Saturday, December 29, 2012

Time For Some NFL Draft!

A late christmas gift is in order, time for some NFL Draft talk! We've tagged five-players to watch out for in the coming months and five players who we hope fall to our favorite teams!

Let's Get After It . . .

Da'Rick Rogers, WR Tennessee Tech Why not start off with a gamble? That's what Da'Rick Rogers is. He's got a ton of talent and before getting dismissed from Knoxville, he'd already recorded at least one season of 1,000+ yards and over 60 receptions. Why was he not a member of the Tennessee Volunteer football team in 2012? Off-the-field issues, specifically a failed drug test.

So, Rogers has maturity issues, who doesn't? After transferring to Tennessee Tech, Rogers completed another quality season, just 110 yards shy of 1,000 and 10-touchdowns. Rogers is a super physical receiver who can go up and make plays at the balls highest point, but not only that, he puts straight fear into defensive backs with his ability to get seperation and make big plays. Rogers is the type of player who gets passed on in the early rounds based on scouts perception of him as a person, despite how terrific he can be. If teams such as Seattle, Miami, and Houston are looking for a wide receiver to instantly improve their passing game and stretch the field, Rogers might just be the guy they can get for cheap. We're all in with Da'Rick Rogers while the rest of the NFL might have their eyes focused on other wide receivers who didn't get booted off the Volunteer football team.

Teams Targeting; Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans

Barrett Jones, OL Alabama The Alabama offensive lineman is about as versatile as a 'big-ugly' can get. A four-year starter in Tuscaloosa, Jones has started in all three-positions on the offensive line. His first two as a guard, his third-season as an award-winning tackle (Outland Trophy - Nation's Top Tackle), and this past season as an award-winning center (Rimington Trophy - Nation's Top Center), what's next, quarterback? His
blocking ability and amazing head of hair isn't all we have to be impressed by, in 2012 Barrett Jones took home The Campbell Trophy as well, given to the college football player who bests displays excellence in not only football, but academics and community service, the first Crimson Tide player to ever receive this honor. Over his career, Jones has blocked for a Heisman Trophy winner in Mark Ingram, a Doak Walker winner in Trent Richardson, and been a major part in two National Championship teams. He has become a 'three-page' resume guy, and at the next level will most likely play center, a position in the NFL that requires intelligence first amongst other key attributes. Unlike some other top offensive lineman selected in recent years, Jones isn't brute strength and unfinished talent, he's a technician on the offensive line who has fantastic footwork and hands.

Teams Targeting; Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals

Johnthan Banks, DB Mississippi State Following in the footsteps of other dominating SEC defensive backs of recent years, Eric Berry, Patrick Peterson, and Morris Claiborne, Johnthan Banks became the fourth consecutive defensive back from the SEC to win the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nations best defensive back, and rightfully so. Throughout four seasons in Starkville, Banks has become the best cover corner in college football. He may not come with as much hype as Claiborne & Peterson but then again, that hype is reserved for the 'Bayou Bengals.

Don't let the Associated Press fool you, Alabama's DeMarcus Milliner and Oregon State's Jordan Poyer have no business being on the AP's 1st Team All-American list, not when Johnthan Banks is left on the second team, that's for sure. Banks is an outstanding defensive player in both the pass and run game. He can cover receivers of all sizes at 6'2", and has an extraordinary nose for finding the football all over the field. His staggering numbers as a junior in 2011 took a hit this past season, but like most senior defensive backs in the SEC, the Bulldogs opponents knew to stay away from the dangerous Banks. Playing through injury the second half of the season held Johnthan Banks back, and possibly could be the reason why he was held off the AP All American 1st-team, but for our money, Banks is 'the guy' that should garner draft day anticipation like Claiborne did this past year from Dallas. We go back to Banks' freshman season when he and the Bulldogs gave the #1 Florida Gators, headed by All-World college football mega-star Tim Tebow, a mighty scare. Banks recorded two pick-6's and the Gators were lucky to leave Davis-Wade with a win.

