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2011 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Cleveland Browns

Posted by Brad On May - 7 - 20111 COMMENT

NFL’s Future is breaking down all 32 teams drafts in 32 days, today we will analyze the Cleveland Browns:

To the admiration of all Cleveland Browns fans, Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert have drafted masterfully in their two seasons with the Browns.  Cleveland fleeced Atlanta in a deal dropping from the 6th pick to 27 and acquiring a boatload of picks including a number one next year.  Anytime you can move down and pick up future picks you have done well.  In Cleveland’s case they did really well.

Onto the actual picks.  The Browns did well filling major need areas and getting good value throughout the draft.  They needed defensive line help with the switch to the 4-3, depth at corner, offensive line depth, a number one WR, and a 3rd down RB.  They managed to find good value at most of those spots.

Everyone who reads my blog knows I don’t do draft grades.  But if I did, this one would be an A, given this years picks and picking up a 1st and 4th for next year.  Congratulations Browns fans, you are finally heading in the right direction.  Ironically, or not, I have them as one of the surprise teams in my first edition of the Power Rankings and surprising most in where they are selecting in the 2012 draft.  Enough talking, here’s the breakdown of picks: Read the rest of this entry » «2011 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Cleveland Browns»

NFL’s Future is breaking down all 32 teams drafts in 32 days, today we will analyze the Arizona Cardinals:

Arizona needed to come out of the 2011 NFL Draft with a rush linebacker, offensive line help, and depth at the corner.  Also, at this point they are looking at starting John Skelton or Max Hall at QB.  It was clear before the draft that Arizona wasn’t going to take a QB at 5 and would rather find a veteran or trade for Kevin Kolb. 

The one glaring need that wasn’t addressed in this draft was the offensive line, not even a developmental guy in the late rounds.  Whoever the QB is in Arizona next year will have to deal with constant pressure because the current guys are horrid.

What I did like about the draft was finding talent throughout it including guys late that had good value.  Unfortunately for Arizona they aren’t a good enough team to just ignore major needs.  Here’s the breakdown:

5.  Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

Peterson was my top player in the draft throughout the process.  He was definitely the one guy that I never questioned or wavered on his value.  Anytime you get the best player in the draft at 5 you can chalk up a “W.”

38.  Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

I really, really like Ryan Williams and I expect him to see plenty of carries in Arizona.  The Cardinals have wavered between Hightower and Beanie.  With Williams on board there probably won’t be any more wavering.  Don’t know if this was the wisest of moves given their struggles on the offensive line but Williams is a talent.

69.  Rob Housler, TE, Florida Atlantic

TE was a need for Arizona but I think they may have reached for Housler and I still would contend they needed to go offensive line before taking a TE.  Housler is talented and was wanted by several teams but at 69 they could have gotten a possible starter on the offensive line.

103.  Sam Acho, OLB, Texas

Rush linebacker was a huge need for the Cardinals and they got a pretty good value at 103 in Acho.  I am not a huge fan of Acho’s and think he could be a potential flop in the NFL.  I didn’t see a whole lot on tape that would suggest he could be an effective edge rusher standing up in the 3-4.  There may be good reason he was available later than projections.

136.  Anthony Sherman, FB, Connecticut

Another need for Arizona but a little bit of a reach.  I would have thought they could have got Sherman or a FB just as good later and picked up offensive line help here.

171.  Quan Sturdivant, ILB, North Carolina

Great value at 171.  He could be an immediate upgrade over Paris Lenon and see playing time early for their defense.

184.  David Carter, DE/DT, UCLA

Carter will provide good depth along the defensive line and he had a strong showing in the pre-draft process which raised eyebrows.  Good pick at 184.

249.  DeMarco Sampson, WR, SDSU

One of my favorite picks for the Cardinals.  He was a guy that I thought could be a potential late round sleeper.  He will need a year or two but I expect him to make a roster. 

