January 5-6 — Wild Card Playoffs
January 6 — Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that have byes in the Wild Card weekend may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of the Wild Card games.
January 12-13 — Divisional Playoffs.
January 13 — Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that won their Wild Card games may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of Divisional Playoff games.
January 15 — Deadline for underclassmen to petition for special eligibility for the 2013 NFL Draft.
January 19 — East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.
January 20 — AFC and NFC Championship Games.
January 24-25 — Regional Combine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii
January 26 — Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.
January 27 — AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii.
January 27 — An assistant coach, whose team is participating in the Super Bowl, who has previously interviewed for another club’s head coaching job may have a second interview with such club no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.
February 2 — Texas vs. Nation College All-Star Game, Eagle Stadium, Allen, Texas.
February 3 — Super Bowl XLVII, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana.
February 9-10 — Regional Combine, Orange Coast College-Lebard Stadium, Los Angeles, California
February 16 — Regional Combine, Methodist Training Center (Texans), Houston, Texas
February 17 — Regional Combine, Cleveland Browns Training Facility, Cleveland, Ohio
February 20-26 — Combine Timing and Testing, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
March 2-3 — Regional Combine, Atlantic Health Jets Training Facility, New York/New Jersey
March 9 — Regional Combine, One Buccaneer Place, Tampa, Florida
March 10 — Regional Combine, Halas Hall (Bears), Chicago, Illinois
March 9-11 — Clubs are permitted to enter into contract negotiations with certified agents of players who will be Unrestricted Free Agents at the end of the current League Year.
March 12 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2013 on all players who have option clauses in their 2012 contracts.
March 12 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit Qualifying Offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.
March 12 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit a minimum salary offer to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2012 contracts and who have fewer than three seasons of free agency credit.
March 12 — All 2012 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
March 12 — Top-51 Begins. All clubs must be under the Salary Cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.
March 12 — The 2013 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
March 12 — Trading period begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, for 2013 after expiration of all 2012 contracts.
March 16-17 — Regional Combine, Atlanta Falcons Training Facility, Atlanta, Georgia
March 17-20 — Annual League Meeting, The Biltmore, Phoenix, Arizona.
March 23-24 — Regional Combine, Virginia Mason Athletic Center (Seahawks), Seattle, Washington
March 23-24 — Regional Combine, Baltimore Ravens Training Facility, Baltimore, Maryland
April 7-8 — Super Regional Combine, Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, Texas
April 25-27 — NFL Draft, New York City, New York.
May 20-22 — NFL Spring League Meeting, Hyatt-Harborside, Boston, Massachusetts.
September 5, 8-9 — NFL Kickoff 2013
January 5-6 — Wild Card Playoffs
There are plenty of pundits out there who have already performed a sturdy analysis of last night’s draft, so I will not try to over analyze. Just some quick thoughts…
1. Everyone is applauding the Vikings for making the deal with the Browns to move down one spot, acquire multiple additional picks — and STILL get their man in Matt Kalil. I certainly will agree that it was a great move. However, those extra picks must have been burning a hole in GM Rick Spielman’s pocket — as I doubt that it was necessary to trade back up a handful of spots to get Harrison Smith. I had him projected as more of a 3rd rounder — and certainly would have been available when the Vikings picked again in the 2nd.
2. Speaking of Cleveland, I understand why they did what they did with the move up. The Vikings were fielding multiple offers, and Cleveland agreed with Bill Polian’s assessment that the draft only had 3 genuine blue chip players in Luck, RG3 and Richardson. I don’t like the Weeden pick at #22 , though. I understand that the Browns believe that they need an upgrade over McCoy. However, Weeden is already 28 years old (Chris Weinke, anyone?). I wouldn’t be as concerned about the age if he hadn’t played mostly from the shotgun in college, a formation that the Browns rarely like to use.
3. I always saw Jacksonville as a real wild card in the draft, as I wasn’t sure what they would do. I knew that they coveted Blackmon, but figured that they would be content to upgrade their defense with Barron, Gilmore or Cox at #7. I should have remembered that when Mike Mularkey was in his first year as the Bills’ head coach back in 2004, he convinced the team to draft Lee Evans with their first pick. The Rams undoubtedly would have taken Blackmon at #6, so the Jags worked out the deal with the Bucs.
