View Full Version : 2011 DC FM - News & Rumors Thread

10-18-2010, 01:33 PM
Post news related to your team... Whether rumor, official team news or commentary.

10-19-2010, 11:47 AM
Bears Name New Team President/General Manager

Chicago shot to an unexpected 3-0 start in 2010, but struggled down the stretch. And though they won their underachieving division, a one-and-done performance in the playoffs netting Chicago the #23 overall pick in the upcoming draft was enough for the team to say "sianara" to their former GM and coaching staff.

And today, they've named BeerBaron the new team president and general manager.

"I've been a lifelong Bears fan, and now I have the opportunity to help lead this team to new heights. It's a dream come true" said Baron.

BeerBaron also announced the hiring of his hand-picked replacement for Lovie Smith at head coach: Former Superbowl winning coach and Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden.

"Gruden brings the winning experience we want the position. He's excited to work with a talented QB in Jay Cutler as well" stated Baron.

Baron did not state who the team was targeting for the team's coordinator roles, though it is reported that they are heavily pursuing Tennessee Titan's defensive line coach Jim Washburn as defensive coordinator. Baron did indicate that the team plans to stick with the 4-3 defense, regardless of their choice in coordinator.

Whoever Baron hires to fill in the coaching positions around Gruden, there is reason to be excited in Chicago. This is a team coming off of a playoff run that has talent at several key positions. If they manage to keep Jay Cutler upright, this is a team that could do some damage in future seasons to come.

A Perfect Score
10-19-2010, 12:34 PM
General Manager's A Perfect Score & TACKLE have shown a knack for manipulating the mock draft process; now they are back and looking for another spectacular draft

"Well for us, really, its all about the talent." This simple mantra resonates through the entire draft process for Ravens GM's A Perfect Score (APS) and TACKLE.

"We come in here and expect to do everything we can to increase the number of people on our squad who we believe can play at the NFL level. There are a number of teams out there who will use smokescreens or target specific people because of specific things but for us, it all comes down to whether we feel a guy can play in the pros and whether we feel like he's a good fit here in Baltimore" said APS when asked for a quote.

"Here in Baltimore we have a distinct style of play and we look for players who have proven thats how they are every time they step onto the gridiron."

TACKLE could not be reached for comment at this time.

The Ravens have the 26th overall pick in the upcoming draft, and you can be sure to expect some kind of movement from the perpetually active duo. They have already placed former Pro Bowl RB Willis McGahee and LB Tavares Gooden on the trade block, along with OL Chris Chester. McGahee lost his job to the explosive Ray Rice but has proven to be a capable #1 back when asked. Gooden was recently replaced by UDFA gem Dannell Ellerbe, but has shown excellent coverage abilities when healthy. Chester could start for many of the teams in the league, particularly those focused on a zone blocking format.

10-19-2010, 03:01 PM

'Lord of No Rings' Fired

The San Diego Chargers have announced that they have fired General Manager A.J. Smith, who has been dubbed around the league with the nickname 'Lord of No Rings'. The team has also announced the hiring of new GM marshallb to take over for Smith. Marshallb had this to say when asked about Smith's tenure in San Diego, "A.J. did plenty of good things in his time here, he brought in plenty of talented players through the draft, and was able to find some real gems. He also rubbed people the wrong way, and may have allowed his ego to get in the way of some business decisions."

Marshallb said that he'd like to see if he can repair some of the tension between star receiver Vincent Jackson and the team, most of which was caused by A.J. Smith. If Jackson is willing, the new GM said he'd like to extend the franchise tag to Jackson to buy the team some time to work out a long term extension, but as marshallb put it, "we'll see if anything can be done."

When asked about his plans for the upcoming draft, marshallb was quoted as saying, "Depending on the VJ situation, we may be interested in adding another big time weapon for Phillip [Rivers], and we've got some needs to be addressed in the secondary, as well as adding some depth along the D line. Hopefully through these moves we can help out the special teams problems that plagued this team throughout last year. We're picking rather high (# eight overall), and we've got three picks in the third round, so we've got plenty of options." Marshallb did announce that special teams coach Steve Crosby and the rest of the coaching staff from last year will return. He did say that some changes will be made from the "powderpuff training camp that Coach [Norv] Turner has run the past couple years."

10-19-2010, 03:21 PM


Wade Phillips Demoted! Jason Garrett Out!

Early this morning, Dallas officials announced that Wade Phillips would no longer be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. A move that was inevitable after the season let down they had. Jerry Jones declined to comment at this time, but earlier mentioned that the lack of discipline, the high amount of penalties and decisions on player usage were some of the main disappointments he felt about the team. Phillips has not been fired from the team, so there is some speculation that he could stay with the team in some other capacity. Perhaps as Defensive Coordinator.

However, Jason Garrett has been fired and that has been confirmed. The inability of the offense to avoid costly penalties, generate turnovers and make adjustments has been a constant theme for the offense since Garrett arrived. Additionally, it seems that Jerry wants a new head coach who is offensive minded and would give him the freedom to select his own OC. A wise move after the self selected Garrett debacle failed.

10-19-2010, 03:29 PM
Tommie Harris on the Move?


DT Tommie Harris is a former pro-bowler who was once hailed as the next coming of Warren Sapp. Harris was a monster on the interior of the defensive line, collapsing the pocket and making many great plays in the backfield.

However, injuries and a falling out with the team's previous coaching staff have seen Harris' productivity and playing time diminish, and he was even benched for a game early in 2010.

But many believe that Harris can still be an immensely productive player when healthy and in the right situation. Harris is only 27 and could be a real asset to a competing team who needs help along the defensive line, and trade rumors are running rampant.

The Bears are said to be in talks with at least three teams, and may already have an offer on the table that would include Harris, a draft pick and some other players. General Manager BeerBaron was not available for comment at the time, but he is apparently active in working the phones looking for a potential trade partner. Stay tuned.

10-19-2010, 04:06 PM
Patriots sniffing around pass rushers

Newly appointed general manager djp has been very active in his first week before the draft. Several league sources have informed ESPN.com's Chris Mortenson that the New England Patriots have been calling teams looking for a proven pass rusher. djp could not be reached for comment.

10-19-2010, 04:14 PM
Titans Looking for Receiving Threat

The word out of Baptist Sports Park is that the Titans are actively pursuing a big-time tight end that can open up the middle of the field for the their passing attack. The Titans are looking at all of their options through the draft, but would also be interested in a trade if the right offer came along.

10-19-2010, 04:17 PM
Year Two For Nix
http://img812.imageshack.us/img812/9161/bnix.jpg (http://img812.imageshack.us/i/bnix.jpg/)

"We'll upgrade wherever we think we need to upgrade." Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix said after the ugly loss to the Jets to go 0-16 on the year. "And we'll go about that anyway we can. Be it free agency the draft or maybe even a trade or two." When asked about the QB situation Nix said "We like the guys we have, they all can play the spot and we think they can be good QBs for us. But if we can upgrade the spot we'll look into it."

10-19-2010, 04:37 PM


Bill Cowher - The New Sheriff In Dallas

Breaking News! Dallas Cowboys Owner/GM Jerry Jones announced a few minutes ago that Bill Cowher would be taking the new reigns as Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys. "Bill brings a fresh new intensity, a demand for high standards of discipline, respect and accountability to our team. Something that we have been lacking here and is sorely needed." said Jones. "We hope he will bring this team another Super Bowl championship and he has the resume to back it up. That is something that really attracted us to Bill. The fact that he has taken a team to the Super Bowl and has won it. That kind of credibility that is rare and combined with his electric persona, this was a hire I desperately wanted to make."

Cowher has been given the freedom to put together his own coaching staff. It will be interesting to see the developments ahead.

10-19-2010, 04:38 PM



The Indianapolis Colts have announced the shock resignation of long term Team President Bill Polian following his altercation with an enraged fan. Sources differ on what fully happened but reports state that IMPD officers arrested the unnamed fan after he repeatedly beat the former Colts supremo with a "Colts 16-0" sign.

Colts owner, Jim Irsay, immediately replaced Polian with the relatively unknown Seamus2602. While Seamus2602 mightn't have Polian's experience he does, reports show, know what an Offensive Lineman actually looks like.

Colts star Peyton Manning was unavailable for comment, as he had just been leveled by Dwight Freeney following a missed block by Charlie Johnson.

10-19-2010, 07:55 PM

10-19-2010, 09:24 PM


Payton swears this draft might be offensive.

After a 2010 draft that surprised many fans, New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton admits this draft may not sit well with many fans either.
"We have our eye on some guys who we really like and we may surprise some people with what side of the ball we bolster in this draft."

The Saints drafted CB Patrick Robinson out of Florida State with last year's 1st round pick, a decision that had many fans up in arms. Many felt that the defensive line was an area of need. The Saints only defensive upgrade after Robinson, was DT Al Woods, DT from LSU, who is no longer with the team and is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad.

Sean Payton, who is entering his fifth season as a head coach in the National Football League, is the first coach in New Orleans Saints history to lead the team to a Super Bowl title.

10-19-2010, 11:43 PM
SWDC's Rick Bennett Updates his Mock Draft

1.) Buffalo Bills – QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
– Bills get their franchise QB.
2.) Carolina Panthers – WR AJ Green, Georgia
- QB is a possibility as well, if not, get a weapon for Clausen.
3.) Cleveland Browns – QB Jake Locker, Washington
- McCoy doesn’t look like the answer if the Browns are picking this high.
4.) San Francisco 49ers – DE/OLB Robert Quinn, North Carolina
- QB is a possibility, but pass rush help is also a major need.
5.) Detroit Lions – CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
- A blindside protector would be nice, but a CB with elite tools is an excellent consolation.
6.) Dallas Cowboys – DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
- Cowboys get a prototype 3-4 DE to keep their defense running strong.
7.) Denver Broncos – DE Marcel Dareus, Alabama
- Finally, another piece to their 3-4 puzzle that currently uses too many journeyman.
8.) San Diego Chargers – WR Julio Jones, Alabama
- If they trade Jackson, Jones would be a very capable replacement.
9.) New England Patriots (from OAK) – CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
- Amukamara would give them their best shut-down corner since Ty Law.
10.) Minnesota Vikings – QB Christian Ponder, Florida State
- A slight reach, but a major need for the Vikings. He fits their system and is loved by many in their FO.
11.) Cincinnati Bengals – QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
- Palmer has badly regressed and a replacement is needed ASAP.
12.) St. Louis Rams – DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
- A stud pass rasher to compliment the finally emerging Chris Long.
13.) Green Bay Packers – RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
- A well-rounded rusher to bring some balance to the Packers otherwise powerful offense.
14.) Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Jonathan Baldwin, Pitt
- A stud WR to help out whoever their QB of the future may end up being.
15.) Washington Redskins – DE Allen Bailey, Miami
- A versatile defender like Bailey would greatly help Washington’s rebuilding efforts on defense.
16.) Tampa Bay Bucs – OL Marcus Cannon, TCU
- The Bucs need help across much of their o-line, including G and RT, spots Cannon could help at.
17.) Miami Dolphins – S DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
- Safety is one of the weaker positions for Miami, and McDaniel would give them a stud there.
18.) Seattle Seahawks – CB Aaron Williams, Texas
- CB is a spot that Seattle could use a talented youngster at.
19.) Tennessee Titans – TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
- The Titans get their best TE since Frank Wyceck.
20.) Indianapolis Colts – OT Derrick Sherrod
- Keeping talent around Peyton is an absolute must, and LT is a spot that needs help.
21.) Kansas City Chiefs – LB Donta Hightower, Alabama
- The Chiefs finally land a real thumper for the inside of their 3-4 defense.
22.) Arizona Cardinals – LB Akeem Ayers, UCLA
- The Cards grab a versatile LB to help make up for the loss of Dansby a year ago.
23.) Chicago Bears – OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
- Keeping Cutler upright will do wonders for this team and Carimi looks to be an excellent RT.
24.) Houston Texans – CB Brandon Harris, Miami
- Their secondary has been torched in 2010 and Harris will surely help them out there.
25.) Philadelphia Eagles – OL Michael Pouncey, Florida
- The Eagles grab the versatile Pouncey to help out the interior of their o-line.
26.) Baltimore Ravens – WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
- Age is a major problem for their WR corps, and Floyd has a ton of potential.
27.) New Orleans Saints – DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
- The well-rounded Kerrigan would give NO some much needed front 7 help.
28.) New England Patriots – DE Jared Crick, Nebraska
- The Pats land some much needed help for their d-line with the Seymour-esque Crick here.
29.) Atlanta Falcons – OL DeMarcus Love, Arkansas
- Several of the Falcons o-lineman are FAs and Love gives them a versatile option to replace anyone lost.
30.) Pittsburgh Steelers – NT Jerrell Powe, Ole Miss
- The Steelers grab their future NT in the massive Powe here.
31.) NY Giants – OT Anthony Castonzo, BC
- They draft their eventual replacement for Kareem McKenzie at RT here.
32.) NY Jets – DE Christian Ballard, Iowa
- Could develop into an elite 3-4 DE to keep their defense as a top unit in the league.

10-19-2010, 11:44 PM

Broncos continue in transition
Looking to move players from old regime; DJ Williams big name on block

DENVER, CO -- Josh McDaniels took questions this morning, after another disappointing season which landed Denver the number seven overall pick. "Well, we have to improve in multiple facets, that's for sure."

McDaniels has been heavily criticized for his use of his weapons in the offensive scheme, and his rocky transition to a 3-4 defense, something Denver clearly wasn't ready for when he took the job two years ago. However, McDaniels has "all the time in the world" to rebuild the Broncos into hopeful Super Bowl champions.

"It comes with time."

McDaniels is said to be interested in moving linebacker DJ Williams and gutting out the roster with the useless depth and continue to add an influx talent into the schemes and the system. In draft news, the Broncos are said to be interested in another impact corner, offensive line depth and a couple of playmakers as well on the offensive side of the ball.

10-20-2010, 09:30 AM

Oakland is currently shopping its entire roster, including players like Richard Seymour, Thomas Howard, Michael Huff, Gallery etc.

Thenewfeature06 is looking to rebuild the old Raider attitude of destroying opponents and having a Miami type swag. Cable will most likely finish the season this year and depending on how he does, his replacement will most likely be Hue Jackson or Bill Parcells.

10-20-2010, 01:48 PM

BREAKING NEWS: Chargers Place Franchise Tag on Jackson

The breaking news out of San Diego today is that the Chargers have placed the franchise tag on WR Vincent Jackson. It is uncertain at this time if this means that Jackson is near being on his way out of town via trade, or if this means that Jackson and the Chargers are close to working out a long term deal and are using the franchise tag as a way to buy some more time. New Chargers GM marshallb was unavailable for comment, and it was reported that he was busy "in talks". Again, it is unknown if he is busy in talks with another team or if he is negotiating a new contract with Jackson. The San Diego Union Tribune is your source for Chargers news, and we'll keep you updated on this breaking story as more information becomes available.

10-20-2010, 01:57 PM
Bears Do Not Use Franchise Tag

While may teams are hastily applying franchise tags to free agents they would prefer not to lose (or hope to trade,) Chicago Bears GM BeerBaron has opted not to use his.

"There are several players on this team we would like to have back, but we do not believe we will have to use to the franchise tag this season," Baron told the media at a press conference earlier today.

In particular, Baron seemed most concerned with retaining DT Anthony Adams, P Brad Maynard and long time long-snapper Patrick Manelly.

Baron is said to be working with the agents of each player on long-term deals. Adams in particular has become a quality NT for the team, soaking up blockers to keep the linebackers free to make plays.

