3footballdudes

Just another WordPress.com site

New Coaches – Let’s Rate Them

While this is a little late to the game, we’re going to examine the new NFL coaches and the affect they will have on their teams next season and beyond. These teams are the Cleveland Browns – Pat Shurmur; Tennessee Titans – Mike Munchak; Denver Broncos; John Fox; Dallas Cowboys – Jason Garrett; Minnesota Vikings – Leslie Frazier; Carolina Panthers – Ron Riviera; San Francisco 49ers – Jim Harbaugh.

Based off of the current teams as they are’s states, we’ll examine what to expect next season and then their overall impact on their teams. We’ll try to be as empirical as possible. However, this is going to be largely guessing and opinions because 1) we’re not experts (yet) and 2) this site is based off of opinions. Let’s be real.

Cleveland Browns: Pat Shurmur
Shurmur became a hot prospect this off season after seeing the Rams offense turn itself around. Sam Bradford turned into a budding star without having a #1 or even a #2 receiver. That was his first year with the Rams and he even was able to turn around Stephen Jackson and bring him back into the top running backs of the NFL question. Before that, he had spent time with the Eagles helping to shape a team that would make the NFC Championship game more than any other team during the 2000′s.

Next season he’ll be tasked with turning Colt McCoy onto the path of the elite quarterback and somehow find a receiving threat from the no-names they currently have. He inherits Peyton Hillis, the surprise and steal of 2010. He spent his first few picks working on upgrading the defensive line as they switch to a traditional 4-3 defense and adding a hopeful big name receiver. However, it remains to be seen if it will work in their favor.

Shurmur is make or break for Mike Holmgren. I think that Shurmur won’t be a bad coach, but I don’t think he’ll be the coach that finally turns Cleveland into a true playoff contender. The Browns will surge next season pulling out a 9-7 record and high hopes in a tough division. But the next season, they’ll fail to improve on that. Shurmur will get 5 total years and will mass no more than 10 wins and 1 playoff victory before getting replaced.

Tennessee Titans: Mike Munchak
Munchak has forever and always been a coach for the Titans, even when they were the Houston Oilers. He’s been their offensive line for the past 14 seasons. He’s a little under the radar mainly because O-line coaches don’t get much attention, so it will be interesting to see how he handles things. The good news: he’s been with the team for 14 years so he knows the current personnel and their tendencies.

He inherits a team that might be in the most shambles out of all of them currently listed. He has a running back who is spectacular but might spend a good amount of time holding out and who likes to talk. His best receiver spends more time in the court room than judges or lawyers (and also in the training room). They have huge question marks as to who will be under center. And his top defenders have image problems or are about ready to bolt to another team.

But this team is only 2 years removed from a 14-2. Hopes are high now that they’ve moved on from the Vince Young era. They’re looking to get back to the days when Steve McNair was under center and they were playing for the Super Bowl. But the team has been mired in mediocrity for too long, even with that 14-2 record. I don’t foresee Munchak being able to fully change the culture there. Next season they will be contending for the #1 pick in the draft. The seasons after, they will still be contending for the #1 pick in the draft. The Titans needed a full shock change, and Munchak won’t be able to do that. He’ll last 3 season.

Denver Broncos: John Fox
Fox made his name taking the Carolina Panthers and putting them on the map with stout defenses and off the back of a quarterback most wouldn’t consider better than middle of the road. A bit of a pitfall: he oversaw a 2-14 team last year as the head coach. He loves the fundamentals of football: defense, defense, defense and ground and pound. He’s old school. But he’s been successful.

He joins a team that has had so much trouble on defense they could have signed people off the street and performed better. They had a huge identity crisis as for the first time in forever the Broncos couldn’t figure out how to run the ball. Kyle Orton put up massive QB numbers and from 8 years of mediocrity to terrible-ness, Brandon Lloyd emerged. They are a team with only three assured positions, LT (Ryan Clady), RG (Chris Kuper) and LCB (Champ Bailey). The rest of the team will be up for evaluation. Oh yeah, they also have Tim Tebow, who played well at the end of the season.

John Fox may be too conservative. He will be tasked with molding a non-traditional QB into an NFL ready QB. He’ll have to change the mindset on defense (easy comings for Fox). But Denver is fickle. They don’t deal with failure for too long. And Fox isn’t a coach who can take a team to a Super Bowl. He’ll be gone after 3 seasons, even though in one of those seasons, the Broncos will make the playoffs.

Dallas Cowboys: Jason Garrett
Technically, he was the head coach for part of last year on an interim level. But now he has the full title. He’s a rook at the head coaching role, but he was long rumored to replace Wade Phillips even before Phillips got too far onto the hot seat. He’s an offensive genius and helped a team with a bad offensive line and an injured star QB make a little bit of an end-of-season surge. He specializes in QB’s and is one of the main reasons why Tony Romo went from prized developmental no-name prospect to a household name. Seriously, other than people in Illinois, who’s heard of the Eastern Illinois Panthers?

He inherits a team with a lot of talent and probably the most star power. However, they have holes at very important spots. But the silver-lining is that while there are holes, there are prospects who could be ready to help out and a nicer free agent pool as well in case they want to play it safe. Oh, don’t forget, they have Jerry Jones, an owner/GM who refuses to see his team flounder (even though he should pass the GM duties onto someone with more football knowledge). He’ll have to ensure that Romo is the QB that can take them deep into the playoffs and figure out what is wrong with star, young wideout Dez Bryant.

