Look But Don’t Touch: 2 Guys Talk Haynesworth, Potential Draft Busts, and Judge Nelson’s Ruling

Albert should keep his hands to himself off the field.

This week Two guys discuss the ramifications of Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling regarding the NFL lockout, potential draft busts, and how the lack of free agency will affect the upcoming draft.

Two guys also examine why it is important that the players and owners sit down and continue negotiating as well as looking at the off the field trouble of some of the league’s marquee players.

Download this podcast from iTunes.

Let the trades begin! 3 veteran players who should find a new home on draft day

With Judge Susan Richard Nelson handing down a ruling that ended the NFL lockout (although many teams are yet to go back to business as usual as they wait for a ruling on a stay which would return the league to a stalemate), the league went from an offseason of complacency to what could be the most exciting week of player activity in the NFL history.  Over the next few days, it seems quite possible that we may find all 32 teams rushing to sign free agents, pushing to make player trades, and simaltaneously preparing their draft boards.  Although I do not expect there to be a free agent signing frenzy since the ruling did not set a 2011 salary cap, I do see tremendous potential for a bevy of player trades to happen during the upcoming draft.  With the draft being heavy on defensive talent, with questions surrounding every quarterback in the draft, and with a lack of talented running backs in the 2011 draft class, many teams will try to fill gaps through these player trades.  Here are the three veteran players most likely to find themselves wearing a different uniform in 2011:

Sorry Cincy, not even a lifetime supply of Skyline Chili could keep Palmer in a Bengals uniform

1) Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals – Carson Palmer has made his intentions clear to the Bengals.  Trade me or I retire.  With no fewer than 10 teams in desperate need of a quarterback, the Bengals will never find a better market for the former Pro Bowl quarterback.  Where might we see Palmer end up?  My best guess would be that Palmer finds himself playing on the west coast next year.  Look for the San Francisco 49ers and first year head coach Jim Harbaugh to take a run at Palmer who could lead them to a division title in the weak NFC West.   Serving as a bit of a sleeper for Palmer’s services, Seattle could use him to replace Matt Hasselbeck.  After all, Pete Carroll would certainly know what he was getting with the former USC Trojan.

2) Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles – With his minute $1.4 million salary for 2011, there may not be a quarterback with more trade value than the 26-year-old Kolb.  Despite throwing only 319 professional passes, Kevin Kolb is viewed by many teams as an above average starting quarterback and would provide a team with less risk than any of the quarterbacks in the 2011 draft class.  Although Andy Reid would love to keep Kolb as an insurance policy for Michael Vick in 2011, Kolb provides too much value as a trade piece for the Eagles to stand pat.  Where will Kolb end up?  I would see a team that thinks it can win soon vying for Kolb’s services- teams like the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals.  Would catching passes from Kevin Kolb cheer Larry Fitgerald up? 

3) Marion Barber, Dallas Cowboys – Once thought to be one of the best 4th quarter running backs in the league due to his punishing running style, Marion Barber has found himself to be the odd man out in the Dallas Cowboy backfield.  With Jerry Jones constantly pushing for more touches for Arkansas product Felix Jones and with Tashard Choice proving to be a serviceable second option, Barber’s time in Dallas is up.  At only 27, without a season in which he has rushed the ball more than 240 times, Barber should have plenty left in the tank.  2011’s draft class does not have a marquee running back meaning that Barber should draw plenty of interest from teams in need of help in the backfield, especially since it should not take much more than a mid-round pick to get him.  Look for Marion Barber to play in the AFC East next year, with the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots being the front-runners for his services.  Bill Belichick has not a bruising back like Marion Barber since Corey Dillon.

Bubble Bursters: 5 1st Rounders that will go ‘Belly Up’ in this year’s NFL Draft

Bad knees are Bad news for Daquan Bowers.

It happens every year during the NFL Draft. We hear about can’t miss prospects and how they will dominate the league from day one when they step on the field. Of course, you then are faced with the reality that players like Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, and Kijana Carter are part of a process that can’t fully predict work ethic, character, or injury potential.

The funny thing is no matter how much homework teams do on a particular player there is always a chance that the situation will not turn out for the best. There are so many factors that can derail a player from reaching his full potential that this post could be a list just illustrating those points.

