Monday, January 19, 2015

East/West Shrine Game Recap



With the coaching staff now set for the Dallas Cowboys, now the business of free agency and scouting talent for the Draft can begin in earnest. As we saw this season, getting significant contributions from later round draft choices and undrafted free agents is critical to withstand the grind of a championship season. And that starts with the East/West Shrine Game. The East/West Shrine Game is for smaller school guys and players not invited to the more prestigious Senior Bowl to show their stuff and hopefully catch the eye of some NFL scouts. This year’s game was not a compelling watch as the quarterback crop in the game was marginal NFL talent at best, resulting in a low scoring affair dominated by the play of the offensive and defensive lines. Here’s a few of the players who stood out:

John Crocket, RB, North Dakota St
Fresh off a college career of 4,309 yards, 42 TDs and 3 straight FCS Championships, Crockett needed to prove he could compete versus a higher caliber of competition and he held his own. Showing nice burst both in practice and the game and an above average competence for pass blocking, Crockett greatly improved his chances to get drafted in a very deep RB class.

Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee, RB, LSU
Both LSU RBs, Hilliard and Magee, had a nice week and will gain consideration as a rotational back like Alfred Blue for the Texans. Hilliard impressed me more as a great fit for a zone-blocking one-cut offense while Magee displayed some nice hands and tough running.

Tre McBride, WR, William & Mary
McBride was easily the best WR during practices this week. While not overly big (6’0” 205lbs) or fast, his great route-running and consistent hands is likely to get his name called during the draft at some point.

Blake Bell, TE, Oklahoma
Making the switch from QB to TE, Bell showed some surprisingly soft hands and nice route running this week. While his blocking still leaves a lot to be desired, Bell’s willingness to get his nose in there shows enough promise to get him drafted as a project on Day 3.

BJ Finney, C, Kansas State
Perhaps no one helped himself at this year’s Shrine Game more than former walk-on Finney. Whether taking on nose tackles, helping on pass protection or consistently delivering the snap, Finney drew praise from almost every scout or commentator and could rise as high as the 3rd or 4th round.

John Miller, G, Louisville
During the telecast, Mike Mayock singled out Miller several times in both his run and pass blocking. Showing a solid anchor, good strength and quality balance, Miller could also rise into the 3rd/4th round range.

Jamon Brown, OT, Louisville
Lining up right next to his college teammate, Brown’s size was more impressive than his play. At 6’6” 328lbs Brown has all the physical tools but will need some work on technique versus speed rushers to develop into a starter at Right Tackle. That being said, he is a solid value pick on Day 3 of the Draft.

Anthony Chickillo, DE, Miami
After being a highly regarded prep recruit, Chickillo spent his time at Miami playing Defensive End in their 3-4 scheme and was not very productive in it. During Shrine Week, Chickillo played strong side DE in a 4-3 and dominated play during the game, showing nice burst and a strong motor. At 6’3” 271lbs, he could be an ideal fit for what the Cowboys need available in the 4th or 5th round.

Za’Darius Smith, DE, Kentucky
Smith played opposite of 1st round talent Alvin Dupree at Kentucky and was overshadowed. But this week allowed Smith to show his skills and he took advantage. Using his long arms and nice explosion, Smith was the Defensive Player of the Game and terrorized every opposing QB for the West.

David Parry, DT, Stanford
Often overshadowed on that vaunted Stanford D, Parry displayed some solid pass rushing skills with speed and strength in practices this week. With good size (6’2” 300lbs) Parry could bump up into Day 3 of the draft.

Xavier Williams, DT, Northern Iowa
Coming from a smaller school, Williams held his own all week in practices looks to be a solid rotational 1 technique that could be had in round 5 or 6.

Bryce Hager, LB, Baylor
Though a bit undersized (6’1” 235lbs), Hager had a quality week of practice and looks like a three down linebacker, though he might need to slide to the weakside in a 4-3. Hager showed a nice nose for the football and would be a highly sought after free agent if he slipped through the draft.

