First, I just wanted to mention that the reason I haven’t been posting frequently is because life has me incredibly busy. I don’t expect that to change any time soon, so while I have the time…
Here are some quick thoughts –
So as I guesstimated, Wade Phillips is out in Dallas, and Jason Garrett gets the rest of the season to see if he’s the man for the future. I think he’s going to have a tough time earning the full time gig because the team’s energy vanished when Tony Romo went out with his injury. If we’re to take the league’s MVP award literally, shouldn’t Tony Romo win it? The Cowboys quit on Wade, and I don’t see them turning things back on for the in-house promotion. Next year, if not Gruden (I’m still not convinced he’s coming back to coaching next season), my top pick would be Brian Billick. I remain a huge fan of his football intellect and think he would be a great fit for Dallas. He could certainly co-exist with Jerry Jones, and he’d bring respect and continuity to the position. I haven’t heard/read any rumors about a Billick/Dallas connection, but it would make a lot of sense to me.
Patrick Peterson is still my favorite college football prospect. You could suit him up today in the league, and he’d shut down the majority of the wideouts. A Ronde Barber replacement is needed in Tampa, but EJ Biggers has been impressive in his first full season on the active roster. If he continues his development, I’d be surprised if the Bucs spent their first selection on a corner, but he’d give the Bucs a tremendous 1-2 starting corner duo with Aqib Talib. Talk about playmaking ability.
Andrew Luck (Stanford) is easily the NCAA's top QB prospect in my mind. My favorite parts of his game are his in-play decision making and the control he has over the offense at all times. Conversely, I don’t think anyone’s stock has dropped as substantially as Jake Locker’s. Talk about a blah season by a guy projected by many to be the potential #1 overall pick in the next draft.
Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma State) looks like a future top 5 pick. Assuming he gets his head on straight and doesn’t can behave off the field, there’s no limit to his potential. He exhibits tremendous body control for a guy his size, is strong with long arms, and has elite RAC skills. He makes highlight plays every week. I’m high on AJ Green (Georgia) but not much at all on Jon Baldwin, the big dude from Pittsburgh. Another guy I really like is Greg Childs (Arkansas). He’s another impressive RAC guy. There is no wasted movement in his game. He realizes his size and uses his strength and aggressiveness to get extra yards. Dwayne Harris (ECU) and Jerrel Jernigan (Troy) are a couple of lesser known talents who make a ton of plays in the open field.
Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson) was in my preseason top 3 at DE (with Adrian Clayborn (Iowa) and Robert Quinn (UNC)), and he might leap to the top of the list if he continues his dominant junior season. The beast has 12 sacks through 9 games and is exhibiting all of the skills necessary to become a prime time NFL player. Bowers has ideal size/speed for the position and has a really aggressive style of play. He uses his hands, leverage, and upper body strength well in shedding blocks. I’m also impressed with is run defending ability from the RE position. His consistent strong and quick first step stand out. Big fan of this guy.
Marcell Dareus (Alabama) would be my #1 interior guy if the Bucs needed one next year. The guy is an athletic bowling ball. His plus explosion and lateral quickness make him an elite talent. I think he has the potential to be a dominant line of scrimmage defender.
So far, I’m not terribly impressed with the potential class of linebackers (inside or out). I still think Barrett Ruud needs to be replaced for this defense to take the necessary step to the next level, but I don’t foresee a ton of options for the job next year. One guy I like is Nate Irving (NC State). He has a big motor, impressive range, and likes to attack the line of scrimmage, something we’re not getting from our current MLB. Irving missed last year due to a serious car accident, but he’s coming back strong.
Way to go Buster Posey! As a Dodger fan there are 29 other teams I’d rather see win the World Series than the Giants, but I’m obviously happy for the former Nole. Buster hit the ground running in San Francisco upon his call up; seamlessly taking over the pitching staff and establishing himself as a key piece of the middle of a championship lineup. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t win Rookie of the Year. Carlos Gonzalez made me look good with a huge second half and should be front and center in the MVP discussion. I think Joey Votto will get it, but Gonzalez should finish second at worst.