Fantasy Football News

Monday, June 24, 2013

The All-Out Blitz Now has its Own Domain Name!

Considering we haven't updated or posted this page in exactly two weeks, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to let our regular readers know that we have moved The All-Out Blitz site.

We have branched off and now have our own domain name, and can be found at bensalloutblitz.com.

It's been fully up and running for about a week and a half now, but I thought it would be a good idea to wait until there's a decent amount of content up before advertising the move of the site. There are still a few things we need to fix in terms of some formatting on our past articles (all 400+ articles from this site are up on our domain, just some of the formatting got messed up). But over the summer that should all be resolved and good to go.

Starting this summer The All-Out Blitz will be keeping much more up to date, and bring its readers more NFL coverage than ever!

After checking out the site, please do me a favor and sign up for our email list (on the right hand side of the home page) and, while you're at it, like our Facebook page and following our Twitter account (@AllOutBlitz1) and Tumblr page. My cousin, and freelance graphic designer, Julie Moores helped us with the website (including the design of the logo at the top of the new page), and did a very nice job with helping to get it up and running.

Once again, go over to the new site and check it out, and thank you so much for being so loyal since the start of the website in April of 2010. I look forward to bringing you coverage this summer and beyond! Your feedback is always appreciated!

Thanks,

Ben Heck
The All-Out Blitz
benheck77@yahoo.com

Monday, June 10, 2013

Patriots to Sign Tim Tebow: Is this the End of his Quarterbacking Days?

Ed Werder of ESPN is reporting that the New England Patriots are will sign former Denver Broncos and New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, and that he will report to mini camp on Tuesday.

This is a very unexpected move, but it tells us one thing: Tebow has given up starting at quarterback and is ready to fully commit to contributing on the football field in other ways. Or at least so we'd think.

With future Hall of Famer Tom Brady still near the prime of his career, and the young 25-year old Ryan Mallett backing him up, Tebow would be at the very bottom of the quarterback depth chart. There isn't even a question as to whether or not he could compete during mini camp and training camp. He will not even be close to Brady or Mallett.
Which clearly means genius head coach Bill Belichick will utilize Tebow's 6'3"/240 pound frame and skill set in various other forms on the field. While I don't think Bill would ever take Brady off the field in order to run the wildcat formation, he still could see the field on offense in certain packages.

All NFL followers are well-aware of Belichick's love for tight ends, and Tebow has the size to play the position. He could also sit behind Aaron Hernandez as New England's H-back. Over the years, Bill has had plenty of secret weapons on third downs, including guys such as Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman, Kevin Faulk and Hernandez coming out of the backfield. With Woodhead leaving for San Diego this off-season and Hernandez missing six games this past season due to injury, Tebow has the potential to turn into a short-yardage weapon for the Patriots if he develops his game in other areas this summer.

The Tebow signing sure is an intriguing one but if we learn anything from this, it's that Tebows NFL days are not over but his quarterbacking days may very well be. Lets just hope that New England is ready for the circus that comes with Timmy.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Atlanta's Roddy White Fires back after Seattle's Richard Sherman's "Top 100" Comments

Off-season? What off-season? We still may be three months away from the start of the 2013 regular season, but that doesn't mean the Richard Sherman trash-talking takes a break. No, he continues to take shots at opposing wide receivers.

Roddy White got in on the action when he made an appearance on NFL Network yesterday.

For the past couple of off-seasons, the Network has passed the time by putting together a Top 100 players list (which is supposedly voted on by the players themselves, but we have yet to see proof of that). Every day new players are brought on to discuss the list, and what they think of where these guys should be placed within the list of 100 players.

White, who just completed his sixth 1,000-yard season and is Matt Ryan's go-to target in Atlanta, came in at No. 39. Surprisingly low, if you ask me. There are still seven wide receivers left on the list, and White should be at least top five within his position. With the up-and-coming speedster Julio Jones receiving a lot of attention lately, White is left with the scraps and had a down-season––in the eyes of some––last year. Yet the four-time Pro Bowler still caught 92 passes for 1,351 yards and 7 TDs.

In a taped segment that aired during the most recent episode of the "Top 100 Players of 2013," Sherman, the Seattle Seahawks' All-Pro cornerback, said that White "doesn't even deserve a place on the list."
Yes, he actually said that with a straight face. The lengthy 6'3"/195 pound corner has certainly enjoyed his time in the spotlight, which he's spent running his mouth. Don't get me wrong, he's a great corner and probably top three in the game today (at his position). But didn't he just finish only his second season in the league? He hasn't earned the right to talk the way he does yet, and the White/Jones combo ran circles around him in the NFC Divisional round victory.

I am thoroughly enjoying the back-and-forth jawing between the two, because it surely gives us great entertainment when there aren't games to be played yet. But White owned Sherman in this debacle. When asked on NFLN about what Sherman said, White had the perfect response:

"I'm not going to come out and say he shouldn't be a Top 100 player because he should be a Top 100 player, but he talks too much."

Not only did he take a stance and be the bigger man, but he even added a little jab of his own afterwards, saying:

"He has talked himself into a place where he has to play some really good football this year. I have no problem when he says I'm not that good or I can't do this or I can't do that. But I know the rest of the players in this league know what I can do, and that's why I'm higher on this list than he is."

Rant over.

Checkmate, Richard Sherman. Roddy White wins again. Anyone remember this (see video below)?

Lets see if Sherman comes back with another response after White's zinger on NFLN. It almost feels like the two are in mid-season form, doesn't it?

Note: We do not own the above image and video. No copyright infringement intended.

Quotes courtesy of NFL.com

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

LeBron James: A Potential Two-sport Star?

With today being a slow day around the NFL world, I think it's time to re-open this debate: could LeBron James make it in the NFL?

I was reading an article on Yahoo! that discussed how former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann believes that the Miami Heat forward could make it as an NFL quarterback. Interesting statement, to say the least. While the 28-year old NBA star played quarterback in high school prior to switching over to wide receiver, I'd like to believe that his combination of size and athleticism would be better suited as a tight end.

Picture this: you have a 6'8" and 250 pound man with 4.6 speed lining up in front of you on the offensive line. As a defender, that's a match-up made in hell. There aren't any tight ends in this league that are that tall, and though a 4.6 40-time isn't incredibly fast, it's a pretty solid time for a TE of his size.

We already know that LeBron James has the work ethic needed to be a professional athlete, he's been doing it for a decade now. And though his football experience is limited to a few years of high school before he quit to focus more on basketball, he's still got something under his belt. So I think the only question is, does he want to do it?
We can debate this as much as we want, but that doesn't mean a damn thing until LeBron actually expresses interest in cutting his basketball career short to focus on his second sport: football. The last successful two-sport star, Bo Jackson (football and baseball), was a freak of nature. At 6'1" and 230 pounds, Jackson could bowl through a freight train and didn't seem to fear anything at all. He was one of the most gifted athletes we have ever been able to witness.

That being said, James is a freak of nature as well. The "Best Player in the NBA" debate is on-going, but there's no question that James wins the "Most Athletic Player in the NBA" debate by a land-slide. With the NBA and NFL seasons overlapping so much, it doesn't look plausible for him to do both, meaning James would have to give up basketball earlier than expected in order to make this into a reality.

With one NBA championship in his possession already, and the possibility of a second one this year with the way the Heat are playing right now, he could end up winning enough championships to satisfy his hunger for NBA titles and call it quits early. Doesn't seem possible, but Michael Jordan even took up a second sport during his NBA career, so a LeBron journey into the NFL may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.
If LeBron does get bored, there's no doubt that NFL scouts and front offices would love to give him a tryout. He's already got better hands than a lot of tight ends in the league now, and having an athletic 6'8"/250 pound TE lining up against linebackers is as big a mismatch that you'll see on an NFL field. He's got three-plus inches on most any outside linebackers in the game today. If he enters the league as a tight end, he'll be giving defensive coordinators grey hair from day one.

One more encouraging detail to take note of: current tight ends Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham are former basketball players. Gonzalez and Gates have both publicly stated that playing basketball has helped them with catching passes in the NFL, and even compared posting-up in the paint to catching jump balls over top of defenders. And guess what? Gonzalez is Canton-bound once his prolific career is in the history books.

Unfortunately for us, we can talk about this as much as we like, but there's nothing we can do about it unless LeBron truly wants to leave the NBA early and go after his NFL dream. But, at his age, he could put in another 6-8 years in the basketball world and still take a stab at the NFL. So we may have to re-open this discussion once again in about five years and see where his career is at then.

