Tag Archives: Detroit Lions

Losing Not an Option

Tonight is a big night Chicago Bears fans.  The “undefeated” Lions host the 2-2 Chicago Bears in what shapes up to be the Bears biggest game of the season.

Win and the Bears are right back in the thick of things in the NFC Central Division.  Lose the the Chicago Bears are 3 games behind 2 teams in the division.  Losing simply isn’t an option for a coaching staff that seems to be on the hot seat almost every single season.

A loss put the Bears in a huge hole.  It is incredibly difficult to make up 2 games let alone 3.  A 3 game hole, even this early in the season, is almost impossible to recover from.  Making matters worse, after tonight the Bears already have a game against both Detroit and Green Bay in the books.  3 games in the hole with only 2 games left against the teams above you certainly puts the odds against the Bears making the post-season.

There has to be a sense of urgency to everything the Bears do tonight.  The defense must improve.  The D-Line needs to put consistent pressure on Lions QB Matt Stafford or he will throw for over 300 yards and several TDs.  They need to control the clock and move the ball methodically down the field.  Forte and Marion Barber need to combine for at least 150 yards on the ground to win.  Winning through the air isn’t going to happen for the Bears.  To win the O-Line needs to keep Cutler upright.  The game plan is simple.  They need to throw quick slants, outs and screens along with the power running game.  They also need to limit turnovers.  If they can do all of these things, they control the clock.  They control the clock they control the game.

If they get into a game plan where Cutler throws 40 times and gets picked 2 or 3 times than we know where this game is headed.  The O-Line isn’t good enough to hold off the Lions rush for the 4 or 5 seconds Cutler will need to get the vertical game going.

So, for the first time EVER, the Bears v. Lions actually means something.  The Lions are young and hungry.  The Bears talented but getting old.  It should be interesting to see where this goes but Bears fans know, losing is NOT an option tonight.

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NFL Draft Wrap Up – NFC Central

1 – Chicago Bears (C+)

The Bears did not have many or early picks but did pretty well considering.  Taking S Major Wright with their first pick was pretty solid.  He lacks top end speed but has the intelligence and physicality to compete for playing time right away.  Taking DE Corey Wooten and QB Dan LeFevour in the next two rounds was solid.  Corey, if healthy, should be in the DE rotation this coming season.  Dan will be deep on the bench now but could compete for a starting job in 3 to 4 years.

2 – Minnesota Vikings (C+)

I thought first pick CB Chris Cook was a bit of a reach where they picked him but he should fit nicely into their system.  RB Toby Gerhart is a great kid and athlete but I’m not sure he replaces the production of a Chester Taylor.  DE Everson Griffen was a great steal in the 4th Round.  He might have some off the field issues but well worth the risk where he was picked.  He should become a very serviceable back up on the Vikings.  One other interesting pick was QB Joe Webb from UAB.  He might actually fit their system better than any other back up QB on the roster.  Rumor has it he is going to become a WR project.

3 – Detroit Lions (A)

First off they get the best DT in the country in Suh.  He should contribute right away.  The next pick was on Cal RB Jahvid Best.  Injury issues could plague his career but if healthy could become a very good double-threat RB.  The next pick was on CB Amari Spivey.  He is a quick ball hawk who should be able to help out in the nickel immediately.  The other pick I liked a lot was OT Jason Fox.  He might not contribute immediately but he should make the roster and develop into a solid RT.

4 – Green Bay Packers (C)

OT Brian Bulaga was a very solid first pick.  Green Bay has a couple of entrenched vets at that position but Brian should provide much needed depth.  The Pack got another nice player in DT Mike Neal.  I don’t think much of him as a Nose-Tackle in their scheme but he could provide depth at DE.  The only pick of theirs to garner any starting time should be SS Morgan Burnett.  He is a speedy, ball hawk who should kick Bigby to the bench.  TE Andrew Quarless was a decent pick in the 5th Round but why?  They needed CBs and LBs and they picked another TE.  Hmmmm?

