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Woodrow Call
03-01-2007, 09:30 AM
Long but good read IMO

http://rotoworld.com/content/features/column.aspx?sport=NFL&columnid=59&articleid=27845

Free agency is right around the corner. To get the top players and team needs at all positions, check out our original previews linked below. Today, we wrap up our coverage with a look at the linebackers and defensive linemen.

Unrestricted Free Agent Linebackers

Franchised: Lance Briggs

1. Cato June, Colts - June, 27, is a productive playmaker but fits best in one scheme as a starting weak-side linebacker. That defense is run in Buffalo.

2. Kawika Mitchell, Chiefs - Piles up numbers as a middle linebacker but K.C. wants him on the strong side. Mitchell turns 28 in October and almost certainly wants to remain inside. That's where the money's at.

3. London Fletcher, Bills - 32 next season. Fletcher makes his plays downfield and in coverage, which is acceptable in the bend-but-don't-break Tampa 2 but may not fit anywhere else.

4. Napoleon Harris, Vikings - Big (6-2/255), young (27), versatile. Injuries bugged him last year but he'll be starting somewhere in 2007.

5. Tully Banta-Cain, Patriots - Fell into a starting job last year and had 5.5 sacks. He's young at 26, but NE has a knack for making "just guys" into stars. Banta-Cain was a seventh-rounder for a reason.

6. Peter Sirmon, Titans - 30 and not much of a playmaker. He can play all three linebacker positions, which increases his value.

7. Donnie Edwards, Chargers - Works in a 4-3 as a weak-side linebacker and a 3-4 inside. He definitely won't re-sign. Edwards fits best on a team that can win right now because he's turning 34 and may only have one good year left.

8. Antwan Peek, Texans - Can't stay healthy and needs a change of scenery. Peek is only 27, had six sacks in 2005, and should be playing OLB in a 3-4, not defensive end like he was in Houston.

9. LaVar Arrington, Giants - Coming off a ruptured Achilles'. Because he's a big name, he'll get attention but Arrington is unlikely to help a team in 2007. He may retire.

10. Rob Morris, Colts - 32. Seems likely to return to Colts.
11. Randall Godfrey, Chargers - Could retire.
12. Chris Draft, Panthers - Best as a backup.
13. Danny Clark, Saints - Has starting experience at MIKE.
14. Shawn Barber, Eagles - 32, has never stayed healthy.
15. Ben Taylor, Packers - 113 tackles in 2005. 12 in 2006.
16. Junior Seau, Patriots - Could retire.
17. Brandon Short, Giants - Couldn't stay on the field in 2006.
18. Warrick Holdman, Redskins - Just a guy and 31.

Restricted Free Agent Linebackers

1. Landon Johnson, Bengals - Highly versatile. Johnson will cost a third-round pick and a contract if an offer sheet isn't matched.

2. Demorrio Williams, Falcons - Productive whenever he's started, but hasn't done so extensively.

3. Brandon Chillar, Rams - Starting SLB could be an up and comer.
4. Alex Lewis, Lions - Undersized but the Lions like his motor.
5. Gilbert Gardner, Colts - Lost starting job in 2006.
6. Caleb Miller, Bengals - Small, has some starting experience.
7. Shantee Orr, Texans - Will face competition for starting job.
8. Reggie Torbor, Giants - Should be backing up.

Unrestricted Free Agent Defensive Tackles

Franchised: Cory Redding

1. Robaire Smith, Titans - Massive man is not yet 30. Tennessee is intent on keeping him to pair with Albert Haynesworth on what should be one of the league's more underrated interior frontlines.

2. Ian Scott, Bears - 4-3 nose tackle lost his starting job in 2006 but will likely get a multi-year contract because he's only 25 and teams are desperate for run stuffers.

3. Anthony Adams, 49ers - Undersized nose doesn't fit a 3-4. He was a second-round pick in 2003 and had been starting until last season, so the talent is there.

4. Aubrayo Franklin, Ravens - Big (6-1/320), young (26), and has been learning behind Kelly Gregg. Franklin could be a late bloomer.

5. Keith Traylor, Dolphins - Was having a fine 2006 until old knee troubles caught up to him. Traylor can still anchor a 3-4 but is unlikely to hold up for 16 games.