Overall, Arizona got fairly good value with most of their picks.  My one major criticism of this draft was not addressing the offensive line.  The Cards will have to be aggressive in free agency in obtaining OL help.  Also, they will certainly have to go after Kolb or obtain a solid veteran at the QB spot.  If they fail to do either of the latter two suggestions they will be selecting early again next year.

BEST VALUE:  Quan Sturdivant

POTENTIAL SLEEPER:  DeMarco Sampson

IMMEDIATE STARTER:  Besides the obvious (Peterson), Ryan Williams

With all the Spring games in the books, here’s NFL’s Future take on the top 25 college football rankings:

1.   Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma returns a top QB in Landry Jones, a talented, cohesive offensive line, solid WR’s, and a stellar defense.  In the pass happy Big 12, Landry Jones is primed for a run at the National Championship.  They will be a consensus preseason #1.

2.   Stanford Cardinal

Stanford returns the sure fire #1 pick in Andrew Luck, a talented offensive line led by Jonathan Martin, and good receivers.  Oh yeah, there defense isn’t bad, either.  The Cardinal will go as far as Andrew Luck will take them which could be a spot in the National Championship and a Heisman for Luck.

3.  Oregon Ducks

The Ducks bring back LaMichael James, Darron Thomas, and speed at almost every position.  Oregon has one of the better and underrated coaches in college football with Chip Kelly.  Kelly would solidify this standing with back to back trips to the National Title.

4.  LSU Tigers

LSU will only be matched in the SEC by a raw but talented Alabama squad that lost a lot of talent.  LSU may be the most talented team in the NCAA but will have to rely on a young defense after NFL defections.

 5.  Boise State Broncos

The Broncos are led by Heisman candidate, Kellen Moore.  Despite losing top receivers Titus Young and Austin Pettis look for the Boise offense to not lose a step.  If they want to challenge for a BCS bowl they will need Moore’s best in 2011. 

6.  Ohio State Buckeyes

OSU will have to get over the offseason of turmoil and five games without their head coach and star players.  If they can weather the storm, look for them to make a run at a National Title (if they are eligible).  The off the field distractions will be tested when they head to Miami in week 3 and take on Michigan State in week 5.

 7.   Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama lost Mark Ingram, Marcell Dareus, Julio Jones, James Carpenter, and Greg McElroy and still find themselves 7th in NFL’s Future rankings.  That says something for depth at Alabama.  Look for a breakout season from Trent Richardson and possible Heisman consideration.

8.  Florida State Seminoles

FSU will have to replace Christian Ponder but the coaching staff is singing the praises of E.J. Manuel.  If Manuel can provide a spark FSU will (finally) return to glory.  Manuel is a beast physically at 6’4, 235 pounds but we will see if his talent will equal production.

9.  Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska is capable of shocking some in the Big 10.  They have loads of talent back on defense with Jared Crick and Alfonzo Dennard leading the charge.  On offense they will have to settle on the quarterback position to hold this ranking.

 10.  Oklahoma State Cowboys

Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon will be able to keep the Cowboys in many games.  If they can survive a tough road schedule, the Cowboys will be able to compete in the Big 12.

11.  Michigan State Spartans

12.  Texas A&M Aggies

13.  USC Trojans

14.  Arkansas Razorbacks

15.  Wisconsin Badgers

16.  Georgia Bulldogs

17.  Arizona State Sun Devils

18.  South Carolina Gamecocks

19.  Notre Dame Fighting Irish

20.  Mississippi State Bulldogs

21.  West Virginia Mountaineers

22.  Florida Gators

23.  TCU Horned Frogs

24.  Miami Hurricanes

25.  Texas Longhorns

NFL’s Future is breaking down all 32 teams drafts in 32 days, today we will analyze the Cincinnati Bengals:

Cincinnati needed major help in this draft to avoid being in the basement of a tough conference in 2011.  With the future of Carson Palmer up in the air, to say the least, they needed to draft a young quarterback to hopefully groom behind a veteran they pick up in a trade or free agency.  They also needed a dynamic receiver to pair with emerging talents, Jordan Shipley and Jerome Simpson.  Help in the defensive backfield and insurance if Jonathan Joseph leaves.

