Friday, July 24, 2009

Top 10 Building Blocks/Cornerstones- NFC South

If I was to draft 10 players from the NFC South 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. DeAngelo Williams- I thought coming out of the draft that Williams would be the best halfback of the 2006 class, and so far he has been up there with Maurice Jones Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars production wise. He is coming off a career year where he ran for 18 TDs, and 1,515 yards. I don't expect him to replicate those numbers again, but he will be solid along with Turner in support of Brees

9. Gaines Adams, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Adams, is a young, gifted DE who showed a penchant for getting to the QB in his rookie season with an impressive 6.5 sacks. He has all the tools and while we have two other stud DEs on the team, you know the saying, 'You can never have too many pass rushers'

8. John Abraham, DE, Atlanta Falcons- As much as I don't particularly like this fellow, going back to the Jets days, his impact cannot be understated. While he isn't exactly the most stout player against the run, he makes up for it with deadly pass rushing moves that makes Sundays difficult for a lot of tackles in the NFL. While his injury history, and his limited threshold for pain is definitely a concern, it's hard to overlook his production and pure ability. He is coming off a season where he put together 16.5 sacks, and has 50 in his last 5 seasons. The bottom line is, this guy can get after the QB, and guys who can do that are extremely valuable commodities.

7. Jon Beason, MLB, Carolina Panthers- The University of Miami aka 'The U', is just a factory that produces very good NFL players. Beason is just one of the many to come from Miami. He burst onto the scene in 2007 as a rookie, and has started every game since. He has put together 278 tackles, 14 deflections and four interceptions. He's a young, fast, athletically gifted LB who has a bright future, and will be the captain of the defense for many years to come.

6. Jordan Gross, T, Carolina Panthers- I need a guy to protect my superstar, shiny QB, and Gross is widely considered one of the best tackles in the game. He should keep the star pass rushers in check a bit.

5. Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans- Colston is one of the best late round gems in the 2006 draft (Good job to the Jets missing out on a guy that played in your backyard). In three seasons, Colston has put up 3,000 yards and 24 TDs, and that is with missed time last season. He's the big possession target that is often important in an offense and with his 215 catches during his first three seasons he has proven his hands to be more than reliable. He has a chemistry with our QB, and is a 26 year old with a bright future

4. Michael Turner, HB, Atlanta Falcons- I'll be honest, I thought Turner would be LaMont Jordan Part II in Atlanta. To this point I couldn't have possibly been more wrong. Turner was the heart and soul of that offense last season, as Atlanta shocked everyone in posting an 11-5 record, making the postseason. Turner is a great north and south runner who has enough speed to separate in the open field and is an absolute terror to bring down. The Falcons have built a nice offensive nucleus for this upcoming season with Ryan, Turner, White and newcomer Tony Gonzalez. Expect Turner to have even more space with which to work this season.

3. Julius Peppers, DE, Carolina Panthers.- Yes, I already have two defensive ends but you can never have too many pass rushers. While Peppers had a very shaky 2007 season, he rebounded last season with 14.5 sacks, reestablishing himself as one of the premiere pass rushers in the NFL. Supreme physical ability, great pass rushing moves, and incredible closing speed make Peppers a nightmare for offenses all around the NFL. 70 sacks in seven seasons and still chugging. Peppers will be the anchor of my defensive line for the next 3-4 seasons, and I expect him to play at a high enough level to make that a smart choice.

2.Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers- He is arguably the best player in the division, and clearly the division's most explosive player. At a diminutive 5'9, Smith offers incredible strength, breakaway speed, and good route running. Overall he has a good polish to his game, and has been very productive for a long time despite the not so ideal QB situation in Carolina. Smith and Brees will make my offense a force.

1. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints- What more can be said about this guy at this point? At this point, the guy IS the New Orleans Saints offense, yet goes out there and throws for 5000 yards. He has been the most productive QB in the league statistically since he signed in New Orleans, and has done so without much of a supporting cast. He hasn't had much at WR outside of Marques Colston and he has had nothing at RB to take pressure off him. He goes out there every Sunday with a Bulls eye on his chest and produces. I want that guy leading my football team, though I think he has some questions to answer as far as performance in big situations goes.

Others who garnered serious consideration:

Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Aqib Talib, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tony Gonzalez, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Jonathan Vilma, MLB, New Orleans Saints
Barrett Ruud, MLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Antonio Bryant, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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