Sunday, March 27, 2016

To Play or Not to Play

Marcus Lattimore post injury
This article comes on the heels of reports about the injury that Jaylon Smith suffered and the unlikelihood that he plays his rookie year in the league. If you are unfamiliar, Smith is a linebacker who plays for Notre Dame who was an extremely coveted prospect. The number three ranked prospect in the country at any position according to rivals, Smith was considered a top ten prospect by almost every NFL Scout. Mike Mayock compared his game to that of Patrick Willis and said that prior to his injury, Smith was worthy of going first overall. However, during the Fiesta Bowl this past year against Ohio State, Smith suffered a rather gruesome knee injury. On a fairly routine play, Smith was pushed forward from the back by an OSU offensive lineman and hyper extended his knee. He was immediately taken off the field and did not return. As I was watching this game, I figured that he had simply strained his knee from the injury, but head coach Brian Kelly stated after the game that there were some tears that occurred. At the Combine, it was further revealed that there could be nerve damage and that his career might be in serious jeopardy before it even began.

This begs the question: Should star players play in bowl games that are not semi-final or championship games? We hear this article almost every year, especially when there is a player that is considered a sure fire first round pick. A couple of years ago, there was an argument as to whether or not Jadeveon Clowney should sit out for an entire year, let alone just for a meaningless bowl game. And like clockwork, every year some high profile player gets hurt. A few years ago, Marcus Lattimore was considered a sure fire first round pick before a second ACL tear sent him plummeting into the fourth round. Last year, Todd Gurley suffered an ACL tear and dropped to ten when he could have easily gone in the top three of the draft. Now, it is looking increasingly likely that Smith could drop into the second round, and that is if a team is willing to take the risk on him.

Too bad we may never experience this at the NFL level
There is no easy answer to this question, and it seems to me that it the game is rigged against the player pretty much no matter what. Should they play in the game, what do they really have to gain? How often is a guy going to be propelled ten draft spots because of how they played in a bowl game? Unless it is an absolutely dominant performance, one game likely isn't going to override several years of game tape. More than often than not, they can only lose by having a bad game, whether it is through a mediocre game or suffering a nasty injury. On the flip side, if a player doesn't want to play, then they are labeled as selfish which can negatively affect their draft stock. To me, this is the biggest load of bullshit that a prospect can face. It is constantly acknowledged that the NFL is a business whenever a star player is released or when a player decides to take more money to play for a less competitive team. But for some reason, that same mentality isn't extended to college players. Maybe it is because they are still considered amateurs and haven't yet made it to the pros, so there is the feeling that they still have something to prove. I just personally don't think that it is fair that a guy who wants to have some sort of insurance for his future gets penalized for doing so by a group of people who would have no problem cutting his ass the moment he rolls his ankle in a contract year. I'm not advocating that anyone who wants to be in the NFL should be able to skip their bowl game as that would dilute the quality of the bowl games. Could you imagine if Ohio State and Notre Dame didn't have all of their NFL caliber players for the Fiesta Bowl? But the fact is that these guys typically get their draft grades before their game. If they get a draftable grade, why risk their future? This is geared more towards first round guys, but now that I think about it, shouldn't this apply more to guys who get a fifth through seventh round grade? Guys who are already on the cusp of getting a roster spot? Seems to make more sense to me. At least these guys can get insurance policies now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Post Combine/Free Agency Mock Draft

1) Tennessee Titans

DR: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss - Mariota showed a ton of promise as a rookie, but he was sacked over 50 times which will hamper his growth. Drafting the best tackle prospect since Joe Thomas would give the Titans a great tandem that can keep Mariota upright.

JR: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss – Best player in the draft brought in to protect Marcus Mariota’s blindside for the next ten years.  The easy and smart pick to make unless a trade blows them away.

2) Cleveland Browns

DR: Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA - Everyone is saying quarterback here, but I wouldn't feel confident taking any of the project passers this early. Jack is a quick twitch athlete who would be a major piece to a defense that needs an overhaul.

JR: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State- I believe the Wentz and Goff debate is pretty set in stone with Wentz just edging out Goff.  He has taken snaps under center and has played in more of a pro style offense than Goff.