Garrett is a players’ coach. And he also knows how to talk to Jerruh. He’s going to have a fairly long tenure (minimum 10 years from my point of view). The only thing that might halt his stay is if the NFC (B)EAST continues their arms race and they can’t keep up with the Giants and Eagles.

Minnesota Vikings: Leslie Frazier
Frazier is in my opinion the best coach to get a head coaching gig this year. He’s defensively focused and comes from a great lineage of mentors. He’s another HC rookie, but he received tutelage from Super Bowl winning coach Mike Tomlin and has been with winning programs his entire life. He did excellent work with the Eagles and helped make Bob Sanders into a household name when he was with the Colts.

The Vikings though are in a bit of trouble. They have a hole at a huge area in the QB department. But the good news is that they have a relatively stout offensive line and the best RB in the game in Adrian Peterson. Their defense is still stellar, but they’re aged or glassjawed at the defensive back side. He has his work cut out for him. But he has the capabilities to figure it out. He’ll have to convince Sidney Rice to stay or he’ll have to be a large part of bringing in another big, talented wide receiver to help out his rookie QB.

His fate might be tied to the success of Christian Ponder though. Ponder was considered one of the largest reaches of the draft. That with the fact that the Bears are surging and that the Packers are SB champions will make this task very difficult. However, Frazier is a bright mind and understands the intricacies. I suspect he’ll have a very long tenure in Minnesota.

Carolina Panthers: Ron Riviera
Some would say about Ron Riviera getting a head coaching job that it’s about time and well deserved. Others may not. He was instrumental in putting together the defense of the Chicago Bears when they made their Super Bowl run. And he has taken the Chargers’ defense of who-is-thats and good, but not great players into stellar defenses. He runs good schemes and knows how to bring out the best in his players.

He inherits the team with the worst record last year. And they are the team in the absolute worst shape. Their team is very young and inexperienced. They have a few bright spots and a few underrated players but not enough for a team playing on the professional level. They drafted Cam Newton to bring a different form of athleticism to the team. And let’s not make it a secret that I have large reservations about Cam Newton being able to play professionally. The order is tall, but Riviera could be the man who finds a diamond in the rough.

If Newton develops, Riviera’s job will be secure. However, if they have to spend a lot on another QB either through free agency or through the draft, Riviera will be gone quick. The Panthers’ ownership is also known for being penny pinchers. That can really mire a team too. If the Panthers fail, I don’t think it will be Riviera’s fault, but I don’t see them turning it around. And they’ll have a new coach in 5 years.

San Francisco 49ers: Jim Harbaugh
Jim Harbaugh has taken the Stanford and put them back on the football map. He developed Heisman runner-up Toby Gehrhardt and the most talked about QB prospect since Peyton Manning in Andrew Luck. He’s a QB coach and considered a rather bright mind. He has coaching in his blood as his brother Jon has turned the Raven franchise around and his dad was a coach for years.

His new team, the 49ers, haven’t been relevant since Jeff Garcia (really?) and Terrell Owens were on the squad. They are a team that has lost their identity. However, they are a team with a lot of nice pieces on both sides of the ball and they just seem to be a QB away from being a contender. That last part is the most telling. Frank Gore is a powerhouse, their offensive line is top notch and young, and they have the best linebacker in the game right now in Patrick Willis. There is no wonder why people believe this could have been a playoff team. However, they can’t seem to put that last piece in there to move them back into contendorship.

There’s something worth noting: college coaches aren’t normally successful on the NFL level. And that is what Jim has done his entire life. He’s going to have to find a QB to take this team higher. If he doesn’t do that, he’ll be out before very long. But with all of those points, Harbaugh looks like a coach, smells like a coach, sounds like a coach, he must be a coach. I think he’ll bring about the glory days of the 49ers again. Minimum 10 years with the program. Minimum.

Let’s keep in mind that these are just my personal observations. I could be very wrong about every single coach on here. Or I could be right. At least the teams that I rated their coaches rather low will hope that.

______________
Written by Isaac Rickert, NFL Fan

Mock Draft 3.0 – The Draft is Here!!!

Mock Draft 3.0, the final one before the draft

This one is Isaac and Isaac only. I’m going to do this exactly how I believe this will play out. This includes trades. Let’s get to it:

1. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton, quarterback – After hearing Cam’s interview/session with Jon Gruden, I am in firm belief that nobody should take Cam unless they have an ability to groom him as a true project quarterback. However, all signs point to Newton at #1 and I’m going for full accuracy here, not for what I think is right.

2. Denver Broncos – Marcel Dareus, defensive tackle – The Broncos will thank the Panthers for choosing Newton as they’ll be able to get their run stopper at #2. Dareus is talented and disruptive, and that’s what John Elway is looking for.

3. Buffalo Bills – Patrick Peterson, cornerback – Chan Gailey and the Bills front office have no real plan for this team. And while Peterson will be an excellent pick, they have more pressing needs. But until all of those people who have desks are gone, they will do questionable picks like this. But Peterson will give them an awesome secondary once paired with Leodis McKelvin.

