Archive for November, 2010

BEST OF (Early) SHOW: THE 3/4’s PRO BOWL

Posted: November 24, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NFL
Tags: , , ,

With the official Pro Bowl voting open league’s favorites are being cast into their places for the return of the annual post season battle of the NFC & AFC to Hawaii. There’s the usual cast of characters in many roles, but with the wide open nature of the NFL this year, there are some players that are responsible that are making first appearances here. I’m keeping it to strict Pro Bowl original rules for position counts, with no alternates added. So, with Thanksgiving on the horizon & the usual slate of matchups (including the annual massacre in Detroit, this year featuring the Patriots), it’s a good time to look at who are giving their fans the most to be appreciative of so far this holiday.
NFC
QB: MICHEAL VICK-Eagles, DREW BREES-Saints, AARON RODGERS-Packers
RB: ADRIAN PETERSON-Vikings, MICHAEL TURNER-Falcons, STEVEN JACKSON-Rams FB: OVIE MUGHELLI-Falcons
WR: RODDY WHITE-Falcons, HAKEEM NICKS-Giants, CALVIN JOHNSON-Lions, JEREMY MACLIN-Eagles
TE: JASON WITTEN-Cowboys, VERNON DAVIS-49ers
OT: BRYANT MCKENZIE-Vikings, DAVID DIEHL-Gaints, SAM BAKER-Falcons
OG: STEVE HUTCHINSON-Vikings, JAHRI EVANS-Saints, CHRIS SNEE-Giants
C: ANDRE GURODE-Cowboys, JONATHAN GOODWIN-Saints
DE: OSI UMENYIORA-Giants, JOHN ABRAHAM-Falcons, JULIUS PEPPERS-Bears
DT: KEVIN WILLIAMS-Vikings, NDAMUKONG SUH-Lions, JAY RATLIFF-Cowboys
OLB: DeMARCUS WARE-Cowboys, CLAY MATTHEWS-Packers, BRIAN ORAKPO-Redskins
MLB: PATRICK WILLIS-49ers, BRIAN URLACHER-Bears
CB: ASANTE SAMUEL-Eagles, CHARLES WOODSON-Packers, DeANGELO HALL-Eagles
S: LaRON LANDRY-Redskins, WILLIAM MOORE-Falcons, KERRY RHODES-Cardinals
K: MATT BRYANT-Falcons, P: DONNIE JONES-Rams, KR: DEVIN HESTER-Bears
AFC
QB: PHILIP RIVERS-Chargers, PEYTON MANNING-Colts, TOM BRADY-Patriots
RB: ARIAN FOSTER-Texans, CHRIS JOHNSON-Titans, PEYTON HILLIS-Browns FB: MIKE TOLBERT-Chargers
WR: REGGIE WAYNE-Colts, TERRELL OWENS-Bengals, BRANDON LLOYD-Broncos, ANDRE JOHNSON-Texans
TE: ANTONIO GATES-Chargers, DUSTIN KELLER-Jets
OT: JOE THOMAS-Browns, D’BRICKASHAW FERGUSON-Jets, DAVID STEWART-Titans
OG: BRIAN WATERS-Chiefs, KRIS DIELMAN-Chargers, ERIC STEINBACH-Browns
C: JEFF SATURDAY-Colts, NICK MANGOLD-Jets
DE: MARIO WILLIAMS-Texans, DWIGHT FREENEY-Colts, JASON BABIN-Titans
DT: HALOTI NGATA-Ravens, RICHARD SEYMOUR-Raiders, SHAWN ROGERS-Browns
OLB: JAMES HARRISON-Steelers, CALVIN WADE-Dolphins, TAMBA HALI-Chiefs
MLB: JEROD MAYO-Patriots, RAY LEWIS-Ravens
CB: DARRELLE REVIS-Jets, LEON HALL-Bengals, BRANDON FLOWERS-Chiefs
S: TROY POLAMALU-Steelers, ED REED-Ravens, YEREMIAH BELL-Dolphins
K: ROB BIRONAS-Titans, SHANE LECHLER-Raiders, KR: BRANDON TATE-Patriots
Disagree? Team not represented? Feel like somebody is placed over hype or namebrand over result (which would be wrong, because I’m right)? Let me know in the comments.