However, that would be boring and cliche and no one wants to read stuff like that anyway.

So with that in mind, let’s have some real fun and try to predict five players from this years draft that will end up leaving their teams holding the proverbial bag.

1 – Daquan Bowers – Clemson DE

This is not really a surprise. His knee problems have his stock falling in a Madoff like fashion and teams are wary of investing big money in a player whose days could already be numbered. Bowers could be great if healthy, but the red flags are already up.

2 – Mark Ingram – Alabama RB

The 2009 Heisman trophy winner has already battled some injury problems while attending Alabama and his lack of explosiveness is a concern at the next level. The comparisons to Emmitt Smith are nice, but without a great offensive line to open holes for Ingram he could end up looking more like the Emmitt Smith that played for the Cardinals, not the Cowboys.

3 – Jake Locker – Washington QB

His stock was high at the end of the 2009 season but plummeted after a lackluster 2010 campaign. Of course, after throwing the ball around fairly well at his Pro-day and doing well in Jon Gruden’s quarterback camp on ESPN, teams are starting to buzz about Locker again. The reality is whatever issues Locker had during 2010 are not going away overnight and he needs to time to develop, time a first round selection at QB is rarely afforded.

4 – Mike Pouncey – Florida G/C

He’s on the list because people are expecting him to be as good as his brother. This just in, he’s not. Check the tape. He could end being pretty good one day, but pressure to start him early could hurt him as he needs time to develop and gain his confidence.

5 – Akeem Ayers – UCLA LB

Here’s a guy who has all the potential to be a game changer at LB. He could play the SAM in a 4 – 3 or be a force at OLB in a 3 – 4 by rushing the passer. But there are questions about his work ethic and energy level and those are major concerns. He appears to be the best LB in this class, but to me something just doesn’t add up. Call it the Vernon Gholston effect.

What players do you think will end being busts in this years draft?

Talk about it here.

Can the Colts afford to pay Peyton Manning $30 million per year?

ESPN the Magazine released its “All About the Money” issue  this week, and Peyton Manning, one of the plaintiffs named in the case of NFL owners vs. NFL players, was identified as the top paid NFL player.  Manning’s 2010 salary stood at $15.8 million, or 15.3% of the $103,360,985 that the Colts spent in 2010, and despite that large figure, he is apparently looking for upwards of $30 million per year in a new deal.  Manning’s salary is dwarfed by many of his peers in other sports- as profootballtalk.com is quick to point out, and, when stars like Alex Rodriguez make over $30 million per year in other sports, it would seem that Manning has some merit in his demands. The 11-time Pro Bowler certainly seems worth it, however, in a league with a salary cap, can the Colts really afford to pay Manning $30+ million per season?

It seems almost impossible that the NFL and the NFLPA will emerge from their labor negotiations with an agreement that does not include a salary cap.  For argument’s sake, let’s assume that cap number sits at $135 million for 2011.  An NFL roster consists of 53 players, can we really assign over 22% of a team’s available salary to one player, no matter how good he is?  Also, if we do pay this star player that large of a chunk of our available salary, are we able to surround this player with enough pieces to put a winning team on the field?

If his demands are met, Peyton Manning will not see another one of these in Indy

Take a look at the 2010 Colts for your answer.  Peyton Manning made 15.3 percent of the total player salaries in the last year of his 7 year, $99.2 million extension he signed in 2004.  With Manning eating up such a large chunk of the salary cap, the Colts team was full of holes.  The offensive line was putrid, the running game was non-existent, and the defense was extremely vulnerable.  Through grit and guile, the team was able to sneak into the playoffs, only to be bounced by the 6th-seeded Jets in the first round.  The Colts truly need to address some of these issues during this offseason, but, if Manning gets a huge raise (and with $38 million or so already committed to Dwight Freeney, Reggie Wayne, Kelvin Hayden, Dallas Clark, Ryan Diem, and Robert Mathis) they will struggle to do so.  If Manning gets his wish, it feels strange to say it but, I cannot see the Colts making the playoffs for the 10th straight season with number 18 playing quarterback.   

The Colts, and the city of Indianapolis as a whole, are faced with an extremely tough question- pay Peyton Manning what he feels he is worth and put a mediocre team on the field or let one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time test the open market.   I do not know if there is a right answer.

