PROSPECT PROFILE: Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks

NCAA Football: Oregon State at California

BY RYAN MILLER
@ThinkingNFL

Brandin Cooks may not be a household name, not yet. But come draft time he should be. The 5’10, 186-pound receiver from Oregon State is a speedster and should remind you of a top 10 pick from last year, Tavon Austin. So what makes Cooks such a special talent?

Lateral Quickness/Elusiveness

Cooks has the ability to cut on a dime and give you change every time.  On this punt return, is appears that the two Stanford tacklers have Cooks pinned against the sideline.  They are both breaking down to make the tackle and Cooks has very little room to run.  However those would-be tacklers are left grabbing at the air as Cooks uses the two yards or so he has to work with to escape.

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No One-Trick Pony

Cooks dosen’t need designed plays to get open.  You can put him on the outside and he will beat defenders 1-1.  Here he is lined up 1-on-1 against Stanford.  He gets a free release at the line, then gets open on a post-corner route.

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Willing to Take the Hit

Cooks lacks size, but plays big.  On this particular route, Cooks runs an underneath slant route. He beats his defender but knows a safety is coming.  This doesn’t faze Cooks, however, as he goes up to make the grab then takes a big hit.

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Hands/Ball Skills

Cooks shows some fantastic hands. What’s even more impressive is his ability to attack the ball in the air despite his stature.  Here he wins a jump ball with two defenders. And yes, Cooks is only 5’10.  Look at the vertical he displays.

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Not shown here is Cooks’ vertical speed/quickness.  The guy can take the top off any defense, and I expect him to run in the low 4.3s come the combine.  I feel that Cooks is a tremendous talent, and come draft time, don’t be surprised to hear his name called early.

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MID-SEASON LOOK: BEARS FULL MOCK DRAFT

Ohio State CB Bradley Roby

Ohio State CB Bradley Roby

BY LANCE N. POIRRIER
@IBleedBluNOrang

1ST ROUND

Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
5’11 1/8″, 190

Both Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman are scheduled to be free agents this off-season and this might be the time to move on from them.  By adding one of the top corners in free agency and a young corner like Roby, they could be on to something good. Roby has the size and speed to really make a name for himself in the NFL, though I’m not sure how he’ll fair against #1 receivers with being less than 200 pounds, but he’ll be a great complementary corner instantly, with room to grow. Roby seems better suited for a zone based defense rather than the Bears’ (who run their corners in more man matchups than anything), but Roby’s fast and reactive nature should keep him out of any trouble made by stronger WR’s.  The best thing about Roby’s speed is he can quickly and easily correct minor mistakes, get back in position, and make a play.  Roby also has the strength of an NFL corner, while being an effective jammer and excellent blitzer.

2ND ROUND

Jeoffrey Pagan, DT, Alabama
6’4″, 290

Pagan has the perfect frame to work in the base Tampa-2 scheme the Bears run. He’s used to playing DE when Alabama is in their 3-4 sets, but he’d do essentially the same thing on the inside of the Bears’ defense and he could quickly become the star of a revamped defensive line in Chicago. Pagan’s experience as a 3-4 end would be beneficial should the Bears incorporate a hybrid-style defense with several different looks, much like other successful teams have run, including the 49ers, Seahawks, and Ravens.

Colorado State C Weston Richburg

Colorado State C Weston Richburg

3RD ROUND

Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
6’3 1/4″, 297

A new center has been one of the Bears needs for some time now, and Richburg is one of the best under-the-radar prospects of the 2014 draft class. He’s got a powerful snap equalling to an always pristine delivery. Richburg also has a powerful upper body which keeps him in any battle and can be amplified by his usually good technique. With some fine tuning Richburg could be one of the best centers in the NFL for some time and an immediate upgrade at the position for the Bears.

