Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mock Draft

Welcome to the first annual Moore Madness Mock Draft. Since I'm not an NFL scout or a paid analyst of any kind, my scouting consists of listening to rumors and mooching off of other people's player rankings. Putting those pieces together, I've come up with the following draft, which is guaranteed to be correct up through at least the first pick :)

1) Detroit - Matthew Stafford, QB, U[sic]GA

The Lions are currently negotiating a contract with Stafford in an attempt to have him signed before the draft. Should those negotiations fall through, they reportedly already have an agreement in place with Aaron Curry as a backup plan. They really need to get a QB here, though, so expect something to get done. Stafford is also not going to hold them hostage in negotiations, because there's no telling how far down he'll slide if the Lions don't take him here. Even if they're offering him a below-market contract, it's far and away the best deal he's going to get.

Update: The Lions and Stafford have agreed to a contract that would make him the highest paid rookie in NFL history, which was to be expected. The language of the contract still has to be approved by the NFL Management Council, but with the numbers agreed upon by both sides, all major hurdles have been cleared, and Stafford will be drafted first overall tomorrow.

2) St. Louis - Jason Smith, OT, Baylor

While they haven't come out and said who they're planning to take, the Rams put their cards face-up on the table for this pick when they cut Orlando Pace earlier in the offseason. Nobody on their roster was able to fill Pace's shoes when he was injured the past two seasons, so there's no reason to believe that someone is going to step up now that Pace is gone forever. When you also consider that this draft doesn't have a lot of tackle depth in the later rounds, St. Louis absolutely has to take one here.

3) Kansas City - Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU

This is really too early for Jackson to come off the board, but Scott Pioli is going to draft for need over value. I'm sure Kansas City will be working the phones between now and when they go on the clock tomorrow, desperately trying everything they can to move back. But if they're ultimately unable to move, look for them to just take the guy they want, regardless of what the "draft experts" say they should do. Those draft boards that say who should go at which pick will be forgotten by Monday anyway.

Ultimately, I don't see them moving back, as nobody really wants the financial burden of picking this high. But if anyone can weasel their way out of this pick for even a fraction of it's perceived value, it's Scott Pioli.

One thing to consider is that the Chiefs picked up an extra second-round pick in next year's draft when they traded Tony Gonzalez yesterday. Fans were outraged that they traded away a legend and got nothing immediate in return, but I can't help but wonder if that was just step one in a larger plan. Any trade for their #3 overall pick this year will almost certainly net them an extra 1st-rounder next year. But with most teams reluctant to trade away 1st-round picks, will KC package Atlanta's 2010 2nd-rounder to soften that blow? If they do, remember that you heard it here first :)

Update: after I wrote this,'s Todd McShay said the exact same thing about the 2nd-round pick next year. Great minds think alike, I guess :)

4) Seattle - Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest

I don't buy the hype that Seattle is after Mark Sanchez, and you shouldn't either. Just like everyone else, Seattle would love to trade back for some extra value, and making teams think they have to jump this high for Sanchez is the only way they're getting out of this pick. But after they figure out that they're not moving, Curry is the obvious choice. He's widely considered to be the best and the safest pick in the draft, and he fills a direct need after the trade of Julian Peterson. Seattle will be disappointed that they couldn't move back, but they'll also be thrilled to land a player as talented as Curry.

5) Cleveland - Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas

Last week, Cleveland was reportedly infatuated with Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree, but now conflicting reports are coming out that he acted like a "diva" during his visit and has been dropped from their draft board altogether. I don't know if I buy that rumor or not... personally, I think they're playing the same game as everyone else, which is to try to convince the world that they really will draft Mark Sanchez if available. But nobody is really going to buy into that rumor unless Cleveland moves Brady Quinn and/or Derek Anderson first.

Regardless of how much they actually like Crabtree, I don't see them pulling the trigger, as they still have a #1 receiver on their roster in Braylon Edwards. Edwards is still on the trading block, but until some major headway is made with the Giants, I don't see him going anywhere.

