Faith tested in dark time for former Jets QB
Not since Job in the Bible has a man had his faith tested so.
Okay. That's an exaggeration, but it highlights the point.
Tim Tebow is a man who must be wondering what God's plan for him is. We all know how devoutly religious he is. We've seen the clips of him praising God and thanking Jesus Christ. We've heard about how clean cut he is, and how humble he is. We've seen him act with nothing but graciousness despite having been put into some difficult spots in his NFL career.
But sooner or later you have to wonder whether the man will crack and vent his frustrations. Is he able to ignore the pressure to do it publicly? Not many athletes do anymore. In today's society with social media at their fingertips, most immediately vent their dislikes and opinions before thinking it thru as to whether they should do something like that.
I have to imagine that privately, Tebow has had a few conversations with God about his situation in the NFL. We haven't heard about this in the media because of the way Tebow conducts himself in the public spotlight. He has truly been able to do what very few could: not make his personal disappointment and frustration become public. I commend him for that. Because his career to date certainly doesn't deserve what he's gone thru.
Drafted originally by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft, Tebow was thought to be a quarterback who would need a lot of development to make it in the NFL. I myself was one of those who thought Tebow wouldn't make it and that the Broncos had made a monumental error by selecting him.
By the end of his rookie season, Tebow was thrust into the starting job for the Broncos finishing out the last 3 games of the season. He showed exactly what we all thought: he needed development. But he also showed a knack for making plays and some promise that if an offense was tailored to him, he could produce wins.
Sure enough, in the 2011 season, when the Broncos started the season 1-4, Denver's head coach, John Fox, turned to Tebow to see what the kid had. It was widely assumed at the time (by myself included) that once the Denver faithful saw that Tebow was clearly not a quality QB, that the fans would then turn on him and Fox could say he tried Tebow, and it failed. Instead, Tebow proceeded to rip off 8 wins in the next 9 games and it became impossible for Fox to take him out as Denver was poised to make the playoffs. While at times Tebow was miserable moving the offense, he did just enough, and sometimes singlehandedly won the Broncos the game. It was working so impossibly well that even a 3 game losing streak to end the 2011 season wasn't enough to prevent the Broncos from making the playoffs. Tebow-mania was in full swing.
Then in the first round, against the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers, Tebow threw a touchdown pass on the first play of overtime to beat Pittsburgh and the Tebow-mania hit new heights both in Denver, and nationally. It would now take a miracle for the Broncos to not have Tebow enter 2012 as their starting QB.
Enter the miracle for John Elway and Denver: Peyton Manning.
Denver needed someone like Manning to be able to justify to the fans that there was a clearly better option at QB. It was a perfect set of circumstances for the Broncos. Manning had missed the entire 2011 season with a neck injury. The Colts ended up with the first pick in the 2012 draft. And there was a clear cut elite college QB prospect to be picked as Manning's successor in Andrew Luck. It led to the Colts releasing Manning and allowing him to find a new home. When Manning chose Denver over all other suitors, it allowed the Broncos to trade Tebow.
Denver found a trade partner in the New York Jets. Earlier in 2011, Tebow had led the Broncos to a victory against the Jets on a drive that ended with Tebow making a 20 yard improbable touchdown run with 58 seconds left. You could just feel at the time that Tebow had confounded Rex Ryan and that Ryan wouldn't mind having a competitor like that on the Jets. So when Tebow became available, the Jets acquired him to run new Jets offensive coordinator's Tony Sparano's wild cat style of offense.
Now, to go back and shed some light on why the Broncos didn't want Tebow as their starting QB, it was because in practices he was clearly lost trying to run a regular NFL offense. Brady Quinn was superior to Tebow in practices in that offense. When Tebow showed up in New York, it was again noticed by the coaching staff that Tebow just was awful in practice running a regular offense. The Jets had a quandary on their hands. As much as the publicity satisfied owner Woody Johnson's desire for his NFL team to be in the spotlight, Tebow was a disaster on the practice field. No matter what Tebow had done in actual game situations, he just didn't look good at all in practices and teammates were unlikely to rally behind him.
Even during a 2012 season where Jets starting QB Mark Sanchez was more often than not brutally bad, the Jets refused to give Tebow any chance to start. They even turned to their 3rd string QB, Greg McElroy to start over Tebow after a particularly brutal game by Sanchez that caused Sanchez to be benched.
At some point during what was turning out to be a hugely disappointing season for the Jets and Sanchez in particular, Rex Ryan wouldn't give Tebow a chance to prove he could provide the same in game heroics that he had provided while with Denver.
That must have been a huge blow to Tebow as he was promised a chance to compete for the starting job, and was repeatedly propped up as the backup QB to Sanchez over McElroy.
The Jets had nothing to lose by trying to do what John Fox had done in Denver when Tebow was there: show some offensive creativity and see whether Tebow could provide some on-field magic. It was a dumb move by Ryan and the Jets. They had, as I said, nothing to lose. But instead they chose to just keep Tebow a prisoner.
When the off-season came around, it was widely believed the Jets would cut Tebow and allow him to go somewhere else. They tried trading him to everyone. It was jokingly said in the media that the Jets would accept a bag of rice in return for Tebow. When no one would even trade that, the Jets, instead of releasing Tebow before the 2013 NFL draft so he could at least visit with teams, they held him hostage until after it was over. 11 QB's were drafted with another 21 signed as undrafted free agents. Any potential market for Tebow is pretty much dried up. It had to feel like the final slap in the face to a man who has done nothing but been accepting of the lousy hand he's been dealt.
So what happens to Tebow now? Will there be any team that is willing to take on both the development of him and the media circus that would surely follow him? I'm sure there will be. But what team that is I don't know.
I never had much faith that Tebow was ever going to be a successful NFL QB. I have been as down on his chances as anyone else. But after he proved to have some sort of magic in game situations, I certainly feel he deserves to be treated better than he has been and I hope his faith helps keep him from straying into what must be a huge temptation: to go public with his grievances.
Some stats you should know about rookies and their impacts
Well the 2013 NFL Draft is over and, once again, it lived up to its reputation of being unpredictable and just a bit over-hyped. But now is when it gets really interesting for the fantasy football enthusiast. Optimism for those players selected at the QB, RB, WR, and TE positions will never be higher than it is currently. Many sites and analysts will be publishing their rankings and grades and rookie analysis in the next week or so (myself included, although I try to give it an extra week to let the excitement of the moment settle and more objectivity to come back into focus). We're going to see undeserved high fantasy football rankings about players who were drafted early and overly optimistic projections for those players who were drafted late. A quick look at 2012 should provide some perspective.