The NFL coaching carousel has been going about 100 mph this season, and as of this morning, the second most criticized coach in the league was thrown from the ride, as Brad Childress was finally (and mercilessly) removed from his post in Minnesota. He becomes the second high-profile coaching switch after Wade Phillips was bumped for Jason Garrett in Dallas 2 weeks ago.

However, there is much more turnover that could be taking place, some obvious and some not, yet could be revealing themselves in the upcoming months, or even weeks. Leslie Frazier will hold on the position in Minnesota throughout the end of the season, as will Jason Garrett. Both are in similar positions, with talented yet highly under achieving teams, that are capable of playing better down the stretch and as a result helping their current caretakers removed the ‘interim’ from their job title.

With the sideline situations in Dallas and Minnesota sorted out, the spotlight should be finding Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati very soon.

But in other places, there are more than a few “Dead Men Walking”, whose seats are so hot, they’ve probably already numbed out from the burning. Lets take a look at these guys, with the temperature of their seat on a 1 of 5 scale.

John Fox (Carolina Panthers) 5/5: Fox has been in his current position since 2002, making him the longest tenured of the current coaches who could be looking for new real estate soon. He has won the NFC South twice and even reached the Super Bowl in 2003. These factors make him hard to outright blame, especially with the downturn of the club, due to age, injury and the departure of Julius Peppers. However, the Panthers have been on a downward spiral for the last 2 years and are headed straight to the top of the Draft this year. At the end of this season would be the best time to make the switch, before it gets too ugly.

Injuries have buried the Panthers, and their long tenured Coach Fox could be next to the graveyard.

Mike Singletary (S.F. 49ers) 3/5: He’s piloting a team that was hyped and built to take an easy walk in the League’s weakest division, yet has struggled to stay out of the cellar instead. He is in his 2nd full season with the team, and has made some big strides in changing the fates of some Niners that were silent before he arrived (see Davis, Vernon). However, this team has played very undisciplined and is still floundering weekly to turn it around. In the end, despite his vote of confidence to make it through the season, his job will depend on how well they play in their division-heavy end of the season and if they find some consistency and win out in the West, which is still a distinct possibility, due to only having two NFC West games so far.

Tony Sparano (Miami Dolphins) 2/5: The Dolphins have been surprisingly good on defense this year, but they are still struggling to find their way on the other side of the ball, which is Sparano’s specialty. After winning the AFC East in first season, they steeply declined last year and have begun trailing off again this season. There could be the urge to shake up the mix to shoot the Dolphins back into the mix with the Jets and Pats in the East.

Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville Jaguars) 3/5: The Jags have played some strong games recently and pulled themselves into the surprising place of #1 in the AFC South. This is a direct savior to Del Rio’s place, because after two consecutive seasons finishing the cellar of the division, he had to feel the Grim Reaper was right around the corner. If he keeps the Jags competitive, and if he can miraculously win the division, he is safe, but if they slump or fall out in the race in the upcoming weeks, a new job could be available in Jacksonville too.

The Jags have benefited best from the inconsistencies of their South foes, and may have saved Del Rio's job as a result.

Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals) 5/5: This is just a matter of time here. The Bengals imploding this season has been arguably worse than the Cowboys or Vikings, but is excused some due to the general expectation of the Bengals to find a way to ruin things. While he is charged with the very unenviable job of maintaining Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco, its come to a point where a change at the top is needed. This club has fallen across the board and has been generally inconsistent in the eight years he has been in control. He doesn’t seem to show to be able to keep the team at a high level after they reach it, and its time to find somebody that can, because a lack of talent is definitely not the problem in Cincy.

Eric Mangini (Cleveland Browns) 4/5: With Mike Holmgren in control of the program here and Cleveland still not making the big strides that I’m sure he’s expected by this time, Mangini almost always in a “one foot out the door” mode. He may get another season to jump into competition, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the short leash he’s been on almost since he arrived is finally taken back.

Norv Turner (San Diego Chargers) 3/5: The Chargers are underwhelming this season, but there is so much to blame in this scenario from a personnel perspective, that Turner may be alloted at least another season to take the Chargers back to where they usually are at the top of the AFC West. They have improved from their shaky start at the beginning of the year, and some consistent play to end the season may keep Norv in place, but its far from a guarantee.

Injuries and absentee players may have actually helped Turner in San Diego, if not in wins column, but for job security.

