Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

1. Kansas City Chiefs select LT Luke Joeckel

When push comes to shove I think the Chiefs will choose Joeckel over incumbent Branden Albert. Joeckel has just looked so good throughout the year and did nothing to hurt his draft stock at the combine. Ideally the Chiefs would keep both guys, with Albert sliding inside, but with a lot of teams looking for help on the outside the 25 year old should have too much trouble finding someone willing to pay him handsomely to stay at LT. If Albert is retained at Tackle, I would look for the Chiefs to try moving back or taking a Defensive Lineman like Shariff Floyd or Sheldon Richardson.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars select LT Eric Fisher

I have Fisher and and Joeckel as this year’s Luck and RG3, both have looked outstanding and figure to be building blocks for the teams that draft them. I know everyone is talking about the Jaguars need for a pass rusher at this spot, but it just feels too risky for a team that is likely to be shifting schemes (Head  Coach Gus Bradley has said the team will stay as a 4-3 for now due to personnel, but wants to move towards a hybrid scheme.) Fisher gives a rebuilding Jaguars team a high quality starter at a position of need for the next decade, while still instantly improving the offense. It’s the best possible move, and I’m baffled as to how it’s slipping past nearly every analyst. (Side Note: If the Jaguars do feel the need to go Defense at #2, I like Dee Milliner as press coverage corner who fits Bradley’s scheme)

3. Oakland Raiders select DT Shariff Floyd

There’s a lot of ways for the Raiders can go here, but with Richard Seymour and most the rest of the D-line starters leaving I like this as a place to start. Word has been that the Raiders like Floyd, and he capped off an impressive career at Florida with a solid combine, that I think solidifies him as the Raiders top choice to begin the defensive rebuild. This is another team I think could be well served by adding CB Dee Milliner, but the spot is still just a little too high.

4. Philadelphia Eagles select OLB/DE Dion Jordan

I originally had Dee Milliner here, but Chip Kelly’s made it clear it’s not just the corners, but the entire defense that needs to be overhauled. This move would make sense even without Jordan’s prior knowledge of Kelly’s system as he’s one of the top pass rushers in this class and has seen his stock on the rise after a solid combine. If Kelly feels Jordan’s a little too close to home, then I like Guard Chance Warmack to solidify an offensive line that will be getting back it’s sorely missed starting LT.

5. Detriot Lions select CB Dee Milliner

It almost makes too much sense to happen, but the Lions should land Milliner, who’s coming off a mixed review combine. His speed, was impressive, his hands were not…to be fair he was competing with a torn labrum in his shoulder and you have to figure that didn’t help. I originally liked Kenny Vaccaro here if Milliner was off the board, and if Eric Fisher is still available he should be a strong consideration. If DE Cliff Avril ends up walking, Bjorn Werner looks like a more than capable replacement the Lions can easily afford.

6. Cleveland Browns select QB Geno Smith

Here’s my thinking on this one: If they fail to sign Mike Wallace this pick will got to a WR (likely Corradelle Patterson, maybe Tavon Austin.) If they sign Wallace but fail to get a pass rusher this pick could go there, but I think the new ownership gets cap happy and fills most of the larger holes leaving QB as a glaring weakness. The new Browns management knows Brandon Weeden isn’t the future and supposedly wants to implement a spread option offense, Geno may be the best option available and the NFL tends not to be a wait and see sort of league.

7. Arizona Cardinals select LT Lane Johnson

I considered Matt Barkley, but ultimately decided with Bruce Arians coaching they can afford to wait and see who’s available in the second (maybe even third) round. If Fisher drops he doesn’t make it past Arizona, but since he’s gone to Jacksonville in this mock the Cardinals take the next best player at the position. Johnson is a former WR and has looked impressive enough to warrant a top 10 pick as Arizona desperately needs better protection for their QB (whoever that may be)

8. Buffalo Bills select WR Tavon Austin

GM Buddy Nix is on his way out, but that won’t keep him from making one last splash by making the speedy Austin the first receiver off the board. There’s been talk he wants to add a big bodied receiver on the outside and move Johnson into the slot, but I think after an impressive combine and some well deserved hype the Bills take their chances with the diminutive playmaker. Cordarelle Patterson is another option, but his route running is less polished. If Andy Levitre can’t be resigned and the franchise tag is used on Jarius Byrd this pick likely becomes Guard Chance Warmack.

9. New York Jets select LB Jarvis Jones

I really can’t decide when it comes to the Jets. Play making WR Cordarrelle Patterson is still on the board and could be tempting, Sheldon Richardson is a consideration at DT and Kenny Vaccarro a candidate for a secondary set to lose LaRon Landry and possibly Darrelle Revis. In fact, Vaccarro may jump to the top of the list if Revis gets dealt. But as it stands now the need for a pass rusher dominates and if Jones checks out medically he’s the best man for the job. (Guard Chance Warmack and Tackle DJ Fluker also got consideration.)

