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Dolphins Fan

What Lamar Miller’s Injury means for the Dolphin run game posted by Dolphins Fan

If you thought the Miami Dolphins were in dire straits at the running back position when they lost Knowshon Moreno with a season ending injury, things got even worse when Lamar Miller left the San Diego game with an injury.

This is a make or break moment for the Dolphins as they will have to dig deep into their roster for production on the ground.

Miami has struggled this year but the one lone bright spot has been their run game, averaging almost 130 yards a game. It was a constant, and a point of stability for an otherwise struggling offense. Moreno and Miller work a great one, two duo.

Miller was having a breakout season, setting a career high in rushing touchdowns when he got his third in Week 6 against the Packers. He averaged more than five yards per carry in three of the first four games and ran for a career-best 108 yards on 15 carries in Week 3 against the Chiefs. 

The fourth round pick was on pace for 200 carries and more than 1,000 yards, both of which would be career highs. But now with both of these work horses out, the odds of maintaining that level of production is quite unlikely.

 So now the offense falls on the arm of quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. He hasn’t been electric but now he will to step up. If there was ever a moment to solidify oneself as the framchise quarterback for this team, the quarterback to build a team around for years and years to come, this is that moment.

If Tannehill can navigate the rest of this season relatively unscathed, he will get amazing on the job training in shouldering an entire offense. He will build the confidence of his teammates that

Continue reading "What Lamar Miller’s Injury means ..."


Packers Fan

What Morgan Burnett’s return means for Green Bay posted by Packers Fan

Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett should suit up and be full go for Sunday’s showdown with inter-division rivals, the Chicago Bears. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Packers’ secondary was very much exposed last week when the Saints racked up 44 points with 311 yards through the air. Drew Brees completed 84% of his passes with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

It’s clear Burnett’s veteran experience on the back end of the defense with communication and getting these younger corners lined up accordingly, is essential to the Packers success defensively.

Through seven games, the fifth-year pro out of Georgia Tech notched 59 tackles, 49 of them solo tackles; but more importantly was the elimination of coverage break downs that lead to big play passes that can be so devastating to a team’s morale. And Brees crushed the Packers morale as he had two deep balls, each over 40 yards, that led to touchdowns.

Even with Burnett back, the others in the secondary will need to play extra efficient as the Bears have 3 very tall, very athletic receivers in Marshall, Jeffrey, and the tight end Bennett. When these two teams faced off in week 4, the Packers were able to limit the 3 playmakers to under 200 yards receiving, combined.

The Packers Safety echoed that sentiment saying it takes a group effort to corral all three.

"Those guys are very athletic," he said. "They have big playmaking ability and they’re led by Jay Cutler so we have to be sound in our technique and be accountable to one another and trust the defense, and allow us to make plays.”

Continue reading "What Morgan Burnett’s return means for Green Bay"

Bears Fan

Why the Bears need WR Marquess Wilson to suit up against Green Bay posted by Bears Fan

For the first time in three months, Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson practiced as the Bears get ready to take on inter-divisional rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

Wilson fractured his clavicle at practice on Aug. 4 and has been on the injured reserve list ever since. Now that Wilson is back at practice, the Bears have 3 weeks to decide whether to activate him to their roster or keep him on the injured reserve.

The answer is clear cut as the Bears need all the help they can on offense. They rank 19th in scoring and their offense is limited to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The Bears need that #3 receiver to add depth and complexity to their passing game, and allow another option for Cutler to go to.

The Packers, best believe, will be ready for the Bears as they get their seasoned safety, Morgan Burnett, back. They were exposed last week against the Saints but now with a veteran in the defensive secondary, the Packers coverage will be tightened up.

The only negative side to activating Wilson is the possibility of pushing him too hard, too fast, and risk causing a more serious injury that will keep him out indefinitely. While this is a valid concern, one could argue that is the case with every player in the NFL. The game has gotten so fast, the players so big and strong, that injuries, season ending injuries, are becoming more and more commonplace. So to err on the side of caution is valid but when a player feels good to go, they should be allowed to suit and help the team do what it needs to do, win games.