Cleveland would also love the chance to draft Aaron Curry, but I don't see him still being on the board at #5. If he is, they'll snatch him up, but if not, they'll gladly take Orakpo, a player who fits their scheme and their needs quite nicely.

6) Cincinnati - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama

Cincy needs an offensive tackle as badly as anyone in the draft (except maybe St. Louis), and based on pure talent, Andre Smith is probably the best prospect available. A host of character/immaturity concerns have dropped him way down a lot of draft boards, but that's not likely to scare away a team who has most of its players vacationing in various federal and state prisons during the offseason.

7) Oakland - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

The Raiders are in a great spot here, as D-line, receiver, and offensive tackle are their primary needs, and solid players are still on the board at each of those positions. It wouldn't shock me if the take B.J. Raji, Michael Crabtree, or Eugene Monroe here. But Al Davis likes flashy players first and foremost, which means they'll probably take a receiver. Crabtree is generally considered to be the best one in the draft, but Davis is in love with Maclin's incredible speed. Darrius Heyward-Bey has also been rumored here, but even Al Davis won't reach that far.

8) Jacksonville - trades pick to N.Y. Jets, who select Mark Sanchez, QB, USC

Washington will desperately try to move up to get Sanchez, but all they're going to succeed in doing is driving up the price on the Jets. Ultimately, the Jets have more firepower, and they much more desperately need a QB. Kellen Clemens in the only person on the planet who believes he's good enough to start for the Jets next year.

9) Green Bay - Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn St.

The Packers will think long and hard about Eugene Monroe, as they have a need at OT, but they have an even bigger need at DE as they switch over to the 3-4. Maybin is big enough to handle that role, and the Packers can't continue to ignore such an important position.

10) San Francisco - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

A lot of people think that San Francisco is hoping for Mark Sanchez to fall to them at #10, but I think they're going to use this season to give Alex Smith one final chance to be the QB of this team. They could take Eugene Monroe here so that Joe Staley could move back to ROT, but Crabtree is too much talent at a position of need for them to pass up.

11) Buffalo - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia

Buffalo's representatives at the draft will be tripping all over themselves in an attempt to get this pick in as quickly as possible once they realize that one of the three best tackles in the draft has fallen to them. After trading Jason Peters to the Eagles, the Bills absolutely have to make this pick.

12) Denver - B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College

This is much lower than Raji should fall, but sometimes these things happen. Denver will be elated to get the draft's best defensive lineman at #12.

13) Washington - trades pick to N.E. Patriots, who selects Clay Matthews, LB, USC

This is really just a guess. The Patriots are rumored to be trying to move up to get someone, and they have need at linebacker. This would be considered a little bit of a reach for anyone else, but nobody dares question the Patriots during the draft. Jarod Mayo was a "reach" at #10 last year, and all he did was step in and earn defensive rookie of the year honors. They could just as easily be going after another LB here, but Matthews is my guess. He comes from a football family and is a very intelligent player. He really fits the mold of what the Pats look for in a linebacker.

14) New Orleans - Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State

The Saints need stability at corner, and Jenkins is the top corner in the draft. Some experts think Jenkins is too slow to play corner in the NFL and that he'll have to move inside to free safety, but the Saints have a big need there as well. This one makes too much sense not to happen.

15) Houston - Brian Cushing, LB, USC

The Texans need more playmakers on defense, and Cushing fits the bill.

16) San Diego - Rey Maualuga, LB, USC

The Chargers need an anchor on the inside of their linebacking corps, and that's where Maualuga plays his best. Some drafts have them considering a running back here since LDT isn't getting any younger, but that would be premature. They have too much money tied up in LDT and Sproles to consider drafting a 3rd back this early, plus most rookie RBs are ready to start right away. I'm guessing they'll wait until Tomlinson is ready to retire and then draft someone who can play from day one.

17) New York Jets - traded to Jacksonville, who selects Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi

The Jags will be happy that the run on tackles stopped long enough for them to still be able to grab one of the top four after trading back.

18) Denver - Everette Brown, DE, Florida St.

Brown projects as a hybrid DE/OLB and would serve as a rush linebacker in Denver's new 3-4 scheme. Denver will be concentrating on upgrading their front seven all weekend long.

