Apr 16, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

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11Buffalo Bills Shouldn't Start E.J. Manuel in Week 1

The Buffalo Bills weren’t good enough to make the playoffs last year, and they’re no closer to getting there this year. They keep getting marginally better - barely keeping their head above water, really - and the rest of their division keeps making moves. For that reason and oh so many more, they can not let E.J. Manuel start in his first season in the NFL.

I’m no fan of the Bills selection of Manuel with the 15th overall pick. Calling it a reach doesn’t even do justice to the word and there’s no convincing me (and almost everyone else for that matter) that he had any business being the first quarterback selected in this year’s draft. The third quarterback maybe or maybe the fourth ideally, but by no stretch of the imagination the first.

Value and pre-draft rankings aside, even the most optimistic scouts felt Manuel was a project. All the physical tools are there, more or less - he just needs some time behind a savvy veteran quarterback to polish his technique up a bit. What he has in physical ability, he lacks in mental aptitude - to this point. Great physical tools, solid but far from perfect fundamentals and a developing football mind... These marks are not the ones of a week 1 starter.

In ending what is surely coming off as a hate parade on my part, at the expense of Manuel, I must let it be known I wouldn’t be all that surprised to see him have a successful career in the NFL. The likelihood of this happening, however, is significantly decreased if he gets thrown to the wolves in his rookie year. Worst of all, if all he has to do is beat out Kevin Kolb and - for journalistic integrity’s sake, I probably should mention - Tarvaris Jackson for the job, to these wolves his career could likely be thrown.

Assuming Marrone’s not half as crazy as his first draft would indicate, Manuel is miles ahead of Kolb and, well, lightyears ahead of Jackson. Fine, that’s just great; still doesn’t make the Bills a contender.

So in keeping with reality, the Bills haven’t a hope in hell of making the playoffs. This much we know. The Dolphins and Jets both got considerably better this offseason and the Patriots are the Patriots; good luck coming out of that division. What benefit, if any, is there to letting Manuel’s confidence get beaten like a rented mule week after week for the sake of his gaining the “experience”? What good will these experiences do for Manuel if the vast majority of them are negative?

A lot can be said for patience in the NFL. It’s gotten the Seahawks and Niners to the top of power rankings nation wide and has played a key part in the rebuilding of several other successful franchises. More importantly, you can see the effect a lack of patience has had on even more. I’m looking at you Jacksonville, Arizona and Oakland - to name a few. If a little of this golden word (patience) is exerted on Manuel, the Bills might have a chance at adding Buffalo to the list of successful rebuilds and Marrone’s name to the list of unconventional geniuses. Best of luck otherwise.

You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV


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112013 NFL Draft Final Review: Bills, Jets, Eagles, Giants, Raiders, Steelers, Broncos and More

We’ve spent so much time over the past month examining the quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft and criticizing them as a whole for being one of the worst classes of quarterbacks in draft history. Now that the draft is over, let’s take one more look at them, where they were drafted, and what the future may hold for them.

E.J. Manuel, Buffalo – This pick shocked a lot of people on two fronts: first, many assumed the Bills would take Ryan Nassib, and second, most thought Manuel was more of a second or third round pick than a first rounder. Regardless, the new coaching staff in Buffalo believes they have their quarterback of the future.

Manuel appears to fit what Doug Marrone is looking for in a quarterback better than Nassib; Manuel is taller, a better runner, and has enough arm strength to cut through those stiff Buffalo winds (although Nassib has great arm strength as well). With Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson in the picture, Manuel will have to earn his spot as the starter, so he may not play right away. It may be best to give Manuel a year to develop before becoming the starter, but if the Bills are struggling midseason, Marrone could hand things over to his rookie.

Geno Smith, New York Jets – It was a surprise to see Smith fall to the second round, but he was the second quarterback taken in the draft. Smith’s presence on the Jets roster really complicates things for that franchise, as it’ll be tough to part with Mark Sanchez’s contract. However, Smith should get a fair shot to win the starting job, and if Sanchez, Greg McElroy, and David Garrard are his competitors he’ll have a realistic chance of winning that competition and starting right away. Even if Sanchez retains the starting job, he’ll have Smith breathing down his neck the whole time, which could set up quite a quarterback controversy in New York this fall.

Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay – Glennon was drafted in the third round, which was a little earlier than expected, especially with Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib still available. The Bucs taking Glennon isn’t exactly a vote of confidence for incumbent Josh Freeman, who’s entering the final year of his contract. Freeman should begin the season as the starter, but if the team struggles they may give Glennon a look to see if he might be a better option for the future than Freeman.

Matt Barkley, Philadelphia – The Eagles moved up in order to take Barkley with the first pick of the fourth round, which is a far cry from where he would have gone last year had he come out. On the surface, this is a curious pick, as Barkley clearly isn’t the kind of runner or athlete we’re accustomed to seeing in Chip Kelly’s offense; however, Barkley is a smart quarterback that can read defenses and get the ball out quickly, which is what Kelly is looking for in a quarterback. Barkley will enter what should be one of the more intriguing quarterback battles in the NFL, as he’ll be competing for the starting job with Michael Vick and Nick Foles. Which player Kelly goes with at quarterback this year is tough to predict, but he clearly has a plan in mind for Barkley’s future in Philadelphia.

Ryan Nassib, New York Giants – The Giants got great value by being able to draft Nassib in the fourth round, after he was a potential first or second round pick. His experience with a variety of offenses in college, his proficiency running a no-huddle offense last year, and all his great intangibles make him the perfect backup quarterback for the Giants. Should any trouble arise with Eli Manning, the Giants will definitely be covered. In the meantime, Nassib has a chance to develop into a quarterback that can become a starter for someone other than the Giants, and a couple years down the road the Giants might be able to trade him and get a lot more than a fourth round pick in return.

Tyler Wilson, Oakland – Wilson is the kind of quarterback that could greatly benefit from a year or two of development, but with the Raiders he may get a chance to play right away. Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor don’t inspire a lot of confidence, which could open the door for Wilson, and if nothing else he has a chance to beat out Pryor for the backup job, which could give him a realistic chance to become the starter in a year or two, if not soon. Wilson may be the toughest quarterback in this class, and if he ends up seeing the field this year, he’s going to need that toughness playing behind Oakland’s offensive line.

Landry Jones, Pittsburgh – The Steelers really needed a young quarterback in place to back up Ben Roethlisberger, who is quite vulnerable to injury these days, and Jones is a good candidate to fulfill that role. He was a starter at Oklahoma for nearly four full seasons, so Jones has the kind of experience that NFL teams like in rookie quarterbacks, and that experience will help him if he’s pressed into service this season. Pittsburgh might have to simplify things and scale down the playbook for him if Jones has to sub in for Roethlisberger, but he has the arm strength to make all the throws, and drafting him to be a short-term backup is a good pick in the fourth round.

Brad Sorensen, San Diego – Sorensen was the first of four quarterbacks taken in the seventh round. He didn’t play major college football, but he has NFL size and a cannon of an arm, so he’s worth taking a chance with in the final round of the draft. Phillip Rivers isn’t close to the end of his career, but he may be past his prime, so it doesn’t hurt the Chargers to start acquiring some reinforcements, and Sorensen is a good sleeper pick.

Zac Dysert, Denver – John Elway made a low-risk move by taking Dysert, who received a lot of mixed reviews leading up to the draft. The Broncos drafted Brock Osweiler last year to be Peyton Manning’s backup, but it doesn’t hurt to bring in Dysert to challenge Osweiler for the backup job. If his health holds up, Manning could have a few years left in the tank, so the chance to play in Denver is limited for Dysert, but he’ll get to learn from the best in the business.

B.J. Daniels, San Francisco – This pick probably surprised Daniels as much as anybody. His skill set is fairly similar to Colin Kaepernick, although talent wise the two are obviously worlds apart. He could challenge Colt McCoy as the backup, he could move to wide receiver, or the 49ers could use him to simulate Russell Wilson in practice two weeks a year. With so many draft picks and so many different ways to use Daniels, this pick is pretty sensible on the part of the 49ers.

Sean Renfree, Atlanta – Matt Ryan isn’t going anywhere, but the Falcons aren’t exactly set at the backup quarterback spot, which is where Renfree’s future lies. Renfree has good size as well as the arm strength to make all the throws, and spending his college years with David Cutcliffe should have him well prepared for the NFL. As a backup quarterback, Renfree has some potential, and Atlanta was wise to give him a chance.