In 2012 there were (at each of the important fantasy positions)
11 QB's selected (6 with value; 3 with great value: top 15)
21 RB's selected (3 great (top 10), 1 more good (top 30))
33 WR's selected (11 with some value; 3 in top 40)
12 TE's selected (only 2 with any value; only 1 in top 25)
Of those 11 QB's, 6 provided at least one week's worth of good value. 3 of them finished as top 15 fantasy producers (a rare amount for the position).
Of the 21 RB's selected; only 4 scored enough fantasy points to be in the top 30. However 3 of them finished ranked in the top 10.
Of those 33 WR's selected, only 3 finished in the top 40 fantasy producing WR's. None of them finished in the top 20.
Of those 12 TE's selected, only 1 finished as a top 25 fantasy producer at the position and he (Dwayne Allen) didn't crack the top 20.
So, as you can see, while last year after the 2012 NFL draft there was a lot of hype and enthusiasm about the rookies who were drafted, only 14 of the 77 (18%) selected had any real fantasy value, and even then only 6 of 77 (under 8%) enough to be considered good regular fantasy football starters. And if not for the great QB's selected, the draft would have been worse. The numbers from 2011 are right in line with 2012.
With that established, let's look at this year's selections at these positions. In 2013, we saw:
11 QB's selected
26 RB's selected
28 WR's selected
16 TE's selected
That's a total of 81 players selected at these premium fantasy positions. If 18% are going to be fantasy worthy at all, that translates into about 15 players. If only 8% are going to be regular fantasy contributors, that's only 6-7 players from this rookie class who will be worthy of being regular fantasy starters in 2013. Our jobs as fantasy analysts are to identify which players are going to be those chosen few. It's a job that some in the industry are going to succeed at because they will give 15-20 guys who will all be impactful. As the numbers tell you: that's not realistic. But it does increase their chances of being right.
Remember that when reading the hype generated the next coming days about these rookies and their impact in 2013.
Good moves and questionable moves from the second day and a peek into the last day
Day 2 of the 2013 NFL Draft is in the books. We're thru 3 rounds and there are some very quality players still left on the board. The beginning of the last 4 rounds is coming up in about an hour and it will be interesting to see where some of these guys end up. Here are some thoughts from yesterday's selections and what I'm expecting heading into the last day:
*-Tampa Bay scooping up Mike Glennon in round 3 probably disappointed the Arizona Cardinals. They were widely believed to want Glennon in round 4. With 2 picks in the first 13 of round 4, it's a good bet the Cardinals will be taking a QB if Ryan Nassib, Zac Dysert, or Matt Barkley are still there by the time they pick. If all three are gone, they'll pass on the position until later and probably snag Tyler Wilson or Landry Jones.
*-The Packers got an absolute STEAL by getting Alabama RB Eddie Lacy with the second to last pick of round 2. 3 RB's were selected ahead of Lacy, but I'll say it now: Lacy is going to be the top fantasy producing rookie RB of the 2013 season. He goes the best situation and will be a true 3 down, featured RB for the Packers.
*-Denver will be saying goodbye to Willis McGahee very soon I figure. They drafted Wisconsin's Montee Ball. Ball will team up with last year's draft selection Ronnie Hillman to provide a 1-2 punch at RB for the Broncos in 2013.
*-Seattle's drafting of Texas A&M RB Christine Michael at the end of round 2 was a head scratcher. I know you take the best available player, but they have Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin already on the roster. At the end of round 2 you really should be taking someone who at least can compete for being the top backup at a position, if not the starting job outright. You shouldn't be taking your 3rd string RB, no matter how talented he might be. I've always been critical of Pete Carroll, and every year he keeps proving me wrong, but I don't think so this time.
*-The Jets mercifully ended Geno Smith's slide down the draft by taking him in round 2. Whether he has success in the NFL is unknown, but at the very least the humbling experience should provide him the motivation to work diligently to prove himself. I think it very likely we'll see Smith making starts by mid-season for the Jets.
*-New England made the best WR draft move of day 2 by selecting Marshall's Aaron Dobson. Don't be surprised if he starts right away for the Patriots and has as much impact in fantasy football as any WR drafted ahead of him.
*-While it's unusual for a team to draft two WR's from the same college, I think the Rams actually did a smart thing by grabbing West Virginia's Stedman Bailey in round 3. Bailey joins college teammate Tavon Austin (whom the Rams drafted in round 1) as a legitimate threat to start right away. Bailey's production in college was insane (186 catches, 2,901 yards, 37 TD's the last two seasons combined) and definitely inflated because of the offensive system, but any time a guy can do that, it's worth taking a chance on. Sam Bradford has to be as happy as he's ever been since being drafted.
*-A team that drafted two WR's in the first 3 rounds that I wasn't impressed with is the Buffalo Bills. I'm not convinced Robert Woods is going to be all that he is made out to be at the NFL level, and while I love the raw speed of 3rd rounder Marquise Goodwin, he is a one trick pony as a WR. There were better WR's to be had, some of which are still available.
As always, the draft had it share of surprises
The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft is in the books and, as always, there were no shortage of surprises. Deals were made, players fell, some teams made surprise selections; a typical first round overall. But here are some of my thoughts on the first round:
*-The Minnesota Vikings ROCKED the first round. I thought the picks of DT Sharrif Floyd and CB Xavier Rhodes were a great combination of "best player" and "need". But the coup de grace was trading back into the bottom of round 1 with the Patriots and selecting my favorite WR in this draft, Cordarrelle Patterson. They gave up a lot to get Patterson (they have no picks now until the 4th round), but this move was genius to provide them with a second WR to go with free agent Greg Jennings. Christian Ponder will have no more excuses to not succeed with the new weapons and the defense got a whole lot better too.
*-While I like the fact the Rams were aggressive in going after the player they really wanted, I am not as big on WR Tavon Austin as many others. Don't get me wrong, as I stated in my pre-draft WR comments I expect Austin to be an impact player, but I think Patterson stands a better chance of being a truly elite WR in the NFL. And the Rams could have had him without giving up draft picks and then still made the move with Atlanta to trade down with their second 1st round pick and gotten even more draft picks. The trade reminded me of the blunder the Rams made in the 2012 draft last year when in round 2 they had 3 picks, identified three definite positions of need (OT, CB, and WR) and then wasted their first pick of that round by taking a player they foolishly fell in love with (WR Brian Quick) instead of the OT. There were plenty of other WR's they could have selected with their 3rd pick in that round, but because they really wanted Quick, they lost out on the remaining best OT's and subsequently squandered all of their second picks except for the CB they selected. I feel similarly here. But at least swapping with the Falcons retrieved some picks for them and they got a potential steal in athletic speed OLB in Alec Ogletree.
