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03 Jun 2006

Four Downs: NFC South

Best player available analysis by Sean McCormick
Remainder of Four Downs by Darrell Michaud

(Ed. note: For this round of Four Downs, we're pleased to present Sean McCormick's "Best Player Available" analysis for each division, along with the usual gang commenting on other moves by each team before and since the draft. The reasoning behind BPA analysis is explained in this article. Each player drafted is listed along with his position on four different independent draft boards and the Best Player Available according to each of those boards. Please note that two of these boards only ranked 100 players.)

Atlanta Falcons

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
37 DB Jimmy Williams 13, 15, 20, 22 OT Winston Justice (3), DB Jimmy Williams
79 RB Jerious Norwood 66, 68, 75, 124 G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ashton Youboty, DB Ko Simpson, DT Gabe Watson
139 OT Quinn Ojinnaka 288, UR, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (2), DB DeMario Minter, DE Mark Anderson
184 WR Adam Jennings 238, UR, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
223 QB D.J. Shockley 206, UR, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall

Atlanta traded their first-round pick to acquire three-time Pro Bowl defensive end John Abraham from the Jets. The Falcons didn't have much luck the last time they went this route, but Abraham is a far more proven commodity than Peerless Price was. The practice of trading picks for veteran players can put a strain on a team's salary structure -- Abraham signed a six-year, $45 million contract, while last year's 15th pick overall, linebacker Derrick Johnson, signed a five-year deal worth $10.4 million -- but for a team that is looking for immediate impact, the trade route makes sense. Abraham won't help Atlanta improve on their rush defense (26th by NFL rankings, 32nd in DVOA) but he'll team with Patrick Kerney, Rod Coleman and Chad Lavalais to form one of the most gifted pass-rushing units in the league.

As it turned out, the Falcons were able to land a player with a first round grade anyway, as they nabbed Virginia Tech corner Jimmy Williams with the 37th pick. Williams didn't have a strong senior season and he turned a lot of teams off with his combine interviews, but at one time he was the unquestioned top cornerback prospect in the draft. The Falcons have had good success with Virginia Tech players, and they hope that Williams will team with fellow Hokie DeAngelo Hall to give Atlanta the best set of corners in the division. Williams won't be rushed into the starting lineup, but he has the talent to displace Jason Webster by midseason.

Opinions were largely positive on Mississippi State running back Jerious Norwood, with three of the boards considering him a minor steal, but both Quinn Ojinnaka and Adam Jennings were taken higher than they needed to be. There was speculation that the Falcons would spend a late pick on Marcus Vick, but instead they opted for Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley. Shockley's mobility and athleticism gives the team the option of keeping their playbook intact should Michael Vick go down. With Matt Schaub a likely candidate to be traded at season's end, the team will groom Shockley in the hope he will become a viable backup quarterback.

Latest Transactions

The Falcons acquired left tackle Wayne Gandy from the New Orleans Saints in exchange for Bryan Scott and a conditional future draft pick. Gandy and Scott were players who'd fallen out of favor with their teams. The Falcons upgraded their safeties in the offseason, and Scott, a poor run defender, ended up the odd man out. Gandy, meanwhile, committed 19 penalties in the last two seasons and lost his starting job to right tackle Jammal Brown.

The Falcons also signed Arena League wide receiver Troy Bergeron. Last year, the Georgia Force wide receiver broke Oronde Gadsden's receiving yards record by netting 1,372 yards on 105 catches, 31 of which went for touchdowns. The 22-year-old, who never played a game in college, also led the AFL in kick return yardage.

Undrafted Free Agents

Defensive tackle T.J. Jackson (Auburn) was named to the All-SEC second team with 41 tackles. At 6'1", he lacks the height normally desired from defensive tackles, but he weighs 311 pounds, making him the largest Falcons defensive tackle. His Auburn teammate, Travis Williams is a tweener linebacker/safety that might not be able to fit in either role, but should be able to contribute on special teams. Tight end Daniel Fells (Cal-Davis) provides a big target with large hands for Michael Vick, but lacks the blocking ability to contribute much as a backup. Safety Greg Threat (Miami) lost his starting job before the 2005 season, but his physical tools make him a fine run stopper.