Josh Shaw, CB/S, USC
After drawing the wrong kind of attention prior to the season, Shaw displayed leadership and coverage skills that will cause many to overlook that incident. Shaw is 6’1” 200lbs and could play both corner and safety. This is the perfect type of player for the Cowboys defensive scheme: a zone coverage CB without blazing speed but displays solid ball skills. Guys like this are not coveted by other teams but can turn into a quality starters here (see Richard Sherman in the Seattle system).

Craig Mager, CB, Texas State
Another smaller school kid who had a great week, Mager should fluid hips and route recognition that could have him as a starting nickel corner in the very near future.

Bobby McCain, CB, Memphis

McCain showed not only good coverage skills for a nickel corner but also had a nice kick return in the game. Extra skills in special teams is always a plus in getting drafted.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Championship Week for The Sports Narrative



So many champions this week! And a few very sad fans as well. We will talk about them all on The Sports Narrative Radio Show! On this episode:

- We bring back The Narrative for look back at the tragic life and career of former Maverick Roy Tarpley

- Still more sadness as week try to console Dustin after a tragic and ridiculous Cowboys loss to the Packers. And a look at officiating from a different perspective

- Leaving the Cowboys behind, we look ahead to the Conference Championship Weekend as well as the other big moves in the NFL

- The National Championship was awarded on Monday night to the #4 team in the country! We examine Ohio State's improbable run to the trophy, Urban Meyer's legacy and some NFL Draft stuff too

- It's finally time to stop talking football and get to the important business of the day - Mick's Pub. In it we will discuss . . . something?

- We jam in a combo platter of items including NBA news, Hockey at the halfway point, Hot Stove Baseball Talk and whatever else we pile on our Sports Plate

All that and maybe a call or 2 also at (347) 308-8637

So please listen LIVE Jan 14th 8:30-10:30p CST or anytime after on Itunes (search Sports Narrative)



Check Out Sports Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The Sports Narrative on BlogTalkRadio

Monday, January 12, 2015

Draft Nuggets Blog for The Ticket.Com #1



The Offseason Awaits:

No sooner does this magical Cowboys season end (on a blown call) that they must hurriedly pick themselves up, dust themselves off and prepare for the 2015-16 season. And for Draftniks like myself, this is where the real fun begins. The NFL offseason is where champions are forged, from the management and coaches down to the plays and players. How a team addresses the questions posed in the offseason directly determines if they have the answers during the season, in the playoffs and ultimately in the Superbowl. As Tom Landry once said “The secret to winning is constant, consistent management.” And for the Cowboys team, many questions lie ahead.

So let’s begin by looking at the road ahead, the 2015 Cowboys situation and a few of the questions that await.

The Road Ahead:

Technically the NFL Offseason begins the day after the Superbowl. However, the work that goes into scouting college talent, negotiating the salary cap and contracts and acquiring assets reach far back even before training camp. Here is a look at the calendar ahead for this offseason right up until the NFL Draft and some of the big stops along the way:

Jan. 15 Deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft

Jan. 17  East-West Shrine Game (St. Petersburg, Fla.)

Jan. 18  Conference Championships

Jan. 24  Senior Bowl (Mobile, Ala.)

Jan. 25  2015 Pro Bowl (University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Feb. 1    Super Bowl XLIX (University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., 6 p.m. ET, NBC)

Feb. 2    Waiver system begins for 2015

Feb. 7    NFL Regional Combine (Davie, Fla.)

Feb. 14 NFL Regional Combine (Houston)

Feb. 16 First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players

Feb. 17-23           NFL Scouting Combine (Indianapolis)

Feb. 21 NFL Regional Combine (Dove Valley, Colo.)

Feb. 28 NFL Regional Combine (Owings Mills, Md.)

March 2                Prior to 4 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players

March 7                NFL Regional Combine (Lake Forest, Ill.)

March 7-10         Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2014 contracts at 4 p.m. ET on March 10. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4 p.m. ET on March 10

March 10             Prior to 4 p.m. ET, clubs must exercise options for 2015 on all players who have option clauses in their 2014 contracts
                Prior to 4 p.m. ET, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation
                Prior to 4 p.m. ET, clubs must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2014 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit
                Top-51 Begins. All clubs must be under the 2015 salary cap prior to 4 p.m. ET
                All 2014 player contracts expire at 4 p.m. ET
                2015 league year and free agency period begins (4 p.m. ET)
                Trading period for 2015 begins (4 p.m. ET)

March 19-21       NFL Career Development Symposium (Phoenix)

March 21-22       Super Regional Combine (Phoenix)

March 22-25       NFL Annual Meeting (Phoenix)

April 6   Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2014 regular season may begin offseason workout programs

April 20 Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs

April 24 Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets

April 29 Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents

April 30-May 2  NFL Draft (Chicago)

That’s right, this year’s NFL Draft is not at Radio City in NYC but in Chicago, and The Ticket will have your coverage wall-to-wall as no other station in America does.

