Thursday, May 11, 2017

Starters for Every AFC Team in 2017

The AFC doesn't get much attention nowadays, but some of the league's best play in the American Football Conference. Including perhaps the greatest team the NFL has ever seen, the New England Patriots. Here's just a preview of what you can expect come late August.

New England Patriots
QB Tom Brady
RB James White
WR Julian Edelman
WR Brandin Cooks
WR Chris Hogan
TE Rob Gronkowski
LT Nate Solder
LG Joe Thuney
C David Andrews
RG Shaq Mason
RT Marcus Cannon

The greatest quarterback of all time returns once more to lead one of the most talent-heavy teams in the past 20 years to a Super Bowl crown. James White will have to fight off newcomer Mike Gillislee from Buffalo for the starting RB job if Blount does not sign his tender to return to New England. Hogan will share snaps from the slot with Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell. The offensive line remains intact after a wonderful season.

DE Trey Flowers
DT Malcolm Brown
DT Alan Branch
DE Rob Ninkovich
LB Dont'a Hightower
LB Kyle Van Noy
CB Malcolm Butler
CB Stephon Gilmore
CB Eric Rowe
S Devin McCourty
S Duron Harmon

Trey Flowers and Malcolm Brown impressed last year and dominated offensive linemen as 23 year olds. Now with more experience, the young duo will be expected to deliver in an even bigger way in 2017. Alan Branch is in my opinion the best run stuffer in the league. While he may not come down with a lot of sacks, he will dominate opposing backfields. Van Noy returns for a second season in New England as an outcast from Detroit. It took its time, but Bellichick turned him into a quality all-around linebacker. The secondary combination of Butler and Gilmore will be nearly undefeatable. Two shutdown corners in the same secondary along with an elite man-to-man corner and two ball-hawking safeties... Talk about no fly zone.

Miami Dolphins
QB Ryan Tannehill
RB Jay Ajayi
WR Jarvis Landry
WR DeVante Parker
WR Kenny Stills
TE Julius Thomas
LT Laremy Tunsil
LG Kraig Urbik
C Mike Pouncey
RG Jermon Bushrod
RT Ja'Wuan James

Jay Ajayi is Miami's best offensive player. If Miami wants to put up points, they're gonna have to give the ball to Ajayi 30+ times a game. While Jarvis Landry is a dynamic playmaker, Ryan Tannehill's incositency will make it hard for Miami to put up touchdowns in the pass game. The new addition of Julius Thomas provides the Dolphins with another receiving option, but, as mentioned earlier, Tannehill will have to improve tremendously to do any damage throwing the ball.

DE Cameron Wake
DT Ndamukong Suh
DT Jordan Phillips
DE Andre Branch
OLB Kiko Alonso
MLB Lawrence Timmons
OLB Raekwon McMillan
CB Byron Maxwell
CB Xavien Howard
S Reshad Jones
S Nate Allen

Cameron Wake returns again... Even as age slowly deters his playing abilities, he is still Miami's best pass-rushing option other than the overpaid tantrum-tosser Ndamukong Suh. Andre Branch will provide decent pressure from the outside, but age also plays a factor for him. Pushing Kiko Alonso outside, the old, coverage liability Lawrence Timmons will act as a leader for a weak Miami defense. Raekwon McMillan will have to fight veteran Koa Misi for the starting job across from Alonso. Maxwell has already proved to be an overpaid corner, and that he would be better suited as CB2, but the Dolphins don't have many options at corner. Nate Allen is another weakness the Miami front office may want to address.

Buffalo Bills
QB Tyrod Taylor
RB LeSean McCoy
WR Sammy Watkins
WR Andre Holmes
WR Zay Jones
TE Charles Clay
LT Cordy Glenn
LG Richie Incognito
C Eric Wood
RG John Miller
RT Dion Dawkins

Only time will tell if Tyrod Taylor survives in Buffalo after disloyalty and distrust from the front office. LeSean McCoy returns as a quick back along with playmaker Sammy Watkins who will be a free agent at the end of the year. Rookie Zay Jones will not give the production many Buffalo fans were hoping for in a terrible WR corps. Incognito is a staple on a rough looking offensive line.

DE Jerry Hughes
DT Marcell Dareus
DT Kyle Williams
DE Shaq Lawson
LB Lorenzo Alexander
LB Preston Brown
LB Reggie Raggland
CB Ronald Darby
CB Tre'Davious White
S Micah Hyde
S Jordan Poyer

While the dominant front seven stays together, it's a sad thing when you have a Cleveland castaway starting at safety (Jordan Poyer). Other than that, if this group of players can bond together, they could be a very strong squad in 2017.

New York Jets
QB Josh McCown
RB Matt Forte
WR Eric Decker
WR Quincy Enunwa
WR Ardarius Stewart
TE Jordan Leggett 
LT Kelvin Beachum
LG James Carpenter
C Wesley Johnson
RG Brian Winters
RT Ben Ijalana

McCown is one of the most underrated QBs in the league... That said, he's still not a great quarterback. Eric Decker and Enunwa are two big targets that don't consistently create a lot of space so McCown is going to have to be spot on especially with his WR3 being an unproven rookie. The offensive line is hurting with the loss of captain Nick Mangold. Overall, Matt Forte is the Jets' only reliable option right now.

DL Muhammed Wilkerson
DL Leonard Williams
DL Sheldon Richardson
OLB Jordan Jenkins
MLB David Harris
OLB Darron Lee
CB Morris Claiborne
CB Buster Skrine
S Jamal Adams
S Calvin Pryor
S Marcus Maye

While the Jets continue to shop Sheldon Richardson in an attempt to free up cap space, their secondary has improved dramatically from a traumatic 2016. Although not true CB1 material, Claiborne will be called upon starting day one. The additions of rookies Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye allows head coach Todd Bowles to return to his 3 safety defensive formation. If Bowles can bring in some corner and linebacker help over the next couple of years, this defense could be good... very good.


AFC South
Jacksonville Jaguars
QB Blake Bortles
RB Leonard Fournette
WR Allen Robinson
WR Allen Hurns
WR Marqise Lee
TE Marcedes Lewis
LT Branden Albert
LG Cam Robinson
C Brandon Linder
RG AJ Cann
RT Jermey Parnell

While the Jags held on to struggling QB Blake Bortles, they brought in former LSU stud Fournette to run the backfield while bringing in some protection for their new young QB-RB duo. This offense is absolutely loaded... especially if Branden Albert can return to his Kansas City form.

DE Calais Campbell
DT Malik Jackson
DT Abry Jones
DE Dante Fowler Jr
OLB Telvin Smith
MLB Myles Jack
OLB Paul Posluszny
CB AJ Buoye
CB Jalen Ramsey
S Barry Church
S Tashaun Gipson

Campbell was second only to Dont'a Hightower as the best free agent on the market this offseason. He can wreck an opposition's backfield from any spot on the defensive line. The Jags are placing a lot of faith in youngster Myles Jack in the middle linebacker spot as they move longtime star Paul Posluszny outside. The additions of Buoye and Church only bolster an already strong secondary.

