Winners and Losers of NFL Free Agent Frenzy

Usually NFL Free Agency is a period of time that occurs in late March to early April but this year was an unusual offseason that included a lockout that kept football fans everywhere on the edges of the seats wondering if there would be a season in 2011. Fortunately the conflict dubbed “Millionaires vs Billionaires” came to end. The end of the lockout meant an immediate overflow of transactions by all 32 teams in the National Football League. After just one week after the CBA agreement had been made  around 1600 transactions were made around the NFL. Today we’re gonna look at the best and worst signings , cuts and trades around the league in the 1st week of Post Lockout football.
Because everyone loves a winner we’ll start with the teams and owners who put one in the W column before the preseason has even begun.

 WINNERS 

  1. Philladelphia Eagles– The Eagles are the clear number 1 winners of the NFL FA Frenzy because of one bigtime player. Nnamdi Asomugha (Picture below) the guy that the average football fan has never heard of because QB ‘s just don’t throw his way. He was the top target of teams like the Jets, Ravens and Texans (Who answered their need but would’ve liked to get the big guy) but chose the Eagles who gave him the contract he deserved and a solid defense that already included CB Asante Samuel and acquired pro bowl corner Dominque Rodgers- Cromartie from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for back up QB Kevin Kolb. Which brings to my next point…. Back up QB. The Eagles also picked up Vince Young from Tennessee who has been having problems with the QB for nearly 2 years. So look for another troubled QB like (Mike Vick) to get an intervention and work in a system that needs a running QB that can make plays on both the ground and through the air.The Eagles also picked up two big boys up front (DT Cullen Jenkins and DE Jason Babin) who should both have major impacts in the trenches.

Nnamdi Asomugha

 2. New England Patriots The Pats are always winners but they really stepped up to the plate this past week with two of the most surprising moves of the last few years. What the boys from New England were able to do was get great talent with HUGE egos for nearly nothing. They started with the acquisition of Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth who had a miserable time in DC to say the least. The Pats sent a 5th round pick to the skins for the hefty DT who has a problems his size if not bigger. The 2nd move made by the Patriots was one that they had made nearly 3 years ago (acquiring Randy Moss ) only with a new team and a new receiver. Chad Ochocinco who had been begging top get out of Cincinnati for what seems like 3 years now and has landed himself in probably the best situation possible for any aging receiver with some talent… A trip to work with QB Tom Brady and a great system under coach Bill Belichick. So we’ll see what the Pats can do with these troubled minded players who posses major talent.

Ochocinco and Brady

3.  New York Jets– The Jets over the last 3 years have been the biggest trun around team in the NFL. With a young solid QB (Mark Sanchez) , a strong smashmouth defense and the coach that every player in the league wants as their coach (Rex Ryan) Gang Green is just entertaining to watch and even better to root for. Even as a Giants fan you gotta love the passion of the Jets on the field and in the stands. This offseason they had some key recievers on the market and signed the biggest one (Santanio Holmes). Even though they came up short on the Nnamdi sweepstakes the Jets still made a splash by signing WR Plaxico Burress who will be a HUGE target for “The Sanchise” all over his field but especially in the red zone. The Jets were a team that didn’t need to go out and make a splash because they have all the pieces right in front of them. But still managed to make their presence felt on the market.

Plaxico Burress

 LOSERS

1. Seattle Seahawks– They lose their franchise QB Matt Hasselback to the Tennessee Titans and brought in QB Tavaris Jackson to take the reigns of the franchise and compete for the job. But the seahawks who still have RB Marshawn Lynch who is fresh off is amazing run the produced earthquake like energy from the 12th Man in seattle but for another year the Seahawks will be in another rebuilding year and may be win the weakest division in football (NFC West).

2. Dallas Cowboys– Get no one big for another year and are just getting older year by year. They also traded away WR Roy Williams and dropped veterans like RB Marion Barber and OT Marc Colombo who were both leaders in the locker room and on the field. America’s most hated team will have to work hard for a spot this year but I don’t see any success for them in Big D.