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Tick…Tick…Vick

The dog abuser is out of prison and looking for work.  I am pretty sure PETA, animal shelters and pet stores will pass on his resume. 

Ring…ring…ring!  Why won’t Arthur Blank pick up his phone?  “Hi, you’ve reached Arthur Blank.  I am not home right now.  I am on a fishing trip with Matt Ryan,  the best young QB to come along since Peyton Manning.  Leave a message, unless you’re Michael Vick. Beeeeep.”  

Where or where will our little Vick go?  Oh where or where will he go?

Many of us don’t care about this question.  Really!  Bears fans don’t care.  Eagles fans don’t care.  I guarantee the Patriots, Falcons and Steelers don’t care.  Teams are set and ready to roll in 2009.  Well, almost all of the teams.  Could their be a team or teams that might be interested in a rusty, out-of-prison Vick?

1 Oakland – The Raiders are the ex-cons of the NFL.  The fans throw rocks and batteries.  Most will identify with Vick’s situation and a good portion of the fan base have probably seen time behind bars.  Garcia is washed up and it appears Russell may be a bust.  It can’t hurt and there will be almost no PR mess.

2 Minnesota – Going, going, gone!  Favre has left the dome!  Hell, he never entered it.  Now a Minnesota team built for a playoff run has to do it with two career back up QBs in Rosenfels and Jackson.  Vick would make the perfect insurance policy.  Even if he misses the first four games due to suspension he can come in and play more than half the season.  Can you imagine an offense of Vick, Percy Harvin and A.P.?  Scary

3 Tennessee – This might be a long shot but this is another team built for a playoff run.  The defense is solid and the running game is excellent.  They even improved the receiver position.  The only question mark is at QB.  Collins is serviceable.  He is OK but I don’t see him winning a big game on his arms or with his legs.  Vick could be the perfect back up if Collins gets hurt or a change of pace in games where he struggles.  Could work.

4 Detroit – I know they have Culpepper and rookie Stafford but Detoit is going nowhere.  Culpepper wouldn’t be in the NFL if it wasn’t for Detroit.  If the Lions want a real option they will look at Vick.  Even a Vick out of the NFL for 2 years is better than Culpepper now.  If teams pass on Vick and he is sitting around for a while they should take a look.  He will at least run around a la Barry Sanders and make their games fun to watch.

5 Arizona – I am not sure this will happen but the marriage might work.  Warner is the man, no doubt, but he is 39.  One crushing hit from a linebacker and it is back to the Leinhart show and we know how inconsistent that show is.  It would be nice to have Vick there for the insurance.  Than if Warner goes down and Leinhart sucks he could step in and keep them competitive.  He might also be a nice option if they choose to employ the Wildcat this season.

When the smoke clears it will be Oakland or Minnesota.

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Fox Sports Adrian Hasenmayer is High

While scanning the Chicago Bears Web site in anticipation of the upcoming summer camp I stumbled across Larry Mayer’s Chalk Talk.  It is basically a Q&A section where fans can shoot questions to Bears expert Larry Mayer.  Some of the questions are pretty softball and some are just silly but the first one in his list of questions caught my eye immediately.  Fox Sports ranks the Bears 20th in pre-season poll.  WTF!  I had to check this out.

Writer Adrian Hasenmayer ranked the Chicago Bears 20th in the league after a 9-7 season and one of the best off-seasons in recent memory.  Even a novice football fan can realize an average football team with an amazing off-season usually translates into more wins, not less. 

He ranked Atlanta #4.  Atlanta who will have a great offense and absolutely no defense.  The Cardinals are #5 and while I think they are probably good enough to be in the top 10 they did lose some personnel and have a 39 year old QB.  The Colts at #10 is pretty laughable considering they lost more depth in the off-season and head football coach Tony Dungy.  Not too mention P.Manning isn’t happy and that usually isn’t a good thing. 

The 6-10 Packers are ranked #14.  Now while I thought their off-season was OK they really don’t impress me at all.  They have a new defensive coordinator and a whole new scheme.  There will be growing pains. 

