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Posts from the ‘2011 NFL Draft’ Category


NFL Free Agency: The 4 PM Deadline is Here

By Alex Wiederspiel


It’s a big day for the NFL, with player movement about to get wild at 4 PM. There are several big names that are going to be moving and a couple of teams that are going to be acquiring some big time talent that are actually in the primes of their careers. As always though, there’s going to be a free agent bust somewhere. Before we discuss, let’s talk about the penalties to Dallas and Washington that are limiting their cap space. Nobody wants another Dana Stubblefield or Albert Haynesworth after all (hey Washington!). Read more »


NFL Draft: Round One Recap

By Alex Wiederspiel

1. Carolina Panthers — Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
There were no surprises here. In the month leading up to the draft it became apparent that Newton was likely going to be the pick. Marty Hurney’s job is going to be tied to Newton’s success. Hurney may want to put Newton on the field, but he has to think that the best interest of Newton and the franchise is to keep Newton far away from the field in his first season. Head coach Ron Rivera has “challenged” Newton to get on the field as early as possible, though. The Panthers say they will cater their offense to Newton’s strengths. While that’s an admirable strategy, it doesn’t change that Newton has to eventually master an NFL playbook and the ability to fully read a defense from the pocket.

2. Denver Broncos — Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
There are rumors that even the Bills were concerned about Miller’s size, and that had Dareus gone second they would have looked hard at Gabbert over him at three. I’m not exactly sure where Miller fits in Denver. In the base defense he’ll likely play outside linebacker in Denver’s 4-3 and then kick to end in the nickel and dime. Still, Miller is incredibly undersized, lacks a diverse array of pass rushing moves, and sometimes can get lost in traffic. He’s a project, but with high upside. He’s also known as a guy with a good work ethic, which is a plus. Still, Miller’s motor was sometimes in question last year, and I wasn’t overly impressed with what I saw on tape. This pick has bust written all over it. Denver should focus on converting him to a full-time linebacker in the 4-3 and try to turn him into a Julian Peterson type. This was a far riskier selection for Denver then Dareus, and it’s incredible that the Broncos failed to address their most glaring need with a player of Dareus’ caliber sitting there. Read more »


NFL Draft Preview: NFC West

By: Alex Wiederspiel

Well we conclude our division previews on BDL with the god-awful NFC West. There is plenty of room for improvement and I actually think the Rams and 49ers should be able to duke it out for this division in 2011, but it’s still not a good division. 9 wins will probably do the trick.


1. Seattle Seahawks
2010 Record: 7-9
Season Finish: Divisional Round Loss
Draft Picks:
1st Round — 25th Overall
2nd Round — 57th Overall
4th Round — 99th Overall (from Denver through New England)
5th Round — 156th Overall
5th Round — 157th Overall (from Baltimore)
6th Round — 173rd Overall (from Detroit)
7th Round — 209th Overall (from Cleveland)
7th Round — 242nd Overall (Compensatory Selection)
Team Needs: QB, OG, OT, DL, CB, SS

Make no mistake, Seattle doesn’t have a ton of “needs” but they have a lot of question marks when you get further down the roster. Marshawn Lynch bought himself another year on the roster with his playoff run that involved the Saints failing to wrap him up. Russell Okung will likely be a very good left tackle, but he needs to be able to stay healthy first. On defense, the Seahawks got an amazing year from Chris Clemons, but outside of him they need some help–especially if they let Brandon Mebane walk. In the secondary, Trufant and Jennings (both former first rounders) were burnt toast last year and both need to be replaced. Walter Thurmond III is promising, but the Seahawks need help. Read more »


NFL Draft Preview: NFC South

By: Alex Wiederspiel

You can’t help but enjoy the plight of the Carolina Panthers in the NFC South. They’re not the type of team that’s bad enough to consistently pick top five, but they’re easily the least talented team in the NFC South right now, and about to lose a star in DeAngelo Williams. The Saints and Falcons will continue to duke it out for the top spot for a few years, while Tampa Bay is slowly creeping into the picture (the loss of Aqib Talib will hurt dearly). The division should begin to stabilize after year’s of constantly changing winners. The key in Atlanta may very well be a change at offensive coordinator. In New Orleans, they still have a few more seasons as one of the league’s better teams, and with an added pass rusher could be right back to competing for a title.