6. James Reed, Chiefs - Herm Edwards favorite.
7. Michael Myers, Broncos - 31. Denver d-line faded late in 2006.
8. Ron Edwards, Chiefs - Big (6-3/320), young (27), but nothing special.
9. Alfonso Boone, Bears - Journeyman played quite a bit in 2006.
10. Kindal Moorehead, Panthers - Had five sacks in 2005.

Restricted Free Agent Defensive Tackles

1. Randy Starks, Titans - 23 and productive but has off-field troubles.
2. Tommy Kelly, Raiders - May challenge Tyler Brayton at DE.
3. Craig Terrill, Seahawks - 'Hawks love him as a productive sub.
4. Tim Anderson, Bills - Lost starting job in 2006 to a fifth-round pick.
5. Spencer Johnson, Vikings - Rotation player in a Tampa 2.
6. Rashad Moore, Jets - Can play nose in a 3-4 but not a starter.
7. Jordan Carstens, Panthers - Recovering from blood clot in lung.

Unrestricted Free Agent Defensive Ends

Franchised: Dwight Freeney, Charles Grant, Justin Smith

1. Adalius Thomas, Ravens - 28 sacks in the past three years but turns 30 before the season. Still, he is peaking after multiple years as a special teamer. Thomas has a reasonable asking price, but wants nearly all the money upfront. New Orleans, Green Bay, and San Francisco seem the frontrunners.

2. Patrick Kerney, Falcons - Looks likely to depart. Kerney, 30, only plays left end, which could cancel him out of some teams' plans but not too many.

3. Jarret Johnson, Ravens Can play DE, OLB, and ILB, and has been sitting behind numerous great players since going in the '03 fourth round. He's big (6-3/285), athletic, young (25), and deserves a starting chance.

4. Dewayne White, Bucs - 27 and versatile but probably best suited in a Cover 2-based rotation. White started most of last year but had only four sacks.

5. Juqua Thomas, Eagles - Former undrafted FA could get a chance to start as a 3-4 OLB.

6. David Bowens, Dolphins - Has been through free agency before and didn't excite anyone.

7. Jimmy Wilkerson, Chiefs - Undersized DE/DT has never been very disruptive.

8. Patrick Chukwurah, Broncos - Possible help as a 3-4 OLB.
9. Al Wallace, Panthers Durable but old. Cut last week.
10. Brandon Green, Rams - Very situational pass rusher.
11. Alvin McKinley, Browns - Just a guy. Has a cool beard.
12. N.D. Kalu, Texans Can also play inside but old.

Restricted Free Agent Defensive Ends

1. Jared Allen, Chiefs - Wants to be traded but is the Chiefs' most dominant defensive player and they can't let him get away. Allen should receive the first- and third-round tender if he won't sign long term.
2. Bobby McCray, Jaguars - Lanky speed rusher had ten sacks in '06.
3. Darrion Scott, Vikings - Six sacks last year and can play inside.
4. Anthony Hargrove, Bills - Should compete to replace Chris Kelsay.
5. Josh Thomas, Colts - Rotational type, has most value in Indy.

Teams Looking for Front Seven Help

Everyone needs it, but these need it most.

1. Chiefs
Holes: Both DTs, MLB
Competition Needed: SLB
Assuming Allen returns, a third end is also needed, as Eric Hicks should be released and Wilkerson could be lost. Ryan Sims will be cut and both Edwards and Reed are free agents. Kendrell Bell could be cut and replaced by Keyaron Fox. Kawika Mitchell will probably leave. There could be five new starters in this mess of a front seven.

2. Lions
Holes: LDE, MLB
Competition Needed: SLB, RDE
Paris Lenon shouldn't be starting at the MIKE in the NFL. James Hall and Marcus Bell will not be with the team in 2007. Cory Redding may only be here for a year. Boss Bailey and Teddy Lehman are expected to be backups while 6-0/227-pound Alex Lewis starts opposite 5-11/228-pound Ernie Sims. These guys could get trampled.

3. Giants
Holes: SLB, WLB
Competition Needed: NT
It's difficult to see Gerris Wilkinson as a realistic weak-side starter for a team built to make the postseason. Cofield faded late in 2006 and could use a veteran nose tackle presence around him. Reggie Torbor hasn't developed into a starting-caliber player. Lawrence Timmons of FSU would be a great addition in Round One.

