Sunday, April 24, 2005

Next Season’s NFL Ramblings, Projected In Late April

WARNING: Incase you couldn’t tell from the title, explicit pigskin talk to follow

Again, I love the Dolphins pick of Ronnie Brown with no option to trade down. He’s got excellent hands, he’s got an NFL body and track-star speed. Of course, since I was a Dolphin fan last year, I’m pretty sure he’ll get injured in training camp and this good feeling will be for naught.

I also love the 2nd and 3rd round picks of the Phins, taking Matt Roth and Channing Crowder. Roth was projected into the first round, and should be able to play outside linebacker or defensive end. Crowder’s a freak athlete, although slightly injury-prone and with some attitude issues, but this is Saban’s chance to coach him up.

I was very worried when we gave Saban complete control with his signing, but so far, he’s not done anything brash – especially with the potential for trading for Edge or Alexander floating out there the entire offseason – and has just solidly been adding quality pieces. I also think its great his team played against all three of his Day One picks, just for Running Theme Value.

I’d like to predict more than seven or eight wins for Miami next year, but until we know how the quarterback and offensive line are going to be, it’s tough to put a lot of faith in them, especially with the division they’re in. The defensive is going to be good this year, and at the rate Saban is managing it, for years to come, and the offensive certainly has a few more weapons.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Rebuilding is fun.


After the Vikings picked Troy Williamson instead of Mike Williams, I thought he’d fall all the way down to the Chargers at 12. Then I saw the Lions there, and thought “Well, that be hilarious if they drafted him and had Williams and Williams on the outside, with Rogers thrown in the slot.”

The Lions spent two minutes deciding their pick, and I assumed it was because everyone had them picking Derrick Johnson, and the Texas linebacker was still on the board. But Mooch threw a curveball and took a third straight wide-receiver, sending the Lions’ offense from “Pretty exciting” to “Must-watch”. Charles Rogers (if he stays healthy), Mike Williams, Roy “I Had A Weekly Category Dedicated To Me” Williams, Marcus Pollard and Kevin Jones. If Joey Harrington can’t get 25 points a game without breaking a sweat, then he can start looking over his shoulder at Jeff Garcia and Dan Orlovsky.


Stefan LeFors, you’re in a good place, and you totally deserve it. I could watch the piece on your family and growing up with everyone around you deaf a thousand times and still get a little misty.


I understand that it’s sort of hard to rebuild after an AFC-record 15-1 season, but the Steelers didn’t screw anything up by taking (or, having the luck to have him fall to them) Heath Miller in the first round. I’m really disappointed they didn’t get Matt Jones, though, as I’d love to see how many 3rd and ones they could bungle up once the power running game goes sour again next year as Bettis and Duce break down.


Not helping the Steelers’ cause is the fact that the Ravens are looking like a top five team. They took their solid defensive core, then added Samari Rolle, just incase you were thinking about throwing towards the side of the field opposite Chris McAlister. They immediately made the wise decision of signing Derrick Mason, then drafted OU stud Mark Clayton. If Jamal Lewis is still the same player after his stint in the pokey, Kyle Boller will be in a Joey Harrington-esque position of having to produce.

I’ve always been a Boller fan, though, because other than Todd Heaps, he hasn’t had a receiver you’d even consider “halfway-decent” to consistently throw to in the last two years.


I know this isn’t NFL-related, but the NBA Playoff commercial with Dirk calling the trophy just had me doubled-over laughing. ”I need to hold you.” So far, my NBA predictions couldn’t be worse, and other than the Wizards/Bulls game, neither could the games. Things are turning around with the Nuggets and Spurs, but things won’t get heated until the next couple of rounds.


Just like the Ravens added pieces to their floundering offense, the Chiefs and Vikings have spent this off-season on adding to their awful defenses. KC added Miami secondary stalwarts Pat Surtain and Sammy Knight, the injury-riddled but talented Kendrell Bell and then drafted blue-chip linebacker Derrick Johnson. Their wide-receiving corps still sucks, but Trent, Priest and Tony will put points up.

The Vikings drafted Erasmus James and national champion Dustin Fox (They need a winner on that team) to go along with youngsters Kenechi Udeze, EJ Henderson and Dontarrious Thomas, after already picking up Pat Williams, Sam Cowart, Napoleon Harris and Fred Smoot.

The Packers are going to have a tough time keeping their crown with the Lions and Vikings charging like this.


You chose poorly, Chicago. I’d be surprised if Benson ends up better than Mike Williams or Cadillac, very surprised. I’ve been wrong before, but after talking to the two Bears fans I know – Chad and JoBu – neither of them are very happy.


I don’t think two of last year’s darling teams – the Falcons and Chargers – added enough. They have solid squads, but they need everyone to play as well or better than last year if they want to keep their places within the conference, because the Panthers and Chiefs will be strongly charging.


The Bengals and Browns actually had good drafts, which is akin to last year’s Bulls draft, when everyone went “Yeah, they didn’t screw that one up at all.” The Bulls just won a playoff game, and while I don’t see the Brownies jumping past maybe five or six wins this coming year, though they certainly took steps in the right direction, the Bengals will be interested to see what it’s like to run with the Ravens and Steelers for an entire season.


Can I stop hearing about how Peyton Manning just needs a good defense? First, when you sign every offensive skill position to long-term contracts and franchise the real key to your team, Edgerrin James, when he wants to leave, then that takes away money you could spend on defense. And the Colts’ defense terrible performance against the Pats in the playoffs last year?

They gave up six freaking points in the first half, and if Peyton would have been able to keep them off the field for any extended period of time, Corey Dillon wouldn’t have chipped away at them. Even in the end, they only gave up 20 points, which against a good Patriot offense is not that many at all, considering the 41-spot they put on the Supah Stees the next week.

Another MVP for Peyton, another first-round rout of the Broncos and another second-round curtsy.


The AFC South is going to be unbelievably competitive next year, the Steelers/Ravens dual is going to be epic, the AFC East is the best division in football and the Arizona Cardinals are going to have a legitimate shot at a division title.

Excited for the NFL yet? Only four and a half months left to wait.

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