1. Atlanta Falcons
2010 Record: 13-3
Season Finish: Divisional Round Loss
Draft Picks:
1st Round — 27th Overall
2nd Round — 59th Overall
3rd Round — 91st Overall
4th Round — 124th Overall
5th Round — 158th Overall
6th Round — 192nd Overall
7th Round — 210th Overall (from Detroit)
7th Round — 229th Overall
7th Round — 230th Overall (from New England)
Team Needs: RB, WR, TE, OT, DE, OLB

The Falcons don’t have a ton of needs, and some of them aren’t even really pressing right now. The two needs that are immediate are wide receiver and offensive tackle. The Falcons badly want a compliment to Roddy White who can stretch the field, and also need a replacement for Tyson Clabo who is expected to depart in free agency. After that, the other needs are all future replacement needs. Some feel Michael Turner is being run into the ground and with Jerious Norwood unlikely to return in 2011, the Falcons need to find a good compliment to Turner, who may even one day replace him. At tight end, Tony Gonzalez is contemplating retirement after this season, so the Falcons will look to find his replacement as well (though they won’t have much luck in the 2011 draft). Koy Biermann looks like he could wind up being a solid staple at defensive end for Atlanta, but they still need to add another pass rushing threat for passing downs and to eventually replace John Abraham who is now entering his twilight years. Lastly, Atlanta has to be concerned with Mike Peterson’s career also coming to an end. They have a possible replacement in Stephen Nicholas on the roster, but may address this late to add some competition.
Read more »


It’s Draft Day–The Final Mock Draft (Seven Rounds…Enjoy!)

1. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
2. Denver Broncos – Marcel Dareus, DT, Alabama
3. Buffalo Bills – Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
4. Cincinnati Bengals – A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
5. Arizona Cardinals – Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
6. Cleveland Browns – Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
7. San Francisco 49ers – Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
8. Tennessee Titans – Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
9. Dallas Cowboys – J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
10. Washington Redskins – Jake Locker, QB, Washington
11. Houston Texans – Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
12. Minnesota Vikings – Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
13. Detroit Lions – Tyron Smith, OT, USC
14. St. Louis Rams – Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
15. Miami Dolphins – Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Da’Quon Bowers, DE, Clemson
17. New England Patriots (from Oakland) – Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College
18. San Diego Chargers – Muhammed Wilkerson, DE, Temple
19. New York Giants – Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
21. Kansas City Chiefs – Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
22. Indianapolis Colts – Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida
23. Philadelphia Eagles – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
24. New Orleans Saints – Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
25. Seattle Seahawks – Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
26. Baltimore Ravens – Cameron Jordan, DE, California
27. Atlanta Falcons – Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
28. New England Patriots – Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
29. Chicago Bears – Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
30. New York Jets – Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Benjamin Iljana, OG/OT, Villanova
32. Green Bay Packers – Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona

Read more »


NFL Draft Preview: NFC North

The NFC North is a division that likely won’t see much change. Green Bay is returning a whole bunch of guys from injury, and it’s almost unreal to think how much better they could be in 2011 then they were in 2010. The Vikings are a team in major transition. While they try and figure out who is going to play quarterback, new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is moving away from the West Coast Offense of Brad Childress. In the meantime, the Vikings are aging all across the board. The Bears seem highly unlikely to repeat last year’s success with serious weaknesses all across the offensive line and a defense that continues to age. The Lions, meanwhile, seem to be the sexiest team in the NFC. The big if is the health of Matthew Stafford. He’s clearly a difference maker when he’s on the field, but he has been unable to stay on the field in two years so far. This third season is pivotal for him.


1. Chicago Bears
2010 Record: 11-5
Season Finish: NFC Runner Up’s
Draft Picks:
1st Round — 29th Overall
2nd Round — 60th Overall
3rd Round — 93rd Overall
4th Round — 127th Overall
5th Round — 160th Overall
6th Round — 195th Overall
Team Needs: WR, OT, OG, C, DT, OLB, Back-up MLB, CB