4TH ROUND

Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
6’2 1/4″, 220

The Bears need to double dip on corners in this draft, and Jean-Baptiste is a tall, athletic corner who’ll best thrive in a defense like the Bears’, where he’ll play man to man coverage more than anything. Bump and run won’t be SJB’s thing in the NFL due to lack of arm strength, and he shouldn’t be lined up on a team’s top WR who could over power him. Jean-Baptiste must work on his sloppy tackling to survive in the NFL. When you see Stanley Jean-Baptiste think of another famous hyphenated NFL CB: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

5TH ROUND

Brendan Kelly, DE, Wisconsin
6’6″, 255

Kelly is one of my favorite prospects you’ve never heard of. He’s got the size/speed to succeed in the Bears’ 4-3, can bend the edge and apply pressure on the outside of the pocket, and also possesses the agility and strength to shed blockers and jump inside on run plays. Kelly also provides versatility along the Wisconsin defensive front playing some OLB when Wisconsin is running their 3-4 scheme, which is all the better should the Bears introduce more 3-4 in 2014. Unfortunately Kelly has had a difficult time shaking the injury bug over the last few seasons missing substantial time in the last two years.

Florida FB Trey Burton

Florida FB Trey Burton

6TH ROUND (FROM TB)

Trey Burton, FB, Florida
6’3″, 229

Most successful offenses have a “move” or “flex” type player who they can play all over to create mismatches around the field, and Trey Burton is just that. He’s got great size and incredible speed, can play any spot you could ask, including FB, TE, HB, and he originally came to Florida as a QB, took on some kick return duties, and is now the versatile player we know today. Burton will be listed as a FB in the NFL, but like a Swiss Army knife, you can simply move him somewhere different and still get production.

6TH ROUND

Donte Rumph, DT, Kentucky
6’2 1/4″, 323

Rumph is a big-bodied space-eater, but maintains the speed required to run with the Bears 4-3 pressure scheme. His size still gives him the option to play NT should the Bears adapt a hybrid style defense.  Rumph’s incredible mass and strength let him maintain pressure, even on a double block.

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MID-SEASON LOOK: EAGLES DRAFT NEEDS

QB Nick Foles is coming off two huge performances, but can he sustain those numbers and the the Eagles' long-term answer at QB?

QB Nick Foles is coming off two huge performances, but can he sustain those numbers and the the Eagles’ long-term answer at QB?

BY RYAN MILLER
@ThinkingNFL

The Philadelphia Eagles have had a roller-coaster season this far, and somehow find themselves tied for first the NFC East and in the playoff hunt. Over the past two games, the Eagles have played pretty darn good football. However, both of those games came against the Oakland Raiders and the reeling Green Bay Packers. Looking over the sample size of the season thus far, it is clear that there are still questions that need to be answered and some clear needs to fill.

Wide Receiver
The Eagles lost a big-time player in Jeremy Maclin to a season-ending injury in training camp.  Maclin, a former first-round pick, is an extremely talented receiver who would have flourished in Chip Kelly’s new offense with his speed, route-running and after-the-catch ability.  He was arguably the best receiver on the team in terms of all-around ability,  even ahead of DeSean Jackson. However, this was Maclin’s contract year, and he’ll likely walk after the year is done and hit free agency as the Eagles already have a lot of money invested Jackson and LeSean McCoy.  Riley Cooper has caught 5 touchdowns in his last 2 games, but he’s turned in some very poor games earlier in the year, as well.  Depending on how Cooper performs the rest of the year, it would not surprise me if the Eagles targeted a WR somewhere in the 3rd round.

Safety
Earl Wolff
has been decent for a 6th round rookie, but I’m not sure if he can be a viable starting safety for the years to come. Nate Allen, Patrick Chung and company aren’t the answer, either.  While I don’t love this class in terms of the top-rated safeties, look for the Eagles to target a Safety as high as the 2nd round.

If the Eagles decide to go corner in the first round of the draft, Jason Verrett of TCU would make plenty of sense.

If the Eagles decide to go corner in the first round of the draft, Jason Verrett of TCU would make plenty of sense.

Cornerback
While some question the Eagles’ defensive scheme, the bottom line is that corners need to be able to cover no matter the scheme. This class is deep, as my 2nd-rated corner, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, isn’t expected to go until the 3rd round. My highest-rated corner is Jason Verrett from TCU, but he’s likely to go in the first. If the Eagles could get a guy like Fuller on Day 2, they should be satisfied.