3. New York Giants– The Giants once again have done NOTHING! They have released their left side of the offensive line (including Rich Seubert who is Coach Tom Coughlin’s son-in-law) and center Shaun O’Hara. They also have yet to sign RB Ahmad Bradshaw who if not signed will be missed greatly in the backfield for big blue. But by far the biggest failure for the Gints was their loss in the pursuit of WR Plaxico Burress who is wearing the wrong color jersey in East Rutherford. Plus they may get stuck with an angry and selfish DE in Osi Umenyiora

Upset Osi

NFL Draft Position Rankings: The D-Linemen

For any football team, at any level the most important spot has got to be up front in the trenches. On the defensive front key guys in the NFL today like: Mario Williams, Jared Allen and Justin Tuck are constantly effecting the results of plays and forcing bad passes , plays with negative yardage , and yes even sacks. So what does it take to be a solid defensive lineman in the National Football League ? For starters the player must have size. If you look at the 3 examples I just gave (Mario Williams , Jared Allen and Justin Tuck) average a 6’5 height and 280 lbs in weight. Another big part of any successful defensive lineman or any defensive player for that matter is his speed. Although these players are huge and heavy they can all really move, Justin Tuck for example ran a 4.6 40 yard dash time… Thats faster than most QB’s entering the draft ! Another key part of a great defensive lineman is the system that he plays in. In the NFL there are two different defensive schemes , The 4-3 and the 3-4. Each system has its pros and cons. For the 4-3 you get more power on the inside with powerful tackles and size while lacking some speed. Some teams that use this system are the Giants , Saints , and Cardinals who all have big time guys up front but lack some speed when getting to the QB. On the flip side the 3-4 defense provides a different look with 3 down linemen and 4 linebackers, 2 being “Hybrid ” types who get double-digit sacks, guys like Clay Matthews and DeMarcus Ware show why this system can be so effective.  Here are my top 5 Defensive Linemen and some others to keep your eyes on :

1. DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama 6’3 319 lbs: By far the most dominant player in this years draft. Posses the size, speed (4.9 40-yd dash) and the key awareness to succeed in both a 4-3 or 3-4 system at the next level. Dareus will be gone early in the top 3 picks overall. My perfect fit for Marcell Dareus is with the Panthers at the 1st overall pick. I say this because the Panthers need another defensive monster up front and also Dareus is just too good of a prospect and talent to pass up ; Lets be honest here Cam Newton is not ready to be an NFL Franchise QB, in my mind Newton will be a big BUST while Dareus will be a monster as soon as he steps on the field. Just like in 2006 when DE Mario Williams went 1st overall to the Texans and QB Vince Young went 3rd to the Titans… And just look how that turned out.

Projection: top 3

Marcell Dareus

Comparison: DE Richard Seymour

2.DT Nick Fairley, Auburn 6’3 291 lbs: Not nearly as flexible or durable as Dareus but still extremely explosive. Fairly won the Lombardi Trophy for most outstanding interior lineman for the year. What Fairley brings to the table is strength and an amazing ability to plug up wholes in the running game.  He will be good in a 3-4 but GREAT in a 4-3 role. However I don’t think he will make an immediate impact in the NFL. I see Fairly falling to the Tennessee Titans at 11. For me he’s the best player on the board at that point and won’t be passed up.

Projection:top 15

Comparison: DT Pat Williams

3. DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina 6’4 265 lbs : In one word Robert Quinn can be described as “EXPLOSIVE”. With a 40 yard dash clocking in at 4.6 seconds (The fastest of all d-linemen) and great size Quinn would have been my number 2 lineman had he not been suspended at UNC. Quinn has all the makings of an elite outside rusher in a 3-4 system. But he could also be an effective down lineman similar to a Justin Tuck or Julius Peppers. My pick for Robert Quinn is Dallas Cowboys at number 9 to complement DeMarcus Ware as an outside rusher.

