Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vick agrees to 2-year deal with Eagles.

ESPN reports that Michael Vick has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. The deal is reportedly for 2 years and one must wonder about this because Vick has suggested that he wants to play quarterback in the NFL. My best guess is he will take these 2 years to work as a wildcat qb and let the dust settle. After that he could be looking for a starting spot somewhere in the NFL since there probably not be an opening in Philly.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Notes from Sunday's 49er practice

So I was lucky enough to attend The 49ers training camp practice today (thanks Phil if you are reading this). Practice was only open to about 500 invited guests. Here are some things I saw and noticed.

Starting off with the qb competition it seems as if Smith struggles the most in ranges of 10-20 yards but 25 yards plus when he can get some air under the ball he has great accuracy. He missed at least 4-5 short throws due to sloppy passes and at one point missed 3 in a row during individual drill with his wr's without anybody in coverage. After that stretch I looked over and saw Singletary dig into his pocket and write something down. I'm not saying I know what he wrote or if it was bad and I'm not trying to make assumptions however he was looking dead at Smith for all 3 bad throws and did make some notes after. Smith did look good in team however most throws were short checkdown throws. There seems to be a lot of short passing involved in Raye's new offense which in my opinion will ultimately favor Hill.

Vernon Davis looked very good and I didn't see him drop any balls. He can definetely be a big weapon this year by catching underneath passes, breaking one tackle and chewing up big yards with his speed. He is very elusive and seems to create good seperation when matched up against line backers.

Kory Sheets surprised me today he is VERY fast and explosive. When in the open field whether on toss plays or screen and swing passes he can definetely exploit defenses. How he will hold up between the tackles still remains the question and was very hard to judge because the defense was not making tackles.

Josh Morgan did not want to leave the field after practice. He ran some sprints and talked with Jerry Sullivan the receivers coach for a while after talking about what seemed to be plays and coverages. He then stood up and started playing catch with him. When I finally decided to leave he was still there in full pads minus helmet. Vernon also stuck around to catch passes from the machine and Scott Mckillop stuck around to do some sled work.

Best play of the day goes to Josh Morgan during 1 on 1's early in practice when he made a nice one handed grab with Dre Bly hanging on him. It would have been Bear Pascoe's diving catch at the end from Nate Davis however Pascoe could not quite bring the pass in.

The offense today worked a lot of toss plays and practice did not run for too long. They also did kick return and Rossum doesn't seem to have lost a step.

Marvel Smith practiced with the first team all practice and looked good. He is a big guy.

Defensively the speed from our linebacker corps. was definetely evident on the toss plays they ran. It seems like rallying to the ball will be a focal point of this years d. The secondary looked very sharp forcing a lot of check downs and not allowing really any deep passes. Linebacker Parys Haralson was not practicing. The pass rush seemed like it was hurting with his absence with not too much pressure being put on the qb except one play where Hill managed to somehow escape on and check the ball down to his running back. The defense never seemed to bring more than 4 in pressure either which I'm sure contributed to the good pass protection.

That's all I have for today thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

AFC South Predictions

Today we take a look at the AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts 12-4

The Indianapolis Colts remain pretty unchanged on the field minus Marvin Harrison. A move which surprised a lot of people but needed to be done. In 2007 and 2008 combined Harrison played in only 20 games and totaled 80 receptions for 883 yards. In 2006 alone he had 95 catches for 1,366 yards so his production is clearly dropping. The biggest change to the Colts however is the remodeled coaching staff. The Colts were forced to find a new offensive coordinator after long time coach Tom Moore retired this offseason. Moore has been the only coordinator Peyton Manning has ever played for in the NFL and many believe Moore has been a big part of Peyton's success. I do not however believe Clyde Christensen stepping in as the new offensive coordinator will have as large of an effect as some people may think. One thing about Peyton is that he calls his own plays. Moore would send in a set of 3 to 4 plays and Peyton would choose which one to run. Plus we all know Peyton is great at reading defenses and calling audibles. So even with a new OC, their primary signal caller remains the same. We do however have to take into account Tony Dungy has retired and this will be the first season under new head coach Jim Caldwell. Caldwell has been with the team since 2002 and many people on the team are fond of him so the transition should be easy. To top it all off let's not forget that this is a team that has not won less than 10 games since 2001. Looks like another division title for the Colts.