Josh McDaniels (Denver Broncos) 2/5: The Broncos are in a tough spot with McDaniels. They gave up a lot to land him and moved both of their top talents on offense to appease him and to support his control of the team. However, the Broncos are struggling this year with the team that was shaped for him and while the ax might not find his this year or even this offseason, McDaniels has to start cashing in on his opportunity here soon in the way that many of his coaching contemporaries such as Todd Haley and Raheem Morris have.

With awards season underway now and the winter meetings looming, it means that the free agent courting season is also underway. This season’s crop isn’t as deep with top-tier talent as many other years have been, but to say that this is a thin group is slight to what’s out there, in my opinion.

 

Cliff Lee is clearly on top of the list, and it seems the Yankees are ready to break the bank for him.

 

This is a big season for both quick fixes and role players being on the market, and if any season proved the value of such acquisitions, it was this year, with the San Francisco Giants strategically piecing together the right mix and adding some hardware because of it. While the mega rich will be chasing a very small handful of players this year, the pitching crop for #3 and #4 starters is tremendous. For the AL side, there are one to two-year DH candidates everywhere. The first base position is loaded and there’s a fine chance to upgrade at catcher as well.

This list is based on both the talent and value projection of the current market. It doesn’t factor in potential trades or foregone conclusions of some guys staying put. For now it is just a ranking of what’s out there, but soon a second edition will be coming with some projections and info on potential landing spots and best fit scenarios. Take a look and see what your club needs and could land.

1. Cliff Lee-LHP-2009: Seattle Mariners/Texas Rangers

2. Carl Crawford-LF-2009: Tampa Bay Rays

 

The game's greatest speedster is just entering his prime, and will have the world bidding for his services.

 

3. Jason Werth-RF/CF-2009: Philadelphia Phillies

4. Adrian Beltre-3B-2009: Boston Red Sox

5. Rafeal Soriano-RHP-2009: Tampa Bay Rays

6. Victor Martinez-C/1B-2009: Boston Red Sox

7. Adam Dunn-1B/DH-2009: Washington Nationals

8. Paul Konerko-1B-2009: Chicago White Sox

9. Derek Jeter-SS-2009: New York Yankees

10. Mariano Rivera-RHP-2009: New York Yankees

11. Jorge De La Rosa-RHP-2009: Colorado Rockies

12. Carl Pavano-RHP-2009: Minnesota Twins

13. Juan Uribe-SS/3B-2009: San Francisco Giants

14. Carlos Pena-1B/DH-2009: Tampa Bay Rays

15. Javier Vazquez-RHP-2009: New York Yankees

16. Jake Westbrook-RHP-2009: Cleveland Indians/St. Louis Cardinals (RESIGNED-ST. LOUIS, 2 yrs/ $16.5 million. Option on 3rd year)

Locking up Westbrook solidifies the Cardinals rotation and justifies trading Ryan Ludwick this past summer.

 

17. Vladimir Guerrero-DH-2009: Texas Rangers

18. Magglio Ordonez-OF-2009: Detroit Tigers

19. Bengie Molina-C-2009: San Francisco Giants/Texas Rangers

20. Aubrey Huff-1B/LF-2009: San Francisco Giants

21. Manny Ramirez-DH-2009: Los Angeles Dodgers/Chicago White Sox

22. Orlando Hudson-2B-2009: Minnesota Twins

23. A.J. Pierzynski-C-2009: Chicago White Sox

24. Brian Fuentes-LHP-2009: Los Angeles Angels/Minnesota Twins

25. Andy Pettitte-LHP-2009: New York Yankees

26. Jim Thome-DH-2009: Minnesota Twins

27. Derrek Lee-1B-2009: Chicago Cubs/Atlanta Braves

28. Kevin Gregg-RHP-2009: Toronto Blue Jays

29. Lance Berkman-1B/DH-2009: Houston Astros/New York Yankees

30. John Buck-C-2009: Toronto Blue Jays (SIGNED FLORIDA 3 yrs/$18 million)

 

The Marlins made a smart buy on an affordable All-Star talent in Buck that fits their price range perfectly.