Carolina Panthers

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
27 RB DeAngelo Williams 14, 17, 23, 29 OT Winston Justice (3), DB Jimmy Williams
58 DB Richard Marshall 27, 31, 33, 42 DB Richard Marshall (2) OT Eric Winston, DB Ashton Youboty,
88 LB James Anderson 112, 117, UR, UR G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DB Darnell Bing, DT Gabe Watson
89 OT Rashad Butler 101, 113, UR, UR G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DB Darnell Bing, DT Gabe Watson
121 DB Nate Salley 145, 200, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (3), DE Mark Anderson
155 TE Jeff King 231, 249, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (3), DE Mark Anderson
234 C Will Montgomery 217, 241, UR, UR DB Dee Webb (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
237 DE Stanley McClover 62, 67, 123, 144 DE Stanley McClover (2), RB Andre Hall (2)

With Stephen Davis no longer in the backfield, it was widely expected that Carolina would look to the first round crop of runners for a replacement. But in a mild upset, they bypassed big, bruising LenDale White in favor of Memphis senior DeAngelo Williams. There is always a temptation to lock in on players that fit in a successful system, and a White-DeShaun Foster backfield would have given Carolina the kind of 1-2 punch of power and speed they utilized during their 2003 Super Bowl run. Instead, John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney ignored scheme and simply took the better player. Williams is in the mold of a Brian Westbrook, a shifty, smallish runner who will do better on stretch plays than trying to bang between the tackles. He may be the best receiver on the team after Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson, so expect to see him utilized both in the slot and out of the backfield.

In the second round the team took Fresno State corner Richard Marshall, who was considered a major steal on all four boards. The junior cornerback has the good size and long arms that Fox values, and he is effective in both zone and man coverages. Marshall won't start, but his presence in the nickel and dime packages will help the team handle the departure of Ricky Manning Jr.

After Marshall, most of Carolina's picks were steady but not sensational. None of the group of James Anderson, Rashad Butler, Nate Salley or Jeff King was a steal on any of the boards, but each player was picked at roughly the proper point in the draft. With their final pick, the Panthers grabbed BPA gold with Auburn defensive end Stanley McClover, who was considered a late second-round pick by two of the draft boards. McClover doesn't have a lot of versatility, but he definitely has the speed to get to the quarterback. With Julius Peppers drawing attention on the other side, McClover has the opportunity to make an immediate impact as a third-down pass-rush specialist.

Latest Transactions

Carolina signed linebackers Keith Adams of the Eagles and Na'il Diggs of the Packers. Adams excels on special teams and can step into a starting role if pressed. Adams will compete with Diggs and Adam Seward for the final linebacker spot alongside Dan Morgan and Thomas Davis.

Undrafted Free Agents

Wide receiver Jovon Bouknight (Wyoming) amassed 1,116 receiving yards in his senior year. While Bouknight lacks the physical tools that allow him to get separation, he runs excellent routes and and shows the polish and experience of a three-year-starter. Tackle Albert Toeaina's (Tennessee) speed and technique have been called into question, but no one can deny his sheer power and run blocking ability. Defensive end Devan Long (Oregon), is a high-motor overachiever with limited physical skills. He's also the younger brother of Titan defensive tackle Rien Long. Tackle Adam Stenavich (Michigan) lacks mobility but shows excellent strength and technique. He can play multiple positions on the line and his versatility should allow him to make the team.

