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NFL Top 5 NFL QBs in 2015


By: Chad Wilson – Editor GridironStuds Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

I recently tweeted my Top 5 Quarterbacks in the NFL and as with any ranking of anything, especially in the World of sports,  controversy ensues.  The biggest bone that people chose to pick with me was concerning the fact that Andrew Luck failed to make my top 5.  With all of the discussion that has arisen around this list,  I thought it best to write an article with my explanation of my Top 5 and also added a couple of notes on some of the guys that did not make it.

Before I lay out the list,  I must tell you that I consider decision making to be the biggest factor in being a quarterback in the NFL and thus,  that weighed the most in my rankings. A quarterback is a leader of a team and as with any leader,  the success of the group relies on the decisions that are made by it’s leader.  The President is judged by his decisions, the CEO is judged by his decisions and a father is judged by the decisions he makes.  Many fans, especially in this day and age,  want to equate stats and passing ability as the number one factor and for some,  it’s the only factor.  We live in this Fantasy Football era but fantasy stats don’t bring championships.

Now that you know this,  let me lay out the list

1. Aaron Rodgers

Why is Rodgers #1 because my eyes tell me so.  The easy thing for a fan to see when evaluating Rodgers are the gaudy passing numbers.  He has been at or near the top in QB rating over the last half decade or so.  Rodgers is perhaps the most physically gifted signal caller in the league.  He is probably the best pure passer in the league right now and also possesses an underrated amount of athleticism.  Rodgers uses this athleticism to buy time in the pocket but also to sneak across the line of scrimmage at times and make the defense pay for running man coverages with one or more safeties high.  However,  Rodgers’ greatest gift is decision making.  He just does not turn the ball over and put the defense in a bind. In three of the last four seasons,  Rodgers has boasted a TD / INT ratio of greater than (+30).  No other QB on this list can make such a claim.  It’s amazing that Rodgers only holds one Super Bowl ring but that’s the only knock one can really make on this lights out signal caller.

2. Tom Brady

It would be hard to keep the man with the most Super Bowl rings of any active QB off this list and there’s no reason to.  The reigning Super Bowl champion QB may have sagged some balls but he has proven his worth in this league time and again.  With 4 Super Bowl rings in his jewelry box,  it’s obvious that Brady can make the right moves on the field.  Last season, Brady was asked to hand the ball off more in an era in which balls have been filling the air and Brady complied.  The result was a return to the top of the mountain after a 9 year drought.  Brady has also made an even more important decision at several times during his career and that is to take less at the negotiation table because he knows football is the ultimate team game.  This is something that leaders do.  Not only is Brady an effective passer but he has earned the respect of his teammates to the level where they can all give their most because they know it will pay off.

3. Russell Wilson

This is one of the picks that caught quite a deal of heat.  I guess all these fans work for the Seattle Seahawks front office.  Nevertheless,  playing QB is not all about throwing the football.  Again,  its about making decisions.  Outside of Aaron Rodgers,  Wilson is perhaps the best decision maker in the league right now.  While fans want to be impressed by the throws made by some of the other names that didn’t make this list,  I continue to be impressed by the throws Russell Wilson doesn’t make.  If you don’t believe that QB decisions aren’t the biggest factor in team success, watch the last play of our last Super Bowl. The one time that Wilson makes a bad decision in a key time,  the Seahawks go down. So talk to me about how great their defense is and how great their running back is.  Russell Wilson holds this team in his hands. Not only does he make A1 passing decisions,  he’s as good as they come when it comes to deciding when to pull the ball out on the zone reads.  Quite simply,  Russell Wilson does not put his team in position to lose.  It’s also not like he has a world class receiving corps to throw to.  Some of that defensive success that the Seahawks are experiencing has to do with them facing less plays overall and less plays in their red zone than most other teams.  Credit,  Wilson’s ability to protect the ball and make quality decisions with the football.  This ability to make wise decisions has put the Seahawks in the Super Bowl in consecutive seasons with only one dumb play call and bad decision keeping them from being the first back to back Super Bowl winners in a decade.

