Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo Bills’

NFL FEARLESS PREDICTIONS – Week 4

Posted: October 2, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NFL
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It got real in the NFL last week. After a few weeks of the action sticking to the script, and a few surprising clubs managing to stay undefeated mixed in, some loud statements got made by clubs that many folks didn’t think were making real noise. The best part of it all is that many of the biggest shockers came from division matchups, meaning that there’s more drama to come later on and some even worse blood to be shed the second time around.

These division battles jumped all across the schedule and did not go unnoticed in the Fearless Predictions department. The rash of upsets around the league lead to nearly as many losses in week three as in weeks one and two combined. Good news first: it wasn’t a losing week. The Saints, 49ers, Titans, Lions, Panthers (in a ugly fashion), Ravens (in a brutal style), Chargers, Steelers and Cowboys all pulled out wins as predicted, making for nine wins. However, the L’s came early and often in the spotlight games of the week.

Two of the three “Game of the Week” selections ended up going against the script set here, and both were grind out NFC Division matchups that settled their winners in first place in the North and South, respectively. The Packers went into Chicago and behind three Aaron Rodgers/JerMichael Finley connections on pay dirt, pulled out the tough rivalry win. In Tampa, the Buccaneers made the Falcons look lost more often than not, and continued to prove their coming of age may have arrived already. However, these matchups were just the beginning of a few jaw dropping moments around last Sunday.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will look to keep the Bills surprising undefeated run to start the year going.

The Buffalo Bills set the league on fire when they forced Tom Brady to throw as many interceptions in four quarters as he did the whole of last year, and then held the Patriots off and beat them to remain undefeated. The New York Giants became the second team in two weeks to knock Michael Vick out the game, and became the second to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in as much time as well; dropping the much hyped club into the bottom of the East standings. Darren McFadden ran over the New York Jets and led the Raiders to a surprising win over the AFC East powerhouse. Also the Seahawks and Browns won gritty home games as well.

Overall, last week’s forecasts ended up with a 9-7 mark and the season tally on Fearless Predictions is 33-15. Week 3 correct picks were decided by 62 points, while the losses had a 43 point separation.

Game of the Week #1 – Detroit Lions (3-0) at Dallas Cowboys (2-1): The Lions have jumped out the gate with an offense that has finally been able to stay healthy enough to get on the field together, and an aggressive defensive line that pressures non-stop. Dallas, on the other hand, has been banged up all year and for the second week will be missing its number one receiver in Miles Austin….

Read more at Suite101: NFL Week 4 Fearless Predictions | Suite101.com http://matt-whitener.suite101.com/nfl-week-4-fearless-predictions-a391275#ixzz1Zd0SkQ14

Follow me on Twitter for game-by-game analysis, discussion and hyjinx at @CheapSeatFan.

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For the past few seasons, the AFC East has been a tale of two halves. The New England Patriots and New York Jets have gone to war in the regular season and Playoffs; while the Miami Dolphins and then Buffalo Bills have served as not much more than filler. However, right now, it’s a division of change through and through.

After leading the league in wins, yet falling to their more physical division rivals out of New York again, the Patriots are rebuilding their image and getting tougher. After hitting the wall in two consecutive Conference Championships, the Jets are looking to get over their own personal hump, and may be running out of time to do. The Dolphins and Bills are headed in different directions, and enter years where major change could loom over them the entire time.

Will it be business as usual? Will there be some shake up in how the division plays out while each team undergoes changes to their identity, or will it stay a battle between Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan’s squads trading blows once more?

