We must start with Michael Vick's return to the NFL with the Eagles. Donovan McNabb is too sensitive to criticism to have such a high-profile backup. But, in the pocket, of course, Vick is terrible. His decision-making and accuracy are also poor by NFL starting standards. When he finally gets some snaps, we need to see if he can still run like a pro tailback. He'll never throw like a pro quarterback. That should ease McNabb's paranoia.
Rookie running back LeSean McCoy is rising fast on the draft boards. And our resident Eagles expert, Comcast SportsNet's Andy Schwartz, says that McCoy has impressed at camp with his pass protection skills. That will help get him on the field even when Brian Westbrook is healthy. At age 30, Westbrook's workload will need to decrease if Philly wants to preserve the quality of his touches.
All systems appear to be set to "go" for Tom Brady. He didn't step into a bomb that ended up being a pick. But that's the last thing to come back off the knee injury, as it's the primary mental hurdle. Remember, Brady was stepping into a deep throw when he got hurt.
Patriots tight end Chris Baker had two TDs in the Pats' preseason opener. But New England always has a committee at the position. Baker used to be hybrid-ish, but he's older now and has lost a step. Expect 45 catches and about five scores.
Arizona's Matt Leinart looked better than his stats showed in the series I saw, but toiled with the backups against backups. Monitor him closely with an eye towards free agency, as Kurt Warner is old with a long history of concussions.
Put Steelers rookie free agent Isaac Redman (Bowie State University) on your watch list. He had two TDs in the desert and has impressed in goal-line action throughout camp.
Oakland's Darren McFadden had a long run (45 yards) against Dallas. But he keeps getting caught from behind.
Dallas wideout Roy Williams caught a deep out and drew a hold on a deep post from Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt. But Williams hasn't shown during his career that he cares enough to pay the price for greatness. So I will not invest a pick in him before the fourth round.
An NFL career can't start much better than it did for Mark Sanchez, with a perfectly thrown 48-yard bomb on his first pass (to David Clowney). He looked far left and gave that tight shoulder fake with his back against his own end zone. That was professional work.
Marc Bulger's pass protection again looked pitiful. When a team can't protect its QB, I must downgrade its entire skill contingent.
Laurent Robinson showed speed on a bomb. He's a sneaky, last-round pocket pick if you want to gamble cheap on a Ram. (The only Ram investment I advise.)
Atlanta's Michael Turner shakes off defensive backs trying to arm tackle him like they're gnats. And if you saw these DBs shirtless in the locker room, you'd know how impressive that is. In the NFL, even defensive backs are built like trees. Good thing Turner's built like a redwood.
Detroit's Matthew Stafford has elite arm strength. But he does not throw a great spiral as often as you expect. That's going to hamper his intermediate accuracy. It's not a fatal flaw — Peyton Manning throws a lot of ugly passes that get where they need to be. But QBs like this have a much harder time battling the wintry elements. Witness Peyton's brother Eli, who always struggles at home late in the year.
The Browns looked terrible, with Derek Anderson failing to even complete a pass. Their defense yielded 240 yards to Green Bay in the first half and 230 rushing yards on the night.
Packers RB DeShawn Wynn is a great, late value pick. He's impressed in camp and flashed great ability going back to his college days in Florida. Starter Ryan Grant doesn't do anything very well. If the Packers sour on him, Wynn (5-10, 230) is more of an every-down option than current third-down back Brandon Jackson.
Even on his good days, Vince Young doesn't throw the ball with any purpose. He tries to put touch on every pass. But sometimes you need to fire it through those very tight NFL windows.
Some Broncos fans seemed content to waive goodbye to Jay Cutler because his overwhelming talent was dragged down by a propensity for picks. But wait until they get a load of Kyle Orton, who's just as mistake prone (three picks Friday night in three possessions) but with journeyman ability.
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