 

31. Jon Garland-RHP-2009: San Diego Padres

32. Pat Burrell-LF/DH-2009: Tampa Bay Rays/San Francisco Giants

33. Ty Wigginton-3B/2B/1B-2009: Baltimore Orioles

34. Kevin Millwood-RHP-2009: Baltimore Orioles

35. Matt Guerrier-RHP-2009: Minnesota Twins

36. Miguel Olivo-C-2009: Colorado Rockies

37. Joaquin Benoit-RHP-2009: Tampa Bay Rays (SIGNED-DETROIT, 3 yrs/$16.5 million)

38. Arthur Rhodes-LHP-2009: Cincinnati Reds

39. JJ Putz-RHP-2009: Chicago White Sox

40. Adam LaRoche-1B-2009: Arizona Diamondbacks

41. Scott Downs-LHP-2009: Toronto Blue Jays

42. Scott Podsednik-OF-2009: Kansas City Royals/Los Angeles Dodgers

43. Hideki Matsui-DH/LF-2009: Los Angeles Angels

44. Kerry Wood-RHP-2009: Cleveland Indians/New York Yankees

45. Jon Rauch-RHP-2009: Minnesota Twins

46. Johnny Damon-LF-2009: Detroit Tigers

47. Kevin Correira-RHP-2009: San Diego Padres

48. Brandon Webb-RHP-2009: Arizona Diamondbacks

49. Miguel Tejada-3B/SS-2009: Baltimore Orioles/San Diego Padres

50. Hiroki Kuroda-RHP-2009: Los Angeles Dodgers (SIGNED DODGERS, 1 yr/$12 million)

This year in the  NFL has been quarterback driven more so than any other season in recent memory. There has been a mixture of the usual suspects pushing their teams along, young guns turning the fortunes of their ailing franchises and even veterans returning from seeming professional graves.

These impact seasons pushing, and sometimes just sustaining, their clubs is no surprise. The NFL is a quarterback driven league. This is nothing new, as it has been this way for over 20 years now. At this point in time, there are as many as seven QB’s that have a more than legit spot that should be awarded to them in Canton at the end of their on field days. A consistently exceptional QB can make all the difference between the darkness of the early draft, and the light of the playoffs. This is why so many clubs will gamble both draft picks and high salaries on the spot, because it is so invaluable to team success.

Here are the top 10 invaluable QB’s in the game this year. This isn’t a pure MVP ranking or stats countdown, rather it shows which players have meant the most to their team’s fortune, turnaround or plain survival during a terrible campaign. Lets go.

10. Kyle Orton-Denver Broncos

The Broncos have been bad this year, they have an almost non-existent defense and are the worst rushing team in the league, but without Orton this would be far worse. After being cast off from Chicago, Orton has been a steady hand leading an impressive passing game that has thrived regardless. What’s more is that this unlikely savior is still just a few wins away from staying in the West race in a wide open division.

9. Sam Bradford-St. Louis Rams

Bradford’s impact cannot be stressed enough in the Rams turnaround. In his first 9 weeks on the job he has landed more wins than club mustered in three years before making him the top pick in April’s draft. He’s been a controlling presence for a team that looked constantly lost for years. What’s most impressive is that the rookie tosser hasn’t thrown an interception since week 5.

 

Since leading the 2010 Draft class, Bradford has wasted little time in leading the Rams as well.

 

8. Drew Brees-New Orleans Saints

The Saints have had a shaky start the season after their march to the Super Bowl last year and their leader has been up and down, even losing 2 games to opponents in Arizona and Cleveland they should have handled. However, he has been just as important in keeping them in games and taking over games when they leaned on him in the national spotlight versus Pittsburgh and San Francisco. In the NFC’s best conference this season, he will have even more chances to be the hero.

7. Aaron Rodgers-Green Bay Packers

The Pack is moving long as expected, despite behind as damaged by injury by any team in the league. The defense is the walking wounded, and has had to lean on Rodgers even more than planned. This hasn’t detoured him one bit, despite losing his starting running back, tight end and right tackle. The weight of the world hasn’t been enough to slow down him down.

 

Despite constant injury setbacks, Rodgers has coolly kept the Pack amongst the NFC's best.

 

6. Josh Freeman-Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coming off a rookie season where he had 24 turnovers despite not starting half the season, Freeman has broken out in a big way and led the surprising Bucs past being just a hot start team and turned them into a legit threat. He is everything to this young team and is already the best of the 3 first round QB’s from the 2009 draft.

5. Matt Ryan-Atlanta Falcons

After a second season where he struggled with injuries and was in and out the mix all year, Ryan has picked up right where it looked he was headed after his Rookie of the Year debut this season. Him and Roddy White have been the best QB/WR combo in the League, and he has the Falcons posed at the top of the tough NFC South.