New Orleans Saints

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
2 RB Reggie Bush 1, 1, 1, 1 RB Reggie Bush (4)
43 DB Roman Harper 68, 76, 91, UR RB LenDale White (2), OT Eric Winston, DB Ashton Youboty
108 OT Jhari Evans 160, 207, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (2), DB DeMario Minter, DE Mark Anderson
135 DE Rob Ninkovich 100, 207, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (2), DB DeMario Minter, DE Mark Anderson
171 WR Mike Haas 85, 116, 161, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (3), RB Andre Hall
210 OT Zach Strief 156, 167, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
252 WR Marques Colston 206, 212, UR, UR RB Andre Hall (2), DB Anwar Phillips (2)

The Saints spent much of the pre-draft period trying to trade down from the second pick, but their failure to get a deal done turned out to be a blessing in disguise, and New Orleans was there to catch Reggie Bush after his shocking one spot 'fall' on draft day. The Saints had no crying need at the running back position -- they just gave a big contract extension to Deuce McAllister and brought in Michael Bennett to be the backup -- but to the team's credit, they didn't let that dissuade them from taking the consensus best player in the draft. Bush is the most versatile offensive prospect since Marshall Faulk, and it will be interesting to see how new head coach Sean Payton decides to utilize him. Payton was the offensive coordinator for the Giants when they made their 2000 Super Bowl run, and he rotated Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne, giving each of them nearly an equal number of carries despite the fact that Barber averaged 4.7 yards a carry while Dayne managed only 3.4. Barber has subsequently shown that he can easily handle a full workload, and if Payton is wise, he will simply give Bush the starting job to start the season. Not only is Bush already the best outside runner, the best receiver not named Joe Horn, and the best return man on the team, he is also a more effective between-the-tackles runner than McAllister. The Saints offense has suffered for years from McAllister's inability to consistently generate four yards on first or second down carries -- he tends to mix in a few long runs with a lot of 1-2 yard carries -- and correcting that problem will do more than anything else to lift the offense.

It's good the Saints pulled off a slam-dunk with their first round pick, because the rest of their draft was not inspiring. Roman Harper is limited athletically, and he was taken at least one round before any board projected him to go. Jhari Evans is a small-school project who is at least two years away from competing for a starting job. One of the boards liked Purdue 'tweener Rob Ninkovich, but it's not clear where he is going to play in the team's 4-3 scheme. He'll have to bulk up if he wants to see regular time in the defensive line rotation. The Saints did a better job with the back end of their draft, where they were able to land Mike Hass, Zack Strief and Marques Colston all at good value. Hass is a particularly interesting addition. He doesn't have speed, but he runs crisp routes, has excellent hands and shows excellent awareness on the field. On a team stocked with athletically gifted underachievers at the receiver position, Haas could establish himself as a reliable underneath target and a third-down specialist.

Latest Transactions

The Saints and the Browns swapped centers in the offseason. LeCharles Bentley signed with Cleveland, and New Orleans filled the hole by trading for Cleveland center Jeff Faine. Cleveland selected Faine, a product of Notre Dame, 21st in the 2001 draft. For Faine, New Orleans moved down from the 33rd pick to the 43rd pick.

New Orleans sent their fourth round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for defensive tackle Hollis Thomas. Thomas is a non-factor in the pass rush, but at 306 pounds he effectively takes up blockers. However, at 32, Thomas is best used in a limited role in a rotation.

Undrafted Free Agents

Linebacker E.J. Kuale (LSU) has been making waves in Saints camp. "I think he understands what it takes probably to make an NFL roster," head coach Sean Payton said of Kuale. The ruptured tendon of James Allen should help E.J. find a spot. Sean Payton called defensive tackle McKinley Boykin (Ole Miss) "explosive and sudden," which are terms not often used to describe Saints defenders. Cornerback Anwar Phillips (Penn State) was expected to be taken on the second day of the draft. (You'll notice his name as Best Player Available for much of the seventh round.) He has the physical tools to play the position, but struggles at times with the mental aspect of the game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pick Players Player Rankings Best Player Available
23 G Davin Joseph 34, 35, 45, 47 OT Winston Justice (3), DB Jimmy Williams
59 OT Jeremy Trueblood 65, 69, 73, 98 OT Eric Winston (2), DB Ashton Youboty, TE Leonard Pope
90 WR Maurice Stovall 48, 64, 69, 72 G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DB Darnell Bing, DT Gabe Watson
122 DB Alan Zematis 46, 59, 72, 98 DT Babatunde Oshinowo (2), DB DeMario Minter, DE Mark Anderson
156 DE Julian Jenkins 130, 130, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (3), DE Mark Anderson
194 QB Bruce Gradkowski 156, 189, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
202 TE T.J. Williams 177, 199, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
235 DB Justin Phinisee UR, UR, UR, UR DB Dee Webb (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
241 DE Charles Bennett 241, 255, UR, UR RB Andre Hall (2), DB Anwar Phillips (2)
244 RB Tim Massaquoi 280, UR, UR, UR RB Andre Hall (2), DB Anwar Phillips (2)