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112013 NFL Draft Losers: Bears, Cardinals, Panthers, Bills, Patriots, Browns and More

Yesterday we did the good, and now it’s time for the bad, as we continue to examine last weekend’s NFL Draft. Here are 10 teams, in no particular order that could have done a better job in making their picks:

Chicago – With just six picks, the Bears chose to focus on just a couple of positions instead of trying to spread out their picks to cover a multitude of positions. The additions of Jon Bostic, Khaseem Greene, and Cornelius Washington should make the Bears feel better about the linebacker position without Brian Urlacher around. Also, Kyle Long and Jordan Mills will definitely bolster their offensive line, but their secondary and defensive line needs weren’t addressed at all. They didn’t have a lot of flexibility or a lot of picks to work with, but they had enough to do better than what they ended up doing.

Arizona – The Cardinals wanted an offensive tackle, but when the top three tackles available were all taken off the board prior to their first round selection, they settled for an offensive guard in Jonathan Cooper, and failed to take a tackle later in the draft. But that was just their first problem. Arizona also needed secondary help, but the only defensive back they added was Tyrann Mathieu, a major character risk and at best a slot corner, not a safety like they needed. Kevin Minter and Alex Okaford were nice additions to their defense, and they did address a need with running backs Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington, but the offensive line and secondary remain big areas of concern following the draft.

Carolina – The Panthers had just five picks in the draft, and they did not use them wisely with regards to their needs. Carolina did well to address their defensive front, taking Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short in the first two rounds, but their needs in the secondary and at wide receiver went completely ignored. In the late rounds, Carolina ended up with a situational linebacker in A.J. Klein and a change-of-pace running back in Kenjon Barner. Those are two solid players, but not exactly what they needed.

Buffalo – The first round selection of quarterback E.J. Manuel does carry some risk, but that’s not the biggest problem the Bills had during the draft. The quarterback position aside, their defense had a lot more holes to plug coming into the draft than their offense. It would have been nice to see Buffalo focus more on defense early in the draft rather than take a wide receiver in both the second and third rounds, although both receivers taken should improve their offense considerably, especially Robert Woods. Buffalo added a couple players that can help their secondary later in the draft, but nobody that is expected to make a big impact. The Bills also used a sixth round draft pick on a kicker, which is a pick they could have used elsewhere considering all the holes they have to fill.

New England – It may be surprising to see the Patriots on this list, but they did not have a good weekend. New England traded out of the first round and loaded up on middle round draft picks, but they failed to find any impact players in the five picks they had between the second and fourth rounds. Second round pick Jamie Collins is the closest to an impact player the Patriots drafted, but he may not be an every down player in the NFL. Both of the defensive backs out of Rutgers that New England took in the third round were reaches and neither may be able to give them the kind of help at cornerback that they need. Wide receiver Josh Boyce was a nice pick up in the fourth round, but second round wide receiver Aaron Dobson is awfully raw and may not be ready to play in an offense that’s orchestrated by Tom Brady. The Patriots also ignored their offensive line, which is a position they should have addressed with all those middle round picks.

New York Jets – No one should be surprised to see the Jets on this list. They may have gotten their quarterback for the future, but the Jets failed to get any skill players that can help that quarterback make plays. New York did add a few offensive linemen, which should help, especially Brian Winters, who should start right away. However, both of their first round picks were spent on defensive players, which may have been a mistake considering that their offense was a far bigger problem for them last year. They ended up with some good players, but they didn’t address their weaknesses the way they should have, and so there’s no guarantee this draft has made them a significantly better team.

Cleveland – With just five picks, the Browns fell well short of what they needed to do. Barkevious Mingo was too risky of a player to take sixth overall, despite their need for a pass rusher. Cleveland could have bolstered their defense in the secondary or along the defensive line with that pick, instead of taking Mingo, a player with some questions regarding his work ethic and attitude. Cornerback Leon McFadden was a good pick up for them in the third round because they needed a cornerback, but after Mingo and McFadden they didn’t pick again until the 6th round, where there was little chance of finding impact players. In the end, the Browns finished the draft without making significant improvements to their roster.

