There isn’t much going on during the offseason, so let’s take a brief look at some news and insight around the network and take a look at what it all means. This is sort of a “Their Take, My Take” feature to help us get through the offseason doldrums and, hopefully, strike up some insightful conversation.
1. Dion Jordan suspended
Their take: Phin Phanatic’s Brian Miller wrote about the suspension, and he delivered this key line on the loss of Jordan for a few games, “If the Dolphins could afford to lose a player, Jordan may be the one.” Miller points to the team’s defensive line depth and a lack of a system fit due to Jordan’s status as a “tweener” player as being reasons for this statement.
My take: By now we’ve all heard the news that Miami Dolphins second-year outside linebacker (he’s a better fit as a 4-3 OLB than a 4-3 DE) Dion Jordan has been suspended for four games, but at least he was quick to take accountability for what happened. Like Lane Johnson, Jordan is another uber-athletic, second-year pro set to start the season on the sidelines, but, unlike Jordan, Johnson was locked in as the team’s starting right tackle. Jordan probably wouldn’t have begun the season as a starter, but he could have received significant snaps during those four games at either DE or OLB (most likely OLB). A four-game suspension for a player who is almost a luxury isn’t a big loss, and there are far more valuable players on the Dolphins defense. Jordan is very talented and has made big strides this offseason, so this is just a mere delay of plans for both him and the ‘Fins defense.
2. Junior Galette a potential superstar?
Their take: Who Dat Dish’s Andrew Schuster, in a great piece, writes that New Orleans Saints pass rusher Junior Galette is ready to emerge as a superstar after recording 12 sacks in his first year under top-notch defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Shuster believes that with a full season under his belt in the new system, Galette can explode.
My take: Akiem Hicks is actually my pick for the Saints next breakout player, because he was quietly phenomenal across from 2013 breakout stud Cameron Jordan as a 3-4 DE. A menace against the run who is able to push the pocket as a pass rusher, Hicks will become a household name next year. Galette’s not really a secret, but I agree with Schuster; he’ll be even better next year. That said, I wonder if stating that he’s set for “superstardom” is a bit hyperbolic, because that’s a very difficult level to hit. However, the addition of free safety Jairus Byrd is huge, because his instincts, ball skills, and ability in deep coverage will have a huge trickle-down effect on the rest of the defense, allowing Ryan to be even more aggressive with his players in the front seven. That’s a big bonus for Galette.
Superstardom is a bit too lofty for my liking, but I think Galette is on his way to simply being a “star”, which is definitely more than enough. He might play less snaps next season, but that will only optimizes his pass rushing ability. When the 2014 season finishes, Galette will be a consistent menace to opposing offensive tackles and will likely be regarded as a sure-fire, top ten 3-4 outside linebacker in a league filled with talented edge rushers.
3. Ed Dickson a breakout player?
Their take: Cat Crave’s Bryan Palmese is highlighting “PrimeTime” players for the Carolina Panthers next season, and he decided to take a look at former Baltimore Ravens No. 2 tight end Ed Dickson. Palmese believes that Dickson will breakout and become a big receiving threat for the Panthers next season, stating that the offseason signing “will rise again and become a dominating threat that will help him shine in the PrimeTime in 2014.”
My take: Dickson’s best season came in 2011 when he caught 54 passes for 528 yards and five touchdowns, but he has done nothing in his three other seasons. I’ve never been a fan of Dickson’s game, but it’s not like the under-achieving TE is bereft of talent. He came out of Oregon with plenty of promise, and it’s high time for him to make good on the pass-catching potential he once showed. Dickson rejected offers from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Ravens before signing with the Panthers, and it looks like he made the right decision. He has a great chance to revitalize his career on a new team, and the Panthers are running more twin-TE sets. Dickson will play more of an in-line role with the always-underrated Greg Olsen starring as the main pass-catcher in a typical “joker” role, but Dickson will have plenty of opportunities to match his career-highs. Cam Newton praised him this offseason, but I think it’s more likely for him to be a “solid” piece of a diverse passing attack rather than anything resembling a focal point. But at the end of the day, that’s still a big plus for the Panthers, who are spending a mere $730,000 this season for the 26-year-old’s services.
4. Green Bay Packers rookie projections
Their take: Lomardi Ave’s Kenn Korb has a fantastic, in-depth slideshow in which he analyzes Green Bay Packers rookies and projects their stats after a detailed write-up on them. I’m only going to highlight his thoughts on the Packers first draft choice (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix), because they are the most interesting to me, but following the link above and leafing through the piece for all of his takes is a great idea.
Korb believes that Clinton-Dix will not start at the beginning of the year, but rather the Packers coaching staff will ease him into a starting role by deploying Micah Hyde as the starter initially. He believes Clinton-Dix will become the starter as the year moves on, with Hyde moving to corner. But Korb does project three interceptions for the Alabama product, so that’s decent playmaking ability right there.
My take: Hyde is an intriguing, versatile player who had a good 2013 season, but I think he’s the one who is better off playing a sub-package role that showcases his versatility, work on special teams, and ability to spell others effectively. I mean, Hyde could conceivably start in this league, but Clinton-Dix is simply too good to bench. Honestly, it would take a disappointingly slow start to his career (mentally, since nobody would doubt his physical skills) for him to start off as a backup.
The Packers, quite frankly, need him to play at free safety immediately, because he would be a huge upgrade. Clinton-Dix is a very good all-around safety who can make an impact in the running game and in coverage, with the latter being most important. While Clinton-Dix isn’t the rangy, centerfielder at free safety, he’s the steady safety with good ball skills and won’t give up many big plays (you know, exactly the kind of guy the Packers need). He was the best safety in last year’s draft class, and I think he’ll start, succeed, and put up some nice numbers in his first year with the Packers. I hope Hyde is able to get significant snaps around the defensive backfield, but I don’t want it to come at the expense of somebody who will most likely be the team’s second or third-best DB next year.