Welcome to the fourth edition of What's Going Downey, my NFL Draft/NFL focused column for Chat Sports. In this week's column, I focus heavily on draft prospects like Sidney Jones, Jake Butt, Dalvin Cook and few others, plus some updates on NFL Free Agency. I've also got an interview with FanSided's Luis Tirado Jr. and compare QB prospects to vegetables.
The goal of this is to have a longer piece each week, focused on the NFL Draft. If it does well (read: gets views), it will remain a weekly article. In terms of content, I’ll have some type interview each week with an athlete/media person, questions I'll answer from social media, updates on my Draft Big Board or a new mock draft and a section I’m calling "Downey’s Dozen." That will consist of 12 things from around the NFL/NFL Draft that I want to discuss. I’ll also conclude with something non-NFL related. I'll try to make it funny most weeks.
Here’s what we have on tap in this column:
An updated Big Board
Downey’s Dozen (a look at the NFL & NFL Draft)
A Q&A with Luis Tirado Jr. of The Jet Press
Q&As from Facebook and Twitter
I Know Takes, I Have The Best Takes
That’s the five section breakdown, and there’s plenty of information in each one. So, my hope is you all enjoy this column and hopefully read it each week. In next week's edition (since this version is written and coming out early in free agency), I'll go much more in-depth with winners, losers and more. We'll get to some free agency stuff, but check out the Chat Sports App for more in-depth stuff. With all that out of the way, let’s get started.
Live Mock Draft PSA
My original plan for this part of the column was to have an updated mock draft or big board each week. Unfortunately, I have neither this week. I'm in the midst of trying to finalize (for the most part) my big board, but I'm not ready to do that. So, what I have instead is a PSA about an upcoming Live NFL Mock Draft. If you follow myself or the Chat Sports Twitter, you'll be updated as to when exactly it will be. My guess is either Wednesday or Thursday next week. That will coincide with a new NFL Mock Draft on the site as well.
Each week, I'll have 12 thoughts, comments, observations or whatever from around the NFL/NFL Draft. This shouldn't be a surprise, but this week's focuses heavily on prospects and a few minor Free Agency notes.
1. Fabian Moreau's Injury
You have to feel bad for several of the corners this year, who have suffered injuries. UCLA's Moreau is the latest, suffering a torn pectoral injury at his Pro Day. He's undergone surgery and should be ready to go for the start of training camp, it now brings injury concerns into the picture. Pair the pectoral tear with a foot injury that cost Moreau most of his 2015 season and it's easy to see why Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com reports teams are worried about injuries. Jeremiah thinks Moreau goes in Round 3 and that's understandable given how deep this corner class is. Still, I could
2. Could Sidney Jones Play This Year?
Sticking with the injured corners, Washington's Sidney Jones might not miss the entire season, or so he thinks.
Surgery was great— Sidney Jones IV (@SidneyJonesIV) March 21, 2017
The doctor said that I will for sure be playing this upcoming season #DontCountMeOut
Adam Schefter reports Jones will be running again in four months, which gives Jones some hope of playing next year. Jones' claim that his doctor says he'll be able to play is an indication that it's only a partial tear of his Achilles, a positive sign for both his long-term and short-term outlook. A full tear would cost Jones the entire season, but a partial tear could be rehabbed in six months, which is what Terrell Suggs did with the Ravens. I'm no longer ruling Jones out of the first round and I suspect we'll have a firmer answer after medical re-checks in April.
3. Jourdan Lewis update
The draft stock of the best slot corner in the draft, Michigan's Jourdan Lewis, remains in a state of flux. Lewis is accused of domestic violence and the police report, as reported by the Detroit Free Press, doesn't help his stock. Lewis is accused of dragging his girlfriend across the floor and putting his hands on her neck. Lewis says he did not assault her and it's shaping up to be a he-said, she-said. NFL teams are willing to take character risks, but they really don't like not knowing how something will play out. If the situation isn't resolved one way or the other, there's no guaranteed a second round talent like Lewis is even drafted.
4. Is Dalvin Cook Falling?
I still have Cook as the No. 2 running back on my board, but NFL teams might not feel the same way. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller reports that multiple incidents in his past are cause for concern with Cook. He's never been found guilty of a crime, but he was acquitted of a misdemeanor battery charge in 2015, cited for an animal care violation in 2014 and charged with robbery. The robbery charge was later dropped, but Cook also had run-ins with allegedly causing property damage with a BB gun and firing a weapon on school property.
I'm a firm believer in where there is smoke there is fire and Cook's off-the-field issues are reason for concern. But one scout told Miller he trusts Oklahoma's Joe Mixon over Cook. Call me crazy, but I'm going to pick the running back who doesn't have a video of him punching a woman in the face that required he jaw to be wired shut because of the multiple broken bones.