Tennessee Titans
QB Marcus Mariota
RB DeMarco Murray
WR Rishard Matthews
WR Corey Davis
WR Tajae Sharpe
TE Delanie Walker
LT Taylor Lewan
LG Quinton Spain
C Ben Jones
RG Josh Kline
RT Jack Conklin

This Tennessee offense was popping last year. DeMarco Murray was back to his pro-bowl shenanigans while talented backup Derrick Henry complemented Murray perfectly. This running duo could become the next Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman backfield to lead their team to the Super Bowl.

DE Jurrell Casey
DT Sylvester Williams
DE Karl Klug
OLB Derrick Morgan
MLB Avery Williamson
MLB Wesley Woodyard
OLB Brian Orakpo
CB Logan Ryan
CB Adoree' Jackson
S Jonathan Cyprien
S Kevin Byard

The Titans shored up a terrible secondary this offseason adding ex-New England stud Logan Ryan and USC's dynamic but raw Adoree' Jackson. Cyprien was a run stuffer in Jacksonville and is one of the league's brightest young stars at the safety position.

Indianapolis Colts
QB Andrew Luck
RB Frank Gore
WR TY Hilton
WR Donte Moncrief
TE Jack Doyle
TE Erik Swoope
LT Anthony Castonzo
LG Jack Mewhort
C Ryan Kelly
RG Joe Haeg
RT Le'Raven Clark

The Colts didn't do much on offense this offseason leaving Luck to his own devices when the right side of his shaky offensive line comes crashing down on him. Other than that, Erik Swoope looks to bust in as a starter over the under-performing speedster Philip Dorsett.

DE Kendall Langford
DT Johnathan Hankins
DE Henry Anderson
OLB Jabaal Sheard
MLB Sean Spence
MLB Edwin Jackson
OLB John Simon
CB Vontae Davis
CB Darius Butler
S Malik Hooker
S Clayton Geathers

The signings of Johnathan Hankins and Jabaal Sheard were huge as they are some of the best at stopping the run. The talent at inside linebacker could use some help, but the front office has done well to improve a previously terrible, slow defense. Malik Hooker looks to become the best ball-hawk the league has seen since Ed Reed while improving his tackling ability.

Houston Texans
QB Deshaun Watson
RB Lamar Miller
WR DeAndre Hopkins
WR Will Fuller
WR Jalen Strong
TE CJ Fiedorowicz
LT Duane Brown
LG Xavier Su'a-Filo
C Nick Martin
RG Jeff Allen
RT Chris Clark

The Texans want to win now, so I have them starting rookie QB Deshaun Watson over the handpicked veteran Tom Savage. Miller has proven to be a valuable piece in Houston, but may grow unhappy with his touches in a pass-happy Bill O'Brien offense. Explosive former Ohio State quarterback looks to burst on to the NFL scene as a dynamic WR possibly in place for ASU standout Jalen Strong.

DE JJ Watt
DT DJ Reader
DE Brandon Dunn
OLB Jadeveon Clowney
MLB Bernardrick McKinney
MLB Brian Cushing
OLB Whitney Mercilus
CB Jonathan Joseph
CB Kareem Jackson
S Andre Hal
S Corey Moore

The defensive line is the weakest it has been in years. While edge rushers Watt, Clowney, and Mercilus are all dominant, the run stopping ability of Houston is questionable at best. McKinney and Cushing are going to be called upon to provide a perfect balance of run stuffing and pass coverage over the course of 2017.

AFC North
Pittsburgh Steelers
QB Ben Roethlisberger
RB Le'Veon Bell
WR Antonio Brown
WR Martavis Bryant
WR Eli Rogers
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
LT Alejandro Villanueva
LG Ramon Foster
C Maurkice Pouncey
RG David DeCastro
RT Marcus Gilbert

The Steelers just added another playmaker to an already loaded offense. This is the speediest, most explosive receiving corps that the NFL has ever seen. If all his options keep clean off the field and manage to hold on to the football, Big Ben should have a field day picking apart defenses.

DE Cameron Heyward
DT Javon Hargrave
DT Stephon Tuitt
DE James Harrison
OLB Bud Dupree
MLB Ryan Shazier
OLB TJ Watt
CB William Gay
CB Ross Cockrell
S Sean Davis
S Mike Mitchell

While the Steelers did add TJ Watt in the first round, many fans were hoping for some secondary help. Artie Burns, Ross Cockrell, and William Gay could not get the job done for the Steel City last year, and the same group heads out for a beating again in 2017. Tomlin needs defensive backs... now.

Cincinnati Bengals
QB Andy Dalton
RB Jeremy Hill
WR AJ Green
WR Brandon LaFell
WR John Ross
TE Tyler Eifert
LT Cedric Ogbuehi
LG Clint Boling
C Russell Bodine
RG Andre Smith
RT Jake Fisher

The return of Andre Smith helps Cincinnati tremendously as they lost star guard Kevin Zeitler to Cleveland in free agency. Also, the addition of 40 yard dash record holder is a good one, but a reach at number 9. Look for LaFell to outplay the Washington product even after he recovers from injury.

DE Carlos Dunlap
DT Geno Atkins
DT Andrew Billings
DE Michael Johnson
OLB Vontaze Burfict
ILB Kevin Minter
CB Dre Kirkpatrick
CB Adam Jones
CB Darqueze Dennard
S George Iloka
S Shawn Williams

The Bengals brought in Kevin Minter from Arizona and Bird Gang fans know that the Bengals will not be disappointed with their new addition. Other than that, a relatively solid (barring the secondary) Cincy defense remained intact for 2017.


Baltimore Ravens
QB Joe Flacco
RB Terrance West
WR Mike Wallace
WR Breshad Perriman
TE Dennis Pitta
TE Crockett Gilmore
LT Ronnie Stanley
LG Alex Lewis
C John Urschel
RG Marshal Yanda
RT James Hurst

The Ravens kept the offense the same in 2017 except they do welcome back two promising tight ends in the injury prone one-season wonder Dennis Pitta along with youngster Crockett Gilmore. Quarterback Joe Flacco's performance is slipping quite traumatically, and the Ravens better find their quarterback of the future quick.

DE Chris Wormley
DT Brandon Williams
DE Tim Williams
OLB Terrell Suggs
MLB CJ Mosley
OLB Tyus Bowser
CB Jimmy Smith
CB Brandon Carr
CB Marlon Humphrey
S Eric Weddle
S Tony Jefferson

The Ravens defense is one of the most improved units in the NFL this offseason. The collective potential of Chris Wormley, Tim Williams, Tyus Bowser, and Marlon Humphrey is huge for a team that has been lacking their identity on defense since the departure of Ray Lewis. Bringing in solid starters Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson gives the Ravens a particularly strong secondary. Only time will tell if the Ravens' rookies will work out as they seek to give the city its hard-nosed defensive mentality back.