Two Guys talk Akeem Ayers, Muhammad Wilkerson and the value of a great tackle in part 2 of their Mock Draft

Can Ayers be the next Merriman?

In part two of their Mock Draft, 2 Guys talk about the true value of an offensive tackle, Akeem Ayers, Ryan Mallet, and all the other picks in the 2nd half of the first round. 2 Guys also highlight the marquee match ups of the 2011 NFL schedule and why no news is good news when it comes to the NFL lockout.

Download this podcast from iTunes.

2 Guys 2011 Mock Draft - Part 2

Pick #TeamSelectionPositionSchoolComment
17New EnglandAldon SmithDEMissouriAssuming the trade-happy Pats keep this pick, Smith offers some help for Vince Wilfork.
18San DiegoAkeem AyersLBUCLAHopefully he can perform like Merriman (without the help of performance enhancing drugs).
19New York GiantsAnthony CostanzoOLBoston CollegeOffers immediate help to an aging O-line.
20Tampa BayRyan KerriganDEPurdueNon-stop motor should pair nicely with DT Gerard McCoy.
21Kansas CityNate SolderOLColoradoShould give Matt Cassel more time to connect with Dwayne Bowe.
22IndianapolisGabe CarimiOLWisconsinAthletic enough to protect Peyton Manning's blindside.
23PhiladelphiaJimmy SmithCBColoradoCharacter issues no longer scare Andy Reid who fills the need opposite Asante Samuel.
24New OrleansAdrian ClaybornDEIowaNew Orleans is not scared off by the trememdous pass rusher with Erb's palsy.
25SeattleRyan MallettQBArkansasSeattle fans take one look at him and can only hope he is not the next Dan McGwire.
26BaltimoreMuhammad WilkersonDT/DETempleBig linemen who should fit nicely in the 3-4 scheme.
27AtlantaTorrey SmithWRMarylandAtlanta is desperate to find a receiver to take some pressure off of Roddy White.
28New EnglandMikel LeShoureRBIllinoisNew England adds its most talented runner since Corey Dillon.
29ChicagoCorey LiugetDTIllinoisChicago finds a replacement for Tommie Harris.
30New York JetsMike PounceyOLFloridaThe Jets may not need him but Pouncey offers too much value to pass up.
31PittsburghBrandon HarrisCBMiamiThe Steelers look to sure up one of the few weaknesses on a stout defense.
32Green BayCameron HeywardDEOhio StateGreen Bay adds depth to a position with several question marks for 2011.

Myth Busters: The Truth Behind The NFL’s Strength of Schedule

We get to play the Vikings schedule? Sweet!!!

The 2011 NFL Schedule will be released on Tuesday, April 19th exclusively on the NFL Network. With the way the NFL Network is promoting it’s schedule release show you’d think it was must see TV. Of course, if you’re not into the MLB or the NBA then it just might be. However, I don’t want to digress to far from my point, since I am not here to debate what the Nielsen ratings will be when they reveal Green Bay’s first opponent of 2011.

What I want to address is the misconception of a first place schedule vs a last place schedule. Far too often we hear announcers and analysts alike talking about a last place team having an easy schedule and a team that finished in first place having a hard schedule.

Next year the Green Bay Packers, Superbowl XLV Champions, will be play 14 of the same opponents that the last place Minnesota Vikings will be playing.

Yes, you heard me right, Minnesota and Green Bay will be playing the same schedule (opponent wise) save two games.

How is this possible you ask? The answer is actually quite simple, in fact all teams in a division play the exact same schedule, except for two games, determined by the previous years standings.

How does that work exactly? Check out the table below for further explanation.

Packers-Vikings 2011 Schedule Comparison

Green BayMinnesota
Tampa BayTampa Bay
Kansas CityKansas City
San DiegoSan Diego

If you notice the only difference in the Vikings and Packers schedule is the fact the Pack plays Philadelphia and Seattle by virtue of their first place finish and the Vikings play the Redskins and Cardinals based on their last place finish in 2010.

It’s that simple. Since the league expanded to 32 teams and 4 divisions in 2002 the NFL has adopted this scheduling system which predetermines 14 of a team’s 16 games save two games versus conference opponents in a division that finished in the same place in the previous years standings.

