Thursday, August 8, 2013

2013 Buffalo and Atlanta Previews, NFL Hall of Fame, MLB Suspensions

I'm going to do this blog analyzing 2 teams per day, alphabetically one from the AFC and one from the NFC.
I comprised my list of eligible players for the NFL draft and gave them statistical values based on other pro scouts and guru's, like Mike Mayock, Gil Brandt, and Todd McShay.  I also factored in things such as awards won, All-American Team status, etc., and used that value to have a better understanding of how good a player is, a consensus if you will.

For the ratings a team receives I will be using helmets instead of stars and they mean the following:
5 Helmets: Definate Playoff team/SuperBowl contender
4 Helmets: High Playoff probability
3 Helmets: Playoffs aren't entirely out of question
2 Helmets: Slim to no playoff hope
1 Helmet:  This team is now on the clock for the 2014 NFL Draft.

For Baltimore and Arizona, click here.

Now onto Buffalo and Atlanta.

Buffalo Bills  
2012 in Review
2012 Record: 6-10-0
2012 Division Rank: 3rd in AFC East Division
Scored 344 points (21.5/g), 21st of 32 in the NFL.
 Allowed 435 points (27.2/g), 26th.
 Differential of -91 points (-5.7/g), 25th.

Coached by Chan Gailey

Offensive Coordinator: Curtis Modkins
Defensive Coordinator: Dave Wannstedt
Other Notable Asst.: Bob Sanders (Linebackers)

2012 Draft Review
Round Selection Player Position College
1 10 Stephon Gilmore Cornerback South Carolina
2 41 Cordy Glenn Guard Georgia
3 69 T. J. Graham Wide receiver NC State
4 105 Nigel Bradham Outside Linebacker Florida State
124[a] Ron Brooks Cornerback LSU
5 144 Zebrie Sanders Tackle Florida State
147[b] Tank Carder Inside Linebacker TCU
6 178 Mark Asper Guard Oregon
7 251[c] John Potter Kicker Western Michigan
^[a] The team acquired an additional fourth-round selection (#124 overall) in a trade that sent wide receiver Lee Evans to the Baltimore Ravens.
^[b] The team acquired an additional fifth-round selection (#147 overall) as part of a trade that sent running back Marshawn Lynch to the Seattle Seahawks.
^[c] Compensatory selection.

2012 Undrafted free agents

Stanford safety Delano Howell, Missouri State running back Chris Douglas, Virginia Tech cornerback Cris Hill, Colorado State offensive lineman Paul Madsen, Florida State punter Shawn Powell, Texas offensive lineman David Snow, Penn State safety Nick Sukay, Mercyhurst safety/long snapper Ian Wild, Texas A&M linebacker Garrick Williams and Richmond quarterback Aaron Corp.[11] Corp was later released.

2013 Coaching:
Coached by Doug Marrone

 Offensive Coordinator: Nathaniel Hackett
 Defensive Coordinator: Mike Pettine
2013 Draft Picks with my Grades:
Team Overall Round Round Pick Player Position School Grade

Bills (from Rams (Tavon Austin) 16 1 16 EJ Manuel QB Florida State 142.13 Average= 110.31
Bills 41 2 9 Robert Woods WR USC 145.18
Bills (from Rams (Tavon Austin)) 46 2 14 Kiko Alonso ILB Oregon 123.31
Bills (from Rams) 78 3 16 Marquise Goodwin WR Texas 113.10
Bills 105 4 8 Duke Williams SS Nevada 89.32
Bills 143 5 10 Jonathan Meeks SS Clemson 24.73
Bills 177 6 9 Dustin Hopkins K Florida State 136.95
Bills (from Rams) 222 7 16 Chris Gragg TE Arkansas 107.77

My Draft Grade for 2013: B+

Undrafted Free Agents for 2013:
Syracuse OG Zach Chibane; Georgia Tech DE Izaan Cross; Towson FS Jordan Dangerfield; Missouri CB Kip Edwards; Richmond RB/FB Kendall Gaskins; Eastern Washington WR Brandon Kaufman; Lane CB Vernon Kearney; Stony Brook WR Kevin Norrell; Howard LB Keith Pough; USC CB Nickell Robey; Tennessee Tech WR Da'Rick Rogers; Catawba CB Jumal Rolle; Albany FB Drew Smith; Cal DL Aaron Tipoti; Washington State QB Jeff Tuel; Pittsburgh C Ryan Turnley

Notable Free Agents Lost:
Nick Barnett, LB 2013 Team: Washington
Andy Levitre, OL 2013 Team: Tennessee
All 3 QB's on roster last year are now gone.

Notable Free Agent Acquisitions:
Manny Lawson, LB, Cincinnati
Kevin Kolb, QB, Arizona

What to Watch For:

With Buffalo you never know what you're going to get.  They have talent on both sides of the ball, first on offense with C.J. Spiller and Stevie Johnson; on defense they have Jairus Byrd and Mario Williams.  I expect EJ Manuel to start by week 5 for this team and on defense Kiko Alonso is pretty much alone as far as the defensive rookies go.  I was very intrigued by Robert Woods and think he'll be a perfect match, maybe not this year, but in the future, opposite of Johnson.

Rating for 2013 NFL Season:  2 helmets out of 5.

Atlanta Falcons

2012 in Review
2012 Record: 3-13-0
2012 Division Rank: Finished 1st in NFC South Division
Scored 419 points (26.2/g), 7th of 32 in the NFL.
 Allowed 299 points (18.7/g), 5th.
 Differential of 120 points (7.5/g), 5th.

Takeaway/Giveaway Differential +13 (0.8/g), 5th. 

Coached by Mike Smith

 Offensive Coordinator: Dirk Koetter
 Defensive Coordinator: Mike Nolan

2012 Draft Review:
The Falcons did not have a first- or fourth-round selection.[a]
Round Selection Player Position College
2 55 Peter Konz C Wisconsin
3 84 Lamar Holmes OT Southern Miss
5 157 Bradie Ewing FB Wisconsin
164 Jonathan Massaquoi DE Troy
6 192 Charles Mitchell S Mississippi State
7[b] 249[c] Travian Robertson DT South Carolina
^[a] The team traded its first and fourth-round selections, as well as its first-, second-, and fourth-round selections in 2011 to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for Cleveland's first round selection in 2011, used to select wide receiver Julio Jones.
^[b] The team traded its original seventh-round selection (#229 overall) to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for cornerback Asante Samuel.
^[c] Compensatory selection.
2013 Coaching Staff:
Coached by Mike Smith

 Offensive Coordinator: Dirk Koetter
 Defensive Coordinator: Mike Nolan

2013 Draft Picks and My Grades:
Team Overall Round Round Pick Player Position School Grade

Falcons (from Redskins through Rams) 22 1 22 Desmond Trufant CB Washington 143.47 Average= 98.07
Falcons 60 2 28 Robert Alford CB Southeastern Louisiana 118.17
Falcons 127 4 30 Malliciah Goodman DE Clemson 92.20
Falcons (Compensatory Selection) 133 4 36 Levine Toilolo TE Stanford 79.23
Falcons (from Bears) 153 5 20 Stansly Maponga DE TCU 73.43
Falcons (Compensatory Selection) 243 7 37 Kemal Ishmael SS UCF --
Falcons (Compensatory Selection) 244 7 38 Zeke Motta SS Notre Dame 103.73
Falcons (Compensatory Selection) 249 7 43 Sean Renfree QB Duke 76.29

 My Draft Grade for 2013: C+

Undrafted Free Agents:
Boston College LB Nick Clancy; Fresno State WR Rashad Evans; Texas Tech QB Seth Doege; Syracuse DL Dan Googins; UCF OG Theo Goins; UCF DE Cam Henderson; SMU WR Darius Johnson; Alabama State OL Terren Jones; Utah DB Moe Lee; Northern Illinois WR Martell Moore; Eastern Washington OT Will Post; Indiana DL Adam Replogle; Georgia State RB Donald Russell; App State DB Troy Sanders; Utah P Sean Sellwood; Valdosta State OT Ryan Schraeder; Tennessee-Martin WR Quentin Sims; Kentucky C Matt Smith; Colorado State CB Momo Thomas; Arkansas Pine-Bluff OLB Brandon Thurmond; Arkansas RB Ronnie Wingo; Delaware LB Paul Worrilow; North Carolina K Casey Barth; Texas State LB Joplo Bartu; Maryland FB Devonte Campbell; Ohio DT Neal Huynh; McNeese State OT Alec Savoie

Notable Free Agents Lost:
John Abraham, DL, Lost to Arizona
Dunta Robinson, DB, Lost to K.C.
Brent Grimes, DB, Lost to Miami
Tyson Clabo, OL, Lost to Miami
Michael Turner, RB, Lost to Free Agency