19) Tampa Bay - Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee

Ayers is another solid prospect who will fall simply because this is the next good place for him to land.

20) Detroit - Eben Britton, OT, Arizona

Britton is the last tackle on the board with a first-round grade, and Detroit will take him here to protect Stafford's blind-side. When paired up with Gosder Cherilus (last year's first-rounder), the Lions should have bookends for their line for the next ten years.

21) Philadelphia - Knowshon Moreno, RB, U[sic]GA

Moreno is the best back in the draft and will fit nicely in Philly's West-Coast offensive scheme. They need someone to take the load off Westbrook, and Moreno will do just that.

I think there's still a chance that they trade this pick to Arizona for Anquan Boldin, but rumors on that front seem to have dried up.

22) Minnesota - Percy Harvin, WR, Florida

The Vikings haven't been able to hide their interest in Harvin, and coach Brad Childress is already salivating about the possibility of having Harvin and Adrian Peterson on the field at the same time.

23) New England - traded to Washington, who selects Larry English, DE, Northern Ill.

The Redskins attempt to fill the hole that Jason Taylor failed to fill least year.

24) Atlanta - Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi

Jerry isn't as big as Grady Jackson, but he should still fit nicely beside Babineaux.

25) Miami - Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina

Miami desperately needs receivers, and Nicks is pretty solid.

26) Baltimore - Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland

Baltimore will consider Vontae Davis here, but they can't pass up the opportunity to get a speedy receiver for Joe Flacco.

27) Indianapolis - Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers

Indy needs help on defense, but they always seem to spend their early picks on new toys for Peyton Manning. With the loss of Marvin Harrison, look for Indy to use this pick on someone who can line up opposite Reggie Wayne.

28) Buffalo - Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma St.

The draft's top TE falls all the way to #28, where Buffalo gladly picks him to fill in for the released Robert Royal.

29) New York Giants - Louis Delmas, S, Western Michigan

With no viable WR prospects still on the board, the Giants fill a need a safety. I still think its possible that they trade this pick, either to Cleveland for Braylon Edwards or to Arizona for Anquan Boldin, but that remains to be seen.

30) Tennessee - Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest

Vontae Davis is rated higher on a lot of boards, but not Tennessee's. Character concerns will cause them (like many other teams ahead of them) to steer clear.

31) Arizona - Chris Wells, RB, Ohio St.

And the Edgerrin James era comes to an end.

32) Pittsburgh - Alex Mack, C, California

The defending champs' biggest weakness is their offensive line. Look for them to address it early, and probably often.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More Draft Rumors

Rumors today have the New England Patriots trying to move into the bottom half of the top 10 for an undisclosed player. They have reportedly offered their first pick (23rd overall) along with the second of their three second-round picks to Jacksonville for the #8 overall pick. Jacksonville has publicly turned the deal down, at least for now, which only confirms my belief that they've had talks with San Francisco and/or Washington and/or Denver about Mark Sanchez. Jacksonville must be hoping for a bounty of picks from someone wishing to move up for a franchise QB. If Sanchez is still on the board at 8 tomorrow (and I think he will be), things could get very interesting.

More draft info, including my mock, coming up soon.

NFL Draft Notes

I admitted in my very first post that I have an unhealthy obsession with the NFL, and especially with the draft. I spend way too much time at night reading any articles I can find, scouring all of the rumors, and doing my best to try to understand what's going to happen in an event that can't really be predicted. Usually, part of my draft prep includes reading as many mock drafts as possible, but this year I just don't have the stomach for them. I'm not exactly an NFL scout, and I don't pretend to know nearly as much as most of the professional reporters do. Yet this year I couldn't help but be appalled at the glaring inaccuracies of so many mock drafts. Even the experts that I trust, with all their inside information, seem to be missing the boat on several picks. This puts me in quite a bind. On one hand, I really don't want to join the growing number of people who have wasted time trying to forecast what will happen, but on the other, I'm extremely confident that I can do better than them.

