Texans add Troy Niklas. #KRM

troy-niklas-eifert

Why might Bill O’Brien cut an older TE in favor of a Gronk-like replacement? Read on.

Matt Borcas is back giving us the Texans’ pick during final week no less so this is a pretty major commitment honoring and also:  pretty compelling logic behind this pick.


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Here is an honest-to-God braintrust. Note the participant wearing #8 is the Browns’ starting QB now and be glad.

The NFL’s modern tight end craze began in earnest on April 23, 2010, when the Patriots drafted Rob Gronkowski in the second round and added Aaron Hernandez a day later in the fourth.  Then-offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien proceeded to use them like weaponized drones in the middle of the field, and instantly the idea of lining up a big free-roaming pass-catcher (or two) at tight end became fetishized around the league.  Enter Jimmy Graham, Jordan Cameron, Julius Thomas, and a whole host of other middle round prospects turned fantasy studs.  O’Brien owes his current job at least in part to successfully pioneering this concept in New England, and it’s reasonable to assume he’ll want the necessary personnel to run a similar style of offense in Houston.

Why?  Let’s break this down with bullet points, because it’s finals week here in Columbus and my brain is more or less incapable of organizing thoughts in a coherent manner for the time being.  (For a more detailed analysis on Houston’s situation heading into the draft, I encourage you to check out JPFTribe’s post here.)

  • With Owen Daniels off to Oakland, tight end is one of the Texans’ few offensive needs.  (Remember, Blake Bortles went first in the KRM.)  Garrett Graham’s pretty clearly just a complementary piece, but even if O’Brien is really high on the guy, it’s not like he’s gonna be content with a tight end situation featuring Graham and some dude named Phillip Supernaw. (Ouachita Baptist’s own!)
  • Say the Texans followed JPFTribe’s advice and did take Bortles first overall.  Wouldn’t they then be more inclined to add a top tight end prospect with their next pick, feeling the need to surround him with capable weapons?  Kind of like when the Colts drafted Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen immediately after taking Luck.
  • To be sure, the Texans could also use a new right tackle, but tight end really drops off after the top four, of which only two remain in the KRM – Troy Niklas and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.  Thus, tight end takes precedence here.  Bonus strategy tidbit: If you miss out on one of the select four, might as well wait and grab Colt Lyerla late.  Then pray to God he doesn’t find a way to get suspended before training camp opens, which he almost certainly will.  (For the record, the Browns should totally do this if Lyerla falls to the sixth round.)
  • It really can’t be overstated how valuable it is to own one of these matchup nightmares.  With even the slightest nudge being grounds for an illegal contact call these days, a 6-6, 270 lb. tight end is virtually unguardable.  And again, O’Brien knows this better than anyone.
  • While some may think no. 33 is too early for Niklas or Seferian-Jenkins, it’s worth remembering that everyone wants their own raw, athletic tight ends nowadays, so you’re gonna have to pay a premium to get one.  The same thing’s happened with tall DBs – three years ago you could’ve probably landed Stanley Jean-Baptiste in the third or fourth round, but due to the Seahawks’ unprecedented success with Sherman, Chancellor et al., he’ll go in the second this year.
  • I’m gonna slot Niklas to the Texans over Seferian-Jenkins because
    • a) I watched every game of his college career and liked what I saw,
    • b) say what you will about Notre Dame, but they produce top-flight tight ends on a staggeringly regular basis, and
    • c) he just started playing the position in 2012, so the sky’s the limit.
  • Also, to reiterate, he’s 6-6, 270 lbs. and VERY physical.  Read this and you’ll be convinced he’s the next Gronk.

See everyone at the Frowns draft party!


Good luck in finals, sure you’ll do well, terrific job as always, and have fun at Frowns’ party.  Next up it is:

ME!  Kanick has the post written for Washington at #34 and it’s done and I’ll be publishing it tomorrow morning or earlier.

Heads up:  

1. The sidebar poll at right reflects the top players on the board going into #35.  Who do you like?
2. MGBode is giving us a two-parter for the Browns’ at #35.  I’ve seen part one and it’s classic Sunday morning good read over coffee kinda like but not exactly like Gammons’ old baseball notes column.

Pick #TeamSelection
(linked to KRM post)
Reader
1TexansBlake Bortlesjpftribe
2RamsGreg RobinsonDave Kolonich
3JaguarsSammy WatkinsClevTA
4BrownsJadeveon ClowneyZarathustra
5RaidersKhalil MackPete Franklin
6FalconsJake MatthewsOXR
7BucsJohnny ManzielPeterM
8VikingsTeddy Bridgewatertrashycamaro
9BillsTaylor Lewanclay
10LionsHa’Sean Clinton-Dixbluedog93
11TitansAnthony Barrkanick
12GiantsEric EbronRod of Disaster
13RamsMike EvansMatt Borcas
14BearsAaron DonaldJRich
15SteelersDarqueze Dennard tmoore94
16CowboysLouis NixGrandRapidsRustlers
17RavensJustin GilbertMGBode
18JetsBrandin CooksZarathustra
19DolphinsZack Martintrashycamaro
20CardinalsCalvin PryorJRich
21PackersJace AmaroClevTA
22EaglesMarqise LeeGrandRapidsRustlers
23ChiefsRa'Shede Hagemanclay
24BengalsBradley RobyOXR
25ChargersKyle Fullertexinottawa
26BrownsDerek CarrChuckKoz
27SaintsOdell Beckham tmoore94
28PanthersXavier Su'a-Filojpftribe
29PatriotsTimmy Jerniganbluedog93
30NinersJason VerrettRod of Disaster
31BroncosCJ MosleyPete Franklin
32SeahawksCameron FlemingDave Kolonich
33 (2nd rd)TexansTroy NiklasMatt Borcas
34RedskinsStephon Tuittkanick
35BrownsRyan ShazierMGBode
36Raiders

