Now that the draft is over, and with free agency in doubt, this seems like a good time to make an early projection as to what the team may look like come September. I am going to presume the team will resign some of their free agents, otherwise the team looks like a strong contender for the UFL. Not taking into account any UDFAs or other FAs that may be signed.
Quarterback: Grossman, Beck
Running back: Torain, Helu, K.Williams, Royster(3rd down back)
Fullback: Sellers, D.Young
Tight End: Cooley, F.Davis, Paulsen
LTackle: T.Williams, Capers
LGuard: Lichtensteiger, E.Cook
Center: Rabach, Lichtensteiger
RGuard: Montgomery, E.Cook
RTackle: J.Brown, Heyer
Split End: Hankerson, N.Paul(possesion-redzone)
Flanker: Armstrong, T.Austin
Slot: S.Moss, A.Robinson
Opinion: Really don't like the middle of that line, hope that J.Brown returns to prominence. Licht and Montgomery must show improvement. Can't expect much from Rabach at this stage, just don't fall off the cliff. Grossman is a turnover machine, but he is a rhythm passer who could have a decent season. Besides, he's tough enough to take the pounding that looks inevitable. My recommendation to Kyle is to send Moss or Robinson deep every play, Rex has a great long ball, and loves to air it out. Offense has potential.
I give the offense a D : poor line, questionable quarterbacking.
LDE: Carricker, R.Jackson
NT: A.Bryant, Neild
RDE: Jenkins, Holliday, Jarmon
LOLB: Kerrigan, L.Alexander
LILB: Fletcher, Blades
RILB: Henson, Riley
ROLB: Orakpo, Wilson
CB: D.Hall, Buchanon(nickel), Thompson
CB: Rogers, Barnes
SS: Landry, Doughty, Gomes
FS: Atogwe, Moore
Opinion: The draft and Atogwe really solidified some glaring weaknesses, and this unit looks pretty strong. Decent depth with plenty of playmakers. Nose tackle will need to be upgraded and a replacement for Fletcher has be found. Not sure if either are on the current roster. Haslett has to make this defense work, he has a lot of versatile players with playmaking ability. This team will only go as far as the defense carries it.
I give the defense a B- : strong lineup with solid depth and playmakers.
Long snapper: Sundberg
Kick Returner: Niles Paul
Punt Returner: Santana Moss
Opinion: The STs don't appear to be a major strength or weakness. Gano has to start making big kicks, or he is out. Paulesco deserves a good long look. Moss is the perfect punt return man, and with depth at Wr, they can afford to put him out there. Paul has touchdown ability as a return man, at least give them positive field position consistantly.
I give the special teams a C: average about sums it up.
Banks(unfortunate and untimely incident)
Golston(not a fit)
Horton(beat out by Gomes)
Westbrook(Beat out by Thompson)
Hurt(draft pick-can't beat out Cook plus the combine flag)
White(draft pick- tweener who loses out to Wilson)
Opinion: Looking at these projections, I was impressed to see that only 2 picks don't make the squad. I believe that Mike's desire to get younger and place his stamp on the team will give all tiebreakers to the new guys. If it works out like this, then the draft was an overwhelming success.
Overall opinion: Resigning Brown, Rogers, Grossman, and Moss has to be top priority with new CBA. Same coaching staff is in place so some stability is there for growth. I have to believe that the coaches have worked out some kinks, and are all on the same page.
Overall, I give the team a D : Offensive line and quarterback questions too big to ignore. Tough division, tough schedule in my view, and too many new players to predict quick success. Final record 5-11,0-6 in division . Wins aginst Cardinals, Panthers, Bills, 49ers, and Seahawks. 7th pick in 2012 draft.
Top Priorities in the 2012 draft: Quarterback, Center, Guard, Nose Tackle
It will be interesting to see what the final roster looks like. Feel free to disagree and offer alternatives.Several changes were made to original after numerous and agreeable comments were expressed.