Gil Brandt

Gil Brandt


Gil Brandt, the vice president of player personnel for the Cowboys from 1960 to 1989, helped Dallas grow into one of the most powerful and popular sports franchises in America. His innovative management and personnel systems are standard operating procedure today for many teams at the professional and collegiate levels nationwide. As NFL Media's personnel guru, Brandt offers insight and commentary on all aspects of players and teams.


Stumbling in the NFL Scouting Combine doesn't automatically spell doom for a prospect's career. Some of the players who posted disappointing workouts will fail to make their mark in the NFL, but some will go on to be successful pros. The trick is... more

The NFL Scouting Combine is obviously important for every prospect working out, but it can really impact the fortunes of those who have something to prove. The workouts and interviews represent a major opportunity for prospects to show representatives from all 32 teams -- in a controlled, favorable environment -- that they have what it takes to make it as a pro. The following 12 players are some of the youngsters who stand to help themselves a great deal in Indy.... more

Comparing young players to the accomplished veterans they most resemble can be a helpful exercise -- and tricky business. I often am reminded of certain stars when watching players on the rise. Putting a developing guy next to an older guy who has... more

Is Malcolm Butler for real? Before Super Bowl XLIX , few knew anything about the undrafted New England Patriots rookie. Then he made the clutch, goal-line interception that cemented the Pats' fourth title -- and became an instant hero. But was it a... more

January illustration The Buccaneers are now on the clock, followed by the Titans, Jaguars and Raiders. This is the 2015 NFL Draft first-round order, with the top three needs for all 32 teams (order determined by record, using strength of... more

Being in Arizona for yet another Super Bowl, it occurred to me that I sure have seen a lot of these games. In fact, I've been present for nearly every Super Bowl ever played. And one thing that's almost always been true: The drama and excitement fly fast... more

Just two teams can make it to the Super Bowl -- and only one can win it all. This might seem self-evident, but each season will be judged, to some degree, as a "failure" by 31 of the 32 squads in the NFL, in that almost everyone becomes a loser at some... more

The 2015 NFL Draft will have 74 underclassmen available -- plus 10 who have graduated with college eligibility remaining -- and as in past years, some of the decisions to turn pro were sound, whereas many other underclassmen probably would have been... more

2014 All-Rookie Team January 14, 2015

The 2014 rookie class included some good players and solid depth, but it really stood out for one reason: the receivers.

Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans headlined a stellar crop of young pass-catchers that ranks among the best I can remember. So when I put together this year's All-Rookie Team, I decided to expand the roster on offense to include three receivers, as you'll see below.

Even if this bunch of rookies didn't include many stars beyond the pass-catchers, there are plenty of promising pros out there, guys who will be starters for 10-plus years. Without further ado, here is my All-Rookie Team for 2014:... more

The most important thing for a quarterback leading his team into battle in the NFL playoffs is composure. Everything is more intense than it is in the regular season. The stakes are higher. The caliber of competition is elite. And there are no do-overs... more

Going from worst to first in the NFL is tough. Parity might rule the day, but even teams with high draft picks and plenty of salary-cap space face slim odds when it comes to mounting complete turnarounds in one offseason. The success rate of 2013's... more


Tony Romo has drawn a lot of heat over the years, but one thing is true as he wraps up his 12th NFL campaign: He's playing like the MVP of 2014. It might be hard for some to believe, given the zeal with which people seem to enjoy remembering Romo's past... more

Johnny Manziel's career is not over. It might seem silly to say that, but the vultures have been picking him apart over the past few days. Here's the truth: As terrible as his first ever NFL start was on Sunday, we should not rush to judge the... more

Though the passing game reigns, I believe we're seeing the running back return to relevance a bit.

Think of the Steelers, who have an explosive QB-WR combo in Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown -- and also are relying on a terrific young RB in Le'Veon Bell. Bell's Week 14 performance (235 total yards and three TDs) sparked Chris Wesseling to say on the "Around the NFL Podcast" that if he were starting a team from scratch right now, he'd pick Bell to be his back. Which got me thinking: Who would I go with? So I put together a list, in descending order.

First, some notes on players who didn't make the cut. Marshawn Lynch stands out in Seattle, but I'm not sure he'd be as effective running somewhere else. LeSean McCoy has the fourth-highest yardage total, but I wonder how much of his production can be attributed to Philly's system. Suspended vet Adrian Peterson was not considered.... more

Like seemingly everything in the NFL, the MVP race is fluid, taking shape over the course of a season with fluctuating fortunes and surprising hot streaks. At the outset of the regular season's final month, I thought I'd take stock of this race and put... more


Last year, Chris Davis' return of a missed field goal gave Auburn an unlikely victory over top-ranked Alabama in the Iron Bowl. It's a finish many fans won't soon forget, and many called it the best college football finish of all time.

This is a look at where it ranks in the pantheon of great college football finishes. Here are my all-time top 10 games that finished on the final play:

» For more, go to 24/7... more

Colin E. Braley/Associated Press Kansas City Chiefs pass-rushing dynamo Justin†Houston is on pace to finish the 2014 campaign with 19 sacks. With the 2014 NFL season heating up, the offseason and free agency seem farther away than ever. But... more

Associated Press Would Dan Mullen, David Cutcliffe and Adam Gase be good fits for the Florida coaching job? I was sad to see the news on Sunday that Florida is moving on from Will Muschamp as their head coach. It was inevitable, yes, but... more

If you're an NFL rookie looking to make a splash, nothing beats playing as well as anyone at your position. Ten weeks into the 2014 season, several rookies have distinguished themselves as top-notch talents, laughing in the face of the widely... more

A bye week is more than a mini-vacation -- it can give a team a chance to take control of its season. Beyond serving as an opportunity for players to rest and heal up and for coaches to evaluate and tinker with their game plans, the in-season break... more


The playoff clock is starting to tick. Eight weeks in, the 2014 NFL campaign is taking shape -- and teams hoping to be in the mix to qualify for postseason play should be feeling a sense of urgency. If the season ended today, a number of... more

There are 15 players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who went undrafted, two more than the number of busts in Canton of former No. 1 overall draft picks. I love that stat. It shows how inexact the draft process is and the high-quality players that,... more

T.Y. Hilton is the third-most prolific receiver in the NFL. Heading into the year, few would have predicted the young Indianapolis Colts pass catcher would rank third in total receiving yards (711) through seven weeks. But Hilton is far from the only... more

Anyone who has spent more than a week watching the NFL knows it can be difficult to separate perception from reality. Statistics and win-loss records help, but even cold, hard numbers can be misleading. This is worth remembering when evaluating... more

Every year, it quickly becomes apparent which NFL rookies were drafted too low. Four weeks into the 2014 season, it's becoming clear which ones have played above their draft position. Here are 10 rookies who have outperformed their draft position, along with where I'd draft them today.... more

Four weeks in, the 2014 NFL season is beginning to take shape, with some squads getting off to decidedly strong starts and others stumbling out of the block. But there's a sizable chunk whose record would seem to indicate very little about the direction... more


It's always dangerous to look back and assess a draft less than three years after it took place. To do it four weeks into the first season borders on lunacy. But that's not what this is, and it's not just an assessment of four games. I've seen quite a... more

Each NFL season brings its share of surprises and disappointments -- and sometimes, a Pro Bowl talent will tick off both boxes. Amid the annual storm of injuries and bum luck that greets each squad in the league, you'd think Pro Bowl players would be... more

Of the college football teams I currently have ranked in my top 20, seven play on the road this weekend, including four of my top seven. It's a recipe conducive to having great games and upsets. Here are the games I'll be watching closely in Week 4:... more

Week 1 of the 2014 NFL season is in the books, which means the judging can begin. Of course, that's a bit of an exaggeration, as it's actually tough to base much off just one week of game action, especially in this league. Still, it is possible to begin... more

In the NFL, prediction season peaks just before the real season begins. And with the 2014 campaign about to kick off, I thought I'd grapple with the toughest division to prognosticate this year: the AFC North. Harrison: Power Rankings, Week 1 Do the... more

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Christian Hackenberg threw for 454 yards vs. UCF to become the first Penn State passer to eclipse 400 yards in a game. I'm not sure we could have had a better opening weekend in college football if we tried. Yes,... more


This is no longer a tailback-oriented society. With the passing game taking on ever more importance in the NFL, ball carriers seem to have fallen by the wayside. For the second year in a row, no running backs were selected in the first round of the... more

Every year, I travel to training camps around the NFL, and every year, it seems the players are getting a little bit better. The rookies are just so well-prepared coming out of college, and the veterans have such sophisticated offseason regimens... more

When it comes to arriving as an NFL player, "better late than never" is a cliche that would seem to hold true. Consider Mark Ingram. After three years of underwhelming play with the New Orleans Saints, the former first-round pick provided a glimpse that... more

Keith Srakocic/Associated Press Offensive lineman Chris†Elkins (left) is fighting to stay with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted rookie. You don't have to be selected in the NFL draft to make your mark on the NFL. Consider this: The... more


Tuesday night, the Arizona Cardinals locked up Patrick Peterson to a five-year, $70 million extension that made him the top-paid cornerback in the NFL, topping the four-year, $56 million contract the Seahawks' Richard Sherman signed in May. Then on... more

Though nothing that happens in training camp counts in the standings, it is a very important phase of the NFL year. Rosters are shaped, schemes are implemented and careers are decided. I saw this firsthand in my time working for the Dallas Cowboys.... more

The Jacksonville Jaguars can make the playoffs this season. It might seem like a crazy statement to make about a team that hasn't won more than five games in a single campaign since 2010. But the fact is, these longtime cellar dwellers are in the midst... more

Things can change dramatically in a decade. Just ask an NFL tight end. In 2003, the men who played the position did not, for the most part, spend much time with the football. That season, tight ends were targeted 1,406 times, catching 903 passes and... more


This September will mark the 10-year anniversary of an event that changed the course of NFL history: Ben Roethlisberger's first game with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Schein: Veterans to appreciate Adam Schein lists nine veteran players who must be... more

Jameis Winston and Florida State hoisted the final BCS national championship trophy. The 2014 season marks the first for the College Football Playoff, which will feature a four-team playoff system. Below are the top 16 contenders to... more

It's almost too obvious to state, but few offensive players are more valuable than those who just cannot be stopped. We've all seen it happen: A running back plows over a half dozen defenders to manufacture a game-breaking touchdown, or a receiver... more

One of the most difficult things to achieve in the NFL is sustained success. Even for the most hyped, "can't-miss" squads out there, the bottom is seemingly always threatening to fall out -- as the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons can attest, coming... more

What do Alfred Morris, Brandon Marshall, Richard Sherman and Jared Allen have in common? All four have made the Pro Bowl -- and all four were drafted in the fourth round or later. Yes, while the first few rounds of the NFL draft are still your... more


In the NFL, the middle is a tricky place to be. Winners are winners and losers are losers, and a record that places a team squarely in one category or the other can provide a certain amount of clarity moving forward. Teams that win as much as they lose,... more

The NFL offseason is a time for hope to blossom, buoyed by the twin fonts of optimism: free agency and the draft. The feeling that anything can happen when the season kicks off is pervasive, exciting even the fans of those teams whose most recent playoff... more

Almost a full week has passed since the conclusion of the NFL draft, which means it's time for us to start looking ahead to next year's draft. It's early in the game, but I've begun putting together a list of seniors who look to me like they could be... more

In the aftermath of the 2014 NFL Draft, with grades being handed out and prospect hauls being assessed, excitement for the future is high. But as fans and observers gush over developmental quarterbacks and other need-filling depth plays, we should... more

There were 256 players selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, and many more who did not hear their name called over the past three days. But the process isn't over for those hoping to make a roster. Last year, there were 49 undrafted players who made it onto a... more

¬Ľ Gil Brandt's draft board 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 We are now on the final day of the 2014 NFL Draft , but that doesn't mean there aren't still impactful players left on the board. This is a very deep draft, and many of the players taken on Day 2 would have... more

Gil Brandt's draft board 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 We're days away from the 2014 NFL Draft, and I'm ready to reveal my fourth and final set of rankings for this year's top prospects. There's been a lot of moving parts over the last few months, but one player has... more


Over the last few weeks I've pointed to 30 prospects whom most casual fans might not recognize, but a handful of scouts and NFL teams definitely do after their pro days. With a few exceptions, these are prospects who were not invited to the NFL Scouting... more

Gil Brandt's draft board 1.0 | 2.0 With the draft officially two weeks away, I've updated my list of this year's top prospects to include 75 more names, from Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron to Montana linebacker Jordan Tripp at No. 125. Several names... more

Bob Levey / Associated Press Kenneth Acker is the latest SMU defensive back with a chance to make it in the NFL. Last week, I gave the names of 15 lesser-known players who helped their chances in the draft by putting in impressive workouts... more

Every year in the draft there are players who we know will be taken, and then there are guys who have their name called and people say, "Who is he?" In a lot of cases, the players in the latter group are guys who weren't invited to the NFL Scouting... more