The Bucs offensive line disintegrated against every quality front seven it faced last year, so it was no surprise to see the team target the unit for improvement in the draft. It was a surprise, however, to see how they went about it. Tampa Bay passed on the chance to end Winston Justice's slide, preferring Oklahoma guard Davin Joseph. Joseph was generally considered the top guard available, and he brings some versatility thanks to his stint at left tackle with the Sooners. What makes the decision to pass on Justice all the more questionable is that the Bucs felt they had enough of a need at tackle to address it in the second round, where the team nabbed 6'8"Boston College mauler Jeremy Trueblood. Unless the team had Justice pulled from their board due to character issues, the better approach would have been to take the tackle first and then follow up with the top guard available, in this case Max Jean-Gilles, in either the second or third rounds. Good offensive lines are usually built from the outside in, and Tampa's decision to address the interior line first may result in a less talented unit down the road.

Tampa got excellent value in the middle of their draft. Maurice Stovall was considered a late-second/early-third prospect. He doesn't have a lot of pure foot speed, but Jon Gruden's attack doesn't require it. The Bucs didn't get much production from their tight ends down in the red zone last year, and the 6'5" Stovall will give Chris Simms a quality receiving option when the field shortens up. Alan Zematis was the more highly rated of the two Nittany Lion corners, and his style translates well into Monte Kiffen's scheme. Zematis will have to unlearn the Penn State side-pedal before he sees much action, but he has the talent to challenge for a starting spot down the road. Stanford defensive end Julian Jenkins was a bit less regarded than his teammate Babatunde Oshinowo, but he still represented good value in the fifth round. Jenkins is a solid two-way defensive end who shows good strength at the point of attack. He's currently listed behind Simeon Rice on the depth chart, but Jenkins doesn't have the explosiveness to develop into an edge rusher, so his future is probably on the strong side. Toledo quarterback Bruce Gradkowski was considered a minor steal on the two boards that went past 100, but with Tampa's depth at the position he'll have a tough time making the active roster. Gradkowski is probably destined for NFL Europe and the practice squad.

Latest Transactions

In an outstanding move, Tampa Bay signed fullback Jerald Sowell to replace the departed Jameel Cook. Not only does Sowell provide Cadillac Williams with superlative blocking, but he gives Chris Simms an extra receiving threat out of the backfield. Sowell performed badly as a receiver last year, but then again, Brooks Bollinger took most of the snaps that year. With a competent quarterback, Sowell should once again be both one of the best blocking and receiving fullbacks in the league.

Tampa Bay also picked up one of the biggest cases of wrecked potential in the league by signing wide receiver David Boston. Boston established himself as one of the league's top young receivers in the 2000 and 2001 seasons, but failed drug tests and injuries have slowed him down considerably. Boston has not played much since a fair 2003 season.

Undrafted Free Agents

Running back Andre Hall (USF) averaged 6.5 yards per carry in his four-year career at USF but, at 5-9, stands shorter than the ideal running back. Linebacker Anthony Trucks (Oregon) specializes in rushing the passer, racking up 11 sacks and forcing five fumbles in 2005. However, Trucks needs to fill out to stay at linebacker in the pros. Safety Jahmile Addae (West Virginia) hits hard in the running game but lacks coverage skills.

