5 Questions From The NFL Draft
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(*WRITERS NOTE*) It is with a heavy heart that I recognize the passing of 12-time Pro Bowler Junior Seau 1969-2012 R.I.P.
Now that the dust has settled on the 2012 NFL Draft, let’s try to answer the 5 most important questions surrounding this years new talent.
1. How dangerous will the Carolina Panthers be? After last years coming out party for Cam Newton and the rejuvenation of Steve Smith, the fans in Charlotte are looking for the defense to step up in 2012. The Panthers defense were ranked 24th and 25th last year in passing and rushing. Look for those numbers to improve with Thomas Davis and Jon Beason returning from injuries to join James Anderson and the #9 overall selection Luke Kuechly, all who will form a formidable linebacking core. On special teams Carolina selected Joe Adams in the 4th round from Arkansas. The former Razorback will easily improve on the teams 5.5 yard per punt return average and give some excitement to the return game with Kealoha Pilares. Another player returning from injury is David Gettis. The young receiver missed the entire 2011 season after catching 37 balls in his rookie year from a revolving door at the quarterback position. I think Gettis will not only continue to improve and impress but he will easily be the #2 option next to Steve Smith. Cam Newton is said to be more mature going into this season, which can only mean good things for the Carolina Panthers. I think this crew will surprise a lot of teams and make the playoffs with a 9-7 record or better.
2. Does Kirk Cousins deserve a spot in Washington? Of course he does. Even though the Redskins traded up and drafted a franchise quarterback in Robert Griffin III, they can always have a good back up quarterback. I like Kirk Cousins, I think he will make a decent pro QB and having an arm like his backing up RGIII is a great idea. Plus what if RGIII is a bust, who are you going to fall back on, John Beck? I think Washington did a great job picking these two young quarterbacks and getting rid of Beck.
3. Is there anyone happier than Jay Cutler? The answer is no. The Chicago Bears not only landed Brandon Marshall but also moved up 5 spots in the 2nd round to select University of South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery. The Gamecocks star receiver (6-foot-3, 216 pounds) gives the Bears a big, athletic target for Cutler who has struggled since coming to Chicago. Jeffery only caught 49 balls for 762 yards and eight touchdowns last season while South Carolina had quarterback struggles. Jay will now have two standout receivers to make some big plays at Soldier Field.
4. Will the Eagles finally live up to the ‘Dream Team’ hype from last year? Obviously the Philadelphia team that went 8-8 last season can do better with this much talent with a good draft. However I will say no. Until they prove they can all produce and coexist on the field together they will land at the bottom of the NFC East behind the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants and the improved Washington Redskins (we won’t count the Cowboys because, well, they’re the Cowboys).
5. Can anyone in the AFC win the Super Bowl? After being outscored 83-59 in the last three Super Bowls (going 0-3), the AFC looks to bounce back with a big win. The Indianapolis Colts stand to make the most improvement on their 2-14 record last year, but even Andrew Luck and fellow Stanford draftee Coby Fleener can’t help the Colts return to the big game. New England Patriots have a great chance to play in their 6th Super Bowl in 12 years after solidifying their defense that failed them in Super Bowl XLVI with Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower. The Pittsburgh Steelers also addressed a lot of needs and are always a Super Bowl threat, while the Baltimore Ravens and their aging defense, didn’t even have a 1st round pick. I say the NFC makes it four-in-a-row.
5(b): What the hell was Jacksonville thinking? They took a punter in the 3rd round. Why would you take a punter at all? I don’t care how good he is, you just don’t pick a punter. Is Blaine Gabbert that bad of a QB?
On a side note: Congratulations to the six players from South Carolina that were drafted this past week, tying them for the third most players drafted from a school this year. They are: Stephon Gilmore (1st round), Melvin Ingram (1st round), Alshon Jeffery (2nd round), Rokevious Watkins (5th round), Antonio Allen (7th round), & Travian Robertson (7th round).
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