A lot has changed in the three months since I released my first set of rankings for the draft, but you'll notice my top two players in the draft haven't. Here is my second look at the top 50 prospects for the 2014 draft, which includes a lot of familiar... more

When assessing which NFL teams have a lot riding on the 2014 NFL Draft, the obvious answer would seem to be, well, all of them. The chance to add key pieces at relatively low cost is hugely important to each squad. That said, it can be argued that it's... more

Last week, the pro-day spotlight was on LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger , who threw for scouts less than five months after having ACL surgery. This week, the spotlight turns to another SEC quarterback returning from an ACL injury, Georgia's Aaron Murray... more

Some players become superstars the moment they first set foot on an NFL field. Others need a bit more time. We know all about the guys who shined as rookies last season, players like San Diego Chargers receiver Keenan Allen and Green Bay Packers... more

I get asked all the time what I consider the best NFL draft of all time. Most people quickly point to 1983 , when six Pro Football Hall of Famers went in the first round, seven overall. 'Caught in the Draft' on NFL Network NFL Network... more

Most people know Zach Mettenberger as the quarterback at LSU, but he actually began his college career at Georgia, where his mother is an administrative assistant for head coach Mark Richt. Mettenberger graduated from high school early and enrolled at... more

The Dallas Cowboys are in an interesting position. For three consecutive seasons, they've finished 8-8 and just behind the winner of the NFC East, putting them on the perennial edge between success and failure. If the team wants to move away from that... more


I first met Jadeveon Clowney on Nov. 5, 2010, in Columbia, S.C. He and his mother and father were in town for their recruiting trip to the University of South Carolina, and we were staying in the same hotel, the Carolina Inn. It gave me an opportunity to... more

LM Otero/Associated Press QB Garrett Gilbert turned in a strong performance during SMU's pro day on Friday. DALLAS -- Sometimes, even this deep into the NFL draft process, a prospect rises from seemingly out of nowhere. For me, that prospect... more

Ralph Wilson Jr., who passed away at 95 on Tuesday , was an unbelievable person. The former Buffalo Bills owner was always at league meetings and he always took the time to say hello. He was definitely someone who was always league-first. He once... more

When Jared Allen signed with the Chicago Bears †on Wednesday, he received more than job security and a great deal of money -- he also got a fresh start. Free-Agent Tracker Follow all the developments on the NFL's open market with our up-to-the-minute... more

I first learned about Johnny Manziel a few years back from Tom Rossley, who was Texas A&M's offensive coordinator under then-head coach Mike Sherman and the coach responsible for recruiting Manziel to A&M. Manziel was an exciting player in high school,... more

Nearly two years ago at this time, Brandon Weeden was drafted in the first round as the Cleveland Browns' quarterback of the future. Now he's hoping to stick with the Dallas Cowboys as a backup. Three years ago, Blaine Gabbert was drafted to be the man... more

¬Ľ 2014 pro day reports The third week of pro days will be a big one for several good players looking to improve their draft position. Among them are two potential No. 1 overall picks , both of whom play the quarterback position. I expect several of... more

Not every No. 2 can become a No. 1. In other words, not every player waiting in the wings has what it takes to step into a starring role. As Eric Decker moves out of a supporting position with the Denver Broncos to become the New York Jets' No. 1... more

In most drafts, you might see one or two players who are worthy of being taken with the No. 1 overall pick. I can't ever remember a year like this one, when eight, possibly nine, guys are deserving of that honor. This is a really, really quality draft... more

¬Ľ Brandt's pro day reports The pro day schedule the next couple of days will feature workouts for a handful of the draft's biggest names. Some of these players have already solidified themselves as first-round picks; others were stars in college... more

¬Ľ 2014 Pro Day Blog Khalil Mack continued to enhance his draft chances with a tremendous pro-day workout Tuesday. I believe he is one of seven guys with a chance to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Texans. But here's why I wouldn't take him... more

A year ago at this time, the New York Jets' quarterback situation seemed dire. Coming off a 6-10 season in which they'd floundered with the likes of Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy and Tim Tebow filling the depth chart, they had to do something . So they... more

¬Ľ Complete 2014 pro days schedule Pro days will be in full swing this week, and as several players go through their workouts and have their results posted, you might notice something a little strange in the numbers. Many of the 40 times posted at... more


It was hard to find a player at the NFL Scouting Combine who hadn't put in a lot of work leading up to the event. So many of them performed above expectations -- not just the high-profile guys, but even the ones projected to go lower in the draft, which... more

I've seen a fair amount of NFL Scouting Combine action in my day; in fact, I've been to every combine of any significance that's ever been held. And the group that I saw this week in Indianapolis probably ranks among the best-conditioned crew I've seen in... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- For a handful of football players, freshly removed from the amateur ranks, the next seven days or so will represent the most important time they'll spend in the pre-draft process. Their resumes have been mostly built on their days in... more

Winning in the NFL is a team endeavor, but having a rock upon which to build one's franchise can go a long way. Harrison: The All-Under-25 Team Who are the most promising youngsters in the NFL today? Elliot Harrison builds an entire team of emerging... more

Imagine you're a veteran NFL quarterback. You're on top of your game, making every throw with ease and scoring at will, dominating opponents with your elite combination of experience and a still-advanced skill set -- and then it happens. Suddenly, you... more

As much as the NFL Scouting Combine is about numbers -- a player's time in the 40, his vertical leap, his bench-press reps -- it's really an event that comes down to history. More than anything, what teams are trying to figure out is how prospects measure... more

Before draft prospects had the luxury of being evaluated by teams at one big event called the NFL Scouting Combine, they had to go through a few more hoops and travel a few more miles to have teams take a look at them. Back in 1977, I was at the... more

In a world obsessed with offense, the Seattle Seahawks cut against the grain, using an aggressive, physical defense to shut down the most prolific scoring machine in NFL history. Instead of pouring money and energy into developing a high-octane aerial... more


The Super Bowl has morphed into one of the biggest events in the world, but as someone who has personally been on hand for almost every edition of the game since its inception -- whether in my capacity as a personnel man for the Dallas Cowboys or as an... more

There are probably as many as 5,000 people down at Ladd-Peebles Stadium for this week's Senior Bowl to evaluate some of the best prospects in the country. It's an event that's as big or bigger than any convention they have in Mobile, Ala., as well as... more

Last offseason, five quarterbacks signed splashy, big-money deals -- and none of them will be playing in Super Bowl XLVIII. Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford all got their respective teams to pony up the dough within a... more

Nati Harnik/Associated Press Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Baptiste has a chance to make himself some money during Senior Bowl week. I came out with my top 50 NFL prospects last week and a good number of them come from the 98 underclassmen who... more

The official count on underclassmen entering the 2014 draft is 98, easily breaking the record of 73 that was set just last year. Here's how the early entries break down by position: 4 QBs, 19 RBs, 19 WRs, 10 TEs, 9 OLs, 18 DL, 5 LBs, 14 DBs. By my... more

As we head into Championship Sunday, with the spotlight shining ever stronger on established NFL stars like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, it's worth remembering the rookies who will be taking the field this weekend. These comparatively anonymous newbies... more

We've reached the draft-declaration deadline, and the pool for the 2014 NFL Draft is set. Here is my first look at the top 50 prospects for the draft. These are strictly player rankings and do not factor in the player's medical history or character... more

Chris O'Meara / Associated Press LSU RB Jeremy Hill could be a first-round draft pick, according to NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt. The 2014 running back class got a pretty big lift Monday with news that LSU's Jeremy Hill and Arizona's... more

Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press Auburn RB Tre Mason rushed for 973 yards and nine touchdowns in five games against top-10 teams this season. There's a good chance that we will not see a running back drafted in the first round for the... more

On Wednesday, Johnny Manziel became one of 80 underclassmen who have filed their paperwork for the 2014 NFL Draft, breaking the previous record of 73, which was set just last year. That list isn't likely to stop there. By my estimation, the number could... more

Not all head-coaching jobs are created equal -- and the difference is often found in the to-do lists that greet new hires. Is Task No. 1 to figure out how to get an underachieving group of good players to live up to their potential? Or is it to... more

Tim Sharp / Associated Press Missouri's Henry Josey finished his junior season on a high note, but Gil Brandt advises that he return as a senior. Fans of college football were treated to two really close, well-played bowl games Friday night,... more

The bar for the tight end position in terms of size, speed and skills seems to get higher and higher every year. This season, three very good athletes who were former college basketball players made the Pro Bowl as tight ends -- the Saints' Jimmy Graham,... more

At this time last season, the Philadelphia Eagles held unwanted real estate in the NFC East cellar, having limped to a 4-12 finish. The Carolina Panthers, meanwhile, ended up mired in a three-way tie for last in the NFC South at 7-9. Debate: Bounceback... more


In order to be a star in the NFL, you have to perform at a high-level on every play, in every game. That's what separates the guys who are All-Pros, Pro Bowlers, and eventually Hall of Famers -- guys like Ray Lewis or Jack Lambert. Those were players who... more

The 2014 NFL Draft will have more interesting potential scenarios than any draft I can remember. There are so many factors involved right now -- cap space, teams with extra draft picks, veteran QBs that will be available, major underclassmen that have yet... more

Robert Griffin III's ignominious -- and premature -- end to the 2013 season made headlines, but he's far from the only high-profile member of the 2012 draft class to struggle this year. In fact, four of the first six players picked two Aprils ago --... more

Associated Press Mike Gundy and Kliff Kingsbury are two men Texas should consider for its coaching vacancy, writes Gil Brandt. It's been a tough week for me. One of my best friends is without a job he held and loved for the past 16 years, in... more

Michael Albans / Associated Press Montana LB Jordan Tripp has the size and speed to be a second-day draft pick, according to Gil Brandt. There are always a handful of players in the NFL draft who make people say, "Who's he?" when they get... more

Brandt Brooks Davis Jeremiah Goodbread Greenspan Huguenin NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt names his 2013 college football All-American and picks for the season's major awards: Award picks Heisman Trophy: Jameis Winston,... more

Darron Cummings/Associated Press At age 32, safety Troy†Polamalu is among the oldest players on a Steelers defense that appears to be slipping. In the NFL, it doesn't take much for a team to fall off the face of the earth. Even a small dip in... more

There have been 48 quarterbacks to start in the NFL this season, including a pair -- Matt Flynn and Josh Freeman -- who have started for two teams. That's one more than all of last year. NFL team needs With the NFL season in its final month, Daniel... more

John David Mercer / USA Today Sports Auburn RB Tre Mason's skills as a runner have Gil Brandt comparing him to a Hall of Fame running back. The most important criteria for success in a running back is quickness. As I watched Auburn running... more

LM Otero / Associated Press Bryce Petty is returning for his senior season after making a Heisman run and leading Baylor to a 10-1 record. There was a lot of talk about what a deep quarterback class we had this season, but with news that two... more

When it comes to picking the NFL MVP, I'm a production guy. Forget a player's reputation or the cachet he carries with him. I want to know what he's done this season. Although we still have four weeks to go in the 2013 campaign, I thought I'd take an... more

John David Mercer / USA TODAY Sports Is Chris Davis' return on a missed field goal the greatest college football finish of all time? Auburn's unlikely victory over top-ranked Alabama in the Iron Bowl on Saturday will be remembered for a long... more


Jay Sailors / Associated Press QB Nick Marshall has helped turn Auburn's program around after it went 3-9 last season. After witnessing what I believe was the greatest weekend ever in college football, I couldn't help but go back to that term... more

Patrick Semansky / Associated Press Boston College RB Andre Williams rushed for 584 yards last season. This season he's up to 2,073. Football coaches have a great ability to see trends and make quick adjustments. They're as analytical as the... more

It's Week 13, and the playoff picture remains as muddled as ever. The playoff picture How would your team's prospects look if the season ended today? See where each team stands in the playoff picture midway through the season. More ... No,... more

David Goldman / AP Photo Aaron Murray's Georgia career is over, but Gil Brandt says he has a bright NFL future. I know Georgia coach Mark Richt didn't mean quarterback Aaron Murray any harm when he said over the weekend that "I think he'll... more

The race for the Heisman Trophy got a little more interesting today with the losses of Oregon, Texas A&M and Baylor, which pretty much dropped quarterbacks Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel and Bryce Petty out of the race. For Mariota, you could tell... more

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Myles Jack starred as a linebacker and running back in high school and has kept it going as a freshman at UCLA. Someone asked me recently what I thought about Myles Jack, UCLA's star freshman who has been creating... more

Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press Interim coach Ed Orgeron has guided USC to a 5-1 record since taking over for Lane Kiffin. It's a pretty common thing for players to get together and say they want the interim coach to be their coach for... more

While no one ever wants to throw in the towel, at some point, it can be beneficial for teams that are out of contention to begin looking ahead. As the playoffs begin to fade from sight, the challenges and hurdles that must be dealt with†next year... more

I love Ohio State, love what Urban Meyer has done with that program since taking it over two years ago. Winning 22 straight games is not an easy accomplishment. With that said, I like Baylor even more. That's why I moved the Bears ahead of Ohio State on... more

