IAFA Schedule 18th of May 2014

Shamrock Bowl Conference

Dublin Rebels @ Criagavon Cowboys

2pm, Chambers Park, Portadown, Co. Armagh, NI

North Kildare Reapers @ Waterford Wolves

2pm, Waterford RSC, Waterford, Co. Waterford 


Cork Admirals @ Drogheda Lightning

St. Olivers Community School, Drogheda, Co. Louth


South Kildare Soldiers @ Galway Warriors

2pm, GMIT, Galway


NFL Draft Round Up Part 4

Number 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney ready to unleash himself on the NFL

See Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Houston Texans

It would be hard to say you did anything wrong after you draft Jadeveon Clowney with the first over all pick. The Texans ran the clock all the way down on Clowney on draft night, a suggestion that they were listening to offers, perhaps trying to illicit an RG3 sized trade for the Carolina standout. Clowney is such an impressive physical specimen he was the clear No.1 pick but then again the Texans didn’t NEED him. Now they have him and after you pair him with JJ Watt, you can guarantee that Andrew Luck, Jake Locker and Blake Bortles will be suffering some sleepless nights this year. Rick Smith had an exceptional draft beyond the Clowney pick, improving the line with UCLA Guard Xavier Su’a-Filo, but perhaps Smiths best move of the day was Trading back into the 3rd round to pick up the sliding Louis Nix III. The Notre Dame Tackle was sliding down the draft but was unlikely to drop much further. The Houston Texans now possess the scariest front 7 in the NFL.


Indianapolis Colts

Ryan Grigson had already made one of the poorer moves of the 2014 Draft when he traded away the Colts first round pick for former Alabama running back Trent Richardson. The Browns ultimately parlayed that pick into the 22nd spot of the first round and they used it on some little known QB out of Texas A&M. The apparent hole in the middle of the Colts line was ignored by Grigson when he took Ohio State Tackle Jack Mewhort; although the questions as to weather Mewhort can play tackle at the professional level might see him move inside. It’s not all bad news, as the Colts did address the need at Wide Receiver, selecting Donte Moncrief of Mississippi in the 3rd round. Moncrief is a big bodied receiver who can add some size to slight receiver corps in the Hosier State.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Some found this draft a bit dull as there were no major moves (outside of Buffalo) or glaringly bad decisions or over reaches in the early going. The only potential candidate for high pick disappointment is, as ever, the Jaguars. Blake Bortles at #3 isn’t a terrible decision but when you consider all the talent on the board when the Jaguars went on the clock, this has all the hall marks of being a disastrous pick. The depth at quarterback in this draft was unlike any other. Granted, no Andrew Lucks, but is Blake Bortles significantly better than Teddy Bridewater (#32) or Derek Carr (#36). There were teams looking to move up for Sammy Watkins and Khalil Mack, turn your 3rd pick into a late 1st round and maybe a 3rd round, get your QB and maybe a few linemen to help him out. Bortles went to UCF, and this smells a bit like the Jaguars are trying to persuade a few fans to take the trip up I-95 and improve their horrible attendances. With Justin Blackmon likely to never been seen in Northern Florida again the Jags used their round 2 and 3 picks on wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson of USC and Penn St. respectively. If Bortles fails it won’t be for lack of targets.


Kansas City Chiefs

Andy Reid and John Dorsey were after the best players they could lay their hands on. The Chiefs in need of offensive Linemen, drafted Dee Ford the defensive end out of Auburn in the 1st Round, Corner Back  Philip Gains out of Rice in the 3rd Round and only went after linemen in Round 6. Ford is a scary pass rusher, of which the Chiefs have a few, and Gains is a raw but physically impressive specimen who could start week one. Alex Smith is being sticky in contract negotiations if reports are to be believed so as insurance Georgia Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray was selected in the 5th round. Andy Reid loves to develop a Quarterback and Murray has all the essentials to develop and will most likely run the scout team for the year. Don’t be surprised to see Murray under centre in the coming years.