Teams Targeting; Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Alec Olgetree, LB Georgia Despite spending a significant time in 2011 laid up with a broken foot, Ogletree was still a monster on the Georgia defense over the last three seasons. The 6'3" Ogltree is a converted defensive back with a ton of that SEC speed to go sideline-to-sideline. After watching film on Ogltree, it became extremely clear why he was able to make plays like he did during the
SEC Championship game against a tough Alabama team, he's incredibly patient and skilled. Olgetree had an exceptional campagin in 2012 while being in the shadow of the AP SEC Defensive Player of the Year, teammate Jarvis Jones. Converted into a linebacker, he still uses his defensive back instinct allow him to read a quarterback and sit on pass routes over the middle, even dropping back in coverage. Ogletree has played outstanding on several big stages, whether it was the previously mentioned SEC Championship or his performance in last seasons Outback Bowl against Michigan State. Ogletree could help really improve several teams at inside linebacker at the next level.

Teams Targeting; New York Giants, Cleveland Browns

Joseph Randle, RB Oklahoma State Have you watched The Pokes play at all over the last two seasons? We have. Believe me, after watching two games in Stillwater, you will have asked the guy next to you at least three or four times who
#1 was. The answer you'll get every time, "You must be talking about Joe Randle." Not only does Randle have explosive 'Big 12' speed, speed good enough to turn a 15-yard gain into pay dirt, but Joe Randle is also our favorite blocking running back; see his performance vs. Texas back in September. Randle is also terrific out of the backfield in the passing game, giving him that second elite skill to be successful in the NFL. In eight of his twelve games during his junior season at Oklahoma State, Randle ripped off more than 100+ yards en route to his second straight 1,000-yard season. We'd love to see Randle involved in a time-share situation in a place like Cincinnati with some quality young talent around him like A.J. Green and Andy Dalton.

Teams Targeting; Detriot Lions, Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rice Out; Tron In

Step aside Jerry. In a time where only definitive statements are allowed into the conversation, we are going to just come out and say it: Detroit Lions super-human receiver Calvin Johnson is the greatest pass catcher of all time. His assault on the receiving milestones ahead of him will be endless, and by the time the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket hangs up the spikes, your children won't even remember the name Jerry Rice. At 6'5", 236 lbs. Calvin Johnson is the most physically imposing target we've ever seen catch passes in the NFL.
The G.O.A.T
Before halftime of last night's game vs. the Atlanta Falcons, Calvin Johnson had already recorded 100+ yards receiving, his eighth straight game with 100-yards or more, a new NFL record. The eleventh time this season that Calvin Johnson has recorded a 100-yard game, tying an NFL record. Oh, and did I forget that for the fourth consecutive game Johnson hauled in 10+ passes? Another NFL record. Is that enough?

With safety help over the top on the games greatest receiver, doesn't matter. Defenses game-planning to stop only Calvin Johnson due to injured Lions pass catchers Ryan Broyles, Nate Burleson, and Brandon Pettigrew, doesn't matter. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford having a rough year (16 INT's), doesn't matter. Nothing mattered when Calvin Johnson, with one game remaining, set the single-season receiving record last night, and as the Falcons learned what many other teams have also learned, there is no stopping Calvin Johnson. That 225-yard performance which blew a hole into the record books left us with one remaining thought, this is just the beginning.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is Dez The Answer?

Dez Bryant is in your face.
He's exciting. He's controversial. He's as Cowboy as they get, or at least how I remember Cowboys to be. Since Michael Irvin's injury-plagued 1999 season, we've longed for the days of Cowboys like Michael, Deion, and Charles Haley. Cowboys as bad as they want to be, Cowboys that don't hold anything back, Cowboys who are better than the player playing opposite them, and know it. Everything we've seen from the Dallas Cowboys' twenty-fourth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft has evolved into just that, a brash, confident, 24-year old game-changing wide receiver, who is about to take center stage . . . if he hasn't already.