Cleveland Browns
QB Cody Kessler
RB Isaiah Crowell
WR Kenny Britt
WR Corey Coleman
WR Ricardo Louis
TE David Njoku
LT Joe Thomas
LG Joel Bitonio
C JC Tretter
RG Kevin Zeitler
RT Austin Pasztor

The Browns did well to add many valuable pieces to their offense this offseason. While Deshone Kizer is a better quarterback than the underrated Cody Kessler, Sashi Brown and the Browns will take the patient approach to building a franchise powerhouse. Kizer will most likely start the second half of the season unless Kessler gets injured earlier, and I have the Browns predicted to win 6 games in 2017. This record will allow them to hit the jackpot in the draft for the second straight year and proceed with their plans for NFL domination.

DE Myles Garrett
DT Danny Shelton
DT Larry Ogunjobi
DE Emmanuel Ogbah
OLB Jamie Collins
ILB Christian Kirksey
CB Joe Haden
CB Jamar Taylor
CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun
S Jabrill Peppers
S Ibraheim Campbell

Myles Garrett brings a whole new aspect to a Browns' defense that has been lacking a superstar pass rusher for over a decade. While the young Emmanuel Ogbah has potential and could very well log double digit sacks, Garrett comes in as a rookie looking to hit 20+ in his first season. While the linebacking group could use some work, staples like Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey are already in place. Joe Haden and Jamar Taylor lead a relatively average cornerback group aided by the freakish athlete Jabrill Peppers and Cleveland veteran Ibraheim Campbell.


AFC West
Oakland Raiders
QB Derek Carr
RB Marshawn Lynch
WR Amari Cooper
WR Michael Crabtree
WR Cordarrelle Patterson
TE Jared Cook
LT Donald Penn
LG Kelechi Osemele
C Rodney Hudson
RG Gabe Jackson
RT Austin Howard

Marshawn Lynch brings a toughness that the Oakland backfield hasn't seen since Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen in the late 80s early 90s. While Lynch is nowhere near as good as these Oakland greats, if he can start where he left off in Seattle a year ago, the Raiders will possess one of the league's best offenses. Cordarelle Patterson might not get too many snaps as he fights out Seth Roberts, but he will provide Oakland with some key special teams play.

DE Khalil Mack
DT Justin Ellis
DT Jihad Ward
DE Mario Edwards Jr
OLB Aldon Smith
MLB Cory James
OLB Jelani Jenkins
CB Sean Smith
CB Gareon Conley
S Karl Joseph
S Obi Melifonwu

Credit to the Oakland Raiders who nabbed one of the best steals of the draft in safety Obi Melifonwu from UCONN, Melifonwu will develop into a Byron Jones sort of player in Oakland will complement Karl Joseph nicely. The front seven needs quite a bit of help as Aldon Smith is suspended indefinitely by the commissioner and Khalil Mack remains the only consistently productive player in that group. 


Los Angeles Chargers
QB Philip Rivers
RB Melvin Gordon III
WR Keenan Allen
WR Mike Williams
WR Tyrell Williams
TE Hunter Henry
LT Russell Okung
LG Orlando Franklin
C Matt Slauson
RG Forrest Lamp
RT Joe Barksdale

Philip Rivers will use his multitude of targets to his benefit in 2017 and lead his team to 28+ PPG in 2017. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen have the potential to be two of the league's best receivers while Melvin Gordon is one of the best pass-catching backs out there. With the Chargers searching for a new identity after their move to Los Angeles, Antonio Gates will be pushed aside by the young and exciting Hunter Henry.

DE Joey Bosa
DT Brandon Mebane
DE Corey Liuget
OLB Melvin Ingram
MLB Denzel Perryman
MLB Jatavis Brown
OLB Kyle Emanuel
CB Jason Verrett
CB Casey Hayward
S Dwight Lowery
S Jahleel Addae

Joey Bosa was the defensive rookie of the year last year, and it was well deserved. Playing across from veteran Corey Liuget, Bosa will give the Chargers one of the best pass rushing attacks they've ever seen. After losing Manti Te'o, the Chargers need to find some help at linebacker to go along with Melvin Ingram.


Denver Broncos
QB Trevor Siemian
RB CJ Anderson
WR Demaryius Thomas
WR Emmanuel Sanders
WR Cody Latimer
TE Virgil Green
LT Garett Bolles
LG Ronald Leary
C Matt Paradis
RG Max Garcia
RT Menelik Watson

Siemian will beat out first rounder Paxton Lynch for the starting job as he has proven to be the better quarterback over the course of the past year. CJ Anderson will start the year as the starter over Jamaal Charles but could easily lose that job as the season continues. Thomas and Sanders are both phenomenal receivers but will have to make up for a terrible slot receiver group lead by Cody Latimer. The offensive line has a brand new look in Mile High and could actually be a decent unit in 2017. 

DE Derek Wolfe
DT Domata Peko
DE DeMarcus Walker
OLB Von Miller
MLB Brandon Marshall
MLB Todd Davis
OLB Shane Ray
CB Chris Harris Jr
CB Aqib Talib
S TJ Ward
S Darian Stewart

Domata Peko will replace the young Sylvester Williams as a starting DT and will plug a hole left open since Malik Jackson. DeMarcus Walker will be the surprise of the year for a Denver defense and will be a solid edge lineman. Shane Ray looks to replace the legend that was DeMarcus Ware at OLB while the secondary remains intact.

Kansas City Chiefs
QB Alex Smith
RB Spencer Ware
WR Jeremy Maclin
WR Tyreek Hill
WR Chris Conley
TE Travis Kelce
LT Eric Fisher
LG Parker Ehringer
C Mitch Morse
RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
RT Mitchell Schwartz

Andy Reid and the Chiefs found their quarterback of the future in Patrick Mahomes, but Smith is the starter for the foreseeable future. Spencer Ware looks to replace Arrowhead legend Jamaal Charles, while Tyreek Hill will look to back up his unbelievable 2016 campaign. If Kelce can keep himself in check (he won't), the Chiefs could be looking at the most efficient offenses in the NFL.

DE Chris Jones
DT Bennie Logan
DE Allen Bailey
OLB Justin Houston
MLB Derrick Johnson
MLB Ramik Wilson
OLB Dee Ford
CB Marcus Peters
CB Phillip Gaines
S Eric Berry
S Ron Parker

Bennie Logan is a great, underrated player that will do a fine job replacing Dontari Poe. Tamba Hali will be one of the league's best rotational players off the edge. Justin Houston, Marcus Peters, and Eric Berry are the Chiefs' biggest names and are expected to all have major years this season.

Cardinals Offseason

The Arizona Cardinals were the biggest dissapointment of 2016. A pretty big thing to say considering both of last year's Super Bowl contenders (Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos) missed the playoffs. Denver's excuse: loss of starting quarterback Peyton Manning to retirement. Carolina's excuse: loss of star cornerbacks Josh Norman to Washington and Bene Benwikere to Miami (currently plays for the Cincinnati Bengals). The Cardinals excuse: None. Bruce Arians's squad were the favorites from the NFC to make the Super Bowl. Instead, they missed the playoffs and were good enough at being bad to secure a top 15 pick. Fortunately for Cardinals fans, superstar receiver and face of the franchise for the past 13 years Larry Fitzgerald opted to return for another year along with starting quarterback Carson Palmer. While Arians retained his top offensive duo, lots of work was needed on the defensive side of the ball.