4. The Jacksonville-Tampa Bay trade started a rippling affect as the Rams, now devoid of the WR they coveted moved down to 14 in hopes of getting decent value for the next best WR (Michael Floyd) there. Only, the Cardinals ended up taking Floyd one spot before them. The Brockers selection, which wasn’t a bad one, seemed like an afterthought. Oh, well. The Rams had to wake up this morning in a better mood, realizing that they picked up those extra picks from the Cowboys — and there are still some good receivers left on the board.
5. When I did my mock draft on Monday, I had the sense that Mark Barron was a hot commodity — and that there was a good chance that he would go in the top 10. But I still wondered if teams like Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Buffalo were all blowing smoke to convince Dallas or San Diego to trade up. We now know that the interest was real. The Bills would have taken Barron if he had still been there at 10, and Tampa Bay wasted little time in snatching him up at 7. I know safeties are under-valued in the draft, but I think when it is all said and done that Barron will be a real difference-maker for the Bucs.
6. No one is talking about the #9 (Luke Kuechly) and #10 (Stephon Gilmore) picks to Carolina and Buffalo respectively. That is because both were good, solid picks and both players are smart, hard-nosed guys who have a very good chance to succeed at the next level. Gilmore (from South Carolina) really thought that the Panthers (of North Carolina) were going to take him. When they passed on him, he was frustrated. Since the Bills were ecstatic that Gilmore was still there, they rushed the pick. So the cameras caught Gilmore’s still unhappy demeanor about being passed over by the Panthers. Bills fans took that as a slight on their city, but that isn’t the case.
7. Dontari Poe was an interesting pick for the Chiefs. A few months back, he was the top-rated DT in the draft. Great workouts increased his stock further. Then some draftniks started looking closer at his game tape, and started saying that he disappeared all too often, so his stock fell. Romeo Crennel and the Chiefs brass must have ignored all the Johnny-Come-Lately naysayers, as he was the first DT taken ahead of Fletcher Cox, who was the hot flavor of the week amongst the so-called draftniks. The Chiefs, of course, were looking for a true NT rather than a penetrating, smaller DT — and Poe fit that bill.
8. Speaking of Cox, the Eagles were ecstatic to move up to 12 to get him. He is probably the best pass rushing DT in the draft. I saw him going as high as #5 in some mock drafts, so the Eagles did well to get him without giving up a boatload to do so. Meanwhile, I am STILL wondering what the Seahawks were thinking when they decided to go with Bruce Irvin after the trade-down. I had Irvin going in the 4th, and I had not talked to ANYONE who had a 1st round grade on him. Obviously the Seahawks did. What makes the pick even more confounding is the realization that he was the first DE, OLB, or hybrid DE/OLB to go in the draft. He reminds me too much of Aaron Maybin.
9. I really thought the Jets were interested in Melvin Ingram. Guess I was wrong, since they chose Coples over him. Coples was not a bad pick because I really thought he had a chance to go #8 to Miami if the Dolphins hadn’t decided to gamble heavily on Tannehill. Coples was inconsistent at times, but I am sure that Rex believes that he can motivate the kid.
10. The Patriots crack me up with the subtle little moves they make to move up and down the board. A couple of spots here, a couple of spots there… and then we all wonder why every year they seem to have more picks in the first 2 rounds than anyone else. Defense was a point of emphasis for them, and they came away with two very good players in Chandler and Hightower. Oh, and they have multiple 2nd rounders today too!
Well, these are the top guys ( a half-round worth) that I have left on my board with an asterisk next to the ones that I really thought would go in the first round. In many cases character concerns (Jenkins and Adams) is what has caused them to fall.
1. OLB Courtney Uphsaw (Alabama) *
2. CB Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama) *
3. OT/OG Cordy Glenn (Georgia) *
4. OLB/DE Andre Branch (Clemson) *
5. OT Jonathan Martin (Stanford) *
6. DT Jerel Worthy (Michigan) *
7. C Peter Konz (Wisconsin) *
8. OT Mike Adams (Ohio State) *
9. OLB Lavonte David (Nebraska) *
10. TE Coby Fleener (Stanford) *
11. DT Devon Still (Penn State)
12. OT Bobby Massie (Mississippi)
13. DT Alameda Ta’amu (Washington)
14. RB Lamar Miller (Miami)
15. WR Alshon Jeffery (South Carolina)
16. OT Mitchell Schwartz (California)
When the draft is over, I will do a full fantasy analysis of all relevant players. Suffice to say, right off the bat, that Tony Richardson will project to be a top 15 — and maybe even a top 10 — fantasy RB.