I think Ryan Grigson is methodically plodding along toward a superb offseason. He re-signed his own free agents deemed essential. He beefed up the D-line with Arthur Jones in an excellent acquisition that offers stoutness and flexibility. And , he added a receiving weapon in Hakeem Nicks that, if healthy, should be primed for a big year working on a one-year "prove it" contract. And, for depth purposes , added Center Costa just to be on the safe side in case he's unsuccessful in prying Alex Mack loose from his Cleveland chains.
A twitter poster put forth an intriguing thought. Why not send our 2015 1st round pick to the Brownies in a sign and trade for Alex Mack ? I know there's plenty sentiment out there against trading away premium draft picks. But, I might suggest, isn't a LATE 1st round pick fair compensation for a talented center like Mack ? I sure think so. And. if Cleveland was receptive to this and got the paperwork done with Mack to make this feasible, I'd be totally on board with this. Because, if you can acquire a sure-fire Pro Bowler with every 1st round pick, either through draft selection or trade, don't you just hop all over that ? If I'm GM Ryan Grigson, I sure do !! And, like in the case of Vontae Davis, you get the player's services a year early and he raises your team's overall talent level exponentially. As an added bonus, Mack greatly assists the elevation of T-Rich's running performance by upgrading the O-line blocking ability.
Okay - I've breezed through Grigson's performance to date in free agency, and laid out a possible trade to acquire a key piece to the team. Now , I offer up a slightly out-of-the-box take on our 2014 draft. Since we only have 5 picks to work with, I tried to look to positions that would augment what is already on the roster.
Here we go :
Round #2 - TE- Troy Niklas ( 6-6 ; 270 ; 4.75) Notre Dame - As Grigs would say, Niklas is a "legitimate NFL tight end". I know popular sentiment favors a WR if drafting offense, but Nicks fills that need just fine. Especially if he has a big year and Grigs re-signs him to a longer term deal. As for Niklas, he's a big bruiser that thrives at in-line blocking and is a good target in the short to intermediate passing game. His addition would make Allen and Fleener just that more flexible in their respective deployments. A three tight end package would be absolute KILLER !!
Round #3 - Free Safety- Ed Reynolds ( 6-1; 207 ; 4.57) Stanford - Long and lean. Athletic and a ball hawk from the center-field position. Physical enough to come up and lay the wood. NFL bloodlines as father played in the league. More suited to a complimentary role to Laron Landry than Antoine Bethea was. Should be a reliable starting free safety for the next 6-8 years at least.
Round #5 - Corner - Walt Aikens ( 6-0 ; 205 ; 4.49) Liberty - Former safety at Illinois before transfer. Plays press man aggressively. Physical in the running game, and has playmaking skills on the ball. Has the size and strength to work into a starter with Pagano's coaching. Meanwhile, another good special teams performer.
Round #6 - Free Safety - Tre Boston ( 6-0 ; 204 ; 4.59) N. Carolina - Former corner. Not yet quite the sum of his parts, but shows excellent athleticism and savvy at the position. As with Aikens, would provide excellent special teams play while getting coached up as a backup at the free safety position.
Round #7 - Quarterback - Logan Thomas ( 6-6 ; 250 ; 4.67) Virginia Tech. - Highly talented but inconsistent at Va. Tech. Had one incredible season, then rode a roller coaster. Skillset is there to work with, and needs a couple seasons of NFL caliber coaching, but the talent is there. Could evolve into a very capable backup to Andrew with elite but raw physical skills. What the hell . . . for a 7th rounder, what else do you expect but a project ? He might just pay huge dividends that can't be expected from Hasselback or Harnisch.
Well there you have it. I admit to an unorthodox approach to the draft, and trade possibility.. The precise names I drafted may not pan out, but the direction I took was the more important point than specific names.
As always, I hope you give my screwy ideas a read, and then have at me !
The Monster is almost built ! Go Colts !