4. Joe Flacco

This pick drew the most venom.  I guess it’s easy to attack Joe Flacco if you are Joe fan.  He’s not as sexy as Rogers or Brady or Manning or Brees or Luck when it comes to putting up numbers.  Cut Brady out of that group and Flacco holds as many rings as those other guys.  Since he became the starter for the Ravens,  they have been in the post season all but one year.  During those playoff runs,  Flacco and the Ravens have bounced the evil empire (New England Patriots) twice out of the post season and both times came in Foxboro.  You don’t achieve this feat without a QB that can make wise decisions with the football.  Flacco has shown up in the post season and that’s when you need your QB to be at his best.  The murderous route the Ravens had to take to get to their Championship in 2012 is something to behold.  Baltimore was a wildcard that beat the Colts then went to Denver and New England and out dueled two titans in the QB game to face a San Francisco team that everyone pretty much thought was going to take the trophy.  This doesn’t happen without some good decisions being made at QB.  Not to mention that Flacco has to deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals every year to get into the post season. Here’s a stat many fans don’t know about Joe Flacco.  In post season play,  Flacco has thrown 25 TDs and only 10 INTs.  His +15 spread in that department is better than Manning, better than Roethlisberger, better than Luck’s and better than Wilson’s.  Only Brady, Rogers and Brees rank better than him in that department. Wake up to Joe Flacco folks.

5. Peyton Manning

I guess most would say Manning should be number three on this list.  I am not impressed by gaudy regular season numbers.  They only serve to set fans up for disappointment. Peyton Manning has been entertaining in a video game type of way.  Two seasons ago,  he threw for a ridiculous 55 TDs but when it came nut cutting time,  Manning and the Broncos couldn’t bust a grape.  It has been a familiar scene throughout his career. Manning has a career that mirrors Dan Marino’s.  Impressive ability to throw the football and put up numbers but championships, eh that’s for other people who have QBs that are willing to have running games that lead to solid and timely defense.  Manning’s need to put up the video game numbers have kept him from the multiple rings.  He can look no further than to John Elway for guidance on this.  Elway was a ball throwing exhibitionist in the early part of his career. He was forced to learn that passing is pretty but the inability to have a balanced offense leads to ugly results in the big dance. Manning has not learned this lesson.  He has been at it longer than anyone else on this list and holds no more rings than any of them.  There’s a penalty for that.  Do it when it counts.  However, no one has done it better than Manning in the regular season and for that,  you must acknowledge him on a list such as this.  Besides,  has won a Super Bowl in his lengthy career.

Other Notable Near Misses

Ben Roethlisberger

A strong case could be made for Big Ben who holds multiple rings and had a monster stat year last year.  However,  I can’t put him ahead of Manning for obvious reasons and I put Flacco on over him because Ben makes those questionable decisions in the crunch that hurt.  In his post season career,  he has thrown 19 INTs against 21 TDs.  If you’ve watched him play you have marveled at his pocket wizardry but there have also been many times when you have had to scratch your head on some of his decisions. He was mighty close though.

Drew Brees

He was another one with an impressive resume that one could say deserved Top 5 recognition.  Brees and Sean Payton have presided over a gimmicky offensive attack by NFL standards that has dazzled folks in the regular season but has disappointed in the post season.  With the magical numbers Brees has put up over his career,  one would expect more post season success but that has not been the case.  Brees and the boys have only made the playoffs in 5 of the 9 years since he arrived in the Big Easy and are 6-4 in post season play.  Match that up against the Ravens being the playoffs in 7 of Flacco’s 8 years and owning a 10-5 post season record over that time.

Andrew Luck

This was the name most expected and wanted on the list. Pump your brakes.  For starters, you stat whores love Luck because he wins you Fantasy games on Sundays.  Luck has thrown the ball over 600 times in each of his three seasons in the league.  Of course he’s going to put up some stats doing that.  What Luck does not have that every other person mentioned in this entire article does have is a Super Bowl ring.  Luck certainly has the looks of a franchise QB and someone who’s going to have some great success in this league but he’s not yet a Top 5er.  For one,  he plays in a cuddly soft division.  Who wouldn’t put up numbers in a division that also has foot rests like Houston, Tennessee and Jacksonville?  Indy went 6-0 vs. those stone cold cupcakes in 2014 and managed a mere 5-5 vs. everyone else.  To drive home that point,  Indy was clobbered by post season foes Dallas (42-7), New England (42-20) and Pittsburgh (51-34) in the regular season.  What other guy on this list has that happening to him?  Not to mention that in the last two seasons,  Luck and the Colts have been embarrassed in their final game of the season.  A QB should be measured by his team’s success otherwise, guys like Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler start finding their way onto lists like this. Perhaps Luck will be a top 5 guy one day but not on my list, not today. Top 5 Players in the 2015 NFL Draft


By: Chad Wilson – Editor GridironStuds Blog

There have been mock drafts, draft shows, draft analysis, draft previews and draft insight.  Doesn’t matter where you go,  the NFL draft is in your face.  Well here’s one more draft article.  Over the years there have been a fair amount of draft busts and some superstars that have come out of the first round which will be spotlighted tonight.  This 2015 draft will once again produce busts and perhaps some guys that will end up in Canton.  In my opinion,  here are the Top 5 players in this year’s NFL draft.  I base the list on ability, production and risk.

