UPDATE

To all current readers and followers, you may be wondering why there hasn’t been a post here in a while. This is because we have switched to http://www.zahirisports.com/ a while ago, and we’ve been working on it and have been posting there. Go check it out and subscribe! 

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Oakland Raiders Mock Draft 2014

As you all now I am an Oakland Raiders fan. Thus I decided to publish my way too early mock draft 🙂

Comp Picks (speculation)

Philip Wheeler-4th round pick

Desmond Bryant-4th round pick

Brandon Myers-6th round pick

Trades:

7th round pick from Arizona via Carson Palmer trade

Traded 5th round pick to Seahawks for Matt Flynn (SMH)

The Draft:

1st round

QB Derek Carr, 6’3/213, Fresno State

Carr has been a legitimate stud all year long. His TD/INT ratio is 39/4 and he has a cannon arm. He’s a good athlete who boasts a quick release and fluid movement in the pocket. He has some issues with his footwork and is at times to sensitive to pressure, but those are obviously fixable. Carr could easily be the Raiders franchise QB.

2nd round

RB Bishop Sankey, 5’10/203, Washington

Darren McFadden is as good as gone and while Rashad Jennins is worth retaining, here the Raiders would be getting their first every down work horse back in a while. Sankey can really do it all and the Raiders would have to jump on it if he was available at this juncture.

3rd Round

OG David Yankey, 6’5/311, Stanford

Yankey is a technician who has been a good run and pass blocker for Stanford. Lucas Nix, as pointed out in my most recent fan post, has been utterly terrible. Yankey could step in and man the spot at the LG position as early as his rookie year or at the very least provide competition. He also has experience at LT making him versatile. In most drafts, Yankey would be a top 50 pick making this choice a pipe dream, but the Raiders could take advantage of a very strong draft class.

If Yankey is gone another possibility could be Anthony Steen of Bama who specializes in run blocking.

4th Round

DE Cassius Marsh, 6’3/268, UCLA

Opposite of Lamarr Houston, the Raiders haven’t been getting much at the DE position. In fact we’ve been starting DT Vance Walker there as a result. Marsh is having a poor senior season which will hurt his stock but he put together a great 2012 campaign with 40 tackles, eight sacks, 10.5 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and two forced fumbles. The talent is there making this a great value pick.

4th round (comp)

CB EJ Gaines, 5’11/195, Missouri

Gaines has been a big part of Mizzo’s defense registering 40 tackles, two passes broken up and four interceptions thus far. The senior has a nice mix of coverage ability and ball skills. Gaines had 74 tackles with 11 passes broken up and two interceptions last year. He also has the ability to return punts.

4th round (comp)

CB Jaylen Watkins, 6’0/187, Florida

I’m actually having us double dip at CB which is understandable in a division with the likes of Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. Watkins serves as the nickle corner for Florida being overshadowed by Purifoy and Marcus Robertson but he’d undoubtedly be starting for most teams in the country. He did a nice job of filling in when Robertson was out.

6th round

C/OG Gabe Ikard, 6’3/298, Oklahoma

Ikard is smart, strong and versatile allowing him to play multiple positions along the OL. I don’t think Andre Gurode will be retained next season so here we become some nice OL depth.

6th round (comp)

FB Chad Abram, 6’0/229, Florida State

Abram showed great work ethic when he transitioned from FS to full back and he’s looked like a Vonta Leach 2.0 thus far for FSU. He’s just as big as Leach and plays a similar role as well, as both a lead blocker and as a guy who can come out of the backfield and catch the ball. He has been key in helping that offense run successfully out of I-Form type packages. He’s shown he can blow up people too. With Abram lining up as the true FB, Marcel Reece can finally be utilized as the match up nightmare he ought to be.

7th round

Steve Hull, WR, Illinois (6’2/200)

Hull’s been really under the radar up until recently. He to is a converted safety this season, again showing the work ethic. He’s a fairly big bodied receiver with reliable hands who can be a match up nightmare against smaller defensive backs (check out his catch in traffic against Purdue, he had no right to get that ball). He’s also deceptively quick once he gets in his stride. His biggest skill is his route running. He’s been producing as over his last 3 games he has averaged 166 receiving yards. Against Indiana he had 224 yds and 2 TDs, against Ohio State he had 105 yds and 1 TD and against Purdue he had 169 yds and 2 TDs.