Additions
Haason Reddick LB (Draft)
Reddick will step into a starting role in the Cardinals upgraded linebacker corps as a rookie this year. He has been called one of the best players in the draft and can use his speed to match up well in man coverage with running backs and tight ends. Reddick can also double as pass rusher, although he lacks tremendous strength. Overall, Reddick will join up with Deone Buccanon and Daryl Washington (if he gets reinstated) to roam the middle of the Cardinals defense.

Budda Baker S (Draft)
Baker was a steal in the 2nd round and will replace last year's starter Tony Jefferson who opted for Baltimore in free agency. While Baker will have to outplay Bethea for snaps, he will become one of Arizona's key starters in the next 3 years.

Chad Williams WR (Draft)
While the Cardinals went defense over offense in the first two rounds, Chad Williams is a good selection here. Williams is a dominant wide receiver that could be the next David Johnson (also a 3rd round selection) for the Cardinals if he can bring his intensity to the top level.

Dorian Johnson G (Draft)
Johnson is a great selection by Arians especially with the loss of starter Earl Watford. Johnson will fight for a starting guard spot and could become a staple on an average Cardinals O-Line.

Will Holden T/G (Draft)
Holden will have to develop before he breaks the lineup, but he has the potential to replace aging Jared Veldheer at RT some day.

TJ Logan RB (Draft)
Logan is a talented running back and was a steal in the 5th round. While he may never develop into a top tier running back, Logan will be an above-average rotational back who can give superstar David Johnson some rest.

Johnathon Ford S (Draft)
With a depleted Cardinals secondary, Ford looks to make the roster as a rookie. Most likely though, he will not see the field much as the Bird Gang will have to be patient with his growth.

Phil Dawson K (Free Agency - San Francisco 49ers)
Dawson, 37, is a very reliable kicker and an obvious upgrade from the often inaccurate Chandler Catanzaro. Though he costs more money, Dawson will make extra points a routine process in the desert opposed to a prayer.

Antoine Bethea (Free Agency - San Francisco 49ers)
Bethea has had an exceptional career in Indianapolis and San Francisco, and Cardinal fans hope to see a continuation of his skills despite his old age. Bethea will be the favorite to start at the SS position in 2017 but will have to hold out rookie Budda Baker for that job as the season progresses.

Karlos Dansby LB (Free Agency - Cleveland Browns)
Dansby is the prodigal son of the Cardinals franchise. He's there, he's gone, he's there, he's gone, and he's there again. Dansby's best years have been in Arizona with the biggest play of his career coming at home in the NFC Championship game against Green Bay where he forced an Aaron Rodgers fumble and returned it to the house for an OT win.

Jarvis Jones OLB/DE (Free Agency - Pittsburgh Steelers)
Jones was underwhelming to say the least in the Steel City, but Arians will look to fulfill his potential as he joins the Bird Gang. Jones is a boom or bust signing here as I believe he will record either 5 or less or double-digit sacks in 2017.




Losses
Calais Campbell DE/DT (Free Agency - Jacksonville Jaguars)
Campbell is the most dominant player to have ruled the defensive side of the ball for Arizona since the glory days of Darnell Dockett and Adrian Wilson. Jacksonville, with tons upon tons of cap space, was able to offer a deal Campbell couldn't refuse. With his departure, the talent on the front seven of Arizona has diminished greatly.

Kevin Minter LB (Free Agency - Cincinnati Bengals)
Minter is just one of the many recent defensive LSU successes to thrive in the NFL alongside Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Morris Claiborne, and others. Minter really progressed in 2016 and played well as an OLB on running downs. Although his pass coverage could use some help, his run-stopping ability is underrated, and he will be a major piece in the Cincy defense. Reddick and Dansby will be called upon to take over at Minter's former position.

Tony Jefferson S (Free Agency - Baltimore Ravens)
Jefferson was a top 3 strong safety last year, and he was rewarded in Baltimore. While the strong safety position has not been a key position for Arians as a coach since he had Antoine Bethea in Indianapolis a few years ago, Jefferson developed into a true superstar in a versatile Cardinals defense. Budda Baker and previously mentioned Antoine Bethea have been called on to replace the young stud.

DJ Swearinger S (Free Agency - Washington Redskins)
Swearinger, like Jefferson, had a massive year in 2016. Most teams counted Swearinger out, but Arians took the risk, and it paid off big time for a struggling Arizona squad. Only signed to a one-year deal, Swearinger walked into free agency looking for a big payday the Cardinals could not afford, especially with the FS position already locked down by Tyrann Mathieu.

Earl Watford G (Free Agency - Jacksonville Jaguars)
Watford is a decent guard who played well for Arizona in 2016. He will help Jacksonville build a new offensive line to protect rookie running back Leonard Fournette and strong-armed quarterback Blake Bortles. Rookies Dorian Johnson and Will Holden will be looked on to fill Watford's open position if they are not beat out by Kaleb Johnson or Cole Toner who are already on the Cardinals roster.

Chandler Catanzaro K (Free Agency - New York Jets)
Catanzaro is the epitome of inconsistency. While many Cardinals fans wanted to wait and see with him last year, Arians has finally sent the bust packing. In a move that might eventually kick the Bird Gang in the butt, Catanzaro will get his chance to develop on a rebuilding Jets roster that is stacking themselves with potential talent. For now, Dawson is a much appreciated upgrade in a loaded offense looking to win now.

Marcus Cooper CB (Free Agency - Chicago Bears)
Cooper excelled last year as a CB2 sharing snaps with veteran Tyvon Branch across from Patrick Peterson. While Cooper is not and never will be a shutdown corner, he can jump on passing routes and his ball skills are fantastic. The Bears will be deeply satisfied with their new ball hawking corner, but might be a little disturbed in his mediocre press coverage. Arians has let the cornerback position slide recently with his 2nd cornerback being called a "failure in progress" by the coach. Fans will look to see a huge increase in quality from the second year man Brandon Williams. Harlan Miller might also see the field some as the Cardinals defensive backs coach look desperately for someone to step in to Cooper's role.

Alex Okafor OLB (Free Agency - New Orleans Saints)
Okafor has always been a decent player in the decent, but he never got much playing time. That will not be an issue in New Orleans as he is the favorite to start at OLB under Sean Payton. While Okafor was a nice rotational pass rusher in Arizona, he was underutilized by Arians so his departure will not hurt the defense too much. Again, Karlos Dansby will be looked upon to step in as an upgrade for Okafor.