1. Leonard Williams – DT – Southern California:  Defensive lineman have been all the craze in this pass happy era of the National Football League.  Williams is a physical freak that is one of the more chiseled 300 lb. athletes you will ever see.  He was a highly productive player at USC with 21 sacks and a ton more mayhem caused.  While most 300 lb. defensive lineman are lined up at tackle,  Williams’ athleticism allow him to play the defensive end spot where many project him to play in the NFL. Anyway you look at it,  Williams is tough matchup for any offensive lineman, a problem for all offensive coordinators and one of those can’t miss prospects that come around every now and then.  Williams a 4 star rated player by Rivals coming out of high school and was the 5th ranked strong side defensive end in his class.

2. Amari Cooper – WR – Alabama:  There are many that will say you can find a ton of wide receivers in the NFL draft.  There aren’t many like this guy.  Underrated coming out of high school,  Cooper’s athletic gifts combined with his work ethic struck fear in defensive backs across college football during his career with the Crimson Tide.  Jon Gruden says Cooper has “a large inventory of routes” and that would accurately describe his game.  Whether its the go route, comeback, dig or curl,  Cooper is running it with precision.  He can catch the ball and do something dangerous with it afterwards.  He’s a nightmare off of the line of scrimmage and goes hard all game long.  He is essentially Jerry Rice with 4.42 speed. Picture that.  Wide receivers have a high bust rate in the draft but Cooper’s determination will not allow that to happen.  Cooper was a 4 star prospect out of high school according to Rivals and was listed 45th in their Top 100 the year he graduated.

3. Dante Fowler – DE / OLB  – Florida:  Pass rushers have become key in the NFL game.  With rules making it tough on the secondary to stay in contact with wide receivers,  defensive ends and pass rushing outside linebackers have been given the task of disrupting the high octane passing games.  Moving the quarterback off of his spot is the name of the game and that is what has brought Dante Fowler his fame.  While Fowler did not rack up huge numbers in terms of sacks,  if you viewed any Florida games during his time there,  he contributed to an enormous amount of failed plays by opposing offenses.  The relentless edge rusher tallied 34 tackles for a loss in his career at Florida and has excited teams at the top of the draft with his physical abilities. Fowler’s 4.60 forty yard dash at 260 lbs. makes him a candidate to play either DE in a 4-3 scheme our OLB in one of the growing number of 3-4 schemes popping up in the league.  He was a consensus 5 star prospect coming out of high school in 2012 and was the 3rd rated weak side defensive end prospect.

4. Cameron Erving – OT – Florida St.:  While Iowa’s Brandon Scherff has been considered the top OT in this draft and is likely to be the first offensive lineman selected,  I am riding with Cameron Erving as the best OL in the pool.  Erving came to Florida St. as a defensive lineman where he played his freshman year and sophomore year.  He then moved to the other side of the ball to offensive tackle and became a dominant player.  His junior year,  Erving earned All ACC honors along with 2nd team All American.  He was a top candidate for the Outland Trophy entering this past season but made a switch to center when FSU starting center Austin Barron season ended with an injury.  It is rare that a 6’6″ tackle makes a seamless move to the center position.  Erving was a leader on the FSU front and that has to impress you.  Erving has played defensive tackle, offensive tackle and center.  The lessons learned from all of that will pay off huge at the next level.  On top of that Erving is 6’6″ with longer arms and range than Scherff and for my money,  he seems more of a sure thing.

5. Melvin Gordon – RB – Wisconsin: The consensus is that Gurley will be the first taken but most analysts say Gordon not too far behind.  In my opinion,  he’s the guy I want if I am looking for a back in this draft. The knock on Gordon is inconsistent hands.  That’s nice but I need my running back carrying the rock not running routes.  I am sure Gordon can execute the screen play and the check down with no adventure.  If that’s all he does while tallying up 8 or 9 1,000 yard seasons for my franchise then I hit a home run. You can’t argue Gordon’s production for Wisconsin.  He put up 2,500 + yards this year after cranking out a 1,600 yard season in 2013.  There’s noting like being the hunted going into a season and performing above expectations.  I prefer Gordon over Gurley because Gordon can avoid contact,  while Gurley seems more apt to invite it.  This means Gordon is more likely to stay in the lineup and be on the field on Sundays.  Ultimately,  your first round pick needs to be on the field and not only was Gordon durable for Wisconsin,  his 4,915 yards and 7.8 yards per carry average makes him one of the most productive college football backs of all time.  Gordon was a 4-star rated back by Rivals coming out of high school in 2011 and was ranked the 24th RB overall in the country.  Tonight he will be one of the Top 32 men selected in the 2015 NFL draft.