It's not a question of "can he succeed" it's more of a "does he want to succeed" in the NFL? With one high school season as quarterbacks and two as a wide receiver, I think it's clear that James' potential career in the NFL would be better-suited catching passes, rather than throwing them. Not to mention having a 6'8" quarterback seems like a waste of size.

Debate over: LeBron can make it as an NFL player because of his freakish size and athleticism. But whether he will or not is completely up in the air, and will be until he is completely satisfied with his NBA career. We can keep dreaming though, right?

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Does anybody remember this commercial from LeBron's Cleveland Cavalier-playing days?

We sure do.

Note: We do not own the above images and video. No copyright infringement intended.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013: The NFL and the United States Military

Happy Memorial Day! We hope our readers and followers had a lovely holiday weekend with their families. The All-Out Blitz would like to thank the United States Military and members, past and current, for serving our country.

Unfortunately we don't have any "Memorial Day Memories" from the National Football League, considering it falls on May every year. So instead we thought we'd share some NFL/U.S. Military photos with you guys as a nice way to end the long weekend.
The All-Out Blitz and National Football League thanks the U.S. troops for its service!

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We have been slacking with content lately but now that the summer has officially arrived, we're hoping to get back to a normal posting schedule as soon as possible. Please check back for regular posts and coverage!

Note: We do not own the above images. No copyright infringement intended.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Urlacher Retirement: 2013 Off-Season has been the Season for Retiring Legends

Ray Lewis, Matt Birk, Ronde Barber. And now Brian Urlacher.

The long-time Chicago Bears middle linebacker joins the list of this era's living legends to retire from the game this off-season, announcing his official retirement on Wednesday. Urlacher played all 13 of his professional seasons in Chicago, and will retire as the third-best MLB in franchise history (behind Butkus and Singletary).

As a versatile player on the field, Urlacher played multiple positions while playing his college ball at the University of New Mexico, including linebacker, safety, wide receiver and return specialist. The All-American was drafted ninth overall by Chicago in the 2000 NFL draft and ended up winning the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year award following his Pro Bowl performance of 125 tackles, 8.0 sacks and two interceptions.

At 6'4"/250 pounds, the eight-time Pro Bowler 'backer was known as a great cover guy throughout his career but was also a feared tackler, chasing down ball-carriers from sideline-to-sideline.

Spread out over 180 career starts, Urlacher's numbers are some of the best you'll see from a middle linebacker during his era (not far behind Baltimore's Lewis), and are consistent across the board: 1,358 combined tackles, 41.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, 15 fumble recoveries, according to Pro-Footballreference.com.
Had Urlacher not missed two games during his rookie campaign, seven during the '04 season, 15 in '09 and four last season, who knows what these numbers could potentially look like. The four-time All Pro was the heart and soul of the Chicago defense during the 2000s––he was named on the league's All-Decade team––and provided veteran leadership to the young guys on the field.

Green Bay Packers All Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers has already come out and said that Urlacher was his favorite opponent and that he'd miss clashing with #54, as well as the banter between the two on the field. I don't feel as though he'd miss being hit by him, however.

With Urlacher's retirement coming the same off-season as Lewis and Ronde Barber, it's very possible that we could end up seeing the three of them being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the same time in 2018. Wouldn't that be something? Each of the three were the face of their respective franchise during the 2000s, and would be welcomed into Canton with open arms.

But the football field will most definitely be missing numbers 52, 20 and 54 once September rolls around.

Additional 2013 retirees:

Donovan McNabb, QB
David Garrard, QB
Matt Birk, C
Rolando McClain, LB
Scott Fujita, LB
Al Harris, CB
Nate Kaeding, K

Note: We do not own the above image. No copyright infringement intended.
Note: Stats according to Pro-footballreference.com

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

San Francisco, Houston Will Host Future Super Bowls

Votes have been tallied, and the host cities for two future Super Bowls have been decided by the owners earlier today: San Francisco and Houston.

The two large, warm-weather cities have great football atmospheres in addition to great football franchises. San Francisco will play host to Super Bowl L (SB 50) in 2016, while Houston plays host to Super Bowl LI (SB 51).

Now, obviously this is a few years down the road as we still have yet to witness the 2014 (New York) and 2015 (Phoenix) Super Bowls, but I'm just glad that we will not have to sit through another year of knowing that Miami will once again be hosting a Super Bowl.

New Orleans, the host of this past Super Bowl, and Miami have combined for 20 Super Bowls (10 each). Enough is enough. We get it, the National Football League loves South Beach. But can't we spread the love around a little? I'm not exactly the most thrilled about Houston hosting its third, but it sure beats the hell out of Miami.

The Bay Area hosted one other Super Bowl, SB XIX in 1985 between the Dolphins and Niners, though I don't actually count that as a San Francisco hosting. The game was played in Stanford Stadium in Stanford, CA. So, not technically San Francisco, just considered the Bay Area. Though, once again, this will not technically be a San Francisco-hosted stadium, it's close enough. The game will be played in the Niners' future Levi's Stadium, which is set to be built in Santa Clara, California.

As for Houston, Super Bowl LI will be played in Reliant Stadium for the first time since 2004, when the Patriots defeated the Panthers 32-29.

The best news of the day continues to be the state of Miami's hosting. The voting came down to the two aforementioned stadiums and the Dolphins' Sun Life Stadium. I've never been to Miami, and I'm sure it's a really nice area for the beach and night life, but I'm just glad the wealth is being spread around the National Football League a little more.

Huge win for San Francisco, a couple of months following a devastating Super Bowl loss.

One more thing: Does anyone else feel strange calling it "Super Bowl L" and "Super Bowl LI," or is that just me? Ditch the roman numerals or keep them around? You tell me––tough to go against history, I must say, but 'Super Bowl L' just doesn't roll off the tongue.

Note: We do not own the above images. No copyright infringement intended.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

9th Annual Mickey Steele Celebrity Golf Tournament: Rypien, Fellow Former Redskins Raise Money for Cancer Patients

Many former Washington Redskins were on hand Friday afternoon for the 9th Annual Mickey Steele Celebrity Golf Tournament at Queenstown Harbor Golf Links in Queenstown, MD. For the ninth straight year close friends and family of the late Mickey Steele got together to celebrate his life while raising money for cancer.

Steele, a life-long sports fan who grew up in Lanham, MD and attended the University of Maryland, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and passed away after a two-year battle with the disease. Shortly after that, the annual golf tournament was set up by Steele's family and close friends to help keep Steele's legacy alive while helping to raise money for people currently battling cancer.

Former Redskins two-time Pro Bowl quarterback, and Super Bowl XXVI Most Valuable Player, Mark Rypien lost his son Andrew to cancer at age 3. Rypien then dedicated his post-career days to creating and running the Rypien Foundation, which helps raise money for families with kids battling cancer.

Rypien's Foundation teamed up with the Mickey Steele Tournament shortly after hearing about it in 2005, as Mark was a close friend of Steele's and they used to play softball together.


Former Washington great, Joe Theismann, tees off


"To be out here and honor a buddy of ours and to help others is incredible. It's great to see the alumni out and the new guys out here," Rypien said following a day of golf out on the links. "It's very humbling to do this for our organization and the Redskins organization (another sponsor of the event)."

The Rypien Foundation's Program and Event coordinator Amber Masten and Mark's daughter Angela Rypien were also in attendance helping out around the course. Masten was seen around the course with Mickey's granddaughter, Lexi Steele, selling raffle tickets and interacting with golfers throughout the day.

"I have been a part of the foundation for 7 1/2 years," Masten explained prior to the start of the 10:00 am tee times. "We raise a good amount of money for cancer and all of it goes to patient care for cancer patients.

"It's really a great event. Lots of the alumni come back each year and they have a lot of fun with it."

Angela Rypien, the quarterback for the Baltimore Charm of the Legends Football League (formerly the Lingerie Football League), drove a cart around the course with a fellow Charm teammate to interact with golfers and sometimes even throw a football with them.


Rypien (white shirt, third from right), poses with a group


All of the proceeds to the charity event, which had a great turnout on a beautiful Friday afternoon, benefit the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and the Rypien Foundation.

Among some of the other notable former Redskins players in attendance and on the golf course include: quarterbacks Billy Kilmer and Joe Theismann; running backs Brian Mitchell, Reggie Branch; wide receivers Ricky Sanders and Gary Clark; tight end Doc Walker; lineman Jeff Bostic; linebacker Ken Harvey; DE/LB Carl Kammerer; safety Clarence Vaughn.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why the Arena Football League is Tim Tebow's Best Chance at Becoming an Elite NFL Quarterback

Let me make this quick and to the point: Tim Tebow's best shot at NFL stardom, as a quarterback, is through the Arena Football League. Perhaps last chance, as well?