All in all, the Cardinals offense is loaded while the defense, although upgraded at linebacker, could use help on the defensive line and secondary. 2017 might be Arians last shot to deliver a ring to the most likely retiring Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cleveland Browns Rebuilding Project

The ragging on the Cleveland Browns by football analysts has dumbed down this offseason as more positive talk encompasses the Dawg Pound. This sudden appearance of the smallest inch of hope for Cleveland football is strange considering they are coming off their worst season in franchise history (0-16). Here are some of the moves that critics say will have the Dawg Pound back into contention in the next 5 years.

1) Draft Picks + Brock Osweiler
Cleveland has 2 first round draft selections in 2018 and 3 second rounders to accompany those. While trading down from pick #12 this year was a well-advised move by the Browns, acquiring Brock Osweiler (and his MASSIVE contract) and a 2nd round pick next year was deemed a brilliant move by critics. Osweiler's contract is one thing, but he is a terrible locker room leader who argues with coaches and teammates alike. Osweiler is a typical diva except without the talent. The sooner he is out of Cleveland, the better. That said, the Cleveland Browns' draft picks will pave the way for them in the future.

2) Newly Acquired Young Talent
Getting Myles Garrett, sure-fire superstar, Jabrill Peppers, versatile, freak athlete, and David Njoku, another freak athlete, Deshone Kizer, underrated quarterback, Roderick Johnson, solid right tackle, and Caleb Brantley, troubled yet dominant potential inside, in the 2017 draft pushed the Cleveland team forward. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson will lead the backfield tandem for Cleveland once again as Johnson looks to stay healthy in a season where both backs could surpass 1,000+ yards behind a much improved offensive line with the potential to be the best in football. Garrett will become Cleveland's freak defensive end following in the footsteps of JJ Watt and Von Miller. Njoku will replace the solid Gary Barnidge who has held down the tight end position for a few years now. Peppers will work at running back, wide receiver, quarterback (in wildcat formations), strong safety, and linebacker for the Browns in 2017 as he is the most gifted athlete in the NFL. The Browns could either thrust Kizer into a leadership role on day one, or they could bench him and be patient with his development for half to the entirety of the season. Personally, I feel like Kizer would be better if he is thrust into a starting position at the start of the season rather than waiting for his chance. Behind a strong O-Line, injuries to your new quarterback are not relevant at this point. With all this young potential and talent flying around the field, the Browns only need one or two more drafts to solidify themselves as a top, young powerhouse in the league.

3) Recently Acquired Young Talent
Danny Shelton DT
The Browns picked up Shelton in the first round of the 2015 draft, and while Shelton has not developed as quickly as 2014 defensive tackle draftee Aaron Donald, he has been solid at an otherwise weak point of attack in Cleveland.

Emmanuel Ogbah DE/OLB
Also drafted last year, Ogbah's rookie year was spent playing in Cleveland which let his pass rushing skills pass under the radar. He is the favorite to play across from rookie Myles Garrett in 2017 and could see his first double digit sack season in only his second year as a professional.

Cody Kessler QB
While Browns' quarterbacks have been famously ridiculed for seemingly the past 100 years, Kessler played decently in '16. If Hue Jackson looks to keep Kizer on the bench to start the year (like how Johnny Manziel's career began... or ended technically), Kessler will be the starting QB in Cleveland. And while Browns fans have the right not to be excited about their sophomore QB, Kessler will do well to gain extra experience under his belt and become one of the league's best backup quarterbacks after Kizer takes over.

Duke Johnson RB
Johnson spends most his time in the training room seeing as he is seemingly never healthy. However, Johnson still possesses the same talent the NFL world saw from him when he ran for over 1,500 yards and 10 TDs at Miami. If he can stay on the field, he will be one of Cleveland's best playmakers.

Corey Coleman WR
While Coleman may not be WR1 material, his contributions are extremely valuable to a growing offensive core. Coleman will most likely be Cleveland's top safety blanket over the next 10 years while also possessing some big play ability from time to time.

Joel Bitonio G
As offensive linemen have become more and more valuable in the NFL, Bitonio has been one of the position's best in Cleveland over the last 3 years despite only playing 5 games in 2016.

3) Acquired Veterans
Jamie Collins LB
Kevin Zeitler G
JC Tretter C
Kenny Britt WR
Jamar Taylor CB
Demario Davis LB

4) Franchise Veterans
Joe Haden CB
Joe Thomas T
Joel Bitonio G
John Greco G
Christian Kirksey LB

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Cowboys Draft Ratings

The 2017 NFL Draft ended Sunday, and the Dallas Cowboys looked to have posted their second straight phenomenal draft. Some picks are better than others, but let's break it down:

Round 1 - A-
Taco Charlton DE Michigan
Charlton will be an instant upgrade an awful front seven in Dallas. Charlton is a pure pass rusher who can get to the quarterback quickly. Charlton reminds me of former Patriots DE and now Cardinals OLB Chandler Jones and could make a position switch to an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense if needed. Overall, solid pick by Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, and Charlton has much potential, but only time will tell if the Big D lands another Randy Gregory or uncovers the next Chandler Jones.

Round 2 - A
Chidobe Awuzie CB Colorado
Awuzie was widely acknowledged as a top pick in the 2nd round if he made it out of the bottom of the 1st. The Cowboys lost two starting corners in Brandon Carr (Baltimore) and Morris Claiborne (New York Jets) this offseason and Awuzie will fill their shoes nicely. Fantastic pick by the Jones family as Awuzie will blossom into a top tier NFL cornerback.

Round 3 - C+
Jourdan Lewis CB Michigan
This would be a solid pick if Lewis would not currently stand accused of domestic violence charges. That said, Jerry Jones praised the young man's on and off-field character which could ease the anxiety of some Cowboys fans. Greg Jackson, current Cowboys safeties coach, coached at Michigan while Lewis and 1st round pick Charlton played there and probably vouched for Lewis to the Jones family. The Cowboys really addressed the secondary in this draft, and if Lewis can keep clean off the field, he could be a great fit in Dallas.

Round 4 - A-
Ryan Switzer WR North Carolina
Switzer is a Julian Edelman/Cole Beasley type. A small, quick receiver with great hands who can make plays after the catch. Switzer could develop into one of the NFL's best receivers as time goes on. The Dallas receiving corps in only getting older, and Switzer is a great start to a new generation.

Round 6 - B+
Xavier Woods S Louisiana Tech
Woods will bring more depth to the safety spot of the Dallas defense. Could battle with Jeff Heath for the starting SS job come August.

Marquez White CB Florida State
As said before, the Cowboys desperately need cornerback help after losing both Carr and Claiborne. White will be able to contribute as a role player in the secondary much like Anthony Brown did last year.

Round 7 - B
Joey Ivie DT Florida
The reason why the Cowboys 7th round grade is so high is because of the amount of picks they had. While they lost their 5th rounder, the 'Boys did well to secure more picks in the later part of the draft. With the loss of Terrell McClain, the Cowboys will be forced to send the inconsistent Cedric Thornton into battle alongside Tyrone Crawford. If Ivie develops well, he might become a good rotational player for Dallas.