3) San Diego Chargers

DR: Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida State - There's talk that Ramsey is currently in play for the first overall pick which tells you about his athleticism and potential. He can play cornerback in a pinch, but his true potential is playing as a centerfielder who is allowed to go out and just make plays.

JR: Jalen Ramsey, FS, Florida State – Replacing Eric Weddle would have been extremely difficult, except if you are in a position to draft Ramsey.  The versatile safety can play anywhere in the secondary but will be a special player at free safety.

4) Dallas Cowboys

DR: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State - Randy Gregory can't stop smoking weed and Greg Hardy is on his way out. Bosa is a player who can consistently get a team 10 sacks a year and is an absolute force in the run game.

JR: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State – Much is made out of Bosa being an 8 to 10 sack a year guy.  I would take a solid ten sacks with the tackles for a loss that he accumulates on ball carriers any day.

5) Jacksonville Jaguars

DR: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - Jacksonville either needs to move on from the failed Luke Joeckel experiment or move him to a new position. Blake Bortles is one of the up and coming passers, but he needs to have some better protection if he is truly going to thrive.

JR: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA – A freak athlete that can play all three linebacker spots and has with the ability to rush the passer and drop into coverage.  As long as he can stay healthy, he will be a star for Jacksonville.

6) Baltimore Ravens

DR: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida - His showing at the combine wasn't as great as you'd expect, but Hargreaves has all the potential of a shut down corner. Baltimore has suffered a lot of attrition on defense and should start by taking the best defensive prospect available.

JR: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame – Everybody is prone to injury and the Ravens found that out with Joe Flacco tearing his ACL this past season.  You need to protect the Super Bowl winning quarterback.

7) San Francisco 49ers

DR: Jared Goff, QB, Cal - The Niners cannot go into next season with a quarterback competition of Kapernick and Blaine Gabbert. Goff is not a finished product, but his quick strike ability would be a perfect fit for Chip Kelly's offense.

JR: Jared Goff, QB, Cal – Nobody wants to play for Chip Kelly, unless he somehow grabs a franchise quarterback that can lead his team to the playoffs.  Then maybe players will want to go to San Fran.

8) Philadelphia Eagles

DR: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota - Sam Bradford gets injured sneezing and Chase Daniel has proven nothing this far in his career. I have my reservations about Wentz and his ability to transition from a lower division to the pros, but his track record and showing at the Senior Bowl is reason for optimism.

JR: Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State – This offense has some good talent but with a franchise caliber running back leading the way, a lot of pressure will be taken off whoever the quarterback is.

9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

DR: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State - Tampa has problems all over on defense, but corner has been a particularly glaring weakness. The  NFC South has a great array of quarterbacks and wide receivers, so having someone who can help shut them down is an absolute must.

JR: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida – A cornerback is needed on this defense.  Hargreaves is the top corner in the draft so seems like a match made in heaven.

10) New York Giants

DR: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson - It is no secret that the Giants lack of a pass rush was a huge reason why this team failed to make the playoffs. Despite gaining Olivier Vernon and retaining JPP in free agency, the Giants could still use an explosive playmaker coming off the edge.

JR: Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State – Although he played less than half of his snaps outside of the tackle box, his athleticism will make up for his lack of linebacker instincts.  These instincts will develop with more practice.

11) Chicago Bears

DR: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia - Pass rushing is the most important key to success right now for the Bears. Gaining an edge rusher like Floyd would go a long way towards evening the playing field with Green Bay.

JR: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon – Buckner falls a little bit in this mock and the Bears are licking their paws when he does.

12) New Orleans Saints

DR: A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama - The Saints have fielded one of the worst defenses in history over the past couple of years. Pass rushers would be preferable, but Robinson is a massive force in the middle that could drastically help against the run and collapse the pocket from the middle.

JR: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss – The Saints saw what happens when you don’t have a top flight pass catcher so something must be done about it.  Treadwell might be a bit of a reach here but he can still become a special player.

13) Miami Dolphins

DR: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon - Like most teams drafting above the Dolphins, Miami has holes all over the defense that need to be addressed. Corner is another option, but Buckner is a prototypical 3-4 defensive end who has top five potential.

