Thursday, October 8, 2015

It’s the question everyone will be asking until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are finally at the podium with the first overall pick in April’s NFL draft.

Recent momentum has swung toward Jameis Winston as the favorite to land the top spot, however, in my 2015 mock draft, I have Marcus Mariota as the first overall pick.

I think he’s the right fit for one major reason… on January 8th the Buccaneers officially hired Dirk Koetter as the team’s new offensive coordinator.

Koetter worked eight seasons with Mariota’s current head coach, Mark Helfrich, as part of the same coaching staff at Boise State and Arizona State.

Koetter’s strong connecting with the current Oregon staff might be a telling sign that the Buccaneers already know the direction they are headed.

You can checkout more of my mock draft here.

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[Note:  This segment is a part of a position-by-position look at what the Minnesota Vikings might be inclined to do during the 2015 free agency period.  This is the fourth article, focusing on the tight ends.  In case you missed it, feel free to check out the quarterback preview hererunning backs are here, and the fullbacks are here.]

In theory, the Vikings have their tight end depth chart pretty much set.  They have the powerful veteran in Kyle Rudolph, the semi-proven backup in Chase Ford, and the journeyman blocker in Rhett Ellison.  They also have some camp fodder in Ryan Otten.

Rudolph just signed a huge deal that runs through 2018 and is highly unlikely to go anywhere.  Ford is entering a contract year, but is inexpensive and likely to be a restricted free agent in 2016, so there is no real reason to actively oust him from the Vikings roster.

Ellison is also fairly cheap, with a 2015 cap hit of $735,146, and appears like a guy the Vikings want to lock up for the long-term.  While unspectacular within the offense, Ellison is a great blocking tight end and solid special teams player.

The Vikings seem highly unlikely to spend heavily on the tight end position this offseason, with actual value more likely to be found in the Draft for a talent worth bringing aboard, but let’s take a look at some of the possibilities.

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Per Mark Craig, Mick Tingelhoff has been selected to the Hall of Fame.

There’s a lot to say about his HOF case, so, I’ll just copy and paste everything I wrote about Tingelhoff back when he was announced:

Peter King, in his MMQB column, makes Tingelhoff’s case to be in the Hall as well as anyone:

I think I have one name to keep in mind as the Pro Football Hall of Fame senior committee gathers this week in Canton to nominate one old-timer for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, class of 2015: Mick Tingelhoff. Think of Tingelhoff’s greatest accomplishment:

For the last 358 games of his 17-year career—99 preseason games, 240 regular-season games, 19 postseason games—Tingelhoff started. He failed to start only once—the first exhibition game of his career for the Vikings in 1962. Amazing. He dressed for 359 games in 17 years, and started the last 358. “He never missed a practice either,’’ his onetime quarterback, Fran Tarkenton, said.

He made first-team All-Pro seven times; no NFL center was voted first-team All-Pro more times. Back when the Pro Bowl meant something, a back playing behind Tingelhoff made the Pro Bowl 13 times.

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The NFL tweeted out that Odell Beckham, Jr. won the Associated Press’ Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, which makes sense. It was the most dominant rookie receiver season since Randy Moss. In 12 games, Odell Beckham averaged 108.8 yards a game, the most of any receiver (with any amount of experience), in the NFL—something only 10 receivers have done in history (with at least ten games), with only one receiver to do it twice (not Jerry Rice or Randy Moss, but Charley Hennigan).

This doesn’t take away from Teddy Bridgewater’s amazing year, of course. He finished with a solid adjusted yards per attempt, a league-average yards per attempt and a five-game streak better than almost any quarterback in the NFL.

And he still has the Pepsi Rookie of the Year Award to hang his hat on!

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Evidently, according to the Northeast Ohio Media Group and as reported by Mary Kay Cabot (who has not always been on point when it comes to Cleveland Browns stories), Teddy Bridgewater would have preferred not to be drafted by the Cleveland Browns because of the feeling that he wouldn’t have the full support of the staff behind him.

Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who’s up for Pepsi Rookie of the Year, didn’t want to play for the Browns in part because he knew that not everyone in the organization was on board with drafting him, a league source told Northeast Ohio Media Group.

The source said Bridgewater knew that some in the organization really liked him and that others wanted Johnny Manziel instead.

Despite the fact that the Browns commissioned a $100,000 study on who to draft, one that indicated that Teddy Bridgewater was the best choice, they opted to trade up to the 22nd pick to select Johnny Manziel, whose rookie season has been much more troubling than Bridgewater’s.

According to the report by Cabot, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was not sold on either Bridgewater or Manziel, instead preferring Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo or Pitt quarterback Tom Savage. In addition to the Manziel/Bridgewater split inside the Browns organization, there were evidently people who didn’t like either.

Teddy previously indicated on the Dan Patrick show shortly after the draft that he much preferred Minnesota to Cleveland, but this is the first word as to specifically why he didn’t want to go to Cleveland.

Bridgewater’s rookie season has seemingly panned out well. Props to the Vikings for hiding their dysfunctionality until it was too late to turn back.

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