2. Tennessee Titans 11-5
The Tennessee Titans finished last season with the best record in the NFL at 13-3. I do not believe they will be able to repeat that performance. The fact remains that Kerry Collins is very reliable at the quarterback position but is not exactly a game changer. The Titans will still have a good team and post a good record however not quite as good as last years. Plus this is a team that lost Albert Haynesworth on the defensive line who had a monstrous season last year. The Titans will still have success in the running game and play good defense. Running back Chris Johnson seems to be a star in the making rushing for 1,228 yards last year in his rookie campaign. I expect decreased performances from the d-line and the qb positions which is why I believe they deserve a 2 game knock compared to last years record.

3. Houston Texans 9-7
The Texans have in my opinion the best WR in the NFL right now and his name is Andre Johnson. And if you disagree let's look at some facts: Last year Johnson led the NFL regular season in both receptions and yards with 115 receptions for 1,575 yards. And johnson did all this with Matt Schaub as his quarterback (and some Sage Rosenfels). The Schaub to Johnson combination will return strong this year to give the Texans a winning season. Look also for increased performance from 2nd year running back and former West Virginia star Steve Slaton who posted 1,282 yards rushing in his rookie year. The Texans offense finished 3rd in the NFL in yards per game last year yet ranked only 17th in points and are looking to improve on that mark this season. Their defense has been steadily improving since the controversial Mario Williams over Reggie Bush pick which all of a sudden looks genius as Williams had 12 sacks last year. Demeco Ryans has been playing great and promises to be an anchor of the defense in his 4th season. Also this team added hard nosed USC linebacker Brian Cushing in the draft with the 15th overall pick. If this defense can step up a bit more and Johnson can continue to play at a high level we may see an even higher win total here.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars 6-10
The Jaguars last season were a disappointing team as many expected more out of them. I believe a big part of that comes from the expectation that the Jaguars would have a very strong running game with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones Drew. However neither managed to rush for over 1,000 yards and now Fred Taylor is no longer with the team. The Jags lost tackle Khalif Barnes in free agency but were able to pick up a very good tackle prospect in Eugene Monroe through the draft. The team also added long time Rams receiver Torry Holt signing him to a 3 year deal with hopes that he will become a main target for David Garrard. Overall I think how the season goes for the Jaguars is heavily dependent on the way Garrard plays. If he can manage to take more pressure off of Maurice Jones Drew which I believe he can this team may win more games. They must also improve their defense especially the pass defense which allowed 224.1 yards per game and ranked 24th in the league. Overall they will be decent, but not to much better than last year.

Friday, July 31, 2009

AFC West Predictions

1. San Diego Chargers 11-5
This years Chargers team has not made to many big changes from last year. They will however be returning their all-star linebacker Shawne Merriman. Merriman is the leader of that defense and having lost him last year for pretty much the entire season was a big blow to this team. Yet with that injury they were still able to make the playoffs and beat the Colts in Wild Card week before losing to the Steelers the next week. Their offense finished 2nd in the NFL in points per game and look for this defense with the addition of Merriman to improve their 31st overall pass defense from last year by strongly improving the pass rush. Also, it has been reported several times that Ladanian Tomlinson who many thought has been losing a step of 2 showed up this offseason in the bast shape of his life and reports are saying he looks like the LT of old. LT and Darren Sproles should make for a dangerous backfield. With the weakness in this division, the Chargers are pretty much a lock for a playoff spot.