4. Tom Brady-New England Patriots

Piloting the NFL’s most hated team has been made to look like business as usual by Brady, who has shown why he deserved awarded the huge contract he was given earlier this year. Despite losing the best deep threat in the history of the game and his favorite end zone target in Randy Moss, Brady has continued keep the Pats among the best in the game against all comers. Ask the Pittsburgh Steelers about how good he is.

3. Michael Vick-Philadelphia Eagles

To call Michael Vick’s season a rebirth or a return to who he was is a lie. He was one of the greatest playmakers in the game already, but the truth is that he has never been as good of a QB as he is now. It’s basically night and day for the Eagles when he’s on the field, and he takes the league’s fastest offense to another gear. Whats more is that Philly has not lost a game that he started and finished yet this year and he is still yet to throw his first interception.

 

While still having his amazing mobility, Vick has gone to another level as an overall QB this year.

 

2. Philip Rivers-San Diego Chargers

It has been a circus this season in San Diego, from holdouts to injuries to an everyman backfield. However, the one constant has been Rivers, who has been the only thing they can count on every week all season. He has guided a revolving door of receivers to the being the top passing offense in the league. Rivers greatness is measured in despite this being the worse team he has been charged with, he still having his finest season.

1. Peyton Manning-Indianapolis Colts

In a similar fashion to Rivers, Manning has had to overcome a torn down receiving corps and non-existent running game to keep the Colts in their customary spot atop the AFC South. Even with his favorite target Dallas Clark out for the year, top RB Joseph Addai out and the dependable Austin Collie sidelined by brutal concussion, Manning has proved why he has rights to be considered the best the game has ever seen at the position, by having the Colts offense still be the #4 unit in the game. This is all a credit to the greatness of #18.

 

The most consistent QB ever is well on his way to yet another 4,000 yard, AFC South winning season.

 

 

The NFL season has reached its halftime, and while the picture is constantly unfolding and many teams will be moving up and down, getting better, getting worse and fall. While every college star isn’t the best pro, many of the top talents this year should translate well into the pro game.

The order is determined by record and strength of schedule to break ties, no playoff seeding is figured in.

1. Buffalo Bills: Andrew Luck-QB-Stanford // The Bills are in a similar spot that the Rams were in a year ago with this same pick, a direction-less franchise that needs a new leader to help turn its fortunes. Look at how well it turned out in St. Louis so far. Buffalo would be smart to follow suit with the tremendous Stanford talent.

Luck has grown tremendously this season and his next challenge should be savior of Buffalo.

2. Carolina Panthers: AJ Green-WR-Georgia // For years the Panthers have been searching for a compliment to Steve Smith to open up their pass game. Green is easily that and more. They need to take their future #1 option here.

3. Dallas Cowboys: DaQuan Bowers-DE-Clemson // Bowers is reaching his potential easily and leads the nation in tackles for a loss. The Cowboys are still tremendously talented and can afford to take the best available player, but need help on the line. Bowers serves both causes.

4. San Francisco: Patrick Peterson-CB-LSU // While the Niners QB position catches much of the focus with the Alex Smith era quickly ending itself, they will be better served taking Peterson, who injects an aging cornerback position with an instant boost and closes a major hole in a talented unit.

Despite a clear QB need, the Niners shouldn't pass on an impact corner like Peterson.

5. Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus-DT-Alabama // The Broncos need help stopping the run and can use a pass rushing presence. Dareus is versatile and can serve both roles from either the tackle or end spot.

6. Cincinnati Bengals: Robert Quinn-DE-North Carolina // Quinn is bringing some baggage from Carolina’s academic dishonesty sanctions and suspensions, but is still an amazing talent and the good could outweigh the questionable. Sounds like a guy born to be a Bengal.

7. Detroit Lions: Prince Amukamara-CB-Nebraska // The Lions have the worse cornerback tandem in the league, and landing Amukamara here is a match made in heaven. Would be a starter as soon as his name is called.

8. Minnesota Vikings: Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas // With the Favre era ending, landing a top flight arm should be a priority and Mallett can reach the Viking receivers and stretch the field with one of the best pure arm available.

9. Arizona Cardinals: Akeem Ayers-LB-UCLA // Zona need help at every level of its defense and Ayers give them an aggressive outside rush that they need long-term from the linebacker spot.