Say whatever you want about his track record as the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback in 2010 and '11, but Tebow's chance at becoming a starting quarterback again in the National Football League is quickly dwindling.

At this point, after a failed 2012 campaign with the New York Jets, Timmy has two ways he could go about this: 1) give up on trying to become an NFL starting quarterback and admit that he may be better off switching positions if he wants another gig in the league or 2) stick with the quarterback position and sign a deal with an Arena League team.

There are plenty of teams willing to give him a deal if he chooses the latter of the two options. In fact, the Philadelphia Soul is the most recent AFL team to reach out to the newly unemployed Tebow about a job. The franchise's owner, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski, even sent him a package of plays that he'd be used in. That's showing some initiative.
Lately the Jacksonville Jaguars appear to be the only NFL team that would be possible fits for Tebow to become quarterback for, and the team's new owner has already publicly announced that he has no interest in the former University of Florida Heisman winner. Tebow appears set on sticking with his current position and, frankly, why wouldn't he? He's been playing quarterback most of his life, he led the Florida Gators to two National Championships as the signal caller and led John Elway's Broncos to a 2011-12 AFC Wild Card victory over the heavily-favored Pittsburgh Steelers.

That being said, I am among the majority when I say that Tebow's passing skills are not up to par with that of elite QBs in the NFL at this moment in time. Though he's worked on improving his mechanics, his throwing motion is still too long and his accuracy is erratic. His 10-7 record and 75.5 QB rating shows me that he has the game management and leadership skills to lead his team to victories, but the circus he brings with him scares off potential NFL suitors. Especially after his 2012 season in New York. Just too many distractions within the locker room, and he didn't appear to earn the respect needed from his Jets teammates.

The limited number of teams in the league that have expressed interest in his services, are not after his quarterbacking services. Rather, they'd like to use him in a variety of other packages and could possibly switch him to tight end or fullback.

But here's what the Arena league can offer him: a chance to develop his mechanics and transform himself into more of a pocket passer. Arena league fields are much smaller (50 yards long, 85 feet wide with eight-yard end zones), and the game itself has little running plays. With much faster-paced, passing-oriented games, Tebow will get acclimated with three and five-step dropbacks. He'll be forced to get the ball out of his hands much quicker as well, which is something else Tebow's game tends to lack.

Arguments have been made that the Canadian Football League would be another option for Timmy to take his talents to, but I would have to disagree with that statement if he would like to make his way back to the NFL. If he heads north to the CFL, he'll most likely have a harder time re-adjusting to the NFL should he make a re-appearance in the future. With the Arena League, he'll have tighter windows to throw in, meaning that if he can complete passes and throw touchdowns for an AFL team he will have no problem going back to hitting wideouts in stride on a much wider National Football League field.

As for the CFL, it's similar to the AFL in terms of relying heavily on the passing game. The only trouble with this is that the Canadian League's fields are 110 yards in length (with 20-yard end zones) and 65 yards in width, compared with the NFL's 100yd/10-yd/53.5-yd dimensions. Huge difference if you're a quarterback switching league's and adjusting to the style of play.
Normally you would think it would be a minor adjustment for a trained professional, but considering Tebow is looking to further improve on his mechanics and pocket presence it could just prove to be an un-needed distraction.

Either way, I believe these are the two most viable options for Tebow if he plans on becoming a star NFL quarterback one day. Then again, the AFL option could be a hit-or-miss opportunity. A superb stint with an Arena League team could help his NFL stock tremendously, but if his AFL stint ends with a train wreck similar to his New York escapades then he may further damage his reputation around the league.

So if he plans on sticking with his current position in the NFL, it would be well worth the risk of temporarily leaving the league to improve his mechanics and pocket-passing abilities out of the spotlight. And lets face it, a Tim Tebow AFL signing would rack in plenty of money for the respective team that happens to land him and may even bring in a few sold out crowds to Arenas all over.

Sounds like a winning situation for everyone. Tebow gets his shot at remaining a quarterback while working on his craft, his team earns whatever money Tebow fans bring them (and possibly a few wins), and the NFL can finally get away from the Tebow circus that was 2012.

Hopefully one day Tebow can finally prove myself––and all of his other critics––wrong and become an elite, Super Bowl-winning quarterback. One day.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tampa Bay Loses a Champion: 38-year old Ronde Barber Officially Announces Retirement

In Tampa earlier today, 16-year veteran defensive back Ronde Barber officially announced his retirement from the National Football League in a tear-ridden press conference.

The long-time Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback finished his final professional season in 2012 with a very productive 16 games. Barber, 38, made the switch to free safety after playing corner for his entire career and accumulated 91 combined tackles, 4 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 1.0 sack and a defensive touchdown in his final go 'round.

The five-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion was never quite the shutdown corner that Charles Woodson or Deion Sanders were in the prime of their respective careers, but there's no doubt Barber has been the most consistent piece on the Bucs' defense over the past decade and a half. He hasn't missed a start since the 1999 season. That's dedication.

With over 1,200 combined tackles, 47 interceptions, 28.0 sacks in his 232 starts for the Bucs, Barber turned in a borderline Hall of Fame-caliber career. Ronde is Tampa's franchise leader in games (241), interceptions (47), interception yards (923), defensive TDs (12 INT/FR) and passes defensed (166) as well as top 6 in sacks (28.0), forced fumbles (15), fumbles recovered (12) and combined tackles (1,231).
His production was through the roof, and he made a couple of huge plays in the postseason as well. His 92-yard interception touchdown of a Donovan McNabb pass sealed a 27-10 NFC Championship victory over the Eagles on their way to a record-breaking Super Bowl XXXVII victory in 2002-03. His interception will forever be what the Bucs fan base remembers him for most. A play that put them into the Super Bowl for the first time ever. What made the play even sweeter was the fact that it came against the team that knocked them out of the postseason the previous two seasons, outscoring them 52-12 during those games.

With all of his accomplishments, including the ultimate goal of capturing a Vince Lombardi trophy, the decision seemed simple for Barber to hang up his cleats. He was forced into switching to free safety prior to last season, and with a revamped secondary for 2013 he likely would have seen less of the field. The Bucs clearly want to get younger and bring in youth to build from the bottom up, and Barber realized this. In his press conference (which I've included a link to at the bottom of this article), Barber mentions that he made the decision a month ago and that he believes it's the correct decision.

Barber's done all he can in this game, and he's already cemented his legacy with the franchise. He'll sit among Hall of Fame-bound defensive tackle Warren Sapp as one of the best Bucs players in history: Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Barber, John Lynch. That's how the list looks at this moment in time, all four are defensive players, too. Barber's announcement makes him the final player from the core of the 2002 record-setting Buccaneers defensive unit to retire from the game.

Sapp was selected to be enshrined in to the Hall of Fame this coming August and Lynch was among the 27 semi-finalists for the honor back in November. One day, Barber will join the list of potential Hall of Famers, though there's a chance he may not make it over the hump and into the Hall.
He's had one hell of a career as a lifelong Buccaneer, and was certainly the most consistent defensive back of his time, but I'm not completely sold on his HOF status. He was never a flashy guy, and seemed to fly under the radar at times, especially when playing behind Sapp and Brooks and next to Lynch. His lack of flash and vocal leadership could hurt him when it comes time to vote, but lets set the record straight: he's one hell of a football player and one of the best the Bucs franchise has ever seen.


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Monday, May 6, 2013

May Day: No Shortages of Off-season Drama Around League

Despite still being four months away from the kick-off to the 2013 NFL regular season, which is set for Thursday September 5 in Denver, we're still seeing plenty of drama around the league.

The beginning of May usually revolves around the aftermath of the NFL draft, but this year we're seeing a little bit of side-drama. No surprise, of course, that it revolves around the New York Jets. Oh, and Tim Tebow. You'd think that we'd be used to this by now.

Jets Release Tebow; Tim Receives Numerous Other Job Offers

The news of the release of New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow a week ago comes as no surprise, but what may come as a bit of a surprise is the fact that he's already received a variety of different job offers. None of which have come from NFL teams.

Among the offers, whether serious offers or not, are the Canadian Football League and the Lingerie Football League (believe it or not).

The CFL's Montreal Alouettes own the rights to Tebow, but if he were to agree on a contract with the Canadian League team, he'd have to compete for a backup quarterback spot. That doesn't exactly sound like something Tebow would be interested in. Not to mention, the CFL isn't the best fit for Tebow at the quarterback position.