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Week 5 Gridironstuds Show Football Picks


Host Chad Wilson issued his college and nfl picks for week #5 along with co-host Emil Calomino’s picks.  Calomino was unable to do today’s show.  Here are the hosts picks

Chad Wilson’s College Football Picks
Current Record: 5-7
Minnesota (+7) over IOWA
Clemson (-7) over BOSTON COLLEGE
OKLAHOMA ST. (+2.5) over Texas
Emil Calomino’s College Football Picks
Current Record:  4-8
ucla (-20) over COLORADO
OKLAHOMA ST. (+2.5) over Texas
CALIFORNIA (+1) over Arizona St.
Chad Wilson’s NFL Picks
Current Record: 3-6
BUFFALO (+4.5) over New England
Oakland (+7) over DENVER
TAMPA BAY (-2.5) over Washington
Emil Calomino’s NFL Picks
Current Record: 3-5-1
New England (-4.5) over BUFFALO
DETROIT (-4.5) over Minnesota
PHILADELPHIA (-1) over NY Giants

AFC Divisional Picks from GridironStuds Show Hosts


Here are the AFC Divisional Predictions from The Gridiron Studs Show hosts Chad Wilson and Emil Calomino from August 29th’s show as heard here:–82912-afc-division-predictions

Chad Wilson & Emil Calomino AFC Picks
Chad Emil
1 New England 11-5 New England 12-4
2 Buffalo 8-8 NY Jets 9-7
3 NY Jets 7-9 Buffalo 7-9
4 Miami 6-10 Miami 3-13
1 Baltimore 11-5 Baltimore 11-5
2 Pittsburgh 10-6 Pittsburgh 9-7
3 Cincinnati 9-7 Cincinnati 9-7
4 Cleveland 5-11 Cleveland 3-13
1 Houston 10-6 Houston 12-4
2 Tennessee 8-8 Tennessee 8-8
3 Jacksonville 7-9 Indianapolis 6-10
4 Indianapolis 5-11 Jacksonville 4-12
1 San Diego 10-6 Denver 9-7
2 Denver 7-9 Oakland 9-7
3 Kansas City 5-11 San Diego 8-8
4 Oakland 6-10 Kansas City 7-9
Playoffs Playoffs
Round 1 Round 1
Houston over Cin. Houston over Cin.
Pittsburgh over SD Pittsburgh over SD
Round 2 Round 2
New England over Pitt New England over Pitt
Baltimore over Hou. Baltmore over Hou.
Round 3 Round 3
Baltimore over NE Baltimore over NE
AFC Champs AFC Champs
Baltimore Baltimore 2012 NFL Draft Grades


Here’s a look at my grades on each of the 32 NFL teams’ drafts.  I have a formula for draft picking and team building.  It’s very simple and I use it to grade drafts along with other factors.

Here are the positions you need to draft:


Stay in those areas and your ability to have a successful draft increases greatly.

The other positions listed below,  you address in free agency with low key signings.  Not big named additions that achieved famed success elsewhere and will have a hard time doing things your way in you organization.  Here those positions:


A ‘2’ next to a position means the 2nd player at that position.  So WR2 means second best wide receiver.