The Bills are #15 and Saints are #16 and while that probably is pretty accurate their is no way those two teams are better than the Chicago Bears.

Now I don’t expect the Bears would be in the Top 5 but somewhere between 6-10 would be appropriate.  I mean they did acquire a Pro-Bowl QB in Jay Cutler and improve the offensive line.  They also signed several players to add depth to a defense that suffered injuries last season.  If they had acquired a top WR I probably would have put them in the Top 5.  They still have time to do that.  Overall they are a very good team with a very weak schedule.  11 to 12 wins is a very realistic goal for them. 

Here is BPD’s more REALISTIC Power Ranking.

1 – NEW ENGLAND – The Brady Moss show is back and action and their defense is loaded.

2 – PITTSBURGH – The Steelers didn’t get any better in the off-season but they didn’t get any worse.  They had O-Line depth issues and addressed it in the off-season.

3 – TENNESSEE – The receiving corps was weak so they drafted Kenny Britt and signed free agent Nate Washington.  They lost DT Haynesworth and drafted Sen’Derrick Marks and signed Jovan Haye.  Solid team all around.

4 – PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles look tough with a stud WR corps in place.  The defense looks like one of the best in the league and Donovan McNabb is happy.  This team should do very well.

5 – NEW YORK (NFC) – The Giants have a very talented and very deep offense.  The offense had struggles last season but they have the talent and leadership to re-group.  They also had a great draft to add depth to the offense.  They will contend.

6 – MIAMI – Fox Sports picks them #19 and that is crazy.  This team won 11 games last season and added weapon Pat White to the Wildcat Offense.  They improved the offensive line and defensive backfield.  Wildcard team.

7 – CHICAGO – Fox Sports again drops the ball with a #20 ranking.  The Bears added a pro-bowl QB and left tackle.  They also added depth on the O-Line, D-Line, linebacking corp and defensive backfield.  The only weakness may be the WR’s inexperience.  They should win 11 to 12 and their division.

8 – ATLANTA – I love the Falcons offense.  It should be one of the most entertaining in the NFL.  They did take some hits to the defense in the off-season and haven’t adequately replaced their losses. 

9 – CAROLINA – The Panthers had a nice off-season and should run neck and neck with Atlanta all year.  They should have a dominate run game again and with Peppers back in for another year one of the better pass rushes in the game.

10 – ARIZONA – The Cardinals are a good team but they had some issues in the off-season.  Boldin still isn’t happy and they lost their offensive coordinator.  They also have a 39 year old QB.  His health is the difference between 10-6 or 6-10.

11 – BALTIMORE – Harbaugh has his work cut out for him after the loss of Bart Scott and his defensive coordinator.  They do have enough depth on the defensive side of the ball to remain one of the better groups in the league.  Flacco is for real but does he have enough weapons?

12 – MINNESOTA – This is really a Favre question isn’t it.  A healthy Favre plays and they probably win 10 to 11 games and push Chicago for the Division title.  He dosn’t play and they go with the Jackson and Rosenfels than they are probably a 9 win group pushing for that final Wildcard spot.

13 – SAN DIEGO – The Chargers could be a little better #13 depending on their health but they play in a weak division.  They should  win 9 games easily and that should be good enough to get into the playoffs.

14 – DALLAS – The Cowboys have removed their cancerous growths and this could be good for them.  They do seem to lack depth at some key positions and happen to play in the best division in the NFL.  They may not be able to break .500.  Can you say Shanahan in 2010?

15 – NEW YORK (AFC) – The Jets are going to be fun to watch under new coach Rex Ryan.  They will have to endure the rookie QB growing pains most teams go through but I look for them to start slow and pick up steam at the end of the season.  Wildcard longshot.

16 – WASHINGTON – In any other division Washington would be 2nd best and have a shot at the Wildcard.  In the NFC East they are a .500 record doormat.  If they stick with Zorn I do like their future. 

17 – INDIANAPOLIS – Peyton Manning can’t do it all and this should be a challenging season for him.  He will still put up decent numbers with Wayne and Clark but the rest of the team is very average looking.

