2012-13 NFL Season Preview…NFC WEST

September 3, 2012

Can the 49ers repeat their 2011 success?

It’s that time of year again folks. After a wait which seemed like forever, the NFL is finally back.  And with a new season comes new predictions. So without further ado lets get started with my 2012-13 NFL predictions.

NFC WEST

As usual, the NFC West is arguably the worst division in football. The only playoff caliber team in the division this year, the 49ers, will be knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. After a surprisingly good 2011 season, the 49ers will come back down to earth in 2012. The cause of this regression will be signal-caller Alex Smith. While Smith proved he could be a decent starting quarterback in 2011, he still hasn’t proved that he is a Superbowl worthy quarterback.

Although the 49ers defense is good, they are nowhere near good enough to carry the whole team into the Superbowl.

Alex Smith will have to step up and deliver. What makes it even harder for a mediocre quarterback like Smith, is the fact that there isn’t a legitimate Number 1 Wide Receiver in San Francisco. Although the 49ers added some weapons in the off-season, they still don’t have a true go-to-guy. Michael Crabtree gets no separation from db’s, Randy Moss is 35, and Mario Manningham has never had a 1,000 yard season in his career.

With no trace of a passing game what so ever, the only reason the 49ers will be in the playoffs is because the rest of their division is terrible.

The rest of the division consists of the Arizona Cardinals, St.Louis Rams, and Seattle Seahawks.

The team that will finish second in the division will be the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks, coached by Pete Carroll, could possibly have a nice 2012 season. Everything, however, rests on Russell Wilson and/or Matt Flynn’s shoulders. Although the Seahwaks signed QB Matt Flynn to a 25 million dollar contract, rookie QB Russell Wilson has won the starting job. Wilson, the dual threat QB from Wisconsin, will have his hands full this year. The good news though, is that Wilson has shown star potential during his stellar preseason.

As a team though, the Seahawks still need to make major improvements. The Seahawks have an atrocious receiving core and also could use another pass rusher. The Seahawks tried to address their pass rushing problem through the draft by selecting West Virginia product Bruce Irvin. I, however, highly doubt that this pick will pan out. Bruce Irvin has no moves, only speed, and speed won’t do you any good in the NFL if you are a one trick pony.

The last two teams in the division, the Cardinals, and the Rams, could easily end up with top 5 draft picks next year.

After a horrific preseason Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb lost the starting job to John Skelton. Skelton however, isn’t very good either. The Cardinals also suffered another major loss with the injury to starting LT Levi Brown.

The Rams are coming off a disappointing 2011 season. They recently signed former Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher, and are coming into the 2012 season hoping they will have a season similar to that of 2010.

In the off-season the Rams made some upgrades throughout the roster. First they signed Pro-Bowl cornerback Cortland Finnegan, and then they added some quality players through the draft such as CB Janoris Jenkins.

The Rams still lack too much talent in other areas such as Offensive line, to make a significant impact this year.

PROJECTED FINAL STANDINGS

1. 49ers   9-7 (5-1 Division)

2. Seahawks 7-9 (5-1 Division)

3.Rams 3-13 (1-5 Division)

4. Cardinals 1-15 (1-5 Division)


3 Rookie Receivers Who Could Surprise This Year

August 6, 2012

Receiver Alshon Jeffery could have a huge rookie season

Here are 3 Receivers who I think could have very productive rookie seasons this year:

1. Alshon Jeffery, WR Bears

The only reason Alshon Jeffery fell to the second round of the draft was that he had some character concerns; NOT because of talent. Jeffery was considered by some as the best rookie receiver in the whole draft. He has the size and hands to make it big in the NFL. Jeffery also couldn’t have been put in a better situation. He has one of the better Quarterbacks in the NFL, Jay Cutler throwing to him. And opposite to Jeffery on the field, is Pro-Bowl wideout Brandon Marshall. As most of the coverage will be centered around Marshall, Jeffery will have plenty of chances to make plays against smaller and weaker cornerbacks. The initial reports out of Bears camp were that Jeffery was tearing it up; look for him to do the same in the regular season.

2. Michael Floyd, WR Cardinals

The only knock on Michael Floyd is that his teams quarterback duo of John Skelton and Kevin Kolb stinks. Besides that, there is nowhere to go but up for Floyd. He is a huge target to throw to and has elite athleticism. The Cardinals sorely needed a legitimate No.2 Receiver to take some of the pressure off future HOF’er Fitzgerald, and Floyd is their guy. As teams continue to double cover Fitzgerald, Floyd will be open almost all season long.