Part 5 including Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints

NFL Looking to relax Punishments for Marijuana

Goodell has always been a Commissioner unafraid to move with the times

With the legalisation of marijuana in some states in the US, the ban and severe punishment on athletes for use of a perfectly legal substance has been called into question. With this in mind the NFL will seek to renegotiate the current drug policy. Dan Graziano of ESPN.com broke the news today saying the new policy will

significantly increase the threshold for a positive marijuana test and reduce the punishments for violations involving that drug.

The news was also reported by Kevin Seifert of ESPN via twitter

The news will come too late for players currently serving or about to be faced with bans related to the use of the drug, Josh Gordon being the most recent.  Josh, probably wishes he new about the tricks on https://syntheticurinereview.com/how-to-keep-pee-warm/ now that the rules are going to be different yet his punishment will remain the same. This move is in line with the NCAA approach to the drug which was changed earlier this year.

Joe Haden signs new deal with Browns

Joe Haden’s deal eclipse that of Seattle’s Richard Sherman

Browns Corner Back Joe Haden today put pen to paper on a 5 year extension to his contract worth $68 million with $45 million guaranteed. Although few would place Haden ahead of Sherman, the Browns felt this was a fair price to avoid losing the talented corner. The rookie pay deal helps Cleveland here with first round pick Justin Gilbert tied to the restrictive deal for the next 4 to 5 years, at which point Haden will be at the back end of his deal.



NFL Draft Round Up Part 3

Lions GM Martin Mayhew talks to ex Head Coach Jim Schwarz

Catch up on PART 1 and PART 2 here.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas had 4 picks int he first 5 rounds and had 5 in round 7. For those not familiar with the draft rules. If you lose a player that runs down his contract and heads off to play for some one else, if that player was of any reasonable value the league may award you with a ‘compensatory’ pick in the Draft, provided you didn’t pick up a better free agent yourself. Three of the Cowboys round 7 picks were compensatory. This year Jerry Jones turned over much of the draft responsibility to his player personnel people and it showed. No huge trade, no Manziel pick, no theatrics and clearly no Jerry making decisions. Instead Dallas selected Offensive Tackle Zack Martin, out of Notre Dame, to help Tony Romo stay upright for the duration of his $100 million contract. Dallas traded up in the second round with the Redskins to take Defensive End Demarcus Lawrence from Boise State. The Boys have a lot of needs and these went someway to filling those holes. Unfortunately for Dallas there are still many more to fill.

Denver Broncos

John Elway in his time as the vice president of something or other at the Broncos has played a masterful PR game. Big Name free agent signings have masked some serious talent going the other way. Gone is Rodgers-Cromarti and Wesley Woodyard on defence, offensive guard Zane Beadles and Eric Deker joined their defensive colleges as they went through the exit door. Elway did his best to fill those gaps directly by drafting Corner Back Bradley Roby to play the nickel, Wide Receiver Cody Latimer and Offensive Tackle Michael Schofield in the first 3 rounds. Like for like replacements all round. There is some question as to wether Schofield will have the strength to move inside but Denver are strong on the O-Line so he will have time to adapt. Denver did nothing else spectacular over the weekend and Cody Latimer might not have his best day while Peyton is still running the Denver offence but this is already a fantastic team, it would be hard to get much better through the draft.

Detroit Lions

Lions GM Martin Mayhew made some excellent acquisitions for his new Head Coach Jim Caldwell this weekend. Picking up Tight End Eric Ebron out of UNC in the first round. Seeing Ebron lining up along side Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate is a scary proposition for Defences in the NFC North as now the Lions have genuine threat across the middle of the field. Mayhew didn’t sit idle and congratulate himself too much on his first round pick, he moved up in the second to acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from BYU. Van Noy should plug in straight away and improve the Lions run defence. Three more defensive picks in the remaining round ensured that the Lions have the depth now on their line and in the secondary to cope with injuries and set backs.