Noah Brown WR Ohio State
Ezekiel Elliott was a major factor for this selection as he encouraged the front office to pursue his former teammate. Brown looks to be a very good deep threat in the NFL and is an excellent blocker. However, his open-field skills could use some work as well as his ability to contribute in short to intermediate routes. He is very inexperienced (50 collegiate targets including 49 in 2016) and will need time to grow.

Jordan Carrell DE Colorado
The Cowboys nab their second Buffalo of the draft in Carrell who joins an already overcrowded defensive line rotation. However, while the rotation may be overcrowded, there is almost no above-average talent in the group which could work in Carrell's favor as he fights for a position on the roster.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

2017 NFL Mock Draft

1) Cleveland Browns - Myles Garret DE
Garrett is the sure-fire first pick of this draft. Easily the best/most athletic player in the class.

2) San Francisco 49ers - Solomon Thomas DE
Solomon Thomas would shore up the oen position new GM John Lynch has not attacked yet, defensive line. Thomas would start across from fellow youngster DeForest Buckner and could give the Bay their best pass rush since the Jim Harbaugh days.

3) Chicago Bears - Jamal Adams S

4) Jacksonville Jaguars - Leonard Fournette RB
Fournette would give the Jags another option than Blake Bortles' inconsistent arm. Fournette could get 20-30 carries per game in an Ezekiel Elliott like effort in his rookie year.

5) Tennessee Titans - Mike Williams WR
Mike Williams, the only receiver in the class ready to dominate NFL defenses from day 1, will provide Marcus Mariota with a true WR1... something he has missed his entire career (although props to Kendall Wright for his above-average production these past couple of years).

6) New York Jets - Mitchell Trubisky QB

7) Los Angeles Chargers - Malik Hooker S
The next Ed Reed will come in for a rebuilding Chargers team that needs a lot of help on the defensive side of the ball. Hooker needs to develop into the league's best ball-hawking safety if LA wants any chance at a playoff spot.

8) Carolina Panthers - Johnathan Allen DE
After losing their young, promising defensive end Kony Ealy to the Patriots, the Panthers added Julius Peppers for what might be a 'farewell tour.' The Panthers' average age for their defensive end unit stands at 29.5 years old. Allen would be able to provide Carolina with their youngest star pass rusher since Julius Peppers did so from 2002 until 2009.

9) Cincinnati Bengals - OJ Howard TE
The Bengals will chase after the two tight end set that Bill Bellichick has made so popular over the years. Howard would team with fellow star Tyler Eifert to form a formidable receiving duo at the TE spot in Cincy. Andy Dalton would be in heaven.

10) Buffalo Bills - Marshon Lattimore CB
Bills get a top 5 talent at number 10 who can step in immediately and replace Stephon Gilmore who signed with the Patriots in free agency.

11) New Orleans Saints - Takkarist McKinnley DE
McKinnley played extremely well at UCLA and looks to bring that dominance into the NFL. Sean Payton looks to find a piece opposite of Cameron Jordan and McKinnley would fill that role perfectly in a run-stopping Saints defense.

12) Cleveland Browns - Deshaun Watson QB
The Browns pick another quarterback... This time though, Cleveland has built a tough offensive line to protect him while also securing receiving options like Kenny Britt, Corey Coleman, and Gary Barnidge. As well as a top check-down option in Duke Johnson. Watson might be able to lead the Dawg Pound to a "decent" 6-7 win season as a rookie.

13) Arizona Cardinals - Marlon Humphrey CB
Humphrey, a real first round talent, would be able to outperform last year's bust Brandon Williams for the second starting CB spot across from Patrick Peterson. Humphrey and Peterson could develop into one of the league's best cornerback duos.

14) Philadelphia Eagles - Reuben Foster LB
The Eagles get a physical, intimidating player to secure the middle of their defense.

15) Indianapolis Colts - Forrest Lamp OG/OT
Said by many to be the best offensive lineman in the draft, Lamp will be given a chance to protect one of the league's best in Andrew Luck, and if he can keep Luck safe, the Colts have a real shot at being a top team in the AFC.

16) Baltimore Ravens - John Ross WR
With the departures of Steve Smith (retirement) and Kamar Aiken (free agency), the Ravens find their next speedy star in Washington's John Ross.

17) Washington Redskins - Corey Davis WR
The departures of Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson leave the 'Skin's receiving corps a little shaky. But, Davis would be able to step in for Washington and provide a decent year making expensive newly signed Terrelle Pryor expendable next year.

18) Tennessee Titans - Gareon Conley CB
Conley could develop into a shutdown cornerback if given the tools. The Titans have improved their secondary tremdously with the additions of CB Logan Ryan and S Johnathan Cyprien. Conley would play CB3 for the Titans until he replaces the aging Jason McCourty.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Cam Robinson OT/OG
The Bucs main priority is to keep Jameis Winston on his feet. What Winston wants, Winston gets in Tampa as the Bucs front office tries their hardest to make him feel comfortable in the pocket. With Robinson, the Bucs would get a massive blocker who could have some developmental issues like another Alabama prospect Greg Robinson.

20) Denver Broncos - Ryan Ramczyk OT
It's no secret John Elway has been going after offensive line talent this offseason, and Ramczyk would provide Elway with a top-notch tackle who could keep his young quarterbacks in Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch safe.

21) Detroit Lions - David Njoku TE
Stafford has been lacking a top tier tight end since the early years of Brandon Pettigrew, and Njoku would fix that. Njoku would come in and outplay Eric Ebron to earn the starting spot. Ebron would be getting touches as a running back, wide receiver, and as a tight end in two tight end sets.

22) Miami Dolphins - Derek Barnett DE
Barnett is a very talented player, and is a favoriet to go #11 to the Saints. However, he falls all the way to 22 where the Dolphins pick him up to replace/play opposite of longtime star Cameron Wake.

23) New York Giants - Garrett Bolles OT
While the Giants did go out and sign ex-Raider Menelik Watson, they also lost tackle Marshall Newhouse. Bolles would fill a position of need for the Giants, and would look to hold pressure off of Eli Manning long enough to find the best receiving corps in football (Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepherd).

24) Oakland Raiders - Dalvin Cook RB
While the Raiders could go LB here (perhaps Zach Cunningham), Dalvin Cook would fill a need in the Oakland backfield. Cook would replace Latavius Murray who signed with Minnesota, and become the Raiders primary option at running back.

25) Houston Texans - Patrick Mahomes QB
The Texans will keep Mahomes in Texas, but will let Tom Savage start the year as Bill O'Brien attempts to develop his young quarterback.

26) Seattle Seahawks - Kevin King CB
Matches the blueprint of the best Seattle CB in the past decade: Richard Sherman. He's long, athletic and might open the door for a Sherman trade in the future.

27) Kansas City Chiefs - Christian McCaffrey RB
The Chiefs, after letting their superstar offensive weapon in Jamaal Charles walk, will look to McCaffrey as their next multi-purpose back.

28) Dallas Cowboys - Jabril Peppers S
The Cowboys will get one of the most exciting players in the draft, and the Jones family will be beloved once again (even after letting SIX defensive starters walk in free agency).