*-What was Buffalo thinking? After taking advantage of the fact the Rams coveted Austin, they reached for a QB with the 16th pick. I'm not knocking them for liking E.J. Manuel as their top rated QB in the draft. After all, as has been stated all along, there was no consensus top QB in this draft class. But couldn't they have traded down again and still got him later than the 16th pick? Now for all those who think that this was an indictment on Ryan Nassib, whom Doug Marrone coached in college and was widely considered to be who the Bills would select, I think it isn't so much that, as it is that if Marrone could hand pick any of the college QB available in this draft to run his offensive system, he believed Manuel could do it the best of any. Not the Nassib couldn't do it well, but that long term, Manuel could do it best.
*-Someone needs to teach the Raiders and Cowboys the art of deal making. Oakland traded from the 3rd overall pick and got in return from Miami the 12th and 42nd picks. Dallas traded from the 18th overall pick and got in return from San Francisco the 31st and 74th picks. Compare that to what Buffalo got from the Rams (16, 46, 78, and 222 for the 8th overall pick), the Rams got from the Falcons (30, 92, 198 for the 22nd overall pick), and the Patriots got from the Vikings (52, 83, 102, 229 for the 29th overall pick) and you can see that both Oakland and Dallas should have been able to squeeze out at least another later round pick this year, or a mid round pick next year for trading out of their spots.
*-Pittsburgh continues to just watch players fall right to them. OLB Jarvis Jones was considered by many to be the best pure pass rusher in this draft and while others were drafted ahead of him, he fell right to the Steelers, filling a glaring need for them. Some teams just live under a lucky star.
*-The Giants are usually among the best at evaluating offensive and defensive lines every draft. So while many think OL Justin Pugh was a reach, I think it was a heady move as Pugh can play OT or OG and likely will start right away for them. Not a "sexy" name pick, but very much in line with the "blue collar" no-nonsense approach we've come to expect from the Giants.
*-Credit the Jets for knowing that they needed so much help on offense that their best offense is to have a stifling defense. I think too much was made of Dee Milliner's shoulder and it played right into Rex Ryan's hands. Will he be Darrelle Revis? No. But he'll be Dee Milliner, and I think he's going to be very good. As for DT Sheldon Richardson, I would have taken a pass rusher like Jarvis Jones over him. But other than that, only Cordarrelle Patterson would have been a consideration. And the Jets have had their fill of WR's who have any type of maturity problems (real or imaginary).
*-I think the Houston Texans made the "safe" pick with WR DeAndre Hopkins, but I also think they would have been better suited drafting Patterson instead. Andre Johnson is at that point in his career where he is going to start sliding from his elite WR perch. Hopkins has all the traits of being an excellent #2 WR in the NFL, but I don't know if he has the big time upside to become a legitimate #1. And the Texans will need him to be that in another year or two.
I could rant about many things about day one and the first round, but I think I've touched on those things that were foremost in my mind. Time to start thinking about rounds 2 and 3 later tonight.
8 Predictions about what will happen in tonight's first round
The 2013 Draft is only an hour away from starting and with that in mind, I have a few predictions about what is going to happen before the first round is in the books many hours later from now. I'm not doing a "mock" draft as there are plenty of those to be found up and down the blogosphere. Most of them will be wrong by pick #5, and I'd bet all of them by pick #26. So instead, here are a few predictions I have about what we can expect to happen:
1) The big three OT's (Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, and Lane Johnson) will be selected in the first 4 picks. Even if it takes one or two teams trading up to select them.
2) The Oakland Raiders will NOT draft one of the fastest WR's in the first round.
3) The San Francisco 49ers will trade up in round 1 as they have extra picks to give.
4) There will be at least 10 first round trades.
5) Only 2 quarterbacks will be selected in the first round. None in the top 10. Your guess is as good as mine as to which two, but I'll say Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib.
6) Not only will this NOT be the first draft to not have a running back selected in round 1, but there will be TWO running backs selected in the first round (Eddie Lacey and Jonathan Franklin).
7) I will vehemently disagree with at least 1 of the 2 selections the St. Louis Rams make in round 1. They screwed up 2 of their 3 picks in round 2 last year and I am positive they will probably screw up their second first round pick this year, and possibly the first one, too. (As a lifelong Rams fan going back to the Fearsome Foursome days I feel entitled to include a bash on my team when I can see a mistake coming)
8) No matter what the Jets do tonight, you will hear their fans boo them at the draft. They have too many holes and the only player the fans seem to really want is WR Tavon Austin. And I get the feeling he isn't going to be there at the 9th pick (even if he should be). Jets fans haven't cheered a pick their team has made since Mark Sanchez and we all know how that turned out.
There you have it: 8 predictions about round one of tonight's NFL draft. I know some of them were kind of ridiculous (Oakland picks too high to take a speedy WR this year), but it's stuff like this that is fun to do while waiting for the biggest non-sporting sporting event to begin!
The NFL Draft is more confusing this year than ever before!
The 2013 NFL Draft is mere hours away and I have to say this is going to be the most interesting draft by far to watch. Not because of the excitement of the great players going to teams, but rather because for the first time in a long time, we really aren't sure who the first pick is going to be.
Kansas City owns the first pick and the most recent reports say they are leaning more towards Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher even though most think Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel is slightly better. It's not a sure thing the Chiefs are taking Fisher; they could go with Joeckel, but no matter who they take, the intrigue really begins with the second pick.
Jacksonville owns the second pick and they have needs galore. A pitiful pass rush could use a DE. Their OL was decimated by injuries last season and whichever OT the Chiefs don't take could be in play. They could surprise everyone and go with a QB. Even though none of the QB's in this draft class seriously grade out as top 15 picks, the premium is always on them and therefore they get drafted higher than they should. Jacksonville would certainly love to trade back and acquire more picks, but I don't think there is a team willing to give up what the Jaguars are likely asking for. Miami and San Diego are definitely teams that would like to secure one of the top 3 OT's (Joeckel, Fisher, and Oklahoma's Lane Johnson) in this draft, but will they be willing to give up a lot to do that? With both teams picking after the 10th pick, it would likely cost at least their first round pick, their second round pick, and a second round pick next year. And that's at the least I figure. So a trade with them doesn't seem likely.
