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Monday Morning Draft - Week 18




Here is the 18th edition of the Monday Morning Draft - a column that delves into the past weekend's action from an NFL Draft perspective. As the season goes on, the draft picture and slotting will become more clear, but every Sunday will provide a few hints for next April.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: draftcampbell@gmail.com
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.


Let's Play Matchmaker:

This section will look at some of the top talent in college football and match those prospects up with the losing teams from Wild Card weekend.

Detroit Lions: Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
The Lions� secondary got torched throughout the 2011 season. Going up against Drew Brees in the playoffs was a recipe for disaster as the Saints Pro Bowler threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns. It will be tough for Detroit to go any further until it upgrades its pass defense, especially playing in the NFC North.

Picking outside of the top-20 picks, it could be a stretch for the second or third cornerback to reach the Lions. Assuming Morris Claiborne, Dre Kirkpatrick and Alfonzo Dennard are already gone, Minnifield could be the top corner that Detroit has a shot at. As a senior, Minnifield recorded 50 tackles with seven tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, eight passes broken up and three interceptions. He has good bloodlines with his father Frank being a Pro Bowl corner for the Browns in the 1980s. Chase Minnifield (6-0, 185) is a good cover corner who is well balanced as a zone and man corner.



Cincinnati Bengals: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The Bengals were without a quality running game all season, and it came back to bit them in the playoffs as they really could have used a back to help take the pressure off of Andy Dalton. Cedric Benson ran for 14 yards on seven carries and Brian Leonard led them in rushing with 34 yards on three carries. Cincinnati has two first-round picks, so the team should consider trading up in the first round to land the top running back in the draft.

Richardson enters the BCS Championship having been a consistently dominant player this year. He has averaged six yards per carry and totaled 1,583 yards with 20 touchdowns. Richardson has also been an excellent receiver, snagging 27 receptions for 327 yards and three scores. He would be a perfect fit in Jay Gruden's offense.



Atlanta Falcons: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
The Falcons could use more pass rush. Outside of John Abraham, they don't have defenders who can consistently put heat on the quarterback. On Sunday, Eli Manning was efficient and picked apart Atlanta. He threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns on only 23 completions. Abraham is aging, so the Falcons have to start preparing themselves for his eventual decline.

Branch is a streaky player, but he is a very good athlete with speed to burn. As a senior, Branch led the ACC in sacks with 10.5. He also had 77 tackles with 17 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble. Atlanta may have to trade up in the second round to land Branch.



Pittsburgh Steelers: Ronnell Lewis, OLB/ILB, Oklahoma
The Steelers� defense is aging and needs some youth. James Farrior, James Harrison and Casey Hampton are all facing the end of their careers in the next few years. The linebackers struggled and missed some tackles against the Broncos, while also not getting enough pass rush, allowing Tim Tebow to connect on a number of deep passes. Pittsburgh needs some young talent at the inside and outside linebacker positions.

Lewis would be a perfect scheme fit for the Steelers. At 6-foot-2 and weighing around 250 pounds, he could play inside linebacker on running downs and rush the passer from the edge in passing situations. In 10 games this season, Lewis recorded 59 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one interception. He is a violent defender who is built like a truck. Lewis flies around the field and can be an intimidating presence.




Let's Play Coaching Matchmaker:

This section will look at some of the available head coaching positions and who could be a good fit for a given position. We'll assume that the consensus is correct and that Kansas City is not a real opening as Romeo Crennel will be named the permanent head coach.

St. Louis Rams: Jeff Fisher
Fisher would be a good fit in St. Louis. The Rams have a franchise quarterback and a willingness to spend money. Those are significant differences from what Fisher dealt with at the end of his tenure in Tennessee. His coaching style and experience would provide an improved model and tone for the Rams� young roster.

Miami Dolphins: Todd Bowles
Jon Gruden would be a good fit in Miami, but he isn't interested. With Fisher probably heading to St. Louis, the Dolphins may be better off going with Bowles. He is extremely popular in the locker room, and the team responded to him when he was made the head coach to finish out the season. If Miami can't land a proven coach, its best bet might be to stick with a young, promising coach who already has earned the respect of the locker room.



Jacksonville Jaguars: Jay Gruden
The Jaguars need to find a coach who can work with Blaine Gabbert. The franchise has a first and second-round pick invested in their signal caller, so finding a coach who can get something out of him has to be the utmost priority. Gruden did a fantastic job with rookie Andy Dalton this season. He also spent many years working closely with older brother Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay, and grew up as a coach's kid. Jay Gruden is more prepared to be a head coach than any typical young coordinator.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Zimmer
Zimmer is ready to be a head coach. He has done an excellent job as the defensive coordinator with Cincinnati, and has gotten young defenders to play well quickly. That skill set is a dire need for Tampa Bay as its defense features a lot of high draft picks, but remainss one of the worst units in the NFL. Zimmer has been around the coaching community long enough to know some good offensive coordinator candidates to help rectify Josh Freeman. Zimmer is a disciplinarian, and that stringency is very needed in the Buccaneers' locker room.