3. Kendall Wright, WR Titans

Kendall Wright’s stock has been rapidly rising even though Wright hasn’t done anything to improve it. How is that you ask, well just thank Kenny Britt. Britt, already coming off a knee injury, was recently arrested for a DUI. The fact that Britt was behind schedule on his rehab and that Britt just had his eighth run in with the law, gives rookie receiver Kendall Wright a clear path to becoming the No.2 or maybe even No.1 receiver on the team. Wright, the first round pick from Baylor, has blazing speed and quickness. Even better for Wright is that his quarterback, Jake Locker, has a cannon arm similar to that of RG3 who was his college quarterback.


Pre-Season Player Grades: Tyler Wilson QB Arkansas

June 11, 2012

This is a new series that I am doing in which I give a player an overall grade between 1-100. This is the preseason edition in which I assess a players strengths, weaknesses, and what they need to work on in order to improve their draft stock. I will do a new player every couple of days.

Today we will look at Tyler Wilson, QB Arkansas

Arm strength: Wilson has a good but not great arm. He can throw the deep ball well, but there is not much zip on his regular throws. He is, by no means a gunslinger.

Mobility: Wilson is a very mobile quarterback. Wilson does not run past the line of scrimmage too often, however he scrambles around the pocket a lot. Wilson is exceptional under pressure and does not have much trouble scrambling away from defenders to find the open man.

Accuracy: Almost all of Wilson’s passes are near receivers and he rarely throws a completely off-target pass. However, Wilson does not put the ball in the ideal spot enough. Many of his passes make receivers reach a bit more than they should, and they do not give the receiver a chance to make a play after the catch.

Other: A great skill that Wilson has is that he can throw accurately on the run, this allows him to make much more plays than the average Quarterback. Sometimes though, Wilson tries to do a bit too much. Instead of throwing the ball away, Wilson usually opts to try and make a play every time. This has ended up in a few really bad plays on Wilson’s part. Some of these include a red-zone fumble vs Mississippi State and an atrocious interception against South Carolina.

What he needs to improve on: Currently Wilson is considered as a top 15 selection. He is pegged by many as either the second or third best quarterback in the 2013 class. However, Wilson could surpass USC QB Matt Barkley and become the top quarterback if he improves on a few things. First and most importantly, he must learn to throw the ball away. Second, it would help if Wilson would give receivers slightly more accurate passes.

Overall Grade: 86.5/100


Final 2012 NFL Mock Draft

April 25, 2012

1. Indianapolis Colts select Andrew Luck, QB Stanford


This is a pretty easy choice for the Colts. There is no way they pass up on this kind of talent.

2. Washington Redskins select Robert Griffin III, QB Baylor


The Washington Redskins have officially won the RG3 sweepstakes. Is RG3 worth 2 future first round picks? I have no idea. Until RG3 plays 2 seasons in the NFL, there is no way we can determine the winner of the trade. The Redskins get the real deal here with Griffin. He has unbelievable arm strength and also has receiver speed. This is terrible news for me though, since I am an Eagles fan.

3. Minnesota Vikings select Matt Kalil, LT USC


The Vikings need to use this pick to protect their previous 1st round pick, Christian Ponder. Kalil is by far the most talented lineman in the draft. He was so good, that last year’s 9th overall pick, Tyron Smith, had to move over to Right Tackle so Kalil could play left.

4. Cleveland Browns select Trent Richardson, RB Alabama


The Browns will most likely go with either Claiborne or Richardson here. I have them choosing the latter because they need help immediately. Peyton Hillis is gone, and the Browns have no playmakers on offense. Richardson can come in and immediately put up results while also taking much of the load off Colt McCoy’s shoulders. Although this seems a little high for a Running Back, Richardson is the best prospect since Adrian Peterson at the position.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Morris Claiborne, CB LSU


Claiborne is by far the best cover corner in the draft. He has great ball skills and shut down almost everyone in college. This is a good pick for the Buccaneers considering Aquib Talib is going to jail and their other corner, Ronde Barber, is probably going to retire.

If Cleveland does not take Richardson, he may also be another option for the Buccaneers with this pick.