That said, stranger things have happened in the past.
Then what about Oakland at #3? Common opinion has the Raiders locked into Florida DT Sharrif Floyd as the Raiders are in dire need of a DT. But they could also use an OT. And if one of Joeckel or Fisher fell to them, they would be mightily tempted to go that route. But, once again, the trade possibilities are likely to be there for them to consider as well.
Philadelphia holds the 4th pick and they also have needs galore. They could use one of the OT's. They need help defensively both at DL and in the secondary. While it's widely assumed they would like a QB, they aren't really so QB needy that they would take one that high. At least I don't think so. And once again, the trade possibilities are going to be there.
That's a common theme throughout the top 10 picks. They are many possible trade scenarios that could happen. Teams outside the top 10 that want to move up and those in the top 10 that would like to move down, and some of those teams, the move down is dependent entirely on what players are selected before their turn.
Listening to the trade rumors being reported all day today has been dizzying. Just as dizzying has been the speculation of what players are going to fall in the draft. Will Alabama CB Dee Milliner fall out of the top 10 because of medical reasons? I don't think he should, but it's a hot topic. Will North Carolina OG Jonathan Cooper be drafted before Alabama's OG Chance Warmack despite the fact that until the last few days, Warmack was considered to be the best OG prospect to come out in the last 10 years? Will Utah DT Star Lotulelei fall out of the top 10? Is Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert going to slip into the top 10 players drafted tonight? Does Buffalo really have West Virginia WR Tavon Austin ranked as the top player in this entire draft? Or is that a smokescreen to get another team to trade up to #8 and grab him so Buffalo can acquire extra picks and go with who they supposedly really covet, Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib, with a middle first round pick? Or is that also a smokescreen and they really are hoping to take West Virginia QB Geno Smith instead? Will Smith slide out of the first round completely? He was once considered a lock to be taken in the top 10, but not anymore.
In addition to these guys, how about BYU DE Ziggy Ansah, Oregon LB Dion Jordan, and LSU DE Barkevious Mingo? By the hour these guys are moving up and down mock draft boards to the point my head is spinning trying to keep up. Throw in speculation that this will be the first draft where a RB isn't taken in the first round (which I doubt; I truly believe someone will take Alabama's Eddie Lacey as the first RB off the board and somewhere before the end of round 1) and you start to see some of the problems.
I haven't heard a single draft analyst differ with the opinion that Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson is the most talented WR in this draft, but he could slide out of the first round because of a perception that he isn't that bright. As I've stated in a prior blog entry "catching passes is not Jeopardy". Patterson is going to make some team picking between 20-32 really happy. And there could be 3 WR's taken before him. Mind-bogging to me.
It's unlikely that there will be any trades before the draft starts, but once the Kansas City Chiefs make their selection, all bets are off. All bets are off as to exactly who the Chiefs will take with the first pick!
What I do know for sure, is that there are 3 top OT's in this draft. And more than 3 teams that REALLY need one. This is truly a draft where I think trading down and acquiring more picks is going to benefit someone greatly. Only question is which team?
A lot of questions. A lot of speculation. And honestly I have to admit: a lot of fun. The questions will be answered in a couple of hours. And if you're like me; you are eating it up.
Grand Valley State product could be real steal
In my last two blog entries, I have listed draft sleepers at the QB and RB positions. With the big day coming up tomorrow, there is one more position I want to pick a deep sleeper at, and that is at wide receiver.
Although it's rarer that an undrafted WR or one selected in the last couple of rounds pans out to be good (at least right away), there are some exceptions and we could definitely see one from this WR class. I recently went over my top prospects at WR for the 2013 NFL draft. And I believe those are the top guys. But what I am doing here is trying to identify what player at the position isn't getting a lot of buzz. A player that isn't getting the hype generated by the popular media and isn't ranked highly on the draft boards of the experts.
At WR, that guy who could really surprise as a late round steal is Grand Valley State's Charles Johnson.
(Waiting to hear the frogs croaking…)
Yes, I said Charles Johnson from Grand Valley State. Sure he wasn't invited to the NFL scouting combine, and he played at a very small school, but you would know about this kid if not for off-field issues that forced him to play at a small school level. Those issues are reportedly behind him, and if they are, this guy is going to make some NFL GM look genius in rounds 6 or 7.
Johnson hasn't generated much buzz except for a pro day workout that included him running the 40 in 4.36 seconds, a vertical jump of 39.5 inches, and broad jump reaching 11'1". Those are numbers that would have placed him amongst the best at the WR position at the scouting combine. Johnson measures in at 6'2", 215 lbs, showing he has plenty of size for the position. He dominated at NCAA Division II level with 128 receptions, 2,229 yards, and 31 TD's the last 2 seasons combined.
Very quietly, Johnson has had visits with nearly a dozen teams. While teams host players all the time, it's well known that the lesser known players who have some past baggage can creep into rounds higher than projected by making a good impression on a team. Johnson's skill set is excellent and while as little as 1 month ago he was expected to be maybe a 6th or 7th round pick (if drafted at all), he could be selected as high as the 3rd or 4th round by a WR needy team that was either impressed with him in an interview, or is willing to assume the risk associated with Johnson. All it takes is one team to really like a player for him to get drafted higher than is expected.
For example, is it so far out of the realm of possibility that a team like the New England Patriots could surprise us by taking him near the end of round 3 before teams shuffle their draft boards again after the second night of the draft? I doubt if Johnson goes that high, but you never know. And while I am just speculating, wouldn't it make a nice fit both for the NFL team and the world of fantasy football if Johnson did end up in New England?
Little regarded Vanderbilt RB could surprise if given a chance
Every year it seems we end up hearing about a RB who was either drafted late or went undrafted entirely, but comes into the NFL and surprises us and the media pundits with totally unexpected production. Last season it was Washington's 6th round pick, Alfred Morris. Not much was expected from Morris as he was deemed to be slow footed, uncreative, and lacking an extra gear in the open field. If you go back and look at the pre-draft rankings for the RB's, you won't even find Morris in some magazines, and not in the top 25 RB draft prospects anywhere else.
That didn't stop Morris from being the big fantasy football surprise of 2013.
So who could be the next deep fantasy football sleeper RB from the 2013 NFL Draft class?
