When Draft Classes Make the Biggest Difference
But no team found contributors in more places than Denver’s two Super Bowl champions. John Elway came aboard in 1983; a dozen years later, Denver drafted Terrell Davis. Rod Smith was an undrafted free agent and Ed McCaffrey came to Denver after playing with the Giants. Gary Zimmerman and Mark Schlereth manned the left side of the line, but were drafted by N.F.C. East teams in the 1980s. John Mobley, Tom Nalen and Shannon Sharpe were key contributors, but drafted years apart. The ’97 team fielded only two starters who were part of the same Denver draft class: middle linebacker Allen Aldridge and center Tom Nalen. In 1998, two second-year players — guard Dan Neil and defensive tackle Trevor Pryce — were the only starters from the same draft class (Aldridge was playing with the Lions in 1998).
Collecting so many aging free agents like Howard Griffith, Tyrone Braxton, Bill Romanowski, and Neil Smith, plus younger players like Alfred Williams, Darrien Gordon, and Maa Tanuvasa, and then combining them with the guys listed above to create a cohesive winner was a remarkable feat, cap Shanahanigans aside.
As for the main point of the piece, Stuart shows that rookies (or any single draft class) rarely make significant contributions to a SB championship, which stands in contrast to Elway's comments from yesterday about expecting immediate impacts from drafted players.
Saints' Loomis could eavesdrop
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana was told Friday that New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis had an electronic device in his Superdome suite that had been secretly re-wired to enable him to eavesdrop on visiting coaching staffs for nearly three NFL seasons…Loomis, who faces an eight-game suspension from the NFL for his role in the recent bounty scandal, had the ability to secretly listen for most of the 2002 season, his first as general manager of the Saints, and all of the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
A few thoughts:
Archie Manning: 'I think (Peyton) is going year to year'
But now, the elder Manning says, “I think (Peyton’s neck injury) makes you a little more realistic’’ about a retirement date.
“I think he’s always done a good job of not taking his health for granted; I think he learned that early on because of (brother) Cooper’s injury,’’ that ended his football career, says Archie Manning. “But after missing a season, I think he is going year to year.’‘
“Denver is not Buffalo,’’ says his father. “I saw a number where the average home temperature (in Denver) is 60 degrees. You play just half your games at home anyway. We’ll see. I think he has more things on his mind than the weather. I really think he has one focus: Make this transition to a new team. You miss a whole year and now you change (teams)—it will be different.’‘
Of course, during Peyton's introductory presser, he said he's "planning on playing for a long time," while the structure of his five-year contract gives Denver and Manning outs after the 2012, 2014, and 2015 seasons if the issues with his neck again become a hindrance. (via PFT)
Tannehill not a lock for Dolphins or top 10; more recent draft buzz
Over the weekend, I was told the same thing that Mike Florio reported on ProFootballTalk.com: that owner Stephen Ross wanted the Dolphins to pick Tannehill. I was also told Miami’s offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, likes his former A&M quarterback but isn’t standing on the table for him…And this morning, I got a call from someone saying Florio was right on; Ross wants the quarterback. If Miami passes on him at eight, I expect him to go either to a trade-up team with Kansas City at 11 or to Seattle at 12.
Elsewhere, PK says the Jaguars are anxious to move back from the #7 pick, the Colts would like to get Coby Fleener in Round 2, and Minnesota must come up with a new stadium deal in the next two or three months if they're to keep the Vikings.
The result was a spaghetti pile of a throwing motion, the mechanics of a man in a hurry…Manning’s body was way out in front of his arm, forcing his throws to catch up to his chest and legs instead of pushing through with them. For reference, Cutcliffe dug through the mountain of film he’s kept on Manning over the years…
During visits to Durham and back in Indianapolis, Manning started an autumn-long ramping-up process. First were tosses to no one. When his arm began catching up to his chest, he began throwing routes to receivers, starting with one, then expanding into multiples.
(Todd Helton) declared he could keep up with Cutcliffe’s football workouts, then quickly demanded a TV timeout when it got too intense—“because that’s what you football guys do.” He played every position on the field during Manning’s simulations.
Manning and Helton would work out in the morning while Cutcliffe ran Duke’s spring practice and watched film at lunch with his coaching staff. Come late afternoon, the three would meet on the field to run their own drills….Helton never openly campaigned for Denver, because at that point no one believed the Broncos would even be suitors.