Tampa Bay – The Bucs sacrificed their first round pick in order to get Darrelle Revis, and then for some reason they decided that they needed to improve their secondary even more in the second round by taking cornerback Johnthan Banks. Tampa’s third round pick was even more questionable, as they took quarterback Mike Glennon. Not only does taking Glennon show a lack of confidence in Josh Freeman, but also it was surprising to see Glennon picked with both Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib still on the board. Instead of getting another quarterback, Tampa may have been wise to get a wide receiver or tight end that could be a receiving threat for their current quarterback, and the third round would have been the right time to take someone at that position. Defensive tackle Akeem Spence was a good pick up for them, but defensive end William Gholston has a reputation for being inconsistent, so despite a lot of talent he may pan out for them. Without a first round pick, the Buccaneers needed to be more efficient than they were with the picks that they did have.

Dallas – The Cowboys really failed in this draft, starting with first round pick Travis Frederick. Dallas needed help on the offensive line, but they reached too far to get it in the first round when they could have drafted a safety. Instead, they waited until the third round to get a safety, which would have been the place to get an offensive lineman. Tight end Gavin Escobar and wide receiver Terrance Williams will be useful targets for Tony Romo in the passing game, but Dallas could have used those picks in the second and third rounds to address their needs at the line of scrimmage, which is a more pressing need for them than offensive skill players. Not only did the Cowboys fail to address some needs, but they also took the wrong approach when they did attempt to address their needs.

Oakland – There’s a chance the Raiders end up with several quality players from this draft, but they took far too many risks for a team that’s rebuilding and that’s expected to be at the bottom of a bad division this season. D.J. Hayden is a huge medical risk, especially 12th overall; the Raiders needed to make a safer choice in the first round, no matter how much they liked Hayden. Second round pick Menelik Watson has plenty of potential, but he has so little experience playing football that he could have a huge learning curve in the NFL, and there’s a chance he’s never able to catch up. It was also questionable why they drafted quarterback Tyler Wilson, because he’ll need at least a year or two development, the Raiders have Matt Flynn for the time being, and there should be better options in next year’s draft. The safest pick they made was third round linebacker Sio Moore. The Raiders had six picks in the final two rounds, but those players can’t be relied on to be impact players and neither can their early round picks.


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112013 NFL Draft Risky Picks: Lions, Bills, Chargers, Jets and More

One of the more difficult parts of picking a player can sometimes be the risk associated with that pick. Character issues, run-ins with the law and health are just a few of the often mentioned question marks surrounding some of the prospects heading into this year’s draft. That’s just some of the more common concern material to boot. Fake girlfriends and ten failed drug tests weren’t even really touched upon, but oddly enough are also of concern with two of the more popular college stars heading to new NFL homes. For a look at the five riskies picks, that either meet all or some of the criteria or are just risky due to where they were picked read on.

1. Ezekiel Ansah 5th Overall Detroit Lions

The risk associated with Ansah has little to do with character issues or girlfriends of the non-existent variety. It lies in the fact that just a few years ago he hadn’t even a clue what football was. Physically Ansah presents all the tools needed to be an elite defensive end and maybe even in a few years an all-pro. His technique however leaves much to be desired and he also lacks a variety of moves to get by linemen. There is certainly some polishing to be done with this pick, the fifth overall in the draft.

2. E.J. Manuel 15th Overall Buffalo Bills

The Bills could have easily waited this one out and landed Manuel in the second or third round. They could have even traded down having possibly anticipated this and acquired more draft picks. Instead they draft Manuel who is nowhere near being a first round talent and now has to carry the pressure of being one.

3. Manti Te’o 38th Overall San Diego Chargers

Fake girlfriend over the internet hoax aside, the months leading up to this draft weren’t all that kind to Te’o. From Heisman candidate to butt end of every joke just like that, and to follow it all up an awful combine saw his draft stock spiral out of control. At one point he was considered a lock in the top five, and yet the Chargers landed him in the second round. Overreaction by the rest of the league or do the Chargers just not get it with Te’o? Time will tell.

4. Dee Milliner 9th Overall New York Jets

I can’t say I’m all that envious of Milliner’s position. The amount of pressure he’ll be under having to follow in Revis’ footsteps will be nothing short of ridiculous and that’s a lot for a young guy to handle. He’s by far the best corner in this draft, but it’s amazing how pressure can affect people. Were it not enough that he has to replace Darrelle Revis, he has to do it in New York; with the team that craves all the football attention the big apple has to offer - positive or negative.