In the 10 years before Art Briles took over as head coach of Baylor in 2008, the Bears' record was 29-85, an average of less than three wins per season. Since then, Briles has taken his program to the top of the college football world. The Bears are 8-0... more

As an NFL coach or general manager, it's your worst nightmare: Your starting quarterback -- the guy around whom you've built your entire roster and on whose shoulders the fate of your season rests -- goes down with an injury. So you go to his backup ...... more

I've been around awhile, long enough not to be surprised by much of what happens in college football. But every once in a while I have to shake my head at something that, at the time, appears inexplicable. In each of its last two weeks, Michigan has... more

Aaron M. Sprecher / Associated Press Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel had five touchdown passes Saturday but also threw three interceptions. Midway through a game in which scouts from the Dolphins, Cowboys, Bears, Jaguars, Saints and Bills were in... more

Winslow Townson / Associated Press Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas was one of the nation's top tight-end prospects coming out of high school. The hardest selling job in the world is to convince a quarterback that you're moving him to another... more

A good quarterback is hard to find, but the Houston Texans just might have found one in Case Keenum. Keenum has acquitted himself very well since stepping in for injured veteran Matt Schaub in Week 7, though the casual fan would be forgiven for... more

Tony Avelar / Associated Press Stanford OLB Trent Murphy can improve his draft stock with upcoming games vs. Oregon, USC, Cal and Notre Dame. Every year during the NFL draft process -- which includes the combine, pro days and personal... more

Kim Klement / USA Today Sports Georgia's Aaron Murray bounced back from last week's loss to Vanderbilt, leading the Bulldogs past Florida. From 1990 to 2010, Georgia won only three of its 21 meetings with rival Florida. It's taken senior QB... more


Before the start of the season, I liked Miami's Stephen Morris enough to make him my 17th-best senior prospect when I released my Hot 100 in August. At the time, I felt he had the skills and upside to emerge possibly as the top QB prospect by the end of... more

Last April, 32 teams gathered in New York for the 2013 NFL Draft. After -- and, in some cases, even before -- the event was over, grades were handed out , and winners and losers were declared. Future franchise saviors were anointed, while potential busts... more

In 1962, Oregon State quarterback Terry Baker won the Heisman Trophy. He also was a consensus first-team All-American, was the winner of 14 player-of-the-year awards, and was named "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated. His 1962 statistics:... more

Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman's showing vs. Nebraska could help boost his draft stock. In its first six games this season, Nebraska's offensive line had done an impressive job keeping its... more

When Lane Kiffin was fired as USC's head coach last month, I was asked to write a column naming five potential replacements . One of the guys I named was Kliff Kingsbury, the first-year head coach who has led Texas Tech to a 7-0 record and a No. 10... more

If you're driving down the freeway and get a flat tire, it's easy enough to switch to a spare and keep rolling. But if the engine falls out, you're in trouble. Injuries in the NFL can be similar, in that losing a player who was central to your team's... more

Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today Sports Eastern Illinois senior QB Jimmy Garoppolo has drawn attention from all 32 NFL teams this season. Brooks Burgin is a junior at Highland Park High School outside of Dallas, the same school that... more

I first met Bud Adams, who sadly passed away Monday , in the spring of 1965 in a courtroom in Oklahoma City. His Houston Oilers and the Dallas Cowboys were involved in a lawsuit regarding Ralph Neely, who had been signed first by the Oilers (of the AFL)... more

The press box at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday will be crowded with NFL scouts excited to see Jadeveon Clowney, who many college football observers have touted as a potential No. 1 pick in next year's NFL draft. The game against the... more

Trading in the NFL used to be easy. Want to trade with the Chicago Bears? Talk to George Halas and it'll get done in one conversation. Open to a deal with the Baltimore Colts? Weeb Ewbank will walk over to your table at the draft and work something out... more

Trading in the NFL used to be easy. Want to trade with the Chicago Bears? Talk to George Halas and it'll get done in one conversation. Open to a deal with the Baltimore Colts? Weeb Ewbank will walk over to your table at the draft and work something out... more

Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press Penn State freshman Christian Hackenberg leads the Big Ten in completions and passing yards. We're at the halfway point of the college football season, and while there have been a few upsets sprinkled... more

With the 2013 college football season hitting the halfway point and teams digging into their conference schedules, this is an appropriate time to revisit the Hot 100 seniors list. Here is a look at the top seniors in college football with the 2014 NFL... more

Gerry Broome / Associated Press Pittsburgh's Tom Savage caught Gil Brandt's attention with his six-TD performance against Duke on Sept. 21. By now, most college football observers know this is a special season when it comes to quarterbacks... more

Every NFL rookie carries with him a certain set of expectations, whether he was drafted to be a franchise savior or latched on with a team as a free-agent flier. Some first-year pros leave those expectations in the dust while others struggle mightily to... more

Stephen Morton / Associated Press Did Jadeveon Clowney buy into the hype this past offseason, neglecting his workouts and training regimen? I'm not here to judge Jadeveon Clowney. I'm not here to say the man didn't have a reason to tell his... more

We're only a quarter of a way through the NFL's regular season, but slowly we can begin to take an early look at the draft picture for next season. Obviously, nothing is set in stone now, but a couple of broader points can be made. First, I believe we... more

Backup quarterbacks ideally won't ever take a meaningful snap, but they can make or break a team's season. As the importance of the quarterback position increases, so does the importance of having a capable replacement ready to go in case the starter... more


Gil Brandt is a longtime consultant to universities in the hiring process of head coaches. He was highly involved in LSU's hiring of Nick Saban and TCU's hiring of Gary Patterson, among many others. College Football 24/7 asked Gil who he thought would be... more

Ask anyone right now for their list of the top 10 teams in college football and you'll probably hear a lot of the usual suspects: Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State, Clemson, Stanford, LSU, and so on. One team you won't hear, at least not yet, is Baylor. And I... more

Heading into this season, the San Francisco 49ers were viewed as sure title contenders brimming with potential. Now, after a 1-2 start, folks are asking if the Niners actually are on the brink of disaster. A number of other teams are facing similar... more

John Raoux/Associated Press Marshall QB Rakeem Cato has been compared to current Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. I love Twitter. There, just said it. Most people my age abhor it, but what I love about Twitter is the same thing I love about... more

The Cleveland Browns traded running back Trent Richardson at an optimum time and got a first-round pick in return. Obviously, the question now is, who will they get with the pick? Quarterback jumps out as a need for the Browns, and they chose a good... more

When I worked for the Dallas Cowboys, we prided ourselves on trying to have "a pair and a spare." That is to say, we wanted two starters and a quality backup at every major position. The idea was that, in the event that a key starter was lost, we'd be... more

I've been around a few years, but I've never seen a game receive as much attention as Alabama-Texas A&M is getting. Last year's match drew the fourth-largest TV audience (9.6 million viewers) of the 2012 college football season. I suspect Saturday's game... more

I recently predicted that the Dallas Cowboys will win the NFC East because of three factors: Tony Romo, coaching, and the ability of the re-made defensive staff to create turnovers. On Sunday, we saw that the last factor, in particular, seems to be... more

Tony Ding / Associated Press Multi-talented quarterback Devin Gardner appears ideal for Brady Hoke's offense at Michigan. A lot of NFL eyes on Saturday will be on the Notre Dame-Michigan game in Ann Arbor, and a sharp focus of scouts will be... more

This is the peak of prediction season, as NFL analysts attempt to forecast final records and playoff teams for the regular season to come. Of course, accurately divining how a notoriously tough-to-predict league will play out is something of a fool's... more


LM Otero / Associated Press Casey Pachall will see his first action for TCU since being suspended in Week 5 last season. I asked an NFL player personnel director the other day what he thought about LSU's players. He smiled, then said: "They're... more

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel made college football history in 2012 when he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. In 2013, Manziel will attempt to do something only one player has done in the 77-year history of the award ... win it... more

I just spent 21 consecutive days on the road, visiting 12 NFL training camps and watching one joint practice (between the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals). Needless to say, I soaked up a ton of information. One of the great things about making all... more

I've spent the past few weeks visiting training camps around the league, and one team has stuck out as having the best chance to surprise some folks: the Arizona Cardinals. While the Cardinals are known to have some talent, they're also fresh off a... more

As the 2013 college football season looms on the not-too-distant horizon, here is a look at the top seniors to watch this fall with the 2014 NFL Draft in mind. 1. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M The 6-foot-5 1/2, 310-pound Matthews is the son of Pro... more

With an eye toward the 2014 NFL Draft, here is a position-by-position breakdown of the top seniors in college football. Quarterbacks ¬Ľ AJ McCarron: Done nothing but win at Alabama. ¬Ľ Stephen Morris: Could be No. 1 QB prospect by season's end.... more

This weekend brings the enshrinement of seven new members into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Throughout my years in football, I've collected stories and anecdotes about each person in the Class of 2013. With the ceremonies on the horizon,... more


Gil Brandt has watched the Pro Football Hall of Fame grow with the game since it opened in 1963 -- and he had an up-close-and-personal view in his capacity as a key member of the Dallas Cowboys' front office. In honor of the Hall of Fame's 50th... more

In general, it's pretty hard to be a new head coach in the NFL. Usually, a coach coming into a new situation is replacing someone who failed for one reason or another -- and that reason is often a lack of player talent. So it can be tough for a... more

Training camp time is a part of the league season that I know well. Tom Landry once pointed out to me that we spent about two and a half years of our lives in training camp over our time with the Dallas Cowboys. Things have changed a lot since the 1960s,... more

Things can change quickly in the NFL. Windows of opportunity seem to slam shut in the blink of an eye. One minute, you're riding high and planning for the playoffs; the next, you're scraping just to win a handful of games. Several factors make it tough... more


When you're working in the front office of an NFL team, it's crucial to know who truly holds the power in each organization across the league -- because it can mean the difference between nabbing a future superstar in a trade or walking away empty-handed.... more

Is there any reason to feel good about the Oakland Raiders? It's a fair question to ask after a 4-12 season in which very little went right -- a season that seemed to just continue a never-ending streak of futility. The team hasn't finished above .500... more

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots created quite a buzz with the signing of Tim Tebow . To me, this move is an all-time puzzler. I know Belichick is one of the smartest people in the game. He's a very thorough person who does not fly by the... more

Watch out for the Kansas City Chiefs. Of course, one could be forgiven for answering that statement by asking what, exactly, one should watch out for , given the fact that the Chiefs won just two games in 2012 while giving up more points (425) and... more

When Deacon Jones passed away , the football world lost a great, great pass rusher who was light years ahead of his time. I saw him a lot when I worked for the Dallas Cowboys, because we used to scrimmage with Deacon's Los Angeles Rams. He was a big... more


When Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher retired, football lost two longtime standard-bearers at linebacker. While it would be somewhat simplistic to label someone "the next Urlacher/Lewis," I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a close look at one... more

As one of the most polarizing teams in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys can be tough to pin down. Depending on who you ask, they're either hopelessly overhyped or a talent-packed squad perpetually on the cusp of breaking out. But when the bluster and emotion... more

Want a big target painted on your back? Just make yourself a first- or second-round draft pick. If there are any doubts at all about your long-term pro potential, you'll be loudly denounced as a bust-in-waiting, and the team that picked you will be widely... more

When the 2013 NFL season gets going in September, the hype spawned by the draft process will fall away and we'll see what this rookie class is really made of. Some first-year players will step into starting roles and produce immediately, while some will... more

When you hear the term "undrafted free agent," you probably don't think of teams rushing to add potential difference makers, but that's exactly what happens every year after the final pick of the draft has been made. This year was no different; the 2013... more


Wade Payne / Associated Press Tyler Bray is among a number of available rookies teams will be signing soon. ¬Ľ Position-by-position look at top undrafted free agents Last season, 59 undrafted rookie free agents made Week 1 rosters, including... more

¬Ľ Gil Brandt's top 10 rookie free agents Here are the top players who were not selected in the 2013 NFL Draft : Quarterbacks 1. Tyler Bray , Tennessee†(UPDATE: †Multiple reports say Bray signed with the Kansas City Chiefs†on Saturday.) 2.... more

NEW YORK -- The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft is complete, and teams are busy preparing for the second and third rounds Friday night. There is still plenty of talent left on the board, as my Hot 100 (+25) suggests. Expect teams to be eager to select... more

A months-long stretch of pontificating and speculating and guessing is about to end. Soon, the 2013 NFL Draft will begin; soon we'll know exactly where each hotly debated prospect will be for the next phase of his football life. Until then, though,... more

Associated Press/USA TODAY Sports Ryan Griffin (left) and Reid Fragel have the potential to make a name for themselves in the NFL. The 2013 NFL Draft is just over a week away, and by this point, we've all been inundated with talk of the top... more

Around this time two years ago, I had a pretty good handle on how the 2011 NFL Draft was going to go. With standout prospects like receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Cam Newton in the field, it was fairly easy to arrange the available talent in a... more

Pro days can be easy for the average fan to overlook. In a little more than one month's time, hundreds of prospects work out at dozens of schools, doing positional drills and running 40-yard dashes in front of NFL coaches and personnel men. While these... more