5. Malik McDowell's Issues
In terms of pure talent, McDowell is a Top 10 player. But McDowell has a host of off-the-field issues and a scout who spoke with Bleacher Report's Matt Miller isn't a fan.
"No one likes him," the scout told Miller. "He's not a worker but wants to be the face of the program. Another Connor Cook."
That's a damning evaluation of a player. Maybe a team falls in love with McDowell, but after reportedly testing terribly at the NFL Combine, a fall to round two, as Miller projects, makes sense.
6. The Rise Of Solomon Thomas
I'm a big Solomon Thomas fan. He's a gifted player and although I have him behind Jonathan Allen on my big board, don't rule out Thomas going before Allen. There's the shoulder deal with Allen, while Thomas is a better athlete. In fact, I can see Thomas going as high as No. 2. If the 49ers don't go QB, Thomas makes sense. I don't know if he's an ideal LEO, but that's what he'd be the 49ers. I think his best fit will be as a 4-3 DE, who kicks inside on 3rd downs to cause havoc.
7. Jake Butt's Rehab
It appears that Michigan TE Jake Butt might be healthier sooner than expected.
TE Jake Butt tells Mike Mayock he could be ready to play again by mid-July. Ahead of schedule.— Andrew Groover (@APGroover) March 24, 2017
That's a really fast turn-around for an ACL tear. I'm not sure it's going to be possible and the recovery time might be more in line with the standard nine months (mid-October) than the six months Butt is hoping for. I'm a big Butt fan, although his injury had dropped him from a 2nd round grade to a 3rd rounder. It might be time to move him up, even though which ever team drafts him could elect to redshirt him anyway. One of the best TE classes ever could help Butt slide a bit.
8. This Year's WR Class
I'm a fan of this year's wide out class, although it's not full of No. 1 wide outs. I believe only Mike Williams and Corey Davis project as bona-fide No. 1s, but this class is full of players who can be really good No. 2s. There are also several high-quality slot options this year. Near the top of my favorites is UNC's Ryan Switzer. He doesn't really have any of the measurables you want in a wide out, but it's impossible to watch film of Mitchell Trubisky and not see No. 3 of UNC making play after play. If you want a reliable slot weapon, Switzer will make a fantastic middle-round pick.
9. The Return Of Johnny Football?
Could it be that Johnny Manziel will return to the NFL? He was spotted with Saints head coach Sean Payton and New Orleans would be a hell of a landing spot for Manziel. He'd get to learn from both Payton and Drew Brees, two of the best possible mentors for Manziel. I'll remain unconvinced his partying days are behind him until I see it, but I suspect teams will continue to kick the tires.
10. Kevin Minter and the Bengals
In a bit of a surprise, the Bengals added former Cardinals LB Kevin Minter on a one-year deal, while former Bengal Karlos Dansby went back to the Cardinals. I've been projecting Alabama LB Reuben Foster to the Bengals for quite some time, and the Minter addition causes me to pause. But I still think it's a strong option, especially the Bengals don't love any of pass rushers. The value is still right, SOMETHING
11. Top FA’s left (And Where They Could Sign)
Just going with five the top names and rapid fire landing spots. I still expect several to be wrong.
11a. RB Adrian Peterson - Giants
Peterson's asking price is too high. If/when it comes down, the Giants make perfect sense to me.
11b. RB Jamaal Charles - Eagles
There's the Doug Pederson connection and adding Charles would allow the Eagles to move on from Ryan Mathews (and still draft someone).
11c. DT Johnathan Hankins - Giants
He wants more than he's going to get. He'll return to the Giants, potentially on a prove-it deal.
11d. LB Zach Brown - Dolphins
It's likely down to Oakland and Miami. I think the Dolphins will offer more money and Brown picks them.
11e. SS T.J. McDonald - Rams
I'm surprised McDonald hasn't signed yet. With a distinct lack of buzz, I suspect he ends up back in Los Angeles.
12. Comparing QBs to Vegetables
Continuing the series on comparing position players to various items, I've got QBs as vegetables. I hate vegetables, but I’m told they’re very important to surviving. And I also hate this year’s QB class, but teams need a good QB to win games. So seems like an obvious fit. There will be no corn or potato this year, as none of the QBs are worth of that. Also, we’ll do running backs as cars next week.
12a. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame: Carrots
My preferred vegetable. But it also must be prepared properly. Those who try to cook them are monsters.
12b. Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina: Peas
Peas aren't terrible. I think they're pretty bland, but I can live with them.
12c. Deshaun Watson, Clemson: Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes and Watson are both over-hyped and over-valued by the masses.
12d. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech: Brussel Sprouts
If they aren't perfectly prepared, brussel sprouts are terrible. But do them right and they're actually good. They're a boom or bust veggie and Mahomes is a boom or bust prospect.