10. Tennessee Titans select OG Chance Warmack

Warmack is on a lot of teams boards so there’s a chance he doesn’t make it this far, but guards aren’t typically valued very high. If he’s on the board Titans won’t hesitate. The Alabama product improves the Titans line and gives new life to CJ2K. (If Warmack is gone the Titans likely stay at OG with Jonathan Cooper)

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It was at one time thought that Alex Smith would be the most attractive free agent QB on the market this offseason. At this time it was believed as fact that the 49ers would grant the former No. 1 overall pick his release and he would be free to seek out a new contract and a new team. But with a weak QB draft class and a QB needy division rival in Arizona the 49ers decided to hold on to Smith, at least for now, to explore trade possibilities.

But, I’ve gotten the feeling recently that Smith’s once high trade value is dropping quickly, with QB needy teams looking in other directions. The Buffalo Bills who had shown some interest in Smith, have since resigned Tavaris Jackson and made a statement that both Jackson and current started Ryan Fitzpatrick will stay with the team, likely to provide competition for a rookie QB.

The Chiefs, who I had pegged as a good landing spot for Alex have inquired about Nick Foles, who obviously worked with new Chiefs coach Andy Reid last year. Many analysts also believe the Chiefs could take Geno Smith with the #1 overall pick in this year’s draft on the assumption that starting LT Brandon Albert will be resigned.

The Jaguars new GM David Caldwell released a statement that he was interested in building around former first round pick Blaine Gabbert. With the team still rebuilding in a tough AFC South the team would likely rather keep it’s draft picks. Should Alex Smith get released, I would look for the Jags to reevaluate the situation. (With MJD in the final year of his contract and the emergence of Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon improved QB play could go a long way towards helping the struggling Jags.)

The Eagles, who also at one point showed some interest in Smith, have since resigned Michael Vick removing the need for Smith, and added QB Dennis Dixon, which at least opens the door to the possibility of trading current back-up Nick Foles.

The Browns emerge as a strong candidate, stuck with a QB they don’t want and one of Alex Smith’s many former coordinators Norv Turner calling the plays. But the Browns have plenty of holes to fill and may be reluctant to surrender any draft picks. The Browns are in line to have plenty of cap space and if they fill holes quickly through free agency, may pull the trigger, but I doubt they’ll be in any hurry, as they’d probably win a bidding war if they truly believe Smith could be their guy.

Then there’s the Jets, who I just don’t see being able to commit to Alex Smith. The Jets want competition for Sanchez, Smith wants to start…it’s not really a perfect fit. The Jets are also one of the few teams for whom Alex Smith’s current cap number could create a problem. The team is already pressed tight under the cap and paying $8 million to Mark Sanchez with lots of holes to fill. Spending another $7 million on Smith just wouldn’t seem right.

The Vikings have also come up as a landing spot, but unless Percy Harvin makes an (unlikely) push to bring Alex Smith to Minnesota, I just can’t see it. Christian Ponder showed growth towards the end of last season and I think he needs to be allowed to build off of that. Yes, Adrian Peterson put the team on his back (especially once Harvin went down) but Ponder made some big throws against Green Bay to help clinch that playoff spot and Ponder should be much more confident coming into the 2013 season coming off that playoff berth, than he was coming into this season (fresh off a less than impressive rookie campaign that netted the team the third pick in last year’d draft.) 

It has become all but official, Alex Smith won’t be a 49er for the first time in his NFL career come next season. The question that looms is what jersey the former #1 draft pick will be wearing come March.

The Utopian answer seems to be a trade to the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite their NFL worst record, the Chiefs should be an attractive option for Smith. He’ll have a proven stud running back in Jamaal Charles, two talented pass catching tight ends in Kevin Boss and Tony Moeaki, and assuming Dwayne Bowe resigns, a talented #1 WR. Plus he’d be following a precedent set by Joe Montana…probably doesn’t make it more enticing but i does make for an interesting side note

The deal works for Kansas City because Smith could offer the kind of immediate turn around Andrew Luck helped the Colts pull off last year. The Broncos will still rule the division, but the Raiders and Chargers are still searching for an identity. Smith also seems like a good fit for Reid’s offense, (Smith has plenty of experience using his backs and TE’s) and any young QB they bring in couldn’t ask for a better mentor than Smith. Trading for Smith rather than waiting for his release also seems ideal. Smith will have 2 years left on his deal and will make a decent salary but the deal is far from extravagant and any low draft pick they give up is already compensated by Smith’s presence saving them from reaching for a top prospect in a week QB class.

The 49ers also come out of the deal happy because they get something back for a player they were willing to cut, and moving him to the AFC has to be better than giving the division rival Cardinals a chance to pick him up. (Should Smith be released I think Arizona becomes the front runner)

Finally thought up a clever (read: cheesy) title for a weekly pick-ups column, Woo!

