Well NinersNation, yesterday marked the official line in between us and playoffs. After yesterday's embarrassing loss, I think it is clear that this team still needs a bit of work to be a contender. While we hung in there with some of the better teams early on in the season, we proved that in December (when it counts) that we could not finish. We will more than likely finish with a .500 record this year unless we totally lose moral and drop one to the Detroit Lions (Home) or the St. Louis Rams (Away), which will put the Niners first round pick somewhere in the middle. The Panthers with a shocking win last night over the Minnesota Vikings, most likely have bumped the first round pick that we will acquire from them out of the top 10.
Below smileyman and I will be putting together this weeks offseason discussion. We will be taking an in depth look at some of the CB's and OLB's that will be available via free agency as well as the ones entering in to the 2010 NFL Draft. There has been quite a bit of debate and discussion on where, when, and who in regards to these two positions specifically the Niners should go after so it should be a fun topicc this week. I will post the new order of the draft and as the season draws closer to an end, the order is starting to reveal itself a little bit more accurately. Also, we will take a look at the AFC and NFC South divisions and some of the positions they could be drafting for.
I just wanted to add that without smileyman contributing to this post, it would not be the same. He was done a very nice job with all the research in to all the free agency stuff. I know it takes alot of time to put all of that together and this FanPost definitely benefits from having that kind of information and dedication. I hope you all appreciate the work, insight, and volunteered time as much as I have.
First off the rookies...
*Note: The numbers in the brackets are the specific players jersey numbers for those of you who are new to college football to keep track of during bowl season.
TOP 5 NCAA CORNERBACKS:
1. [# 5] Joe Haden (Junior) Florida:
Haden is ranked the top cornerback entering the draft this year. I only rank him here because most people have them rated number 1 on their boards. I have a sneaking suspicion that he will not be the best corner once in the NFL. His unpolished skills will leave him exposed when going up against the elite caliber of receivers at the pro level. If he goes somewhere that has a good DB coach he could prove me wrong, but as of now, I just don't see Haden amounting to more than an average CB in the NFL. Career stats: 197 Tackles, 2 Fumbles Forced, 8 Interceptions. 5'11" 190 LBS.
2. [# 32] Trevard Lindley (Senior) Kentucky:
The All-SEC Cornerback emerged as one of the highest regarded coming in to this season after last year in his Junior year. Lindley is a quiet guy who let's his play on the field speak for itself. He has earned the nickname "Silent Assassin" for his quiet demeanor and big hits on the field. After intercepting the ball, Lindley has the ability to take one all the way back for 6 and has 2 returns for TD's in his collegiate career. He is my favorite cornerback coming in to the draft this year but his numbers have fallen off a bit since last season which could make him a steal in the draft in the 2nd or 3rd round. Career Stats: 182 Tackles, 2 Fumbles Forced, 10 Interceptions. 6'1" 180.
3. [# 21] Patrick Robinson (Senior) Florida State:
Robinson had his best year his Sophomore year with 6 INT's and 87 return yards on those INT's but has since slowly fell off the grid a bit. This Senior will more than likely be a project draft and if he lands in the right place could be a viable nickelback somewhere. He is not afraid to come up and make a big hit on on someone. I am not sure he has the skill set currently to take over if somebody went down and he was backing them up but sometimes you just never know when someone will take flight and emerge as an elite player. Robinson will be an interesting one to keep an eye on once he is in the NFL. Career Stats: 110 Tackles, 3 Fumbles Forced, 7 Interceptions. 5'11" 193 LBS.
4. [# 28] Javier Arenas (Senior) Alabama:
Arenas had the best season of his collegiate career this season as he finally had a chance to start full-time. It will be fun to watch him play in the National Championship against Texas. It's going to be very important for him to have a big game and if he can do that on a national stage, he may be able to bump his stock up to the #2 overall CB coming out in the 2010 Draft. Arenas has great recovery speed and isn't afraid to take a chance on the ball. He matured alot this year and took advantage of his opportunity. Career Stats: 143 Tackles, 4 INT's. 5'9" 195.
