. Many people will say it doesn’t matter, it’s just picking players, what’s the big deal?

I get it. Not everyone likes the same things. There are also actual sports being played, not just talked about during the offseason. NHL and NBA playoffs are in full swing. I’ll watch those games when I can and have interest in them as a sports fan, but if they lose one game, there are at least 3 more games in that series to watch. Each game counts, I know. But look at the NFL in terms of games. The entire season is less than 1/4 of the NBA or NHL in terms of games played. And I’m not even going to get started with baseball’s 160-ish games per season.

Every game is that much more important because there are much fewer chances to make up for a loss. So knowing who we’ve got playing on our teams is exciting to find out on draft day. Which brings me to a fun draft simulator that lets you make the picks for your team and have the rest of the draft simulated for the other teams. I found this one at Fanspeak.com. I’m sure there are more out there, but this is the one I know about.

First, you select the team you want to draft for, then the rankings list you want the simulator to use. Then you start drafting. Now the main thing to remember: This is a simulated mock draft based on whatever rankings list you choose. I’ve seen players from one ranking list get drafted in the first round and then used a different ranking list that led that same player to be drafted late in the third round. THESE ARE JUST PROJECTIONS.

Naturally, I select the Lions. I’ve done probably 25 of these simulations over the past week and I’ve seen a lot of different scenarios from RB Todd Gurley falling in their laps at pick #23 to minimal options and taking the best OT/DT available, even if it’s a little bit of a reach based on who’s still available. (Gurley falling to the Lions happens a lot, with almost every ranking list the site has available. We’ll see how real that is once the people actually making the picks get started on April 30.)

My favorite draft so far has the Lions selecting the following in the first three rounds:
Round 1, Pick 23 Overall: DT Eddie Goldman (Florida State)
Round 2, Pick 54 Overall: WR Devin Smith (Ohio State)
Round 3, Pick 88 Overall: RB Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska)

First off, the Lions have a young player to plug in to the defensive tackle rotation after losing both Suh and Fairley during Free Agency. Second, they take a luxury pick at WR who has no business still being available that late in the second round. He’ll stretch the field with Megatron and let Tate work the slot and Ebron work the middle. Scary. Finally, Abdullah is gift wrapped in the third round to fill the hole left by the often injured Reggie Bush.

I realize this doesn’t address the offensive line, but the Lions are okay here. Sims and the OG from the Falcons who visited in Free Agency are both still available. If the draft goes like this, they bring back Sims (a player they’ve already expressed some interest in having back) or sign the Falcons FA who’s still available. Then draft OG in round 5 or 6 that can help out or learn for the future. The OT spot isn’t as bad as some fear as long as Waddle can stay healthy (wishful thinking maybe).

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m being a fan here. This draft would get me instantly excited about the 2016 season. And, as a fan, I can also say that my second favorite draft would have the Lions drafting RB Gurley in the first and OG Laken Tomlinson (Duke) in the second round and a DT or OT in the third round. This draft would give a huge upgrade at RB while solidifying the interior of the offensive line to help make some holes for Gurley to run through. I’d be happy with both of these draft scenarios.

Now will either of these be EXACTLY what the Lions will do? Absolutely not. I’m almost 100% sure neither of these happens. Why? Because I’m not in the scouting department or involved in setting up the Lions draft board and rankings. And that’s probably for the best. Because, really, if the Lions draft guys I’ve never heard of or I think are horrible or seem to be completely off from the needs of the team…as long as they win games next year, I will be happy. Maybe this is why people hate the NFL Draft and all the coverage it gets. But as a fan who loves football and my Lions, I’m interested in every aspect of the game. That includes watching NFL teams draft players during the offseason.

It’s kind of like Fantasy Football, I love to talk about it, analyze possibilities for the upcoming year, guess who will be good and who won’t be good, and chat with friends who have different opinions to see who turns out to have a better sense of what will actually happen. Everyone has different hobbies and interests, this just happens to be something I’m interested in because I find it fun. So right now I’m going to switch back over to Fanspeak.com and do a few more draft scenarios, just to see how things could turn out at the end of the month.

Hope everyone’s enjoying their Sunday afternoon as much as I am.

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Time To Hit The Links

Call it “The Masters Fever.” Or call it warm weather and nice days outside. Actually, call it whatever you want, I’m jones-ing for some golf!  It doesn’t help that at my church board meeting tonight, a guy on my board brought me a gift: more ammo!

GOLF BALLS!!!

GOLF BALLS!!!

Golf balls. Yes, a full bag of them. He gave me a similar sized bag about 3 years ago and I still haven’t used them all.

Here’s the full story. Wally is retired and usually goes golfing every morning in the summer. Sometimes coming to sign in and pay for his completed round as the course workers are getting ready to start their day. He’s told me about coming in to pay and the workers telling him he couldn’t golf that day due to a tournament; he had already played his round. Anyway, he finds golf balls that were left on the course all the time. Bags full, as you can see.