 

All-Division Team

QB: Tom Brady RB: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Shonn Greene FB: Lousaka Polite WR: Brandon Marshall, Santonio Holmes, Wes Welker TE: Rob Gronkowski OT: Jake Long, D’Brickashaw Ferguson OG: Logan Mankins, Brandon Moore C: Nick Mangold

DE: Shaun Ellis, Ty Warren DT: Vince Wilfork, Kyle Williams OLB: Calvin Pace, Karlos Dansby MLB: Jerod Mayo, Bart Scott CB: Darrelle Revis, Devin McCourty S: Jarius Byrd, Yeremiah Bell

K: Stephen Gostowski P: Brian Moorman Returner: Davone Bess

 

 

BUFFALO BILLS (4-12 in 2010)

Offense: S. Johnson-WR, F. Jackson-RB, R. Fitzpatrick-QB, CJ Spiller-RB (D+)

Defense: J. Byrd-S, K. Williams-DT, M. Dareus-DE, M.Stroud-DE (C)

 

The Good: The defense should be able to put some pressure on finally. It has taken on a much different look from a year ago, and the pace of the team should be determined by this unit. Kyle Williams is a force up front, but Marcell Dareus will be an instant impact player everywhere across the line. With his athletic ability, he can do it at both tackle and defensive end and in multiple schemes.

The Bad: The offensive line has been a problem for a few years, and it has gotten no better at either tackle. Demetrius Bell and Erik Pears could easily not be in the starting mix by the end of the year after defenses bring all they can at them all year. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a mainstay at quarterback mostly by default, but the receiving corps is among the thinnest in the league. Stevie Johnson will have a lot to prove, as he will be the only Bill worth watching anywhere on the field.

Stevie Johnson will be the lone threat in the Buffalo receiving game...and it won't sneak up on anyone this year.

X-Factor-C.J. Spiller: The 2010 first round pick never got started last year in any aspect. After being intended to be a change of pace, all-purpose weapon, he only gained just a shade over 600 yards total on the year. 175 of those yards came in special teams, and that’s where he will have a chance to make his presence felt the most this year initially. However, if he can get on the field in the flow of the regular offense, it could be a much needed boost to this dry offense.

Fearless Prediction: @KC (L), OAK (W), NE (L), @CIN (W), PHI (L), @NYG (L), WSH (L), NYJ (L), @DAL (L), @MIA (L), @NYJ (L), TEN (L), @SD (L), MIA (W), DEN (L), @NE (L)

In The End: There are some building pieces on defense, but there is not a lot to get excited about here overall. Several of the best Bills from a year ago got out-of-town this summer, and that’s not saying much for a team that mustered four wins with them. A mixture of a thin offense and tough division will have the Bills moving up the list towards the number one pick and potential franchise savior Andrew Luck. Record 3-13

 

MIAMI DOLPHINS (7-9 in 2010)

Offense: J. Long-OT, B. Marshall-WR, R. Bush-RB, D. Bess-WR (C)

Defense: V. Davis-CB, C. Wake-OLB, K. Dansby-OLB, Y. Bell-S (B+)

 

The Good: The Fins’ defense is the type of unit that can win games without a lot of help from an offense (which is a good thing here). Vontae Davis, Sean Smith and Yeremiah Bell make up a smothering secondary and their linebacker group is tough. Cameron Wake was breakout terror chasing down QBs last winter and Karlos Dansby cleans up everything that comes over the middle. While they tailed off some towards the end of last year, expect this to be among the top 5 defenses non-stop this time around.

The Bad: There’s a lot of wishing on stars on offense. They have been inconsistent the past few years, and now are trying to adjust this in some curious ways. Reggie Bush looks like he will be given the feature role in the running game, and considering he couldn’t handle that job in a New Orleans offense that was perfect for his game, it doesn’t seem likely he has an awakening this year.

The defense will be there all year, but how often Henne shows up to lead the offense will determine their fortune.

X-Factor-Daniel Thomas: He has an opportunity to be the most used rookie running back in the league. How quickly he can make an impact is going to be crucial for this team, as Bush is not the type of back you run 25 times a game and limiting turnovers in the passing game will likely be emphasized this year. By the end of the season, if he is carrying the ball often and well, it would be the best outcome for this offense this year.

Fearless Prediction: NE (L), HOU (W), @CLE (L), @SD (L), @NYJ (L), DEN (W), @NYG (W), @KC (L), WSH (L), BUF (W), @DAL (W), OAK (L), PHI (L), @BUF (W), @NE (W), NYJ (W)

In The End: Half of the equation is set, but how well the offense takes advantage of opportunities created for them  by their defensive counterparts will say how far this team goes. It could either spring them as a surprise competitor atop the East or land them in the top 10 of the Draft. Without a strong showing, there could be definite changes at both QB with Henne and head coach before the year is done. Most likely it will just split down the middle and be a solid team that still has questions headed out the year. Record: 8-8

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (14-2 in 2010; Division Champs)

Offense: T. Brady-QB, W. Welker-WR, C. OchoCinco-WR, B. Green-Ellis-RB (A+)

Defense: V. Wilfork-DT, J. Mayo-MLB, D. McCourty-CB, T. Warren-DE (B)

 

The Good: They’ve got Tom Brady and that makes them better than half the NFL alone. After a record-setting second MVP campaign a year ago, he takes the helm of an offense that actually is in better condition starting this season than last. All-Pro guard Logan Mankins is not holding out this year and is signed long-term. Chad OchoCinco seems hungry and ready to add a new focus target in the secondary. Wes Welker is healthy and a favorite of Brady’s, Deion Branch, will be in the fold the whole year. Also, their outstanding tight end combo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez will be better with a year of experience under their belt.

The Bad: The defense is in flux still headed into the season. After a year where they struggled to find a way to stop the pass or get a consistent effort in the pass, they have decided to switch up their scheme towards a 4-3 style, with many pieces that are built for the 3-4 style. In the midst of all of these changes, they cut ties with former Pro Bowl safety Brandon Merriweather at the end of the preseason.

Brady returns from a dominant year with a cast that could make a repeat atop the standings, team & MVP, a reality.

X-Factor-Albert Haynesworth: He was another in a string of surprise moves by the Pats, but it could end up being the biggest difference maker for the team this year. He will get to join a tough, veteran defensive front and get to do it at his natural position at defensive tackle. He will also get to line up next to Vince Wilfork, so he won’t be the sole focus on the front line. With this freedom and a push of playing for a contender in a better environment, a big year could be had here.

Fearless Prediction: @MIA (W), SD (W), @BUF (W), @OAK (W), NYJ (W), @DAL (W), @PIT (L), NYG (W), @NYJ (L), KC (W), @PHI (W), IND (W), @WSH (W), @DEN (W), MIA (L), @BUF (W)

In The End: As usual, this will be one of the most lethal teams in the league. They’ve gotten better everywhere on defense, and the offense will move the ball seamlessly as usual. It’s a matter of Coach Belichick’s club of executing and winning the tough games. At any rate, they’ll be at the top of the East again, and have a chance to stare the Jets down again in the Playoffs to try to get back to their first Super Bowl since 2008. Record: 13-3

 

NEW YORK JETS (11-5 in 2010; Wild Card)

Offense: S. Holmes-WR, M. Sanchez-QB, S. Greene-RB, N. Mangold-C (B)

Defense: D. Revis-CB, B. Scott-MLB, A. Cromartie-CB, D. Harris-MLB (A-)

 

The Good: The defense will have to shoulder the load like never before, and there’s no group better suited to do so. They lost Shaun Ellis and Kris Jenkins, but the Bart Scott/Calvin Pace/David Harris linebacker group works like it has one mind, and Darrelle Revis still shuts down half the field just by walking on it. It’s a nasty, non-stop blitzing team, that forces team to play their game, which has landed them in two straight AFC Championships.

The Bad: The offense, never the strength of the team, was forced to go under a major upheaval. Losing Braylon Edwards, Brad Smith and Jericho Cotchery from its deep receiving corps and replacing them with Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason slowed them down tremendously.  Surrounding Mark Sanchez with dependable receivers is important, but it remains to be seen if this offense can move the ball enough to stay at the level they have played at the last few seasons.

More than ever, the Jets' fate rests on far Sanchez can take them. A step forward in year 3 is a must.