Posted by: Guest on 03 Jun 2006

61 comments, Last at 24 Jun 2006, 2:10am by Stephen Yang


by zerlesen (not verified) :: Sat, 06/03/2006 - 11:23pm

Hard not to root for a guy named Greg Threat.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 12:27am

I linebacker named Anthony Trucks isn't bad either...

by Harris (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 12:54am

While Bouknight lacks the physical tools that allow him to get separation, he runs excellent routes and and shows the polish and experience of a three-year-starter. Just from this description, I'm willing to bet Bouknight is a slow, and probably short, white guy.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 12:58am

Mike Hass doesn't have speed, but he runs crisp routes, has excellent hands and shows excellent awareness on the field. Him too.

by Stereochemistry (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 1:29am

"I linebacker named Anthony Trucks isn’t bad either… "

It gets better. His son's middle name is Mack.

by Stereochemistry (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 1:35am

And as far as the Bucs and Winston Justice go, I have to think if any team has a full docket of scouting and character info, it's the team with last year's USC Defensive Line and Defensive Backs coaches now part of their staff, as well as connections to Coach Lane Kiffin who remains coaching at USC.

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 4:16am

#3: wrong!


#4: right!


Yes, I have nothing better to do than google image search for undrafted free agents.

by David (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 6:52am

Babatunde Oshinowo completly sucks bad rating job fools

by brasilbear (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 11:30am

Maybe I don't understand the BPA, but is the Saints chart suggesting that with the 43rd pick they should have picked White and with the 210 pick they should have picked Adams, both running backs? This after they picked Bush at pick number 2?

by Kuato (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 12:57pm

Re: #9

BPA stands for Best Available Player. So it doesn't matter at all what positions a team is drafting for or reallly needs, it only asks who is the most highly ranked player on the board? In those cases, the highest ranked players were RB.

by Darrel Michaud (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 1:23pm

Just from this description, I’m willing to bet Bouknight is a slow, and probably short, white guy.

How many white guys do you know named "Jovon?"

by charles2.0 (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 2:36pm

He doesn’t have a lot of pure foot speed, but Jon Gruden’s attack doesn’t require it.

This is an accurate statement, Gruden is known for getting the most out of slow guys, but for god sake's tampa bay only scored 300 points last season and that's with galloway(who is not slow) scoring 10 TD's as the catalyst. In the biggest game last season when they needed a score they went to edell shepherd twice. Plus they already have Clayton, who admittedly had a crappy year, but he's the same player as Stovall.

by usedbread (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 3:33pm

who is Babatunde Oshinowo?
hes gotta be like the biggest fall ever, right?

by Matt (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 4:02pm

How boring are our jobs that the comment rate slows this much over the weekend? And does anybody want to guess at the lost productivity?

On BPA....what is it with people not getting that its not FO's rating of players, they are merely using four other sources as references to determine value? Although, the punctuation and grammer skills indicate how serious these people should be taken. Never mind.

by Englishbob (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 4:52pm

If you are looking for a surprise package in 2006, am I completely mad to present to you New Orleans? They have a new coach who'll get a better attitude from them, a star running back who won't be over-used thanks to Deuce being there, an improved defence and finally a certain man called Brees not Brooks throwing the ball.
Plus they play a massive 8 games at home this year! (assuming stadium is ready).

by Kevin Pelton (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 5:11pm

If Jovon Bouknight was white, he would immediately become the MVP of the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars.

by slu49er (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 5:20pm


tisk tisk #14

by Harris (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 8:00pm

You're right.

by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 12:35am

That is an entirely different Harris. I admit nothing.

by Craig (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 1:13am

Repeat after me: Gradkowski, Gradkowski, Gradkowski....

After searching for Bruce Gradowski, I can see why his name would be misspelled. It appears on 1,230 sites. For the record, the correct spelling of Bruce Gradkowski results in 55,100.

by Rodrigo (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 10:55am

I know its been said but ----- ITS GRAMMAR, wow

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 11:00am

Re: 15

I think the Saints could be as bad as last year. Lots of turnover and a new head coach. I'm not sold on Payton either. If things start badly, look out.

by wrmjr (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 11:11am

I like these BPA analyses, but if you decide to do them next year, maybe you could consider adding a BAP column--Best at Position. It would sort of provide the other side to the BPA formula: if a team is not going to select BPA, who else could they have chosen at the same player position? It's one thing not to choose the best player available, but it's even worse if it turns out you didn't even choose the best player at a given position.

by cjfarls (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 12:01pm

Re: 23- I like it!

