With the 2012 NFL Draft only days away, we are taking a look at the top needs for each team, division by division. Today we head to the AFC North, and, if you missed it, check out the AFC East from Tuesday. Got a player you want your team to target? Let me know in the comments.
Also, be sure to take a look at our massive 2012 Pre-Draft Rookie Report, which takes an in-depth look at all the top fantasy prospects.
Picks: 29, 60, 91, 130, 164, 169, 198, 236
1. Guard – The Ravens lost Pro Bowl LG Ben Grubbs in free agency to New Orleans, leaving them very thin at that spot. At the moment, 2011 3rd-round pick Jah Reid is expected to move from tackle to guard and start in place of Grubbs, but the Ravens could use some competition there. Guard is not always a position that’s in demand in the 1st round, but Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler would make sense with the 29th overall pick. Wisconsin C Peter Konz could also be a target with Matt Birk now 35 years old.
2. Linebacker – The Ravens could add help both inside and outside in their 3-4 scheme. [...]
We survived the 2011 NFL lockout.
After more than four months of daily updates on the labor problem in the NFL, we are finally finished. This is the last lockout-related post here in the Guru Daily, and we couldn’t be happier. No more worrying. No more stakeouts for Albert Breer. No more labor talk for 10 years. Just football.
We're happy too, Jerry.
But now that the lockout is over, it’s time to get down to business. The next few weeks are going to be some of the most hectic we’ve ever seen, as free agency has been delayed several months and will now take place in a short span lasting only a few days. Just a few days ago, everyone was worrying about how the players would respond to the owners’ celebratory press conference. Now, training camp opens tomorrow. Things change quickly, and we’ll continue working hard to make sure we have everything covered. For now, let’s take a quick look at the calendar:
Tuesday, 10 a.m.: Sign rookies and UDFAs; trades can begin to be made; Free agent negotiations can begin with no signing
Wednesday: Training camp [...]
We are in the home stretch in labor negotiations, but of course, this will not be a simple process. The owners are meeting in Atlanta Thursday, and hopefully, the 2011 NFL lockout is in its final moments despite any last-minute issues.
Labor meetings bring confusion … In a perfect world, we’d have a new CBA by the end of today and everyone would be happy. The players would have all voted “yes” yesterday in Washington, and the owners would all vote “yes” in Atlanta today. But if we’ve learned anything over the last four months of lockout living, it’s that nothing is ever easy when it comes to labor disputes. The players’ meetings in Washington were filled with confusion yesterday, delivering us conflicting reports and uncertainty as to how things would play out. Still, the owners expect to vote today, and we should have a settlement and new CBA in the near future. Let’s try to recap what is happening through the words of those covering the situation (keep in mind that the situation is developing by the minute):
Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that players representatives gave conditional approval Wednesday to finish a settlement pending the resolution of a [...]
Is Michael Crabtree hurt or healthy? Is the lockout almost over or is there still a lot of work to be done? Is Carson Palmer finished in Cincinnati? We have a lot of questions with few concrete answers.
Crabtree says he’s fine … On Tuesday, the Sacramento Bee reported that 49er WR Michael Crabtree has been bothered by his left foot, which he had surgery on in 2009. Crabtree has sat out workouts for much of the Alex Smith-led sessions, but on Wednesday, he told reporters that everything was fine. And hey! Here’s Crabtree putting on shoes. Crabtree has caught some passes during workouts, and 49er OT Joe Staley stuck up for the receiver. Reporters have been allowed to watch only 30 minutes and haven’t seen Crabtree do much, but he’s insisted that he’s been active. So, if Crabtree is feeling even the slightest bit of discomfort, it probably isn’t a bad thing that he’s taking it easy during informal workouts. We really have no idea how significant the discomfort is though, and this is just one more story that makes us look forward to real football in September.
What $2 million looks like
Investigating the Cincinnati area real estate market … [...]
We are finally getting good news on the labor front, and details are starting to emerge about what a new CBA could like it. Get ready for a hectic time in fantasy football, as free agency could be just a few weeks away.
Free agency on the horizon? … The owners’ expected extended stay in Chicago ended up lasting only one day, but just about all the news coming out of their meetings was positive. Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that the dissenting opinions in the room were not very significant, with only a handful speaking out against the progress that’s been made in labor talks. He believes there is a push to get a deal done around July 4. Negotiations with the players are scheduled to resume today in the Boston area.
Obviously, this is all good news, but perhaps the biggest story of the day was a report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that provides an overview of what the new CBA could look like:
About 48% of revenue to the players
A rookie wage scale
No mandated 18-game schedule
The potential for a 16-game Thursday night schedule
This past Sunday, Matt Camp and I spent a lot of time talking AFC North, with some Packers thrown in. We got a lot of interesting tidbits, so naturally, Sirius Business is back. Will T.O. end up in Cincy? Even if not, the Bengals’ interest in him is telling:
Joe Reedy covers the Bengals for the Cincinnati Enquirer (@joereedy on Twitter):
Reedy raised an interesting point with the Terrell Owens situation. If Antonio Bryant is actually healthy (his knee looks severely questionable at this point), who becomes the #3 receiver if T.O. is signed? You’re paying Bryant like a #2, and Owens isn’t going to be comfortable playing third fiddle (hell, do we know if he can he even play second fiddle?). This is already a crowded WR position. Rookie Jordan Shipley and Andre Caldwell will be battling it out for the slot role, Dezmon Briscoe is a talented rookie, and don’t forget that the Bengals signed Matt Jones early in the off-season. Reedy’s point was this: the Bengals have enough talented young guys who won’t clear waivers if they choose to sign Owens and go with three big names at the WR position.
T.Ochocinco? It may happen.
The concerns with Bryant’s knee [...]