Cincinnati deserves a lot of credit for showing restraint in not jumping back into the first and mortgaging future picks to do so to take Andy Dalton.  They patiently waited until their second round pick at 35 and got their man in Dalton.

Overall, I liked what Cincinnati did and think they got some nice pieces in this draft.  They should get extra points for not getting trigger happy and jumping back into the first.  Here’s the breakdown:

1.  A.J. Green, WR, Georgia 

This was a wise move on many different levels.  Green is a stud and will be a day one impact player for the Bengals.  But that goes without saying.  This move will have to entice Palmer a little.  While I think he’s gone, the selection of Green will have to make him think about leaving for greener pastures.

35.  Andy Dalton, QB, TCU

Dalton seemed to be a guy Cincinnati targeted and he got a whole lot of “Gruden Love.”  The restraint shown in this pick surprised me as I thought for sure Mike Brown would trade picks to jump back into the first.  Dalton is not a day one impact guy at the quarterback position but could be an effective starter down the road.  In a lot of ways he reminds me of another AFC North QB in Colt McCoy.

66.  Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada

This wasn’t my favorite pick because I thought there were a couple corners and offensive lineman they should have jumped on here but Moch is an impressive specimen.  They will look to make him into a pass rushing strongside backer.  He can’t start from day one but is a nice little project for Marvin Lewis.

101.  Clint Boling, G, Georgia

Boling was a guy a liked in the late 2nd or early 3rd, so they got good value by my standards.  They needed help on the offensive line with questions at both guard spots and Andre Smith not working out thus far.  This was my favorite pick for the Bengals.  Just wish it would have been a pick earlier, so Boling would have got me to 80 points on my Huddle Report top 100.

134.  Robert Sands, S, West Virginia

Sands appears to be a good fit for Zimmer’s scheme and I liked where they got him.  Another good value pick that fills a need.  He is a developmental guy that could see significant action down the road.

167.  Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford

I like Ryan Whalen but I don’t understand Cincinnati going with him.  I thinks this was a little high for him and other positions (CB, DT, RB) could have been wiser selections.

207.  Korey Lindsey, CB, Southern Illinois

This is another good value pick that fills a need.  I could see Lindsey making the roster and contributing on special teams immediately.  One of my favorite sleepers in the draft.

246.  Jay Finley, RB, Baylor

Finley is a 3rd down back in the mold of a Bernard Scott.  But being you already have Bernard Scott he may be a wasted pick. 

Overall, Cincinnati had a very solid draft in filling needs and finding good value in the middle and late rounds.  If I haven’t said this enough, my favorite move by Cincinnati was a move that wasn’t made.  Not trading back into the 1st for Dalton and letting the board come to them was impressive for a team that normally doesn’t impress with their drafting picks or strategies.

BEST VALUE:  Clint Boling

POTENTIAL SLEEPER:  Korey Lindsey

IMMEDIATE STARTER:  A.J. Green

Post-Draft NFL Power Rankings

Posted by Brad On May - 4 - 20111 COMMENT

These are NFL’s Future premature 2011 NFL Power Rankings.  The rankings are based on draft results and current rosters along with some major projections.  Without further adieu:

32. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals added some nice pieces in the 2011 draft. But they are looking at starting either Andy Dalton or Jordan Palmer at this point. I suspect Cincinnati may move out of the bottom spot but right now I have no reason to believe they won’t be the worst team in the NFL.

31. Carolina Panthers – Carolina will either be starting Cameron Newton or Jimmy Clausen in 2011. Need I say more. The really bad part is they could win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes and be forced to trade away a chance at a franchise QB. Ouch, talk about adding insult to injury.

30. Washington Redskins – With Rex Grossman or John Beck as a starter this team will not win many games. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they are not the winners of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes when it is all said and done.

29. Miami Dolphins – Chad Henne is not the long term answer in Miami. If Miami can pull a deal off for Carson Palmer that could thrust them into the lower 20’s but I don’t see much on that roster that would make me believe they are a playoff team.