10. Cleveland Browns: Julio Jones-WR-Alabama // This is a perfect pairing for the receiver desperate Browns, who have nothing in the downfield gamebreaker category. Jones will soar after the Combine as well.

Jones is a huge talent, who should actually become even better in the Pros.

11. San Diego Chargers: Adrian Clayborne-DE-Iowa // They have been searching for a legit pass rush since Shawne Merriman fell of the Earth a few years ago. Clayborne is a more than suitable replacement.

12. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jake Locker-QB-Washington // Locker is riding the potential train all the way to the top half of the Draft, and the Jaguars are ready to replace David Garrard much sooner than later. This seems destined to happen if he lasts until here.

13. St. Louis Rams: Stephen Paea-DT-Oregon State // They could definitely stand to land Bradford a legit threat at receiver, but Paea is a plus talent in the middle and helps them address an issue they did not by passing on Ndamukong Suh a year ago.

14. Seattle Seahawks: Nick Fairley-DT-Auburn // They are in the midst of reshaping the whole of their team, and finding an anchor in the middle of the defense is needed much sooner than later. Fairley is great talent and can help every area of the defense.

15. Washington Redskins: Ryan Kerrigan-DE-Purdue // The Redskins have a talented secondary, but it gets tested way too often and easily due to an absence of any consistent pass rush. Kerrigan will help solve both issues.

16. Houston Texans: Janoris Jenkins-CB-Florida // Once again, the offense is clicking, but the defense isn’t up to speed. They simply cannot stop the pass. Landing Jenkins and pairing him with ’10 first rounder Kareem Jackson should fix that issue much sooner than later.

17. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram-RB-Alabama // With both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams aging, injury prone and free agents-to-be, taking Ingram keeps the Miami running game from missing a beat.

Ingram would be used heavily in Miami and would be a both a quick fix and youth infuser for an aging backfield.

18. New England (from OAK): Von Miller-LB-Texas A&M // The Pats are thin at the pass rush and Miller is one of the best pure rushers in the college game and fits the hybrid end/linebacker that the New England scheme is best for.

19. Chicago Bears: Anthony Castonzo-OT-Boston College // The constant problem for Chicago has been protecting Jay Cutler and opening up any rushing chances. Castonzo is the best tackle available in a thin year, and an easy choice here.

20. Kansas City Chiefs: Donta Hightower-ILB-Alabama // The best athlete on a tremendously talented Bama defense, he shores up the middle for an emergent KC defense, although he is a bit of a project.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Allen Bailey-DE-Miami // Tampa’s offense is arriving now, but the defense still is a bit inconsistent, especially in reaching the backfield. Pairing Bailey with Gerald McCoy should end the problem.

22. Tennessee Titans: Aaron Williams-CB-Texas // There’s not much to be worried about outside of Cortland Finnegan in the Titan secondary. Williams will at least make opposing QB’s think about throwing away from his side.

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Nate Solder-OT-Colorado // Philly’s line has been slowly falling apart due to age and injury. Protecting whoever ends up taking the snaps better should be a high priority, and the massive Solder is a big step towards that goal.

24. Indianapolis Colts: Gabe Carimi-OT-Wisconsin // Now is the time for Indy to start rebuilding their line, both to create some kind of rushing game and to, most importantly, protect an aging Peyton Manning. Carimi is an athletic, tough Big 10 lineman perfect for both jobs.

25. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Burton-CB-Utah // The Packers cannot afford to ignore their thinning secondary any longer, especially with Al Harris departed and Charles Woodson potentially moving to safety. Burton is a rising talent that will be a value pick within a few years.

26. New Orleans Saints: Cameron Hayward-DE-Ohio State // The Saints have depth issues in their front seven and need to put a young talent in the mix to keep it from becoming a big problem soon. Hayward is a great grab here that only falls due to the amazing depth at the DE position this year.

The son of Ironhead Hayward would be a need frontline defensive presence for the Saints.

27. New York Giants: Rodney Hudson-G/C-Florida State // The Giants have look great on both sides of the ball this year, but far too often Eli Manning is hammered while creating the pass. The versatile Hudson immediately lessens this threat on the interior line.

28. New England Patriots: Jeremy Beal-LB-Oklahoma // Despite landing another linebacker earlier, taking Beal here removes any needs in any part of the linebacking corps for years here. Also versatile enough to put a hand in the ground and rush from end as well.

