Matt Peterson

Draft Needs: New York Giants

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the New York Giants.

Season Recap:
The Giants overcame late season struggles and fought their way through the playoffs to claim a fourth Super Bowl title. Eli Manning elevated himself to the elite level and a big part of that was the sudden emergence of WR Victor Cruz, who played like one of the top receivers in the league. The Giants have a target on their back for 2012 as the defending champs.

Team Needs:
1. Tight End- Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski showed how big of an impact a stud tight end has on the defense. Jake Ballard, Travis Beckum, and Bear Pascoe did a decent job of shouldering the load, but the Giants number one priority should be getting Eli Manning a difference maker at the position. Coby Fleener or Dwayne Allen should be in consideration at pick 32.

2. Right Tackle- Kareem McKenzie is a free agent and it looks as if he wont be back with the G-Men in 2012. The Giants need to find a new starting tackle and could find their guy in the first two rounds.

3. Offensive Guard- Diehl, Snee, and Boothe played well in 2012 but the Giants need to get some more depth and youth.

4. Outside Linebacker- With the potential departure of DE Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka could be moving back to DE, which would create an opening at OLB. The Giants should add an OLB in free agency.

5. Inside Linebacker- Jonathon Goff and Chase Blackburn are scheduled to become free agents, leaving an uncertainty at the position. Goff is coming off an injury but played well as the starter in 2010. Both players should be resigned for 2012.

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Peterson’s Final Mock Draft

Edited- April 22, 2011
1.
Carolina Panthers Patrick Peterson CB LSU
Most of the country believes Cam Newton will be the selection, but I’m not buying it. Head Coach Ron Rivera begins his tenure by selecting the best player in the draft. Peterson brings playmaking skills to a young secondary and a spark in the return game. The Panthers will consider AJ Green but pass due to their emerging young core of wideouts. I personally believe Jimmy Clausen will improve in year two and that the quarterbacks in this class are not worthy of being taken over the elite prospects such as Peterson, Green, Dareus, or Miller.
2. Denver Broncos Marcell Dareus DT Alabama
Dareus almost makes too much sense for the Broncos, but it is just such a perfect fit. Denver is weak up front due to their transition into a 4-3 defense and are desperate for a force up front. Dareus could possibly have a Suh-like impact for the Broncos- while defensive ends Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers can cause pressure on the quarterbacks. If Denver stays put at number two, then Dareus is their guy.
3. Buffalo Bills Cam Newton QB Auburn
Newton falls into the laps of Buffalo and Chan Gailey gets an interesting player to work with. Newton is by far the biggest question mark in the draft. Some compare him to Donovan McNabb and Ben Roethlisberger, while others say he is the second coming of Jamarcus Russell or Vince Young. To me, Newton has all the skills in the world to succeed but the question is if he wants badly enough. Buffalo is an ideal landing spot for Newton because he can sit and learn the game under Harvard-Grad Ryan Fitzpatrick. Read more
Posted on by Matt Peterson in 2011 NFL Draft, Mock Draft 2 Comments

The Redskins Draft Strategy

Over the offseason, I’ve been attempting to figure out my best guess for what Mike Shanahan and company will do in their first real offseason. Shanahan and Allen have had their staff for a full year now, and are now familiar with all the players. Shanahan knew the players only by film last offseason, but now knows what he truly has. It will take a couple seasons before Shanahan is fully comfortable, but he is on his way. In all of the mock drafts, most people have the Redskins selecting from a pool of players consisting of Julio Jones, AJ Green, or Jake Locker- often stating WR and QB as the biggest needs. But, this is my take on the Redskins approach, come April 28th. Read more

Posted on by Matt Peterson in 2011 NFL Draft, Redskins 1 Comment

Draft Needs: Green Bay Packers

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Chicago Bears [full archive here].

Season Recap – The Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburg Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl 45 to win their fourth Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers led the 6th seeded Packers past the Eagles, Falcons, Bears, and Steelers- as the Packers became the first NFC 6th seed to win the Super Bowl. The Packers will have a big target on their back in 2011 as they attempt to repeat.

Needs:
1. Outside Linebacker
– Clay Matthews is one of the best pass rushers in the game, but the Packers don’t have much across from him. Green Bay will likely spend a first or second round pick on an OLB. Brooks Reed would fit perfectly across from Clay Matthews- giving the Packers a pair of long-blonde-haired pass rushers. Read more

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Draft Needs: Pittsburgh Steelers

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Pittsburgh Steelers [full archive here].