Hall of Fame NFL and CFL QB Warren Moon may have said it best when he said Tebow wouldn't make it as a CFL quarterback. The fields are larger and the league relies more heavily on the passing game. He's not a pocket quarterback and would need to play somewhere where the offense can revolve around his play-making abilities, not just his arm. Tebow's inaccuracy would hurt him in the more pass-oriented Canadian Football League, so the CFL doesn't appear to be a viable option.

About a week ago, the Legends Football League (formerly the Lingerie Football League) offered Tebow a job as quarterbacks coach, according to a Yahoo! Sports report. Clearly that isn't a likely move for him, either, considering he wants to be on the football field, not the sidelines. At least not just yet.

So, it appears the only reasonable option for Tebow in 2013 would be a position change to stay in the NFL. There have been a couple of teams interested in Timmy as a tight end, so the question now is whether he'd be willing to change positions or not.

Okay, sorry. I am officially done with Tebow talk now.
NFC Scout on Geno Smith: "He's a spoiled, pampered brat"

Unfortunately we're not done with the New York Jets, however. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith out of West Virginia was projected to go in the top 10 or 15 by some draft experts in NYC. Instead, he fell out of the first round altogether and was selected by the Jets in the second round, No. 39 overall. It was reported that his maturity is what forced him to fall so hard, costing him approximately $3 million in salary.

Over a week following the draft, his maturity is still being questioned by an anonymous NFC scout:

He's going to have a tough time in New York. Right now he's coming off as a spoiled, pampered brat.

What made matters worse were additional reports that said Smith used his cell phone to send texts and check his Twitter feed during pre-draft meetings with NFL teams. If that doesn't force you out of the first round, I'm not sure what will. After hearing those reports, there's no reason he should have thrown a fit and threatened to go home after being skipped over in the first round, rather than returning to Radio City Music Hall for Day 2 of the draft. Luckily for him, he did end up returning the second night, but the fact that he almost didn't may have also hurt his stock.

Between the underachieving former first rounder out of USC, Mark Sanchez and the seemingly immature Geno Smith, it looks like the Jets will once again have a tough time on offense this season. Look for this to be head coach Rex Ryan's final season at the helm.
Adrian Peterson: "I'm going for 2,500 yards"

There's no typo in that headline. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has said that he's going for 2,500 rushing yards this season. Coming off his MVP performance of 2,097 yards, just nine shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season record, Peterson thinks he can gain 400 more yards in 2013.

First off, if there's a running back in the game that can do it, it's Peterson. Second off, he was coming off ACL surgery and got off to a slow start in 2012 before breaking out for eight consecutive 100+ yard games.

But, all that being said, there's no way Peterson will manage to join the 2,500 club. Not this year, not ever. Sure, Peterson manages to break out for long runs despite opposing defenses stacking the box with eight guys in anticipation of the run. But with more and more emphasis on the passing game, Peterson won't get enough carries to break out for that many yards in 16 games.

He'd have to run for at least 150 yards every single week. Even for a robotic, freakishly-built runner like Peterson, that's near-impossible. The Vikings brought in some competition for quarterback Christian Ponder this season (former KC Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel) and drafted the young wideout Cordarrelle Patterson. Clearly Minnesota appears to be ready for a more effective passing game this season.

Sorry Adrian, but it'll be tough enough to pull off another 2,000 yard season in 2013. There's a reason why no runner has ever accomplished this feat twice in a career––it's tough to do. Makes for a great debate though.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Star on the Rise: Michigan Youth Quarterback Samuel Johnson III Turning Heads at Age 12

At 12 years old, Michigan native Samuel Johnson III has the mechanics and build of a high school football player. The 6th grader at O.W. Best Middle School stands at 5'10" and 130 pounds and has the arm strength and accuracy of a high school quarterback.

Johnson has been training with Quarterback University coach Donovan Dooley since he was 10 years old and he started playing football four years ago.

It isn't often that you come across a 12-year old of his size and talent under center, so we took the time to speak with SJ3 and find out what the secret to his success is. Here's our brief interview:

All-Out Blitz: Okay, first off when did you start playing and what got you into football?

Samuel Johnson III: I started playing four years ago. My dad and I started playing catch in the yard and I pretty much knew that I was a football player soon after that.

AOB: What is a typical workout like for you? Are there certain things you work on more than others?

SJ3: I work out about three hours a day, everyday. I mostly work on my footwork and passing, but also do a little bit of weightlifting.

AOB: What do you think is the strongest part of your game?

SJ3: The strongest part of my game is I think my footwork. Also my arm, I can throw (accurately) about 50 yards down the field.
AOB: Quarterback is the toughest position on the field. What do you find most difficult about playing QB?

SJ3: I think the most difficult part is taking a hit and being able to get back up and getting back to the huddle with your team.

AOB: Do you have a favorite football memory?

SJ3: Yes. Last year in the semifinal playoffs, I threw a 50-yard touchdown with three minutes left to win the game.

Johnson says he works with coach Dooley at QBU, the No. 9 ranked in quarterback training in the nation, around three days a week and his parents are very pro-active in helping him with his training.

SJ3's little league team is the West Seven Rams of the Detroit Police Athletic League, and his goals for the upcoming season include 35 TD passes and being named an All-American. Modeling his game after Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, SJ3's mechanics will only get better each year.
Consistently mistaken for older than he is, Johnson's size and arm strength has gotten him some early exposure among coaches and fellow players. He has already attended high school combines in his past, and thrown to receivers older than him. He will have a busy next couple of months, as he has received invites to Football University on June 7-9 and an Offense-Defense football camp on June 17-19. He received the invites just a week after attending the D-1 Sports Training Army All-American Combine one month ago.

Johnson runs a 5.87 forty yard dash, a 5.42 shuttle run and a 9.0 cone drill. His vertical jump is 9'46 and a 6'6 broad jump, all impressive numbers for a 12-year old sixth grade quarterback with four years under his belt.

Johnson was fortunate enough to spend some time with the New York Giants' second round draft pick, Johnathan Hankins, this past weekend. Hankins, the Ohio State defensive tackle, is a Detroit-native himself and also played his youth football in the Detroit Police Athletic League.

Though he's currently only 12 years old, there's no question that we could be watching a star on the rise if Samuel Johnson can keep up his growth and training, while maturing through middle school and high school. With a 3.86 GPA and a cannon arm, it would be in your best interest to remember the name Samuel Johnson III. He could find his way onto our television sets one day.

- - - - -

You can follow Samuel Johnson on Twitter: @SJ3_theFuture

Notable NFL football players that played in Detroit's PAL: Hankins, Jerome Bettis, Larry Foote, Brandon Graham and Bart Scott.

Note: We do not own the above images. They were sent to us via email by Sam's parents.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Greatest Player of All-Time Tournament: Jerry Rice Comes out the Winner

We began this month-long, single-elimination tournament with 64 of the National Football League's best players of all-time. Now that we are approaching the end of April, we have officially ruled out 63 of those players and, thanks to you the voters, have come away with an official winner.

According to you guys, the "Greatest Player of All-Time" is San Francisco's wide receiver Jerry Rice.

There is absolutely no debate when it comes to the best receiver of all-time, Rice will win that one no matter who you're asking. Rice, now 50, is the all-time leader in receiving touchdowns (197) and total touchdowns (207). His 1,549 career receptions, and 22,895 receiving yards are both well ahead of the No. 2 all-time leader. The 13-time Pro Bowler and 12-time All Pro basically holds every possible receiving record in both the regular and postseason while winning three Super Bowls in his 20 years in the league.

The NFL.com list of greatest players of all-time also had Rice at the top. It's really tough to argue against him.
However, the race for this title wasn't quite the landslide that he's use to. His opponent just beat out current Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for the Madden 25 cover, and is arguably the best running back the league has ever seen: Detroit Lions RB Barry Sanders.

In fact, if it were up to us, we'd argue for Sanders to be considered the Greatest Player of All-Time champion. Sure, Rice's list of accomplishments appears to be endless. But Sanders' list is quite as impressive as well, and he accomplished everything with much less than Jerry.

When you're in the league for 20+ years like Rice, of course there's a much better chance that you'll own a ton of records by the time you retire from the game. And with Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh calling the plays with Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana throwing you passes, things are much easier. Barry, on the other hand, was running behind a god-awful offensive line with quarterbacks such as Scott Mitchell, Rodney Peete, Erik Kramer and Andre Ware.