On the brink of amazing.
As other Cowboys standouts Miles Austin and Jason Witten are forced to take a back seat to the talents of Bryant, now-veteran quarterback Tony Romo is finding life much easier with #88 on the receiving end of comeback-victories. Eight touchdowns over his last six games, it is no wonder the Cowboys are back in control of their own destiny after winning five of those last six. Bryant is on pace for career highs in touchdowns, receptions, and of course receiving yards, despite his own personal plans to play the remainder of the Cowboys postseason push with a broken finger. However, it isn't the touchdowns or the constant 'in-your-face' moments with defensive backs such as the likes of De'Angelo Hall, it's the 'come get some' catches that the put the New York Giants on the edge of their seats. It's the willingness to play for teammates, putting himself behind those playing alongside him, call it stupidity, but we call it being a Cowboy. Coming up on a must-win situation vs. New Orleans this weekend, a sub-par pass defense, Dez Bryant is poised to have yet another big day.

As mega-owner Jerry Jones anointed Dez Bryant before ever playing an NFL game, handing him the same number as Cowboys greats Drew Pearson and the previously mentioned Michael Irvin, Dez Bryant is being forced to live up to potential that even he may not have ever seen in himself. Despite maturity issues which have tarnished his image early on in his career, Dez Bryant is in the midst of his greatest season as a professional and having his breakout year just in time. As we continue to watch Bryant's play soar to new heights, it is no wonder that it coincides with that of uptick in Cowboy play. When was the last time you saw this team make the plays necessary to win close games, or the last time you saw this team on the positive end of upset victories. If Dez Bryant is the next Michael Irvin, or at the very least able to hold a candle to the likes of Cowboys past, it's possible he's the start of America's Team on their way back, out of a decade all Cowboys fans would like to soon forget.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

No More Laying In The Cut

He showed very little emotion while dissecting the Houston Texans throughout the first three quarters on Monday Night Football. That was however till just before the fourth quarter with the Patriots up 28-7 on a third down in which future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady pulled down the ball and scampered for a six-yard 1st down run. Brady, all fired up, motioned a first-down and got the nearly 70,000 fans packed into New England's Gillette Stadium rocking.

Whether Brady wanted to down play it after the fact, whether he would deny it or not, that 1st down was for the entire NFL. That first down, put the entire NFL on notice. The four touchdown night against the previously 11-1 Houston Texan defense, that was what the rest of the NFL was afraid of. A Tom Brady that was turning it on at the right moment and clicking on all cylinders, just weeks before the playoffs began. To take it one step further, the rest of the conference is headed in the wrong direction. (Excluding Peyton Manning & the Broncos that is.)

The Baltimore Ravens lost each of their last two games and just fired their offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Since their blowout victory against Oakland exactly one month ago, the Ravens offense hasn't looked good. They've squeaked out (2) three-point wins, then ultimately lost two games vs. two-backup quarterbacks. With upcoming games against the Broncos, Bengals, and Giants, the Ravens will have their fans full trying to prove they're worth a playoff spot.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, like their AFC North counterparts, have been terrible as of late. The Steelers managed to drop a clunker to the Browns and just got manhandled by the Chargers in two of the last three weeks. With Roethlisberger back, the Steelers are going to have to find some consistency in their offense and keep their defense healthy. To make matters worse, after battling injuries all season-long, the Steelers have now suspended running back Rashard Mendenhall for one-game due to team violations.

As for those Houston Texans, they got abused on national television in front of the entire country. They couldn't slow Tom Brady and the Patriot offense down, they couldn't get a hand in his face, they couldn't stop the run either, hence the 42-14 throttling. Sometimes you can say to yourselves, "it's one game," this is not one of those times. The Texans have yet to win a big game when challenged and for the second time, the first being their early season loss to the Packers, they've been embarrassed.

With the Denver Broncos winning eight straight since starting the season 2-3, and quarterback Peyton Manning looking like, well Peyton Manning, then the New England Patriots coming out as hot as they looked in Foxboro, MA last night, it seems as though we might get another Manning vs. Brady treat, sure the uniform might not be the same, but the matchup sure as will be.

All things being equal, after last night, they'll be no more laying in the cut for Brady and the Patriots. For more, follow us on Twitter!