They need to make a decision quickly to keep Wilson on their roster if they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Continue reading "Why the Bears need WR Marquess Wilson ..."


Packers Fan

How Good Are The 2014 Green Bay Packers? posted by Packers Fan

The Green Bay Packers were 8-7-1 last year, figuring in the latest tied game and only the 19th  time since 1974. They won the NFC North despite their quarterback Aaron Rodgers sidelined in the first half of the year. This season, the Packers are expected to contend anew for the Super Bowl.

Rodgers had led the Packers to a good start last year with a 5-2 record. But he broke his collarbone in a game against the Bears. He was out for weeks and returned to beat Chicago in a rematch. Yet he was not a 100 percent and failed to help the Packers in preventing a loss to the 49ers.

This year, Packers fans hope that Rodgers would be back to 100%.  The front office surprisingly failed to re-sign Evan Dietrich-Smith even with Rodgers’ pleas. It remains to be seen whether  rookie Corey Linsley will be able to fill in Smith’s shoes, but all signs point he won’t be enough.

The offense will get a boost with the return of Bryan Bulaga who tore his ACL last year. He’ll be the right tackle across sophomore David Bakhtiari, who performed creditably in his rookie season. Bakhtiari surrendered eight sacks last year, but four came in the first month of the season.

The big news for the Packers in the off-season was the acquisition of Julius Peppers from Chicago. But there will be questions on how Peppers will perform this year, as he is now 34 and is slowing down.

The Packers also picked Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the number 21 pick. Dix =is expected to start next to talented safety Morgan Burnett.  They will also benefit from the return of Casey Hayward who missed all but three games last season.

Continue reading "How Good Are The 2014 Green Bay Packers?"


Joe Anello

2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap posted by Joe Anello

It was an eventful and unpredictable NFL Draft, even after the craziness that ensued in round one Thursday night. Friday night showcased rounds two and three, while Sunday wrapped up the draft with rounds four through seven. Let’s run through the major storylines that came out of the 2013 NFL Draft!

*Pardon for the delay. This is what happens when life throws the draft, C2E2, and the impetus to change jobs all in one weekend.

 

-After slipping through the first round despite several reported landing spots, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o became a San Diego Charger. The Chargers traded picks 45 and 110 to the Cardinals for pick number 38, allowing them to move up for Te’o. At that point in the draft, the drama-laden linebacker had great value. The Chargers run a 3-4 scheme, but he can still be a valuable inside presence for them.

 

-On the very next pick after Te’o was selected, the New York Jets saw a “franchise” quarterback fall right into their laps at number 39 overall with Geno Smith. Smith increases the QB count on the Jets roster all the way up to six, which includes Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, and David Garrard. Yeah… someone’s gonna get cut. The obvious cut is Tebow. But then who? Do you cut the veteran Garrard, whom you just brought in? Or do you take the massive cap hit and release Sanchez? Or are you giving up on the idea that McElroy can be anything? The drama is ratcheted up in New York, and I’m gonna love every minute of it.

Continue reading "2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

The 2013 Divisional Round is completed! The best weekend in football lived up to the hype, with crazy finishes (double overtimes) and historic performances. Let’s not put off this any longer. It’s time for The Final Drive!

(12-6) Baltimore Ravens 38

(13-4) Denver Broncos 35

After the Ravens were forced to punt on their opening possession, this game got crazy… fast. Trindon Holliday took that punt return back 90 yards for the first score. A 59-yard pass to a streaking Torrey Smith (who was torching Champ Bailey deep most of the day) from Joe Flacco tied the game up. On Denver’s ensuing drive, a pass from Peyton Manning tipped off the hands of Eric Decker into the arms of Corey Graham, who boomeranged it to make the score 14-7 Ravens. Manning took the ball right back and marched his team 74 yards in 11 plays, ending with a pinpoint pass to old friend Brandon Stokley on the side of the endzone. 14-14. Were you still breathing at this point? A score from both teams in the second quarter kept the game tied at 21 going into halftime. And the drama did not subside in the start of a crazy NFL weekend.

