Top 3 Football Cards of 2012 NFL Draft

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Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck at the footba...

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The 2012 NFL draft is sure to be one of the best rookie classes in a long time.  Some of the hottest players are going to be on top of many football card collectors’ want lists.  Part of the reason why this draft class is getting so much attention from collectors is the amount of offensive players that are supposed to be drafted in the top 10. Many scouts believe that at least 5 of these players are going to be franchise type players that can change the dynamic of a struggling franchise right away.  Here is a breakdown of our top 3 football card picks for the 2012 NFL draft class.

Andrew Luck – Andrew Luck football cards will be at the top of most collectors’ want lists in 2012.  The Stanford quarterback has become one of the elite prospects to come out of college in over a decade.  Most scouts believe that Luck will be drafted first by the Colts.  If the Colts decide to stick with Peyton Manning then you can expect the Colts to trade the #1 pick in the draft to a team willing to over pay to get the Stanford star.

Robert Griffin III – The Heisman winning QB is on top of many teams’ draft charts especially those who are in need of a franchise quarterback.  Griffin has great passing skills and can improvise with his legs.  He has the potential of being an elite all around quarterback with scrambling abilities which are needed in today’s game.  Companies like Upper Deck and Topps are sure to give collectors more than a few options when it comes to the Robert Griffin rookie cards.

Trent Richardson – Many scouts believe Trent Richardson is one of the top all-around backs to enter into the draft since Adrian Peterson.  The Alabama running back has all the gifts that are needed to be a great back in the NFL.  He can run, catch, and even block well which makes him the total package for NFL teams in need of a playmaker at the running back position.  You can expect his football card prices to skyrocket once the season starts.

A plan for rebuilding the Cleveland Browns

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Where do the Browns go from here?

The Browns are now 3-5 and their chances of winning any more games are small.  They might steal a win from either the Jags or the Rams but the way they are playing there is no chance they can win any of their last 5 games.  Even the trip to the Cards on week 15 seems like an impossible win.

So the question is what do they do now and how do they proceed to prepare for 2012?  Here
is a plan.  The D has played fairly well despite being pushed around last week by the Texans.  The big issues are on offense.

  1.  The key issue is can the team win with Colt McCoy at QB?  I think they have decided that the QB must be replaced.  But this team is not likely to draft a QB in the first round.  The problem is this—When you pick a 2nd or 3rd round QB you get a guy with a great arm that could not hit the state of Ohio from downtown Columbus or a guy with good to very good accuracy but no stronger arm than McCoy’s.            Will  either of those guys do the Browns any good?   Probably not.  The Browns  have been the great arm 0 accuracy route with Anderson.
  2. They need to limit the playbook to the shotgun formations, go 2 TE 1 RB, and put Cribbs in motion as the flanker to  help Colt get a better pre-snap read of the D.  That will also allow him an additional half second to throw the  ball.  The WRs MUST run more accurate patterns and all plays that require the WR to stop and wait for the ball must  be eliminated from the playbook.  The West Coast Offense depends on hitting a moving WR with a short pass then  generating additional yards after the catch.
  3. Sign RB Hillis with FB money.  They MUST draft a RB high in 2012.  They let FB Vickers go and so far FB Marecic is a big time bust.
    He will not get any offer from another team because he is a one year wonder.  His injuries this year have eliminated
    any market value he might have otherwise had.  He is a victim of too many carries last season and the Madden
    Curse.  He is a good kid that has been in limbo all season due to injuries and his pending free agency.  If he refuses to sign a reasonable deal, the team should put him on IR and see what they can do next season.  He has been a valuable FB and can be
    again.  He catches the ball well and is an effective blocker.
  4. Promote RB Smith from the practice squad and start him.   He is the only back with any speed.
    He can be very effective running draws and sweeps out of the gun.  He has the speed to break a wheel route or
    draw for big yards as well.
  5. Put WR Massaquoi on IR.  He has suffered 3 concussive episodes in the last 2 games.  He needs to go on IR to protect his health.  I am not sure if he will ever be an effective WR but he must be healthy before the team can determine his long term ability to help the team.
  6. Put both WRs Norwood and Mitchell must get on the field.  Norwood has shown he can get open and catch
    the ball in the few opportunities he has had.   Mitchell is the only WR with great speed and size.  He must get a shot because this team has no one that can stretch the D.  They should  check on getting one more vet WR from those available.  Even WR Moss would help the team this year and help the evaluation of McCoy by providing a reliable guy that still has the speed to get deep and stretch the D.  A vet would also help develop the younger guys.  Say what you want about Moss.  He has a work ethic that no one questions.
  7. Most important, Pres. Mike Holmgren is going to have to take a much more active roll n the team.  HC Shurmur has proven that
    the combination of his duties of both HC and offensive coordinator are WAY too uch for him to handle.  He has held onto
    the job of OC because he is comfortable with that function.  He has failed to supervise the correction the pecial teams’ issues and the execution of the O has been abysmal.  Holmgren has to do the parts of the HC job that Shurmur cannot or will not do.
    Holmgren put his desire to be in the Hall of Fame on the line with his hire of Shurmur.  Now he has to step in
    to prevent the entire franchise and his hopes for election to the HOF from going up in flames.
  8. The team needs to draft a RB and a fast WR in the first round of the 2012 draft.  Given a 4 or 5 win season, they
    may be in a position to take RB Richardson of Alabama.  That would give them a combination of speed
    and power the team has not had since Hall of Fame RB Leroy Kelly.  They should take a QB with the 2nd
    round pick.  At this point it is possible that QB might be Griffin (Baylor) or Cousins (Michigan St.).  Both of these players have issues but would be a great improvement over the Browns current backup.
  9. The team MUST be more active in free agency in 2012.  This team has multiple needs on D and O that
    no amount of draft choices can fill.  Here is the problem with the draft only philosophy of the Browns.  By the time that you finally have enough good picks to fill the holes you will lose the 2009 and 2010 picks because they will be tired of losing and hearing “rebuilding is a process.”  If the team is not at least 8-8 by the end of 2012 it risks losing the fan base as well.   No team has been as inept and badly run over the last decade as the Browns.  Even the Bengals have won the division and gone to the playoffs in the last 5 years.  This fan base is dwindling because the team since its return in 1999 has been a disaster.