X-Factor-Shonn Greene: Last season, LaDainian Tomlinson stepped up and had a career revival that left Greene out of the mix, and he didn’t take the momentum he built at the end of his rookie season with him into year two. Now, with LT stepping into a third down role primarily and the passing game being scaled back, much of the team’s potential will fall on Greene and him consistently moving the ball.

Fearless Prediction: DAL (W), JAX (W), @OAK (W), @BAL (L), @NE (L), MIA (W), SD (W), @BUF (W), NE (W), @DEN (L), BUF (W), @WSH (W), KC (W), @PHI (L), NYG (L), MIA (L)

In The End: Rex Ryan’s guys have stayed at the brink of Super Sunday for the last two seasons, but haven’t been able to cross the bridge. With more contract sacrifices hitting the team this season (and on defense this time), this may be the last chance to finish that business. They’ll be tough, and much depends on how the offense evolves, but a second straight year of the Wild Card route is ahead. Record: 10-6

 

To see how right, wrong or in-between this all works out, and me living with it, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan and @STLSport360.

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.

Greetings people,

Due to some technology failures (a busted laptop screen to be exact), I haven’t been able to post recently. However, after watching 3 teams slide to 0-5 this weekend (Buffalo, Carolina and San Francisco), while also seeing 2 potential top 20 prospects lose their seasons to academic scandal at North Carolina (Robert Quinn, Marvin Austin), I felt the need to put my observations on the upcoming NFL Draft into play here.

It’s half way through the season, conference play is coming in full speed and the BCS is about to go into effect here soon, so now is the best time to start looking at the best prospects available in April’s NFL Draft. As always, these are who are the best prospects in professional systems AND are draft eligible. Underclassmen are noted by their standing, otherwise all are seniors.

Feel free the champion for and debate your guys. Tomorrow I may do an overall ranking of the players with round projections.

Quarterback

  1. Andrew Luck-Stanford-6’3/235 lbs (Junior)
  2. Ryan Mallett-Arkansas-6’6/240 lbs (Junior)
  3. Jake Locker-Washington-6’3/225 lbs
  4. Christian Ponder-Florida State-6’2/219 lbs
  5. Blaine Gabbert-Missouri-6’6/235 lbs (Junior)
  6. Nick Foyles-Arizona-6’5/245 lbs (Junior)
  7. Terrelle Pryor-Ohio State-6’6/ 230 lbs (Junior)

 

Luck is looking every bit the top potential top pick so far (16 TD/4 Int).

 

Running Back

  1. Mark Ingram-Alabama-5’10/ 215 lbs (Junior)
  2. David Thomas-Kansas State-6’2/228 lbs
  3. Ryan Williams-Virginia Tech-5’10/200 lbs (Junior)
  4. DeMarco Murray-Oklahoma-6’1/207 lbs
  5. LaMichael James-Oregon-5’9/185 lbs (Junior)
  6. Jacquiz Rodgers-Oregon State-5’7/190 lbs (Junior)
  7. Kendall Hunter-Oklahoma State-5’8/200 lbs

 

James has been running crazy and is showing he has NFL ability, despite his size (Sproles anybody?)

 

Wide Receiver

  1. A.J. Green-Georgia-6’4/210 lbs (Junior)
  2. Julio Jones-Alabama-6’4/220 lbs (Junior)
  3. Jon Baldwin-Pittsburgh-6’5/ 230 lbs (Junior)
  4. Michael Floyd-Notre Dame-6’3/ 227 lbs (Junior)
  5. Leonard Hankerson-Miami-6’3/205 lbs
  6. Ryan Broyles-Oklahoma-5’11/183 lbs (Junior)
  7. Niles Paul-Nebraska-6’1/224 lbs

 

Green has Andre/Calvin Johnson type playmaker written all over him.