29) Green Bay Packers - TJ Watt OLB
The Pack won't be able to resist the temptations of TJ Watt. Watt is one of the safer picks in the draft which will encourage GM Ted Thomspon. Watt will step in as a starter after Green Bay let ex-starter Julius Pepper leave to join his former team in Carolina.

30) Pittsburgh Steelers - Charles Harris DE
The Steelers get a steel-tough player in Harris who fits well in Pittsburgh alongside veterans James Harrison and Cameron Heyward.

31) Atlanta Falcons - Haason Reddick OLB/DE
Reddick would improve the Falcons' pass rush while also giving depth in one of the NFL's youngest linebacking groups headlined by Vic Beasley Jr and Deion Jones.

32) New Orleans Saints - Adoree' Jackson
Sean Payton has shown he does not have too much of an issue with character concerns, and Payton has also displayed the Saints' terrific need for secondary help. In come Adoree' Jackson. Jackson has the skills to be a starting cornerback, but his character and off-field issues might drag down his performance in the NFL. Budda Baker the safety from Washington could be chosen if the Saints cannot overcome the risk in Jackson's big boom or bust profile.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

2017 NFL Draft Positional Rankings

With only 25 days remaining until the draft, I put together a ranking of the top 5 players at each position and where they may end up. Enjoy!

Quarterback
1) Deshaun Watson - Clemson
While Watson may need more time to develop than North Carolina product Mitchell Trubisky, Watson has all the tools to become the next, perhaps better, Russell Wilson.
Team Fits:
San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks
Projected Pick: #12 to the Cleveland Browns

2) Mitchell Trubisky - North Carolina
Trubisky will be able to start year 1 in the NFL. He has good poise in the pocket and can make almost any throw. However, he is a little inexperienced, but after getting a couple seasons under his belt, there is no reason why he shouldn't live up to his Aaron Rodgers comparisons.
Team Fits: San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Houston, New York (Jets)
Projected Pick: #6 to the New York Jets

3) Patrick Mahomes - Texas Tech
No player has soared higher up the draft boards in the last two months than Mahomes. Mahomes's stats are eye-popping. He logged a 50 touchdown season as a senior in high school. Then, as a true freshman, started 4 games for Texas Tech and threw for 16 touchdowns and 4 interceptions with 6 touchdowns coming against Texas rival Baylor.
Team Fits:
Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals
Projected Pick: #25 to the Houston Texans

4) Deshone Kizer - Notre Dame
While Mahomes stock has soared, Kizer's has taken a bit of a hit recently. Once projected to land in the early to mid first round, Kizer is now viewed as a 2nd or 3rd round pick. However, his ability to move in the pocket and scramble grants him a position as one of the draft's top sleepers.
Team Fits:
San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys

5) Brad Kaaya - Miami
Ole Miss's Chad Kelly is a close 6th here, but Kaaya has impressed scouts and could step in day 1 if need be to help a team. Possesses great leadership qualities as well.
Team Fits:
Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins

Honorable Mentions:
Chad Kelly - Ole Miss
Joshua Dobbs - Tennessee
Nathan Peterman - Pitt

Running Back
1) Leonard Fournette - Louisiana State
Fournette is the easy number 1 here as he is the perfect combination of power and speed... with emphasis on the power. At 240 pounds, Fournette wowed everybody with a 4.51 40 yard dash at the NFL combine. While he does not have the upside of ex-Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, he does have the ability to come in and rush for 1,700+ his rookie year.
Team Fits: Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns
Projected Pick: #4 to the Jacksonville Jaguars

2) Dalvin Cook - Florida State
Cook's production at Florida State was absolutely phenomenal, but has deep history of shoulder injuries which may cause him a slight fall in the draft. Still though, Cook has the potential to become a top 10 back in the league.
Team Fits:
Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders
Projected Pick: #29 to the Green Bay Packers

3) Christian McCaffrey - Stanford
McCaffrey is an "offensive weapon" to still the term from former Titans and now Los Angeles Chargers RB/WR Dexter McCluster. He can catch and he can run... Look for him to become the new Pierre Thomas or Darren Sproles... Both of whom played for Sean Payton in New Orleans (hint hint).
Team Fits:
New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay
Projected Pick: #27 to the Kansas City Chiefs

4) Alvin Kamara - Tennessee
While Kamara is impressive on the field, his off-field issues have teams worried (much like Oklahoma product Joe Mixon). If a team takes a chance on Kamara, they will be getting a talented runner on the field, but also a potentially harmful one off the field.
Team Fits: Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers

5) D'onta Foreman - Texas
Foreman surpasses Mixon merely because of the character concerns Mixon brings to the table. In his junior year (this past season), Foreman lead the nation with 184.4 yards per game. Foreman is one of the deepest sleepers in this running back class as he is one of the most talented runners out there. However, he also fumbled 6 times this past season which could scare scouts from taking him too early.
Team Fits:
Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers

Honorable Mentions:
Joe Mixon - Oklahoma
Kareem Hunt - Toledo
James Conner - Pitt

Wide Receivers
1) Mike Williams - Clemson
Williams is this draft's best receiver and posssesses great hands and a big frame accompanied with good bounce allowing him to beat almost any corner to a jump ball.
Team Fits: Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers
Projected Pick: #9 to the Cincinnati Bengals

2) Corey Davis - Western Michigan
Has the highest upside of any receiver in the draft, drawing comparisons to players like Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall.
Team Fits: Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers
Projected Pick: #17 to the Washington Redskins

3) John Ross - Washington
This speedster ran an NFL combine record 4.22 in the 40 yard dash. Would provide a great deep threat or route runner for a receiver needy team like the Ravens.
Team Fits: New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Seattle
Projected Pick: #16 to the Baltimore Ravens

4) JuJu Smith-Schuster - USC
Smith-Schuster is a gifted receiver and athlete, but injuries could hurt his draft stock and career.
Team Fits:
Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns

5) Zay Jones - East Carolina
The surprise of the senior bowl... Outplayed #1 receiver Mike Williams at the senior bowl and could become a key starter in the NFL within 3 years.
Team Fits:
Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers

Honorable Mentions:
Dede Westbrook - Oklahoma
ArDarius Stewart - Alabama
Cooper Kupp - Eastern Michigan
Josh Reynolds - Texas A&M
Isaiah Ford - Virginia Tech


Tight Ends
1) OJ Howard - Alabama
Howard and Myles Garrett are the two real freak athletes in this draft. Howard has great hands as well which will allow him to become the next Tony Gonzalez.
Team Fits:
New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns
Projected Pick: #10 to the Buffalo Bills

2) David Njoku - Miami
Njoku is a great tight end who could be compared to Antonio Gates or Julius Thomas.
Team Fits:
Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins
Projected Pick: #19 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3) Evan Engram - Mississippi
4) Bucky Hodges - Virginia Tech
5) Gerald Everett - South Alabama