Projection:top 15

Da'Quan Bowers

Comparison:DE/OLB Brian Orakpo 

4. DE Da’Quan Bowers,Clemson 6’4 280 lbs :   Basically just another version of Robert Quinn but a little bit slower (4.7 second 40) and heavier by 15 lbs which categorizes him as more of a down lineman then Quinn. He fits in a 4-3 scheme as an outside guy that will contain the outside and stop most pitch or stretch plays to his side. He will be picked in the 1st round but not until at least the New England Patriots 1st of 8 picks at 17th overall.  And will be a monster under the New England system, even though they run a 3-4.

Projection: mid to late 1st round

Comparison: DE Tyson Jackson

5. DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin 6’6 290 lbs:   Part of the best defensive line in college football last year, JJ Watt standing at a towering 6’6 , 290 lbs represents the old school, smashmouth football world of the Big 10. Watt has all the intangibles and size to be a star in the NFL and have longevity. The only thing lacking is that breakout and explosive speed that Bowers and Quinn above him have. I see Watt going the Indianapolis Colts at 22nd overall.

Projection: late 1st round

Comparison: DE Jared Allen

 Other Guys to Watch

  • DE  Aldon Smith, Missouri 
  • DT  Corey Liuget, Illinois
  • DE Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple
  • DT Stephen Paea , UCLA
  • DE Cameron Jordan, California

 

Tommorrow : LB and DB

Hokies entering the NFL

"T-Mobile"

With the NFL Draft just 1 Week away we here at Sports Haven hope to bring you the most and best NFL Draft coverage leading up to my personal favorite date on the NFL Calendar. To kick things off I would like to talk about one of the top things on my mind in the years draft…. Where will this years Hokie draft class end up?? Overall there are 9 different players leaving Blacksburg for a shot in the pros. The class is led by RB Ryan Williams, CB Rashad Carmichael and QB Tyrod Taylor. All three of these players are projected to be selected by the end of the 2nd day (Rounds 1-3). Today I will breakdown and give a little Bio on these 3 Hokie stars and name some of the other players who are NFL bound. We will start from the top..

 

Ryan Williams
  
  1.   RB Ryan Williams (5’9 212 lbs):   Going back to his days in Manassas,VA Ryan Williams has always been a playmaker. Whether its carrying the ball or going out for a pass there is no shortage in talent, strength , power and speed. Ryan impressed many at the combine with 19 reps of 225 lbs on the bench press and a 4.6 second 40-Yard Dash time. But where Williams has made his biggest impression is on the field. As a Redshirt Freshman in 2009 he rushed for over 1,600 yards and scored 22 TD’s earning ACC Rookie of the year honors. However 2010 would be a much different year for the speedster Williams. In the 3rd game of the season against the East Carolina Pirates Williams destroyed his Hamstring and missed the next 3 games that followed. In the end Williams rushed for only 477 yards and scored 10 times overall. But even though his 2010 was cut short Williams looked fine after the injury, partially because he was only on the field once every 3 carries (splitting time with Evans and Wilson)

In the end I see Williams going in the early part of the 2nd round to a team like the Giants or Redskins who both are in need for a young, speedy and powerful back to build their teams around.

2. QB Tyrod Taylor (6’0 198 lbs):  Since 2007 Tyrod Taylor has been a fan favorite at Va. Tech. From his electrifying “3rd and 31” conversion against FSU to his game winning toss-up to beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2009 Taylor has always been cool, calm and collective when put in pressure situations.  Over his Hokie career Taylor finished with a 38 – 9 record as a starter, a career milestone for a Hokies QB. What makes Taylor so great is his ability to extend plays that could be losses into big chunks of yardage. This can be seen in his numbers all time:  7,017 yards passing with 44 TD ‘s and 2,187 yards rushing with 23 rushing TD ‘s over his 4 year career at Tech.  The big problem or “complaint ” with Tyrod is his height compared to the other QB’s in this years class. Standing at a small 6’0 feet tall only two other QB’s have had major success in the NFL.  One of those two obviously is Mike Vick, another Hokie grad. The other is Saints QB Drew Brees but I wanna focus on Vick. It is because of Vick that Taylor may get a shot to play behind center in the NFL.

