Like my friend at Silver and Black Pride: http://www.silverandblackpride.com/2013/5/24/4364582/getting-to-know-our-new-raiders#166439267
And my other friend on the Ravens Forum: http://boards.baltimoreravens.com/topic/52953-getting-to-know-our-new-ravens/
I have decided to break down each and every offseason addition for us: draft picks, free agents, and undrafted free agents. I will cover the basics: size, expected role, playing style, background, measureables, what he brings to the team, etc. I will try to do two a day. I'm updating this daily guys. I also try to provide atleast one outside source/opinion/fact/stat in my player evaluations. So without further ado:
Expected Role: Starting 3-4 NT
Weight: 297 lbs
Drafted: 2008, 1st round, 8th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs
Widely considered a bust, Dorsey played in 51 games for the Chiefs, starting in 50 of those games. With the Chiefs, he played 4-3 DT (like he did at LSU) and switched to 3-4 DE under Todd Haley. He is widely expected to play 3-4 NT for us however. That should bring up a few concerns. In Kansas City, he had a very poor performance in Todd Haley's 3-4 scheme.. He is also a bit too small to play NT at 297 pounds. to put in into perspective, Isaac Sopoaga was 330 pounds. That means that Dorsey will not only have to get used to a system he failed miserably in the past, he will also have to learn a new position and bulk up for the position. However, there are a few reasons I think this isn't a reason to panic. We never really depended on anything from out NT. This is what ProFootballFocus (one of the most highly respected football sites out there) had to say about Sopoaga's move to the Eagles.
Sopoaga is one of these guys who has benefited from the talent around him. Massively. Hidden amongst all the gems of the 49ers defensive line has been his inability to make much of an impact. He doesn’t eat up blocks, get off them, or get up field. He’s just a body, and personally we wouldn’t spend $4m per year on a guy who is always going to be replaceable. He was our fourth lowest ranked defensive tackle last year.
If this is the case I wouldn't be too worried about Dorsey. Best case scenario he exceeds our expectation and gets 30+ tackles and 5 sacks, worst case scenario he is just another guy just to fill up the NT spot. As it is we are looking for more defensive line rotation this year. Ian Williams, Tank Carradine, and possibly Quinton Dial could see some more PT (playing time) this year. I really like the signing. I see it as a low-risk high-reward signing.
Expected Role: Starting FS
Weight: 214 lbs
Drafted: 2013, 1st round, 18th overall by the San Francisco 49ers
Our first round pick this year, we traded our 1st round pick (31st overall) and our 3rd round pick (74th overall) for the Cowboys (18th overall) pick. When we made this trade popular opinion was that we would pick DT Shariff Floyd, who fell from being a surefire top 3 pick to No.23 overall. Instead we picked up Eric Reid, who was expected to fall to our 31st overall pick. At first I was pretty pissed off, to be honest. However, looking back at the pick, it wasn't bad at all. He was the #1 safety on our board, and our scouts clearly thought he was the future at our vacant FS position. If he was that highly rated on our boards, then why take risks. The safety-needy Rams and Bengals were both picking within 5 picks after us, and while they may or may not have picked him, we thought he was a necessity. I applaud Trent Baalke now for having guts and making the tough pick. Time will tell if it was a good pick or not, as I really hate grading draft picks right after the draft. From what I can tell, he seems like a Dashon Goldson 2.0, both in the good ways and bad ways. He has immense hit power and helps out in run support. He is good in coverage, but like Goldson, is a risk taker. He could come up with key turnovers and similarly allow some big plays. This is what NFL Draft site WalterFootball.com had to say about him before the draft:
I think that sums it up perfectly right there. That is also how I would describe Goldson.
Expected Role: Starting WR
Weight: 220 lbs
College: Florida State
Drafted: 2003, 2nd round, 54th overall by the Arizona Tardinals, cough, I mean Cardinals.
There is only one difference between the acquisition of Boldin and Isaac Bruce a few years ago: He can still play. Even at his age he is still an elite possession receiver. We have seen tons of Boldin over the years, from his amazing rookie years to his days of playing second fiddle to Larry Fitzgerald down to the Super Bowl. He rarely shows signs of slowing down. Here is what PFF had to say about the trade:
Wasting no time following divisional rival Seattle’s acquisition of dynamic receiver Percy Harvin, the San Francisco 49ers obtained a pass catcher of their own in Anquan Boldin. The 32-year-old possession receiver is a perfect fit for San Francisco’s brutally physical style of play. While it may seem like the Ravens getting only a sixth-round pick for one of the key pieces to their Super Bowl run is highway robbery, it is important to keep in mind that the Ravens and Ozzie Newsome were planning on shedding Boldin and his $6 million 2013 salary anyway. In reality, they got more than they were expecting. Some will question the ethics of the deal due to the relationship of Jim and John Harbaugh, but that doesn’t have much to do with it in my mind.