28. Tennessee Titans – Jake Locker, Rusty Smith, or Kerry Collins. Pick your poison. Are you starting to notice a trend with the teams at the bottom of the rankings?

27. Seattle Seahawks – From playoffs to bottom of the barrel. I didn’t see much that would warrant more than 6 wins from this team led by Clipboard Jesus. The only positive working in their direction would be a sad conference schedule that could net them a few wins.

26. Buffalo Bills – The Bills make strides this season unfortunately for them it only nets them 5 wins.

25. Arizona Cardinals – I am sticking by my firm belief they are going to get Kolb. If they do obtain Kolb, I said in an earlier blog they were a QB away from a playoff run in that conference. Arizona could be a mover throughout the Power Rankings.

24. Minnesota Vikings – I don’t believe Minnesota’s starting 2011 QB is on their roster. Sorry Christian Ponder but you’re not ready to start…yet. Minnesota could get a stop gap veteran to mentor Ponder like a Marc Bulger. Exciting huh.

23. Denver Broncos – Denver still can’t stop the run and did nothing to help out the run defense in the draft. In a division with Darren McFadden and Jamal Charles, look for Denver to struggle up front on defense.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jags just can’t seem to put all the pieces together. One more year of Garrard equals a 6-7 win season for the Jaguars. Enter Blaine Gabbert.

21. Oakland Raiders – The Raiders got a starting center out of the draft but nothing else to speak of. Oakland will run Jason Campbell back out there to a 7 win season.

20. San Francisco 49ers – Easily could be in the 25-29 range based on their roster. This prediction is based on Harbaugh coaching up Alex Smith and a lights out defensive effort.

19. Cleveland Browns – The Browns make a significant step in the right direction with back to back solid drafts. If Colt McCoy plays well they could make it to 8-9 wins.

18. Chicago Bears – The Bears overachieved last season and find themselves out of the playoffs with a 9 win season

17. Detroit Lions – The Lions are getting younger and tougher through solid drafts and wise free agent pick ups. If Stafford can stay healthy, the Lions will be a team to be reckoned with.

16. Houston Texans – Every year I wait for the Texans to take the next step to be a playoff contender. This year they could get there.

15. St. Louis Rams – The Rams play in an awful division and should be able to make hay in the Division. Sam Bradford takes the next step towards being an elite QB in the NFL in 2011.

14. New York Giants – I liked what the Giants did in the draft, drafting BPA throughout the draft. Unfortunately, they didn’t do much to help out a line that is need of youth. I think they will target a free agent tackle to move Diehl inside.

13. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs are another team on the rise. In a mediocre division they could compete with San Diego for a playoff spot.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – TB could in for a down season if they can’t find secondary help. They have done a nice job building a solid defensive line but there secondary is led by an aging Ronde Barber.

11. San Diego Chargers – KC and SD could battle it out for the AFC West playoff spot. I gave the slight edge to SD because of Phillip Rivers but wouldn’t be surprised to see KC take the AFC West crown.

10. Dallas Cowboys – I struggled with this one but a healthy Cowboys team tricked me into making a spot into the top 10. Dallas still needs secondary help but the offense should be back to full strength.

9. New York Jets – The Jets are a couple of players away from being a Super Bowl contender. Unfortunately, for Jets fans they won’t be able to pick those players up due to re-signing Braylon and Santonio.

8. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles will officially turn the reigns over to Michael Vick and usher out Kevin Kolb during the offseason (whenever that takes place). Vick will have another strong season and push the Eagles to the top of the NFC East.

7. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens will need Joe Flacco’s best season of his career to stay at number 7 because I think finally they show their age on defense.

6. Atlanta Falcons – Atlanta mortgaged their immediate future to obtain another weapon for Matt Ryan in Julio Jones. While, I think Cleveland got the better end of the deal, the Falcons get a legitimate threat to take a burden off Roddy White.