So while the Packers may get their opponents very best shot each week, most of those same opponents will be playing the Vikings also.

In the end what does it all mean?

One thing.

First place schedules have nothing to do with the opponents played but how the opponents are playing.

Making A Mockery: Locker to Vikings? Ingram to the Rams? 2 Guys reveal major Draft surprises

Mark Ingram would fit nicely as a Ram.

The 2011 NFL Draft is right around the corner and 2 Guys get busy breaking down the first of the draft. 2 Guys reveal some draft surprises including Mark Ingram to the Rams, Jake Locker to the Vikings and how the Cleveland Browns could end up with the best corner back tandem in the league.

Download this podcast on iTunes.

2 Guys 2011 Mock Draft - Part 1

1CarolinaCam NewtonA lot of needs, but Cam has star potential.
2DenverMarcell DareusVersatile defensive lineman should help pass rush.
3BuffaloBlaine GabbertRisky pick, but so are most first round QBs.
4CincinattiA.J. GreenPhysically gifted wideout should make plays from day one.
5ArizonaVon MillerPass rush ability will be welcome in Arizona.
6ClevelandPatrick PetersonCould create great corner back tandem with Joe Haden.
7San FranciscoPrince AmukamaraNate Clements meet your replacement.
8TennesseeNick FairleyWill fit in well with the Titans.
9DallasRobert QuinnRob Ryan loves versatile pass rushers
10WashingtonJulio JonesRedskins having been searching for a #1 wideout for over a decade.
11HoustonDaquan BowersKnee problems aside he could be dominant.
12MinnesotaJake LockerWould inherit a great running game.
13DetroitTyron SmithKeeping Matt Stafford upright is key for the Lions.
14St. LouisMark IngramSteven Jackson isn't getting any younger.
15MiamiJ.J WattTough, blue collar lineman whose talents will fit well on Southbeach.
16JacksonvilleCameron JordanAthletic lineman could help solve their pass rush woes.

Can Donovan McNabb have a Tiger Woods-esque 2011?

For a moment on Sunday, at a historic golf course in Georgia, we were able to revisit history.  Tiger Woods was making one of his signature runs, or at least they used to be signature, shooting a 31 on the first 9 holes.  With Tiger playing at an elite level, the entire energy around the Masters changed.  The announcers were crisper, the crowds were buzzing, and causal golf fans tuned in to see the most exciting player in golf history play at an elite level.  Although Tiger Woods fell short in his quest for a fifth green jacket, golf received a burst of excitement from this redemption story.  The crowd was clearly ready to forgive Woods for all his past transgressions, and, judging by the roar after his eagle putt, again become Tiger Woods fans.

McNabb's elusiveness made his games must watch TV

Can Donovan McNabb create the same kind of excitement in 2011?  Although he never dominated the sport like Woods was able to do, Donovan McNabb was one of the most exciting players to watch over the past decade.  He was able to extend plays with legs (remember this play against Dallas?), his touchdown dances were memorable, and his smile was contagious.  He led the Eagles to 5 NFC championship games and one Super Bowl appearance, was elected to 6 Pro Bowls, and became the first player to throw 30 touchdowns in a season while throwing fewer than 10 interceptions.  McNabb was also the fourth fastest player to 50 career wins as a quarterback, needing only 71 games to do so. 

At 34, coming off a disastrous 2010 season with the Washington Redskins (14 TDs, 15 INTs and a benching by his coach) ,and without a team to call his own for 2011, will we see McNabb get his shot at redemption?  He certainly deserves the opportunity.  Despite numerous reasons for him to lash out at fans (welcome to Philadelphia Donovan), media (overrated, right Rush?), and teammates (Owens, anyone?), Donovan McNabb always seems to take the high road.  He is a 2-time NFL Man of the Year finalist.  He loves Campbell’s soup.  If an adulterous Tiger Woods can win back the hearts of fans, how could you not root for McNabb to once again find excellence?

Until the labor situation is sorted out, we will not know where Donovan McNabb will play this season.  Rumors spread daily- will he go to the Dolphins?  The Vikings?  The Cardinals?- but no matter where McNabb plays next season I hope he finds a way to again play at a Pro Bowl level.  The NFL is better with a dynamic Donovan McNabb, just as golf is better with a successful Tiger Woods.