4. Cincinnati Bengals – A.J. Green, wide receiver – A lot of people have the Bengals taking a quarterback here, and I do think the Bengals will take a QB in this draft, but A.J. Green solves another issue: getting a wide out. Green is a playmaker in the true sense of the word and he’ll be a new rookie QB’s best friend right off the bat.

5. Arizona Cardinals – Von Miller, outside linebacker – The Cardinals will be doing everything possible to make Larry Fitzgerald happy, and Fitz said don’t draft a QB. While I think the Cards will take one later in the draft, they do have a glaring hole at OLB. Joey Porter is crazy and old and Clark Haggans is old. Von Miller dropping this far would be a dream and they’ll probably take 0 seconds to make this decision.

6. Cleveland Browns – Julio Jones, wide receiver – Anyway you look at it, the Browns receivers are pretty poor. Robiskie and Massaquoi are not very good and unreliable. Julio Jones is a serious talent and this is something Pat Shurmur will love.

7. San Francisco – Blaine Gabbert, quarterback – San Fran has a pretty big issue right now: if they bring back Alex Smith, how much quicker will they lose the fan base? Troy Smith isn’t the answer either. The real question at this point is do they draft a QB this year or do they wait until next year and make a huge play for Andrew Luck.

8. Tennessee Titans – Nick Fairley, defensive tackle – Fairley’s coach from Auburn Tracy Rocker is now with the Titans. The Titans need a spark on the D. Fairley’s motor’s been questioned (which is weird because everyone said soon after the National Championship game that he had the best motor of of the defensive players), but I don’t think that the Titans pass this up.

9. TRADE – Detroit Lions – Robert Quinn, defensive end – The trade happens because I think the Lions will smell the Vikings or Houston looking to take Quinn. And the Lions are looking to do some more overhauling of their defensive line and Quinn will provide a solid anchor. Suh and Quinn will be scary.

10. TRADE – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Prince Amukamara, cornerback – The Bucs have an issue right now with Aqib Talib looking to get an orange jumpsuit here soon and the Redskins will be looking desperately for a trade partner to accumulate more picks and to more safely draft a certain QB prospect. If Prince goes to #10, and it’s possible he might, the Bucs may trade up to get this.

11. Houston Texans – J.J. Watt, defensive end – With Robert Quinn gone and with the Bucs trading up to get Prince Amukamara, the Texans will go with the absolute best available player for the 3-4. Watt will fit in ideally with Wade Phillips 3-4 design and be a cornerstone as they work towards getting a respectable defense.

12. Minnesota Vikings – Tyron Smith, offensive tackle – This will be a dream come true for the Vikings. Their offensive line is a group of older dudes and Phil Loadholt who was bad last season. Since they’ll be doing a lot of running next season because they have a giant hole at the QB position, shoring up the line to allow AP to do his thing will be a priority.

13. TRADE – Dallas Cowboys – Anthony Costanzo, offensive tackle – The Cowboys are rumored to want to move back in the draft, which is what we have them doing here so they could take Costanzo over Tyron Smith. Jerry finally quits ignoring his most glaring need and gets Romo some protection here with Costanzo.

14. St. Louis Rams – Aldon Smith, defensive end – The Rams will be looking to pair someone with Chris Long and Aldon Smith played at Missouri, giving him an already familiar fan base. Two pass rushers will make this team scary.

15. Miami Dolphins – Mike Pouncey, offensive guard – The Dolphins will be looking for a running back and may end up taking Mark Ingram here, but they also need to find some interior beef to go with their bookend tackles in Jake Long and Vernon Carey. Perhaps getting some additional blocking will ensure that Ronnie Brown won’t go down to injury so often.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ryan Kerrigan, defensive end – The Jags need someone to compliment/replace Aaron Kampman who has had two ACL injuries in two years. Kerrigan has good speed and strength and is one thing that Jack Del Rio loves to draft other than terrible wide receivers: a defensive lineman.

17. New England Patriots – Cameron Heyward, defensive end – The Patriots will get their replacement for Richard Seymour here at the #17 spot. This will begin allowing Ty Warren to return to form and help with their mediocre run defense.

18. San Diego Chargers – Cameron Jordan, defensive end – Jacques Cesaire is a rotational player only and the Chargers need to find a way to make it so Shaun Phillips can do more damage. Jordan will be efficient at the end spot, further improving on their run defense.

19. New York Giants – Gabe Carimi, offensive tackle – The Giants are set at receiver and quarterback. All they need is a line that is a little bit younger and Eli will be able to efficiently get the ball to his talented group. Enter Carimi who is a true right tackle, and their second biggest need behind center. Eli will do less Eli face with Carimi on this team.

20. TRADE – Washington Redskins – Jake Locker, quarterback – Shanahan loves himself some athletic quarterbacks. Look at the success he had even with a little-confidence, weak armed Jake Plummer. With McNabb heading out the door and with Rex Grossman being a horrible option, Locker is a good fit for the Skins. They have more pressing needs, namely at everything other than tight end, left tackle, and safety, but Shanny needs to get his man early.

21. TRADE – Baltimore Ravens – Jimmy Smith, cornerback – The Ravens will trade a couple spots ahead of the Eagles to take Smith. They have two corners on the open market where there are several corner-needy teams out there. Unless Smith joins up with the Barksdales (The Wire reference), Smith should be fine in Maryland. Plus he’ll have Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs looking after him.