The Draft Evaluation Process Begins:

With the College Football season coming to an end tomorrow night at AT&T Stadium, the college postseason games begin this week with the East/West Shrine Game. This game usually features some smaller school or lesser known types, but always yields some quality talent (like Rams RB Zac Stacy in 2013 and 2nd round QB Jimmy Garopplo in 2014). Practices begin this week and the game is Saturday Jan 17th. Here’s a look at this year’s roster (with a few Big 12 kids highlighted):


EAST TEAM Coach: Mike Singletary

Quarterbacks
Anthony Boone, Duke
Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion
Hutson Mason, Georgia

Running backs
Larry Dixon (FB), Army
Dominique Brown, Louisville
Kenny Hilliard, LSU
Terrence Magee, LSU

Receivers
Gerald Christian (TE), Louisville
Andre Davis, South Florida
Devin Gardner, Michigan
Deon Long, Maryland
Tre McBride, William & Mary
Keith Mumphery, Michigan State
Wes Saxton (TE), South Alabama
Darren Waller, Georgia Tech

Offensive linemen
David Andrews, Georgia
Ben Beckwith, Mississippi State
Jamon Brown, Louisville
Dillon Day, Mississippi State
Jonathan Feliciano, Miami (Fla.)
Mark Glowinski, West Virginia
Sean Hickey, Syracuse
Shane McDermott, Miami (Fla.)
Darrian Miller, Kentucky
John Miller, Louisville

Defensive linemen
Anthony Chickillo, Miami (Fla.)
B.J. Dubose, Louisville
Darius Kilgo, Maryland
Derrick Lott, Tennessee-Chattanooga
Jermauria Rasco, LSU
Za'Darius Smith, Kentucky
Davis Tull, Tennessee-Chattanooga
Leterrius Walton, Central Michigan
Daryl Waud, Western University (Ontario)

 Linebackers
Cole Farrand, Maryland
Amarlo Herrera, Georgia
Deiontrez Mount, Louisville
Quayshawn Nealy, Georgia Tech
Edmond Robinson, Newberry College
Jake Ryan, Michigan

Defensive backs
Detrick Bonner (S), Virginia Tech
Justin Coleman (CB), Tennessee
Parrish Gaines (S), Navy
Craig Mager (CB), Texas State
Dean Marlowe (S), James Madison
Ronald Martin, Jr. (S), LSU
Damian Parms (S), Florida Atlantic
Tye Smith (CB), Towson
Damian Swann (CB), Georgia
Cam Thomas (CB), Western Kentucky

Specialists
Marvin Kloss (K), South Florida
Spencer Roth (P), Baylor


WEST TEAM
Coach: Jim Zorn

Quarterbacks
Cody Fajardo, Nevada
Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
Dylan Thompson, South Carolina

Running backs
Malcolm Brown, Texas
John Crockett, North Dakota State
Aaron Ripkowski (FB), Oklahoma
Zachary Zenner, South Dakota State

Receivers
Blake Bell (TE), Oklahoma
Kenny Bell, Nebraska
A.J. Derby (TE), Arkansas
Austin Hill, Arizona
MyCole Pruitt (TE), Southern Illinois
Addison Richards, Regina (Saskatchewan)
Ezell Ruffin, San Diego State
Jordan Taylor, Rice
Kasen Williams, Washington

Offensive linemen
Mickey Baucus, Arizona
Brett Boyko, UNLV
Cameron Clemmons, Western Kentucky
Jamil Douglas, Arizona State
B.J. Finney, Kansas State
Gregory Mancz, Toledo
Terry Poole, San Diego State
Collin Rahrig, Indiana
Adam Shead, Oklahoma
Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern

Defensive linemen
James Castleman, Oklahoma State
Tyeler Davison, Fresno State
Kyle Emanuel, North Dakota State
Chucky Hunter, TCU
Martin Ifedi, Memphis
David Parry, Stanford
Travis Raciti, San Jose State
Ryan Russell, Purdue
Xavier Williams, Northern Iowa

Linebackers
Bryce Hager, Baylor
Benjamin Heeney, Kansas
Taiwan Jones, Michigan State
A.J. Tarpley, Stanford
James Vaughters, Stanford
Zachary Vigil, Utah State
Tony Washington, Oregon

Defensive backs
Bernard Blake (CB), Colorado State
Bryce Callahan (CB), Rice
Samuel Carter (S), TCU
Corey Cooper (S), Nebraska
Fritz Etienne (S), Memphis
Gregory Henderson (CB), Colorado
Bobby McCain (CB), Memphis
Tevin McDonald (S), Eastern Washington
Jordan Richards (S), Stanford
Curtis Riley (CB), Fresno State
Josh Shaw (CB), USC

Specialists
Darragh O'Neill (P), Colorado
Niklas Sade (K), North Carolina State



We will have highlights, stand-outs and other notes from the Shrine game on next week’s blog.

Where We Stand Today:

As it stands today, the Cowboys are entering into 2015 with around $138 million committed in contract with a projected salary cap of around $140 million. Obviously this does not leave a lot of room for additions, not to mention that this does not include Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray or Ron Leary to name a few. Therefore, some “massaging: of contracts is needed. Here is the complete list of current contracts and dead money for 2015 courtesy of www.overthecap.com:

Contracted Players
Name
Base Salary
(Guaranteed)
Bonuses
Cap
Number
Dead Money & Cap Savings
 