Denver Head Coach John Fox will (and should) catch a lot of flak for not even attempting to try to get in field goal range with two timeouts and 20-plus seconds left on the clock. (As we would see later in the weekend, that’s not an impossible feat to accomplish.) Fox got extremely conservative in the offensive play-calling, leaning on the run too often when he had one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time on the field. (Though doesn’t Peyton have full authority to change those calls at the line? Hm.) Not going for a third down conversion late in the fourth allowed the Ravens to get the ball back with just enough time to make something happen. And they certainly did.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Divisional Round"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

Alright everyone, it’s my favorite football weekend of the entire season! At this point we have the eight best teams left in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy, including the two greatest QB’s of our era in the AFC and a crazy Saturday night rematch in the NFC. I have stumbled out of the gates with my picks, currently standing at 1-3 after the wild card round. I owe that to every favorite covering last week and my apparently desperate need to pick against almost all of them. This week shall be different! I hope. Let’s get to The Opening Drive of the Divisional Round! (As always, point spreads are obtained from VegasInsider.com.)

 

(11-6) Baltimore Ravens at

(13-3) Denver Broncos

4:30 PM ET, CBS

This is the first of two AFC rematches that were completely one-sided in the first go-rounds. The Broncos slapped around the Ravens 34-17 in week 15, part of their 11-game winning streak to end the regular season and claim the one seed. In that game, Peyton Manning had very pedestrian numbers, but was bolstered by ground game that featured 45 carries, the most of any Manning team in his career. Their 163 yards pounded a then-short-staffed Raven defense. This game will be different, in that Baltimore is much healthier now. Ray Lewis is back, as is linebacker Danel Ellerbee. Still, the Raven corners are average at best, so they’re not going to be able to contain Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Divisional Round"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round posted by Joe Anello

Wild Card weekend in the NFL is a wrap! Note that this late posting is a testament to the dangers of kitties. (When you’re allergic to them.) There were bad offenses, great defenses, and ugly injuries to be found in the four match-ups, so let’s get through all the stories in The Final Drive!

(13-4) Houston Texans 19

(10-7) Cincinnati Bengals 13

The first half was a show of ugly offense, with three field goals by the Texans and only a pick-six by the Bengals to account for all the points on the board. Houston suffered because of failed third down conversions and a drop from Andre Johnson at the goal line, forcing them to settle for kicks. Andy Dalton threw a costly interception, but it was essentially wiped away as Leon Hall picked a Schaub pass and ran it back 21 yards to take a momentary lead. But the Bengal offense didn’t score at all in the first half. They barely improved.

In a trending theme of Saturday passing statistics, Cincinnati had -6 net yards passing at halftime. That prompted a “U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alibi. It’s ugly.” from Mike Mayock at halftime. (You have no idea how much Microsoft Word just hated that sentence.) When the Texans came out in the third quarter and mounted a touchdown drive, it practically was an insurmountable lead. The Bengals had no chance.

On a key drive in the fourth quarter, (while they were only down six), the Bengals were closing in on the redzone when they had to burn a timeout (play-calling disaster). On the ensuing play, they lost five yards due to a false start penalty. Then they went for it on fourth down (and failed), meaning the six point lead held.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round posted by Joe Anello

It’s that time of year. The NFL Playoffs are upon us, and with it come the unmitigated disasters that are my picks against the spread. (Which means I’m not picking winners or losers, but I’m predicting if a team will win by or keep it closer than the designated spread. Odds are grabbed from VegasInsider.com.) We’ve got some stellar match-ups as well, so without any further BS, it’s time to start the playoffs with this Wild Card edition of The Opening Drive!

(10-6) Cincinnati Bengals at

(12-4) Houston Texans

4:30 PM ET, NBC

In typical playoff fashion, the Wild Card round starts with what is most likely to be the most lackluster match-up of the weekend. This solid Bengals team (that apparently no one outside of Cincinnati believes in) heads to Houston to face a Texan squad that was in near free-fall the last month of the season. It’s not exactly thrilling drama (even though it is a rematch of last year’s playoff game), but this I think game is going to very tight. The Bengals can’t explode offensively and the Texans haven’t been lighting up the scoreboards lately. They’d prefer to get Arian Foster going anyway, which means a slower paced game, full of that exciting clock management stuff. Cincy has a shot at getting passes completed on the outside if A.J. Green can handle the one-on-one match-up with corner Jonathan Joseph. I believe he can, so Andy Dalton has to be able to find him consistently in order to free up the running game and the underneath passes to tight end Jermaine Gresham.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round"


Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears posted by Joe Anello

You know the rivalry. It’s the Green Bay Packers versus the Chicago Bears in a December game. It’s been 13 weeks since these teams met on the first Thursday nighter of the season, and each have had ups and downs in that time, especially the Bears, who now are fighting for their playoff lives.

