Archive for April, 2012

Blackmon Ready To Prove High Value

Thursday, 26 April, 2012

By Vidur Malik 

One of the by-products of the Andrew Luck-Robert Griffin III sweepstakes is that it has taken the spotlight away from the other playmakers in the 2012 draft class. Count Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon among the players that would have gotten top billing if not for the two superstar quarterbacks who will go 1-2.


The two-time Biletnikoff Award-winner is projected to be a top-10 pick and considered the best receiver in the draft along with Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd. Many experts have Blackmon going No. 6 to the Rams, but no matter where he goes, he should be an instant contributor and someone you look out for during your fantasy draft.


Both his own talent and the strong production of recent rookie receivers indicate that Blackmon will make an immediate impact. His size allows him to be an effective route runner and turn short plays into big gains, and he certainly came up big in the biggest moments. He caught eight passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 41-38 win over the Stanford Cardinal in the Fiesta Bowl and caught no fewer than six passes in any game last season.


Just last season, rookie receivers like A.J. Green and Julio Jones showed that they will probably be among the elite receivers in the NFL very soon. Seven rookies caught more than 40 passes last season, including Redskins running back Roy Helu.


There’s no reason why Blackmon can’t be in that category. If he goes to the Rams, he’ll have a chance to become one of quarterback Sam Bradford’s favorite targets. Brandon Lloyd, the team’s top receiver last year, is now with the Patriots, so there’s an opportunity for Blackmon to show he’s an NFL-caliber receiver.


Even if he doesn’t go to the Rams, he’ll have a chance to contribute to his team. Teams like the Packers have shown that if you have a quarterback who can distribute the ball, there can never be too many weapons on an offense. It’s almost certain that the quarterback on Blackmon’s NFL team won’t be able to do that as well as Aaron Rodgers does, but he won’t need to. As long as Blackmon gets a chance to show his talents on short routes and a few deep throws, he can become a legitimate talent and a consistent fantasy producer. He should be available as your fantasy team’s second or third receiver and even if he isn’t a consistent producer, he could still be a good player for your flex spot. Blackmon’s potential is sky-high and he’s clearly on the short list for best receiver in this year’s draft, so he’s definitely someone you should consider making a part of your team.

Fitz Tries Again

Wednesday, 25 April, 2012




By Zack Cimini


At a point in your career as a superstar you’re able to voice your opinion to the front office with full range of clarity. If not, a superstar disgruntled on a losing team is a recipe for a bad mix. Chemistry clashes via pouting or underperforming. That can be said for many cornerstone athletes over the years. A few that pop up are the veterans in Terrell Owens and Randy Moss.


Franchises have suffered from this. Take the Cincinnati Bengals for example. Chad Ochocinco and Carson Palmer cried their ways out of Cincinnati. Before them it was Corey Dillon high displeasure with the Bengals that finally allowed him to exit to the Patriots.


Some superstar athletes just speak their mind. After Kurt Warner retired and the Cardinals lost free agent receiver Anquan Boldin, the Cardinals offense suffered immensely. Larry Fitzgerald who has likely been the top receiver in the NFL had to suffer through a year with a huge decline in talent around him. His quarterbacks bounced around from the likes of Derek Anderson to rookies in John Skelton and Max Hall. Receivers to thwart the attention off Fitzgerald were Early Doucet and Steve Breaston.


The same theme; surrounded talent that had underperformed or had the inexperience to play at the level Larry Fitzgerald needed them to.


Then came the off-season of 2010. Fitzgerald went through the same type of training he typically does. Partaking in extensive drills with other receivers throughout the league, including past great Cris Carter. Many knew the Cardinals would have to go another route at quarterback, and Fitzgerald was one that wanted it be well known who he favored.


Rumors of quarterbacks such as Marc Bulger and Kyle Orton as possible veteran fill ins circled the rumor mill. Fitzgerald wanted none of that, and began lobbying for Kevin Kolb almost simultaneously. The new rumor was that Fitzgerald was working out and doing pass catching drills with Kolb during the lockout.


When the lockout ended, the Cardinals threw a huge contract at Kolb and he was to be the Cardinals mainstay at quarterback for years to come. If only things were that simple. Kolb struggled tremendously to learn a new system, and looked like a rookie almost all of his starts on the field. Injuries began to plague his season, and John Skelton surprisingly became a much more reliable starter.


Arizona knows that Kolb may have been the wrong answer, as they were hoping to land Peyton Manning and cut Kolb. Manning could not make his decision quick enough, and rather than be like Miami was without a backup plan for Matt Flynn, the Cardinals accepted year two with Kevin Kolb.


Microphones and voice recorders are going to be in the faces of superstar athletes all off-season. Discussions of the NFL Draft is one of many topics reporters are going to ask. When it was asked on who the Cardinals should go after in the first round, Fitzgerald did not shy away. He wants the Cardinals to go after talented Notre Dame prospect, Michael Floyd.


Floyd has shown on the field that he can be a special receiver in the NFL. His label of question has nothing to do with his route running or size. It’s his off the field issues, which have been a constant while at Notre Dame. Run ins with alcohol related issues happened on three occasions. Fitzgerald believes he can be the veteran to lend the proper support structure for a rookie in Floyd. Properly train him with his great work habits and lead him off the field as well.


The main question this time around. As a front office do you listen to Larry Fitzgerald this time? You’ve done the evaluating as a front office and likely have a solid three to four prospects that you’re eyeing on draft day. Receiver is a need but do they feel they need to use a high value pick for another position, and add a receiver in latter rounds?


Draft day is just about a day away, and Fitzgerald just recently voiced his opinion. This time around I believe the Cardinals will go with who they have rated the highest on their draft board. Whether that be Floyd or not.