FanPost

Official Updated NN Offseason Discussion Thread (12/18/09) ...Continued


After an impressive win at home against the division rival Cardinals in week 14 of the 2009 Season, we have not quite flatlined just yet in our chances of making the playoffs. Even though there is still a bit of hope, it would literally take the Cards, Giants, Falcons, and Dallas totally falling apart; at least 3 out of the 4. Chances of that happening are running very thin. It is my opinion that there is very very little chance that the Cardinals will lose to either the Rams or the Lions, although stranger things have happened. The Rams will be lead by 3rd string rookie QB Keith Null and the Lions will be without their starting RB Kevin Smith. Our best chances will be through the wildcard now which still is a long-shot.

One of our draft picks went down and one went up this week. Alot has changed in both the AFC and NFC as far as standings go in the last few weeks.

This week smileyman and I will be taking a look at the top DE's and Guards in this weeks discussion that will be available in the upcoming season. We will also be taking a look at one division per conference (2 total) and the individual teams in the divisions indicidual position needs. This week smileyman will be doing the AFC East (Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, Bills) and I will be doing the NFC East (Eagles, Dallas, Redskins, Giants).

I just wanted to mention on a sidenote that Eric Berry has moved up to the #2 rated player coming out of college behind Suh in the 2010 Draft which means it is very likely that a team will draft him in the top 5. This stat is according to Todd McShay (ESPN Expert Draft Analyst). Now I'm not suggesting that that is definitely going to happen but it is certainly looking that way.

Star-divide

We all know that the 49ers could use some help and depth at the Guard positions. Last night both guards actually played very good. The words "very good" are rarely used and atatchde to David Baas' or Chilo Rachal's names. The continuity on the Offensive Line has certainly helped and they have been starting to play as more of a unit as of late. Even though they've played a bit better, I think it still needs to be addressed in the draft. I am sure I am not the only one. Usually I do my own write-ups for each position but for the Guards this week I am just going to link a few sites explaining the players values.

TOP 5 NCAA GUARDS

1. Mike Iupati (Idaho) 6'6" 330

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1137494

2. Mike Pouncey (Florida) 6'5" 320

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1273190

3. Mike Johnson (Alabama) 6'6" 303

Has played both Tackle and Guard for Alabama but will most likely be drafted as a Guard. Helped Mark Ingram with the other 4 guys become the 1st player in the history of University of Alabama win the Heisman Trophy.

http://blog.al.com/tide-source/2009/12/alabama_has_a_school-record_si.html

http://www.rolltide.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/johnson_mike00.html

4. Vladimir Ducasse (UMass) 6'5" 338

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfldraft/draft/tracker/player?draftyear=2010&id=25078&action=upsell&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnfldraft%2fdraft%2ftracker%2fplayer%3fdraftyear%3d2010%26id%3d25078

http://www.umassathletics.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/ducasse_vladimir00.html

5. Sergio Render (Virginia Tech) 6'3" 319

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/558723

Some of those at NN have been promoting drafting a pass rusher, a DE in the 1st round. While I do not agree completely due to the fact that we run a 3-4 defense and most often your LB's are your pass rushers, it's still an interesting concept. With what the defense is currently doing, it is hard to justify a 1st round pick here unless Derrick Morgan is there still for our 2nd pick. However, he in most mocks and draft boards is rated very high. I also personally like the players we have on this roster for this position and think we can maybe wait on this one here.

TOP 5 NCAA DEFENSIVE ENDS

1. Derrick Morgan (Georgia Tech) 6'4" 270

As far as Defensive Ends go here, all the pro's and just about everyone who has insightful knowledge have Morgan rated as the #1 DE in the 2010 Draft this year. You talk about a motor never shutting down and Derrick Morgan's name comes to mind. Very fast off the snap and great moves with his hands to break free.

2. Carlos Dunlap (Florida) 6'6" 290

Despite Dunlap's off the field issues, I think that if he can show enough genuine remorse and does as well as he can at the combine, his draft stock will stay put. His talent on the field is too much to pass up for one inmature mistake made off the field. The one thing we know about the NFL is they are very forgiving if players can honestly admit they made a mistake.