4. Rams
Holes: DT, RDE
The Rams couldn't stop the run in 2006, but their linebacker unit will be given another year, though talent should be added in reserve. As they address their problems upfront, Jimmy Kennedy will move behind La'Roi Glover. Adams and Franklin could be intriguing fits as DT anchors. Victor Adeyanju seems unlikely to be starting in 2007.

5. Texans
Holes: LDE
Competition Needed: SLB
Their biggest problem in 2006 was injuries to Travis Johnson, Mario Williams, Seth Payne, and Antwan Peek. Houston needs a legitimate defensive end to send Jason Babin into a situational pass-rushing role. Orr is better as a rotational special teamer. Charlie Anderson probably isn't the answer on the strong side.

6. 49ers
Holes: OLB
Competition Needed: NT
Brandon Moore and Derek Smith seem set at ILB. Manny Lawson needs a mentor to start opposite. Ronald Fields showed promise on the nose last year before breaking his arm in a freak in-practice accident, but could move to end. There are several linemen on the roster who are candidates for a rotation. Bryant Young is expected to re-sign.

7. Bills
Holes: MLB
Competition Needed: LDE, WLB, NT
The MIKE isn't truly a "hole" because Angelo Crowell could probably excel there in Fletcher's absence. Buffalo did a good job of stealing Anthony Hargrove for a fifth-rounder at least year's trade deadline, and he'll compete with Ryan Denney to replace Kelsay. While John McCargo returns at DT, Kyle Williams could face a challenge on the nose. The Bills have underrated depth, but June would be a great addition on the weak side. The alternative is '06 sixth-rounder Keith Ellison.

8. Panthers
Competition Needed: MLB, WLB, RDE
Lots of injury concerns here with Dan Morgan coming off multiple concussions and Mike Rucker an ACL tear. A talented body (likely via the draft because they have little cap room), could be used to push Stanley McClover at right end. It's doubtful Rucker will be starting after he redoes his contract. Chris Draft could be lost.

9. Colts
Holes: WLB, SLB
Defensive tackle shouldn't be a major problem area unless both Montae Reagor and Corey Simon are cut, which seems unlikely. Freddie Keiaho is in prime position to start on the weak side if Cato June departs. A strong-side competitor for Gardner could be drafted if Morris leaves. Keiaho could also be an option there.

10. Browns
Holes: RDE
Competition Needed: NT
Alvin McKinley needs to be replaced at end, and a nose tackle of the future could be drafted on the first day, but Cleveland should be set at OLB with Willie McGinest, Kamerion Wimbley and athletic reserves Chaun Thompson and Leon Williams. This unit just needs to stay healthy.

11. Cardinals
Holes: WLB
On paper, this front seven looks decent. The only glaring hole is on the weak side with free agent Orlando Huff likely gone. Karlos Dansby could move there, with Darryl Blackstock and Calvin Pace competing at SLB. It would be nice to see Gabe Watson step up and give Kendrick Clancy some relief on the nose.

12. Jets
Competition Needed: RDE, NT, ILB
A true nose is needed.

13. Falcons
Holes: LDE
Competition Needed: MLB
It appears Atlanta will lose Patrick Kerney

14. Eagles
Competition Needed: SLB, DT
Brodrick Bunkley must come around.

Halfcan
03-01-2007, 09:38 AM
Cant argue with that. Nice read.

Pushead2
03-01-2007, 09:39 AM
See ya Kawika....

StcChief
03-01-2007, 11:47 AM
. Chiefs
Holes: Both DTs, MLB
Competition Needed: SLB
Assuming Allen returns, a third end is also needed, as Eric Hicks should be released and Wilkerson could be lost. Ryan Sims will be cut and both Edwards and Reed are free agents. Kendrell Bell could be cut and replaced by Keyaron Fox. Kawika Mitchell will probably leave. There could be five new starters in this mess of a front seven.
Nothing but trouble next year 5-11/6-10.

Mr. Laz
03-01-2007, 12:07 PM
LThere could be five new starters in this mess of a front seven.

meh ... story of the entire team