After some thought, I've decided that I will go ahead and try to mock the complete first round of the draft. While this will almost certainly be an epic waste of time, I've found a few contests that I can enter that will at least let me justify the activity to myself. So be on the lookout tomorrow for the first annual Moore Madness Mock Draft. In the meantime, here are a few places where I disagree with several of the experts. I only wish I had posted these earlier, as many of the news stories today seem to be confirming some of the conclusions I drew a week ago.

1) Outside of QB, almost no position warrants the kind of money teams in the top ten will have to shell out to sign their picks. With that being said, Detroit is the only team in the first nine picks that will even consider drafting a QB. I don't care how much people say they like Mark Sanchez, you just don't pay that kind of money to a QB if you don't need him. Bulger is making too much in St. Louis, Hasselbeck still has some gas in the tank for Seattle, Cleveland already has enough of a mess without adding a third body to the mix, Oakland is still developing JaMarcus Russell, and Jacksonville isn't ready to give up on David Garrard. Stafford will go #1 overall to Detroit, and Sanchez will fall to at least #10, where the 49ers may or may not take him. The only way Sanchez's position improves is if Cleveland manages to trade Brady Quinn (and that still doesn't guarantee they'd take another QB) or if Washington mortgages yet another future draft to move up.

2) B.J. Raji isn't falling out of the top 10. Teams build from the inside out, so there's no way the best DT in the draft falls that far, especially when he can play in either the 3-4 or the 4-3. And forget about his "character concerns." The rumors of him failing a drug test were proven to be untrue, and nothing else negative has been said about him. I wouldn't be at all shocked if KC takes him at #3.

3) Chris "Beanie" Wells isn't going to the Saints. They can get the power back they need later in the draft. Their first-round pick needs to fill one of the many holes they have on defense. Look for them to take Malcolm Jenkins here and move him inside to Free Safety.

4) Everyone in the top five would like to trade down. Nobody in the top five will actually get to do it. No one except Washington wants to pay the salaries associated with those picks, and Washington doesn't have the ammo to move up that far.

5) The Bucs will NOT draft a QB in the first round, and may not take one at all. Leftwich and McCown will fight for the starting job, and Josh Johnson will hang on as the 3rd QB. Griese will either get cut or traded. Tampa's new regime is content to roll with what they've got for a year, but may look to cash in on next year's strong QB class if things don't pan out.

6) I wish I had posted this before the Tony Gonzalez trade went down today, but the Falcons were not ever planning to draft a TE in the first round. They have too many defensive needs to spend an early pick on a position that historically hasn't been used in their offensive schemes. The reason they pulled the trigger on Gonzo is because they didn't have to give up a pick in this year's draft to do it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ain't the Internet Grand?

I recently joined the masses and started twittering as @edm3. For the uninitiated, Twitter is a "microblogging" service that allows its users to share their thoughts with the world 140 characters at a time. If your account is public (as most are), then anyone can sign up to follow what you have to say. Relationships don't have to be two-way, however, so I can follow anyone I want, regardless of whether or not they want to follow me (and vice versa).

I originally thought that Twitter was a really stupid idea. After all, anyone can start a blog, and anyone else can go and read said blog. I can also e-mail, call, or instant-message most anyone I care to talk to (I could also text them, but I still think that's stupid, especially in an era where most people already get their e-mail on their phone, but that's another rant), so it's hard to believe that I need yet another means of communicating with my friends. But then I started Twittering and realized that it can actually be a pretty awesome experience.

By far, the biggest benefit I've gotten out of Twitter is reconnecting with my Atlanta friends. I've tried to stay in touch with several of them, but I never seem to contact anyone unless I have a specific reason to do so. I'm horrible about calling or e-mailing just to say hello, and I'm rarely on instant messenger outside of business hours. But now, I don't have to go seek out information on how my friends are doing. Instead, I get a steady summary of their lives, updated every five minutes. Likewise, they can get random tidbits about how I'm doing up here in the Volunteer state.

But the other awesome thing about Twitter is the non-personal presence that's beginning to emerge. Writers are using it to discuss new ideas. Talk show hosts are using it to increase their ratings. Companies are using it to stay in touch with their customers. Bands are using it to promote their new albums. Sure, all that information can be gotten elsewhere, but with Twitter, I pick what I want, and then it hands it all to me.

