In this week’s championship edition of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Matt Bowker, asks our panel of experts three questions: What NFL team got the biggest steal at the draft, who had the worst pick of the draft, and what remaining NHL playoff team will win the Stanley Cup?
1. What team got the biggest steal of the NFL draft?
Josh: I hate to go with the obvious answer, but the biggest steal of this year’s draft was Leonard Williams going to the Jets. He should never have been available at the sixth pick. The obvious landing spot for Williams was the Redskins, who ranked in the bottom half of the league last year in sacks. Williams was also arguably the best player in the draft, and could have justifiably gone to any team in the top five spots. The Jets didn’t necessarily need Williams but he was by far the best player available. The Jets defense will undoubtedly get their offense on the field, but it is yet to be seen if their offense will be able to do anything.
Kevin: I think the steal of the draft was Randy Gregory. He was once discussed as a top- five talent and he fell all the way to pick 60. Although his multitude of off-the-field issues have been on full display, I think the Cowboys are the perfect fit for him on and off the field. On the field, Dallas is in dire need of pass rushing help. With the suspension of Greg Hardy and the overall problems this defense has had getting to the quarterback, Gregory will have a golden opportunity to make an immediate impact on the field. Off the field is where Dallas gives Gregory a tremendous opportunity to succeed. Dallas has a history of dealing with “problem players” during the Jerry Jones era — from Michael Irvin to Dez Bryant and even Rolando McClain. Although there is still tremendous risk associated with this pick, Dallas gives Gregory the best chance to get his head on straight and reach his full potential as a football player.
Michael: The biggest steal would have to be wide receiver Devin Funchess, from the University of Michigan, going to the Carolina Panthers. The 41st pick in the draft, Funchess was named a Big Ten honorable mention in his freshman year and was the Big Ten’s Tight End of the year during his sophomore year. His junior year season had decreased stats, but more of that can be placed on the entire Michigan team which had one of its worst offensive seasons in the past few years. He is strong and big, which are two things that will help him break through defenses and give Cam Newton more options. For a team that made, and won a game in the playoffs last year, this is a great pick for the Panthers.
Josh gets 3 points for mentioning the Skins failures. Michael gets 2 points for crediting Michigan’s poor offense, and Kevin gets 1 point because Dallas promotes criminal activity.
Which team had the worst draft?
Josh: The team that had the worst draft was the Buffalo Bills. They were without a first round pick this year because of the trade that got them Sammy Watkins last year. Their picks did not necessarily fill their most important needs and many of their picks have been widely considered reaches. In my opinion, the trade to move up for Watkins did more harm than good. They gave up this year’s first round pick when they didn’t really need to. Notable wide receivers still on the board when Buffalo could have picked were standouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Kelvin Benjamin. The Bills could have had either of those players and retained their first round pick for 2015.
Kevin: It truly pains me to say this, but the St. Louis Rams had the worst draft. The Rams had just as many starting caliber running backs as starting caliber offensive linemen, following the first two days of the draft. The Rams had a few big issues, that if properly addressed, could lead to them being a playoff contender. The Rams had holes across their offensive line and in the secondary and could’ve used a No. 1 receiver for new quarterback Nick Foles. There were no offensive linemen worth taking at the 10th pick but they could’ve taken Devante Parker or Trae Waynes to address their other issues. Instead, they drafted a running back who’s coming off a torn ACL. The rest of their draft was equally mediocre. Three of their next four picks were right tackles who were all drafted way before they should’ve been taken. I hope I’m wrong about this, but drafts like this are why the Rams have been garbage the past decade.
Michael: The worst pick I saw during the draft has to be from the Oakland Raiders, who took defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. from Florida State. The 35th pick in the draft was such a wasted opportunity to find a better defensive player then Edwards. He has a grand total of eight sacks in his three years at Florida State, compared to someone like Mississippi State’s Preston Smith, who was still on the board at this point, who had a total of nine last year alone. He doesn’t have a lot of arm power, and even if he did, scouts have noted he doesn’t seem to have a lot of desire, he’s more content where he is rather than wanting to improve. The Raiders had a chance to make things better but they didn’t go with the best option.
Josh gets 3 points for going a different route with his choice. Kevin and Michael get 2 points each for picking on bad teams and their picks.
3. After the first round of the NHL playoffs, which remaining team is your favorite to win the Stanley Cup?
Josh: My favorite to win the Stanley Cup is the New York Rangers. Against the Penguins, the Rangers were lights-out defensively and kept Malkin and Crosby from making the kind of difference that they are capable of making. Through the first round and what has been played of the second round, the Rangers have the lowest goals-against per game with 1.71. Backstopping that defensive effort is Henrik Lundqvist, who currently has the second-best goals against average in the playoffs. The Rangers’ defensive corps, with the help of the King, has the depth and ability to carry their team to the Promised Land.
Kevin: I’ll say my favorite to win the cup is the Chicago Blackhawks. I just think their offensive firepower is outstanding with Patrick Kane coming back from injury and players like Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa scoring better than they did in the regular season. They’re also solid in the back, led by Duncan Keith. However, the thing that sets the Blackhawks apart is their championship experience. They’re the only team still alive in the playoffs that have won the cup since 2008 — another reason I like the Blackhawks in this. Also, Corey Crawford and Scott Darling have both been shaky in goal so far this postseason, but this was a question mark last time the Hawks won the cup and Crawford was just good enough.
Michael: The 2015 Stanley Cup Champion will be the New York Rangers, and the simple reason is I love their defense. Every game the team has played this postseason has been decided by one goal, and yes while one of those games was a 4 – 3 loss to Pittsburgh, it still deserves mentioning that the defense kept them in the game. Henrik Lundqvist has been playing impressive in goal, and players like team captain Ryan McDonagh and Dan Boyle are helping to keep the puck away from him in the first place. When it comes down to it, their defense can wear down a team enough to a point where an opening emerges. The Rangers have enough parts moving together to capture Lord Stanley’s cup and return it to Madison Square Garden.
Kevin gets 3 points for not picking the Rangers. Josh and Michael gets 2 points each for making the same argument.
Josh wins Around the Dorm 8-6-6.