 

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  • zarathustra

    This is another pick that I believe will come to fruition in real life. Makes so much sense.
    Also, I just voted for Jordan Matthews in the poll. If the draft unfolded in real life as the krm has I would be happy with Matthews, Robinson, or ASF. If, however, in the extremely rare event that things do not unfold exactly as the krm, I would give strong consideration to van noy and borland. shazier and jean-baptiste are also very intriguing.

    • mgbode

      Matthews, Robinson, ASJ, Van Noy, and Shazier all get mentions in the Browns official #35 post. You know I’m not on Borland and even less so specifically for the Browns and I think that will make even more sense when you read my reasoning on LBers from Pettine’s perspective.

      (J-B isn’t the best big-CB left IMO as that’s McGill and I prefer Breeland to both, but I have seen good arguments for any of the three as well. Did I mention the 2nd round is stacked this year?)

      • zarathustra

        Van noy and shazier are definitely more versatile than Borland so I can see pettine preferring either over Borland. I have to believe he would love to work with an lb with shazier’s speed. I should say that my interest in J-B is certainly based on size, but more so on the potential of moving to free safety or at least being a hybrid. If we are looking at him strictly as a starting outside corner opposite Haden I am not at all interested in him at 35.

        • mgbode

          Interesting thought on the position switch. I honestly haven’t thought about that side of it much, but it’s a great point. With the way the KRM fell out though, I won’t be adding it to the post (Ward is versatile in the other direction, he can handle either S spot along with CB3 duties), but will pay attention in the real draft. Thanks.

        • if we’re doing the position switch thing on safeties based on size/speed… ahem… barky mingo ran a 4.58 40, faster than jean-baptiste and just a tad slower than mcgill. plus longer and bigger and of course wont have to worry about attempting a bull rush on any left tackles.

          ok ok. but still.

          • mgbode

            sorry Kanick. did you read Pettine’s comments on Mingo? he mentioned that when they were negotiating with Mack while he was in Brazil that Mike kept telling Alex to take Barky out to those Brazilian steakhouses and make sure he was eating enough.

            that doesn’t sound like our HC is planning on any position switch to S for him 🙂

          • i wouldnt mind trying to get barky to eat himself into the orakpo zone so much if we didn’t have sheard (and winn) kinda pretty much there already.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Brazilian steakhouses? Not so wonderful. Argentine’ steakhouses, absolutely amazing. Argentina is the place to “beef up”.
            He may also get some toughness lessons from the legendary gauchos.
            Gaucho Marx is my favorite.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Barky For Safety!!

        • actovegin1armstrong

          I picked Van Noy in the poll and I also used him as a essay subject in Cheddar 3 times. I am certain he will be gone before that pick, I really like the guy.

          • mgbode

            I agree with you on him

          • zarathustra

            I love him, but wasn’t he even better in ’12? If I personally were running the draft Matthews would probably would have been taken at 26 so van noy would be a no-brainer here. Sadly I believe our krm browns proxy accurately predicted what the browns will do at 26 and we will likely end up with neither Matthews or van noy in real life.

      • [i even wonder if philip gaines lasts until our first pick in the 3rd.]

        • mgbode

          do you mean EJ? Phillip is a cover-2 only CB IMO. He has no man skills and looks just lost out there. His speed makes up for some of it, but he’s an athlete, not a football player (from my eyes at least). In a zone where he can read-n-react, he could be okay.

          • nope i meant phillip (from rice): he’s longer and sub 4.4 40 and looked good in the field drills (FLUID HIPS) at indy. no that is not the in-depth scouting report you’d like to see but just know i’m arbitrarily veto-ing any 5-10 and under DBs in our war room.

          • mgbode

            unless they have LONG arms of course.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Jason Verrett
            Jason Verrett
            Jason Verrett

          • mgbode

            Haha, you would need three of him to get over that height requirement

  • mgbode

    Kanick, thanks for the nod on the upcoming part-1.

    And that is high praise on the comparison. Peter Gammon’s Sunday Baseball Notes were required reading in my household growing up. I likely still have Sporting News articles of his stashed in some boxes in my parents attic.

  • mgbode

    Sigh, I wish Owen Daniels was off to Oakland. He’ll be catching pigskins from Flacco next year.

    • did not know he was of the matthews family. damn. genetics.

      • mgbode

        yeah, it’s crazy. think about this draft:

        #4 – Jake Matthews
        #26 – Troy Niklas
        #35 – Jordan Matthews

        Funny that Jordan is actually Jerry Rice’s cousin (given his last name) and Niklas is the one related to Bruce, but we would have quite the legendary bloodlines in those picks.

        note: I think it would be a slight reach at each of those spots, so trade downs would be in order.

        • they said clay matthews was a reach in the first round..

          • mgbode

            which one? 🙂

        • actovegin1armstrong

          Jordan Matthews is Jake Matthews younger brother. He has the Clay junior hair.