Sanders stepped away from the game at a very healthy 30 years old and hadn't even peaked in his performance yet. The third all-time leading rusher made the Pro Bowl in all 10 of his professional seasons with six All Pro selections. He averaged over 1,500 yards per season and 5.0 yards per carry, while turning in one of the most impressive highlight tapes available on the web.

We are in now way trying to diminish Rice's accomplishments, because he is clearly the most-decorated player in the history of the game. But we believe Sanders deserves the title simply because of what he did with what he was given.

The Fan Vote (the one that actually matters): Jerry Rice, 49ers HOF WR
All-Out Blitz's Vote: Barry Sanders, Lions HOF RB

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Biggest Winners and Losers of Round 1

Last night's first round of the annual NFL Draft was arguably one of the most interesting and unexpected opening rounds in recent years.

Three of the top four picks were offensive tackles and five of the top 10 picks were offensive lineman. And for the first time since the 2001 draft, there were less than two quarterbacks selected in the first round. There were a couple of projected first rounders that are still on the board after last night, and a couple of teams made a reach for their respective first rounder.

One thing's for certain: there are both winners and losers of the opening round.

Winners

Minnesota Vikings: With three, yes, three first round selections last night, the Vikings made huge improvements on both sides of the ball. In the deal that sent Percy Harvin to Seattle, Minnesota received the Seahawks' 25th overall pick, and they also made a draft-day deal to grab the 29th pick from New England.

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, projected to go in the top five, fell all the way down to Minnesota at No. 23. Two picks later they landed Antoine Winfield's replacement with cornerback Xavier Rhodes. And, with the No. 29 pick from the Pats, they landed the second best receiver in the draft––Cordarrelle Patterson from Tennessee––to replace Harvin on offense.

Solid picks all around for the Minnesota Vikings.

St. Louis Rams: Head coach Jeff Fisher traded up from the No. 16 spot to the No. 8 spot in a trade with the Buffalo Bills. With that pick, they snagged the most explosiver player in the draft: wide receiver Tavon Austin. With the departure of Danny Amendola this off-season and the need for weapons on offense, the elusive 175 pound speedy wideout may have been the best selection in the draft so far.

St. Louis had two first round picks thanks to the trade with Washington last season, which allowed the Skins to move up to No. 2 and snag Robert Griffin III. With their other pick (No. 22 overall), the Rams moved down to No. 30 in a trade with Atlanta and added inside linebacker Alec Ogletree.

E.J. Manuel: The only quarterback selected in the first round, the Bills used it's 16th pick in the trade with St. Louis to snag Manuel out of Florida State. I've been questioning the move by Buffalo to grab Manuel, though it appears he moved up the board because of his speed and mobility, which fits what Buffalo wants to do on offense.
Losers

New York Jets: It's become quite evident that head coach Rex Ryan worries too much about his defense than his offense. The Jets already traded away their best player––All Pro shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis––to the Bucs. With the No. 13 pick they received in the deal, the Jets added defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. Four picks prior to that, at No. 9, they added a potential Revis replacement by selecting Alabama corner Dee Milliner.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez could use all the help he can get on offense, as the Jets ranked 30th in the passing game last year, and 28th in overall offense.

Dallas Cowboys: Instead of using their No. 18 pick to improve the secondary, as I expected, the Cowboys traded down to the No. 31 spot and made a huge reach to improve on the offensive line. Jerry Jones selected Wisconsin center Travis Frederick, whom I was expecting to see come off the board in the second or third round––not the first. Huge reach for Dallas, especially when they could have added Eric Reid with the 18th pick.

Geno Smith: The Jaguars, Raiders, Eagles, Cardinals and Bills all made the decision to pass on Geno in the first round, which frustrated the West Virginia quarterback. Though he has changed his mind and will end up staying in NYC for the second and third rounds tonight, he was originally so frustrated that he had stated he was going home after being skipped over by all 32 teams last night.

Someone close to him must have informed him that returning home today would only hurt his stock, and show teams that he can't handle adversity. Even though he's staying in NYC, I believe that the fact that he even thought about going home today may still hurt his stock a little. He'll be selected by someone in the second round later this evening, but it's still yet to be seen how he handles the situation this season.
The second round is set to get underway at 6:30 pm (eastern time) later this evening, with plenty of talent still available on the board, including several players with first round grades. Should be an exciting second round.

Best Available:

Geno Smith
Ryan Nassib
Matt Barkley
Eddie Lacy
Giovani Bernard
Johnathan Franklin
Le'Veon Bell
Justin Hunter
Zach Ertz
Menelik Watson
Barrett Jones
Johnathan Hankins
Damontre Moore
Margus Hunt
Alex Okafor
Arthur Brown
Manti Te'o
Kevin Minter
Johnthan Banks
Jamar Taylor
Jonathan Cyprien
Shmarko Thomas
Phillip Thomas

Top 5 picks in Second Round:

1 (33) Jaguars
2 (34) 49ers ((from Chiefs))
3 (35) Eagles
4 (36) Lions
5 (37) Bengals ((from Raiders))

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Your Complete First Round Coverage: Position Rankings, Team Needs, Updated Mock Draft and Live Blog

For the first time ever, The All-Out Blitz will be bringing you full coverage of the first round of the NFL Draft as it unfolds. In the past, we've had coverage of the draft, but have failed to give you a full preview, up-to-the-minute updates, and complete predictions of the annual event.

Unlike last year, we have actually provided our readers with full rankings, multiple mock drafts and every team's needs.

With just about five minutes until the Kansas City Chiefs and new head coach Andy Reid go on the clock, here are our last-minute position rankings, final mock draft (with team needs) and live updates as the first round unfolds:

Position Rankings

QB
1. Geno Smith, West Virginia
2. Matt Barkley, Southern California
3. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
4. E.J. Manuel, Florida State
5. Mike Glennon, NC State
RB
1. Eddie Lacy, Alabama
2. Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
3. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
4. Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State
5. Andre Ellington, Clemson

WR
1. Tavon Austin, West Virginia
2. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
3. Keenan Allen, California
4. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
5. Justin Hunter, Tennessee

TE
1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
2. Zach Ertz, Stanford
3. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati
4. Gavin Escobar, San Diego State
5. Vance McDonald, Rice
OT
1. Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
2. Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
3. Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
4. D.J. Fluker, Alabama
5. Brennan Williams, North Carolina

G/C
1. Chance Warmack, Alabama
2. Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
3. Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
4. Barrett Jones, Alabama
5. Khaled Holmes, Southern California

DT
1. Sharrif Floyd, Florida
2. Star Lotulelei, Utah
3. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
4. Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
5. Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
DE
1. Bjoern Werner, Florida State
2. Dion Jordan, Oregon
3. Ezekial "Ziggy" Ansah, BYU
4. Alex Okafor, Texas
5. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

ILB
1. Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
2. Alec Ogletree, Georgia
3. Arthur Brown, Kansas State
4. Kevin Minter, LSU
5. Kevin Reddick, North Carolina

OLB
1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia
2. Barkevious Mingo, LSU
3. Sio Moore, Connecticut
4. Chase Thomas, Stanford
5. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers
CB
1. Dee Milliner, Alabama
2. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
3. Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
4. D.J. Hayden, Houston
5. Desmond Trufant, Washington

S
1. Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
2. Matt Elam, Florida
3. Eric Reid, LSU
4. Jonathan Cyprien, FIU
5. Phillip Thomas, Fresno State

FINAL Mock Draft (with team needs)

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Fisher, OT
Team needs: OT, DE, DT, WR

Sources have reported that the Chiefs will select Fisher at the No. 1 spot, rather than A&M's Luke Joeckel. Though I believe KC should go with Joeckel, it appears as though new coach Andy Reid has more hope for Central Michigan's Fisher.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE
Team needs: DE, OL, QB, CB, WR

While Jockel is now on the board at No. 2, the Jags' most glaring need is a pass-rushing defensive end and Werner is the best in the draft.
3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT
Team needs: DT, OLB, OL, QB

While Florida's Floyd is the top defensive tackle, I believe Lotulelei is a better fit for Oakland. At 320+ pounds, Lotulelei can plug the middle and make an immediate impact on Oakland's 18th-ranked run defense.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dee Milliner, CB
Team needs: QB, LB, OL, CB

There's a decent chance Chip Kelly could go quarterback and select Geno Smith to develop him into the franchise's next star quarterback. And that's what I originally believed would happen. But with a disappointing Nnamdi Asomugha gone, cornerback is a huge need on the defensive side of the ball.

5. Detroit Lions: Chance Warmack, G
Team needs: G, DE

Adding the top guard would be a huge boost to Detroit's running game, giving new RB Reggie Bush someone to run behind.

6. Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan, OLB
Team needs: G, LB, WR, S

With Milliner gone, and Warmack also off the board in the previous two picks, it looks like the Browns could go outside linebacker with Dion Jordan. Don't be surprised if they end up trading down.

7. Arizona Cardinals: Luke Joeckel, OT
Team needs: OL, S, TE

This would be a huge gift to the Cardinals if Joeckel does end up dropping to them all the way down to No. 7. Though I believe he's the best OT in the draft, and arguably the best overall player, it all depends on team needs. So this very well may end up happening with Fisher going No. 1.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB
Team needs: QB, TE, LB, WR, CB

Ryan Fitzpatrick is gone, and though the Bills signed former Arizona QB Kevin Kolb, I don't think they'll be completely content with him taking over the starting role. Smith is the top quarterback in the draft, and if he drops down to No. 8, the Bills should snag him.

9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, OLB
Team needs: WR, OT, OLB, S

Coming out of LSU, the very quick and aggressive Mingo is a perfect fit for Rex Ryan's 3-4 defense. The athletic 240-pound linebacker is a sideline-to-sideline backer that can also put pressure on the opposing quarterback.

10. Tennessee Titans: Sharrif Floyd, DT
Team needs: DL, ILB, G, WR, S

Floyd is a very quick and athletic 300-pound D-tackle and would be able to play on both the inside or outside for the Titans. At No. 10, Floyd is a bargain for the Titans.

11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT
Team needs: OT, ILB, CB

With Johnson falling in their laps, there's no way the Chargers can pass up the opportunity to grab the athletic tackle. Johnson can play on both the left and right side and is so athletic that he actually used to play quarterback in junior college.

12. Miami Dolphins: Sheldon Richardson, DT
Team needs: OL, CB, DL, WR

Four offensive lineman came off the board in the top 11 picks, and the top corner is already gone as well. Needing some depth on the defensive line, Richardson is a great selection here.

13. New York Jets (from Bucs): Tavon Austin, WR
Team needs: WR, OT, S

Snagging Mingo off the board with their No. 9 pick, the Jets can now use this next pick to bring in a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball. It's obvious that the struggling Mark Sanchez could use an explosive player such as Austin.
14. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Vaccaro, S
Team needs: DE, CB, S

I'm sticking by my Vaccaro pick from a couple days ago. The offensive side of the ball is looking great, but the Panthers could really use help on defense, specifically the secondary. Vaccaro is a very aggressive player and has improved vastly in coverage.

15. New Orleans Saints: Ezekiel Ansah, DE
Team needs: DL, OLB, OT

New Orleans is lucky that Ansah fell to them at the 15th pick. The BYU product is a large defensive end with long arms, which he uses to get around blockers. The former basketball player isn't the fastest guy out there, but he's an explosive and aggressive defensive end coming off the edge.

16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR
Team needs: RB, WR, G, S

Quarterback Sam Bradford has always lacked targets in the passing game, and wideout is an even more glaring need now that Danny Amendola is in New England. Cordarrelle is the top wideout left on the board, and St. Louis shouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, OLB
Team needs: RB, OLB, OT, WR

Jones drops this far because teams may hesitate to take the injury risk with him, but he's just what the Steelers need in the pass-rushing game now that James Harrison has split to Cincy. Youth on the defensive side of the ball is key for the aging Steelers.

18. Dallas Cowboys: Johnathan Hankins, DT
Team needs: S, OL, DT, RB, LB

Sticking by my pick of Hankins. If Vaccaro is available at No. 18, they'll snag him, but I don't expect him to still be on the board. The explosive tackle can blow up the offensive line and shed blockers without any trouble.

19. New York Giants: Alec Ogletree, LB
Team needs: OL, CB, DT, ILB

Coming out of Georgia and playing with Jarvis Jones, Ogletree shined in 2012. He's a bit undersized as he came to Georgia as a safety, but he's very quick and is a great coverage linebacker. He's a sideline-to-sideline tackler as well and has big-play ability.

20. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT
Team needs: OL, WR, LB, S

It's no secret that the Chicago Bears struggle to protect quarterback Jay Cutler. And though they could use a couple of play-making wide receivers, the No. 1 priority on offense has to be protecting Cutler and keeping him upright.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S
Team needs: OT, RB, ILB, S

Elam is a short safety (5'10") but is a solid coverage guy and is known for physical play. He has the ability to play cornerback as well and is a solid tackler on the ball.

22. St. Louis Rams (from Skins): Jonathan Cooper, G
Team needs: RB, G, S

The Rams could use a huge boost on offense. Selecting Patterson with their first pick earlier in the draft, St. Louis can take a chance on the draft's second-best guard in UNC's Jonathan Cooper. I'm a tad surprised myself that Cooper fell this far, to be honest.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR
Team needs: WR, DT, LB, DB

Whether it's Christian Ponder or newcomer Matt Cassel under center for Minnesota this season, they'll need a playmaker to throw the ball to. The loss of Percy Harvin is huge on offense, but if they can grab a No. 1 wideout with this pick, the 25th round pick that they got in the Harvin trade could end up being a huge benefit.

24. Indianapolis Colts: Alex Okafor, DE
Team needs: G, WR, DL, CB

With long-time defensive end Dwight Freeney gone, the Colts could really use a speedy, aggressive pass-rusher coming off the edge. That's exactly what the former three-year Texas starter gives them, a guy who has an excellent combination of speed and power. He recorded 12.5 sacks last season.

25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seahawks): Manti Te'o, LB
Team needs: DT, LB, DB

I was thinking Xavier Rhodes would be a great replacement for the departed veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield at the No. 25 pick. But I've been hearing whispers about how much the Vikings like Te'o, so all things seem to be pointing towards him coming off the board here.

26. Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB
Team needs: C, RB, DB

What better way to complement the top passing game led by former MVP Aaron Rodgers than to add the explosive, yet quick, running back Lacy out of Alabama. The only running back that I expect to be taken in the opening round, Lacy could be a key component in this offense this year.

27. Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR
Team needs: WR, OT, DT

The fourth receiver taken, Hopkins will give quarterback Matt Schaub a solid No. 2 target behind All Pro Andre Johnson. With a top-tier defense that will get LB Brian Cushing back this year, and an All Pro running back in Arian Foster, another wideout to complement Johnson is a must-have for Houston at this point.
28. Denver Broncos: Sylvester Williams, DT
Team needs: RB, DL, ILB, S

The Broncos seem to be set on offense, and a hole opened up in the pass-rushing with the sad departure of Elvis Dumervil this off-season. But Williams is the best bet here for Denver. A top 5 defensive tackle in the draft, the 313 pound Williams is very quick for his size and added 6.0 sacks last season. He can play both the run and the pass.

29. New England Patriots: Justin Hunter, WR
Team needs: WR, G/C, ILB, DB

The Patriots could surely use a wideout to play alongside newly-signed Danny Amendola, and the tall, lengthy Justin Hunter gives Brady a solid option over the middle of the field. He can line up out wide or in the slot.

30. Atlanta Falcons: Johnthan Banks, CB
Team needs: LB, CB

Banks is a top three corner in this draft and nearing the end of the first round is a steal for the Falcons. Banks has four years of college experience under his belt and has great ball skills. He can be active in supporting the run and has the ability to blitz the quarterback as well. An all-around great talent at his position.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Kawann Short, DT
Team needs: WR, DT, S

Many project Short to come off the board in the second round, but given San Francisco's need at defensive tackle, it's certainly possible he could come off at the end of the first. Short uses his size and power to plug opposing running lanes and is athletic enough to make plays in the backfield.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Minter, LB
Team needs: WR, OT, ILB, S

With Te'o going to Minnesota earlier in the round and Ogletree going to New York, it looks like the defending champs will have to settle for LSU's Minter. Minter is a very quick and aggressive tackler and has the knack to make plays. Not quite a Manti Te'o, but great instincts nonetheless.

Live Blog

8:07pm: It's just past 8 p.m. (eastern time), and commissioner Roger Goodell has just announced that the Chiefs are officially on the clock (after Joe Namath addressed the crowd by yelling "NEW YORK! NEW JERSEY!").

Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel just told NFL Network minutes ago that neither of them have received a call yet. So it could be either one, but all signs have pointed towards Fisher being the guy.

FYI: We're watching the coverage on NFL Network, not ESPN.

Rich Eisen is repeatedly saying "We're not showing any prospects on the phone. We're not going to tip any picks." Referring to the fact that NFL Network does not want to tip to its viewers who will be the No. 1 pick until Goodell informs us. I like that.