I’m grateful that he picks them up and gives them away to people like me. I’m not the best golfer and the brand name on the golf ball isn’t going to help my game. It could make me feel like I’m a legit player, but it’s pretty much a placebo when it comes to this inconsistent baseball swing.

He’s also going to give a bag or two of golf balls to The First Tee of South Dakota at Edgebrook Golf Course. If you don’t know what that is, check out this link. (Shameless plug for a fellow fraternity brother’s efforts to bring this opportunity to kids in Brookings.) I suggest hitting up their Facebook page from that link.

So, here I am, sitting at a computer typing away when I’d rather be golfing. I think I made it out to the course 6 or 7 times last year. This year, I’m going to aim for double digits…as long as my wife’s okay with that, of course.

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Thad Parties It Up In Aberdeen

We headed up north for a weekend with the grandparents and Thad partied hard. And by partied hard, I mean he played so hard that he slept in past 8am both Saturday and Sunday. In turn, Mommy and Daddy slept in past 8am for two mornings in a row for the first time in about a year and a half. (Is Thad that old already? Yup. Time is flying!)

Other than playing hard with Grandma and Grandpa, we lucked out with Aberdeen activities as there was an indoor kids day at the Civic Arena that included inflatables, games and snacks for kids of all ages. Seriously. Melissa went through the bouncy course with Thad and Little Ox #2. Yeah, that second boy is already having the same fun as his brother via Mommy’s tummy.

Get ready for some pictures. I documented the entire bouncy course:

Testing it out.

Testing it out.

Okay, he likes it. "Moooooore!"

Okay, he likes it. “Moooooore!”

"Seriously, Mom. Let's do this thing!"

“Seriously, Mom. Let’s do this thing!”

"Umm...now that I'm in, I'm having second thoughts..."

“Umm…now that I’m in, I’m having second thoughts…”

"Mommy! What's happening!"

“Mommy! What’s happening!”

"Okay. A slide. I like those."

“Okay. A slide. I like those.”

"Weeeeeeeee!"

“Weeeeeeeee!”

"Okay, now that it's over, I think it was fun! Let's go again!"

“Okay, now that it’s over, I think it was fun! Let’s go again!”

That’s pretty much how it happened. I was pretty lucky to be able to hear what Thad was saying inside his head so that I could relay it to you in the captions of those pics. Aside from the bouncing, there were also games. Thad got to go bowling for the first time!

"Wait. You actually WANT me to throw the ball at something now? Make up your mind, parents!"

“Wait. You actually WANT me to throw the ball at something now? Make up your mind, parents!”

And the ball only made it about one foot. Melissa had to help him and he ended up knocking down about 5 pins. Pretty spectacular, I know. The best part, everyone gets a prize! I think he got a new book for this one. Then he played plinko and won a new toy!

"I'm gonna play with that car soooo hard later!"

“I’m gonna play with that car soooo hard later!”

If by “play soooo hard” he meant take it out of the package and try to sit on it, because that’s what he did. In Thad’s defense, it is a red 4-wheeler. Pretty much an exact replica (albeit much smaller) as the larger riding toy he has at home.

Lucky for Thad, the fun didn’t stop there. After the bouncy and the games and, of course, a cookie for a snack, we hit the park!

"Now this is a real slide."

“Now this is a real slide.”

Don’t mind Melissa in this photo. She’s just looking around, checking out the scenery…

"I'm going down the tall slide and it's soooo fun!!!"

“I’m going down the tall slide and it’s soooo fun!!!”

Again, don’t mind Melissa in this picture. She’s scared of heights…

All of these escapades happened in one afternoon. Yeah, Thad played hard this weekend and there’s no doubt that’s why I ended up with a little extra sleep. The next day he helped dye Easter eggs (sort of), had a mini Easter egg hunt, played in the back yard and even helped Grandpa sweep up the leaves on the patio. All before eating lunch.

It was a busy weekend full of fun for the little Thad Monster. Oh, and our Regal Dog lucked out too. Here she is eating her prize from the weekend, leftover bones from the ribs Melissa had on Saturday night with a little flavor left on the ends.

"These...Ribs...Are...So...Good..."

“These…Ribs…Are…So…Good…”

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Thad Comes Clean

We’ve all seen those pictures. We’ve all been embarrassed as our parents show them to friends, relatives and girlfriends/boyfriends. Yes, I’m talking about the naked in the bathtub pictures from when you were a kid. Lucky for Thad Monster, he has some strategically placed bubbles.

Splish splash!

Splish splash!

And he also was pretty excited to have his picture taken as he waved at me and said, “Hi!” with the enthusiasm only a child could have for the simplest things in life.

Hiiiiiiiiiiii!

Hiiiiiiiiiiii!

Full disclosure, I made sure the bubbles were covering all the important parts before taking the pic. It’s a little bit less embarrassing for him later in life and also wife approved.

Most important of all, this kid loves bath time. We’ve reached the stage of parenthood where Melissa and I have to spell things back and forth so we don’t get Thad’s hopes up. I mean, heaven forbid it is 2 in the afternoon and we discuss giving him a bath and he hears the word. We’re talking about a 2-3 minute meltdown that any parent is willing to avoid if possible.