3. Greg Hardy (Ole Miss) 6'4" 265

Hardy had a wrist injury about midway through the 2009 season and has struggled to stay healthy in years past. However, the upside with Hardy is going to be too hard for NFL teams to ignore. The injuries will hurt his stock some but he in my opinion is rated within the top 5 Defensive Ends. Before his injury this season, he had already accumulated 5 sacks this season. He will have finished with 26.5 for his college career.

4. Jermaine Cunningham (Florida) 6'3" 253

On the other side of Dunlap, Cunningham made teams have to dread being hit from either side. The dynamic duo was the backbone of Florida's season this year. The rest of the entire defense thrived from both Dunlap and Cunningham's play. Much like Dunlap, Cunningham has had some off the field related issues as well early in his collegiate career, however, has not been in trouble since. It was kind of an inmature incident in getting in a physical fight over a bag of chips. Teams do consider thing like this but they also consider everything as a whole.

5. Ricky Sapp (Clemson) 6'4" 245

I had the privelage of being able to watch every Clemson game this season and besides C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford on offense, Ricky Sapp was definitely the most entertaining to watch in my opinion. I don't think he would fit very well in a 3-4 defense but he would be explosive in a 4-3. It is also a possibilty that he could be converted to an OLB. My guess is that he'll put on a bit of weight and stay at a DE but drafted by a team that runs a 4-3 defense.

Here now are the Guards and DE's that will be free agents assuming there is a new CBA put together by smileyman:

TOP 5 GUARD FREE AGENTS NFL

Jahri Evans
Age: 26
Seasons in the League: 4th season
Salary: $2.792 million
Status: UFA
Stats: Jahri Evans is one of the most talented guards in the NFL. New Orlean's line is ranked 2nd in run blocking and 4th in pass blocking according to Football Outsiders. Evans is a large part of that. Runs off the guard spot are three times as successful for New Orleans as are any other runs, which says a great deal about this talented player. He's only had 3 penalties this year (2 holding, 1 false start), and only allowed 1.5 sacks.
Summary: I'll be shocked if his contract isn't extended in the off-season. He was a RFA last year and the Saints gave him the highest RFA tender, so I'm pretty sure they want him around. If he manages to escape we need to go out and grab him.


Logan Mankins
Age: 27
Seasons in the League: 5th season
Salary: $1.4 million
Status: UFA
Stats: Although New England is not the terror that they once were they still have one of the best lines in the game. Their run blocking is ranked 7th according to FO and their pass blocking is 2nd best in the league (behind only Indy). Even though they're ranked 7th overall in run blocking, their run blocking from their guards is ranked number 5, and is a big part of their success. Logan Mankin has had a few penalties against him this year (3 holding and 3 false starts), but has only allowed 1 sack.
Summary: Mankins has said that he would like to extend his contract to keep playing for the Patriots. I'm sure that will get done, if not there will be lots of teams wanting to court him.


Eugene Amano
Age: 27
Seasons in the League: 6th season
Status: UFA
Salary: $1.2 million
Stats: Tennesee is not the juggernaut that they were last year, though they've rebounded the last half of the season. Their line is ranked 20th overall in the run, but surprisingly enough they're ranked 3rd in the pass. Amano has certainly done a great job this year. He's only had 4 penalties (all holding) and has only allowed 1/2 a sack (no, I don't know how you get credited for allowing just 1/2 a sack).
Summary: Tennessee has sure gotten good value out of Amano. They selected him in the 7th round with a compensatory pick, and he's played in all but one games since 2004. He worked his way into the starting lineup last year and has kept the job this year. He's a versatile lineman as he can also play center if need be and tackle (which he played in college). Good upgrade for us if TN doesn't resign him.


Harvey Dahl
Age: 28
Seasons in the League: 4th season
Status: UFA
Salary: $1.545 million
Stats: Atlanta is ranked 16th in run blocking but 7th overall in pass blocking. They have a difficult time running off guard though as they're ranked 28th in the league in that spot--so Dahl isn't necessarily an upgrade there for us (though those stats are still better than what we can manage). Dahl has allowed 2.5 sacks this year, but only one penalty which is very smart play.
Summary: Dahl would be an upgrade for us as well, though I don't know that it's a huge one. He's had an ankle injury that's kept him out of a few games, so it will be interesting to see how that impacts his offseason.