Is it even a question that Kevin Kolb will be traded?

Going into the 2010 season, Kevin Kolb was the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.  He was drafted in 2007, spent the first few years of his career getting comfortable with the Eagle offense, and patiently waited for Donovan McNabb’s star to dwindle.  The son of a coach, Kolb was consistently praised for being smart, a trait that seems to hold more value with Andy Reid (every year he seems to draft at least one guy who excelled at the Wonderlic exam) than any other coach in the league.  As one of Reid’s prototypical players, Kolb could only imagine that the prime of his career would be spent in Philadelphia.  Then, the Eagles 2010 season, or what is more commonly referred to as the Year of Vick, played out.  Suddenly, Kolb found himself with no other option heading into the 2011 offseason t to request a trade.  He hopes that his best years are spent on the field rather than the on the sideline, and the Eagles are sure to fulfill this request once the collective bargaining agreement is sorted out.

I noticed on ESPN.com today that both John Clayton and Mike Tanier were debating whether or not the Eagles would (and should) trade Kolb.  Are we really still debating this issue?  To put a final end to this debate, let’s take a look at why the Eagles will and have to trade Kolb.

The Eagles will trade Kevin Kolb. 

Will the conservative Andy Reid really move a capable backup quarterback when his starter takes so many hits?  Yes, he will, because we are not dealing with the same Andy Reid these days.  His press conferences are still painfully bland and his 2 minute offense still leaves quite a bit to be desired, but Andy is far different from the guy who joined the team in 1999. 

Sorry Mike Kafka, you are not Andy Reid's next project

The new Andy is a risk seeker.  He takes risks on players like Vick, names an offensive line coach as his defensive coordinator, trades the face-of-the-franchise quarterback to a division rival, and offers a pretty mean chest bump after big plays.  He loves to work with quarterbacks, as he has shown with McNabb, Vick, Kolb, and even AJ Feeley, and would relish the opportunity to do so again. This gun-slinging Andy Reid (with Brett Favre playing his last game this adjective is now again available to the masses) has 7 picks in the first 5 rounds of the draft.  With one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s class likely to fall on draft day, Reid will find his next quarterback to develop into either a reliable backup or the heir apparent to Michael Vick.

The Eagles should trade Kevin Kolb.

With his value so high, the Eagles must trade Kevin Kolb

Kevin Kolb has started 7 games in his career.  In 19 total games in which he has played he has completed 60.8% of his throws and has 11 career touchdown passes.  Despite this lack of experience, Kolb will be the hottest commodity on the trade market in the quarterback-driven NFL as soon as the labor situation is settled.  Recent history has shown with the likes of Matt Schaub (traded by Atlanta after 2 career starts for 2 second round picks as well as a chance to move up 2 slots in the first round) and Rob Johnson (traded by Jacksonville for a first and a fourth round pick after one career starts) that young quarterbacks with promise can command quite a haul on the trade market.  Kolb figures to at worst get the Eagles a single first round pick in any trade, value that the Eagles simply cannot pass up.

Additonally, for those people who feel that Kolb is too valuable as a backup to trade, we must realize that each of the last 9 Super Bowl winning teams had quesionable second options at quarterback.  If Matt Flynn, an aged Mark Brunell, Byron Leftwich, Jared Lorenzen, Jim Sorgi, Charlie Batch, Rohan Davey, or Shaun King were forced to play during a playoff run we most likely would have crowned a different champion.  Teams that win Super Bowls find their star quarterback and use all their other resources to build a great team around him.  Since Andy Reid is still chasing that elusive Superbowl ring, he will do no different and Kevin Kolb will find himself in a shade different than midnight green .

Two Guys Talk about Jake Locker, Lawsuits, Casino Robbery, and why Madden ’12 sucks

Mike Vrabel auditioned for the lead in Ocean's 11.

This week Two Guys talk about the upcoming ruling on April 6th and how it will affect the ongoing lockout.

Two Guys also examine why Louis Murphy needed 13 pill of Viagra, Mike Vrabel’s impersonation of Ocean’s 11, and how Jake Locker’s Pro-Day may have brought him back into the first round.

Download this podcast on iTunes.