Notable Free Agents Acquired:
Steven Jackson, RB, from St. Louis
Osi Umenyiora, DL, from NY Giants

What to Watch For:
The Atlanta Falcons of 2012 were on the verge of a SuperBowl appearance and fell a game short.  Tony Gonzalez returns for another campaign after FINALLY tasting a playoff win.  Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and now Steven Jackson comprise one of the most explosive offensive units in the NFL.  Key loses to the secondary may make every game a shoot out for this team.  After listening to the Rich Eisen Podcast interview with Brian Banks, you can't help but pull for this young man.  Here is the link for the Brian Banks Podcast if you haven't already heard it.  If the link doesn't work, you can go here to find the direct page.  I personally think this is one of the 2-3 teams to beat in the NFC and potentially the NFL this season.

Rating for 2013 NFL Season: 5 helmets out of 5.

NFL Hall of Fame Ceremony:
The NFL held it's annual enshrinement this past weekend and it did not disappoint.  The speeches weren't as super motivational as some of the past goes, but per Deion Sanders request, I won't rank them.  These guys, like their speeches, are each unique and inspirational in their own special ways.  If you're an NFL fan, this event should be a kick-starter for your season every year.  On The Rich Eisen podcast Rich states that there is a "playing season and a non-playing season", the Hall of Fame induction ceremony every year is used to kick off the playing season.  Dallas defeated Miami in this years Hall of Fame game which usually shows you a variety of guys that may or may not appear in the NFL this year or even years to come.  The stats are kept for practice purposes basically and the score truly doesn't determine anything in the long run, but just to see football again makes this a special game.  Ten million at home viewers for this years game couldn't be wrong.  Go back and watch the speeches, you can also look up previous enshrinee information at .

MLB Suspensions
In other news this past week, Major League Baseball suspended 13 players with the most famous being Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees for their involvement in a BioGenesis clinic in Florida.  A-Rod got hit the hardest with the other players all taking the same 50 game suspension.  Rodriguez on the other hand is suspended a total of 211 games.  Here is an excerpt from about the suspensions:

The players' union made a late appeal to MLB for a deal for Rodriguez but was told there would be no more negotiations. He will be punished under the Joint Drug Agreement and other areas of the league's collective-bargaining agreement but will be allowed to play while he appeals.

The other players, initially confirmed by, who have agreed to the suspensions without the right to appeal are:

• Nelson Cruz, Rangers outfielder
• Everth Cabrera, Padres shortstop
• Jhonny Peralta, Tigers shortstop
Antonio Bastardo, Phillies reliever
• Francisco CervelliYankees catcher (on DL)
• Jordany Valdespin, Mets outfielder (minors)
• Jesus Montero, Mariners catcher (minors)
• Cesar Puello, Mets outfielder (minors)
•  Sergio Escalona, Astros pitcher (minors)
• Fernando Martinez, Yankees outfielder (minors)
• Fautino De Los Santos, free-agent pitcher
• Jordan Norberto, free-agent pitcher

Beyond Rodriguez, the suspensions come with potentially stiff consequences for at least two of the players and their teams. Cruz, Cabrera and Peralta were each All-Stars this season, with Cruz's Rangers and Peralta's Tigers contending for playoff berths. 

Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun was the first player to reach an agreement with MLB on a suspension for his connection to the Biogenesis case. The 2011 NL MVP accepted a season-ending 65-game suspension last month.
I personally think MLB should be a bit harsher especially towards Braun who lied about this very case last year when confronted with it.  The players should be held more accountable.  Pete Rose was banned for life from the game and the Hall of Fame for betting on the game, these guys are doing worse than that in my opinion, cheating is cheating and using illegal drugs or substances to make yourself play longer, have better hand-eye coordination, hit harder, run faster, etc is the same as cheating.  These suspensions were a great "start" for MLB but I don't think it was enough to deter others from trying it in the future.  With advances in technology and human growth hormones (HGH) and other medicinal practices advancing, you do leave a century old sport in the proverbial dust.  All we, the fans, ask is that the playing field be evened out.  Year after year this comes up, from Mark McGwire to Barry Bonds and now this, when will it stop MLB? 

Closing Thoughts:
I leave you with a passage from a book I read once, "Chicken soup for the Sports Fan's Soul".  This story describes sports to a T.  I wish you all a great day and a better week, month and year than you've ever had before.  God Bless.

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