JR: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama – A versatile defensive lineman would make too much sense here with too many egos (Mario Williams, Cameron Wake, Ndamukong Suh) leading the way in that locker room. 

14) Oakland Raiders

DR: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State - Oakland is one of the fastest improving teams, but some help along the offensive line is still needed to keep Derek Carr upright. With Donald Penn holding down the blindside, Decker could provide great protection from the right before making the switch a couple years down.

JR: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson – The Raiders have needs at multiple secondary spots so they take the top available defensive back. 

15) L.A. Rams

DR: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU - The Rams are an abomination at quarterback right now, but they won't solve anything by reaching at this juncture. Taking a receiver of Doctson's caliber would be a nice start to overhauling a lackluster offense that only has Gurley at the moment.

JR: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis – Jeff Fisher knows he needs a quarterback if he wants to win in the NFC West.  Lynch can sit behind Foles for a year and let him take the beating as he gets acclimated to the NFL.

16) Detroit Lions

DR: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor - The Lions have not properly replenished their defensive tackle spot since the loss of Suh and Fairley. Billings has the ability be molded into a solid pass rusher, but at the very least you are getting a guy who is dominant versus the run.

JR: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor – The big Baylor defensive tackle standing next to Haloti Ngata and Ziggy Ansah would create a nice formidable front.

17) Atlanta Falcons

DR: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss - It was a bitter sight to see, but the Falcons had to let the declining Roddy White go. Julio Jones is a tremendous receiver, but he is going to need some sort of help across form him order for this offense to achieve its potential.

JR: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson – Pass rushers are a premium for any team, especially one that had 19 sacks last year.  Lawson and Vic Beasley could create a nice tandem off the edge.

18) Indianapolis Colts

DR: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State - Ryan Grigson must have some truly incriminating evidence of Jim Irsay to still have his job. If he actually doesn't and wants to make sure he has a job next year, he'll get Andrew Luck the protection that he needs.

JR: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State – The thought of Andrew Luck getting hurt again has to make General Manager Ryan Grigson cringe, doesn’t it?  I honestly don’t think so because he is by far the worst GM in the league.  Maybe he will actually take an offensive lineman this year.

19) Buffalo Bills

DR: Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss - The most physically talented defensive line prospect in the draft falls all the way to 19 due to off the field issues and questions about his drive. It is almost too perfect that the Bills would take him to replenish the spot vacated by the perennial headache Mario Williams.

JR: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss – The extremely talented defensive tackle finds his way to Buffalo to replace another headache in Mario Williams.  I think Nkemdiche would respect Rex enough to develop into a consummate professional or at least not a shithead.

20) New York Jets

DR: Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State - The Jets have holes at both the inside linebacker and outside linebacker position. Lee has the versatility to play both positions and has All Pro potential. Only thing he is missing is experience.

JR: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oregon State – Another pass rusher for Todd Bowles can cover some of the holes in the secondary.  Darrelle Revis can only cover so much of one side of the field.

21) Washington Redskins

DR: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson - The Redskins had one of the worst secondaries in the league and didn't do much to address it thus far in the offseason. Alexander doesn't make plays on the ball like other corners in this draft, but he can smother a receiver and lock them down for a game.

JR: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State – Looking at Captain Kirk’s offensive weapons is a sad sight.  Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson are not the types of receivers that Kirk can depend on.  He needs a true number one receiver and Michael Thomas can develop into that guy.

22) Houston Texans

DR: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State - Like the Falcons, the Texans have a tremendous receiver in Nuke Hopkins but have little on the other side. Thomas is a receiver who is more of the reliable possession receiver who can help a young quarterback grow into their role.

JR: Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame – Pairing a true burner like Fuller with a number one receiver like DeAndre Hopkins and Jalen Strong would make a disgusting three-header monster that makes Brock Osweiler’s transition to Houston one of pure bliss and ease.

23) Minnesota Vikings

DR: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor - The Vikings hit gold with Stef Diggs, but more weapons are needed to help Teddy Bridgewater's development. Coleman is still raw and hasn't ran a full route tree, but his explosiveness is undeniable and will help this team make up quickly for losing Mike Wallace.

JR: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU – Teddy Bridgewater needs a receiver.  Stefon Diggs and Jairus Wright are nice but adding a threat like Doctson would do wonders for the Vikings.