5. [# 6] Donovan Warren (Junior) Michigan:
Michigan was glad to have this guy covering up the opposing offenses best receivers. Although Michigan did not finish in spectacular fashion, Warren made a name for himself. This could potentially be another steal in the draft. He has an above average skill-set, very quick on his feet and good recovery speed. For a coner, Warren is on the bigger side of what is conidered average. His tackling is questionable and will need to learn how to wrap up better to be an elite in the NFL. Michigan has produced some good cornerbacks in the NFL; the most worthy of mention Charles Woodson. If Warren works very hard once he reaches the NFL, the sky is the limit for him. Career Stats: 172 Tackles, 2 Fumbles Forced, 6 Interceptions.
[# 5] Syd'Quan Thompson (Senior) California:
Career numbers: 250 Tackles, 1 Fumble Forced, 7 Interceptions- Returning Kicks 389 yards. 5'9" 191 LBS.
[# 1] Kyle Wilson (Senior) Boise State:
Career numbers: 156 Tackles, 1 Fumble Forced, 11 Interceptions. 5'10" 186 LBS.
TOP 5 NCAA OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS
1. [# 12] Sean Weatherspoon (Senior) Missouri:
I feel like without question, hands-down, that Weatherspoon will be the first OLB to come off the board in the 2010 Draft. He can do it all; fly to the ball, intercept passes, force fumbles, etc. He is a menace and will be a force to be reckoned with coming of the edge. He has the speed AND power to beat OT's in the NFL nine times out of ten. His pass coverage skills have been above par and will only continue to get better. His work ethic and workout ethic are unmatched. Weatherspoon will be a great pick up for somebody this year. Career Stats: 388 Tackles, 3 Fumbles Forced, 4 Interceptions. 6'2" 245 LBS.
2. [# 11] Navarro Bowman (Junior) Penn State:
The young OLB has pushed his way all the way up on to the top 32 of Todd McShay's board and a few other notable boards and right fully so. The young linebacker will be able to make an immediate impact in the NFL. He will need to work hard in the preseason and be paired up with a very good LB coach. If those two things transpire, then he has the chance to be a very solid LB in the NFL. Career Stats: 205 Tackles, 2 Fumbles Forced, 3 Interceptions, 12 Sacks. 6'1" 230
3. [# 2] Sergio Kindle (Senior) Texas:
While Kindle's current position at Texas is defensive end, he will more than likely be playing OLB on Sunday's. He has the speed agility and awareness to play OLB in the NFL and may be too small to play defensive end even in a 4-3 defense. He would probably need to gain 15-20 LBS to be effective against the OT's of todays league. Kindle has great power and will be a solid pass rusher at the pro level. Career Stats: 140 Tackles, 1 Fumble Forced, 13 Sacks. 6'4" 250 LBS.
4. [# 95] George Selvie (Senior) South Florida:
Again, like Kindle, Selvie will probably be converted to an OLB in the NFL. Selvie is quick off the snap and even quicker to the ball. His Sophomore year, he recorded 14 sacks. He has 27 career sacks and will be a very effective pass rusher at the next level. Career Stats: 206 Tackles, 6 Fumbles Forced, 27 Sacks. 6'4" 245 LBS.
5. [# 53] Greg Jones (Junior) Michigan State:
Jones can flat out get after the QB and he flies to the ball with the best of 'em. He will have to hit the weight room pretty hard before the combine and before the preseason also. Jones will most likely be on of those development players and will need to work very hard to make his way in to a starting role for most if not all teams in the pros. Career Stats: 345 Tackles, 15 Sacks. 6'1" 228 LBS.
[# 35] Rennie Curran (Junior) Georgia:
Career Stats: 284 Tackles, 2 Fumbles Forced, 6 Sacks
[# 54] Bruce Carter (Junior) North Carolina:
Career Stats: 154 Tackles, 2 Interceptions, 6 Sacks
Now we'll take a look at the free agents available for these two positions...(put together by smileyman).
