Dolphins

NFL Rookie Rankings – Through Week 5

OFFENSE
1.
Jahvid Best, Lions
Best remains the most effective player in the Lions offense. He’s averaging just 3.5 yards per rush, but is also averaging over 10 yards per reception.

2. Sam Bradford, Rams
Every rookie is bound to have a game like Bradford’s against the Lions at least once. It’s a minor setback, but he’ll learn from it.

3. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
Hernandez ranks second to Best in receiving yards by rookies.

4. Mike Williams, Bucs
Williams has improved throughout the season and has his biggest game yet with seven catches for 99 yards against the Bengals.

5. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Gronkowski has just six catches (two for touchdowns) but he has been as good as advertized in terms of being an elite blocking tight end.

DEFENSE
1. Nate Allen, Eagles
Allen isn’t just the best rookie safety, he looks like one of the best free safeties in football this season.

2. Koa Misi, Dolphins
Misi and Dolphins are coming off a bye week. He’s still tied for 2nd among rookies with two sacks.

3. Tyson Alualu, Jaguars
Alualu has been impressive both against the run and as a pass rusher. He has two sacks, two hits and seven QB pressures.

4. Earl Thomas, Seahawks
Thomas looks like an elite safety in coverage. Teams are avoiding throwing his direction, and he’s made them pay with three picks when they do.

5. Ndamukong Suh, Lions
Suh is a nightmare for interior offensive linemen to block in passing situations (leads rookies with three sacks) but he is still developing against the run. He’s been a liability at times when teams run directly at him.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Dolphins, Eagles, Jaguars, Lions, Patriots, Rams, Seahawks Comments Off

NFL Rookie Rankings – Week 3

OFFENSE
1. Jahvid Best, Lions
Best was injured in the Lions Week 3 loss to Minnesota, but he has still be easily the most productive rookie on the offensive side of the ball. However, his status is up in the air for Week 4, which could allow someone to sneak up and steal the top spot.

2. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
Hernandez has emerged as a favorite target of Tom Brady, running many of the same routes that Wes Welker runs. He leads all rookies in receiving yards and has looked like one of the top receiving tight ends in the game through three weeks.

3. Sam Bradford, Rams
Bradford picked up the first win of his career last week against the Redskins. It was easily the most productive game of his short career as he completed over 60 percent of his passes for 235 yards.

4. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
Bryant isn’t threatening Miles Austin as the Cowboys top receiver, but he has topped the 50-yard mark in all three games so far this season. That, coupled with his production on special teams, has made him one of the most productive rookies.

5. Jordan Shipley, Bengals
Shipley falls from 2nd to 5th this week after catching just three passes against the Panthers.

DEFENSE
1. Koa Misi, Dolphins
Misi remains the most productive defensive rookie for the third straight week. He has become the most productive all-around linebacker in Miami, making him a perfect compliment to the pass rushing skills of Cameron Wake.

2. Tyson Alualu, Jaguars
Alualu picked up his second sack of the season and added two more quarterback hits. His production against the run needs work, but he has looked dominant at times as an interior pass rusher.

3. Derrick Morgan, Titans
Morgan has been coming off the bench, but it may only be a matter of time before he’s starting. He has impressed as a pass rusher and against the run.

4. Nate Allen, Eagles
Allen has changed the Eagles secondary, which struggled at times last season, and filled the void at free safety. He even picked up a sack this past week against the Jaguars.

5. Brandon Graham, Eagles
Graham is arguably the best rookie pass rusher, which is enough to land him a spot on the list, but he is one dimensional. His lack of skills against the run will hold him back from moving much further up the list.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bengals, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles, Jaguars, Lions, Patriots, Rams, Titans Comments Off

NFL Rookie Rankings – Week 2

OFFENSE
1. Jahvid Best, Lions
Best is the runaway leader among offensive rookies after two weeks. He ranks second among rookies in rushing yards and leads all rookies in receiving yards. He has given the Lions offense a new look and is emerging as one of the most dangerous playmakers in the league.

2. Jordan Shipley, Bengals
Shipley caught five passes again this past week, giving him 10 for 124 yards on the season. He has emerged as legitimate a third option behind Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco and has given the Bengals perhaps the best trio of receivers in the league.

3. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
Bryant caught just two passes this week, but both were big 26-yard plays. He also returned a put 62 yards for a touchdown and is averaging 19.3 yards per return on the season.

4. Sam Bradford, Rams
The Rams scaled back the workload for Bradford in Week 2, as he attempted just 25 passes. He is completing 57.5 percent of his passes and averaging 5.3 yards per attempt – both mediocre numbers, but impressive for a rookie on a team like the Rams.

5. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
Hernandez is emerging as one of the Patriots most explosive weapons this season. He ranks second among rookies this season with 146 receiving yards on just seven catches.

DEFENSE
1. Koa Misi, Dolphins
Misi played a key role in stopping the Vikings last week, and is emerging as a leader on the Dolphins defense. He is the most well-balanced rookie linebacker in terms of ability as a pass rusher and run stuffer.

2. Rolando McClain, Raiders
McClain anchored the Raiders defense in their win over the Rams last week. He already looks like one of the best middle linebackers against the run and the Raiders defense has improved as a result.

3. Derrick Morgan, Titans
Morgan recorded a sack for the second straight week but that’s not the only reason he’s ranked. He has done an excellent job holding up at the point of attack and the Titans run defense has improved as a result.

4. T.J. Ward, Browns
Ward has been one of the few bright spots for the Browns this season. He has been like an extra linebacker for the Browns run defense… which they have definitely needed.

5. Brandon Graham, Eagles
Graham picked up his first career sack last week, and looks like the best pure rookie pass rusher in the league. However, he’s being used in a rotation almost exclusively as a pass rusher which is why he isn’t ranked higher.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles, Lions, Patriots, Raiders, Rams, Titans Comments Off

NFL Rookie Rankings – Week 1

OFFENSE
1.
Sam Bradford, Rams
The Rams asked Bradford to carry the team in his first professional game and he did just that. Bradford 32 of 55 passes for 253 yards in a near upset of the Cardinals. He did throw three interceptions (one on a hail mary) but it was an impressive debut nonetheless.

2. Jordan Shipley, Bengals
Shipley led all rookie receivers with 82 yards on five catches Sunday. All five of his receptions went for first downs, including a 51-yard reception. After seeing Shipley’s performance, its easy to see why the Bengals didn’t feel the need to keep Antonio Bryant around.

3. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
The Cowboys fed it to Bryant early and often as he caught eight balls for 56 yards. He was primarily used on short passes, as the Cowboys looked to him to make plays after the catch. Four of his receptions went for first downs, with a long of 15 yards.

4. Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers
Pouncey gave the Steelers an immediate upgrade at center, replacing Jeff Hartings. The Steelers were back to the power-running game that they’re known for, with Rashard Mendenhall averaging over five yards per carry.

5. Ryan Mathews, Chargers
Mathews didn’t set the world on fire, but he was solid in his debut against Kansas City. He racked up 75 yards on 19 carries, a modest 3.9 yards per attempt.  He also lost a fumble which led to a Chiefs touchdown.

DEFENSE
1. Koa Misi, Dolphins
Misi stepped into the Dolphins starting lineup and was all over the field against the Bills. He recorded one sack, and was consistently getting pressure on Trent Edwards. With production like this, the ‘Phins won’t miss Jason Taylor or Joey Porter.

2. Brandon Graham, Eagles
Graham made an immediate impact for the Eagles pass rush, consistently getting into the backfield and pressuring Aaron Rodgers. He didn’t record a sack, but his efforts did not go unnoticed.

3. Rolando McClain, Raiders
McClain fully lived up to expectations in his first game with the Raiders. He looked like a veteran, showing the impressive instincts that made him a star at Alabama. With McClain in the middle, the Raiders should be much improved.

4. T.J. Ward, Browns
Not much went right for the Browns on Sunday, but Ward already looks like an upgrade at strong safety over last year’s primary starter Abe Elam. He did a nice job in coverage against Kellen Winslow, and was consistently stepping up to help out against the run.

5. Eric Berry, Chiefs
Berry was quietly effective against the Chargers, helping the Chiefs pull off the upset. He didn’t come up with any big plays but was consistently in the right position, providing support for the Chiefs corners. It’s only a matter of time before he comes up with some game-changing interceptions.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bengals, Browns, Chargers, Chiefs, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles, Raiders, Rams, Steelers Comments Off

NFL players on the trade market: where might they land?