22. Indianapolis Colts – Nate Solder, offensive tackle – Peyton Manning looked ordinary when his line could barely block for him. The Colts already hate themselves for passing on budding star Roger Saffold who went to the Rams, so if any other position is selected here other than an offensive line man, the Colts aren’t as smart as they let everyone believe they are. And Manning may not sign that contract.

23. TRADE – Cincinnati Bengals – Christian Ponder, quarterback – They got AJ Green with their first pick, so they’ll trade back into the first to get their quarterback. Ponder is an intriguing prospect and the Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is really high on him. With Jimmy Smith gone and not that many intriguing offensive linemen here, the Eagles will look to accumulate value picks and hit up the second round. That is Andy Reid’s style.

24. New Orleans Saints – Da’Quan Bowers, defensive end – The Saints need some power added to their pass rush. With Will Smith getting all of the attention and no true blitzing OLB, they’ll be looking at anything/everything to upgrade their QB attack. Bowers at one point was the top rated prospect and he might even still turn into a great pro. But if he’s available at #24, the Saints will take him.

25. Seattle Seahawks – Corey Liuget, defensive tackle – With Brian Mebane looking like less of a priority, the Seahawks may look to fill that void with Liuget out of Illinois. A quarterback could be taken here as well, but I think the Seahawks will bide their time and hope Dalton or Mallett fall to them in the second round. However, I would be more proactive in finding their Hasslebeck replacement.

26. TRADE – Kansas City Chiefs – Derrick Sharrod, offensive tackle – The Chiefs need to find a compliment to Brandon Albert and also find a way to make their line younger. Brian Waters and Casey Wiegman are old. Their right tackle is horrible. Sharrod is the best available, ergo, he will be selected.

27. Atlanta Falcons – Adrian Clayborn, defensive end – John Abraham is getting aged. And football players aren’t like fine wines. Jamal Anderson is a failed project and is a free agent and they’ll need someone who can get to Drew Brees and Josh Freeman if they want to win the NFC South again. Clayborn is the best available at this point, and he can get to the QB. Motor is good too.

28. New England Patriots – Mark Ingram, running back – The former Heisman winner will be the first back off the board this late. And the Pats could use an actual big name player at the RB position, allowing Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis to go to more complimentary roles. Plus, having a true running threat will open up the passing game for Brady and the Pats.

29. Chicago Bears – Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive tackle – Tommy Harris is gone, and while the Bears need to improve their offensive line, they need beef at the DT spot. This is still a good move overall, but unless the Bears trade up, they will miss out on any of the ideal offensive line talent, but still win with this pick. And Jay Cutler really, really needs offensive line help.

30. TRADE – Arizona Cardinals – Andy Dalton, quarterback – The Cardinals do need an upgrade at quarterback. And while Fitzgerald, as stated earlier, told them not to draft a QB, they can’t wait around for Andrew Luck next season. Once they get on the field together, Fitz will really like this kid. Perhaps the first red headed quarterback superstar is Andy Dalton.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Aaron Williams, defensive back – The Steelers look ordinary when Polamalu isn’t playing. This is mainly because Ryan Clark is ordinary and Polamalu is amazing. While Polamalu throws himself around with reckless disregard, they will eventually need to replace him and Williams will at the very least be able to provide his cover skills.

32. Green Bay Packers – Mikel Leshoure, running back – Ryan Grant is not a guarantee to return to form next season. And while John Kuhn (a true fullback) and James Starks showed some life during the post season, they could use a true feature back. Leshoure doesn’t have the greatest experience in the world, but he does have skills. And if you pair a good running game with Aaron Rodgers pass attack, you have another reason to be very scared of this Packers team.

We’ll see what happens tonight.
__
Isaac Rickert, NFL Enthusiast.

Mock Draft 2.0 – Everyone’s Involved

Our first mock draft was just done by Isaac. Now all three of us have completed one. Worth noting, Jamie’s now involved so 3 Football Dudes is now officially 3 football dudes. Picks done by all 3 of us, writing done by Isaac.

1. Carolina Panthers – AJ Green, wide receiver. While Jimmy Clausen was beyond turrible last year, part of it has to do with the fact that the Panthers receiver corps (sans Steve Smith) is nothing better than slot receivers and drafting a QB won’t solve this issue. And if the Clausen experiment doesn’t work, you have a #1 receiver ready to replace Smith and help grow with the next QB. While they could draft just about anybody at this position and instantly get better, you need to one of the true play makers in the draft.

2. Denver Broncos – Marcel Dareus, defensive tackle. The Broncos are like the Panthers and have plenty of needs everywhere. The Broncos were absolutely horrendous against the run and finding some form of anchor is a must. They could go just about anywhere with this pick including trading down, but Dareus is one of the safest picks. Isaac called him the potential bust of the draft but has since changed his stance.

3. Buffalo Bills – Cam Newton, quarterback. None of us are sold on Newton. However, Newton’s ability to transition between teams (he played on 3 different teams in 5 years) has to be noted. But the Bills have a good transitional player in place with Ryan Fitzpatrick. But the Bills will be expecting Newton to start soon.