Prorated
Roster
Workout
Other
Tony Romo
$17,000,000
$7,500,000
$10,773,000
$0
$0
$0
$27,773,000
$37,408,000
($9,635,000)
Tyron Smith
$11,039,000
$11,039,000
$2,000,000
$0
$0
$0
$13,039,000
$19,039,000
($6,000,000)
Brandon Carr
$8,000,000
$4,717,000
$0
$0
$0
$12,717,000
$12,151,000
$566,000
Doug Free
$8,000,000
$3,020,000
$0
$0
$0
$11,020,000
$3,980,000
$7,040,000
Henry Melton
$9,000,000
$250,250
$0
$0
$0
$9,250,250
$750,750
$8,499,500
Jason Witten
$5,100,000
$3,412,000
$0
$0
$0
$8,512,000
$5,236,000
$3,276,000
Sean Lee
$2,500,000
$2,950,000
$0
$0
$0
$5,450,000
$9,800,000
($4,350,000)
Morris Claiborne
$2,607,887
$2,607,887
$2,567,182
$0
$0
$0
$5,175,069
$5,175,069
$0
Orlando Scandrick
$1,500,000
$2,851,250
$0
$0
$0
$4,351,250
$6,602,500
($2,251,250)
Mackenzy Bernadeau
$1,500,000
$1,324,168
$0
$0
$0
$2,824,168
$1,324,168
$1,500,000
Dan Bailey
$1,700,000
$800,000
$0
$0
$0
$2,500,000
$3,200,000
($700,000)
Barry Church
$1,750,000
$500,000
$0
$0
$0
$2,250,000
$1,000,000
$1,250,000
Zack Martin
$827,627
$827,627
$0
$0
$0
$0
$2,038,136
$3,705,762
($1,667,626)
Travis Frederick
$1,029,548
$1,029,548
$844,096
$0
$0
$0
$1,873,644
$2,717,740
($844,096)
Jeremy Mincey
$1,500,000
$200,000
$250,000
$0
$0
$0
$1,750,000
$450,000
$1,300,000
Demarcus Lawrence
$670,302
$670,302
$581,209
$0
$0
$0
$1,251,511
$2,893,929
($1,642,418)
Dekoda Watson
$1,250,000
$0
$0
$0
$0
$1,250,000
$0
$1,250,000
Gavin Escobar
$787,772
$360,545
$0
$0
$0
$1,148,317
$721,090
$427,227
LP Ladouceur
$1,000,000
$120,000
$0
$0
$0
$1,120,000
$360,000
$760,000
Terrell McClain
$1,000,000
$100,000
$0
$0
$0
$1,100,000
$200,000
$900,000
Amobi Okoye
$870,000
$0
$0
$0
$0
$870,000
$0
$870,000
Tyrone Crawford
$675,000
$143,813
$0
$10,000
$0
$828,813
$143,813
$685,000
Terrance Williams
$615,000
$154,868
$0
$10,000
$0
$779,868
$309,736
$470,132
Kyle Wilber
$660,000
$109,805
$0
$0
$0
$769,805
$109,805
$660,000
JJ Wilcox
$595,000
$146,517
$0
$10,000
$0
$751,517
$293,034
$458,483
Josh Brent
$745,000
$0
$0
$0
$0
$745,000
$0
$745,000
James Hanna
$660,000
$26,213
$0
$0
$0
$686,213
$26,213
$660,000
Jack Crawford
$660,000
$0
$0
$0
$0
$660,000
$0
$660,000
Brandon Weeden
$660,000
$0
$0
$0
$0
$660,000
$0
$660,000
Joseph Randle
$585,000
$47,220
$0
$0
$0
$632,220
$94,440
$537,780
Anthony Hitchens
$510,000
$108,716
$0
$0
$0
$618,716
$326,148
$292,568
DeVonte Holloman
$585,000
$26,055
$0
$0
$0
$611,055
$52,110
$558,945
Jakar Hamilton
$585,000
$9,334
$0
$0
$0
$594,334
$9,334
$585,000
Jeff Heath
$585,000
$668
$0
$0
$0
$585,668
$668
$585,000
Devin Street
$510,000
$50,493
$0
$0
$0
$560,493
$151,479
$409,014
Chris Whaley
$510,000
$1,666
$0
$0
$0
$511,666
$3,334
$508,332
Jordan Najvar
$510,000
$500
$0
$0
$0
$510,500
$1,000
$509,500
Keith Smith
$510,000
$0
$0
$0
$0
$510,000
$0
$510,000
Dustin Vaughan
$510,000
$0
$0
$0
$0
$510,000
$0
$510,000
Tyler Patmon
$510,000
$0
$0
$0
$0
$510,000
$0
$510,000
Donald Hawkins
$510,000
$0
$0
$0
$0
$510,000
$0
$510,000
Ben Gardner
$435,000
$14,793
$0
$0
$0
$449,793
$44,379
$405,414
 Dead Money
Name
Cap Number
$5,106,200
$2,255,000
$221,690
$75,146
$65,000
$52,110
$37,764
$34,422
$34,422
$34,422
$5,000
$4,667
$3,334
$3,334
$2,334
$2,000
$1,667
$1,334
$1,334
$1,334
$1,334
$1,334
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$667
TOTAL
$7,952,849


Options:
1.       Re-doing some key player’s contracts
This is the best option for creating money, guaranteeing more money to guys like Tyron Smith, Scandrick, Melton, Church and others to free up room. The questions becomes “is it enough?”
2.       Re-doing player’s with a less certain status
This option is a little scarier as it charges more money to future salary caps and may come due sooner than the team would like. This list includes players like Romo (injury), Sean Lee (injury), Carr (performance), and Witten (age). The Cowboys have shown no hesitation to exercise this option in the past and I expect that trend will continue, though I think they might want to “start the clock” on some of the money owed to Brandon Carr and Tony Romo just in case their level of play goes south quickly.
3.       Letting some veteran’s go
With this team’s limited depth and shaky draft track record (though remarkably better under Will McClay’s tenure), letting starters walk has not been this team’s usual “process.” Candidates in this category include Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Doug Free, Ron Leary, Cole Beasley, Rolando McClain, Justin Durant, Bruce Carter, Sterling Moore and Henry Melton is they exercise his out clause. We will address this in the next section.