18 – SAN FRANSISCO – The 49ers are improving under Mike Singletary.  They have an arsenal of WRs for Shaun Hill to throw too.  Gore’s health is very important to the success of this team.  7 or 8 wins should be the max but if Arizona falters an 8 win division title is possible.

19 – HOUSTON  – I really wanted to put this team higher but QB Matt Schaub has not proven he can stay healthy.  If he misses time again the next QB is Rex Grossman and I think that says it all.  Their defense is good but proved to be inconsistent last year.  Will that continue? 

20 – GREEN BAY – Now this is the team that belongs #20, not the Bears.  Aaron Rodgers is a good QB but not great.  He doesn’t have a strong running game behind him despite his arsenal of receivers.  The defense is a work in project.  While they’ll improve later in the season the first 5 or 6 games could be rough.

21 – JACKSONVILLE – I look for Garrard to bounce back and have a better season.  RB Mo Jones Drew is the main guy now and should be a top back in the AFC.  They also improved their WR situation purging off the field headache Matt Jones and adding Tory Holt and Troy Williamson.  Defensively they should continue to struggle against the pass.

22 – NEW ORLEANS – I was destroyed by some Saint faithful last year for suggesting they were a .500 team with no defense or running game.  Ooops, I was right.  However they are probably in the same boat again this season.  Thomas and Bush will be carrying the running load and I am not sure that’s good enough.  The defense, while better, is still weak against the pass.  Look for Brees to throw…a lot.

23 – TAMPA BAY – New coach, similar philosophy and a team full of 2nd string QBs.  It doesn’t sound good to me either.  The defense should be adequate but the offense doesn’t look good to me at all.  Atlanta, Carolina and New Orleans are much better than they are.  Long season for Tampa. 

24 – DENVER – The Broncos ownership thought they were stepping in the right direction when all they did was step in a big, smelly pile of McDaniel.  Cutler is gone and Orton is in.  Their stud WR and TE both want out.  The defense was terrible last season and won’t be much better this year.  They get to 6 wins only because Oakland and Kansas City are worse than they are.

25 – BUFFALO – I look for Buffalo to take a tumber for three reasons.  The first is that is what happened to the Dick Jauron Bears.  The second is they are not better than New England, NY or Miami.  The third is Terrell Owens is going to end up being a pain in the ass and cause problems with their young QB.

26 – KANSAS CITY – They aren’t a good team but I like their upside.  I like their coach and draft too.  I am not sure about paying Cassell all that money though.   That was a huge risk and I am a fan of Thigpen.  But Cassell will probably do well long term.

27 – CINCINNATI – Ocho Cinco says playoffs for Cincy but I don’t see it.  The defense doesn’t look very good and the RB situation is kind of a mess.  On the upside Carson Palmer is healthy behind a better line.  The downside is he is missing T.J.  They’ll struggle. 

28 – CLEVELAND – Mangenius should be able to restore the pride to the ‘Dog Pound’ but not this season.  This team looks like a mis-matched quilt pattern.  Eventually the pieces will come together although that future may not include Quinn or Anderson.

29 – SEATTLE – Mora is the new coach and simply doesn’t have his guys yet.  There are a lot of old timers left from the previous coach.  The addition of TJ Houshmanzadeh was a key building block.  The running game probably won’t be too great and the defense looks to be inconsistent.

30 – OAKLAND – I don’t get it.  It has been years since Oakland was good.  Not even great, I am talking good.  The ownership has destroyed the team, they lack effective leadership and passing up on Crabtree for Bey was idiotic.  They will struggle and win only 3 or 4 games again.

31 – ST. LOUIS – The owner wants the team back in L.A.  The coach is competitive and wants to  win now.  I am not sure how long this marriage will last.  Bulger is old and his best days are behind him.  Although they are rebuilding this team on the lines they have quite a ways to go.