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 12:22pm

But that would just mean that the draft sites and the team's scouts disagreed in their assessments of the players. The point of the BPA analysis is to discover what strategy teams are employing. It may be thrown off in places if the boards have mis-assessed a particular player, but the real value of the study is the comparison between actual and projected draft position for each player. What would be really interesting would be to then attempt to discover whether players who "slid" did in fact tend to prove to be better selections than ones for who teams "reached".

by wrmjr (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 1:02pm

I don't think BPA gets beyond the problem of draft sites and team scouts disagreeing in player assessment.

Take the NO draft, for example. We don't really know whether they thought Jhari Evans was the BPA or just the Best OT. We know that they disagreed with the draft sites used here, because they picked Zach Strief 102 players later, though he was rated slightly ahead of Evans on the 2 draft boards that listed both. I think it would be interesting to have both sets of data--who was a "reach" and who "slid" on a BPA analysis and on a position analysis.

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 4:21pm

I also think it would be interesting to see if sites such as Scout.com, which revise their rankings a number of times prior to the draft, are at their most accurate with their final rankings or with those at some earlier stage.

by Sean D. (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 4:35pm

Regarding BPA. I think its safe to assume that almost every team drafts their BPA (or at least one of their top 5). So what we really look at when we see BPA analysis is whether or not that team's analysis matches the outsiders' concensus.

As for the Saints drafting 3 RBs in order to follow BPA. The key is that you only draft the BPA if it makes sense, and if it doesn't make sense your decision is based on the next BPA and not to your next biggest need.

by Matt (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 6:17pm

i thinck i nede to admitt i made an humiliating erorr i blame it on bill gates and he forced dependance on spellchecker and my pappy razed me too lazie to copy into word and copy bakk

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 7:41pm

RE: 29


by David (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 10:50pm

re 15 "I think the Saints could be as bad as last year. Lots of turnover and a new head coach. I’m not sold on Payton either. If things start badly, look out."

Dumbest thing ive heard on this site, Two Words: REGGIE BUSH
easy 1800 yards rushing

DREW BREES is a pro bowler

The Saints cowboys NFC Championship is going to be awesome

by morganja (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 12:32am

I laughed out loud at #31. But then I remembered that do play Atlanta twice, maybe even once at home. That could be 1000 yards just in those games.

by EnglishBob (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 4:04am

Re 31-32; I'm still trying to work out whether 31 is making fun of me (fair enough) or is rabidly backing me????

by evad (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 5:45am

i don't think he was making fun of you
i think even onterrio smith could put 1000 yards in 2 games...that is unless Milloy and Abraham work out... but hey what do i know

by Podge (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 9:38am

Hey, Jamal Lewis got 500 yards in 2 games against the Browns, and Bush seems to be better than him.

That been said 1000 yards in 2 games is a little ridiculous? But do the Saints play the Rams this year? If they do then 1000 yards in 3 games wouldn't be surprising.

by David (not the one from 31) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 12:41pm

The Saints get the NFC East, which is not exactly helpful in a quest for huge rushing numbers. They do play two games against Atlanta and one against San Francisco, though, so that could balance out.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 1:46pm

I think the expectation that the Falcons run D will be as poor in 2006 as it was in 2005, is at least debatable. They have upgraded at safety and if Hartwell returns from injury at his previous form they should be much better at MLB this year.

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 1:50pm

All this talk about Drew Brees being the same caliber of player he was before the surgery has me thinking....

We can build him faster....
We can build him stronger....
We can enhance his vision....

Wow! So the median price for a Bionic man has gone from 6 million dollars in the mid 70's to ealry 80's to just over 10 million today? Guess the Feds are wrong about inflation. thats not too bad!

by morganja (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 4:13pm

In Atlanta's defense, I can't believe I just said that, they do play three teams in their division that are dedicated to the run. I think they're run defense is a little better than the rushing total per game allowed would indicate.