Curiously not mentioned is the team's former pro-bowl center Olin Kreutz. His play has sharply declined the last few seasons, and the Bears seem confident to move on without him.

10-20-2010, 02:34 PM


Cowher hires Billick as new Dallas Offensive Coordinator

When Bill Cowher asked for permission to build his own staff in Dallas, Jerry Jones said he would not stand in the way. Cowher quickly got to work and today officially hired Brian Billick as the new Offensive Coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. Billick who has been an NFL analyst for FOX has not received any head coaching offers since being fired by the Ravens, but has been itching to get back into the league. Billick has an impressive resume as both a Super Bowl winning head coach and as an offensive coordinator who broke the single season scoring record with the 1998 Minnesota Vikings. One of the most intelligent offensive minds in the game, Billick brings an immediate upgrade over Jason Garrett and should bring out the best in the talented Dallas roster. "Brian runs the kind of offense that I love to play. When he was the head coach of the Ravens, we used to have some smash mouth wars with them while I was with the Steelers. I gained a lot of respect for him then and our relationship has been mutually strong even after we were both out of the league. I'm glad to have him on the same side now." said Cowher.

Cowher said he is also very close to signing a new Defensive Coordinator and has already thrown hints about who that person would be saying, "I've been in the ear with a great coach who I would love to bring in as my defensive coordinator. He's a guy who comes from the same Marty Schottenheimer coaching tree that I've come from. We should hear back by the end of the day."

10-20-2010, 02:43 PM

BREAKING NEWS: Chargers have agreed to trade with Lions

It is being reported that the San Diego Chargers have agreed to a trade with the Detroit Lions. The details of the trade have not been disclosed at this time, but it is believed that this trade does NOT include prominent wide reciever Vincent Jackson. We'll try to get a comment from GM marshallb as soon as he becomes available, and promise to make you aware of the terms of the trade as soon as they become available.

A Perfect Score
10-20-2010, 04:02 PM

(Baltimore, MD) The Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills have just completed a trade which sends OT Jared Gaither and pick #90 to the Bills in return for pick #33. Gaither had fallen out of favor with the current coaching staff after attitude problems stemmed from a switch to the right side since losing the starting LT gig to second year man Mike Oher. The Ravens, always active with GMs APS and TACKLE at the helm, get a premium pick in return for the talented guard.

"We feel comfortable with guys like Marshall (Yanda) out there, and Jared just wasn't a fit here anymore" said APS when asked about the trade.

"An opportunity arose for us to acquire a premium pick for a guy who no longer felt appreciated by the organization. We had no choice but to pull the trigger."

Gaither's recent injury issues and attitude problems look to be alleviated in Buffalo, where he will start at LT. The Ravens offensive line, commonly viewed as one of the best in the league, performed admirably in Gaither's absence, leaving the Ravens comfortable in moving him.

10-20-2010, 04:16 PM

Jacksonville, Fl

New Jaguars GM Prowler is not impressed with the direction of the team. New GM Prowler promises Jaguars fans that change is coming and that they will finally have something to be excited about. He would not further elaborate on what these changes may be, but said that fans should be elated after the draft. His only further comment was that, "This is a star driven league...and (stars) certainly help franchises out by exciting the fan base and increasing brand recognition.''

While Prowler's intentions are unclear, it is certain that increasing the Jaguars' recognition can only yield positive results for the franchise. See picture for proof.

10-20-2010, 04:16 PM

Details of Trade Announced

The terms of the trade between the San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions have been announced following league approval. The Chargers sent offensive tackle Brandyn Dombrowski and wide receiver Buster Davis to Detroit along with the last pick of the third round (#96 overall) for defensive end Cliff Avril and the fifth pick of the third round (#69 overall) in return. The Chargers plan on moving Avril, a former third rounder entering his fourth season, to outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense. General manager marshallb was stopped for a quick comment on his way from the team's offices to his car, presumably on his way to meet Avril at the airport. marshallb said that, "Cliff's got a lot of talent and we feel that his athleticism will allow him to transition to the 3-4, which can mask some of his deficiancies in run stopping. Brandyn was a nice player in his time here, and filled in admirably for Marcus at left tackle, but we felt confident in the guys we have on the [offensive] line, and wish Brandyn the best. Buster was just coming into his own this past season, but we like the depth that we have at WR and he was stuck behind a few guys. Again, we wish him the best, but we like the guys we have here and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to add Avril and the big upgrade in picks."

marshallb didn't answer any questions about Vincent Jackson's situation as he was getting in his car.

10-20-2010, 04:23 PM

Osi or Kiwi? The Giants looking to ship out one of their DEs.

Its been reported the Giants are looking to make a trade to move up in the draft. All offers are welcomed from all teams.

10-20-2010, 04:40 PM
Breaking news Brad Childress is ******* fired.

Mr. Goosemahn
10-20-2010, 04:43 PM
A New Era Begins

The San Francisco 49ers have announced that they have relieved all their coaches of their duties.

After a truly disappointing season, head coach Mike Singletary and his staff were told they would not be coming back next season.

In their place, the 49ers have hired Pittsburgh Steelers' linebacker coach Keith Butler as defensive coordinator, New Orleans Saints' wide receiver coach Curtis Johnson as offensive coordinator, and have hired New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer as head coach.

Additionally, the 49ers have announced that coaching legend Marty Schottenheimer will be hired as an Executive Vice President of Football Operations, an identical role to what Bill Parcells had in Miami.

When asked about the moves, newly hired 49ers GM Mr_Goosemahn said that each coach's track record spoke for itself. Keith Butler has produced some of the best linebackers the NFL has seen in past years, including present stars James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, and Lawrence Timmons. Butler has also been an integral part of some of the best defenses in the NFL during the past years.

Curtis Johnson is arguably the best WR coach in the league. After spending some time as the WR coach in Miami, where he coached up current elite players such as Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson, he was hired by the Saints. There, he helped develop Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, and Lance Moore, one of the best groups of wide receivers in the league. Mr_Goosemahn was also lured by the fact that Curtis Johnson has been learning from offensive genius Sean Payton.

As for Brian Schottenheimer, the way he's helped develop Mark Sanchez while maintaing an elite running game was the main reason for his hiring.

Marty Schottenheimer and son Brian Schottenheimer will work together to hire the rest of their staff.

10-20-2010, 04:59 PM
Bears Announce Hirings of Assistant Coaches

Former Titans Defensive Line Coach Jim Washburn named Chicago's Defensive Coordinator

Since hiring Head Coach Jon Gruden early yesterday, Chicago GM BeerBaron has been working hard with Coach Gruden to narrow down their list of potential assistant coaches, and has finally settled on a pair of coordinators.

On the defensive side, the two have decided to hire Tennessee Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn as Coordinator. Washburn has over 30 years experience as a defensive coach, spending the last 11 years with the Titans. He has helped to develop some of the league's best defensive lineman, including former Titans Jevon Kearse and Albert Haynesworth. In recent seasons, Washburn has coached up some relative no-names to keep the Titans defensive line strong.

Washburn was quoted at his press conference as being excited to work with some of the excellent defenders Chicago boats on defense, particularly stalwarts like Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs.

In addition, the team announced the hiring of recently fired, former San Francisco Head Coach Mike Singletary as linebackers coach and assistant Head Coach.

Singletary played his Hall of Fame career in Chicago, and is known as a master motivator. Most of his issues in San Fran could be attributed to a lack of experience at the lower levels of coaching before being thrust into the Head Coaching role, and the Bears hope for him to become more seasoned as he helps this team as an assistant.

Former Tampa Bay Bucs Offensive Coordinator and offensive line coach Bill Muir was named as Chicago's new Offensive Coordinator. Muir will help coach the offensive line while Gruden calls the plays. The two will work together to try and keep Jay Cutler on his feet. Muir spent the 2010 season in Kansas City, helping to improve their offense line and in turn, their rushing attack.

The Bears appear to well on track towards revamping their coaching staff with a number of well experienced coaches.

10-20-2010, 08:04 PM
Source: Seahawks planning a move to the 3-4

The Seattle Seahawks are rumored to be converting to a base 3-4 defense and have had discussions with other teams about moving more linebackers after trading LeRoy Hill to Detroit yesterday. Reports indicate that they are shopping the extremely talented Aaron Curry because he doesn't fit into their future plans. The asking price will likely be at least a first round pick. Lofa Tatupu, a better player but with less upside, is also being shopped. We doubt they actually deal Curry, but if the right offer comes along they'll definitely at least listen. He might not be ideal, but he could evolve into a bigger hybrid pass rusher in time if he's not dealt.

10-20-2010, 08:08 PM

Speculation out of Carolina is that Jonathan Stewart or DeAngelo Williams will be on the move. To where or for who has not been released yet. Keep your eyes open for a trade within the next day or so.

10-20-2010, 08:18 PM
Rumor: Seahawks looking to trade up?

The Seattle Seahawks are rumored to be offering their second round pick (#50) in conjunction with their first round pick (#18) in order to move up into the top 10. Most believe they are targeting a quarterback, but there is a chance they would opt for a pass rusher, cornerback, or wide receiver with their first pick. Despite the Washington link, the team is said to be higher on Andrew Luck and Ryan Mallet than they are on former Huskie Jake Locker. Stay tuned.

10-20-2010, 08:31 PM
Bears Looking to Trade Down?

Sources close to the Chicago Bears organization say that the team is looking into possible trades down in the first round. They are seeking mostly draft picks in return, but have inquired about certain players from teams looking to move up as well. GM BeerBaron is fielding all calls, and won't rule out a trade out of the first round entirely if the right offer were to come along. The Bears currently possess the #23 pick in the first round.

10-20-2010, 09:09 PM

BREAKING NEWS: Chargers have agreed to trade

The San Diego Chargers aren't done making moves. The same day that they finalized a trade of Brandyn Dombrowski, Buster Davis, and a third round pick #96 overall for Cliff Avril and a third round pick #69 overall, the Chargers have agreed to another trade that is reportedly awaiting league approval. It is reported that the Chargers have traded wide receiver Vincent Jackson for a second round pick. Jackson is believed to be going to an NFC team, and it is known that San Diego was talking with St. Louis, Seattle, and Minnesota during this past season, so presumably Jackson will be going to one of those teams. marshallb was not immediately made available to comment, but a press conference will most likely be held tomorrow to announce these two moves.

Scotty D
10-20-2010, 09:10 PM
Lions make two trades before draft day
Martin Mayhew and the Seahawks GM have gotten to know each other recently. Rob Sims, Julian Peterson, and Lawrence Jackson are all former Seattle players. Mayhew added to that list by trading for linebacker Leroy Hill. The LB corps went from one of the strongest positions last year to one of the weakest this season. Zack Follett has disappointed and DeAndre Levy hasn't been able to stay healthy.
Leroy Hill has a troubled past but is a young and talented player. The Lions sent Nathan Vasher to Seattle to complete the trade. Mayhew is hoping a change of scenery will benefit Hill similar to how Alphonso Smith has turned it around. The Lions believe he can return to his rookie season form where he collected 7.5 sacks and 72 tackles.

Mayhew wasn't done working the phones. Matthew Stafford has suffered injuries the past two seasons and the offensive line needed to be solidified. The Lions sent Cliff Avril, DE and their third round pick for Brandyn Dombrowski-LT, Buster Davis-WR, and San Diego's late third round pick.

The Lions will move Jeff Backus to right tackle and start Dombrowski on the left side. Buster Davis will be the third wide receiver and add a weapon for Stafford. Upper management has soured on Bryant Johnson and they can't count on Derrick Williams.

The Lions thought Avril was more of a passing down player instead of a starter and a liability against the run. Avril should thrive as a OLB in San Diego. Turk McBride will start in his place. McBride is more of a complete DE and looked good early in the 2010 season.

Gosder Cherilous's agent released a statement saying his client will seek a trade, but Roger Goodell has suspended Mayhew from making any more trades this off-season.

10-20-2010, 10:23 PM

Queen City Shake Up

Head Coach Out
The Cincinnati Bengals have announced they will be parting ways with long term coach Marvin Lewis and his staff.
Years of highs and lows have lead to ultimately more lows, and the termination of Lewis' contract in Cincinnati.

Head Coach In
The Bengals went down to the college ranks to find their new Head Coach. Turning the AFC into a family affair, Jim Harbaugh makes the trip up to the Jungle to be the next head coach.

Zimmer Staying
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has decided to keep defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer around. "He has a great reputation in town and with the players more importantly. They love playing for him."

New OC
Bengals hired Tennessee Titans OLine Coach Mike Munchak from the team to take a promotion as an Offensive Coordinator. Bringing an emphasis to a depleted OLine, Munchak will be asked to restore the offense.

10-21-2010, 01:31 AM



Cowher finalizes Coaching Staff in Dallas

The instant news broke that Bengals Head Coach, Marvin Lewis was going to be released, new Cowboys Head Coach Bill Cowher dialed up the number to his former stellar assistant. With a bit of luring, Cowher reeled in Lewis to be the new Defensive Coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. Their days together in Pittsburgh from 1992-1995 where Lewis was then the LB coach for the Steelers was a relationship that was successful from the start. What made Lewis agree so quickly was that he saw an opportunity to also reunite with Brian Billick. Billick was the Head Coach in Baltimore where Lewis served as the Ravens Defensive Coordinator from 1996-2001. "This situation was just too good to pass up on. Being able to coach alongside Bill and Brian presented an extremely comfortable environment for me as I have worked closely with both men and have a tremendous respect for them and the Dallas Cowboys are one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. There was no way I could pass this up."

This trifecta of successful former NFL Head Coaches is sure to light a new fire in Dallas. A fire never seen before. These leaders will demand discipline, respect, and accountability for every play and every player on every level. Team Owner Jerry Jones had this to say, "When I brought Bill on board, he asked for full control of assembling the coaching staff. I trusted him, but never dreamed that he would be able to bring together a staff of this much credibility, this much expertise and this much experience... and do it so quickly! I'm really reaaaally excited for the new changes that are coming to this team. I have complete trust in these men, as you can tell the Cowboys now have the highest paid staff in the NFL. I'm doing my part to do the best I can to bring winning back to Dallas, and I know these men will do the same."

10-21-2010, 04:47 PM
Gambo 620 - Arizona Cardinals are looking to move up in the draft, offering their first three picks & a possible package of players

10-21-2010, 05:24 PM
Weighing in on the Trades

SWDC's Rick Bennett compares the winners and losers from all of the pre-draft trades so far.

Trade #1: Seattle sends LB Leroy Hill to Detroit for CB Nathan Vasher
Winner: Detroit in a landslide. Though he's had some off the field troubles of late, Hill is a quality linebacker and likely becomes the most talented player Detroit has as the position. And in exchange, they only needed to give up Nathan Vasher. Vasher is, at best, a solid nickel corner who has bounced around to several teams the last few seasons. He might add a little depth to Seattle's secondary, but he is no longer starter material.

Trade #2: Washington sends the #15 pick and S Chris Horton to Indy for the #20 pick and WR Pierre Garcon.
Winner: Indy. So the Redskins get a major upgrade for the player involved, AND get to move up in the first round? Garcon can be a quality receiver in this league, but problems with drops and mental mistakes have held him back in an offense where execution is paramount. Meanwhile, Indy picks up an instant upgrade at safety in Horton.