The Bears needs on the offensive line have reached critical mass. The only player who should really stay around in 2011 is Frank Omiyale, who in spite of his pass blocking deficiencies, graded out as one of the best run blocking left tackles in the league in 2010. Otherwise the Bears could use a massive overhaul. They’ll likely allow J’Marcus Webb another opportunity to prove himself as he was adequate at times in his first year as a starter. Still, he has a long way to go in pass blocking. No player gave up more pressures per snaps among full-time starters at tackle then Webb. As for former bust Chris Williams? The Bears have tried him at every spot on the line, where he has continued to fail. Now they want to move him to center. Ask the Raiders how playing Jared Veldheer at center worked out. Centers are like nose tackles–they need to be stout and get leverage. The 6’6” Williams is not built to play center. The Bears are said to want Olin Kreutz to return in 2011, but Lovie Smith has to just be saying that to play politics. Kreutz’s play has severely fallen over the last two years and he’s no longer an adequate starter in this league as he gets very little push in the running game. Perhaps with improved guard play that would help, but it doesn’t seem like Kreutz has much left in the tank. Defensively, the Bears are really starting to get up there in age, and will likely look for replacements to Brian Urlacher and Charles Tillman in this draft. Still, they also need immediate starters at outside linebacker and at defensive tackle. Marcus Harrison has major potential, but even with Tommie Harris potentially returning, the Bears don’t have much of a guarantee at that spot. Marcus Harrison is talented enough to turn into that guy, but his checkered past still raises a lot of questions. Read more »


NFL Draft Preview: NFC East

By Alex Wiederspiel

Asking who is going to win the NFC East in 2011 is like asking a congressmen if there’s a way to actually fix the economy. You’re going to get four very different answers depending on who you talk to. I could legitimately make a case for all four teams, even Washington (as long as Rex Grossman’s not the starter). The Eagles faded down the stretch and made the division hunt interesting, but were able to outlast the Giants who also, coincidentally and as per usual, faded down the stretch. The big question about Philadelphia is whether or not Michael Vick will be able to stay healthy for an entire season. Also, with teams now having game-tape of new Michael Vick, it’s going to become much easier to gameplan for him. In New York, for once, I don’t blame Eli Manning. The Giants receivers were credited with as many as ten catchable balls that they tipped that turned into interceptions. Add in Ahmad Bradshaw’s fumbles and a defense that fell apart in December and of course you had a recipe for disaster. In Dallas, it’s simply keeping Tony Romo upright and fixing a broken running game. In Washington, it’s the signal caller, which obviously gives them the worst shot at a division title or playoff appearance in 2011. Among other things the Redskins need to figure out how to build some chemistry on their team of transients.


1. Philadelphia Eagles
2010 Record: 10-6
Season Finish: Wildcard Round Loss
Draft Picks:
1st Round — 23rd Overall
2nd Round — 54th Overall
3rd Round — 85th Overall
4th Round — 104th Overall (from Washington)
4th Round — 120th Overall
5th Round — 149th Overall (from San Diego)
5th Round — 153rd Overall
7th Round — 227th Overall (from Seattle)
7th Round — 237th Overall (Compensatory Selection)
7th Round — 240th Overall (Compensatory Selection)
Team Needs: Back-up RB, OG, OT, DT, OLB, CB, Back-up S
Read more »


NFL Draft Preview: AFC West

By: Alex Wiederspiel

The AFC West’s usual balance of power was shifted to the mid-west this year when Kansas City was able to capitalize on another one of San Diego’s classic slow starts. The Chiefs won the division, the Raiders made it interesting, and the Broncos became the doormat of the AFC.  The division is basically wide open going into 2011, but San Diego still is the most talented team and has the best quarterback in the division. Can Norv Turner outcoach himself again in 2011?


1. Kansas City Chiefs
2010 Record: 10-6
Season Finish: AFC Wildcard
Draft Picks:
1st Round — 21st Overall
2nd Round — 55th Overall
3rd Round — 86th Overall
4th Round — 118th Overall
5th Round — 135th Overall (from Denver through Tampa Bay)
5th Round — 140th Overall (from Detroit)
6th Round — 199th Overall (Compensatory Selection)
7th Round — 223rd Overall
Team Needs: Back-up QB, Back-up RB, WR, OL, 3-4 NT, 3-4 OLB, ILB, S

Kansas City is unlikely to have a repeat performance in 2011 with the loss of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who clearly was beginning the turnaround in Matt Cassel’s career. But the big thing was that the Chiefs were playing to Cassel’s strengths and protecting his inability to hit a downfield pass. Weis’ playcalling was inventive and his use of Jamaal Charles was brilliant. But now the Chiefs have to find a compliment to Charles, as Thomas Jones continues to wear down and his career hits twilight. In his final four regular season games and Kansas City’s lone playoff appearance he had 63 carries for 146 yards (2.32 YPC). As Jones prepares to turn 33 in August, the Chiefs need to find a compliment back for Charles. What Charles did last year was downright awesome, averaging over 6 yards per carry en route to a 1400 yard season. The Chiefs have to keep their game-breaking back fresh. Finding a power back won’t be an early priority, but the Chiefs will likely come away with a running back sometime on the third day of the draft (which is when I anticipate they draft a quarterback as well).