Getting rid of Brooks and the coaching staff sould help a lot in New Orleans. They really haven't looked like they have been showing up to play for years. Seems like they had a lot of talent but no one who really was passionate about the game, except Kyle Turley and they got rid of him.

by JRM (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 5:10pm

Yeah, 1800 yards in his rookie year. Easy. Even with McAllister and Bennett on the roster.

Based purely on people's ridiculously inflated expectations of him, Bush is set up to be the biggest disappointment in NFL history.

by Englishbob (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 5:38pm

If Joe Horn can get some help, their offense could be scary... for the opposition, not their fans!

by Mac (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 7:38pm

I'd like to throw in a name among the Saints undrafted free agents... Ray Hudson, the ex-Alabama back, was expected to get picked late in the 2005 draft, but couldn't get clearance from the NFL after suffering a midseason knee injury. (He said after the draft that nobody at the NFL told him he couldn't be drafted.) I guess he convinced them he was healthy and is a street free agent. I think that if/when they unload McAllister he can be a good backup to Bush.

by Vince (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 10:25pm

In Atlanta’s defense, I can’t believe I just said that, they do play three teams in their division that are dedicated to the run. I think they’re run defense is a little better than the rushing total per game allowed would indicate.

Samkon Gado ran for more than 100 yards against Atlanta. Samkon. Gado.

by John (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 9:38am

Yeah, Ed Donatell is their DC. Trust me, their rush defense IS that bad. It's the guys trademark

by david p (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 2:07pm

Atlanta was playing with 4 starters in their front 7 who had 2 or less years of experience. And yes, they had THE worst safety tandem in the league. This year, they've gotten Milloy and Crocker, and have only 1 starter with 2 years or less experience.

Please try to explain to me how why their defense won't be improved dramatically.

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 2:47pm

RE 45

Because it IS atlanta

by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 1:57am

I think Reggie Bush will get 2000 yards and 30 TDS.

Also he will get 200 Rec for 2400 yards and 40 TDS.

Also hell will freeze over and Brian Urlacher (the biggest pig in the planet) will learn how to fly.

by emcee fleshy (atl/sd) (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 2:01am

The Falcons aren't going to suck just because they're the Falcons anymore. Remember the biggest personnel move they made in the past three years: owner.

Arthur Blank is a bigger upgrade over Rankin Smith than Lawyer Milloy is over Bryan Scott.

That said, the prospect of Reggie Bush, Cadillac Williams and DeAngelo Williams six times a year does scare the bejeesus out of me.


Oh, and #21 it's "IT'S GRAMMAR." (Did I spell "bejeesus" right?)

by david p (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 9:20am

RE 46

I almost forgot how awesome Green Bay was last year. I'm glad Favre came back this year...he hasn't quite fully tarnished his legacy yet...another 26 interceptions should do the trick.

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 2:30pm

RE 49

you can trash my team all you want. at least I don't have a head coach that needs to make a phone call becasue he needs to see if a field goal to win would put them into the playoffs!!!

and lets see why Favre had those interceptions. oh thats right no O-line and only one reciever healthy enough to catch a ball. No RB could stay healthy, and the fact that we had no Defensive presence to speak of. But now we have a DT that can help in the middle freeing up both Kampman and KGB to go around on the edges. we have a bright prospect in Rookie LB AJ Hawk to compliment Nick Barnett and now we have two decent CB that know how to play against recievers w/o causing a PI call.

Now I am not saying that GB is going to be all that great this year, probably go something like 7-9 or maybe even 8-8 but with our schedule i can realisticly see another 4-12 campaign (why oh why do we have to play the AFC east?). The sad thing is that Favre still does not have a decent O-Line and will probably get killed this year.

RE 47

with McCalister healthy I really think that NO will use Reggie Bush more on special teams and as a threat from the slot. But they could also use him as a first down run specialist and then McCAlister on 2nd and 3rd down to pound out the hard yards. But who ever said that coaching staffs are logical?

so for his Rookie year campaign I forsee just modest #'s

247 carries for 1100 yds and 8 TD's
50 receptions for 550 yds and 3 TD's

by david p (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 8:04pm

You see, no one knows more about their team than it's own fans. You know every detail of every change that has or has not been made in GB. I know every problem that has or has not been addressed for the Falcons.