Chris Kuper
Age: 26
Seasons in the League: 4th season
Status: UFA
Salary: $1.01 million
Stats: Denver is ranked number 1 in run blocking. That's a pretty impressive feat, especially since they were ranked #1 last year too. Their pass blocking is very good as well--they're ranked 9th overall in pass blocking. Chris Kuper was drafted in the 5th round and worked his way into the starting spot in 2007. He has only 2 penalties on the year (1 holding, 1 false start), but has allowed 4 sacks.
Summary: Chris Kuper is a decent guard. However, the success of the Denver offensive line is based more on their coach than any individual talent that their linemen possess. Rick Dennison has coached the O-line since 2001 (he also served briefly as offensive coordinator). In that time his lines have had 3 number 1 seasons according to FO. He's only finished out of the top 10 once. I'd be wary about picking up a lineman from that system as I think they'll suffer the same fate that Denver's backs do when they leave.


Other linemen of note that are FA:
Richie Icognito who was just released by the Rams
David Baas
Mike Brisiel (who just suffered a serious foot injury)


For a comparison here are the stats for our offensive line:
Barry Sims: 2 penalties (both false starts). 1.5 sacks allowed
David Baas: 1 penalty (holding), 4 sacks allowed
Eric Heitman: 1 penalty (holding), .5 sack allowed
Chilo Rachal: 1 penalty (false start), 4 sacks allowed
Adam Snyder: 2 penalties (both false starts), 8 sacks allowed!


TOP 5 FREE AGENT DEFENSIVE ENDS NFL

Julius Peppers
Age: 29
Seasons in the League: 9th season
Status: UFA
Salary: $16.683 million
Stats: 29 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 TD (off the INT). 5 FF
Summary: Julius Peppers has not had the most productive year. In fact this is his worst year since he was a rookie. Granted he did break his hand and Carolina has only been using him in passing downs for the past couple of games but for a $16 million paycheck he'd better be doing better than that. At 283 lbs Peppers is almost perfect for the 3-4. In fact he's said often that he would like to play in a 3-4. The idea of a front 3 consisting of Smith, Franklin, and Peppers is a fantastic idea--but not at $16.7 million per year.


Elvis Dumervil
Age: 25
Seasons in the League: 4th season
Status: UFA
Salary: $535,000
Stats: 38 tackles, 15(!) sacks, 3 FF.
Summary: Dumervil has been an incredible force this year. He's playing big time ball and is only 1 away from tying the Bronco team record. 11 of his sacks have come on 3rd down--that's an incredibly powerful statistic. Right now he's being severely underpaid. Should the Broncos not throw franchise money at him he'd be a great addition to our D-line.


Johnny Jolly
Age: 26
Seasons in the League: 4th season
Status: UFA
Salary: $530,000
Stats: 20 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT.
Summary: Jolly is a decent end, but not really an upgrade over Sopoaga (in fact their stats are almost the same). He was just indicted for possession of 200 grams of codeine. He might get away with probation, but I'm sure that he'll be suspended for several games next season. Not worth picking up in my opinion.


Ray Edwards
Age: 24
Seasons in the League: 4th season
Status: UFA
Salary: $530,000
Stats: 35 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 1 FF
Summary: The law firm of Williams, Williams, and Allen gets all the praise in Minnesota but Edwards is an integral part of that defensive line. In fact according to FO teams have a tougher time running the ball at him than they do at the other side of the line. His play is pretty good but I don't know how well it would translate to a 3-4.


Marcus Spears
Age: 26
Seasons in the League: 5th season
Status: UFA
Salary: $735,000
Stats: 14 tackles, 2 sacks.
Summary: This has been a rather disappointing year for a former first round draft pick. He's been solid, but not spectacular this year and isn't a real upgrade for us.


If we could pick up anybody in FA to bolster our line I'd like us to grab Dumervil. He's been a monster in Denver and is playing for peanuts--we could get him for much cheaper than we could Julius Peppers.

Here now are the NFC East and AFC East teams needs starting with the NFC teams and ending with the AFC teams:

NFC EAST TEAM NEEDS

Philadelphia Eagles

Offense:

The Eagles are pretty much set on offense I would say after reviewing all of the starters. They will be set with McNabb and Kolb as the two QB's next year. I do not see Michael Vick staying for the second year on the option contract so they will go for one either free agency or late in the draft for their 3rd string QB.

The O-line is pretty stacked and set. They have the WR's I think they want in the lineup already and the TE is emerging as one of the better TE's in the NFC.