Nose Tackle
An integral part of a 3-4 defense is the nose tackle.  Bennie Logan has been thrust into the starting spot, and while I have seen some good stuff from him, I’m not sure if he can get the job done for the long term.  I also have seen some solid stuff from Cedrick Thornton.  I’ll be interested to see how they feel about Logan come draft time, as the book is still out on him.

Quarterback
Yes, here it is: the Eagles need at the quarterback position.  Nick Foles is coming off two big games statistically, including an NFL-record-tying performance with seven touchdown passes.  But again, those 2 games were played against the Raiders and Packers, two teams with questionable secondaries.  Fans also must forget his game against the Dallas Cowboys, which was horrendous to say the least.  He also wasn’t good enough to beat out Michael Vick for the starting Job in late August.  All things considered, we need to see a larger sample size from Foles to really get an idea where the Eagles should be looking at to nab a QB in this year’s draft.  In my opinion, I don’t think they will be drafting Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel like many mocks have.

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MID-SEASON LOOK: BUCS DRAFT NEEDS

Rookie QB Mike Glennon has been solid, but will the Bucs stick with him instead of taking a top QB in next year's Draft?

Rookie QB Mike Glennon has been solid, but will the Bucs stick with him instead of taking a top QB in next year’s Draft?

BY LUKE EASTERLING
@NFLDraftReport

The Pewter Pirates are win-less no more, but that won’t get the paper bags off fans’ heads at Raymond James Stadium quite yet.  There’s still plenty of distrust for the current regime, from GM Mark Dominik to head coach Greg Schiano and his staff, and key injuries definitely haven’t helped a team that couldn’t even win with their best 22 on the field during the first half of the season.

The silver lining for a 1-8 team is that they’re likely to be picking very high in next year’s Draft, so let’s take a mid-season look at what the most pressing needs are for the Bucs on both sides of the ball.

OFFENSE

Tight End/Slot Receiver

These are two separate areas of need, but the reasoning is similar: no matter who is standing in the pocket in Tampa Bay next year (or running for his life as it collapses), there is a huge need for an athletic tight end to create mismatches, as well as a reliable third receiver who can be a consistent chain-mover and play-maker after the catch from the slot.  The highest pick the Bucs have spent on a tight end in the past few years was on Luke Stocker in the 4th round in 2011, and he’s been an injury-riddled disappointment.  The Bucs would be wise to consider one of this year’s top targets at the position at the top of the 2nd round, such as Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro, both of whom have the size and athleticism to create serious problems for opposing defenses.  In the slot, the Bucs have had a revolving door this year that has included Kevin Ogletree, Tiquan Underwood, Eric Page and Skye Dawson, none of whom have proven to be what the Bucs need.  Names like Odell Beckham, Jr. (LSU), Jared Abbrederis (Wisconsin), Cody Hoffman (BYU) and Kevin Norwood (Alabama) would be solid fits.

LSU's Le'El Collins has the versatility to play either guard or tackle, making him an ideal target for team looking to build young depth on the offensive line.

LSU’s Le’El Collins has the versatility to play either guard or tackle, making him an ideal target for team looking to build young depth on the offensive line.

Offensive Line

What was supposed to be a strength heading into this season has turned out to be possibly the most disappointing unit on the entire Bucs team.  Though their overall play has improved over the past two games (especially in the run game), the Bucs’ big uglies have been riddled by injuries and inconsistency.  They’ve yet to see a completely healthy Carl Nicks, and former Pro Bowlers Davin Joseph and Donald Penn haven’t played anywhere near they’re usual standards.  Throw in an average-at-best center in Jeremy Zuttah and a decently-progressing project at right tackle in Demar Dotson, and the Bucs have a recipe for needing to add some young talent to a vital unit.  Look for them to address this in the middle rounds (as best they can, considering they’ll likely be without their 3rd and 5th round picks), with options such as Alabama’s Anthony Steen (G), Notre Dame’s Zack Martin (G/T), LSU’s La’el Collins (G/T), and Tennessee’s JuWaun James (T).