A year ago, Matt Barkley was one of the brightest quarterback prospects in the game. Now, as he gets set for USC's Pro Day on Wednesday, his stock has dropped to the point that some folks wonder if he'll be picked in the first round. The moment of truth... more

In the NFL, April Fool's isn't limited to just one day or even one month. In fact, as we continue to work our way through the pro-day schedule , teams are starting to ramp up the trickery and skullduggery that annually mark the weeks leading up to the... more

NFL/Associated Press UCLA RB Johnathan Franklin (left) and Alabama OG Barrett Jones are long on potential and short on exposure. By this point in the year, many of us have become quite familiar with the big-name prospects, the Luke Joeckel s... more

As we get closer to the 2013 NFL Draft, we hear more and more about the supposedly lackluster crop of prospects teams have to pick from. You know the chorus: There's no clear-cut No. 1 pick. There aren't any instant superstars-in-waiting. While that's... more

Pro-day season is officially here , kicking off with Friday's events at Purdue and Texas-El Paso. 2013 Pro Days Schedule By Date Between the combine and the draft, prospects work out for scouts at individual pro days at their respective schools. Full... more


With the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine behind us, we turn our attention to the slate of pro-day workouts that will be held at schools around the nation over the next month, beginning Friday . Prospects who weren't invited to the combine will get a chance to... more

The NFL Scouting Combine is a great showcase for some well-trained athletes, but it's also more than that: It represents a chance for football prospects to prove they have what it takes to make it in the pros. That's especially true for guys who are... more

The NFL Scouting Combine is about to kick the draft season into high gear. With that in mind, I thought this would be a good time to put together the first "Hot 100" list of the year. As those who are familiar with previous editions of this list... more

We've begun the long pre-draft season, which means it's time for mock drafts, pro-day workouts, the NFL Scouting Combine -- and plenty of hype. That can be fun, but sometimes it's better to cut through all of that and take a hard, objective look at... more

Jacob Harris/Associated Press A far cry from the bright lights of Radio City Music Hall, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle conducts the 1967 draft. When Ezekiel Ansah arrived at BYU from Ghana in 2008, very few people knew who he was. A few short... more

NEW ORLEANS -- After watching the Baltimore Ravens pull off a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, it's now safe to say: Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback. I don't think there's any question... more


Associated Press The Baltimore Ravens' Joe†Flacco (left), 28, and Atlanta Falcons' Matt†Ryan, 27, represent the young elite at QB. Peyton Manning won't be playing in Super Bowl XLVII. Neither will Tom Brady, Drew Brees nor Tony Romo. The... more

When Colin Kaepernick leads the San Francisco 49ers into battle in Super Bowl XLVII, he'll do so as one of the most athletic quarterbacks to ever have played in the title game. That got me thinking about Super Bowl history and the other signal-callers... more

When I worked for the Dallas Cowboys, I participated in a number of championship games, and I remember every one of them. I especially remember how difficult it was to come up against a team in the playoffs that we hadn't seen all season. This is... more

Thomas Campbell/US Presswire Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel (above) is similar to Jake†Long, the first pick of the 2008 NFL†Draft. The 2012 playoffs are still in full swing, but the 28 teams no longer playing are already looking to... more

Offense sells tickets, but defense wins games. That's an old saying that still has some merit to it, even in this era of super-powered aerial attacks. Defense is still important, as the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers can attest. So I... more

Watching Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson play last weekend was like watching three very good jockeys run the Kentucky Derby. All three are talented, but one -- Wilson -- outpaced the other two. And while it's true that Wilson clearly... more

Quarterback play has become increasingly important in the NFL, and that's never clearer than during the playoffs. All 12 remaining teams are well-coached, all 12 teams have plenty of talent on the roster, and it's next to impossible to overcome mistakes.... more


The Dallas Cowboys needed quarterback Tony Romo to come up big against the Washington Redskins on Sunday night . Instead, he threw three interceptions, including a crucial fourth-quarter pick that largely contributed to the Cowboys' season-ending loss.... more

Adrian Peterson is having a monster year. The running back is poised to single-handedly lift the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs while possibly breaking Eric Dickerson's record for rushing yards (2,105) in a season. Seeing how Peterson dominates in his... more

Associated Press Josh†Freeman's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cam†Newton's Carolina Panthers are poised for big things in 2013. As the Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks have shown, it's possible to turn things around very... more

With the final stretch of the 2012 NFL season upon us, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at the contenders for the six major awards given to individual players, plus one for coaches. From fresh-out-of-school rookies (like Andrew Luck and... more

Important QB traits Leadership Poise Touch Accuracy Quickness to set up Quick release Arm strength Ability to read the defense Mobility in the pocket Scrambling ability Anticipation All season long, we've heard about young quarterbacks, and... more


Joe Nicholson/US Presswire Despite Mark†Sanchez's lackluster play, Tim†Tebow (above) has received limited playing time for the New York Jets. † New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has a history of winning, a great work ethic and a highly... more

Associated Press The Texans' Johnathan†Joseph and the Cardinals' Patrick†Peterson are at the top of the cornerback stack. † Competition in the NFL is as intense as it's ever been. Teams are looking for any way to gain a competitive advantage... more

Week 9 was something of a coming out party for rookie players, a true sign that some major first-year talent has arrived. In addition to the by-now-standard excellent play from the crop of rookie quarterbacks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin... more


It's hard not to compare Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to Peyton Manning. Both came out of college as highly touted prospects. Both were made No. 1 overall draft picks by the Colts. Both are do-everything signal-callers, students of... more

The midpoint of the season is almost here, and folks are no doubt preparing lists of first-half all-stars. While they'll have a relatively easy time picking out the best quarterbacks, receivers and running backs, I thought I'd lend them a hand and round... more

The second season of an NFL player's career is the "prove it" year, a chance for rookie sensations to show that their initial success was no fluke. After a smashing debut in 2011, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is facing plenty of questions in... more

Entering the 2012 season, rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill was supposed to be a project for the Miami Dolphins. Folks were excited to see what fellow first-round draft picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III could do with the Indianapolis Colts and... more

Associated Press Alfred†Morris (left) is fifth in the NFL in rushing, while Brian†Hartline is the leading receiver through Week 4. When the Arizona Cardinals improved to 4-0 on Sunday, they solidified their status as one of the biggest... more


This past Sunday was one of the wildest in recent memory, with plenty of dramatic moments and big performances. But with all the hubbub, many folks might not have noticed that two unheralded rookies book-ended the day. Cincinnati Bengals receiver... more

The kicking game has become very important in today's NFL because everybody's looking for ways to win, trying to explore new avenues to find an edge. So perhaps it's no surprise that we're in an era of advanced special teams play, with prodigious punters... more

Paul Connors/Associated Press The NFL's replacement refs were under the microscope throughout the preseason and that continued in Week 1. I've been involved with the NFL since 1960, and I've never seen fans more excited than they were last... more

Eric Gay/Associated Press Before he was an NFL star-in-the-making, Robert†Griffin III was learning the game in Texas at Copperas Cove High. † When the 2012 NFL season kicks off Wednesday , eight of the 32 starting quarterbacks, including Drew... more


Aaron M. Sprecher/Associated Press The San Francisco 49ers need a playmaker on the perimeter; veteran receiver Randy†Moss can fill that role. † Football is a team sport, but every squad has a few players in the crosshairs each season; those... more

As we hurtle toward the 2012 regular season, numerous players across the league have something to prove. These guys cover all positions and experience levels, from rookies to seasoned veterans. Some are familiar names and some are completely overlooked,... more

Associated Press Chiefs QB Matt Cassel (left) and Rams QB Sam Bradford are hoping to help turn their teams around. † The Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams are both looking for a fresh start in 2012 after struggling in 2011.'s Gil... more

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- After adding a boatload of free agents this offseason, the San Diego Chargers are undoubtedly a different team than they were last season. Thanks in part to that signing spree, I think they'll also have much better results in 2012... more

The players being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this month comprise one of the most talented classes ever. Unfortunately, it's also among the least known, missing the sort of marquee name that might garner the praise and recognition these... more


John Raoux/Associated Press Jacksonville's Montell Owens has become the NFL's best all-around special teamer, making the past two Pro Bowls.   Hall of Fame coach George Allen was always known for underscoring the importance of special teams.... more


LaDainian Tomlinson's retirement on Monday got me to thinking about the all-time RB hierarchy, raising an obvious question: Who are the top 10 running backs ever? Now, ranking the 10 best running backs is like picking the winner of the Miss USA... more

At this time of the year, properly ordering teams in a Power Rankings is about as easy as completing a third-and-15 in the playoffs. It's just so hard to predict how each team will perform in this league from one year to the next. Going back to 2000, 74... more

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press The Saints definitely miss Drew Brees, but Chase Daniel (pictured) is doing an admirable job in a stand-in role.   METAIRIE, La. -- One of my favorite things to do is visit minicamps in the spring, after the... more


Rich Addicks/Associated Press Rams signee Matt Daniels excelled as a four-year starter at Duke, showcasing NFL-caliber skills at safety. The moment the NFL draft ends, the race to sign undrafted free agents begins. The undrafted college free... more

US Presswire Dallas Cowboys' top draft pick Morris Claiborne has top-tier potential, says Gil Brandt.   We all know not to judge a book by its cover. In football, never judge a player by what he does in shorts. But my impressions from the... more


Derick Hingle / US Presswire Brandon Bolden accounted for 33 touchdowns (rushing and receiving) in four years at Ole Miss. ‚?Ę Position-by-position look at top undrafted free agents Historically, there have been some great rookie free agents,... more

With the draft upon us, there are some prospects climbing and some falling on draft boards. A few noteworthy items: Three of the top four names on this list are quarterbacks, with Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill steadily advancing. Mississippi State defensive... more

With pro days all but wrapped up, it's time to take another look at the top prospects heading into the 2012 NFL Draft . Several players greatly improved their stock since we last checked in after the NFL Scouting Combine at the end of February. As a... more


With the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine in the books, I can unveil my latest edition of the Hot 100. While a number of players saw their draft stock rise or fall due to their performance in Indianapolis, there wasn't drastic change near the top of the list... more


NFL/Associated Press Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Matt Kalil (from left to right) are the cream of the crop in the 2012 draft class. My second edition of the "Hot 100" doesn't look drastically different from the first version . But now that... more


US Presswire/NFL Justin Blackmon, Andrew Luck and Matt Kalil top Gil Brandt's "Hot 100."   We're just about three months away from the 2012 NFL Draft , which means it's time for the first edition of my "Hot 100." This isn't necessarily how I... more

Watch the original game broadcast of the 1981 NFC Championship, featuring "The Catch", on NFL Network on Tuesday night at midnight ET. Thirty years ago today, I was on the Dallas Cowboys sideline at Candlestick Park, witness to one of the most... more

Associated Press Giants TE Jake Ballard (left) and Falcons LB Curtis Lofton will be big factors in Sunday's game. Every year at this time, a player who hasn't had much fanfare previously will come up with the big play that helps his team win a... more


Three rookies -- Denver's Von Miller, Arizona's Patrick Peterson and Cincinnati's A.J. Green -- were named to the Pro Bowl. As my colleague Bucky Brooks pointed out Tuesday, they are just part of a draft class that could be the best the NFL has... more

US Presswire (Left to right) Ike Taylor, Matt Forte and Marques Colston could be making their first business trips to Hawaii. Pro Bowl voting ended Tuesday and rosters will be announced next Tuesday. This is always an exciting time for players, not... more

Week 14 of the 2011 season will go down in NFL history as the first time ever that as many as six rookie quarterbacks threw touchdown passes on the same day. Only time will tell if this year's class of rookie quarterbacks is the best in NFL history.... more

So much attention was paid to big losses by the Eagles and Cowboys last week that fans may have overlooked the teams that defeated them. Focus on the two lightning-rod NFC East teams overshadowed the fact that both the Seahawks and Cardinals have shown... more


Marvin Gentry/US Presswire Alabama's Trent Richardson has picked up this season where former Heisman winner Mark Ingram left off. If you think that winning the Heisman Trophy doesn't have a direct correlation on life in the NFL, let me share a... more

Alix Drawec / NFL Stanford QB Andrew Luck is getting a lot of buzz for his play, which continues to raise already high expectations.   We've heard plenty about Stanford's Andrew Luck over the past few years. Some have gone so far to call him... more

Greg M. Cooper / US Presswire Eli Manning is having a great season, and a playoff run could help his résumé in what might become a HOF career.   The Hall of Fame can be a hot-button issue. Now, I'm not talking about guys who have already... more

Kirby Lee / US Presswire Andy Dalton has the Bengals tied for first place in the AFC North, but he isnt' the only rookie to surprise this season.   When talking about rookies that have had an immediate impact this season, the first two names... more

Ben Liebenberg / NFL Cam Newton would still go No. 1 to the Panthers if the draft was held again today, but a lot would change after that.   This has been a really good season for rookies making an impact. There are obvious cases like Cam... more