Since I’m already a week late let’s jump right in, starting with TEs. Hernandez went down, Fred Davis needs a road flare to catch RG3’s eye and Antonio Gates has already missed time. Here’s the guys I like.

Martellus Bennett, NYG: in week 2 Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks combined for 378 yards and 2 TDs and Bennett still had 77 yards and a TD. Long story short, the Giants are going to throw a lot and Bennett will continue to benefit from the extra attention Cruz and Nicks will see.

Dennis Pitta, BAL: Flacco is looking for him often, so this is a guy who’s especially valuable in PPR leagues. With Ed Dickson lurking, and questions about Flacco’s consistency you might be leery of him, but Pitta’s going to find himself open over the middle plenty with Torrey Smith pulling the safeties his way.

Kyle Rudolf, MIN, the numbers haven’t been huge just yet, but he’s one of Ponder’s favorite targets and he’ll get lots of red zone looks. Tough match-up with San Francisco in week 3, but he should continue to get solid production after that.

Scott Chandler, BUF: Best known as the TE who dominated week 1 last year the kind of dropped off the fantasy radar. Well he’s back with a TD in each of the first two weeks and some modest yardage (38 and 53 respectively) he had 6 TDs in 14 games last year, and should remain a top Red Zone target, and he’ll have some great weeks, but he’ll have some bad ones too.

Brandon Myers, OAK: He’s been a top target for QB Carson Palmer the first two games, and with Jacoby Ford missing from the slot he could continue to dominate the middle of the field. I think people are afraid to trust Myers because if Darren McFadden can get his groove back it will cut back Palmer’s attempts while simultaneously opening up the outside deep routes with opposing safeties cheating up to contain the run…until that happens Myers will keep producing.

Not much doing if you’re in the market for a running back. But I’ll put some handcuff updates here.

Andre Brown, NYG: took over after Bradshaw went down and could be a guy to target if Bradshaw can’t go next week.

Jackie Battle, SD: Good name to watch as he put up decent numbers in relief of Curtis Brinkley. If the Chargers hold Mathews out Battle might get the nod, if not he should at least get any goal line looks, so if you’re a Matthews owner who’s been trying to make due with ronnie Brown he’s worth a shot.

Daryl Richardson, STL: Now looks like the Steven Jackson handcuff over Isaiah Pead. Jackson left the Redskins game with a groin injury, so if you have Pead stashed on your bench you may want to make the swap.

Kendall Hunter, SF: Still the back-up to a seemingly unstoppable Frank Gore. Gore’s had 17 and 19 touches in weeks 1&2 he’ll likely stay in that 15-20 range most of the season, but Hunter is the one getting the touches Gore misses and he’ll carry the load if Gore misses any time.

Now, Wide Receiver is shaping up to be as deep as promised.

Brandon LaFell, CAR: Is looking good…ranted it’s so far been against two teams who’ve given up a lot of passing yards in both this year’s appearances (Bucs and Saints) but hey, Panthers play the Giants next week, so he should be good for at least one more week.

Andrew Hawkins, CIN: He was a trendy name especially for PPR players after an 8 catch 86 yard week 1. The follow up wasn’t quite so impressive with only 2 catches for 56 yards, but one of them was a TD scamper off a short pass. He’s a home run threat and a security blanket, he’s worth a roster spot especially with an Orakpo-less Washington and Miami next up on the schedule.

Donnie Avery, IND: The Colts will not be ahead in a lot of games. That means Andrew Luck will have to throw a lot and with Fleener and Allen needed to help block and defenses focused on Reggie Wayne look for Avery to continue making plays.

Brandon Gibson, STL: So, if you read my preseason stuff, you saw I had Brian Quick as a sleeper if he could with the Rams starting job…well as it turns out that job went to Gibson, and he doesn’t look willing to give it up. He’s got 50+ yards and a TD in two straight games. The Bears are next up on the schedule, and after the Packers game I’m nervous, and if Danny Amendola is still available in your league he’s the one you want, but Gibson’s performance makes him worthy of at least a look.

Dexter McCluster, KC: Mostly a PPR consideration as I don’t see him reaching the end zone often and his yardage alone won’t be enough most weeks, but Cassel likes him and Jon Baldwin hasn’t been nearly as involved in the pass attack as I’d hoped.

Brian Hartline, MIA: He needs to be mentioned after a 110 yard outing, but don’t get too excited. Hartline will continue to see plenty of targets, but the Raiders defense is bad. The Dolphins get the Jets in week 3 and Cardinals in week 4…I wouldn’t want him in my line up until at least week 9 against the Colts. (actually not a bad schedule the rest of the way after that)

Mohammed Massaquoi, CLE: With Buffalo up next on the schedule, I think he could be interesting if you need some one. He seems to have decent chemistry with Weeden and the Bills have shown you can throw on them.