These moves will not do a lot of good in generating wins this year.  But this team is not going anywhere this season.  The one sure
full time job in sports talk in Northeast Ohio is the NFL Draft analyst.  Because within 2 or 3 weeks of the beginning of the season the fans are wondering what we should do with our early draft pick the next year.  The draft is the Browns fans’ Super Bowl because it is the only thing we have to look forward to.


That’s what I think.   What do you think?

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent.

He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at

He edits  Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear
his sports show Monday-Friday 6-8 PM EST on
or   You can be part of the show by calling our Herbalife Hotline at 216-539-0607.

Ohio State coach Fickell has failed his team.

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 The win yesterday by the Buckeyes against Wisconsin was not amazing. It was not even too surprising that freshman QB Miller brought the team back from a 29-26 deficit against a top 25 team. It was an indication that the young QB had developed into a playmaker. Miller winked at his coach indicating that despite the deficit and the limited time on the clock, he was confident he could bring the team back. It is not bragging if you can do it. But that brings us to a very perplexing question.

What would have happened if Miller had been named the QB to start the season? Miller has blossomed in his stint as the starter. He has developed much more quickly than anyone could have guessed. Most likely Miller would have developed in time to have won against Miami. But newbie HC Fickell chose to give the practice snaps to his choice the 5th year senior instead. The problem is that young man is an outstanding guy but is not capable of playing QB at the major college level. No one can guess why Coach made that decision. But there are a couple things we know for a fact did not impact his decision.

1. Was it in the long term interest of the program to start a senior? No. In fact, the long term interests of the program would have been served much better if the young man with 4 years of eligibility had been allowed to get both the practice snaps of a starter and the experience of playing in the Shoe against some lesser teams PRIOR to taking on a major school on their field.

2. Was there a significant difference in experience between the freshman and the senior? No. The senior had very little game experience. The senior had thrown a grand total of 47 passes in his 3 years on the roster. Miller was part of the team in the Spring so that he could participate in spring practices. Except for the practice snaps allocated by the coach, neither player had a major edge in experience.

3. Was there an indication that the senior would be more successful than the freshman? No. As a matter of fact any pee-wee coach should have been able to tell in the first practice that Miller had much more upside and very little downside in both the short and long term.

