Month: April 2017

NFL Mock Draft 2017: Derek Barnett and Mike Williams Moving Up

By: Bill Tewes

The NFL Mock Draft season is heating up. At Brew City Sports Report, we took a different angle and did a collaborative mock draft. Each of us chose three teams and alternated picks to get a unique twist on the traditional mock drafting process. Take a look at our NFL mock draft below as we discuss in depth the top 10 picks and reveal the rest.

Here are how the teams were split up:

Bill: Chicago, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Detroit, Miami, Kansas City, Dallas.

Mark: San Francisco, Tennessee, Carolina, New Orleans (1), Philadelphia, Washington, Denver, New York Giants, Seattle, Green Bay, New Orleans (2).

Jim: Cleveland (1), New York Jets, LA Chargers, Cleveland (2), Arizona, Tennessee (2), Tampa Bay, Oakland, Houston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta.

The top two picks ended up being Garrett and Thomas, which is par for the course with many experts. It seems almost too good to be true for Cleveland to pass up on a cornerstone defensive piece such as Garrett. The 49ers have expressed interest in trading out of the two spot, but they can also use a defensive player and their defensive line is essentially non-existent aside from DeForest Buckner, their 7th overall pick last year.

The Chicago Bears are allegedly interested in trading out of the third overall spot. Teams are fielding offers after seeing what  Tennessee received for trading out of the top spot in the 2016 draft. We have Chicago taking Malik Hooker, to bolster their secondary and get a player who has a nose for the ball, but will need some time to mature. Chicago is a good fit as they are beginning to rebuild and will have plenty of time to get Hooker experience.

Jacksonville needs a defensive end and will happily take Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen. Although I personally think that Allen will be the first player to take a serious tumble down draft boards on opening night.

The Titans definitely have a huge conundrum with having two picks in the top 20. Taking into consideration that they have secondary needs and can also use a dynamic receiving option, our mock has them taking Mike Williams with their first pick and then selecting a cornerback at 18 in Marlon Humphrey.

The first big shakeup in the draft comes with the Jets at 6, taking tight end OJ Howard. In fact, Howard’s stock has been increasing and he would be the first tight end since Vernon Davis to be selected with the 6th overall pick (Davis was 6th in 2006). This pick makes a lot of sense because the Jets will be rebuilding for a few years and should not be hell-bent on over-drafting a QB so early in the draft. I could see them picking up a DeShone Kizer or perhaps a Davis Webb, who is moving up draft boards, in the second round.

The Chargers nab one of the better talents, as Jamal Adams falls to them at pick 7. Most noteworthy is Adam’s leadership skills, which could end up moving him up, ahead of the likes of Hooker and other defensive backs.

Leonard Fournette, this draft’s version of Ezekiel Elliott, is taken by the Carolina Panthers. Carolina can use a running back to compliment an aging Jonathan Stewart. I could also see Christian McCaffrey landing in Carolina and giving Cam Newton a dynamic receiving option out of the backfield.

Another intriguing top 10 pick comes in at 9th overall with Derek Barnett. Barnett has all of the tools to crack into the top five in a really deep draft for defensive lineman. During Barnett’s freshman year, he tallied 10 sacks and 20.5 tackles for a loss. at 6’3″ 260, he ran a 4.88 40 and some mocks have Barnett as high as top 3.

The Green Bay Packers get homegrown hero T.J. Watt after an explosive season at linebacker for Wisconsin. Watt fills an immediate need for Green Bay at linebacker and gives them flexibility in moving Matthews inside or keeping him at his traditional spot of outside linebacker. The obvious concern with Watt is sample size. But he is definitely an intriguing option and will be worth a shot if he is there at 29. Will be interesting to see what Thompson does come draft night.