5. Tyrann Mathieu 69th Overall Arizona Cardinals

This one is relatively self-explanatory. If you think otherwise let me remind you Mathieu failed over ten drug tests during his time at LSU - but hey, it was just for pot, we think? Because of this reefer madness Mathieu was forced to miss a year of football, which added even more uncertainty to his potential career in the NFL. That being said, there is no denying this kids talent and if anybody will be able to keep him in line it’s former teammate and mentor Patrick Peterson - who just so happens to be his current teammate now as well.

You can follow J.D. Burke @JDBurkeOV


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112013 NFL Draft Worst Picks: Bills, Browns, Bengals, Seahawks and More

While it’s a little early to decide winners and losers of this draft only a few days removed, something can be said for the quality of the picks to this point. Here are the worst picks from the early rounds of last week’s draft.

1. E.J. Manuel 15th Overall Buffalo Bills

This pick came so far out of left field, I don’t even know where to start. Only time will tell if Manuel was worth the 15th overall pick and the distinction of being the first quarterback taken in this draft, but for now this pick is an absurd reach. The Bills easily could have traded down and still landed Manuel, but instead they made the jump. Who knows what awaits the Bills at the other side.

2. Barkevious Mingo 6th Overall Cleveland Browns

Ask five different people how they felt about Mingo going into this draft and you’ll get five different answers. One of the more commonly held opinions seems to be that he’s a tad overrated though. Not only is Mingo a reach with the 6th overall pick, but he also bears the burden of having to switch from being a 4-3 defensive end to being a 3-4 outside linebacker. Mingo is a great talent and addresses one of the Browns needs for another rusher on the outside, but there’s quite a bit of risk with this pick.

3. Will Davis 93rd Overall Miami Dolphins

There are reaches and then there is this pick. Most had Davis projecting as a fifth or sixth rounder - which if you ask me is quite generous. The fact that the Dolphins were willing to trade up to grab him makes this all the more absurd.

4. Tyler Eifert 21st Overall Cincinnati Bengals

Don’t get me wrong, Tyler Eifert is a great talent and should work out just fine with the Bengals. Looking at this pick purely from the standpoint of what this organization needs however, has me wondering what compelled them to call Eifert’s name. For as long as the Bengals have had A.J. Green they’ve lacked a solid number two receiver. Would have been much more satisfied had they picked Cordarrelle Patterson or Justin Hunter. Any receiver actually.

5. Christine Michael 62nd Overall Seattle Seahawks

I can think of no pick in the first three rounds that made lense sense in terms of addressing positional needs than this one. By that same token, the Seahawks don’t have much in the way of needs left. Not a horrible pick, but a bit of a head scratcher nonetheless.

You can follow J.D. Burke @JDBurkeOV


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112013 NFL Draft Trades: Jaguars, Bills, Chargers, Texans, Browns, Giants and More

One of the more exciting aspects of the NFL Draft isn’t which players get picked when, but who does the picking. Especially with so much uncertainty at the top of the draft and where the quarterback position is concerned. Some teams who are desperate for that final piece that they feel will get them to the Super Bowl, are likely to trade up and make that big splash. Others in the more developmental aspect of their team building will look to trade down; especially since there’s a lot of talent to be found in the second and third rounds of this year’s draft. For a look at who are the most likely players to draft up or down, check below.

Most Likely to Trade Up

Jacksonville Jaguars: I don’t necessarily see them jumping from the number two spot to first overall, but I do see them getting two first round picks out of this draft. This will depend entirely on whether they draft Geno Smith with the second overall pick, or if the Bills do at the eighth. If neither is the case and he’s still available in the mid to late twenties, expect the Jags to jump and grab him.

Buffalo Bills: Similar situation to the Jaguars. They won’t need to move ahead to land one of either Ryan Nassib or Geno Smith, but could compete with the Jags to land one of the two with a jump back into the first round towards the end of it.

San Diego Chargers: The Chargers need help at offensive tackle and they need it badly. Then again, so do the Cardinals and Titans ahead of them. If Lane Johnson is still available after the Cardinals make their pick I could see the Chargers jumping a few spots to land him.

Houston Texans: The Texans window is starting to shrink. Not by a lot, but the process is starting. They are in compete-now mode and need a second receiving option to get the job done. Could see them moving up to land one of either Cordarrelle Patterson, Tavon Austin or Justin Hunter.