Steve Mitchell / US Presswire Tom Brady capped a Week 1 that had 14 300-yard passers, and forced defenses league-wide to alter their approach. This has been a season of adjustments. It started with teams learning on the fly during a condensed... more

Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, the biggest move teams looking for a change can make is to fire the head coach. There are obvious names on the hot seat -- Tony Sparano and Jack Del Rio -- but history tells us that there could be a few... more

Ben Margot / Associated Press The Texans dealt for veteran WR Derrick Mason in what could be the first of many moves before the trade deadline. The NFL trade deadline usually falls far short of the excitement and anticipation other sports... more

Scott Anger/AP Al Davis won three Super Bowl titles and enjoyed 28 winning seasons with the Raiders. Editor's note: Gil Brandt served as vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1989. His Cowboys faced Al Davis... more

Historically coaches like to break the season up into quarters in order to set short-term goals. We are going to try that method based off my preseason rankings of all 32 teams. After the first quarter of the season, each team will fall into one of... more


Crystal LoGiudice / US Presswire Saints TE Jimmy Graham has become an important part of the offense in just his second year in the league. With the 2011 season nearing the end of its first quarter, several stories have taken shape: The Bills... more

I‚??ve scouted thousands of players and wouldn‚??t make this statement lightly: Through two games, Cam Newton is the most impressive rookie quarterback I've seen come into the league. Obviously, it's a small sample size for Newton, but he followed up... more

We're just starting the 2011 season, but it's quickly shaping up to be a ground-breaking year for the passing game after the records we saw set to open the season. Passing records set Week 1 ¬Ľ Most quarterbacks with 300-plus yards passing at 14 ¬Ľ... more

The Philadelphia Eagles have been referred to as the "Dream Team." Well, things might not get off to a good start for Michael Vick and Co. when they visit St. Louis . The Rams have several ingredients to hand the Eagles a loss come Sunday. Most... more

There are several really good coaches in the league today. More so than ever, the top guy and the bottom guy are close. The competitive balance on the field also carries over when you're talking about coaching. Sean Payton's success and hard work... more


NAPA, Calif. -- Getting to go to certain training camps year after year, you really have a chance to evaluate the current version of a team vs. what you saw the prior season. In the three practices that I've seen, the Oakland Raiders seem like a team... more

In 1962, former overcoat salesman Ed Sabol bid $3,000 for the movie rights to the NFL Championship Game between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers. The rest, as they say, is history. On Saturday night, Sabol will be enshrined in the Pro Football... more

Former Tennessee State University coach John Merritt often tells the story of how Richard Dent - member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2011 - was recruited to the school. Dent came from religious family in the Atlanta area. Assistant coach... more

Because of his work ethic and competitiveness, Shannon Sharpe -- who will be enshrined Saturday in the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- completely exceeded everyone's expectations as a player (and he continues to do so as a broadcaster). Here are 10 things... more

Note: Don't miss "Deion Sanders: Canton Goes Primetime," which premieres Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET on NFL Network. I have many, many fond memories of Deion Sanders through the years. Perhaps the most memorable came in February of 1989 at the NFL... more


Les Richter was one of the toughest linebackers ever to play in the NFL. His tenacity and productivity are honored with his enshrinement this year in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Incredibly, his career almost ended before it even began. Here are 10... more

Coming out of college, I didn‚??t think Chris Hanburger would ever play in the NFL. He was just under 6-foot-1, 211 pounds, and ran a 4.79 40 on grass. He was an undersized guy that turned out to be an overachiever. He was really smart and had great... more

US Presswire photos Derrick Locke, Pat Devlin and Mark Herzlich (left to right) should all be on NFL rosters soon. The lockout has made this a difficult and trying offseason for college players who went undrafted. Rookie free agents are some... more


Dale Zanine / US Presswire Tramon Williams came up big in the Packers' playoff run to the Super Bowl last season. If you're a smart head coach or general manager, then for the last five weeks, since the NFL draft reached its conclusion,... more


Kyle Terada / US Presswire With ideal size and arm strength, and his winning ways, Stanford QB Andrew Luck has it all. The college football season is still several months away, but it's never too early to start thinking about the next wave of... more

LM Otero / Associated Press Pat Devlin had a successful final season at Delaware, leading the Blue Hens to the FCS championship game. ¬Ľ Pat Kirwan's best undrafted players On opening weekend of the 2010 regular season, there were 59... more


At one point last season, there was a preference by the Oakland Raiders' coaching staff to keep rookie Jacoby Ford inactive on gameday. To which Raiders owner Al Davis said: "I think you should reconsider that." Sure enough, Ford went on to make several... more

The next best: Players built for the NFL The players on this list have one or two key traits that have led to the success of other players making NFL rosters in the past. These traits include speed, long arms, outstanding quickness, college... more

Hot 100: Version 1 | Version 2   Well, the pro days portion of the offseason came and went in a flash, and now we're down to the final parts of the evaluation process before the NFL draft begins April 28. I've seen my fair share of workouts... more


There have been a lot of negatives tossed around lately when it comes to Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, and it‚??s understandable that NFL teams must perform their due diligence to learn everything they can about him if they are considering drafting the... more

The NFL Scouting Combine never ceases to amaze me. It gets bigger each time around. We get more players to participate every year. It's such an impressive, well-run event. Being in Indianapolis allowed me to revisit my "Hot 100" prospects, and... more


INDIANAPOLIS -- As the coaches, scouts and general managers from all 32 NFL teams converge on Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine , some fans might still question exactly how this event fits into the overall draft picture. It is certainly a... more

What if teams drafted solely on best player available and didn't consider their specific needs? What if teams didn't consider a player's injury history, off-field issues, psychological exams, intelligence tests, or workout results at the NFL Scouting... more

In Sunday's Super Bowl XLV matchup between the Steelers and Packers, it's hard to pick a winner between two very evenly matched teams. It's even more difficult when you break down the teams based on meaningful statistics, something I did here. I thought... more

This week we will feature six matchups from the Super Bowl.   Roethlisberger   Williams Steelers vs. Packers : Ben Roethlisberger vs. Tramon Williams Roethlisberger is one of the tougher quarterbacks to defend due to his ability to... more


This week will feature two matchups from each divisional game.   Oher   Harrison Ravens vs. Steelers : Michael Oher vs. James Harrison Oher started all 16 games at right tackle last year and was selected to the All-Rookie team. Oher... more

This week will feature two matchups from each wild-card game.   Ryan   Manning Jets vs. Colts : Rex Ryan vs. Peyton Manning Ryan is 0-2 vs. Manning in the playoffs (one as a head coach with the Jets and one as the defensive coordinator... more


The only matchups featured this week will be from games that have playoff implications, with one bonus matchup from the Vikings-Lions tilt.   Suggs   Whitworth Bengals at Ravens : Terrell Suggs vs. Andrew Whitworth Whitworth is a very... more

  Brees   Reed Saints at Ravens : Drew Brees vs. Ed Reed Brees is an accurate passer who excels at finding open windows to throw through. His understanding of the game is impeccable, but is matched on the defensive side by Reed. Brees... more

History shows that Bob Lilly was the first player drafted by the Dallas Cowboys franchise, but in fact it was Don Meredith , who passed away Sunday at the age of 72 , who really was the original Cowboy. We actually had Chicago Bears owner George... more

  Philip Rivers   Nnamdi Asomugha Chargers at Raiders : Philip Rivers vs. Nnamdi Asomugha Asomugha is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and teams don't throw many passes to his side. He played safety in college and plays with... more


  Aaron Rodgers   Matt Ryan Packers at Falcons : Aaron Rodgers vs. Matt Ryan Don't be surprised if this matchup does not become what the Peyton Manning-Tom Brady rivalry has been over the past five years. While technically the two won't... more

  Ray Rice   Jon Beason Ravens at Panthers : Ray Rice vs. Jon Beason Rice is a matchup problem because of his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. He has outstanding quickness and vision as a runner and excels in pass... more

Patriots QB Tom Brady vs. Steelers S Troy Polamalu Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC In six games against the Steelers, Brady has played well with 11 touchdowns, three interceptions and a 102.3 passer rating. Since 2000, these two teams have won a combined five... more


Texans running back Arian Foster vs. Colts linebacker Gary Brackett Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Two teams fighting to win the AFC South, each with two losses. Houston has never won at Indianapolis in eight tries. The Texans will be playing with a new... more

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson vs. Packers LB A.J. Hawk Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC This is a game of utmost importance for both teams, and Peterson and Hawk will be right in the center of the action. Minnesota plays only two teams with losing records the rest... more


Associated Press 1. Steelers LB James Harrison vs. Ravens OT Michael Oher These two franchises started playing against each other in 1950, when the Ravens were known as the Cleveland Browns. The two cities (Cleveland and Pittsburgh) are... more

George Blanda, who passed away Monday at the age of 83 , was one of the most-competitive guys I ever came across. George Blanda, 1927-2010 George Blanda played more seasons than any player in NFL history. He retired following the 1975 season, just... more

Cowboys CB Terence Newman vs. Texans WR Andre Johnson Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX This is a battle for turf in Texas and is important for marketing. These two teams split their first two meetings. A loss here would inflict serious damage on a Cowboys team... more

Colts QB Peyton Manning vs. Giants QB Eli Manning Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, CBS The last time the brothers played was on a Sunday night in 2006, with the Colts winning, 26-21 . These two quarterbacks combined have started 281 consecutive games. Eli 88,... more

How important is Week 1? Since 1978, when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule, teams that are victorious on Kickoff Weekend are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs than losers of the opening game. Consider: ¬Ľ Of the 458 teams that won... more

Here's the one fact you need to know about this past weekend's final cuts to know it was anything but ordinary: A total of 53 undrafted free agents made NFL 53-man rosters. To put that in perspective, anything over 30 is considered a lot. So it goes... more


Steve Hamm / Associated Press Emmitt Smith had the ability to turn short gains into long ones -- and did it frequently during his career. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN This year's Hall of Fame class features a wide variety of all-time greats.... more

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN This year's Hall of Fame class features a wide variety of all-time greats. Get to know more about all of the 2010 inductees: Russ Grimm Team: Redskins Position: Guard Sasons: 11 ¬Ľ Pro Football... more

Associated Press Dick LeBeau used his knowledge and skill set to come up with 62 interceptions in his Hall of Fame career. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN This year's Hall of Fame class features a wide variety of all-time greats. Get to know more... more

NFL Class of 2010 Hall of Fame inductee Rickey Jackson earned six trips to the Pro Bowl during his 15-year career. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN This year's Hall of Fame class features a wide variety of all-time greats. Get to know more about... more


Kevin Terrell / Associated Press Class of 2010 Hall of Fame inductee John Randle had 10 or more sacks in eight consecutive seasons. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN Get to know more about the rest of the 2010 Hall of Fame inductees: Russ... more

Bill Ingraham / Associated Press Floyd Little was a big target on a mediocre Denver team, but he was still tough for opposing defenses to contain. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN This year's Hall of Fame class features some all-time greats. Find... more

National Football League The Redskins traded up to draft Russ Grimm, and he proved to be well worth the investment. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN This year's Hall of Fame class features a wide variety of all-time greats. Get to know more about... more

Boston College Athletics Boston College OT Anthony Costanzo has started every game for the Eagles since arriving on campus in 2007. Editor's note: This is the seventh in a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by position,... more

Editor's note: This is the sixth in a series detailing the top senior prospects, by position, for the 2011 NFL Draft. Did you know? ¬Ľ Two of the best safeties of all time, Willie Wood of the Packers and Cliff Harris of the Cowboys, were both... more

Michael Dwyer / Associated Press Boston College's Mark Herzlich is an elite linebacker prospect entering the upcoming college football season. Editor's note: This is the fifth in a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by... more

Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press Iowa's Adrian Clayborn reached double digits in sacks and tackles for loss last season, which has scouts intrigued. Editor's note: This is the fourth in a weekly series detailing the top senior... more

Nati Harnik / Associated Press With 237 total yards, Nebraska's Niles Paul was MVP of the Husker's Holiday Bowl win over Arizona. Editor's note: This is the third in a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by position, for... more

Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray is a do-it-all running back, who will be a first-round pick if he stays healthy. Editor's note: This is the second in a series detailing the top senior prospects, by position,... more


Elaine Thompson / Associated Press Washington QB Jake Locker has a chance to solidify his draft status by having a big senior season. Editor's note: This is the first in a series detailing the top senior prospects, by position, for... more

Fans and media members alike have wondered why Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys have not made many roster moves this offseason. After watching this team go through its recent organized team activities, I now understand. The bottom line is that this is... more


All eyes were on Dez Bryant during the Dallas Cowboys' rookie practice Friday. With a considerable amount of media in attendance, Bryant passed his first test with flying colors. The former Oklahoma State wide receiver capped a good performance with one... more

  NEW YORK -- It was still early in the seventh round of the draft Saturday afternoon when Pat Kirwan and I were chatting with Baltimore Ravens director of player personne Eric DeCosta on Sirius NFL Radio. He was very excited to tell us about the... more

The St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs are all rebuilding and can use as many draft picks as they can get. Fortunately for those teams, they own three of the first four selections when Round 2 of the NFL Draft kicks off... more