2. Oakland Raiders 7-9
This team could really go either way this year. 7-9 may be a little bit on the higher side of where I think they will be at the end of the year but if they can start winning some of their close games like they have not been in the past then the Raiders could end up in 2nd in the AFC West at 7-9. The scales however could just as easily tip the other way if the Raiders do not find a way to improve on their 31st ranked rush yards allowed per game statistic. This problem has plagued this team over the past few years however Tommy Kelly played surprisingly well up front last year and with a new D-Coordinator things could positively change. Do not look for very much production from their top 2 draft picks this year as  Darrius Heyward-Bey I don't think will develop the hands necessary to catch balls in traffic and Mike Mitchell adjusts to reading pro offenses. The Raiders will however continue to have a strong running game with Justin Fargas, Darren Mcfadden, and Michael Bush. That being said I think the Raiders finish 2nd in the AFC West behind San Diego.

3. Denver Broncos 5-11
This is a team that over the offseason imploded like nobody would believe. First, they fire their long time and super bowl winning head coach Mike Shanahan to bring in Patriots ex offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Then with pro bowl quarterback with a tremendous arm already on the team (Jay Cutler), McDaniels tries to break the bank to bring in Matt Cassel from New England. This turned out to be very bad for McDaniels as Jay Cutler got upset and demanded a trade. I'm not saying that Cutler was right in demanding a trade or that McDaniels was wrong by not putting up with Cutler trying to run the team, I do however think that all around it was a terrible move on the part of McDaniels because they already had a pro-bowl proven QB and now you want to trade for somebody who didn't even make the playoffs with receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker and one of the best O-lines in the game. It just doesn't make sense. And the worst part about this whole situation is they have no defense to fall back on because last year they had one of the worst defenses in the entire NFL. It could be a long season for Broncos fans.

4. Kansas City Chiefs 3-13
The Chiefs are in rebuilding mode and as we know for teams in the NFL that process usually takes a few years. They did however draft smart and heavily defensively with hopes to strengthen their defense first. This team did however add Matt Cassel who I do not think will be the savior in KC but is a good looking prospect for their future. The Chiefs brought in Todd Haley the ex Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator from last season, and we all know the success their offense had. So look for the Chiefs to try to throw the ball downfield with some success this year but overall this roster is just to young to make a big impact this year but they are certainly doing good things for the future of Chiefs football.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

NFC East Preview

New England Patriots: 13-3
Let's face it, the Patriots with Tom Brady were an unbelievably great team. Barring injuries this team seems poised to easily win the division crown this year. The Patriots offense is full of weapons with Moss, Welker, and surprising Sammy Morris 727 yards this past year.Look also for young defensive help from last years first round pick Jerod Mayo and this years second round picks Patrick Chung and Ron Brace. 

Miami Dolphins: 8-8
I know I may take a lot of heat for this one but let's be REAL here for a minute. The Dolphins last year were a team that nobody saw coming. Surprising everybody with the single wing (Wildcat) formation is not going to happen again this year. Plus they had the benefit of playing 8 games against 2 of the weakest divisions in the NFL in the NFC and AFC west. The Dolphins won't get much help next year from the draft picks as I believe although first round pick Vontae Davis is a great athlete he is not nearly polished enough to start in the NFL. Especially having to face teams with receiving corps like the Patriots, Bills, Falcons, and Panthers. Sorry Fins fans but the NFL will be ready for you this time around.

New York Jets: 7-9
The New York "Bretts" are no more. Both Running Backs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are upset with their contracts. Rex Ryan is just another defensive coordinator to become a head coach after being with the very talented Ray Lewis led defense. Marvin Lewis left that spot in 2001 and his Bengal's were 4-11-1 last year. Mike Nolan replaced Lewis and 3 seasons later was hired to the 49ers. Nolan was fired from San Francisco halfway through last year. The fact is this team has no quarterback and is hoping that maybe Sanchez can step in and start a few games this year. However Ryan and Sanchez are not the savior of this franchise, not this year at least.

Buffalo Bills: 7-9
Bringing up the bottom is the Buffalo Bills. Last season quarterback Trent Edwards played well up until he suffered a head injury early in last season. After that his productivity dropped off and eventually led to him being benched over a "questionable" injury after he performed very poorly against the San Francisco 49ers. If Edwards does not produce, Owens will not be a happy camper and things could get interesting. The Bills however do have a strong rush game and will be able to win games on the back of Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Blog is Back

So I have taken some time off from the blog since the offseason is at its slowest point of the year. But as the season draws nearer I will again be giving updates and articles regularly. Soon I will be breaking down each division and giving my predictions for the 2009 season so stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mike Vick not playing QB?