6. St. Louis Rams select Justin Blackmon, WR Oklahoma St.


Justin Blackmon had a wonderful junior season in college. He caught 121 passes for 18 touchdowns and 1522 yards. Even better, he stepped up when the lights were on by having a 3 touchdown, 186 yard performance against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. He has the perfect combination of size, power, and speed. What separates Blackmon from the rest however, is his play making ability. He is a real game changer. Expect him to have a great pro day.

The only concern with Blackmon however, is his size. Blackmon is only 6 feet which could be a problem in the NFL considering his speed is good, but not great. I expect him to overcome this though, and become Sam Bradford’s go-to guy for years to come.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars select Melvin Ingram, DE South Carolina


The Jaguars are desperately trying to trade out of this spot. Teams that may trade up here either want to secure Fletcher Cox, Ryan Tannehill or Mark Barron.

However if the Jaguars do keep this pick, they are going with Ingram. Ingram is Gene Smith’s type of guy, he has the motor and character that the Jaguars look for.

8. Miami Dolphins select Ryan Tannehill, QB Texas A&M


Although Tannehill still needs some more time to develop, He is the pick here because of the constant need of quarterbacks in the NFL.

9. Carolina Panthers select Fletcher Cox, DT LSU


Fletcher Cox is now the consensus #1 DT on the board. Cox is a game changing player and also has shown that he can produce against good teams, considering that he played in the SEC.

The panthers could also take this pick in a different direction by selecting Stephon Gilmore or Luke Kuechly.

10. Buffalo Bills select Stephen Gilmore, CB South Carolina


Gilmore has shot up draft boards in the last couple of weeks. The Bills need a corner and Gilmore is their guy.

11. Kansas City Chiefs select David Decastro, OG Stanford


Kansas City could really use some help on their offensive line. Decastro is the next best lineman on the board and the easy choice for the Chiefs.

12. Seattle Seahawks select Luke Kuechly, LB Boston College


Kuechly is rated by many as the top Linebacker in the draft. At Boston College he was a great tackler and relied on his instincts. Although considered a little slow at first, Kuechly silenced those concerns by running a 4.5 40 yard dash at the combine. Seattle needs a Linebacker and Kuechly is their guy. However, this pick will be a close call between Kuechly and Coples.

I don’t think Kuechly is as good as everyone thinks mainly because of the lack of burst in his step, but he does have the best instincts of any Linebacker I have seen.

13. Arizona Cardinals select Riley Reiff, OT Iowa


This pick is between Michael Floyd and Riley Reiff. I think the Cardinals will go with Reiff, so Kevin Kolb will have more time to stay in the pocket.

14. Dallas Cowboys select Mark Barron, S Alabama


The Cowboys would be thrilled if the draft played out like this. They would get their guy without even having to trade up. Barron is by far the best safety in the draft and would improve the Cowboys weak secondary. Barron has the skills to be a future All-Pro safety.

15. Philadelphia Eagles select Quinton Coples, DE UNC


The Eagles are not going to win a Super Bowl with a defense like last year’s. The Eagles traditionally do not draft linebackers in the first round, and after trading for Demeco Ryans, it is obvious that they won’t take one here either. That means they take Coples, the best pass rusher on the board. Coples is a huge boom or bust prospect. In his junior season at UNC he was a beast, but he was average at best during his senior season.

The Eagles may also try to trade up for Fletcher Cox or Mark Barron

16. New York Jets select Michael Floyd, WR Notre Dame


The Jets could use another receiver after the loss of Plaxico Burress. Floyd would provide Mark Sanchez with a huge target to throw to. Floyd has great hands and good speed and could be a pro-bowl receiver in the NFL.

17. Cincinnati Bengals select Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Alabama


Kirkpatrick is a hard hitting corner with good ball skills. Although he is not great in man to man coverage, he is awesome in zone. Considering the Bengals have no one at corner, it looks like Kirkpatrick will be the choice.

18. San Diego Chargers select Chandler Jones, DE Syracuse


Jones is considered by many as the best pass-rusher in the draft. If that is the case, the Chargers are getting a steal here.

19. Chicago Bears select Michael Brockers , DT LSU


After trading for Brandon Marshall, the Bears will most likely not take a receiver unless Michael Floyd is available. This means that they will take the best defensive lineman available, which in this case is Brockers.

20. Tennessee Titans select Dontari Poe, DT Memphis.


Dontari Poe is the biggest boom or bust prospect in this draft. He has a freakish combination of size and speed, and also has a great motor and work ethic that many teams love. However, his play on the field isn’t very impressive. A team will still take a chance on him though because of the possibility of him being a great player in the NFL.

