The NFL Draft is in exactly 4 weeks but there is no shortage of questions to be answered. With that being said, 4 Home Field Advantage will answer 4 burning draft questions, each week, from the fans. Just tag you question with #4HFADraft and maybe you can make next week’s post.
The Falcons are looking for an impact player at their pivotal Leo position. The Leo position, in Dan Quinn’s defense, must win one-on-one matchups in the run and passing game. Physically speaking, Vic Beasley is a perfect fit for the Atlanta Falcons. He has an explosive first step and he knows how to convert raw speed to raw power. This is what Dan Quinn wants from his players; fast and physical. However, from a scheme standpoint, Beasley does not always win his matchups in run defense. Therefore, there are better choices for the Falcons. The actual perfect fit for the Falcons is Dante Fowler Jr. Fowler Jr. is not only fast and physical, but he also has college experience setting the edge in run defense. Fowler also has shown the versatility to play linebacker, defensive tackle, and defensive end. Such versatility can have a similar impact like that of DE Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks.
The last time the Atlanta Falcons traded back into the 1st round, they selected LT Sam Baker (cries on the inside). That trade cost the Falcons two 2nd round picks and a 4th round pick in the same draft. The Falcons cannot afford to lose such valuable picks; even with the NFL’s penalty for pumping fake crowd noise into the Georgia Dome being enforced in 2016. Besides, this NFL Draft is deep at the edge rusher, running back, and linebacker positions. All of such are positions of need for Atlanta.
The Miami Dolphins passing offense produced a nice passer rating for 2014 (92.5). However, that same passing offense racked up a mediocre 6.8 yards per passing attempt. Kenny Stills was brought in to help improve that number but I’m not sure that he is the long term answer. I think a playmaking running back or another speedy wide receiver should be on the list of needs for the Dolphins.
The only type of trade that would garner “splash” level notoriety would be one for a top level quarterback like Drew Brees or Philip Rivers. I think that the Saints and Chargers, respectively, would be open to trading their franchise signal callers but I am unsure if the Rams are willing to pay the price of SEVERAL 1st round picks. My guess is that the Rams stay put and draft the best player available to stay competitive in the NFC West.
This is a breakdown of our 5 best receiving cores in the league right now. It’s based on Chemistry, Effectiveness, and stats. These 5 receiving cores are:
1. Denver Broncos
WR’s: Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders TE: Julius Thomas
This Receiving Corps may be the best one Manning has had since he’s been in Denver and with a superstar receiver in Demaryius Thomas it has given Peyton his best target since Reggie Wayne. The emergence of Emmanuel Sanders has helped ease the loss of Wes Welker and thus this offense hasn’t skipped a beat.
2. Indianapolis Colts
WR’s: Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Hakeem Nicks TE: Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen
2014 may Andrew Luck’s best year yet, and with TY Hilton getting better as Andrew grows as a QB and time goes on this will be a tandem to watch. The addition of Hakeem Nicks will enable Hilton to work his magic on intermediate or deep routes, while Reggie Wayne has found his comfort zone after a devastating ACL injury which caused him to miss 9 games last season. The tight end duo of Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener has made this offense around Luck even more lethal. Overall this receiving core may be the reason to pick Indy as a dark horse to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 49
3. Chicago Bears
WR’s: Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffry, Marquess Wilson TE: Martellous Bennett
Chicago’s Receivers may be number 1 on this list if Jay Cutler was more consistent and not so streaky and inconsistent in 2014. Marshall and Jeffry’s Deep threat and red zone ability alone is scary for defenses. Marquess Wilson the 6’4 receiver is in his second year and adds more height and danger towards opposing defenses, While Martellous Bennett stretches the middle of the field.
4. Atlanta Falcons
WR’s: Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas TE: Levine Toilolo
The injury bug hit this team harder than a Tsunami at Niagara falls and thus mainly has led to a disappointing 2014 season. Jones was on a record breaking pace before breaking his foot last season, but has still remained Matt Ryan’s go-to-guy. Roddy nagging injuries caused him to have a below average season. Harry Douglas had a career year in 2013 becoming Matt Ryan’s only reliable target during the absences of White and Jones, He stepped up and at times showed talent that Atlanta knew he had when they drafted him in 2008, but his 2014 has been marred by injuries . Second year tight end Levine Toilolo has big shoes to fill after the retirement of the great Tony Gonzalez, but has worked out as planned his targets are few and far in between.
5. Washington Redskins
WR’s: DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts TE: Jordan Reed
Robert Griffin has missed a good portion of the season with a broken ankle, but Cousins and McCoy have found ways to get these weapons they have the football. Garcon may still be the go-to-guy but Jackson is still getting his targets down the field, Andre Roberts has been their check down receiver in the slot. Jordan Reed’s ability to get down the field and get open may puzzle defenses, and may get him more catches down the stretch.
These are the Top 5 pass rushers in the NFL with 5 years or less experience. These young guys know how to get to the QB with speed, strength, power and sheer will. This top 5 consists of:
1. J.J. Watt DE/ Houston Texans – This mammoth 6’5 beast has all the characteristics you look for in a pass rusher. He has size, power, agility, and great vision up the field. Watt has recorded 37.5 sacks in his first 3 seasons in the league and he’s just getting started. So stick around and see what this guy has up his sleeve.
2. Aldon Smith OLB/ San Francisco 49ers – Smith may have the best god given ability out of this group. However, with all of the off the field distractions, he may not reach his full potential in this league. His 42 sacks were among the top 3 in the league since he was drafted in 2011. If his character issues take a back seat to his talent then WATCH OUT!
3. Von Miller OLB/ Denver Broncos – Von Miller has silenced all of his critics that said he was drafted too high in the 2011 draft. His monstrous 2012 season (18.5 sacks) put him officially on the map as one of the best pass rushers in the league. His injuries and suspensions has set him back the last 2 seasons but Miller is on the road to redemption in 2014.
4. Robert Quinn DE/St. Louis Rams- Quinn is one of the more underrated pass rushers in the league. He is part of one of the most talented defensive lines in the NFL along with Chris Long and Michael Brockers. Quinn's sack total may be through the roof before his career is said and done.
5. Ndamukong Suh DT/ Detroit Lions- This guy is one of the most feared and hated players in the league today. Since making a splash his rookie season by winning rookie of the year and making the pro bowl, Suh continues to punish QB’s and opposing linemen. His playing style is unmatched and at times a little rough, but his work ethic may earn him a trip to Canton.
(Article by Antwon “Smitty” Smith of 4 Home Field Advantage)