4. Would the “locker room” have reacted negatively to a freshman being picked over a senior? No. My experience with several levels of football indicates to me that the guys that give their sweat to the team want the best chance to win. When a coach chooses to start a guy that hurts their chances to win, that coach is in danger of losing the locker room. Once that happens, it is impossible to get it back. Players at this level of college know by the end of the first practice in pads who can play and who can coach. There is no fooling the locker room. The OSU players have gotten behind Miller very quickly because he gives them everything he has and gives them the best chance to win.

The result was not only a miserable start to the season that included 3 losses and an offense so inept it scored a total of 13 points in two of those defeats.

So why did the coach decide to go with the senior? I don’t know and will not speculate. Let me leave it at this. Fickell is the interim coach. Anyone would love to have this job because it is one of the best in the country. I hope he made his decision based on his true feeling about what was in the best interest of the team and the program.

That’s what I think. What do you think?

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for edits He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at He edits .

Why Stanford QB Luck will not be a Colt in 2012

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There is a lot of talk in the sports world about which NFL team will by Luck(y).  Most people believe that the winner (by losing) will be either the Rams, the Dolphins or the Colts.  None of those teams have won a game so far.

The Dolphins – This team is struggling with bad coaching, no QB and a D that is constantly being put in bad field position by
turnovers.  The Fish would love to have Luck and he would love to play for them.   The coach is history after the season.
Having the first choice would allow the Fish to attract a top HC prospect.  It is likely the Fish will be in the battle for the top draft choice all season long.

The Rams – This is the only team that will likely trade the pick.  They have Bradford and are happy with him when he is healthy.
They have multiple issues on the O line and D that could be filled by the draft choices or young veterans they should get from trading the rights to Luck.  This deal will be made BEFORE the draft and not after they take Luck.  If they have both Luck and Bradford on the roster their negotiating power goes down not up.

The Colts – Most people are thinking that the Colts are the worst team in the league and will take Luck.  What they are missing is this—Luck does not want to sit for 4 or 5 years behind Payton Manning.  If the Colts end up with the 1st pick, I predict Luck will stay in school another year.  He is a red shirt Junior and can opt to come out for the draft or stay for another year.   He likes school and the college game.
While there is a risk staying in college, Luck is the closest thing to a sure thing and will not fall like Jake Locker did.  But having sat for a year in college I believe Luck will not want to sit for multiple years behind Manning.


That is what I think.  Tell us what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color
on radio for
college football and basketball and has scouted talent. 
He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at

He edits .

The Biggest Questions For the 2011 Fantasy Football Season

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Mike Vick with Philadelphia

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It looks like the new collective bargaining agreement is going into effect sometime today (7/25/2011) and we should start seeing action all over the pro football realm. This means the 25 million or so fantasy football players can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Fantasy football will be played, trades will be made, and trophies will be be won. There is a controversial question that has been hotly debated over the past few months, really since the end of last years fantasy season. Should Michael Vick not only be the #1 quarterback drafted but the #1 overall pick? There are millions of fantasy owners on both sides of the fence. Is there a right answer. I for one am not quite sure there is, but let’s see if we can find it.

Argument(s) For Vick Being The #1 Overall Pick

The main argument for Vick being the #1 overall pick is that he is the most unique and dynamic player in fantasy football. When that fantasy football draft board goes up should he be the #1 pick? Here is what proponents say about that question.

Vick is a risk/reward player but the reward far outweighs the risk. Vick in addition to being dynamic is by far the most dangerous dual threat in the league. He is in a high powered offense where he can pass to any number of highly skilled options. If needs be he can take off and run if things break down. He is as dangerous a player on the field as there ever has been and if you need any proof just go back and look at the numbers last year against Washington and the New York Giants. Only Vick can put up these types of numbers. Sure a running back here and there rushes for 200 yards and 3 scores like Arian Foster did last year but Vick can put up 333 yards passing with 4 passing touchdowns and 80 yards rushing with 2 rushing tds like he did on Monday night against Washington. That’s at least 49 fantasy points in a standard league. Oh well that’s just one week he didn’t do that every week. No he didn’t but Vick did average a ridiculous 27 points a game. The next closest QB was Aaron Rodgers and he averaged right at 20. In standard leagues when Vick played a full game he only once scored “Below” 20 points and that was a 19 point outing against the Giants. The next time he played the Giants he scored 38. Proponents will argue there is no other player that has even close to this type of potential for scoring and anyone would be out of their mind not to draft him first. He is by far the best option to win you multiple weeks by himself and is probably the safest bet to provide you with double digit fantasy points week in and week out. It’s a no-brainer ladies and gentleman, Vick should be the first pick.