Most Likely to Trade Down

Cleveland Browns: The Browns would like to recoup a second round pick after losing this years due to their second round selection of Josh Gordon in last year’s supplemental draft. They’ve also been deploying quite the smokescreen about their want for Dee Milliner. Any corner hungry team could pounce on their 6th overall pick.

New York Giants: Have a lot of places on the depth chart that could use tweaking but none more so than linebacker. They just so happen to never draft linebackers in the first round.

Atlanta Falcons: Thomas Dimitroff likes to make a big splash in free agency and has a big need at corner. I could definitely see him moving way up to land either Xavier Rhodes or Desmond Trufant.

Baltimore Ravens: They have a lot of draft picks and could probably use every last one of them to fill all the departed roster spots. Then again, they’re looking pretty weak at wide receiver as of right now.

You can follow J.D. Burke @JDBurkeOV


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115 Worst QB Situations in the NFL: Vikings, Bills, Raiders and More

Football is a team sport, but the most important position has never been up for debate. Quarterbacks can make good teams great, but they can also take a solid team down a couple of notches. Looking at a team’s signal caller says a lot about where they are, but we all know that the Broncos, Patriots, and Saints are set at QB. Here are the league’s five worst quarterback situations.

5. Vikings

You know your QB isn’t doing so hot when your team makes the playoffs and he can still be mentioned among the league’s most inconsistent. For those who claim Ponder managed his team to the postseason and doesn’t deserve to be here, check out some of these numbers. Ponder managed to throw for less than 200 yards NINE times, including three inexcusable sub-100 yard performances.  A positive way to look at those stats is—why would you need to air it out with a RB like Adrian Peterson, to which I would counter—how can an NFL QB fail to top the century mark when the other team HAS TO WORRY ABOUT ADRIAN PETERSON? The Vikings are a potential top-5 offense with just a decent QB, so it’s make-or-break time for Ponder. 

4. Bills

Kevin Kolb was a bust for Arizona, and now he has a second change with the Bills. That’s not a good sign for the Bills. To be fair, Kolb lined up behind a Cardinal offensive line that would have a hard time containing a Kevin Ware pass-rush (too soon?) and still managed to lead Arizona to an early 4-0 record, but he won’t have Larry Fitzgerald to throw to in Buffalo. Kolb has never proven himself to be an NFL starter, and the Bills may look to find a long-term solution in the draft. Until the draft, Buffalo lacks a legitimate starter.

3. Raiders

Oakland is far-and-away the early favorite to finish 2013 in the NFL cellar, and the man lining up under center does not help those prospects. The Raiders earn the distinction of landing on this list not only because of their assumed starter—weak-armed Matt Flynn who has one respectable NFL game to his name—but also because Terrelle Pryor is actually in the conversation to be starter. A franchise can be defined asin turmoil” when a contender for starting QB wasn’t even considered a quarterback by many teams when he was drafted. Oakland is in for a long season.    

2. Jaguars

Correction: the Raiders aren’t the only team to be in this position because of one quarterback. Between the inconsistent Chad Henne and Blaine mistake-waiting-to-happen Gabbert, the Jags are rumored to be considering Geno Smith at number 2 in the upcoming draft. The only problem is that Jacksonville is so bereft of talent that they need to consider approximately 19 other positions with their top pick. To put it lightly, if a Jaguars QB has a great 2013 season, they are the hands-down MVP.  

1. Jets

Mark Sanchez. Mark. Sanchez.

Honorable Mention: Browns, Buccaneers, Titans          


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11Can Kevin Kolb Help the Buffalo Bills?

In case you haven’t heard, the Buffalo Bills signed Kevin Kolb to a 2 year contract worth $13M. The plan is to have Kolb compete with Tarvaris Jackson for the starting gig and possibly another quarterback added via the draft.

That’s hardly news at this point though. Hope you’re ready for this one Bills fans. Kevin Kolb, he of the zero playoff appearances, is coming to Buffalo to bring the city a Super Bowl! When asked why he chose the Bills Kolb said “I’m here to win the Super Bowl. Period”. It was really kind of cute if you ask me.

As much as I can appreciate Kolb’s confidence - or at least comedic value - I can’t help but laugh a little too. If I’m Carson Palmer I think there’s no better time than now to upgrade that helmet. This is what happens when you play behind the Cardinals offensive line.