12e. Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL): Onion
Used properly, Onions can help a meal. It's not a main course, but it can be involved. I view Kaaya as a backup QB or spot starter in the NFL.
12f. Nathan Peterman, Pitt: Garlic
Yes, Garlic is a root vegetable. It's not a main option, but used properly, it can accent a meal. Much like Kaaya, I view Peterman as a high-quality backup/spot starter.
12g. Davis Webb, Cal: Lettuce
Some people really, really like salads. I don't see the appeal. The same is true of Webb.
12h. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss: Mushrooms
I think you all get this one.
12i. Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech: Broccoli
Why is broccoli even a thing? Why did Jerod Evans turn pro? It's consumable, but you better have a ton of ranch to help it.
12j. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee - Kale
Kale is a smart person's food. Dobbs is a literal rocket scientist. It's a perfect match.
12k. BONUS: Trevor Knight, Texas A&M: Tomato.
A tomato isn't a vegetable and I think Knight isn't a QB. He'll have to make a position switch, likely to WR or maybe safety.
Interview with Luis Tirado Jr. of The Jet Press
This week, I'm joined by Luis Tirado Jr., the site expert of FanSided's The Jet Press. Luis has been a guest on a previous Chat Sports Live Mock Draft show and he was kind enough to do a question and answer for the column.
Chat Sports: The Jets have made quite a few moves so far in the offseason, both releasing players and signing a few guys. What do you make the over-arching plan thus far?
Luis Tirado Jr.: So far, the Jets are doing exactly what was expected in making smart cuts of aging/unproductive veterans and focusing on ushering a youth movement. It makes sense in the grand scheme of things since the Jets need to get younger, faster, and give as many of their younger players plenty of regular season reps. While 2017 will more than likely be a long and uneventful season, what the Jets are doing now is setting up for a very bright future come 2018/2019.
Chat Sports: What are the move(s) you like the most by the Jets?
Luis Tirado Jr: I really like the Josh McCown signing since it's the perfect veteran presence the Jets needed for both Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Plus it means if the Jets have a real quarterback competition this summer, one of them should earn the starting spot. If it's Petty, it would be great to see what he can do with a full regular season with McCown in the background helping him develop every step of the way.
Chat Sports: Are there any that you aren't a fan of?
Luis Tirado Jr.: Not a fan of the Kelvin Beachum free agent signing because it reminds me of Ryan Clady all over again. The Jets take chances on offensive linemen that have a history of getting hurt and missing time. They mix hope and reality which are always two different things and Beachum might end up being a signing that doesn't turn out to be a good one. Hopefully, he plays well and can go the whole season without missing any significant amount of time.
Chat Sports: You're the GM for the Jets during the NFL Draft. Which player are you taking at No. 6 and who else do you consider?
Luis Tirado Jr.: I'm going with cornerback Marshon Lattimore. The Jets need a young impact player that can step right in and take care of business. Their defensive secondary leaves much to the imagination as it's in dire need of better talent. Someone like Lattimore is an instant starter and would be a defensive anchor for years to come.
An ACC scout friend of mine is working to convince me Clemson's Deshaun Watson is worth the No. 2 pick. I'm not totally on board with that yet, mostly because of value, but I wouldn't mind seeing Watson in a Niners uniform.
Chat Sports: The Jets need a franchise option at QB. Is it Hackenberg, Petty or a draft pick? If your the Jets, are you rolling with someone of the roster or are you drafting someone? If it's the latter, who is you guy in this year's class?
Luis Tirado Jr.: Right now, it's anyone's guess. Personally, it makes sense it could be Petty since he's had a few years to be coached, trained, and developed to take over the reins if he earns it. Would be nice for Hackenberg to surprise many this year but I just don't see it, maybe in 2018. I also don't see a draft pick coming in and becoming the next Dak Prescott. I hope to be proven wrong but I think it makes sense to be all in with Petty and see what he can do as a starter this upcoming season.
Questions And Answers
Now we've got the questions and answers section. If you want a question featured, tweet them at me or post them on Facebook. I'll grab at least one each week from the Chat Sports Live videos we do. It's a shorter version this week. *Some of the questions are slightly edited for clarity and/or spelling.*
From Steve Donley Sr. on Facebook: Is Sashi Brown clueless, or a cool headed and patient guy with a plan, or has a plan already in place going to be revealed?
For starters, it's a fact that God Hates Cleveland. As fun as it is for me to make fun of Cleveland, I'm actually a fan of what the Browns front-office are doing. It's a moneyball-style approach, with a focus on accumulating draft picks and not overpaying for players. And by the way, that's not to different from what Bill Belichick does in New England. But the key to any plan in the NFL is getting a QB. The Browns are still searching and the plan will fail without one.
From Tahlib Naji McCrary on Facebook: Do you think the Eagles will trade Jordan Matthews?