Consistently I hear media members and so called NFl experts talk bout how if Mike Vick were to return to the NFL it wouldn't be at quarterback. I have to say that makes absolutely no sense. The fact is that the biggest question about Vick playing in the NFL is his physical shape. Will he be able to run and be as strong as it takes to play at the NFL level? For one, I think he will be. We all know that with the exception of special teams, playing quarterback requires the least amount of physical strength and endurance out of any position. So how would Vick be able to play receiver if he weren't even strong enough to play QB? The fact is that the best position for Vick to play is in fact QB and if he does end up reinstated and on a team he will be playing the quarterback position.

What teams might be interested? Well many people are pointing to San Francisco however Coach Mike Singletary has stated that his QB is already on the roster. The Jets already got their QB as did Kansas City. I feel Minnesota will show interest if the Brett Favre thing doesn't work out. Also, Jacksonville is showing that they have a lot of faith in David Garrard. The fact is, this late teams are already going forward with who they have on their roster. So if Vick is to come back, the demand for him may not be as big as originally thought.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Steven's 09 Mock Draft

I'm not a big mock draft guy myself because everybody's boards look different so there's really no knowing of what's going to happen. But, since so many people seem to like them, I figure I'll make my own. I will only do picks 1-12 because after that it's pretty much a complete toss up. These picks are the picks which I feel will happen based on how NFL teams have their boards ranked, NOT how the media ranks them. It is important to note that from the end of the college season to now peoples names have skyrocketed and dropped, not because of their workouts, but rather because their agents do all they can to hype their players up draft boards in hopes to make more money. Inside war-rooms however actual coaches stay almost immune to all these media-reports, so as the media's boards change, their boards do not. Here are my first 12 picks for the 2009 draft.

1. Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford, QB Georgia
The Detroit Lions are in desperate need for a lot of positions, however the most important is a franchise quarterback. Stafford is the best quarterback in this draft and has the best possibility of becoming a good professional quarterback. Plus, the Lions have many picks, including another first rounder where they can pick up some o-line help.

2. St. Louis Rams - Jason Smith, LT Baylor
The Rams dumped their long time anchor at left tackle Orlando Pace to clear way for the best available left tackle in the draft. Luckily Stafford was chosen first overall and they will be able to land a great talent in Jason Smith. I am however a little wary of the fact that Smith never played with his hand on the ground because of the spread system they run at Baylor.

3. Kansas City Chiefs - Aaron Curry, LB Wake Forest
Many consider Curry to be the best player in the draft. I must admit I disagree with that as I was very unimpressed with his tapes. However, it seems to be a consensus around the nation that he is a great talent. The Chiefs get a long time starter here with Curry.

4. Seattle Seahawks - Michael Crabtree, WR Texas Tech
I consider Crabtree to be the most talented player in this years draft. The Seahawks do have a need at QB, but that need is not immediate and with a chance to land a player like Crabtree, there is no chance they pass him up.

5. Cleveland Browns - Everette Brown, DE Florida State
Brown is an extremely talented pass-rusher. At times he was literally unstoppable. Recently, people have had Brown dropping down draft boards, however make no doubt about it Brown is a top 5 talent. The Browns will add a solid pass rusher to help out their defensive front here.

6. Cincinatti Bengals - Eugene Monroe, LT Virginia
The Bengals can use help protecting palmer and strengthening their run game. Eugene Monroe is the second best tackle in this draft and will be a great addition to the Bengals offensive line.

7. Oakland Raiders - Jeremy Maclin, WR Missouri
Al Davis has made it very clear that he will not be taking an o-lineman at this spot, nor will he trade it. With that said, Davis loves to draft players with speed and are in need of a WR. Look for the Raiders to draft Maclin even if Crabtree is still available as I believe MAclin is number 1 on their draft board.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars - Andre Smith, LT Alabama
After Smith's debacle at the scouting combine, a lot of people dropped him out of the top 10. However, make no mistake about it Andre Smith is an extremely talented LT and gave up only 1 sack last year in the vastly talented SEC. The Jaguars get a talented LT here who is a mauler and can also play RT given his size.