5. Indianapolis Colts – Indy went OL heavy at the top of the draft and I think it pays off for them. If they can stay healthy this year they could make it back to the SB.

4. New Orleans Saints – I really like what N.O. did in the draft and helped their team (right now) more than any SB contender in this draft. Mark Ingram and Cam Jordan should both see significant playing time and N.O. will make a late run to the SB.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers – Expect another Steeler-esque season in Pittsburgh. They will contend for another chance at the crown.

2. New England Patriots – The Pats didn’t do anything in the draft that made me put them #2 but it’s a gut feeling. I am predicting a lights out season for Brady and a SB bid for New England.

1. Green Bay Packers – The Champs reign supreme.

2011 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Buffalo Bills

Posted by Brad On May - 4 - 20111 COMMENT

NFL’s Future is breaking down all 32 teams drafts in 32 days, today we will analyze the Buffalo Bills:

The Buffalo Bills needed significant help along the defensive line, a rush linebacker, offensive line help and if available a franchise QB.  Hey, at least they checked one off the board.

I am not going to rip Buffalo for still believing Ryan Fitzpatrick could lead them to the promised land because they didn’t feel Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, or any other QB was better than what they had on their roster.  I agree completely and so Buffalo prepares for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

Buffalo hit on their first pick for sure with the addition of the versatile Dareus, after that I don’t know what happened.  Here’s the breakdown:

1.  Marcell Dareus, DT/DE, Alabama

Can’t argue with this one a bit.  Dareus is a great fit in their scheme and is an immediate starter.  I have to believe he was 1 or 1A on their draft board.  As much as they would have liked Von Miller, Dareus fills a bigger need.

34.  Aaron Williams, CB/FS, Texas

Buffalo needed help at the CB spot but passing on Brooks Reed here was dumbfounding to me.  I thought Buffalo was in a great position to take him and fill him immediately.  I don’t value Aaron Williams the same as some but just didn’t get this one.  I may be off base here but I thought Brooks Reed or Jabaal Sheard was a slam dunk here.  Buffalo must have a lot of confidence in their current pass rushers.

68.  Kelvin Sheppard, ILB, LSU

I didn’t mind this pick because they needed someone to put beside Paul Posluszny.  I did think Sheppard was a bit of a reach here but overall good pick.

100.  Da’Norris Searcy, S, North Carolina

This one was a head scratcher for me.  I didn’t see drafting this many DB’s this early as a wise move for a team with so many needs.  Aside from that Searcy was a reach at this point.

122.  Chris Hairston, T, Clemson

Hairston fills a need at RT but I thought they needed to go offensive line before 122.  But just based on the pick, decent value and fits a need.

133.  Johnny White, RB, North Carolina

Another one that I don’t get.  White is a fairly decent value at 133 but why do you need him.  If this was Green Bay or Pittsburgh I could understand going with White here with good RB’s on your roster, but you’re Buffalo.  At pick 133 you could get a solid backup, not a 3rd RB.

169.  Chris White, ILB, Mississippi St.

White is a reach here and you really didn’t need him.  Remember you have to fill needs, Buffalo.  White will be lucky to make your practice squad.

206.  Justin Rogers, CB, Richmond

I love the value here with Rogers and think he is a real solid developmental DB.  But another DB???

 245.  Michael Jasper, G, Bethel (TN)

Does anyone know who this guy is?  I couldn’t find him anywhere in anyone’s top 300 players.  Through some solid research I found he was a two way player…at Bethel.  Ok.

Buffalo does this to me every year.  They are clearly going BPA but I can’t understand how you are not filling holes on your roster while trying to do so.  I can fully understand they could care less what I say but at some point you have to address needs early.  I see one sure fire starter in this draft with Dareus and possibly Sheppard (just because there is nothing else behind Posluszny).  I could see Williams playing the nickel but the rest will be buried on the practice squad and/or cut.  The one thing I will say is at least you got Dareus.