Trade #3: Detroit sends pick #69 to San Diego for LT Brandon Dombrowski, WR Buster Davis and pick #96
Winner: Detroit, but only slightly. This is a trade that seems to benefit both teams. With Marcus McNeil returning under a new long-term contract, Dombrowski, who performed solidly at LT in McNeil's place, became expendable. The Lions are a good place for him to end up, since their offense really lacks a quality LT to keep franchise QB Matt Stafford upright and healthy. Avril, meanwhile, moves to San Diego where he'll provide a quality pass rushing OLB for their 3-4 defense. The Lions also get a talented though, to this point, unsuccessful WR to add depth in Buster Davis. Not bad for what amounts to a
mere downgrade of a 3rd round pick.

Trade #4: Baltimore sends pick #90 and LT Jared Gaither to Buffalo for pick #33.
Winner: Buffalo, slightly. Don't get me wrong here, the Ravens got a quality pick (the first of the 2nd round) in exchange for an expendable offensive lineman. But what this trade does for Buffalo is give them a proven NFL LT to keep #1 draft pick Andrew Luck on his feet. They instantly upgraded their offense with this trade and the subsequent first overall draft pick.

Trade #5: San Diego sends Vincent Jackson to St. Louis for pick #44
Winner: Even. This trade makes remarkable sense for both sides. The Chargers treatment of Jackson last season likely closed the door on their relationship, but they franchised him and sent him out to still get a quality pick for him. St. Louis meanwhile gets an extremely talented receiver to give Sam Bradford a #1 target. Jackson's off the field issues and suspensions make this risky for the Rams, but for a mid-2nd round pick, the possible reward outweighs any risk.

Trade #6: Philly trades QB Michael Vick to Minnesota for 2nd, 4th and 5th round selections.
Winner: Philly, for now. This is a trade that could be a great success for both teams, or blow in both their faces. After an early season injury to Kevin Kolb, Vick filled in exceptionally well, perhaps playing the best football of his career. A few weeks later, Vick was injured and Kolb came back in, playing very well himself. The constant back-and-forth was only going to lead to problems long term for the Eagles, so trading away one of the QBs was a good move, and they got quite the haul from Minnesota. On Minnesota's side, they get a quality QB who can step right in and hopefully get this team back into playoff and Superbowl contention after year two of the Brett Favre experiment failed miserably. But if Vick struggles and reverts back to the problems he was having in his Atlanta days, this could spell the end for this Vikings regime. They gave up quite the haul of picks for Vick, and they need him to produce at a high level right out of the gate.

10-21-2010, 07:35 PM
^Seattle got a player for someone they were 100% going to release.

Maybe Detroit is a winner, but Seattle surely isn't a LOSERRRRRRRRRR

10-21-2010, 11:03 PM


Has the League gone mad? This reporter says yes! $16.4MM for Michael Vick!? $14.5MM for McNabb!? $9.5MM for Carlos Rodgers!? Let alone the ridiculous amounts being dished out in Transition Tags.

That is all.

Scotty D
10-22-2010, 12:16 AM

10-22-2010, 02:17 AM
Hearing DEN and JAC in serious trade talks.. Jacksonville looking to move up, let's see what happens
8 minutes ago via web

10-22-2010, 11:43 AM
Packers look to build depth

Throughout the 2010 season the Packers struggled greatly with injuries and the depth, or lack thereof, was exploited and the weaknesses became more evident.

Starting on the offensive side of the ball, Ryan grant went down and Brandon Jackson was absolutely no threat out of the backfield so an option behind Grant is a must and Alabama's Mark Ingram might be an option with the 13th pick. Mark Tauscher also battled injuries and rookie Bryan Bulaga was asked to step in. Much like college, Bulaga has problems with solid edge rushers and it's not clear whether he'll be the long term option on the left or right side. If the team so chooses, Derek Sherrod might get a call to help solidify the long term protection of Aaron Rodgers.

Defensively the team suffered injuries on every level. Along the line Cullen Jenkins was a champ playing through a hand injury and BJ Raji was an anchor in the middle, but at the other end spot Ryan Pickett and rookie Mike Neal battled injuries. Add in the fact that Jenkins was franchised and his long term security there is unknown, the team may look to add another end and it appears that Cal's Cameron Jordan is high on the team's board. At linebacker Clay Matthews and Nick Barnett battled injuries and Barnett lost his season thanks to it. The team's pass rush was awful without Matthews but it doesn't seem that there's many pass rushing options early on. The secondary has some nice youngsters at safety with Collins and Burnett but the corner position is in rough shape into the future with Tramon Williams being the only lock and a declining Charles Woodson. This will definitely be a position addressed in the first three rounds.

10-22-2010, 02:46 PM
Denver GM falls asleep from draft room

In a shocking set of developments, Adam Schefter is reporting from Denver that iBoldin has fallen asleep inside his draft room and is not responding to any phone calls, text messages, or e-mails.

Sources, who declined to be identified, told ESPN's Schefter that iBoldin had been heavily drinking the night before and was in a drunken stupor, reportedly "drunk dialing" most other GMs in the NFL demanding their best players in trades.

10-22-2010, 05:20 PM
Chicago Adds Kiwanuka


While Chicago hasn't been quite as active as some teams in the pre-draft trade market, they have made one more to sure up their defensive line.

The Bears have added former Giants DE Mathias Kiwanuka, a former first round pick.

"We have one elite pass rusher on our defense in Julius Peppers, as well as a handful of very solid players," said GM BeerBaron "But in talking with Head Coach Jon Gruden and Defensive Coordinator Jim Washburn, we felt that we could use another really talented pass rusher. We are very pleased to have been able to bring in Mathias, and he seems excited to be here."

In order to get Kiwanuka, the Bears swapped picks with the Giants in the first and third rounds (moving down nine spots in each,) and also sent their 5th round pick to New York.

Kiwanuka was suffering from a bulging disk in his neck during the 2010 season, but is apparently recovering well and should be ready to contribute in 2011. The Bears also announced that they've extended the contract of the DE, but exact terms are not known at this time.

10-22-2010, 05:41 PM
Frustration Mounts In Jacksonville

Jaguars GM Prowler was seen hurling empty beer bottles in frustration at pedestrians walking below his private draft temple. It appears that the causes of his frustration stem from his failure to land QB Michael Vick coupled with CB Prince Amakumara not making it past Dallas' pick.

Puppies, kittens, and little people have been warned to stay away from his facility.

10-22-2010, 06:39 PM



Dallas Cowboys select LSU's Peterson

As predictable as the sun rising, Jerry Jones once again made a draft day move early in the process. Sitting with the 6th overall pick, Jerry and the Cowboys moved up 2 spots to nab LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. "We felt Peterson was not just the best player in the draft for us, but really the best player in the draft period. That's why we were so aggressive in moving up 2 spots." said Jones.

This is the first Jones/Cowher draft, so many are curious as to watching how this story unfolds. Not as peculiar as it was with Parcells, but people are definitely interested. So far they seem to be on the same page. Cowher commented, "I love being in the war room with an owner who is not only actively engaged, but aggressive too. Although I am not the GM, Jerry has made it very clear that I will be helping him push the grocery cart as we shop for the meal I'll be cooking up!" *followed by a hearty chuckle* "Patrick Peterson is unlike any cornerback prospect I have scouted before. He has everything you want and then some. With the 3-4 zone blitz, you want corners who are physical at the LOS, who can bump receivers off their running lanes and disrupt timing to allow time for your blitzers to get to the QB. Between Mike Jenkins and Patrick Peterson, I have just what I need."

10-22-2010, 07:06 PM
Nix Adding Talent Via Draft and Trade

http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/6172/andrewluck.jpg (http://img214.imageshack.us/i/andrewluck.jpg/)http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/3/jaredgaither.jpg (http://img221.imageshack.us/i/jaredgaither.jpg/)

Buffalo must have know who they wanted. Just like last year the Bills didn't let much time run off the clock before they made thier pick of Stanfords' QB Andrew Luck. It was only 20 seconds after Roger Goodell announced that Buffalo was on the clock before he came right back up to make the pick. That pick was the #1 QB in the draft Andrew Luck. Luck comes from a pro system and Nix thinks that will help his transition to the NFL. "If you come from a wacky college system were you don't run anything close to a NFL playbook you have to come a long way. It will definitely help Andrew coming from a pro style system in Stanford.

Before the Bills made Andrew Luck the #1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft they traded for a big time blindside protector in Jared Gaither. Nix was overjoyed in the press conference soon after the trade was broke. "To be able to get a tackle like Jared via trade, it's a hard thing to do cuz once you got 'em you don't want to let 'em go." When asked Nix said they contacted Baltimore about a trade only a few days ago. Some people around the league thought Buffalo DB Terrence McGee would have been in the deal. Nix did not comment about the rumor.

10-22-2010, 08:35 PM


Trades Galore! Colts President strengthens both Lines

In a move that shows a dramatic shift in team policy Indianapolis Colts President, Seamus2602, launched a number of trades in a few short days to take the Colts higher up the Draft whilst also strengthening the team. On Wednesday he traded surplus Wide Receiver Pierre Garçon and the 20th Overall pick in the Draft for Chris Horton and the 15th Overall pick in the Draft.

"I liked Chris coming out of college" reported the Colts President. "He is hard working, plays well in both run support and coverage, as well as showing a knack for the blitz. He will be an excellent deputy to Bob Sanders. While we are sad to see Pierre go we realise that there are areas this team needs to improve on and Wide Receiver is an area where we have plenty of depth and had the ability to move someone".

The Colts President wasn't finished there, though, as a few days later, with Cincinnati on the clock, he issued a major trade that ultimately filled the Colts two biggest needs, that of a starting caliber Left Tackle and of a 3-Down Defensive Tackle, by trading for the Bengals 11th Overall pick and Tank Johnson. The Colts sent them the 15th Overall pick and their 2nd Round pick. The teams also swapped 3rd Round picks.

The night was still not over when the Commissioner, D-Unit, walked out onto the staged in the packed New York venue and read out that the Indianapolis Colts had selected Derek Sherrod with the 11th Overall Pick in the 2011 Draft.

"Ultimately Derek is the only Left Tackle at this time that I thought was worth that high of a pick. Securing Derek significantly strengthens our line in the long-term, allowing us to move Charlie Johnson back to his more suited position of Guard, thus upgrading both the Left Tackle and Left Guard positions". On acquiring Tank Johnson, Seamus2602 stated "On obvious run downs we are quite strong, despite current league perceptions. It is why we are 15th in 3rd conversions and 7th in 4th down conversions. The problem is on those downs which aren't obvious passing downs and aren't obvious run downs. 1st/2nd and 10, 3rd and medium etc etc. On those downs either Eric Foster isn't stout enough to stop the run or Mookie Johnson doesn't get enough penetration to stop the pass. We needed an every down Defensive Tackle and I think we have found that player in Tank".

10-22-2010, 08:49 PM
Early Thoughts on the Top 11

SWDC's Rick Bennett's initial analysis on the draft picks so far:

1.) Buffalo Bills - QB Andrew Luck Stafford
- Absolutely no surprise here. Buffalo needed a QB in the worst way, and Luck is an ideal type of player for them to get. He may not have the elite physical tools of Ryan Mallett or Jake Locker, but he's the most polished and pro-ready QB prospect in this draft. Selecting Luck, along with trading for LT Jared Gaither, should go a long way in once again making Buffalo competative.

2.) Carolina Panthers - WR AJ Green, Georgia
- The Panthers have apparently decided to stick with Jimmy Clausen at QB, and they've now given him an excellent weapon in the draft's best WR. Look for Green to make an instant impact on the Panthers passing attack. If Clausen struggles while Jake Locker finds success, look for this pick to be ridiculed in the future.

3.) Cleveland Browns - QB Jake Locker, Washington
- Colt McCoy showed some flashes as a rookie, but his ceiling and long term potential were major question marks. In the end, the presence of McCoy wasn't enough to keep the Browns from taking an extremely talented QB in Jake Locker. Cleveland desperately needs Locker to become the franchise QB they have lacked since their reentry into league more than a decade ago.

4.) Dallas Cowboys (from SF) - CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
- The Cowboys shocked the NFL with just how bad they were this past season despite a good deal of talent. With a new "no nonsense" coach in Bill Cowher and two excellent, former Head Coach coordinators in Big D, look for this team to make a speedy turnaround. Helping their cause will be Peterson, who has unparalleled physical ability. I can't think of another CB prospect with the size-speed ratio of Peterson. And to make the trade up, Dallas only needed to get rid of a few underachieving veterans...not a bad move.

5.) Detroir Lions - DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
- While one has to figure that Patrick Peterson topped Detroit's big board, Robert Quinn is an excellent consolation prize. The pass rush potential that Quinn brings, along with what they already have in Suh, should greatly help out Detroit's secondary by giving the opposing QB far less time to throw.

6.) Arizona Cardinals (from SF, Dal) - CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
- Arizona, a playoff team in 2010, shot up into the top 10 via trade in order to land an excellent CB in Amukamara. Arizona's passing defense left a lot to be desired, and Amukamara will give them an excellent defender to play across from Rogers-Cromartie.

7.) Denver Broncos - DE Marcel Dareus, Alabama
- After surprising many in the draft community by taking Tim Tebow in the first round last year, Denver makes a much more sensible pick to help out their underwhelming defense. Dareus figures to start as a 3-4 DE from day one and dramatically improve Denver's front 7 right off the bat.

8.) San Diego Chargers - DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
- Despite being #1 in both total offense and total defense for a good portion of the season, San Diego just couldn't pick up a win for the life of them. Since players like Jamal Williams and Igor Olshansky moved on, San Diego has suffered from a lack of top end talent on their 3-4 defensive line. Heyward immediately changes that and should help that defense pack more of a punch.

9.) New England Patriots (from Oak) - DE DaQuan Bowers, Clemson
- Continuing the run on 3-4 defensive ends, the Patriots grab the extremely talented Bowers here. Injuries and the trade of Richard Seymour (that got them this pick to begin with,) have left the Patriots struggling to keep quality defensive ends on the field. Bowers has incredible skills and really shot up draft boards during the last college season, and he should be an excellent project for Bill Bellichick to turn into his next Richard Seymour.

10.) Baltimore Ravens (from Min) - DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
- When the Ravens saw Clayborn, considered by some a top 5 talent, fall to 10, they made a deal with the Vikes in order to move up and get him. Clayborn would likely be able to play DE in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, and that versatility, as well as his high motor style of play, will serve the Ravens extremely well.

11.) Indianapolis Colts (from Cin) - OT Derek Sherrod, Miss St.
- Peyton Manning proved in 2010 that even the best QBs can't do it all themselves. Injuries and ineffectiveness around him on offense kept them from being able to make up for their porous defense as they had in years past, and the LT position was definitely part of the problem. The Colts could have really used help on defense, and I'm not sure that Sherrod was really worth trading up this far for.

10-22-2010, 08:54 PM

I have just learned that DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are involved in trade talks. Will one of them leave soon?

10-23-2010, 12:16 AM

The King is dead, long live the...Prince

After so many of the players scouted by the Arizona Cardinals returned to school it seemed as if there was no hope for the franchise in a draft with such little depth. But Arizona pulled off a huge trade putting them into position to grab one of the 2011 Draft's elite prospects. While the media may have Patrick Peterson as the clear cut #1 CB, Amukamara has every right to be considered on a equal plain as his CB brethren. With DRC on the other side and Toler moving to his much more natural NB position, as well as veterans Wilson and Rhodes at the safety spots, the Cardinals have made their secondary the most feared in the game. Deuce Latui was a bystanderd of the trading process but was a very movable piece according to GM Rod Graves, "While Deuce has played well and even started every game he has been in as a Arizona Cardinal, we felt it was time to let him go and move forward." In a teleconference with reporters after the pick, Prince Amukamara was asked if he had considered playing for the Cardinals. "Well I knew that they were interested in me, Coach Whis said that he was gonna do anything he could to keep me in Red and White. The Cardinals are a class organization and year after year have made the playoffs, not a better spot in the world for this dirty bird."

