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Breaking down who needs what in NFL Draft

Jeff Fogle
VSiN.com

Our 2017 NFL draft preparation continues, then we jump to the NBA for a recap of Monday Night’s offensive fireworks amidst the hustle and bustle of VSiN City.

NFL Draft order worksheet
Thursday’s NFL draft is fast approaching. We’ve prepared a draft order worksheet you can print out and study through the week. Included are the offensive and defensive rankings in yards-per-play, the best analytic stat for team evaluation. No single stat tells you everything you need to know about a pro football team. But yards-per-play does a lot of the heavy lifting because it isn’t polluted much by pace or time of possession issues. Offenses can either move the ball or they can’t. Defenses either prevent ball movement or they don’t.

Because of parity, you’ll see there are a lot of “ties” in the rankings. Four teams might average 5.5 ypp on offense, or 5.3 on defense. These rankings still give you a sense at a glance of team strengths and weaknesses. 

Cleveland has the #1 pick; tied for #25 on offense, tied for #26 on defense
San Francisco has the #2 pick; #30 on offense, tied for #26 on defense
Chicago has the #3 pick; tied for #5 on offense, tied for #13 on defense
Jacksonville has the #4 pick; tied for #25 on offense, tied for #3 on defense
Tennessee has the #5 pick; tied for #9 on offense, tied for #13 on defense

Let’s stop right there with the first five. Obviously Cleveland and San Francisco have a lot of needs on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Chicago was surprisingly effective at moving the ball last season, but had one of the worst TD/INT ratios in the league (dead even). Jacksonville was stellar on defense but can’t even remember when they had an offense. Tennessee is the best team with a top five pick, having acquired this selection from the Rams. An early alert that the Titans need to be a focal point of your analysis when you’re thinking about futures prices and teams likely to take big steps forward this season.

NY Jets have the #6 pick; #20 on offense, tied for #13 on defense
LA Chargers have the #7 pick; tied for #12 on offense, tied for #11 on defense
Carolina has the #8 pick; tied for #21 on offense, tied for #19 on defense
Cincinnati has the #9 pick; tied for #18 on offense, tied for #11 on defense
Buffalo has the #10 pick; tied for #12 on offense, tied for #19 on defense

This second hunk has teams in Carolina, Cincy, and Buffalo who aren’t really that far from being Wildcard caliber as they ponder their selections. Definitely three teams to watch for returns to relevance with their futures prices and upcoming Regular Season Win propositions. 

New Orleans has the #11 pick; #3 on offense, tied for #30 on defense
Cleveland has the #12 pick; their second pick of the first round (#1)
Arizona has the #13 pick; tied for #18 on offense, #2 on defense
Philadelphia has the #14 pick; tied for #28 on offense, tied for #19 on defense
Indianapolis has the #15 pick; tied for #12 on offense, tied for #30 on defense

New Orleans always needs help on defense. Indianapolis is in the same boat, with hopes that Andrew Luck returns to a Hall of Fame pace with a healthy season. Don’t sleep on the fact that Philadelphia’s offense turned out to be TERRIBLE last season after some over-enthusiastic early season hype about their rookie quarterback. It’s harder to find an offensive playmaker who matters this deep in the first round.

Baltimore has the #16 pick; tied for #21 on offense, tied for #24 on defense
Washington has the #17 pick; #2 on offense, tied for #24 on defense
Tennessee has the #18 pick; their second pick of the first round (#5)
Tampa Bay has the #19 pick; tied for #21 on offense, tied for #24 on defense
Denver has the #20 pick; tied for #25 on offense, #1 on defense

Kirk Cousins makes enough mistakes that the offense really isn’t as good as a #2 ranking in yards-per-play would suggest. But give him credit for getting those yards. It’s Washington’s defense that’s in bigger need of an upgrade. Tennessee really has a chance to make a statement with two of the top 18 picks coming off decent stat rankings last season. None of the other three teams cracked the top 25 on offense last season. 

Detroit has the #21 pick; tied for #16 on offense, tied for #26 on defense
Miami has the #22 pick; tied for #7 on offense, #19 on defense
NY Giants has the #23 pick; tied for #21 on offense, tied for #5 on defense
Oakland has the #24 pick; tied for #9 on offense, #32 on defense
Houston has the #25 pick; #31 on offense, tied for #5 on defense

The city of Las Vegas is excited that the Raiders will be coming soon. The Silver and Black better construct a defense to go along with Derek Carr’s offense or the ceiling will be high-scoring playoff losses wherever the team calls home. Houston’s on the other end of the spectrum, with a championship caliber defense but a horrendous offense. 

Seattle has the #26 pick; tied for #12 on offense, tied for #3 on defense
Kansas City has the #27 pick; tied for #16 on offense, tied for #13 on defense
Dallas has the #28 pick; #4 on offense, tied for #13 on defense
Green Bay has the #29 pick; tied for #9 on offense, tied for #26 on defense
Pittsburgh has the #30 pick; tied for #7 on offense, tied for #13 on defense
Atlanta has the #31 pick; #1 on offense, tied for #19 on defense
New Orleans has the #32 pick; their second pick of the first round (#11) 

That finishes out the round. Green Bay knows they need to shore up that defense to be seriously considered as a championship threat. You might have been expecting Super Bowl champ New England to have the final first round pick. They traded those rights to New Orleans. 