Honorable Mention
Jake Butt - Michigan

Offensive Linemen
1) Ryan Ramczyk - Wisconsin
The best offensive tackle in the draft, Ramczyk is still seen to be picked at 15+.
Team Fits:
New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals
Projected Pick: #22 to the Miami Dolphins

2) Forrest Lamp - Western Kentucky
Lamp has drawn a lot of praise from scouts and draft analysts so far.
Team Fits:
Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans
Projected Pick: #15 to the Indianapolis Colts
3) Garrett Bolles - Utah
A solid tackle, high chance he gets picked late 1st round.
Team Fits: Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos
Projected Pick: #22 to the New York Giants

4) Cam Robinson - Alabama
An overrated blocker out of the nation's most prestigious football school, Robinson seeks to outdo former Crimson Tide star tackle Greg Robinson on the proffessional level.
Team Fits:
Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans
Projected Pick: #20 to the Denver Broncos

5) Dan Feeney - Indiana
Feeney has risen up draft boards rather smoothly and under the radar, but is one of the safest players in the draft.
Team Fits:
Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars

Honorable Mentions
Pat Elflein - Ohio State
Dion Dawkins - Temple
Dorian Johnson - Pitt

Defensive Linemen
1) Myles Garrett - Texas A&M
Freak athlete. Can't get any better of a pick than this. Combination of a JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney with Bud Dupree sort of acceleration.
Team Fits:
All
Projected Pick: #1 to the Cleveland Browns

2) Solomon Thomas - Stanford
Viewed to be the second best player in the draft, could become a pro-bowler within his next 3 years.
Team Fits:
San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets
Projected Pick: #2 to the San Francisco 49ers

3) Jonathan Allen - Alabama
Top 5 player in the draft, Allen could be a huge success or a huge failure for a franchise.
Team Fits:
Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers
Projected Pick: #5 to the Tennessee Titans

4) Takkarist McKinnley - UCLA
Good player, will only get better. Can make plays in the backfield consistently. Will drop significantly on draft day, only because of the supreme talent this draft contains.
Team Fits:
Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills
Projected Pick: #31 to the Atlanta Falcons

5) Taco Charlton - Michigan
Good prospect, could become a great player if developed correctly.
Team Fits:
Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons

Honorable Mentions:
Derek Barnett - Tennessee - Projected Pick: #11 to the New Orleans Saints
Charles Harris - Missouri
Malik McDowell - Michigan State
Caleb Brantley - Florida


Linebackers
1) Reuben Foster - Alabama
Big-time player, but has size and character concerns which could push him to the later part of the first round.
Team Fits:
Cincinatti Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals
Projected Pick: #18 to the Tennessee Titans

2) Haason Reddick - Temple
Could play defensive end but would excel as a Von Miller/Khalil Mack/Justin Houston type as an outside linebacker that occasionally lines up as a defensive end.
Team Fits:
Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders
Projected Pick: #21 to the Detroit Lions

3) TJ Watt - Wisconsin
Safest pick of the draft. Great athlete that could live up to or even outshine brother JJ's potential.
Team Fits: Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers
Projected Pick: #32 to the New Orleans Saints

4) Tim Williams - Alabama
Doubles as a defensive end
Team Fits: Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans

5) Alex Anzalone - Florida
One of the biggest sleepers in the draft.
Team Fits:
Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings

Honorable Mentions:
Zach Cunningham - Vanderbilt- Projected Pick: #24 to the Oakland Raiders
Jarrad Davis - Florida
Ben Boulware - Clemson
Sleeper alert

Cornerbacks
1) Marshon Lattimore - Ohio State
Top corner in the draft. Good to great cover skills that will only get better with time. Would be a nice fit in Todd Bowles' defense in New York if they don't reach for North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Tribusky.
Team Fits: New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears
Projected Pick: #8 to the Carolina Panthers

2) Marlon Humphrey - Alabama
Played well under extremely successful coach Nick Saban at Alabama and drew high praise from his former coach. Would do well as a late 1st or early 2nd rounder.
Team Fits:
New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projected Pick: #13 to the Arizona Cardinals

3) Gareon Conley - Ohio State
Underrated prospect, but could blossom into a true lockdown corner. Potential to dominate from year one.
Team Fits:
New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projected Pick: #14 to the Philadelphia Eagles

4) Tre'Davious White - Louisiana State
Very underrated corner, but could have some baggage coming into the NFL. Will go late in the 1st or early in the second.
Team Fits:
Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinatti Bengals

5) Chidobe Awuzie - Colorado
Lightning fast corner out of Colorado that gets little to no credit for his solid contributions on the field.
Team Fits:
Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets

Honorable Mentions:
Teez Tabor - Florida
Adoree Jackson - USC
Rasul Douglas -West Virginia
Kevin King - Washington
Quincy Wilson - Florida

Safety
1) Jamal Adams - Louisiana State
Exciting prospect could become a stud in a top-tier defense. Comes from the same line as Eric Berry and could be an even better playmaker than the Chiefs star.
Team Fits:
Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears
Projected Pick: #3 to the Chicago Bears

2) Malik Hooker - Ohio State
Hooker is the best coverage safety in the draft and draws comparisons to superstar Ed Reed who dominated for the Baltimore Ravens in the early 2000s. Could become one of the NFL's best ball-hawking safeties in the next few years.
Team Fits:
San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals
Projected Pick: #7 to the San Diego Chargers

3) Budda Baker - Washington
Baker is a great talent, but with two top-10 talents ahead of him at his position, he will have to wait his turn on draft day.
Team Fits:
Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals

4) Marcus Williams - Utah
Williams has flown up draft boards and is seen as someone who could take over the reins at safety in the next couple of years. Flashes HUGE potential.
Team Fits:
Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans

5) Josh Jones - NC State
Athletic freak, reminds of Cowboys' free safety Byron Jones who holds the record at the NFL Combine for the broad jump.
Team Fits:
Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints

Honorable Mentions:
Desmond King - Iowa
Marcus Maye - Florida
Obi Melifonwu - UCONN
Eddie Jackson - Alabama
Deep sleeper alert... Dealing with major leg injury, but once fully healed could become star safety in the NFL

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Quarterback Controversy in Washington

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden stated that the jury is still out on who will be the long-term starter for his squad. Former Redskins first-round pick responded to that by saying the Redskins are his team and that he will lead them. Gruden has been unsure about his quarterbacks ever since RGIII dislocated his ankle earlier this year. Gruden put in then back up Kirk Cousins who played inconsistent to say the least. He threw far too many interceptions to not be producing at least 4 TDs a game. Cousins couldn't get the job done, as was shown when the 'Skins got blown out by a weak Giants squad. In stepped third stringer Colt McCoy who played exceptionally well in his two games under center. However, after McCoy's two games RGIII was fully recovered. Robert Griffin III was officially back in week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings where he played very average. The young QB is ready to fight his way for the starting position, but could his injuries prove just too much for him to handle against an experienced QB like McCoy. As for now, Gruden's words may have sparked something in Griffin III, but his words still ring true. The jury is out on who will be the Washington Redskins' starting quarterback of the future.