The fact of the matter is this team isn’t even close to playoff contention, nevermind this Super Bowl talk. They did just finish one of the more hyped up season’s in recent history 6-10 and fire their coach after all. Oh, and release their starting quarterback. What I’m trying to say is, I can almost let unrealistic expectations slide due to that whole “athlete’s needing to be confident” thing. Something this absurd though, not so much.

Kolb needs to be more selective in his choice of words and try to not shove his chest out so far the next time he speaks to the media. At this point in his career I think he should stray away from unnecessary hype and bravado. It didn’t work well in Arizona and it’s not endearing himself to the fans in Buffalo.

The good news for Kolb is that at this point the brain damage should develop at a much slower pace behind a much better offensive line. The bad news: Kolb’s as many established weapons in the receiving game in Buffalo as he did in Arizona. Should be interesting to see how this pans out. Assuming he beats out Tarvaris Jackson and whichever quarterback they draft that is.

You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV


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112013 NFL Free Agency Losers: Ravens, Bills, Bengals, Jets and More

With the first wave of free agency all but over, the winners have made their mark. The losers, not so much. Be it because of they chose not to participate, or did so in the worst possible way by watching their stars land big contracts elsewhere. Not everyone can be a winner in the offseason, here’s my list of the biggest losers.

Baltimore Ravens

Don’t plan the Super Bowl repeat party just yet... What’s happened to the Ravens post Super Bowl is bordering on rebuild material. Ozzie Newsome has either cut or lost four players on defense that would have probably started had they stayed with the club, and it looks like that total will probably hit five when Ed Reed eventually signs elsewhere.

Buffalo Bills

I can understand why they were reticent to hand out big paydays in free agency, what with last year’s offseason blunders, but they could have at least done... something. They lost Andy Levitre to the Titans, then made one of their more questionable moves by releasing Ryan Fitzpatrick. Can only hope their big splash in this year’s free agent pool, Manny Lawson, works out better than last years.

Cincinnati Bengals

I’ve been a little surprised by the Bengals lack of activity to this point. They have the most cap space of any team in the NFL, and haven’t really done much of anything. Cincinnati hasn’t even been able to keep some of their best from hitting the market.

Houston Texans

Very little has been done to help get this team over the top. They still don’t have a legitimate receiving threat to accompany Andre Johnson, and the markets starting to get kind of shallow as far as receivers go. They also lost Glover Quin to the Detroit Lions and James Casey and Connor Barwin to the Philadelphia Eagles.

New York Jets

I don’t want to be too hard on the New York Jets, simply because new general manager John Idzik came into town $20M over the cap, but it still hasn’t been a good offseason for Jets fans. If the Jets are done with offseason signings already, with just David Garrard, Mike Goodson and Willie Colon to show for it, the Jets could be in for another long season.

You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV


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11Ryan Fitzpatrick or Kevin Kolb to Jaguars?

Blaine “Sunshine” Gabbert has a career completion percentage of 53.8 to go along with 26 turnovers in 25 games while throwing 21 TD.

Chad Henne has never had a season with more TD than INT.

Yet the Jaguars are remaining quiet in the QB market despite the fact that both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kevin Kolb are now available.

In fact, the biggest news coming out of Jacksonville is their proposed 52 million dollar jumbo-tron… really? You were 2-14 last year.

Now, am I saying that either Fitzpatrick or Kolb is the Jaguars answer at QB? Not by any stretch of the imagination.

What do the Jaguars have to lose though? Sign a one or two year deal. Make it incentive laden if you want. What is the risk?

First off, they can’t still believe Gabbert is the long-term answer. Which means it’s not like they would be risking his “maturation” by doing this, there is not much left to risk.

Secondly, if they want to draft a future quarterback this year, he will likely need a year or two to develop anyways. After all, this isn’t exactly the strongest draft class when it comes to the quarterback position. Why not bring in an experienced quarterback who can complete more than 53 percent while you are waiting for your future to be ready?

In the end, the Jaguars were so unsatisfied last year that they made a push for Tim Tebow, so how in the world are they not interested in two capable veterans as a short-term answer at this point?

Maybe they think “Sunshine” will just look better on the new jumbo-tron.

Follow Cole Stevenson on twitter: @Cole_Stevenson


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