4. Cincinnati Bengals – Blaine Gabbert, quarterback. Gabbert is widely viewed as the best QB in this draft just off of pure readiness. And Carson Palmer believes he’s done with Cincy. So they should just go ahead and start the new era. If they nab themselves a wide out in the 2nd or 3rd, they could potentially put together another playoff run like 2009.

5. Arizona Cardinals – Von Miller, OLB. Fitz has said he doesn’t want a QB drafted here. And Von Miller catches their second biggest need in an edge rusher as Porter and Haggans are both nearly 90 years old a piece. Miller will be an impact player in the same mold of Brian Orakpo especially in a 3-4 situation.

6. Cleveland Browns – Julio Jones, wide receiver. Cleveland lacks a playmaker on offense. They have their feature back in Hillis. They have an excellent offensive line. They have a QB (or at least a solid prospect) and now they just need a player who can stretch the field. The dog pound will love this sure handed, field stretching receiver.

7. San Francisco 49ers – Patrick Peterson, cornerback. It’s likely that the 49ers will jettison current #1 corner Nate Clements as he’s due a lot of money next season and he isn’t as shut down as he used to be. And Patrick Peterson is widely considered the best player in this draft. It is a shame he’d drop this far, but at the same time, corners aren’t normally taken even this high.

8. Tennessee Titans – Nick Fairley, defensive tackle. Everyone had Fairley going #1. Now everyone has him dropping this far. There’s questions of character and drive. We have him here because his coach from Auburn is the new defensive coordinator for the Titans. But the Titans already saw what happened with another SEC highly touted DT named Albert Haynesworth. But a playmaking DT is a need and as far as draft boards go, Fairley is the best available.

9. Dallas Cowboys – Tyron Smith, offensive tackle. While we’re not 100% completely convinced that Jerr-uh won’t go for the more flashy pick of Prince Amukamara, Tyron Smith would fit their #1 need. The Cowboy’s offensive line is in shambles due to age and lack of skill. They need something new to anchor the line. And Tyron Smith is the best offensive lineman in this draft.

10. Washington Redskins – Prince Amukamara, cornerback. There are two reasons for this: 1) Prince is the best available player and 2) DeAngelo Hall is good, but they don’t really have anything else. The Redskins are a team in shambles and pretty much anything will improve this team.

11. Houston Texans – JJ Watt, defensive end. The Texans are a team that could use any number of services on defense and Watt is the best 5 technique defensive end in the draft. What will make this selection happen is that the Texans are switching to a 3-4 making any sort of player that fits that mold a prerogative.

12. Minnesota Vikings – Da’Quan Bowers, defensive end. The Vikings may not bring back Ray Edwards either because they don’t believe in him or because Edwards will get that big contract elsewhere and the Vikings have enjoyed the benefits of having nothing but awesome players on their defensive line. Bowers has fallen from grace recently, but the general belief is that he’ll be a playmaker.

13. Detroit Lions – Nate Solder, offensive tackle. While the Lions have some promising young talents on their team, they still have needs all over the place, none more evident than their offensive line. Matthew Stafford keeps on getting injured and it doesn’t help that his protection barely understands what pass blocking is and what it does to team success. Solder is the second best left tackle in the draft. He will be good at protecting Stafford’s backside.

14. St. Louis Rams – Aldon Smith, defensive end. The Rams will be looking for a player to grow with budding star/franchise quarterback Sam Bradford, but getting Aldon Smith will be a nice alternative since the top two are gone at this point. He went to Mizzou so the fanbase is already familiar with him. And getting some additional pass rush will help this needy team.

15. Miami Dolphins – Mike Pouncey, offensive guard. The Dolphins could use some additional beef on the offensive line. Pouncey is the absolute best guard in the draft. With the Dolphins ground and pound, this will do nothing but make them more formidable.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ryan Kerrigan, defensive end. Aaron Kampman has been both a great signing and a terrible signing at the same time. If he could manage to not tear his ACL, pairing Ryan Kerrigan with him will give them a pass rush. Also the fact that Jack Del Rio loves drafting defensive linemen early makes this more than likely.

17. New England Patriots – Cameron Jordan, defensive end. Their defense hasn’t been the same since they traded Richard Seymour. Ty Warren has fallen off now that he’s receiving most of the attention from the offensive line. How fitting that Richard Seymour would be traded for his replacement.

18. San Diego Chargers – Cameron Heyward, defensive end. Like the Patriots, they need a DE that can help out in a 3-4 scheme. Heyward will allow for Luis Castillo to do what he does best, take up blockers and blow up the run. And Heyward will do so as well.

19. New York Giants – Anthony Costanzo, offensive tackle. The Giants don’t have as many issues as other teams. But the offensive line is definitely a concern. Their line is aging slowly and getting Costanzo will help ease this issue and allow for Eli to get some time to throw up miracle throws to David Tyree.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Justin Houston, outside linebacker/defensive end. This a younger team with a lot of upside. Getting a good pass rusher will help them move farther towards competing with Atlanta and New Orleans. However, with Aqib Talib’s status in question, a corner may be taken here.

21. Kansas City Chiefs – Gabe Carimi, offensive tackle. Gabe is viewed by some as the best tackle in the draft. And the Chiefs have nothing but old people and Brandon Albert on their line. Carimi will ensure that there are two bookend tackles for Jamal Charles to continue to put up ridiculous numbers running the ball.