Green Bay Packers

Ted Thompson doesn’t look like man who jumps and clicks his heels too often but after the Saints moved up to the 20th pick and didn’t take the player Thompson had coveted most of all we’d imagine Ted at least gave it a fist pump. Ha’sean ‘Ha Ha’ Clinton-Dix is going to immediately add physicality and a turn over threat to the Packers secondary that has been missing in recent years. Year after year Alabama players fly off the board because GM’s and scouts know products of Nick Saben’s system can play ball and Clinton-Dix is no exception. He has had his share of detractors in the run up to the draft, some suggesting Louisville Safety Calvin Pryor was the better choice, but his experience in winning championships and delivering at the highest level of college football was attractive to the Pack. 2nd round was profitable for the Packers also, drafting James Jones’ replacement in physical Wide Receiver Davante Adams out of Fresno St. Adams won’t be called on to do the bulk of the work like he was at Fresno but will keep this group at a high level. The Packers also picked up a new centre Corey Linsley from Ohio St.

See PART 4 The Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs

NFL Draft Round Up Part 2

Cincinnati QB AJ McCarron probably won’t see much camera time in 2014, but we have a feeling his Fiancée, Katherine Webb, might. 

See Part 1 here

We continue to assess the  good and bad of the NFL Draft

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers have lost a little something in the off-season. Steve Smith has departed, due to salary cap constraints and a series of holes have formed on the offensive line. Carolina picked up WR Kelvin Benjamin out of Florida State in the first round. Benjamin was unimpressive at the combine but boasts a 6’5 240pound frame (thats 108kg or 17st to us) and did enough for Panthers GM David Gettleman to draft him in the first round. They were most defiantly drafting for need at the 28th pick and the premier wide receivers in this draft were already off the board at that stage. The Panthers more or less ignored their other problems on offence, especially at tackle, but did draft LSU Guard Trai Turner in the 3rd round.


Chicago Bears

After a unusually shaky year on the defensive side of the ball Phil Emery placed most of his attention there over the weekend. Drafting a Corner Back, two defensive tackles and a Safety. Emery made an immediate improvement to his defence. Corner Back Kyle Fuller was taken in the first round and Fuller will be a Week 1 starter in the Nickel spot. When you’ve to play the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions twice a year, you better be solid at Nickel and the Bears are now. Investing two picks on the D-Line and adding Jared Allen in the off season is evidence Emery has recognised the problems on the defensive side of the ball and taken decisive action. Marc Trestman got another QB to develop, picking up San Jose State’s David Fales in the 6th round. Finally any team that picks a punter in the draft has got to earn some respect and the Bears picked up Pat O’Donnell in the 6th Round. O’Donnell, as noted on our twitter @NFLIreland over the weekend, benched more that Number 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney at the combine. Why that matters to a punter we don’t know but fair play to the kid!

Cincinnati Bengals

Mike Brown & Marvin Lewis are in possession of a very fine football team. After yet another playoff failure in 2013 there have been rumblings about the play of Quarterback Andy Dalton. Lewis & Brown were lockstep in their support of the young QB right up to the 164th pick where they took Crimson Tide QB AJ McCarron. McCarron had rubbed some NFL teams up the wrong way during the combine interviews and had plummeted down draft boards. We here at NFL-Ireland were shocked he fell so far. McCarron possess average arm strength and questionable leadership skills, but what he has done consistently and repeatedly is win. McCarron lead the Tide to 3 BCS National Championship in College. He won’t challenge Andy Dalton in camp and won’t be the starter in 2014 but if Dalton continues to struggle on the big stage, there will be calls for McCarron to see some action. Oh and they made an already mean defence even meaner in selecting Darqueze Dennard in the first round, adding some much needed youth to the secondary!