 

(9-4) Green Bay Packers at

(8-5) Chicago Bears 

The Offense

The Bear offensive line doesn’t need this news, but Clay Matthews will be back on the field. The man who terrorized J’Marcus Webb in the first match-up will be on the outside again, giving the Packers their pass rush back. Like always, Webb will need help if they’re going to keep Matthews off the stat sheet. But Mike Tice should know how to offset this disadvantage: run the ball. Give Matt Forte and Michael Bush (who will be limited if he plays with a rib injury) about 30-35 carries and get the front seven off Jay Cutler’s case. This way Cutler can get freed up for play-action throws to Marshall, which are less likely to be into triple-coverage or be sat on by an opportunistic defense (that is missing defensive back Charles Woodson).   

Brandon Marshall made news this week by daring the Packers to give him single coverage. Let me tell you something Brandon: it won’t happen. Once. You’re the best/only consistent passing option on this offense, so you’re getting bracket coverage on every play. What would be nice is if the other Bear receivers could beat single coverage on the outside. Alshon Jeffery is the most likely option, but he’s still reaching for his potential. And is anyone really going to count on Devin Hester? I’m not.

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Green ..."

Green Bay Packers News

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Cowboys re-sign slot receiver Cole Beasley on 4-year deal (Yahoo Sports)

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From Yahoo Sports

NFL free agency preview: The teams to watch (Shutdown Corner)

We know all the relevant free agents by each position and have scanned the top 25 overall , but these free agents need teams to sign them. There will be a wide variety of shoppers at the free agent market when it opens on March 10, from the Jacksonville Jaguars and their staggering $68.5 million in cap room to the New Orleans Saints, who are $22.4 over the cap with less than a week to clear some space. Who are the most interesting teams to track in free agency? Here they are, with all current cap numbers coming from OverTheCap.com : Jacksonville Jaguars ($68.5 million under the cap): Of course they have to be on here with all that cap space. With $68.5 million in your pocket you can order an Ndamukong Suh at the window and still have enough left over for a Randall Cobb with some Devin McCourty for dessert. If the Jaguars, sick of not finishing over .500 since 2007, want to go crazy and land impact players, they certainly can. This has also been a team that has been fairly patient in free agency. Linebacker Paul Posluszny might be the last big headline signing, and that was in 2011 (unless guard Zane Beadles got you excited last year). The Jaguars surely want to build the right way, and not tie up a lot of their resources on one free agent class. But with that much cap room to spend and a long playoff drought, it'll be hard to show restraint. Oakland Raiders ($57.4 million under the cap): Last year's free agency was so bad that "The Raiders signed a bunch of players who can be cut after one year with no long-term ramifications!" actually became a positive rallying cry for Raiders fans. Oof. Oakland couldn't manage to sign one long-term impact free agent despite the most cap room in free agency history, lost Lamarr Houston and Jared Veldheer and the one long-term helper they tried to land, guard Rodger Saffold, had his contract voided because of a failed physical. Bad, bad, bad. Needless to say, general manager Reggie McKenzie can't strike out again. Signing a bunch of disposable veterans last year was awful given the Raiders' cap situation, but at least McKenzie can try again. And he better land a few difference makers.  [Check out Shutdown Corner's full 2015 free agent rankings – click here for offensive players , and click here for defensive players and specialists ] Green Bay Packers ($32.5 million under the cap): They're not here because they'll spend; general manager Ted Thompson doesn't believe in free agency. They're on the list because of what they can lose. Green Bay has some very intriguing free agents hitting the market: Cobb, tackle Bryan Bulaga, cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Davon House and linemen Letroy Guion and B.J. Raji among them. Why they didn't just use the franchise tag on Cobb is odd (supposedly they didn't want to upset Jordy Nelson, who would then make less than Cobb, but that's worth losing a 24-year-old coming off a 1,287-yard season?). They'll use that cap room to retain whoever they can, and they don't want to lose much after coming thisclose to winning the NFC championship game last season. Dallas Cowboys ($6.6 million under the cap): They're still not in a position to spend like crazy, especially after putting the franchise tag on Dez Bryant. They're worth watching because they're the Cowboys and they're always interesting, but mostly for the running back situation. Will they re-sign NFL offensive player of the year DeMarco Murray or let him walk? Would their backup plan include Adrian Peterson? They also have other free agents like offensive tackle Doug Free and linebackers Justin Durant and Bruce Carter who they'll have to make decisions on. Indianapolis Colts ($41.3 million under the cap): At this moment they have the most cap room of any 2014 playoff team. That changes if quarterback Andrew Luck gets the extension he's now eligible for. But reports out of Indianapolis indicate the Colts might wait a year on Luck, which would give them a one-year window to go nuts in free agency to see if they can get over that New England Patriots hump in front of them. The Colts won't want to tie up all their long-term cap space, but they can be an interesting team on the market. Philadelphia Eagles ($32.2 million under the cap): Oh, they're definitely on the list now. That number doesn't count the LeSean McCoy trade; NJ.com estimated the Eagles will have $46 million in cap room after McCoy gets traded to Buffalo. Also, inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans and his $6.8 million base salary are now expendable with the addition of linebacker Kiko Alonso. The Eagles need pass rushers and cornerbacks, and could probably use a receiver and a running back. With that cap space, they can check off just about every box. Not a bad spot for a team that was 10-6 last season.  - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Police: No charges to be filed against Packers' Jarrett Bush (Yahoo Sports)