Early in the draft, the Chiefs are likely to look at receiver, nose tackle, and outside linebacker. Torrey Smith, Phil Taylor, and Aldon Smith will all be serious first round options. The Chiefs won’t go after a Jonathan Baldwin, because they badly need a speed receiver. Dexter McCluster is unlikely to be anything other than a utility man and special teams ace.

Kansas City also won’t be afraid to draft a tackle if the value is better than anything else. Barry Richardson has been a very solid right tackle, but they are not beholden to him by any means. He was the weakest run blocker a year ago, while guard Brian Waters enters his age 34 season in the final year of his contract. Expect Kansas City to look at a lineman sometime between the 2nd and the 4th. In the first three round a nose tackle will also be taken for sure, since Ron Edwards is a respectable back-up, but shouldn’t be starting. The most likely combination for the first three rounds will include a receiver or nose tackle in the first and second, and a linemen or pass rusher in the third. Scott Pioli has a tendency to march to the beat of his own drum on draft day though, so there are no guarantees.

The last piece of the puzzle is at inside linebacker, where Kansas City could definitely afford to upgrade. That being said, this draft is not particularly deep at inside linebacker, and nobody is going to reach on one just because it’s a need.
Read more »


NFL Draft Preview: AFC South

By: Alex Wiederspiel

The AFC South is truly a division in flux. The Colts are about to go through a rebuilding process, but like New England, attempt to continue winning in the present held up by a fantastic passing game and a scrappy defense. The Colts have to rebuild the running game from the ground up, and defensively need to continue adding talent throughout the entire unit. While the Colts try and rebuild, the Jaguars continue to try and stay afloat while rebuilding after a monstrously bad off-season two years ago.  Many will wonder if the Texans will finally get over the hurdle with new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, while the Titans look like the most talented team in the division, but had a locker room that fell apart last year when coach and quarterback began to butt heads. This division is wide open, but the odds on favorite is still Indianapolis.


1. Indianapolis Colts
2010 Record: 10-6
Season Finish: Wildcard Round Loss
Draft Picks:
1st Round — 22nd Overall
2nd Round — 53rd Overall
3rd Round — 87th Overall
4th Round — 119th Overall
5th Round — 152nd Overall
6th Round — 188th Overall
Team Needs: Back-up QB, WR Depth, OT, OG, DT, CB, S

The Colts have some work to do, because Peyton Manning can’t survive another beating like he did last year, and the Colts can’t survive on the short passing game entirely for another season. If the Colts want to really go wild it wouldn’t hurt to have four new starters on the line with Jeff Saturday being the only player keeping job, but of the worst of the worst it was left tackle Charlie Johnson and right guard Mike Pollak. Johnson and Pollak were both all-around horrendous, grading near the bottom in both run blocking and pass blocking in the NFL. A good strategy would be to move Kyle DeVan over to right guard and create an entire new left side of the line with rookies–which is what I’m anticipating. The offensive linemen are deep on the first two days at both tackle and guard, and Indianapolis is poised in perfect position to grab one of the top four tackles in the first. It would be a serious upset if the Colts did not go offensive line in the first. Read more »


April 18, 2011 Mock Draft — Ten Days Til the Big Day

By Alex Wiederspiel

1. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
This pick hasn’t changed in a number of weeks, and I’m not expecting it too. I don’t agree with Carolina taking him first overall because I don’t believe a player of Newton’s risk should go this high. His chance to fail is much more likely at first overall. Jerry Richardson may realize this before the draft begins, but all signs point to the Panthers taking a giant leap of faith on April 28th.

2. Denver Broncos – Marcel Dareus, DT, Alabama
Dareus is not Ndamukong Suh, but that doesn’t mean he won’t still be a successful player in his own right. Dareus is scheme diverse, possesses multiple different moves, and has aweomse NFL caliber size and athleticism. He is one of the most complete players in the draft and should start in Denver from day one.

3. Buffalo Bills – Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
Personally, I think this is the wrong choice for Buffalo. If I were the Bills, I’d be taking Patrick Peterson here. They can’t afford to swing and miss on another pass rusher in a class that is so incredibly deep. That being said, I think with Buffalo’s secondary being the deepest part of their defense they are unlikely to draft Peterson. Miller’s a guy who can be good in a few years, but don’t expect defensive rookie of the year numbers in his first year. Read more »