My prediction for “T-Mobile” is that he will get his shot to play as a QB in the pros. Despite criticism form scouts and all the suggestions to move to a slot back or wide-out, Tyrod is a proven winner and has always played the QB position and will go along with it for as long as he possibly can. He will go in the late 3rd to early 4th rounds  to a team looking for an exciting explosion of talent and speed at either QB , WR or even HB.

3.  CB Rashad”Roc” Carmichael (5’11 186 lbs):  Probably the most underrated player coming into the draft out of Virginia Tech, Rashad “Roc” Carmichael quietly put together a solid 4 year career as a Hokie. Racking up 114 tackles and picking off 10 passes over 4 seasons. Where Roc’s presence was felt most was in the locker room. Like Tyrod Taylor, Carmichael was a very vocal leader from day 1 with the Hokies and was a playmaker on some pretty emotional plays that changed the course of some key games for the Hokies. The most recent was in the Thursday Night ESPN broadcast against Georgia Tech in Blacksburg. After David Wilson returned a kick off for a TD the Yellow Jackets were driving down field and had one final chance to win rowdy Blacksburg. This opportunity was crushed when Roc picked off a fade route with under a minute remaining, locking up the win for Va. Tech.  As for his draft prospects Roc at 5’11 will likely move to safety in the pros and become a hard hitter and playmaker on special teams. 

 My prediction for Roc is that he will be selected in the middle of the 3rd round by a team that will be looking to add depth to its defensive backfield. If given the chance Carmichael will prove to his team and coaches that he can and will compete for the job and for a spot in the top two spots on the depth chart. But I think the picking of Roc Carmichael will be more for his intangibles and leadership on the field than his production on the field.

Carmichaels pick against GT

 

 Other Prospects

 

  • RB Darren Evans(6’0 227 lbs) : 4-5 rounds
  • DE Steven Friday(6’4 250 lbs) : 4-5 rounds
  • DT John Graves (6’3 286 lbs) : 5-6 rounds
  • WR/TE Andre Smith(6’5 269 lbs): 5-6 rounds
  • S/CB  Davon Morgan (6’0 195 lbs): 6-7 rounds

 

New York Giants Offseason

Hey everyone, sorry I haven’t got a post done in a while.  I have been really busy with school and sports.  Anyway, I wanted to talk about the New York Giants season and some offseason moves they should make before the draft as well as the draft.

The Giants season can be described in one word, turnovers.  The Giants led the league in turnovers with 42 yet finished 10-6 just missing the playoffs.  Eli Manning was the one to blame for most of them with 25 interceptions and multiple fumbles.  Imagine if this team didn’t kill themselves with these turnovers.  They could have easily been a 12-4 team with a bye in the playoffs.  Here are some offseason moves and acquisitions the New York Football Giants should make to become a more complete football team.  First off the Giants should get rid of their own trouble in the locker room by trading away RB Brandon Jacobs.  Even though Jacobs was a loud-mouth and a baby about his playing time in New York, trading him away would make the leadership role even worse for the team because he was the one to pump his team up before the games.  Back on topic, Jacobs most likely destination would be the Detroit Lions who need a power back to complement Jahvid Best.  Big Blue would probably only receive back a 3rd or 4th round pick in this years up coming draft but that could be used to draft a solid lineman.   The only free agent I would love the Giants to pick up on is Leon Washington.  Big Blue’s special teams was dreadful this year and Leon would be a huge improvement.  I also believe he would be perfect is because he has the experience that all the returners on the Giants don’t have.  Will Blackmon and Darius Reynaud were terrible and anyone would be an upgrade over them.

Next I would like to talk about the players Jerry Reese should be eyeing down in the draft.  I know it’s still early but here are some players I would love the Giants to draft in the first 3 rounds

1st Round- Mike Pouncey ——- He would be an immediate help for the Giants line that is getting old and banged up.  Also both the starting center and guards are coming off majors surgery which means this would add depth to these positions.