Police in California say they will not file charges against Green Bay Packers cornerback Jarrett Bush in connection with a scrum outside a restaurant. Authorities in Vacaville, California said Monday in a statement that the 30-year-old Bush was cooperative with officers after initially being detained early Sunday morning on a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication after refusing to leave the scene and creating a disturbance. Bush was taken to Solano County Jail, and was released a short time later. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


NFL draft watch: Needs that teams should pass on in Round 1 (Shutdown Corner)

It’s time to revive the need-vs.-BPA (best player available) debate, with an eye on this year’s draft. I was stunned at how many comments, Twitter remarks and emails I got after my post-combine mock draft that were something along the lines of “[insert their favorite team] won’t do that … they have bigger needs.” Knowing that my mock will be torn to shreds after the first round of free agency, I won’t defend the picks — but rather my method. Think of it this way: If you were to go back and do a redraft from three, four, seven, heck, 10 years ago, what are you going to do? You’re going to look at the best players and not even think about need. It’s not the most scientific way to approach it, but the point is this: Talent trumps all, and need should only be a tiebreaker. [All Draft News, All The Time: Follow Shutdown Draft 365 on Tumblr ] So let’s take a look at the first-round draft order and examine some teams’ big, pressing needs — and implore them to wait on filling them if the right player isn’t available. 1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What don’t they need? Well, certainly most of the free world believes that Jameis Winston will be their choice at No. 1 overall, so we’ll assume that the Bucs go that direction and know that they can come back and address their needs for a pass rusher or an offensive lineman (or two) later on, starting with the second pick of the second round. 2. Tennessee Titans: Do they draft Marcus Mariota? I had the Titans taking him second, but I am starting to get the idea that they’ll listen to offers from desperate teams such as the Cleveland Browns or Philadelphia Eagles, if for no other reason than to see what they might fork over. That makes this tough to project, but we can say this: There is no offensive lineman — and they still need some — or defensive back worth taking at No. 2. 3. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags are in a great spot here, able to let the top two picks play out and still likely get either Leonard Williams or a pass rusher. The need they can wait on is an offensive tackle, which could come later on. 4. Oakland Raiders: It’s looking like it is coming down to a receiver or a pass rusher, depending on what happens in free agency; Williams wouldn’t be bad, either. But as badly as they need another cornerback or an offensive lineman, this too can wait. 5. Washington Redskins: A bulldog guard with some size and grit would really help spur this run game. But you’re not drafting guards with the fifth pick too often and hitting home runs. This year is no exception. They can get their guy in Round 2 and still find a starter. 6. New York Jets: Broken record here. Cornerback and offensive tackle are two spots they’d love to fill in the draft. But taking D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s eventual replacement shouldn’t come with the sixth pick, no matter what happens in the top five. 7. Chicago Bears: For all of their defensive needs (and they have plenty), the Bears also have a sneaky shortcoming at wide receiver — especially if Brandon Marshall doesn’t figure into their plans. But with this draft class, some good receivers will be pushed down, maybe even into Rounds 3 and 4. 