Cleveland ‘Johnny Footballs’

Because Browns is such a silly name for a team! All eyes will be on the lesser Ohio team this year as the greatest circus in College Football makes his pro debut. Manziel has drawn comparisons with Tim Tebow for the attention he draws, except you know Manziel can play quarterback! Manziel Mania has even managed to drown out the other positives Cleveland achieved in the draft. Trading back with the Bills for the Sammy Watkins pick has given Cleveland a solid base to build around Johnny Football and build they must, with Josh Gordon looking to miss the entire 2014 season and Nate Burleson having fractured his arm, who Manziel (or even Brian Hoyer in the early part of 2014) will throw too remains a mystery. The Browns didn’t select a wide receiver in the draft instead electing to shore up their already impressive defence selecting the top Corner Back in the Draft Justin Gilbert from Oklahoma State to pair up with Joe Haden in the Browns Secondary. The Browns improved as a football team in the draft. Thats all you can look to do!


Coming Up

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers.

NFL Draft Round Up Part 1

Linebacker CJ Mosley out of Alabama, a steal for the Ravens at #17

We’re going to look at each team and see what they did well in the draft and what they didn’t do so well…

Arizona Cardinals

Cards GM Steve Keim recently said they were operating on a “best player available” basis. The Cards took Safety Deone Bucannon out of Washington State in the first round. Arizona were originally on the board at 20 and could have taken arguably the drafts best safety in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix but chose to trade down so the Saints could move up. As part of that trade they picked up a 3rd round pick and used it on John Brown, a 5’10 speedster out of Pittsburg State. Brown is good, as is Bucannon but personally we’d have stayed put and taken the man with the best name in the draft Ha’sean ‘Ha Ha’ Clinton Dix. They did pick up tight end Troy Niklas in the 2nd round and he’s the size of a bus so it’s not all bad. Good but not enough to turn the tide in the tough NFC West.

Atlanta Falcons

After a poor 2013 the Atlanta Falcons found themselves with the number 6 pick. GM Thomas Dimitroff is known for making a splash come draft time. Dimitroff held off on the splash and made the right pick in Aggies Tackle Jake Matthews. After spending his college career protecting Johnny Manziel, the statue like Matt Ryan should be easy. Dimitroff made excellent use of their early second round pick too drafting Ra’Shede Hageman, a promising Defensive tackle who shows signs of developing a into a inside pass rusher in the NFC South. The Falcons aren’t that far away and they would contend 2013 was an anomaly and have improved where needed, even picking up running back Devonta Freeman in the late rounds.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens picked up C.J. Mosley who was inexplicably still on the board at number 17. Had they gone on to draft Tim Tebow, Ja’Marcus Russell and Ryan Leaf, they would still be getting a positive mark. C.J. Mosely, along with Michael Sam, was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Jadeevon Clowney, Jarvis Jones, Maurice Claibourne, Nick Fairly, Eric Berry & Patrick Willis are all former recipients of this award, they don’t give it out for just showing up. Picking up Defensive Lineman Timmy Jernigan in the second round made this a solid draft for the ever impressive Ozzie Newsome, who continues to get it right year after year.


With the 4th Pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Buffalo Bills…..mortgage their future

Buffalo Bills

Doug Whaley traded down in 2013 and snagged EJ Manuel. In 2014 he traded up and took Sammy Watkins and so the story of Doug Whaley will be written, on the success or failure of these two. In moving up acquire Watkins, Whaley traded away the 2015 1st and 4th round draft picks, handing away any chance to draft a top ranked QB in 2015 should Manuel turn out not to be THE guy or his dodgy knees continue on being dodgy. This means the Bills could go 3 drafts and picked 1 QB in the first round who didn’t work out. This generally doesn’t bode well for the longevity of GM’s. So lets hope it works out for Doug Whaley because it’s not like he has to dethrone the Patriots, stop the surging Dolphins or contend with a strengthened Jets team.


See Part 2 Here where we look at the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals & Cleveland Browns