Defense:

This is where I look for the Eagles to go in the draft considering all the above said. 18th defending the pass and 10th against the run. However the interior of the D-line in Mike Patterson and Broderick Buckley have only combined in 1.5 sacks and 75 tackles. Quentin Mikel was getting beat the other night like he stole something. He has only 1 INT but has 73 tackles; the coverage has been a problem here. Sean Jones has not been too great either, at least not something to write home about. He has 54 tackles and 2 INT's. They are set at CB and may not address that until later in the draft or wait until next years.

Draft prediction:

DT, S, or OLB.

New York Giants

Offense:

The Giants have a bunch of young players on offense. They currently rank 12th in passing and 10th in the rush. They have a solid offensive line and a very good TE. I do not see the Giants drafting in the 1st round on offense. They will mature on offense next year with the currently young and inexperienced players they have in position.

Defense:

The Giants are currently ranked 9th against the pass and 9th also against the rush. Althought the stats don't show it, the Giants have some glaring holes in the interior of their D-Line as well as the Secondary. The 4 DT's they currently have are not doing too well. It has mostly been the spectacular play of the DE's on the D-line that have kept them so competitive against the run. At FS Michael Johnson has had 1 INT and 44 tackles; he has not been in position alot and left alot to the CB's to defend alone. Aaron Rouse and C.C. Brown have not been good at all at the SS position either. Brown has been okay against the run but has lacked what it takes in coverage to start in the NFL.

Draft prediction:

DT or S

Dallas Cowboys

Offense:

Dallas ranks 7th in passing and 7th in rushing yards. The O-line has done well enough and Jason Witten would be last of the offensive bunch to get replaced. I would be hard pressed to justify an offensive pick for Dallas in the 1st round. It would take a really special player falling to Jerry Jones in order for him to go offense this year.

Defense:

Dallas' defense ranks 21st against the pass and 8th against the rush. I think it is real clear here where the Cowboys need to or should draft this year with such a gaping hole. They are hurting really bad for some safety help and I can easily see them gong with Earl Thomas or Taylor Mays. Thomas would be the hometown favorite from the University of Texas but if he is gone, Jerry won't hesitate to pull the trigger on Mays. Newman and Jenkins have not had the best year either so it would not surprise me to see him go this route in replacing one of them as well.

Draft prediction:

S or CB

Washington Redskins

Offense:

Currently ranked 16th in the pass and 23rd in the rush I believe that the Redskins will draft on the offensive side of the ball this year. Almost any position on offense could be upgraded so it's real tough to gage where they will go. I think they are set on the WR's and TE's and there is some real upside there. Jason Campbell has shown to be a bit better down the stretch but not enough in the end I think to secure his job. The offensive line has been very streaky and inconsistent so they could go here possibly too.

Defense:

Washington currently ranks 4th against the pass so it is safe to assume that they will not draft a CB, S, or LB in the 1st. The defensive line was just expensively upgraded with Haynesworth and they currently rank 22nd against the run. I just cannot see them spending $100+ million on a guy and then spending close to that on a rookie in the 1st also. They will wait for Haynesworth to anchor the line. They could shock everyone though and go with a DE; it's possible.

Draft prediction:

QB, RB, OT, or DE

Let's take a look now at the AFC East and what smileyman has put together for us:

AFC EAST TEAM NEEDS

New England Patriots

Offense:

Currently ranked 2nd overall. Their strength is in the passing game. In the run game they rank 14th overall, and this because of a solid offensive line. Their running backs are pedestrian at best. Faulk is 33, and Morris is 32.


Defense:


Currently ranked 11th overall. They are weaker in the run (16th overall) than in the pass (14th overall), but only allow 18 pts per game and only 320 yards per game. Very stout here.

In speaking with Pats fans over at the PatsPulpit they seem to think that OLB is their biggest need, followed by DE. My guess for the first round is BPA, with a focus on RB, OLB, and DE.


Miami Dolphins

Offense:

Currently ranked 18th overall. Their real strength is in the rushing game thanks to the wildcat, which they excel in. They are ranked 3rd in rushing, but a lousy 26th in passing. Of course it doesn't help that they have no playmaker WR and that they're starting a 2nd year QB.