Quarterback

Here’s the thing: I like Mike Glennon.  I really do.  I think he will continue to develop into a pretty solid quarterback in the NFL.  But will he ever be that field general who strikes fear into the hearts of opponents?  Will he ever be that guy that you wouldn’t DARE leave with more than a minute on the clock to make a comeback win?  I just don’t think so.  So, even if he keeps playing the way he has so far (mostly mistake-free), if the Bucs want to use this opportunity of picking in the top three in the Draft to take a swing on a dynamic signal-caller, you could hardly blame them.  If they end up behind the Jags at #2, I wouldn’t be surprised if Oregon’s Marcus Mariota is their guy.  In that scenario, it might provide the Bucs an opportunity to deal Glennon on Draft Day to recoup some of the picks they’re missing this year, which could end up being a huge win-win for them.

DEFENSE

Defensive End

Welcome to Tampa Bay’s broken-record need: a dynamic pass-rushing presence who can bend the edge, collapse the pocket and force opposing quarterbacks into bad decisions.  The Bucs have missed so often at spending high picks on the position that one has to wonder if the Draft is really the best avenue for them to try to fill that need this year (Adrian Clayborn, Da’Quan Bowers, Gaines Adams…need I go on?).  However, similar to the quarterback position, if ever there was a year for the Bucs to swing for the fences on a pass-rusher, it would be to take a freakish talent like South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney.  However, should they wait until Round 2, there might still be some players available who have the skills to make such an impact, such as Stanford’s Trent Murphy or USF’s Aaron Lynch.

Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller began the year with a solid performance against Alabama, and has continued to improve throughout the year.

Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller began the year with a solid performance against Alabama, and has continued to improve throughout the year, making him a solid Day-2 option for the Bucs.

Cornerback

Darrelle Revis definitely looks like he’s returning to form, and though the Bucs just spent a 2nd-rounder on Johnthan Banks, you can never have too many good corners in a division that features Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton.  This year’s corner class is very similar to last year’s, in that I’m not thrilled with the top tier, but there is a deep second tier that could produce some solid NFL talents.  My favorite Day-2 options are Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, and Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner (who could play in the slot and also slide back to safety in certain packages).

Sam Linebacker

With the increasing amount of three-wide sets that defenses are facing on a regular basis these days, many 4-3 teams are running with just two linebackers on a greater amount of snaps than in years past.  This has made the Sam LB position become a little less of a priority, and the Bucs have been using a committee approach this season with Dekoda Watson and Jonathan Casillas.  Both of these players have been solid, but it wouldn’t hurt to add another young guy to the mix.  Late-round options could include Illinois’ Anthony Brown, Stanford’s A.J. Tarpley and Iowa’s Anthony Hitchens.

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MID-SEASON LOOK: RAIDERS DRAFT NEEDS

QB Terrelle Pryor has been a bright spot for the Raiders this year, but he'll need more help this off-season.

QB Terrelle Pryor has been a bright spot for the Raiders this year, but he’ll need more help this off-season.

BY LIAM QUIBELL
@LiamQuibell19

After an unexpectedly decent start to the year on the shoulders of Terrelle Pryor, there was some hope for a possible wild-card berth for the Raiders. But back-to-back tough losses to the Eagles and Giants have killed those hopes, and now it’s time for the Raiders to look to the draft.

There isn’t much going well for the Raiders right now besides good running by Rashad Jennings and decent quarterback play by Pryor.  The Raider’s O-line is lacking, the receiving core is sub-par and the secondary has not been very successful over the last few weeks.

The Raiders first priority in this draft should be picking up a good possession WR that can bail Pryor out as well as some offensive linemen to buy the QB time in the pocket. Depending on where the Raiders finish, which will probably be in the bottom 10 of the league, Oakland will have many options to consider.

A guy I like for Oakland in the 10-15 range is Texas A&M WR Mike Evans.  A big-bodied receiver with good hands is something the Raiders need to complement speedsters Denarius Moore and Rod Streater.  I think that Clemson’s Sammy Watkins will get snatched up before the Raiders have the opportunity to take him, but either way, I like Evans to the Raiders.

