The NFL Rank ‘Em Up: #12-9 QBs

June 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , )

Some quarterbacks walk the tightrope between being a low-end QB1 and a high-end QB2.  Don’t get me wrong:  you can draft the guy ranked 12th as your starter, or the guy ranked ninth as your backup, and no one will give you any grief.  At least I won’t, I can’t vouch for your opponents.

Eli Manning is 12th on this list.  Ranking Manning is kind of difficult, because, like Jay Cutler, his value depends on the point system of your league, because both quarterbacks are extremely high risk/high reward.  If your league deducts only one or two points for interceptions, go nuts on both Eli and Jay, they will serve you well this season.  But, if your league deducts four, five, or six points for an interception, Manning and Cutler will probably both rank outside the top 15 for quarterbacks in your league.  Check your league settings before making a decision on either quarterback, but Manning in particular.  I have him down for throwing 30+ touchdowns and 20+ interceptions again this season.

The Jew-fro is alive and well with Josh Freeman.

My new favorite quarterback, Josh Freeman, is right outside my top ten in 11th.  Freeman has the awesome ability to win games he has no business winning.  His connection with Mike Williams is quickly becoming one of the most feared in the NFL.  And he’s also been working well with tight end Kellen Winslow and the winner of the annual “NickyV presents The Where-The-Hell-Did-He-Come-From Award”, LeGarrette Blount.  I also think that Arrelious Benn could be an extremely deep sleeper this season.  Expect Freeman to be an elite talent in a few short seasons.

Does Matt Schaub have to cut a bitch?

Matt Schaub has become a bit of a forgotten man in the QB ranks.  People always think about Arian Foster and Andre Johnson in the Houston offense, but someone needs to hold this team together, and Schaub is that guy.  He’s stayed healthy for the last two seasons, and has thrown for over 4,300 yards both years.  He still does carry a bit of an “injury warning” on him; drop it.  The two times he was injured in 2007 and 2008 were freak accidents.  He should be fine for this season.

Well, look who bounced back from that sexual assault charge like a champ.  Ben Roethlisberger is ninth here, and this could very easily be his best season to date.  Mike Wallace has become one of the fastest receivers in the game.  He’s a down field threat who can score on any reception.  Hines Ward might be getting older, but he’s still one of the most physical receivers.  Rashard Mendenhall is now a first-round worthy pickup in any draft this season.  And look for Emmanuel Sanders to potentially jump into the #2 role once Hines Ward retires.  One thing I noticed about the Steelers is that they don’t really have a slot, reception-heavy receiver (ala Wes Welker, Davone Bess, Danny Amendola).  Hines Ward was filling that role somewhat, but I don’t think that’s his primary job any more, both Wallace and Sanders are big play receivers, and Mendenhall isn’t a huge part of the passing game.  Might be something that the Steelers look into in next year’s draft.

In the next article, we take about solid starter who will be available in the later rounds, so that you can focus on the other positions early in the draft.

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Feeling Drafty #20: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

April 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , , , )

Josh Freeman has become one of the most exciting QBs in the NFL, earning Tampa Bay Team MVP

It’s kind of shocking if you think… wait a second, I already did that one.

But still, it fits.  Last season, the Buccaneers had the #3 overall pick.  At the start of last season, according to espn.com, the Bucs didn’t have a top 25 quarterback, a top 40 running back, or a top 55 wide receiver.  This season, they were one win away from making the playoffs, and had the last pick of any non-playoff team.  Over the course of this season, as if out of thin air, the Bucs’ offense developed into an exciting, high-octane offense.

Josh Freeman is my new favorite quarterback in the NFL.  He can rally his team, and lead them to a come-from-behind victory more times than not.  He also found a new favorite target, Mike Williams (although with the comeback of Seattle’s Mike Williams, it has gotten a bit confusing).  Even though he wasn’t even the first receiver taken by Tampa this season (that honor goes to Arrelious Benn), he made the biggest impact on the team, going for nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns.  And don’t forget about LeGarrette Blount, he kind of came out of nowhere, too (aka the Titans practice squad).  But, he ended the season with 1,007 yards and six touchdowns.  If these three players can improve their game just a little bit, this offense will be incredibly hard to stop, along with TE Kellen Winslow Jr.

So, obviously the needs are on defense, right?  Maybe.  But, the depth at running back and wide receiver isn’t good.  But, I have learned that if you still have needs, depth can wait until later rounds.  They can probably find talent in the third round or so.  But, they have needs at defensive end, linebacker, and safety, so that will be focused on in the first few rounds.

Adrian Clayborn overcame Erb's Palsy, and is primed to be a solid mid-to-late first round pick. Right where Tampa Bay sits.

Since they lack a good pass rusher, they might as well go defensive line, and since the picked up two DTs with their first two draft picks last season, they should probably work on the ends.  I think that the best fit for them is Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn.  Clayborn is an unusual prospect.  He had a bit of a lackluster season, but that’s only when you compare it to his awesome ’09 season.  He’s one of those players who’s good at everything but not great at anything.  However, he did run a good 40 yard time at the combine, and was a 2010 consensus All-American.

Well, that does it for the teams that missed the playoffs.  Tomorrow, we’ll cover the Kansas City Chiefs, the first playoff team (besides New England’s first pick).  We’re on the home stretch of the Feeling Drafty series, and it’s been fun.  See you in KC.

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