I'm still digging through all of the information that's out there, and as I go, I'm discovering that some sources that should be interesting are definitely not. Take, for example, the ESPN NFL Blog Network, which I read religiously. Each of the divisional blogs now has a Twitter account, but they don't use them for anything more than posting links to their new blog posts. Thanks for the effort, guys, but that's what my RSS reader is for.

On the other hand, some sources that seem like they would be mundane are actually quite interesting, as I discovered first-hand today. Most of you know that I'm a big Atlanta Falcons fan, and (judging by their number of followers) most of you don't know that they have a Twitter network of people in various official capacities. I currently follow most of them, and as you would expect on a day like today (where the Falcons completed a major trade), I was met with a steady flow of information as events unfolded. But the best information didn't come from the official team feed or from any of their media guys. The truly unique experience was provided by Jimmy Luck, who is the Falcons' equipment manager. Minutes after the Gonzo trade went down, Jimmy posted that he was getting a jersey and a locker ready for #88. I immediately shot back and asked if he could post a picture of the new jersey, and within minutes, I was greeted with this. Totally sweet! That's the kind of stuff I can't get on ESPN. Those are the little moments that make me feel personally connected to the team, even though I now live four hours away in a city with a pretty good team of their own.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Have a Wife, You Know!

Believe it or not, our camera sometimes finds itself pointed at someone or something other than Evan. Here are a couple of good pregnant shots of Kari a few weeks ago.

A Day at the Park

There's a park down the road with a pretty awesome playground, so Kari takes Evan down there on nice days. These photos are from late March, on what was probably the first warm Saturday of the year.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tired Boy

Evan was sitting on the couch the other morning after breakfast, and he looked so tired that I just had to grab the camera. His hair was a complete mess and he could hardly keep his eyes open. I must have taken at least two dozen photos. Here are few of the better ones:


Wha? Where'd that flash come from?

Yawn! So tired!

OK, seriously, Dad. Put down the camera and back away. I'm only telling you once!

On second thought, maybe you should snap just one or two. I am pretty cute, aren't I?

Around the House

Here are some random pictures of Evan around the house, probably from the January-February time frame.

Playing with his blocks.

Helping Mommy make a salad. Never mind that he won't actually eat salad. Right now he just sucks all the dressing off and spits the lettuce back out.

"Reading" in his chair. He'll sit there for several minutes at a time, just flipping through his favorite books.

Christmas Pictures

I'm not really feeling creative tonight, but I do have a pretty solid backlog of pictures. I guess we can call that material enough for a blog post :) Here are a couple of my favorite shots from this past Christmas:

There's just something magical about this one.

This one is sort of a sham since he didn't really understand what the present was yet. He was just excited to be in my lap getting his picture taken.

It didn't take him long to figure out that the present was pretty cool, though!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Look Ma, I'm Famous!

Okay, so not really. But I did recently write an article that got published. Sort of :)

My company has a blog that our owners post to frequently. If you're interested in getting a feel for what our company is really like, it makes for great reading. They try to be as transparent as possible about what we're doing and why we do it. Not only is it a pretty awesome way to show our customers what we're like to work with, but it also serves as a great forum to hold us accountable to our current and future clients. I can't begin to tell you how glad (and appreciative) I am, to be able to work for a company that goes to such lengths to do right by both its customers and its employees.

One other purpose for our company blog is to serve as a forum for sharing any interesting discoveries that we make. Mike and Tim (our owners) have told us repeatedly that if we're doing something interesting that may be of benefit to someone else, don't hesitate to take a little bit of extra time to make a blog post out of it. So when I started digging into the options for persistent storage solutions for our Amazon EC2 machines, I decided that my findings were worth publishing. Nobody else (that I found, anyway) had written about combining this particular stack of technologies, so I decided to write a guide for anyone who may be interested. If you're interested using Amazon's Elastic Block Store in conjunction with LVM and NFS, you should definitely take a look.