9. Green Bay Packers - Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB Texas
Orakpo is creeping up draft boards everywhere because of his ability to rush the passer. He is often compared to Demarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys. Orakpo goes high because of how hard it is to find good pass rushers in this league.

10. San Francisco 49ers - B.J. Raji, DT Boston College
The 49ers are finally able to land a great nose tackle for their 3-4 scheme. Raji has a big body, plays very physical, and will fit in well with the attitude Singletary is instilling in San Francisco. Additionaly, Raji has a great attitude and personality. Raji is impressive in the middle with 42 tackles and 7.5 sacks. Look for Raji to not make a huge impact his first year, but will develop into a great talent as he picks up the pro game.

11. Buffalo Bills - Michael Oher, LT Mississippi
Michael Oher is considered a top 10 draft prospect but I have him falling just outside of that. Here the Bills get a great player in Oher who has a great determination and skill-set. Oher is a great addition to protect the Bills young core so Edwards can get the ball to his dynamic receiving corps. 

12. Denver Broncos - Mark Sanchez, QB USC
There is no doubt that the Broncos need a new quarterback. Look for the 49ers at #10 to attempt to persuade the Broncos that they are interested in Sanchez to get the Broncos to trade up into their spot. At #12, the 49ers would probably be able to get their guy, and the Broncos would get the second rated QB in the draft.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Some Sleepers to Watch

This weekend marks the beginning of the draft process with the NFL scouting combine taking place in Indianapolis. Coverage of the workouts are Saturday-Tuesday, but they will be replayed I am sure all the way up until draft day. Here are a few not to well known names to watch.

1. Ramses Barden, Cal Poly. Projected as a 5th round draft pick has a load of athleticism and talent. Barden is 6 foot 6 inches tall and has excellent ball concentration. Barden can get up in the air and attack the ball at its highest point. This weekend will be very important for him to show his speed and size to the NFL scouts. Barden is playing in a small-school division but just absolutely dominates games. In 2007 against Weber State he had 9 catches for 219 yards and 4 TD's. A month later against Idaho State he had 10 grabs for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns. The question for Barden is going to be whether or not he will have the speed to separate from better defenders at the next level. 

2. Jamon Meredith, South Carolina. Jamon Meredith has outstanding speed and talent as a tackle and can down right block people. Meredith is considered a 3rd round pick or later but a team getting him that low could be getting a real steal. Meredith needs to perform this weekend in the benchpress. Scouts know about Meredith's great ability to kick-step and keep up with those fast defensive ends but needs to prove that he can dominate people up front. His bulk is definitely a question weighing in at 6'5"  and 304 punds so he needs to show off his strength this weekend.

3. Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston State. Bomar is by far the most talented sleeper pick on my board. Out of high-school, Bomar was highly recruited out of Grand Prairie High School, considered the top QB prospect in the 2004 recruiting class. Bomar went to Oklahoma where he redshirted his first year and in the 2005 season was MVP of the Holiday Bowl where the Sooners defeated the Oregon Ducks. In 2006 Bomar was dismissed from Oklahoma for taking pay for unpaid work at a car dealership which violated NCAA rules. This incident has greatly raised eyebrows about Bomar's character. For Bomar to be considered for a first day daft pick he must have some good explanations as to what happened with that incident. Bomar transferred to Sam Houston State where he had outstanding numbers despite being on a bad team. In 2007 in 9 games Bomar threw for 2209 yards and had a completion percentage of 59.1%, and a QB rating of 130.90. In 2008 Bomar threw for 3355 yards with a completion percentage of 56.2 and a QB rating of 135.30. Bomar needs to make a great impression on scouts in interviews this weekend but if he goes late first day come draft time, some team is getting a steal.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Teams in a Pickle

With the football season just ending, the offseason is pushing into full swing with the free agency period just around the corner. There are a few teams out there who could find themselves not improving in the offseason, but actually getting worse. Here are the top 3 teams in the worst position this offseason.

