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Friday, April 27, 2012

early thoughts, at 40

Best players left, though not necessarily in order:

*Courtney Upshaw, OLB/DE
*Cordy Glenn, G/T
*Colby Fleenor, TE
*Peter Konz, C
*Devon Still, DT
*Casey Hayward, CB
*Stephen Hill, WR
*Jared Crick, DE/DT
*Josh Norman, CB
*Josh Robinson, CB
*Jannoris Jenkins, CB
*Alfonso Dennard, CB

You can pull Konz off the board for lack of need.  Hill is the last WR that could realistically help right now, and they have young WR.

It's hard to argue for Upshaw, with a linebacker on board already, but he does still have that 3-4 or 4-3 skill set I like.  He would still add rush, and without duplicating Greg Hardy as specifically. But, the 3-4 looks probably shouldn't take another LB off the field already.

Glenn, a massive lineman, makes sense in our zone scheme - and he can play RT if you really, really need. But, here, he's probably a guard.  At that, he's a massive size upgrade over anything Carolina has, and the NFC South (and NFC in general) doesn't have a ton of size at DT.  His athleticism issues shouldn't be an issue at guard, but still, ideally he'd be smaller.

Still is a prototype DT, though ideally you'd want someone just a little more athletic.  Still, the skill set is all there.  The team has said they want to stand pat at DT, but it's a nice combo to add DT ability in front of a LB.  Fits in any spot we could use - 1 or 3 technique 4-3, 1 or 5 tech 3-4.

I like Crick because he gives you what Rivera's discussed (about kickers, sure, but still) a two-for-one.  Still is a 280 lb DE who would play outside on run downs, spelling Greg Hardy for about 300 plays there, and giving you about 300 more inside as a rusher.   He has natural 5-technique ability and would fit in just fine in the 3-4 as well.

Fleenor is interesting, as a very talented 'move' TE.  He's the most able TE in the draft.  But, with Jeremy Shockey, Olson most often played the move guy, and Shockey was the more typical inline TE.  It's hard to say how they'll interplay Olson with Gary Barnidge (who's always been too tall to block well consistently) and Ben Hartsock (who can only block), or whether they'd want/need another guy, but Fleenor - while he fits this O - is extra since Olson isn't suddenly going to become the line TE.  Orson Charles of Georgia is similar in that regard , he's going to help your passing game, but he's not going to become your blocker.

I separated out Dennard and Jenkins because they're first round talents at CB with issues off the field.  They're not less talented than the guys that have gone off the board already.  I can understand if the team has pulled either off their list entirely.
That probably has happened, so I'll mention my favorite CB is Josh Norman of Coastal Carolina, the most seasoned is Brandon Boykin of Georgia, the smartest is Casey Hayward of Vandy, and Central Florida's Josh Robinson is the best all-around CB outside of the trouble I already listed.  I'd be happy with any of the five at this spot, and corner is by far the biggest current need.

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