8:17pm: With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select Eric Fisher, OT from Central Michigan.

Jaguars are now on the clock for the No. 2 pick.
*The 6'6"/306 lb Fisher wasn't expected to go No. 1 to the Chiefs until reports came out earlier today that KC had informed Joeckel that they would be selecting Fisher. For the past month or more Joeckel had been projected the No. 1 selection. Fisher is the first OT taken first overall since Jake Long in 2008 (by Miami).

*I wouldn't be surprised to see Joeckel drop several spots now that he hasn't gone No. 1. Jacksonville seems to be more worried about replacing Blaine Gabbert or adding a top-tier pass-rusher.

8:24pm: With the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select Luke Joeckel, OT from Texas A&M.

*Clearly I was wrong. They're putting all of their chips in on Gabbert for at least one more year and have gone with a stud offensive tackle in Joeckel. They hope this will help keep Gabbert upright and give him more time in the pocket. We'll see if his accuracy improves because of this.

*The Oakland Raiders are now on the clock for the No. 3 pick. Their first 1st round pick since selecting Rolando McClain in 2010.

8:35pm: The Oakland Raiders trade their No. 3 pick to the Miami Dolphins, and the Dolphins select Dion Jordan, DE from Oregon.

The Philadelphia Eagles are now on the clock for the No. 4 pick.

*This one came as a shock, as speculation was that the Dolphins had completed the trade in order to select OT Lane Johnson from Oklahoma. Johnson would have filled the void that Jake Long left this off-season.

*In the trade, Oakland gets Miami's 12th overall pick and 2nd round pick (42nd overall).

8:43pm: With the No. 4 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Lane Johnson, OT from Oklahoma.

Detroit is now on the clock for the No. 5 pick.
*Three of the top four picks have been offensive tackles. 'Year of the tackle', anyone?

*Cool fact about Johnson: He played quarterback in high school and junior college. By far the most athletic offensive lineman in this draft. Not even close.

8:51pm: With the 5th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select Ezekiel Ansah, DE from BYU.

Cleveland is now on the clock for the No. 6 pick.

*Sweet. Barry Sanders announced the Detroit Lions' 5th overall pick, rather than Goodell. Classy.

*But in terms of the pick itself, the former basketball player could be a beast lining up next to DT Ndamukong Suh. Ansah, from Ghana, flew under the radar until just a few months ago. It could be a hit or miss pick at No. 5, as he really doesn't have the most experience on the football field.

*He's the first BYU Top 10 pick since QB Jim McMahon in 1982.

8:55pm: With the 6th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB from LSU.

The Cardinals are now on the clock for the No. 7 pick

*Only six picks into the draft, and we're already riding the struggle bus. Werner, Lotulelei, Milliner and Warmack are still on the clock, while Joeckel, Johnson and Mingo are off the boards already.

9:02pm: With the 7th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals select Jonathan Cooper, G from North Carolina.

The Buffalo Bills are on the clock for the No. 8 pick

*Cooper comes off the board before Chance Warmack, and is the fourth offensive lineman in the first 7 picks. Interesting. Lots of QBs out there in need of protection. Cooper is a very fast and athletic guard, and is a great addition for Arizona.

9:10pm: The Buffalo Bills trade their No. 8 pick to the St. Louis Rams, and the Rams select Tavon Austin, WR from West Virginia.

The New York Jets are on the clock for the No. 9 pick

*In the trade, Buffalo gets the 16th pick from STL in addition to 3rd, 4th and 7th round picks, in exchange for the No. 8 pick and a 3rd round pick.

*Austin is the best playmaker in the draft, and can make an impact in the return game as well. The only question is will his rookie season look like Julio Jones and A.J. Green's (Top 10 picks in 2011) or Justin Blackmon's (Top 10 pick last year). I'd like to think it'll look like the former.

*No pick for Buffalo here, but the big question is whether they go for a quarterback with the newly-acquired 16th pick? I'm betting no, but who knows.

*First WR the Rams have taken in the first round since Torry Holt in 1999.
9:18pm: With the 9th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select Dee Milliner, CB from Alabama.

The Tennessee Titans are now on the clock for the No. 10 pick

*And just like that, the New York Jets have replaced All Pro shutdown corner Darrelle Revis, who they traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in the week. They have another pick at No. 13 (acquired from Tampa in the Revis trade).

9:25pm: With the 10th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select Chance Warmack, G from Alabama.

The San Diego Chargers are now on the clock for the No. 11 pick

*Floyd, like I said in my mock, dropped to No. 10. But, surprisingly, the Titans didn't make a move for him. Warmack is still a great pick here though, giving RB Chris Johnson a young guy to run behind. The Alabama product is the second guard to come off the board, giving us FIVE offensive linemen in the top 10 tonight.

9:28pm: With the 11th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select D.J. Fluker, OT from Alabama.

The Oakland Raiders are now on the clock for the No. 12 pick

*Shocked to see Fluker come off the board so soon, but I guess I shouldn't be too surprised considering he's one of Nick Saban's 'BAMA linemen. Sixth lineman selected now, and he's the third of Saban's Crimson Tide players to be selected (Warmack and Milliner). All three right in a row.

9:38pm: With the 12th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select D.J. Hayden, CB from Houston.

The New York Jets are on the clock for the No. 13 pick

*Hayden, the top CB on Mike Mayock's board, had a near-death experience during practice in November. Would be a great story if he could turn out to have a career worthy of a 13th overall pick. Nearly dying from internal bleeding in his leg, it'll be tough to cheer against Hayden.

*Still certainly an interesting pick for the Raiders to pass over Floyd. And Geno Smith continues to drop in this first round too.

*Perhaps we'll see New York go for a top DT such as Floyd or Star Lotulelei. Or tight end Tyler Eifert? Our No. 13 pick (Tavon Austin) is already off the board, so they wont be getting a top play-maker at this position.
9:47pm: With the 13th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select Sheldon Richardson, DT from Missouri.

The Carolina Panthers are now on the clock for the No. 14 pick

*Better 2013 and beyond Darrelle Revis (TB) or Milliner/Richardson?

*Not the exciting pick that Jets fans were looking for, as we can tell from the reaction inside Radio City Music Hall, but he's a guy that could be very productive in this defense for the Jets. Just saw a clip of him running down the field, and he's incredibly athletic for his size, and can get to the QB from the defensive tackle position.

*As I've stated before, I'm not watching the ESPN broadcast. But I just saw someone tweet a hilarious quote from Jon Gruden (which he apparently said over on the ESPN broadcast):

"I think Geno has a lot of friends at ESPN. He's not even the best quarterback on my board."
Ouch. Roasted.

9:52pm: With the 14th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select Star Lotulelei, DT from Utah.

The New Orleans Saints are now on the clock for the No. 15 pick

*Lotulelei is finally off the board, the second consecutive D-tackle selected. He's a prototypical nose tackle and can close the pocket really quickly. In other words, he's a nightmare for opposing offenses. And he's versatile.

10:01pm: With the 15th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select Kenny Vaccaro, S from Texas.

The Buffalo Bills are now on the clock for the No. 16 pick

Classy. Markell Gregoire, a 13-year old from St. Jude's hospital in Louisiana, was up to announce his favorite team's pick of Vaccaro. Cool addition to the first round, and I'm sure it made that kid's day.

*Will the Bills go quarterback at 16? If not, then I don't think we'll see any QBs go in the first round.

10:06pm: With the 16th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select E.J. Manuel, QB from Florida State.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now on the clock with the No. 17 pick

*Exactly halfway through this first round. Whew. It's been a long 16 picks.

*Wow! Geno Smith is not the first QB off the board, and yes the Bills did go quarterback! I'm thinking Geno and Barkley have officially dropped out of the first round. I get the feeling that there aren't any more teams looking for a first round QB.

*This may be the biggest shock of the draft thus far. Agree? Disagree?

*Manuel's mother is battling cancer. Luckily she has been cancer-free for about four weeks now, he stated earlier. Good to hear.
10:13pm: With the 17th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Jarvis Jones, LB from Georgia.

The Dallas Cowboys are now on the clock with the No. 18 pick

*No surprise here. Jones is a relentless pass-rusher and the Steelers have been targeting Jones for what seems like months. It heated up once James Harrison left town.

*It's almost as if the other teams knew Jones was Pittsburgh's and purposefully laid off him so that he could head to the Steelers at No. 17. Solid pick. The only other dire need that could have been RB, but there isn't a running back that would make sense to go this early.