 

Tight End

  1. Kyle Randolph-Notre Dame-6’6/265 lbs (Junior)
  2. Luke Stecker-Tennessee-6’6/250 lbs
  3. Lance Kendricks-Wisconsin-6’4/240 lbs
  4. George Bryan-North Carolina State-6’5/260 lbs (Junior)
  5. Anthony Miller-California-6’3/260 lbs
  6. D.J. Williams-Arkansas-6’2/240 lbs
  7. Wayne Saunders-South Carolina-6’5/270 lbs (Sr)

 

Rudolph is far and away the best tight end available. Think younger Todd Heap.

 

Offensive Tackle

  1. Anthony Castonzo-Boston College-6’7/270 lbs
  2. Nate Solder-Colorado-6’8/315 lbs
  3. Derek Sherrod-Mississippi State-6’6/305 lbs
  4. DeMarcus Lane-Arkansas-6’5/315 lbs
  5. Gabe Carimi-Wisconsin-6’7/325 lbs
  6. Matt Reynolds-BYU-6’6/322 lbs (Junior)
  7. Jason Pinkston-Pittsburgh-6’3/310 lbs

 

In a thin year for tackles, Solder is solid as the second best available, although he is a project.

 

Offensive Guard/Center

  1. Rodney Hudson-Florida State-6’2/280 lbs *Center/Guard
  2. Mike Pouncey-Florida-6’5/310 lbs *Center
  3. Clint Boling-Georgia-6’5/320 lbs *Guard
  4. Orlando Franklin-Miami-6’6/320 lbs *Guard
  5. Andrew Jackson-Fresno State-6’5/288 lbs *Guard
  6. Ben Ijalana-Villanova-6’4/320 lbs- *Guard/Tackle
  7. Stefan Wisniewski-Penn State-6’3/312 lbs *Guard/Center

 

Mike is following in his 1st round brother's footsteps as a versatile lineman able to play anywhere inside.

 

Defensive End

  1. Adrian Clayborn-Iowa-6’3/280 lbs
  2. Cameron Hayward-Ohio State-6’4/280 lbs
  3. Robert Quinn-North Carolina-6’3/280 lbs (Junior)
  4. Ryan Kerrigan-Purdue-6’4/260 lbs
  5. Allen Bailey-Miami-6’6/288 lbs
  6. Da’Quan Bowers-Clemson-6’4/280 lbs (Junior)
  7. J.J. Watt-Wisconsin-6’6/295 lbs (Junior)

 

Quinn has top overall pick talent, but character concerns could slide him down most boards.

 

Defensive Tackle

  1. Marcell Dareus-Alabama-6’3/303 lbs (Junior)
  2. Stephen Paea-Oregon State-6’1/285 lbs
  3. Jared Crick-Nebraska-6’6/285 lbs (Junior)
  4. Marvin Austin-North Carolina-6’3/305 lbs
  5. Nick Fairley-Auburn-6’4/300 lbs (Junior)
  6. Jurrell Casey-USC-6’5/288 lbs (Junior)
  7. Drake Nevis-LSU-6’2/285 lbs

 

A dream for the 3-4 scheme, Dareus is a 300 pounder that is as comfortable at tackle as he is at end.

 

Inside Linebacker

  1. Quan Sturdivant-North Carolina-6’2/227 lbs
  2. Don’t’a Hightower-Alabama-6’4/260 lbs (Sophomore)
  3. Greg Jones-Michigan State-6’0/235 lbs
  4. Kelvin Sheppard-LSU-6’2/244 lbs
  5. Nate Irving-North Carolina State-6’1/235 lbs
  6. Ross Homan-Ohio State-6’0/232 lbs
  7. Chris Galippo-USC-6’2/ 250 lbs (Junior)

 

A tackling machine, Jones has added size but kept all his speed this season.

 

Outside Linebacker

  1. Bruce Carter-North Carolina-6’3/230 lbs
  2. Akeem Ayers-UCLA-6’4/250 lbs (Junior)
  3. Von Miller-Texas A&M-6’3/240 lbs
  4. Travis Lewis-Oklahoma-6’2/230 lbs (Junior)
  5. Jeremy Beal-Oklahoma-6’3/260 lbs
  6. Mark Herzlich-Boston College-6’4/245 lbs
  7. Dontay Mach-Nevada-6’1/236 lbs

 

A tremendous playmaker, Ayers could move way up draft boards by Draft time.