29. New York Jets: Rahim Moore-S-UCLA // The free safety position is shaky in New York, and landing Moore gives a presence that adds more depth to an already premier secondary. He can cover great depth, and lets their corners gamble even more.

30. Baltimore Ravens: Derek Sherrod-OT-Mississippi State // The Ravens can use more protection up front and Sherrod is an a strong athlete who can form one of the most athletic tackle pairings in the league with Michael Oher.

31. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Rudolph-TE-Notre Dame // Rudolph is far and away the best tight end prospect in this year’s draft and with Tony Gonzalez still productive, but picking up years, taking Rudolph ensures no drop off at the spot and provides another wrinkle in an already impressive offense.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ras-I Dowling-CB-Virginia // While the Steeler defense is the best unit in the game, they still are susceptible to the pass due to an aging cornerback group. Dowling is a big, physical coverage back that fits perfectly with Pittsburgh’s attack.

 

On the verge: Jon Baldwin-WR-Pittsburgh, Cameron Jordan-DE-Cal, DeMarcus Love-OT-Arkansas, Drake Nevis-DT-LSU, David Thomas-RB-Kansas State, Mike Pouncey-G-Florida, Michael Floyd-WR-Notre Dame, Marvin Austin-DT, Brandon Harris-CB-Miami, Quan Sturdivant-LB

 

Arguments? Agreements? Don’t think your team is represented well or a guy is over/underrated? COMMENT! Let me know, lets prove why I’m right.

As soon as Tim Lincecum, Edgar Renteria and Brian Wilson ended the hopes of the Texas Rangers on Monday night, in a rather brisk five games, the 2010 baseball season came to a close. With that rather surprising outcome to the season concluded, it’s time to look back about a month and say who were the best of the best from March to October.

Many of the usual suspects did what they were supposed to, but also some guys came out of the blue and made their mark in the game. The Comeback Players of the Year were already announced as Tim Hudson and Francisco Liriano, so here who should be joining them as hardware carriers this winter…(results may vary).

National League MVP: Joey Votto-Cincinnati-.324/37 HR/113 RBI/.424 OBP

The MVP is different from the guy that makes the biggest statistical impact, whom in that regard Votto isn’t even the best firstbase man in his own division. This is for the player whose performance makes the biggest difference, and that is clearly Votto, who propelled the Reds to a relatively unchallenged, and unexpected, NL Central win. Plus, he outdid the game’s greatest player in Albert Pujols to do so, which also has to stand for something.

 

Votto's onslaught never stopped and it propelled the Reds back in the Postseason for the first time since 1995.

 

American League MVP: Josh Hamilton-Texas-.359/32 HR/100 RBI/.411 OBP

There were a few players who could make claim to this title in the AL this season, however none made the overall impact that Hamilton did, despite missing almost a month to injury. His impact was such that by the time he was injured, his Rangers the AL West in hand already. He won the batting title by 31 points, and potentially could have gone much higher in home runs and RBI. Tip of the cap to Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano.

 

Well known for his amazing power, Hamilton took home an easy batting title this season in addition to his usual power numbers.

 

NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay-Philadelphia: 21-10/2.44 ERA/219 strikeouts

It seemed like doomsday for the National League when Roy Halladay switched over last winter, and it came to be. Halladay was everything and more that was expected of him this year and consistently dominated his new league. His 219 strikeouts came against only 30 walks and his 21 wins topped all of baseball. Not to mention that one of those victories was a Perfect Game in May.

 

Although he was twice unhittable completely, on most other days Doc silenced NL lineups as well.

 

AL Cy Young: David Price-Tampa Bay: 19-6/2.72 ERA/188 strikeouts

In a very tight race, I give the slight nod to David Price here. Many people push for Felix Hernandez, who had a terrific year despite being on a horrid Mariners team. However, I give the nod to Price for two simple reasons, strikeouts aside, Felix doesn’t run away from Price in any one statistical area & Price pitched in the games toughest division and finished with 19 wins in the middle of a pennant race that went to the last weekend. Deservedly, Price takes the cake.

 

The Rays rode Price's blistering fastball/slider combo all the way to an AL East win. No easy feat.