NFL FREE AGENT CORNERBACKS
Seasons in the League: 5th season
Salary: $1.403 million
Stats: 31 tackles, 8 passes defended
Summary: Rogers has struggled a bit this year. He got beat badly by DeSean Jackson on a double mvoe that gave up a 57 yard TD pass and got burned on a 67 yard run by Jackson in the same game. Coming on the heels of a bad burn by Brandon Marshall it was enough to get him benched in favor of Fred Smoot. It appears that he may have lost a step or two.
Seasons in the League: 3rd season
Stats: 44 tackles, 1 sack, 13 passes defended, 3 INTs.
Summary: Williams has been pretty impressive for the Packers. Originally the third CB (behind Woodson and Harris) he's stepped right into the action and been a force. He's an RFA this year so I'll be surprised if the Packers don't offer a tender to him to keep him around for depth.
Seasons in the League: 6th season
Salary: $9.97 million
Stats: 52 tackles, 9 passes defended, 1 FF
Summary: Robinson held out almost the whole pre-season. He eventually signed a one year deal for franchise money, but he hasn't played like a franchise CB this year. I really doubt that the Texans pay him $10 million next year to keep him around.
Seasons in the League: 4th season
Stats: 73 tackles, 7 PD, 3 INTs.
Summary: Marshall is playing up there with the best of them. This is his first season as a full-time starter and he's making the most of it. The Panthers have one of the best pass defenses in the league (6th according to Football Outsiders), and he's an integral part of that. Would be a definite upgrade for us.
Sesons in the League: 7th season
Salary: $2.25 million
Stats: 51 tackles, 18 PD, 5 INTs, 1 TD
Summary: Bodden is an unheralded CB who is doing a pretty good job for the Patriots. They don't have much depth at CB so I would expect tha tthey resign him .
To be honest almost every one of these CB's would help us out and would be worth going after (other than Robinson who will probably want too much for us).
Personally, I'm ok with letting both of them go and picking up one of the FAs.
NFL FREE AGENT OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS
Seasons in the League: 5th season
Salary: $2.272 million
Stats: 33 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
Summary: Merriman isn't the elite LB that he once was. He missed almost all of last season with injuries, and his production this season has not been great. He apparently has planta fasciitis (the same injury that's been bugging Eli Manning), which has caused him to miss a bunch of practice as well as sit out Game 13. He'll probably want a signficant pay increase but at this stage I can't see him being worth that due to his post-injury production.
Seasons in the League: 5th season
Salary: $1.6 million
Stats: 121 tackles, 1 INT, 6 passes defended, 1 FF
Summary: One of the better linebackers in the league that nobody knows about. He's been a star for the Buccaneers who are reportedly already engaged in talks to extend him. I doubt he hits FA, but if he does he might be worth looking at.
Seasons in the league: 6th season
Salary: $9.678 million
Stats: 102 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 4 passes defended, 1 FF
Summary: Arizona franchised Dansby last year, so they need to extend his contract this year. He's a good linebacker though I can't say that he's worth almost $10 million per year. He'll have to come down in price if he wants to say with the Cardinals.
Seasons in the League: 4th seasons
Salary: $1.39 million
Stats: 76 tackles, 1 sack, 0 INTs, 2 PD, 1FF, 1 FR.
Summary: Ryans' best season was his rookie year when he had 156 tackles. He's been extremely solid for the Texans though his production has slipped a bit the past couple of years. This year he's on pace for 126 tackles (though he's yet to have any sacks). Another solid LB, though not spectacular.
Seasons in the League: 4th season
Stats: 101 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 PD, 1 FR
Summary: Those are pretty impressive stats when you consider that he didn't play at allin week 13 and didn't start two of the gaems this season. He's had double digit tackles in 6 games this year (one of them against the Niners).