 

Cornerbacks

  1. Patrick Peterson-LSU-6’1/22 2 lbs (Junior)
  2. Prince Amukamara-Nebraska-6’1/200 lbs
  3. Ras-I Dowling-Virginia-6’2/200 lbs
  4. Janoris Jenkins-Florida-5’11/190 lbs (Junior)
  5. Brandon Harris-Miami-5’11/190 lbs (Junior)
  6. Aaron Williams-Texas-6’1/192 lbs (Junior)
  7. Jimmy Smith-Colorado-6’2/205 lbs

 

Great combo of size and speed, Peterson can match up with any assignment.

 

Safety

  1. Rahim Moore-UCLA-6’1/195 lbs (Junior)
  2. DeAndre McDaniel-Clemson-6’1/210 lbs
  3. Quinton Carter-Oklahoma-6’1/200 lbs
  4. Deunta Williams-North Carolina-6’2/210 lbs
  5. Mark Barron-Alabama-6’2/210 lbs (Junior)
  6. Robert Sands-West Virginia-6’5/221 (Junior)
  7. Ahmad Black-Florida-5’9/190 lbs

 

McDaniel can play either safety position and can be a potential Week 1 starter in 2011.

 

Who do you like so far? Who’s missing? Who would you like to see on your team? Let me know and let’s hash out who’s gonna rise and fall by the time Roger Goodell takes to the podium in the spring.

 

The AFC East is annually characterized by rivalries every year. There are so many subplots at work here that it seems that it’s more profession wrestling than football division much of the time. Already in 2010 the pot is getting stirred, as a result of HBO’s Hard Knocks series following the New York Jets. Tom Brady has stated he “Hates the Jets and will not watch the show.” Strong words for so early in the year, yet not surprising at all. It’s more irony than anything else, as for so long the Patriots have been the target of much of the hate in the league.

However, does the changing of the guard in target of aggression in the division also preview a changing in the rank and order of the East as well? The Jets were the surprise of the postseason last year, with two decisive wins and an AFC Championship game appearance, while the Patriots were soundly beaten by the Ravens in round one after winning the division. Add to this subplot the always pesky Miami Dolphins finally landing the go to, albeit controversial, wide receiver they have been wanting for what seems like forever, and you’ve got plenty of drama for the whole year.

Oh, and the Bills are here too…but they’re will be much more talk about concerning them come Draft season, for reason you’ll soon see.

Buffalo Bills (6-10 in 2009)

Offense: F. Jackson-RB, L. Evans-WR, C. Spiller-RB (D)

Defense: D. Whitner-SS, P. Posluszny-LB, J. Byrd-FS (C+)

The Good: The defense is capable of making some tough days for quarterbacks. They finished second in passing yardage allowed, with only 184 yards per contest. Donte Whitner and Jairus Byrd are capable of getting the ball back at any point, with Byrd pulling in nine interceptions during his rookie campaign. Paul Posluszny is a bright spot in the frontlines of defense, leading the team in tackles during his 2nd year. They have a diverse ground game, with Fred Jackson returning as the club’s all purpose threat, Marshawn Lynch provides a power runner and rookie C.J. Spiller being a blazing speed threat.

Lee Evans is a big play threat, but how often will he be able to make an impact?

The Bad: They are very sub par at some critical positions: offensive and defensive line and quarterback. Neither Trent Edwards nor Ryan Fitzpatrick had more touchdowns than interceptions in ’09. And neither reached double figures in touchdowns. All of this was achieved while Terrell Owens was on board. The offensive line hasn’t offer much help to either in approving their efforts, as each was sacked over 20 times despite each splitting the season at the helm. As a whole, the defense was terrible versus the rush, giving up over 150 yards a game, ranking them at 30 out of 32 teams.