22. Indianapolis Colts – Derreck Sherrod, offensive tackle. Even Peyton Manning looks ordinary when he doesn’t get any form of protection. Sherrod, while not the best tackle in the draft, will at least be an upgrade over Ryan Diem and Charlie Johnson.

23. Philadelphia Eagles – Jimmy Smith, cornerback. While pairing Jimmy Smith with DeSean Jackson has the possibility of making an epic reality show of them getting into trouble, the Eagles need someone opposite of Asante Samuel. And since the Patriots are not trading away any more corners, Smith will be selected with a prayer that he’ll behave.

24. New Orleans Saints – Adrian Clayborn, defensive end. Will Smith has lost a step and Charles Grant is gone. Getting some more pass rush will help bring New Orleans back to the big game. And with quarterbacks like Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman in your division, you will need a decent pass rush.

25. Seattle Seahawks – Jake Locker, quarterback. He played in Washington, Seattle needs a quarterback after Hasselbeck retires. And having Locker play a season or two under the uber accurate Matt Hasselbeck could do him wonders.

26. Baltimore Ravens – Brandon Harris, cornerback. Since most of their corners are on the open market, they’ll be looking for a way ensure their pass defense doesn’t suffer. Harris has gotten rave reviews from Deion sanders, so the Ravens will gladly gobble him up at the #26 spot.

27. Atlanta Falcons – Torrey Smith, wide receiver. Roddy White is an awesome receiver. Michael Jenkins is not. Getting a receiver who can stretch the defense while letting Roddy do his thing is necessary. Especially since White isn’t as young as he used to be.

28. New England Patriots – Mark Ingram, running back. The Patriots could use some more offensive play makers. Getting a receiving running back will help out with this. While the Patriots will also look for a edge rusher, Ingram is too good to pass up here.

29. Chicago Bears – Matt Reynolds, offensive tackle. The Bears need new offensive linemen like nobody’s business. They will take whatever is available at this position. Reynolds happens to be here and the Bears need hasn’t changed.

30. New York Jets – Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive end. The New York Jets have nothing but old people on their defensive line. It is almost a complete retirement home there. Wilkerson has the potential to be the steal of the draft. And Rex Ryan is able to do wonders with big boys from the draft.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Aaron Williams, defensive back. Aaron Williams played corner in college, but will be moved to safety in the NFL. Polamalu isn’t getting younger and is getting more scraped up each and every year. Ryan Clark is only good when Polamalu is playing. Aaron Williams will serve as an immediate upgrade to Clark or create a solid rotation at the position.

32. Green Bay Packers – Leonard Hankerson, wide receiver. Donald Driver is getting up there in age and James Jones is a slot receiver. Aaron Rodgers is going to be doing beautiful things down the road and getting a good receiver to help him out would be nothing but awesome. The Packers don’t have a lot of needs, but getting an extra luxury will be nice.

That’s our 2.0. We’ll probably get another one out just before the draft.

-
Jamie, Josh and Isaac
3 Football Dudes

What the Unsigned CBA Means for this Off-Season

Labor talks have resumed today between the NFL and the NFL Players Association. While both sides have said that progress has been made, with a few more days until the collective bargaining agreement ends, it’s looking more and more likely that we’ll hit a lockout for a period of time in the NFL. Whether or not it reaches the NFL season will remain to be seen.

We’re not going to explore the intricacies of the differences between the NFL and the NFLPA, what we are going to do is give you what you can expect during the next couple days and what will happen during the lockout.

First and foremost, expect more franchise tag and restricted free agent tenders to be issued to players. While the players don’t like the franchise tag designation, under the current CBA, it’s allowed, so in hopes of keeping their stars, teams will do do more tagging.

Also, with players such as LaMar Woodley signing their tenders, it looks to be a component of the CBA that will be around for years to come.

With the CBA ending, free agency won’t begin until it’s signed into effect. However, the free agents that do happen to exist right now will be able to negotiate with teams until the brand new extension expires. There won’t be too many signings, but it will still be more significant than in previous years.

Also, with free agency in flux and with teams unable to trade for players, the draft will become instantly more important to teams. I would expect more teams going for roster voids as opposed to the best player available.

This will become even more interesting with a draft class that is very top heavy with quarterbacks. Like every year, there are lots of quarterback needy teams. And while there are several players currently within contracts that could make interesting additions to teams, without a CBA, these players could end up not being traded as the teams in need may try to kick the wheels of rookies.

However, this draft isn’t exceptionally deep overall. While heavy in the QB and defensive linemen areas, it’s lacking in offensive line men talent, secondary talent, and a lot of the offensive skill positions.

Overall, it’s going to be pretty interesting. This article of course becomes moot if a new CBA is signed and a work stoppage is no longer needed. But for now, this is what our off season holds over us.