Tennessee OT Antonio Richardson is one of many solid options the Raiders will have if they choose to take an offensive lineman early in the draft.

Tennessee OT Antonio Richardson is one of many solid options the Raiders will have if they choose to take an offensive lineman early in the draft.

A receiver isn’t the only route I think the Raiders may decide to take in the first round.  The Oakland O-Line has been decimated in recent weeks and picking at their potential spot in the draft Baylor G Cyril Richardson or Tennessee OT Antonio Richardson are viable options.  Richardson would be a great pickup to protect the left side of the O-line and block for Pryor on roll-outs.

The secondary doesn’t need the immediate attention as the other two positions, as the Raiders still have CB D.J Hayden who will hopefully get bigger and stronger this offseason.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Silver & Black spent a third round pick on a free safety such as Terrence Brooks from Florida State to backup the aging Charles Woodson.

GM Reggie McKenzie will have a number of options on draft day, and for Pryor’s sake, he cannot go wrong with Evans at WR or one of the big tackles available at 10-20.

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MID-SEASON LOOK: BEARS DRAFT NEEDS

G Kyle Long has impressed so far in his rookie season.

G Kyle Long has impressed so far in his rookie season.

BY TYLER GROSS
@TJGross13

We are eight games into the Marc Trestman era in the Windy City, and at 5-3, the Bears have had their share of ups and downs. The offense has vastly improved, while the aging defense has been bitten by the injury bug. Injuries and lack of depth at specific positions can be used as a clear indicator as to which positions the Chicago Bears need to draft next May. Lets start with the offensive draft needs.

CENTER
Roberto Garza is the lone returning starter from the 2012 offensive line, and while he has been an effective at points in his career, his age is beginning to show clearer. Two rookies, Kyle Long and Jordan Mills, have held down the right side of the line efficiently, and now it’s time to complete the offensive line remodeling and grab a center through the draft, possibly even an undrafted free agent.

TIGHT END
Don’t be alarmed, I’m just as big a fan of the “Black Unicorn” as everybody else. But Trestman’s offense requires more than one tight end to catch passes. The Bears need a versatile tight end similar to Tyler Eifert; someone that can line up in tight or split out and become a matchup nightmare for the defensive backs. Martellus Bennett has been incredible for the Bears, but adding a tight end that can be somewhat of a Swiss-Army knife would make this offense special.

QUARTERBACK
Jay Cutler will return from a groin tear this week against the Lions, and his performance from this point on will go a long way in the Bears’ decision to extend him, franchise him, or let him walk. No matter what happens, the Bears need to pick up a developmental quarterback in the draft. Spending a mid-round pick on a developmental quarterback will give Trestman options moving forward, and they may not have to pay the market price for Cutler if Trestman can find his guy in the draft. Josh McCown’s performance in Lambeau on Monday night is a testament to the fact that Trestman can work with any QB that is willing to learn.

Now let’s take a look at the draft needs of the Chicago defense. This unit has been decimated by injuries and its lack of depth has been exposed.

Arizona State DT Will Sutton is one of a few solid options the Bears will have at DT in the 2014 Draft.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Season-ending injuries to Henry Melton and Nate Collins, along with a nagging turf toe injury to Stephen Paea have revealed the lack of depth on the interior of the defensive line. There are several strong prospects that fit the Bears 4-3 scheme in the college ranks that can be picked up via the draft. Players like Will Sutton (Arizona State), Dominique Easley (Florida), and Ra’Shede Hageman (Minnesota) would all be valuable pieces for this defensive line. The Bears should get Melton back for a bargain, as he was franchise-tagged this season and his market value will be significantly lower due to his injury. Collins will be back as well, but the Bears need depth at the DT position.

SAFETY
Major Wright and Chris Conte were serviceable starters at the safety positions when the Bears defensive line was healthy; the line created enough pressure to cover up their shortcomings. But with the depleted unit the Bears are putting out every Sunday, the safety play has been horrendous. Both have been caught out of position far too many times, and their lack of play-reading instincts has reared its ugly head this season. There will be several potential starters at the safety position available for Chicago through the draft.