No picks in the first round currently for:
New England; tied for #5 on offense, tied for #8 on defense
Minnesota; tied for #28 on offense, #5 on defense
LA Rams; #32 on offense, tied for #8 on defense

Two offenses that desperately need help don’t even have a first round pick!

Further draft prep at VSiN
Our daily broadcasts are focusing intently on draft preparation. If you missed the following interviews, time to get caught up.

*Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard launched their new “Follow the Money” weekday kickoff show with this draft discussion with Brock Huard of ESPN.

*Later Monday, Brent Musburger talked to legendary draft guru Mel Kiper on “My Guys in the Desert.” That interview started just after the quarter-hour mark of the first hour

We’re all looking forward to the four-hour extravaganza Thursday night. VSiN’s expanded 2017 NFL draft coverage is already well under way!

NBA: Raptors pounce, Hawks soar, Warriors wrap it up
Three games to review. Let’s run the numbers…

Toronto (-6) 118, Milwaukee 93

  • Two-Point Pct: Milwaukee 52%, Toronto 66%
  • Free Throws: Milwaukee 15/26, Toronto 24/26
  • Rebounds: Milwaukee 23, Toronto 40

It can be easy to over-react to a blowout. But, it’s starting to look like Toronto has figured out what they need to do to take care of business vs. the Bucks. This wasn’t a rout that was inflated by short term hot shooting from long range. Nor was it fueled by cheap points off turnovers. Toronto actually shot a worse percentage on treys and lost the turnover category 17-15 while winning by 25 points! 

This game was definitely out of sync with the prior four matchups. Both teams had struggled to reach 50% shooting on deuces to this point (happened just once between the two-teams). Yet, both topped that mark here. The Raptors had been -1 in rebounding differential for the series before owning the glass Monday. And, we had a series averaging 182.5 points per game soar to 211. 

What has been consistent?

  • Possession counts: 88-92-90-95-92 (average 91.4, median 92)

Toronto makes more free throws: 24-12, 18-17, 23-14, 16-11, 24-15

If Milwaukee is going to concede the free throw category every time out, how are they going to win the next two games to advance? Toronto just won the last two by a combined 36 points after getting humiliated in Game 3. They’ll have two chances to finish the job and advance for a potentially very exciting matchup with Eastern favorite Cleveland. 

Atlanta (-2.5) 111, Washington 101

  • Three-Pointers: Washington 11/32, Atlanta 12/31
  • Rebounds: Washington 46, Atlanta 49
  • Turnovers: Washington 14, Atlanta 12

Often in a double-digit decision, you’ll see one category that drives the victory. Here, Atlanta won several different categories by a little bit. One extra trey, one extra free throw, three extra deuces with the same two-point percentage (47%). More rebounds and fewer possessions created chances to squeeze out enough production to get the job done. 

This one is now tied at two games apiece, with both teams holding serve at home. 

Washington won 223-208 at home.
Atlanta won 227-199 at home.

Slightly better point differential for the Hawks, but that won’t matter if they can’t steal a win in the nation’s capital. 

We continue to see a lot of guard-driven pace in this matchup. Possession counts are 100-99-104-99 thus far. Scoring totals have landed on 221-210-214-212, with the last three finishing within a bucket of the market estimate. 

Golden State (-9) 128, Portland 103

  • Two-Point Pct: Golden State 51%, Portland 43%
  • Three-Pointers: Golden State 17/29, Portland 13/39
  • Rebounding: Golden State 45, Portland 39

The Warriors jumped to first-quarter leads of 14-0, 22-3, and 35-9 to make it clear that this series would be wrapped up in four straight. It’s an amazing time in the sport right now. You can watch virtual magicians across the league take your breath away on a nightly basis…while still knowing that none of that magic is likely to prevent the powerful Golden State juggernaut from lifting the trophy. Portland has a nice young team, and Golden State just beat them by a combined 72 points over four games despite missing a star and its head coach for half the series. Transcendent talents across the league (LeBron-Westbrook-Harden-Kawhi-Wall-Giannis-etc.) overshadowed by a transcendent team on a mission. 

Tuesday’s point spreads (Houston leads 3-1, the others are tied at 2-2)

  • Oklahoma City at Houston (-7.5, 223.5) at 8 p.m. ET on TNT
  • Memphis at San Antonio (-10, 186.5) at 9 p.m. ET on NBA Network
  • Utah at the LA Clippers (-3.5, 196.5) at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Note that the NHL Playoffs begin Wednesday. We’ll preview the first two Stanley Cup quarterfinals for you tomorrow, then the final two (including the much-anticipated Pittsburgh/Washington showdown) in Thursday’s newsletter. 

Stick with VSiN throughout the NFL draft countdown and all through the NBA and NHL postseasons as we continue to take sports coverage to the next level. If you have any comments or questions, please drop us an email.

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Follow us on Twitter: @VSiNLive.

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