Earlier this week when I gave Thad a bath, I’m pretty sure I timed him at 10 minutes straight of using two cups – one in each hand – to pass water back and forth, pausing after every couple of pours to laugh hysterically before continuing the same process over and over again.

I’m glad he likes bath time, though. From what I hear from other parents, it’s much better than the alternative of a child despising the bathtub and throwing a fit instead of readily striping on their way to the tub and hopping right in. Sounds like it would make it much harder to keep the kids clean. Again, Thad continues to spoils us in a lot of aspects of parenthood.

That’s all for today. Tune in next time when we might further explore Thad’s ability to fix his toy car with his toy screwdriver.

Just checking the rotar...guder...thingy.

Just checking the rotar…guder…thingy.

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Loving Warmer Weather

The sun came out and warmed up South Dakota this week. Pretty sure I was able to hang out in the driveway yesterday in shorts and a T-shirt due to the 65 degree weather. Today we even fired up the grill on the deck and made burgers for supper. But I must say, the best part of the warmer weather has been taking Thad outside to play. The kid is busy. His attention span is still short, but when he’s outside he’s running all over the place.

Here’s a pic of Thad riding his 4-wheeler along the sidewalk:

Vroooom!!!

Vroooom!!!

Yeah, I would have uploaded the video but it wouldn’t accept the file type. You can see the video on my Facebook post.

Props to my cousin for the hand-me-down toy that Thad loves. He rode it all over the living room before it was nice enough to take outside. He’d even stand on the seat like a little trickster. Not while it’s moving of course. It is self-propelled, not battery operated. I’m not ready to let this little man start driving yet.

Getting outside and enjoying the weather, there’s nothing better after a South Dakota winter. Even Sophie got to play in the driveway with a new tennis ball…that is sure to be brown in a few days of letting it roll down the driveway into the puddles of the gutter. After two days in a row of enjoying the sun and warmth, I’m sure we’ll head out again tomorrow and the next day and the next. Have to take advantage while you can. Someone once said, you only live once…

Side note – it has been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted. Easy to get caught up in this and that when you’re not following a schedule with commitments to blog posts. The warm weather might not help as I’ll probably be out enjoying myself and way from my computer a little more. But I’ll aim for once a week to keep this Regal Dog rolling.

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What’s In A Name?

Picking out a child’s name can be a fun thing to do. If you’re like me, you throw out a bunch of different ideas, even if you don’t really like them. And because I joke around too much, I think of off-the-wall names that we really would have no interest in using and tell people that’s what we’re going with.

It’s been a joke since before we knew we were having a boy that if we did I’d call him Chaddeus. So we’d have Thaddeus and Chaddeus – Thad and Chad – our two little monsters, partners in crime, running around the house creating havoc.

Other names I’ve joked about just to keep people guessing might include Bob, Zaiden and Jermichael. Why? Just for fun, of course. I mean, let’s be honest. When I was in high school I wanted to name my son Neo Evan Ochsner because then his initials would be his first name. NEO! Yeah, I liked The Matrix, too. Me focusing on the initials got this response from Melissa, “You’re just lucky our last name doesn’t start with ‘S’ or I’d make our child’s initials spell ASS just because you pay too much attention to the initials!”

To get serious, Melissa and I talked about names long before Thad was born. With him, we just knew for a long time what his name was going to be. We had a boy and a girl name picked out and waiting. I know other people who are definitely the same way. They know the name right away and that’s that.

This time, we’re less settled at the moment. We think we have it figured out, but really there are four different names we’ve been throwing around lately. It’s true, we’re only 22 weeks along and should have plenty of time to pick one. Since we don’t have the name decided and etched in stone, we’ve got a couple of names penciled in the sand. I know people who were like this or even had no clue what the name was going to be until days before birth to a couple of days later. Evidently they ‘make’ you name the baby before you can leave the hospital, though. So you kind of have to pick something…

I’ve also known people who’ve had a name picked out for months and then when the baby arrives, they name it something different because it just didn’t look like the name they had picked. I’m not the best at that because there are adults that, to me, don’t look like the name they have. A child is a clean slate that can be named whatever the parents desire.

We didn’t tell anyone Thad’s name until after he was born because we didn’t want other people’s opinions to alter our thoughts of the name. We like it, it’s our child, that’s it. We also didn’t want to say it and then have someone else use the name before we got a chance – this is why we still aren’t telling our girl name. Not that we’re planning on having a girl after this child, but you never know. We’ll keep it quiet until we know we’ll never have to use it.

With this child, Melissa’s more interested in getting a few opinions and she has even suggested making a list of about 15 names, including the four names we’re thinking of, and sending it out for feedback. A test like this could open a can of worms with people hating and loving every name, and of course, could change our minds to the point of not using any of the four and starting over. At the same time, as the parent, it also seems like it could be kind of fun to get people’s opinions of names. But we’ll just keep everything quiet until that little guy arrives, just like we did with Thad. Even if it could be fun to crowdsource…just to see what the reactions would be.

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