1. The Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens ended last year with the second best defense in the NFL. Only behind the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. However, this offseason is sure to not be pretty. 3 of the Ravens top defenders are set to be unrestricted free agents, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Bart Scott. And the Ravens surely do not have the money to re-sign all of them, in fact, they will be lucky to secure a long term contract with one of them. The leader of the big 3 in Baltimore is none other than Ray Lewis. Lewis has been constantly touted by team-mates as not only the leader of the defense, but the vocal leader of the entire team. However, Lewis is getting old, setting to turn 34 in May. The Ravens must have some concern about how much longer he can play at such a high level. While on the other hand you have the 2 young and talented linebackers, Bart Scott and Terrell Suggs. Suggs has came out and said that he would take a pay-cut in order to keep their defense in tact, however Lewis said the opposite. Lewis is not in favor of a home town discount saying "I don't play less, so they shouldn't pay less". The Ravens have recently came out and said that they will pay whatever it takes to keep Lewis in Baltimore, so that could mean bye-bye for Suggs or Scott, or quite possibly both.

2. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are projected to be the 25th out of 32 teams as far as 2009 cap room. The problem with that is, they have 2 pro-bowl starters that need to be re-signed. One anchor on each side of the ball, Defensive End Julius Peppers, and Left Tackle Jordan Gross. The Panthers can only put the franchise tag on one of these great players, so one will be leaving with no return for the team unless they can soon reach a long term deal. Peppers has recently expressed his will to leave Carolina for a team that runs a 3/4 so that he can stand up and play Outside Linebacker. Given that, chances are the Panthers will tag Gross, who is considered possibly the best tackle in the NFL, pay him a huge salary and let Peppers walk out the door. If that scenario happens, that would make 2 talented defensive linemen free agents this year with both him and Albert Haynesworth most likely to be available.

3. The Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are just coming off one of the most successful seasons in the history of their franchise, losing in Super Bowl 43. But the question that now remains is will their success have any continuity? Well the Cardinals are set to have a number of key components of their Super Bowl team become Unrestricted Free Agents. To start off, their quarterback Kurt Warner is not only a Free Agent, but also considering retirement. On the offensive side of the ball they are also losing Running Back J.J. Arrington and blocking back Terrelle Smith. On the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinals may lose some real talent. The Unrestricted Free Agents on defense include Bertrand Berry, Antonio Smith, Karlos Dansby, and Clark Haggans. To top off all these people leaving, Pro-Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin has been very public in the past about wanting to leave Arizona even though he has one year left on his contract. 

This years off season should be a very entertaining one and keep checking in on my blog to stay posted. Also don't be scared to leave some comments if you have an opinion.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

From the Year of the QB to --- the Year of the LB

The value being placed on the defensive side of the ball in the NFL now is higher than perhaps ever before. With the top 3 defenses all playing in the conference championships and the number 1 defense (the Pittsburgh Steelers) winning the Super Bowl, the statement "Defense wins championships" has never proven more true. There is so much need to beef up defenses around the league, and look no farther than this years NFL Draft.

At the end of the 08-09 college football season, the draft boards looked sure to be quarterback heavy, with 2 Heisman trophy winner's sure to be declaring for the draft. Most people assumed that the top 3 quarterbacks would surely be declaring for the NFL Draft. I mean after all, Sam Bradford was voted AP player of the year, won the Heisman Trophy, and the Davey O'brien award.

And then there's Tim Tebow, the first Sophmore to ever win the Heisman trophy. Just after winning the National Championship, it was nearly a sure bet that Tebow would enter the Draft, having accomplished nearly everything there is to accomplish in College Football. To top it all off, there is Colt McCoy. Many thought Colt McCoy was the 2nd best Quarterback to be entering the draft, only behind Bradford. McCoy finished second in the 2008 Heisman balloting again behind only Bradford. He also led his Texas team to a Fiesta Bowl championship over powerful Ohio State. 

