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2012 Offseason Primer: Top 50 NFL Free Agents

Posted by Brad On February - 11 - 20122 COMMENTS
"2012 NFL Free Agent, Mario Williams"

A $22 million franchise tag price, could mean Super Mario hits the open market

The 2011 offseason was marred by the NFL lockout which stripped football fans of a proper NFL free agency period. The 2012 offseason offers a ray of hope with the class of free agents stocked with big name talent.

A lot of these guys will never see the light of free agency day but its good conversation piece. In our first edition of the Offseason Primer series we released 2012 cap projections. This edition should give the fan a pretty good idea of who they want their team to spend that money on. For over half the teams in the NFL this list is irrelevant with the money or philosophy to spend big in free agency. We aren’t likely to see another Eagles-esque spending spree but there are some names that could make dollars fly out of wallets.

Here’s a look at our top 50 NFL free agents:

1. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: Keep dreaming. Brees is a lock to be re-signed or franchised by the Saints. New Orleans will look to make him a Saint for life.

2. Mario Williams, DE, Houston Texans: It’s going to cost the Texans $22 million to franchise Williams. Probably not going to happen, so he’s the prize of free agency. Williams is 27 and one of the premier pass rushers when healthy. He’s coming off a season ending knee injury but will have his choice of suitors.

3. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears: Forte was playing the best football of his young career before a season ending injury. One could make an argument that Forte is the most complete back in the NFL. I can’t see the Bears letting Forte walk, but stranger things have happened.

4. Carl Nicks, G, New Orleans Saints: Nicks is arguably the best guard in the NFL and he will be 27 next season. A big payday will be coming for Nicks and the Saints may not be able to afford him with Brees and Colston looming.

5. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens: The 25-year old will most likely be franchised by Baltimore but there’s a slim possibility that they let him walk. Real slim, like not happening slim.

6. Calais Campbell, DE, Arizona Cardinals: A see about a .0001% chance of the Cards letting Campbell test the market. He’s young with a ton of upside. No chance.

7. Cliff Avril, DE, Detroit Lions: Coming off an 11 sack 2011 season, Avril will receive a big payday in Detroit or elsewhere. Detroit is tight on the cap and will have to work at restructuring some contracts to fit Avril in.

8. Brandon Carr, CB, Kansas City Chiefs: 26-year old corner that is bordering on top corner status, will get top corner pay. Read the rest of this entry » «2012 Offseason Primer: Top 50 NFL Free Agents»

Philip Blake Scouting Report

Posted by Brad On February - 10 - 2012ADD COMMENTS
"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Philip Blake"Philip Blake


Ht. 6-3 Wt. 320

Pass Blocking:  Philip Blake does an excellent job of playing low with a solid base in pass protection.  He keeps his pads low and wins leverage battles.  He’s quick to re-set when he’s beat initially.  He possesses a ton of power and once his hands are engaged he’s tough to break free from.  He lacks the athleticism to mirror quicker DT’s.  He needs to become more efficient with his hands as he has a tendency to get lazy with them allowing defenders into his body.

Run Blocking:  Blake’s a big body center with a solid base.  He sits in his stance well and stays sticky through contact.  He has surprising short area quickness for a guy this size.  Ideal fit in a power running scheme.  He’s not a great move blocker and struggles breaking down in the second level.  He gets a little high into contact with a tendency to fall off blocks. Read the rest of this entry » «Philip Blake Scouting Report»

Peter Konz Scouting Report

Posted by Brad On February - 10 - 2012ADD COMMENTS
"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Peter Konz"Peter Konz


Ht. 6-5 Wt. 315

Pass Blocking:  Peter Konz is tall for a center at 6’5” but is a natural knee bender.  He keeps his low base through contact.  I was most impressed by the amount of line calls and his general awareness of pass protection.  Above-average athlete with exceptional foot quickness.  Mirrors defenders well.  He can quickly re-set after an initial surge.  Has a powerful lower half that allows for a strong anchor.  He does get overextended through contact, losing leverage.  Would like to see a little more aggressive initial punch.  He is susceptible to allowing defenders under his pads because of his height despite his low base.