8. Atlanta Falcons: With the way the Falcons are cutting veterans left and right, their needs grow — proportionally to the speculation that they might be players in free agency. So it’s tricky to say which needs will be filled in late April and which won’t. But based on our best speculation, it would be unlikely for the Falcons to go the veteran free-agent route to add a running back, which they need, and more likely they’ll mine one from the draft. And we know it won’t be at No. 8. Could they steal Melvin Gordon at No. 41 overall? Get lucky to land Jay Ajayi near the top of Round 3? They might. 9. New York Giants: Is this too high to take an offensive tackle? We would understand the thinking if they went that route. A pass rusher? That we certainly can get on board with, assuming there’s still one worth taking (Vic Beasley? Bud Dupree?) still on the board. But we would implore the Giants to resist their defensive back need here, even if you’re talking Landon Collins or Trae Waynes or whomever. It just feels a bit too high for that position. 10. St. Louis Rams: Tricky spot to forecast here. They might need a receiver, and what if, say, either Kevin White or Amari Cooper slip? They might have to pounce. Offensive line looms as a sore spot still, and it wouldn’t be offensive to start (or continue) the run at that position for the right player. But a tight end? A cornerback? A quarterback? We say pass here. 11. Minnesota Vikings: This all changes if Adrian Peterson isn’t back, but we’re still not on board — yet — with Todd Gurley going at this point, even though, boy, what a potential replacement he might be. The beautiful thing seems to be that most of the team’s main needs (offensive line, cornerback, receiver) have players who could fit into this range. But linebacker, especially the kind they need, shouldn’t be the choice here. They can find one or two later on. 12. Cleveland Browns: Predicting Browns behavior is risky business, and we don’t recommend it for the faint of heart. But one thing is for certain: Taking a quarterback — assuming Marcus Mariota doesn’t embark on an Aaron Rodgers-esque slide — doesn’t feel wise. We’ll stop there for now, with the Browns back on the clock seven picks down the chain. 13. New Orleans Saints: You might be surprised to read how much we think the Saints need to consider a quarterback, and perhaps relatively high, too. But not here. No way. They can land a good pass rusher or cornerback at this spot and wait on QB. Maybe Garrett Grayson in the third? 14. Miami Dolphins: Our thinking here is that they could address the receiver position if someone like DeVante Parker remains undrafted, or perhaps nabbing a cornerback, although we’re bearish on the top-end talent. Same with linebacker. And they drafted an offensive lineman in Round 1 a year ago — would they go back and take another one this high? 15. San Francisco 49ers: I believe they’ll draft a quarterback. Boy, they’d rock the boat with a Brett Hundley pick, wouldn’t they? It’s not likely, but it’s fun to ponder. They also need receivers, offensive and defensive linemen, cornerbacks and a tight end. That last position can be filled down the line. 16. Houston Texans: Yes, we’d love to see long-term clarity at the QB spot, but Hundley and Bryce Petty are no-nos here. Solve the cornerback/wide receiver/offensive line issue instead. A sleeper first-round position could be nose tackle, unless they suddenly feel better about Louis Nix III. 17. San Diego Chargers: If a pass rusher fell here, they could grab him and help fill the veteran voids of Dwight Freeney and/or Jarrett Johnson, even with Jeremiah Attaochu in the wings. An offensive or defensive lineman could work here, too. But a running back — even if Ryan Mathews leaves — can wait. This draft is loaded at the position. http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/post-nfl-combine-two-round-mock-draft-155706803.html 18. Kansas City Chiefs: No, we’re not going to further alienate our Chiefs readers by suggesting they pass on a wide receiver here (as we did in our most recent mock draft). An offensive lineman makes perfect sense as well. A corner would be OK if the right-sized and skilled player is here. But a linebacker can wait for later on in the draft. 19. Browns (from the Buffalo Bills): It all depends on what happens at 12. Heck, they could trade these two picks for Mariota for all we know. The only positions we’d urge them to wait on would be a linebacker or a tight end (if Jordan Cameron is gone). 