2012 NFL Draft: NFC Youth Movement Could Cost These Players Their Jobs
This is second of a two-part series. (Including updated draft picks)
In this part I cover the players in the NFC that will have competition for their jobs following the final pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
There are some big names on this list. These guys have been staples of fantasy football and reliable players for their respective teams.
We have heard it before that, first and foremost, the NFL is a business. The business of the draft is finding new talent to build on.
The cycle continues.
Andre Roberts/Early Doucet, Arizona Cardinals
This was actually a tough pick. Is the quarterback play the reason for the poor production or is the talent at No. 2 receiver the cause?
I think the Cardinals are going to give Kevin Kolb another season, so the best thing for them to do is upgrade the talent around him.
If Kevin Kolb, John Skelton or anyone else they line up under center is expected to succeed, the Cardinals have to improve their receiving corps behind Larry Fitzgerald.
Early Doucet, Andre Roberts and Chansi Stuckey are in for some competition.
Cardinals Draft WR Michael Floyd
Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
Failing to top four yards per carry in nine games in 2011 including five of the last six, is evidence that Turner’s days are numbered.
He topped 300 carries for the second straight year. This is the second year in a row that his first half production and long runs have helped bolster his YPC. Note there is a noticeable drop of in production in the last half of the last two seasons.
It’s time to upgrade. Jacquizz Rodgers is a nice third down back, but the Falcons will add Turner’s replacement in the draft.
Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers signed Smith to a three-year extension in April.
He’ll be 34 when the season starts and while he still has gas in the tank, the Panthers need to find their next No. 1 guy.
Brandon LaFell is projected to have a better year, but that is due in large part to the continued growth of Cam Newton.
LaFell is not a No. 1 guy and the Panthers would do themselves a favor by getting a top-tier wide receiver early in the draft.
Panthers draft WR Joe Adams in the 4th round.
Kellen Davis, Chicago Bears
The Bears re-signed Davis but they will look to upgrade at the position. Davis played in all 16 games but only tallied 18 catches for 206 yards. His touchdown total (five) was impressive for that little amount of work.
Davis graded out as a decent blocking tight end by profootballfocus.com. After letting Greg Olsen go, the Bears need to reload with a true pass-catching tight end.
Bears draft TE Evan Rodriguez
Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys
Jones has a decent 5.1 YPC average over his career. The problem is, he has only been healthy a full 16 games once in his four-year career.
Demarco Murray came on strong in 2011 only to be sidelined by a broken ankle. Murray will be back healthy and should regain the starting position.
The Cowboys will address the lack of depth in the draft. Could that spell a Tashard Choice type of exit for Jones if he continues to struggle with health issues?
Kevin Smith/Jahvid Best/Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions
The Lions need a back that can grow with one of the youngest offenses in the league. Best was tagged to be that guy only to be sidelined by numerous concussions.
Kevin Smith had an impressive return for the Lions before missing most of December with a leg injury.
Mikel Leshoure is rehabbing an Achilles tear, one of the toughest injuries for running backs to recover from.
The Lions will go to the well again in the draft.
James Starks/Alex Green, Green Bay Packers
Starks is a serviceable running back but lacks explosiveness and is not a big threat to opposing defenses. His career long is a 40 yard carry.
The Packers can use a guy that has the ability to break big plays.
With Ryan Grant still floating in free agency limbo and Alex Green (ACL) barely running straight lines now, the Packers will upgrade the position via the draft.
Michael Jenkins/Devin Aromashodu, Minnesota Vikings
Percy Harvin is the only wide receiver on the roster that is guaranteed a spot. His size and style of play could lead to potential injuries. He's having surgery soon on his shoulder. Although deemed minor in nature, it's a sign that he needs some help to avoid taking too much of a beating.
The Vikings have to surround Ponder with more talent if they want him improve.
An early pick on a big pass-catcher would go a long way.
Vikings draft WR Jarius Wright in 4th round.
Devery Henderson, New Orleans Saints
Or the front office staff (OK I’m kidding…sort of)
The Saints have been hoping someone would step up and take the No. 2 role.
Robert Meachem was unable to do it consistently. He was allowed to exit via free agency.
Henderson has been hanging around like old Christmas decorations and Lance Moore is not an every down player.
The Saints biggest problem now is all of their top decision makers are suspended or under investigation, who will be in the draft room for the Saints?
Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants
Bradshaw is the man, now that Brandon Jacobs is gone.
The problem is the Giants know that Bradshaw can’t hold up to a full slate of touches. He followed up his first full season in 2010 by missing four games in 2011 and seeing his average YPC dip to a career low 3.9.
The Giants will draft what appears to be Bradshaw’s backup, but in reality whomever they draft will work into a split role sooner rather than later.
Giants select RB David Wilson in first round.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
Injuries continue to cap Vick’s ability to be successful.
The Eagles aren't in the habit of shelling out a $100 million contract for a guy to stand on the sidelines.
The Eagles signed Trent Edwards, but he is not the long-term solution and Mike Kafka has yet to show that he is the answer.
Andy Reid knows the only way to keep the Eagles successful is to find the next franchise quarterback sooner rather than later.
Eagles select QB Nick Foles in 3rd round.
Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
Harbaugh tried for Peyton Manning but was unsuccessful.
The 49ers signed Josh Johnson from Tampa Bay.
Alex Smith saw the writing on the wall and hesitated to re-sign. How will he react when the 49ers bring in another quarterback?
It’s only a matter of time and depending on which of the rookie QB’s Harbaugh drafts, Smith’s clipboard days could be sooner than he thinks.
Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks signed Matt Flynn from the Packers and are touting a true quarterback competition.
Flynn’s contract price makes that a possibility. The reality is, Flynn is going to be the starter, and Jackson will be listening in on a headset come game day.
If the Seahawks can land Ryan Tannehill, Jackson could be wearing a new uniform on Sundays.
Seahawks select QB Russell Wilson in 3rd round.
Danario Alexander, St. Louis Rams
The Rams brought in Steve Smith, and many believe they will draft Justin Blackmon on Thursday.
That spells the end for an injury prone wide receiver with suspect hands.
Alexander may get an opportunity for some playing time but he will not be a full-time starter.
Rams select WR Brian Quick with 1st pick in round two.
LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Blount’s ball security is horrible, losing nine fumbles in two seasons. His noted lack of ability in the passing game, and complete absence of blitz pick-up will relegate him to short yardage back, if not a true backup.
He could lose his job outright if the Buc’s grab someone like Trent Richardson early on.
The lack of free agent signings by the Bucs the running back department leads me to believe they plan on solving this problem through the draft.
Bucs select RB Doug Martin in first round.
Rex Grossman, Washington Redskins
Sorry Rex but we all know your days as a starting QB in Washington are over. Robert Griffin III is the consensus pick for the Redskins and he will get every opportunity to start for this team.
Shanahan and Shanahan are building a young offense and the last piece of the puzzle is quarterback.
Griffin III steps in right away.
Redskins select RGIII and Kirk Cousins in first four rounds.