Run Blocking:  Konz is a plus run blocker.  He along with a fantastic OL at Wisconsin paved the way for Montee Ball’s record breaking season.  He’s a heavy handed athlete that is sticky through contact.  Great angle blocker.  He’s a quick twitch athlete for his size that has exceptional short area quickness.  He’s got a nasty demeanor that is seen when he’s finishing blocks to the whistle.  He is a little slow off the snap which can result in him being pushed into the backfield.  He needs to breakdown in the open field as he has a tendency to lunge into contact. Read the rest of this entry » «Peter Konz Scouting Report»

BSN Collegiate Showcase

Posted by Brad On February - 10 - 20122 COMMENTS

"BSN Collegiate Showcase"The NFL Scouting Combine has become the premier event for athletes looking to further their NFL dreams.  This week the NFL released its official list of attendees.  As always, it sparked a flurry of internet responses on who got snubbed.  The fact remains that non-invitees to the NFL Combine still have a chance to get drafted.

The stories of players not getting invites to the Combine and going on to NFL success are well documented.  Guys like Wes Welker and Osi Umenyiora didn’t get the all important invite and managed to turn themselves into perennial Pro Bowlers.

For FCS, Division II, and Division III players the Combine invite is a badge of honor.  They were found and the selection committee recognized them as deserving participants with the “big school” guys.  Each and every year, “small school” players slip through the cracks.  No Combine invite, no place for a Pro Day workout, and inevitably sliding into the abyss of undrafted free agents.

It appears that one organization may be looking to change the fortunes of these less publicized players.

Over the course of several weeks, I have had the privilege of working with Jimmy Kibble.  Kibble is the CEO of the Beyond Sports Network (BSN).  BSN is an online tool for coaches and scouts to utilize for scouting talent that may otherwise go unnoticed.

This year, BSN has decided to step up to the plate in offering “small school” prospects an opportunity to showcase their talents in an NFL Scouting Combine format.  The BSN Collegiate Showcase will offer an NFL Combine-like experience for players from the FCS, Division II, Division III, and NAIA level.  The three day event will take place at the University of Akron Stile Athletic Field House from March 9th- March 11th, 2012.  Scouts from the NFL, CFL, UFL, AFL, and Professional Indoor football will be in attendance to evaluate the skill sets of these players.  The weekend events will include a testing combine, position drills, 7-on-7 drills, and two fully padded games refereed by Big Ten officials.

For more information on the BSN Collegiate Showcase visit:

To access the roster for the 2012 BSN Showcase visit:

Rishaw Johnson Scouting Report

Posted by Brad On February - 9 - 2012ADD COMMENTS
"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Rishaw Johnson"Rishaw Johnson

California (PA)

Ht. 6-4 Wt. 308

Pass Blocking:  Rishaw Johnson has some natural strength with a strong punch and heavy, sticky hands through contact.  He’s a definite work in progress in pass protection.  He isn’t a natural sitting in his stance and pops upright on contact.  His feet go dead too often on contact and has a tendency to end up in the QB’s lap.  He’s a got a strong lower body but it doesn’t show on film.  Needs a ton of work from the technique standpoint in pass protection. Read the rest of this entry » «Rishaw Johnson Scouting Report»

Tony Bergstrom Scouting Report

Posted by Brad On February - 9 - 20125 COMMENTS
"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Tony Bergstrom"Tony Bergstrom


Ht. 6-5 Wt. 315

Pass Blocking:  Tony Bergstrom was impressive from a technical standpoint in the pass game.  His hand placement is solid and has heavy hands.  He creates some pop on the initial punch and wins a lot of matchups with his hands.  He has good size and can anchor on contact.  He’s was quick to re-set once he was blown back.  Doesn’t have enough athleticism to play tackle in the NFL.  He struggles to get to the edge to keep up with NFL speed rushers which should push him inside.  His height could be a problem as he has a tendency to get upright into contact.  His feet get too wide and overextends too often.  He’s a bit of waist bender. Read the rest of this entry » «Tony Bergstrom Scouting Report»

Lucas Nix Scouting Report

Posted by Brad On February - 9 - 2012ADD COMMENTS
"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Lucas Nix"Lucas Nix


Ht. 6-6 Wt. 310

Pass Blocking:  Lucas Nix split his time at Pitt between guard and tackle.  He doesn’t possess the range to play tackle in the NFL.  He is good in tight spaces with solid lateral agility for his size.  He mirrors defenders well but needs to initiate contact rather than being a catcher.  He re-sets well after being blown back and is gritty enough to keep the QB clean.  Excellent knee bend and may be one of the top athletes at the guard position.  He has a tendency to overextend into contact and needs to play more balanced.  He’s not as sticky through contact as you would like. Read the rest of this entry » «Lucas Nix Scouting Report»

2012 NFL Draft: 7 Round Draft Order

Posted by Brad On February - 9 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