24) Cincinnati Bengals

DR: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State - One of the most, if not the most, talented rosters in the NFL has a rather dire need at the pass rushers. Ogbah lands all over people's big boards, but he has the athleticism that would make him a major steal at this point in the draft.

JR: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville – Adding an interior pass rusher of Rankins’ capability would be a steal for the Bengals.

25) Pittsburgh Steelers

DR: William Jackson, CB, Houston - It seems like cornerback is been a position of need for the Steelers for a decade at this point. Jackson has been on everyone's radar after a very good season and an eye popping Combine performance.

JR: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State – None of Pittsburgh’s cornerbacks are good so adding one in the first is a must, as well as adding another later in the draft.

26) Seattle Seahawks

DR: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State - As a Buckeye fan, it is crazy for me to think that Zeke could fall this far, but it is certainly possible with the recent trends of the NFL. However, there is little doubt in anyone's mind that he is the most well rounded back in this draft and would be a fantastic successor to Beast Mode.

JR: Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida – Seattle always finds a way to draft versatile pass rushers and I’m sure they would love to add a guy who is being compared to their current star Michael Bennett.  Bullard can play all over that line.

27) Green Bay Packers

DR: Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama - Clay Matthews has been forced to play inside in the 3-4 the past couple of years due to attrition. Drafting Ragland would allow the pass rush to return to form while providing an enforcer in the middle of the defense.

JR: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson – The Packers saw that having a fantastic pass rush can do wonders for a team on the cusp of a Super Bowl.  So adding more pass rushers to get to the NFC quarterbacks is a need.

28) Kansas City Chiefs

DR: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana - A bit of a reach at this point, but the Chiefs need it after first overall pick Eric Fisher has proven to be god awful. Spriggs could be a great piece on either side of the line that would help protect Smith and blast open holes for the Chiefs' trio of backs.

JR: Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitt – A smooth route running receiver that finds ways to get open is a perfect match for Alex Smith who can’t throw further than 20 yards down the field.

29) Arizona Cardinals

DR: Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State - Outside of the Honey Badger, the Cardinals don't have a whole lot going on at the safety position. Bell has admitted he got lazy against the run, but he made some clutch picks for Ohio State after breaking into the lineup as a freshman.

JR: Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky – Taking a page from the Broncos and adding more pass rushers is the key to winning.  Carson Palmer’s timeframe to win is dwindling so the time is now for Arizona.

30) Carolina Panthers

DR: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech - It was awful to watch Fuller go down so early in the season with so much potential and a high draft pick on the line. At this juncture, it would be well worth the risk for the Panthers to get a second shut down corner opposite Josh Norman.

JR: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor – The Panthers went to the championship game with only a tight end as a true pass catching threat.  Kelvin Benjamin will be back next year and adding Coleman would turn an area of weakness to an area of strength.

31) Denver Broncos

DR: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama - I can't see the Broncos reaching for one of the second tier quarterback prospects here, so they should add someone who can still help the offense. There is a lot of speculation about how Henry can perform in this league, but there is no doubt that he can be trusted to carry the ball 20-30 times a game, which may be exactly what the Broncos need.

JR: Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State – Such turnover for the Broncos but they could be right back in the thick of things if they can find a somewhat competent quarterback.  Mark Sanchez can take the beating for the first ten games and then Cook can come in and show the Broncos that they have a competent starting quarterback.  If Denver doesn’t go quarterback here, watch for Dak Prescott in the third round.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Grading Free Agency


Kelechi Osemele – Oakland Raiders – An absolute monster in the trenches.  The Raiders have the option of playing Osemele all over the line as he has the athleticism and strength to do so. 


Alex Mack – Atlanta Falcons – Atlanta desperately needed a center and grabbed perhaps the best one out there.

Richie Incognito – Buffalo Bills – He sets the tone for the offensive line and is a leader.  Smart to keep him around.

Charles Johnson – Carolina Panthers – Fantastic deal for the Panthers.  Signing a still somewhat competent 4-3 DE for $3 million is a steal, especially considering what other DEs got on the market today.

Danny Trevathan – Chicago Bears – Great pickup for the Bears.  They needed a linebacker and got one with experience.

Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – I liked Miller a lot and I love the value the Texans got for this deal.  $6.5 million per year to help newly acquired Brock Osweiler get settled into Houston is a fantastic call.

Tashaun Gipson – Jacksonville Jaguars – This pick would be an A for me if Gipson can remain healthy (even though that’s always in doubt in the NFL).  Gipson is a ball hawk that Bradley can trust to play center field in his defense.  Oh and he’s only 25 years old.

Malik Jackson – Jacksonville Jaguars – Well, there you go Jag fans.  You got the guy you wanted.  May have overpaid him a little bit but that’s what you have to do to get marquee guys.  The interior pass rush is now MUCH improved.

Tamba Hali – Kansas City Chiefs – Hali’s play may have tapered off a little bit the past few years but he is still a leader on defense and a fan favorite.

Mitchell Schwartz – Kansas City Chiefs – Andy Reid might be able to clear a phone book with how high he is jumping after the Browns idiotically let Schwartz walk out the door.  He’s never missed a game and is a bookend right tackle.

Derrick Johnson – Kansas City Chiefs – Hanging onto the heart and soul of your defense is always a nice thing, especially at a reasonable price.

Jaye Howard – Kansas City Chiefs – Good solid price for a good solid player.

Alex Boone – Minnesota Vikings – Teddy B and AP must be ecstatic.  Boone is an athletic monster that can push defensive linemen straight back.  Great get.

Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints – Hold your horses on trying to compare Fleener to previous Saints tight end Jimmy Graham.  Fleener was the better of the two Indy TEs but he does have a lower ceiling than Graham.

Damon Harrison – New York Giants – With a nickname like “Snacks”, I am sure there is nobody happier to get paid.  Harrison is a great run stuffer and will eat up two defenders while leaving JPP and Olivier Vernon with one on one matchups on the outside to wreak havoc. 

Jason Pierre Paul – New York Giants – JPP looked as though he was headed to Dallas but free agents have had a tendency to walk away from there (cough Mark Cuban).  A decent deal for the Giants who desperately need pass rushers.  As long as they sign another edge guy, JPP will play well.

Olivier Vernon – New York Giants – Great pickup for the Giants but that is a lot of guaranteed money for Vernon.  Hopefully Jerry Reese frontloaded the contract as much as possible.

Bruce Irvin – Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack and Irvin rushing off the edge in a division that has no young franchise quarterback.  The Raiders are the front-runners for the AFC West.

Rodney McLeod – Philadelphia Eagles – Good average deal for the Eagles who have vastly improved their entire team in only a few hours.  McLeod and Malcom Jenkins make a pretty damn good safety tandem.

LaDarius Green – San Diego Chargers – Despite being overshadowed by Antonio Gates for his entire career, Green looks to fill the shoes of another team’s beloved player.


Adam Jones – Cincinnati Bengals – With Jones sitting out those two years for suspensions, he still has a relatively fresh body at the ripe age of 32.  He can still compete.

George Iloka – Cincinnati Bengals  - An above average safety that signed a pretty good deal to remain with his team.  Smart move by Iloka.

Haloti Ngata – Detroit Lions – Ngata must really like living in Detroit.  The Lions must love the depth that Ngata provides.

Mario Williams – Miami Dolphins – This grade really came down to the contract.  2 years for $16 million is actually a steal for Williams.  He still probably has a decent amount left in the tank and might find newfound motivation.  But Mario is still the same lazy Mario.

Janoris Jenkins – New York Giants – This is a lot of money for a cornerback with some history of troubles in the city that never sleeps.  Jenkins is now the 2nd highest paid CB in the league?  C’mon man.

Matt Forte – New York Jets – An interesting pick for the Jets.  They definitely needed a running back.  As long as this is a platoon system with another added running back, I can appreciate this signing.

Travis Benjamin – San Diego Chargers – Cleveland is letting any player with some talent leave.  Philip Rivers has to be moderately excited for another weapon.

Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers – Despite the future hall of fame tight end being 35 years old, he can still be quite productive as the Chargers begin to usher in new young talent.

Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – A five-year deal for a running back with a lot of miles on his legs?  Come on.  Martin might have a few good years left in him.