 

NL Rookie of the Year: Buster Posey-San Francisco-.305/18 HR/67 RBI

This was a very strong year for rookies in general, but especially so in the NL. While Jason Hayward had a tremendous year, including an election to start in the All-Star game, Posey’s arrival meant everything to the Giants and was critical in winning the West for them. He finished up batting over .300 and had a 23 game hitting streak and a 10 game streak where he hit .514 with 19 hits and 6 home runs, the greatest streak of any rookie in history.

 

Although he got a late start, by September Posey was clearly the NL's best catcher, let alone rookie.

 

AL Rookie of the Year: Neftali Feliz-Texas: 40 saves, 93% saves finished

After starting the season as a setup man for the West Champs, Feliz was promoted to closer in short order and did not disappoint. His 40 saves set the MLB rookie record and he was named an All-Star in the process. He converted on 40 of his 43 save opportunities and entrenched himself as one of the premier closers in the game early in his career.

 

Feliz's nerve outweighed his age in route to setting the MLB rookie saves record for Texas.

 

NL Rolaids Reliever: Brian Wilson-San Francisco-48 Saves, 91% saves finished

Wilson doesn’t waste time with much else than his fastball, but 48 times this year it was all he needed. As the last punch in a dynamic Giant pitching staff, he led the NL in saves and was versatile when needed, as he also led the MLB in multiple inning saves as well.

Al Rolaids Reliever: Rafeal Soriano-Tampa Bay-45 Saves, 94% saves finished

In his first season as a solo closer, Soriano proved he was more than ready for the job. His 45 saves led the AL, and in the process he only allowed 50 baserunners all year, which led to 0.80 WHIP and anchored the AL East champion Rays into the postseason.

NL Manager of the Year: Dusty Baker

In a year of many spectacular managing jobs in the NL, including a run to the playoffs in Bobby Cox’s last hurrah and Bud Black pushing the Padres to the biggest upset season in all of baseball, the nod has to go to Dusty and his Reds. Not only did they go neck to neck with the heavily favored Cardinals all year, he rallied them back from a critical August 3-game sweep (in Cincy no less) at the hands of the Cardinals, to win the Central by a comfortable five games.

AL Manager of the Year: Ron Gardenhire

Playing against the odds and perceiving is what land Gardenhire this honor. While the Twins are no longer true small market underdogs, Gardenhire had to do one of his best managing jobs yet to bring a second consecutive AL Central title to the Twin Cities. With his top two stars Joe Mauer (foot) and Justin Morneau (concussion) on the sidelines for various stretches of the season, the Twins continued to command the Central and forced two very competitive teams in the White Sox and Tigers to fight for second place all year, whether they liked it or not.

NL Hank Aaron Award: Albert Pujols-St. Louis-.312/42 HR/118 RBI/.414 OBP

While the Cardinals as a whole underachieved in 2010, it can’t be said Albert didn’t do his part. Albert finished with the lowest batting average of his career,  but still led the NL in home runs and RBI and finished second in on-base percentage. He also surpassed .300/30 HR/100 RBI for the tenth consecutive season, with the home run mark extending his Major League record.

AL Hank Aaron Award: Miguel Cabrera-Detroit-.328/38 HR/126 RBI/.420 OBP

Mig Cap had the best overall statistical season of any hitter in baseball, leading the AL in on-base percentage and RBI. He also finished third in home runs, second in slugging percentage. The home run and RBI marks are career highs and if the Tigers could have gotten in the race, he would have easily had just as much claim to the MVP as Hamilton does.

NL Gold Glove Winners:

C: Yadier Molina, 1B: Albert Pujols, 2B: Brandon Phillips, 3B: Placido Polanco, SS: Orlando Cabrera, OF: Shane Victorino, Michael Bourn, Andre Either, P: Adam Wainwright

AL Gold Glove Winners:

C: Matt Wieters, 1B: Mark Teixeira, 2B: Robinson Cano, 3B: Evan Longoria, SS: Elvis Andrus, OF: Ichiro, Torri Hunter, Vernon Wells, P: Mark Buehrle

NL Silver Slugger Winners:

C: Brian McCann, 1B: Albert Pujols, 2B: Dan Uggla, 3B: David Wright, SS: Troy Tulowitzki, OF: Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Holliday, Ryan Braun

AL Silver Slugger Winners:

C: Joe Mauer, 1B: Miguel Cabrera, 2B: Robinson Cano, 3B: Adrian Beltre, SS: Derek Jeter, OF: Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista, Carl Crawford DH: Vladimir Guerrero