With the first round of the 75th NFL Draft complete, there's still plenty of talent available heading into Day 2. Nine of the 10 players in tier one of my "Hot 100" were taken in the top 32 picks. However, Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen remains... more

Tier 1 (1-10) | Tier 2 (11-20) | Tier 3 (21-30) | Tier 4 (31-40) | Tier 5 (41-50) | Tier 6-10 (51-100) Tier Three (21-30 listed alphabetically) Dez Bryant , WR, Oklahoma State 6-foot-2, 225 pounds Missed most of the... more

It's been almost three weeks since I published my early list of the "Hot 100" prospects for the 2010 draft. Even broken down into groups of 10, there has been enough information gathered in recent days to call for a few tweaks. I'm not going to nitpick... more

Hot 100 Prospects 51100 April 07, 2010

Tier 1 (1-10) | Tier 2 (11-20) | Tier 3 (21-30) | Tier 4 (31-40) | Tier 5 (41-50) | Tier 6-10 (51-100) Tier Six (51-60 listed alphabetically) Tyson Alualu , DE, Cal; Arrelious Benn , WR, Illinois; Thaddeus Gibson , DE/OLB, Ohio State;... more

Tier 1 (1-10) | Tier 2 (11-20) | Tier 3 (21-30) | Tier 4 (31-40) | Tier 5 (41-50) | Tier 6-10 (51-100) Tier Two (11-20 listed alphabetically) Anthony Davis , OT, Rutgers 6-foot-5, 323 pounds Huge man with ability, and he moves... more

The depth of this year's draft is excellent at several positions. Usually there are one or two weak positions, but that is not the case in 2010. The strongest positions are defensive tackle, running back and cornerback. The quality of this draft class... more


Dez Bryant entered his private workout for NFL teams Tuesday in his hometown of Lufkin, Texas, with a 10-person entourage and no cleats. He left with many questions unanswered about his status in next month's draft. Bryant, considered the top wide... more

David Scarbrough / AP (Moon); National Football League (Randle) Warren Moon and John Randle are among 14 players who made it to the Hall of Fame despite not being drafted. It's always a benefit when a team's first-round draft pick meets those... more


Starting with the first Super Bowl -- known then as the AFL-NFL Championship Game -- I've been to all but three of the big games. You always remember something about each one. After last year's Super Bowl,'s Pat Kirwan and myself were on a bus... more

The Saints and Colts met the press at Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday, but not everything was revealed in those interview sessions. Here are a few tidbits on some of the Super Bowl XLIV participants that you might not have known: Indianapolis Colts... more


Because there are only two games to focus on, these two games usually are the most talked about and dissected games of the year. So let the talking and dissecting begin ‚?¶ New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts The Jets' 29-15, come-from-behind win in... more

Associated Press If Flozell Adams can't contain Jared Allen, then the Cowboys offense will have a tough time in Minnesota. Wild-card weekend was very exciting -- we saw two upsets, the highest TV ratings in 10 years, and a playoff record for... more

Paul Connors / Associated Press Charles Woodson helped contain Larry Fitzgerald last week, and he'll have to do it again if Green Bay is to advance. The interesting thing about looking at the key matchups in the first round of the playoffs is... more


Here's a look at all the key matchups to watch in Week 17: 1 p.m. ET, CBS Indianapolis at Buffalo Indianapolis LB Clint Session vs. Buffalo RB Fred Jackson The Bills lead this series, 34-30, but the Colts have won the last six. Indianapolis saw its... more


Here's a look at all the key matchups to watch in Week 11: 1 p.m. ET, CBS Indianapolis at Baltimore Indianapolis DE Robert Mathis vs. Baltimore OT Michael Oher It's Homecoming Weekend for the Colts, who played in Baltimore from 1953-83. Of... more

Here's a look at all the key matchups to watch in Week 9: 1 p.m. ET, FOX Houston at Indianapolis Houston QB Matt Schaub vs. Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning Houston has been playing well, but the Texans are 1-13 in the all-time series against the... more


Here's a look at all the key matchups to watch in Week 5: 1 p.m. ET, CBS Cincinnati at Baltimore Cincinnati OT Andrew Whitworth vs. Baltimore DE Terrell Suggs This game has become a key AFC North matchup, with both teams fielding playoff hopes.... more


Here's a look at the key matchups to watch in Week 3 action: 1 p.m. ET, FOX Atlanta at New England Atlanta QB Matt Ryan vs. New England QB Tom Brady Ryan returns home, where he enjoyed a stellar career at Boston College. Last season he became only... more

Associated Press The sideline matchup between coaches Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick takes center stage in the Jets-Patriots rivalry. It will be tough to top Week 1 of the 2009 season for great games from start to finish, but anything in this... more

Associated Press High-profile QBs Jay Cutler (left) and Aaron Rodgers highlight the start of a new chapter in the Bears-Packers rivalry. So much has happened around the NFL since the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Super... more

Getty Images James Farrior is Pittsburgh's leading tackler, and he'll be busy chasing Tennessee rookie Chris Johnson this week. There are so many meaningful games in Week 16 as we inch closer to the postseason. Here are some of the key... more


Phil Coale / Associated Press Florida State's Patrick Robinson, left, is likely going to be a first-round pick in next year's draft. Editor's note: This is part of a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by position, for... more

Michael Dwyer / Associated Press USC safety Taylor Mays' speed and athletic ability put him at the top of the 2010 safety class. Editor's note: This is part of a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by position, for the... more

Jeff Roberson / Associated Press Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon has the athletic ability and versatility to play for a long time in the NFL. Editor's note: This is part of a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by position,... more

Michael Dwyer / Associated Press Boston College's Mike McLaughlin is a very intelligent player and a team leader for the Eagles. Editor's note: This is part of a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by position, for the... more


Dave Weaver / Associated Press Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh doesn't only stuff the run and rush the passer, he can also intercept passes. Editor's note: This is part of a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by position, for... more

John Raoux / Associated Press Florida's Tim Tebow has another season to prepare to be an NFL quarterback. Editor's note: This is the first in a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by position, for the 2010 NFL Draft.... more

When you think back on the career of a Hall of Fame player, there's such a body of work that it's easy to forget a play here or there that was so important. Such is the case with wide receiver Bob Hayes. So for those who may not remember or didn't know... more

The Dallas Cowboys began using computers to evaluate college prospects back in 1963. Over the next 25 years, only two players -- Bo Jackson and Tony Dorsett -- received a higher overall grade than Rod Woodson, who will be enshrined this summer in the Pro... more

In 1987, there was a work stoppage in the NFL and I was in the Phoenix area in late August trying to sign some potential players for the Dallas Cowboys' replacement team. After signing some players, I went to Arizona State University to watch practice in... more

Many times people who are in a high-profile business are asked, "How did you get into this business?" I'm sure Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr., has been asked this question on many occasions. For the record, here is how he became the owner of a... more

Jesse Penn , a linebacker that the Dallas Cowboys drafted in the second round out of Virginia Tech, liked to tell the story of how quickly his college teammate, Bruce Smith , established himself when they both arrived in Blacksburg, Va. All incoming... more

The NFL's supplemental draft will take place July 16 at 1 p.m. ET. The supplemental draft began in 1977 as a way to accommodate players who weren't eligible for the upcoming college football season. That year, Notre Dame RB Al Hunter flunked out of... more

Did you know: David Duprey / Associated Press The Bills' Eric Wood (picked 28th overall) was one of two centers selected in the first round of the 2009 draft. ¬Ľ Over the past 10 drafts (2000-2009), 31 tackles have been drafted in the first... more

Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images Penn State's Dennis Landolt is one of many offensive tackle prospects who started their careers at another position. Editor's note: This is part of a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by... more

Since the tragic death of Steve McNair on July 4, much has been written and said about his legacy as an NFL quarterback. No question, in his 13 years as an NFL quarterback, McNair put his stamp on the game. But let's not overlook the unbelievable legacy... more

Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images Chet Teofilo has played tackle at California, but his future will probably be at guard in the NFL. Editor's note: This is the second in a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by position, for... more

David Duprey / Associated Press The Bills' Eric Wood (picked 28th overall) was one of two centers selected in the first round of the 2009 draft. ¬Ľ In six of the last 10 drafts, no center has been drafted in the first round. Top college... more


Associated Press Beattie Feathers (48) was the first to rush for 1,000 yards, doing so in 11 games in 1934 with the Bears. Did you know ... ¬Ľ The first NFL player to run for 1,000 yards was Beattie Feathers in 1934. In his next six... more

Ed Zurga / Associated Press NFL teams covet tight ends who can do it all, such as Tony Gonzalez, who was traded from Kansas City to Atlanta this offseason. Did you know? ¬Ľ Since 1999, two tight ends (Kellen Winslow II and Vernon Davis)... more

Phil Coale / Associated Press Clemson's C.J. Spiller is small in size but big in playmaking ability. A big senior season could move him up in the first round. Editor's note: This is the second in a weekly series detailing the top... more

Eric Gay / Associated Press Texas' Jordan Shipley has dominated every level of competition and he figures to get his shot at the NFL in 2010. Editor's note: This is the third in a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by... more

Denis Poroy / Associated Press Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers finished last season with career bests in passing yards and touchdowns. So much for trends. After a watershed 2007 season that produced the most passing attempts, completions,... more

Rick Stewart / Getty Images Chris Chandler was the first QB taken in the 1988 draft, but he wasn't picked until the third round by the Colts. Did you know ... ¬Ľ Since 1967, only one year (1988 ) has no quarterback been selected in the... more


ARLINGTON, Texas -- You can't do the Cowboys' new stadium justice with words. When you get on Interstate 30 in downtown Dallas, you can see the top of the stadium in the distance -- from 18 miles away . On Wednesday, the Cowboys opened the stadium with... more

IRVING, Texas -- Former Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee shot up draft boards after showcasing impressive athleticism during his pro day and at private workouts. He went from being an afterthought to being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth... more


After a fast-paced first day of the 2009 NFL draft, it's time for all 32 teams to take stock of the players still on their draft boards as they get ready for Rounds 3-7 on Sunday. We can do the same. Here's a look at the top-ranked players from my... more

Pro day workout updates April 25, 2009

In between the combine and the NFL Draft, NFL coaches and personnel -- not to mention the prospects themselves -- turn their attention to the various college "pro day" workouts. These are not as all-encompassing as the combine, but they are important... more

Mayock's top 5 prospects NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock has WR Michael Crabtree rated as the third-best prospect in this year's draft. Here is the top 5: ¬Ľ 1.: LB Aaron Curry ¬Ľ 2.: OT Eugene Monroe ¬Ľ 3.: WR Michael... more

Scouting is an inexact science, but it is also a very thorough science. So much goes into the evaluation of college prospects, who will be taking part in NFL minicamps in just a few short weeks. After scouting games in person, watching hours and... more

Winslow Townson / Associated Press With Pittsburgh's victory at New England, Ben Roethlisberger has notched 48 wins in less than five full NFL seasons. The NFL season reached the three-quarter pole, as they say in horse racing, and I don't... more

Hot 100 Prospects 61100 April 09, 2009

Tier 1 (1-10) | Tier 2 (11-20) | Tier 3 (21-30) | Tier 4 (31-40) | Tier 5 (41-50) | Tiers 6-10 (51-100) Tier Six (51-60) : Jared Cook , TE, South Carolina; Paul Kruger , DE, Utah; LeSean McCoy , RB, Pittsburgh; Fili Moala , DT,... more

Tier 1 (1-10) | Tier 2 (11-20) | Tier 3 (21-30) | Tier 4 (31-40) | Tier 5 (41-50) | Tiers 6-10 (51-100) Tier Four (31-40) Kenny Britt , WR, Rutgers: Three-year player is the Big East's all-time leader in receiving... more

Tier 1 (1-10) | Tier 2 (11-20) | Tier 3 (21-30) | Tier 4 (31-40) | Tier 5 (41-50) | Tiers 6-10 (51-100) Tier Three (21-30) William Beatty , OT, Connecticut: Beatty might be a little bit of a reach this high, but he can... more

Tier 1 (1-10) | Tier 2 (11-20) | Tier 3 (21-30) | Tier 4 (31-40) | Tier 5 (41-50) | Tiers 6-10 (51-100) Tier Two (11-20) Robert Ayers , DE, Tennessee: Started only two games prior to 2008, but has emerged after a... more

Tier 1 (1-10) | Tier 2 (11-20) | Tier 3 (21-30) | Tier 4 (31-40) | Tier 5 (41-50) | Tiers 6-10 (51-100) Tier Five (41-50) Connor Barwin , DE/OLB/TE, Cincinnati: All-Big East as a tight end in 2007, then all-Big... more


Kevin Terrell / Ken Whisenhunt has done what no Cardinals coach has ever accomplished, get his team to the Super Bowl. There are always high expectations for conference championship weekend. This one surpassed them all. In the AFC, we... more

Getty Images Ravens OT Jared Gaither needs to protect Joe Flacco from Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley and a ferocious defense. I've heard people say their favorite time of the NFL season is the Divisional Playoff Weekend, with two big games on... more