The reason this trade happened is simple: Jim Harbaugh knew he needed another versatile playmaker on his offense. He had no intention of paying do-it-all tight end Delanie Walker market value, and Walker has since moved on to greener (pun intended) pastures. Given Boldin’s physicality and route tree, he is essentially a glorified tight end anyway. I anticipate that Harbaugh has a plan to use Boldin very similarly to Walker in a "move" capacity, lining up all over the formation. It should be a seamless transition for the coach and his young quarterback.
I agree with most of this. Not only is Boldin a great possession receiver, he is a great redzone target (as we learned the hard way), and an outstanding blocker. At age 32 he is as physical as ever. He should be a great mentor for Michael Crabtree, as they are essentially mirrors of each other for playing style. Hopefully he also helps out Crabtree with his diva status. He should also help out Kaepernick. One of the best things a young QB can have is a possession receiver. Boldin has amazing hands and every reception should help out Kaepernick's confidence. All in all, the Boldin addition should be a great addition. I'm kind of hoping we give him a one year extension.
Expected Roles: Depth at Safety, Personal Punt Protector
Weight: 212 lbs
College: North Dakota State
Drafted: 2007, UDFA signed by the New York Giants
Craig Dahl wasn't always that bad. In his first year with the Giants, Dahl was given his first start in week 13 against the Eagles. He did pretty decents, he had 5 tackles, with no let ups in coverage. Unfortunately, later that year, he tore his ACL in a game against the Patriots. He was waived right after the season ended after failing a physical. He was resigned right before preseason started however, making an even faster comeback than Adrian Peterson did. He was doing his best to earn a starting job when he tore his ACL again in week 3 of that preseason. After that he was put on IR, and after the season he wasn't tendered an offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. That's when the St. Louis Shams, cough, I mean Rams came in the picture. Steve Spagnuolo, who was the then Ram's head coach, was also, Dahl's defensive coordinator in New York, decided to sign Craig. This was based solely on his talent and potential. In his first year with the Rams he was part of a safety rotation. He ended the year with 64 tackles, 2 sacks,, and 2 fumble recoveries. The very next year he shined however. In 2010 he had 98 tackles, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, and a fumble recovery. From there, it has truly been a roller coaster ride. In 2011, he had an off year in coverage, but an outstanding year tackling wise. He missed just one tackle the whole year, and missed about 1 tackle every 40 attempts. He topped the league in least missed tackles for starting safeties. Last year, though, he had a horrible year both in coverage and in tackling. For example, in week 1 vs the Rams, he and fellow former Rams safety Quintin Mikell allowing 10 out of 10 passes to be completed while in their coverage for a whopping 159 yards. And in week 15 vs the Vikings, in a poor tackling display by the whole team with 8 missed tackles, Dahl lead the team with 3 missed tackles. Now I know it isn't easy to cover Calvin Johnson and tackle Adrian Peterson, but that were some pathetic displays of football. However, I still like the signing. It is essentially a depth signing, as we already have solid starters in Donte Whitner and the aforementioned Eric Reid. And I wouldn't mind paying chump change for a guy who is only 28 (defensive backs can play a long time) and COULD have a solid, 90+ tackle year in the right system.
Weight: 240 lbs
College: University of Minnesota
Drafted: 2013, UDFA signed by the San Francisco 49ers
By now I'm pretty sure you guys realize I'm going in no order of importance. A lot has been made of us picking BJ Daniels (who I'll cover later) and how he will make the switch from QB to KR/PR and possibly RB/WR. In reality, I think MarQueis Gray has more of a chance to make the roster than Daniels. He has played a multitude of positions throughout his high school and college careers: QB, RB, WR, and even a little DB. But know the former 4 star Rivals recruit quarterback will now play a position he has never played before, TE. A little background history on him: He was Rivals.com's #1 player in Indiana and their 3rd best dual-threat QB in the nation, got scholarship from the likes of local colleges Indiana University and University of Illinois, esteemed universities like Purdue, and sports powerhouses such as Cincinatti, Michigan State, and Oregon. With all of these colleges in mind he went with his heart and picked Minnesota State. There he took the starting QB job his junior year. The second game of his senior year however he was switched to WR. Prior to the NFL Draft he had a choice to make, whether to present himself to teams as a WR or a QB. He chose QB and was the 4th fastest QB in this draft class with a 4.73 40 time. However he went undrafted and we swooped in to pick him up. We decided to convert him to TE. Gray still calls himself a "QB at heart", but he is committed to the position change, as he even calls "tight ends the quarterbacks of the line of scrimmage". While it won't be easy to make the position change, he does have size to his advantage, as he is the same exact weight as the departed Delanie Walker. He also happens to wear No. 46, the number Walker wore, so he has been watching extra Delanie Walker film. Hopefully his game turns out to be like Walker's, as we could end up relying on him. This is not a shot at Vance McDonald, but it's been established that McDonald isn't one of the greatest blockers. Similar to Zach Ertz, Vance is a receiving tight end who is part of the new breed of TEs coming out of college who have lots of experience playing slot WR as well. McDonald is nothing like Delanie Walker, as Walker was a jack of all trades, as a good receiver, blocker, and had the skill set to play H-back and fullback if needed. We need a well-rounded tight end on our roster in my opinion, and if Gray could make the 53-man roster, I think he could be the answer as a #3 TE.