I already completed my top 2013 NFL Draft RB prospects article. But here, I want to delve deeper. A lot deeper on the current prospect rankings for that next surprise guy from this year's rookie RB class. A guy who either is expected to go in the last 2 rounds, or possibly undrafted at all. With that in mind, I present to you Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt as someone to pay close attention to late in this year's draft.
Stacy is a guy who, in the right system, stands a good chance of surprising at the NFL level. At 5'8", 216 lbs, he's in the mold of the shorter, more compact type of RB's who are easy for defenses to lose behind offensive lineman and just catch a glimpse of as he's squeezing thru the hole. He has strength (witnessed by his 27 reps at the bench press at the combine) and surprising agility (finishing second overall of all RB's in the 3 cone drill at the combine). While lacking elite speed (4.55 in the 40), he fights for extra yardage and has good field vision, sensing the right lane and angle to take with his runs. He's been durable in college and while underutilized as a receiver, he catches the ball well enough. His skill set doesn't "wow" you in any category, but his overall package is one that could translate well at the NFL level.
In the last 2 seasons, 408 rushing attempts, 2,334 rushing yards, 24 rushing TD's while chipping in 30 receptions for another 311 yards. But another trait that I think is going to make NFL teams take notice is what he does off the field. Stacy is a strong character guy. He majored in Special Education in college and is giving of his time in community services. Teams are always looking for a guy who not only is a football player, but also an asset when it comes to community relations. Stacy can be that guy.
Now all this said, there are no guarantees that Stacy does anything at the NFL level. But after the success stories we've seen with other rookie RB's who weren't highly thought of going into the NFL draft, there is certainly precedent for the unlikely to become reality.
Just ask Alfred Morris.
Two prospects with different styles, but could pan out in the NFL
I recently completed my 2013 NFL Draft Preview on quarterbacks and while I am confident I covered the top prospects in this year's draft, there are two others I am intrigued with and will be curious to see where they end up. It's not often you get a diamond in the rough late in the draft at the QB position, but nobody thought much of Tom Brady coming out of college and he was a 6th round pick. So while unlikely to find a great QB later in the draft, it's also not impossible. Even in a weak QB prospect draft like this season.
The two quarterbacks I'm going to look at here are polar opposites. I am basically going to choose one that is in the mold of a traditional drop back QB, and the other in the new mold of the read option type of QB's we're going to see more of with the recent success of those types of QB's.
First up is the traditional drop back guy: Duke's Sean Renfree.
Renfree checks in with the requisite size at 6'3", 219 lbs. While he doesn't have a rocket for an arm, he has more than enough arm strength to make all the throws a QB makes at the NFL level. He's lauded for his accuracy, high football IQ, and his work ethic. He's a tough kid with strong leadership qualities. Renfree's college coach was David Cutliffe, who also coached both Peyton Manning at Tennessee and Eli Manning at Ole Miss, so it's safe to assume Cutliffe knows something about quarterbacks. It was a bad break for Renfree when he tore a pectoral muscle late in Duke's bowl game as this has prevented Renfree from taking part in the scouting combine or any of the pre-draft workouts. This is likely going to cause him to fall down to the 7th round, and there could be a chance he doesn't get drafted at all. But he'll be somewhere come training camp, and I'll be curious to see how he performs in preseason. After all, there has to be a reason to watch preseason games, and evaluating players, especially quarterbacks, is the best reason of all.
The other QB I wanted to say a few things about is in the new style of read-option type QB's, and that is Arizona's Matt Scott.
Scott is 6'2", 213 lbs, and is a great athlete who is that dual threat both rushing and passing the football. He is as good when moved out of the pocket as he is when standing in it. He has plenty of arm strength and his ability to avoid the rush and make plays with his legs will serve him well in the right situation in the pros. What he lacks is a lot of experience (only 17 college starts), and is too quick to take off and run when his first read isn't open instead of going thru his progressions. He'll force passes into tight windows, sometimes with negative results. A strong finish to his college career and solid workout performances since then have some saying that Scott could be taken as early as late in the second round. Guys don't usually shoot up from being 6th or 7th round picks to that high, but it's becoming clearer that Scott is likely to come off the board somewhere in rounds 3 or 4. How he does in the pros is unknown. If he goes to a team that runs a traditional offense,Scott will fail. If he goes to a team that is running a read-option offense, Scott could surprise.
There are no sure things in this year's QB draft class, but these are two more names to keep an eye. You just never know when the unexpected guy surprises you.then Scott could surprise if given an opportunity.
Lower Profile Acquisitions and Trades Still Worth Noting
The second of a two part series on the many quarterback moves so far this off-season, in this one I'll address the lower profile moves (or non-moves) made by signal callers.
Old Team: Kansas City Chiefs
New Team: Minnesota Vikings
Analysis: Credit Cassel with wasting no time. He was released by the Chiefs on March 14 and his signing with the Vikings happened later the same day. Some thought Cassel was brought in to compete with Christian Ponder, but the Vikings say there is no controversy and that Ponder is their guy. Credit Minnesota also for getting a Ponder-like clone (weak armed, questionable pocket presence and decision making) finally as a backup QB to him. They were without an adequate backup and Cassel would step in and be a lot like Ponder if needed: mediocre. There's even a slim chance that if Ponder continues to underwhelm as the starter, Cassel could step in. What we've earned about Cassel the last few seasons in K.C. is that he is inconsistent, sometimes looking good; more often looking horrible. But at least he's more competent than what the Vikings had.
Old Team: Indianapolis Colts
New Team: Arizona Cardinals
Analysis: Until the Cardinals acquired Carson Palmer, it looked like Stanton was finally going to get a legitimate chance to compete for a starting job for the first time in his career. Stanton is an unknown commodity as he has been in the league since 2008 and has made only 4 starts. He wasn't impressive in any of them, but he didn't look horrible either. Stanton has a strong arm and knows the new offensive system Bruce Arians is bringing to Arizona as he was with Arians in Indianapolis last season. While clearly Palmer will be the starter, if he gets injured playing behind a below average offensive line, Stanton could end up starting games for the Cardinals. I get the sneaky feeling that is exactly what is going to happen in 2013 and I am curious to see what type of QB Stanton really is.
Old Team: New Orleans Saints
New Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: There's always been optimism about Daniel, but since coming into the league in 2009 he's been behind Drew Brees and has only attempted 9 regular season passes. On the plus side he did complete 7 of them. Daniel is shorter than ideal at 6'0" tall, but he has been well-regarded despite that. The Chiefs signed him to a 3 year deal and gave him nearly $5 million guaranteed to be Alex Smith's backup. It's a fairly shrewd move by new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid as Smith has yet to prove himself as being a top flight starting QB. In Reid's west coast system, Daniel could shine if the opportunity arose. I like the fit of player and scheme here and while I doubt if Daniel gets opportunities in 2013, but if Smith isn't impressive this season, it won't be a surprise if Daniel gets a chance in 2014. There's some deep bench dynasty league fantasy football sleeper value here.