Andy Lyons / Getty Images As reward for a terrific rookie season, Ravens QB Joe Flacco gets to face Pittsburgh's defense for the third time. Football is said to be a game of momentum, and it's usually a good sign of things to come when a team... more

Al Bello / Getty Images Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce will be following Brian Westbrook all over the field in their divisional playoff game. Chat with Gil personnel guru Gil Brandt will answer your questions about key playoff... more

Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images With so many big names on Baltimore's defense, don't overlook little (5-foot-8) Jim Leonhard, who was huge in Miami. The dash for cash and glory started this past weekend with four very good and entertaining... more


John Bazemore / Associated Press Jerious Norwood had two touchdowns for the Falcons on Sunday. Don't be surprised if he is a factor in the playoffs. The final Sunday of the regular season marked the first time since 2005 that 16 NFL games... more

Getty Images Chad Pennington and Brett Favre both helped turn around the fortunes of teams that struggled mightily in 2007. Ten of the 16 games this weekend have playoff implications. Only one bye is still up for grabs -- Carolina and Atlanta... more

LM Otero / Associated Press Le'Ron McClain's 82-yard run against Dallas on Saturday night symbolized a crazy and unexpected weekend. Troy Aikman summed it up best during his broadcast of Sunday's Eagles-Redskins game when he said there has... more

Doug Benc / Getty Images Bill Parcells' decision to unite Tony Sparano and Chad Pennington in Miami has resulted in a dream season. The only people who didn't like the Week 15 action in the NFL were those who had set aside time to fill out... more

Al Bello / Getty Images Brandon Jacobs and Bradie James are familiar foes who will meet again in a crucial Sunday night game. With so many critical games on the docket in the final three weeks of the season, let's start off this week by... more

Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images Matt Forte didn't let cold weather bother him as he broke Gale Sayers' team record for scrimmage yards in a season. Nothing is predictable in the NFL, and that was proven once again in Week 14. The 49ers... more

Getty Images Tampa Bay's underrated tackling machine, Barrett Ruud, will have his hands full against Carolina's DeAngelo Williams. Here are some key matchups to watch in Week 14 games: Dallas RT Marc Colombo vs. Pittsburgh LB LaMarr Woodley... more


Getty Images Patriots QB Matt Cassel has been on fire, but he faces his toughest challenge yet against Troy Polamalu and the Steelers. Here are some key matchups to watch for Week 13: Chicago LB Lance Briggs vs. Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson... more

Jack Dempsey / Associated Press Darren McFadden and the Raiders busted out for 31 points in Denver. Can they be a threat to the Pats in two weeks? Sunday's games started with a touchdown 13 seconds into the action and ended with a winning... more

Getty Images Albert Haynesworth has been unstoppable most of the season; Jets G Alan Faneca looks to at least slow him down this week. Here are some key matchups to watch in Week 12 action: N.Y. Jets G Alan Faneca vs. Tennessee DT Albert... more

Jim McIsaac / Getty Images Cornerback Terence Newman played a key role in the Cowboys' win Sunday night against Washington. Week 11 had something for everyone -- win, lose‚?¶ or tie. It started Thursday night with the Jets-Patriots overtime... more

Getty Images Dangerous pass rusher Alex Brown has his sights on Aaron Rodgers as the Bears and Packers renew their rivalry. Here are some key matchups to keep an eye on in Week 11: Chicago DE Alex Brown vs. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers The... more

Chris McGrath / Getty Images Eli Manning completed 12 passes for 130 yards and two TDs before Donovan McNabb's first completion Sunday night. If you like scoring, then you loved Week 10. In 13 games played, there were 607 points scored -- an... more

Getty Images While Drew Brees has posted astounding numbers, Matt Ryan has astounded with poise beyond that of most rookies. Here are some key matchups to watch in Week 10 games: New Orleans QB Drew Brees vs. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan This is... more

The 2008 draft lacked the superstar quality of 2007 -- I don't know if this year's rookie class is going to end up with the likes of Adrian Peterson or Joe Thomas or Patrick Willis. But there are a lot of players from the class of 2008 who will be around... more

Al Bello / Getty Images The Cowboys are going in the wrong direction, as evidenced on this play -- the first of Corey Webster's two picks. It didn't take long for the big plays to start rolling in Week 9. If you failed to turn on your set for... more


Getty Images Houston's Andre Johnson is the hottest WR in the NFL, but Minnesota CB Antoine Winfield will be ready for him. Here are some interesting matchups to watch in Week 9: Houston WR Andre Johnson vs. Minnesota CB Antoine Winfield... more

Rick Stewart / Getty Images Mathias Kiwanuka and the Giants put great pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, who was sacked five times. Going into Week 8, the schedule didn't look like it was particularly filled with games that would create a lot of... more

Getty Images Could Sunday's meeting between Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger be a preview of Super Bowl XLIII? Here are some key matchups to watch in Week 8: Giants QB Eli Manning vs. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger This week's... more

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images Marion Barber and the Cowboys offense couldn't get anything going in Sunday's loss to the Rams. Week 7 lacked the close games we saw the previous week, but there was no shortage of big plays. We saw two big... more

Elsa/Getty Images Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan have combined to win five Super Bowls and 295 games, but one will lose Monday. Here are some key matchups to watch in Week 7 of the NFL: Denver coach Mike Shanahan vs. New England coach... more

Getty Images Jim Haslett of the Rams and Brad Childress of the Vikings saw their teams pull out last-second victories. What did we learn from Week 6? Well, we certainly were reminded that anything can happen in the NFL, but that's nothing... more

David Phillip/AP Photo Turnovers set the stage for an unlikely comeback, but the Colts still needed this one-handed grab from Reggie Wayne. In the always-fascinating chess match that is pro football, it's worth noting that even turnovers --... more

Getty Images Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan square off Sunday in Denver. Before we get into five key on-field matchups that are worth watching this week, here is the most interesting -- as well as ironic -- coaching matchup of Week 5. While... more


Charlie Riedel/Associated Press Derrick Johnson and the Chiefs defense looked good enough against Denver to think they could be dangerous. Before the season started, we said the competitive balance in this league would be greater than ever. I... more

Getty Images With Albert Haynesworth and Kevin Williams on the field Sunday in Nashville, running the ball won't be easy. Here are some key matchups worth following in Week 4: Minnesota DTs Kevin Williams and Pat Williams vs. Tennessee... more

Doug Benc/Getty Images Falcons rookie QB Matt Ryan completed 12 of 18 passes for 192 yards, 1 TD and no INTs in a win over the Chiefs. Once again, the weekend of NFL action had something for everyone -- upsets, comebacks, fast-paced games,... more

Getty Images Tony Romo has 632 passing yards and four TDs this season, but must watch out this week for Packers CB Al Harris. Here are some key matchups worth following in Week 3: Dallas QB Tony Romo vs. Green Bay CB Al Harris In... more

Jeff Gross/Getty Images Adrian Peterson has done his part for the 0-2 Vikings, but Tarvaris Jackson has to start making some plays. We all know that the New York Giants started out 0-2 last season and not only made the playoffs but went on to... more

Getty Images The matchup between Flozell Adams and Trent Cole on Monday night may decide the winner of this NFC East battle. Here are some key matchups worth following in the Week 2 games: Philadelphia DE Trent Cole vs. Dallas OT Flozell... more

Getty Images Rookie quarterbacks Matt Ryan (Falcons) and Joe Flacco (Ravens) passed their opening NFL tests with Week 1 wins. Week 1 of the 2008 season was like going to a great cafeteria -- there was something for everyone's taste. For... more

Getty Images After a terrific rookie year, Browns LT Joe Thomas begins his second season against Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware. It's Week 1 of the 2008 NFL season, and here are some of the key matchups worth watching: Dallas LB DeMarcus Ware vs.... more


Petr David Josek / Associated Press A lightning-quick sprinter, Jamaica's 6-foot-5 Usain Bolt would be a perfect marketing fit for the Chargers. Someone asked me the other day what I thought about the idea of making Olympic gold-medal... more

I first met Gene Upshaw in the fall of 1966, when he was a senior at Texas A&I-Kingsville. He played tackle, center and end at a time when A&I was part of the NAIA. Small-school guys weren't as easily noticed back then. Upshaw beat the odds and became the... more


NOTE: Gil Brandt is in Canton for this weekend's Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies, and will be chiming in throughout the weekend with updates and anecdotes: Thursday, July 31, 4:30 p.m. ET Sign here The majority of the 70 or so... more

Andre Tippett was a very good college player on a very poor team. When he arrived at Iowa in 1979, the Hawkeyes were mired in a streak of 19 consecutive non-winning seasons. They had not been to a bowl game since 1958. Not coincidentally, they won... more

As part of our scouting process with the Dallas Cowboys, we always asked college prospects to provide the name of an official from their high school they were close to -- someone we could call to research a player's background. Louisiana Tech's Fred... more

I doubt you will hear my name mentioned when Gary Zimmerman makes his speech Saturday night at the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony, but it wouldn't be out of the question if he thanked me for the honor. After all, if I had done my job a little... more

Former Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green is the only member of the Class of 2008 to be elected in his first year of eligibility. The honor is well-deserved. Still, few teams recognized that Hall of Fame potential when he first entered the... more


The following story is from's Fantasy Football 2008 Preview magazine, which is currently available on newsstands everywhere, as well as on NFLShop . If you thought the passing game went wild last year in the NFL, you were right. The 2007 season... more

With the 2008 draft behind us, NFL teams are looking ahead to minicamps, OTAs, training camp, preseason and the start of another season. But it's never too early to look ahead to next year's draft. With that in mind, understanding that so much can... more


Day 1 of the draft is a wrap, and 56 of the 63 players selected were among my top 70 players in my Hot 100 . That means 14 players among that top 70 are prime targets to be called early Sunday morning when Round 3 begins. Here are the 14 players:... more

¬Ľ Latest pro day updates ¬Ľ Schools: A-G | H-M | N-R | S-Z Nebraska (March 12) Twenty-four NFL teams were on hand to see 22 Cornhuskers work out indoors on an Astrofurf field. Ironically, one of the most impressive workouts of the day was... more

Paul Sancya/AP Now that we know Michigan tackle Jake Long is the No. 1 pick in this draft, how will the next 99 picks pan out? The draft is a culmination of months of work. Scouts do a great job of going across the country and evaluating... more

Hot 100 Prospects 51100 April 21, 2008

Tier 1 (1-10) | Tier 2 (11-20) | Tier 3 (21-30) | Tier 4 (31-40) | Tier 5 (41-50) | Tiers 6-10 (51-100) Gregory Shamus / Getty Images Running back Ray Rice is the all-time leading rusher at Rutgers with 4,926 yards. Tier Six... more

Hot 100 Prospects 1120 April 21, 2008

Tier 1 (1-10) | Tier 2 (11-20) | Tier 3 (21-30) | Tier 4 (31-40) | Tier 5 (41-50) | Tiers 6-10 (51-100) Andy Lyons / Getty Images Louisville's Brian Brohm closed out his career as the Big East's all-time leader in passing yardage.... more

Hot 100 Prospects 2130 April 21, 2008

Tier 1 (1-10) | Tier 2 (11-20) | Tier 3 (21-30) | Tier 4 (31-40) | Tier 5 (41-50) | Tiers 6-10 (51-100) Ben Liebenberg / Cal's DeSean Jackson terrorized opponents when he touched the ball as a receiver, returner and even on an... more

¬Ľ Latest pro day updates ¬Ľ Schools: A-G | H-M | N-R | S-Z Hampton (March 13) Fifteen NFL teams sent representatives and there were seven DL coaches in attendance to see eight Hampton players work out, along with six players from other area... more

¬Ľ Latest pro day updates ¬Ľ Schools: A-G | H-M | N-R | S-Z Alabama (March 12) This was a great visit for the representatives from 30 NFL teams who attended, as they served a big lunch and the Alabama coaching staff was very helpful and... more


When Dallas played Pittsburgh in Super Bowl X, 86 of the 87 players who were eligible to participate had never played on another team. All 43 Steelers were original Steelers. Of the 44 players on the Cowboys' roster, only Preston Pearson had played for... more

The steady flow of NFL players, coaches and alumni making their way through the Super Bowl XLII media center isn't close to being in full force, but I did manage to speak to four guests who know a thing or two about pro football and offered some insight... more

Vernon Biever / Getty Images Craig Morton never saw Harvey Martin -- or the Cowboys' defensive game plan -- coming in Super Bowl XII. When the New York Giants and New England Patriots square off next Sunday, it will mark the 12th time that... more

Throughout the year, we've talked about competitive balance in the National Football League and this year's postseason -- starting with wild-card weekend right on through the conference title games -- has proven the point. Of the 10 post-season games... more

The Giants and Packers met in Week 2 at the Meadowlands, with Green Bay winning, 35-13. Since that game, many things have changed for both teams. The Giants turned things around after an 0-2 start, but it's actually the Packers who have been doing... more