I never say never, but my guess is no. The Eagles added Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, which will allow Matthews to hang out in the slot. The Eagles would to draft a replacement, so it doesn't too much sense to deal away Matthews while he's still on his rookie deal.
From Dan Tozzoli on Facebook: Do you think the jets will draft a QB this year?
The answer from Luis above would seem to indicate no. I'm not so sure. I don't like Bryce Petty at all and the reports from during the season weren't great for the future of Christian Hackenberg. In the end, it comes down to who the Jets like and if he's on the board. I suspect they're high on Mitchell Trubisky and if he's on the board at No. 6, I wouldn't be surprised if they pulled the trigger.
From Kyle Wilson on Facebook: Since the Patriots traded with the saints for Brandin Cooks, what Patriots wide receiver do you see as expendable/trade bait?
Danny Amendola will need to restructure his deal to stay. I don't see him sticking on the roster as the No. 4 or No. 5 option at a cap hit approaching $8 million. He could be cut. If there's a trade, Malcolm Mitchell might be the odd man out, but I think the Pats want to keep him.
From Alan B Carson on Facebook: How reliable was the rumor of Richard Sherman on the trade block, even for the right price?
Well it wasn't so much that Sherman was on the trade block, more that the Seahawks would listen to offers. That "right price" is a key part of the question, because every player has a price. Even Aaron Rodgers. A general manager isn't doing his job if he isn't listening to offers for every player on his roster if they come in. But the thing is, that price for Sherman and many others, is rarely, rarely met.
From Ross Simon on Twitter:
@WhatGoingDowney should steroid users like Clemens and bonds be in the hall of fame?— ((Rev. Ross Simon)) (@RossSimonSays) March 22, 2017
Yes. Pete Rose should be too. Steroids were everywhere in baseball during the Clemens and Bonds era. Yes, they cheated. But you can't tell the story of the MLB without those guys. Let them in.
From Michael Resener on Twitter:
@WhatGoingDowney Why don;t the oakland Raiders bring in AJ McCarron for a back up QB.?— Michael Resener (@MichaelResener) March 22, 2017
McCarron is still under contract with the Bengals and they have a high-asking price. A cheap, reliable backup isn't easy to find in the NFL. It's why the Bucs never traded away Mike Glennon before he signed with the Bears. The Bengals would prefer to take the compensatory pick than settle for whatever an NFL team tries to offer. Plus, the Raiders won't match the Bengals asking price (at least a 2nd or 3rd, I suspect) for a backup QB.
From Bill Carroll on Twitter:
Bill always has the best questions. Two-way players are pretty rare these days, outside of the occasional defensive player lining up at fullback. But those are boring, so how about an exciting player like USC's Adoree' Jackson. He has amazing speed and played wide out at USC. I think he'll stick to corner in the NFL, but if he absolutely has to, he could help out at WR. With his speed and playmaking ability, he's the closest thing to Deion Sanders in some time. Of course, Jackson isn't anywhere near the player Prime Time was.
I Know Takes, I Have The Best Takes
At the end of each column, I’ll try to close with something non-NFL related and on the more light-hearted/funny side. This week, I'm talking about Iron Fist, the latest Marvel-Netflix series.
I binged watched Iron Fist last weekend and unlike Jessica Jones and Daredevil, I came away very disappointed. It wasn’t the worst thing ever, but I give it a 6/10 at best. Much of the problems lie with the writing. The characters were poorly developed, especially the vilians and Iron Fist himself, Danny Rand. One of the villains (no spoilers, but it’s one we know from other Marvel-Netflix shows), calls Danny a child multiple times. And that gets to the crux of the Iron Fists’ problems. He acts and thinks like a child.
There’s always some amount of characters doing stupid things just for the sake of the plot, but Iron Fist has some of the worst I’ve seen. At one point, an old friend attempts to kill Danny twice. And in the very next episode, Danny is all buddy-buddy with him, like nothing happen. I think Marvel was trying to go for the naive approach with Rand. Instead, they gave him the awareness of a six-year-old.
There were very few points in which I cared about Danny Rand, his allies or the villains. I was more interested in what exactly was going on with “The Hand,” they overarching villains from the Marvel-Netflix shows. We also didn't (spoiler) even get to the see the dragon Rand fought to gain his powers. That's a budget issue, but still. Frankly, it’s the worst thing Marvel has done in the MCU, assuming we can ignore the Incredible Hulk movies.
Related Topics: Sidney Jones, What's Going Downey, NFL Rumors, Tom Downey, Fabian Moreau, NFL Draft News, Johnny Manziel, NFL News, NFL Rumors Roundup, NFL Draft Rumors, Jake Butt, Solomon Thomas, Dalvin Cook, Quarterbacks, 2017 NFL Draft, NFL Draft, NFL Free Agency