7th round via Arizona

Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois (5’11/192)

Ward is a legit play-maker, a tough hard nosed player who fights through injuries, and an emotional leader. His leadership and play making ability has been a big asset to Northern Illinois en route to a 12-0 record. If Woodson is retained he’d learn a lot from him. He has 74 tackles, 6 INTs, 1 sack, 5 pass deflections and a TD already this season. I wanted to draft a S earlier in case Woodson retires but Ward is the best they could do at this juncture and has a high motor and heart, exactly what Reggie and DA like.

Why the Ravens should trade for Fred Davis

With the trade deadline looming, there are reports the Redskins are trying to trade Fred Davis. Davis is a very good TE but the Redskins are higher on rookie Jordan Reed. Davis was considered one of the best TEs in the NFL in 2011, but since his career has been derailed by injury, suspension, and ineffectiveness. Davis was in fact inactive last game with a minor ankle injury as the team prefers Jordan Reed.

In a Tuesday interview, Fred Davis says he’s  open for a trade and feels his days in Washington are numbered and that a trade is inevitable.

With the “production” the Ravens have recieved from the TE position, you’d think Baltimore is definitely interested. Davis is a much better for fit for Flacco then he is for RG3.

The Ravens would be giving up very little for a player who proved he is a accountable starting TE and a talented one. He’d immediately be a weapon for Flacco and his salary is very cheap and affordable.

As for the Redskins, they are letting Davis rot on the bench and he will surely live next season as a free agent, so I’m sure they’d take anything for him. This trade could work:

Ravens get: Fred Davis

Redskins get: 2013 7th round pick

Meet the Staff!

Hello followers,

You may have noticed I posted a Breaking News article on how I hired two new writers. You may have also noticed I just added a new tab, at the top titled The Staff. This is because since then, two new writers have joined. Expect a lot more articles coming up, and most importantly learn about all the new writers in the page!

Thanks,

Arteen Zahiri

Why the Colts should trade for Hakeem Nicks

The Colts passing attack and offense this season has been fearsome thanks to Andrew Luck and his top three WRs Reggie Wayne, TY Hilton, and Darrius Hewyard-Bey. Last season Luck also had a fearful passing game but with one of his favroite targets in TE Dwyane Allen out for the season early, luck had to adjust, and he really progressed this year. The team brought in DHB and TY Hilton really improved after his already impressive rookie season as did Colby Fleener. But Luck’s main man was Reggie Wayne who was playing fantastic ball, even at the age of 34. Coming off of a 105 catch, 1355 yard, 5 TD year, Wayne was performing well again having 38 catches, 503 yards and 2 TDs in just about 6.5 games. Luck and the Colts are performing at a very high level, defeating the Seahawks, 49ers, and Broncos. Howver, they took a major hit when Wayne tore his ACL, and will be out for the season. The Colts currently have DBH and TY Hilton as their top WRs. As a long time Raider fan, DHB is NOT a capable WR1, especially for a playoff team and easy division champions like the Colts. His role as the third WR option on the Colts is where he best fits as he is an asset. TY Hilton is a good player, but is a complete different player from that of Wayne. Reggie is a possession WR  and a legit every down target. Hilton is a deep threat/home run play guy that you can’t rely on every play. Luck’s only every down target is Fleener.

With the NFL trade deadline looming, Jim Irsay and the Colts have to capitalize on the fact the Giants are looking to trade Hakeem Nicks. Nicks, will be a free agent after this season and is expected to leave. New York would be smart to get what they can out of him as NYG is going nowhere this year and Nicks and Eli simply have not been clicking this season as seen all season and in the Monday Night Football match up vs the Vikings.  Nicks is a legitimate every single play target for Luck. He has the speed to go deep and the size to go over the middle. He can run any route and his combination of size and athleticism makes him hard to cover. Nicks would be an automatic go to target for Luck and a key member of a potential Super Bowl squad. Considering Nicks has practically no future with NYG they could probably get him for a couple of Day 3 picks (maybe a third rounder at the very most). If I’m the Colts and the Giants I’d reach an agreement on:

Giants receive: 4th round pick, 5th round pick, conditional pick

Colts receive: Hakeem Nicks, WR

Thoughts?

Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota, should they stay or declare in the 2014 NFL Draft?

Excellent QB  play has been a recurring theme this season in College Football. While Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel got all the hype coming into the season, Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota have been especially hot since. The two Pac 12 QBs have been impressing the scouts. Mariota has been leading Oregon to a powerful undefeated record, while Hundley has some scouts calling him the second best QB, behind Teddy Bridgewater. Both of these QBs face a glaring question, should they enter the 2014 NFL Drat or wait until 2015.  Both QBs are redshirt sophomores. Let’s take a look at each QB individually and their situation:

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

Hundley amazed everyone in his first two games against Nevada (4 total TDs) and most notably Nebraska. It was after the Nebraska game where scouts fell in love with Hundley. He moved the ball well all night long and made plays both with his arm and feet. He threw a beautiful TD pass to Shaq Evans and looked flawless finishing with 294 yards passing, going 16 for 24 with 3 TDs and 1 INT. He also rushed for 61 yards. It was after this game scouts declared him NFL ready. However, he has been up and down since. His next game was against New Mexico State. He threw 2 INTs in the redzone and made many bad throws despite playing against a horrible team. Still, he managed to throw 3 TDs and 280 total yards while rushing for 33 and destroying his opponent. The next game was a lot more nerve wracking. Against, Utah Hundley threw an unbelievable errant pick six, which times the game at 24 a piece in the 4th quarter. Later, he led the team to field goal, giving them the lead. Then he has an incredibly clutch drive where he capped it off a 36 yard TD run to seal it. He finished with two total TDs and an INT on 211 yards passing and 85 running. Then, his next game was an open field practice against Cal where he thre for 410 yards, 3 pass TDs, and 0 INTs. His last game vs Stanford was a melt down however. Stanford smothered him and completely took away his poise. It wasn’t just that he was struggling to find hid rhythm or he was losing due to a banged up OL and team, his decision making was immature and his confidence looked gone.  Looking at the New Mexico State, Utah, and Stanford games combined, one wonders if he is ready for the NFL. Hundley is incredibly talented and it’s no question why scouts are interested in The 6-3, 227-pound quarterback, who is a smooth athlete with an easy throwing motion and a strong, accurate arm. The biggest knock on him and the basis of his struggles is simply inexperience. He has all the tools to be an elite franchise QB, but he may be better off staying another year and polishing his game before he goes into the NFL. Of course fans can always point at the Matt Barkley effect, but I think we can all agree this are two very different QBs, Hundley is much more talented.

My take: Stay

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Like Hundley, Mariota opened scouts eyes last season and has been completely dominant this season. He has been blowing out his opponents every game. Mariota recently stated that he’s going to wait until after the 2013 season to make his decision, and he wants to do what’s best for his family. Statistically, Mariota may be the best QB in the nation. So far this season he has 28 total TDs, 0 INTs, and 2544 total yards, while completing 63% of his passes. His QBR of 181.7 is good for fifth in the nation. However, it’s undeniable Oregon has an immense amount of talent outside of the QB position, specifically on offense, unlike UCLA. Sure, he hasn’t had De’Anthony Thomas for more than 3 games (he played damn well in those games though) or Colt Lyera this season, but Josh Huff has played great and Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner are really picking up the slack in the run game. Bralon Addison has been another weapon in the passing game and it seems Mariota always has someone open. Still, his talent is undeniable and it’s no fluke how he is shredding defense after defense. Oregon is currently ranked at #2, but if they manage to win the BCS game, Mariota has to declare. He’s currently mocked as a top 10 pick if he declares, however if he continues playing at this pace and wins the BCS game, he’d be a top 5 pick even with a QB stacked draft with guys like Boyd, Bridgewater, and Johnny Manziel. Mariota is most comparable to Colin Kaepernick, as is Hundley.

My Take: Declare

What is your opinion? Should they stay or declare? I find it very intriguing that both QBs are so similar and both come from the Pac 12. Next Saturday (10/26) is the date to save as Hundley and Mariota square up in a match up on ESPN. Leave discussion in the comments section!