Old Team: Buffalo Bills
New Team: Tennessee Titans
Analysis: After being proven to be a mediocre starting QB in Buffalo the last 3 seasons, Fitzpatrick replaces Matt Hasselbeck as a veteran presence behind Jake Locker. Fitzpatrick is a lot like Locker, except for arm strength. Locker has a strong arm whereas Fitzpatrick's is below average. The Titans are beginning to question whether Locker is truly their QB f the future and needed to upgrade the backup position after Hasselbeck showed his age in 2012. Fitzpatrick can't be considered as a legitimate contender if Locker fails to step up his game in 2013, but at least he is a serviceable backup with a lot of starting experience if needed. It's just that he, as stated before, has proven to be mediocre.
Old Team: Arizona Cardinals
New Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Analysis: I don't know what to think of Skelton. I liked his potential to develop into a quality QB at the NFL level and he even looked impressive at times starting for the Cardinals over the last 3 seasons. But accuracy has been an issue and even though he is supposed to have a strong arm, I watched him throw a "Hail Mary" pass that failed to go 50 yards in the air in 2012. So questions about that have to be included. I think in Cincinnati, he should easily beat out Josh Johnson to be the backup to Andy Dalton. Skelton is kind of like the like the anti-Dalton though. Dalton is accurate; his passes show touch, is a strong leader, but has just average arm strength (which is why Dalton struggles late in the season when the weather gets cold in Cincinnati). Skelton is strong armed, inaccurate, rifles too many passes and leadership is questionable. It's an intriguing fit though and I'll be curious to see if can improve his play in Cincinnati if the opportunity arises.
Old Team: Cincinnati Bengals
New Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Analysis: Gradkowski signed a 3 year deal with Pittsburgh replaces both Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch as the new backup to Ben Roethlisberger. Since being drafted by Tampa Bay in 2006, Gradkowski has started 20 games for the Bucs, Browns, and Raiders. But the last two seasons he's been the veteran presence behind Andy Dalton in Cincinnati and has only attempted 29 passes in that role. Gradkowski lacks a strong arm, and owns only a 52.9 career completion percentage. He won't threaten Roethlisberger's ownership of the starting job, but at least he should prove to be a better fallback option than either Leftwich or Batch has been the last few seasons behind him.
Old Team: Tennessee Titans
New Team: Indianapolis Colts
Analysis: Hasselbeck will be 38 years old in September and showed aging arm strength in 2012. Now, he gets to be the veteran backup mentor Andrew Luck didn't have as a rookie in 2012. It didn't look like Luck really needed one, but at least if he has any questions, he has someone who is entering his 15th NFL season and has started 152 regular season games. While 2 years and nearly $8 million is a lot to give a backup QB, the Colts did a smart thing by bringing in someone with a lot of experience to be Luck's sounding board. They just need to hope Hasselbeck doesn't have to play much as his skills aren't what they used to be.
Old Team: Baltimore Ravens
New Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Analysis: I like Dixon and am glad he may finally get a legitimate chance to compete. He is a very intriguing prospect in Philadelphia with new head coach Chip Kelly bringing the Oregon offensive style that Dixon excelled in as the Ducks QB in 2007. Dixon spent last season on the Ravens practice squad after 3 seasons in Pittsburgh where he flashed ability, but wasn't a fit for a traditional style offense and thusly he didn't get on the field much. Dixon joins a crowded Eagles QB situation where Michael Vick is the likely starter, and second year QB Nick Foles also has a chance to compete for the top backup job. At least that's the way things look right now as of this writing as there had been reports of Foles potentially being traded in the past months as he isn't a good system fit in the new offense. If that were to happen, Dixon would be one Mike Vick injury away from getting a chance. And personally, I'd be interested to see how he would do.
Old Team: Washington Redskins
New Team: Washington Redskins
Analysis: Grossman drew no interest from NFL teams the first couple of weeks of free agency. So he did the smartest thing he could do: sign a one year contract to remain with Washington as veteran insurance in case anything happens that prevents Robert Griffin III in his recovery from ACL surgery being ready to start the regular season. Not that Grossman would get the call to start; that would go to Kirk Cousins, but Grossman at least knows the offense, and the Redskins are comfortable with him as their #3 QB. There's a chance Grossman might not make the final roster as the Redskins also signed Pat White (who has been out of the NFL since 2009 because of concussion issues). But I doubt if White is a legitimate candidate to make the final roster barring injuries helping his cause. After receiving little interest in this year's free agent market, there's a 50/50 chance 2013 will be Grossman's last in the NFL.
Old Team: Cleveland Browns
New Team: San Francisco 49ers
Analysis: Acquired from Cleveland, along with a 2013 6th round pick, in exchange for 5th and 7th round picks this year, McCoy steps in and is the favorite to win the backup QB spot behind Colin Kaepernick. McCoy was miscast as a starter because of below average arm strength, but he has moxie and intangibles that make him an excellent choice as a backup. He might even fit well in the 49ers hybrid type of offense if called upon because of a Kaepernick injury. I thought this was a smart acquisition as a replacement for Alex Smith as it was low risk, medium reward, and reasonably priced.
Old Team: Kansas City Chiefs
New Team: Seattle Seahawks
Analysis: I really wish Quinn was a better quarterback. His post-game press conference the day after the Jovan Belcher tragedy elevated my respect for him as a good man. But while I can pray all I like for Quinn to succeed, the reality is that he is a poor NFL quarterback. And the Seahawks had better hope they don't have to start him. Quinn has always impressed in practices and workouts, but it has never transferred into games. His average arm, poor decision making, and hesitancy to throw the ball down the field are nothing like Russell Wilson in terms of QB style. Maybe things will be different in Seattle than they were in Cleveland, Denver, and Kansas City, but I wouldn't bet on it. I will hope for it though.
Part 1 of a 2 Part Series about the potential impact on Fantasy
Is it just me, or does it seem like there was a lot of hype about the free agent quarterbacks and traded quarterbacks that was severely unwarranted this off-season? None of the moves had any "wow" factor at all. And something that really stood out was the fact a few of the QB's who were expected to move on to challenge for starting jobs elsewhere decided it's better to be a well paid backup and collect a check for holding a clipboard. In this first part of a two part series on the off-season quarterback moves, I'm going to look at the higher profile players.