The Chargers and Patriots met in New England in Week 2, with the Patriots winning, 34-14, after jumping to a 24-0 halftime lead. The Pats held the ball for 35:46 and actually ran the ball more times than they passed it (32-31). Don't expect to see that... more

All four divisional playoff games exceeded fans' expectations. That rarely happens, mainly because of all the pre-game hype from the media, but these games really had something for everyone. The four winning quarterbacks (five, really, since the Chargers... more

Here is my key matchup for Saturday's divisional playoff matchup between Seattle and Green Bay ... Marcus Trufant, CB, Seattle   Brett Favre, QB, Green Bay This game has many storylines, including the return of Seattle head... more

Here is my key matchup for Sunday's divisional playoff matchup between the N.Y. Giants and Dallas ... Justin Tuck, DE, N.Y. Giants   Leonard Davis, G, Dallas These two teams met twice in the regular season with Dallas winning... more

Here is my key matchup for Saturday's divisional matchup between Jacksonville and New England ... Paul Spicer, DE, Jacksonville   Tom Brady, QB, New England The Jaguars rank second in the league in rushing, averaging 149... more

Here is my key matchup for Saturday's first-round playoff matchup between Washington and Seattle: Shawn Springs, CB, Washington   Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seattle The last time these teams played was Jan. 14, 2006 in a 2005... more

Here is my key matchup for Sunday's first-round playoff matchup between Tennessee and San Diego: Albert Haynesworth, DT, Tennessee   LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego These teams met less than a month ago, on Dec. 9, when the... more

Here is my key matchup for Sunday's first-round playoff matchup between the Giants and Tampa Bay: Osi Umenyiora, DE, N.Y. Giants   Jeff Garcia, QB, Tampa Bay To be successful against the Giants, Tampa Bay has to block their front four... more


Before we get into my all-rookie team for the 2007 season, here are some recent trends regarding playoff teams. The following stats are from playoff games from the 2000-2006 seasons: > Home teams have a record of 48-22 (23-12 in the AFC; 25-10 in the... more

Less than half the games on the Week 17 schedule have playoff implications. We'll look at some of the key matchups in the pivotal games, but first we'll tackle that other game that some people will be paying attention to -- New England's quest for the... more

Week 16 was shaping up to be fairly simple. In the NFC, the Giants and Vikings both could have locked up wild-card spots with victories; the Giants did their part, but Minnesota did not. In the AFC, Cleveland and Jacksonville were in the same boat -‚??... more

Week 16 fantasy matchups December 20, 2007

Not only do weather and injuries play a huge factor in setting lineups this time of year, but now fantasy owners have an extra challenge: Trying to figure out the mindset of coaches whose teams have nothing to play for. That applies to teams that have... more

Here are some of the key matchups to keep an eye on this week: Cowboys DEs DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis vs. Panthers QB Matt Moore With the uncertainty of Tony Romo's thumb (he'll start, but how much will the injury affect his play?), Dallas needs a big... more

We've talked often this season about what a terrific job the scriptwriter has done, and he may have outdone himself in Week 15. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he is getting some help from the striking members of the Writers Guild out in Hollywood.... more

Week 15 fantasy matchups December 13, 2007

Here's a look at key fantasy matchups for Week 15: Bengals at 49ers The usually potent Bengals offense has played two straight bad-weather games, but it‚??s still safe to go with their key players, in this order: QB Carson Palmer, WR... more

Undrafted and unstoppable December 10, 2007

It's a fact of life in the NFL that the best rookies aren't always the first- and second-round draft picks. Everyone knows that even guys who go undrafted out of college occasionally make their mark in the pro ranks. It may be an exception, but in Week... more

Here are some of the key matchups to watch in Week 14 action: Cowboys DE Greg Ellis vs. Lions RT Damien Woody This is an interesting game, because Dallas historically plays in Sunday games following a Thursday game -- but they are just 4-8 at Detroit.... more

Week 13 started with a bang on Thursday night as the NFL Network featured two of the most popular teams in the NFL, Green Bay and Dallas. The Network's presentation was outstanding and the game even better, with the Cowboys victorious, 37-27. Nine early... more

Week 13 fantasy matchups November 29, 2007

Here's a look at key fantasy matchups for Week 13: 49ers at Panthers San Francisco still averages only 13.6 points per game, but last week's big game from RB Frank Gore gives hope he can have a strong stretch run. I like Gore to get... more

Here are five key matchups that I'll be keeping a close eye on for Week 13: Jaguars QB David Garrard vs. Colts QB Peyton Manning Eight of the 10 games played in this series between 2002 and 2006 were decided by 10 points or less, and a win by the... more

The scriptwriter outdid himself for Week 12. It all started on Thanksgiving Day, when Green Bay and Dallas set the stage for their big matchup this week on Thursday night. Green Bay has now won 10 of its first 11 games for the first time since 1936.... more

Week 12 fantasy matchups November 23, 2007

Here's a look at key fantasy matchups for Week 12: Titans at Bengals Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher has a history of success against Cincinnati, and it doesn‚??t hurt that QB Vince Young is starting to really come on. Young has had two... more

Before we get to some of the key matchups to watch for this week, here's a quick Thanksgiving story. One of the two Thanksgiving Day games that took place on Nov. 27, 1952 was a matchup between the Chicago Bears and Dallas Texans. Midway through that... more

Strange as it may seem, the bizarre scenario in Baltimore on Sunday that led to the Browns' overtime win over the Rams was not the first time that a Cleveland team had its game profoundly affected by a ball hitting the goalpost. Phil Dawson's game-tying... more

As we approach Week 11 in the NFL, let's take a closer look at five intriguing matchups that will have a major impact on the outcomes of these games: Patriots QB Tom Brady vs. Bills DE Aaron Schobel Through nine games, Brady is playing as good as any... more

The Week 10 schedule may have appeared a little bland, especially after the hype of Week 9's Patriots-Colts showdown, and the games certainly started slow. Nine teams failed to score at all in the first quarter of Sunday's games. Six more had to settle... more

Week 10 fantasy matchups November 09, 2007

Last week was a buyer's delight -- there were big fantasy numbers across the board. Week 10 is shaping up to be a little tougher. You've got to dig a little deeper this week to fill your starting lineup with players who have favorable matchups. We'll see... more

The first half of 2007 has brought surprises, disappointments, fantastic finishes, record-breaking performances and lots more. One thing that is a constant midway through any NFL season: A handful of young players will emerge as the stars of tomorrow.... more

Week 9 had something for just about everybody. We saw individual records broken, team records broken and perhaps the most hyped regular-season game ever living up to its billing. The day started with a kickoff return TD by Leon Washington 13 seconds... more

We can talk all day about matchups in NFL games, but here's a brief history of how the matchups became so important in terms of actual game-planning. In 1971, Cowboys coach Tom Landry created a new position on his staff -- quality control coach. The... more

Week 9 fantasy matchups November 01, 2007

For those who think the running game in fantasy football is taking a back seat to passing, the numbers bear that out. Through eight weeks of the season, there have been fewer 100-yard rushing performances, more 300-yard passing games and more 100-yard... more


We learned back in April, when the 2007 NFL schedule was first released, that New England at Indianapolis would be the marquee matchup of Week 9. It seems as if talk of this game began all the way back then, heated up somewhat in the preseason, and has... more

Week 8 fantasy matchups October 26, 2007

Here's a look at key fantasy matchups for Week 8: Colts at Panthers Interesting Indy note: Who would have thought the Colts' defense would be ranked higher than their offense this far into the season? The defense is second overall and the... more

Matchups take place in many different forms. It could be a player vs. player, like a pass rusher taking on an offensive tackle. Other times, it could be a player vs. player situation that has more to do with a team's offensive formation vs. an anticipated... more

Week 7 Fantasy matchups October 19, 2007

Monday's Colts-Jaguars game will be Peyton Manning's 150th in the NFL. In the 149 games he's played so far, he's got more completions that Brett Favre or Dan Marino had in 150 games, he's got the best completion percentage (54.2), the best passer rating... more

Going into Week 7, there are several intriguing storylines. The biggest one: Will the Colts and Patriots remain undefeated on their way to a potentially colossal Nov. 4 game in Indianapolis? I'm sure CBS hopes so. While New England, looking for its... more

Last week, we talked about quarterbacks having a tough time with 39 interceptions for the weekend. Well, Week 6 proved tough on running backs. Despite some outstanding individual efforts, 14 of the 24 teams that played on Sunday failed to gain 100 yards... more

The big Week 6 showdown between New England and Dallas is as big for fantasy owners as it is for the fans of the Patriots and Cowboys. Not only are both of these teams undefeated, they are scoring machines. New England has scored 182 points in five games;... more

We're not at the halfway point of the schedule yet, but this is a critical point in the season. Teams .500 or better after this weekend usually take a giant step toward the playoffs. In both 2005 and 2006, 11 of the 12 teams that made the playoffs were... more

We always knew that it wasn't easy playing quarterback in the NFL, but Sunday was a particularly rough day for quarterbacks. No fewer than 22 different quarterbacks threw at least one interception -- for a total of 33 picks total. Cleveland's Derek... more

Week 5 fantasy matchups October 05, 2007

Defenses are starting to adjust to the offenses. For the season, teams have scored 2,622 points, or 42.2 per game. The average has actually dropped a little from Week 3 to Week 4. Can defenses continue this trend or will the offenses start making... more

Since none of the four remaining unbeaten teams -- New England, Indianapolis, Dallas and Green Bay -- play each other, this has a chance to be only the second time in NFL history that four teams start the season 5-0. The last and only time it happened was... more

For all the examples we've seen of "competitive balance" in the NFL, I think it's fair to say this is the ultimate: The teams with the first five picks of the 2007 draft -- Oakland, Detroit, Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Arizona -- were a combined 5-0 in... more


Last week, we told you to expect a lot of scoring. Guess what? Teams combined for 751 points, or an average of 46.9 points per game. That's the sixth-most points scored in one weekend in NFL history. Week 4 should be another big scoring weekend, but... more

One thing is different right off the bat when you look at Week 3 this season as compared to Week 3 of 2006 -- all 32 teams are playing. Last season, the byes began a week earlier than usual, so fantasy owners had to scramble a bit to accommodate for star... more

With competitive balance being what it is these days in the NFL, these individual matchups we look at each week become more and more important in determining the outcome of games. Last week, for example, we said that San Diego's corners would have to... more

What we learned in Week 3 September 24, 2007

What we learned in Week 3 Fans, fantasy players and competition committee members alike are getting their wish -- for the third week in a row, scoring in the NFL is up. Life as a defensive coordinator gets harder each week. They are working longer... more

Here are some key matchups to follow when you're watching the Week 3 action in the NFL: Bears defense/special teams vs. Cowboys offense In their last three regular-season games played in Chicago, Dallas has scored a total of just 25 points. In the... more

It's always imperative to check the injury reports, but it might be more important than ever this week. Among the slew of injuries last week, the status of several starting quarterbacks is in question. One thing we noticed last week is that teams are... more

When looking at key matchups in NFL games, one has to understand the different types of matchups to better follow the action. And keep in mind that studying the matchups is much more important to the coaches than it is to you and I. The Denver-Buffalo... more

Fans love scoring, especially fantasy players. For the second week in a row, scoring was up over the corresponding week from last season. With offenses spreading things out a bit more, we are seeing fewer 100-yard rushers and fewer 100-yard receivers.... more

The first week of the season is not kind to fantasy owners. Defense usually has the upper hand for first few weeks of the season - offenses are still getting acclimated to what they didn't see from opposing defenses in the preseason. Case in point:... more

What we learned from Week 1 September 10, 2007

Week 1 of the 2007 NFL season was like a great buffet dinner -- there was something for everyone. First and foremost, there was plenty of scoring. Last year, only one team scored more than 30 points in Week 1. This year, six teams topped 30 points,... more


† Talk about your classic tale of perseverance. Gene Hickerson was a true overachiever on his path to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. † Hickerson grew up in tiny Trezevant, Tenn. - a town of less than 1,000 people - and he did not play football until... more

† Here's a little-known fact about Charlie Sanders: Before ending up at the University of Minnesota, Sanders was the first African-American offered a football scholarship at Wake Forest‚?¶ and his host for the recruiting trip was future Chicago Bears... more

† At the University of Missouri, Roger Wehrli played cornerback as a junior and led the nation in punt returns. He was moved to free safety as a senior and led the nation with 10 interceptions. Still he was not regarded as a first-round NFL talent, even... more

† When Bruce Matthews came out of USC in 1983, here's the scouting report we had on him with the Dallas Cowboys: He was a player that did not do exceptional things when you watched him, yet his man never made a play. † In other words, you rarely saw... more

† The first time I saw Michael Irvin was late in the 1985 season. I was down in Miami watching a Thursday practice prior to the Hurricanes' game against Notre Dame that Saturday. And when I saw No. 47 running circles around Miami's defensive backs, I... more

  The first time I had heard of Thurman Thomas was in the fall of 1983, when he was a running back at Willowridge High School in Sugar Land, Texas. After the college season was over, a lot of college coaches used to come by the Cowboys offices during... more

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