Here is how the rest of the mock draft shaped up:

11. Marshon Lattimore CB- Buffalo

12. DeShaun Watson QB- Cleveland

13. Reuben Foster LB- Arizona

14. Gareon Conley CB- Philadelphia

15. Dalvin Cook RB- Indianapolis

16. John Ross WR- Baltimore

17. Haason Reddick LB- Washington

18. Marlon Humphrey CB- Tennessee

19. Taco Charlton DE- Tampa Bay

20. Christian McCaffrey RB- Denver

21. Caleb Brantley DT- Detroit

22. Ryan Ramczyk OT- Miami

23. David Njoku TE- New York Giants

24. Malik McDowell DE- Oakland

25. Patrick Mahomes QB- Houston

26. Kevin King CB- Seattle

27. Takkarist McKinley LB/DE- Kansas City

28. Jabrill Peppers S- Dallas

29. T.J. Watt LB- Green Bay

30. Corey Davis WR- Pittsburgh

31. Cam Robinson OT- Atlanta

32. Jarrad Davis LB- New Orleans

 

 

The 2017 Milwaukee Brewers: What to Watch For

The Brewers may not challenge for a playoff spot but there are still reasons to tune in.

By: Jim Boyce

 

Baseball is back! On the first Monday of April teams across the nation will begin the 162 game marathon in hopes of playing meaningful ball in October. Coming off a 73-89 campaign, and making no effort to hide the rebuilding process, the Brewers probably won’t be one of those teams. Chances are you may become discouraged early in the season if the Brewers fall too far below .500. However while the Brewers are not going to be taking down the Cubs for the division, there are things to watch for this summer.

THE NEWCOMERS

The Brewers did not make a lot of moves this off-season but one of the more interesting moves was acquiring 1B Eric Thames. Thames annihilated pitching in Korea and has the build of a power guy, but how will he perform in the states? With all due respect to Korea’s finest pitchers it’s a different world when Clayton Kershaw is on the mound.

3B Travis Shaw arrives from Boston via the Tyler Thornburg trade. Shaw got off to a hot start last season in his first extended big league action, and despite slowing down later in the season the Brewers are hopeful he can provide another power bat in the lineup. As a left handed hitter Shaw faced a daunting challenge in Boston in the form of the infamous “Green Monster”. Miller Park on the other hand is much more friendly to left handed bats, perhaps this will allow Shaw to put up some pretty solid home run totals.

THE YOUNG GUNS

One of the more interesting, and important, aspects of the 2017 Brewers will be the continued development of players who started in 2016. Can players who showed promise continue to get better? or were they just a flash in the pan?

The player I am most interesting in following is Jonathan Villar. After being acquired for basically nothing from Houston, Villar went on to have a stellar season. Showing flashes of power (19 HR) to go along with a solid on base percentage ( .369) and a whopping 62 stolen bases, Villar seems like the Brewers most likely All-Star candidate if he plays at the same level or better. He was a bit of an adventure in the field, but moving to 2B may eliminate some of the errors he had last season at SS.

Speaking of SS, Orlando Arcia is a player to watch. The highest rated Brewers prospect when he was called up late last season, Arcia showed the potential with the glove he was known for but struggled at the plate. Arcia’s calling card was and still is defense, his gold glove potential is what makes him so exciting. However he will need to hit at a decent clip to live up to the billing. Arcia himself believes he has taken steps to improve in that area, if he does watch out.

Other players worth keeping an eye on include CF Keon Broxton. He showed incredible potential late in the season and also made my favorite play of 2016. RF Domingo Santana lost most of 2016 to injury. No doubt he is hoping to display the power scouts loved in his game in 2017.

THE CALL UPS

By the time the All-Star break comes and goes, and you check the standings and realize the Brewers are basically out of the playoff race, you may be wondering what could possibly keep you interested through September. Well the good news is the Brewers will likely begin calling up prospects from that vaunted farm system we keep hearing about.

CF Lewis Brinson and starting pitcher Josh Hader are two players I expect to see at some point in 2017. Hader was named the best left handed pitching prospect in the minors by MLB Pipeline. Brinson batted nearly .400 at Colorado Springs after being acquired last July. As these and other players are called up fans will finally start seeing the benefits of the Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy trades. Just remember patience is a virtue, and even if these players struggle at first it does not mean they are a lost cause.

FINAL PREDICTION

These elements are all exciting and should keep fans watching in 2017, however there are still too many question marks for the Brewers to contend this season. The starting rotation and bullpen both lack any star power. Many of the players in the lineup, even those mentioned above, are young and not guaranteed to play to their full potential. My prediction for the Brewers is 72-90 and a 4th place finish in the NL Central.