32 – DETROIT – They suck.  They should break the winless drought and maybe win twice.  They had a nice draft but they are terrible at every position.  The ‘Restore the Roar’ project is a 5 year project at least.

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NFL DRAFT REVIEW – NFC

NORTH
Chicago – This draft was about Jay Cutler. For that alone they can’t earn a low grade. DT Gilbert will probably rotate in on passing downs and WR Iglesias will be the Bears primary slot receiver. CB D.J. Moore means Vasher will probably get traded before the season starts. Little known WR Johnny Knox has a shot to make the team based on his 4.3 speed alone. What could turn out to be the best pick of all was Ohio State OLB Marcus Freeman in Round 5. Weak-side backer Hillenmeyer has lost a step and Freeman will probably replace him as starter in 2010. S Al Afalava will compete for playing time but will be significant addition as a special teamer. Melton, Louis and Kinder will have a hard time making the team. FINAL GRADE B-

Green Bay – The Packers had a great draft. D-Coach Dom Capers is switching the Pack over to a 3-4 defensive scheme so they needed guys to fill significant roles with this change. NT B.J. Raji was the only true nose tackle in the whole draft. He is also and awesome player. They followed that with the selection of LB Clay Matthews. Both will help the defense improve against the run. They also added O-Line depth with the selection of Lang and Meredith. The sleeper was Cincy CB Brandon Underwood who will be the primary nickel/dime back in the defensive backfield. He will eventually become a starter in the NFL. FINAL GRADE B+

Minnesota – I think WR Percy Harvin is going to be fabulous opposite Bernard Berrian. He should have a long, solid career. OT Phil Loadholt from Oklahoma was the 2nd pick. I think you could have got him 10 to 15 picks down the line and acquired a few extra picks by moving down. He will anchor that right side of the offensive line for a long time. The rest of the picks were just OK. They only had 5 picks in total and did not address their need for defensive line or center help. FINAL GRADE C+

Detroit – The Lions had a great draft. Yep, I admit it. Stafford will be a very good QB in the NFL and TE Brandon Pettigrew will be one of the top TEs in football. Picking up Delmas in the late 2nd Round was a steal. He is one of the best safeties in the draft. Wisconsin OLB is a serviceable player who will probably start on this talent deprived team. WR Derrick Williams is one of the better slot receivers in the draft. DT Sammie Lee Hill could be a great pick too. He’s from a small school but he is huge and can dominate the interior line. 7th Round pick LB Zach Follett could be the Zach Thomas of this draft. He was under-appreciated. He isn’t a “combine” guy but you can’t deny his heart and production. He will be a special team in year one and could develop into a solid weak side linebacker. FINAL GRADE B+

SOUTH
Atlanta – DT Peria Jerry is a work horse. He won’t be a pro-bowl caliber DT but he is solid and should start immediately. S Will Moore is also someone who fits that bill. He struggles at times but he is a big hitter and an aggressive ball hawk. Richmond product
DE Lawrence Sidbury is a good pick in Round 4 but they needed an every down DE. Lawrence is a pass rushing DE and that’s about it. The Falcons draft two CBs, Owens and Middleton, but I am not super excited about either one. They will probably both stick but as reserves. The 7th Round pick of Vance Walker could turn out to be a pleasant surprise. Injuries slowed him down at all-star games and combine. When healthy he is a very solid interior lineman. They get 5th Round value in the 7th Round. FINAL GRADE C

Tampa Bay – Tampa had 4 QBs on the roster and now they have 5 with the drafting of Kansas State’s Josh Freeman. They moved up in the 1st Round to get him. I am not sure why? He is big with a strong arm but I’ve seen him play live and I wasn’t too impressed. He makes lots of mistakes and misses wide open receivers. To me Josh is a career back up. The second pick of DT Roy Miller wasn’t bad. I think he was picked a bit high but he is a physical run stuffer. He will enter the DT rotation immediately. The rest of the draft I wasn’t too impressed with. Kyle Moore is so-so and 5th Rounder Xavier Fulton projected a 7th Rounder / Free Agent. The bottom line is they needed a RB and OLBs and failed to get them. FINAL GRADE D