To be honest there isn't much upgrade to be found in FA for us. If we're going to get another LB I'd like for it to be through the draft.
Here now is the AFC and NFC South team needs and scenarios of where they may draft...
Offensive Passing Rank- 1st, Offensive Rushing Rank- 31st -T
Defensive Passing Rank- 20th, Defensive Rushing Rank- 16th
Projected 1st: G, RB, or DT.
Offensive Passing Rank- 18th, Offensive Rushing Rank- 8th
Defensive Passing Rank- 27th Defensive Rushing Rank- 12th
Projected 1st: S, CB, or LB.
Offensive Passing Rank- 2nd, Offensive Rushing Rank- 31st - T
Defensive Passing Rank- 12th, Defensive Rushing Rank- 17th
Project 1st: RB, S, or DT.
Offensive Passing Rank- 20th, Offensive Rushing Rank- 2nd
Defensive Passing Rank- 31st, Defensive Rushing Rank- 8th
Projected 1st: S, LB, or WR.
Put together by smileyman
New Orleans Saints
If you could point to a weakness of the Saints it would be on their defense. Offensively they're ranked #1 overall, (#3 in passing yards, #5 in rushing yards, #1 in points per game, and #1 in yards per game). They can obviously put the points on the board. However, on defense they're ranked 22nd overall (25th in the pass, 19th against the run, 19th in points allowed per game). They've got 5 starters on defense that are FA in 2010, so I expect that they'll pick defensive help in the first round.
The Falcons have a pretty decent offense. Matt Ryan is a good QB, Michael Turner is a great RB when he's healthy. They've got a 1000 yard receiver in Roddy White. They're actually ranked 18th overall in offense--it's their defense that struggles, especially against the pass, though they're not all that great against the run either. They've got some linemen hitting FA this year but I expect them to resign those guys and focus on the defense in the off season.
The Panthers have lots of the pieces they need to be a good team--they just don't have them all set right. Their rushing game is great--ranked #3 in the league right now. Their pass defense is also great--#6 in the league. However their run defense is abysmal (#26 in the league), and their passing offense is also abysmal (#28--thank you Jake Delhomme). They don't have a 1st round pick next year so they're going to have to focus on fixing those problems through FA.
Tampa Bay Bucs
The poor Bucs. They've really struggled this year though they did manage upset wins over GB and Seattle this year. Their offense is miserable, their defense is bad as well, though surprinsgly enough they have the 9th ranked pass defense in the league. Their run defense is ranked 30th in the league which is quite pathetic. My guess is they go with defensive line for their first pick.
POST WEEK 15 DRAFT ORDER
Note: This order is Pre-Monday Night Football but should remain the same anyhow.
1. ST. LOUIS RAMS (1-13)
2. TAMPA BAY BUCS (2-12)
3. DETROIT LIONS (2-12)
4. CLEVELAND BROWNS (3-11)
5. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (3-11)
6. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (4-9)
7. BUFFALO BILLS (5-9)
8. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (5-9)
9. OAKLAND RAIDERS (5-9)
10. DENVER BRONCOS FROM CHICAGO BEARS (5-9)
11. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS FROM CAROLINA PANTHERS (6-8)
12. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (6-8)
13. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (7-7)
14. HOUSTON TEXANS (7-7)
15. NEW YORK JETS (7-7)
16. MIAMI DOLPHINS (7-7)
17. TENNESSEE TITANS (7-7)
18. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-7)
19. ATLANTA FALCONS (7-7)
20. NEW YORK GIANTS (7-6)
21. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS FROM DENVER BRONCOS (8-6)
22. BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-6)
23. GREEN BAY PACKERS (9-5)
24. DALLAS COWBOYS (9-5)
25. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-5)
26. ARIZONA CARDINALS (9-5)
27. CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-5)
28. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10-4)
29. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (11-3)
30. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (11-3)
31. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13-1)
32. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (14-0)
Rec it if you want to keep the convo going... thanks...