BOURBONNAIS, IL - JULY 30: Greg Olsen  of the Chicago Bears runs past Zack Bowman  after catching a pass during a summer training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University on July 30, 2010 in Bourbonnais, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Olsen may be done in Chicago

Greg Olsen
Mike Martz tried to embrace Olsen, essentially a wide receiver in a tight end’s body, but Martz just doesn’t have use for those guys in his system. As a result, he’s reportedly on the trade market. Here are a few teams that could use his services:
1. Panthers – Jeff King is an adequate starter, but offers very little as a receiver. Matt More would welcome the addition of another weapon in the passing game.
2. Chiefs – Leonard Pope and Tony Moeaki have battled for the starting job. Pope has been a disappointment throughout his career. Moeaki, a rookie, has plenty of upside but also has a long injury history. Olsen would provide some stability at the position.
3. Bills – With Shawn Nelson suspended four games, the Bills don’t really have any options at tight end for a quarter of their season. Olsen would provide some immediate help and potentially push Nelson for the starting job once he returns.

Vincent Jackson
1. Rams – This could be a golden opportunity for the Rams to add a true No. 1 receiver for Sam Bradford to work with. He would immediately improve one of the worst receiving corps in the league.
2. Browns – Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was unable to get his passing game to do much of anything last year – in part due to inept quarerbacks, in part due to inept receivers. Jackson would immediately become the best receiver in the AFC North and upgrade what might be the league’s worst passing offense.
3. Seahawks – Pete Carroll and staff are building the Seahawks in an effort to win immediately and the addition of Jackson would be an obvious step in that direction. However, they already have a decent amount of money wrapped up in the position (Branch, Houshmandzadeh).

Matt Leinart
We devoted a full post to Leinart’s possible destinations. Check it out here.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bears, Bills, Browns, Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs, Panthers, Rams, Seahawks Comments Off

2010 Draft Grades: Rams

I wholeheartedly agree with the Rams decision to draft Sam Bradford. While I had Ndamukong Suh at No. 1 on my draft board, I believe Bradford was the right fit for the Rams. He’s a legitimate franchise quarterback and you simply don’t pass up on guys like that when A.J. Feeley is the top quarterback on your roster.

What I love most about Bradford is his attitude and work ethic. Look around the league at the top quarterbacks – Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning – all of them out-work their teammates on a daily basis. Talented quarterbacks come along all the time, but if you don’t have the right attitude you won’t make it in this league. Just ask Ryan Leaf, Matt Leinart, JaMarcus Russell, J.P. Losman, etc. Bradford has the physical tools and the right mindset to be a great one.

I like the Rams selection of Rodger Saffold, but how much I like it will depend on where they play him. I really think he’s best suited to play guard in the NFL. He could be an adequate right tackle, but I just don’t think he has the quickness to live up to his draft status if that’s where they end up playing him.

Jerome Murphy is a great fit for the Rams. Aside from O.J. Atogwe there isn’t much worth keeping in their secondary. He definitely has a chance to beat out either Ronald Bartell or Eric King for a starting job.

The Rams needed to land a receiver who can play immediately and Mardy Gilyard definitely can. However, he just isn’t the type of receiver they needed. They already have a number of undersized receivers (Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson) and they really could have used a bigger target for Bradford. Marcus Easley, who went 107th overall to the Bills, would have been a better selection there.

Mike Hoomanawanui [nicknamed uh-oh] is a blocking tight end. He isn’t a future fantasy football star, but he can certainly be a nice piece of the puzzle in St. Louis.

Hall Davis is a developmental prospect. He’ll likely be brought along slowly, seeing minimal playing time early in his career. He’s a similar type of player to Chris Long, and could end up being a valuable backup for that reason.

Fendi Onobun is about as raw as they come, but he has the talent to be a great receiver. He’s a former basketball player at Arizona, and the Rams are hoping they can develop him into the next Antonio Gates.