-
Written by Isaac Rickert, NFL Enthusiast

Mock Draft: January 27, 2010

Welcome to our inaugural Mock Draft. And by we, I mean Isaac as I’m doing this first. We’ll have a combined version for later, however, I figured I’d give it a first go, then listen to these other chuckleheads mock my mock draft. Let’s begin: 

1. Carolina Panthers: Da’Quan Bowers, DE – They already see what they lost in Julius Peppers, so I feel like they will be looking for his immediate replacement. Having a pincher attack of Charles Johnson and Bowers would be dangerous.
2. Denver Broncos: Nick Fairley, DT – Rumors are that the Broncos are switching back to a 4-3 defense. Since most of their D-line is more suited for 3-4, they’ll be looking for an immediate impact player to take at this spot.
3. Buffalo Bills – Trade to Tennessee Titans: Blaine Gabbert, QB - Gabbert’s been moving up the the draft boards and there will be several teams vying for him. The reason why I have Tennessee trading up is because they will believe that the Cardinals will draft him if available. And because Buffalo has a bunch of needs, they’ll stock up on picks.
4. Cincinnati Bengals: AJ Green, WR – The Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens show is over. They’ll be looking for someone else here who can make big time plays. And he may be the one thing that keeps Carson Palmer in football.
5. Arizona Cardinals – Trade to Washington Redskins: Cam Newton QB – Mike Shanahan loves himself some mobile QBs with good arms. He also has a penchant of trading up when players could still fall to him. And Arizona will be trading down to catch value as no QB is worth the pick at this point in the draft.
6. Cleveland Browns: Marcell Dareus DT - With rumors of Shaun Rogers being on the outs, they’ll be looking for a big body. However, look for Dareus to be the bust of the top 10. He has some attitude and work ethic issues.
7. San Francisco 49ers:  Patrick Peterson CB – They need some corner help and Peterson will be the best available at this point. They will consider Locker or Mallet, but if Peterson is here, they’ll take him.
8. Buffalo Bills: Stephen Paea DT – Paea is the best player available to better equip the Bills for their 3-4 move. There are some interesting players to take such as Von Miller, but I think they’ll go with bulk as there is slim pickins for 3-4 D-linemen.
9. Dallas Cowboys: Prince Amukamara CB – Instead of going with an offensive lineman (a larger need in my opinion), Jerr-ah will go with the sexy Prince pick here. While CB is a need, if they played the 2nd round right, they could get a decent CB and have Nate Solder on their team.
10. Arizona Cardinals: Robert Quinn DE/OLB – The best available and also a player who can step in for aging Clark Haggans and Joey Porter. They would love to get a QB here, but they may also be throwing their hat into the ring for Andrew Luck next season.
11. Houston Texans: Von Miller OLB – They’re switching to a 3-4, so getting a pass rusher who is a bit more of an OLB mold will be a necessity. And with Mario Williams and Von Miller, their secondary will improve a bit.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Ryan Mallet QB - Ryan Mallet has some personal issues that make him drop some places. However, he had a good season at Arkansas and Leslie Frazier and his staff will be able to whip him into shape.
13. Detroi Lions: Nate Solder OT – They get their heir to Jeff Backus. A huge need for a team that has a young QB who hasn’t been healthy his 2 years in the league. And the fact that Jerry Jones will pass on him will make the Lions salivate with anticipation.
14. St. Louis Rams: Julio Jones WR – While Donnie Avery and Laurent Robinson have shown promise, they both got injured early last season and the rest of the WR department is a bunch of who-is-that-guy’s. So Julio will be drafted to make a potent offense with Stephen Jackson, a stable O-line and Sam Bradford.
15. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Kerrigan DE – While they could look to blow up the wild-cat offense, I think they will look to improve their defensive line. And Kerrigan would give Cameron Wake more freedom to destroy QBs as he’ll command serious offensive line consideration.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Adrian Clayborn DE – They have Aaron Kampman, but I think they’ll be looking for another DE just because Kampman went down with an injury. And if there are two things that the Jags like to draft in the first round, it’s defensive linemen and terrible wide receivers. Don’t look for Jack Del Rio to all of a sudden change.
17. New England Patriots: J.J. Watt DE – They’re still looking for a replacement for Richard Seymour and Ty Warren hasn’t been as effective since Seymour’s departure. So look for the pick they used to trade away Seymour to pick up his replacement in Watt.
18. San Diego Chargers: Cameron Jordan DE – They need some big bodies to help stop the run. However, they may consider a long snapper here just because last year was so horrendous.
19. New York Giants: Mike Pouncey C – Shaun O’Hare is an older player and Eli needs a good snapper to prevent Eli Manning Face from happening. They may consider Mark Ingram though as he is still there and both Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs could be departing.
20. Tamp Bay Buccaneers: Akeem Ayers OLB – They will be looking to improve their pass rush as they currently have no one of value to get to the QB. Ayers is good at that and is best available.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: Tyron Smith OT - The Chiefs’ offensive line has been serviceable. However, a ground and pound attack that averaged 4.7 yards per carry. This will also allow Brandon Albert to consider moving to a position he’s more suited for, such as right tackle or offensive guard.
22. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Castonzo OT - The second OT taken in a run of three. The Colts had one problem, protecting Peyton Manning. And because they couldn’t do it, they had an early exit from the playoffs and almost didn’t make the playoffs. Offensive line will be the #1 thing they focus their attention on.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: Gabe Carimi OT – The Eagles had the same problem as the Colts and it took its affects as the season wound down. If Michael Vick is given some time, he may break some records next season in passing yardage and DeSean Jackson will break some receiving yard records. By a lot. Enter Carimi, John Runyan-over 2.0.
24. New Orleans Saints: Corey Liuget DT – The Saints will be looking for run support, and pairing Sedrick Ellis with Liuget will give them a Williams Wall-esque defensive front.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Jake Locker QB - The Hawks need to find someone to replace Matt Hasselbeck. While Hassellbeck can still play, Locker is from Washington and wouldn’t mind some time on the bench learning.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Harris CB – The only weakness they have on the D is the cornerback spot. If they aren’t able to get a huge name like Champ Bailey (or if the CBA isn’t signed) at CB, they’ll take Harris and sit on their laurels.
27. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Rudolph TE - Matt Ryan has gotten used to a good tight end receiving threat in Tony Gonzalez. However, Tony’s getting up there in age and finding a replacement should be a top priority. Rudolph is the best TE option out there, so don’t be surprised if he’s chosen here over a WR.
28. New England Patriots: Justin Houston OLB – Their current OLBs are a bunch of no-names, so getting a better pass rush will be The Mastermind’s second point of business. Defense wins championships, after all.
29. New York Jets: Cameron Heyward DE – He can play 3-4, which is something that Rex Ryan may fall in love with. Also, their d-line is ancient. Getting some youth there is a must. Unless Darrelle Revis can play DE and put on 100 pounds.
30. Chicago Bears: Derek Sherrod OT – Someone needs to protect Jay Cutler. He got sacked more than any other QB this year. Sherrod is an immediate improvement to what is currently there. And Jay may finally look happy knowing someone has his back.
31.* Green Bay Packers: Mark Ingram – The former Heisman winner has fallen to the best possible opportunity for him. It’s unclear if Ryan Grant will be able to perform like he did before his injury and Brandon Jackson and James Starks as a combo isn’t that appealing. Ingram will provide an immediate spark for Aaron Rodgers and perhaps turn this team into a super team.
32.* Pittsburgh Steelers: Joseph Barksdale OT – With both Max Starks and Willie Colon coming off season ending knee injuries, the Steelers will be looking for a solid, young player to either replace one or be solid rotation for them. This may be the steal of the draft behind Ingram