So with these 3 talents all being eligible for the 2009 NFL draft, surely it would be a quarterback draft class that could rival that of the recent Manning - Rivers - Roethlisberger class. However, all 3 prospects decided to stay in school at least another year. So with so much talent not entering the Draft, what position will now be the heaviest?

The answer comes from the incredible talent of this years Linebacker Draft Class. Teams around the NFL this year are going to be able to get their hands on some very talented Linebackers. 

The leader of this incredible linebacker pack in my opinion is the fierce linebacker out of USC, Ray Maualuga. Maualuga plays with extreme emotion and is one of the hardest hitting linebacker's in college football. He was the 2008 Chuck Bednarik award winner given to the best Defensive player in the Nation. Maualuga lost his father due to brain cancer two days before the 2005 BCS National Championship game. He is often seen wearing "RIP, DAD" on his eye black stickers. Maualuga is often compared to playing like the fierce Troy Polamalu. I think he play's much more like the Baltimore Ravens Ray Lewis in that he is a vocal leader and knows how to make the people around him play better. 

Right behind Maualuga is the extremely talented James Laurinaitis out of Ohio State. James is a 3 time All American and the 2007 Butkus Award winner given to the nations top college linebacker. Laurinaitis is often forgot about in this draft class but is surely one of the top players available. The style of Laurinaitis's play greatly resembles that of the young linebacker Patrick Willis. Laurinaitis plays extremely smart, fast and has phenomenal tackling technique.

At the Outside Linebacker position there is also a handful of players with a lot of talent. One of the most valuable I think is Brian Orakpo. Orakpo is an Outside Linebacker who has extreme talents in rushing the passer. Orakpo has the speed to get around tackles, and the power to split the gaurd tackle gap. Another player with a similar style to Orakpo is the Outside Linebacker out of FLorida State, Everette Brown. Brown also has great pass rushing ability and both are players who can come in and be 12 sack players in their rookie years. To add to their draft value, both have the ability to play OLB in a 3/4 and DE in a 4/3. 

Some other OLB that are suited to stand up in both a 3/4 or a 4/3 are 2 players by the name's of Aaron Curry and Brian Cushing. Curry is a fast and powerful outside linebacker out of Wake Forest who by many is considered the top OLB in the country. Cushing, like the previously mentioned Maualuga is also out of USC. Both players can play sideline to sideline and get after the passer when needed. 

Come draft day, all these players are names to watch as I feel all 6 could be starters come September. In my opinion, Maualuga and Laurinaitis will be dueling it out for the Defensive Rookie of the Year prize. Teams in need of some defensive help only have to look to this years draft to find some real talent.

Don't forget if you like what you read to donate to my college fund. That's why I have this blog.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

NFL Offseason Important Dates

So I know everybody is always wondering what's going on in the NFL in the offseason so I figure to keep everybody up to date I would list this calender. The most important dates before the draft that lead to the most excitement are probably going to be the first day of free agency which is Feb. 27th. Be sure to keep checking in for more good info. Also, don't forget why I have this blog, to help pay for college. Donate to my college fund here.
Feb. 18-24: NFL Scouting Combine Indianapolis (Coverage on NFL Network)

Feb. 19: Deadline for clubs to designate franchise and transition players.

Feb. 26: Deadline for submission of qualifying offers by clubs to their restricted free agents whose contracts have expired.

Feb. 27: Veteran Free Agency Period Begins. (Also Trading Period Begins)

April 17: Signing period ends for restricted free agents.

April 25-26 NFL Draft

Mid-July: Training Camps Open

Aug. 9: Pro Football Hall of Fame Game

Aug. 13- 17: First Full Weekend of Exhibition Games

Sept. 1: Roster Cutdown From 80-75 Players.

Sept. 5: Roster Cutdown From 75-53 Players

Sept. 10-14: First week of NFL Regular Season Games.


So since this is my first blog post I figure I should tell you why I set this up. The reason I started this blog is to help gain support in paying for my college schooling. Please if you like to read my blog feel free to make a donation to help me out. Check out the link below. There is a profile attached to tell you a little bit more about my college goals. Plenty of good football info. to come soon. Thanks.