10:15pm: The Cowboys trade their No. 18 pick to the 49ers, with the pick the 49ers select Eric Reid, S from LSU

The Giants are now on the clock with the No. 19 pick

*Reid becomes second safety off the board as the Niners trade up to snatch him. Surprising to see the Cowboys not take Reid themselves, as that seems to be a need of theirs. Had Vaccaro been available, I believe the Cowboys would have made a move for him at this position.

10:21pm: With the 19th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select Justin Pugh, OT from Syracuse.

The Chicago Bears are on the clock with the No. 20 pick

*I honestly wasn't expecting to see Pugh come off the board in the first round, and could have seen the Giants going with a defensive player at linebacker or defensive back. But looking to provide Eli Manning with additional protection up front, New York made the decision to add a versatile offensive lineman. Pugh can play all over: right tackle, left tackle, right guard, left guard. Hell, he can probably even bring you the gatorade bottles if you ask him to.

*With the Bears now on the clock and long-time Chicago LB Brian Urlacher heading out of town, could we see Heisman finalist Manti Te'o come off the board at No. 20? It's certainly possible.
10:29pm: With the 20th pick in the NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select Kyle Long, OT from Oregon

The Cincinnati Bengals are now on the clock with the No. 21 pick

*Chicago decides not to take Te'o as Urlacher's replacement, and instead select Howie Long's son from Oregon to help keep Jay Cutler upright and on his feet.

*Top talent still available: Sharrif Floyd, Geno Smith, Bjoern Werner, Cordarrelle Patterson, Alec Ogletree, Manti Te'o, Matt Elam, Johnathan Hankins.

10:35pm: With the 21st pick in the NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select Tyler Eifert, TE from Notre Dame.

The Atlanta Falcons (trade from the Rams) are now on the clock with the No. 22 pick

*The 6'6" Eifert will make for a great target for the young, growing Andy Dalton in Cincinnati's offense. Defenses will be forced to keep tabs on both Eifert and fellow TE Jermaine Gresham over the middle. Could mean trouble.

10:41pm: With the 22nd pick in the 2013 NFL Draft (from the Rams in a trade), the Atlanta Falcons select Desmond Trufant, CB from Washington.

The Minnesota Vikings are now on the clock with the No. 23 pick

*Trufant, brother of former Seahawks CB Marcus Trufant, will team up with Mike Nolan in Atlanta. With a couple of brothers already playing in the league, you know he'll be a competitor. It's in his blood. He could end up turning into a Pro Bowl-caliber cover corner while in Atlanta.

*St. Louis will get Atlanta's No. 30 overall pick later in this round.

**"U S A!" chants can now be heard from the fans in attendance as commish gets up to the podium to honor members of the armed services and Wounded Warriors project. Goodell shakes the hands of each member, and thanks them for their service prior to announcing Minnesota's selection.
10:46pm: With the 23rd pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select Sharrif Floyd, DT from Florida.

The Indianapolis Colts are now on the clock with the No. 24 pick

Rather than going in the top 3-5, Floyd falls all the way down to No. 23 in Minnesota. Playing alongside Kevin Williams, Floyd will learn and grow under a great D-tackle for the Vikings.

*The downside to Floyd supposedly outweighed the good, therefore dropping him out of the top 20. He overcame a troubled childhood to get to this point in his life and career.

10:52pm: With the 24th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select Bjoern Werner, DE from Florida State.

The Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle in Harvin trade) are now on the clock with the No. 25 pick

*This is a steal. I thought he was going to go much sooner than 24, and he is an all-around solid pass-rusher. It will be tough to fill the shoes of All Pro Dwight Freeney, but his 13.0 sacks in 14 starts last year certainly looks good on paper.

*Werner could surprise a lot of people and have a great rookie campaign. Not sure it'll be quite Watt-like, but he's sure to make an immediate impact on the field.

10:56pm: With the 25th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select Xavier Rhodes, CB from Florida State.

The Green Bay Packers are now on the clock at No. 26

*No Manti Te'o here, which could leave the door open for him to fall into the hands of Baltimore at No. 32. Rhodes will fill the void that long-time Vikings CB Antoine Winfield left when he bolted to Seattle this off-season.
11:01pm: With the 26th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select Datone Jones, DE from UCLA.

The Houston Texans are now on the clock with the No. 27 pick

*Confusing pick here. Green Bay needs a running back and this would have been the perfect time to snag the first running back. Picking the physical, power runner in Lacy would have been the smart move, in my opinion. Went with the speedy pass-rusher from UCLA instead, though.

11:10pm: With the 27th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select DeAndre Hopkins, WR from Clemson

The Denver Broncos are now on the clock with the No. 28 pick

*Wow, look at that. We actually got a pick correct here. Smart move snatching up Hopkins. Michael Irvin has compared him to Roddy White. If he can prove that to be true, Johnson and Hopkins will make quite the tandem for Houston's offense this season.

11:18pm: With the 28th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select Sylvester Williams, DT from North Carlina

The New England Patriots are now on the clock with the No. 29 pick

*Williams will likely start up front right away, and could vastly improve the Broncos run D. Stopping the run is his biggest strength and he could be a guy that's on the field every play. Very athletic guy inside.

*Damontre Moore was another possibility for Denver, to replace Elvis Dumervil who split for Baltimore this off-season. But picking Sly Williams over Moore was the right choice here for John Elway's Broncos.
11:31pm: The New England Patriots traded the 29th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft to the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings select Cordarrelle Patterson, WR from Tennessee.

The St. Louis Rams (in a trade from Atlanta) are now on the clock with the No. 30 pick

*In the trade the Patriots picked up Minnesota's 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 7th round picks. Quite the trade just went down in NYC. The Pats trade out of the first round, but pick up three additional picks. This was a complete Bill Belichick thing to do, and you know he'll get value out of each of these picks. It's just what he does.

*At first reaction, you'd think the Vikings would have been going after Manti Te'o at 29, but with two picks (Sharrif Floyd and Xavier Rhodes) earlier in this round both going to the defense, that's not likely. Wide receiver was the smart choice, as they lost Percy Harvin via trade with Seattle and Ponder/Cassel need help in the passing game. Patterson was the best choice here, clearly.

*Boston Marathon victims and first responders being honored just prior to Goodell announcing Minnesota's pick. Since it was supposed to be New England's pick, Joe Andruzzi came out to speak on behalf of the people of Boston.

11:38pm: With the 30th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams select Alec Ogletree, LB from Georgia

The Dallas Cowboys (trade with San Francisco) are now on the clock with the No. 31 pick

*Ogletree slid out of the 20s and into St. Louis' lap due to off-field issues. But I'd say he's worth the risk and St. Louis' second 1st round pick should turn in a pretty decent career as long as he stays out of trouble.

*Along with Minnesota and their three 1st round picks, St. Louis got some great value with their multiple first rounders. Ogletree and the biggest play-maker in the draft, Tavon Austin.

11:43pm: With the 31st pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select Travis Frederick, C from Wisconsin.

The Baltimore Ravens are now on the clock with the No. 32 pick

*Wow. I wasn't even expecting Frederick to come off the board in the second round. Seems to me like a reach for Jerry Jones. The only pick of the round for Dallas, and they probably should have snagged safety Matt Elam from Florida.

11:45pm: With the 32nd and final pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select Matt Elam, S from Florida.

*No inside linebacker for the Ravens, as they leave Te'o on the board and did not find a replacement for legendary Ray Lewis in the first round of this year's draft.


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And that's a wrap! The first round is officially in the books over three and a half hours after it began. Rough night, especially if you're a running back or if you're name is Geno Smith.

Before we call it a night, we have just a few notes to wrap up the first night:

*Minnesota is showing they are ready to compete in 2013. By dishing out the monster headache that is Percy Harvin and collecting a few draft picks, the Vikings end up taking three guys in the first round: DT Sharrif Floyd (the steal of the night at No. 23), CB Xavier Rhodes and WR Cordarrelle Patterson.
*Three offensive tackles went in the first four picks; four offensive linemen in first seven picks; five OL in top 10.
*Zero running backs were taken in the first round, and only one QB (E.J. Manuel to Bills at No. 16).
*Most shocking selection/biggest reach: C Travis Frederick (Dallas at No. 31)
*Biggest falls: Geno Smith out of 1st round, Sharrif Floyd to No. 23, Bjoern Werner to No. 24.
*Best talent left out of first round: Geno Smith, Ryan Nassib, Eddie Lacy, Justin Hunter, Keenan Allen, Damontre Moore, Jessee Williams, Alex Okafor, Manti Te'o, Arthur Brown, Kevin Minter, Johnthan Banks and John Cyprien.

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