Brock Osweiler – Houston Texans – I am not a fan of Brock.  Never have been.  But the Texans desperately needed a quarterback. 

Chris Ivory – Jacksonville Jaguars – Jacksonville threw a lot of money at an older running back.  Hopefully he can help down in the red zone as long as he’s healthy.

Chase Daniel – Philadelphia Eagles – A somewhat baffling move (contract wise) but his current head coach knows him best.  One of those three QBs will have to be cut/ traded and it most likely won’t be Daniel.

Marvin Jones – Detroit Lions – Wait, since when is an average wide receiver worth $8 million a year?  Matthew Stafford must be weep texting Calvin and begging him to come back now.

Massive F

Dwayne Allen – Indianapolis Colts – Hahahahaha.  I love when the Colts do stupid things.  Excluding his rookie year, Allen has 46 catches for 524 yards.  Is that really worthy of a 4 year $29.5 million?  Absolutely not.  You’re my favorite Ryan Grigson.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Free Agency Tracker and Predictions

Malik Jackson 
Jacksonville Jaguars - My favorite available free agent.  Jackson is a versatile player just entering his prime.  He has loads of experience on a winning team, so what’s not to like?  He will be overpaid by a lot but the Jags have too much money.

Olivier Vernon 
New York Giants – Vernon is another young edge rusher that will be paid like it.  The Giants know their time to win is dwindling and a plethora of pass rushers have led them to two recent Super Bowls.

Kelechi Osemele 
Minnesota Vikings – Osemele is a nasty mauler in the trenches and Adrian Peterson would love the holes that this monster creates.

Doug Martin 
Philadelphia Eagles – DeMarco Murray looks like he is pushing himself out of Philly.  The Eagles need somebody else to run besides the always-injured Ryan Matthews.

Lamar Miller
New York Giants – Miller has fresh legs after only attempting 194 rushes last year.  The 24 year old is being heavily overlooked after scoring ten touchdowns and averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

Bruce Irvin 
Atlanta Falcons – Irvin leaves Seattle to go play for his former coach.  The Falcons have a major need at pass rusher after somehow managing 19 sacks last year.  That’s pretty damn sad.

Jason Pierre Paul
Arizona Cardinals – A new beginning is needed for JPP underneath a coach who loves giving players fresh starts.  Bruce Arians is the modern day John Madden.

Eric Weddle 
Pittsburgh Steelers – Weddle wants to win a championship.  He could get that chance playing for a team that needs a leader in the back of the secondary.

Mario Williams 
Oakland Raiders – Mario still has plenty left in the tank and the Raiders have a crapload of cap space that must be spent. 

Danny Trevathan 
Oakland Raiders – Another former player heading to a former coach.  Trevathan signs a pretty large contract to play alongside Khalil Mack and under Jack Del Rio.

Janoris Jenkins 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jenkins goes back to his home state of Florida (which may not be a smart idea for him), but Tampa Bay would welcome him home with open arms as they currently have no corners on their roster that are even sufficient.

Matt Forte 
New England Patriots – This seems like a pretty fantastic fit for both parties.  Forte can run and catch and get his chance at a Lombardi Trophy while Dion Lewis recovers from a nasty knee injury.

Sean Smith 
Carolina Panthers – Imagine Smith opposite Josh Norman with a better pass rush (see below).  This Panthers team could be very good for very long.

Jaye Howard 
Detroit Lions – A little bit of a scheme change for Howard but IF Calvin Johnson does retire, the Lions will have a lot of cap room.

Russell Okung 
Oakland Raiders – He is the most interesting free agent this year.  Not just because Okung could still anchor the left side of a line but he is representing himself (he has no agent) and this could change the way players are represented in the future.

Damon Harrison 
Green Bay Packers – With BJ Raji leaving due to free agency, the Packers fill the whole that Raji left with another monster that can eat up blockers.  This will allow the Packs playmakers to make more plays.

Reggie Nelson 
Tennessee Titans - Plenty of cap to spend so the Titans spend it on a free safety that would love to get paid.