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packer fan 11-21-2011 03:52 pm xxx.xxx.xxx6.15 (total posts: 1)
60     63

@DAVE

How can you say that Luck/Jones/Barkley will be better than Flynn? How many throws have any of them thrown in the nfl? how many times did they go against the patriots and almsot beat them? How many seasons has any of them had learning behind the best qb in the league and with arguably the best qb coach in Clements? If you also read dohboy's original post he said after those 3 are gone, how much would Flynn factor in. Maybe its that you don't know how to read, or appairently watch football. Flynn is 10 times better than Kolb, but thats not really saying a whole lot, Kolb is the biggest overrated happy feet throw off the back foot terrible quarterback.
Rusty Shackelford 11-21-2011 12:49 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.177 (total posts: 1)
31     33

I was at the Vikings game yesterday and Christian Ponder overall i think he did a good job. He made some mistakes and had a couple of picks,but he is still a rookie;its expected. He is doing a better job than Mcnabb,T-Jack and last years Brett Favre and he should be a reliable QB for years to come.
Someone 11-21-2011 12:16 pm xxx.xxx.xxx9.34 (total posts: 1)
21     246

QUIT with the "Vikings won't take a QB" B.S. The new regime will have no link to Christian Ponder, and won't hesitate to take Luck or Barkley. NO CHANCE Christian Ponder who hasn't flashed a damn thing so far is going to stop them from getting their guy.
Vince 11-15-2011 06:44 pm xxx.xxx.xxx3.99 (total posts: 2)
52     22

You know, the interviews were fairly interesting, but all the same. Every time you asked about any current players to the former player, he'd just say how great the player is. They're just repping their teammates is all they're doing. I much prefer this new team draft report.
DAVE 11-15-2011 12:25 am xxx.xxx.xxx.112 (total posts: 1)
199     339

dohboy24....PLEASEEEEE DON'T TELL ME YOU THINK MATT FLYNN IS A STARTING QB!?!?!? WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING? you cant be serious man...no one will give him money to be their franchise qb...hahaha good joke man...flynn is 10 times worse than kolb let alone any other qb in the league. not a chance man. luck/barkley/jones are farrrrr better qbs than flynn will EVER be. Fact.
Jack 11-14-2011 09:44 pm xxx.xxx.xxx2.69 (total posts: 1)
29     30

How many games do you think the chiefs will have to lose to be in position to draft USC OT Matt Kalil?
Chris Polk 11-14-2011 10:35 am xxx.xxx.xxx1.12 (total posts: 1)
417     20

Kinda hard for Chris Polk to run the ball when he's listed as a cornerback
dohboy24 11-14-2011 08:13 am xxx.xxx.xxx.100 (total posts: 1)
348     273

Would you factor in Matt Flynn becoming a free agent after the season? I think one of these teams that need a QB will throw a lot of money in his direction if they are out of the Luck/Barkley/Jones sweepstakes come draft day.
Matt 11-14-2011 07:45 am xxx.xxx.xxx.195 (total posts: 1)
25     20

Redskins are drafting RGIII.
Lee Ving 11-07-2011 10:29 am xxx.xxx.xxx.217 (total posts: 1)
39     17

The Jaguars won't get the first pick (decent defense, lousy division), but if they somehow did, I doubt that they'd pass on Luck just because they have Gabbert. Gabbert has looked Jimmy Clausen-bad and was drafted by Gene Smith, who likely won't be around in 2012.
Nathanbroncos24 11-01-2011 11:47 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.151 (total posts: 2)
30     27

Broncos' priorities
1) QB
2) DT
3) CB
Thereby, we will take a WR or pass rusher.
Nathanbroncos24 11-01-2011 11:39 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.151 (total posts: 2)
18     72

WHAT THE BRONCOS ARE IN SUCK FOR LUCK UNTIL WE PUT QUINN IN?!
Herbie 10-31-2011 11:34 am xxx.xxx.xxx4.86 (total posts: 1)
17     17

Apex- Carolina doesn't have a third-rounder right now but that doesn't mean they won't. They could trade Steve Smith, trade up from the fourth, or pick one up by trading down in the first or second.
bruce 10-31-2011 10:52 am xxx.xxx.xxx6.80 (total posts: 1)
16     21

Clearly Broncos stink.They certainly could use a db,but they also need 2 quality dt and now a qb as well.
Apex_Assassin 10-17-2011 12:01 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.135 (total posts: 1)
17     18

"Carolina could look to get him in the third or fourth round"... Carolina doesnt have a 3rd rounder. They traded it to the Bears for Greg Olsen. I agree with the match though, if he is available in the 4th as that would present good value.




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