Cornellius "Tank" Carradine
Expected Role: Depth on the D-line, eventual starter at 3-4 DE
Weight: 276 lbs
Drafted: 2013, 2nd round, by the San Francisco 49ers
There is a reason this guy's nickname is Tank. This guy is a beast. He has a motor that never stops running. He also has tons of athletic capabilities. Before his injury, he had 80 tackles and 11 sacks. While he did play 4-3 DE in college, I can assure you he is a natural fit at 3-4 DE. He is the exact same size that Ray McDonald was when he came into the league and really, why would we draft two 3-4 OLBs in the first 3 rounds when we have two All-Pros there already. Let's jump right into his tape. While watching him, the first initial weakness is his awareness, but his first initial strength is his speed. On the bright side, this was the only lapse in awareness I found. Look at this gif I made here.
Here he initially bit for the play action, but quickly caught his own mistake and still possessed the speed to chase down Tajh Boyd. I'm really not too concerned about him falling for the play action here. He quickly caught up with his own mistake here. Plus, the great coaching staff here in SF should help with those mental errors. On would have to wonder though. How would he fare against superior play fakes, such as the Russel Wilson/Marshawn Lynch read option. The good news is he can face a similar threat in practice while facing Kaepernick/Gore. I really hope he can recover enough to not only get back to the speed in this gif that he possessed, but get even faster. True, he didn't initiate contact with a tackle on this play, but this speed alone could=double digit sacks in the NFL. Here's another GIF.
I really like this one. Here we get to see him rushing from an interior line position, as close as possible to 3-4 DE while he was in college. Here he completely dominated the opposing guard. We also got to see some more of that speed. And the last one.
Here we get to see his run-stuffing ability, and to be honest, there were tons of more highlights I could have showed. I have realized he is not only a good run-stuffer, he also can chase down the RB from behind in a lot of situations. He has incredible awareness. Here is what the guys down at CBS sports had to say about him:
STRENGTHS: Good-looking athlete with agile feet and very good closing speed. Natural bend and flexibility around the edge with smooth lateral quickness and redirection skills. Quick in pursuit to force the issue and has the athleticism to recover from a false step.
Very good footwork to sidestep blockers to flatten and close on the pocket. Shows fluid movements and short-area burst, but also rangy. Active hands and limbs to swat and stay balanced through contact. Reliable in the open field, using his length to wrap and discipline to not sell out.
Accurate recognition skills and showed immense development in this area, setting the edge and making quick reads. Improved hand use to rip and tear, keeping low pad level through the process. Hungry player and his effort doesn't waver, going hard for all four quarters and rarely taking a play off. Chiseled frame and looks the part. Stepped up in 2012 after starter Brandon Jenkins went down with injury, producing excellent numbers.
WEAKNESSES: Still growing at the position and developing his pass rush moves. Didn't become a starter until his senior season with most of his playing experience coming at the JUCO level. Needs to continue adding strength and bulk to his frame, can be overpowered at times in the trenches.
Room to improve his snap anticipation off the edge with too many offsides penalties on his resume. Strong durability concerns after a torn ACL in his right knee in the fourth quarter of the 2012 season finale and may not be able to return to on-field work until training camp - or later.
They point out the biggest obvious flaw he has. He lacks NFL level strength, and can get overpowered in the trenches. However, there is no doubt in my mind that Harbaalke drafted him with the expectations that he would bulk up. If he does, he could be an Antonio Smith type player in my opinion. I can't wait to see how he develops.
And sorry guys I apologize in advance for the bad quality of the GIFs.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Feedback would be very much appreciated! :)