Oh, and if you’ve been losing games by just a few points, you kicker may be to blame. Here’s the guys you should be looking at.

Justin Tucker, BAL: in just two weeks he’s got 7 PATs and 6 FGs, 5 of which have been from 40+ (two from 50+) and yet he’s owned in only 5% of NFL.com leagues. The opportunity is going to be there. (just for some perspective Tucker currently has outscored Jamaal Charles by 19 points through two weeks)

Greg Zuerlein, STL: Liked this guy since I heard him being talked up during the preseason. 6th round draft pick, the team loves him, and he’s got a strong leg. The Rams offense isn’t the high powered attack the Ravens have but with an improved defense and Sam Bradford playing well they’ll be in field goal range enough for young GZ (clubhouse nickname, not mine) to put up some solid fantasy numbers.

Blair Walsh, MIN: Another guy I got sold on after preseason. I heard the GM talking him up, and after his 16point week 1 I decided to drop Josh Scobee and give him a shot. Walsh outscored Scobee 10 to 1 (in fairness Walsh was against the Colts, while Scobee had the misfortune of playing the Texans D) point is Minnesota, like St. Louis should find itself in scoring position on enough drives to give their rookie ample opportunities.

Connor Barth, TB: like the 3 above he’s got double digit points in the first two weeks. The offense in Tampa should continue to provide Barth with opportunity and according to NFL.com he’s made 20 consecutive kicks dating back to last year (only 5 so far this year)

I’m going to add a D/ST here

Arizona Cardinals: Coming off a big win against the Patriots, they’ll be a trendy add, but they get the Eagles in week 3 and Dolphins week 4. They’re better than you think.

With Robert Griffin dealt to the Redskins (in the form of the #2 pick) Peyton Manning has become the hottest QB commodity in the NFL. And with Manning likely not staying on the market much longer, I’m hear to tell you why none of the final four teams actually need him.

Broncos

In past articles I’ve touched on why I think the Broncos are interested in Manning despite winning their division and upsetting the Steelers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Elway wants Tebow out of Denver, but as long as tebow keeps winning and drawing crowds his hands are tied. Peyton Manning is possibly the only QB who can be brought in with little to no argument of the fan base and then deal Tebow, and draft his own guy to sit under Manning and take over. And while that sounds great for Elway and Broncos front office the pressure will be on Manning to win right away, and go deep in the playoffs. With Manning coming off a year without play and having to adjust quickly to the altitude in Denver and the cold later in the season that could be difficult. The Broncos have a lot of young talent including Tebow who will be entering only his third year in NFL, and while yes he does have a long way to go to become a great passer, you have to give him some time to get there.

Cardinals

Arizona swung and missed on Kolb last season, and Manning looks like the second coming of Kurt Warner (in terms of success for their franchise) so their interest is certainly justified. But reports are being the NFC team in the race could lose them some serious points in the final tally. But Cards fans shouldn’t fret. First year in a new system means Kolb should be given a little slack, maybe. Or maybe you look beyond Kolb to John Skeleton who has worked his way past Derek Anderson, and Max Hall two seasons ago, and taking over for Kolb last season. While that’s not exactly an all star line-up he’s overtaken the Cards were heating up with Skeleton behind center towards the end of last season. Maybe he can capitalize on that going forward. After all Manning isn’t a long term answer, just another stop gap solution for a team that has quite a few holes to fill.

Dolphins

Miami is the team on the table that seems to have the most options outside of Manning. Brandon Marshall has already cast a vote for Matt Flynn, so you don’t have to worry about his happiness if the Fins miss on Manning. And failing to get the former Green Bay back-up still leaves Ryan Tannehill in the draft. (With the Redskins moving up for Griffin and No. 4 seeming way to high for the browns to reach with so many other needs, availability shouldn’t be a problem with the Texas A&M standout) I believe Tannehill or Flynn put into a competition with Matt Moore makes the most sense for the Dolphins going forward.

Titans

I actually like Manning to Tennessee for the shear poetry of it. He gets his old team twice a year, on team with a lot of talent and in the state where he made his name as one of the most prolific passers in the University of Tennessee history. But poetry aside, I don’t really see the need for Manning. Kenny Britt will be coming back and before his injury he was one of Matt Hasselbeck’s favorite targets. And while Hasselbeck did slow down towards the end last year, we got to see some very promising things out of rookie Jake Locker, who could be ready to start as soon as this year if a Manning signing doesn’t interfere. Side Note: Manning signing with the Titans could end up being good news for the Cardinals as it likely means the end of Matt Hasselbeck’s stint in Tennessee and the Cards would gain a veteran QB who had great success within their division, before a short stint with another team was ended by a Manning…it could be Kurt Warner all over again.