BEST VALUE:  Justin Rogers

POTENTIAL SLEEPER:  Michael Jasper (just for the fun of it)

IMMEDIATE STARTER:  Marcell Dareus

Some pundits questioned the Cardinals not taking a quarterback in the draft.  Others felt they had a deal in place with Marc Bulger.  Others speculated they could make a trade for Kevin Kolb.

Well, I guess the latter is looking like it will play out.  Adam Schefter and Peter King both feel the Cardinals and Eagles have a deal worked out involving Kolb and presumably a first round pick.  Schefter and King are two of the most respected and well plugged in reporters in the game and if they say there’s a deal; then there’s a deal.

This deal is barring a new CBA or whenever the courts decide to end the lockout.  That decision could come as early as this week. 

This deal is a solid trade from both sides, which doesn’t happen often.  The Eagles would acquire a first round pick which one would think would be relatively high in the 2012 draft.  The Cardinals get their quarterback of the future and of Larry Fitzgerald’s choice.  Fitzgerald has made it known publicly that Kolb is his choice for the team quarterback. 

This one could take place later this week so keep an eye on Schefter (@AdamSchefter) and King’s (@SI_PeterKing) Twitter accounts.

2011 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Denver Broncos

Posted by Brad On May - 3 - 20112 COMMENTS

NFL’s Future is breaking down all 32 teams drafts in 32 days.  Today we analyze the Denver Broncos:

Denver needed to come out of this draft with defensive talent to make the transition to the 4-3 base defense.  The most obvious need for Denver was to address the defensive tackle spot as they were horrid against the run in 2010.  Aside from DT, they needed to add secondary help, offensive line, and a formidable tight end.

Denver, for months, were a lock to select Marcell Dareus, the big DT from Alabama.  Well that lock became unlocked when days before the draft speculation grew that John Elway and Co. were seriously considering Von Miller.  Then on Thursday night they announced Von Miller as the 2nd overall pick.  Von Miller is a talented player and definitely deserving of the 2nd overall pick but WOW.  Denver has a gaping hole at DT and Marcell Dareus could go a long way to filling that need.  Denver’s affinity for Miller may have gotten in their way of making the smart pick.

Overall, Denver did a good job of filling needs and adding defensive talent.  Their failure to address the DT position may come back to haunt them if they aren’t able to get help in free agency.

1.  Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

Von Miller is one of my favorite players in the draft and I think he could be a star in the league.  However, Denver needed to address their run defense high in this draft and they failed to do so with this pick or any of the subsequent picks.

45.  Rahim Moore, S, UCLA

Denver needed help at the FS position and they wisely traded down and were still able to get their man in Moore.  Moore should make an immediate impact on their defense.

46.  Orlando Franklin, T/G, Miami

Denver addressed need with Franklin but I am not a big fan of his game.  I question whether he will be able to play tackle in the NFL and he has some injury concerns.

67.  Nate Irving, ILB, N.C. State

Most everyone thought Irving was a reach at 67 but anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I am a huge fan of Irving.  He could wind up being the best value of the draft for the Broncos and a key piece of their rebuilding defensive effort.

108.  Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma

Yes, the Broncos need this much safety help.  My only question is they probably could have got help at DT at this point.  Probably not a starter but someone that could provide depth at the position.

129.  Julius Thomas, TE, Portland St.

Thomas is a pick for the future and they will keep him in their back pocket.  Thomas is loaded with upside and I really like him at pick 129.

189.  Mike Mohamed, ILB, California

Mohamed could provide quality depth at the LB position and play special teams.

204.  Virgil Green, TE, Nevada

I don’t know if Denver had intentions of selecting two TE’s but with Green on the board at 204, they couldn’t pass.  I like Green more than some others and think he was a great value at 204.

247.  Jeremy Beal, DE, Oklahoma

I can’t say I’m surprised Beal fell this far but the Broncos reap the rewards of his slide after an abysmal showing at the Senior Bowl, Combine, and frankly 2010 season.  Beal was once considered a second round pick, so he is still a good value at the end of round 7.