Unrestricted Free Agent
Old Team: Baltimore Ravens
New Team: Baltimore Ravens
Analysis: The Ravens did the smart thing in locking up Flacco with a 6 year, $120 million deal. It was a bit much to pay for a player who has yet to reach 3,900 passing yards or 26 passing TD's in any season, but Flacco is coming into his prime and has proven to be able to help them win both in the regular season and in the playoffs. His value on 2013 fantasy football rankings is as a high upside QB2 who could easily step into the top 10 fantasy QB's with a little bit of luck.
Old Team: San Francisco 49ers
New Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: Smith needed out of San Francisco with the emergence of Colin Kaepernick and Andy Reid needed a stabilizing force at the position in his new home of Kansas City. The Chiefs gave up a hefty price (2013 second round pick, conditional 3rd round pick in 2014) to get a QB who since being the 1st pick in the 2005 draft has yet to reach 3,200 passing yards or 20 TD's in any season. But in the last 2 seasons Smith has quietly excelled as a smart game manager who when called upon can lead his team to victory. Reid's west coast style of offense may fit Smith the best of any system he's played in to date and while I doubt if Smith will ever become a top flight fantasy QB, he could surprise with around 3,500 yards and 22-25 TD's. The Chiefs would certainly take that as it would be an improvement over what they've gotten the last 2 seasons from the QB position.
Old Team: Oakland Raiders
New Team: Arizona Cardinals
Analysis: Acquired by Arizona, along with a 2013 7th round pick from the Raiders, for a 2013 6th round pick and a conditional 2014 draft pick, the Cardinals got a steal compared to what the Chiefs handed over for Alex Smith. I've discussed Palmer before and while I believe he represents a huge upgrade over what the Cardinals have put forth at QB the last couple of seasons, I doubt Palmer is the top flight caliber QB he used to be. He also lacks the ability to avoid the rush and unless the Cardinals upgrade their offensive line, Palmer could struggle to stay healthy for the entire season. He has a high ceiling though if he can stay upright as there are weapons to throw to, and the offensive system under new coach Bruce Arians fits Palmer's abilities as a QB. Palmer threw for over 4,000 yards last season in little more than 14 games for the Raiders, and he could approach those yardage totals again if he gets protection from the OL.
Old Team: Seattle Seahawks
New Team: Oakland Raiders
Analysis: Acquired from Seattle for a 2014 5th round pick and a conditional late round pick in 2015, the Raiders knew they were going to have to move on from Carson Palmer and the new regime didn't want Terelle Pryor as the only veteran QB they had. Flynn had been signed by Seattle in the 2012 free agency period, but he failed to beat out rookie Russell Wilson. While reports say Flynn will compete with Pryor to be the starting QB, Flynn has to be considered the favorite over Pryor. Question is whether Flynn will be the favorite for long if Oakland drafts a QB in the first or second round (something they are almost assured of doing). Despite having put up some incredible stats in a couple of starts for Green Bay in 2010 and 2011, Flynn doesn't seem to inspire confidence in many NFL teams as a capable starting QB. His arm strength reportedly is average and it's believed he was more a product of the offense in Green Bay then any second coming of Aaron Rodgers. It's a good bet that Flynn will start the 2013 regular season at QB for Oakland, but if he doesn't produce numbers, and more importantly, wins, it's doubtful he finishes it. And that makes him one of the riskier bets as a backup fantasy QB in 2013.
Released by Arizona March 15th, which made him an Unrestricted Free Agent
Old Team: Arizona Cardinals
New Team: Buffalo Bills
Analysis: Kolb was brought in by Buffalo to replace released Ryan Fitzpatrick. Kolb, like Fitzpatrick has a below average arm that probably will fail when the weather gets cold in Buffalo. He should have little problem beating out Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job, but there's an excellent chance the Bills will use one of the first two picks in April's draft on a QB and Kolb will face stiffer competition there. Kolb probably will get a little veteran deference and start the season as the Bills starting QB, but like Flynn in Oakland, there's also a good chance that unless he's putting up numbers and wins, he won't finish out the season that way. Kolb is another low end backup fantasy QB who has some potential for upside, but more likely will be unable to start the entire season.
Unrestricted Free Agent
Old Team: Miami Dolphins
New Team: Miami Dolphins
Analysis: Moore was fairly well regarded as a legitimate candidate for a starting job elsewhere when free agency opened, but instead of going for that, he opted to stay in Miami and be the clear backup to Ryan Tannehill. This actually was a smart personal decision for Moore as he probably wouldn't be more than an adequate temporary starter for any NFL team. Now, instead of subjecting his body to abuse, he gets to make a few million dollars without having to take the punishment he would have received if he won a starting job somewhere else. It speaks volumes about his mind-set though that he'd rather be a clipboard holder and veteran sounding board instead of competing for a starting job. But like Clint Eastwood said in Magnum Force: "A man's got to know his limitations." Apparently, Moore does.
Unrestricted Free Agent
Old Team: Chicago Bears
New Team: Cleveland Browns
Analysis: The Browns are once again under new management with a new head coach and offensive system. The new regime doesn't appear to regard Brandon Weeden as highly as the old one, and Campbell was brought in to give Weeden veteran competition for the starting QB job. Weeden wasn't a flop last season, but neither was he as impressive as the Browns had hoped. Campbell has been an okay starting QB in the NFL, but has never been consistent and has played himself out of jobs when given opportunities. Campbell is a veteran backup QB who could fit new offensive coordinator Norv Turner's offense if he can beat out Weeden, but it's no sure thing, and no sure thing he will beat out Weeden. Even if he does, his inconsistent play is likely to leave him as a free agent fantasy QB.
Unrestricted Free Agent
Old Team: Was not on any NFL roster in 2012 after he was cut by the Dolphins before the start of the regular season.
New Team: New York Jets
Analysis: Reportedly, Garrard was leading the Dolphins starting QB race in the preseason of 2012 when he had what was believed to a routine knee scope. But he was surprisingly released by Miami soon after. Routine knee scopes don't usually take 2-3 months to recover from so something there just isn't adding up right. Perhaps the back issues that plagued Garrard in prior seasons were also an issue? But that's just speculation. Now Garrard is supposedly fully healthy and goes to the most dysfunctional franchise in the NFL, where he has a legitimate chance to win the starting job over incumbent Jet Mark Sanchez. The Jets foolishly tied up a lot of money in Sanchez before the 2012 season began and while they say money won't play a part in who starts for them in 2013, I think Garrard will have to show that he is significantly better than Sanchez to earn the starting job right away. It will be much easier for Garrard to come in and replace Sanchez after a couple of games if Sanchez flops again in 2013. Garrard has been a starting QB in better situations in the NFL and still never been more than an okay fantasy backup. Expecting him to be any more than that, even if he is the starter week 1, is unrealistic.