That's my point. Everybody dismissed the falcons D as if it hasn't changed any personell from last years team.

by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Fri, 06/09/2006 - 2:39pm

Re: #49

"at least I don’t have a head coach that needs to make a phone call becasue he needs to see if a field goal to win would put them into the playoffs!!!"

No, you have a head coach who was the architect of that high-powered San Francisco 49ers offense. Congratulations on that sharp hire.

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Fri, 06/09/2006 - 3:27pm

RE 52


we can only hope right? I think he will fair a little better in GB than in SF but I could be wrong.

Alex Smith/Tim Rattay(until the trade last year)/ Cody Pickett vs Brett Favre/Arron Rodgers this year as QB' I think he has a little bit of an edge with GB

RE 51

your right about you knowing your team and me knowing mine so I will wait with anticipation (truthfully no sarcasm here) and see how it all pans out. I just think that these people that forsee a Dallas vs NO NFC tilte game are a little wacked in the head. The Dallas I could maybe see, as long as TO keeps his trap shut and puts up #'s for Bill Parcels. But I just don't think NO has enough talent everywhere yet to justify them coming out of the cellar of the NFC South.

by blublub (not verified) :: Fri, 06/09/2006 - 8:51pm

the Falcons front office went to a lot of effort this offseason to upgrade the defense across the board, and coupling that with the return of a healthy Ed Hartwell (who I think is pretty much the fulcrum upon which this team's run d rests, cf. him spending most of last season on IR, forcing keith brooking to play mike linebacker), and the fact that they were in the top ten in rushing yards allowed for 2004 (IIRC) makes me figure that you at least have to assume they won't be among the dregs of the league in the coming season.

by Daniel (not verified) :: Sat, 06/10/2006 - 1:05pm

if Payton is wise, he will simply give Bush the starting job to start the season. Not only is Bush already the best outside runner, the best receiver not named Joe Horn, and the best return man on the team, he is also a more effective between-the-tackles runner than McAllister.

This is exactly why journalists aren't coaches... jeez, ESPN started a MONSTER

by stephen yang (not verified) :: Sun, 06/11/2006 - 9:14pm



by david p (not verified) :: Mon, 06/12/2006 - 12:14am

GB for life..
I'm a Falcon's homer. I admit that. However, I objectively view the media pundits (jeremy green, gary horton, pete pricsco, etc etc_) as lazy bastards who are secretly homers for their favorite teams.

Basically, the Giants, Panthers and Cowboys get free cookies from the media. They freakin MAN-CRUSHES on the Panthers for cryin out loud. And a lot of it harkens back to their would be cinderella story of fighting back from 1-7 to almost make the playoffs in 04. (until Vick disappointed them all with his hovercraft flight over the goal line in week 13.)

Folks, all I'm sayin is don't beleive media hype. They are NOT analysts. They are just as informed and biased as the average NFL fan.

by emcee fleshy (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 7:14pm

re-56. Stephen, please do not ever agree with me again.


by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 11:13am







FALCONS - 10-6
SAINTS - 6-10

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 06/22/2006 - 6:12pm

Also hell will freeze over and Brian Urlacher (the biggest pig in the planet) will learn how to fly.

Am I wrong for thinking the fact that he's the biggest pig IN the planet made that alot funnier??

with McCalister healthy I really think that NO will use Reggie Bush more on special teams and as a threat from the slot. But they could also use him as a first down run specialist and then McCAlister on 2nd and 3rd down to pound out the hard yards. But who ever said that coaching staffs are logical?

If the Saints actually use Reggie Bush as a special teamer I'll crap myself laughing when he blows out a knee.

by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Sat, 06/24/2006 - 2:10am

the best linebacker in the world is donnie edwards. brian urlacher is a little younger, so that makes him seem like he will kill everyone else in all the defensive categories.