Carolina – Picking up 1st Round talent DE Everett Brown in Round 2 was a steal. He will eventually replace Peppers when they can find a taker for him. CB/S Sherrod Martin was also a good value in Round 2. DT Corey Irvin was also a good pick. He is a talented run plug in the middle. My favorite pick has to be RB Mike Goodson in Round 4. He is a very strong receiver and should compliment D. Williams in a two-headed ground attack. They also get FB Tony Fiametta with the following pick. Simply put, the best fullback in the draft. He should help big time in the short yardage game. In the 5th Round they get OT Duke Robinson. I had him as a 3rd Round talent. He should anchor the right side as the OT or G in Carolina for a long time. Finally, they get CB Captain Munnerlyn in the last round. He is a great value here. Munnerlyn should compete for the nickel backer slot on this team. He is also a special teams contributor. The Panthers did fail to land an impact WR and back up QB in the draft. FINAL GRADE B+

New Orleans – The Saints were terrible against the pass last year and they landed CB Malcolm Jenkins and S Chip Vaughn. I think very highly of both players. They should start immediately. However, a poor front 7 is also to blame for a bad passing defense. The only player they took in the front 7 was LB Stan Arnoux who is nothing more than a back up and special teamer. They needed a punter and got a pretty good punter. They also needed offensive line help and a compliment to Pierre and Bush. They failed in that respect. FINAL GRADE C+

EAST
Dallas – The Cowboys hit the jackpot. They leveraged picks and players into 12 picks in this year’s draft. I won’t mention all the picks but here are the most influential. LB Jason Williams from Western Illinois should start immediately and contribute on special teams. OT Robert Brewster is huge and should compete for a starting Guard position on the line. DEs Victor Butler and Brandon Williams should both make the team and contribute on special teams. 5th Rounders CB DeAngelo Smith and S Mike Hamlin were absolute steals. Smith should play SS and Hamlin FS in the revamped Cowboy defensive backfield. Finally, finding CB Mike Mickens in Round 7 is a steal too. Not sure why he slid so far. He led the nation in interceptions. He should be the teams 3rd or 4th corner and play some nickel too. The only thing the Cowboys failed to do was draft a WR with the capability of starting. FINAL GRADE B+

New York – Excellent draft by the Giants. The big need was WR and they land Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden. Nicks should start immediately and Barden, at 6’6”, will be a nice red zone target. LB Clint Sintim should be an immediate contributor on and already good defense. Finding OT William Beatty at the end of Round 2 was a steal. He provides immediate depth and insurance in case one of the starting tackles goes down. TE Travis Beckum is a solid player. He should contribute right away as the second option off of the line and a special teamer. RB Andre Brown replaces Derrick Ward. I consider this an upgrade. Andre is a very good player. QB Rhett Bomar could become a starter in this league but for now projects as Eli’s understudy. The Giants addressed all of their need areas. FINAL GRADE A

Philadelphia – I project that Donovan McNabb will finally be happy. Who thinks Jeremy Maclin falls to #19? Philly was smart enough to grab him and now have a tough Jackson-Maclin combo for McNabb to throw to. But that wasn’t all. They also got RB LeSean McCoy and TE Cornelius Ingram. McCoy projects to share time with Westbrook and Ingram looks to be the pass catching option at TE. Donovan’s offense is now vastly better. CB Macho Harris in Round 5 was a great value pick. He is very versatile and should contribute immediately. WR Brandon Gibson was also a good pick. He should be able to land a spot as the teams 4th or 5th receiver. The also took an OLB and some interior linemen. FINAL GRADE B+

Washington – A top 5 talent at pick #13. Outstanding! Brian Orakpo now teamed with Haynesworth, should be fun to watch. Unfortunately for the Skins the rest of the picks weren’t much to write home about. CB Barnes is serviceable but not an immediate contributor, Glenn is a special teamer and Henson also projects to be nothing more than a special teamer. TE Eddie Williams and WR Marko Mitchell are the only offensive players to be drafted and they don’t project to make the team. FINAL GRADE C-