CORNERBACK
Charles Tillman is getting old, and while Tim Jennings has been a solid CB, he is not the interception machine that he was in 2012. These two can be successful for maybe another season or two, but the Bears lack of depth at the corner position has been exposed, as well.  An injury to Kelvin Hayden in the preseason placed Isaiah Frey at the nickelback position. Frey has been successful, especially for a player who spent the 2012 season on the practice squad. In the NFL, you can never enough true coverage cornerbacks and the Bears will be in a better position defensively going into the 2014 season if they add another cover corner through the draft.

The Bears offense has made up for the defense’s shortcomings, but the Bears can strengthen that defensive unit and help Mel Tucker next season by adding some young impact players.

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Updated 2014 Mock Draft Now Up!

evans1

We’re halfway through the football season, which means it’s time to updated our 2014 Mock Draft!

Check out the Mock Draft page for our latest projections, and join the discussion!  Give us your take in the comment section, or find us on Twitter @NFLDraftReport!

Updated 2014 Rankings NOW UP!

mariota

We’re halfway through the football season, which means it’s time to update our 2014 rankings!  Our TDR Top 50 and Top 5 By Position are now updated, and we want YOUR take!

Let us know what you think in the comment section or join us on Twitter @NFLDraftReport to discuss!

2014 NFL Draft Power-less Rankings: Week 7

"PLEASE GET ME A QUARTERBACK!"

“PLEASE GET ME A QUARTERBACK!”

If the season ended today, your top 10 picks in the 2014 NFL Draft would be:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7)

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)

3. New York Giants (1-6)

4. Minnesota Vikings (1-5)

5. Houston Texans (2-5)

6. St. Louis Rams (from WAS, 2-4)

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4)

8. Atlanta Falcons (2-4)

9. Oakland Raiders (2-4)

10. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)

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2014 NFL Draft Power-less Rankings: Week 1

chiefs gabbert

*Each week, TDR ranks the 10 worst teams in the league.  Hey, at least there’s that Clowney guy this year…

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) – When scoring a safety is the best thing your team accomplished all day against the team that had the first overall pick in the last draft, it’s really hard for anyone to be worse than you.  Clowney would be tough to pass up, but the Jags need Teddy Bridgewater in the worst way.

2. Oakland Raiders (0-1) – Terrelle Pryor showed flashes, for sure, but this team is who we think they are.  And we think they are very, very bad.  Clowney would look great in Silver & Black, though.

3. Cleveland Browns (0-1) – So much for Norv Turner’s offense being exactly what Brandon Weeden needed to assert himself as the Browns’ rock-solid starting quarterback.  This team has some good pieces to build around, but expect another high pick next year.

4. Buffalo Bills (0-1) – E.J. Manuel looks like he might be the real deal, and there is plenty of young talent around him, but the Bills still need more to truly compete in the AFC East.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) – Was there an uglier first quarter (and subsequent week of locker-room drama) than what we saw from the Bucs this week?  Schiano & Co. had better right this ship quick, which will be hard to do against the Saints and Pats over the next two weeks.

Josh Freeman, Greg Schiano

6. New York Jets (1-0) – The Bucs made the Jets look surprisingly functional for the most part on Sunday, but don’t let that fool you.  This team still has a slew of issues to sort out before they can get out of the bottom 10.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) – This team is OLD, and they’re finding it out fast.  A season-opening loss to a seemingly inferior division opponent in the Titans, combined with multiple ACL tears (Pouncey, Stephens-Howling), has the Fighting Rooneys reeling.

8. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) – A lot to like about what Carson Palmer brings to this offense, and the defense has plenty of talent.  But without a solid offensive line or a reliable threat running behind them, this team will get exposed quickly.

9. San Diego Chargers (0-1) – The Chargers were are impressive in the first half as they were unimpressive in the second in their opening loss to Houston.  Rivers’ four touchdowns passes are encouraging, but the Bolts have very little depth and won’t stand for long once injuries start to creep in.

10. Carolina Panthers (0-1) – Seattle had to steal the game late from the Panthers (thanks in large part to a much-improved run defense), but Cam Newton must be more effective if the Black Cats hope to dig themselves out of the NFC South cellar.

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