I’m not a fan of the selection of Eugene Sims. He just isn’t ready for the NFL. He currently doesn’t have the size or strength to play defensive end, but he’s too tall to play linebacker in the Rams 4-3 defense. I’ll be somewhat surprised if the makes the roster.

Marquis Johnson is a great 7th round pick. He has limited upside, but can add depth to their secondary which is what they needed most at this point in the draft.

George Selvie was worth the risk in the 7th round, but I don’t know if the Rams should expect much from him. After dominating the Big East as a sophomore, he just hasn’t been the same player. He just doesn’t have the athleticism or strength to be an impact player in the NFL.

Josh Hull has the potential to be a solid contributor on special teams. The Rams are fairly thin at linebacker which could allow him to earn a spot as James Laurinaitis’ backup.

This was a great draft for the Rams to get them pointed in the right direction. They had so many holes to fill, and they really needed to come out of this draft with a number of players who can step right into a starting role. If everything goes their way they could end up with as many as four immediate starters and certainly will have no fewer than two (Bradford and Saffold). They only thing holding them back from a solid A is the fact that they reached for a few guys to fill specific holes. A team with so little talent really shouldn’t limit themselves to addressing a specific position at any point in the draft.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Rams Comments Off

Who will trade for Roethlisberger?

Per an Adam Schefter report the Steelers are shopping Ben Roethlisberger for a top-10 pick. If, in fact, that’s all they’re looking for then its hard to imagine a deal not getting done prior to the draft. Let’s take a look at the teams in the top 10 with an unsettled situation at quarterback who could be willing to make a deal:

1. Rams
They need a quarterback, but they’re pretty dead-set on Sam Bradford. If they believe that Bradford is the real deal, then why part with this pick for a 28-year-old who has a history of off-field issues and on-field injuries?

6. Seahawks
The Seahawks could also use a quarterback but they’re probably not interested in a 28-year-old, even if he is a two-time Super Bowl winner. They’re probably two years away from being competitive due to numerous other holes, so it makes more sense to hang on to Matt Hasselbeck for now.

7. Browns
This would make perfect sense from the Browns standpoint. However, its hard to imagine the Steelers trading Roethlisberger to their arch rival. True, the Eagles just made a similar move, but Roethlisberger is only 28 and could potentially hurt the Steelers twice a year for another decade.

8. Raiders
The Raiders have countless other holes to fill, but with Al Davis, anything’s possible. He makes moves on the fly, often overpaying for players he’s fond of. He’s seen Roethlisberger win two Super Bowls and its entirely possible that he believes Big Ben is the answer to all his problems.

9. Bills
This probably makes the most sense from both sides. The Bills aren’t years away from competing unlike some of the other teams in the top 10. Big Ben could turn them into a reasonably competitive team in 2010. They also have no guaratees that they’ll get a quarterback or a top offensive linemen with this pick. It may be a smart move to grab a sure thing if they have the opportunity.

10. Jaguars
The Jaguars have a quarterback coming off a [undeserved] Pro Bowl selection but Jack Del Rio has been highly critical of David Garrard. I’m mildly surprised that they haven’t made a more serious move to bring someone in to compete with Garrard, but this could be their opportunity. If the Jaguars want to excite their dying fan base, this may be their best chance.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Bills, Browns, Jaguars, Raiders, Rams, Seahawks, Steelers 2 Comments

Why the Rams won’t negotiate with Bradford before draft

Usually the team owning the No. 1 pick makes every effort to have that player signed prior to the draft.

The reason for this is that prior to draft, the team holds all the power. The player wants to be the No. 1 pick, and to ensure that happens he needs to sign a contract. Once the player is selected, however, the power shifts. The team risks embarrassing itself if they don’t get the player under contract quickly, so its the team that feels the pressure to cave to the player’s demands.

This year, however, the tide has turned. This is likely to be the final year in which we don’t have a rookie wage scale in place. Meaning the No. 1 overall pick in 2011 will earn significantly less than Sam Bradford will be paid this year.

Because of this, the Rams hold ALL the power in these negotiations. If Bradford doesn’t sign a contract and re-enters the draft in 2011 he’ll lose millions of dollars. While the Rams would look foolish if Bradford actually took that option they’re confident that he won’t, and for good reason.

