Sunday, July 19, 2009

Top 10 Building Blocks/Cornerstones- NFC North

If I was to draft 10 players from the NFC North to serve as my core of a Superbowl contender for the next 3-4 seasons, the players I would draft and the priority I place on them are:

10. Brian Urlacher, LB, Chicago Bears- I'm aware that Urlacher is getting up there, and that he has declined a bit but he is still a good LB. He has always made all the difference in the world to the LBs playing with him, and is a great leader. He is also an asset in coverage. He should be good for the next three to four seasons. And if not, he still has some value in the "mentor" role.

9. Steve Hutchinson, G, Minnesota Vikings- Even though he is 34 years old, Hutch is still one of the best run blocking linemen in the business. That being said, I'm putting him on the list more for the influence he'll have on the rest of my linemen, than his actual caliber. Along with being great in run blocking, Hutchinson also brings a significant mean streak to his craft. Hutchinson has also made quite an impact on the RBs he has played with, most recently been Adrian Peterson. Just think, Shaun Alexander with Hutchinson was an MVP. Without him, witness protection? Where has he been anyway?

8. Greg Olsen, TE, Chicago Bears- Olsen will never be confused for an extra offensive lineman, but the size and skills he brings to the position aren't matched by many. He can split out if you need be, and is a guy that has to be accounted for at all times. With a new QB, and the QB of my fictitious team, Jay Cutler now leading the huddle, Olsen should see a rise in his numbers as more balls will come his way.

7. Aaron Kampman, DE, Green Bay Packers- Kampman is a very good pass rusher, which is shown with his 37.5 sacks over the last three years. It will be interesting to see the transition he ends up making this season since he will be playing in a 3-4 defense for the first time in his NFL career. Pass rushers come at a premium and Kampman is one of the better ones in the league.

6. Kevin Williams, DT, Minnesota Vikings- There might not be a better OVERALL defensive tackle in football than Mr. Williams. Not only is Williams one of the two main anchors on a consistenty great run defense, he has put up 16.5 sacks in the last 3 seasons, along with 16 pass deflections and 2 INTs. He can do a little bit of everything and he will be the anchor of the run defense.

5. Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers- I mentioned him in another entry as the most underrated player in the NFL. He has explosive speed, good hands, is tough as nails, and is great with the ball in his hands. He's a cost controlled, young stud WR, who reaches the endzone a lot. He will be one of the best complimentary players in the game on my squad.

4. Adrian Peterson, HB, Minnesota Vikings- Now, before I go on, let me just make it clear that Adrian Peterson is the best player on this list and that point probably isn't debatable. That being said, he is a running back and the career spans for those guys are fairly short ,and I don't think having a great RB is really a necessary component of a championship team. Peterson is definitely the best RB in the league though, and one of the most explosive players in the entire NFL.

3. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions- I don't know what is more scary: how good this guy already is on the worst team in NFL history, or how good the guy CAN be given he just completed his second season in the league. Johnson is arguably the best WR prospect ever, and put up a monster season this past season. In my opinion, he is the best WR in the league, and he is all of 23 years old. His potential is scary.

2. Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings- I flip flopped one and two for awhile before finally coming to a conclusion. I don't think people really see and appreciate just how good this guy is. 30 sacks in his last two seasons and 57.5 sacks in the last 5, show that this guy is one of the very best pass rushers in the business. The only thing that I value as much as good QB play, is a good pass rush, and who better than Mr. Allen? Not many.

1. Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears- Cutler is currently one of the more polarizing figures in the NFL right now based on his tantalizing talent, the people who realize that talent and the production that comes with it, along with the people who criticize him for the way he orchestrated his way out of Denver or because he hasn't had the ability to single handedly bring garbage teams to the promised land like so many other QBs in the NFL do (that is sarcastic). Consider me in the "fan" boat, as I love the guy and the way he plays. His arm is among the best in football and he came off a season where he threw for 4500 yds and 25 TDs. He was the focal point of the Broncos offense and yet still succeeded with the pressure of having to score on damn near every possession. Cutler is still learning but has already established himself as one of the top young signal callers in the game. He has the physical tools, and his pocket presence is very good. A young franchise caliber QB with a rifle arm, accuracy and top notch production to go with it trumps all.

Guys who garnered consideration:

Ernie Sims, LB, Detroit Lions
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Chad Greenway, LB, Minnesota Vikings
Lance Briggs, LB, Chicago Bears
Matt Forte, HB, Chicago Bears
Charles Woodson, CB, Green Bay Packers

Antoine Winfield, CB, Minnesota Vikings

Nick Collins, S, Green Bay Packers

Olin Kreutz, C, Chicago Bears

Nick Barnett, LB, Green Bay Packers

AJ Hawk, LB, Green Bay Packers
Robbie Gould, K, Chicago Bears

No comments: