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Draft Q&A with Andy Barch
April 25, 2012 - Zach Baker
Note: Andy Barch has a number or strong media credentials. He was the announcer for minor league West Virginia Power, and now is the announcer for the Frontier League's Lake Erie Crushers. But he also is an NFL Draft expert who I have looked to for information since we were both at Bowling Green State University. I emailed him some questions about tomorrow's draft, and he was kind enough to respond. A big thank-you to him.
ZB: Who do you prefer, Andrew Luck or RG3? AB: Andrew Luck. No knock against RG3, but he hasnt played in a pro style offense, and I think it will take a little longer for his skills to translate to success at the pro level. Both kids seem like they've got it together mentally, which is half the battle. We've been hearing about how Luck is the sure-fire No. 1 pick for close to a year now, and he did absolutely nothing to negate that notion in his final year at Stanford. RG3 is a better athlete, and possesses that second gear to get away from you if he cant find anyone open, but I think it will take him a little longer to adjust to the pro game.
ZB: In my column last week I said the Browns should take Trent Richardson. Agree?
AB: Yes, although I really don't think either one of the following: Matt Kalil, Justin Blackmon or Morris Claiborne, (none of them) would be considered a bad pick fourth overall either. Richardson seems like he's as can't miss as they come at that position. He catches it well, runs very well, can stay in and provide protection when needed...if you're going to pick a running back that high, he'd better be a guy you can keep on the field for all three downs. For an offense that really needs help just about everywhere, I don't see why you wouldnt pick him, given that he's the best offensive player outside of RG3 and Luck. Kalil would give the Browns two elite tackles, and a great center, those elements can mask whatever you have at either guard position, and when you win the war in the trenches, your chances of winning SIGNIFICANTLY increase...so Kalil would also be a great pick. I've always enjoyed watching Blackmon play. Most receivers wait for the ball to come to them, he goes and gets it. In this offense, thats the kind of guy you need. He also has a violent running style, which makes him even more valuable in the west coast offense, which is predicated on receivers making things happen after the catch. Claiborne is also a great pick because he possesses everything you look for in a cover corner. He's been overlooked because of the guys he's played with, and has done well against top-notch competition in the SEC. This is becoming a passing league, and you really can never have too many guys like Hayden and Claiborne who can defend the pass.
ZB: Who are some of the players the Bengals should consider at their spot?
AB: The Bengals need help along their offensive line, depth in both their secondary and defensive line as well. If David DeCastro is there for them with their first pick, I think he gets snatched up pretty easily. Stephon Gilmore, who is quickly rising in the days before the draft (I've seen him go as high as seven to the Jags), would be a great pick for them as well with their first selection. Having two picks in the middle of the first round puts the Bengals in a unique position. They have so many options. There are a lot of very good defensive linemen in this draft, which means a few of those gems could drop to them in the middle of the first round. If a guy like Dontari Poe or Michael Brockers were to fall to them, I think they'd have a hard time passing on them. I think they have a pretty solid stable of receivers, but they could use some help there as well....though I dont think they'll do that until rounds two or three.
ZB: What is the Lions' primary need right now?
AB: While they would like to add another offensive tackle to boost a budding offensive product, they need to find a way to shore up that defense that got burned in big games last season. They seem to be pretty stout up front, with a pair of top picks spent on the interior of that defensive line, which means they need help in the secondary right away. They should have some decent options in the first round. Janoris Jenkins has more off the field issues than many would like, but he's as talented as any corner in this draft. If Stephon Gilmore makes it to this pick, I dont think the Lions would waste any time making him their guy. Many mocks have Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama going here, which wouldnt be a bad pick either....even if he is a better fit at safety. Bottom line here....in a division where you face A-Rod twice a year, Cutler (sure he has his faults, but he can still sling it) twice a year, and a first rounder last year in Christian Ponder, you have to be able to defend the pass, and right now, the DB's for Detroit are a liability.
ZB: Who do you expect to be the biggest star of this year's class?
AB: With all of the pressure on the two quarterbacks, its hard to imagine them living up to expectations. Both should have solid careers, but I think the guy who could have the most immediate impact would be Trent Richardson. A running back who can run over you, or run away from you, catch a passes, and add protection in the passing game when needed is something you just dont see anymore. Given a clean bill of health (or as close to that as one can get at that position today), I think he's the guy that makes the biggest impact immediately. Long term, both quarterbacks are hard to argue against, and one darkhorse here would be Luke Kuechly, MLB from Boston College. A sure tackler with great instincts at a position that has become more important than ever.