X-Factor-C.J. Spiller: When the Bills selected him with the 9th pick in this year’s draft they had other needs that could have been addressed. However, they saw Spiller’s undeniable speed and game breaking talent and couldn’t resist. The ball will be put in his hands every way possible, because the Bills don’t have much to go deep with and with both Jackson and Lynch suffering from injuries, he will get even more rushes early in the season, before most likely splitting carries and impacting the receiver and return game later in the year.

2010 Projection: Mia (L), @ GB (L), @ NE (L), NYJ (L), Jax (W), @ Bal (L), @ KC (L), Chi (L), Det (L), @ Cin (L), Pit (L), @ Min (L), Cle (W), @ Mia (W), NE (L), @ NYJ (L)

Summary: The Bills play in a tough division and will pay the price. On offense they were already one-dimensional, and then didn’t bring back TO, their top receiver. This group won’t be able to attack and win games and the defensive group has issues getting to the quarterback, which may put too much pressure on the secondary to maintain its’09 success. Long season ahead here. RECORD: 3-13

Miami Dolphins (7-9)

Offense: B. Marshall-WR, R. Brown-RB, R. Williams-RB, J. Long-T (B)

Defense: K. Dansby-LB, C. Crowder-LB, J. Odrick-DE (B-)

The Good: They finally landed the big name receiver they had desperately been looking for in Brandon Marshall. He is a high volume receiver that has brought in at least 100 catches over the last 3 years and will boost the Fins 20th ranked pass game immediately. Also, he adds a new wrinkle to a Dolphins team who’s running gimmick game his still diverse, but is not catching teams off guard any longer. On defense, Karlos Dansby coming over from Arizona and joining Channing Crowder in the middle of their linebacker spread will give them two active, impact tacklers from sideline to sideline.

Having a healthy (which is rare) Ronnie Brown gives the Dolphins attack multiple weapons in one.

The Bad: This is a defense with a lot of holes still. The secondary has to get better effort from Vontae Davis and company in coverage, after finishing 24th versus the pass last year. There were no great upgrades made to this unit and there is nobody that worries opponents about forcing the turnover. To make matters worse, the departures of Joey Porter and Jason Taylor takes away their top pass rushers, a move that could give QBs even more time to pick on their lackluster secondary.

X-Factor-Chad Henne: For all of their gadget plays and trickery, the Dolphins played their best when they had a steady quarterback directing them. That’s what Henne was drafted to become in 2008 and last season he took control. He showed the expected inconsistencies of first year starter (12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions), but down the stretch he looked to be coming into his own, passing for over 300 yards in three of his last five games. His continued development and consistency means everything to pushing this club to increased success.

2010 Prediction: @ Buf (W), @ Min (L), NYJ (W), NE (L), @ GB (L), Pit (W), @ Cin (L), @ Bal (W), Ten (W), Chi (L), @ Oak (W), Cle (W), @ NYJ (L), Buf (L), Det (W), @ NE (L)

Summary: The Dolphins are both bringing in pieces that will pay off in turning their fortunes, but they still are too thin at important positions (where their division rivals are strong) to make a big splash this year. However, they will be able to shock more than a few teams this year and will be competitive week in and week out. RECORD: 7-9

New England Patriots (11-5 in 2009; Division Champs)

Offense: T. Brady-QB, R. Moss-WR, W. Welker-WR, L. Maroney-RB (A-)

Defense: V. Wilfork-NT, J. Mayo-LB, B. Merriweather-FS (B)

The Good: They have quietly reloaded at positions critical to their success when they were the class of the league. Rookies Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez bring size and speed to a tight end position that was always a strong for the Pats. Julian Edelman’s development at receiver gives them another in-between threat to go with Wes Welker. All of these moves set up more chances for Randy Moss to slip past defenses and hook up with Tom Brady. This trend continues with the defense as well. Rookie Brandon Spikes should step in immediately at inside linebacker, a position where they had unparalleled depth in years past.