20. Philadelphia Eagles: Like the Browns, we’re not super keen on them going quarterback here, short of finding a way to get up for Mariota. Corner and offensive line, if they stay here, would be two areas to consider. But safety would be a reach, even with Landon Collins fitting the Brian Dawkins-like physical mold. This Eagles defense relies on range, which might not be Collins’ forte. 21. Cincinnati Bengals: No kickers here, please! We’re only half kidding. Same with quarterback, even though we’d love to provide some Andy Dalton alternatives for the future. We feel confident they can find a linebacker, pass rusher, defensive back or receiver here whose value makes more sense. 22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Will there be a pass rusher worth taking at 22? Too early to tell. We think there will be a corner or a defensive lineman they like in this spot if not. Certainly, there’s zero need to add a running back now, even with Le’Veon Bell’s looming two-game suspension and zero reliable depth behind him. That can wait — perhaps even until Day 3 of the draft. 23. Detroit Lions: Releasing Reggie Bush means they could use another running back. But please, for all that is right, don’t start projecting them to take Gurley or Gordon. It’s not happening here. We’d love them to help out the offensive line, or the defensive line if they can’t keep Ndamukong Suh and/or Nick Fairley. 24. Arizona Cardinals: Funny to say for an offensively limited team by season’s end, but there might actually be more tangible needs on the defensive side of the ball — perhaps with all three levels needing some help. The inside linebacker can wait. We actually would be on board with taking Gurley here, too; that might be a fantastic move. 25. Carolina Panthers: Doesn’t this have to be an offensive tackle here? If not, maybe a receiver, but they did take Kelvin Benjamin in Round 1 last year, making it less likely in our minds. A cornerback would be better addressed later, we think, but the top ones will go quickly in this range. 26. Baltimore Ravens: This is a team that stands to lose some players for monetary reasons, and of their clear needs right now, we think they might be forced to wait on an outside rusher until later in the draft. It’s unlikely the right fit will be here at this spot, and there are plenty of other spots they can address nicely with the talent expected to be available here. 27. Dallas Cowboys: They could use another tight end to replace Jason Witten one day, and as much as Maxx Williams reminds us of Witten, we say pass here. There are a surprising number of areas that could improve on this 12-4 squad. 28. Denver Broncos: Like we’ve said above, the linebacker crop is not chock full of top-end talent, so this is a position they might be able to hit the snooze bar on for a round unless a top talent such as Shaq Thompson slides unexpectedly. 29. Indianapolis Colts: They need a safety, but if Collins is gone … we say wait. There might only be another one or two worth taking in the first 75 picks of the draft or so. We also think drafting a running back this high might not be the wisest move. Get another offensive lineman or a pass rusher instead. 30. Green Bay Packers: Why is everyone panicking about inside linebacker? Yes, Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk are gone, but that’s not a first-round position in this defense, we don’t believe. Ted Thompson is among the strictest best-player-available drafters in the game. We think he’ll look elsewhere. 31. Seattle Seahawks: Wide receiver is tempting, but the depth of this class suggests they might be able to be patient and wait; besides, they traded down and made Paul Richardson their top pick a year ago, even if he is coming off a torn ACL. 32. New England Patriots: Why does everyone want them to draft a receiver so high? They never have used a first-rounder on one under Bill Belichick, and they likely won’t start now. The offensive and defensive lines make more sense to address. The receiver can wait. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

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