10-23-2010, 10:09 AM
Time Running Out?


The Jaguars compound is on pins and needles awaiting response from an undisclosed team.

"We are fully prepared to make our pick, but our best interest is to wait this thing out."

Jacksonville is putting a self-imposed hour deadline on the decision.

10-23-2010, 11:28 AM
Packers thrilled to add Jordan

With their 1st round pick the Packers addressed their depth along the defensive line by selecting California defensive end Cameron Jordan. Jordan was considered the the 2nd best "5-technique" end on the Packers' board and they were certainly not disappointed to see Heyward and Clayborn come off the board the picks prior.

"He's a technically sound player and he'll be ready to contribute right away. We're excited to get him here and look forward to him being a key member for our defense for years to come."

10-23-2010, 11:51 AM

Giants thrilled with Heisman Winner


The Giants moved up while the Jaguars were on the clock to get last years Heisman Trophy winner. The pick comes as no surprise as the Giants did not re sign hard running back Brandon Jacobs.

" We knew that if we wanted a shot at Mark we needed to move up" said Giants GM. " We moved up in front of Tampa and Miami, two o teams that could want to pick Mark too."

The Giants re-signed their other running back in Ahmad Bradshaw and are planning on using both of them to run all over Defenses across the league next year.

10-23-2010, 12:59 PM

King of The Jungle

Selecting JJ Watt with their first pick in the 2011 draft, the Bengals hope to upgrade a horrendous pass rush attack with a high energy high motor player.

After taking 2 DE with questionable motors and nothing to show for it after 2 years, they go for a guy who's motor will be the last thing questioned.

"We looked at it and with the way things are going we need to get to the QB, we can't expect our two great corners to cover the best WR all damn day. It wont keep up. We need to be able to run more zones as well. You can't do that if you can't get to the QB," coach Mike Zimmer said, "Coach Harbaugh wanted to build a strong defensive team and make it easier on his offense. I love the pressure. The players do too."

Coach Harbaugh shared Zimmer's sentiments, "Mike needed a guy who can do what JJ can. The last regime was too busy moving players around from their natural positions and causing all kinds of confusion. We need to just let these kids play where they can best help the team, not a coaches personal feelings about finding "a new so-and-so" from an old team."

10-24-2010, 02:06 AM

Jacksonville Trying New Ways to Play Football?

After years of only being able to run the ball and stop the run, the Jaguars appear poised to expand their passing game and their secondary. These moves come on the heels of a season which the Jaguars ranked 25th in passing offense and 30th in pass defense.

An excited Prowler was sober enough to tell us, "These moves give us a chance to compete within our division. A big possession target is just what we need to help keep Manning off the field, while Harris is there for when we can't.''

When asked about the rest of his draft plans Prowler replied, "You haven't seen anything yet. Just wait until you see what we do with our additional 7th round pick!"


*UPDATE**Puppies, kittens, and little people appear to be safe for the time being at Prowler's Draft Temple*

Scotty D
10-24-2010, 11:53 AM

10-25-2010, 03:41 PM

Dallas' New Secondary

As the saying goes, "You are only as strong as your weakest link," the Dallas Cowboys defense was porous last season due to their weaknesses at the Safety position and the inability of the defense to shut down big plays or create turnovers. Jerry Jones played Russian Roulette at S with Alan Ball. His success in hitting on Miles Austin and Doug Free must have made him think that you could easily plug 'n play your young unproven commodities as long as they have shown flashes. Well, Alan Ball was a nightmare. Veteran Gerald Sensabaugh was also a non-factor, often invisible in games. The numbers don't lie, and Dallass defense was near last in the league in take aways. Sophomore sensation, Mike Jenkins often got exposed trying to make up for the lack of support around him. This was an area that needed to be addressed. Especially with veteran Terence Newman getting up there in age. So the first thing Dallas did was trade up to select LSU's Super sensation, CB Patrick Peterson. In the second round, they selected Alabama Safety, Mark Barron. These 2 players wreaked havoc in the SEC during their time there. Both are NFL ready and will be expected to carry a lot of responsibility from the start. With the addition of Peterson, Newman may split time between Nickel Back and Safety where Akwasi Owusu-Ansah is expected to start to get time next season. The changes have come, now bigger things will be expected.

"The physicality of our players in the secondary is one of the main changes I wanted to make to this defense. It's time to shed their "soft" label." said new HC Bill Cowher. "I expect the pressure on the QB generated from the Front 7 to increase considerably due to the help of the new secondary. We just need to get these guys up to speed immediately."

Prospective Secondary Line Up:

CB Mike Jenkins
CB Patrick Peterson
NB Terence Newman
FS Akwasi Owusu-Ansah
SS Mark Barron

A Perfect Score
10-26-2010, 11:17 AM
Ravens add youth to aging defense, speed to offense in first 3 rounds of draft


(Baltimore, M.D) - With no picks left in the first five rounds of the 2011 NFL draft, the Baltimore Ravens have officially begun to welcome their rookie class of 2011. Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn (#10), Boston College LB Mark Herzlich (#33) and Troy WR Jerrel Jernigan (#71) will all be joining the Ravens to being their respective careers.

General Manager APS, one half of the renowned Forum Mock specialists typically in charge or running the Ravens, was particularly pleased with this class. " Adrian [Clayborn] was a guy I was really pushing for. I've been watching him for several seasons now, and he's an amazing athlete who happens to be a damn good football player as well. He's an excellent fit for the system and it didn't really take much convincing to get my Co-GM [TACKLE] to sign off on a trade up."

"APS mentioned to me that Clayborn was available, and that he felt like he was a great fit here in Baltimore. Obviously I agreed, and I felt that the true value of this draft wasn't in it's depth, but in it's elite players. We felt that a move up to get Adrian made alot of sense and we are thrilled to have him here in Baltimore," said GM TACKLE when weighing in on the move upwards.

Clayborn will join stellar defensive end Haloti Ngata and 2010 second round draft pick Terrence Cody on what should be one of the NFL's most intimidating young defensive lines.

The Ravens added another piece to their defensive front seven with the drafting of former Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich. A potential Top 10 pick following his junior season, Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer which put his playing career in jeopardy. He overcame the disease and went on to have a solid senior season before being drafted by the Ravens at the top of the second round.

"We had some offensive skill players that we liked in that spot. We looked really hard at a few guys like Broyles from Oklahoma, but when we realized Mark was still on the board we felt like we had to pull the trigger. Just everything he has accomplished, especially in the light of what he faced as far as adversity goes, made us feel like he belonged here. He's big, physical, and he's a much better athlete then people give him credit for. But what really sold us here is his personality. He's such an intense figure out on the football field, and we felt like we could bring him in to learn alot from Ray and to kind of take the reigns from him once Ray decides to hang it up." GM APS confirmed that Herzlich, an outside linebacker at Boston College, would play inside linebacker in the Ravens 3-4 defense.

After trading back up into the third round by unloading backup offensive lineman Chris Chester, who had fallen out of favor with the current coaching staff due to an inability to fit within the blocking scheme, the Ravens selected Troy WR Jerrel Jernigan.

"Jernigan was a guy I was really excited about the possibility of bringing in, and I really had to sell APS on him to get him in here" said TACKLE when asked about the pick. "APS wanted to look at some other positions, namely in the secondary, but I told him that this kid was something special and all he needed to do was take a look at some film and he would be sold on him. Thats really all it took."

"I took one look at the tape he showed me and said go ahead, make the pick," said APS. "The way they use him at Troy, they line him up everywhere. He's an electric WR, they use him out of the backfield and as a Wildcat QB, and he might be the best returner in the draft. He reminds me a little bit of the Eagles Desean Jackson and he brings an element to our offensive that hasn't been there for some time."

The Ravens are known throughout the league for their ability to manipulate the Forum Mock process and capitalize on the mistakes of other teams by drafting slipping talent. This class looks to do the same as the Ravens undoubtedly made great moves all around.

Total Ravens Summary


DE Adrian Clayborn
LB Mark Herzlich
WR Jerrel Jernigan


OT Jared Gaither
OL Chris Chester

10-26-2010, 11:52 AM

Move Over St. Louis, There Is A New Greatest Show On Turf

The Vikings made early fireworks before they even made a pick. Michael Vick is now the Vikings quarterback, I repeat, Michael Vick is now the Vikings quarterback. After the much anticipated retirement of Viking legend Brett Favre, there was an obvious hole at quarterback, and with head coach Brad Childress out of the picture, there was no one to ride Tavaris Jackson's dick. A new regime ushered in a new quarterback, thus creating one of, if not the most exciting offense in the history of the game. Vick will be joining a group that already includes 2010 MVP Adrian Peterson, Randy Moss, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, and Visanthe Shiancoe.

Points will be scored in much abundance. But the question with the Vikings was never the talent on their offense, but the age on the offensive line. This was addressed after a dramatic trade down in the first round. After giving up a load of picks for Vick and Moss, the Vikings were all done in the draft after their first rounder, so the team added a few more picks by trading down from pick #10 to #26, also picking up a 2nd and 5th rounder. The tenth pick didn't offer much value at positions of need, so the move made way too much sense to pass up. Demarcus Love was brought in the first round to help relieve an aging offensive front. Love was graded only a slight hair behind Derrick Sherrod, the player considered at #10, so adding a 2nd and 5th rounder more than made up for the difference. Love is a good fit in the Vikings' scheme and should replace much-maligned bum Bryant McKinnie by mid-season.

With the extra second rounder, the Vikings were able to pick up ball-hawking safety Rahim Moore. Madieu Williams was a catastrophic bust, leaving the Viking safety core as one of the worst in the league. This being the case, Rahim Moore was the obvious choice, as the Vikings front office graded him as a late first round or early second round draft pick, even over Travis Lewis, another love child of the Vikings GM prock.

The Vikings poised themselves for another Super Bowl run this offseason, as rebuilding is for cowards. A dynamic offense with an improved line will be complimented by an always-solid defense to lead the to what this expert believes will be a 12-5 or 11-5 regular season, and finally popping their Super Bowl champion cherry, which will be more than welcomed whether or not there is any blood.

10-26-2010, 11:27 PM

Browns take Locker, bolster OLine, and Defense

1.3. Jake Locker, QB Washington
2.35. Gabe Carimi, OT Wisconsin
3.67. Christian Ballard, DT Iowa
3.86. Ben Ijalana, OT Villanova
3.88. Robert Sands, FS West Virginia
4.99. Colin McCarthy, OLB Miami

The attributes the players we added in the draft have in common are they are hard working, high motor, and tough with substantial playing experience. With what we already have on our roster, we feel like these guys should fit right in to our locker room and be able to contribute on the field with guys who play the game the same they do. We feel like we got 6 guys who love to play the game of football and will do everything in their power to get better and that is an infectious atmosphere we want to encourage within this team. These guys should also be competitive from the word go and we think a competitive atmosphere brings the best out of everyone from quarterback on down.

Jake Locker, QB Washington
We love Jake' physical ability both with his arm and his legs, but what makes him special in our minds are his intangibles. He is mentally tough, a field general, and he has the ability to take over a football game. And with Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace, we feel like we have a strong group of quarterbacks that should be competitive. Colt McCoy has a head start, so Jake is going to have to do his best to catch up, because Colt believes he can start for this team as well and is going to give Jake all he has to prove it. Whichever quarterback starts, we feel like this team is in good hands.

Gabe Carimi, OT Wisconsin
He is a mauling, road grader of an offensive tackle that plays from the snap to the whistle and has a tremendous mean streak. Teaming up with fellow badger Joe Thomas and Alex Mack, we feel like we have an extremely strong core of linemen for years to come and Gabe has the ability to contribute early, but he's going to have to beat out Tony Pashos for the starting right tackle spot.
Christian Ballard, DT Iowa
He is an incredibly strong and athletic defensive linemen that gives us versatility.
We feel like we can plug him in our 3 man front but can move him inside as a pass rusher in our even fronts. We love the passion and energy with which Christian plays. He is another guy who will have opportunities to contribute early.

Ben Ijalana, OT Villanova
Ben is a mauler of a guard that fits the type of offensive linemen we look for, but we love his experience at tackle and his long arms, so we think he can make a nice transition to go between Thomas and Mack at left guard and should be able to open holes for our running backs as well as protect our quarterback. We hope he can step in and play quickly with great linemen like Joe and Alex flanking him.

Robert Sands, FS West Virginia
We are excited about the steps our secondary has taken with Joe Haden and TJ Ward, but we really wanted to give Ward a young partner at the safety spot who was not afraid to hit, but also gave us the ability to field a true center field. Robert gives us both of those things in addition to his incredible size, speed, and body control. We think Sands will fit right in with what our defense likes to do and should help us force more turnovers and intimidate opposing receivers. Our goal is to have a talented young secondary made up of Eric Wright, Joe Haden, TJ Ward, and Robert Sands for years to come. We also love the fact that Robert is a vocal leader who loves to pump up his teammates.

Colin McCarthy, OLB Miami
Colin gives us some help at inside linebacker. We loved his ability to diagnose and react to plays quickly in addition to the fact he was not afraid to fight through traffic and make plays going downhill. We also think he can be an effective blitzer coming up the middle as well as being able to contribute in coverage. We hope he brings the leadership he displayed at Miami.

10-27-2010, 12:44 AM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Buffalo Bills
Grade: A-

Most Draft grades you'll read are very careful when handing out very high or very low grades....I ask, why? What standard are they comparing the drafts to? When a team does what you think it should to help itself out the most, they deserve a high grade. If they make questionable moves that seem to weaken their chances in the long run...then they deserve a low one.

Perhaps this is just the opinion of one rather crazy draft analyst, but regardless of your position on grading the moves a team makes, it is very hard not to love what the Buffalo Bills have done this offseason.

Before the draft even began, they made a trade to sure up one of the team's greatest weaknesses, acquiring left tackle Jared Gaither and a 3rd round pick from the Baltimore Ravens for the first pick of the 2nd round. When healthy, Gaither has been a premiere tackle, excelling in both run and pass blocking. Injuries have been a question for Gaither though, as he missed the entire 2010 season. Buffalo invested a relatively high draft pick in Gaither, as well as a multi-million dollar contract extension. It is a risky move, but one well worth taking if it means getting this team back into the playoffs in the near future.

Once the draft started, Buffalo kept right on making moves to fill some of their biggest needs. To the surprise of no one, Buffalo took QB Andrew Luck with the first overall pick. Luck couldn't match the physical tools of other QBs like Locker and Mallett, but he was the most polished and technically sound QB prospect the draft had to offer. It was the only conceivable move the team could make, and they did not disappoint.

We then move to the third round, where Buffalo continued renovations to the offensive line, grabbing probable bookend RT Matt Reynolds of BYU. I personally had Reynolds rated somewhat higher than where the Bills selected him, so I consider him somewhat of a steal at this point. He should provide an excellent RT for the Bills right away and, along with Gaither, will help to turn the o-line, one of Buffalo's biggest weaknesses, into one of the team's greatest strengths.

Later in the third round, with the pick Buffalo acquired from Baltimore as part of the Gaither trade, Buffalo selected Boise State WR Austin Pettis. Pettis has extensive starting experience in college, so he should be able to contribute right away. However, I fear that his upside is somewhat limited and he will probably be no better than a solid #2 receiver. This pick might have been better spent to address some of their weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball, but it is not a bad pick in itself.

