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Volume 14, Issue #3, May 1st

Hi Folks,

Good Thursday to you. NBA and NHL playoffs are in full swing but we've got the NFL news and notes you need. Let's get to it.

J

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D. DL Tiers
Our Jene Bramel takes an early look at defensive line tiers.

E. Combined Offense / IDP Rookie Draft Board
Our Jene Bramel with his first cut look at the Offensive and IDP Rookie Draft Board.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. PIT - See Le'Veon Bell as every-down player
2. WAS - Robert Griffin III talks injury
3. NYJ - Money will not influence QB Mark Sanchez decision
4. JAX - Cecil Shorts III talks Justin Blackmon
5. NYJ - Do not feel pressure to start Geno Smith
6. NYJ - Rex Ryan feels QB Mark Sanchez will step up
7. CHI - QB Jay Cutler pleased with OL additions
8. PIT - Isaac Redman could have edge in No. 2 RB job
9. PIT - WR Emmanuel Sanders explains offensive struggles
10. CHI - Jordan Mills projected at RT
11. CAR - Considered drafting Tyler Eifert
12. NFL - Bryant McKinnie talking with two teams
13. DET - Top draft picks to be on the field quickly
14. MIA - Acquiring Branden Albert still an option
15. BUF - Expected to rotate QBs during workouts
16. NYJ - WR Braylon Edwards could return
17. TB - William Gholston could have impact
18. CHI - Cornelius Washington to be pass rusher

PIT - See Le'Veon Bell as every-down player

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Ed Bouchette

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said the team sees RB Le'Veon Bell as a three-down running back. Haley said Bell was the top running back on the team's draft board.

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Bell is a three down player. He's a good receiver out of the backfield even though he measures in at 6'2" 230 pounds. Bell has the athleticism to line up in the slot if Haley really wants to get creative. We like his footwork and agility in the open field. Bell is an impressive runner in space but needs to show more instant power if the hole isn't there.

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WAS - Robert Griffin III talks injury

Source: ProFootballTalk.com

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III said he would sit in the future until he was fully healthy if he got hurt again. "I don't feel like playing against the Seahawks was a mistake. But I see the mistake IN IT," Griffin said. "With what happened and how everything was running you take me out. If that happened again next year, I'd come out of the game and sit until I was 100% healthy."

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Griffin plays with little regard for his personal safety. He's an exciting playmaker but does take too many unnecessary hits. We should see him play it a bit safer this year and he could start sliding more to avoid injury.

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NYJ - Money will not influence QB Mark Sanchez decision

Source: ESPNNewYork.com - Rich Cimini

New York Jets general manager John Idzik said QB Mark Sanchez's $8.25 million salary will not be a factor when the team decides whether QB Mark Sanchez will be on the team this season.

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If money won't factor into their decision then that is bad news for Sanchez. He needs to play with more consistency if he wants to beat out rookie Geno Smith for the starting job.

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JAX - Cecil Shorts III talks Justin Blackmon

Source: SIRIUS NFL Radio

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts III said WR Justin Blackmon will be missed and that teammates will need to support him. "We are going to miss Justin Blackmon to start the season...guys will need to step up and we support him," Shorts said.

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Shorts emerged as a leader on the field last year finishing the season with 55 receptions, 979 yards, and 7 TDs. Those numbers made him the 22nd best WR in fantasy football last year. This season the team will rely on him even more as Blackmon will miss the first four games of the year.

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NYJ - Do not feel pressure to start Geno Smith

Source: ESPNNewYork.com - Rich Cimini

New York Jets general manager John Idzik said the team does not feel any pressure to start QB Geno Smith this season even though they used an early-round draft choice in him.

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The Jets will do what is best for the team. That's likely going to be starting Smith over Mark Sanchez. The two will compete for the starting job in training camp but Smith is intellectually superior and more athletic than Sanchez.

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NYJ - Rex Ryan feels QB Mark Sanchez will step up

Source: The Star-Ledger - Conor Orr

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday, April 30, in a radio interview that there is no guarantee QB Mark Sanchez or QB Geno Smith will be the team's starting quarterback next season, but he did say the public would see the best Sanchez they've ever seen. General manager John Idzik also concurred that Sanchez will be invigorated by the newness inside the team's headquarters. 'There is no guarantee that Mark will be our starter, there's no question,' Ryan said. 'That job's going to have to be earned.'

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This is going to be painted as a competition in training camp. We wouldn't be surprised to see Smith win the job outright. Smith is brimming with confidence and is motivated further by his draft day slide.

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CHI - QB Jay Cutler pleased with OL additions

Source: ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler is happy to see the team's management made protecting their quarterback a priority after adding to the offensive line through free agency and with two draft picks. The team added OT Jermon Bushrod and OG Matt Slauson via free agency, and then picked OG Kyle Long with the 20th overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft before selecting OT Jordan Mills in the fifth round. '(The coaching staff is) going to make sure everyone knows their assignments and we are protected,' Cutler said in a radio interview.

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Cutler should be pleased with these additions as he should see less pressure in 2013. New head coach Marc Trestman is known as an offensive genius and should be able to craft a high powered offense around Cutler. He's entering a contract season and could have a big year if he takes to the new system. He was the 23rd best fantasy QB last year and should improve on that ranking in 2013.

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PIT - Isaac Redman could have edge in No. 2 RB job

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Ed Bouchette

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Isaac Redman appears to have an edge over RB Jonathan Dwyer for the No. 2 running back job at this point.