As a whole Denver got good value with most of their picks.  My only criticism of their draft (and it’s a big one) is why no DT?  I think they got 3 starters out of this draft and quality reserves in Franklin, Beal, and Carter.  They added talent at TE in Thomas and Green and special teams help with Mohamed.  Overall, good value just wish they would have gone DT.

BEST VALUE:  Virgil Green

POTENTIAL SLEEPER:  Nate Irving

IMMEDIATE STARTER:  Rahim Moore (Von Miller is too obvious)

UFL Draft Sadly Capturing Viewers

Posted by Brad On May - 2 - 20111 COMMENT

On many levels and during normal circumstances I would care less about the UFL Draft which takes place tonight at 8:00 p.m.  My reasons for following this years’ UFL Draft are two-fold:

1.  The head coaches of each team will be announcing selections via Twitterverse.  Oh by the way, the likes of the UFL head coaches include Jerry Glanville (@JerryGlanville), Dennis “They are who we thought they were” Green(@UFLDennisGreen), Marty Schottenheimer (@DestroyersMarty), and Jim Fassel (@LocosJimFassel) to name a few.

2.  It will be interesting to see who is selected because of the NFL work stoppage.  If you were an NFL undrafted free agent would you go with the UFL given the NFL’s issues?  Probably not, but it will be fun to see.

I guess in the absence of the NFL, fans will be drawn to anything semi-football related.  I know I will be following tonight.

Mark Herzlich Nation

Posted by Brad On May - 2 - 20111 COMMENT

“I guess people are saying I can’t play football anymore” “Well I have heard that before and look what happened.”

The NFL Draft has officially concluded and normally the rush to sign the top undrafted free agents would begin.  This year it’s a little different.  This year we won’t have that rush for our teams to sign the guys we thought should have been drafted.  This year we will wait for the work stoppage to end until these guys get their chance.

One of those guys is not your average undrafted rookie free agent looking to be the next James Harrison.  He is Mark Herzlich.  I can count the number of NFL players that have impacted my life as a human being on one hand (actually two fingers) and this guy is one of them.  I am the unofficial president of the Mark Herzlich fan club.    

Mark’s illness and recovery have been well documented.  If you are a Boston College fan or avid college football fan you have become aware of Ewing’s Sarcoma because of Mark Herzlich.  There was a point in Herzlich’s college career that many thought he would be a top 20 pick whenever he decided to come out.  After chemotherapy treatment and the insertion of a rod to reinforce the cancerous bone in his leg, Herzlich draft status was the least of the concerns.  He began the fight for his life and of his life.

In a day and age when off the field issues, character issues, and maturity issues lead the conversation about top prospects we have a true story worth writing (if not worth drafting).  Herzlich was given a 70% chance to live and 0% chance of playing football ever again when he was diagnosed in 2009.  Unbelievably, Herzlich not only played but started all 13 games in 2010.  It is a given that he didn’t play to his 2008 standard that earned him All ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors.  However, he was able to conjure up 65 tackles and 4 INT’s in 2010. 

This seems like a guy you would want on your NFL team.  Right?  Well all 32 teams passed on this guy for the likes of an acquitted murderer, numerous guys with multiple failed drug tests, and many entertainers and icons.  I have no doubts that Herzlich has lost a step from his top form of 2008 but how does this MAN go undrafted.  Not even Mr. Irrelevant would open his arms to have Mark Herzlich join the ranks of relevancy. 

To all NFL GM’s:  Mark Herzlich beat cancer and came back to play (albeit not at a level you are accustomed to from a draftable player) in a little over a year.  Doctors gave him 0% chance of playing football.  You can continue to listen to your team doctors, scouts, and anyone else filtering information but this guy deserves to be drafted.  Not for the story but the will and determination.  This is a guy you want in a locker room, this guy is capable of leading a defense, and this guy will make your NFL team.

I am leading the charge for Mark Herzlich to join my football team of choice (Browns, everyone knows it already) and imploring my front office to sign this guy.