2nd Round- Ryan Williams—— If the Jacobs trade goes through, Williams would split carries with Bradshaw because both of them are not every down backs.  His speed and size would definitely help complement Bradshaw and help get the Giants back to that hard nosed, running the football team.

3rd Round- Casey Matthews—– I know Casey is not the same player as his brother but sure is he good.  His whole family has succeded in the NFL so why not him next?  Casey would compete with Clint Sintim and Keith Bulluck for a starting spot in a very weak linebacker corp.

I will be back in a couple weeks with a better evaluation on the draft.  Enjoy

Jerry Reese

Jerry Reese

2010 a year in sports to remember

The Year of The Underdog

How will you remember 2010??? Will you think of the Tiger Woods situation , The world cup perhaps or maybe even Brett Favre and the end of his long and historic career. For me the way I’ll always remember 2010 is by the underdogs. We had 2 major sleepers win the 2 biggest titles in American Sports. Back in February the New Orleans Saints who had endured 42 losing seasons in franchise history took on the almighty Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts . The Saints pulled off the unthinkable upset and won the super bowl with maybe the gutsiest call in any super bowl… The inside kick to start the 3rd Quarter of play. The other major upset in sports this season was in the MLB. Even before the season began people started picking teams to win the fall classic. I was one how picked the Yankees. But I knew no on who was taking a team from the National league Western division , especially the San Fransisco Giants. But like the Saints the Giants found their way threw tight games and incredible pitching performances by young stars like Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. 

Some other top moments of 2010 were the USA’s run in the world cup, The UCONN women’s basketball team winning 90 Straight games passing legendary UCLA and Jimmie Johnson winning his 5th straight Sprint Cup in NASCAR. This year was also a big year of deaths to famous people who impacted sports in major ways. Heres a list of some of the great people the world of sports lost in 2010:

  1. Bob Feller  (MLB)
  2. Bob Fenimore (NFL)
  3. Jim Hunter (NASCAR)
  4. Carl Braun (NBA)
  5. Manute Bol (NBA)
  6. Dorothy Kamenshek (Baseball)
  7. Lew Carpenter (NFL)
  8. Gil McDougald (MLB) 
  9. Franklin Mieuli (NBA)
  10. Dave Niehaus (MLB)
  11. Bob Probert (NHL)
  12. Don Merideth (NFL)
  13. Bob Sheppard (MLB)
  14. Rob Santo (MLB)
  15. Fred Schaus (NBA)
  16. Freddy Sez (Baseball)
  17. Chester Simmons (TV)
  18. Jack Tatum (NFL)
  19. Ralph Houk (MLB)
  20. George Blanda (NFL)
  21. Sparky Anderson (MLB)
  22. Bobby Thompson (MLB)
  23. George Steinnbrenner (MLB)
  24. John Wooden (Basketball)

(All of these individuals contributed so much to their respected sports and will be missed by everyone who follows the games that they have impacted so very much.)

Another big part of 2010 was controversy. With scandals like Reggie Bush at USC and the recruitment of Auburn QB Cam Newton many writers had a field day writing and saying things about these amazing athletes but at the same time mysterious people. Another big topic of 2010 was the Concussion Discussion in the NFL. With new rules put in place against big hits many people are questioning the toughness of the NFL but there are some who say that this needed (Those people don’t even watch football). My view on the topic is that you just shut up and play football. Think of back in the day when players had a little or sometimes no facemask. They were still knocking each other out and no we have tons of protection but we have become babies and want to take away the best part of football… CONTACT !! Overall I enjoyed the 2010 sprts season. Even though neither one of my 2 favorite teams (Yankees and Va Tech) had a chance to compete for a championship they still both had good season and the Hokies can still add to their glorious streak of 11 win in a row with a win against Stanford on Monday 1/3/11 on ESPN.

Heres a look back into all the championship winners in the world of sports for the year 2010:

MLB: San Fransisco Giants over Texas Rangers

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers over Boston Celtics

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks over Philadelphia Flyers

NFL: New Orleans Saints over Indianapolis Colts

Hope you all enjoyed your 2010 and I wish all of you a happy,healthy and successful 2011 !!