McGee's story also tells of Brandon Stokley, Austin Collie, and Jeff Saturday joining Peyton to simulate the 2009 AFC championship game on the Duke campus while the Blue Devils hosted Maryland's Terps at Cameron Indoor. (Insider or ESPN Mag required)
Trades for high NFL draft picks discussed more than previous years
The more important issue to consider is that trading at the top of the draft is no longer cost prohibitive. Because of the slotting system devised by the league and the NFL Players Association, teams are locked into only four-year deals with the draft’s top picks.
Moreover, those deals feature far less guaranteed money…That’s why trades at the top of the draft…are now much more doable.
Multiple sources said teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 11 and Philadelphia Eagles at No. 15 have talked about moving up into the top eight selections.
Would anyone be disappointed by an aggressive move up the board by KC to take Ryan Tannehill? Yeah, didn't think so.
Q&A with Charley Casserly
Let’s assume there’s going to be a lot of similarity to the system in Denver as it was in Indianapolis. So you’ve got Tamme, who can handle the tight ends, teaching them, and now you’ve got Stokley, who can teach the receivers. I think that’s really critical when you’re implementing a system that you’ve got somebody in the locker room, in the meeting room—besides the coaches—that can work with the players and understand the system. I think it’s important to have a couple people in that locker room that understand Peyton Manning’s personality. Manning has been described to me as the most driven player people have ever been around. I think he’ll be even more driven, if that’s possible, this year…I think people are going to have to understand the personality they’re dealing with, and I think Stokley and Tamme will help on that.
It's too bad for Denver that Green Bay was willing to pay Jeff Saturday so much, because it sure would have been nice to have a center (or any lineman, for that matter) so well versed in Manning's LOS histrionics, not to mention one who can handle Peyton's ire.
The asking price for four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel is dropping.
Reports the Philadelphia Eagles “we’re looking for a 3d or 4th rd pick for (Samuel) were wrong. They are willing to take a 5th or 6th,” tweeted Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Interested teams remain aware of Samuel’s age—he’s 31—and can’t be thrilled with his contract. With two years left, Samuel’s set to earn $10 million with a $100,000 offseason workout bonus in 2012 and $11.5 million with a $100,000 workout bonus in 2013. The Eagles are reportedly willing to chop $2.5 million off next season’s bill, but that won’t please Samuel.
$10M sounds steep, but Samuel did rate +9.2 overall last season according to PFF (-1.7 run defense, +9.6 pass coverage, +1.3 penalty), which was 12th-best among cornerbacks and ahead of Denver's own Champ Bailey (+7.5 overall) and Chris Harris (+6.0). Gotta wonder if the price will continue to drop, or if Philly will consider cutting Samuel outright, a move that would appear to cost the Eagles about a $2M cap hit. Of course, at that point Denver would presumably be competing with other teams for Samuel's services, if they were to maintain interest in the 10th-year player.
As Matt Bowen sees it, any team that employs a good deal of Cover 1 should be pursuing a deal for Samuel.
Rating the NFL draft prospects: Quarterbacks
“As much as is written about his athleticism, his athleticism under duress in the pocket isn’t even close to Cam Newton’s. This guy, the only way he gets big plays with his feet is if he’s got a wide-open field and the sea opens for him. He’s got a little bit of a selfish streak, too. Everybody was laying on Cam, but for some reason this guy has become gloves off. He doesn’t treat anybody good.” Another scout also questioned the way Griffin deals with people.
We'll clearly soon be hearing that Griffin doesn't work hard, might have trouble picking up NFL schemes, is uncoachable, comes from a questionable family background, has a forty-person entourage he rolls with, has little respect for authority, does lots of drugs, and had too many girlfriends in college. Oh, and that he runs better than he throws.
Source: Colts inform Andrew Luck
The Indianapolis Colts have told Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck that they will take him with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, according to a league source.
It’s unclear precisely when the Colts informed Luck, but a league source said the team has known for weeks that Luck would be its pick.
Granted, they've essentially been on the clock and Luck to Indy has been all but a foregone conclusion for months now, but that Maybe Indy will shock the world and take RGIII talk can be put to rest.