Alright, let’s see what you guys have to say.

* Since the Super Bowl hasn’t been played yet, these 2 picks haven’t been decided yet.

-
Written by:
Isaac Rickert, NFL Enthusiast

Barry Sanders vs Emmitt Smith

I’ll bet geography makes a big difference in your opinion here, and I’m from Michigan (though a lot of people in Texas saw Barry at Oklahoma State). That being said, Barry Sanders is the superior pure talent for many reasons. His only downfall was that he lacked the social or bonding skills that made Emmitt the better teammate. This could be due to playing for the Detroit organization, which doesn’t seem to value winning like the Cowboys or just a character flaw.

Stats to back me up:

Barry Sanders 10 seasons, 15,269 yards – 1,527 yds/season
Emmitt Smith 15 seasons, 18,335 yards – 1,222 yds/season

Plays of 20+ yds:
Barry Sanders 113 - Emmitt Smith 94

Plays of 40+ yds:
Barry Sanders 42 - Emmitt Smith 17

Fumbles
Barry Sanders 19 - Emmitt Smith 38

Emmitt had 5 more seasons to accumulate the big plays, but just lacked the explosiveness of Barry. Most people know, that if Barry didn’t suddenly retire he could have easily amassed 20,000 rushing yards.

Also, I think everyone would agree that the offensive line of the Cowboys was superior to that of the Lions. If Barry had that line, he would have rushed for a few hundred more yards each season, getting his average near 2,000 yds/season. Sterling Sharpe once said this on ESPN.

Overall, I think Barry is a top 3 running back of all time along with Walter Payton and Jim Brown. Emmitt would be top 6 or so in my opinion. If I went back in time to start a franchise in 1990, Barry Sanders would be my running back.

——

Josh Sherwood, Sports Fan

The Case for Trading DeAngelo Williams & Steve Smith

The Carolina Panthers are just terrible this year. And with a terrible team, you have to start making moves so that you can rebuild. And the start of that for the Panthers should be trading DeAngelo Williams and Steve Smith to any willing team.

Let’s start with DeAngelo Williams. When Williams is healthy, he’s the starting running back. However, he splits carries fairly regularly with his backup, Johnathan Stewart, a former first round pick. Since Williams has gone on injured reserve this year, Stewart has gotten the majority of the carries and their third stringer Mike Goodsen, who hasn’t performed terribly.

With Stewart taking the majority of the carries, they’ve won yet another game and have looked less than dismal. So trading Williams won’t kill the team completely. And since Williams, while injured, still has trade value due to his younger age (27) and his Pro Bowl appearances, they should be able to get a second rounder at worst.

Steve Smith is only slightly different. He has had a terrible year. He wasn’t able to develop much chemistry with Matt Moore before he went to the IR and then hasn’t been able to establish anything with rookie and former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.

Smith is on pace for his worst season since he got injured in the first game of the season in 2004. This is more than likely a fluke. However, he has also voiced his displeasure of Clausen. Smith has even yelled at Clausen during a poor performance.

Both of these players are still young and, from what we can still assume, talented. But their window is closing. With a team that has a lot of needs, it may be better to try to get some value from players who are starting to see the signs.

There are plenty of teams who will be willing to pay the price for either of these former Pro Bowlers. And with the needs the Panthers have, they should take the chance.

Written by:
Isaac Rickert, NFL Enthusiast

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.