Season Recap – Many people believed the Steelers were going to have trouble contending in 2010 with star QB Ben Roethlisberger suspended the first six games due to rape charges. The suspension was later reduced to four games, and the group of Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich, and Dennis Dixon managed to lead the Steelers to a 3-1 record during that time. Roethlisberger returned and led the team to the Super Bowl where they lost to the Green Bay Packers. Expect the Steelers to make a run for a trip back to the Super Bowl in 2011.

Needs:
1. Right Guard – What was once a weakness, remains a weakness for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They continue to win games with a below average offensive line. The Steelers need to solve the spot next to All-Pro Maurkice Pauncey- and are hoping his twin brother, Mike, falls to them in round one. Read more

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Draft Needs: New York Jets

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the New York Jets [full archive here].

Season Recap – The Jets had their second consecutive successful season under Rex Ryan. Ryan’s gang wasn’t afraid to voice their opinion throughout the season, as guaranteed wins and opposing team trash talks dominated media headlines on a weekly basis. Ryan’s recent Super Bowl promise doesn’t come as a surprise, but the Jets will have many close scrutinizers and will have some high expectations to live up for the 2011 season.

Needs:
1. Outside Linebacker
– Calvin Pace turns 31 and Jason Taylor was recently released. The Jets had the 3rd ranked defense, but could use a dominant pass rusher. Brooks Reed or Akeem Ayers would be nice selections in the first round. Read more

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Draft Needs: Chicago Bears

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Chicago Bears [full archive here].

Season Recap – Chicago rebounded from a 7-9 record in 2009 by finishing with a 11-5 record and winning the division in 2010. Jay Cutler improved under Mike Martz and the Bears’ defense looked like their old selves. Chicago fell one win short of the Super Bowl after losing to Green Bay in the Conference Championship. The Bears won’t have it easy in 2011 while battling the defending Super Bowl champs and the emerging Detroit Lions within the division.

Needs:
1. Left Tackl
e – Somehow Chicago found a way to win with one of the worst lines in the league. The Bears gave up a lead leaguing 56 sacks, as Jay Cutler took a beating all season. Cutler needs a blind side protector and there will be one available in the first round. Derek Sherrod would be a great selection. Read more

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Draft Needs: New England Patriots

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the New England Patriots [full archive here].

Season Recap – Earning the best record in the NFL at 14-2, New England was the clear selection for most to win the first Super Bowl of the new decade, but an upset loss to the fiery New York Jets in the divisional round killed any shot. New England’s aerial attack led by MVP Tom Brady along with the RB core consisting of the unknown Danny Woodhead and Benjarvis Green-Ellis beat up on opponents all season long, but the Jets found a way to stop them. It was an upset that surely got Tom Brady and the New England Patriots pumped to chase the title in 2011.

Needs:
1. Defensive End
– New England began the offseason by signing recently released veteran Marcus Stroud. Stroud could wind up starting, but he isn’t a long-term solution. The Patriots should look in the first round to fill the void. JJ Watt, Cam Heyward, Cameron Jordan, and Adrian Clayborn all could be available for the Patriots in round one. Read more

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Draft Needs - 2011, Patriots 2 Comments

Draft Needs: Atlanta Falcons

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Atlanta Falcons [full archive here].

Season Recap – Compiling a 13-3 record, Matt Ryan and company shined throughout the regular season and secured the first seed in the NFC. The offense came together as Roddy White finished second in receiving yards while Michael Turner finished third in rushing. Atlanta’s run ended in the playoffs after they lost to the Packers in the divisional round. With such a young core of players, Atlanta seems poised to be one of the top teams in the NFL in 2011.

Needs:
1. Defensive End
– The Falcons don’t have much at DE and need to bring in a star to complement pro-bowler John Abraham. Jamaal Anderson has been a bust and Lawrence Sidbury hasn’t lived up to expectations. With the strength of this year’s class, the Falcons should be able to find a player in the first two rounds. Ryan Kerrigan could be a nice fit. Read more

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Draft Needs: Baltimore Ravens

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Baltimore Ravens [full archive here].

Season Recap – The Ravens had a strong 2010 season as young players like Joe Flacco continued to develop. Baltimore finished the season 12-4 but ended the year on a loss to the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Baltimore allowed Pittsburg to score 24 second half points and come from behind to win. This offseason, head coach John Harbaugh will look to add the pieces that will finally push them past the Steelers.

Needs:
1. Cornerback
– Chris Carr, Fabian Washington, and Josh Wilson are set to become free agents, which leaves the Ravens rather thin at the position. This has been one of the weakest positions for Baltimore the past two seasons, and GM Ozzie Newsome will look to upgrade this offseason. Baltimore should select a corner in round one- Brandon Harris would be a good fit. Read more

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