Arguments Against Vick Being the #1 Overall Pick

If you want to win your league’s fantasy football trophy, opponents will argue drafting Vick #1 overall would not be a wise choice. Here is what arguments are against Vick going #1 overall.

Fantasy is all about minimizing risk, especially with the first pick. Vick is much to risky of a pick to take first overall. Especially since you only need to start one qb in standard leagues and your next pick in a 10 man league isn’t until pick 20. Take a safe running back instead and wait on a qb. You can likely get Tom Brady or Peyton Manning with your next pick if you wait. Vick has only really had one other season similar to last years, and that was way back in 2002. Brady and Manning have been consistent for a decade. Vick in 2002 still scored less points than he did in 10′ and played 15 games where-as last year he played 12. Last year was an anomaly and not likely to be repeated. He had 9 rushing tds last year and 8 in 2002. The next 15 game season for Vick was 2004 and he only had 3 rushing tds. It’s hard to repeat that type of rushing td performance from year to year, even if you are Michael Vick. In 2003 after the big 02′ season he only played 5 games because of injury. Speaking of injury this is the next argument. Vick is one of the most dangerous weapons on the field, but also one of the most dangerous options to have as your quarterback due to injury. He only played in 12 games last year and took a large # of hits. He no longer is in his 20’s and the hits take a heavier toll in their 30s. If you look at his last 5 or 6 games defenses started blitzing him relentlessly and Vick took a beating. He had to sit out week 17 as a result and really didn’t look in perfect health against the Packers in the wild card round. His style is too dangerous, and injury is too big a concern. If defenses decide from day 1 the only way to stop him is to blitz him, and hit him, until they crack his armor (or worse ribs), then he is going to take a beating. Do you want to waste your #1 pick on a player that will likely miss games due to injury? Take A.P. instead and thank us for it later.

I could keep going with arguments for both sides but these are the main arguments that each side has. One of the great things about fantasy football is that there are arguments like this to be had. Truth is nobody knows the right answer until the season is complete. Vick will either be a fantasy juggernaut and help multiple teams win their championships, he will come back down to earth and score closer to his peers, or he will take a beating, be injured half of the year and be a nightmare for owners who drafted him first. If you really want him and you have the first pick your only option is to take him because he won’t be there when it’s your turn again.


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From left to right, Mel Kiper Jr., Jon Gruden,...

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Date: April 26, 2011
Special Announcement:
My radio version of News, Notes and Rumors will be on air during the entire NFL draft Thursday April 28 and Friday April 29th. The show both nights will begin at 6 PM EDT and continue during every pick of the first 3 rounds. On Thursday, my co-host will be Paul Banks of to help cover the 1st round. On Friday, my co-host will be Kevin Arnold AKA Ziffles.

I will have a special show on Saturday beginning at 11AM and cover the draft until the middle of the 6th round or when my voice gives out whichever comes first. Ken Becks of will be my co-host. We will have wrap up coverage of the entire draft Saturday after the last pick and again on Monday during our regular show.

Please join me and call in on the Herbalife Hotline at 216-539-0607 and tell us how your favorite team has done. Phone lines will be open during the broadcast.

The NNR show Monday April 25th will include conversations with the writers for the teams drafting early in the first round. Please join us for the latest in NFL draft information.

1. CAR – Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
2. DEN – Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
3. BUF – Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
4. CIN – A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
5. ARI – Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
6. CLE – Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
7. SF – Robert Quinn, DE, UNC
8. TEN – Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
9. DAL – J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
10, WAS – Jake Locker, QB, Washington
11. HOU – Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
12. MIN – Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
13. DET – Tyron Smith, OT, USC
14. STL – Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
15. MIA – Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
16. JAX – Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
17. NE – Cameron Jordan, DE, California
18. SD – Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
19. NYG – Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
20. TB – Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
21. KC – Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
22. IND – Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
23. PHI – Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
24. NO – Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
25. SEA – Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
26. BAL – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
27. ATL – Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
28. NE – Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
29. CHI – Mike Pouncey, C/OG, Florida
30. NYJ – Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
31. PIT – Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
32. GB – Marvin Austin, DT, UNC
That’s what he thinks. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on

and a non-fiction work at He edits . Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear his sports show Monday-Friday 6-8 PM EST on or

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