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Redman is a favorite of the coaching staff and can be relied on as veteran depth. The team should start rookie Le'Veon Bell at the running back position. Bell is seen as a full time back so Redman is unlikely to produce much for fantasy owners.

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PIT - WR Emmanuel Sanders explains offensive struggles

Source: ESPN.com - Jamison Hensley

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders said the team was not on the same page offensively, and that it was obvious, even though it was was not because of the running game. 'I like Jonathan Dwyer. We had a new offensive coordinator. At times, we weren't on the same page. And that's obvious,' Sanders said.

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Hopefully year two in the Todd Haley system will be better. It will help the entire offense if they can run between the tackles with greater effectiveness. Last year they averaged 3.5 YPC between the tackles, a full yard lower than their average in 2011.

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CHI - Jordan Mills projected at RT

Source: ESPNChicago.com - Jeff Dickerson

Updating a previous report, Chicago Bears OT Jordan Mills is projected to begin his career at right tackle, but could end up at guard, a position he played his first season in college at Louisiana Tech. Mills figures to be in excellent shape to earn a place on the club's 53-man roster.

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Mills is position versatile and gives the Bears options on gameday when only seven offensive linemen dress on average. He could compete for the starting right tackle position if J'Marcus Webb struggles.

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CAR - Considered drafting Tyler Eifert

Source: Charlotte Observer - Joseph Person

Carolina Panthers general manager David Gettleman said the team considered taking Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft before deciding to select DT Star Lotulelei.

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It's no surprise the team would have interest in Eifert. He's the best TE in this draft class and is an effective blocker in addition to being a strong receiver. The Panthers had to be elated that Lotulelei fell to them at the 14th overall pick. Most considered him a top 10 pick in the 2013 NFL draft.

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NFL - Bryant McKinnie talking with two teams

Source: The Baltimore Sun - Aaron Wilson

Free-agent OT Bryant McKinnie (Ravens) is talking with the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers about a possible contract. The Baltimore Ravens are still options to re-sign McKinnie.

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It looked like McKinnie was close with the Chargers earlier today, but no contract offer is immenent. Both teams could use him at left tackle, but San Diego has the bigger need. If need be, the Dolphins can move second-year OT Jonathan Martin over from right tackle.

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DET - Top draft picks to be on the field quickly

Source: MLive.com - Anwar Richardson

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said he expects the teams high draft picks to be on the field quickly because of the needs of the team. 'That's a fair statement, but it's also fair to say we had more holes coming into it, or more holes that we knew about, coming into this draft than we did last year,' Mayhew said. 'We do expect a lot of those guys, especially guys that we took early, to be on the field pretty quickly.'

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It's a good plan for the Lions. We'll see their first-round pick 'Ziggy' Ansah as the replacement for Kyle Vanden Bosch. Darius Slay is a tall, physical corner and the second-round pick will compete with Bill Bentley for the starting job. Larry Warford is a mountain of a man and the third-round pick will replace Stephen Peterman who was picked up by the Jets in free agency.

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MIA - Acquiring Branden Albert still an option

Source: The Palm Beach Post - Ben Volin

The Miami Dolphins are still open to the possibility of trading for Kansas City Chiefs OT Branden Albert. The team likely would have to trade a 2014 second-round draft choice if they did acquire Albert.

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The Chiefs seem to be standing firm on a second-round pick. We'll see if the two sides can make something work in the near future. A lot of it will depend on their confidence in second-year OT Jonathan Martin to play left tackle. They could also sign a free agent like Bryant McKinnie (Ravens) to start at left tackle if they need to.

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BUF - Expected to rotate QBs during workouts

Source: BuffaloBills.com - Chris Brown

Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone indicated QBs EJ Manuel, Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson will split reps with the first-team offense once offseason workouts begin.

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We'd be shocked if Manuel doesn't win the starting job outright in camp. He's more athletic and has a stronger arm than Kolb does. Manuel will be able to run the Marrone because of his natural skill set. He'll only have to get used to the speed of the game and start making quicker reads as a passer.

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NYJ - WR Braylon Edwards could return

Source: ESPNNewYork.com - Rich Cimini

New York Jets general manager John Idzik said the team could re-sign free-agent WR Braylon Edwards.

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Most people thought the Jets would add WR talent to their roster in the 2013 NFL draft. Even with this strong class of WRs they chose to ignore the position. That oversight could lead them to reuniting with Edwards even though it looked like he wasn't part of their future earlier this year. Edwards has great chemistry with QB Mark Sanchez but has struggled to produce over the last two years.

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TB - William Gholston could have impact

Source: Tampa Bay Times - Stephen Holder

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE William Gholston is expected to be part of a rotation at defensive end and could have an impact as a pass rusher.

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Gholston has good agility for a player his size. He can avoid blocks off the edge and has the length to get to the QB faster than some realize. Gholston also has a good punch and disengages from blockers quickly. He's a high motor player who should become a coaches favorite in Tampa.

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CHI - Cornelius Washington to be pass rusher

Source: ESPNChicago.com - Jeff Dickerson

Updating a previous report, Chicago Bears DL Cornelius Washington primarily played outside linebacker in college, but he will start out as a pass-rushing defensive end in the NFL. Many draft analysts predicted Washington would go earlier than the sixth round because of his pure athleticism, a trait the Bears value above others.

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Washington is more of an athlete than he is a pass rusher right now. He's got good upside but needs to play with more stamina and use more moves than just speed to get after the QB.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being a part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the update.

Peace,

J