With the first pick of the fourth round, Buffalo finally began to address their woeful defensive front seven when they took OLB Steven Friday of Virginia Tech. Friday has impressed me in what I've seen of him, playing very effectively against first round pick Anthony Castonzo and also Boise State's Nate Potter, a 3rd round pick. He will likely face the typical learning curve of college DEs converting to 3-4 OLBs, but should be a decent part of their rotation, at least initially.

More improvements to their defense were needed, and added when they selected ILB Casey Matthews of Oregon. Younger brother of Green Bay Packer Clay Matthews, Casey will likely play inside linebacker in their 3-4, giving them a quality young player who is perhaps a better fit than some of the others they've jammed in at the position when they first converted to the 3-4 prior to last season.

Overall, while you would have liked to see Buffalo hit a few more needs early on, they were a team with many problems, and could not address them all in one offseason. I think Buffalo is definitely going the right direction with the moves they've made, and I look for them to be back in the playoff mix within 2-3 years, assuming they continue to address their needs in the future and continue to develop the players they've taken here.

10-27-2010, 02:01 PM

Building for a future, not re-building

The Bengals plan this offseason and draft was to build for the future without having to bring in a new re-building era. Coach Harbaugh has big hopes for the team now.

"We have been a perennial underachieving team for far too long. It is time to stop this trend. We get a good mix of players for the 2011 season and beyond. There is no reason we cannot contend now with the team we have and stay competitive for years."

Draft Breakdown

Round 1:
JJ Watt DE Wisconsin
In dire need of pass rush, they elected to go for a player who can be a difference maker. Watt is a high-energy player who is opposite of the recent selections of Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap, both of whom are physical freaks but have questions looming about their work-ethic and motors. With his size, Watt should have no issue about being over-powered, something that has bothered Dunlap.
Coach Zimmer on Watt: "Big. Mean. Aggressive. Energy. Four big things we need to bring to this defense to take the next step. Our pass rush last year was **** and we need to step it up. He can be that guy for us. He will be that guy. "

Round 2:
Kelechi Osemele OT Iowa State
A potential franchise LT with some serious upside, Osemele will inherit the LT spot from Andrew Whitworth who will likely move back inside to LG. Building a new better line is a big factor into getting Carson Palmer back to a passable starter at this point.
OC Munchak said of Osemele, "We need to keep Carson upright. We knew where our weaknesses were on the line and we went into the draft looking to improve as best we could. We figure moving Whit inside and Osemele at LT we give our line the biggest boost."

Round 2:
Deunta Williams S North Carolina
Coverage by safeties has been an Achillies Heel for the Bengals for 2 season now. Williams has the size for a SS and FS in the Zimmer defense and will likely play where he is needed most. A talented player with ball skills, he should fit just fine in a stellar young secondary. I would expect him lined up at SS with Reggie Nelson seeing more time at FS with Crocker to start his career.
"He is a playmaker. He can play the run and pass for us," DB Coach Kevin Coyle said, "We need that out of our safeties. We can't keep going on expect Leon and Jonathon to carry us in the passing game. We think between him and JJ we will have a top defense in the NFL shortly."

Round 3:
Greg Little WR North Carolina
A very talented player who can assume the top WR when the time comes, Little is the top ranked senior WR. He has tremendous size and ability to get open. Playing behind TO for a year should help him develop a similar skill set and become a potential top WR.
Coach Harbaugh on Little: "A specimen of a player. He had some trouble in the past but he seems remorseful enough and genuine about being a better person. We can look past that and make a big impact for this team. The combination of him and Jordan in the future will make for a great tandem."

Round 4:
Nathan Enderle QB Idaho
The pick the fans have been craving for. Never facing top competition, Enderle will likely slide a bit. Has good overall markings and under a top QB developer like Harbaugh, Enderle will make for a great project QB under Carson Palmer.
"He will be our guy in the future. We have Carson to lead us now. We are confident that Carson will lead this team to the promised land before all is said and done and Nathan will inherit the team and do the same." Coach Harbaugh said. "I love everything about this kid. I was genuinely shocked he was there in the fourth round."

10-29-2010, 03:54 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Carolina Panthers
Grade: C-

The Panthers were a team who headed into the 2010 season with a lot of question marks. Projections ranged anywhere from a lower tier team to possible playoff contender. In the end, it proved to be the former option. They bounced between Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen at QB, never got their run game going, were constantly experimenting with inexperienced players at WR with the injury to Steve Smith and release of Dwayne Jarrett, and couldn't stop anyone defensively.

Complicating matters further was that they made a head scratching trade of a 2011 2nd rounder to trade up in 2010 for Armanti Edwards, a college QB trying to convert to WR.

Their past aside, the Panthers went into this draft shorthanded on draft picks and with just a ton needs.

With their first round pick, second overall in the draft, Carolina took a major step towards fixing their passing attack by selecting WR AJ Green. Green was the most polished WR in a class with a number of high end caliber players at the position. In taking Green, the Panthers banked on Jimmy Clausen being able to be their QB of the future, as they passed on Jake Locker...that decision could come back to haunt them. Having a talented pass catcher like Green should help to improve Clausen's odds of success, but look for this pick to be scrutinized in the future if Clausen goes the way of Brady Quinn.

In the 3rd round, Carolina took another pass catcher, this time in TE Lance Kendricks. The Panthers have been without a real quality TE for some time, but I'm not sure I like this pick. Kendricks is a good player, but I feel like the early 3rd is a bit too early for him to go. In addition, the Panthers could have used help at a number of other positions, particularly on defense. So while they did address a need, I don't really like the value or the position at this point in the draft.

In the 4th round, Carolina finally got a quality defensive player in DT Mike Martin. Michigan's defense was just terrible last year, but Martin may have been their best bright spot. He has a lot of talent, and I personally had him graded as more of a 2nd/early 3rd rounder, so this goes down as a bit of a steal in my book. Martin should find a role in Carolina's rotation initially and could became a great cog for their defense down the line.

Much like Buffalo, Carolina had more needs than they could fill in one offseason. It didn't help them to be without their high 2nd rounder either. Given the circumstances, I think they came away with a fairly average draft class...I think their struggles are going to continue for at least another year though.

10-29-2010, 04:36 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Cleveland Browns
Grade: B

Cleveland seems to be stuck in an everlasting rebuilding mode since returning to the league just over a decade ago. After another disappointing year in 2010, they hope to change their fortunes headed forward and this offseason is going to go a long way in determining whether they improve or not.

Some of the first moves Cleveland made were to trade a couple of veteran players who may not fit into their long term goals. First, G Eric Steinbech was traded to Arizona for their 3rd round selection. Steinbach was not a bad player by any stretch of the imagination, but he was a highly paid veteran who may have been past his prime by the time Cleveland was in position to compete. Then, Cleveland sent defensive lineman Shaun Rogers to Houston for another 3rd round pick. Rogers has been a quality player, but has had incidents of off the field trouble. These moves are clear evidence of Cleveland sacrificing their immediate future for a chance at better long term success.

Once the draft began, Cleveland took QB Jake Locker with the 3rd overall pick of the draft. Once Locker passed by Carolina at #2 overall, the Browns couldn't get their draft card to the stage fast enough. Locker has excellent physical tools and may have even higher upside that #1 overall pick Andrew Luck. Locker is less, however, less polished than Luck and may take more time to develop. Still an excellent pick by Cleveland nonetheless....even with Colt McCoy on the roster coming off of a solid rookie campaign. He will look to hang onto the job for as long as he can, but I expect that it will indeed be Locker who QBs this team to any future successes.

In the 2nd round, Cleveland went back to the well of the Wisconsin Badgers that paid off once before by selecting OT Gabe Carimi. Former Badger Joe Thomas has become a quality left tackle for Cleveland, and now they have a bookend RT to pair with him in Carimi.

In the early 3rd round, Cleveland addressed their major need for defensive front 7 help taking Iowa DT Christian Ballard. Ballard has immense athleticism and a high ceiling, but needs more polish to his game. He should see extensive work right away as a 3-4 DE, especially with Shaun Rogers being traded out of town. A very good pick at this spot.

Later in the 3rd round, Cleveland drafted the replacement for Steinbach selecting Villanova OT Ben Ijalana, who figures to move to guard as a pro. Ijalana's biggest concern may be the jump in competition coming out of Villanova, but he will likely become a key piece of their offensive line puzzle in the future.

Again in the 3rd round, Cleveland selected WVU safety Robert Sands. Cleveland looks to have one keeper at safety in last year's 2nd round pick TJ Ward. Sands figures to be his running mate at FS and should help keep their secondary strong.

Finally, in the 4th round, Cleveland took a linebacker. They needed help both inside and outside, and I'm a little disappointed it took them this long to get that help in LB Colin McCarthy. He seems to best fit at ILB in Cleveland's 3-4 scheme.

Overall, Cleveland really beefed up at certain positions, including adding their hopeful franchise QB in Jake Locker. Like most teams picking in the top 5, they had more needs to address than draft picks, but I still would have liked to see them pick up a pass rusher or a WR. That kept them from getting the A, but they still had a very solid draft overall.

10-30-2010, 12:21 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Detroit Lions
Grade: B+

The Lions were chosen by many in the football world as a sleeper team capable of making a playoff push prior to the season. However, a difficult schedule paired with an injury to their young starting QB left them floundering with yet another top 5 draft pick. It became clear during the season that Detroit could hang around in games and compete, but they still had a lack of talent at many spots that needed to be addressed before they could be considered a contender.

Before the draft even began, the Lions made a trade with the San Diego Chargers to address one of their longest lingering needs, a left tackle. Detroit shipped out DE Cliff Avril and their high 3rd round pick to the Chargers for OT Brandyn Dombrowski, WR Buster Davis and the Chargers late 3rd rounder. Avril was a solid pass rusher, but was a real liability against the run, so the Lions could move him. Dombrowski filled in admirably for Chargers LT Marcus McNeil during his contract holdout, and will provide an upgrade over underwhelming current LT Jeff Backus. The need for a real LT became painfully obvious this season, as each of the Lions division opponents has now acquired an elite pass rusher. As a "throw in" part of this trade, the Lions also picked up underachieving former first round pick Buster Davis. Davis has been a complete non-factor in San Diego, even during Vincent Jackson's holdout when he needed to step up the most. The Lions hope that Davis will provide them with a more solid #2/#3 type of WR to go along with stud Calvin Johnson. A quality trade for both sides.

But the Lions weren't finished with their trades there. They also traded CB Nathan Vasher to Seattle for LB Leroy Hill. Hill has had several off the field problems in Seattle, but is a talented player capable of really helping out a defense when he is on the field. Hill instantly becomes Detroit's most talented linebacker, which makes this trade seem like all the more of a steal, as the Lions only had to give up journeyman nickelback Nathan Vasher.

Once the draft began, Lions management was surprised when the Dallas Cowboys traded ahead of them to select CB Patrick Peterson, who many media sources had the Lions supposedly interested in. While Peterson really would have helped out their much maligned secondary, the Lions went with plan B, taking the Draft's best pass rusher in DE Robert Quinn. Quinn missed last football season after being suspended for NCAA rules violations, but he has shown the ability to be a stud, athletic pass rusher in the past. He should pair nicely with last year's #1 pick Ndamukong Suh to give the Lions a 1-2 pass rushing punch.

In the 2nd round, Detroit did get to address their need at CB, taking Colorado CB Jimmy Smith. Smith has impressive size for a corner and had been moving up draft boards all last season. Detroit got a talented player to fill a major need here.

Come round 3, Detroit made a trade up, pairing pick #96 that they had received from San Diego with their 4th rounder to move up. They then selected LSU linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. Pairing Sheppard with the previously traded for Leroy Hill should go a long way towards giving the Lions linebacking corps some much needed punch.

Overall, Detroit hit on a lot of needs in both trades before the draft and during the draft. As with most other teams picking high, they had more needs to address than what they could fill in one offseason, but the Lions got good value with each of their picks and should be a team on the upswing in 2011.

10-30-2010, 12:53 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

San Francisco 49ers
Grade: B+

Prior to the season, San Fran was viewed by many as the favorite within their division. However, despite having more talent than your typical teams picking in the top 5, the 49ers collapsed. Much of it was coaching, as Mike Singletary proved he simply was not ready to be the head coach of a pro football team. But thanks to that talent, such as RB Frank Gore, WR Michael Crabtree, TE Vernon Davis, LB Patrick Chung and an offensive line composed of many recent high draft picks, the 49ers could be in for a quick turnaround if they can fix their problems with coaching and upgrade a few positions this offseason.

When the 49ers were on the clock early in the 1st round, they were approached by the Cowboys and reached a deal to trade back. San Fran moved the #4 overall pick and underachieving G Chilo Rachal to Dallas for the #6 overall pick, ILB Bradie James, DE Jason Hatcher and Dallas' 4th round pick. Neither James nor Hatcher is a particularly good player, but both have shown to be adequate starters and should certainly provide at least quality depth for San Fran's 3-4 defense.

The 49ers didn't sit at #6 either, as they traded back with division rival Arizona. They jumped back to the Cardinals pick, #22 overall, and also picked up G Deuce Lutui and the Cardinals 2nd round pick. Lutui provides an upgrade over and replacement for Rachal who was traded to Dalls.

When they finally did start making picks, they addressed what was easily their biggest need: getting a QB. The Alex Smith experiment failed, and was perhaps allowed to go on for a few seasons more than anyone in San Fran would have liked. With the 22nd pick, San Fran found the next guy they hope to be their franchise QB, former Razorback Ryan Mallett. Mallett was viewed by some as a potential top 10 pick thanks to his incredible size and arm strength. He fell in the first round however, as questions about his character and having his weaknesses masked by Bobby Petrino's system crept up. But in the latter half of the first round, the risk seemed to outweigh the reward and San Fran may have themselves a player with elite potential to be their QB of the future.

With the first of their two second round selections, San Fran took a step towards improving their underwhelming pass rush by adding OLB Von Miller. Miller was viewed by many as a potential first round pick prior to the season, but he was hampered by an injury his senior year and his stock took a hit as a result. If they get Miller healthy, they could have a steal on their hands, and also the stud pass rusher they've long been without.

Later in the 2nd round, they upgraded their secondary by taking Florida CB Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins has good potential and fills a real need for the niners, as their CB corps has been less than spectacular.

In the 3rd round, San Fran added another player to their defensive front 7 in DT Jarvis Jenkins. Jenkins has the size to play NT in the 3-4 as well as the athleticism to play 3-4 DE. He should make for a versatile rotational player initially, while developing into a starter down the road.

The 49ers found themselves with 3 picks in the 4th round, and used the first on DT Kendrick Ellis of Hampton. Ellis has exceptional size and figures to develop into the 49ers future NT. He will have to overcome some character concerns and a leap in competition coming from Hampton, but the potential reward greatly outweighs any risk at this point in the draft.

With their second 4th round pick, grabbed another upgrade to their DL, this time in DE Pernell McPhee. At this point, one has to wonder whether San Fran will even have room on the roster for all of these DL acquisitions...McPhee does provide good value at this point, but his position has been overkilled by the 49ers to this point.

Finally, with their last 4th round pick, San Fran nabbed another CB in Clemson's Marcus Gilchrist. He should provide some excellent depth at the position while possibly developing into a future starter.

In the end, San Fran took several players with character or injury risks banking on the possible rewards they could reap from these guys. A new coaching staff should help get this team back on track with all of the talent they were squandering this past season, and these additions will only add to that. How well this draft class is viewed in the end will depend on Ryan Mallett though. They'll need him to step up at QB and put his physical tools to the use very quickly if they want to right this ship.