Here are my draft grades

Team Grade Comment
AFC East
New England A Attacked weaknesses on defense. Drafted at all key spots. Got value with late picks on Dennard
Buffalo B – Better picks available than their 1,3 and 4th round picks. Addressed weaknesses.
Miami C Reached with 1st rnd pick. Yet another OL in draft. Unpolished pick at 3. Failed to address WR.  No impact players.
NY Jets B Impact player with 1st rnd pick. Got what they needed with 2nd pick. Drafted outside of key area.
AFC North
Baltimore B – Strong 1st rnd pick. Question two guards drafted. Intruiging pick with Streeter at #198.
Cleveland A – Got their player in rnd 1. Addressed uncertainty at QB.  Lost points for guard draft and 2 ILBs
Cincinnati A – Solid pick at #17. Lose points for 1st rnd guard pick. Sanu a steal as is Charles. Addressed key areas
Pittsburgh B – Lose pts with OG 1st round. Spence in 3rd round could pay off. Downgraded for 2 guards in draft
AFC South
Houston B – Not solid on 1st rnd. Downgraded for OG, OC picks at 3 and 4th plus K pick in 5th. Need more impact players
Indianapolis A – Solid 1st. Got impact player at 3. Value with 5th with Ballard. Drafted mostly in key areas.
Jacksonville B Nice move to get Blackmon. Downgrades for punter and OLB pick.
Tennessee B – Solid 1st and 3rd. OLB in 2nd led to downgrade. Limited picks. Seemed like better picks were available with most picks.
AFC West
San Diego A – Addressed some key areas. Lost a grade for OG and OC picks at 5 and 7.
Oakland C No impact players. Loses grades for OG and a pair of OLB picks. Reached with most picks
Denver B Osweiller lacks be big time. OC and OLB picks cost them grade. 2, 3 and 4th was solid
Kansas City B Risky 1st pick with Poe. OG pick with 2nd is a downgrade. Unspectacular with rest but stayed with key areas with most picks
Team Grade Comment
NFC East
Dallas B Solid #1 pick. Not much impact with others. Wait and see type picks with the rest of draft.
Washington C Got Griffin but Cousins a head scratcher. Downgrades for two OG and OLB pick.
Philadelphia A Addressed need with solid pick at 1. Stayed with picks at crucial draft positions
NY Giants B + Wilson a good back have to see where he fits. Randle good pick up. Stayed with key draft. Positions
NFC North
Green Bay A Two solid DL picks at 1 & 2. Hayward solid corner picks. Addressed def need.  They just know what they are doing.
Detroit B Addressed OT need. Broyles could pay off big. Bentley good pick up at CB. Attacked secondary needs
Minnesota A Addressed needs with solid players. Liked moves in secondary and WR. Don’t like K picks but got a good one.
Chicago B – Unspectacular. Reached with 1st pick and 2nd pick.  Attacked secondary needs but with who?
NFC South
New Orleans B – Not many picks. Picked a player from Regina at 3. Hope he’s good. Nick Toon good pick. Obscure with the rest.
Atlanta C What did they do? Went OL with 1st two picks. Nothing to write home about with the rest.
Tampa Bay A Lost on Richardson but battled back with Barron & Martin. David solid pick. Sent message to Blount by picking 2 backs and a FB in this draft.
Carolina B – Reached with 1st round pick, picked a guard at #2, didn’t really get impact players.
NFC West
Arizona B + Floyd good pick up next to Fitzgerald. Filled some needs. Lindley pick at 6 could be sleeper
St. Louis A Reached with 1st pick. Loved next 4 picks. Jenkins a risk but high reward. Pead will surprise
Seattle A – Reached for Irvin but filled a need with a good player. Wilson intriguing. Turbin solid. Filled needs
San Francisco C Reached with 1st round pick. Didn’t need another back. Downgraded for OG, OLB and OC picks

LSU’s Rueben Randle Becomes First Member to Be Drafted


Well I told all to watch out for Miami’s Lamar Miller as the likely first Gridiron Stud to be drafted into the NFL but lost sight of LSU’s Rueben Randle.  Low and behold Randle it was and he went to the defending Super Bowl champions,  how ironic for a Gridiron Stud.  Randle closed out the 2nd round at pick #64 to the New York Giants as they added another weapon to Eli Manning’s arsenal.  Randle joins Hakeem Nick and Victor Cruz to bolster an already solid wide receiving corps. was started in January 2009  and Randle was a member of the initial class entered into the recruiting database. Congrats to Rueben on achieving this milestone in his career and we are delighted at to have reached this milestone ourselves.  Check out Rueben Randle’s profile,  click here. 2012 Draft WR Rankings


Last week I gave you my top QB rankings for this month’s NFL draft.  This week I dive in with the top WRs for this draft.  I will do this in more depth next year with rankings on more positions.  I will have running back rankings tomorrow.  I base my rankings largely on production and attributes.  Personal things that I know about the players does factor in along with what I perceive along the lines of work ethic as I feel it is a major factor in a wide receiver’s long term success in the NFL.  I think is that factor weighs in as much as or more so than any other position on the field.  Enough blabber, here are the rankings with brief comments: 2012 NFL Draft WR Rankings
 Rank Player Round Rank Comment
1 Justin Blackmon Top 1 2 yrs of strong production
2 Michael Floyd Top/mid 1 production + attributes
3 Kendall Wright Late 1 experience
4 Stephen Hill Late 1 / Early 2nd a risk but undeniable attributes
5 Alshon Jeffery Top / Mid 2nd atrributes + production not dominant
6 Rueben Randle Mid 2nd attributes but production ?
7 T.Y. Hilton mid to late 2nd experience, production + speed & hungry
8 Brian Quick mid to late 2nd production and attributes- 3 yr starter
9 A.J. Jenkins Late 2nd / 3rd speed but where’s production
10 Chris Givens Late 2nd / 3rd speedy but not enough production
11 Nick Toon early 3rd big and productive + pedigree
12 Ryan Broyles early 3rd major production but knee injury 2012 NFL Draft QB Ratings