The requests have poured in so here’s your complete 7 round 2012 NFL Draft order:

Round 1

  1. Indianapolis Colts
  2. St. Louis Rams
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. Cleveland Browns
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  6. Washington Redskins
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars
  8. Miami Dolphins**
  9. Carolina Panthers**
  10. Buffalo Bills
  11. Kansas City Chiefs**
  12. Seattle Seahawks**
  13. Arizona Cardinals
  14. Dallas Cowboys
  15. Philadelphia Eagles
  16. New York Jets
  17. Cincinnati Bengals – from Oakland
  18. San Diego Chargers
  19. Chicago Bears
  20. Tennessee Titans
  21. Cincinnati Bengals
  22. Cleveland Browns – from Atlanta
  23. Detroit Lions
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers
  25. Denver Broncos
  26. Houston Texans
  27. New England Patriots – from New Orleans
  28. Green Bay Packers
  29. Baltimore Ravens
  30. San Francisco 49ers
  31. New England Patriots
  32. New York Giants
**Position determined by coin flip

Atlanta -> Cleveland: Julio Jones

New Orleans -> New England: Mark Ingram

Oakland -> Cincinnati: Carson Palmer  Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Draft: 7 Round Draft Order»

Kevin Zeitler Scouting Report

Posted by Brad On February - 8 - 2012ADD COMMENTS
"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Kevin Zeitler"Kevin Zeitler


Ht. 6-4 Wt. 315

Pass Blocking:  Kevin Zeitler has some natural strength that allows for a solid base and anchor strength.  Excels with his hands on defenders and is clearly more comfortable while engaged.  He is seasoned and keeps his head on a swivel, recognizing blitzes quickly.  Zeitler is a bit slow off the snap and allows defenders into his body before he is prepared.  He’s a limited athlete that doesn’t have a ton of lateral agility so he struggles to mirror defenders. Read the rest of this entry » «Kevin Zeitler Scouting Report»

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Post Super Bowl Edition

Posted by Brad On February - 8 - 201212 COMMENTS

**This version will not include any trades.  The trades took the focus off the actual picks and at this point it’s tough to accurately predict anything without free agency.  I have enacted a no trade clause until after the free agency period.  I will still make my picks based on my actual thoughts of where players end up in April.  Enjoy and offer solid feedback on your team’s pick.

Indianapolis Colts : Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Scouting Report

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  After a 2-14 season, the Colts have needs all over the field.  The first pick is a virtual lock, so I won’t bother addressing the QB position.  Their top needs look to be in the defensive backfield at CB and the SS position.  With Jerraud Powers and Antoine Bethea the only core players amongst the DB’s it will be imperative that the Colts find some help in this area.  With Jeff Saturday exploring retirement the center position could become a major need area especially if they have a rookie QB under center (even if it is Andrew Luck).  The Colts will have to "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Andrew Luck"monitor free agency very carefully as they have a ton of expiring contracts.  With both Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon as potential free agents, they could be looking for WR help somewhere along the way.  Look for the Colts to address the guard spot at some point and it may be early if someone falls to them.  The Indy coaching staff is taking shape with former Baltimore DC Chuck Pagano assuming HC duties and Bruce Arians taking over as OC.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Peyton is done in Indy and looks to be heading elsewhere.  It’s tough to type.  The pill will be much easier to swallow for Colts fans knowing that they will be blessed with another once in a generation QB.

St. Louis Rams:  Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Scouting Report

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Rams were a flat out mess this season.  They couldn’t do much of anything right and towards the end of the season looked like the worst team in the NFL.  Their offensive line was  a major disappointment this season and in particular former first round pick Jason Smith at LT.  The Rams could be investing the No. 2 pick in "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Matt Kalil"another LT just three seasons removed from Smith’s selection.  He was that bad.  If Brandon Lloyd leaves town via free agency, the cupboard is bare again at WR.  They invested some mid-round picks into average receivers in 2011 but need a true No. 1.  Aside from that they will look to improve a horrific defense.  Jeff Fisher will inherit a team that can’t stop the run and needs help at DT, OLB, FS, and CB…to name a few.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  St. Louis’ offensive line was atrocious in 2011 and Jeff Fisher made it clear that they will protect their franchise QB this season.  With the addition of Kalil, the Rams can move Roger Saffold to RT and Jason Smith inside or to the bench.  The Rams No. 2 spot will be a hotbed for trade action.

Read the rest of this entry » «2012 NFL Mock Draft: Post Super Bowl Edition»

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