Defense:

The Dolphins weakness is their defense, especially in the air. Nothing illustrates this point more than their Monday night game against the Colts. The Dolphins controlled the clock for 45 min, yet Peyton Manning still managed to find a way to win.


Needs. Over at ThePhinsider, fans seem split as to what their number one needs are. Some say ILB, others WR. Personally I think they go ILB in the first round since I can't see Bill Parcells spending another first round pick on WR.


New York Jets

Offense:


Currently ranked 19th overall. Even though they lost Leon Washington earlier in the year due to injury their run game has kept on churning. They're ranked #1 right now and Thomas Jones has over 1000 yards on the season. Their passing is abysmal though. They're ranked 30th overall in the passing game and their number one receiver is Jericho Cotchery. We know they need a true #1, which is why they tried to tamper with Crabtree and why the picked up Braylon Edwards.


Defense:
Their defense is one of the best in the league. They're ranked #1 against the run, #11 against the pass and #1 in points allowed per game (only 16.2).


The Jets are situated to really make a difference next year. Four of their six losses have been by 7 pts or less. Their big needs are on offense and the folks over at GangGreen seem to agree. I think they target whichever WR is the BPA when they pick. (Today they had a front page post talking about Golden Tate).


Buffalo Bills

Offense:


The Bills' offense is horrid. They have struggles everywhere. Ranked 29th overall, 29th in passing, 17th in the run, 26th in points per game, 29th in yards per game, 27th in touchdowns scored. Trent Edwards isn't the answer for them at quarterback and it appears that Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't either. Marshall Lynch and Fred Jackson are their RBs, and their number one receiver is TO.


Defense:

The good news for the Bills is that their defense isn't nearly as anemic as their offense. It's still bad (they're ranked 24th overall), but their passing defense is quite good (5th overall). Their safety Jairus Byrd is a stud--he's a rookie and leads the NFL in INTs. They need help on the ground though.


They have NE, Atl, and Indy next, so they should have a fairly high pick. My guess is that they go with defensive line, or if one of the top QB prospects is still available to them they grab him.

Here is the new draft order after Week 14. Some key players in college have decided to stay in college for one more season, so keep this in mind when doing the mock drafts.

1. ST. LOUIS RAMS (1-12) [PREVIOUSLY 3RD]

2. TAMPA BAY BUCS (1-12) [HELD]

3. DETROIT LIONS (2-11) [HELD]

4. CLEVELAND BROWNS (2-11) [PREVIOUSLY 1ST]

5. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (3-10) [PREVIOUSLY 6TH]

6. OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-9) [PREVIOUSLY 7TH]

7. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (4-9) [PREVIOUSLY 6TH]

8. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS FROM CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-8) [PREVIOUSLY 9TH]

9. DENVER BRONCOS FROM CHICAGO BEARS (5-8) [PREVIOUSLY 10TH]

10. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (5-8) [PRFVIOUSLY 11TH]

11. BUFFALO BILLS (5-8) [PREVIOUSLY 8TH]

12. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (6-7) [HELD]

13. TENNESSEE TITANS (6-7) [PREVIOUSLY 14TH]

14. ATLANTA FALCONS (6-7) [PREVIOUSLY 18TH]

15. HOUSTON TEXANS (6-7) [PREVIOUSLY 13TH]

16. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (6-7) [PREVIOUSLY 17TH]

17. NEW YORK JETS (7-6) [PREVIOUSLY 15TH]

18. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (7-6) [PREVIOUSLY 21ST]

19. MIAMI DOLPHINS (7-6) [PREVIOUSLY 16TH]

20. NEW YORK GIANTS (7-6) [HELD]

21. BALTIMORE RAVENS (7-6) [PREVIOUSLY 19TH]

22. DALLAS COWBOYS (8-5) [PREVIOUSLY 26TH]

23. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-5) [HELD]

24. ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-5) [PREVIOUSLY 27TH]

25. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS FROM DENVER BRONCOS (8-5) [HELD]

26. GREEN BAY PACKERS (9-4) [PREVIOUSLY 22ND]

27. CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-4) [PREVIOUSLY 29TH]

28. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-4) [PREVIOUSLY 24TH]

29. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (10-3) [PREVIOUSLY 28TH]

30. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (11-2) [HELD]

31. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (13-0) [HELD]

32. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13-0) [HELD]

For those that want to keep the offseason discussions going don't hesitate to Rec it...thanks.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.