10-30-2010, 01:31 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Dallas Cowboys
Grade: C+

If there was ever a team to fall catastrophically short of expectations, it was this year's Dallas Cowboys. Poor coaching and a mid-season injury to starting QB Tony Romo destroyed the chances of this team to be the first to ever host a Superbowl in their home stadium, and they wound up with a top 10 draft pick for it.

Before the draft even began, Jerry Jones and Dallas management was extremely active in the trade market. Dallas dumped a number of players including WR Roy Williams, DE Marcus Spears and CB Orlando Scandrick in a trade to Oakland for OG Robert Gallery and a handful of draft pick upgrades. Now, o-line help was a major need, but Gallery has been an average guard at best. Once drafted to be Oakland's franchise LT, Gallery busted hard before finding a niche as a so-so guard. Dallas got a few years of success out of another player coming from a similar situation in Leonard Davis, so they are now hoping to do it again with Gallery. Though each of them underachieved, I think the guys Dallas gave up in this trade were a bit too much for what they got in return.

Once the draft began, Dallas traded up from #6 to #4 with San Fran, sending them so-so defenders Bradie James and Jason Hatcher, also, getting G Chilo Rachal in return. Rachal is another underachiever like Gallery who was considered the weakest link in San Fran's offensive line. Dallas is really banking on a change of scenery turning things around for this pair of guards.

With the 4th overall pick they traded up for, Dallas selected freakish LSU CB Patrick Peterson. Peterson possesses a size/speed ratio that is just unheard of to date in the NFL at 6'1, 222 pounds with sub 4.40 speed. Dallas secondary really took a step back this past season, adding to their woes. While there is hope that Mike Jenkins can turn things around, age has been catching up to Terrence Newman and Scandrick was traded out of town, making CB a huge need. Dallas gets an unbelievable physical specimen in Peterson, and they need to hope he continues to develop his football skills to match his measurables.

With the first of their two 2nd round picks, Dallas further addressed its secondary, selecting S Mark Barron of Alabama. Barron has been a key contributor to one of the best defenses in college football, and should immediately replace the disappointing Alan Ball as starter.

Later in the 2nd round, Dallas took Penn State C Stefen Wisniewski to continue fixing the problems with their o-line. Wisniewski doesn't have the immense size that the Cowboys seem to value in many of their offensive lineman, but he is smart and uses good techniques, both things the Cowboys could use on their o-line.

Finally, in the 3rd round, Dallas selected UNC DT Marvin Austin, a very boom-or-bust type of player. Austin came out of high school very highly rated and has shown flashes of immense potential, but he never quite put it together on the field before being suspended his final year of college. These concerns with his motor and character caused him to plummet from a potential top 15 pick to the 3rd round where the Cowboys landed him. He doesn't fit ideally in the Cowboys 3-4 defense, but if he begins to recognize his potential as part of their rotation or as a situational player, he could find a fit down the road.

Dallas really seemed to be trying hard to make a splash, but in the end, only traded out some underachieving veterans to bring in some others. Their draft class hit on some needs, and they have some extremely high ceiling type of players in Peterson and Austin. This class has the potential to be looked upon as very good a few years down the line, or, if some of these guys fail to reach their potential, look very bad.

10-30-2010, 02:22 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Philadelphia Eagles
Grade: A-

No one was quite sure what to expect out of the Eagles in 2010, their first season in over a decade without Donovan McNabb as their starting QB. Kevin Kolb sure didn't look like the replacement they expected to start the season, and Michael Vick really helped out winning a few starts. The Eagles would waffle between the QBs for a portion of the season, but have apparently decided that Kevin Kolb will be their starting QB for future seasons.

Having Kolb as their starter became set in stone when Philly traded Vick to Minnesota for a haul of draft picks, including their 2nd, 4th and 5th rounders. Vick's contract was up, so they had to franchise him in order to be able to trade him, but they got what I feel is pretty good value for him. While I'm sure they would have liked a 1st rounder or even more, no team was realistically going to invest that much in a QB with Vick's history, so this made for a good trade in my mind.

After moving Vick, Philly found themselves needing a veteran backup given Kolb's history of injury and inconsistency. They found that by trading a 4th round pick to Pittsburgh for Dennis Dixon. Dixon didn't blow anyone away in his starts for Pittsburgh, but didn't embarrass himself either. He was in the final year of his contract and had enough potential that Pittsburgh wanted to get something for him before losing him for nothing. Another good trade for Philly as they now have a veteran backup with potential should Kolb struggle in the future.

With their first round selection, #25 overall, the Eagles addressed a big need for a CB in Virginia's Ras-I Dowling. Dowling is a quality player, but questions about his speed have led many to think that he may need to move to safety in the pros. Philly must have seen something in him that led them to believe he could stay at CB and be the guy opposite Asante Samuel that they've really been without the last few seasons.

With their first of two picks in the 2nd round, the Eagles addressed their struggling o-line by taking talented interior lineman Mike Pouncey. Pouncey was looked at as a potential first round center early in the process, but he struggled at center throughout the year and may have to move back to guard in the pros. In either case, the Eagles needed help as their once great o-line has deteriorated into a mess last season.

Later in the 2nd round, the Eagles grabbed LB Greg Jones of Michigan State. Jones was the defense leader for the Spartans last year as they made a push for the Big 10 title. Ernie Sims and Stewart Bradley both had some struggles last season, and Jones will at the very least provide a valuable 3rd linebacker for them, if not replace one of those underachievers outright. Great value too, as I had Jones rated as a late first rounder.

With their 3rd round choice, Philly nabbed big play threat RB Noel Devine. LeSean McCoy is set as their starter, but they lacked a reliable backup and change of pace back, and Devine will provide that. Devine also figures to potentially contribute as a WR and return man, but he has limited experience in those roles coming out of West Virginia's spread option type of system where he was used primarily as a strict runner. He should be a solid contributor for the Eagles down the line.

With their first of two 4th round picks, the Eagles addressed their secondary depth by taking Florida safety Ahmad Black. He will initially be a good backup and play some special teams, and could figure to win a starting job down the line.

Finally, with their final pick in the 4th round, the Eagles grabbed Boise State big play WR Titus Young. Young was a top playmaker on an excellent Boise State offense and should be a great slot receiver for Philly as the 3rd WR behind Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. He also brings excellent return man skills and could contribute in that role right away as a rookie.

Overall, Philly got excellent value in both trades and all through the draft while still picking up players that fill needs. It was just an all around solid draft that could produce a number of future starters and major contributors. Exactly what you want as a borderline playoff team looking to improve into a championship contender.

10-30-2010, 03:05 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

San Diego Chargers
Grade: B

Much like the Cowboys and 49ers, the Chargers were a team many expected to be a contender, only to collapse and miss the playoffs entirely. Despite having the league's #1 offense and #1 defense for a portion of the season, San Diego's special teams really let them down in a number of games, leading to a lot of losses.

San Diego was active in the trade market pre-draft, including a trade that sent OT Brandyn Dombrowski, WR Buster Davis and a late 3rd round pick to Detroit for Detroit's early 3rd round pick and DE Cliff Avril. Davis was a bust former first round pick while Dombrowski was a solid LT when he played in place of Marcus McNeil early in the season. Signing McNeil long term made Dombrowski expendable so they made the move. In return, the Chargers got a solid pass rusher in Avril. He was a liability against the run as a DE in Detroit, but he figures to switch to OLB in San Diego, helping to replace Shawne Merriman and adding to the pass rushing potential of their rotation.

Another trade saw them send WR Vincent Jackson to St. Louis for a 2nd round pick. Jackson used his excellent size and athleticism to bring big play potential to San Diego's offense, but a series of DUI arrests and a contract holdout killed his relationship with the team. He will get a new start in St. Louis while San Diego gets a quality 2nd round pick. A good trade for both sides.

When it came time to start making selections, San Diego decided to take DE Cameron Heyward with their 8th overall pick. San Diego's defense just hasn't been the same since they parted ways with Igor Olshansky and Jamal Williams, and adding Heyward at DE will help to alleviate some of that. Heyward doesn't have the top end potential of some of the other 3-4 DEs that were chosen in the same area, but is an incredibly solid player who should be able to step in and contribute right away.

With the first of their two 2nd round selections, the Chargers took S DeAndre McDaniel of Clemson. He was viewed as a potential first rounder prior to the season, but was exposed in coverage a number of times and his stock took a big hit. He has the ability to be a quality SS in the pros, so the pick isn't a total loss, though he may not have been quite worth the pick at this point with other quality safeties on the board.

With their other 2nd round selection, the Chargers took CB Curtis Brown of Texas. Quentin Jammer has been a quietly great corner for many years in San Diego, but other than one good year out of Antonio Cromartie, the Chargers have really struggled to find someone to play opposite him. They have a handful of decent nickel and dime type guys, but Brown has the potential to land that #2 CB job and excel in it.

With their first of three 3rd round selections, the Chargers addressed their WR corps that struggled in 2010 by taking Devier Posey. Posey had a good career at Ohio State and was the favored target of Terrell Pryor in his time there. He should provide an infusion of young talent to the Chargers passing attack.

Later in the 3rd round, the Chargers selected OT Lee Ziemba of Auburn. Zeimba looks to be their future answer at the RT position where the mediocre Jeremy Clary currently resides.

With their final 3rd round selection, the Chargers gambled by taking QB/WR Terrell Pryor. Pryor showed a major lack of accuracy, zip on his passes and feel for playing the QB position, preventing teams from giving him a serious look at the position in the pros. San Diego however hopes to use his athleticism and move him to WR. While he is definitely a long term project, it could pay off in the end and taking him in the late 3rd round limits the risk involved.

Finally, in the 4th round, San Diego chose Florida OT Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert played tackle in college but could move inside to guard in the pros as well. He will provide solid depth at the very least.

San Diego had significantly more talent than their record would show in 2010, and didn't have too many glaring needs. They added some guys who should be solid starters in Heyward and Brown, as well as a lot of guys who could provide good depth in the later rounds. A solid, if albeit, unspectacular draft.

10-30-2010, 03:17 PM
TB: B-

I think Romeus was a reach at 16, and even as a Miami fan I don't like DVD's value in the 4th but bad Miami players do keep ending up on teams. Leshoure is a great value in the 2nd and Potter is decent value in the 3rd

Chi: B+

Deff needed to spend early picks on the O-Line and you got decent value with both picks, Nevis is a great pick in the 3rd, don't know much about Hogan so i can't really comment on him

10-30-2010, 04:39 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Oakland Raiders
Grade: D+

There haven't been many dysfunctional teams throughout the history of the NFL as the Raiders have been in recent years. They've blown very high draft picks in players like Robert Gallery and JaMarcus Russell, and have other high picks like Darrius Heyward-Bey right on the borderline of busting. With a so-so 2010 campaign that had them looking solid at times, they may finally have some hope for the future.

Or do they? Right away, they traded by far their best player and a candidate for one of the league's best defensive players Nnamdi Asomugha and overpaid DT Tommy Kelly to Seattle for OL Stacy Andrews and a couple of picks. Ridding themselves of Kelly's salary isn't bad, but they should have gotten more for Nnamdi. I know there was risk of him leaving as a FA in the future, but he was one of the few bright spots on their team, and with the first round pick they did acquire, they drafted a replacement corner....more on that later. It reminded me of when Minnesota traded Randy Moss to Oakland for a first rounder, and then used it on a far lesser WR! I didn't like either move at either time.

Also prior to the draft, Oakland swapped some underachieving players and picks with the Dallas Cowboys. Oakland brought in WR Roy Williams, CB Orlando Scandrick, and and DE Marcus Spears while trading out G Robert Gallery. All 3 of the players they received from Dallas have been underwhelming in their time there...the only thing Oakland can be thinking is that the change of scenery will breathe some new life into these guys. If not, they just brought on a bunch of salary in depth players...I didn't love either one of their trades on Oakland's side.

As for the draft, Oakland spent their first pick acquired from Seattle for Nnamdi Asomugha, #18 overall, on CB Aaron Williams of Texas. I like Williams, but was it really worth trading away a proven, elite CB for this pick just to take a lesser, unproven corner? With Nnamdi, Oakland could at least sport a competent pass defense that could help them compete for their weak division's title, but now you bring in a rookie, and you harm one of the few bright spots of your team. For their sake, they better hope that Williams works out better for them than Troy Williamson did for Minnesota when they traded Randy Moss for that pick.

Now onto a good value pick that I do like. In the 2nd round, Oakland took C Kris O'Dowd from USC. Oakland has needed a quality center for years, and recently, even had to convert 6'8 OT Jared Veldheer to the position. O'Dowd is an excellent player with a lot of starting experience, but some injury concerns hurt his draft stock. If he can stay healthy, Oakland should have themselves a quality center for the next decade or better.

In the 3rd round, Oakland took OLB Travis Lewis of Oklahoma. Lewis is a smaller, more athletic linebacker at about 6'2 230, and should compete with Quentin Groves and Kamerion Wimbley for one of the starting OLB spots alongside Rolando McClain.

Finally, in the 4th round, Oakland went back to the USC well to take FB Stanley Havili. Havili isn't your traditional lead blocking type of FB. He has superb athleticism for his size and should contribute as a goal line/short yardage runner to pair long term with Darren McFadden who is more of a speedy, home run hitter. Not sure if this was the biggest need around for Oakland, but Havili can be a solid player in the NFL.

In the end, I don't like a lot of what Oakland did here. Trading their best defensive player for a first round pick, then using that pick on a lesser player at the same position.....not a fan. They will come away with potentially 3 starters in their first 3 picks, and did get some depth type players from Dallas who could contribute. I'm just not a big fan of what they did here...more headscratching from the Oakland Raiders. What else is new I guess.

10-30-2010, 05:17 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Green Bay Packers
Grade: B-

Lump Green Bay in with all of the teams with Superbowl aspirations who really collapsed in 2010. It was mainly injuries that just wrecked this team's chances, but there were some areas win which they could use improvements as well.

Not typically big players in the trade market, Green Bay stayed quiet up until the draft, content with getting their guys healthy and adding some rookies to the mix.

With their first round pick, #13 overall, Green Bay selected DE Cameron Jordan out of Cal. I had Jordan rated as a later first rounder, so I considered it a slight reach, but the fit is good and there was a run on 3-4 DEs just prior to this pick, so I can see why Green Bay would have made it. Their d-line depth was badly exposed due to injury and Jordan should lock down one of the starting DE jobs before long.

In the 2nd round, Green Bay made a value pick when they took WR Ryan Broyles of Oklahoma. They would seem to have no immediate need at the position with Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones and Jordy Nelson all on the team, but Driver's age paired with Broyles' good value made them pull the trigger. Broyles figures to be their future slot receiver and should also give a much needed boost to their return game which hasn't been particularly potent of late.

In the 3rd round, Green Bay addressed their need for depth in the secondary, taking CB Davon House out of New Mexico State. I didn't have House rated quite this high, so I feel like this was a bit of a reach, but Green Bay has reached in the pass for guys they particularly like, so I'll chalk this up to that. Despite having the #2 rated defense in 2009, their passing defense struggled against quality QBs and they continued to struggle due to the injuries. Charles Woodson also had issues in 2010, making CB help all the more of a need headed forward.

Then in the 4th round, Green Bay addressed one of their bigger needs when they took RB Bilal Powell out of Louisville. Powell was dominant at times in the weak Big East and should provide Green Bay's rushing attack with a heavy hitter in case Ryan Grant doesn't return to form after his injury. I would have preferred to see Green Bay add more of a speedy, big play threat at the position to better compliment their potent passing attack, but I'm a fan of Powell and he will also be able to help their run game.