Phase #2: Free Agency/Team Needs
Once the money is available, the next issue is how to spend it. The Cowboys have some big names on the verge of hitting free agency and also need to improve the roster in order to get over the hump of playoff contender to championship level. Here’s a list of their pending free agents, again courtesy of www.overthecap.com

Player
Pos.
Team
Type
Current Avg./Year
RT
UFA
$3,500,000
WR
UFA
$2,362,100
43DE
UFA
$1,500,000
RT
UFA
$1,354,363
ILB
UFA
$1,213,650
43OLB
UFA
$1,200,000
DT
UFA
$745,000
RB
UFA
$743,360
S
UFA
$730,000
T
RFA
$730,000
ILB
UFA
$700,000
43DE
UFA
$680,000
DT
UFA
$680,000
CB
UFA
$600,000
RB
UFA
$600,000
WR
UFA
$545,015
43DE
RFA
$525,000
CB
ERFA
$495,000
WR
RFA
$480,500
OL
RFA
$480,000
RB
RFA
$480,000
LG
RFA
$455,000

So here is my opinion of the needs of this team going into 2015 in no particular order:
-          Backup QB
-          Running Back (2)
-          Wide Receiver (2)
-          Blocking Tight End
-          Right Tackle (2)
-          Left Guard
-          Defensive End
-          Linebacker (2)
-          Cornerback (2)

Without looking at the rest of NFL free agency (too many variables and too little money to depend on), here is my plan for answering the Cowboys needs though free agency. Remember, no team can fill every spot with pro bowlers. It’s about getting the most out of the available resources in a realistic way. The Draft will be addressed in section 3:

1.       Sign Dez – I know there is much concern about his off-field life, but a true playmaking WR is not as easy to find as some think and is a necessity in today’s pass-happy NFL. I’d be shocked if Dez is wearing any other jersey than a blue 88 next year.

2.       Address RB, either through Murray or Adrian Peterson – The wear and tear that Murray went through this season does not bode well for his career long-term. However, letting the MVP of your previous season walk for nothing won’t make fans happy. We all know about Jerry’s “flirtations” with Peterson prior to his suspension. I think the Cowboys should sign one of these two RBs, probably whichever one comes cheaper.

3.       Sign either Free or Parnell, let the other go – Doug Free and Jeremy Parnell are basically the same player and thus interchangeable. Whichever one takes the better deal I’d sign, then look to sign a backup swing OT on the cheap

4.       Sign Ron Leary to a short term deal – Leary is a monster on run-blocking and a liability in pass-protection. In addition, Leary came into the league with balky knees which is why he went undrafted. Bring him back on the cheap for continuity only and look to upgrade their next year.

5.       Of LBs Durant, McClain and Carter sign 2 cheapest – With the hopeful return of Sean Lee (finger crossed) and the emergence of super-sub Hitchens, The Cowboys need at least 2 starters and a quality backup. McClain has been a find, but might want to cash in on his success. Carter has proven serviceable on the strong side and might be had on a 1 year “prove it” contract. Durant was the team’s best LB prior to injury and has hopefully found a home in Marinelli’s D. Sign the cheapest 2 and let the other walk, addressing that position further in the draft.

6.       Wait til the draft – After these moves, I might wait until the draft to fill in the gaps. Guys like Hayden, Selvie, Moore, Dunbar and Brent can be brought back or replaced at minimum costs.

Phase #3: The Draft

If the offseason breaks as above, the needs for the Cowboys heading into the draft on April 30th in Chicago will look like this:

-          Backup/Developmental QB
-          Defensive End
-          Cornerback
-          Linebacker
-          Right Tackle

Generally, I think going into the draft you want to have 3-4 real positions to fill. Your 1st round pick should be a day one starter or immediate contributor (except for a QB), your 2nd and 3rd rounders should provide premium depth in rotation and develop into starters and your 4th and 5th rounders are more developmental or have flaws that can be addressed. The order in which these needs are addressed then becomes a function of draft position, positional strength and value. Being able to get quality at each pick is the primary goal, though sometimes that means taking value over position or maneuvering to get in the best talent tier.
Looking at the 2015, it is very difficult to assess position strength without knowing which underclassmen will declare. In recent years, the overwhelming number of junior or even RS sophomore declarations have dominating the early rounds and I don’t expect that trend to decrease.

In future posts, I will take a harder look at the players that may be available in the draft and their evaluations as the process rolls on. As we see every year, player’s stock can rise and fall quite a bit before draft night, but it’s good to get a rough estimate before the process begins.