21. Cincinnati Bengals select Courtney Upshaw, DE/LB Alabama

22. Cleveland Browns select Kendall Wright, WR Baylor

23. Detroit Lions select Cordy Glenn, OG Georgia

24. Pittsburgh Steelers select Dont’a Hightower, LB Alabama

25. Denver Broncos select Kendall Reyes, DT Uconn

26. Houston Texans select Whitney Mercilus, DE Illinois

27. New England Patriots select Nick Perry, DE USC

28. Green Bay Packers select Shea McClellin, DE/OLB Boise State

29. Baltimore Ravens select Peter Konz, C Wisconsin

30. San Francisco 49ers select Stephen Hill, WR Georgia Tech

31. New England Patriots select Brandon Weeden, QB Oklahoma State (Expecting a trade)

32. New York Giants select Jonathan Martin, OT Stanford


The Effect of Free Agency on the NFL Draft

April 12, 2012

Interested in how some of the recent signings and trades affect the draft? Well, here you go, if you would like to know how some of the other moves that I have not mentioned affect the draft, let me know!

Eagles trade for Demeco Ryans

This was a huge pickup for the Eagles. The Eagles now finally have an above average Linebacker on their roster. However, the Eagles will still need some more upgrades at Linebacker throughout the draft. Previously it seemed that the Eagles were going to draft either Luke Kuechly or Dont’a Hightower, but now they can wait until the second round to draft a Linebacker. With their first round selection, the Eagles will most likely take a DT, such as Fletcher Cox, Dontari Poe, or Michael Brockers.

49ers sign WR Randy Moss and WR Mario Manningham

As long as Randy Moss is even 75% this is a steal for the 49ers. These two additions now give Alex Smith a complete set of weapons to throw to. This also gives the 49ers lots of flexibility in the draft. They are now free to select the best player available in the first round. They can either upgrade their already solid defense, or give Alex Smith even more weapons.

Bears trade for WR Brandon Marshall

This affects the draft in a major way. Previously, It seemed that the Bears would draft a receiver to help out Jay Cutler. However, now they have Marshall. While this move isn’t enough, it is still enough to make receiver a second or third round priority. It seems now that the Bears will select an elite pass rusher such as Whitney Mercilus of Illinois.

Bills sign DE Mario Williams

Buffalo did a wonderful job in upgrading their terrible pass rush in free agency. They signed pro-bowler Mario Williams and also added another good player in Mark Anderson. These moves now allow Buffalo to worry about other needs in the draft. The most pressing need for this team is now Offensive Tackle. The Bills are now expected to take Riley Reiff from Iowa.


Post Redskins Trade Mock Draft

March 10, 2012

1. Indianapolis Colts select Andrew Luck, QB Stanford

This is a pretty easy choice for the Colts. There is no way they pass up on this kind of talent.

2. Washington Redskins select Robert Griffin III, QB Baylor

The Washington Redskins have officially won the RG3 sweepstakes. Is RG3 worth 2 future first round picks? I have no idea. Until RG3 plays 2 seasons in the NFL, there is no way we can determine the winner of the trade. The Redskins get the real deal here with Griffin. He has unbelievable arm strength and also has receiver speed. This is terrible news for me though, since I am an Eagles fan.

3. Minnesota Vikings select Matt Kalil, LT USC

The Vikings need to use this pick to protect their previous 1st round pick, Christian Ponder. Kalil is by far the most talented lineman in the draft. He was so good, that last year’s 9th overall pick, Tyron Smith, had to move over to Right Tackle so Kalil could play left.

The only way this doesn’t happen is if the Rams don’t trade their pick.

4. Cleveland Browns select Trent Richardson, RB Alabama

The Browns will most likely go with either Claiborne or Richardson here. I have them choosing the latter because they need help immediately. Peyton Hillis is going to be a free agent, and the Browns have no playmakers on offense. Richardson can come in and immediately put up results while also taking much of the load off Colt McCoy’s shoulders. Although this seems a little high for a Running Back, Richardson is the best prospect since Adrian Peterson at the position.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Morris Claiborne, CB LSU

Claiborne is by far the best cover corner in the draft. He has great ball skills and shut down almost everyone in college. This is a good pick for the Buccaneers considering Aquib Talib is going to jail and their other corner, Ronde Barber, is probably going to retire.