Is there anything more analyzed than the NFL draft and it’s prospects?  If only oil and gas prices were analyzed as intensely  maybe I wouldn’t spend so much time with the low fuel light on.  With that said,  for all the analyzing going on,  it seems that most involved in the business suffer from this herd mentality.  The top 5 or 10 are the same for pretty much everyone.  Furthermore,  the analysts make the same mistakes every year and then pontificate on what a bust a player is when history is just repeating itself.  I guess I am the only fool that will look at things the way they really are and pay attention to history.   Below is my list in order of the top QB’s (used loosely) in this year’s NFL draft.  My list won’t look like many of the others you have viewed.  My list is born out of what history has taught me about college QB entering into the pro game.  Below the list,  I explain some of the rankings that deviate sharply from what the “experts” are saying: 2012 Draft QB Ratings
 Rnk Player School Round Value Notes
1 Robert Griffin III Baylor Top 1 Longest and most productive QB in class
2 Andrew Luck Stanford Top 1 Intelligent and productive in college
3 Kirk Cousins Michigan St. Mid-Late 1 3 year producer in Big 10 with physical tools
4 Russell Wilson Wisconsin Top 2 3 + prodcuer at 2 schools in 2 major conferences
5 Nick Foles Arizona Top 2 3 year producer with physical attributes
6 Case Keenum Houston Late 2 – Top 3 Hard to ignore the length and depth of production
7 Brandon Weeden Oklahoma St. Late 2 – Top 3 2 solid years. Age is a negative
8 Ryan Lindley San Diego St. Top 3 3 year producer that is underated bc of school
9 Austin Davis S. Mississippi Top – Mid 3 3 year producer that is underated bc of school
10 G.J. Kinne Tulsa Mid 3 3 year producer with phyiscal attributes
11 Darron Thomas Oregon Mid-Late 3 Solid 2 year producer. Run oriented system
12 Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M Late 3 Overrated, inexperienced, rising due to wkouts
13 Kellen Moore Boise St. Mid-Late 4 Outstanding production lacks physical attributes

Whoa! Ryan Tannehill 12th?  Russell Wilson 4th?  Ryan Lindley 8th?  Caught your eye didn’t it?  Here’s my criteria for potential NFL quarterbacks:  Experience, production and then physical attributes. It’s always interesting to me how analysts will try to crystal ball prospects and rate them this way.  NFL teams that engage in this practice set themselves up for failure.  Experienced stock traders will tell you to get on a stock when it has made it’s initial run and then get off when you have secured a tidy profit.  That’s how NFL draft picks should be pursued.  Trying to guess that Apple is going to $400 a share when it’s currently at $5 will more than likely have you buying a stock like Tandy Computers that busts.  How does this equate to potential NFL QB’s?   There’s nothing like a college quarterback that has been a starter for three or more years.  The only thing better than that is quarterback that has produced quite well at the college level for three or more years.  That prospect has shown you what he’s going to be like in the NFL. He is a stock that has made it’s run.  Many can go out and have one great year but a whole lot less can go out after a great season and light it up again when everyone on the schedule is gunning for you.  When you find a guy that did that for two or three years after they were the man then you have a guy that can hack it in the National Football League.

In the NFL you are playing the same teams over and over and teams will have a ton of information on you before you even step on the field to play.  The question is can you adjust and maintain when teams know you and game plan against you?  I put a premium on quarterbacks that have shown me they can do that in college.  So if you are a one year starter,  chances are,  you are going to have a hard time in the NFL.  On top of that,  the higher up you are picked as an inexperienced QB,  the greater the chance of failure because the pressure will kill you.  I am only semi-sold on two year starters that have produced both years.  You better have the physical attributes if that’s the case and even in that situation I am still taking a bit of a shot in the dark on you.  Now when you have produced for three years or even four years,  you have shown me that you can handle the grind of the NFL.  Unless you have glaring weaknesses in physical attributes, i.e. very short, very weak arm, etc. or you have off the field issues then you have the goods to be an NFL playmaker at the QB position.

Of course,  I love history and I went back to research this little theory I have.  I will start off by saying that there are always exceptions to the rule.  So don’t go emailing me about the guys here and there that you saw with one or two years in college or little production that got it done in the NFL.  Furthermore,  don’t go emailing me Ty Detmer’s name.  I did say that they can’t have glaring NFL physical impediments.  Detmer was very short and had a weak arm.  Despite that,  he did do a decent job the one year that he was entrusted to run the team.  I’ll tell you this,  Andre Ware and David Klingler would have loved to have had that one season that Detmer did.