With more targets for defenses to tend to, Moss may have a chance to visit the end zone even more than the 13 times he did in '09.

The Bad: As they have added depth at some positions, there is a franchise cornerstone that is not looking to join the fold. Guard Logan Mankins is not in the fold after refusing to sign the restricted free agent contract offered to him and is holding out to force a trade. As one of the best guards in football, his absence is bound to hinder the offensive output overall, as in New England if the pass struggles, the offense as a whole does.

X-Factor-Wes Welker: In their Wild Card round loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Wes Welker suffered a terrible MCL/ACL tearing knee injury. It was said best case scenario he’d be back by the second half of the 2010 campaign, yet he was ready to suit up by the first day of training camp and will be in the fold from week 1. He appears to have amazingly returned to his pre-injury form and if he is ready, having the two-time league leader in receptions back will be huge for this offense.

2010 Prediction: Cin (L), @ NYJ (L), Buf (W), @ Mia (W), Bal (W), @ SD (L), Min (L), @ Cle (W), @ Pit (W), Ind (W), @ Det (W), NYJ (L), @ Chi (W), GB (W), @ Buf (W), Mia (W)

Summary: With Brady’s return, the Pats once again ascended to the peak of the East and will be among the league’s most steady teams again this year. They play a potentially the toughest schedule of any team this season and will be tempered by that week in, week out challenge. Also, the Jets have what it takes to meet and surpass them head on, so repeat at the top of the division will be a struggle to reach. RECORD: 11-5

New York Jets (9-7 in 2009; Wild Card team)

Offense: M. Sanchez-QB, S. Green-RB, L. Tomlinson-RB, B. Edwards-WR, D. Ferguson-T (B+)

Defense: D. Revis-CB, K. Jenkins-DT, B. Scott-LB, D. Harris-LB, A. Cromartie-CB (A+)

The Good: They have the elite defense in the league and Coach Rex Ryan knows how to unleash it, which he does constantly. No unit gave up fewer points per game last season (12.8), and they add Jason Taylor, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson to the core of Bart Scott, David Harris and Kris Jenkins. They finished first in passing yards allowed, with only 153 per game. This was enabled by both the constant rushes by the defense and the fear of Darrelle Revis’ lurking at corner. His inevitable arrival with the team means everything to how well they perform and its potential.

If consistency finds Sanchez in his second season, the Jets may be a team with no limits.

The Bad: Mark Sanchez has to have a substantial growth in his consistency in his second year. The Jets have a deep stable of and one of the league’s best offensive lines as well, yet finished 31st passing offense last year. None of this offense’s potential will be able to be put to use if Sanchez does not improve on his game command. Also, reliable kicker Jay Feely, who was able to make up for many of the shortcomings of the pass game, was replaced by Nick Folk, whose inconsistencies forced him out of Dallas. Regardless of how good the defense is, these issues have to be fixed if the Jets want to break past their AFC Championship game finish this year.

X-Factor-Shonn Greene: The Jets finished first in rushing offense in the NFL last year, due in part to running more to lessen Sanchez’s exposure and in part because they were deep at the position. Greene broke out in the Playoffs, with two games of 135 and 128 yards. Now, Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are gone and Greene is in place to make the biggest leap forward of any back in football. While he will share carries with LaDainian Tomlinson, he is without a doubt the top option in Jet attack.

2010 Projection: Bal (W), NE (W), @ Mia (L), @ Buf (W), Min (W), @ Den (L), GB (W), @ Det (W), @ Cle (W), Hou (W), Cin (W) @ NE (W), Mia (W), @ Pit (L), @ Chi (W), Buf (W)

Summary: They turned it on in Playoffs last year, going from last second Wild Card grab to the AFC Championship Game. That momentum they started last year was built upon with several significant offseason selections and they have now built one the most complete teams in football. With the growth of their young offensive stars, this team can easily become one game better and be the best of the AFC this season. RECORD: 13-3