WEST
Arizona – The Cards needed to address the running game and did with the selection of Beanie Wells. Wells will be a good back for that team but I think their were better backs still on the board at the time. They could have even traded down 4 to 6 spots and acquired more picks. DE Cody Brown will play linebacker for the Cards. He should start right away. He is quick and hits hard. S Rashad Johnson should also be an immediate contributor. He is a smart guy and knows how to play the position. CB Toler from St. Paul’s was a reach as was OL Herman “Big Baby” Johnson from LSU. If Herman can get his weight down to about 330 and stay there he could be a starter in this league. DE Will Davis from Illinois is serviceable and RB Howling from Pitt should be a special teams returner. FINAL GRADE C+

San Fransisco – Crabtree at #10 is awesome. He will struggle initially as the 49ers develop their young players but he will develop into one of the top WRs in the game. RB Coffee was a little stretch in Round 2 but he is a big bruiser who should be able to take some carries away from Gore and Robinson. LB Scott McKillop in Round 5 is a steal and if there is anyone who knows something about interior linebackers, that would be Mike Singletary. McKillop isn’t a combine kind of guy but he was very productive and got things done. He may back up initially but I think he eventually starts in this league. QB Nate Davis in Round 5 is another steal. His size knocked him down the board but he has 2nd/3rd Round talent. Hill and Huard are your 1 and 2 but I think Davis battles Smith for the last roster spot. They also get a ton of value with picks TE Bear Pascoe, FS Curtis Taylor and DT Ricky Jean-Francois. I look for all of these guys to make the team and contribute. FINAL GRADE B+

St. Louis – The Rams hit back-to-back shots with OT Jason Smith and MLB James Laurintais. I look for both of them to start right away. Smith should anchor that line for a long, long time and Laurintais is the real deal in the middle. CB Fletcher was a little bit of a stretch with the next pick but he could play nickel/dime corner. WR Brooks Foster is big and physical. I look for him to get a lot of playing time with the departure of Torry Holt. DT Dorrell Scott and QB Keith Null were kind of a surprise. Not because they were drafted but because their were better players at those positions still on the board. 7th Round RB Chris Ogbonnaya could be a pleasant surprise for Coach Spagnuolo. At 6’0, 220lb he is a punishing back. FINAL GRADE B

Seattle – Linebacker wasn’t the top need but when Aaron Curry is there for the taking you have to do it. He is a once in a decade kind of linebacker. They also hit a home run with the pick they got from the Bears. They got C Max Unger from Oregon. He is far and away the best center in the class. QB Mike Teel was a very interesting pick. Rutgers had a bit of a down year so he wasn’t considered amongst the top QBs. He is very good though and has a lot of potential. The 4 other picks were so-so. They could make the team as backup players. They could have also used a CB and failed to draft one. FINAL GRADE B

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Who’s Fishin’ For Cutler?

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The Jay Cutler v. Coach McDaniels saga is never ending and it is looking more and more like the Denver Broncos will have to part with their All-Pro quarterback.  This debacle is really a case of he said, she said.  Who initiated contact in the possible dealing of Cutler?  Did McDaniels pursue the New England back up as a replacement for the All-Pro QB?  Listening and initiating contact are very important details here and the Broncos organization isn’t the least bit interested in giving us those details.  All we know is Cutler has had enough and has forfeited his $100,000 for missing 10% of the off-season training activities.  He has also left his Tennessee home for parts unknown.

Despite his current mental state as a result if this fiasco, how many teams are going to cast their lines in hopes of landing a Cutler?  Which teams stand the best chance?

FAVORITES

Detroit Lions

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Not that Cutler wants to or deserves to go here but the Lions are shaping up to be the favorites in the race for Cutler.  The Lions have the #1 overall pick in the draft and that could be very appealing to the Broncos.  If they are starting over with a new system a highly intelligent, moldable QB like Matt Stafford would do the trick.  There would also be a strong possibility that Matt would be united with RB Knowshon Moreno with Denver’s second 1st Round pick.  Detoit would get a bonafide all-pro QB.  They would have to draft plenty of offensive linemen and wide receivers to keep this cocky QB happy.