“No Favorites league” aka The NFL

This year more than ever the NFL can be characterized as the “No Favorites League”.  With there being no clear favorite or undefeated team that has been dominating the rest of the league. The top teams in both the NFC and AFC each have at least two losses. One of those teams is the New York “Football” Giants. Here in NY the talk of the town was about the loudmouth Jets whose coach speaks for its fans in a very blue-collar like manner. Don’t get me wrong the Jets are still a good team but they are not yet a GREAT team. The Jets are hyped similar to the New York Mets. Most Jets fans are Mets fans which is why they look forward to football so much cause they hate baseball season. My point in this comparison is year after year the Mets like the Jets are projected to be great and make a run and overtake the Yankees or in this case the Giants. This seasons Jets team reminds me a little bit of the Mets back in ’06. The Mets had a young nucleus with players like Jose Reyes, David Wright and big time players like Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado. But what happened to the Mets in that season was they had a let down when Carlos Beltran watched strike 3 go by. I haven’t figured out who these players are on Gang Green but one thing’s for sure, they will be let down again!!

  Now back to the main point of this post – the NFL being a” no favorites” league. The Giants this year were supposed to be the last place team in the NFC East with a young “Inexperienced” Defense and a “Highly Overrated” QB, Eli Manning. But boy oh’ boy were those predictions off. The Giants this year are ranked 7th in Passing with the deadly combination of Eli Manning and 2nd year wide-out Hakeem Nicks and they are ranked 2nd in both rushing and passing defense. Not to shabby if I do say so myself.  Big Blue has also been helped by the progress of RB Ahmad Bradshaw who has taken over the starting role for Brandon Jacobs who has also fit in nicely to his new spot as a back up.

    On the flip side of things the Dallas Cowboys were given the title of “Team to Beat” in the NFC before they even started practicing. The Cowboys have been in my book the worst team in the league or the unluckiest team in the league. I say unluckiest because they have lost their starting QB Tony Romo, who like his team, is highly overrated and the recent firing of head coach Wade Phillips adds to the mess.  The thing that surprises me is that even when you look at the Cowboys on paper they really don’t look good at all. In fact they look terrible… With Tony Romo who I think is a true back up QB, an aging line that couldn’t block an old woman and an aging defense who has one or 2 good players (Keith Brooking and DeMarcus Ware). Hopefully the Cowboys received a wake up call and will use their top 5 draft pick wisely and grab one of the many outstanding QB’s in the upcoming draft.

As you have seen there are two major factors or groupings that help classify the teams in the greatest professional sport. You have the overrated like the Chargers , Cowboys and Vikings. And you have the underrated teams like the Chiefs, Giants and Falcons. There will always be a debate especially with teams who are from big market teams but the true beauty of this whole thing is that we never truly know who will win. Anything can happen so I guess we’ll all just have to keep on watching…..

Super Bowl Coming to the Big Apple!

When you think of the game of football what comes to mind? For me as a High School Football player who lives in New York football means hitting the guy wearing the other jersey as hard as you possibly can and making him taste the grass or dirt that you are playing on. I also think that football is a sport that is meant to be played in a cold hardcore environment, not some tropical fun land where you’re dying of heat and exhaustion! Now for the 1st time ever the NFL gets it and is finally making their most watched event their best one. Sure you won’t have the rich and famous attending but to tell you the truth WHO CARES!!! This game is not about who is in attendance it’s about the two teams that are on the field of play giving it there all for a place in NFL history. Also the people who really do care about the game will still show up because they are true fans. This will all not take place until 2014 which is Super Bowl XLVIII or for those of you who can’t read Roman Numerals Suber Bowl 48. Overall I do like this switch in the location because it will be football played in Football weather which I view as a big plus since it will bring back the attitude of true football to its biggest game. And who knows maybe one of the two NY Teams may be playing in the game!!! Boy Oh Boy I can’t wait for 2014!!!!! 

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