Green Bay did hit some of their biggest needs in this draft, though I didn't always like the value of the guys they got. They may have just moved guys like Jordan and House up their board because they saw something in them they particularly liked for their style of defense. If that's the case, then I'll trust them. A solid if unspectacular draft.

10-30-2010, 06:26 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

New Orleans Saints
Grade: B+

After a 2009 Superbowl victory, New Orleans fell out of sync in 2010. Their defense wasn't getting the turnovers and big plays of the prior year, and their offense just did not look the same. They were down to 4th and 5th string RBs at times, and their formerly dominant o-line looked average at best. Even Drew Brees had his struggles. With all of this holding the team back, they needed some upgrades to get this team back into Superbowl shape.

In the first round, New Orleans selected a very well rounded player in DE Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue. Kerrigan isn't your typical pure pass rushing DE, as he plays the run very well. He probably won't be a regular double digit sack kind of guy, but his well-roundedness will serve him and the Saints well as he improves a front 7 that has needed for work for a few seasons running now.

In the 2nd round, New Orleans finally got the DT they've long sought after to pair with Sedrick Ellis in Oregon State's Stephen Paea. Paea was viewed by some as a first rounder prior to the season, but never really lived up to the hype during the season. Still, he is a very solid player and well work the pick in this spot. He fills a big need for the Saints as well.

With their first pick in the 3rd round, the Saints filled another long time need. This time, it was for a LB which they found in North Carolina's Quan Sturdivant. Sturdivant is a bit undersized but has good athleticism and figures to move outside in the pros as the weakside running mate to Jonathan Vilma. Another need filled with a player whose value matches the spot.

With a their later pick in the 3rd round, they selected Wisconsin OG John Moffitt. The Saints have an excellent pair of guards in Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans, but their depth is rather lacking and Moffitt should provide that. He could also develop into a starter down the line should the Saints lose one of their quality guards in free agency.

The Saints had a very solid draft that matched need and value with every pick. The improvements they've made on defense could go a long way towards helping get this team back into Superbowl contention if the offense can get healthy and back into rhythm.

10-30-2010, 07:04 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Baltimore Ravens
Grade: B+

After years of being carried by their powerful defense, Baltimore's offense looks like it is finally capable of holding up its end of the bargain as well. But there were still a few areas where they needed some youth and depth in order to stay competitive into the future.

Prior to the draft, the Ravens shipped disgruntled OT Jared Gaither to Buffalo for the first pick in the 2nd round, #33 overall. It was a move that made sense for Baltimore, as Michael Oher slid in at LT capably and there was no way they could afford to pay Gaither as much as it would have taken to keep him around just to play RT. They shipped him to Buffalo who was in bad need of a LT and got a quality pick in return.

Once the draft began, Baltimore wasn't content to sit back until their late 1st rounder. Instead, they packaged that pick and one of their 2nd rounders to move up to 10th overall where they selected Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn. Many had Clayborn as a potential top 10 pick thanks to his size and versatility to play in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. The Ravens jumped when he fell to the 10th pick and wasted no time adding him to a defensive line that already features Haloti Ngata.

With the 2nd rounder they got for Jared Gaither, the Ravens selected BC linebacker Mark Herzlich. Herzlich missed a season two years ago due to a bought with a rare bone cancer, but he came back with a solid showing last season to bring his draft stock back up. He clearly lost some of the athleticism as a result of the illness and treatment, but he remains an intelligent field general who will benefit greatly from being Ray Lewis' protege. If he continues to work hard to get back to his pre-sickness form athletically, the sky is limit for him. This pick has some risk but has potentially huge payoff for the Ravens down the line.

In the 3rd round, the Ravens took playmaking WR Jerrel Jernigan out of Troy. The Ravens finally got Joe Flacco one elite WR in Anquan Boldin, but you have to wonder how long guys like Mason and Housh will be able to keep contributing. Jernigan will likely play out of the slot initially and should also contribute in the return game.

The Ravens had a quality draft overall and brought in some talented young players who should keep this team strong headed into the future.

10-30-2010, 07:59 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

NY Jets
Grade: B

For two straight years now, Rex Ryan's defense has been dominating. This past season, they also saw some excellent development out of Mark Sanchez and got a rejuvenated LT to carry their ground game. And perhaps most impressive of all, they lived up to their preseason hype, one of the few teams to do so this year it would seem.

So what does a successful team with few true weaknesses do? Go BPA as much as possible. They did just that in the first round when the selected Auburn DT Nick Fairley 32nd overall. Fairley was dominant last season and word is a number of teams were trying to trade up for Fairley in the early 2nd round before the Jets took him here. Excellent value and Rex Ryan should find a good fit for him in his defensive front.

With the final pick in the 2nd round of the draft, the Jets grabbed a real workout warrior in LB Dontay Moch of Nevada. His sub 4.3 speed is unreal for a player his size and thus, the sky is the limit for how good he could become. With Bart Scott getting older and David Harris' contract expiring and the team unlikely to have the funds to resign him, Moch looks to be one of the future ILBs on this team, and he should be a beast on special teams in the meantime.

With no 3rd rounder (they traded it for Antonio Cromartie last offseason,) they had their final pick in the 4th round where they took OT Clint Boling of Georgia. He figures to provide depth and possibly be the future RT of this team down the line.

The Jets just sat back and collected a few players with great value and potential at the spots where they were drafted. The could come away with 3 starters down the line in their first 3 picks, and all should help keep this team a top contender for years to come.

10-30-2010, 09:13 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

New England Patriots
Grade: A-

No team started the 2011 Draft with more picks in the first 4 rounds than New England. A series of past trades led them to having such an assortment of picks that any draftnik would drool over. So how would they best put them to use?

With their first pick in the first round, 9th overall, the Pats added some much needed firepower to their defensive front selected DE DaQuan Bowers out of Clemson. Bowers has incredible size and athleticism at over 280 pounds. He could probably play DE in their 3-4 scheme, but word out of NE management after the pick says he could be tried out at OLB. Both positions of need, and Bowers will certainly help lock one of the down.

New England then gave up a few of their picks, trading up to pick #18 in the first round to select WR Julio Jones of Alabama. Jones had incredible hype as a recruit, but never fully lived up to it in the more conservative, run-focused offense at Alabama. He may make for a better pro than college player and New England felt him worth trading up for. He will likely be the guy to replace Randy Moss as the team's #1 WR. In the meantime, a collection of guys like Deion Branch, Wes Welker and Brandon Tate will keep the WR corps strong. Factor in young TEs Hernandez and Gronkowski with future HoF QB Tom Brady an New England's passing attack could be terrifying if Jones develops into a true #1 for them.

Even with their trade up in the first round, New England still had two picks in the 2nd round. With their first pick, they selected DE Jared Crick out of Nebraska. Crick has perfect size to be a 3-4 DE in New England's scheme, and was a steal in the early 2nd round. He should make for the best DE they've had since trading Richard Seymour 2 years ago.

Later in the 2nd round, New England selected OG/C Rodney Hudson out of Florida State. Hudson is very undersized for an NFL lineman at only about 6'2 280 pounds, and will struggle in that division that features 3 other 3-4 defenses who utilize massive NTs. Hudson will need to add on some weight to bulk up, while keeping his athleticism to justify this selection. I would have preferred to see Hudson go to a team that won't face as many 3-4 defenses, but New England has taken a chance on the youngster.

With their only remaining pick in the 3rd round, the Pats addressed their o-line once again with Pitt OT Jason Pinkston. Pinkston could probably play RT or move inside to G if need be to help replace Logan Mankins. A solid pick that gives them some versatile depth.

Overall, this is what I've come to expect from a New England draft. Past trades gave them ample picks, and they moved around as necessary to pick up the guys they were targeting. I really wish they would have gotten a RB at some point as they lack a primary ball carrier. It was the only major need that wasn't addressed.

10-30-2010, 11:27 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Indianapolis Colts
Grade: C+

The Colts have been one of the league's most dominant teams of the last decade, but this season, injuries and a lack of talent along the o-line really held them back. Not even Peyton Manning could overcome the struggles of some of the team's other units this time around. They really needed an infusion of talent to get this team back into championship contention.

Prior to the draft, the Colts traded WR Pierre Garcon and the 20th pick in the draft to the Redskins for the 15th pick and S Chris Horton. Garcon was having issues with drops and mental mistakes in the Colts offense which requires absolute precision in it's receivers, so he was expendable. In return, the Colts upgraded their first round pick by 5 spots and got Horton. He made a real impact as a rookie, but his playing time diminished the last two seasons. He will provide quality depth behind the oft-injured Bob Sanders.

Once the draft began, the Colts traded up once again. This time sending a haul of picks to Cincinnati for pick #11 and DT Tank Johnson. With the pick, the Colts selected OT Derek Sherrod out of Mississippi State. Sherrod was considered by many as the best LT prospect of the draft, and that is something the Colts badly needed. They've been without a great blindside protector for Manning since Tarik Glenn's retirement, and have gotten by with journeyman thanks to Manning's elite pocket presence and pre-snap reads. Sherrod should be able to allow Manning to buy more time and hence, improve an already potent offensive attack. They also picked up Tank Johnson as part of the trade, who gives them a solid rotational DT to help sure up their porous run defense.

The Colts then traded the 3rd rounder they received from Cincy to Chicago for the Bears later 3rd round pick and DT Tommie Harris. Harris was once billed as the next coming of Warren Sapp as an elite pass rushing DT, but a series of injuries robbed him of his explosiveness and he quickly fell out of favor with the coaching staff, even being benched at one point in the season. Indy hopes that they can help him return to pro bowl form and give them another solid pass rusher to compliment Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

Their next pick came at the end of the 3rd round where they continued to upgrade their offensive line by select OG/T Orlando Franklin of Miami. Franklin figures to move inside to G as a pro, though he could potentially play RT down the line as well.

In the 4th round, the Colts selected DB Chris Culliver of South Carolina. Perhaps a bit of a reach at the spot, Culliver will likely provide depth in the secondary and also help out on special teams.

After several seasons drafting offensive skill position players high in the draft, the Colts finally went back to the trenches after realizing that not even Peyton Manning can make up for a poor quality offensive line. They also added a couple of so-so defenders who should provide adequate depth for their defense which got torched numerous times in 2010. It won't go down as a particularly flashy draft, and perhaps the only immediate starter they get is Sherrod, but the Colts were a strong enough team to begin with that just what little help these guys provide could get them back into contention.

10-30-2010, 11:52 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Washington Redskins
Grade: C

After bringing in a Superbowl champion head coach in Mike Shanahan and multi-time pro bowl QB Donovan McNabb, many thought the Redskins had a chance to make a playoff push. However, their defense struggled at times and they ended up a mediocre team by season's end.

Typically big players in the offseason, the Redskins actually stayed fairly quiet making just one trade. They traded back in the first round 5 picks with the Colts, swapping S Chris Horton for WR Pierre Garcon as well. Horton was losing playing time the last few seasons after a good rookie campaign, failing to start even a single game in 2010, so he was expendable. In return, they acquired Garcon who, despite some inconsistency and mental lapses in in Indy, instantly becomes their 2nd best WR to Santana Moss. A fair trade by both sides it would seem.

With the first round pick they acquired after the trade down, they selected LB Donta Hightower of Alabama. Hightower is your prototypical "thumper" ILB in the 3-4. London Fletcher is getting close to the end of his career and Rocky McIntosh isn't the greatest fit, so Hightower will surely see playing time sooner than later and should help sure up their defensive front 7.

In the 2nd round, their only other pick in the first 4 rounds, Washington selected RB Ryan Williams of Virginia Tech. Williams had a fantastic redshirt freshman campaign before falling back to Earth a bit last season. Still, he is a solid pick in the mid-2nd round and instantly becomes the Redskins most talented running back and a good fit for Shanahan's scheme.

They didn't have many picks to work with, but they did address a few of their needs. I fear though that years of trading their draft picks will eventually catch up to this team, if it hasn't already.

10-31-2010, 12:07 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Arizona Cardinals
Grade: B

Though Arizona lost a HoF QB to retirement, a pro bowl LB to free agency and a pro bowl WR to trade, they still managed to stumble into playoff contention thanks to their extraordinarily weak division. Undrafted rookie QB Max Hall wasn't exactly a great player, but at least gave them an adequate performance over the season and showed enough to get a shot as their QB into the future. This was a team that still had some decent talent around, but they needed some help if they wanted to stay a playoff contender with teams like Seattle and St. Louis on the rise in their division.

First, Arizona made a trade to help out their woeful offensive line, sending a 3rd round pick to Cleveland for G Eric Steinbach. Steinbach figures to be their immediate starter at LG and should provide an upgrade over the players they've had there recently. He wasn't a bad player in Cleveland, but he was likely going to be past his prime by the time they were ready to compete, so kudos to Arizona for picking up a quality player for relatively cheap here.

Then, once the draft began, Arizona made the biggest trade of anyone jumping up into the top 10, to #6 overall, to select CB Prince Amukamara. Arizona gave up a haul of picks as well as G Deuce Lutui to division rival San Francisco to make the move up, but ended up with a stud player in Amukamara. While he doesn't have the same high end physical tools as Patrick Peterson, Amukama may be the more polished CB of the two and was well worth a top 10 selection in his own right.

With their only remaining pick after the trade up, a 4th rounder, Arizona selected DE Jabaal Sheard out of Pitt. Sheard figures to move to OLB in Arizona's 3-4 scheme and has the potential to be a starter down the line while being a solid rotational player in the meantime.

Arizona didn't leave themselves much to work with after their trades, but did greatly improve their pass defense by bringing in Amukamara and some o-line help in Steinbach. If Max Hall or developmental backup John Skelton don't work out, nothing else may matter since this is such a QB driven league and Arizona didn't address that spot here. It's a game, but if it pays off, they could remain a playoff team for seasons to come.

11-01-2010, 04:49 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Jacksonville Jaguars
Grade: B-

2010 was a season of ups and downs for the Jaguars. At times, they looked like a playoff team but at others, they looked like a team who should be planning to rebuild. They ended up in the middle of the pack, and really needed an impact from this offseason to have a shot next season.

The Jags started with the 14th overall pick, but when the top players at positions they needed were going, they opted to trade down withe Giants to pick #23, also picking up an extra 2nd rounder. With pick #23, the Jags selected CB Brandon Harris of Miami. The Jags division features a couple of potent passing attacks in Indy and Houston, so they needed help in the secondary to slow them down. Rashean Mathis has been a quality corner for a number of years, but they lacked someone to play across from him, and this where Harris will come in handy.

When WR Jonathan Baldwin fell to the end of the first round, the Jaguars sent their two 2nd rounders to Pittsburgh for pick #30 to select Baldwin. Mike Sims-Walker has been somewhat inconsistent for them despite showing some flashes, and Baldwin will give them a boost to their passing game.

In the 3rd round, the Jags selected QB Christian Ponder of Florida State. After signing David Garrard to a long term, franchise QB type of deal a few seasons ago, he has struggled with consistency. The team picked up Trend Edwards on waivers, but must not have liked what they saw in him the rest of the season. Ponder doesn't have ideal size or arm strength, but got a lot of starting experience in college and has excellent value at this point in the draft.

With their first of two 4th round selections, the Jags chose OLB Zach Brown of North Carolina. A bit undersized at 6'2 225, Brown is a tackle machine and should at the very least provide valuable depth to the Jags LB corps, if not become a solid starter down the line.