George Illoka – Los Angeles Rams – The Rams are going to have at least four different starters on defense so adding some talent is a must.  At 6’4”, 225 pounds, Illoka can cover and tackle so his versatility would be gladly welcomed in LA.
Ryan Fitzpatrick 
Houston Texans – I wonder if Bill O’ Brien is kicking himself for letting Fitzpatrick go?  If Fitz played in Houston last year, the Texans may have been able to make more noise in the playoffs.

Chris Long 
Indianapolis Colts – Long wants to win.  The Colts want to win.  Seems like a perfect match.  Long could be a key part of changing around a defense that has been lacking talent in all three phases.

Tashaun Gipson 
Jacksonville Jaguars – Free safety is an integral part of Gus Bradley’s defense.  Jax wants to keep Jonathan Cyprien in the box more as his coverage skills are not the best.  Having a free safety that can cover sideline to sideline is a must in this league now.

Robert Ayers 
Carolina Panthers – This would be an under the radar signing that would pay great dividends.  The Panthers need to get pressure off the edge.  Kawaan Short had an incredible year from the defensive tackle spot but they need to generate pressure elsewhere.

Richie Incognito 
Philadelphia Eagles – Adding nastiness is a need for the Eagles, especially when Chip Kelly happily let go of a lot of key players and completely decimated the offensive line.  Incognito made a new name for himself last year in Buffalo.

Rolando McClain 
Denver Broncos – The Broncos could get a hell of a player at a cheap cost, which is something they desperately need after losing most of their linebacking corps to free agency.

Greg Hardy 
Washington Redskins – Washington loves picking up pieces of shit.  So enjoy this one.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

On Conference Pride

Paul Finebaum - Shill
Over the last decade, there has been a strange phenomenon in college football that is completely unique to the sport. Teams have begun to take credit for the success of their conference foes. You can see it from all levels, from basement dwellers to teams with much more success but who never quite reach the top. To me, this completely insane. I will never understand why fans try to live vicariously through the success of teams that they have literally no association with other than being a doormat for the successful teams. It isn't just your typical fans. Let's take a look at perhaps the most vocal and egregious offender of this, Paul Finebaum. Some of you may know who he is, but if you don't I will give you a quick rundown. He is a guy who has is own radio block on ESPN which you can also watch on one of their six hundred additional channels. His show is devoted to college football, but he will spend most of his time talking about the SEC. Finebaum is a graduate of University of Tennessee, but has really made his career acting as a shill for the SEC. He even has a book titled "My Conference is Better than Your Conference". I'm not joking. I haven't read it, but I can assume that it is horrible.

Think about these facts for a quick second. Finebaum is a Volunteer. The SEC's reign of dominance over the past decade really has been the product of two teams, Alabama and Florida. If you aren't too familiar with college football rivalries, these are THE two rivals of Tennessee. And this shit head is seriously gloating about the fact that they are winning as if it somehow validates the fact that the Volunteers have been getting crushed by these two teams for ten plus years and haven't even come close to sniffing an SEC East title in that time.

Attention other Big Ten Teams;
This isn't your's
This isn't something that is unique to the SEC however. When Ohio State won the championship game two years ago, Michigan fans were actually happy about it. Michigan fans! What the hell?! In one of the oldest, nastiest rivalries that exists in any sport, fans were actually happy to see their rival win a championship. And when asked why, they will tell you it is for the respect of the Big Ten. Bullshit. Just because Ohio State was able to take down Alabama and then crush Oregon doesn't somehow validate the whole Big Ten. Indiana and Rutgers aren't suddenly going to be looked at in a different light because a team they lost to by five touchdowns was the best in the country that year.

It is hard to pinpoint where exactly this shift in mentality began, but I think that it really stems from the whole BCS era. When the system moved away from having the AP and Coaches polls determining who the best team was based on the eye test, it also brought on the need for a stronger perception of whatever conference your favorite team is in. Strength of schedule suddenly became ten times more important in order for your team to get one of those coveted two spots in the championship game. Suddenly, you needed the conference to be better so that your wins looked more impressive. Once that whole mentality began to take place, everything just sort of snowballed and now it has reached absolute critical mass. So please, once a team from your conference wins, don't be an asshole like Paul Finebaum or Clay Travis and say that your conference is back on top. It isn't. The team that won is back on top. Stop conference pride.