Hello fellow Rumblers.
It is May 20th and we are all going nuts. How good is the team? Can they make the playoffs? These are answers that none of us can know. So, I wanted to do something a bit different. I wanted to write an article about ranking each guy like Madden would. This won't be a homer thing however (at least I hope you don't perceive it that way because I am very high on this team.) I will cover the starters and key backups.
Before we start tho, we need to establish what the numbers mean. Even though I plan to grade them between 1-99, no one will get a score of 1-65. In my book:
65-71 Below Average
77-84 Above Average
QB Fitz is the starter. I believe he is a top 12 QB on a good team. My rating- 83. He does some things very well, and needs to really improve in other areas. This is his make or break year. He has a good OL, good weapons, and (finally) a defense that should be able to hold teams to under 30 pts per game. His backups: Young is a 79. It's a what have you done for me lately league and VY has done very little over the last year. Thigpen is a 76 IN CHAN'S OFFENSE. I do believe the battle for the backup spot is very tight. If VY has more turnovers then TD's and Thigpen throws 2 TD with 1 INT, I believe he wins the backup over VY. Part of the role of a backup QB is to NOT LOSE the game. If the Bills feel VY can't do that, then why keep him?
HB Fred Jackson gets a 96. He does it all well. He can run, catch, get extra yards, block, he's a complete back. The only thing stopping him from being a 99 is his age and the injury last year. CJ's rating is 89. I love Spiller, but, he is not as tough as Jackson. He isn't as good blocking or picking up the blitz. He's a star, but, not yet a Superstar.
TE Chandler is a tough one. I'd rate him as an 80. He is a matchup nightmare, but, his lack of speed and not being a great blocker prevent him from being elite at the position. Not much is really known about the other 5 TE's at the pro level, so, I won't rank them. Dorin has a chance to be special.
WR Stevie is a 94. He's a superstar and finally paid like one. What stops him from being elite is his speed. He is fast, but, he is not dominant like a megastar would be. I think this is a solid (if not generous) rating for him. Here comes the controversy. Donald Jones to me is rated 76. I think he is average, but, has above average speed and below average hands. He certainly can move up. Easley is hard to rate due to his lack of work, but, he could be 79 based on potential. David Nelson's rated 84. He is above average at what he does. As a slot guy, he is a nightmare for teams. I think he can get better, but, lets face it, he won't ever be Wes Welker. That doesn't mean that he can't be a major weapon and great safety valve for Fitz. Hagan is a 77 to me. He can certainly go up, but, based on what I saw last I can't grade him much higher. He is just slightly above average. Graham is a 72 at this point. He has a lot to learn.
Sidenote: Everyone says we reached. However it is also known that at least 2 other teams had him as a third round pick. I think it is impossible to call this a reach without knowing who the other teams were. Someone said once on here that if 4 think he is good and 40 think he is bad, the masses might be right. Well, that is not necessarily true. What if those 4 teams were the Bills, Steelers, Green Bay, and Baltimore. Now, that doesn't seem like such a reach does it? I am not saying those are the teams, but, u have to admit, if they were the teams interested in him, that makes getting him look far better.
LT is a Battle between Hairston (78) and Glenn (with no game footage AND assuming the Bills are right, I can't go higher then a 76 for now). For now, Hairston is a solid slightly above player at LT and the battle between the 2 will only make both of them better. The sleeper here is Sanders (72), who might end up the LT of the future.
LG has Andy Levetrie (92). I think he's a superstar, one of the top 8 LG's in the game. He isn't dominant, hence the top 8 rating.
C Eric Wood (90) is also a superstar, when healthy. The only thing stopping him from being higher is his unlucky nature and 2 horrible injuries. There is still hope tho.
RG is a battle between Upbik (84) and Rhinehart (83) and it will be a good battle. Both are good, but, not dominant. They need to get better at run blocking. The entire team needs to use their huge weight advantage to wreck some havoc. If either man can "get it" in run blocking, you could be looking at a truly great line.
RT is a semi battle in the fact that Pears (87) is the starter and has had some great games, and some terrible games. He is good in this offense tho and can hold his ground against most (not named Wake). I do believe the loser of the Glenn/Hairston battle could factor here. In 2 years down the road, the OL could look very different with (as the Bills hope) would look like: Glenn (92), Levetrie (96), Wood (96), Hairston (91), and Sanders (91) as the line. Or you could flipflop Glenn and Sanders, either way, wow, that is a great OL.