With their other 4th rounder, Jacksonville selected Ohio State S Jermele Hines. Hines has excellent size to play as an in-the-box SS in the NFL and should, at least at first, provide help on special teams.

The Jags may have only gotten two immediate starters in this draft with their first 2 picks, but they may also have gotten their QB of the future in Ponder. It was a solid effort overall, but I don't know if they will have enough to keep up with other teams of their division.

11-01-2010, 05:18 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Pittsburgh Steelers
Grade: B

The Steelers followed up their 2008 Superbowl victory with a lackluster, injury-filled 2009. In 2010, they bounced back to their Superbowl form, dominating most of the season on both sides of the ball. They didn't have many glaring needs, at least amongst their starters, but they did need some youth and depth, particularly in the trenches.

It was no real surprise then, that they Steelers traded out of the first round with the Jaguars for some second round picks. They moved down from #30 overall, and with their first selection in round 2, chose Colorado OT Nate Solder. Solder boasts impressive size (6'9 315) and good athleticism, but comes off as raw and had some flaws exposed in 2010. He is the likely future replacement for Flozell Adams at RT, or possibly even as the team's future LT if he develops well.

With the second of the teams three 2nd round picks, the Steelers continued to address their needs for youth in the trenches, selecting massive Ole Miss NT Jerrell Powe. Casey Hampton has a lock on the spot for now, but almost all of the team's other defensive lineman are over the age of 30. Powe can develop and learn the scheme initially, and be ready to provide an impact down the line.

Right after taking Powe, the Steelers used their next pick, also a 2nd rounder, on Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray. The Steelers have one great RB in Rashard Mendenhall, but Murray will give them an effective one-two punch as a big play threat and to rest Mendenhall.

With their 3rd round choice, the Steelers went with Colorado CB Jalil Brown. Brown was the "other" CB to 2nd round pick Jimmy Smith, but is a very good prospect in his own right. He has a good build and plays physical, exactly what the Steelers prefer in their corners.

With the first of their two 4th round picks, the Steelers chose LB Mason Foster of Washington. Foster figures to play ILB in the Steelers 3-4 scheme and will probably help out on special teams initially. Down the line, he could even develop into the replacement for James Farrior.

With their last pick of the 4th round, the Steelers selected DE Cedric Thornton of Central Arkansas. Thorton will provide valuable defensive line depth and could be developed into a solid starter down the line when some of the Steelers current, older players start to break down.

While it wasn't a flashy draft, the Steelers picked up a number of players who will, at the very least, provide excellent depth as well as a few possible future starters.

11-01-2010, 06:01 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Miami Dolphins
Grade: D

After a surprising playoff run in Tony Sparano's first year as head coach, they took a step back in his 2nd. However, many people expected this team to take a big leap forward into the playoffs in 2010. Due to a tough division, they instead missed out. So what would they do to alleviate their problems in the offseason?

In the first round, Miami traded back with division rival New England, from pick #17 down to pick #28 for 2nd and 4th round selections. At #28, the Dolphins selected Oklahama pass rusher Jeremy Beal. I felt like this was a bit of a reach, as I had Beal rated as more of a mid-2nd rounder. I also wonder whether a pass rushing OLB was really a big need with the emergence of Cameron Wake and after spending a 2nd rounder on Koa Misi last year.

With their first pick in the 3rd round, Miami selected WR Ronald Johnson. Again, with Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess and Brian Hartline all looking like quality receivers, I wonder why Miami went that way here?

A few picks later in the 3rd round, Miami took a flier on Auburn QB and Heisman Trophy winner Cameron Newton. Newton was a super athletic college QB with extraordinary size, but was never really developed as a passer. Miami has said that they plan to move him to TE in the pros. At any rate, it will probably be a few seasons before he is ready to contribute in a meaningful way.

With their first 4th round pick, the Dolphins chose Michigan G Stephen Schilling. He will provide some solid interior o-line depth and could develop into a starter down the line.

Finally, with their last pick in the 4th round, Miami selected TCU safety Tejay Johnson. I had Johnson as a late rounder, and I think he was a bit of a reach at this point. Could be a solid player...but not worth the pick here.

I'm not sure I really like what Miami did here. They reached for a number of players and didn't really address what I felt were their top needs. I would have liked to see them at some point grab a RB with the age and impending free agency of Brown and Williams...or find a true 3-4 NT since they haven't had a great fit there since Jason Fergusen's retirement...or a solid #2 CB for across from emerging star Vontae Davis since Jason Allen, Sean Smith and Benny Sapp all leave something to desire....or a safety higher as Yeremiah Bell and Chris Clemons could also be upgraded.... Very questionable draft I feel.

11-02-2010, 07:13 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

New York Giants
Grade: B-

The Giants rode their defense to a Superbowl victory a few seasons ago, but in 2009, their defense completely fell apart. In 2010, their defense showed significant improvement and got back to attacking the opposing passer while their above-average offense helped them win games. Their division didn't prove to be as tough as expected, but neither did their conference really...so could the Giants add enough in this offseason to remain one of the NFC's top teams?

The Giants were active traders leading up to the draft. Firstly, they sent DE Mathias Kiwanuka to Chicago, upgrading their 1st and 3rd round picks by 9 slots and also getting Chicago's 5th rounder in the process. Kiwanuka was a very solid rotational DE/LB, but with so many other talented pass rushers, he was expendable. A lingering neck injury hurt his trade value a bit, but the Giants still got decent value for him.

Then, the Giants sent CB Aaron Ross to Houston for the Texans' 2nd round pick. Ross was a solid starter, but nothing real spectacular, so getting a 2nd round pick for him represented good value. Unlike Kiwankuka though, the Giants weren't quite as deep in the secondary....so this move may come back to hurt them if they don't find someone else to step up.

Finally, the Giants acquired Buffalo Bills CB Terrence McGee for a pair of 4th round picks. McGee is a former pro-bowl return man and solid, though undersized corner. He would ideally be the Giants nickel back on defense, though could be a potential starter if the need arose.

Keeping right with their propensity for trading, the Giants traded up once the draft got going. They traded the first round pick they got from Chicago, and their own 2nd rounder, to trade up with Jacksonville to pick #14. With that pick, they selected former Heisman Trophy winning RB Mark Ingram. Ingram had a very productive college career, not only winning the Heisman but also a National Championship. While he has excellent all around skills and no major weaknesses, he had no real elite qualities either. The Giants got him in for decent value in the middle of the first round, and should provide them with the consistent, all-around back they've really been lacking over the past decade and should replace the disappointing Brandon Jacobs.

In the 2nd round, the Giants selected LSU OT Joseph Barksdale. Barksdale is unlikely to be a LT in the pros, but the Giants are probably hoping he can be their future starter at RT. I still probably wouldn't have taken him this high...I hate him rated as more of a 4th rounder.

The Giants continued addressing their offensive line in the 3rd round when they selected C Alex Linnenkohl of Oregon State. The Giants long-time starting center Shaun O'Hara is on the downslope of his career and missed part of 2010 with injuries. Linnenkohl should provide a quality replacement down the line.

This draft saw the Giants trade some of their excess on defense for picks with which to improve their weaknesses on offense. Ingram should give them at least an above-average starter at RB to compliment Eli Manning and the passing attack while they also picked up a couple of reserve lineman to develop and start down the line. Nothing flashy for all the moving around they did, but it was a solid effort whose results may not be known for a few seasons.

11-03-2010, 02:34 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Minnesota Vikings
Grade: B+

Right there, with teams like the Cowboys and Chargers, are the Vikings when it comes to teams who failed to live up to expectations in 2010. Year 2 of the Brett Favre experiment failed miserably while the team completely fell apart under Brad Childress. They are a team with a lot of talent, but severely lack it at the most important position on the team: a QB. they could need to address that, as well as sure up a number of their other weaknesses to get back into contention anytime soon.

The Vikings biggest move, to address their biggest need, came before the draft where they traded 2nd, 4th and 5th round picks to Philly for QB Michael VIck. Vick arguably played some of his best football last season in spot duty for the Eagles. Age and two years out of the game didn't seem to slow down his explosive athleticism at all, while he showed serious development as a passer. A mid-season rib injury caused the Eagles to switch back to Kevin Kolb, but Vick had showed enough to ramp up his trade value. If he comes into Minnesota and plays as well as he did last year in Philly with weapons like Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin around him, he could make the Vikings back into a contender.

After trading those picks for Vick, as well as a 3rd in the failed Randy Moss experiment, The Vikings weren't left with much. The best way to alleviate that is to trade back, so that is exactly what the VIkings did. They traded their pick, #10 overall, to Baltimore for their 1st, 2nd and 5th round picks. With the Ravens first rounder, #26 overall, the Vikings selected OT DeMarcus Love of Arkansas. Love isn't an ideal "franchise" LT, but he could certainly provide an upgrade there, or play RT which he has done for Arkansas as well. He could even potentially move inside to guard. His versatility will very much help out the Vikings, though if they were expecting a franchise, pass-blocking LT to replace Bryant McKinnie, they likely are going to be disappointed.

With the 2nd round pick they received from Baltimore, their last of the draft, they selected S Rahim Moore of UCLA. Moore has good size and is skilled enough to play either type of safety. The Vikings pass defense has been very suspect despite a historically strong run defense, so this move fills a major need and gets them a talented player who some viewed as a potential first or early-2nd round pick.

They didn't have a lot to work with, especially after trading for Vick, but the Vikings got a handful of pieces who could help solidify this team and make them back into the contender they should have been before Brad Childress went and crashed their season.

11-03-2010, 02:50 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Seattle Seahawks
Grade: B-

The Seahawks surprised some people in year 1 of the Pete Carroll regime, and found themselves in it at the end for their comparatively weak division. However, if they wanted to emerge as a Superbowl threat, they needed to bring in some help.

And Seattle would get that help almost exclusively through trades. Right off the bat, they sent disgruntled and trouble LB Leroy Hill to Detroit for CB Nathan Vasher. Hill is a talented linebacker, but his off the field troubles made him expendable. Still, all they got in return was a journeyman nickel back in Vasher. It may have been better than just cutting Hill, but I'm surprised they couldn't get a little bidding war going given that he isn't a bad player.

Then came their blockbuster trade. The Seahawks sent all of their early draft picks, plus versatile OG/T Stacy Andrews to Oakland for CB Nnamdi Asomugha and DT Tommy Kelly. Asomugha has long been thought of as one of, if not thee best, CB in football. He simply locks down his side of the field like very few others can. Secondary help was a major need for Seattle, and instead of draft a rookie and developing him, they decided to take the approach of trying to win now and took the elite veteran. They gave up a lot here, but getting one of the best players at his position might be worth it. They also picked up the overpaid, disappointing Tommy Kelly to be part of their rotation.

After all of those trades, Seattle was left only with a 4th rounder which they used to select QB Pat Devlin of Delaware. The Seahawks picked up Charlie Whitehurst last offseason, but were disappointed with him. Devlin has the potential to be a starter down the line, and should at least be a solid career backup.

Seattle banked this whole draft on one big move to bring in Asomugha. There is no question that he will immediately upgrade their secondary, but will the lack of young talent catch up with them since they didn't get much else out of this class? Time will tell.

11-03-2010, 04:38 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Cincinnati Bengals
Grade: A-

I feel like a broke record writing these mentioning every team that failed to live up to expectations in 2010. The Bengals are another that can be added to that list. While they may not be as surprising as the Cowboys, Chargers or Vikings, they did dominate their division in 2009 and looked like a team who could take the next step forward in 2010. Instead....failure. Carson Palmer has regressed badly while Cedric Benson was running more like he did when he was with the Bears (very poorly.) Their defense also let them down despite having a ton of talented athletes, particularly in the front 7, and a pair of quality starting corners.

To get back on the right track, they needed a good draft. They traded back from the 11th pick to the 15th pick with Indianapolis for a couple of picks, and also sent starting DT Tank Johnson along in the deal. Johnson was solid but nothing great in his time in Cincy, and the picks they got in exchange for him and the move back are probably more valuable,

With the 15th pick they acquired, the Bengals selected fast-rising Wisconsin DE/DT JJ Watt. Watt had a monster junior year, constantly terrorizing opposing QBs. (Terrell Pryor is still having nightmares I'm sure.) I didn't have Watt rated quite this high, as he had only the one year of good production, but he has excellent size and physical abilities, making him worth the slight risk. He will hopefully add energy to the Bengals talented though underachieving front 7.

In the 2nd round, the Bengals selected another talented underclassmen in Iowa State OT Kelechi Osemele. Osemele is a bit raw, and another year of school may have helped him into the first round, but he was worth the risk at this point. He figures to need a year or two of development, but could be the Bengals future LT.

With their second 2nd round choice, picked up in the trade down, the Bengals addressed their woeful group of safeties choosing Deunta Williams of North Carolina. Williams has excellent size and could excel at either safety position in the pros. He could compete for a starting job right off the bat and lock it down for years if he works out.

With their 3rd round pick, Cincy chose another North Carolina product, WR Greg Little. Little was one of the players caught up in the NCAA rules violations and missed his senior year as a result. If he was able to play, he very well could have worked his way into the upper 2nd or even into the 1st round. Instead, the Bengals get a potential steal here to help them replace TO or Ochocinco down the line.

Finally, in the 4th round, the Bengals drafted a guy who could be their QB of the future in Idaho's Nathan Enderle. Palmer has been very disappointing, regressing every year it seems since his knee and elbow injuries. And behind him, Cincy has only had Jordan Palmer, Carson's younger brother. Enderle has a lot of talent, being compared to Baltimore's Joe Flacco before, but got beat up with a poor surrounding cast in Idaho and saw his draft stock top out. He has the tools to be a pro passer, but will have to show development in the mental game first.

In typical Bengals fashion, they selected a handful of high talent players with risks involved with them. If they work out, this could turn into one hell of a draft class for Cincy, but if not, they'll be right back to where they were a decade ago when they were more widely known as the "Bungles." I like it for now.

11-03-2010, 05:39 PM
SWDC Contributor Rick Bennett's Offseason Grades

Atlanta Falcons
Grade: A-

The Falcons completed an unheard of feat in their history, having a winning record for 3 straight seasons. They took it to the defending champion Saints and won games by being one the league's most balanced teams. They weren't swept up in the pass whacky-ness of the rest of the league, and won by pounding the ball on the ground and playing solid, if unspectacular, defense. They did have a few areas of need to address if they wanted to stay strong, so this offseason would be key to their ability to take it to the next level in the future.

With their first round pick, #28 overall, the Falcons took Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo. Castonzo played LT in college, but will probably have to move to the right side in the pros. He was talked about early in the college season as a possible top 15 pick, but he struggled with speed rushers and showed slow feet at times. His value is pretty good as a RT at this point in the draft though, so it was a solid pick for the Falcons who could use some talent along the o-line.

In the 2nd round, Atlanta selected Texas DE Sam Acho. Kroy Bierman has emerged as one of the league's better young DEs, but John Abraham is showing signs of his age on the other side, so another talented youngster at the position was a big need.

In the 3rd round, Atlanta picked Tennessee TE Luke Stocker. Stocker was misused and underutilized on a lousy college team in Tennessee, but he has the potential to develop into a solid all-around TE and could be a viable replacement for Tony Gonzalez down the line.

Then in the 4th round, the Falcons chose Kentucky RB Derrick Locke. The Falcons have a quality rusher in Michael Turner, but the depth behind him hasn't been that great. Locke is a small speedster, and should provide a good compliment to the more powerful Michael Turner.

The Falcons aren't a flashy team that wins with style, and this draft is very reflective of that. Just a bunch of players who fit what they do and will keep them strong for the future.