Given Bradford’s character, coupled with the financial hit he would take, there’s simply no doubt in anyone’s mind that he’ll eventually sign with the Rams. Even if it means settling for less money than the No. 1 pick would typically receive.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Rams Comments Off

Could the Seahawks or 49ers make a move for Bradford?

Sam Bradford was impressive at his workout on Monday.  But personally, I’m not concerned with how Bradford looked. The fact that he showed up and completed the workout without showing any significant lingering issues with his shoulder was enough.

What I do find interesting about his workout, however, is who showed up. As expected the Rams and Redskins were well represented.

Among the others in attendance were the Browns (Homgren and Mangini), Seahawks (Carroll and and GM John Schneider) and 49ers (Singletary and Dir. of Player Personnel Trent Baalke). The odds of Bradford falling to any of these teams is very small, however, they may be interested in trading up.

The Seahawks and 49ers are the most interesting teams that were in attendance due to the fact that, with two 1st-round picks, the have the ability to trade up for Bradford. In fact, trading for the No. 1 overall selection isn’t out of the question, especially for Seahawks.

If the Seahawks wanted to trade up for Bradford, it may only take their two 1st-round picks. According to the trade value chart, the Seahawks picks hold a value of 2,700 points. The No. 1 pick is worth 3,000 points. It isn’t an exact match, but these trades rarely work out perfectly. When you factor in the money the Rams would save by not having to pay the top pick in the draft, they may be willing to make the swap.

It would be nearly impossible for the 49ers to trade up to No. 1 without also sacrificing a 2011 pick, but if the Rams pass on Bradford they could try to jump the Redskins and move up to No. 3. The 3rd pick, owned by the Bucs, is worth 2,200 points in the trade value chart. The 49ers 1st-round picks add up to 2,100 points – essentially an even value.

Obviously both of these scenario’s hinge on the Rams losing interest in Bradford. He appears to be the heavy favorite to go be the top pick in the draft, but each team needs to be prepared for every scenario. In the event that the Rams do sour and Bradford, both the 49ers and Seahawks could be ready to make their move.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, 49ers, Browns, Rams, Seahawks Comments Off

Where will Brady Quinn land?

Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs

Is Quinn done in Cleveland?

The Browns are reportedly shopping Brady Quinn. And while I personally think its ludicrous to trade a former 1st-round pick after just 12 career starts, its looks like he’ll be playing elsewhere in 2010.

Any team acquiring a 25-year-old quarterback with just 12 starts under his belt would be doing so with the intention of making him the starter and developing him as the franchise quarterback. Quinn has sat on the bench long enough, its time to give him a chance to play.

Unfortunately for the Browns, the list of teams capable of committing to a new starting quarterback is fairly small. And his trade value is further hurt by the fact that the teams that may be interested in a 25-year-old quarterback are also in position to potentially land Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen in the draft.

Let’s take a look at the teams that may show an interest in Quinn:

St. Louis Rams
The Rams are obviously in the market for a new franchise quarterback. Marc Bulger is likely to be released, creating an opening for someone to step in and start from day one. This would be an ideal scenario for Quinn, but the Rams also own the No. 1 overall pick and appear to be leaning towards selecting Bradford.

Washington Redskins
Jason Campbell was tendered at a 1st-round value, meaning he’ll likely be back in Washington unless the ‘Skins can find a trading partner. If he’s traded, they would certainly become a potential landing spot for Quinn, but a lot has to happen first. They would also have to decide to pass on Clausen and/or Bradford in the draft, as at least one of the two should be on the board at No. 4.

Buffalo Bills
The Bills may be the most likely suitor for Quinn. They’re in the market for a new franchise quarterback, but aren’t in position to guarantee themselves a shot at Bradford or Clausen in the draft. That uncertainty may lead them to address the need via trade. There have been whispers that they may be interested in Jason Campbell, but Quinn is younger and certainly has more upside at this stage in his career.

Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars don’t need a new quarterback for 2010. But Jack Del Rio hasn’t exactly expressed confidence in David Garrard this offseason. If they could get Quinn at a discounted price due to a lack of interest from others (3rd or 4th round pick perhaps) they may be willing to bring him aboard.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bills, Browns, Free Agency, Jaguars, Rams, Redskins Comments Off