Cleveland Browns

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The Cleveland Browns have a QB named Brady Quinn as bait for the embattled Cutler.  The also have the fifth overall pick in the 1st Round of the Draft.  Quinn has loads of potential but his development was cut short due to a freak injury.  Brady has the potential to be a fine NFL QB and some compared his college game to that of Tom Brady.  That is perfect for McDaniel who would be instituting the same type of offense.  With the #5 pick Denver would then look at someone like LB Curry or DE Orakpo.  They might also be tempted to take Crabtree.  Cleveland will be starting over regardless of the Cutler deal.  Building a strong offensive line  around Jay Cutler would be the priority.

POSSIBLE

NY Jets

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The NY Jets have a shot to get Cutler.  I don’t think it is as strong a shot as Detroit and Cleveland have but it is a shot.  They need to replace the void left by Favre and the talent behind Favre was thin to begin with.  What does NY have to give to get Cutler?  Not a whole lot but they may offer their #17 pick in the 1st Round along with another pick, maybe 3rd or 4th Round.  The picks alone are not enough so they may need to include someone like LB David Harris or LB Calvin Pace.  That could work because Denver is switching to the 3-4 and looking for veteran personnel to run it.  To replace Cutler Denver would probably take Sanchez or Freeman at #17.  If Denver chooses not to draft a QB early they could sign Grossman or Losman for a season or two while they develop Chris Simms. 

Tampa Bay Bucs

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OK, I know she isn’t the Bucs logo but I found her much more interesting.  Back on point, the Bucs have been dying for a QB.  They always seem to get a bust in the draft or a rusty, old veteran with not many miles left on the tires.  Bucs management made it known they would do what was necessary to land a stud QB.  Enter Jay Cutler.  Tampa isn’t a terrible team.  They just missed the playoffs.  Tampa might be willing to pull a Ricky Williams-New Orleans kind of trade just to get him.  Cutler guiding that offense would make them a strong contender in that division and in the conference.  Tampa would probably have to offer their 1st Round pick this year (#19), another pick in 2009 like the 3rd Round (#81) and a 1st Round pick next year.  Tampa may not want to get involved in swapping players because the systems don’t match the needs very well.  This is a slim shot but if Tampa puts a package of high round picks it could get done.

LONGSHOTS

Chicago Bears

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Sparkly GIF Bear says the chances are slim but with Jerry Angelo running the show you never know.  He constantly surprises the fans.  He will crap out in almost every 1st Round pick and then turn around and find a Briggs, Hester, Vasher or A.Brown in the middle rounds or even CB Corey Graham in the late rounds.  What I am getting at is Bears fans might not mind if management sacrificed 1st Round picks in 2009 and 2010 to get Jay Cutler because the Bears don’t have a high rate of success on 1st Rounders.  The Bears would probably have to send the Kyle Orton to cap off a deal like this but it is possible.  Kyle does have some similarities to Matt Cassell and Denver did almost everything they could to get him.  Put this down as a longshot but I don’t think I’d be surprised to see something go down on draft day.  

Philadelphia Eagles

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Any excuse to run more pictures of a cheerleader, especially one of Philly’s finest.  To my knowledge there isn’t much noise between Philly and Denver but hear me out on this one.  McNabb only has another 3 or 4 years left in the tank.  Philly’s current back up may be only that, a career back up.  Cutler would give Philly a legitmate star QB for the future.  What Philly has in return besides Donovan McNabb would be two 1st Round picks in this years draft (#21, #28).  With Denver rebuilding on the fly, this would give them picks 12, 21, 28 and 48.  This is almost like the deal the Cowboys worked out sending Hershel Walker to Minnesota for essentially 3 Superbowl titles.  Denver would be able to build a tremendously talented young defense by executing this deal.  I think both teams would benefit greatly from this deal.

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