If Cleveland does not take Richardson, he may also be another option for the Buccaneers with this pick.

6. St. Louis Rams select Justin Blackmon, WR Oklahoma St.

Justin Blackmon had a wonderful junior season in college. He caught 121 passes for 18 touchdowns and 1522 yards. Even better, he stepped up when the lights were on by having a 3 touchdown, 186 yard performance against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. He has the perfect combination of size, power, and speed. What separates Blackmon from the rest however, is his play making ability. He is a real game changer. Expect him to have a great pro day.

The only concern with Blackmon however, is his size. Blackmon is only 6 feet which could be a problem in the NFL considering his speed is good, but not great. I expect him to overcome this though, and become Sam Bradford’s go-to guy for years to come.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars select Michael Floyd, WR Notre Dame

Blaine Gabbert seriously needs someone to throw to. When Mike Thomas is your best receiver, you got a problem. Gene Smith’s job is riding on Gabbert’s performance this year and that probably means he is going to help Gabbert out in the draft.

Michael Floyd is the next best receiver on the board. He has great hands and gives the quarterback a huge target to throw to.  The only concern with Floyd was his speed but he silenced those concerns after running at 4.45, 40 yard dash at the combine.

8. Miami Dolphins select Quinton Coples, DE UNC

Quinton Coples is going to be a bust. Coples is too inconsistent, and most of his sacks were against terrible teams. A team is still going to take a chance on him in the top 10 though, and I believe that team is the Dolphins. The Dolphins are switching to a 4-3 defense, so they will need pass rushers like Coples to add to their team. Coples is currently ranked by many as the top defensive end on the board so he is the pick here.

*This is assuming the Dolphins get either Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn

9. Carolina Panthers select Michael Brockers, DT LSU

Carolina’s defense was terrible last year. Despite a poor showing at the combine, Brockers still has huge upside and would fit a big need for Carolina.

Right now, I have Brockers rated a bit higher than Poe due to his better production on the field. However, closer to the draft we will get a better idea on which guy Carolina likes more. Either way, they are definitely going defensive tackle here.

10. Buffalo Bills select Melvin Ingram, DE South Carolina

Buffalo’s pass rush was easily one of the worst in the league last year. They really need some defensive playmakers, and Ingram is one of them.

11. Kansas City Chiefs select Riley Reiff, OT Iowa

Kansas City could really use some help on their offensive line. Reiff is the next best lineman on the board and the easy choice for the Chiefs.

12. Seattle Seahawks select Luke Kuechly, LB Boston College

Kuechly is rated by many as the top Linebacker in the draft. At Boston College he was a great tackler and relied on his instincts. Although considered a little slow at first, Kuechly silenced those concerns by running a 4.5 40 yard dash at the combine. Seattle needs a Linebacker and Kuechly is their guy.

After watching some tape, I personally think Dont’a Hightower from Alabama is actually better than Kuechly. I say this because I don’t see Kuechly have any burst in his step, and also is a little late getting to the ball carrier sometimes.

The Seahawks could also use this pick to draft Ryan Tannehill.

13. Arizona Cardinals select Jonathan Martin, OT Stanford

The Cardinals O-line really needs to improve, especially at the Tackle position. Martin is a huge upgrade over Levi Brown.

14. Dallas Cowboys select Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Alabama

The Cowboys need upgrades all throughout their secondary. Dre Kirkpatrick gets the nod over Janoris Jenkins at this spot. Although Jenkins may be a better player, he also brings tons of baggage with him. Jenkins has been arrested multiple times and was dismissed from the University of Florida. Jerry Jones can’t afford to take chances anymore if he wants to go back to the playoffs, which is why he takes Kirkpatrick with this pick.

15. Philadelphia Eagles select Dont’a Hightower, LB Alabama

The Eagles are not going to win a Super Bowl with a defense like last year’s. The worst part of their defense was the Linebackers. That is exactly why they take Hightower with this pick. After playing at Alabama for 4 years, Hightower is the most NFL ready Linebacker in his class. He will make an immediate impact, and could be the guy that puts the Eagles over the hump.


Walter Football’s 2012 Mock

March 4, 2012

Hey guys

Those of you that have never heard of walter football should check out the website now! Walter always has the most up to date and accurate mock drafts for NFL and NBA. He also has in-depth prospect analysis of many players. All sports fans should check out the site

http://walterfootball.com/


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