Do your research and you will see the Alex Smith’s, Mark Sanchez’s, Jamarcus Russell’s, Vince Young’s of the NFL that had or are having a hard time because they were high draft picks with a lot of pressure and not enough experience to combat it.  Turn around now and check the length and depth of college production from Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tony Romo.  Check the history of the John Elways, Dan Marinos, Brett Favres.   Someone will want to show me Tom Brady.   Brady did not have that three year or four year Michigan starting career nor did he put up big numbers but you know what else,  he wasn’t drafted in the first round. Nor was he drafted in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th round.  I am willing to bet that Tom Brady’s NFL career would not have been as fruitful if he was a top 10 or 20 pick when he came out.  His lack of college production combined with the pressure of being a #1 pick would have changed the course of his career.  As a 6th rounder, he entered the NFL with no pressure and a nothing to lose mentality.  He also ended up on a great football team.

Many high producers in college don’t get the necessary chance in the NFL because scouts and analysts get hung up on things that don’t mean squat.  They overemphasize height by getting down on a guy that’s 6 feet tall (Drew Brees) or a guy who can’t throw it 80 yards like Jamarcus Russell.  Well Chad Pennington had a pretty solid NFL career without the rocket arm.  When you have a chance, check the length and depth of Chad Pennington’s college career against Jamarcus Russell’s or Joey Harrington’s.  It should come as no surprise why he outperformed them both at the next level.  Houston’s Case Keenum is this type of guy.  The most prolific passer in college football history who stands at a reasonable 6’1″ is being down graded for all kinds of reasons, knee surgery, delivery, college offensive system, blah, blah, blah.  These guys with these so called impediments have had them all their lives and somehow they managed to win a starting job, go out and produce and then do it year after year with everyone trying to stop them.  You have to pay attention to that.

After you get over the shock of these rankings,  do some research.  Check the college production of a quarterback and match it up with what they did in the pros. One of the best sites online to go do this research is  You will be able to view the college and pro stats of almost any player you desire (from the modern era of course).  Check it out.  The proof is in the pudding.

The #1 Thing the Dolphins Need to Do in the 2012 Draft: Don’t Draft Another Offensive Lineman in the 1st Round


By: Chad Wilson
Follow on Twitter: @Gridironstuds

I think we have all established that the NFL draft is somewhat of a crap shoot.  I think it has also been established that if you can do well in the NFL draft you can set your organization up for success for future seasons to come.  Blow the draft and you are climbing an uphill battle for quite some time.  There are two things that give an organization a higher chance of success in the draft and that is a high number of draft picks and being able to get impact players in the draft.

I am going to focus on part two of the two successful things that you need to have and that is being able to draft impact players.  Offensive linemen are the lifeblood of your football team at any level of football.  However,  they are not impact players.  Offensive linemen protect the impact players of a football team.  With that being said,  routinely going out and using your top pick for offensive linemen is a recipe for disaster.  Do that and you end up with a roster choc-full of average players at the impact spot. This leads to a team that has a hard time scoring, getting fans out of their seat and eventually getting fans to the stadium.  That’s sort of the situation that the Dolphins are in right now.  How did they get there?

There’s wide spread talk of the Dolphins taking Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff with their 8th pick in this year’s draft.  This would be an unprecedented move by any franchise that has achieved dynasty type success in the NFL.  With an offensive lineman pick int the 1st round,  the Dolphins would have picked an offensive lineman with their first pick in four out of their last nine drafts.   They would have picked six offensive linemen with their first pick in their last 12 NFL drafts.  The Dolphins would have spent half of their last drafts in over a decade picking a player for a non-impact position with their first pick.  They can not afford to continue to make this mistake.  They are already losing their fan base and it comes largely through their inability to draft effectively.   They can not win with a draft pick of Riley Reiff.  He would have to have unprecedented success working in a position with little visibility for their fan base to swallow such a move.   Running a franchise is one half winning championships and one half selling tickets.

About Chart Below: I have prepared a chart below of some of the most successful NFL franchises during different eras beginning with the 70’s.  In the chart I list the number of offensive linemen drafted by that team during the decade in which they were dominant.   ND stands for Not Dominant in that particular ERA so no data was collected or displayed.  As you can see that out of 11 dominant teams in 18 dominant decades between them,  only two teams have drafted an offensive lineman with their first pick more than twice during their dominant era.  Notice that 10 teams drafted one or less with four them having not drafted an offensive lineman first at all during their dominant decade.  I have included data from the Dolphins from each era.  Notice that in their two best ERAs 70’s and 80’s they drafted only one and then two offensive linemen first in their draft.  In the decades after (90’s and 00’s) they went with two and three respectively.  Miami’s relevance in the NFL declined over those last two decades.

Offensive Lineman Drafted with 1st Pick in Round 1 by Dominant Teams in ERAs
Team 70’s 80’s 90’s 00’s
Steelers 0 ND ND 2
Raiders 1 2 ND ND
Dolphins 2 1 2 3
Cowboys 1 ND 0 ND
Broncos ND 2 1 ND
49ers ND 2 0 ND
Bears ND 2 ND ND
Giants ND 2 1 0
Rams ND ND 3 ND
Patriots ND ND ND 2
Colts ND ND ND 1
Packers ND ND 3 1

Again,  offensive linemen are the lifeblood of your football team but they are not first round picks unless they are slam dunk performers at the college level.  I mean they really had to be dominant at the college level in terms of on field production for you to spend a first round pick on them.  I am talking Jonathan Ogden type dominant.  Bryant McKinnie type dominant.  Definitely not a center or a guard in the first round.  Great offensive linemen can be found in the second round on.  They can also be picked up in free agency.  The biggest thing for an offensive line is working together as a unit.  They have longevity if they are good.  Pay them handsomely once they have proven they work well in your system.

The order of importance in the game today is QB, RB, WR, DT, CB, LT.  You can debate the LT appearance in that order.  Depending on what team you are,  that LT could move up.  The Dolphins need to make it work with Jake Long and what is on the roster right now or find their answer in free agency or later in the draft.  Miami over the last 20 years have not drafted a quarterback in the first round.  I understand that Dan Marino’s longevity has a lot to do with that but it’s been a while since Marino has gone.  Miami has not had a good history of drafting quality backs with their first pick.  However,  they got quality out of drafting Ronnie Brown in 2005.  Did he reach his potential,  probably not but it’s time to go that route again.  It’s time for the Dolphins to find an impact wide receiver in the draft.  Another offensive lineman is not the answer and the proof is in the numbers on the chart.

Drafting Riley Reiff or any other offensive lineman with the eighth pick in this year’s draft will mean that the Dolphins over the last 10 years (a decade) would have drafted four offensive linemen with their first pick in the first round of the NFL draft.  No other dominant team on the chart I have displayed have done this.  Again,  only two teams have drafted as much as three during a dominant decade.

In 2004,  Miami chose Vernon Carey first in the draft.  That year,  they passed on the opportunity to pick up RB Steven Jackson (Rams) and DT Vince Wolfork (Patriots).  In 2008,  they picked Jake Long,  a pick I actually agree with but they did pass up on the opportunity to draft QB Matt Ryan (Atlanta), RB Jonathan Steward (Carolina), CB Dominic Rogers Cromartie (Philadelphia), DT Sean Ellis (Patriots) and RB Chris Johnson (Titans).   In 2011,  Miami opted for center Mike Pouncey and passed on an opportunity to get a quality running back like Mark Ingram from Alabama.

I am not saying that all of Miami’s problems can be traced back to drafting offensive linemen with their first pick but I am saying that it’s an indication of the mistakes they are making in a very important exercise as an organization and that is the draft. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  The NFL is also a copy-cat league.  It’s time for the Dolphins to copy the ways of some of the more successful franchises in the NFL with respect to how they attack the draft.  If they don’t,  they are looking at more mediocrity in a city that has a lights out NBA franchise and a baseball team that has just built what could be considered the best stadium in major league baseball right now.

10 Moves the Miami Dolphins Need to Make in the 2012 Draft


By: Chad Wilson – CEO –
Follow on Twitter:

I will be expanding more on the points I am making below about the Dolphins 2012 draft in upcoming articles but I want to throw the ideas out there first so people can argue them, attempt to ridicule them etc.

1.  Don’t draft another offensive lineman with their first pick or in the 1st round again.  PLEASE DON’T!

2.  Deal both Reggie Bush and Brandon Marshall to gain an extra high pick in the 1st round

3.  Stay out of the Robert Griffin III sweepstakes as it will cost them too much to win it

4. Use one of the two picks in the 1st round to draft Trent Richardson – RB – Alabama

5. Use the other pick in the 1st round to draft Justin Blackmon – WR – Oklahoma St.

6. If you can not get both players in 1st round,  I recommend getting Blackmon and opting for another big time back with 2nd first round pick as there are more impact running backs available in draft than there are impact wide receivers.

7. Use mid round pick to draft Case Keenum a highly productive 4 year starter at quarterback who can be a high performer in a West Coast offensive system.

8.  Use remaining picks to fill lesser glowing holes on the roster.

9. Pick up 3rd down back type in the late rounds to replace Reggie Bush at a much cheaper price.  There will be many available in the late rounds.

10. Make no moves in the draft that will reduce the number of picks the Dolphins are able to make.  They are not one player away and the winning formula will be making more picks not less picks.

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