New Cards QB not the next Kurt Warner
Carson Palmer is the new starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals. While this looks like a win-win for player and team, why am I not as hopeful about this as Arizona head coach Bruce Arians?
I mean, I have to admit Palmer represents a monumental upgrade over what the Cardinals had at QB last year. In Oakland last season, Palmer managed to throw for 4,018 yards and 22 TD's despite having a mediocre group of WR's and TE's to throw to and a rushing attack that ranked 28th in the NFL. You could make a compelling case that without Palmer, the Raiders probably would have finished with the worst record in the NFL in 2012 and would have the first pick in the draft this year. Looking at Palmer vs. the Cardinals combined QB's last season side by side you would think I should have greater optimism.
Palmer (15 games): 345 completions, 61.1% completion rate, 4,018 passing yards, 7.1 yards per attempt average, 22 passing TD's, 14 interceptions, 5 fumbles lost, 6 games with 300+ passing yards.
ALL Cardinals QB's combined (16 games): 337 completions, 55.4% completion rate, 3,383 passing yards, 5.6 yards per attempt average, 11 passing TD's, 21 interceptions, 6 fumbles lost, 3 games with 300+ passing yards.
And Palmer's production includes a week 16 performance where he was knocked out of the game after attempting just 3 passes.
Just on the surface alone, this should be enough to think that Carson Palmer is going to revive a Cardinals offense that was DREADFUL in 2012. Add in a better group of WR's, including the second best WR in the game today in Larry Fitzgerald (who probably is the most thankful man on the roster after the Palmer acquisition), and TE's to throw to, and an offensive minded coach in Arians who has a track record of getting successful statistical seasons out of QB's and I should be thinking the Arizona Cardinals are going to be significantly better in 2013.
So why don't I?
Part of it stems from the woeful Arizona offensive line. Arians can claim all he likes that this offensive is better than what many believe. And while I have the utmost respect for Arians, and believe the QB's the Cardinals had last year contributed to the high sack totals, there's a reason why the Cardinals are very likely to use 2 of their first 4 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft on offensive lineman. At best, the current offensive line is mediocre. And even that may be a bit generous.
Another part is that while Palmer has shown he still has good arm strength, it isn't what it was back before the 2008 elbow injury that caused him to only play in 4 games that season. Palmer used to boast elite arm strength and was one of the most accurate deep ball passers. He still has good strength, but his passes flutter more often on deeper passes than they used to. At least playing in a dome for the first time in his career, weather won't be able to affect his passes like it did in Cincinnati, or the winds in Oakland.
But I just don't see Palmer leading the Cardinals back to contending in the NFC West.
However, when I put on my fantasy glasses, I see enough to think Palmer could be a strong fantasy backup QB in 2013. His presence bodes well for the fantasy outlooks of WR's Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Fitzgerald may even be able to crack back into the top 10 wide receiver fantasy rankings. It should also bode well for potential 2013 sleeper fantasy TE Rob Housler. Palmer's presence also should mean an improved chance that new Cardinals starting RB Rashard Mendenhall bounces back in 2013.
So while I have my doubts about Palmer pulling a Kurt Warner in Arizona, I can at least think better of the fantasy prospects of the other Cardinals offensive players.
If the Buffalo Bills think they've solved their QB problems by signing Kevin Kolb, they need to think again. Buffalo just released a Kolb-like clone in Ryan Fitzpatrick and expecting another weaker armed QB like Kolb to come in and succeed beyond what Fitzpatrick was able to produce is just pipe-dreaming.
After two seasons in Arizona where Kolb was unable to stay healthy for more than 15 games, Buffalo would be well-advised to still use either their first or second round picks on a signal caller. Despite the fact the 2013 NFL Draft doesn't have an elite QB prospect Buffalo still needs to either draft West Virginia's Geno Smith with the 8th overall pick in round one (which I believe they will do if Smith is still there), or use their second round pick to grab Syracuse's Ryan Nassib or Florida State's E.J. Manuel.
Nassib is especially intriguing as new Buffalo head coach, Doug Marrone, was Nassib's head coach in college at Syracuse before taking the Bill's job this off-season. Nassib was Marrone's QB the last 3 seasons at Syracuse and is considered one of the top 5 QB prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft.
But back to Kolb…
Kolb, like the QB he'll be replacing is no more than a stop gap answer at the QB position for the Bills. His below average arm-strength will remind Buffalo fans of Fitzpatrick, especially in the colder winter months of the season. His short-intermediate accuracy is a little better than Fitzpatrick's, but whereas Fitzpatrick started 45 consecutive games for Buffalo, the longest consecutive starting streak of Kolb's career is only 7 games. Kolb has had an inability to stay healthy and remain in games during his time with both Philadelphia and Arizona.
Let's look at the stats for the two QB's.
Fitzpatrick 2011: 16 games started, 3,832 pass yards, 24 TD's, 23 int's.
Fitzpatrick 2012: 16 games started, 3,400 pass yards, 24 TD's, 16 int's
Kolb: 15 games combined the last two seasons, 3,124 pass yards, 17 TD's, 11 int's
And while in Buffalo Kolb will have Stevie Johnson at WR, in Arizona, he had Larry Fitzgerald. About the only thing Kolb will have with Buffalo that he didn't with the Cardinals are capable RB's. C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are both far superior to anyone the Cardinals have trotted out the last 2 seasons. There's a good chance the offensive line in Buffalo will be better than what Kolb knew in Arizona, but as someone who lives in Arizona and has watched a lot of Arizona Cardinals football over the years, I can tell you that Kolb is at least partially to blame for the 57 sacks he took in those 15 games he played in Arizona. Kolb holds onto the football too long when his receivers aren't open right away. Instead of throwing it away, he will wait, hoping to make a play, and it usually gets him in trouble, leading to sacks, and sometimes fumbles.
While I liked Kolb's chances of succeeding in a west coast style of offense when he first was drafted, I do not think he has shown the ability to play at a high level consistently, or stay healthy, for him to be any better than what the Bills experienced with Fitzpatrick.